12.21.2017

My Christmas Wish

Christmas is just around the corner and I have been spending the Advent season trying to prepare...at least spiritually. In terms of baking cookies, etc. I feel I have flopped. There just isn't enough hours in the day to do all I want, or need, to do. And I know this struggle is not unique to me but at times I wonder if I am letting darling daughter down.

I can't help but spend some time reflecting on Christmas of the past. When I was a child. Setting up the tree with my family, my Dad putting up Christmas lights, baking cookies with my mom and sisters, or just eating the baking my mom worked hard to do on her own. The house smelled and looked like Christmas and I loved lying by the Christmas tree looking up at the lights and moving the figurines around in the manger. I wish I could go back there right now as that is not the Christmas of today.

But happy memories don't end there. Sometimes we went to my grandparents', sometimes we surprised them, and sometimes I got to see a white Christmas of Michigan versus the green Christmas of Texas. But regardless of where we were, the house always seemed full of family, laughter, fun...and yes, we bickered at times. When you get kids together they can bicker. Okay, the same is true of adults but it was good times. And those good times are not the Christmas of today.

Christmas Eve mass was our thing and we came home looking for Rudolph's shiny red nose, often spotted it, and my Dad bravely would go inside to ensure we didn't surprise Santa. Christmas Eve was a late night as we opened gifts and eventually fell asleep to play and enjoy our gifts more the following morning.

Later I got two Christmas celebrations as Christmas Eve was with some family and Christmas Day with others. I got two different feasts and two amazing days to cherish family and celebrate Jesus' birth. This is really cool when you look back on it but yet, that is not the Christmas of today.

Things these days are very different. The house is not full of family. There are no bickering kids but maybe a bickering hubby and daughter. And as much as I try to get the sights and smells of Christmas, sometimes I wonder if I am doing enough. A family of 3 separated from family by a huge vast ocean is not the same as a family of 5 where road trips were possible and airfare more affordable.

Since 1998, Christmas just hasn't been the same and I miss my extended family holidays. I miss my Dad and I know I will never be able to spend another Christmas with him but I would be over the top ecstatic to spend the holidays with family even if it included bickering. It isn't that I don't love my family of 3 but my heart yearns for more.

I know I can't make that happen in a few days but I am not giving up on my Christmas wish, my Christmas prayer, for a more joy-filled house that has less bickering, arguing, judging and more loving, accepting, listening. A more joy-filled heart for myself and that the burden of depression, anxiety, and financial stress and worry is lessened...or I am better armored to manage them. I want the true beauty of Christmas to radiate as much as that newborn babe radiated and the star shone so bright guiding the wise men. I want to feel a strong embrace of God's love and let go of the worries of this world. I want my faith to explode in growth and to just be at peace accepting God's love and not be drawn down by the secular world, unkind words, and unkind actions. I want the strength to not let those things hurt me and negatively impact me. I need God's strength and I believe in the magic of Christmas and that my prayers will come true.

Merry Christmas and if you are with extended family today, please give them an extra hug or kiss.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for happy Christmas memories.

Daily Bible Verse: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-12

12.15.2017

Let's get out of this running rut

Running ruts can happen and you can spend so much energy (or at least I can) trying to ascertain why but eventually you have to decide, the why doesn't matter. What's next?

Decide what is important to you. Does running really mean something to you and your life? For me, ABSOLUTELY! It is my go to for stress release but when I spend so much time stressing about running it becomes counterproductive. Personally, I let myself get too wrapped up in pace and comparison to past performance, get down on myself, feel bad about myself (and that doesn't help my depression), and the viscous running rut continues and spirals out of control. Don't do that. Learn from my mistakes, please.

So I have decided my primary rule for getting out of a running rut is to let go of all expectations in terms of pace and distance and just run. Run like a kid. Run for fun. I know, I know....easier said then done so lets look at some other tips to find the joy in running again.

1. If you can afford it, treat yourself to some new running gear to celebrate how far you have come. You can do this right away or set a SMART goal that you can reach. SMART is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Maybe not running 1000 miles but going out for 5 runs. Just an idea. And if you are looking for treat ideas, I gotta say Bondi Band has great products and you can use EGFITNESS to get 10% off or head over to Elk River Soaps and get yourself some nice bath bombs. They are.....well....da bomb! And yes, these are affiliate links but I wouldn't share and promote them if I truly didn't love the products. Seriously, that would be tremendously uncool!

2. Get a running buddy if you can. This is hard for me but can be doable for so many and hey, look into running groups. We have two here on Maui - one on Sunday mornings that conflicts with church and one on Wednesday evenings that conflicts with darling's horse lessons but maybe you will be luckier. Both here are super friendly and open to all ages and paces.

3. Get a new training plan. Sometimes letting go of the old and doing something new brings fresh joy. I did this with a twist in my overall fitness plan by setting the goal to do 52 new workouts in 2017. Right now I am at 61 new workouts. Some were duds. Some were keepers but all were fun. Okay, almost all. I ditched one just minutes into it. It was a yoga workout that just left me feeling not good at all from the start so I abandoned it for another. But the workouts kept me moving for more minutes when my legs didn't want to run more miles.

4. Change things up. Maybe your running routine has become boring and let me tell you, running on the home treadmill does have a boredom factor. Maybe get a good book/audiobook to switch things up. Run outside if you can. Run somewhere new. And for me, when I couldn't switch much of this I cross trained. Didn't help much with the running rut per se but has kept me fit and I have grown stronger. This is kinda like #3 but I guess change is really important to me and the change can even be pace within your run. You know, run like a kid! Watch one run. They start and stop a zillion times. Try it.

5. Sign up for a gym membership, again, if you can afford it. This will help change things up for you and give you the chance to cross train if you don't have a home gym. I do miss the inspiration I got from others at the gym. Even the hello's were inspiring and the good job's when you left. People can make a world of difference! Hey, we all love a good job, don't we?

6. Raise some money! Running for a cause helps make your running mean more. I run for Toby through IR4 and recently set up a new virtual mission to run across Alaska for Toby AND to raise money so if you want to contribute to a charitable cause and keep me inspired, check it out HERE. To set up the mission with a charity I believe in it had to be done through PayPal but I promise you, 100% of funds raised will go to my charity of choice - Catholic Charities. Mahalo for your support and if you donate $75 or more, I will send you a gift - a rosary handmade with love by me.

116.6 miles into the 719.2 mile mission
Maybe this icy patch is why I am running slower :)

7. Finally, commit. I have been running at least a mile every single day since December 29, 2011 and that in itself helps keep me going even if I have had too many just a mile days this year. But, I am still running and for that, I am thankful.

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

Daily Bible Verse: Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! ~ 2 Corinthians 9:15 ESV

12.14.2017

Revisiting my 2017 power word

Someone just asked, "Sum up 2017 in one word." It caught me off guard because, wow! How can I do that?! But more importantly it got me to thinking, what was my power word for 2017 anyhow.

So I looked back and found it. Fortitude.

It never ceases to amaze me when I reflect back on the year from the perspective of my power word it is always a good fit. 

Fortitude: Courage in the face of adversity, courage in pain, courage when the going gets tough. I said I would not let what others say or do bring me down.

I am not sure I was 100% successful especially with that last part. Just this morning I let someone's criticism not only bring me down but so far down that I strayed from the good and loving person I wanted to be to an angry, heart broken woman in tears all because of hurtful words. It is crushing.

But 2017 has indeed tested me in more ways than one. It has been the hardest year emotionally even when compared to the year my father died. Depression and anxiety have been unbearable on so many days and to be brutally honest, the past three months such a burden. Plus so many loved ones have been diagnosed with cancer this year that that I find it hard to focus.

And as I sat at the table wondering what next, how will I go on, and clinging to my prayers and bible it hit me. I would not be able to take one ounce of this without my faith. It has been so hard but my faith has held me up. God has been with me every step of the way and that is a comfort. I am never alone. Even if people on Earth, especially those closest to me leave me feeling unloved and abandoned, God will not abandon me.

When I started this post I had no thought of announcing my 2018 power word. Hey, I didn't even know what it was! I was just going to reflect on 2017 and the fortitude I asked for, needed, and received. But as I type with teary eyes I feel the calling to announce my 2018 word that God placed on my heart......JOY.

Dear God,

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change those I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Please, grant me my wish for a more joy-filled 2018 and may I let go of my burden, accept the help offered to me, especially the help from your precious son, Jesus. Help me to let go of the should's and should not's. Life is not how I envisioned it to be but I trust in you and know it is how you want it to be. I may not see the path but may be heart remain full of your joy and my confidence in you. Thank you for the gift of faith. I can only pray all others can receive this precious gift too.

In Jesus' name I pray,
Amen

And who knows, maybe in 2018 I will get my running vibes back but regardless, I will be thankful for all that I can do. I did not give up on my streak. I did not give up on life. I will not give up on joy, peace, and all the wonders that God is ready and waiting to shower down on us all. 

12.06.2017

Christmas Gift Ideas

Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones. I hope your holiday season is full of love and grace. This year my family is focusing less on gifts and more on Jesus' love but we still do a few gifts here and there. And I am hard to buy for because all I want is peace and goodwill to all mankind!

With that said, it makes life tough for hubby when I say, nope, don't need a thing. Well I do want a Roomba so I am not pulling out the vacuum every day to clean up pet messes but that is way out of the budget unless I raise a lot of income through the affiliate links in this post.

But there are affordable gifts that I would love and I want to share them because I am sure there is someone on your list that may be hard to buy for, who has everything they need, does not give you any hints and is a hard as me saying, no gift needed, and you are like hubby and don't like that answer. He didn't even like my get me a gift card for my coffee or dairy-free cheese!!!

One thing that is great for all is Elk River Soaps - Darling daughter and I LOVE the bath bombs and they come in bags of mini bombs, each bag has six, or you can get one larger bomb for a stronger scent and color. They even have some featured holiday bombs in both a bag of "Snowman Poop" for $10.99 (they have the funniest names and the Monkey Farts - those bath bombs are an explosion of fun!), larger Christmas tree or Frosty bombs for $8.99, or a Christmas Spirit bar of soap for $6.99.



They even have so much more! Aromatherapy, wax melts, and all kinds of body care. Their Buzz Off for bugs was pretty amazing too and kept me bite free many afternoons at the stables.

All items are handmade in Missouri, have $6.95 flat rate shipping, and their website shows you a calendar with order days to get in time for Christmas for your neck of the woods.

Another great place to shop is Bondi Band and I have been running in their wicking headbands for eons and they hold up! And y'all, you can use EGFITNESS to receive 10% off (some restrictions apply such as they are already giving you a better deal). Seriously y'all, I love this company and have been purchasing from them since they were just headbands but they have grown to so much more - undies, armbands, hair ties, neck gators, visors, hats, and even weighted blankets!


I just recently splurged on their weighted blanket and LOVE it. I always thought being under the weight would be annoying, hot, uncomfortable even though I read lots of reports that they are good for so many reasons - ADD/ADHD, anxiety, insomnia and more. I decided to give it a try since my depression/anxiety has been awful this year and y'all, this blanket is like a huge hug. It can be found on their website under featured new but right now, I hear it sold like hot cakes and may be out of stock so if you can't find it, that is why. Sorry. But keep checking...it is worth it!

Darling daughter and I have also been crafting away and have a huge assortment of items available for sale. You can email me for availability and pricing if you see something you love after following this link but today I am going to highlight my lap throws.


These are perfect when you need just a little extra warmth or for in the car. Each are handmade with love, as are all our items, and I am offering the throws for $45 including shipping and handling via flat rate priority and you know that costs a bit. Each item is one of a kind so email me if you are interested or have any questions.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful darling likes to craft with me.

Daily Bible Verse: Let all that you do be done in love. ~ 1 Corinthians 16:14

11.29.2017

Absent but not gone


I just found my way back to my blog and realized it is dangerously close to one month since I last blogged. This was not my intention but to be completely honest and transparent, it has been a hard month.

It seems friends and family all around me are being diagnosed with cancer with some being more critical, more terminal, than others. This is taking an emotional toll on me as I feel so helpless and yearn to be a beacon of light in their time of struggle. It can be incredibly hard when you live on an island in the middle of the Pacific and family is thousands of miles away.

On the bright side, I have joined a Healing Ministry at my parish as part of the leading team and we meet weekly on Monday evenings at the church to pray for healing for ourselves and others. On the 20th we were blessed with so many coming to receive healing prayers and I can feel God's love there. On the 20th I also bit the bullet and asked for healing prayers for myself - to give me the strength to overcome this nagging depression and anxiety that has been so burdensome this year. I know I am not alone and I offer up my suffering for God to do His glorious work and pray that my hurting can help others.

If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen the start of my #depressionandanxietyawareness campaign that I am hosting there and on my personal facebook page. I know holidays can be tough for so many and I pray that somehow this can bring some relief to at least one soul in pain. And for me, it is easier to tweet when I feel strained than to pull together a coherent blog post.

But this journey of mine has not been lost without golden glimpses here and there. Through this sometimes dark and dreary path I am finding so many shimmering gems of insight, words of wisdom, and purpose in life. I feel I am becoming smaller in a good way and that means, my goals or inner drive is being redirected to what matters most. I can see how scars in the past, desire to just be loved, has led me to make bad decisions and how those can snowball and leave you somewhere cold and barren. I am also finding my way out.

Call it odd, but somehow my running rut is making me stronger...emotionally and spiritually...although I would be lying if I said I don't care if my running strength and speed ever comes back. I do want that. But I also see how this slowed down time has allowed inner reflection on how many things I have done to please others, to feel loved, to be more lovable, and they amount to nothing at all but empty attempts to find an inner peace that material things, time on the clock, or other actions haven't and never can fill. Life is so much more. True love is so much more. True love does not care how much you weigh, what your hair looks like, what you are wearing, or how fast you can run a mile. True love is unconditional and y'all, that is really, really cool. True love is the love of a child, child-like love, giving, soul soothing, unconditional love. God's love.

So I may be absent from time to time but I am not gone. I am finding my way through this crazy journey of life and finding the beauty among the thorns of reality.

Please join me on twitter to follow #depressionandanxietyawareness and please retweet when your heart pulls you to as I truly feel we can do wonderful things together. Here are some of the post images:






Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my life's struggles.

Daily Bible Verse: Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. ~ Romans 12:10 ESV

11.03.2017

Mission Complete: Hadrian's Wall

Things have been crazy busy in my life but somehow I managed to complete a virtual mission of running Hadrian's Wall in less time than predicted. Yay me! I knew running was becoming bit of a challenge for me so I selected a mission that was doable but yet pushed me, 90 miles for Toby.

Who's Toby?

Toby is an amazing little boy in Nebraska who I run for. We were matched in the I Run4 Michael program way back in 2014 if I remember right. Geesh! Time does fly! Toby has Down syndrome so every now and then I will post some Down syndrome awareness posts and you can search for those in the blog's search bar if you want to learn something today. But right now, Hadrian's Wall.

Hadrian's Wall is the third mission I have done through My Virtual Mission. My first was a self-created mission where I ran from Maui to Nebraska for Toby connected our homes over miles and miles and miles. Obviously this mission took some time as 3,614.4 miles is a lot of running! After that I opted to do one of their hosted missions and tackled LEJOG and those 1,083.8 miles seemed like a breeze after 3,614.4 but I kept falling behind time after time. I needed a mental boost - Hadrian's Wall. I will post more on LEJOG later but if you want to do a mission yourself, follow this link and please use the reference code EG276. And yes, if I get enough referrals I get to do a free challenge for my buddy. Just saying.....and being honest.

And now for a little history - what is Hadrian's Wall?

Hadrian's Wall was built in the 120's AD under the direction/order of Emperor Hadrian as he wanted a wall between Scotland and Roman Britain. The wall extended from Wallsend to Bowness and in 140AD another wall was ended further north. The completed wall had 80 milecastles (small rectangular forts usually placed one Roman mile away from the next), numerous observation tours, and 17 larger forts. You can still visit the wall today and see remnants that are still standing in various locations such as Housesteads and Heddon-on-the-Wall.

Here is one picture of Hadrian's Wall (source)


I started my mission on September 8, 2017 to run the 90 mile course. My goal was to complete it in a reasonable amount of time, hopefully by the end of October with how my recent mileage has been.

Take a look at my recent mileage.....


I think you can see how August plummeted and why I wanted to get my focus back on. This graph is from Daily Mile but I have now switched to Strava. You can find me HERE. I made this switch mainly because the Daily Mile app is so outdated it no longer functions on my phone and doing the whole web updating, either via computer or phone, was too cumbersome. I want that time to go to fitness not logging in and other issues. 

I completed my mission on October 23, 2017 and immediately received this certificate via email and was prompted to verify my mailing address so the medal could be sent to me, which I always quickly receive and that says a lot for a girl living on Maui. 


All in all, I love these challenges and feel they are a value for the cost involved. I do wish this one had the post cards associated like LEJOG did but that is a story for another day. Stay tuned....

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the kind and loving heart of my daughter who truly shows me the grace and love of God. 

Daily Bible Verse: Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. ~ Isaiah 49:22

10.30.2017

Marriage Post Round-up

Marriage is tough. It is hard work and I come across some in life who seem to have it down pat and some are struggling. It got me to thinking, are there some key elements involved in all of this? Of course, I have my ideas but I am asking you today to take 2 minutes out of your time to answer a quick 10-minute survey. All it requires is that you are married or have been married.

Marriage Survey -- just click the link for quick and easy access to the survey. Your responses are completely anonymous and I am collecting NO personal data, not even your email.

If you want to ensure you read the survey results, subscribe to the Erica Gorman Fitness newsletter.

Thanks so much and God bless!

10.20.2017

The benefits of napping

Did you know more than 85% of mammals are polyphasic sleepers? That means they sleep for short periods throughout the day. Think of your pet dogs, cats, or guinea pigs. Ever catch them napping? And what about our young kiddo's and elderly….do they nap?

There is a reason for that and unfortunately, at least in America, we are so busy, so driven, so pressed to get things done, that napping and sleeping often fall to the wayside.

To me, a good nap is 10-30 minutes long and guess what?! This falls into industry standards of the proper time length for a nap. I often aim for the shorter naps (15-20 minutes tops) but I was happy to know I was on target with length even if a nap happens once in a blue moon.

Naps can be categorized as planned, emergency, or habitual. I am the emergency napper. "Darling, I need to catch a few z's right now or I am going to collapse!" Planned napping is just like it sounds. You schedule it into your day. Hmmm….maybe a 20 minute nap today at 2:00 pm? OK! It is on my schedule. Habitual napping happens each day, same time, same place, kinda like those nap schedules you tried to have with your kiddo's when they were young. Oh how I  miss those days! I would either nap or run on the treadmill while darling slumbered.

Naps can improve alertness and performance but don't go too long or they will leave you groggy and may negatively impact your sleep performance that night.

But are they any other benefits to napping?

Yes! Napping can improve your memory, prevents burnout and information overload, heightens your senses and creativity, improves your mood, and improves your health as when you sleep your body releases growth hormone. This boosts your immune system and is a natural combatant to cortisol, or your stress hormone. Growth hormone also aid in muscle recovery and that is good news for runners. Hey, it may even increase your running performance!

Click HERE to learn about factors that impact running performance.

Some argue that longer naps are acceptable for certain reasons, such as resting your mind for a test, but please, don't nap too close to bedtime. You need at least 3 hours of awake time post nap to get a good night's sleep too.

Personally, I do not like long naps. They mess with me so I guess I am the "caffeine boost" energizing 15 minute napping type of gal. I wonder what darling daughter will think if I become a habitual napper?

"Mom, you are so boring!"

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my occasional naps.

Daily Bible Verse: And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. ~ Mark 6:31

10.13.2017

Factors that Impact Running Performance

As time goes by, my running pace has been slowing. I have battled a lot this past year. Anxiety. Depression. PTSD. I have gone to a healing retreat, therapy, on and off anti-depressants, and am tired. It has been a tough year for me physically and emotionally but not only for myself but for others. So many of those I love are facing their own challenges and as much as I tried not to focus on my running pace in the grand scheme of life, it kept coming back up in my mind, I am getting slower. Why?

I love science and try to look for good solid proof to support my ideas. I had many ideas of things that could be impacting my performance but what could I do, or should I do, to turn things around?

In a nutshell, I researched a multitude of my thoughts starting with alcohol. You can read more about alcohol and running HERE and yes, alcohol consumption can impact your running performance but the thing is, I didn't drink that much. And when I stopped, my running pace remained the same although I do sleep better and have less stuffiness without alcohol. Those are two good things. I won't go deep into the effects in alcohol on your body as I recently blogged about alcohol and running.

Sleep quality also impacts running performance as sleep is when your body heals and refreshes itself especially during the deep sleep and REM phases. And yes, with early wake-up times I was getting less hours of sleep but with no alcohol, etc. my sleep quality is improving. Less hours but better quality sleep. My FitBit helps me monitor this and even though some days I wonder if sleep is a factor, over the grand scheme of months of decreased performance, I can't blame sleep.

Heat also impacts running performance. The higher the temperature, the more you can expect your pace to decrease. I blamed this while I was in Texas this summer running but once back on Maui, to the temps I am used to, and still experiencing the same sluggish pace, heat obviously was not my issue.

Weight impacts running performance. Sorry it does but even though I have gained a few pounds over the past months, I am pretty much at the same weight I have been for years. I tend to fluctuate between 118-125 pounds so I don't think I can say, lose a few and get your pace back. Plus, I feel this is my healthy weight as I always gravitate back to it even when a few times it has dipped down to 110-115 and I am happy with my range as way back when I was in college, I was much heavier. I am in a good place and thankful but for those who want more weight details here is a chart on how weight loss can impact your pace.


Please note, as the race distance increases, your BMI (body mass index) comes into greater play but yet, this still did not seem to be the reason for my decline. 

What about nutrition? I eat well but am dairy free. Is there something there that could be coming into play? My routine physicals are coming back good and in range but one thing that was not checked in my past physical was my Vitamin D levels and this is something I have been low in during the past and something I do not supplement well on a regular basis. And believe it or not, Vitamin D at adequate levels can improve your running performance. It can be found naturally in tuna, eggs, and soy milk - three things I consume on a regular basis so I feel I may be okay but I did start trying to take my Vitamin D on a more regular basis.

After crossing thing after thing off my list I had to face the fact I was trying not to face. 

Perimenopause.

Perimenopause is something I have blogged about and pondered over four years ago. You can read that post HERE but with that in mind, it is something worth taking seriously so let's talk about it a bit more today.

Perimenopause can last up to 10 years and the average age of menopause for women in the US is 51. Ladies, that means you can be venturing into perimenopause at age 41! Ironically, that is about how old I was when I first blogged about it. The good news is running is good for you during this time of transition and it can help mitigate hot flashes. Yay! And I got to say, hot flashes are not an issue for me. But the decrease in estrogen does not only trigger hot flashes but also insomnia, weight gain, headaches, anxiety, and depression. You already know from sentence one of this post that some of those fit me perfectly...and FYI, I am battling a headache as I type this post. 

You are also more sensitive to heat, need to protect your bones with essential Calcium, watch your Vitamin D levels, and be aware that muscle mass can decrease. I am hoping my over one year commitment to added cross training and weight training is helping with keeping my muscle mass intake and just recently bit the bullet and bought a daily multi-vitamin formulated for women that has calcium, Vitamin D, iron, and other important nutrients in it to ensure I am getting what I need on a dairy free diet. I am also trying to ascertain if there are some dairy items my body can tolerate as I like natural best. 

I would like to say after all this research I found the golden ticket to get my pace back to what I loved but my golden ticket may not be what I or you want to hear. It may just be, ready or not, that I am getting older. Yes, my age. YIKES! My research ended on Runner's World Age Grade Calculator and yes, I input my race/running times and guess what --- according to the results, I am running the same adjusted pace compared to me in the past and in all reality, I am running a few seconds faster. 

This was a sobering revelation. I do believe in continual growth but also realize we all have our max performance limits and this may change over time. Trying to go beyond your max performance may just beat you up and rob you of your running joy. I want my running joy. I love my cross training joy. I have so many ways to grow and so much to give and I will remind myself over and over and over again, I am not defined by a number whether that number be my age, the number on a scale, or the number related to my pace, or the number of miles I have run. I am more than a number and so are you.

Daily Gratitude: No matter the pace, I am thankful for running today on day 2115 of my running streak. Now that is a number I can be proud of!

Daily Bible Verse: Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. ~ Proverbs 3:3-8


10.12.2017

Consecration to Mary

October 7 was a special day to me. Not only was it my birthday, my 45th to be exact, it is the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary and the day I celebrated my consecration to Mary.

To many this may be confusing. Hey, it was confusing to me at first. Consecrate myself to Mary? What does that mean? Isn't Jesus my savior? Wouldn't this be wrong?

But after some initial spiritual guidance from a priest I trust (Mahalo Father Matthew Spencer), I decided this would not be pulling me away from Christ but possibly towards a better place in my faith journey. Under his guidance, I opted for the 33 Days to Morning Glory to guide my journey and happily it is available and affordable via Amazon.

Affiliate Link to get yours today

You can pick what consecration date speaks to your heart because Our Lady is honored many times throughout the year but since October 7 is my birthday, the rosary is something that has been pulling at my heart, Our Lady of the Rosary seemed to be the perfect fit for me.

I was eager to begin my faith journey but also weary. Will I be able to fit in what I am supposed to do every day on top of everything else I am aiming to do each day? Well, it was actually pretty easy and my daily reading followed my daily bible reading and I tried my best to ponder the messages and prayers throughout the day. Some days were better than other days but hey, I am a work in progress and this is something I intend to return to and renew each year. And like bible verses, I hope messages will pop out differently to me each year.

Things that stuck out to me this year is this is something not to be feared as amazing people such as Saint Mother Teresa and Saint Pope John Paul II followed this method of faith formation. I am not one to argue with a saint and by golly, Saint Mother Teresa pulls at my heartstrings in so many ways. The darkness she felt, the tenderness she gave, the complete devotion to doing Jesus' will, and the complete devotion to Mary and her tender heart.

The more I studied the more I realized, Jesus did give his mother to us to help us, to guide us, to take care of us. We all need all the help we can get! And ironically, just the other weekend my parish priest (not the same priest who gave me the initial direction) talked about Mary and how we all should behold her because without Mary there would be no Jesus and without Jesus, no salvation. Yikes!

But personally, one thing that always stood out to me about Mary was her complete and amazing faith during her life and struggles. I know it could not have been easy for her but yet she never caved. I need that strength! And she guided all to follow her son's will, Jesus' will, not hers.

If nothing else, just following her example can set us all on a better course in humanity and charity. To be kind, loving, patient, charitable no matter what.

I ended my journey with the following consecration day prayer:

I, ___________________________  , a repentant sinner, renew and ratify today in your hands, O, Immaculate Mother, the vows of my Baptism. I renounce Satan and resolve to follow Jesus Christ even more closely than before.

Mary, I give you my heart. Please set it on fire with love for Jesus. Make it always attentive to his burning thirst for love and for souls. Keep my heart in your most pure Heart that I may love Jesus and the members of his Body with your own perfect love.

Mary, I entrust myself totally to you: my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions. Please make of me, of all that I am and have, whatever most pleases you. Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for bringing the greatest possible glory to God. If I fall, please lead me back to Jesus. Wash me in the blood and water that flow from his pierced side, and help me never to lose my trust in this fountain of love and mercy.

With you, O Immaculate Mother - you who always do the will of God - I unite myself to the perfect consecration of Jesus as he offers himself in the Spirit to the Father for the life of the world. 

Amen.

The book offers various forms of this prayer and you can pick the form that fits you best. The thing is, it isn't so rigid you need to do x, y, and z only but gives you great guidance and insight to be a better you and grow closer to Jesus and increase your faith. That is good, y'all, very, very good.

And my yearning quest to say a rosary daily --> it is finally happening with much more ease than ever before. I have found that "magic" moment/way that works best for me and I firmly attest that this journey, this consecration path, this devotion to keep Mary's loving heart in my own heart, to love better, to live better, to be better, is that "magic" key I needed.

Daily Bible Verse: When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. ~ John 19:26-27

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to Immaculate Heart Radio (now Relevant Radio) to being my guide and beacon to growing faith.

9.27.2017

Alcohol & Running

That glass of wine or cup of beer --- is it adding value to your life and more importantly, is it negatively impacting your life?

Alcohol can be a touchy subject and trust me, this gal delights in a glass of wine but my heart and soul keeps going back to these questions:
Is it good for me?
Is it harming me?

Even the Bible can disagree.

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. 
~ Ecclesiastes 9:7

Do not get drunk on wine, which lead to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 
~ Ephesians 5:18

Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. 
~ 1 Timothy 5:23

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astry by them is not wise. 
~ Proverbs 20:1

And this brings me to today’s daily reading from the New Testament.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 
~ Galatians 5:16-24

But being a woman of faith and science (yes, that is possible), I decided it was time to buckle up, sit down, and do some research biology-wise.

How alcohol is metabolized:
The liver is responsible for metabolizing 95% of the ingested alcohol. The rest is excreted via breath, urine, sweat, feces, milk, and saliva. All ethyl alcohol is first converted to acetaldehyde and then into acetate/acetic acid before it is broken down into water and carbon dioxide for simpler excretion. Acetaldehyde is a highly toxic substance and known carcinogen. Not something I really want in me, right?

Alcohol is broken down in the liver with the help of the enzymes ADH (alcohol dehydrogenase) and ALDH (aldehyde dehydrogenase). Rates of metabolism by the liver can vary but in general, the liver process one ounce of liquor (or one standard drink) in one hour. In other words, one ounce of alcohol will produce a 0.015 blood-alcohol concentration and a person will this concentration will rid their body of essentially all alcohol in 10 hours. Again, not a situation I really want to be in.
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I won’t go into details but the health consequences of alcohol include:
Alcohol metabolism and cancer
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
Alcoholic Liver Disease
Alcoholic Pancreatitis

And more importantly, the runner in me has been asking, how does alcohol intake impact running performance?

Perhaps there is a bit of an ego or pride involved here (I know, not good Christian qualities) but the question has been in the back of my mind on whether or not that glass of wine could be negatively impacting my running performance. I do feel it is negatively impacting me through headaches and poorer sleep quality but could it be impacting my running and resting heart rate?

Alcohol is a powerful diuretic and dehydration and running do not mix. This could result in muscle cramps, muscle pulls, muscle strains, general fatigue, etc which are all related to being dehydrated. Alcohol adds non-nutritional calories to your diet and inhibits the metabolism of essential vitamins and minerals such as inhibiting the conversion of B vitamins to generate energy from carbs, protein, and fat. So far this does not sound good to the runner body.

Yes, there are some reported benefits of alcohol on heart health but too much alcohol can increase your risk of heart disease by raising your blood pressure and blood lipids. Alcohol can negatively impact recovery due to its dehydrating nature and may interfere with glycogen synthesis. Since alcohol is a blood vessel dilator, alcohol may impair healing from muscle soreness and more acute injuries.

And what about resting heart rate? Alcohol does indeed impact. At first sip your heart rate begins to increase and even though reports say it then does come back down, the fitbit community has repeatedly chimed in a 2-3 beat increase in RHR the day after drinking alcohol. And for those science minds, the increase is due to alcohol being a vasodilator and dilated blood vessels means more blood flow and that means more heart beats.

There is so much more to this story and it is hard to sum up all the impacts on alcohol in one article but in a nutshell, I think I have unveiled why the Bible seems to contradict itself.

Alcohol does have some good to it, but is also has some bad. I think it is a “drug” easily overlooked in the potential damage it can do. It has become the social norm to go out and grab a drink and I have seen many runners race to a bottle of beer after crossing the marathon line to celebrate their success. And yes, I always thought that was ridiculously crazy - the grabbing a beer, not running a marathon. That is wonderfully crazy!

I also feel I have unveiled enough reasons to support my underlying nagging feeling that alcohol just isn’t for me. Yes, I do like that glass of wine and I do love to sip on one when cooking but I also love my life and want to give 100% to all I do and maybe, just maybe, foregoing that glass of wine will help me grow into a better wife, mom, runner, follower of Christ.

9.21.2017

Product Review: The Little Catholic Box

Aloha y'all!

I am excited to share a gem that I found with you. My faith is important to me and hey, I love getting stuff in the mail and surprising others with stuff in the mail. While waiting for darling daughter at horse the other day I started browsing through faith-based, and more specifically, Catholic-based, subscription boxes. I was delighted to stumble upon The Little Catholic Box.

To be honest, a nice website page design and soothing colors help me stay on a page a wee bit longer and this page had colors that soothed my soul and the design was easy to browse even via an iPhone. I was also delighted that they offered a way to get just one box with NO auto-renewal to cancel later if you want to cancel. I love the idea of being able to just try a box and see if I like it without worrying about coming back later to cancel an ongoing subscription. So subscription box peeps, if you offer a box think seriously about a one box offer with no strings attached. People will like it as I can't believe I am the only one who digs this idea.

I was also intrigued to see that not only could I get their October or November box (September was already sold out) but that they had boxes geared towards kiddo's. I was immediately sucked into the idea to get one for darling daughter to celebrate her stepping up into ministry service as an altar server. This was not an easy road for her and she had doubts but she is a shining light for so many and it all started with her saying "Yes" to God.

I also splurged and got myself the October box, to be shipped later, to celebrate my consecration to Mary -- a process I am undergoing and will conclude on October 7th, my birthday AND the day to honor Our Lady of the Rosary. Win-Win!

Since my order had two boxes in one and there was no way to say, send this one here and that one there, I added an order note asking if they could ship darling's box in her name and provided a gift message. I work in order fulfillment and understood this means that note would need to be read by a human and take a little extra work to make it happen but I had faith. Or hope. I had hope.

It paid off well. Since her box was not tied to a month it shipped immediately and was here in a blink of an eye and that says A LOT since we are on Maui and everything takes a year and a day to get here. Okay, slight exaggeration but you get the point.

The box was beautiful! And yes, addressed to her name. Some kind soul took the time to use a white out pen to take off my auto-filled name on the address label and wrote in her name. How cool is that?

When darling opened the box she was impressed by the presentation and touched each part with care...starting with the personalized gift message that I included in the order for her. It was delightfully printed out in a beautiful text and size and taped right on top of the tissue paper that she delicately pulled back to reveal the contents.

I also want to say that they included a piece of paper attached to the box lid that detailed what was included in the box and where it came from or could be sourced if you want more. Darling referred back to this with each item to learn more about them.


The box contained perfect things to make any girl feel special. And yes, this box is geared for girls but this Momma loves it equally. They also have a box geared for boys. Just saying...

She received some lotion and lip balm that if I remember right was created by nuns! She also has some prayer stickers, a tiny saint zipper pull, a beautiful glicee that can be set on her desk or hang on the wall, a journal, a bookmark, and pens to journal with. She LOVED each item and I have to say again, I am impressed by the quality of the contents and the lovely presentation. What a perfect gift!

And I just want to say, I was not paid to write this post. I received nothing free. I am writing this because I really want to share the word about this awesome company that impressed me with their beautiful product and lovely customer service.

But if you want to support me and receive a great deal, you can receive 10% off of Bondi Band with my code, EGFITNESS. As a Bondi Band Ambassador I will receive a small commission through any purchase you make through my link or with my coupon code (not valid on any of their AMAZING sales that go beyond my 10% off). Feel free to spread the news and share my link/code. Thanks, y'all!

P.S. I just checked the links and saw that there Fall Collection and Halloween gear is up and ready to be purchased. Oh nelly!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my life, for my child, and for my faith.

Daily Bible Verse: Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. 
~ Psalm 127:3-5

9.16.2017

Flying Free

There is something magical when you find yourself on the right path in life. It may not always feel easy or seem right but at the end of a hot and grueling 4 hours and you walk away feeling that was time well spent, you know you are on the right path.

You have seen me flounder a bit lately with finding my purpose and meaning in life as I struggle between what the secular world says I should be versus what my inner being wants to be, which the more I learn, is closely tied to who God created me to be.

I want to be a stay at home mom. I want to knead bread and make fresh bread, homemade dinner, handmade crafts, cook, clean, pickle, can, and play galore. I do. By golly, even the idea of home schooling intrigues me. Baking cookies, gardening, sweating and working my butt off at home.

But that is not where I can be in life. My income is needed to help support my family and dear hubby and I are doing a pretty good job of ensuring darling daughter is with us when she is not in school. And I may be pushing my limits as I craft and garden away with darling, toy with homemade pickles, homemade cleaning supplies, homemade dinners (as often as I can), and homemade bread via the bread machine.

This leaves me feeling tired and over extended at times and I got to confess, I get grouchy. Overwhelmed, unappreciated, what is the purpose grouchy.

And then after 4 hours at the stables watching darling daughter struggle to get it all in check and lovingly care for her horse it hit me. Life is a struggle and this is where I am supposed to be. Yes, there is a part of me that wanted to run that marathon on October 15th and I dreamed of running it with dear hubby but in all reality, he really won't want to run my "slow" pace and I don't really want to run by him feeling "slow" and I don't want to run. I mean, I do but I don't want to train. Training has taken over my life. For 8 years I have been officially in training mode for the next big race not feeling good enough for hitting my plan and getting tired and grouchy. I have had enough.

I want to fly free in life and stop worrying about x miles, what I am eating, how much I weigh, or if I am good enough. What is good enough anyhow? And who can tell me if I am good enough? Not me. I have been lying to myself for years saying I am not good enough and I have had enough.

It is time to fly free.

To be me. The me God wants me to be. The me who can sit and sip on a glass of white wine while darling daughter crafts, we watch Heartland, and I blog because I want to. I am having enough of worrying about tomorrow. I have had enough of worrying, stressing, planning, being serious. I am done. And in my mind right now I am singing, "I don't want to grow up, I'm a Toys R'Us Kid" and I want to be young and fly free. Worry free. Stress free. Heaviness free. Guilt free. Free to be me. The me God created me to be. The me free of daily headaches and achy shoulders. Free.

I would like to say that makes it all easy, peasy, lemon, squeezy but it isn't. I have not one inkling who God wants me to be besides a wife, mom, and a crazy Catholic loving woman. But what else am I supposed to be doing?

I don't know but I will fly free following him and learning day by day what I am to do and I am going to do the best to ground each day on my faith and continue to turn to fitness to keep me going strong in more ways than one.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the beautiful scenery at the stables.

Daily Bible Verse: Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ~ Matthew 6:34

9.12.2017

Internal Struggles: Finding your path

Your mind is a powerful tool that can work for your benefit or against you at times. I have been struggling with mine recently. Struggling with staying positive and not so hard on myself. Struggling to stay joyful and confident that I did make the best choice to ween off meds and am fully capable of standing firm on living a life with episodes of depression, anxiety, etc. and not letting those moments rule my life.

It isn't always easy and my struggle now is that my life is changing but part of me is clinging to the patterns of old. My security blanket.

For so long I identified myself as a runner and the miles I logged each week defined me. It was easy to get into that mindset as I moved from a casual runner to running my first marathon in 2011. In that training, mileage increases became natural tendencies to validate myself and my worth.

But life changes.

And change is good.

But when that change is so different from how you have defined yourself for so long it can lead to an internal struggle that I am currently trying to work my way through. You see, running is not bringing me the joy it used to so I am choosing to run less and cross train more. Cross training brings me joy and I honestly believe was a gift from God to help me through this period of transition in life.

But at the end of the week with many 1 miles days resulting in low mileage weeks I feel like a failure for only running x miles versus x miles. You can fill in those x's however you want but a part of me is having a hard time swallowing less than 20 miles a week, and sometimes barely more than 10, when I was running 30-40 a week and my husband is out running like crazy with everyone telling me how awesome he is. It makes me wonder if I am doing enough but deep down, I know I am. I am doing more.

I have been getting up around 3:30 am, reading my daily bible readings, reading my consecration to Mary daily reading, running at least a mile, and cross training before heading out to work at 5:30 am. That is a lot and a huge accomplishment that I am starting my day with so many successes but yet I feel like I am flopping because of that silly number thing. It drives me nuts as I move through this inner struggle.

It is like being stuck on a bridge looking back to the island of your past and wanting that so badly but looking forward to the island of your growth and wanting that so badly and being torn. Which way to go? Which way to go? Which way to go?

And I hear myself as I tell my daughter in her internal struggles, just make a choice and go. Move forward and grow. Trust. Have faith.

And I am afraid. Afraid I am failing or making excuses for not working hard enough, running long enough, giving enough but yearning ever so deeply to just curl up at the feet of God and say, show me the way. And yet, I think He is. He is saying let go. Why don't you trust me? Move forward. Have faith. Numbers do not define you. Those are worldly things. Grow. Grow. Give more. Grow!

So in a nutshell I am lost. I want to move forward and grow but I do not know what that means. I see the comforts of my past, my definition of me of the past, my safety net, and I want to cling to that out of fear but know I need to move forward in faith.

I had dreams of running more marathons, a relay, and an ultra one day and right now, I am not sure if that will ever happen. I feel weak letting go of dreams but wonder if those dreams are really my dreams today or just dreams I grew comfortable with. Just secular dreams when I have greater spiritual dreams yearning to be exposed and realized.

I am lost and floundering a bit and that makes it hard to blog and share. But perhaps sharing my struggles and lost feeling is what I am meant to do today. Together, we can encourage one another to have faith, to trust more deeply, and to move forward in life even when it means letting go of old dreams to realize new and bigger dreams....even if you are clueless about what those dreams are.

And at the end of the day, I will be happy I choose to run to God and let go of self doubt and negative thoughts. Perhaps this is what it means to lose your self to follow God. If only I could be so lucky!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my daughter's unconditional love.

Daily Bible Verse: Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. ~ Luke 15:1-5

9.02.2017

A New Month, A Fresh Start

Aloha y'all,

It is September! How did that happen?! I have not a clue how time can fly by so quickly and am pressed for time but wanted to sit with you for a minute and bring you up to speed.

Hurricane Harvey hit my home town. It has torn me about emotionally but thanks be to God, my family is safe....for the most part. Unfortunately while the storm was raging and flood waters rising, my brother-in-law was rushed to the ER and then life flighted to another hospital in Houston and has undergone brain surgery. Please pray for his healing and that my sister remains strong and feels the power and grace of God.

This all made me take another good hard look at my life and what matters most. Family. Friends. People.

My daughter is growing like a weed and is becoming more involved with horse lessons and competitions are in her future. This comes at a cost both in time and money. This too is making me refocus on what matters in life.

With all this in mind, I have stepped back as a Beachbody coach. I still love their programs and products and I will still be keeping my BOD All Access Pass up and running because trust me, this momma needs those workouts, but I am stepping back and redirecting those financial funds to horse related items and things. It is just what is best right now for me and my family. Plus, for awhile I have been uncomfortable with the advice for coaches to message, message, message, ask, ask, ask for people to join in. I do not like hard-pressure salespeople and that just is not my style.

I am still active as a certified running coach and am more than willing to help you with your running training plans. You can email me for details. In addition, darling daughter and I are ramping up our crafting products so stay tuned for an online showing of those.

I will still share my fitness journey and hope you will stay along for the ride.