SacFit – week 3

I am starting week 3 of my new running program, so let me give you an update of the first two weeks.

First, in case you don’t remember from my last post, the workout schedule is sent out each Sunday. The basic schedule is:
– Mon: no supervised workout (on your own)
– Tues: on your own or hill repeats- Wed: rest or cross-train
– Thurs: on your own (for now)
– Fri: rest
– Sat: group workout (this is the longest distance of the week)
– Sun: rest

Workout review:

Week of June 5th:
– Sunday: rest – weight 191.2
– Monday: 20 min, 1.52 mi
– Tuesday: 24 min, 1.73 mi
– Wednesday: strength training at the gym- Thursday: 20 min, 1.41 mi
– Friday: rest
– Saturday: 46 min, 2.99 mi

Week of June 12th:
– Sunday: biking (about 2 hours, 16.26 mi) – weight 191.2
– Monday – Friday: no workouts :(- Saturday: 55 min, 3.59 mi

Random thoughts:

~ So I weigh in on Sunday mornings, and I have to admit, I’m a bit frustrated with the scale. Since the beginning of May, that number has not moved! While I guess its a good thing that the number isn’t going higher, it’s a bit strange that it isn’t moving down either. I’m hoping that changes as I continue with the program.

~ If you notice, I didn’t really workout week 2. I learned two lessons from that week. #1) If you don’t do your mid-week workouts, you will be more sore during the longer workout. Boy were my shins bothering me. I walked more during the intervals to help alleviate the pain, and even a bit into this evening’s workout.

~ Piggy-backing on the last point is #2) I need to learn to stay on track when school isn’t in session. I don’t remember if I’ve stated on this blog yet, but I work at a local elementary (K-8) school as a Library Tech.  It’s something I notice when looking back, but when school has a long break, I have a harder time staying on track with goals and such. And I think that was my issue the second week – being lazy and using the excuse of taking a “break” with school being out. Something to work on later this summer. The next few weeks will give some relieve to this as I am working Tues-Thurs at another school’s library in the district (they open select school libraries that are holding various summer programs to allow students to still check-out books to help prevent the summer slide – I’ll share what I’m planning for this later…).

Okay, enough random thoughts and such for this post. Keep running folks!

New approach to fitness

First, let me apologize for slacking on my posts 😦 I think about it most days, but it always ends up on the back burner. I do promise to get better, especially since school ends this week and I’ll have two months off for summer (minus the month I’ll be working a few hours and the week I’m away for a conference), but you get the idea – more time to actually type a post.

Besides, I have a focus for my posts now, at least for one day — I am starting a new fitness program to keep you  updated on!

There is a local running group (SacFit – check them out if you’re in the area) and I have recently joined them. And I mean recently! Our first meeting was only this past Saturday. The basic structure to the workout part is that Saturdays are the group workout and they will probably be the longest of the week. Then there are three mid-week workouts to go along with that. The first few weeks while us newbies get a feel for things, these mid-week workouts are on our own, but after a few weeks, they’ll start supervised workouts that may be more based around hills, speed, and such. The schedule is emailed every Sunday so we know what we’re supposed to do and where to meet when the time comes.

This past Saturday as I said was the first workout. In reality, it was our pace timing . They have 7 color groups – 3 for walkers, 4 for runners. Within these groups, we are further broken down by our pace to those that are similar – this way we don’t feel like we’re being held back or holding others back. For your info, my pace time was 12:41 for the mile, and I jogged the whole thing! I should find out my color/pace group later this week…

As I said, the schedule is emailed out each week. Here is my schedule for the week …

Sun – rest
Mon – 20 min easy pace
Tues – 24 min moderate pace
Wed – rest
Thurs – 14 min easy pace
Fri – rest
Sat – group workout

So rest days are that – days to relax. Cross-training and strength training can also be thrown in (or on run days), but no running on those days!

Easy pace is described as a conversation pace (you know, like walking down the street and talking with your homies). Moderate pace you can still talk, but there’s a few more breaths  in the sentence.

What I find funny about this is that as running is still new to me, anytime I run it would be described at “moderate” based on my breathing. So on days like today, I just try to keep it slower and allow myself more walk breaks. On days like tomorrow when its a “moderate” pace, I’ll probably try to push the run part more.

Okay, so I joined a running group – there’s got to be an end-goal to this, right? Yep! My goal, besides being able to keep a better pace while running in general, I plan on registering for my first marathon. Yep, you heard right folks – I am signing up to do 26.2 miles straight! Specifically I’m planning on doing the CIM – California International Marathon in December. Now, it won’t be a total leap as I have done a half before (13.1 miles), but that was about 4 years ago, and if you know my exercise history, you’ll know I’m not the most consistent in the training field.

But I think having this group may just be my ticket. The last time I tried something like this was with Team in Training through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you’re familiar with this program, then you they also mix in fundraising along with their training. Not only did I have to do training, but I also had to try to come up with money. So when it became clear that the fundraising part of things wasn’t going so well, the working out part went down the drain as well.

But this group is different – there’s a flat fee up front, but then I don’t have to pay another dime or fund-raise for anything! Okay, so I do have to pay for any race I want to do, but I get to pick the races, so I can choose the distance and location. Plus, they are tailoring the program to my fitness, as opposed to TnT where we all did the same workout despite how fast/slow we could run. And to be honest, I didn’t get a lot of support in improving my running skill, and I can already get the sense from just one group workout and a side conversation with the guy who came up with this group, that I will at the very minimum walk out a better runner than when I walked in.

So there you are – the next chapter of my life. Stay tuned each week to see how I do with the workouts and what else is in store. Hope you’re ready for a fun, tiring journey. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of sweat to go around 🙂

Memorial Day 2016

Today’s post actually has two parts to it. The first is a story my mom wrote about the time she learned her father had died. The second is a speech my grandmother gave at my uncle’s church yesterday. It is similar to one she gave at her home church in 2010. And she has given me permission to share it with you today. Please enjoy them both. My hope is that by sharing these stories you understand a little more about the meaning behind Memorial Day for those affected by it.

For those who don’t know, Memorial Day is for those who served in the military and gave their lives – Veteran’s Day is for those who previously served in the military but are still alive – Armed Forces Day is to recognize those who are actively serving in the military. For me personally, there are four men (pictured below) who would celebrate these days – my grandfathers Charles and Roy (both you will learn a bit more about today), both who are now deceased, my father who served in the Air Force until the 90s, and my brother who is actively serving in the Army.

Today, let’s not just enjoy a day off and have a party. Let’s also remember the families who have lost a loved one from defending our country.

The Jeep at My House
by Crystal Dawn Mann

May 22, 1969 was a central California spring day filled with beauty–blue sky, warm sun, singing birds, blooming flowers, playing children. The Vietnam War was in full swing. To three of the children in the neighborhood, this meant Daddy had been gone a long time, and this was a time to play war, like Daddy was. The weapons were squirt guns, spray bottles, and the seeds of the four o’clock flowers, which resembled miniature hand grenades. The neighbor’s yard was the war zone today as 6-10 children ran through it shooting each other with their squirt guns and spray bottles, and throwing their miniature grenades at each other. Guns and grenades only scored near misses; they never actually killed anyone.

In the midst of this, a jeep drove down the street. As the children watched, it came to a stop across the street from where they played, right in front of our house. In the jeep were two “army men” dressed in their nice green uniforms. The children watched as the “army men” walked up to the house; my two younger brothers and I thinking it was Daddy with a friend of his. We watched, and then continued playing war. A little later we watched as the two men came out of the house, got back into the jeep, and drove away. We decided that Daddy had just left to take his friend home or to a motel, and would soon be back home with us. The fact that it was still 2 months before his scheduled arrival home never entered our minds.

As the jeep drove away, one of my cousins came out of the house and told my brothers and I that my mom wanted us to come into the house. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the house and saw my mom on her knees in front of the console stereo, crying. After all, moms don’t cry, right? When I saw my mom crying, I knew my world had just fallen apart, even though I did not know why she was crying.

My brothers and I went over to our mom. She told us that our Daddy had died in the Vietnam War.

I remember that spring day in central California–people crying, heavy hearts, a deep sense of loss.

Memorial Day 2016
by Mary Bernnice Sampley

I hadn’t gotten the kids up for school yet when the door bell rang. There was a man at the door I hadn’t seen before but he was holding something in his hand. He confirmed my name. He then handed me a yellow envelope and asked me if I was home alone and I answered that my kids were with me. He asked if I minded if he waited with me while I read what was inside and I assured him it was okay.

Inside was what looked like a “cut and paste” letter and it said, in part, “I am sorry to inform you that your husband, SFC Charles A. Jones, has been seriously injured in the chest, abdomen, and all extremities. There is grave cause for concern.” Little did I know when I heard that door bell ring, that it would change the entire course of four lives.

A number of telegrams followed the first one. My pastor came over and prayed with me. Many people were praying that he would recover from his injuries.

A few days later, with several of my family with me in the living room , an olive-drab car pulled up in front of my house. Two uniformed men walked to the door and I invited them in. I asked them to have a seat because I knew why they were there. They wouldn’t sit with us because they were on official business. I tried to put them at ease but that wasn’t going to happen. They proceeded to give me official notice that my husband had died from his injuries. I was sitting on the arm of the couch and put my head in my hands and some tears came. My dad came over and put his hand on my shoulder and I sat up and didn’t shed another tear for several weeks. No one was going to think I was weak and couldn’t handle things. I had been alone too many times in our nine years of marriage to give in to a few tears.

Shortly before the first telegram arrived, I received a record that I had played several times. On it was a song that became my theme song. It’s entitled “I Will Not Forget Thee”.

“Sweet is the promise I will not forget thee,
Nothing can molest or turn my soul away;
E’en though the night be dark within the valley,
Just beyond is shining an eternal day.

Trusting the promise I will not forget thee,
Onward I will go with songs of joy and love,
Though earth despise me,
Though my friends forsake me,
I shall be remembered in my home above.

When at the golden portals I am standing,
All my tribulations, all my sorrows past;
How sweet to hear the blessed proclamation,
Enter, faithful servant, welcome home at last.

I will not forget thee or leave thee,
In My hands I’ll hold thee,
In My arms I’ll fold thee,
I will not forget thee or leave thee;
I am thy Redeemer, I will care for thee.

I would kneel in front of the stereo many times a day and play “my” song.

It was upsetting to learn that by the time I received the first telegram, he had already been dead a few days. I wondered at the futility of prayer. Why did we bother when it was already too late?

I met Chuck in Hawaii on R&R about 3 weeks before his death. It was a special time for us and it was difficult to say “good-bye” again. A part of me walked on to that airplane with him.

Chuck was an advisor with the Advisory Team 75 in My Tho, Vietnam, in the Mekong Delta. he loved the job he was doing and he loved the Vietnamese people he worked with. He said if the kids and I had been there, it would have been his best duty station.

He went out with his troops one morning and just after leaving the hovering helicopter and running across the rice paddy, the VC (Viet Cong) detonated the land mind that cost him his life.

I later learned how extensive his injuries were but there is no need to detail them here. I wish I hadn’t investigated to get more information.

I had a lot of questions after he died. I asked God why He couldn’t have protected him. He could have prevented that mine from going off. God, why couldn’t you heal him? God, why, why, why? Then I would feel guilty because “you’re not supposed to question God!” I told my pastor how I was feeling and he told me it’s okay to question God. He said he believed questioning is a type of worship because we are reaching out to God, not turning away from Him.

I also felt guilty because I didn’t cry. I had a relative who had tried to get into her husband’s casket, and cried up a storm. I thought something was wrong with me because I didn’t behave that way. My pastor, in his wisdom, said “Generally, people who react that way are reacting out of guilt.” That calmed my inner voice that was telling me there was something wrong with me.

A few years later, I learned something else. God is not obligated to change the laws of nature for me. He could have prevented the mine from going off. He could have arranged for someone else to be at that place at that time. He could have caused the mine to malfunction, but a chain of events had already been put into motion and God was not obligated to change those things. God tells us that if we confess our sins, He will forgive them. I believe that God’s only obligation to me is to forgive my sins when I ask Him. The other things He does for me are extras.

Chuck died May 22, 1969, during a week of heavy casualties. Life magazine published several pages entitled “The Faces of The American Dead in Vietnam” on June 27, 1969. It showed the pictures of 242 men who were killed in that particular week and Chuck’s picture is in that article. (the cover and Chuck’s photo is pictured below)

His funeral was on June 6, 1969, the day before my oldest son’s 6th birthday. Crystal was 7, Terry was 5 and Stuart was 4. They didn’t understand why Daddy wasn’t coming home. No more wrestling, playing, going to the park, going to church. A future without a dad. It was hard enough for me to fathom a future without him; for them, it had to be extremely confusing. I was a widow at 27. I didn’t know what a widow was supposed to be or do or even how to explain everything to my kids. Widows were old ladies in the 60s and 70s, not someone in their 20s.

When Chuck died, the Pastor told the church that these three kids would need some men to step up and be a part of their lives. There were good intentions, but that never happened. My sister and brother-in-law lived in the same town and he did a lot for us and we spent all of our holidays with them. My other family were all scattered across several states and couldn’t be there and none of the other men made time to be a father-figure to them. The Bible tells us that God will be the husband to the widow and the father to the fatherless but we needed someone with skin on, too. I believe they still have problems that are associated with not having a father.

As most of you know, my kids stepdad passed away a year ago. Roy and I were sitting in the Oncology waiting room to be called for his appointment. The TV was tuned to the channel with all the judge shows. I think Divorce Court was on. I don’t understand how you can watch something like that and know what’s going on and have an internal dialogue and keep both of them straight, but that happened to me that day.

The Gaither’s wrote a song several years ago titled “It Is Finished”. I’ve always equated this song with the spiritual battle. The war between Satan and Jesus was finished and we, along with Jesus, were victors. But that day, this song said something different to me.

These verses, especially, spoke to me:

“Yet in my heart the battle was still raging,
Not all prisoners of war have come home;
There were battlefields of my own making,
I didn’t know that the war had been won.

Oh but then I heard that the King of the Ages,
Had fought all life’s battles for me;
And that victory was mine for the claiming,
And now praise His name I am free.

It is finished! The battle is over,
It is finished! There’ll be no more war;
It is finished! The end of the conflict,
It is finished! And Jesus is Lord.”

That day, it was as though Chuck was saying to me, ‘The war is over and has been for a long time. Let it be over. I’m no longer in a hospital bed in Saigon. I’m not in a box in the cemetery in Modesto, California. Let me be in the now. Don’t keep me back there in your mind because I’m not there. I, who grew up with nothing, have a mansion. I’m running and laughing. I’m still singing loud but now I’m on key and I’m talking with all the people we knew. My body is whole now. Don’t keep me in the past because I’m not there.’ You see, many times when I thought of Chuck, I thought of the funeral, the cemetery, the accident. There were things I talked about and remembered but my initial thought would be his death. I forgot that his real life didn’t end that day in Vietnam. He went on to a more complete life and he is living in the present, not the past. That day, watching Divorce Court, another part of my healing took place.

I gave this talk at my home church for Memorial Day. While I was reading through it, making a few changes, I realized I was doing with Roy the same thing I had been doing with Chuck. I thought about all the illnesses, all the ambulance calls, all the hospital visits. When we have a loved one who has been ill for a while before they die, our thoughts tend to drift back to those last days. We are thinking of and feeling things that happened back then. Allow your loved one to leave that place and in your mind let them live in the present and know that they are experiencing wonderful things TODAY. And I now accept that Roy, too, is experiencing freedom he has never experienced before.

Memorial Day. Day to remember those who fought and died for their country. Day to remember fathers, sons, husbands, daughters and mothers who gave the ultimate gift. Day to remember broken and grieving families.

But through the empty days and sleepless nights, God still says,

“I will not forget thee or leave thee.
In My hands I’ll hold thee,
In My arms I’ll fold thee.
I will not forget thee or leave thee.
I am thy Redeemer, I will care for thee.”

And to my kids I would say, “I’m so sorry you had to know your Daddy through others’ memories but I want you to know he loved  you more than life itself.”

Sunday Update: 3/27

First of all, Happy Easter everyone!

Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty of things … my weekly fitness/photo update.


Last week: 186.8
This week: 198.8
Difference: +3.0

I was expecting a gain last week but lost a bit, so I’m actually okay with this. A little bit disappointed, but I can live with it. I was off of work for the week cause of spring break (a plus for working at a school) so didn’t get as many steps in and thus wasn’t as active, so I guess a gain could be expected. Plus, maybe some of my fat is turning to muscle? Who knows.


Last week I got in two bits of exercise.

Wednesday I went to a local park and did a walk/jog for 4 laps (that’s about 46 min and 3.20 mi). This particular park is roughly square shaped. I did parallel sides walk/jog, so everytime I turned onto a new street I changed. I think it worked out to about 0.20 mi walk/0.20 jog lengths.

Friday I went back to the same park and did another walk/jog for 4 laps. This time though, I cut my walk distance in half to about 0.10 mi, which increased my jog distance to about 0.30 mi. After 4 laps, I then decided to do a final lap and jogged until I couldn’t go anymore, or I did 1 lap, whichever came first. For the final lap, I threw in a side spot that brings the total lap to about a mile, and actually jogged the whole length! For those who haven’t read my Friday blog yet, check it out – you can find out about my small injury that occurred during the night also.

In case you didn’t read my Friday blog, let me share my woohoo moment about Friday – I JOGGED A MILE. You read it above but maybe you don’t get it yet – I JOGGED AN ENTIRE FREAKING MILE!!!!!!! Yeah, this is a big deal to me. The farthest I’d ever jogged before Friday without dropping to a walk was about 0.75 mi. And who knows, it could have been 0.50 mi – there wasn’t actually anything to judge the distance at that point (it was during a 5k race, and they only marked the actual miles).


Photo-a-day shots for the week


Moskya, Russian Federation – 5,796 mi
Middlebury, Indiana – 1,880 mi


Minsk, Belarus – 5,778 mi
Medford, Oregon – 263 mi

Friday 5: Jog a mile – WooHoo!

So I know this is normally where I’m supposed to share 5 things … but today I have 1 big one I want to share with you…

So, my hubby said I could sign up for a road race if I proved I was dedicated by exercising consistently. This means about 3+ days a week, something I struggle with.

Well, this week is spring break (I work at a school and get the week off just like the kids do – plus for being a school employee) and my last chance to show I’m improving in this area.

emoticon I went walk/jogging (I like to refer to it as wogging) at a local park on Wed. This park is mostly square/rectangle shaped, so I picked parallel lengths and alternated walking and jogging. I ended up doing 4 laps and going about 3.25 miles in about 45 minutes (about 0.20 mi jog – 0.20 mi walk roughly).

emoticon This evening, I went to the same park and decided to try a longer walk/jog pace. It ended up being about 0.35 mi jog – 0.10 mi walk for 4 laps. Then, I decided to make my 5th lap a “let’s see how far we can jog without collapsing” lap. There’s a small rectangle that’s next to the park I threw into the lap making it about a mile long.

AND I JOGGED THE ENTIRE LAST LAP!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

The longest I’ve jogged before this was about 0.75 mi a few years ago, so this is a big deal in my head. emoticon

Oh, and about lap 3 or so, my feet started to develop blisters (cause I walk/jog funny and don’t have proper shoes), so throw that into the mix also.

But blisters or no, I wanted to prove to hubby that I could do it, that I was determined – and dammit I did 🙂

Unfortunately, it’ll be another week before I hit the trail again. A – because I want my blisters to heal first (one of them popped, so I’m sure you can imagine how sore that might feel now), and B – I want proper shoes! I’ve already been fitted at a running store, just waiting for paycheck to get them now. emoticon

So yeah, thanks for sharing my WOOHOO moment with me 🙂 emoticon

(Here’s my after photo – a bit of tired, happy, and sore all mixed in)

Sunday Update: 3/20


Last entry: 187
This week: 186.8
Difference: -0.2

I’ve heard certain times are hard for weight loss, especially for women, so yeah, any type of weight loss is amazing in my book during those times.


Wednesday: Hubby and I biked to lunch, then biked the long way home.

Saturday: Hubby and I walked to the store from our house. It was a bit of a leisure pace, but my body was a bit sore, so the goal was to just be moving.

So, hubby and I have agreed that this is the last week to prove I’m serious about exercising. The forecast seems to be in my favor for some wogging (walk/jog) and I’ve promised hubby at least one long bike ride (2+ hours).


Only one photo prompt to share – “people”
As well, my birthday was celebrated last week (on pi day), so here’s a few shots from that special occasion. The day was pretty typical (work, then spending time on the computer playing games). Hubby did make homemade noodles, but otherwise, a typical nice day.


Postcards traveling:

Gomel, Belarus (5,925 miles)
Přerov, Czech Republic (5,849 miles)
Kyiv, Ukraine (6,045 miles)
Germring, Germany (5,774 miles)

Postcards received:


WW: My top 10 songs right now

Prompt: List 10 songs that you’re loving right now.

Okay, so this is a mixture of songs, artists, and albums that are on my top list right now (which is changing almost every week, if not every day). You can click on the link to see the youtube video of the song, or a favorite song if multiple songs are indicated. In no particular order …

  1. Shake it Off by Taylor Swift – and yes, I’m totally shaking my hands while I dance in the car
  2. Harry Potter soundtrack – from any of the movies, especially 4
  3. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe soundtrack – the soundtrack from Prince Caspian will also come up on my pandora, but this one is my fav so far
  4. Frozen soundtrack – who doesn’t want to build a snowman?
  5. The Twilight Saga soundtrack – yes, I have read the books, seen the movies, and listen to the soundtrack – the song linked was in the 4th movie
  6. Sabrina Carpenter – I’m a fan of a few of her songs
  7. Descendants soundtrack – I love the viewpoint of the story being told to from the kids of beloved characters, both good and evil. Plus, Kenny Ortega was the choreographer for the movie. I’m learning to love him in this role (previous works where he was also the choreographer and director include High School Musical series and The Cheetah Girls 2)
  8. Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding
  9. Titanium by David Guetta featuring Sia – my favorite version is linked
  10. The Guild – so for those that aren’t familiar with this group, it features the characters of a web series staring Felicia Day. Especially if you play games like World of Warcraft, go find it! I’m sure you’ll get some of the references…

Honorable mention goes to any artist who got their start on Disney, such as Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez (to name a small few).