Catching Up & Handmade Treasures

I can't believe it has been over two months since my last post and to be honest, part of that is because I have been struggling and wanted to be a ray to light to others but feel compelled to be completely honest.

This year has been one of the toughest ever with the ongoing battle with depression and anxiety...but there has been more. Two men I looked up to lost their lives to cancer, work is in a state of change ever moment, and I hate to admit it but....my marriage is an ongoing struggle in its own. I don't want to go into details about any of those beyond saying just getting up and making it through each and every day has been the hardest it has ever been.

But I do because I have complete faith in God and know out of all of this, something wonderful will form. Every run is an act of sheer will but I managed to make it to 7 years of daily running and will keep pushing forward...no matter how slow it feels right now. There is a lesson in all of this.

I did reach my fitness goals for 2018 but that will be another post as I really need to look at the details and wrap my head around them and formulate my goals for 2019. Yes, I am moving slow on this but that has been the story of my life this past year.

In all of this, darling daughter and I have been busting our booties craft-style and attended our second craft show. We also opened an etsy shop and it is still in the very beginning stages as I have lots of products to add --- mainly rosaries --- but please check it out and share. It is called Handmade Treasures HI and you can find it HERE. :)

We are making rosaries, necklaces, bracelets, and horse baby pads that I customize with embroidered patches. I have tons of new patches in stock and need to take pictures and add them to the line-up and hope to get a fancy sewing machine so I can customize with names, etc. My hope is that we can grow this little side business to help cover the costs of horse back riding for this little gem so I can still try to get out of debt.

Finances have been another big worry but I am getting a grasp on it. Check out the Every Dollar app if you want to start getting a handle on your finances too. I still get things that surprise me but in less than a year budgeting, I feel I am building a stronger foundation.

With all these changes in life, I am going to delve down deep and determine how I want this blog and its newsletter to continue. If there are things you would like to hear about, let me know! But until the next post, Happy New Year and God bless!!!


A better evite - A better experience

Living in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I tend to love e-cards and more to send to family and friends to let them know I am thinking of them. There are so many ways to do it and yes, I do traditional cards too but do love the ease of technology.

Just the other week I was on the opposite end of the receiving. Not an e-card but an e-invite. I know, I know, this is not really new. I have received many before for work events, etc. but this one stood out to me as it was so cute. The card popped out of the envelope on my screen inviting my daughter to her friend's birthday party. It even had all the contact info I needed, an address, and I could click to get directions to this new neck of the woods for me.

I immediately looked to see how the mom was doing this and it was a site called Paperless Post. I put this into my good to know files, RSVP'd I was attending, and left a little comment about how excited we were on the comment board. It was nice seeing everyone's excitment build! I had the open to receive notifications and figured why not.

Good thing I did! I got a notice when due to unexpected circumstances the party time had to change. It said I already RSVP'd yes (moms sometimes love these reminders) and had a link just in case the new time was not a good fit.

Once party day arrived I got another notice with a just in case you need it....here's my cell phone number. I almost needed it!

And then after the party, I got a thank you for joining us.

Basically, all the traditional good manners we hopefully grew up with in an e-mail format that is the thing these days. I totally loved the experience as a mom receiving a birthday invite for my child. It made everything so easy for me! The only thing better could have been maybe some gift ideas but we nailed that one too!

I finally broke down and looked at the website to Paperless Post and it is more than invites and that makes me really happy. I can't wait to start sharing the love with my family and friends for birthdays and more....even if it is an added e-card they can receive on their big day in addition to that card in the mail that can arrive early, late, or sometimes get lost.


I can do all things through him who strengthens me

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. ~ Philippians 4:13-14

The first part of this verse I know pretty well. It is even on my computer at work. It surrounds me and it is one I remember more and more often these days when I am truly feeling beat up with nothing left to give or share.

It came to my mind to write a blog post with this as the subject yesterday while I was running wondering if I could go one more step. Asking God why am I feeling so off. When will I ever feel like me again. Will I ever feel like me again? I can't say I loved the response I got. Suffering is a part of life. Pick up your cross and carry it. It is Satan trying to knock you down. Make you feel weak and worthless. Make you doubt what you are able to do as he wants to stop you from this very thing you are struggling to do....run with me. Run with God.

You may not have the faith I do and that is okay. This message is perfectly fitted to you too. Negative self talk could be your translation. The I can't's taking away from the happy vibes of doing and when the tough days are coming out ahead of the good days, it is hard to see the good.

So today when I sat down to write this post I looked up the verse number again just to be sure I got it right and the second part jumped out to me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 

Wow! I have read this verse so many times and yet this second part was buried somewhere in my mind not coming to the surface....or maybe God wanted me to really see it today.

Yet it was kind of you to share in my trouble. 

Who is sharing in my trouble? I am running by shear determination. My whole body hurts. I have gained some pounds (totally thinking age and hormone related) and I feel just plan awful all around. I feel completely alone in this. Completely alone.

Who is sharing in my troubles when the depression and anxiety I live with daily is escalating?

Well, in a nutshell...there are a couple of trusted friends who I know share in my troubles. In fact, when I texted them this morning asking for prayers they were there immediately. If only we were all in the same state! But our friendship is so strong that the distance between Hawaii, Nebraska, and Illinois shrinks and I feel we are all around the same coffee table comforting each other along our own journeys. We all have struggles and we all need to be strengthened from time to time.

I am not alone. Most importantly, God is always by my side and He is always putting special people in my life to give me that sense of belonging and companionship I long for even if I am not always as grateful for it as I should be.

Somehow I need to find a way to take this ever present joy in my heart and convert it to a sense of happiness but the two are not one in the same. Maybe my heart will always be sorrowful and somehow I need to find a way to not let that define me in a negative way but to transform it into something positive.

I am changing in more ways than one but I still cling to the ideals of self-esteem that define me - the number of miles, the pace I nail, or the number on the scale - as much as I don't want these things to define me.

I am the rich man not willing to let go and follow Jesus completely....even if I really do want to let go. But as much as I try I can't see new or different metrics to measure my daily success or failures by....metrics to determine if I am on the right path, doing what I should be doing, growing how I should be growing. I am truly lost.

Why am I sharing this?

Because, I am not alone. There really is no way I can be the only 40-something year old lady feeling this way. Personally, I know others and know there are many more out there. Lost women feeling totally out of it with nothing left to give. I am not the only Martha looking for help.

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him (Jesus) and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. ~ Luke 10:40-42

This bible verse is my stumbling block in life. There is so much to do and I do want to serve others after all, Jesus came to Earth to serve and asks us to do the same....even if this bible verse suggests otherwise. I get it, we should listen to Him as well but at the stake of doing nothing and not serving? I want to make Jesus dinner and tend to his needs AND I want to sit by his feet and listen to his stories. To learn. But how? I just don't get it.

And maybe if I finally get it I just may find the way to measure my progress each day with new metrics that fit a bit better versus ones focused on ego and pride (miles, pace, weight).


September 2018 Training Report

I started out September strong and was doing new running workouts left and right. I even made it to 52 new workouts this year, and I started September with only 37 new workouts. This was a continuum of the momentum I started at the end of August, but then things hit. I got plain plum tuckered out.

The last two weeks of September were very low mileage and beyond running, I wasn't doing much more. It is kinda funny how I know what is the perfect fix for me and I can still fall off target. I know mixing running and cross training is best. I know working out an hour a day is best. And I flop.

It is hard to keep things going with all the rest going on each and every day and it is all about balance. We each have 168 hours each week to do all we need or want to do. I just recently heard this on the radio when I was thinking I just don't have enough time. 168 hours. They challenged the listeners to think about those 168 hours and use them wisely. Don't waste them away in trivial ways and choose what is the best use of your time.

The thing is, I don't think I waste too much time away unless you count the time I am waiting at school, etc. waiting for darling daughter but I even try to repurpose those hours into functional hours - doing some work from home to round out my work hours each week as I have a flexible work week with not all my 40 hours in the office. That is a win-win. Reading devotional books and catching up with family but those waiting hours do not translate into fitness hours....well, not all the time. Sometime I do run while I wait. I probably should do that more often.

September I only worked out 19 of those precious hours. Not even close to an hour a day and when I look at those 168 hours, or 720 for the whole of September, I can't say I feel very proud of myself. But beating myself up and wallowing in self pity won't help much at all plus I don't think I would trade in much that I did do. Darling daughter had a horse show, and did AMAZING, and that took a good chunk of my time as she was at the stables more. In the grand scheme of life, that means more to me. And that makes me feel pretty good about myself. I am not trying to act like a martyr but I think it is a good place to be in to give up a little of me for her....or anyone else. Isn't that what we are supposed to do?

My goals for 2018 were to do 70 new workouts and to run 1,170 miles to break 10,000 streak miles. I only have 18 more new workouts to do this year! That goal is back in reach and in August it was questionable. 6 new workouts a month for the rest of the year. Totally doable! I logged 84 miles in August bringing me to 1,065 miles for the year!!! I am at 9,895 streak miles!!!! This goal is totally in reach too! Maybe I could even break it in October!

With all the bumps in the road, I am reaching my goals, and I think that is the big thing to focus on here. Life has bumps in the road. There are good days, there are bad days, but no matter what happens or how unmotivated I feel, I keep choosing to run at least a mile and keep pulling myself back to pushing play and doing what is right. Persistence pays off. No one is perfect and I am not going to sugar coat things and say living a fit life is easy peasy lemon squeezy. What good does that do for anyone? Lying won't make me feel good and painting a fake image does you no good. I care too much about you to lie to you.

So if you are feeling down and out, lace up those shoes, hit play, and get moving. Trust me, at the end of the day you really won't regret doing what is right.

God bless!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for being on target with my 2018 goals. 

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


Up by 4 and Ready to Go!

Each day is a fresh start to get it right and today's post is a companion to yesterday's post, Trying to Catch Up.

As much as I want to say I accomplished all my goals last night and today, I didn't. But I wanted to add to the story the small accomplishments so that you don't lose hope.

I was up and moving this morning by 4:00 am! I was slowly rolling out of bed just after 3:30 am after laying there a bit and thinking, "Really?!", but I succeeded in getting up. A huge motivating factor was the load of clothes I went to bed with them still tumbling in the dryer. Our washer and dryer are outside so I knew they would pick up some night moisture so they needed a little tumble more and needed to be folded. So I wandered out into the dark wrapped up in a lovely rope from my sister and nieces, got the dryer tumbling, and went in to start coffee, put dishes away, start the diffuser, feed the pets, and sit down for my morning bible and devotional reading...sipping on that coffee.

Then it was time to gather the clothes, put the horse's baby pads and towels into the dryer (yes, I started those last night on my way to bed), warm up the cold coffee, take a couple more sips, fold the clothes, and look at the clock. Nope. No workout time as it was time to actually remember to pack the lunch for darling daughter, get mine packed, change clothes, and head to work.

Where does the time go?

I did pull off a morning coffee break mile run around the office after the sun came up and after chatting with darling daughter on her way to school - gotta love that morning ritual! Kinda makes being a working mom more bearable.

Am I feeling recharged? Nope.

I still feel disheartened I got no real running and working out time in but trust the process. Perhaps this is an unexpected recovery week as my body does feel beat up and I am still so tired. Barely keep my eyes open tired.

But it is also a time to remember where I have been and where I am going.

Today is day 2,456 of my running streak. That is 6 years, 8 months, and 20 days of running at least a mile and that is worth celebrating. In those days, I have had many weeks like this but I have also had amazing long run, high mileage, lots of cross training weeks. It is the ebb of flow of life and instead of fighting it, I just need to embrace it. And I am thankful for each of those days, each mile no matter how slow or how fast, and each run no matter how long or how short.

Each day is a new day, a fresh start, and I know I will wake up rejuvenated again....if not today, tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, than the next morrow.

God bless!


Trying to Catch Up

Do not give up, just keep swimming, just keep moving, don't give up.....

Recently, I feel I am in a constant state of trying to catch up in all aspects of my life. Time seems to be running out left and right and I am scrambling to get the bare necessities done. Ironically, I just listened to a podcast on time and as much as I want to say I was sitting back, relaxing, and listening....I wasn't. I was plugging through data entry, multi-tasking, and listening. You can listen to it HERE. Yes, I need more hours in the day! And yes, I strive to stop and smell the roses and not be too busy for my loved ones but then....how can I do all I need to do?

I can't say I can cut much out of my daily to do's. I am not going to cut my time with God, taking care of my family, work (although some days I may want to!), and all those household chores (but I do less than I hope for). And then there is exercising. That is one thing that tends to be cut back to 10-15 minutes when I fully know I do need a good hour a day to stay at my best emotionally. But I am tired.

It is a double-edged sword - sleep more, workout less, and be more tired or wake up early, workout more, and be tired in a different way...but often this different way is indeed a better way.

Logically, I know this but right now I am tired and struggling to catch up. I have a never ending work project with no end in sight and no sense of accomplishment, I have a crazy week with extra horse lesson days and more stable hours for darling daughter, and I still have the clothes to do, lunches to make, and dinner to make....and I am flopping. I even forgot to make my child's lunch today as I rushed out the door to work....late....once again. And I barely had time to run a mile! One lousy mile!!!!

On top of that, the things I can turn to for motivation are even kicking me in the butt. My fitbit challenge group is leaving me behind as I struggle to get my steps in because I am stuck in the car, at my desk, in meetings, dying to workout and move, and trying to get all that I need to do done....and this includes constant double scheduling of meetings and having to say, nope, can't be in two places at once and then once again, running out the door late to go get darling daughter from school too often than I would like to rush.

Yesterday, darling daughter even said, "ENOUGH! Everyone is RUSHING me!!!" I get it, sweetie, I get it.

I am feeling rushed, pushed, and asked to give more, more, more and barely have the time to take care of me. How can I stop and smell the roses when I am waist deep in dirty laundry...and I am doing a load almost every single day?! And today I need to start the next load when I finally get home close to 6 pm (and this is after leaving the house at 5:30 am!).

Each time I walk into the kitchen there are more dirty dishes to wash and each step in the bathroom leaves me with a dirty counter, sink, toilet, or floor that needs to be tended to.

Oh...and the squeaking pets. Literally by the way, squeaking and rattling saying "Feed ME!" but honestly, those pets are a breath of fresh air (if you ignore the stinky cages that are wreaking out to me....CLEAN ME!). At least when I feed them they seem to say, "Thank you!" and look genuinely happy that I am there.

Okay, darling daughter is pretty darn good at saying thank you too and is being pretty darn forgiving that I forgot to make her lunch. She is a great back-up plan and before you tell me she can help more, she helps A LOT! But right now she is also struggling to balance it all in these crazy weeks as she has more make up lesson days, homework, and trying to find moments where she can stop and smell the roses.

Somehow I need to carve out time to get a good run in very, very soon to help recalibrate my emotional self. Anyone want to shove me out of bed at 3 am tomorrow?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for all that God has given me.

Daily Bible Verse: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” ~ James 4:13-15


August 2018 Training Report

August had its up's and down's --- pretty much like every other month in my life. I only worked out 26 hours. Not quite my hour a day goal but getting back in the groove with the school routine, extra horse days, hurricane warning days, and more I am pretty happy with what I sweated out.

Plus, I am back in doing some new workouts....with a twist. You see, Audible offered a great deal to its members to get Aaptiv workouts for free and I have been running to those and pushing myself so even though the hours are less, the effort is more!

Before I started this my last new workout was #24 on June 15th. I wrapped up August with 37 new workouts! How cool is that?! And I am really hoping I can get access to the Aaptiv workouts after the September 5th cut off date. So I am not giving up on my goal to nail 70 new workouts in 2018....at least, I am not giving up yet.

I also hope to break 10,000 streak miles this year so I need 1,170 miles in 2018 to nail that goal. With the 120 miles I ran in August I am at 981 miles for the year and 9, 811 streak miles. With God's ongoing help, I will nail this goal and quite possibly surpass it. That actually makes me happier than my cross training goal.

I have also added in some extra goals for myself that focus on my physical well-being. My overall heart health has dropped a bit (but it is still classified as very good according to FitBit) but I want to see if I can get that dip to at least stabilize or hopefully improve. I am looking at diet adjustments to help out with that. And of course, I am hoping the Aaptiv training will help. I think I have become a bit too complacent in my running and running pace and am happy to say, I am making pace improvements again!

This is after a year of slowing paces and I just was accepting it as a part of life. Runners hear it all the time. Women hear it all the time. You get older, things change, do not underestimate the power of menopause and your hormones.

The workouts are tough but doable and I love the focus on breathing and running form along the way. And those runs have consistently been at faster paces than my average for the past year and pretty close to my long ago days of marathon training run paces. Maybe not for as many miles, okay, absolutely not as many miles, but I am also doing speed work at paces I have never trained at since....well....maybe forever. I can't remember ever pushing myself to do 7'30" sprints! And 10 of them in a single workout too! For some that may not seem like much but for me it is HUGE.

So as my 46th birthday comes creeping up quite quickly I am going to keep running strong and happy and not give up on improving overall health, running faster, and perhaps shedding a few unwanted pounds. And I got my annual physical done on the 31st and am awaiting blood results.

But now onto a completely unrelated note and humble ask...

Y'all, if you could spare a dollar a podcast I adore may not be on the air much longer. She was able to get up and running with Kickstarter but those funds are gone and she just has enough left for a couple more months from donations that have come in past that Kickstarter and she is cutting back the podcasts from two a week to one a week to stretch things out.

The podcast is called Hello & Welcome! and is hosted by Kristine Franklin. All I want for my birthday is for this podcast to keep going and growing strong. In less than a year her reach has gone international but it is totally funded by cool people like all of us. So, if you could spare just a dollar, please donate today. She did not ask me to do this but I am praying for my 46th birthday that 46 people will donate in my honor so the show I love will keep going strong. Her shows truly lift my spirits and help me to be a better mom, wife, employee, me.

Thank you and God bless.

Love and Hugs from Erica G :)


Treadmill Running for Physical & Spiritual Growth

Treadmill running is not always easy. In fact it can be plain mind numbing at times and it is much harder at least from the mental aspect. It is so easy to just throw in the towel and give up when the going gets tough when you are running in place. Sometimes, just sometimes, you need to shake things up.

This is not something new to me as in my over 6 years of running every single day, many of those runs have been on a treadmill. I have also shared many treadmill workouts over the years but recently I have been in a slump even if I did not fully realize it. If you are interested in treadmill workouts, just search this blog for treadmill workouts. 😊

My pace has been slowing on and off of the treadmill for a long time. It could be age. It could be hormones. It could be other factors that I am not always aware of for example, what I am listening to while I run. Most of my runs have been doubling up with time with God, which I do not regret one single bit. The treadmill is my battlefield for physical and spiritual health...and in all reality, for emotional health too.

My runs both on and off of the treadmill have coincided with saying the rosary, listening to Relevant Radio, listening to Hello & Welcome!, or reading the daily readings. All things that soothe my soul but could be leading to slower paces even though I have tried to keep pushing myself. But I was flopping.

Without even realizing what I needed God answered my prayers. I was on the edge with Audible thinking I was not listening enough to keep the subscription going. Hang in there. This is related. Then about two weeks ago I got an email from Audible. I could try out some exclusive Aaptiv workouts on Audible for FREE! Who could pass that up? Not me!

And I have been busting out one new running workout each day as I only have this option until September 5 but am praying it then becomes something I can buy through Audible. And if I can use my credits...win-win!!!  I really don't need or want another subscription even though I am loving the Aaptiv workouts.

The 5K training workout I am sampling is geared for running outside but hey, I am running it on the treadmill. I feel that has some advantages as I am more able to easily hit and hold target paces and not inadvertently slow. Are the workouts worth it? YES!

I am training harder and the time is flying by with each workout...even the tough ones like today's that led to me screaming out loud "ENOUGH!" and wheezing at the end. Ten 1-minute sprints at a 7'30" pace is hard work for a gal who has been training pretty darn close to 11'00" minute miles. And with these workouts, I have been at or below 10'00" miles overall. I am then doing a second additional run for my rosary and prayer at the slower paces I have been training at recently. It makes sense to me to not overdue it but I have added a twist. A vast majority of my rosary runs now include some hill work. I'll go more into that another day.

Why am I pushing myself?

Because I want to ensure I am at the top of my physical health. I want to keep my heart fitness score up in the great range and would love to see if my resting heart rate will come down a bit....and losing a few extra pounds won't hurt. Just being honest. Ladies, things do really change in your 40's. Denial is over. Acceptance is imperative. I could even say resistance is futile. But that doesn't mean I need to back down, give up, and not try.

I understand things are changing and that is natural and I am working with it. I am sticking to running and working to do speed work even if it is killer hard. I am also cross training and adding in more weight training. Ladies, it is good for your bone health. Do it. You won't bulk up. And it won't hurt to ensure we are all getting enough Vitamin D and calcium. With that said, I just may ask my doctor to do a Vitamin D test at my next physical....along with other parameters to ensure I am nourishing my body as well as I am working it.

Daily Gratitude: I am beyond thankful for technology that brings great workouts into my home....and for having a home gym even if it is in our living room.

Daily Bible Verse: If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31

If you liked this post, you may also like Finding My Strength on the Treadmill: Emotional, Physical & Spiritual


Why I Quit being a Beachbody Coach

This post has been in the back of my mind the past few weeks yearning to come out and explain why over a year ago I quit being a Beachbody Coach.

First, I love their workout programs and still do them...not every day but every week. Some weeks every day. There are some programs I love more than others and I do keep my All Access Beachbody on Demand going. That expense I can rest easy with as it is less than a gym membership for a year and I can "attend" classes whenever and wherever I want. Those are good selling points.

And the shakes weren't too bad. I kinda liked them and was excited when they offered more vegan flavors. That was a win-win for me but I can find a good vegan shake that costs less and honestly, I don't really need to drink a protein shake every day of my life. Just saying... And when it comes to hydration I stick to SOS Rehydrate and you can get 20% off with my friends and family code EGFITNESS.

But I didn't quit because of product. I quit because of reality.

The reality of the return on investment (ROI) and the reality that I did not like what I was being asked to do.

Essentially, I despise high pressure sales. If I walk into a store and I am nagged, I will leave. Don't pressure me. Don't push your product on me. Let me come to my own decision. You can ask if I need help but if I say, "No, thank you." trust me and let me be. And this mentality of mine was 100% opposite of the Beachbody sales strategy I was to adopt to "be successful". I was to nag everyone non-stop. Of course, they didn't use the word nag but I was to invite at least 2-3 people a day to "join me". I was to hunt them down on social media and start the "sales" conversation after stalking them. I know, sounds creepy and totally not the words they used but it is the reality of it. Nope. No stalking for me. No high sales. No pressure. And I am not going to "friend" you in hopes to make money off of you. I wouldn't want to be treated that way so why would I?

And I was supposed to convince them that it was worth every dollar. Maybe it was...or not....but I am a mom and wife trying to pay off debt and the last thing I want to do is put someone else into debt taking advantage of their desire to look and feel better. There are better ways to look and feel better.

And let's take a side step to the look thing. I was to post transformation pictures weekly essentially saying look at me, or so and so, and how fit and beautiful they are because of this! Well, we all come in different shapes and sizes and I am sorry, women have enough to deal with in this world. I did not want to be part of any form of body shaming or setting unrealistic expectations or making any woman feel less about herself. NO. That is not me.

Furthermore, I started this adventure when I was in a dip in my life and yes, Beachbody gave me tools to move through my depression with workouts I still love but I was also growing deeper in my faith. I was watching my daughter grow up and seeing her ideals of modesty and that is what I support. It may be old fashioned but I do believe in modesty. Transformation pictures aren't the most modest things out there. Too much skin, too much ego/pride, not enough humility.

I also signed up to be a coach because honestly, I was scared. Scared of the future. Fears of no security or stability as dear hubby approaches retirement age. Fear of being the "sole provider" of the family, so to speak, when all I really ever want to be is a stay at home mom. So an at-home income had appeal. And my OCD had my mind thinking I had to take care of things. To secure things. But I was naive and of little faith.

All my plans in the world mean nothing if they aren't aligned with God's will. I did pray before signing up to be a coach and had the sense, yes, give it a year and see.

After that "trial period" I realized this wasn't working for me anymore and there was no real ROI. I wasn't even breaking even with the cost of being a coach and the shakes and that made no sense to me especially since my shake stock was piling up a wee bit. Did I mention I am not a protein shake every single solitary day kinda gal? My upline, for the most part, did try to convince me to stay and keep forging ahead. I do have to say the coach I worked directly under never once pressured me. He is a good guy so if you are reading this Mr. Good Guy, thank you for that!

Fast forward a year or so from when I quit to today....how am I?

I am happier. I have more time with my family and to do more meaningful things versus worrying about "nagging" and inviting people to challenges. I do virtual challenges solo or with a group on FitBit and more. I share fitness and health tips and what I truly care about. Most importantly, I am aligned with my faith and core beliefs.

On top of that, I am in better financial shape. Not perfect but better. I still have debt I am tackling but I have a proven method for doing so based on the income God has always been providing my family. I have a budget app (Every Dollar) that I love and log every single purchase. That in itself is a huge reality step to seeing where you spend your pennies. I set limits and stick to them. I am trying hard to get dear hubby to stick to his too. It is a battle but a worthy battle.

Darling daughter is learning about budgeting and applying the same questions and principles I am - Do I need this or just want this? Do I need it now or can it wait? And the budget gives us the freedom to splurge and have fun as I set up an account for that. Treat ourselves guilt free, buy gifts guilt free, donate with confidence, and work on that snowball of debt.

That makes me happy and that truly is what God wants for all of us. And the future? Who knows! I am going to leave that in God's hands. He is much more capable than I am.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I listened to my inner voice and stood up strong adhering to my faith and principles.

Daily Bible Verse: Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire. ~ 1 Timothy 2:9


June & July 2018 Training Report

The year is more than halfway over and I am not totally stoked with my progress with my 2018 goals - to run 1,170 miles (and break 10,000 streak miles) and to log 70 new cross training workouts.

Since I kinda flopped on putting together my June 2018 Training Report, I am going to wrap up the past two months. But I do need to step back a moment and tell you, this year has been incredibly hard. Thanks be to God, it is not due to depression, anxiety, or PTSD/PASS. As I reflect back now I am thankful for those challenges I faced as they are helping me stay focused on what is truly important.

I lost two beautiful men to cancer this year. Ironically, they both had the same form on brain cancer. One died on my daughter's 10th birthday and the other, my brother in law, just recently on July 7th. But our God is an amazing God and I was able to get to Texas and darling daughter and I got time to spend with my brother in law, my sister, their children, and just be present in this hard time. God also has a sense of humor and likes to test me I think because the following day I received a call from my hubby, who was holding down the fort on Maui, that his car was stolen. 

There was a time this news would have caused me great anxiety and the need to fix it all. To be in control. And this is where I feel my mental health battles prepped me. I just tossed my arms in the air and said, "God, handle this for me." And He did. On His own timing.

And I am going to bring that same perspective into my training report for June and July. I have my goals. My ideas. My plans. But I am going to toss my hands up in the air and praise God for what I have accomplished versus fretting over what I have not.

In June I exercised 36 hours, ran 162 miles, and did 2 new cross training workouts.

In July I exercised 31 hours, ran 153 miles, and did no new cross training workouts unless you want to count swimming laps and maybe I should. After all, that is cross training and I did do a lot of laps (at least a lot for me!).

That brings me to 861 miles for the year and 9,691 streak miles. I only have to log 309 miles to reach my running goals. I am so ahead of the bar on this one!

For my cross training goal, I am at 24 new workouts. EEK! There is a long way from 24 to 70 but what I am going to celebrate now is this....I am still cross training on a regular basis and working out an average of an hour a day. I think that matters most. Those are impacting my health and maybe that is another reason why I am handling things emotionally better right now. I am giving myself the move it and workout time I have found yields optimal benefits. Granted, it is not evenly spaced and I do feel it mentally when I have a string of low workout minute days lined up in a row.

Am I going to give up on my new workout goal? No. I will still look into finding new ones that intrigue me but have been doing ones I can listen to through my phone and know pretty well so darling daughter can do her thing on the TV. I might stake my claim here and there but ask myself, is it more important to do a new workout or workout? I say, workout, especially since those on my phone that I can easily stream are ones that make me the happiest and truly work my body hard. Gotta love that!

The end of July is also bringing other changes into my world. I have opted to home school darling daughter in her religious education and got a couple of core study books to research the curriculum and process available through Catholic Heritage Curricula. I got to say, I am already impressed and we haven't got too far in it. Her week 1 spelling words introduced her to two new vocabulary words that even stumped some friends at the stables. That I like! We even picked up a lesson plan for sewing!!!! But I will get more into that another day in another post.

Until then, be happy and take care of yourself. Run with the wind and cross train yourself strong. I believe in you!

God bless!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I was able to spend so much time with my brother in law before he died. He may not have been able to talk or move but we did make eye contact and I truly believe he heard all I said and understood. Please pray for the repose of the soul of CJ and his family.

Daily Bible Verse: He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. ~ Revelation 21:4


10 Workout Motivation Tips

How's your summer going?

If it is anything like mine, you may find yourself struggling to maintain your workout routine. There is something about summer break, summer camp, and vacation that throws me off track. Although it isn't all bad. Vacation usually means more outside running and higher mileage weeks for me -- and that is a good thing. But motivation can still go to the wayside even under the best of conditions.

Summer is wrapping up, I know, this may seem early for some of y'all but kiddos go back to school starting August 6th here on Maui. This makes it the perfect time to address motivation with 10 tips to staying motivated in your workouts.

  1. Know your why: We all have different why's to why we are working out. And to be honest, your why can and will change over time. Stop today and ask yourself, "What is my why?" Refocus on that.
  2. Eliminate negative self talk: It is so easy to be hard on ourselves, isn't it? Maybe those few extra pounds, the extra indulgence, the slower pace, etc. Don't let those rule you. What you say to yourself matters and frames what you think of yourself. Thoughts are powerful. Don't use your thoughts against you. Think good! 
  3. Love your body: This is closely related to #2 but what I mean is to really appreciate your body. Whatever you do and achieve your body is pulling you through. Appreciate all the elements of your body that lead to your success. One prayer I turn to on rough days is a simple, "Thank you God for my running legs." They may not be model beautiful but they are mine and I appreciate all the hard work they do for me.
  4. Avoid comparisons: Don't compare yourself to others or yourself in the past. Just be in the moment, the day, and be thankful. Yesterday is gone. Forget about it. Tomorrow isn't here yet. Don't worry about it. Today is present. Live in the moment and acknowledge what you just achieved - the gift of one more workout.
  5. Start small: Whether you are starting, restarting, or readjusting, make your goals small and achievable. I would love to run an ultra one day but I am not going to go out tomorrow and run a 20 mile training run. I also know now is not the time to work on that goal so my goal is more focused on the now and to average 1 hour of working out a day. It used to be 30 minutes a day and you can see, even though my big goal is still a distant dream, I am making small steps to realizing it.
  6. Put your plan on paper: Document what you want to achieve and how. It is harder to slip up when you have it written down. I am notorious for printing out my training calendar and posting it on the fridge front and center for me to see throughout the day. It makes it impossible to ignore your plan and goal. 
  7. Join a workout group: This can be in real life or virtual. Fitbit friends can be amazing motivators even if you are all in different states racing to the finish line. For me, virtual challenges can be equally appealing and Fitbit has group and solo challenges. And the Amerithon Challenge is really cool!
  8. Be forgiving: It will happen. A day will come when you are off plan. It may even be a week. Don't beat yourself up. Reflect on the why this happened. Traveling back to Maui from Texas totally messed me up. I have taken more than my usual just a mile days to let my body get back on track. I am calling it a rest week with the intent to push onward and upward next week. 
  9. Create a mantra: Have a phrase you turn to when things get tough. It can be made up by you or a quote. You already know my "Thank you God for my running legs." but I also have "Run with endurance". My mantras are closely related to my faith but yours can be whatever lifts your spirits and propels you forward over the rough patches. 
  10. Reward yourself: If you are like me, it is hard to spend money and precious resources on yourself. I feel guilty when I do but have established a set reward plan for myself. Every 100 days of running every day deserves a treat. I gotta confess, I haven't rewarded day 2,400 which I hit a few days ago yet. I feel torn and wonder if my two new pairs of much needed running shoes that I bought in Texas count as a pre-reward. What do you think? But in all reality, I may splurge a few dollars and get a new Bondi Band - maybe one I design myself that says "Run with Endurance"!
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for each day I workout.

Daily Bible Verse: When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. ~ Psalm 34:17-20


Amerithon Challenge - ACCEPTED!

I don't run road races much anymore and I truly do miss them. But with the rising costs of racing and the fact that they are often held on Sundays, I am gladly going with other priorities in life right now.

But running without changing it up at times can grow tiresome and I am beyond thankful for virtual challenges. I stumbled upon Amerithon earlier this month, thanks to sponsored posts on facebook, but this one intrigued me and I looked into it more. Darling daughter got sucked in too when she glanced at what was getting my full attention. She was also hooked. There are many package options to this virtual challenge and we opted for one we can both do and still stay within my budget. Budget matters.

You can check out the Amerithon Challenge and more HERE (if your code has expired, email me for an updated code) - and yes, this is a referral code given to me after I signed up. Any monetary benefit I receive from you signing up will go to purchasing a medal for my buddy, Toby. A wonderful boy with Down syndrome that I run for through the I Run 4 Michael program. The medals are HUGE and somewhat costly so I appreciate you signing up through my referral link if you are interested. Mahalo!

But back to the challenge and what it is.

The Amerithon Challenge officially starts annually on July 4th but you can still join the mission to run, walk, swim, bike, whatever your way across America. The goal is to complete the challenge within a year but if you don't, that's okay. You can keep going!

You can do it as a team or solo and darling daughter and I opted to each do a solo challenge. The journey is 3,521 miles long and broken into 36 segments in which you receive badges to track your progress in your passport. And along your journey when you hit target check points you get to add a piece to your medal! There is even a finisher piece that you receive at the very end.

It is all easy to do and has a tracker for you to log your miles. It is even broken down into categories - run, swim, bike, other (and maybe some more). For me, I am logging my actual workouts - my runs and the rare times I swim laps. For darling daughter, we are tracking her overall fitbit stats for each day as she is just 10 and this is an ambitious goal for someone her age. Geesh! It is an ambitious goal for me! And I want to keep it within doable ranges to keep her motivated.

We have posted the map to log our progress in the hallway with our medals. Right now both our medals are empty waiting their first addition but we have both earned our first badge for our passports! Not too shabby for starting on July 5th and we are both pushing ourselves to get to our next badge...in completely healthy ways.

I hope you join me today. It will be a lot of fun and just wait until you see your first flyover video! What a fun challenge this is and it is both good for your brain (you will learn a lot) and for your body.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for amazing virtual challenges and that proceeds from this challenge goes to charity.

Daily Bible Verse: Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. ~ Colossians 3:12-16


Running Streak Day 2,400 and beyond - 24 lessons I have learned by running every day

Way back when in December of 2011 I challenged myself to run every day in 2012. Being the type of person I am, once I decided to accept this challenge I started immediately on December 30. I mean, why wait? Why take the 31st off?

When I accepted this personal challenge I wasn't sure I could do it. What if I got sick? What if I got injured? What if I was just tired?

6 years, 6 months, and 25 days later and I am still running at least a mile a day. This is something amazing to me considering I was maybe running 3-4 times a week before I started. And I was getting sick, injured, and had I am just plain tired days. How did I manage to achieve this?

First, I want you to know I am no more special than any one else out there. I do not have super powers. I am a normal working mom struggling to make ends meet and hold myself together but by the grace of God I was given the gift of finding joy in running. Okay, not every run is joyful but overall, I find joy. With that said, after 2,400 days of running every day I want to share 24 things I have learned through my running streak.
  1. You can achieve things greater than you ever imagined!
  2. A mile really does not take too much time out of your day.
  3. I am getting sick less often with regular daily exercise.
  4. When I do get sick, I am recovering faster.
  5. I am experiencing less running injuries and none have completely sidelined me.
  6. I listen to my body better.
  7. It is okay to slow down and/or run less miles today in order to run longer and faster tomorrow.
  8. Running outside is easier than running on a treadmill.
  9. Hotel treadmills can be an uncertain experience.
  10. Running in and through airports during layovers does work.
  11. People often look at you funny when you are running through an airport.
  12. People will always tell you that you need to take a rest day or you will damage your body.
  13. Many people accept the counter argument that a 10-12 minute mile is no different than spending some time in the garden, walking up and down stairs, or doing errands - all normal events that people do every day without damaging their bodies.
  14. You do not need energy gels, energy foods, or other processed items to run long.
  15. You can run long during a fasted run.
  16. Public restrooms are very hard to find in parks and play areas around Katy, TX.
  17. Public transit drivers may be some of the worst drivers - steer clear of them as much as possible during your runs.
  18. Maui needs more sidewalks and/or running routes.
  19. Running times and race results really aren't the most important part.
  20. You can run in capris in 100 degree weather and not overheat. 
  21. You can chaff in areas you never knew you could chaff.
  22. You can run long and not lose any toenails.
  23. Listening to podcasts may slow your running pace.
  24. A running streak is built from good and bad runs - removing either would break your streak.
And as a bonus: I wouldn't want to run without my BondiBand to keep the sweat out of my eyes or my SOS to keep my refueled along the way. Use EGFITNESS to receive a discount. 


Angels all Around

Today I am taking this blog post on a different journey. I am going to talk gratitude in times of struggle. You see, I feel this is important for a variety of reasons. First, with so much negativity in the world it is nice to spread good cheer. Second, maybe you are struggling and need a little encouragement. And third, it will serve as a reminder to me to never lose faith.

Last week I had a day that started out pretty much the same as any other summer day. I took darling daughter to camp, conveniently located at my work, and before we left I almost told her to pack extra slippers (or flip flops for those who use that terminology) in case hers broke. I didn't. I stopped myself thinking I didn't want to be one of those moms. I should have said something. Her slippers broke. We chuckled about it and I told her next time I get a random thought I would listen as maybe God is trying to direct me.

After camp and work, we started heading up the mountain to get a Starbucks treat prior to horse lessons. My check tire pressure light popped on and I looked at it slightly puzzled but didn't pay much mind. It has come on many times, I get around to checking the pressure, add air, and move on with life. We parked the car, got our drinks, walked back out and oh my! My back left tire was in dire need.

With a prayer to God to help me I slowly backed out and made the 5 minute or so drive to the closest gas station to get air, hopefully, if it is working. I get there and realize I don't have one dime in my purse so I grabbed my wallet hoping for a cash machine and a nice cashier. I step out and look at my tire and oh nelly! Flat as a pancake. On the rim dead flat. I felt equally deflated.

I look to the door hoping to find good luck inside and a man about to go in stopped, turned, and looked towards us. I asked for help and he came. This is about the time I was wishing my car came with a spare tire versus the flat repair strange kit machine that the nice man figured out for me and got me set up. It instructed me on what to do and after spending a good chunk of time helping me, when on his way with lots of thank you's from me.

When the pressure in my tire got to an acceptable level I stopped the air and leak fixing pump only to immediately discern that there was a constant stream of air coming out where the screw pierced my tire. Yes, I could discern the issue. Darling daughter was worried about her horse lesson that we were trying to make and I was thinking this is not where I want to leave my car oddly parked at this gas station. I was debating if I should move on or stay.

I was leaning towards just go but worried and as I was weighing my options another gentleman pulled up to get gas, saw me, and offered help. I told him my predicament, my concerns, and what I was hoping to accomplish. He said go for it if I can get where I need to be in 10 minutes. That was close to the driving time.

Since I was wedged into place and a car pulled up behind him, he talked me through backing up and squeezing out and as I drove off with my window still down, he called out words of encouragement. "You got this!" "You will be okay!" "Good job!" "Everything will be okay!"

And I drove off praying to God to guide me telling darling daughter we will make it but will stop if needed to add more air. And I did stop about halfway there as I felt the tug on my heart to do so. It was a safe pull off spot so why not. And we made it to horse lessons just on time.

But I still had a flat tire but was beyond thankful for the two gentlemen, complete strangers, who came to my assistance with no hesitation.

Once at the stables I then focused on tire repair. My car needed one and we were now up the mountain with the only help down in town a good 45 minutes away. I was adding air every 10 minutes. I was obviously worried but dear hubby came to my rescue .and got my car down, tire replaced, and home safely and I got to watch darling ride.

What could have been an awful afternoon tuned out wonderful. I was beyond thankful for the help that came my way, thanks be to God, and for God giving me calmness in a situation that would normally stress me completely. Plus, I am thankful that my new budgeting strategy I started just this past month allowed me to have the emergency funds saved to cover the cost of my new tire.

And this is why I wanted to share my story. God is beyond amazing and sometimes struggles, or screws in your tire, can just be avenues to show you all the many splendors in the world.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for all those who helped me yesterday.

Daily Bible Verse: Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. ~ Exodus 23:20


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


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


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


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


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


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