Monday, December 30, 2013

New Goals and Evaluating Older Ones


Sorry for the short disappearance, I decided that I needed a slight break from any of life's obligations (even the ones I enjoy like blogging) for a short while to enjoy the Christmas holiday season!  Although I am blogging today and on Thursday this week, you won't see me back to my complete regular schedule until next week.

So I am one of the rare people who absolutely do not believe in making New Years Resolutions.  I have this thought in my mind that if only 8% of resolutions actually get made good on, why put myself into a goal situation that is already statistically going to be a failure???

Not that I think any less of anyone who does set them, because if a resolution is what it takes to get a person on the path to success or even if it temporarily gets one's life going into the right direction, I am all for it!!!

However, just because I don't believe in setting New Years Resolutions, doesn't mean I am not a goal oriented person.  In fact, every year and all throughout each year I am constantly making goals, working on them and completing them.
Since the New Year is when everyone talks about their goals and different things they are working on, I thought it would be fun to let you in on a few goals that are currently in progress, a few that I have recently started, and a few more that I plan to implement soon.

Goals I have been working on and will continue in 2014:

My 50 states & D.C. goal, hopefully by summer I will be back on track and knocking more off my list, I'd really like to be 40 states or more complete by the end of 2014. (Goal started fall of 2011)  Realistically, even if I get back into running in the coming months, it's just not possible to finish the last 19 all this year.

Blogging, I have a goal to find 1 new blog each week that I will want to follow.  I also have a goal to comment on all of my favorite blogs at least once if not more than that each week, however even though I don't always leave a comment I do also have a goal to visit all my favorite blogs and keep up with them 2-3 times a week.  (Goal started October 2013)

I'd like to do a back to back marathon.  First I tried doing them 2 weeks a part for a year, once I got the body used to that, I went for 1 week apart (last year), and those went okay enough and I learned even more about my body.  So then I tried 3 marathons in 15 days (last year), and it went pretty good until I got the flu for the 3rd one, which made the last of the three a bit more torturous.  But aside from illness, it went well and I have learned how to train my body for repetitive beatings, even in illness and stay injury free. LOL
So I do have a goal for either fall of 2014 (if my body is ready) or spring of 2015 to run 2 marathon's in 2 days (Sat & Sun).  I have only a couple of different state options to do this in, as I need the states to be close enough to travel to by car.  So with the ones I have chosen it will either be in October 2014 or April 2015, but it will take me quite a while to get my body back in shape, and then conditioned to do this and avoid injuries at the same time and if I need a little longer to do this, I might wait until fall of 2015.

Goals I plan on starting in 2014:

Getting back into running and moving past this work injury.  Although I am limited right now until the Dr's figure out everything that is wrong and corrections and recovery are made, I do have plans as soon as I get the okay to begin the gradual process of getting back into marathon shape again.

I have a weight loss goal. I know your thinking so does everyone else, but yes I do have this goal.  I am embarrassed to admit how much weight I have gained since I have had this work injury and have been unable to get any cardio in.  But let's just say the weight has added up!  Even before the weight gain, I still wanted to loose 25 pounds, and now I have a whole lot more.  I plan on taking my readers with me on this journey this year.  I have been gearing up for starting this new plan, way of eating, fitness goals on Jan 5th.  I'll share more on this in future posts, so I won't go into it too much right now.

I have a business goal, a few actually.  But my main one is for my wedding company.  I have a goal to get website updates made, and make SEO a regular weekly routine to keep up with things and keep my company at the top of the search engine keyword searches.  I also have a goal to get the business pushed out a bit more and opening myself up for even more weddings.  I've already started recruiting new help, for what I hope will be a lot busier year!

A personal goal, I have slacked off on journal writing this year, I've done very little of it.  I've got a new goal to get this going again and making sure I am putting at least one entry in a week.  Hopefully eventually I'll get back into doing it daily again:)

When I can get back into running again, I have a goal to train completely differently and much more smartly.  I plan on pushing higher weekly mileage, and I'd like to start bringing my marathon times back down again and I'd like to get a PR before the end of the year!  This goal, will likely not get started until Summer, as it will take me a while to work back up to it.  (Eventually, I'd like to qualify for Boston, but that is a goal that will have to be worked on after I finish the 50 states goal, as it is almost impossible to get amazing times whe you run so many marathons frequently!)

I currently do my dream job, owing a wedding company.  However, because the economy has been slowing the amount of money spent on weddings has dropped drastically, as so has my income.  Which means, I need another job that will provide me with the income needed to help me out.  As much as I love working at the library, let's just say it's not exactly going to make me rich:)  Besides that, it is the reason I am injured and unable to run right now.
So I have already picked the job and company I want to work for, that will be like a 2nd dream job.  I am not going to mention the name, because pretty much all of my running friends will know exactly what I am talking about.  But I can't get the job until I can run again, and once that is back into effect I will apply for this job, and I will get it!  Because I am a positive thinker, and frankly I can't think of anyone better for the job:)  When I apply, I'll have to have them read this post, LOL

Last, I had a goal this last year to read 1 book a week and I surpassed this goal.  So for 2014 I have a goal to read at least 60 books.  (Kids books won't count.)

Additionally, to go along the lines of books, I will get my first novel out to a few more publishers to see what can happen there, and I have a goal to write my first YA Dystopian this year.  But I do need to buy a new laptop first, I should get on that soon!

_______________________________

So those are just a few!  If you saw my list of ongoing goals in my journals, you'd think I am crazy.  I like to have dozens of things going on at the same time. Especially since I have lots of mini, and long term goals.  Some goals can be achieved in a short time, others take months to years.  But I have this thing, when I come up with a goal and I am determined to accomplish it, I write it in my journal.  That goal is pretty much set in stone at that point, and once I have completed that goal, I go back to the original entry and put a finish date on it:)

So that is a good synopsis of my goals in progress and those I am starting up.  Since it's Monday, and I now do All About Me Monday's, I will give you a few updates on my life.
(I know I keep telling everyone I am going to have a link-up, and I will.  I guarantee it will officially start January 5th.  I just have to get through the holiday's before I have enough time to get back into things.)

WORK INJURY UPDATE

Last Monday, I visited the Specialist and Surgeon, and although it seems like my original injury is healing nicely.  I have apparently the worst luck possible, and sometime in the past few months all the swelling from wearing the boot, cause me some additional problems.  The Dr's weren't exactly sure what is wrong, and there was no other way to tell exactly, but to send me to get an MRI.

Which brings me to today, I had my MRI this morning.  I won't get my results for a few more days, when I go back to the Dr and we go over the results in the MRI.  Since the year of the 13, has not been good to me, I think it best I have my Dr. appt in 2014.  Because then all my bad luck will be gone, right:)  Sounds good to me!
In short we have a couple of scenario's it could be:
Worst case, the Peroneal Tendon has torn and needs to be surgically repaired.
Medium, something a ligament or other is pulled/torn but not badly and may heal using other methods.
Best, a stress fracture of some kinds...  Personally since this has gone on so long, this is not a likely possibility, but they aren't ruling it out.

If your wondering why the options are so spread, well that is because this new problem even has the specialists stumped.  Which is why we need the MRI to let us know exactly.
The pain is right on the Tendon, but certain motions that should hurt (which would prove it was torn) I am able to do without any pain or difficulty, which makes them wonder if it really is torn.
The same goes for the other options, I have a few symptoms of all, but some things I can do make them wonder...  Anyhow, my Dr's are great and they are used to working with athletes of all status, so I couldn't be in better hands.

On a side note, I stopped doing my physical therapy about 5 days ago.  I know probably not the wisest!  But, oddly although it's not making me progress in the original recovery issue.  I have noticed my newer issue hasn't been bothering me quite as much since I stopped and the swelling has gone down considerably.
I stopped on my own, this was not Dr. recommended, but technically since I never asked them either way, who knows..  Sometimes I think you have to try new things on your own with your body, so you can go back to the Dr and Therapists and give them more details on what to work with.  After all, they may be Dr's, but our bodies are ours, and we know them best.

Okay, that is probably enough for today.  If I let myself I could go on and on and bore you all considerably:)  If you're not already:)
I hope you all had an amazing Christmas (I did!) and I wish you all a Very Happy New Years!!!!
May all your goals, plans and even resolutions bring you lots of joy and happiness!!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mid Winters Eve Giveaway Hop

I am excited to be a part of this giveaway hop, hosted by Bookhounds & I Am A Reader Not A Writer


To enter the giveaway on my blog, I am making this super simple, just give an honest ranking of my last review.  That's it, and then your entered.  



If you'd like, there are a few additional ways you can earn extra entries, but they are completely optional.

Then when your done hop on over to the next blog and enter their giveaway.


On my blog 1 winner will get the option to pick a book they would like sent to them a book on your wishlist (up to $15).  Or winner can choose an Amazon.com gift card.





a Rafflecopter giveaway

<!-- end LinkyTools script –>

Friday, December 20, 2013

Exercise in the form of Physical Therapy

Since my Physical Therapy has progressed quite a bit since I originally started I think 7 weeks ago now.  I thought I'd share the exercises with you all.

To be honest, they are great for anyone who might need to strengthen their calves and ankles to help prevent foot and ankle injuries.  As well as really help strengthen & build up your balance, which is great for anyone!



So it may not sound like a whole lot, but its a vast difference in where I was 7 weeks ago, not to mention 11 Months ago!!!
On the good note, the original work injury (Achillies Tendon) is really responding well, and I rarely even notice a problem with it anymore.
Monday, I will find out about the new issue, which is if my Peroneal Tendon did in fact tear and will need surgery to repair it.  But my hopes are high, and I am really hoping for no surgery!!!  *Fingers Crossed*
On the good side, none of these new exercises hurt that portion of the injury, these were all given to me specifically to avoid any pain at all.

In case, your not familiar with the above exercises by name, and you may like to incorporate them into your life, here are a few pictures below that give you a better idea.
However, I should note especially if you have an injury, or weak calves.  You should not do any of these with any pain, and only do them at a level that causes no pain.

This is a simple stretch, but the key is to only stretch to fell a pull
Do not overstretch this.

These look pretty self explanatory, however you use one leg to balance on
when you do these, the other leg does not actually touch the ground.
Try not to use your hands on anything, and practice the dips to balance.
(however if your injured like me, one finger on a wall helps:)

For these use a Theraband

Hip Abduction - Hip Extension - Hip Flexion - Hip Abduction
For these you will need a plastic tubing, I attach mine to a chair leg and
the other portion around my ankle.

For these the key is to take them slow, and use balance and strength
Do not hold onto anything if at all possible.
(Unless if your injured, then one finger on the wall helps at times.)

So that's is!
Being injured has taught me a lot and when I can run again, which I hope will be soon.  Even though I was not injured running, I plan to take a wiser approach with everything and that includes running and all cross training activities.  That wiser approach will be in the form of making sure that I pay attention to potentially weaker area's of the body to make sure I keep them strengthened so that even if I am at work lifting or pushing a heavy object, or playing with my nieces and nephews things will not pull too much and hurt me this bad again!
That and I've become a huge advocate for paying attention to your body and listening to it, resting when needed, and taking the correct approach to injury recovery.

I hope you all are ready for the holiday's!  I love this time of year!  And I don't care what the media says about what is and isn't politically correct and how we should say it.  I would like to wish all of my readers,
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Runners Spotlight Let Me Introduce Heather

Today is Spotlight Thursday

This week I'd like to introduce Heather. 
I asked Heather several questions, to tell part of her story and introduce you all to her 

Heather Blogs At:

Tell us what distances you like to run?

The Half Marathon is my favorite distance as it is just long enough to require a commitment to training but not so long enough that the training takes over your life like marathon training sometimes can.

How long have you been running?  Or at what age did you start running?

I have actually only been running since early 2012.  I was 32 at the time.

What made you want to become a runner?  What is it that keeps you at it?

Two of my best friends kept telling me if i wanted to lose weight and lower blood pressure I needed to take up running. Once I started, I just fell in love with the sport.  It gives me a chance to live in the moment and clear my head from all that is going on in my life.  I also get to travel to new and interesting places and me so many fun people along the way.

You enjoy running half marathons, tell us what made you first want to try that distance?  

Honestly, I took up half marathons as an excuse to go back to Disney World. I signed up for the Princess Half Marathon first.  Once I realized that you get some fun bling and that there are half marathons all over the place, I decided this was perfect for me.

What has been your favorite race and distance you have run?  Tell us why?

My favorite so far was actually a 2 race event. I completed the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland in Aneheim, CA this past Labor Day. I ran the 10K on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday.  It was tough and challenging doing two races back to back but it was great fun and I got to visit the west coast for the first time. Being a big sports fan, I loved running through Aneheim Angel Stadium during the race.

If you could run any race in the entire world, where would it be and why?

I would love to do the Boston Marathon as it is the oldest marathon in the country.  I will probably never run a full marathon as my body just can’t take the stress but it would be fun to run Boston.

Do you run for fun?  Or run to compete?  Both?

I run for fun.  I am by no means a fast runner and manage to run the half marathon distance using run/walk intervals.

Have you experienced any trials/injuries/health issues that you have had to overcome?  Tell us about them.

The hardest thing I’ve done was the Dumbo Double Dare over Labor Day. I have battled with plantar faciatis for most of the summer which slowed my training down considerably. I ended up walking half the 10K and walked the entire half marathon.  It was painful at times but I managed to make it through the races without needing medical attention and took a well-deserved month off of running to heal.

Tell us what crossing the finish line feels like to you.

If someone were to video a close-up of me crossing the finish line, I would probably be crying. I am usually so relieved that I made it another 13.1 miles that I just start smiling with tears coming down my face as I cross the line.  

Have you ever ran a race in costume?  Would you?  

I love playing dress up.  While I keep is simple such as fun socks or a hat for most races, I go all out when I do a Disney Race. I dressed up as Belle for the Princess Half Marathon, Alice from Alice in Wonderland for the Disneyland 10K and Marie the Cat from the Aristocats for the Disneyland Half Marathon.

When someone asks you why you run, what do you tell them?

I would tell them I run because it is a great way to stay in shape and fit in my skinny jeans. It keeps my blood pressure low and, maybe, lose a little weight. It relieves stress so I’m not tempted to hurt people and allows me to enjoy the world around me.

Do you hope to be a lifelong runner?

I hope to still be running half marathons decades from now.  I want to be the type of person who would run races with their kids and maybe even grand kids one day.

What is your favorite kind of running, solo running or running with a friend or group?

I prefer solo running as I am slow and run/walk as opposed to just running.  Though it is fun to do some shorter distances with friends or family who are not runners.

Do you listen to music while you run?  Give us the top 2 running songs on your play list.

I never run without my iPhone and Yurbuds earbuds. My top 2 songs of the moment is Applause by Lady Gaga and Monster by Eminem.

Do you cross train?  What types?

I love doing yoga as it is a great way to get some strength training (with your own body weight) and stretching.

What other hobbies/sports do you do besides running?

I love scrap booking and photography. My husband thinks I’m a little obsessed with pictures and saving moments but I know one day I will be able to sit with my grand kids and tell fun stories of my adventures when I was younger.

Do you have any tips of suggestions for someone who is thinking of starting up running?  

The first step out the door is the hardest.  Also, it doesn’t matter how fast your run or how far..the important thing is that you run.

What is your must have running accessory?

My pink Garmin Forerunner 10.  I never run anywhere without my GPS set to my run/walk interval

What is the best thing you have learned from being a runner?

Perseverance. You can’t give up just because it is hard.  

Favorite pre and post run food?

I typically don’t eat right before I run.  I just make sure I’ve had balanced meals throughout the day or the night before. After a run, I will usually have a glass of protein shake (I use Elite Fusion 7) for a shorter run and a Smoothie King smoothie (I love the Lean 1 Chocolate with peanut butter) for the longer runs.

Water or Sports drink?

Both.  I usually run with a sport drink in my water bottle but after it’s gone, I drink water the rest of the way.

What do you do with your race t-shirts and medals?  Do you do something unique with them?

At the moment, I wear my shirts to run in and my medals are sitting on my desk at home. I hope to make a racing shirt quilt once I have enough to do so and that Santa will bring me a wall medal hanger for Christmas to hang all my bling on.

Tell us something unique about you.

I am a huge sports fan (I love all the Atlanta teams).  I will watch any sport on TV or in person that I can - including races. I even DVRd the NY Marathon on ESPN to watch after church that Sunday.



You can find Heather Blogging at
You can also find Heather Via her Facebook Page:

And on Twitter @divasrunbling

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater

I'd had this book on my "to read" list for quite a while.  After the first 20 pages I was glad I had finally gotten around to it.  Once I realized how much I was enjoying it, I was even happier that I had waited long enough that all the books in the trilogy are out and I wouldn't have to wait forever to find out what happens next.

Grace lives near the woods in a small town in Minnesota.  She's spent her whole life watching the wolves in the woods from her home.  One particular wolf she's always felt a connection too, this yellow-eyed wolf, she calls her wolf.

Sam lives two very different lives.  A short time each year during the summer months he is human.  The rest of the year his life is spent as a wolf.  He's kept a silent watch on the girl he loves, but has never dared to make contact with her since he knows it would never work.  But one day, a shot rings through the air and Sam for the first time shows himself to Grace.

Shiver takes you on an adventure between the lives of humans and wolves.  A love between two individuals that shouldn't be possible is and that means a fight to keep what they have now found.  Sam must fight the cold that is threatening to take him away forever, and Grace must fight against Sam's threats from his past.  Together, they search for answers, and take advantage of every moment, because each moment could be their last.

Shiver, is filled with young love, twists and suspense.  Uniquely written, I have not read anything like this before.  However, I can see how this novel would appeal to Twilight fans, even though it's nothing like it.  Shiver, sweeps you off to a unique fantasy world between humans and wolves and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.  I found it to be a quick read, and feel this book would appeal to anyone over the age of 15.  It's also quite clean, you won't have to worry about inappropriate content.  If you'd like a great read, that will allow your mind to escape reality and into romance and fantasy, I highly recommend this New York Times Bestseller Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Travel Tips


I'll begin taking you to different locations again the first Tuesday in January.  But this week, I thought I'd offer you a few of my favorite travel tips.



AIRLINE TRAVEL

*  If you're planning in advance, don't book airfare the first day you look.  I have found Wednesdays seem to be the cheapest day to book airfare.  I have found that weekends are the most expensive days to book airfare.

*  Travel sights may not always have the best deals.  If your a frequent traveler, you'll want to use your rewards cards, these tend to be more beneficial as far as return.  If you are just traveling once or twice a year, travel sites may be of benefit to you.  But just because you see a great deal by them, doesn't mean you can't get an even better deal booking with the airline or hotel directly.  I always call and say, I saw this deal on **** travel site, can you beat it, or should I book with them?  They have to pay those travel sites money on those bookings, so I have found most of the time they will match or do better.  However, I have also been told by a few, that the travel site offers better deals then they can do.  So just shop around a little!

*  If your going to become a frequent traveler, or even travel 3-4 times a year.  Sign up with a rewards program.  I have found I can get 1 or 2 flights a year free just from being in them.  Additionally, I have been able to fly first class for free more often than not, because of being in the rewards program.



HOTEL BOOKING

*  First cheapest is not best!!!!  I would rather pay an extra $50-$100 a night to insure that I am in a bed bug free, cleaner room.  But that is me.  If you are searching for hotels, and you see a rate that is ridiculously cheap, chances are there is a reason for it.  Check for reviews, I prefer the reviews on sights like Expedia and other travel sites, because those I know come from actual people.  One thing is certain if a person has a bad experience, they will come back and talk about it.  Rarely do people post good experiences.  So I search and if I find very little to no negative, then I know that is a place that is likely okay to stay.

*  Hotels also have cheaper rates at different times during the month.  For some reason I've noticed cheaper rates on Thursdays, and not around Holidays.  However, I won't commit to only that date, as I have also found the same similar lower rates on other days mid week.

*  Check for deals - Some hotels have a book 3 nights get 1 free.  I love these!
Look for Free Wifi, Free Breakfasts, Free Parking.  Additionally some hotels can offer discount packages to area attractions.

*  Check the details when booking.  You find a hotel that has a great rate, but forget to look at the fine print and show up to pay $40+ a night for parking, $15 a day for wifi, forced valet and a bunch of other charges you don't really need.
So look into this first, FREE PARKING is something I always search for.  Additionally to free parking, I prefer places that let me park my car rather than pay for Valet.
(Note: If you do have to pay for Valet, I highly recommend when they take your car you give them $1-$2 (This is the average tip rates for valet).  This sends them away to park it in my opinion with a better motivation to not ding the car up!



CAR RENTAL

*  My biggest tip is, book online and only book the cheapest vehicle.  (Unless you absolutely know you'll need a large van or truck.)
Second, say no to all the extras when they try to upgrade you at the rental center.
Why do I suggest this.  Well last year of the 14 cars I picked up for rental and originally only asked for the cheapest car.  I only once ended up with that cheap car.  In fact sometimes I said no to all the upgrades and then the person handed me the keys to a nicer vehicle and said "Well we are out of those cars, so it's your lucky day, you get a free upgrade".

*  Bring your own GPS.  You can rent these with the cars, but this can cost you $6+ a day and that can add up.  So if you already have one, just use your own and save yourself the money!
TIP: Always bring a detailed map with you!  GPS can sometimes take you off the main path and sometimes has a tendency to take some very scenic (no one around) routes.  Keep a map handy so you know to reroute yourself if good old GPS tries to take you into the boonies:)

*  When you pick up your rental car, make note of all the dings (even small).  I have found that some rental places will have just washed a car and it hides the dings.  Also at night, it can be hard to see dents and stuff.  So take your time and look it over before leaving.



PACKING

*  I noticed years ago, I always took way more than I actually needed.  So I started packing differently.  You may or may not like my tips, as these are only suggestions.

*  5 days or less I always pack everything into a wheeled carry-on, and I put any extras into a smaller backpack.  That way I never have to deal with lost luggage, I can take everything with me.
My best packing ever was I packed for 12 days in 1 carry-on and a backpack!

*  I like to wear the same clothes on my way there, and on my way back.  So I call this my airline outfit.  Saves space on a separate outfit.

*  Roll socks and underwear up into your shoes or roll into the spare area's left after you pack.

*  If I am going for 5 days or less, if bringing jeans I will wear them more than 1 day and just pack a new shirt for each day.

*  If you are going somewhere like a beach or place where you know you will need more suitcase room, or if you are going somewhere that you know you'll be bringing lots of stuff back with you.  That is when the extra checked on luggage is needed.
On your luggage, make sure to make some big noticeable mark on your bag, maybe colored X of fun tape.. something easily distinguishable.  Chances are a dozen people will have a similar bag, and it's so much easier to grab yours if you have some type of mark on it, so you can grab and go quick:)

*  Always put your name and contact info on all pieces of luggage, even your carry on!!!



PLAN A FEW THINGS TO DO AHEAD OF TIME

*  Arriving somewhere new, and just going wherever is always fun.  But if you don't have an idea ahead of time of what is in the area, you might miss out on something incredible.  So find a few things that you might like to do, and grab any info on them that may be helpful.  How far of a drive from where you are staying, cost, hours of operation, if reservations are required.

*  Although it's great to have a few options of places to see.  Make sure to leave yourself time to relax and do whatever!  Some people like to plan out every minute of their trip, which is fine.  But I have found, that having some free time, and relaxation time is sometimes just as great as going non-stop.



RACE TRAVELING

Because I am a runner, and do a lot of race traveling trips, here are a few things just for those traveling to races.

*  Book a hotel close to the start line.  Yes they will cost more, but races start so early in the morning and some places there are dozens of road closures.  Why deal with hassle and stress when you're already full of nerves for the race.  I prefer booking one that either I can walk a few blocks or less than a mile to the start, or one that has a pick up bus at.
Sometimes I book a hotel close to the start for 2 nights and then, move to a different less costly one for the rest of the trip.

*  Plan a way to get from the finish line back to your hotel.  Whether that means bringing cab or bus money, or checking that the race offers a free shuttle.  Or maybe park at the finish and take a shuttle to the start..  If you plan this out ahead of time, the day is so much less stressful!

*  Pack all your race gear first, and make a check list so you can cross check as you pack that you remember everything.

*  Print out to pack and take with you any expo details, waivers etc....

*  Leave room in your bag or suitcase for things you might pick up at the expo's or souvenirs.

___________________________________________

Okay, so there are dozens of other tips and suggestions that I could mention.  But this is a pretty good basic list to think about when traveling.


Monday, December 16, 2013

All About Me Monday's

You may have read my post a few weeks ago, when I announced I was changing my Monday posting schedule to "All About Me Monday's".
Starting next week there will be a link-up where you can link up any post that is about you.  In the link-up it would be great if you'd visit other blogs who linked up, but it is not required.  However, anyone who links up has my personal guarantee I will come visit your post and comment!

INJURY UPDATE

So I waited a little bit later today to write up this post.  The reason for it is to share an update on my work injury.  I haven't spoken about it for about a month, so I thought now would be a good time to share some details.
As a rough recap for those who are new, I have been out on injury for 11 months now.  Wore the lovely boot for 10 weeks, and have been going through Physical Therapy for the past 6 weeks.

First.  The original injury (Achilles Tendon) is doing really great, and has been responding quite well to the 40-60 minutes of Physical Therapy I do each day.

The bad, well 2 weeks ago I was told that it is very likely I have now torn my Peroneal Tendon (same foot).  I was immediately asked to go get fitted for an Orthotic called Arch Rival.  Which I have been wearing for 2 weeks.  The hope was the Orthotics would make the pain go away.

It didn't, and the PT went and spoke to the Surgeon Specialist while I was doing my other therapy today and I do need to keep my appointment next Monday to find out if it is in fact torn, and then if surgery will need to be required to fix it.  (I am praying for no surgery!)

How did it happen?  Well besides the fact I am cursed with bad luck in this year of the 13....  When I was wearing the boot to heal the original problem.  The boot caused strain on the peroneal tendon and it was swollen for months.  After I took the boot off, the swelling eventually went down a little but things were apparently strained and anything could happen...  Now that is my version of how it happened, the doctor may have more to say, but that is the just of it.

So wish me luck on that front, as I am itching to get back to running!!!  So badly, I even ran down 6 stairs the other day forgetting for a second I wasn't supposed to and it felt amazing:)  (Shhhh don't tell the PT)  Luckily I only ran down them, my foot would never support me running up them, it would just give out.

MUSINGS OF THE PAST WEEK

So sometimes working in a library, can be kinda amusing.  Especially for a people watcher like myself.  So here are some oddities I witnessed last week.

First keep in mind DVD's in a library circulate 100's of times, and who knows whats on peoples hands when they handle things.  (I re-apply hand sanitizer every 30 minutes just for that fact.)
So this guy comes up and says, "Oh, I think this DVD is scratched" (Big surprise a publicly viewed dvd scratched??? LOL)  Then he says, "Wait I think its just dirty" and then he proceeds to lick the dvd, with his tongue and walk away from me to go check it out."  GROSS!!!

Second, a guy and a girl are on I'm guessing a first date at the library.  (????) So they are walking around and browsing, and it's completely obvious that the girl is totally into the guy, and the guy is NOT into her.
So she's going around asking him some of the dumbest questions with the giggly girly girl laugh and he decides to respond to her each time in the crazies ways.
 She would ask questions like, what do you think of this book?
He would reply, well according to blah (insert name) blah's theory or blah, blah blah.. I don't see the theoretical blah blah blah..   Personally, I don't even think he was making sense and he never answered her questions.
But she didn't seem to notice she would just giggle and say, oh your so smart...  I was cracking up listening to him, they went on like that in front of me near the book sale for about twenty minutes.

GIVEAWAY WINNER

I hosted my first large blog hop giveaway.  The winner is announced HERE.
There were 23 blogs offering 23+ different giveaways and we all linked together for a blog hop so one could enter one giveaway and then immediately click to go to the next giveaway.

So I have a few questions, for those who participated in the hop, or entered the giveaways in the hop:
1.  If you participated in the hop, did you like it, is it something you think I should do again?
2.  If you entered the giveaways, did you like having all the blogs linked up?
3.  No matter how you participated.  Do you have any suggestions or tips that you'd like to share, to help me make future hops better?

Well, that's about it for today.  If you have a blog post about you or something about you and you'd like to link up, check back next week for a link up!

Hope your all enjoying the holiday season!!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Burning Sky By Lori Benton

Something you should know about me, I absolutely love stories about Indians and times during the frontier days.  After I read the first page, I knew I was in for something fabulous!  Lori Benton wrote Burning Sky with such passion, that you can tell she put a lot of thought not only into the plot, but as well in her writing.  Be prepared to be swept away to a different time in America, right after the Revolutionary War.  A time when destruction and harsh life are inevitable.

Willa Obenchain was taken from her home when she was fourteen by the Mohawk Indians, she learned to live among them for twelve years.  Content with her life, until illness and war take her husband and children from her.  Having her heart broken and the life she knows now taken from her twice. She decides to set out and go back to find her frontier New York home again.  But home is not as she remembered and Willa is not embraced with welcoming arms.

Willa is a white woman who is battling a life between two worlds, a life as an Indian and the life she was originally born into.  After she showed kindness and helped a man in need, she brings with her a new friend Neil McGregor.  After arriving home, she learns her circle of friends is nothing but quite small.  Hammered with questions, distrust and dislike, she is not at all welcomed back by the townspeople and she is finding it hard to find anywhere where she can fit in.

This novel takes you on a richly historical journey and will tug at your heart as Willa goes from one life to another and learns both self discovery and redemption.  You'll feel for her as she attempts to overcome her past and let the future and the possibilities of a new love into a new future.
This novel is quite long, filled with lots of details.  If you enjoy history, the American frontier as well as stories filled with hope and romance, then you'll love Burning Sky by Lori Benton.
I highly recommend this novel and found it to be appropriate for any age group, however because of it's size, it may be enjoyed more by readers ages 18+.




I'd love it if you'd take a minute and rank my review below:


Disclaimer:  I was provided with a copy of this book to read for review.  I was not asked to write a positive review, only for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Winter Running Tips

I've noticed a lot on social media and even on blogs that a lot of runners are curious about the best ways to get through winter running.  Here in Utah, we've been having highs around 23, and lows in some area's -17 and with a lot of the rest of the country about the same, this is a perfect time to talk cold!



I love running in the winter!  Sure living in Utah, it's not always a daily possibility.  But when it is, there is nothing better than going out for a winter run in dusk or dark, with the snow falling down around you and the only sounds being your feet crunching the snow.   Okay, so that might not sound ideal to you all, but it really is a great moment when all those big flakes are coming down on you as you run in the peaceful quiet surroundings that only the cold winter air can provide!  (Good memories, that I am missing this year!!!)

I have a few tips that may help some of you, and possibly a few you may not have heard of.  They may not be ideal for everyone.  I know a lot of runners who go straight for the indoor tracks and treadmills and don't come back out until the sun has the tulips sprouting up out of the ground.  But for those of you who love the freedom of the outdoors, here are a few suggestions.

1.  (When possible) Check the weather, and pick the best time of that particular day to go outside.

2.  Dress in layers!  More layers the better!  You can always take something off and tie it around your waist as you get warmed up.  Invest in good winter running gear!  Like all things, a little extra money is well worth it when comfort is concerned!

3.  Wear mittens.  I know you're thinking, who still wears mittens?  Well those light gloves that separate your fingers, do just that they separate and when they are not together you loose heat from them.  I have found that mittens are the best, my fingers stay together and the heat stays in them much better than when I am in gloves.

4.  Wear a bandanna, scarf or something to cover your nose and mouth.  I prefer a bandanna because its easier to tie and keep in place.  I can easily pull it up over my nose when needed and when I get to warm I can easily drop it back down to just cover my mouth, or when needed off completely.  The thing about winter running is, you can be warm one minute and cold the next, so it's best to have something that can go up and down easily and not drive you nuts by having to find ways to keep it in place.

5.  Be careful on the ice!  Easiest way to twist an ankle and tear a tendon is to slip on ice!  You might find it better to run on snow rather than a shoveled sidewalk or road that has black ice.  A couple inches of snow is usually the best surface, in my opinion.  If possible, add slip grabbers to your shoes.  They won't prevent all slips, but its better than just the rubber of your shoes.

6.  Wear a hat, and cover your ears!  Lots of heat escapes from your head and there is nothing worse than getting cold frost bit ears early on in your run so all your mind is thinking about is how cold your ears are!  

7.  If it's cold and windy, take a windbreaker jacket with you to put on over your other layers.  We all know nothing cuts through you faster and worse than running through freezing air!

8.  Slow down, winter is not necessarily the time to be working on speed work.  Slow down, enjoy your runs and reduce the risk of injury from the cold!  Think of winter months as a time to maintain your fitness.

9.  If you have an injury in your legs, slap one of those heat packs on it.  When I do this I don't stick them directly to my skin.  (Did that once, and I lost all the skin when I had to peel it off...)  What I have found works best is wear some spandex or snug fitting item and stick the heat patch directly onto it.  Then put your regular running pants on over it.  This will help keep that area or muscle heated up and reduces further risk of pulling it worse in the cold.  I have found this works great with bursitis, hamstring and other like injuries!

10.  Wear moisture wicking socks.  In case you get running through too much slush, a great pair of socks will help save your feet a little from the elements.  Some who deal with cold rains have even found running with good socks and then plastic baggies over them help (I haven't tried this, just know a few who have.)  But I don't know about you, but I would try to keep that for shorter 1-6 mile runs instead of longer runs!

11.  Don't run in white or light colors.  This is winter, people are already blinded by the bright sun on the snow so you don't want to blend in.  This is the time to break out your darker running apparel!  On a side note, those darker running clothes will also help draw in the heat a tad better too!

12.  For running in the wind, use Vaseline or body glide on your nose and cheeks and even forehead to avoid the frostbit.  Keep lots of chapstick on your lips as well!  When the temps never get above the teens or low 20's, and a wind or breeze kicks up, its just cold.  This will save you a lot of red frozen spots, and as a bonus helps keep your skin from drying out.

13.  When your done with your run, change quickly and don't hang around outside for too long after.  Once you stop running that sweat will quickly make you cold.  I even have found its best to get home and change quick before I do my post run stretching!

14.  For those training for marathons in the winter.  Plan a warm trip to do your long run.  For instance, living in Utah generally if I was to drive 4 hours south to the southern end of our state is is a good 10-20 degree's warmer.  5 hours puts me almost to Vegas where its 20+ degree's warmer.  One night away for a long run to avoid frigid temps is a great idea and who doesn't love a little getaway!

15.  When in doubt, call it an indoor run (or cross train) day.  When the temps dip to 5-10 degree's or lower and you add a windchill to it, it can just be nasty!  Additionally the air quality can get pretty bad on days like this, so when in doubt just stay inside!

16.  Try something new.  I love snowshoeing in the mountains in the winter and let me tell you there is nothing that will kick your butt more than going for a run in snowshoes!!!  You can actually strap them on over your own running shoes.  If you don't own a pair, you can rent them for around $5-$8 a day from sporting goods stores.

When is it too cold to run outdoors?
Well that is a personal question!  People that live in the south might think anything colder than 35 is freezing.  Those of us further north might not get discouraged until the temps dip into the single digits.  Heck I met a guy from Saskatchewan who once told me he'll run outdoors even when it's -40 degree's below... (Personally, I am not sure if I believe him, but they do have outdoor races there in the winter in those temps (I checked, LOL), so maybe it's true:)
For me, I think anything 28-35 is absolutely perfect winter running weather temps!  I love to dress up in my cute winter running gear:)



I could probably go on, but those are my wide range of winter running and best practices tips I have found that help keep me running outdoors throughout the winter months.
Happy running my friends!

Do you have any additional tips you like to add?  When is too cold for you to go out for a run?

Also, if you haven't already CLICK HERE to come and see the Health and Fitness Giveaway blog hop.  There are 23 blogs who linked up together in one large blog hop, to offer 23+ different giveaways all health and fitness related! 






Thursday, December 12, 2013

Runner Spotlight, Let Me Introduce J.J. Hensley

Today is Spotlight Thursday

This week I'd like to introduce J.J. Hensley. 
I asked J.J. several questions, to tell part of his story and introduce you all to him. 

J.J.  Blogs at
J.J. Hensley


What are your favorite distances to run?

My favorite distance is the half-marathon.  I think it's the perfect test of speed and endurance and is long enough to really get a feeling of satisfaction out of it.  I like the 10K as well, but still prefer the half.

The way I see it, if a 5K is the equivalent of a short story and a Marathon is War and Peace, the Half-Marathon is the perfect mid-sized novel.  It's short enough to keep your interest, but not so long that you can't wait for it to end.

How long have you been running?  What made you want to become a runner?

I've always run some because of sports of my background in law enforcement, but I didn't become serious about it until I suffered a neck injury in 2006.  The injury kept me from lifting weights and performing other exercises, but running didn't seem to bother me.  The next thing I knew, I was cranking out 7 or 8 miles at a time and was totally hooked.

What is the furthest distance or race you have ever run?

The longest I've gone is a full marathon.  While I'm intrigued by the thought of ultra-marathons, I keep thinking back to a magazine interview I read with an ultra competitor.  The journalist asked the runner the question:  "What is the strangest hallucination you've ever had while running."  I stared at the page in disbelief and thought, "strangest"? Is there a norm for hallucinations?  Is seeing your dead uncle okay, but when the twin girls from The Shining show up - it's time to call it quits?

So, I've oped to stay away from the ultras... for now.

What has been your favorite race, and tell us why?

This is a tough one.  I run the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon and the Marshall University Half-Marathon in Huntington, WV nearly every year and I love both of those races.  However, one of my best memories is from the Presque Isle Half Marathon in Erie, PA because I got to watch my wife complete her very first half-marathon.  The conditions were rough, but I have a photo of her crossing the finish line and she looks like The Terminator, but more determined.  It's an awesome photo.

If you could run any race in the entire wold, where would it be and why?

I've been to Krakow, Poland on a couple of occasions, and I love that city.  I would love to run the half-marathon there and take in the amazing scenery.

Are you a runner who runs for fun, to compete, or both?

I run for fun and I run for my physical and mental health.  If I'm competing, it's only against my own times.  for me, it's all about the experience.

Have you experienced any trials/injuries/health issues that you have had to overcome?  Tell us about them.

I used to have a lot of IT band and shin splint issues, but I shortened my stride and have been healthy since.  Now the only thing that slows me down on the roads (which I don't mind in the least) is that I'm the father of little girl.  I know... I know... that's what running strollers are for.  Like everyone else, I've seen the ads where the smiling man or woman is flying along while pushing the seemingly weightless stroller that carries a laughing child.  Yeah... it's still an extra 20 or 30 pounds of weight and you have to stop every time your child drops her Dora the Exploer sippy cup.  I'm calling BS on those ads.

Tell me what crossing the finish line feels like to you.

For me, it's the feeling of appreciating that I have the ability to do something not everyone can.  There are a lot of people out there who would love to be able to run a distance race on two healthy legs, but can't for various reasons.  Finishing a race is taking advantage of the gifts you have.  It doesn't matter if you run a 5 minute per mile pace or a 15 minute per mile pace.

Do you have a specific distance and PR that you are proud of?

I've got a PR of 1:48 for the half-marathon distance.  I'm not going to be going to the Olympic Trials with that time, but I'm pretty happy with that race.

Do you have a funny running story to share?  Or what is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you while out on a run?

For several years I must have held the record for achieving the most "4th place in age group" finishes in 5Ks.  It didn't seem to matter if I ran a PR or if I ran like a wounded snail, I would finish just outside of the age-group medals, which are usually awarded to the top three.  It became kind of a running joke - excuse the pun.  Earlier this April, I got out of bed to go to a local 5K where I was also signing books and a freak snowstorm was slamming the area.  The wind was awful and the snow got deeper and deeper.  Needless to say, not many people showed up for the race.  None of that mattered to me when I got my 2nd place in age group medal.  I just told myself that sometimes the craziest prevail.

You're a writer, does running inspire your writing?  Do you use a good run to come up with new ideas?

I mentally "wrote" most of Resolve while running and still do that as I work on future novels.  I almost never run with anyone, so for me running is therapeutic.  For afew mile, I can think about plotlines and characters and lose myself in the run.  Most of my best ideas for stores have come to me while I'm running down quiet roads.  And probably some really bad ones, but those must have been on the treadmill:)

You wrote a suspense murder mystery using the Pittsburgh Marathon as a plot, how did you come up with the unique idea?

I think some of the best novels are constructed when an author writes what they know.  When I decided to write a book, I knew it would involve criminal investigation since that is in my background.  It only made sense to use distance running as a vehicle to tell the story, since that is something else with which I'm familiar.  I noticed how the chapters of a book are similar to the miles in a distance race - each with their own twists, turns, hills, etc.- so I decided to segment Resolve into 26.2 chapters and have the protagonist tell the story through a series of flashbacks while running the Pittsburgh Marathon.  I had the main character follow the exact 2010 marathon course and worked the race into the overall action.  It all came together well in the end and I think it made for a unique novel.

Did your own running experiences & knowledge help you write Resolve?

Absolutely.  When I runner reads Resolve, they will be able to tell it was written by another runner.  Some of the protagonist's thoughts throughout the race are the same ones we have all had when cranking out the miles.  The only thing I would change about the running content is that I had the main character mention that he runs heel-to-toe, which is what I was doing back then.  I've since adjusted my foot-strike to avoid injury, but the book was already headed to the printer before I could change that part.

Tell us about Resolve, what can we expect when we pick it up?

Readers of Resolve can expect authenticity.  Whether it is in the descriptions of the marathon, the layout of the city, or the aspects of criminal investigation, the content was constructed to ge genuine.  It's a book that breaks a lot of rules, is different in format, and will leave the reader thinking about the book long after they finished the last page.

Do you ever get writers block?  What's your creative method to get past it?

I've been very fortunate to not have had any major episodes of writer's block.  Maybe it's because I didn't start writing until I was in my later 30's, so perhaps I've had some things bottled up.  Usually if I have a moment where I'm stuck, I just walk away from the keyboard for a couple of days and by then something has come to me.

What are your dreams and biggest goals you're working on?

I've got two more novels in the works.  I'd love for them to get published and have some success.  When my daughter grows up, I'd love for her to look over at a bookshelf and see that her daddy was at least semi-literate and could tell a decent story.

What is your favorite kind of running, solo running or running with a friend or group?

I almost always run solo.  On a few occasions I've run with someone during a race, but I enjoy the solitude of running.  

Have you ever run a relay race?

I've run a couple of relays - The Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati and The Pittsburgh Marathon.  I thought each was a great experience.  I loved the excitement of helping out a team and having others depend on you to do your best.  It's quite a rush of adrenaline when you start your leg of a relay.

Do you listen to music or books while you run?  What are your top 2 favorite tunes to put the pavement to?

I'm an iPod shuffle addict.  I generally listen to music and my collection ranges from hard rock songs to movie instrumentals.  Right now, I'd have to say I have two favorite songs when I'm running: "Trenches" by Pop Evil and "Face to the Floor" by Chevelle.  Don't judge... I like my angry music.

A lot of us runners occasionally listen to podcasts and books while we get our long runs in.  Is your book available to purchase, download and listen to?

The audio edition of Resolve is available on iTunes and can also be purchased on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Walmart.com and several other locations.  Don't worry - a professional actor dows the reading, so nobody has to listen to me drone on.

When you're not writing or out on a run, what other hobbies/sports do you enjoy?

Between family, my day job as a training supervisor with the government, and everything else, I try to read as much as I can.  I love looking for small press books that many people haven't heard about and discovering hidden gems.

In life what motivates you and pushes you towards success?

Not to be gloomy... but I try to remember it could all be gone tomorrow.  Life is too short.  You have to leave your mark while you can. :)

What is your must have running accessory?

The iPod Shuffle and my old Garmin GPS watch that is large enough to deflect any incoming asteroid.  I know they make new models of the watch, but I can't seem to get myself to put the old one away.  It makes me feel like a knight carrying a shield into battle.

Water or Sports drink?

I like Fruit Punch Powerade.  It has some vitamins that other sports drinks don't and I seem to tolerate it rather well.

Tell us something unique about you.

To my knowledge, I'm one of the only - or likely THE only - former Secret Service agent to have ever written an official report regarding a U.S. Vice President shooting his hunting partner in the face.

Yep.  You read that correctly.

What have been some of the most exciting parts of getting published?

Before the book came out, I wanted to get some nice author quotes, or blurbs, for the book jacket.  I ended up getting some great feedback from James Grady (of Six Days of the Condor fame) and John Verdon (who is a bestselling mystery author).  As a first-time novelist, receiving those quotes was a bit surreal.  For me it was the equivalent of having Kara Goucher or Meb Keflezighi say, "Hey, you run pretty fast!"


Resolve also just won "The BEST OF 2013 Award" from Suspense Magazine

For those interested in buying, what formats does your book come in?

Resolve is available in Hardcover editions, Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and in audiobook formats.  You can visit http://www.hensley-books.com/where_to_buy.html to see where it is sold, or check your local independent bookstore.
Or.  http://www.amazon.com/Resolve-J-J-Hensley/dp/1579623131/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0   


J.J. Hensley's Website is:
Goodreads Page: