Today we celebrate my mom's birthday. For those of you who know her, you KNOW she looks amazing for her age!! I won't share that number here, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind telling you if you ask! For now, you can just take my word for it!
I can't take credit for this month's Live Your Dimensions Blog feature story. I asked my dad to assist me with this one. I wanted this to be a surprise for my mom, so I couldn't very well interview her. That's not to say that I won't interview her in the future. With that said, Happy, Happy Birthday to you Mommy! I am grateful for everything you've taught me even during the times when I wasn't acting grateful for the lesson ;-) I love you!
After you read this, please leave Harriett a comment to let her know how much she means to you.
Harriett M. Rowe is an outstanding patriot, soldier, educator, mother, and wife. A graduate of The Ohio State University’s School of Nursing in 1972, Harriett, a Viet Nam Era veteran, went on to serve her nation, first as an Army Nurse, then as one of the Army’s first Nurse Practitioners. She spent several years on active duty and several years in the Army Reserves. In the Army, she rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and retired from that profession.
After her time in the military, Harriett spent several years as a Public Health Nurse. As a Maternal Infant Care Coordinator, she was instrumental in assisting many young mothers in caring for their newborn babies.
Following her time in nursing, Harriett shifted careers and became a High School guidance counselor. In that role, she made use of her counseling skills that she acquired during her time in nursing, as well as during her Master of Education, Ed. M. degree studies at Boston University. Over the course of 10 years, Harriett worked an annual case load of approximately 425 students, guiding them into successful high school careers and beyond.
Harriett retired as an educator and became an entrepreneur in a health and fitness business. She has inspired many to take a serious look at their health and helped to set many on a path of general physical activity and wellness.
Harriett has raised 4 successful children – three girls and a boy. Each is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Also, her children have played important roles in the War on Terror during Operation Iraqi Freedom and/or Afghanistan’s Operation Enduring Freedom. Harriett’s children have also become successful in their chosen fields. Their professions include active duty and reserve commissioned military officers, entrepreneurs, and one is a manager in the oil and gas industry.
Particularly significant is the fact that Harriett is active in the lives of each of her 11 grandchildren. Although none live close to her, she engages each of them often through Facetime and Skype sessions.
Harriett is a devoted wife of 44 years. Her husband sings her praises for the many things she has accomplished in her life and in the lives of countless others.
Lindsay Hartig was a Cadet at the United States Military Academy when I was stationed there from 2004 to 2005. While there I volunteered as an OR (Officer Representative) for the Army Track and Field Team. I never worked with Lindsay directly, but our paths crossed for the first time in 2004.
Fast forward to 2018. I was a vendor at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on a cold day in February and in runs a woman dressed in full winter garb, who I think I recognize, but can't seem to place. "Allison! Allison!" She cries with the biggest smile on her face while I'm still trying to figure out who she is.
Thank goodness she quickly broke it down for me! "All the Rowe siblings look so much alike! I knew you were Kirsten's sister as soon as I saw you!"
Long story short, Lindsay and Kirsten were dear friends and classmates at the West Point Prep School and classmates from the Academy as well.
I'm glad she said hi that day. We were able to link up for breakfast/lunch a couple of times before her family moved to Hawaii. . . what a neat lady. She has loads of energy, drive and passion. From cross country runner, to personal trainer, to fitness competitor, to fitness modeling, Lindsay is definitely living her dimensions and spreading the aloha!
Ok, so you’re on a mission to spread the Aloha! What’s this all about? How does one go about spreading aloha?
Aloha means LOVE... So I guess it resonates with me because I want to lean into my fitness as a career and share it with others in hopes that it will bring happiness, fulfillment and help people live their best life!
Do you recall when your love for fitness first began?
At 7 years old I rode my bike around the neighborhood all day long and my parents say I would host races against kids my age just to have a competition. I found running and soccer in middle/high school and stuck with Cross Country and Track & Field at West Point, which I attribute so much of my grassroots life style around fitness & health.
What year did you graduate from The Military Academy and what events did you compete in while there?
I graduated from (The West Point) Prep School in 2002 and from The United States Military Academy in 2006. I was better at the longer distances, so I always enjoyed Cross Country season the most, but I also participated in distances from the 800 m to 3200 m on the track.
What makes this point in your life right now different from other times when you were doing some pretty neat things?
I never leaned in... or as you coin it "lived my dimensions" after I left college, went into the Army, left the Army, started a family. I never really leaned in, I would say, until RIGHT NOW in life!
How did you arrive at this RIGHT NOW point in your life?
I had to live and try a lot of things to realize what I enjoyed and what I didn’t enjoy to arrive where I’m at. Right now, I just have a feeling of wholeness. It’s hard to explain, but after the birth of our 3rd child I just knew he completed us. I had a lot of work to do after his birth to get healthy, back on my feet! But right now, here in Hawaii, I have also felt connected to the outdoors and it has been elevating.
I struggled finding a balance in my twenties and early thirties on how to "do me", but also have a career that highlighted my strengths and allowed me to have a family too. I should share that when I transitioned out of the Army I did start personal training right away in 2011.
Can you tell me a little more about that? How did you decide on personal training?
I love fitness! It was easy to lean into! But I did not see my potential then as an amateur bodybuilder, someone who could potentially break into the entertainment industry and if you would of asked me about fitness modeling I would of probably laughed out loud at you... since I had just dropped close to 70 lbs with my first pregnancy that year and the 2 pregnancies in my future were just as difficult on my body.
Are you saying that you gained 70 lbs or you had to lose 70 lbs? Or had just lost 70 lbs?
Yes! I gained close to 80 lbs with each pregnancy… I ate everything and was high risk due to fluid retention… I would drop some weight in the hospital during labor & delivery obviously, but for my 1st pregnancy I had to still lose 70 lbs!
You asked, "How could I inspire others in the fitness industry, entertainment, be out front?" Was this a question you found yourself asking yourself during your personal training days? Did you ask yourself this question looking at your physical shape at that point? As if to ask, “How could I inspire others…” Kind of like a “who me???" question.
Yes. Well, it is much easier to share now...
What specifically is much easier to share now?
My weight gain and weight loss journeys as a Personal Trainer. I will admit that, rather than going through the struggle of pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood.
You’d rather go through pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood instead of what alternative?
I'd rather go through pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood rather than going through the weight fluctuations. Although most days I feel like I am still in the trenches with a toddler in my house! But, there is no doubt in my mind that God brought me through that... gave me these 3 blessings to make me a stronger woman, mother and wife today... so that I could lean in... so that I could chase my dimensions now, so that I can show up and say with confidence that this is my time.
So, I understand that you spent some time on the the set of Hawaii Five-0! How neat that you took the opportunity to "go out for" a role as an extra! From what I understand, shortly after to moved to Hawaii (summer of 2018) some friends mentioned it and took a chance. Talk about adding another dimension to your life - TV shows! What else have you been up to this year?
Yes, I did three or four episodes and I did, I think, two episodes for Magnum P. I. I'll have to look at my Facebook feed. I think I posted the episodes, but off the top of my head I can't remember.
What made this year a special one?
This year, I was privileged to compete in the Ms. Health and Fitness 2019 be selected by Preview Models to walk in their October 26th runway production in Hollywood and look forward to debuting in my 3rd amateur bodybuilding show as a Women's Figure Competitor at the Shaun Ray Classic in Waikiki. I am all I am because of the Lord above and I continue to give him the glory for the strength and vessel he has placed me in... being a light but also doing this for my kids, showing them that you are never too old to chase your dreams especially on your 37th birthday... well, it all is worth it, right?!?
Absolutely! What an example you're setting for them! They are so cute by the way...LOVE your daughter's name, although I am partial to the traditional spelling ;-)
Every competition has been more of a challenge for me... because each time I get on stage I want to beat myself from the last show. I am my only competition; me vs me... and so pushing myself to lean into the prep with workouts, nutrition and plenty of sleep to recover my muscles was tough.
I am a Mom with a husband who has a demanding job!!! But the reward of training for this day is so much more than accomplishing a winning physique. It is in the journey, finding the discipline and the strength to not quit and to not give up... even though there were plenty times I wanted to!
I find my faith strengthen, my love for training always increases and I form bonds with coaches and fellow competitors that last forever. I don't know when I will get back on stage again... I have plenty of areas to improve, to get to work on... so once they get better, I am sure the NPC will see me again.
I really like your outlook about being your own competition! Sometimes I think people have a tendency to train hard for something and prepare solely to beat others in competition. It takes a completely different mindset to ditch that modus operandi and perform better than your previous best. Kind of like improving beyond your PR (personal record) in track and field! How gratifying is that?!? To be your own best competition!
YES, YES, YES Exactly Allison!
Of course, we should want to be strong competitors among other competitors, but to make catching up with or beating others our only focus is probably not optimal. I think it is hard in this area, because if I were to get first place, it’s because the girl who beat me just didn’t make it… ya know, there is always someone training harder, further along on her journey, but when you self reflect you will always win when you beat you!
As we get older it’s, in my opinion, more important to do things that make us better than we were. It’s not like most of us are on teams like we were in high school or college when it was important to do better than our opponents. Right?
Your faith is clearly an important part of your life. How have you seen your walk with The Lord impact others?
My walk has not been a perfect one, but I am so thankful for leaning in last year because without a doubt I was able to grow and lean on my faith to see me through the hard days, hours, moments.
Thanks so much for letting me share Allison! Love what you are accomplishing, spearheading, trailblazing for us! We are all better together... hands down!
** Since the interview, Lindsay has competed in her 3rd NPC show on the figurestage and claimed 2nd place in both of her classes: Open Class C
and Figures Masters Class C.
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I've known Lauren since 1981! Yes, that's what happens when you're sisters! There's so much to share about her which made this interview somewhat of a challenge.
Lauren has always be an outstanding student and athlete! Our parents decided it was time to put her in gymnastics at a young age when she started doing back-tucks (somersaults in the air backwards) on her bed so she could learn how to do the tucks properly and avoid injury. Only a few short years after that she become THE gymnastics champion for her age group in Belgium! Yes, Belgium! Believe it or not, by the age of 6 she was throwing back-tucks on the balance beam!
Yes, Lauren is pretty amazing and I know you're going to enjoy learning more about this Military Police Officer turned Exxon Mobil Engineer who will surprise you with her many dimensions! Including those she has yet to experience, but has on her list of goals!
Okay, you’re my sister, so clearly, I know quite a bit about you! But most of our readers don’t, so can you tell them about how you got started in the Army?
I attended the United States Military Academy at West Point for my undergraduate education. I decided to go to West Point because it was a huge challenge physically, mentally and academically and I’m not one to pass up a challenge! When I graduated in 2003, I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army as a Military Police Officer.
You were a 2-sport varsity athlete back at The Academy and performed in both Track and Soccer extremely well! In fact, you were inducted into the United States Military Academy Hall of Fame in 2011!! How did you manage two sports at the same time?
It was a lot of work juggling a full course load as well as competing on the women’s soccer and track and field teams. As a result, I didn’t have a lot of spare time, but I love competing and I love playing sports, so I didn’t see the lack of free time as a negative. Also, I have always been the type of person who doesn’t procrastinate, mainly because I don’t like to have deadlines hanging over my head—they make me anxious! I think my proactive approach to getting course work done ahead of time allowed me to manage classes and sports.
Sometimes we all have setbacks in life. What sorts of injuries did you sustain as a result of being a hard chargin’ athlete and Cadet?
I had a stress fracture in my shin my freshman year that kept me out of several games that season. I also had to get stitches next to my right eye because I went up for a header and collided with another player. I think I ended up coming back into the game and I scored the game-winning goal! Other than that, I had a few sprained ankles and the regular bumps and bruises that come along with being a Cadet and playing sports.
Being a Cadet at West Point isn’t just about sports. From personal experience, I know academics take up a ton of time, yet you excelled academically as well. What advice would you give a young person who is considering attending The Academy and is a bit uncertain about being able to handle the academic course load?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help often and early! All of the instructors are there to see you succeed so don’t be afraid to reach out to them, and other students, and ask for help. It shows that you are proactive and you care about your success. It’s also important to seek assistance early. Sometimes all we need is a little boost to get us back on track. Waiting too long might mean getting up to speed will take a lot more effort and time…or it may even be too late at turn things around.
What’s the fondest memory you have of your Hall of Fame Induction weekend?
I was inducted in the Hall of Fame in the Fall of 2011 when I was about 8 months pregnant with my second child. Needless to say, I didn’t look much like a top scholar-athlete at that point in time! It was a really fun weekend and perhaps the most memorable part was talking with other inductees and realizing that, while many of us graduated decades apart from one another, we shared a common bond—we all knew what it meant to put on the West Point jersey and compete for our school, our teammates and the Long Grey Line.
Before we go on, I have to share that you were an Honor Graduate in your 2003 class at The United States Military Academy!
You had three deployments in a very short amount of time (in just over 5.5 years) to some hot spots in Iraq. Tell us about those.
Yes, I did a total of three deployments to Iraq, which added up to a total of two and a half years! As a Military Police Officer, one of my primary missions was to teach, coach and mentor the Iraq Police in Baghdad. It was tough to be away from home for 12-15 months at a time; however, the opportunity to lead Soldiers in real-life, combat operations was an experience that has shaped my life going forward. In Iraq, I lost and I gained. I witnessed the spectrum of the human condition as life, death, hope and despair unfolding around me in a way that impacts my worldview to this day. Would I go back? No way. Would I trade that experience for anything? Never.
I absolutely love this! What an answer! At some point you transitioned out of the Army and into Corporate America. What can you tell our readers about that transition?
I left the Army and I joined ExxonMobil (EM). As my husband, James, puts it, EM was the closets thing we could get to being in the Army without actually being in Army! EM is very structured, hierarchical and there is a process for everything, just like in the military. So the transition went pretty smoothly for me.
What are you up to these days? Work? Family? Sports?
I’m currently living in Houston, Texas. James and I still work for ExxonMobil, going on 11 years now. Our four kids, Colin (10), Owen (8), Neva (5) and Evan (3) are doing well in school and are involved in a lot of sports. Most of our weekends are spent cheering them on at soccer games and gymnastics meets. I still play soccer and I’m on an over-30 co-ed soccer team. It’s fun to get out there on the field every week and kick the ball around. I think I’m actually a better player now, than I was in college. I relied a lot on my speed in college, but now that I’m older (and slower), I have to rely more on strategy and tactics.
Oh, I almost forgot! You’ve got to share how you met your husband, if you’re okay with that! I think it’s a pretty good story!
The first semester of my freshman year I had to take swimming and Chemistry. In swimming we all got paired up and similarly, we had partners in Chemistry. Since I had to take my contacts out for swimming and was virtually blind, it took me a good few weeks to realize the guy I was paired up with in swimming was the same “Cadet Glaze” I was paired up with in Chemistry! The rest is history…
You recently ran half marathon in California Wine Country! What (or who) was your inspiration to train and run?
A group of friends wanted to run it and make it a “girls weekend” so before I could talk myself out of doing it, I signed up.
Is this a dimension of yourself you’ve exercised in the past or was this the first time?
I have run two marathons and one half-marathon prior to this one, so it this wasn’t the first time. However, this was the first one I had run in awhile.
How long had it been since your previous running event?
The last race I ran was a 10k in 2015.
When did you make up your mind to go for this most recent one and make it happen?
I signed up for the race about 10 months before. When I signed up, I wasn’t in half-marathon shape and I knew I would have to do some serious training. So, I went to the website, entered my information and hit ‘submit’ before I could talk myself out of it.
What did you do to get ready for your half?
I loosely followed a half-marathon training plan and I finally “broke down” and got an apple watch so I could track my distances. The watch also allowed me to see how my times and endurance improved over the months. During the week I would run in the evenings—after leaving the Army I have hard a hard time sticking to early morning workout routines! Since I spend a lot of time at the kid’s practices, I made it a point to wear workout clothes and bring my running shoes so I could get a few miles in when and where I could. I forgave myself for missing a run when other priorities came up and I celebrated any distance/time I was able to run. But the one thing I always stuck with was making sure I woke up early on Saturday mornings to get the long runs in. They were slow and they were exhausting, but I felt so much accomplishment after each one.
Did you have a time you wanted to complete the course in?
I wanted to finish by 2:30 and I actually finished in 2:17 so I was really happy and proud of myself!
What was the most challenging part of this experience?
The most challenging part of the experience was not the race at all, it was actually training up for the race over the summer in Houston. Talk about hot and humid! Finding the right time and the motivation to get out there and run on some of those hot days was challenging, but I knew every mile I ran in training would give me the strength and endurance I would need to complete each mile in the race.
It’s pretty neat that even with all you have going on you made time to train for your run! That’s motivation for me! What advice would you give someone who may be hesitant to live outside the box and try something new or get back into something they haven’t done in a long while.
Just do it! Don’t wait for the right time, the right weather, or the right fitness level. Achieving your goal is only half of the fun, the other half is the twisting and turning road you’ll take to get there.
What’s something you’d love to do/try for the first time, but just haven’t gotten to it for one reason or another?
Hmm…good question. This is so random and not at all related to the sports/running theme in the earlier answers, but I think I would like to give a motivational speech to an audience. Kind of like a TedTalk. I don’t know the topic and I don’t know where I would do it, but it’s something I think I would like to do some day.
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