Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Time is...NOW - Closing Out My One Little Word for 2015

Ali Edwards does a fabulous job of leading participants through their word each year by creating a scrapbook or journal around their word. If you want more information visit: 

I have shared before how I choose One Little Word to live out each year - kind of an intention or what I want to speak over my life in the 365 calendar days of a year. For anybody that is just joining this party my previous words have been:

2010: Peace (what a doozy of a word that one was!!)
2011: Quality
2012: Strength
2013: Light
2014: Courage

And this past year for 2015 my word was NOW. My Pinterest board for Now really came in handy and I found a lot of inspiration that I was more than happy to Pin and review often! So how was my year of NOW? Did I live my word? Did I succeed in my intentions?

In all honesty, 2015 was actually a pretty difficult year in some aspects, and totally rocked in others. It felt very up and down and in all the ups and downs I tried really, really hard to appreciate each moment I was in right then. Some were way easier than others! haha

I know I had lots of good reasons behind Now and how I wanted to get several things done during 2015. I wanted to be happy with who I was right now and quit focusing on past versions of me or dreaming about future versions. On this part I really do feel like I lived my word. One of the best live life now moments was applying for an ambassador slot with Skirt Sports - and BEING ACCEPTED!! I had absolutely no problem living in that NOW and have spent this past year developing friendships with a lot of wonderful ladies that I know will continue for many years to come.

Another living life now moment was brutally fighting for the success of my marriage. I won't go into specifics, and I apologize for doing the vague thing, but let's just say that I wasn't really sure my marriage was going to make it through this year. It did. It's still hard sometimes and there's still work to be done, but I finally quit waiting for things to change and started fighting for that change. I really feel like this was accomplished through living ALL of my words over the past several years. I couldn't have fought for the NOW without first living with Courage last year, or getting Strong back in 2012, or knowing that I wanted to pursue Quality in 2011.

I also took some NOW initiative and partnered up with my running coach so I could explore where my running could be better right now. I'm still feeling like I was faster a long time ago, but I feel a heck of a lot more like a real runner these days than I ever have before. I had a lot of early mornings pushing hard and pouring sweat on my treadmill reminding myself that I needed to just be in that moment right then and that the hard part would pass soon enough.

It may seem contrary, but I had a NOW moment when I decided to put school on the back burner for a little bit. Yes, I know that being in school would improve a lot of things, but I also looked at where I was right then and there and knew that if I began my next level of study that I wouldn't be able to put the effort into it OR other areas of my life that really, really needed my full attention. Basically I knew that being in school would be great for my future self, but for my right now self, it would have been death. I don't know that I would have survived this year if I had been in school. Over dramatic? I don't think so...I had to recognize that the current me wasn't able to do school, family, and work. So after the spring semester I took a pause and will get back to it next summer.

I enjoyed all the NOW moments of my daughter being pregnant and giving birth to little Gavin in October. I enjoyed all the NOW moments spent with my other 2 grandbabies. I enjoyed lots of NOW moments spent sitting in the sun during lunch hours, or talking with my bestie about unicorn powers, or talking with other good friends. I enjoyed lots of NOW moments watching shows with my daughters and sharing those simple experiences with people I love.

And as we close out 2015, I'm happy to say goodbye to this past year. I feel hopeful for 2016 and where it might lead me, but I'm grateful for all the moments that I experienced this year. Some were oh so hard, and others were oh so amazing...but no matter what they were happening right then and there and I chose to live them!!

I have my word for 2016 all picked out...stay tuned as I'll be sharing it soon! Thanks for the memories 2015...thank you for helping me focus on the life right in front of me...thank you for bringing new people in that have brought so much enrichment to my life...but most of all, thank you for letting me live it. I'm ending 2015 a stronger person because of the experiences you've given me!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Temecula Half Marathon - Race Report

Waaaaay back at the end of October I was able to participate in the Temecula Half Marathon & 5k held in Murrieta, CA - a local race for me as it is about 20 minutes from my home.

Just a couple of notes about this race before I get into the nitty gritty. I did the Half Marathon, this was my first time participating in this race, and this was the first time the race was held on this particular course. Previous years it was held in an entirely different location. My friend, Sally, ran the race the previous year and had warned me that it was one of the HARDEST races she had ever done as it was extremely hilly. Well, new course this year so I figured it was going to be a little less challenging, right?!? And maybe it was...I will never know as I hadn't done the previous course. I was doing this race to support a co-worker that was doing it as his very FIRST half marathon!! When he decided to do one, he reached out to the rest of us that he knew to be runners, and three of us said we'd be willing to jump in on the half marathon with him. His wife (Rebecca in the picture below) did the 5k along with her sister-in-law and my daughter. So with that out of the way, let's get to it, shall we?

We were greeted with an absolutely GORGEOUS sunrise!!

The cost of registration was about $80, I believe. I got in before it stepped up in price, however, this race had a registration fee that I couldn't get out off (i.e. It wasn't through Active which I have an Active Advantage membership that waives registration fees on many races). I had a discount code so it brought the total back to what it was originally before the registration fee. If I remember right...I do remember being peeved about the "fee". I really find those quite annoying especially when they are more than just a couple dollars. (Side note: race fees sure are getting EXPENSIVE, no?) The good part is they offered race-day packet pick-up so that's always great. As far as getting all checked-in at the event that was fairly easy to do. It was a little confusing to me as you don't pick up your race bag until AFTER the race, so I kind of felt like I was missing a step before I realized that you didn't get those until later.

From L-R: Me, Co-Worker Jennifer, Co-Worker Rebecca, and my daughter Michelle (the Selfie Queen operating the camera thankfully because I am truly HORRIBLE at it! LOL)

Expo and Venue
The race was held at a sports park in downtown Murrieta and was easy to get to (freeway access about a mile from venue) and had plenty of free parking nearby. They had quite a few vendors that I don't see at a lot of other local races such as Krave jerky, The Kombucha, Larabar, and others. They also had a wine garden with several different vendors. Each racer received two free tickets and more were available for purchase. They had a pretty good set-up and as far as small, local race expos go it was not too shabby. Not the best, but not the worst either.

This race doesn't automatically include a participant shirt but does offer them for a reasonable price for purchase. What you DO get is a wine glass. I am going to note that I expected the wine glass to be included in the race bag that you get after the race...kind of makes sense, right? So when the race was over and my daughter handed me my bag, I just assumed the glass was in there. Wrong. You had to actually pick up the glass when you got your drink tickets. Well, since I could care less about the drink tickets, I never even went over to that table and completely missed out on the glass. I was fairly disappointed about this. Also, during packet pick-up nothing was ever said to me or my daughter about race bags being available after the race or that wine glasses needed to be picked up at the wine garden. I know they are volunteers, but it would be helpful to provide that info to racers so we aren't left wondering where to go next or what we can expect at the end.

See the pretty wine glasses? They are actually very nice and I'm glad my daughter got one at least! Posted to the event's Facebook page - click on picture to go there.

The course, as mentioned above, was new this year. The course, as mentioned above, was known previously as being VERY challenging. The course this year? Super duper challenging in its own right!! Seriously, after doing the Avocado Half Marathon in Fallbrook back in May I didn't really want to ever run another hilly half. Well, too bad, so sad because this was NOT a flat half marathon. Now, mind you, they never billed it as being flat either. I was just wishful thinking. HA! Let's look at just a few pictures of the course:

That doesn't look so bad, right?

Almost to the top of the hill...I think my face says it all...I was not happy.

Oh yeah - that looks like *fun*. :-|
So. Many. Hills! The course began on relatively flat land and remained so for about the first mile before going into gently rolling hills that I think were there for the simple act of lulling you into a false sense of security. About three miles in is where the fun begins! The road began to climb and then turned into a dirt road that was very difficult to run on. The dirt was hard packed and highly cambered with some rockiness that you had to be careful for. In addition, the road was NOT closed so vehicles could still travel it and I really felt for the group of runners that had a truck go by on the dirt road as it kicked up a lot of dust (this is one of those times that it really paid that I was in the mid-pack of the race!). Hope nobody was asthmatic or had breathing issues because that would seriously hinder their ability to get air. The dirt eventually returned to road, and hills, and kept going. I will say that there were portions of this course that were extremely beautiful!! One of my favorite sections was through a tree-lined area that was mostly flat to boot! Check it out:

So nice through here! Take note of the gal in the red tank and skirt and the other in the orange shirt next to her...we'll talk about this some more in a moment.
After that really nice, really pretty section, we headed into a golf course for a short bit. It was also very pretty and was on a dirt trail and towards the end had a vineyard on one side, and golf course on the other. There were people out golfing as it was a Sunday morning so that was kind of a nice distraction. And then another hill came and this was one of the worst! Here's a pic from the top looking down:

Not a great picture, but you can kind of get an idea of this massive hill. Most people were walking it or doing a slow jog at the most.
We encountered a lot of traffic in this section as people were leaving and entering the golf course. They did have a police escort so it was very smooth and didn't cause any problems outside of the sheer amount of exhaust and fumes. The course eventually looped back around and met with sections we had come out on, so we got to do them in reverse. Here's the elevation profile from my Garmin activity:

You get the idea? Hills, hills and more hills...LOL
All in all, the course was challenging, but not bad as it had a lot of scenic portions and was an out-and-back so especially at the end you had a good idea of what to expect since you were on the same part as you were at the beginning. I do wish that traffic had been blocked on the dirt portion at the very least to minimize the amount of dust kicked up into the air, but the course did feel safe even though it was an open course and had traffic throughout. There were port-a-johns at several points along the course with fairly short lines, they had pacers for a variety of finish times, they had plenty of on-course water, but no electrolytes until almost the end of the race, they had some fabulous volunteers out working the aid stations, but they had minimal spectating or cheer sections. But that's okay as it wasn't something that was part of the race package.

Honestly, the medal was a bit disappointing to me. For being such a challenging race with all those hills, no race shirt, and costing $80, along with the trend for ever bigger and more impressive medals, I was expecting something a little more substantial. Take a look and let me know what you think:

The glitter was a nice touch...

Since I'm holding it you can get a little perspective.
The 5k and Half Marathon had the same size medals, the only thing that was different was the 5k had a white ribbon and the Half Marathon had a black one. Seriously, it's kinda tiny and doesn't have a year engraved on the medal design anywhere and you can see that the necklace portion is a clip on design so I'm guessing they re-use medals that are left over. I can't say for sure, but that's the only reason I can figure they do a clip on necklace (is there an actual name for that part of the medal because if there is it is escaping my brain at the moment! haha). Also, I have to say that even though the race previously was in the Temecula Wine Country, hence the wine bottle medal and grapes in the logo, this year's race had almost nothing to do with wine outside of the fact that you ran very briefly past a few grape vines, and you got a wine glass and free wine at the finish. It wasn't even evident that the race course was in Temecula AT ALL since you start and end in Murrieta. It's possible we may have been in the actual unincorporated area of Temecula for a brief moment, but I couldn't say for sure exactly. I count this race as being in Murrieta. A little misleading, but who cares really. Overall, the medal gets a D grade. They can do better.

My Race
I went into this race totally and completely unprepared (yes, that is a recurring theme in my life...*sigh*) so my plan was to just do the best I could and treat it like a training run. I stuck with the 2:45 pacer for a good portion of the early part. Remember in the picture above where I said take note of the girl in the red tank and black skirt and the girl in the orange shirt beside her? That was the pacer and the other gal that was sticking with her as well. I lost them a few times on hills when I was just dying, but would catch up to them on the downhills usually. I finally lost the pacer for good as I was coming into the golf course and hit that really killer hill. But not long after I crested the killer hill, the gal in the orange shirt (cannot remember her name...sorry!!) had stopped at a porta-pot and then caught back up to me. So we stuck together until the end. All in all, I didn't feel terrible. The weather was absolutely perfect and I ran a lot more of the hills than I did previously. If the gal in the orange shirt hadn't kept me going towards the end though I would have walked a lot more. But we would just pick out a landmark and say "we'll run to there", then we would walk to a new landmark and do the same. It got us to the end, although I will say I wanted to absolutely DIE at the end because as we were getting close to the finish line, and to what my Garmin was saying was close to 13.1 miles, we realized that we were going to run right by the finish line to do one more loop around the park! WAAAAHHHH!!! I seriously was like "this is a cruel, cruel joke you evildoers!!!" The pacer (can't remember her name either...LOL) found us on that final loop and ran us in to the finish. I do know that the course was definitely off and a mistake was made somewhere because my final based off of GPS was 13.32 miles. So just a tad extra, but enough to make a grown woman want to curl up in a ball and just throw a massive temper tantrum. I didn't, but the urge was strong. Here's the stats:

13.32 Miles
Average Pace: 12:42 min/mile
Best Mile: Mile 7 with 10:50 average pace
Worst Mile: Mile 12 with a 14:30 average pace

Post-Race Party
I didn't stick around per the usual so I can't tell you too much. My daughter did visit the wine garden and had a drink, but by the time I rolled back in she was pretty bored and ready to go. I touched base with my co-workers Brian (his first) and Jennifer (her second) and they both had 2:30 or less finishes! Jennifer said she won't do another half for a long time, and Brian said he is done with his running career for forever! I don't really believe that, but this very may well be his only half as he says he prefers the 10k and 5k distances much more and did deal with a lot of knee issues during training. The race did have an awards presentation that I'm sure was awesome.

What I Wore
Skirt Sports Visor in Streak
Skirt Sports 261 Kathrine Tank in Mantra
Skirt Sports Gym Girl Ultra Skirt in Tantrum
Saucony Bounce Trouncer Bra
Can't remember which socks I wore
Mizuno Wave Rider 17's
Nathan Intensity Hydration Vest

All the things I wore were great...I did have some chafing on my arm from the vest, but it was fairly minimal.

Parting Thoughts 
I guess the main thing to ask myself is if I would do this race again. would have to be pretty compelling circumstances for me to do it again. It was easy for me to get to, the location was pretty good, but the course was challenging. If someone was LOOKING for a challenging half, this would be a great one for them as it definitely delivered there. But the scenic route did help offset some of the things I would have been more peeved about like the crummy medal, the wine glass snafu, and the extra added-in distance. Plus, it's just mean to make people run PAST the finish line after running 13+ miles. Just so mean. LOL It's at a great time of year though although it can still be quite warm...we just got lucky that it was perfect running weather this time around. If it had been hot, I would not be as positive about my experience. As far as race organization goes, it was pretty smooth and I don't have any major complaints. I think there is room for improvement, but really there always is. So even though I may not LOOK for this race again next year, if one of my run friends asked me to run it with them I probably would.

And there you have it! Half Marathon #6 is in the books...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

TOTR: Runner's Wish List

Today I am linking up with the lovely ladies behind Tuesdays on the Run: MCM Mama Runs, Marcia's Healthy Slice, and My No-Guilt Life! And the topic is definitely timely!

And, yes, my snowman is wearing a tiara...
I'm going to stick to a runner's wish list even though we could talk just basic wish lists all day long...even my kids were recently commenting that Mom's wish list is the longest one out of everyone in the family! Hey...Mom's just smart enough to know that if I don't tell them exactly what I want they will go all rogue and just start buying random stuff. I've learned my lesson. LOL So without further ado...

Redfox Wireless EDGE Bluetooth Headphones
They come in a selection of colors so you can coordinate with your fave running outfit! 
I was lucky enough to win a pair of these from Another Mother Runner and I absolutely LOVE them! They are super comfortable and I forget I'm even wearing them. I've even gone so far as to walk out of the room with them still on because I totally forgot they were there! The sound quality is excellent and they are certified IPX4 Water and Sweat Resistant. I have an iPhone 5c and a Dell Windows Tablet that I link to and have never had any problem with connecting. Works flawlessly every time and the battery life is superb. They were also a Runner's World Best Headphones selection, so they agree with me. Bonus - they are on sale now for only $65.99 (regularly $99.99). You can't get a better wireless headphone for that price (even at FULL price you can't get a better wireless headphone).

Island Boost Energy Shots

My running coach recommended I give Island Boost a try and I'm so glad she did because this stuff is amazing!! I still love GU in some situations - especially because I can find it just about anywhere, but what makes Island Boost different is that it is SPEEDY in that it hits your system and provides energy within 5 minutes of taking it. Unlike other energy gels that you need to consume about 15-20 minutes before needing, Island Boost is 5 minutes from consumption to delivery. And it is specifically formulated to not cause stomach distress. Another thing I really like about it is that it isn't a gel, it's a liquid. Many times with gels I have to slowly take them or it makes me gag on the consistency of it. I don't have that problem with Island Boost. I can drink it on the run and get fast energy without any stomach distress! Island Boost is on sale right now and the 30 pack at $42.00 is on my wish list.

Believe Journal

I got my first Believe Training Journal last year and I've enjoyed it so much all year long!! It's been great to see my progress (or lack of...) all in one place and the insight from pro runners Lauren Fleshman and Ro McGettigan-Dumas has been fabulous. It's $18.95 at Velo Press, but you can find it at many other retailers as well such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon. They also have additional colors this year - bonus!

Smartwool PhD Running Socks
I have two pairs of Smartwool socks along with a variety of other brands. I also love Feetures, Balega, and my Skirt Sports socks, but I'm going to put the Smartwool socks on this list because wool is fabulous whether you live in cold or warm climates - it will control the temperature beautifully no matter what! They also have knee-high socks and I'm definitely putting a pair on my wish list since I can't wear compression, but knee-high are just fine and will allow me some extra warmth on chilly days!

Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer

I've talked before about my admiration and respect for Kathrine Switzer so I won't go into it again here, but if you want some inspiration, just put this book on your wish list! She's amazing and has just launched a global 261 Fearless Movement with run clubs for women sprouting up around the world with more to come as the training for leaders continues to roll out. She's currently writing a follow-up book, so read this one now so you can be ready when the next one comes out.

Nuun Hydration Tabs

With a variety of types and flavors there's something for everyone! And as they say themselves on the website, hydration is extremely important - during exercise a mere 2% loss in body weight can lead to a decrease in performance. nuun active hydration contains a superior blend of electrolytes without added sugars; it has a light-refreshing taste that promotes the consumption of water. So it is delicious, doesn't contain added sugar, and provides optimal electrolyte replacement. I absolutely love that Nuun doesn't have an overly sweet flavor a la Gatorade or Powerade drinks. One tab flavors 16 oz. and each tube has 12 tabs for approximately $7.00. You can also find these at local retailers such as Sprouts or other sporting goods stores in addition to online through or

Skirt Sports Redemption Capris
An entire Ragnar team wore them! Can you spot MCM Mama Runs?!? :-)
I honestly want pretty much anything and everything from Skirt Sports, but I'm limiting my wish list to the Redemption Capris because they are AH-MAZZZZ-ING!!! I have them in the Safari print and was wearing them the other day and my husband couldn't stop saying how nice my butt looked. Sorry if that's TMI, but these capris have a magic butt capability built into them. LOL Okay, you know that isn't real, but they are obviously made BY women FOR women because they fit perfectly. They are also the perfect weight and material for running, cross-training, cycling, canoeing, paddling, whatever. Don't forget you can use my Ambassador Code for a 20% discount: SSPQL20.

You'll note that I kept my wish list pretty affordable this year because even though running can get quite expensive, it doesn't always have to be top dollar items in order to make the runner in your life a happy, runner. LOL

Question: What is on YOUR wish list this year?

Keep pursuing quality, friends!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hometown Heroes Honor Run Race Recap

This was my third year participating in the Hometown Heroes Honor Run (HHHR) in Riverside, California on October 3rd. And it also happens to be the third year of its existence! :-) So I'm a legacy runner so far...

I actually really enjoy this race and it has quickly become one of my favorites that I look forward to each year. It's the perfect time of year, the venue is fabulous, and it benefits a fantastic cause in the Riverside Police Officers' Association. My previous two race recaps are here and here.

Registration is super easy and I would say the cost is very reasonable for everything you get in this race. I think it was about $40. They also offered same-day registration although you aren't guaranteed your preferred size of or a goody bag; but if they have extras, you get them. My friend Sally signed up day of and was able to get the shirt she wanted and a goody bag so that was awesome.

It was hard to get us all in the picture with my t-rex arms, but we have L-R: Brian, Heather (my sis), Me, Sally.

Expo and Venue
They have quite a few booths set up ranging from local sellers to other races promoting their own events so there's always something to look at while you wait. This year they set up on the concrete instead of out in the grass, so that made for a nicer experience. They also have a few food trucks and the Boy Scouts were back again this year providing a free pancake breakfast post-race. This race takes place at a Sports Park so there's lots of free parking (including a school across the street) and a playground for kids to hang out at with their guardian while they are waiting for Mom & Dad or whoever to finish their race. In the past my nieces and nephew have had a great time hanging out at the park with their Dad while my sister raced. Bored kids are a nightmare, so having the park and plenty of space to run around is a real benefit to the venue. If this event continues to grow it might outgrow this location, but so far it fits perfectly. Oh- and they have at least a few real bathrooms in addition to the port-a-johns! BONUS!!!

This race has some pretty decent swag. You get a goody bag that consists of one of those basic totes with the drawstrings that you can wear as a backpack (I'm sure there's an actual name for those things, but it escapes me), a technical shirt, and lots of little freebies like Biofreeze, Corn Thins, and more. As far as race swag goes, this one is usually pretty decent.

The 5k course (I haven't done the 10k so I can't really speak to it at all, but my friend Jennifer did this year and her main comment was HILLS...hahaha) is mostly flat - now, it isn't ALL flat - there are some hills but they are manageable hills) and is a perfect rectangle. The rectangle shape is awesome because after you've done the first long stretch, you have a short one and then you have a basic idea of what to expect on the final long stretch. And with all left turns it just feels...right. I don't know how else to describe it. Now, I'm going to admit that I have a bad case of Racenesia* and I find myself thinking a course was awesome and flat and then the next year I run it and there's all these hills and I'm like "wait - I thought this course was FLAT - what happened?!?" This is a real thing, people, trust me! 

*Racenesia: noun. The act of forgetting how difficult or challenging a race is after the race is over. May result in telling people that a course is flat or easy when it is, in fact, very far from flat or easy. 

But just to show you that in this case I'm not suffering from Racenesia, here's the course elevation profile from my Garmin Connect activity:

See, that's pretty flat, right??
I don't have any on-course pictures as the only photos were from the finish line and after I already crossed the line. They are straight-up horrible pictures and I would definitely recommend that they find a better location next year a little bit before the finish or at the very least use multiple photographers so they can have one along the course too. But I always hate on-course photos anyways as I am definitely NOT photogenic while running. I have hated almost every single race picture I have ever seen of me. LOL

Okay, guys, this medal is AMAZING!!! They really have improved upon it every single year and this year it was colored pink for Breast Cancer Awareness and was a spinner. And for being a 5k race, the medal is HUGE. Check it out...

I had the silly thing backwards for this post-race selfie...oops. LOL

Seriously, one of the best medals and by far one of the best for a 5k race that is very reasonably priced.

My Race
I went into this race with the plan to run it easy and attempt to run the entire thing from beginning to end without stopping. And I totally met my goal!!! I ran the entire time, even on the last hill that has gotten me every single year so far. I didn't get a PR on this one. My standing 5k PR is actually from this race last year and was an even 32:00. This year I finished in 32:25 so 25 seconds slower than my PR; however, I felt like I ran a much better race this year because I met my goals: find a pace I could maintain the entire time and then hold it for the 3.1 miles. Done and done! I did really feel it at the end and I had nothing left to give as I crossed that finish line. It's funny because last year I walked on the final hill and was able to use a strong finish kick across the line; this year, I ran the little hill but didn't have anything extra in the way of a finish kick. But the main thing for me was sticking to my plan and I did that.

Post-Race Party
I never really stick around a whole lot after the race is over as I'm anxious to get home and start the rest of my day and this time really wasn't any different. I grabbed some water, found Sally who finished a little ahead of me, and then waited for my sister to come in. Once we collected her, we grabbed some pancakes from the boy scouts and scooted on out of there. They do have a post-race awards ceremony and probably some music too, but I couldn't say how it was since I didn't hang around. :-)

Final Thoughts
This is still one of my favorite races and I'll definitely keep coming back for more. It's at the perfect time of year and usually serves as my kick-off to the fall racing season. It's a great race and the organizers work hard to create an excellent event. I highly recommend it if you're in the area!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's a Battle...a Fight to the Death!

You can't be involved in working out or fitness or health...wait, let me revise where I'm headed with this. You can't be ALIVE and not see all the time about the importance of mental toughness. You know, it starts early with trite sayings like "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." or "Life is tough, but you're tougher." They are endless!! And there's a reason for that.

The reason is because having the ability to be mentally tough is so important!! Seriously, there's much in life you simply can't do without it. And the thing is that you might be super mentally tough in one arena of life, but be super mentally weak in another one. For example, when it comes to being a Mom, I've always prided myself on being able to hold it together even through the super stressful things like injuries or illnesses. Where one parent might pass out at the sight of blood, I can stand stoic and calm. But where I struggle constantly? Mental toughness in my diet and exercise.

I know what I want and I'm willing to fight for it...right up until it gets hard. And then the hamster wheel of doubt starts to kick in, or the wheel of excuses starts spinning, and my brain all of a sudden starts believing what it is being told. That I'm "too tired and need a break" or that "one piece of candy won't kill me" or "I've been sick, I need to take it easy" or "what's the difference, you're never going to hit your PR goal's already lost". Honestly, the list of doubts and excuses could go on for days because they are always changing, and yet always staying the same.

When most athletes are asked what their key to success is, it almost always comes down to mental toughness. The ability to push through the wall and keep going. Kara Goucher has bravely shared that she struggles with this same issue - the mental game. Some athletes are able to run for hours through a desert, while others crumble under much lesser circumstances. It would almost seem like mental toughness, especially when it comes to exercise performance, is something that you're either born with or you aren't. Maybe you're born with it, maybe it's Maybelline? If only there was a mascara you could apply that gives you the ability to increase mental toughness by 25%! The star athletes have it - that combination of natural talent and mental toughness to push through. You can't be a star athlete without some combination of both of those things.

But I'm not a star athlete and am not trying to be one. I am just an average person that has dreams and desires - things that are going to take FIGHTING FOR to achieve them and yet I stumble when it comes to the mental aspect. I succumb to the fatigue in my head that tells me that my legs are giving out. I succumb to the fatigue in my brain that says that I deserve to eat something I want. I succumb to the things that take me further away from goal instead of closer to it. Now, not all the time mind you...but enough of the time that it affects my journey towards my goals. Do I not want it enough? Is that my stumbling block???

There's a gazillion and one articles about how to strengthen your mental toughness...just Google it and you'll see for yourself. Be confident! Use a mantra! Visualize success! Practice it in Training!

But I'm honestly asking...what do you do when you use those tools and they still fail you? What's the trick here because I'm at a loss for how to keep pushing when my entire body says just fuhgeddaboutit. I'm at a loss for how to stop myself from thinking constantly about the candy in the jar or glancing at it every single time I walk by it.

I will say that for me it's a battle that sometimes is easy to fight, and sometimes is close to impossible. Sometimes I can spend hours of standing firm, and others it's a second by second battle. Am I a little overly dramatic when I say it's a fight to the death? Perhaps...but it's definitely a battle I will be fighting UNTIL death because I'm not willing to give up. I'll keep fighting this fight. There's things I want and I may not always know how to be strong enough to get them, but I'll keep trying to figure it out. Any help towards that end that you can offer is always appreciated!!

Seek a quality life, friends! Talk to you again soon...

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Walking Dead...

That's pretty much what they should have put on the front of my house a few weeks back because we've been like the Walking Dead around there dealing with a massive upper respiratory sickness that settled over the entire family like a plague! Over dramatic? Yeah, maybe just a little...but I don't know - we're still not all the way out of the clear yet! Ha ha...

It all started a few weeks back with my granddaughter and son getting sick. Then it spread to grandson, then to me, then to my husband and daughter, and now to my other daughter and the just barely even 1-month old little guy!! :-( It's so heartbreaking to see him sniffling and coughing and you know he just doesn't even understand why he feels so miserable. On top of it all, poor Melissa gets to find out way too quickly how hard it is to handle a baby when all you want to do is lay in a heap of Kleenex and sleep but still have a little guy that wants to eat and poop and stuff.

I, on the other hand, am finally starting to feel like I'm just about back to normal. I started feeling sick on November 6th!! And it is now the the math and that is 11 days of feeling like crud. It has not been fun let me tell ya...and the bad news? The son and granddaughter that started this whole thing - they are sick again!! And not just kind of sick - full blown sick. And that's what everyone that has been sick with this thing has said - it comes back. Dunh, Dunh, Dunnnnnnhhhhhhhh

I'm sure they aren't talking about the same thing I'm talking about...but whatever. It works. LOL
So we've been dealing with the plague, but there is hope that we will come out of it eventually. I know all two of you that read these things are dying to know about my back-to-back 10k's right? Well, the first one didn't happen and it was heartbreaking to have to skip out on it, but it was the right call (one made by my husband because I was stubborn enough to go run it half dead anyways). And this past weekend's 10k did happen, and I had a great time, but the PR dream was crushed thanks to many days of workouts missed and the lingering fatigue and cough from this whole thing. I'll do a full race report on the one I did back in October and this one very soon. I promise...Just know that it was an awesome course and well-run event and I would love to go back to it again next year and hopefully be at 100% health because it is a PR-Dream Course for sure!!

So to wrap things up I have a little gift for you in a discount code for Skirt Sports!

That's right - 40% off of EVERYTHING on the site including sale items!! This is HUGE so don't miss out on this! Let me just say that my favorite items lately are the Redemption Capris in any of the prints and the Happy Girl Skirt. This is a great opportunity to get a jump on holiday shopping or to just pick up a few things you're going to need once all those New Year's Resolutions come rolling around. :-)

Stay in the pursuit of quality, friends! Talk to ya again soon...

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Life Lately...

Good morning! First, let me just say Happy November!!! I seriously can't believe that we are already getting close to wrapping up 2015. It's been a whirlwind of a year that's for sure...but we're still not done yet!!

November is actually probably my favorite month of the year...the holiday season is officially in the swing of things and my favorite holidays are right around the corner! It doesn't hurt that there's lots of holidays from work on the schedule either! hahaha Many times I'm more excited for the time off than I am for the actual holiday. Kind of sad, but I'm just being honest here. LOL

I have a few races coming up too - this weekend is the Mission Inn 10k. I've done it the past three years as part of the Run Riverside Challenge and as challenging as it is, I do find myself looking forward to it each year. You can read the previous race recap here, and if you want to learn how I did the opposite of preparing for this race last year you can read that here. News Flash: I didn't beat my previous PR at last year's race and felt like I barely survived it really. I don't remember having fun that's for sure. LOL

From the race website - click picture to go to site.

But I will say that I'm going into this year's race feeling much more prepared for it! So there's that...the coaching has been very beneficial and that kick in the gut that I got at the completion of October's training cycle has proven to be very motivating. That and the fact that I really want a PR at the next race on the schedule...more on that in just a moment.

My plan for this weekend is to treat the race like a training run. It's a very hilly course so I'm going to do my best to control my running on the hills and focus on my form and hydration/fueling throughout. Because the following weekend is the Surfer's Point 10k in Ventura and that one is going to be my PR push!!

This is the first time I will be doing races on back-to-back weekends, but I do feel prepared for it especially since I'm using the first race as a training run for the second one that will be the push. My biggest goal for this weekend is to focus on how I feel at each mile and visualizing running faster and stronger the next weekend. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that the Surfer's Point 10k will be mostly flat...something I can't say ANY of my other 10k races have been! I'm looking forward to a flat race, finally. LOL

The rest of life lately consists of spending time with the family and just soaking in all that life has to offer. Oh, and work...can't forget the thing that pays the bills. LOL

It really is, really is!! Now get out there and have an awesome weekend and go crunch some leaves under your feet while you're at it!!

Stay in pursuit of a quality life,