Thursday, April 30, 2009

You've Come a Long Way, Baby

It's story time.

I've done a lot of growing up in the past year. The past couple of years have been dark and difficult, despite obvious joys, like getting engaged and then married. Soon after my marriage to the most wonderful man in the world, however, I found myself plunging into the deep depression and slavery that is anorexia nervosa. I would never have admitted it at the time, of course. I was proud of how skinny I was, at how little I ate and how much I exercised. I thought that thinner was better, and that I was very attractive. I never dreamed that my extreme weight loss not only terrified my husband but also was a huge turn-off.

The worst of my struggle with anorexia occurred just about a year ago, around Easter weekend. Soon after the holiday, I attended a YogaFit training in Spokane, WA, where I ate almost nothing and pushed myself through two days of yoga in a freezing cold studio. It was awful. My chest hurt, I felt constantly lightheaded, and I could not stop shivering. I remember thinking that I was going to die in the hotel room, but I didn't really believe that. Not enough to eat something more than vegetables or single-serve fat-free sugar-free yogurt. I considered eating a LUNA Bar a sin akin to chowing down on a Kit Kat bar. I now believe that I did come close to death during that time, much closer than I knew, and that it is only by God's mercy that I am still breathing today. My husband won't like to read that, but it's the truth.

But I admit that it is an uncomfortable truth. So why write it at all? Because lately I have been marveling at how completely God has turned my life around since Easter 2008. I want to share that gift of victory with the world! I remember weeping silently during last year's Easter church service at how I had enslaved myself to food restrictions and exercise, at how it it was killing me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I felt abandoned and already dead. But again, not enough to change my compulsive behavior. Thankfully, I soon found myself in the care of a very capable therapist, receiving eating disorder counseling twice weekly. Since then, I have left behind the need for admittance to a full-time treatment center, I have matured emotionally and mentally, I returned to the workplace after abandoning in favor of exercise and anorexia, and I have left restrictive eating behind.

It hasn't been easy. Not by a long shot. It's been an excruciatingly slow and steep climb, but I am closer to the summit of health and wholeness than ever before. I nourish myself with responsible food choices. I nourish my mind and body through healthful exercise choices. I've completed three running races, a feat I could never have hoped to accomplish with my body so deprived and depleted by anorexia. I am working on getting my menstrual cycle restarted. I hope to be able to have biological children someday, and/or adopted children. I have a stronger relationship with my husband, and my health is no longer a strain on both his own wellness as well as the state of our marriage. I can interact with my parents more rationally and with greater respect. I care more about other people, and am eager to repair the friendships I lost or let lapse during my wanderings in the wilderness of anorexia.

My professional life has also grown as a result of my enlarging health. First and foremost, I have a job. Previously, my eating disorder prevented me from being a dependable employee, and it robbed of the desire to even try to work. Now I work full-time with children who have behavior issues due to poor parental relationships, spectrum disorders, or trauma and abuse. At first my eating disorder interfered with my ability to be as good of an educator as possible. All I could think about was the end of each day of work, or the end of each week. But now my struggle with anorexia and the emotional issues has become an asset for me in the classroom. The emotions anorexia helped me avoid now aides me in connecting with these kids, caring about them, and assisting them in developing proper social interactions.

Before my body was something to be controlled, used, and beaten. Now I see it has a thing of curvaceous beauty, strength, femininity, and ability. I am capable of many things, and my battle with anorexia not only highlights this fact but makes me appreciate it as well. In many ways I am thankful to my eating disorder because it has helped make me into the person I am -- and, shock of shocks, I like that person! God is good, and His version of health is wholeness.

Here's a self-portrait I took of myself about 13 months ago during my YogaFit weekend in Spokane, crocheting away on a yoga mat bag. It's hard to get a good view of my entire body, but you can see how thin and emaciated my arms are, how flat my chest is, and how much my collarbone protrudes:

Attractive? Healthy? Not at all, but I couldn't have told you that at the time.

Now here's me in a photo I took just a few weeks ago, on this year's Easter weekend. Can't you see the difference? There's color in my cheeks, breasts of just the right size, no pointy corners instead of shoulders, and -- most importantly -- hope and joy in my heart.

I've come a long way, baby! Don't you agree? So if you're struggling with poor body image, an eating disorder, food issues, or any self-injuring compulsion, take heart -- health is possible! Freedom is possible! God has been so faithful to me, and now I am reaping His victory.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dreaming of Spring

Yesterday I promised that I would reveal the recipe behind a decadent-looking pink and frosty treat. Here is the fulfillment of that promise! This weekend I concocted a new frozen yogurt in my ice cream maker in honor of this month's Royal Foodie Joust. That's why I wanted to devote a post solely to this recipe. The current version of the Joust presents a unique challenge. Normally the previous month's winner selects three ingredients that participants must incorporate into their entries. This month, however, the ingredients are actually more of stipulations -- the entries must be red, green, and white in some way. I suppose that's in homage to spring, although it reminds me more of Christmas.

And certainly the weather here is more wintry than warm and verdant. As I'm writing, snowflakes are drifting by my window. I suppose that's the fallout of living in western Montana -- spring is slow in coming. Still, I'm ready for some sunshine and blooming flowers. In order to urge the seasons along -- at least in my head, anyway -- I created this refreshing frozen yogurt.

The recipe uses some lovely fresh ingredients, including ripe strawberries (that fulfills the red requirement) and mint leaves (green). A dash of lemon juice sparks up the flavors, while a handful of chocolate chips brings in a little decadence. Feel free to use dark chocolate for an even richer flavor. Also, use your favorite yogurt as the base, whether it be plain, Greek, or even strawberry flavored. I used fat-free vanilla (there's the white!) simply because it's what I had on hand. As usual, have fun with this one and let me know what you think!

Spring Must Be Coming Soon Strawberry Mint Frozen Yogurt

12 oz. fat-free vanilla yogurt
6 large strawberries, washed and diced
leaves of 2-3 fresh mint sprigs
dash of lemon juice
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Pulse all of the ingredients in a food processors until well blended. Process for a shorter time to create a more textured frozen yogurt, and process longer to make the yogurt smoother. Pour into your ice cream maker, following the appliance's preparation directions. Churn for 30 minutes.

Makes 2 large servings, or 3-4 small servings.

Monday, April 27, 2009

To Rest or Not to Rest?

To rest or not to rest? That shouldn't even be a question after running a 10K race, really, but of course it was for me. I love to be busy, so I often have to come close to physically tying myself down in order to get some rest. So, after running my first 10K race on Saturday, I told myself that the remainder of the weekend would be low key and restful. Well, it almost happened like that.

My post-race Saturday started off okay. After crossing the finish line and catching up with some of my husband's wonderful family, the Best Husband Ever and I sauntered back across the river to our parked car. Arriving at home, I took a long and luxurious steaming shower before heading back out for a treat and Scrabble day with the hubby. Because our usual downtown treat locations were jam-packed with runners and their respective entourages, we tried something a little different. He has mentioned in the past that he enjoys the doughnuts sold at a particular grocery store's bakery, so we headed that way. He ordered a croissant and an old fashioned chocolate doughnut, and I got a glazed croissant. I tried a bite of both of his treats, and the doughnut was fabulous. My own croissant was a little too doughnut-y for me, though, although it was light, sweet, and tasty. It was a little bit of a disappointing reward after working so hard that morning, though.

Following our game of Scrabble -- collectively our score broke 600 points, but did not beat our all-time high -- the Best Husband Ever went in to work for a few hours. This made me a bit sad, but I understand because he's under a lot of pressure from this challenging project. Happily, he made some good progress on Saturday.

As for me, the hubby's absence made for a perfect opportunity to take it easy. Did I take advantage of this? Well . . . not so much. I transformed into a cleaning machine, dusting, vacuuming, doing copious amounts of laundry, scrubbing the bathroom, and washing walls. I simultaneously uploaded pictures to Flickr. I even made some of this (stand by for a more in-depth post on this yummy creature tomorrow!):

So my post-race rest never quite happened on Saturday. Oops!

I did a little better on Sunday. Waking up early, I enjoyed working out with some cardio followed by a Tae-Bo strength DVD. This was a special treat as, when our downstairs neighbor is home, my exercising is loud and interrupts his sleep. He was gone all weekend, though, so I took advantage. I love early morning workouts!

After church and stopping by the in-laws' for some visiting and coffee, the Best Husband Ever had a second try at treat day for lunch. Once again, we headed to Bernice's, Scrabble in hand. He got his stand-by caramel roll, while I ordered a savory croissant stuffed with spinach and cheeses including feta, parmesan, and mozzerella. It was fairly tasty, although probably would have been better warmed up. I guess I'm just not having good luck with the treat choices this weekend! Still, I enjoyed trying out new items.

By the time we finished up our Scrabble game, I was exhausted. Partially from sitting in the bakery's sunny window, but also from my rather tiring Saturday. The hubby drove me home, where I had planned to fold laundry and begin packing for this coming weekend's house move. Instead, I curled up with a book (Breaking Dawn, the somewhat average last book in Stephanie Meyer's vampire series) and then promptly falling asleep for an hour. When I woke up, groggy, I blogged and then took Cody for a short hike. None of my Sunday work plans got accomplished (at least, not my plans for me -- the hubby reseeded the lawn, which rocks), but I think that's okay. Rest is important, right? That's what I keep on telling myself. It's okay to listen to my body, assess what it needs, and then take it easy when necessary.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

10K Conquered!

As of 9:52 on the morning of Saturday, April 25 (or, in a word, yesterday), I completed my first 10K race. I think that feat is more than deserving of a big old huzzah! It was a chilly day for it, though, and I was dubious about my performance as I did a brief, shivery warm-up in the not-quite-30 degree F weather.

I marveled at how little some of the runners were wearing on the gray and somewhat windy morning, with some competitors turning out in little more than shorts and a sports bra. All I have say to that is brrrr! As for me, I donned light pants, SmartWool socks, stretchy gloves, and a thermal shirt for under my t-shirt. I'm glad I didn't wear anything more as it would have quickly become uncomfortable. As it was, I was sweating by mile 3. Still, my choices were perfect for the then-unknown mixes of sun, shade, and wind that I would encounter on the run.

I'm writing quite a bit about the conditions, aren't I? How about a little info on the race itself, then. 397 runners turned out for the 10K, and over 1,200 competed in the 5K race later that day. I thought that the downtown would be much busier when the Best Husband Ever dropped me off at the starting line, but it was all quite quiet. I also imagined that I would recognize more of the runners, but it wasn't until a few minutes before the start that I finally found a familiar face -- a fellow teacher from the elementary school where I work. I also soon saw an old Bible study acquaintance and one of my husband's co-wokers as well as a man I met at last Sunday's 5K race.

At 9:00 AM, all 400 of us were off and running. I started out in roughly the middle of the pack, and soon found myself wishing that I had begun closer to the front. Not because I'm especially fast, but the bottlenecking that ensued was a little frustrating. Still, I ran out with a smile on my face, enjoying the sound of pounding feet all around me. I enjoy running alone, but running in a crowd is also great fun! The group began to spread out, and we streamed along the streets, safely patrolled by police, emergency care providers, and volunteers armed with caution signs (for the cars) and water (for the runners!). I thought it was a little much to have so many water stops for a 10K, but a number of people partook. I did not -- I nearly threw up near the end of the race without a bunch of water sloshing around inside my belly!

I feel pretty good about my performance. I paced myself well, and finished the 6+ mile course in 51:42, which gives me a mile pace of 8:21. That's just about spot on where I was hoping to run, and I pushed myself a little harder than I would on a standard long workout run (which tend to come in at about 7 miles). I'm quite satisfied with that pacing!

I began to feel a bit bummed at the end, though, when I was passed by a runner (with bib number 310 in the photos) who I had caught up with, kept pace with, and then passed myself earlier. We were pretty much neck-and-neck once I caught up to her somewhere around mile 3.5, and I was determined that I would stay ahead of her until the end. I didn't -- just a few minutes before the finish line, she pulled ahead and booked it to the end, even though my own legs were really pounding at that point. It was an exercise in trusting my own place, listening to my body, and knowing that I was running for me, and not to win or to beat someone else. It's easy for me to get rather aggressive and competitive, so this experience was good practice for me.

The fastest runners were insanely fast, in my opinion -- the winner finished in only 31:47, with a an average mile pace of 5:08. I can't imagine running with that kind of speed! Those front-running guys clearly were in it to win it. The fastest female came in at 38:53, and her mile pace was 6:17. Now there's a time I can at least think about working toward. Maybe not for a little while, though!

Once again, the Best Husband Ever biked along the course taking photos. Unfortunately, he had a difficult time finding me in the mass of people. Still, he captured some excellent shots of the front runners, and quite a few unattractive photos of me pulling some pretty awful faces (unbenownst to me at the time). At least I wasn't smiling, so I guess that makes me intense, right? Also, my wonderful mother- and sister-in-law also cheered me over the finish line, which was quite awesome of them.

All in all, this 10K -- my first! -- was a great experience. I worked hard and pushed myself while maintaining a good pace. Plus, I had a fabulous time! Even though this race felt a lot more like work than my two 5Ks, it was an excellent way to spend a Saturday morning.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Is it Race Day Already?

It's here. I knew it was coming, but I did not expect that it would arrive so quickly. Such stealth, such speed . . . one day it was a distant prospect, and then suddenly it was today.

My first 10K race. Gulp.

The race starts in exactly 1 hour and 33 minutes from now. The call to the starting line is in 1 hour and 18 minutes. Double gulp.

But I'm ready. I'm not sure how much more ready I could be. I've hydrated well (no mean feat for this girl -- I really don't like drinking any kind of liquid). I cut down on some fiber in yesterday's diet to make for less active intestines during the race. I've eaten a small but fueling breakfast -- one golden corn VitaTop toasted and smeared with peanut butter. I've rested (or at least, slept more than usual, if not the full 8 hours -- I was awake with jitters, an overactive bladder due to excessive hydration, and other distractions).

My mp3 player is chock full of peppy songs, from Coldplay to (yes, I'll admit it with only a little shame) Britney to movie soundtracks. I know that I can comfortably run more than 6+ miles, and I know what kind of pace I need to get me through to 7. I am fairly familiar with the racecourse. I'm about to get dressed, hang out with God for a bit, pin my racing number on, and then -- I'll be ready to run.

Wish me luck, bloggy friends!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Trial By 10K

I can't believe it's already upon me -- my first 10K race! Tomorrow is the 37th Riverbank Run, hosted by and benefiting the local YMCA. Participants can choose to run in the 10K, 5K, or 1 mile races, or compete in all three. Ouch! I'm nervous enough about the 10K and can't imaging running all three legs. Sheesh.

I'm feeling a little bummed due to the weather. The beginning of the week was hot -- I went for a couple of runs as well as a field trip with my students and got sweaty and crispy from the sun. It was, in a word, fabulous (crispiness aside). Now, however, the skies are cloudy, the wind gusting, and I'm back to shivering in the damp chill that has pervaded the city. The National Weather Service currently has the following prediction for tomorrow's conditions:
Saturday: A 20 percent chance of showers after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 55. South wind at 11 mph becoming west northwest.
Awesome. (That was sarcasm, by the way.) I'm not a big fan of running in the cold. It will be difficult to motivate myself to get out of bed in time for the frosty 9 A.M. start time. Hopefully it won't be too chilly out, and I can definitely bundle up. However, I was really looking forward to running in a skort, getting some sun, and sweating like a human-shaped pig. I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

Not that the race won't be any fun at all as a result. Quite the contrary, I think. Despite the less-than-perfect conditions, I'm sure it will be a blast. It's one of the community's most popular athletic events, with people from all walks of life turning out to run or cheer. It will be an experience in community, if nothing else, I think.

And although I know that the race will be fun, I'm still a bundle of nerves that's growing bigger by the minute. I'm worried that I'll need to use the bathroom 30 minutes into the race, and that that will mess up my time and the fun factor. Even more concerning, what if I need to use the bathroom and there isn't one available? That would be even worse. Gulp. I'm trying to stay hydrated and not eat too much fiber today to help cut down on that likelihood. Keep your fingers crossed!

Here are my goals for my premiere 10K:
  • Run the entire route at a steady, moderate pace (a.k.a., don't get overexcited and start out at a 5K pace and burn out halfway through)
  • Don't beat myself up if I do need to use a bathroom
  • Stay aware of my body's needs and the difference between pushing myself and hurting myself
  • Meet some new people
  • Have fun!
I think those goals are achievable and realistic, don't you? Send some good thoughts my way if it crosses your mind, and happy Friday! Here's to sanity, health, and, of course, running!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Race Day Recap

I am still totally psyched about my 5K running success this weekend. How incredible is that feeling of knowing that you did your best, accomplished something worth doing, did something good for your body, and enjoyed it all at the same time? Not much beats that in my book.

This 5K was a smaller field than my first race. There were only about 40 runners, and perhaps about half of those were truly in it to run hard. There were quite a few strollers and dog walkers, so it was more of a fun run than a competition. That made me feel better, though, since I just always assume that because I'm new to racing, I will be lolly gagging at the back of the field.

Not this time, though! I'm no Olympic athlete, but I can't describe how proud I am of the way I pushed myself in this race. I ran the course in 25:56, which is about 45 seconds faster than my first 5K race time. That brings my pace to 8:21 per mile, which is right what I would both want to and hope to run at, if that makes sense. It's faster than my long run miles by quite a bit, and a good time to build off of for the future.

Also, I finished eleventh overall, and I was the first place female! At the race's halfway point turn-around, I realized that I wasn't passing any more women running back -- I was the first one! The thought that not only could I run a 5K well, but also run it to win it for my gender group gave me a huge buzz and the drive to push myself even harder back to the finish line. That pushing wasn't easy, of course -- I felt like I was going to vomit for about the last quarter of the race. I didn't get sick, perhaps largely because I didn't want to stop to do so. I wanted to defend my position, and also get as good of a time as possible. There was no time for puking!

Not only was the race laid back, super fun, and a big success for me personally and athletically, it was an amazingly gorgeous day. The weather was warm, and both I and the spectating/photographing Best Husband Ever (all the race photos are his work!) got a little crispy from the sun. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law also turned out in support, which both heartened me and made me a little nervous/eager to do well. Incidentally, this sister-in-law won this same 5K last year (I think) for her age group as well. I guess it's a family tradition now!

It's still hard for me to fathom how I -- traditionally an avowed enemy of running -- has become not only a regular runner, but a racer! I'm not complaining, though. It's been extremely fun, and I'm looking forward with nervous anticipation to my next race and next first -- this coming Saturday's 10K race, and my first race of that kind!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Fine Day for a 5K

Today I ran my second 5K race, gASPing for Air, a race hosted by the University's pharmacy students to send asthmatic kids to camp. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. The Best Husband Ever took wonderful photos, and my lovely mother- and sister-in-law both showed up to support me. It was such a fun race and . . . I won! More on that later, but I just wanted to share that I won the female division of my second ever race!! I'll fill in details in my next post, but I just couldn't wait to shout that news to the blogosphere. Rah rah running!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday's Sweets, Sun, and Scrapes

It's been quite a day! A lovely day, to be sure -- it seems that spring has finally arrived! It was so sunny and warm that I was able to don a dress and feel mostly comfortable without loads of extra layering on top. Ahhh sunshine . . . I've missed you! Unfortunately, the Best Husband Ever could not enjoy the day to its fullest extent because he had to go into work this afternoon. Pooh is what I say to that, even while I understand that a) he really does have an important deadline to meet, and b) he's not a big sun fan anyway. Crazy, I know.

Still, we were able to kick off the weekend in our usual fashion -- sweet treat Saturday! We each grabbed something yummy at Bernice's Bakery. The hubby ordered some sort of a danish with loads of blackberries and jam on top. I enjoyed a blueberry cream cheese croissant with my coffee that truly hit the spot. Yum!

The Best Husband Ever also played a game of Scrabble. Like the past few weekends, we again totaled our collective points instead of competing against each other. With my Italian/Polish temper and competitiveness, this strategy has created a much more peaceable Scrabble Saturday! Scrabble is good for the brain and sometimes the soul, but perhaps not so much for a marriage if you're wedded to someone as hot-headed as me! All that to say . . . today's game was quite fun. Together, we played a game worth 629 points. Now we have to try to beat that score! (Did I mention that I'm competitive . . . ?)

Because it was so lovely outside, and because I'm sure they've been dying to get out of the house, the Best Husband Ever suggested that we take our pups along to Bernice's. We tethered them up outside, where they waited [mostly] patiently. The hubby kept dashing out of the bakery to double check on their status. Thankfully, he never discovered anything concerning.

Because Cody and Jackson were so well-behaved during their morning abandonment (I always feel like that's what the dogs must think when I leave them tied up outside of an establishment I enter), we rewarded them with some biscuits and a trip to the dog park. It was a happening place, packed with dogs, trash collecting volunteers (it was a city cleanup day), and kiddos.

I think they had a good time. That is a happy puppy face if I ever saw one! What do you think?

Following the dog park, we made a quick stop at the public library. This week was slow at work, so I had time to comb through a couple of Scholastic book orders and then reserve books that I wanted to read through the library. I'm currently finishing up the last book in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series (entertaining but a little heavy on the teen angst/vampire love sappiness at times), and have been on the lookout for what to read next. Well, that problem has been solved -- today I picked up at least 10 new books! I don't know if I'll be able to finish them before their mid-May due date, especially with our imminent house purchase and move coming up. I'll do my best, though!

Then, to console myself when the Best Husband Ever left for work, and also to treat myself to some sunshine and nourishment, I biked over to a Starbucks. There I enjoyed an overpriced banana chocolate smoothie with some really timely words from the book of Ephesians. Like I mentioned earlier, I can sometimes get really emotional and upset. So this message was a good one for me to hear, especially today after feeling a bit grumpy fir the last few days: "For Christ himself has brought peace to us. . . . In his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. . . . Our hostility toward each other was put to death" (Ephesians 2:14-16, selected). Good stuff. The extended bike ride that followed was also quite wonderful, taking me through some of the same territory that I ran yesterday and beyond. I even saw a llama!

Although the day itself was a nice one -- made even more so by the fact that the hubby came home earlier than expected and we got to visit my in-laws -- it ended in a small tragedy. Okay, perhaps "tragedy" is too strong of a word. But it was a scary event! As I was chopping up a kiwi for my dinner salad, I sliced right into my left index finger. Oh boy. Let me just say that I'm not very good with injuries. In the past I have fainted while watch a First Aid training video. Blood is not my deal. That's why I'm an educator and not a vet.

When I cut my finger this evening, I immediately knew that it was not a slight paper cut. Coached by the Best Husband Ever, I quickly stuck it under a faucet of streaming cold water, but it continued to bleed much more copiously than I was comfortable with. Soon my head was swimming, my hearing cottony, and I lowered myself to the floor to avoid knocking my head if I passed out. Thankfully, the hubby got my finger bandaged and I managed to stay conscious, if not completely lucid. After a horrible ten minutes' of nausea, cold sweat, and my wonderful man distracting me with calm questions about earring and wardrobe coordination, I turned back into myself, sans a trip to dream land.

Later the hubby admitted that he wasn't sure if I was not about it go into shock. Thankfully, he has a soothing demeanor and quick hands when it comes to patching. I think it must run in the family, because his sister did the same for me when I had a bloody scrum head injury a year or two ago. I almost fainted then, too. How embarrassing. Still, my forehead didn't scar then, and I've made it out of tonight's accidental knifing without any lasting damage. And that means that I'm all ready to run my second ever 5K race tomorrow afternoon, bandaged finger and all!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sun Run

Today ended up being amazingly gorgeous and warm outside. It's about time -- we had snow earlier this week! After a pretty nice day at work -- we took the kids over the community gardens to dig up weeds for a bit, which was good, sunny fun -- I donned my running skort, sneaks, and sunglasses and hit the roads for a run. I decided to start at the local fort, which was an Italian internment camp during World War II (my father-in-law is working on a brilliant historical fiction novel about that -- I'm excited to read it once he's finished) as a military base and a wildfire lookout center. It's also the location of my wedding to the Best Husband Ever!

Because it was so beautiful out, and also due to the fact that I'm an amateur photo bug and always wish I could capture scenes from my runs, I decided to tote along my little digital camera. It was a bit annoying to hold onto, but snapping a record of my run made it that much more fun. Since it was a long run -- 7.8 miles, according to Gmaps Pedometer, and my longest run to date! -- randomly taking pictures helped break up the monotony mid-run. Although I wonder what people I passed thought, if anything . . . .

So here is a photographic record of my run! I started at the Fort, ran out along a golf course for about 2.5 miles, staying in the grass to improve my trail running skills, then cut across a field into a recreation park. There I did two laps of the park loop (stopping for a regretted five-ish minute bathroom break -- for some reason I cannot run for more than 3-4 miles without needing one -- does anyone have this problem or suggestions?? I'm getting nervous about my 10k for this reason . . .). From the park I headed out on a pedestrian path along a main road past the College of Technology and agricultural centers, then doubled back, catching one more lap through the park. Then I took a different road back to the Fort, passing by the post cemetary, cutting through some fields, passing the barracks and officers' quarters again before ending up at the spot where I got married. Whew! It was a lovely time, you can bet! It was sunny, warm with just the right amount of breeze, and I even saw some huge ospreys.

I listened to Podrunner's interval training for 10k mix, week 6 (I think), which was a great selection. This is the first time I've downloaded any sort of running mix, and I found it to be very helpful and had a good BPM my mileage and pace. Based on my enjoyment of this mp3, I'd recommend Podrunner's mixes to anyone looking to spice up their exercise audio options.

And now, without further ado, stalk my run! It was a fun one, friends, and I hope you enjoy reliving it as much as I enjoyed running it.