blusunshinesarah

Crossfit, Paleo, and all things Army

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Confessions

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Wow. First of all- I am SO sorry it’s been so long since I posted. There has been some major drama at work- a drill sergeant in another battery is an idiot and got into trouble, which started a domino effect of pick up dates being push forward, leadership changes, and a host of new policies, brigade wide. Needless to say, it’s been frustrating, and all of last week I thought that my leave was going to get cancelled and I would be picking up a new cycle of privates on Wednesday. They ended up letting the battery under investigation pick up on Wednesday, so we found out last Friday that we weren’t picking up and that our leave wasn’t cancelled after all, but my mom had already cancelled her flight down here (she was coming to visit this week). So as I said, very frustrating and suspenseful couple of weeks at work. But as upset as I was that my mom couldn’t come to visit, it’s been nice to get caught up on all the little projects and things that I never seem to get to.
I have another confession. I’ve fallen off the wagon, paleo-wise. I’ve still be crossfitting it up, but I haven’t been eating as healthy as I know I should be. Too many chips, too many sugar-y drinks (god help me, I love my long island ice teas and margaritas on the rocks). I haven’t eaten a lot of dessert.. Just a lot of carbs. If I have one weakness, it’s bread. And potatoes. And chips. That may also be why I haven’t been posting as much lately. I keep waiting for myself to clean it up, but it’s been a couple of weeks, and I just keep eating. So. here’s to cleaning it up, and making sure that I don’t have a muffin top in my bikini. Or my pants. Starting today. Tonight I’m making paleo chicken tortilla soup with this recipe.
So that’s my update. I promise not to go so long again. ūüôā Hope your fourth was good!

Written by blusunshinesarah

July 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Running

Too hot to handle

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So I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile, but it’s taken me awhile to gather my thoughts on this to be able to write something about it. When I was in Drill Sergeant School last fall, the DSLs (Drill Sergeant Leaders) kept telling us about how different basic training was now and how restricted we as DS were. At the time, I brushed it off, thinking that it probably wasn’t as bad as they made it seem, or that was just at Ft Jackson, or they were just telling us that because they had to. Then I got my hat and came to Ft Sill. And I am shocked and frustrated on a nearly daily basis with how scared the Army is. I used to think the Army was just putting in weaker privates because that was the generation that was growing up.. Now I think it’s the Army that’s creating this “weaker” generation.
Before I begin, let me just say that I understand, to some extent, why this is happening. I know that DSs were abusing their power. I know that there was excessive hazing, widespread cases of sexual harassment and assault, and that DS now are closely monitored because the actions of some of our dumber comrades have proven to the Army that we cannot be trusted. However, I strongly feel that we have swung too far in the other direction. I’ve met DSs too scared to do their job, for fear of repercussion from higher. The word of a private is gold, and DSs are now guilty until proven innocent (and even then they get a letter of concern in their official file). So noting that, here are some of the things that frustrate me and make me scared for the future of the Army.

The goal of Army Basic Combat Training is to turn civilians into Soldiers and to prepare them for life in the Army.I have to argue that while BCT maybe teaches them the requisite tasks needed to be a Soldier (such as marksmanship, PT, Drill and Ceremony), being a Soldier is far more than being able to pass a PT test, shoot a weapon, and march. Basic training taught me how to function when I was cold and miserable, how to use my mind to conquer my body, and how to push through fear and pain. While the tasks are still more or less the same, the Army has taken out degree of toughness. I asked some specialist in my CBRN class what he thought of basic training when he went three years ago. His answer? “Pathetic.” And that was three years ago!! I’m not lying to these privates when I tell them that basic training is the easiest thing they will have to endure during their time in the Army.

So here’s a few things I don’t understand. If we’re supposed to be preparing these Soldiers for the rigors of combat, why are we babying them? Earlier this week, my boyfriend’s btry conducted the privates’ first PT test. It was 80 degrees the morning of, and one female private became a heat casualty and fell out. She was taken to the hospital, where I imagine she got an IV, and then returned to duty. End of story, right? Nope. The DS were informed that a 15-6 (an investigation, the words every DS dreads), would be opened for every heat casualty. Every time. You’re kidding right? She was running two miles for the first time in her life, probably. We’re opening a 15-6? Where you’re going to find what, that the DS had implemented every possible safeguard, such as having a MED EVAC vehicle, putting out water coolers, had told the privates to hydrate. What do you think you’re going to find, exactly? Later this same week, his btry (I’m going to be using his btry as an example a lot, because I’m not currently in cycle and he is) was told that not only do they have to set up their two solar shades at training sites, they now have to set up an air conditioned tent. WHAT? Yes, it gets hot here. But that’s the POINT of basic training. You learn how to get acclimated to heat. You teach the privates how to hydrate properly, how to eat so they lessen their risk of becoming a casualty, and we monitor the temperature and implement work/rest cycles and modify the uniform when it gets over 95 degrees. And now we have to have an air conditioned tent, in case they get too hot. What are we teaching them, exactly? When they deploy there will be no air conditioned tent for them to cool off in mid-mission. They will have to rely on the skills we taught them to prevent them from becoming a heat casualty. Except wait a minute- we taught them there would always be an air conditioned tent! The same btry has CCC- combat conditioning course- today. They left at 0530 this morning to beat the heat and finish the training before afternoon. After events like these, the btry normally conducts a “non tactical march” back to the btry. These shorter NTMs strengthen the Soldiers and prepare them for the four mandatory ruck marches they have to complete to graduate. However, instead of walking the mile and a half back to the btry at noon today, the privates will be sitting outside in the hot air until trans gets there to pick them up at 1500 (3pm). Trans that according to the commander will cost the Army 500 dollars to send (to pay the drivers, for the fuel, etc). And the Army is supposed to be broke. Actually wait- they’ll probably all be in the air conditioned tent. So when it comes to their actual ruck marches they won’t be able to complete them because they’ll be unprepared. I can’t possibly blame this on the Soldiers. It’s not their fault that the Army is now terrified of any Soldier feeling light headed due to the heat.

And what about the DS? These privates are taught that they can sit in an air conditioned tent when it gets hot, and a warm classroom when it gets too cold. Meanwhile the DS are standing outside, all day long, with barely a break to pee and eat. Let me tell you a story. In March we went to the zero range on the worst day possible. I’m pretty sure this was the most miserable day in my Army career. It didn’t get above 36 degrees all day and it alternatively rained, snowed, and hailed on us. The privates would group and zero their weapon and then go back to the classroom. The DS were on that firing line for almost eight straight hours. I’m going to be honest with you- I’m not tough. I effin HATE the cold. Hate it. You’re probably like, but you’re from Wisconsin, you’re used to it, ect. ect. NO. I’m trying to go to Hawaii next just so I’ll never have to be cold again. But you know what? I stood on that firing line as a safety the whole damn day. Cause I joined the Army, and that means you spend roughly 70 percent of your time either being too hot or too cold. And that’s the point I’m stressing. We’re trying to teach these privates how to be Soldiers, but we’re not even affording them the opportunity to be uncomfortable and prove to themselves that they can survive it. I understand trainee abuse. Abuse is not walking a mile and a half at a comfortable pace to prepare them for ruck marches and acclimate them to heat.

But it all goes back to the Army having to find someone to blame if something goes wrong or someone gets hurt. You would not BELIEVE the amount of paperwork that goes hand in hand with basic training. There are TWO risk assessments for every training event, a composite and a dynamic. Water coolers and medical equipment are never far away, and DS are constantly trained on emergency procedures. All this is so if a private goes down, the Army can say “Oh, your dynamic risk assessment wasn’t prepared correctly. That makes this incident your fault.” And it spirals from there, til today we’ve reached the point of air conditioned tents and trans, all because no one wants to be the unit with a heat casualty. And really, I’m just using heat casualties as an example. Privates are now babied in every aspect. STOP THE MADNESS. Where will it end? If this is basic training today, what will it be like in 2 years? In 5? Let’s just save ourselves the trouble and let them complete basic training online, in a nice, air conditioned room. Cause that’s what the real Army is like- no need to face the elements in the real Army. Don’t worry privates, you’ll never spend any time outside. You’ll never be uncomfortable or in pain in the real Army. Wait- that doesn’t sound right? Well, that’s what we’re teaching them. Like I said- I can’t even blame the privates. When did the Army become terrified to train privates and make civilians into Soldiers?

I have many more issues with basic training as it currently is, but I think those will have to wait for another day. I’ve gone on long enough- and this post was less funny and more saddening. I’ll leave you on a lighter note though. Below is a picture from my CBRN textbook. We spend yesterday learning about what to do in case of a nuclear attack. It was very enlightening.
1008246_10151685309974846_1963387039_o #thingsthearmyteachesme

Written by blusunshinesarah

June 15, 2013 at 10:47 am

Posted in Running

Too easy?

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So I think I’m finally getting better at crossfit. Yesterday’s WoD felt easy. Too easy. Here’s what it was:
Warm up: 2 Rounds of: 10 Back extensions, 15 Air squats
1. Back Squat: 2 reps every minute on the minute for 10 minutes

2. 5 Rounds for time:
5 Muscle ups (scaled to what I call “blast offs” .. basically you start underneath the rings with your arms straight in a squat, and then jump up into a hold.)
5 Power Cleans @ 80% of your 1 rep max (My one rep max is 85#, I used 70#)
5 Strict Handstand Push ups (I used a green and blue band)

So. I don’t have muscle ups, which is ok, I finally am getting better at the “blast offs”. I don’t know if it was a strength thing or a balance thing, but every time I tried to do them I could never hold myself up on the rings.. Which made the exercise practically pointless for me. Yesterday I managed to get a good hold for most of the blast offs, so I felt like I improved.
The power cleans: Felt WAY too easy. I tried with 85#.. And could only get the bar up like twice. So I scaled down to 70#.. Which ended up feeling way too light, since I managed “touch and go” for all the lifts, every round. I maybe should have done 75#.
HSPUs: I need to use two blue bands, instead of a green band. When I first started doing these, I could barely make it through two in a row with these bands.. Last night I cranked them out. I think I finished the whole workout in 10:30, and I was chillin.
What this means to me: I’m finally progressing, but I feel like I’m stuck at this awkward stage where the scales I have been doing are a little too easy, but moving up is a little too hard. (related note: I’ve been stuck on power cleans at 85# 1RM FOREVER- this may have something to do with the fact that I can never keep up with crossfit long enough to make any real progression.. you know- that whole DS thing, or maybe cause my form sucks- maybe both). I’m going to start trying to push past my normal scales, and see where that gets me. Remind me to discuss progress the week before I pick up again (middle of July). And then we’ll see how fast I lose it again. HA.

Today’s WoD wasn’t bad, although I’m pretty sure it was made solely to develop our calluses.
Warm up: Row 200 meters / 10 pull ups
1. Weighted pull up: Find 1 rep max

2. For Time:
30 Glute-ham sit ups
30 One armed kettlebell swings (right arm) @ 1.5 pood / 1 pood (scaled to 25#)
30 Toes-to-bar
30 One armed kettlebell swings (left arm) @ 1.5 pood / 1 pood (scaled to 25#)

So I totally could have done 1 pood. God I’m lame. I tried it- was like, huh, I don’t know if I can do this and only stop a couple of times.. So I did 25, and ended up doing them all unbroken. So it was too light. This was mostly just killer on my hands though. First the pull ups.. then the T2B, AND KB swings. Ow. My hands are hurting as I’m typing this. Whatever tho- I need to work on my grip strength for several reasons.. Not the least of which are pull ups.. which I still can’t do without a band. (Yea I don’t tell the privates that when they’re doing pull ups for PT).

Thats really about it- Goals: PROGRESSION. and to STOP BEING A WUSS. Also this has nothing to do with anything but I’m pretty excited: I FINALLY finished the paleo pulled pork I made Friday. It was delicious then- slightly less delicious after eating it non stop for the last three days. I had it for dinner last night, breakfast this morning, and lunch this afternoon. Thank God the boyfriend finally finished it off. I’ve been feeling really nauseous lately, and it’s either the pulled pork or work stress. Hopefully it was the pulled pork- because that’s all gone but I have about 16 more months left as a Drill Sergeant. Welp- I’m off to cancel out my workout.. the boyfriend wants ice cream. Have a good night!

Written by blusunshinesarah

June 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Posted in Running

CYCLE BREAK BABY

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So here I am, already getting behind on my posts. In my defense, the last couple of weeks of basic training are almost as bad as the first, hours-wise. Week 8 is FTX (field training exercise) all week long, so you’re either out in the field with the privates overnight, or you’re getting home really late. Week 9 is Period 4 and graduation. Let me tell you about a few days of absolute awesomeness that is Period 4. The privates arrive from their FTX and 16k ruckmarch sweaty, dirty, and disgusting. Their gear is dirty, their weapons are dirty, their wall lockers are a mess.. And so the fun begins. They (and by extension, you) have 3 days (sometimes less, if someone important has some meeting that cannot be moved) to get EVERYTHING cleaned, dress uniform put together, wall lockers and bunks laid out perfectly.. It’s rough. And they don’t really care. You do, because if their uniforms, weapons, and gear look like shit, it’s not really on them, it’s on you. Just like everything else in the Army, when a subordinate messes up, it’s because the leader messed up somewhere as well. So if they look bad, you look REALLY bad. So you have all these privates, that don’t really grasp the importance of Period 4 inspections (I feel like I neglected to mention that these activities culminate in an inspection by your Battalion Sergeant Major, your Battalion Commander, and various First Sergeants. I did? Well, they’re inspections. By important people.), and you’re running your ass off trying to make sure all the bunks look the same, all the weapons are clean, and all of their shirts and shorts are rolled tightly to the length of a dollar bill. If if by chance the bays look different? What if the half the wash clothes are folded so the crease faces to the left and half are folded so the crease faces to the right? Well- you best believe that you’re going to get reinspected. Yes, you. Not the privates, although that’s what you tell them. YOU. Trust me. It happened to me the cycle before last. All the privates went to a whining session with the Sergeant Major (CSM), and all the Drill Sergeants stood by their bunks and got reinspected. So. To recap: I’ve been busy, Period 4 inspections suck, and now I’m free. Oh yea, I forgot about that last part. The only good thing about Period 4 inspections is that you know it’s the last weekend before all the privates graduate.. so it’s the last weekend before freedom.

And speaking of freedom: ROCKLAHOMA BABY!! Immediately following graduation on Friday the boyfriend and I drove up to Pryor, OK to go to this huge rockfest.. and I mean huge. Thousands of people were there, along with some amazing bands: Bush, Alice in Chains, Halestorm, Korn, Skillet, and Guns n Roses to name a few. It was a great time- we drank, we ate a bunch of deliciously bad (and totally non paleo) food,we partied hard. Well- they partied hard. I just partied. I like to drink, but I’m not much of a drink-til-you-puke-then-rally-er. I drink until I hit my limit, then I stop. I know, I’m lame. But I’ve also never puked or passed out from drinking, so I still feel like a winner.

Image A random picture of our campsite for you. Yes, that IS a Vietnam-era Army tent.

But all that partying this weekend did not translate to doing any form of exercise (unless you count walking from our camp site to the main stage and some fist pumping), or eating anything even kind of paleo. (Case in point: I ate pizza 2 days in a row, and nachos, and ice cream, and.. well, you get the picture. I was bad). And to top it off, because as I pointed out before, weeks 8 and 9 are crazy busy, the only working out I did over about 2 weeks was “running” with the privates. But when you mess up, all you can do is climb back on the wagon and try to clean up.

I actually did pretty good once I got back this week. I cooked paleo every night (except Friday, since the whole battery went to Meers-home of amazing, and huge, longhorn beef burgers), I went running twice and did crossfit twice. I did crossfit today as well, but since it was an open gym, I just picked a workout that I missed last week and did it.. but clearly I cannot be trusted to push myself to my limits on my own, since it was two 10 minute AMRAPS.. and I cut the second one to five minutes. (In my defense, it was pistols.. after the first 10 minutes of hang squat cleans and jerks.. and it hurt my poor, unexercised quads). Anyways, the boyfriend, who picked up a new cycle of privates and is back to working insane hours, is home, so I’m off to enjoy the little time we have together. Have a good weekend!!

Written by blusunshinesarah

June 1, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Staff duty and other rambles

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Sometimes I feel like I spend a good portion of my time in the Army counting down time. When I’m in¬† training for something, like at all four of my AIT times¬†(I spent a year and a half in Monterey, CA learning Korean, a year total at Goodfellow Afb, and 5 weeks at Ft Huachuca), or when I’m counting down months until I move,¬†or even when I’m counting hours or minutes that¬†I have to stay awake.¬†Oh man- Tuesday night was ROUGH.¬†My battery is out in the field this week doing an exercise, and I stayed out there with them Tuesday night. The Drill Sergeants broke up the night into 3 shifts of 2.5 hours. Because I’m a dumbass, I forgot to bring something to¬†keep me¬†entertained¬†for my 2.5 hours of babysitting, and my phone died. Time has never crawled by¬†more slowly. Anyways, getting back to the original point of my post:¬†For those of you who are unfamiliar with Army terms, if you’re on “Staff Duty” or “CQ” (Charge of Quarters), it basically means that you sit at a desk for 24+ hours, answer the phone, and try to prevent and/or handle any emergency as it happens. As a Drill Sergeant, yout get stuck on staff duty (or CQ, if you’re a male DS), A LOT. Since all the females are gone from my battery (at schools or on leave), I’ve had staff duty every six days for what seems like forever. (That’s¬†not an arbitrary number; there are six batteries in my battalion, and duty rotates by battery every day).

So if you haven’t guessed, I’m on staff duty again today. And it’s only 0817… Which is approximently 17 minutes into my shift (not that I’m counting or anything). And I’m already tired. You might be saying- “uh, 0800 is pretty late to be getting to work. It sounds like you probably slept til like 0700.¬†You didn’t even have to do PT.”¬†Well smarty pants, I had road guard duty this morning, so I had to get up at 0430¬†(because apparently privates will die if someone isn’t there to block the road in a truck with ice sheets, a stretcher with all kinds of medical stuff on it, and a cooler of water¬†thats NOT sitting on the truck bed, because then it would be poisoned. Poisoned, you ask? Why yes. The Army believes that even if food or beverages are wrapped in like four different packages, if the outside¬†package¬†touches the ground, it is contaminated, and therefore unsafe to eat. At least here in TRADOC-land. (US Army TRAining¬†and DOCtrine Command). Probably in the rest of the Army no one cares. I know I’ve eaten my share of¬†dirt on deployment.¬†If it sounds like I’m whining, I’m not really. Just familiarizing all of you with some of the less exciting aspects of Army life. Can’t be killing bad guys all the time. Not that I do that anyways. I’m intel. We don’t spend a heck of a lot of time on the front lines.

Fact.

Fact.

But anyways- back to your regularly scheduled programming. I haven’t gotten to work out much this week, since Charlie (my battery) has been in the field. Let’s see, today is Tuesday? Let’s back up. Sunday I’m not gonna lie- I was lazy. My boyfriend and I stayed out really late to watch Bart Crow Band play at a bar on Saturday.. He loves Red Dirt since he’s from OK anyways, and I went because I love him. I was a lame girlfriend tho, I had Staff duty on Friday and had only slept a few hours on Saturday, (haha see how that ties in?) so I slept on his shoulder while he watched the band. At a bar. Told you I was lame. So Sunday we just lazed around. I did make paleo pizza and paleo banana bread though- so we’ll call it a win. (I swear at some point I’ll work on posting pictures again). Monday I did manage to do Crossfit- it was a rough one:

3 3 3 3 3¬†Front Squats (I worked up to 105#.. I know.. I’m still weak).

Then:

15, 12, 9 Clean and Jerk BUT- no setting the bar down in the middle (You could rest for as long as you wanted in between the sets, just no setting the bar down in the middle of reps. Could just have the bar overhead, in the rack position, or in your hip crease). I used 70# and it hurt. I was shaking by the end. I felt pretty good tho. Then on Tuesday I didn’t get to do crossfit since I stayed out in the field, but I did run 2 miles-ish in the morning with the privates, and then I ran around and sweated my butt off in the field all day. And then I ate pizza for dinner, cause I’m a fat kid.

.. and then yesterday I totally blew it by eating brownies for breakfast, subway for lunch, and a burger with a ton of greasy appetizers and beer for dinner. And no exercise. I did look at the WOD (workout of the day) posted by my gym this morning though- as long as my boyfriend is a dear and brings me a kettlebell from one of the batteries I can do it tonight. I’ll tell you about it later if I actually do it.

So that’s been my week. How’s yours?

Written by blusunshinesarah

May 16, 2013 at 8:46 am

Posted in Running

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One million years later..

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So I suddenly remembered I started this blog about a million years ago. I thought it was a good way to blog about running and eating healthy, and about my life living in the DC metropolitan area. Fast forward almost two years, two relationships, and a move to Oklahoma later, my life is insanely different than it was when I last posted. My last two years in 150 words or less: Discovered Crossfit, fell out of love with running, fell in love with boyfriend, came down on Drill Sergeant orders, went to school, moved to Oklahoma, broke up with boyfriend, fell in love with new boyfriend, started working about 100 hours a week.

So that’s my story. I’d like to start this blog back up again, maybe to share my life, maybe to try to keep myself motivated to work out while I’m in cycle (Drill Sergeant speak for the 9 week cycles when we train privates). I’m currently in week 7 of a cycle, so the privates will graduate in another 2 weeks, and then time for a 7 week cycle break, during which I hope to do an obscene amount of crossfit and some running, and make LOTS of paleo meals. That’s all for now. We’ll find out if I actually come back and write again.

Written by blusunshinesarah

May 10, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Posted in Running

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On being hardcore

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So I’ve been a runner for about 5 years now, and I’d like to consider myself pretty hardcore. While I’ve never run through an injury (well, I ran through a broken pinky toe, but come on, it’s been over a year and it’s pretty much healed!), I’ve laced up my shoes and sucked it up to run in drenching downpours, blistering heat, scary thunderstorms and freezing cold. I’ve also run when I’m sick and probably shouldn’t. Like this past week. On Sunday I felt myself coming down with a nasty cold, but I ran about 1.5 miles Monday morning and then even though I was feeling exhausted on Tuesday night I decided to push through 3 slow miles. I figured that it was only a cold, and that I’d wake up once I started running. Well, I did wake up, and was feeling pretty good until about 2 miles in. Unfortunately the strangest thing started to happen. (This is where I get a little graphic, so if you’re squeamish, you should stop reading). I’ve thought for a long time that I have stress induced acid reflux. I’ve only gotten heartburn a few times, but when I’m really stressed about something the back of my throat burns with acid. When I’m running its uncomfortable but not so bad that I feel the need to stop running. This time though, about 1.5 miles in I started feeling like there was something lodged in my throat. The best way I can describe it is that my esophagus was fighting with itself to keep dinner where it belonged, in my stomach. I’ve never really felt nauseous while running, or felt like puking after, and this time I still wasn’t feeling nauseous, but I still felt like my dinner was making a furious bid for escape. And here’s where the confession part comes in: I slowed to a walk, and when I didn’t feel better, I ended up walking the last mile of my run. And that’s when I started wondering. Am I not a hard core runner? I think lots of runners would have pushed through until they puked. In fact, a lot of fellow runners blog about them pushing through pain and fatigue and all sorts of other ailments and conditions. Recently one of my favorite bloggers, Health on the Run, wrote a post about a 17 mile run she had recently completed. She was in a ton of¬† pain and fatigued beyond belief, but rather than stop, she had her boyfriend run the last 5 miles with her. It seems like lots of runners will push through anything to get their miles in. Here’s the truth though. I wouldn’t. If I was feeling so exhausted and sick that I felt like I couldn’t make it another step, I would stop running and walk. If I was injured, I wouldn’t run. (That rule doesn’t apply to an actual race though. When I ran a 10 mile race last March, my thighs were chafed so raw that I had to waddle for 3 days after the race, but I didn’t stop running.) I think that there’s a line for everyone. For me, the line is where I can feel my dinner in the back of my throat and I have to take slow deep breaths to get it to move back down. And while I don’t mind pushing through soreness to go for a run, when I think my body needs a recovery day (or 2, to get over this nasty cold), I’ll take one. So maybe I’m not as hardcore as other runners. But I think that’s ok. I love to run, and maybe I won’t ever be the type of runner that runs 17 miles when I didn’t even feel up to running 2. But I still run. And I think I can call myself¬† hardcore for running in rain so heavy that I could barely see in front of me.

Written by blusunshinesarah

September 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Posted in Running

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