Breaking Up

I would love to say it isn't you, that it is me. But in all reality, it is you.

Dear Bagels,

It is time for us to part our ways. Yes, you were a comforting delivery mechanism for cream cheese and jalapenos but in all reality, you just aren't any good for me.

I can't say you are the worst thing in the world. And hey, when I broke up with Diet Coke friends tried to convince me Diet Coke wasn't the worst for me either. Agreed, you two aren't the worst but just like fake sugar is no good, your density of calories isn't the best form of nutrition for my body.

Let's put it this way, one Everything Bagel has 260 calories, 50g carbs, 2g protein, and 3g of fat. Two tablespoons (the recommended serving size) of cream cheese has 70 calories, 0.6g carbs, 1.6g protein, and 7g of fat. Add those together and one breakfast can reach 330 calories, 50.6g carbs, 3.6g protein, and 10g fat. I can already hear those trying to convince me that this isn't too bad. I am a runner. I can consume this.

Perhaps yes. But really, I say no.

Look at the alternative. Oatmeal. My plain oatmeal has 102 calories, 18.3g carbs, 3.6g protein, and 1.8g of fat. The tablespoon of Nuttzo I love has 90 calories, 3.5g carbs, 3.5g protein, and 8g fat. Add those together and my breakfast now has 192 calories, 21.8g carbs, 7.1g protein, and 9.8g fat. And I don't always do the Nuttzo. The oatmeal is wonderfully delicious with a sprinkle of cinnamon or sliced fruit. I add the Nuttzo when I want a bit more protein at the start of my day.

And how about a visual aid to show how my oatmeal breakfast has more bang for the buck?

I know you would love to hear it isn't you, that there isn't something new, but both would be lies.

Thanks for the good times but now it is time for me to take better care of me!

Life as a Running Mom

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for learning opportunities in life.
Daily Affirmation: I know when things are no longer good for me and have the strength to say goodbye.


Push It Wednesday

First, I got to say a HUGE MAHALO for all the comments on My 10 Rules for Running Couples post yesterday. I read each comment and love hearing from you. I am happy that the post I had fun writing touched some hearts out there.

Now onto Push It Wednesday! 

Wow, another week has come and gone. I am another week closer to race day. Yep, I am scheduled to race on March 23. It the 4th annual Valley to Sea half marathon and I haven't been talking about it much but it is always there in the back of my mind. Tempting me. Worrying me. Pushing me.

It is so easy to push myself one more step on some days but others days, it is hard. And in all reality, that is because my mind can get in the way so many times. Of course, injury can step in the way but fortunately, through running daily, I am staying pretty injury free. Go figure! But other chronic ailments are taking their toll on me and by that I mean, I am opting to catch a few more z's and dealing with minor discomforts. I say minor because I know in the grand scheme of life, it is minor but that doesn't minimize the discomfort or make the dealing with it more pleasant. But we may delve more into that in a another post on another day. But for now let's just say, I am moving away from a traditional treatment and trying a nutritional defense strategy. Give me a month to see if it helps. If is does, a blog post will definitely be coming!

What does all of this have to do with Push It Wednesday? Quite a bit. How I feel impacts how I perform and push myself. And I am happy to say, I think I am doing pretty good but still have doubts on how well I will perform at the Valley to Sea Half Marathon on March 23rd. And this week I am pushing myself in a different way. In previous weeks Wednesdays have represented a day for a tempo run, speed work, or hill repeats. I love all those things...in an odd way....but this week, I really don't think that is the right route for me.

Read about Designer Whey HERE
I have increased my mileage significantly last week in comparison to weeks leading up to it. Some might argue, I jumped too high but my running legs felt good at the end of the week. Surprisingly good. And with that said, my goal is to keep my mileage up above 40 miles per week for the next couple of weeks. So pushing it this week simply means, getting the time on my feet and running....and pace doesn't matter.

I honestly believe sometimes it is smart to not push your body in 10 directions at once. I am doing a big base building mission right now and my gut instinct is that if I pile on too many other push it elements I may risk injury. And that is not going to happen.

You read so much about runners aiming for a new PR, a target pace, placing in a race, etc. It is hard to not get caught up in it and have the same goals. And yes, I do want a new PR....don't get me wrong. But I have to refuse to get caught up in the pace or miles/week comparison and compare myself to myself. I am where I am today by pushing my own limits and by running smart.

So join me, push yourself but push yourself according to your own goals. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to other runners. Be motivated by them. YES! But don't try to be them. You are the best you that you can be. Have faith in yourself. I have faith in you! Now let's all go out there and push ourselves a bit more today and feel free to tell me what you do! You can also post images of your Push It Wednesday on Life as a Running Mom on facebook.

Happy Wednesday!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the wealth of knowledge available to people.
Daily Affirmation: I have the ability to digest information to get to the core of the real truth.


My 10 Rules for Running Couples

Isn't it grand when a couple shares the same interest? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, not so much.

Dear hubby didn't always embrace running like I did. In fact, in the beginning he supported me with enthusiasm along the race courses with darling daughter. It was bliss. I saw a race I wanted to run. It was nearby and affordable. I raced. Then life changed.

Dear hubby was tired of being the cheerleader and wanted to run. Yippee! We can run together! But you see, that isn't what he had in mind. He didn't necessarily want to run with me. Hmmm....bummer. Don't take this wrong, sometimes he will run with me. Sometimes he wants to. Just not always. And having two runners under the same roof, three if you count darling daughter - and yes, she has raced, isn't always easy. And over the years, I have established some rules to live by.

My 10 rules for running couples:

1. Run your own run. Seems simple enough, doesn't it? But it may not always be the case. Just the other day I saw a women comment/ask if she will ever be as fast as her husband. I replied, I will never be as fast as mine. But why compare? Why torture yourself? Run your run. Run your pace. Run your plan. If you push too hard and too often, you are only risking injury...even if it is only your ego.

2. Try on the other shoe. I don't mean to physically put on your partner's running shoe but mentally put that shoe on your foot and think about it. Yes, we each need to run our own run but it is good to join in on your partner's run every now and then. And most often, you two probably run different paces so think about it first. It doesn't matter who is the faster one but it does matter how you react to it. Find a way to have a mutually beneficial run by running at an agreed upon pace. The faster runner can benefit from a long run at a slower pace than normal. And the slower runner can benefit from a shorter speed session, right?

3. Get talking. Express a general interest in your partner's running. Take advantage of the fact that you have someone to talk to daily who won't mind talking about running and who can understand runner frustrations. And sometimes just talking about running woes helps you find motivation and/or solutions.

4. Take turns. I truly believe most runners love to race. And if you are anything like me, a full race calendar keeps me motivated and challenged. But over time, my definition of full has changed to accommodate dear hubby racing due to childcare and financial issues. Find a way to take turns to ensure both running partners get their racing fix. And sometimes taking turns can mean running a race together!

5. Be upfront with race entries. This may seem silly to state but come on, talk to your partner before entering a race. It is the right thing to do. And no sneak entries or trying to hide races. First, your partner will find out eventually. Second, it is disrespectful. And third, is racing really more important that an trusting and loving relationship?

6. It is okay to enter your partner in a race. This may seem to contradict rule #5 but a surprise entry into a race you know your partner wants to run is a great gift. Just make sure you know they want to do the race and reap the rewards of seeing them smile with a gift of racing!

7. Be a supportive cheerleader. When it is not your turn to race, support your partner with enthusiasm. Yes, you may want to run the same race but no, it can't always happen. And do you want your partner to be gloomy on your race day? Probably not. Shower your partner with the support you would like to have on race day and trust me, the gift of support will come back to you. Remember rule #4? You are taking turns.

8. Let bygones be bygones. The longer you are in a running couple relationship, the greater the chance you will have an area, or areas, of disagreement. The past is the past. Let go of it. It is okay to say such and such bugged me but then let go of it. It serves no good purpose to dwell in the past.

9. Establish a happy budget. We are lucky that runners don't necessarily incur a ton of costs but shoes, supplements, and race fees can add up. As a couple, you need to establish the framework to fit running into your life and budget. One method I apply is this: running related items make great gifts! Birthdays, holidays, etc. are scattered throughout the year and are often associated with gift giving. Why not make these the times of year to give your running partner tools for success? I really don't think there is a runner out there who wouldn't love new running gear or supplements, is there?

10. Think before you take. Is that the last GU gel on the shelf? Is that the last of the protein powder? How about the sports drink? By all means, it is there for you to use but if your partner is racing the next day, or planning a longer run with more need, by golly, be a trooper and save it for them! And if you can't go without it, go out and get more!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that dear hubby has embraced the love of running.
Daily Affirmation: I am a master of finding a couple extra of minutes in each day.


Weighing in on Designer Whey: Product Review

There are a TON of protein powders, bars, and drinks out there. We all hear and read about the importance of protein for runners and I think we all agree it is indeed important to consume enough protein. However, we may disagree on how much is enough or how we prefer to consume our protein. And that is okay. We are all different and nothing in life is one size fits all.

But I got to confess, I have recently fallen in love with the Designer Whey product line-up. Through being a FitFluential Ambassador I had the opportunity to try Designer Whey and I embraced it. Protein powders are a go-to for my protein needs. I love to mix the powder with water as I leave the gym and drink up on my way to work. It is easy and helps my muscles. I have gone through many brands and some taste better, some mix better, etc. I had no go-to brand. I just bought what was available or on sale.

I was ecstatic to receive my package from Designer Whey and felt I had won the lottery because I had two flavors of protein powder, two bottles of pre-mixed protein drink, three flavors to Protein 2Go, and three types of bars to put to through the taste and performance test. And I couldn't wait! I delved into the peanut butter bar immediately and loved it! In retrospect, it may have been easier to consume if it wasn't all melted from sitting on my door step for who knows how long but it was delish! The perfect afternoon snack and pre-run fuel for a PM run.

What is my honest opinion about Designer Whey?

The pre-mixed protein drinks: They are convenient and I have to say, I liked the vanilla better than the  chocolate, which is ironic for me. I tend to be a chocolate lover for all things but do notice that I am beginning to favor vanilla protein powders. The drinks are good and I would definitely buy for post-race when I am unsure about the ease of adding water to my protein powder but for day to day life, give me the powder! I like to control the flavor and feel it is better for the environment due to less packaging waste.

The protein powder: I tried white chocolate and vanilla and yep, I preferred the vanilla flavor but the white chocolate was still delicious, just different. These powders not only taste good but mix great. Talk about a win-win! So many times I find a good flavor that is clumpy or a weak flavor that mixes well. It is nice to find both qualities in one power with a mere 100 calories and 18 grams of protein. Since I am not looking to bulk up and want to stay at a healthy weight and feed my muscles well, this is perfect for me.

The Protein 2Go: The fruity flavors and concept had me worried. Hey, I got to be honest. It just made me think of other water flavors that I tend to stay far away from due to fake sugars. But these had no fake sugars and 10 grams of protein. And for those out there who care about calories, only 50 calories! I like this as I tend to drink water and save calories for food or post-run drinks. Once I broke down and tried one I was amazed. I went for lemonade first and it was absolutely fantastic after painting the kitchen all day. It was refreshing and I didn't mind the extra calories and protein after a hard day's work. And call me crazy but I really did think I got a hint of vanilla flavor after the lemon taste. And surprise! Now I keep a box in my desk at work for afternoon pick-me-up's. Hey, it is only 50 calories so why not?

The protein bars: I have already told you how much I loved the peanut butter one and yes, they are even better when not all gooey from being outside in the sunshine. Each flavor I tried was delicious and only 160-170 calories per bar. A great thing for an afternoon snack or to grab to eat on the way to the gym when I am going to push it a bit more for my early morning run.

Did Designer Whey really help me nutritionally with performance and recovery? 

This is a tough one because I am one person and can't really perform a true scientific investigation with myself. But what I can say is this is turning to be my best February ever in performance and I have been relying on Designer Whey for the bulk of the month...that is, in addition to my already healthy eating habits of plenty of fruits and vegetables with a side of lean protein. February is a hard month and I had three weeks of training with lower mileage in the 20's. Yes, even upper 20's is in the 20's. I followed this up with wrapping up a super duper training week last week that resulted in 43+ miles. AWESOME! You would think my legs would be killing me but they aren't. How much of that is the Designer Whey and how much of it is the yoga? I can't really tell you but I can tell you this. I am not ruling Designer Whey out!

But would I buy Designer Whey?

If you are on a budget like this running mom, you know yummy and good for you doesn't always result in a purchase. I can't put my personal preference in dietary supplements first if it means it will hurt the family in other ways. Sorry, won't happen. But I can tell you this. You can get a pack of 12 bars for less than $19. A 2-pack of 12 oz protein powder may run you about $22.66 for the vanilla flavor. And the Protein 2Go? It is about $7 for a pack of 5. I can't argue too much with those prices and please note, they were based on an Amazon.com price check a few days ago. I am not promising the price point, just giving you an idea. Oh yeah! And to answer the first question, would I buy this product? YES!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my computer functioning now so I can back-up some precious pictures. 
Daily Affirmation: I am brave....sometimes most of the time.

Please note: I was provided product free to review. I was not paid to write this post. The opinions expressed are solely my own.


TAKE HEART! 5 Heart Healthy Tips

February is American Heart Month and with heart disease being the leading cause of death for men and women it is hard to not take heart health seriously, especially when heart disease is preventable and controllable.

Today also marks the day my Dad was born. And even though he did not lose his life to heart disease, he battled leukemia, it seems appropriate to honor his birthday and his life by bringing awareness to health issues.

I am a huge proponent of preventative care and being proactive in your own health. Being adopted, I have an blank slate in terms of things I should keep an eye on and I feel that has inspired me to be more proactive in my own health. I can't say something does, or does not, run in my genetic family because essentially, anything and everything could. And that brings me to my first tip of 5 Heart Healthy Tips.

1. Embrace preventative care and have annual physicals. This allows for routine screening and don't just rely on your doctor, KNOW YOUR NUMBERS and pay attention. Things your doctor may test for are HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides (want 150 or lower), blood pressure, weight, and BMI. Track changes with your physician. On your own you can measure your waist. If your waistline is greater than 35 inches for women or 40 inches for men your risk for diabetes increases.

2. Reduce stress. Increased stress triggers your fight or flight response and the associated hormones. This is not good for your heart health and the good news is you can do things about it. Find time to unwind each day. I personally like to run but reading a book, practicing yoga, or meditating help. In addition, unplug yourself. You do not need to be hooked into your computer or smart phone continuously. I unplug by not blogging every day. Typically, I take the weekends off. Plus, each night I set my phone to the side to participate in family rituals like bedtime stories and cuddles. And hardly ever do I answer my phone during dinner time.

3. Eat well. I remember hearing my mom say a thousand times, you are what you eat. And you know what, she is right. We are what we eat. No, I didn't change into nachos per se but the nutrients and/or junk we put into our bodies become the building blocks of our bodies. Eat your healthy fats but be careful of extra, not-so-healthy fats. Reduce salt to keep blood pressure down. Consume alcohol in moderation - you can have too much of a good thing. Yes, I know it can perhaps help raise HDL but it can also harm your liver. And most importantly, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. These are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.

4. Exercise daily. Strength training increases muscle mass and decreases body fat. If you are like me, you may not be any good at doing structured strength training at the gym. I feel I have no time for it. But I should make time and it is easy to do at home by tossing in some push-up's, planks, crunches, leg raises, squats, and clams. And keep your heart happy with cardiovascular activities. For me, my go-to is running daily and yes, I get the daily recommendation of at least 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week. And remember you can sneak more exercise in by taking the stairs, parking further away, taking a mid-day walk break at work, and dancing the housework away!

5. SLEEP! This is the biggest thing you can do for your body. It gives your body the chance to repair the damage of the day, fight infection, and grow stronger. It may be my weakness catching a few extra z's but it is still on my list of things to do!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for blue skies today.
Daily Affirmation: I deserve to have a great life!


Push It Wednesday

{The Thursday Edition}

Okay, so I am a bit behind on things and perhaps I didn't think Push It Wednesday through in all fruition. Here was my goal: to push myself physically in my training on Wednesdays and to blog about it on Wednesdays. This works perfectly if I get myself out of bed early enough and push myself in the morning to give me the day to blog. But if I am not so with it in the dark hours of the morning, and push myself later, it throws the blogging thing off track.

Remedies: Just go with the flow and occasionally blog a day later. Blog about the previous week - yuck! No way! Always get up early enough to push myself in the dark AM hours giving me all day to blog. We all know how that is working. AND....here is the fun part that contradicts the good solution I just presented....I am kinda loving having time after work on Wednesdays when dear hubby is home to go OUTSIDE and push myself doing hill repeats in a nearby neighborhood perfectly suited for this type of torture.

So yesterday I laced up my Saucony Virratas and headed out the door. I did ask darling daughter, aka little coach, if I should run inside or out. She said out. I said okay, I am going to do hill repeats. She said, do a long run. Dear hubby said, let Mommy decide. I responded with Mommy is not feeling 100% right now. You can read more about that HERE in my post from yesterday. Then I added I did 5 repeats last week so I will at least do that. Darling daughter agreed that sounded sensible but added if I felt okay afterwards I should do more. Okie dokie! See you later alligators!

I ran the downhill to the neighborhood hill I like to challenge myself on. It is a beautiful safe neighborhood and the hill is hard. I took pictures towards the end of my run but they really don't do the hill justice. Really, it is tougher than in looks. Why do pictures make hills look so gentle?

I can't say any of my run was easy. My cramps were bugging me. I told myself not to worry about pace, walk if I must, just get it done. On the fourth repeat I very firmly told myself it was Push It Wednesday. At the end of my fifth repeat I told myself I am training hard to race well. If training was always easy, I would only be cheating myself. Then I thought of darling daughter and I did another hill repeat for her. And on this one I stopped at the top, halfway down, and at the bottom for pictures. I felt less winded and went for more hills. Halfway up I was hurting and remembered I had an uphill climb home. I decided 1.5 more hill repeats than last week was a sensible progressive, ran down and took a side street little loop to get a little extra mileage before heading uphill home. When I got home I was winded again but happy. Now if only I can add more mileage to these hill repeats in the future!

Today I am feeling good for the most part. My legs aren't as achy after last week's hill repeats but my stomach was achy this morning. A different ache. I even pondered for a millisecond if I was coming down with a stomach virus or something but honestly, I don't think so. Overall I feel good. Just a sensitive tummy. So I took my sensitive tummy to the gym and hit the treadmill before work. It felt like slow start even though my pace was a wee bit faster than my typical easy pace. I am in the process of increasing all my standard training paces as I feel my body is ready for it. Even on achy tummy days.

I knew my mind was getting too focused on the ache, which wasn't anything serious, and would impact my run if I didn't take control of the situation. I can't control the ache. I can control my mind. I already knew the ache wasn't a true pain indicating anything major; therefore, I knew I could run. And I knew if I focused on the ache it would appear to become a pain and I would be tempted to stop. So here comes the mind games! In the process, I created a new treadmill workout idea that I will be posting soon. So stay tuned for 3-2-1 Boredom Busters! Okay, I wasn't really bored but in all reality, anyone could use the same strategy to distract their mind from niggles and or other things getting in the way.

It feels really good to have run 5.19 miles before work. It feels awesome giving myself some extra time after work to take darling daughter to the library. I embrace the opportunity of perhaps running a double today. But if I don't, I am on schedule with what I wanted to run today, 5 miles, done. And how is my stomach? Better after the run than before.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for appreciation at work and the yummy pizza we received.
Daily Affirmation: I deserve to be happy.

Please note: I was provided product free to review from Designer Whey. I was not paid for this post. The opinions expressed are solely my own.


Is this perimenopause?

Sorry guys, this post may not be one for you but stay tuned, I will return to more gender-neutral posts tomorrow. And there is good stuff coming up such as a review of Designer Whey and Saucony Virratas!

But now I am venturing into a topic that may be of interest to some of you gals.... .

I can't remember what sent me into the doctor months ago, or what motivated my doctor to check my FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) levels, but essentially, she was looking to see if they were high enough to conclude I was officially in perimenopause. The test didn't conclusively indicate a new phase in my life and there is debate about the accuracy of this test. You can read more about FSH as it relates to perimenopause HERE or google it. You will find a plethora of articles.

But I am a firm believer in listening to your body and through running as much as I do, I have become pretty darn good at hearing what it has to say. I know when things are off. I may not always know why but I know something isn't quite right. And that is where I stand today.

For the past 5 months I have been feeling like a teenage girl again, but not in the best of ways. I am back to intense menstrual cramps and heavy flow. The conditions that enticed me to take off of work when I was 19 to stay curled up in bed. I don't have that luxury anymore. I have a few more bills and more responsibilities now but the feeling is still there. Throughout my high school years I was convinced that childbirth could not be any worse than my cramps. Those intense cramps are back and I can tell you now that they are definitely comparable to contractions....but childbirth for me was still worse due to my placenta ripping off of my uterus and forcing an emergency c-section. That second part wasn't too bad if you forget about the allergic reaction to the tape that left a large portion of my body covered with the itchiest rash ever. But I have strayed....

In addition to cramps, heavy flow, and lightheadedness I have night sweats now. And our house is not warm at all at night. Dear hubby sleeps under two comforters. I did speak to the OB/GYN RN a couple of months ago. She delicately, or perhaps not so delicately, told me this is normal as I enter my fourth decade of life. Okay, that made me feel old and I had just turned 40. She went on to explain she knew it wasn't easy for me, and can be quite difficult, but it was normal. Call if it gets worse. Okay, so she agreed I was suffering but not suffering enough to look for any remedies.

Why am I writing this? Because I am a female, I am a runner, and I am a blogger committed to telling the truth. And I cannot be the only female impacted by this. Plus, all of this is going to come clashing together sooner or later in a way that will not make me the happiest. Today I stayed in bed longer and skipped my morning run since I felt so miserable. Yes, running can make cramping feel better but running right now, at this moment, is not fun and kind of torturous. My cramps even encouraged me to call out "Give me a break!" once or twice on my drive to work. They are intense. And it stands to reason that one day this particular day of my "new fourth decade" cycle is going to coincide with race day. And then what? Today I decided, I will run that race and accept the fact that I won't be PR'ing. Quite crushing if it means weeks of training to PR slip away to nothingness. But I will load myself up with supplies, run the course, take the million pit stops, moan in agony if necessary, and complete the race. What would you do?

And is this perimenopause? The blood test months ago said no. I say, pretty sure it is. I know my body is changing. From talking to friends it sounds we are traveling down a similar path. A path women will all take one day or another. A path that I wish I could have waited a few more years to discover because honestly, I just stepped into my fourth decade in October. But who am I to argue with nature?

P.S. I have my annual physical scheduled at the end of the month with my PCP, who happens to be a running mom too, and yes, I will be talking about the lightheadedness with her. It does raise concern for me....in particular, I am thinking iron levels.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for pain killers on days like today.
Daily Affirmation: I know my body.


This Makes Me Happy

A little birdie told me to get online and look HERE at the United States Running Streak Association website. This is what I saw....but I did put it together in one easy image.

This makes me happy because it is a reminder to me that I can do more than I imagine. That I am stronger than I think. That I underestimate myself many times and always have been but I shouldn't. I need to continue to have faith in myself and what I can do. I need to continue to push myself, within reason, and do things that may seem scary at first. I will never know how far I can go until I try and I want to move up that list. The only failure in life is the failure to try. All other bumps are learning opportunities.

With that in mind, I love the example I am setting for darling daughter. I love how she looks over at me and smiles when I am running on the treadmill at home. I love when she says I am barely moving. I love when she says my feet are a blur because I am running so fast. I love how she laughed when I leapt off the treadmill yesterday to take a picture of the rainbow. I love how I feel after a run, how she is willing to play with me while I run, how she runs away from her sweaty mom, how she runs and jumps around the house to get her exercise, and that I have been given the greatest gifts in life - being able to be a mom and being able to run.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for all I am given in life as I am given exactly what I need.
Daily Affirmation: I am growing stronger each day.


It's a New Week

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a fantastic week last week. Mine was crazy busy and my running didn't suffer as much as it usually does this time of year. Yes, I didn't run according to plan but I did run well. I also achieved my side goal of hitting my February 2012 miles by the end of day yesterday. Yippee!

Here is what I did run:

A low mileage week. Lower than what my average weekly mileage should be to achieve 2,013 miles in 2013 but I have plenty of time to have higher mileage weeks to make up for my slow start this year. January was perfect. February is always a struggle. And here's why.

Love the fanny pack?
It is crazy, crazy, crazy at work. It seems odd to say when work gets crazier and more stressful I run less since running helps keep me grounded. But it is the truth. Mainly because of two reasons - I tend to start needing more sleep and I tend to cut more runs short to get to work earlier or stay longer or just because I want to spend more time with my family. And February is darling daughter's birthday. It is also my month that in years past we would celebrate my Dad's birthday. A lot of emotions going on in a mere 28 days.

Fortunately, the work stress will ease up in some regards since we pulled off a wonderful large event just this past Saturday. In exchange for a ride from a dear friend and co-worker I make breakfast. So on Saturday I got up super early to run and shower before making breakfast and being picked up at 4:50 am.

For breakfast I made sourdough egg sandwiches. YUM! I must confess, I made up the recipe that morning. For these 3 sandwiches, I used 5 eggs, 8 grape tomatoes (all I had), a large handful of spinach, 4 Laughing Cow cheese wedges, and salt to pepper to taste. I sauteed the tomatoes a bit and pulled them aside. I then scrambled the eggs until almost done and added the tomatoes, spinach, and cheese. The bread was toasting in the meantime. I then put the scrambled egg on the bread and cut each sandwich in half. We devoured our sandwiches on the way to work.

I bought a new little flashlight to help me in the dark direct crafters to their booth locations and the flashlight was flaking by sunrise. I have never been so happy to see the sun come up! But within 2 hours the barren field looked beautiful and I already have ideas for next year. It was a wonderful day in terms of weather and my crafters were all rock stars!

I would love to say the day ended there but it didn't. It was hours and hours more taking care of issues, talking memberships, helping in random ways, and then clean-up but I am impressed by how our small team of staff and TONS of amazing volunteers from all over the world can achieve so much. Tiring but good. And dear hubby even volunteered some of his time!

I was feeling the pain yesterday. My body ached but darling daughter got me up at the crack of dawn, which was hard since I was up much later than usual. My head was pounding more due to another outbreak of my rash (stress-induced) and my morning run "cured" it in some degree. The headache, not the rash. But the head started pounding later and I broke down and took something for it. Just once. Then eventually I called it a night and took my aching head and body and put them both in bed.

Today it is raining and it was all night. Cats and dogs at times. So I am thinking staying at home, starting some lentil soup, and running in place is in order. After all, dear hubby and darling daughter convinced me to run outside to get my final 2 miles yesterday when I saw I needed them to achieve my goal.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for volunteers.
Daily Affirmation: I am confident, cheerful, and enthusiastic!


Loving my Family Nuttzo!

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you are all having a loving, fun-filled day. And with love in the air, I figured this is a great day to talk about showing our body, and our family, love.

Yesterday afternoon dear hubby was home when darling daughter and I returned from school. He had purchased some tomato and jalapeno plants for our garden as a Valentine's Day gift. So I left them happily tending to the garden and hit some neighborhood hills around the corner that I have been dying, and dreading, to do. There is a hill there that I always thought would be perfect for hill repeats. I did five repeats in honor of Push It Wednesday and am happy since my goal was three to five. Then I made the final uphill climb home and returned huffing and puffing.

Darling daughter was concerned I pushed it too hard but dear hubby assured her that Mommy just did a good run. That's all. Those 1.88 miles were tough. Not the higher mileage I dream of right now but a good workout nonetheless. And I am happy because first, I got outside and ran and second, I hit the dreaded hills. I am ready to go back for more. And it is good for my heart. On that note, have you joined the Happy Heart Project at Darwinian Fail?

But exercise isn't enough to take care of your heart. Imagine a drain and water flowing down. Start putting garbage in that drain and envision what happens. You may end up with a backed up drain quicker than you think. Now imagine your arteries and veins - essentially the plumbing of our body. We can increase the "water flow through those drains" through exercise but if we are still clogging them with "garbage" the end result is not so pretty.

How I fuel my family's body is important to me. And I say me since I do the grocery shopping. Therefore, what I buy, they eat. Dear hubby would love potato chips every night. If they were in the house, he would eat them. He won't gain an ounce if he ate a bag a night. He has that kind of metabolism. But his plumbing, his arteries and veins, would be damaged by eating that way. I refuse to let that happen.

PB Muffin Nuttzo LOVE!
When I got the opportunity to review some Nuttzo I jumped at the opportunity. Have you heard about Nuttzo? A mother lovingly created Nuttzo to provide her nutrient deficient adopted children a great source of nutrition. It is low in sugar, all organic, and a 2 Tbl serving contains 50% of your daily Omega 3's. That third fact is important to me since I must confess, I am not the best at eating fish.

I loved the idea of sharing and consuming a nut butter that didn't have added sugars and oils and was more than impressed about the taste. Darling daughter is not a peanut butter lover and is still on the edge. Dear hubby has claimed to not like peanut butter but has been eating a bit here and there. But with the Nuttzo, he is eating it by the spoonful. I got him "dirty spoon" and all. I think he was afraid to admit it but I am glad I found out since it clearly demonstrates how yummy this is. The flavor rocks and I love the added crunch. It is a nice crunch, not like the standard chunky peanut butter crunch.

And my body felt good eating it. I loved it in the morning with oatmeal. I loved it at the end of the day on graham crackers. On some occasions, I even indulged and added a bit of dark chocolate. I loved it on my peanut butter muffins but must confess, I didn't make the muffins with it....yet. The recipe calls for 1/2 of a cup and well, I wanted to ensure I still had some of our almost empty bottle to share. The only downside is that Nuttzo is so good that we seem to fly through it! Keeping it in stock may be hard.

They have more than one flavor but I tried the blue label Omega 3 Seven Nut and Seed Butter. YUM! If you can't find it locally, you can buy some through Amazon for $15 or less if you buy more than one bottle. And I just discovered, there are some awesome recipes on the Nuttzo website. I will definitely be trying some of these out soon!

Please note: I received this product free to review through being a FitFluential ambassador. I was not paid to write this post. Opinions are solely my own.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the creative thoughts of others that lead to delicious food for us!
Daily Affirmation: I have a loving heart.


Just Stop Complaining

A little bit of Maui
It's Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. I was raised Catholic. I grew up going to church every week. And even though I have a deep spirituality now, deeper than ever, I can't say I make it to church each week. That is something I could improve on and darling daughter does love the songs at mass. Perhaps we will get back into the routine. I'll let you know.

The days at work are getting intense and after receiving the 100th excuse why someone can't do something I was tempted to call my sister and complain about it. But then an idea popped in my mind, why complain? What does it achieve? Yes, venting may make me feel better temporarily by why give the thing that bugs me a moment? Why not just let it sail on by?

Growing up during Lent I was told to give something up. Usually it ended up being sweets per my parents' suggestions. Tough for a little one. Darling daughter's preschool (it is Catholic) has prepared the kids to do something for Lent. She opted to help me with dishes every day for the next 40 days. She chose this task. After drying two yesterday she decided it was hard work. I said two was still helping, thanked her for her help, and said maybe tomorrow she may be able to dry more. She liked the challenge of maybe drying one more dish each day of Lent. Perhaps she will. Perhaps she won't. I really am not going to make a huge deal over it either way. But I do like how doing something nice seems better than taking away something.

So I am mixing the two, I want to take away the something (complaining) by doing nice and saying more positives to people. We are all busy. Life can be full. We can all have down moments and negativity never helps. So for the next 40 days, and beyond, I am going to focus even more on my daily gratitude and daily affirmations by extending them beyond myself to others. Let's not get wrapped up in the negative but run and play in the positive. And honestly, there is so much more positive in the world.  And perhaps, just maybe, it may help relationships grow stronger!

Oh, and that regularly scheduled Push It Wednesday post? It will be back next Wednesday as today I felt this took priority.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that my younger sister and her kids get to spend so much time with my mom.
Daily Affirmation: I am growing in peace and trusting more in the positive.


Putting my #bestfoot forward

Historically, February is a really tough month for me. It is busy at work. It is darling daughter's birthday and a reminder of how quickly time flies by. My Dad's birthday would have been the 22nd. I still miss him greatly and do feel missing him does weigh a bit more on me this time of the year. Next month will mark the anniversary of his death. And all this together makes it really easy for me to start feeling down on myself and get overly critical. You can read about how I felt similar almost two years ago HERE.

I started an official half marathon training plan a couple of weeks ago and so far it has been one big flop. It made me question if I am really doing my best. I am not hitting the miles I want to run and as much as I believe all my "excuses" are valid, I wonder how tough I am.

I strongly believe in continual improvement and believe we each have something we can work on. Honestly, I think I need to work on incorporating a better meditation plan before next February but all things come one step at a time. This year, and last year, my February running goals are always BIG but essentially the core is the same. Do better than last year. And how am I doing to date? Let's look at February 1st to the 11th for the past three years.

When I see that how can I feel bad? Yes, I haven't run as much as the plan says but I am doing wonderful. I am still running daily. And I am not doing just a mile. I should be proud of myself not questioning my strength. But sometimes it is hard to go it alone. And that is why I blog and constantly look forward to motivation from others, such as Amanda from Run to the Finish.

I am joining in on her Spring Bootie Buster Challenge because I honestly feel the past two Holiday Bootie Buster Challenges have been great for me. It isn't the challenge itself but the amazing people it brings together. Hearing their stories. Their struggles. It is the sense of community. The record keeping. The knowing it is just one day at a time. One change at a time. One #bestfoot at a time. I love it and invite you to join in on the fun.

Amanda has changed things up this time and I think it levels the playing field. She felt it was geared towards runners since so many runners are out their blogging. You earned a point per mile run. I had no issues with it and happily logged my points. However now it is a point per 10 minutes. I LOVE IT! Her thought was it leveled the field for activities beyond running. I agree but I think it takes it one step further. It levels the field for runners. We all run at different speeds. Some are naturally fast like dear hubby. Some are a bit on the slower side, like me. Some are just starting out like my little sister, who I am trying to coax into joining in on the fun as she is on a mission to get into shape. This community would serve her well! But now each person's 10 minutes of their best counts the same whether they do 2 miles, 1 mile, or even half a mile. They did 10 minutes of exercise and that is AWESOME! Thanks Amanda for making this switch because I love the level field and honestly, I will feel less "pathetic" about my slow miles on the incline treadmill at home!

If you join the Spring Bootie Buster Challenge, please let Amanda know Erica G sent you.

And since I am a sucker for challenges, comment below on ones that you have found splendid!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for this awesome no occasion just because I love you gift from my mom. Yep, an Under Armour shirt!
Daily Affirmation: I see all the beauty and grace which is around me with loving gratitude.


Happy Birthday Darling Daughter

I can't believe it! Yesterday my little bundle of joy turned 5 and I gotta confess, she was just as unsure about it as I was. It is funny how birthdays can impact us. And ironically, when going through old photo books we realized that darling daughter had the same "I don't want to be a year older" feeling when she turned 3! And she loved being 3. And she will love being 5. And by the time dinner approached, she stated that now that she was 5 she could learn recipes. I got her some paper, a pen, and scissors so she could take notes while I made the dinner of her choice. It was taco night by the way. Oh, and mommies of boys, darling daughter stated that they get to learn recipes when they are 6.

To all the moms out there, you know we have hard days but the good times are much greater. I loved the tweet from @kelsey5k that reinforced this "The days are long but the years are fast." - a much more poetic version, don't you think? My response, "So true! And the 2 hr party today was way long!" And it was as I have a daughter who loves to plan and she was a bit upset perhaps insert some screams when things weren't going the way she planned/hoped. It is a learning lesson for kids of all ages, isn't it?

I am truly blessed to have this special angel in my life. And I love how co-workers, friends, and perhaps just acquaintances along the way made her day even more special. Her week long celebration started with a gift from Grandma, and yes, I let her open it early. In fact, it was almost a week early as the gift arrived on the day when I worked the run. Then Saturday we went to the gym for my run, which I ended up cutting short because I just wanted to spend more time with my precious gem. Darling daughter received a Jamba Juice gift card from the sweetest staff who takes care of her while I run. We are both so blessed!

The day of her birthday my phone was ringing and beeping all day with good wishes and songs from family and friends. I am touched by the outpouring of love. Darling daughter commented on how everyone keeps calling! Gotta love it! But what I love the most is that we have an old video of Grandma and Grandpa singing, or trying to sing, her Happy Birthday. I love that she will always be able to see and hear Grandpa's voice. And that brings me to my most precious gift to her, a book called The Blue Roses by Linda Boyden, who actually called Maui her home for awhile. Darling daughter and I checked this book out from the library ages ago, okay, perhaps not the long. We both instantly fell in love with it as it is an amazing story with a great lesson, well written, and has a touch of humor to it even though it is a sad story - one that still brings tears to my eyes when I read it as it makes me miss my Dad and opens up discussion about Grandpa.

Rust to soft yellow = Success!
I could ramble on and on about how much I love my daughter, but you all know that. I could tell you about our whirlwind of a weekend that included not only baking a cake but painting a kitchen but that could drag on forever. But I must say, I am glad darling daughter pushed motivated me to bite the bullet and paint the kitchen like I wanted to do. It was hard work. I still have some touching up to do. But it was worth it especially to hear darling daughter exclaim, "Mommy! The kitchen looks so much brighter!" My response, "Ahhh....thanks! That was just what I was going for!"

Have a great week all! I am off to work, try to get some more running in, and blast away this cold that is brewing. Count down: 6 days 'til the BIGGEST WORK DAY EVER! Not the time to get any sicker!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for being a mom.
Daily Affirmation: I love myself and I am in charge of my own happiness.


5 Reasons I LOVE to RUN

#runchat is having a love of running week and in response to that, I am giving you my 5 reasons I love to run!

  • Relieves stress - When I run it is my time to really assess what is going on and what is important. It lets me work through the hurdles of the day, the stresses I may have, and prioritize what really is important and what needs to be tossed away. I often find myself really reflecting on what is important in life and becoming grounded in my spirituality. It is my time and that time may include prayer.
  • Inspires creativity - Once the troubles that I have no control over are tossed to the side, my mind is freed to reflect on other things. I come up with ideas when I run - ideas for life or ideas for my blog. I am not the most "creative" of people but during a run I become the most creative me I can be.
  • Builds strength - We all know exercise is good for your body in terms of cardiovascular health and physical strength but to me, running takes me further. Not only am I building on my physical strength, I am building on my emotional and mental strength. This makes me a better person - a better wife, mom, and employee, a better citizen.
  • Flushes out toxins - Scientifically speaking, I am not sure how many toxins are actually flushed out of your body during a run but a good, sweaty run always makes me feel cleansed from the inside out. Yes, I still need to take a shower to smell nice and refreshed but I feel the increased blood flow helps keep the juices flowing. And I can't say with 100% certainty if it is the running daily or the extra water consumption that is a direct side effect, but since I been on my running streak I seem to be healthier overall. Yes, I still get sick but I tend to recover quicker…and that is a very good thing.
  • Creates happiness - Even with all the benefits listed above, if running didn't make me happy, I probably wouldn't do it. I truly do love the feel of a run. The slow ones may be harder to love some days but that is only because I am getting too competitive with myself. I remind myself to cherish the slow so I can fully appreciate and drink in the wonder of going fast. And yes, slow and fast is completely relative but that makes me happy too. Running is a sport where doing your best and the journey is the reward. Each step is a reward. What could be simpler than that? And that makes me happy.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for humpback whales.
Daily Affirmation: I accept people as they are.


Product Review: Bulu Box

When opportunity knocks it is foolish not to answer to see just what might be on the other side of the door.

I am intrigued by the many subscription boxes that seem to be a hit these days and why wouldn't I be? I am a busy mom trying to squeeze in running so if some of my shopping appears nicely on my doorstep it sounds like a win-win situation to me. However, I am also a mom trying to live on a budget while indulging dear hubby and myself with race entry fees and darling daughter with the joys and desires that a little, almost-five year old might have. Therefore, when I saw the opportunity to review a Bulu Box through my SweatPink ambassadorship I jumped and signed up!

Funny thing, by the time my box arrived I was so busy with end of the year festivities it slipped my mind for a bit. I opened it, saw the product, and moved on. But things I push to the side are never forgotten. And I wanted to get back to reviewing this box and give you my honest opinion.

Part of the reason I might have let it slip for a bit was the product just didn't fit me. But that isn't to say the product isn't good. There was an assortment of things to try for an energy boost and weight loss. May be good for you, but not what I am looking for. But I was intrigued by a lavender wipe as I LOVE lavender and dear hubby was immediately reached for some soft energy pineapple energy chews by FRS. He loves them! They come individually wrapped and I see him bringing some on runs. He says that they aren't too hard to open. Perhaps I would have tried them but mango is completely not my cup of tea. Please give me some papaya! The first ingredient is sugar so if you are looking for something less sugary, keep looking. But for energy on a run, it could work for you!

I went as far as to speak to a representative from Bulu Box about their box. I expressed my opinion that is was too much energy pick-me-up's and weight loss product for someone very careful on what I put in my body. The representative was completely understanding and explained their mission is to provide subscribers with a variety of changing product to try and to introduce them to new companies with the hope they might find one thing new to love. I guess the mission was met as dear hubby did love the chews!

As I reflect back, Bulu Box may not fit me since I am not into trying new supplements. I have my go-to's for calcium and a daily multivitamin. I don't take energy supplements beyond GU gels on long runs and AirBorne when I feel a cold coming on. And nothing in life is one thing fits all. This box just doesn't fit me but it may be the perfect fit for you. And if nothing else, you were able to learn a bit more about what is inside and can decide for yourself if you want to give it a try! Subscriptions start as low as $10 a month.

Please note: I received one Bulu Box at no cost to review. I did not promise a positive review. I was not compensated beyond the product for writing this post. This opinions are solely my own.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for each opportunity in my life.
Daily Affirmation: I am loving and accepting of others.


Push It Wednesday

I am super excited for two reasons:
  1. I am officially registered to run the 'Iao Valley to the Sea Half Marathon on March 23! It will be my first race in 2013.
  2. I have a training plan! I have been winging it since 12/9 and although I have been doing fine with some great mileage weeks, I love having a plan. It is a short one geared towards the half in March. You can see it HERE.
It was nice going to bed knowing how many miles I wanted to run today. It was nice knowing it was going to be Push It Wednesday and I was already dreaming up the workout I was going to run. And it was nice knowing that my plan didn't necessarily mean I needed to get all the day's miles in before being at work. That lets some of the stress off and is smart planning on my part. I would rather run two runs to get the miles than skip the miles.

Today's goal: 9 miles

As of now, I have completed 7.14 of those miles and am feeling great! I did an awesome workout that made the time of the treadmill fly by. I think I should come up with a fancy name for it but haven't yet. But if I do, I can post the workout idea on my TM Running page. Any suggestions for a name? Post your suggestions below and I may need to send the lucky soul who submits a winning name a little treat from the Rainbow State.

Essentially, the run was a run to test my current speed paces and my progress. I started with a mile warm-up at my standard easy pace of 10'00". I returned to this pace for each recovery segment. Then I increased my speed to my traditional speed pace for Yasso's and ran a mile in 8'00". I felt pretty good and strong at the end but I did tell myself once or twice I can do anything for 8 minutes. We all know that isn't completely true but you get the point. And yes, my breathing increased but I wasn't dying. I remember when I felt the very same way at the end of one Yasso - progress! I did a 0.5 mile recovery interval before doing another mile in 8'00". At the end it was a bit tougher but I was still feeling good. This marked the end of phase 1 of my run.

After running my easy pace for 0.5 miles I increased the pace to 7'47" for 0.5 miles. Okay, this was a bit tougher but in all reality, it should be. I was running now at a pace faster than I was traditionally doing for speedwork or Yasso's. Some thoughts going through my head: This is just 13 seconds faster. You only have 0.5 miles to go. And thankfully, my next 0.5 mile rest segment came. Within a minute and a half I was back to my comfort zone and breathing. Because I recovered so quickly I knew my run was still at the right level but I still dreaded the next interval. Stay in the moment. Enjoy the rest. And bang! It was time to up the pace to 7'47" again. Argh! I knew I only had 0.5 miles to go, that I just did it, but it was getting harder. I got nauseous for a nano-second but blame the darn cereal bar I ate this morning not the effort. That bar was way to sugary. 20 as in 20% done. 40. 50. Keep going strong. 60. Relax. 70. Focus on your breathing. 80. Almost there. I'm dying. You ARE NOT dying. 90. You wouldn't stop this close to the finish line. See the finish line. See the mat. See your family. I was completely focused on pushing through this segment to get a great marathon time. Nope, I wasn't focused on that half in March. Just the marathon at the end of the year. Go figure. I'm done! Okay, not really. But I still rejoiced at the moment.

Phase 3: I started my final phase with a recovery period and spent the vast majority of that 5 minutes doing multiplication tables and pace calculations in my mind. Don't ask me why. For some reason my thoughts carried me that way and I followed them for the bulk majority of the time. Then I did 0.1 miles at a 7'30" pace, followed by 0.4 miles at my easy pace, then another 0.1 mile at 7'30" followed by just over 5 minutes at recovery pace and slower.

The end result: 7.14 miles with an overall pace of 9'05". Pretty darn good! And yes, I still have almost 2 more miles to run later today. No worries! I think this was a great start to my day! And it made me realize, it may be time to up my standard speed paces!

And since we are already pushing things today, why not join me in the Spring Bootie Buster Challenge at Run to the Finish? I have done two Holiday Bootie Buster Challenges with Amanda and I love how it gets me back on track and focused with nutrition. As you can see, I do a pretty good job of motivating myself to run and go one step further. But how about eating a bit more freggies and drinking extra water? That I need reminders for even though I love both! And what is really cool is that participants get some Lock Laces! I have been dying to try those and I will finally get the chance....if dear hubby doesn't pout too much and convince me to hand them over to him. If you join in on the fun, please let Amanda know Erica G, or Life as a Running Mom, sent you. The challenge runs from March  4 to April 21. Let's go!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for birdsong.
Daily Affirmation: I am enjoying eating healthy and nutritious foods.


Running the Course

This weekend, and the days leading up to it, I got to experience something new. Instead of racing the Run for the Whales Half Marathon I got the pleasure/struggle/challenge of managing the race course. I must say, this opened my eyes and gave me a deeper appreciation to what goes on behind the scenes at races.

You can read a bit more of the behind the scenes of this race HERE where I discuss the course. And that bigger hill, well, it was eliminated too as the course was pushed into the reserves (lava fields) versus going up that one hill. It is still a tough but fun course.

And as much as I wanted to run this course and place in my division, that wasn't what was going to happen. And yes, I looked at the times for my division and truly feel I could have cinched third if I ran strong. I will never know. 

But I do know many or all runners appreciate the race directors and volunteers along the course and that appreciation in indeed deserved. However, I didn't fully realize how hard it was to do that job. Let me tell you a little about what was involved.

The days leading up to the race:
My job was to secure volunteers, kinda. Yes, we had a volunteer coordinator and I spent a lot of time working along side her begging and pleading for volunteers. As well as reaching out to family, friends, and the local running community. The Wednesday before the race I met with the volunteers registered so far and went over details but I was still in need of 7 more people. And honestly, it took up until the last minute to fill the final spots and some position jiggling when one volunteer had car issues. But help walked right through the door at the last minute and thank goodness!

The day before the race:
I was still scrambling for volunteers, as you read above, and in the afternoon I went to the course with the Race Director and maintenance staff to start placing cones and directional signs. It took us just over 3 hours to lay out the course. Darling daughter and I got home later than usual, ate a late dinner, and went to bed early-ish for me, late for her, for a very early wake-up call for me. And yes, at home I was still texting the volunteer coordinator answering last minute questions. And I was texting the maintenance staff for our 4:30 am meeting point to verify the course was still set and get aid stations, etc. in place.

The day of the race:
My primary job was to ensure each volunteer was in place with proper directions and tools (vests, flags, etc.) and this started after spending over an hour driving the course fixing fallen cones and signs, setting up aid tables, filling coolers with water, replacing a broken cooler, etc. And before I knew it, I was receiving multiple calls at once from volunteers and staff confirming placement, needing supplies, and other last minute troubleshooting problems. The first runners were on the course and I still had a cooler and water jug to deliver (at two different locations) and a porta potty to unlock at a third location. I was in a race to stay ahead of the front runner. And yes, we did play a little leap frog along the way to the half marathon turn.

I would love to say things went beautifully but there were some course directional problems to remedy and others issues to tend to (such as an aid station running out of water and me stealing water from another aid station and rushing it to them - fortunately I got there before the water was completely gone). My goal to be at key points didn't work out as I was being pulled in 20 directions at once. At one point, I told some friends/course marshals that running a marathon would be easier than what I was doing right then. And I meant it. And I still do.

Eventually my job switched from course prep to course sweeping to alert volunteers to the last runners in each specific race so they knew when they could leave their post. When I made it back to the start/end I was so ready to go but darling daughter and I helped with some clean up before saying our good byes and heading home. Yep, she got to join in on the ride once dear hubby got on site to race.

Final Thoughts:
It was a hard day in which I drove over 100 miles while the runners were running. 100 miles is a lot especially for a running mom who really does not like to drive. But the time flew by and it was cool seeing all the runners along the course, recognizing faces, and sharing encouragement through smiles and waves. The volunteers rocked the boat and I truly appreciate each and every one out there on the course. They did a splendid job and made my job a wee bit easier, especially when they accepted that I would not be delivering their much deserved shirt until I saw them again. Every minute counted and I didn't have time to deal with that minor detail anymore. Each volunteer totally understood!

Would I do it again? Of course, if I needed to but I have to say, I am a runner and I would really prefer to run the course as a runner. However, this sweet little medal did bring a smile to my face when I received it from a co-worker the Monday after the race as there were times I was feeling less than excellent on race day (and wanted to cry once or twice) even though I was doing my best to reach perfection along the course.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunities I have in life, even the ones that may not seem like gifts initially.
Daily Affirmation: I may not be perfect but I always do my best!


My 5 Tips for Running Daily

This year I want to be running 38 mile weeks. Okay, in all reality, I want to go beyond 38 mile weeks into the 40's and perhaps some in the 50's. I am ambitious and am constantly setting higher goals for myself. But I am also a full-time employee, a mom, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a blogger, and an ambassador. All of these are just as important to me as running, running daily, and achieving my running goals.

But how do I find the time to run daily when life seems so full? Here are my five tips.

1. Make it a priority. Over a year ago running was my time to do something fun and good for myself. Running still holds that allure for me but the thing is, I changed my perspective of running from I will do this if I have time to I will do this every day. I will find the time.

2. Do it first and get it done with. I am not saying this to make it sound like a chore but initially, I forced myself to get the run done first thing to ensure I had the time to do it. I was too afraid things would come up and pull me away from my run so I made it my first task for the day. And hey, it is really cool to start the day with something fun, right? But  now after 402 consecutive days of running I know I will get my run in later in the day if I don't first thing. No doubts. No fears. I know I will find the time. Perhaps some runs may end up shorter but they will happen. But I don't totally tempt fate. For example, I knew Friday was going to be a late working day so I made myself run early. 5 miles before work was a blessing. And I wanted to run early Saturday but with a late night and an early rise to manage the course for a local race, it wasn't going to happen. But I knew I would find the time later in the day. And I did.

3. Do not feel guilty. It is okay and right to take time for yourself each day. Do not feel guilty about doing it because in all reality, do you think others are going to give up things they want to do all the time for you? Why should you constantly give up taking care of yourself? And when you do take care of yourself, you are a better person in all aspects of your life. You are worthy of your own attention, love, and care.

4. Communicate. I know, the c word - communication. We hear it all the time and often in this context, we need better communication. But seriously, talk about your goal to run daily, or whatever activity you want to do daily. Make it clear such as, I want and will take care of myself 10 minutes each day. The duration can vary but the statement is the same - I will take time each day to take care of me. My family knows my goal. I can't say they always agree but they know it and it has become the norm now. Just yesterday when I was lingering a bit longer with my breakfast and coffee darling daughter started pounding her feet around the house going boom, boom, boom. I finally realized she was mimicking the treadmill sound. I asked her about it and she returned my question with a question - Mommy, are your doing your run today at home? Note, she didn't ask if I was running today but clarifying where. And yes, I ran at home, at an incline, for over an hour and loved it!

5. Listen to your body. I can't promote any fitness routine and list tips without emphasizing the importance of really listening to your body enough. It will tell you what's up. There is pushing it and pushing it too far. Don't go too far. That is when injuries occur. And get rid of that silly ego that wants you to always go longer and faster. It is okay, and I strongly recommend, going slow on a regular basis. Your body will thank you and reward you with more running/fitness time!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my time each day.
Daily Affirmation: I am balanced in life.


January in Review

Do you believe today is the first day of February? Do you believe today is day 400 of my running streak? Yes, I did run. No, I am not blogging about that today as today isn't really over yet. In fact, it has kinda just begun for me. So let's look at January!

In 2012, I ran 98 miles in January. I did find out on the 31st that I could do 2 more miles to get to 100 but didn't have the time. Ironically, I feel the same time crunch this year as things are ramping up big time at work and something has to give. I am happy to say, I did a great job keeping my priorities straight because my running didn't give too much. I ended up with 147 miles in January this year! Woo-hoo!

It is not my highest mileage month in my running history but that is perfectly fine by me. What stands out to me, besides the fact that I ran more miles this January than last, is that I ran more miles this post-marathon month versus my last post-marathon month, which would be October with 144 miles. I like where my running is going and once I actually get to toe the next race line, I really do hope to see some positive benefits.

Since my 2013 Resolutions did have some good metrics I feel it is worthwhile to look at them each month and assess my progress. For the running daily, it is pretty easy to keep tabs on it and how I am progressing since I mark each day off on my home calendar, note each day in my running log book, and note each day on Daily Mile. Triplicate should work, right? January 31, 2013 marked day 399 of my running streak bringing me to 1,615 streak miles. But for the goal of reaching 2,013 miles by December 31, 2013....that one needs to be looked at so things won't slip away. I know it averages about 39 miles a week but I also knew going into this goal that my first weeks wouldn't be there. As of now, I have done 147 miles or about 34.2 miles a week. This is up from my weekly mileage in 2012 but I still have some base building to do. The goal is still attainable!

In addition, I have been working on bringing more yoga into my life. It really does feel good and I do see the positive benefits, or more accurately feel the tightness increase on days without yoga. It really is something I should get into the practice of doing daily, or at least every other day. It doesn't take long and I have faith I will get there.....eventually.

And finally, I am been playing with new recipes and trying to continue to eat cleaner with more fruits and veggies.

I am feeling pretty darn optimistic for February and the rest of the year!

How did your January go? Any hurdles or successes? Feel free to vent or brag away below!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful my gym has such early hours.
Daily Affirmation: I can balance all aspects of my life.