8.28.2015

Run & Walk for the Whales - Join Me!

Please note: This is a completely biased post. The Run & Walk for the Whales is hosted by Pacific Whale Foundation and the race director is....me! I am not writing this post as part of my job but on my own personal accord. All opinions expressed are solely my own. 

Aloha All!

How is life going? For me, pretty good as I am in taper gearing up for race day just 9 sleeps away! You can read more about that HERE but today's post is about another race. A race much further away. In fact race day is January 30, 2016 but I won't be toeing the start line. I will be behind the scenes, or somewhat in front of the scenes, taking care of the million things that need to be taken care of in order for a race to go off without a hitch and the run, or runs in this case, be as awesome as possible. 

As a runner myself, I truly care about the runners' experience during a race and as a race director, I truly appreciate the effort that goes into pulling off a race. With all these storms lined up and swirling around the Hawaiian Islands my heart goes out to the race director for the Kaua'i Marathon. If it was me and a mere couple of weeks before race day I would be watching and perhaps sweating a wee bit more. Why? Because I care.

As a race director for the Run & Walk for the Whales I care about so many teeny tiny details. Details I hope you as participants never have to think of. This goes beyond timing, course set-up, and race bling to how many cups we need and where, how many bottles of water and where, that the signs are set up in the exact right place so participants aren't misled on race distance, that police officers are at key points and know the course, that medical aid is on stand by, that post race food and festivities is in place and that the food will span the needs of those with special diets. Yes, I am dairy free and I think about that. If someone can't eat dairy, is there something for them? If someone is gluten free, is there something for them? Can participants find the food, the porta potties, etc? Is there something to keep family and friends engaged while their loved ones run?

Guess what? For the Run & Walk for the Whales the answers are yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!

The course is an out and back (the walk is a loop) and is relatively flat but be warned, you are starting at one of the  windiest harbors in the world. Yep, it has the potential to be quite windy but trust me, if you run against the wind, you will have the wind at your back later and often towards the end of the race. No promises though. I can't control the wind, the rain, or any other natural factors but I do run and love this course. Yes, I run along this course myself as I do love it and its views. In fact, all of the photos included in this post are from my recent runs along the course.

The race consists of a half marathon, 10K run, 5K run, a 2.5 mile walk, and a virtual option when you join the Virtual Team. There is something for everyone...even your kiddos. If you have young ones who may not like hanging out while you race with your significant other or perhaps you and hubby want to run, sign them up for a special edition of Ocean Camp offered on race day from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. The Pacific Whale Foundation education team will look after and entertain your little ones and they just may come back to you knowing a bit more about our precious oceans. How cool is that? And yes, that was a personally motivated add-on to the race since dear hubby and I often race and wonder, who will watch darling daughter? What if more races offered this option? Wouldn't that be cool?!

So what are you waiting for? Join me today! You can register for the race HERE or the virtual team HERE.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I can use my personal running and racing experiences to direct the Run & Walk for the Whales.

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

8.25.2015

Marathon Taper: Here we are again

12 sleeps until the Kauai Marathon! Yee-haw! I am officially into taper, granted, pretty much the
beginning of my two week stretch and so far I am calm, cool, and collected. Oh yes, I am a calm as the morning dew, cool as a winter breeze, and as mellow as Jell-O. For now.

Nature is doing a really good job of keeping my mind off any creeping taper blues as I watch disturbance after disturbance drift around the Pacific. I have seen more lightning in the past few days than I have in the 12+ years living in Hawai'i! Good golly, Ms. Molly, it is crazy here and can go from bright sunny skies to turning my street into a raging river with rapids.

And call me selfish if you must but I keep crossing my fingers and hoping for sunny pleasant days once marathon weekend rolls around. This is the family trip we have been looking forward to for months (personally, I have been looking forward to it since I ran the Kauai Half Marathon).

I am not heading over to Kauai to PR but to run my little heart out and soak up the wonderfulness of life. To run for God and feel that great spiritual connection I felt on the island of Kauai. God created some really beautiful masterpieces there! I am excited for darling daughter to run the Keiki Run, I can't wait to run in the group run with other runners and some really cool top dog runners who motivate me, and I am excited to chill out in the pools at the resort. Yes, pools. They have more than one and fingers crossed, the sun will shine and we can try them all out! Darling daughter can't wait and I intend to savor each second with her.

As much as I am excited and distracted, I know that eventually those taper nerves are going to come crashing down on me but I will remember, I am running this race for God and try my best to set those nerves aside and trust in his plan for me. For those of you who have been following my journey for awhile you know I am turning over a new life. No time goal. Just running for God. Enjoying life. Savoring each step. Trusting my training....and all the curve balls in it.

Now if just our weather can calm itself down in time for marathon weekend. But hey, why worry? I can't do one single thing about it.

Have a blessed day!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the times when my mind is quiet, my soul is peaceful, and my heart is full.

Daily Bible Verse: He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" ~ Matthew 8:26-27
He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Weather,-God~s-Sovereignty-Over#sthash.0kAGlFaC.dpuf
He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Weather,-God~s-Sovereignty-Over#sthash.0kAGlFaC.dpuf

Other posts you may like:
Why taper?
Faith - as it relates to running and racing
I achieved my big goal -- now what?

8.20.2015

Clif Bar: Organic Energy Food and more

This is a sponsored post. I received product free of charge for review plus additional product for my family. I did not promise a positive review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Aloha All!

You know I am an SOS Rehydrate lover but sometimes a gal needs a little bit more on a run. As I stated previously, I am using less gels than I used to due to a great electrolyte drink but come on, I can't see how I can even imagine running 26.2 miles without an added boost.

I am big into the natural and want something that is easy to swallow, has a nice consistency, and tastes good. And yes, it needs to settle well in my tummy but with less gels being consumed, my tummy is staying happier.

I have found all natural items that are grainy and I just can't do that. And I don't want things too thick that linger in my mouth. Yes, I know I am to drink lots of water with gels, etc and I do but I don't want to feel like I must swish the water around my mouth vigorously to remove gel residue.

Enter...Clif Bar Organic Energy Food. I was dying to try this the moment I read the flavors available: pizza margherita, sweet potato with sea salt, banana beet with ginger, and banana mango coconut. I received the last two to review and dear hubby chuckled when I opened each to give them a taste test at the kitchen table while I was waiting for dinner to cook. Both tasted remarkable and are flavors I would consume just because but no, I won't be grabbing an energy food for a snack. Just realize, they taste good!

And both have a smooth consistency that is thin but not watery. Thin enough that a good push can send it flying out the packet (yep, dear hubby did that) and I LOVE that the packets can be sealed back up. Not only does this allow you to consume just what you need it will eliminate the gooey mess left in my hydration vest when I stow packets to be tossed later.

Feedback from the family on their products:

Dear hubby loved his Clif Shot Bloks and he really enjoyed mountain berry and black cherry...especially the black cherry!

Darling daughter adores her Clif Kid Zfruit and is rationing it to ensure she has some yumminess to turn to for days to come! P.S. This is an item I have given the Easter Bunny a seal of approval to leave for darling daughter in lieu of a basket full of chocolate and sugary treats. That may be why darling daughter views this as a treat and not an everyday go-to item.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the generosity of Clif Bar. 

Daily Bible Verse: This is what the LORD says: "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more." ~ Jeremiah 31:15

8.17.2015

GUILTY: The Comparison Game

I have been running long enough to know that I should never compare myself to others and I am really good at saying I don't but then I realized....I was.

It wasn't the I want to run as fast as she can, or as long as he can, or anything like that. It was plain and simple, darnit...they are nailing their training plan and I am flailing. This training cycle has been a crazy roller coaster, much like every other one I have gone through. I honestly believe it is because I am a full-time employee, a mom, and a wife devoted to my family and faith as much as I am devoted to running. I only have so many hours in a day and life has a magical way of creeping up on you and provided you with twists, turns, etc.

The past 10 days or so have been ridiculously busy and it was that "final week" before things start tapering down for real. I was annoyed I wasn't finding the time and/or energy to nail my runs and I was in a delicate balance game between pushing myself just enough and pushing myself too far and risking injury or illness. And then it dawned on me. I wasn't upset about the training I had done. I was upset I wasn't training like "they" were.

That is the crazy thing about social media. You can easily see how far or long someone ran but you don't always see what obstacles they are facing, how full their days are, how they are feeling about x, y, or z. You just think...I didn't do that. And I am not alone. I have a runner friend who recently confessed her own running life jealousy as others post their accomplishments and she thought, but I only did this.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Seriously! We are all rocking the boats we have been given in a very awesome way! Yes, you are rocking the boat beautifully!

The Kaua'i Marathon means a lot to me and I am not selling myself short when I say I do not expect to PR, I expect it to be hard, and I hope to run well and finish strong. I have another marathon in December and perhaps a third in January. I know this isn't my A race in terms of pace but I hope it to be my A race in terms of FAITH and COURAGE. In all reality, many could consider it a training run for my next two marathons and I should do the same.

My body is trained and ready to go. Yes, I would have LOVED more long runs in the 18+ mile range but that is okay. By December my training will be remarkable if I come out of Kaua'i strong and able to keep on going and that is my goal. I am going to have a BLAST on Kaua''i as it is another part in my marathon journey.

Running isn't all about the races. Those are icing on the cake and can help make you feel good and that is perfectly fine by me. I am ready to indulge in some race time delight and to hang out in an AWESOME resort with my family. I will pour my heart in soul into my race but I will stop looking down, feeling sorry for myself, and wishing I ran as long as she did or as far as he did or as fast as they did with the belief that they are nailing their training every single day. I am running my race my way and at the end of the day, I just pray God says, "Well done good and faithful servant, well done." What could be better than that?

Daily Gratitude: I am glad I realized I was guilty of comparing myself to others so I could put an end to it all.

Daily Bible Verse: His master said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master." ~ Matthew 25:21

8.14.2015

Your Menstrual Cycle and Running

Hello world! Yes, I am getting right out there today and talking about the joys of being a running lady. Sometimes we have to deal with that menstrual cycle and in all reality, we are always dealing with it whether it is that time of the month or not. Let's forgot about what if race day falls on that worst day ever. Been there, done that...more than I would want to but in all reality, it is out of our control although I must confess, I have told dear hubby once or twice he is lucky to be a man and not have to worry about this kind of stuff. I don't think he got it and probably dismissed me as being moody again, which I probably was. It all makes perfect sense.

But for years I was adamant to say my menstrual cycle didn't impact me or my performance one single bit. Let's call that denial. When you truly accept the facts in your life you can run with them better. There are things you can do, understand, and still get the PR you are dreaming about; however, don't beat yourself up as life is too short to get all worked up over things out of your control. Been there, done that too. It only accomplished making me more miserable. Learn from my mistakes, please. Thanks!

So in a nutshell, here is what is happening to us ladies on a monthly cycle. Yep, back to biology class we go!

Aloha Menses! Day 1 of our cycle. It can last 3-5 days, typically. Yep, I am going to assume we all have a 28 day cycle. Please note: if you have a heavy period your hemoglobin count may be decreasing making you lethargic. If you are really concerned, talk to your doctor about getting an iron check and to see if supplements are recommended. Please, don't diagnose yourself. You can have too much of a good thing.

Hello Follicular Phase! This is generally day 1 to day 14 of your cycle but I learned it can go up to 21 days. Oh the joys of an irregular and long cycle! Our estrogen levels are down there at rock bottom and we can feel achy and tired but don't fret, we begin to feel a bit energized around day 7 as our estrogen increases and peaks at day 14. Woo-hoo! But wait, if you have anxiety issues that boost in estrogen may make you a bit more anxious. 

Bonjour Luteal Phase! Here comes the final 14 days. Progesterone starts rising, estrogen drops (but it does have a second mini peak around day 23). Ladies, our bodies start getting warmer with the increase in progesterone and that bloated feeling? That is the progesterone causing fluid balance issues leading to water and electrolyte loss.

What does this all mean for running performance?

In the first few days of your cycle you may be weak (and perhaps have a lower hemoglobin count). Go out and run! But don't purposely schedule your hard workouts during these days and if you must do them, forgive yourself if you fall a wee bit short. Who knows, the effort may boost your hormone levels and make you feel good but honestly, listen to your body. Is it worth risking injury or burnout?

In addition at the end of your cycle, especially the days right before your period, you may experience your worse performance but don't fret, your performance should have rocked the boat mid-cycle when your estrogen levels were up.

Please also keep in mind that when our body temperature is raised due to progesterone, our thermostats are a bit off kilter. They don't work normally as we now have an increased threshold to dissipate heat. What all this means is, it is harder to run in the heat and you may be more susceptible to heat exhaustion. Please take care of yourself.

What can we do? Honestly, I listen to my body. If I feel sluggish I think about what I have done recently and the time of the month. Yes, I do get a heavy leg, sluggish feel as my period approaches but I have also PR'd a marathon on day 2 with a heavy period. Personally, I have noted that days 1 or 2 are a bit better than the days leading up to my period as long as my flow isn't extremely heavy. I also try to stay well hydrated every single day and take a women's multi-vitamin that does have some iron in it. And if I am hot and feeling unable to cool down, I slow my pace, cool myself down by pouring water on myself, or cut the run short if it is in my best interest. If it is a race, I would rather finish able to run tomorrow then to finish on a stretcher so yes, I have walked way more than I wanted to in a very hot marathon.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I am getting more and more in tune with my body.

Daily Bible Verse: Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear. ~ 1 Peter 3:3

8.11.2015

Freekeh Product Review & Giveaway!

This is a sponsored post. I received two packages of Freekeh free of charge to review and will be offering one package of Freekeh and a cookbook to one of my readers. I did not promise a positive review. All opinions expressed are solely my own. Giveaway is open to US residents only and Freekeh Foods will be supplying the product.

First, what on Earth is Freekeh?!

Freekeh was an accident. A fire about 2000 years ago destroyed a crop of green wheat in the Middle East. Instead of throwing their arms up in the air in despair, the villagers rubbed off the chaff and cooked the wheat or....freekeh! I love it when "misfortunes" turn good and I was excited to give this product a try. Dear hubby and darling daughter LOVE rice but I am often looking for something with a bit more....shall I say, flavor.

Freekeh was the perfect answer. I got one package of original and one package of rosemary sage. I served the original freekeh with lemon pepper chicken and the leftover freekeh was turned into turkey and freekeh stuffed peppers...made with a light gravy versus a tomato based sauce. Darling daughter's choice and they were remarkable!

The rosemary sage freekeh was served along with beans and greens (white beans and kale) and I loved it and so did dear hubby. Darling daughter was less than impressed but I think it was the kale not the freekeh. She loves the freekeh but in all honestly, preferred the original. Yep, she is a plain jane kinda gal sometimes when it comes to food. "Make my chicken lightly seasoned, Mom." is a common request.

So, what is my honest opinion on freekeh. I loved it. It had more substance to it than rice and yes, it has a bit of flavor, even the original. I like the firmness of it and would definitely buy it myself one day. It is super easy to cook. I just used my rice cooker and used the proportion of grain to water they recommend on the package. Each package says it serves four but I got two meals out of each for our 3 person family (darling daughter and I often "share" a serving). 

I would have taken pictures of all my freekeh meals but to be honest, by the time they were on the plate I was beyond exhausted and ready to eat and forgot. Hence, I am not a food blogger!

Are you ready to try some yourself? Enter the giveaway and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
P.S. I am kinda jealous. I would love to check out their cookbook. Whoever wins it, let me know what you think about it, okay? Thanks! 

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunity to try some Freekeh.

Daily Bible Verse: As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty. ~ Matthew 13:23



8.07.2015

5 tips for running long on the treadmill

Running long on the treadmill is tough...really tough. Last weekend I ran 21 miles on the treadmill and at the end I cried tears of joy. That is often the case after a successful long treadmill run that followed a failed attempt. You see, three weeks ago I ran 18 miles on the treadmill, two weeks ago 8 miles was torture, and then I got my 21 mile run done.

The 8 mile wasn't a failed attempt due to any physical reason. It was pure 100% mental. I didn't set myself up for success. So here are my tips to successfully running long on the treadmill.

  1. Tell yourself with confidence you are going to do it. My failed attempt followed a week of me thinking I may or may not run long since I did a 19-miler the week before.
  2. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Yes, I like to get my bottles of SOS Rehydrate ready the night before to avoid any unnecessary procrastination the day of. 
  3. Start early. The longer you delay the harder it will be...at least for me. I am a morning runner to begin with so I often start my long treadmill runs on Saturday after having breakfast with darling daughter.
  4. Clear your day. Don't have a lot on your plate to do afterwards. Saturdays tend to be my errands and chores days but when I need to run long, I clear my day. I run my errands Friday afternoon to alleviate stress that I must get x, y, and z done. Plus I can multi-task and get laundry going and moving while running as I incorporate very fast pit stops into moving laundry. 
  5. Make it fun. I know, a long run on the treadmill doesn't sound like fun but I try to fun it up by getting a movie or two from Redbox for darling daughter to watch (I kinda watch them too) and we play the washcloth game in which she moves a washcloth from one stack to another at set mile increments. It breaks the run up into segments. Plus I turn to social media for support and fun. I adore running for Toby and this is one plus in running long on the treadmill. I will post to him, and on my facebook page, when I start and then provide updates at one hour intervals. It gives me something else to look forward too. I also allow myself to listen to tunes or read some. 
What tip do you have for running long on a treadmill?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I have a treadmill at home.

Daily Bible Verse: Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord! ~ Psalm 31:24

 

8.05.2015

I am Pro-Life

Yes, this is a controversial post and one slightly outside my normal blogging range on Life as a
Running Mom but this post has been on my heart for months. Today on my run it came to me that I can not remain silent any longer on my blog. My voice has been slowly coming out in my personal life too but fear has been keeping me from posting anything here but I say no to fear. It will no longer let it stop me.

I have heartbroken beyond belief over the news about Planned Parenthood. I mean, my heart is hurting and breaking. I stopped wearing make-up as I have been crying so much but still with my red, puffy eyes the deafening silence surrounds me and is crushing me. For those who know my full story, they are also silent. Why? Is my pain visible? Does it make them uncomfortable?

I wasn't always a strong Pro-Life advocate. In my younger years I believed the lies that women had a choice to make decisions that were best for them but I never fully understood the devastating impact that abortion can have on a woman's emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. This decision is not best for the woman. Women have the right to know the full impact of that choice. Anything feared at the time of an unexpected pregnancy pales in comparison to the devastation that abortion causes. And don't think I am attacking anyone. I'm not. My heart hurts too much to hurt anyone else. Instead I pray...almost non-stop...for all babies. I pray for the unborn and that they are protected, I pray for the moms, that they find strength, I pray for the women who have suffered abortion that they feel God's grace, I pray to the aborted babies in Heaven asking them to please forgive us all and to pray for us. I pray to God asking Him to heal this country and to use me as His servant in this fight for life.

I will no longer be silent out of fear of upsetting those who have different views. I realize we do. Some of you will agree with me, some won't, and maybe one or two will question their beliefs and perhaps start valuing the life of our precious babies more, some of you may have even stopped reading or decided to stop reading my blog. But know I am not here to judge anyone. That is not my intent. My goal is to get everyone thinking about how we can help wrap the world in love, heal the brokenhearted, ease the pain of past scars, and to provide help to those needing it.

Our country is hurting and there are many women hurting because they regret their past choice and that regret and guilt can manifest in ways that is negatively impacting their life and happiness. Trust me, there is help for you. If you want to reach out, I am here for you to answer your questions. You can send me a direct message on facebook (I tend to respond quickly there) or email me (lifeasarunningmom at gmail.com) as I understand this is a topic you may not want to respond to publicly. I understand and I wrap you in my love and hold you all in my prayers. No matter what you faith is, your stand, or past choices...I love you and continue to pray for you.

May God bless us all, please forgive us and let us feel Your healing grace.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for God's healing grace.

Daily Bible Verse: The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. ~ Exodus 14:14

8.03.2015

August Goals

Today I was inspired by Rachael over at Rachael Novello Fitness to get back into making monthly
goals and once I do that, I can get back into reviewing my training each month. It is hard to evaluate how you did if you don't have SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals.

Thank goodness Rachael is a fellow #TeamRehydrate member and I saw her post about an August instagram challenge. I am not jumping onto that bandwagon as my August is going to be full! And before I head into my August goals, did you know you can win some SOS Rehydrate? But you must enter soon as the giveaway ends August 8th.

Now let's talk goals for August!

First, it is important to note that the Kaua'i Marathon is September 6th. Envision huge smile and leaps for joy!!! With that in mind, August is going to have some tapering....due to start sooner than I would like.

With that said, my August goals are:
  • To continue to run daily...at least a mile. 
  • To do yoga every day...at least 10 minutes but I would love at least 15 minutes.
  • To hydrate well each and every day. I will achieve this by drinking at least 48 ounces of water a day (yep, I picked six 8 oz cups of water because I want to drink that beyond my daily protein drink, which is mixed in water, and the water I drink while on the run). 
  • To get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
  • To do my nightly devotional and journal each night...this is harder than it may sound.
  • To say the rosary once a week.

Phew! Now that I have my goals typed up....let's start! And yes, I have my spiritual well-being goals set in addition to my physical well-being goals as I firmly believe holding true to my faith and nurturing it helps me while running. And I am going to need my faith once I hit those Kaua'i hills!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the almost 2 hour massage I got last night.

Daily Bible Verse: Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Matthew 6:19-21

P.S. Don't forget the SOS Rehydrate giveaway and if you can't wait - you can buy some HERE.