4 year streakiversary!!!

Today marks the 4th anniversary of my running streak and I am beyond excited! I would have never imagined four years ago when I took that first step to running every day that it would bring me this far. A running streak is a funny thing that starts to take on a life of its own but in it, it has enriched my life.

To celebrate 4 years I came up with 4 running streak inspired lists. Are you ready? Let's go.

List 1: My 4 tips for starting your own running streak
  1. Don't embark on the mission to start a running streak until you have a solid running base to begin with
  2. Do go slow and incorporate just a mile days to allow your body to rest in a new way
  3. Don't feel bad if you are not running as far or as fast as other runners even if they are streakers too
  4. Do celebrate small milestones along your streak
List 2: My top 4 running must have items
  1. My Saucony running shoes! I particularly like the Ride and Kinvara models. 
  2. My SOS Rehydrate to keep me rehydrated. It has almost replaced the gels I use completely and if SOS Rehydrate came up with a running gel substitute my day would be complete! (Use the coupon code AMB-DGU-GKF to get 15% off your purchase.)
  3. My CamelBak marathoner vest. It's endurance is beyond amazing!
  4. BodyGlide - 'nuff said.
List 3: My 4 most memorable running moments from 2015
  1. Running the Kauai Marathon in September!!!!
  2. Running just after midnight in Texas as a bad hurricane was to come in. It missed us so I got to run again!
  3. Running with my daughter whenever she will indulge me. She is more of a horse riding type of gal.
  4. Getting off of the treadmill on a bad day and plopping down saying I just can't do it. Darling daughter rushed to my side and asked, "Did you at least run a mile?" When I said yes she responded, "Okay, you can stop if you need too. Maybe later you will feel like running more."
List 4: My 4 most valuable running streak lessons
  1. Not every run is going to be joy-filled. After running just a mile on a hotel treadmill dear hubby asked me how my run was and my response was "blah". He seemed disturbed by my response and asked why I do it then if it isn't fun. I explained not all runs are fun but upon further reflection it is more than that. Running streaks develop their own life and become part of your life. Am I really going to end my streak because the treadmill at the hotel was boring? I think not!
  2. It is okay to run slow. By going slower some days you can go faster other days. But with that said, race times matter less to me these days.
  3. To run every day you need to have a reason to run that matters. I run for Toby and to honor God and yes, I run because it makes me happy...even a blah run leaves me happier than the idea of no running.
  4. People will judge me and think I am crazy. People will tell me I can't run every day. I will always remember I can and that there are many streak runners who have run longer than I have and they will always inspire me. May I never pass them up!
Daily Gratitude:

Daily Bible Verse: Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. ~ John 14:1-3


Weekly Mission Update

I think it is time to buckle down and get back into reviewing and reflecting on my training on a more regular basis. I have been running by the seat of my pants and as liberating that can be at times, it may not be ideal when you (or I) have greater goals.

On July 27, 2014 I started running for Toby and started a virtual mission to run from Maui to Nebraska (where he lives). Just the other week as I saw myself getting closer to California I felt that it would be fun to share mission updates with him on a weekly basis and today I realized that would tie in beautifully with weekly training reviews on my part that I could share with you!

It is always fun to share my crazy thought process.

I ran 26 miles last week and it wasn't the training week I dreamed of as the Christmas planning, baking, and festivities took more out of me than expected. Add in a crazy menstrual cycle and my long run did not happen. I was just way too weak from way too much blood loss. I should seriously consider being more proactive and start increasing my iron intake in the days leading up that time of the month. Of course, I will run this by my doctor and see what she thinks. All I could say was thank you God that it wasn't race week!

I also stopped structured yoga classes. I know! Schreeechhhhh!! What am I thinking? The thing is, I had slowly been moving away from structured classes to yoga breaks which can now become more of stretch breaks. This all came about through a funny development. I tried some yoga classes on Amazon Prime and some just didn't rest well with me. Then a couple of days later I was listening to a show I love on Immaculate Heart Radio and the host started talking about yoga and potential spiritual risks THEN I stumbled across an article with the same theme. The signs of my life....

I am not saying yoga is bad. In fact, the host pointed out that the yoga we do here in the west is not "true yoga" and agreed yoga can have positive physical benefits but to think that Sun Salutation is to honor the sun god versus just warm up my body in the morning changes my perspective a bit but yes, I will still be doing poses that open up my hips and I would love to master crane! Like I said, many poses are indeed wonderful stretches but I won't be committing myself to x-minutes of yoga practice per day mainly because my life is quite hectic, my marriage has its normal up's and down's, and I need to keep my mind focused on the good in life and not worry if the yoga sequence I am doing is honoring a false god and hindering the spiritual growth path I want to be on. And if I ever find myself with a good dose of free time, I will research this more!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for vegan fudge!

Daily Bible Verse: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." ~ Matthew 11:28


Run with Grace

It has been a busy day...scratch that...a busy week! On Monday I ran a virtual race as a Running on the Wall Athlete. The Run with Grace 10K. It was just the added motivation I needed to get a good run in when on my list of things to do was to bake cookies, more cookies, and more cookies. And since I have been off all week with darling daughter, extra motivation to run on a treadmill is always a plus. Anyone want to send me some good running vibes for Saturday? That run needs to be LONG! The Maui Oceanfront Marathon is just around the corner and with missing the Honolulu Marathon, my running/training schedule is all messed up. 

I totally adore this virtual race series and the gift packages are wonderful! There always seems to be a surprise as this time the Keep Running charm was for your shoe versus a dog tag and I am completely fine with that. The shirt is short sleeved and snug but nice so if you want a looser shirt, perhaps order a size larger. Sorry guys, I can only say this for the ladies cut shirts. I have no clue how your shirt runs in sizing. I added the magnet to my fridge with one I received from a previous race and the inspiration is growing! Plus I ordered a second medal for my buddy, Toby. I LOVE it when I can do that. He is receiving my race big and my medal for this race and my race bib and a chocolate bar from the virtual race I did in November. You can read about that one HERE.

Well, I better get running! It is Christmas Eve and we have been tracking Santa all day HERE. It is really cool. He is on his way to Brazil right now and I need to get some early dinner preps going on before Christmas Eve Mass. 

Love and hugs to you all!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for sunshine.

Daily Bible Verse: And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. ~ Mark 11:25


I RUN4 TOBY Mission Update

I splurged and gave myself a holiday present by going pro on my virtual mission because I thought the added features could be fun and bring some life to my mission to run from Hawaii to Nebraska!

Why Nebraska? Because that is where Toby lives! I started my mission on our match day -- July 27, 2014. Every day I run and every mile goes to my virtual mission to run to him. It is fun to see the miles add on with new meaning and I can't wait to get over land and see some sights! The time on the big blue Pacific Ocean is wearing me down. It took hardly any time to get from Maui to the ocean but boy, that ocean is big!! It makes me ponder when people traveled by boats. What a journey they must have had! But one would imagine that got to their destination a lot quicker than I am BUT I am lucky to not be confined in a boat battling with potential stormy conditions and seasickness. 

I would LOVE to write more. I have at least three blog posts in my head ready to be written and posted. As much as I thought this week off of work would give me more time I completely underestimated how long baking can take. I baked for 7 hours yesterday! Oops...that may make a fourth blog post. My 2015 holiday baking list and recipes! Perhaps my 2016 New Year's Resolution should be to get better and scheduling my blogging time!

Merry Christmas and God bless!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for vegan fudge.

Daily Bible Verse: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6


After the Honolulu Marathon: DNS is tough


For those new to running acronyms DNS is Did Not Start and it hurts. It is tough. No matter what the reason.

For the most part I was doing pretty good flying with dear hubby and darling daughter, going to O'ahu knowing I wouldn't be running. I still felt the peace of my decision even through the packet pick up and walking through the EXPO with dear hubby. I felt the peace waking up early to run a mile before he headed to the start. I felt the peace heading out with darling daughter to watch the elites and wait for dear hubby to pass us before mile 6 or so. I felt the peace racing with darling daughter to beat the Kenyans to the finish line. Our race was much shorter coming from breakfast. I even felt the peace watching runners come in and waiting for dear hubby clapping and cheering until my hands stung but still persisted for the runners in the final stretch.

But then the peace left. Darling daughter was getting antsy and dear hubby expressed he would be perfectly fine with us leaving and letting him be. I felt deflated because all I had was the ability to be the supportive spouse and cheerleader. I would love to say I let it go but I have a very hard time with that.

I tried to let it go at the lagoon in the water looking for shells. But the hurt was there and the silence was killing me and I headed back to the room and let darling daughter play more with dear hubby. I thought some peace and quiet would heal my soul and then the doors of despair broke open with my flood of tears. I didn't race and as much as I still felt I wasn't suppose to, it is really hard not seeing the reason. And no, I never expected to know why but yet I still cried until my head ached and struggled with my wants. I wanted dear hubby to be understanding and give me a hug and say, I understand how you feel. I was there last year. I understand. It is okay to be sad. DNS is hard to swallow under any circumstances. It is okay.

None of that happened and all in all, it is a learning lesson for me. I can't think of what I want but what is best for all and yes, this applies even in circumstances when I am feeling grumpy and gloomy due to a DNS for a race that in all reality is just a race.

But the trip wasn't all doom and gloom and stay tuned for some fun trip updates later!

Love and hugs to all the DNS'ers out there. I feel your pain. It is okay to be sad. Go ahead and cry. I am there for you.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I got to do one outside run on O'ahu and see whales.

Daily Bible Verse: When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. ~ Psalm 34:17-20


Video Blog on Why I am not Running the Honolulu Marathon

Aloha All,

I recorded this video for you yesterday morning but due to technical hiccups....it took me until today to post. And as odd at it may sound, I am at peace and have slept better the past couple of nights than I have in a LONG time. And....I just got a very gracious offer from the Maui Oceanfront Marathon for FREE entry into his race this coming January!!!!

I referenced a blog post in the video. This is it: When Fear Sets In

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for God's peace.

Daily Bible Verse: Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. ~ Habakkuk 3:17-18


When Fear Sets In

I have a confession to make, I have been afraid. I know this may sound silly. We have all experienced fear...sometimes paralyzing fear. Fear is part of being human but fear is something I want less of as a God-loving Christian and remember, my power word for this year was COURAGE. How ironic that at the end of the year I am writing a post on fear. God is marvelous because I do see Him at work in all of this.

The San Bernardino shootings struck me at a cord a bit too close for comfort. When my phone received the alert my heart sunk and as I texted my co-worker and close friend the response what that the location was close to where her brother is. Once again too close for comfort. Then I found it was at a facility that serves those with special needs and that too close for comfort began to feel like the carpet being pulled out from under my feet. My heart broke for those affected and I cried on the way home as I heard reports and tried to comprehend the why and what would drive people to violence and then it hit me. Violence can happen ANYWHERE and I was getting close to running the Honolulu Marathon. I got scared and questioned, "Should I?" Once again I texted my co-worker only for her to say, "YES!"

But things didn't become peachy instantly. Just last night I had a bad dream in which I firsthand was experiencing terrorism and by God's grace, we were not harmed...just felt it outside our doors very close as we prayed for protection of all. And then I woke up shaken once again asking, "Should I run? Is this a sign I am not to race? Am I in danger? What about my family?"

The thing is, I will be called home exactly when God calls me home and my life, that of my husband, and that of my daughter are all in God's more than capable hands. On the first day of fear I was comforted by this verse...

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are 
with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
~ Psalm 23:4

It immediately reminded me that I am not to react to fear but to respond trusting my Lord and having faith. Hiding under a rock the rest of my life would not do anyone any good and definitely sets the wrong example for darling daughter. Still, a few days later the dream shook my foundation and faith a wee bit. I became doubtful.

"Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water
 and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning
to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand
and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" 
~ Matthew 14:29-31

Good question, isn't it? Why am I letting fear, which comes from the devil, cause me to doubt? Why not have confidence in the Lord and safety along the race course? Why not have faith?

Because bad dreams can lead to doubt but God is always at work reminding me to have faith. And as I discussed my recent lack of courage with another good friend, my faith began to grow. That is why I LOVE having sisters in Christ...we support one another and lift each other up! And my bible study led me to this verse...

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God,
so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 
For our struggle is not against flesh and bone, but against the rulers, against 
the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual 
forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God,
 so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, 
and after you have done everything to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth 
buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 
and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can 
extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet 
of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
~Ephesians 6:10-17

So where do I stand now? Stronger in faith and more confident that God is by my side...each and every day. I will fear no harm knowing He loves and cares for me and frankly, I am beginning to grin ear to ear because pre-marathon jitters are not new to me. They happen each and every time. This time they are just testing my faith and you know what? That makes me a stronger believer!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the struggles in life as through these challenges, I grow closer to God.


Earn Your Turkey Virtual Race Report

As a Running on the Wall athlete I ran the Earn Your Turkey 5 miler race on Thanksgiving. I loved the message of this race, Always Earned Never Given, because I believe that is true regardless if the race is live or virtual. I earned my medal and bling on race day in so many ways.

Originally, my plan was to have 5 miles of the 8.6 mile road race to count as my virtual race but life got in the way. Rainy days caused darling daughter's horse lessons to be rescheduled more than once and when it came down to the final straw, we opted for a morning lesson on Thanksgiving Day meaning....no road race for me AND an early wake-up call. Not what I had imagined but throughout  the week I did Thanksgiving prep as much as possible to leave Thanksgiving Day as happy and stress free as it could be for the one cooking the feast.

And I was adding a new element in this year....we would be attending Thanksgiving Mass. The plan was to do the evening mass the night before but when I got home after a long day at work and the family was groaning I decided, okay, I will take darling daughter before horse lessons. One less battle.

Thanksgiving Day came and I woke up early to run 5.1 miles for the virtual race (yep, 0.1 miles extra), made breakfast, had time to run another 3 miles, got darling daughter and myself ready for church, found out horse lessons were cancelled again due to rain, and headed off for mass trying not to feel down that I was still missing the road race. The comfort I found was knowing I was putting God first. Since we did not do mass the night before and I WANTED to attend, the road race was definitely a no go. You can't be in two places at once and mass was AMAZING!

You see, I was missing family this holiday season and once I walked into church and was greeted with so many sincere "Happy Thanksgiving!" from genuinely happy to see you faces I realized something. I was home for Thanksgiving. These people are part of my family. They brighten my day and lift my heart whenever I see them. Many have watched darling daughter grow up over the years and remember when I sat way back in almost the last pew as I felt uncomfortable. Now I am completely comfortable in the front pews. And I felt honored that Father related us to the one leper out of ten that returned to Jesus to thank him for healing them. It was right to give thanks to God on Thanksgiving...and every other day for that matter.

All in all, I ran 11.2 miles on Thanksgiving....much better than the 8.6 miles I hoped for. God is GREAT and I earned my virtual race bling. Of course, some I shared with darling daughter and my buddy, Toby, and they earned their part of the bling too.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for virtual runs.

Daily Bible Verse: In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. ~ Hebrews 1:1-2


I Won't Be Home - When you can't be home for the holidays

They say the grass is always greener on the other side and at holidays, this may be the case. I know many are torn between which family members to visit or have to deal with family members who don't want to get together. Some are faced with long drives in treacherous weather or crazy airports. Some may not be looking forward to the bickering of family or have unresolved issues that always come up. Perhaps you are just on two different sides of the fence when it comes to political or religious views and feel you will never just get along. 

Call me crazy, but I want some of that right about now! I want to be home for Thanksgiving!

Yes, I will be at home. My home. With darling daughter, dear hubby, and if we are lucky, his younger son and perhaps the girlfriend will be with us too. That would makes things extra fun and I don't want what I say to diminish that one single bit but I want to be HOME with my mom, my sisters, my nieces and nephews, the craziness, the potential bickering, and the fun. 

This year, as in many other years, the Pacific Ocean feels bigger and my heart aches. I want to be home. To be more accurate, I want to go back in time and be home when my Dad was still alive. I loved our Thanksgivings and the table surrounded by family and friends. Who was there varied year to year. Sometimes extended family came. Sometimes a neighborhood family joined us. It was always fun. And I loved the turkey, baked sweet potatoes (no marshmallows on top please....yuck!), and olives. Oh how I LOVED, and still love, olives.

It was also "THE DAY!". The day we pulled out the Christmas tree and put it together limb by limb with my Dad. The painted colors on the tips and holes faded over time but he was always able to help us out if we got stuck and had it memorized what order the colors went in from bottom to top. I remember the years my younger sister was small enough, and crazy enough, to want to play in the boxes as we put the tree together and my Mom always had a vision for us whether it be multi-colored or a single-color theme. We snacked, we decorated, and we untangled lights for indoors and out.

Going through strands was a pleasant chore and I am sure many of you remember lights being partially out and searching for the culprit bulb to replace to make everything all good again. That was a reason to celebrate and if you fixed a strand, you were a hero! At least for a moment. 

Me and my sisters.....
Yes, we bickered. I came from a family of five with three girls. We bickered. Sometimes Mom or Dad had to step in to put an end to it all but in many cases, we moved on. It was a lesson in resiliency. A little argument didn't mean we didn't love eachother. Different viewpoints were okay. We moved on. No harm done. I don't ever remember any crazy drama with anyone storming off in fits or running out of the house in despair. We may have sulked in the corner but eventually the sulker's heart would melt and the fun would draw them back into the family like a warm embrace. As a mom now, I look back and think, wow, we truly learned some life coping skills during the holidays.

Fast forward to today and things are different. Very seldom is our house full as the extended family is on the mainland or in dear hubby's case, another country. We have spent holidays with friends who are like family and it is nice but I still crave establishing an "our tradition" that will leave darling daughter warm and fuzzy years to come. Will decorating the tree, planning the menu, and setting up the "feast" with me be enough? Dear hubby has been absent from decorating as it isn't his cup of tea and why force it? Okay, I would LOVE for him to be part of it but am happy to decorate in November versus a couple of week's before Christmas like his family did. Decorating is hard work, fun, but hard work so with all that effort, I want to enjoy it! Plus, seeing the Christmas lights on the tree twinkle calms me and makes me happy.

But I still miss my family and can get teary eyed in a moment's notice and love how it can make darling daughter chuckle. As we finished printing out our menu, a new fun addition this year, I announced we will use the good plates. She eagerly asked, "You mean the fine china?!" Yep, we are pulling out the dishes that came from my younger sister. She agreed this was a great idea because why have them way up high on the shelf if you are never going to use them. Smart girl and I am glad she is learning a bit from me. Then I added we could use the turkey salt and pepper shakers that were Grandma's and could barely get the words out before tearing up and crying. She had to confirm what I said, looked at me like I was a bit crazy, and smiled at me. I told her I was just happy because now they WILL be with us at Thanksgiving....through their plates and shakers. Now if only I could find something to represent my older sister.....

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that we are able to prepare a wonderful Thanksgiving meal through the blessings from God.

Daily Bible Verse: And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3:17


RUN SAFE: Road Running Safety Tips

This post was inspired by a close call I had just the other week. I was running down a stretch of road that is pretty wide and not heavily trafficked by cars; however, they are there and you do need to be aware of them. Even though the road is wide, there are no real shoulders in many areas and the sides can be a combination of rubble and dirt, high grass, or brush too thick to get into to.

I was running along happily facing traffic (TIP NUMBER 1: Run so you can see the cars coming to you.) and saw a car coming down the road faster than he really should have been and then as he got closer, he started veering in my direction. I immediately dodged to the side, got scraped along the knee from the brush and sharp weeds, but was able to run along essentially "unharmed". Thank God for that!

Some may call me paranoid but I do think of many what if car scenarios while on the run. (TIP NUMBER 2: Always have an escape plan.) When I run I do think of how I could avoid disaster if needed. I am not saying that every step of my run I am calculating off course emergency exits but I do know the sketchy parts and have thought of them. (TIP NUMBER 3: Know where you are running and any potential dangers.) Since I run along the same 4-5 routes the vast majority of the time, I know the issues and have formulated escape plans....for lack of a better term. I know where there are good shoulders, where I can dodge off the road, and where escape is essentially impossible due to a flying leap over a guardrail only to plummet down in a valley. But even in those areas of higher risk, I have a plan. (TIP NUMBER 4: Alter your pace.) Sometimes you just may need to stop to let traffic go by and then run along the narrow stretch or if you see an all clear, run faster especially if there is a blind curve and you can't be 100% sure what is around the bend. (TIP NUMBER 5: Don't be blasting music in your ears.) Thank God we have ears and for a vast majority of us, we can hear. Use them! You can hear cars coming before you see them and I get to practice this every single day when I go to and from our mailbox at home. It is across the street with a turns on the road on either side. One is more subtle but one is sharp, too close for comfort, and I must peer through leaves looking for any signs of motion and listen, listen, listen and then get across the street as fast as possible!

I truly think this is a subject worth a lengthy discussion but I will stop with today's 5 tips and stay tuned for future tips.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for hand therapy --- even if it hurts like crazy!

Daily Bible Verse: Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. ~ Psalm 100:4-5


The Benefits of Yoga Breaks

With my current yoga streak I am taking a more relaxed approach and that is GREAT! In my first streak I committed to 15 minutes of yoga a day and it had to be a straight 15 minutes. There is no yoga streak rule book that I know of and I made up these rules and with failing to meet that minimum due to running goals, I ended my streak.

I was fine with that. Really I was but like all things in life, things change and I started my yoga streak up again. And this time I said if a mile can take me 10 minutes at an easy pace why not commit to 10 minutes of yoga a day? Then I mellowed out some more and said, hey girlie, why do those 10 minutes need to be continuous? I have lots of little moments in my day when I can strike a pose...or a few...and those moments add up. I try to stick to a minimum of 4-5 minutes just because I feel it takes me that long to start getting some benefit emotionally and physically.

And yes, I do yoga breaks now almost every day. On the weekends I tend to do longer sessions and sometimes a nice 30 minute class but those 5 minutes are adding up to a better me. My co-workers are used to my yoga breaks at work now and I very seldom get odd looks anymore. Those only come from the random visitors to our office. And my poses are getting more ambitious. Just the other day I tossed in some King Dancer poses at my work desk. Of course, the poses I select do have to be tied in properly to what I am wearing and I am fortunate enough to work in atmosphere where casual wear is okay and sometimes I just may be wearing yoga pants. Hence, the King Dancer opportunity.

But some days I dress up and adjust my poses accordingly. A nice dress means no King Dancer but forward folds and poses to open my shoulders and chest are possible. And I do a lot of Palm Tree as it loosens my ankles from standing at my desk all day and I can tell I am getting much stronger with that pose. Plus I focus on pulling in my core and not swaying and perhaps that is why I was able to pull off a 2:30 minute plank after not planking for months!

Besides my own physical strength and well-being, yoga breaks are making me a more productive worker. When I feel my mind going numb or my data entry slowing down, I take a yoga break. I get back to entering at a nice pace as my body is energized, my blood flowing beautifully, and perhaps just giving my mind a moment or two to reflect on my posture and breathing pays off too.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I am able to take care of me at work.

Daily Bible Verse: Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. ~ John 6:47


Gift Ideas for Active People - 2015

Happy Holidays! I am happy to say I am chilling to a wonderful Christmas-themed movie and thinking of all the wonderful gifts I would be thrilled to give to my active loved ones. And to help you out, I thought I would share my gift ideas for you with items falling in all price ranges. And yes, this post does contain some affiliate links.

Hydration, hydration, hydration. It is important for all active people so keep your loved ones hydrated in style.

Do they love to run long? May I suggest a CamelBak Marathoner Vest with some SOS Rehydrate? Use coupon code AMB-DGU-GKF for 15% off when you purchase SOS Rehydrate on their website but it is also available online at Amazon in citrus, berry, or mango, at Longs Drugstores in Hawaii, and other local retailers. 

I have been running in my CamelBak for years so rest assured, you are giving a gift that will be cherished on many long runs and SOS Rehydrate is my go-to and has revolutionized my running. No more upset tummies and I am running longer with less gels. 

But what if your active loved one doesn't run long or doesn't run? An SOS Rehydrate handheld bottle and SOS Rehydrate is certain to keep them going strong and well hydrated.

Looking for  more for your loved one? A Garmin GPS watch will help them track their miles, time, and distance and is a treat that many may not indulge in for themselves. Show them how much you love them with this great timing and distance device!

What to keep them safe? Add in a Nathan StrobeLight. This model varies between off, solid light, or flashing light and makes a great stocking stuffer that shows you care about their visibility during early morning or late evening dark runs. Why not buy more than one to share?

Does your active runner need a place to stash stuff? These Nathan Belt is wonderful and I have found if I wear it lower on my hips it doesn't bounce around at all. Yep, push it down low for it to stay snugly in place.

Another treat for runners and non-runners - a new pair of shoes! I adore my Saucony running shoes and will run in nothing else. If you want to make me really happy, I like Kinvara or Ride

And cross training and diversification is great for all so here are a couple of ideas to help you out there.

An exercise ball to stretch backs and add core strength.

A weighted toning ball to add strength to many in-house exercise routines. 

If your active loved ones are like me and rush out to do errands after exercise, perhaps you may want to add some ShowerPill Athletic Wipes to their stockings to keep them fresh smelling. Use coupon code WIPEDOWN for 15% off when you purchase at ShowerPill but they are also available at Amazon.

And speaking of Amazon, you could give the gift of Amazon Prime! Your loved one will be able to receive FREE shipping on a wide range of athletic supplies throughout the year and stream movies, shows, and music. My household LOVES Amazon Prime and there is something for everyone. A win-win for a house that is now cable-free.

Shop Amazon - Give the Gift of Amazon Prime

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the gifts in my life.

Daily Bible Verse: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13


20 miles on the treadmill

Aloha Friends,

Here we go again...another long run on the treadmill but this time I think I did some key things to set myself up for success.

First, after horse lessons on Tuesday I was talking to darling daughter about how what we say impacts what we do. If we say we think we may be able to do something, we may. If we say we can't, we don't. But if we say we will, we increase our odds of success just by having confidence in ourselves. I used myself for an example. When I say I hope I will run long or I may run long, I may. But when I say I will, I get it done 99.9% of the time. There are those odds times when my body says no for reasons that are truly valid.

Second, my buddy Toby is working on his own big goals and achievements and I know he is having a hard time. I don't want him to give up so there was no way on this beautiful green Earth that I would give up on him OR my long run. No if's, and's, or but's...get it done Momma. (And nope, I don't think darling daughter has ever called me Momma.)

With that said, running 20 miles on the treadmill is far from easy. Running 20 miles period is far from easy. What did I turn to this time to keep my mind focused??

First, we started with Frozen. Yep, I kinda like that movie and as much I would have loved to stream episodes of Cedar Cove darling daughter would have been less than impressed and running long with an unhappy 7 year old won't work. So Frozen it will be and at least there are some fun tunes in there.

Second, she put in Winnie the Pooh. Oh no! This had me wondering if I could tackle the next 10 miles as happily distracted as the first 10 to Winnie the Pooh. Yes, that bear is cute but can he hold my attention? Time to pull out my book Hearts of Fire as a back-up plan.

Third, on went Once Upon a Forest...another cute movie but not a running distraction movie one bit especially since it is a "quiet" DVD that is hard to hear under the best of circumstances. Time to really dive into reading!

Fourth, social media check-in reports. It helps. I post what I am after, where I am, and I got to chat some with my buddy's mom, how my buddy is doing, etc. Every little bit helps but this was less of a distraction this run since facebook on my phone is acting crazy slow. But that wasn't going to stop me.

Fifth, the wash cloth game once again. I don't know what it is about having daughter move one wash cloth from the stack to be laid out in the done pile that makes me feel like a success! It truly is a silly thing and just means I have wash cloths to pick up later BUT it does give me something to look forward to every 5 miles. Between that and my "aid station" breaks and "pit stops" to replenish my SOS Rehydrate all was pretty good. Well good until those final miles that were just pure determination to keep putting one foot in front of another for my buddy and God.

How did I fuel my run? Well, you already heard about the SOS Rehydrate. I went through three Stix of Berry. I guess I was a sweaty mess but please keep in mind, that final stix was also consumed post run. At mile 3 I had one graham cracker with another three at mile 10. At around mile 15 I convinced darling to share a couple of her Star Bursts with me. Yep, two Star Bursts for a sugary treat to keep my mind feeling happy.

And yes, I am happy I got it done. Post run I showered, pulled on some awesome ProCompression socks, and ate lunch before making homemade tortillas for dinner as it is TACO NIGHT!

Have a blessed weekend full of love and happiness!

Peace and Love,
Erica G

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for having my stereo back home.

Daily Bible Verse: In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. ~ Psalm 3:8


Holiday Sweat Challenge

Change seems to be the thing in my life right now. Change in work hourse. Change in race starts. Change in co-workers. Change. Change. Change.

Change can be stressful and add in the holidays PLUS two menstrual cycles in October and I turned to too many pieces of candy corn --- this is a recipe for disaster! I need to calm my mind, body, and soul and stay focused on healthy eating. Sometimes I can do it through sole motivation but sometimes it is nice to have a tribe behind you. Starting November 8th, I hope the new holiday sweat tribe will support me over the next 8 weeks the same as the old tribe, and lovely spreadsheet, did. The good news....no fee to enter this year! That is GREAT as I have no disposable income and if there was a fee, I wouldn't be able to play along this year.

So perhaps the challenge's changes will all be good. So who wants to join me and Run to the Finish (and Sweat Pink) to stay healthy, strong, and focused this holiday season? You can learn more HERE.

What do I hope to get out of this challenge? Well, let's link my hopes into November goals.
  1. Run every day with purpose.
  2. Do yoga every day with a clear mind.
  3. Eat healthy. Love my freggies and indulge with sensibility.
  4. Drink water, water, and more water. Say no to alcohol and limit that comforting cup of coffee.
  5. And balance my life with prayer and bible study.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for good friends.

Daily Bible Verse: I can do all thrings through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13



What I learned in 100 days of yoga - take 2

100 days ago I started a new yoga streak and I have been counting down the final 90's to bring me to today's post - what I learned in 100 days of yoga take 2 to see if my top ten lessons this go around differ from my top ten lessons during my first yoga streak.

Yes, I ended my first yoga streak on October 2, 2014. You can read all about that decision HERE but like life, things change, opinions change, and it was time for me to start a new yoga streak...all the while keeping my running streak running strong with day 1401 today. Yippee!!!

So what I have I learned in these past 100 days?
  1. It is okay to break up my yoga sessions into mini sessions. 
  2. Yoga breaks at work increase my productivity, awaken my mind, and release tension.
  3. Yoga is a great tool for tightness that develops over time.
  4. You may be a loose as a noodle one day and tighter than one could ever imagine the next day. I haven't figured out why this is but don't let it get you down.
  5. There are yoga fixes for everything! When experiencing intense menstrual cramps I looked up some poses and found almost instantaneous relief.
  6. You won't make progress if you are too afraid to try.
  7. It is okay if you can't touch your toes. We are all different. Love the body you are in.
  8. Yoga mellows my moods and alleviates my stress.
  9. It is good for your own confidence, and body, to ensure you have at least one dedicated yoga class a week. Yes, I said mini sessions are fine but make time for longer classes whenever you can.
  10. I enjoy teaching darling daughter a few yoga poses to help her in her horseback riding endeavors.
So does my list match last times? Nope! But I think that is great because it shows that those first lessons were already a part of me giving me a chance to learn more.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful my cousin's baby is off the vent, EEG, all meds, and is on the road to getting stronger and stronger! Praise God!

Daily Bible Verse: Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. ~ Jeremiah 17:14


The 17 mile treadmill run

I did not want to run.

Okay, that isn't entirely true. I wanted to run but not in that corner. Not in one place. Not on that treadmill. No way, no how. Forget about it.

But the thing is, I couldn't forget about it. I am a runner. I am training for the Honolulu Marathon. I needed to run long but not for the reasons you might think. Sure, you can say I needed to for the training plan and all that but that isn't why I needed to. Yes, it is important but I needed to run long to help me overcome this treadmill dread that is weighing me down. I needed to run and just get it done.

My plan called for 16 miles. I told myself I had to do it and just got my butt in gear. I decided to blast some music and darling daughter agreed. I think she likes the blast the music times of our life and it only happens on dreaded treadmill runs. Once the music was set to go, I hit start and just started running.

At 3.85 miles I decided we should play the washcloth game and darling daughter eagerly retrieved four washcloths and set one aside nicely laid out after 4 miles. The game was on! Every four miles, she moved a washcloth. Every two miles, I hit an aid station and got some awesome SOS Rehydrate. Every mile, I changed my pace as I ran my long run in two pyramids.

Pyramid 1: 10 miles. Increase speed up from the starting pace of 6.0 and ended with a pace of 6.1.

Quick pit stop to take care of business, give the treadmill motor a breather, and refill my SOS Rehydrate bottle. I also grabbed three graham crackers and got back running ASAP.

Pyramid 2: 7 miles. Increase speed up from the starting pace of 6.0 and ended with a pace of 6.0 for the bonus 17th mile.

The run was a bit tough mentally to start with but eased up. Between the washcloth game, aid stations, changing the pace, dancing, and my pit stop there was plenty to distract me PLUS at about mile 12 work texted that the humpback whales were back on Maui!!! Yippee!!! So I ran along happily gathering the information and doing the official social media post for work. Talk about working on the run!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the 17 miles I put in.

Daily Bible Verse: For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ~ Hebrews 4:1


Running on Empty

Oh how I wish this was me today
Do you ever feel you are running on empty? I do at times and it is usually a sign that I am letting life get to the better of me.

Ironically, since I started my running streak on December 30, 2011 I am much healthier. I get less colds and when I do get sick I recover more quickly. That was until I went through a long string of colds that seemed to take over my body and I spiraled gloomily into despair. However, there was an answer. Vitamin D. Thank God during a routine physical my doc checked my Vitamin D levels, as long as other things, and discovered my levels dropped significantly. Since the only difference in my life was not consuming dairy, I attribute that my dietary changes may have been a factor...especially since I am running outside now more than ever and no, I am not the best sunscreen applier. I could improve in that game too.

Since I have been taking my daily D I am for the most part running with a full tank, and yes, my SOS Rehydrate helps keep me hydrated and ready for the next run and for life in general. But these past two weeks I have been feeling sluggish. And that is me letting life get to me. I am very good at accessing what I am doing wrong and have no problem pointing the finger right back at myself.

First, treadmill blahs. With so much running outside I am letting the treadmill blahs get the best of me -- especially on long run days. I am letting the "This is not going to be fun." take over and not doing a good job of thinking "Thank you God for this treadmill and letting me run long at home. Thank you God for giving me a way to get it done on Saturday so I can honor and glorify you on Sunday." I need to overcome the boredom and blahs!

Second, stress. Oh the stress! But in all reality, worrying about tomorrow isn't going to help today now is it? And don't fret about yesterday either. The past is, well, the past. Get over it. And yes, things happen in life that are stressful and that is ALWAYS going to be the case so suck it up buttercup, lace up those shoes, put on your happy face, and go out there and be happy! Managing stress is not new to me or my blog.

Third, chronic conditions. You may or may not have any chronic conditions but if you do, my heart goes out to you as I suffer from herpes outbreaks. It sounds simple enough but in the past couple years it has tormented me more -- enough to start a regular preventative program. The thing is, it is my stress indicator and yes, with increased stress came another outbreak. When this happens I just want to give myself a good talking to and tell myself that I need to really learn to chill as carrying too much stress within my heart and soul only leads to further misery. And it goes beyond the annoying outbreak but I feel it in muscle aches, increased fatigue, headache, and irritability. This go around I failed to recognize the red flags as I blamed hormones and that leads me to hormones.

Fourth, hormones. Hormones and your menstrual cycle can be an emotional and physical roller coaster -- one that can leave me wanting to just climb into bed or cuddle on the sofa with darling daughter, a good book, or a good show such as a chick flick or a cooking show. And yes, in the past two weeks we have been streaming a lot of The Next Food Network Star, Chopped, and Cupcake Wars.

Fifth, biting off more than you can chew. It is easy to try to be super mom, super employee, and super wife and take on the world but in all reality, I am just me. And sometimes I need help. Okay, every single day I need God's help and I frequently turn to Him for support and guidance. Good thing He is okay with non-stop praying and knocking on the door as I am always there but I am sure to toss in TONS of gratitude to balance out the "I need YOU's!". Thank you for the green light, thank you for easy crossing of the road on a scary intersection, thank you for the rain not being too bad, thank you for darling daughter having a great lesson, thank you for this food for dinner, thank you for forgiving me. So this week with non-stop demands on my time I had to draw the line. No, I can't go to that horse association meeting tonight as much as I would love to because I am making cookies for a bake sale for a pony club. It is a school night and I just can't commit to being up late and we have a school function tomorrow night.

With all this said and done, I am not sure how I am going to do with Saturday's long run with a pressing to do list after my run. Things that are shortened to make life easier. The bare necessities but still a bit longer than I would love. I would love to do errands tomorrow to free up Saturday but like I said, school function, so I will need to have faith and pray to God that I have the mental strength to find my strong, renew my optimistic nature, and run long Saturday....just as scheduled.

Who wants to give me a good kick in the butt to keep me focused?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for this quiet time as the cookie dough chills and that darling daughter is okay with an easy dinner, nachos, tonight.

Daily Bible Verse: Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? ~ Luke 18:1-8


Life's Challenges

I will never cease to be amazed by how life can place things in my path right when I need them most.

Yesterday I received my October bling from Running on the Wall. In case you missed it, I am a Running on the Wall athlete, which means I get the opportunity to run a virtual run each month. This month the virtual run was the "If it doesn't challenge you it doesn't change you 10K" and right now, running has been a huge challenge.

To make a long story short, just over a week ago I got the news that I (along with other co-workers) am being furloughed one day a week. This was crushing news as our family budget is already stretched tight with no wiggle room. Dear hubby doesn't even get to watch football! We have no cable. Poor guy but I am arranging some get together's that allow him to perhaps seem a bit of a game here and there. Gotta love good friends! As much as I have my faith in God and that He will take care of us, as He always does, I still have been under this crushing weight of worry. So getting this bling was a good motivator to keep running on the treadmill today and try to find my strong.

Let me tell you....that 10K was hard! I ran along feeling heavy with rubbery weak legs and I knew it wasn't physical. It was all mental. As I ran on I did what I often do. I reflect on life, I talk to God, and I try to find my happiness and strong. At one point today as I was struggling with my easy pace wondering how on Earth I was going to run a marathon come December and why I was failing on letting go of my worry and stress. Why couldn't I just let go of this burden that I was entrusting to God? I have faith so why am I clinging to this heaviness and letting it weigh me down.

Then it hit me. My mind went to Jesus carrying the cross. He fell down. He struggled and I gotta say, his cross must have weighed a TON. My burden pales in comparison to the cross he carried for ALL of our sins. All I could do was run on and think, if he carried such a burden why am I complaining? I will carry my burden alongside him. I thought of Jesus praying that he didn't really want to go through the passion and asked if there was any other way but quickly accepting and stating that it would be God's will that would be done and he agreed to follow that will. Talk about a huge light bulb going off. Trusting God doesn't mean I will be without suffering, worries, stress, or burdens. It means keeping the faith when I am burdened. Keeping the faith when I feel I am being crushed.

Handing my burdens over to God didn't mean I would feel happy go lucky and run strong with no effort in life. It meant carrying those burdens knowing I will be okay. And guess what? As I imagined Jesus attaching his yoke to me the weight on my shoulders did lessen. He is beside me helping me along my path in life. Yes, this is a bumpy road but like the virtual run I was running...without challenges in life I won't change and grow. And yes, I completed the 10K and ran an additional 4 miles afterwards. I also went on to do 15 minutes of yoga but then it was time to clean-up and take darling daughter to her horse lessons. All in all, a successful run even though I wanted/hoped for at least 14 miles. I will run more tomorrow. Her make-up lessons from missing Thursday took priority.

I am being challenged physically through my training for the Honolulu Marathon and emotionally and spiritually through my family's current financial hurdle but I am growing. I opened my craft store and got to making crocheted items I always talked about trying to sell. And yes, there are ads on my blog now. It was something that I have been pondering to do for months and I finally bit the bullet and did it. There are other dreams I have for my family's future and I am taking action and trying to make my dreams come true. And in all of this, I am trying to remain positive for my family and to not break down in tears too often. I want to keep Jesus close to my heart, I want to remain attached firmly to his yoke in faith, and I want to go down this road because yes, it is changing me and I believe it is changing my life for the better.

On a happy note, check out this race's bling a bit more!

An awesome lightweight tank top, a cap that is lightweight and the front part is made from material that you can find in a wetsuit (very cool), a nice big magnet that is on my fridge now, and a medal PLUS you can get a second medal...perfect for my buddy! All of this and a race bib. Ready, set, go! Are you ready to run?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the heavy rain coming AFTER darling daughter's horse lesson today.

Daily Bible Verse: For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:30


Product Review: Custom Running Journal by Journal Menu

This is a sponsored post in that I received a custom journal free to review from Journal Menu. I did not promise a good review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Journaling your life away. Is it worth it? Absolutely! And I have gone through many journals in my years of running. Some fall to the wayside before I ever get to the end of the book and some were used from front to back only hoping for more pages. You see, I need a journal with good writing space that fits my needs but perhaps has a bit flexibility as my needs in life change from season to season. Gone are the days of tracking food and what I eat. That serves me no huge purpose right now. But every day I track mileage but I have a little log book for that and an online log. Do I need another journal in my life?

Some would say no but I say yes. I tried the Move. Nourish. Believe. journal but it just didn't fit me. The added pages well...they really didn't add value to my life, which is a shame as the journal was beautiful. It just wasn't a good fit for me. I was always trying to squeeze my thoughts into the tinier weekend boxes; therefore, cutting my precious notes short. Ummm....that defeated the purpose of me journaling and in all reality, I have MORE thoughts on the weekend and LONGER runs...hence the more thoughts. I needed weekend space.

Enter my custom journal. You can pick what insert pages you want so if running isn't your thing, there is an insert set perfect for you. Trust me. Check them out

You can also pick your cover and add any special sayings, quotes, etc on it --- you know, whatever makes you smile. Do you like what I picked? I LOVE it!

Now let's get inside it and take a look. 

There are a couple of pages to track your goals with a start date, deadline, and place to mark when you achieve it.

There is a page talking about SMART goals and if you have followed me long enough you know I love SMART goals. Plus there is space for you to write your own SMART goals. How cool is that?!

For those interested in body measurements, you have plenty of space to chart that and in all reality, I would prefer body measurement tracking over logging your weight. That number on the scale lies and isn't a true story but if you love tracking your pounds (or kilograms), there is space for that too.

There are pages to learn about mobility and a quick guide to mobilization PLUS training plans for a 5k, half marathon, and a marathon.

But check this out! Pages for race reviews!!!! Woo-hoo!!!!

And the pages for daily running and notes have blocks of equal size for every day of the week. I love the amount of note space as it will allow me to add the comments that I want to add each day. 

To wrap things up beautifully, at the end of the journal you have a pace chart with pace, 5k time, 10k time, half marathon time, and marathon time. This journal truly rocks the boat!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for this journal and look forward to using it to log my thoughts on the run.

Daily Bible Verse: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6