Thursday, December 31, 2015

Two words and 2016 Goals

First, I want to thank Kim at Barking Mad about Running for her idea of placing goals on an achievement board while having a word or two that defines them.  I really liked her idea and reached out to her to see if I could borrow it.  Thank you, Kim!  You helped me come up with a fantastic idea of setting my goals and helping me to learn how to achieve them in 2016!

After much consideration of words to define my goals for 2016, I finally settled upon two words-Achieve and Believe.  I have always believed in myself and overcoming the challenges that life has thrown my way.  While I am like everyone else and struggle with my good and bad days of life, I like to believe that I can overcome most of what is thrown my way.  Achieve allows me to set a goal and strive to accomplish  that goal.  So these two words make up so much of who I am as a person and a runner and I couldn't think of better words for 2016 as I strive to set new accomplishments in my life.

Some of my goals are personal while others are running related.  I decided with my achievement board to use colors-Pink is my favorite color and decided to use green to spruce it up!  As I accomplish each goal, I will color in the hearts with a pink pencil.

Here are my goals for 2016 and I hope to achieve them.
1.  Obtain Full Time Librarian Position.
2.  Start Master of Library Science Degree.
3.  Lose 10-15 pounds.
4.  Run in three new states.  (I already have a race in Delaware in January so I'm starting early on this goal.)
5.  Read 80 books.  Last year, I read 75 so I'm trying to achieve more reading time.
6.  Run 1000 miles.
7.  Achieve 1200 Facebook Followers.  I currently have 1052 Facebook Followers.
8.  Achieve 200 Twitter Followers.  I currently have 168 Twitter Followers.
9.  Achieve 200 Instagram Followers.  I currently have 174 Instagram Followers.
10.  Achieve 150 Pinterest Followers.  I currently have 105 Pinterest Followers.
11.  Pop Sugar Reading Challenge for 2016.  I did this challenge in 2015 and it really helped me to broaden my reading genres.

12. Join new reading challenge,  Mount TBR Reading Challenge and achieve Mt. Vancouver status, 36 books already owned.  

13.  Achieve one new running ambassadorship.  
14.  Run twenty races, any distance.
15.  Moon up to Jupiter in Half Fanatics.  

16.  Weekly Devotions Run For God.  I got this book while I was recovering and decided to start in the new year.  

17.  Gratitude Journal-write five things daily that I am grateful for that day.  I started this two years ago and it helped me to realize all the goodness in my life.
18.  Blog at least once a week.  I've been really awful about my blogging and believe that I can do more with blogging and keeping great information here.
19.  Cross Train three times a week.  I've been bad about this in the previous years and want my running times to be better.
20.  Keep a Fitness Journal.  I bought a fitness journal and hope to use it daily to help keep me on track with my running and health.

These are my goals for 2016.  What are you goals and what do you hope to achieve in the new year?  I believe in myself and YOU!

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Monday, October 12, 2015

HCPSS 5k Race Recap

Yesterday, I competed in the HCPSS 5K.  This is a local venue sponsored by Rip It Events. This race is for the Howard County Public School System.  Due to this type of venue, this race has a lot of families and children running the 5k.  Talking to a friend who ran this race last year  she didn't do as well in it because of that factor and stated that it was difficult to weave between all of the people.  However, I know that it is a fun run and with that in mind, I develop a different race attitude.  Saturday, I went to packet pick up at a local running store, Feet First.  This was a different place from last year's packet pick-up.  I was in and out in less than five minutes and got my swag.

I was a bit disappointed in the swag.  The coupons were for Hair Cuttery and a car advertisement. The shirt was the same as last year, just a different color.  Last year's swag was better as I received a water bottle, reusable bag, usable coupons along with the above items.  I didn't see the course map there at packet pick-up.  I had to view the map online.  It was basically the same course; just a bit shortened because last year was 3 and half miles instead of 3.1 miles.  I came home afterwards to pick out my bible verse and my outfit.  

Sunday morning came early but not too early.  Since this race was local, I only needed about 15 minutes of travel time.  Hooray for me and being able to sleep in!  I arrived at the race venue and saw some of my friends.  A big hug to Jill for seeing me at the race start!  This year there was a fun photo booth with picture props.  Once you took your photo, you could email it or send it to facebook and twitter.  I would recommend adding Instagram next year since a lot of people (including myself) were asking about that feature.  I had fun with a boa and cowboy hat!  

This race also has a one mile run for the Athletes serving athletes.  Because of this one mile run, the 5K race starts later once all the athletes have returned from the one mile.  Although it was a bit chilly while waiting, I feel that is a great support for these athletes to have the race community cheering them at the start and end of their race.  We started about 10 minutes late and once I started to run I got warm very quickly.  I removed my jacket and tied it around my waist.  Who hasn't done that in a race once you start! :)

The first mile in this race is mostly uphill while the last three-fourths of a mile are downhill.  I started doing my intervals but realized this is difficult.  I hadn't run in six weeks and I was feeling it but it felt good to be active again.  Jill and I kept passing each other throughout the race and it was great for me to hear her support!  I will admit that I probably did a lot more walking that I wanted to during this race but I was out there trying.  I guess after being out for six weeks that I need to be a little less harsh on myself. Jill and I ran the last quarter of a mile together.   I crossed the finish line about 7 minutes slower than my normal 5k but I  was a happy with that time.  I hugged Jill, took some more pictures and grabbed a water bottle.  

Afterwards, I went to Panera Bread for my normal coffee and breakfast followed by Mass. I had a wonderful race day while feeling great about being able to run again! I am so blessed to have this opportunity along with life!  God is great and so are you! 

This upcoming Saturday, I have the Baltimore half marathon with friends so stay tuned for my race recap and pictures!  

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Shower Pill Ambassador

I have wonderful news to share.  I am now a Shower Pill Ambassador!

Shower Pills are athletic body wipes that are individually packed.  Each box has 10-individually wrapped wipes.  They wipes include the following ingredients-Witch Hazel which removes oils from your skin, Vitamin E which helps protects your skin and Aloe Vera which is a natural moisturizer. The full list of ingredients can be found by on the package or by contacting Shower Pill.  It is a thick durable 9x8 inch wipe and kills over 99.99% of common germs along with having a quick drying solution.  
Shower Pills are fantastic to use after a run, at the gym or for any workout activity especially before work or during a lunch-time workout.   I have used them after a 5k when I didn't have time to shower (yes, yuck) but needed to be at work for a short shift.  While I would have preferred a shower, time didn't allow so out came the Shower Pill.  It left me feeling clean, non sweaty while not having any scent or sticky residue.  I love using this product after a hard workout as well.  They are great for after a race especially for the Ragnar series and the company is an official partner with the series.  

Shower Pill can be ordered individually or by joining the club.  The club is a monthly commitment for one, two or three boxes plus free shipping.  You can cancel at any time.  As an ambassador, I am able to offer a discount on Shower Pill.  Please use the code below and free feel to share it with friends.  

Please let me know how you like Shower Pill if you use or order them.  I would love to know.

Till next time and  remember, my journey continues....If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Belle Isle 5K

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to run a small local race in Lancaster, VA.  It was held at Belle Isle State Park and benefited the Friends of Belle Isle State Park.  This non profit organization was founded in 2001 while supporting the park through advocacy, volunteerism, community relations, events and programs and fundraising.

Belle Isle State Park has 7 miles of shoreline on the Northern Neck's Rappahannock River along with farmlands and forests, campground, a camp store, picnic shelters, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking and a visitor's center.  One of the trails even has a boardwalk area along the river.  There is also overnight lodging available at the Bel Air Guest House.
Bel Air Guest House

 The visitor's center boosts programs such as Colonial Classics, Whoo's for Dinner, A Hiking Stick, Campfires and Nature walks.
Visitor's Center

Belle Isle State Park is located about two hours from Richmond, Northern Virginia and the Tidewater/Virginia Beach/Norfolk area.  

I found out about this race by doing a google search and it popped up on Active.  I registered myself and John (his first 5k!). The night before, I laid out my race outfit.  I had a hard time deciding what to wear since the weather on Saturday was calling for rain.  I decided to wear my jacket and tights.  
Race day arrived and John was up bright and early.  I guess the idea of pancakes afterwards had him excited about the race.  We left about 7:15 am since the state park is about 10 minutes away and the race started at 8:30 am.
Of course, it was raining and the heaviest rain was slated to start around 9 am.  I had strict doctor's order that no running was to occur so I thought it would be a long, cold race with the rain.  Bummer! We arrived and picked up our swag bags and bibs.
John and I

Me with Rappahannock River
 While waiting, we met some really nice people and had great conversations.

The race started around 8:40 am since we were shown the race course on the trail map.  It was a small venue of about 28 runners.  The race started and the runners took off!  Boy, it was hard for me not run with them!  I did leave John with a new friend, Ann and walked faster.  The trails were well marked with arrows; it was quite lovely.  The rain was coming down harder and John had the umbrella however I didn't mind; I was enjoying the beauty of the park and trails!

My favorite park was the boardwalk area of the trail.  It was quite slippery with the rain so I slowed down my pace.  I will have to admit that I did do some running prior to this part of the trail and also afterwards too!  The rain had made the river quite high.  After the race talking to the friends volunteers and park ranger, they told me that the boardwalk area would probably be flooded with the tide.  It was just breath-taking!  God's work at His best!  

There were two water stops at mile one and two.  Very nice for a 5K race!  I finished the race in about 48 minutes-longer than my normal time however I was happy with that finish time since I had surgery for my uterine cancer three weeks earlier.  It was difficult for me not to run during this race however for the most part I did follow doctor's orders!
Belle Isle 5k Finisher

What I enjoyed the most was that everyone waited at the finish line for all the runners and cheered everyone across the finish.  How amazing was that and talk about support and camaraderie!  John and Ann finished  about one hour and 10 minutes. I am so proud of him completing his first 5K!
John with Ann (His first 5k!)

 I expect that we may be doing more races in the future together.  However, I will admit that I felt guilty leaving him behind!   We all walked to the sheltered picnic area for the pancake breakfast.  I'm not sure what I was expecting but it was fantastic!  Hot blueberry pancakes, sausages, orange and apple slices, hot coffee and orange juice!  Again, WOW!!

At breakfast, I noticed two people with shirts that read "Run NNK".  I know that "NNK" stands for Norther Neck so I asked if they were part of a local running club.  Yes!  I was so happy to have the opportunity to talk with them. Ellen told me that  Run NNK is local club supporting runners and walker in the Northern Neck.  They have group runs, track workouts, club race series, facebook and an Earth Day 5k. I'm so excited to know that when I visit John, I can potentially run with other runners in the area! I plan on joining the membership and look forward to building running friends in NNK! 

After the breakfasts, awards were announced.  The first place female and male runners overall won gift certificates to a local shoe store along with a one year pass to the Virginia State Parks.  The winners in their prospective age categories won a one year pass to the Virginia State Parks.  I was shocked and surprised to find out that I had won.  They had my name in a different age category and while I was uncomfortable receiving the award, everyone said that I had earned it especially given my outfit and my status of being in recovery.  What wonderful people and again may I state how blessed I am!  (I did come in second place in my age category though).  
Second place winner!

John and I headed home-tired, wet and full from breakfast but I don't think that either of us will forget this race experience anytime soon. At home, we opened up the swag bag and again, WOW!  So much in it for a small local race.  Even my local races at home in the Baltimore area don't normally have this much in a swag bag.  
Swag Bag
I loved everything about this race while I will look forward to next year to compete in this race!  Till next time and  remember, my journey continues....If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bulu Box Review

As part of being of Sweat Pink Ambassador, I am fortunate to be able to review products throughout the year.  I was recently selected to review "Bulu Boxes".  I had heard of them but never seen one until it was mailed to me.

The first thing that I noticed was the bright orange box with all the inspirational quotes printed on it.  "Make Today Ridiculously Awesome", "Do Something Today Your Future Self Will Thank You For", "Go the Extra Mile It's Never Crowded", "Find Your Comfort Zone Then Leave It", etc.  I really love that extra touch before I even opened the box!
My Bulu Box contained the following items:  Quest Protein Powder Peanut Butter Flavor, Yerba Prima Daily Fiber Formula, Movit Energy Gummies, Mediterra Bars and Earth's Care Anti-Itch Cream.

I loved the Quest Protein Powder Peanut Butter Flavor packs.  I made a banana, peanut butter smoothie and it was very thick and creamy.   The packets have 23 grams of protein, no soy,sugar and are gluten free.  I liked the convenience of the packs versus scoops.  The company carries canister of the protein powder along with protein bars.  

Next, was the Yerba Prima Fiber Formula.  This is sugar free but sweetened with stevia.  I admit to using it after my surgery.  The formula was apple cider flavored but even with water, it was difficult to swallow and chalky tasting.  I guess that I'm not a drink fiber type of gal but the company does sell capsules.   But who doesn't need to cleanse their system every now and then. :)  

The Movit Energy Gummies are amazing!  They use ingredients like guarana, CoQ10 and folic acid to really boost your system.  I felt a boost of energy almost immediately after taking the packet which only contains 60 calories. They come in several flavors such as citrus and cherry.  I will be getting these for my next long runs to help with  my energy level.  
I haven't tried the Mediterra Bars yet.  They use real fruits and vegetables.  I was fortunate enough to get the Tomato Basil bars and am looking forward to trying them this weekend.  They are gluten free and come in flavors of Black Olives and Walnuts, Apricots and Pistachio and Orange and Honey to name a few.  

Finally in the box was a small jar of Earth's Care Anti-Inch Cream.  This cream relieves pain and itching associated with skin irritations.  It contains no artificial colors or fragrances and is petroleum free.  I used it for a mosquito bite and the itching stopped almost immediately.  The jar that I received I will be placing in my travel kit.  I really like Earth's Care products since they are natural products.  

Overall, I have to say how impressed I am with the bulu box.  There is a current promotion using the code "SWEATPINK" to recieve 50% off a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription to Bulu Box.  Each month, Bulu Box subscribes receive a 4-5 vitamin, supplement and healthy snack samples.  Each sample is available for purchase at Bulu Box.  

Also, if you subscribe you are enrolled in the Rewards points program.  Each month, you can take a survey about the samples and receive 10 Rewards points each for a total of 50 points every month.  Every 50 Rewards points is $5 to use towards any purchase of the full size products.

So, what do you have to lose...try Bulu Box and see for yourself the wonders that lie within the orange box!  

Till next time and  remember, my journey continues....If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Baltimore Women's Classic 5K 2015

Yesterday, I ran the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K. 

This was the 40th year for this ironic race which benefits Cancerve.  Cancerve is committed to helping women who are fighting cancer and improving their quality of life.  Ironically, this was my first 5K when I started running three years ago and it will be my last 5K before I start my treatment for uterine cancer.  I drove home from vacation in Virginia on Saturday evening in pouring rain and put together my flat running outfit.  Of course, several friends suggested that I have a back bib for the race and I followed their suggestion. 
Of course, I had to add the shoe bling that I got last year in the Runner's Village.  What would a race be without a little bling! :) 
I set my alarm for 5:30 am and off to sleep.  I've actually been quite tired these days which is abnormal for me.  I'm normally an energizer bunny type so to be tired is a huge adjustment!  The alarm went off and once again, I found myself wondering why I run!  Don't we all feel this way but love race days! :)  I got dressed, grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed to downtown Baltimore.
I had planned a meet-up on Gracious Warrior Princess Facebook page and several running friends said that they would be able to meet before the race.  One of my friends even drove from Northern Virginia to run the race and support me! 
Once I parked, I headed over to Rash Field in downtown Baltimore in the Inner Harbour.  This is one of the prettiest areas of the city and one of the many reasons why I love this race!  The runner's village was in full swing at 6:30 am. I walked around a bit however the field was really muddy from all the rain the night before. 
I met my friends with many hugs, questions about how I am doing/feeling and pictures galore.  I'm actually quite surprised that I didn't break down and cry because I thought that I would be very emotional however that followed after the race when I was driving back to Virginia! 
These wonderful ladies are such wonderful friends and I'm so blessed to have them in my life!  A huge THANK YOU to Gracie (Pattie), Kim, Jessica and their friends for coming to support me.  Gracie and her husband, Paul drove up from Virginia to support me.  She hadn't planned on doing the race but did it with me and we took the race easy for both of us!  I can't thank her enough for all her support!!!  Again, I'm so blessed by the running community along with the support has been tremendous especially over this last week as I've struggled with my health, tests and waiting surgery along with treatments.  Again, you have brought so much to my life and I can't even begin to THANK YOU!  However, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! 
The race started promptly at 8 am with the singing of the National Anthem at 7:45 am.  Gracie and I started the race together.  We chatted about how we don't like the hill, which races we have next and life in general.  What fun to have a race buddy the entire race.  I also saw one of my friends, Amy from Pumpkin to Princess as she ran past me.  I wished that I could have spent more time with her as I love her dearly!  It started to get hot and humid around mile 2.  Also, at this point, you can see the finish line but still have a mile to go around the harbor promenade which is very lovely.  Friends were waiting for me at the finish line; thank you Danielle!
This race hands you a cold towel, race medal and has cold watermelon!  More pictures followed by Gracie and Paul heading home!  A huge thank you to Paul for being the unofficial photographer of the day!
I headed back to Rash Field to attend the BWC Training celebration and grab some food.  Several of my coaches were there and wished me congratulations. 
Meghan (a friend for many years now) and my running coach for the training hugged me while telling me how proud she was of me.  Of course, she also made me promise that if I needed anything during recovery to call her! 
I decided to grab some pictures of the Inner Harbor and head back to Virginia for my week long vacation in the Northern Neck Rivah Country! 

Once on the road again, I stopped at the local Wegmans for my post-race tradition of coffee and pastries.  Of course, I had to stop because I had been crying.  The emotions caught up with me about how important this was to me and will always be! 
I love this year's medal; the colors are my favorite-pink and turquoise.  I'm such a girlie girl and love the pink!  This race continues to one of my favorite races for many reasons-the race course, the beautiful Inner Harbor of Baltimore, the women who run this race, the Runner's Village, seeing friends and now the significance of being a cancer survivor (to come).  Again, I can't begin to tell you thank you for all your support.  Running has changed my life in many ways and I'm a better person because of that and YOU! 

Till next time and  remember, my journey continues....If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

#RIOTS Week Six and Seven

It's weeks six and seven for the #RIOTS.  I got a week behind as I had a lot of personal things going on these last two weeks. I ha...