Wednesday, November 30, 2016
This past year has brought with it so many trials, challenges, hurdles and gray hairs—but the biggest constant in my life this last year (besides God, of course) has been that loving, sweet husband of mine. The smile on my face in the photo above is the smile that I reserve for him only. It's a real smile—one that exudes adoration, devotion, and a love that grows for him as each day passes.
When people say, "I'm so lucky," it can sometimes come off as cliché. When I think it—every single day—I know it to be 100% true. I can't put into words everything that my husband does for me, but the list keeps growing and growing and sometimes I just have to step back and take a look at just how good we have it... because we do—we have it so, so good.
As we celebrate our fourth anniversary today and a total of five-and-a-half years together, I am taking a moment to reflect on the photo above, one of my very favorites ever taken of us (from January 2016), and just rejoice in the happiness that Daniel brings me and the love that we share in our marriage. I don't always show my feelings—gotta keep that military bearing, right?—but you can't help but notice how truly happy I am in that photo. That is REAL happiness. And I find it in my husband.
Daniel, happy fourth anniversary. You're my best friend and you know me better than anyone. You put up with all my garbage, and you do it with so much grace. God blessed me with the perfect gift when He gave me you. I love you. Pound it... (pound, pound, pound!).
Past Anniversary Posts: Year One │ Year Two │ Year Three
Monday, October 31, 2016
November 27th will mark three years of service with the Idaho Air National Guard. Gosh, three years already—it's gone by so fast and it seems like hardly anything when I look forward to the big picture and (hopeful) 17+ years ahead until I hit my full 20 for retirement!
I may have had a fairly short military career thus far, but I feel like I've had the privilege to experience a lot in my brief tenure. From joining as an enlisted Airman and serving as a traditional guardsman, to five months of Student Flight, to Basic Military Training, to Personnel Technical School, to being selected for my commission, to Officer Training School and also being part of the Air Force Marathon MAJCOM Challenge team... it's been rather non-stop!
Needless to say, I've received hundreds and HUNDREDS of emails over the years from future Air Force prospects, current Airmen, and spouses/family members who are looking for answers from someone who's living it day in and day out. So today's video is going to answer a lot of those frequently asked questions and give you a little background of my story.
Check out the FAQ video below. If you have more questions after watching, please don't hesitate to leave them in the comment box below! Note: this video was recorded while I was a Second Lieutenant, working a temporary full-time position at the Air Guard, and prior to going to the training for my new officer job.
This video covers these questions/topics:
- (1:05) Why did you join the Air National Guard?
- (2:17) My career progression in the ANG (Enlistment > Student Flight > Basic Training > Technical School > Commissioning > Officer Technical School > Full-time Guardsman?)
- (7:14) How do you commission (become an officer)?
- (8:53) How does job selection work for officers? Is it affected by your degree?
- (9:42) What are some things you've experienced as an officer than you never experienced while enlisted?
- (10:32) How do you prepare for the ASVAB/AFOQT? (ASVAB=Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test - for enlisted and AFOQT=Air Force Officer Qualifying Test - for officers)
- (11:54) How do I get my PT run time down? How do I train for the AF PT Test?
- (14:05) How does the Air Guard impact your family, home life and future plans?
- (16:50) I'm interested in joining—where do I begin?
Thanks for taking the time to watch my video... and thank you to everyone who submitted questions! If you'd like further clarification on a topic, have additional questions or think of anything else I may have missed, please leave a comment below. Hooah!
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Monday, October 24, 2016
Note: This is my CURRENT on AND off-season workout plan until otherwise posted. Regardless of whether I'm training for a race or not, this is the plan is that works best for me year-round!
Every morning—like clockwork—I begin my day with a workout. I can probably count on two hands the times I have missed a workout in the last three years. It's just something I love and it is not only a way to stay physically fit, but it is mental reset, too. I found a workout routine and groove that worked for me and my ever-changing schedule in March, 2015 and have stuck with something similar ever since—adapting as I go.
Since my normal "current training plan" posts are often lengthy and come with a lot of written details, I thought I'd explain the routine I'm currently following in a video! Watch the video and check out any accompanying links/details below!
Here's a daily breakdown of this workout plan:
Here are the links for the specific training plans, which I've combined into my one master workout routine:
- Hal Higdon Marathon 3
- I like this plan (in general) because it's a 3-day per week running plan. I can't run more than that or my knees start to ache and I don't recover as fast. Really though, when I say I "follow" this plan, all I truly follow is the Saturday/Sunday long run distances (if I'm actually training for a race). Otherwise, I just use Sundays as my long-run day with no specific distance.
- Hal Higdon Half Marathon Advanced
- I use the Tuesday/Thursday speed and tempo runs from this plan. Targeting speed training in this manner has helped me take my marathon time down to a 3:00:35. SPEED WORK IS ESSENTIAL, whether you're training for a long or short race.
- In fact, when people in the Air Force reach out for what to do to decrease their PT test time, I direct them toward this method of speed and interval training. It's a game changer, folks.
- (Also, cardio intervals and repeats are also really good methods to help burn excess body fat!).
- Strength Training:
- Mike Matthews Thinner Leaner Stronger
- I have followed Mike's blog & podcast for about a year and have incorporated his TLS 5-day strength split from his book into my routine (he also has three and four day splits, depending on your preferences). My goal with adding TLS into my plan was not necessarily to get thinner or leaner—it was to get stronger, faster, and to help gain/maintain the muscle that I tend to run off when I get into my heavy marathon training. Needless to say, this program has helped me get my butt and curves back in all the right places.
- Ladies, lifting heavy weight does not make you bulky! In fact, it leans you out, tones you up, and depending on your eating—can literally help you achieve any body type you desire.
- Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guides (1.0 and 2.0)
- I have gone through the entire program (12-weeks of 1.0 and 12-weeks of 2.0) twice for a total of 48-weeks. I do 1.0, then 2.0, begin 1.0 again and then do 2.0 again, cycling through its entirety each time I restart it. I love this program and feel like no other HIIT or high intensity intervals do as much for my body as this does. I burn fat, I trim down, and I get surprisingly stronger and faster by implementing this plan into my schedule. I love that the entire workout is only 28-minutes—it keeps me motivated and is easy to incorporate with the other elements of my master plan.
- And seriously, I never had abs until I started this. It's not all this program—it's healthy eating, too—but man... the two of them together? Unbeatable.
If you have questions, please don't hesitate to leave them in the comments below. Remember—I'm not a certified personal trainer or dietitian, so I can't give specific advice, but I'm happy to answer questions based on my own personal experience.
As always—Train Hard. Run Fast!
Follow my fitness journey here: Instagram @auniesauce │ Garmin Connect │ myfitnesspal
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Monday, October 17, 2016
When I enlisted in the Idaho Air National Guard in November 2013, I never anticipated the direction my life would take me in the next few years. In that short three-year timeframe, I've gone from an enlisted Airman First Class Personnelist to a commissioned Second Lieutenant Operations Officer. And recently, life has thrown me yet another curve ball that I'd be just crazy not to take a swing at.
As of October 2016, I am officially a (temporary) full-time Air National Guardsman. I no longer am employed as a Wellness Coordinator by our local Boise hospital. This is a huge decision for me (and Daniel!) and one that—while I didn't look forward to ending my career at the hospital—is a step in a direction that I feel like God is leading me toward right now.
I am so grateful for the new opportunity I am being given with the Air Guard, and though it is temporary for the moment, I intend to make the most of this experience, pursuing either a permanent full-time career or seeking to return to the hospital after this temporary appointment—whichever is right when that time comes.
Over the past six years, I've worked with the most amazing colleagues at the hospital across three different departments. In each venture I've taken, they've had my back. They were all especially supportive of me when I joined the Air National Guard, and they have given me ceaseless encouragement every step of the way. I couldn't have done it without them. My time at the hospital provided me with opportunities for continued education, community involvement, professional development, and ultimately a spirit of volunteerism which has lead me to the service I'm dedicating to our state and country with my new position.
It was with a heavy heart—yet hopeful outlook for the future—that I made the recent career change, pursuing the opportunity with the military in a full-time capacity. Again, I never anticipated that joining the Air Guard would lead me to this avenue, though I will now fulfill my military duties to the best of my ability and with steadfast enthusiasm.
This new change of pace—a rapid one so it may seem—is exactly the speed that God has me traveling at the moment. I can't wait to see where He takes me next.
Off we go, into the wild blue yonder...
Monday, October 10, 2016
Last year, I thought that running two marathons in six days was a good idea (the City of Trees Marathon followed by the Freakin' Fast Marathon). I may have gotten a new marathon personal record (PR) of 3:06:58 with my second race, but man I was sore for WEEKS! One would like to think I’d have learned my lesson—two marathons in a week is not a good idea!
But, FOR SOME REASON, when I realized a week before the Freakin' Fast Marathon that it again fell just seven days after the marathon I’d been training all year for (the Air Force Marathon) I—in a moment of insanity and just three days prior to the race—signed up to run it. Good heavens, I was doing it again.
To be fair, I actually signed up for the FF Marathon on a “why not” whim, not actually knowing if my legs would be recovered enough to run it. It made my family super anxious because they knew that I have a tendency to overdo things and they were nervous that I was running myself straight into an injury. My knees had really bothered me during the Air Force Marathon, and the last thing I needed with everything I have in store for this next year was some sort of strain, tear, sprain, etc. I told them that I wouldn’t do the race unless I felt like my legs and knees were healed enough to be able to do it… but we all know me and of course they ended up “being recovered” enough for me to do it. Because what’s a little knee pain, right? Sure, it was probably not the smartest decision, but that’s neither here nor there.
The day before the race, I decided I was going to do it as I took a big bite of my very own pizza. I don’t normally carb-load for races, but as I devoured slice after slice I just knew it… “I was going to do that marathon tomorrow.”
The next morning, I caught the bus up the hill at 5:30 am, loading up with all the other crazies who were braving the morning chill to get their marathon kicks on the fastest course in the world. Most of the runners who attempt the Freakin’ Fast Marathon are not from Idaho. They fly/drive over in an attempt to get their best PR or a Boston qualifying (BQ) time. We chatted and discussed the race on the 60-minute ascent up Bogus Basin, our local ski hill, anticipating the grueling hours ahead. When we got to the top, we warmed ourselves on the buses before we moseyed to the start line just prior to the 7:20 am start.
In true Idaho fashion, the race kicked off with the honking of the race directors’ car horn. (Sidenote: Wayne and Christie of Final Kick Events always do an amazing job of putting on races, and that’s why I love doing this race so much!) And just like that, “BEEEEPPPPPP!” and we were off… 95 of us jetting down the Bogus Basin ski hill for yet another downhill and freakin’ fast marathon.
They don’t call the FF Marathon the fastest in the world for nothing. Before you know it, your average 7:00-7:15/mile marathon goal pace quickly drops to 6:20/mile and there’s nothing you can do about it. Your legs just fly down that hill. Shortly after beginning, I was passed at mile four by the gal who ended up winning 1st place female and 2nd place overall. She was smokin’ it, and I cheered her as she passed. From mile four through mile 25, the only people I saw on the course were aid station volunteers. I was a bit ahead of the main pack along with several others who were far enough in front of me to be out of sight, and it was just me on the open road for 21 miles.
While my legs were turning over a pace of about 6:30/mile (and kept wanting to go faster), I kept trying to slow myself down, aiming for a time closer to 6:50/mile in an attempt to try to get a sub-3-hour marathon without injuring myself. I am pretty sure I could have maintained a faster mile pace on the 20-mile downhill portion of the race, but all the worries of my family were in the back of my mind and I figured that finishing injury free—even if it was slower than my goal time of 3:00:00—was certainly worth not risking any long-term damage. So slow down I did.
I sipped Gatorade and water at almost every aid station, downing a root beer flavored Gu at mile nine. I also grabbed a vanilla Gu for mile 18, but didn’t end up taking it—thinking I’d be okay—which was mistake number one of many. (Sidenote: if you’re a marathoner, no matter how much you think you won’t need that Gatorade, water or Gu several miles down the road—DRINK/EAT/TAKE IT ANYWAY. When the exhaustion hits you and it’s too late to down some fuel, it’s better to be safe than sorry!).
I took each winding turn as it came, overlooking the city of Boise and snaking down the foothills one step at a time. It was such a peaceful, beautiful, sunny, warm day. I prayed the whole way, asking that God would protect my knees, feet, hamstrings and calves, all of which were starting to ping me around mile 17, which was where we hit our only uphill portion of the course. I took it head on, telling myself it would be over soon—which it was after about a mile—and settled back in to the downhill stride. I had trouble picking back up my 6:40/mile pace at that point though, settling in closer to 7:00/mile. I still felt good, but my legs were just tired.
Two miles later, I hit the last six miles of the course—the flat stretch—and it took everything I had to maintain any sort of pace. After going pretty much entirely downhill (and a steep downhill) for 20-miles, a flat road feels like you’re trying to pick up and move blocks for legs. I somehow managed to swing my arms enough to keep myself moving, mustering between 7:20-7:40/mile for my last six—but it just wasn’t going to be fast enough. With 1.5-miles left to go on the course and only about nine minutes left until I hit 3:00:00, I knew I wasn’t going to come in sub-three. I can run a 9:00 1.5-mile, but that’s when I’m fresh at my Air Force PT Test… not after running 25-miles already, you know? I was bummed that I was going to miss my goal, but I was determined to finish strong.
As I came around the finish, I saw my mother-in-law jumping up and down and screaming my name, “Aunie! Aunie! Aunie! Run my little cheetah, run! Way to go Aunie Girl!” She and the race director, Christie, were both cheering me on so I picked up my pace as I ran past the 26-mile marker. I heard Daniel’s family rooting for me and saw Daniel standing at the finish—a huge smile on his face. I crossed the line at 3:00:35, just thirty-five darned seconds slower than my goal time, but a new PR and a killer race to boot. I was just so happy—I had finished it!
We celebrated with hugs and photos (and a bagel, cookie, an apple, etc.) and chatted up the other crazies as they finished the race. See more photos from the race below, as I feel like I need to end this recap now because it’s surely turning into one of my longest posts to date. Ah, race recaps… so many details, you just can’t leave any out!
See the rest of the photos from the race below:
All of us crazies up at the top of the hill, ready to run our little hearts out down the Bogus Basin hill.
And we're off! The dude in the red was the overall winner, and the gal next to me was the overall female winner. They were speedy!
I'm clearly excited to be running... I was anticipating the pain I knew would set in about 20-miles later!
Awesome and huge medals waiting for us at the finish.
Coming across the finish at 3:00:35! The race director ran up to me and was like, "Come on, Annelise! 35 seconds... really?" He knew how badly I wanted to be sub-3!
All smiles at the finish. So glad it was over, and happy to PR by over 6-minutes!
I ended up finishing in 3:00:35 as the 2nd place overall female and 5th place overall. What an awesome crowd of runners we had!
So grateful for Daniel's amazing family who came out to support me and cheer me through the finish. Thank you, guys! That meant so much to me to have you there!
All in all, I may not have achieved my sub-3-hour marathon goal, but gosh—I came pretty darn close! As a matter of fact, had I gone just a smidge faster and shaved 1.5-seconds off each mile, I would have finished at my goal time. Oh well—hindsight, right? When all was said and done, I ended up finishing as the 2nd overall female, 5th overall finisher, and set a new personal record for myself by 6:23. I’d say that’s a worthy race, indeed. In fact, in the last year, I’ve qualified for Boston four times over. Maybe one of these days I’ll stop getting scheduled for military trainings so I can actually go run that marathoner’s dream of a race… just maybe.
I’m also happy to report that while I’m still not quite able to run at all nor walk normally yet due to the unwavering soreness in my legs, I did finish the race injury free. I can’t say I’d ever advise running two full marathons within a week of each other, but for the last two years I’ve PR’d and had even faster recovery times with both of my second races. Again, I’m not saying it’s a good idea… but I wouldn’t rule it out for myself in the future, either. I may be crazy, but man, I just love running!
Thanks to Wayne & Christie with Final Kick Events for the great race, and thank you to Daniel and his family for coming out to support me at the finish! Every single person who has cheered and encouraged me along the way has made an impact, and I’m so grateful for each and every one of you!