Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Soldier's Wife

My father-in-law sent this Washington Post article to me a while ago. While Sam is getting ready for his second deployment and I've been waxing sentimental and getting 48034893 different kinds of moody and mopey...this article is a great reminder of why we do what we do. ("We" are Army/Air Force/Marine/Navy/Coast Guard/Defense Contractor wives that kiss our Boos goodbye. And wait. It doesn't matter if we agree, we are proud.)

A Soldier's Wife
By Georgie Hanlin

My childhood friend of 31 years visited my home on base, in Quantico, a
few months after I gave birth to my first baby. As we took a leisurely
stroll one evening through the lingering humidity of early September, I
explained to her how different military life is from the world in which
we grew up in San Francisco. We passed rows of colorful houses on the
tree-lined, manicured blocks and gazed at the playgrounds around the
neighborhood, ready to welcome the children of the officers who live
there. American flags hung from virtually every front door. The
occasional "My daddy fights for your freedom" bumper sticker adorned
some vehicles. As we looped around the bend toward my house, my friend
turned to me and asked, "How do you accept what your husband does for a

I glanced at her, startled. "What do you mean?" I asked.

"I guess I just don't know how to accept it. I don't believe in war,"
she responded, matter-of-factly.

My husband is an infantry captain for the U.S. Army. This week, he left
on his sixth combat deployment with the 2nd Infantry Division's Stryker
Brigade. He is to be gone for one year to launch Stryker vehicles into
Afghanistan under President Obama's new surge. My husband served with
the 1st Ranger Battalion in Savannah, Ga., for 2 1/2 years before
attending the Marine Corps' Expeditionary Warfare School.

We have been married for three years; he's been deployed for half that
time. My husband loves his country and serves it proudly, and for that I
love him. Is being an Army wife easy? Not at all. The moving, the worry,
the separation, the danger, the evening news and the politics of having
your spouse risk his life for wars that most of us don't understand or
don't accept certainly does stir something within me.

Since we married, I have been introduced to and lived in a community of
honorable people. Do I have everything in common with them? No, but I
learn from them every day. Military life and married life have been an
adventure; overall, they have most definitely taught me to truly value
the vows I took on my wedding day. As an Army wife, I've learned the
meaning of the expression "HUA" (heard, understood, acknowledged). I can
now recognize an improper salute. I basically understand rank and
protocol. I am beginning to know the acronyms, even though they seem to
be endless. I've watched my husband parachute and fast-rope out of
planes while training. I have attended military balls. I have hugged him
goodbye and wondered way too many times if I would ever hug him again. I
have seen soldiers break down. I have seen wives break down. I have made
several friends and left several friends. I have been to an award
ceremony at which a young Ranger received a Purple Heart; he lost a leg,
but he stood proudly in front of the audience. I have heard horror
stories about wives receiving word that their husbands were killed in
action and I have thanked God that it wasn't my husband. I still get
butterflies when I pick him up after each deployment. That feeling is

So how do I accept what my husband does for a living? Quite easily. He
serves his country and does so courageously, next to other respectable
men and women. He represents America with the utmost dignity while
overseas. The Army is lucky to have him, and so am I. While people sit
back and criticize what soldiers do, my husband risks his life over and
over again. Let's be honest: It's a job that most people don't want.
Many don't think about it because other people do it.

Other people do it.

Instead of trying to figure out how to accept or justify or understand
what my husband does because you don't believe in war, I'd beg you to
know that no one wants war; no one likes war. We'd all love a perfect
world, but we do not live in one. Our country is at war; two of them,
actually. Soldiers, my husband being one of them, have to deploy. We, as
families, have to worry and wait and hope.

I believe that the next time somebody asks me how I accept what my
husband does for a living, I will simply tell that person to appreciate
my husband's service and to enjoy his or her freedom while my husband
does what his country asks of him.

The writer, an elementary school teacher, lives in Virginia.
Washington Post
July 4, 2009
Pg. 17

Monday, October 26, 2009

CHALLENGE: In the beginning...

A while ago (in this post) I challenged my sister to run a half marathon with me in March. Not just any half marathon THE DISNEY PRINCESS HALF MARATHON! She thinks that I have forgotten about her initial reply, her making me wait for an answer, and most of all - she thinks I forgot she said, "yes!"

Oh my, my, my was she wrong. In fact, I just told my mom that what I want for Christmas is this trip to Florida. If my Christmas miracle comes true then my mom, two nieces, and sis will meet me in Florida. We will run the race and then frolic around my Promiseland (Disney) for a couple days. It will be a "Williams Girls Reunion" of sorts. (None of us are named "Williams" anymore but it's the sentiment that counts.)

So, Manda, here is your initial training plan (created by Jeff Galloway and found here):

Week 1 (Run for 5 seconds/walk for 55 seconds on the run/walk days)

Mon: 10 min run/walk

Tues: 15 min walk

Wed: 13 min run/walk

Thurs: 18 min walk

Fri: off

Sat: 1 mile run/walk

Sun: off/walk

Week 2 (Run for 5 seconds/walk for 55 seconds on the run/walk days)

Mon: 15 min run/walk

Tues: 20 min walk

Wed: 17 min run/walk

Thurs: 22 min walk

Fri: off

Sat: 1.25 mi run/walk

Sun: off/walk

Week 3 (Run for 10 seconds/walk for 50 seconds on the run/walk days)

Mon: 19 min run/walk

Tues: 24 min walk

Wed: 21 min run/walk

Thurs: 26 min walk

Fri: off

Sat: 1.5 mi run/walk

Sun: off/walk

Week 4 (Run for10 seconds/walk for 50 seconds on the run/walk days)

Mon: 23 min run/walk

Tues: Walk 28 min

Wed: 25 min run/walk

Thurs: Walk 30 min

Fri: off

Sat: 1.75 mi run/walk

Sun: off/walk

Week 5 (Run for 10 seconds/walk for 50 seconds on the run/walk days)

Mon: 27 min run/walk

Tues: Walk 30 min

Wed: 29 min run/walk

Thurs: Walk 30 min

Fri: off

Sat: 2 mi run/walk

Sun: off/walk

Week 6 (Run for 15 seconds/walk for 45 seconds on the run/walk days)

Mon: 30 min run/walk

Tues: Walk 30 min

Wed: 30 min run/walk

Thurs: Walk 30 min

Fri: off

Sat: 2.25 mi run/walk

Sun: off/walk

Week 7 (Run for 15 seconds/walk for 45 seconds on the run/walk days)

Mon: 30 min run/walk

Tues: walk 30 min

Wed: 30 min run/walk

Thurs: Walk 30 min

Fri: off

Sat: 2.5 mi run/walk

Sun: off/walk

Week 8 (Run for 15 seconds/walk for 45 seconds on the run/walk days)

Mon: 30 min run/walk

Tues: walk 30 min

Wed: 30 min run/walk

Thurs: Walk 30 min

Fri: off

Sat: 2.75 mi run/walk

Sun: off/walk

I'll be checking on you, Manda - and you check on me too!

{My sis and I in September}

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Run Gear Run 8 Miler

So this blog was never meant to be an exercise blog or a diet blog...it does seem that way lately, though, doesn't it? Yesterday (October 25) Ashley and I ran the Run Gear Run 8 Miler in Comfort, Texas.

I got there early and was REALLY FREAKED OUT...it was dark, we parked in this field in the boondocks, and all I could see was tall, skinny, fast looking people around me. I sat in my car to keep warm (it was 41 degrees out) until I saw Ash and then we got in the very back of the line behind the teeny tiny start carpet.

What happened after the start announcement can only be described as complete mayhem. The trails were so small and there were big groups of chatty ladies spread out across the width with NO getting by. At once point Ashley and I almost stopped and walked back to get breakfast. After about 2 miles the way cleared and we could run/walk/skip about as we liked. It was absolutely the most challenging, hilly course I've ever run. We ran about a mile up a steep hill and I swear if I'd gone any slower I'd have been going backwards!

I told Sam the night before that my goal was to run less than 11:30min/miles. I made my goal by 4 seconds. They had chili, jalepenos, cheese, and beer at the finish line! Woot! Sorry, no pictures from this race - we peaced out pretty much as soon as it was over to hit up the biggest and best TJ Maxx store in San Antonio (on the way home:-)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Racing on a Sunday

Today I talked three girlfriends (and one girlfriend's fiance) into traveling up to Austin with me to run the Austin Uptown 10K. It was SUCH A GLORIOUS DAY to run! The sun was shining and it was only 65 degrees outside (chilly by San Antonio standards.)

It was my friend Marti's first run after having her baby on September 2 (hells yeah she ran the entire thing less than two months after having a baby!) so despite her being a tried and true runner - she stuck with me and ran my way - the Galloway Method! Using Jeff Galloway's formula we ran 2 minutes then walked 1 minute the entire race. (Ok, that's a lie, I walked during one run session because it was up a murderous hill.) I hit a new PR today racing this way!

I know I've said before that I have always, always, always wanted to be a skinny, fast, little person that just goes out to run mile after fast mile...but I'm not. Sam introduced me to the Galloway Method after the Country Music (Half) Marathon disaster and I've been hooked ever since. It's not for everyone...you really have to let your pride get over all the runners whizzing past you while you're taking your walk breaks. The trick is that you're running fast and then taking breaks at regular intervals. While other runners slow down during the second half of the race, a Galloway runner is able to keep their pace for the duration. Our friend Ashley ran the entire race and we all finished together - two completely different styles of running with the same positive result.

Anyway, MY moral of the story is that I walked about one third of the race and for the first time in basically forever I broke 11min/miles! I'm never out to beat anyone but myself - and today, for the first time in a long time I finally did.

**Marti, Stacey, me, Ashley after the race**

P.S. I'm not gonna lie - I'm definitely headed to Stacey right now to eat pizza as a reward for the run today:-)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaack!

Hey ya'll! I'm back! I can't believe the last time I posted was months ago! I wish I could say I have been so, so incredibly busy (which, in reality, is not entirely a lie but really I'm more lazy than anything.) I just got SO FED UP with Blogger! It was infuriating for me to load up pictures onto my own blog - they would be in the wrong place or cut my sentences in half or sit on top of each other...it wouldn't be such a big deal but all my favorite blogs are ones with pics so it wouldn't seem right if I didn't put them in myself! Now that I've found this nice help website I'm hoping it won't seem like homework to work on this blog anymore because I really do enjoy writing it AND the bloggie friends I've made:-)

I really like the whole online journal thing and I think with Sam leaving (in December for a year deployment) it will be nice A. for him to see some pics and read what's up while he's gone and B. for me to have something to do!

So anyway, I haven't been wholely idle the past months - I've actually GOTTEN MARRIED! and gone on a HONEYMOON! Woot!

In case anyone has the same problems that I do, here is the link to the wonderful Blogger tips that I found.

Here's a picture from September 6, 2009: