Pampered Runner Giveaway

I promised you an event-filled February and it is just around the corner.

February is an awesome month for me. It marks the peak in the number of humpback whales here on Maui. It is also the busiest time at my "real" job. In addition, it is the month my darling daughter was born and the month my Dad was born. So in all this craziest, I thought it was the perfect time to host my first annual Pampered Runner giveaway!

I will be giving away care packages to a random winner on February 10th, February 22nd, and February 29th. And to be all honest, what is in each package is very likely to grow over time. Right now I am happiest over the lavender essential oil. Trust me, you want this! I add a drop or two to my hot baths at time. That mixed with some Epson Salt for sore muscles.....delightful! Darling daughter can't wait to jump on in after me! In addition, a small amount can be rubbed on your temples for a calming effect. I have even put a touch on my chest and cuddled the little one on nights when she is just not feeling right. Mommy and daughter are soothed away in no time!

I will be talking more about the items over time but don't wait too long to enter! You want to be in on all the random drawing dates, right?! And please note, I am receiving no compensation from any company for this giveaway. This solely out of the goodness of my heart.

And in case you are new to my blog, or just happened to miss the post, I am hosting a Leap Year Virtual Run on 2/29/12. Just run 2.9 miles anywhere, anytime you want. Afterwards, remember to enter your time on the form provided to be eligible for door prizes....and some of these are really cool! To learn more, go HERE.


Don't Knock the Treadmill

I go around and around in circles and yes, I love running outside. And yes, running outside is different. And yes, at times I feel guilty so many of my runs are on the treadmill.

That is the wrong way to think. I do realize treadmill running and road running are different. I feel it in my body. I see it in my paces. And that is why I don't extrapolate from treadmill paces (or jogging stroller paces) what I hope my race times to be. It just isn't a good comparison. But for all those ladies and gentlemen out there who are feeling they are doing their training an injustice by using a treadmill too much, don't fall into that trap.

Hold onto your hats, for my first half marathon I tried to run 1-2 days outside each week but ended up doing the bulk of my training at the gym....on a stairmaster because the treadmill had a bad repWhat?! I did fine for my first half. It got me where I needed to be.

But then the lightbulb went off. If I can't be outside running, isn't the treadmill the next best thing? I turned to that more often at the gym when I needed to be at the gym. I bought one for home for when I needed to be there. And it is allowing me to run whenever, wherever I want. I still prefer being outside for the complete therapy of running but I am improving through what I am doing.

What's the secret? Just keep pushing yourself. Don't stay at the same pace or run profile every run. Do hills, Do speed work. Mix it up and keep your body guessing.

Is is really working for me? Absolutely. Here are the splits from my most recent virtual run I did this past Saturday.

I am running faster and moving up in the "comfortable" speeds on the treadmill; therefore, my training is working.

Here are the splits from my most recent road run yesterday with dear hubby. I did this run after hitting the massive hills in a neighborhood by our home. I ended up doing 1.7 miles there with an average pace of 10'30". I was beat and felt grouchy when I got home and dear hubby asked, "What's wrong? Why are you back already." That didn't make me feel any better so I made arrangements for us to go right back out to run together. I love it when I can find childcare and darling daughter is excited about it. So we did 4.25 miles of rolling hills with an average pace of 9'55". And that slow first mile....it included me stopping and trying to take off the stupid t-shirt that kept getting stuck on my arm band. Oh the frustration!

You can't compare apples and oranges and get anything of meaning out of it. This is an example of treadmill versus road, flatter versus hillier, no wind versus gusty wind. So many factors come into play and it is through all those (and the boredom of a treadmill) that I become a better runner. And so can you! Because at the end of the day, a treadmill run is better than no run.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Running - no matter how or where
  • Less than a week until race day!
  • Dear hubby cooking dinner tonight
  • Volunteers packing packages
  • Slowly getting tax papers together


Freeze Your Thorns Off Race Recap

Yesterday my left piriformis was hurting me....big time. I ended up doing an Epsom salt soak and grabbing some Icy Hot. I haven't done that in a long time and of course, it bugged me since my next road race is just a week away. I wanted to do my long run today since I knew I had childcare at the gym but opted to take it easy. Why risk aggravating the muscle more and not being able to race my half next Saturday, right?

So instead of tucking my Virtual Run into a longer run, I ran my Freeze Your Thorns Off Virtual 5K solo. I ended up doing it in 24:46 so I am very happy! My piriformis held up well and didn't even complain. But I stuck to my plan. Run 3.1 miles, stretch, and do something else. I chose cycling for 20 minutes after my run. It wasn't overly hard but I felt it was a good choice to keep the blood going and perhaps help that muscle feel even happier. Afterwards, I put on my 110% Play Harder Compression shorts and headed out for the rest of my day.

That started with a play date for darling daughter with two dear friends and she coaxed me into lunch with them. However, no Happy Meal. She was pissed but I just couldn't justify it today. Instead, a nice taco salad. Nothing fried and greasy. Full of vegetables and nice beans. And yes, she was able to add grilled chicken - my replacement to chicken nuggets. She ended up happy after all.

Next stop, put darn money into bank. Usually I hate going out of my way to do this but today we stumbled upon The Dragon and some awesome line dancing. Darling daughter did not want to feed the dragon and was really scared of the big dragon. So we ended up leaving before they completed the whole performance.

Today I am grateful for:
  • The Year of the Dragon
  • Percussion - love it!
  • Getting a run in, pain free
  • Day 30 of my streak....yes, it is a small number in comparison to others but it is a pretty number so I had to brag
  • Super Why!


11 Random Things

This will have meaning later
I love Jen's blog From Fat to Finish Line and she tagged me HERE. I also got tagged from TurboTurtle and am stoked to find a new blog to follow! Her layout is so cute!

Great! I was tossing around what to post about today yesterday so here I go!

The rules:
  1. Post these rules.
  2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
  4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
  5. Go to their blog and tell them you've tagged them.
  6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people!
Eleven things about me that you may not already know.

I LOVE THE STARS: Astrology really intrigues me....western/Chinese/whatever. It is amazing how some times things really do match up....or perhaps it is just an excuse I can fall back onto. For example, equality is extremely important to me....sorry, it is just the way the stars made me since I am a Libra. Done....I don't need to change me or feel bad.

I AM COMPETITIVE: Yes and No. I mean, I am not out to compete against the world but for some reason dear hubby gets under my skin and pulls out the competition demon....big time. It makes it hard to run with him or to talk running with him because sometimes just my training idea needs to win. 

I LOVE NUMBERS: I fell in love with math in the 3rd grade due to an awesome teacher. So awesome! Plus it falls into line with my desire to organize things. Numbers make sense. Words can be vague. Therefore, I analyze my paces, run times, etc. I look at my splits. I track my stats. I want to see progress.

Don't care what it looks inside
I MAY BE AM A BIT OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE: I need a neat place to work. I can't stand clutter on my desk or around the house. I want things to go back to where they came from. If things get too cluttered, I get grouchy and restless. It is a problem. But hey, it is me and I can't find any excuse in the stars for this one. Darnit!

Yep, labeled laundry baskets
DID YOU SAY MARGARITA? That is one wonderful drink! Very bad for me though so I only indulge every now and then. However, dear hubby is NEVER allowed to make me a margarita EVER again. He did once. I ended up in the shower moments later feeling like I was dying. My only hope for peace was the water on my back and I was so hoping I could just throw up or fall asleep to escape the misery. I guess he thought I needed more tequila. NOT!

I MISS THE CITY LIFE: I'm not talking New York. That scares me and would send me running home crying. I miss Waikiki city life. I miss being able to walk to stores, restaurants, different running paths, etc. It sucks to have to drive everywhere. 

I WOULD LOVE TO LIVE IN A SMALL TOWN: I know, this seems to contradict my statement above but really, it would be wonderful to live in a small town where you know all your neighbors, you can get out and run to where you want to go, perhaps you work down the street. But now that you hear that, do you see how the two are similar? I just don't want to drive a car.

I WANT YOUR MONEY: Okay, not really. I am not a greedy person and I prefer to give gifts rather than receive them. However, I do work in fundraising for an awesome non-profit dedicated to protecting our oceans with a focus on whales. 

I AM A NERD: I am. I was always the nerdy kid but not the geeky one with glasses. I did my homework, payed attention in school, and followed the rules. I used to pull out the encyclopedia as a kid and study solo. Okay, maybe I was a geek. I had dreams of being a doctor or an archeologist. Then I thought computer programmer. Then I was watching the Discovery Channel and rushed off to Texas A&M Galveston on the first "bus" to study Marine Biology. Yep, I dropped my Computer Science studies at University of Houston and essentially started over. Years later I opted to go back to school, online, and got a MBA. Although, I often wonder if all those degrees mean a thing and they have left me with way too many student loans.

I AM EXTREMELY EMPATHETIC: Too much at times. And I have on rare occasions become overwhelmed with emotion by someone's perceived pain, hurt, sadness. Not a fun feeling. I have a love/hate relationship with this quality of me. I think it is good because it allows me to see someone else's point of view and to be compassionate. I think it sucks when it makes me overly sensitive and causes me to hurt. My feelings get hurt easily too. I wish I could be emotionally tougher....or not. 

I WANT TO BE A BAKER: Wouldn't it be awesome to be paid to make delectable desserts, bake cookies, decorate cakes and be paid for it? Although, I would probably gain 100 pounds by the temptation of testing my products. Guess I will stay in fundraising and data analysis.

Now onto Jen's questions:
What was your first job? McDonald's when I was 15. Although it only lasted a couple of weeks since the company wanted me to work past 9:00 pm and my Dad didn't approve of this on school nights.
If you could hear one song for the rest of your life, what would it be? You are My Sunshine. It just makes me happy.
Favorite quote or saying? Oh my....This one could change but right now my favorite is from Dean Karnazes's dad - run if you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must.
Disney World, Vegas, or a cruise? Disney World with me running the marathon!
Your favorite "kid" movie? Ice Age. I have been begging to see it again but darling daughter keeps making me wait. She has promised I get to see it this Friday on Slumber Party Night after we watch Tinker Bell: The Great Fairy Rescue (not so bad either).
Celebrity Crush? Sean Connery (just because of the voice), Pierce Brosnan, Antonio Bandera....any would be fine....just don't tell dear hubby.....darnit....he may read this!
Dream Race? Any and all Disney runs!
Favorite blog? Yours! Honestly, I have so many favorites because so many woman are inspiring in different ways. My 11 tags will be some from the top of my reading list.
Italian Food, Greek Food, or Asian? Italian first then falafel or hummus. I could live without Asian. Sorry dear hubby.
Favorite Sports Team? Dallas Cowboys New York Giants (really, it is the Dallas Cowboys but I need to support dear hubby's team especially since they are going to the Super Bowl)
What was your first concert? My one and only concert was Depeche Mode at AstroWolrd. Ha....I guess I need to hit the night life more often.
    And for TurboTurtle's Questions:
    If you could change your first name, what name would you choose? Ally. I actually tried to unofficially change my name in High School. Mom and Dad weren't too happy.
    Do you have siblings?  If so, how many? Two sisters...one older who is also adopted. One younger....who isn't.
    What's your favorite flavor of ice cream? Mint chocolate chip followed by Cookies and Cream. But I can live without ice cream....but not chocolate.
    Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? Dark...and the darker the better!
    What's your dream job? To get paid doing what I love....running, blogging, etc.
    Do you take compliments well? No, I get embarrassed.
    What is your favorite physical attribute? Good positive question. I like my blue eyes. My family was all brown so I thought it made me special.
    Which article of clothing do you own that always makes you feel beautiful? My pink Nike Pacer running skirt with a matching top. It makes me feel strong and ready to run!
    Dogs or cats? Have neither and can't decide what I would like best but hate, hate, hate coming across dogs when running. And a big no to big dogs. Way too scary and unpredictable for me.
    Have you broken any bones?  Which ones and how old were you? For those who know me and have been following me....a darn broken little toe on my left foot. Happened this past October. Probably still broken. Nothing until then. Darn table. Hmmm....guess I still harbor some bad feelings on that injury.
    Absolute favorite vacation spot (or dream vacation spot)? Disney for a race!!!!

    Questions for those I tag:
    1. What is your favorite time of day to blog and catch up on blogs?
    2. What shampoo do you prefer? 
    3. What is your favorite detergent for keeping your running clothes clean?
    4. If you were given some broccoli, eggplant, and tofu - what would you make?
    5. Gatorade, nuun, Ultima, or something else?
    6. Are you a running skirt fan? I can't wait to see how Erik answers this one though. Sorry dude.  :-)
    7. Tell me about your worst running moment.
    8. Tell me about your best running moment.
    9. How many pairs of running shoes are in your closet?
    10. What is your favorite place to buy running gear?
    11. Do you want to come to Maui and run in the Run and Walk for the Whales?

    Tag! You're it! If you have already been tagged or don't want to play, no worries. It took me a lot of time but it was fun!

    Ali Mc at Running with Spatulas
    Amanda at Run to the Finish
    Elle at eat, run, sail
    Erik at Running Moose
    Erin at See Mom Run Far
    Dorothy at Mile Posts
    FancyNancy at Living the Dream
    Meg O at Watch MeGo Run
    Megan at On The Road Again (although she may be too busy with the new cute addition - congrats again!)
    Shelly at It's Just One Foot in Front of the Other
    Toni at Running, Loving, Living


    Today's Run from Head to Toe

    Yes, I know I have been tagged and started that post but honestly, I have more to do and feel I just need to let it "rest" a bit while I think up some really good questions. Perhaps I will get back to it after darling daughter is in bed....if it is early enough and I'm not zonked.

    So instead, here is my run today from head to toe.....

    Gotta have my Bondi Band - I really love these and tend to wear them more often than you would think. As my hair gets longer and messier, they tend to be on my head at work. It worked out conveniently when I was asked to pose for an ad picture for the run organized by the company I work for....13.1 miles was already on my head!


    Nike Running Top - My tops don't need to be Nike but this style and no cotton. Yuck! I have tried but I can't handle sleeves or stuff touching my stomach when I run unless it is really cold and then I am still annoyed. I am fortunate to not have that problem very often.

    Nike Running Skirt - I don't know this model's name but it isn't my favorite. Give me a Nike Pacer any day! This style is just too heavy and warm. It is fine for shorter runs but I will never race in it again. Never!

    Adidas Socks - My favorite. Wear them almost every run unless I am getting late on doing laundry and need to wear a different brand. Really, they are a good comfy fit. Not too thick, not too thin, not cotton. And I can buy a big pack at Costco.

    Saucony Shadow Genesis - I don't always wear these or this brand. I cycle between these and two pairs of Nikes right now. My Brooks Adrenalines, I love them but think they have enough miles in them and my budget isn't letting me buy new ones right now. Okay, I'm not when I have three pairs of running shoes that I can run in.

    With all this, I ran 3.05 easy miles. I guess this was on my training plan yesterday. I got used to Wednesdays being rest days (so at least a mile) and didn't notice it until I glanced at the plan for today. So I made up yesterday's run today and will adjust the rest of the week.

    Today I am grateful for:
    • 3 RSVP's
    • Good News, Bad News - I used this phrase three times today and each time, all was indeed pretty good
    • Being tagged....it is a fun exercise!
    • My darling daughter playing nicely and letting me run
    • Tomorrow is FRIDAY!


    Tuesday Tunes.....and more

    I must confess, I hadn't heard about SOPA/PIPA until last week but it got me thinking. According to this nothing is going to change right now to stop online piracy. I tried to find the source I read last week that brought up the concern that sharing You Tube videos could be considered "bad". At first, I thought you got to be kidding but my intents have always been pure. Share some music from a reputable source and perhaps someone will like it and go buy it. Sounds like a win-win to me!

    But how about another shady area. Put some animals in captivity, people will see them, learn about them, fall in love with them, and protect them. Cool! But unfortunately that isn't always the case. The animals aren't always taken care of they way they should. Don't get me wrong....I have worked in animal husbandry and still support it to an extent. I don't think wild animals need to be captured and caged anymore. I feel we have enough in captivity and there is always captive breeding. But what about rescue? Can you rescue an animal and put it into captivity? This is where things get hairy based on how others interpret rescue.

    Think scientific whaling and how some countries kill whales under the guise of scientific whaling. You see, the claim is they need to kill them to learn about them. This argument goes against the intent of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

    But what does this have to do about my blog? It is a running blog, right?

    Essentially, I need to soak up this information and answer some questions about where I personally stand on SOPA/PIPA before I link to more videos. And I think a Tuesday Tunes post with no video is kinda lame. Bare with me while I do some soul searching and feel free to leave me your two cents worth. I do listen!

    Think I may be in love
    Now onto running!

    My hope/goal was to run 10 miles before work today. Why? Just because. It wasn't on my training plan. According to that I was to do an easy 3 miles today. I got up on time and things seemed to be going my way until darling daughter started stirring and cuddling closer to me. Then it happened....she said "Mommy" and  I went through all my calming antics. Want to wear Mommy's shirt? If I go running before work we can play dolls when we get home. Yes, I will try to come pick you up early. Sure, here are some more kissing hands. How about Mommy's robe? Do you want to cuddle with that? During all this, dear hubby is laying on the bed with the occasional "what about Daddy?" comment. Sorry dear, we love you but this is a girl thing. It will pass.

    Needless to say, I got a late start in the gym so I opted to run a progressive run for 30 minutes. And then it was so fun I "convinced" myself I "had" to run a 5 minute cool down. All in all, I ran 4.29 miles with an average pace of 8'10". I think that is a good way to start the day.

    Today I am grateful for:
    • Keeping deodorant at work
    • Completing a yucky stack of financial paperwork
    • $40 sitting on the table --- dear hubby must of worked his magic and got some good tips so I can pay for our entry into the Valentine's Day 5K
    • Compression calf sleeves and compression tops.....a review to be coming up soon but so far, I am in love!
    • Almost 60 participants in the Leap Year Virtual Run!!!


    Thoughts from a tired running mom

    I have full of randomness today so I thought I would go ahead and share it all! Or some of it.

    First, thanks so much for all the supportive comments on my "I am running this weekend, you know" post. I really do appreciate each and every comment! Dear hubby ended up doing well and you can see that HERE. And yes, I will try to get some ocean pictures up on my blog soon. And yes, if you have a longer race on 2/29/12 you can count your 2.9 splits for the Leap Year Virtual Run.

    Second, a thought popped into my head last night. Actually, it was a quote from a movie and although I can see the actors, I can't remember the name. Essentially it was "you can't lead because you have never lost" or something along those lines. I have been thinking hard on that concept and totally agree.

    I don't know about you but the runners that inspire me the most are the ones that have "lost". And here I don't mean coming in last per se or losing the gold but the ones who have paid a larger price. For example, the runners who have cut their runs short and not achieved what was on their training plan because their kiddos woke up from a nap, got sick at school, it is the end of the school day, or just can't take it anymore. These runners rock because they accept "defeat", push themselves, and find a way to keep getting out there to run.

    And what about all the runners who have been injured and couldn't run? These guys and gals are true heroes because they have had to endure not running for x-amount of time, didn't go utterly crazy or perhaps they did, and got back to it when they could.

    In addition, I know there are other runners out there like me that drag themselves out of bed at 4:00 am to get a long run in while they can because later in the day, it won't be able to happen. Trust me, I'm not saying I am a hero but it is hard and can bug the beziggins (I just made that up) out of you on a day like today when I inadvertently overslept so those 10 miles will have to be tomorrow. Argh!

    There are so many runners out there going above and beyond and I am inspired by these runners. So I am sorry if I am not overly sympathetic when a runner who hasn't dealt with these type of things wants more sympathy for the simple fact that running is hard and hurts. Yes it is and yes it does. That is what makes it wonderful.

    Okay, I am off of my soap box. I guess the oversleeping and terrible dreams got the best of me...that and number three.

    Third, I am a sensitive person. Too sensitive I think. And I am hard on myself and I just need to shout this out to the world so I can "forgive" myself for feeling stressed about small issues in my life when there is a family missing a dear loved one, an 8-year old child in Texas fighting for his life (my sister knows the family and hearing the story broke my heart), and an 80+ woman holding on desperately not willing to let go yet. My friend is by her mom's side, hospice is there, and this has been a long sad story that started over a year ago with a stroke. Really, my life is great and I know that. So why can't I stop worrying over bills? Why can't I just have faith and all will turn out fine with darling daughter's birthday party? (She really wants friends from school to come and I fear they won't. I don't really know the parents and I am a worry wort. I just don't want her to be hurt.)

    All in all, what I need right now is a good roadside run where I can process all my emotions and scream out if I want. Yes, I have done that a couple of times.....when I found out my dad had leukemia and that it wasn't looking good in terms of treatment and when I was processing Sherry Arnold's story in my second run over a week ago. Try it sometime, it feels good.....

    Today I am grateful for:
    • Being able to vent and let loose all my emotions on a blog
    • My dear hubby completing his first marathon
    • Honesty
    • Folded clothes
    • Blog comments....really, thank you!


    Maui Oceanfront Marathon - as a spectator

    When I do things I tend to do them full heartedly. My darling daughter and I were the cheerleaders today while dear hubby tackled his first marathon. But before heading out to go to the finish line, I had to run a mile. I had to get my run in today, even if it was small, before the race to ensure I did it. I ran the fastest mile to date on my 10% incline treadmill at home!

    I then got our stuff together and got darling daughter into the car. It was pretty easy since she was up and super-charged since 4:00 am....and I thought I was going to sleep in a bit. We drove in the dark most of the way but enjoyed watching the sun come up. We also enjoyed watching some of the runners along the way and honked for them. I must confess....I got all choked up and teary eyed. What can I say? I feel for all runners.

    We made it to the finish line just in time to see the first 10K runner come in. Way cool! We stayed put for the duration and saw the first 1/2 marathoner, 1st 15K runner, and 1st 5K runner come in. Needless to say, we saw the first marathoner come in too. We cheered for each runner and clapped pretty much non-stop. Okay, I did. Darling daughter was distracted and entertained with her toys for the duration until she announced she needed a potty break. Not to sound mean but my first response was "not now, Daddy will be running by soon. You gotta wait." She wasn't too happy with me, whined a bit, but waited until she announced, "Mommy, I really need the potty now." Oh my! We ran over to the stinky bathrooms at the finish that had no toilet paper and I am sure the other woman in there felt I was the worst mom alive as I told my daughter, "you need to go right now and if you can't, we need to leave." She couldn't. I made her leave and ran out of the bathroom trailing her behind me and we made it back to the finish just in time to see dear hubby running up. Woah! Talk about luck! We ran with him a bit but left him to cross the finish line solo.

    He succeeded in running his first marathon and said it was a humbling experience and now he understands. But I had to be the mean mommy again and not let him sit forever under the tree. Really, it would only get worse if he didn't get up and move. He wasn't happy, I was persistant, and he finally got up and started moving a bit.

    I made him an Epson salt soak for tonight but he is going to be hurting tomorrow. Good thing I will be at the gym running when he wakes up!

    P.S. Later I apologized to darling daughter for being mean at the potty time but said I was glad I made us leave. She said she understood and she was able to convince me to let her have an ice cream cone.

    Today I am grateful for:
    • My darling daughter
    • Super Why!
    • Turkey burgers
    • Ladybug kites
    • Warm robes


    What have I been doing?

    Definitely not slacking. I don't even know if I know how to slack anymore. I don't even think I could just lay at the beach reading a book anymore. And you know what? That makes me feel super happy!

    I am loving running daily and truly feel it is a good thing for the whole family. I am not broadcasting this to all my friends/co-workers because they may look at me oddly....or should I say more oddly? And I am already bugged that I haven't informed them enough about running. You see, yesterday a friend asked if I had run a marathon lately. I replied not since September but I have the Maui Marathon on my schedule this September and the Honolulu Marathon in December. My friend seemed genuinely happy and asked, "how long is the Honolulu marathon?". No, I didn't cry. I didn't yell. I wasn't even sarcastic. I just stated, 26.2 miles and got the response, "cool!".

    On a more happy note, it is crazy busy at work. Okay, that isn't the happy part. And I mean everyone getting cranky busy. I had a co-worker ask me how I remain calm and how can I not stress out at home. I confessed, I do stress but my solution is to run....everyday....and it puts me back into perspective. And it does.

    My running this week consists of 1.14 miles on Monday, 2.01 miles on Tuesday, 1.0 mile on Wednesday, 3.49 miles on Thursday, 3.62 miles yesterday, and 7.35 miles today. I will probably wrap it up with just a mile tomorrow before darling daughter and I head out to meet dear hubby at the finish line. It will be a bit of a drive and I don't want to plan to run longer later and not get to it.

    My paces this week have varied with the incline and intensity of my workouts but each run has been fantastic in its own way. Even the run on Wednesday when I wanted to stop each step of the way.

    On a non-running note, I have been securing some good "door prizes" for the 2012 Leap Year Virtual Run - 2.9 miles on 2/29/12. Have you registered? I will have something for the top three finishers beyond a lei - just haven't confirmed it yet. In addition, I have some nuun and Ultima to give away and some more leads around the corner. It should be great and dear hubby is trying so hard to get his hands on everything....don't worry, I have it stashed in a secret place. I will be writing up product reviews on each item and launching the February "Pampered Runner" giveaway soon....because February is almost here.

    And just in case you love picnik as much as I do....I just found out they are closing their doors April 18, 2012. I guess they will have something in Google+ in the Creative Kit but I am still sad right now. I have come to really love picnik for all I do with my pics. Any suggestions? What do you use for photo editing?

    Today I am grateful for:
    • The ability to run
    • Extra foam rolling and stretching time
    • Runner's World magazine....and remember my tennis ball find? It is in the February 2012 edition. Go figure!
    • Warm sunshine
    • A well-stocked freezer....it has been sadly bare recently but is happy again!


    "I am running this weekend, you know"

    My dear hubby said this to me the other night. My response, "uh, yeah, I do know."

    I have mentioned his upcoming race here and there but I don't think I officially blogged about it. My reasons for not saying much are quite pathetic now that I think about it. I really do try to stick to the theme of my blog but today I am going to stray slightly (although there is running in here) and say things are rocky between dear hubby and me. I have faith we will overcome our hurdles in life but it is because of the rockiness that I haven't blogged his goals. Plus my blog is generally more focused on my running. 

    The heart of the problem is that men and women do communicate differently. I know, I am "blaming" the textbook excuse but it is true. I do offer more advice than I should and I can see now that it makes him feel bad. I guess it is true that he takes my advice as me saying, "I don't trust you can do this." That isn't the case but let's not go down that road.

    On the 22nd my dear hubby will be attempting his 1st marathon. This is from a guy who said he would never run a marathon. We all know never rarely means never, right? I really don't know what his motivator is besides him telling me once or twice or three times or more that he was tired of being on the sidelines all the time. Cool! Although the sensitive woman in me would love to hear that he would stand on the sidelines all day supporting my running. In my attempt to make positive change in our relationship I have held back all okay almost all unsolicited advice, comments, questions, etc. Why? Besides I want him to feel confident in his run, to take ownership of his run, and I am just trying to do the right thing.

    Although, I am going behind-the-scenes without him knowing to look at the course map, see when packet pick-up is, confirm that there is no post-race shuttle, etc. Why? Because I love him. And that is why it hurt when he said he would have his son drop him off at the start and he would take the post-race shuttle back to a central place where I can pick him up. What?! I tried to keep my cool but I was hurt. I was hurt he didn't ask/want me to be at the finish with darling daughter waiting for him. When I expressed this he said he just didn't want to inconvenience us. What?! We haven't talked about this since  but I will be at the finish with darling daughter because a) there is no post-race shuttle (and I haven't told dear hubby that he was mistaken), b) it is his first marathon, c) it is the right thing to do as a wife even though the stubborn side of me thought for a minute, fine, we won't be there, and d) runners support one another, always.

    Today I am grateful for:
    • Honesty
    • My health
    • Daily Mile comments and inspiration
    • Memories
    • Product reviews to share and to read


    Wordless Wednesday

    I made my family go outside to see this this week


    Tuesday Tunes and the Leap Year Virtual Race!

    I know it is important to live in the present, to savor each moment, etc. etc. but I can't wait for February! I have so many ideas up my sleeves it is crazy. Although, I may need to tame myself down because my time is precious and February is also the craziest time at work. So why do I add more to my plate? Because I love to be busy and I love the blogging community!

    I am going to be hosting my first Leap Year Virtual Run this year! Okay, the downer is that this race can only come once every four years so next year it won't be here. So sad. So let's take advantage of this opportunity to run together in spirit!

    Here are the race specifics:

    Feel free to grab button and share!
    Date: February 29, 2012....yep, we should really try to run on this day for this one
    Time: To be determined by you. That is what makes virtual so great!
    Distance: 2.9 miles....did you really think I would pick any other distance?
    Awards: Leis plus a treat will be given to the top three finishers.....sorry no age/sex divisions
    Prizes: Participants who input their time will be eligible for door prizes such as nuun or Ultima.

    Click HERE to register.

    Click HERE to input your race results after you complete your run. Results are due by March 4th so I can announce the winners on March 5th.

    Don't worry, I will be sending you updates and/or reminders before race day. I hope to "see" you there!

    Now on to today's Tuesday Tunes......In honor of the upcoming Leap Year Virtual Run, Get The Party Started by P!nk. I got to add this to my play list!

    Today I am grateful for:
    • The joy of organizing
    • Remembering good songs
    • Waking up from bad dreams
    • The Giants winning their game....had to add that for dear hubby
    • Blooming flowers at work


    Running Around and Announcing a Winner!

    How was your weekend? Did it turn out how you expected it? Did you run what you wanted to?

    Mine was crazy wonderful even though nothing turned out the way I expected/planned. It all started on Friday with an early dismissal for my darling daughter and every moment with her this weekend was a delight. She even tried to stump me with questions such as "How did the first human get here if there was no Mommy or Daddy?" and "Where do plants go when they die?". Oh my! I love that girl!

    And she loves me enough to be pulled out of bed, given a quick breakfast, and being tucked into the car for a trip to the gym Saturday morning. I kept it shorter this week for her and ran 3.76 miles. You can read about that virtual race HERE.

    Yesterday I thought dear hubby was going to be off and planned a family run in the morning. Nope, he was called into work so I headed out with darling daughter and yes, we were bundled up for a Hawai'i run. Go figure!

    Ready to go!
    At the start she was an eager participant, all smiles and glory! She even let us pause for a photo shoot. But then the run began and so did the cold blustery wind. She endured, though grumbled lightly, about the slight drizzle but when it turned into true rain drops I think anyone could of heard her complaints a mile away. Okay, it is one thing to be #OpHardcoreFit, it is another to make a child really truly unhappy. We headed home. I ran 1.73 miles with an overall pace of 11'44" (we had many pit stops for adjusting blanket, etc.). I was happy.

    And surprisingly hubby got home early! So I decided another run was in order, and this one solo. What did I learn? Running after eating nachos totally covered with crushed red pepper is less than ideal. Okay, if I knew I was going to go run again I would have eaten something else. I had the fam drop me off and told them I would meet them up at the park. Dear hubby questioned me with a "really?" said in a way that may have crumbled my confidence if I wasn't so determined to run. I said, "yes". And off I went....slowly....uphill....against a crazy headwind.....that just got stronger and stronger. It was a great run!

    1st Run....I need a haircut!
    I ended up running 5.43 miles with an overall pace of 9'59" and my pace did increase throughout the run. Awesome!

    Oh yeah, you want to know who won the ChicoBag Produce Bag Starter Pack? Silly me! I am happy to announce the pack goes to Kristen, The Running Mom! Please email me at lifeasarunningmom (gmail) with your physical mailing address by 1/23/12 and I will get that out in the mail ASAP.

    Today I am grateful for:
    • Announcing winners
    • Blooming paperwhites
    • The wind against my back, or against my face...but less so
    • Gifts of love
    • A child's hug


    What Makes a Run Special?

    When you are running for others. 

    I truly do love to run but when my run has more meaning it seems to be more fantastic. We all know running a race makes a run more awesome. The energy of other runners. The competition. The bling. For each of us it is a bit different and for some of us, it may be a bit of all of it.

    I have recently become more intrigued with virtual runs. I am amazed by how "racing/running" with others in spirit can make a huge difference in how I feel about my run.

    My original plan was to run my virtual run for Running, Loving, Living's 34th Birthday & 1st Blogiversary today. However, when I heard the news about Sherry Arnold I really wanted to run today in memory of her. I couldn't pick between the two because both meant a lot to me and why should I have to? I ended up running with both woman in my mind today. When I first got to the gym I felt heavy....not physically but emotionally. 

    Taking off my outer wear felt like a relief but there was still a huge weight resting on my shoulders. Ironically, I chose to wear my Dad's shirt to the gym today. I didn't think much about it at the time but now that I see the picture, it adds more meaning to my run.

    I got my darling daughter settled in the Kid's Club and headed to the treadmill to begin my run.

    If anyone was looking at me they would have probably thought I was crazy. I spent a few minutes just standing there, eyes closed, reflecting. I thought of both woman and I prayed. Then I started my run and I still felt heavy but now it was all of me. But within a few minutes something magical happened. It seemed like I finally connected to the spiritual side of my running. I immediately felt light, positive, and at peace. I was running to honor one woman and to remember another. Nothing else could be better. I ran 3.76 miles today with an overall pace of 8'38".

    I had started slow but increased my pace along the way. It was fantastic! Years ago when I first touched a treadmill running at 6.0 made me feel like I was about to fall flat on my face. Today I did some time at 8.0 and you know what? I didn't fall flat on my face but may have felt a bit like it for a moment.

    On a different note: Stay tuned for some awesomeness in February. February is a very special month for me and I will be filling you in on why but for now, mark your calendars. I will be hosting a "Pampered Runners" giveaway and organizing a Leap Year virtual run. I am still working on logistics but will get info to you ASAP.

    Today I am grateful for:
    • My darling daughter's help around the house
    • Good friends
    • Virtual runs
    • Generosity of others
    • The support of the blogging community


    Why Just is not Just a Word

    I recently wrote this, "yesterday I ran a measly 1.33 miles" and got this comment.....

    I am so glad Shelly took the time to put me thoughts back into the right place. It really got me to thinking about my perspective on my own running. If Joe Bob told me he ran a mile I would say "great job" but if I ran a mile I think "oh my, I only ran just a mile". What is it with that word just? If you think about it, just really isn't such a great word. Do you ever use the word just to mean awesome?

    Let's take a moment to see just how the word just is used.

    A child wants a cookie. Sure, but just a little. Never do you hear, yes, but just a lot of cookies.

    A kid wants to go the the park. Yes we can go but we can only stay just a little bit. Never do you hear, of course, but we can just stay a long time.

    You work in a position fulfilling orders and report we just got a few orders today. Never do you report, we just got a lot of orders today.

    I do realize being just a little sick or just a little tired or just a little late may seem better than sick, tired, or late but you really are still sick, tired, or late. And I really don't have a problem with just here but wonder why I use it so much in other ways that are really only hurting me.

    I ran just a mile today. What? A mile isn't good enough? Why not be proud of that mile? And if I really need to hang on to the word just in my vocabulary, why not say I just ran a mile?

    But to avoid using just in a way that could harm me and the way I view myself, I am taking a vow to eliminate the word just from my vocabulary. I want to feel full pride in each running step I take and value each step the same. The first mile is as good as mile 26.2. The first day is as good as the 100th day. Every step counts, every step is a gift, every step should be loved.

    Today I am grateful for:
    • Blog comments that make me realize I am being too hard on myself or not truly recognizing the good I do
    • Massages
    • A nice sip of red wine
    • Tomatoes....really, I could never have enough!
    • Being able to make cookies later today with darling daughter!!!


    A little housecleaning, a bit of running....

    At times Wordless Wednesday is a break for me from blogging and a means to share an image from my week. However, yesterday I didn't nap the day away. And no, I never do. Instead I did some blog housecleaning that I felt was needed. I was glad to hear from readers that my blog didn't appear cluttered but I am a compulsive person about cleanliness....just ask my family!

    Some of the "improvements" I made were:

    A new banner to better represent my current style......

    I updated my pages since the former top pictures didn't fit right after widening the center portion of my blog a bit. It was a good suggestion as this is the place our eyes fall the most when reading. I didn't change much content but I did spend more time of my Race History pace. I moved all my past race times from the left sidebar to this page and organized it by year. I like it better. What do you think?

    I changed how the archives are handled on the right sidebar. What do you think about the pull-down menu option? Does anyone really use the archives?

    I also updated my blog reading list. Please note: This is not all the blogs I follow but some of my current favorites. I do update this from time to time and figure if anyone really wants to know everything I read, you can email me and ask or just go to my blogger profile and check it out. I always had the list arranged alphabetically but changed to list by the most recent update. Hey, it gives others a chance to be at the top of the list at times!

    Now onto running.....

    Yesterday I also ran a measly 1.33 miles as I have been absolutely awful at getting out of bed. I posted to Daily Mile my goal today and granted permission for anyone to kick me in the butt if I didn't succeed. Okay, I didn't get out of bed at 4:00 am but it was 4:30 am and thank you all for helping me. I didn't want my time to pass and not post that I ran my 6.01 miles today with 4 miles at tempo pace. You may not realize it but each one of you helped me drag myself out of bed today and I am very grateful.

    My heart aches for Sherry who is missing and this story has impacted my gratitude for the day. Go to this blog for more information. Today I am also grateful for:
    • The online running community -- I am amazed by how awesome each one of you are at providing support and inspiration to others. Mahalo! I am so glad I decided to join in and blog!
    • My darling daughter -- She is the best gift that was given to me in this life and a moment of her screaming at me in the middle of a temper tantrum is so much better than never having that moment and her in my life.
    • My dear hubby and how he can drive me crazy.
    • My Mom for being so strong and wonderful and having the courage to go on after the loss of my Dad.
    • God -- for listening to my prayers, for telling me No when it is the best answer, for holding me when I need to cry, for never abandoning me in a time of need.