Wordless Wednesday: The Rocky Mountain National Park Edition

Last weekend, the spouse and I drove up to the Rocky Mountain National Park. The weather was gorgeous and it’s just a joy to be surrounded by nature. Here are some pictures from our day there:

Rocky Mt6

Above the tree line, there is still ice/snow…and lots of it!

 

Rocky Mt5

Except the weather was warm so people were wearing shorts!

 

Rocky Mt4

Crazy high snow banks on the side of the road

 

Rocky Mt3

Breathtaking views

 

Rocky Mt2

We chanced upon a herd of elks…it was amazing!

 

Rocky Mt1

Nature

 

How has your week been? Happy Wednesday!!

GOG 10 Miler Week 7 Update

Oh my gosh, I’m late…on this blog post and life in general (haha). Let me quickly send out this update before I have to run off to the gym and officially start my day. So remember the soreness I had to endure at the end of week 6 due to overexerting myself during the “fun” and “pretend” PT test? Well, that baby lasted the whole damn week! I can’t say that my lower abs have returned to normal because I do feel some strain during the “upward dog” in yoga. Anyhow, this last week really wasn’t my best effort in training and fitness. First, the soreness (and SUNBURN) made it just absolutely bleh to do any kind of work out for a couple of days (although I did take some walks, tried to stretch…etc). Second, it was a whirlwind kind of week, both physically and emotionally (let me elaborate about that in a later post).

Despite the break from yoga and not doing as much running as I should, I did manage to squeeze in some speed work. I had mentioned that I’ve been trying to crank up my speed at the end part of my runs…and so far I’ve really enjoyed doing that. I was only able to run twice last week but both I felt were solid training sessions. And the rest of the time, I was just trying to recover physically with light cardio and some stretching.

Honestly, I’m not too happy about how I did last week but I really have to accept that it is what it is. Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who can run 4-5 miles everyday and keep up with it for weeks and months on that same regimented schedule. Ugh. A friend once told me that sometimes, we just can’t allow life to get in the way of training…but I really also believe that for an amateur like myself, it is all about balance. I run because I want to be healthy. I also enjoy running very much so it’s my hobby. In a strange way, because it’s so enjoyable for me, I don’t want to feel trapped by all the constraints that could come along with training for races – I just want to do what I feel! I want every moment that I’m either out on a trail or  pounding the treadmill to be times that I enjoy in its totality. There are enough guilt and shame in our lives associate with being in a relationship (whether you’re a husband, wife, parent, girlfriend…etc) or in our jobs…I really don’t need my hobby to turn into something of a chore. As you can see, I am still trying to find that balance between how much do I make time for running and when do I just have to prioritize life and work. I may have to struggle with this one for a long while…but much like running, as long as you keep moving, you are getting somewhere.

Alrighty, more posts later this week about how life/work took over my last week but also some gorgeous photos from my short visit to the Rocky Mountains National Park!

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: Celebrating A Milestone

I can’t believe it’s late May! Every year this time, I think about my husband and the dedication he’s shown in his work and to his country. For many Americans, moments of national pride comes at the end of the national anthem or when the fireworks go off at a 4th of July celebration. For me, it’s when I see when my husband come through the front door in his uniform. This year we celebrate the 6th year of his commissioning.

commission

GOG 10 Miler Week 6 Update

This was a fun week because I did decently (and felt great) on my training runs and then had to take consecutive rest dates because of an event I participated in over the weekend. So let me tell you a little about this…

The week started out kinda slow and I only had time to run for 20 mins at a time. When things get crazy, it’s easy to just say nope, maybe tomorrow. One of the things I’ve been working on in terms of my motivation for fitness is to resist that urge to procrastinate and hold off. Instead, I decided that it’s absolutely fine that I have a busy life and I sometimes can’t find time to work out…so I squeezed those run in. I figure if I run 1.5-2 miles on two separate days, I would have logged 3-4 miles after those sessions. That’s better than nothing.

Later in the week, my fitness level picked up and my schedule opened up. I was at the gym one day and ran the best feeling 4 miles in a while. I also went back to my heavily cushioned Nike Zoom Structure that day to give my legs/feet a break and it felt like running on a soft cloud. The ride on the belt was smooth 🙂 By this point in the week, I probably had ran close to 10 miles. I felt pretty great because despite the shorter session earlier in the week, I ran hard! I cranked up the speed and I’ve also been pushing the last half mile of my runs…I read some where once that many athletes do that to teach their bodies to deal with stress when they are tired…good training…

Now here’s the fun part about this last week. On Saturday morning, I went to an event that my husband’s work put on for us spouses. This event was meant to give us spouses a taste of what training may be like for our soldiers. A lot of my friends were at this Saturday mornng event so I thought it’s gonna be absolutely fun and a  no biggie. Well, it was a lot of fun but it was also way more physically demanding than I expected. One of the things we had to do is take a (modified version of a) fitness test – number of push-ups in a minute, number of sit-ups in 30 seconds, and a one mile run. I can do about 5 regular push-ups (now, consider that I couldn’t do ANY a year ago…it just never occurred to me to work on my upper-body strength before last year). I seriously pushed it and did 5 good push-ups and 15 other not-so-perfect ones. Then I did about 17 sit-ups (and of course, I hardly ever use my abs in such capacity). Finally, I went all out and sprinted a sub-8 minute mile (and I felt like puking the whole time I was running). It was hard, but it was fun! I’m happy that I went all out on the run…it feels good to pass people. My running buddy was also on this run and I barely passed her on the final stretch. We both ran a sub-8 minute mile – I think our training is working out (if only just a little bit).

After the fitness test, we had several other “stations” and events. Some were more physically demanding than the others. During one of the stations, we had to put on pro masks (gas masks) and walk/run to our next area. Yeah, that was exactly what I wanted to do right after I sprinted for a mile 😛 It reminded me of my husband and when he used to do military competitions in college (there was one event where he had to run with full-gear and wearing his gas mask – you learn some breathing techniques from that). But the worst part of the day was probably low crawling and high crawling through the dirt (and loose gravel). Days later, I still have awful bruises from that…and A LOT of respect for our American soldiers who carry on despite the physical and mental demands of their jobs.

I had a great time at the event but I felt like crap the next morning. I was sunburned (hello high altitude UV rays!) and I felt as if  a truck had ran over me. There were no part of my body that didn’t ached at least a little. I could barely move. So, it’s been no running for me for two days now although I did went on walks (through the mall) in hope that it would help muscle repair. A friend of mine once told me that I shouldn’t take ibuprofen because it hinders the healing process but I’m not sure if there’s any truth in that. I didn’t take any that day just because I was on an empty stomach and had to wait.

I’m finally feeling better and will probably get back to training tomorrow (did I also mentioned the weather is cold and rainy again??) Alas, there are really a lot of ups and downs in training…and we can feel so different from day to day. But all the more, each day, that we can go out and pound some pavement, is a day worth living for.

Happy Running!

Armed Forces Community 5K and Some Reflections on Running

My gosh, do you ever have one of those weeks when you just have no idea where time went?? That’s this week for me :/ Well, I want to get this blog post in before more time slips by – I don’t want to be in serious blogging debt. My original intentions was to post at least twice a week so I’m gonna stick to that!

Anyways, I have a couple of pictures from the 5K race I ran last Saturday. The spouse was my photographer…and he’s sweet for doing so. Having said that, I almost had a heart palpitation when I looked at my photos on the car ride home – my wonderful spouse had assumed that my dslr was on automatic setting and took all photos with no adjustments to the camera itself. Anyways, I had a bunch of over exposed photos that I attempted to salvage with an editing software 😉

I really had a good time at this 5K. I wasn’t worried about my time and I wasn’t worried about my fitness level. Unlike the 5K run I did last September, I didn’t feel like the altitude was a big challenge and I ran my usual 10:30 min/mile without pushing myself. I know this is not a very fast time, and I would like to be at the 10:00 min/mile one day. But sometimes I do feel like running is about how you feel at a particular time in your life. I want to push harder but I also need to feel that I’m ready for speed work. I’m always in awe of professional or semi-professional runners – because I can only imagine the dedication, hardwork, and motivation one needs to put on hundreds of miles in preparation for a race. I have nothing but respect for these individuals.

One thing I’ve noticed recently in relation about my running is what I eat and how it affects my body. I love bananas and would often eat them for breakfast…but lately I’ve noticed that they are not very good foods for me to consume before running. In fact, it gives me really uncomfortable stomach cramps after I start moving 😦 Maybe I’ll just have to save them for post-runs. I think simple carbs with some protein is perhaps the winning combo for me. Another thing that I noticed is I can’t drink soda if I’m training because it also gives me gastro-intestinal issues 😦 Unfortunately, I do have some Coke Zero around my house (my husband packs one in his lunch) but I will have to avoid them if I am planning on running that day (just drink water, right?). I guess you are what you eat…and what you eat will have an affect on how you feel when you run/exercise…

And here are the pictures… 🙂

5K3

Approaching the finish line…

5K2

I kinda love my shoes 😉

5K1

Woohoo!!

GOG 10 Week 5 Update

My gosh, it’s Monday again…once again so pooped! Last week’s gotta be the best training week for me to date! I logged about 11 miles in 3 training runs, did yoga one day, and cardio on two others! I was pretty regular with going to the gym (one of the perks with the spouse being not home is I get to go to the gym in the evenings) 😀

One of my highlights from last week was I did a 5K on Saturday. It was a small local run and I wanted to do it. My husband had just returned home in the wee hours of that morning/night…but he was sweet enough to wake up and took me the event in the morning. It was a 5k trek around part of an airforce base. The weather was awesome (finally!!) and it feels good to go out and run first thing on a Saturday morning! Since the run was for our Armed Forces (and our surrounding community), I thought it was especially touching that my running route took me through the airfield and the terminal where our soldiers deploy out of and come home to. Looking at the C130s sitting on the tarmac as I run by just brings a tear to my eyes!

Another thing I want to mention is I finally did some hill trainings last week! Boy, was it hard! This is really something I have to work on :/ There’re a bunch of smaller hills on this trail near my house but there’s also this one very big (and long) hill – it’s one of those where your car would shift gears (if you drive an automatic like me) trying to get the top. So far, I’ve not been able to take that hill in one run. I’ve always had to stop mid-way and walk up the rest of it (grrrr). My goal is to be able to run up that hill without walking or feeling like I will pass out before my training is finished for this race.

It’s a gonna have to be a shorter post today because I’m so tired! Mondays are just kinda crazy for me, especially today, since I had to prep and teach/brief a military formals class this morning. Hope my training continues nicely this week…

Happy Running!!

Moving Forward?

Things are starting to improve: I can feel it. I’ve been feeling more motivated. The professional conference I went to was the sign I need to move forward; however, that was not enough! This is something that has been confusing/baffling to me in the month after I came home from the conference. I thought I would immediately dive into my work with high energy and ethusiasm…but that’s not the case. Instead, I would open the Word document that contained my drafts, proceed to start at it, and then refocusing on other activities and tasks not related to the dissertation. This sounds like a classic case of avoidence, but the question is why?? I’ve been inspried and made a conscious decision to follow through with my academic efforts, so why weren’t my thoughts translating into action??

Today, while actually working on some chapter revisions, it suddenly dawned on me why it has been so difficult for me to get going on my dissertation despite the solidfying of my intentions — I have a lot of guilt and shame associated with working on my dissertation. I feel embarrassed and guilty that I’ve not made too much progress since last summer. I feel awful that I had squandered away this past year — a tuition break that I was supposed to use to finish writing my dissertation. Whenever I tried to work on my dissertation in the last month, these thoughts would circle me:

Should have written more…Should have been more rigorous in my methodology…should have been more confident in my abilities…shouldn’t have mentally “checked out” when things got tough…shouldn’t have allowed my problem to keep going for so long…regretful that it will take me probably an additional 6-9 months to finish…regretful that it will cost me more finacially to finish…

Yeah, that’s a lot of should haves and shouldn’t haves. It’s small wonder that I wanted to avoid working on my dissertatiion…it triggers such terrible feelings of guilt and shame (aka I’m a terrible student/academic!!). However, I now know what is holding me back, so I can attempt to fix it. One of the reasons why I was able to see/feel small progress in my work in the recent is because I’ve slowly learned to control and push aside these awful thoughts that I’ve been associating with my dissertation.

Looking through The Woman’s Book of Confidence by Sue Patton Thoele, I was able to find these wonderful excerpts about letting go of guilt and shame and how to do it:

The person we most often stain with feelings of shame and guilt is ourself, and much of our guilt and shame comes from believing we have failed in some way or other.

Make a list of your seeming failures — the “shoulds” you think you think you need to feel shameful and guilty about. Ask yourself if you did the best you knew how at the time; if so, think of a symbolic way to release those feelings.

Yesterday is irretrievable and tomorrow is unknown. We have done the best we could, and now it’s time for us to forgive ourselves for our seeming failures, congratulate ourselves for getting up after falling down, and then leave remorse behind us. 

I wrote down my feelings as a way of acknowledging them. And now I’ve recognized that this is the way I feel, I can start to work on releasing those feelings and disassociating the guilt I feel with the tasks I have to accomplish.

I know I’m already getting better and getting stronger.

Wordless Wednesday: The Army Spouse Edition

It’s a rainy Wednesday here and I’ve been working slowly but steadily on my dissertation 🙂

A couple days ago, I finished going through some photos I took last week. I was really honored to have the opportunity to photograph an Army spouse event! These ladies were awesome and I loved how the photos turned out. I hope you’ll enjoy them too!

D&D4

Denim and Diamons – Army Spouse Dining-In

D&D3

A little western and a little sexy

D&D1

Ladies having a good time

D&D2

And some dancing too!

D&D5

Army spouses! These ladies are absolutely amazing!

GOG 10 Week 4 Update

Oh my gosh, I’m so tired! My eyelids are literally drooping as I type… 🙂

So this last week hasn’t been too bad…I guess I’m improving and I can start to feel my running groove coming back!! Last week, I got the new Inov8 shoes and I’ve been trying them out. The first time I ran on them, I only went for 2 miles but oh boy, were my calves sore! Last week was kind of a frantic week and my schedule was all mixed up because the spouse was in the field for 3 days and then immediately left for a week-long work-related trip. During the week, I ran between 2-3 miles to get used to the new shoes. After a day or two of rest coupled with yoga, I finally decided I was gonna do my longer run on the weekend in the Inov 8s! I gotta say those were the best 5 miles I’ve done in a long while! My legs were a little tired when I was done but not particularly sore on the calves and my feet felt great! No strange soreness on the ankles or anything…of course, I’ve also been more conscientious of my running form and these shoes do force me to pay more attention. Anyways, I could use a couple more  overall miles but I feel a lot more motivated about running! That’s an awesome feeling, especially at about 1 month out from the race!

In other training news, I found out that my yoga studio is adding additional 6am yoga classes! The studio used to only offer 6am classes on Tues and Thurs but starting next week, there’ll also be classes on Mon, Wed, and Fri. I’m really excited and my inclination is to dive into it…but I really have a lot going on this month so we’ll see if I can make it to all these extra yoga classes.

I’m really looking forward to my long run this weekend. I’m planning to do 6 miles. Last week, my friend B and I couldn’t coordinate to go on our training run together at the GoG because her husband is also away from home (in fact, on the same work-related trip as my hubby). Hopefully we can get together this week to run. She told me about the crazy hills on the race route that she checked out last week and my heart is just full of trepidition about it…but I guess there’s no other way to deal with it but to practice, practice, practice!

Besides all the fun stuff with my running motivation on an upswing, I also realized something last week on the treadmill. One of the lessons of running is acceptance. I saw this great quote on the internet that sums up my revelation pretty well:

There are two primary choices in life – to accept conditions as they exist or accept responsibility for changing them.

–Denis Waitley

For me, both types of acceptance is necessary. For one, I need and want to accept my body, my abilities, and my limitations. I acknowledge that at altitude, I might never run as fast as I can at sea-level but what’s important is my acceptance of the responsility to do something…including my attempt to become stronger and faster. I think this is something that I will continue to ponder on in the coming days and months.

I think that’s all for now. Happy running!

Wordless Wednesday

There’s this road I often take to get to my husband’s office. It’s usually hustle bustle with cars and soldiers on crosswalks. Yesterday, I drove down the same road around 7pm and it was suprisingly peaceful and quiet. It reminded me of this Army journey we’re on – it’s a wild and hectic ride puntuated with moments of serenity and beauty.

FtCarson