30 October 2009

Happy Halloween

I wanted to be something scary this year.

I figured Swine Flu was a good bet.

Here are a few more around the hospital today.

29 October 2009

Deep Thoughts

When the washing machine says it's HD and its a front loader, and the laundry soup soap says "for HD machines" and "use 1/2 the recommended amount for front loading machines to reduce excessive suds".....heed the advice and MEASURE out the appropriate amount.

Repeating the wash cycle costs an extra $1 and 30 min (and it's almost 8p before I get the load into the dryer).

So many trips up and down the stairs from the laundry room to my hotel room. There are 20 steps from first floor to the second, then 16 steps (2 sets of 8) from second to third, and from third to fourth floor.


Todays CrossFit:
2000m row
then 5 rounds of 10 Wall Balls (12#) and 20 box jumps (18")


Tuesday's CrossFit:
Kettlebells (12 kg) + Pullups (blue band)
400m run + 21 reps of each, 400m rn + 15 reps, 400m run + 9 reps
(forgot to write down the time)

Sunday in the Street(s) of Joint Base Andrews

After all the rain the sun finally appeared and I was able to follow my daily driving route to work - on foot. The access to the Virgina Street gate is not friendly to foot traffic, but there were very few vehicles so I felt pretty safe.

The first intersection (from Virginia Avenue I turn left onto Perimeter Road).

The Andrews Golf Club is here. Lots of parking places near the clubhouse for Generals and Secretarys (the Cabinet members) and Chiefs (Top Enlisted).

Examples of newer base houses and the colors of fall.

Quick, he doesn't want you to find his nut stash.

This is where I'm working these days.

The view from my window, to the East, close to sunset.

25 October 2009

What to do on a Rainy Day

Laundry: I've only lost 1 sock so far. And I can eat a free breakfast in the hotel while the machines are running ($1 per wash, $1 per dry).

CrossFit Workout: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of WallBall, 45# Push Press, 45# Sumo Dead Lift High Pull, 18" Box Jump (time - 18:30).

Navigation: Become familiar with the freeways & interchanges, roadway naming systems, and lack of speed limit enforcement during heavy downpours. But it was worth it because at the end of the drive was a lovely homecooked dinner with Maj Blakeman & her husband. Thank you for welcoming me into your home last night.

24 October 2009

Potomac CrossFit

6p WOD (Workout Of the Day) at Potomac CrossFit is half-priced Belgium Light Lager next door to the gym (something that is very popular with "Vegas Mike").

This was after the 5p WOD:
6 rounds for time (I did 8:43 using 45#) of 10 Front Squats + 10 Push Press.

Getting there was half the fun. Google maps gave me two options, inner belt loop or outer. End of the workday on a Friday, I opted for the outer. This took me on a nice trip through residential neighborhood in Old Town Alexandria and parked me on the opposite side of Washington, but I managed to find it on time (yay!).

Drop in rate is $15, or $20 to buy a shirt. I decided I might as well pick up a Tshirt. This seems to be a pattern around CrossFit gyms, shirt collecting. Might as well start now.

The trip home was even more interesting - cause I got myself lost. This time I took the inner belt loop. At 8p the traffic through DC is easy and this kept me on the freeways. But I made the mistake of taking the exit to 495S instead of 495N and crossed the Wilson Bridge in the wrong direction (whoops). Got myself turned back around and still home by 8:30p.

If my schedule allows, I will try to make it out there again - it was fun to do a WOD with such a big happy engaged group (and the exercise workout was good also).

This is Vegas Mike who invited me to the Potomac club (this is how we looked after the workout, before the beer).

22 October 2009


What does it mean when there are 4 ladybugs in your hotel room, flying around the wall light fixture?

18 October 2009

CrossFit at Andrews

There is a great set up in the gym at Andrews, called the Tactical Fitness Area. Organized classes on M & W at 6 & 7 am and 3 & 4 pm. But they post two different types of workouts for every day of the week (with and without weights). Or I can copy what is being done at CrossFit Las Vegas.

Saturday: I did a modification of "Workout with the Girls" that was posted for Friday at CFLV.
400m jog in the warmup
20 Pullups (red band), 20 pushups, 20 situps, 20 squats
400m run, 21 overhead squats (35#)
400m run, 21 kettlebell swings (25#), 20 pullups
400m run, 21 thrusters (35#)
400m run, 21 deadlifts (75#)
400m walk cooldown
Didn't time this, but it was about 30 min.

Sunday: 500m row warmup. Then 5 rounds for time of 12 deadlifts (70#), 9 burpees, 6 front squats (45#). Time: 11:32

It's hard to push when you are the only one doing it, but I'm glad I'm at least doing it. Hope I can actually attend a class & workout with others while I'm here.

17 October 2009

Working Space

We'll start at the back dock, entry into the basement of the hospital where the Nutritional Medicine Flight is located.

Walk down the hallway and around the corner to elevators (who takes elevators for just one flight) and go up the stairs near the main hospital entrance.

Then follow one of the many "bowling alley" hallways inside Malcolm Grow Medical Center. It's about 150 steps to the other side where the outpatient Nutrition Clinic can be found.

And we're here! This is my primary working location for the next two months.

404 - Room Not Found

So if you know anything about me, you know that I'm sort of a computer literate geek. And all my Alternate Reality friends will get a kick out of my assigned hotel room.

Full fridge, flat screen TV with most of the decent channels (no Bravo or Food Network, though), free wifi (slow) and ethernet (worth the $12 for the cable in order to get streaming video), clean towels twice a week and full cleaning on Fridays. Downstairs is a small free breakfast bar, Monday Night Football pizza & wings (not until 7:30p here on the East coast), indoor pool & hot tub (haven't tried it yet but I'm thinking about it tonight since it's been so damn cold this week), laundry room (that's my plan for Sunday morning), and free delivery Chinese food (dinner tonight).

Only good things about traveling by yourself: You control the remote and you control the temperature in the room. Otherwise it is just a damn big bed for only one person (extra pillows included).

13 October 2009

Getting Oriented & Getting Fit

First day in a new place. Where do I go? Where should I not go? Where is the bathroom? All important pieces of knowledge. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming. I'll be using an office on the first floor, the Nutrition duty section is downstairs in the basement where the dining room is located (breakfast & lunch only for staff) and food production. You might recall reading about the CASF at Balad, packaging up wounded warriors for flights to Germany. ASF represents the next leg of the trip, from Germany to the states. Aeromedical Staging Facility has three flights a week and when they arrive there is a wonderful & fancy hot meal waiting for them in a special dining room. I'll try to get some pictures soon. It's great to see the continuation of something I saw in Iraq.

I think I managed to get my 10,000 steps in today with all the walking around the hospital, across the street to the training building, and then we had Squadron PT (Physical Training) this afternoon. This is mandatory once time a week with the group, the rest of the workout schedule is up to the individual. Today's workout featured interval running, pushups & situps - getting us ready for the practice Fit Test next month that will help us compare our current fitness level to the new standards that go into effect Jan 2010.

I'm going to get a little off track (pun intended) from talking about my first day at work (since I didn't do so much work as just inprocessing) to talk about the new fitness standards as they will relate to me (afterall, this is *my* blog).

When I moved into the 45-49 year age group, the standards were a little easier than the previous 5 years. I went from an 85.29 score to 91 (improving from "Good" to "Excellent") with a combination of better fitness and slightly easier scoring in some areas. For 2009 my goal was to earn maximum points in all areas (1.5 mile run, pushups, situps and waist circumfrence). This would require me to run faster than 12:30, do a minimum 18 pushups & 30 situps (under 1 min each) and have a waist 29" or smaller. I was pretty darn proud of myself when I did 12:08, 25 (could have done more) pushups and 40 situps with a 28.5" waist. Woot! 100 points, the best you I can be for my age group.

However, next year the standards across the USAF have changed, I'm grouped into the 40-49 year old women, and I have to be a much faster runner. Active Duty members must test twice a year (which I think is a good thing) while Reservists still only have to do it once a year.

Let's see how I would compare my numbers this year to next year's standards:
12:08 run = 59.8 out of 60 points (I'd have to speed up to <11:22 to get 60/60) - by the way, this represents a 1:29 improvement from last year!
25 pushups = 8.6/10 (my all time personal record is 40, I'll have to do 38+ to get 10/10)
38 situps = 9.5/10 (I'll need 41+ to get 10/10)
28.5" waist = 20/20 (the standard got a little easier here, <31.5" = max points)
My 100 is now 97.9. Still "Excellent" category, but no longer that perfect 100; it looks like I've gotten worse instead of improving my personal fitness.

I don't know if I'll ever run that pace (that's 7:57/mile) but at least the deductions are very minor the first 2 minutes off that speed. I will probably be able to get to that full pushup level (if I keep up with my CrossFit training and my elbow tendonitis gets better). But I foresee a lot of women not doing so well in the pushups (good thing the minimum standard for passing is only 11). I can't imagine not being able to make the minimum 18:14 for the 1.5 mile run, 11 for the pushups, 24 situps and have a waist <36 (although I saw some waists in Iraq that would not meet this criteria). From now on airmen must meet minimums in all four criteria, they cannot make up the point difference other areas.

This week in the AirForce Times is an article with the headline "New PT Test: 4 in 10 FAIL". I'll link to it when it's available online.

12 October 2009

Every Journey Starts - The Airport Departure

McCarron has new gates in the D area with food stations, newstands, Starbucks and a classic Vegas mural. Nice and airy, laptop stations (free wifi!!) and, of course, slot machines/video poker.

The flight to Dulles was overbooked when I went online to get my seat assignment.

What's this button "upgrade"?

How much do I have on my MileagePlus account?

Only 8000 to upgrade?


First Class.


Fighter Pilot for a Day

Since coming to Las Vegas I have attend many JDRF Galas. It's an annual fund raiser that features silent auction items (we got our Double Diamond slot machine the first year). In 2008 while Ray was in Afghanistan I bid/won a ride for him at Air Combat USA.

This weekend he finally got up to North Las Vegas airport to take his ride. I went with as the designated driver (in case he got sick). Due to his opponent being a no-show, I was offered the other seat at half-price. Can't pass up that opportunity!

Our instructors were seated next to us, watching all the dials and ready to take the yoke should someone start to spin (Ray) or get sick (me, twice). Five dogfights, final score 3-2 (me).

Flying back over North Las Vegas

03 October 2009

Maj Brewer Goes to Washington

I'm getting ready to perform another manning assist. This time I'll be at Andrews AFB in Washington DC.

As before, lots of pictures and impressions to follow.