Tommie Copper, Leap Year Virtual Run, and another Winner!

Aloha and Happy Wednesday!

I entered the Tommie Copper contest on facebook and if I win, I really don't know who I will choose to share the love with. I have been blessed with so many gifts in life that when I win, I am compelled to share. If you don't mind, stop by HERE and vote for my picture (Erica).

Did you run or are your running today for the Leap Year Virtual Run? I was up way too late last night but still managed to pull myself out of bed to run my 2.9 miles before work because honestly, the host cannot miss the race! I know I said the run could occur anytime today but I had it in my mind to do so before work and stuck to it. My time was 21'22" and you can input your time HERE. Remember to do this by March 4th to be eligible for the door prize drawings. Winners and top three finishers will be announced on March 5th.

And speaking about winners, the third Pampered Runner winner was selected randomly through Rafflecopter. In fact, I had to select a fourth since the first random choice was someone who already won! Go figure!

So lucky number 3 (or 4) is.....

Caolan from Chronic Runner! If you haven't read her blog before, stop by and check it out. I can tell she puts a lot of thought into each one of her posts and I truly do love reading them. And we seem to have a lot in common in terms of our thought processes. Congratulations Caolan! Email me your physical mailing address at lifeasarunningmom (gmail) and I will get your package out to you as soon as possible!

Today I am grateful for:
  • A new haircut
  • My darling daughter's new haircut
  • Feeling better thanks to antibiotics....truly, I am like 1000% better in less than 24 hours!
  • Being able to share
  • All the participants in the Leap Year Virtual Run


Getting It Done FitFluential

You have probably been hearing about FitFluential here and there over the past few days and I have to say, I like what they are doing. I will be completely honest....I am a new ambassador for FitFluential and am still learning so much but it is a great opportunity and they are looking for more ambassadors. And guess what? You don't even need to have your own blog to be FitFluential. Do you want to be an ambassador? To apply as a blogger go HERE or to apply as an enthusiast go HERE. And please tell them, {lifeasa}RunningMom aka EricaG sent you.

Why was I drawn to FitFluential? Because I want to make a difference in my life and others. I want to be able to inspire people to make healthier decisions or to try something they haven't done before. And guess what? It is happening. I have inspired dear hubby to get out and run. I also know of at least one woman I inspired to get up each day and run....even if it is just a little. That is awesome!

Why is inspiring others important to me? Because there was a time in my life when I needed it. We all need a good "kick in the butt" at times and my lowest point was after childbirth. There is a whole long story there that I may tell one day but the gist is, I wasn't being as active as I should have been because of new-mommy nerves etc. and it was negatively impacting me.

Why do I think I can inspire others? Because I have had hard days, I have been in terrible ruts, I have failed, I have been misdirected, but I still find the way to get it done. Do I inspire you? Maybe. Maybe not. But I am inspired by a lot of the bloggers I follow such as Shelly who motivated me to give running every day a try....even if it wasn't her intent. And how about Meg O who can make me laugh and yet have some very deep and meaningful posts? Honestly, I need to make it to Michigan to meet this girl....I wonder how close she is to my aunt??

And speaking of inspiration....have you entered the Leap Year Virtual Run? There is still time to join in on the fun to take place anytime tomorrow. Just run 2.9 miles, enter your time by March 4th, and you will be eligible for door prizes on March 5th. Are you speedy? You just may be one of the top three finishers to get a lei and a little treat too!

Now onto my running.....yesterday I ran what felt like a snail-paced mile on my incline treadmill. It was torture. I didn't feel like running. My legs were made of bricks and at the end, I was just happy to mark off day 60 on my calendar and accepted my 11'06" pace. Today I had to get up early and run before work because it is haircut party night. Trust me, this is a big thing! I will tell you more later. Since yesterday was so tough on me, my goal was to run 30 minutes. That's it. Don't worry about pace. Don't worry about distance. Just run. I ended up running 3.57 miles with an average pace of 8'24".

Today I am grateful for:
  • Running yesterday when my mind didn't want to and my body wasn't too sure it wanted to
  • Haircut Party Day!!!
  • Nutritious Meals
  • Library Books
  • Computers


Tommie Copper Product Review

If you are looking for good customer service and compression, I strongly suggest stopping by Tommie Copper and giving them a try. After hearing so many bloggers rave about their products I had to give them a try....and they were nice enough to provide me an opportunity to do just that!

What makes Tommie Copper a bit different than other compression wear is the copper. Imagine combining the therapeutic properties of copper (stimulating the immune system, fighting free radicals, etc.) with the therapeutic properties of compression (stabilizing muscle tissue, promoting blood flow, etc.) and you have a win-win situation...especially when you add into the mix that the items are comfortable beyond belief.

I have other compression wear that works nicely but honestly, I have peeled it off some times just because I couldn't bear to be in it anymore. Then I wake up achy wishing I didn't taken it off. With the Tommie Copper, I forget I am wearing it. Nice, huh?

I was able to try two different products - the calf sleeves and the shirt. I am totally sold on the calf sleeves! I never really knew my calves needed such love and attention. I have run in them, slept in them, and wore them to work. Yes, I had to try them in all scenarios! Sleeping in them is my favorite recovery now for after hard runs or just plain, I have been working way too long and my legs are tired days. For running, I could see how some might love this but I found them warm. Not so warm I had to rip them off but warm enough to wonder if I could really do this for long distances. And yes, the compression does the trick.

For the shirt, perhaps it is a sizing thing but I didn't feel the benefits like I did for the calf sleeves. But I don't think this is the fault of the product per se. The shirt just wasn't as snug and tight on me as the calf sleeves; therefore, the compression capabilities weren't fully in effect. But I did run, sleep, and wear it to work once as an undershirt. And yes, when I wore it the tension in my shoulders may have been a bit less.

Ironically, when I thanked Tommie Copper for this opportunity and expressed my love I also expressed my desire to have compression shorts. If you have been following me, you know it is my piriformis that gets to me. And guess what they said? Check this out!

And yes, I signed up for the newsletter to stay fully informed.

And if you are focused on your budget like this running mom, I truly feel Tommie Copper is reasonably priced and I don't cringe when I see their price tags like I do for the prices of other compression wear.

Please note: This product review is solely my opinion and I received no compensation for writing this review. Tommie Copper did provide me with the products at no charge or obligation.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Feeling my Dad's presence and support
  • Being able to express my opinion
  • Sharing information that may be useful for others
  • Tomorrow is haircut day
  • Finally feeling fully like me again....it has been a long journey and perhaps I will blog more about it one day


Let's Not Fight Over Animal Crackers

Running is the best thing that has happened to me and I honestly believe I am becoming a better and better person with each run.

And running every day has made a huge impact on my life as I am finally getting back to the point where I don't sweat the small stuff. For my younger followers out there, yes, when I was in my 20's life was fun and easy. Don't get me wrong. I had bad days. I had really bad days. I had worries. But I was me with essentially no real responsibilities....like being responsible for the security, health, and development of a child.

I take a huge amount of pride in what I do because I try to always do and be my best so when life gets challenging, I get stressed. And I have come to the realization that I was getting too stressed. With running you can only go one step at a time. You have bad runs. You have good runs. You have runs where you feel all is perfect in life. And guess what? The same is true in life. You have bad days. You have good days. You have days where you feel all is perfect and it is those days that make the days when you just want to give up worth it. But would you give up running over a bad run? I wouldn't. Therefore, I refuse to allow the little things in life that stress and bug me have a negative impact on me anymore. And I can do this because I am strong. Running has proved that.

If I have a bad running day I trust that my next run may be much better. And if not the very next run, I know one in the future will be blissful. Why not carry this mentality to all aspects of life? Yes, things may be tough today but I now know that I need the same faith in life that I have in my running. Tomorrow will be better. And if not the real tomorrow a future tomorrow.

So go ahead, open that bag of animal crackers you told me you wouldn't. I refuse to get annoyed over it. I am stronger than that.

And for my recent bout of coughing, it seems the coughing induced a non-stop cycle. My lungs are irritated so I cough. The coughing irritates them more. I cough more. And so it goes on and on until I got the good sense to go to the doctor, tell him whats up, explain I can run and not cough, and the light bulb went off for the doctor. My lungs are annoyed and need a break. So take this medicine for a few days and I should be sleeping and living as blissfully as I am running.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Seeing the light myself and not sweating the small stuff anymore
  • Doctors that are runners and don't glare at me when I admit I have been running even though I am complaining about a cough
  • My darling daughter's courage with her immunizations yesterday
  • My darling daughter's dreams of being a pediatrician....who knows what she will decide to do with her life but I love that she is already inspired to care for others
  • My dear hubby putting up with me through the hard and difficult times....do you think he is actually gonna read this?


Ultima Replenisher - Product Review

Just like there is no single training plan for everyone, there is no single sports drink for everyone. I can't even say dear hubby and I have the same preferences. He has always been a huge Gatorade lover and will drink it all hours of the day. I have no issues per se against Gatorade during activity but worry about the amount of sugars in it.

Fortunately I was introduced to something "new" at the Kaua'i Marathon expo last September. Ultima Replenisher. I was drawn to the booth not only because they were offering samples but because it was the course drink and I wanted to learn more. And don't worry, I brought my own drink to carry on the course and wasn't going to try something new on race day. After hearing that the drink had no sugars and was all-natural I decided to buy a load (okay, 30 packets) to bring home to dear hubby. To learn more about Ultima Replenisher go to their website HERE. And guess what? He loved it!

I like that you can purchase the product in single serve packets or in a tub with a scoop. I never got to try any of those initial 30 packets but have tried the grape flavor since thanks to Ultima providing me a sample to try and share. And it tastes good. I don't know if this is my go-to drink of choice but it is definitely high on the list for dear hubby....especially if I buy it and keep it in stock for him. And honestly, he would probably prefer the single serve packs.

Do you want to try some Ultima Replenisher for free? Here's your chance. Enter my Leap Year Virtual Run, enter your results post-race, and one lucky finisher will receive a canister of Ultima Replenisher as a door prize.

Please note: I was not compensated in any way, shape, or form for writing this product review. The opinions here are solely my own.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Being able to take a sick day to rest at home
  • Sunshine
  • My family's love
  • A disappearing cough
  • Cuddling under a blanket


Splits and Paces

My analytical tendencies force me to look at my splits to really assess what was going on during a run. Recently, I haven't been looking much either because I am too busy or my runs were too short to have any meaning. Yesterday after work I ran 3.1 miles at an easy pace. As much as I really wanted to up the speed and run progressively, I told myself that it is indeed okay to run easy at times. In fact, many training guidelines suggest it as the better alternative to always pushing yourself to the limits. Okay....perhaps that makes sense as long as you do push yourself at times.

Here are my splits from yesterday's run on my incline treadmill.

My overall pace was 10'17"....just a couple of seconds faster than what the Smart Coach says I should run at for an easy run. The paces were based off of my most recent half marathon time. Check out those splits.

Somehow I lost the timing for the final mile but it was on par with mile 12. You can see where the physical effects started coming into play due to mental frustration causing me not to hydrate appropriately. My overall pace was 9'22".

But to get back to comparing apples to apples. My last 5K race splits are below.

I could be down on myself that my last mile was my slowest but hey, look at that pace for mile 2. I pushed myself....hard. And at the end, I had nothing left. I wasn't able to pull out that final burst of speed like I usually do. My overall pace was 8'13". According to my Smart Coach app, my tempo runs should be at 8'45" and my speedwork at 8'11". And that makes me very happy with my race results on this day.

Do you analyze your runs?
How important are splits and paces to you?

Today I am grateful for:
  • Becoming a better runner
  • Being able to show appreciation
  • Courage to admit it when I am wrong
  • The ability to see the strengths in myself and others
  • Antihistimines when allergies start getting really bad


What works for me may not work for you....and a WINNER

I thrive on structure; therefore, I am pretty good at following most rules....except the ones I break.

But honestly, things can get really confusing if you are trying to run according to plan and the rules. Just google half marathon training plan and you will come up with tons of results. If you try to weed through them and find the perfect plan you may become overwhelmed or you may say, hey, this one looks doable to me. Bingo! You just hit the nail on the head. A plan that is doable for you. That is the secret.

Let's step back a minute. I started my 1+ 2012 goal to run every day in 2012 to help me break through the mental obstacles I put into my own training. I try to follow my training plans but am flexible with them. Perhaps I don't run x-miles because of x, y, or z or perhaps I just skip the run because of x, y, or z. Is that okay? Sure...perhaps....it really depends. How strong is the x, y, or z? Does it really mean to abandon the run or to cut back miles?

Upon reflection I began to think that my own x, y, and z were weak at times. They really do sound strong - I didn't run because I was sick, I didn't run because I had to work late, I didn't run because my darling daughter needed me, I didn't run because I had to cook dinner. The list of valuable reasons excuses could go on for ever. Each one on its own is valid but if they begin to stockpile, perhaps you I have a problem.

The solution? 1+ 2012. It works for me. It may not work for you. It compels me to just aim for 1 mile and then go from there. I push myself to just start that 1 mile and know that at any time if my body tells me to stop, I will. But if my mind is telling me to stop before I start, I won't be so quick to listen. My mind can be my own worse enemy....telling me I am weak when I am strong, telling me I am not good enough when I am, telling me I can't when I can. I just have to tell it to shush for a moment and give it a try.

And that is why I choose to run with this silly cough right now. My lungs feel fine when I run. I don't cough once when I run. In all reality, I think the darn cough is triggered by post-nasal drip (yuck) and is annoying and keeping me up. But yesterday for 20 minutes I found blissful peace and felt great while I ran 2+ miles. And for that I am thankful.

But what I am more thankful for right now is giving a huge congratulations to the Pampered Runner Giveaway winner....being announced to day in memory of my Dad on his birthday. I really don't think the hurt of him not being physically in my life anymore will ever go away. But what better way to honor him on his birthday then to treat one lucky person to a special gift?

The winner was selected randomly through Rafflecopter and is.....

Congrats Suzanne! Email me your physical mailing address at lifeasarunningmom (gmail) and I will get your gift package out to you as soon as possible. For everyone else, if you have already entered the Pampered Runner giveaway you will be eligible for the final drawing on 2/29/12. If you haven't entered, there is still time to do so HERE.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Pampering an awesome lady who has many kind comments and an awesome blog title!
  • Courage
  • Time alone....I love my family but every mom needs some time to herself sometimes
  • Lifetime movies.....an indulgence I don't do very often
  • Kitty cat pillow cases


Tuesday's This and That

Aloha all!

First, Jenn's Adventures turned me onto this....Linky Followers. I am going to give it a try and see if you guys like it as a means to follow me versus all the other routes you are hearing about once Google Friend Connect isn't with us anymore. I am still determining how I best want to follow the blogs I love to read and am welcome to hear what platforms you are loving!

Second, I added a new page on my blog with some ways to follow and stay connected. This topic is going around and around so I'm not going to formally dedicate a whole post to a discussion we are all hearing. But it is there if you want it.....Connect with Me.

Now onto some running news.....in a roundabout way.

If you have ever helped host a large event or festival day, you know how draining it is. Physically and emotionally. And yes, it has taken its toll on me with a cold I thought I was over coming back. But in all reality, it was to be expected with the limited amount of sleep I was getting. And I am still stoked that I have been able to continue to run each day....even on THE DAY....Saturday.

I was up before 4:00 am to get my one mile run in for the day. After a shower and getting ready, I started making breakfast -- my part of the exchange for a friend being the designated driver. She drove, I made breakfast croissants with egg, mushroom, cheese, tomato, and a touch of sausage. We were going to need the energy to get through the day. I was out of the house by 5:00 am.

My day was so hectic that I only had a moment to see what the entertainment was doing...honestly, just long enough to take the picture. I had to spare a few moments for darling daughter to play as I conned dear hubby to flip burgers for hours at end since we were short on volunteers. I never really got to "play" at the awesome regatta as I had way too much to do. And amazingly enough, I was home by 10:00 pm. I was lucky.

And somehow I managed to pull myself out of bed on Sunday to run even though my body felt like I ran a marathon the day before.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Supportive people
  • The ability to apologize when I am wrong
  • Perseverance when others say I should stop
  • A wonderful Mommy-Daughter day yesterday
  • Coupons


I broke the rules....and am fine with it.

You know that above the neck rule? The one that says you can still run if your ailment is above the neck but if it is below, don't. Well, my cold that I had last week (which was all in my head....this could be grounds for a great joke) came back with a vengeance yesterday. It seems as soon as all the work-related stress went away post-event, I physically collapsed. I did run yesterday but as the day progressed, I got worse and worse. By mid-day I took a  mini-nap on the couch until darling daughter woke me and sent dear hubby to go get me meds and vitamin C.

I was coughing like crazy and by the end of the day, I was trying to not breath because it triggered coughing. I had Vicks all over my chest and throat and tried the old wive's tale of putting it on the soles of your feet and putting on socks. Somehow I managed to sleep with three pillows but woke up miserable...really miserable....the miserable where I just want to put on baggy sweat pants and curl up with cheesy movies. But I don't own sweat pants and darling daughter has no school today, so I ran a mile at a slow and steady pace, gonna shower, try to convince her a couple of kid Redbox movies is a good idea, and make her the center point of my day today.

And that coughing? I didn't cough once during my run and I felt good. However, as I type now, I am coughing. Darn cold.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Not having to go to work
  • My darling daughter's enthusiastic play with a shrinking balloon
  • Vicks rub
  • Colorful socks
  • Redbox even if it means seeing the same movie for the 100th time


What's in your water?

I was asked the other day if I ever tried nuun and yes, I have. Of course, I eagerly responded to the email from a fellow blogger but it got me thinking.....I really needed to find the time to do some of these product reviews tucked away in the back of my mind. So there is no time like the present to talk to you about nuun.

I was "introduced" to nuun last year when I was following bloggers participating in the Hood to Coast relays. All the ladies seemed to really like the product and I liked that they were tablets you could add to your drink versus lugging around multiple bottles. Although, living on an island I wasn't sure I would stumble upon this product but always kept my eyes out for it as I really needed an alternative to the diluted down Gatorade as my runs were increasing in distance and my doctor was not happy with my drink choice.

One day I was blessed when I saw it on the shelves of a local sports store. I grabbed some vials - Tri-Berry and Fruit Punch - and checked out. It seems this was new to the store and the cashier was eager for my product review. Hmmm....sorry, I haven't really tried it yet and yes, I am buying two vials since I have heard it is yummy and good. Each vial contains 12 tablets and one tablet is good for 16 oz of water. There is a breaking line in the center of each to easily split it into 8 oz servings and yes, I have even broken and half in half for smaller cups of water....just yesterday

To date I have tried Tri-Berry, Fruit Punch, Strawberry Lemonade, Grape, and Citrus Fruit. Grape is my least favorite but it is still drinkable. Keep in mind, I am not a huge grape drink lover though. I have trained and raced with nuun and for the most part, I have had no issues. I have even wrapped spare tablets and tucked in my pocket for enhancing water on a half marathon course. It works great as long as you don't drop the tablet. I did that during a training run where I was practicing my technique. 

For the one time nuun did not settle well it was during the Run for the Whales and I think it was my fault, not nuun's. You see, I got so annoyed I was misdirected on the course that I forgot to keep hydrating. By the time I remembered, I think I was on the verge of dehydration and nothing would have settled well. There is some fizziness when the tablet dissolves and I know to some that may be a concern. Like I said, I haven't had any real issues.

But what I like most about nuun is that it is portable and I always have a vial in my purse. I drink it even when I am not running. Yesterday I felt my water needed a little boost...or I did. I put in 1/4 of a tablet and it was just the refreshing lift I needed. I have also had many nights recently when at the end of the day my stomach is just restless and nauseous. I am really attributing that to stress with work but I am ending my day with a cup of nuun (1/2 tablet in just over 8 oz of water). It is a good end of day drink and I head off to bed afterwards for a good night's sleep.

Shop nuun
If the nuun fairy would arrive and leave me a vial of each flavor I would be a happy camper....although I am not so sure I would like the Banana and I wouldn't go for the Kona Cola at all. But that is just my personal opinion. And on that note, all of this is just my personal opinion. I have not been paid in any way, shape, or form by nuun to write this product review.

Do you want to try some? I just may have some for you. Participate in the Leap Year Virtual Run, enter your time as instructed, and one lucky "door prize" winner will get some nuun to try for themselves!

Today I am grateful for:
  • The 2 3/4 tablets of nuun left in the vial in my purse
  • My determination to run every day
  • Patience
  • My coffee break run at work yesterday....even though I had no socks
  • The week is almost over


For the Love of Maui Race Recap

This race was announced last year and I was so into running it with my darling daughter. Thing is, it was postponed due to permits, then postponed again to fall on Valentine's Day again....but in 2012. Of course, I still wanted to run it. And now that dear hubby is a running man, he wanted to run too. Okay dear, but you are pushing the stroller. wink wink

The course was beautiful and hilly. It was a quick double loop....or not so quick depending on your own personal opinion. We started off as a family but agreed that I could break free if I wanted. I wasn't sure if I would be able to. I was tired after a long day at work. Really tired. So tired I almost slept in the car to the race start. Those 5:00 pm races are always hard for me. And it was hot. But once we got the okay to go, I was ready to run. I feel I started strong and was pushing myself. I did leave dear hubby behind but he caught up. I think he had better maneuverability once the congestion cleared up and was back at my side for the second loop.

In the first loop I passed many runners. In the second loop, we pretty much held our position although going up one hill darling daughter kindly pointed out that the runners were moving away from us. I told her "I am doing the best I can". She later asked, "Mommy, where's your purse?" I told her to hush. She zonked out. I didn't mean that quiet....guess she is going to be up late. Later when I asked her why she was asking about my purse she stated it was because I wasn't carrying it and she didn't know if aliens (or some other odd creature....can't really remember which it was this time) or something took it. I thanked her for her concern but honestly, I never run with my purse on my shoulder. Unless you count that one time I was running through the airport with darling daughter on one hip, diaper bag and purse on the other shoulder, trying to catch our flight which was closing their doors right then.

I really did want a medal from this race but nope, not this time. Sorry darling daughter. I tried. My race time for the 5K was 25'28". ...just 23 seconds away from setting a new 5K PR. Please note, my PR was set in 2006 on a flat course and my last 5K race time was 26'32" on a flat course. I am a happy running mom. And honestly, the race divisions were tough....under 20, open division (20-39) - I'm at the end of this one, and masters division (40+).

Today I am grateful for:
  • Knowing when to not compare myself too much to my past running performance
  • A fun and different way to spend Valentine's Day
  • Being a winner at Canadian Runner in Exile - stop by and check out her blog if you have time
  • Friends who tell me I look cute when I am sweaty and stinky
  • A sense of humor


Happy Valentine's Day

What are you doing to show some love today? I get the privilege of going to a Valentine's luncheon at my darling daughter's school and then later, my family is going to run For the Love of Maui 5K. Okay, darling daughter will be in the jogging stroller but it should be fun!

I will blog more later but I wanted to send you some love today too and thank all of you for all of your supportive comments.

Have a beautiful, love-filled day!


My Life is a Marathon

I have never thought so much about a blog title. Perhaps, Oh My, It's Monday or Five More Days Until World Whale Day. But as I was reflecting on my lack of posting and what I wanted to post, I realized my life can be correlated to running a marathon right now.

I started out good and strong. I had a good plan. I was following it. All was well. Then a hiccup came along (more responsibility at my job). I was worried about how it would impact my performance but I had to take it in stride, go along, and just try to do the best I can do.

However, the past few miles (days) my pace has been slowing. On Friday I logged 1.41 miles running outside of my work (8'47" pace). Saturday I hit the gym and logged 2.04 miles (8'50" pace) and 10 minutes on the cycle. I was feeling run down in more ways than one as both my darling daughter and myself are battling a cold. She was up all Friday night coughing, which means I was up all Friday night. I ended up squeezing in a nap on Saturday while she crafted by my side.....but it was super brief. Yesterday I logged 1.25 miles (8'00" pace) and 10 minutes on the cycle. My head was pounding. I felt awful.

And today, at mile 21, I hit the wall. I was up during the night with darling daughter coughing, I was restless with worries of DNF (being sick on event day at work), I was debating a DNS for the Valentine's Run tomorrow, and I was searching for a good mantra to get me through it all.

This scenario isn't new to me. It happens every February as World Whale Day approaches. We all work so hard and personally, it drains me. Probably more so because I am compelled to still do all the full-time Mommy and Wife things I want to do. But just like crossing the marathon finish line is worth all the hard work, so is World Whale Day. And I know I will survive the final miles (days).....even if I do need to crawl.

And what about that mantra? I couldn't really find one but have tied in what I found into my daily gratitude.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Actually running some each day, no matter how little, since in previous years all running stopped
  • Perseverance since it is what will help me through the final miles (days)
  • A sense of humor
  • Cold tablets....since they bring me temporary relief
  • Friends and family who will listen to me whine and still love me at the end of the day


A Happy Birthday and A Winner - Pampered Runner

Sometimes the best thing you can do is look back. Things are crazier than ever at work. I am stressed. I am having nightmares. But in the middle of all this I keep reflecting back to 4 years ago and I am randomly sharing my reflections with co-workers and family.

It isn't quite 4 years ago to the minute yet. I think the official time is 12:09 pm (Hawaiian time) but today marks one of the most memorable and precious days in my life. And it marks one of the reasons I wanted to host the Pampered Runner giveaway. Hang with me....I will announce the winner soon or skip to the end if you just can't wait one second longer. But what is right there in the front of my mind is that today is my darling daughter's 4th birthday. She is so excited about it not only because of her party tonight but at school she gets to wear a crown and doesn't need to wear a tag. This means, she gets to play where ever she wants. Plus, she gets to pick something out of the treasure box! Life is so sweet! She is the most amazing little girl I know (and yes, I am biased) and I am so proud to be her mom and to watch her grow up....temper tantrums and all.

C-section recovery took forever....I thought I was never going to be able to do this.

Yep, she would laugh and smile in her sleep.

Awww....one of my favorite stories to tell....how I would wrap her for bedtime

She kinda slept through her first beach day and still isn't a huge fan

Not quite 2 and telling Mommy how to cook

Turning 3 and posing a bit for the camera

Turning 4 and still my best cheerleader

I could get all sappy and tell you the million, billion, gazillion reasons I love my darling daughter so much but if you are a mom, you know. And if you are not, it is hard to explain why you will catch your child's vomit in your hands and shirt just to make her feel better. Thank goodness that doesn't happen too often. And how can you explain how each and every day she does something new to amaze you like wiggling her ears last night?! I can't do that. She had a ball trying to teach me....just push your muscles out....no mommy, you are wiggling your eyebrows, no mommy, you are wiggling your mouth. We were cracking up!

So in honor of this wonderful child's birthday, I am going to give one lucky person a Pampered Runner package. Please remember, I am not being paid by anyone to do this or to share any of the products. I am doing it out of the goodness of my heart. And don't worry, if you are not the lucky winner today, you  have another chance coming up on February 22nd. Go ahead and enter HERE.

The winner was selected randomly through Rafflecopter....

Congratulations to Jamie, From Couch to Iron Woman. Go check her blog out and she is hosting a virtual run in March to celebrate her birthday! What a huge coincidence! I can't wait to follow her journeys as she is brave enough to try to tackle an Ironman, train with her husband, and take an ice bath! Jamie, please email at lifeasarunningmom (gmail) by February 17th with your physical mailing address or I just may need to pamper someone else....but I think you may need to add some of the lavender essential oil to your baths!

Today I am grateful for:
  • My darling daughter
  • My mom's patience with me
  • Hosting a giveaway because really, through giving I find wonders....like a blog I didn't know existed!
  • Being able to party tonight! with a bunch of little ones
  • Being brave enough to run in the dark and wise enough to do so safely


Finally Looking at January

Sometimes to look ahead in your training, you need to look behind. And sometimes you just need to remind yourself how far you have come.

Check out my running in January 2011.

Now take a look at my running in January 2012.

Of course, I see areas where I can improve as I would like less 1 mile days and more longer run days. But if I focused just on that, and if any of us focus too much on negating our efforts, I would overlook the fact that I ran everyday in 2012. My longest run in January 2012 was a half marathon, longer than my longest run in January 2011. Both years I was in training mode for the Run for the Whales half marathon in February. In 2012 my training was indeed better but I can't be too hard on myself. In December 2010 my left piriformis was torn somehow and I couldn't even walk for a few days. I even took a sick day and missed work to stay laying flat on the couch bed.

In case you are wondering, I logged 98 miles in January 2012. I am happy with that but must confess, I found out on the 31st that I only needed 2 more to get to 100. I wanted to do it....go back for more....but family life took over in terms of priorities and sometimes, that is just the case. And I won't complain.

I didn't have any formal races in January but I did join in on some virtual fun with the HBBC Resolution Run, Running Loving Living Run, and the Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K. They helped keep me motivated and made running a bit more fun. On that note, I also started organizing the Leap Year Virtual Run - 2.9 miles anywhere, anytime on 2/29/12. Are you running? And I launched the Pampered Runner giveaway with the first lucky winner to be drawn this Friday.

My current training goals are:
  • Preparing for a half marathon on April 1st. I am using the Smart Coach app on my phone for general guidance and am basing the paces off of my recent race time. However, to be honest, I haven't set a time goal yet. This was my worst half marathon race in 2011 so I need to focus on what really matters. Being the best me I can be. My training plan is ambitious and formally started right after the Run for the Whales on 2/5/12. However, due to a nagging quad from that race, I haven't gone in all out yet. But I will.
  • I am working on speed right now. I want to try to get faster. I want to incorporate weekly hill work with dear hubby and darling daughter's support. 
  • Flexibility. This is another top priority. I need to remember to stretch daily to keep the cranky piriformis at bay.
  • Strength training. I need to find a way to get it in. I was doing great when I wasn't running but am now having problems finding the time for that, the time to run, and the time to be a mom, wife, employee. Sound familiar? One would think I could do a little of something each day at the end of the day. And I recently heard that perhaps strengthening my lower abs would help some of the running nagging aches. Hmmm.....a few leg lifts each night?

Today I am grateful for:
  • Having the drive to get out of bed
  • Appreciation
  • Reminders to take care of myself
  • Having the ability to ask for help when I need it
  • Rain storms


Losing Time and Switching Plans

Where does time go? I feel there are not enough hours in the day to get one thing done. Granted, it is the busiest time at work, I am planning a birthday party, I am looking at taxes, and trying to have time to have fun while training. What do I expect? Time to stand still?

Now onto that training thing....yep, I arranged for a new half marathon training plan to start right after attempting to PR at a half marathon on the 4th. We all do that, right? Granted, the first two days were supposed to be rest days. I ran. Short runs but I ran to adhere to my 1+ 2012 goal. My quads are killing me though. They yelled when going downstairs at work every time yesterday. But as I pulled myself out of bed this morning I still was determined to do the 4 easy miles on my training plan. I could do that, right? No. Not right. Perhaps I could have forced myself to do so and I at times that is the best plan. But today, I listened to my body.

For the first few steps my right leg just wasn't into it. I had to give it a mental message to cooperate and to have a proper gait. As I continued running the aching subsided some but I still feel it in my quad...right there....like there is a bad knot not wanting to loosen up. If I didn't have a 5K race on my schedule for the 14th I may have charged through...may have....but today I opted to run less. I said to do a mile. I went 1.58 miles. I then followed up my run with about 20 minutes of stretching focused on the legs. By the end of the stretching I could tell I was loosening up some. Going downstairs didn't hurt as bad this morning at work....but it wasn't a walk in the park either.

Do I feel guilty about this change in plans? Nope. I know I will pull through, increase my mileage again, and tackle my training plan my way....with lots of adjustments along the way.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Time to stretch
  • My darling daughter's enthusiasm for her birthday party
  • My dear hubby's repeated comments that he is proud of me for breaking 2-hours
  • Water - fresh, clean, delicious water to drink and flush the toxins out
  • Solitude - yes, at times it is good to be alone in my own thoughts


Run for the Whales Half Marathon Race Recap

My race goal was to break 2 hours. My race concerns were Mother Nature and running through the lava fields.

Thursday I started to begin to think about my run. I usually start this earlier but had been wrapped up with work. That night darling daughter decorated a Mommy Go Go sign. I "decorated" my bib with who I was running in memory of - Sherry Arnold and my Dad.

On Friday after work I started getting all my stuff together. Two sprint bottles of Ultima, one larger bottle of nuun, and two packs of GU gel to have just in case.

I woke up at 4:00 am on Saturday morning and I thought luck was on my side. It looked like Mother Nature was going to give me a break. For breakfast I had a banana pancake and a small cup of coffee. I then started to get ready. As I was about to head out the door with the family Mother Nature said hello...but I already came to terms with the fact that I just needed to keep the faith and prayed any cramping would be minimal.

On our drive down I realized I forgot to grab my mix1. That unexpected pit stop through me of course. I contemplated going without the extra calories but opted to do something else. I grabbed a pack of my darling daughter's fruit chews and rinsed them down with a sprint bottle of Ultima. We got to the start with little time to spare. I got my timing chip in place, took a few bathroom breaks, and headed to the start with the family. I felt bad but as it approached 10 minutes until the start I had to leave my family and told them, "I need to go start wrapping my mind around this run." Dear hubby understood.

I moved into the pack of runners and focused on my goal, put my faith in God, and started listening to the man in charge...of starting the race that is. We moved as a group to the start and I let others know that yes, indeed, this race is gun time, not chip time. There is always confusion over that point.

After a one minute delay due to a car on the road, we were off. And I went out strong. I may have started fast but felt I was doing okay overall. I maintained my pace, which was faster than what I needed to achieve my goal. But I told myself to listen to my body, slow if needed, and knew I may need to once I hit the lava fields. That region still had me nervous.

Less than five miles into the race we hit the tricky area. I knew it was tricky and I knew the course map, but I still got confused when I did the second hairpin turn and ended up facing a wall of runners. I still really don't know where they came from but I felt I had to make my way through them and turn left. I did so but was called back. A second course marshal concurred that I went the wrong way and directed us along another pace. Thing is, I was right. They redirected us wrong. At the end of the run, I probably ended up losing 4 minutes and we made a loop before going back to where we were originally misdirected. Now I was frustrated and I wasn't the only runner in the detour pack that was convinced I just lost my PR and goal.

Shortly after getting back on course I saw my family on the roadside at our meeting point for the water bottle switch. Dear hubby told me later that I threw the bottle at him. I guess I could have. I was pissed and told him at that time we were an unhappy group of runners. A runner behind me verbally agreed. And I was annoyed. So annoyed my headphones and music was bugging me but I was having a hard time turning down the volume. I started to walk to take care of that and then fidgeted to get my ear plugs in place and started running again. But it wasn't the same.
Me --- so mad!

My inner drive to race was gone. I even contemplated calling dear hubby to get his car and come get me. Yes, I was determined to give up, go home, and never run again. Then I was annoyed that I was letting this setback impact me. I was mad that I was frustrated. I worked through this mental dilemma for a couple of miles and then hit the part of the course I was concerned about. The lava fields were approaching me. I knew my pace had slowed. I overheard a runner say she got detoured and was just running now. I told her I knew what she meant and that I was happy I wasn't alone in that thought process.

I was now physically hurting as I realized I wasn't drinking like I should have been. I tried. It made me sick. I kept trying. My stomach wasn't happy. Was it Mother Nature? Was it my annoyance? Was it something else? It really didn't matter because all that did matter was that I needed to find a way to keep putting one foot in front of the other and to stop thinking about giving up. Then I remembered why I was running….beyond my own personal goals.

I started repeating the mantra, God, Sherry, Dad, God, Sherry, Dad with each foot stroke. I returned to this on and off throughout the rest of the run whenever I was hurting.

One thing I didn't account for in the lava fields was the sun. It was hot. It was hilly. I couldn't see. And I forged ahead. God, Sherry, Dad.

I hit the turnaround before I realized it and many were literally stopping to drink. I didn't. I couldn't. I turned and started running back. God, Sherry, Dad.

After awhile my head was hurting, my back was aching, and I tried to sip water. I tried to trick myself by taking a little GU gel because I tend to drink better after that. Big fail. I forced myself to drink some because you need to with gel and dealt with the painful stomach. At some point the course director cruised by and cheered me on. I know she was feeling bad about the detour and wondered what she would think about me being one of the "lost runners".

Mommy, I'm hungry!!!
I tried to keep picking up the pace and had to ease up to only try again. When I knew I just had two miles to go I still tried to pick up the pace. I didn't know how close I was to two hours. My Nike+ system was kinda talking to me but I wasn't listening to much besides knowing my average pace was getting slower and slower throughout the run. With just over a mile to go a friend cruised by and cheered me on by name. That helped. I kept trying to increase my pace and don't know if I was successful. I haven't dared to analyze my splits yet. I turned the corner and soon the clock was in sight. It hasn't been two hours yet! I could do this! And amazingly enough I found a burst of energy and sprinted to the finish, passed my family, passed a co-worker, and collapsed on the rock wall happier than anything that I achieved my goal. I broke a 2-hour half marathon and I did it with Mother Nature, a detour, and my mind all working against me. I will never forget this race.

As the timing crew came by to retrieve their timing chip from me, a co-worker working the run started quizzing me about the detour. I answered all the questions and was happy they were indeed on top of things. The course director was even offering refunds to those who were misdirected but all the runners I talked to didn't care to have a refund. That wasn't what today was about. It was a great run for a good cause and hey, we all have a good story to tell now!

My official gun time was 1:57:53 with an average pace of 8'59". I placed 7 out of 27 in my division. 72 out of 195 runners overall. Who knows....maybe next year they will just need to call me up on stage....but next year, I enter a new division.

P.S. The race director made a bee-line to my office today as soon as she got in to personally apologize for the detour and it impacting my run. She also asked for my feedback on it and was glad I informed her how far off course some of the runners did venture. Ironically, it made me feel better.