Saturday, September 13, 2008


Well, Ike definitely left it's damage, that is true. Lots of clean-up to be done. However, my family safely weathered the storm, and for that I'm truly thankful to God. We thought we'd end up getting more weather here in Killeen. There were some strong winds this morning and a little bit of rain, but that's it. I was actually hoping we'd catch more rain, we need it. It's just hot and humid out there now. The possibility of the bad weather, and the strong wind, did force me to do my last big training ride (3.5 hours--70 miles), in prep for Longhorn 70.3, on the trainer. It was rough. I did watch a movie, and then parts of another and some hurricane coverage. What a sweat fest though. But that's the last big ride! I was supposed to brick it and run after, but it was rainy and windy, and I just didn't. Tomorrow I bike and run as well, and then taper starts. I still have some big swims, but that's okay--swims are easier to recover from because they are not impact or as high of a heart rate pusher.

20 days till Longhorn!! Some cooler weather for that race would be nice. Sign-up's are nearly full for Longhorn, and as of today there are 105 women in my Age Group! OH MY! This will be by far the biggest race/competition I've done yet within my age group. It'd be great to break the top 10, but so much will depend upon who shows up to race and how the race days go. I do not expect to podium this one--there are some fast fast women showing up. I just want to feel solid the whole day and put up some good times in comparison to Buffalo Springs--that was totally a test race, this one is the real deal! But, I've definitely done considerably more training, and that will pay off (I hope!). No goal posting yet, still working on that. I have a couple of weeks!

Friday, September 12, 2008

IKE :(

Ike is huge and moving ashore and Galveston is already flooded. Yeah, I'll get lots of rain and some strong winds--but nothing like Houston and the LA Gulf Coast. Lots of family and friends in that area. I could complain about 3.5 hours on my trainer for my ride, but my worries and prayers go to all of you in Houston. :( Be safe please. Praying for you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Do Not Forget

Seven years, do not forget.

It is incredible how much time has passed since 11 September 2001. It is incredible how much has transpired in the life of our country in that time. There is much I remember of that day as it was close to home. I was a senior at the United States Military Academy. I had started my last year on my journey to a commission as an Army Officer. I was in my Constitutional Law class with then CPT Patrick Murphy (now a PA Congressman) when the first plane hit. None of us knew, but class let out moments later. Everyone in the hallways were talking about “something” that had happened to the World Trade Center. I remember saying something to my friend Emily, and then heading to my next class, The Politics of Defense Policy (sadly ironic in retrospect). We all were hearing a buzz, and we immediately turned on the TV. Then, in horror, we watched as the 2nd plane hit the 2nd tower. We heard the reports of another plane hitting the Pentagon, and possible rumors of other attacks. We were silent. Some sobbed. Our professor, a retired Army COL and veteran of the Vietnam War watched with us. We were all in utter shock at the horror...and we knew OUR lives and future had just drastically changed. Eventually, he just let us go. I think someone said “this changes everything.” I was cadet battalion commander. I knew we would have reactions, I knew things were going to change at West Point. In fact, they already had. MPs were checking everyone’s IDs. I immediately checked in with the Major I worked with and my cadet regimental commander. We had tasks we had to do, to include determine which cadets might possibly have family members caught in the disaster. We also had to find out what restrictions were going to happen. Everything was changing. Amazingly, we still had lunch formation and lunch in the mess hall. Many were worried, and with good reason, one of those planes had just used the Hudson River to navigate to New York—it had flown right over us. For the next few days, maybe couple of weeks, no one left post. We held a Taps Vigil, something typically reserved for the death of a fellow cadet, to honor those we lost. Rumors of early graduation so we could go to war flew throughout the cadet grapevine. Rumors of classmates wanting to resign and go enlisted so they “didn’t miss the war” abounded as well. We sat spell bound to the news. We wanted more than anything to go to NYC and help. Surely there was something we could do, but apparently at the time the best thing we could do was continue our preparation to become officers. We did take up a sock drive because we were told that those working at Ground Zero needed more socks as they were wearing through them. We sent thousands of socks. Just a week prior we had conducted one of the most successful blood drives ever, so we really couldn’t hold another. We knew that some of our classmates had lost family and friends, especially those that hailed from NYC and New Jersey or had family in the Pentagon. Most of all, we knew that our world had changed. Those that did this WOULD answer to America. Off post, flags flew from every house and from every car. In the midst of terror and grief American Patriotism rose. On Columbus Day weekend we went into Afghanistan. Officers we knew, recent graduates, would be part of that push. My class wanted to graduate RIGHT THEN, but we didn’t. We finished up the year, all the while knowing that the Kosovo Peace Keeping mission was no longer the “major task” we would face. No, my class graduated into war. By the time the majority of us had completed our Officer’s Basic Course and arrived at our new units the battlefield of Iraq was real. Some of my friends crossed that berm in March 2003. Some of them never came home. Nearly all of us have been to war since, many more than once. Some have just been to Iraq, some to Afghanistan, and some to both.

Would I change my choices? Would I take a different path knowing what I know? No. I have wondered whether to stay, but never regretted where I have been or what I have had to do. I was interviewed, as a cadet, just a month or so post-9/11 and made the comment that “we are whole lot prouder to wear the uniform.” Little did I know how true that would be for me. I have had to lead some of the best Soldiers. We have and are doing our job, politics aside. We, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines, have not forgotten 9/11. Those flags that flew from every house and every car are literally on our shoulder every day we put on our uniform. The enemy is real and is out there. It is our hope and mission that we can foil any plans he has to strike again. But, we must not forget. To forget is to invite evil back into our country. Patriotism should spur us daily because we have freedoms that many in the world cannot even imagine. We have the freedom to argue with each other. We have the freedom to worship as we wish. That freedom isn’t free. I’m not asking for thanks for me, I do this because I’ve been called to do it, but I have felt the cost. I have lost friends. I have seen the horrors caused by NOT having the freedom that America enjoys. This is my generation's Pearl Harbor...we must remember. Even when it hurts, we must remember.

Do not forget. Do not forget. Do not forget.

Fly your flag. Sing the National Anthem. Love your country. Thank a veteran, old or young. Thank a veteran's family--it's a tough job these days. Volunteer to help those who have lost someone guarding your freedom. Be proud to be an American, but do not take it for granted.

Do not forget. Do not forget. Do not forget.

God Bless America.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Muffins, Boston, and Ironman

You know my life is busy when I'm only posting once a week. Between balancing the multiple tasks that go with preparing to take company command (19 Sept!!) and some heavy training, life has just been busy! I had a pretty big training weekend between Fri-Sun. Today I got in a good open water swim at Lake Belton and a quick run. This past week my Newtons came, I didn't pay full price for them, it was a good deal through the Army Tri Club. I have used them on two runs, and I like them thus far. This is my LAST big build week before my workouts start to decrease before the Longhorn Half-Ironman. I had the opportunity to ride the Longhorn bike course on Saturday and I like the course, there are just some fairly new road cracks that the drought and heat has caused. So, those are somewhat a concern. But, I think if I have a good day I can pull of a 3hr. bike, which would be AWESOME. More predictions to come for that.

This past week I also made two BIG decisions.
#1- I registered for the 113th Boston Marathon on 20 April 2009. I don't have my "official" acceptance yet, but no worries, my 3:34:00 at the AT&T Austin Marathon assures me a spot. So, you can easily guess what I'll be training for during this winter. I won't stop swimming and biking, as I think cross-training is important, but those two will be for maintaining fitness in those sports, but I will be working on my marathon speed! Now to find a place to stay in Boston...
#2- I bought my tickets to go spectate/volunteer/cheer on racers at Ironman Florida 2008 on 1 Nov 08. Not only are there lots of great racers for me to cheer on, but I also intend to stand in line on 2 Nov 08 to get my "golden ticket" to take on the course in 2009. Next year I will become an Ironman! I am so excited about it!!

Obviously, my focus of 2009 will be Boston in the Spring and Ironman Florida in the Fall. This year may have had lots of mileage, but next year is more focused and it'll be a journey like none other I've done outside of the military. It will stretch my boundaries, challenge me physically and mentally, require strict time management, and a level of determination and personal discipline! Am I nervous about it all, yes. BUT, that nervousness of the challenge is what entices me and calls me to do it. I will learn from it. It will make me a better person, a better athlete, and a better Army Officer. It will be a journey from start to finish. Ironman is not just race day, it's the months of training, sweat, and tears that culminates in a long-day of adrenaline highs and lows over 140.6 miles, but ends with the coveted title of IRONMAN. In 2009 it will be my personal journey. Stay tuned!

Lastly, muffins--see I didn't forget! I have been experimenting with muffins lately, and here is one I tried that I like. I tweaked one from a yogurt container and it is pretty yummy!
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 Cup sukonot (unrefined sugar) OR organic brown sugar
1.5 TBSP of baking powder
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 cup raisins (plumped--soak in water for an hour)
2 Cups Light and Fit Vanilla or Strawberry yogurt (I used Strawberry this time)
2 eggs
4 TBSP pumpkin (or you could use pureed sweet potatoes or applesauce--this is in place of oil)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use Baking Pam to grease muffin tins (don't use paper cups--when you don't use oil in a recipe, paper cups just stick to muffins). Stir together dry ingredients; in another bowl whisk together yogurt, egg, pumpkin, and raisins. Mix the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. Back in the middle of the oven rack for 23-25 minutes. Approx 150 cals per muffin. They are yummy, moist, and healthy!!