Bye Bye 2013

Do you believe today is New Year's Eve?! Where on Earth did the past 365 days go????

There is so much to touch on in 2013 but first let's address my goals/resolutions for this year and see how I did! You can read that original post HERE. But in a nutshell, here is how I did.

Resolutions 2013:

Honolulu Marathon
  • Run Daily - CHECK! In fact yesterday marked my 2 year anniversary of my running streak and yes, I did my daily run today. Although right now I am still feeling gloomy about only running 1.09 miles as I opted to take a good chuck of time to do yoga for flexibility. I need it. I am tighter than tight and it is helping. It just doesn't leave me feeling as emotionally satisfied as a good run.
  • Be active at least 15 minutes a day - I really don't know. How is that for a report?! You see, I kinda forgot this was a goal and yes, on the vast majority of the days I did achieve it but I did have some just a mile days tossed into 2013. I am not 100% convinced I got the additional minutes of activity on all of them. Just being honest. But in all reality, I am not bummed. This was tied to my hope to achieve the next goal.
  • Run 2,013 miles in 2013 - Nope! But I am not complaining, I was feeling bad for a nanosecond when I opted to let go of this goal at the end of 2012. I saw where I was and where I needed to go to achieve it. I didn't want to up my miles that much between the Maui Marathon and Honolulu Marathon. I had a bigger goal and go figure, it wasn't a 2013 resolution. I wanted to break a 4:20 marathon and I did! And that makes me happy! And I did run 1,785 miles in 2013, up from 1,460 in 2012. Oh yes for continual improvement!
  • Be more aware of where my food is coming and aim to eat cleaner - Achieved! The freggie intake in my household has increased dramatically for all members and that makes me very happy! There is pretty close to no processed food in the house and all of our meals are prepared by my own two hands. No more frozen meals! Yippee! And go figure, I ended up going dairy free too! Life has some funny twists. And yes, there is still room for improvement here.

Highlights of 2013:

Mommy & Me Cohesions!
  • Running - Only listed first since this is a running blog. I ran four races and PR'd three times! Okay, one was my one and only 8K but that PR is worth mentioning because I ran my butt off at the local Beat the Heat Race in August. But let's step back a bit, I started the year PR'ing at the Valley to the Sea Half Marathon in March with coming off of a cranky IT band. Oh yes, and who can forget my new marathon PR of 4:10:18? Okay, I can't! Yes, I am still doing a happy dance. December 31, 2013 marks day 733 of my running streak and I am honored to be a registered streaker at the United States Running Streak Association. I wonder how proud my Mom is to hear I am a streaker. hehe
  • Family - My family is my core and darling daughter is in kindergarten! Woo-hoo! She is too smart for her own good and keeps me on my toes. But she is
    also my best supporter, my best cheerleader, and I am honored to hear she wants to run like Mommy one day. We even picked her up some "matching" Saucony Cohesions so she can keep a pair of running shoes under the treadmill like Mommy. She runs her third race on January 4th. She is "in training: but her training is a bit different than mine. She is so mellow with it. Dear hubby is running his heart out too and is about to tackle the Maui Oceanfront Marathon in January to redeem his Honolulu Marathon performance. Oh to have the problem that breaking a 4:00 marathon isn't good enough. And darling daughter and I are pulling him over to the glass is half full side one day at a time! But in some ways, he is far more optimistic and confident than I am. I miss my Dad tremendously but feel his presence deeply in my life. I will never stop missing him or shedding tears for him. I have come to terms with that. And my Mom, she is my champion as well and I teased she may not love hearing I am a streaker but in all reality, she gets my running and supports me 100%. Big hugs to them all this year! And to my sisters, aunts, uncles, etc, etc, etc.
    Love you Dad!
  • Faith - My beliefs are becoming more integral in my life and I love it! I am getting better of letting go of my worries and placing them in higher hands as He does an amazing job of providing for me and my family. I thank God each and every day for my running feet and know that it is a gift to be cherished each and every day. I take nothing for granted. A year ago I may not have had the confidence to state this to the world. Now I know it is fine because I have that much gratitude to Him and His works. It is right to thank Him publicly.
  • Work - Since this takes a huge chunk of my time I feel it is worth mentioning. Work keeps me busy but I love my job! It is rewarding to work for a non-profit committed to protecting our oceans. The challenges may exist from time to time but I see them as growth experiences. A part of me is bummed I won't be racing the Run for the Whales this year, for the second year in a row, but I know it is a honor to be Race Co-Director and I am really focused on the runner experience. It is nice to be able to give back to the running community as part of my regular job, which is not focused on running the vast majority of the year. Trust me, I love being able to arrange race elements and door prizes that I would love to see, do, or receive. It is really, really cool! And I really hope the runners that race with us on February 1st see and feel the differences. 

What are my goals for 2014? Well, you have to wait and see! This post is long enough already. But come on, you  must comment, tell me something AWESOME from your 2013!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for a pair of new jeans that fit! Ladies, please tell me finding a new pair of jeans is the same struggle for you?
Daily Affirmation: I am a rock star and the best Mom ever! Darling daughter told me so; therefore, it must be true!


Running Streak: My 2 year anniversary

In 2011 I set the goal to run every day in 2012. On December 30, 2011, I thought, why not start today? At the end of 2012 I was hooked on the positive changes in my life - primarily, I was healthier - so I said, why not run every day in 2013? Yes, I know 2013 isn't over yet and yes, I will run tomorrow, but today marks my anniversary. A day to celebrate. Another milestone passed. And I celebrated by sleeping in as I felt awful from head to toe last night. I went to bed with a hot water bottle in one arm (you know, the kind you are meant to cuddle up with) and darling daughter in my other arm telling me it will all be okay.

I woke up in the middle of the night to a no longer hot water bottle and climbed out of the bed, found some socks, rubbed Vicks on the bottom of my feet, put my socks on, and went back to bed (don't ask me why but this always makes me feel less achy all over). Dear hubby heard me and rubbed my feet some. Eventually I fell back to sleep.

When my alarm went off at 4:00 am I wanted to get up and go to the gym. I feared getting an earful if I did from a loving husband so I opted to sleep more and run after work. I knew I would run today. I knew it was an easy, low mileage day even if it was an anniversary. I ran two miles after work and followed it up with some nice yoga focused on flexibility. I feel 110% better.

I am grateful for my running streak and look forward to hitting more milestones. Do I see an end in sight? Absolutely not! Is it an obsession? Some may say so but in all reality, being "obsessed" with running daily, taking time to take care of myself physically and mentally is an "obsession" I wouldn't want to give up anytime soon. Is brushing my teeth everyday an obsession? What about if I brush them more than once? And yes, there are days I run more than once. Shocking and amazing! And this I direct to myself - years ago I would have doubted I could run everyday. I took the challenge wondering how far I could go I doubted I would last a year. I am glad I don't set limits on myself and am willing to keep pushing myself to see just what I am capable of.

Happy Running!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for those who support my running streak.
Daily Affirmation: I have wonderful things to offer to the world!


The Girl in the Corner

I read a comment the other day encouraging people to reach out and engage others in conversation. I see the merit in this and yes, it did motivate me to reach out a bit further and say hello to someone I didn't know, to introduce myself, and chat a bit. This happened after the Women Helping Women race I did last weekend and I just felt compelled to say HI to an amazing woman I see running all over town. It was nice to formally introduce myself but yet, there is a time when that wouldn't have happened.

It isn't always easy to reach out and say hello to someone. Okay, for some it may be a natural ingrained talent and/or personality trait but for some it isn't. They just may be that girl in the corner and today I am writing this, and drawing attention to this, since I was that girl in the corner.

It took many years and many steps of confidence building to get to where I am today and no, I won't say I am a social butterfly with a zillion of friends. I have a few dear friends close to my heart but amazingly enough, through techonology and blogging I can honestly say I have quite a few non-traditional friends. These are the ladies and gentlemen that I interact with on a regular basis sharing tips, advice, and encouragement. But still for some, that may be easiser said then done. Personally, I would love to up my game some. I would love to respond to each and every comment but I must be honest....I am finding it hard to find the time to do so. I need a better strategy. In a real life face-to-face conversation I would never leave someone hanging. I need to investigate what technological features I can adopt in my blogging to make it easier to comment directly to you. I have roundabout ways, I get it done....just not 100% of the time. I want more.

But back to that girl in the corner. I hear when I was little I was so talkative that I never stopped talking. As I got older, you know, those teenage years, the talking quieted and this is probably where I felt the bulk of my shyness. It was hard to reach out to others. It was scary. I was concerned about what others felt and didn't trust they would return my sense of friendship. Things never stay the same. Trust me, they don't. And this can be good.

As I entered college I did more public speaking for classes and started to feel more confident in me. If I knew my topic, I could talk on forever. I began to find my voice again. It is crazy that years later my public speaking trials in the classroom would transform into leading camp classes and teaching kids on field trips about whales. Go figure! I was now speaking to 100 people at a time and yes, at times I had to wing the lesson as things didn't go as planned. It is a bit different then reciting a planned talk in college. You really need to know you voice and topic.

Fast forward a few more years and I started a blog. I strive to post daily but in all reality, if my message that day is blurry due to life I won't post. I intend to write when my mind is open and feels confident in this is the story it wants to tell today. Sometimes the story evolves into something completely different than I originally dreamed as I write.

Like this post. It has been in my mind for days. To encourage you to not only step out of your comfort zone every now and then but perhaps to take it a bit further. Why not go to that girl in the corner and introduce yourself? Perhaps she just needs a little encouragement to get over a personal hurdle. Who knows what that one moment could blossom into in more ways than one. You may help her over a hurdle and that is it. Or you may meet another amazing friend who will continue to support you and encourage you throughout your life.

If you have never been a really shy person you may not understand how hard it is to overcome those sensations of fear. That's okay. Fortunately I feel my shyness is mild but it still exists. There are still those questions running through my mind like "what will people think now knowing that I was once a shy girl in the corner" or "am I odd in feeling a sincere friendship to my non-traditional friends"? But I continue to choose to not listen to those voices of doubt and speak my mind because I am certain somewhere, somehow, someone will benefit even if it is just me by setting an example of living a life I would be honored my daughter will follow one day.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for family.
Daily Affirmation: My opinions and feelings are worthy.


Merry Christmas!

Enjoy the snow if you have it!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for Santa!
Daily Affirmation: I can see Christmas in the green fields!


Women Helping Women Maui - Race Results

Aloha and happy Christmas Eve!

I got to confess, as much as I got blue yesterday with missing my Dad and my family on the mainland I am super excited this morning. How can't I be with a darling 5 year old at home waiting anxiously for my work day to end so we can make reindeer food! Now that is the life!

There are other good things in the mix as well and today I want to share the Women Helping Women 5K/10K that was hosted here on Maui to raise funds for those victims of domestic violence. For some reason this cause resonated with me this year deeply. When I saw the race posted and its cause I had to register. Not doing so wasn't an option. This I wanted to support and I intend to do so in future years but now that light is burning more brightly. The cause is great and the run was beyond amazing.

There were maybe 100 runners that showed up for the 5K and 10K and yes, the age range was broad with some kiddos there too. I can't wait to do my daughter's first 5K with her but baby steps. Next on our family racing plate is her mile run at the start of January. You can read about my family running for causes HERE. Anyhow, back to women helping women.

It is always wonderful to see those familiar faces at races and I think that is one reason I am still drawn to smaller races. We chat briefly and it feels like one big happy running family. At that continued on the race course as well. The 5K and 10K were both out and back along the same course with the same start time so you could see your fellow runners coming right back to you. I don't know if all 10K runners cherish passing the 5K turnaround and pondered that briefly as the race course I dreamed up for the Run for the Whales has the same scenario. And yes, the half marathoners get to pass the 5K and 10K turnarounds. But I am digressing once again. Women helping women. Stay focused Erica.

My goal was to run and have fun. I wasn't racing per se since it was just two weeks post Honolulu Marathon and in all reality, I still am feeling mighty proud of my new PR. I had nothing to prove. But I didn't like how heavy my legs were feeling during the start of my little 10K. Come on Erica, you just ran a marathon, this is a piece of cake! What are your legs whining about? My Nike GPS nicely chimed in that my first mile was completed in 8'19". Oh! That explains it! That is mighty fast for me. Easy does it, enjoy the run, have fun. It didn't take long for me to start seeing those speedy 5K runners coming back to me even with my second mile being in 8'02". Oh my! They are on their return and I haven't got to their turn yet! But no stress, I know how fast those leaders are and I am deeply impressed...and by the way, they are super nice too! You can see Matt's blog HERE. He's fast!

Close to the three mile mark my legs started feeling less heavy and more like my legs. My third mile was done is 8'05" and then it was time to start heading back. I had received some words of encouragement on the way to the turn and those mixed with smiles made me want to do the same on my way back. I did. It is nice to run hard, run fun, and spread some happy vibes. Try it someday at a race. You never know what you words of encouragement may do for someone else.

And it is on the return that my running mind changed a bit too. I saw a runner I know in front of me who has an amazing running history here on Maui. I decided to try to catch up to him. My fourth mile was my fastest at 7'46". Somewhere in my fifth mile, if I remember correctly, I passed him (my pace was 7'47"), and I set my eyes on the next guy in front of me. And trust me, I was determined if that guy I just passed started passing me again I would try to stick by his side. I knew if I did, I would be happy with my time. I was getting tired but not dying. I did my final mile in 7'54" and my official time was 49'39". I was the 5th women to finish the 10K. Cool! You can see the full race results HERE.

I am happy with how I ran but more happy that I supported a great cause. If you are on Maui next December why don't you join me?

Now let's get chatting! What causes do you support with your running? I would love to hear what is out there all around the world!

Happy Christmas Eve once again!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for children.
Daily Affirmation: I see the silver linings in life.


Running for a Cause on Maui

For me, one of the highlights of being a runner is racing. It is the icing on the cake, the celebration of my efforts, and a goal to strive for. Reaching a goal is awesome but sometimes racing is more than a simple goal. It isn't about the time. It is about doing good with something you love. I am sure there are a few competitive runners out there shaking their head at me but yes, tomorrow I am participating in a race but I am not racing per se. I know, shocking!

Tomorrow I am running for a cause and yes, I see that you can run for a cause and still race but in all reality, tomorrow I just want to have fun, toe the start line, and relish in the facts that 1) I can run and 2) my race entry fee is doing good. I am supporting a cause.

Today I want to highlight some smaller races on Maui that raise funds for great causes. We all know the big race fundraisers out there. I am sure you can start listing a few off right now and yes, those are awesome but perhaps it is the underdog in me that wants to highlight the smaller efforts in the world as their causes are just as worthy.

Race 1: Women Helping Women.

I must confess, I have seen this race listed on the Maui running calender for a couple of years now and never really gave it much thought. I envisioned women running with women at the aid stations or as course marshals. Plus it came on the calendar at a time when racing wasn't my focus in training. This year things were different. I saw the race was scheduled for December 21st, yep, tomorrow. I was coming off of post-marathon high and heading into post-marathon blues, I had volunteered at a race and saw everyone having fun, and I wanted to run.

I checked out their website and was delighted to see it was more than women helping women, it was women HELPING women. Funds raised in this race help support the organization's mission to "end domestic violence through advocacy, education and prevention; and to offer safety, support and empowerment to women and children, victims of domestic violence." Now this I want to support! I want to empower women and give them the resources and the safe haven to get out of a nasty situation. I will gladly pay the registration fees to support this....and I did. I will be running the 10K tomorrow. There is a 5K too. The course is an out and back from Kahului to Kanaha. And guess what? There is still time to join me and wear purple!

Race 2: Holoholo Fo Da Loko! Ko'ie'ie Fishpond Fun Run 2014!

This is the 6th year for this race to go off. I signed up a few years ago but ended up sick race day and not running. Last year darling daughter officially ran and I was her side kick. We are returning again this coming January 4th to attack that Keiki Mile again and she is amped to be running to help the fishponds.

Revitalizing fishponds is an ongoing effort in Hawai'i as they have great historial and cultural value. The funds raised from this race help support those efforts. I truly support any and all efforts to keep a culture alive and to protect and cherish historical remnants and I love that this effort isn't just a statue or building but a piece of nature. I am so proud of my daughter for running this again and cherish that she gets that she is helping the fishponds too. And yes, there is a 5K for those "non-keiki older" runners who want to go a bit further! The course is an out and back in Kihei starting and ending at the fishpond at Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

Race 3: Run for the Whales

This race has been in my life for over 6 years now. My first experience with it was helping to take reservations and getting packets ready. I then was fortunate enough to run the 5K and half marathon a couple of times before being converted back to staff helping make race day a success. The race is hosted by the non-profit Pacific Whale Foundation whose mission is to "protect our oceans through science and advocacy."

I must confess, since I am co-directing this race this year I am a bit biased and yes, as much as I want to be running, I won't. But rest assured the race will be supported by my family as dear hubby will be racing! There is a half marathon, 10K run, 5K run, and 2.5 mile walk so really, there is something for everyone. The best part is you can still support this great cause even if you aren't on Maui since there is a virtual run option. Gotta love that!

For those who are familiar with this race, the course is different this year. It is an out and back from Ma'alaea Harbor and there will be some awesome door prizes! Trust me, I want some of them myself! Really, I do. But don't worry, come race day I will let go of them and hand them over to some lucky winners! Do you want to be one of them?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I am able to make a difference.
Daily Affirmation: My choices benefit others.


Pardon my Rant

Dear hubby has commented that my blog is all sunshine and roses. And no, those were not his exact words. And yes, it may appear that way but part of it is because I don't find the use of throwing negative energy out into the world. But I also don't want to leave you with the impression that my life is only sunshine, rainbows, and cute little bunnies bouncing merrily along singing happy tunes. Now where can I get a picture of that?

Sometimes I just feel I have had enough and today is one of those days. I feel heaviness weighing down on me and no, nothing bad has happened. In fact, it is a lot of little things like stores not opening until I need to be at work. How on Earth am I to buy stocking stuffers with darling daughter at my side? Why didn't I do that online and be prepared like I was with so many other things? Oh the frustration.

I headed off to shower with all this on my mind only to realize I forget to bring a new bar of soap with me and was now on the mission to clean up with a sliver of soap. Why can't you get good suds out of that sliver? It is still bigger than an almond.

And guys, why can't you put the toilet seat down? I try not to dwell on this and feel I am pretty understanding since I know you have to lift it up. I am okay with you putting it down 50% of the time and me doing the other 50% but seriously, why can't you flush the urinal? That one I can't compromise on. And yes, our work restroom has a toilet and urinal and I am often flushing the urinal. Someone help me here and no guys, I don't mean to pick too much on you.

There are other annoyances that can bug me on a hectic day such as spills left on the counter or boiling overs left in the microwave. Where is it okay to make a mess and leave it behind for someone else to clean up after you? If the trash can is full, why not empty it? Why keep piling things on like it is a game of reverse Jenga? And is it so hard to return something you use back to where you got it from? Why do I find myself cleaning up after others both at work and at home? More importantly, should I turn a blind eye and just ignore these things?

The thing is, each one of these complaints is so tiny that in itself, it doesn't really matter. Yes, it would be nice to be able to find things right where they are supposed to be and not have to clean up after others day in and day out. I must confess, it would be really nice. But if these are the only issues in my life I think I got it pretty darn good.

Yes, my run this morning was a measly mile but I did get my mile in. Yes, I still need to get stocking stuffers and come up with a plan B but I will be able to stuff darling daughter's stocking. For those, I am grateful. And yes, I can get overwhelmed with all I need to do but everything on my to do list is stuff I do want to do. I have said no to things to keep my to do list manageable and desirable....well, desirable may be pushing it. I really don't dream of going by the car dealership and getting my plates put on but I must do it. But you get the point. Life has its up's and down's and hey, perhaps some virtual ranting here and there is in order. The weight on my shoulders is gone!

Happy Hump Day! It is Wednesday, isn't it?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for laughter.
Daily Affirmation: I find balance and happiness in my life.


I achieved my big goal....now what?

I had a big goal in the works for years. I achieved it. My goal was to break a 4:20 marathon. I set a new PR of 4:10:18 at the Honolulu Marathon. Being involved in the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge has helped keep my motivation up and keep the post race blues at bay...for a bit. I was eager to get my weekly points back up after seeing them decline, as they should, during taper. But it didn't keep a firm hold on my post-race happiness. I felt the blues sink in. It hit me hard last night.

I felt bummed and not as energized by my runs. My runs weren't draining me. I just had a yearning for more. More miles. More time. More planning. More anything. I wanted more.

I had been toying with the idea of doing a local 10K race on the 21st but last night that drive was lacking. Why bother? I didn't need to race per se. Yes, I had thought it would be fun. The cause was good - women helping women - a fundraiser for domestic violence. But still, the drive wasn't there. I was floundering even though I was doing good incorporating more core work and stretching into my routine....just as planned.

So today I turned over a new leaf. I dragged my butt out of bed at 4:00 am and went to the gym before work. I needed a good sweat, a good run, to find myself. My goal was to run longer or run faster. I didn't care which. I needed to run. The end result, I ran a bit longer and faster. Why not do both? And I found my happiness and drive again. A good sweat can make anything better. I am ready to face the day with a smile and confidence. And that 10K? I registered!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for local races.
Daily Affirmation: I am loving.


Banana Lilikoi Muffins - #dairyfree yumminess!

There is a story to this recipe. On Saturday darling daughter and I were volunteering at a local Christmas run. Dear hubby was going to run; therefore, we needed to bring something to the potluck. I remembered I had frozen lilikoi juice in the freezer, we had lots of bananas, so I announced, "How about banana lilikoi muffins?" The family agreed and I pulled my lilikoi juice out of the freezer. This was Thursday night. Come Friday afternoon it dawned on me, how on Earth am I going to make these muffins? I just announced I was going to make something and I had not a clue. I never made this before. I had no recipe. Oh my! I was about to make something new in "test kitchen" and give it to others to eat post-race? Does this sound sane?

After looking over a few banana bread recipes and muffin recipes I created my recipe. And rest assured, if it was a complete failure I wouldn't be sharing it with you today. And darling daughter has put in the request I make more for her to bring to a pot luck at her school this coming Friday. Good thing I have lilikoi juice left!

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup lilikoi juice (I pulse and strain to remove the seeds)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (you could use oil if you want and this may make the muffins lighter)
  • 3/4 cup banana (mashed)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix. Yep, I don't do the wet and dry thing. Feel free to go that way if you want!
  3. Divide into greased muffins cups or paper cups. 
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!
Yield: About 12 regular muffins, I got 18 smaller muffins but am hoping for 24 mini muffins.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for refunds and great customer service. Amazon rocks!
Daily Affirmation: I am worthy of love.


Christmas Gifts for your Runner

A fellow runner commented the other day that what she loves about running is that she only needs her shoes. She can grab her shoes and go! Yes, that is true to an extent but it is the element of running that does make it easy to fit into anyone's life. With that said, it is obvious that one great gift idea for the runner in your life is....

SHOES! My go-to for running shoes is kindrunner. I am a kindrunner ambassador but even if I wasn't, I would be telling you about this place. There is free three-way shipping and they have some cool things going on in the month of December. First, for every purchase made in December kindrunner is donating an additional $5 to Soles 4 Souls. Did I mention that when you buy a pair of shoes you can ship back an old pair at no cost to be donated to Soles 4 Souls? Your old shoes will became a very appreciated pair of new shoes for someoone in need! Second, kindrunner knows how to celebrate the holidays and select shoes will be up to 25% off in the month of December! If that isn't enough, third, if you aren't part of kindrunner yet let me know via this form. I will submit your information to kindrunner (on Mondays), they will email you back with purchasing information, you make your first purchase, and they will give you a FREE gift (up to $15 in value). But this is only good throughout December and you need to fill out the form. So why not buy your runner a new pair of shoes or why not yourself? Don't know what to buy? Try out the Custom Fit Process and those kindrunners will give you lots of good tips designed just for you!

SOCKS! Okay, you got your runner some shoes but trust me, I am pretty certain they wouldn't complain about a new pair of socks! Why not a nice comfy pair of good running socks and avoid all cotton if you are new to picking out socks. Please don't give your loved one blisters. I personally love the ones with built-in arch support (it is minimal but nice) and go for low cut. No show is a bit too low for me as the back of my shoes may rub against my ankle. Not fun.

FUEL! Do you have a distance or endurance runner on your gift list? Perhaps some nice gels would be a treat. I am a VegaSport fan but honestly, look and see what your runner loves and tuck a few gels in their stocking. If nothing else, any fitness enthusiastic would appreciate a protein or recovery drink. Once again, I go for VegaSport and dig their all-in-one nutritional shake as it provides some carbs, some protein, some vitamins, and some probiotics. The added plus - it is dairy free, gluten free, and soy free. Who won't love that?

TUNES! Does your runner run to music? Many do so why not give them the gift of music! This is truly easy as giving them an iTunes gift card. I know you may want to give more than a gift card but honestly, this is one gift I would truly appreciate. I don't often spend money on myself to buy music. I know it doesn't cost a lot to get a few songs but still, I resist. Getting a iTunes card is an easy way to allow myself to indulge in new songs!

FOAM ROLLER! Does your runner have achy muscles? Perhaps it is time to get rolling and ease those aches and pains in a way that hurts so good! There are a ton to select from so I am sure you can find one that is the perfect fit for your runner's needs. I am using a basic foam roller but those with the added bumps and grooves look mighty interesting!

I hope that gives you a few ideas for this year. If you need more, feel free to check out my list of 8 Affordable Gifts for Active People that I shared last year. Want something a bit craftier or need a gift for a non-runner? Check out this last minute {crafty} gift idea!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for warm sweaters.
Daily Affirmation: I am a beautiful person.


Honolulu Marathon: Race Day

It is so hard to sit still and type this because all I want to do is jump up and down and say, "I did it! I did it! I did it!" I am still super amped and excited and grateful and just so darn happy that I achieved my big goal to break a 4:20 marathon. That goal has been tucked in my mind since my very first marathon, although it bloomed bigger and bigger as time progressed. This year it became a terrible itch I had to scratch. This year after the Maui Marathon I got a coach since I knew I was going to, I had to, I wanted to, take you pick, break a 4:20 marathon in 2013. I wanted it that bad and I knew my training was aligned for it to be the right time. I knew it would happen when it should. I wanted it to happen now.

I had the confidence I knew I needed to succeed but I always had doubts, concerns, worries. To keep this post nice for all genders to read let's just say, Mother Nature tossed me a ball I didn't ever want to deal with on race day and now I had to. I was grumpy with that fact when I woke up race morning. I knew I put in the work to achieve my goal and I didn't want some normal fact of life to stand in my way. Minutes mattered. I didn't have minutes to waste. Or so I thought.

I packed my running skirt with supplies, I packed my vest with fuel, I ate my pre-race meal shortly after 3:00 am. Yes, I even hopped in the shower to rinse off. It helps me wake up and relax on race mornings to take a quick, warm shower. I dressed and dear hubby and I headed out the door to the start. It was a nice walk and a crowded walk. The people seemed to overwhelm dear hubby. To me they didn't matter much. I knew this race was crowded but I was determined to stay in my head and my race. After one final pit stop we made our way to my corral, said our goodbyes, and he moved forward to his. There wasn't long until race start and I liked that.

At 5:00 am the fireworks started and they were awesome. At times the boom, boom, boom could be felt deeply in my chest. I was teary eyed as ever at race starts. I had said my prayers of thanks for this day. I was savoring the journey so far and I put myself and my running into higher hands. I had my faith. I still believed this was my day for my dreams to come true even though I felt doubtful a mere two hours ago. My faith was back.

It took me about 7 minutes to get to the start mat and off I went. It was a weaving course the first mile to get around those who were walking or running much slower than my goal pace. I am sorry I don't know my splits as I had my GPS off (it won't last 26.2 miles) but I do know that my first mile was indeed my slowest at around 11 minutes or so. My pace might have been faster since I was going left, right, left, right, left, right...well, you get the picture.

In the second mile I was slowly getting into my personal zone but still had some weaving here and there. I moved over to the left side of the course knowing aid stations were on the right, I didn't need them with my vest, and this way I could avoid those crowds and a lot of the water and cups. I stayed on this side until shortly after mile 6 when I started to move to the right. I wanted to be far right when we ran up Diamond Head. This was the super crowded section last year and I wanted that yellow tape wiggle room to pass people if I chose to. I did. I passed people left and right. I high fived volunteers as they love to do this along this section. And I ran happy. Towards the end a volunteer commented that I was passing everyone. Well, yes, I was passing people left and right but not everyone. Some others were moving well with me. I followed in their wake at times for clear passage but the thought did run through my mind that "I eat hills for lunch!". I have trained on tougher hills. This was nothing serious. And yes, this course has a couple other minor uphill climbs here and there but for me, nothing too serious.

Mentally I was checking in on my pace here and there but not too often. I knew where I should be at each 5 mile mark and I knew I was ahead of the ball with my race plan. Therefore, I adjusted. I knew I was to be running 9'50" at the start and I feel I was faster than that so I didn't pick up the pace when I was supposed to either. I figured I was closer to that faster pace of 9'30" to 9'40" already so I told myself to maintain my pace.

I don't want to give the impression that this race was easy. It wasn't. I do realize my happiness with my results may be making things look really cool right now but there were tough elements. Boring elements. Long elements. I knew the course map. Dear hubby and I drove it the day before. I knew the boring segments and took the attitude that "it is just 4 miles, I can do anything for 4 miles." I stayed in the moment, in the segment, I was in. City Start. Christmas lights. Waikiki stretch. Zoo. Diamond Head. Highway. Hawaii Kai. Highway. Kahala. Diamond Head. Finish. I feel that made the length easier to digest and miles ticked by nicely.

I had my fueling plan and I was sticking to it. A gel or applesauce every four miles. I started with a gel at mile 4, applesauce at mile 8, gel at mile 12, gel at mile 16, applesauce at mile 20. I had one applesauce I didn't use. I also had my salt tabs, four of them, that I would take based on feel. I knew that head feeling I get when I need the added salt. I took 3 tablets somewhere around mile 7, mile 14, and mile 20. Don't quote me on those since I was taking based on feel. I had diluted sports drink in my vest.

Somewhere around mile 23 or mile 24 I felt some heaviness in my chest. It lasted a split second and my response was to ease up a bit on pace, take a deep breath, and relax. I knew I had this race. I never felt it again even when I picked up the pace again and I really did pick up the pace some more in the final stretch. The end was in sight. I was so happy. I knew I was slamming my goal and getting very close to an unbelievable 4:10. I was grinning ear to ear. I wasn't sure how close I was to 4:10 until I crossed the finish and got my official time. 4:10:18. Thank you God!

I saw a friend, we chatted a moment, and I headed to the showers to grab some water to toss on my face and run down my arms. Other runners were standing or sitting under them. I just took a splash and kept my eyes out for dear hubby. I grabbed a Gatorade and a water and downed the Gatorade immediately. My body always craves sugar right after a long run. A soda would have been Heavenly but no, I didn't have one. Don't get me wrong, I would have grabbed one if they had one. I checked my Honolulu Marathon app and knew dear hubby had finished not too long before me at 3:56. I was slowly moving my way through the runners only area to the exit. He was there and we slowly moved to get our finisher shirts and medals. We stopped by the food and grabbed mini bagels. I took a teeny bite and knew I wouldn't be able to eat it. He didn't like his either and grabbed a malasada. As much as I craved sugar just looking at that sugary donut made me sick to my stomach. I don't tolerate solid foods well after running. I drank water.

After a pit stop and another quick clean up we grabbed some more water and started the walk back to our hotel. That warm down walk I feel is a blessing and a great aid to recovery. I never sat down. Dear hubby did during my pit stop. I kept moving. I know that is best for me. During the walk I remembered I had one last applesauce. I ate it and finished my walk. That was my post-run fueling until we were back at the hotel room. Dear hubby went and grabbed me a coconut water while I showered. I remembered my lilikoi gel treat and savored that with my coconut water and chilled out in bed, warm and happy, until we went for lunch around 1:00pm. I devoured my fruit and turkey sandwich....the fruit was on the side.

It was a beautiful day and I am so thankful for every step of my journey. I feel by working so hard to achieve my goal that it makes victory so much sweeter. I thank God for the gift He gave me. I am thankful for my Dad and his never ending presence whenever I call out to him. I feel he gives me the words of wisdom just when I need them such as "I am here. Just relax. You got this. Keep this pace. No, I am not carrying you, you are just relaxed now." I don't know how to explain it but yes, he is with me running. And so are many of you. I think of you. I think of your comments. I think of your support. And I know I am blessed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this journey with me and for sharing your journeys with me. It is that sharing of information that makes each one of us stronger and more complete. Thank you for being you.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the many blessings in my life.
Daily Affirmation: I am blessed.


Honolulu Marathon Tracking!

Just two more sleeps! I am beyond excited! I had my final Skype with my coach yesterday and I am feeling confident and ready to run. I love that I have stuck to my plan, except for some weirdness this past week...perhaps taper fog brain, and I truly feel I am set and in place to achieve my big goals. The thing is, a marathon is a tough thing to judge and I am fully aware of that. I have plans and contingency plans and the rest I leave in higher hands.

With that said and done, race day is Sunday and the race starts at 5:00 am so if you are really bored on Sunday and looking for something to do, you can track some runners! The Honolulu Marathon has set up multiple ways for you to follow friends and family during the race - on your iPhone, android, or on their website. For my closer friends, I signed up for stats to be posted on my personal facebook page too...I am just not 100% confident that will indeed work. Perhaps someone will let me know later on!

My bib number is 1506.

When I do my number magic to bring it down to one digit, my lucky bib number is 3. Gotta love the trinity in that!

I could ramble on forever about the zillion things I will be doing over the next hours but suffice it to say, I will be busy but trying not to be too busy so I can keep my legs rested and ready to race. I will save you from hearing all the details!

Have a wonderful weekend and thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for all of your support during this journey. I know the journey is a big part of it all and I must say, this journey has been fabulous! Sunday is the icing on the cake and I am grateful for you! And yes, that will be my daily gratitude. And my affirmation? I have what it takes to achieve my big goals!



November in Review

I didn't do this last year. I looked back. Nope, no November review and in all reality, I almost let it slip by me today as my mind is wrapped around the Honolulu Marathon. Same thing last year but one bonus this year, it seems I am not battling a bad cough...fingers crossed. I do have a swollen lymph node that is a bit tender, my head does feel a bit cold-ish, but I am hoping it is all related to the overpowering plumeria soap smell in my office at work. It is all good....I will be fine. Positive thinking can carry you a long way!

So how did my November go?

Amazingly awesome! I ran 158 miles this year, in comparison in 156 in 2012. That nice. I also went as far to look at my monthly mileage from Janaury-November this year and compare it all to 2012. I like where I am sitting and feel totally prepared for race day. There are still nagging unknowns trying to make me doubtful but honestly, there will always be unknowns. I can only control what I can control.

That brings me to my November long runs.

I had a 16 mile run, a 18 mile run (with 3 miles on the TM and 15 miles on the road), and a 20 mile run beforing beginning to taper down with a 10 mile run. My paces were stellar and beyond what I need to do to achieve my goal of breaking a 4:20 marathon but I am not letting myself get overly confident as I know I have a trend of my race day performances being slower. Go figure!

In addition, I hopped on the bandwagon again and joined Amanda at Run to the Finish in the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge (HBBC) with the Clean Eating element. The HBBC part - I am doing swell but am trying to not feel too bad about my lack of points as taper progresses. I am confident I will start building them back up post-marathon. The clean eating part - I am doing good but feel I am behind the game on this. I am ensuring I get plenty of freggies and that makes my eats cleaner but in all reality, that is part of the HBBC part. I feel I need to re-focus my energies on the clean eating part and really determine where it is I want to go and how I plan to get there. I am just too wrapped up in taper and an amazing workload at work. But those excuses seem flimsy.

November was also busy with product reviews and I still have one more coming before that part of my blogging will probably taper off for a bit. I love the opportunities but I don't want to turn just into a product review blog. I have so many more stories to tell or random things to blog about, such as my ideas of what to do with  Thanksgiving Day leftovers or how happy I am that my daughter is learning to be a kindrunner. Okay, those last two posts launched in December but I was working on them in November.

How was your November?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my health.
Daily Affirmation: My mind is strong and confident!


Raising a #kindrunner & a FREE gift for you!

It has been awhile since I have talked about Kindrunner but my feelings towards this company remain solid and I am honored to be an ambassador. I am writing this post as an ambassador and to let you know about a really cool opportunity to be a kindrunner yourself and get rewarded with a FREE gift (valued up to $15) with your first purchase when you join kindrunner. Information to follow.

But first, let me tell you a story about raising my little kindrunner.

It has been over a month since this event occurred. Nothing like prompt blogging, right? But the moment is still firmly planted in my mind.

Darling daughter and I headed to the library after school with two things on our mission...okay, three things depending on how you count. We wanted to return her books, select new books, and drop off my old running shoes to be shipped back to Kindrunner/Soles for Souls. Darling daughter wanted to carry the box because who wouldn't want to carry a Kindrunner box? More importantly, it was much lighter than the bag of library books even though I had stuffed two old pairs of shoes in the box.

As we started our journey we bumped into the security lady at the library who had to stop us as she was curious about the box darling daughter was carrying. She asked my daughter what was in the box and my daughter immediately went into a full blown explanation about Kindrunner. How it is a company you can order running shoes from, which her Mom did, and then send back your old running shoes. They will give the old shoes to someone in need.

The security lady looked impressed and turned to me to verify this was all true. I confirmed all was indeed true, told her about the free three-way shipping, and explained a little bit more about how the shoes get into someone's hands who really need them. She had heard about Soles for Souls and was very interested in checking out Kindrunner some more. She also commented on how she loved the idea beyond the local thrift stores that sometimes take their donations and perhaps charge a little bit too much for them to those who truly need things. I never thought of it that way.

In return for our exchange of information and being kind to others by donating my old shoes, she took my heavy books from my bag and said she would drop them off for me so when we returned to the library we could just go pick out new books and I wouldn't need to carry a heavy load. Yes, we parked at the library with the intent to walk to the UPS shipping center, drop off the box, walk back to the library, do our book business, and head home. Why drive and park at more than one place when the two aren't that far about? Is that being kind to the environment?

And Kindrunner rewards you for being kind by giving your $10 in Kindness Cash Rewards for each pair of shoes you donate for a pair you purchased. You have one year to use your rewards before they expire but if you run anything like me, how hard is it to buy at least one new pair of running shoes each year? Shouldn't you be kind to yourself?

I am proud of my daughter and love that she is learning the lessons of being kind and completely understands Kindrunner. My hope is one day when she is doing her purchasing she too will make the most out of her dollar in terms of value and giving back to the community.

And now it is your turn. Do you want to join kindrunner? Do you want to get a FREE gift (valued up to $15) with your first purchase? It's easy....just fill out the form below and give me your name and email. I will forward your information onto Kindrunner (weekly on Mondays). Kindrunner will sign you up, send you a confirmation email, get your code for purchase, and be entered for the free gift. The only catch is you have to do this by the end of December.

What are you waiting for? And feel free to spread the word to family and friends....just direct them to this same form and I will do the same for them!

Have a wonderful day and be kind! If you have having problems seeing the embedded form, you can access it HERE too!


What to do with Thanksgiving leftovers - #dairyfree recipes!

Thanksgiving can be a time of feasting but often we are left with well, leftovers. And I don't know about you, as much as I do love the yummies on Thanksgiving day I get pretty bored eating the same meal day after day after day. Except for oatmeal, fruit, and a dallop of peanut butter for my almost daily breakfast. Why is that okay?

And yes, I know we can all make turkey sandwiches but in all reality, that isn't my cup of tea.

The other day I posted my recipe for Cranberry Sauce Waffles. Thank you for the wonderful feedback and comments. Today I want to share a couple more of my new creations I made this year. Don't worry, I know cooking a feast is time consuming...these recipes are not!

Turkey Quiche

Frozen Pie Crust (I have found that brand name crusts are often dairy free)
7 eggs
2 cups of spinach
1 cup chopped turkey

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
Toss the eggs and spinach into a food processer and whirl away! It beats the eggs and purees the spinach.
Place the turkey into the pie crust.
Top with the egg/spinach mixture.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, parsley to taste.
Bake 30-40 minutes or until set.

Servings: 4-6

Turkey Dinner Soup

3 cups chicken broth (I used my homemade broth)
1 cup roasted butternut squash with apples (or other similar roasted veggies, I am not sure how sweet potatoes made with marshmallows or other sweet additions would work) - mash them up!
1 3/4 cup Broussels sprouts cut into quarters (or other veggie leftovers)
2 cups shredded turkey

Place it all into a slow cooker, set your time, and enjoy your day!
yummier than it looks!

I served darling daughter's as the soup but put mine and dear hubby's over some warmed up leftover stuffing. It was delicious!

Servings: 4

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the gifts in my life.
Daily Affirmation: I am a loving mom.


Cranberry Sauce Waffles

This year I may have gone a bit crazy in my Thanksgiving preparations. Last year we didn't have much leftover besides the turkey. This year, I have leftovers of everything. Even before dinner last night darling daughter told me she was already turkey'd out but once she got her turkey and cranberry sauce, she cleaned her plate with a smile. Thing is, if I keep doing the same over and over my family may revolt...myself included.

I spent the early morning hours dreaming of what I could make for breakfast with leftovers. I had a few ideas but decided upon this....Cranberry Sauce Waffles....as I figured darling daughter might embrace them....if they turned out okay. And yes, she LOVED them! Better than any other waffle I have made. I loved the hint of nutmeg and they are indeed dairy free! Plus, they were so light and fluffy and we joked that I was becoming a waffle master. Dear hubby has yet to sit down and give any of our waffles a try. I don't take it personally...we freeze the leftovers wrapped in wax paper for easy breakfast treats on other days.

But let's delve in and start creating some yumminess!

1 egg
1 cup flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup almond milk (mine is vanilla flavored)
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup cranberry sauce (homemade - my recipe is below)

Put all into a mixing bowl. Mix well with a spoon. Put about 1/2 cup into your waffle iron (or whatever your iron holds) and brown to perfection!

Yields approximately 4 waffles. Feel free to double if you have a larger or hungrier family!

The Cranberry Sauce
4 cups cranberries
1 cup blueberries (frozen is okay)
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
Cinnamon to taste...sorry, I just sprinkle a lot
Nutmeg to taste...once again, I just sprinkle away but not as much
Cloves...just a touch

Put all into a large saucepan (I use my pasta pot), bring to a boil, and boil gently until cranberries start popping and the sauce is as thick as you like. Pour into a glass storage container. Cool at room temperature before moving to the refrigerator.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the 40% off everything sale today at Old Navy.
Daily Affirmation: I am setting a good example for darling daughter by donating food to those who are hungry.


Gratitude: 700 Days and Still Counting

I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving. As much as I was tempted to get online and write a blog post wishing you well, I was more drawn to time with my family, cherishing a holiday, and celebrating a milestone in my life. Yesterday marked day 700 of my running streak. How awesome is it that this milestone fell on Thanksgiving? I ran outside and truly felt thankful for each running step I have taken and will continue to take.

Running every day is what I do and even though sometimes it may drive dear hubby a bit crazy with my "obsession" it is a very real part of me. It is one of my secrets to be a happier, healthier mom and person. My other secret - daily gratitude. And yes, that may drive dear hubby equally crazy as I point out the blessings in our lives.

Running daily takes care of my body and soul. Daily gratitude takes care of my mind and soul. Both are so important to me and I am not saying I don't feel down, overwhelmed, or frustrated but with my two tools in my tool kit, I am better prepared to overcome those feelings and find the joy in life. It works for me. It makes me happy. And I strongly feel it sets a good example for darling daughter who graciously took this picture for me while telling me to smile bigger, no bigger, bigger Mommy! Is that big enough?

Yesterday I refused to not be happy and to not celebrate Thanksgiving. I was determined for the day to not be just another day and I had a bit of an uphill challenge with darling daughter being sick. Fortunately she is on the mend but yesterday she wasn't 100% and I wanted to continue building those wonderful Thanksgiving memories that I hold dear to my heart.

I alway cry hanging this for my Dad
Yesterday I missed my family and Dad tremendously. I would have done anything to be able to untangle Christmas lights or figure out what color the tip on the branches the artificial tree was so we could put it together right. Yes, I grew up with an artificial tree and as I got older, the colors got paler, but it was fun. It was a tradition. I loved it. In fact, I still love it.

And yes, our house got decorated with Christmas cheer and it brought huge smiles to darling daughter's face. She was completely into it and somehow convinced dear hubby that yes, we could decorate. And she got him to fluff our artificial tree some and even put an ornament or two on. Don't get me wrong, he isn't a Scrooge, it is just that it is traditionally the girls that do the decorating in our house.

In terms of feasting, we enjoyed a wonderful turkey dinner, which I aimed to make as healthy as possible. Besides the turkey we had butternut squash roasted with apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg, stuffing made with mushrooms, onion, sausage, potatoes, craisins, sunflower seeds, and homemade chicken broth (okay, that may have been a bit indulgent but I am proud of it), steamed brussels sprouts, homemade cranberry-blueberry sauce, and a cinn-ful apple cake (which dear hubby calls healthy and perhaps healthier than other desserts with all the apples inside but there is still some sugar in there).

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the warm sun.
Daily Affirmation: My heart is full of love and I have plenty to share.


It's Just a Hill, right?

12 more sleeps until the Honolulu Marathon and that means one major thing to me, it is time to wrap my head around my race plan. My coach gave me an awesome outline of paces to hit. I dream of making a cheat sheet to tuck away but in all reality, I will probably end up just sitting down and really digesting the plan and commiting it to memory.

One thing he did point out were those couple of little hills along the way.

Yep, those hills. I seem to forget about them on this course. Well, not really forget but I don't pay them much mind. They seem so doable in comparison to the Maui Marathon. Check out that profile.

Is one any better or any worse?

Yes, as my coach pointed out and reminded me, there are some steep climbs at the Honolulu Marathon. In all reality, I did have this tucked away in the back of my mind and it is the primary reason I chose to do my long runs upcountry on the hills versus down on more level ground at sea level. I wanted to get my body adjusted to the demands of running up and downhill. Here are the elevation profiles from my last two long runs.

I think I am okay. Yes, the profiles look very different and yes, the Honolulu Marathon hills look steep but I ran them last year. I don't remember death. In fact, the first one I was packed like sardines with other runners and didn't realize I was running up until I was almost to the top. I anticipate the same scenario with congestion slowing my pace and making the uphill climb somewhat aligned with my race plan and me so distracted on where my feet are going that I am not thinking up, up, up. And that final climb, I remember thinking last year that yes, this is the final climb and then it is downhill to the finish. The "end is in sight mentality" should come into place nicely here.

But I am not naive. Running a marathon is just as much mental as physical and there are a lot of elements that are out of my control. I cannot sweat the small stuff. I cannot control Mother Nature in terms of weather, vog, or what she gives me and when....although I can keep my fingers crossed. My plan has a bit of wiggle room with target paces so if Mother Nature does give me a present (darn Aunt Flo) I will just have to manage but once again, I am keeping my fingers crossed. It is just another "hill". I have had some training experience but in those cases, time wasn't as imperative. I typically run without pit stops....typically. I would like to keep it that way if at all possible and seriously gals, sorry guys, I would prefer to do this race without cramps, etc.

I have big goals. I want to achieve them. I have trained very hard and my training started way back in July when I started up'ing things with the Maui Marathon. My training includes the Maui Marathon and the choices I made that day when my dreams slipped away. I had the bigger picture in sight and in just 12 more sleeps I get to see how far my dreams will carry me. I am ready. I am strong. And most importantly, I am cautiously optimistic. I will break a 4:20 marathon.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my co-worker who starts a daily pot of coffee.
Daily Affirmation: I have what it takes to break a 4:20 marathon even with the hills!


FLEXR Sports Bottle: Product Review

The post is a sponsored post. I received product at no cost from FLEXR Sports to try and review. I am receiving no further compensation for this post. The opinions expressed are solely my own and I did not promise a positive review.

There are a ton of water bottles and hydration vests out on the market and every one is a bit different. When I was contacted to review the FLEXR Sports bottle I did confess that I am a hydration vest loving runner. I can't imagine my longer runs without one these days; however, there are those mid-length runs that don't necessarily require a vest and a bottle may be best. Plus, dear hubby is a bottle carrier and the insides of his bottles can get quite grungy. The idea of a liner that can be changed appealed to me.

The thing is, I am a conservation-focused mommy. Being green is of utmost importance to me. Yes, the liners are biodegradable but still, changing one for every run...is that green? I asked if a liner had to be changed each time and the company assured me, no, they don't. Okay, one plus there. And the more I think about it, wouldn't it be lovely to give dear hubby a clean inside bottle every now and then? This is sounding good to me after all!

I did my test run with the bottle and yes, I liked it. It was easy to drink from and I loved that the nozzle is a sip nozzle and not one you need to open and close to avoid drink splashing out on you. Not only is that annoying it is a waste of precious fuel. When I tested the bottle I felt a bit of sloshing or perhaps just a minimal amount of movement of water in the bottle. It didn't bug me but I figured why not have the main bottle carrier give the bottle a test?

Dear hubby gave it a whirl and said he liked the bottle. His only complaint was that it didn't carry as much sports drink as what he is used to carrying. If it did, he would probably be reaching for it for each and every run versus his old bottle. The thing is we tested the 16 oz bottle. Yes, that is less than 24 oz. The good news, FLEXR Sports has a 21 oz or 28 oz bottle too. All of those too big? No worries, FLEXR Sports has a little 8 oz bottle as well. The bottles range in price from $9.95 to $10.95.

We haven't changed the liner yet and yes, we are cleaning it out and letting it dry between uses. I love that we have the ability to change the liner and will do so soon. I just haven't determined how many uses I want out of one liner. Remember, conservation is important to me. In all reality, if I reach for it next I will change the liner to ensure there is no Gatorade residue aftertaste as I am a VegaSport kind of gal. Oh and those liners, you can buy replacement packs of 25 for $2.95 or $4.95 for the 28 oz bottle.

An added bonus: the bottle comes with a little plug that you can insert into it if you want to go sans liner.

One more added bonus: FLEXR Sports donates 5% of their sales to charities. Currently, they are supporting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, National Military Family Association, The Nature Conservancy, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Team in Training, and Global Down Syndrome Foundation. How cool is that?!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunity to try a new sports bottle.
Daily Affirmation: My heart is open to love.


Managing the 4 am Wake-Up Call

Gotta love big, bright moons!
Marathon training takes time and dedication. Working in those long runs and higher mileage weeks while holding down a full-time job and being a Mommy can make it even harder. And I haven't even mentioned squeezing in quality time with dear hubby, errands, or other hobbies in my life. This brings me to the point of my post today.

Waking up early.

That is a key secret to my success of getting my weekly miles in. In all reality, waking up early means I can run on an adjustable treadmill at the gym and nail my workouts better than I would on the set incline treadmill in my house. And yes, on the weekends I strive to do my long runs outside and yes, I wake up early for those too....but not as early.

The benefit is that after my work day is done and over I have more time in my afternoon. I feel a burden fall off my shoulders as I can be there 100% for darling daughter. We have more fun but she does support me when I do need to do a run after work. We still have fun but there is that added weight of one more thing Mommy needs to squeeze into her schedule.

So how do I manage to wake up at 4:00 am? It is hard. It will always be hard. But here are some of my tips for successful early morning wake-up calls.

Be Prepared

Don't give yourself more to do first thing in the morning. The night before I have everything set and ready to go. In fact, I do all my next day preparations before I even start dinner to ensure I get it all done. This includes making lunches for darling daughter and I as well as packing a breakfast in my bag. I also prep my recovery drink by putting the scoop of Vega Sport into my Shaker bottle. I add water after my run at the gym. Yum! Yum!  Plus my gym bag is packed with toiletries (always kept in there), my work clothes, and my running gear. Last thing I do, turn my alarm on. It is set at the same time each and every day 99.9% of the time. I am ready to go!

Have a Routine

My mind is in a fog when I drag myself out of bed so I don't want to think. On autopilot I grab my gym bag, head out of the bedroom, and to the kitchen. I pull out my running clothes, get dressed, and then return to the kitchen to start a cup of coffee. I finish putting my lunch together, which is an easy as putting the lunch bin into the bag with my ice blocks. Everything is kept in the exact same place so I could do this with my eyes closed. I toss a washcloth and my phone in my purse along with my Shaker bottle. Zip. Zip. Zip. The coffee is brewing. I put on my socks and shoes, pour the coffee from the mug to a travel mug, set the mug int the sink (thank you dear hubby for washing it for me every morning), and out the door I go.

Darling daughter did go through a spell when she was waking up before my first toe even touched the ground. I had to add in some time with getting her settled in front of the TV with a bowl of cereal. It took a few more minutes and I am glad that phase is over....I hope for good. She doesn't need to be up that early but it was nice to see her and get some morning love and kisses.

Too early for non-blurry pics!
Early to Bed, Early to Rise

The downside of early wake-up's is that I am tired earlier in the evening. And recently that tired feeling is hitting me even earlier. I blame the increase in weekly mileage. And unfortunately for dear hubby, I listen to my body. When it wants to crash, it is time for bed. Even if it is barely 7:30 pm. That was last night. As much as I wanted to be with him and watch the show I found on Netflix (woo hoo, Netflix streaming actually worked) I couldn't keep my eyes open. I went to bed. I slept well. The best I have in a couple of nights as I was going through a crazy dream spell. And in all reality, going to bed at 7:30 pm only gives me 8.5 hours of sleep. It isn't too crazy.

The Early Bird Catches the Worm

What is my worm? A good run in before work. It makes me feel good to start the day right. I wake up on the treadmill, literally. As I step on you can see me still rubbing sleep out of my eyes but in that run I can reflect on the day or ponder whatever it is that I want to ponder. As my heartbeat increases my body wakes. I get to work feeling good about myself and energized. I feel happy that when I get home I have my run done and know I won't be feeling grouchy because I need that run and time for me. I have taken care of myself right away and now I am better prepared to take care of others. And with how crazy work is right now, it does me some honest goodness to head into work feeling strong and capable!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I can make sun tea in November.
Daily Affirmation: I am in tune with my body.