Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Todays run, and an update with VA assistance

  This morning started out with a 4 mile race pace run.  I pushed really hard, my first mile came in at 9:16, this for me is fast!  I ran up the street and considered going down the private road that will give me the distance I need, and would be less dangerous.  As I was coming up to this road I seen a dog.  I decided not to run down that road because then the dog may follow me out onto the main road where the cars go 50+ mph.

   As I went by there was this little puppy, a cute cuddly yellow lab puppy who decided to follow me onto the main road.  Well I couldn't do that, so I figured I would run up the road and into the drive way and drop it off.  I thought it had worked, but upon looking behind me...there it was.  So I decided to run all the way to the end of the road and see if it would follow me out, sure enough, I had a new running buddy.  So I turned around and ran back toward the house...which btw is no small thing, this house is a big beautiful mansion about an acre off the road complete with pillars and an American flag waving from the flagpole!  The dog in tow the whole time.  I decided at this point I had to keep focused and get turned back toward home, I was hoping to tire my buddy out by the time I got to the end of the road, because if it followed me, it was going to have to follow me all the way home.  I even thought about tying my ribbon I use to secure my back pack to its neck for a leash just so it wouldn't get ran over!  Well lucky for the dog, once I got about half way down the road it stopped following me.  I wish I had a photo to show you guys, but there was so much going on, and with trying to maintain a race pace, I couldn't take those few extra seconds that i'm sure were lost anyway.

  Yesterday when I was running I passed by this skinny very green and looked like a little red small snake.  It was awfully still, but didn't appear to be dead.  Then on the way back it was still there.  This morning I passed it again.  I thought for sure it was dead, but then on my return I didn't see it...hmmm.  What do you suppose happened?  I have my theories, and wasn't curious enough to test them.  And in case you are wondering, yes I did take into consideration the rubber aspect of the thing.

  Haley and I went to the eye doctor and had our eyes dilated.  That is such a pain to deal with as we had to go grocery shopping afterward.  I couldn't do it before the appointment because of the perishable and frozen food.

 I am going to put the rest into a video and see if I can put it on here.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

I finally figured it out!

Picture it...Sicily...1936
No, but seriously folks, I have been waiting on some pretty big news and wanted to have it all together so I could give the the whole story.

  Back in may of this year (2012) I was a few pounds away from my weight loss goal, and was chatting with my dear friend Alethea.  We would speak often about health, fitness, and The word of God.  She taught me some stuff that I never knew before.

  I told Alethea that I wish I could help people as losing weight is so difficult and a lot of people simply don't know how to go about it.  She told me that would be a good thing for me.  I told her I would love to do it, but the only people I could help at this point would be people who were exactly like me, and lets face it...there aren't a lot of people like me.

  I am not sure at what point I decided it was feasible, but I began looking into it. At first I asked a friend what steps I should take, knowing she worked in a gym.  She mentioned a trainer at her gym who would help, but then talked about how he would require I try to sell to people. (that made me nervous) I found a place online called the NPTI National Personal Training Institute.  This is a 6th month course where a person can graduate with a diploma and qualify to take the test to certify with NASM National Acadamy Sports Medicine.  This course would teach me to be a personal trainer with limited nutrition training.

  I spoke with the woman about the school for about an hour and took some notes.  It seemed to be my only option, but then I decided to poke around even more and found a place called Bryan University online, they are an extention of Brayan College.  I sent my information then not too long after received a call.  I chatted with the woman about all this place offered.  It is an online classroom where I will be on my computer with a headset and can see the instructor there are buttons where I can raise my hand to ask a question, or request that the instructor slow down.   That's just the classroom!  This school offers free tutoring if I feel I need the extra help.  I would graduate with an associates degree in fitness and nutrition with the ability to menu plan and direct people nutritionally, even people with challenges like diabetes.  On the fitness side of things I would be equipped to help most people achieve thier fitness goals. I would qualify to take the NASM, and the ACSM tests.  I would be able to work anywhere in the United States as a personal trainer. There are other things I am not thinking of right now that made me choose them, but the financial advisor encouraged me to check into assistance from the VA since I was in the military.  So I did.

  Upon calling the VA I found out that I may be eligible for a new kind of assistance as I did not qualify for the Montgomery GI bill.  So I filled out my app online and sent it in.  I got an email from the VA saying they received it.  I went camping expecting thier call any minute!  I got back from camping and made a phone call.  There they told me that I would recieve a letter in the mail.  So I waited.  A week went by and I called.  My application was in line to be processed.  So I waited and went to Minnesota...meanwhile amongst all the waiting I was telling family and friends of my plan.  There was not one negative comment, I even asked the people who I knew wouldn't sugar coat it and they all thought this was a path that made sense for me and were genuinely happy for me.  Also among the waiting I prayed.  I prayed for Gods hand in this and for the doors to be opened if it was what was best for me in His eyes.  Kurt had mentioned just shooting for September and going for it student loans and all, at first I was excited, but not long after that had absolutely no peace because I knew that would be pushing to get what I wanted, and I have learned that when I am seeking Gods voice, Peace is the yes answer, weather it's what I want to hear or not.  As I began to lose hope here and there, I also felt like God was giving me way too much encouragement to not let this be.
  Today I made my third and final phone call.  I was actually calling to see if they needed me to send my DDform214 as I did not have it when I filled out the original application.  The lady took my information then said "You filled out an application for financial aid, and it looks  like your certificate of eligibility has been mailed, and when you receive your letter, you need to ...."  I interrupt "wait!  You mean my application got accepted?! and that they are going to grant me money for school???!!!"  She replies, "well, all I know is that it says here you will be receiving a certificate of eligiblity in the mail soon." 

  So folks, there you have it, with a lot of stuff I am sure I forgot to mention, I am going to school to be a personal trainer!!!  I am so excited to be doing something that not only I want to do, but something that I feel I am capeable of!  I have so many desires for this endeavour I have begun to write them down. 

  The birth of this idea comes from wanting to help people, and that is where my heart will remain.  My ultimate dream is to have a private gym at my residence for people to have private workout sessions, and to also hold group sessions to keep cost down.  I also wish to do charitable work, like speaking at schools, maybe showing students fun ways to exercise and speak about nutrition.  I want to give nutritional advice to my friends and family who ask me.  I want to encourage anyone who sets out to save thier own life by beginning to live a healthy lifestyle.  I want to plan a menu for people working around the things they like to eat.  I am not out to convince the world that they need to never touch fast food, or to stay away from BPA's and GMO's, I just want to help them be the healthiest they can be in the best way possible for them. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cedar lake trial, Orange Theory Fitness, and some other stuff

  It's hard to know where to start because I have so much to say, but I don't want to bore you with a ten page essay, so I will keep it short as possible.

  Friday August 10th my family departed on an airplane to Minneapolis Minnesota.  I was nervous to leave only because I had been gone so much this summer, and each time I left proved to be a challenge to keep some sort of running schedule.

  I have learned that running is a lot like matters of faith.  I love my Jesus so very much and when I have spent time in His presence I am renewed!  I feel rested and ready to face the day as I know everything He has for me is good and perfect.  So then why is it that going to Him and spending time in prayer proves to be a challenge as well?  It is a rhetorical question that I know the answer to.  Just like spending time in prayer and in the bible, getting out to run isn't always what I am being pulled to do.  When I go to read my bible, I can think of all the house work, or any sort of errand or task I should be doing.  When I am supposed to be running that day, I can think of all the reading and relaxing I want to be doing.  As I have mentioned in the past, there is very little that I will give myself as an excuse, and then there is the little thing I look forward to the most, ENDORPHINS!!!!  These babies are the best, and they are the #1 reason I keep going.  I am also quickly realizing the importance of a running schedule!  I am so glad I decided to train for another half marathon, weather I participate or not!

  Before we ever packed our first bag, my dear sister in-law Holly was making plans for all the sisters in-law to get together.  She had worked up a few ideas involving a work out then appetizers, and/or drinks.  These were creative ideas too!  One of them included having an evening session at a place called Orange Theory Fitness, this link opens in a new window.  Well with so many different schedules it was proving to be difficult to get the families together.

On the right is Orange Theory

  I realize the photo is hard to make out, but I thought it was interesting that the gym was all the way to the right, and there is a Subway on the left.  This is very similar to my gym close to home, of which I have no photo.

  So you have probably figured out by now that I made it to OT (Orange Theory Fitness).  Holly and I made plans when we were eating out at Dicks Last Resort (more about that later...maybe) on Wednesday evening.  We decided to meet Friday morning at 6:30 am for a class to begin at 6:45.  I was quite relieved to be doing this early in the morning as I am not an evening work out sort of a girl...UNLESS I already got something done in the morning.  If I have to wait till later in the day, or evening to do something intense, I will become a huge stress ball throughout the day!  

  I have no photos of my experience, but if you are curious about the appearance of the place and the machines, their website is great!  I won't bore you with too many details about the experience, but I will point out some of the highlights.  After I signed all the paperwork, it was time to put on a heart monitor.  I have no previous experience with one of these gadgets...but I think one may be on my list.  When I put the thing on, I wasn't sure what to do as the place I needed it to rest was just under the band of my sports bra.  They pointed out to me that it was a good idea to tuck it under there as it would be more likely to stay put anyway.  Also the lady who handed me the HRM took a guess at how long the strap should be and she was right on the money!  Which I am so glad because I did not have time to be adjusting.  There were three groups of people all starting at different points of the circuit.  
#1 Treadmill
This was the first point for me.  Of course I was stoked about this.  I won't go into detail, but this was all about speed work, and pushing yourself...this is where the HRM's come in.  There are two television monitors in the studio, and on these monitors each person receives a square.  In this square is a percentage and a color.  The color represents where you are with how your body is struggling to receive oxygen.  The instructor lets you know how hard to push and in what range you should be.  The only guessing I had to do was what speed to put my treadmill at.   
#2 Rowing
This was actually included with the weight circuit, so I guess there are technically only 2 groups.  We were to row 500 meters
#3 Weight lifting.
Some lifting with free weights, and a lot of body resistance moves.  This particular workout was using mostly arms.

Everything I do proves to be a "learn from your mistakes" sort of a deal.  
Treadmill goofs 
1. Going so fast I knocked the emergency cord out of the machine therefore having to reset.

2. pressing 9 incline for the all out push yourself speed instead of 9mph.  (and just incase you are thinking 9 is a weakling speed, I had to do this for a whole minute after running my base speed for 3 minutes, then a push speed for one or two minutes)

Rowing goofs: This was my first time ever using the rowing machine...
1. She told me I had to be between a 28 and 30, I was looking at the time, and it kept going up, so I thought I was rowing too fast and kept decreasing my speed.

Strength goofs:
I didn't realize she was showing us the moves and then all the moves she showed us were written on the white board exactly what we needed to do, so I was just doing whatever Holly was doing. (yea, trying to keep up with her was like trying to keep up with an Ironman contestant!)  By the second round I figured it out.

At the very end your statistics show up on the screen, and at what levels you were.  The instructor went over with me what it all meant.  This is the sort of place that you could really improve your workouts with out a lot of guesswork...if any :)

I give this place a good score because the people were super friendly, it was fast pace and NEVER boring, and everyone was so helpful!  Had I to do it all over again, I would have gotten there even earlier and asked for a quick overview of how it was all going to go down.  I am just glad they let me in.  It was free for my first time, and even though they knew I was from out of state, they offered me to come back again before I left for another free workout THAT is GOOD business!  If I could I would open one.   
I didn't really mean for that to be a review, but I guess it sort of was.

  About my runs while being in the city.
As many of you may already know, I ran something called Cedar Lake Trail 

 This is the makeshift path down to the trail
 This is where the path comes out
 This is one of the views while on the run
This is a view of what part of the path looks like

  The very first time I ran this, I ran for 3/4 of a mile next to the RR tracks on the gravel road.  I am not a fan of running on gravel, but I though "oh well" it was at this .75 mile that I realized it was probably never going to cross the trail, so I found a place I could duck in... there were a lot of bicyclists passing by.  I was very excited to see all these people out exercising because where I live I don't see many at all when I am running.  I was waving hello to everyone I passed.  Most of the time I got strange looks.  I think out of the 20 people I waved and said hi to...2 of them at least gave me a nod or smile back.  I am NOT exaggerating.  I got back to the house and was happy that I got a 6 mile run in, but frustrated at the whole path situation, and was griping that bikers think they own the road.  I decided to look at the map again to see what was the deal with the path.  As it turns out there was a makeshift path from the railroad tracks all the way to the third path which was meant for foot traffic...which brings me to another point. 

Path Goof
From MY point of entry there were no signs that designated it being a running or bicycling path.  The bikers were acting as though they owned the road because well...they sort of did.  It wasn't till my second run that I could see that there was a distinction between the foot traffic and bicycle traffic.  Let me be clear though, that there ARE points where the bikes, and feet meet up and MUST share the path.  

  It is in my opinion and upon my observance that Cedar Lake, and it's surrounding trails in the Minneapolis area are well sought after and for very good reason!  These are a beautiful place where fitness minded people can get a good run in without having to dodge traffic.   This trail has a pretty neat history, which the link above titled Cedar lake trail will go into detail. (I only wish I would have come across it before I started).

Not running in Monte
  For part of this vacation we drove out to a little wonderful town named Montevideo. Corn fields as far as the eye can see!  
We seen some more family, and my sister in-law Julie, who I have inspired to begin running!  Yay, I am so proud of her, and I hope to keep encouraging her!  (I still cannot believe I am an inspiration to people). 

  I had brought my running gear, but over the two and a half days we were there, I never even opened my gym bag because I couldn't find an opportunity to run.  Well it is a good thing because I NEVER brought my Sports bra!  I guess if I would have discovered that fact while I was there...a trip to Walmart would have cured that.  Yes BTW, a SB from Walmart would have worked perfectly fine.  Running shoes however...not so much.  I have yet to go somewhere and forget my shoes...I have come close, but got saved at the last minute.  I know it will happen someday, but until then I won't worry about it.  

  On Friday night Kurt and I went to Dicks sporting goods where I seen they had a Nike + GPS watch powered by TomTom for $169.  They weren't on sale, but these babies have come down in price!  I was between wanting the sport band, and this, and my husband said why don't you just get the watch because it has everything.  I have only run with it once and that was before I had hooked it up to a computer.  I still have some reading to do on it, and plan to use it again tomorrow.  

  I am going to close for now, but have so much more to tell you all concerning my future with fitness, and how this GPS watch works, and probably some points about my vacation I may have forgotten.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Watching the olympics as an athlete

  I am not sure I can consider myself an I looked it up in the dictionary.  This is what I found;
athlete |ˈaTHˌlēt|
nouna person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.• chiefly Brit.a person who is skilled in competitive track and field events (athletics).
  I guess you could say I was proficient in running...?  proficient |prəˈfiSHənt|adjectivecompetent or skilled in doing or using something: I was proficient at my job |she felt reasonably proficient in Italian.
       Competent yes, skilled?  I think I am close enough.  Olympians are elite athletes.  But as a person who has trained and conditioned my body to do something that takes hard work and dedication, I have a bigger understanding (than I did when I was not training) of what they have gone through and what they may be thinking as they are are completing a marathon.  Please don't miss understand me here, I am not saying I know what they are thinking by any stretch of the imagination, I am simply saying I may have a little more than a stab in the dark...or instead of missing the target completely, I may have hit on the very edge giving me no point value.  
      All that to say I have enjoyed watching this year more than ever!  I haven't become bored like in years past.  And somehow I stumbled on the womens marathon, and if you guessed that I was glued to the TV set on that one, well then you can give yourself 10 points and a hug from me because you are clearly a blog reader of mine!     Another race?  I am seriously considering running the girlfriends half marathon in October.  I have it marked on my calendar, and I have seeked out the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training program, all that's left is to register.  Why haven't I?  Because I have a lot on my plate right now.  I have something big that I have been praying about and if it comes through then my mornings and afternoons will be pretty full.  Days are getting shorter and runs in the morning will have to be short.  I don't know why I am just now thinking this...but maybe I should get some guidance from God?  YES not maybe YES!  Okay, so I will start praying about this now.  If no doors close then I am going to go for it!  I want that goodie bag, and another half under my last hooray before fall!!!  I do not like to run outside in the least I didn't last year when I first started, but after running outdoors all summer, it may be hard for me to bring it inside.  After all...they do make running gear for cold weather ;)
  My birthday is in 2 days, and as my sister says "It's your birthday, that means Christmas is right around the corner!"  It makes me a little nervous when she says that, but it's true, and this year once Christmas hits, it will be a year since I began this running journey!!!  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Camping and running...can it be done?

I just got back from being out of town on a camping trip to Trinity Center KOA in California.  This is the best campground I have stayed at in my life.  We go annually with my bestie and her family.  This was my first year attending as a runner. You like that?  I totally refer to myself as a runner now...although after this last week, I am not so sure.

  Day one Aunt Flo came for a visit, I was expecting her, and was fully prepared, however I didn't know she was going to be THAT much of a pain in my keister!  I had a plan that I was going to run Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning.  Well, when we camp we like to stay up later than usual and have s'mores, and a little something called pudgy pies (I may go into detail about those later).  I tried to go to bed early enough, but with a rough nights sleep in a bed that is not what I am used to, combine with that hag Flo...running was not something I was up for.  I am of the mindset that there are no excuses.  I tell myself the minute I make excuses, that is the minute I will give up and quit running.  Well, I think the odds were just terribly stacked against me.

  The day I did actually run was on Thursday, and it was only 2 miles.  When I got finished with my warm up and hit the ground running I felt GOOD!  Then I realized I may be going a little fast as I was out of breath.  My legs wanted to GO, like a pack of Huskies waiting to start the Iditarod.  I had to slow them down so I could at least breath LOL.  I had a nice 2 miler and felt really good afterward, so I went up to the playground where I seen a man doing some strength training there (that's where I got the idea).  There was a basketball court where I was able to do some push ups, wall sits, and squats.  I felt SO good that day.  That afternoon at the pool this man was talking about how he was running for a fitness test and that he could run a mile and a half in 14:40, or something like that.  I asked my husband Kurt how many miles an hour that equated to.  He said about 8 mph.  I looked over at the guy and thought to myself i'll be a monkeys uncle if he's running an 8 minute mile!  I think my husbands math was off.  All that to say that this guy was talking about having to run in the altitude...ALTITUDE!  What?  I hadn't even taken that into consideration thank God, because if I had, that would have added to my arsenal of excuses, and believe me, that locker was full.  I may not have ever got a run in at all!

  Friday was our last full day of camping.  I got up early enough that morning to get a run in, but I really wasn't feeling good.  That day we went to the lake and my nose was running.  I was catching my daughters cold.  By Saturday and the trip home I was full blown sick, miserable.  Aunt Flo finally packs her bags, and this cold takes her place, and with a vengeance might I add.  We rolled into our driveway around 9:45 pm and I went in the house and took my temp.  So not only do I have a cold...I have a low grade fever 99.4 WHAT UP?  I took some cold meds and headed straight to bed.  I had the most glorious nights sleep thanks to Tylenol Cold night time medicine (liquid form) with "cool burst".  No they are not paying me LMBO, but it is so good I will give them some props anyway.

  I do want to interject though that among my worries about all the eating and not running, my biggest fear was not the weight that I might gain.  My biggest fear was that I would not be able to pick up running again, or would not want to.  Weight gain is something I can handle, I can control.  Well as I am typing this, I realize that I am a bit looney...why do I constantly do this to myself?  Of course I want to keep running.  In fact I can't wait to get back out on the road!  As I was separating laundry mountain (that is a term coined by my friend Gina Sanders) it occurred to me that every time I came across a pair of running shorts, or a dry-fit shirt...a little tinge of excitement would streak across my inner being.  And as I was driving in and out of my driveway, I was looking at the road longingly in anticipation for my feet to meet the pavement once again soon.  I do have to take tomorrow off though as I told myself to rest one more day because of this stupid cold.

  On the way home I did drive for about 3 hours (of a 9 hour drive), but through the mountains.  I drove a 7 mile 6 % downgrade.  I may have never known before what that was, but let me tell you what it was, it was white knuckle, that's what it was.  So I give myself some props, and demanded a few from Kurt, which he gave me.

  A pudgy pie is much like a grilled cheese sandwich, except with blueberry pie filling, and heated in cast iron over a campfire.  Very yummy.

  I do have to tell a quick story.  Last Saturday on my 7 mile run, I brought along my nice Adidas light jacket that I shed half way through my run.  I made sure to shed it on a corner so that I could come back with my car later and pick it up.  (these country roads don't have much for shoulders).  Well, when I came back it was gone.  In that short of a time someone seen it, got out of the car, decided they knew someone who could wear this practically brand new jacket and took it.  I am very bitter for so many reasons, but if you hear me mention the jacket, you will now know what I am talking about, and I am not looking forward to running by that spot agin, but it is a staple of my run to go that way.  After all that has happened good, and bad in the last couple of weeks, I am not going to let any of it take over because I am blessed by God in SO many ways (especially salvation) that I will not let the bad stuff win.

I may as well share some photos from our camping trip, especially after that downer story.
 This was taken in Weed, Ca on the way down
 This was at the Lake, the scenery is spectacular!
 This is Rick and Teresa
 This is me and my man being playful as I switched our hats.  shhh don't tell him I posted this pic 
This is my oldest with her new favorite pastime.
And this is my youngest...just enjoying herself :)