Friday, September 30, 2016

Limitless Warrior Training Bracelet from Endorphin Warrior Review

Statement bracelets are all the rage lately.  And, these cuffs from Endorphin Warrior are a great addition to your collection for your wrist.  So simple - yet they seriously make a bold statement.
I chose the Limitless Cuff in black.  It's from the collection of Warrior Training Bracelets.  These are super comfortable, light-weight and SWEAT FREE (bonus!).  So, you can wear them to motivate you during your workouts, too.  I have a few in my collection and the statements I choose are all for different purposes.  They motivate me for different reasons.
At only $20 these also make great gifts.  They are perfect gifts for athletes, runners, triathletes, yogis, birthday gifts, teacher gifts, graduation gifts, divorce gifts, survivor gifts - the list goes on and on - because we could ALL use a little motivation to push ourselves a little more and believe in ourselves a little more.
The bracelets are available in natural leather and rubber and black or brown.  Offered in five different sizes, they will also work great for men, women and children.

I also own some of the
empower word stackable rings and love them.  You can wear them each individually, or as a custom set.

Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer Review

We've been pretty lucky that Baby Diva hasn't been very sick since she arrived a little over nine months ago.  However, cold and flu season is quickly approaching.  She's recently been fighting a running nose and cold that has been dragging out for over a week.  Has anyone ever tried to get an infant's temperature?  That isn't easy.
I was happy to try out the Temporal Artery Thermometer that was sent to me by Exergen.  I had seen these "scan thermometers" at the baby store when we registered last fall.  But, I hadn't purchased one, since I figured I survived without one with my older two children.  And I wasn't sold on the pricetag compared to the standard oral thermometer.
But, I was amazed during our hospital stay this time, when the nurses were using these thermometers to take our vitals.  Results within seconds.
Parents press and hold the button, then gently stroke their child's forehead and the device captures naturally emitted heat from the child's skin over the temporal artery.  The parent releases the button and digital number is available.  The Red LED lights and a soft beep indicates a correct scan.  The device takes a whopping 1,000 readings per second, selecting the most accurate one.  Arterial heat balance computes the correct temperature.  You can even do this while your child is resting or sleeping. 
This is the safest, most convenient and comfortable place to measure the temperature.  The accuracy of the Temporal Scanner is incredible and recommended for all ages.
Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometers are currently sold at:

Babies R Us
Toys R Us

Thursday, September 15, 2016


This morning, I returned from my run in tears.  Sometimes you have good runs.  Sometimes you experience the bad.  This morning was just an emotional one for me. 
I was running my typical 5K route around my neighborhood.  The little one was sleeping in the jogging stroller.  The sun was shining and the weather was perfect.  I was planning my day, goal-setting, soul-searching and contemplating opportunities in my head.  You know, the typical daily thoughts that go through a runner's head.  As I was circling back around at the half-way point, I approached an elderly gentleman.  I maneuvered the stroller to the side to let him pass.  As I approached him he smiled, then tipped his hat.  He said something and encouraged me to take out my head phones.
"What was that?", I asked, removing my head phones.
"You are setting a good example for your little one, there", he said.
(stunned) "Thank you.".
"She looks content.  She's going to be stronger one day because of you".
(jaw drops) "Why, thank you so much.".
"You both have a good day".
"We will.  Thank you.  Enjoy your walk.".

I immediately broke down in tears, as I logged my final mile home.  It touched me.  It moved me.  The run and the moment felt *right*. 
The day prior, I was wearing my Fellow Flowers Green Courage Tee at Target.
Three years ago, I was gifted the tee from Mel at Fellow Flowers.  Yes, *THE* Mel from Fellow Flowers.  She believed in me, as I was taking the steps to making Running Diva Mom legit, a reality and continuing to follow my passion towards helping others achieving goals.
As I was shopping for an anniversary card for my husband in Target, an elderly man approached me on his scooter.  He smiled at my daughter and started a conversation.

"Courage", he said.
"Oh ... yes.", I replied, as I realized that he was reading my shirt.
"Your daughter is sweet ... and her mama must have a lot of courage".
"Yes, I'd like to think that I do.", I replied.
"I am 92, can no longer walk, but I still am strong and have been courageous my whole life.  I could tell you stories of the war and the courageous battles we fought.  We were brave.  But I have fought courageous battles my whole life.  And I always survived.".
"Wow, I am sure you did.", I replied.
He went on to tell me what the Bible states about 'courage' and how much you need it throughout life.
He finished with, "You continue to be courageous and enjoy your little one."

As I contemplate and plan all of the paths that I am taking through life, I only see these two recent interactions as great signs of great things to come.  Either that, or there are only little-old-men and stay-at-home moms out-and-about on a Wednesday afternoon.

Be courageous.  Be brave.  Be you.

I Run Wisconsin.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Life is but a dream - together.

So, there was a boy who didn't run ...
And a girl who ran ... a lot ...
The girl was looking for a boy, but it had to be the right boy.  She had so much love to give and had such a passion for running.  And the girl was looking for someone to love her two children, just as much as he loved her.  Someone that had that much love to go around - had to also be passionate about something in their life.  It didn't have to be running.  But they had to understand her dreams and commitment to the sport.
The girl didn't care that the boy didn't like to run. But, he was curious enough to ask her to go for a run one day.  So, one dark, snowy January night they headed outdoors - to run together.  Those steps in the snow would develop into an amazing love story.  Running made their love grow deeper and stronger, as she watched the boy change.  Her passion became his passion.  Her therapy became his therapy.  Their lives became one.
The boy ran his first 5K within months of dating.  Six months later they flew across the country to run his first half marathon together.  And the following spring they crossed the finish line of his first 26.2 mile adventure together - in the rain - hand-in-hand.  Months after that, they said their vows in front of 140 family and friends.
The boy and the girl exchanged vows that they had written themselves.  Vows that they would reflect on every single day. 

I ___, take you ___, to be my ___.I promise to be your faithful partner,your best friend,and your one true love.I promise to encourage you each day,to support your struggles,and to believe in your dreams.I promise to listen to you deeply,to embrace each concern,and to resolve every conflict.I promise to appreciate you always,to take you for better or for worse,but not take you for granted.I love you today,and I will love you just as deeply always.

Just like their vows stated, the boy has fully supported the girl's dreams and goals.  He's motivated her to set more goals and do everything possible to attain them.  He's pushed her to grow her passion into a thriving business, while connecting with other runners and proving to other women that their dreams can become a reality.   Their life together has changed, become more complex and hurdles have been added - but they navigated the route together hand-in-hand and conquered every hurdle together.
Now the boy has goals of his own.  As the three year anniversary of their vows are being celebrated, he has committed to one major goal - completing Ironman in 2017. 
The girl was fearful that this commitment may change them or stand in their way.  But, she finally realized that her dreams are his.  And his dreams are hers, too.  And as their vows state, that they will support each other fully.  The commitment is not an obstacle - it is just another dream to navigate - together.

Life is but a dream - together.


Monday, September 12, 2016

96 miles.

It's September 12.  Less than two weeks into the month.  This is my favorite time of year to be pounding the pavement.  I'm really feeling in my groove.  I'm not necessarily feeling fast.  But I'm feeling stronger.  Leaner.  And like my endurance is at it's best.  I have a number of big races coming up in October and November ... two marathons and two half marathons.
I just added up my mileage for the month of September so far.  And I had to add it up three times.  I thought I'd made a mistake.  96 miles.  96 miles??  96 miles!!  Just twelve days into the month.  Sometimes that is what I've ran an entire month previously.  96 miles. 
This week marks my eleven year running anniversary.  And before that I hadn't ran 96 miles in my entire life.  Just those one mile runs at the end of every year of high school.  That scared girl with low-self esteem.  She finished at the back of the pack.  Huffing and puffing.  Walking and wishing it was over.  No confidence.  Not knowing what she was capable of.
It just goes to prove what can be done with passion.  With goals.  With a plan.  With commitment.  With support.  With confidence.
And with smarts.  I'm taking tomorrow off.

Wet miles.

I coached 17 miles in the cold rain on Saturday morning! Yuck! A warm shower and some coffee were never so much appreciated. Big shout-out to Traci who pushed herself along to her first double digit run ... Ten miles!!

34 pounds gone.

34 pounds gone! So much more fun shopping when things fit. Six new pairs of pants. All approved by my tween!

Just the girls.

Completed my second run on Sunday morning with these two beauties. No complaining from either of my training partners. #fitfamily #intervals

Eleven years ago.

Eleven years ago this weekend, I watched a friend compete in Ironman Wisconsin. The inspirational athletes gave me the motivation I needed to get off the couch, focus on me and try to run around my neighborhood. Small steps turned into miles, then races, 5ks, half marathons and then marathons. And now it's my passion that I am can now share with others. It has changed my whole world. It was such a joy watching my son and husband volunteer at a run aid station at Ironman yesterday. Life and this sport are such an amazing journey.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Chicago Rock 'n' Roll 2016 Half Marathon Race Report

I returned to the windy city this summer for another epic race.  This time it was a repeat of Chicago Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon.  The race took place mid-July and I would be serving as a Team Chocolate Milk ambassador, something that I have been doing for the past two years.  Learn how science proves that chocolate milk can help with muscle recovery.  Chocolate milk contains the perfect ratio of carbs to protein to aid in muscle recovery after a long run or workout.
My family and I got on the road early and headed down to McCormick Place for the huge race expo.  Parking was extremely pricey for the couple of hours that we were there and we had to walk a ton from one end of the building to the expo.  But, it was fun and we enjoyed browsing the booths and tried tons of free samples.  I also picked up a magnet and a couple of running tanks. 
After the expo, we parked in one of the parking garages downtown, walked around and grabbed some lunch.  We followed that up with a walking cupcake tour of Chicago.  For 90 minutes, we visited six different bakeries and carb-loaded with cupcakes.  We always love food tours, but this is the first one that the kids had joined us on.  It was super fun and a great way to experience the city.
After a long day being tourists, we headed back up to Schaumburg where we were staying.  Hotels were extremely costly in downtown Chicago that weekend - especially for the five of us to have a comfortable space.  So, we got a cheap room for around $150 in Schaumburg.  We grabbed dinner in Schaumburg, too and headed to bed early.
The race would be starting at 6:30 am, so we had to wake the kids up early.  The alarm went off between 4:00 and 4:30 and we packed up the gang and all of our belongings and headed back down to the city.  With no traffic, it was a breeze.  We parked in the same parking garage that we used the day prior.  We racked up about $75 in parking fees over two days.  We weren't going to be able to take advantage of the hotel's continental breakfast, so I ate a PB&J while I drove.
Port-o-potty lines were long and I was rushing to the startline area, as there were only fifteen minutes until the start.  I said good-bye to my family and stood in the line.  I had flash-backs to six years earlier when I was in the port-o-potty when the National Anthem was about to be sung at the same event.  I rushed to the startline, only to wait eighteen minutes until my wave got to start.  There were close to 12,000 participants and the waives were starting a couple minutes apart.
Once we were off, we headed under bridges, through tunnels and along the flat course through the city.  Much of the route was shaded, due to all of the tall structures.  My Garmin was all over the place and reflecting that I was running 7:30 - 8 minute miles.  I figured that it was losing signal through all of the tunnels.  I felt that I was pushing it harder than my training runs.  But, I also knew that I was not fully capable of running THAT kind of pace.
Crowd support was awesome and the music and entertainment along the course was nice.  I wore my headphones, but turned down my tunes as we passed some of the acts.  Around mile five, I felt a tap on my shoulder.  It was Margaret, another Wisconsin running blogger that I had met through Running Diva Mom several years back.  I was astonished that we crossed paths during this huge event.  I didn't even know she was participating.
My family was walking around the course, grabbing coffee and some breakfast.  They were able to spot me on foot twice during the first half of the race.  After we did the first loop of the figure-eight course, I wouldn't see them again until the finish line.
I consumed some energy chews before I started and sipped on a gel at miles 5 and 10.  I carried my handheld with water and consumed sports drink along the course.  One time the volunteer handed me my sports drink and the entire cup splashed in my face, causing me to cough.  I chewed on gum throughout the race, unwrapping a new stick after each gel.
We headed out on a more industrial route for the second half.  It wasn't as scenic or lined by too many spectators.  For the middle of July, the temperatures were quite a bit cooler than normal and the skies were mostly cloudy with dark clouds off into the distance. 
We headed underneath McCormick Place and it was almost pitch black.  With chopped up blacktop, I almost tripped a few times.  At the end of the tunnel, a DJ was playing "Whoomp there it is!" and there were disco lights.  I started getting disoriented with the flashing lights and darkness during those final miles.  We ran along the lakeshore for the last mile and circled around to the park and the finish line.  I could see and hear my family to the left in the large crowd.  The finish line seems so close yet so far away in these big city races.  I picked up my pace a little, but didn't sprint across the finish line.

My chip time ended up being 2:02:00 on the nose.
Chip time:  2:02:00 (9:14 min/mile)
3,295 / 11,074 overall
151 / 924 division
1,321 / 6,497 females

This was not a PR for me by any means.  But I am getting closer and closer back to my sub two hour half marathon finishes.  Baby Diva was already seven months old and I've been feeling great with every mile logged and every pregnancy pound lost.  I could feel myself getting lighter, stronger and faster with each step. 
Even though these big city races tend to be a more expensive experience and sometimes an organizational nightmare for a small family - it is worth it in the end.  It gives us additional opportunities to see and do things, too.
After the race, we sough shelter at a hotel over-hang as those dark clouds rolled over, less than a half hour after my finish.  It was down pouring and cold.  I also went down to our vehicle to change and feed our daughter.  Once our family exited the parking garage, the rain had stopped.  We walked to the Willis Tower to explore the skydeck.  My blood sugar was getting low and I was starting to sweat and shake.  After consuming a baggie of goldfish, I felt better and was ready to head up 100+ floors to explore the city from up above.  We also walked to Lou Malnati's for some amazing post-run food.  The sun came out and we ended up walking back through Millennium Park, explored the trails near Lake Michigan, Buckingham Fountain and did a little more wandering on Michigan Avenue.

Recovering miles.

After 22 miles and 49,000 steps yesterday, today we decided to take it easy. Four recovery miles with a stop at a new park mid-run. I love our adventures together! It's hot out ...yes! But at least there's no snow!

I almost cannot believe it myself.

22 miles in yesterday morning! 44 miles for the weekend. I almost cannot believe it. 7 solo. 10 with hubby and the jogging stroller. 5 solo. I ran all morning and enjoyed the gorgeous morning.

I learned that that low-fat waffles and sugar-free syrup are not equivalent fuel to my standard English muffin and peanut butter. But I made it through. Every run is a gift and an opportunity to learn more about running and what your body can do for you.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Early mornings.

I haven't always been an early-morning person.  It was running - and three kids - that changed me.  I'm not saying it's always easy to hop out of bed to log some miles or get things done at home.  But, I always know that it will set a better tone for my day.  Our little one has never really woke us up in the night.  She's eight months old and I thinks she's only woke up twice on her own.  I CHOOSE to set the alarm one or two hours before she rises for her day.  Yes, you read that right.  I do that so I have some time for myself.  And have the rest of the day to focus on getting other things done at home; focus on my family; and focus on my business.
This morning, the alarm went off at 5am.  It was dark.  I didn't really have anything planned.  A few miles maybe.  When the alarm went off, I didn't want to get up at first.  And then I remembered that the forecast was going to be amazing for today; and that these beautiful days are limited.  That was enough for me to get out of bed and put on my running clothes and have my morning cup of coffee before heading out the door.  There are going to be so many days during the cold, Wisconsin winter where I will be stuck running downstairs on my treadmill or running in place at the gym or dressed in layers-upon-layers outdoors on snow and ice.  Every run is a blessing.  Every opportunity is a blessing.  Every day is a blessing.  And today is going to be great, because I got up and ran this morning. 
I ran four miles with the dog.  I followed that with five miles by myself.  Nine miles.  I met my step goal - 17,000+ steps - all before 7:30 am this morning.
Now go tackle YOUR day.  You will get a lot more compliments for getting up and getting your workout in; than you will for sleeping in.