Friday, August 31, 2012

Updated the Playlist

I purchased the iPod Nano last summer and love it. One of the best purchases I've made.  I never ran with music prior to last August.  And, it's changed my attitude during my long runs.  It's motivated me when I needed it.  And it makes time go by faster.  I initially purchased a Slap Case, similar to the one pictured (HERE).  I would pop the Nano in the Slap Case.  It was bulky, but comfortable on my fist.  I was annoyed, because it was sometimes hard to change the volume (buttons were covered), and the Nano would pop out of the case often.  It was stretched out from my daily use and taking the Nano in and out.
One of my Couch to 5K clients had purchased a new version of the Nano holder, a wristband (HERE).  Instead of being a "slap wrist" style, this wrapped around the wrist and secured like a watch.  Also, the Nano slid in and snapped onto the watch band, instead of popping in.  Super secure.  I tried it for the first time at my half marathon last weekend and really loved it.  Much more functional and less bulky.  There were several colors available, when I made my purchase at Target for $25.  Happy they had pink.  A really good investment in my runs.
I also took some time to make some additions to my playlist recently.  These have really kept me moving lately.  I love hip hop and old school rap as well as a mixture of pop and Top 40.  It's a good thing I have my headphones in, because many of them are not kid-friendly.
Additions to my workout playlist:
Forgot About Dre (feat. Eminem) 3:42 Dr. Dre 
It Takes Two 5:02 DJ EZ Rock & Rob Base
Lean Back 4:12 Terror Squad, Fat Joe & Remy
The Time (Dirty Bit) 4:11 The Black Eyed Peas
Boombastic (Sting Mix) 4:21 Shaggy
Drop It Low 3:10 Ester Dean & Chris Brown
Whistle 3:45 Flo Rida Whistle
Snapbacks & Tattoos 3:30 Driicky Graham
Rolling in the Deep (125 BPM Drum & Vox Mix) 4:25 DJ Dizzy
Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys) 4:37 Jay-Z
The Next Episode (feat. Snoop Dogg) 2:42 Dr. Dre
Lip Gloss 3:40 Lil Mama Lip Gloss
Wobble 5:24 V.I.C.
Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) 3:58 Jay-Z
Wild Ones (feat. Sia) 3:54 Flo Rida Wild Ones (feat. Sia)
Too Close 4:17 Alex Clare
Give Your Heart a Break 3:25 Demi Lovato
Where Have You Been 4:03 Rihanna
Back In Time (From "Men In Black III") 3:26 Pitbull
What Makes You Beautiful 3:19 One Direction 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Giveaway Winners!!

I was recently given the opportunity to review several products and events.  You can read all about my fabulous experiences the links provided below.

Random.org chose ……..

Gu Sampler (HERE)
Winner - Jamie @ A Frugal Mama (

Pretty Muddy Chicago Race Entry (HERE)
Winner - Moonsword's Chamber (

Color Me Rad 5K Madison Race Entry (HERE)
Winner - Amy @ Running is Cheaper than Therapy (
Hydrapak Softflask (HERE)
Winner - Kim @ Living Domistically (

Injinji Socks (HERE)
Winner - Ang @ Angiloo! (

Jovial Pasta (HERE)
Winner - Momma Got the Runs (

Congratulations!!! 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 ) ]

Womens Half Marathon (Bloomington, MN) 2012 Race Report

Last fall, I was in search of an all women's race.  I wasn't going to get back to Walt Disney World's Disney Princess Half Marathon anytime soon.  I found the Womens Half Marathon at Mall of America (HERE), located in Bloomington, Minnesota.  Registration had just opened and they were offering the first few registrants a super-discounted rate.  Sign...me...up!

I ended up making a girls weekend out of it and three of my gal pals ventured four-plus hours north to the Twin Cities.  We stayed at the host hotel, The Double Tree.  The expo and packet pick-up were going to be taking place at the hotel, so that worked out great.  I arrived downstairs at the expo, when they opened at 9am.  Right after I picked up my race packet, I ran in Richelle (pictured below), a RDM reader.  We had talked about meeting up and just happened to run into eachother when I arrived.  We browsed the expo together for an hour.  There were about twenty booths ... all geared towards woment.  I somehow managed to not purchase a thing ... most likely because I was spending my day at Mall of America after the expo.  There were a lot of new exhibitors and some fun, new products.  I really enjoyed window shopping and getting to know Richelle.

The technical shirts were really fun and feminine and the custom bibs were great for getting support on the course.  We also got some free goodies and an awesome reusable tote.

My friends were planning on driving the two miles to see me finish the race.  The race started at 7:00 am on Sunday morning.  And, the host hotel was offering a free shuttle service to the start line.  The line was long, when I arrived at 6:15 am, but the shuttles were constantly picking up runners.  When I got to the hotel lobby, someone said, "Hey, I know her!".  It was Ruth, another RDM reader, who I also have corresponded with on Facebook.  We spent the next twenty minutes getting to know eachother and taking pictures, while we stood in line for the shuttle.

I arrived at the startline and there were women everyone in brightly colored clothing.  My friends later agreed, that I actually didn't stand-out this time!  I left my hot pink compression socks and tutu at home this time!  There were plenty of port-o-potties available and the lines were short.  The 1,200+ female half marathoners lined up at the start line.  The dozen-or-so men that were registered, were instructed to go to the back ... because, well ... ladies first!  The 5K participants were lined up at the back of the pack.  I was in "Corral A" and started towards the front.

We were off promptly at 7:00 am.  We ran the first couple of miles through the buisness park, which was pretty boring.  Someone at the start line told me that miles 2-3 were supposed to be hilly. There was no course elevation map online, so I didn't know what was in store for me.

Right at mile two, we ran adjacent to the ski hill ... OMG .. it was one of the (if not THE) toughest hills I've ever attempted ... and then, conquered.  For Madison-area runners, this hill was more difficult for me to manage than Observatory Drive, on campus.  Women were panting and walking left and right (remind you, this is the FRONT of the pack).  And of course, there were race photographers placed at the very top of the hill, snapping shots.  I had to pretend I wasn't miserable (above).  Oh yeah, that hill was a blast.  Not.

Mile three brought more hills with it and then many more hills after that. What the heck??  Just when I didn't think there would be more ... there was.  By mile six, my legs had had it.  They were burning.  I could feel myself slowing down.  I had hopes of going sub-two hours again, but I feared it wasn't going to happen.

We ended up in a nature conservancy area, and ran along a flat (ish!) path.  The sun came out at one point, but for most of the time, it looked like it was going to rain and was very cloud-covered.  Thank goodness.  It was pretty humid, and I fear it could've gotten much worse.  One part of the course, when I thought my legs were d-o-n-e, the path turned into gravel.  Mind you, this wasn't crushed gravel.  It was loose and my legs were trashed.  Footwork wasn't fancy.  But, I ventured on.  I ran with the same pack of ten-twelve women for much of the second half of the race.  The second half of the race was pretty flat, compared to the first half.

I saw Richelle several times out on the second half of the course.  She could tell I was struggling, because she kept asking how I was doing ... all with a very fresh smile on her face.  She'd stop at water stations, I'd keep going with my handheld water bottle.  Then, she would pass me again.  She, and then the 2:00 pace group passed me.  There is nothing like watching that 2:00 sign running ahead of you, and then no longer seeing it.

At just over one mile to go, there was a woman to my right that I was passing ... and then she stopped.  I told her to keep going, and she started again.  I kept going and saw another gal walking to my left.  She was holding her side, as if she had a cramp. I patted her on the back as I passed her. And I told her that there couldn't be another hill and that she should try finishing with me. She agreed and joined me.  We turned the corner, and there it was, another pretty big monster of a hill.  Darn it.  She laughed.  I laughed.  I increased my pace and conquered that last hill. 

My tunes were blaring, but I could still hear the announcer and the crowd and cowbells at the finish line.  My friends were waiting for me at the finish line, and I need to make a good impression.  I wanted to show them why I do, what I do.  Despite the fact that the clock was ticking past two hours. 

There were my friends, waiting for me with the camera.  My non-running friends were cheering me on and snapping photos.  They probably thought I was nuts ... running 13 miles, after a two-three hours of bad sleep in a hotel room, covered in sweat, my thighs chaffed (oops, forgot the Body Glide) and my legs aching.  Surprisingly two days later, one of them signed up for one of my upcoming Couch to 5K programs for the fall.  Inspired?? Maybe.

I ended up crossing the finish line in just over 2:03 .. being my second slowest half marathon time ever (the other being my first half marathon of 2:20, back in 2006).  Am I disappointed with my time???  Sure, a little bit.  But, I never stopped to walk.  I never told myself that I couldn't do it.  I encouraged other runners to keep moving on the course (that coaching mentality kicked in).  And, I motivated a friend to start a journey of her own.  I would consider that a pretty successful race.

273 / 1,247 Overall
269 / 1,234 Women
45 / 184 Age Group

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Single Mama on a Budget

We’ve had a lot of fun this summer.

Living on one income for more than the past year, I’ve become more thrifty than ever. I’ve saved and budgeted where I felt I could, so that I could splurge on things that were important to me and my family. I would participate in office luncheons, but chose to brown bag it. I did this, so that I could attend fairs with Little Diva and Little Dude or splurge on ziplining with The Boyfriend. I tried to dine out rarely, and when I did, I tried to use as many coupons or Groupons as possible. I opted not to participate in too much alcohol consumption while out with friends (also saving me calories; and I don’t enjoy it that much anyway).

Racing can be expensive (as you well know). I passed on several of my annual races this year (particularly 5Ks), because I would rather splurge on epic races that were more important to me and my training (i.e. The Chicago Marathon). I’ve participated in many of my races for free, because they were supplemented by RDM sponsors or because I received free entries via other venues (coaching, giveaways, etc).

We tried to take advantage of many summertime activities and festivals, but also didn’t get a chance to do everything we wanted to. We had to make some decisions. Decisions on what was MOST important to us … and my wallet.

While I am not necessarily buying fun and fancy new THINGS … we are having fun and amazing EXPERIENCES. When I’ve splurged, I’ve splurged on experiences, not on items.

I do like to shop. I love fancy things; pretty things; unique things. I’ve always been a sucker for rummage sales and thrift stores. Most (90%) of Little Diva and Little Dude’s clothing comes second-hand. About half of my wardrobe now comes from thrift stores, too. I love a good deal or a unique second-hand find … and I’m damn proud of it.


This summer, I’ve tried to find as many free activities as possible. Here are some things we did for free or at low-cost.

- park hopping (running, bike riding or driving to various parks)

- picnics and grilling out (with the goal to clean out the refrigerator and cupboards)

- visiting the local nature center/arboretum

- bike rides

- the beach

- library (not only free book and movie rentals; also access to computers, train table, doll house, board games, story time)

- using our state park pass

- nature hunts/treasure hunts (creating checklists of various items or hiding little toys in tupperware containers)

- tennis with friends

- fishing

- playdates

- Dollar store shopping

- rummage sales (we would then often visit a park in each neighborhood)

- look through their baby books with them

- decorating homemade pizzas

- Friday night disco/dance parties in the living room

- letting the kids make me dinner (creating a menu, setting the table,dishes)


With the cooler weather and the impending school year upon is, this involves being more creative to entertain two active kids on a tight budget. Thanks to past experience and Pinterest, here are some things that I am planning.

- indoor picnics (complete with blanket and a picnic basket)

- movie night (create a dinner menu and prepare snacks to compliment the movie title/theme)

- board games or puzzles at McDonald’s or the food court (taking things in a different area really creates new excitement in the kids)

- forts

- pulling out the workout DVDs and having the kids try them with me

- making an indoor photo booth (with props)

- free construction classes for kids at Home Depot

- thrift stores

- iceskating

- sledding

- visit local museums (free resident days)

- visit the book store (read together and play together at the train table)

- mall play areas

- indoor camping

- schedule a Sunday as “pajama day”

I plan to continue to make use of helpful “mommy” sites in my area, as well as community guides. These are full of great events, many of which are totally free or at low cost. It’s been a great way for the kids … and I … to discover many of the great assets in our community and the surrounding area.

If you are local, here are some great resources in the Madison, Wisconsin area:

Moms in Madison (HERE)

Madison Mamas (HERE)

Mamas Gone Madison (HERE)

Hula Frog Madison (HERE)

Taking advantage of discount sites, like Groupon (HERE), Living Social (HERE) or Koupon Shop (HERE) have been a great way for us to try new things and have affordable experiences together (rock climbing, kayaking, paddleboats, brewery tours, horseback riding, bowling, mini golf).  This also gives us the chance to dine at some favorite restaurants (and buy cupcakes!!) and try new restaurants. Many of these deals are 50% off or more. Some of these offers are more-than-tempting … so try not to over buy … only purchase deals at places you will visit and use before the deal expires.

What does your
do for fun???

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ladies Couch to 5K Sessions for Fall 2012

I'm always so excited that there are so many of you that are curious about running, setting goals and willing to step outside of your comfort zone!  With many of you reaching out to me recently, wondering where I will be coaching this Fall here is a list of the LADIES ONLY Couch to 5K groups for the fall. 

No experience is necessary.  These programs will simply launch you off of your couch; by mixing running and walking ... after nine weeks you will be able to run 30 minutes (or 3.1 miles) consecutively.

If you are interested in these group, I will suggest that you sign up now.  The Sun Prairie sessions have sold out within two hours - two days for past sessions. 


Monona Rec Program Ladies Couch to 5K (HERE) - Starts Sept 26
Will meet Wednesdays at 5:30 PM at Monona parks

Sun Prairie Rec Program Ladies Couch to 5K (HERE) - Starts Oct 9
Will meet Tuesdays/Thursdays at 6:00 PM at Sun Prairie parks

And, as always ... I also offer individual training sessions, custom training programs, and virtual coaching options.  Please contact me at runningdivamom@yahoo.com for my rates.

Mile 22 Bags Review & Giveaway

I came across Mile 22 Bags (HERE) on Facebook awhile ago.  They were doing something really cool with your race memorabilia.  Mile 22 bags makes custom bags to carry all of your goods to races, the gym, to work, playdates ... you name it.  You simply send in your race memorabilia -- think race bibs, race t-shirts, they even can make use out of your medal ribbons for the handles, if you want. 

When Mile 22 Bags said that they would like to work together, I looked through my t-shirt drawer for some of the race shirts that were important to me, but that I wasn't currently wearing.  I like to display my race bibs (sorted by year) on my bulletin board.  So, I pulled off some that matched the t-shirts and made photo copies on my home printer.  I didn't want to send in the originals (see photo above).

I sent it all in and impatiently waited for my awesome, custom bag to arrive a couple of weeks later ....


I chose the Race Day Tote (HERE) in Sky Blue (because they don't offer pink).  This bag is available in ten fun colors of the rainbow (although, I would suggest some more vibrant colors, including pink).

The Race Day Tote Bag is made of high quality Cordura® and custom sewn to order. This is a great every day bag with a design that allows you to carry a ton of stuff. The wrap around design covers most of the exterior space with your memorabilia. Great if you have a lot of races to celebrate…or just want to feature your favorite. The bag has been improved and includes a narrow accent band on the top of the artwork in the color that you have chosen.

Race Day Tote Description:Bag dimensions: Appx. 19” W x 13.5” H
Artwork: 2 sided- 19”W x 10” H each side
Memorabilia: Fits 12 bibs perfectly or fewer bibs and 1-2 t-shirts
Features: 2 straps with a 10” drop, 1 interior pocket, magnetic closure
Retail price:  $95.00

They offer five different bag options, in various sizes and at different prices ... something in everyone's price range.  Each bag allows you to include less or more memorabilia. 

I can't wait to sport this tote at next week's Women's Half Marathon!  There is a ton of space in here to carry your running shoes, running gear and an extra change of clothes and toiletries for after.  I even plan to store a small cooler in it for post-race.  The bag is huge, but manageable.  It's sturdy, too.  What a great conversation piece this will be ... I already know that I will have to carry Mile 22 business cards in my bag, because I will be asked where I found it.  They also sell gift certificates, which would make great birthday gifts or stocking stuffers, for that dedicated runner in your life.


One lucky winner will win
a Race Day Tote
from Mile 22 Bags
(value $95)


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

2 – Become a fan of Running Diva Mom on Facebook HERE.  LEAVE ME A COMMENT

3 – Visit the Mile 22 Bags website HERE and tell me what you think is fabulous.  LEAVE ME A COMMENT

4 – Become a fan of Mile 22 Bags 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 Thursday, August 30th.

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

Kidz Bop 22 Review & Giveaway

Little Diva and I always love working with Kidz Bop (HERE).  They have some of the music that the kids and I both love singing, but can safely enjoy together.  It's great for blasting in the Marathon Mommy Minivan.  Or, Little Diva loves rocking it on her CD player while she tests the acoustics in the bathroom.  These songs are sung by kids, for kids.

Kidz Bop 22 (HERE) features sixteen totally hit tracks, featuring the Kidz Bop Kids and kid-frendly (kid-safe) lyrics.  Little Diva and Little Dude both love so many of these current Top 40 hits.  The CD was just released in July 2012.


Call Me Maybe




Wild Ones

Glad You Came

Drive By

Part Of Me

What Makes You Beautiful

Dance Again


Feel So Close

Somebody That I Used To Know

Tonight Is The Night

Set Fire To The Rain
KIDZ BOP Kids feat. Ethan Bortnick

One lucky winner will win
a copy of Kidz Bop 22 on CD

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

2 – Become a fan of Running Diva Mom on Facebook HERE.  LEAVE ME A COMMENT 

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

4 – Become a fan of Kidz Bop 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 Thursday, August 30.
[If you would like YOUR product or website featured on Running Diva Mom, please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) ]

Friday, August 17, 2012

Giveaway Winners

I was recently given the opportunity to review several great products on RDM.  You can read all about my fabulous experiences at the links below.

Random.org chose ……..
Noodles & Co Summer Salads - (HERE)Winner:  Kathy (HERE)
Sparkly Soul Headbands - (HERE)
Winner:  Tabitha @ Tab a Dilly (
Casall Sports Bra - (HERE)
Winner:  Bonnie Michaels (no blog)
Vega Smoothie - (HERE)
Winner:  Cupcake @ Bigger Girls Can Run Too (HERE) 
Congratulations!!!  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 ) ]

Don’t forget to enter my current giveaways, and read the reviews:
Gu Sampler - Ends 8/22 (HERE)
Pretty Muddy Chicago Race Entry - Ends 8/26 (
Color Me Rad 5K Madison Race Entry - Ends 8/26 (
Hydrapak Softflask - Ends 8/27 (
Injinji Socks - Ends 8/27 (
Jovial Pasta - Ends 8/27 (HERE)