Joining the Air Force: Getting Started

12 Oct

Good morning!

I do want to start making videos again, but until I have the right environment (aka an apartment), I’ll be writing about my Air Force journey here.

YT Screenshot

There was a time I sort of consistently made videos.

If you’re finding this because you’re looking for some information on joining the Air Force, here’s a quick intro: I’m a 26-year old woman, I have a bachelor’s degree in film studies, and I have joined the Air Force, shipping out for BMT (Basic Military Training) on December 17th. I AM SO EXCITED.

BMT Countdown

There are no military members in my family, and therefore, I currently have no family support. I only say that in the event that someone else is in the same situation, and they don’t feel singled out because of it. It’s okay to do what YOU want and not necessarily what your family wants.

A lot of people have been wondering why I decided to join the military. For… just about everyone I know, this was a total surprise. My interest in joining the military was never something I told anyone, mostly because I never gave it any serious consideration. Back when we were 15, a friend of mine was dating a Marine. That was the first I really heard of the military other than in history classes. Fast forward like, 9 years to talking to my boyfriend’s cousins who are in the Army. That was pretty much it.

DEP group C-17

My recruiter and some of the other people in her DEP (Delayed Entry Program, aka those who have officially joined the Air Force and await shipping out) on a trip to tour a C-17. It was awesome.

At first, I completely intended on joining the Army, but I decided to look into the Navy and the Air Force before making any commitments. I don’t love boats or chopping my hair off, so the Navy was out.

I discovered that the Air Force has the best benefits, the shortest deployments (max 6 months), the nicest bases, and all around it was just the best choice for me. The Air Force website is so comprehensive and user-friendly. There are plenty of YouTube videos and blogs from people (I especially watched/read from women) to fuel my excitement. I had already made my decision to join before I saw my recruiter.

Serving my country comes with so many bonuses: Healthcare, free housing, monthly allowances, steady pay with job security, potential to travel the world, meet new people, see new things… what more could you ask for? I’m all about the adventure.

AF.com screenshot

The Air Force website offers online chatting with a recruiter, but really, it doesn’t compare to going into a recruitment office and talking to someone face-to-face. You can explain your situation and ask questions and ask more questions after that.

Once you’ve made the decision to join the Air Force and you’ve filled out preliminary paperwork, you have to take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). This is similar to the SATs. It’s a long exam, mostly done on the computer. This is an important test for the Air Force because they have high standards for educated Airmen. For having not been in school for three years, I did really well! I made the highest aptitude, but on the lower side. I highly recommend The Princeton Review’s study guide, Cracking the ASVAB.

ASVAB book

Once you’ve met the required score on the ASVAB (which varies depending on which branch of military you’re trying to join), you can go through MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). I’ll go through that 8- to 9-hour day of fun (not really) next!

Base Pic

My Gear part 2

1 Oct

On July 27, 2012, I posted “My Gear” in which I shared the running sneakers I use as well as my running apparel.

Since writing that post, not much has changed with my apparel, but my sneakers are completely different. After working in footwear at a sporting goods store, I learned a lot about the different kinds of sneaker and how important it is to understand how your gait works and how your feet strike the ground.

When I wrote that post, I was running in Nike Lunarglide+ 3’s, which is a stability shoe. A stability shoe is good for those whose feet evenly strike the ground or turn a little bit inward (also called overpronation). When I started running more distance, I felt a lot of pain in my knees and ankles. At first I assumed this was just because my joints weren’t used to such high impact for longer periods of time.

After a trip to the chiropractor, I learned that I actually supinate, meaning my feet turn outwards a bit when I run/walk. Wearing a stability shoe that helps push your feet outward was just making my supination worse.

Now I run in a neutral shoe, and this provides support and doesn’t angle my feet in any direction. As someone who supinates, I swear by the Brooks Ghost 5’s (although they’ve come out with the 6th generation now but I haven’t tried them).

Brooks Ghost 5's

The top three technical running shoe brands are Brooks, Mizuno, and Asics, but I definitely prefer Brooks. I do have a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 16’s which is also a neutral shoe, and I like them for walking in! Plus they look good.

Birthday Shoes copy

The best way to determine what kind of sneaker you should be wearing is to go to a running store that offers to watch you walk without shoes on or go to a doctor who can make that kind of observation. A quick way to get a general idea is to look at the bottom of your shoes that are well worn. You’ll notice that a certain portion of your shoes may be run down way more than other parts of your shoe. In my case, the outer sides of my shoes are scuffed up because of the way my feet turn out when I walk/run!

I have a detailed list of the footwear and apparel I wear for running and working out on my new Subblime profile! Here I have a photo of everything, a link to where you can buy it, and my own description of why they’re great to use. Check it out!

Subblime Profile

 

It’s been a while… here’s what you missed!

26 Sep

HELLO.

Things have happened in the past year since I’ve posted a real entry.

1. I participated in a local “Winter Series” during which we raced every Sunday for a few months in the heart of Winter. These races took place in a state park, and they were full of serious hills.

Winter Series 2012 Race

The longest race I participated in during the Winter Series.

2. I joined and continued doing CrossFit for six months until I hurt my back, left a temp job, and went broke. Rough life.

CrossFit Back Squat

That weight wasn’t even that heavy.

1a/2a. Hill running and CrossFit greatly improved my running speed.

3. After the Winter series, I didn’t run as much distance and as often as I had been. It sucked.

Cold Running

Stop looking so happy. You suck.

4. On May 5th of this year, I raced in the Broad Street 10-Miler as a part of “Team Dunkin'”, having won my registration from Dunkin’ Donuts. I had spent the two weeks prior to the race sick and unable to run and then recovering from getting my wisdom teeth out and being unable to run. I was amazed that I even finished, but I was pretty pleased with my time.

Broad Street 10-Miler

What What.

5. I continued running, but really just not as consistently as I was this time last year and during the Winter Series.

6. About a month or two ago, I really kicked it back into gear. For the last three weeks, I’ve been running 6 days a week, including one long run each week.

Long Run Sept 2013

This was just a few days ago, and it is the most NON-RACE distance I’ve covered!

I’ve also been working on my pathetic excuse for push-ups as well as sit-ups because…

7. I joined the United States Air Force!!! I’m currently booked to leave on December 17th of this year for Military Basic Training in San Antonio, Texas. I am SO EXCITED for this journey and career that is coming! I’m so eager for December 17th to roll around.

Air Force DEP

My recruiter, me, and some of her other recruits.

Of course, it’s going to be hard leaving my boyfriend…

Cade and Me

boyfriend.

…and my special little baby (my chinchilla).

Misty and Me

chinchilla.

8. Because my intentions for my Air Force career is to make it just that, my career, I’ve decided to seriously look into joining the Air Force as an officer. This would mean my date to leave would change, potentially to much later in the future. I have to take another rough SAT-like exam, the AFOQT (Air Force Officer Qualifying Test), and be accepted by the board. I’ve only just decided to look deeper into this route, so we’ll see what happens.

***

That basically brings us to day! Hello! I’ll be sharing my experiences in joining the Air Force, the steps that I’ve taken and still need to take before I ship out, and then of course my training and eating and merry ways.

This has been my Facebook picture for months. This is just after finished a 10K race. It's just too good.

This has been my Facebook picture for months. This is just after I finished a 10K race. It’s just too funny not to share.

M.I.A

13 Mar

Hey, all!

I won’t be publicizing this post in any way. I just wanted to update anyone who checks back or finds this blog and wonders why I stopped updating.

You can find me over at FittingItIn.com where I blog once a week (on Tuesdays), along with my friends Melissa Anelli, Devin Lytle, Evanna Lynch, Matt Maggiacomo, Lauren Lopez, and David Birtwistle. We all have very different stories, journeys, and health history, and we come together to blog about health, fitness, and nutrition!

At some point, I’m sure I’ll return to this blog. In the meantime, see you over at FittingItIn!

Beat Records and Run with a Friend!

31 Oct

Happy Halloween!

October has been a great month for running. The weather was perfect, and my motivation was restored and even better than before. Not only was I reaching my best distances, but twice in the same week I beat my own personal records for distance and running duration.

On Monday, October 22nd, I beat my personal distance record of 6.22 miles (10k) and ran 7 miles. My ankles and knees were in serious pain (I do not recommend pushing to pain), but I just couldn’t stop running.

Sadly, I realized that it was my shoes that were causing me pain. I’m no longer wearing my Nike Lunarglide+ 3’s for distance running. More on that later.

Now that I no longer run in Nike sneakers, I don’t have the Nike+ sensor. I still use the Nike+ Running app that uses GPS, but it makes it more difficult to screenshot my results to share.

On Thursday, October 26, just three days after beating my record, I beat my distance and duration record AGAIN, only this time without the pain that I dealt with in my Nike’s.

Just because my running has been beautiful and challenging doesn’t mean that I’m perfectly motivated every single day. I’ve been doing really well, but there is still the occasional morning that my bed just feels extra comfortable!

This morning, for example, I was feeling lazy after spending two full days not doing much as a result of Hurricane Sandy blowing through Pennsylvania. I texted my friend to go for a run because I knew I wasn’t going to get out there without someone there with me. Thankfully, she was all for it. We weren’t feeling as strong as we were a few days ago, but we still knocked out 3.5 miles!

Long story short, find a running buddy. Push yourself to surpass your own limits. Go go go!!

Autumn Running

12 Oct

Autumn running is the best kind of running. Honestly, I just can’t get enough of it!

The only reason I’m not currently outside pounding that pavement is because after running 16 miles in three days… my sore legs are in serious need of recovery.

I thought that blogging about running instead of actually running would ease my craving for the scent of drying leaves in the breeze against my skin, however, it’s only amplifying it!

My favorite things about running in autumn (specifically in the northeast of the fifty, nifty United States (I hope you know that song and now it’s stuck in your head for the rest of the night because it’s sure stuck in mine now!):

1. Cool, crisp air. I could run for hours if only my legs would let me. My lungs and heart feel stronger than ever when I run in this weather.

2. Ever-changing, never dull scenery. Every tree changes color and lets loose its leaves at its own pace. I’m never bored looking at all of the trees changing!

3. The leaves fall all around me. There are times when leaves literally fall onto my head or blow in the breeze all around me as I run by. If you filmed me running in slow motion, it would be MAGICAL.

4. While I do love the sunshine with this chilly temperature, I really love the clouds that blow in with the cold breeze. I don’t need sunglasses, and I can run at any hour without fear of heat exhaustion.

5. I love my Brooks running jacket. I feel so cozy running in shorts and a running jacket and not sweating, even after 10k.

Alright, legs. Recover your muscles quickly so I can tear up the road tomorrow morning before work.

Zombie Mud Run

7 Oct

I’ve a newfound love for obstacle courses. Who knew?

On September 22nd, my friend and I participated in a Zombie Mud Run. Tis the season! It was essentially a mud run complete with serious obstacles (we passed a few runners down with broken bones waiting for an ambulance), along with playing zombie apocalypse.

Basically, you’re equipped with three red flags velcroed around your waist in the same way one plays flag football. The zombies attempt to grab a flag as you sprint, dive, crawl, and jump past them. If you lose all of your flags, you’d consider yourself a zombie at the end of the race. Even if you lose all of your flags, you finish the race as a human.

What I love about these kinds of races is that they incorporate fun, a full-body workout, a whole lot of dirty, and a competitive edge. It was certainly difficult, but I surprised myself with my ability to sprint away from zombies. I have a weird thing about being chased. I never really liked playing tag. Competition kicked in, however, and I outran a whole mess of zombies.

I also swatted a lot of zombies and apparently made funny faces while doing so.

For anyone who wants to mix up their races or just have a good time with friends while getting a fun workout, I recommend mud races, color runs, obstacle courses or a zombie run!

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