Why do you run?

By Andrea Kaltenbaugh

Do you ever wonder about someone’s running story?  I love to hear running stories, how someone started running, how long they have been running.   Do they enjoy it?  Do they run to hang out with friends?  Maybe they had to take a hiatus from running due to an injury or illness, and are just getting back into it.  Do they do it so they can eat?  Come on ladies…I know I have heard this before…”I run so I can eat.”  Are they running to train for a race, for a cause, or just so they can wear the cute new running skirt. The list goes on and on.

Running is something that has been in my life for a long time, at different levels of course, depending on the ages of my children, and my husband’s deployment/TDY schedule.    

I still remember the day that my husband and I drove to the local fitness store to buy a jogger stroller.  The year was 1997 and we were living in Spokane, WA.  We brought this monster jogger stroller home and the next day with my daughter on her bike, and my son in the jogger stroller, we set out.  Five minutes later, I said to my husband, “How long have we been running, I mean it has to be at least 20 minutes, because this is tough.”  Maybe that is where some of you are at right now.  Just started running, and you are discouraged, because you don’t feel like you can get past 5, 10 minutes, a mile. Or maybe you are running 3 to 4 miles in 30 minutes and you are struggling with your energy level. Increasing your mileage takes time and patience (a lot!).  It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen if you stick with it.  It reminds me of a quote I read on facebook, recently by John Bingham.  “The miracle isn’t that I finished the miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

How then, you ask, do I start?  Keep your running consistent and take baby steps, have a plan, set a goal like signing up for the next 5k. If you have the means to do so then hire a coach to get you started on a run plan. Focus on running a little farther each time you run.  Once you can successfully run a little farther, for example 2 miles without stopping, try running further.  Remember to give yourself at least a week before you add more mileage; adding too much mileage too soon, can cause injury.  Your body needs to adapt to a given mileage, before adding more.  Keep a running log; log your miles, how you felt that day, how much sleep you had, what you ate for breakfast that morning, what you hydrated with.  I love looking back over my running logs; it reminds me of how far I have come, or how I struggled with a particular run. 

Join a run group.  WOOT and WOOP are both great groups to belong to! Find a friend to start running with so you can hold each other accountable.  There have been a lot of early morning runs that I would have turned the alarm off, if I was not meeting a friend.  Choose a time of day that works best for you and get your family in on the run.  If you don’t have a jogger stroller, trade off baby-sitting with another Mom.  

I smile when I see ladies out running.  Yes, I smile when I see anyone out running, but maybe I am a little biased towards women runners, because I am one, and I know how busy we are with our careers, raising our children, volunteering, and holding down the home front while our husbands are deployed.   It makes my heart happy to know that with everything they have going on in their busy lives, they had the courage to start.   Why do you run?

About Andrea:

Andrea is one of our long-standing WOOT members, and also an RRCA certified running coach. I’ve had the privilege of running with Andrea on numerous training runs and in many races, and in the process I’ve been fortunate to learn many things from her.

Andrea started running when her kids were very young; she was determined to lose the weight that she had gained over the course of her pregnancies. She not only lost all of her excess weight, but she discovered, with the help of a running coach, that she had the ability to both improve as a runner, and also EXCEL as a runner! 

Under the guidance of her running coach, Andrea ran several sub 3:30 marathons (she has a 3:19 marathon PR!), and her half marathon and 10k times are equally impressive. But beyond the scope of race PRs and running goals, Andrea is just as happy running without any agenda, and even more so when she’s able to run with friends.

Unfortunately, Andrea is not in a position to coach right now, but she is able to answer any running-related questions you might have – you can send her a private FB message if you wish to contact her.

Andrea Kaltenbaugh – running to the finish line at Risner to claim first place

Probiotics – might be helpful for runner’s with tummy issues

By Anna Boom

Recently I came across an article about weight loss with probiotics.

Have you heard of this? I had heard of it, in yogurt and live bacteria but wanted to know more.



Renata, our lovely WOOT extraordinaire, brought up the topic on one of our runs together and my interest was peaked. She recommended taking them in a pill form. And whenever Renata tells me about her finds, e.g. acupuncture, collagen, probiotics, I am interested, because she is not only a strong runner, but gorgeous.

Coincidence brought probiotics back into my view as I read the article. I wanted to try them but didn’t want to plunk down the bucks to order to wait for delivery over the holiday season. While walking the commissary vitamin section, I found one probiotic product with a memorable name, Colon Health. Oh grrreat. “Price check on aisle 3, COLON HEALTH, repeat, COLON HEALTH”.  I went ahead and bought them and started the same day.

What are they? Probiotics are live microorganisms, also called microflora and good bacteria, that help you digest your food. Not all bacteria are bad, as you know. These are the Glenda, the Good Digester kind.

What exactly do probiotics do? The bottle claims over 1.5 billion cells of 3 strains of good bacteria promoting digestive health. 1.5 billion bacteria! In each pill! That is a lot for the small capsule. From Mayo Clinic, here are a few of the possible benefits


*Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics

*Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections

*Treat irritable bowel syndrome

*Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections

*Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu

Later that evening, I noticed less bloating after eating. And that was the sell for me. Regardless of the product name, I don’t have colon issues but have found myself wishing for a flatter, less bloated feeling after eating certain foods.

Also this week, my 4 year old passed along a nasty bit of cold to me. I was feeling miserable Thursday afternoon and evening, but by Friday morning, all was well again. See the last bullet above.

It may not be the magic pill to instant bikini body, but what is?! A healthy lifestyle and a little Glenda the Good Digester Colon Health magic, may help you along your journey.

If you want to read more, check out the links in this update or do a quick search.


A Mothers Day Tribute

By Anna Boom
Acknowledging our mothers and all that they do for us!
How are you celebrating this day? Whether you are mom, mom-to-be, have one you love dearly or all of the above, take a moment this Sunday and say thanks!

I am thankful that I had a mom who ran. When I think back on my childhood, I can see her out running in her little adidas in the days before sports bras, running skirts or compression socks. She was my first role model and taught me what it was to be stay in shape and that it was important she had her time too. Being my mom didn’t mean she wasn’t Etsuko, too.

Running gave her an outlet to work out the days worries through sweat and exhaling.­­ She also liked the solo time, no demands except what she placed on herself. The feeling of achievement by completing at least one goal that day.

I was lucky enough to complete a few Naha and Okinawa marathons and a few half marathons with her before she passed away very unexpectedly in an accident. Although we never finished together, we still enjoyed talking about our training plans, buying new running shoes, eating that wonderful recovery meal and celebrating a job well done.

There are many days when I want to go back to a summer Okinawan day and tell her, “Thank you for everything.” Does everything cover it?

Thanks for all the days of waking up early to make sure we were ready for the day. Thanks for taking care of yourself so that even when your mommy guilt started to creep in, you were able to stay balanced. Thanks for staying in shape so that you had the energy to give your undivided attention. Thank you for one of my important life lessons: that life is unexpected and wonderful and full of joy and tears.

Yes, I guess everything will do. Thanks Mom, I miss you

By Jannine Myers

Taking a Little Time out on Mothers Day 

A couple of years ago I remember setting out on an early morning run and being startled by a car that accidentally hit the curb just ahead of me. I was startled obviously by the car being so close to me, but I was further surprised when the left rear hubcap flew off the wheel, and the driver, completely oblivious to what had just happened, continued driving his car without stopping to collect the runaway hubcap.

Sometimes I think we mothers are so busy multi-tasking each day, trying hard to check off as many tasks on a “to do” list that never seems to shorten, that in the process we unknowingly lose a “part” of ourselves. Only the kind of “parts” we lose are intangible things that contribute towards our overall well-being; such things as rest, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and spontaneous or scheduled moments of fun and laughter.

Like the driver who was able to continue driving his car without a hubcap, we are also capable of getting things done when we’re overtired and run-down, but we’d function so much better if we stopped to do a “parts” check every once in a while.

Take today to sit back and enjoy what Mother’s day is all about – be selfish for a change and spend the day doing whatever it is that you want to do.

Wishing you all a restful and happy mother’s day!

Boston Marathon 2012


by Anna Boom

On my plane trip to Boston, I put this on my list of things to do: write a follow up about the marathon on what the course and people were like, what was fun to do there beforehand, a good place to recover after the race.

On my plane trip from Boston, I did nothing but alternate between sleep and feeling sorry for myself. Yes, I DNF’d at Boston, THE Boston Marathon and it hurt my pride to tell all my family, friends, all of you at WOOT and WOOP.

So a few weeks of mental and physical recovery and I am finally writing about it.

First, the feeling around Boston during race week and weekend is exhilarating. Everywhere you go, the marathon buzz is around you. The locals are all kind (I hear this changes the day after the race) and encouraging. Runners are all around you also donning their spanking new BAA running jackets.

And there you are, part of the cool kids who qualified to run this thing. Pretty cool, indeed.

Second, weather plays an important factor in your race day performance. I did not stop to think that temperatures in the mid to high 80s would affect me. After all, we live here on Okinawa, a sub tropical island. Then I was reminded at mile 12, as I started feeling what 89 degrees feels like, that I had been training in 50-60 degree weather throughout our Okinawan fall and winter season for the past 5 months (thank you for reminding me, too, Cassie!).

As I looked around me, there at mile 12, I noticed we were all walking. It looked like mile 25, not 12. I had never seen anything like that before. Everyone was suffering, everyone had given up their goal pace or finish time and the race was not half way done, yet.

Too late in the game, I tried to change tactics to hit smaller goals. The finish line was too big and too far of an obstacle.  Number one was find my dad, somewhere out there cheering for me. Number two was the next water station. Luckily for all of us running, locals along the course offered hoses, sprinklers, ice, wet paper towels to help us contend with the heat. Even with all the water that was available I was parched and my lips had become very chapped. I was sipping at every chance but it was not enough.

Then I ran up to Wellesley College. Seeing all those girls out there cheering happily with their signs:

Kiss me, I’m a nerd. Kiss me, I’m a freshman. Kiss me, I’m the only guy out here, and my favorite: Wellesley loves Okinawa Runners!

Awesome and thanks, Bert!!

Third, in the end, it is just a race. Pavement, heat, thirst, bloated tummy, more miles and me all in a battle for who will win today. April 16 2012, it was not me. I saw a patch of shade under a shrub at mile 17 that I could not pass by. So I went and laid down. I had stopped sweating, was eternally thirsty but couldn’t drink anymore and could not imagine running one more mile. Medical found me there soon after. Cue the vomiting, shakes and the dramatic attempt to keep going. Failing that attempt, I got a free ride to the medical tent.

One of  the many memories I have and cherish is laying horizontal and watching all the runners keep moving in what seemed slow motion to the finish. They were all amazing, dripping in sweat, in soggy clothes, socks and shoes, slogging it forward. Makes me smile thinking of our human capability. Okay, not mine at that moment, but all of yours.

Thank you for all the kind wishes and follow up support. I am humbled by you all!

2013 Boston trip? Anyone?