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Posts tagged ‘military families’

Running for Autism Awareness

Last month, I ran the ACT Today! for Military Families 5k/10k for the third year in a row and it did not disappoint!  I really love this event for a few reasons: 1.  It supports military families and autism awareness.  2.  It’s family friendly and offers fun activities for all ages.  3.  The course is fast and flat which makes it much easier to push a stroller – and Bonus: There’s even a Stroller Division!  So here’s my race breakdown:

Pricing: The pricing ranges from $20-$45 depending on your distance and how early you register.  But they do offer a few promo codes throughout the year so be on the lookout!  I paid around $30 for the 10k, which is a fantastic deal!

Expo: There are two options for packet pick-up: Pick up at Woodstock Pizza in Pacific Beach the evening before OR pick up the morning of the race.  I had a friend pick-up my bib at Woodstock, but picking up the morning of the race is really quick and easy too.

Parking: Free parking is available all around the event location.  The later you arrive, the further you will have to park.  I parked about .5 mile away in the dirt “Sun Runners Lot” and it allowed me to warm up on the way to the start line.

Race Course: The course runs around Fiesta Island in Mission Bay so it’s a pretty flat and scenic route.  The weather was nice this year so it made for an enjoyable run.  The 10k starts a half hour before the 5k so that everyone is funneled into the finish line area around the same time.  I like that it’s staggered that way and the course was not crowded at all.

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Course Support: There were a few water station, energetic volunteers and police officers directing traffic and cheering us on.  If you notice in the above pictures, there was one thing missing: Spectators!  There were spectators cheering us on around the Finish Line area, but none on the course.  It wasn’t a huge deal, since the course was peaceful…but it would have been nice to have that extra energy at times.

Post-race: After you cross the finish line, you are given a medal and a volunteer will remove your timing chip from your shoe.  Then you are free to grab water and fruit.  This event has a lot of vendors and they were all generous with their products and free samples.  There were also some areas for the kids to do crafts or jump in a bounce house.  And since it is an event that benefits children with autism – there was also a quiet zone to accommodate children with sensory sensitivities.   And like I said in the beginning, there are activities for all ages…meaning: There was also a beer garden!  I didn’t get a chance to sample any adult beverages because I had my daughter with me, but it was a packed area so I’m sure it was tasty!

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There were also a few contests that included: highest fundraiser, largest team, and best costume.  Winners received gift cards and free wine from One Hope Wine.

And some free hugs!

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Since this year’s event was held during Easter weekend, there was also an Easter Egg hunt and appearance from the Easter Bunny!

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So what was the SWAG?!

I love the color of this year’s t-shirt and the beach ball is still going strong in my house.  Not pictured: lots of other drinks and snacks that got consumed before the photo. 🙂 And I always count scenery as swag!  Plus the Easter Eggs that were filled with stickers and coupons. Also, Naked Juice is pretty delicious!

And of course, the medal!

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I also ran with my running group, Stroller Warriors and because we had such a large group they provided us with a tent, table, and extra snacks!  Score! It was nice to have a meeting spot for everyone before and after the race.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this race and would totally do it again next year!  So grab your family and friends and get prepared to register for next year’s event!  Start your own team or begin a fundraiser and you could even win a prize!

See you at the next event! 😉

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~SM

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ACT Today! for Military Families 5k/10k

Last weekend, I participated in the ACT (Autism Care & Treatment) Today! for Military Families 5k/10k in Fiesta Island (Mission Bay).  I did the 5k last year and I really like the cause that this event supports, so this race was a must-do this year!  This time was a little different, I completed the 10k (my first!) and I joined a team (Stroller Warriors) – which made me both excited and nervous. This race also puts out various promo codes leading up to the race, so I paid around $29, which is a pretty good deal for a 10k. I knew completing my first 10k would be much more enjoyable in the company of supportive women that I run with all the time…but I also didn’t train as much as I wanted – so the lingering thought of running 6.2 miles with a stroller was a bit overwhelming.

There were two options for packet pick-up – the evening before the race at  Woodstock Pizza in Pacific Beach or the morning of the race – I opted for the morning of.  The race started at 7:30am so I was up pretty early since I was bringing my 3-year old along for this ride.  We left on time (and by on time, I mean 10 minutes late – which is about normal for me) and found a parking spot a little less than half a mile from the start line.  Since I did this race before,  I remembered that the later you arrive, the further away you will have to park since it’s mostly street parking.  I really didn’t mind the warm-up though and it helped me get mentally prepared for the day.  However, what I did NOT prepare for was the rain!  This is Southern California people – it’s not supposed to rain – like, ever.  But lo and behold, here we are, on a cold (60-65 degrees) and rainy/drizzly early morning.  Luckily I brought an extra blanket for my DD (that’s darling daughter in case you aren’t down with mom lingo) and she was so sleepy that she didn’t even really notice the weather conditions.  Everything in me wanted to turn around and go home, but I knew that a group of Stroller Warriors would be waiting and ready to go, so I pushed forward and made it to the registration table to pick-up my bib number, chip-timer, and t-shirt.  Side note: I was pretty impressed with the t-shirts this year, they were a dark blue color compared to the grey color they were last year.

Then,  I headed over to meet up with the other Stroller Warriors.  Because we had around 35 members on our team, we received two tents with tables, chairs and snacks.  This was really nice because it gave us a place to all meet up before and after the race (since some of us were running the 5k and some the 10k).  The location of our tents was also close to the bounce house area, which was extra convenient so we could all watch the kiddos.  So moving on to the race!  Here we go!

I wish I had some really amazingly, beautiful pics for this race – but it was gloomy and drizzly the whole time so I didn’t have a lot to work with.  The 10k started 30 minutes before the 5k and I started near the back of the race since I knew I might be a little slower with my lack of training and stroller-pushing.  Another thing I really like about this race is that there is a separate stroller division when it comes to results, so that us stroller-pushers have a fighting chance at receiving an award.  Course support consisted of a few friendly volunteers cheering along the way and about three water stations; however, no course photographers.

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It was a pretty flat course the whole way, which is awesome for someone completing their first 10K and we were met at the finish with medals and water.  The DJ announced the runner’s name as they crossed the finish line – he got my name wrong, but whatevs…he tried.  See previous blog posts for my feelings on race DJ’s (hint: I kinda feel bad for them.).  I’ll also add that the race wasn’t overly crowded, which made passing and pulling over much easier. After the race, there was a big celebration catering to both kids and adults.  There were a ton of vendors, probably the most I’ve seen at any race – plus there were a lot of activities for the kids (I mentioned the bounce house earlier), a beer and wine garden, and a live band. And since this is an event benefitting autistic children, there was a quiet zone set up for children who may be sensitive to all of the noise and crowds which I thought was fantastic!

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I didn’t checkout the beer/wine garden cause I was freezing and would have preferred coffee, but I heard mixed reviews on the alcohol selection so I assume it was just all a personal preference.  The race directors and volunteers were all amazing and super helpful.  At one point, I lost my medal 😦 but I told one of the volunteers and they gladly gave me a new one with no questions asked.  Overall, despite the cold and rain, it was really a great morning and I would definitely do this race again!  There are so many things to love about this race: The course, the price, the time of year (it’s not too hot yet), the course support, the sponsors, the vendors, free event photos, the children’s activities, the food, the music, the beverages, the medal, the swag (we will get to that in a moment), my amazing Stroller Warriors team, and above all else- the cause.  I think Autism awareness is really important, but being a military spouse myself I also like events that support military families- so this was all around a really great event!

So what was the SWAG?!

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I already mentioned that I liked the shirt much better this year, but I also think the medal was better as well.  As for the swag, there is too much to list!  But they were giving away bubbles like crazy!  And not pictured, they gave out a lot of fruit, bagels, bottles of Gatorade and bottles of water.  All of the vendors were very generous and friendly.  They all engaged in friendly conversation and I could tell that they really loved kids.  They also were kind enough to give away tons of swag and coupons.  I cannot say enough great things about this event and I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a fun and family friendly run!  Thanks again to ACT Today for Military Families and One Hope Wine!

Also, shoutout to my awesome friend for snagging this awesome pic of me crossing my first 10k finish line!

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See you at the next event!

~SM

50 Things I Learned From the Military Spouse Wellness Summit

Last week I attend a wellness summit for military spouses.  The best part about this summit?  It was completely online!  Score!  No need to worry about childcare arrangements, I could listen to each speaker right from the comfort of my couch…or bed.  Each day (for five days), the links to presentations of two different speakers were sent to my email.  It was that easy!  Just click and listen!  It was the right amount of time and they even extended the listening opportunity for an extra week to give everyone a chance to soak up all the info!  To keep things interesting, there was a Facebook group to keep the convo going with questions, comments, and awesome giveaways!

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So, what did I take away from each speaker? There were a total of 10 speakers and I highlighted the five most interesting points from each speaker…

Day 1: sum1

Scott Haliwell from USAA.  Topic: “Dealing with Money Stress in a Relationship”

  • Learn your money personality!
  • Finances can cause stress in marriages and is often the biggest cause of divorce.
  • There is a correlation between health and finances: if you don’t have a handle on your finances, your health will also most likely suffer.
  • Instead of judging your partner’s spending habits, work together to reach a financial compromise.
  • Bring the kids into money conversations to create good money habits early in life.

Adrianna Domingos-Lupher from MSB New Media.  Topic: “Learn to Bring Health, Wellness, and Balance to Your Finances”

  • The more you talk about money, the easier it will get.
  • Acknowledge that money is a useful tool.
  • Don’t just make a budget-actually analyze your spending habits.
  • Talk about money during family household meetings and prioritize financial goals.
  • Power Pay is a great tool for managing finances and spousal IRA’s are a great resource for stay-at-home parents.

Day 2:sum2

Ruvi Makuni, CPT from Fit Active Toned.  Topic: “How to Make Fitness Non-Negotiable”

  • Find what moves you and do what you love.
  • Kids love watching us being active!  Encourage them with positive thoughts and encouragement!
  • Make the most of your time.  Meal plan on Friday; Grocery shop on Saturday: Meal prep on Sunday.
  • Complete intermittent workouts throughout the day and combine exercises to incorporate more muscles in a short amount of time.
  • Designate a time each day to be active and make it non-negotiable.

Judy Davis from The Direction Diva.  Topic: “The Emotions of Military Life”

  • Milspouses are logistic and prefer control and order.  Emotions are harder to handle.
  • Learn how to identify emotions as they occur and allow yourself to experience those feelings.
  • Deal with what happens in that moment and be honest with your feelings.
  • Don’t compare your everyday life with someone else’s highlight reel. <— 100 times yes! 🙂
  • Know that you don’t have to be perfect in everything you do.

Day 3: sum3

Capt. Kimberly Elenberg from Operation Live Well.  Topic: “How to Make Healthy Eating Choices on Your Military Installation”

  • One goal of Operation Live Well is to put healthier choices in commissaries, including the addition of farmers markets and healthy cooking classes.
  • It is a community effort!  More experienced milspouses are needed to mentor the younger milspouses.
  • Be flexible with foods and grocery shopping – be open to what’s on sale and prepare meals based on coupons.
  • Patrons should contact DECA to let them know what items they want available in commissaries by using the ICE contact form.
  • Put out healthy snacks for kids and include them in the meal planning and cooking process.

Kiersten Peterson, NTP from Vibrant Life Army Wife.  Topic: “How to Clean up your Diet While Maintaining your Sanity”

  • Eat real foods – remove processed foods – eliminate refined sugars – prepare meals at home.
  • Drink more water – eat more veggies – don’t be afraid of fat.
  • Source local and organic meats and produce.
  • Keep recipes simple if you’re new to cooking and add lots of flavor!
  • Incorporate healthy fats into recipes – avoid processed and hydrogenated oils.

Day 4: sum6 sum7

Corie Weathers, LPC, the 2015 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year.  Topic: “Building a Strong Relationship with your Spouse”

  • Enliven your marriage by building foundations and stability based on values.
  • Figure out a way to express emotions without attacking each other.
  • Spouses need to be creative! Find support within your community and reach out to other spouses.
  • Set personal goals to make your marriage grow – make your marriage a priority!
  • Set time to communicate and spend time together.

Bhava Ram, the founder of Warriors for Healing.  Topic: “Yoga for You and your Spouse – How to Mitigate Anxiety and PTSD”

  • We can alter our bodies and minds to change our destinations.
  • We need self-discipline, organization, and daily commitment.
  • Yoga and meditation help with traumatic stress.
  • Stress breaks down our immune systems, but we have the power to change our inner chemistry.
  • Mindfulness and breathing help create new sets of chemicals in our bodies, which helps boost our immune systems and increase our metabolisms.  This ultimately improves the healing process.

Day 5: sum4

Tracey Pearcell from Metlife Tricare Dental Program.  Topic: “How Stress Affects your Dental Care”

  • Many people suffer from teeth grinding and don’t even know it.
  • Mouth guards are partially covered – They are not covered for wear and tear, but you are allotted one per year.
  • Gum disease can happen when you’re under stress and may also weaken the immune system and cause cold sores.
  • Beneficiaries are granted two cleanings and exams per year – pregnant women are granted three cleanings and exams.
  • You can enroll for benefits online, over the phone, through fax or email.

Lesle Brians from InDependent.  Topic: “How to Make Tricare Work for You”

  • Tricare Prime – You are assigned to a designated Military Treatment Facility. Standard – You are in control of your medical care, but may be responsible for certain fees or copays. Remote – Contracted with certain practitioners within a designated radius.
  • Tricare does not cover alternative practices because they are not FDA approved services.
  • Switch to Tracare Standard if you want to guarantee a relationship with your physician and desire consistency.
  • Speak with a BCAC (Beneficiary Care Assistant Coordinator) to get the most accurate information about Tricare questions.
  • Educate and empower yourself! Seek your own answers and be your own healthcare advocate!

So, was there SWAG?  Of course!

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  • A free membership to Thrive Market!
  • A one week personal training session with Ruvi Makuni at Fit. Active. Toned.  Ruvi was great and really tried to get to know me and my exercise habits prior to setting up a plan for me.  She set up a consultation over the phone and followed up with emails. The Trainerize app was super easy to use and the plan was easy to follow.

This was a great experience that fit easily into my schedule and I can’t wait for next year’s Summit! Thanks again to InDependent for hosting this awesome event!

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