8.30.2013

22 Days until the Maui Marathon

I am wrapping up my final week of training before beginning my taper. I am sticking to the three week gradual taper I used last year before the Maui Marathon and the Honolulu Marathon. It seems to work for me so why mess with it? And yes, it does drive me crazy but that is part of the taper process, right?

So before I start stressing out needlessly, let's take a good hard look of where I have taken my training. I feel that is an essential part of marathon training especially in this phase. Look at what you have done. Look at the journey. See the accomplishments. Understand the hurdles. Visualize success. Okay, that last part will come a wee bit later.

First, the confession. I am feeling nervous about the Maui Marathon. I had a tough time last year. You can read about it HERE. I don't want to crash and burn. I want to run well, PR, would LOVE to break 4:20, and be ready to bounce back into training for the Honolulu Marathon. I have one less week this year between those two races. I need to be able to turn back around and my goals for the Honolulu Marathon will obviously be dependent on what I achieve in 22 days. I need to see the big picture but I need to stay in the moment. Kinda reminds you of actually running a marathon, right? You need to see the big picture. You are out to run a marathon. You need to pace accordingly. But you need to stay in the mile you are in. Easier said than done at times.

I am a numbers gal and I spend many hours of my life analyzing things whether for work or for pleasure. Today, let's look at numbers for pleasure.

Check out this cool line graph comparing 2012 to 2013.


What a lovely mess! This shows my actual miles run in each year according to my planned miles. For 2013, I used the lower range of my planned miles for charting purposes. And I am comparing like weeks not actual dates in order for the training to have meaning.

What first stands out is that this year I am indeed running more. I am currently averaging 37.7 miles a week versus 29.8 miles a week in 2012. Not exactly where I wanted to be, I really wanted 40 miles a week, but an improvement nonetheless. This should pay off well. Also if you compare this year's red line to last year's blue line, I am a bit more consistent in weekly mileage. That should pay off  nicely too.

And how I am doing at following my plan? Last year you can see I was all over the place with my mileage due to juggling the plan like crazy. You can compare my reality (blue) against the plan (green). This year, I am doing much better and that was one goal of mine...to follow the plan better. You can compare my reality (red) versus my plan (purple). The extending purple line post-Maui Marathon and pre-Honolulu Marathon may be a different story. It was hard to write up that training plan based on my performance last year and my goals this year. That is a story for another day though.

All in all, I have strayed from my training some. Vacation time and time with the family factored in. Unknown symptoms and ER visits factored in. Emotional stress of battling these unknowns have factored in. But I feel I have done a great job sticking to the plan.

Another thing that I did that you can't see from the mere numbers alone is that I focused on what I was doing each day much better this year. If I said speedwork, I did speedwork. If I said tempo run, I ran a tempo run. If I said easy run, I ran easy. Okay, 99% of the time. There was a bit of juggling but it was due to health issues. And I haven't done as many longer runs as I hoped but I am not in a critical phase. In all reality, I shifted some a bit earlier and am just feeling insecure after my last 20 mile attempt that ended at 18 miles. You can read about that HERE.

This weekend is my final 20 mile run. I need those 20 miles for my mental training. I know I do. I have learned from my last attempt that I need better fuel on my run. I have my stock of VegaSport Endurance gels to add to the Applesauce to go that I like too. Applesauce isn't enough fuel and if I just looked at those numbers and added them up, no, a 60 calorie applesauce should not replace a 100 calorie gel. And my pace during that 18 mile run rocked the boat! It is a success even though it is a weight on my shoulders in some regards. Hence, the need to reaffirm myself to myself this weekend. Talking about putting extra pressure on yourself, huh?

But as I look back on my training, yes, there are days I would have loved more but in all reality, I did great. I have come far. Yes, my weekly mileage has declined the past few weeks but I can't ignore the fact that I was battling other health issues, spending time at the doctors or ER, giving blood, etc. I can't ignore that and the impact that will have on training. And I can't ignore the fact that regardless, I trained hard. I pushed myself. I am at a better position this year than last year. I need to open my heart, have faith, and believe in my dreams!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for peace and quiet.
Daily Affirmation: I am in control of my destiny.

8.29.2013

#dairyfree Taco Salad with Homemade Taco Seasoning

I love taco salads and my family loves tacos! Just awhile ago when I was under the impression that I could not have dairy I went to make my family their favorite dinner. TACOS! Taco Tuesday in fact! And that is when I discovered that the taco seasoning I had in the cupboard had dried milk in it. I made an attempt to make some myself. Trial 1: Not so good but not bad. Trial 2: Dear hubby and darling daughter approved it and dear hubby was quite happy to hear I wrote down what I did. Yes, he wanted me to stick with it!

So here it is!

Taco Seasoning Mix:
2 Tbl Chili Powder
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Dried Onion
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 tsp Cilantro (optional and yes, dear hubby found some dried cilantro!)

I added my taco seasoning to 1 lb of ground turkey along with about 3/4 cup of water since I planned to be simmering a bit to really let the flavors soak in. Feel free to adjust seasonings and water dependent on how much meat you have and how strong of a flavor you prefer!

For my family, they got to fill up their taco shells with their choice of taco meat (I often add in 1/2 cup pureed carrots too but not this time), spinach, tomatoes, cheese, and/or refried beans. I always make myself a big salad.

I start with a nice mound of greens. I love spinach but will use whatever I have in the house. I top with tomatoes, refried beans, taco meat, a shell or two crumbled up and a good heap of salsa. Delicious! What more could I ask for?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the hibiscus flower darling daughter gave me this morning.
Daily Affirmation: I am on a journey to greater peace.

8.27.2013

Book Review: Through Rose Colored Glasses: A Marathon from Fear to Love

When I was in Texas my Mom surprised me by buying me this book. I thought, awesome! It was just up my alley as it told a story of breast cancer and running. Heatlth and running. Sounds amazing! I was eager to pick it up and start reading but ironically, that didn't happen until about a month later when I was at home. Everything happens for a reason. I think my mind wouldn't have been ready to absorb the story and learning lessons in it just yet.

It is an amazing book! I read it in no time, which is amazing for me. Yes, I love to read. No, I hardly ever do it. Dear hubby could probably read a book every single solitary day with no problem. I just can't sit still that long. I have too much to do. And ummm....confession, I have become pretty darn good at reading my loves while running on the treadmill at home mainly because I run a pretty slow incline pace. For more serious runs (aka not super easy runs) there is no way on Earth I would try to run and read. I don't believe I became one of those runners.....but it does help pass the time running in place because in all reality, Wild Kratz or other darling daughter favorites just don't hold the same appeal.

Back to the book - the story is written by Donna Deegan, a breast cancer champion who has first hand experience and the ambition to start a marathon devoted to raising funds for breast cancer research. The book shares some of her personal stories and endeavors as well as details what is involved not only in running a marathon but in directing a marathon too (26.2 with Donna)! I loved the book and it opened my eyes to some valuable lessons - like how I too fear too much and need to let go of that fear to open my heart, and my life, to more love. What an amazing lesson! I won't lie to you, there is some faith and spirituality in the book as well but in all reality, I think the message is universal. It is a message of life. A message of challenges. A message of endurance. A message of love.

What good books have you read recently?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful my mom saw this book and bought it for me.
Daily Affirmation: My heart and mind are open to hear new messages and to learn.

P.S. I really do want to run the 26.2 with Donna one day! How about you?

8.26.2013

Allergy Testing Changed my World....again

This post has been dancing around in my head for the past 12 hours or so. It is a post I know I should write since I believe in honestly but yet a post I am kind of embarrassed to write.

Friday I went for the allergy testing my primary care physician advised me to do to identify the cause of the "anaphylactic shock" in Texas. I was nervous about going not for what may happen but for the tests showing nothing and not being able to explain what happened to me in Texas. I even told the allergist such as we both discussed how unlikely it is to develop an allergy to something I have been eating all my life and that my experience didn't truly fit the symptoms of anaphylaxis. I knew all this. I agreed. It made no sense.

I opted for the full panel skin test and after 23 pricks on my back I remained resting comfortably playing Hay Day waiting for the 30 minutes to pass. The nurses left the door cracked in case I needed them. I had no concerns. But then within 10 minutes or so my head started feeling funny. It was that fuzzy feeling. I felt warmth. I went to the nurses to let them know. And then the whole Texas experience happened all again. It sucked. The allegist was baffled by my response and so was I. I didn't expect it. I expected nothing at all. Nada. Zilch. I walked out baffled. I went to bed early that night.

Come Saturday I thought all was good. Don't eat dairy. Don't get skin tests. I am fine. But shortly after driving into town with my daughter those sensations came back. I panicked. I had my daughter in the car. I pulled over to the side of the road. I couldn't get a hold of my husband. Anyone else I could think of was out of town. I called 911. I ended up in the ER. Once again it was confirmed I was fine but this doctor planted a seed in my thoughts. You see, I knew we were missing something. I did not eat dairy. I did not get pricked my dairy. My body was acting as if it had....or so I thought from what I was told in Texas. And that seed the doctor planted....hormones. Hormones could trigger a adrenaline response. He stated I was not having an allergic response (I felt that was true now). Dear hubby asked about anxiety. The doctor said, hormones out of whack could produce what looked like anxiety. He suggested I follow up with my doctor.

I did email her right away but a new way of looking at things was set before me. Forget the cake. Forget the allergy testing. Just think. Every single episode started with heat. I had felt that before. The night my dad died. I bolted upright in bed, described it to my aunt and mom, and they calmly told me I was having a hot flash. A hot flash. Hmmm....could it be? I posted earlier this year that I thought I was on the verge of perimenopause even though the clinical tests weren't proving it.

And this is the embarrassing part - to state that my sensations of a "hot flash" were so intense and scary that perhaps, just perhaps, they triggered a severe panic attack. It is humbling to think that. It is hard to tell the world that. But I feel it is the right thing to do. No, I have had no tests to prove this. I have emailed my doctor and allergist admitting the same embarrassing thought process. If nothing else, I am honest.
My power word for 2013

Am I on the right path? I really think so. I have had multiple sensations throughout the weekend. Each one I embrace now, instead of fear, and they have passed without my heart rate going to crazy and without my full body shaking. I am on to something. I have the power.

Will I start eating dairy again? No. I feel better in so many other ways without it but I believe the original diagnosis in Texas was wrong. I am working on letting go of the fear that that label left me with. I am not allergic. It was a wild coincidence and just imagine how different this story would be if that original experience did not happen after eating a piece of cake full of dairy?

Things are not always what they appear to be.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the loving care from the medical community.
Daily Affirmation: I am strong and through sharing my story I become stronger.

8.24.2013

#dairyfree Chicken Vegetable Quinoa Soup

I love soup! It is quick and easy to make especially since I turn to my slowcooker 100% of the time. Most days I will start it first thing in the morning but this time, I started the slowcooker in the early afternoon and set it to high for 4 hours. It turned out great! And it saved my family from eating leftovers so they could have a fresh meal. For some reason, my family is not as big on leftovers as I am but no worries, nothing goes to waste...I take the leftovers for lunch at work!


Ingredients:
1 12 oz. can V8 (low sodium - you could easily substitute tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes if you want a chunkier soup)
2 cups of water (use more or less depending on broth preferences)
1 breast of chicken (skinless, boneless)
1 large zucchini (cut into bite sized chunks)
5 small sweet peppers (cut into bite sized pieces)
1/4 cup chopped onion
4 tsp Seasonings: My mix has rosemary, cilantro, black pepper, garlic, onion, salt, sugar, ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup quinoa

Steps:
Put all ingredients except the frozen peas and quinoa into your slowcooker. Set the timer and go enjoy your day! When there is about 1 hour left of cooking time, pull out the chicken breast and cut into bite sized pieces. Some days I just shred the chicken. Put the chicken back into the soup and add the peas and quinoa. Continue to cook until you are ready to eat!

Servings: 3-4

I served the soup with toast topped with olive tapanade. It was delicious!

This recipe is easy to double or add more meat if you want a meatier meal. You could also swap out the zucchini for other vegetables you may have on hand and yes, tossing in a mix of leftover veggies would be a wonderful idea!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for slowcookers!
Daily Affirmation: I can make soup out of anything!

8.23.2013

Technology Connects My Family

Just the other day I got an evite to my niece's birthday party. My family is funny that way. We send each other evites even when we know the other won't be able to attend. There is a lot of land and ocean between Texas and Hawai'i! But it keeps us connected. We see what is going on and how the kids are celebrating milestones in their lives.

Yesterday I texted my sister to see what the girls' are desiring for their birthdays. Yes, the evite was for one but the other niece's birthday is just around the corner. 9, 10, 11....1, 2, 3 birthdays. My Mom's is the 11th but I am digressing. Birthday presents. My sister texts back the kiddos have wish lists at Toys-R-Us. Oh the simplicity of life! I can just hop online, see what they want, and have the store mail it to them. Sweet! Life is great! Now I just need to figure out what to get Mom. Technology may not help me out of that puzzle but so far, it is making my life easier and bringing my family closer to me.

I hear so many stories about how bad technology is in terms of too many games, too much texting, not enough family connection, not enough exercise, blah, blah, blah. Don't get me wrong. I firmly believe in exercise and not getting sucked into games. I have some apps to keep me on track and focused on my training. I run with a GPS or Nike+ sensor. I listen to tunes on my iPhone. That is all technology enhancing aspects of my life. And yes, I am introducing darling daughter to the sweet wonders of the technological world....and so is her school with computer labs.

But is this enriching our time together? Absolutely! Life is what you make out of it. You get out of a run what you put into it. You get out of technology what you put into it. I am not just sitting darling daughter down at a computer or handing her my phone and walking off. I am there. We are talking. We are engaged. We are sharing. She has tons of apps - some educational, some fun - that she can turn to when she is just plain tired of being in the car. Those "long" car trips on Maui are exhausting. Okay, they pale in comparison to mainland driving but it is all relative.

But we also play together. Our current favorite is Hay Day. We may play together 10-15 minutes a day. Sometimes she checks in by herself. Sometimes I do. We always talk about what we are doing. We develop our plan. We work to our farm goals. And in all reality, I love the lesson of having to save up your coins to invest in machinery, animals, decorations, etc. for your farm. Having to plan what you plant, harvest, make, etc. to fill your orders. When to ask for help. When to do it yourself. It is a lot like life and we are having fun together. And we bring it into our conversation as we drive by sugar cane in the real world.


But technology isn't just games. It goes deeper. Every school day darling daughter calls my cell phone from dear hubby's cell phone. Yep, there was a time when this wouldn't be possible but it is. It is something we started over a year ago when going to preschool was hard and she missed her Mommy. Now going to school isn't as hard but we still have our morning chats. It is nice. It is a tradition. It brings us closer together. I will always cherish these moments and hopefully she will too.

There is also a safety element. It is nice to know that your child is safe at school and drop off was a success. Dear hubby always texts me the "all good" or rarely "rough morning" but I know darling daughter is set and ready to go. My husband isn't the biggest texter and he doesn't have a smart phone so I will give him texting is hard as a great reason. But 99% of the time he will text again when he is on his way home from work. That "heading out" text is always nice to see and I have a gut feeling he has no idea how happy it makes me to see it. And yes, I will text him random "how are you?", "thinking of you", "love you" texts. What can I say? It makes me feel closer to him.

But it isn't just my immediate household connecting through technology. It is the ability to take a quick picture and send it to my mom, my sisters, my aunt, darling daughter's stepbrothers, etc. saying - look what we are up to! It takes just an added moment to text a photo but that moment can make a big difference in building/securing family bonds.

Technology goes beyond my smart phone though. I am a technology loving Mom. You know my social media sites for my blog but I have a personal facebook page for my family and closest friends. I also have a Shutterfly site for my closest family where I share even more photos and a calendar of events - and yes, all our races are on the calender. Some family members check in more often. Some less. But that doesn't really matter. What does matter is that I am keeping those communication channels open and reaching out and that makes a huge difference when your little piece of the big family is living on a little island in the middle of the Pacific.

Now it's your chance! Tell me how technology connects your family?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the technology that enriches my life.
Daily Affirmation: I am a loving mom.

8.21.2013

Milestones

Milestones....those significant events of our lives....

For each one of us the milestones may vary but some are pretty universal. And recently I feel I am wrapped up in so many milestones that my mind is becoming restless and my sleep is being impacted.

Milestone #1: Darling Daughter started Kindergarten. I am so proud of her for tackling this new phase in life with an open heart and an open mind. She has been beyond excited. She doesn't know how torn up I feel inside. Not for her starting Kindergarten per se but for me not being there to take her to school her first day. Those classic shots of the little girl in the cute dress at the doorsteps of the school....nope, I don't have one. I was working. Dear hubby takes her to school and yes, this is how it has always been so why does it bug me? Because it is a milestone and on that first day I take her rest assured I will be taking a photo.

Yesterday marked her first full day of Kindergarten after going for three half days. She was excited. She knew the plan and where I would pick her up. I got there perfectly on time and was the first car in line to get my precious gem but then things went wrong. That advice from the teacher to let her know of pick up plans so my child would be where she was supposed to be failed. I am trying not to be upset but in all reality, it bugs me. You see, at first darling daughter was to be in the A+ program but I had a genius idea and figured out a work schedule that allowed me to pick up darling daughter on my four days at dismissal leaving Daddy to do one day. It worked. My supervisor approved. The A+ program administator was informed. Payment was never made. Her name was to be crossed off the list. Darling daughter's teacher was told twice that she would be picked up every single day by a parent, no A+. Yesterday she was sent to A+.

Another teacher had informed me of the mix-up and directed me to pull into a parking spot and go get her. I did. I moved fast. I was at the A+ meeting spot before darling daughter. Her teacher was there and looking for my daughter as well. She knew the mix-up, she apologized and said, yes, she had the note. She made a mistake. And then I saw my sweetheart walking to me in line on the verge of a major tears with some smaller ones rolling down her cheeks. It broke my heart. I ran to her and hugged her and told her how sorry I was. Her teacher apologized. Darling told me she never wanted to go to school again. She is smart. She knew she was being walked away from where Mommy was to be. She was scared and sad and even now, over 12 hours later, my heart feels heavy for her and my eyes well up...and yes, I have shed some tears myself. But it will never happen again. I am completely confident that her teacher will never make that mistake again. Still, it is hard to not be annoyed.

Milestone #2: Day 600, or should I say day 601. That is what today is. Day 601 of my running streak. I would love to say I marked these milestones with significant runs but my love of my family, and dedication to be a ever present mom, didn't let this happen. Yesterday I ran after picking up darling daughter from school. It was an easy, slow four mile run on my incline treadmill. I would have loved to run six miles of awesomeness but first thing that morning darling wanted to cuddle more. I cuddled. And I just didn't have the heart to run too long and not be present and by her side helping her with her homework yesterday afternoon. She was out of sorts. She had a rough day. It will get better. And today, I overslept and dragged my butt out of bed not wanting to leave the warmth of the covers. Yes, it gets cold up where I live. Maybe not your cold but my cold. So the speedwork I planned for today was replaced by a measly mile as I have a long work day ahead of me today...to compensate for the shorter work days on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. It will all work out.

Milestone #3: Darling daughter starts soccer practice today! She has been so excited and I finally got the call from her coach last night. We registered a bit late but she only missed one practice. And she only practices once a week. And it is on the day I have to work late. It is okay. I will NEVER miss one of her games.

Milestone #4: Anniversaries. 8/20. August 20th. It would have been my parents' 47th wedding
anniversary. Imagine that! They were high school sweethearts and I do love to hear their love story. And yes, my heart was heavy for my Mom as I know how much she misses him. 9/9. September 9th. Dear hubby and I will celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. Just don't ask me how yet as eating out isn't something I am very comfy with right now and it is a school/work night. Sometimes I need to be less responsible, don't you think?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I was the first car in the pick-up lane as it allowed me to be right where I needed to be to embrace darling daughter right when she needed it.
Daily Affirmation: My empathy makes me a loving, generous woman.

8.20.2013

Beat the Heat 8K: Race Recap

Just the other day I posted this post about how I couldn't get my head around racing this past weekend. In all reality, up until the start I was still having a hard time wrapping my head around it but we will get back to that in a minute.

In an attempt to make the day's 8K fun I decided to run this race as a Runchat ambassador and pulled out my temporary tattoos that they sent. I love dedicating a race to something/someone even if only I know it. But in this case, I shared my dedication and put of sign of it on my leg, and darling daughter's arm. After all, how can a Mom put on a temporary tattoo and not involve her five year old daughter in the craziness?

As dear hubby and I headed to the race start I tried to fill him in as much as I knew about the new race course. It took like two nanoseconds since I knew very little; therefore, I was more than happy to listen to them go over the course for me again. Okay, got it. Run uphill, run downhill, run back (kinda flat), and make a loop around the grassy field. Fun! Turns are marked. Awesome! Since there is no way on Earth I will remember those street names the lady initially told me.

I did one last bathroom break and then drank up my sprint bottle of VegaSport Hydrator. It wasn't hot anymore and I didn't want/need to carry a small drink. It was only 8K and there would be one water station....at the top of the hill or mile 1.5. I would be fine. Dear hubby on the other hand grabbed his full sized Nathan water bottle with Gatorade.

With a ready, go we took off. Yes, it was that quick of a start. I had a plan. Okay, not really but kinda. Don't go too crazy in the first 1.5 miles uphill and then run back to the start. Told you it wasn't the best laid plan. In fact, right before we started I told dear hubby it was just a training run for me today. I did have hopes of running long the next day to get my weekly mileage to where I wanted it to be.  (umm...that didn't happen)

But something happened. Perhaps it was that #runchat tattoo but the desire to race well began swelling up inside of me. Perhaps it was my desire to prove that I could achieve my goals and reconfirm that #iwill break a 4:20 marathon. That first couple hundred of meters or so before we turned to start our ascent went by quickly. Right after the turn a lady in front of me started to walk. I told myself slow and steady up the hill and began passing runners one by one. After awhile I realized I was passing some runners that are at a competitive pace with me. I checked in on how I was feeling. I was breathing hard but hey, I was running uphill. I maintained my pace and wanted to pass a few more runners to get into a good placement before the race changed. I can run uphill. I train for this. Remember all those runs on the incline treadmill? It pays off on days like this. Before I knew it one mile was done. My split was 9'09".

I can't remember exactly where but I think it may have been after the one mile mark that I passed D & B, two ladies I know and who run well. At that time, I didn't know that that particular pass put me in place as the second female. I wasn't paying that close of attention to how many ladies were before me when I started and how many I passed. Can anyone do that? At the top of the hill the water station was manned by a familiar face and a nice reminder, "breath through your nose!". Gotta love runner support! I skipped getting anything at the station but took the advice and a few calming breaths through my nose as I began the descent. I started tentatively wondering how my legs, in particular my IT bands, would  hold up with the force of the decent. Just the Sunday before my legs had complained a bit on a lesser descent. In that transition D & B passed me. They were both running stong and pretty much neck to neck. B later told me she was trying to hang onto D. I picked up my pace but they got out of my sight with all the curves and bends.

Two miles done and still descending and my split was 8'32". I had confidence in my legs. Two more ladies passed me slightly spaced apart. One was half my age, she was the second to pass, and I tried not to get too bothered. After all, she was half my age, right? But I raced after her and my third split was 6'51". This was my fastest mile in the race and I am shocked that I broke a 7 minute mile. Running downhill I felt fast and strong. I had to ease a bit to make the sharp left hand turn back onto the highway where things were flat until the end. The thing is, flat on Maui doesn't equal Texas flat. Yes, it was flatter but there was still a bit of uphill and downhill. I used those slight downhills as mental recoveries. And I got a mental uplift when my dear friends with darling daughter cruised by in the car and honked. It was nice to hear that beep and know they were on the way to the end to meet me.

I was beginning to feel my effort and if I knew I just broke a 7 minute mile I am sure it would have made better sense. I may have freaked out though. I still pushed myself and told myself to maintain my pace and position but I could also see I was getting closer to those runners in front of me. I pushed but tried not to crazy push and passed those two ladies who last passed me. At the time I had passed the second lady four miles were completed and my split was 7'28". Yes, slowing down but hey, I wasn't running downhill either and I am not complaining about that pace for me.

I could see D & B ahead of me and as much as I wanted to pass them they seemed so far away. I kept pushing and passed my final person, a guy, with only minutes left in the race. I was determined to maintain my position and fortunately I didn't have to test to see if I had any hidden reserves as no one started to pass me allowing me to finish under my own plan. Run, run, run. Oh yeah, and don't throw up. I did feel physically ill but ran on around the grassy field  (yuck), made the final turn to the finish, saw the clock, and tried to put in whatever I had left telling myself not to get sick as I finished. I also saw that I broke 40 minutes and was amazed and proud. My final split was about 7'18".

In terms of placement, I was the fourth female and was just seconds behind D & B. My time was 39'18", B was 39'05", and D was 39'04". Not too far off. The top female is an amzing young lady and she is fast! Her time was 37'31". And I was the first female in the Open Division and am happy. Yes, it was a small race but it still means A LOT to me.

Dear hubby was the 8th male and placed third in the Master's Division. His time was 35'57".

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I can pick darling daughter up from school.
Daily Affirmation: I am a runner.

8.17.2013

#dairyfree Breakfast Burrito

I have always loved burritos and breakfast burritos are an amazing way for me to treat myself at the start of the day. I would occassionally go by a deli close to work to pick one up now and then. That option is no longer simple for me and hey, it costs less to just do it yourself! And often, it may be better for you in more ways than one.

Here is my current go to recipe. I will make this burrito the night before, wrap it up in plastic, and then warm it back up at work. Two minutes in the microwave seems to work perfectly! If you want to make this to eat right away, just warm up the beans first. 

Ingredients:
  • One tortilla (I like the Smart & Delicious low-carb tortillas but any kind will work. Just check that ingredient list closely! The wheat tortillas I was traditionally buying have whey inside of them.)
  • 1/4 cup vegetarian refried beans (use more or less depending on your personal preference and yes, I do make my own sometimes!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 handful spinach (use more or less depending on your personal preference)
  • Salt (I use Hawaiian sea salt)
  • Black Pepper (I use freshly ground pepper) 
  • Salsa (optional - I add this in when making fresh at home but it will make the tortilla soggy if you are taking the burrito to go like I do) 
Steps:
  1. Warm up a small frying pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. (Check your can closely to ensure it is indeed dairy free. Believe it or not, some have hidden dairy sources!) 
  2. Crack the eggs into the pan and gently break the yolks.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to match your tastes.
  4. While eggs are slowly cooking spread the refried beans on your tortilla. Top with spinach.
  5. Once the eggs are white and setting fold the eggs in half. You will know the eggs are ready by the firmness of the edges. It actually is pretty easy!
  6. Continue to cook to your preference. I like a bit of golden edges and well cooked eggs. I will cook on one side and then flip and get the other side golden. If you want, you can make scrambled eggs instead.
  7. Cut egg omelette into slices and place on top of the spinach.
  8. Wrap your burrito. I fold in the ends first and then do the final burrito wrap up. I don't like loose ends that could let the yumminess fall out!
Serving Size: 1 person        

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for quick meals I can make at home to make breakfast at work more exciting!
Daily Affirmation: I am uncovering the hidden chef within myself. 


8.16.2013

Beat the Heat 8K - Maui Race

I am racing tomorrow but in all reality, I can't wrap my head around the racing part. And things are up in the air to some extent. Yes, I will be toeing the line but this race has a new course this year AND it is shorter...an 8K instead of a 10K. From what I saw on Maui Runner's blog, the course looks harder but that is okay. I am not necessarily out to win. My primary goal it to toe a starting line before doing so come September for the Maui Marathon. It has been AGES since I have raced. Okay, slight exaggeration but my last race was the Valley to the Sea Half Marathon in March of this year. I had hoped to run the Jacaranda 10K in May and place better but the race was cancelled. I was really disappointed after not being able to run the Run for the Whales Half Marathon either this year. I toyed with the idea of running a race in Texas but there was only a 5K and it ended up, on that day it would have been my last day with some extended family so they came first. My race calender this year is pretty much non-existent and I don't know if that is good or bad.

I like having some smaller community races before my A races to stay in tune with racing and to check in on my training progress. However, with a different course and a shorter distance I won't be able to accurately analyze my results like I usually do. Oh well. I will be fine. I am treating this race more like a training run and hope to run long on Sunday. Fingers crossed that dear hubby has the day off so I can hit the roads! Leading up to this race I can't say I tapered or eased up but my last two runs have been shorter. I did do mile repeats on Wednesday and my legs felt and loved the drive. Today my legs feel stiff so I know they want to run. It is the annoying stiffness I get when I have done a string of shorter runs. My body wants more mileage. I want to run. I hope those factors stay in place tomorrow evening at race time and that I do enjoy the new course.

What's on your plate for running this weekend?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that the Beat the Heat 8K is happening. I would rather race a different and shorter course than not race at all.
Daily Affirmation: My legs are strong and my mind will carry me well.

8.15.2013

Time

Today I am going to get on the proverbial soapbox and make a statement on a topic that is dear to my heart. Time. It is probably one of the most important things in life. Correction: It IS the most important thing in life. And I am not talking about that time of the clock at the end of the race. Yes, that can be important but it isn't necessarily the most important thing in life. Even if you miss that Olympic gold medal by 1/1000th of a second that time isn't the most important thing in life. It isn't.

It is the time we give to others. The time we spend with family and friends. The time we do something nice for someone. The time we take to ask someone about their day, to truly listen, and to show support and/or empathy. To be understanding. The time we take out of our set minutes a day and essentially give that one minute of our time to someone else. That is what counts.

We all have a million things we want to do and I am not saying to sacrifice all of your desires and dreams and give all of yourself to others but honestly, sometimes the most important thing you can do is to stop what you are doing and give someone your undivided attention. This is what matters. This is what will be remembered. This is what is cherished. This counts.

Each and every day I aim to give some of my time to my family and I am not talking doing laundry, making lunches, making dinner, etc. Yes, that takes time but it isn't the time I am talking about. That is normal time. I am talking about my time. Taking a bit of my time and giving it to my family. Taking a few minutes out of my work day to talk to darling daughter on her way to school. Yes, I am usually still entering data but I am giving her my time and my supervisor knows that at this particular time of day I will be on the phone with my daughter and that it is important to me.

Practically every day I take a minute or so of my time and stop what I am doing to text dear hubby a good morning. I really don't know if it means much to him or not but if you add those minutes up I am giving him 30 minutes of me each month or 6 hours of me a year....at a minimum because I do text more at times. And I am not talking about the dear hubby please pick up blah, blah, blah texts or I am heading home texts. Those don't count. I am talking about the good morning, how was your run, or I love you texts. The above and beyond texts.

Life is busy. Life is full. And in all the craziness of holding down a full time job, blogging on the side, raising a precious little girl, being a wife, and training for a marathon I could easily say I don't have time for more. I am tired. I just need time for me. I could say my day was hard and full and retreat into solice by myself. And yes, sometimes that is okay but don't make a habit out of it. Because in all reality, giving that little bit of your time to someone else enriches your life as well. It will make you happier. Goodness comes back. Time doesn't. Humans are meant to be connected to others, not isolated.

Darling daughter
And yes, life is full. Yes, Tuesday I had dishes to wash, a lunch to make, dinner to make, etc. but I sat down by darling daughter and gave her some of my time, undivided, to talk to her about her school day. It was her first day of kindergarten and yes, she had called me at work after school and talked. My supervisor knew I was eager for the call and smiled when it finally came. But I choose to give my daughter more of me. To sit by her. To talk to her while I was not doing anything else. She may not have realized how different that talk was from our many other how was school talks that we have while she snacks at the table and I make lunches but it was different. I may not be able to do it every day but when I do, I hope one day she realizes it is different. And if all I can give some days is a talk while I make lunches or dinner than that is better than no talk at all.

Goodness comes back. It may take time. You may not see it right away. It may not come back in the form you are desiring but it will come back. And most importantly, as your time winds down you will be able to reflect back on your life knowing you gave some of your time each day to your loved ones and by golly, that is what counts.

Thank you for listening! I will return to talking about running related stuff tomorrow. Have a great day!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the time a co-worker took yesterday to ask me about how I was adjusting to my new diet and showing empathy on how hard it is. Seriously, it nearly brought me to tears to be able to express my frustations and to be heard.
Daily Affirmation: I learn from my mistakes and am on a path of continued growth.

8.14.2013

Marathon Training: The Importance of the Long Run

Build your long run. That is the central factor in any marathon training plan. If you look at a plan you will see the progressive increase of the long run to 20-22 miles. What you progress to depends on you and your training. How many 20+ mile runs you run also depends on your training. Simply stated, where you get to before the race is dependent on where you were as you started your training. But in all reality, there is no simple equation.

The long run is essential for two purposes: it trains your physical body and it trains your mind. Sometimes I feel the second is more important but perhaps it is because I can see the negative impact a "weak" mind can have on a trained body.

The Physical Training:
Running a marathon is an aerobic activity and the long run helps improve your running economy, or your oxygen consumption relative to weight and speed. Your body is going through physical changes that includes modifying the number, size, and distribution of mitochondria (the aerobic machines in your muscles), increasing oxidative enzyme activity, and increasing blood flow to your muscles. What may surprise you is that these essential adaptations happen at a slower conversational running pace which is why it is stressed that your long runs be slow. Don't get me wrong, these adaptations can also be happening in other training runs too but each run has a purpose. The long run is also essential in learning how to fuel your body and give it the extra energy it needs to go long and to perform well.

The Mental Training:
Running is an amazing thing. Some runs feel more than fantastic (gotta love runner's high) and some runs feel like dredgery. And a single run can produce both effects which is why how you handle stressors mentally can have a hugh impact on your end result. The long run can be long and depending on pace it can extend beyond 3 hours. A lot can go through your mind during that. A lot can happen. This is your chance to practice your mantras and find away to overcome a weak mind and to identify when it is a weak mind or something bigger going on. That can be tricky since sometimes that "my legs are so tired/achy I want to quit" feeling means nothing and sometimes it may be a warning of an injury brewing.

The 20-mile "fail":
Reading the idea behind the long run is all fine and dandy but come on, don't we all want real life experieces? Honestly, for me I know why I need to run long but sometimes it just doesn't work out the way I hope and I find it nice to read how others battle this. It helps me in a couple of ways. It confirms I am not alone in this challenge and second, sometimes I pick up on some valuable learning advice. We can always learn from each other.

Last Sunday I set out to run 20 miles. I felt pretty confident I would achieve me goal. I was bummed I would be running solo as it would be really nice to run with dear hubby but circumstances in life just weren't making that option feasible. I filled up my CamelBak with VegaSport Hydrator and tucked four frozen applesauce to go in my front pocket to test this fuel on a longer run. It was working in Texas but my longest run there was just over 12 miles. This was different and I knew it.

Dear hubby and darling daughter dropped me off at my start point and we had a set meeting up point. I got my Nike+ synced and started to run only to find out within seconds my earphones were acting all wacky. The right one was breaking in and out. I tried to adjust it but was having no luck. I ran on thinking this is going to be an interesting run. At 1.64 miles it looked like my phone wasn't going into "sleep" mode and I wondered if it could take me running 20 miles fully lit up and last the whole time. I stopped that portion of my run, reloaded the Nike+ app and started off again. I even hoped that would correct the music issue but it didn't but it wasn't too bad. For the most part I just heard stuff with my left earbud. The right was quiet. It was an annoyance but a doable annoyance. I ran on and was thankful for a cooperative vest....except for the fact that those frozen applesauces were cold against my right ribs and in all reality, I should have put them in the back pocket. I could have moved them. Fortunately, the end result was only a little chafing where they were rubbing.

At the 7.91 mile mark when I was checking in with my phone on where I was it decided to end my run instead of giving me the distance covered so far. Annoying but fixable. I did a quick add up on miles and determined how far I needed to tell it I had left. And yes, I do check in on miles here and there to stick with my fueling plan. That day I was taking an applesauce every 4 miles. Each packet is 60 calories. And yes, I knew so far my pace was faster than I needed/wanted it to be and kept trying to run easy. Run slower. Keep it in check. (My splits so far were 8'38", 8'38", 8'35", 8'37", 8'45", 9'01", 9'30", 9'18" - far off from my target long run pace of 10'00").

At this point I was feeling awesome though. I knew I was a bit fast but I wasn't feeling winded or overextended. I still tried to run smart but opted to go with the flow. And I did. I also knew I was in the portion of my route that I traditionally slow down anyhow. Running through the "city" does seem to ease up my pace and I think it is just because I need to be more attentive to cars and people are everywhere! Plus soon some hills will begin to creep up in my run. Yes, my long run course starts flat and ends hilly. I knew it. I was ready. I was embracing the opportunity to train my body to be strong when things get touch. At about mile 14 I passed my end point. I knew I had to run by it and return back. This is always a mentally challenging part for me - to run by where my family is waiting for me knowing I have 6 miles to go. I would by lying if I said I was never tempted to call it quits and just go to them. Today I couldn't. I wanted 20 miles so I ran on but the hills were beginning to take their toll on me.

The heat was beginning to take its toll on me. I was drinking more often now and the applesauce didn't seem to be giving me an added kick. (My splits now were 9'18", 9'35", 9'37", 9'46", 9'35", 9'13"). I took a detour to avoid one big uphill climb only to end up on some serious rollercoaster hills that were even steeper. It was tough. I thought this road brought me back to where I was but I was getting doubtful. I looked at a map later and yes, it would have. I ended up turing back and hitting those rollercoaster hills another time. I was close to where I would have made it back to the main road with a long downhill stretch. I knew I didn't go far enough to be at 20 miles at my meeting up point. I was feeling bad. My legs were tired. My right knee was complaining a bit on the downhills. I continued drinking more and wondered how much I had left in my back. I knew there was more but it was getting lighter. There were no water fountains in this stretch.

I told myself I could run pass the meeting up point again and double back but the thing is, when I saw the sign to where I would need to turn to see my family, I turned. Did that make me weak? Was it the right thing to do? I felt it was. I was hot. I knew my pace had been too fast. I knew the applesauce alone wasn't fueling me properly. I was out of steam. I quit my 20-mile run at 18 miles. (My final splits were 10'02", 10'08", 10'06" 10'33", 10'24", 10'24").

Still today I see the success in running those 18 miles but wonder if I should have dug deeper and done the final two. Should I have just walked those final two? Am I ready for running a marathon come September 22nd? It is hard to feel confident you can run 26.2 miles when you just called it quits at 18 miles. My training cycle is wrapping up and I know I have trained hard. Was it enough? Will I achieve my goals? Am I ready?

I do have time to tackle those 20 miles again in this training cycle before entering my taper phase. I will be carrying some VegaSport Endurance gel in addition to the applesauce. I do like the applesauce and the gel is a tough taste to swallow but I can. And that 100 calorie gel probably has a little something that may have made a big diffence in my performance this past Sunday. And that is another valuable part of long runs during training - you can practice fueling and discover the flops before race day. And my gut says, with better fuel I would not have run out of steam. Did I do the right thing by quitting? Logically my mind says yes. My legs did take a beating and have been a bit cranky this past two days as they recover. I know my muscles are healing those microtears I made in them. I am getting stronger. I will dig deep. I will achieve my goals. But even in this post you can see the power one's mind can have - it waivers between confidence and doubt non-stop.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I ran out of steam Sunday as it taught me I do need more than applesauce!
Daily Affirmation: I am well trained for the Maui Marathon.


8.12.2013

CamelBak Marathoner Vest Product Review

I am starting this week with a sponsored post. In June I was given the opportunity to review product from CamelBak and selected the CamelBak Marathoner Vest with hopes it would arrive before darling daughter and I headed to Texas for three weeks. Luck was on my side.

I love reading that running is an easy sport to start since you don't need much equipment. Yes, that is true to a degree. I am in the process of registering darling daughter for soccer and just this weekend we went shopping to get her soccer shoes, soccer socks, shin guards, and yes, a pink size 3 soccer ball to practice with at home. It added up quickly but not as quickly as one pair of running shoes for me. The irony of it all!

And yes, when I began running I didn't have much. Running shoes, socks, and something to run in. I quickly added tunes to listen to and that grew into carrying a means to track my miles and time. I think you can see what came next....hydration. I needed a way to stay hydrated on the go and please welcome a water bottle. But let me tell you, carrying that thing got tiresome so I tried a hydration belt and quickly realized, that is not the thing for me. My rounded hips didn't provide a firm resting groud and I chafed left and right. No fun...back to the handheld bottle. Argh says the tired arms!

Once my running goals grew to longer distances so did what I had to carry with the addition of gels. One or two gels were easy to slip into my running skirt but by golly, my distance continued to grow and that little pocket wasn't big enough. I felt like I was packing a mule to go out and run and yes, I did try to keep it simple. So simple that I opted to drink the sports drinks I don't like and really don't want in my body just to be able to go with one handheld bottle during races. Carrying extra sports drinks packages wasn't really ideal as much as I wished there was an easier way.

I saw runners with their hydrations packs and was envious. It seemed like it was such a cool idea to carry all I need to carry and drink what I want to drink. I viewed them as a way to take the leashes off and to run without too much worry about the next water fountain or where I would squeeze everything on my body. But there was one thing holding me back - I run in a running skirt and bra top, the hydration belt tore me up, and I was afraid of chafing all around my core. That scared me enough to stick to what I was doing.

But you see, my running goals are growing and I knew eventually something was going to need to change and in all reality, I thought it was me. I had to learn to run in a tank top. Yikes....why did that bug me so much? Would it be the worst thing in the world if it meant I could carry more hydration and fuel? You would think I wouldn't let it bug me so much.

Then the day came...the opportunity to try a vest...and I was heading to Texas soon and would be running outside almost daily in the heat. I was already trying to envision water refills in my Mom's neighborhood and it wasn't looking pretty. But luck was on my side. The vest arrived just two days before darling daughter and I headed out. This was my chance to give a vest a try and to run free! I was excited! Okay, I was beyond excited! I tried the vest on. Darling daughter tried the vest on and scoped out all its features. She really loves the whistle and how it can unattach and then go right back into place. She tweeted...a few times. It is loud but not piercing. She was happy. I was happy.

But the true test isn't an empty vest in your house. The true test is a vest with water on a run. For my first run I put in one bottle of water (my bottle holds 16 oz). I was going out only for a bit and figured the first run shouldn't be fully loaded. I was amazed by how comfy the vest was, how easy it was to take sips, and how it didn't seem to make me feel any hotter. Yes, I was worried about that too. In fact, I wasn't any hotter or sweatier than the runs I did without the vest. Cool!

It didn't take me long to fill the vest to capacity (2L) and hit the roads. I stashed my phone in the left front pocket and a couple of applesauce to go in the right front packet. In the back pocket I was able to stash my Mom's garage door opener so I could get back into the house when I was done. I was fully loaded but yet I felt naked. The vest obviously weighs more with all the goodies inside but I never felt heavy or weighted down AND the vest never changed how it felt on me when I was drinking up the water. In fact, I noticed no real difference at all. And that chafing? Well, it never happened. My only issue was when I put four frozen applesauce to go in the right front pocket. After that run I did have some minor irritation on my side but in all reality, I think it was from the cold, solid applesauce containers which could be easily stored in the back pocket away from my skin.

The vest is awesome and easy to clean. I rinse it down with water post run to get the sweat off and hang it in the shower. The inner bladder is easy to clean and quickly disconnects from the drinking tube. I am seriously considering running the Maui Marathon in this vest come September to see what I think of it for racing and I have an inkling I will be doing the same in December for the Honolulu Marathon. It is nice to have empty hands and yes, it is nice to be able to get to my phone if I so choose in order to take a picture. It doesn't happen often but sometimes you need to stop and enjoy life...or take some pictures of bunnies for darling daughter!

Once again, I received the CamelBak Marathoner Vest free of charge from CamelBak to review. The vest retails for $100. I did not promise a positive review and the opinions expressed in this post are soley my own opinions.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for blue skies.
Daily Affirmation: My heart is full of love.

8.08.2013

Book Review: You Know You Are A Runner....

Today's post is a sponsored post. Richard McChesney, the author of You Know You Are A Runner..., provided me a free copy of hte pre-release PDF version of his new e-book. It is available on Amazon and the Kindle version is currently $2.99.

I don't know about you but personally I don't find much time to read but I really do love to read. When I was given the chance to preview a copy of a little book with runner humor I jumped. It would give me a bit of reading time that I could fit into my hectic, busy, full life and perhaps bring out a smile here and there.

Don't get me wrong. I smile and laugh almost every single day but in all reality, my sense of humor is not like many people. I can watch a movie and the whole room will be cracking up and yet I will not be. But then there are things that crack me up and the whole room will look at me oddly. It is just the way my mind works - I like quick, witty humor not plain silliness.

Rewind about 25-30 years and you will find me at the intial stages of looking through the newspapers to find the funnies. Once again, you wouldn't find me laughing out loud but I still enjoyed them. There were short and sweet and I also liked looking at the illustrations for each. It made me happy even if I wasn't rolling around laughing. And yes, some made no sense to me at all.

You Know You Are a Runner... brings me back to those days. It is essentially a collection of 40 comics all centered on runners. Some resonated more with me than others but isn't that true of the funny section anyhow? Some relate to some people and some to others and I believe that is what makes the section, and this book, a success. If everything hit my sense of humor perfectly I don't think it would be a book everyone could find appealing. No two people are alike and I think it is the diversity of the funnies in this book that will make it enjoyable to a larger number of people. And who knows, perhaps you might find one or two that resonate so deeply with you that you will want to cut them out to hang it up somewhere.

Once again, this was a sponsored post. I was contacted by the author and received a free copy to read and review. I did not promise a positive review and the opinions I expressed are soley my own. The e-book You Know You Are A Runner... by Richard McChesney and illustrated by Brighty & Brock is available on Amazon.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunities in my life.
Daily Affirmation: My sense of humor makes me unique.

8.07.2013

Life After Anaphylactic Shock

This is part three of my story but I know it isn't the end. There are still more chapters to be written and perhaps I may share some of those with you too. But for now, if you need to catch up you can read about Life Before Anaphylactic Shock HERE and Anaphylactic Shock: The Episode HERE.

I want to reiterate I am sharing my story for two purposes: it helps me process what happened and I feel it is important to share experiences that can benefit others. My choice to try to go dairy free was to ease tummy troubles. I found it alleviated my stuffy nose. Little did I know that a simple choice could turn to a situation like this in my life. It was and still is unnerving to me.

I must confess, come Tuesday morning (the morning after going to the ER for anaphylactic shock) I didn't trust my own body. It felt foreign. Eating breakfast that morning took courage. Food seemed like an enemy. Plus I was on day one of four days of taking the follow up prescribed Predisone. I really don't like taking any medicines and was foolish to read all the potential side effects. That was unnerving. Knowledge is power but I got to say, sometimes too much knowledge may not be good for this running mom. And I needed to run.

Darling daughter didn't want me out of her sight so I took her out with me. My mom questioned if that was a good idea and I knew it would be fine. I needed to run. But I kept my run short with only 1.38 miles pushing darling in the jogging stroller followed up with 0.67 miles running with darling. I did this for my mom's peace of mind. And that day we had made previous arrangements to meet up with old family friends for lunch. My mom asked if I still wanted to go. Yes, I wanted to see our friends. Yes, going out to eat terrified me but I went. We were going to Olive Garden and I figured I would be perfectly fine with a salad with plain vinegar, not their dressing. I got some minestrone soup too since the waitress was very compassionate and knew I was avoiding dairy and assured me this would be fine. Logically I knew it should be too. But all other dining out plans for my vacation were not going to happen. It was stressful trusting food preparation from someone else.

That first week was really hard. I was stuck in the "oh my goodness how could this happen to me?", "did this really happen because I opted to go dairy free?", "how different would my life be at this exact moment of time if I never stopped eating dairy?", and the final "what about darling daughter?". Those questions still pop around in my mind but I am getting more used to them. I am getting more used to reading every single label for every single thing I put in my mouth. And I often read them twice. And I am being very careful until I get more information. I have an allergy clinic appointment scheduled for later this month so until then, I am even avoiding things that may contain milk and yes, food labels tell you that. And dairy can be in anything - barbeque sauce and corn starch are my recent surprises.

And I need to plan more. I need to think about how long I will be out and make sure I pack accordingly with my snacks and meals. I can't say "oh, I will just pick something up" because it isn't that easy. I never really liked to just pick things up but with that option pretty much gone, it is harder. I need to stay focused because one "oh, this is okay" may not be okay.

For example, on Monday I picked up some meatballs that I figured were fine. I ate them before going to Texas. I was okay. I once again stressed no dairy at all. Last time they didn't top the meatballs with cheese but gave me cheesy bread. This time, they still didn't top the meatballs with cheese but gave me buttery garlic bread. Both times I gave the bread to co-workers. Monday I ate some meatballs and began to feel a bit funny, nothing too intense, just odd. My head felt fuzzy-ish. I figured I was paranoid about the buttery bread that was on top and stopped eating. It was just 4 small meatballs and I ate maybe 2.

But you see I am not the same me. Yesterday I felt it wasn't right to get dairy at all when asking for no dairy. Since I knew the restaurant manager I talked to him about it and expressed my concerns. He was completely understanding and agreed 100% that I shouldn't get dairy-ish bread when saying no dairy but he was also concerned about the meatballs. He went and checked on the recipe and came back and told me to not eat the meatballs. They have some milk and cheese in them. Not much but some. I had asked if there was dairy in them, not once but twice. Both times I was told no. I don't blame anyone but it just goes to show you nothing is really safe.

As soon as he told me that the meatballs did have dairy it made since. I was beginning to feel odd eating the food. I am glad I stopped and have you heard the expression hindsight is 20/20? It is true. That proverbial light bulb went off. That itchy neck I had where I noticed some red bumps after eating the meatballs....it had happened before going to Texas too....I even complained then to my co-worker about my itchy neck. If only I could remember when and what I ate the first time but I am sure you may be getting that proverbial light bulb too. The thought that perhaps that itchy neck with little red bumps was my body responding negatively to the dairy in the meatballs.

To some Monday's experience may be scary. To me it adds a bit of comfort. Yes, my body is not happy with something I am eating and the allergy tests should pinpoint what exactly it is in that dairy that is upsetting my system. That kind of sucks. But what is good is that a wee little amount isn't as disasterous as a cake with sour cream, pudding mix, and butter in it! And what is even better is that I am very acute to listening to my body. I thank running for that.

I still wonder about darling daughter. I am sure I will be talking to her pediatrician too mainly because this question lurks in the back of my mind - "if darling daughter goes x amount of time with no dairy in her diet will see then respond to it negatively like I did?". As a mom, how can I not ask? For now, she still gets dairy with the occassional cheese and yogurt but our overall family meals are changing. Dear hubby couldn't put the spaghetti seasoning into his sauce he has used for eons since there was cheese in the mix. I have made a quiche without cheese and that idea troubled dear hubby but he ate it up. My lasagne making days are probably gone but I am contemplating what I could put into them to replace the cottage cheese I traditionally used. And finally, I am wondering what holiday treats I can make to start a new tradition for our family. The standard go-to's will be a no-no for me and hey, I would like to make something I could indulge in too.

You can read about how Allergy Testing Changed my World....again HERE.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for your support.
Daily Affirmation: My body is a temple and it is growing stronger.

8.06.2013

Anaphylactic Shock: The Episode

This is the second part of my three part story. You can read part one HERE.

It was Monday night and darling daughter and I had just arrived to Texas two days ago. We were beginning our three week vacation with Grandma (her Grandma, my Mom) and I was determined not to be that pesky person from Hawai'i that was a difficult eater. My dairy free lifestyle choice was already impacting others by not having pizza night etc. No one was complaining...I just didn't want to be a burden.

We had just finished dinner and my Mom offered me some cake that her friend sent over. It was an orange cake and I figured I wouldn't say no again. I had already turned down a dessert the previous day. I thought the cake might have a touch of butter...or  not...and knew that the affect of eating some dairy after being dairy free could be more intense. I remembered the stuffy nose after the cereal with dry milk on it I accidentally ate and the bloaty tummy after the skim milk in what I thought was a soymilk chai tea latte. I assumed if the cake did have butter a very small amount wouldn't impact me too much. Little did I know that night would recement my belief to never assume anything.

I had just finished the cake and placed my fork down when I felt funny. I immediately said, I think there was something in that cake. I feel funny. Darling daughter was asking me to play cards and I was asking her to give me a minute. I just felt weird. Within moments I felt heat rushing up my arms and told my Mom. Next I was telling her I feel lightheaded and then I told her my heart is beating fast. I don't know exactly when but it was sometime around the lightheadedness and fast heartbeat that she grabbed two Benadryl and gave them to me to take. I did.

I felt panicky and was trying to calm myself down. I thought maybe I was having a panic attack due to the odd sensation and willed my mind to rest telling myself it was all okay. I remembered the rush after the skim milk and figured this too would pass. But it didn't. My heart was beating and my mind was fuzzy.

My Mom moved me to a recliner to lie back. I thought that would calm me but then I started shaking. It had started with my hands while at the table but now my arms and legs were shaking as well. I was still telling myself to calm down. I was waiting for the Benadryl to help me. I was watching the clock. I was in denial that something was wrong. I realize that now. The shakes got so bad my teeth began to chatter. I was getting cold and my Mom covered me up. By now darling daughter had been redirected into the spare bedroom to watch cartoons. I knew I needed help and was trying to contact Kaiser to see where I needed to go when not at home; however, I just got a machine. And that "if you think you are experiencing an emergency hang up and dial 911" meant nothing to me. I was sure I was fine. I just needed help. This wasn't an emergency. Once again, denial.

My mouth began to get dry and then reality hit. I told my Mom I needed help right now. She said okay and rushed off to get dressed. We were all in our PJ's and I figured, why not, I would put clothes back on. I told darling daughter we needed to go take Mommy to the doctor. She didn't want to go. I don't blame her. When I came out of the room my Mom said, I don't want to drive you, I want to call 911. I was fine with that but still had to give her my okay a few times before she called. It took seconds but she wanted to be sure I was okay with the choice. At that time I was standing and fidgeting. Mom was on the phone with 911 going over things and then looked at me and directed me to the chair to lie me back down. I knew they told her to do so by the look in her eyes. She tried to recline the chair and I resisted. It made me feel worse. She told the dispatcher that I wouldn't put my head down as it made me feel worse.

It took minutes for the paramedics arrived. I heard the vehicle. They didn't have the sirens on. My Mom's neighbor saw the ambulance and came over to see if she was okay. She introduced herself to me and then went to hang out with darling daughter. The paramedics were quick and almost immediately told me they needed to take me in to the ER. I was trying to absorb all this and the paramedic repeated I needed to go it, was it okay and did I give my consent. He even said he couldn't tell if I had nodded okay since I was shaking so much. I told him I was visiting from Hawaii and had insurance concerns. Yep, of course I would be focused on that. He asked what I had. I said Kaiser. He said, the ER is fine. They will cover it. I said okay.

They were already monitoring my heart rate and had taken my blood pressure before I got on the table to go to the ambulance. I was told later that my blood pressure was really low. I called out to darling daughter that Mommy was going to go get some medicine and would be right back. I don't know if she heard me or not since I knew she was being entertained. Once in the ambulance the paramedics let me know they had to do a few things before we started moving. They were still monitoring my vitals and trying to get an IV in. I tried to keep my arm as still as possible. IV's are hard enough on a good day. My veins are small and love to roll away. He got it in on his first try. It hurt like crazy but I didn't care. Within the same time there was discussion about my oxygen levels. They were monitoring them and trying to get a firm reading. One paramedic said it was at 100% before (so obviously it wasn't anymore) and they gave me a breathing treatment too to help open my lungs. In all reality, the mask may have gone on before the IV was in my arm but I can't remember.

What I do remember is being watched like a hawk. The paramedics kept telling me to let them know if I was having problems breathing. After a few minutes or so the paramedic said he could tell I was having problems breathing. I said, I didn't notice. I trying to do mind over matter and am focusing on running tomorrow. He said that is good. Eventually, the shakes calmed down and we began to talk. I reconfirmed what he had given me - a breathing treatment to open my lungs, similar to what they give for asthma, and Predisone, a corticosteroid, in the IV. Then we started talking about running. He let me know my heart rate was coming back down and was in the upper 60's. He asked if my resting was in the mid to low 50's. I confirmed it was. He told me it was up to 79 when they first got to me and I truly appreciate that he was putting it all into place with what my normal heartbeat would be. I was glad I told him I was a runner....and I am pretty sure my Mom did too when they first arrived.

We were almost to the ER and the paramedic reconfirmed my age and called our arrival in. That is when it sank in....well, not really. But he gave my issue a name....a 40 year old woman coming in with anaphylactic shock. Those may not have been his exact words but the message was clear.

Once we got to the ER I was stable, which means, not shaking. My Mom came rushing in and seemed to relax once she saw I was doing better. She had called her friend and found out what was in the cake - pudding mix, sour cream, and butter. A dairy bomb.

The paramedics stayed by my side until I was put into an ER room and I had to repeat my story over and over. I ate a piece of cake and started to feel bad. It began to sound ridiculous and a couple of times I was asked if the cake was good - yes - or was it worth it - no.

The staff was awesome and eventually I was released. I am not sure how long I was in the room but they checked my vitals at least three times while I was there. My Mom asked one nurse if I could run the next day, the nurse said she saw no reason why not. I don't think it was the answer my Mom was hoping for but it made me smile. I was given a prescription of Predisone to take the next four days as follow up measures and to wean the drug out of my system. It was necessary and very important to take it. They reiterated it twice. I was happy to go back "home" and see darling daughter - who stayed at my Mom's neighbor's house while she rushed to the ER for me.

One piece of cake. One night. It changed my life.

You can read part 3 Life after Anaphylactic Shock HERE. Part 4 Allergy Testing Changed my World...again HERE.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the paramedics' patience and care.
Daily Affirmation: I have a purpose in life.