The Last One

It was my last morning run in Washington, and the first of many as we travel across the states to our new home.

Here’s the deal. I am doing a “5k Across the Country” type of thing. Or at least a 5k in every state we stop. So here are a few things I saw in my first 5k. (Which is also my last here in WA.)

Me:

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The sun trying to peek through over the water:

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Mr. Eagle:

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Continue reading “The Last One”

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Fair Winds and Following Seas….Again

Before every PCS move (permanent change of station) there are stages of emotions we all go through, much like the way we mentally prepare for deployments and homecomings.

Initially we receive the orders, the “penciled in” ones that are sort of for sure, but could change at anytime. This is where we don’t really get excited yet, because then there would be an additional mourning stage if they did actually change. Then hard copy orders – the ones that can be officially announced. There is some relief with this stage, just having a destination and an end to uncertainty. Then the movers come to assess just how much stuff you have and how many boxes they’ll need to bring on moving day. Then there’s about 4-6 weeks of goodbyes. This is our current stage. And it stinks.

We feel the anticipation of the move, the calendar fills constantly with last minute things; visits with friends, must see sights to check off the list because who knows when we’ll live in this part of the country again, and the kids’ ever dawning awareness that we won’t get to take all of our family and friends with us.

Have I mentioned that this phase stinks? This morning I led my final workout with my neighborhood fit friends. We’ve had so much fun, shared awesome success holding each other accountable, meeting new people and being open. This has been a tangible lesson for me on the importance of taking risks, putting myself out there, moving forward despite fear, and reaching out regardless of time limits.

After this class, the words spoken to me will forever be etched in my heart.

“Thank you, you have helped me through this deployment.”

“You have changed my life. Not only for showing me I can go further than I thought, but your class has strengthened my body so much that I have minimal pains now, where as I used to have such aggravating back, knee, hip, and ankle pain that I wouldn’t work out much. Since your group, I can almost do any move without pain!!! THANK YOU!!!!”

“You have to keep doing this. You have to keep training people!”

“Thank you for helping me get off antidepressants. My doctors are thrilled and my husband can tell a difference!”

“I did cardio for the longest with no results. I had no idea strength training and clean eating were the key and would make such an impact. I love that I’m stronger and healthier. Not to mention I haven’t thrown my neck/back out for months. You are a gifted trainer and I will continue to strength train for life!”

“I can do a handstand for the first time since my teens!”

“Thank you for giving me the tools to become happier and healthier. You’ve made this deployment a little less hard!”

I do not share these comments as a “Yahoo! Go me!” self back-pat. I share them because I said them to MY trainer. I know what it means to say these words. Now I’ve been blessed to keep a promise to pay it forward and hear the words said to me. I often wondered if my trainer walked around with a giant ego – because how could you not when you are constantly told how incredible you are?! I now know better. When people take the time to tell you how you’ve positively impacted them – it’s humbling. I am so completely humbled. (Yep, even ugly cried multiple times today!)

I learned early on in my journey that fitness is more than just trying to shrink. It’s more than fitting into a smaller jean size. It’s about confidence in ALL areas; relationships, reaching out to others (even when it’s scary!), even just trying something new! Its getting up and being engaged with life, doing a cartwheel with your kid, It’s showing up and doing so with excellence in our parenting journey, our marriages, and every other aspect of life. It’s joy. Pure, deep, and wonderful joy.
I will continue to pay it forward. Thank you fit friends! Thank you for showing up and doing hard work and having a blast doing it! Thank you for giving me confidence, for laughing at my jokes, and all of your kind words. I am so grateful for our time together.

Until our paths cross again….Fair winds and following seas!

Race Report: 2014 Whidbey Island Half Marathon

Running this year’s half marathon was awesome for a couple of reasons. First off, hubby was home so he was able to be with the kids AND cheer me on. It was also the 3rd in a series of 3 – so all of my race medals match! (It really is all about the race jewelry, right?!) And finally – the weather was FANTASTIC! We just don’t get stunners like this out here very often. We could see snow-capped Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainer off in the distance, as well as the majestic olympics! Simply breathtaking.

Eating breakfast, I looked out our back door and was greeted by a perfect sunrise!

Morning Sunrise

I rolled my ankle along the way which stinks, because not only did it slow my pace, it hurt! But DNF (Did Not Finish) is not in my vocabulary. The result – I walk/ran the remainder of the race, and attempted to sprint/hobble through the finish!

Collecting the medal, grabbing some grub and meeting up with hubby and the kiddos he says, “I have a story to tell you!” Meanwhile Jake is dancing around hollering, “I RAN WITH THE RUNNERS!!! I RAN WITH THE RUNNERS IN THE RACE!” Eric is grinning.

While I was running and hobbling and enjoying my views along the course, Eric was on minion management patrol. He proceeded to tell me that while chasing Hannah, Eric lost sight of Jacob. As in, could. not. find. him. This is my worst nightmare come to life. Turns out he caught some racing fever, dropped his coat, and took off with some random racers! He raced all the way around the park, and through to the finish line. Meanwhile, Eric spots Jake’s coat and starts looking for Jake. He happily runs up to Eric after his “finish” and informs him that he ran the race with the runners. (Non-racers are never allowed on the course, and definitely not minions racing through the finish line!) Leave it to ours to do just that!

We had a serious talk about how it’s his job to ALWAYS stay with us, and we HAVE to know where he is! I think this may be payback for the time I was separated from my parents at a wax museum. My parents were a hot mess of emotions when they finally caught up with me, mostly relief and anger. I had no idea I was “lost”. I was happily posing for a picture with a random wax figure. Yes, mom. I have been paid back.

At the finish line with my friend Jaye! She shaved 8 minutes of her race time for a new PR! Let me tell you, that’s not easy feat on this crazy hilly course!

2014 Whidbey Half Marathon with Jaye

 

Despite temporarily losing our kid, it was an awesome way to round out the races in Washington!

When Coming in Last is a Big Win

Last year we ran the St. Patrick’s day fun run out on base. We did the 1 mile run, knowing the kiddos wouldn’t be able to do much more than that. We also had the benefit of the stroller while Eric was deployed, so worst case scenario, they could take turns taking breaks.

It’s amazing how much changes in just one year.

Today’s event did not have a 1 mile option as they did last year, but we did not know this until we showed up at the event. I asked Jake probably a half dozen times if he was sure he really wanted to do this race. He didn’t have to, I wasn’t going to make him do it if it wasn’t his thing.  If he decided he was going to do it, however, we finish what we start – exactly like last year. Hannah opted to cheer with Daddy on the sidelines!

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This was us at the start line!

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Eric snapped a few pics right about mile 2, and Jake was definitely “not so fired up anymore”. He kept commenting on how we were last. I reminded him that it never matters if you are last, middle of the pack, or first. (Yes, first is awesome.)

What matters is that you do your best.

We are always striving to improve, but we are racing ourselves. We race against the voice in our head that says we aren’t good enough, that we ‘can’t’. We keep going until we finish what we start.

I found it funny that right about that time, we talked about running. I told him that if running wasn’t something he liked, he never had to do it again. (He heartily agreed to stick to t-ball!) PSo often as runners we think “Why the heck do I sign up for this?!” Yet, many of us have stacks of bib numbers and race medals to prove that that thought quickly subsides.

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The joy on his face as he crossed the finish line to high five Eric and I was magic. He was tired, to be sure! No doubt in my mind he was proud of himself.

But probably not quite as proud as I am. PRs are great, but coming in last with my son was the biggest win to date.

I Tri’d

Whew. I did the dang thing!

Here’s the milage breakdown:

7 mile warm up from T2/Finish line to Goss Lake/Start line

800 yd swim in Goss Lake (warmer than I thought, thank goodness!)

19.5 mile bike ride

3.8 mile run

When I signed up for this race, I misread the distances and thought it was a 12 mile bike ride. And I had no clue about the “warm up” ride to the start line. Oh, well. Like most things I’ve done – I jump in first and ask questions later! I’ve yet to regret a race or event, and usually have a pretty good time doing it. You know, aside from the pain.

What I was unprepared for (among MANY things!) was how hilly the bike course was! (Here’s a link to the map if you are nerdy about elevation details like I am!) There were some TOUGH hills. When chatting with other triathletes, they were surprised that people (like me) would pick this one as their first Triathlon. “It’s such a crazy race!” Yeah. No joke. I think the website lied when it said, “great race for beginners”.

Oh well. I did it. And if I ever do another tri, I’ll be sure to find one that is a bit easier. There were a few DNFs (Did Not Finish), and while I was WAY at the back of the pack (so far back that I couldn’t SEE the pack!) I finished what I started.  There is no way that I could have quit knowing that my minions were waiting at the finish line. I didn’t care how bad I hurt or the fact that both of my knees were basically giving me the finger for the entire 3.8 mile run portion.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter how bad a person sucks at something. It’s that new things are attempted. I am not a huge fan of swimming (unless its just for fun) but perhaps like childbirth, when the pain and memory fades from this race, I’ll be eager to sign up for another one!

Mad props to the triathletes out there! You all make marathons look easy!

Joy

If writing for a fitness blog has taught me anything, it’s that I have to practice what I “preach”.

After writing a post about making exercise work with kids, I really had no excuse. So I found this:

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It’s a playground next to the track! There is absolutely NO reason I couldn’t get out there! As you can see there was a huge rain cloud sitting directly over us, but it blew over eventually. (We live in Washington. If we waited for dry weather to do anything, we’d never leave the house!) I was excited to do some speed work and actually surprised myself with a 8:22 min mile! As usual, I’m faster than I think! I do have to mention – I love this track because it’s asphalt so the kids can ride their bikes and I “chase” them. What really kills me is how FAST Jake is on his bike! I really have to work to try to catch up to him!

Next, we headed out to Seaview trail – kids still on bikes and me giving “boosts” up the hills, picking up fallen bikes, kissing boo-booed knees, and a quick detour down to the beach!

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I LOVE the ocean more than I could ever express. Good thing I happen to be married to a sailor!

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As we walked down to the water, the salty-sea air hit me and I just felt joyful and content. Yeah, perhaps it was the endorphin high, but it was still joy.

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We saw some pretty good waves, reminding us of Hawaii…

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but one look at Hannah’s coat reminded us where we really were!

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On this trail they have random driftwood art  – so appropriate!

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Sea Serpent and Fish!

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Joy is everywhere. Even on the hard days. Even on deployment groundhog days.

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Joy is everywhere – we just have to be looking for it!

St. Patrick’s Day Fun!

The gym at NAS Whidbey Island periodically has fun runs, a 1.5 mile, a 5k and a 10k. I ran one of the 10ks last year and thought that perhaps Jake would like to run the short race, while we push Hannah in the stroller.  I would be over the moon if at least one of the kiddos falls in love with running. No biggie if not, but I do hope they each find something active that they can be passionate about. (Of course secretly, I hope it is running!)

After blowing some St. Patty’s day bubbles in our festive green, we head to our race!

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“C’mon, cmon! Let’s go!”

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Before we left, Jake decided that he didn’t want to run, but would rather ride in the stroller. Hannah then decided she would like to run the race with mommy.  Okay – off we go!

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Baby girl all signed up and ready to run!

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We get about 10 yards past the start line, and Hannah and Jake switch. Hannah is tired, and Jake wants to race, now that he sees all the other runners. Okay – let’s chinese fire drill it baby!

After just a bit, Jake starts whining and says he doesn’t want to do it anymore. (Inside, I want to scream, knowing this would probably happen.) He’s 4 years old. It probably is a lot to ask of him, but thought I’d give it a try. Like the saying goes, “Total failure is better than never trying”.

After counting to 10 and taking a breath, I told him that when he decided he wanted to run the race, he needed to finish it. “We don’t quit. We can walk when you need to catch your breath and go at your pace, but we finish what we start.” What a metaphor for life, huh?! Then I realized how this principle has played out over and over in not only my fitness journey, but in parenting as well. I used to be a quitter. I quit when things got too difficult, or just didn’t try if I wasn’t sure I would succeed. I want better for these little ones. I’m glad they won’t know the old me.

I walked on slowly, letting him take a moment to realize that we weren’t going to quit, make up his mind and catch up. And he did. We walked at first, then he saw other runners and said, “I’m ready to run, now mom! Let’s go fast!”

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And fast we went!! It will definitely go down as one of my favorite races! Watching my little guy cross that finish line was so great and seeing his huge grin at the end as other racers were high-fiving him was priceless! So proud of him!

Yeah. Hannah fell asleep! Poor thing! It was a long 1.5 mile!

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Later we hit the St. Patrick’s Day parade in town – bundled up of course, because it was rainy and cold. (What else would the weather be like in Washington?!)

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When I asked them what their favorite part of the parade was (thinking the pirate ship, the bagpipes, or the cool old cars) they both screamed “THE CANDY!”

Duh. Should’ve known!

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Happy St. Patty’s Day weekend!