06. March 2012 · Comments Off on A Brief Family Update · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Hello friends!  I have a lot to talk about — but I need time to sit down and just do it.  Things have gotten pretty busy here…between my involvement in the base Spouses’ Club and Cub Scouts, I’ve been spending more time with community work than ever before!

The boys started baseball a couple weeks ago (both boys), so that’s been keeping us busy too.  Their season will start after spring break.  No pictures yet, but I’ll get some soon, I promise!

Both boys earned their Cub Scout badges in February.  We are so proud!

Timmy’s face is painted as part of the ceremony for earning the badge.  The orange square badge is pinned on upside-down until he does a good deed.

Jacob’s face is painted too, but you aren’t really see it.  Jacob’s light-green badge is upside-down until he did a good deed.

I added one more layer to my already-crazy life, which I’ll write more about later.  Here’s a teaser for you:

Dave’s back surgery recovery has been continuing.  He was cleared at the beginning of February to resume exercise and he’s been slowly working back up to his Air Force fitness running requirements. I think he and Jacob could run a 5K together by May!  I’m hoping they can do the Sunset Stampede!  The boys and I did the run last year and it was a great time!

If you are either Dave’s or my Facebook friends, you will already know about our latest diversion — a new car for Dave!  For those who might not have realized, not long after we moved to Florida, Dave began looking at a “fun” car to enjoy on his 15-mile U.S. Highway 98 commutes between Navarre and Hurlburt Field.  I had convinced him that our household budget would appreciate his waiting about a year, which he patiently did.

Now that his back is feeling better, Dave is back to wanting to go out and explore the Florida panhandle.  I’m so excited to have my Dave back (no pun intended!)

So we spent much of February shopping for a convertible.  Between a nearly $10,000 trade for the Prius, and Dave keeping his search to a used model, this turned out pretty reasonable.

We looked at used BMWs, used Ford Mustangs and new Mini Coopers.  I want to thank my sons publicly for their tolerance of road tripping all over Pensacola, Crestview and Fort Walton Beach, test driving and sitting patiently while the grownups talked to the car dealers.

And here’s the new car:

Dave was particularly interested in a 2011-or-newer Mustang V6 for its exceptional mileage.

The very next day, Dave let me drive the new car with my friend Stephanie to Walt Disney World to run a half marathon (for another post), and after that weekend, the weather was absolutely LOUSY.  San Francisco-type fog rolling in waves from off the Gulf of Mexico for FIVE DAYS!  Starting this past Sunday, it’s been BEAUTIFUL and worth while to have a convertible.  We can’t wait till this spring!

So there’s a brief update on our lives — keeping up with our jobs, the kids and our community.


15. November 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
This is from last May.  The boys did a 1 mile fun run, even though those running numbers say “5K”.  Jacob saw a classmate at this race who was registered to run the 5K itself and he asked, “Mom, why can’t I do that?”  Well, no one ever said you couldn’t!

Meet my new running partner, Jacob.

I invited him on a recent run, since I was just coming off a pretty nasty cold I wasn’t running for speed or anything.  Just to burn some calories and use up some pent up energy.  So Jacob joined me and ran about 1.25 miles on Saturday without stopping!

He asked if he could run a 5K race soon, so on Saturday, right after we came back from the 1.25 miler, we registered for a 5K on December 3rd right here in Navarre.  It’s a Jingle Bell 5K and registered runners will not only receive a t-shirt, but also a set of jingle bells to ring while running!  We can’t wait!

Know what else is cool?  This race course will be designed with “Shortcuts to Grandma’s House” so the younger ones can go back early.

Today I took him out for 1.5 miles.  I keep alongside of him and he can watch my Nike+ distance ticking on my iPhone strapped to my arm.  HE LOVES THIS!  For those who know Jacob, you know he’s a numbers/data kind of guy!

I am so incredibly proud to have this goal with Jacob — to run a race together!

09. May 2011 · Comments Off on The Runner Girl’s Spawn · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

You can say I tried. I think Jacob might have a future in long distance running…Timmy probably won’t.

At a Mother’s Day function this past week, one of Timmy’s classmates’ Moms tipped me off to a 1-mile kids’ fun run in Navarre Beach last Saturday.  That night I headed over to one of our local hangouts in Navarre Beach, Juana’s Pagoda, for the registration.  The owner of Run With It, a local running store, was taking the registrations and I was flattered that he remembered me from when I visited his store a couple months ago.  It was very cute how the kids received t-shirts and runners numbers.  The boys and I stayed for dinner Friday night and enjoyed the volleyball area and beach area.

On Saturday I took the kids over to the race.  Jacob was quite excited, but Timmy?  Not so much.  Jacob met an 8-year-old girl who was getting ready to run the 5K with her Mom and Jacob seemed interested in that, but perhaps we need a little training first.

The run was very hot.  Jacob charged ahead and ran it with all his energy and did quite well.  I had to give Jacob some instructions about what to do if he needed help during the run (“tell an adult helper that your Mom is wearing a green t-shirt“).  

On the other hand, Timmy wanted to hold my hand the whole time and ended up pretty frustrated.  Timmy clearly doesn’t like running the way Jacob does!

In the last few yards, actually, Timmy decided to overtake 3-4 kids in a last-minute burst of energy.  It reminded me of Dave, who is capable of these incredibly fast sprints at the end of long-distance runs 🙂

The first finishers received medals.  I’m not sure how many medals there were, and I don’t know how fast Jacob completed the mile (being a “fun run”, it wasn’t timed).  Timmy and I were WAY behind him and they were out of medals by the time we finished.  Timmy was so proud to finish, he wasn’t jealous at all of Jacob’s medal (phew!)

The medal is really really nice (considering it was for a 1-mile fun-run)!  Jacob is incredibly proud, as am I!
11. April 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

My Double Bridge Run success back in February inspired me to sign up for this half-marathon.

I forced myself to do a deliberate training program. Starting right after the early February Double Bridge Run, I ran 2-3 x “short runs” of 3-5 miles each per week, plus 1 x “long run” approximately every week. Sometimes our family’s schedules make things a bit crazy, so that long run was about every 8-10 days instead of once a week, but it worked out well. My longest “long” training run was just under 13 miles and after dealing with that one, in mid-70s sunshine on the beach, I felt I was ready!

We were doing some Cub Scout camping in the town of Defuniak Springs, about 70 miles northeast of here, this past weekend. I left Dave and the kids at the campsite Saturday night, drove home and got a very good night’s sleep beforehand.

As is the case in most Florida warm-season races, the start time was 7am so I had to leave the house before 6am for the 30 minute drive to Pensacola Beach.

The sun was just rising as I was coming across the Pensacola Beach causeway, and you can see the low stratus clouds pouring onshore from the gulf. This is what it was like for the whole run! The clouds were great, but the 100% humidity still made it uncomfortable.

I want to show off this runner’s bib. I didn’t really pay much mind to the part of the registration about what I wanted my bib to say for a name. I never had a custom bib before. I wish I had put “Major Mom”.

I asked a random guy to take this picture of me about 15 minutes before start time. I’m all geared up here — bandana tucked into my waistband, headphones at the ready, Nike+ sensor on my shoe, and an 800 mg Motrin pill & Clif Gel in my back pocket (the Motrin sorta dissolved in my pocket during the run, UGH!).

What’s funny about these kinds of races is that I spend so much time weaving my way through people who run rather slowly, yet are at the front of the pack when the gun goes off. It took about 3 miles before I didn’t have to worry about passing people. And then I had to go to the bathroom — rrrr! With the incredible humidity I had chugged a LOT of water just before the start, and it was catching up with me. So I took a 2 minute potty break at the 3-mile point. There was a race photographer right by that porta-john so I’ll have to see if there are pics of me waiting, ha ha!

Other random thoughts while I was racing:

  • We were running on roads that were alongside the beaches. There were so many dead crabs on the roads…and people were just crunching away at those crabs!
  • Even though the roads were closed for the race, there were still cars on our route, driving just as fast as we were running. That exhaust didn’t help one bit!
  • I got to see the race leader pass me when I was at about 5 1/2 miles heading east. The westbound route in the opposite direction was just past the 9 mile point. Whoa….
  • Even though the course was flat flat flat (yay!), the cant in the road on the curves was tough on my ankles.
  • At the end of the Air Force marathon there’s a loopy type of thing at the end…you’re coming a little down a hill and the finish is right in your face, but then you turn AWAY from the finish line and do another 1/2 mile or so weaving through the Air Force Museum outdoor displays before you get to the finish. In this race, the weaving and looping around is done in other parts of the course, so when you are heading in the last mile towards the finish, it’s a straight shot! Thanks for that!
  • The last mile or so was pretty tough. By then, you’re among a group of runners with similar experience and training, we’re all going at the same pace, and we were all stopping to walk for little spurts here and there. We saw someone get hit with a pretty bad cramp and an ambulance had to rescue her. I felt rather insensitive passing her with the EMTs and not saying anything, but what do you say to someone about get put on a stretcher? She was probably feeling crappy enough…

I had set a goal for a 2 hour race, but I don’t know what I was thinking. In my training runs I never ran that fast, and perhaps a more realistic goal would have been 130 minutes. I finished in 127 minutes and I’m thrilled at that!

This is my soaked-in-sweat picture about 10 minutes after finishing. That humidity took a toll!

My info is just above the halfway point of this list.  These are the preliminary results, before all the runners had some in (or not come in, in the case of some of them).  Once the results were official, I somehow went from placing 440 to 380.  Official results are here.

The finisher’s medal…and my inspiration for this race — we needed a good strong bottle opener!

What’s next? I don’t know. There’s a Pensacola Fiesta 10K on the 30th that I’m interested in, but I think the kids’ sports might impact that. We’ll see. Folks say it’s a very beautiful point-to-point course that ends in the historic Seville Square part of the city. That’s actually a hilly race (yes, hills in Florida!) and it’d be a good challenge. Other than that, there are no more long-distance races in the area until the fall.

06. February 2011 · Comments Off on The Runner Girl Returneth!!! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,
I’d like to thank the kind young Marine pilot candidate for taking this nice picture.  I gave him my 3 beer coupons in return.  Like the bling?  They were handing out Mardi Gras beads near one of the water stations.

Today was the 15K race I’d mentioned last month.  I was feeling pretty discouraged going into it this morning.  I don’t know why — perhaps I just started doubting myself or something. Perhaps I was bummed from awakening at 4:45am.  I trained appropriately, I wasn’t in (much) pain, I brought enough the appropriate clothing for the weather.  Seeing everyone else suffering in 15-20 knot north winds, 45 degree temperatures, on the waterfront brought some comfort that we were all in this together.

My goal was to complete this race in less than 90 minutes and I’m so proud that I was able to meet my goal! Just under 86 minutes!

My Twitter and Facebook friends saw an obscure status early this morning about worrying about my bladder more than whether I could finish the race.  Would I drink too much and have to go to the bathroom every mile?  (Or worse yet, would I drink too much and die*?)  Would I not drink enough and really slow down due to dehydration?  What’s that perfect balance?  Luckily, I was able to go about 2 minutes before the Star Spangled Banner, and made it out the starting gate with a nice empty bladder!  I did fine, I was able to have water along the route, along with these nifty “Extreme Sport Beans” by Jelly Belly.  A gal I was standing near waiting to start offered me a couple.  I ate one before each of the two bridges…I can’t say if they worked any wonders, but they were yummy just the same.  I might have to pick up a pack for upcoming long runs.

*Note: It takes an inordinate amount of water for it to kill you, I was semi-joking there.

I made it just fine without even thinking about finding a bathroom.  Phew!

But I did notice a guy hit a Circle K restroom at mile 2 (really?  after just TWO miles?), and a few women were in line at an Exxon station restroom at about mile 6.  There were a couple port-a-potties scattered along the route, but I think they were actually designated for construction sites, not for us runners.

Next up?  I got to see what the medals for the Gulf Coast Half Marathon look like, and I think I want one!  Click the link, scroll down and look closely. They’re bottle openers, how cool is that?

09. January 2011 · Comments Off on The Return of Runner Girl? · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

That’s what I’d like to think… 🙂

Especially before we had kids, Dave and I enjoyed long-distance running.

Obviously, our training dwindled some after the kids arrived, and between Dave and me and our double-jogging stroller, we’d always managed 1-2 races per year even after the kids were born.  Then we hit a lazy streak in Nebraska, Dave’s job was really busy, the weather was a pain-in-the-rear (I hate running in the wind!), and Dave had several medical issues that all combined to keep us from do any more working out than necessary.

After a couple years of lollygagging, I took the plunge and signed up for my first running race since June 2009.

Which race?  No, of course I don’t go easy and sign up for a 5K.  Here is the race I registered for.

I think I tend to gravitate towards the more scenic races.  Check out the course map!  Isn’t it beautiful???  I’m excited to get to see sunrise over those bridges!

So part of my motivation for this is to to get fit again.  Not sure if it was stress, laziness, just plain overeating or what, I’m currently about 15-20 lbs. heavier than when I came home from my deployment in April 2009.  I need a goal, and a plan to reach that goal.

Hence signing up for a 15K race right off the bat.  This spring I’d like to do a 1/2 marathon, I’ll wait to sign up until we see whether I can do this 15K okay.

First off, I was in desperate need of new running shoes.  I was in the same old Brooks shoes I’d had since Spring 2009.  Spare me the lectures, I know one should be replace them every 500 miles or so.  So with one of the gift cards I’d received for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad Vollmer!), I got a nice pair of trail running shoes.  I prefer trail running shoes for the broader, thicker soles.

From 2011 01 06 Navarre Beach Bridge Run

I started my “training” in earnest this week, which meant increasing how many miles I run each week.  Normally I do three 5K runs per week, but now I need to do at least 4 runs per week, and at least 15 miles total per week, slowly increasing that up to about 20 miles per week.  I’d like to do 5 runs per week but real life might make that a less-realistic goal.  Included in that is one “long run”, which needs to increase by 1 to 1.5 miles per week, hopefully I can do that on Fridays.

Our neighborhood is expansive enough I can plan lots of great routes or any length I need!

This past week I did a 5 mile run across the Navarre Beach Bridge, so I could get ready for the bridges in the race.  Check out these magnificent views during my run!

From 2011 01 06 Navarre Beach Bridge Run
From 2011 01 06 Navarre Beach Bridge Run
There was a hill on my most-common running route in Nebraska.  Westbound Schneekloth Rd. between Spring Blvd. and 34th St. (past the back of the school).  I called it “Heartbreak Hill” since the elevation gain is similar to the “Heartbreak Hill” in the Boston Marathon.  This bridge here is only 55 feet elevation (not the 85 feet in NE).  I’ll take this hill (and the view) over the one I had in Nebraska, ha ha!
From 2011 01 06 Navarre Beach Bridge Run

Unfortunately, after that 5 mile run last Thursday (which felt great at the time), my knees were REALLY REALLY sore for 2 days.  I could barely walk on Friday!  Not sure if it’s old age or the extra weight I’m carrying around, but I hope this isn’t a permanent issue or else long distance runs won’t last very long in my future.

Also, I’ve noticed over the years that my legs, knees and hips are now more sensitive to the cant of the road.  My neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks, so I’m on the far left or right edges of the road surfaces, and if there’s a slope for too long, I feel it in the arches of my feet and in my hips.

Here’s hoping I stick to this fitness plan.

Prepare yourselves, this is going to be one of my most bewildering blog posts yet.  More so than vermicomposting, toilet odors and pumpkin reproduction.

This morning I enjoyed another run through my new neighborhood.  I’ve been mapping out my runs on this website (so I know the distances I’m covering) and this is the one I did today.  It takes me though this lovely golf course neighborhood northwest of my house.  Needless to say, the golf course is near the streets titled “PGA Blvd.” and “Masters Blvd.”.  I don’t live there, but it’s pretty to visit, especially with some of the houses’ holiday decorations.

So…today I was running along a backstretch of Cove Rd., which is on the southwest part of the loop, and the houses ended and I had hammocks on both sides of me for several hundred feet.  No, not the kind I wished I had in my backyard, but the ecological kind.

And down on the ground were not the low-lying palm fronds that are elsewhere in the neighborhood, but lichen fields!

When I think of lichen, I don’t think of Florida. I think of 10,000′ alpine tundra, with reindeer eating the stuff. In fact, the kind of lichen I found is nicknamed “Reindeer Lichen”.  I had visions in my head for the rest of the run of reindeer licking rocks with lichen.  We saw lichen on an alpine tundra in Colorado in August, in fact.  This website answered my questions about lichen in Florida.

Lichen I had photographed on a rock in Colorado this past August, we were at about 10,500′ elevation here.  I never imagined seeing lichen in Florida!
From 2010 08 09 Rocky Mtn Natl Park Day 1

I was so intrigued by this field in my neighborhood, I stopped to check it out.  Took a few pictures with my phone camera:

You can use lichen on model railroads.  The greener lichen makes nice shrubbery.
From 2010 12 17 Lichen
The red stuff on the ends of the lichen on the right was interesting to me, but I didn’t want to touch it.  This website discusses the “matchstick” lichen a little more.
From 2010 12 17 Lichen
The area was covered in it!
From 2010 12 17 Lichen
Just doesn’t seem very Floridian, does it?
From 2010 12 17 Lichen
10. December 2010 · Comments Off on This Morning’s Run · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

We’ll see how long this takes me….

05. May 2010 · Comments Off on Nebraska Discoveries 13: Historic Fort Crook & SAC Chapel, Offutt AFB · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Today I’m sharing some of the history on Offutt AFB.  Unfortunately, everyone can’t just get onto Offutt.  You need to have a military ID card to get onto the base freely, or make a friend with a military member who can sign you in as a guest.

As mentioned before, I started using this software to track my runs. The software doesn’t seem very stable on my iPhone (probably because I downloaded the free version and they want my money before it works the way I want it to…). So this isn’t the most accurate thing out there, but it’s fun to give it a go.

So here’s a map of the most recent run I performed:

If you choose “view full” in the lower left, then select the satellite map (or Hybrid), you can see that I’m running the perimeter of a large field. This is the parade field of what was formerly Fort Crook, which was the original military installation that is now the home of Offutt AFB. Fort Crook was established in 1888, and was completed in 1894.  Today, many of the buildings surrounding the parade field are from their original mid-1890s construction, including the buildings of “General’s Row” which are seen in the background here from the late 1890s:

And here are the same houses today, the same ones as on the left side of the above photo:

03. May 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Just showing off one of the gizmo gadgets I’m trying out here. This software is in my iPhone.  It ties into the GPS in the phone and records location, distance, speed and time.  I’ve downloaded the free version, which has some sort of screen saver glitch that prevents me from stopping the runs in time, so it isn’t 100% accurate, but it’s good enough for me.  In fact, in this case, the GPS didn’t kick on until I was about 6 houses down from where I started running, so this route is about .1 miles short.

I love that it’s translating into route information and elevation data.  You can even see that I run opposing traffic if you zoom in enough 🙂

For more oohs…and aaahhhhs….click on “Show Elevation” towards the bottom. This is one of the hillier runs I do, and my knees usually pay me back for about 24 hours after this run.