I have nightmares. On occasion. They can be frightfully scary and just the other night, dear hubby was sweet enough to stop watching his movie and come to bed with me after I woke up screaming "help", to one extent or another, from a nightmare.

When the thought came into my mind to blog about this I thought I would do some proper research to share an insightful tale. Okay, many adults have nightmares so I am not alone. I didn't think I was. I was more interested in what research thought the cause may be and tips for more restful slumber. Okay, googling for medical/health information can be a dangerous road to follow. The article wanted to assign some bigger health reasons to the nightmare. I am not arguing that this isn't the case for some but in all reality, I just had a bad dream.

I attribute it to a greater amount of stress at work and more unknowns right now. I am a planner. I like to know my path in terms of x, y, and z. I know I am helping manage the course on race day, Saturday, but found out yesterday, I am helping to set it up too. Okay, no problem. But I didn't have that on my plan. I can adjust, don't get me wrong. But for a mind still wondering what exactly I am doing on Saturday and how I will be accomplishing it in terms of transportation, springing on an "oh yeah, you are doing this Friday and more details will be coming" is hard to manage. And I won't even go into the new tasks that were added to my list of to do's today. I strive to be the best I can be at all times and in my mind, knowledge and planning is the pathway to success.

But back to the nightmares. I will be fine but hope they cease so I can get some uneventful, peaceful slumber soon. And it is odd to have two tough nights in a row so I should be good tonight. And believe it or not, I never really remember the content of the nightmare. I have vague whispers of images but can't bring them into focus. I always remember my struggle of pulling myself out of the dream to being awake. Yes, I do realize I am stuck in a bad dream and fight my way awake....and sometimes it ends in my yelling out "help!".

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful the rain was gone this morning.
Daily Affirmation: I am right where I am supposed to be.


Don't Quit When the Going Gets Tough

Sometimes I feel my post topics may jump all over the place but in all reality they are all true to one central core - being a running mom. I may talk about running, I may talk about motherhood, I may even talk recipes and yes, they are linked to that central core.

Running is an essential part of my being and the lessons I learn through running are applied to all other aspects of my life. Take this one for example:

This popped into my mind at the start of my run on Saturday morning. And it has blossomed into the blog post you are about to read today. It includes running, it includes temper tantrums, and it includes strength.

Last September I ran my second marathon. Yes, I PR'd (and again in December) but it was my toughest marathon to date. At one point I really did want to walk off the course, scream at the world, or ball my eyes out. I was feeling beaten but yet, I continued. I stuck to my guns and I had faith in what I was doing and could do. It paid off.

I am a very lucky mom in the fact that my darling daughter has very few temper tantrums. My husband may disagree but it is true. She can be quite good natured, head strong but good natured. (And my mom says I was the very same way.) At home the trick of going to your room to scream, stomp it out works pretty well. But since she has so few, the very rare ones in public are so much harder for me to stifle. I can't send her to her room.

At the beginning I listened to all the advice I read and heard. If your child is having a fit in a store, leave the store. Forget your shopping and go. In my gut this didn't make sense. Aren't I feeding into the tantrum and giving in to it? And ummm....I will still need to go back to the store at a later date. I have left once or twice but really don't think it is the best course. So I changed my ways. Now, I stick to my guns. We are at the store because we need groceries...because I am not shopping for fun. If I leave, I pay the price of having to come back and that includes additional gas money. With gas being over $4 a gallon here, yes, that is a factor. Especially when I am 30 minutes or more driving time from home.

I don't quit!
So my new strategy. I will stand still until darling daughter settles down. She doesn't turn happy go lucky but realizes it will only take longer if she is giving me a hard time. And no, she won't get treats if I have to do behavior modification while shopping. So sorry people at the grocery store who saw my daughter throw a screaming fit when I wouldn't buy her a donut and pleaded for a third chance. Her argument of I will be good if you buy me the donut doesn't fly. Rewards come after. And sorry, I am not leaving because I am not driving back. I have the strength to do what is right and not give it to rewarding bad behavior just so I don't feel like I am being judged by you. I will not quit with the finish line so close in sight. I just need to pay.

In all reality, most people looked at me with understanding. I apologized to the cashier as she was hearing it in full force and she said, I understand. On the way out, the gentlemen who bagged my groceries patted my shoulder and said I am doing a good job. To me, that is like the person on the sidelines cheering you on saying great job at mile 20 when you have 6.2 miles to go. But to the mom with the seven year old giving me a dirty look - I say you live a charmed life if your daughter has never had a bad moment in public and you are very lucky. For most of us, we do have some tough runs mixed in with all the splendid ones.

I don't blame my daughter. She is testing her limits and learning from her mistakes. And I did push it a bit as it was getting close to lunch and I opted to not buy fast food but try to shop fast. Unfortunately, we ran out of snacks in my purse. When we got home, she went straight to her room without me asking knowing she needed a breather to calm down. She has a hard time doing that when she gets really upset. She isn't even five yet and I think she is doing great. We talked later about what we could do when she gets that upset at a store and she said, perhaps bring a doll so I can have that to hold onto. Makes sense to me.

Thing is, I think being a runner and having three marathons under my belt gave me the added boost in confidence to trust myself, trust my "training", trust my plan. I used my inner strength to stay focused on what was important and ensured my daughter did remain safe. I didn't let her screams discourage me and for that, I am thankful.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that my daughter has very, very few full blown tantrums.
Daily Affirmation: I am a good mom with a fantastic daughter.


Dear Treadmill,

Remember this sweet love note I sent you last night?

Well, umm....I missed our date.

I would say I am sorry, but I am not. I was ready to get out of bed. My alarm was silenced and I heard the coffee brewing. I wasn't even fearful of the chilly morning air. Don't laugh too hard, it is a bit chilly for me where I live in the wee hours of the morning. Yes, even in Hawai'i. The thing is, as I was ready to get out of bed my darling daughter started crying some in her sleep and I knew she was having another troubling dream.

She comes first and I wanted to comfort her. And I remembered she had a rough morning the day before so I decided it was better for her to have her Mommy make her breakfast. Her happiness was more important that my morning run.

Yes, when I run at the gym I log more miles. Yes, that makes me feel good. Yes, I love getting a good sweaty stress release session before tackling my workday but right now, it isn't necessary. I know I will run later. Darling daughter and I have established a good afternoon routine. With my current training goal of building base I am fine. I realize I am logging less miles as I run slower on my incline treadmill but I am still getting good time on my feet. And that counts.

I promise to not break too many running dates with you and plan on seeing you tomorrow, just not so dark and early. Until then, make sure others run happy and hard!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that my daughter wants to have cuddle time with me.
Daily Affirmation: I am able to balance my daily priorities.


Pushing the Limits

I can't believe it is January 24th already. I am fully emerged in the hardest time of the year for me and I still have a few more weeks to endure. Yes, endure. 

It is this time of year that things really pile on at work. My already busy job gets even busier while our small team strives, and always achieves, at pulling off some really big local events. Needless to say, it stresses me. In years past I would run in the first event so that turned coordination stress into performance stress but this year that isn't the case. But really, I am okay with it....now. It is just more coordination, or should I say, execution/responsibility, stress.

The result has always been lower mileage during this time. Running helps me deal with my stress but it seems when it really starts piling on, I start backing off. Perhaps because I start getting the tickling's of illness, or the scratchy throat to be more accurate. I opt to increase my sleep time and there goes my running time.

Here is what my running looks like so far:

As you can see, I am already above last January this year, by 7 miles. And I really want to increase from December and I know I can at least do 10 more miles this month. I am okay and in good position to keep building my base. But look again at that dip in February. That worries me. Yes, the first three weeks of February are very tough at work and my running suffers. I don't want it to suffer too badly this year.

Don't get me wrong. I love my job. Love, love, love! We accomplish great things. I work with awesome people. And I can honestly say, I think I laugh every day....at least once. If not, it is a really tough day and we are too focused to laugh. This post isn't about not liking a job. This post is about when life gets a bit too full.

So what can I do? I do what I need to. I must take care of myself so I can do the best running I can do. And if that means going to bed a bit early or sleeping in a bit extra, so be it. If that means delaying the morning run to the afternoon and not having the chance to run double, so be it. Because to run well I first need to be well. And that means, paying attention to the scratchy throat. With a focus on sleep and essential vitamins, I plan to stomp that scratch away and be back in prime running form in no time.

And for Push It Wednesday yesterday, if you follow me on facebook you already know I pushed the snooze button. Yep, I chose sleep. But I did run later in the day and I did push one mile on my 10% incline treadmill at home. It was tough but good. Not the pushing I tend to do on Wednesdays but for yesterday, it was all I could do. And nope, I couldn't push it and write a post as I opted to spend those minutes with my daughter making the most out of our time together.

And today, I will be running after work again but plan on a super easy dinner that allows me to increase the cuddle time with darling daughter because she needs/wants some extra Mommy-time right now.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I have a job I love.
Daily Affirmation: I am good enough.


2012 in Review

I have been slacking big time on my monthly reviews, which made it harder to wrap up the analysis for my year end review. Perhaps a goal for 2013 will be to not slack in all the data analysis I love to do.

First, let me explain why it took so long. I maintain lots of records for my running. I do keep the traditional, or not so traditional, paper logs. The log book varies over time and some have been tossed out but some are lurking in odd places. My current little log book is always in my purse are on the counter by my phone. It is just those older versions that end up in limbo. Perhaps I need a better filing system to keep them....or not.

If I relied solely on the paper logs I probably would have a good storage system in place but I am hooked on online logs since they help with the analysis. Daily Mile truly rocks as an online log and online community. I love the mutual support. If you aren't on Daily Mile I strongly recommend it. But whenever I try to really delve deep and analyze the data beyond what they provide I am not satisfied. I even tried again today to export the data because I have been slacking on online log #2. Yep, I have two. And this is why....see how this data sucks? What are those distances?

So I head on over to Running Ahead at the end of each month so input my runs and do the deeper analysis. Thing is, today I had to catch up starting with November 1st. That means, my last monthly report was for October 2012. Not so good.

And this is why I love Running Ahead for data analysis.

Nice, huh? I was able to export all my runs, delete all before 2012, sort by descending distance, take out all runs less than 13.1 miles and voila! I have my answer to how I did with my 2012 Resolution #1: Run 12 half marathons (or more). Done! I did 17. Woo-hoo! And I love how they were spread throughout all months.

2012 Resolution #2 was to run daily. Done! and continuing. I ran 1,460 miles in 2012 and as of December 31, 2012 my running streak miles were 1,468. I can't wait to see how those numbers change and build by the end of 2013.

2012 rocked and I am very happy with my running performance and how running daily seemed to balance me in all aspects of life. I was happier, healthier, and stronger. Yep, it is true. I look forward to carrying that into 2013 and beyond.

A non-running goal I finally achieved in 2012 was to quit drinking diet coke. I had been trying to kick this bad habit for years! or so it seems. I always tried just stopping and caved in. Family and friends sometimes enabled me to cave telling me a diet coke isn't the worst thing I can do to myself. Maybe so, maybe not, but I didn't want fake sugars in me. I wouldn't let my daughter drink it so why should I? Finally with the help of a Hint Water Challenge I weened myself and I am so happy I have. Yes, at times of intense stress I still crave the idea of a diet coke but I don't cave it. If anything, I grab a sparkling water or if I can, go for a run!

Daily Gratitude: I am so thankful I finally wrote this post!
Daily Affirmation: I know what is best for my body.


Motivational Monday

I should be writing my year end review or posting about how awesome dear hubby performed yesterday at the Maui Oceanfront Marathon. And I will get to those....eventually. But not today. Today I am in a bit of a procrastination mode so it seems to be the perfect time to promote MOTIVATION!

10 Ways I motivate myself:
  1. Honk a fun song at runners in a race. It is great to see their faces light up, their smiles, and their waves. It brought happy tears to my eyes just yesterday. Darling daughter even had to tell me I had to stop crying if I wanted to keep honking. 
  2. Register for a race. Yeah, I need to get on this one. I have race ideas, I am registered for a December race, but I am feeling a bit lost without an official race on my plate anytime sooner. Although I may race March 23rd.
  3. Get out in nature. The real world is AWESOME and darling daughter and I had a fantastic whale watching trip this weekend.
  4. Plant a vegetable and/or herb garden. Ours needs a little help right now but when it is doing awesome it motivates me to make meals a bit tastier or fresher! But we are working on growing an orange tree, lemon tree, and tangelo tree. Oh yeah, and that avocado tree from a seed. If nothing else, it gets us outside in the sunshine and fresh air!
  5. Do something nice for someone. I've been big on this one recently even if it means I am "pestering" my little sister with daily "How are you?" texts. And I just surprised dear hubby with a "I just called to say I love you" phone call. I also was sure to pack him some Muscle Milk and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for post race. 
  6. Run. Yep, for me running motivates me to run some more and gets my creative juices flowing. It makes me happy.
  7. Suck your family into your craziness. When I wanted to start yoga I involved darling daughter. It has become a game now and on two nights she motivated me to do yoga when I was slacking. And one night she even got dear hubby to do some!
  8. Make a game out of it. The mundane can be boring. The same old-same old can wear thing. Shake it up and make it different! This can be applied to all aspects of life.
  9. Just start typing. I can have tons of posts swimming in my head and don't know where to start, or which to start, sometimes. The cure....start typing and see where it goes. I don't think I have ever hit the delete button at the end but you could.
  10. Sleep. Yep, sleep. Sometimes you just need to get some extra sleep so you can wake up refreshed and motivated.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful dear hubby had a good race yesterday.
Daily Affirmation: I am able to be the change I want to see.


Being Bold

I don't know about you but I have dreams. Tons of dreams about what I can and want to do with my life.

The other day darling daughter was telling me the things she wants to be when she grows up. She has a whole assortment of ideas and then turned to ask me if I thought of what I wanted to be when I was little. Of course! And it is an ongoing thing. Yes, I am "grown up" but I still dream of other things to do with my life. I don't consider it being restless as I love my job and how flexible it is with other priorities in my life.

If you check out my FitFluential Fitness Bucketlist on pinterest who can clearly see some of my hopes and dreams. Some will come true. Some may not. But that is okay. I would rather dream of great things, try to achieve them, and "fail" then to never dream and try.

One thing listed on my bucketlist is to be a personal trainer but in all reality, I would want to train runners. Running makes me happy. Very happy. I love making training plans for myself, I love tracking stats, I love the feel of running, and I love being a sweaty mess at the end. It is cleansing for my body and soul.

Just the other day I got an announcement. There is an opportunity to take the RRCA running coach certification course here on my island! Exciting news to say the least as I have been following their course postings probably for a year. They have tons in Texas and California by the way. Just saying.

But then I refreshed my mind with the cost and $300 seemed steep with an already tight budget. Or more accurately, it seemed like a lot for me to spend on me. I am not too good at that. Ironically that night dear hubby mentioned the course and that I should take it. (Yep, we are both on the local running club mailing list). I was kind of shocked he mentioned it and touched that he knew my inner dream. I know I should but I don't really tell him all my dreams. Perhaps I should. Maybe I will start. But I am getting off topic.

I pondered it some more, did some more research, added in registration fee and cost of CPR and First Aid and was feeling more hesitant. My co-worker was saying go for it! I was thinking, yeah, so I spend this money on myself and what if I don't make something out of this dream? What if *gasp* I fail to pass the test at the end. I got to get 80 out of 100 questions right. Confession: I am a pretty good student who has always been afraid of failure but always seems to score well. 

Drawn by darling daughter
I texted dear hubby my concerns. I contacted the gentlemen who announced the course and found out, yes, this is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity here on island. I was beginning to sway the other way. Then I got this text from dear hubby....Please sign up for this. That was the best text ever. It had the "please" word that melted my heart and how can I say no to my husband when he asked so kindly? How can I say no to a dream?

Did I do it? Yes, I signed up. How do I feel? Scared but excited. I want to pass this but passing it opens up bigger dreams. Bigger dreams I already hold in my heart. Dreams of running being a larger part of my life.

Phew.....I said it to the world. Now wish me luck, the course is in March so I have plenty of time to fret.

What are your dreams? How will you be bold?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunities that present themselves in my life.
Daily Affirmation: I have a kind heart full of compassion.


Push It Wednesday

I stayed up too late last night and the night didn't go the way I had hoped. It wasn't bad per se but it was a night where I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and couldn't really find a reprieve. A night when I could have used a hug but instead was hearing that others were stressed and needed to be left alone. A night when not having a race on the calendar for myself this year, besides the one is December, is irking me and I really want my turn to race.

Dear hubby races next Sunday. He is running a local marathon and I am stoked for him. This is "his" race and he hopes to break 4 hours. He will. No doubt in my mind. He has never missed a running goal. I was planning on running a half marathon in February but have been "called" to work instead. As much as this bums me out to not have that race on my calendar I do think it will be a fun growing experience to see first hand a bit more of the behind-the-scenes of a race. When I confessed to dear hubby I was bummed he told me to just say I can't work and run it. Nope, that is not going to work and I don't want to do that. I do love to help when asked if I can and it is my job. And perhaps dear hubby will "see the light" come Monday and agree to watch darling daughter so I can race a half in March. I just need to find the $70 to enter. And yes, I could find a babysitter so both of us can run, which is his hold-up, but $140 is too steep. And don't get me wrong, I totally understand his desire to run. I get it. I do. It is just the Libra in me that says, hey, it is my turn. Let me run.

But what bugs me more than the race calendar is that a small thing, like running races, is causing so much tension discussion when my younger sister has bigger fish to fry. She is dealing with a lot right now and this stuff REALLY matters. It is weighing heavily on me while I keep her and her family in my thoughts and prayers.

Why am I telling you all this? Because it is all this that lead me to waking up this morning grouchy and in a funk. And I believe in honesty and don't just want to tell you the rosy pictures.

I got up when I should for Push It Wednesday but I honestly felt the most I could push it would be to just run. I was in one of those moments when I just want to curl up in a ball and forget it all. And as I was ready to leave I heard darling daughter cry. After cuddling her a bit, telling her it was way too early for me to make her breakfast, and surrounding her with Mommy love in the form of her mommy blanket, one of my shirts, and my fuzzy robe I headed out of the house with a heavy heart. It can be so hard to leave and as much as I wanted to say, hey, come lay on the couch while Mommy runs here I knew if I did, I wouldn't run. And I needed to run.

I did need to run. Not because it was Push It Wednesday but because I needed to clear my head and shake off some of the heaviness. My goal was plain and simple, run. I knew I had a tempo run slated for today but that didn't matter. Pushing it today was just running when my mind was full.

When I got to the gym I just sat a moment in my car and wanted to cry but I pulled it together and went inside. I got on the treadmill at the gym 20 minutes later than I had hoped and that was okay. I started running and felt tears welling and pushed them aside one more time and just ran. After 0.5 miles I was feeling a bit better and up'd my pace to my tempo pace. New goal. Run 3 miles at tempo. It took another 0.5 miles for me to feel in sync with my tempo pace. And I was getting happier, lighter, and able to work through my emotions.

The end result of today's run was 4 miles at tempo with a total of 5.05 miles including warm-up and cool-down. Although my original plan for today was to run 5-6 miles at tempo I can't complain about what I did achieve today. And it is a good way to start the day and relieve stress!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my morning chats with darling daughter on her way to school.
Daily Affirmation: I know what my mind needs to relax.


Being the Klutz

It's Monday morning. Do any of us really want it to be Monday? Didn't think so. Let's go back in time a bit.

The Wine Glass
Months ago I was at a friend's house. In fact, it may have been October for the surprise birthday party for me but the date really doesn't matter. I was holding darling daughter to get her a cup for some water. And being the graceful person I am, my hand brushed against an empty wine glass on the counter. Oopsie! Have you ever seen something in slow motion? It kinda rocks! I promise you, it felt like I had a whole minute to try to catch that falling wine glass three times before I shrugged and watched it hit the ground. Don't worry. No one was hurt. I put darling daughter safely on the chair and helped clean up my mess.

The Phone
Now fast forward to last Saturday. Life just flies by, doesn't it? I was running happily along at the gym on the treadmill. Really, I was. The run was love at first step but we can get back to that in a minute. I am sure anyone who has ran at the gym has seen someone drop something while on the treadmill or perhaps you have done it yourself. I even read a story about a lady who fell off the treadmill and then her friend fell off the treadmill. Things happen. And I have to confess, Saturday was my turn to drop my hand a bit too much while I daydreamed during my run, it snagged my earphone cord, and yep, slow motion. I really did feel I had the time to put my hand under that bouncing phone and catch it before it catapulted off the treadmill but alas, my hand went a bit too far to the left. The phone fell, dangled a moment, broke free from the earphone cord, crashed down, and rolled to the ground. What did I do? Kinda just watched it at that point, stopped the treadmill, grabbed my phone, plugged in the cord, and kept on running.

The Moral of the Story
If the only thing that is hurt is your pride, keep on running.

I was pondering this moral and the number of times I have seen someone drop something and then stop running. Like every time. In the story I read the ladies left and didn't even stop the treadmill. Why? Does anyone think less of you for being a klutz? No. And that ignited my desire to tell my tale and encourage everyone to get back on that treadmill and keep on running!

The Phone Take 2
You would think that would be the end of the tale but in less than three minutes it happened again. And no, it wasn't me this time. It was the lady right next to me. She got the opportunity to drop her phone, get off the treadmill, pick it up, and guess what? She got back on too! I would love to say I sent the fine example that you can be a klutz and keep running without harm. Perhaps I did. Perhaps I didn't. But hey, it does sound nice if I did, doesn't it?

The Run
I ended up running my happiest and longest run since the Honolulu Marathon, 9.11 miles. It felt great, I felt great, and I am eager to keep building up miles! If only I could get my bootie out of bed early enough each day to accomplish my dreams!

Mommy and Me Lesson
I am a firm believer that running makes me a better mom. I love setting the example of a healthy, active life for darling daughter and aim to make choices that make her life healthier and more active as well. Post run we were in the locker room and she dropped her cereal. She was devastated. Crying devastated. I calmed her down, helped her pick it up, and then she dropped the few remaining pieces that were left in the container. Devastation part 2. After we cleaned it all up and she opted for a granola bar I told her the phone story. That brought a smile to her face and we were good to go for the rest of the day!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the FREE gifts in my life recently: a cookbook, a mammogram, a flu shot for me, a flu shot for darling daughter, and FREE child care at the gym for the weekend! Woo-hoo! Life is grand!
Daily Affirmation: I make every act an act of love, freedom, mastery, and hope.


Mommy & Me Laptop Lunches

Last year I splurged and purchased the bento lunch boxes from Laptop Lunches for darling daughter and myself. In all honesty, I think I fell in love with this product before she was even born but wanted to wait until she was old enough to have some accountability for her lunchbox and the pieces inside. My mom was shocked when I confessed the overall price, but it was worth it. Perhaps I am a bit weird, but it makes making lunches fun! And I feel I am more aware of portion sizes when making my lunch for work, which also contains food for my second breakfast and sometimes an additional snack if it will be a long day for me.

Here is what darling daughter and I are eating today!

I often pack our lunches similar since it makes the process easier for me. Plus I am a huge advocate of engaging children to eat "grown up" food and not just the foods that appeal to kids. And darling daughter is always involved in the process either indirectly by voting on food choices or directly by packing food or writing a lunch note for me.

Here's the note I got yesterday. And yes, I am still grinning from ear-to-ear and did show off my special lunch note.

But what are we eating today?

My goal is well-rounded meals and do teach darling daughter about what each food has to offer. And it works. At dinner if I say she needs four more bites of protein, she knows what the protein is and what the protein does for her body. Gotta love it!

Now onto today's lunch:

  • Protein: Turkey rolls (today they contain flax seed, cheese, and spinach)
  • Freggies: The spinach in the turkey roll plus peaches. Usually we are more veggie dense but tomorrow is shopping day and my veggie drawer is essentially empty at the moment. Therefore, I increased the amount of fruit. I prefer frozen berries or fresh fruit but hey, sometimes a mom needs to do what a mom has to do and this is probably the only way we eat peaches.
  • Dairy: The cheese in the turkey rolls. Plus darling daughter has some vanilla yogurt (no artificial sweeteners inside) as a "treat". Her school is very good at ensuring kids eat their main meals before the "snacks/treats" but in all reality, I pack her lunches so no matter what she eats, I don't feel she is missing much and isn't loading up on "junk".
  • Crunchy: This mainly fills my love of some crunch in my day. Today we have some pretzel crisps, yesterday a few triscuits to go with our tuna salad, and sometimes baby carrots serve the trick.
  • Drink: Water. I have access at work and I fill a reusable bottle for darling daughter to take to school. Very, very seldom she may get a juice box, such as Fruitables by Apple & Eve.
  • Mom Add-on's: Since I eat my second breakfast at work I packed some oatmeal, a cutie, and a lilikoi (passionfruit). I will heat up some water at work, make my oatmeal, and top it with fruit and chase it all down with more water! Somedays I opt to do cottage cheese inside of oatmeal and very rarely I do yogurt.

What is your favorite lunch time meal? If you are a parent, how do you pack your kids' lunches?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for very comfortable mattress pads.
Daily Affirmation: I am happy to be alive.


Push It Wednesday!

Another week has gone by and that just means one thing, it is time to push it!

I must confess, I haven't been stellar at getting up as early as I want to the past two days. Cuddling with darling daughter just feels so much more pleasant but yet, I know I would love to get some good running miles in before work. Last night when darling daughter asked me if I could make her breakfast in the morning I had to let her know, nope, Mommy wants to get up early and run. That is one element of Push It Wednesday, to get up and get it done. No excuses.

So when the alarm went off this morning I hit the snooze button. What? You expected me to say I leapt out of bed with ease? Nope, but just one snooze and then I pulled myself out of bed after hearing the trusty coffee maker calling my name. Yep, I am back to programming it to start brewing in the mornings for two reasons. First, it saves me the time of going through the steps in the wee hours. Minutes count you know. And second, the sound and potentially smell of coffee does help me get up.

Since I did a tempo run last week my goal for this week's Push It Wednesday was Yasso's. You can read more about Yasso's HERE but essentially, the idea is to build up to 10 of them and the amount of time you run the 800 meters in can predict your marathon time. Do I buy into it? Not quite yet but hey, I haven't built up to 10 yet and why stop trying? It is a good workout. Since the treadmill tells you miles, not meters, I do 0.5 miles for each repetition and yes, technically 800 meters is 0.497 miles but are you really going to get on my case for 3/1000th of a mile? And I am running each Yasso in 4 minutes....so hey, perhaps that 4-hour marathon just may happen. Or if I pick up the pace a bit, perhaps I will break 4 hours!

My plans:
My B plan was to run 4 Yasso's. I did that on 12/26/12. No, I am not going full force to get to 10 right now. I am a huge believer in slowly working up my pace, intensity, and duration of runs. My A plan was to run 5 Yasso's. Yep, just add one more on. My A+ plan was to run 6 Yasso's.

How did it go?
If I told you easy breezy it really wouldn't align with Push It Wednesday, would it? Since I was short on time, darn snooze button, I did a 0.5 mile warm-up and started the Yasso's. The first one was tough. It always is. The next one, easier. I focused on my form, not tightening up my shoulders, keeping my hands unclenched, and running light. The time went by. Then each Yasso began to feel a bit harder. My breathing was picking up earlier in each segment. When I hit the last Yasso it was tough and I really focused on form and my mantras and some other self talk. It kinda went like this:

Push It
You can do this
Halfway there
Strength (my 2013 power word)
I am dying
Strength (still hearing a bit of death there)
1 more minute
Strength (yep, still some death in there)
If I hear one more negative you will have to do another Yasso!
30 seconds
I got this! 

Ironically, at the I got this! point I felt pretty darn good and like I could tackle some more Yasso's if I had the time. You see, the final Yasso is always tough but I don't know how much of it is physical versus mental. The final stretch can always feel tough.

How did you push it today?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that my daughter still loves to cuddle with me.
Daily Affirmation: I do have inner strength.


Aloha Monday!

Strength 26.2 Brag Bar Charm
After being off of work for nine days it was kinda hard to get back in the working frame of mind. Not only that, I had to get back into the lunch making frame of mind as darling daughter is back to school today after three weeks off.

And I am going to have to readjust. I had two weeks of not having to get up as early as I could work a bit longer if I made it to the gym later. Or I could go run solo after work as dear hubby was taking care of darling daughter. Then I had my vacation week where darling daughter could sleep in until 6:00 am and still get to the gym and go through our day as usual...on most days that is. What a wonderful life!

It is a good thing I really do love my away-from-home job and my co-workers or this getting back to reality would really be bringing me down. But I gotta say, the vision of being a stay at home mom pureeing foods, making healthy meals and muffins, running, playing, crocheting, and just being silly sounds quite heavenly. And yes, I realize stay at home moms work their butts off too with doing laundry, shopping, cleaning, cooking, gardening, insulating water heater pipes, etc. I did that too and yep, it was fun! But I guess it was so much fun since I felt I had 8 extra hours each day!

But back to reality and the 4:00 am, or earlier, wake-up calls. How did I do today? Flop. BIG FLOP. I just slept in a bit longer and skipped the pre-work run. It doesn't help that the gym opens later on Mondays so I know I have to be there at 5:00 am, opening time, and just have 30 minutes of running time before work. It tends to make me lazier at the start of a new week. But I would like to start the week strong.

So today when I finished showering and was dressed ready to go to work I took a slight detour. I went back into my room and got my new STRENGTH necklace (from Lift Your Sole), my power word for 2013, and put it on. I am strong. Sleeping in doesn't make me weak. In fact, it is going to take strength to run after picking up darling daughter from school and going to the grocery store. And I have the inner strength to do just that!

Now I just need to tap into my inner strength and NOT hit the snooze button tomorrow.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the smiling moon this morning. I did try to take a picture but it really sucked so I will save you the torture.
Daily Affirmation: Balanced living is becoming more natural and easy for me.


Resolutions 2013

Is it bad to formally announce your resolutions or goals four days into the new year?

Last year I was on the ball and actually blogged about my 2012 resolutions/goals before 2012 even hit. Yippee!

How did I do?
Well my goals were to run daily (success), to run 12 half marathons in 2012 (success...in fact, I exceeded this goal, lost track, and will provide an exact number once I get around to doing my 2012 year end review), and to participate in challenges aligned with my goals (hard to ascertain but I did participate in a few challenges and liked it).

What did I learn?
Having an open ended goal like participate in like-minded challenges can not be evaluated. Therefore, all future goals (or resolutions) need to be SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. I love that I can apply concepts I learned in business classes to running...and life in general!

I also learned I am stronger than I believed and that running daily works for me. Having this time each day to reflect, pray, listen to music, or just zone out is truly beneficial and a blessing.

But enough beating around the bush....

What are my resolutions/goals for 2013?
  • Run Daily. You really didn't think I would abandon that goal did you? Ironically, I am going into this year with the same nerves I had just over a year ago. Yes, I have done one year of daily running but can I really go another full year? Only time will tell.
  • Be active at least 15 minutes a day. Although this may seem repetitive after reading I plan to run daily but it really isn't. In 2012 my minimum run was 1 mile. In 2013 my minimum run will be 15 minutes...and if I am running really slow, 1 mile. However, none of my miles in 2012 exceeded 15 minutes so I am hoping this allows me to slowly up my base but I didn't want to go as far as commit to a minimum of 2 miles a day just yet. There is always 2014!
  • Run 2,013 miles in 2013. This is my BIG, BIG goal. It essentially means my average miles per week will need to be about 39...up about 10 miles a week, on average from 2012. Is it attainable and realistic? Well, it isn't necessarily unattainable and unrealistic. And I may start with lower mileage in the year and build up; therefore, I want to give it a try. You gotta try for the BIG things every now and then.
  • Be more aware of where my food is coming from and aim to eat cleaner. It is easy for me to do this with loads of time off. This week darling daughter and I have made many veggie purees and even our own first batch of refried beans. But I do wonder how I will be able to carry this out when I am not off a week on vacation. But it is important enough to me to try to implement small changes. As written, this is a wishy-washy goal that can't be measured; therefore, I will aim to spend at least one weekend a month stocking up the freezer with purees, home cooked beans, and other essential elements I feel will improve how we eat.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for vacation days and the opportunity to do many things with darling daughter in her final week of winter break.
Daily Affirmation: I am filled with energy to do all the daily activities in my life.


Is it half empty or half full?

Life is all about perspective.

The plan for darling daughter and I today was to check out the Fun Factory after going to the gym. After that, grocery shopping to get veggies to make more purees. Thing is, we were surprised to find out right before walking into the gym that there was no childcare this morning. I was bummed. Darling daughter was bummed. And yes, perhaps a bit bugged that we didn't know this ahead of time but I really think something unforeseen came up requiring major cleaning this morning as the gym really is good at letting peeps know things ahead of time.

I don't know how things are in your neck of the woods but here it seems nothing is open early so we were in a predicament. What to do with ourselves. It was drizzling and neither one of us were really dressed appropriately for just hanging out outside. And the jogging stroller was at home so that was out of the question. The groceries I needed were perishable so no shopping, then Fun Factory, then home. And no, I wasn't going home to just come back down.

To darling daughter's dismay, the Fun Factory was going to be postponed. The glass really did look half empty to both of us.

But we did take the time to check out Whole Foods and got some yummy granola (ginger granola...no nuts...perfect for darling daughter) and some flax seeds for me (and the cheese sticks I plan to make later this week). And we did go to our regular grocery store and stocked up on other veggies, picked up a Redbox, and headed home.

After putting the yams in the oven and cauliflower in the steamer I hopped on the treadmill and ran a mere 1.51 miles before darling daughter asked for lunch. Not the run I hoped for today. I was bummed. But as I was making our lunches that glass began to look half full.

Approximately 372 days ago if I was faced with the same scenario I would have just given up and skipped the run. I would have carried on with the flow of the day and not think twice about it...or feel bad later on. It would have depended on how many runs I had skipped because things didn't go as planned.

Life happens and even the best plans can go astray. But that doesn't mean my priorities have to be neglected. And hey, sometimes things happen for a reason. Perhaps my legs are going to be better off tomorrow with less miles on them today. And an unplanned "rest" day isn't going to negatively impact my overall goals for 2013.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my daughter's enthusiasm in helping make dinner, change the beds, and fold & put away cloths.
Daily Affirmation: I am enthusiastic.


Push It Wednesday!

Sometimes a new year indicates new changes. I know many people make resolutions but many resolutions are left to the wayside. Perhaps because they were too restrictive or not realistic. But I am not going full blown into my 2013 resolutions just yet as today is Wednesday...the first Wednesday of 2013. And I am launching Push It Wednesday! posts to replace my Wordless Wednesday posts of last year.

  • I have adhered to Push It Wednesday in my three months of training for the Honolulu Marathon and I feel the commitment is making a huge impact on my racing. 
  • This is a running blog and I like to talk running.
  • I hope that it may inspire just one other person to step out of their comfort zone and up their training just a wee bit.

What is Push It Wednesday!?
  • A frame of mind.
  • A commitment to go outside my comfort zone.
  • A day dedicated to tempo runs or speed works.
  • A day to try something new or run a bit harder.
  • A day to do the training run I should do even if it isn't the run I want to do.

How did today go?
After morning breakfast dear hubby headed out for his run and darling daughter and I headed to the gym for my run. My goal - a tempo run. I did speedwork last Wednesday so the tempo run was the next Push It Wednesday! on my plate. I have to add....I am training for the Run for the Whales Half Marathon on February 2nd even though I haven't officially registered yet...and I haven't created an official training plan. It is odd for me to be winging it like this but hey, life happens!

I definitely wasn't eager to do the tempo run. I never am. And as much as I knew I could just postpone the tempo run and do it tomorrow, and yes the thought did cross my mind, it wouldn't be right. I wanted to stick to the idea behind Push It Wednesday! and if I can do the run, I should run the run. Right?

I coaxed myself by saying I just had to do 3 miles at tempo pace but I knew I really wanted 4 miles at tempo pace. Often I do set A and A+ goals for my runs. Just do this and you succeeded, do this and you really succeeded. It helps take the pressure off and lets me really read my body and how it is feeling during the run.

After running a mile warm-up at a 10'00" pace I increased the pace to 8'34", my target tempo pace, and tried not to focus on the time slowly going by. I kept looking at the Push Your Limits sign on the gym wall, I tried to tune into the music, I contemplated other things, and eventually I got into my groove. After 1.5 more miles I told myself I was halfway to my A goal but was already formulating an A++ goal in my mind. What can I say? By the time I completed 3 miles at my tempo pace I had a feeling 4 miles wouldn't make me the happiest and I committed myself to 5 miles at tempo, completed the 5 miles, and tacked on one cool down mile at my 10'00" easy pace.

You see, I am off of work this week and had childcare for up to two hours. I could run the extra with no real implications. This won't always be the case. So it was foolish to not push my limits and take the tempo run a mile longer....and that is how I love Push It Wednesday! to be.

Not all Wednesdays will be so lucky as often I will need to run before work. But part of the pushing it part is getting up early enough to run the run I scheduled myself to run. Sometimes it may be cut short but one way I tend to adapt is to cut my warm-up and cool down back to 0.5 miles each. I really like the warm up before increasing my pace from my easy pace. And I really feel the cool down is good mental training to keep on going when my legs may be feeling tired or my mind has already cheered by completing its tempo or speed goal.

How did you push yourself today?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the time I have had recently to crochet more.
Daily Affirmation: I am strong enough to not always listen to my thoughts of doubt or weakness.


Resolution Run 2013

I can't think of a better way to start the new year than to participate in the Resolution Run again this year. I heard of this run through the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge and I love it! A 5k is indeed a beautiful way to start the year...and I did the same last year.

My original plan was to wake up early and get it done before leaving the house by 5:30 am to go on a sunrise whale watch with darling daughter. But then I got the bad/good news that our trip had been consolidated so we were going to go out at 11:30 am. In all reality, this turned out best!

After "sleeping in" and making homemade waffles with my new waffle maker (yeah! I finally got the waffle maker I had been asking for for about 3 years!) I started my run. I was feeling a bit sluggish. I was playing pretend with darling daughter and talking a lot. And I ran negative splits at a very slow at home, easy rest day run. But in all reality, pace doesn't matter and I have found that my ego-squashing slow paces on some of my home incline treadmill runs are equating too awesome race day paces. I just need to distract myself enough to not focus on the fact that I feel like a slug may pass me by at any moment and focus on the greater good.

Ocean Intrigue
And how was the whale watch? AWESOME BEYOND BELIEF!!!!

I would love to say I took amazing pictures of the whales but nope. Didn't even try. I know better. My little point and click would give the whales no justice if I actually caught them in the frame. So I focused on really cherishing the time with darling daughter.

It started out slow. Very slow. Barely seeing a blow. Okay, not even a blow but others were seeing them, not us. Darling daughter was doing her best to stay interested but looking at water can only entertain the best four-year old marine biologists so long and she was tiring of my made-up humpback whale songs....and so was I. But I felt optimistic but still scared optimistic. I wanted this to be wonderful for her but knew it was up to the whales.

Alas we came upon a mom, calf, and escort male. Awesome! We saw a lot of them but mainly their blows and dorsal fins. They were not feeling a wee bit feisty but were very beautiful...yet hard to spot in the choppy waters. After a bit we moved to the bow of the boat and were delighted when they appeared right before the vessel and darling daughter was amazed by the glowing turquoise water that magically appeared as you saw the white of their pectoral fins below the surface. It was very cool indeed.

West Maui Mountains
We were later blessed by one adult going right below the vessel and coming out below us and darling daughter got to see a whale from head to toe, delight again in the glowing blue water, and realize just how big their tail flukes are. But it was time to move on and darling daughter was saddened she didn't see a tail above the water. What we saw was more magical, more rare, and amazing but alas, her hopes were answered. The mom gave us a little fluke up and darling daughter was stoked. This would be the perfect ending to some amazing whale watching and it was time to head back to shore anyhow.

But sometimes good tales keep going on. On our return we saw some AWESOME tail slapping and from our best guesses, a couple of males were being a bit competitive and perhaps hoping to woo a beautiful female...or scare away one of the males. We don't know the conclusion but I gotta say, we saw just about every wonderful thing you could hope for in a mere two hours. It was a splashing good time!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful God answered my prayers and provided a wonderful experience for darling daughter today.
Daily Affirmation: I am grounded in life and know what is important to me and my family.