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Slogging Along With KP Palmer

It is an honor to present this piece about Kathleen Palmer (Director of Content, Mission:Milspouse.org). Kathleen stays busy reviewing articles for posting, which we submit.

I thought it would be a treat to have Kathleen share what is her motivation with exercise.

Kathleen lives up to my three favorite words of consistent, insistent, and persistent.

 

It is amazing how she can keep all the submissions in order and on time. I would like to think she would be an ideal “Drill Sergeant.”

Since I have the original document, I know she will not delete any words. 

 

What is your exercise of choice?

 

It has changed over the years. I played high school and college soccer and usually my exercise included playing some type of game (Easier to mask the hard work) and after some time I taught aerobics classes and did a lot of gym training. 

But in recent phases of my life, I like to be outside so walking (and occasionally jogging is my exercise of choice) At my current age,

I would classify my running efforts as “slogging” – not quite a walk, but not quite a run. It gets the job done. I am honestly (and not ashamed about this in any way) not built to be a runner.

I think to be a long-term runner; you need a certain body type to sustain without injury. You also need a steady and consistent approach, and I (sadly) did not develop this early enough. 

 

What is your philosophy with exercise?

 

Again, this has recently changed to meet the needs of my body at age 55, but I believe we should do something physical any chance we can. Even parking far from the grocery store (and walking instead of driving when possible) counts in daily quests for movement. 

I try to walk/jog at least 35-45 minutes a day and I have recently started to incorporate some weight and flexibility exercises into my routines.

The lack of attention I gave to flexibility over the past 20 years is my biggest regret.

I also like to take my energetic grandson (almost 3) on walks to the park and hikes in the woods. 

Everyone sleeps better after some exercise.

 

How do you manage your training along with other aspects of your life?

 

palmerI wish I was more disciplined (like my husband) about not doing anything until I fit in exercise. But life is messy and sometimes, I get it in after suppertime because the day got away. 

So I guess the answer to your question is ….NOT VERY WELL!

But I am work in progress in this area of my life.

 

When you set goals, how do you handle it when the results do not match your expectations?

 

That is such a brilliant question. My funny answer would be, “That’s easy, I set low expectations”!

But in reality, I am a big believer in goals and often need one to keep me focused.

I actually started running races during my husband’s first deployment in 2003. My first half marathon was the Connemara Marathon in Ireland.

I ran it with 3 other Army wives who were stationed with me near Frankfurt. The goal of the race kept us training and getting out every day. It was from that experience that having a goal can keep you focused during tough times.

I have run 5 other half marathons since that first one. All of them ran slowly, but fun!

I know that when I am stuck in a rut with both my exercise routine and a creative one, I usually sign up for a race or a writing contest to get me back into a groove again.

 

What was the motivation for the Army Ten-Miler?

 

I still ask that question!

No, seriously… we just moved back to the DC area, and I have watched my husband run it almost every chance he gets. It is just an amazing race. 

We were sitting in the living room with some friends, when my husband announced, “They just opened registration” and before I knew it, I was on my phone registering. This was back in May. 

 

Did you have a goal in mind?

 

To be honest, my goal was to just finish before they opened the roads back up. I started in the second to last group based on the time I gave at registration. 

 

Did you follow a specific program?

 

I had trained for a couple half marathons using the Hal Higdon running program and I still had a copy of that, so I started with that.

My good friend (and retired LTC) Heather Stewart- Johnston, was also in the room when I signed up and she graciously agreed to run with me. 

 

It was a rough training season as we moved up to DC area and then I lost my father in late July. But Heather and my husband kept me on track.

They are both disciplined goal setters, so their encouragement kept me going during the months leading up.

The longest distance I ran while training was 9 miles, so I was a little nervous about the last mile.

 

What were your last-minute thoughts before your wave started?

 

If I am being honest, I was worried about not hitting the Porta Potty line just one more time 🙂

Seriously though…. Once the Golden Knights Jump in and the helicopters roll by and you watch our nation’s wounded warriors start the race, the motivation is there! 

I was just ready to go after waiting in the cold!

 

Were there any doubts about completing the 10-miles?

 

Only every 5 minutes…HAHA! No, once I got into a groove, I felt pretty confident about it.

 

What was the high point for you?

 

Absolutely the people I met while running.

My husband always laughs and says “how did you have time to meet people during a race?”

I told him that “slogging” gives me time to observe and talk!

I met two Marines who were almost 70 and still “slogging” along as well, and many who were running for the first time.

But running past the monuments is just breathtaking- I loved it all!

 

Did you learn anything about yourself?

 

I learned a few things….

  1. I can still do hard, physical things and that is important as we get older.
  2. I can still do hard, mental things and that is even more important as we get older.
  3. Running on 55-year-old knees is not the same as running on 25-year-old knees – FACT!

 

At mile 5 by the Washington Monument, did you feel you were on target?

 

Now what I am about to say will make the real runners cringe…. I never train or run with a watch that paces me. I write my time and distance after each run, but I don’t like to be distracted by the watch.

I just don’t want to know.

So when I passed through the 5 mile point, I did not even look at the clock. I knew if I maintained my pace (About 12:50) I would be OK.

People who “slog” at my pace can usually maintain it without a clock. 

I was too busy talking and looking at the monuments – So that fact that I had not broken stride by mile 5- YES; I knew I was on target.

 

Did you feel you were competitive against others or just seeing what you could do?

 

Absolutely NOT competitive with anyone but myself.

Heather and I stayed close to each other, but we each ran our own race.

I found her at the finish line (Along with my husband who had been waiting patiently for an hour.)

 

 

What are some comments you can pass along to others relative to running as a form of exercise?

 

Running (or even power walking or slogging) is a great form of exercise. It is the ONLY form of exercise that stimulates my brain and my creativity. I have some of my best ideas while running and I work out some of my worst problems while running. 

The mental benefit for me outweighs the physical. 

 

What do you want the reader to know about Kathleen?

 

I am a military spouse of 27 years and I love the life we have been blessed with.

I was raised in the Northeast and TEXAS, so my attitude is pretty healthy.

WE are currently living in DC area and I plan to “slog” through two more 10 milers (God Willing) while we are stationed here. I am a teacher and a writer and I am always looking for a project to jump into.

What do you want the reader to know about Mission:Milspouse

 

We are a Non-Profit with a mission to globally empower military spouses with resources and foster confidence to thrive in this military life.

In the last 18 years, our following has drastically expanded to also serve and support those connected to the military, including male spouses, mothers, fathers, children, friends, veterans, service members, and military-related nonprofits. 

We offer writing and podcast opportunities to those organizations who want to support military spouses. We also support through our vast resource collection available to everyone on our website www.missionmilspouse.org

 

 

Editor’s Note: I am humbled and honored to be featured on Off and Running With George Banker. I love the inspiring stories he brings to our milspouse community and I will continue to strive to live up to his philosophy!

 

 

 

Author

  • George Banker

    George Banker was the Operations Manager for the Army Ten-Miler (US Army / MDW), one of the largest 10-mile road race in the United States. From 2003 through 2023, his responsibilities included the operational planning, logistics, community outreach, design of the course, volunteer recruitment, and support to medical and police jurisdictions. Prior to joining the Army Ten-Miler, he worked 25 years at IBM serving in administration and management within the federal marketing environment in Bethesda, Maryland. He is retired from the U.S. Air Force (enlisted grade Technical Sergeant), where his experience included ground refueling supervisor and cryogenic fluids production supervisor. He received 14 military decorations including the Air Force Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (1969-1989). Since 1983, he has worked as a freelance photographer and journalist, contributor for the Runner’s Gazette, and He is the author of “The Marine Corps Marathon: A Running Tradition”. He is an avid runner, with 136 marathons completed.

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The Days Are Long as a Milspouse

The Days Are Long as a Milspouse

If you’ve read any of my blog submissions on Mission Milspouse lately, you’ll likely see a pattern where I have been mostly writing about what I’ve learned being a military spouse for the past twenty years but in presented in slightly different ways. In addition to...

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