9.30.2015

October Goals

A couple of month's ago I posted my August goals and had the goal that monthly I would evaluate where I was in comparison to those goals. I flopped. Here it is the last day of September, I never looked back to August, and I never made any September goals.

So let's kindly disregard that big flop and see how I did for August. Better late than never, right?

The August goals:
  • To continue to run daily...at least a mile. - CHECK!
  • To do yoga every day...at least 10 minutes but I would love at least 15 minutes. - CHECK but many 10 minute days plus some days are a couple of yoga breaks combined but hey, I got it done! And still am by the way.
  • 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). - CHECK but I started slipping the end of the month and don't ask me about September. Way too much coffee.
  • To get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. - CHECK! once again, do not ask me about September. Major insomnia issues then.
  • To do my nightly devotional and journal each night...this is harder than it may sound. - I abandoned the journal but CHECK on the nightly devotion.
  • To say the rosary once a week. - Can you see me shaking my head? Nope. And even though many weeks I heard the rosary 5 days on the way to work, if my mind drifts I don't count it. I need to get stronger on this. 

With that said, I can create my October goals:
  • To continue to run daily...at least a mile.
  • To do yoga every day...at least 10 minutes with 1-2 longer classes once a week.
  • To hydrate well each and every day.
  • To drink little to no alcohol. I feel better when I don't drink it but dear hubby likes to enjoy his indulgence with me. I need to say no thanks guilt free but perhaps one drink a week with him??? I am open to your input on this one.
  • To do my running drills at least three times a week.
  • To remain tough in my training and not weaken when faced with long run treadmill days.
  • To tend to my garden and not let my little seeds wither away (this is good Mom-Daughter bonding time too)
  • To not let stress or life get the best of me and to remain kind and loving in my words.
  • To do my nightly devotional with darling daughter.
  • To say the rosary once a week.
  • And most importantly, to NOT let my birthday make me feel old.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the Ending the Day Right app on my phone.

Daily Bible Verse: Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. ~ James 5:7

9.22.2015

Who do you lean on?

Life can be tough and we are all facing obstacles in varying degrees. Last week was TOUGH for me emotionally. I had battles to face but this go around something was different. I had been hurt, betrayed, pick whatever adjective works for you but there was no fight in me. Fighting gets you no where in life. All I needed was someone to lean on.

Who did I turn to first? God. Yep, I just cried out to God in what could be called agony and asked for His help. He guided me to a good friend to text and I did. Told her my woes and she told me she would pray and that was comforting. I felt less alone as I battled wondering if I could ever trust anyone.

I then turned to my nightly devotion and guess what? It touched on trust and very clearly stated you can trust no one on Earth. Oh man. This isn't going well. I read on and it reiterated that we can't trust anyone since we are all capable of making mistakes, sinning, stumbling, etc. That makes perfect sense. Trust me, I am in no position to judge anyone else so I read on to read I can only put my trust in God.

Did that make everything magically better? Nope. It didn't. I still felt hurt and betrayed as I continued to pray, work on truly forgiving, and extend peace and love to everyone including the person who hurt me. Easier said then done. Night time would come, I would fall asleep, and all those emotions worked themselves out into nightmares leading to fitful sleep with big slices of insomnia that lasted for nearly a week.

But in all of this I was surrounded by love and grace. Kindness I extended was coming back to me. Fights that once would have been fought weren't being fought. I was hurting but there was peace around me.

Family and friends can indeed be leaned upon in times of need. Just remember, they are human too and will screw up. We all do. Trust them anyhow. Forgive them when they hurt you because there is no other way to live when you place your full and complete trust in God. And trust me when I say, when you goof up you will want to be forgiven too. We will all goof up. That is life. But it is what we do after we goof up that really matters.

I heard a wonderful thing on the radio today and I am pretty sure it was Phil Sandoval on Immaculate Heart Radio (The radio station I am certain of, I am just not 100% it was Phil talking at the time but I am 98% sure it was him. If it wasn't and he happens to read this, I know he will extend the acknowledgement to the worthy person.) Okay, enough digressing...I don't remember the wording verbatim but in a nutshell, would you rather live your life with your anger or with x-person? I choose the people in my life. Let go of anger. It does no one any good.

On that note, let's close on a happy note....

 

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful God heals my broken heart.

Daily Bible Verse: Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. ~ Matthew 18:21-22

9.17.2015

My Top 5 Women Running Tips

The past few days have left me feeling like I have been hit by a bus and nope, it isn't post Kauai Marathon recovery. It is plain old girl stuff....I am 100% convinced. Recently I wrote a post on your menstrual cycle and running. Check it out and I do believe some months my running is impacted more by hormones than other months. As I stand here barely able to hold my arms up I thought it would be the perfect time to write up my 5 tips for women running. Okay, some of these may work for guys too but since I am including a hormonal element, please don't feel left out.
  1. Have a Plan: Today is day 1,358 of my running streak and I had been running on and off since before then. I have gone from no plan at all, to loose plans, to formal plans, to very detailed plans with splits, etc. noted. Over the years I have found I do a much better job getting out there and running if I have a plan but I have also found, sometimes a less detailed plan is the better plan. In my training I have weeks where the plan is just to run every day or to run x-minutes. I can't run with highly detailed plans and goals 365 days a year. I need those down times in my training and plan them in accordingly.
  2. Go with the Flow: This may be contrary to tip 1 but sometimes you just need to go with the flow and forget the plan. I know! What am I saying?! Forget the plan? Sometimes, yes. This is especially true if you are a mom, have a job, and have a zillion other things to do. Give yourself some breathing room and realize sometimes not following the plan is best for you and this can be tied to your hormones too. I did warn you those hormones were going to pop up. Sometimes not following the plan means yep, still run those 5 miles but ease up on the pace. Or sometimes it may be, run less. This month my heavy flow day was intensely heavy. It left me feeling wiped out and even though I pulled off a great 5 mile run yesterday, last night I felt like the truck came back and ran me over again. Today it is an easy mile day as blood loss isn't the only raging battle. I haven't been sleeping well and having nightmares so essentially, I could turn into a walking basket case any moment. Taking care of myself now will pay off in the long run. Or shall I say, taking care of myself now just may make that long run this weekend more awesome.
  3. Do not feel Guilty: As women we can be great at feeling guilty. I am reading a book that is talking about how ridiculously guilty feeling we can be -- especially moms of preschoolers. Oh yes, did I feel guilty then every single time I laced up. It was like I was abandoning my child to go running. How could I do that? What kind of mom was I? Well in fact, the perfect kind. Moms have to take care of themselves and ladies even if you are not a mom, take care of yourself guilt-free. Take some time each and every day for yourself. You deserve it. And hey, it will make you a better person for every one else too. I had a bumper sticker years ago that said, "When Mom gets CRANKY I send her for a run."
  4. Carry ID: This really should go without saying but please, carry ID. If you don't want to carry your driver's license I get it but there is RoadID. It really is better to be safe than sorry. I have a slim RoadID that I wear non-stop. Yep, it is on me day in and day out....every. single. day. Why? Because then I will never forget to put it on and it is a part of me. It reminds me that I run for Toby every time I look at it (it has a badge on it that says that plus it is blue for Down syndrome awareness) and it reminds me that I am running God's race (yep, I have that on it too).
  5. Communicate your Running Plan: I know people who go out a run at any time of day and any place and don't tell a soul. Trust me, dear hubby is one of them. Drives me nuts. The best story of worry was years ago when he left for his run. At least I knew he was heading out. Score 1. He typically would be back within two hours but it was over three hours and not a peep or sign of him. Phone calls and texts asking about his well being went unanswered. I was getting quite worried knowing he carries no ID when he runs. As four hours approached he got in touch with me and then I found out that he drove over 45 minutes to start his run. If I had known that before he left I wouldn't have started to worry. I would have factored in drive time. Fortunately he was a-OK but ask yourself this, if you did go out somewhere to run that is isolated (or not), didn't tell a soul, and got into trouble....how long would it take for someone to find you? How hard is it to say, hey, I am going to run here at this time of day? Do it. Communicate your plan. One day it just may save your life. On that note, I am not saying post to facebook and the whole entire world that I am heading out to run at x in x minutes. That may be too wide of a broadcast alert. Just saying....
What is your top tip running tip?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful the tsunami that hit Hawaii today was negligible.

Daily Bible Verse: I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. ~ Genesis 28:15

9.11.2015

The official Kauai Marathon recap

I can't believe it has been almost one week since I ran the Kauai Marathon (read my why). I miss it so much and yearn to go back already. That place, that race, still holds a special spiritual place in my heart. I know God is everywhere. I know He is with me everyday but there is something really cool about Kauai. I will be forever grateful for the time I have been there this year and in 2011.

So settle back, grab a cup of coffee, and take a big deep breathe while I try to get these racing thoughts from my mind to you in a somewhat coherent fashion.

Let's start with we arrived Friday night and went to the expo to get my race bib and hunt down those towels that has all the participant names in them (if you registered early enough). As soon as I saw my bib I was ready to break down in tears. My eyes did well up and I quickly got the attention of those handing the bib to me and I got the privilege to tell the whole story of what "Erica Runs4 Toby" meant. They were very stoked to hear the story. I wiped my eyes and headed off to the race merchandise and found the coveted towels and got one for myself and my buddy. Shh...don't tell him. His is in the mail and he hasn't received it yet. It is a surprise.

We headed off to play in the pools before dinner as this was one of the late nights I promised darling daughter. I woke up early Saturday and went on the group run led by Bart Yasso and meant a couple of awesome ultrarunners from California - Susan and nice guy (can't recall his name). Next stop, the keiki run which was the best organized keiki run I have ever seen with boys and girls being separated in races, races split in age groups 2-4, 5-7, and 8-12 and the best chicken ever racing with the kids. Each group of kiddo's had a special leader who briefed them on the course and took good care of them until they returned to their parents with their medal. Yes, every kid got a medal and I love that. We treated darling daughter to a homemade pop afterwards...thank goodness dear hubby had cash on him or I would have been running to the room to get some.


After this fun darling daughter and I hit the pools again and took a mid-day break to go to the expo to hear a talk on how running makes us smarter. That was an awesome talk! I really enjoyed it and I think we swam some more before dinner and an early bedtime. Darling daughter was less than stoked about that but quickly zonked out. Thank goodness! I woke up more than you would want to count so it was pretty easy to hear my muted alarm go off. Oops...I forgot to turn up my phone volume so thank you God for letting me hear that subtle chirp.


I made myself a cup of coffee and ate a belvita pack while getting everything in order for race day. We all caught the shuttle to the start where I hung out, drank a bit more water, and waited for race time to approach. Fortunately the wait wasn't too bad but a bit later after we all started to move to the start line darling daughter got a bit emotional, which got me a bit emotional, and I cried as she bawled and tried to sing the National Anthem to her to cheer her up. It didn't help much. I promised her I would be back and thought, "Please God, let me get back to her safe and sound." and before I knew it, we were off and running.


I started off nice and slow with a focus on keeping my pace easy in anticipation of the dreaded back half of the marathon course. This was not the time to start out with 9'00" miles. I had been warned multiple times about that at the group run and already knew that going into the race. My goal, nice and easy 10'00" miles right now. I wasn't running for a time goal or my dream to break a 4 hour marathon. I was running to glorify God, I was running for Toby, I was running for darling daughter, and I was running to raise Down syndrome awareness (which I was doing as I continued to tell Toby's story).

I had my iPod shuffle on my CamelBak pocket, four Huma gels in the back pocket, and two Stix of SOS Rehydrate in my vest's bladder. I also had some salt tablets just in case. I didn't have my earbuds in but knew the music was there if I needed it and anticipated turning it on at mile 10.8 when the marathoners veer off to the right and the half marathoners turn left towards the finish. I figured that is when I would need the added boost as the course participants would drop quickly from close to 2,000 (if I remember right) to a mere 314 crazy runners. Yep, darling daughter realized I was going to be running with 313 crazy new friends.

Between the aid station's cheers and birds along the course I was running happy and free. The tree tunnel was beyond amazing once again and soon we approached the village I remember from 2011. I remembered the lady who touched my heart being there in her chair with an oxygen tank. I rounded a corner and recognized her spot and as I approached it I saw a sign. It was a nursing home! And this year the drive was lined with a bunch of ladies in wheelchairs, some with oxygen, and their aides standing behind them. I wanted to stop and thank that lady in 2011. This year I crossed the road and ran up to those lovely ladies, stopped, and told them that they were the reason I came back to run. That I remembered them from 2011. I thanked them and ran on and once again my heart swelled, my eyes teared, and I worked to control my breathing as I was on the verge of crying like a baby as I remembered them, my Dad, and why I run. The next thing I knew I heard someone call, "Erica!". I turned to see a guy running up alongside me and guess what? It was the guy from the group run. He said he heard what I said and thanked me for doing that. I told him my story and talked about my Dad a bit and then told him, run on. He is training for his next 100 miler and I was certain he had more running speed in him then I did. I was still being a bit cautious for that second dreaded part of the course.

Mile 10.8 snuck up on me quicker than I would believe and the volunteers had to remind me to go to the right. I took a gel just before mile 10. This was my first gel. I was sipping SOS Rehydrate at every aid station or every couple of miles. My normal sipping schedule.

As I turned right and headed up yet another incline I kept the tunes off. I decided I was doing okay. There were native drummers here and there, cheers, birds, nice smells, good views. I was running happy even if that happy running was a bit slow on some of the climbs. I didn't let my mind focus too much on pace.

It was somewhere between here and mile 17 that I thought about how tough some of the inclines were. (P.S. I took a second gel at mile 16.) There were getting tougher just as the word on the street promised. The thought crossed my mind, Jesus died on the cross and endured so much worse than I was right now in this moment. I could run this. This was nothing. At mile 17 I tuned into my music mainly because the course was so spread out I was essentially running solo. Aid stations were spread out even if it was just a mile those miles could seem long as you climb a mountain. I was blessed to tune into "Above All" by Micheal W. Smith. It was just want I needed. I listened to it and a bit of the next song before pulling my earbuds out again. That was enough music for now. I got this.



I eventually made it to the back loop and started integrating walking more. The course was deserted in my mind. The aid stations less vibrant and energetic but yet the course was dotted with locals out on their driveways cheering you along. Right when you thought you were all alone someone or something reminded you that you weren't even if it was the course staff on a ATV driving by checking on the runners along the course. He was good at cheering runners along but I was very happy to be done playing leap frog with him. I think his station was driving up and down that back stretch to ensure we were indeed all okay.

Around mile 20 I took my third and final gel. I wasn't fueling based on distance or time per se but on how my body felt. I knew that third gel would be my final because I could tell my body would begin to refuse them. I took some plain water at a couple of aid stations mainly to have a cold drink in me, and on me, as it was getting hot. Around mile 21 I realized my fingers were swelling and I wondered if I put too much plain water in me. I stopped to grab a salt tablet and swore, no more drinking water. Stick to the SOS Rehydrate even it it was warm. I was feeling a bit down and out at this moment. I was a bit discouraged as I was walking more than I wanted but mainly because the climbs kept coming like a vengeance and I felt my "power" walking was faster than my "running" up them. I can't say if this was the best plan but I can say, I always started running again when I wanted to and my legs weren't failing me. And it was just after I took my salt tablet that I bumped into a friend from Maui. We greeted each other eagerly and cheered each other on, did some leap frog, and I finished slightly before him.

At this point I want to share another story. I can't remember what mile it was at but at one point I began to feel doubtful. I am not sure if it was at mile 6 when my hip hurt for a bit and I reminded myself to have faith in God or at another point when I reminded myself to run for God. Marathons can be like that for me. I can run a range of emotions and thoughts but once I hit the finish line, they all become a web of the journey. But regardless, in my moment of doubt I thought of Peter stepping out of the boat and walking on water. He was doing great until he became fearful and I can just hear Jesus saying, Silly Peter, why are you doubting me? Have faith. I let go of my fears and had faith. I knew God had something special in mind for me today but in all reality, I wasn't sure what it was beyond growing closer to him. Growing in my own trust.

As mile 26.2 approached I pushed myself to run as much as I could and returned to running up the climbs here and there. I took walk breaks for mental strength and continued to run strong. Along one break another runner came along me walking and told me last year he made the fatal mistake to run up this hill. Walkers passed him and continued on and he learned, walking can be better and it wasn't breaking the rules. I agreed and said bye to him shortly after and ran on. It was here that I finally let pace factor in. I looked at my pace, my time, and decided....I wanted to make my secret dream to finish the Kauai Marathon in under 5 hours. I was going to make a course PR today. Perhaps not a distance PR but a course PR and I did. At mile 25 I accepted a cold wet towel, wrung it out, and put it on the back of my neck. I was hot and needed to chill out. (P.S. Stuffing ice cubes under your hat and above your ponytail band help a lot.)

That finish line approached, I ran my best to the end, and smiled with eyes welling up as I ran past dear hubby and darling daughter. Dear hubby asked me to stop for a photo and I felt bad that I had to reply, "I can't" because I couldn't. I couldn't stop on a dime. I had to run on and slowly weaved to a stop. A lady turned the aid wheelchair to me and asked me if I was okay. Yes, I was. Part of the weaving was my emotional rollercoaster as I wanted to break down and cry tears of joy but struggled to hold them back as not to scare darling daughter as she and dear hubby came to me.


I found out later that my official time was 4:45:46 and that I placed 2nd in my division. The competition was not a HUGE course but I am still beyond grateful that God blessed me with placing in my division. Having faith in Him paid off! This was the race He has been preparing me for. This was the lesson he wanted me to learn. And I continued to tell Toby's story post race to those who asked about the "I Run4 Toby" tank that I put on as soon as I took my CamelBak vest off.


And some fun race stuff - elevation profile, my splits, and my time:




Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the Kauai Marathon staff and volunteers, especially Chelsea who went above and beyond helping me.

Daily Bible Verse: Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” Matthew 14:28-32

9.10.2015

A quick Kauai update

Aloha my beautiful friends!

I am back on Maui, back to work, but wanted to stop by quickly and say the Kauai Marathon rocked the boat. I completed it mentally strong and yes, the course was tough. I will get more into that later but I wanted to let you know that I finished, I ran well, and I placed 2nd in my division!!!!!

There is so much to tell you and I will but I want to get my pictures of my phones, my thoughts a little less swirly, and have time to really tell you about my journey. But here are a few pictures from the weekend for those who do not follow me on facebook, twitter, or instagram or missed the pics.

Have a blessed day!






Daily Gratitude: I am thankful my legs have recovered quickly.

Daily Bible Verse: His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!  Matthew 25:21