WOOT says farewell to Kathleen

I read a Dr. Seuss quote recently which made me think of friends who have been a blessing and inspiration in our lives, but who sadly, have either moved on and left us or are getting ready to say goodbye and leave us. One such friend is a favorite and much-loved WOOT member, Kathleen Lennard, who has been with WOOT since the beginning and who has played a significant role in building our membership.

Dr. Seuss said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

One of the things I love most about our group is that we love, we care, we laugh and we cry, but at the end of the day we also accept that change is inevitable and we’re okay with that. It’s okay because there is a strength that permeates throughout our group and enables us to focus on the great and memorable moments, rather than the fact that those moments have passed and will be no more.

Many of our most memorable WOOT moments have Kathleen at the very heart of them, simply because she has attended almost every run and social event since WOOT was founded. And because of the many ways in which Kathleen has contributed to the growth and positive climate of our group, I wanted to post some parting comments from a few of our long-standing members who wish her all the very best in her future endeavors.

Me: A week ago I gave Kathleen a fairly unattractive-looking coffee mug with a “Search and Rescue” emblem on it – in hindsight it was rather an odd and silly gift, especially as the symbolism behind it wasn’t immediately understood. But what I was really trying to convey to Kathleen, is that the “Search and Rescue” emblem on the mug reminded me of some of the earlier days when WOOT was still getting off the ground; Kathleen would always be the one who would head back out to the trails or farm roads to look for lost runners. That’s the kind of person she is; always concerned for others and willing to sacrifice her own time and enjoyment to make sure everyone is accounted for and safe. I hope it makes sense now Kathleen 🙂

Kathleen and I showing off our new “greeters” fan

Anna Boom: Kathleen Lennard has been the heart of WOOT. She is the woman who invites every single woman she knows or sees, no matter if she knows them or not. Without Kathleen, we would not have 220 of our 230 members.

Anna and Kathleen – early WOOT days

Tiffany Powell: Kathleen has a positive, enthusiastic attitude towards running that she shares with her WOOT friends. It is through these characteristics and her outgoing personality that she is also able to recruit new WOOT runners. Kathleen is a valuable member of WOOT that will be missed.

Tiffany and Kathleen goofing around

Andrea Kaltenbaugh: Kathleen’s energy and friendliness will be missed at WOOT. She puts newcomers at ease, and greets them warmly in the morning before a run. She often arrives to WOOT runs with a van full of ladies. She genuinely cares about each runner and often makes sure that no one gets lost on a run.

Tiffany, Kathleen, and Andrea – always smiling!

Amy Stewart: Kathleen embodies WOOT because she doesn’t let anything stop her. Broken toe in Mongolia for a trail marathon? No problem. Unbearable abdominal pain for half of the 60K in New Zealand? Easy peasy. Don’t let the kind, outgoing smile fool you. Inside, Kathleen is a warrior!

Amy captured this photo of Kathleen at this year’s Okinawa Marathon – this is at mile 19 and Kathleen is still smiling!

WOOT WOOT Kathleen, and sayonara! You will be missed but I’m sure that some of us will cross paths with you again, and when that encounter occurs, I won’t be surprised if it’s on some Coronado trail with you at the helm of a great group of girls who call themselves WOOT in SoCal.

Get Your Running Skirts On

Last week I had a request from one of our WOOT members to write up a post on running skirts and more specifically, where to buy them. I have been running in skirts for a couple of years now but I must admit that my initial thoughts about them were somewhat cynical. I thought they were cute, but I couldn’t see myself running in a skirt without feeling a little self-conscious. I’m glad however that I eventually gave in to peer pressure and tried one on, because the skirts I now own have become a favorite addition to my running wardrobe.

The following information is limited to what I believe are probably the top three running skirt brands, but I know some of you run in other brands so please comment below if you have a preference other than those listed:

1. Runningskirts.com – these are my personal favorites, mostly because they are extremely light and comfortable, and they seem to be flattering on most body types. Runningskirts.com also introduces new patterns and colors every season so there is always a wide range to choose from.

There are two main styles: RS (running skirt), and AS (athletic skirt). The RS skirts are made with a brief underneath, while the AS skirts are made with loose compression-type shorts underneath and a slightly longer inseam. I prefer the RS skirts as I don’t like shorts rubbing against my legs, but the AS skirts seem to be more popular. Winter skirts are also available (these are made with capris underneath).

RS skirts cost $58; AS skirts cost $68; Capri skirts cost $72 – some styles are sold by Runningwarehouse.com and can be purchased at a lesser cost if you use our WOOT discount. Runningskirts.com used to sell their old stock at greatly reduced prices, but I have not seen any skirt sales recently – still, it might pay to check out their website from time to time (I bought several of my skirts at sale prices).

Spring/summer collection 2011


Spring/summer collection 2011

2. Skirtsports.com – this company is in direct competition with Runningskirts.com. but sets itself apart by marketing a range of skirts suitable for multiple sports. It’s difficult for me to comment on the comfort and fit of these skirts as I don’t own one, but I have heard positive reports about them. Visit their website to view the great range of skirts they have available; skirt prices are between $42 and $90.

Marathon Girl Ultra

Girl Racer

3. Athleta.com – Athleta.com sells really cute, bright-colored running skirts (or skorts actually), and the prices seem to range between $40 and $60. I love the patterns and colors of Athleta skorts, but the skorts I have purchased in the past have felt heavier than my RS skirts and I personally like clothing and shoes that feel light. If you don’t mind a slightly heavier fabric however, these skorts run a little cheaper and they are super cute.

Swift Zip Skort

Printed Chase Skort

Most major sports brands also sell their own range of sports or running skirts and occasionally you can find some cute Nike running skirts at the Risner Pro Sports Shop on Kadena, or alternatively, you can find a greater variety of Nike running skirts at the Nike stores located in most of the major shopping malls here in Okinawa.

For more online shopping options, here are some that I have used in the past (make sure you do a search for running skirts once you enter the site):


I know some of our WOOT ladies are running with skirt brands other than those listed above, so please leave a comment on what your favorite brand of running skirt is and where you bought it from – thank you!

Note: keep watching for a future post on running accessories

Summer Break Survival for WOOT Moms

It’s official: school is out and summer break has begun! You’re either celebrating right now because you enjoy hot summer days at home with the kids, or more than likely you’re dreading the days ahead and wondering how you’re going to keep those hairs on your head from prematurely graying.
Last summer I signed my girls up in various sports clinics. My oldest daughter is capable of finding her own sources of entertainment during the summer but I still like to insist that she add some type of physical activity into the mix of her busy social agenda. My younger daughter on the other hand is one of those kids who cannot stand to stay indoors for more than a couple of hours at a time; I’m doomed if I don’t have a busy schedule lined up for her.

Jade at tennis lessons on Kadena

Truthfully though, I don’t always enjoy driving my kids from place to place, or sitting in uncomfortably hot weather while waiting for swimming or tennis lessons to be done with, but it beats having rebounding arguments with a seven year old who won’t quit complaining. I‘d rather give up my own plans and daily routine if it results in less whining, less arguing, and ultimately less stress. There are other positives too: I get to enjoy uninterrupted reading time while waiting for lessons to end, or socialize with other moms to break the monotony of being around “little people”  all day, and of course no one can argue that playing a sport isn’t good for kids. But perhaps the greatest benefit is that my youngest daughter is usually too worn out to recognize the presence of boredom on those few occasions when we are sitting at home with no plans for the day.

Exhausted – woohoo, mission accomplished!

 Below are some summer sports activities you can enquire about:

1. Kadena Youth Sports is offering the following sports clinics:
  • Volleyball – Ages 9 and up
  • Baseball – Ages 5 to 12
  • Soccer – Ages 9 and up
  • The First Tee: 9 Core Values of Golf – Ages 8 and up
  • Cheer – Ages 5 and up
  • Ultimate Frisbee – Ages 9 and up
Registration for these clinics began on June 1st. Phone 634-1384 for further information.

Jade playing soccer – one of her favorite sports

Chantal at volleyball camp – hosted by Kadena High School

2. Kadena Youth Center is offering summer dance camps:
  • Ages 5-6
    20-24 June &
    27 June-1 July
  • Ages 7-18
    5-9 July &
    11-15 July
Registration for these camps has begun; phone 634-0500 for further information

Jade getting her hip hop on

 3.Both Kadena and MCCS Aquatics are offering swimming lessons this summer; registration for lessons can be done online at:

  • kadenaforcesupport.com/outdoor/aquatics.html
  • mccsokinawa.com/learntoswim
Jade patiently waiting for her turn on the dive board

4. Taiyo Golf Club is offering Junior Golf Clinics starting June 28th:

  • June 28 – July 1, July 12 – 15, July 26 -29, & August 2 – 5
  • Ages 5 – 9:  8 to 10am
  • Ages 10 – 17: 1 to 3pm
Ph. 622-2004 for further information or to sign up 

5. Kadena Tennis Center is offering summer tennis clinics:

$75 Adults and children ages 5 and older
  (10 one-hour sessions)

  • Class Schedules (Monday – Friday)
    Session I • 11 – 22 July
    Session II • 25 July – 5 August
    Session III • 8 – 19 August
Ph. 959-0675 for further information.

If you know of other sports our kids can participate in this summer please comment below. Oh, and in case you’re wondering if I’m one of those moms who pushes my kid into doing a sport she does not enjoy, I can assure you that I’m not. Anyone who knows little Jade knows that she LOVES to try any sport – if it involves being outdoors and around other kids she’ll be the first one in line saying, “Sign me up, I’m in!” And I’m usually right behind her with a pen in hand, breathing a huge sigh of relief…….

WOOT celebrates another win

Last weekend one of our WOOT members took first place in the women’s figure category (5 ft.3 and below), at the Pacific Muscle, Figure and Fitness Competition held at Kadena Theater. Those of you who know Ivette Kragel will know that she is an extremely positive and inspirational person with an infectious smile and heart of gold. Her win at last weekend’s competition was well-deserved and while we can’t really take any credit for Ivette’s success, we are extremely proud of her achievement and very blessed to have her on board as part of our WOOT team.

Weeks of hard work and discipline have paid off

In order to better understand the discipline of what Ivette went through in the weeks leading up to the competition, I’ve posted below some questions I presented to Ivette and her responses to each:

1. When did you first consider entering a figure competition and what motivated your thoughts to train for one?I guess I was always interested in the sport but I had never actually considered competing until my husband was deployed earlier in the year. I was a full time student and I thought maybe I can squeeze in some training.
2. Did you have any doubts once you set your mind to doing it? I mean I guess there are always a few doubts, but I generally try to not let myself think like that. I’m kind of in the mindset, that if you doubt yourself too much your results will reflect that way of thinking whereas if you don’t the same is true.

3. What did the training entail, and when did it start?This is a great question, because in my research I came across different training methods; often they were lifting, and cardio in the gym. I thought to myself, “well this could get kinda boring,so I did a combination of incorporating lifting, gym cardio, running with WOOT, group fitness (which covered some lifting and plyometrics), as well as some group Crossfit. Yes it is a tossed salad of training, I know.

4. What did your diet consist of?The diet was a very high protein diet, with clean carbs such as brown rice, oats and yams, or potatoes. Lots of vegetables and lots of lean protein –somehow I never tired of fish! I ate protein shakes immediately after workouts and often between meals (this helps maintain and build muscle).

5. What were the most difficult moments for you during the training period?Honestly Mondays were tough for me. I would rest Sundays, so I had to reboot Mondays and tell myself ok here we go..The other difficult part was enjoying company while still trying to eat clean. That’s pretty tough!

6. What did you learn about yourself along the way?
That if I stayed the course, stayed positive, surrounded myself with positive people, and had fun doing it then I knew mentally I could reach my goals. I also felt that the challenge itself was just as gratifying as a win.

7. What were the highs and lows for you?The highs were always after a workout and of course seeing my husband and friends, cheering and glowing from excitement. That really was something. There are always lows, like some days you think I could just eat and sleep in and the heck with the whole thing but, it’s a mind game and you have to win by not letting the little negative bug bite ya!

8. Will you compete in more figure contests? I think I will, now that I know what it all entails, and I really had a great time doing it, sure I think I would.

9. Did you train yourself, or did you have a trainer? Were the poses difficult to learn, and how much time was spent practicing them? For the most part I did all the training myself, I say for the most part, because as I’d mentioned before some of my training was with friends. I’m not going to lie, the poses look easier than they are, I started practicing on my own initially until I found a trainer on the island, Shelly Howard who offered posing classes. So I learned quite a bit more about posing from her.

10. What happens during the 48 hours leading up to competition? The 48 hours leading up, consists of carb loading, upping your carb intake, while you reduce your water to appear full and lean at the safe time. By full I mean to make your muscles appear full. There’s a whole science to it really. Oh and of course you have to get your competition color put on, which brings out your lines and definition under the stage lights.

11. How did you feel on the night, were you nervous, excited, light-headed? How did you feel when you won? I was very excited, I felt good, I had all my stuff together in my bag, I’m kind of a planner that way, it also helps ease the nerves. I was however pretty thirsty, but that was to be expected, but other than that, I had my husband there the whole time and he has a tendency to naturally calm me. When I won I was elated!! I mean I had a feeling I would fair well, but winning??–That was awesomeness!

12. How will life change for you now that the competition is over (or will you continue to train and prepare for the July 31st competition?). If you are competing in July also, then how do you expect life to change for you after the July competition – do figure contestants and bodybuilders have maintenance plans to follow so that they gradually transition back to a regular diet and exercise program? Are you worried that you might strive to keep your body fat percentage to a minimum, or do you feel confident that you’ll be fine with whatever body fat percentage your body returns to?I am normally a naturally active person, and I generally make it a point to eat healthy, maybe not as clean as I would for this type of event because really you train a certain way to meet a goal but it’s not realistic or healthy to think you can keep the stage look going year round. I honestly feel comfortable in my skin, I think that as long as I am within a certain range for a healtly body mass index then I can live with that. Oh and as long as I can keep fitting into my Hudsons (my jeans) then I can live with that too.

13. How has running and being a part of WOOT impacted your training goals, and will you run more when you are no longer competing?
WOOT allowed me to cover my intervals for the week, or my fat burning cardio, but that is the smaller part of it. The gals were a huge motivation, some of them are Ultra runners, some of them, just started running, but for me its inspiring either way, and it gave me the push being with them to never give up. Oh and I am definitely going to keep running with WOOT, that’s a no brainer.

14. What are your immediate plans for the future and into the next few years?
Well someday, ironically, I’ve been running for years, and have never ran a marathon, I hope that I can add that to my bucket list.

15. What would you say to anyone considering doing a figure contest for the first time?I would recommend depending on the type of person you are; if you are either self-motivated or you like someone to hold you accountable then do the research and or hire a trainer. Lots of people bring a different level of experience, Ive been working out for years so I had some knowledge on training, some people might need to be exposed to it differently. I should point out that even for me it was a whole new learning experience though.

Ivette also won overall figure category – both short and tall class

If you would like to support Ivette at her next competition, be sure to buy a ticket for the July 31st Far East Bodybuilding Championship to be held on Camp Foster – you can purchase tickets from any MCCS Athletic Facility (tickets are $10 per person). We’ll see you there…….

Massage your way to injury-free running

About the only time I seek out a good massage is when I am hurting from generally tired and achy muscles, or when I am suffering from a running injury. Massage to me is a little bit like yoga; I know it’s great for the body but I haven’t done enough research on it to fully comprehend its true benefits. What I do know, is that the more I run the more I feel like I need a good deep-tissue massage. I recently asked Robert Regnier, a licensed massage therapist and independent contractor here on Okinawa, if he could explain in detail why massage is good for the body and also for running. The following is an excerpt from the article Robert wrote for us:

Unfortunately, running ultras, 10 miles of trail and doing triathlon are about the least harmonious physical acts this side of Barnum and Bailey. Running naturally aids the body’s lymphatic system (which is built like our cardiovascular system without a “heart” to act as pump,) by releasing toxins and flushing lymph via the mechanical pump of flexion and extension. However, the cumulative production and build-up of metabolic waste involved with a rigorous training cycle is too much for our bodies to move for processing, especially from the lower legs and feet, hence, the swollen feet, calves and ankles (Sugars, Kosher foods, nitrates and pork breakfast meats can more than double natural inflammation,). Inflammation and edema are part of the body’s healing process (Chemical Feedback Loop in response to trauma: 1. Initial trauma, 2. Chemical mediators of inflammation, 3. Vasodilation, 4. Edema, 5. Chemical build-up, 6. muscle spasm, 7. Reactive Ischemia, which body perceives as trauma, beginning loop again,), but stagnated lactic acid, dead RBCs and free-radical-scavenger waste can contribute to discoloring, crepitus and tissue restriction. Light-to-moderate massage easily assists in moving waste to lymph nodes where natural cleansing occurs.

The full article, which provides an extensive and thorough explanation on how massage can benefit runners, has been posted as a document on our WOOT Facebook page; it will remain there as a permanent resource for those of you who wish to read more on the topic.

If you’re looking for the short scoop though, here’s what I found on a health and wellness site called tandurust.com:

Massage therapy is used actively for runners. There are three types of massage programs for runners and other athletes:

  • Maintenance Massage: The aim of this massage is to regularly stimulate and massage select muscles in the body so as to aid in ensuring optimal performance without injury
  • Pre-event massage: A more vigorous form of massage, this massage is provided prior to an event.It is meant to supplement warm up and thereby increases blood circulation and reduces stress on the muscles. It also has profound benefits on reducing mental tension and mental stress prior to a competition
  • Post-event massage: This massaged is aimed at reducing muscle spasm and aids in removal of metabolic toxins built up after the vigorous exercise. This also helps in reducing the risk of injuries among athletes.

As I mentioned above, it’s usually not until I’ve done some damage to my joints, muscles or ligaments that I wind up looking for a massage therapist. Perhaps if I were to indulge a little and spend some extra money on keeping up with a maintenance program I might reduce my odds of injury and even improve my overall performance. That might be true for you too, and assuming you might be willing to incorporate regular massage therapy into your monthly training schedule, here’s a few places that have been tried and tested by some of us WOOT ladies:

  1. Robert Regnier – works independently from home, off-base near Kadena gate 5 (you can search for him on Facebook). Robert is able to do sports massage and really get deep into any problem areas. Robert was charging $35 an hour but you should check with him first for confirmation.
  2. MCCS Semper Fit gyms – you can call your nearest MCCS fitness center to make an appointment; a one hour appointment costs $30. You may have to try several different therapists before you find one you like.
  3. Risner Fitness Center (Kadena) – appointments with a massage therapist at Risner must be made at the customer service desk and paid for in advance; they will not accept phone reservations. A one hour massage costs $45.
  4. Jasmine Thai Massage – If you’ve never tried a thai massage I most definitely recommend it. This type of massage is a dry massage, meaning no oil is used and the massage is performed on top of clothing, not skin. The pressure is very deep and intense, and lots of deep stretching is included. A 90 minute massage costs Y6000, or a 2 hour massage costs Y8000. Jasmine is about 1.7k south along the pipeline from MCAAS Futenma main gate. Call 090-2969-4744 for an appointment. They are also able to do “couples”  appointments.
  5. Life Chiropractic – Both dry and oil massages are available at Life Chiropractic Center, as well as Thai Yoga massages. A one hour seitai massage (dry) or one hour thai yoga massage costs Y4500; a one hour relaxation oil massage or one hour lymphatic detox massage costs Y6000; also available is a 75 minute lymphatic detox massage for Y7500. Online appointments can be scheduled by visiting http://www.okinawa-chiropractic.com/

If you know of any other places to get a sports or deep tissue massage please comment below.

Choosing the right shoes

In honor of National Running Day, held this year on June 1st, runners were encouraged to celebrate in various ways including the following:

  • Wear running shoes to work
  • Choose a brand new running route
  • Take your kids out for a run around the neighborhood
  • Invite a friend to walk or run with you
  • Set yourself a new running resolution
  • Treat yourself to a new pair of running shoes

These are all suggestions from the folks who created National Running Day; other sources recommended similar activities, all emphasizing of course a day that is somehow devoted to endorsing running as a fun and healthy lifestyle sport. Participating in any of these activities would take little coaxing for those of us who actually enjoy running, but for those who are new to running and looking for something to spur the flame a little more, let’s focus on an absolute essential component of running: the running shoe.

If you’re a serious runner then you probably own multiple pairs of running shoes and you can probably spout out the names of various running shoe brands as well as each brand’s most recently released shoe. Furthermore you have probably trialed most, if not all of the shoes you’re able to verbally cite, and you’ve probably got your favorites narrowed down. But more than likely it took quite a long time to determine which shoes work for you and which ones don’t.

Some of my favorites – Salomon Trail; Mizuno Wave Riders and Precision; Nike Frees

For new runners looking for that first pair of running shoes I recommend that you get a proper gait analysis done first. I had my first gait analysis done at Road Runner Sports a few years ago and based on their assessment, I now buy “neutral” shoes designed for high arches. Whenever I have strayed from running in these types of shoes I have almost always ended up injuring myself.

Other things to keep in mind include:

  1. Replacing your shoes every 200 to 300 miles, depending on the durability of your shoes. Runnersworld.com offers a free training log; I use this free tool to record my runs and also note which shoes I wear on each run. The log allows me to follow my training but it also keeps a separate log on my shoe mileage so I know when each pair of shoes will need to be replaced.
  2. If you can afford it, try having two pairs of running shoes available during a training cycle. By alternating run days with different pairs of shoes you will keep your shoes from wearing down too quickly and help prevent the odds of injuring yourself. 
  3. If you’re like me and like to run on both trails and pavement, you might want to consider buying an all-terrain shoe, or you could buy both road shoes and trail shoes. Ask some of your WOOT friends what trail shoes they run in.
  4. Once you progress a little further in your training and start to incorporate speedwork into your  routine, you may also want to consider buying some lightweight racing shoes that are designed specifically for those faster-paced runs.
  5. Runningwarehouse.com has a great variety of running shoes available at reasonable prices and they also offer an additional 15% discount to WOOT members (you can email one of the WOOT site administrators if you would like to know the discount code).

These are just a few running shoe tips which I hope are helpful, and I encourage our more advanced runners to offer further comments and advice.

Happy Running!