6.11.2018

Finding My Strength on the Treadmill: Emotional, Physical & Spiritual

Over the years the treadmill has been my go to for running.

It hasn't always been easy. In fact, it has been extremely boring and discouraging at times. But I did what I needed to do to get my runs in over the past 10.5 or so years of being a mom.

I have run on hotel treadmills with darling nearby, or on treadmills in the gym while she is in their childcare, or on the treadmill at home while she slept, play, or ate her snack. In fact, it has become a routine and a natural way of life for us. That and my cross training but today it hit me.

The treadmill is not to be dreaded or looked upon with disgust. It has strengthened me in so many ways that go beyond physical fitness.

You see, actively working out is one of my best fighting elements in the battle against depression. I have found I have a sweet spot of around an hour of working out a day to keep symptoms at bay. It doesn't always happen or have the desired effects but it helps. I just need to remember the times I least feel like doing anything are the times I need to do it the most.....especially if those down feeling days are in a row that seems to be growing longer each and every day.

But in the past year or so the treadmill has become my spiritual combat zone and I mean that in a positive way. I can do my daily mass readings and other devotionals while running in place and not only does it help pass the time away, it gets me focus on what really matters in life....and that is not my running pace.

One of my favorite things to do while running, especially on the treadmill, is say the rosary. I use my fingers for the Hail Mary beads. And as I move through each decade on the treadmill, I increase my pace. I make my rosary prayers a sign of faith and effort as I trust in the Lord to carry me through and promise to not slack in life. Or at least do my best to not slack.

Some days are faster than others and  that is okay. Some days I do a much better job at listening for God's guidance and hearing it through the clutter of my mind. Those days propel me forward in the same ways of getting a new race PR or placing in a race. You know, the icing on the cake days of fitness.

To me, spiritual fitness matters most. My physical fitness is a gift from God and I thank Him for giving me the ability to run every day and cross train most days to help keep my emotional fitness in check. And He gives me blogging inspiration on the run and I wish I had a better way to document those inspirational moments than relying on remembering them. Maybe the posts I remember are the only ones I am meant to share. Maybe I am slacking and need to make a greater effort to document those AHA moments. I. really don't know.

But I do know this.....

The treadmill is my battle zone. My area to grow emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I have broke down and cried for so many reasons. I have cried out for help. I have "danced" for joy.....at least the best way I can dance while running on the treadmill.

The treadmill is my discovery zone. I have found forgiveness...most importantly being me forgiving me. I have found determination, worth, and value in life. I have found peace, comfort, and acceptance. I have found God always there by my side and nothing can top that.

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

Daily Bible Verse: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. ~ Matthew 5:6

6.06.2018

Saint of the Month - Global Running Day edition: Saint Sebastian

With it being global or national running day and so many runners reaching out to other runners wishing them a good running day it crept into my mind.

Is there a patron saint for runners?

Well, yes, there is! Well kinda. This saint isn't just for runners. He is actually the patron saint of athletes and archers. Meet Saint Sebastian!

He is depicted on this post in a way he is often depicted - tied to a tree and shot with arrows. But why? This imagery is said to be symbolic of virtues and gifts needed in times of adversity: strength, stamina, perseverance, courage, and justice.

But who is Saint Sebastian?

Sebastian was born into a wealthy Roman family. He was was an early Christian saint and martyr and according to traditionally belief, he was killed during the Roman persecution of Christians many years ago in 288 AD. As much as he tried to conceal his faith, it was discovered in 286 that he was indeed a Christian. Diocletian, the Roman emperor, took action and commanded that Sebastian be led to a field, bound to a stake, and archers shoot him with arrows. He was shot by so many arrows but yet, the arrows did not kill him.

Irene of Rome found him still alive and took him home to nurse him back to health. When Sebastian later bad mouthed Diocletian for his cruelties to Christian, Diocletian was not only shocked Sebastian was still alive but also ordered that he be sieged and cudgeled to death.

Since Saint Sebastian is considered a champion of Christ, he is the patron saint of athletes and again, the patron saint of archers. He is also considered a protector from the bubonic plague and so much more.

Perhaps this is a good saint to learn more about.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for all the saints who have modeled how to live a good life following God.

Daily Bible Verse: To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints; grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 1:7

6.02.2018

Cross Training Calendar for June 2018

I did it! I put together a June 2018 cross training plan on a lovely calendar that I have already posted up on my freezer door.

Typically, I am ahead of the ball with training plans and create them before the start date but this month, not so much. It was a spur of the moment decision yesterday to get fully back into cross training mode in addition to my regular running. I realized how necessary this was when I typed up my May training report.

And I promised you I would share the calendar so here it is.


I did add in those oldie but goodies I planned to but also added in some new workouts. 11 if I remember right and I can't easily glance right now because this momma is blogging on the go.

Yep, I am sitting at the stables blogging while darling daughter tacks up. My tablet is a good carry along device for when I am writing on the go and my June 2018 cross training plan is at home on the laptop and freezer door. Ironically, I created that and printed it while on my laptop sitting on the driveway at our first attempt to do a yard sale style craft sale. That was a flop.

But my plan wasn't but today's execution of the plan almost was as when I was trying to gear up to cross train I crumbled apart emotionally. Gosh that depression!

I am happy to say I did cross train. I recognized the depression symptoms and know they make me want to not work out but working out alleviates the symptoms especially when I do Core de Force, which was exactly what I had on the schedule for today.

And darling daughter helped me. She showered me with kisses and let me use the TV for streaming my sweaty attempt to punch the bazigons out of depression. And yes, I just now created the word bazigons. Call it creative writing freedom. Gotta love that! But seriously, there is something about MMA workouts that work extraordinarily well at decreasing the symptoms of depression and anxiety in me and perhaps my lack of cross training in May is correlated to the increase in symptoms I have noted.

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

Daily Bible Verse: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10

6.01.2018

May 2018 Training Report

It's that time again. A new month, time to review what has happened, and a fresh start.

My 2018 goals are 1,170 miles and 70 new workouts and I knew I was doing good and off par before I even looked at the data. I knew I did a great job getting more miles in....and more runs in outside. Yay! I got to thank Fitbit friends and workweek hustle challenges to keep me going Monday through Friday but I also am learning to rein in the pride and desire to "win" the game and enjoy cheering everyone on. Risking injury is not worth it and sometimes life has other demands that rise to the top.

With their help, I ran an amazing 169 miles in May! I am certain that isn't my biggest mileage in a month ever but it is my best month so far in 2018 and that, my friend, is worth celebrating. And I am with a delicious cup of coffee while I type up this blog post. I am talking a nice huge cup of caramel creme flavored coffee from a local Hawaiian coffee company. It is the the little things in life that make me smile.


I also knew prior to my analysis that I have flopped on my cross training and doing new workouts. I mean I flopped to the point that I only cross trained twice in May! Running extra takes time but I was still down on myself for not making it happen until I did my analysis and that is why I stress reflecting back on what you have achieved.

I trained 34 hours in May, which means, I averaged more than an hour of sweat time per day. And no, it wasn't split evenly over the days but this is the most time committed to sweating so far in 2018. Check it out!


This is exciting news as working out and sweating helps keep my depression and anxiety at bay. I wish it was enough. I have had some tough days emotionally and I have already established a plan to help me get back on track. Really focus on what I am putting into my body. Increase my fruits and veggies again. Stock up on easy to grab healthy foods and commit to taking care of me....even to the point of enjoying a delicious cup of coffee and taking good long soaks in the tub. These things matter.

And so does hydration. With my love of coffee it may be easy to get to the point of running around dehydrated, especially with my logging more running and workout hours. So I have started logging my water intake on my Fitbit app to help me stay accountable. It is harder to reach for a cup of coffee when I realize I haven't logged any water. 

I will also get cross training back on my calendar in June and successfully completed an oldie but goodie workout today. At this point, I would rather nail cross training days of any sort even if they aren't a new workout. If I know I can squeeze in an oldie but goodie via my phone so darling daughter can use the TV, I will.

And how am I doing overall in my mileage goal? With 546 miles so far this year I have 624 miles to go. That is only 89.14 miles per month. I think I have nailed this goal, God willing, if I keep running strong and happy.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the ability to focus on what really matters in life.

Daily Bible Verse: We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ~ Romans 5:3-5

5.31.2018

A New Month ~ A Fresh Start

I haven't done my May training analysis yet but I will. My gut says I have had some successes in better running mileage but some flops in cross training, Logically, this makes sense as there are only so many hours in a day and so much to do. But as I feel depression rearing its nasty head, I need to do something to address my feelings.

Depression sucks and is very misunderstood. Some may be left baffled that I can sit here with a complete inner joy and peace with God but feel weighed down, alone, and incapable of moving or motivating myself. It really is a crazy condition and I think the only ones who can truly understand are fellow sufferers.

But this post isn't about depression.

This post is about a new month, a fresh start, new beginnings.

We are used to the new start of January 1st but each month, in fact each day, is a new start and I am ready to embrace the craziness of June, summer camp, vacation, different work hours, later dinner times, and later bedtimes with a positive attitude.

Geesh! But how?! Even typing that left me feeling burdened and overwhelmed.

That is why I need a plan.

I need to plan to succeed and place my plan up front and center right in front of my face. I need a workout plan at least for the first few weeks of June before vacation. I need structure! I crave structure! And once I have a plan I can work on the timing on how to fit it in between four days a week at the stables while darling rides. Oh nelly!

The number one factor to success I feel is diet. What I eat affects how I feel and how I feel affects what I do so it is time for me to stock up on the veggies I love and yes, some salad kits for easy lunches...or maybe dinners. With a hectic schedule I need healthy, easy to grab food but I also need to stay on a very tight budget.

Is this possible?

I would like to say yes and I am going to start with Costco and look at what I can stock up in terms of healthy foods at bulk prices. What can be frozen for hot prep meals or smoothies and what I need to keep fresh for crunchy delights. And I seriously need to rethink meal planning. It has fallen to the wayside but I think I need that structure back. A dinner plan that uses that crock pot for late nights so maybe I should get some homemade frozen crock pot meals lined up that I can grab, drop, and go and come home to a nutritional dinner. Wouldn't that be lovely?

And the strategic meal planning means less scrambling to get things pulled together and more time sweating myself happy! And less bad food that I turn to.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for this blog holding me accountable.

Daily Bible Verse: The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes to poverty. ~ Proverbs 21:5

5.28.2018

Running and Effort

You get out what you put in is a good motto for anything in life but today I am going to focus on running.

Today is day 2.342 of my running streak. That is 6 years, 4 months, and 28 days but ultimately each day, each mile, is a gift from God but in those days I have learned one very important lesson. Listen to your body.

You see, to keep my streak alive I need to run at least one mile every day and that changed how I looked at running in so many ways. The good is that I learned to listen to my body better and more closely. The down is the streak can take a sense of control you never realized would happen but that is a post for another day. Today we are talking effort.

Effort matters and good effort does not always equate maintaining the same pace and mileage.

Things in and out of your control can affect effort so keep a record of how you feel, what is going on in your life emotionally and physically, and what your perceived effort is.

Perceived effort is just what is sounds like. What you perceive your effort level to be and it is a good general assessment you can apply easily. If you are running and able to sing a song perhaps you should try pushing yourself a wee bit harder. If you are running and can`t get one word out perhaps you want to ease up a bit.

But ultimately it depends on what your running goal is.

Long easy run? You want to be able to run and talk but singing? Not so much but you should be able to carry on a short and brief conversation with a running buddy. If you can't form and speak short sentences (being abrupt is okay), you are at the wrong effort level for achieving your goal.

Doing speedwork? Forget about singing or forming sentences of any length. This is when it is okay to push yourself wordless especially if you are running intervals. Be speechless at those fast paces and then bring yourself down to being able to say a word or two before tossing in that next fast interval.

You could even go as far as running by your heart rate. I know this works for many but I just am not at the point where I look at my heart rate on the run but could get to that point. I do wear my Fitbit and have my heart rate at my fingertips....literally. And I could sit down and do the math and determine my personal heart rate zones. I just haven't yet but may do so...one day...maybe.

What I am liking is premium Strava and the relative effort calculations. Granted this is based on generalized heart rate zones but it is a good tool for evaluating my runs and applying more metrics to effort and heart rate analysis. The one catch is it only works for my runs I do outside with GPS data....unless I am missing how to apply it to my treadmill runs and other workouts but that is okay.

I don't need detailed analysis for every run and knowing I get this "added value" for outside runs encourages me to hit the roads more often. Gotta love running motivation!

According to Strava, today's 8.1 miler was tough with a relative effort of 148. Distance, terrain, and heart rate all factor into this. You can get the details of what percentage of your run was in the endurance zone, moderate zone, tempo zone, threshold zone, and more. This was a good effort as lots of my outside runs tend to be in the 75-85 zone but they also tend to be 4-5 miles.

Looking at this data, or just noting your perceived effort, can help you evaluate how hard you are pushing yourself. This is important as yes, sometimes you want to push harder to achieve results but if you want to keep running injury free, or start/maintain a running streak, it is important to have those recovery/easy run days too.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for technology that helps me apply metrics to my perceived running effort to help me stay accountable to my training effort and desired results.

Daily Bible Verse: For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast. ``'It is Zion, for whom no one cares!' ~ Jeremiah 30:17

5.26.2018

Make getting help easier on the roads, trails, and beyond

Recently I started running more outside again and with that I decided it was time to get back into the habit of wearing my RoadID.

I got my first one many years ago after a comment from my Dad. I love that I can share this loving story of him over 8 years after his death. I don't remember all the details but I can tell you this - he did not like the idea of me running around outside without any ID on me. He wanted me to at least carry something. Thanks Dad for caring!

Since I am now a committed Fitbit wearer I didn't want the wrist version any longer and felt it was worthwhile to update my info anyhow. I checked out their website only to find new designs and opted for the slim charm that I could add to my chain I wear everyday.

What is best is you get to completely personalize the info you want and get to pick the style - on your wrist, shoe, around your neck, etc. The info I added was my name, that I am Catholic (yes, I want a priest called if I am found in dire straits), my blood type (almost put darling daughter's and that could have been a deadly mistake so proof read more than once!), and two emergency contact numbers. No, I really am not that paranoid but this made sense. Although if darling daughter reads this she may comment that I am a bit too much like Monk.

I spend my outdoor running time mainly in two states - in my home state, Hawaii, so I have hubby's number followed by HI and when visiting my Mom so I have her number followed by TX. It just made sense to me. Why call my hubby in Hawaii if my Mom in Texas is closer to me?

With the recent disappearance of more than one person coming across my radar I got to thinking. This RoadID could be so much more. It could be a means to help many who are lost, potentially with not remembering who they are either due to injury or illness, find their way home if someone has the knowledge to look.

So here is a picture of what RoadID can look like in its many different styles just in case you come across someone in need.


And on that note, I want to stress how important it is to keep your eyes open and to look at people. So many times we may want to turn our heads and eyes and not see that dirty, homeless looking person on the corner, walking by, or lingering outside the store window. They look grungy and disheveled. Maybe beat up.

But that person is someone's daughter or son. That person may be lost and someone may be desperately looking for them like this man in Vancouver.


I do not know this man or his family but I do know one of his friends who is heartbroken that he is missing. All his friends and family are.....I can't even imagine! And his story is breaking my heart and I am desperately praying and kindly asking for you to do the same. And if you are in his neck of the woods, keep your eyes up.

And that keep your eyes up goes for wherever you live. You never know when you will be the one person who finds a person in need and I can only pray,  if they can't tell you who they are for whatever reason, that they will have some sort of ID on them to help you out. And this RoadID around my neck....it is on my body more often than my phone.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my RoadID.

Daily Bible Verse: And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. ~ 1 John 5:14

5.14.2018

Signs of over-training - Signs of depression

It is important to listen to your body. It can tell you so much and we are designed in such a way that our body gives us cues, warning signs, for when to slow down. Like a  yawn when you are tired, your body will tell you when you are over-training in hopes you listen, slow down, and recover.

So let's take a look at this warning signs of over-training:
  1. Exercise performance - you stop improving or start declining in performance
  2. Increased rate of perceived effort - your workouts just feel tougher and not because you are going faster, longer, or stronger
  3. Increased fatigue
  4. Increased moodiness or agitation levels
  5. You aren't sleeping well
  6. Your appetite is waning
  7. Your motivation is lacking
  8. You feel depressed
  9. Your muscles feel sore and don't seem to be recovering with rest
  10. Elevated resting heart rate - If you have a Fitbit like me, this is easy to monitor but in itself, it is not a good clue. I'll get back to that later.
That goes for most of these signs. In themselves they do not mean you are indeed over-training. They can be signs of other things. Like depression.

The popular signs of depression are:
  1. Excessive fatigue
  2. You are easily irritated 
  3. Your sleep is disrupted with you sleeping more....or less
  4. Your eating is disrupted and you may lose your appetite or turn to carbs for support
  5. You feel achy 
  6. You lose interest in things....kinda like losing motivation
  7. You may get harder on yourself
  8. You have problems concentrating
  9. Things may get messier around you and you don't care
  10. You feel numb
There is quite an overlap between those two lists, isn't there?

So how do you know what is going on and how to properly interpret what your body is telling you?

This can be tough especially if you do suffer from depression and turn to running and cross training to help keep your depression under control. You see, you don't need to experience all the signs for either over-training or depression to be present. Just some of them. And the one that seems most grounded on actual metrics, resting heart rate, does vary especially for women along with their menstrual cycle.

But you can still look at the trends and try to discern what is going on. Perhaps give yourself a rest day or two and see if you are feeling better...or worse. If you feel refreshed, then over-training was probably your issue. If you aren't bouncing back, perhaps it is leaning more towards depression but this isn't 100%. Nothing in life is guaranteed but I strongly suggest if you are feeling in the rut and a couple of rest days isn't helping, check in with your doctor. They are in the best position to guide you and help you. And on that note, I am a strong proponent of annual physicals and monitoring your blood panel. 

5.01.2018

April 2018 Training Report

Another month has gone by. Can you believe it?! And in just another month it will be summer break! Well, summer break for darling daughter. Not so much for me. I think we need to start a movement that we all deserve breaks like the breaks kids get from school! If only.....

But let's talk goals. My 2018 goals are 1,170 miles and 70 new workouts. I can't say I am on par with both goals but I do feel I am making good progress on the mileage but let's see what the stats say.

In April I ran 123 miles - my largest month this year with the second largest being 100 miles in March. The third largest is 85 miles in January. Let's not talk about February. February is always brutal!

Ironically, with running 23 miles more in April than March, I worked out 1 less hour and that is probably why I feel my cross training has slacked. I am at 21 new workouts for the year, which means I only added 3 new workouts to my 70 new workouts goal. As much as I want to achieve my goals, I feel this is one I don't want to get too wrapped up in because right now, running is bringing more joy. Like the "old days" so I am okay if cross training slips a bit while I run happy. However, I see the value in cross training and refuse to let it totally slip to the wayside. At this point in life, I need to cross train and I do find joy in a good weight training session....or a fun hula hooping session....or MMA....that MMA makes me work extremely hard and has a great happy factor to it. So yes, I am going to cross train but may not need to do so many new workouts to keep working out fun.

What I am finding fun is running outside more again. I learned to download my Fitbit GPS runs and upload them to Strava so I can see how I am doing on segments I have created, look at my relative effort, and really delve into stats that make me want to run some more and gather more stats. I started the Premium free trial for Strava and think it has enough value to go ahead and pay for it...at least for a year. I really do love stats! And I want to see my progress on "Monster Hill".

I am also digging Fitbit challenges. A friend invited me to a weekday challenge to really up our steps and hey, maybe I do like the friendly competition to keep the steps coming along. I like that! Friendly encouragement.

So...watch out May! Here I come! I know my schedule is crazy busy with end of school, Confirmation for darling daughter, horse show for darling daughter, and more but I am ready to lace up and go!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for tools and friends that encourage me to keep on moving.

Daily Bible Verse: So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:26

4.30.2018

Stepping up the Steps

How many steps do you take each day?

When I first got my Fitbit ages ago I stuck to the predetermined 10,000 step goal. I didn't think much of it and many days I surpassed it as I was deep into marathon training. But as time went on I realized, I did not always hit the 10,000 goal and me being an overachiever in so many ways, I changed my goal to 12,500. This happened maybe 6 or more months ago. I really don't know when or why I picked that number except it was greater than 10,000 and I felt I should be able to do it....especially when training hard.

But life changes, things change...and my steps suffered. I will get back to that in a minute but want to focus on 10,000 steps.

Why 10,000 steps? 

Well, most sedentary people hit maybe 3,000 steps a day. My research revealed a number as low as 1,000 but I want to say 3,000. We do not want to be sedentary. 10,000 steps is about 5 miles based on the average stride of people. Reaching this goal also means you have most likely nailed your at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day healthy heart goal.

Personally, I see the connection as when I was deep in my rut I was not nailing 10,000 steps a day. In fact, I went too many days in the 5,000 to 7,000 range and I was feeling the negative impact of that. I was feeling blah, moody, and just not me. My energy levels were plummeting making working out harder - a vicious cycle. My food choices also suffered. In the past few weeks I have said enough is enough and refocused on getting those steps in, getting those running miles logged, and I am already reaping the benefits. I am feeling more like me and much happier. And eating better. Ironically less mindless snacking and more wholesome eating --- like homemade cream of broccoli soup! Yes, you can make it healthy and good for you. It is easier than you think!

For me, 10,000 is still not a good enough goal and I think it is time to challenge myself from 12,500 to 14,000 steps a day. This would be about 6.6 miles a day and that seems like a healthy challenge for me as it will push me to keep moving even after my daily run - which now ranges between 3.6 to 5 miles most days.

I have set a move reminder on my Fitbit mainly for those in the office days to remind me to move around and not just stand in place entering data. This is set for 6 days a week but not Sundays. Sundays will be my rest day. A day that less steps is okay but I honestly believe it is important to have a down day at least once a week. God thinks so too! I love that He suggests a day of rest. A day to do no work. I try my best to honor that day. That too is easier said then done when you have a household to manage and a full-time job but I do the best I can.

But back to steps....

Today was a great day. Today I am at 23,554 steps so far and won't log too many more as I am already settling in for the night. Today I ran 8.4 miles and did 12 rounds of MMA plus moved about cleaning house and more. I am excited to see what tomorrow and the rest of the week will bring as today I had a lucky break - working from home makes it easier to move and log more miles!

Do you have a step goal? What is it?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for active and productive days.

Daily Bible Verse: They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. ~ 1 Timothy 6:18-19

4.27.2018

Hula Hooping for Fitness

I recently purchased myself a weighted hula hoop as a reward for another 100 days added to my running streak. It came with a workout video and to be honest, I had no interest in the video. I thought I would just hula hoop alongside darling daughter. Her riding instructor suggested it as an exercise to help loosen her up, etc. to enhance her riding.

However, one day I thought, I will just put in this video and see what it is like. I decided not to be biased and assume the workouts would not be any good. It had some really easy stuff to it but some of those really easy moves were great for stretching my ever tight hamstrings and my tense shoulders. In fact, it is my shoulders that burn out first when I do the hula hooping routines. Go figure!

After 26 minutes of hula hooping, stretching, and do upper body moves today I felt I had a pretty good workout even if it wasn't as intense as many more of my workouts.

My 5 mile run today burned about 483 calories with an average heart rate of 158. My 26 minutes of hula hooping and more burned 128 calories with an average heart rate of 111. So obviously, hula hooping isn't a big calorie burner for me but does it have any health benefits?

Yes!

First, hula hooping keeps my heart rate in the fat burn zone. That in itself does indeed have benefits and trust me y'all, it is better than sitting on a couch. You can even increase the benefits by increasing the work efforts with a weighted hula hoop. Mine is 3 pounds can be changed from an easy to medium to hard configuration. Right now it is on easy but I think I am ready to move it up the spectrum since the actual hooping part is easy for me. The arm workout won't be impacted much by the change in configuration as it is more of a range of motion, keeping arms raised, mobility thing for me.

Second, hula hooping is a good low intensity all around exercise. After miles of hitting the pavement, or the treadmill, it may be good to switch things up. When you hula hoop you will definitely work your core muscles - abs and back - as well as your hips, thighs, glutes, thighs, and obviously arms. How you position your legs can change how you work your body and one thing I like is trying to hoop in a squat position to totally engage my quads and lower body more.

Third, hula hooping can help loosen you up. Think about the rotational movements of hooping and how those will improve flexibility along your spine. This is the primary reason why darling daughter's trainer recommended hooping. To loosen her up! To help her separate upper body movements from lower body movements. Teaching yourself to move one half of the body one way and the other half another way....or not at all! I wonder if this will help with my pesky left hip that tends to be tight.

Fourth, hula hooping can aid in your coordination. The biggest way is by trying to hoop in your not dominant direction. Yes, you will have a way that feels more natural. Now go backwards. I naturally hoop counter clockwise. Changing foot position and more while hooping helps coordination but go wild, hoop the other direction! Hooping clockwise takes a lot of focus for me. I cannot do as many tricks but I am getting better at it.

Last but not least, hula hooping is fun! So many of us can take life way too seriously, including our workouts. We need to be able to chill and have fun and when you can have fun and burn calories, that is a win-win. Plus moms, it is a great way to play with your kiddo's and engage them in the fit life too.

Daily Gratitude: I am so glad I invested in a hula hoop and would love to get the 5 pounder too!

Daily Bible Verse: For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. ~ 1 Timothy 4:8

4.17.2018

Running Streak day 2300 and beyond

If we are friends on facebook or twitter you may have seen this yesterday....


Yes! Yesterday was day 2300 of my running streak and a day worth blogging about. I shared a bit of my story on social media but kept it short and sweet. But honestly, there is so much more!

2300 days of running at least a mile a day. Running outside, running inside, running in sun, running in rain, running on streets, running on paths, running on the beach, running in airports, running in Texas, running in Illinois, running in Nebraska, running in California, running in Hawaii. I have also run in Spain but unfortunately, that was pre-streak days so does not count much today but that was a fun run. I kinda got lost. Kinda. I did not have to resort to my GPS map to guide me home but almost had to. But shhh....I don't think I told my mom I almost got lost in Spain.

Those 2300 days also represent fast days, slow days, so-so days, painful days, running on pure joy days, and I don't wanna days. Yes, there have been I don't wanna days...more than I would like to admit but when it got down to it, when I looked at my reason for not running it did not seem to be the reason I would like to have to use every time I said I ran every day until x happened. That x needs to be a good reason. Not a lazy, pathetic reason. Not a weak mind reason. And I am thankful for this experience as it set me up to be a better support for my daughter when she recently struggled with a similar feeling as it relates to horseback riding. Y'all, whatever sport you choose, there are going to be bad days. Hey, there are bad days in life! We just need to learn to roll....or run....or ride....or JUMP with them!

And don't forget to reward yourself for your achievements and you know what, I need to set up a reward system for darling! Her sport is hard! I just need to put one foot in front of the other. She is a heels down, toes up, leg on, close the hip angle, stay focused, type of sport. PHEW! I wonder if she knows how proud I am of her? I will need to tell her....again...and again, and again, and again.

Celebrate those milestones!

I set up just a thing for myself about 100 days ago. For every 100 day increment in my streak, I get to treat myself to something! My idea was a new running outfit. Bondi Band has a new Bondi Wear line with awesome stuff and hey, I do like to match and maybe look a bit stylish when I workout. I am in my workout gear a good chunk of each day so it matters. By the way, you can get 10% off when you shop at Bondi Band with my friends and family coupon code EGFITNESS. You can also get a 20% discount at SOS Rehydrate for an amazing electrolyte drink with the some code - EGFITNESS. But I am getting distracted in telling my story. Hey! I love sharing deals and products I love! If you have any affiliate links that don't compete with mine (sorry, no competition zone) enter them in the comments below, okay? I would love to support you if it is something I could use! And if I can't, maybe one of my readers can!

Anyhow, my 2300 day treat ended up not being a new outfit but this....


Yes! A hula hoop! It is a weighted hula hoop and the segments can be moved around to make it easy, medium, or hard in effort levels. And y'all, I tried a couple workouts yesterday and it made me sweat! Who knew hula hooping workouts could be hard! And who knew it would work your arms and shoulders! I have really tight stressed out shoulders so some of the moves really worked, and stretched, those areas and this is a good thing to return to time after time. Did anyone else sing time after time? If you did you may also like this song that popped up when I was running today.

Run like James Bond!


I really do need to "run" now and get to work but I have one final thing I want to share. When I run before work near the office I don't get to shower. There is no hot water. That is a story for another day but I am not a cold shower type of gal. I have used athletic wipes more than once in the past but found these that are biodegradable (win!) and have peppermint and tea tree oil in them (another win!). There is also one with lavender oil! No affiliate link for these but I found them on Amazon and just wanted to share.


Have a great day!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for an amazing 4.2 mile run today --- outside in the wind! 

Daily Bible Verse: These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. ~ John 15:11

4.11.2018

Virtual Run across Alaska

When you are running and racing on a budget sometimes you need to get creative to keep the momentum going.

One thing that has motivated me over the years is virtual races --- some I have paid for, some where comped, some were free for all, and some I created on my own. Like my current mission - running across Alaska for my buddy.

Through the I Run 4 Michael program I signed up to be a runner for someone who signed up for a runner. It is a mutual thing. A runner signs up, a buddy signs up, and you are eventually matched. Buddies are matched FAST! Runners, you gotta wait but hey, you are used to training and waiting for results so this is no different.

On July 27, 2014 I was matched with my beyond amazing buddy, Toby. He has Down syndrome and is very close in age to darling daughter. A match made in Heaven! Since then, I have grown to know and love him more along with his mom, family, younger brother, and his brother's runner. Both Toby and his younger brother have Down syndrome and were adopted! How cool is that?! Seriously, this is way cool!

I try to keep things fun and different with my running for Toby. When we were first matched I did more road races as it was in the budget but things have changed so now I try to do things with little to no budget. The virtual runs I set up through My Virtual Mission are a cool addition! I have run from Hawaii to Nebraska, Hadrian's Wall, Land's End to John o'Groats, and now across Alaska for Toby! Some have medals (if they are organized by My Virtual Mission and have a fee) and some don't but that is okay.

One thing I have realized in my current Alaska mission is this one is harder with less landmarks and a lot of icy conditions. It makes sharing cool updates and information harder. When I ran from Hawaii to Nebraska that was different. I was able to share more about landmarks. Now I feel I am running through frozen nothingness but still, it is something to share.

I am 439.2 miles into my 719.2 mile mission, a mission that started 167 days ago on October 25, 2017. Out of all the missions I have done for Toby, this is the first where I started and continue to be ahead of the ball in mileage and that is really cool! I was also kind to  myself and gave myself 473 days to complete this mission which means I was expecting to average 1.52 miles a day. A reasonable and realistic goal back in October when just a mile took all my heart and soul to complete. As of now I am averaging 2.63 miles a day. May that average increase over the next 279.9 miles!!!

This is also the first mission I did with a fundraising goal but to be honest, I have not been sharing or asking for support....until today. All funds raised will go to Catholic Charities and I appreciate your support. I have to manage this through my Paypal account because it was not one of the charities linked through the My Virtual Mission website. The linked causes were not near and dear to my heart...just being honest.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for virtual runs and the help of volunteers.

Daily Bible Verse: Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 3:13-14

4.09.2018

Hello Smoothie! - Getting back into the protein powder groove

Fitness is a journey, like all else in life, and recently I have been not drinking the daily protein shakes like I was for the bulk of the 2017. To be honest, it was financially motivated but I do feel not drinking the shake has had another cost factors. 

My overall health and energy. As odd as it seems, that almost daily protein shake shapes my food choices all day as it gets my nutrition on track....and perhaps prevents me from snacking mindlessly as I feel famished. 

The benefits of a protein shake is that they can help fuel your body and replenish muscle stores after a workout. The thing is, if you load that protein shake with add on's, or drink it at the wrong times, it can also lead to weight gain. It all comes down to the basics - calories in should not exceed calories out as it will result in weight gain no matter what you are eating or drinking. And some people may be tempted to drink their protein drink alongside a meal doubling up their meal intake without realizing it. This is not good.

And this is not, or has not been, my mode of operation. Initially my shake was to replace afternoon snacking but in time I realized this was not ideal as I could be mindlessly snacking throughout the day. It kept me from not snacking during food prep for dinner and the next day lunches but there is a better way...at least for me...and I think for many depending on your fitness routine.

I am a morning fitness gal. I start my day with a workout; therefore, starting my day with a protein shake makes sense. It is my first meal of the day...a meal that comes after working out. The best time for my body, and most importantly my muscles, to benefit from the protein shake. And yes, I add some fruit and maybe some instant coffee to my shake to liven it up. It makes it a good, wholesome breakfast.

I also go for vegan shakes.

I want a non-dairy choice and I love that the vegan shakes often increase the veggies in the shakes and this means a lot to me. The added veggies add fiber which can aid in digestion. A win-win to me when compared to just whey based powders that will irritate my stomach and give me little in addition to protein. I am looking for a wholesome breakfast that is easy to eat, or shall I say, drink on the go. 

And it sets a great example as darling daughter models what she sees and today wanted a shake for breakfast. She drinks one formulated for kids and added a banana for creaminess and blueberries to hers today. This is a much better choice than a carb-based breakfast. I am glad she is nourishing her body well because she is growing and is quite active with her equestrian sport and cross training with me. Yep, she rides three days a week and now cross trains twice a week!

Gotta love support and having a workout buddy!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for an affordable vegan shake choice. 

Daily Bible Verse: And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. ~ Genesis 1:29

4.05.2018

March 2018 Training Report

Any thing you do in life is worth working for but that also means, what you get out of anything in life is dependent on what you put into it.

March was an amazing month. A hard month, but an amazing month.

March was Lent and I was focusing on a lot beyond physical training. I was focused on my spiritual life and the relationships around me. I would love to say all is AMAZING but it wasn't but yes, March was amazing.

Why?

The last quarter of last year sucked. I felt like a ton of bricks. Then Christmas came and I received the gift of the lead falling off my legs and being able to run again without pain and overwhelming sadness. The veil of depression was lifting but it was still a struggle. I had many low mileage days and that is okay. At least I was running. I was moving forward.

The end of Lent, those last two weeks of March, had a similar unveiling. My running mojo was improving more. Running was becoming fun again. I was logging more miles and I thank God for this gift. But I also realize I needed to be able to see and recognize the gift in order to accept it, to benefit from it.

I also spent March reading The Love Dare and have now started the parent version of the same book. It is opening my eyes to things I already knew but maybe did not fully embrace. Love is a choice. I can't make people love me or act in lovable ways but I can choose love.

All my life I have struggled with wanting to be accepted, to feel lovable, to feel like I am doing good. I thrived on affirmation from others.

This left me in a not so good place and now I see it is kinda a selfish way of living. Way too much focus on me and what I get in return. I needed to learn to love even the unlovable. I needed to learn to love even when I was not being praised. YIKES! That "love your enemy" was hitting home....not that I am calling those around me enemies but you get the point.

And for the first time that I can ever remember, when I was being told off, brought down, and in the face of pretty much being told "you suck", I remained calm and peaceful in God's love....and was mocked for it....but inside I was doing the biggest happy dance ever! I was not being provoked to be mean and unloving. I was being love.

I could not get to this point without all the up's and down's in my life and those training/running hurdles, they helped me get to this point. If you never experience the down, how can you fully appreciate the up?

Darling daughter is learning a similar lesson in her riding right now. I am glad I had the experience of running ruts and struggles to relate to her. To have empathy. To help her through the rough patch and hearing her happy voice after a good lesson (kinda like a good run for me) was the best thing in the world!

Seriously.

It was better than winning the race!

And to really feel that, to appreciate that, I need to embrace the struggles in my life and invest in myself, in personal development, and to focus on my actions...not theirs. Y'all, you can't make anyone or anything in the world go the way you think it should. Sorry, you can't. But you can control how you act, how you train, what you do. Do that. It matters. It will bring you the calm in the storm you may need...sometimes more often than you think.

So by embracing the training storm, checking in and looking at what I am doing, looking at my stats, beginning to record how the running is making me feel each day, adding mood to miles, I was able to crank up my training the second half of March and that is pretty cool!



I ended up with 100 running miles and 29 hours of working out. I do well emotionally with an hour a day of working out and I was pretty close to that with just over 56 minutes a day. That is exciting news!

My 2018 goal is 1,170 miles. I am at 254 miles with 85 in January and 69 in February. That makes 100 this month even more exciting! The best month this year...even if not the best in my life. And I need to average just under 102 miles a month for the rest of the year to hit my goal. That seems completely doable, doesn't it?!

By the end of March I also completed 18 new workouts! I had 10 by the end of February so once again, I am happy with my progress. My goal is 70 in 2018 so to achieve this I need to do about 6 new workouts a month. Again, I can do this! I just need to find a new program and get going. Ready, set, sweat!

With more running time it may be a struggle but I am up for the challenge. After all, you get out of life what you put into life. You can't expect to be better, do better, live better if you aren't willing to put in the work and change yourself. I am ready to continue to grow, how about you?

I believe April will be another AMAZING month and I am excited to hit running streak day 2300 because for each 100 day mark, I get to treat myself to a running and working out treat...maybe a treat from BondiBand - you can get 10% off your BondiBand purchase with EGFITNESS. :)

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for a great March! And for personal growth due to the grace of God.

Daily Bible Verse: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10

P.S. Get 20% off of SOS, the hydration I love, with coupon code EGFITNESS

3.23.2018

Let Criticism Motivate You

In the final days of Lent I am struggling - emotionally and spiritually. As much as I feel God's presence all around me, I am stumbling. I want to be a peaceful person but yet the frustrations of life are leaving me stressed to the point of breaking. My challenge - to remain calm and focused when I am being criticized and blamed, when I am being asked to behave in ways that the person is not even demonstrating. I truly do believe in leading by example and not asking someone to do something if you are not willing to hold yourself to the same standards. I also believe we are all capable of making mistakes, myself included, and to suck it up, take responsibility for your own actions, and not blame someone for your own mistakes or misbehavior. To be forgiving. To be charitable. To be merciful.

But I do flop at times. I know I do not want to yell and shouldn't yell, but when pushed....especially with someone yelling at me, insulting me, criticizing me, blaming me....it is hard to not break and yell. I don't want to, yet I do. It is not someone else's fault I yelled. Yes, they may have stressed me to the point of breaking but ultimately, I am the one who yelled. It is my fault. Period.
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. ~ Matthew 26:41
I am open to hearing the point of view of others but some things I won't budge on - my faith and my self-care. It is not selfish to stick to these two pillars of who I am. I need God and I need to take care of myself. My mental health needs it. God wants me to take care of myself. Running and cross training bring me peace. Sometimes that peace is robbed from me way to quickly but once again, I am working on that and it is a daily struggle. Don't judge me for my failures and I won't judge you.
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. ~ Matthew 7:5
But we all judge at times, don't we? Even if we don't mean to. We all have standards we expect others to live up to and it can be hard when those standards aren't being met. There are some rules of interacting with others that we feel all society should adhere to as we expect drivers on the road to adhere to driving standards, right?

It is even harder when we ourselves are being judged. It is hard to not get defensive especially when the perceptions are wrong or you are being wrongly judged, wrongly criticized. Yes, that happens. And when it does, you have a choice. I have a choice. Let it bring you down and bring out the worst in you (which I always despise it when that happens as I expect better from myself) or let it motivate you to stick to your guns and moral principles, your faith, your health, your peace of mind.

I say go for option two.

Choose to take that criticism and let it propel you forward. Tell me my bible reading and running is detracting from my ability to take care of you, myself, and others and I will become more determined than ever to read my bible daily and work out at 110% effort. It is not selfish, moms, to take care of yourself. It is not selfish, wives, to take care of yourself. You are worthy of love and the ability to give love starts with loving yourself, loving yourself enough to stand up for your right to take care of yourself - emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Loving yourself enough to have the courage to follow God's will.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
And to wrap this post up, I want to share one more quote and nope, this one is not a bible verse.
Once you realize that you are a human being with a body and soul, it should change how you use your body. What you do with your body, you do with your soul. ~ Jackie Francois 
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for God's love, mercy and forgiveness especially when I feel like a grumbling Israelite crossing the desert in the times of Exodus. 

Daily Bible Verse (yup, one more): For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church. ~ Ephesians 5:29 

3.22.2018

A Healthier Home: moving away from chemicals

I work in a non-profit committed to protecting our oceans and being as "green" as possible is a not only a part of my work life but my home life. I am not perfect. I am a work in progress and recently I have started tackling one area of greening up my home that I thought was out of my budget - less chemicals for cleaning the house and on my family's body. And yes, this post contains affiliate links but I am sharing products that I use and love.

Just like a new fitness program and diet, greening up your home does not need to happen all at once. Baby steps matter so pick a place and start there. In fact, baby step lead to stronger continuous growth.

My first step was eliminating traditional household cleaners and moving to vinegar, water, and baking soda. A lot can be done with these simple ingredients and to this day I am convinced baking soda makes the tub shinier than any traditional cleaner I ever used in the past....and no yucky fumes is a plus.

But even though I was cleaning without chemicals, chemicals were still going into the air with air fragrances as I do love a awesome smelling house. Don't you?

My next step was to purchase essential oils and a diffuser and this small investment is transforming my life in so many ways. Now I have a diffuser in both bedrooms, the bathroom, the kitchen, and even one at work! I like the ones that have pretty lights and let you choose between continuous or intermittent puffs.


I always have at least one diffusing away and over the past 8-10 months, I have collected an amazing collection of oils. I have single oils and blends and some of my favorite blends are for breathing easy, headache relief, stress relief, and a good night's sleep. My single oils range from orange, to lemon, to lavender, to eucalyptus, to patchouli, to frankincense, and more. I even have some clove and cedar wood! Everything has a purpose and a reason that now goes way beyond just diffusing.

I invested in a great book on essential oils in the home that contains a host of "recipes" for cleaning products and more. I invested in glass bottles to hold my blends in and have a kitchen counter blend, bathroom sanitizer blend, linen spray for the beds, and a sports cleaner for my treadmill and ironically, the blend is great for cleaning the pet cages. Bunnies can make some good stink!

I used the book I bought for inspiration but have added my own twist and inventions. With the purchase of some castille soap, I have created my own toilet cleaner that dilutes the soap with water and adds in some essential oils, whatever scent I desire when I make up some, and it is kept by the toilet for those regular deeper cleanings and let me tell you, that toilet bowl shines!


Is that the end? Nope!

I was still using dryer sheets and it bugged me with the physical waste and chemicals. I now own dryer balls you can reuse and add oils if you want a scent. They are taking some getting used to but make a huge impact. My drying times are shorter and they do work. I just need to be careful not to over dry and create a lot of static clean. It is a timing thing I need to get used to. And each ball can be used hundreds of times! So that scary first investment does work itself out in the end especially when you factor in shorter dryer times. Win-Win!


But everything I do and use is not essential oils or homemade. I have transitioned the family to natural toothpastes and soaps. I do love the products from Elk River Soaps and we keep bath bombs in stock, love their handmade soap, and even tried their shampoo and conditioner for a trial run. I am going to get more for when we travel as I love the cans they come in.


I am in the process of making the final transition with shampoo, deodorant, and laundry detergent. And I even now have an all natural hand sanitizer on my desk at work for helping combat office germs.

FYI: The products we buy for the horse darling daughter rides are also all natural. And did you know you can make your own mosquito repellant? I do and it works. I may still get some bites here and there but honestly, that can happen with the nasty chemical repellant too as I am a mosquito buffet. I am only mentioning that here because I keep some homemade mosquito repellant at the stables for me when those pesky mosquitos are hunting me down.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunity to share products I love that can keep your home and life greener and chemical free.

Daily Bible Verse: But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. ~ 1 Timothy 5:8

3.15.2018

Tracking progress & a plea for help

It is mid-March. How on Earth did that happen? That seems to be the standard exclamation from me these days as time is rushing by way too fast. With things speeding by at the speed of light it got me wondering, how am I doing in regards to my March training goals?

Some days I feel I am doing okay, other days I feel I am flopping. But with any plan in life, without metrics to truly look at, how do you know how you are doing?

So let's recap my March goals. I need to get to 101.6 miles a month average for the rest of the year to nail my 2018 mileage goal. I am also striving for 70 new cross training workouts. I am at 13 new workouts and 40 miles this month. OUCH!

If you put it into perspective, in February I ran 69 miles so I do feel I am up'ing my running game from an average of 2.46 miles a day to 2.67 miles a day so far this month. I need to do more but I am also aware of the benefits of a gradual build-up so I am happy. Sorta. At least I am on the right track. In February I did 3 new workouts and I have done 3 new so far this month. Again, I am on the right track. That is good. But I want more.

My biggest hurdle is how and when. Time is flying by in so many areas of my life and it seems I have so little time. My go to plan to get my workouts in was to wake up earlier. Just get up and move. I am struggling big time with that. My alarm goes off but I don't get moving. It takes me at least 30 minutes from alarm ringing to moving to work. If I adjust the alarm to just sleep that extra 30, it still takes 30. That means right now my alarm is set for 3 am most days. Y'all, that is brutally tough! But necessary to get it all in as afternoons are pretty much full of darling daughter's activities, meal prep, and just home maintenance. I need more time. I need something!

Am I looking to do too much? Are my expectations too high?

These are valid questions but I will not give up starting my day with my daily bible reading. That is a must. But how do I do it?

I wish I had some magic answer but to be honest, I don't. I am kinda feeling perplexed and wondering if I am really biting off more than I can chew but when I do succeed in a successful morning workout I am a better me at work and at home. That matters. It helps me keep depression and anxiety at bay. That matters.

I also leave for work at 5:30 am. That matters too. So how can I fit it all in?

You may think I have plenty of time, and maybe I do. Maybe it is like my home budge if I just look at it in black and white it will start making sense. Maybe you can give me some tips.

This is my typical morning:

  • Wake up and feed the pets (a bunny, guinea pig, and bird). If the bunny had a messy night, I need to clean out his potty. 
  • Put away dishes from drying rack while making my coffee - I drink cold brew so I literally just need to put in a mug, add creamer, top with water and microwave but some days I do need to start a new batch. 
  • Change into workout clothes while coffee is heating up.
  • Sit down at the table and do my daily bible reading and right now, during Lent, I am also doing a daily reflection. This takes about 20 minutes.
  • Workout with the goal to run and say the rosary and if I am super lucky, do some cross training too.
  • Shower and get dressed for work.
  • Wake darling daughter up.
  • Pack lunches.
  • Prep coffee to go for on my way down to work.
  • Say goodbye to darling daughter and walk out the door for work.

At first glance I would say you would question the pets and putting away dishes but I do it to help dear hubby. He feeds the two outside bunnies and cleans any dishes left in the sink, which can include my morning coffee mug, etc. He needs to do this before taking darling daughter to school and if he leaves the dishes, it is all left for me when I get home from work. And nothing against him but he doesn't really know where everything goes, will leave dishes out for me to put up, or will put them in the craziest places. Ironically, my mom says my dad used to do the exact same thing. And I do want to help him.

Which brings me back to square 1, I need to get up and moving earlier to fit it all in. Maybe I just need to move my alarm out of reach forcing me to get up and out of bed. Maybe....just maybe....that will work.

Moms, how do you do it?

P.S. I am happy to share this deal with you as a Bondi Band ambassador. They have amazing new state headbands and the Hawaii band is so cute! I may need to get one and you can too PLUS you can get 10% off with my friends and family code, EGFITNESS. Check them out HERE.

3.06.2018

Starting (or restarting) a fitness program

Sometimes the hardest part is starting.

This is a good motto for so many things in life so today I want to help you start.

Start a running program, start a new fitness routine, or even restart. In over 6 years of running at least one mile a day and adding cross training into my program, I know a lot about restarting. Restart is sometimes the most important key you can press in your fitness routine. Restart is sometimes even harder to hit than the initial start key because now you may feel weighed down and defeated. Don't let that stop you. Restart.

For those looking for a running program to add running into your life (think newbies), here is a good plan for you. Let's just commit to 4 weeks right now and 30 minutes a day four days a week. Before each workout, be sure to warm up and then cool down and stretch afterwards. Yes, I believe stretching matters but do it with a warm body, not a cool one.
  • Week 1: Run 1 minute, Walk 2 minutes. Repeat this interval for 30 minutes. 
  • Week 2: Run 2 minutes, Walk 2 minutes. Repeat this interval for 30 minutes.
  • Week 3: Run 2 minutes, Walk 1 minutes. Repeat this interval for 30 minutes.
  • Week 4: Run 3 minutes, Walk 1 minute. Repeat this interval for 30 minutes.

If this workout is not a good fit for you, I understand. It is hard to make a one-size-fits-all running program and I am happy to say, I am a certified running coach and can help you out. Just email me for a specific running program tailored for you. I can do 4 week, 8 week, or 12 week plans. Email me for pricing and details based on your needs but since I am a mom on a budget, I want fitness to be affordable for you. I have seen coaches charging hundreds for their services. I just don't want to do that and my plans start at $10.

For those seasoned runners who have fallen off their game due to injury or other things in life, restarting can be hard especially if you start comparing your performance to past performance. DON'T! It won't do you any good. Restart and change things up if you can either by running somewhere new if you run outside or altering how you run on the treadmill.

In my recent restart, I changed the focus on my treadmill runs. I moved away from the normal tunes and accepted starting at a slower pace. I would rather run 5.3 miles slower than my past performance than 1 mile faster and feeling like a failure since my legs ache. And recently I am tying this run time into my prayer time to focus on others and prayers versus my own performance. Sometimes rigid schedules can get me back on track, other times, flexibility helps. My goal right now - move at least one hour a day with my daily running and cross training and having two just a mile days a week. It does not need to be all 110% effort...just do it...and I am feeling the rust fall off my legs and my paces are improving. I think this is because I am running happy and by feel and running is a huge mental game and I am allowing myself two down days each week.

For those new to cross training or in a rut in cross training, my advice is pretty much the same. HAVE FUN! I totally love Beachbody on Demand and nope, I am no longer a Beachbody Coach. To be honest, I needed the coaching business fees and nutritional item money to go to darling daughter's horseback riding but I have kept the Beachbody on Demand All Access pass going. That is an investment in me and a better value than a gym. I have access to hundreds of programs and love so many of them. It makes it easy to do a new routine and change things up and y'all, that matters. It makes your training more effective and keeps you more mentally engaged.

Finally, what you eat matters. It truly does. Pay attention to how your body feels with the food you eat. Dairy makes my stomach hurt, too much coffee makes me stuffy and makes my eyes feel dry (it is true - I use my dry eyes as a cue to hydrate better and it works), and carbs can lead me feeling bloated. So now I pretty much wiped out my faves - not really. I do enjoy veggies especially bok choy and I adore hummus, pickles, beans (but I can't do too many of them either), and potatoes (within reason).

I keep certain items in the house as the mainstay for snacking and meals for the family and pets: bananas, oranges, frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries or triple berries, grapefruit cups, mandarin orange cups, applesauce, lettuce, celery, carrots PLUS we add in other delights from time to time. These include watermelon, pineapple, apples, pears, kiwi, peppers, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, bok choy, asparagus, artichokes, and salad kits.

I love seeing my 10 year old daughter start to make healthier choices on her own. "Mom, I am hungry and I am going to choose a healthier snack" and grabs an apple versus treats of the past like goldfish (although she still eats those from time to time). Or she may say, "Mom, I am going to have a snack but only 3 pretzels". Or, "Mom, I want a snack and I want pretzels but I already had some today at school. I am going to get a fruit cup."

It is rewarding to see this happen as it is the fruit of my efforts, so to speak. Knowing that what I do and eat impacts her is a motivation in itself. If I give up on my workouts and she sees me quitting, how will she not give up when the horseback riding gets tough? If I am constantly fueling my body with junk, how will she not do the same? And if I don't make the effort to keep nutritional food in the house, how can she pick the good stuff?

But I am not crazy about it. She also gets Lucky Charms and other fun kid stuff. Hey, I ate Lucky Charms as a kid and believe it teaches moderation and good food choice. Plus, I want to be able to eat a cookie and not feel guilty for "ruining a diet" or all that other guilt that many women may carry on their shoulders.

Honey, you are beautifully made and we all have fat on our bodies and skin....we have skin! We all have folds and eventually we will all have wrinkles. Wear your skin with pride knowing that there is only one you and you are perfectly made. Take care of your body and it will take care of you.

God bless and have a beautiful week!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the God given ability to run every day. 

Daily Bible Verse: You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. ~ Song of Solomon 4:7

3.01.2018

February 2018 Training Report

YIKES!

Only 17 workout hours done in February. This is down from 26 in January and even with February being a shorter month, I was off target. But in all reality, it makes sense. February traditionally is a very tough month for me. It is the busiest month at work, darling's birthday, my dad's birthday and that always brings around sad, low motivation days as I miss him so much, and this month I lost another dear friend to cancer. So instead of beating myself up over low mileage and less hours, I am going to celebrate that I did workout for 17 hours. This includes running and cross training. You can see the overall gist in this workout calendar.


Seeing this feature on Strava makes me want to make better notes to myself about how I feel after my RSD (running streak day) notation to really see how my overall mood was for the month. I logged 69 miles bringing my 2018 miles to 154 and my streak miles to 9,984. That is definitely better than no miles.

And to be completely transparent, I am struggling with getting up at 3:00 am to do my bible reading and workouts before work. I do not want to give up either and have limited time after work with darling daughter riding three days a week and we are attending healing ministry once a week. Fortunately, that is back to back with one of her riding days so I have a few open days a week. I just need to establish a solid routine and try my best to stick to it. I wouldn't give up darling daughter riding horses or us attending healing ministry for anything! Those moments matter.

I did kinda slip on my cross training and incorporating new workouts. That had a definite impact on my overall workout hours. I am at 10 new workouts for 2018 and if I stick to this pace for the remainder of the year, I will be at 60 - 10 short of my goal. I need to up my game. Not only this but also for miles. My goal is to break 10,000 streak miles so I need to average 101.6 miles per month for the rest of the year. YIKES AGAIN!

This is not completely out of reach as it is something I have done in the past and just this past January I pulled off 85 miles. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

I will do this. I will do this. I will do this.

But since I love to analyze and see my baby steps, that 101.6 miles a month is about 3.4 miles a day - approximate as months have different number of days but you get the point. I need to run more!

And I do want to run more so that makes this a happy situation to be in. A chance to up my game. A chance to keep my eyes on the prize. A chance to not give up when the going gets tough. A chance to not make excuses. A chance to make a difference - one step, one jab, one crunch at a time.

Are you in?

Great!

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Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for what I did accomplish this month.

Daily Bible Verse: Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. ~ Hebrews 12:1