This week we’re going international, visiting with 29-year-old Sarah Pevehouse, a mom of one in Okinawa, Japan. Married to a Marine Corps officer, Sarah has been a longtime fan of our book. She’s done a great job of creating a community of road runners on the island, and the gang will be joining her for the upcoming long runs that’ll be part of her training for her first marathon this December.
Best recent run: An 11-mile group run my husband ran with me. My running group met at a local Air Force base. Even though my husband was there, he ran ahead and left us ladies to chitchat while we ran. The weather was great, breezy, and overcast. The ladies all broke up into their mini pace groups, and at the end my husband was waiting with the camera to snap photos of us all as we finished strong! I feel so blessed to have such a supportive husband, someone who really gets just how important it is to have running in my life.
Far from home: My husband is an active duty Marine Corps officer, which is how this hillbilly West Virginian made it all the way to Okinawa, Japan. We arrived on this tiny island in April 2009 and will be leaving in April next year. Athletics are highly encouraged here so there are tons of places to run, but the main difference in running here and in the States is the way the Japanese dress for running. They cover themselves head-to-toe to avoid as much sun exposure as possible, even wearing large visors to cover their faces completely and towels around their necks. You’d think they’d pass out due to heat exhaustion, but they’re acclimated to it. Americans seem to wear as little as possible while doused with sunscreen.
To heck with hills: I recently set my 10K PR (55:13) on a super-hilly course that undid my husband, who was pushing our daughter in a stroller. I felt really strong all through the hills, even passing some ultrarunners I know, which made me nervous I was running too fast. I decided to just listen to my body and just go with it as long as I was feeling good at that pace. After trouncing the hills and getting back to the main road for the last stretch of the race, I was hit by self doubt and slowed down. Then Kathleen, one of the ultrarunners I had passed, ran past me. I tucked my head down and let her set the pace. I was so glad a familiar face was there, and I was able to get my mind focused and back in the race.
Making strides with stroller: The best advice I can give any new mom who runs is start as early as possible: Get the baby in the stroller and used to it! I started putting my little one in the jogging stroller (with towels all around her to make a snug fit) when she was just a few weeks old. It just became a daily habit of walking, then jog/walk, and then running again. As she has gotten older and much heavier, I take less and less stuff with us. The key to jogging with the kiddo is to not let them have anything they can throw or anything that is really sticky (like fruit bars). Due to my husband being active duty military and gone more than he is home, running with her in the stroller is just a fact of life. Racing with her isn’t so bad since I’m used to training with the stroller but I prefer to hire a babysitter when I can. Once my husband came home from Afghanistan and I was able to get back into college full time, it made me eligible for a spot at the on-base daycare. So these days I run solo—and much faster!
26.2 on horizon: I had planned to end the year with a marathon (after training through smaller distances along the way), and I thought it would be fitting to run the Marine Corps Marathon as my first 26.2-mile race. Then I found out the MC Marathon in Okinawa is run at the same time as the stateside MC Marathon, which means starting at night. Not too bad. Then I found out the course is the flight line (8-mile loop) of a local Marine Corps base. I vetoed it. I did some reading and decided the Honolulu Marathon sounded like fun, and we could take a free military flight from our island to Oahu. The race is December 11, and we plan to make a vacation out of it, getting there a week early to adjust to the time difference. My brother-in-law is in the Air Force, and he also plans to bring his family to Hawaii for the race. We’ve never met our their baby girl yet so this will be a very special trip for multiple reasons, including my husband hasn’t seen his brother in four years.
Run, women, run! The best thing I’ve done this year is to organize a women’s running group. It’s modeled on a trail running group on the island called WOOT (Women on Okinawa Trails). I contacted the women who started WOOT to see if I could start a spin-off group using the same idea for our name--WOOP (Women on Okinawa Pavement). They loved the idea and gave me their blessings. We have 100+ members in our private Facebook group. I’m currently nursing shin splints but before this happened, I was posting three or four running events per week and including everyone on my long run days. It’s been such a great morale booster and just an amazing feeling to run with such inspiring and motivating women.