The ebb and flow of marathon training

The Kaua'i Marathon is just around the proverbial corner and taper is quickly approaching. This training cycle has been a challenge as I faced more health issues. My colds were turning into nasty sinus infections resulting in me needing antibiotics and/or breathing treatments. Needless to say, that impacted my training and my long runs didn't get as long as soon as I initially wanted them. This had me concerned and I went into summer letting my mom know I was going to run long in Texas this year when we visited. And I did. My long run grew well in Texas and my running there made me feel much better about my training. A happiness that continued on until last weekend when I fell short of what I hoped to do due to irritability and other energy level related issues. But the happiness is returning...I hope.

And this brings me to the focus of this post. Marathon training has high's and low's. Energy up's and down's. Great runs. Bad runs. So-so runs. Fast runs. Slow runs. Easy runs. Long runs. I give up runs in which you don't give up and find yourself runs. There is a little bit of everything and throughout it all, I run on motivated by the deeper reason of why I run. To learn more about that check out #mywhykauai for why I am running my upcoming marathon. Having a clear understanding of your own why can help balance the emotional roller coaster of marathon training.

Plus, good fuel. I keep an eye on what I fuel my body with while running and between runs. Don't get me wrong. I am not perfect. I love sugary treats here and there and since I am dairy free, I make them myself and that keeps them harder to turn to. Win-win for me! I also focus on hydration continuously and always have water by my side. On my run, that water is made better with SOS Rehydrate. By the way, you can enter to win some today.

For those training for your first marathon, or contemplating one, expect to feel a whole range of emotions and runs. It is all going to be okay. Trust yourself and be realistic. Don't beat yourself up as you are embarking on a big journey and every step of the journey matters. It isn't just about race day. That is the icing on the cake. It is about what you do each and every moment up to race day and after you cross that finish line. And that can be an emotional roller coaster too. I have cheered, cried from happiness, cried from disappointment, etc.

Marathons are 26.2 miles of discovery. You will dig deep and find parts of yourself you never knew existed. Yes, I learn something new about me during each marathon. You want to start race day feeling good about yourself so don't let negative self talk get in the way. You will have bad training days. That is normal and perfectly acceptable. Do not let them weigh you down. Look at the up's, the happy runs, the accomplishments, the moments you found your strong, and remember those when you feel challenged in life both on and off the course.

For those marathoners out there, what is your advice, lessons learned, etc? I would love to hear them.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for both the happy runs and the tough runs that I have finished.

Daily Bible Verse: Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. ~ 1 Peter 4:12-13


SOS Giveaway to celebrate 1 year #irun4toby

Please note: I am personally sponsoring this giveaway to celebrate a special day...one year ago today I was matched with my buddy, Toby.

I run for Toby and it is one of the best things ever in my life. I was matched with him on July 27, 2014...a year ago...and I remember the day like yesterday. I was counting down my place on the match list until I would be the lucky #1 on the listing, which meant I would be the next runner matched! You can read more about our match date HERE.
Toby and I support one another and his mom rocks the boat too! We have grown incredibly close over the past year and honestly, they are a very big part of my family. Darling daughter embraces the awesomeness of this match as much as I do. And to celebrate I want to offer one of you a chance to try SOS Rehydrate -- another awesome thing in my life.

Way back in March of this year I had the chance to give SOS Rehydrate a try myself. You can read my initial product review HERE. Prior to this I had just purchased another sports drink for the Kaua'i Marathon. One that may be the course drink...or may not...but it doesn't matter. After trying SOS Rehydrate and using it I was hooked. I loved the drink. It wasn't too sweet and seemed to do the trick but I didn't realize fully what an impact it had on me until my summer running in Texas.

Traditionally, my Texas training falls flat. The heat and humidity get to me. I feel drained and worn out and my longs runs don't happen. This year things were different. Even though I was battling a bad sinus infection my energy levels were staying up there and my marathon training was rocking the boat. Instead of falling back in Texas I was strengthening and moving forward. That is great news for any training program! I quickly realized I wasn't turning to my gels either as quickly and since they tend to mess with my stomach, I loved that. I put two SOS Rehydrate sticks into my hydration pack and they were keeping me hydrated with a happy tummy and no fuzzy head PLUS no post long run headaches. Yes, I still use my gels but I go longer between them and that is perfect for me.

So to celebrate one year of running for Toby I wanted to give you the chance to try SOS Rehydrate for FREE! It was a blessing in my life and I hope it will be a blessing in yours. The giveaway closes on August 8th, which happens to be Toby's birthday!!!

Are you in Hawaii and can't wait? Great news! You can get SOS Rehydrate at Longs! On Maui I definitely know it is at the Kahului Long's but didn't see it in the upcountry Longs. Grab a coupon at the end of this post and enjoy! Not on Maui? Go to MySOS, sign up, and use coupon code AMB-DGU-GKF for 15% off. This is a one time use coupon. Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I can run for Toby and that I found the perfect hydration mix for me -- SOS Rehydrate all the way!

Daily Bible Verse: So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. ~ Matthew 7:12


#mywhykauai for the Kaua'i Marathon

Why I run is a long story but simply put...I run because it is what my spirit is meant to do. I discovered that on a run many, many years ago. That day seems so very long ago. I was running down a long highway stretch as I was training for my first half marathon. My dad had recently passed away due to a short and brutal fight with leukemia. I was going to run a marathon in his memory. This was the first step. I am a planner so obviously I wanted to check half marathon off the list before signing up for a marathon.

Fast forward a year plus some and that marathon was quickly approaching and shortly before it I had the urge to go to Kaua'i. In all reality, I was stoked that I could meet Dean Karnazes at the EXPO and dear hubby agreed to watch darling daughter while I took off to the neighbor island for two days and one night to run the half marathon two weeks before my first marathon. It was my first time away from darling. It was hard but I needed the refresher in my life. But what really touched me on a deep spiritual level was the course. I felt my dad along that run. It still brings happy chills to me and as I stand here typing I am smiling, feeling happy chills, and paused to take a deep soothing breath. Oh to go back to Kaua'i and run and this time....the marathon. The marathon that has been calling me and tempting me to come back to the island I promised darling daughter I would never go to without her again.

That call has been there every single year since I ran there in 2011. Finally, I am listening to the call. The time is right. We are going to Kaua'i and I am going to run the marathon! The idea scares me to some extent (that course profile looks harsh) but excites me in other ways. But why? Why Kaua'i? Why the calling?

In a recent event newsletter JT Service, the Founder of Soul Focus Sports, asked What? How? Why?

For the what the focus is on running the marathon. That is what I am going to do.

For the how the focus in on training. That is what I am doing.

For the why...that is the big question. The question that varies for each and every participant. The first two we can all pretty much agree on but the final, the why, that is what keeps each of us going.

My why has evolved over the years from because it is what my spirit is meant to do. I discovered that lesson in 2010 but the why can't always stay so small and simplistic. Yes, it is what my spirit is meant to do. That is still true but I have a deeper understanding of the why. God gave me running feet and the ability to run every day since December 30, 2011. I have run many marathons during my streak and am able to keep running. I have run through hard times and good times. I have run to keep depression and stress at bay. I run to find my peace and to grow deeper in my faith. But running isn't just about me.

Through my journey I discovered the why wasn't just me and my spirit but bigger. Sure it makes me a better mom and wife. That is all fine and dandy but the why is bigger. The why brought me to sign up for I Run for Michael and to be matched with Toby, an awesome boy who happens to have Down syndrome. The why is that my running is bigger than me. I run for Toby, I run for Down syndrome awareness, I run to remember my dad, I run for those who can't, I run because it is what God wants me to do. I am running His race in life. Sure I chase times. I would love to break a 4 hour marathon one day but that is a personal dream. If I never achieve it that is okay because some why's are bigger than a time on a clock. I am running to support Toby and his family, to show darling daughter that moms can run, work and still be home in time to cook a home-cooked meal, to be a happier, fitter wife for my husband, and to do God's work. Only He knows how long I will keep running and when my streak will end but God-willing, I will keep running for Him to a ripe old age.

But through all this I never answered why Kauai?

Because I still see that old woman outside her house wrapped in a blanket surrounded by her family watching us crazy runners running by. She had her oxygen tank by her and looked so peaceful and happy. I cried. I felt my dad there in that woman watching us. I felt love and peace on that course...love and peace I haven't found on any other course. I want to go back. I want to feel that again and this time, I want my family with me.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for each day I can run.

Daily Bible Verse: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24


What I learned in 1300 days of running

Some days are going to suck. There, I said it. Yep, some days are going to leave you feeling quite miserable and on the verge of tears or like today, actually crying. Yep, I ran a measly 1.2 miles, sat down on my treadmill, and cried.

No, I wasn't in pain. In fact, the reason itself made me want to cry more. The past couple of days I have been an emotional, irritable time bomb waiting to explode. I blame hormones. There is no proof that is what is the issue but my gut tells me they are to blame so I am sticking to that story. And yes, I cried and darling daughter came running to my side to check on me. After I told her my pathetic story she hugged me and then verified that my measly run was at least a mile. Yep, she was making sure I ran long enough to keep my streak alive. That made my heart smile.

Today is day 1300 of my running streak. I wanted to celebrate. I have been counting down the days to this next milestone and dreamed of running 13 miles today to celebrate but nope, it didn't happen. My treadmill was boring me so I tried its speed app and it just kept slowing down the pace. I got frustrated and pulled the plug...literally...I hit stop and pulled the plug out of the wall. Then I cried.

But in 1300 days of running I also know that days like these don't happen much. They are few and far between. There are many, many normal days with a dose of very happy days that keep running fun. Very happy days often happen outside and for the past four days I have been running inside but Saturday, a treadmill day, was a very happy day.

My goal was to run 18 miles on the treadmill and I rocked those 18 miles. I added in GMP and incline so those 18 miles were made even tougher. Mile 17 was a killer at a 4% grade incline (my third at this grade) and as much as I wanted to quit I kept going. After 18 miles I added in one more very slow mile to ease my legs from running to not running. Total: 19 miles on the treadmill.

Since then my legs are feeling AWESOME (a huge plus) but my head is out of the game. Perhaps I used up all my treadmill running mental endurance on Saturday. I need to run outside! I need to feel the breeze and smell the plumeria!! Hey, it can even rain on me. Let me out!!! And that is another lesson, you got to switch things up when running every day and running outside makes it easier to switch things up.

However, I am a running mom and often work, mom duties, etc get in the way of a run outside and that is okay. I can't have it all but I can run every day. Nothing can stop that. Even power going out. I will run circles around our house if necessary and yes, I have. And tropical storms won't stop me. I will run just after midnight to ensure I get my run in when weather predictions are predicting the worst. I did that too. The predictions were wrong. I ran another mile or so later in the day.

I have learned so much about myself in 1300 days of running - I am strong, determined, and flexible (at least in my scheduling of my runs if not in the hamstring flexibility). I also learned yoga is a good counterpart to running. It helps with that flexibility part even if you toss in poses throughout the day although it is nice to do a class when you can. There is an app for that. I have never been to a live yoga class but I feel being a self-motivated streak runner helps in self-teaching myself yoga. I am getting better at it. That makes me happy.

I have learned that marathon training is always tough but that is okay. Training is tough. Running is the easy part. Pushing yourself to go longer or further is the tough part but it is worth it. I have learned running with God makes it easier. He gave me my running feet and with Him all things are possible. And I have learned I can push forward and keep going even when others don't get it and even when they tell me to my face I am wrong.

But most importantly, I have learned to listen to MY body and to run MY race. I am done comparing myself to others. Others can motivate me but no longer will others make me feel I am not fast enough, strong enough, or run long enough. Time and distance don't really matter....okay, they don't matter beyond that I run at least a mile at a pace fast enough to get both feet off the ground.

God willing in 1300 days I will be able to tell you I learned in 2600 days of running!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for 1300 days of running regardless of the circumstances.

Daily Bible Verse: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. ~ Luke 6:27-28


SOS to the rescue ~ Not running on empty

On July 12th I posted on facebook that dear hubby and I partied way too much after getting our marriage validated but yet we ran 10 miles. My overall pace was 9'15". That is AWESOME for me. I promised to tell you how I pulled it off and here is my story.

To be honest, I didn't plan to run longish Sunday and didn't even pack my hydration vest. I also didn't intend to party as much as we did but after applying first aid and holding a towel to the head of an 8.5 year old boy for what felt like forever until the paramedics arrived, it was time to party. Plus we were on our honeymoon! But before I tell you about that let me tell you about the first aid story. The winds started twirling and essentially a whirlwind picked up a lounge chair off the grass, carried it across the poolside and another row of lounge chairs, and it dropped down in the pool onto a group of people. My first thought was I hoped no one got hurt. Then I saw the bloody head and went immediately into helper mode. Dad was there for the boy but he seemed quite okay with me applying the pressure. Thank God the wound, which was nasty beyond belief, calmed down in the bleeding realm. Poor little kiddo.

So after that I wasn't ready to sit back down by the pool chilling. We went to the poolside bar for a little snack and I enjoyed a cold beer. Later in the day I enjoyed some of the champagne the hotel left us in honor of our marriage validation and to enjoy our honeymoon AND they gave us a great room. So if you are on Maui and looking for a place to stay on the west side, I highly recommend the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel. They rock the boat and we have had many staycations there...as well as many other locals. P.S. The little boy was from Maui too on a staycation.

After enjoying more alcohol in a day then I had in months I continued hydrating well with water. I even started that with the first beer. I drank lots and lots of water. Once morning came I felt perfectly fine and I topped off our sports bottle with some icy water and added a berry SOS Rehydrate -- my new go to hydration drink. I honestly feel this drink made all those Texas runs awesome and is allowing me to run longer without turning to a gel, which is a GREAT thing since gels tend to mess with my tummy.

When dear hubby and I started out on our run I still thought we would do an easy run but I guess I got inspired by not only my buddy but his brother's runner and on the run I decided I would run 10 miles for Toby as Mercedes ran 10 miles for Boaz. We would bless both boys with lots of running! And I seriously decided this on the run at about mile 3 on our out and back course. I can't say dear hubby was impressed with me but he was out of sorts as he wasn't in the driver's seat of this run. But what can I say? The weather was awesome (although dear hubby and another runner thought I was crazy when I said how cool it felt...guess I am still used to running in humid Texas).

But in all seriousness, I feel a lot of my performance and sense of ease of running is due to how I fuel SOS Rehydrate is awesome. It isn't too sweet so I can actually drink it but yet it provides me with all the electrolytes I need. And yes, I ran 10 miles just with that. No gels. Nothing else and I didn't even eat breakfast first. Nothing. We headed out on empty stomachs and I won't say that is the way to go as at mile 9 my tummy was grumbling for food but I also didn't want a heavy resort breakfast in me before running and didn't plan on running 10 miles. But I did. Thank you SOS! You saved me!
my body.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to be on TeamSOS and I got that announcement after promising to tell you this story. 

Daily Bible Verse: It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife. ~ Proverbs 21:9

I love today's bible verse as it reminds me to pick my battles, let little things go, and to be a peaceful wife and mom.


Tomorrow is the day! ~ Marriage Validation

I am super excited to announce that dear hubby and I are getting our marriage validated tomorrow! If you follow me on facebook or instagram, you may have already got the news. This means the world to me but as I stand on the mountaintop spreading the good news it seems some don't quite know what I mean. So here it is in a nutshell.

I was married before. I got married when I was 19 and I had no clue what I was doing. The man was a gem, a dear friend, but that is it. We were awesome friends. Not meant to be married and live our lives out together. Some may say I was running away from things and into things searching for happiness. I didn't find it there but I did find my way to Maui. I will be forever grateful as that started my path to meeting dear hubby. But first I had some serious road bumps along the way.

My life changed from married lady on Maui to single lady on Maui and I made mistakes. I felt awful for getting a divorce and started making bad decisions and one bad decision led to the next and to be honest, they kept getting worse. Needless to say, my faith wasn't guiding me. I am sure my Mom was praying for me like crazy but me, I can't say I prayed much at all. Not like today. I pray every day now and many are simple "Thank you God!" prayers for all the little blessings I see. He didn't abandon me when I wandered so far. He patiently called me back over and over and over and over again.

It was in this time of Him calling me back that I started to fall for dear hubby. I was falling head over heels in love with him and could feel my heart opening up again. It had been closed for so many years. I even took a job and moved to O'ahu to confirm my love for him was real. Yes, I moved to another island to confirm what we felt was true and not a love out of convenience. And then he went to Spain to do some work there and we got to fully try on a LONG distance relationship. I was finally convinced what we felt was real and moved back to Maui to be with him as he was back home from his Spain assignment....so we thought. I moved to Maui, he left for Spain again, and here we were....LONG distance relationship while I tried to convert our home full of nothing into a home of something. I sold almost everything I owned when I moved back to Maui.

As his time in Spain grew and grew I worked two jobs and eventually he talked me into flying to Spain. God blessed me with my job giving me the time off (please note, I had only been working for them for a couple of months when I asked) and I spent a very brief time in Spain (in order to get back to work for the next school group I was teaching). And now each and every day I see that blessing of time in Spain whenever I look at darling daughter. She was my gift. God gave us a beautiful daughter while I was in Spain (yes, she was conceived in Spain) and I prayed for a little girl as dear hubby already had two sons. He was married previously too.

So when it came time for us to "tie the knot" I still felt too ashamed to tell the priest we both had previous marriages and...gasp...I had a child out of wedlock. I know this may sound old school to some of you but even though I drifted so far from my faith, it was still a part of me. And I still yearned to feel true happiness. And even though God was blessing me left and right, I was missing it. I wasn't seeing it. I was blind.

I didn't find that deep happiness until I faced my fears, confessed my sins, and started making things right according to my faith. In March I began the journey to get our marriage validated as this was deeply important to me. Dear hubby obliged. I truly felt that once I did this those dark gloomy feelings of regret would go away and I could feel the full love of our relationship and marriage. Dear hubby and I have been on a relationship tightrope for YEARS but I got to say, we are the best we have been in YEARS now. God is doing His work...or should I say, I am now doing things His way and feeling the peace, love, and happiness I have craved for years.

And hey, dear hubby got to propose to me!

Yes, that didn't happen the first time as our marriage just evolved out of discussions. No formal engagment or anything like that. I just picked the date and place and voila! We were married.

So in a nutshell, getting our marriage validated means that after our ceremony tomorrow the church will see our marriage as the sacrament it is meant to be and that means the world to me.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful God has opened my eyes to see His beauty and blessings each and every day.

Daily Bible Verse: Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8


Never Give Up

Aloha All!

Vacation is over and I am back on Maui, back to work, and back to crazies. My biggest hurdle is tracking down a spelling tablet for darling daughter's school supplies. So far none on island and if I ordered one it would cost $20! But I have faith all will work out just fine....just like today's run.

My goal was to run 10 miles but I wasn't sure if I was up to it. I ran 10.25 miles yesterday and you know me and my doubts. Can I do it? I was spurred on to give it a try from a tweet from SOS Rehydrate.

Ok! Challenge accepted! Gotta love turning to social media for running support.

With the motivation to run 10 miles I headed out the door only to find that I forgot to charge my Garmin. The same one that was blinking low battery at the end of yesterday's 10.25 mile run. This won't do. I turned right around, put it up, and got the Nike GPS app on my phone geared up ready to go. 10 miles here I come....again!

But in less than a mile my CamelBak vest was bugging me like crazy. It was rubbing against my stomach and I quickly realized if I ran like this for 10 miles I would be a bloody mess. So I turned back to my start to put on some more BodyGlide --- this time rubbing it all over the inside of my vest. Then I looked down and noticed the nozzle was missing from my CamelBak! I looked all around where I stood and nothing. Fortunately I was leaking yet but I knew it would start and there wasn't any way I was going to do 10 miles with no hydration. I needed my SOS! So I headed out the door with the promise to myself...if I find the nozzle, run on. If I don't, cut my losses. I started retracing my steps and praise God! Look what I found off to the side of the path I was running on!

I did a quick wipe (some Junie B Jones language in honor of darling daughter), put it back on, promised myself to order replacement nozzles so I can always have a back-up (I have been promising myself this for over a year now), and ran on...again.

I met my goal of 10 miles...and beyond...only because I refused to give up at the first sign of an obstacle. I refused to say no that quickly. I committed myself to digging deep, to roll with the punches, and to run on. I am glad I did. It is runs like this that really matter in marathon training. The ones you persevere through even if the pace isn't your fastest. Even if you had some really slow miles in the mix. It is okay. Just run. Don't give up. You can do it!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I found my nozzle.

Daily Bible Verse: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. ~ Romans 12:12