Push It Wednesday: #whatsbeautiful - The Picture Edition

Before you cringe about another sponsored post I must say, I would be writing this post today with this message even if I wasn't a sponsored participant in the Under Armour What's Beautiful campaign via FitFluential. The opportunity through FitFluential gave me the courage to open the door and participate but let's say I didn't have that opportunity and still found the courage to open the door. My message today would be the same. The Under Armour What's Beautiful campaign is a blessing to be a part of purely because of the positive impact it is having on me.

According to the campaign message, Under Armour is driven to redefine the female athlete and yes, I love being a part of it. Don't get me wrong, I do not think I single handedly can redefine anything. I was reading a book and love how it stated that one person is not big enough to make real change. I know...gulp! How dare I say that when so often we hear you can make a change? Well, yes, you can. But I am not naive enough to think that my little compost bin in my backyard is changing the world. My bin with thousands, perhaps millions others, is making the change. I am part of it. And you need to be part of the change you want to see. If you aren't, you are decreasing its odds of success. You need enough force to push that potential energy into kinetic energy and today, I am convinced I am part of the movement to redefine the female athlete. And here's why.

Being part of this campaign has changed me. It has changed how I view myself and my potential. It has reconnected me with my goals and given me more confidence in myself to achieve them. I have heard from other participants that they feel the same way. We are each individual pieces of the larger force. We are strong and capable women uniting to reach a goal and providing support even though we are competitors. What is more beautiful than changing I can't into I can...or at least will have the courage to try?

What is more beautiful than having the strength to pull yourself out of bed when the bed is warm and cozy? It is dark outside. You don't even see moonlight. And your goal - to run on a treadmill at the local gym. The goal isn't glamorous or exciting. But it is your goal.

What is more beautiful than having the courage to stop looking at the time slowly going by and to run and have faith? I tend to break down at the end of my longer races and really just want to know how much longer. When I ran the Maui Marathon with dear hubby I even asked him and he gave me a short lecture on how important it is to know your landmarks so you know how much further. Not the response I wanted. At the Honolulu Marathon I was at that tipping point but an angel who came to my rescue approached and told me not much longer, just keep running, you got this beautiful. What magical words to hear and I did finish that race feeling strong. Therefore, I know I need to train my mind and today I started to commit to that. My goal was 5 miles at tempo pace. I saw 0.1 miles, 0.2 miles, 0.4 miles, 0.5 miles. No way will I succeed if this keeps going. I told myself NO LOOKING until three songs have passed. Okay. 1.86 miles. 2.4 miles. 3.6 miles. 4.0 miles. Weakness took over and I looked after one song. I told myself not again. Two more songs. 4.74 miles. The finish line is in sight. Done.

What is more beautiful than being true to yourself? I love that running allows me to embrace my competitor side but I also love the support of the running community. I love that we care about our success and others. And yes, we may get jealous at times and yes, we may really want to pass that guy or lady right in front of us, but at the end of the day. We care. We are compassionate. That is beauty.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the sound of children's voices.
Daily Affirmation: I am beautiful. And no, I wouldn't have always been able to say that.


Strength Training Week 5

I am a bit late posting on week 5 of my strength training as yesterday, I wasn't feeling strong. I think three weeks of a tummy issue is taking its toll. Add on top an intense headache that I refuse to call a migraine and it doesn't leave this mom too happy. Fortunately darling daughter was a doll and let me rest and play on the couch bed. This morning, I am feeling somewhat better and I am only saying somewhat since the stomach is still a problem. And yes, I have seen a doctor, she ran bloodwork, and I am to schedule an ultrasound. This leaves me feeling pretty bugged about how this week has started so it is a good time to look at last week!

Since we had a mini-vacation to the Big Island I didn't think I was going to run more than a mile on Tuesday. Plans changed and I got a little run in. Short and sweet and slow in order to take some pictures along the way. It was nice and all in all, I ran outside twice last week! My Sunday run was also an outside run. Nice and easy hills.

Big Island
My greatest success was actually pulling off 4.5 miles at tempo pace Wednesday afternoon. The goal was 4 miles. My mind thought 0 miles. I got home late the night before. I was tired. My stomach was hurting. I did it.

And for this week, I am already accepting I am not going to hit the plan's miles and not just because of the tummy but I have so many other family plans too!

Have a great week!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my beautiful bird house darling daughter and I painted.
Daily Affirmation: I know when to rest.


What's Beautiful: An Open Letter to my 16 year old self

I am honored to be a sponsored participant in the Under Armour What's Beautiful campaign through my FitFluential ambassadorship. To me, this journey isn't about winning, it is about redefining what is beautiful for the female athlete. I realize that Under Armour has a more global goal but for me, I feel the journey needs to be specific to the individual, that woman or young lady reaching to obtain her goals.

As a mom I do think about the journey darling daughter will face. Girls can be mean. I was mentioning this yesterday to a co-worker and she said, yes, they can be. They will always be. Just teach yours to be nice. And that is what I am trying to do. But I also feel I need to aim to give her the strength of character I didn't have when I was younger. I was nice. I was not confident.

If I could go back in time and talk to my 16 year old self I would have a lot to say.

First, I would say, girls can be mean. Be proud of yourself and no, your legs and butt are not too big. A size 6 is perfectly healthy. Beauty isn't defined by a number on the scale or a tag. Don't stress too much when you gain weight in college. Don't let that number on the scale make you think you are not beautiful. You will dig deep. You will decide to make a change. You will go from a size 12 to a size 2. You will gain weight again when you get pregnant. Do not let the "you are so big" comments make you think you are not beautiful. You are. You will lose that baby weight. You will get back to pre-pregnancy weight and you will become fitter than you have ever been. You are an example of continual improvement. You are committed. You are beautiful.

Second, I am glad you stopped bleaching your hair. That just damages it and later in life, you are going to love your red highlights and aim to enhance them with henna. And those crazy waves you try to tame, just let them be. It isn't worth the struggle trying to make your hair be something it isn't. You will never be fully happy with it but you will learn that it is yours and who you are. It is being true to yourself that is beautiful. Let your natural you shine. You are beautiful.

Third, that high school soccer team that you are part of is not a true representation of a team and how women support each other. Do not listen to them and do not let their air of superiority make you think you are less. You have a lot of talent within. And the coach that chastised you for running fast and well instead of staying behind with those who were dragging you down emotionally, forget about it. That day you were pushing your limits, seeing what you could do, you were finding that you indeed have running legs. That is a very important day. You trained well the summer before. You ran on your own and that day you realized hard work pays off and that you are capable. Hold on to that. And don't worry, later in life you are going to find out what true teamwork is. You are going to find a support group of online runners, fitness enthusiasts, and fellow ambassadors that will amaze you beyond belief. You will give and receive support as we all strive to reach our biggest dreams. And believe it or not, you will reconnect with some of those friends/acquaintances from high school. Ironically, you will feel the most support from those who didn't seem as close to you in those younger years. You will open your heart to them. You are beautiful.

Take pride in this time of your life. This is the time when you are learning just how strong you are. That boy you are with right now who you believe you will be with for the rest of your life. Well, your paths separate but he will continue to be a dear friend and a great support. He will be an instrumental piece in you developing your inner strength and confidence. He will get you to Maui and then you will stay there on your own. It will be scary. You will do it. You will find your soul mate and then leave him on Maui when you move to O'ahu. You will cry the moment you walk into your new apartment. You will try to find a Wal-Mart for food but end up back where you started hungry, scared, teary, and feel very alone. You will be on the verge of running out a gas and lost. You will feel hopeless. But you will find your way. You will find your strength. Those days will become the days that cement your character. You will start running to run in college but on O'ahu you will become a runner. A runner determined to compete and continually improve. The stage is set. You find your inner beauty and you will move back to Maui and have a daughter of your own. You are beautiful.

You will begin to think of food as fuel. You will respect your body more each and every day. You will become a running coach and continue to have big dreams. You will become a sponsored participant in the Under Armour What's Beautiful campaign and have the courage to tell the world that in high school fellow students made you feel bad and worthless. That you felt ugly but now you realize, you weren't. You are beautiful. 

You will continue to care what people think at times but be able to tell yourself when it doesn't matter. You will continue to strive to be the best you but you will no longer aim to be perfect. You will learn perfect doesn't really exist. You will learn to love yourself for who you are. You will be driven to live a life you will be proud your daughter followed. You will try to fill her with confidence and arm her with the love she needs when she faces her own battles. You will love unconditionally. You will remember your face and eyes when you were in kindergarten when life seems so big right when your daughter is about to embark on those same milestones. You are beautiful.

Your beauty comes from your strength and your determination. You will step on a treadmill one afternoon for a 7 mile run with 4 miles at tempo pace. You will feel tired from the start. Two minutes into the tempo run you will want to quit. You will allow yourself to ease the pace from the target pace of 8'20" to 8'27". You will tell yourself you must run 20 minutes at this pace, then you can do 10 minutes at easy pace, then another 20 minutes at tempo pace. You will bribe yourself that if you do the full 4 miles at tempo pace you won't have to go for a full 40 minutes (in two segments). You stick to your guns. You repeat "I will" and "strength". You find your inner strength. You will run 4.5 miles at tempo pace and complete a 7.23 mile run. You are beautiful.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for soft, cozy sweaters.
Daily Affirmation: I am beautiful and my beauty comes from my inner strength.


Am I a kindrunner?

Recently, kindrunner approached me about being an ambassador and asked me to blog about their movement. My life was busy full and I replied, I will get back to you as I need time to think. But then all I could think about was kindrunner. The name intrigued me. Their introductory email that talked about turning old running shoes into new shoes for someone in need intrigued me. Okay, kindrunner was now on the top of my to do list to investigate.

I checked out their website, which is still a temporary website with minimal information as they are not formally launching until June 1st. That isn't too far away! And the first thing I did was watch this video. I loved the what if questions. The idea of a new running partner. The images. The brands represented. Really, go check it out. It is worth watching yourself.

But in a nutshell, here is what kindrunner is hoping to achieve.

They want to by a new running partner for runners. A team of runners with a combined 40+ years of experience working in the running industry are beginning this movement. And what is the movement? The movement to take all those running shoes that are no longer good for running miles and change them into something good. We all have those shoes somewhere. Perhaps in our closet. Hopefully not in the landfill. Perhaps they are donated and that is good.

But honestly, we can all strive to do things just a bit better. I must confess, I do have plenty of retired running shoes in my closet. Dear hubby has some lining the steps outside our house. I do occasionally clean up my stash and donate to a local thrift store that supports a local church and preschool. But I often wonder if someone else really will wants to pay a $1, $5, or whatever for my old sweaty shoes. Is this the right thing to do? At one moment of weakness I even tossed a pair into our trash can. Dear hubby pulled them out and donated them for me. Thank goodness! He saved me from feeling guilty that night and digging through our trash can dark and early the next morning. I would have. It is good to have a team...a partner...that encourages you to be more kind.

I think kindrunner could be that additional partner in my life. Imagine this. I need new running shoes. I go to their website, pick out a brand and model I like, have them shipped to me with no shipping charges, and receive a pre-paid return label. You can then stuff as many shoes as you can fit in the box you received your shoes in and send them back. It is true. I asked. What if you have more shoes you want to donate to the cause? You can send them yourself to their mailing address, which will be available on their site. Again, I asked. However, if you are good and let go of a pair of shoes for each new pair you receive, it will be easy and at no additional cost to you! And you will receive "Kindness Cash Rewards" to be used towards future purchases.

That is all nice for you but what about those old shoes? Where is the good in that?

Kindrunner will give the shoes to their donation partners, which includes Soles 4 Souls and the More Foundation, to benefit people truly in need. The shoes get refurbished and that is the one element my donation to a local thrift store is missing. They just get my old shoes....not my old shoes but better!

I am eager to what kindrunner unfold and grow into an awesome running partner. You can be part of it too! They are already on facebook, twitter, instagram, and youtube. And on their website right now, you can enter your email for the chance to win a free pair of running shoes for a year!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for people reaching out to me and learning new things.
Daily Affirmation: I have the power to be a kindrunner!

P.S. I was not compensated for this post. I was asked to write it as part of the kindrunner ambassador program. Ambassadors may receive product to receive at times for product reviews. This opinions expressed are solely my own and honestly, I wanted to write this post as it is aligned with my passions in life - being a runner and setting a good example of taking better care of the Earth for my darling daughter.


Strength Training Week 4

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a splendid weekend full of happy running. My weekend rocked and I virtually supported runners going out there and chasing down their big dreams. It really lifts my spirits to see people bite the bullet and give it a try, especially after having a somewhat hard odd week myself.

Here is my training in a nutshell.

Yep, I was all over the place. And as a running coach looking at just this week, I would be sitting my client down and having a serious talking to clarify what they thought they were doing. Were they just making things up as they ran along? Why were they totally neglecting the plan?

And here is my response. Well, yes. I was kind of making it up while I went along. No, I wasn't neglecting the plan...it just didn't fit. See that 10K there? Well, that race was cancelled so I didn't need to taper a few days prior. I stuck to the plan and didn't run a tempo run this week! But I thought it was the prime opportunity to get in a good long run especially since my running early in the week wouldn't negatively impact total miles. Yes, I ended up running 42.51 miles. Yes I did up the miles the couple of days before my long run. Yes that seems crazy in comparison to what the plan stated with 26-33 miles total miles but here's why I thought it was okay....even with running a bit more before the long run.

See, I was being good, wasn't I? I am aligned with my weekly mileage for the past 8 weeks.

And as a coach I would say, yes. You did good. But I would also question that pace of 8'54" on your long run. What happened there?

My response, I started out fast. I know I did. I eased up. I kept telling myself pace didn't matter. Time didn't matter. Run easy. And it did feel okay. I felt I was at my easy pace even feared I was slow. I wasn't checking in on my time constantly as I didn't want that mental game. Pace too slow. I feel bad. Pace too fast. I feel scared and stressed. In all reality, the run felt good almost start to finish. But it was hot and with essentially no breeze. I had a couple of wisps here and there but not enough. There was even a time when all I could do was think of water and couldn't get to the water fountain fast enough. I even thought about begging for some. I did try to ease my pace since I knew I was very hot and in need of water. This was the not so good time. The water fountain was an oasis. I gulped some down immediately, filled my bottle up again, and took off running squeezing water on my head and neck and making sure I didn't drink too much too fast. But I felt better just knowing I had water again but chastised myself for not carrying an extra Vega Sport Hydrator to add to my refilled bottle. I think electrolytes would have been nice. The final stretch of the run did have some shade but also a nice uphill climb. This part always feels tough but I know it is good training and doesn't everyone finish a long run with a nice uphill climb?

Along the run I consumed 2 Vega Sport Endurance gels and the initial Hydrator. I just used one packet in my 12 oz of water. I didn't feel the need for extra fuel and felt I moved from one gel to the next without feeling completely worn and in need of more. All in all, it was a great run! And perhaps it is time to schedule a time trial to look at my training paces again. What do you think?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my family.
Daily Affirmation: I am growing as a runner.


Running Doubles: Should you do it?

I have been running for years. I haven't always considered  myself a runner, but I am. Here is my history, I played soccer throughout elementary school, junior high, and high school. I remember talking my mom into letting me play, with a good friend's help. She said yes, but I couldn't quit. I don't think she knew what she was getting herself into with practices to make, games to go to, me kicking the ball against the side of the house for hours on end, my dad coaching, etc. I didn't quit. Our team ran track, I ran on the weekends, I ran over the summer. I played and then, I graduated high school.

I gained weight like most of us heading off to college. I started taking the aerobic running class and that was the start of a whole new world of running. I liked it and I didn't need a soccer ball or teammates. My coach taught me not to fear a race, to just sign up, and do it. I ran my first 5K in college. I loved it and it felt good to run for charity. I graduated from college, got a real job, and running took a side seat. Yes, I did run from time to time but it went further on the back burner when I moved from Texas to Hawaii. But it came back up to the forefront with my dreams to run a marathon. I trained hard. I ran. I have completed three marathons. And throughout this I pretty much stuck to one run a day. I probably could count the number of times I ran doubles on one hand. And in all reality, that was smart. I was building base. I was increasing my aerobic threshold. I was doing it right.

But the more I run the bigger my dreams become. I have HUGE dreams that go beyond the times I want for the two marathons on my plate this year. And that means, I need to run more. And I started throwing in doubles. I started carefully, once a week do a second run if I needed a few more miles. Keep it short. Keep it easy. Keep it slow. Slow. Slow.

And then something magical happened. As I review my training on a regular basis I realize I am running more doubles. Yes, more than once a week. Sometimes up to 3-4 times a week but usually between 2-3. And I am feeling good. But the question remains....

Should you run doubles?

Before I answer that let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of running twice a day. On the bright side, it is a good way to increase your weekly mileage. This is my main reason for running doubles. I can only do so much some mornings before work. By adding in a second run later in the day, I am able to hit my mile goals for the day and the week. Trust me, this is easier for me than waking up before 3:00 am. Running doubles also increases your training benefits. Think of it this way, your first run depletes your glycogen stores and then you are adding in a second run. This only boosts your body's ability to replenish your depleted glycogen. Sounds good, huh? And it increases recovery. Huh? You would think running twice could wear you down further but if done properly, adding in another easy run that is meant to help recovery will increase recovery. It will get your blood flowing and move nutrients and oxygen to your muscles.

But all good things have down sides. If running doubles had no risks everyone would be doing it from day one. But the thing is, everyone shouldn't. You need to have a solid base in place first because runners need the long runs, and the time on our feet running, to build up aerobic endurance. With this said, I strive to do all my long runs in one run when I do have the time. I do not want to break that run up since I do need my body to get used to running long in order to race long. And yes, there are back-to-back long runs. I have done them. I will continue to do them when needed but that is another post. And doubles can be tiring. If you are not able to run 30-40 minutes with ease I would not suggest adding the extra effort of running doubles. Your body needs time to heal and recover. And finally, running doubles can be mentally tough. We all know that some days it is hard to lace up our shoes and get out and run. Imagine doing that twice!

Is it worth it?

For me, yes. It is helping me reach my training goals and I can't wait to see how it impacts my race performance in the marathons this year. And stay tuned for how I hope it will make my even BIGGER dreams come true!

So, should you run doubles? 

Yes, if it fits your goals and if you are an experienced runner with a solid base. Add the second run in slowly. Stick with once a week for awhile until you get used to the new training effort. Keep the second run slow and easy. And don't forget to enjoy it! And if you notice you are getting too tired or your body is aching too much, listen to it. Sleep. Get a massage. Soak in an Epsom salt bath. Ease up for a bit. Just remember, take care of yourself! And finally, I strongly suggest putting at least 6 hours between your two runs. On the days I run doubles, I tend to do one in the wee morning hours and the second in the afternoon about 9-10 hours later.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for Aloha Friday!
Daily Affirmation: I have a kind heart.


Peanut Butter Carrot Muffin Recipe

I mentioned I didn't have my normal peanut butter muffin the other day, and that I had it today, and got lots of requests for a recipe. So today seems like the perfect day for making recipe dreams come true!

I can't take full credit for this recipe as I did get inspired from Jessica Seinfeld and her Deceptively Delicious cookbook. If you haven't seen it before, check it out. It has lots of ideas for sneaking veggies into food if you have picky eaters. I don't but I still like the idea of increasing the nutritional value of the meals I make. Plus, I loved the idea of having a freezer stocked of purees! It keeps healthy food right at your fingertips almost year round...if you stay on top of your preparations. And I probably don't puree as nicely as Jessica Seinfeld does...perhaps a finely chopped mix....but it works for my purposes in life.

So here is how I "puree" my carrots. And once again, it isn't the true puree that is the consistency of baby food. If that is what you are looking for, do it better than I do. Big smiley face! When I am feeling ambitious and have the time, I will steam my carrots first and I tend to buy the huge bag of baby carrots from Costco. This leaves us some for snacking and many for prepping. If I am lazy or short on time, I skip the steaming step and I can't say there is much of a difference from my standpoint. But please remember, I am not concerned about texture. After steaming a bit, I fill up my food processor with the carrots, put the cover on, and start chopping. I will add water if it seems the food isn't moving right but try not to add too much. Perhaps if I added more I may actually get to the true puree stage! P.S. I freeze all my puree in pre-measured 1/2 cup baggies. Yep, I am fully listening to Jessica Seinfeld now! And I am still dreaming of a way to prep, freeze, and store and make less of a negative impact on the environment but still have room in my freezer. And in case you are interested, I fold those quart sized bags up in thirds and store in ice cube bins. You know, those white ones that you could put ice cubes from the ice cube trays into and then get another tray going. Yes, I did that as a kid. Yes, I have an ice cube maker now. No, the dispenser doesn't work. But I am digressing....

The Recipe!

Here is the recipe I use and it isn't 100% the same as the one in the cookbook. Did I mention I have a tendency to not follow recipes 100%? It may be a problem one day. And if you actually have this cookbook, it is the Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins on page 63. And no, I don't do jelly. Ucky face!

1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy)
1/2 cup carrot puree
1/4 cup brown sugar (the recipe calls for 1/2 so go ahead and increase if you want it sweeter)
2 Tbl butter (I am thinking about cutting this out and trying applesauce)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (my last batch I had to use an 6 oz cup of Chobani banana yogurt minus a bite....to make it closer to 1/2 cup obviously!)
1 egg white (I really think sometimes I just throw in the whole egg...minus the shell please)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (I have learned that my coarse Hawaiian salt is not a good substitute, use plain salt unless you want a salty bite here and there)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I lightly spray my reusable muffin cups. The recipe says it makes 12 muffins. I make 15-18 of them.

Now here is the big confession, I just add it all into a large mixing bowl and then mix. I know that I am supposed to mix the dry's and wet's and then combine. That is just more dirty dishes. And don't be shocked by the doughy, sticky, gummy consistency. It is amazing how food combines. Divide between the muffins cups and bake.

Ironically, the recipe says 20-25 minutes and I do bake 20-25 minutes even though my muffins must be smaller since I made more of them. My oven might be cooler than I think.

I cool the muffins on a rack for a few minutes before taking them out of the reusable muffin cups. Once they are fully cool, I wrap individually in plastic wrap, put in a large freezer bag, label, seal, and freeze. Then I can grab one out the night before my run and it is ready in the morning! And it is easy to grab one, heat it up, and add a little extra peanut butter on top for a snack! Yummy!

I know, the whole individual wrapping isn't aligned with green living but hey, I am trying and I do re-use the larger freezer bag for a few batches! Or at least until it has seen many better days.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for recipe books.
Daily Affirmation: I discover yumminess when I don't follow recipes 100%...at least most of the time.


Push It Wednesday: #IWILL

If you read my last Push It Wednesday post than you know I am actively participating in the Under Armour What's Beautiful campaign as a FitFluential Ambassador.

My #IWILL goal is to run strong and beautiful in two marathons this year. One in September and one is December. They are the same two marathons I ran last year and I am really hoping to run both of them without any nagging coughs or other health issues. Fingers crossed.

You can listen me explain how I came up with my goal HERE but it is time to make it S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely). After all, how can I measure strong or beautiful? How can anyone? In some regards, strength is easier to measure because you can establish parameters that lifting x pounds or doing x push up's makes one strong. But is that true? Isn't it relative to the person? And what about inner strength? How do you measure that? The mental strength needed to complete any long distance run to me is completely impossible to measure.

And what about beauty? It can be argued that a symmetrical face is beautiful and our symmetry measured with a scale of beauty applied but I argue, this is only skin deep. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. And in all reality, I find the inner beauty, the strength of character, the compassion, the heart of gratitude, the giving nature, the intellect, etc. of a person to be the true definers of beauty. Beauty is from within and blossoms up. A beautiful person doesn't necessarily have to have the face that society considers beautiful and that is the beauty of things!

So why establish a goal that has two subjective elements? Because they are two elements that are at the core of my essence and how I want to live my life. I want to model a life I would be proud my daughter followed. I want to model strength and beauty...and I am talking inner beauty, the beauty of character.

This is why I love the essence behind the What's Beautiful campaign and am ecstatic to redefine what's beautiful for the female athlete. It isn't a number on a scale. It isn't a size. It isn't a symmetrical equation. It is the essence of being female, demonstrating strength, being committed, pushing limits. and all the while, being nurturing. Now that is beautiful!

How will I know I have achieved my goal? Yes, I do have time dreams of breaking a 4:20 and then 4:00 marathon but I can achieve my goal without that icing on top. My metrics are running my training plan. Not giving up when the going gets tough. Adding in core training and strength training. And come race day, I will know I have run strong and beautiful if I stay true to myself, believe in myself. run my own race, and appreciate the gift of running I have been blessed with. I will smile and thank those who support me and all the other runners. I will run with a grateful heart. And when or if I hit that wall, I will refuse to give in to temptation to slow down. I will dig deeper, listen to what my body is really saying, and move on!

What goals are you pushing yourself to achieve? Feel free to join me on Team Push It where I will be putting up weekly challenges to help us all become stronger and more beautiful!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for these kind words from a dear friend.
Daily Affirmation: I am able to keep my priorities in life balanced.


Just a little rest.....

Life is full of up's and down's. Sunday was an up. Day 500 of my running streak kind of up coupled with Mother's Day and new yurbuds. It made my irritability less of an issue and the blessings in life more prominent. You can read about my Mother's Day HERE.

Yesterday was a down. Just worn out tired down. Enough of the irritability and hormonal fluctuations I can't even run 2 miles down. But I got to love the outpouring of Daily Mile support!

I think it is human tendency to tell the good stories. The stories of strength and inspiration. No one really wants to tell the stories of when they felt weak...except perhaps a few and I am one of those silly women who do like to share those stories as well.

Life can be hard and full of challenges. Some you put on yourself. Some other forces put on you. I make it a habit to look for and recognize the daily blessings in my life but I am only human and sometimes, I get overwhelmed. I have been worried about a friend and it has been taking its toll of me. It was interfering with my sleep in the form of nightly bad dreams until I said, enough is enough. I can't worry about things I have no control over. Yes, my concern is still there but I can't let it consume me so much. Add this worry to normal hormonal fluctuations and my irritability was mounting and I didn't even want to be with me. Plus, stress leads to itchy painful outbreaks for me. A change needed to take place. I needed to get back to me. I need to be a good mom. I needed my inner peace.

And I ran less. Usually I run more when I am stressed but yesterday my gut said, just call it a wrap. Rest. It is okay. Don't worry about your plan. You will hit your target miles. You are okay. Rest. And I did. If you consider resting cleaning up, making lunches, making dinner, etc. But hey, life doesn't stop just because Mom is tired.

After getting darling daughter to bed I tried to hang out with dear hubby but I was tired. I went to bed early thinking if I fall asleep right now I will get a good 7 hours of sleep before running before work. Fingers crossed for no bad dreams. My dreams were normal. Darling daughter was coughing. I didn't have uninterrupted sleep and when my alarm went off right before 4:00 am, I silenced it, changed the time for another hour, and rolled back over. Yes, I chose to sleep a bit more. I needed it.

Sleep is healing. With the normal life and running stresses I need x-amount. Add in additional stressors, I need more. My body needed a chance to heal and recover from last week. I need sleep to fight the outbreak. Did it work? Yes. I am feeling much better. I am confident I can run 4-6 miles, as planned, after work at home. Running on the incline treadmill isn't my favorite. My pace is slow. It takes so long. But I will do it and I have a feeling I'm going to love it!

Last night's sleep has changed my perspective. I feel stronger and ready to conquer the challenges of the day. My friend....I am still worried about her but I have to have faith that a stronger force will help her overcome her challenges. I can be there for her. I can pray. But the battle is hers to fight, not mine. I did what I can do and have to remember this is one of those times for the Serenity Prayer to take a stronger presence in my life.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for pleasant dreams.
Daily Affirmation: I have the power to be the change I want to see!  


Running Streak Day 500 and beyond

It just doesn't seem right to blog as usual today with a milestone being passed yesterday. Yep, I got to run day 500 of my running streak on Mother's Day. This is very special to me for many reasons but one reason is because the lady who inspired me to try this happened to start her running streak on Mother's Day, which happened to fall on May 10th for her, and she is "streaking" amazing! 3 years amazing. And ready to tackle 100 miles amazing. Thanks so much Shelly!

How did I celebrate day 500? The thought of running long and solo outside tempted me for awhile but then, it was going to be Mother's Day and I really wanted to be with my daughter. What can I say? We did do slumber party night and that created a situation with not enough sleep for us, darling daughter getting whiny, me getting irritable (sleep deprivation for a few days due to bad dreams and the wrong time of the month was adding up), and creating a wonderful tension-filled day. I started my day with 5 miles for 500 days, argued with darling daughter about what to wear to church, decided it didn't matter what she wore, told her she was right and could wear whatever she wanted, we both were intensely disappointed that rain prevented us from going to our lavender field scavenger hunt, we went to the movies instead, returned home, dear hubby went outside to run in the rain, I did another 3 miles or so on the treadmill just to test out my new yurbuds and guess what? I wouldn't change a thing! It is the perfect representation of my life and my ongoing juggling act of trying to get everything in while finding some resemblance of peace of mind! It is the life of a Mom.

Now onto training!

The moments that make a mom proud!
I have completed my third week of strength training and I have been feeling out of focus and missing my longer runs. It couldn't happen last week and this week I had other commitments as well. On Saturday, darling daughter and I skipped our standard gym routine to walk for charity. And I am so proud of that little girl since she walked almost the entire 5K! The aid stations rocked the boat too! I will be feeling very deprived at my next marathon and missing the nut and fruit bars, pineapple pieces, strawberries, orange slices, and random gifts along the way. But then, I really wouldn't want to carry a freebie given to me along the course while running 26.2 miles.

As much as I tried to prepare for this weekend with front loading my miles, I felt like I was failing miserably. I was obviously too tired, too crampy, too stressed, and too irritable to see what was really unfolding before my eyes. I didn't realize how far my legs carried me and am quite happy to say I ran 40.9 miles this week! I just don't really know how I did it. Okay, some double days and commitment but still, they snuck up on me. And if you wanted to count that walking time of my feet, it would bring me to 44 miles this week but I won't officially count those miles as they are not streak miles.

I would love to say my plan for next week is crystal clear but the thing is, I am not racing on Saturday now since that race was cancelled. So no need for a couple of days of taper. I can run longer and not race 10K hard. Time will tell what I end up producing but I would love another 40+ week. And next week, there is no tempo run on the plate. Just easy running. It should be good! But right now, I am kinda missing the idea of pushing myself hard on Wednesday with a tempo run.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my Mom.
Daily Affirmation: I am setting a good example for my daughter even when I am showing her that even moms can have hard days and will need to say, I'm sorry I was grouchy. 


April in Review

I feel like I am spinning crazily from one thing to the next. I am not reading blogs as much as I want, I am not commenting on Daily Mile as much as I want, but yet, I am adding in a zillion other fun things! There is just not enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do! Does anyone else have this issue?

And hey, it is only a little over a week into May before I actually reflect back on April publicly!

The Numbers

If you saw my post earlier this month, I was shocked to realize I ran 175 miles in April. Check it out!

How on Earth did that happen without me fully realizing it? I am usually somewhat aware of my mileage for each month during the month. Or at least, I used to be. In April 2012 I ran 109 miles so I am feeling pretty confident with my training progression so far. April 30, 2013 marked day 488 of my running streak and brought me to 2,027 streak miles. I have run 559 miles in 2013 and am averaging 32.6 miles per week so far this year. Yippee! I am up from my average mileage reported in March (that was 29.8 miles per week) and almost back to where I was before March (that was 32.9 miles per week). Why does all this matter? Because I want to run 2,013 miles in 2013 so I need to continue to increase my average weekly mileage to get to that goal. It is still within reach so I am not giving up.

My Body and Mind

My body is feeling good. I still worry about that IT band issue that popped up in March every now and then but think I am doing well in preventative care. I am working on stretching and adding in other elements of strength training....well, on most days. I tried to do more Ab work in April. I started out good but in all reality, after the Spring Bootie Buster Challenge ended and the Jacaranda Race I wanted to do was cancelled, my mind left the running/training game some. I kept running but my heart was having a hard time being in it. But I regained my focus and am trying to not look back on what I didn't do but to look on what I did do and what I have the potential to continue to do.

I am working on fueling my body cleaner. I have said good bye to Gatorade and GU gels and have turned to the Vega Sport product line. The only item I am having a hard time adjusting to is the Endurance gel but I have only used two gels, one each in two separate runs. I am going to keep trying it out to see if I get better accustomed to the texture and taste. But I gotta say, I am loving the pre-workout drink in the mornings in place of coffee and the recovery drink right after my run. I still turn to protein powder as well but am doing so later in the day as part of my main breakfast. Working with a nutritionist is helping pinpoint when to eat what and how much. I look forward to reporting more on that later.

May Goals

This month I took on two new running clients and I am striving to be a good source of information and motivation for them while they move through their training plans. They both have completely different goals so I find it quite fun to provide guidance and loved making each of their individual training plans. I just love running and making training plans that much!

Personally, I want to get back into my core strength workouts in addition to the almost daily squats I am doing. I want to stick to my training plan, grow my tempo run, and build up my weekly mileage a wee bit more. Wish me luck!

Finally, I am a sponsored participant in the Under Armour What's Beautiful campaign and invite you to join my team.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for cell phones and the ability to talk to darling daughter when dear hubby brings her to school...even on those days when she is having a rough morning.
Daily Affirmation: I can dig deep and find my inner strength when I need to do so.


Push It Wednesday: What's Beautiful?

This is a sponsored post for Under Armour What's Beautiful through FitFluential

Aloha and here we are again to another Wednesday, another hump day, another Push It Wednesday. It is the perfect opportunity to fill you in on the journey I am embarking upon with Under Armour What's Beautiful campaign. Under Armour is redefining What's Beautiful for the female athlete and I am completely stoked to be part of it, to set a goal, to embrace the challenge, and to encourage you to join in.

If you have been following my blog, you are used to my Push It Wednesday posts. If you are new, in a nutshell, Push It Wednesday is a day I am dedicating to pushing myself just a little further to achieve my running goals. I choose Wednesday mainly as a replacement for Wordless Wednesday as I am hardly ever wordless and because in all reality, Wednesdays are tough. It is the hump day. It may be harder to get up and do what you need to do. And if I am going to do a longer run or run harder mid-week, Wednesday is the perfect day to let me push myself harder and recover in time for my true long run on the weekends.

Why all this pushing? Because I have HUGE goals. Goals I want to achieve. I could go into them and ramble on forever as I have that many. They are pretty much the same but when it got down to it and I had to state my goal for the What's Beautiful campaign, that was a bit harder. What goal did I want to commit to publicly? What goal is truly the big goal that will define me as a female athlete? And yes, even though I will never be an Olympian I am an athlete. I just recently accepted that truth mainly when my nutritionist told me as such. But I digress....

My goal.....here it is! Instead of writing it down, I chose to vlog about it. Go ahead and watch it! I will stay right here and you will even get to see a wonderful blooper that truly made the video worth keeping! Gotta love unexpected events!

I am sure you have big goals for yourself and I challenge you to take the leap, join the Under Armour What's Beautiful contest and join my team, Push It!

I will be setting up a few challenges for team participants and updating my participation on a weekly basis. Stay tuned as next week I will fill you in on how I will be translating my What's Beautiful goal to a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

And did I push myself today? Absolutely! All week I had it in my mind that I was to do a 4 mile tempo run today. When I looked at my schedule last night I saw it said 3 miles at tempo pace. So this morning, I told myself to do 3-4 miles at tempo pace but deep down, I wanted the 4 miles since I did 3.5 miles last week. I successfully did 4 miles at tempo. It was hard but I am feeling good and strong now.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for signs of compassion.
Daily Affirmation: My eyes are a beautiful window to my soul.


Strength Training Week 2

Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. There is a house down the road that was recently purchased. Darling daughter and I have been loving watching the transformation. A fence going up. The house being painted. Trim work done. Chairs on the patio. The land being cleared. It makes the first change, our teddy bear tree trunk being pulled out, more bearable. We loved that bear.

I am one of those people who truly does love being active and doing things with my hands. And with watching so much work being done by others and the awesome difference it makes, it is hard to not be inspired. So those things I have been dreaming about doing around our yard...yep, I have been tackling them off the list and I am loving the transformation going on around our house! Thing is, those two or more hours of shoveling, digging, leveling, moving rocks, etc. is a major workout! And the time devoted to that is time not devoted to running. And I will get back to that in a minute.

What did I run?

My plan was 38-47 miles. I ran 36.23 miles. This is the first week in five training weeks that I did not meet my mileage goal. And a lot of my running was at home on the incline treadmill meaning a slower pace but I did bust out my 3.5 mile tempo run on Wednesday!

Here is what my running looks like:

How am I feeling?

A little disappointed in myself but with no regrets. And let me tell you, it is really hard to balance those two emotions since they are so contradictory. This weekend was the annual feast/festival at my darling daughter's school and due to a mandatory fundraiser, we had lots of scrip! Therefore, it is the one festival that darling daughter gets to play her little heart out and it started Friday evening with a performance, we returned Saturday, and we returned Sunday. Yes, we played every single day of the feast. That adds up to over 8 hours of playing and having a grand ol' time!

And remember all that gardening, now I am up to over 10 hours of time doing things that bites into running time. Add in the planting plants, watering plants, and composting and I am busy, busy, busy. And please do not forget the little birdhouse darling daughter and I put together and started painting. Yep, we have been having fun!

So I am disappointed I didn't meet my goal and part of me feels like I failed. The logical part of me says it is okay, I worked my body in many different ways, and I wouldn't trade in the fun I had with darling daughter for more running time this weekend. It was a once in a year event at her school, something to be cherished. This is the no regrets part.

What did I learn?

Doing what is right is indeed right. It doesn't mean you will feel peachy keen each second but deep down, you are at peace with yourself. And perhaps I shouldn't have done so much running at home. Perhaps some more gym runs at a slightly faster pace may lift my spirits more. I will remember that next time!

Oh yeah, and moving rocks is HARD work!

How did I fuel?

I am sticking to the same routine but with no long runs this week, there was no gels on mid-run nutrition. But on a side note, I treated myself to a mocha freeze at the feast! It was delicious and indulgent! For the rest of my snacking, I ate pretty healthy and completely resisted eating any malasadas! And by bringing our own water, darling daughter and I stayed hydrated without being tempted by sugary drinks, although on Saturday we did have to refill our bottle by buying some water!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the most generous boy and mom who gave darling daughter the two fish the boy won. Darling daughter was crushed and in tears when we failed to win her one. She gave the boy her last scrip in exchange. Not necessarily an equal exchange, the game was 5 scrip, but it was a lesson in love, kindness, and paying back kind acts with more kindness. It still brings happy tears to my eyes.
Daily Affirmation: I am setting a good example for darling daughter to follow.


Holy Batman Baby!

Lookie at what I just saw!

My full review will be coming soon but gotta love how April turned out. And love how my body is feeling after those miles. BIG SMILES!

Want some more craziness?

This is what a cane fire looks like.

This one is small, timid, and pales in comparison to the raging cane fire I saw this morning. It got me nervous as soon as I saw the two areas of red. Driving towards fire is indeed unnerving. I once had the attitude, it is just a cane fire, drive on. Then there was that day when the cane fire got out of control, jumped the road, the sides of the road were on fire, and myself, and other cars, found ourselves in a thick blanket of smoke with zero visibility. Yep, I am more cautious these days.

I would have tried to take a picture but my phone doesn't do the cane fires justice so it wasn't even worth pulling over to try. Plus, there was a cop driving behind me and I really felt if I pulled over, he would do the same to see what was wrong with me. I didn't want to try to explain I wanted to take a picture for my blog and him laugh at me since he would know too that the picture doesn't do the fire justice. None of this may have happened but it distracted my mind from the nervous driving and for that, I am thankful.

And here is just a bit of black snow to make things more interesting. Ash....it is messy. And nope, this picture doesn't do the messy ash justice either.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the running I was blessed with this month.
Daily Affirmation: I have the power to do wonderful things each and every day!


Push It Wednesday: Tempo Runs

I am on day 489 of my running streak and there are many other times, besides just Wednesdays, when I need to push it. Yesterday I felt deflated. With the Spring Bootie Buster Challenge done and a local race cancelled that I had my eyes on, the wind had left my sails. It was easy to not get up before work and run with the excuse I didn't want to fill my car up that early. Yes, it was essentially on empty and no, I didn't want to go to the gas station. Darling daughter was kind enough to let me know that my excuse was indeed lame. She was right. It was. I headed off to work after making her breakfast knowing that I would run later. And I did. But even before that run, my sails slowly began to inflate. A co-worker came by my desk and told me she thought of me in the morning and went out to run 20 minutes. She planned on doing another 20 minutes after work. I confessed my lame excuse for not running before work, she agreed with darling daughter, and promised her I would think of her the next morning.

And I did today. The lady I motivated help motivate me today for my tempo run. Life is sweet! The goal: 3.5 miles at my tempo pace of 8'20". Since I am the beginning of my strength training phase and will be talking a lot about growing my tempo run, let's talk a bit about tempo runs.

What is a tempo run?

A tempo run is also referred to as a threshold or steady-state run. I like to think of them as my comfortably hard runs. It takes some effort but I am not dying; although I often think I may be in the first mile of my tempo runs....and perhaps again at the end when my mind gets weak.

What is your tempo run pace?

You can use pace charts for guidance but it is the pace you can race for 60 minutes. I tend to look at my 10K performance but please take into account race courses. My 10K performance on an all uphill course is meaningless. According to the books, it is a bit faster than your half marathon pace and in all reality, a bit slower than your 10K.

How do you run a tempo run?

Always warm-up first. I like to do one mile warm up's at a 10'00" pace but do what is best for you. Some people may like a warm-up as long as 15 minutes. I then run my prescribed distance at my tempo pace. Tempo runs generally start at 20-30 minutes and can grow as long as 60 minutes. Currently, my tempo run is about 30 minutes in duration. Then do a cool down. The recommendation is the same as warm-up's, 10-15 minutes. Last week my cool down was 3 miles to hit my mileage goal. Today it was 2.5 miles. As my tempo grows, my cool down will shorten but never to less than a mile at a 10'00" pace. Currently, my cool down pace is 9'40". In addition, I strongly suggest doing your tempo runs on flat terrain if possible.

What is the benefit of running a tempo run?

Tempo runs train the cardiorespiratory and muscular systems to absorb, deliver, and utilize oxygen with efficiency while removing carbon dioxide and lactic acid. They improve endurance and lactate threshold and teach patience. The teaching patience part is HUGE! I like systematically growing my tempo runs by just 0.5 miles since it is only a few more minutes and tempo runs are a HUGE mental game for me. I can see the mental training clearly! I am sure all the physical stuff is happening but my mental games, mantras, visualizes, etc. are practiced continually in my tempo runs. Today I even "heard" my dad say "go kiddo" when I was thinking of him as a focal point to get over mental discomfort.

Do you regularly run tempo runs? What do you think of them? Any tips you have?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for good friends.
Daily Affirmation: I am good to the Earth.