A.O.K -Acts of Kindness!

You'll be hard pressed to find a bigger smile than Carlee's.

You'll be hard pressed to find a bigger smile than Carlee's.

Today, a pretty awesome person is celebrating her birthday. Someone who, on the daily, makes it her goal to help others, big or small. She is a beautiful person inside and out and we are beyond fortunate to call her a friend. Who is this rad individual?!?!  None other than Carlee, from  CarleeMcdot.com fame!  You can catch her on IG here and Twitter here.

A couple years ago Carlee decided to dedicate the 31 days leading up to her 31st birthday to completing intentional acts of kindness. This year she put out the challenge to all her friends and followers to do their own acts of kindness, aka A.O.K. Well she didn't have to ask us twice, and we gladly have participated in small ways daily and tomorrow we will spend the entire day completing A.O.K in her name and to celebrate her 33 years making a difference. If you want to read her suggestions give it a click. As she said, it can be small intentions to help anyone, it doesn't need to cost a lot of money or any money at all. Yet, we also couldn't let the day pass without sharing a few companies that we feel deserve a little spotlight. Companies whose philosophy is to do good. As we always say, we love to support small business AND we loveto support businesses with heart. 

1. Cotopaxi

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This company's mission is to #dogood so they make #gearforgood.  The scraps of fabric that other companies throw away or see as useless, Cotopaxi uses that material to make all their products.  They are a company making a global impact, concerned more with fostering adventure in individuals rather than money. The remnant material is sewn together by employees in the Philippines and their jacket insulation and sweaters are made of llama fiber from farmers in Bolivia.  Their message of gear for good is about making quality products but also encouraging others to do good in the world. Check them out, they have some really great gear.

2. Rad Camp

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This company caught our eye obviously due to our son Asher.  Children and adults with disabilities often times do not get to experience many things everyone else takes for granted.  RAD camp is this project based out of Southern California that gives children and adults with disabilities the chance to go to summer camp.  How freakin' cool is that?!?!?  Even more, it gives respite to those carrying for these individuals.  We hope one day Asher can attend.  The waitlist is long, like 2-3 years long, but we figured out he might have a chance when he is around 8.  #fingerscrossed.  This isn't necessarily a product, but you can certainly donate to help make this dream a reality for so many families and make sure this experience continues to be offered.

3. Musubi

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Just another company that pulls at our heart strings.  Although the products' prices are not cheap, the mission of this wonderful company should encourage you to save your pennies to support.  They collaborate with an organization dedicated to helping mainstream individuals with disabilities.  Their notebooks are handcrafted in Singapore by a person who has a physical disability.  This company along with those who purchase their products are supporting these individuals, helping give opportunities and giving their artistry a world stage.  The notebooks are beautiful, made with the highest quality and I know you won't be disappointed.  

4. Lionel's Place

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The Little Lemon That Leapt.  A funny title with a big message.  As parents of 4 boys our hope in sending them out in the world everyday is for them to be kind to others and for others to be kind to them.  With all the negative that happens around our children, with this culture of people feeling empowered hiding behind a computer screen to hurt others, as parents, we take any opportunity to encourage our children to celebrate their own uniqueness and value that in others.  The Little Lemon is all about the anti-bullying movement and showing children that it is okay to be different or as they say "spreading the message that weird is wonderful".  

Happiest of Birthdays Carlee!  Thank you for sharing your passion for being the good in world with others, to remind and inspire us that one small act truly does make a difference.  

 

(Note: All opinions expressed in this post are our own.  We have received no incentive, reimbursement or compensation in exchange for sharing information on the products)

Have Passport, Will Travel!

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Coming back from Seawheeze, I immediately thought race recap. I HAD to share the highs and the lows, but then I thought Seawheeze is more than just a race weekend. There are plenty of recaps of the weekend which you could read here and here for different points of views. Here's the thing about race recaps or at least what happens when I read recaps. I generally have some feelings for a certain race prior and when I search out a recap, I will most likely be influenced by one that kind of steers close to what I hope the race will be like. What I have to say is if you love Lululemon, I mean truly love the clothing, brand, then the weekend is fabulous. If you like - even highly like - the brand then it will be ok. I've talked with people who were upset about not having assigned corrals, the post-race food not being as lavish as previous years or getting sunglasses instead of a hat. Yes, those things were a bit meh, but I love the brand so I immediately thought they already gave me shorts, water bottle, backpack, free yoga sessions, free manicures, free samples, essential oils, every single hydration station had GU, later that night a free concert and so much more.  What other race could I say gives ALL that and more?!?! I could look past the other stuff and this race was never meant to be a goal race for me.  I am sure if this race was something you trained hard for or had a time goal in mind, the crowds could pose a problem for achieving that goal.  As I said though, I am not going to recap all the amazingess that was this weekend. Instead I thought it would be more authentic of me to share what this weekend really meant to me. 

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How many times as a runner have you been asked "Why do you run?" or "What inspires you to be a runner?".  Typical answers I have heard and read are: it is my therapy, it is me time, it makes me a better (fill in the blank).  Those things are all true for me.  Running gives me time to think, recharge, connect to others, even.  All things I have answered when asked my feelings about running, yet Seawheeze weekend was most likely the first race weekend where I truly felt as if I was "living" those feelings completely.  

Photo ops never ending!  Thanks @vk_davies for taking the picture!

Photo ops never ending!  Thanks @vk_davies for taking the picture!

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The motto of the weekend: Yoga Run Party.  So simple, but in reality I feel the three words were just titles to describe what you can really reap from this weekend: calmness, self confidence, and living life.  I spent the weekend living all three of those things.  Reconnecting with myself and spending time with two amazing women (@mra2213 @otteral) was bucket filling for me.

I've been lucky this year and was able to get a trip away back in January.  Great trip, Walt Disney World Marathon weekend, but it wasn't as calming and also rejuvenating as my weekend in Vancouver.  Oddly I had more days in WDW, Vancouver was just a little over 24 hrs, yet two weekends ago the chaos didn't feel like chaos.  The rushing around, the trying to fit as much in as possible, felt perfect.  Perhaps it was mindset, perhaps it was timing.  It isn't a secret our life is always go-go-go.  With 4 boys, all in extracurricular activities, full time jobs, family obligations - the list goes on - the real goal of each day is to find a moment to do NOTHING.  It is easy to burn out, feel overhwhelmed and unmotivated.  

Just SOME of the people who have truly become wonderful support in our lives.  Seeing them is one of the highlights of any weekend.  Typically it's Dave in these group shots.  Lol.  @werunsocial

Just SOME of the people who have truly become wonderful support in our lives.  Seeing them is one of the highlights of any weekend.  Typically it's Dave in these group shots.  Lol.  @werunsocial

Running has given myself, my whole family this incredible web of support and friends.  People who we have met and people who we have not met know more about our life than some of our family even knows!  We have been able to travel to some great cities to race. We have been able to test our limits, experience new things and most importantly model for our boys what is truly valuable in life.  Running Seawheeze was this incredible coming together of what running has given to myself and my family the last 4-5 years. We have been out there, adding up mileage.  It was this opportunity to get some "me time", to connect and reconnect to others and myself, to come home with a renewed sense of self, strength and gratitude which in turns makes me a better mother, wife, person.  Two weeks ago was more than a pair of shorts or free yoga or even the post race grub. In my mind, I have to believe that Lululemon intends for it be more than just all that.  It is a weekend that was created to help you have a brand new start in whatever way that is needed or means to the individual.  

Will I do this race again?  If I can snag an entry, heck if I can get 2 or 3 entries I am there, with the family doing yoga, running along the sea wall and enjoying the post race party.  It would be great to see how having the entire family there to experience Vancouver (not just the race) would add to or reshape my thoughts on this race weekend...let me rename it as race retreat.  So yes, next year the goal is to have myself and Dave run this course and the whole family to explore Vancouver.  Perhaps we can all get the opportunity to hit that reset button.  

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Until next year Vancouver

Until next year Vancouver

Fruit in a Pouch!

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With 4 kids and just a busy busy schedule, we are always looking for things that make life easier.  One thing my boys are ALWAYS asking for is a snack so I'll be honest -  fruit/veggies in a pouch have been great. Easy to have on hand, ways to travel and no mess. I have said before food pouches were a lifesaver (literally) for Asher, but they have been a huge timesaver for the rest of the family.  

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A few weeks ago, we received in the mail some pouch samples from a California company named Fruigees.  They had super adorable names: California Grape, 24 Carrot Orange and Kalefornia Grape.  They came at a perfect time since I've been considering taking food pouches as fuel for running and I'm always trying to get Asher to eat something new.  I took 24 Carrot Orange out on a mid distance run to try for myself and Asher. Brought along enough for the boys to try if they wanted. Stroller ready, bikes ready and we were off!  

WHAT WE LIKED:

* Names that made us smile and made it very appealing to try

* Organic, non GMO and no added sugar!  

* Asher enjoyed one of the flavors!

WHAT WASNT NECESSARILY THE BEES KNEES:

* The flavors were very sweet. Almost unnaturally sweet, but yet the ingredients are all fruit and fruit juices. 

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* The texture was thick, thicker than expected.  For runners, think the texture of warm energy gel, non runner think jello almost. 

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Overall, we enjoyed the pouches but they unfortunately weren't a huge hit. We all preferred the Orange flavor over the rest but yet it wasn't an overwhelming love. We make it a point to try to support local business and/or small businesses.  Considering this is a California based small business we really wanted to love these pouches. 

3rd Annual Active4Asher

A few years ago, after our youngest son was diagnosed with a rare chromosome disorder - 13q deletion, we stumbled upon an organization based out of Florida, Chromodisorder.org.  An organization dedicated to being the support for families who have children with rare chromosome disorders.  We also discovered the second week of June tends to be Rare Chromosome Disorder Awareness Week - Internationally!  We immediately thought of sharing Asher's story and combining it with our family's love for being active.  Hence the start of Active4Asher.  

Small Steps. Big Results.  Thanks to our BIL for designing shirts for us.

To back track a little for those new to following us on Instagram or even this blog, our youngest son, Asher who this event is named was officially diagnosed at 1 years old after they tried so, so  many other tests first with 13q deletion.  Boring stuff: chromosomes have a short arm (p) and a long arm (q).  Asher has a portion of his long arm gone.  Here is the kicker, there really aren't enough known people in the world with his specific deletion.  No one could and can tell us what to expect.  Scientific literature has perhaps 250 cases suspected, 190 actually "studied".  Most children struggle with communication and walking.  There is only a small percentage that end up being able to do both. Most have significant global developmental delays.  This is Asher.  He sat up for the first time (by himself) at age 2, he crawled (kind hopped on his knees) at age 3 and just this year, started walking.  All of this with tons of therapy.  Yet, it lead us to want to share our journey, share his story and to inspire and encourage others to be understanding and inclusive.  

This past Saturday marked the 3rd year for Active4Asher and our hearts are full!  This year, not only did we receive sweet and loving messages from people, tagged in so many photos of people getting out and being active, but our in person event had people who didn't know each other prior introduce themselves to each other.  This was the best.  Friendship, acceptance, support and  genuine caring is all anybody wants.  Active4Asher is as much about spreading that message as it is about sharing rare chromosome awareness.  

Had a great turn out locally.  Old and new friends alike.  Was wonderful to see Tara, Derek and their 2 week old cutie, Jacob

A quick story: Recently, while visiting my mother in the hospital, her nurse walks in.  I introduce myself and she quickly remarks, "oh you're the daughter with 4 boys!"  I say yes and smile because aside from "the daughter who is a runner", having 4 boys is my label when my mom talks about me.  She asks to see pictures, so I oblige and show her a photo of all 4 and then a photo of each boy from the camera roll on my phone.  She has a kind observation to make about each boy., but when she gets to Asher, she says "He's the one with a chromosome disorder?  He looks so normal though"  Now, I know she meant no harm and I wasn't mad, but her reaction is kind of the perfect reason why we want to share our message.  Asher has his challenges, a lot as a matter of fact, he might be 4, but in some developmental areas he is 6 months, in others he is 12-18 months.  However, he does look like a "typical" child so when he screams, has a complete meltdown, hurts his siblings or us, or hits his head the judgment can sometimes be horrible.  Our goal is to spread the message to look past what we think people should be and simply get to know them, to truly be inclusive and supportive, to put aside our biases and labels.  This past Saturday we felt the love, support and inspiration for all of you.   From the bottom of our hearts we thank you.     

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Race Weekend Recap

I vowed never to run the full marathon at the San Diego Run Rock 'n' Roll ever again. I kept that promise until earlier this year when I asked my good friend, Brian what his plans were for the San Diego races. Before he could answer, I interrupted by saying that I wanted one of the cool snazzy Marathon Finisher jackets by Brooks. The next thing you know we were both registered for the Full Marathon!

Did I just really do this? There I was, registered for the full marathon - which actually holds my personal best time - all for a stinkin' lightweight jacket. I knew going into this race that I wouldn't be able to come anywhere near my PR time of 3:52:xx but I still needed to go in with some training under my belt. Plus, it was a great excuse to meet up with running friends that we don't get to see too often. 

Happy #nationaldonutday! I had to partake because, Donuts!

Custom Bibs in hand: #WeRunSocial 5k and #BeerMe Full (obviously)

I ran in this box and all I got was a pair of socks. Hey, #freeninetynine

#flatrunner ready to roll

5k

San Diego has to do it big especially since it's the 20th Anniversary of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series. They have a 5k, Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay and a full Marathon all happening over the weekend. 

Team #RocknBlog before the 5k. Oh hi, Ashley!

I've never run the 5k here in San Diego before - last year some of us were crazy enough to run #Fontana2SD. I was excited to knock out two races this weekend to earn the #remixchallenge medal which are much bigger than last year. Good on ya, RnR for upping the medal game this year!

Yup, that Meb. 

The 5k was a blast and we used it as a shakeout run for the Full the next day. Best part is we caught Meb - you know, the hometown hero, Olympian, Boston Marathon Winner, legend Meb - after the race and took an epic selfie with him. Awesome dude. 

My highlight of the day was surely the brunch we had after the race. Old and new running friends walked with us down to the Hillcrest neighborhood to an EPIC place called Snooze. OMG! Let's just say my FLIGHT! of pancakes was off da hook, bomb diggity! I can't stop thinking about them. 

Smores, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Blueberry

Brunch so good we all had to take a pic of our food. As social runners do. 

We met up with Carlee and Ryan at our hotel and walked to the Expo to pick up bibs and this is when our evil plan began. You see, we have so much love for each other that we hate running alone, especially if it's not a goal race. Brian and I asked, knowing that she was already registered for the Half Marathon, what distance she was running. She smiled, we smirked and so it began. She knew our M.O.  We wanted her to upgrade to the Full and run with us. While walking through the expo, she contemplated the upgrade. Thanks to more convincing (more like Peer Pressuring), and talking to the @SparkleAthletic crew, she was in. And as a matter of fact, we also got the Sparkle Crew to upgrade also! #SCORE! 

We hit up dinner with a few close friends at BASIC pizza. Again, San Diego came through with awesome food and good beer. Knowing we had an early wake up call the next day, we picked up a couple of items for the morning and retired for the night. 

Ready for race no. 2 #BeerMe

Marathon

Our alarms were set for early o'clock and somehow I was just so very tired. We met in the lobby and caught a ride to the start. The ride was quick and easy and we had enough time to get settled, snap a few pics on the way to the front of the corrals and check our bags. I shook the legs out a bit with a quick jog on the East side of the corrals and then met up for one of the most OUTRAGEOUS group pics ever. 

The BEST Threesome Around.

Cookie Monster. Only in SD?

Yes, we roll deep. Check out @builtbybiel with the AMAZING wings in the back!

ProCompression Ambassadors came out in FULL FORCE! #keepittight

Last year, our group was big. This year, it was ginormous. There was a nice ProCompression Ambassador turnout and we were rocking the June Sock of the Month out there on the course. 

After a few selfies, hugs and well wishes, we jumped into the corral to get the 4 hour party started. That was our target finish time. Since Brian is training for a crazy ass Ultra at the SF Marathon next month, he was using this race as a training run of sorts. Remember, I'm in this thing for the jacket. 

Our dear friend, Kristin is coming back from an injury and really just wanted to see what she was able to do with the full distance. The gun goes off and we all naturally fell into our own paces. Turns out, Brian and Carlee ended up out in front and Kristin and I fell in line just behind them. I was comfortable where I was at and let Kristin know that there were no hard feelings if she decided to jump out ahead to see what her legs could do. 

Thx Kristin. My road dog for 26.2 miles. I enjoyed every minute of those 4 hours! 

We ended up running (and walking some) of the entire race together. I honestly couldn't have finished the race with the time I did if it weren't for her. The miles really did fly by since we were talking the whole time. Not until mile 21 (where I always seem to cramp up) did I feel like registering for this race was a bad idea. We had the opportunity to jump down to the half but didn't. 

Hwy 163 at mile 21. No JOKE!

After offering to punch the cramp out of my calf at the base of the uphill climb, we trudged on up the BAD ASS hill that lasted for dayz! Hwy 163 is a terrible portion of the course and will put you in check if you don't respect it. There is even a "Come at me Bro" sign on the road. I didn't take a pic of it because I was busy cursing out my calf. Otherwise I would've been cursing at the sign. 

Marathon finishers. 

We enjoyed the last few miles of gradual downhill onto the finish and crossed the line. I couldn't have been prouder of myself and my running partner. It was difficult but very, very rewarding. 

Another highlight of the trip. Finally meeting the #stuftboys. Follow @stuftmama. You're welcome.

Our pedicab driver was blasting the JAMZ on the way to the hotel! 

I picked up my coveted jacket, medals and post race snacks and we headed back to the hotel to check out and get ready for the...

After the Show its the After Party

Runmatchy with @danielecrago and @staceyannec

Enjoying the views with friends @blingwhore

We arrived at the Float Bar at the top of the Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp district for the @WeRunSocial post race party. The views of downtown SD were amazing. First thing on the agenda? Get a Beer and food. We met up with other finishers, spectators, etc. and celebrated our successes. There was a photographer on site who shot a bunch of candids and some fun group pictures as well. I can't wait to see how they turn out.

Crew with @jenn13.1 and @ejag777

The Sparkle Athletic crew got hustled into running the FULL also and crushed it! @elisewallace and @thisiscarrie

Cheers! Brianne rocked 13.1 and her husband killed 26.2! Killer jackets!

Missy prefers the dirt but conquered the pavement today! EPIC photobomb by Tiffanie

I was looking forward to this the whole weekend. Finishing the race and hanging with the crew is the perfect way to top off the weekend. I don't know if I would ever do the full here again (unless I get "tricked" into it). But hey, that's what I said the last time I ran the full. Go figure. I would love to run the Half Marathon Relay with Paula and that would complete the series for me. San Diego still remains one of my favorite cities to run in. I highly recommend coming down and running one of the races here at the birthplace of Run Rock 'n' Roll. 

Happy 20th @runrocknroll

Peace, San Diego, it's been real. 

Life Right Now

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad.  So beautiful but oh the allergies for 3 of these boys!

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad.  So beautiful but oh the allergies for 3 of these boys!

A week ago, our "little" family was able to take a much needed, extended vacation to Southern California. It wasn't because anyone was running a race - but let me tell you I thought about it - it was just to spend time together, decompress and come back to real life ready for the stressful, emotional time our family is going through right now.  

He absolutely loves beach towns.  Everytime we visit one, he shares how he wants to live near the beach and skateboard

He absolutely loves beach towns.  Everytime we visit one, he shares how he wants to live near the beach and skateboard

Well, let me tell you I wish we had another week of vacation because the week coming back has been anything but easy. From one of our cars not working to bank accounts being compromised, it has been hectic. Yet, we try and try to find the silver lining, to count our blessings even though at times it seems as if the weight on our shoulders is beyond heavy.  

He wanted his own picture.  He was upset none of his brothers would build a sand castle with him

He wanted his own picture.  He was upset none of his brothers would build a sand castle with him

We all still have goals on the horizon although with everything we are enduring we have to rethink how we train or what our expectations are for each race. David has Rock n Roll San Diego Marathon and San Francisco Marathon coming up. Yup, you read that right, two marathons within a couple months of each other, although I don't think he plans on setting a PR, but just to have fun. Our oldest, Gabriel will be running his first half marathon in September in Disneyland. Jacob and Elias are trying to find a 5k that interests them (pressure from us parents). I am eagerly looking forward to Seawheeze in August.  Oh and Tink 5k before that! As for Asher, well he is happy to come along for the ride and hopefully we can find a kids race that is short enough for him to do.  Also, we look forward to our 3rd #Active4Asher this year in June (we are excited for this).  For those who may be new to the blog and our "little" Family, read about it here and here. So this is a huge blessing. ALL of us are training for a race, even Asher who less than 6 months ago wasn't walking then he started walking with a walker to now being able to dash down the hallway and not fall. So much growth! 💙 

He loves the beach and ocean, not so much the wind

He loves the beach and ocean, not so much the wind

Bucket list item to visit here,=.  So glad the boys had fun and I got see all the colorful Dahlias

Bucket list item to visit here,=.  So glad the boys had fun and I got see all the colorful Dahlias

With all these races, it can be challenging to juggle it all and trust me we are far from hitting our weekly mileage goals. Some weeks we fall very short. Especially as of late. Many of you have met Asher in person or simply have followed along his story for awhile. To quickly let others know who might not, he has a Chromosome Disorder, 13q deletion. Very rare with no long term studies to really help us know what to expect. Asher turns 4 in June but he more closes acts as a typical one year old and is perhaps the size of a two year old. Walking was huge for us and now we hope and pray that one day he will talk. If you have ever met him, you know he's got a tremendous amount of spunk so I'm sure he has the ability. With that spunk and his delayed gross motor system along with other things, Asher also gets very excited and/or stressed. When this happens, he aggressively hits his own head and face. This is huge problem.  It is scary to watch, frustrating because it can be nearly impossible to stop and his punches hurt grown adults so they are hard. For years, I have been pleading with others to please help him and us protect his tiny head and face. Recently, our school district finally agreed to observe him and offer a behavior plan. Win(!), but I don't think they fully understand how severe his head hitting can be.  I'll spare you the photos of some of his bruises. Some are small but he has had huge ones too. The conclusion 'he hits his head for attention'. Such a simplistic answer for a really complicated, complex issue.  Even more, he is getting more aggressive with others, pulling hair, biting.  He doesn't mean to hurt anyone, but it can be easy to not want to take him anywhere for fear of how he will act.   This year thus far I haven't been able to continue my fight for his services as strongly. Another major incident in our life is happening right now and along with many other little things, I just don't feel I have enough mental space to do it all. So in the process, I am feeling defeated and disappointed in myself. I feel I am failing him because he, at this point isn't making progress with as many things. 

When I choose to run during my lunch, I spend half the time, sometimes the whole time, feeling incredibly guilty.  I could be using that time to fight for him more. To push harder. It is said you never regret a run or workout. I'm here to tell you that is not 100% true. So lately I've been trying to run after work hours, thankfully it stays light longer but what comes with that is guilt for not being home to spend more time with my other boys if they don't come with me on my runs.  

Asher alone can be overwhelming. Parenting is a full time job, but having a special needs child is a different type of full time job that unless you love it, I cannot really explain. With just Asher it is easy for life to become overwhelming, yet right now my family is being hit hard with challenges it seems.  At this time and actually for a long time to come we are facing a huge uphill climb with the health of my mother. My mother, who graciously watched Asher 2-3 days a week was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma at the beginning of this year.  Since November she hasn't actually been able to watch Asher due to the pain in her shoulder/arm where the lymphoma first started. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy but it is just the beginning of a very, very long process. My older sister has been wonderful, helping to organize her appointments because they are in the day and I can't always take her since children are not allowed in the Cancer Unit. I have been making my way to their house a few times a week to help clean it and to organize their finances. We all have found ways to help them and even though I wish I could go to more appointments, it is proving challenging to find a sitter for the boys for me to take the day to go.  My siblings and I are a team that are helping based on our own strengths.  There comes a point in adult life where you become the "sandwich generation". The period where you are raising your own children but then also needing to care for aging or ailing parents. I am in that period right now and let me tell you there really is no preparation, there isn't a way to schedule your life so when it happens the compounding amount of things that need to be attended to doesn't feel as if they are swallowing you up. 

So although we have running goals and races on the horizon, trying to keep a little bit of our old life alive, all of us are struggling. When we have moments of time that we would have otherwise laced up to train without a thought, we pause and decide to run errands for my parents or I take the older boys to help clean their house or we spend extra time with the boys. The older boys know more about my mom's diagnosis.  Elias just knows she is sick. Asher obviously doesn't understand and we typically cannot take him to see her because he wants to sit in her lap, but she is pain and cannot. He gets frustrated and starts to hit his head. It is a sad situation. There is the struggle to remember to take time to check in with the boys, their emotions and keep a routine for them, but also be there to clean the house or ensure they are both eating or take her to an appointment. 

Hanging out in Disneyland of course!

Hanging out in Disneyland of course!

Our life right now is full of ups and downs. Our days are full of on-the-spot-decisions, finding what we can get done. Things fall through the cracks. For example I forgot Gabe had promotion pictures for the year book and didn't dress him up. Whoops!  Then there are the bank issues, the car, trying to get Gabe into the high school he thought he was going to but the district said nope 👎🏽 and just the plain, day to day "stuff". Yet, we have to try to always find a way to count our blessings - like being able to take a week vacation with the boys, to the fact that Asher is walking (heck running), that the boys are happy and depend on each other very well, that we get to run at all, that a family friend, Norm has given Gabe a drum set that we would otherwise never be able to even consider, that I know my mom will be OK and that a year from now all this will be a distant memory.  

So for now, enjoy the pictures from our trip.  They don't show our stress or being overwhelmed, they show happiness because our family is truly what makes all these hard obstacles easy to navigate. 

Family is everything.  It was a great week to kind of forget our stresses and worries.

Family is everything.  It was a great week to kind of forget our stresses and worries.

First Stroller Racecation

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A year and a half ago running had slowed down for me.  I barely got to 20 miles a week and it was due to a lot of things, but mostly a little guy who HATED the running stroller: Asher.  If you follow our family Instagram account you know that my running companions are primarily my children, this has been true since I started running a few years ago.  To have a child who hated the stroller and couldn't even really last a 5k distance, truly put a huge road block in my ability to get miles in during the week.  However, with lots of hard work, getting a new stroller that truly changed the running game for us, he has come to love the stroller runs.  

When Asher started to love stroller running, I made a goal for myself, a goal that didn't have an end date, but was a continuous effort to always improve.  I set out to get faster and faster with my stroller 5k races.  Am I the fastest?  Heck no, not even close.  Do I still run my heart out as if I am the fastest?  Sure do!  However, finding local stroller races is not such an easy task.  Not to mention, being relegated to the very back is also a challenge.  The navigating around so many people, trying to be polite and not accidentally bump an ankle, to save my energy to really go for it when I do get a clearing is trying and defeating at times.  

Nothing but positive energy from this race. Everyone was wonderful! 

Nothing but positive energy from this race. Everyone was wonderful! 

Fast forward to a couple weekends ago and I hit the 5k stroller running race of my dreams!  The She.Is.Beautiful race in Santa Cruz has been on my radar for a little while, but the cost of staying near Santa Cruz is outrageously expensive therefore I never took the leap and registered.  Plus, and I'll be honest, the idea of an almost all women race wasn't the bees knees for me.  Yet, thanks to an amazing friend and fellow runner, Erin (@erinamg), I took the leap, registered for my first 5k stroller race in a different city and it was the best thing ever!  Why, you might ask? For many reasons: scenery, friends, support, but really this race has an actual stroller division!  You can register to be in the stroller 5k or 10k.  How awesome is that?!?!?!  Oh and race photos are FREE! 🙌🏽. More races need to do both of these things: stroller divisions and free race photos.  

Dave was so supportive and looked for a hotel as soon as possible.  We ended up getting a decent deal in San Jose, about 45 minutes away.  It meant that we would have to wake up early to get to Santa Cruz, find parking and make sure to warm up beforehand.  The kids were great about it all.  I admit I feel guilty every race when I have to wake them up to get to a cheer location or a finish line but over the few years we have been running, they have been great sports about it.  To be honest, I think they like all the free swag afterwards.  With 6 of us in the family, we certainly collect a lot of water bottles, stickers, and protein bars.  Lol.  

The crew minus Dave aka the photographer

The crew minus Dave aka the photographer

Race morning, everyone was up early and we were on the road on time, about 6:15.  The race started at 8:30, but we wanted to make sure to get there and feed Asher, giving him enough time to have his breakfast settle before the race (again, if you follow us, you know Asher has digestive issues).  Dave found a spot about a half mile from the start.  We all ate something (my fuel was a banana and a kit kat bar.  Don't judge!) and around 7:45, we got the stroller out and Asher and I waved them goodbye as they drove to mile 2, to set up a little cheer station for us.  

Start line words of wisdom

Start line words of wisdom

Since I was so close to the start line, my warm up was up and down the street which was a little awkward.  The other racers were chatting, taking pics, hanging out in the starting line chute while I ran back and forth.  There were others warming up, but no strollers doing so just yet.  I will also say wearing my team singlet also made me hyper sensitive to my actions.  I love representing the Fleet Feet team, but it does bring with it the insecurities that others might think I'm super fast or showing off or whatever.  I know that its all in my head, but the self consciousness is real.  Luckily, I had been (bugging) texting Erin and she was so kind to let me join her running team in the front.   I even got to meet Meg (@peglegmegruns) IRL!  Not to mention, the entire Wolf Pack racing team (@runwolfpack) that I met that morning are complete badass, super fast, wonderfully welcoming women.  I won't, but I could seriously go on and on about how awesome these ladies are. Very inspiring.  

The look of determination

The look of determination

NBD, just standing next to two FREAKIN' AWESOME, SUPER SPEEDY MOTHER RUNNERS #fangirling

NBD, just standing next to two FREAKIN' AWESOME, SUPER SPEEDY MOTHER RUNNERS #fangirling

I had been sick the week prior, including the Shamrockn 5k race the weekend prior, so I didn't have huge goals.  My last stroller 5k was last November and it was 23:xx.  I had hoped to get as close as I could to that time as possible.  I knew that Meg and Erin were running the 10k (with strollers mind you) and a little after the 2 mile mark, the two races split off.  I had in mind that I would keep them in sight, who cares how far ahead they were, but just try to keep them in view and use them to somewhat pace me.  Well, it kind of worked.  I lost Erin (she WON the 10k stroller division!!) way before the 2 mile split.  She sped off with such ease.  I tried to keep up with Meg (second place 10k stroller division winner!!!), but my hard effort compared to Meg's graceful strides at the start was just too much for me.  My first mile was too fast and I paid for it once I hit mile 2.  Side note: both these mother runners can finish a stroller 10k faster than my non stroller 10k, just to give you a little insight to their speed.  Crazy fast and they make it look easy.   I was in pain, my chest was tight and it felt like an elephant was sitting on top of me.  I forced a smile around mile 2 when I saw Dave and the kids, but afterwards I was barely holding on.  Negative splits, uh, no.  I got slower with each mile and I knew it.  

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By the time I rounded the corner for the last three quarters of a mile back, the only thing keeping me going and not walking was the massive crowds on the other side of the road cheering me on.  "Go mama!", "Way to run with that stroller!", "You got this!".  My face was not smiling, I was wincing, but I gave them a thumbs up and kept pushing forward.  As I approached the finish line, I noticed a sign that read something like "prepare for hi-5's ahead".  For some reason that sign gave me a little energy, but there were no hi-5's.  Lol.  Once I crossed the line, I saw the first place 5k stroller winner and gave her a hi-5 with a great race.  Let me tell you she is FAST finishing in 20:xx!  A-MAZE-ING! I made my way to pick up my race shirt and swag bag.  Wish I had taken a pic of the stuff, but I was just trying to catch my breath and take it all in before the other racers finished.  

My favorite race shirt to date!  This one will for sure get a lot of use. 

My favorite race shirt to date!  This one will for sure get a lot of use. 

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The race was perfect, not so much my running.  Although I ended up with a second place stroller division finish and a 40+ second PR, I wasn't truly happy with how I ran the race.  I didn't feel my strongest and I started out way to fast.  Obviously the views were gorgeous, the weather was nice at 52 degrees and the support of each other was truly a significant part of the experience.   As I waited for the family, I walked around and read many of the quotes on signs in the finish area.  I snapped a pic of some of them and told myself to try to remember so many of these when I was having a bad day or feeling defeated.  

Biggest supporter. ❤ 

Biggest supporter. ❤ 

5k Stroller division finishers!   

5k Stroller division finishers!   

The race has another location in their series, in Santa Barbara.  It is on my list!  I am hoping to run this year, yes with the stroller.  I won't have other stroller running mama's I know to help me start at the front of the race, hoping I have enough guts to do so myself.  Perhaps, with hard work, I can shave some seconds of that current PR, adding more to my goal of becoming faster and faster with my stroller running 5ks.  

 

The face you make when you are incredibly happy to be done and you are trying to stop coughing uncontrollably since you are sick  

The face you make when you are incredibly happy to be done and you are trying to stop coughing uncontrollably since you are sick  

Believe in yourself. A huge take away for me. Confidence not cockiness, that's what it's all about

Believe in yourself. A huge take away for me. Confidence not cockiness, that's what it's all about

Go Plae!

Beautiful day in the city. Couldn't have asked for anything better

Beautiful day in the city. Couldn't have asked for anything better

Last month (I know, it took forever for me to share this family experience!) we were fortunate enough for one, great weather and two to be able to spend half he day in Fort Mason at Plae's Spring/Summer shoe launch. It was a blast, seriously. The event was very family friendly without being obnoxiously child event cliche. The Plae team so skillfully utilized every logical space in the building and outside to get kids and parents alike moving.  

They had contracted with Acro Sports of SF to set up a parkour course around the building. From jumping to tumbling to balancing you name it they had it. I kept telling Dave "omg this would make the best 5th birthday party for Asher!!"  Just so you know he turns 5 next year, so Acro Sports, do you come to Sacramento to to do events?!?!  😜.  

He was in texture heaven!   

He was in texture heaven!   

In general, my children are a bit shy at first. They hesitate to jump right in to any gathering (they get that from me, Dave is a social butterfly in my opinion), but after about 15 minutes I think we lost Elias as he was running around doing all the stations, gabe was sent to keep an eye on him, Jacob LOVED the fuzzy room with the sweet treats and inflated balls and Asher well he was squealing, laughing and grabbing strangers as he ran FROM us. Haha!  He enjoyed every bit of it.

Hey Mr DJ! 

Hey Mr DJ! 

The team really thought of everything from sweet treats perfectly portioned, to fizzy drinks (not soda 🙌🏽🙌🏽), different activities that utilized many skills, an awesome dj spinning old school beats that had me singing. I mean who can't sing and dance to Janet Jackson?!?!  Oh and they had a fabulous parkour performance from some of the children associated with Acro Sports .  

Check out some of the snapshots we took. It was seriously a blast and would love to experience this again. We love local, we love stylish and we absolutely love a family friendly business!   

 

Photo booth op!  Best part? Kid volunteers took the pics. ❤ 

Photo booth op!  Best part? Kid volunteers took the pics. ❤ 

We need a couple of these at home. So fun! 

We need a couple of these at home. So fun! 

Asher loved it all!   

Asher loved it all!   

Typically Elias won't do anything his big brothers won't do. Kudos to GoPlae for hosting an event he enjoyed getting involved even if his brothers were timid.  

Typically Elias won't do anything his big brothers won't do. Kudos to GoPlae for hosting an event he enjoyed getting involved even if his brothers were timid.  

Talk about overstimulation, but in an "I'm so excited this is cool" way

Talk about overstimulation, but in an "I'm so excited this is cool" way

Jacob trying to do a pull up...kinda. Lol. He wishes goplae shoes came in his size. Heck, us parents do too! 

Jacob trying to do a pull up...kinda. Lol. He wishes goplae shoes came in his size. Heck, us parents do too! 

His fave thing: the DJ. Playing music and Asher was all about it.  

His fave thing: the DJ. Playing music and Asher was all about it.  

The day was perfect and we cannot share how much we love this shoe company enough.  We weren't compensated for attending or even sharing this event.  We just truly love this company.  As parents of active boys and as parents of a child with special needs, their shoes check tons of boxes for us.  They stand up to lots of play, but they also allow Asher to wear cool shoes that work with his needs and equipment!  Thanks GoPlae for a great family friendly and fun event. And thank you for making stylish, durable shoes for my active boys and for Asher to wear with his braces. ❤ 

2017 BMO Mesa Phoenix Marathon Race Recap

Did you know that #WeRunSocial was born out of the Phoenix Marathon way back in 2015? Well, it's a special place and I was lucky enough to experience it this weekend.

Lucky is the appropriate word here because I won a bib from the ever-amazing Emily aka, @runemz. She's a Phoenix native, a BMO Phx Marathon Ambassador and she held a contest on her Instagram for a free race entry. 

I told my wife that if I enter and happen to win, that I would have to go and she said "you better enter that contest!" I'm glad that I did and here is my entry photo. Funny thing is Emily didn't notice that I photoshopped myself in the picture. Hey, I guess it just looked so natural and that I fit in so well with the crew. 😉

I flew to Phx on Friday morning and was graciously picked up by the greatest Uber driver(s) ever, Brian @pavementrunner and Sarah @hereforthewine. They had an extremely popular Instagram live session the night before which involved beer, race plans and a q&a. 

NOTE: if you give your phone to one of us to take your pic, you've been warned. #selfie

NOTE: if you give your phone to one of us to take your pic, you've been warned. #selfie

Before any of us got too hangry, we drove to a nearby Starbucks for breakfast. After fueling up with coffee for the long day ahead we were off to our next stop, shopping! We drove a short ways away to the nearest Lululemon outlet and did a small amount of damage. 

Friends are more important than money

Friends are more important than money

We then headed to the #werunsocial meet-up sponsored by @procompression which was located at the expo. So many cool running friends know how to squeeze into tight spaces for epic photos!

My first impressions of the expo were good when I saw the quality of the merchandise that the @phxmarathon were selling. The tees were nice quality and the designs were not over stated. I didn't buy one but I did like them. We went inside, picked up bibs, did a quick walk through to pick up shirts and they even gave out socks! They had a photographer setup who was very patient with our silly group when it came to having our picture taken. Overall the expo was organized and easy to navigate. 

We circled back inside to the PRO booth and socialized, selfied it up and talked racing and socks! It's challenging to meet up in such a small expo space as we seem to be blocking the aisles and even the PRO booth. This didn't stop them from selling a bunch of socks though! 

We went to dinner with friends that night and what's better than pizza and beer on the night before a race? NOTHING! Except when it's with good company. One of the greatest attractions in Phoenix, Arizona is a place called La Grande Orange Grocery - it's freaking amazing! Their pizzas are the bomb, they have good ass beer and inside the store there's a section of "old school candy"! Where else can you buy a vegan pizza, a delicious IPA and a packet of Pop Rocks?!

A HUGE reason I entered the contest. Meeting Emily, @runemz, made my weekend!

A HUGE reason I entered the contest. Meeting Emily, @runemz, made my weekend!

After a long day of travel and socializing, we called it a night. 

#flatrunner ready to rock the Half

#flatrunner ready to rock the Half

Race Morning

3am wake up calls are for Disney races only right? WRONG! Since we were a few minutes drive away from the race shuttle buses, which was also where the finish line was located, we had to set out early to get there. It was cold - desert when the sun goes down, cold. Call me a wimp but it was not my jam. When your Marathon friends get to stay on their bus and had fire pits to stay warm next to, you send them texts at 4:50am that read:

Ryan @ruggedwoodsman and I huddled around a heatlamp with very little success. Since 87% of the human population is taller than me, the wind was blocked from those who were huddled around our layer of the heat lamp.

We left the heat lamp to use the port-a-potty and fortunately picked the fastest moving line around us. Afterwards Ryan and I were able to do a nice long lap around the surrounding buildings as a quick warmup. The feelings in our fingers and toes were beginning to come back! After witnessing a woman drop her running tights like it was hot to pee behind a wall (I can never unsee that), we quickly checked our bag and hit the starting line. Our timing was perfect as our heart rates were up, blood was flowing to our hands and legs and we hit the ground running when the gun went off. 

I was smart enough to bring a long sleeve tee as a throw away but I didn't expect to throw it away so late in the race. I believe I ditched it between miles 4 and 5. Speaking of miles, they went by very quickly as Ryan and I were talking up a storm. Our pace was consistent and we both found it just right. We both weren't trying to PR, focused only on having an evenly comfortable race. 

The course was fair and forgiving. No major climbs and descents. It was not scenic by any means and if I was running alone, I could've easily been very bored. The support on the course was adequate and evenly placed. Never were we wondering when the next aid station was. We finished with a nice kick at the end and for a HOT second, Ryan thought that he might've PR'd! We came to find out that he did not but it still was a great race!

Remember how I told you that the expo was well organized? Well the Post Race festivities were easily the star of the show. There was french toast from Kneaders that was worth going back to a different line so they don't recognize you, for! There were also bbq sandwiches, tons of free snacks and even creamsicles! Once we were able to wipe off the magical french toast syrup from our faces, we left the finishers area to grab our jackets from our checked bag and walk around to scope out the fun games and vendor booths.

Easily the highlight of the morning was the free post-race massage given out to runners. I have to admit (please don't judge me) that this was my very first massage, like ever. I enjoyed it so much that I took a picture with my massage therapist, Christine. She touched me with her magical fingers and i'll never forget it. 

Ryan and I picked a perfect spot to spectate marathon finishers and we were able to see Emily pace her sister to a Marathon PR! WooHoo! We cheered on Carlee and Brian as they completed their race also. They were all smiles even though it wasn't the greatest outcome they expected. 

After mulling around for a bit we decided to head out, get food, clean up and rest. There was a Pro Compression dinner that night at O.H.S.O Brewery where we were able to meet other PRO enthusiasts and ambassadors. This is what I love about getting out to these special events. Meeting friends we've followed on Social for a long time, in real life. We drank, ate and shared stories about how our races went, running in costumes, Spring Training happening down the street, you name it. This ended a very quick race-cation for me which was just the right prescription to get me out of my running funk. 

Has a race ever taken you out of a running funk before?

Race #4 and It's Just February!

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Sunday I raced the San Francisco Kaiser Half Marathon. Beautiful course. Running through Golden Gate Park and along the Great Highway was stunning. I certainly enjoyed the views if nothing else.

Now I could easily give you a play-by-play of the race, the course, the post race goodies - and I will in a little bit - but mostly I took away a lot from yesterday's run and hope to keep what I learned at the forefront of my training and racing for 2017.

To backtrack a little, Dave, Asher and I made the trip down on Saturday and got a little sightseeing in, just the 3 of us.  The other boys weren't to eager to spectate another race with an early morning wake up call. Can't blame them. Although we missed them, we enjoyed being tourists and reminiscing about our days living in San Francisco. The day started with brunch/lunch with some truly wonderful people and ended with a stroll through Golden Gate Park. The weather was great (both days actually) so I couldn't have asked for anything more. 

Before the park, coffee @themillsf. Coffee is always a must! 

Before the park, coffee @themillsf. Coffee is always a must! 

Got to go to the Topo store!  We have a bag obsession

Got to go to the Topo store!  We have a bag obsession

Asher loved Golden Gate Park. He was on the go go go!   

Asher loved Golden Gate Park. He was on the go go go!   

Back to the race. I registered somewhat late. I had heard rumblings from many people that this is a "PR course". I have run SF before, a much, much hillier course and did pretty well, but I certainly didn't want to do it again. When I heard the words "PR" and "downhill" I thought what the hell, why not. My decision was made for the most part before I ran Disneyland Star Wars Half Marathon so initially I was thinking PR city!  After obtaining my current PR there at the Star Wars Half, I changed my goals. 

1. To race smarter than Star Wars by not speeding up too soon

2. Try to maintain a challenging but not exhausting pace to evaluate my mental and physical endurance.

Well, I cant say I was 100% successful but for the most part I kept paces that pushed me hard for the mile I was running at the time. I was as fast as a 7:25 one mile to as "slow" as 8:05 another, so not really that consistent. Overall a 7:52 average. This pace - on another course - might actually be the challenging pace I need it to be rather than the "ugh this the worst".  

Elevation chart. The downhill before mile 8 was nice. It was the flat after the rolling that was the true test Source: getfitkpsf.com

Elevation chart. The downhill before mile 8 was nice. It was the flat after the rolling that was the true test

Source: getfitkpsf.com

It's been at least 7 years since we had seen each other last! @kayceeohdee

It's been at least 7 years since we had seen each other last! @kayceeohdee

Pre race pics with friends.  @otteral @asmodeus892

Pre race pics with friends.  @otteral @asmodeus892

Now let all be clear, in order for a race to be downhill, you have to go uphill. Lol. It is San Francisco and there were inclines. Not sure I'd say they were hills in terms of San Francisco but definitely inclines. Last May, I ran Napa and the uphill of this race wasn't as strenuous as those.  I had studied the elevation map of the course the night prior. I made mental notes of the steepest parts and the downhills and tried to adjust accordingly. Surprisingly it wasn't the hills that tired me, it was the long turn around stretch of the Great Highway. That was brutal. Yet, it was the best part to have spectators come out and cheer you on. Inside the park, it was kind of lonely to not have any cowbelling going on.  If someone was to ask me to describe this course it wouldn't be flat as the online description says, I'd say rolling inclines for the first half with long, flat, tough stretch the second half. The last half mile is an uphill finish, be prepared. Lol. 

Self seeding races are not my fave. I kind of like corral assignments.  

Self seeding races are not my fave. I kind of like corral assignments.  

Seeing Dave and Asher on the course. I smiled and ran by but I really really wanted to just stop!

Seeing Dave and Asher on the course. I smiled and ran by but I really really wanted to just stop!

In all honesty, I mentally gave up around mile 9.  I've never "given up" on a race course before. I had to fight and motivate myself, but from mile 9-12, there was no amount of self talk that could get me out of hating it all. When I saw Dave around mile 9 and then again at mile 11, I'll admit I thought about stopping and telling him that I just wanted to go home. Could I have had a stronger finish, maybe even a better finish time?  Sure, but again in all honesty my heart wasn't in it, I couldn't make myself go faster or want it more. It just wasn't in me on Sunday. I wasn't excited until mile 12.6 when I turned that corner and knew that damn finish was a half mile away. A race volunteer at that point yelled out, "one more mile!"  I yelled back, "Liar!  Better not be a mile". Told the guy next to me it was an alternative fact. 😬   

 

Thanks Mike for capturing me finishing. Never have I loved a finish line so much. Lol

Thanks Mike for capturing me finishing. Never have I loved a finish line so much. Lol

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First race with the team. Highlight of the entire race!   

I wouldn't say this was my strongest race. I'm not even sure I would run it again. Wait, I take that back. This is one of the first half marathons that I saw strollers being allowed. If I ran it again, I would run it with a stroller. Solo, probably not. Despite having mixed emotions from this race, I have spent time reflecting on my performance. I had said in another blog post, I wanted to use this race to test my strength. It did that. I have a ways to go to build my mental strength. I have to be able to push myself forward even when my body isn't cooperating, even when I'm doubting my abilities. If I'm being 100% honest, I walked away from this race disappointed in myself. Not because of my finish time, but really how I let myself get in my own way. I just couldn't will more determination on that course and that is what makes me upset.  By mile 10 I told myself it was ok to "give up," essentially. I wasn't pushing myself forward, I just decided to slow down enough to get through. A goal for 2017, work on believing in myself more, pushing myself hard, being my own cheerleader because what I also learned is that having little to no spectators on the course kills my vibe. I need the hi-5s and funny signs to distract me and get me through.  It's funny how races teach runners more about mental fortitude than splits and finish times. 

A Whirlwind Week of runDisney

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In a matter of approximately a week, I traveled to Florida to run the Walt Disney World Marathon and back to California to run in the Star Wars - Light Side Half Marathon weekend. I wasn't one of the "crazies" that ran Dopey (all 4 races for WDW Marathon weekend) and also all 3 Disneyland Star Wars Races. Nonetheless, 3 races with 3 very different efforts surely made me tired, more than I thought it would. I blame getting old(er). Haha!   

A little back story, about a year ago I was suppose to run a race on the east coast but unfortunately never got there due to the frustrations that go with flying aka delayed flights, missing connections and so forth. Luckily, my sister and I were registered for the WDW marathon so although a long wait, I'd have another go at a racecation MINUS kids. Wait, what?  Yup, 5 days (2 of them traveling) without kids!  Traveling wasn't without some stress as I almost missed my connection yet again due to my first flight leaving an hour late, but I made it. Whew!  

It's odd once you become a parent to travel minus any children. You feel a strong urge to do all the things that you can't do when you have them in tow or at least do the things they complain endlessly about when with you. Things like go shopping and try on all the things or have a few drinks or even sleep in because we all know children have no idea what sleeping past 6am means. Yet, I did none of that.  It's a runDisney weekend, sleep doesn't happen because of those ungodly wake up times!  I did manage to have fun with my sister Marie and Anette.  

Mouthwatering. I couldn't even finish more than half, but delicious! 

Mouthwatering. I couldn't even finish more than half, but delicious! 

We could only do one park so Epcot it was. This is easily my favorite park. I just love walking around the many countries in World Showcase.  I'm not much of a ride person so Epcot is perfect to get a Disney feel without having to jump on a ride. The weather was perfect and so were the treats!  Note, my sister took my to eat breakfast at Kona and I had the pancakes - Pineapple Macadamia Nut Pancakes. Oh. Em. Gee. So so good. I did order a side of fruit to "balance" out the meal a bit.  

Heading into the weekend, the weather took a drastic change. Severity of rain increases plus lightening and thunder were possibilities  I clearly remember Friday night hearing the rain coming down. It sounds as if buckets were just being emptied outside our window. Needless to say, the WDW half marathon was cancelled then next day to much disappointment but clearly for the safety of runners, volunteers and spectators. Yet, that wasn't going to prevent runDisney runners from getting in their 13.1!  The next morning runners, spectators and cast members alike got out along resort running paths and in the rain and wind ran the miles needed. 

1.2 miles around made for many many loops

1.2 miles around made for many many loops

It was a wonderful thing to participate in because it wasn't about corrals and pace. It wasn't about winning and medals. It was about completing a goal, encouraging others, making new running friends.  

So cold! 

So cold! 

So Saturday was the rain, thunder and lightening. Sunday was freezing temperatures with winds dropping it to the teens. Ummmm I didn't prepare for that in any way!  Hello, I was wearing a tank, arm sleeves and a sparkle athletic skirt!  We rushed, as did everyone else who did not prepare for such cold temps, to Disney Springs and rushed from store to store trying to find anything. We only managed to get gloves, everything else was sold out in our size or just sold out. I enjoy running in cold temps due to performance. Although I hate being uncomfortable, I tend to "race" better in temps in the 30s and low 40s. Yet, I was worried about the teens. Northern California gets cold but where I live high 20s and low 30s is ever how cold it gets. Race morning came, we were freezing. We were in corral O so we waited as long as possible around the space heaters before braving the cold. Once in the corral we joked around and made friends with those around us. We waited an hour to start, but once we crossed that start line I joked with my sister and her friend that "positive Paula" was in her element. I was peppy and ready to conquer 26.2.  

The race plan for the day was run 2 minute and walk 1 minute, trying to keep a sub 12 minute average. After talking with my sister, I adjusted jay plan to try to keep under 13 minutes per mile yet didn't tell her. I knew she would want to keep the original plan, but having run a marathon previously I knew it is hard to go out at your best pace and try to get better. A huge thank you to Ivie (@ivieanne) who gave me great tips on the run/Walk method. I set my watch up for the intervals since I was the unofficial pacer for them and prepared to raise my hand when I walked and move to the right. Side note: not all people follow that rule. Many many people just stop and walk in the middle of the path. Frustrating slightly.  

Almost there!!!  Half mile left!   

Almost there!!!  Half mile left!   

Both of these women did amazing, they kicked ass! For 18-19 miles, through self doubt and slight sass (towards me. Lol) they maintained around a 12:30 pace.  I was amazed at their consistency. I kept telling them how well they were doing. Heck my sister did her long runs 18-20 miles on a treadmill. I do not have the mental strength and would have given up. Haha!  Mile 19, Wide World of Sports complex mentally wore them down. I admitted to them that this "park" can be challenging. You are not sure where you are going, how long you will be in the complex and so forth. It's not like one of the parks where you can see an attraction and characters and be distracted. I tried my best to keep them motivated but I knew I was losing them. With 10k left, I had to dig deep and pull out the cheerleader.   They were hurting.  They were tired and hungry. They were feeling mentally wore down.  I didn't tell them that I was exhausted and having doubts too. I didn't tell them that I was worried about the pain they were feeling and for the last 10k I adjusted the 2 minutes/1 minute to 1:30 minutes/2:30 minutes sometimes 3 minutes. I kept assessing in my mind is the pain they are feeling serious enough to call in the towel. These thoughts rushed through my head from mile 20 until 24.5. Yet they finished. They finished with a smile and upright. It was a moment that I am so grateful to have been a witness. I was able to be there when two strong women pushed past what they thought they might not be able to do and become marathoners, even more they finished in under 6 hours!  

Brand new MARATHONERS! 

Brand new MARATHONERS! 

I have to take this moment to talk about the "back of the pack" (we were placed in the second to last corral due to deferring the race and missing proof of time). I strongly encourage anyone who has never been one of these runners to do so and to do so with a fellow runner. It is a wonderful experience.  It is a humbling experience. There were many runners once they hit around mile 15-16 remarked they were tired. They were struggling. Others around were quick to encourage. So many runners offering to run alongside, offer fuel, offer encouraging words. It was such an example of kindness and caring, but even more it was examples of strength, perseverance, determination, just plain old grit. I'm a middle of the pack runner for the most part and I often get to see lots of people cheering, most people around me are racing by and quickly offering encouragement but it is a different type of experience. This isn't my first time being a little further back at the start of race, but to do so for 26.2 is something I am glad I was able to do. It had me digging deeper to encourage myself and others, tapping into my own physical and mental strength. 

Once the race was over, I had that day to rest and then back on the plane to head home and prepare for Star Wars Half Marathon weekend.  

Bibs in hand. Hello another weekend of early mornings and little sleep

Bibs in hand. Hello another weekend of early mornings and little sleep

To say that I was mentally prepared for Star Wars half marathon would be a lie. To be honest, I only wanted to run the 5k. Bucket list item was to run all runDisney races before 40. Well, they added races and the cost of the races could feed my children for a couple months..I joke, kinda. They are pricey. So I changed my goal to run all the west coast runDisney races before 40. I only had Star Wars 5k and Super Heroes 10k left. Dave being the eager with his clicking surprised me with the half marathon race too. I'm grateful but I like to get as much sleep as 4 kids will allow me these days.  

 A little farther back than I'd like to be 

 A little farther back than I'd like to be 

5k race day my goal was to use it as a shake out run. I've never really raced a 5k at Disneyland, mostly just run for fun with the boys or as a shake out. I got to the corral a little late, just under 15 minutes to the start of the race so I ended up towards the back. No concerns because I wasn't racing it for time. After crossing the start line I realized hardly anyone was racing the 5k. I was stuck behind a wall of very happy walkers. That's ok, I get that not everyone wants to zoom through the race, but even though I wasn't trying to be fast I was hopeful to get done, get coffee and hope I could catch another hour of sleep before the kids woke up. Needless to say I ended up walking/jogging about .4 of the first mile. Once I found open spots I started to sprint around crowds. I don't know if it was my nervousness or anxiousness to find a clearing to get into my groove but in the dark I kept pushing the lap button on my watch I may or may not have cursed to myself. Clearly I know where the light button is, but I was all thumbs for the first 1.5 miles. I didn't stop for pictures, coffee was calling my name. I passed a handful of women around mile 2 and then slowly started passing a couple more here and there. Closer to the finish I passed two more women and one woman passed me. As she did, I heard the announcer state "we have the second and third female finishers coming in". Right after passing the cameras, I looked around saying 3rd?!?!  I was amusing to the volunteers giving medals because I was still saying it. I've never had that happen in a large race. A nice confidence booster heading into the weekend mentally preparing for the half marathon on Sunday.  

5k photo op at the finish. The line is too long in the morning, but no one when I finished  

5k photo op at the finish. The line is too long in the morning, but no one when I finished  

I have to share that I haven't raced or run a half marathon since May 2016. I'm not sure why exactly, but one reason is I PR'd in May and in the race I felt completely comfortable and strong. There was fear that another half wouldn't garner the same results or feelings. Of course I know not all races are rainbows and sunshine, great paces and negative splits. However, I know my fellow runners can relate to the countless number of races you run where not everything aligns leading up to that one race where everything aligns: pace, fuel, temperature, hydration, etc. everything seems to be perfectly matched. For me, I've had many great races but there might have been 1 or 2 things amiss, in May everything just felt right. 

A little Flashback to the May race where I reached my previous half marathon PR 

A little Flashback to the May race where I reached my previous half marathon PR 

Heading into this race I just wasn't sure what to expect. In May, I ran around a 1:45. I wasn't aiming for that. I did know that I wanted to PR my half marathon this year, this was not the race. I had a couple things I wanted to keep in mind - I wanted to run happy.  I was using this race to test my endurance.  I wanted to enjoy my time on the course with a goal of 2:00 or less. Now before you roll your eyes, I admit I could have been more ambiguous and say "I just want to finish". Now that I'd say please give a huge eye roll. I knew I would finish. The thought process was find the 2:00 pacer and stick with he/she for 3-4 miles. If I felt good, pick up the pace to chase down the 1:55 pacer. I knew I probably would find that pacer but I kept it in my head to make sure my running wasn't all over the pace.  IF I found the 1:55 pacer, stick with them for 2ish miles and if I felt good, increase speed and aim for 1:50-1:55 finish. Well, PSA there is no 2:00 or even 1:55 pacer in corral A. Duh!  So I ended up placing myself a couple of rows behind the 1:45 pacer.   I am so grateful to Erin (@erinamg) who had texted me the night before and at 5am that morning. She offered a great advice and basically helped calm my nerves. I was anxious as 5:30 approached, my heart racing for sure. 

Closer to the start line this time!  Woohoo! 

Closer to the start line this time!  Woohoo! 

Back to the 1:45 pacer, I decided that I wanted to keep this pacer in sight. Last minute decision about 5 minutes before the race started. I told myself to not care if I could clearly read the 1:45 sign or it was a speck in the distance, just make sure I could see it. The race started and we were off. 1:45 pacer a few seconds faster as we entered DCA. At the transition between DCA and DL, I had caught up to the 1:45 pacer and felt good. Strong and comfortable with the pace. Now you remember how I keep hitting the lap button on 5k day?  So I waited for lit areas in the dark to catch a glimpse at my watch. When I di look at it while we were leaving the parks I saw the pacer was racing too fast, around a 7:45 pace. I pulled back and told myself to ease up, calm down and relax. When I say told myself, literally I spoke those words out loud. Runners around me looked at me, one gentleman gave me a thumbs up. Yet once on Harbor, I saw the open road and I just ran by feel, passing the 1:45 pacer with his voice eventually fading. I had studied the course and knew it was basically 2, 2, 2, 2 until I would turn and see the mile 12 sign. No more than 2 miles in each direction. I tried to take the race by those breakdowns. My 5k split was 7:51, 10k split was 7:48 and 15k was 7:35. Everything was feeling pretty good. I was high-5ing cheerleaders, cosplay spectators, people along side the road. I was thanking police officers. It was great. I was having fun!  By mile 8 I felt a little fatigue but not tremendously. I told myself to be aware of this tiredness because by mile 10-11, I would need to push hard since I sped up too fast. Well, when I turned the corner a little after mile 9 I hit some slight headwind. Now, the actually headwind might have not been too great. Yet I was getting a little tired, I picked up too early and the sun was coming out at this point. I tried in vain to keep pace but slowed by 15+ seconds. I then told myself to just run by effort until mile 11 when I would turn left and the wind would be at my side. My 10 was a 7:55 pace. I was slipping. 

Seeing the finish line and the clock at 1:42 was an awesome moment! 

Seeing the finish line and the clock at 1:42 was an awesome moment! 

Thank goodness for friends like Ivie (@ivieanne), Jen (@pinkcupcakegirl) and AJ (@a2thej44). Around mile 11.5, they shouted my name. It was a point where I was bargaining with myself. I was telling myself I had "banked" time. Never ever count on banking time. No no. I was slowly giving up. Hearing them cheer, gave me an added boost. At mile 12, Dave ran to cheer me on and snap a pick as I ran by. Another added boost. The last mile had to be all me. I was hurting slightly at this point. My left hamstring was tight and right quad was sore. I wasn't sure what my time would be or if I'd be able to finish strong. I had stopped looking at my watch around mile 11. It was messing with my mind and I was feeling defeated. As I approached mile 13 I saw the time read 1:41:36 and I felt the urge to start sprinting. Haha!  I clearly cannot finish .1 in less than 24 seconds but I was going to try. I crossed the finish line less than a minute later for a new PR of 1:42 and I couldn't be prouder. I was slightly emotional to say the least. It's funny, in the past I would have kept my emotions bottled up. Happy or sad, but 6 months ago I decided it's ok to show my feelings when I've accomplished something I didn't know I was capable of doing.  

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I have another race in less than 2 weeks. A half marathon in San Francisco. No I'm not trying to PR or even come close to my current PR.  I'm not going to have a goal to "just finish" or even try for 2:00s. Specific goals, not entirely sure but as I said before Disneyland was a confidence booster and endurance assessment. SF I'm searching for strength and consistency. I want to try to lock into a pace that is comfortably challenging and see if I can maintain it. I have an entire year to try to run faster than 1:42. Goals take patience and hard work. I may not run a 1:42 again this year and that's ok, yet I plan on making it my goal to work towards beating that time. So far 2017 racing has been pretty damn awesome!

 

2016 California International Marathon (CIM) Recap

The marathon is 26.2 miles. That's a whole heck of a lot of miles to be traveling. On foot. Running. Or in my case this time, sometimes jogging, sometimes walking. Traditionally, people train to run these things. Call us crazy but there are thousands of us who like torturing ourselves, I guess. Why we do it is another story and everyone has a different one to tell. We’ll save that for another post. 

But before we get to the nitty gritty of the race itself, let’s first review how the weekend started out. 

There was a an official shakeout run on Saturday, which a bunch of #werunsocial folks participated in. I even got to meet Katrin, Woot! It was a nice 3 miles around the Capital on a cool sunny morning. We hit up the expo afterwards where I bought a hoodie. #treatyoself, David, you’re about to run a marathon tomorrow!

So nice meeting Heather, @runs_4reeses_pieces!

Following the shakeout run, a bunch of folks met up for coffee at a nearby Starbucks. We chatted, talked race plans, and enjoyed hot beverages. Fun times.

#CREW

Leading up to the Race

I began my training cycle for this race back in August and committed to achieving a Personal Best (PB) or Personal Record (PR) which was anything under 3 hours and 52 minutes. That time was achieved back in June of 2014. My “A” goal was to finish the race in 3:45. I felt my body was ready to take on the training cycle at the required paces. That was until about 2 1/2 weeks before the race. I developed pain in my lower left leg (calf) and just couldn’t recover well enough to be 100% on race day. 

The training plan I used this cycle was the Hansons Marathon Method. True, I may not have stuck to the plan to the exact T (for example: running a 9 mile tempo instead of a 10 mile tempo, at times). But, the plan has worked in the past. Like I said before, I used this method and even set a PR with it. This is why I thought, “Wow, that was great! I’m going to use it again and try for a faster time.” I’m glad that I had a plan but now I realize that I need to try something new. Not to knock a specific plan (to each his own, right?) but my take away is that I understand how a training plan is a necessary tool for a successful marathon. 

Race Day

#flatrunner

With fastie, @alexiaruns, at the start area.

Obligatory pre-race crew photo!

Some of the #9Run6 family. Way to go ya'll! @mcrunnerchris, @wholeheartedrunner, @bradbernel and @shibamom93

I just didn’t feel strong enough for this race. There were lots of rolling up and downs in the early miles which really beat up my quads. I was sore for days after. It’s hard to train for hills when there aren't that many where we do a bulk of our training. Also, I think that not completing more long runs - and when I mean long, i’m saying more than 16 or 18 miles - was a major factor in how I performed. My body just didn’t know what it felt like to be out there that long. 

The time it took me to run the first half of the marathon was respectable. You never want to go out too fast in a marathon. Sure, if you’re feeling good, go for it but be careful. That feeling can, and usually does, come back and bite you in the ass. Hard.

Me. At mile 25. Whatcha gonna do?

That leaves me with the second half of the race - the dreaded “wall” and the finish. My wife, as supportive as ever when it comes to training and racing, told me that she would be at mile 20 (the “wall”) to cheer me on. As I approached that mile marker, I frantically looked for her. It didn’t help that Mile 20 was a relay exchange point which meant that many people were lined up on both sides of the street. As I passed the relay exchange point, I finally saw her with running friends, cheering. I slowed down to a jog, and then a walk, hanging my head a bit low and shrugging my shoulders as if to say “well, I made it this far…” I had nothing left emotionally. I was just glad to see her. Our good friend Jen encouraged a kiss and I was happy to oblige. I needed that something to keep me going for the last 10k. Thank you Jen for capturing what, to me, was the best moment of my race. Not crossing the finish line, not toeing the start line but being supported when it counted the most. 

Highlight of the race. #TRUTH

Earned. 

Happy Birthday Pretty! #prettyneedsinstagram right @tanoshegirl?

I crossed the finish line with pride. Even after a gosh awful 14 minute mile 25. Hey, I finished twenty six point freaking two miles of running! I’ll easily take this race as a lesson learned. I’m always thankful, never taking anything for granted, that I’m able to run another day.

Shop Small

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Every year after Thanksgiving, many people I know gear up for Black Friday. Crazily trying to organize their day after Thanksgiving to battle the crowds and snag a deal. Last year, REI started a great campaign with #optoutside encouraging people to skip the stores and enjoy the outdoors. We plan on partaking in that this year as we did last year. Yet also every year there is the Shop Small promotion, to support small business, support local. We also participate with this every year too.  

In that respect, we wanted to share some shops that are favorites of ours.  

 

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Modern Burlap. We have tons of swaddle blankets from this great shop. Black and white in design, great meaningful phrases and terrific designs. Not your typical swaddle blanket. This Friday, code: blackfriday20 you can get 20% off! Asher loves them.  

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Go Plae. These shoes are the best!  First because they fit Asher's braces easily but for more than just that. These shoes come in a variety of styles, colors designs. They also have adjustable straps. Let me explain, you can get extra Velcro straps at different lengths and designs to replace the pair that comes with the shoes. So if your child has a wide foot or braces (like my little one), they can easily fit many types of feet. Also, they are a San Francisco based company so to us that is local. It's awesome!

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Littlest Warrior. This company is a company with heart. Today, with code blackfriday you get 20%. They have shirts for all that proudly lets you and your little ones declare their acceptance of all.  They are about inclusion of all and we love that message in our house.   

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Wire and Honey. Advocacy is one word I think about when I buy from this shop. With this year being one of shock and uncertainty, this small business has wonderful apparel for all that encourages acceptance, to "stand up against racism", "stand up for equality" and so forth.  And a great perk?  From now until Monday use the code STUFFED for 25% off!  

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Sarah Marie Design Studio. If you have followed us on Instagram, Twitter or Blog you know we love running. It's kinda a family thing. Naturally we had to include at least one small business running shop. This one is rad!  In full disclosure, I am an ambassador for Sarah Marie Design Studio, yet I was a fan far before I became an ambassador. And a special "Black Friday" deal, she is giving 15% off her Holiday Shop AND free shipping. For the discount use code: BLACKFRIDAY2016, free shipping is automatic and requires no code. Check her site out. There is something for every runner in your life. Really. I promise. 

These are just some shops that we love and the BEST part is that you can support small business while drinking coffee in your pjs on your couch.  

DISCLAIMER: we are not sponsored by any shop listed in our "Shop Small" blog post, just fans. I am an ambassador for Sarah Marie Design Studio however we are in no way being compensated from any shop. Happy Holidays!   

Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Weekend Recap and Review

5k

For the past couple of years, I've looked forward to running the #stripatnight otherwise known as the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas half marathon. While this was the first year that the crew didn't run a half marathon race the morning of, we still had a fun-filled weekend nonetheless. 

When you walk down the steps of MGM and see your boy holding the exact same GoPro setup, you know the weekend's about to be LIT! Christmas came early for us this year!

When you walk down the steps of MGM and see your boy holding the exact same GoPro setup, you know the weekend's about to be LIT! Christmas came early for us this year!

If you missed out on what I referenced above - running a half marathon the morning of the RnRLV half marathon - you can read about those ridiculous antics here and here. We just couldn't let the weekend go without running #alltheraces so we decided on running the 5k Saturday and the half on Sunday. 

Saturday we ran the 5k race which is held off the strip at the SLS resort (which is, helloooo? swagalicious!) There was a @sparkleathletic / @werunsocial meet-up at 5pm before the race which started at 600pm. If you didn't already know how we get down at these meet-ups, here are a few pics of the FABULOUS running friends I finally met in real life (IRL). 

L to R: @bengal_alumna - so fun to finally meet you!, THE @nycrunningmama - totally made my day!, eating pre-race donuts with @ejag777, @katrunsdc and @sas_rubel, @jen_wp - loves BoyzIIMen so she's cool with me!

On to the race. I was running with a little, crafty runner who likes to create out of this world running costumes. Maybe you've heard of her? It's @carleemcdot! She re-created the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign and ran with it - around her entire body! You have to see it to believe it. 

Yup, she ran the entire 5k like that. Unfortunately we didn't "BEAT THE SIGN!" One second short.

Yup, she ran the entire 5k like that. Unfortunately we didn't "BEAT THE SIGN!" One second short.

The game plan was to run fast enough at the beginning to make for a couple great photos and then ease up on the gas a little and cruise the rest of the way, but after all the excitement, it looks like we didn't ease up as much as we wanted. 

After the race we took the monorail back to our respective hotels and met back up for dinner. 

Half Marathon

At this time the past couple of years, we we're likely running a morning race at either Disneyland or in San Diego. Instead, we had tons of time to explore other parts of Las Vegas. We heard that there was a Lululemon outlet nearby and since our homie @sharpendurance was coming to par-tay in Vegas, we decided to do a little shopping. 

$20 shorts for #RnRLV runners? Yes please! 

$20 shorts for #RnRLV runners? Yes please! 

We had more time to kill after scoring majorly at the Lulu outlet so we made a short trip to visit a very special lady and her new bundle of Joy at the hospital. This was a major highlight of my weekend. Our very dear friend, @katrinaellep had just delivered her baby girl a couple of days earlier and we were blessed to get a chance to see her and congratulate her on becoming a Mom. Her hubs, Gary was out doing the awesome Dad thang and getting stuff for mom and baby. #BEST

Congrats Katrina! She's beautiful!

Congrats Katrina! She's beautiful!

Social doing social things. 

Social doing social things. 

TRUTH!

TRUTH!

After brunching it up, we made it back with plenty of time to get ready for the race later that evening. I was so excited that I even forgot to post a #flatrunner pic: 

There was a very loud #werunsocial meet-up at the pre-race concert because how could there NOT be?! Oh and what better way to do a meet-up than with the one and only Snoop dee-oh-double-gee as the background music on stage. The lighting was much better than the night before so I snapped more pics with running friends who weren't able to make it to the 5k meet up  and / or they just came in from their morning races (i.e. Disneyland Avengers). Now you see that running two half-marathons in one day in two states isn't so crazy anymore. No?

New this year from our friends at @runrocknroll was a wave start which worked to relieve much congestion at the start in the corralls it means that not everyone in your crew gets to run together. It's okay because this race is really all about the people, partying and less about the fast race times (unless that's your goal, of course). We ended up seeing friends out there on the course anyway. 

We had all the fun out there on the course and why it took 11 miles for us to grab a beer on the strip and run is beyond me! The Las Vegas Strip is only shut down twice a year and one of those times is reserved for runners like us. Running the Las Vegas strip at night is an awesome feeling and I highly suggest you register and run it at least once. 

 

A Different Perspective: The BOB Stroller for Children with Different Abilities

Asher is all smiles sitting next to his older brother, Elias

Asher is all smiles sitting next to his older brother, Elias

A speaker is a nice to have especially when our youngest is soothed by music.

A speaker is a nice to have especially when our youngest is soothed by music.

As a runner, when you have children you know the running game changes.  The days of solo running or "travel light" running are few and far between.  Being a mother runner or father runner means ushering in either a single or double running stroller and all runs with the stroller are then strength training runs, not just for the fact of the added weight, but children want interaction.  An infant might get fussy and older children are either chatty or want to stop and pick up every little speck of nature that you whiz by.  Therefore, preparing for those stroller runs takes thought.  Snacks, blankets, entertainment - which for some that means toys and others it might be a tablet or something similar.  It's all about the bonding with your child/children but also making sure those miles can happen.  

Yet, what type of planning is needed for a child who has special needs?  Does one need a specialized running stroller?  What does it all look like?  As a mom of 4 children I can tell you my stroller running mindset was flipped on its head when my 4th was born and was diagnosed with a rare chromosome deletion.  All that previous experience, although helpful was at times not helpful.  Shopping for a running stroller took more thought and consideration. Reclining options for reflux, feeding tubes, respiratory issues. Seat support for muscle tone. The list goes on.

Perfect amount of leg room and support which comes in handy for Elias to stretch when needed and Asher to have for his leg braces.

Perfect amount of leg room and support which comes in handy for Elias to stretch when needed and Asher to have for his leg braces.

When my first son was born, we had purchased a straight forward, utilitarian jogger.  The two other sons after him also used this stroller.  We packed the typical snacks, drinks, toys, etc.  When my fourth was born, he hated, yes hated the stroller.  The seat was to far recessed for him, didn't offer a lot of support and I couldn't see him at all.  We barely could get down the block without him screaming.  One day I ran 3 miles with him screaming half the time.  I was in tears, he was in tears.  I just kept thinking maybe I'm not moving fast enough, maybe he will eventually tolerate this, maybe he will go to sleep.  None of those things happened. After that I knew that the stroller had to go.  Besides the fact that he came with extra stuff - feeding machine, breathing machine, extra blankets, clothes for his reflux and so on, he did not like not being able to see someone he knew.  We were able to find a stroller for this past year that allowed him to always face me when running which was atypical because with most strollers, only infants in carriers are to able to parent face in a running stroller.  Him being 3 it was a challenge, yet him being small for his age helped him parent face for this last year will minimal stuggles. He has hit a growth spurt as of late which made him a little taller causing us to realize the parent facing time would need to transition to a conventional running stroller fairly soon.  

In comes the BOB Duallie stroller!  I will admit, at first the double stroller was intimidating.  Obviously it is so much more than a single in size and weight.  I'm not a tall woman, 5'3" at best so upon opening the stroller for the first time I was unsure I would even be able to push it. Yet, I was ready to take on the challenge of the push and of having him no longer face me when running.  The perk?  His older brother would be sitting right next to him which has proved more valuable than almost anything.  With my nerves high, I set out for my first double stroller run about a month ago and have since run 65 miles with my new BOB. 

Portable Nebulizer. Right where he needs it.

Portable Nebulizer. Right where he needs it.

I will let you know that the Duallie has been great, yes it really gives me an upper body workout, but it has been perfect in piling in all the items that are needed with a child with special needs.   There are plenty of pockets to put extra clothes and medical needs. The inside pockets next to each seat has been great to store his portable nebulizer.   Easily accessible and in the best location to use when needed.  The pockets, along with the oversized canopy make it perfect to set him up for a breathing treatment and to keep running.  Typically at a stoplight, I can set him up for a treatment when needed, fold down the large canopy that covers him almost entirely and keep chugging along down the street.  It has been a time saver when running with my youngest and he is needing a treatment. *Side note: He is very familiar with his breathing treatments and although he cannot not talk or hold his nebulizer accessories, he is very good about communicating his need for treatment and has learned how to turn his body to receive the treatment.

Wonderful oversized canopies which might be perks for some parents for napping. For parents of children with special needs it is for so much more: sensory stimulation decreased, wind protection so nebulizer machine can be used while running, etc

Wonderful oversized canopies which might be perks for some parents for napping. For parents of children with special needs it is for so much more: sensory stimulation decreased, wind protection so nebulizer machine can be used while running, etc

I should back track a little before continuing on with storage. Each seat has a sort of trunk "brace" for lack of a better word. For my child, with low muscle tone and in need of a little extra trunk or waist support it has been wonderful. He doesn't slouch or fall to the side having that little extra around his hip/waist area. 

Large basket deceptively simply but keeps things dry and debris out

Large basket deceptively simply but keeps things dry and debris out

Back to storage, the large, easily accessible basket in the undercarriage cannot be overlooked. During the past month, I have been running when it then starts to rain. Most of the time it has been a quick sprinkle but less than week ago it was a downpour. Besides picking up the pace because my kiddos were with me, all his medical needs were stored in the stroller and I didn't want them to get wet. Well despite me getting soaked, everything yes everything in that basket stayed dry. I was amazed and grateful.  

 

Another benefit, has been the multiple positions the seat can recline.  Yes, this is not a new perk and many might think how beneficial it is for their child without special needs, but I want to bring light to how huge an aspect this is to parents with children with needs.  As with many children with health and/or developmental needs, angle and reclining position make a big difference in whether the child screams the entire time or smiles or even falls asleep.  Our son has both serious respiratory and reflux issues along with developmental delays.  The first day we took the stroller out, he was fussy and had 2 big, messy reflux incidents.  I'll admit, I felt defeated.  Starting, stopping, cleaning him up (which was a struggle because he is a non mobile 3 year old so I had to hold him while trying to clean up "breakfast" with the other hand).  I wasn't sure the stroller was going to work for him.  Yet, later that day, I put him back in the stroller (yes he was fussy) and after a little over 5 minutes of raising and reclining the seat and we found the perfect angle.  Small, incremental adjustments that to some might drive them crazy, but this family is so grateful that the BOB strollers are able to recline easily and in such a variety of angles.  Since that first day, we has never (knock on wood) cried in the stroller again, has not had a reflux issue and has even taken a nap.  Winning!  

Toys clipped to the red rubber rings, food pouch on the side. We are set! 

Toys clipped to the red rubber rings, food pouch on the side. We are set! 

Just a sampling of the necessary gear we pack in our Duallie.  

Just a sampling of the necessary gear we pack in our Duallie.  

It is the small things that with use, we have come to truly appreciate about the BOB Duallie.  The red rings for toys to be clipped to since our youngest doesn't have the fine motor skills to hold items for a long period of time, not to mention his excellent skill at throwing things overboard.  I know all parents can relate to that skill.  The option of having a swivel wheel or a fixed wheel.  Swivel when we are walking, cooling down after a run is great, because it makes turning two kids and a stroller that equals nearly 100 lbs easier.  Yet, the fixed wheel while running offers so much more stability for him, a smoother ride helping him stay upright and having no reflux issues.  The high weight limit is also a perk.  It allowed me to transition the youngest from a parent facing, single stroller to a forward facing double stroller because he was able to sit next to his brother.  Without such an experience, I am not sure how the transition would have happened.  

I have to expand a little on the maximum weight and height topic just slightly.  I had posed the question: Does one need a specific stroller for children with special needs?  The answer is yes and no.  Depending on the need, but for our son who is 3, he is quite small for his age.  A specialized stroller would be extremely big for him, he would sit very recessed in the seat, little to no pockets for things that he would need and many other things.  The BOB Duallie has been wonderful in transitioning him to forward facing.  He's getting taller, he's gaining weight but he is still a little guy who is just not ready to be in a specialized running stroller.  And really, for his medical challenge, he might not be ready for such a stroller for many many years.  So we owe a thank you to our new BOB Duallie for giving Asher - giving us the next step in our stroller running adventures.   

The family, minus the husband.  How 90% of my running happens: stroller and bikes running all over town. 

The family, minus the husband.  How 90% of my running happens: stroller and bikes running all over town. 

Disclaimer: We received this stroller from BOB Gear in exchange for our honest and unbiased review. All opinions are genuine, truthful and our own based on use with a child having special needs. 

#FitFam6travels for Disneyland Half Weekend!

Yes the race weekend happened a millennium ago. Yes we could have written a recap from the expo to the @werunsocial meetup to actually running the race. Buuuuuttt, not this time. If you want to read some fun recaps you can at Carlee's page, Mike's page, or Ivie's and AJ's page to link a few. Instead, we chose a photo montage of sorts that share not only the race weekend, but our family weekend. Enjoy!

This race weekend for Paula was all about photos.  We've both run a lot of runDisney races, but stopping for tons of pictures has always been a challenge.  With 4 children and typically asking a family member to babysit, we were always pressed for time.  This race weekend, instead of running the races together we divided up our time between the 10k and the half, allowing for just a little more time to take pictures and enjoy other runners' company.

✔️ One Off the Bucketlist - Wharf to Wharf recap

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When I first started running a little over 4 years ago, I heard of a "little" race in Santa Cruz. At that time running 6 miles seemed so long. I barely could run a 5k. Yet, the idea of running in an Oceanside town to another Oceanside town seemed like a wonderful experience.  Great views and cooler weather. I had my eyes set on running Wharf to Wharf (Santa Cruz to Capitola) one day, but what I didn't know was how insanely popular it was and how difficult it was to secure a entrance. That's saying something because we are "experienced" runDisney runners and it is as difficult or even more challenging in last year to run Wharf to Wharf as a Disney race!

Registration opens in March and this year I had it on the calendar and in my phone. Since I work in the classroom, the 10am registration opening was not possible for me. Thankfully, I enlisted Dave to try his luck and sure enough I got in!!!   

As race day approached, I read and reread the race brochure mailed with my bib. It wasn't a think brochure, a trifold and the information was all in there without the fluff. I rather enjoyed the course map. If it was made as a print, I probably would have bought it. I think a lot of races should keep their brochure short and to the point.  Easy read and perhaps more people would read them. 😜.

Simple, to the point and a great little drawn course map. Oh and I included a pic of Asher's hand too. Haha

Simple, to the point and a great little drawn course map. Oh and I included a pic of Asher's hand too. Haha

As race weekend came, I somehow became nervous that I could complete the 6 miles. There is no rhyme or reason to this, perhaps a new course I would tackle solo made me more nervous than other races.  I am not sure.  I do know I am not a fan of 10k races. Never truly sure how to pace myself without losing steam halfway through. Maybe this was why there was doubt in my mind. (NOTE: This race is NOT a 10k. It is 6 miles. That's it. Not 6.2, just 6). Regardless, I had mapped out my race day outfit weeks in advance, straying from my typical darker colors and opting for pink!   

Flat runner was ready waaaay before the actual race day!  My bib was mailed to me a couple weeks prior and I already had my race outfit in mind. Excited?  To say the least.  

Flat runner was ready waaaay before the actual race day!  My bib was mailed to me a couple weeks prior and I already had my race outfit in mind. Excited?  To say the least.  

The night before the race, Dave insisted on driving the course...it was dark. Glad he did though, I got to see that it was continuous rolling hills. There really wasn't any flat point along the course aside from the almost half mile path from the start. It got me a little more nervous because I haven't been doing any work on inclines lately. Not to mention, Asher was having one of his bouts of insomnia. Fortunately the race has a later start, 8:30, but all said there would be traffic to the start line and even more traffic to the finish line. Dave really wanted to him and the kids to see me finish so I had to be dropped off early. So between nerves and Asher not being able to go to sleep until almost 2am I was not feeling my best. However once race morning came and I got a little food in my stomach I couldn't wait!  

My view with over an hour before the start. This was the Elite corral, I was in Corral A   

My view with over an hour before the start. This was the Elite corral, I was in Corral A   

They had a great live band playing some hits from the 50s and 60s.  People stood back a little farther because the volume was loud. They were right up next to our corral.  

They had a great live band playing some hits from the 50s and 60s.  People stood back a little farther because the volume was loud. They were right up next to our corral.  

Almost race time!  

Almost race time!  

The corrals didn't seem to huge when I was in them but there were only 5 corrals, including the Elite and 16,000 runners!!!  Once I heard the race director announce this, I quickly reminded myself that this race was for fun and not to look at my watch for my pace. It was a good reminder to myself right before the horn blew because the race course was congested until about mile 3. In the first half mile I almost ran into a pole and fallen into a hole on the side of the road.  

Mile 1 and the crowds were still thick.  

Mile 1 and the crowds were still thick.  

I generally don't like to weave too much in a race. I also, since I study the map, like to run on the side I need to cut the tangents. Really I study the map and try to memorize lefts and rights, landmarks for turns or narrowing, etc prior to a race. It helps me when I run to not focus on the miles but almost like I am laying out a puzzle I saw before. With this race I was weaving a lot at the beginning and having a hard time making my way around some groups. So I quickly divised a plan. I'm not a tall woman at 5'3" and petite frame so passing through sometimes can be challenging. I noticed gentlemen who would taller, broader shoulders, some heavier set than I making their way through. So I would speed up when I noticed such a man and kind of rode their tail wind. When they excused themselves through runners, I just kept on their heels to make my way through. It worked and I was able to find my groove a little after mile 2.  

Along the way though, I tried to stop and take pics. The morning was very foggy so the idealistic ocean in the background pics were impossible. They would all look like grey mist. So I tried to snap pics of bands along the way, but by mile 3 there were so many bands I couldn't keep up and decided to just cruise on the next 3 miles giving hi 5s and thanking the endless amount of spectators. It was AWESOME!   

Mile 1 - bagpipers  

Mile 1 - bagpipers  

Street performer meets runners. Full on performer mode and tried to pose for pictures when he could.  

Street performer meets runners. Full on performer mode and tried to pose for pictures when he could.  

My attempt at a beach/ocean pic. Instead soup. 😂 

My attempt at a beach/ocean pic. Instead soup. 😂 

Bands were out or just individuals who could play an instrument. I had to snap this pic for Jacob who plays the saxophone.  

Bands were out or just individuals who could play an instrument. I had to snap this pic for Jacob who plays the saxophone.  

Taiko drummers. They were playing on the beach with the ocean behind. So great! 

Taiko drummers. They were playing on the beach with the ocean behind. So great! 

We saw this truck with day before in Santa Cruz and the driver was in on the race course, in the middle of runners, with an American Flag. It was the best. I had to snap a pic for my girl @carleemcdot because his truck says "Be the change you wish to see in the world" ❤️❤️ 

We saw this truck with day before in Santa Cruz and the driver was in on the race course, in the middle of runners, with an American Flag. It was the best. I had to snap a pic for my girl @carleemcdot because his truck says "Be the change you wish to see in the world" ❤️❤️ 

This race lived up to my expectations and so much more. I heard there was a lot of spectators and bands for this race, but nothing could have prepared me for the number of bands on every BLOCK and the nearly 6 miles of endless spectators.  Seriously, the streets were lined with people cheering, whole neighborhoods making it a fun block party. It made the 6 miles seem so quick. The hills, although relentlessly rolling, I didn't notice and they didn't slow me down too much since I was smiling ear to ear and enjoying the view of spectators. The only downside, in my mind was the expense of the hotel. It is an oceanside town so hotels are pricey but it still is a sticker shock. Oh and the congestion on the race course for so long is a little bit bleh but the race overall is just great.  

My finishing time plus my half mile warm up. Official finish time was 47:53, 7:58/mi

My finishing time plus my half mile warm up. Official finish time was 47:53, 7:58/mi

As I was sprinting to the finish (thank you downhill finishing chute for about .25 miles!) I just kept thinking how great the 6 miles were and how much I wanted to do this race again. When I saw Dave and the kids, I immediately told Dave this race would be great for a group of people to do together. The race itself is affordable at $40; you might not get a medal, but a shirt, good treats and wonderful course support.  There are so many picture stops, so much music and just a great time!  It's a must people, put it on your calendar for next year to run "the best little road race in California". I'll come run it with you!!! 😉. 

Runner Safety

New and seasoned runners alike worry about their safety on the road. Whether it be in the early morning or evening, on trails or suburban streets. Time goes into researching and talking to other runners about what the safety "musts" are.   

Now this piece isn't going to be about ALL the safety necessities while out there - I will list a few - I also wanted to share possibly a "new" approach to some runners.  First some of the general basics for our family: 

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1. Be seen!  

Using reflective gear and a headlamp for those dark early morning runs or those later evening runs is a MUST. I must add that your light has to function more than a static illuminating source. Drivers need something blinking or moving with enough variation for it to catch their eye.  

2. Identification 

We use RoadID. Our entire family has identification, including the youngest. There are other companies out there such as 1BandID. Check them out - RoadID and 1BandID. Minimal cost for a huge piece of mind.

3. Hydration 

Ok now this isn't the same type of safety as the others, but it is pretty significant. Don't be fooled by temperature or season. Even in cold weather a runner can experience heat exhaustion. Hydration is key. I know not everyone wants to run with a water bottle but seriously think about taking something with you.  If you are a "no way, I hate running with excess stuff" type of runner, think about either pre-planning and stashing water bottles along your route, enlisting a fabulous friend to be your traveling hydration station (offer to treat them to breakfast or coffee 😬☕️), or plan your route with fountains or coffee shops along the way. You would be surprised at how generous places will be when they see sweaty, panting runners come in asking for a cup of water.

These are just a few safety tips. Here are a couple of articles (here and here) to get a few more tips for general runner safety and nighttime runner safety. 

We all can agree that there are plenty of safety articles to read out there. I am sure you must be thinking, "what possibly could they share that might be considered new or different?"  I promise, to most of you this just might be a different or "new" idea or approach to something you might do already.  First a little story about something that happened to me last summer.  

About a year I set out on an easy run. I can't recall exactly how many miles I wanted to do, perhaps 4, maybe 5. I laced up and told Dave I was heading to the door and left. It was early evening and still warm. Summers in Sacramento mean warm to hot weather running no matter what time of day.   I got to a major intersection stoplight, pushed the button and waited. At this point I was just over half a mile from home so my run just started. The light turned green and as I always do, I wave on the first car turning right so that I make sure the other cars see me. Yet tonight was different. I waved the guy on, he moved up, blocking the entire corner and cross walk with his car and stopped. Confused, I waved him on again and this time looked directly at him with a "GO!" face. It was then that I saw why he had stopped and that he was a disturbed young man. I have told less than a handful of people this story, I am embarrassed to even say, but this gentleman was exposing himself to me. I panicked and wasn't sure what to do. I looked away and frantically waved him on, other cars building up behind him. My mind froze. I just kept thinking I can't go forward, he has blocked my path and why are no other drivers honking?!?!  I tried to cross, he moved his car to block me. He had a goal in mind and I didn't want to give him the satisfaction. Looking back, I regret that I didn't just turn and run home, that I didn't take my phone out that I always carry with me and take picture of his license plate or that I didn't yell to other drivers or those at the gas station for help. I froze. How does one prepare themselves for that situation of unwarranted sexual exposure and being "trapped"? You cannot. He finally left with seconds to spare on the walk light (this is a major intersection where pedestrians have nearly a minute to cross). Not enough time for me to cross. I called Dave, shaken and shaking. I told him I wanted to continue my run. I wasn't going to let this guy get to me. But I really couldn't recover. I was really shaken up and scared. Yes, I was beyond upset, I kept thinking he might bring his car back around to where I was running. At the next light I called David and told him I was turning around and coming home. He asked where I was and I gave him a general area. As I was running back down a street I saw Dave in the car with the boys and he told me to get in. I think I got 1.5 miles that night and when I finally got in the car Dave wanted to know what happened but I didn't want to talk about it. Hey, like other women I've been subjected to cat calls, whistling and honking (sometimes in front of my kids who are running with me). Vulgar things and somewhat "innocent" comments (nothing is really innocent about harassment). That night was different. It was an aggressive form of harassment. One that shook me and made me rethink what I do when I step out to run. I never paid attention to the other encounters. I was a grown woman who could take care of herself. But this one incident was an eye opener. 

Easy to print out route and put them in a sheet protector. Dry erase marker makes it reuseable  

Easy to print out route and put them in a sheet protector. Dry erase marker makes it reuseable  

I started to think about who really knew where I was when I went running. Who knew my routes?  Who knew when I was out running?  How many people know that I run solo or with a stroller almost all the time?  If you are a regular traveler down that busy intersection then you most likely knew all that about me, but scarily my family didn't know my routes that well. They knew some of it, but not enough details - so I came up with this idea of a running command center as a safety post for both myself, David and the boys. In our years of running in our neighborhood, we have run and created multiple routes of varying distances. I have printed out those routes and when either of us goes on a run we can select the route, write the time leaving, pace and projected finish. We can be aware of where someone is at a given time and when they should be home. Dave doesn't run with his phone so it is important for me to know this information. In case he is hurt or not doing well.  

With this we try to enlist variation. Again, we have multiple routes and we rotate them. There is something great about routine but there is also something scary about predictability. If I run around the same time everyday, in the same location, jerks like the guy in the car above could easily predict where to see me. Not very safe. It's not safe for anyone, woman or man.  

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Don't want to print or tons of maps or perhaps your route can't be printed, then write it down for someone to be aware of where you are. 

Don't want to print or tons of maps or perhaps your route can't be printed, then write it down for someone to be aware of where you are. 

I know this takes away some spontaneity of going out for a run and letting a great time take you away, being free to run as far or as close as you want and exploring new paths. I'm not saying to never do that. I am saying always ensure there is a way people can find you, a way you can contact someone and a way to not be a target.

Consider my tips, maybe enlist your own running info center in your home. You might have a better way to do so, share it with us. We would love to hear about what you do to keep safe. The biggest message we can share is be aware and run safe everyone!   

#RnRCHI Race Recap

Where do I begin? Chicago has been a race destination city on on my radar for a long time. I toyed with the possibility of making RnRCHI a reality and it irked Paula to no end that I was being so wishy washy about booking it. So I did. 

I did my research and discovered that Chi-Town was not a cheap place to stay. Well at least in the downtown area where the major race hotels were located. After finally swallowing that pill of a flight and hotel, I was all set to plan. 

I learned from running friends that the weather in July can get, let's just say, a little sticky. I landed on Friday around lunch time and immediately felt the humidity as I left the airport to board the train into the city.

I was so relieved to find coffee after the flight to Chicago. A nice veteran police officer told me that in his 30 years of service, no one has ever said anything about bringing coffee onto the "L." All good. 

After a short walk from the train station, I arrived at the hotel. They had a room available a couple of hours before check in (SCORE!) so I was able to settle in and make the train ride to the expo with plenty of time to sightsee. Not before I unpacked my bag and discovered this though: 

Paula always hides a well wishing, motivational note when I travel. She always thinks of the little things. 

Cubano at Cafecito. Thanks Yelp!

Cubano at Cafecito. Thanks Yelp!

Finally got to meet @sas_rubel IRL! Woot!

When she's not filming she has time for expo selfies! @swappyjoe

When she's not filming she has time for expo selfies! @swappyjoe

Picking up the @plantronics BackBeat Fit headphones for a fun giveaway!

Picking up the @plantronics BackBeat Fit headphones for a fun giveaway!

I love riding trains but nothing beats walking around a city to explore. I love that there are many bridges that cross the river and you get views like this: 

I ate at Portillos and had a Chicago style hot dog that first night I was there. It was truly delish. 

I spent the rest of the night getting my flatrunner pic ready and studying up on the 5k race the next day. 

I woke up Saturday morning and as I walked to the start line I realized two things: 1) how freakin' humid it felt to me and 2) I don't have any water to drink and wash my bar down with! I bought a bottle of water from the trusty Dunkin' Donuts nearby. 

We started the 5k and I honestly didn't have a formal race plan for any of the races the entire weekend. Maybe it was because everyone else had their eyes on "racing" the 5k, setting PRs, etc. that I found myself running at a quicker pace also. I tried not to look at my watch during the race and it felt quite weird to not know where my pace was or what mile I was in. I remember seeing the mile 2 marker and thinking to myself, "I'm going pretty quick, can I hold on to this for 1.1 more miles?" I kept my pace and never found myself wanting to slow down much. I was happy with the result. 

Hey, it's @nycsweat, @david_baer and crew after finishing the fast 5k. That bling tho!

Hey, it's @nycsweat, @david_baer and crew after finishing the fast 5k. That bling tho!

After recovering in the park for a few, I walked back to the hotel to get cleaned up. I took the trek to the Navy Pier to sightsee. I picked up a bag of Garrett's Popcorn which was uber delish and took another medal pic with the 100th Anniversary Ferris Wheel at the Pier.

I made it back to put up my feet a bit before the @werunsocial meet-up that I was co-hosting with Steff and Auggie (@justrunchicago). 

We all met at the Cloud Gate, also known as, "The Bean." I was a bit worried - because it was super crowded, and it's a major tourist attraction - that we wouldn't find anyone or that people would show up but leave after not connecting with others. Boy was I wrong! The turnout was AMAZING and even in the humidity (locals say it wasn't that bad) we all had a blast meeting and greeting with each other. 

What an amazing group rocking out in the Windy City! 

What an amazing group rocking out in the Windy City! 

Congrats to Gloria on her OUTRAGEOUS 5k PR that morning and for winning the Plantronics BackBeat FIT wireless headphones. Jam on!

Congrats to Gloria on her OUTRAGEOUS 5k PR that morning and for winning the Plantronics BackBeat FIT wireless headphones. Jam on!

After the meet up, most of us went our separate ways, likely headed somewhere to eat. Chicago has tons of options for foodies but a few of us had been majorly craving deep dish pizza. We headed to a well known spot, Lou Malnati's for dinner. We waited a long time for pizza and Auggie threatened to leave before dinner was even served?! Say what? Luckily he was able to stay and eat but had to leave right after we finished eating. We strolled back to our respective hotels, bellies full of amazing pizza.

all the noms! 

all the noms! 

Good night crew! Have a great race tomorrow. PC: @blingwhore

Good night crew! Have a great race tomorrow. PC: @blingwhore

Still feeling happy and full of pizza, I prepared for the race in the morning before going to bed. It was such a fun (yet exhausting) day and I was actually a little beat up from the race and walking all over the city. Because of the fastish pace of the 5k, I told myself to take it easy for the Half in the morning. I'm glad that I did.

I woke up, again to a lot of humidity but there was a bit more cloud cover than Saturday. I made the walk to the Bean to meet up with more crew but I guess I was a bit early so i took a pre-race selfie and walked over to the corrals. We finally met up and decided that corral 4 was the place to start that morning. We wished each other good luck and were off.

A few of us stuck together, a couple stayed back a bit and we all finally settled on our race pace for the day. Richard broke off after a few miles with the group and that left me with awesome running buddies, Julie and Karla. These two are amazing runners and are great company to have on a 13.1 mile jaunt through a major city. We ran at a good pace, conversational even. But once Karla's GPS was off by almost a mile, we threw our hands up and gave up on trying to do math. From then on we enjoyed every mile. 

We all sprinted towards the finish line and completed the race strong. Not long after, a quick heavy storm passed through and we all got soaked! It was a small price to pay - outweighed by all the fun we had out there.

The weekend ended with a long flight home. I missed the boys so much and got in late that night to a house full of sleeping kids. I couldn't wait to tell them how my weekend went. I did so much these past few days and consider myself crazy lucky to have the opportunity to experience it.

What's your favorite thing to do in a new city? Sightsee, eat all the food, etc.?

#Active4Asher2016 Event Recap

Another year has gone by and we had our second #Active4Asher event. Admittedly last year, the event was "larger", but we knew ahead of time this year it would be a challenge to have things as they were last year. Mostly because the chosen day (June 13th) landed on a Monday, not a weekend. Despite this, we are grateful to everyone who supported our little guy in person or virtually.  

As a quick note, this event is not our attempt to fund-raise. Perhaps in the future it would be an option, but our real goal, or desire is to first raise awareness about Rare Chromosome Disorders (RCD) and Global Rare Chromosome Disorder Awareness Week (RCDAW). RCD affect more individuals, more families than you know and it is an isolating and lonely world. Because there are so many chromosome disorders, there really isn't a lot of studies on those that aren't as prevalent such as Chromosome 13q deletion. As last heard, only 250 cases were reported of Asher's specific deletion.

Our second goal, and one beyond important for us personally, is to spread acceptance.  So often it can be easy to judge those who are different and boy is it easy when someone sees a child acting abnormally BUT looks "normal". I have encountered many instances of rude comments by adults when Asher is having a moment. I will be honest, and digress slightly, there have been times when I chose to NOT go to the store because I am anxious about bringing him out and being judged. Or there have been times where social "meet ups" have been planned or friends ask us all to go out to eat and I tell Dave I can't go. The feeling of "what if Asher does...", "what will people say if..." goes through my head. Who should feel that way?  No one!  Therefore A4A was partly birthed from those fears or anxieties simply because we want to teach our boys and help spread the word that someone's outside appearance means very little. How someone looks does not tell others who they are, their likes and dislikes, their joy and their challenges. It is an effort to promote accepting others for WHO they are not by what they look like. With the world today, doesn't it seem valuable to teach and promote acceptance, getting to know a person and not to judge?   We think so. 💙. 

Below are just a few snap shots from our little run and we were able to share a few from social media. If you want to read about last years #active4asher recap, you can do so here.  

For everyone, every single person who got out and was active for our little guy, thank you is not enough.  For everyone who shared his story or even took the time to look up RCD, so much appreciation is sent your way. For everyone who took a moment to think about how to truly be accepting of others, all the LOVE.  And to all those who generously surprised us by offering to donate an item for our event, thank you so so much (@littlebeastling, @kookyrunner, @runningwithsd, @pavementrunner, @stephjspeer, @alwyzsleepn) We are beyond grateful and humbled by each of you and your support!  

 

Our little running group on Monday night. Thank you to @runningforcarbs, @fueledbyfrosting, @oif_vet, @regular_doc, @cassieandnick and @5t3ph517 for coming out to support. 📷: @fueledbyfrosting

Our little running group on Monday night. Thank you to @runningforcarbs, @fueledbyfrosting, @oif_vet, @regular_doc, @cassieandnick and @5t3ph517 for coming out to support. 📷: @fueledbyfrosting

Asher hamming it up!  📷:@fueledbyfrosting

Asher hamming it up!  📷:@fueledbyfrosting

Asher, for the first time, moved his own walker!  Happened on Monday, June 13th and we like to think it's because of everyone getting Active4Asher

Asher, for the first time, moved his own walker!  Happened on Monday, June 13th and we like to think it's because of everyone getting Active4Asher

*Winners of the giveaway: 

Spandit Skirt donated by @runningwithSD - @iamacouch

Werunsocial Hoodie donated by @werunsocial/@pavementrunner - @mcrunnerchris

Sarah Marie Designs/Qalo/Hydroflask/Starbucks/RoadID hosted by us with extras from @littlebeastling, @kookyrunner and @stephjspeer - @runfortoday

CONGRATS and THANK YOU!