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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

One Year After Taking the "Leap"

A little over one year ago, I took a leap of faith.  I submitted my resignation at my position - working for the State for fifteen years - fourteen years in my role.  I fell in love with leading my couch to 5K programs over the past three years and wanted to do more of it.  I felt like it was my calling - and still do.  I didn't feel like I was destined to sit a desk all day every day.  I was getting burnt out on working 8-10 hour days at the office and then heading around town to coach and run for a couple of hours with clients every night.  I was trying to schedule EVERYTHING in when I didn't have my kids (having custody of them only half-time) and I was at my breaking point.  I was also going to be assistant managing a running store in town, which I already had a great relationship with.  

Shortly after I cleaned out my desk, I was having anxiety.  My regular paycheck was no longer automatically showing up in our bank account.  We were paying triple what we previously were paying for health insurance.  I was counting every penny.

I wasn't sleeping.  My husband wasn't either.  My wheels would turn at night and I couldn't shut my mind off.  

I felt like every free moment I had (non-free time as well) had to be spent building my business, working on my blog and obtaining new clients and venues for holding classes.  I felt like I had to act on every opportunity, or failure could be right around the corner.  Even after a night without sleeping, I was waking up before 5:00 AM to work in my home office.

I was working nights and weekends at the running store.  This was still done when I didn't have the kids.  So, I was hardly seeing my new husband.  We were newlyweds of five months at the time.  The evening and weekend hours were also effecting my coaching schedule and personal racing schedule.

The schedule did work around my schedule with my children.  So, I was able to keep them out of daycare.  I valued the time with them after school and on our weekends together.  That was the one positive change.

They say that dreams should scare you.  I absolutely agree with that.  But this wasn't worth it.  The current situation wasn't making me happy.  

I was able to find a half-time opportunity back with the State that offered me all of my full-time benefits.  My employer was able to work my work schedule around my kids schedule, and I could still pick them up from school.  I was coaching 3-8 times per week.  Life was good.  Overtime, we still struggled financially, as this was a drastic demotion in responsibility and financially, so I took on an extra day of work.

Almost one year after going "back to work", my business is still thriving.  But, most importantly my kids are enjoying all of their extra time with me.  Those couple of hours after school are an amazing opportunity to connect, catch up on the events of their day, serve healthy snacks, complete homework, run them to sports and activities, run errands, go on walks and bike rides, and workout with them at the gym.

I was recently able to accept a promotional opportunity at work that offers me the chance to work even less hours.  This opportunity is also challenging me and a great fit with my experience and interests.  I cried happy tears on my drive home the other day, because I am truly the happiest I have been in a long time.  

I am currently:
  • Working in the office 22 hours per week
  • Working my business and keeping up the house 2 1/2 days during the week
  • Coaching 2-6 times per week
  • Picking Little Diva and Little Dude up from school 2-3 days per week
  • Have my weekends free for family, friends, racing and running 
  • Pretty content financially and carrying my family's health insurance
  • Sleeping well
  • Beyond happy! :)

Luckily, my business has been able to supplement the income that I lost from leaving my long-term position.  I like to have nice, reliable things that make my family and I happy, safe and content.  I just don't need to have the best - or the most - of everything.  We live modestly.  Almost all of my children's clothing has come from second-hand stores or garage sales (since birth), I meal plan and purchase generic, we have reliable vehicles that suit our family.  We are purchasing a home that we are comfortable with and are not over-extending ourselves.  I've always realized that it isn't the things that make us happiest.  It's the experiences.  

This year has also taught me that you have to say NO.  If an opportunity - or obligation - doesn't better myself, my family or my business, I have learned to politely say "no".  That is very difficult for me; someone who "has a fear of missing out".  Even if opportunities do relate to my business pursuits, but don't fit into my family's busy, unique schedule, I can now say no.  And I'm ok with that.

This past year has definitely had twists and turns of all kinds.  People ask me to justify decisions and changes I've made over the past year.  Why this?  Why that?  I still believe that everything happens for a reason - and teaches you something.  If something doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't.  Since my divorce, I've learned that I am in charge of my own destiny.  Change can cause intense struggles.  But, make a few adjustments to set you up for success - and life can be amazing.  Life is a process.  An amazing process.



Embrace the process.


Embrace the process.
Embrace the journey.
Embrace yourself.


It’s your process....
It’s your journey.
Earn it. Live it.
LOVE IT. LOVE YOU.




Kura Smoothie Protein Powder Winner ....

I was recently given the opportunity to review several products for active families.  You can read all about my fabulous experiences at the link below.  Please visit their websites below and start shopping.

One winner was chose at random to receive the following items.  Random.org chose ……..

Kura Smoothie Protein Powder
RDM Review:  HERE
Kura Website:  HERE
Winner:  Jordan HERE

Congratulations!!!  Please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) with your name, email and mailing address.  And, I will get you your prize!

Thank you for following my journey!!


[If you would like YOUR product, event or website featured on Running Diva Mom, please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) ]

Friday, March 6, 2015

Kura Smoothie Protein Powder Review & Giveaway

I've been testing out several different protein powders since last summer.  I was not a breakfast eater at work and would be starving by lunch.  I now love filling up on a protein-packed shake for breakfast.  I enjoy my shake on my way into work or at my desk.  They are also great for moms that are on the go.  I've tried products all over the market and in various price ranges.  I recently tried Kura Smoothie Protein Powder (HERE).  I was sent the following flavors to try:  chocolate, vanilla and berry.





















I mixed each flavor with almond milk and a banana.  Each flavor is already packed with fourteen grams of protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as probiotics and prebiotics, Omega-3's and is GMO free.  Their products are also gluten-free and no artificial sweeteners.

If you are looking for an overly-sweet protein shakes, I found that these weren't as sweet.  And like many protein shakes, they frothed up better with a banana and some ice mixed in the blender.  I mix all of my smoothies in a blender versus a blender bottle.















































Little Diva and Little Dude have also been enjoying an occasional protein shake before school.  They really liked the chocolate flavor with a banana on their way out the door.  It's so easy to whip up a batch for the entire family and fill up to-go cups.  Chocolate would also be great with some peanut butter or Nutella.

Were you once an Orange Julius fan??  Give this a try.  Kura suggests mixing 1 scoop/packet of the vanilla flavor with 1 cup of Berry yogurt; 1/3 cup of orange juice; 1/3 cup of unsweetened almond/coconut milk.

For a Coco-Lemon Berry smoothie, try mixing 1 scoop/packet of the Berry powder with 1/2 cup of coconut water; 1/2 cup lemonade and 1/4 cup ice.  This would be so refreshing poolside.

You can shop for Kura products online and on Amazon.com or their products are available at Sprouts and Whole Foods in the South West.  

Running Diva Mom readers receive 10% off of their order at Amazon:  KURARUND







******************************

One lucky winner will win a
Kura Smoothie Prize Pack
(US ONLY)

PLEASE LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY!!!

1 – Become a follower of my blog or already are?!  LEAVE ME A COMMENT

2 – Follow Running Diva Mom on Facebook HERE.  LEAVE ME A COMMENT

3 – Visit the Kura Smoothie website HERE and tell me what you think is fabulous.  LEAVE ME A COMMENT

4 – Become a fan of Kura Smoothie on Facebook HERE (and let them know Running Diva Mom sent you!).  LEAVE ME A COMMENT

5 – Post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook or Twitter (@RunningDivaMom @Kura Nutrition​ #RunningDivaMom) account. LEAVE ME A COMMENT FOR EACH.

Enter now though March 13.


[If you would like YOUR product or website featured on Running Diva Mom, please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) ]

[I frequently review products for active families and am not paid for my reviews.  I do receive free products to review.]


LADIES 10K Running Group - Sun Prairie / Madison-East - Starts April 16

LADIES 10K Running Group - Sun Prairie / Madison-East

Thursdays at 6:45 PM - Starts April 16

Register Now (HERE)












This running group is designed to take runners from the 5K to the 10K in twelve weeks.  We will meet together once each week on Thursdays at 6:45 pm - 7:45 pm.  Parks/locations will rotate in Sun Prairie, Deforest and on Madison's Eastside.  Class starts on Thursday, April 16.  Must be able to run/walk 30 mins at first class.

This non-competitive running group is geared towards women of all paces and abilities.  Everyone will run/walk at their own pace and an out-and-back route will be planned, so that the entire group can stick together.  This is a very encouraging and fun atmosphere and is perfect for runners that have run a handful of 5K races.

Interested in joining with a friend??  Choose the Running Buddies registration option for a discounted rate! 


We will be training for the DMB Freedom Run 10K on Saturday, July 4 in Deforest. This race is optional and is not included with your session registration.

Kidz Phonz Winner ....

I was recently given the opportunity to review several products for active families.  You can read all about my fabulous experiences at the link below.  Please visit their websites below and start shopping.

One winner was chose at random to receive the following items.  Random.org chose ……..

Kidz Phonz Headphones
RDM Review:  HERE
Company Website:  HERE
Winner:  Latanya T

Congratulations!!!  Please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) with your name, email and mailing address.  And, I will get you your prize!

Thank you for following my journey!!


[If you would like YOUR product, event or website featured on Running Diva Mom, please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) ]

Book #5 of 2015 - Getting Waisted by Monica Parker

This non-reader actually enjoyed a nightly reading session in 2014.  After being challenged by my daughter to read a Fault in Our Stars with her, followed by a viewing of the movie, I became hooked.  I read seven books from July-December in 2014 and am looking forward to reading twelve books in 2015.  I'm enjoying sharing my daughter's passion and carving out a different kind of "me time" after my workouts are complete.  Reading has relaxed me and is also helping me sleep better.




Book #5 completed in 2015:

I stumbled across this book in the "New Finds" section of my local library.  The tagline, "A Survival Guide to Being Fat in a Society that Loves Thin" really caught my eye.   As someone that has struggled with her weight her ENTIRE life, I identified with Monica on many parts of her journey.  This book had me laughing (sometimes out loud) from start to finish.  Every chapter summarizes her journey from one crazy diet attempt to another.  She describes her struggles, hilarious experiences, weight gained, weight lost and the relationships she's developed along the way.   I recall finding several of her experiences with food - and men - unbelievable.  You'll follow her on her journey to finding mister right and finding self-acceptance.

About the book:

Monica Parker bridges the divide between serial dieter's survival guide and memoir, taking readers on a hilariously funny yet bumpy ride from chubby baby to chunky adult.

In Getting Waisted, Monica begins every chapter with a diet she committed to and reveals how much weight, money, and self-esteem she lost, then she tells how much weight she gained when she fell off the wagon. After all, "no one tells a short person to get taller, or a tall person to get shorter, but fat people hear about their bodies all the time."  From Living Large in a size zero world to jumping into the dating pool without causing a tidal wave of angst, Monica learns that when you stop buying what the diet-devils are selling and start liking yourself, life is far more rewarding. When Mr. Right appears out of thin air, will she run back to the catalogue of Mr. Wrongs out of fear?  Readers will laugh and cry as she realizes that while she thought it was her body that was in the way, it was really what she kept in her head that needed adjusting.

Ultimately, Getting Waisted is an inspirational look at life through society's warped fun-house mirror, but Monica's reflection tells the real tale: everyone is always under construction and we are all flawed, chipped, and dented, but that doesn't mean we're not interesting, vital, and sexy.

Do you have a favorite book that I should be added to my reading list for 2015?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Kidz Phonz Review & Giveaway

Little Dude loves his tunes.  He loves plugging into his ipod Shuffle and listening to all of his favorite songs.  He also enjoys watching videos and playing games on my ipad.  Sometimes you just don't want all of the background noise when the kids are having their quiet electronic time.  So, Little Dude will use headphones.  Kidz Phonz sent Little Dude a set of customizable headphones to test out.



The headphones have an ear cup that pops out.  You can customize the design or color on the ears to your unique personality and interests.  Little Dude was sent a pair of grey headphones.  But, these also come in hot pink, yellow and turquoise blue.  At only $19.99 these are a great deal for little ones that just need a set of headphones for electronic devices, tablets or a set in the car.  

These are pretty durable, but they aren't overly heavy-duty.   If your child still breaks everything, these may be a better option for a year or two down the road.  These are light and adjustable.  They would fit easily in a diaper bag or in the pocket of a car seat.  The adjustable headband can adjust for the youngest of little ones through elementary school.


Features:
  • Comfortable wearing
  • Compatible with tablets, mobile phones, computers and chrome books
  • Swivel ear cup
  • Adjustable headband
  • Express Yourself pop out clear plastic cups
  • Free design templates
  • Plug 3.5mm
  • Cable: 4 feet PVC Cable


Little Dude opted not to use one of the templates that Kidz Phonz has available online.  He also didn't want to cut out any wrapping paper or existing scrapbook paper.  Instead, he wanted to be creative and truly customize his headphones for himself.  

He got out some blank paper, a pen and some washable markers and went to town designing.  Since he wanted both sides to be exactly the same, he wanted to prepare a scanned image of the image he designed.  We used our color printer for that.




He simply cut out both sides of his design, popped off the ear cap covers and inserted the circles.  He used this as an excuse to watch a video on Netflix.  The sound quality seemed just fine for his needs.





******************************

One lucky winner will win a pair of
Kidz Phonz (in grey)
(US ONLY)

PLEASE LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY!!!

1 – Become a follower of my blog or already are?!  LEAVE ME A COMMENT

2 – Follow Running Diva Mom on Facebook HERE.  LEAVE ME A COMMENT

3 – Visit the Kidz Phonz website HERE and tell me what you think is fabulous.  LEAVE ME A COMMENT

4 – Post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook or Twitter (@RunningDivaMom #RunningDivaMom) account. LEAVE ME A COMMENT FOR EACH.

Enter now though March 7.

[If you would like YOUR product or website featured on Running Diva Mom, please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) ]

A Visit to the Field Museum - Chicago

 Chicago is full of culture and has many museums to explore.  Last weekend, we stayed on Michigan Avenue and enjoyed a short, one mile walk to the Field Museum.  Much to our delight, the Winter weather cooperated and we enjoyed our walk, with coffee in hand.  The Field Museum opens daily at 9:00 am.  We got a head-start and arrived around 10:00.  There were no lines, but the museum was starting to get busy inside.  






We were advised to head on over to the new Vodou exhibit early.  So, that’s exactly what we did.  This small exhibit was filled with early museum visitors, as we observed statues, pottery, jewelry and other artifacts.  There were also short videos available to educate visitors on the culture.


We viewed all of animal exhibits and were reminded how many species are among us.  The detailed exhibits were so intricate and reflect each animal’s way of life.  There were several artists seated along the exhibit, painting various creatures.  Visitors were in awe of their artwork.




You can’t help but notice Sue the T Rex in the atrium of the museum.  She is the largest and most complete T Rex discovered to date and stands in the entrance of the museum.  The original head skeleton weigh over 600 lbs and are displayed separately from the rest of her remains.


We enjoyed walking through Inside AncientEgypt.  This exhibit was extraordinary to walk through the ancient tomb and view all of the mummies and artifacts.  I enjoyed reading the diagrams on the mummification process and hearing all of the young children asking their parents questions.


We weren’t sure if we would enjoy the Underground Adventure of soil and bugs, but it was quite entertaining – even without the kids along.  Visitors are “shrunk down” to bug size as you are immersed layers underground.  It was interesting to discover what lives a foot beneath your feet – and beyond.  I think that my kids really would have enjoyed this one – it reminded me of watching Honey I Shrunk the Kids when I was ten years old.










 After watching through the dinosaur exhibit and Evolving Planet, we landed at the entrance to the Waking the T Rex 3D movie – just in time for our 1:00 pm showing.  The movie featured the discovering of Sue the T Rex.  We followed paleontologists on their journey to uncovering her remains and how they were transported and reassembled and eventually placed in the Field Museum.  The movie also covered the Sue's lifespan lived until her death.





My husband and I enjoyed our day at the Field Museum and look forward returning as a family in the future.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Book #4 of 2015 - The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

This non-reader actually enjoyed a nightly reading session in 2014.  After being challenged by my daughter to read a Fault in Our Stars with her, followed by a viewing of the movie, I became hooked.  I read seven books from July-December in 2014 and am looking forward to reading twelve books in 2015.  I'm enjoying sharing my daughter's passion and carving out a different kind of "me time" after my workouts are complete.  Running has relaxed me and is also helping me sleep better.



Book #4 completed in 2015:

A client recommended this book to me, and I am glad she did!  I immediately placed a hold at my local library and started the book.  This book was classified as a teen novel, but I loved it.  I also look forward to sharing it with Little Diva.  The book follows a high school track star, Jessica, after she loses her leg in a car accident.  She thinks that all of her joy in life - and joy of running are behind her.  However, Jessica's teammates and the support of a young girl, Rosa, show her that she can do anything that she dares to dream about.  Rosa is a classmate with CP that makes Jessica help herself and others see past handicaps and disabilities, and see the actual person.  You will follow Jessica through her journey of being fit for a prosthetic leg and rediscovering her joy of running.  Jessica also helps Rosa follow her own dreams and desires.  This book will make anyone realize that anything is possible if your heart is in the right place.

Do you have a favorite book that I should be added to my reading list for 2015?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Running Quotes

Here are some running quotes and motivation to get you through that next run ...


Work.  Spouse.  Kids.  Laundry.  Cleaning.  Errands.  To do lists.  Emails.  Groceries.  Meal Planning.  Dishes.  Sleep?  RUNNING.  I LOVE THIS LIFE.


Strong legs.  Big heart.  I've been in love with running from the start.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Running Diva Mom Fun Run / Walk - March 21, 2015


Running Diva Mom – Group Fun Run/Walk!
Saturday, March 21 – 9:00-10:00 am
Upper Yahara River Trail – DeForest/Windsor

Register Now!!
Individual registration:  $5
Running buddies registration (for two runners):  $8


The Upper Yahara River trail is a fantastic recreation trail in DeForest/Windsor.  Take a left at the Windsor Road/Lake Road intersection in Windsor.  The trail head will be approximately a half mile on your right.  The 2.31 mile path (approximate five mile loop) is cleared all year long.  The scenery is beautiful and you will enjoy the variation of paved trail, board walk and two inclines.  Run as little or as far as you want.  All paces/walkers/intervals welcome.  

We will meet up at Windsor Breads for coffee or pastries after the run (not included).

No restrooms or water available at the trailhead.


http://www.vi.deforest.wi.us
http://www.windsorbreads.com/