The other day I wrote about Choices. I am a big believer in what you put out into the world will come back to you. Trust me, I am sure darling daughter can repeat me exactly telling her that if we put good out into the world, good will come back. And this is a choice we make each and every day. And to be honest, sometimes I stumble.

Yesterday morning was a stumbling day. I made my choices and then I had to live with them. In all reality, a disagreement with someone I loved left me feeling down. I didn't run before work as I was told that doing so was "harming" my family. I know the words stated weren't meant to come out that way. I know it isn't true but it still hurt. I didn't run before work and it left me feeling grouchy and trust me, THAT is not good for my family. A happy strong mommy is good. A frustrated, grouchy mommy...not so much. It took me a bit to realize I was making my choices and I had to turn them around. I had to choose to be happy with where I was and see the blessings in my life. I knew I would run later even if it meant at home on my incline treadmill that doesn't seem to give me optimal training. But I am blessed to be able to do that.

And blessings do surround you once you open your eyes and look for the good. It is always there hiding even when you are feeling grouchy. Like this note I pulled out of my lunch bag yesterday morning. In the middle of my gloomiest moment I pulled out this note that darling daughter made me. Yes, I pulled it out at breakfast time, not lunch, and it made me smile.

Oh, oh, I love, love you. You are my best friend.

And what about this poem that darling daughter wrote me just a couple of days earlier? Isn't that a precious blessing.

Dear oh dear. What have you have. I am fun but you like you. Oh come with me. I love you. I do love you. I like what you have. You are my dear. I like you. This is my heart you see. I love.

I asked her if she was learning about poetry in school. She said no, just that her and her friend chose to sit down and see how much they could write during indoor recess as it was raining outside. It makes me heart melt for so many reasons.

Blessings. They even extend beyond the joy of my life - my daughter.

The other day I got an email alert from FedEx saying a package was to be delivered from Amazon. Hmmm....I hadn't ordered anything. I ignored it and thought maybe it was a technical glitch and was meant for the Amazon package I received a week or so ago...but did that come via FedEx? Anyhow, the thought went to the wayside until darling daughter and I came home yesterday, rounded the corner, and stopped dead in our tracks looking at a big brown box. What?!

We didn't even make it into the house since curiosity was killing these two cats and we opened the box right then and there and inside the big box was a smaller box, darn Amazon packaging sometimes, and the proverbial light bulb went off. Happy Mommy dance!

About a month ago I got a reward with my Yoga Studio app and Kiip Rewards. Okay, there are many rewards if you opt in to them but some are to things I don't need, diapers, and some I just haven't taken advantage of, The Honest Company, and some I am just no so sure of, Julep beauty stuff. But this reward I jumped on - a free yoga mat? Yes please! Darling daughter and I could stop fighting over the one we own. It is just an expression, we don't really fight.

The mat I received was beyond amazing and more than I ever imagined for a free mat. I was expecting something thin and small like I currently own but this one is deluxe! It comes with a strap that holds the mat closed too. And it is plush and long! I am not the tallest person around but it is nice to get my 5'2" body on the mat during corpse pose and have some leeway.

But there is another bigger blessing I want to share with you today, I am blessed to be alive. Yes, we can all say that each and every day but to me it has deeper meaning. I am adopted. Some can say I was an unwanted pregnancy and even though that may be the case, and most likely was, I know my adoptive parents very much wanted me. I know my biological mom very much wanted the best for me. I am touched she had the courage to have me and give me up for adoption and I am blessed to be alive.

I have a purpose to serve in my life. We all do. And I feel strongly my purpose is to tell my story, to be honest, and to do my very best to make good choices each day, to see the blessings in my life, and to pay it forward to others.

I am blessed to have all of you in my life as well. Thank you for being you and most importantly, thank you for stopping by, reading my blog, sharing your thoughts, and for being alive!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for each breath of air I take.
Daily Affirmation: I am good.



Each day we make a zillion choices. Okay, I never counted how many choices I make every day but there are a lot. What to wear. When to wake up. What to run. When to run. What to have for dinner. What to make for lunches. But these are the easier choices. There are the deeper ones. The choice to not get mad. To not let a worry weigh heavily on you. To put the worry into Higher hands and have faith. To forgive. To really forgive and forget. And then there are the choices we probably don't think about much. To smile or not to smile. To pay forward kindness. To be patient and understanding. To listen with full attention. To use caring words. To encourage others. To be supportive. To be loving.

As I type I have the choice to continue giving examples or to get on with my point. And my point is that we all have choices and it is perfectly fine to choose different things. I read a post the other day that aligned with my own feelings about the winter Olympics - yep, they just aren't as thrilling to me as the summer games but I still had the choice to watch or not. I watched. Some of it. And I encouraged darling daughter to watch some although she would always initially resist. Cartoons seemed more appealing but she got into the games....to an extent. Why did I want her to watch them? There are probably three  motivating factors - one I remember watching them as a kid and want her to have those memories, they don't happen every day, and the tell the story of different athletes and sports reaching for their dreams.

Words I may never hear again
I also make the choice to lead by example and encourage darling daughter to learn what she should be kinda, sorta. The first time she resisted and afterwards said she was happy with how clean and pretty her room was now. The second time, just a couple of days ago, she really resisted and I said, okay, I will set the timer for 10 minutes. You just need to clean for 10 minutes. The timer went off and she stayed in her room and that made me think, I hadn't heard a peep from her in quite awhile. What is she up to? I looked in and she was cleaning! In the time she was silently cleaning I was in the kitchen feeling like the worst mom ever making my little girl clean her room when coming home from school. I questioned if I was being too firm and unrealistic. Long story short, darling daughter came out of her room for a snack and told me I was the best Mom ever for making her clean her room. (I seriously doubt she will be saying the same thing when she is 16 and I ask her to clean her room.) She was excited about finding "lost" toys and being able to walk around her bed again. She finished her snack to go back to cleaning. I chose to feed the pets for her since she was going above and beyond in her chore.
learning and now that she is six, cleaning her room is part of the ticket. She always resists. Okay, I have only instigated two big cleaning moments since she is pretty good at cleaning up along the way....

Final example, I chose to run and do yoga every single day. Some days I am not as thrilled to start my run but I never regret running. In fact, it always makes me feel better. Always. without fail. And I have the added the benefit of setting a good example for darling daughter. In fact just last night she told me she wanted to start doing morning yoga. She added that she needed to wake up a bit earlier to ensure she has time (in all reality, she already wakes up with plenty of time). She asked if I could teach her a few moves. Oh yes I can! I look forward to teaching her something - perhaps a bit of sun salutation?

Choices. We make them every single day. My goal is that my choices make me and my family happier. My wish/dream is that our happy family will be able to start of ripple of happiness that can spread around the world. Each day I choose to keep trying. What choices do you make?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the poem darling daughter wrote me yesterday. I really should share it with y'all sometime.
Daily Affirmation: I am setting a good example for darling daughter.


#bestfoot Check-in!

Aloha and Happy Monday!

I used to do my weekly check-in's on a pretty regular basis during peak training but I would fall off track here and there. But fortunately, some lovely gals are good at keeping me at it since I do realize looking at each week critically (in a good way) really lets me see where I am going...honestly. This post will be linked to the #bestfoot link up through Run to the Finish, The Adventures of a Darwinian Fail, and The Sweet Life with Ericka. Trust me, these ladies rock!

So here we go! First, I got to say after working my butt off at Whale Day on 2/15 I broke down and bought a Polar Loop this Monday. I really wanted to get a good idea of how active I am each and every day and how that impacts my training. I started wearing it Monday afternoon. I do not have the heart monitor but I am already dreaming working that into my budget. I have active days. I have not so active days. That all makes sense but right now I do feel the Loop underestimates my activity level when running on my incline treadmill at home. My pace is slow and that is all it has to go off of. My pace. But I am running at a 10% incline so I think I am working a bit harder than the Loop thinks. I will give you its data at the end of this post...and sorry, I didn't download and sync up last night so Sunday is MIA.

Monday: Woo-hoo for President's Day! (By the way, have you seen Lincoln? That movie is pretty darn good!) I took the day off of work since darling daughter had no school. We started our day with a lovely breakfast and headed to the gym. I ran 8.08 miles (random hill repeats) and did 26 minutes of yoga - the Faith class I created. This class has flexibility, strength, and balance elements. I got my Polar Loop later on and didn't get it on until late in the afternoon.

Tuesday: An easy mile before work followed up with 30 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. Please note I am putting in some intermediate poses here and there but provide the class name so I really know what I am doing. P.S. I am using the Yoga Studio app on my iPhone and LOVE IT! I came home and ran an additional 1.35 miles to get the endorphins flowing for afternoon chores.

Wednesday: 4.6 miles before work followed up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. OH MY GOODNESS! The lizard and reclined pigeon really opened up my left glute today! Heaven on Earth! P.S. I reached my Polar Loop activity goal sometime between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm. That made me happy.

Thursday: 5.06 miles at home after work. I followed this up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. My Polar Loop is telling me to get more active. This is when I realized that my home running may be seriously under represented. I do realize I am running at a slower pace, I get it. But I don't think I am really putting forth that much less effort, am I? Only the heart monitor can confirm.

Friday: 1.05 mile run before work followed up by 15 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Combination. I came home and ran another 4 miles after cleaning house as I wanted more miles; therefore, the family got tuna melts for dinner although mine had no cheese.

Saturday: Mommy/daughter day again and we headed to the gym! I ran 7.07 miles and did 26 minutes of yoga - Faith. We did lots of errands and crafting before I ran another 3.33 miles at home. I wanted more since I knew Sunday would be an easy day. P.S. My Polar Loop told me I reached my goal sometime around 9:30 am.

Sunday: After making a delightful breakfast for darling daughter and myself I ran 2.05 miles and did 36 minutes of yoga - Love. This is the second class I put together and it has a lot of the Faith elements with some additional hamstring opening moves. After this the whole family went on a whale watch and it was AWESOME! Gotta love it when darling daughter actually got tired of seeing whales! But it was a blast and once we got home I was wiped out. I played and crafted with darling daughter between doing a few final chores. And yes, I was in bed by 7:00 pm. And yes, I slept in past 5:00 am so I will be squeezing in my Monday moves after work before going to the meeting dear hubby and I have. Why do I do this to myself?

Sunday marked day 787 of my running streak and day 57 of my yoga streak. I ran 38 miles. It was a great training week!

And here is the Polar Loop data I promised:

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my Polar Loop.
Daily Affirmation: I have an open heart.


Be Happy!

Being happy is a choice that we do have power over and I find that absolutely amazing! There are things that can bring any one of us down but what I love is that I then get to choose how I respond to it. Don't get me wrong, I am not always skipping through rose gardens singing happy tunes. I can get down and frustrated and sometimes I just let myself experience those moments. I know what is making me edgy and it may be in my best interest to just let myself sulk a bit. Crazy, huh?

But when all is said and done, personally, I feel I am a pretty happy person who is looking through rose colored glasses and seeing the glass half full. My best buddy and co-worker is the same way and the great thing is that we take turns. Very seldom do we both have our rose colored glasses off and when we do, watch out! All humor aside, I attribute my happy heart to 5 choices I make pretty much each and every day. Perhaps you could call these my 5 Be Happy Tips!

Get Active: My body thrives on movement and my soul is meant to run. I have my daily run and daily yoga to feed this part of me. Being active makes me a better me and it is totally worthwhile to pull myself out of bed dark and early to get at least some movement in before work. It is also a great physical benefit since my full time job keeps me at my desk for long hours working at a computer. Not so good for my heart. My Polar Loop agrees.

Smile/Hug: Try something for me. Smile. Yes, right now. Doesn't it feel great? Smiling just makes me feel better instantly and it is a trick I turn to even during runs when I am feeling blah. Smile. It makes you feel good and it makes others feel good. It is contagious. Close to this is hugs. I LOVE HUGS! When I am down I just want a hug. I am still trying to get dear hubby to remember this trick. A hug is worth its weight in gold to me and that is probably why I hug darling daughter like crazy each and every day. Here's a virtual hug for you too and yes, I am smiling at you!

Gratitude: This is probably one of the biggest components of feeling happy and content in life. It is so easy to see what is wrong and to dwell on those issues and in all reality, that isn't healthy. Yes, fix what needs to be fixed but what is more valuable is to reflect on what is good. Wouldn't you rather hear what you did right then what you did wrong? Yes, I know we need to fix errors but positive reinforcement is so much more powerful. And when you start looking for the good you will be surprised just how much good there is. I do a daily gratitude and really focus on trying to not saying the same gratitude day in and day out. I want to see all the good in the world. Simple gratitude will shower you with happiness!

Get Creative: I often say I am not artistic but I like to be artistic, if that makes any sense. I love to create things and this blog is one avenue for that. I am creating this story and content that I hope others will like, love, find valuable. In addition, I love to do crafts with darling daughter. We work in our garden and I have my Serenity Garden. In addition, I love to crochet and I used to cross stitch a lot. Recently, more of my creativity is being poured into cooking and what I make for dinner. All of these things make me feel productive and that makes me happy.

Stay in the moment: Another good mantra for running but awesome for life. I can't worry too much about tomorrow, next month, or next year. It would weigh me down. I don't not think about the future but if there is a worry there I try to put it into perspective and focus on the here and now, what I can do now. My one contradiction to this is planning fun future stuff. We have a summer vacation on our plan and that is a future moment I like to focus on and reflect on with my family every now and then. Planning and anticipation is part of the fun! Oh yeah, and the past? Well, it is in the past. Forgive the wrongs done to you and move on. Forgive yourself. It is best for you and your heart to do so.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my Honda Civic Hybrid - I am getting close to averaging 43 mpg! Now that is AWESOME when the price of gas is over $4 a gallon.
Daily Affirmation: My vision is splendid and 20/20!


{Quinoa} Stuffed Peppers

Growing up I didn't get to spend much time with extended family but when we did get together, I have so many happy memories centered around the meals. Mealtime became a little bit more special when Aunties, Uncles, Grandma, or Grandpa were in town....or we were in their town. One meal that brings a smile to my face and warm memories is stuffed peppers. Yes, my mom would make these just for our family but the memories are still there. I can still see the pan that she used and can smell the yummy aroma. I LOVED THEM! Okay, not really but I did. I am only saying not really because the pepper part...yuck! The other part...YUM! In fact, stuffed peppers always contained porcupine balls for the kids! Just don't ask me how my mom and Grandma got those balls to form and stay so darn cute. Me? I can't do that. I have given up. But now that I have grown up, I love the pepper part too!

I have also completely altered the recipe. I made this once a couple of weeks ago, my version, and darling daughter loved it. In fact, she wanted more of the pepper! That girl can charm me like crazy. "Mother, can I have more pepper? I like it!" "Oh yes you can! Here, have some of mine!"

So let's get cooking!

First, I must confess, my batch is much smaller than anything my mom would make mainly because I am cooking for a family of 3, not 5 or more. If you have a bigger family, please double, triple, quadruple!

The Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground turkey (I am sure my mom would have used beef)
  • 1/2 cup pureed carrot (yep, I am sure this wasn't in it)
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin* (ditto...no pureed veggies when I was a kid)
  • 4 large bell peppers (I opt for the red, orange, and yellow peppers since those are the ones darling daughter eats, my mom used green)
  • Salt to taste (optional)
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4-5 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 small can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbl flax seed (optional)
  • 3/4 cup dry quinoa (my mom used rice)
* Please note: You can substitute other purees. Broccoli would work nicely as well as sweet potato or cauliflower.

The Steps:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Lightly grease the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cup of water and the 3/4 cup dry quinoa to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Take the saucepan off of the heat and just let it sit. I tend to do this step early on.
  3. Cut the tops off of the peppers, de-seed, and boil for 5 minutes or until slightly tender. Take the peppers out, drain any water out of them, and set to the side. Again, I tend to do this at the same time as the quinoa as I like to have these steps out of the way when I enter step 4.
  4. Brown the ground turkey with the two purees. I use really lean turkey and have no need to drain excess fat. If yours isn't as lean, drain before adding in the purees. You don't want to lose that veggie yumminess and all those good nutrients.  
  5. Season your meat mix with a dash of salt if desired (I only use Hawaiian Sea Salt and very little), black pepper, flax seed if desired, and 4-5 tsp of Italian seasonings. Sorry, I just dump some in the palm of my hand and add. 
  6. Add one can of undrained diced tomatoes and the quinoa. Mix well.
  7. Arrange the four peppers into your baking dish. Using a spoon, fill up each pepper and stuff down nicely. All the remaining mix, just place in baking dish around the stuffed peppers.
  8. Cover with foil. Bake covered for 20 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.
For dear hubby and darling daughter, I sprinkled some shredded cheese on top when I served them their dinner. Darling daughter even got a little dollop of sour cream. You could always opt for dairy free cheese if you are so inclined. In my earlier years of making this, aka before being dairy free, I would sprinkle with cheese after removing the foil so the cheese would get really nice and melty during those final 10 minutes of baking. These make great leftovers as well!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I have completed my taxes for this year!
Daily Affirmation: I can make yummy and nutritious meals!


Not-quite-Monday Check-in!

Aloha! So it dawned on me yesterday afternoon that yesterday was Monday. Good golly! I totally forgot about blogging as I enjoyed a lovely run at the gym and an amazing day with darling daughter. You see, she was off of school for President's Day and I was so happy that I made it through the craziest work day of my life! At least, until it comes around again next year....

As much as I don't want to write this post, I will. I just don't want to since my mileage was so low but I think that is a bigger reason as to why I should write it and look at what really happened last week. By the way, if you like these weekly updates you can hear from more gals putting their #bestfoot forward by hopping over to Run to the Finish. Amanda has a weekly link up on Mondays for us all to tell our stories.

Now onto what I did!

Monday: I started my day with a mile run at the gym and followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. Later after work I did another 3.13 mile run while making hard boiled eggs. Dear hubby and I had a meeting to go to this evening so I was squeezing it all in!

Tuesday: I ran 3 miles after work and followed it up with 30 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. I dosed off in the final pose, corpse, and darling daughter woke me up. It was only a 2-3 minute snooze but it just shows us all how tired I was.

Wednesday: Don't ask me how I did it but I managed to get up early enough to run a mile before work and do 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. Not a lot but I got something done!

Thursday: I overslept but still managed to run a mile before work and do 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Strength. After work I ran another 5.25 miles so I felt very happy about my fitness work this day.

Friday: I ran 2.05 miles before work and did 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Relaxation. I needed calm this day as it was the day before the big event, Whale Day. I had lots of loose ends to tie up and a craft fair to mark out. I went to bed stressed beyond belief. Needless to say, we didn't celebrate Valentine's Day in my household.

Saturday: I really didn't sleep at all. Just fitfull bits here and there with a ton of nightmares. I got up at 3:00 am to run 2 miles and do 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Strength - to give me the power of a warrior to survive Whale Day. I worked 16 hours after my morning fitness time and that included lots of running around, raking wet straw, lifting, carrying, etc. I was beat but I gotta say, this day really is a lot of fun even with all the hard work we put into it.

Sunday: I would have loved a run outside but to be honest, I was still beat. I only got 6 hours of sleep the night before so I ran a short 1.11 miles and followed it up with 26 minutes of yoga in a class I created called Faith.

I ended the week with 19.54 miles on running streak day 780 and yoga streak day 50.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the words of gratitude that were showered upon me. 
Daily Affirmation: I am committed and strong.


Blog of the Month!

One of my goals in 2014 is to make more connections in the world and spread the love. With that said, I dreamed up Blog of the Month. Yes, I know it is nothing Earth shattering. Monthly features are indeed nothing new and revolutionary but this feature on my blog is new. I put out the idea to fellow SweatPink, Kindrunner, and FitFluential Ambassadors and I am not at a loss of blogs to share. You see, I did it this way so I wasn't just promoting blogs I already read but hoped to find some new gems as well! You would think I would announce these the start of the month but it seems I am just going mid-month to mid-month based on when my first one was announced in January. 

February's blog to love is a new gem for me.

Introducing Perfectly F.I.T.T.! Rosi is the blog author with the intent of pursuing the perfect frequency, intensity, time and type of fitness, nutrition, and all things healthy. Now that sounds good! According to Rosi, her blog is about balancing all aspects of health: physical, mental/emotional, and social. Oh she sounds like she could be a really cool new friend! She aims to post weekly workouts, recipes, and discusses topics that effect our health. She runs, plays soccer, and participates in all sorts of fitness and love sharing ideas and asking for ideas. Oh me oh my! She does sound a lot like me!

Today Rosi posted about her Dairy Free Challenge and I can totally relate to everything she is saying from the decrease in bloating, decrease in congestion, and dairy hiding in almost every single thing. Yes, I have found it in tortillas, gravy, taco seasoning, and those are just a few. You truly need to be careful in what you eat when going dairy free. For me, it is worth it but yes, I do miss some indulgences at time and resist many treats at work due to the dairy factor but in all reality, this may be better for me. But I must confess, I did take one tiny nibble of darling daughter's cake pop and she was sure to let me know, there was dairy inside. It was tiny and I savored it and fortunately, since it was so tiny I had no adverse side effects.

Rosi is a fellow SweatPink Ambassador and if you have the time, stop on over to her blog and tell her ALOHA from Life as a Running Mom!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the relief my body feels from going dairy free.
Daily Affirmation: I am able to admit when I am wrong or hurt.


My 5 Favorite Fitness Apps!

I gotta say, I LOVE TECHNOLOGY! Yes, I feel we can get too wrapped up in our phones or other technical devices and yes, we should put our family and face-to-face interactions up there on our priority list, but that said, technology is a wonderful thing. It has enabled us to do so much more with our lives and I am thankful for the advances we have made. One thing that I really do appreciate is my iPhone. But don't get me wrong, this isn't an iPhone post. There are other smart phones out there that can get you to where I am going today....how I use technology in my fitness.

On my phone I have a special folder for my fitness apps. You could call these health apps or my own personal apps for sanity. Whatever you label them, these are the apps I turn to on a regular basis...and some on a daily basis. Today I am introducing you to my 5 favorite fitness apps!

1. Nike + iPod: I have been a Nike+ customer for eons. Okay, not that long but it has been years. If I am reading the information right on the Nike+ website, I have been with them since May 2012. I am in the black level now and in the beginning, seeing progress moving up the levels was rewarding as the milestones were closer together and it was the beginning of my running "career". Now, it is less of the website and more of the app support. The app connects to a sensor in my shoe and you do need to walk around, or stomp in place, before your run to activate the sensor. And before you start your run you can select certain time or distance goals or just do a basic run. You can also select your playlist. And yes, it needs to be calibrated on a regular basis. I love having the additional avenue to record my mileage. The sensors are inexpensive to replace, which is an added plus! This app came on my iPhone and i use it almost daily.

2. Yoga Studio: I just recently added this app to my collection and LOVE it! It was the best $2.99 spent ever! Trust me, it is worth it. I love the classes and the instructor's voice and background music is calming and compliments the classes. You can go through and read about the poses with instructions on how to do them and their benefits but don't worry, you don't need to read first. You can just go into a class and the instructor will walk you through it. I have so much more to explore with this app since I haven't even ventured into making my own classes. I love that it can go with me anywhere and yoga with instruction is so much better than just trying to do yoga. I have seen more improvements in my practice with this app and I use it daily! For a funny story, just yesterday afternoon I was using this app at home. I selected the 30 minute Beginner Flexibility class. I was a bit stressed before the class and commented to my Mom I needed to do some yoga before finishing making lunches and dinner. Halfway through I was feeling much better. In the final pose, darling daughter had to wake me up. Yes, I fell asleep during yoga. Guess that corpse pose was very relaxing! But don't worry, I finished my class and only snoozed a couple of minutes.

3. Electric Miles: This is the companion app to Daily Mile and it is FREE! I like that I can add my workouts to Daily Mile via my phone versus going to the computer and doing it that way. Plus it has some cool charts and features I can look into. The runner/community support on this social network is amazing. Through the app you can see your comments and your friends comments. You can give and receive support. In fact, you may sometimes find me doing this as I lull darling daughter to sleep at night and before going out of her room to spend time with dear hubby. I love that with the most recent upgrade that you can edit workouts on your phone now too because yes, I have made some data entry errors in the past and it was always a bother to go to the computer at a later time and correct my errors. I guess I am not the only user who makes this mistakes. I use this app daily.

4. iPeriod: This app costs $1.99 and I see the value in it just because I can keep track of my menstrual cycle at my finger tips. And when I go to the doctor and they ask the same question every time - When was your last period? - well, now I can answer it. Sorry, I am too busy to focus on those details and it may sound bad but 99.9% of the time I do need to look up the answer or just guess. You can go as far as you want with what you track with symptoms, etc. I also use it to track those crazy viral outrbreaks I get as part of me is trying to see if it is linked to anything else. Not really except perhaps my stress levels. It also predicts when your next 12 cycles will be and gives you your fertile days if you care about either of those. For me, seeing the upcoming cycles and comparing to my race cycle may be stressful at times but knowledge is power! There is also a community forum if you are interested in that. iPeriod has a couple of companion apps: iTampon (to help you remember to change - so not needed for me) and iPregnancy, which may be really cool for those pregnant ladies. I haven't looked into either of them since one, I don't need reminders and two, I have no plans on becoming pregnant again. All in all, this is much nicer than the calendar tracking I did years ago as it is at my fingertips.

5. Nike Running: This app is FREE and it is the reason I got an iPhone in the first place. Like I said earlier, I have been part of the Nike+ community for awhile and I saw a fellow Nike+ runner talking about cheers he got when running. What? Cheers? I asked him about it and he informed me it was the Nike Running app with GPS that is available on iPhones. Sweet! And guess what? My phone was due for an upgrade which made getting an iPhone so much easier! And my old phone was on the blink to begin with. I love that it uses GPS to track my miles and yes, the cheers are sweet. You can get them when you connect to facebook and someone likes that you started a run. I don't get to use this app as much as I would love to since it is reserved for my road runs, for obvious reasons. Plus using it can really drain your phone so you have to think wisely on when to use it for the longer long runs. I like the data it collects on your run too in terms of a map, elevation profiles, splits, and temperature. A data analyst can have fun with this!

One little extra: I am mentioning this app just because it is pictured in my fitness folder. The Streak Tracker app. I don't really use this app per se but I love having it on my phone to track my running streak and yes, it is always a day behind. It does give you notifications when you hit milestones like your running streak anniversary so that is really cool! The app costs $1.99 and for me, it is worth it. But hey, I am a streak runner!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for technology.
Daily Affirmation: I have a loving heart.


What did I do last week

My new love! RunningSkirts!
You know what? I am beginning to feel a bit better in this chaotic part of my life. I had a really great week last week, all things considered. And Saturday I felt like me again running. I was blessed to actually feel confident on my running legs and in my training once again. Ironically, I did not log a zillion miles or do anything too crazy. Here is what I did do last week - with fun family stuff added in because hey, just reading x-miles and yoga can be downright boring.

Monday: Wow! I ran 3.75 miles after work when I was crunched on time as dear hubby and I had a class to go to. Thank goodness darling daughter was buying her lunch the next day and I was making dinner! I followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Relaxation - however, if there were yoga police they may bust me because as I was practicing I was reading off questions on darling daughter's homework. Yep, yoga and homework combined!

Tuesday: 5 miles after work followed up by 15 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Combination. I commented that yoga was keeping the chiropractor away.

Wednesday: Oh darnit! My left hip is bugging me! 1.32 miles in the morning followed up by 30 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Flexibility. My hip felt looser at the end and this was an odd day. Dear hubby and I took darling daughter to school before he took me to the eye doctor. Yep, I need glasses. Darnit again. We followed it up by going to Costco to get a few groceries and walked out, kind of, with a playhouse. Yep, my dear friend had to go pick it up since big boxes do not fit into sedans. Nope, they don't. Operation Playhouse started after darling daughter went to bed with a late night delivery and getting the box and pieces hidden in the shed.

Thursday: 3.12 miles after work since I just didn't want to leave my family. I followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. My left hip is continuing to loosen up but I decided I shouldn't tempt fate again by saying yoga is keeping the chiropractor away. I just may need to go for an adjustment after all but still, I have lasted a longer time!

Friday: 5.05 miles after work followed up by 30 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Flexibility. I am really seeing improvements in my flexibility even though there are days I feel tighter than others. After darling daughter went to sleep Operation Playhouse continued with about two hours of assembly.

Saturday: 7.72 miles in the morning at the gym to honor running streak day 772. I followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Combination. Darling daughter and I ran our weekly errands but picked up some nice stuff for a garden - a little angel statue, some plants, and some red mulch. Once we got home and ate lunch with hit the garden and had a blast seeing the fruits of our labor truly transform our little neck in the woods. We literally just had rocks, dirt, and weeds. We have added layers, mulch pathways, stepping stones, compost bins, etc. I ran another 3.24 miles later in the afternoon and then darling daughter and I decorated the house with banners, streamers, and balloons for her birthday weekend. After darling daughter went to sleep Operation Playhouse continued with about 3 hours of assembly.

Dirt, rocks, & weeds = original elements
I LOVE the transformation!
Sunday: After making the family breakfast, waffles with fruit, I tackled my 1.5 mile little run followed up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. This is an "I am feeling tight day". Then Operation Playhouse continued with the REVEAL! Darling daughter LOVED it and we spent the next four hours or so completing assembly. It was then lunchtime, make a cake time, decorate the cake time, run an extra 5.14 miles time, and birthday party dinner time!! Woo-hoo! Darling daughter picked tacos and don't tell the guys that I snuck some carrot and broccoli puree into that taco meat. It was a hit!

And today is darling daughter's official birthday. Right about now dear hubby would have been driving me down that twisty, curvy road to the hospital six years ago. I am truly blessed to have her in my life and am glad I devoted the weekend to her. Yes, I miss running long. Yes, I miss running outside but I did get some good mileage in (36 to be exact) and made her feel special. After all, today she has school and then will be going to my friend's house as dear hubby and I have another commitment tonight. But don't worry, darling daughter has already scheduled some Barbie playing time for this afternoon to ensure we have our bonding time. And I can't wait to hear from darling daughter about how her cake pops did at school today! Yes, in honor of her birthday she brought in 2 dozen horse cake pops and no, I didn't make these.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful dear hubby is attending these classes with me.
Daily Affirmation: I am a good mom.

P.S. Do you link weekly inspiration and seeing how others do? Why not check in at Run to the Finish and link up your weekly reports and share support?!


Aloha Friday!

This week has felt like an eternity. As much as I thought I would be floating on clouds this week with the Run for the Whales behind me I was so wrong! The run is definitely not behind me as I still have lots to do with getting back to runners with details, medals, etc. It is keeping me very busy and quite frantic. I would love to say that this all that I am juggling but guess what? There is more! Yes, I am managing a craft fair. Do not ask. Trust me...come Sunday the 16th things will indeed cool down some at work, okay, not really, but I still have my fingers crossed that then I can get back into my normal training. This is and will always be a hard time of the year for me to run. I really need to accept it. I have to accept it. I have a hard time accepting it. Oh me oh my! Life would be easier if I accepted it!

My weekend plans are HUGE too and as much as I am excited about some of the things up my sleeve there is a part of me saying oh me oh my again! Darling daughter's birthday is Monday. My baby is turning 6! We have some cool plans but I will get to those another day and fill you in. Right now I just want to wish you a beautiful weekend full of warmth, sunshine, and love!

Happy Friday!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for dear hubby.
Daily Affirmation: My endurance will remain!


Apera Bag LOVE!

This is a sponsored post. I received product to review free of charge. I did not promise a positive review. The opinions expressed below are soley my own. 

Just recently I was contacted by apera to give one of their bags a trial run. I checked out their website and liked the idea that their bags were considered as "healthier" since they were treated with antimicrobial substances to keep the gym funk away. That is a good thing for someone always carrying around stinky, sweaty clothes. The thing is, I had a gym bag but really had the desire for a new everyday bag. A bag that often serves as a second gym bag for me. Don't even ask.

I checked out their store and was immediately drawn to the sling tote....and it came in pink! Okay, I think technically they call it fuschia but I was falling in love before first touch! They described it as stylish, thin, versatile and yes, I agree!

When it arrived I immediately opened the box and fell in love at first touch. I loved the many storage compartments and I loved that I could use them for my ideas versus just want they may have thought. You see, my problem was I carry a lot around with me. I always want to be able to run if I can run. I have my running supplies on me, my necessities, darling daughter's necessities, and I need to carry snackies for me as it is hard to find a dairy free healthy snack on the go in case of emergency...and don't forget snacks for darling daughter!

old bag
The bags I were using were never just right. I had lots of smaller bags in one bag and changed through my bags/purses on a regular basis as a bag left me feeling frustrated and annoyed. Either I was constantly digging to locate things or the bag just felt awkward to carry. I had been looking for a sling tote bag for quite some time but everything I saw was just one big open bag.

This bag is different. It has one large opening but inside it has three smaller compartments. It has two larger side compartments for holding shoes that works beautifully for holding my water bottle and/or protein drink shaker bottle. The sides have a large and small pocket on each. The two larger pockets are designed a bit different inside to meet many needs. In a nutshell, this pocket has the perfect place for my keys, my phone, my earphones, my lock for the gym locker, my necessities, darling daughter's necessities, my wallet, and my snacks etc. Each item has its own home so I am not digging and looking for what I need. And it feels good on.

Seriously, it feels good on. When I am carrying this bag it feels like I am carrying nothing as it distributes the weight of everything I have been carrying nicely on my body. And no more shoulder strap bag falling off my shoulder. I LOVE IT! Dear hubby says it is me. And yes, I am now the proud owner of a gym bag purse!

How would it work as a gym bag? Just fine and it came with a small insert bag for sweaty clothes that can be washed. Yes! I will be putting that to good use. It seems smaller than my current gym bag but that is one huge duffel bag with two tiny side pockets. I think the additional pockets and compartments with the apera sling tote would be just as beneficial for holding gym supplies, toiletries, and a change of clothes as it is for holding all of my odds and ends right now. And personally, I love how multi-functional the bag is as it doesn't look like I am carrying a stinky gym bag.

I am hooked on apera bags and not just because I love the bag. There is more. The company has a cause and if you have been following my blog for awhile, you know I love causes. Hey, my full time job is working for a non-profit dedicated to protecting the oceans. A cause. Apera's cause is to inspire athletes and they truly touch me at the core of my being by taking on the mission, the cause, to focus on the Special Olympics. For every three bags sold, apera donates one bag to a special olympics athlete. Now that is cool!

And to be completely honest, the cost of this bag is $109. That may have made me hesitate at first glance but once I have touched and used this bag, I say it is worth every penny. You indeed get what you pay for and I have faith this bag will be by my side for years to come! It is built that good!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that apera reached out to me giving me the chance to learn about a company that has awesome product and an amazing cause.
Daily Affirmation: I make a positive impact in this world!


Weekly Check-in and a WINNER!!

Stopping traffic!
Geeze! It is Monday and I just want to be in bed. I didn't get up early and run before work and now I need to squeeze it in after work before starting a series of classes. Part of me is hoping those classes are postponed one more time. Is that bad? In fact, I hesitated a nanosecond when darling daughter clung to me this morning and said, "The race is over. Stay with me. Take a sick day." I don't know where she got that idea but man, was it tempting. But don't worry, I did the right thing and told her, "Mommy needs to go to work and you need to go to school."

But I am indeed beat! And I am trying to remember all the things I did last week that aren't recorded as official mileage because my mileage this week is low. So low that I commented to dear hubby that I have had three bad weeks of running. One week I felt argh. Last week I didn't break 30 miles. This is tough to swallow when I want 40 miles a week but will settle for 35. And here is this week:
2.5 mile walk start!

  • Monday: 3 miles ran after work with 30 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Flexibility
  • Tuesday: 2 miles ran after work with 30 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Strength. I wanted more but work kept calling with runner questions. Work is up there on priorities this week with the final countdown to the Run for the Whales.
  • Wednesday: 2.25 miles ran before work at home with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. I wanted to do something before work but had no desire to leave home yet. This was nice.
  • Thursday: 2 miles ran after work with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Relaxation. It is beginning to sink into my thick skull that work is crazy busy this week and that I can't focus on mileage. I have too much work to do! The countdown to race day is quickly evaporating!
  • Friday: 2 miles ran before work with some speed intervals. It felt nice to challenge my pace. I followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Combination. Now the untracked fitness starts to kick in full force. At work I moved tons of boxes of shirts, tons of boxes of packets, set up tables, and got packet pick-up set up for the Run for the Whales. The rest of the day, well, I ran up and down the stairs and throughout the office helping last minute registrations, etc. In addition, I worked an extra long day at work. I was beat! But I am not done.
  • Saturday: 2.55 miles ran post race with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. My legs felt
    Running a friend in!
    heavy and worn out by hey, I just pulled off a race and had been up since 2:45 am to hang signs and banners, set up food, get runners where they need to be, start races, yell out instructions, stop traffic, refill water, find runners for timing questions, hang race results, hand over race results, hand out door prizes, give runners their medals, pick up buckets, pull down signs and banners, move tables, and well, just go crazy!
  • Sunday: I wanted a long run to fill my soul but my body said, give me a break! I ran 3.5 miles in the morning and followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. I ended up do a second 3 mile run in the afternoon to get rid of some of my "I haven't run enough grouchies". I am not sure it worked since a 20 mile week with me feeling wiped out is hard to swallow.

Here's to next week!

How is your training going?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful the rain let up before all the races started going off on Saturday.
Daily Affirmation: I have what it takes to be a race director!

P.S. Oh me oh my! How about our winner for helping to promote the Run for the Whales?!

There were 103 entries and the lucky winner is:

The winner was selected randomly through rafflecopter.com. Laurel, will you please email me your physical mailing address at lifeasarunningmom @ gmail.com?

Thanks! And congrats!

P.S.S. All photos here were taken by Randy Sherman, the race photographer for the Run for the Whales 2014. Event photos are available for sale HERE!