Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saying goodbye to California

This is it! I'm going into my last week in California--today is the last day that I have to pack. How did I accumulate so much?!

It has been fun to reflect on the good times I've had while here. I just packed up the last of my race shirts and bibs--that brought a smile to my face! Yesterday was my last workout with some of my friends from Team in Training. I'm not sad though--I'll see them at races in the future (Rock 'n' Roll San Diego, here I come!), and I'm following them on Facebook.

I'm ready for the next chapter--bring it on!

Update: December 18, 2010
Is there room in the car for me?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Making a list, checking it twice . . .

OK, I already had the list--but I did check it twice!

I don't like shopping, but I had a blast today! There's something special about choosing gifts for the people I love . . . The rain poured, and I ran around under an umbrella wondering if I were truly in California! I was thankful for the rain though . . . I think the stores were less crowded because of it!

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays--even though I'm sad when I can't be with all the people I love. This year, I get to spend Christmas with my parents, my brother and his family, and my favorite monsters, Rachel and Tyler!

This week, I'll ship presents to the people I love who are far away . . . and I hope my gifts will bring a smile!
"Can miles truly separate you from friends? If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there?"  ~Richard Bach
My sentiments exactly--I'm so there!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Moving again!

Yep, I'm loading up my little car again! The photo to the left was taken the day I left Ft. Benning last November, and my car is almost as loaded again tonight! Tomorrow, I'll be taking the second load to my parent's house in Arizona--about half-way to Ft. Huachuca (which will be my home until early May) and spending Thanksgiving with Dad, Mom, Todd, Renee, and the boys.

I like moving (although I don't like the packing part!), but it's always a little bittersweet. I've formed some great friendships here in California, and I'll miss those friends when I'm gone. And my apartment is looking more like a corporate apartment again and less like my "home."

I'm looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with my family--I just wish my monsters could be with me! Tyler is in Oklahoma, and Rachel is in Washington, but I get to spend Christmas with them (I can't wait to see them!). I'm thankful for Facebook--it helps me stay connected to the people I love when we can't be together.

I have much for which to be thankful . . . I am truly blessed!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Split Pea Soup--Who knew?

In my last post, I wrote about P90X and training for my APFT. Well, along with the training comes the nutrition piece. Not only have I changed my work out, but I've also drastically changed my diet, and it hasn't been easy.

I'm accustomed to eating whatever I feel like eating--pasta with rich, cream sauce, tirimisu, yummy red wines (not all of those together) . . . Yes, I do like to eat! And I'm active enough to get away with eating whatever I want to eat.

But I'm changing my ways to get as fit as I possibly can. Seriously. I've given up my favorite red wines (actually I gave up all alcohol, but I mostly drink red wine), sugar, and caffeine. I'm also moving away from dairy and gluten, and I'm paying close attention to everything I put into my body. I want everything to count. It's been difficult.

The P90X program has a three stage nutrition plan, starting with low carbs, then adding carbs in the next two stages so you can learn how carbs affect energy levels. I'm not really sticking to their program, but rather trying to eat the best foods possible, and eating carbs when I need the energy most.

I've been eating a lot of raw veggies, but that is getting old. So I was shopping the other day and saw a bag of split peas. I always loved my mom's split pea soup--it's comfort food! She makes it with a ham hock, and it's yummy! So I looked up the nutrition facts and learned that 1 cup of split pea soup has 29.9 grams of carbs (4.8 g fiber), 2.3 grams of fat, and 9.7 grams of protein credit. Not too bad! And I feel like I've eaten something substantial when I'm finished--not that I'm trying to lose weight. It just seems that everything healthy appears to be diet food!

I'll have to admit that my split pea soup is not my mother's split pea soup. I leave out the ham hock (ham hock adds a lot of flavor), and I barely add enough salt to taste it, but it's still good. Now I just need to find some other tasty, nutritional things to eat!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lessons Learned

It's been awhile since I've written--I've been recovering from pneumonia. It hasn't been fun, but I've had time to think about the past several months that I've spent here in California and what I've learned about myself during this time.

I began training with Team in Training for the Nike Women's Marathon the month after I arrived here, and I spent most Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings with a group of wonderful people working toward a common goal--finding a cure for cancer. I looked forward to those days and formed some great friendships along the way. 

On October 17, the goal was met and training was over. We all knew we would feel a let down--we were even warned about this. To add to the let-down, I became ill the following weekend. A month later, I'm just finishing the last round of antibiotics. Yes, for the past month I've been resting, doing my best to recover from pneumonia (another reminder that I'm not Superwoman!).

My doctor allowed me to begin working out again just this week. Now I have a challenge ahead of me--in a month and a half, I'll be at another Army school. The first week there, I'll be given a diagnostic APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) at an elevation of 4500-5500 feet. I've been training at an elevation of ~240 feet. Ugh!

So I'm using the P90X program to train combined with running (I'm hoping to add swimming to the mix as well). Monday was my first day with the program, and by Wednesday, my body felt as sore as it did after running my first half marathon (Urban Cow on October 3rd). But it's a good sore. Yesterday, after working on arms, shoulders, and abs, I planned to go for a run. That morning, I received a text message from a friend on the team inviting me to run with a group. I got my Wednesday run back! I didn't run very fast or far, but I was out there, and it was good! I'll be running with another group of friends this weekend--I can't wait!

Now I realize that I have a great need for both short and long term goals. I have a personal strategic plan (no, I won't share it here, but I wrote it almost three years ago, and I've seen positive progress), and my short term goals need to lead toward the long range strategic plan--I need to have a purpose in everything I do. The school that I'll be attending was part of the original plan, as was the half marathon. 

With Nike being over, I need another short range goal that supports the strategic plan. My last APFT score was 199 (my highest was 204). 300 is considered a perfect score, although one can score higher than that. My goal is to raise my APFT to 270 before March 17, 2011. This will be a challenge for me, especially after having pneumonia, but I like challenges. Achieving this goal will help me meet another goal--an academic goal. I'll write more about that goal in another blog post. 


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Getting my ducks in a row

One would think that a self-proclaimed cat-herder could get her ducks in a row.

October was a busy month for me. Very busy. And in the midst of my races (two half-marathons and one Warrior Dash--3.5 miles with 12 obstacles), I became ill. Apparently, the week after I got my flu shot, I was exposed to the nasty virus (presumably during the Nike Half-Marathon). The weekend after Nike, I had a full-blown case of the flu.

I didn't let the flu keep me from working though. Instead, I propped my fevered body up on pillows on my bed and worked all weekend. The following week, I worked from home until 24 hours after my fever was gone. But I still felt horrible and had a nasty cough that I knew wouldn't go away without some aid, so I made an appointment with my doctor. My doctor told me to "suck it up, and drive on."

OK, she actually told me that I would have to "ride it out" and that antibiotics are no longer prescribed for bronchitis. She offered to send me to another clinic for a chest x-ray, but I wasn't in the mood for another waiting room, etc, so I declined. I did contact my friend, Dexter, who is a doctor, and he verified that antibiotics really aren't prescribed for bronchitis these days.

So I plugged along. I considered canceling my last event, the Warrior Dash, but I really wanted to complete my three races, and this one sounded like the most fun! So I was a Warrior, and had a blast with my friends! But I felt horrible afterward, and I slept most of the next day. On Monday, I learned that I had pneumonia (via chest x-ray). I was subjected to a painful antibiotic injection with oral antibiotics to follow. Yuck.

Still, I  thought I was pretty "high-speed" until today. After all, I completed the Warrior Dash with pneumonia on Saturday--that makes me a true Warrior, right?

Not so much. The medical readiness section on my AKO page is showing "amber." That means I have some medical boxes to check-off before I am "medically ready" for deployment (No, I'm not currently scheduled to mobilize, but we need to be ready). I was amber because I was due for a dental exam and the second immunization in a required series. No big deal--I scheduled my appointments and was ready to check off my boxes (get in line, ducks!). Until today.

I had my dental exam yesterday--checked off box number one. My immunization was scheduled for today. However, when I showed up for the appointment, I was handed a questionnaire asking if I was being treated currently for any illnesses . . . Does pneumonia count? Um, yes . . . it does.

The doctor sent me away and told me to reschedule when I am well. Once again, I am discovering that I'm not superwoman (I sooo want to be superwoman!). I can work with a fever and race with pneumonia, but that doesn't make me a Warrior. At least it doesn't make me a smart Warrior.

It's nice to know that I have the capacity to do these things if I need to, but it isn't smart to push myself to these extremes when it isn't necessary.

Back to cat-herding . . . I guess I'm more of a cat than a duck.

Now where are those ducks, anyhow? It's time for them to queue-up!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad." CS Lewis
 CS Lewis was so wise . . .

Some people run away from change, and some change is worthy of fleeing!  But for me, the changes in my life have been good. And things (to my constant amazement!) always seem to work out for the best.

Let me back track a bit . . .

Last February, I buttoned up our house in Washougal and packed my bags to head to an Army course at Ft. Huachuca, AZ. Just a couple of hours into my drive, my branch manager called and told me to turn around. Why? I still didn't have the clearance required for the school. I decided to head south regardless and visit family and friends. While still on the road, I received a call from a recruiter for a job in the Sacramento area . . .

About two weeks later, I was headed to El Dorado Hills to work on a contract for Blue Shield of California (BSC). The contract was originally supposed to end in August, but it was extended.

While working for BSC, my clearance was granted, and I was scheduled to go to my Army course in April.

Things were going well--I trained with Team in Training for the Nike Women's Marathon, raised $2400 for LLS, and made some great friendships along the way. After the race though, I was feeling like I was ready to move forward. What timing . . .

After the race, we learned that BSC wasn't committing to an extension past December 17 (budget), so I called my branch manager . . .

Now, I'll be wrapping things up for BSC on December 17, spending two and a half weeks with my monsters (can't wait!), visiting friends and family, and moving . . . because now I start my course on January 4, 2011!

I'm so excited--nervous, but excited! This change is good--I'm sure I was once a very good egg, but I hatched, and now I'm ready to learn to fly!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just DID it!

I've been training for the Nike Women's Marathon (Half-Marathon) since last April, and the event itself was more incredible than I could ever have imagined it would be. We were told that we would cross the finish line a changed person . . .  What a true statement.

I'm part of the Team in Training Sacramento Chapter. Some of the people on my team took Friday and Monday off from work for an extended race weekend, but I really couldn't take the additional time. Rather, I left EARLY on Saturday morning (5:30 AM!) and was the first one in line to pick up my packet (literally!). It was a good thing too because the line was enormous later in the day.

After picking up my packet, I walked around taking pictures and checking out the various booths and activities. Nike had a DJ playing music, and we could vote on the song that would play at the start of the race (I voted for California Girls!). I also visited NikeTown and did a little pre-race shopping.

I had to take breaks to go to my hotel room at The Handlery to ice my ankle and rest (that's a Flector anti-inflammatory patch on my left ankle in the photo). I should have stayed off my feet on Saturday, but there was too much excitement in the air to do that! So I iced in intervals--kind of like I run!

That evening, we had a celebration dinner. I had no idea how moving and emotional the evening would be! We were welcomed by a cheering crowd, followed by a spaghetti dinner and some amazing speakers sharing their stories. It was hard not to cry--I couldn't help myself! I was surrounded by so many courageous and amazing people!

That night, I could hardly sleep. As much as I hate to admit this, it was partly my fault! I wanted to ice my ankle, so I took the first room available even though I was warned that it was above the street and would be noisy! I thought, how noisy can it be? Um, VERY noisy! A band played on the street below us until 10 PM, and after that people were yelling on the street, cars were honking, and at 3 AM, they started setting up the port-a-potties! However, even during the quiet moments, I couldn't sleep--I was too nervous and excited!

The race started at 7 AM, and we were squished together like sardines in a can on Geary Street by Union Square. It was chilly, so we were wearing wind-breakers and sweatshirts that we planned to toss to the side of the road at some point in the race. The items tossed would be picked up and donated to help people who are less fortunate. There was a 30% chance of rain, but the Washington girl in me knew that it was going to rain--no 30% about it!

It took about 20 minutes to get to the start line--people were cheering and music was playing the whole time. We danced our way up to the start!

I ditched my jacket about a mile into the race. I knew when I was almost to the two mile point because my ankle started hurting, and I knew when I was almost to two and a half because my shins stopped hurting! It takes about two and a half miles for my muscles to warm up!

I had a plan for this race--I wanted to walk up the hills, run down them, and run intervals on the flat areas. At this point, I'm competing against myself and no one else. I followed this plan, and I feel good about my race!

When I got to mile seven, my ankle was REALLY hurting, so I started to focus on other things . . . I thought of the people for whom I was running--my best friend's dad, the people honored by donations made on my fund raising page, my mom who is a cancer survivor, and my family members who have lost their battles with cancer. I was doing this for them.

People cheered us along the route and there were signs to encourage us. The cheering stations and the signs always seemed to be there when I needed them the most.

By mile nine, my ankle was numb--much better than the pain! After mile ten or eleven (eleven is where I usually hit the wall, but not this time!), there were signs reminding us of what waited at the finish line.

It's a little bit of a blur now, so I'm not sure exactly where they were, but they were there!

I took other  pictures along the route as well--this was my "I'm going to have fun with this!" race! You can view the other pictures on my Facebook page if you'd like--you don't have to have a Facebook account to view them: Just DID it (Nike Women's Marathon - Half-Marathon).

Right before I finished the race, the rain that I had expected started to fall, and it felt great! I finished to crowds of people cheering us on and yelling "Go Team!" And I found my fireman . . . with that little, blue Tiffany box . . .

I can check off another box on my bucket list, but this was just the beginning . . . Now I have new goals and another race for which to train . . . no more running intervals on the next one--I want to run the entire 13.1 miles! Bring it on!

Related Posts:
I run to be . . .
Thank you!
Race week
I don't want this to end
Snapshot of a Saturday
Progress defined by Traci
Hill repeats and work (wait, hill repeats are work!)
Recommitment and two right feet 
The trail run
Be inspired--create a world without cancer
"We're gonna kick some cancer butt!"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nike Women's Marathon - Part 1

Katie, a Team in Training friend, emailed me this picture today. Many people are already in San Francisco picking up race packets and preparing for the marathon (half marathon for me and many others). I worked today--and my car broke down this morning.

I'll start with explaining the car . . . I planned to be at work (after an hour commute) by 7 AM (ish). I left my house and stopped by Starbuck's. I got my drink (hot cocoa for those of you who are interested) and went back to my car, but my car wouldn't start! It sounded fine, like it was "turning over," but it just wouldn't start . . . so I called my dad (sorry Mom and Dad!), then I called AAA. In the end, I learned that my car thought that someone (me) was trying to steal her. In the meantime, I rented a car, went to work, herded cats, etc . . .

Two weeks prior, my purse (and my keys and address among other things) were stolen while I was running in the Urban Cow Half Marathon in Sacramento, so I needed to have my car re-keyed. Apparently, the re-keying process failed.

However, all is fixed now! I'll be leaving at 5:30 AM tomorrow to head to San Francisco. I still need to pick up my race packet (the main thing!), check into my room,  and check out Nike Town!

I'm nervous and anxious, but mostly excited! I have so many things on my mind, but for this weekend, my focus is totally running this race . . . this is very emotional for me. I'm packing now--I hope I don't forget anything!

I promise to post pictures afterward. And I appreciate the support given to me from my friends! Thank you!

Related post:
Urban Cow, etc

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who supported me in my fund raising efforts to find a cure for cancer and donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society via my fund raising page. Thanks to my mentor and team members who donated their volunteer hours to help me reach my goal. Thanks to the brave folks who allowed us to wash their cars! And thanks to everyone for their encouragement while I trained for this event--you have no idea how much this meant to me!

I'm so excited for this weekend! And I'm sad that this training season is coming to an end . . . It's hard to describe exactly how I'm feeling right now.

Below is the course map. There are some intimidating hills, but the views will be incredible! And the feeling of accomplishment at the end--indescribable.

With the help of a friend on the team, I'll be constructing a video of my training leading up to Nike and the event itself to share with anyone interested. Don't be surprised if there are pictures of me crying at the finish line. Honestly, during the last mile of Urban Cow, I was almost in tears while reading the sign posts of people who have been helped by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society--it's very emotional. I know I won't be able to hold back at the finish of Nike . . .

When this event is over, I'll be posting information on my blog for how you can become involved if you are interested--it is so rewarding to help others. There wasn't anything easy about this--fund raising is difficult, training is mentally and physically challenging, but it is all so worth it. I have grown so much through this experience, and you will too.

Thank you.


Re-key Car                                                 $1350
Brighton Purse                                               280
Brighton Key Ring                                            25
Expedited Passport Replacement                    195
Passport Photo                                                10
Car Wash Card (5 washes remaining)               125
Contacting Banks, Credit Bureaus, FTC       Hassle
Miscellaneous other items in purse           Unknown
Covered by Safeco                                             0

I guess they have their priorities. 

Related Posts
[Photo Credit]

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Race Week

Nike is a week away, and my mind is playing games with me.

We've been training for this since April--I'm worried that I'll injure myself and not be able to run. I seem to be noticing every little thing now . . .

My left ankle has been hurting me since our Saturday workout the week before Urban Cow. I had it looked at yesterday--it's the tendon. The doctor said it's a common over-training injury, but I'm OK to run on it. He recommended ice, anti-inflammatory medication, etc. The patch you see on the photo of my ankle is a Flector Patch (anti-inflammatory)--I can't take the pills. Oh, he also asked me if I've been running hills . . . lol!

So now I'm feeling both nervous and excited. I also found a good article from another race on how to make race week less stressful: Rock 'n' Roll Race Week Survival tips--use these five simple strategies to make your race week less nerve-racking.

(Speaking of the Rock 'n' Roll marathons, I registered for the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon in June!)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

I run to be . . .

Nike wants us to finish the sentence "I run to be . . ."  This is a hard one for me because I run for so many reasons . . .

I have never been inactive, but I wasn't a "runner" until early 2008. Before then, I was more into dance--jazz, tap, ballet, Middle Eastern . . . I was also on a drill team when I was a child. Does anyone remember the Coho Princesses? We won a few trophies back in the day . . .

Anyhow, in early 2008, I decided to submit an application for a direct commission with the Army Reserve. I knew then that I would have to pass the Army's APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test). I knew the  requirements, and I was concerned about the run.

At the time, my main cardio activity was tennis--so fun! But I hadn't been running. I immediately began running intervals. I found a program endorsed by Runner's World that was created to prepare people for a 5K. It is a great program based on timing.

This program was enough to help me pass the APFT at my age group, but to be a leader in the Army, more is required. Leadership is more than a rank handed down by a higher authority--it is an acceptance by the people you lead--passing the APFT really isn't enough.

I knew that I needed to do more, so I continued to train. Training is hard when you are training by yourself. When I moved to the Sacramento area, I continued to train on my own, but I knew it wasn't enough. Then I remembered Team-in-Training.

I first learned about Team-in-Training when I participated in the Big Climb in Seattle in 2008. I was interested, but the timing wasn't right because I had surgery that same year. However, the timing was right when I moved to the Sacramento area.

I joined the team at an event in Folsom, CA in April 2010, and I'm so thankful that I did. I have heard so many heart warming stories, met so many incredible, encouraging people . . . I am truly thankful.

Since April 2010, I have been training with TNT for the Nike Half-Marathon on October 17. I'm so excited . . . I can't wait! It won't be easy, but I've been training for this, and I've already run in one half-marathon in preparation--but without the San Francisco hills! I know I can do it though.

So back to the Nike request . . . finishing the sentence "I run to be . . ."

I run to be:
  • healthy
  • active
  • an advocate to find a cure for the many different kinds of cancer
  • an example (for my daughter and for my son, for other women, for Soldiers everywhere--we can make a difference!)
  • a leader (how can I ask others to do something I cannot do?)
I run for so many other reasons. Running makes me feel wonderful after the most stressful day. Running makes me feel alive--even when it hurts. Running keeps me young.

At one time, I thought I wasn't a runner, but I am.

So, when Nike asks me to finish the sentence "I run to be . . .," how do I answer? I run to be the person I want to be. I run to be the best me possible.

I run to be . . . me.

So I have to offer some advice . . . Run . . . Run to be . . . Run to be . . . YOU. Be the best you that you can be.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I don't want this to end

We had our pre-race meeting tonight. Our coaches and mentors gave us great information, and we finally received the coveted purple singlet. As I sat there listening to the information, I was thinking . . . this is almost over . . . and I don't want it to end. Nike is in a week and a half . . .  

 . . . but I really don't want this to end.

I've met such wonderful people and made great friends. I feel stronger as a person, and I feel great about what I'm doing--I love helping others; I need to have a purpose.  

I don't want this to end.

I talked to my mentor tonight about becoming a mentor. I'm looking forward to the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco, but I'm not ready for this to end.  

I'm not going to let it end.

Running for a Cure

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

More on Urban Cow

Not all of my friends are on Facebook, so I'm sharing a link to view more race day photos:  Urban Cow - Part Two (Race Day!)

We also volunteered the day before handing out race packets:  Urban Cow - Part One (The Day Before)

Here's an article about the race:  Sacramento Guide - Urban Cow Half-Marathon

Nike is in two weeks--I can't wait to hit those hills!!!

 Katie and me volunteering at the 5K table handing out race packets--cheese!!! She bent over so I wouldn't feel short!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Urban Cow, etc

Is it wrong to start with a recovery photo? This is a "cookie recovery" photo following the Urban Cow Half-Marathon in Sacramento on October 3, 2010. This was my first half-marathon. It was fun!

The first 2.5 miles were definitely the most painful--I'm still trying to figure out how to warm-up my muscles earlier because that has been a problem for me since I started running distances. Unfortunately, the run for the APFT is two miles, which means that I'm in pain during the entire APFT! Runner friends--any suggestions???

My pace was 13.07, and I finished 13.1 miles in 2:51:49. I walked for most of the last two miles because I felt like I was getting a Charlie horse--I ran in the end.  I want to be faster, but I feel good about my race. This was my first half-marathon, I'm a fairly new runner . . . and I loved it!

Unfortunately, while Katie and I were on the course, someone broke the window in her car and stole everything that was in it--including my purse. My car keys were in my purse .  . and my passport (I know). So, after calling the Sacramento police (who don't respond to auto break-ins--at all), we drove back to my car. BMWs are very secure I learned. Both AAA and BMW Roadside Assistance told me that I needed to have my car towed to a dealership and have them re-key my car. After several hours and renting a car, I was finally able to get into my car with the valet key (don't ask). By that time, I was alone with two cars . . . what do you think I did? 

After finally getting into my car and starting it, I drove my car home and parked it in the garage. Then, after completing a half-marathon (13.1 miles), I walked over a mile to get my rental car and drive it home. I got a lot of exercise on Sunday!

I'm not complaining though. Today has been a hassle, to be sure. But I keep finding things that would normally be in my purse, but somehow they weren't. I had my WDL, my CAC, my debit cards, my BlackBerry, and my camera with me in a small backpack. I left my glasses and my iPod at home among numerous other things that I normally carry in my purse. It will still cost $1450 to re-key my car because the thieves have my keys and my address. I was lucky--it could have been so much worse. Katie, her husband, and I still have many hoops to jump through to make things right . . .

Katie and I were out making sacrifices to help people live longer while some pathetic person chose to take things away from us. I feel sorry for that person.

I would so much rather give freely by choice than take away by force.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Work . . . Relax

Last night, I walked through my door at ~8 PM, rested for a moment on my bed, and fell (deeply and soundly) asleep. Right away. No thinking about checking email, reading a book, calling anyone . . . Once I was off of my feet, I was asleep--slam dunk.

Of course, I woke up at ~12:30 AM and realized that I left my phone in my car . . . I didn't plan to walk in the door and fall asleep! So, in the middle of the night, I was wandering out to my car to retrieve my phone (which is also my alarm clock). Yes, I was at work on time (seriously? did you think I would be late?)!

Eating right isn't always easy to do (especially when there isn't time to eat), but it is doable. Taking care of myself in other ways is doable as well, but getting enough rest can be a challenge for me. A huge challenge--so I guess I needed the sleep!

Tonight, like every other Wednesday, was a scheduled team workout night. However, I was invited by some friends (whom I don't see often enough) to join them for dinner. I opted to cancel my workout plans so I could see my friends (priorities, people!). As it turned out, the workout was canceled due to the heat--100+ degrees (and it's almost October!). Yay--I made the right decision!

Life is more than scheduled workouts, project plans, and meeting deadlines . . . Sometimes I beat myself up to meet a deadline only to find that it's been moved because others can't meet it (usually for good reason . . . like the workout that was canceled due to the heat--the heat is a health risk).

Like everyone else, I want to shine. But I'm human. I can't be everywhere at once. I don't know everything. I am not superhuman. If you want excellence, I can give you that. If you want perfect, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Snapshot of a Saturday

5:00 AM. That's when my alarm will go off tomorrow. I'll roll out of bed, do some push-ups and sit-ups, then get ready to head out the door. Yay! I get to sleep in--my alarm usually goes off at 4:30 AM!

At 6:30 AM we are having a team photo taken before our Saturday workout. We will all be in our white Team-in-Training shirts . . . smiling . . . happy to be up . . . happy to be alive . . . happy to be giving.

After the photo, we will begin our workout. The schedule says 7-8 miles--last Saturday it was ten. I ran 3-4 of the ten miles and power-walked the rest (no strolling allowed!). I can't run ten miles without walking yet, but I'm working on it!

This Saturday, we have a car wash following the workout, so we need to finish with enough time to get to the car wash location. I'll be washing cars tomorrow (including my own because it sorely needs it!)!  The weather is supposed to be in the 90s--I'm sure we will be spraying each other with the hoses while we are washing the cars! I can't wait--after a stressful work week, a hard workout with such a positive group of people is just what I need!

After the car wash, I'll head home and work on BSC stuff for a few hours before going to Mass. This is a busy time for me at work, and I have project deadlines to meet. I'll get a break on Sunday though--meeting up with a Portland friend in San Francisco at the Dragon Boat Festival!

I love training with the team, but it isn't easy. My feet hurt and are blistered and calloused--even a French pedicure won't help! On Sunday after the ten mile run/walk, my entire body was sore, and my left leg was bleeding where the seam from my running shorts had rubbed--I ran through that. Clothes don't rub noticeably during a two mile run--running long distances requires attention to clothing details!

There's no team workout next Saturday. Instead, I'll be volunteering in preparation for the Urban Cow Half-Marathon, and on Sunday, I'll be running in it. Don't bother checking my time--I'm not very fast, yet!

Soon October 17 will be here, and I'll be running in the Nike Marathon in San Francisco--I can't wait! This has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me--I'm already looking forward to the next one!

Join me in raising funds to fight cancer: Running for a Cure

Don't forget--I'll run with purple hair if I reach my goal of $2400 by October 1st! Together, we are making a difference!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Progress defined by Traci

When I made the decision last April to participate in the Nike Marathon, I had multiple goals. First and foremost, I wanted to raise money to help fight cancer. My first event to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society was in Spring of 2008 when I participated in the Big Climb in Seattle. I didn't raise a lot, but it felt good to help out (and the view from the Columbia Tower in Seattle is wonderful!). It was at this event that I learned about Team in Training.

Another goal that I had was to learn to run better and to love running. According to my APFT score, I'm not a faster runner (well, maybe a little faster), but I think my running has improved, and I've learned a lot (not just about running!).

Sometimes, I think I'm superwoman--that I can do anything. I will add things to my schedule as if there are 36 hours in a day. Training for a marathon has helped me to realize that I'm definitely not superwoman. I'm not being negative with this statement, I'm just realizing that it's important to take care of myself, and by that I mean getting enough rest, eating right, etc.

I work . . . a lot. A few weeks ago, I was asking one of my coaches how to get the most out of my training and asking about diet, etc. He told me that I need more rest, or I'm risking injury. I ignored him, and while I didn't get injured, I did get sick. I'm not fun to be around when I'm not feeling well . . .

So I'm learning to listen. And I'm learning to understand how different workouts feel depending on how much rest I've had, how I've been eating, and if I have been ill. One week, I ran in 110 degree weather--not fun at all. The following week, I took my APFT at Ft. Lewis where it was 54 degrees and raining. The rain felt great, but the cold air hurt my lungs. The next week, I was running hill repeats in the shade, and I loved it! This week, I walked while recovering from the flu and felt like I was dying. But you know what is great? I am healthy--I can do all of this, and I can push myself. And I keep myself focused on the goal--helping others. That's what this is about. While I'm running hill repeats, someone else is undergoing chemotherapy . . .

So I'm going to get some rest, keep my priorities straight, and keep on running.

You can help too--together we can make a difference:  Running for a Cure

If I meet my goal of $2400 before October 1, I'll color my hair purple for the marathon!

Sunday, September 05, 2010


I just spent a week at home, and it was wonderful! It was a working trip, so I spent a lot of time on the computer. But I saw my kids, my parents, and some of my friends . . . it was great! I also got to dig in the dirt a little at home. We had a shrub die, so I replaced it with lavender. I also replaced the rosemary that died (how does rosemary die???). I wanted to plant some tulip bulbs (I love tulips), but maybe I'll get back before it's too late . . . (or maybe I'll have help???). We need to plant two more rose bushes, but that will have to wait until next spring. I pruned and watered . . . I loved it! I may hate cooking, but I love digging in the dirt!

It was a busy week--besides working and digging in the dirt, I also took a PT test (in the rain) up at Ft. Lewis (of course I passed--why would you even ask?). And I had multiple meetings--all good!

Life is so good--I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cook for a cure: Pampered Chef fund raiser for Leukemia and Lymphoma!

I promised a Pampered Chef fund raiser, and here it is! You have until the end of the month to purchase your favorite Pampered Chef items and have a portion of the proceeds benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

My personal favorites are the pots and pans and the knife collection, but there's so much more from which to choose (I love the stoneware too--amazing for pizza!).  Those of you who know me well also know that cooking isn't my favorite activity--but I'm a snob when it comes to kitchen items (OK, you know that about me too!). So, check out my favorites, and find your own as well--all while fighting cancer! It's a bigger win-win than anything you've encountered in the business world!

To shop and help find a cure for cancer, go to my Pampered Chef fund raiser web-site.

To donate without purchasing, go to my Team in Training fund raising website.

Thanks--together we can find a cure for cancer!

Thanks again to those of you who have already donated--we are making a difference together!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hill repeats and work (wait, hill repeats are work!)

Last night, I ran hill repeats with the team . . . All I can say is . . . I need to find a hill closer to where I live! It was hard, but it was a good workout. I've been working so much--it felt good to just focus on the hill.

I don't have any pictures to share this time--I've been so busy. This upcoming weekend will be my first day off in a long time. I'm going to clean. Seriously--people call reservists "weekend warriors." Let me tell you, we're not. I work with a group of dedicated professionals who work all day at their regular jobs (some of us have civilian jobs and some are full-time reservists--AGR), then come home and put in a few hours for the Army. Toggling back and forth between the two jobs can be tiring, but it's worth it.

Next week, I'll be starting a Pampered Chef fundraiser for LLS. If you like to cook, check back on Monday and see what Pampered Chef's hot items are. You can purchase some awesome cookware and help a great cause at the same time!

And if you want to donate to help fight cancer without the shopping part, well that's great too! Go to my fund raising page to donate:  Running for a Cure.

Thank you--together we are making a difference! 

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Recommitment and Two Right Feet

Some people are said to have two left feet--apparently I have two right feet! I grabbed my shoes out of my trunk this afternoon when I was getting ready to run with the team, and this is what I grabbed. I think I've been working too many hours!

I've been asked questions about the deadline that I posted on Facebook. I posted the deadline because we have dates to meet for fund raising. My first deadline is August 6--this is when I give the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) my debit card information and commit to donating the full minimum amount of $2400.

Many people don't realize that fund raising efforts for cures are a commitment, just as running the marathon is a commitment. Those of us who are involved are very aware of this and are willing to make sacrifices to meet this goal. Sometimes the sacrifice is spending time washing cars, selling raffle tickets, selling chocolate, or having fund raisers though companies like Pampered Chef. We can also raise money by volunteering at other marathons, 5Ks, etc. And of course, we reach out to others and ask for donations. In the event that we don't raise the minimum amount, we agree to donate the difference, and that is really a small sacrifice to make when we know the kind of difference we are making.

How are we making a difference? The research done in finding a cure for blood cancers has benefited researchers looking for other cancer cures as well. There is now a vaccine for prostate cancer, and a vaccine for breast cancer will soon be in the testing phase. The money we raise goes to these efforts. But we are also making a difference by building awareness. Every blog post, every Facebook and LinkedIn status update raises awareness. And we are giving people with blood cancers hope where there once was little hope.

About the deadline--even though I have recommitted and given LLS my debit card information, you can still donate via my fund raising page or the widget on my Facebook page. Donations made will still go toward my goal of $2400. I plan to donate $600 or the difference between what people donate to help me and the minimum amount, whichever is greater.

If you can help me reach the $2400 minimum, my $600 donation will bring the total to $3000--how cool would that be? My fund raising page lists increments beginning at $25, but even $5 will help. To donate less than $25, choose "other," and insert the amount you choose to donate.

Thanks again to those of you who have already donated (I'm at 30% now thanks to you!)--know that you are making a difference!

Click here to donate:  Running for a cure--help me raise money to fight cancer

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A week in San Diego

My kids are great. They really are! I am so blessed . . .

We spent last week together in San Diego. I worked, and they kept themselves busy!

This past week I was doing double duty--I worked for the Army during the day and BSC in the evenings. It worked (kind of), but I was exhausted at the end of each day, and I didn't get to spend much time with my kids.

And I apologize to those of you who were the recipients of my . . . snippishness (mostly BSC SMEs--is snippishness even a word?).

However, the monsters did a GREAT job of entertaining themselves while I worked! They played in the pool (or bathed in the sun beside it), explored Coronado, and visited the Midway.

And they planned a wonderful birthday for me!
Thank you Rachel and Tyler--I love you!

They bought me flowers . . .
 And joined me for dinner . . .

Twice . . . (OK, more than twice . . .)

And we fed the ducks . . . many times! I wish I could have spent more time with my kids!

It was a productive week though--I completed some important tasks both for the Army and BSC, so it was worth the effort.

We are back in EDH now, so watch out (after all, Rachel is driving!)!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Trail Run

I've been slacking off (I know). It's hard to run when I travel, although I did run in San Diego . . . OK, I ran one day while I was down there, but I did run! It is hard to make time for running when I'm so busy! (Excuses, excuses . . . I know . . .)

I ran tonight though! I love running with the team--it's so motivating! Today, our workout was a trail run--a hilly trail run. A six mile, hilly trail run. And it felt great . . . While I was running, I remembered SFC Duggan telling me to use the hills when I was at Ft. Benning last fall . . . so I used the hills!

But I'm not running for the Army this time--I'm running for a cure. And I want to thank those of you who have supported me by donating. I've also raised $48 by selling chocolate, and will be hosting a Pampered Chef fundraiser in another week (check back for details!). I need to reach my goal by August 5--will you help me? Visit my fund raising page to donate to find a cure:   Running for a cure

Thank you!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Roseville BMW vs BMW Northwest

I've been spoiled--it's true. I bought my car last August and had it serviced at BMW Northwest in Tacoma until I moved to California in March.

BMW Northwest provides quality work and premium customer service. The service managers always explain everything to me thoroughly so I understand what needs to be done and why, and they provide a loaner BMW if they are keeping my car for a day or longer (even though my car is no longer under warranty). And it doesn't matter why I've brought in my car, they always wash and vacuum it for me--they even washed and vacuumed it for me once when I came in just to ask a question. The waiting area is nice, and the people who work there go out of their way to be helpful. And while I love their customer service, what I really appreciate is the quality of their work. I'm confident when I leave that I won't have any problems.

In contrast, I've had nothing but problems with Roseville BMW. In February, someone tried to steal my car from a hotel parking lot during a drill weekend by slicing through the convertible top. The top and the windshield were replaced in Vancouver, and I left the state only to find that the top leaked. When I arrived in California, the Allstate adjuster told me that I could take my car directly to the dealership to get the leak fixed, so I did.

Roseville BMW provided a loaner BMW as expected, and the repairs took two weeks to complete. The Allstate adjuster approved the estimate, but the final cost was more than $1400 over the original estimate. Allstate still agreed to pay, and the adjuster even faxed a copy of the check being mailed so I could pick up my car. However, the dealership wouldn't release my car until the actual payment was received--a week later. The service manager told me that insurance companies don't always pay, and asked me if I had a credit card and wanted to pay for it myself--I declined. When they finally released my car, it was dirty and even had bugs on the windshield. I wondered why they didn't wash it when they were checking to see if the top still leaked . . . strange.

Now, roughly two months after the repair, the liner is separating from the frame and needs to be repaired. Interestingly, the original statements provided to Allstate show that the work was subcontracted, yet when the adjuster contacted the dealership, he was told the work was completed at the dealership. In addition, even though the work was of questionable quality and has to be repaired, I was told that they no longer provide loaner vehicles when a car isn't under warranty. Fortunately, I have rental car coverage, but I would expect them to work harder to "make things right."

Finally, the repairs to fix the leak totaled almost $4000--the cost to replace the top and windshield in Vancouver was $3000. I'd like to understand why it costs more to fix a convertible top than to replace it.

I've tried to contact a manager to discuss all of this, but he won't return my calls.

My advice: if you own a BMW, don't have it serviced at Roseville BMW. If you don't own one, don't purchase one from them either--head north to BMW Northwest.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Be inspired--create a world without cancer

Left: Five squirrels enjoying breakfast as I drove by after my run

The Saturday Morning Run

I run with Team in Training every Saturday, and I've met some incredible people! This Saturday, I ran with a doctor and a program manager for health care continuing education. Most of the people I've met so far are involved in health care in some way, and many people are involved because someone they care about has fought a blood cancer. Their stories are incredible, encouraging.

Fund raising is harder than I thought it would be. I don't know if it's due to the current economy or if people are donating elsewhere. But I'm committed. This is too important, and researchers are making progress. Amazing progress. Researchers will soon be testing a vaccine for breast cancer, and the FDA recently approved a prostate cancer vaccine.

I've been posting messages on Facebook, but I've gotten a very small response. At work, I have a See's candy display in the break room, and I'll be hosting a Pampered Chef fund raiser shortly. If you have any fund raising ideas, I'm all ears! This is too important. And if you can donate, please do. It will help fund a cure, and it provides a tax benefit for you! Most importantly, think of the lives you will help to save . . .

After the run

After my run (six miles--woohoooo!), I cleaned up and went wine tasting. The weather was gorgeous, the views were incredible, and the wine was tasty! I think I like living in wine country! I was able to visit two wineries, but there are so many more to visit! If you are in my area, give me a call, and let's go wine tasting!


Now that I"m blogging again, I'm feeling the need to submit to a blog carnival. So far, I haven't written anything worthy of Grand Rounds--Where else can I submit? Has anyone submitted to Carnival of the Vanities lately? I'd prefer to submit to a theme oriented blog carnival--any ideas? I need to write!