Friday, September 28, 2012

Addition on the Trail

Today, I picked the Little Dude up for 4K.  And we went on a date to my favorite trail, the Glacial Drumlin in Cottage Grove.  It's flat.  Scenic.  A great mixture of shade and open prairie and sunshine. 

Since it's my favorite place to run, much of the year, I had the brilliant idea to create a four-part series of photographs.  I want to take seasonal photos of the same spots of the trail.  I want to see the differences in scenery during my runs.  So far, I have not tackled winter or snow on this trail yet.  So, I WILL stop out there some cold day this winter.  I'm looking forward to it.  I hope to the frame the photos near my treadmill this time next year. 

The Little Dude and I ran, walked, were cheesey, were hams, looked for catterpillers, analyzed dead grasshoppers, sipped on juiceboxes, lost a few goldfish crackers along the way ... and enjoyed the beautiful fall day.  The weather couldn't have been more wonderful actually.

We explored the adjacent railroad tracks.  He was concerned that a choo-choo train was going to come trough and scoop us up.  But, I assured him that this looked safe.  The tracks and the weeds made a great backdrop.
He quickly remembered the trail and said that we were there last year.  And we were, Buddy!  Exactly a year ago.  I wrote about our little adventure (HERE).  He remembered looking for caterpillers last time, after picking apples at a local orchard.  So today, we were frequently looking down on the gravel trail, looking for fuzzy wuzzy catterpillers.

He wanted to take some photos with my new camera, so I let him snap away.  Every time a runner would come towards us, he wanted to take off or speed up.  It reminded me of my twenty milers out there, when I saw some diehard approaching me and was playing it cool ... because I was out there running long too. 

We made a game of searching for the first mile marker.  Since I'm out there running so many miles, I almost knew exactly how many footsteps it was from the trailhead to the mile marker.  But I played along and he enjoyed the game.  We found it and he wanted to keep going.  But, I told him that we had a long way back to the Marathon Mommy Minivan.  I knew that he would get tired.  So, we headed back on the path.

We saw a lot of geese in a nearby pond.  We explored under a bridge.  Got a little dirty.  And, then we found several fuzzy wuzzy catterpillers.  We "collected" them and put them with their friends.  He didn't want to touch them, but was very concerned that the "babies" were with their "mommy".
And, after an hour of exploring, we were back at the Trailhead.  I explained to him that he had just walked two miles.  But, he was very concerned that we didn't walk to the second mile marker.  I assured him that we walked one mile out + one mile back and that was two miles total, regardless of walking TO the second mile marker.  I asked him if he remembered what one + one equaled.  He told a hiker, "I walked two miles", and gave the stranger a high-five.  That's right, Buddy.  1+1=2!  And, you are one awesome 4K student, .. and a great hiking companion.

After we hiked, we relaxed and played at the newest dream park in our area.  This one has, by far, THE best back drop.  Beautiful, relaxing and quiet.

Catalyst Couch to 5K: Summer 2012

Back in July, I met up with four gals at Catalyst Activewear (HERE).  I started our newest Couch to 5K journey.  I love the excitement of new runners!  And, Melissa, Jennifer, Jennie and Katie didn't disappoint.  Over ten weeks, they trained together every Wednesday evening.  We met at the store and would run together for a half an hour.  They started with alternating one minute of running and one minute of walking for twenty minutes.  By the end, they were running thirty minutes or more consecutively.

We survived one tough and HOT Wisconsin summer.  I only cancelled one class, due to the 101 degree temperatures that evening.  Otherwise, we ran through it all.  The girls really developed a great bond (most likely due to the small size of the group) and even met on the weekends, to get their other runs in together.  A support system really is everything. 

I loved watching their outlook on running transform, then their confidence, workout wordrobe and everythign else that goes with starting something like this.

Unfortunately, Melissa's foot/ankle was really bothering her.  The determined, tough cookie had to put her journey on pause half-way through the program.  And sadly, the rest of us continued without her.

Katie wrote on a blog, Fun Fearful Female (HERE) and you will really enjoy her insights on running and life.  She has a very positive vibe about her, this girl.  And, I'm so glad that our paths have crossed.

We met up the week before the race and tryed to venture the course on our own.  The race started and ended at Willow Island in Madison.  The map was not easy to read, so we ended up going an entire mile off-course to begin with.  Jenny was sick, the weather was extremely windy and the course was a bit hilly. But, we survived 3.1 (plus miles) and "somewhat" ran the course.  It HAD to be easier on race morning! I kept telling them that.  There were some really sketchy areas that we ran through on our own and storm was brewing.  It was great that the girls ran the course and were now familiar with it.  There was a pretty large hill around mile 1.5.

We choose the Run/Walk for Wishes (HERE) at Willow Island (for the Make a Wish Foundation), because the date fell well with our training program (end of September).  However, the Zoo Run Run at Henry Vilas.  Therefore, the run was not well attended at all.  It was pretty sparse.  There were quite a few walkers though.
The girls showed up race morning and each of them had their husbands and family and friends there to support them.  It was the best support I've seen in these groups.  Katie had a whole entorage and some of them even made these classy shirts ... may need to make one of my own!
Ten minutes before the race was supposed to start, we gathered in our royal blue Catalyst shirts.  And a few minutes later they told us to get to the start line.  It was eight minutes early ... huh?!  OK, we'll get prepared.  And then someone yelled "Go!".  No gun.  No warning.  Runners were still wandering over to the startline.  And we were off ... seven minutes early.  Everyone ran off in pure confusion.
We ran out of Willow Island and onto a bike path, which backed up to a dog park.  Some of the dogs ... and owners ... were confused.  Could possibly be trouble.  The course was flat for the first mile and then there was a water station.  Jennifer was going to give it all she had and she took off ... I wasn't going to try to chase her.  Jennie was running with a friend and alternated running with them and Katie, who was in the middle of the pack.  I head up the huge hill with Katie and then headed back down for Jennie.  Jennie was right behind us, so I thanked her for not making me go all the way to the bottom.  We headed out on the Beltline's frontage road, which is not the most scenic route.  And, then we headed behind the Alliant Energy Center and back onto some more of the path at the dog park.  There was another water station during the last mile. 
Jennie was keeping a really great pace.  Her friend had run off ahead of her and passed Katie and I.  Katie was dealing with a really bad side stitch and was going over breathing techniques with her.  I carried her water during the last mile or so, anything to help her along.  Jennie was in good spirits as she headed into the finish line.  Katie was a little bummed, because her side stitched had slowed her down.  But, I told her that you have to give yourself a benchmark and something to compete against the next time.  This girl has been through a lot .. and conquered it all.  So, I know that she will head back out on another race course really soon to improve her pace and time.
They all finished between 27 and 37 minutes.  There were three very happy ladies at the finish line.  In ten weeks they had gone from alternating one minute of running and one minute of walking for twenty minutes ... to running 3.1 miles without stopping.  We stood by the beautiful willow trees on Willow Island for some shots from our paparazzi.
We did a little celebrating as "Jump Around!" came on.  They certainly had something to celebrate.  Jennifer found out that she won a second place ribbon in her age group (Can we say - Natural?!?!). She later received first place, because the overall female was in her age group.  And, The Boyfriend received third in his age group.  Sometimes small races aren't all that bad.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

ChapStick Review & Giveaway

ChapStick (HERE) contacted me recently to review some of their newest products.  My family loves good ol' Chapstick, so I thought I'd check out their new stuff.  And, I received this Chapstick "Emergency Gym Kit" from the ChapStick Active and Moisturizer lines ......

I received a ChapStick gym/beach towel, a cosmetic bag and ChapStick Sport Ready, from their active line, and ChapStick Raspberry Creme, from their moisturizer line.

ChapStick® Sport Ready
Designed with the Active consumer in mind, ChapStick® Sport Ready offers advanced, on-the-go hydration fit for any adventure. The perfect accessory for people on-the-move, ChapStick® Sport Ready has a clip top that keeps your ChapStick® right at your fingertips. Sure to be the perfect partner for any game under the sun … or on the slopes, ChapStick® Sport Ready has you covered with broad spectrum SPF 30 and water-resistant protection for up to 80 minutes!

I liked the flavor.  Little Dude and I compared it to a minty-lemon flavor and he said it smelt like "dusting spray" aka Lemon Pledge.  It was a very summery flavor and would be great for long runs.  Though the on-the-go clip is handy, I'm not sure I would use it all that much - as I just stuff small on-the-go items like this in my purse, gym bag or inside of my handheld water bottle's pouch.  Although, it would probably work out great, clipped to your gym bag or diaper bag.  This would be great for swimmers or triathlets, due to the water-resistant factor ... you can get a great workout in in 80 minutes!!  I also have to get better about the SPF (especially on the lips) - so this will be a great addition to my training routine next summer (not that I need another thing to add to my pre-run rituatls!).

ChapStick® Raspberry Crème (HERE)

Satisfy a thirsty pout with new mouthwatering ChapStick® Raspberry Crème – made with 10 moisturizing ingredients and a luscious fruity flavor, lips will be left feeling soft and silky. ChapStick® Raspberry Crème delivers fruity hydration to your lips with ingredients like Aloe and Vitamin E and contains SPF 15 to protect from the sun’s UVB rays.

The Raspberry flavor was yummy.  But the Boyfriend and I both agree that we prefer the good ol' mint flavor.  Little Dude really enjoyed it though.  I've been keeping it in my desk drawer and applying frequently and this will be really helpful over the dry, Wisconsin winter.


One lucky winner will win a
Emergency Gym Kit
(assortment above)


1 – Become a follower of my blog or already are?! LEAVE ME A COMMENT

2 – Follow Running Diva Mom on Facebook HERE. LEAVE ME A COMMENT

3 – Visit the ChapStick website HERE and tell me what you think is fabulous. LEAVE ME A COMMENT

4 – Become a fan of ChapStick on Facebook HERE (and let them know Running Diva Mom sent you!). LEAVE ME A COMMENT

5 – Post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook or Twitter account. LEAVE ME A COMMENT FOR EACH.

Enter now though Sunday, October 7th.
[If you would like YOUR product or website featured on Running Diva Mom, please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) ]

Disclosure: “The ChapStick® product, information and gift have been provided by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.”

Runner Decals Tumbler & Decals Review & Giveaway

Have you heard of Runner Decals (HERE)?  Don't advertise your love of running or your completed workouts on Facebook enough?  Looking at sharing your love ... passion ... obsession elsewhere??  Here you go.

I saw their Straw Tumblers online (HERE) and instantly fell in love.  They were totally me!  I have been using this sweet cup at home and increasing my water intake drastically.  I love filling it up with ice water or adding a little Crystal Light.  I haven't brought it to the office yet.  But, I'm pretty sure if I left it sitting out on a counter somwhere, that someone would return it quickly, because they would know it was mine!  You think??

Each tumbler is 16 oz and double-walled. So, they don't sweat.  I love that my night stand isn't covered in puddles over night.  They are well insulated and my ice water stays cold for at least three hours.  I highly recommend hand washing these, because the decals are too cute to risk destroying.

These cups can be personalized with names, blog names, or anything else you want to flash around your home or office.  These would make great gifts for the holidays, stocking stuffers, or additions to gift baskets. 

Believe it or not ..... the Marathon Mommy Minivan got even more decorated since I received my Runner Decals shipment recently.  I combined the Runner Girl decal with the Running Diva decal.  Since the back of the van is getting quite cluttered and full of pink, I added this to the back, drivers-side window.  It looks pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself.  And, now people pulled up next to me will know that I'm a running diva, too.  Not just the people stopped behind me at a stop light.  These decals were SUPER easy to apply and the whole decal came off and was applied with ease.  I always hate dealing with decals or temporary tattoos, when they don't work as well as advertised.  But, these were easy to use.   I may not have even needed the directions (maybe!).  I want more!

I love this running footprint family decal (HERE).  It would be another nice addition to the Marathon Mommy Minivan decor.

They also sell lots of uniqure decals for all different sports and some fun sayings.  They sell all of the really cool oval stickers and decals, with a little twist and a little sass.  Make your vehicle look just a little different, when you are pulled up next to all of those other 26.2 stickers on race day.



One lucky winner will win a
Runner Decals
Running Diva Straw Tumbler & Set of Decals


1 – Become a follower of my blog or already are?! LEAVE ME A COMMENT

2 – Follow Running Diva Mom on Facebook HERE. LEAVE ME A COMMENT
3 – Visit the Runner Decals website HERE and tell me what you think is fabulous. LEAVE ME A COMMENT

4 – Become a fan of Runner Decals on Facebook HERE (and let them know Running Diva Mom sent you!). LEAVE ME A COMMENT

5 – Post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook or Twitter account. LEAVE ME A COMMENT FOR EACH.

Enter now though Sunday, October 7.

[If you would like YOUR product or website featured on Running Diva Mom, please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) ]

Friday, September 21, 2012

25.75K Run During 4K

Little Dude started 4K last week.  And, I'm off of work one day a week.  This gives me about 2 hrs and 45 mins to do something for myself, run errands, clean, etc.  With my marathons right around the corner, I'm in crunch-mode with my final long runs.  If I am organized and get out the door right away after he is dropped off at school, it's perfect.  I can run for 2-3 hrs and this will take one thing off of my plate for the weekend.  And, no one is missing me.

So, last night, I loaded up a cooler with my handheld water bottle, energy gels and a Diet Mountain Dew (for post-run), I synced my iPod and I layed out my running gear for the next morning.
I dropped Little Diva off at her school.  Then, I dropped Little Dude off at his at 8 am.  I left the Marathon Mommy Minivan at his school and left the parking lot on foot.  I ran for 2 hrs and 40 mins, as I zig-zagged across town.  This was one of the first times this fall that I've had to wear long sleeves.  It was wet, chilly and breezy.  I also rocked the knee-high socks with my running skirt.  I've missed them (been way to hot of a summer!). 
The clouds were getting dark and it started to sprinkle.  Why does this always happen when you are the furthest distance away from your destination?  I was more concerned about my iPod than myself getting watter-logged.  But, the sprinkles stopped - and they cooled me off.  I saw another Little Free Library on the other side of town.  Can't wait to take the kids there.  I enjoyed some neighborhood parks and also ran through an industrial area.  I even watched my footwork, as I went offroading, on a man-made path around a pond for a half mile.  Fun stuff! 
After consuming 4-5 bottles of water on my earlier HOT training runs this summer ... I barely went through one bottle this morning.   And, only one gel.  And, time went be so quickly  I could hardly believe it was 10:45 and time to pick him up.
I ended up running approximately 25.75K while he was at 4K ... or 16 miles.

After I picked him up -- he eagerly got his "homework" out (which is voluntary - but I'm not letting him know that.  He started completing it, during our drive to Starbuck's.  We both enjoyed warming up after our fun mornings.  His with a bunch of 4 year olds - Mine alone with my running shoes and my iPod.  He enjoyed his "coffe" - a hot chocolate.  I thoroughly enjoyed my Tall Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte.  I've already had five of these this season.  Heck, I've earned.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Road ID Supernova Winner ...

I was recently given the opportunity to review the Supernova Light from Road ID.  You can read all about my fabulous experience HERE.

Please visit Road ID online HERE and start shopping.

There were 59 entries in my recent giveaway. One winner was chose at random to receive a Supernova Light from Road ID.

Random.org chose ……..

Stephanie @ Home: Where Your Story Starts (HERE)

Congratulations, Stephanie!!! Please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) with your name, email and mailing address. And, I will get you your prize!

Thank you for following my journey!!

[If you would like YOUR product or website featured on Running Diva Mom, please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) ]

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Little Free Library

I have literally been running all over town the past two years - frequently on commuter paths.  I have seen many of these Little Free Libraries all over downtown Madison,  My Couch to 5K clients have raved about the little boxes popping in our community.  I was told there were books for children and adults and heard about the treasures my friends had found.

The Little Free Library (HERE) mission:
- To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.

- To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity, and wisdom across generations
- To build more than 2,510 libraries around the world - more than Andrew Carnegie--and then more.

Basically, you leave a book and then take a book.  These libraries are set in in front of schools, coffee shops, storefronts, bike paths, parks and on sidewalks.  The adorable libraries hold 20-30 books for kids and adults.  The boxes are built from recycled materials are designed and decorated by your volunteer neighbors.  The library inventory is turned over several times a month.  Many of the boxes are decorated with themes in mind and they make the experience even more whimsical 

Pretty cool, huh?!  Go check it out yourself.  Look to see if there is a Little Free Library near you (HERE).  There are dozens in Madison alone. 
I knew that I wanted to experience this for the first time with the kids.  I noticed that one just recently popped up at an elementary school, in our suburban community.

So, I recently asked Little Diva and Little Dude to clean off their bookshelves.  We made a pile of baby books, board books and old treasures that had already been read.  We will use this stash of gently-used books each time we visit the Little Free Library.  We dropped off our first set of books this past weekend and gained two new treasures, which were quickly read through in the Marathon Mommy Minivan.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Standing out.

This past Tuesday, a day of rememberance, also marked my seven year anniversary of running.   Little Diva was approaching her second birthday and I had dropped 45 pounds post pregnancy through a healthy transition in my diet, through Weight Watchers..  But, I had no excercise routine.  The weight was slowly creeping back up.  Little by Little.

I've wrote about this before ... but I will share again for my new readers.

I attended Ironman Wisconsin 2005 and was in awe by a friend's commitment to triathlon.  It wasn't only the miles that the athletes all traveled that day.  It was the journey that they (and their families) endured over the nine months prior, that got them there.  The experience motivated me to lace up my "running shoes" the very next day and hop on the treadmill downstairs - that was literally collecting dust.  I never could run down the street, prior to this.  I would get winded chasing Little Diva down to the neighbor's driveway next door.  But, the racing experience gave me a whole different viewpoint on running.  It actually made it seem kind of fun. 

I went and got professionally fit for real running shoes and followed an expedited couch to 5K program.  I signed up for my first 5K that fall and then my first half marathon six months later.  And I've never rarely looked back.

Like most of my current couch to 5K clients, I think I initially started running to drop some more weight.  Weightloss was my original intention.  I hear this all of the time.  Actually, it has just helped me maintain my weight loss (for the most part).  I actually gain some weight with marathon training (though my body changes).

But, over the past seven years, I've continued running because of several of the same reasons my couch to 5K clients continue to sign up for races, beyond the program.

It's not all about weightloss. (Though, these pictures make me realize just how far I've come -- somewhere I never want to go back to)

It's something for myself.
A new passion.
The friendships that I've made.
It's making me all-around a healthier person.
The time for myself.
A way to relate to other people.
I get my family active.
I inspire others to run or try something new.

A reason to travel.
You get to experience your town in a new way.

A big one ...
It's given me self-esteem.

I look back at old pictures and can't help but notice how much I was hiding before. 

I use to wear big hair (I had set my hair in hot rollers, every day, for almost ten years) and lots of bright makeup.  I thought it made me more bold, more attractive, more noticeable.  I got dressed up every day and chased Little Diva around in high heels.

Soon, after I got really involved in the running industry, my confidence soared.  I cut off my hair, wore it straight, and lightened up on the makeup a bit a lot.  I even run around town sometimes, with a makeup-free face.  I sludge around town in stinky, sweaty running gear and take pride in the fact that I just worked out.  I take pride in the fact that I am me.  That I do what I do.

I was hiding behind all of that hair and make up.  That fat person was hiding behind all of those layers and fluff. 

Now, the runner in me just stands out all on her own.  (sometimes with the aid of some brightly-colored running gear!)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Three Things Thursday


OK - I admit it ... I'm obsessed with Pinterest.  I joined this summer and have been pinning daily.  I can't help myself.  Things I like.  Things I want.  Things I want to do.  Projects for the kids.  Advice.  Places I want to see.  Organization.  Decorating.  Planning for the future.  Motivation.  Inspiration.  Living in the moment. 
I find a lot of my daily quotes on the site.  I have been enjoying collecting fun projects or free entertainment for the kids. 

Even if I don't use some of the pins immediately, the site inspires me to be more creative, more thrifty, and a better version of myself.  I can't explain it.

I warned you.

Are you on Pinterest?  You can follow my pins over (HERE).


Last week, Little Diva participated in her first Girls on the Run practice.  She is participating at one of the Girls on the Run Dane County (HERE) locations.  Girls on the Run is my absolute, favorite organization and I'm excited that Little Diva wanted to give it a try.  This popular organization educates young girls on many aspects of their development - physical, emotional, mental and social well-being.  These lessons provide the girls with the tools to make positive decisions and to avoid risky adolescent behaviors. 

Meeting twice a week, along with the curriculum, they also train for a 5K event.  Little Diva and I will be running in the Girls on the Run Dane County 5K in Waunakee on Saturday, November 10 (HERE).  This GOTR event is one of my favorite running events of the entire year and I always look forward to it.  I can't wait to experience it with Little Diva this year.


Through my day job, I'm helping coordinate our fundraising efforts for the American Heart Association Heart Walk.  Our team from the University of Wisconsin will be walking the Heart Walk event on Saturday, October 13 in Madison.  I've agreed to help co-captain the event, and fundraise, even though I cannot participate.  A previously scheduled (and trained for!) marathon will be taking up all of my energy that morning.

If anyone in Madison is intersted in participating in a fun event for a great cause, please consider joining the SMPH (Simply Marvelous People with Heart) Team, by making a donation to my fundraising page (HERE).

Thank you for your support!