Sunday, December 25, 2016


Merry Christmas timeline Christmas card, Rowe Christmas 2016

Love ♥ The Rowe's and all our fun adventures
(there weren't enough photo spots to include all of them—and there are MANY more in store for 2017!)

A few thoughts that go along with this annual holiday card tradition of ours...
  • Sometimes I think I create these cards just for us—to fill our holiday coffee table book—it's like my Christmas present to myself
  • When I began this tradition in 2011, I figured there would be more than just two of us for the last four years... obviously that didn't happen!

Past Christmas cards: 2011 │ 2012201320142015

Monday, December 12, 2016

Theme-Parking Trip to Orlando, Florida

Disneyworld, Magic Kingdom, Disneyworld at Christmas, Best time of year to visit Disneyworld

Daniel and I, despite our love of traveling, don't often go new places on real vacations... we usually take our days off to visit out-of-state family and often travel to the same spots over and over. So two weeks prior to our anniversary, when Daniel asked if I would be interested in a REAL (week-long!) vacation to DISNEYWORLD, how was I to say no? Everyone says that mid-December is the best time to theme-park in Orlando, so we booked our tickets on a whim! Three weeks later, after working seven 12-14 hour days in a row, we were on the plane with my brother-in-law and his wife on a little Rowe couple's get-a-way.

We arrived in Orlando on Monday evening and without even stopping to check in at our hotel, we drove our rental car straight to Shades of Green (an Armed Forces Resort) to purchase our military discount tickets for the week. We didn't miss a beat and headed straight for Magic Kingdom to catch some warm night-time weather and low ride wait times for a few hours before the park closed—and what a good decision that was! The longest line we ended up waiting in was maybe 20-minutes. We ended up hitting all the big ones—Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.—and literally would get right on them, get off, and get right back on. We snagged a traditional HUGE turkey leg and some Dole Whip along the way and just roller-coaster-ed our little hearts out. By the time we ended up at the hotel, it was 1:30 am and we were beat!

Disneyworld, Magic Kingdom, Magic Kingdom Princess Castle at night, Disneyworld at Christmas
Night 1 - Magic Kingdom.

We slept in the next morning and woke up to pouring rain. We threw on our hats and jackets and headed for Hollywood Studios. It turns out that rainy days are GREAT days at Disney. It seemed like we had the park to ourselves as we rode Tower of Terror, The Great Movie Ride, Rockin' Roller Coaster, and everything else we could find with no more than 5-minute wait times. Sah-weet! After we had our fill of the thrills, we took a boat over to Epcot to visit the different worlds and lands. We ended up catching some chips and salsa in Mexico, rode the Gran Fiesta Tour, and weaved in an out of every other country before stopping in France for a meringue and soft serve. We again closed the park down with their epic fireworks IllumiNations show. Talk about living every day to the fullest!

Disneyworld, Hollywood Studios, Tower of Terror, Disneyworld at Christmas
Day 2 - Hollywood Studios.

Disneyworld, Epcot, Epcot Mexico, Disneyworld at Christmas
Day 2 - Taking a trip to Mexico at Epcot.

Disneyworld, Epcot, Epcot at night, Disneyworld at Christmas
Evening 2 - Epcot.

On Day 3, we were up bright and early to get to Universal Studios as the park opened. We figured it would be jam-packed with the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so we started the day off with the Escape from Gringotts ride. Surprisingly, we only waited about 5-minutes for the ride, and we were shocked to find out that the lines for the rest of the day would be similar—if not shorter! We did not hold back at Universal, bouncing between both parks and taking it all in. We rode Revenge of the Mummy, Rip-Ride Rockit, Dueling Dragons, Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls, Jurassic Park, The Hulk, ET Adventure, Doctor Doom's Fearfall, and Popeye's Bilge-Rat Barges (I skipped that one). Seriously—we rode ALL THE RIDES... and then some again and again! Of all the parks, I think Universal was my favorite simply because of the vast array of high-intensity rides and just how empty the park was compared to the Disney parks. We got so lucky! We ended up soaking in every minute we could there, finishing the evening by just wandering through Diagon Alley and enjoying treats from their Sugar Shoppe until the park closed.

Universal Studios Florida, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Diagon Alley
Day 3 - Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Diagon Alley.

Universal Studios Florida, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hogsmeade
Day 3 - On the other side of Universal Studios at Hogsmeade. Lunch at the Three Broomsticks was so fun!

Universal Studios Florida, Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls
Day 3 - Universal Studios at Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls. Yes, I'm wearing my poncho on backwards... I rode with my hood on backwards the entire ride. It was perfect—I didn't get wet and looked like a total dork!

Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Parade, Universal Studios at Christmas, Best time of year to visit Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios sunset
Evening 3 - A magical sunset and deserted streets at Universal Studios. We couldn't have asked for a better day there!

Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Parade, Universal Studios at Christmas, Best time of year to visit Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios sunset
A perfect end to day 3 at Universal Studios!

Day 4 brought a repeat of Magic Kingdom and Epcot. We arrived at Magic Kingdom when it opened and enjoyed some of the other rides we weren't able to hit on the first night. We went on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, "it's a small world," the tea cups at the Mad Tea Party, the Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, Haunted Mansion, and then of course Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain again. The cinnamon almonds in Frontier Land were a treat that held me over until we got to Epcot where I enjoyed some Norwegian Lefse—it didn't taste quite as good as my Grandma's, but it was truly a treat nevertheless! We again walked through each country and enjoyed the sunny weather and traditional food offerings. For once, we left before the park closed and ended up making it in time for happy hour at Landry's, which was a success in itself. Yum, that seafood was good!

Disneyworld, Magic Kingdom, Magic Kingdom Princess Castle, Disneyworld at Christmas, Best time to visit Disneyworld, Best time to visit Magic Kingdom
Day 4 - Back at Magic Kingdom for more rides!

Disneyworld, Epcot, Epcot Ball
Day 4 - Epcot. The Norwegian Lefse was my favorite treat!

We were up early on Day 5, heading to the Animal Kingdom for a new adventure. It was chilly that morning, so the park was relatively calm. We rode Everest and took the Kilimanjaro Safari, and then watched the Lion King show and walked through every exhibit we could find. The detail that went into Animal Kingdom was just amazing—it truly feels like you're in a different world! By about 2:00 pm, we were experiencing some serious hunger pains, so we decided to end our park-hopping for the day and enjoyed a delicious buffet lunch at El Patron. Holy cow, their Mexican food took the cake for our favorite meal... plus we were starving, so literally... it was so, so good and we filled up! We followed our feast with a well-deserved ciesta. Later on, we drove and shopped around International Drive, ending the evening at RA Sushi with some yummy rolls!

Disneyworld, Animal Kingdom, Best time of year to visit Animal Kingdom
Day 5 - Animal Kingdom.

Disneyworld, Animal Kingdom, Animal Kingdom Everest Ride
Day 5 - Top of the Everest roller coaster at Animal Kingdom. That ride was bomb!

Day 6, our last full day, was spent at Sea World. We are so grateful that Sea World offers free admission to military members, so we enjoyed most of the day with the marine life and some of my favorite rides yet. Sea World is just so different from any of the other parks we experienced. First, my FAVORITE favorite ride of the whole trip was Manta. That ride blew my mind and was just an absolute thrill. My second favorite ride was Maco, which claims to be Orlando's tallest, fastest and longest coaster. It was pretty darn fun. We also watched the Clyde and Seamore Sea Lion High show, walked through all the aquariums and exhibits, and visited every bit of the park. While we had only intended on staying for the morning, we ended up spending a good majority of the day there, spending the longest time with the seals. Around dinner time, we departed the park and headed straight to BJ's for some deep dish pizza, wings, chicken, and laughs. It was the perfect way to cap off an excellent vacation.

Sea World, Sea World aquarium, Sea World shark encounter, Best time of year to visit Sea World
Day 6 - Inside the Shark Encounter at Sea World.

Sea World, Sea World petting sharks, Sea World shark encounter, Sea World Shark Touch Pool, Best time of year to visit Sea World
Day 6 - Petting brown-banded bamboo sharks at Sea World.

Sea World, Sea World seals, Sea World Seal Feeding
Day 6 - The Sea World seals were so full of personality.

Sea World, Sea World at Christmas, Best time of year to visit Sea World
Day 6 - Sea World at Christmas... thank you to Sea World for offering free admission to military members!

Sunday, as we boarded the plane to go home, you could say we were ready to get back to the daily grind, but gosh—we didn't want to leave the sunshine! To go theme-parking from sun-up to sun-down each day was pretty exhausting, but it was so worth it. All-in-all, we had six full days of theme-parking, laughs, delicious food, and memories that will last a lifetime. For an on-a-whim trip, we were so surprised that we were able to do it without breaking the bank! I mean, Daniel asked me about the trip maybe three weeks before we boarded the plane. What was intended as a surprise anniversary trip turned into a getaway that I couldn't have planned better if I had started hashing it out months in advance. Plus, we got to spend the entire week with my brother-in-law and his wife, so it was a trip that we all enjoyed together! Trust me... the memories are good ones already.

And like everyone said, mid-December truly was the best time to go theme-parking in Orlando. With the sunny and mild weather (60's-70's), low wait times for almost every ride, and lack of overwhelming crowds, we felt like we had the parks to ourselves and a vacation that truly was—for once—a VACATION!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Our Fourth Anniversary

Daniel and Annelise Rowe Fourth Anniversary

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 OneYear TwoYear Three

Monday, October 31, 2016

Air National Guard FAQ - My Experience as an Airman and Officer

Air National Guard FAQ, From Air Force Enlisted to Officer, Air Force FAQ, Idaho Air National Guard, Commission in the Air National Guard, What its like to be in the Air Guard, 124 Fighter Wing

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?
    • Official Air National Guard page
    • Don't forget, if you're in Idaho or one of our surrounding states and are interested in the IDANG, please shoot me an email and I can connect you with my husband Daniel who is a recruiter!

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

My Year-Round Fitness Training Program

training plan, workout routine, workout program, strength training program, marathon training program, running and strength program, fitness plan for marathoners

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:

training plan, workout routine, workout program, strength training program, marathon training program, running and strength program, fitness plan for marathoners

Here are the links for the specific training plans, which I've combined into my one master workout routine:
  • Running/Cardio:
    • 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.
  • HIIT:
    • 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'd like an even more specific breakdown of each of these training plans, check out my last "current workout plan" post where I detail it all to a T!

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

A Career Change

Full-Time Air National Guard, Idaho Air National Guard, Air Guard Traditional, Air Force Lieutenant, 124 Fighter Wing

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

Freakin' Fast Marathon 2016

Freakin' Fast Marathon, Boise Idaho Marathon, Marathon PR, Fastest Marathon in the World

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:

Freakin' Fast Marathon, Boise Idaho Marathon, Marathon PR, Fastest Marathon in the World
All of us crazies up at the top of the hill, ready to run our little hearts out down the Bogus Basin hill.

Freakin' Fast Marathon, Boise Idaho Marathon, Marathon PR, Fastest Marathon in the World
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!

Freakin' Fast Marathon, Boise Idaho Marathon, Marathon PR, Fastest Marathon in the World
I'm clearly excited to be running... I was anticipating the pain I knew would set in about 20-miles later!

Freakin' Fast Marathon, Boise Idaho Marathon, Marathon PR, Fastest Marathon in the World
Awesome and huge medals waiting for us at the finish.

Freakin' Fast Marathon, Boise Idaho Marathon, Marathon PR, Fastest Marathon in the World
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!

Freakin' Fast Marathon, Boise Idaho Marathon, Marathon PR, Fastest Marathon in the World
All smiles at the finish. So glad it was over, and happy to PR by over 6-minutes!

Freakin' Fast Marathon, Boise Idaho Marathon, Marathon PR, Fastest Marathon in the World
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!

Freakin' Fast Marathon, Boise Idaho Marathon, Marathon PR, Fastest Marathon in the World
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!

Monday, October 3, 2016

UPDATED Friar Tuck: No-Heat Curls

beachy waves, curl your hair without heat, no-heat curls, easy hair tutorials, curly hair, friar tuck hairstyle

Three years ago--how has it been that long already?--I filmed my "Curl Your Hair Without Heat" video. Thanks to a shout-out by Ashton Kutcher, that video went viral (for like a week--not like news-breaking viral) and I enjoyed three-seconds of pseudo-YouTube-fame.

Fast forward three years and after many haircuts, modifications, tips, tricks and hairstyles later, I bring you a new-and-improved version of the infamous "Friar Tuck." (If you remember, that's what my husband calls it because it's so incredibly flattering... ha!). All jokes aside, this super-easy hairstyle gets the job done and gets me out the door with all-day bouncy, beachy curls.

Watch the video & try it for yourself!

  • My hair is fine and holds curl well.
  • Your hair MUST be completely dry.
  • If you do this style for overnight curls, try wrapping a silk scarf on your head so it doesn't fall out.
  • I use the Goody Ouchless Fabric Headwraps (any color works!)

/ / Like this video? Subscribe to my channel on YouTube! If you try the Friar Tuck, tweet or instagram me a photo with the hashtag #auniefriartuck.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Air Force Marathon & MAJCOM Challenge 2016

Air Force Marathon, MAJCOM Challenge, Air National Guard Marathon Team, 124 Fighter Wing

"Running for the MAJCOM, 
running for the MAJCOM,
running for the MAJCOM, 
I chanted that phrase over and over in my head every four steps as I slogged along the muggy and rolling course of the Air Force Marathon this past weekend. First four steps, "Running for the MAJCOM..." four more steps... "Running for the MAJCOM," four more steps, "Running for the MAJCOM..." and finally, "HOOAH! HOOAH!" What felt like an eternity was really just a little over three hours--and what seemed like my worst race ever really wasn't that bad after all. In fact, for 35th place overall out of 2045 runners, 2nd overall military female and 4th overall female with a time of 3:22:26... shoot, I'll take it! Update // We found out that our team WON first place out of 12 MAJCOM Challenge teams with a time of 21:44:35, beating out the second place team by 2 hours, 41 minutes, 26 seconds. Congratulations Team ANG!

As you may have already concluded, this post is my "race day recap" of the 2016 Air Force Marathon. I competed in the Air Force Half Marathon last year, and I was thrilled to be invited back for another go at the course... but this time the full marathon. Last year, I ran several half marathons and two back-to-back full marathons so I was eager to again test out my legs on another race to see what they could do. Unlike last year (the year of the races with 9 races total), this was only my second race this year. I wasn't able to sign up and train for as many races due to being gone at Officer Training School, so I feel like I've literally been training for this race all year long (I followed this plan + strength training 5x/week). Needless to say, I was ready for it (read: ready for it to be over!).

I've mentioned this over and over, but I'd like to state again that it is such an honor for me to represent the 124th Fighter Wing - Idaho Air National Guard, the Air National Guard, and the State of Idaho when I do these races. I can't reiterate enough how much I truly love running for a cause that's greater than myself. It makes all of the endless hours and miles of training worth it. Anyway, I just wanted that to be super clear... I love what I do and that I get to do it on behalf of an amazing organization!

So let's kick off this recap, shall we? 

I flew out to Dayton, Ohio on Thursday. Last year, I flew in on Friday and it all felt pretty rushed with everything we had to do, so this time around I was hoping that coming in late Thursday would at least give me an entire day to chill--mentally and physically--prior to the race. It was a good choice! I ended up taking my very first Uber ride ever to the hotel and got a night of super-restful sleep.

I woke up Friday morning and went for a light jog around the hotel, stopping to pick up a couple groceries before heading back and lifting arms for a little bit. I didn't want to do anything heavy... just wanted to get the blood flowing. I met up with the team at the Expo later that afternoon, and we all exchanged introductions and picked up our bibs. I was really excited about our team. Half of us were returning participants from last year's team and the other half was filled with fresh faces. Everyone seemed very competitive--I knew it was going to be a good team!

We all gathered for the pasta dinner that evening, loading up on our pre-race carbs, enjoying one-too-many desserts, and enjoying a guest presentation from 3-time Olympian Meb Keflezighi (say that three times fast!). My favorite part of the pasta dinner was meeting long-time online pen pal and fellow blogger, Erin from Aim High Erin. See more about our long-overdue meeting below!

After the pasta dinner, I returned to my room to ready my things for the next day. I had some pre-race jitters but did my best to stay calm and tried to tuck in early. I was up the next morning at 4:00 am, making my standard oatmeal breakfast before the buses picked us up to head to the event.

The buses--by the way--were about an hour and a half late picking us up, so much so that the race start time was pushed back by 30 minutes. Talk about a hasty start! We had enough time once we arrived at the race to drop our bags, tie our shoes, go to the bathroom (and fast!), take a quick team photo and run to the start line before the race began. It was no joke! The good news is that I didn't have much time to sit around and get nervous! Before I knew it, I was off and running and there was no turning back.

My strategy for the race was to not go out too quickly. I often go out faster than my race pace and tend to get burned out toward the end... so I did not want to do that this time! I imagined that I wanted to finish around 3:15:00, so I knew that my first several miles needed to be 7:27 or slower. I ended up managing an average of 7:17 for the first 11 or so and felt really good... until that moment when I didn't feel so really good. If you've done a marathon, you know that point in time. From miles 11-20, my time just slowly started inching slower by about 5-seconds per mile, until I was at the point where I was unable to maintain a sub-7-minute mile. I felt particularly challenged when the 3:15 pacer ran past me around mile 21 and seemed like he was just on a roll... I knew there was no way I could stick with him. And that darned mile 24... it gets me every time! It was on that dreaded mile 24 when the girl who won 1st place military female passed me. I cheered her as she passed and told myself, "Just finish the race... the place doesn't matter. JUST FINISH!"

And just finish I did. It took all my strength to muster out those last couple miles, but the cheering crowd and anticipation of the finish that I remembered from the year before was helping me eke it out and finish strong. I came across the finish at 3:22:26, 7-minutes slower than my goal time--but a strong finish nevertheless. I high-fived our public affairs guy and gave the Chief who organizes our team the biggest, sweatiest hug. I was the last runner from our team to finish (the half marathoners finished about an hour before the full runners), and it was like our entire team sighed the biggest, "Aaahhhhhhhhhhhh," of relief--we had done it.

In case you're wondering, the course is a challenging one. It's filled with rolling hills--the ones that take you by surprise--and the humidity in Ohio can sometimes just be unbearable. By the end of the race, it was about 85 degrees, 75% humidity, and as though we had been rained on or I had jumped in a pool... my uniform was flinging sweat with every stride, it was suctioned to my body--absolutely soaked--and my shoes were sloshing with every step. Boy, was I glad to be done!

After the race and awards (which two of our team members won--see below!), some of us gathered for some delicious post-race grub (I'm talking the creamiest, fattiest, post-race-no-guilt-felt-what-so-ever kind of grub), followed by "buckets of froyo" with my blog-buddy Erin. It was the end to a truly wonderful weekend.

See photos of the Air Force Marathon weekend below... captions under each tell the story!
Air Force Marathon, MAJCOM Challenge, Air National Guard Marathon Team,
Our 2016 Air National Guard MAJCOM Challenge Team at the pre-race pasta dinner. Four of us ran the full marathon (me, the guy in the red shirt, and the two in the back upper left) and the rest ran the half. The only people not pictured are our fearless leader, Chief, and this year's honorary runner, a half marathon alternate.

Air Force Marathon, MAJCOM Challenge, Air National Guard Marathon Team,
Enjoying the amazing pasta dinner.

Air Force Marathon, MAJCOM Challenge, Air National Guard Marathon Team,
It was absolutely surreal and so incredible to finally hug and meet Erin Carpenter from Aim High Erin in person for the first time. Three years ago, when considering joining the Air National Guard, I googled and found Erin's blog. I reached out to her and we have been friends ever since. She helped me virtually pack for Basic Training, she wrote me a letter while I was at BMT, I have watched her little baby grow into a three-year-old, we each encouraged each other as we both commissioned and became officers, we have since both mentored new and prospective Airmen through both of our blogs and social media outlets, we literally have followed parallel career paths in the Air Force (me Air Guard, her Reserves), and--at the Air Force Marathon Pasta Dinner--we met. FINALLY. Saturday, we both pinned on our bibs and ran the full 26.2 miles of the Air Force Marathon, me with the Air Guard team and her with her dad for her very first full marathon. 

Air Force Marathon, MAJCOM Challenge, Air National Guard Marathon Team,
Race day! Checking out the finisher medal hardware.

Air Force Marathon, MAJCOM Challenge, Air National Guard Marathon Team,
The team was suited up and ready to go. Our blue uniforms and black shorts were sharp. (Neon is a must, next year, Chief!).

Air Force Marathon, MAJCOM Challenge, Air National Guard Marathon Team,
Left: our guys getting ready for the half marathon (which started 30 minutes after the full). Right: praying before the full marathon. I always pray before and during my race... it fuels me and keeps me going more than any Gu gel pack or Gatorade!

Air Force Marathon, MAJCOM Challenge, Air National Guard Marathon Team,
And they're off... the men and women of the Air Force Half Marathon were on their way. I had been running for about 40-minutes by this time.

Air Force Marathon, MAJCOM Challenge, Air National Guard Marathon Team,
Coming in to the finish at the end of the full marathon. My time was officially clocked at a 3:22:26. I finished as the 2nd place overall female and 4th place overall female. Oddly enough, I was also I was bib #35 and came in 35th place overall out of 2042 marathon runners. Imagine that! I may not have won a trophy this time, but finishing my race and feeling strong at the end was better than any award. The trip in itself is the reward!

Air Force Marathon, MAJCOM Challenge, Air National Guard Marathon Team,
Giving our Chief, the master coordinator for the whole Air Guard team, a giant, sweaty hug at the end. He ran the half and had an excellent time and was waiting for me as I crossed the finish. We did it!

Air Force Marathon, MAJCOM Challenge, Air National Guard Marathon Team,
The final team picture after the race. Do you see the two trophies my teammates are boasting? One of our female half marathoners, Emily, won 1st place overall female in the half, and one of our male racers won 1st place military male in the half marathon. All four of our full marathoners came in the top 20 of our race, and five of our six half marathoners finished in the top 25 in their race. Congratulations to everyone and the great races that were run by all!

Overall, wow... what a race. What a course! Everyone says it's hard, but until you're out there in the sweltering heat, the thick and humid air, and climbing the rolling hills that aren't-really-hills-but-when-you're-on-mile-21-and-it-sure-feels-like-a-hill kind of hill... that's when you find out what you're made of.

Running with the Air National Guard team for the MAJCOM Challenge makes me push myself that much more. It's not just ME who I'm running for... it's my team of 10 service members from across the nation, the Chief who tirelessly organizes us, the race coordinator who takes such good care of our team, my base supporting me back in my home state of Idaho, my amazing husband and family who have to put up with endless hours of training, and every single other person who has given me a high five or word of encouragement along the way. I'd like to call it grit. And marathons... they give you that grit. They make you strong. Fierce. A warrior. And they also make you very, very sore. So here's to the 20th annual Air Force Marathon. I may not have had my best race, but I had a race nonetheless and an experience of a lifetime. In fact, I also may not have won any awards or trophies this time around, but this race wasn't about that. It was about the team, the honor to represent my state and Air Guard unit, and just making it across the finish. And I did it. HOOAH!

Update // Congrats to Team ANG for winning First Place MAJCOM Challenge team! It was an honor to run with such a fantastic, supportive, incredible team of super-human air guardsmen!

PS> Air Force Public Affairs published our team's story in an article... read it here! I'll also update this blog post when the MAJCOM Challenge results are officially posted. Cross your fingers... we just may have won it... you never know!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Hood to Coast Relay 2016

Hood to Coast Relay, Team Foot Patrol, HTC16, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly

For the second year in a row, my sister invited me to be a member of her team "Foot Patrol: Running with Sole" at the Hood to Coast Relay. As with last year's race, it fell on my birthday weekend, but this year was different... not only was it my 30th Birthday--hooah!--but instead of my birthday being the day before the race, this time we got to finish on my birthday! In addition, my brother was also invited to join so it truly was such a fun experience.

Stew and I got to Portland on Thursday, the day before the race. We bummed around Portland, exploring the food trucks and downtown sights. We met up with the team at Paragon for a pre-race dinner, and it was so nice getting to know our entire team and the amazing volunteers who came to support us. We enjoyed delicious food (Paragon's Brussels sprouts are amazing!) and some fine wine before tucking in early in anticipation of all the sleep we wouldn't be getting over the next couple days.

We woke up early Friday morning and rounded up all of Van 1, heading up to Mount Hood to kick off the race. Last year, I was in Van 2, and this year we thought we'd give Van 1 a go... and we sure were glad we did (more on that later).

We got up to the start line and our team began running at 10:15 am, with Karl--The Stache--braving the first leg's downhill slope. I was our van's fifth runner (the number one difficulty out of 12 and longest of all the legs at 19-miles total) so I had a bit of time before I began my leg. I cheered on my sister as she ran her leg (she killed it despite the heat!), not looking forward to mine as temperatures were creeping into the high 90's.

When I received the bracelet, I braced myself for my 5.95-mile leg which was pretty much straight uphill, a slow and steady climb without a break. While my leg did feel like it went up, up, up, I was able to maintain a decent pace of 8:05/mile. It wasn't what I wanted, but for a "very hard" uphill leg, I accepted it! I finished and was so glad to be done with it... boy, it was hot!

After our van finished our first legs, we went back to one of our runner's homes in Portland and took quick showers. We shoveled down some Subway and tried to rest, though we were all anticipating our night legs. At about 7:15, we headed back out to downtown Portland for our next exchange. Our van retook the bracelet just as it was getting dark, and we were all pretty jazzed up for the cooler weather and our night legs.

I got the bracelet around 11:30, stepping off on my 7.77-mile leg (leg 17) with a little bit of pain in my calves and a slower pace than I had hoped for. I ended up coming in to the finish with a 7:20/mile pace, passing several teams along the way. As I came in to the exchange, my sister realized that the clock had passed midnight and it was now officially my 30th Birthday! She, along with the rest of our team, began singing "Happy Birthday," and by the time I handed the bracelet off to her, the entire exchange was singing along... about 100 people total helping me ring in the big three-zero. It was an unforgettable experience and one that I'll cherish for a long time!

After our second legs, we stopped off at a hotel along the way for another quick shower and about an hour of downtime. That hour couldn't have gone by quicker, and before we knew it, we were on the road again to Astoria for our next big exchange.

My last leg (leg 29) was another "very hard" uphill leg, coming in at 6.05-miles. This one was a very steep uphill for the first four miles and then a very steep downhill for the last two miles. My goal was to maintain a comfortable, easy pace on the uphill and then just kill it on the downhill... and I did just that! I kept my pace around 8:00-8:30/mile on the uphill, and sped it up to about 6:30/mile on the downhill. I cruised right in through the end of my leg and passed off to my sister, who ran her last leg in the Barefoot Refresh Spritzer Can suit. She is a rockstar, I tell you what!

When my sister was finished, our van was done... hooah! We were stoked! We knew our other van still had several hours before they'd be finished, so we drove to Seaside to snag some Bloody Mary's and celebrate being finished with our legs! The bloody's were good, so good, and sitting around the table watching the beach and all the runners finish while we sipped our drinks only further reiterated why we'd be Van 1'ers for life!

Our second van got to the beach around 3:15 pm, and we all joined our final runner with a last sprint to the finish line. We ended up finishing in 28 hours, 53 minutes and 55 seconds, team #205 overall out of 1200. Our goal had been to finish under 29 hours so hallelujah... we had done it! We also set a goal of 700 road kills and totally smashed that with over 850. I had set a personal goal for 81 and nailed that goal right on the head with a final tally of 81, so I was stoked about that as well. What a way to turn 30, right?

We ended up relaxing at the Barefoot tent for the rest of the afternoon and bummed around Seaside that evening, playing pool, dancing to Whitney Houston, and closing down one of the local bars with a family dance session that would give any awkwardly-dancing family a run for their money. It was truly one of the very best birthdays I've ever had, and one of the most fun races I've ever run!

Now after all that ranting, see photos of the race below:

Hood to Coast Relay, Team Foot Patrol, HTC16, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly
Van 1 up at the Mount Hood start line, ready for our first runner to take off! 

Hood to Coast Relay, Team Foot Patrol, HTC16, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly
Sisters up at Mount Hood

Hood to Coast Relay, Team Foot Patrol, HTC16, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly
We prepped our van for lots of road kill tallies... our van alone had 350+!

Hood to Coast Relay, Team Foot Patrol, HTC16, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly
After my first leg (leg 5), a "very hard" uphill leg of 5.95 miles in the 90+ degree heat. Very hard it was!

Hood to Coast Relay, Team Foot Patrol, HTC16, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly
Foam rolling those sore calves after my first leg.

Hood to Coast Relay, Team Foot Patrol, HTC16, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly
We met up with my brother, who was in Van 2, at our nighttime exchanges between legs 12-13. Check out all the people trying to catch a bit of sleep! 

Hood to Coast Relay, Team Foot Patrol, HTC16, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly
The awesome Barefoot Wine & Bubbly display at the HTC after party.

Hood to Coast Relay, Team Foot Patrol, HTC16, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly
Post-race family picture! Stew had the most roadkills of any dude, I had the most of any girl as well as the #1 hardest ranked leg (legs 5, 17, 29), and Marn killed her legs, finishing her last one while wearing the Barefoot Refresh can! Props, Marn, props.

Hood to Coast Relay, Team Foot Patrol, HTC16, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly
The team splurged on some delicious cupcakes to help me celebrate my 30th Birthday... how sweet!

Hood to Coast Relay, Team Foot Patrol, HTC16, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly
Our final team photo... team Foot Patrol: Running with Sole, you guys are the BEST!

It's hard to explain how much I love relays and how fun they are. When you tell someone you're going to go run a 200-mile relay with 11 other crazies and it's going to take you almost 30 hours--most people look at you like you're insane. What they don't realize is how supportive everyone is, how fun it is to all cram together in a sweaty, dirty van and live off of protein bars and bananas, and what a memorable experience it all is. And the best part is that it's different each and every year. I hope I'm able to join this team on their HTC adventures for as long as they'll have me.

Thanks again to Marnie & Team Foot Patrol for inviting me to be on your team this year. You gave me a weekend for the memory books and helped me ring in my big three-zero in the best way possible. I am so grateful for everything and hope to join you again next year.

Way to go, Foot Patrol... we ran with sole to annihilate each of our goals!