Good Bye 2012

2012 was an awesome year! But I am not doing my year-end review today. Why? Because the day isn't over. I still have 12 hours and 9 minutes to do more...if I choose to do more. I am not planning on it but I am not counting it out by writing up my review right now. Sorry gang, you are just going to have to wait!

But today started off fantastically! And that is after going to bed grouchy last night as my left hip is achy and my neck is tight...which left me hurting pretty much everywhere. As I cuddled in bed I contemplated how I hurt from the center of my bones to the surface of my skin. I didn't feel good and hoped the chiropractor was going to be open the following morning (now today). My gut instinct....I need to be adjusted.

After eating breakfast and doing some housecleaning, darling daughter and I headed to the gym. I called the chiropractor, she was closed. And not just for today, my original fear, but until Friday. Bummer....drats....shucks!

No worries, my plan was to run so I was going to run. After a little more bonding time with darling daughter I dropped her off at the Kids' Club and headed to my trusty treadmill. Yes, I do have one or two favorites but don't tell the rest. My original goal was to run an hour but then I remembered one of my ideas for running streak day 365 and thought, this is the perfect time! Darling daughter is running around playing in the Kids' Club (I can see her from the treadmills) and I have up to two hours of child care. Therefore, the goal changed to run 3.66 miles for 2012 immediately followed by 3.65 miles for 2013, the end result is 7.31 miles. I ran at an easy pace and resisted all temptations to pick it up as it was to be an easy run day.

Now for 3 very cool gym moments:
  1. While doing some brief stretches before my run my left hip did a little pop. Oh yes, this may be just what the doctor ordered to get that joint back in place. Only time will tell but perhaps I won't be seeing the chiropractor this week. 
  2. I got to see a guy hop on the treadmill next to me do three very brief (probably about 8-10 seconds) at a pace of 15.0. I had to look due to the noise!
  3. How can you not be stoked to see a Dad showing off his baby boy to others at the gym? Darling!
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for all the blessings in my life.
Daily Affirmation: I am choosing a feeling of balance in my life.


Running Streak Day 365

Do I continue to run?

I truly feel blessed for each run I do as I realize it is a precious gift to actually have the time and ability to run, no matter what the pace. Each day could be a celebration but along the past 365 days I have selected certain milestones to celebrate: one month, 100 days, 200 days, 365 days, etc.. It was a means to break a huge goal into small segments and to recognize how far I have come. I love numbers and I tend to tie them into my celebrations...even the days building up to the next milestone.

For example, on running streak day 363 I ran for 36 minutes and 30 seconds. I threw in some Yasso's and ended up running 4.05 miles. It was awesome! Yesterday I ran 3.64 miles for day 364. It was an easy run, but fun. And the whole time I pondered what I was going to do today. How would I make it special? What number game could I play? 3.65 miles just didn't seem enough. And I agree with a Daily Miler friend, 365 miles seems a bit out of reach.

Yes, I took a pic of the moon!
I had lots of ideas swimming around in my head this morning but then I couldn't take my eyes off the moon. Well, I kinda had to since I was driving but you get the point. It was beautiful. It was so big. It was shining down on me and seemed to be smiling as I drove down the hill. And then it dawned on me....it didn't matter what I ran today. The time didn't matter. The distance didn't matter. All that mattered was running. I was blessed to be able to run today, on day 365, before work. I was blessed that darling daughter is off of school and in dear hubby's care as that meant, I didn't have to be so strict on my time. I could go into work a wee late and work a little extra at the end of the day. That was a great feeling.

So I ran for an hour at my easy pace bringing me to 6.0 miles for today. I would love to say I felt as light as air but that would be lying. My body felt a bit heavy but I still enjoyed myself and was smiling from time to time. I think I am just tired and the constant yawning before starting my run supports this theory.

So what's next?

I keep on running. You see, the first day of my running streak was December 29, 2011 so tomorrow is my true streakaversary so I must run then, right? And my goal was to run every day in 2012 so I gotta keep going? I am not going to not make my goal on the mere fact that I ran a year's worth of days consecutively on a small technicality that I started my streak early. And come January 1, 2013....I will still run. I have no plans to stop my streak just for a flip of a calendar page. When I posted my ambitious goal in 2011 I had doubts. I now know I can do it...I can run daily...and it works for me. So for every day I wake up wanting to run, I will run.

But please note, some days my mind doesn't want to run and my body still does so I run. I just don't want to leave the impression that I wake up eager each day to lace up. But I never regret lacing up. And sometimes my runs get postponed in the day but I still run...and sometimes those are the runs I cherish the most.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the beautiful moon.
Daily Affirmation: I am learning skills and techniques that provide personal empowerment and control over my own life experiences.


My One Power Word for 2013


Just the other day I was looking at an assortment of inspirational charms with phrases like faith, love, strength, courage, fearless, believe. All of the words touched a cord with me but strength kept coming to the forefront of my mind. Strength.

During a lot of my training runs I thought about being strong, told myself I was strong, and looked for my strong. I even think the word strong is on the gym wall but can't say with 100% certainty. But that may be why this was a go to word for me. But now I am loving strength as it has a deeper meaning to me.

I can say I am strong because I can lift x pounds and still carry my daughter. I am strong to be able to run. I am strong by doing what I do. But strength involves character...at least in my mind it does.

The strength to say I am sorry. The strength to love when I feel hurt. The strength to run one more mile. The strength to get up early, stay up late, and do whatever it takes. Strength.

I want to carry my strong from 2012 into 2013 and ensure I maintain strength in my body and mind. In the way I embrace each day and challenge. In the way I grow in love and confidence. In the way I tackle my fitness goals and bring my running to new levels.


What would your word be? 

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for Amanda at Run to the Finish for writing a post that got me thinking about my one word. I am thankful for Elle at Eat, Run, Sail for sharing her word and motivating me to do the same.
Daily Affirmation: I will hold onto my strength and let it bloom and grow stronger throughout 2013.


Healthy Eating Takes Preparation

It is easy to say I am going to eat healthy. It isn't always as easy to do it. Why? Because all the easy-to-grab foods tend to be the least healthy....if you forget how easy it is to grab an orange.

I want to have healthy foods in the house for me and my family. And to achieve that, I need to buy healthy foods. I will confess, I do buy some indulgences at time as dear hubby does love cookies and chips, but I keep it at a minimum...Christmastime excluded.

We all know, healthy eating starts with healthy grocery shopping. But for me, I need to take it one step further with healthy planning and preparation. And that begins with first, making a dinner menu for the week. This guides my grocery shopping and makes sure I do integrate the vegetarian days I love.

Next, I need to be prepared by having what I need/want on hand and ready to go. And one of my favorite things to sneak into foods is veggie purees. It allows the meal to have more of the veggies I love and the family doesn't always realize what I am up to. Although, darling daughter has an idea.

On a day I have time, I pull out the food processor and puree like crazy. I love to puree carrots, zucchini, and broccoli but have always done pumpkin, squash, and spinach. Whatever you like, just puree. To puree the vegetable I just clean as usual, cut into chucks, and darling daughter hits on. I don't have a fancy food processor so any kind will do. And I aim to puree without adding any water that just dilutes the nutritional value; however, I have found that most times I do need to add some water to the broccoli to keep it going. I then "measure" the veggie purees in quart sized freezer bags labeled with the veggie and date. I say "measure" because each baggie roughly has 1/2 to 3/4 cup of puree. Since I am cooking with it, exactness isn't important. However, if I plan to use the puree in a baking recipe where exactness does count, I measure accurately and label as such. Example, chickpea puree for a cookie recipe I have.  Then I load up the top shelf of my freezer and grab when the need/desire arises.

So how do I use the purees? Just about anyway I want. Making enchiladas? Why not add a bean, pumpkin, or squash puree to the filling or some broccoli or spinach to the sauce? Making a soup? You can add almost anything to it. I made lentil soup just the other day and added a bag of broccoli and a bag of carrot puree. If you have a finicky family, perhaps send them on an outing at the start of cooking time. I started my soup in my crock pot and for the first few hours you could really smell the broccoli. Once the lentils softened up more, their smell took over and when you ate the soup, you didn't see or taste the added vegetables....but they were there. I have also been known to add a puree into the taco meat and nope, the family and teenaged boys never knew it.

The hardest part is staying committed to having an assortment of purees on hand because if they are not there, I won't be adding in extra nutritional value. It is kinda like that dehydrator I have in the cupboard....it isn't going to make fruit chips on its own. I better get shopping, slicing, and dehydrating soon!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for good customer service.
Daily Affirmation: I am a healthy, happy, loving mom.


The Secret to Happiness

is veggie purees! 

I am just kidding but I had to add this in since I am being asked for how I use them and I really do promise to write that post. I was tempted to talk recipes today but hey, it is Christmas Eve so I have to talk about happiness. Okay, maybe I don't have to but I want to. So in the meantime, why don't I promise to launch the puree post Wednesday?

What is the secret to happiness? Perspective. Plain and simple. Yes, I honestly do believe this.

Throughout most of my life I have been plagued with the holiday blues. It seemed November and December were emotionally heavy months for me. I liked the holidays and all but I just didn't necessarily feel full of joy and fa-la-la. But this year, it is different. My heart is full of joy. I really do want to sing Christmas songs. I am enjoying the tree and house decorations. I am having fun baking. I even opted to cut my run short Saturday so I could have extra time with darling daughter doing seasonal stuff.

So what has changed? I have. Or more accurately, my perspective on things and life. 

It is so easy to see what you don't have and hope or dream for things I want but potentially can't have. Living in the middle of the Pacific away from family and friends can increase this negativity. I have spent many holidays away from my parents and sisters. Growing up we seemed to always have family in town, or were visiting family, so holidays were big...in terms of people. That just isn't the case any more. And perhaps it wasn't just yearning for family and friends to be close. How about a real Christmas tree? Or a real wreath? Or the budget to get all your family's desires?

Thing is, when you stop looking at what you don't have and start looking at what you do have you will see your life is quite full. In fact, it may be overflowing with gifts and blessings. As least, that is what I noticed when I opened my eyes.

Through daily gratitude and daily affirmation I am better able to see all the beauty in the world, and in myself. And I really do think that is the secret to happiness....seeing the good in life and making a positive impact whenever and wherever you can.

So yes, I don't have the same Christmas traditions as growing up. The table won't be surrounded by extended family. The house isn't wildly decorated outside. We aren't opening gifts on Christmas Eve after church. Nope, we will have a small dinner tonight, darling daughter gets one gift, and then to bed she goes. As a family we will open gifts in the morning and then dear hubby will go to work. I will pull out the slow cooker and make a pot roast dinner and all will be good.

I will still miss my family...especially my Dad. Seeing the good doesn't erase some sadness but it lets you feel their love and presence versus dwelling in negativity. In terms of what we do, nothing has changed over the past four years except for me. And I am thankful for that because this year I am seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child. There is joy. There is hope. And there are promises of more splendid days to come.

And I look forward to more Christmases like the ones pictured below. And I will never forget the last Christmas shared with my Dad...via awesome technology!

Merry Christmas and God Bless!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for those who read my blog, support me, and remind me to stay on track with my posts.
Daily Affirmation: I have joy in my heart.


Last Minute {crafty} Gift Ideas

Last month I posted about 8 Affordable Gifts for Active People but what if that just doesn't work for you? What if time is running out? What if, oh my, someone slipped your mind? Don't worry....get crafty and create something special for them in essentially no time at all. And it is useful!

Create your own dry erase boards - and trust me, these are better and more beautiful than anything you can find in a store! All you need for each board is a picture frame (I liked 5"x7" for my gifts), scrapbook paper or other pretty paper, embellishments, scissors, and hot glue! Oh...and some dry erase pens if you want to include that in the gift!

I really do like to make gifts for people since I feel it is makes it extra special. I made these boards for my co-workers and darling daughter and I put a lot of thought into what scene and embellishments fit their personality.

And for me at home, a new dry erase menu board to hang on my kitchen wall! I used an 8"x10" frame to allow for a good amount of writing room. Much prettier than that boring white board I have been using. And darling daughter added the final touch by drawing a heart on each!

Simple and beautiful! And my first gift recipient was extremely happy and in love with her gift!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for little acts of kindness.
Daily Affirmation: I have an open mind.


Love Your Body

As 2012 wraps up and 2013 many start thinking about New Year's resolutions. Unfortunately, it can turn into a time of negativity as people start saying things they are not going to do or focus on things they are not happy with. So today I want to write about body images.

I can only speak from the viewpoint of women but men may have their own burdens to carry. But growing up and going through those precious teenage years was tough for me, and for many other young women, as we have a terrible tendency of comparing ourselves to others, or even to the false images in media. Personally, I grew up self conscious about my thighs and behind and comments from family that were meant to be helpful were only harmful. Silly comments like saying I shouldn't do weight lifting with my soccer team as that will only build muscle and make my legs fatter later in life.

Today I am in better shape than ever but those body parts can still be a source of heaviness if I don't keep my head screwed on right and realize that those "heavy" thighs and behind are key muscular components in what I am able to run and achieve. Those are my strong body parts and they deserve love.

No one is perfect. We all have areas we want to work on and that is fine. But what is more important is being strong and healthy and not aiming to achieve a media's image of beauty. Be proud of who you are and love your body as it is the only one who have. Take care of it. Respect it. Love it.

I want to thank the ladies who submitted photos to be featured in today's post. Here is the blog roll of participants: Lisa, Monica, Melissa, Tenecia, and Tracey.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that the old Christmas classics are still being aired on TV.
Daily Affirmation: I love my body for what is allows me to do each day and promise to continue to nurture it with healthy foods, exercise, and love.


Honolulu Marathon - The Day After and Recovery

Thanks for all the congratulations on the new PR and all your support. I have been truly blessed this year and I feel I owe part of that to my new running mindset. By running daily I have learned to better listen to my body, to better incorporate recovery runs, and to rest. Yes, rest. I know, that may contradict with running daily but in all reality, a brief, slow mile does minimal impact on your body when compared to the zillion other things one may do on a rest day....such as mow the yard, housework, grocery shopping, playing with kids, etc. By running daily I have learned to really listen to my body, move it to get things flowing, and ease the pace or kick up my feet when needed. The end of last year I made the goal to run every day in 2012. I am almost there and no, I do not plan on stopping. Why not see if I can continue that streak throughout 2013? Because movement makes me feel good.

Now for part 3 of my marathon story that previously included The Day Before and Race Day.

After the Honolulu Marathon my family and I sat at the park for awhile before I was beginning to feel too warm and wanted to head back to our hotel. We then began the 2 mile walk and yes, I was moving slow and drinking water the whole time. I couldn't get back to the hotel room quick enough to get darling daughter and I changed and ready to go to the pool. She kept telling me it would be cold to begin with but I would get used to it. That sounded good. And yes, it was cold and while we played I focused on moving my legs and incorporating some stretches.

The Next Day
I started my day with a run and once again, I feel running daily truly does help my recovery. My legs felt a bit achy but got into the groove of running in no time, although I kept my pace very, very slow. I ran 1.5 miles and stretched, stretched, stretched before heading back to the family. As dear hubby went out for his run, darling daughter and I packed up our stuff so we were ready to go when he got back. And go means going to the zoo. We spent the day walking around the zoo looking at animals, and once again, I was drinking plenty of water and eating some ice. I did take a couple of sit down rest breaks but pretty much kept moving. By the time we got to the airport my legs were really feeling it and a couple of times I felt they were going to give out on me. I was exhausted but happy.

I continued to run low mileage but on Tuesday my pace returned to my normal training pace zone. Completely different from post Maui Marathon when I had a string of three very slow days. My legs were bouncing back. I never went through the "I can only do one step at a time" phase when going down stairs. I could go down normal, yet with aches. And within a matter of four days, my legs were 100% recovered. And that makes me happy.

Why the quick recovery? I can't contribute it solely to the running streak as I had that with me in September too. I really think the walk back to the hotel and walking all day Monday may have helped. Or perhaps that hour or so in the pool. And hey, running a marathon and not feeling like death started me out on the right foot.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for blue skies and white fluffy clouds.
Daily Affirmation: I can use my sense of humor to turn things around.


Honolulu Marathon - Race Day

Have you ever read a marathon recap where someone stated it was the best every step of the way? That they felt wonderful? I have a few times and to be honest, I felt bugged by it as I couldn't relate. Really? Feeling good for 26.2 miles? Seems wrong. So I will apologize ahead of time since on race day I really did feel good and enjoy every step. But don't get me wrong....I did still have moments of "weakness". Here's my story. I really did try to keep it short and focused on Race Day Nutrition, The Race Itself, and Blessings. The Day After and Recovery will come later.

Race Day Nutrition
Since the marathon started at 5:00 am I woke up at 3:00 am to eat my breakfast. I usually do waffles but that wasn't going to work in our hotel room. So I replaced the two waffles with two graham crackers, topped them with peanut butter, and half a banana. I did have one cup of coffee and drank 8 oz of coconut water to get a wee bit of extra hydration. About 20 minutes before the start, I drank a Gatorade Prime.

During the race I consumed 5 vanilla GU gels (about every four miles), ate some mini pretzels offered along the course, and had a cherry lifesaver. I drank about 12 oz of orange Gatorade by mile 7ish, swapped bottles with a new one from dear hubby, and continued on. I can't tell you how much I consumed from then on as I did top off with water and refill with the course offered Lemon Lime Gatorade. Not my favorite and I knew it was the flavor the marathon was offering. However, I still opted to train and start the race with my preferred flavor, orange.

Post race I drank two Muscle Milk lights, drank lots of water, and ate real food a few hours later. I do not do well taking in solids post run.

The Race Itself
We got to the race start with about 20 minutes to spare and I really needed one final pit stop. There were TONS of porta potties but the lines were crazy long. Fortunately, I knew the park had some towards the back and dear hubby held my place in one line when I went to check out the other facilities. Score! Shorter line for more stalls! I texted dear hubby all was good back here and after my final pit stop, we made our way, slowly, to my race coral. I placed myself midway in the 4-5 hour coral. Just where I should be. And then I tried to focus on my pre-run prayers and mantras. Dear hubby tried to take pictures but my point and shoot camera does awful in the dark and really hates the zoom feature for anything with any type of action.

To announce the start, the Honolulu Marathon has a fireworks display. It was quite awesome and dragged out long enough to keep me distracted entertained while I  made the very slow approximate 12-minute walk to the actual start. Yes, I actually did look at my clock a few times so I would have an idea of what to subtract at the finish line.

To my surprise, once we hit the starting mat we were able to space out a wee bit and actually run. Trust me, the walk to the start was very cozy and tight with a few bumps here and there. I knew the first few miles would be tight, and perhaps slower, but didn't realize the number of runners would keep the course pretty much the same way throughout. Really, I was passing and zigzagging around runners from start to finish.

On the bright side, I had to be so focused on moving around runners, dodging those that stopped, and other road hazards that I got to the one mile mark in no time. Okay, it was over 12 minutes of running time and perhaps my slowest mile. No worries, I worked to increase my pace a wee bit but knew I was still aiming to keep it slower due to my cough. You can read more about that in my The Day Before post.

Shortly after mile 2 my breathe was taken away by the beautiful Christmas lights to the extent that I had to find a street sign so I could make sure the whole family checked them out later that night. Here are some pictures from then.

And I focused on hydration knowing I may see dear hubby near mile 6-7 with a new orange Gatorade. We had a plan for me to stay right and look for him and I only got stuck in water station craziness a couple of times until I learned to avoid that side when running by. I also noted that the ground was awfully wet and littered with paper cups. I slowed my pace through each station to avoid slipping. And yes, volunteers rocked the boat and were trying to clear as much cups away as possible but really could only do so at the edges.

After switching bottles with dear hubby I began my run through Diamond Head. There was an incline here I was a bit concerned about, mainly on the return, but in all reality, I didn't notice it much in the first pass because of the runner congestion. Really, I pretty much made it to the highest point before realizing I was running uphill. Imagine about 31,000 runners that were in 4-6 street lanes of running squeezed into one lane. Volunteers were in the middle of the street with yellow caution tape keeping us on the left so the wheel chair participants, who had an early start, could have the right side. The volunteers rocked the boat as all cheered and many gave high fives. And there were LOTS of them as they were about 6-10 body widths apart. We were running elbow to elbow or shoulder to shoulder and those who stopped to walk caused me to have to squeeze, swerve, and really focus. It was nice once the course "opened" up some more. By the way, when I talked to a 3:15 finisher later she didn't have as much congestion problems here but said it was DARK. Really dark. Hardly could see dark. I guess we each have our own "hurdles".

The next notable section would be the approximate 5 miles of highway running to Hawaii Kai. It was open, sunny, and windy. We were fighting a headwind pretty much the whole time. I was prepared for this as a runner who ran this race years ago gave me a heads up. I also had false hopes of the wonderful tailwind on the return. Yep, that never really does work out. This section was long but I was still happy. I think my pace juggled a bit here but overall, I kept running at a level comfortable to me. I wasn't hurting. I wasn't coughing too much. Honestly, I only coughed when taking in nutrition. I passed a wheelchair participant and was completely awed by how strong his arm muscles must be. We also were able to see the elite and fast runners on their return. That was awesome! The lady who finished first looked like she was feeling it. It was rejuvenated to know running can be hard for everyone. I am glad she cinched first place. Many runners cheered for them. I tried to woo-hoo but my voice was a mess. I decided to stop trying.

Hawaii Kai was hotter but wonderful. It wasn't as hot as the Maui Marathon final miles so I felt fine. I did take a couple of sponges because I felt I should, not because I felt like death. The residents rocked the boat! So many were out cheering and providing runners with additional treats. This is how I got some mini pretzels along the course. I also saw candy, fruit loops, oranges, and bananas. I stuck with the mini pretzels since I trained with them in my final runs and loved them during my 20-mile run on the treadmill.

On the return the tailwind didn't bring much relief and I was seeing more and more runners down. Seriously down. I heard more ambulances in this race than any other but then, there were more runners. I saw a wife leave her husband in the safe hands of a medic. I continued to run smart not knowing the full impact my cough could have even though I was already pass the midpoint. I continued to not let myself worry too much about time and accept what I end up with. I was tracking it here and there, but not really changing my pace to hit a target end time. I just continued to run happy and resist any temptation to increase my pace. I also had my hidden secret, that I would allow myself to pick up the pace in the final 2-3 miles.

I did have two walk breaks, if you want to call them that. The first was through a water station where I stopped to have my bottle refilled after dumping out the remnants of the orange flavor. Have I told you that the volunteers rocked? They were beyond awesome and were really great with topping off my water bottle. I also loved the hydration guns they had instead of pitchers or cooler nozzles. Really cool. They were working their butts off to keep cups on the tables. Anyhow, back to walking. I walked a few paces to put the lid tight back on my bottle and quickly returned to running. The next break was when I wanted the lifesaver from my back pocket. It was shortly after mile 22 and I needed a bit of a lift energy-wise. Really, I eat every 3 hours or so during the day (or eat five small meals) and need constant nutrition on a run. And with my GU gel plan, my last one was taken at mile 20 and I still had 6.2 to go. I wasn't dying but figured, I had the candy so why not take it now and finish strong. I walked to open it, was walking a bit more thinking I would start running in about 10 steps. Then an "angel" ran by and commented that I was close to the end and could do it. I started running and thanked him for the kick in the butt. And I knew my time. And I knew I could potentially match my last marathon time if I kept going. And I knew I was allowed to push myself.

I passed the final water station that was really maybe a mile or so from the end. Ironically, it was the only one loaded with cups and yes, my bottle was empty but I knew I was fine. Okay, the tables were loaded at the start too. I knew my pace. I knew my time. And now my competitive side was taking over. I really could PR if I continue to run strong and keep my negative splits at play. I was shocked and amazed since I did start slow and zigzagged a lot along the course. I walked twice. I had a cough. And perhaps a PR? I felt blessed and ran with all I had.

I saw/heard dear hubby near the end, pretty sure I waved, and continued to run side-by-side some guy to the finish. I wasn't going to let him pass me. He seemed to be finishing strong and I let him pace me and not let me slow down. And I did it. I PR'd. My time was 4:33:28. In September my time was 4:36:16.

  • The volunteers. They were awesome!
  • The weather. The vog that had been around was clearing up before the race. There was a wind but not the worst. Humidity didn't seem too bad either, or perhaps I am getting better used to it and how to hydrate on O'ahu.
  • My family. That they were there for me and did the bottle hand off early in the race.
  • Running. This race was all about being thankful for the ability to run and to trust in God. I had an amazing experience. I loved the race. And P.S., I recovered really quickly.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the great running community.
Daily Affirmation: I have hidden greatness inside of me that I can tap into and discover.


Honolulu Marathon: The Day Before


I will be writing my Honolulu Marathon race recap in a series of three posts: The Day Before, Race Day, and The Day After. I feel that is the best way to tell my whole story without an extensively long, confusing post. So today, let's talk the day before the marathon!

Since I went to the Expo on the Friday evening I had all day Saturday to be with my family. I try to make our racecations not just about me and my race but also fit in fun family activities. Dear hubby really wanted to go to Sea Life Park and darling daughter really wanted to see live dolphins so it seemed like this is what we were to do. Thing is, Sea Life Park can be hot and draining. I was racing the next day. So our plan was to head out early and I knew I needed to focus on hydration. But before getting the family day started I headed out for my final run.

Ala Moana Boat Harbor
Running streak day 345 and I ran an approximate 1.7 miles around the Ala Moana boat harbor. Since my Nike GPS was totally confused by all the tall buildings, the distance is an estimate but may have been more since I started out kinda fast. I was so happy to be running outside. And how do I know the GPS was wrong? Well, in just over a minute it congratulated me on completing a mile. Yeah right! But in its defense, once I began running in the more open zones it righted itself pretty well.

On our way to Sea Life Park we stopped to see the blowhole. Essentially, this is a hole in the lava rocks that when the waves hit just right, you see a "blow" of water shoot up through the hole. It is pretty cool and darling daughter was more impressed once she saw the action. Looking at rocks can be a bit draining for a little one when they are doing nothing.

Blowhole in front of crashing wave
Sea Life Park was indeed warm but not the worst it has been. We did take some time to watch a dolphin show in Japanese. I really didn't need to understand the dialogue and darling daughter was perfectly fine watching the dolphins. She also loved the playground and the sea lion show.

But it wasn't all cherries. I had a cough attack like none other. One that left me doubtful and questioning if I was crazy for wanting to run the next day. Essentially, as I was waiting for our food my head seemed to drain all at once and a tickle at the back of my throat triggered a major coughing fit. It also kind of felt like when you choke on your water. Please tell me darling daughter and I are not alone in this problem. Anyhow, the coughing pretty much knocked me off my feet and in hindsight I find it sadly amazing that someone can cough that violently and no one come to see what is up. Darling daughter did come running but more to tell me about something cool she saw. I tried to ask her to go get Daddy but words couldn't come out. I honestly felt like I was drowning and coughing at the same time. It was scary. It took awhile for things to settle down and it left me teary eyed and shaky. And doubtful. I felt frail.

Once back in the hotel room I sent darling daughter and dear hubby to the pool with the idea of me taking a much needed nap. I needed to sleep. I needed to get out of this mental funk. I needed to know what was best. And that is when I prayed for guidance on whether or not I should run with this cough. I asked for a clear sign. Dear hubby thought the cough was the sign and told me later, no, I shouldn't have run. I felt the cough was the question. I put the question out there to a running coach and he supported me running. But my main guidance was prayer. And I got no indication to not run. Just to NOT take the darn Mucinex again. And to run at a slower pace.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the power of prayer.
Daily Affirmation: My heart is capable of infinite love.


Honolulu Marathon - DONE!

Aloha All!

Just a quick little post today as I have so much to do! One of which is download all my pictures from this past weekend so I can tell you the whole story but for now....I did it! I completed the Honolulu Marathon and shocked myself with a new PR!

And since I am a data analyst by nature, here is a little break down of my splits by the timing mats. My Nike+ sensor was way out of it so we can't go by mile splits. Oh well! But I can tell you, my first mile was probably one of my slowest at just over 12'00". And I managed a bit of a negative split at the end but was a bit up and down from start to finish.

Timing Mat Times:

  • 6.2 miles - 1:04:46; average pace per segment 10'27"
  • 13.1 miles - 2:14:45; average pace per segment 10'09"
  • 18.6 miles - 3:12:02; average pace per segment 10'25"
  • 24.9 miles - 4:21:23; average pace per segment 11'00"
  • 26.2 miles: 4:33:28; average pace per segment ; overall average pace 9'18"

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to be back at home.
Daily Affirmation: I can and will handle any situation life throws at me in a healthy way.

P.S. It may be time to go see a doctor about this cough and congratulate her on a race well done herself!


A Marathon Prayer

Today is the day I will run my third marathon along with thousands of other runners. While you read this previously scheduled post, we will be running, at least we will be at the time this post launches to hours afterwards. I ask that you help me share this post, my prayer, as I will not be on social media....I am running.

My Marathon Day Serenity Prayer - 

Dear God,

Please be in the hearts and the souls of all the runners running today. Allow us to accept the things we cannot change such as the weather, our past training, our current level of fitness and health. Help us to have the courage to see how far we can go, to test our limits, and to overcome mental hurdles. Give us the wisdom to know the difference between what is in our control and what isn't so we can run smart, listen to our bodies, and to be strong and safe. I ask that all race coordinators and volunteers are safe and happy and receive the appreciation and respect that they deserve.

On a personal level, I know my running is a gift from you. I will cherish each step and run in your honor. I will remember why I am running and that it is what my spirit is meant to do. With you, I will run my best but not be tied to preconceived notions of what is a good or bad time because any run in your honor is good. I will remember my Dad and cherish that he is pain-free in Heaven but greatly missed on Earth. 

I thank you for my ability to run as it makes me a better person and a better mom. 


Daily Gratitude: I truly am thankful for the gift of running as it has opened my heart to know what is important and to let go of the little things that don't really matter.
Daily Affirmation: I am strong and whatever I run today will be the best run I can run today.


Woo-Hoo! 3 more days!

The Honolulu Marathon is just around the corner. I am still coughing but getting into my normal jitters and excitement mode. I followed my gut instincts, and the advice from friends on Daily Mile, to just run a mile today (and the next couple of days) to give my lungs more time to heal. I am annoyed I got sick this week but there isn't much I can do about it but be smart. And hey, those few miles I didn't run today...I won't regret them Sunday if it means I am able to run better Sunday.

And another thing bugging me is the amount of spam comments my blog has been getting recently....and some have been sneaking through and being posted instead of going to the spam folder. So sorry gang, I enabled captcha again since I won't necessarily be online daily to weed through the spam. I know, it is an added step but hope it doesn't add too much burden to those of you who really do want to comment something relevant instead of saying how awesome, well-written, and insightful my posts are and referring me to their site at x, y, z. Really? A list of songs is well-written, a post on cold sores is profound? Craziness! Regardless, I wanted to explain the switch and apologize for any inconvenience. I hope it is just a temporary thing.

But on to good news. The weather reports are saying the winds should be coming back and pushing the vog away. Triple woo-hoo's from me! Now please, please, please be right because I don't like the voggy look or what it does to me as it always messes with my respiratory track. And when the radio announcer said she kinda liked the "wintery" look my instant thought was she was crazy! But then she continued to say if this is our worst we are pretty lucky because her family is freezing in Canada. Darnit...she's right. And I think it may clear up more since the sun is shining and I can see the West Maui mountains from my window again. Not crystal clear but they are there. See?

Do you have a problem with spam comments on your blog? What do you do?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the support from the virtual running community.
Daily Affirmation: I choose to move forward, always seeking what is positive.


Second Week of Marathon Taper - Done

Phew! Less than one week until the Honolulu Marathon and I am battling a cold, and thanks for the well wishes. I am not too concerned. I went to bed early last night, hydrating well, getting plenty of vitamin C, and just taking care of myself. I am confident I have time for this to run its course and for me to feel ready to go full steam! On the bright side, I did run my 2 miles slated for me yesterday. I was tempted to run just one mile but in all reality, sweating felt good and I just imagined all those nasty cold germs moving their way out of my body. It is a good way to pass the time!

Now on to my second week of tapering. On a side note, you can read about week 1 HERE. My goal for week 2 was to run 26.6-31.1 miles. That would put me at 60-70% of my mileage the week before taper started, which happened to be my highest mileage week in this training cycle.

Here is how it turned out:

Countdown to Xmas
Monday: 2.25 miles on home incline TM (pace 10'45")
Tuesday: 3.40 miles on home incline TM (pace 10'55")
Wednesday: 6.57 miles on gym TM (pace 9'53")
Thursday: 1.25 miles on home incline TM (pace 12'19")
Friday: 2.35 miles on gym TM (pace 10'10")
Saturday: 4.50 miles on gym TM (pace 10'12") immediately followed by 3.52 miles on gym TM (pace 9'55")
Sunday: 3.0 miles on incline TM (pace 11'53")

Total Miles: 26.84

How do I feel about this? Just peachy or as peachy as a sluggish, grouchy, tapering mom can feel! Yes, it was all on the treadmill but that is what life allowed this week. I am also happy that I found the time to run 6.57 miles mid-week and run my 8.02 miles on Saturday. I had to break up that run due to a pit stop and just chose to stop and restart my Nike+ app versus letting it hang on waiting. This is a definite plus over what I have done in previous tapers where I feel I had cut back too much in distance and intensity.

Amish Friendship Bread
Other things I have done this week include rearranging all the pictures on the house walls, baking bread, baking cookies, doing loads of laundry, beginning to get stuff together for the marathon, crafting (we painted our own countdown to Christmas tree on a box lid), working like crazy at my real job, and enjoying family time! And participating in HBBC! I truly love this challenge and the people involved. I know two weeks have passed but if you are not in on the fun and support, why not join us? It goes until January 5th so you have plenty of time to start establishing great habits while getting support throughout the festive holiday season. And please tell Amanda Life as a Running Mom sent you!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for well wishes and good night dreams.
Daily Affirmation: I am at peace with the universe.


It's Official --- I have a cold

I want to talk tapering and running but frankly, I have a cold and am not feeling very happy about it.

Normally, when I get a cold I just "toss it to the side" and let it run its course without much of a worry in the world. This time I know I have a marathon on Sunday and that is just mere days away. However, I feel just long enough for this cold to run its course and me to be back to 110% in no time. But I am not just doing nothing this time. On the rare occasion, an ignored cold turns into a nasty chest thing for me and there is only one trick to kick its butt. I am going straight to kick its butt! That is, after suffering in silence yesterday.

Daily Gratitude: I am glad I have the cold now and not at the end of the week.
Daily Affirmation: I am committed to my goals and my success is assured. I will run well on Sunday!


Change is Good! And VOTE!

It is human nature to "fear" change but in all reality, change is good. It may be hard. It may be confusing. It may be unwanted at the time. But it is good. And I love to change things up visually!

We have been in our current home just over a year...13 months to be exact. In that time, my treadmill has been in two locations, the living room has been rearranged three times, the adult bedroom has been rearranged twice, and darling daughter's room has been rearranged three times. If there was a way to rearrange the kitchen and bathroom, I probably would have done those too. But in a way I have. I have rotated throw rugs, changed towels, and removed the over-the-toilet shelf. Yep, I love changing things up!

With that in mind, this blog was "born" 2/16/11 with this wee-little welcome post. Boy, I have changed things up along the way in post structure! But in all reality, the template/format is only in version two and that was adopted eons ago.

I know there needs to be some consistency in a product/blog/brand to allow it to me recognizable and I am not going all out crazy and becoming a different type of blog. The essence of me and what I envision for this blog are the same. I am just embarking on a few acts to bring a breath of fresh air, so to speak, and to get my blog to the level I want it to be....aesthetically. You see, I am learning new tricks and want to apply them. I am cementing my feet in what my primary goals are and want you, the readers, to know them. With that said, if I do something crazy that makes reading and enjoying this blog difficult, scream out and let me know! I promise to not take offense and perhaps, may change back!

Change 1 is already live....I got rid of one of the sidebars because I like to have more of a post on the computer screen personally when I read blogs. That makes my right sidebar a bit longer but I am trying to ascertain what I want to keep and what may be unnecessary fluff. I have weened out some gadgets.

Change 2 is underway and I have already received some voting feedback from twitter, facebook, and instagram. VOTE by commenting below! Which do you prefer? A or B! And I am not going to influence you by telling you which is "winning" so far! And yes, these are just snippets of the images and not the end result of what I have in mind. Just one element.

How do you feel about change? Are you in or out? Is your house in a constant state of flux in terms of furniture placement or is it set and never touched?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that my mom demonstrated that is it is okay to move furniture around on a regular basis. 
Daily Affirmation: I love my ability to view change as an opportunity for growth!


Achy, achy taper aches

9 days until the Honolulu Marathon! If you envision me sitting with my feet propped up, drinking a nice hot tea, and relaxing while looking over course maps you are absolutely crazy. Although, in some regards I wish I could do that. But instead...I am aching and pretty much everywhere. Okay, that isn't true, just everywhere below my waist!

This is my third taper and if you count in those many recovery weeks, I know this is normal. I begin to ache everywhere and logically I know it is because my body is rebuilding, getting stronger, and hydrating since I am drinking plenty of fluids. Personally, I go for the iced tea, unsweetened please...it's a Texas thing.

For my readers who are experienced with longer runs and tapering, you also know this is normal. If you are new to longer distances or embarking on your first taper, don't panic when you start to ache more or in new places. Recognize it as part of the healing process and more free time to worry about every little ache. Such as that ache in my foot when I got home yesterday evening. Instant thought - oh my! Did I hurt my foot somehow? Will I be okay? It lingered in my mind nagging me until I got distracted by playing with darling daughter, going out to family movie night, and alas...my foot is fine. Doesn't ache a wink. Well, until I started thinking about it and wondering and then hmmm....perhaps an ache there? But hey, if you are looking for an ache, you will find it. Forget it!

So what do I do? Well, a nice soak in the tub is good but mainly for relaxing my mind. Trying to stretch a little extra and perhaps some foam rolling. And no one can underestimate good old fashioned sleep. Yep, running less means I convert that time I would be running to sleeping time. Perhaps not minute to minute but I am enjoying the extra sleep, and cuddles, with darling daughter. And most importantly, don't panic! Now is the time to have trust in the training done, visualize hurdles and how to successfully overcome them, review the course map, commit to your plan, and have faith!

How do you combat the achy, achy aches of taper/recovery?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for free family movie nights at our local public library. It was a smashing good time!
Daily Affirmation: My mind is strong. My will is strong. I am strong.


Honolulu Marathon Goals

This topic has been bouncing in my mind throughout this training cycle. What are my goals for the Honolulu Marathon? Do I aim for my ambitious goals of breaking 4:20 and a 4:00 marathon? Do I aim to PR, which would be breaking 4:36:16. This PR was set just this past September and my time the previous year was 4:46:40 at the same race. Thing is, I know my ambitious goals will happen and based on some of my recent race times, they are indeed doable. I just don't know what these legs really have in them less than two weeks away.

Now before I get the virtual lectures on trust and faith, it isn't that I am doubting my capabilities. I know my dreams will come true but I don't know when. And for me, that is okay. My last two races have blown my mind away with my performance and I went into both not competing but with the goal to run well, to do a training run, and to enjoy. I had my eyes set on the Honolulu Marathon. But yet, I was still goalless for that race.

As I sit here typing the goals are still whirling in my mind. I know I can set BEST, BETTER, and GOOD goals and traditionally, that is the case. I know a new PR would make me happy. How couldn't it? I know dear hubby sees me breaking 4:20, and perhaps approaching 4:15. He has said as much. And I know he will not get it if I state I am not going in with a time goal. But I think that is my plan. Not to have a time goal.

Sounds odd, doesn't it? Now, not having a specific time goal to me isn't exactly what you might think it means. I have a pacing strategy. I really need to work on this in order to achieve my greater marathon goals. I tend to start to fast. I run out of energy at the end. Yes, in some regards this is indeed normal and I don't want to sprint across the finish with a tons of reserves in the bank either. I just need to fine tune this. For the Harbor to Harbor, I ran awesome negative splits. It felt great. For the Turkey Trot my final mile was indeed my fastest and I did wobble some in time. I wasn't as consistent in paces as I was for the Harbor to Harbor and I attribute that to first, there were hills and second, I started out faster. I promise, that race report will be coming soon.

So my "I don't have a time goal" really means, I want to try to run a consistent 10'00" pace...or at least as much as possible. For those you are quick at math, you know that brings me to a finish time of 4:22. But I am not locking onto that number in my mind. There is some uphill climbs, there is running in new territory, there is a crowded race course, and those are a lot of unknowns. So I feel I can't set a realistic goal with all of those variables. And yes, that is the data analyst side of me coming out. Too many unknowns to draw a clear and reliable prediction.

Used picmonkey.com to combine HNL 26.2 Course Maps
Therefore my BEST goal is to run as best as I can, to have fun, to savor each step and relish in the fact that each step is a blessing, to enjoy the atmosphere, and by golly, to finish and get that medal to make darling daughter proud!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for fudge.
Daily Affirmation: I am able to lessen the load on myself, ease my mind, and put fate in God's hands.


First Week of Marathon Taper - Done

On December 9th I am running my third marathon. My first was in September 2011 and my second was this past September, in which I PR'd but it was a hard run....mentally and physically.

With just a few months between marathons my training this cycle has seemed very odd to me. I had a few weeks to recovery, a few to build, and now it is time to taper. I am also trying a new twist to this round of tapering, which leaves me running a bit more and still pushing it a bit. I feel I backed off perhaps a bit too much during my last taper.

So first let's review my taper plan. I am doing a three-week taper with 80-90% of my weekly miles in week 1, 60-70% in week 2, and 50% in week 3. I am basing my calculations on the 44.44 mile week I had in the final week of building up. In addition, I am doing a little twist in week 3 but I will get back to that in a moment.

To put things in miles, my plan was to run 35.6-40 miles this week, 26.6-31.1 miles next week, and not more than 22 miles pre-race. This is the hiccup part. The way my running week goes, Monday to Sunday, it puts my marathon on the last day of my running week. So if I add those miles in and run 22 miles in week 3, that would be a 48.2 mile week. I don't think that is necessarily smart as my highest training week this marathon cycle was 44.44 miles.. If I do 30%, a final week taper suggestion I also read, that would be 13.3 miles the final week in the days leading up to the marathon bringing me to a total mileage of 39.5. I like that better. It is just a gut feeling.

How did I do this week?

I ended up running 36.18 miles and am happy with that. I also feel a bit of edginess coming on but in all reality, there is a hormonal element contributing as well. My body is feeling achy, heavy, and somewhat lethargic but I still manage to pull off some awesomeness at the oddest times. In all reality, I think I am okay and feeling what I should. But here is what my running looks liked in a nutshell:

Monday: 2.25 miles on gym TM (pace 9'18")
Tuesday: 3.0 miles on gym TM (pace 10'01")
Wednesday: 3.0 miles on gym TM (pace 10'01"), 2.5 miles on home incline TM (pace 12'14")
Thursday: 9.61 miles outside (pace 7'50")
Friday: 1.24 miles outside (pace 9'33")
Saturday: 6.22 miles on gym TM (pace 10'14"), 3.1 miles on home incline TM (pace 12'03")
Sunday: 5.26 miles on home incline TM (pace 11'40")

And I can't say I have been resting since I am extremely busy at work, have been playing with darling daughter, attending parties, and decorating for Christmas! Oh yeah, and add in a bit of holiday shopping.

I am also participating in HBBC, hosted by Run to the Finish, and it is helping me stay focused on eating more fruits and veggies and only eating sweet indulgences I really do love. So no birthday cake. No pie. But I will take a bit of that delicious fudge please!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for holiday sales and great customer service.
Daily Affirmation: I am capable and worthy.