Cooking with Coconut Oil

This is a sponsored post. I received this cooking book at no charge to review. The opinions expressed are solely my own. I did not promise a favorable review. 

I don't know about you but I have a thing with cooking books. I LOVE THEM! And recently, I have been drawn to cooking books with a healthier focus, a clean eating focus, and of course, I love the dairy free focus. I do not shun gluten free and I love my veggies. I like cookbooks for new dinner ideas and don't want one full of treats and sweets. A little bit is okay but really, I want healthy meals to add to the menu in our house.

Many times I get into a cookbook and get scared away and perhaps don't even buy it. What scares me? Complicated instructions that involve "sophisticated" techniques or equipment or "nontraditional" shopping lists. If I have to buy almost every single ingredient that some may consider a standard ingredient, forget it! Come on guys, I live on Maui! We don't have a zillion of options and things cost a lot. Trust me, buying healthy, non-dairy, gluten free, specialty ingredients is tough. Amazon is a life saver in so many ways but seriously, I don't want to do my mainstay grocery shopping online. P.S. Cooking with Coconut Oil is available at Amazon in a paperback or Kindle version.

When I opened Cooking with Coconut Oil I instantly got sucked in. I pretty much read this cookbook. It was full of a wealth of information including why coconut oil is good for you, some information on the "nontraditional" ingredients, and hints to go paleo and make it easy for you. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying I am going paleo but I loved the information. The recipes weren't scary in terms of techniques and even if some required a bit more shopping than others, there were some I just needed an ingredient or two. Bingo! I can handle this.

I talked dear hubby and darling daughter into a field trip to Mana Foods to scout this store out for Mana Foods! I ended up picking up some coconut oil, almond meal, coconut flour, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, and granola for darling daughter. I haven't used all my new ingredients yet but am slowly working my way into them. I seem to be savoring them and trying to make them last!
coconut oil, etc. I heard it was the place to go on Maui because prices weren't as high as other health stores. It involved a long drive, limited parking, and rain but hey, this is something dear hubby can do for me every now and then. Take me to

Back to the cookbook, I have made two recipes for my family and both were a hit. For both, I did sweet potato recipes and used the locally grown purple sweet potatoes versus traditional orange. Our purple potatoes may be a bit sweeter but I still loved the recipes. The sweet potato casserole was a hit but I was sure to only top half with coconut flakes as darling daughter is not into coconut like I am. She loved the potatoes and asked for hers to be sprinkled with extra cinnamon. Sure thing! The second recipe I tried was the quiche with a sweet potato crust. This recipe had me a bit more worried about pulling it off but it wasn't anywhere near as hard as I imagined. And so much worth it! I LOVED IT! The family had no complaints either and darling daughter ate cooked veggies! She is a raw veggie kind of gal. And the crust? AMAZING! It was like a crispy potato chip. It did have some sweetness to it and just for your information, if you reheat the leftovers the crust loses its crispiness. Just saying....

What I love more is a cookbook that inspires me to incorporate new ideas into other meals. I recently started making our own tortillas and used coconut oil in those. Yummy, yummy, yummy! Although I am still experimenting with gluten free flour for these. My first attempt turned into play dough for darling daughter.

And the sesame seeds I have been saving for a special day? I still have some for making the crackers in the cookbook but used some to coat my chicken with last night and the family loved it. I saw a similar idea in the cookbook too!

I can't wait to try some more recipes from the cookbook and perhaps one day I will get brave enough to make one of the ice creams that use coconut milk. My only concern is that they will taste too much like coconut for darling daughter. Only time will tell!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my fellow FitFluential ambassador, Elizabeth Nyland, giving me the opportunity to review this cookbook.
Daily Affirmation: I am eating cleaner each and every day!


#bestfoot Check In: The Race Edition!

So, there was no Monday check in last week. It was Spring Break in my neck of the woods and well, I played with darling daughter! Yes, I splurged and took some time off of work to be with her. And this week's check in, well, it is going to happen but will be completely different than my standard versions. 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. I love this link up and each week strive to find at least one new lady to support! Jump on over and find some awesomeness and add your own!

But let's step back a second...did you see my post title? Yep, this is the RACE EDITION of Monday Check-in. Why? Because I ran two races so I figured since this week was all about racing and I love doing race re-cap's you are getting a two for one today! 

First, Run 'til Your Green on Monday 3/17/14

This is a local 3 mile race directed by Sam Wilbur from Maui Running. This year was the 6th event and his attendance is growing (235 participants this year) and I got to say I know why. The race is fun...and fast..and there is beer at the end for those who are interested. Yes, each runner will receive a ticket for one free drink. And this year there was amazing live music from a local Irish band. Can I say fun, fun, fun?

But let's start at the very beginning. Darling daughter and I were slated to run this race this year. She ran the brand new Keiki Dash - a 100 meter race for kiddos 2-12 and I LOVE this addition. Thank you Sam! Each kid received a finisher medal and had a chance to beat the leprechaun. Oh man those kids were fast, or that leprechaun wasn't ready, since all the kids beat him. Go kids!

Right after the kids' run the 3 miler started. This is an out and back course and it is flat and fast...just watch your footing on that cobbly back road that always seems to be under construction. This was my race this week. I felt the training I have done this year (my real interpretation - my lack of mileage and long runs compared to last year) had me set to aim to PR at this race. I was determined. So determined I didn't check what I had to run until that day to PR. Oh my! The last time I raced this was in 2012 with a time of 23:02. I kinda thought I just had to break 24 minutes. Now I needed to break 23?!

I placed myself towards the front of the corral but made sure I was still behind the speedsters and then I ran my heart out. At mile 1 I knew I was ahead of pace. I was feeling the push and told myself I can ease up or stay put. I didn't need to push further. At mile 2 I was still ahead of pace and still compelled to pass people when I could. And yes, I was trying to catch each and every lady in front of me. I wanted to place...or at least get the best PR I could. Randy Sherman was there taking pictures and does a lovely job of catching the real me in running. See, I was pushing myself. No time to smile. I saw him, knew I have awful running faces, but no time to try to do anything else besides run. That would just be a waste of energy. And it paid off. I was the 44th finisher overall with a time of 22:07 and a pace of 7'22". The irony in that in 2012 I was 44 out of 144. This year, 44 out of 235. Don't you love numbers? I was the 11th out of 116 ladies (in 2012 I was 10 out of 77 - no fun number coincidence there) and placed 2nd in my division (Ladies 40-49). I was stoked!

But what made it better was at the finish darling daughter was helping handing out coozies to those who beat the leprechaun and green beads to all the finishers. And dear hubby was helping the runners move along the finish corral and stay in line so their tags could be pulled. At the after party, we partied! Darling daughter and I danced to the music, okay, I danced while holding her until she told me I was bouncing too much. We yelled. We cheered. I nearly lost my voice. Won't you join us next St. Patrick's Day and Run 'til Your Green too?

Second, Valley to the Sea Half Marathon on Saturday 3/22/14

This race is directed by Rudy Huber from Runner's Paradise Inc. This year was the 5th annual race and the race series also has a 5K or 10K for those interested in shorter distances. I first raced this half marathon last year and PR'd with a time of 1:54:46. My goal wasn't entirely to PR since I just raced hard Monday and wasn't confident in my training due to lack of long runs and road runs. My goal - run happy and have fun.

Friday night was rainy, rainy, rainy. As much as I hoped the rain would stop it didn't seem to be happening. I didn't want to run in a downpour but put my phone in a Ziploc bag and taped it around where my headphones came out. Drizzling rain would be fine. On our way down the rain got harder at points. So hard I wasn't sure dear hubby could see the road. He hit a couple of puddles. We swerved and I questioned if my desire to race a half marathon was jeopardizing the safety of our family. I knew we were heading to Iao Valley - a place of rivers, waterfalls, and potential flash flooding. The rain let up and I got hopeful then it was another downpour. I brought up the weather on my phone, looked at the radar, and felt conflicted. 

Once at the start it was raining pellets. Dear hubby said it was raining in sheets. I didn't even want to get out and go to the porta potty. We waited for it to let up. It would for a minute or two but then, heavy again. My heart said run. My gut said get out of here. Running in a downpour with little to no visibility is not safe. Darling daughter said listen to my heart. I thought I should listen to my gut and told dear hubby to leave. He stalled and I asked him to make it easier on me and just leave. After we drove about two miles away he asked me if I was okay with my decision. Ummm....NO! I saw sunshine in the distance, the rain was light here, but the race was starting in 5 minutes. After a quick discussion he turned around and I started stripping off my upper layers and putting my CamelBak on. I got my phone back from darling daughter, who kept saying she wanted me to run, and jumped out of the car at the start and ran to the start pack for the final 10 second countdown. Ummm...porta potty, you are going to have to wait. I think I read there was one along the course. And off we went. No time to think about it as I finished getting my phone set into run mode while starting the race...in rain...actually a downpour...with rain drops that were so big and strong they hurt my eyes. I was drenched. But I think I was happy too. At least I wasn't a wimp for not running.

But that changed things...I was more determined to run happy, not worry too much about time, and thank every single volunteer and police officer that I could. They were also out there in this rain and they didn't have the benefit of running to stay warmer with the dream of running to a dry patch. 

After my phone told me my first few splits I was determined to PR again too. I was ahead of what I needed to do, I knew I had the benefit of a downhill start, but I was determined to stick to it. My left calf griped at times. I tried to shush it. My stomach hurt at times. I tried to calm it. My legs felt heavy. I ignored them the best I could. I put a stupid smile on my face if I had too but once again, that takes energy and I came to realize, my running photos suck sometimes because I try to calm all those little muscles in my face. Darnit all! 

For the final 5K a lady (Chelsea) came up by my side and we ran the rest of the race together. Most of it side by side. Helping each other along the way. She said she was struggling and needed help. I knew I was pushing my limits and felt her presence was a gift from God. And we both pushed ourselves to the finish...although she had a bit more juice left in her tanks than I did but that is okay. I PR'd. I finished with a time of 1:47:42. That is a pace of 8'14". Wow! I finished 4th in my division and no, Chelsea wasn't in my division. If I thought she was I am sure I would have found a way to dig deeper and not let her cross the finish before me. Just being honest....

We didn't stay and party this time as dear hubby had to get to work but he made sure I checked my placing before we left. I am certain if I placed in the top three we would have stayed for that. But it is all good. I am so happy to have placed 4th and yes, there is a little part of me that is even happier I didn't make my family stay out in the rain longer for an award.

Randy Sherman was there taking photos again and this time he caught a rare smile! Chelsea is right behind me but we got back to side by side, and then she passed by.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for two PR's this week.
Daily Affirmation: My achy legs are a sign of growth and strengthening.


Somewhat Wordless Wednesday

It is Spring Break here and darling daughter and I are having a blast! I have so much to share with you once we are done playing and breaking. Until then how about a pre-race smile or two?!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful our tattoos are finally off!
Daily Affirmation: I have faith.


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. 

March's blog is another new blog for me...and some young blood! I am loving this!!!

Introducing The Panda Post! Kathy, otherwise known as Panda, is a SweatPink College Ambassador and blogs about health, fitness, and weight loss to document her journey. A lot of her posts are about the daily grind and overcoming obstacles in her life (such as losing her Dad to obesity). Even though she may be talking about serious stuff, she tries to keep it light and funny when she can. 

Just the other day Panda posted a recipe for Banana Chocolate Protein Muffins. I love that she bakes like me by mixing things up and then provides a recipe saying, hey, mix things up yourself too! After all, isn't that what makes life so much fun? And yes, if I do break down and make these muffins I will be mixing it up to remove the whey protein and putting in my non-dairy version! Thing is, with a little one in the house, she will want the muffins and I don't want her eating protein powders. There is  no need...which means, I would have to make two different batches of muffins. It isn't the first time I have done this...and it won't be the last! Feel free to hop on over and say HI to Panda and let her know Life as a Running Mom sent you. And by the way, she currently has a giveaway for a $25 gift card to Target going on! Just saying.....

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to have a bathroom sink that drains properly again.
Daily Affirmation: I am getting stronger and faster through yoga!


My thoughts on If Everybody Ran

You might have seen this campaign put forward by Mizuno: What if Everybody Ran? It took me awhile to actually click through and see what this was all about. Hint: Keep scrolling down to see the video.

I like the idea behind Mizuno's campaign and that is why I decided to write about it on my own free will. But I must confess, the main reason I wanted to write wasn't just to reiterate the benefits to the world from running that they promote. Yes, I agree with some. Some I am not so sure. Running hasn't increased the number of sunrises or sunsets I see but running has made me a better person.

Here is my story. Before running I weighed a bit more, I didn't eat as well, and I spent too many hours in front of the TV. But more importantly, I became depressed and ironically, that was when running was a part of my life. Don't get me wrong. Running didn't make me depressed. I was a runner with big goals of running a marathon before getting pregnant. Due to doctor's comments, I stopped running almost immediately after conception. I was so afraid to "harm" my baby after a miscarriage years earlier. Long story short, I did return slowly to running after having darling daughter but I also suffered from postpartum depression...and that went undiagnosed for years. My running started slipping away and the depression deepened.

Fast forward to today and I am a healthier, happier lady. I am in the best shape of my life and find happiness and glory in every day. Running got me to where I am. It taught me to trust myself, to have faith, and to push on. My running encouraged dear hubby to start running and he is healthier too and his recent physical results prove it. And most importantly, darling daughter is getting into it and is benefiting from living in a household focused on fitness. P.S. She is running her 4th race this coming Monday!

And yes, we are impacting some of the statistics put forth in Mizuno's campaign. Our race entry fees are definitely impacting the economy and don't forget about running shoes and other gadgets! You know I love those gadgets.

And we are eating cleaner and yes, that comes at a cost too. My grocery bill may have gone up to incorporate some better quality foods but this all balances out since we are healthier. So much healthier. My medical costs for over the counter medicines, prescriptions, etc. have gone done. And no, I don't buy fast food anymore.

But when it comes down to the bottom line, I do believe running allows me to make better decisions because it gives me the time to process through things that are bugging me, to sweat the small stuff, and find appropriate paths to resolve the big stuff. I am proud to call myself a runner and want to believe through running I am making the world a better place...one step at a time.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the sound of children's voices.
Daily Affirmation: I am a runner.


Product Review: CLIF MOJO BARS

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I received product at no cost to sample. I did not promise a positive review. I am writing this review on my own free will and all opinions expressed are soley my own.

I am not a grab a bar and go kind of gal. In fact, it is the rest of my family that is more inclined to eat bars than myself. But I see the merit in them...mainly convenience. But for me a bar has to pass certain criteria, and I am the picky one in the family in this regard. One, no dairy. Two, nutritional value must be present. If a bar passes those two initial criteria, I just may give it a try and turn to it again and again especially if it also tastes delicious! In general, I tend to pack bars for family outings or on days I will be out of the house for extended hours and don't want to carry a cooler.

I am beginning to find that ClifBar has some really good product lines. I sampled and reviewed their seasonal flavors and discovered, yes this is a good product that I would be happy to buy. But they were a bit heavier on the calories so I wouldn't necessarily eat one as a small snack...perhaps a breakfast in a bind?

Now the MOJO bars are a completely different deal! They have less calories and are filled with fruit and nuts and some even have chocolate! Dairy free dark chocolate! A non-dairy chocolate-loving gal's dream come true! And I do love to snack on nuts! For those of you who are dairy free out of necessity, some of their product is produced on equipment that does touch dairy so there is a chance of contamination. If it is just a diet choice, like me, and not life threatening, go for it! Just read the labels - and guys and gals, we should all really be doing that anyhow even if we are not restricting food items. It is good to know what we are indeed eating. On a side note, these bars are gluten free.

Now for a bit of history, from their website it seems the idea of CLIF MOJO bars was born on an employee camping trip in 1998; however, we didn't get to start trying this product until it hit the shelves in 2002. Ummm....employee camping trip? That sounds cool! I am beginning to like this company a bit more! And who doesn't love continual improvement? In 2006 organic ingredients made their way into MOJO. In 2011, more nuts! And now in 2014, fruit and nut and dark chocolate emerge!

According to their packaging Clif Bar states that "source ingredients that are not genetically engineered. 70% organic ingredients." I like reading that and those two sentences make me more comfortable purchasing and consuming their bars. So they passed my label reading test. Now the taste test.

The first test bar was the MOJO Fruit & Nut Cranberry Almond. I pulled it out at the start of a family excursion, took a bite, and loved it. I let darling daughter take a nibble and she was okay with it but not overly thrilled so I gave half to dear hubby. A second later darling daughter asked for another bite and I said sure, took another bite, and handed the rest of my half back to darling daughter. She gobbled it up. I had mixed feelings, first, I only got two bites of this yummy bar! Second, my daughter just ate almonds!!! She is not a nut-eating kind a girl. Score 1!

I can't remember my experience with each bar but I do remember a couple more. The MOJO Fruit & Nut Coconut Almond Peanut. Oh my gosh! First, coconut??? I LOVE COCONUT! I always have but ironically don't eat it much. Yep, even in Hawai'i. I am not sitting out on my lana'i eating coconut watching the sunset through palm trees and overlooking the blue ocean. Sorry guys. But this bar was beyond delicious and reminded me of the flavor of a macaroon, which is deadly delicious, with added nuts for protein. Yum, yum, yum. This reminds me, I should order a case of these!

My last flavor to sample was the MOJO Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond bar and I stopped dead in my tracks. I grabbed one as a snack one day at home, which is odd for me, but I wanted something to graze on while I did my 101 chores. Thing is, after one bite I told darling daughter I had to sit down and savor this bar. It was so yummy! She took a nibble and didn't get the same thing I was getting...think yummy delicious bar that made me feel as indulgent as eating a candy bar! P.S. It tasted great with a hot cup of coffee!

Every bar was delicious but now you know the three favorites in my household!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunity to sample the CLIF MOJO bars. 
Daily Affirmation: I make a positive impact on Earth.


Turkey {veggie} Meatloaf

Growing up meatloaf was one of my least favorite meals. Sorry Mom, but you probably already know this. The good thing was if it was served with mashed potatoes. Now I loved those! With this in mind, I am shocked that I would ever make meatloaf for my family.

It was probably a year ago when a co-worker came in with some leftovers that smelled so good. I asked her what it was and she said meatloaf. Yeah right, meatloaf doesn't smell that way and where is the ketchup on top? She opened my eyes to a whole new side to meatloaf and I took her suggestions and ran with it. Over time I tweaked and adjusted the recipe to be more aligned with my way of eating (think veggies) and then cut out any dairy and grains because, really, are they necessary?

I can't say I ever make meatloaf the same way twice as I do go with what I have on hand; however, this week's recipe was a big hit. I think it was the olive tapenade...I will be doing that again! Even dear hubby said he liked it. And I shared half with the co-worker who turned me on to the new meatloaf and she truly savored it with her hubby. Yay! I may be on to something here! P.S. Dear hubby may have just loved it so much since he knew I was giving half away; therefore, no leftovers! Or perhaps it was the potatoes on the side. Meatloaf isn't his number 1 go to meal.

The recipe:

  • 2 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup pureed carrots*
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin*
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms (I use the food processor and added my purees back in to help get the mushrooms moving)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 4 tsp dried onions (I like the extra flavor...you can skip this if you want though....or up this and skip the soup mix)
  • olive tapenade {optional}

* Please note: For the purees use what you have on hand. I almost always have pureed carrots in the freezer but you could use sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Your imagination is the limit!

The steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mix all ingredients, minus the olive tapenade, together very well
  3. Press ingredients into a greased large bread pan and cover with foil
  4. Place onto of a baking sheet
  5. Bake forever! Seriously...this takes ages! I think I go about 3 hours in all but I check on it after 2 hours. And I must confess, usually between 2-2.5 hours I cut it in the center to peak inside. I have a thing about meat not being fully done and I think this helps with a later step too.
  6. When the meatloaf is close to done remove the foil and bake about 30 minutes more until the top starts to get browner. 
  7. I cut the loaf in two more places (think quarters) and spoon some olive tapenade on top {if desired}. My co-worker originally taught me to use cream of mushroom soup. I came up with the cuts to allow the yumminess to sink down into the loaf some. Bake another 15-20 minutes until warm.
  8. Enjoy!

I served my meatloaf this past week with roasted potatoes. I used the tri-color potatoes from Costco, sliced them thin, and arranged into a greased baking dish. I add seasonings between the layers. Anything will do - salt and pepper, herbal salt, whatever you like. I drizzled olive oil on top and baked covered for about 1 hour. I then removed the foil to allow some crispiness to develop on the potato edges.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the flowers dear hubby brought home to me on day 800 so it wouldn't go unnoticed.
Daily Affirmation: I feed my family healthy foods.


#bestfoot Check-in

Another week has come and gone! Do you believe it?! Me neither!

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!

After running 35 miles last week, my goal was to run 40 miles this week. Let's see how I did!

Monday: I ran 1.5 miles at home before work as it was Girls' Day and I wanted to spend a few more minutes with my precious darling daughter. I followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. After work I ran an additional 3 miles as I had the time before attending a class with dear hubby. 

Tuesday: I had an errand to run before picking up darling daughter from school and my timing was alloff. I got to her school early so I ran hills! Isn't that what every Mommy does? I ran 2.45 miles and somehow managed an overall pace of 8'12". Happy, happy, joy, joy! When we got home, I ran another 1.25 miles to warm my body up for yoga (do you love that excuse or what?). I did 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility - and it felt exquisite!

Wednesday: My goal was to run a longish run mid-week and it flopped but in a good way. My legs were a bit tired from the hills yesterday so I ran 4.12 miles before work. I followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Combination. This got me to thinking. I recently posted where I was in January and February and was bummed my mileage was behind. But you see, I do approximately 110 minutes of yoga every week now. That equates to about 11 more running miles a week. I think my body is working harder even if it isn't reflected in my mileage. And I think Tuesday's hills demostrate the yoga is making a difference and I should stick to it.

Thursday: I started the day with an easy mile at the gym and followed it up with 26 minutes of yoga - my Faith class. During my workday I was feeling blah so I took a "coffee break run" and ran an additional 1.2 miles. I am thankful for the little bit of time I am getting outside and loving my road paces. This outside run had an average pace of 9'00".

Friday: I ran at home after work and did a nice and easy 5 miles. I followed it up with 20 minutes of yoga. A new class I am toying with for Ab-Defining April and I appropriately called it...Ab-Defining. It was tough but good!

Saturday: I wanted a long run. My goal was 10 miles to celebrate day 800. I ran 11.84 miles and progressively picked up my pace. Mile 11 was at GMP. P.S. This day I did things backwards and did 15 minutes of yoga before heading to the gym with darling daughter - Beginner Relaxation to keep me calm on what I knew was to be a very busy day. Just wait until you see my Polar Loop data!!

Sunday: I thought perhaps I would run outside but the smoke detector woke us all up at 4:30 am and darling daughter was awake for good. Good thing I am a morning gal so I got up with her, made us some breakfast, and figured, why wait for dear hubby to wake up to run?? I ran 6.51 miles on the treadmill and followed it up with 30 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Flexibility. Dear hubby emerged from the bedroom about midway through my yoga class. We had a fun day which included walking around the lavender farm, drinking lavender coffee (okay, darling daughter drank lavender lemonade), eating lavender scones (my one treat that has a touch of whey in it...fortunately it doesn't bug me), and darling daughter and dear hubby shared some lavender shortbread. And yes, I picked up some lavender lilikoi jelly and lavender gourmet seasoning with Hawaiian sea salt and macadamia nuts inside!!! Later I ran an additional 1.64 miles since darling daughter wanted to watch Arthur before bathtime and I wanted 40 miles.

Sunday marked day 801 of my running streak and day 71 of my yoga streak. I ran 40 miles. It was an awesome week! Just checked out my Polar Loop data and yes, I broke down and bought a heart rate sensor. It arrived Saturday afternoon and I wore it my first run on Sunday. 

Click to see larger image
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the flowers dear hubby brought home to me Saturday night to celebrate my running streak milestone.
Daily Affirmation: I have beautiful eyes.


800 for International Women's Day

Yesterday afternoon a co-worker made her rounds around the office giving all of us gals a hug for International Women's Day. My first thought was yes, I could take a hug today and Women's Day? Cool! The hug was awesome on such an emotionally draining day. Our hearts were all heavy with sad news but we were still able to give and receive love and support.

I forgot about International Women's Day almost immediately until I got home today to mark my running streak and yoga streak on our home calendar and there it was. International Women's Day. It is today. This led me to look into this day to find out what it is all about. Well, it is a day to celebrate women and the origins are tied to the political and economic side of womanhood but some may just celebrate being a woman. What you do is up to you but ladies, I celebrate you today! And I celebrate day 800 of my running streak.

At 3:00 am I heard the rain pouring down and had second thoughts about what to do today. You see, recently we have had some crazy rain that has brought driving visibility to zero here and there. I didn't want to go out on the streets with darling daughter under those conditions. Fortunately, the rain let up and we started our day with berry smoothie waffles, a 15 minute class of yoga for me - Beginner Relaxation to keep my calm on, a trip to the store to get some essentials, a pit stop at the bank, and then to the gym. Darling daughter eagerly hopped, skipped, and jumped her way into the Kids' Club while I went to the treadmill wondering how I would do today. My goal 10 miles. I needed a long run. A run in double digits to build my confidence. Today was the day or so I told myself.

I stepped onto the treadmill and started running pondering many things in life. Should I run the half on the 22nd? Is that smart with a 3 mile race on the 17th? How will my pace be on the 17th? Should I front load miles next week to allow myself a recovery day or two before the 3 mile race? How will I green up for the race? Where will I put my temporary tattoos? Will I have time to run with darling daughter in her race before I start mine? I should email the race director about that. I sipped my VegaSport Hydrator every two miles and was shocked to taste lemon lime instead of pomegranate. How did that happen? Did I buy lemon lime on mistake? Did I do it on purpose and forget?

At mile 5 I took a new gel that was given to me and totally intrigued me as it was all natural with fruit purees and chia seeds. It is called huma. Have you heard of it? I took the first bit very tentatively to see what I thought and all I can say is "Geesh! This is sweet!" And by sweet I mean sweet sweet not sweet cool. Although it did settle well in my stomach and I liked that it was less grainy than the VegaSport gels. Now to find out where I can get them. Yep, probably Amazon.

Anyhow, as I ran along I pondered how long to run. Yes, my goal was 10 miles but I toyed with the idea of 11 miles. And I altered pace here and there. I did the first mile in 10 minutes. The next five were at a 9'40" pace and then I switched to a 9'22" pace. I was feeling good and strong. I was feeling...happy. Very happy. When I hit mile 8 I did the sign of the cross and sent a kiss up to Heaven for my Dad and instantly knew I had to run another 3 miles for the Trinity since each step I have taken, each day of my running streak, is a blessing from God. Mile 11 was at 9'05", my goal marathon pace, and it felt good. I was still happy even though I was counting down the minutes mainly because I only had 2 hours of childcare. I had every intention to stop at 11 miles but then figured, I had a few more minutes of childcare, why not do a warm down? I ran another 0.84 miles at a 10'00" pace. By the time I quickly stretched, cleaned up, and got back to darling daughter I hit the 2 hour mark square on the head. Talk about luck!

But what gets me is the wonderfulness of it all. You see, at mile 8 after my kiss to Heaven and commitment to run 3 more miles for the Trinity a new song started on my iPhone. I'll Stand by You by the Pretenders. Have you heard this song? It immediately touched my heart as I could envision saying the words to darling daughter. Just the lyrics are HERE and please, take the time to read them if you didn't watch the video...or watch the video. By verse two my mind shifted a bit from this song expressing my feelings to darling daughter to God being there by my side always. So very appropriate at this moment in my run and yes, I got all teary and hopefully any tears that fell blended well into my sweat.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for all of those who do stand by me.
Daily Affirmation: I will stand by my daughter, always, no matter what.


The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly - Book Review!

A fellow runner, my running coach, a friend, brought this book to my attention. You see, he was injured and had some extra time on his hands - beyond the amazingly hard work he was doing in physical therapy. Instead of feeling down and blue, although there may have been some of that, he took that time and wrote this children's book - The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly.

Introducing Erik Ammon from Running Moose. I have been following his blog and journey for awhile and when I decided after the Maui Marathon last year that I needed a running coach, he was the one I turned to. And yes, he made my dreams come true with me breaking a 4:20 marathon at the Honolulu Marathon. In fact, I ran 4:10:18 and yes, I will be going back for more coaching from him to reach my next goal - break a 4:00 marathon. But once again, I am digressing.

I knew Erik was working on writing a children's book and when he offered to let me review one I was honored and excited. He even went as far as writing a precious note and signing it for darling daughter and the illustrator, Jennifer Frith, signed the book as well. Now that is cool and her illustrations are absolutely delightful! And yes, I just found a new blog to follow! She has a tab on gratitude journals that touches my heart!

And that brings me back to The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly. You see, this is a darling book about friendship but more importantly about being yourself. That final lesson is a very important thing for all of us to keep dear to our hearts and a lesson I love teaching and modeling for darling daughter. You see, we are all different and even though some of us may be closer alike, we each have our individual strengths and weaknesses. Friends can turn to one another and benefit from those differences, right? I mean, yes, I am a running coach. Yes, I know the logistics behind creating and executing a training plan. I do. But still, I have something to gain from turning to a friend for help....to draw on someone else's strengths...their differences...and that can make us all stronger.

And no, this book has nothing to do about running. Not one iota and that is perfectly fine. This book is about three friends, one who felt very different and two that had a lot in common. But then the two with things in common came into a problem and they felt trapped. Could Kona, the rabbit who wished he could fly, help? You are just going to have to read the book and find out! It is available on Amazon.

But before you run off and check it out let me tell you one more thing. This is the most important thing - darling daughter LOVED the book! It kept her captivated with the story and beautiful illustrations. I know it is a book we will be reading over and over and I love that I will be able to add in different teaching moments from time to time that go beyond being yourself to being a good friend.

Have a great weekend and thank you so much Erik for sharing this book with my family. I am waiting for your next book as this family will certainly pop over to wherever we need to go to buy a copy! And Jennifer, you are a very talented artist! Bless you both!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the generosity extended by Erik in sharing this book with my precious darling daughter. Yes, I do want her to be herself.
Daily Affirmation: I am different than you and that is okay!


The Road to an Ab-Defining April

I had a thought this morning. Actually, it is a thought I have had many times...I want more defined abs! I have tried here and there to focus on my abs but they always fall to the wayside. In fact, I tried last April. It isn't that I am against hard work. I can do that! I can! I just am never 100% tied to my plan...or better yet, I don't have a plan...and I start floundering.

On a side note, in college for my ichthyology lab I once articulated a flounder. It was a left eyed flounder; therefore, in family Bothidae. A Southern Flounder to be exact. It had A LOT of tiny bones. TONS OF THEM! And do you know how hard it is to find one southern flounder to buy that hasn't been gutted and harmed? You see, I picked this project over collecting x amount of fish and preserving them since I felt it was gentler on the environment. Oh, the beginning of my conservation mission was blooming! Articulating one fish was gentler on the environment but it was a long stinky job. And I got the privilege of teaching the lab tech the flounder's bones before the lab tech quizzed me on the bones. You see, to adjust for that two eyes on one side of the head thing, bones moved around and yep, it involved many hours in the library getting to the bottom of things. But I digressed....

Back to abs!

I want to put myself in a challenge, pre-made, borrowed, or joined, to really focus on my abs in April. I get that I have to eat clean and work hard. I am up to it! I just need a plan to stick to. So essentially, today's post is a call out to the world to tell me what ab challenges, exercises, etc. you have found the most rewarding. Do you have any recommendations? Before reinventing the wheel, I might as well hear what you have to say!

This post has another purpose. I told you what I plan to do so that will make me more determined to do it and live up to my word. And yes, once I decide what I am going to do, I will share it and we can all support one another. Did you notice what I just did? Yep, I am pulling you into the Ab-Defining April movement too!

So let's get talking....what ab exercises/challenges have rocked your world? You can also tell me a random tidbit about yourself too!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for libraries and old textbooks with fish skeletons.
Daily Affirmation: I have the power within to unlock abs with more definition!


January and February - Gone

Looking back can be exciting and fulfilling or a wee bit hard to swallow. I finally got on the ball and seriously looked at what I did in training so far this year. Yes, I should do my monthly analysis on top of weekly analysis so feel free to kick me in the butt when I go way too long.

I am a competitive person...as least competitive with myself. I have big goals in my mind and to achieve them, I need to stay focused and work hard. Right now I question if I really did my absolute very best. Yes, I know my reasons for falling short. Work got beyond crazy and I had even more responsibility and things to do this year. That took time. Yes, I am doing yoga each day. Yes, I am benefiting from that. Yes, that takes time. When you have a full schedule like I do every minute counts. A minute given to x takes a minute away from z. I know all this. I understand all of this. But still it is hard to swallow that my miles so far this year are falling short of 2013. That I haven't really done a serious long run since the Honolulu Marathon and that kinda makes me sick to my stomach and fills me with doubt. And that is nothing new for me.

So here is where I stand. This year in January I ran 143 miles in comparison to 147 in 2013. I know, very small difference. In February I ran 124 miles in comparison to 133 miles in 2013. In a nutshell, I am a mere 13 miles behind. Almost a half marathon. Oh how I would love to run a half marathon right about now. I have the glimmer of hope that I can pull 2014 ahead of 2013 in March since last March I ran only 104 miles before really amping up my training in April. Perhaps I am a bit of the slow and steady turtle right now in training versus that crazy fast hare. Perhaps it will all be just fine and I am just needlessly shaking my head at myself.

The thing is, I do feel bummed but I also feel proud of myself and refuse to mourn the miles lost. Proud that I have run and done yoga every single day in 2014 and I will continue to do so. February 28th marked day 792 of my running streak and brought me to 3,521 streak miles. That is cool! February 28th also marked day 62 of my yoga streak. That makes me feel extra happy since darling daughter is really getting into yoga herself. She loves this stuff! I am setting a fine example of different ways to get your fitness in and she will find what works best for her.

But if I really want to see how I am doing in 2014 I need to reflect on what my goals for 2014 were. So here we go!

Goal 1: Fuel my body well. This is an ongoing mission with up's and down's but in a nutshell, I am eating much cleaner and preparing the vast majority of all of our meals. This is a good thing! We are going through fruit and veggies in my house like crazy, especially berries and bananas. And I found a power mix of greens I love at Costco. I am thinking some of that again tonight at dinner!

Goal 2: Improve my flexibility. Let's see how I am doing with this...just look below.

Not every day is a nice and loose day. I have tighter days but all in all, I am making progress! My goal was just to be able to touch my toes but now, I want more!

Goal 3: Run every day. Done. Doing. LOVE IT!

Goal 4: Be a stronger representative of Maui running. In some ways I feel I have flopped on this since I haven't shared any race reports with y'all but in other ways, I am becoming a stronger in the community just by organizing the Run for the Whales this year. I am currently working to become a certified race director too. And yes, that takes time too. Tick tock lollipop!

So how am I doing? Okay. I am happy with where I am but yes, I want more. I want more miles and I want more long runs. On the bright side, I nailed my 800 repeats on Sunday and was amazed on how well I executed them. That counts for something!

How are you doing so far this year at reaching your goals?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for Daily Mile and my online tracking log.
Daily Affirmation: I will achieve my goals!


#bestfoot Monday 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!

Every week when this time rolls around I am always shocked about what day of the week it is. I tend to look back and forth at my calendar a few times as reality sinks in....February is over. March has began and I haven't written one single monthly report. Maybe those will be coming every other month this year. But that is another post. Right now, let's look at last week!

Monday: Oh my! I had to look at this a few times too as I am impressed I managed to pull off a 3.1 mile run and 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility - after work and before attending a class with dear hubby. I guess I made up for it in saving time not writing down many notes on Daily Mile. 

Tuesday: I ran 3 miles before work and did 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. A good way to start the day! I then ran another 1.2 miles during a coffee break run at work. I couldn't stop yawning, a co-worker said run around the block, and I did! I still wonder if she really expected me to change clothes and go out and run. Note: be very careful about suggesting a run to a runner!

Wednesday: Woo-hoo! Another pre-work run of 4.8 miles. 2.3 miles were at GMP. This was broken into a mile segment and then a 1.3 mile segment at the end. I followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Strength.

Thursday: I ran 5.44 miles after work and followed it up with 30 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. I needed this as my body was tight. This week has me stuck at my desk for hours at length with so much data entry to do. You will see the impact of that soon when I show you my Polar Loop data. 

Friday: I ran 4.2 miles and opted to fit in yoga later in the day. I wanted the extra miles this morning. After work it was yoga time. I did a 5 minute class that darling daughter and I created for her and followed it up with a 36 minute class I made called LOVE.

Saturday: I ran 6.32 miles in the morning at the gym while darling daughter rocked the Kids' Club. I ran 1.5 miles at the end at GMP. We were on a very tight schedule but I managed to still squeeze in 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Relaxation. I felt I needed extra peace of mind to make it through this crazy, hectic day. It was all wonderfully awesome though with an amazing birthday party for a cute 9 year old!

Sunday: Rain, rain go away! I actually had arranged childcare so dear hubby and I could run together and we ended up at the gym - his first time EVER! And his first time to set foot on a treadmill. I ran 7.2 miles and did 800's at 8'00" for five repeats. I even tossed in final 1.2 miles at GMP. I felt amazing! Afterwards I did a mere 15 minutes of yoga to not drive dear hubby too crazy. The class was Beginner Strength. Later in the day darling daughter was going stir crazy being rain locked. I mentioned to her if she needed movement she could get on my treadmill. Later she turned to me and asked if we could do the treadmill so she could get her fitness in and then follow up with yoga. Oh yes we can! She did a 0.32 mile run/walk on the mill and we did some yoga together. 15 minutes of Intermediate Combination followed up by her teaching me some new poses. It was fun!

I ended up with 35 miles this week, down a few from last week. I really hoped to be at 40 but even though I didn't get my long run on Sunday, I worked hard this week. I had lots of good quality runs and was super happy I pulled off five repeats of 800's feeling so good. Sunday marked day 794 of my running streak and day 64 of my yoga streak.

The Polar Loop and I are still hanging out together as well. And no, I haven't got the heart rate monitor yet. I thought about stopping by Sports Authority Saturday but after all the partying, darling daughter and I were just plum tuckered out. We wanted to get home and we didn't get there until 4:30 pm. We left the house at 7:30 am by the way - a long outing day for us!

Here is what my Polar Loop is saying for me this past week:

Click to read details
I am pretty happy with the stats. My home runs still do now show much of an impact as you can see on my Thursday in which I ran a slow 5.44 miles at home but I am okay with that right now. In addition, I have a string of sitting alerts at work, which I understand. I am doing data entry like crazy and multi-tasking...yes, I am listening to online education courses while entering data. My brain is getting a workout!

The only negative I have about this week is my head. I feel "feverish" with burny eyes but have no fever. I think this rain is stirring up something and my head is just not 100% happy. Other than that, I am good to go!

How was your week?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for all the movement I got in this week.
Daily Affirmation: My heart is full of love.