My Three Best Friends

This post is not about running or physical health, it’s about three people that for a majority of my life have been there. This is my small token of appreciation for all their awesomeness and love:

I am truly a lucky woman. I have not one, but three best friends. I have several other very close friends as well. I have chosen to dedicate this blog to my three best friends, R, J and M or as I often refer to them my tribunal. I love them so much, and the three of them are so different, yet not and give me three great perspectives on life.

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Here we all are! J, me, R and M

So first, my oldest and dearest friend, R. R and I met in elementary school but really became close in high school. We have been friends ever since. We have been college roommates, roommates, moved across the country with each and from each other. We have been there for each other through births, deaths, marriages and everything else. We can talk daily or go days without talking, but we are always there for each other. If needed, we would drop everything to be there for the other person. When I told her I was getting married, she said, “I don’t care if it’s the Justice of the Peace, if you are actually getting married; I am going to be there”, invited herself to my ceremony and flew out. Even today I cannot actually express in words what it meant to have her there with me that day. (She is also how I met my husband, so talk about owing her big time). She is now a mom and watching her with her daughter amazes me to see this completely different side to her. She is truly amazing. She also came to Disneyland to cheer me on at my first ever half marathon when I ran Tinkerbell in 2012.

Next up, J. I have to laugh at how we met. We met through a mutual friend at a local hole in the wall bar. Honestly, we knew each other, but never put extra effort into hanging out regularly. Oddly, when that mutual friend was getting married and J and I were in the wedding together is when we truly bonded. We seriously were emailing throughout the day at work all the time (until she left corporate America). We still talk often and share a true love of dogs. She is a hobby breeder and well, I am an awesome dog mom. She was not at my ceremony, but gave me my bouquet and a beautiful tile of my grandfather so he could be there with me. She also was vital in helping plan my reception for family and friends back home. I was blessed at being her matron of honor in her wedding. She also ran Tinkerbell half marathon with me (although I am pretty sure she now hates running). Every year we have attended a yoga retreat weekend in the summer, I fly home to the East Coast and we head to Delaware. We hang out with ladies all easily old enough to be our mothers and smother ourselves with mommy love, regroup and refocus our lives. They aren’t holding it this year, so we are planning our own girls’ weekend. YAY!

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the photo tile she had made for me

Last, but by no means less significant, is M. He well, he is truly amazing, and is always able to make me laugh. I met him through work, he was my ad guy on a campaign we were running in a local newspaper and we really hit it off. Then, one day he emailed me and told me he thought I needed to know he was gay, and when I picked myself up off the floor, if I wanted I could email him back. I am pretty sure my response was… did I miss part of the email, what was the big scary news you had? In that moment, we truly bonded. He realized that I could care less about the fact he was gay, he was still my friend. We bond over hot guys, relationship troubles, our love of drinking and being inappropriate and well, our total awesomeness. I pick on him for being the only gay man I know that has no fashion sense. He is my conscience when I need it, and bless his heart, worries more about the big decisions I make then I do. The only reason I mentioned he is gay is because I believe it is because of that, that he has been able to truly show me what love is. This man loves his friends and family unconditionally. He grew up in a small town in no man’s land back East where being openly gay is still tricky. When we first met, I don’t even think all of his coworkers knew (how I am not sure). He is blessed with a family that truly loves him and amazing friends that support him. Being gay in a community that “frowns upon that” cannot possibly be easy. But him choosing to do so and not be ashamed; has shown to me what true strength is. He fights discrimination, bigotry and hate on a regular basis. He continuously holds his head up and loves with all his heart unapologetically. I admire his strength, determination and fearlessness. I have learned so much from him on love and life. Also, we can never again hear Dancing Queen without automatically texting each other. We giggle incessantly at the oddest things. In times of heartache and crisis, he has been an amazing friend and shoulder to cry/lean on. M also makes a fantastic road trip partner.

So there you have it… the three people in my life that help guide me, support me, love me, and keep me sane. The three people that help make me, me. Thank you for letting me share just a tiny little bit of them with you. To R, J and M… thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of my life. I love you more than I can say.

My First Liebster Award!

My apologies for this being a week after being nominated, it has been a difficult week for many….

Tempie from The Texas Peach nominated me for my first Liebster Award! Thank you Tempie!! The Liebster Award is an “award” that bloggers give to up and coming bloggers or to someone they think deserves recognition for their blogging. Liebster is a German word meaning dearest.  It’s also a great way to possibly discover a great new blog to read!

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 Rules for the Liebster Award

  1. Write 11 random facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the 11 questions given by the person who nominated you.
  3. Create 11 new questions.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers and mention them in your post.
  5. Thank the person that nominated you and tell the people you’ve nominated.

11 Facts About Me:

1. I share a birthday with my grandfather (who just passed).

2. I enjoy, but don’t do enough gardening.

3. I have a paralyzing fear of bridges.

4. I love running but get irritated when that is all people talk about.

5. I call my three best friends my tribunal.

6. Reese’s PB eggs are my weakness, thankfully, they are only around once a year.

7. I am obsessed with cinnamon mentos, seriously, I order them in bulk.

8. I don’t mind 98% of bugs, but ants totally freak me out.

9. I am the Race Chair for our local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this year.

10. I used to be able to gut and filet a fish… it’s been awhile though.

11. I collect Hallmark Wizard of Oz ornaments.

 Answers to the 11 Questions given me by The Texas Peach!

1. Do you have any siblings?

Yes, 3. Two sisters and a brother. I am the middle girl, my brother is the youngest. He and I are the runners in the family.

2. What is your favorite type of food?

Just one? Hmm… It’s a toss up between nut butters and cheese.

3. What’s your favorite clothing store?

Lately, Ross, Old Navy and NY & Company

4. What’s your favorite type of music?

Almost anything. Depends on my mood. I am a huge fan of jazz/blues. Nina Simone is my favorite. For running, anything with a good beat.

5. If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?

Ireland/Scotland

6. Grocery shopping- Love it or hate it?

I love it. I prepare my menu for the week, write out my list… then shop. I enjoy looking at options, finding new things. Of course, it depends on the time of day I go. I prefer it to be less crowded. My husband hates it, so when we go together it’s always an interesting trip.

7. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Still a night owl. I try to be up early to workout before work and it never happens. Unless it’s race day.

8. What are some of your favorite beauty products?

I am a huge fan of LUSH Cosmetics. I am 38 and still break out. Their face washes are gentle and effective. I use SteamCream moisturizer at night. My make-up must-haves: BB Cream, Mascara (I have light eyelashes), Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Hibiscus and Philosophy Clear Days Ahead. I am discovering a new love for elf cosmetics too, cute colors and super cheap!

9. Would you rather go camping or stay in a fancy hotel?

Hmm… most of the time camping.

10. What is your favorite color?

Green!Emerald, not lime to be specific.

11. Name two things on your bucket list.

Skydive and tour Europe

11 Questions for my nominees:

1. What is your favorite herb?

2. Most memorable scent from childhood?

3. Favorite way to treat yourself?

4. Your dream getaway vacation?

5. If you could travel/participate in any sporting event what would it be?

6. How many pairs of non-sneaker shoes do you own?

7. Beach or mountains?

8. Favorite book?

9. Your Go To song that makes you smile?

10. Coffee or tea?

11. Best vacation you have had to date?

My Nominees:

1. Becki at Fighting For Wellness

2. Erin at A Storybook Life

3. Amalia at Live Travel Eat and Run

4. Mindy at Road Runner Girl

5. Beth at Running of the Mouse

6. Krysten at Darwinian Fail

7. Kelley at She Is On A Run

8. Karen at Run With K

9. Jenn at Healthy Fit Jenn

10. Kristina at Kristina Masten

11. Abby at Back At Square Zero

Hollywood Half Marathon Race Recap

I have been excited for this race for months! Running in Hollywood, road trip and a weekend away. I was looking at options for some sightseeing and getting more excited. I was even more ready after being sick for my March half marathon, looking forward to some redemption.

 Then, on April 1st, that all changed. My grandfather has been sick since December and in palliative care hospice. On Easter Sunday, he passed away. I won’t go into a lot of detail, because emotionally, I cannot go there yet. Here is a quick recap: he was my best friend and greatest supporter. I loved him more than I can ever express in words. My heart is broken. I spent a few days back home in PA, attended his funeral, and flew home Thursday night.

 I decided that Monday (the 1st) to still go to the race. After discussing it with my husband we agreed it would be good for me emotionally. Honestly, up until Friday morning, I was unsure if I would still go. Up until the race started on Saturday, I was unsure if I would actually run it. The three weeks prior to the race were crazy: I was sick for a week, traveled and recovered from the sickness with a severe cough for another week, and then tried to deal with the grief. Guess what didn’t happen, yep… running. I hadn’t run except for intervals during a workout session while traveling for work the second week. My body and mind were exhausted, my heart numb. IMG_3323

 I showed up at the start line with the decision to finish. To honor my grandfather I would run. I honestly believed at that moment that my grandfather and my body would give me the race I was meant to have that day. I set no other expectations, even chose to safely do a 4:1 run/walk ratio to not overdo it.

 Throughout the race I felt him with me. At one point between mile 8 and 9 I felt this wave of emotion, strong enough where I took a walk break to refocus. At that moment I checked my runmeter app and realized that with my pace I could most likely PR (especially if there were no more hills). I could keep going at my pace and push it the last 2 miles to really get a good PR. Oddly enough, the moment I realized that I also realized that the PR did not matter to me that day. Usually I set and work towards a time goal, when you realize you can PR it gives you the motivation you need. I felt none of that. I shrugged, ate some chews and kept running. With the decision to enjoy the last 4.5 miles, I did just that, encouraging others, high fiving people, you name it. Just enjoying the run.

 Then, at mile 11, I came across exactly the race I was meant to have. I am giving no details on the moment other than a first time half marathoner with an injury and I met up and stayed together until the end to make sure she got the finish she worked so hard for. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.

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The medal with a shoe charm with pappy’s picture. He is always with me.

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 The after race events were fun. Taking pictures, displaying the medal, enjoying the moment, even the entertainment was great. Superhero Events did a WONDERFUL job with this race. The new course was fun (even with the hills), the race director was very present and involved with the runners and the event, the organization and volunteers were amazing. The medal is stunning. Even the after party at Drai’s Hollywood was amazing. I could rave about the race director, Superhero Events and the race for another 10 paragraphs… but this is long enough. If you are a runner, I suggest this event. A great time!!

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My friend Charlene and I, the race director Ken and his friend.

 So, no PR, a finish time of 2:44, but the opportunity to heal my heart a little and the gift of assisting others made this the best race of my career. I’ll save the PR at Hollywood for next year.

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My souvenir coffee cup!

Running Happy Hair Bands Review

A fellow Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador and a friend started the company Running Happy. These are bands that keep your hair out of your eyes during workouts and running. There are a lot of bands out there these days and in many patterns and designs. There are a few things that set Running Happy bands apart.

My hair isn’t necessarily thick, but there is a lot of it, and any band I have tried slides off, even when it says “no-slip” I cannot tell you how many hair bands I have lost while running. Another thing is that most hair band companies make one size. To me that just seems silly… not everyone has the same size head, and just because it has elastic doesn’t mean it will stay in place or feel comfortable. The last thing I need is a headache from a too tight hair band while running a half marathon!

With the band they asked a couple of questions before sending the band: hair type and if I have had problems with non-slip bands falling off. When I received this band, my first thought was to try it on and see how it fit… it felt great, a little snug, but not anything that would hurt my head by the end of the day. I noticed a clip on the inside of the band:

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This clip is to help keep the band from slipping off. I will be honest, I was a little skeptical at first, but realized that in comparison to similar bands, the clip made a noticeable difference; I didn’t have to continually readjust the band or pull it back up on my head. The elastic piece was a good size and helped keep the band snug. Who can complain about the cute chevron design? I was excited that it was something I would be able to wear to the office as well!

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I test-drove this hair band on several different runs of varying distances and different conditions. Living here in Las Vegas I often get to test products in high winds (yes that makes a difference). Happily, this band held up to every test I gave it. Stayed put and kept my hair off my face, even in 40+ MPH winds! I cannot wait to purchase a few more to round out my work/play wardrobe!!

Please check out their products and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!!

Instagram: RunningHappy1
Twitter: RunningHappy1

*Although I received this product for this review, the opinions are mine and not influenced by Running Happy.