12.31.2014

Power Words: From FAITH to COURAGE

A couple of years ago I started the tradition of picking a power word for the year. In fact, I started with STRENGTH and last year I selected FAITH.

My intent was to have more FAITH in my training and myself but I am still in awe on how much FAITH did play into 2014. It went way beyond my running and training and into my spiritual life in a deeper and more meaningful way. I never imagined that my FAITH in God would blossom and take a stronger foothold in my life. I never imagined I would start blogging more about my FAITH. I was always too afraid of venturing into potentially sensitive areas.

I am a Libra and a middle child so keeping the peace is a strong element of my personality. Don't stir up too much trouble, be accepting, and go with the flow. But sometimes I think we do need to stir up the good stuff and not all flows are good. That is why this year I was leaning towards selecting the power word COURAGE. My FAITH was blossoming, my STRENGTH as a woman, mother, runner had blossomed, but I still felt fear. I needed COURAGE.

But still I feared selecting that as my power word. I had doubts. So I went to the Lift Your Sole website to check out their brag bars. I know this sounds crazy but in 2013 I got a brag bar with the word STRENGTH on it. In 2014 I got a charm with the word FAITH. It seemed logical to pick out a charm that I can wear in 2015 and no, I didn't wear FAITH all year in 2014. Sometimes I opted for STRENGTH, some days I did need my FAITH, and some days I had no power word strung around my neck.

And what did I discover at Lift Your Sole? Not only did they have a brag bar that said COURAGE, it was on sale! If that isn't divine intervention at work, I don't know what is. It confirmed what I was doubting. I now had the FAITH that COURAGE was to be my power word for 2015.

So today I sit before you typing with COURAGE telling you my goals for 2015.

I am going to blog with more purpose. I want to get structured with daily themes (Motivational Mondays, Tuesdays Tunes, Friday Favorites). I am sticking with my Daily Gratitude but the Daily Affirmation will be replaced with a Daily Bible Verse. I don't feel I need to remind myself of my strengths anymore and that can always be tied into gratitude if I need a reminder.

I have the FAITH and STRENGTH I need. Now I just need the COURAGE to stand up and tell the world that I believe in God. That I believe He has a purpose for me in life. That I believe running and blogging is part of my purpose. That I believe He matched me perfectly with Toby. That I was meant to run for Down syndrome awareness and now, I need to stand up and have the COURAGE to tell the world I also run for God because I honestly believe without Him there is no way I would have been able to run 1,098 consecutive running days and over 5,000 streak miles.

But COURAGE is not just for my running. I will have the COURAGE to make my home a better
home. I will have the COURAGE to say things are not all bliss with dear hubby. I will have the COURAGE to say I have failed him. I will have the COURAGE to make things better, to continue to pray, to love unconditionally, and to give love even when my heart is hurting. I will have the COURAGE to raise darling daughter and to guide her along her own spiritual growth. I will have the COURAGE to stand up for what I believe in and the COURAGE to not give up when things are feel tough and perhaps impossible. I will remember my STRENGTH, I will keep my FAITH, and I will have COURAGE.

What is your power word for 2015?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful God has blessed me daily with my running streak.
Daily Bible Verse: Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." ~ 1 Peter 3:13-14

12.30.2014

A Streakiversary!

Today is a very special day to me and as much as I tried to bring darling daughter up to my level of excitement she kindly told me, Mom, it is your day. It is special to you. And she is right.

I started my running streak on December 30, 2011 because I figured why wait until January 1, 2012? Why not just get running? And since then I have never regretted my choice. Today is the first day of year 4 and I am excited although due to timing and creepy noises under the house, I only had time for 2 miles. But I did wrap up year 3 with a BANG yesterday!

About a month ago I received a phone call from a gentleman at work. You see, I am the race director for the Run & Walk for the Whales, he saw the email about the race and virtual run, and wanted to know if he could run the course while he was here. He is getting married today by the way but I digress. Back to that first phone call. He was running 50 half marathons in 50 states but I found out yesterday some of those half's were actually marathons. Way to go dude!

Being a runner myself I couldn't step in his way. He suggested paying for a cyclist to guide him but I quickly volunteered myself, recruited a co-worker to join us for about 7 miles, and recruited dear hubby and darling daughter to be at the half marathon turn to cheer us on and have some nice orange slices. Everyone was saying OK and I even reached out to another coworker asking her to be at the end with a few office mates to make it special. Come on! The guy deserved a finish celebration of some sort even it is is a few coworkers saying "YAY!"

The weather was absolutely perfect and I couldn't have asked for better conditions. The gentleman, Roosevelt, was a bit not so well. He was battling the end of a cold and got a hamstring injury just recently on half marathon number 46. He was determined to finish his quest no matter what and I was determined to ensure he did. He said we could run ahead of him and not worry about his pace. My co-worker, Lauren, did run ahead but stopped at key mile markers to cheer for us coming and run along a bit more. I did some loops to stay running but not leave my new buddy behind.

At one point Lauren started walking with Roosevelt and I ran a bit ahead but come back when the story was out of earshot and then I had to stay beside them jogging slowly along. You see, Roosevelt was spurred to go on this mission of runnning a half marathon in every state and on all 7 continents two days before his brother died last Thanksgiving. It was his brother's request that Roosevelt do this to help him with his mourning. Roosevelt agreed it has helped and the level of gratitude from this gentleman was beyond comparison. Being in his presence on such a momunmental journey and taking in the beauty of the islands from new eyes was inspiring and just reminded me how much my spirit is meant to run and how running is allowing me to contact with amazing people, to live a richer life, and to make a difference in the way I feel I am meant to. I couldn't help but think of how I was running for Toby while escorting Roosevelt through #50 of his half marathons in every state. He truly was soaking in the journey and seeing the beauty in each and every place. He confessed he has learned a lot along the way since the first state on December 15, 2013. He was a casual runner before and jumped into that first half with running maybe 12 miles a week. He quickly learned the importance of quality shoes.

But he also learned what a lot of runners learn. The bigger lesson. The lesson about who we are, life, and what really mattters. He put it well when he said you do a lot of soul searching and reflection when you are alone for 3-4 hours running.

It was probably the longest I have ever run and chatted with someone. When I run with dear hubby we barely talk as we are focused on training, etc. This run was a run of support. The pace was slow for me but I enjoyed it. It was a good training run and it was nice to be able to run along and talk as much as our hearts wanted to. But it was also nice to have the moments of separation when we were each able to reflect on God's beauty, our journeys, and the wonders of life. I have no idea the full extent of things that went through Roosevelt's mind but when we were getting near the idea he said his mind was overflowing. I asked if it was all good thoughts and he said yes. Thank goodness!

As we neared the end I started texting updates back to work so my co-workers would be able to greet us. The first we bumped into was Lauren who said she would join us back at the finish when we parted at the half marathon turn where she had dear hubby to give her a ride back to the start. That was our plan and I am glad we stuck to it since she worked some magic back in the office making a finish sign for Roosevelt. And I am glad she was there at the end to talk since my co-workers took my breath away and I was teary eyed struggling to keep it together. The few people I hoped for at the finish was a swarm of support of co-workers, volunteers, and passengers waiting for the next whale watch. Everyone was cheering and the number of people that came up to Roosevelt at the end to shake his hand and tell him how inspirational he was still brings tears to my eyes. Seeing Roosevelt well up with tears pulled at my heartstrings more.

It was the perfect transition stages to our individual running journeys. Roosevelt is moving on to Phase 2: a half on each of the seven continents starting with Antarctica. I am moving onto year 4 of my running streak but I feel we will both forever carry the memories of yesterday in our hearts. As of yesterday, I have run 5,014 streak miles. As of today, I have 5,016 streak miles. I am blessed.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for those who supported me and Roosevelt.
Daily Affirmation: I am doing good work.

12.28.2014

What has been going on?

Last Friday I felt awful. I could barely hold my head up at work and I really hoped it was going to be short lived since I was about to embark on 9 days off of work to be with darling daughter on her first week on winter break.

It wasn't short lived and the whole family was afflicted. Dear hubby spent three days in bed but darling and I buckled up our belts and foraged ahead to do what had to be done with errands and rehearsals for a Christmas performance.

I stuck to the basics and was literally in get ready for Christmas, do all that needs to be done, and try to get better. We ended up having a couple of slumber party nights with darling daughter and I parked on the couch bed watching Christmas movies and coughing our little hearts out. Good thing, we were slowly getting better each day and eventually I got Christmas cookies baked, reindeer food prepared, and the house cleaned for our Christmas celebrations. Yep, I like to party in a clean house. I even managed to clean the turkey and prepare it for Christmas dinner as dear hubby had to work. It seems the turkey roasting that I feel is the "Dad's job" has fallen on me for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and I must confess, I did well!

I am dreading going back to work and over 600 emails. Yep, I looked. I am going to miss darling like crazy and all I want to do is hug, kiss, and cuddle her until she is popping with craziness! So I better go and get my cuddles!

Happy Holidays!

Daily Gratitude: I am grateful I can still cuddle my darling like crazy!
Daily Affirmation: I am a good mom.

12.19.2014

Friday Favorite: Finish Lines

This pretty much says it all......


I promise, my race recap is coming soon. Happy Friday!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for each finish line I am able to cross.
Daily Affirmation: My finish line is a new start line.

12.17.2014

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

A common question I get asked after running a marathon is "How are your legs?". This really is a great question and I have my guidelines that I use to truly assess the effort I put forth on race day, my level of fitness, and my rate of recovery. With that being said, let's talk about delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS.

If all goes well, right after the race I am not doing too bad at all. I love to finish without my legs already screaming although that has happened to me years ago. That was a tough race and I truly pushed my limits. But through ongoing training, my level of discomfort post-race has been decreasing and that is a good thing. But still, I tend to experience some DOMS.

The Honolulu Marathon was on Sunday. Monday morning I was a bit tight but got up early, ran a mile, and cycled some. I then spent the day walking around Waikiki until my legs wanted to scream. More exactly, an area above the outside of my right ankle but that is another story.

Come Tuesday, when I woke up I was very stiff and achy. My legs were tender and I knew I was in DOMS mode. The good news is I could still walk down stairs normally but my quads were letting me know they were aching.

What is DOMS?

The muscle soreness and aches you begin to feel 24-72 hours after exercise. If you are sore immediately, that is acute muscle soreness. The thought is that DOMS is triggered my tiny tears to your muscles that happened when you were exercising. Another theory is that accumulated calcium is leading to inflammation. Either could be true but I tend to lean towards the micro tears since that makes sense to me...not that calcium doesn't but the calcium theory seems close to the lactic acid theory of years ago that has been debunked. Whatever the cause, what you really need to know is what to do now.

How do I treat DOMS?

My treatment for muscle soreness leans towards active recovery, which makes sense since I run every day. But when my muscles are aching I run less and/or slower. I am not sprinting, running hills, or aiming for need distance milestones. Slow and easy wins the race. I also lean towards yoga and stretching since those feel good but be careful with stretching. Aggressive stretching can lead to more muscle tears so think gentle and calm. Next, I love sports massages and/or foam rollers. Again, gentle. It will hurt some on tender muscles but it should be a tolerable and perhaps soothing ache not painful. Give your muscles some love. I have never down an ice bath but some swear by that. It is just too much for me and I tend to avoid my hot Epsom baths at this time too. I go to them for mild soreness after a tough workout, not DOMS. And yes, rest. Get some extra sleep. This is prime healing time for your body. One thing I do not turn to is painkillers. I know some people do but I avoid taking any as much as possible. There are too many side effects and risks with regular painkiller use so I keep that for the days I really, really need it.

Is DOMS bad?

Not necessarily, it is a sign that you are working your body and yes, you will grow in strength. However, you can avoid DOMS by gradually building up your training program and not making sudden increases in speed, distance, or intensity of your training. Listen to your body. Although DOMS every now and then is part of an active life, too much muscle damage goes beyond DOMS to an injury. Take care of your body, rest, hydrate, and have many more years of happy running!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for yoga.
Daily Affirmation: I know my body.


12.16.2014

Honolulu Marathon ~ quick update

I will post a full race report for later but for now know I now have my first wet and windy marathon under my belt.




Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for marathon #7
Daily Affirmation: I grow in strength every day.

12.12.2014

Friday Favorites: huma chia energy gel

At one point or another when a runner chooses to run longer distances they will turn to some sort of fuel to ingest during their run. In my years of running long I have tried many options with some not being as clean and natural as I hoped. In fact, in the beginning I turned to more processed options since that was all I heard about.

So today I am going to tell you about one of my favorites - huma chia energy gel...blueberry to be exact.

Ironically, it was during a blogger gift exchange that I was introduced to this product. Prior to this I was using something natural but it just didn't go down well and was a wee bit chunky. That is not nice during a long run but I endured since I needed fuel and wanted something natural. In fact, I started alternating this fuel with applesauce to go to try to not have to swallow that chunk too much. It wasn't nice and the huma gels were a pleasant surprise. They tasted good AND they were smooth. No chunk. And great ingredients!

When I first "met" huma they had only a few flavors: strawberries, apple & cinnamon, mangoes, blueberries, and raspberries. Hopefully you can figure out what the first ingredient in each was. Yes, fruit puree. That made me smile! After that you have evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, filtered water, ground chia seeds, sea salt, perhaps citric acid and perhaps caffeine. Today I noticed they have a few more flavors on the list: lemonade, chocolate, and cafe mocha. These do not have the fruit purees.

Each does contain the chia seeds, which inspired me to read up some on chia seeds. They come from the desert plant, Salvia hispanica, and contain omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. Each gel packet is 100 calories with 1g of fat, 105-110 mg sodium, 25-50 mg of potassium, 21-25 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 14-15 g sugar, and 1 g protein.

Let's chat! What do you ingest on long runs?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I was introduced to this gel. I just wish I could remember who gave it to me!
Daily Affirmation: I have a loving heart.

12.09.2014

Tuesday Tunes!

Woo-hoo! 5 more sleeps until the Honolulu Marathon AND the new year is just around the corner. With that I have been structuring myself and my blogging...in case you haven't noticed. See, I LOVE plans and perhaps that is what I like about training. All those training plans! Okay, I may not love all the training runs but planning....that I can do!

So perhaps all of this blog planning will turn out like my training for races and sometimes it will happen and sometimes it won't but in all reality, I am hoping it will happen. To help keep me accountable I will tell you my plan. See this is completely like running! I tell you all of my running plans too!

The Blog Plan:
  • Monday Motivation
  • Tuesday Tunes
  • Random Wednesdays
  • Friday Favorites

Yes, my plan is to blog four days a week and Wednesdays are my free for all days when I can throw in those random posts I love to add. So today we are returning to something I started way back when in 2011 --- Tuesday Tunes!

The rekindling of this post series was sparked by a song I heard on the radio coming into work. My first thought was "I must Shazam this!" I wanted it on my run play list. It would be perfect! Okay, it has nothing to do about running but the message "shake it off" seems perfect when you are running 26.2 miles and doubts sink in. Just "shake it off!".

Can you guess today's song? Shake it Off by Taylor Swift. But should I be worried that the tag in Shazam doesn't have a Download on iTunes button? I will check later when I am sitting at my computer. I so want this song on race day which means....I better get working on it ASAP!



Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for mobile banking and check deposits!
Daily Affirmation: I will shake it off.

12.08.2014

Monday Motivation: BELIEVE

"Stop doubting yourself, my friend, and BELIEVE!!"

Very wise words from a awesome lady and yes, Yolanda hit the nail right on the head when she posted this on the Life as a Running Mom facebook page. She knows me all too well! Those words have been circling around in my mind as BELIEVING and truly having FAITH was hard for me a few months ago at the Maui Marathon. I was primed and ready to run the race of my life but things changed. I have no regrets. I learned a lot along that journey and wouldn't change it for the world. Nope, I would not trade in that experience for my big goal. It helped shaped me into who I am right now.

Six more sleeps until the Honolulu Marathon and I am determined to keep the faith, to believe, and to not let negative thoughts take over. I know doubt will try to work its way in. It inevitably will when you are running 26.2 miles but I will recognize it for what it is and focus on all the blessings along my course of running this marathon and my life.

Do I still want to break a 4 hour marathon? Of course I do! But my training the past few weeks altered from this goal to running strong as I battled health hiccups. What is my race plan? To start smart and to listen to my body. I will check in on my pace to make sure I am  not running crazy. I will hydrate and fuel well and put the end time in higher hands. I will do my part, believe, and push myself when needed but I won't shed tears of disappointment when I see my finish time. I have found deeper meaning.

I am running my life's relay. I know I will break a 4 hour marathon one day. I have complete faith in that. I also know the journey is the most important part. The story means more than the time. I run for Toby. I run for Down syndrome awareness. I run for my daughter to show her women can run long and still be there for their families. I run to be a better me, a better mom, a better wife. I run for God and to honor Him. I run because it is exactly what my spirit is meant to do. I BELIEVE that without a doubt. I have FAITH good things will continue to come to me as long as I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and RUN.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for sweaters.
Daily Affirmation: I BELIEVE! I KNOW I CAN!

12.05.2014

Friday Favorites: Henna

I am sure you have heard of henna before but let's get down and dirty. Henna is a flowering plant and the name is also used to refer to the dye that comes from the plant. It is often used for temporary tattoos but did you know it can be used to dye hair?

Years ago when darling daughter was just a little one I was interested in doing something different with my hair but I didn't want chemicals or nasty smells. A good friend suggested henna. Her good friend happens to be a hair expert and set us up with the right supplies (red henna) and my first henna treatment was done. By the way, it happened on the day I also experienced my first tsunami threat on Maui...after we knew all was clear of course.

That first day we were cautious and just left the henna on a bit and LOVED the results. The natural red in my hair now popped! It was just what I wanted to add some extra life to my look. Fast forward to today and I am still going back to henna on a regular basis and last night I did it myself. Eeeek! I have come accustomed to leaving the henna in for hours (I am talking 3) with a shower cap on my head and yes, you can find me gardening safely hidden in the backyard baking away. Last night I just did an hour in the house due to time constraints.

Grey to Copper!
My goal is a bit different these days. Yes, I want some extra pop to my hair but I also want to hide those silly greys that are popping out more and more over the years. The henna does the trick! Those greys become vibrant copper strands and I LOVE it. The best part is the dye slowly comes out over time. It doesn't leave any obvious, harsh dye lines that could be a further embarrassment. Just the greys start slowly showing up again and I like that because yes, sometimes I go quite awhile between grey hiding sessions.

Will henna work for you? Ask a professional but I can say this, I have hair color with natural red highlights and have been told that is why it works nicely on my hair so please, don't go trying it solo all by yourself until you have consulted a hair dresser. I really don't want to be responsible for any hair coloring mishaps that leave you in tears.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for henna!
Daily Affirmation: I am young at heart.

12.03.2014

Should I Join a Gym?

With 2014 coming to a close I am already seeing a lot of talk about New Year's Resolutions. I also know this time of year marks an increase in joining gyms or going more often to the gym you are already a member of but...is it worth it?

I think this is a question we each need to ask ourselves and it isn't one size fits all. I was a long-term gym lover until things changed mid-2014. I got a new treadmill at home that had an adjustable incline and could be awesome for all of my runs...not just easier days. Before I had a treadmill at a constant incline and too many runs on that, or trying to do speed work etc., wasn't good for the hips. No one should always run uphill but I digress.

With it being approximately 6 months since I have gone to the gym - yikes! - I have been able to truly recognize some pro's and con's of gym memberships that can help you make your decision if this is a good fit for you.

PRO'S:
  • It is a safe environment to exercise - If you are like me and tend to exercise way before the sun comes up, being able to run somewhere and feel safe is important. I opted for the gym versus dark roadways.
  • You can exercise in inclement weather - I know some of you may be trekking in snow and icy patches but for me, it may be an occasional torrential downpour. The gym can allow you a dry and temperate zone to run or do whatever you like to do!
  • The staff and other gym goers can be quite motivational and supportive - It is great working out with others either directly or indirectly. I miss the "Hi Erica!" and "Have a great day, Erica!" or "What did you run today, Erica?" that I got at the gym. Some days a little comment could make a HUGE difference.
  • Childcare may be available - This is cool when you are a running parent and I used this option almost weekly on Saturday's to get some running down without child distractions. Darling daughter loved the Kids' Club but be warned, it comes at a cost (very minimal) and time restrictions. And yes, some days they don't show. That was not cool but overall, it was a great add-on!
  • You have access to a variety of fitness machines and perhaps some group classes - I didn't go off the treadmill very often but it was nice to go to a different machine every now and then and yes, I tried one spin class. If I did this more often I may have reconsidered cancelling my membership.
  • You have access to water and other supplies just in case - There were a couple of times I forgot my gels or my headphones broke and it was nice to replace them on the spot and keep on plan. Plus darling daughter loved picking out a healthy snack post Kids' Club.

CON'S:
  • There is a monthly fee and childcare may have an additional fee - Honestly, at 24 hour Fitness my fee was about $30 a month so it wasn't extreme; however, that $30 a month can now go to darling daughter's horseback riding lessons.
  • You are limited to their hours and time constraints - Holiday hours and Kids' Club hours were my main limiting factors but in the past when I was on O'ahu machines had time limits too during the crowded hours. Just know the rules at the club you are looking into.
  • The fitness machine you want may already be all in use or out of service - There is nothing as annoying as wanting x-miles when you have x-minutes and you can't start running. But hey, you could go to another machine and do something else, right? Perhaps. With my training focus I wanted the run, nothing else. It depends on what your after. Fitness is fitness but for marathon training, I need running time.
  • You need to get there - The gym I went to was out of the way from my home to work but yet, for many years I made that detour before work. It has a small added cost of extra fuel and wear and tear on your car and does impact the environment. Yes, I try to drive as little as possible.
  • Changing room and showers may not be ideal or you have to wait - Fortunately, I ended up avoiding this by showering at work on most days but on the Saturday's with darling daughter I just went with the flow and waited my turn. She didn't want to spend the day with a sweaty mommy while running errands.
  • Potential for theft - This was a BIG issue at the gym I went to. Cars were broken into left and right and yes, my car was broken into once. It wasn't a nice experience and I am happy I don't need to park there anymore.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my new treadmill and how it has changed my life.
Daily Affirmation: I find balance in my life.

12.01.2014

Motivation Monday


It is the start of a new month and I know, sometimes we look at the previous month and are beyond stoked about how great it all went. Other times, we feel a little down and out. Perhaps an injury, illness, or work got in the way of what you wanted to achieve. But don't get down on yourself....it is a new month and "behold, I am doing a new thing!". It is time to start fresh --- don't look back. Look forward to the greatness in front of you this month.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for Christmas lights.
Daily Affirmation: I have wiped my slate clean for this month.


11.25.2014

Holiday Gift Ideas for Active People

I am writing this post on my own free will; however, when one of the companies I was going to write about asked about sharing information of their product I asked if they would host a giveaway. Hey, I was planning this post anyhow so why not  make it sweeter? In addition, some items may be linked to other sponsored posts but I am only doing so because I LOVE the product(s) and want to share. I am receiving no compensation in any way, shape, or form for this post.

It is that time of year again - the time when you are thinking about gifts and if your house is anything like mine, dear hubby is asking me a zillion times what I want. How about peace on Earth? That would be cool! But that is hard to package and put under a tree and sometimes loved ones want to do a bit more so here is my gift of 10 ideas that I feel will be great as holiday gifts!
  • Apera Bag: I have been using my Apera Bag since the beginning of the year and I am still head over heels in love with it. I have not ever used it as the traditional gym bag but instead, I use it as my everyday purse and travel bag. I love the side pockets and that I can put a drink in them or other items. And the smaller pockets are ideal for my phone, keys, charger, etc. I can't imagine life without this bag! Imagine how great it would be as an official gym bag! The perfect gift for someone you love.
  • GPS Running Watch: I have running apps on my phone but for some, that just won't work. Such as dear hubby. He would smile from ear to ear to receive a GPS running watch to track his miles and time on his runs. In all reality, I can't say I would complain if I got one too since the app takes up so much battery power on my phone and I can't use it for runs longer than 20 miles...and sometimes not even the 20 miles if I am going slower. Hmmm.....Santa, are you listening?
  • Polar Loop: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Polar Loop even though I did take it off for awhile during training when I was getting too focused on the numbers. I know there are tons of activity monitors out there so pick what works best for your loved one. I love getting the goal fireworks and yes, you should splurge and get the additional heart rate monitor. My only complaints are I can't hook it up with my older version phone and I can't seem to set my own personal activity goal. It goes my age, weight, gender and in all reality, that is fine! I mainly use it to ensure I actually REST on my rest days. 
  • Running Clothes: It goes without saying that a streak running would have a passion for running clothes and my closet and drawers support clearly demonstrate that. Thing is, buying clothes for someone may be a bit tricky unless you really know what they love. I can buy running clothes for dear hubby, no problem. Bright colors please! But for me, his safest bet would be to just get me a gift certificate to Running Skirts and let me go from there or have darling daughter look with him online to pick out my color loves. The sizing there is a bit different though so they may just walk away confused.
  • Running Shoes: Once again, when you run every day you go through shoes like crazy but I am pickier than anything about my shoes. First, they must be Saucony but not any Saucony will do. They must be the models I run in. This makes it easier for you to do your detective work and look at what your running love loves to run in and go get those! But here, on Maui, getting the shoes I love on island is near impossible. So why not make your gift give more? When you purchase running shoes from Kindrunner you will receive a shipping label to send back old shoes, at no cost to you, to be given a once-over fix-me-up and be donated to someone really in need of shoes. Still unsure of what shoes to buy? Give a Kindrunner gift certificate
  • Log Book: I am a firm believer in logging your workouts and sometimes, my food intake too. It is a great way to ensure I am getting my proper fill of freggies and water. Just recently I was feeling a bit down that dear hubby doesn't log his workouts and with his ongoing knee/leg issues I think a log would come of real value. You can look back on your training and perhaps find that aha moment to prevent further injuries. If you want to give the gift of logging fitness and nutrition, fitbook is great!
  • Protein Powder: I end most of my workouts with a cup of protein powder and since I am dairy free, I am picky. I LOVE the VegaSport Performance Protein and it does taste just fine mixed solely with water especially the chocolate. However, please think about what your loved one would like and meet their needs and desires, not mine. Dear hubby does just fine with whey protein and don't ever get him chocolate!
  • Gels: For your endurance loving friends and family gels or blocks make perfect stocking stuffers. Personally, I am loving the Huma gels as they are all natural and perfect for me. Dear hubby goes for Clif Shot Bloks. It seems I may be the pickier one in our household as my loves require going online. Thank goodness for dear hubby I can easily stop in a store to restock his fuel if needs be.
  • ShowerPill Athletic Body Wipes: I found out about these things years ago and let me tell you, they are still AWESOME after a race. I thought I was out of them and discovered one way down in a drawer, my running top drawer by the way. It was the perfect wipe for after the Maui Marathon and in all reality, this is just when you want one of these. Post race. Okay, if you are running your training run and going straight to running errands, they will work then too. You can read my initial review of this product HERE but that coupon code is no longer valid. The good news is I can give you a new one today! These make great stocking stuffers so go ahead and use the coupon code runner10 by December 31, 2014 for 10% off. The coupon code is good on their website and at Amazon.
To make things even sweeter for you, remember me saying I asked a company if they would do a giveaway? It was ShowerPill and they agreed to give a box of ShowerPill Athletic Wipes to TWO of my readers.  Now that is something to be thankful about! I am going to keep this short and sweet so they will have time to get your information so you can receive your wipes by Christmas.

Two winners will be randomly selected on December 3rd. If I do not hear back from the within 48 hours, another winner will be selected. Product will be delivered directly from ShowerPill. Giveaway void where prohibited by law. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to be able to offer this giveaway.
Daily Affirmation: I am blessed!

11.24.2014

Motivation Monday

"Do you know that in a race all runners run, but only one receives the prize? 
So run that you may obtain it."
~ 1 Corinthians 9:24

But remember, your prize isn't necessarily winning 1st place. The prize can be so much more. The joy of doing your best, of running for a higher purpose, of not giving up, and so forth. Often I feel the greatest prizes are the ones you least expect and go to the most ordinary of people. I do not run to get 1st place. I run to set a great example that I would be proud my daughter follows. I run to inspire others to get out there and try. I run for Toby. I run for me, my spirit, and God.

Have a beautiful Monday!


Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my life.
Daily Affirmation: My priorities are coming clear.

11.21.2014

Friday Favorites: Oats & Peanut Butter

It's Aloha Friday and I want to share two of my favorites with you!

Coach's Steel Cut Oats AND Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread

I eat this at least five days a week for breakfast and can't imagine eating any other kind of oats again. I like that it is 100% oats and can be purchased in a large resealable bag from our local Costco. It saves me a bit of money and that is quite important when you are feeding a family with two runners and a growing girl! And yes, darling daughter LOVES these oats too.

I keep the preparation really simple and you can read more about my perfect bowl of oats but not every day is the same. Today, it will just be oats and all natural coconut peanut spread. This peanut butter rocks the boat so I had to tell you about it. Seriously, you should try this stuff from Earth Balance. It is vegan and non-GMO and I keep a bottle at work by my desk...for my daily oats of course! To be completely honest, the price tag on this is a bit high...or at least at the local grocery store on Maui but it is worth it and I only use a bit with my oatmeal. Yum, yum, yum!

Stay tuned for more Friday Favorites and I promise you, they won't all be food!!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for nutritional and yummy food.
Daily Affirmation: I fuel my body well.

11.19.2014

Book Review: Unstoppable - Running the Race you were Born to Win

I truly do love to read and wish I had so much more time to do so. I like a variety of books but if you combine running with faith, I am instantly sucked in!

Today I am reviewing the book Unstoppable: Running the Race you were Born to Win by Christine Caine. First, let me say, this book was a gift to me from my wonderful buddy, Toby, and his mom. When I read this on the back cover tears started flowing, "But many times in our race, we're burdened and intimidated by life's challenges along the way. The task seems too tough, the path too perilous, the race too rigorous."

These words fell into my hands weeks after the Maui Marathon and about the time I was feeling burdened and driven to change my race day goals for the Honolulu Marathon. Talk about perfect timing!

Now I said I love books about running and faith and even though this book talks about "running your race" many, many times it is a metaphor for running your race in life not running per se. But the lessons for life and running are there on every page, leaping out to me, reminding me, and teaching me to not give up, to push forward, to take the next baton in my relay, and to do so joyfully.

The book contains real life stories of those involved in A21. I had never heard of A21 before this book so let me tell you, their goal is to prevent human trafficking, protect those who have been trafficked and to provide necessary support to them, to prosecute traffickers and strengthen the legal response, and to form partnerships to provide a comprehensive front against trafficking.

But even though A21 forms the basis of the stories, and the tales can be quite sad, the book overall is uplifting with verses that really penetrate deep into the meaning of our life and our race. It promotes teamwork and doing your best without fearing tasks that seem too big. It provides suggestions on what to do when you are feeling challenged, when your passion is dwindling, when you feel downtrodden and frankly exhausted. These are all normal human responses and you will discover how and why these represent areas of personal growth.

I absolutely LOVED this book and feel it is one I will read again and give to darling daughter to read when she is older. I am so thankful for the batons handed to me - including this book that was handed to me by my buddy's mom. I feel it has already begun to change my life as my eyes continue to open to see things that others may over look, to reach out when others may walk away, and to stand in the rain if it means someone else's day is brightened.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for God's unconditional love.
Daily Affirmation: I am running my race with perseverance. 

11.18.2014

Just Click "REGISTER"

I did it. I signed up for another marathon before racing the one next month. Isn't it funny how life works that way? And these two marathons will be just over a month apart. This has me feeling really good!!!

You see, weeks ago dear hubby told me he was going to sign me up for the Maui Oceanfront Marathon if I didn't break 4 hours at the Honolulu Marathon. I told him nope. I wanted a break from marathon training after Honolulu. With my roller coaster of hurdles since Maui this makes sense but when talking to my coach this weekend the Maui Oceanfront Marathon popped into my mind. I was trying to say how I didn't want to do it but guess what? I did feel an inkling that yes, I should do it!

Yes, my training has been off but my reasons have been solid. I still have endurance as my 20-miler last week showed. I am not 110% happy with every run but who is? And yes, this sounded great!

And today I did it. I hit REGISTER. I will be running a marathon on Maui again on January 18th. Yippee!

Ironically, when I was filling out the form it had a lot of other questions and I stumbled on one. How many marathons have you run? Hmmm....yes, I did have to go to my blog, look at my race results, and count. Does anyone else have to do this or do you remember? By the way, I have run six.

P.S. I just realized I will now be running a marathon a mere two weeks - minus one day - before the race I am directing will hit the roads!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the support of fellow race directors.
Daily Affirmation: I GOT THIS!

11.13.2014

5 Tips to Sleep like a Baby

With the ongoing challenge of sleeping well recently, I think today is a GREAT day to remind myself, and all of us, of 5 tips for better sleep and to sleep like a baby.
  1. Have a bedtime schedule and routine: Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each and every day. I do this within an hour or so but am more consistent these days than in my past. And yes, I have  routine, especially for darling daughter. She brushes her teeth (and I set my alarm), we read our bible verses, her devotional, and then a story book just for fun. It is then lights out for some song time and she drifts to sleep. I then chill with dear hubby before going through my bedtime routine of brushing teeth etc. and cuddle up to sleep. Done!
  2. Have a good sleep atmosphere: Yes, a comfy bed and a cozy room are conducive to a good night's sleep. And I try to keep the temperature somewhat comfortable but with no central air we are tied to what the weather is outside; however, I am quite the master of having windows cracked open just right. Is it still too warm? Sprinkle baby powder on the sheets and for some reason, that makes things seem cooler.
  3. Have an active day: We all see it...kids who ran and ran all day zonk out at night. It works for adults too! Just be careful of when you get moving. Too close to bedtime and you just may get an adrenaline rush instead of a soothing night sleep.
  4. Manage stress: This is a BIG one for me and I know when stress is taking over as instead of sleeping I am pondering a million things. I find it hard to quiet my mind but do know yoga and meditation can help a lot! I just need to incorporate a relaxation yoga session on those nights before bed. Yes, I am reminding myself of that right now. Do you worry about forgetting stuff? They why not keep a notepad by your bed? Write down what you need to do and go to sleep. I wish it was that simple for me. I worry about things I have no control over hence the need to let it all go. One go-to I love is essential lavender oil - a bit on each temple or a spritzer on your pillows is sure to ease your mind.
  5. Watch what you consume: Yes, alcohol may make you feel sleepy but later on, it will disrupt your sleep cycle. Personally, I love to have a hot cup of nighttime tea after darling daughter is in bed. I do this most nights and probably should have last night. It may have helped soothe my mind.
But sometimes, you do everything right and then...kaboom! You are up again. That was me last night. I woke up to bumps in the night that sounded like someone digging in gravel under our house. There is no gravel there that I am aware up but we do have some nearby. I did get up to investigate and saw nothing and no, I didn't go outside. I did try to wake dear hubby but that was pointless. He sleeps like a log...so much that last night I pondered if I would even be able to wake him if it was a real emergency versus me being scared over noises that probably had a good reason...or not. We still get that someone banging on our shed noise here and there. But you see, I am always fine except for not being able to go back to sleep.

For over an hour I tried calming my mind, I had the lavender oil, I tried counting sheep (that never works - my mind always starts focusing more so I don't lose count), I thought about getting up to run (that would probably wake dear hubby with my luck and make him mad I was running at midnight AND it would energize me), so I grabbed my water, moved into darling daughter's bed, and fell back to sleep in no time. The magic of changing things up! Or just removing yourself from the snores and frustration of someone sleeping beautifully when you are struggling to get back to sleep!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful moving rooms put me back to sleep.
Daily Affirmation: I can manage my stress and sleep better.

11.11.2014

A healthy, sweaty holiday - Are you in?

Amanda's image
It is that time of year again. The time of year when Amanda at Run to the Finish offers her Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge. This is her 7th year of doing this and my 4th year of participating and guess what? Things are shaking up! This year Amanda and Sweat Pink have come together and registration for the Holiday Sweat Challenge is now open!

When I first joined years ago the challenge was free but let me tell you, it is worth the small fee of $16 and hey, Amanda does need to pay to ship those awesome prizes out to you! You can only do so much from the goodness of your heart, right? And seriously, $16 is nothing much. In the olden days I would have just said, hey, I will give up a morning bagel and coffee here and there. Thing is, I have given those up. I no longer go to the deli each work day for breakfast. I bring my own now. It is healthier and the deli has closed. Those have nothing in common. I am just saying, I couldn't even go now if I wanted to.  And how many of us pay a little something here and there for a gym membership (I used to, I quit that too), yoga classes (I bought an app for only $1.99 or something like that), Starbucks (an occassional treat), etc.

But what do you get for $16? Six weeks of awesomeness! Let me tell you, the facebook group with this challenge is my number one reason for returning. The support is beyond amazing and I have never seen it anywhere else online. Never! Well, never until I joined I Run for Michael but that is completely different and yet just as awesome.

Support not your thing? Okay, maybe you are not big into logging into facebook and sharing hurdles and accomplishments so how about friendly competition? How about the thrill of earning points by being active, eating freggies, and drinking water? Yes, I have actually stayed on the treadmill for one more mile to get one more point. It is motivating when things may be hectic and trying to pull you away from your priorities. And what about prizes? Do they interest you? I still have my shorts and running top I won a couple of years ago and each time I put them on to run, I think of this challenge and the wonderful ladies I have met along the way. I think of my accomplishments and how I have grown healthier over the years. I think of the days I drank diet coke and now, no more. I think of the days when I ate less freggies and often had dehydration headaches. And I know by the end of this 6-week challenge I will find something new in me. Something to propel my forward on my path of wellness. Something worth mentioning a year from now to readers like you.

So go ahead, sign up for the Holiday Sweat Challenge, and sign up. Please tell Amanda I sent you!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful Amanda is still hosting this challenge.
Daily Affirmation: I am going to SWEAT PINK through the holidays!

Still not convinced? Check out my recommendation from last year and from 2012.

11.10.2014

5 Days of Real Food - take 2

Monday
When I posted about eating real I was about to embark on a journey/challenge with other ladies to Kelly Choose-Health was having with facebook, her challenge was delayed a week. So I did what seemed right, I did a solo trial run myself last week.
really look at what we are eating and consume only real, whole foods for 5 days. Due to technical difficulties

Please note, I am not a food blogger so my pictures are not the best but I did continue to share them, well, most days, for accountability reasons.

Last week taught me quite a bit to bring to the plate this week for the official challenge.
Tuesday

First, remembering to take pictures of my meals is tough! And then if I do remember I feel really odd taking a picture of my lunch in front of my co-workers and hope I can sneak a picture in at dinner time without dear hubby shaking his head at me wondering what am I up to now. I completely dropped the ball on Friday.

Second, as much as I thought I ate pretty good, and still believe that, I did discover I have cravings and/or habits that turn me to prepared, packaged food. The first day all I could think of was crackers. The second day I just wanted to eat bread. By the third day those cravings tamed down and I began to notice my hunger level decreasing some too. However, I was still struggling at what to eat before my workouts when I usually grabbed a graham cracker. This week, I will try almonds.
Wednesday

Third, meal preps on the weekends is HARD and time-consuming. To avoid turning to frozen meal ideas such as chicken wontons or no chicken chicken (as we call it), I was preparing two dinners on Sundays so I would have something to heat up on Monday after darling daughter's horse lessons. Her lessons last practically up to dinner time so I need to be ready. Add in making my salads for the week and I am wiped out!

Fourth, I had fun coming up with new dinner ideas and found it was easier to be vegetarian with my focus on real foods as long as I was prepared and cooked up batches of beans. Yep, more meal planning.

Thursday
Fifth, I don't do well with too much fruit. It makes me feel yucky so this week I am turning to veggies for my snacks. Let's see how that works!

And finally, I love balsamic vinegar. Yes, I always knew this but often it was mixed with oils or other things. Last Monday I tried it solo on my salad and the flavor shocked me. Fast foward to today, I can't imagine anything else on my salad. It is wonderful!

Did I stick to my real fool only over the weekend? Nope. I had a bagel and some graham crackers too but I am not getting down on myself. I will always eat some prepared things here and there I think. Just being honest. Life is too short to be all or nothing but I am glad I am getting more real in what I eat.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for a second week of this challenge.
Daily Affirmation: I am learning how to fuel my body perfectly for me.

11.07.2014

5 signs you need a break

You have big goals. You have a training plan. You are determined to stick to it even though you feel blah. You tell yourself you are tough by sticking through the blah and then....it all falls apart.

Fortunately, I haven't really gotten to the it all falls apart yet since I really do think I do a good job of listening to my body on most days. Yes, I said on most days. Some days I have a hard time determining if my body is lying to me -- or more accurately, I am making excuses out of fear.

Since the Maui Marathon my running hasn't been ideal. But before I go further, let me tell you the 5 signs I look for to determine if I really do need a break versus having long run anxiety, etc.


These are my five tells and many can be indicators of overtraining. But for me, these are the things I focus on and listen to on a regular basis. But what do I do?
  1. Fatigue: Go to bed early and ensure I get a good couple of night's sleep. If this doesn't remedy things I know something is up.
  2. Moodiness: Look to see if there is a reason such as stress or hormones. If not, focus on relaxing through yoga and prayer. If this doesn't alleviate my moodiness, something is up.
  3. Aches: Ask myself if the aches or balanced (ie. both legs hurting) or not. If it is unbalanced, such as one hip, have I been stretching? Did I injure it? Is there a reason? I tend to pull back miles with aches to avoid further injury but if I have a dull achy feeling all over, something is up.
  4. Decreased performance: Is there a reason? I totally expect a run after a hard effort to have decreased performance so if that is ruled out, cut back to one mile days and/or look at my motivation level. Perhaps I need to change things up and run outside, a different run goal, etc. If that doesn't fix things, something is up.
  5. Loss of focus: When I become scatter-brained there is usually something up and I don't mean the simple moments here and there when I may ask darling daughter what I was about to do. I mean a longer loss of focus where I feel a bit lost on the meaning or purpose of my life. I know this may sound deep and no, I don't know the meaning of life but I do know my goals each day whether at work or personally. When I lose sight of those, or worse...don't care, I know something is up.
Why am I telling you all this? One, it may help you. Two, I love honesty and being accountable. Plus, recently I had all five of these signs knocking on my door. I slept more, I eased back my run intensity, I focused on eating well to aid in muscle recovery, I did yoga, I prayed, I soaked in Epsom salt baths, I ran outside, I prayed some more and finally....I emailed my doctor. It dawned on me that my chronic issue was out of control and I asked for assistance. I got anti-virals and they helped....except for that spot on my leg. It was getting worse. I went in to see the doctor, found out I had a spider bite that got infected with Staph, got more meds, and guess what? I am almost done with that round of antibiotics and I feel like me again.

In this case, I needed more that a physical break, I needed help but sometimes just taking the time to slow down and smell the roses is all you need to reinvigorate your training. Please, listen to your body.

I am so thankful I was able to progress through all of this without harming my body. I continued to run every day and tried not to feel too down that my mileage was dropping and my long runs weren't happening. I changed my marathon goals and I am so glad I did. The joy of running AND training is back in my heart. My running this week is close to the plan but not there 100% and that isn't because I felt off but because I am juggling so much. I am not complaining. In all reality, I am fine with it since my previous week's have been off I feel running less this week will result in a safer weekly mileage increase. I am happy and for the first time in weeks, I actually feel confident I will nail my long run tomorrow. I don't know if I will nail the x-miles at goal marathon pace, yes, I still have a training goal marathon pace, but I don't doubt I can bust at 20 miles....even at home!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for doctors who care.
Daily Affirmation: I know when to ask for help.

11.06.2014

The return of the Clif Bar Seasonal Flavors

This is a sponsored post. I received six  seasonal flavored bars from Clif Bar to share. I am receiving no further compensation for this post. The opinions expressed are solely my own and I did not promise a favorable review.

It is that time of year again. The time when Iced Gingerbread, Pecan Pie, and Spiced Pumpkin Pie Clif Bars hit the shelves and I am excited to pay the goodness forward and share one of each flavor with one of you!

When I first posted a picture of these bars via social media a follower asked me why I choose Clif Bar. I was completely honest and said these bars were given to me and went on to express I am not a huge bar eater. Why? Often the bars taste or texture turn me off. I have tried many brands and I don't want something super sugary and I don't want to feel like I am eating cardboard. These bars are different. They are actually quite yummy.

First, straight from the mouth of my Clif Bar contact, "CLIF Bars are made with 70 percent organic ingredients and are a good source of protein. All Clif Bar & Company foods have zero grams trans fat, and do not contain partially-hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or synthetic preservatives. But they are not dairy free."

Yikes! If you know me I am a dairy free type of gal but don't you fret. I went through this same discussion a year ago when talking to the company and although not all of their bars are dairy free, these were...at least a year ago. I must confess, I didn't read the labels to ensure no production change and I haven't eaten one yet. Why? I may be tempted to not share! And if you want to read more about how I feel about these bars, check out this post.

What makes me happier is that Clif Bar is now donating 1% of their net sales to Protect Our Winters. That makes me happy. I love companies that give back. Side note: My full-time job is working at a local non-profit....donations make me very happy! The mission of Protect Our Winters is unite and actively engate the global snow sports community to lead the fight agaist climate change. For those of you who know I live on Maui please don't laugh too hard about me caring about snow sports. That local non-profit I work for...our mission is to protect our oceans through science and advocacy. Climate change will impact us all but today let's not get into the debates that swirl around climate change instead let's focus on goodness. You want to try some Clif Bars!

The giveaway will be open for a week for entries. I will randomly select the winner next Thursday, November 13th, via Rafflecopter. Due to the fact that I will be paying the shipping myself, the winner must be in the United States or Canada. If the winner does not get back to me within 72 hours an alternative winner will be selected. 

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that Clif Bar is supporting a cause.
Daily Affirmation: I may the world a better place by paying it forward.

10.31.2014

Down syndrome awareness: 31 facts

Happy Halloween! Instead of the traditional Halloween trick-or-treating post I am going to wrap up Down syndrome awareness month by recapping the facts I have been sharing daily on facebook, instagram and twitter.

  1. There are more than 400,000 people in the us with Down syndrome.
  2. Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition. 1/691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome.
  3. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or extra copy of chromosome 21; therefore, they have 47 chromosomes instead of 46
  4. There are 3 types of Down syndrome – trisomy 21 (nondisjunction), translocation, and mosaicism. Trisomy 21 is the most common.
  5. The incidence of Down syndrome increases with the age of the mom but 80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to moms under 35. Why? They are having more babies.
  6. The common physical traits of Down syndromeDown syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, upward slant to the eyes, single deep crease in the center of  the palm. The degree varies with each individual.
  7. Those with Down syndrome have an increased risk of congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions.
  8. Life expectancy is increasing for those with Down syndrome from 25 in 1983 to 60 today!
  9. Those with Down syndrome can go to school, work, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.
  10. All with Down syndrome have cognitive delays but it is usually mild.
  11. Quality home care and education is essential to those with Down syndrome to lead a life to their full potential.
  12. Down syndrome is not related to race, nationality, religion or socioeconmic status.
  13. Babies with Down syndrome are feared in some countries and sent immediately out of the home – they are viewed as a curse.
  14. Down syndrome is usually identified at birth or shortly afterwards based on physical characteristics.
  15. A chromosome study (karotype) confirms the diagnosis of Down syndrome by grouping chromosomes by size, number, and shape. Doctors can use blood or tissue samples.
  16. Prenatal screening is available – the triple screen is done between 15-20 weeks and measures various substances in the blood but there is a high occurrence of false negatives and false positives.
  17. Sonagrams can discern some physical traits associated with Down syndrome.
  18. Prenatal diagnostic tests are available for Down syndrome: amniocentesis between 12 and 20 wks, chorionic villus samples between 8-12 wks, percutaneous blood sampling after 20 wks.
  19. Down syndrome is caused by an error in cell division. The cause is unknown but the error occurs at conception. The mom did nothing wrong during pregnancy.
  20. Children with Down syndrome are more like other children than different. Inclusion is important!
  21. Those with Down syndrome need early intervention for physical, speech, and developmental therapies. This is lacking in countries that fear Down syndrome.
  22. Children with Down syndrome can attend neighborhood schools and some can attend regular classes although some may need special education classes if they have more specialized needs. In the last several years, the average IQ of a person with Down syndrome has increased. Down syndrome kids can attend college – it is  not out of the question.
  23. Many adults with Down syndrome are capable of working in the community and giving back.
  24. Newborns with Down syndrome need an echocardiogram to identify any heart problems 40% of the kids have congenital heart defects.
  25. In the United States, Down syndrome is the LEAST funded major genetic condition. This is shocking since 1/691 babies are born with Down syndrome.
  26. Down syndrome is named after the English doctor, John Langdon Down, who first categorized the common features.
  27. Dr. Jerome LeJeune discovered that Down syndrome is a genetic disorder with three copies of chromosome 21 versus 2. In the rare forms of Down syndrome not all of the chromosome is tripled and the extra chromosome isn’t in all cells.
  28. In the case of hereditary Translocation Down syndrome (a rare one to two percent of all people with Down syndrome), an extra chromosome 21 is inherited from one of the parents.
  29. 38% of americans know someone with Down syndrome. Do you?
  30. By law, people with Down syndrome in the United States must be provided an appropriate and free public education.
  31. Some people with Down syndrome live independently or in an assisted independent arrangement. They are just like you and me and a small but growing number have a romantic relationship and even get married.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to be matched with Toby. He has Down syndrome. You can read more about him HERE.
Daily Affirmation: I made a difference today.