Deployment Law

First of all, Justin is not deployed. He’s just stationed 7,000 miles away from us.

Also, I had intended on writing a post about me getting peer pressured into doing the Reverse Sprint Triathlon. It will start out that way, but then thanks to “Deployment Law,” it will all go terribly wrong.

Thursday at work, I was convinced by a co-worker to do the Reverse Sprint Tri–I did it last year, so why not?! I hired a babysitter, threw my bike rack on the van, put air in my bike tires, and went out for a 4 mile run. I was ready!

Or was I?

This morning I got there, and got everything set up. I went into the pool’s guard room and dropped my stuff off. 5 minutes into the run I thought, “wait–did I bring my bike helmet into the guard room?! Surely not!” Oh, I surely did.

So, after adding a good 2/10 mile onto the already 3.4 mile run, I hopped on my bike and away I went. Biking has never been so hard. No matter what I did, I really felt like I was putting WAY too much effort into it. At 3 miles I realized the back tire was making weird noises. At miles, I hopped off to see what was up.

My tire was flat. Painfully flat. I pulled out my phone and thought about who I could possibly contact. My list of acquaintances is short, consisting mainly of people I work with–people currently working, or racing. But the truck that was bringing up the rear was rapidly approaching. Quick! Act like you’re calling someone!

I panicked, and FaceTimed Justin. The truck pulled over and asked if everything was ok: “Oh, it’s fine. I have a flat tire.”

“Do you have someone coming to pick you up? Are you sure you’re ok?”

I am a big fat liar. I told them it was fine–I just lived down the street. It’s not entirely false. I do live down the street…and then another take a left and go another 2 miles. Either that, or say, “it’s cool, but I don’t actually know people.”

Introvert problems.

I cried a little (ok, I cried a lot) to Justin: “why does this crap have to happen!?” It’s the second race I’ve failed this year. No, this wasn’t a panic attack-induced drop out, but still!

After letting him know what happened, I was offered a ride from Dom, aka the co-worker who talked me into this in the first place. I told him it was no biggie; I was almost home. Also not a lie, but I did still have a 3 mile walk back to work so I could get my car (sorry Dom, I’m a liar).

This is what we in my family call “being a Ballschmieder.”

No no, everything is fine! I am a thousand percent ok with walking my bike home, and then all the way back to work to get my car. I don’t want to be a burden–just don’t wait for me.

So, Deployment Law: basically, if it can go wrong, it will, while your husband is TDY, or deployed, or stationed on the other side of the world. Ask any army wife, and they will tell you a horrible story of something going terribly wrong while their husband was gone. It might be the same in the civilian world too, who knows. I was thinking this morning about the fact that we’ve gone a full week, and it’s been going relatively smoothly. I’m staying positive, because my worry is that it’s all downhill from here.

Or uphill, on flat tires.

Running Challenged

I say it every year. Running makes me sneeze. I have only been a “runner” for 3 years, and I say “runner,” because snails move faster than me. I’m pretty sure I walk faster than I run.

In previous years, even treadmill running made me sneeze. Weird, I know. This year, it’s exclusively when I run outside. Which makes sense–seasonal allergies in Kentucky are awful! Word on the street is this area is actually one of the worst for allergies. Of course, for anyone who has lived in Columbus, GA, where the world is covered in yellow pollen powder for a good chunk of spring, they will tell you it’s much worse there. That place made my face feel constantly swollen.

But there I go again.

So, it’s spring in Kentucky, and while I don’t appreciate all the sneezing that follows, I do appreciate being able to run outside without turning into a popsicle.

Also, this past week, Terry the Torturous (which would be my trainer’s Viking name) told me I run weird. My legs swing out to the sides? In my head, I’m picturing some slinky-limbed muppet, with limbs going everywhere. Because I’m sure that’s probably what it looks like. He then told me nothing I did looked natural. Running doesn’t feel natural! It feels like a torture technique, used to specifically make me feel out of shape. Can’t I just throw heavy things around?!

Terry is using his fabulous skills as a track coach and trying to assist in turning me into a runner. Like, a real life runner, not a goofy muppet whose limbs are going to get seriously tangled if I get going too fast. By the end of our “run” on Thursday he told me I looked like I actually knew what I was doing.

Of course then he used his ninja powers and appeared next to me yesterday while I was attempting to do everything he told me only 2 days prior. He was shaking his head and giving me the “I’m not mad–I’m just disappointed,” look.  I’m swinging my arms across my body, I guess? So, I am moments away from getting tangled in myself.

Once again today, I went out and ran, trying to put everything he’s been telling me into practice. I feel like something between a leaping gazelle and a muppet whose limbs are on the verge of getting tangled. But, I was faster on my first mile than I normally am. A 10 minute mile?! Did you think I was kidding when I said snails are faster?

My desire to continue to run is strongly tied to my stubbornness. I strongly dislike running, but I dislike NOT being able to do things much more. Justin tells me about his 8min mile “jog pace,” and I respond with a strong, “jog?! THAT is a sprint!” Our 5k date went like this: Justin ran it in 22:39, took a lap of the parking lot and then ran back to find me. I was about 27min in when he caught up and said, “I didn’t think you’d be this far back!” I threatened to twist his nipple off. Of course then he made me run to the end. “Stop looking at your watch, put your head down and just push through it.” I died. But not really. My time was 33:49. By the end of it all, Justin had run about a 7k. I was WORLDS sweatier, and much more out of breath.

This week, my kids are on spring break, so my goofy leaping gazelle muppet runs will be taking place evenings. If you see me, and I look confused, or as if I’m seriously concentrating, I am. Nothing about this “running” thing feels natural! But I refuse to give up!!! Maybe someday I will be able to make this looks natural.

Am I Skinny Yet?!?!

Before you roll your eyes or anything like that, I know I’m not fat. I’m just…a little thicker than I once was. It’s fine. It’s whatever. It’s driving me crazy.

I took this slow week at work as an opportunity to try something new–working out with a personal trainer. It’s not an entirely new concept. Back in 2009 when Justin was in Iraq and I was in the throes of postpartum depression, thinking I looked something like a beached whale whose belly had been attacked by a pizza cutter (an analogy I’ve stolen from my friend Nicole. Because it’s so unbelievably true, and the perfect way to describe it…unless you sew, then maybe you were attacked by a rotary cutter. Both are gruesome thoughts–sorry everyone). Thanks to the YMCA having an awesome program for military families who do not live near a post/base, I was able to get a free membership. I decided to treat myself with a personal trainer, who I met with twice a week. She was awfully nice, but honestly, it was more chatting and not so much intense working out. Which was fine at the time. By the time Justin returned, I was back to my happy 145 (still 20lbs more than I weighed when we got married, but let’s be honest, that girl is long gone. 22-year-old metabolism, you sure were amazing, and I’ll always remember the times we had together).

I also managed to get back to that magical number in 2013 when Justin was again deployed. Noticing a pattern here? I kicked my own butt, 4 days a week in our garage gym. Of course, the stress of Shea’s tonsillectomy also helped me drop weight fast.

And then I decided to get Mirena, and in the 2 months before he returned, I gained the 20lbs back.

“Justin, I lost 20lbs while you were gone!”

“I know!”

“And then I gained it all back right before you got home.”

“I know…….”

Little known fact: When men (and maybe women too, I don’t have a lot of experience with military ladies–Justin’s in the Boys’ Club known as the Infantry) deploy, they get CRAZY fit. Every time he comes home from a deployment, he’s all muscles and no body fat. I keep saying I’ll take the next deployment and he can stay here with the kids, but again, if he won’t let me take his fun little TDY trip, I doubt a deployment would be permissible. Plus the fact that I would be hiding behind things, shouting “STOP SHOOTING AT ME!!! WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU!?!?” And also, the heat. He compares the breezes in Kuwait to turning a hair dryer on hot and blowing it in your face. It sounds gross.

Right, well, along with the 3 days a week I normally lift weights with my work/workout friend, and the 4 days a week I normally run, I decided that I would also add Torture with Terry to my Tues/Thurs running days. Why not, right? I mean, his kettle bell class was evil enough, so why not triple the amount of time I spent with him each week.

Again, If you find yourself at Fort Knox, in need of any fitness related anything, he’s the man to see. Because he’s EVIL. But in a good way.

Of course, in being honest with him, I have subjected myself to something he likes to refer to as Cardio of Death. It’s evil. And my rapid heart rate makes him nervous:

“Your watch says your heart rate is 170…”

“Shh. Pay no attention to that.”

“Ok…” he says, wide-eyed.

“I did ask if you were CPR certified.”

don’t actually want to have to use that training on you!”

Ah, genes. While I get my sweatiness from my Dad, I most likely get my rapid heart rate from my Mom’s side. Test after test later, and all they can tell me is that I have a rapid resting heart rate. It’s 84 right now, which is pretty low for me–usually it’s between 90-110. It doesn’t do the weird fluttery thing it used to do once upon a time when I was a twig, or before I had kids. So there’s that. It makes cardio suck. Maybe cardio just sucks for everyone, but man alive, I dislike it. I would rather pick up heavy things all day. But cardio is good for me, and blah blah blah.

So, I climbed to the top of the Eiffel tower. On a machine that was evil. After I did the Jacob’s Ladder to nowhere evil. After I climbed a stairway to nowhere for 3 minutes, which was really more like 3 hours. But it was 3 minutes. In. Slow. Motion. Time goes SO SLOWLY when you’re being tortured.

There’s no talking. There’s minimal talking. Between gasps. This is NOT the hour of chitchat and gossip I “endured” at 26. This is sweat dripping everywhere, huffing and puffing, “Terry…I’m…Dying…” while he giggles and says, “it’s fine. You’re doing great! Look, you’re halfway there!” It’s the giggling and sinister smile that get me. “We’re going to do squats and throw this heavy weight around, and then you’re going to run a lap.” Sinister smile. Something like the Grinch, when he’s plotting to steal Christmas from the Whos.” Except, not as green. Equal amounts of evil plotting though.

Five minutes into my first session, as I paused in between pull-ups, some sort of evil burpees with a star jump WITH an elastic band around my ankles, AND running up and down the stairs on repeat, I honestly thought, “this was a mistake. It’s time to tap out and say, ‘sorry Terry. I was mistaken. I don’t need a trainer–I need a nap.'” Of course then he threw some hate toward my boys, Ben and Jerry. You might know them–their ice cream is DELICIOUS. I love them.

I survived. Barely. By the end of each session, my arms are curled up like a raptor, or a t-rex. I walk something like an ostrich. I’m SOAKING wet. And my inner-fat-girl is inside me crying, “we’re REALLY going to do this again?! Are you mad?!”

Every morning since Wednesday I have woken up at 5:30 (don’t judge me. I like the quiet before the world wakes up), and my head has said, “get your ass out of bed,” while my body replies, “please don’t make me!” I jumped on the scale this morning (because I only weigh myself on Saturdays and Mondays–otherwise I would become obsessive), and I’ve lost one pound.

ONE?! That’s IT?!?! No ice cream and 10 hours of cardio/heavy lifting/slow running this week, and I lost one frigging pound?! For all my hurt, and the agony of a week without ice cream, I wanted to be at my target weight by now.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS!?!?!?

Quarterly Date Night on Saint Patrick’s Day

Once you have kids, you realize that date nights are few and far between. Add to that the whole Army life, moving every few years, and a good solid fear of babysitters.

I’m not afraid of babysitters. That would be irrational. I am more untrustworthy. I need to know a person for about a million years before I can trust them with my kids. And then my kids being the spirited, wild children that they are, the job of babysitter really needs to come with hazard duty pay.

And then of course there’s my messiness, and the fact that I don’t want people to see my messy counters or 2 laundry baskets of Waiting-to-be-Folded clothes. There has to be trust–or a good solid week to clean.

After all is said and done, Justin and I rarely go out. The last time we had date night, it was to go to the military ball in December. You know, where my dress was really pretty, but really tight, making my ribs unable to expand, and me left breathing shallow.

I planned this night over a month ago. Originally we were going to run a 5k and see Transpotting 2 on opening night, because it was supposed to come out on 17 March, and I’m pretty super excited for the 20-years-later sequel. Well, the powers that be have decided that Transpotting 2 shouldn’t come out for 2 more weeks. It’s fine. It just means we get 2 date nights in one month, which is pretty intense for us.

That leaves us with a 5k. We are running a 5k on date night. Nothing says “I love you” like getting sweaty  and out of breath during a 3.1 mile run. Probably in the rain. Followed by dinner and drinks (for Justin. Because I’ll be driving. And I really don’t drink). Sweaty dinner. With me probably stinky. Because I’m gross. I can’t help it. All I can really hope for is that the rain will wash away some of my gross. But in all honestly, that can’t happen. Unless I bring soap.

Justin: “What’s in your armband? That is not a phone.”

Me: “No, I left my phone in the car and decided I’d be better off sticking a bar of Dove in there. 2 birds, one stone? Maybe?”

I guess the best part is, I’m not a runner. I do a lot of running, but I am by no means a runner. More a faux runner (faux being pronounced FAUX in the proper Justinese). I only decided around this time in 2014 to BECOME a runner. Prior to that, my random announcements that I would start running always ended abruptly. Usually after going out for a proposed 2 mile run, which always turned into about a .2 mile run, and then a wheezy walk back to the house. Meanwhile, Justin has been a runner basically his entire life. Up until the great hamstring tear of 2016, a slow run would be at a 8 or 9 min mile pace. For me, that is basically a sprint from start to finish. There is nothing slow about that. Now he swears he’s slow–we’ll see. I have only said about ten thousand times, “please do not feel obligated to run with me.”

Of course, what would make a 5k with your runner husband better? Oh, you know, deciding that this would be a good morning to start the Friday Kettle Bell class. Knowing full well that the instructor is intense. If you live on Fort Knox, or you are near Fort Knox and military affiliated, and have NOT taken a class with Terry Turner, do yourself a favor and take one. What was I thinking though?! My legs are sore, my arms feel like jello, and I’m going to run tonight?! I chose a 5k for date night?! Justin, carry me.