5 Summer Running Tips

Baby it's hot outside!

And if you are like me, you are training for a fall race. Two in fact for me. The Kaua'i Marathon on September 6th and the Honolulu Marathon on December 13th. That means one thing, I need to make my summer long runs happen and not use temperatures as an excuse and with the Maui Marathon reaching record highs in temperatures last September, I need to be tough. Tough but not stupid. Overheating and dehydration are not good training elements and really should be avoided at all costs. Don't you agree?

So here are my top 5 summer running tips:
  1. Hydrate: Summertime is not the time to skimp on your hydration and I am completely for carrying your own hydration whether it be plain water or a sports drink. However, I would urge you to consider a sports drink for longer runs, especially in the summer, to ensure your electrolytes stay in balance. I like running hands free and my CamelBak Marathoner vest continues to be a blessing in my life. My vest is nearly two years old and is still holding up beautifully and if that doesn't attest to quality, what does? And hydration isn't just on the run but before and after. Be sure to keep your body hydrated for so many reasons. You can read more about hydration and dehydration HERE.
  2. Run in the cooler hours: This seems pretty straight forward doesn't it? You may just want to head out earlier in the day or later in the evening to log your long runs when the temperatures are cooler. I get wanting to train in the heat to get used to the heat. Truly, I do. I look forward to my Texas runs as heat training runs but if I know I am going for miles and miles, I will head out earlier. It is just the smart thing to do.
  3. Protect your skin: Summertime isn't just warmer temperatures but sunshine. Lather on sunscreen and for me, extra BodyGlide, to ensure your skin is protected from sunburns and chafing. You can even find me putting on my sunscreen before my running clothes to ensure I do not miss little patches of skin near the edges of my garments. I also try to convince myself that all that extra sunscreen provides a bit a chafing protection too. What do you think?
  4. Protect your eyes: Many people can forgot that their eyes need to be protected from the harsh sunlight, which can bounce back up into your eyes from the asphalt etc. I have very sensitive eyes so it is hard to forgot about them but I have also found some sunglasses bug me on the run as they slip and slide; however, Meb suggests in his book that this is because I am looking down a wee bit too much on my run. He may be on to something. Who am I to question Meb? I have also invested in a good wicking running hat that helps shield my eyes from the sunshine and it has the added benefit of keeping wispy hairs out of my eyes.
  5. Listen to your body: I can't stress this enough....LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! This is not only true during our hot summer runs but every single run we do. I wouldn't be where I am in my running streak without listening to my body and sometimes that means running less or slower. In the summer heat, running slower may be just what you and I need to do in order to hit our running distance goals. That is okay. Be kind to your body and it will repay you by performing well for many days to come.

What are your summer running tips?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my Texas running.

Daily Bible Verse: And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years." ~ Genesis 1:14


Aloha {or howdy} from Texas

Let me tell you one thing, colds suck! Recently mine have turned nasty and I so wish I talked my doctor in sending me to Texas with antibiotics "just in case" as my cold turned nasty and I ended up spending an arm and a leg on a clinic visit and antibiotics but it is worth it. Slowly but surely I am getting better and better but my right ear, the one that I guess has a perforated eardrum, is still feeling clogged but that isn't stopping me. I run for Toby! I am on vacation! I am enjoying life with darling daughter at the pool even if I have to be the mom who keeps her head above water (that is really tough for me but I am determined to keep this ear dry and happy so it will be nice to me on our flight home and no, I am not going to an ENT beforehand like the clinic suggested). 

Today I thought I would share some fun with you such as the text I got from my buddy Toby!!!!

It made my day!!! And now some random photos for you. 

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for antibiotics and that I was able to get some...no matter the cost. Really, the benefit does outweigh the cost.

Daily Bible Verse: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10


You are what you eat

If you had a childhood anything like mine I am sure you heard "You are going to turn into a xxx if you eat another xxx." You can fill in that xxx with whatever it is/was that you couldn't resist. Fast forward to today and I realize there is still a small list of go to foods that I do eat on a very regular, almost daily basis (I am listing my top 10 and please note, I do eat chicken or turkey on a regular basis too). Fortunately, it isn't Snickers anymore but for fun I thought I would look into what these foods offer my body as it is true, we are what we eat.

Bananas - We all hear bananas are a rich source of potassium but did you know they contain higher amounts of vitamin B6, manganese, and vitamin C? The potassium helps maintain good blood pressure and keeps your heart happy. The sterols in bananas can even keep your cholesterol lower and bananas help keep you regular due to their fiber content. From the athletic perspective, the potassium in bananas can help keep muscle cramps at bay. I even read you could fuel on the run with bananas but they said you would be eating 1/2 banana every 15 minutes?? No way!

Blueberries - The antioxidants in blueberries make them quite beneficial for nervous system and brain health and may improve your memory. The good news is that blueberries can be frozen without damaging their beneficial antioxidants and that is really good news because the vast majority of the blueberries I eat are frozen (and organic and I read organic blueberries are healthier)! Blueberries contain vitamin K, manganese, vitamin C, fiber, and copper.

Steel cut Oats - We have all heard oats are good for your heart and some may argue steel cut oats are healthier due to less processing and perhaps less sugar. All oats are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber and protein and for me, that is a great way to start the day!

Beans - black or pinto - Beans can make your heart healthier and contain a range of cancer-fighting chemicals. The fiber in beans helps maintain a healthy gut and may make you feel full longer...although I am not convinced but perhaps I am just a very hungry person. I blame marathon training. A serving of pinto beans contains 15 grams of protein and 20% of the RDA for iron, 8% of the RDA for calcium, and 2% of the RDA of vitamin C. For black beans, a serving contains 15 grams of protein, 20% of the RDA for iron, 5% of the RDA for calcium, and no vitamin C and here I thought black beans were better than pinto beans. Maybe there are other factors at play.

Tomatoes - Tomatoes are another heart healthy food and the lycopene in them can help lower cholesterol plus tomato extracts can prevent the clumping of blood platelets. In addition, tomatoes may contribute to better bone health and may have anti-cancer benefits.

Almonds - Did you know almonds provide 49% of our RDA for biotin and 40% of our RDA for vitamin E? That is pretty cool! Besides helping keep our hearts healthy and lowering cholesterol, almonds may protect against diabetes. But just remember, whole almonds with their skins provide more heart happy protection and not only are they rich in protein, they provide calcium and iron. I now buy whole almonds, run them through the food processor, and add that to my morning oats in place of peanut butter.

Garlic - Garlic seems to be the magic food that many turn to for a happy heart, for anti-cancer benefits, and to boost their immune system. Some add that is can help fight dementia. Regardless, I love the flavor and cook with it regularly and yes, you can catch me eating roasted bulbs of garlic by themselves. Love them! P.S. And I do add some extra cloves when cooking when the family is battling colds.

Cinnamon - Cinnamon just may fight inflammation, have antioxidant effects, and fight bacteria in addition to lowering blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, and treating yeast infections. But honestly, I am not adding cinnamon to my coffee, oats, and tea for those benefits but for the flavor. I also question just how much cinnamon one would need to consume for a therapeutic benefit.

Tea - black or green - Tea may be good for your heart, have anti-cancer properties, encourage weight loss, and lower cholesterol but I truly find it a relaxing and therapeutic way to consume some extra water. I do waiver between caffeinated tea and decaffeinated and love a good chamomile tea at the end of the day to help me relax. And yes, with the onset of colds and coughs, I will turn to a hot cup of tea and perhaps add some lemon juice and honey with hopes I will be back to 100% sooner rather than later. But in case you are wondering, black tea has the highest amount of caffeine and green tea has the highest amount of ECGC, a powerful flavenoid that can fight free radicals.

Coffee - Coffee is a vice I should let go of because it can lead to a stuffy nose for me but for those less sensitive, it is also a nice pick me up and a good source of antioxidants. It may reduce type-2 diabetes, prevent Parkinson's disease, lower the risk of cancer, prevent liver disease, and is good for the heart. By golly, perhaps those pro's outweigh the con of my stuffy nose?

What are your top 10 foods you consume?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I recover quickly from my "coffee stuffy nose".

Daily Bible Verse: So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31


My Virtual Mission

I am on a mission, a virtual mission, to run to Toby and to spread awareness of Down syndrome everywhere I go! It really is a neat mission and even though I don't go to "Mission Control" daily to update my mission, I log my miles daily on my paper log and on Daily Mile, so when I do report in I can bring things up to date. Plus I am in almost constant contact with my buddy through his amazing Mom.

Why am I telling you this? Because it matters. It means the world to me and I am so honored and blessed to run for Toby that I want to jump up and down and shout it from the mountaintops. God perfectly matched me with Toby, my forever buddy, and his Mom, my spiritual counterpart and sister in Christ. Together we are achieving great things through our daily battles and hurdles. We share our joys and our tears but most importantly, we share our prayers. Life is so much better when it is guided by a purpose and that purpose is not the number of medals on my hanger, shoes in my closet, likes on my facebook posts, or comments on my blog. What matters most is how you make others feel, how you pray for them, putting someone's needs ahead of your own, and following the path that you are truly meant to follow in your life.

The Kaua'i Marathon is quickly approaching and I am scared and excited. I have been knocked off of my training plan more than I would hope for due to colds. Colds have entered our household more so than ever this season and I have fallen victim to the coughing and my lungs have yelled out. But through this I remember, I am blessed to be able to run every single day through this. I am finding that things are indeed out of my control in so many ways. Perhaps God is trying to teach me that I need to let go of "my training plans" and follow His. I have faith I will do just fine come race day. I am not looking to PR. The course is a tough one with pretty intense hills but that is fine. I know it will be tough and my goal is to run it without losing my faith or purpose in running. To remember I am blessed to be able to run, that I am setting a good example for darling daughter, that I am running for Toby and Down syndrome awareness, and most importantly, I am running the race that God has set before me.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that in the virtual world I can run on water. It makes me smile just to think about the ocean and reefs below my feet.

Daily Bible Verse: The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. ~ Proverbs 16:9


Holding Yourself Back

Today I ran 6 miles. I felt a bit sluggish and heavy at the start but I pushed ahead thinking run easy, go with the flow, you are still battling a cold. I looked at my Garmin here and there and halfway through I was convinced it was lying. I knew my route. I knew approximate mile markers. I started clocking and checking and the Garmin wasn't lying to me. It truly seemed to be on target. So why is it that I am "under the weather" and able to pull off 6 miles with an overall pace of 8'45"? Please note, my GMP (goal marathon pace) has been 9'00" in order to break a 4 hour marathon.

I am a firm believer in looking at your running to ascertain what is or isn't working and my past couple of runs have been pretty good since I have been sick. Yesterday I ran 4 miles with an overall pace of 9'03". So what is the secret? And no, I am not going to say continue to get colds so I can run well. Imagine what I could do without a cold!

I think there are a few things at play here.

Vitamin D: Almost 6 weeks ago at my routine physical the doctor found that my vitamin D levels dropped significantly since my last check. I was taking vitamin D on a regular almost daily basis in my multivitamin (1000 IU) so we opted to do a 6 week prescription strength once a week treatment. My final dosage is this coming Friday. Within a week I felt my energy levels coming back up. Perhaps my improved running performance is tied to better vitamin D levels. And yes, I will be continuing to take daily vitamin D (2000 IU) to keep my levels up. I also learned it is better to take vitamin D with your biggest "fattiest" meal of the day since it is a fat soluble vitamin. This aids your body in its uptake. Oopsie....before learning this I was taking my vitamins in the morning on an empty stomach.

Hydration: You know I am big on hydration but as much as I thought I was doing things right, after hearing a report on the signs of dehydration and what it can do to you I got to wondering. Am I really drinking enough? You see, I have been battling sugar cravings, afternoon fatigue, foggy brain, and headaches and been blaming hormones and questioning perimenopause. However, after two doctors confirmed that I am not on that hormonal road just yet and then hearing this report I had to ask...am I drinking enough? Every body is different and ounce wise I feel I am but am I really drinking enough water to compensate the caffeine I drink (a diuretic) and the amount of running and sweating I do? I can tell you with this cold I am hydrating like crazy to flush the virus out of me, thin the mucous, and keep my lungs happy. Well, at least that is my plan and I know I am doing a good job. My urine is a beautiful clear color, I am going to the bathroom more often than I would like, and my weight is up. Seriously, there was a time when my RPE (rate of perceived exertion) that I felt today would be I was running 10 minute miles not sub-9 minute miles. Perhaps there is something here.

The Mental Side: Yep, my mind. I will be completely honest...my mental training is the weakest link. My self doubt can kill a run or race and I have been striving ever so hard to let go of my mental hurdles and my plans in order to trust His plans for me. I feel I am making process but it is by baby steps. Old habits are hard to break and one of those habits is setting the treadmill pace. For many years treadmill running was my go to and I thank God I am running outside more and finding His pace for me versus me telling me what my pace is. If I were to step on a treadmill right now I would set it to 6 (a 10'00" mile pace) and run along not thinking twice. Some days I may tweak the pace and incline here and there to combat boredom but in my mind, I run a 10 minute mile. Even today as I stepped outside to run I thought, okay, 6 miles. It will take me an hour. Am I going to stop setting my treadmill to 6? No. But sometimes I may. Why not all the time? Because I also firmly believe it is good to run slower some days and as long as I am running most days outside faster, a 10'00" mile run on the treadmill once or twice a week won't kill me. In fact, it may help save me from the competitive side of me. Yep, when I am running outside I am less likely to hold myself back to a set pace. If I see my pace quickening I tend to see how long I can hold that "faster" pace. Reeling myself in is a wee bit hard to do on the road but I feel that is a skill I too will need to master.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the ability to switch from a talk show to tunes on my phone while I run.

Daily Bible Verse: The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ~ Psalm 28:7


Fighting Eczema

A couple of months ago I mentioned my itchy left ear to the doctor. The ear that has been itching on and off for over a year. Nothing like prompt treatment, huh? The first words out of her mouth were, "It's not cancer." Well, that is a good thing since I had been ignoring it for so long and never thought it was. By the way, my ignoring was ignoring in the sense of scratching, applying ointment or lotion, complaining, but never reporting my ongoing strife to my doctor.

I have been somewhat diligent in applying the ointment prescribed but in all reality, I grow weary of remembering to do so, I scratch like crazy, remember, and the vicious cycle goes round and round and my left ear is still a very angry ear. I guess I should be thankful that my misery is somewhat confined but I am so tired of "babying" a mad ear and getting nowhere fast. I am thinking patience is a virtue I need to work harder at. I also don't like the idea of applying prescription strength steroid cream to my ear every day, more than once, for all eternity. I may be slightly exaggerating but seriously, I am getting nowhere fast.

This led me to posting on facebook for natural alternatives and to do some research myself and I came to this conclusion. Whatever I choose to do, I need to stick to it. I can't expect to run a marathon if I only train 1/3rd of the time so how can I "cure" eczema if I apply ointment 1/3rd of the time? I need to get focused and will be diligent with my prescription strength ointment the next week or so and then I hope to go purely natural. My concoction - coconut oil and lavender essential oil as I have those two things in my possession and hear they may help. I mixed up my batch and I am bound and determined to rub it into my pesky patch every single solitary night. Once I am free from the ointment I will apply more often -- day and night???

eczema is on ear, behind ear, & down neck
I took pictures of my sad, sad ear today with the hope that weeks from now I will look back and say, "Hey! My ear looks better!"

In the meantime, if you are an eczema sufferer or know one, tell me your secrets! Today after my shower I rubbed on antibiotic ointment as I have so many open nicks and wounds from the persistent scratching. I don't want those infected and feel the petroleum jelly base is good for my poor, suffering skin. I mean, by golly! Running a marathon is easier than getting pretty, healthy skin!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that 99.9% of my body is eczema free!

Daily Bible Verse: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. ~ Ezekiel 37:6-8


An open letter to my daughter on her last day of 1st Grade

My dearest darling daughter,

Today is the last day of 1st Grade to you and another milestone reached. I watch you grow up and part of my wants to stop time and hold you in my arms forever. You are forever loved and blessed and I am honored beyond belief to be your mom. I only hope and pray you know how much I love you.

This year I have striven to teach you three valuable lessons in life: love, charity, and forgiveness.

We are all human and each one of us makes mistakes, myself included. It will always be that way but by God's loving grace and mercy, we can be forgiven and trust me, His love is unconditional and never ending. I am trying to teach you this not only so you know how loved you are but so you can extend that love to others. I see you doing it and I see it when you don't know I am watching.

I remember the day when you stopped a boy from bullying another boy. He was just trying to pull on the kid's stuff but you stepped up and stopped it before it became anything bigger. My heart still swells with pride that you saw something was wrong and didn't turn a blind eye. You took action and walked up those stairs chatting with the boy who had his stuff pulled. You showed God's love even if you didn't realize you were doing it.

You are growing in strength, courage, and knowledge beyond belief. When we were talking about your school work you brought home and your paper on forces I asked you if you learned about energy in school - you know, energy like potential and kinetic energy. You said "no" and I then asked what you thought each meant and you gave me the perfect definition! I was shocked and asked you how. You and your dad proudly stated "Popular Mechanics!" I guess that Popular Mechanics for Kids on Amazon is a very good thing.

And your wisdom beyond your years never ceases to amaze me. Just the other night you leaned over to me and said, "Mom, I think Dad suffers from the negativity of want." I had to clarify that is what you said to me and it opened a very big discussion. Darling, you are right. Want can be negative especially if you always want more and can't be happy with what you have right now.

Continue to dream. Dream big! Have desires and goals but let God guide you to what is best for you. He will always give you what you need right when you need it and I will always be there by your side cheering you on, working with you, crying with you, listening to you, and helping you find your way.

I love you always my dear.


Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my daughter.

Daily Bible Verse: Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. ~ Psalm 127:3


Jump into June with me

Does anyone know what happened to May? I can't believe it is gone and the past couple of weeks I barely found the time to run, work, enjoy life, and do my May Madness. But the good thing is I only missed three days. Yes, the host of a challenge is admitting she missed three days but hey y'all, I'm just being honest. But I didn't let a missed day let me abandon the challenge. I hopped right back into the saddle and got back into the plan. And in all reality, I am stronger for it!

I do have to say knowing I shared my challenge with others motivated me to keep it up. I have no idea how many of you adopted the challenge and stuck to it but it didn't matter. What mattered is that I asked you to do it with me; therefore, I did it! So here comes the June challenge --- Jump into June!

Right click, save as, and print!
This builds off of May Madness so if you did that with me, you are perfectly ready to Jump into June. If you didn't, take a look at the start of June and decide is it where you are right now? Would you like to play along but start with less (or more) plank time, push up's, bridges, burpees? Please don't start with less burpees. I feel we are at a good starting point but if you are a burpee master take what you are doing now and build on that! Does Jump into June still scare you? Why not do May Madness then? You don't have to forgot about that challenge just because it is June. It is good any month of the year so go ahead and tell me, how are you going to challenge yourself in June?

You can also find Jump into June on my facebook page as an event. Please join in and spread the word.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for God's grace and healing. I love feeling whole again!

Daily Bible Verse: And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." ~ Mark 1:11