9.30.2014

Faith

Faith. That is my power word for this year and yes, I do reflect back on it every single day. You see, I framed it and put it by my bathroom mirror. I see it every single time I walk into that room. I also have a necklace with a FAITH charm. I wear it quite often.

Just the other day I realized that when I selected FAITH for the year I had no real idea where it would take me. I wanted to have faith in my training, which is why I picked it.

I didn't have full faith in myself for the Maui Marathon. That story will come later but I realized that there was some doubt planted deep down in me and that I still need to work on pulling out those nasty weeds. I said I had faith in God and His will but I doubted if His will was for me to reach my running goal. Therefore, I doubted Him and disguised it as following Him.

This came to me during my bible study and that is what led to my realization. My faith has been growing along a much different course than expected this year. Yes, I am working on having faith in my training but it is my spirituality that has been blooming this year. Weeds being picked away. Bible study being ramped up. Darling daughter is in Sunday school and we go to mass together afterwards. While she is in Sunday school I sit in the church doing my bible study. It works for us...although it is a long two hours for her. I get it. I let her bring in her bible books and a blanket and meet her halfway.  She gets excited when she knows a song and really, she is a doll!

I have been blessed abundantly this year and I am not afraid to stand up and say I believe, that I have faith, and that I want to be a better me...inside and out.

Do you choose a power word each year? What was yours? Do you see it shaping your life in unimaginable ways?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for warm steel cut oats.
Daily Affirmation: I am a believer!

9.26.2014

Down Syndrome: Raising Awareness and more!

I have been blessed to be matched with Toby. He has Down Syndrome and I have been running for
him since July 27, 2014. In this short time, he has planted a very special place in my heart and so has his family. To those who aren't aware of the I Run for Michael program and not involved in it, it may be hard to understand how this family has become so much a part of my life and why I am motivated to step up and raise awareness to Down Syndrome.

First, some facts:

  • Down Syndrome occurs when an individual has an extra copy of chromosome 21 - either full or partially. This genetic difference alters development.
  • There are three types of Down Syndrome - trisomy 21 (95% of cases), translocation (~4% of cases), and mosaicism (~1% of cases).
  • One in every 691 babies in the US is born with Down Syndrome.
  • The incidence of births of babies with Down Syndrome increases with the age of the mother but 80% of babies with Down Syndrome are born to women under 35.
  • People with Down Syndrome have an increased risk for congenital heart defects, respiratory problems, hearing problems, Alzheimer's disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions.
  • Life expectancy for those with Down Syndrome has increased from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.
  • Quality educational programs, a good home environment, good health care, and support enables people with Down Syndrome to develop to their full potential. 

Meet Sam:

Sam was born in the US and his mom is an angel! Trust me, she is. I have known her for years. She left Maui to provide better care for Sam. Here is her story...

Being Sam's mom has been an adventure beyond anything I could imagine. While there are downs (and some of those downs last a long time) they sure do make the ups that much sweeter! On paper Sam is so far behind his peers it's almost a joke when we sit down for his well child visit & I have to answer three pages of questions like 'Can your child jump with both feet coming off the ground?' or 'Can your child write their name on a paper?' Sam is just learning how to crawl and is occasionally responding to his name when we call him. It can be a little depressing at those visits when we have to compare Sam to the average child, but Sam is nothing close to average! With that being said, SAM IS LEARNING TO CRAWL!!!!! It's the most amazing thing to see as he has so many physical and mental hurdles he has to overcome. The most challenging has been a debilitating seizure disorder that was so consuming he lost all his abilities as his little body was so bogged down seizing as many as 50 times a day for over a year. So no, he can't jump with both feet off the ground, but he is learning how to crawl! SAM WILL OCCASIONALLY RESPOND TO HIS NAME!!! While his peers are writing their names on paper, Sam has been through 3 eye glass prescriptions, 2 eye surgeries, countless hearing tests, spinal x-rays, brain MRI's, he travels with & uses oxygen, has had half a dozen EEG's, 3 heart ECHO's, 4 EKG's, 3 sleep studies, endless blood tests, wears glasses, wears leg braces, wears a stomach binder and met with every pediatric specialist, LITERALLY, every specialist in both Hawaii & California (including a few in Utah and Connecticut). All of which before his 3rd birthday. Yet after all that, he smiles, laughs, and is learning to crawl & respond to his name!!!!! Three cheers for Sam! The secret to being Sam's mom is perspective...it's hard tell the other parent at the park that Sam is almost three after she guessed he was the same age as her 9 month old, but to see how far Sam has come, knowing the mountains he has faced and overcome in his short little life is truly incredible!

Meet Toby:
Connected no matter how many miles separate us


Toby is my running buddy and I adore him! He was born in the Ukraine and his first years have been very different from Sam's. Since no one can tell a story like a mom, here is his story...from his mom.

Our family decided to pursue adopting a child in 2009.  Basically, our oldest daughter was begging us to adopt a little baby, but we kept telling her that we did not have the money to do so.  One day, I felt the Lord telling me that, no, WE did not have the resources, but HE was more than able to make it happen.  Originally, we pursued a typical adoption of a typical child.  However, unbeknownst to each other, the Lord was working on our hearts, softening us to the idea of adopting a child with special needs, specifically Down Syndrome.  I heard my husband telling his friend one day that he was thinking of this and I said that God had been telling me the same thing.  We had recently heard of a local couple who adopted a little girl from Ukraine with Down Syndrome, so I tracked them down to talk about the process.  They told us that while they were over there, they fell in love with a little boy and vowed to come home and find a family for him.  In fact they said that if they didn't find one by December, it was now October, they would go back to get him themselves.  Most children living in orphanages for as long as he had been give up all hope and turn inward.  Toby, or Misha as he was called in Ukraine, had not done so!  That is what made such an impression on this family.  Although he had been in a desolate orphanage, completely neglected, for 3 years, he was still trying to make connections with visitors...smiling at them, reaching out for hugs or to even be held.  Upon seeing a picture of him, our family immediately fell in love and were determined to do whatever it took to rescue him.  Time, however, was not on our side. In most Eastern European countries, children with disabilities are believed to be evil.  Parents are told that if they bring them home, evil will never leave their houses.  Needless to say, most parents immediately relinquish their rights after birth, as was the case with Toby.  He went from the hospital straight to the orphanage.  Then, at the age of 4, usually right on their 4th birthday, they are transferred to an adult mental institution, where they are starved, tied to cribs and most of them do not survive more than a year and where they are no longer available for adoption.  We found out about Misha in October and his 4th birthday was in August.  We had a lot of work to do and a lot of money to raise in a relatively short amount of time!  But, just as God had spoken to me months before...HE was able!!  He provided us with $30,000 in 3 months time, during the holiday season, in the middle of a recession!  Talk about a MIRACLE!!!
 
When my husband and I went over to Ukraine, we saw firsthand just how they treat these children.  First of all, we realized that there is no such thing as handicapped ANYTHING over there because you see NO handicapped people ANYWHERE!!  Even in the orphanage, where no child is treated well, those with disabilities are treated even WORSE!  They are left in cribs all day long, with no toys.  There are toys around, but they are neatly displayed on shelves, not for the children to play with.  Sometimes, they are brought to cribs outside, but ONLY around back so they will not be seen!  When you walk in to the orphanage, it is eerily quiet...there are over 100 children residing there, but not one sound is heard.  They have learned that crying is useless because nobody comforts them...  To this day, 4 years later, my son doesn't cry when he gets hurt.  I try to tell him that it is ok, but he gets angry.  He also is very disturbed when he does hear a baby cry.  We have to assure him that the baby is ok and it's mommy is taking care of him/her.

We brought Toby home just weeks before his 4th birthday.  He weighed 18 lbs., couldn't walk, talk and drank from a bottle.  Now, 4 years later, I can't keep up with him.  He is almost 50 pounds, eats like a champ and LOVES to run, climb, dance and BOUNCE.  His speech has been slow, but he picks up sign language faster than I can teach him.  He missed out on so much during those crucial formative years, so it is hard to tell if his struggles are from the Down Syndrome or from 4 years of neglect.  He has a stubborn streak, which I have to remind myself is how he survived those years.  At times, it overwhelms me to think about all that he endured over there, and I will never even know the half of it.  I get so sad for him and so angry at those who hurt him.  But then, he comes and smiles with that smile that just melts your heart and gives me one of his slobbery kisses and I realize that he has forgiven, forgotten and lives for today.  Then I ask myself, who is it that has the disability here?!?

The strength and love demonstrated by these two moms are beyond inspiring. How can you not want to reach out to them and tell them how amazing they are striving to provide their darling children with the best care and to be INCLUDED?

How you can make a difference:

It is one thing to bring awareness but I hope to inspire you to take it one step further. You can be that vital support to another parent or individual with Down Syndrome. Don't look away and don't be afraid to go over, say hi, and include them in your day. As a mom, I love that my daughter is getting to know Toby and experience life through his eyes every now and then. I hope that opens her heart to the love in mine and she can be a shining difference in some one's life one day. Okay, lots of someones!

Sign up at I Run for Micheal to be matched with your own buddy. This group represents all walks of life and all types of disabilities. Trust me, you'll match will be made in Heaven and be prepared, it is a long wait for the runner. Have a child with special needs or know someone who does? Tell them about the group. They get matched quite quickly!

But beyond that, I am also motivated to help Toby's parents in the dream of adopting another child with Down Syndrome from Bulgaria. Beyond the financial burdens, they are going through the emotional up's and down's of legal filings, etc. that go beyond what I was planning on writing today. You may be asking how can you can help? It is easy. They have set up a Lifesong grant to help them raise funds to cover this adoption, which looks like it will cost even more than Toby's. This is one of many fundraisers the family has done to help bring a special child into a loving home - to give them a fighting chance at a better life.

To Donate:

1. Go to www.lifesongfororphans.org/give/donate

2. Select Adoption Funding, Family Specific. The family code is 4644 and the family name is McDonald.

3. Please note that PayPal will charge an administrative fee (2.9% + $.30 USD per transaction). Your donation will be decreased by the amount of this fee.

If you can't donate, that is fine. But I do humbly ask that you share this post in order to bring awareness to Down Syndrome and how children are treated in other countries. Please, be part of the goodness of the world. These children have so much to offer and they are our future.

Love and hugs to you all!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to those who read this post from start to end. Mahalo.
Daily Affirmation: I am doing God's work in raising awareness about Down Syndrome.

P.S. Out of loving respect to the families, I opted to not share photos of Sam or Toby as I feel you can still hear their story without seeing their faces.

9.24.2014

#runningstreak day 1000

Let's party!

It is such an amazing feeling to hit this milestone and yes, I will be running again tomorrow. I truly would have loved to run 10 miles today but I was smart and only took my legs on a slow 2.1 mile post-marathon run. You see, I don't think I would have made it to day 1000 if I focused too much on pace and distance. You have to run smart.

So in honor of my 1000 days of daily running, here are 10 things I have learned.
  1. It is okay to go slow. In fact, it is good. I let my legs guide me but that doesn't mean I never push myself.
  2. It is okay to run "just a mile". To be true to the guidelines of the United States Running Streak Association I must run one unassisted mile in each 24 hour period for my streak to be official. No problem. I have taken those one mile days as my rest days.
  3. Do not compare yourself to others. There are runners and other streak runners that run farther and faster than me. That is okay. There are some who run a minimum of three miles a day. That is perfect. It does not discredit what I am doing or who I am. 
  4. Do not feel guilty. In 1000 days of running I would by lying if I said my family was always 100% supportive. There was that run after being in the ER the night before that my mom would have preferred I didn't do so I told her I would run slow and take darling daughter with me. To me that was completely logical - I would run a mile or so pushing her in the jogging stroller. My mom didn't argue.
  5. I need neutral shoes. Yep, I have learned this through an Custom Fit Analysis with kindrunner. Thing is, I knew the shoes I just bought were wrong. They felt wrong. The fit confirmed it. No supportive shoes.
  6. Amazon is a blessing. It is hard to find the gels, protein powders, and hydration drinks on island. I would be lost without Amazon; however, I am sad I need to get my gel direct through the supplier since Amazon only carries the mango flavor. Yuck! Sorry, I do not like mango.
  7. Running more makes me crave healthier foods. My love of some indulgences has dwindled over the years. This is a good thing but boy sometimes I wish that a bowl of potato chips with a cold beer really did taste as good as it used to. Just saying....
  8. Pain killers are not a go to. I rarely ever take any. I think many can avoid them by listening to their bodies and not forcing things. And if I do take a pain killer it is for a killer headache that refuses to respond to other methods of control just has calm sounds, hydrating, and eating.
  9. Tide is an awesome detergent especially the Tide Sport.
  10.  Body Glide doesn't always work. Sorry ladies and gentlemen but it doesn't. In all reality, if you are sweating buckets I think you sweat the stuff off. I just learned that lesson three days ago. Never stop learning.
On a side note, as of today, I have run 4,640 streak miles. Here's to more to come!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to be able to run 1000 days and look forward to more to come.
Daily Affirmation: I am a marathoner.

9.22.2014

Maui Marathon - finished!

I will post a more elaborate race report later but for now I finished in 4:38:12 and the race was an emotional rollercoaster starting before we even started running. I promise more later but today I am just sharing some photos. Have a great day!

Leg ready - I Run4 Toby and signed by darling daughter
darling daughter keeping me entertained post race
She convinced me to pose for you too!
Race Medal - very well earned!
  
And yes, I ran and did yoga today!
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I was given a second medal for Toby.
Daily Affirmation: I am strong.

9.18.2014

1 mile craziness: 3 sleeps to the Maui Marathon!

I am so ready to run! My legs are feeling so much better and as much as I know I made the decision to cut back to just a mile days this week, I am going crazy. After a mile I really don't want to stop. I am feeling good and deprived of some running...just where I wanted to be.

Tomorrow is EXPO DAY! I am so excited! I haven't been this excited for an expo in years and I think it is because I just want race day to get here. Each day as I drive into work I look for signs of race readiness (my drive goes along a portion of the course). Nothing yet. No big lights. No cones. Nothing. But the grass has been cut!

And I will be doing something odd tomorrow. I will look around at the expo as I really want to find something cool for my buddy, Toby. My family is picking me up from work and we will make the drive to fun! And hey, since the expo is close to an hour from home...dinner out! Yippee!!!

The Maui Marathon is almost here. I am actually beginning to feel confident that I am going to kick butt! Warm temperatures - I am ready for you!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my optimism.
Daily Affirmation: I WILL break a 4 hour marathon. I WILL!

9.17.2014

Healthy Eating - What is safe?

I must confess - as much as I strive to eat well there are times I just want to scream and pull out my hair. Is nothing safe?

I try to not get paranoid or too stressed over the food industry but then things happen that make me feel very helpless. I am a busy mom trying to feed my family well. I want my daughter to grow strong and healthy and live a very long life. I want my husband to move into his golden years with the energy to keep running strong.

Is this possible?

I have eliminated almost all processed foods but yet there are still some processed snacks in the house. I read ingredients on everything I buy - no dairy, no fake sugars, no corn syrup in those fruit chews my daughter loves so much, no things I can't even pronounce, etc., etc., etc.

Just the other day I read that carrageenan is a no-no and for some reason this is still bugging me to the core. I know what carrageenan is and that it comes from red algae but seriously, it can be a no-no? I am only saying "can" to avoid getting stuck on any side of the argument as I haven't done my research but it got me thinking. What is there that I can feed my family safely? Even my almond milk has carrageenan and yes, the soy milk does too and yes there are arguments about soy but I think you see where I am going.

I am at a complete and utter loss and I haven't even started talking GMO's - my husband isn't convinced they are an issue and actually sees them as a means to feed the world. I am not convinced. I often feel a good thing can get warped into something very bad. I reflect back on Mendel and his peas. It not only demonstrated dominant and recession genes but in fact in the purest of terms - he was genetically modifying the peas. Were the results harmful? I argue no. Can I say that about all GMO's today? No.

Like many of you, I care for my family and am on a budget. I am trying to balance all that I can and provide nourishing meals. We try to grow some of our own food but that is limited but boy do I wish we could do more and be more successful. I aim to organic and those snails seem to love what we grow.

I am not expecting any real answers today but hey, if you have any two cents to give me please do. I am open to knowledge. Help a running mom out!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the awesome crop of carrots we got months ago.
Daily Affirmation: Through prayer I will find the way to nourish my family. Today I took the first step, asking for knowledge.

9.15.2014

Let's Talk Maui Marathon Goals

I have been procrastinating enough. Sticking my head in the sand so to speak thinking if I don't think then I won't have to deal with the crazy taper emotional roller coaster and put it out there to the world, and myself, what my goals are.

First, I feel beyond blessed that I have so many people around me who have complete confidence that I can and will break a 4 hour marathon. Thank you for all of your loving support. Yes, this is my big A+ goal. It is my dream. I just am still working on building that confidence. When I was feeling a bit edgy yesterday I told darling daughter how sorry I was. That I was in taper mind and worried about if I can break a 4 hour marathon. She immediately got up, crossed the room, and gave me the gentlest embrace ever and quietly told me, "You can do it, Mommy." After some teary hugging and chuckling I thanked her for her confidence and she bounced off saying I could break a 3 hour marathon! Even a 2 hour! Well, there you go...6 year old reasoning and undying belief in her mom. I am blessed.

I went to bed last night still pondering my goals and thought, well, now is a good time to pray. It went something like this:

Dear God, I am very scared. I really want to break a 4 hour marathon but I do not know if this race is the race or if this goal is your goal for me. I know you have a plan for me and that I am running for you. Whatever happens Sunday, I pray I run with swift and strong feet for you. Whatever time I get is exactly the time I was meant to get. Help me to not loose faith in myself or in you. May I run to honor you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

As much as I can cast my worries up to Heaven I feel I still need to be centered on Earth. To set tiered goals to allow me to have faith in myself. So my A goal is to PR. Currently my marathon PR is 4:10:18. There is still a HUGE difference between this race time and my race times at the Maui Marathon.

Therefore, my B+ goal is to PR at the Maui Marathon. This will be my fourth time running this race and to PR I will need to break 4:36:16 (set in 2012). Last year was tough and I ran the race in 4:39:46.

And just to round things out, my B goal is to finish knowing I did my best, that I kept my faith, that I tried my best, and that I am able to run again on Monday.

Phew! That took so long to sit down to type but yet, once I started typing it all became crystal clear.

Maui Marathon...here I come!!!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for finallly typing out my goals.
Daily Affirmation: On race day, my faith will keep me strong. Toby will be the wind at my back. Darling daughter will be my heart.

9.12.2014

Which path do I follow?

I find it quite interesting that I popped on to blog today to see this post is receiving a lot of attention Boston vs. An Ultra. It is a post from May this year but the question still lurks in the back of my mind. How long do I continue to try to go faster and when do I try to start to go longer? Both are dreams of mine but sometimes it is hard to determine what path you are to follow.
today:

The Road Not Taken 
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,   
And sorry I could not travel both   
And be one traveler, long I stood   
And looked down one as far as I could   
To where it bent in the undergrowth;           

Then took the other, as just as fair,   
And having perhaps the better claim,   
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;   
Though as for that the passing there   
Had worn them really about the same,          

And both that morning equally lay   
In leaves no step had trodden black.   
Oh, I kept the first for another day!   
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,   
I doubted if I should ever come back.           

I shall be telling this with a sigh   
Somewhere ages and ages hence:   
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—   
I took the one less traveled by,   

And that has made all the difference.

Oh how I love that poem and am forever grateful for that book of Robert Frost poetry my dad gave me years ago to read. This one line forever comes back into my mind....Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by....

Does this help me decide between a marathon or an ultra? Nope. That is not the purpose. I was just intrigued that a post focused on decisions was getting so much attention today when I feel I am at a crossroads.

There is so much I want to do and achieve in life but ultimately, I want to make a difference. I want there to be meaning to my life. I want to know I did everything in my power to be the best me, the best mom, the best wife, the best daughter, the best employee that I can be. I am not asking for perfection. That doesn't exist. I want my words to be kind, supporting, and uplifting. I want to rest my head down with confidence knowing I did do my very best to be loving, gentle, and kind. That I passed on words of encouragement, support, and knowledge. That I made a positive impact even if it was just a tiny ripples. Ripples grow bigger.

In addition to running daily, doing yoga daily, and training for a marathon I have a full time job. I have now added in more priorities in my life. Getting darling daughter to Sunday School and mass afterwards, which takes Sundays out of long run days forcing me to run long at home on the treadmill the bulk of the time. This could impact my training but that is okay. I am thankful I have a home treadmill...that I can train and hit the miles I want and still contribute to the spiritual growth of my child. I am embarking on my own bible studies and love the time to read things that get me thinking about what I am doing and what I can be doing better. I have incorporated some crazy changes in my family's life and hope that it all turns out wonderfully well. Silly small changes like Family Game Night and lighting a candle every night now for my peace of mind, reminding me I am blessed, and filling the home with sweet scents. I want to make a happy home. 

I am also on a mission to bring awareness to Down Syndrome. You will be reading more about that later in a future post but I am so excited for the crossroads that I came upon. I am taking the road less traveled. I am pushing aside fears, insecurities, hesitations, and having faith. I am making ripples and I can only hope they are good.

Have a beautiful Friday!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my freedom of speech.
Daily Affirmation: My spirituality is a strength.

9.10.2014

Just what I needed

Life has a funny way of giving you just what you need exactly when you need it.

Yesterday was dear hubby and my five year anniversary. Yay! His words - wow, who would have thought? Mine...absolutely! He is my soul mate and I know we have many more years ahead of us. There will be uphill battles and times of joy and celebration. Days we feel awesome and in sync, days when we feel blah and out of sorts, and days when we may not feel much at all because we are too tired. But we are both marathoners and really should be used to the emotional roller coaster of training and racing.

In celebration of our day we both took off of work and made plans to run together after dropping darling daughter off at school. I mentioned my plan to my coach and he scheduled us for 5 miles. It didn't occur to me until after our run that we ran 5 miles for 5 years. I see a tradition starting here!

The goal of our run was simple. To run together. He has been hurting so going shorter and slower was fine by him but he did give me permission to leave him behind. Nope, not going to happen on our anniversary but the run did entail a lot of backward glances to ensure he was still close behind. We run along a highway stretch that pretty much requires a single file run in many points for safety reasons.

For the most part the run was uneventful except for that one crossing where I took my first evasion maneuver to avoid being hit by a truck. It sounds worst than it was but still caused me to jump and put my arm out to push dear hubby out of the way. Fortunately, I keep a close eye on things and can hear what is going around me. I knew he was stopped and looking both ways but more so away from us to ongoing traffic. I saw the oncoming traffic stop as a car wanted to turn but was letting us go. I always run a distance away from vehicles when crossing in front of them. I heard the truck engine whir, I put my arm out to push dear hubby further away (but didn't make contact as he was far enough away), and took a couple of steps further away from the truck while looking back. The driver looked so sorry he made the initial start to go but in all reality probably didn't move a couple of inches. He saw us. He was sorry. It is okay. We are all fine. But I am writing this to remind us all to be careful and for drivers to look both ways and never start to move until you do the look. Safety message done.

The run started out feeling slow and sluggish and I tried to not worry about pace. It is time to run for fun and we were running uphill but in all honesty, I did try to pick up the pace some when I heard my first mile was a 10'00" pace. The run felt good. My breathing was increased but I wasn't panting or feeling overly exerted. Imagine my surprise when I saw my final splits: 10'00", 8'51", 8'17", 7'59", 7'13". My overall pace was 8'29". Happy, happy, happy!

My goal marathon pace is 9'00". I still wonder how I will do that for 26.2 miles but it is okay to wonder. I will set my tier of race goals and post that later. For now, I know I ran subtle upcountry hills for 5 miles at a pace 31 seconds faster than my goal marathon pace. The marathon is at sea level, has some hills, but has a good portion of flat running. Only time will tell. Have faith! And yesterday's run was just what I needed to build up my confidence a bit further.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for a great run!
Daily Affirmation: My heart is opening to love and letting go of negativity.


9.08.2014

It's Taper Time

This training cycle has involved a lot of me trying to get my mind in check --- meaning focused and not letting negativity and doubt take over. And then there are those pesky hormones that seem to be acting up right now. I need them to settle down but can I control that?

The funny thing is yes, maybe I can. No, I am not saying I can control my hormones per se but I can control other elements. When talking to a dear friend about "me causing the shakes" I experienced last week she brought up an interesting point. No, I can't control my hormones but perhaps those fluctuations on top of other worries I am carrying around may lead to the shakes. Okay, maybe,  maybe not but it is still worthwhile to let go of worries. It does no good. And that includes any worries centered on race day.

I was worried that missing that 22 mile run may hurt me, that running 16 miles on Saturday feeling tough was a bad sign, that I just won't have it in me. Worrying has never done anyone any good. So I took those worries and decided I needed to combat them. I asked darling daughter if I could borrow some paper, got down beside her in her craft time, and starting crafting my worries away. I was on a mission. A numbers mission. I wanted to get the facts right there in front of my face so look at those, focus on my journey, and get into tapering with a fresh, optimistic mind.

I pulled out my training log and starting comparing this year to last year...June to September and then for giggles I added in October to December for last year.

Here is what I found....


Leading up to and including the Maui Marathon last year I ran 10 runs that were 10 miles or longer. My total mileage for those runs alone was 156.73 miles. Then the for giggles part, if you add in my runs that were 10 miles or longer leading up to and including the Honolulu Marathon I ran an additional 8 run with a mileage of 133.22 miles. The total: 18 runs of 10+ miles totaling 289.95 miles. Wow!

Now here is the shocker for me. First, I knew I have been training very hard this go around. I know I fell off plan during vacation. I knew I tried to get myself back on track once we got home even if that meant running my long runs inside on the treadmill, which I have done. This still bugs me some but if I were to rewind and make the choice again, I would do the same but that is a post for another day.

Since June this year I have run 21 runs that were 10+ miles long totaling 293.96 miles. In a nutshell, if half the time (even less since September is not over) I have done 3 more 10+ mile runs and 4.01 more miles. This matters to me. Yes, it is all numbers but numbers speak. They tell a story and these tired legs I have....well, hello lady! You have been working them hard. There is nothing wrong with them or you. It is okay you ran out of collagen and haven't bought more. Your legs are tired because they have been working hard. There is no other reason.

This brings us to taper time....13 days until race day. I am so happy to be in taper!!!! I am also aware that a week from now I may be singing a different tone more like....argh....taper....

But right now I know my legs need the rest.

I have run and trained hard. We have discussed those 10+ mile runs but let's look at the bigger picture.


Now let's go back in time and look at January - June 2013.


Since I love numbers let's go ahead and look at them some more. In January to August in 2013 I ran 1,207 miles. In the same time in 2014 I ran 1,289 miles....82 more miles. I remember when running 82 miles in one month was HUGE!

This just reiterates why now is the time to embrace tapering and let my body recover and get ready for race day. To learn more about tapering go HERE.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for digital and paper records.
Daily Affirmation: I GOT THIS!

9.03.2014

My Corner

Yesterday I stepped off of my treadmill and really looked at the picture I took to share with my buddy, Toby.


I love this picture since it is post run and right there is the background is my word for the year....FAITH. And I sat there for awhile contemplating. I guess I sat there so long that darling daughter thought I had already done my yoga when I announced I was about to start. She gave me a teasing "shame on you" and I replied, "yep, I spent too long contemplating".

In reality, I don't think I wasted time and I didn't put myself off of our schedule for the night. I am glad I let my mind wander because it allowed me to really embrace and fall in love with my corner....my faith corner.

We all have wishes and sometimes you find the purest happiness when you let go of wishing so hard so you can see what you have. We watch a lot of home shows such as Love It or List It, Property Brothers, etc. so talking about renovations and home layouts are a big topic. Yes, I would love to have an exercise room and darling daughter always puts one in for me when she draws out floor plans. But I am not sitting sad because I don't have a dedicated room for me. I have my corner. My faith corner.

This corner is pretty darn special to me. It obviously has my treadmill but it always has signs of encouragement: Faith....Eat Run Pray. It has photos of encouragement: My Dad....Toby. It has symbols of encouragement: a Heaven ornament that is too precious to just pull out for the Christmas tree. I bought one for my mom and myself as the saying is so precious - It is a dream of a ladder to climb up to Heaven to give our loved ones a hug.

But there is more in this corner of mine. There is the storage cube that contains my crochet supplies. On top, my bible study and often my bible...if it isn't in darling daughter's room from our readings the night before.

My faith corner. It is my small nook to find serenity, get in touch with my spirituality, find my inner strength, and to just be me.

Do you have a special place in your home?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful dear hubby agreed to let me have a home treadmill.
Daily Affirmation: Through forgiving hurts I find peace.


9.02.2014

It is NOT in my mind

Today I am pulling out that proverbial soapbox and stepping up onto it.

One thing that bugs me is how quickly people can dismiss or disregard a symptom/ailment/sickness if it isn't black and white. If you have a cold, there are no questions. If you have a virus, again, no questions. Are you injured and there are physical signs? Again, no questions.

But there are always those ailments that seem to be hidden, swept to the side, not really faced head on. One that recently came front and center is depression but yet so many times someone might say I am feeling depressed and it is not taken seriously. They are told to cheer up, look on the bright side, get out and do something.

I have a "thing" for lack of a better word that has been plaguing me for over two years. It started in July of 2013. In all reality, now in hindsight I see that it was creeping up before then but on that one summer night in Texas I got a rush of heat up my arms, my heart rate increased, my head felt funny, and I was shaking out of control so hard my teeth were chattering. The ambulance came, took me to the ER, and said anaphylactic shock. You see, I had stopped eating dairy, ate a piece of cake with dairy in it, and this all started after the last bite.

But it wasn't anaphylactic shock. Ironically, that diagnosis was made weeks later when I was back home. I was in the doctor's office for an intense allergy testing and it happened again. There was no response to the allergens and the doctors that were watching me closely knew this was not the typical allergen response. In fact the allergist said if this happens again don't ever let anyone give me epinephrine. My heart rate is increasing. But he couldn't tell me what was up and joked not to eat cake or go for allergy tests.

The next day it happened again while I was driving darling daughter. I pulled over as I was getting pretty darn good at recognizing the first signs. We went to the ER, they observed me, ran lots of blood work, and I followed up with my doctor. Again, no real answers. Yes, I am having an adrenaline response of some sort. When my husband asked if it was just anxiety the doctor replied something was causing it...so nope. When I asked about hormones the doctor said possibly. When I mentioned perimenopause he joked women don't end up in the ER due to perimenopause. Thanks doctor.

My primary doctor is more understanding and tested my hormones but those things fluctuate up and down and she stated as much. She was testing what they were right then...not when things started going crazy.

Why am I telling you this? Because I woke up in the middle of the night to a tingling left arm. I think I was laying on it funny and tried to shake it out. It still bugged me so I got up and walked around. I noticed my ring was tight so I managed to pull it off. It could just be bloating. It is that time of the month but then the fuzzy head came, the chills, and I woke my husband up asking him to just sit with me. The shakes came back. My heart beat was like a raging ocean in my mind but when I took my pulse it seemed fine. My teeth were chattering away and I was using all my mental strength to try to stop the clattering, the shakes, and not to bite my tongue. Out of frustration and desperation I stated there is something wrong with me. My husband said I was doing it to myself. He meant no harm. He doesn't do well with uncertainty and health things. He was offering me a cup of tea...anything. Anything to make him feel better and put some sense of normalcy on things. But in my mind I was desperately trying to find the trigger. I was upset that this happened again. It had been over a year since the last episode. It is unnerving and I didn't want to be told it was my own doing.

It eventually stopped and I sat in place mentally and physically drained. In all reality, the shakes probably lasted less than 10 minutes. I finally went back to bed, reset my alarm, and decided to run after work. I needed that extra hour of sleep.

What is the trigger? I don't really know and no one does. I still blame hormones. It has been a tough cycle and yesterday I was feeling really down and blue. The hardest part is reestablishing trust in your body. All I can do is put my faith in God and ease my mind that way as I doubt any doctor will be able to give me better answers anytime soon.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful my husband did get up after midnight to sit with me.
Daily Affirmation: I am stronger than the shakes.