A Photographic Run on Maui!

Today I am going to do things a bit different. That seems to be the story of my life the past few days. Everything I am doing is a bit different.  And that includes getting a running coach with today being the first day of a training plan I didn't make myself. This is the first time ever for me to do this. I am excited! I am also hoping I may stick to the plan better since I will have to explain why not to someone besides myself. That is never fun.

But let's have some fun! Yesterday I hit the hills and ran 6 miles outside in the wonderful morning air. My goal was 4-6 miles.

When I headed out the door I wasn't too concerned about pace and had no idea what was about to happen. The happiness of running outside must have taken hold, and the decrease in pressure since I was still officially in a marathon recovery week, allowed me to stop and smell the roses so to speak. And I literally did slow down a moment to take my first picture during my run. I honestly believed this would be the first and last.

I think often of how I should take more pictures to share with you. I think of bloggers who post beautiful images from their run. I love seeing what they see. But for some reason I don't pull out my phone and take pictures like this. This highway will get busier as the day progresses but it is very peaceful on an early Sunday morning. If I remember right I started my run shortly after 6:00 am. It was a "chilly" 69 degrees.

I truly understand in the past it was more difficult with my iPhone being in a strap on my arm. But now it is just slipped in the left hand front pocket of my CamelBak vest. So easy to get to. So why not do this? At this point, I had already made my halfway point turn and was heading back.

The views from the highway truly are remarkable. I wonder if everyone really does take the time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds their days each and every day. I wonder if I take as much time as I should. I am grateful for this run.

Shortly after this point I made a turn and had to stop and take a picture of the sun. It was so bright and majestic. I figured, why not take one more picture? Little did I know this bright and majestic sun would blind me in the final half mile or so climb up a curvy road to home. Running blind at times is no fun when you are focused on seeing cars around the bends. I deviated from my normal switchback run pattern to ensure I was never in a blind spot to a car coming up the road. Fortunately, traffic was beyond light. I only had a few cars coming down. I didn't see one other runner on my run. I did see some run past my home later in the day though. I know they are out there.

My final picture for you before the final ascent....and yes, there is some uphill climbing here as well.

It was a marvelous day and I am so glad I opted to run early and truly did enjoy each step of my run. I feel I am in a good position to begin training again for my next marathon on December 8th. I am recommitted to my goal to break a 4:20 marathon. I know of some potential obstacles in my way but I can't let them bring me down. I can only control the factors I can control. I am ready to train hard!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the picnic table set dear hubby and darling daughter got me for my birthday. Not only is it something I have wanted for a very long time but we picked it out as a family with each member weighing in some good points for consideration. I am blessed.
Daily Affirmation: I bring love into my home.


Just a little rest week....


What is it about rest days/weeks that makes it completely impossible for me to rest? During taper I am a little better at not taking on additional big projects but here I am trying to rest up after the Maui Marathon to commence training for the Honolulu Marathon and I get all crazy!

Yesterday I had a furlough day at work. Darling daughter was home with me too as she was recovering from her tummy bug. She was pretty much better but I felt one more day at home to make sure wouldn't hurt. You would think that would slow me down a bit but you see, I had a Thursday off and had a zillion things to do. I am happy to announce my car registration and safety check are now both up to date! Groceries have been bought and the dinner menu for the next 8 nights is set in "dry eraser" on my menu board. The bathroom has been thoroughly cleaned and that silly shower caddy that hangs down has been replaced by a corner unit. And yes, darling daughter had a ball watching me struggle to get that in place. She ran to grab a bottle of water to watch the show. By the way, the secret to success for those tension pole corner shower units - put the top in place first then push up and slide the bottom into the corner. Works like a breeze! And I am shocked at how "open" the shower feels now. So cool!

We also spent a good amount of time catching darling daughter up on her homework. Yes, her kindergarten class has homework each night Monday-Thursday. We went by the school to pick up what she missed and I am so happy she didn't get tired when we worked our way through the pages (we had three days worth to do). She actually loves doing her homework so that helps! But when it came time to making lunches she did abandon ship...but decided to procrastinate on bedtime in order to make me a note for my lunch bag. 

And we spent ages pouring over different colors of yarn in attempts to agree of two color selections. Darling daughter's choice of fluorescent pink hurt my eyes. I told her such. She was then adamant my choice of magenta hurt her eyes. I told her as an accent with the light pink it might be okay for her eyes. I am not sure she was convinced but we ended up with magenta, light pink, and purple. Plus a little crochet book to teach myself the African Flower Pattern since I think I am getting a tired of just Granny Corners. I finished up the afghan I was making (a different purple and cream by the way) for darling daughter to have in the car and once she was sleeping quietly, I tackled the new pattern. Two hours later I had this!

Not perfect but a good first try!

And now I have this at work!

Office beautification! Gotta love it! Now I just want to learn how to crochet the hanging top onto dish towels. It might be time for a google search!

And I also did this!

Yep, dear hubby and I are indeed registered to run the Maui Marathon in 2014!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the wonderful and busy day I had with darling daughter yesterday.
Daily Affirmation: I am quite good at teaching myself things!


You are amazing!

This morning I finally looked at my blog again and am completely touched, and shedding happy tears, in response to your ongoing support and virtual hugs on my post yesterday.

Blogging is an amazing thing and yes, it is hard to put the truth out there but it is worth it. I know I am not alone in my feelings and I get as much support and inspiration from you as I hear I give to some. I love the mutual sharing and honestly, the running community rocks! Runners are amazing and I am honored to be able to call myself a runner and truly lucky to be able to call myself a marathoner. The image below is a picture I actually liked from the run.

It is at a point where I was struggling and the photographer wasn't asking me to do a fake smile. I don't even remember seeing a photographer after the misting tunnel. I was on Front Street - the portion I dread the most about this course. I always feel I am running through an abandoned town or that I am the only person running in a sea of people shopping and eating. It is a weird and tough stretch of road.

At the start of the tunnel a volunteer accidentally threw a cup of water in my face. She apologized and obviously felt terrible. I let her know that it was actually very much appreciated. I was truly feeling blessed for that moment of cooling relief, a cup of water, and a cold sponge. I was in my run/walk phase and obviously had both feet off the ground "running"...barely. It is nice to see a picture of me actually enjoying myself in  the hard part of the race.

And yes, I was thinking never again. We all know that isn't true. I am racing a marathon in December and my desire to break a 4:20 is rekindled in full force. My determination is strong. The second vow you didn't know. Never will I do Maui Marathon again! That course has kicked my butt three times. I am moving on. Well, it looks like other forces are at play as the Maui Marathon is giving me an offer I can't refuse. Okay, not just me, many. I just may need to bite the bullet and register to run it again in 2014. I have 5 days to decide. The countdown starts now!

Daily Gratitude: I know I have said this before but it is worth saying again, I am so thankful for each and every one of you!
Daily Affirmation: I get back up!


Maui Marathon: When Dreams Slip Away

Expo board signing
It has been two sleeps since I ran the Maui Marathon. Two sleeps is enough time to let some of the rawness of emotion slip away but not so long that there isn't any of it left. I think this is the perfect time to write my post.

The Maui Marathon.

It is a race I have done multiple years. In 2010 I ran the half marathon. That was my first step into marathoning. It was a strategic step. The launching pad and building block to run my first marathon in 2011 and yes, it was the Maui Marathon. 2013 represented my third consecutive year to run the Maui Marathon and my fourth marathon. I had big dreams. Big goals. High hopes. And when it comes down to it, even though I put my faith in higher hands I truly believed my goal was doable and in reach. I totally believed I could, and would, break a 4:20 marathon. I envisioned success. I believed.

Race packet
Race morning came but not without glitches. I had issues with my play list that I resolved at essentially the last moment. Darling daughter started getting some tummy issues but after consideration, reflection, etc. we stuck to our plan for her to stay the night at a dear friend of mine, her Hawaiian Auntie and Uncle's. She had a blast of a time and I worried. It is the mom in me but when it came down to it, I was ready to run.

At the start I actually bumped into a sweet lady I had been coaching to run her first marathon. It was nice to see her at the start, talk a bit, and see her enthusiasm. Her goals changed during training and today it was to just finish....okay, hopefully finish under 5 hours. I am sure many of you can relate to the no time goal kinda having a time goal behind it. I totally understood her drive and knew she would achieve her dreams. She did.

There was a little fire dance show before all the runners lined up in their corrals and walked to the start. With a final drumming the start flag lowered and streamers shot into the air. And just like that, the race started.

I focused on starting smart and fell immediately into a running pace that felt just right. At mile 2 I checked in on my pace. Yep, a little fast but not my typical too fast start. I was happy with it. I felt good and strong. Shortly thereafter the lady I had been coaching was at my side and we started pacing each other. Yes, my goal was to break a 4:20 marathon. Her goal was to finish. But I knew her training paces and I knew we were fine running together. We did until mile 11 or so when she let me know I could "go get your 4:20". I gave her a thumbs up and kept on running happy.

I was feeling good. We had been maintaining a steady pace and didn't get crazy on the pali hills. I ran through the tunnel alone and knew I was approaching the second half of the course and nerves started building up. Historically it is the second half of this course that kills me. Last year it was miserable. I feared a repeat occurrence and tried to remind myself it is a whole new year, a new race. At the halfway mark I was at 2 hours. My mind worried a bit as I was just ahead of the time I hit this mark last year and last year my body got beat up. I reminded myself last year I was also hurting by now. I wasn't hurting. I told myself I was fine.

I really don't remember much of the next 5 miles. The beach stretch didn't bug me like it did the year before but I was heating up. At mile 18 I can definitely tell you I started walking. My head was fuzzy. I was going to just walk a few cones and start running again. The walking lasted longer than I wanted. It was hard to get to running again but I did. At mile 18 I was still on target to break 4:20 but I also knew my window of opportunity was beginning to close. I knew I couldn't keep slowing down and achieve my goal. I ran/walk and tried to keep my electrolytes up and the fuzzy head feeling at bay. Somewhere along the line I took a shaved ice that was offered and savored the ice. At mile 21 I was dying and at this point all my emotions became very raw. I knew the 4:20 was gone. I didn't see how I could convert this run/walk pace into 10'00" miles to the end. I felt I could still PR and tried to motivate myself to reach for my A goal instead of my A+ goal. I couldn't find the drive. At that point in time, a PR didn't matter. I didn't want a PR. I wanted to break 4:20. I know it sounds odd. A PR is wonderful and would have been cherished but in all reality, I was frustrated, mad, annoyed, disheartened, beat up. Take your pick.

Bad thoughts plagued me for the next mile. I was ready to give up this darn marathoning idea. Perhaps it wasn't for me. Perhaps it wasn't meant for me to ever achieve my dreams. Perhaps I was no good. And that darn Honolulu Marathon in December? Well, I only paid $26.20 and I'm not going. Dear hubby can go and stay in the hotel room himself! Hmmm....I bought my airline ticket already. Okay, I'm going. But I give up on reaching my goals! I'm done! Never again! But I kinda like my running streak. I am running tomorrow!

The main thing that really struck me though is that I felt I was letting people down. Each and every person who believed in me and told me that had faith in me. I felt like I was failing you and that hurt the worst. It took time for me to realize I was running for me, not anyone else really. That my story wasn't a story of failure per se. Yes, I wasn't going to reach my goals. Yes, I would tell the world about my experience. But I am not the only runner in the world to watch a goal slip away. And I had a B goal. To come out of this race ready to train for the Honolulu. How ironic is it that the race I was ready to skip was becoming my priority? That deep down those dreams of breaking a 4:20 in December were outweighing a PR today. I didn't fully realize in that minute that was where my priorities were but I do see it now.

I needed to finish this race. I noticed my hand feeling tight and looked down to see my hands were indeed swollen. I was also craving salt like crazy. I just wanted pretzels. I skipped on plain water and only did sports drinks to keep electrolytes coming in and hoped there was a good amount of sodium in them. I even went as far to take some trail mix that was offered since I saw a nut and was dreaming of salt. That almond had no salt and only achieved one thing - making me very sick to my stomach. I dug deep and told myself I was doing my best. Walking was okay. I told myself that my fast walk may even be faster than the slow jog I was doing. I told myself it was okay.

My results
But that didn't erase all the hurt. It didn't prevent me from welling up with tears when I saw dear hubby waiting for me with about a half mile to go and for feeling like I let him down...and yes, I did run the final stretch. It didn't take the bite out of my response when he told me to go do it and that this is the point I blew past him last year. It didn't prevent me from going over to the corner, huddling, and crying with my medal around my neck. It is not preventing me from tearing up while writing this post. The tears were the tears of loss. The tears of coming to terms with just running my second slowest marathon. My time was 4:39:46. I placed 8th in my division. I was finally able to pull myself together and get up to look for dear hubby. It took a bit until I spotted him chatting away with friends. I walked past them to the stone wall and sat down. I didn't want to talk. Tears were still welling up in my eyes. I felt weak and embarrassed. The darling Japanese man who had been shuffling "with"  me along the course sat down by me, looked at me, and said "okay, okay". I nodded, smiled, and tears snuck out below my sunglasses.

Top 8 F 40-44 Maui Marathon 2013
Okay, okay. That said it all. Yes, we were okay. Yes, we finished. Yes, we did it. Yes, I am okay, my body wasn't completely beat up. Okay, it is time to move on.

Eventually the tears dried up and I could chat with other runners and the stories were very similar. So many of us saw our goals slip away at about the same time. Saw our best race ever change into something else. It seems to be the ongoing story of the Maui Marathon. The second half is hot. Watch The Ultramarathon Man 50 Marathons, 50 States, 50 Days....the heat in the second half enters that story too.

Yesterday morning I woke up sore but not dying. My stiff legs carried me to my car to drive to work. On the way tears welled up again probably motivated by the fear of answering questions of how I did and feeling like a failure, that I let people down. Yes, that feeling was still toying with me. It didn't take long for me to refocus my mind and come up with the idea to get a running coach. Yes, I am a coach. Yes, I can make killer plans. But perhaps I need someone looking over me and pushing me. Helping me to dig deeper and not give in to excuses. Because in all reality, I know a number doesn't matter but I also know I want to set a good example for darling daughter. An example of not giving up. An example of pushing for your dreams and doing everything you can to achieve them. The only failure is not trying and giving it your all. And I refuse to fail. I may fall down a million times but I will get back up. And I have to believe that one day will be my day. I have faith.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that the running coach I contacted is willing to train me when I also have my side goal of running every single day.
Daily Affirmation: I am okay.


Maui Marathon: A Serenity Prayer

For the Honolulu Marathon I posted my Marathon Serenity Prayer on the day of the race. I just revisited that post and as I read over my prayer last December I realized, nothing changed. The prayer still holds true. This year I am posting that same prayer in a stylized version in honor of the Maui Marathon I am running today. I have pre-scheduled this post to launch at the time the race starts.


Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the massage scheduled for later today.
Daily Affirmation: I have the power within to achieve great things!


#dairyfree Lentil Sausage Soup

I love soup. Dear hubby on the other hand doesn't see it as a meal. For him, soup is an appetizer. However, I have found ways to offer soup as a meal with less resistance. First, don't make such a large batch. I love my slow cooker and would make a huge batch of soup. Enough to feed the family one day and then have leftovers for the next. I would change it up by adding nice toast as a side one night or something like that. However, that didn't fool dear hubby. He was still eating soup two nights in a row or twice a week if I spaced the meals out by a day. That didn't fool him either by the way. Now I make smaller batches. Second, add more substance. Yep, add some meat in there and now the soup is more than a soup. I could do just lentils and seasonings. Dear hubby, not so much. Darling daughter? She could do either. Just don't have too many chunky veggies in there that she doesn't like....such as no big bites of zucchini. 

And that is how this recipe was created. One mom trying to please the whole family including her own personal love for soup and the slow cooker.

Introducing....#dairyfree Lentil Sausage Soup!

The Ingredients:
8 oz dried lentils
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup pureed carrots
4-6 cups of water (depends on how thick you want your broth)
4 tsp seasoning mix (I received this mix as a gift and it contains paprika, salt, pepper, parsley, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, and thyme - feel free to season however you like!)
1 - 1 1/2 cups of chopped sausage (I used a spicy Louisiana link...yum!)

The Steps:
Easy peasy - put it all in your slow cooker and set it to cook all day! You may want to start with less water and check on it throughout the day as the lentils begin to absorb the liquid. Add more as desired. Broth too runny? Add some cornstarch to thicken things up at the end!

Servings: 4-5 (I fed this to my family of three and still put some away in the freezer for another day.)

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for Mother Nature.
Daily Affirmation: I am strong, physically and mentally.


The Long Run Winner and Other Ramblings

First, let's get down to announcing the winner of The Long Run by Matt Long with Charles Butler. This is a great book and I am more than happy to say it will be going to Zaneta at Runner's Luck. Zaneta, I hope your knee injury heals quickly and you are back to running in no time. Enjoy the book but first, email me at lifeasarunningmom (@gmail.com). I look forward to hearing from you by Friday the 20th or I will have to select another winner. For those of you who don't know Zaneta, hop over and introduce yourself and she has organized some fun Christmas card exchanges in the past!

With that said, you still have a week to enter the #fitnesspenpals card exchange I am hosting. You can read more HERE but in a nutshell, you will be matched up with a partner and will send them 2 cards a month to keep them motivated in their training and spread holiday cheer! Easy peasy and it allows us to get some fun mail every now and then and I don't know about you but at the end of the year I could use any extra motivation I can get!

And guess what?! It is just 5 days and 21 hours until the Maui Marathon. Of course, those hours will keep counting down and so will the days. The good news is today I woke up and am finally feeling the tinglings of excitement. Imagine how those intensified when I read all the awesome words of support and encouragement on this post. Thank you so very much. Virtual hugs to all!

I did try to rest some extra this weekend. Well, as much as I can when I am a Mom of a busy kindergartener. We did cut back our errand/running around time and spent some time crafting our little hearts out. Oh, and baking cookies, marinating chicken, and creating new enchilada recipes. We had a blast! In the middle of all that fun there was doing laundry and other necessities. I think it was during that phase that darling daughter asked if she could take pictures. I said sure, she run inside and grabbed my phone, and started clicking away. I gave her no structure, no guidance, no words of advice, no nothing. When I looked at the photos she took later my heart melted with pride. That girl has some talent! I could tell she really did put thought into what she was doing and did some creative set up's. Her is a collage of just some of her gems.

Have a great week! I will be in meetings most of the week and trying not to drive my co-workers or family crazy with my taper craziness!

Is it time to run yet?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for you.
Daily Affirmation: I am going to kick butt Sunday! Did I say that already? Oh well, I am!


8 Days Until the Maui Marathon!

Taper is more than halfway over. I am getting a bit antsy but fortunately I have plenty of work-related challenges and my desire to find more dairy free recipes (like this one) to keep me busy!

But not quite busy enough. I am still trying to chase doubts out of my mind and that can turn into restless nights of slumber. Two challenges I need to tackle immediately. I need my confidence and I need my sleep. What is the point of going to bed early if I spend half the night tossing and turning? Perhaps it is time to pick up some nice relaxing tea to enjoy at the end of my day.

Marathon anticipation still gets me to my core. Marathons are big. They take commitment and training. They take confidence to be able to go from start to finish - or at least the ability to overcome your mental denoms. It is time for me to really amp up my visualizations and positive affirmations. I have big goals/dreams and that is why I am overly anxious this go around.  Gone are the days where my goal was just to finish. That was back in 2011. Don't get me wrong, I had time dreams for that 2011 Maui Marathon too but I also knew, just finishing would set my first PR. And now, I need my goal. I am also smart and I know I need to set a tier of goals. I just haven't done it and there is no time like the present.

Marathon Day Goals:
  • My A+ Goal: To break a 4:20 marathon.
  • My A Goal: To PR. That means I must break my 4:33:28 time from the 2012 Honolulu Marathon
  • My A- Goal: To set a new course PR. That means I must break my 4:36:16 time from the 2012 Maui Marathon
  • My B Goal: To finish happy, strong, and ready to roll into training for the 2013 Honolulu Marathon on December 8th, in 85 days. 

There you go! Just like that I have goals. And you know what? I am feeling better already!

Seriously, before writing this post I didn't have any formally set goals. I hadn't thought it through. It is amazing how just writing them down, and perhaps telling the world, has the power to change your mindset from anxious to excited!

8 more days.

They are going to fly by!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that the proposal my co-worker and I were working on has been accepted!
Daily Affirmation: I am going to knock my socks off on September 22nd!


#dairyfree Blueberry Waffles

A bug has entered my household. A wonderful, fantastic bug. A cooking bug!

I love it when I can share my passions with my daughter and today's recipe was refined with her input. And yes, I have already ordered her a Junior Cookbook as she is completely inspired to get more involved in the kitchen and is already dreaming up recipes!

And the input she provided for this recipe...more sugar Mommy. I know, all kids would love to say more sugar but when I tried the recipe again I indulged her and did 4 tsp of brown sugar vs. 2 tsp. I took her advice since we really only indulge in waffles once a week...if that often. It is a special Saturday tradition and I want her to have the awesome weekend family breakfast memories I have from my childhood. And I serve with fruit and little to no syrup. The thing is, she was right! I didn't notice any extra sweetness but I did also swapped out the vanilla soy milk with unsweetened almond milk. What I did notice was the waffles had an extra bit of crispiness on the outer edges. AWESOME! I made the recipe a second time to see if it was just a fluke. Again, some extra crispiness on the outer edges. I AM IN LOVE!

You can make this recipe with fresh blueberries or frozen (please thaw out first). The frozen berries will make your waffle turn a browner color versus the golden yellow of the fresh berry waffles.

Ready to get your waffle iron out? Here's the recipe!

1 egg
1 cup flour
1/4 cup oil
1 cup almond milk (I cut this back to 3/4 with my frozen berries as I measured out 1/4 worth of berry juice that I used too)
2 tsp baking powder (please note: some baking powders can me made on equipment that may contribute to milk contamination)
4 tsp brown sugar
1/2 - 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (your preference!)

Really easy. I plug in my waffle iron and do a quick squirt with oil to prevent sticking. I then toss all the ingredients into my mixing bowl and mix. By the time I am done measuring and mixing the waffle iron is hot and ready. I then put about 1/2 cup of batter onto the iron for each waffle and make sure I have berries throughout.

Servings: Makes about 4 waffles depending on your waffle iron size and how big you make your waffles.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful darling daughter is interested in cooking and baking.
Daily Affirmation: I am setting a good example of balancing good nutrition with occasional treats.


Why Taper?

If you have been running and racing for awhile you probably know the mindset behind tapering. If you are new to running, perhaps not.

I remember my beginning days. I would train hard for a race and then perhaps take a day or two off before race day. I didn't think too much about it and then raced as best as I could. There was no method to my madness but yet instinctively I knew resting up before a race made good sense.

But there is a method to the madness and no, it isn't one size fits all. Very little is in life.

The Benefits of Tapering:
Let's attack why tapering is beneficial to you. It maximizes your fuel and enzyme stores, gives your muscles time to rest and recovery, and mentally prepares you for race effort. The third reason is a bit shaky to me because during taper I tend to go through a lot of self doubt. It takes visualization and knocking sense back into myself to get me to trust the training I have done. But perhaps that is part of getting my mind ready for race day. I can go through my doubts quietly...or not so quietly...at home on my couch or in bed.

Those reasons are one size fits all. Everyone will benefit from tapering.

How Long to Taper:
The part that is less defined is how long you need to taper. There are suggested guidelines but in all reality, I say experiment with your taper and see what makes you perform the best come race day. But generally if you are racing a 5K a 3 day taper is fine. Oh my! I guess that day to two I took off in the beginning when I was racing 5K's made good sense after all! For a 10K you will want to taper 3-5 days (you can see the ranges are already expanding to take into account individual differences). Heading out to a half marathon? Be prepared to taper 7-10 days. Are you about to race a marathon or an ultra? Plan for a 14-20 day taper. Personally, I do 20 days and gradually move into my taper.

The Marathon Taper:
Since marathons are my big race right now I would love to talk more about this tapering strategy. When you are tapering for the big day still follow your weekly running pattern. It is fine to continue to run on the days you generally run. The last long run should be 2-3 weeks out. I generally do a 20 mile run three weeks out from race day. This is my last big long run. My long run in the first week of taper is generally 10-13 miles depending on my training plan for the race. The last big workout (think your last true effort) should be 7-10 days before race day. I do allow speed work in my second week of tapering but I do less repeats and my overall mileage per day is being drastically cut. I do like to add a little pick me up to my running the Wednesday before race day but it isn't mile repeats, it isn't sprints, just a little controlled fartlek fun but not too much. And I do love to run 1-2 miles the day before race day to shake my legs out and ease my nerves.

If you put this all into a mathematical formula here is what my taper looks like. I take my weekly mileage in the weeks leading up to my taper as my reference point and look at what I have been doing. For week one of taper, I cut my mileage by 15%. Week 2, I cut my mileage by 40%. Please note, my mileage cuts are all based on my pre-tapering mileage. In my final week of tapering, I run 25% of my pre-taper mileage in the 6 days before race day. This strategy is working well for me.

If you want textbook guidance the recommendation is to run 60% of your average mileage two weeks prior to race day with a long run less than 2 hours and 30% of your average mileage the week of the race with a long run of 60-75 minutes. I am pretty much on par with this except for the long run part. By running daily it gets hard to incorporate longer runs while hitting the road...or treadmill....every day but what I am doing is working for me. You need to find what works best for you!

Tips for Tapering:
Cutting back mileage and adding some easy runs isn't enough to make a taper successful. You don't want to do all that and "ruin" your taper by taking on other big projects or tasks. This is not the time to paint you whole house blue or dig out a new garden in the backyard. Don't do a lot of fast running unless you are tapering for a short and fast race. I do small speed sessions but keep them in check. Think just a few seconds of a pick me up or a couple of mile repeats at a faster pace but not my true speed work pace. Eat well and hydrate. Fueling your body is essential and get good fuel inside of you. I don't know about you but for me pre-race nerves can get me craving not-so-healthy foods. Now isn't the time to indulge in tons of sweets and yes, you should avoid access alcohol. It dehydrates you after all. Start trying to sleep a bit more. You are running less. Convert that time to sleeping more if you can. Motivate yourself with movies, books, blogs, whatever! Visualize success and go over your race plans. And personally, I never spend a lot of time at the expo. I pick up my race packet, perhaps look for a moment or two, but I head out of there and continue to rest, eat well, and hydrate.

Happy Running!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my dinner out last night with dear hubby.
Daily Affirmation: I can find peace in chaos when I put my mind to it.


The Long Run: Book Review & Giveaway

Yes, I have been on a reading streak in addition to my running streak. I really don't know where I am finding the time to do all I want to do on top of all I need to do but all I can say is I am blessed. There must be some other forces at play here.

Along those lines, back in mid-June I was blessed to win a copy of The Long Run by Matt Long with Charles Butler from Joanna Runs. She started something really cool that I want to continue. She read the book and then as part of keeping the house tidy (due to a move) she gave away the book. It came to me with a nice little inscription inside and I want to do the same. Give the book to one of you to read and then pass on through your own giveaway. If you don't want to be fancy or don't blog you can still find another way to pay the goodness forward, share an inspirational story, and spread blogger/runner/athlete love across the nations!

If you haven't heard about Matt Long don't worry. This book will give you a good inside look at his life story and I am so thankful he did share his tale. It is gut wrenching at times. It had me in tears. But it also had me cheering for him and crossing my fingers during huge milestones. In a nutshell, Matt was hit by a bus and had a HUGE journey to find himself, and his inner athlete, again. Any of my "bad days" pale in comparison to what this man has faced and endured. And his story is not over.

It took me months to pick up the book and start reading it. It took me days to finish his story. And you don't need to be a runner to appreciate the book. In fact, Matt Long is a triathlete. I strongly recommend you read his story and here is your chance at no cost!

The giveaway is short and sweet! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunity to read this book and pass it on to someone else.
Daily Affirmation: I will kick butt on 9/22! 


#dairyfree Oregano Orange Chicken Legs with Almond Milk Mashed Potatoes

I have always been a skinless, boneless chicken breast kind of gal. What can I say? It is pretty easy and I can do all sorts of things with them. Plus I love the huge bag of individually wrapped breasts from Costco. But while in Texas darling daughter was introduced to chicken legs and really loves the chicken with the bone inside! Go figure. Ironically, I do need to pull the meat off of the bone for her but hey, what can I say?

So in honor of darling daughter, let me introduce you to a new recipe in our line-up. It is pretty darn easy (as if any of my recipes aren't) and I do prep the day before and it is a job a little one can help with. We took turns moving the chicken around in the marinade bag and dinner ended up delicious! Plus it made for great leftovers for me to take to work the following day for lunch!

Oregano Orange Chicken Legs
10-12 Chicken Legs
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 tsp orange zest
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tsp oregano

Put all ingredients into a Ziploc bag, seal, and shake around. Place bag into bowl in the fridge and marinate overnight. I strongly recommend shaking the bag while the chicken is marinating and repositioning which legs are on the bottom to ensure all the chicken legs have a chance to soak in the flavors.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay chicken legs onto a foil lined baking sheet (makes for easier clean up) and bake until juices run clear. For me, it took close to 45 minutes and I never flipped the legs. I then broiled on HIGH for a few minutes to give the legs a bit of extra brownness and crispiness. Toss the extra marinade out.

Almond Milk Mashed Potatoes
6 medium-small russet potatoes (cleaned, peeled, and cut into chunks)
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 - 1/3 cup almond milk (unsweetened)

Cover the potatoes with water in a large sauce pan. Add a pinch of sea salt and boil the potatoes until tender. I started the potatoes at the same time I put the chicken in the oven and everything timed perfectly! Drain the potatoes and return them to the sauce pan. Set the sauce pan on the warm burner for a minute or so to dry up any extra water. Remove from the burner and add the black pepper and almond milk. Blend with a hand mixer until nice and creamy.

Servings: 5-6

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the creativity and inspiration to find new recipes for my family to enjoy.
Daily Affirmation: My talents continue to blossom.


July and August Training Updates

I realized a couple of weeks ago that I never reviewed my July training. It was so close to the end of August that I just pushed it out of my mind. However, as I sit here ready to review August it seems wrong to ignore July. So I am going to blend the two together in my analysis.

The last two months included 3 weeks of training in Texas where the vast majority of my runs were outside - either solo or with the jogging stroller. I only did two runs on a treadmill and I am happy for that time on my feet. However, even though I had the freedom to run daily and Mom was willing to watch darling daughter, I did cut back some running time on some days just to be with my family. Those longer runs - they just didn't happen. I don't get to see my Texas family much and it seemed wrong to not devote time to those filtering in and out of my Mom's house while I was there. I don't regret my choice. It was the right choice. Family does come first.

But that left me behind in where I wanted to be with my long runs. As of now, I am happy with what I accomplished and my 20 mile run on Sunday has helped raise my comfort level. Thank you for your kind comments and support. And of course, I would have loved more but it did erase/negate some of the doubt created by my failed 20 mile attempt earlier in August. I don't think I can really complain about running 18 miles and I think I have proved that my fueling technique that day was off.

This year in July I ran 178 miles in comparison to 150 in 2012. In August I ran 138 miles in comparison to 133 in 2012. I know I am ahead of the ball in terms of time on my feet this year and truly hope that pays off on race day. I am bummed by the downhill slope of my miles in the months leading up to race day. I would have preferred a more stable mileage or perhaps building up??? But I know I have done my best each and every day. I know I have been battling some weird health things, undergoing blood tests, and adjusting to a new diet. I feel strong....even though I was dead tired yesterday and could only pull off a couple of miles. I need to see where I have gone and I have moved forward. But in all reality, I am just fearful of tearing my body up in the Maui Marathon like I did last year and I have one less week between marathons this year. I don't want to tear myself up. Therefore, I guess I just need to stick to running smart, have faith, and really, really, really work on letting go of that fear. It does me no good.

August 31st marked day 611 of my running streak and brought me to 1,207 miles in 2013 and 2,675 streak miles. Gotta love that! My goal to run 2,013 miles in 2013 has slipped beyond my reach for this year. I did the math. I would need to average 200 miles a month the rest of the year. I don't want to appear like I am quitting or breaking down when the going gets tough but in all reality, if I pushed myself to run those miles I would negatively impact my race performance. It wouldn't be smart because the next four months include 3 weeks of tapering, Maui Marathon, recovery, quick training, 3 weeks of tapering, Honolulu Marathon, recovery and running whatever I want the rest of the year! Four months seems so long for some things but in other regards, boy, that time is short!

Am I upset? No. I am still ahead of the game and will continue to strive to run my best each and
every day. I set high goals for myself and they involve continual improvement and constant motivation. I will not give up even though I see that my goal now isn't SMART. It is just like breaking that 4:20 marathon. I have always wanted to do that. I am still on the path and I am about to make attempt number 4. Yes, it would be cool to achieve something the first time but I do like the journey, the story, the continual drive to reach goals that I set for myself. I think it increases the reward, at least for myself, when I do achieve the goal. And I will. Who am I to argue with when?

So what are my plans for September? Taper, taper, taper. Run the Maui Marathon. PR. Perhaps break that 4:20. But let's rewind and look at my marathon times: Maui Marathon 2011, 4:46:40; Maui Marathon 2012, 4:36:16; Honolulu Marathon 2012, 4:33:28. I am almost taste achieving my goal in 4:20. Fingers crossed......

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the continued improvement in my marathon times.
Daily Affirmation: #IWILL break a 4:20 marathon in 2013!


20 Miles: Proving #iwill

Running can be as much mental as physical and sometimes, it is the mental training, the determination to persevere, that makes the real difference.

We all run for different reasons. Some of us may share the same reasons to a degree but what motivates us, what pushes us, what makes us dig deep and prove things to ourselves can differ.

I am happy to say that this weekend while I was out proving something to myself so was one of the runners I coach. Her determination is still making me grin ear to ear and I trust her pushing herself a bit further as I know she is listening to her body at the same time. I am proud of her. And I love that both of us, in this final training weekend before taper begins, were out there proving what we can do and fulling engaging the mental side of training. Yes, I have been coaching this lovely lady to complete the Maui Marathon! I can't wait to see her at the start and again at the finish line. And she just may beat me there! Only time will tell.

But in all reality, finish times aren't everything. Yes, I have a big goal. I really want to break a 4:20 marathon. Where my training runs have been and my recent race performance has shown, it is a goal fully within reach. Will I get there on September 22nd? I wish I had 100% confidence and perhaps I need to work on building that up the next three weeks. I want to get there. I will push myself to get there. There are just so many unknowns on race day and I have a bad habit of not racing my marathons as well as my training shows I could. I will get better at that.

One thing that is making me feel really good though is crossing one more 20 miler off my training list. I recruited dear hubby to run with me. He recruited his son to watch darling daughter. It was all good and off we went! We had a choice - hot run or hilly run. We chose hilly. It was closer to the drop off point for darling daughter and just made sense. Plus, I did some hot runs in Texas so I don't think I needed the warmer temperature training. And hills at elevation won't hurt that hilly section come race day. That hot and flat stretch....that is the second half and that is where my mental training is the most important.

20 mile elevation profile
Not only was I determined to run 20 miles I was focused on testing a different fueling strategy. I learned earlier that just applesauce to go wasn't enough. I needed more fuel - either more calories of fuel or a different fuel profile. I didn't have time to test a million scenarios so I opted to incorporate some of the traditional gels I had been using with fuel that is more natural in my mind. The night before the run I put two applesauce to go in the freezer. Come run morning, they were nice and frozen and I tucked them in the back pocket of my CamelBak Marathoner vest. In the reservoir I added two VegaSport Hydrator packets to the 2L of water. In the front right pocket I tucked away two VegaSport Endurance Gels (raspberry). I was set and ready to go!

My plan, fuel every 4 miles. Knowing I can run a good distance with no fuel and that I didn't feel like I was crashing until the end of my 18 mile run, I started with applesauce. The applesauce at the 4 mile mark was still cold and a wee bit icy. I loved it! Next gel, applesauce, gel. For the run on Sunday, I may have been able to skip that final gel at 16 miles and made it to the end. I wasn't feeling like I was running out of steam but I wanted to run and fuel according to plan. And I did discover that the gel is a bit harder to stomach at 16 miles than 8 miles. Good to know. And that 2L of water? I sucked it down to the last drop by the end of my run. Another good thing to know. I do plan to wear my vest during the marathon and will anticipate going through aid stations for additional water for the final 10K or so. The only question I need to answer is do I want to carry an additional Hydrator packet and refill the reservoir partially with my sports drink of choice or just go with what they have? I am leaning to #2. What are your thoughts?

The 20 miles went well and I did feel strong. At the end my legs were beginning to feel the hills and it did cast a bit of doubt on how I could run an additional 6.2 miles. But the thing is, come race day the up and downhills will be done and over by mile 13 and then things flatten out. And it is race day! With other runners, aid stations, support, adrenaline, fun, fun, fun! You can't forget about the impact that those elements can have on a run. And most importantly - my mind - it needs to stay focused, positive, in the mile it is in, and not dreading Front Street!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for an amazing run on Sunday.
Daily Affirmation: My faith allows me to achieve my running goals.


Fitness Pen Pals

Aloha to all!

September is here and I am amped! I have a busy schedule the rest of the year with two marathons to run, huge events to plan at work, holidays to celebrate, and motivation to spread! Okay, perhaps the last one is stretching it a bit as the end of the year can be a hard time to stay on track with your fitness and nutrtion goals. It is also the time of the year that I jump onto the bandwagon with motivational challenges to keep me focused on my goals. Together we are stronger!

And with that in mind, I am launching my inaugural debut of Fitness Pen Pals! The idea is simple, sign up and let me know you are interested by emailing me at lifeasarunningmom at gmail dot com. I will send you a few questions to gather some introductory information I will share with your partner. You will receive your partner's name and information by the end of September. Your mission is to then help keep each other on track from October to December with their fitness and nutrition goals. And I want this to go beyond blog comments. It is great to connect virtually online but I want to strive to build a more personal connection. I ask that each participant do the following:
  • Send a seasonal holiday card letting your partner know you are thinking of them. Yes, snail mail. And yes, this is Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/New Years. For December you can pick what holiday meshes more closely with your life. 
  • Send a monthly motivational card to your partner to keep their spirits up. Yes, snail mail again.

Simple, you are committing to mailing two cards a month. Six cards over three months. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Not a blogger? That is okay! You can still participate in the fun! Just email me that you are interested and I will include you in the match up!

To give me time to get people matched up, the deadline for signing up will be 9/22/13. Why not make it the day of the Maui Marathon?! I look forward to hearing from you!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for Judy Rossi writing the Bible study for Moms I am currently reading on Raising Responsive Children.
Daily Affirmation: I see the good in life.