Road Running PSA

Safety while running has been on my mind since I read Dorothy Beal's post the other day on fears she may encounter on a run. You can read her post HERE. She did receive some not so pleasant comments but I think she was prepared for that. Expressing an opinion, or fear, that may not be mainstream kinda puts you in the path for not so nice comments.

But this post isn't to bash Dorothy. I have nothing against her and am glad she expressed what was on her mind --- that she may be fearful for her safety while running. She did keep stressing that she realizes that these are her own fears and that all the guys she crosses can be awesome but with news of women being abducted or harmed on a run, she is afraid.

Who can blame her?

Not me. I can have my own host of fears. Some more rational than others. But they all keep me safer as they keep me thinking about safety. I do not fear men per se on a run. I run in public places and in daylight - two things that can increase my safety in my frame of mind. But that highway I run along can bring up new safety concerns. Before you go bashing me, it isn't a mainland highway but a Maui highway and a popular place for runners and cyclists alike. This is not I-10 in rush hour traffic....although that may be safer as no cars are moving. (Just kidding, guys!)

Today I was a bit more focused on safety perhaps due to residual effect of the article I already mentioned or because it was morning, drop the kids off at school traffic time. Just crossing the road at a crosswalk to get to the other side so I could run racing traffic was a challenge....even at an intersection with a cross guard. But I must add, the cross guard didn't move one inch to help me and stayed in his car. I am sure if I had a kid at my side he would have jumped into action to ensure the kiddo got to school safely but I was just a runner.

I ended up running up the road a bit and crossed where traffic wasn't as congested and moving as slow and bottle necking. Yes, that was safer. Go figure. But I really didn't like running without seeing the traffic coming to me. I like seeing the cars and know it is best to run facing traffic.

As I ran along I remembered the fears that can creep into my head at times. The fear that I would be harmed and no longer be there for my daughter. Cars are dangerous and I am just a human. Any mishap and I am sure the car would come out ahead. And then there are the narrow shoulder stretches where I am running along a guardrail with no place to jump or dodge to. My overactive imagination can envision being pinned between a car and those rails. I run faster in these points to get to wider, safer, stretches.

I know the odds of harm are small and in those times of fear I remember, God is with me. He will call me home exactly when He wants to and being wrapped up in fear does me no good if I let it take over. But it isn't bad to be aware of your surroundings and to be proactive. I watch those cars. I listen for them. I look at the drivers. I take my defensive driving skills and turn them into defensive running skills and it has saved me, I am certain.

There have been countless times I have seen, or heard, a car coming to the intersection to make a right hand turn. I see them through the trees or hear them in the distance and adjust my speed accordingly. Most times, they see me at the very last moment and wave me on to continue with a smile. Sometimes, like today, they don't. I stopped at the intersection as the driver was looking left, rolled through the intersection, and started on the highway and didn't even look right until he would have hit me had I moved on. Runners, never cross in front of a car if you have not made eye contact. I don't care if you have the right away. Just yield. This driver didn't even flinch. The one from a similar scenario over a month ago totally flinched when she finally saw me. I hope she will remember to always look BOTH ways before going into an intersection. Guys, it isn't just runners or cyclists (who should be on the other side of the road) but what if for some crazy reason a car is coming up in the lane you are going into? It can happen. Just look, okay.

Halfway through my run as I pondered safety and this post I got to thinking, how many cars may I come across on a run. Today I passed 67 cars in 1 mile. Assuming even pace and traffic, that would be 268 cars today. Out of those cars, 3 made visible adjustments to their course in response to a runner on the road. By that I mean they moved a bit away from the white line on their right to give me a bit more room. Okay, two did that. One was a tractor driving up the shoulder who moved into the roadway while I moved off the shoulder as I was by a big field and could do so. For every car that visibly yields, I always wave, smile, and say thank you. They can't hear me but hey, maybe they can read lips. 3 out of 268 cars isn't much. That represents only about 1% of the drivers. But get this, those 3....they all happened on my way back down the hill going against traffic coming up. Not the morning rush traffic. Everyone in that rush was obviously in too much of a rush to do anything.

I also want to add, from my observations today, more than half of the drivers drive closer to the white line to their right versus the center line. I get this. I understand. But I feel when there are runners, cyclists, etc. in the shoulder maybe it is a good time to move a wee bit more central or to the left in your lane. I am not asking anyone to move out of their lane. Just to free up space.

As a driver, I do this but I am also a runner. I get it from a runner's perspective. I am certain a vast majority of the drivers knew I was there and were completely in control but I also know, some drivers text. I know some drivers swerve. I see it on the road when running and driving. It happens. It is in the back of my mind always. I am a defensive driver/runner. When I drive by someone on the roadside, I give them room....as much as possible. I know when I see someone do that for me I get a feeling of relief knowing for certain that they see me. And that is a cool feeling. And it just feels nice to be giving a wee bit more space.

So my mission for all of us is this, try to be a bit more friendlier on the road not only to fellow drivers but to runners and cyclists. Be safe out there!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to those who give me extra room on the road.

Daily Bible Verse: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9


Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

I can't believe October is almost over!

I can't believe it is almost Halloween!

I can't believe I have cut and prepped multiple pumpkins but haven't carved one pumpkin with darling daughter! I think I owe her a pumpkin. We bought gourds for her to paint before our quick flyover to O'ahu as time is precious right now. She was okay with just doing that but hey, she is an AMAZING child and tries to not over pressure me at times. I think she "needs" a pumpkin for us to carve. I feel I am robbing her of childhood joy when an 8 year old has no pumpkin to carve! Yes, I am being silly as we try to have traditions and fun but be flexible in life and focus on what really matters. We will be going to the candle lighting at church to focus on the true meaning behind All Hallows' Eve but I still enjoy Halloween...we just steer clear of the creepy, goblin stuff and focus on the pumpkins!!! We celebrate fall!

And with that, I recently wrapped up a free challenge group with a focus on pumpkins. We learned about the nutritional value of pumpkins, how to prep one, I shared recipes, and some fun facts on candy corn versus pumpkin seeds. It truly was a fun time and since I love what I do so much, and understand we don't all see everything on facebook, I am working on putting all the challenge information in one short and sweet email. Hey, we all have time constraints!

But to get the email when it launches, you need to sign up. I can't read your mind!

Just fill out this short and sweet form and learn some about pumpkins. Recipes include pancakes, soup, secret add in ideas, pie, and more!

And if you have any amazing recipes you want to share, check out that comment section below and leave a link!

Thank you and happy Halloween!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for an amazing rally on O'ahu.

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


Setting Social Media Hours

Oh how time can get sucked away one tweet, one post, one more glance at a time. I really do not want to get sucked into social media at times but at other times, it is an AMAZING way to connect and stay connected with friends and family when you are essentially stuck in the middle of the Pacific. Trust me, it has its benefits but lately I feel it is owning me versus directing me. I do need to stay plugged in for work and all I do but I realized, I need to set boundaries.

One thing I do with social media beyond family fun is work. I blog, I am a Beachbody coach, I have clients and challenge groups, and I need to stay connected. Not only do I need to, I WANT to. I love what I do so much! But I still need boundaries. That is the down of social media. It goes everywhere with you and makes it easy to work everywhere but do I need to always be working? Some may say yes. That is how you will grow your business. Trust me, I get told that A LOT! Yes, got it but I kindly disagree.

I am growing my business with the fundamental goal of a better, happier family. I want dear hubby to be able to retire one day and I want darling daughter to be able to lease a horse. All that takes money but am I willing to give up all of my now for that? Nope.

I understand to achieve big things you do need to make sacrifices in life. Got it. But I for one have never and will never completely sacrifice the now of my family for the dreams of the future. The only thing I am guaranteed is the now. Sorry, if that means I will fail, so be it. If it truly was meant to be, I will achieve all that I am to achieve while honoring my family and our precious time together on Earth.

I am setting hours.

And just in case you are curious of what they are and how you may be able to duplicate a similar theme in your life, here you go.
  1. No work on Sundays. Period. If something so amazing happens that I can't wait to share until Monday, I will share but in all reality most stuff can wait. My challenge groups will honor Sundays as days to be with family, focus on faith, chill, and relax. This is not a green light to eat all the cookies but a day to rest. Just as God intended it to be.
  2. Unplug after 7 pm. This typically is the start of reading time with darling daughter with lights out at 8 pm. I have been known to check in here and there and no more of that. It can wait until morning. If it is something so serious someone needs to get me, they know how to text or call me. Just saying. And honestly, since I am in the middle of the Pacific I can be HOURS behind my mainland clients and those in Hawaii, well, I am pretty certain they are okay hanging loose with me.
  3. AM Power Hour. Get my work done in an hour tackling the big fish (or frogs) first. One focused hour. Get in, get out.
  4. PM 1/2 hour check in. This one I may see the need to grow to another hour but I honestly want to see if in 30 minutes each afternoon I can wrap up my business for the day.
  5. Creative Hour once a week. This may also grow to 2 hours if needed as this can be blogging, video making, etc and a lot of this I do with my daughter so it could be fun mother-daughter time. Blogging can also happen in my AM Power Hour so one Creative Hour may work just fine.
Sounds easy enough, right?

Now let's give it some time and see how it works as focused work could yield better results. I'll check back in with you on this in about a month.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my family.

Daily Bible Verse: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ... Matthew 6:25-34


Staying fit after 40

I don't really want to get on the age bandwagon but your physical fitness and needs can, and most likely will, change as you get older. Sorry gals but it is true.

Perhaps you are noticing a shift in your hormones, a bit more tummy fluff, and that what you always did isn't having the same impact. That happens and typically they say after 40 but I do not want to stereotype but eventually, our hormones will change and beyond periods getting crazier and then non-existent, other things change.

It makes complete sense. I studied biology and completely understand all the vital roles hormones play in our body. They are our little regulators and when the group in charge changes, we change. 'nuff said.

But that doesn't mean you just need to accept what it is. Well, you do need to accept things change but you can take proactive steps to keep your body strong and healthy.

Here are some tips I have with a focus on ladies in their 40's and beyond.
  1. Add short bursts of high intensity training to increase calorie burn - squat jumps, jumping jacks, sprints
  2. Add strength training to boost muscle mass and keep your metabolism strong - push up's, planks, tricep dips
  3. Eat well - don't undo all your hard work with poor food choices - eat 5-6 small meals, include protein in your meals, decrease starchy carbs (and keep an eye on those cocktails and specialty drinks)
  4. Catch your zzz's - set a sleep schedule and stick to it (I am loving the bedtime feature on my phone and have it set to a daily nighttime and alarm that goes off gently at the same time every single day. I am not loving that I am slow to getting myself up the first time but am working on it.)
  5. Manage stress - daily gratitude, prayer, quiet moments

I have found by incorporating these strategies in my life that my fitness in my 40's is getting better each and every day. I am the strongest I have ever been and that ladies is way cool!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for home exercises.

Daily Bible Verse: From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. ~ Ephesians 4:16


44 Things You May Not Know About Me

It's my birthday!

And somehow I turned 44 in a blink of an eye. I am getting old! No, not really. Well, it is all in perspective. But thing morning as I was getting ready I thought, yep, I am 44 but in the best shape (physically, mentally, and spiritually) of my life. This year is going to rock!

So now let's celebrate with 44 things you may not know about me.

1. I was adopted.
2. Years ago I "found" my birth mom and we stay in touch.
3. I am a middle child.
4. I wanted a younger brother.
5. I got a younger sister.
6. I wanted my brother to be named Nicholas.
7. My sister is named Nicole.
8. My Dad picked my name.
9. My Grandma wasn't 100% sold on the name Erica.
10. I guess Erica was a "bad" person in a soap opera.
11. I used to watch soap operas.
12. I also used to watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
13. I think watching Will Smith "grow up" in his career is cool.
14. I also listened to DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
15. I also watched 21 Jump Street.
16. Watching Johnny Depp "grow up" is equally cool.
17. I played the flute throughout Junior High.
18. I started playing soccer in about the 3rd grade.
19. I played on my high school soccer team.
20. I got to pick out the mascot and school colors of my second elementary school. (Okay, the whole first class did.)
21. We were the Williamsburg Settlement Eagles - blue and gold.
22. The school has a new name.
23. I liked doing aerobics in elementary school.
24. I once tested the new/won't break ketchup bottles on the kitchen floor.
25. It broke.
26. It made a mess.
27. My mom was not impressed.
28. The kitchen floor was carpeted.
29. I learned about false advertising.
30. I do not like fish to eat.
31. Unless my Grandpa bakes it. Then it is good.
32. Or canned tuna. That is good.
33. Or lemon pepper catfish. That is good.
34. Or some nice fish and chips with plenty of malt vinegar. That is good.
35. But I still say I do not like to eat fish.
36. I do not like raw fish. I mean it this time.
37. I have a degree in Marine Biology.
38. I was studying Computer Science.
39. I got a job offer to be promoted to handle all the cash for a major store.
40. The work office was tiny and had no windows.
41. I said no and changed my degree plan.
42. I also have a MBA.
43. I work in fundraising for a local non-profit.
44. I have been redeemed by God. Thank you God.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the 44 years of life God has given to me.

Daily Bible Verse: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. ~ Numbers 6:24-26


If Girls Ran the World Update

Woo-hoo! October is here and my fundraising efforts with If Girls Ran the World to raise $250 for Save the Children is fully in swing. I have until October 31st to achieve my goal and have vowed to run a mile for every $2 raised so if I exceed my fundraising goal, I will run more!!! So far I have run 20 miles this month. 

I am beyond thankful to be so far along and only have $70.19 to go to reach my goal. That isn't much at all!

Why am I doing this? Because I believe in giving back. I believe in charity and children have always been, and will always be, near and dear to my heart. Even more so these days after I totally wandered through a dark patch in my life blind and clueless. If I could rewind time, I would right all those mistakes! But then again, maybe where I am today wouldn't be here. Ugh! You can NEVER go back and right wrongs but you can always MOVE FORWARD and build a better you each and every day and that is EXACTLY what I am doing.

I would be beyond honored if you donated to support Save the Children through If Girls Ran the World. 

Thank you very much for your generosity and support.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for mercy.

Daily Bible Verse: "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed." ~ Proverbs 19:17