Thursday, April 30, 2015

Beets BLU Heart Rate Monitor

I have wanted a heart rate monitor for quite a while actually.  When Beets Blu reached out to me to see if I would be interested in reviewing their heart rate monitor I was really excited for the opportunity.

First thing I did was look up to see which Apps the device was compatible with, I found it actually works and can sync with several different popular fitness applications. I mostly use the Fitbit tracker app, the only downside of this product on that was it doesn't pare with Fitbit.
So, I decided to pair it with my Runkeeper App instead.

In my previous research with these, I knew it would likely be a band that fits around the chest.  One thing I learned about it, in order for it to work you need to either be sweaty or have the skin between the device and yourself be dampened.
First few times I tried it, I didn't have trouble I think it was because I was already working out before I put it on.  If I tried to use it and put it on before I started working out, I found that I did need something as a conductor, I just used the same gel that I use with my Ultrasound machine.


My thoughts on the quality of the product, this is obviously well made.  The strap that wraps around you, is adjustable and well made.  The device snaps right to the strap.  Which I really like, because eventually this strap will probably get smelly sweaty, this way I can clip off the device to wash it when needed.

I do want to mention, the monitor itself is NOT waterproof, just sweat proof.  So you can't take it swimming.

You don't even have to turn it on, actually there isn't an on switch.  The on switch is you're heart rate, once it is on, you can immediately sync to your device and app and begin using.  Which is really nice, there is not fumbling with anything.  Just wrap the band around you and snap the device on and your good to go.

Before purchasing this product make sure it is compatible with your phone.  I have a Samsung Galaxy, and it worked with my phone.  But not all phones will work, so if you order make sure you check this first so when you get it, you'll not have any issues on the compatibility front.

Why would you want a heart rate monitor?
There are many reasons, but if you're an athlete it can help you train better.  For myself because I am a runner, a heart rate monitor such as this is so much more helpful.

You've probably seen the monitors at the gym, or maybe you have one on your treadmill.  If you slow down enough to be able to put your thumbs on it, then two things just occurred.  You slowed, so the results will be inaccurate and second you're messing up your gait by doing so.

A few other reasons to use a hands free heart rate monitor:
You can train in your target heart rate zone.
You can burn fat faster.
They are also a great coach, especially if you use one and use it effectively.


I also researched the pricing, and although I received mine complimentary for my review.  I found that on Amazon they currently sell for $39.95.  Which in my opinion is a very decent price for a heart rate monitor!

In addition to the Beets Blu heart rate monitor, I also tested out their Beets BLU
Papertag.  What is the Papertag?
Have you ever lost your cellphone, keys, wallet or laptop?
All you do is pair this device with those, and as long as you get within 15 feet of the item it will help you find them.  Pretty cool huh!

You can even attach this to your luggage, so that when your waiting at the baggage claim, you can get a message on your phone that your bag is on it's way down the belt.
This fun little helpful device is pretty low cost to on Amazon they run for $24,95.

So tell me, do you train with a heart rate monitor?  Do you use them to improve your performance?



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How to Fall by Jane Casey

Have you ever picked up a book just because you wanted to try something new from an author you've never heard of, or a story that no one ever recommended to you?  That is pretty much exactly what I did when I picked up How to Fall by Jane Casey.

Truthfully, I picked it up because I was going through a I want to read creepy stuff phase.  I saw this on a library new arrivals list last fall, so I added it to my reading list.  Finally given a chance to get to it, I must say I was thrilled that I pretty much accidentally came across this book.

Jess Tennant has lived in London her whole life, she has never met any of her relatives.  When her mom surprises her by telling her they were moving to a tiny English town Port Sentinel for the summer.  A town that happens to be the same small town her mother grew up, and their relatives currently lived, Jess was more than a little surprised.  Not to mention not exactly looking forward to.

The move isn't Jess's only surprise, she also finds out she has a cousin Freya who died not long ago. A cousin that Jess looks eerily similar to.  A cousin who lived in Port Sentinel before her mysterious death.  When Jess walks through the town and every where she goes others gawk and stare and look at her like they just saw a ghost.  She knows she apparently looks more like her cousin than even she imagined.

A bond toward the cousin she never knew forms quickly as she begins meeting town acquaintances of her deceased cousin.  The more she learns about her cousin's death, the more she can't help but get caught up in the mystery of why her cousin would step off a cliff.  Just as Jess becomes more curious and suspicious of how her cousin died.  Certain town members decide they don't like her asking questions and looking into her cousin Freya's death.
What Jess thought to be a boring summer trip, turns into an unexpected thrilling mystery that puts her own life in danger.

I really enjoyed this mystery, it is extremely well written.  I attribute that to the fact the author Jane Casey is from London.  Something about the English, they just know how to write!
Additionally, I liked the plot, and really loved the fact that I couldn't guess the ending, it was pretty twisted and I liked that.  If you're looking for a great read, that is a little different and yet gripping at the same time, this is one you will want to read.
Additionally I found it to be a fast read, one that I didn't want to put down until I knew the ending!
This book is in my opinion a stand alone.  However, I did fine out the author has decided to make this a mystery series, using Jess Tennant as the main character again.  I am looking forward to reading it as well.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Albert Loop Trail

This week for Travel Tuesday I'd like to take you on a short hiking adventure.  The Albert Loop Trail, it starts at the Eagle River Nature Center. If you will be visiting Anchorage, Alaska this trail head is about a 30 minute drive, or about 26 miles.

If you're going to take this hike, you might as well start out on the Rodak Nature Trail, its about 3/4th of a mile long, but takes you out to their beaver and salmon viewing deck.  As well as some educational spots along the way.

The Albert Loop Trail also starts at the Nature Center and is a 3 mile loop.  Takes you out in the beautiful Alaskan wilderness, with as you can see some breathtaking views.

Make sure you are being bear smart.  Although you probably won't see a bear, this is bear country and you will likely see bear scat along the trail, I say that because that was all I saw to know they were in the area.



One thing to note, this trail is often closed between August - October, because they want the bears to be able to come out and feed on the salmon without human interruption.  So if you're planning a trip there, this would be a great hike in the earlier summer months.  I visited in June myself.



If you're in for more of a hiking experience, there are a few other trails in the area that you can get too from this loop.  You can get a map and all the information you need at the Nature Center before you head out on your hike.



IF YOU GO

* Bring your own water
* Definitely bring a camera!
* Bring a jacket just in case.
* Bring mosquito repellent.  As anyone who as visited will tell you the mosquito's in Alaska are almost as big as the state:)
* Cellphones may not work as you travel into this area.



Monday, April 27, 2015

Me Monday

This was another one of those very uneventful weeks.  Still sick about half the week, by Wednesday I started feeling a bit better.
I had about two days of feeling like I was getting over it and then I just started feeling overly exhausted, to the point that I literally don't wake up unless someone wakes me.

Then Saturday, I noticed this huge bump on my neck, I hate it and feel very self conscious about it.
I have an appointment with the Doctor today, to get that figured out.  I've never had thyroid problems, but that is a guess, as well as it could be an infection from the walking pneumonia I have been dealing with.
The good news is I have been a bit too tired to get to overly concerned at this point.  So keep your fingers crossed that it isn't a bit deal and will go away soon and my energy will come back!

BLOGGING
I did remove Intense Debate and convert my blog back to Mobile friendly.  I am really bummed about it, it was my favorite comment system.  I absolutely hated that by doing so, removed all past comments.  Please know I did not delete them, the system did.  I think I replied back to everyone before I made the switch.


Because of my very uneventful week, or lets just say past few weeks.  I don't have any fabulous news to talk about.
However, because I haven't been running in weeks *sad face*, and seriously hope I can feel up to getting back into it this week, I thought I'd share some random facts about me and running, hopefully I can come up with most that you haven't heard me mention before!

RANDOM RUNNING "ME" FACTS

* Years ago, I tore the cartilage in one knee while sitting at a desk at work when I used to fold up my legs underneath me to sit.  Because of that, that piece of cartilage flaps around and occasionally will get caught under my knee cap which makes my leg give out.  I can't walk again until I lift my knee cap and work it out again.  (I've only had it happen in a race once.) The better I build up the muscles in my knee's, the less likely it is to happen....  As I have been getting back into running this past year, it has happened way too many times, LOL

* I only display my 26.2 marathon medals and my one and only first place adult 5k finish medal.  I keep all others, in a box or in a scrap book, even all my first and second place ribbons from years past are only in scrapbooks.  Not that I don't think any race distance is a reward, because I do.  I just have this thing about my own reward wall, being more of a marathon wall and it helps declutter it in a way:)

*  I've run 39 marathons, in 32 different states and I will be devastated if I can't knock off several more states this year on my list.  It' already killing me that I had to pass on spring marathons.

* When I picked each of the races I wanted to run in each state.  I researched these two things; races that allow for up to a 5:30 finish time, (in case anything bad happens and I need the extra time.) Races in awesome locations, near National Parks or points of interest I always wanted to visit. 
From my original choice of races, I have not changed my mind... yet...:)

* When I made my 50 states and D.C. goal I determined the following criteria for myself.  1. I must finish under the races time limit, or it wouldn't count. 2. I must run a different marathon for each state, even if it crosses state boarders, it only counts for the state it started and/or finished in.

* I only ever lost one toenail, and that was my own fault for running in shoes that were too small.  Ever since I corrected that, and buy then a 1/2 size larger, I have never lost one since.

* I once was an idiot the day before a marathon and wore a new pair of shoes to walk around in, I had open blisters on the backs of my heels that were horrible and painful and I couldn't even stand to wear a shoe the night before the race.  Thanks to my dad, his superb moleskin skills and some spray glue. I managed to run the marathon and thanks to him, had zero pain, and they didn't get any worse the entire race!

* The marathon I trained the hardest for, and had a great chance of getting close to the 4 hours, I came down with bronchial pneumonia, finally the day before the race my hemoglobin levels tipped just above the (I won't die point) and my Dr. gave me inhalers and permission to run.  (He's a runner too:)
It was a tough race, especially since the last 8 miles were all pretty much steep uphill and I didn't have good lungs.  But I made it, unfortunately no where near 4 hours:(  But that's okay, it was a finish!  It taught me a lot, and because of it helped me learn how to push through pain better than anything else could have!

* I hate flat marathon courses (Yes, I know that makes me weird.)  I find them to be boring and to be honest they mess with my mind far worse than any hill could.  But if I am stuck with a flat course, I will embrace it and find things to enjoy from it anyway:)

* I love aspects of each race I have ever run, even the bad ones, and the ones that hurt the most.  I never look back after a race and say, that was miserable I wish I hadn't of done it.  I may say I had miserable moments, but no matter what happens, I own it and love all the good and bad!

* It only occurred to me about a month ago, that I should have saved a awesome special location for when I hit marathon state 50.  Because of the possibility of family and friends coming to watch me finish that one.  With the states I have left, I don't feel I have quite as many amazing destinations to choose from, right now I am leaning toward saving Cap Cod for the last.  Although Oregon is also a beautiful possibility:)

* When I finish my 50 states goal, I would like to take a year to train specifically to see if I can qualify for Boston.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Blogs You May Want to Follow

Today I am linking up with the DC Trifecta Friday Five. Thanks to EatPrayRunDC, YouSignedUpForWhat? & MarontheRun for hosting this fun weekly link-up!


It's been a while since I have done a Friday link up, far too long actually!  Today's suggested theme is Five Blogs to Follow.

I follow blogs for various reasons, mainly it's because they blog on topics I enjoy or that appeal to me.  They keep their content fresh and new. Or they live incredible lives even if be in the smallest of examples and they inspire me to want to live better.
So pretty much, if I follow your blog and you know I visit then you should know it's because you fit in these categories for what I like.

With that said.  In order to not offend any of the amazing bloggers I follow, I actually put them all on a list and randomly closed my eyes and selected by chance who was going to appear.


STRIDING STRONG
Why do I follow Hailey's blog?  She is a runner, not just any runner.  She's actually a pretty fast runner, who also is a running coach.  Her blog is real pieces of her life, and she is super sweet and a great online personality.  Occasionally she shares running tips and information.  This is a personal reason, but even though my pace can't even compare to her own.  From what I know of her, she trains and runs and thinks a lot like I do as a runner.  The basics and fundamentals from how she trains to how she coaches.  She understands running isn't about the fancy gadgets, crazy new training schedules or new tricks or ever popular less is more.  She's a real runner, who puts the hard work in, to achieve and is well deserving of what she accomplishes.  I recommend bloggers and runners follow her, as she is someone who is real and yet inspires!

WE RUN DISNEY
This mother daughter blog duo are an inspiring yet fun set of personalities.  I remember the first time I visited their blog, as I always do when I visit a blog for the first time.  I look at the About Me section.  They grabbed my attention right off when they said they trained and plan to run just one race, and yet that was all it took.  They were hooked and have been running and racing and completing goals they probably just a few years ago never imagined.  Yes they run Disney, but also far more.  As I know they are just returning from the marathon of all marathons, Boston:)  They are fun, and inspiring.  They are two amazing women who have set their sights on some incredible goals, and I recommend bloggers follow them because they don't disappoint!


FAIRYTALES AND FITNESS
These are two fabulously creative sisters who take turns blogging.  Two different blogging personalities, yet complimenting to each other to create some fun posts.  Do they love Disney?  Do they ever!  I think many runners have a goal or dream to run a Disney race at one point.  If there were any two runners out there who could give you all the information and tips and suggestions to make your Disney race the best experience ever.  These two ladies are probably better to ask than if you contacted the Race Director for Disney themselves!  Not to mention, they seriously could win awards with their race costume designs!
Like a lot of bloggers I follow, they also blog from the heart, sharing their tips and experiences.  Yes, Disney may be in their hearts, but their love for running doesn't stop there, with Boston to Big Sur and Rock and Roll runs, these gals are some serious race travel experts, which is why I recommend their blog.


HOHO RUNS
She is one speedy runner, and her race schedule will make your jaw drop!  She trains exceptionally well, and when you hear how many times she places in a race it will make you jealous (in a good way):)  This blogger knows what she's doing, and knows how to take her natural talent to the next level.  She offers great race reviews, that if you pay attention you can actually learn a lesson or two from, as I have found a lot of motivation out of the way she can really push through and has not only endurance but speed.  Oh, and I hope I don't offend her by mentioning, but she is a grandma.  But if you look at her race pictures, you wouldn't absolutely never guess as she looks seriously young!
I enjoy following her blog and you will too, especially if you enjoy all things running.


RUN HIKE PLAY
If I were to list my second favorite thing to running, that would be hiking.  You put running and hiking together, and that is exactly what this incredible blogger offers.  She often shares her love for hiking and great tips on trails and hikes around the country.  One of the things I love about her blog is, she takes her family with her on these hiking adventures.  It reminds me of my own youth growing up, and always makes me smile.  Her love for the outdoors, is clearly being passed on to the next generation.  Not only that, but she is a great runner too.  Sharing her weekly training updates and plans, and of course great race recaps.  If you are like me and enjoy a blogger with a sense of adventure, then this is a blog you will enjoy following!

____________________________

Honestly, I seriously didn't want to stop, I wanted to list far more than just those five!  I had so much fun sitting down and writing the different reason's I enjoy following certain blogs.  I am going to have to do this again, because I seriously follow some other amazing bloggers too that I would love to share with you why I follow each one of them as well... Till next time!

Now that you know a few of the types of blogs I enjoy following, do you have any that you recommend I check out because they sound up my alley?
Do you have favorite bloggers?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Famous Last Words

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender is one of those books I was browsing the libraries new arrival shelf and the synopsis caught my attention so I took it home to read.

Really glad I did, this is one of those mysteries that is a super fast and easy read.  Literally, I got through it in a few hours.  I think because it was such a quick read, and kept my attention throughout was the reason I enjoyed it as much as I did.

Willa thinks she is going crazy because she has started seeing things.  She recently moved with her mom to Hollywood.  Into none other than a huge Hollywood mansion owned by her now movie producer stepfather.  She's been enrolled in a bit to high class school for her tastes.  Where everyone is judged based on who their parents are, how much money they have and how famous they may be.

But Willa is somewhat okay with all of that, especially since it is making her mom happy.  It's the fact that she has started seeing dead bodies that has her worried.  Dead bodies in her swimming pool and a force that tries to drowned her, messages on her walls that only she can see.  Reflections and sounds that only she seems to hear.

If that isn't enough, there is a Hollywood killer on the loose.  The killer is stalking his young pretty celebrity victims in Los Angeles and using their deaths to reenact famous movie murder scenes.
All of it has Willa a little unnerved and she can't help but want to investigate it more.

Throw in the totally handsome Reed, who is her stepfathers assistant.  Wyatt who is smart but kind of a outcast with a bit of an obsession with the Hollywood Killer himself.  And you've got yourself a fun, Hollywood mystery to unfold.

I really enjoyed this book, and like I said above I think it was because it was such a fast read!  The perfect read for an afternoon that you have a few hours to spare.
A fun plot, that isn't completely ridiculous and interesting yet suspicious characters.  This is one read I recommend!  It would even be a fun beach or poolside read:)
It's actually quite a clean read too, you don't have to worry about the content, even for young adults to read.  Overall, I give it a thumbs up to add to your reading list!




Monday, April 20, 2015

Sometimes You Have to Believe in Yourself

Unfortunately, I have been pretty sick again this week.  I am so worn out from coughing and not feeling good, I seriously hope that this all comes to an end soon!
Because of that, I have literally no news to share from my previous week or training and I am pretty sure you don't want to hear about my cold. So I have decided to share with you a small part of what new things I have in the works in my life.

For a while now, I have eluded to "something" new going on, that I would be excited to share with you all when I was ready.
I will be honest, I was going to wait until June to share this with you.  (For reason's that will make sense come June when I tell you the rest of my plans.)
But I'd like to start running some Thursday running posts that will make far more sense if I tell you why I have been sourcing for information on certain race topics.  So I have decided to let you in on the little secret that I have been contemplating and working on for several months now.

WHY?

If you have followed my blog for a while, you probably already know I own an event planning company.  Mostly weddings, but yes I do other things like corporate parties, baby and bridal showers and yes even funerals:)
If you follow my blog you also know I love to run, and used to be quite the marathon runner, and I am working towards getting back to that again.
Additionally, you may know I have been considering other employment options for my future and hopefully you have figured out, I feel I deserve to be happy and do things I love, but I am also okay with a challenge!

So I have decided to take the two things I love and combine them.  With what I know will be the most craziest and possibly most stressful set of adventures I have set out on yet.  However, even as that should detour me, instead I find myself excited at the prospect of pulling them off.

THE NEWS

If you haven't guess already to what I have been alluding too.... I am going to try my hand at becoming a Race Director.
Why?  Well I will be honest I considered applying here in Utah for other race companies and after I thought about it, I realized why get a job working for some other company stressing just to make their pockets fuller.  If I am going to do it for them, or myself what goes into it and my commitment really won't change.  The important difference is starting a new race series myself, this accomplishment's(s) if I can pull them off could be my own instead of some other companies!

I am not going into this lightly, I didn't believe even when I started this new challenge that it would be as simple as, I have run a lot of races therefore I should be able to put on ones myself.  Ha Ha..
In fact, I have done a lot and I mean a lot of education on it, speaking with other race directors, and I can say my eyes have been opened (and are continually) and there is definitely an entire different world than the runner ever knows on what goes on behind the scenes and the costs to pull of a race event!

I don't want to get too much into it all right now, but in the coming months you will hear, much, much more on this.  Probably more than you ever cared to, ha ha...
Which is why I am going to keep the race(s) what/where and why's and distance to myself for now.

NOT TRYING IS THE ONLY REAL FAILURE

My mind has been fully invested in this for several months, my heart has wanted it for over a year now.  It's true, that things may not work out like I would hope.  However, if I don't try, then I will never know and that is a sure way to know my idea's will fail.
Originally, I wanted to wait to tell you the news until I had the permits secured, but after a little thought I figured win or lose I might as well share with you all what I am working on and take you on a little part of this new adventure with me this year.

HAVING FAITH IN MYSELF

That quote on the side of my blog: You have to do what others wont, to achieve what others don't... Has been up there before I ever wrote my first post, and there is a reason for it.  I truly believe it, and live my life by it.  I also wholeheartedly believe that sometimes the best things in life are the things you have to push past that "scary, can I do this, should I do this" point and take a leap of faith, trust yourself and just do it!
Which should also explain why Sir Edmond Hilary's quote is right below it:) Because, what fun is there in life if there is no risk and no unknown on how it will turn out!!



Have you ever decided to do something that is a little scary, but also something you find quite exciting?  

 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Throwback Thursday Running Posts

TODAY IS MY 4 YEAR BLOGIVERSARY


So I had a fun blogging Throw Back Idea, okay it sounds fun to me, but maybe it may be stupid to others.  You tell me.


I started blogging back in April 2011 and I kind of posted whatever came to my mind.  It's now been 4 years and over 506 posts later:)

I thought it would be fun to show you one of my first posts, actually it was my 2nd post ever.
(My first post was so stupid I actually deleted it, because it went something along the lines of, guess I will try to blog.. LOL)


Anyhow, back to today's idea.  In April 2011 I was struggling with well, you'll see a clip below. Then I will tell you what happened because of it.

I had titled this post To Run or Not to Run, I've shortened it so you can get the "just" of it without having to read the entire thing.


I'm sure all runners have woken up and their body just isn't in the mood to run.  If they managed to get themselves out the door, then every step feels like you have weights attached to your feet.  Sometimes after a few miles you start to feel good again, others you practically fight to finish even the shortest distance.

It's a tough one for me right now.  Right now I am running a marathon once or twice a month.  As soon as I finish I immediately have to start getting ready for the next one.

Some marathons (especially on the east coast) are easier to recover from, but others really take their toll on my body.  Right now it seems like nothing I am doing is can zap my body out the painful slump it is in.

I know the reason behind it, the icy Oklahoma Marathon in the cold rain, hail and wind took more out of me than normal.  My usual recovery tricks (rest) aren't working or can't work, so it's time for new tricks or experiments.

After 17 marathons over the past ten years one thing I have learned is to listen to my body.  There is a big difference between "bad pain" and "good pain" and how to run with each.
Right now I have another pain, I like to call my "fighting through tired pain of the legs and feet" pain.

Technically I don't have to go through this, and I could take a long break, but frankly I don't want to and I am trained well for back to back 26.2's so I probably don't need to.  Plus I am having a blast with my 50 states goal and I have lots more marathons coming up in the coming weeks, months...

So the plan is: quit complaining and toughen up.  Push through the tiredness, skip speed and just push the miles until the body gives in and hopefully in two weeks, I'll be back to normal again and ready for my next marathon.  Time will tell I guess....



So the question is, what happened.  Did my "complaining post" solution work?
The answer is YES.  I didn't blog about what I did, but I did put it in my journals so I took a glance back.  (Ya I keep a detailed Runners Race Journal of key training moments as well as all my marathons:)



PER MY JOURNAL


I pushed on those tired legs.
Week 1, 6-16 miles a day, six days, one rest day.  On the day's my legs felt the most tired I made sure those were the days, I finished the run and distance no matter how heavy or sludge like I felt.
Week 2, I tapered for the race coming up only running 4-8 miles each day, five days that week and cut back a little so the legs would still feel rested to race on the weekend, but still worked out.



Two weeks after that post, and listening to my body, but ignoring my mind telling me I was tired.  I came back and ran Vermont, and actually okay in that one.  I had a stress fracture in my foot, but other than that, it was a pretty great race.


A few weeks after that, I headed to Alaska and did even better.  Which is crazy because it ended up being half a hilly trail marathon and I hadn't trained on trails at all.  I remember that one pretty well, because in the 20-26 ending miles, my legs felt the freshest they ever had toward the end of a marathon.
Fairly certain it is because I pushed it in the weeks prior when my mind was playing tricks on me.



Clearly, I had done the right thing and my experiment worked.  My body may have been overworked, but I was in great shape back then, and my body knew it just needed to remember how to handle the extra effort and miles.
I know for a fact it was because my dad taught me years ago how to toughen up and run through the tired point.  It also came down to knowing how to listen to my body and know what I was trained to do and not to do.  I know a lot of times a little "rest" is exactly what is needed to get one back.  But that is not always the case, nor the only solution, this I have learned through the years!


Sometimes you have to remind your body and your mind what you are really made of!  Put all your hard work and training to the test and teach it to run harder when you need it to.
It's also a great idea to keep a running journal, so as you try new things, you will be able to remember even years past how your body handles different types of training and if you need rest, or you just need to train harder to get out of slumps.


(It's crazy, because I think I may only have a few of the same followers that I did back in those early days.  Most of you don't even know me as a hardcore runner, because of the past 2 years.  But don't worry, I am working on it, and soon probably later this year, you'll get to know that girl too:)






If your a blogger have you ever went back and looked at your early blog posts?  Do they make you cringe, or smile and laugh:)
Do you keep a detailed runners journal, of your key training moments and races?  Do you use it to learn from too?



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shark Diving for Travel Tuesday

This week for Travel Tuesday I am going to take you on one of my favorite adventures.  Shark Diving, off the North Shore in Oahu, Hawaii.



These are the exact photo's taken during my dive, some were taken by me, others I took off a video they took of me while I was diving, I paid to have the rights for the video and pictures.  But this will also explain if the images look stretched, as the program I use to grab images from video doesn't work perfectly.



First off let me say, if you ever have the chance to do this, do it!  It's a beautiful and amazing experience, that if you enjoy the water, and enjoy sharks you will love this!  Sharks are beautiful and graceful creatures, I have always been amazed by them.



If you are going to go shark diving, there are many places you can do this.  I did mine on North Shore Adventures in Oahu, Hawaii.  But I also know there are places in the Caribbean as well as many others.
Cage diving, which is what I did, is completely safe.  Well as long as you keep your arms and legs inside:)



If you are going to go shark diving, early, morning is best!  And I do mean early 6-7 a.m., we loaded onto the boat before the sun was even starting to rise.  Why early morning?  Sharks are most active at night, so they are just coming off their nightly feeding hunts and the boats and divers are more likely to attract sharks in the morning than they will in the afternoon hours.



Another tip, if you are vacationing in say Oahu for a week, plan your dive at the beginning of the week.  Weather makes a big factor for shark dives.  Ours was cancelled, and re-scheduled twice, and finally on our 6th day of the trip the weather permitted the diving.



However, it was very wavy when we went.  We were lucky they still let the boat go out, as the swells were at times larger than the boat as we headed a few miles out off the North Shore.
It was also super strong waves getting into the cages that day, the cage was banging all over the place.  I know the weather is not something you can control, but if there was anything else I could have changed it would have been the waves.  It would have been nicer to be a little more in control of where you were getting pushed in the waves.

I mentioned it was wavy.  This is the view as we were let out on the lines
that let the cage float out away from the boat.  Kinda hard to see, but those waves
and swells were what a surfer would call double overhead:)

But once under the water, it wasn't quite as bad, and I had the bars on the cage to hold onto as the waves and currents were pushing against us.
The other bad thing about the waves and current, there was no chance they were going to let me out of the cage:(  Yes, I would love to free dive with sharks, I will one day I think it will be amazing!

This was when we first dropped in as we were getting released out by the boat.
Right from the minute the cage went in, and then we dropped into the water
we were surrounded by sharks!


We were surrounded by 4-5 sharks the entire time, all of which I believe to my knowledge were Sandbar.  However, you also have the chance to see Galapagos, Hammerhead and occasionally Tiger Sharks.  I would have loved to see a Tiger shark.... Maybe next time!!!



The sharks think the boats are fishing boats, which is what draws them to them.
It's actually illegal to shark dive in Hawaii, they don't want the sharks getting friendly with their tourist business.  Which is why, you can only do it off the North Shore, and they do take you out about 4 miles out of Hawaiian waters, and into I guess what would be International waters, to keep with obeying the shark diving laws there.



When you pay to do this, they will provide you with the gear and fins.  You don't necessarily have to bring your own.  Also, they have masks for those who wear glasses, so you will still be able to see everything and not have to bring those.  I know this because, my dad chose these.



What's it like?
Cobalt Blue clear water.  You can see they say for about 150 feet.  You will see the sharks coming from below and in the distance, it's a beautiful sight to see them from far away swimming toward you.
The sharks come right up next to the cage.  They are inches or just a foot or so away as they glide past you.
It's amazing!  It's also peaceful!



Our tour lasted about 2 hours, and because it was Humpback Whale season (March) when I went, as we headed back to the harbor, we saw lots and lots of whales all around us jumping and playing.



Like I said, if you have the chance I highly recommend you do this!  It's not exactly cheap, but it definitely beats any other beach stories and pictures you can take on your Oahu trip.
Take a waterproof camera, and if your interested go ahead and get a video if it is offered, it's fun to look back and watch your cage dive.

I am one of the 3 people in the cage.  So ya that's me back by his tale.
I was fine that there are no good shots of me under water, LOL
As long as the sharks turned out that's all that mattered!

Oh and don't wait as long as I did to develop your camera pictures.
The one on the bottom is what happens if you don't get them developed right after:)
Just a little tip!


Have you been shark diving before?  Would you?
If you're going to Oahu, definitely something to add to your list, don't you agree?




Monday, April 13, 2015

Hiking, Race Planning, Running and a Bit of Everything

I have been a little busy lately which is why I skipped last Monday's post.  But I didn't want to let two weeks pass me by.  The reason I have become so busy, will be news I will be sharing soon, I just want to work out a few more of the details before I start talking about it.

You'll probably see a few blog changes coming up.  Nothing in the form of content.  But in order to make my blog more mobile friendly, I am deciding which comment system to switch over.  As unfortunately the Intense Debate system I currently have with blogger, will not work if I convert it over to a mobile site.  Which is kind of a bummer, as I really like it.  I have a few options I am considering, but if you use blogger and a user friendly comment system that you like, I'd love if you'd share with me which platform so I can consider it!

The past few weeks have also been a little fun too, I got a short canyon hike in one morning with my Dad. Snapped a few pictures, that you can see in this post.  It's been great to get out and enjoy our warmer than normal spring weather!  You can see some of the pics I took of the hike in this post.

As for races, I hate to do it, but I think I am going to pass on any spring marathons.  I know it was what I was building towards.  But things kept coming up, and I am just not ready and haven't been able to put in enough training to preform as I would like.

I realized a few things, one I keep getting work injury flare ups, I know exactly what is causing them and although I am doing well at keeping them at bay. I am not doing well enough about eliminating the cause all together.  The cause as some of you will know is my 2nd job at the library. I should just call it quits all together! But as crazy as this sounds, love the job and the people there. But as much as I enjoy it, and I enjoy those I work with.  It's keeping me from my goals.
Another thing I noticed is, I am babying the flare ups too much.  It's never bothered it to run, yet when it flares up, I have been cutting back on the miles.  Which I realize is something I don't need to be doing.  Granted I also have a couple of fractures in my other foot, and those have been causing me problems when I run.  But I have taken it way too easy the past few weeks, and even they have been feeling really great lately.
It's really time I quite being lazy and taking it easier.  My doctors and PT's have all given me the thumbs up to run, and have all said it may or may not heal entirely.  But even they believe if eliminating the pain source, I may be able to run with no problems at all.  But I won't know until I do.
So basically, I am just being dumb, and in a way one of those stupid girls who needs to take a clue from her own advice!

So, I have done a lot of thought and I am going to refocus my efforts, train differently, and build up to training more.  I also need to really focus on dropping some of this extra weight, which I think has been part of the problem.  So here is to, a new beginning on that.

I'm also going to enter a few half marathons this spring.  I haven't run a half marathon in many many years (well a race at least.)
When I started my 50 states & D.C. goal I told myself I would give up on running races locally and just save the money for traveling to other states.  However, since I am not going to be traveling to do a marathon this spring, I might as well enter a few in my own state.
I have a couple in mind, I will probably enter last minute.  I also have a few other reasons that I think running a few half marathons locally might be a great idea for me!  So I am excited to give it a try!

Last, I have unfortunately caught another miserable cold, and after spending the last half of the week sick, and yesterday entirely in bed not even bothering to get dressed.  I have decided that it too has got to go, I am ready to be well again!  So today I am going to pretend I feel fine, hope it works haha.

What have you been up to lately?  Are you enjoying spring where you are at?  Have you gotten any hiking in, or spring activities you enjoy?


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Finding Motivation

I think a lot of runners struggle from time to time.  We love to run, but for some reason or another we may go through a dry spell where we are lacking in finding the motivation to get it done, and more importantly to get it done and still enjoy the run!

As I have struggled with this a little myself lately.  I have had to come up with new ideas to stay motivated, new things to try to continue to love the sport even when things aren't going my way.
I'd like to share with you, some of my tips, and others I have heard about that may help some of you, should you ever lack a little in reasoning to go out for that run!



SET NEW GOALS

Maybe you just came off a race, or possibly you just hit a PR or goal.  Or maybe you are just getting bored with the same ol weekly routine you have yourself on.
Whether you run for fun, or run to race, setting new goals are great for any running to avoid hitting a dry spell.
Possibly, you'll work on speed, or increase your distance.  Maybe it's time to plan or pick a race, or try a new race distance or even race location.  There are numerous goals you could make to change things up, and give yourself something new to focus on and work towards.

QUIT COMPARING

Everyone does it, whether they are willing to admit it or not.  We compare ourselves to others, and sometimes even judge our own daily runs or accomplishments in comparison to what someone else did.
But the fact is, each day you lace up the running shoes and head out the door, is a day you should cheer your accomplishment.  Whether you ran 1 lap around a track or 20 miles, it doesn't really matter.  You should be happy with what you did do.
Don't get down on yourself because you didn't run as far or fast as you planned.  Don't look at your friend or (fellow running blogger) and tell yourself that you don't measure up.
The fact is we are all different.  We are different shapes, sizes, speeds and all run different distances and training plan schedules.  There is no comparison, instead focus on what you did, what you can control.  You can save any comparison for race day, or even then just keep it to yourself and run YOUR race!

Another quick tip, don't compare yourself to yourself.  The times you ran in your 20's and 30's may not realistically be times you can run in your 40's or 50's+.  Every ten years, your PR's are going to change, it isn't fair to yourself to compare your current distances and times with those from your prime.

TO RUN OR NOT TO RUN

I know we all think we have to hit every single daily run, or as close to as possible.  But sometimes we need a day or two off.  Whether it be for illness, or just a busy life.  Or maybe a day of relaxation to let the muscles recover and come back stronger.
The truth is, sometimes our bodies need rest, and a day or two off isn't going to hurt our performance. In fact, it may even help it!

TRY SOMETHING NEW

Maybe you run a specific set of mileage each week.  Well, although that is great sometimes that can also be boring.  Instead try something different.  Add speed work, hill work or go to the high school track and pretend your in a race with everyone else running there:)
Or maybe it's a day to trade your run for a hike, or a fun class at the gym.  Mixing things up can be a lot of fun.
My only recommendation, don't mix things up 3-4 weeks leading into a race you're planning on.  Our bodies react differently when we add new things into it, you wouldn't want to add something that may hurt yourself, or take a while to recover from, which is why I air on the side of caution about doing this close to a race.  (Unless it's something you're body is already used to.)

SWITCH UP RUNNING BUDDIES

If you're a solo runner, see if you can even if only one day a week find a friend or group to run with.  If you are a group runner, and things are getting a little dull, pick a day a week and maybe that could become your solo day.  Or the day to find a different running partner for the occasional run!

CHANGE THE TIME OF DAY YOU RUN

Maybe you've been running after work, and it's becoming a struggle to find the energy.  It may seem daunting at first waking up at 4 or 5am to get a run in before you leave to work.  But give it a try, you'll more likely find that although getting up may be hard, once your out the door it's a great way to start the day.  Then when you get home from work, if your tired you can relax, if you have more energy you can go out with friends or family and have a little fun!

If mornings and evenings are both hard for you, try running on your lunch hour.  Or instead of heading for home right after work, start your run from work, and then take the drive home.

A FEW OTHER IDEAS

* Enter a race.
* Run with a GPS.
* Leave all the GPS and gadgets at home.
* Switch up your running playlist or leave it and listen to nature.
* Listen to a great audiobook or fun podcast.
* Pretend your a coach, and create a totally uniquely new training schedule for yourself.
* Buy a new running outfit.
* Buy another pair of running shoes.
* Run in the snow or rain.  Sounds funny, but it can be very invigorating!
* Try a new distance that scares you.
* Hill work, you may find a love hate relationship!
* Back off for a few weeks, slow down the speed and mileage.
* Create a local running group.
* Volunteer at a race.
* Watch a race or go and cheer at a race.
* Pick a new course.
* Read about some motivational runners.
* Pamper yourself with a massage.
* Focus on dropping a few pounds.
* Do a charity run, raise money for a cause.
* Compensate yourself, put a quarter in a jar each time you run and treat yourself at the end of the month with something you enjoy.  Or put a dollar in a jar each time you run, and as it adds up, spend it on a race you've always wanted to enter.
* Go see McFarland USA (You won't regret it!)

I could probably make that list about triple that size, if I wanted too.  But this may give you a few more idea's.

So tell me, what are your favorite ways to motivate yourself, if you find your lacking or going through a dry patch?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Teardrop & Waterfall by Lauren Kate

NOTE: Although I am reviewing both books in this review, I have taken precaution not to include any spoiler alerts for either book.

I absolutely loved Lauren Kate's Fallen series, which is why when I saw the Teardrop series come out, I knew I had to pick them up to read.  I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but I was excited to read them!

Eureka Boudreaux's mother had drilled into her head since she was a young child that she was never allowed to cry or shed a tear.  She was never told why, other than to never do so.  She did as she was told, no matter what life threw her.  Even when her mother who was everything to her, had her life taken from her.

The problem with not crying means keeping emotions in check, or not having any.  Eureka has made this become easy, using her feet pounding the pavement in races and training as a way to allow herself to release all life's tensions and problems.  However, when you are known to not show much emotion, you can also lack in friends.  Eureka has two, Books and Cat.

However, that all changes when a odd inheritance is left to her in her mother's will..  A book written in an ancient language, a locket that won't open, a stone with a note not to unwrap it and a letter. None of which make even the least bit of sense to Eureka.  Then comes Ander, a boy who apparently knows Eureka better then she even knows herself.

Little by little Eureka's past and future are discovered, the only problem is Eureka is presented with a life if the stories are true that is much different than she could have ever imagined or wanted.

Teardrop and it's sequel Waterfall tell Eureka's story.  A story of darkness, a story of fear, and love in different ways.
I have to be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect with these books.  I did enjoy them, and found them to be pretty fast reads.  But I can't say they make any of my favorites lists.  They didn't quite live up to the Fallen series.  At times I found the storyline to be lacking and moving to fast, jumping around subjects too quickly that probably needed more telling.  I also found the romance a little unreal, it went to fast for me to feel as though I believed in it.

Like I said, I did enjoy them.  But they weren't my favorite.  I am not sure if there is a third book in the series.  I feel like it ended, but sometimes authors have different ideas so we will see.
I think if I hadn't of had such high expectations to begin with, I probably would have enjoyed them much more.  With that said, I still do recommend them.  But although a love story, I personally would say they are more fantasy than anything.  The subject matter is quite clean, so these YA books are age appropriate for their audience!  If you're expecting writing like Fallen, you won't get it.  But if you're interested in a fantasy read with no expectations based on previous novels you will probably really enjoy Eureka's story!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Visiting San Francisco

This week for Travel Tuesday I want to take you to a beautiful city, with lots and lots to do.
San Francisco, California.


San Francisco is one of those places that there is pretty much something for everyone.  From sports games to beaches.  Historic sights and piers to sharks and china town.


Most popularly known is the famous San Francisco Bridge.  I have to be hones, although I love the above picture I took, the sun was almost perfect with the bridge.  It was taken through a window of my hotel on evening, so the clarity isn't the best.


Did you know, if you walk along the south side of the bridge and look down into the water, you have a really great chance of seeing some large great white sharks.  Not a lot of people know that, but for some reason the sharks hand out near there, so your chances of seeing them are better than anywhere else in the area.


The Rock, more famously known as Alcatraz.  You can actually take a tour of this old prison, and hear the tales of the famous inmates.
I know, isn't it crazy to think of inmates and a prison as intriguing, especially Al Capone, "Machine Gun Kelly" to name a few.


Chinatown San Francisco is actually the largest Chinatown outside of Asia itself.  There is so much to do and see in this area.  Personally I found driving around it kind of crazy, but still doable.  If I ever go back I would just park and walk next time.


The piers, are also a lot of fun.  It's also home to one of the more famously known piers, Pier 39.


This pier has so much to do and see, you could literally spend a good day just on the pier.  Lots of shops, places to eat, shows and street shows.  Fun for anyone from the single to a family.


Even the seals will come out to welcome you to pier 39!


You can't visit San Francisco and not take a ride on one of their famous trolley/cable cars, especially up those steep streets.


However, as you can see.  Walking around San Francisco's steep hill streets will surly give you a great butt and calf's:)  They are really lucky, they are on the coast, if those roads ever iced over, they would be near impossible to have to climb:)


There is actually so much more, I only touched the surface with a few things I did.  But truthfully there are really an endless amount of adventure's for someone visiting.
It's a beautiful city, and any time of year is likely great to visit.  I visited in April and found it to be cool mornings, but absolutely perfect days.


Have you been to San Francisco before?  What were your favorite things to do when you visited?
If not, is this a place you'd like to visit one day?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

What Every New Runner Should Know

When people find out I am a runner, I get this question asked to me quite often by non-runners.  How does a person start running? or What do I need to know before I start?

While the immediate thought is, just do it, go out and start running.  Which has been my reply many times in years past.  One day I realized that is kind of terrible advice for me to give someone!  While running is for the most part a simple sport, there are a few things that someone considering starting running should know or may want to know to help them out.



So if you are a new runner, or want to start. This is my list of things I would tell you if we sat down for a chat about running!


It's okay to walk

When your first starting out, it's okay to walk.  If you can only run 50 feet, and then have to walk a few minutes to catch your breath before trying again, that is fine!  In fact more than fine!
Most people don't just lace up, run out the door and come back 5 miles later.  Doing it right takes time to build up.  It will get easier as time passes, and the walking will become less and less.

Buy good shoes

If you think running is something you want to stick with.  Then the time to buy good shoes is something you should do sooner rather than later.  Don't go to a department store, or shopping center. Go to a running specialty store, and have them fit you for the first time.  They usually offer this service for free.  Even if you don't end up buying your shoes there, just going through the experience will teach you a lot about your feet and what you should be running in.

Skip the cotton clothing

Those t-shirts that are so comfy to sit around in at home and do housework in, are not for running. Cotton usually equals chaffing, and bad chaffing could turn anyone away from running.  You can cut down that chaffing considerably by avoiding cotton and instead wear a moisture wicking type of fabric.
You don't have to spend a fortune to get these fabric's either.  In fact places like Walmart sell them, I myself have even bought a tank or shirt for under $10 there that has worked great for me for training.

For women buy a good bra

This is one of those things, I am going to say you really shouldn't spare expense on.  A great sports bra can make a huge difference, especially if you are a B, C or larger cup size.
Not only that, but you're going to feel a whole lot better about yourself if you are in a good supportive sports bra and not bouncing around.

Potty Breaks & Water Stops.

It happens to all runners, you are out on your run and it hits you and you need a bathroom and sooner the better.  Always go before you go out for a run.  But while you are out running, pick routes that if the situation arises you can get to a bathroom.

Sometimes we start out thinking it's not too hot, or we won't be too long and then we run further or it gets hotter.  It's also wise to pick routes where you can find water.
You don't have to carry water on you, unless you have no other choice I actually don't recommend carrying water, who would want the sloshing weight? No one!   Instead as long as you have access to water every 3-4 miles you will be fine.

Watch what you Eat & Drink.

While yes you did go out and burn lots of calories.  If you go home and drink a sports drink or go out for a big dinner.  You just undid all those calories you burned.  In fact unless you are running 16+ miles I would avoid drinking sports drinks, as they are filled with more calories than most people burn in a run.
If you want to lose weight while running, you still need to watch your calories.  Make sure you don't train your brain to think I ran therefore I can eat whatever I want.  Because if you do, you will actually gain weight running!

Injuries can happen.

Most often injuries will happen not while running.  But when stretching before you are warmed up. Or overstretching or stretching to far.  Proper stretching is just a light pull, you don't want anything to hurt.
Runners Knee isn't necessarily really a runners injury.  It's generally quite preventable.  Things that can cause it to new runners: Overweight runners running to far, weak knees that don't get rest between runs, wearing the wrong shoes.
Speed training too soon or while building mileage can cause injury, or even building mileage too quickly.
If you feel injured stop a few days, if the problem persists visit a Dr.
However, many runners can go years or even a lifetime without an injury, it's all about playing it smart and safe!

Know a Marathon from a 5k

Okay, you may not have to know this day one.  But if you go into work the next day after your 3 miler and tell people you ran a marathon.  You didn't and you'll sound kinda crazy!  A marathon is 26.2 miles, and I know this sounds funny but if you call any distance shorter than that a marathon to a runner who races you'll sound very inexperienced.  Since this post is to educate a non-runner here you go.
Each race has their distance.
A marathon 26.2 miles
Half is 13.1 miles.
10k is 6.2 miles.
5k is 3.1 miles.

Along with that, know what equals a mile on an outdoor track.
1 mile = 4 laps
(Indoor tracks vary usually on most 11-12 laps = a mile.)

Enter a Race

I remember my friend once saying to me she was worried if she entered a race she would come in last.  If you train, you won't!
Races these days are so full with walkers or people who run/walk.  So the chances of coming in last are really rare.  And if by chance it happens and you do, who cares you did more than the guy sitting at home catching up on Netflix!

Running on the Road

Assume all drivers are not paying attention.  Most drivers are distracted whether on the phone or with others in the car.  Always make sure you run against traffic.  If you come to an intersection ALWAYS stop even if you have the right of way.  Eye the drivers around and if you are going to run out in front of a car, watch for eye contact and waive that you are going or make sure they are fully stopped at a light first before stepping in front of them.
Never assume because the sign says walk, it's okay to cross.  Unfortunately there are a lot of idiots out on the roads, and if you get hit by a car you won't win!

Race Shirts

While this is my opinion, I think it is pretty safe to say that about 90% of runners in a race will agree with me.  Wear your race shirt after you finish the race!
If you wear it during, you'll look like a newbie runner.  I wish I could say all runners out there are super kind, but unfortunately there are some not so kind out there.  I'd hate for a new runner to be subject to the "you haven't earned the shirt yet, why are you in it."  While I would never say that to anyone outloud, I have heard it from others and I would hate for any new runner to be subject to any negativity.

Plus, not all race shirts are good quality. You never want to run in something that you haven't ran in and tested before (see chaffing above.)
Also there are some pretty long lived superstitions about wearing a race shirt during a race, that range from both increasing your chances of not finishing and even bad luck injuries:)

Of course there are always those who like to do things their way, and don't care about bad luck or superstitions.  So if you really want to wear that race shirt for the race. no one is going to stop you.
But if you do remember that you'll make it even harder for your family/friends to find you in the race.

Okay, so those are my tips that every new runner should know.  If you're a runner, feel free to add to the list in the comments below.  What advice would you give to someone who wants to start up running?



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Atlantia by Ally Condie A Book Review

I was a huge Matched fan, when Ally Condie began that series. Although I may not have enjoyed it's sequels as much.  Matched is still one of my all time favorites.  So when I saw Ally Condie had a new book out, and I was told it was a stand alone I was really excited to check it out.

To be honest, when I looked at the cover and even the book summary I immediately thought this was going to be a mermaid book.  I was actually looking forward to that.  But as I started reading I realized quickly I was wrong.  This isn't a mermaid story at all.  Although their are Siren's in it, the characters are all human.  Few just posses the siren talent.

In fact this story took me by complete surprise, it wasn't at all what I expected even when I realized all my previous assumptions were incorrect.  I'll be honest, it took me a little while to get used to the fact that I wasn't reading what I thought I was reading. Once I let that settle I really enjoyed the book for the beauty of what it was.

Atlantia is a community that lives under the sea.  Earth still exists above, but at one time those on earth sent loved ones below to live a better life, or so they were told.  Rio has dreamed of putting her feet on earth's soil for as long as she could remember.  Her twin sister Bay wants nothing more than to live below the sea.  When the children of Atlantia become a certain age, they are given a choice. Stay below forever, or go up above and never come back.

Rio loves her sister Bay and since their mothers death they are all each other has.  Rio has lived her life in secret, she has the voice of a siren.  Her sister has had sacrifice at times to help protect Rio's secret because siren's are not allowed to live among the rest of the community.
So, Rio makes the decision to sacrifice her desire to go above the surface and live a life below with Bay, she knows it's the least she can do for her. But a moment later after declaring she would stay below.  Bay makes an unexpected choice and leaves Rio below to go above.

Rio is devastated and confused, and can't figure out why Bay would go above to a world she never wanted.  This sets Rio out on a plan, to figure out what secrets her sister may have been keeping and what secrets her mother tried to take to her death.  At the same time figuring out her own destiny. But that destiny is going to take a dangerous turn as the truths unfold.  Rio was taught as a young child to suppress the voice she was born with.  But she soon discovers that maybe she has been silenced too long, maybe her voice is the key to the future.

I loved this story for what it was.  A beautiful love between sisters.  Even as I read this I couldn't help but think about Disney's Frozen and the sisterly love and dedication between the two sisters.
Atlantia has that same if not even more sisterly love with Rio and Bay.  I found it to be a refreshing read, something that was unexpected but at the same time beautifully written.
Although the author could have taken this book into so many different directions and turned it into a series.  She didn't, this book has a beautiful ending that reminds us of the power of love, the power of family.  I really enjoyed this one!  I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a little fantasy and an ending that will leave you feeling happy!  But I won't say more than that, about it!