A Treadmill That Takes You Around the World in HD

I’ve logged plenty of treadmill miles while enduring Cleveland’s frigid winters and Arizona’s blazing hot summers.  Most treadmills are pretty boring, that’s why real runners–of which I am definitely not one–always say they prefer to run outside.  I get it, really I do.  I just find it too easy to quit if I’m running outside.

I recently came across this new treadmill that may just be the perfect solution for this travel-loving mama!  The LiveStrong LSPRO2 has Passport media technology.  It sounds really fancy and complicated, but once it is all hooked up, it is amazing and makes workouts fly by!  The Passport system connects to your TV, and it communicates wirelessly with the treadmill.   The treadmill delivers a high-definition experience designed to enhance the cardio workout of even the most serious runners.  All your stats pop up right on the TV screen.  Of course, you also have the option to use it like an old school treadmill, without the Passport media technology, and your information will show up right on the treadmill.

Livestrong LSPRO2

This is unlike any machine I’ve ever tried before in that the HD quality, real scenery and ambient sounds really make a world of difference (no generic scene views!).  The LiveStrong LSPRO2 comes with both the American Southwest and Northern Italy scenery, so you can hike the Grand Canyon and run through the rolling hills of Italy in the same day. More sceneries are available for purchase. So what’s it like to exercise on the LSPRO2?  It’s tough to describe, but imagine doing a killer workout in your own personal I-MAX theater.

Pretty cool, huh?  You really need to try it out for yourself, though, because–at $2,000– it’s a big investment.  A word of warning, not all big athletic stores carry this, so call around before you spend your whole day looking for one.

Not only are you doing something good for yourself when you buy this machine, but, with each purchase of the LSPRO2, money is donated to the Lance Armstrong Foundation to support the 28 million people living with cancer today.  Awesome.

 Disclaimer: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Phix NATURAL Energy Drink

PhixLet me start off by saying that I’m a tad bit leery of anything that claims to give you energy.  I have friends that down red bull and, frankly, it scares the heck out of me.  Maybe it’s flashbacks to all those NoDoz I took in college.  Well, recently I was sent a few boxes of Phix Energy Drink Mix.  I’ll admit it, I was sceptacle.  Phix, however, appealed to me because it is natural…blending green tea antioxidants, energy-restoring NADH, and yerba maté for enhanced vigor, plus vitamins and minerals. I recently started a job where I’m anchoring a morning show.  The last time I anchored a morning show, in Cleveland, I relied on coffee to get me through the day.  It works, for a bit, but then you crash and hit a wall.  A cat-nap turns into a 3 hour slumber!

I was willing to give Phix a try.  I can honestly say, it did its job.  About 30 minutes after drinking it I felt much more alert. It was as if I had a long-lasting energy boost, without crashing…and no jitters!  The Phix packets are super convenient to take to work or the gym; they come in packets and you can just dump them in your water bottle and shake.

GIVEAWAY & DISCOUNT ON YOUR NEXT PURCHASE:

One winner will receive 3 boxes of Phix and a coupon for 25% off a future purchase. To enter, just “Like” the Phix Energy Facebook Page and Follow Phix on Twitter. Leave a comment for each and you’ll be entered to win!

For an extra entry, tweet this Giveaway:
I entered to win the Phix Energy Drink Giveaway @aMomKnowsBest. You should too! http://www.aMomKnowsBest.com #win #Giveaway @thePHIXisin

Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry below. Giveaway ends December 15th. Only valid with U.S. residents.

 

Disclaimer: MomSelect & Phix provided me with samples in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

The Benefits of Changing it Up!

change ahead

This has been a year of changes for me. Or shall I say I was forced into making some changes, and now I am embracing those changes and making new ones. I am pretty much a routine kinda girl. I find out what works, and I tend to stick to it. Some people call this anal, I tend to prefer the term disciplined. A back injury last year forced me into some physical activities that did not include running. I did not run for 3 months and then slowly added days back in, with rest days in between, a strategy that I am still employing. However, as any runner will tell you, running is addictive once you get past the point of hating every second. And the withdrawal of running also comes with a withdrawl of those little addictive endorphins, which make you feel so good, you actually forget that running is hard and you go on your next run. And so on, and so on.  So for me to go from running 6 days a week without fail(unless sidelined by pretty much death) for years, to NOT running… was going to take some getting used to.

hot yogaLike I said, I was forced to change, so I decided to take up hot yoga. This was intense hot yoga.Not just your average take it easy but the room will be hot yoga. No, it was more like power yoga at 105 degrees where they practically bolt the doors and encourage you “not to drink” if you don’t have to. I chose to ignore that part since it is already hot in Phoenix and I figure as a “runner” I know my body well and I know when it needs water and when it does not. Plus, that’s easy for you to say when you are just standing inthe front of the class telling me not to drink! Anyway, the class was so intense that it made not running a little bit less sad. Plus, part of the class was a flow period where they played four songs and you basically rocked it out as hard as you could until the seated series. I strengthened muscles I didn’t know I had. I intensified my ability to withstand some serious heat while being very activie, and I was able to unload some stress in the meantime.

And then, well, the classes became harder to get to because of my work schedule, and I couldn’t resist not pushing the poses that I wasn’t supposed to push because of my back so I took up something else. Enter CrossFit. If you have not heard of it, CrossFit is a short but intense workout (45-60) minutes that incorporates a lot of power, strength training, elements of gymnastics, fast-twitch muscle fibers, balance and coordination. It wasn’t a ton of cardio, but what we did was intense and fast. Think push ups, jump rope, deadlifts, overhead presses, box jumps, burpees, sprints with weight, etc….I was sore after Every. Single. Session. It really gave me a boost in my overall strength. I was surprised, however, how much weight some of those ladies could handle, but that many of them could not run a half mile without stopping. There was something to be said for not getting so wrapped up in one activity (for me this was running!) that you lost the benefits that come from crosstraining. Soon though, I could not resist the temptation to push myself on exercises that were not good for my back. I needed to make a change.

I then decided to do something that really scared me. I decided that I could no longer be a 6 day a week runner and I needed a new challenge. So I signed up for a half-ironman distance triathlon in Oceanside next March. Yep, I would be swimming 1.2 miles in the ocean, biking 56, and running 13.1. I’ve never been a swimmer before. I dabbled in it once for about 3 months or  a few years ago, but this was going to require some serious prep. And some extra hair washing and drying… that gets really old (yes, I am a girl). But you know what? Yesterday (after my 15th time or so in the pool), I actually enjoyed it! It started to flow and I felt that Zen feeling that I can sometimes get when I run. Don’t get me wrong, I still have goggle issues, I look really dumb in a swim cap and I am super scared for the beginning of that swim. All the hitting and kicking in the face, the feeling of getting pulled under, the shallow out of control breathing at first, it scares the heck out of me. But I think it will make the completion of it that much sweeter.

I also signed up to hike the 7 Summits of Phoenix. It was a one day, 23 mile hike that I had never done before. Normally I would be in marathon training mode and therefore would not have wanted to forgo my Saturday long run for something like this. But I did. And it was great. I did it with some fabulous friends and it was not competitive at all! I don’t even know what our time was. It was great to be physically exhausted without the stress or goals that I usually place on myself when competing.

7 Summits

I signed up to be a pacer for a “Girls on the Run” program where I run next to a 3rd grade girl for her first 5 k! It will feel so great to encourage her to do her best and to give some of my time to hopefully help this girl develop a love for running, or at least make her feel strong and able bodied in hope that she can carry that in her pocket and call on it when she needs to.

Not all my changes have been physically based. I decided to respond honestly when asked “how are you?” I decided not to sweat so much of the small stuff. I am not perfect, I don’t have to be. I can have friends over and be undecided regarding what to make. I can (gasp!), not serve an appetizer. I can let my kids dress themselves in outfits that I don’t particularly like and let them walk out the door. I can skip a workout. I can ask my husband to lighten the load. I can slow down, mess up, and downright suck. It’s okay, the world will not end.

Elenor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing per day that scares you.” And although one per day may be pushing it for me, I think there is something to be said for shaking things up a bit. It makes you sit a little straighter, pay more attention and be more adaptable. And if I fail? Well, the failure really is in the not trying.

How Vitamins Make Me a Better Me

Nature Made Vitamins

I grew up taking Nature Made vitamins. They were just part of my life. My dad always said, “Breakfast is the most important meal of thevitamin dispenser day,” and right next to that hearty breakfast was this vitamin dispenser that my parents still use.  At some point, in my adult life, I grew tired of taking all those pills and I just stopped doing it.  Then I had a baby and everything changed.  It seemed no matter what I ate, how much I slept, or how many walks I went on with the baby to “get some fresh air,” I remained exhausted beyond belief.

I finally went to the doctor and had a thorough exam, including blood tests.  He told me I was severely deficient in Vitamin D and suggested I take a supplement, along with a multivitamin.  He said it would take a few weeks to notice some results.  I could easily handle taking two pills a day, especially if they made me feel like myself again.  The energetic, happy, always on-the-go woman my friends knew me to be, and  my daughter deserved me to be.  Watch this short video to find out what happened after my second week of taking the vitamins.

http://youtu.be/Az7aK2t3-rM

Something I hear often from people is that they are just so overwhelmed when they walk down the vitamin aisle at the store; there are so many brands and so many different options!  Nature Made has a really cool feature on its website that helps you figure out exactly what you need.  It’s called a “vitamin assessment” and, after answering some questions, Nature Made recommends a customized vitamin plan that’s right for you, based on your lifestyle.  The company also has a terrific rewards program that gives you high value coupons worth up to $7 off Nature Made products, exercise DVDs and other fun things.  As an aside, I noticed the company recently came out with some new products and I’m eager to try the Skin Beauty & Wellness pack. I’ve never tried what, for lack of a better term, I’ll call a “vanity pack,” but the clock is ticking and I’ll take all the help I can get! 😉    Have you tried any products like this?  How do vitamins make a better YOU?

***Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Nature Made and received promotional items to thank me for taking the time to participate. Please vote for my entry at www.facebook.com/naturemade between 9/20/11 and noon (PT) 9/26/11.***

How I lost 30 pounds (and plan to do it again!)

Summer is coming, and everyone is working to shed those extra few pounds put on during the winter “fluffing up” season.  I always seem to work harder when I know someone is watching, so I once again joined Weight Watchers and even paid for personal training sessions at the YMCA.  So far it’s been a rough start.  I’m not sure if it’s my age, or the newest Points Plus program at Weight Watchers.  I previously did Weight Watchers before my wedding back in 2001, and I lost 30 pounds with the program.  

After joining Weight Watchers in 2001

I then joined the staff at Weight Watchers for 2 1/2 years as a receptionist and a leader.  It was a great way to stay on track, and I truly loved working for them.  I ended up leaving the job after moving and having a child.  I didn’t lose all the weight from child number one, and then after child number two…….. (you can guess).  Now, I am back to needing to lose the 30 pounds again.  Of course we all know the magic to losing weight; tons of water, eating less and healthier, and getting some form of exercise.  It’s easier said than done (as many people can attest to).  Weight Watchers helps me, because I have someone to weigh me in and keep me honest.  I am definitely one who “cheats” on my diets or gives myself excuses for starting tomorrow.  The nice thing about the new Weight Watchers Points Plus program, is that it definitely focuses more now on eating healthy and lifestyle changes than just losing the weight quickly.  I’m sure this is the better way to go for more successful maintenance.  The only problem is I like quick fixes, so now I know I’m just going to have to wait to take off the weight.  In the long run it will be better for me, but in the meantime I’m not sure I will be very comfortable at the pool club this summer.  I guess that’s just something I’m going to have to get over.  I also know that at age 36 I will not be losing the weight as fast as I did at age 26.  Darn!  That’s what happens when you get older I guess.  My new goals for this stage in my life are going to be: get healthy (by eating better and exercising regularly), enjoy life, and be happy with who I am.  No more obsessing on the numbers; just gauge my success on how I feel.  Pool club, here I come (now to find a bathing suit to be as flattering as possible so I can be as comfortable as possible)!

Just starting Weight Watchers again in 2011

 

* No more “after” pictures, just hopefully liking myself more in pictures as time progresses.  Have you had any weight issues?  What do you find is the hardest thing about maintaining or losing weight?

Kristin Wheeler

The Boston Marathon–a High Like No Other

Runners from all over the United States and several other countries are nervously preparing for the 115th Boston Marathon this weekend. The race is always held on Patriot’s Day, which is a Monday, but the city is already buzzing in preparation. Hotels are preparing, flights are full, street closures and detours have the city in a virtual lock-down, and there will be nary a seat in any restaurant that serves pasta on Sunday night.

I was blessed enough to qualify for and run this race in 2009 after a lot of hard work and early a.m. runs, but a fall on a trail run 8 weeks before the race nearly thwarted my plans. I tore several ligaments, but fortunately, after three weeks completely off, I was back at the training with 5 weeks to go before Boston. Just hearing and reading up on all the last minute news this week has me reminiscing. Qualifying times are strict, and have just gotten more so due to the popularity of the race. It was all-consuming at times, trying to qualify, but I guess that is what made it that much sweeter. Nothing worth it ever comes easily. I am certain my family was glad when I could finally lay that goal to rest.

Luckily for me at the time, my sister was already working and living in Providence, just a quick trip into the city for the race, so we had a free place to stay during part of our trip; not to mention the joy of having your loved ones around you during such a momentous occasion. We headed into the city on Sunday to hit the expo, and the fun began.

I am not typically much of an expo kind of gal, but the expo at Boston puts all others to shame. There are scores of famous runners, new gear, brand new products, ground- breaking shoe technology, and of course a beer den. I was pretty amped up in terms of being a bit jittery, and so I kind of flew through the expo, got my race packet and we moved on. In retrospect,  I wish I would have stayed longer and savored all the excitement, but I had three non-runners waiting for me and I just felt the need to get it over with.

Due to some chilly weather and the fullness of every single restaurant, we just settled in at a chain where I could grab some pasta and protein and get back to the room. My husband and I were staying right across the street from the host hotel, and my sister and brother in law were going to meet up with him in the morning to at least see me at the finish. As we got back to our hotel, I was crabby because I was a bucket full of nerves and I remember picking a dumb fight with my husband and then basically crying myself to sleep with only 5 hours left to go before my alarm went off. Not a good start. In fact, my worst pre-race day ever.

The buses leave extremely early from the city for the long ride out to Hopkinton. It was pretty chilly, about 40 degrees and they drop you off approximately 2 hours before the race at least. There is no indoor shelter, except for a small gym with people giving massages, but the lines were over an hour long, so I didn’t even try. I knew as soon as I did, the starting gun would fire and I would miss my start. I hunkered down behind some building for shelter from the wind, ate my bagel and peanut butter and banana, and tried to keep warm and calm. I had resigned myself not to worry about time or pace for this race. The goal was to get here. I was going to settle into whatever felt like a comfortable pace, not looking at my Garmin, and just run. I had music, but I wasn’t going to listen to it until the last 12 miles or so. I really wanted to see the sights, feel the energy of all the good souls who come out and cheer, take in the epic route, and just give thanks that I was able to do this thing for which I had shed plenty of blood, sweat, and tears. Literally.

I remember hearing a warning sign or somebody on a microphone, herding us toward the official starting place. There were so many people and the street seemed so narrow. I worked to find my corral and settled in. Five minutes seemed like an hour and suddenly, POP! Off went the gun. The cheers were deafening and both sides of the tree-lined streets were packed 5 or 10 deep with well wishers, volunteers and spectators. Five miles flew by, I had no idea of my pace, but it felt good. We ran through Framingham and into Natick. I high fived about 200 kids at least. This was about enjoying the moment and I sure was. Still, at some point, I think it was mile 10 or so, I thought, “Damn, I am running the Boston Marathon, but it is still hard! I have 16 to go!” I accidentally saw my time on one of the huge time clocks at the half-way point, but those clocks begin right when the gun goes off, and it takes a while to actually cross the start. So, since I had told myself I was not going to look at my Garmin, the time seemed normal for where I usually was at the mid-point of a marathon. I certainly wasn’t impressing myself by any means.

The weather temperature-wise was okay, about 43 or so with clouds overhead. However the wind was really starting to pick up. I noticed it intermittently, but then became distracted by throngs of people yelling my name (people tell you to write your name on your shirt, so I duck -taped it on and it lasted about 14 or so miles). I saw a ton of smiling kids offering oranges, popsickles, Gu’s, water. I saw thousands of volunteers with such happy faces. I saw biker bars with the occupants sitting on the outside drinking beers and cheering on runners; I saw nursing homes, with the residents blanketed up and sitting in wheelchairs on the lawn.  There were signs galore, cheerleaders, American flags, cowbells, music, and the reverberation of thousands of feet, pat, pat, pat, clomping down on the road.

After Natick, came Wellesley, with their famous females cheering and kissing any male (or female) runners for that extra high. Every single new town had new spectators. Not an inch of the course was blank. It was, in a word, fantastic. The high of Wellesley lasted a few miles and then….and then I heard my name, but it sounded familiar. I turned to see my sis, brother- in- law, and hubby yelling for me! How in the world??? If you could imagine all the road closures and the fact that none of them was familiar with the route, not to mention the timing and predicting where I would be when, well, it seemed like a miracle. They took a subway, and then got help from some cabbie who promised to get them there. I stopped to hug them all and discard my long sleeve, and trudged on. That high lasted another mile or two.

I had a friend that lived in the area agree to meet me around 17 or 18 to “run me in.” I was turning the corner by the infamous fire station and out of nowhere, there she was. We didn’t say a word at first, she just hopped in next to me, right at my pace, and distracted me as we headed into the famous Heartbreak Hill. “You could get a PR, you know,” she said.

“Huh?” I responded. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, you are on your way to a serious P.R!”

I looked down at my Garmin for the first time. Now, if you haven’t tried to calculate splits, Garmin time, miles left to go, and mile per minute pace at 18 or so miles into a 26.2 mile race, let’s just say, it’s pretty hard, and I am not bad at math. It took me quit a bit….pause, pause… “Holy s**$!!, I could PR at Boston!!!”

“I know, that’s what I told you, now let’s go!”  My friend, Kristina, kept pace just in front of me, trying to get me to chase her up the hills and trying to block some of the now 15-25 mile/hour wind gusts. “Just this little one, then you are basically done.” However, the “little one” was Heartbreak, and we hadn’t finished the rest of the hills through Newton. It worked though, I kind of kept my head down, and Heartbreak seemed like no big D.

Time passed. I was feeling the pace now, and worse, I knew what it was and exactly how far I had to keep it up. I started the mental torture….”this is hard, who cares if I P.R.? It was supposed to be for fun, I kind of want to puke, I really want to stop, it is windy, it’s starting to rain, what can I eat tonight, why am I here, is she speeding up?, am I slowing down?, I stink…..” You know, the negative self chatter in which we all engage? Well, it can get pretty nasty during mile 23 or so of a marathon.

Though it seemed like hours, soon we were turning onto Beacon street, with just a little bit to go. Spectators were bursting at the fences, yelling and screaming and cheering; at least 10 deep on both sides. People were hanging off of balconies, hanging out on rooftops. It was electric. Kelly Clarkson was beating out “Since Youv’e Been Gone” on my ipod and I could see the street raise slightly. The finish was just ahead, clear for the huge banners, blue and yellow baloons, and throngs of people and music and microphoned announcers. And then, and then, I crossed that line, arms raised, smiling from ear to ear, and crying just as quickly.

A 7 minute P.R.–not seemingly that big of a deal, but a big deal to me as my last 3 marathons had been within 2 minutes of eachother.  It was my fastest marathon to date, on a difficult course in less than ideal conditions, but the sweetness of that moment happening where and when it did, will never be lost on me. I had just run the 113th Boston marathon, and I would never forget it.

Proof That it’s Never “too late” to Find Your Passion!

Now I am sure there are many of you out there right now who are all trying to figure out how to balance your busy lives.  We are always trying to juggle a variety of things, which can include any of the following: spouses, children, working, cooking, shopping, paying bills and keeping your house running in some kind of organized fashion, just to name a few.   We can all understand and relate to these issues and then you take me, a  40 plus-year old, divorced and now single mom of an 11-year-old-boy who is also working a full-time job.  As if that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I decided to throw training for a FULL marathon into the mix.   26.2 miles!!!! 

“Have I always been a runner?”  Well, that answer would be a profound NO!  Truth be told, I did not like running when I was young.  So who would think that after all these years I would be getting ready to run my first marathon in less than two months?  Correction…ATTEMPTING to run a marathon!

It started almost two years ago, when one of my friends approached me to see if I would like to run a 5K road race.  This would be a 3.1 mile race run through the streets of downtown Providence, Rhode Island.  She gave me a training schedule, and my first thought was “Where on earth will I find the time to do this?”  I was eventually able to run about three-miles without completely passing out,  but as the race date was starting to loom over me, I woke up one morning with the worst cold I have had in a very, very long time.  It took almost two weeks for it to run its course (no pun intended), and that brings us right to the day of the race.

“How am I ever going to do this when I have been sick and have NOT RUN AT ALL?”  This thought and a million more terrifying thoughts were going through my head the whole morning before the race.  My son, my parents and my boyfriend were all there for the big day, and all that kept going through my mind was,

“Will they need to call an ambulance for me?”Tight shot of runnings shoes Well, the gun went off, and so did I.  I did eventually cross that finish line and the feeling of accomplishment and pride was so overwhelming to me.  As I was just getting over that dreaded cold bug, I had officially caught another bug — the “running” bug.

So, now we jump ahead two years, and I have run in almost 26 road races, which include a number of 5 and 10Ks, along with two half-marathons.   I will be celebrating my two-year anniversary participating in the exact same Cox Road Race in which I had started.  The only difference this time is instead of it being a 3.1 mile race; it will be a 26.2 MILE RACE!!!

Looking back now, making that decision to start running was one of the best things I have ever done for myself!   Considering how crazy life is, I was able to find something just for me which,  in turn,  has made me a happier and healthier person.   If each of you can find that “something” just for you, the rewards for yourself are incredible and so worthwhile.   This is something that may not happen overnight and like me, it could take 40 plus years to find, but once you do… enjoy it!  For all of the things we do for everyone else, we all deserve to do something just for us!!!

Photobucket

Why Runners Get Hooked

People are always amazed at how much I love to run. But it didn’t start as a love affair….it started more as a silly boyfriend you date solely because he has amazing eyes. There was only one thing I loved about running in college, and that was that it gave me a maximum workout in minimal time. Sometimes, I hated every step. I don’t remember any run being over five or so miles, and most were more like three. I have to admit, though–that even early on, there had to be that post-run endorphin thing that I got, perhaps even subliminally, because nothing else is going to get you out in the freezing sleet and snow in rural Ohio, even if it is a “good workout.” Although I was athletic in high school, running was never a part of the game.

Typical Ohio day...

Typical Ohio day...

My running started to evolve a bit as I ventured out to Arizona for graduate school. Suddenly, I was mapping new routes.

Typical Arizona day

Typical Arizona day

I found some new friends to run with, and I entered a 10k. Shortly thereafter, I entered a half-marathon, and some duathlons (running and biking), and then, finally in 2000, my first marathon. I still wouldn’t say I loved running, I wasn’t even sure I liked it. But I am a creature of habit. I thrive on discipline and routines, believing that these things actually allow me to be more spontaneous. In my masochistic mind, working hard makes the playing more fun, and then being spontaneous seems like a deserved reward.

My first marathon was everything it shouldn’t have been. Any normal person would have thrown in the towel. To start with, it was an inaugural race. This is a bad idea because the race directors have had no time to figure out what “works”. I will tell you what didn’t work….the route. It was on a rural course where we sometimes saw no one for miles. People got lost. They ran out of water. Farmers were cutting alfalfa. I had an asthma attack due to said alfalfa. Then I got rocks in my shoes and re-tied them too tightly. Then I felt my feet bleeding. Then I threw up. Then I shuffled, hot, tired, sweaty, and yes, triumphant through the finish line….about a half-hour later than my projected time. And yet,  I wanted to do it again.

I now have 8 marathons, 6 or 7 half-marathons, 2 ultras (longer than 26.2), 6 triathlons, 3 duathlons, a dozen or so other distances and 3 or so bike races under my belt. Marathons are my fave….ultras are even better….and trail ultras? Don’t even get me started.

I still don’t always love it. There are days that 4:30 am is just too stinking early. The hills seem to have gotten bigger overnight, every step feels like small tree trunks have been attached to my ankles, and I look at walkers and think, “Hey, walking seems nice….I can carry coffee if I walk.” However, more often than not, even on the days I think I will have a bad run, about half way in I remember why I do it. I remember why it is important to work hard, because hard work reaps benefits. The benefits for me are those days when I simply cherish the sound and cadence of my steps, when I can focus on praying without distraction, when I get to catch up with a girlfriend and no one is asking me for a snack, when I get to solve the oil crisis and the rest of the day seems to unfold before me, limitless with its’ possibilities. At times I am in awe of the beauty of the landscape before me, of the sun rising in the desert as I am alone on the trail, seemingly alone in the world; of the wind whipping my ponytail and the feeling of accomplishment I get when I put in 12 or 13 miles and most people have yet to rise. And don’t get me started on the endorphins. They are my Zoloft and my Prozac and my drug of choice….these indescribable little feelings that leave me smiling and content, even if I am spent.

So I would venture to say that this love affair has been a long time coming. But now, it is more like the boyfriend you love because he is good for you. He makes you feel better, he may not be perfect every day, but he will never turn on you. You love him for everything he does for you, not just one thing. He may not be easy to catch, but not much that is, is worth the chase.

How about you?  Are you an avid runner…or maybe you’re just getting started and you’re having trouble staying motivated.  I’d love to hear how you got started, your favorite race,  or any questions you might have.  Leave me a comment below!

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