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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Woolite Everyday Laundry Detergent Review

Woolite sent along some samples of their Woolite Everyday Laundry Detergent.
  It can be used for hand washing or machine washing your everyday laundry.  I tried it on bed sheets, delicates and my running gear to check out the versatility of the detergent.  I tried it on a hot cycle with the bed sheets and on a cold water cycle with my delicates and my running gear.
 
 
Woolite Everyday claims to give all your clothes the right balance of cleaning and caring. It doesn't contain harsh ingredients, so it won't cause stretching, shrinking or fading. With Woolite Everyday, you can keep all your clothes looking like new!

 
The wicking fabrics in my gear often remain stinky - it's REALLY hard to get that soaked in sweat out.  Especially if your running gear sits in the laundry hamper for a few days after your workout.  Woolite made my running gear smell fresh.  I'm not sure if it was any better than my other laundry detergent, but it definitely did the job.  I also enjoyed the sparkling falls scent.  If you are worried about the fading color of your clothing, also checkout Woolite Darks.

 
Want to try it out yourself?  Check out the Woolite website for a $1 off coupon.
 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Giveaway Winners ....


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 ……..

 

Honest Tea Lemonade
RDM Review:  HERE
Company Website:  HERE
Winner:  Beth HERE

Enso EvoFit Muscle Roller
RDM Review:  HERE
Company Website:  HERE
Winner:  Kathy Howe 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 ) ]

Waunafest 10 Miler 2014 Race Report

On Friday I went out for one of those "longish runs".  I was targeting anywhere between six to fifteen miles.  Wanted to see how I felt.  I felt slow and sluggish and actually got passed by two runners on my route - including one lady speeding past with a jogging stroller.  Ugh.  I just wasn't feeling it.  After each mile clocked in at around 10:30 I decided to head back home and finish with ten miles.  The clouds were dark and the rain started at mile 9 and I was blessed with some light sprinkles during my final 10:30 mins.  I finished the ten miles in 1:45 - which is tragically slow for me.  The watch reflected even slower times than I was feeling out there. 
 
Oh well, a run is a run and it's done and I didn't regret it.  I had a ten mile race on tap for Saturday.  I was glad I didn't run more on Friday and totally trash my legs - and my mental game.   I wasn't sure what to expect for Saturday's race and really went into the event with no expectations.  This would be my sixth or seventh time competing in the Waunafest 10 miler (HERE)  and I have crossed that finish line anywhere from 1:25 - 1:35 in years past.  Who knew where I would end up this time.  Hopefully just with a smile on my face.
 
 
Hubby and I grabbed our packets on Friday afternoon, as we were heading through the only Waunakee in the World on our way to a tour at Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac.  We set the alarm for 6:15 on Saturday morning, so that we could squeak into the start line at 7:30 am.  I love close, small town races!  I ate some Honey Nut Cheerios, greek yogurt and downed an energy shot.
 
We parked nearby and used the restroom at the park, since we didn't have to go inside for our packets.  I had my handheld water bottle, filled with water and stashed a mint chocolate Gu inside to consume during the race.
 
With the shot of the cannon we were off on our ten mile route.  The route was pretty similar to year's past, but was altered a bit as well.  The first couple of miles would meander through an industrial park and then head out into a really nice, new neighborhood, a second neighborhood and then out past Waunakee high school.  The route had been a little different every year I ran it, but was always spotted with a lot of hills.  I loved the course this year - probably my favorite of all of the year's I've ran this event.
 
At mile two, I spotted a gentleman that I have seen at almost every small local race I've ran in.  We always end up running together at some point and he passes me and finishes ahead of me.  I lowered my music and told him that I recognized him from so many events.  We chatted awhile.  Turns out his name is Sam and his daughter's name is Jamie.  I was glad I finally introduced myself and hope to see him at another event.  I never saw him again after mile 2.  I also lost site of Hubby at mile .1!
 
My watch was clocking in much faster than my ten miler the day prior.  8:50-9:15.  I was ecstatic and feeling great.  The hills pushed me and I got stronger with each one.  I enjoyed all of the hometown race support and the small groups cheering along the entire course.  There were a ton of water stations, but I was disappointed when I asked at each one if there was sports drink and the reply was always no.  I downed my entire bottle of water over ten miles and never grabbed a cup of water.  I could have used a boost from sports drink at some point (or two).  I sipped on my energy gel around mile five and that gave me a good boost.
 
I saw hubby at the turnaround loop, around midway through the course.  He said he could tell I had some bounce in my step.  I turned on the my strongest running songs on my workout playlist and repeated a few of them.  I could feel my pace increasing.  I played Katy Perry's "Roar" and Mumford and Sons' "Roll Away Your Stone" a few times.  It kept me going.
 
With two miles left to go, I could see a familiar face up ahead.  Kristin and I always run a similar pace and end up finishing marathons together.  Coincidentally, I was approaching her again.  I ended up passing her and game her a thumb's up as I continued to gain some speed with "Roar".  I looked at my watch and thought I may just have an outside of shot of finishing under 1:31 or 1:30.  Holy buckets!  I started counting backwards in my head, tried to "focus on my breathing; not on my legs" and charged ahead.  I knew that extra push was in me for the finish line.  We headed down around the track and around the baseball diamond to the finish line.  I passed everyone down the hill and around the track.  I had my tunes CRANKED, but could hear strangers cheering as I pushed it into the finish and I could hear Hubby say "Good job, Babe!" near the finish line.  I plowed past the finish - and further.  And I looked down at my watch and it read 1:30:04 - just a smidge over 90 mins.  Not to shabby. 
 
It's amazing how this run built my confidence back up.  The run the day prior kind of broke it down, but it took just one strong finish to build it back up.  20 miles in two days, with minimal training.  I was happy.
 
The sweat from my brow started pouring into my eyes.  As I was reminiscing with other runners and family, I suddenly couldn't see.  I hate when this happens.  It's miserable and doesn't go away.  With my diva-like makeup on for race day, I had to be careful and headed to the restroom to douse my face with cold water.  The lack of papertowels forced me to be patient.
 
We then watched the dozens and dozens of awesome little kids run in the kids race events, went out for a comical breakfast and some bloody Mary's and headed home for a shower and a nice afternoon nap. 




 
 
187/ 322 overall
10/21 age group
66/158 gender

Ten Miles:  1:30:04
Pace:  9:01 min/mile

Friday, July 25, 2014

Register Now - WOMENS RUNNING RETREAT



WOMENS RUNNING RETREAT
November 1, 2014
Madison, WI
 
Meet other active women from the Madison-area at the second annual Womens Running Retreat.  You and your running buddies will enjoy motivational speakers, a group run, yoga for runners, cupcake party, mini expo, giveaways for everyone!
 
 
 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Honest Tea Lemonade Review & Giveaway

My family was able to try some of the refreshing lemonades from Honest Tea (HERE) - also called Summer Refreshers (HERE).  I always love working with Honest Tea and trying their products.  I have enjoyed sharing their products with my running groups as well to keep them hydrated and refreshed after a good workout outdoors.  Honest Tea seeks to create and promote great-tasting, truly healthy, organic beverages. They have also strived to create their business with the same honesty and integrity they use to craft our products, with sustainability and great taste for all.    
 
 
  
 
My family  has tried many of the Honest Tea products, but these lemonades have been -by far - our favorite.  Sometimes the kids don't like the after taste of some of the Honest Tea products (They LOVE the Honest Kids pouches!), but they really liked these lemonade flavors.  Little Dude really liked the Berry Hibiscus Lemonade and Little Diva was a fan of the Classic Half & Half, lemonade and tea combo. 
 
 
 
The Summer Refreshers Lemonade lineup by Honest Tea looks like this .....
 
·         Classic Lemonade: Water, Lemons, Fair Trade sugar... and that's about it. The sipping is simple and easy.
·         Berry Hibiscus Lemonade: You don't need to see the world through hibiscus-colored glasses to enjoy this fruity brew.
·         Mint Limeade: Summerlime enjoymint.
·         Mango Lemonade: The mouthwatering mango flavor will have your taste buds celebrating like it's Carnival!
·         Classic Half & Half: Take a refreshing dive into this tasty lemonade and tea combo.
 
Honest Tea made a twist on the original product and used organic lemons and sweetened it with Fair Trade sugar to help farmers invest in their communities.  Enjoy these great Honest flavors at your next family BBQ or picnic at the park.  We also enjoyed trying these out in our very own Host Tea mason jars. 
 



 
 
******************************
 
One lucky winner will win a
Five Bottle Sample Pack of
Honest Tea Lemonades
(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 Honest Tea website HERE and tell me what you think is fabulous.  LEAVE ME A COMMENT
4 – Become a fan of Honest Tea 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 @HonestTea #RunningDivaMom) account. LEAVE ME A COMMENT FOR EACH.
 
Enter now though Monday, July 14.

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

Enso EvoFit Muscle Roller Review & Giveaway

EvoFit (HERE) introduced me to their Enso Roller (muscle roller) earlier this spring.  I had used a few different foam rollers in the past at gyms and liked using them.  I love that love/hate relationship you have with a muscle roller.  It feels so good - it hurts so bad - but it's so good for you and aids in muscle recovery. 
 
When I got the Enso Muscle Roller out of the box, I was intrigued by the design.  It wasn't just a "foam roller".  This thing was heavy duty.  I've used it on and off and found it really simple to use.  I like the size, too.  Some foam rollers can be too large and difficult to store and transport.  This roller is heavier than most, but small enough to be mobile.  I loved the designed and enjoyed the ease and versatility of the roller.   It truly is easy to get a custom fit and target the area you are looking to hit.
 
 
The ensō roller increases your performance and enhances your recovery by incorporating multi-use functionality into its design. By doing away with uniform pressure, ensō roller provides you with both deep-tissue and low-impact massage in order to meet your fitness needs. Unlike any other product, with ensō you can configure the disc layout to attack trigger points, and to effectively engage in Self Myofacial Release (SMFR).
 

Versatile and customizable

ensō is designed for versatility. It is effective on broad areas like your back and is equally useful in massaging smaller isolated muscles with their own complex conditions.  With a quick and easy adjustment of the discs, ensō conforms to all body types and training and recovery needs.  In addition to the easy positioning of the discs, you can also push them together or individually remove them in order to utilize ensō as a hand-held massaging device.
 

 
Features
  • Elongates muscles, relaxes tight muscles and aids in breaking up scar tissue, increases circulation and flexibility
  • Customizable design supports and works targeted areas without pressure to surrounding muscles and bones
  • 8-disc design can create a one-of-a-kind fit for your body shape and training needs
  • 13in proves to be the most versatile length for most body types
  • Rollers are constructed with a lightweight EVA foam and are supported by durable molded plastic discs and an anodized aluminum core
  • Grooved notches on tube position rollers to not slip out but adjust without friction for a micro-tuned disc arrangement
  • Weighs 2.13lbs


 
The Enso roller retails for $89 on the EvoFit website.  They also offer a smaller version in "travel size" for $69. This would be great for packing in you luggage and taking to destination races for post-race recovery.

 
Not sure how to reach the desired area or how to use the roller in general?  Watch the great videos on the EvoFit website.  Roll out your hip, your back, your hamstrings, IT band, quads, calves and more.
 
The roller worked great on hard, flat surfaces (wood floor) as well as carpeted areas.  Little Dude also has enjoyed playing around with the EvoFit Muscle Roller for all of his "aches and pains".  He especially likes using it on the bottoms of his feet.  Being an active six-year-old is so rough.



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

One lucky winner will win an
Enso Evofit Roller
(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 EvoFit website HERE and tell me what you think is fabulous.  LEAVE ME A COMMENT
 

4 – Become a fan of EvoFit 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 @EvoFitForLife #RunningDivaMom) account. LEAVE ME A COMMENT FOR EACH.

Enter now though Monday, July 14.

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

Monday, June 30, 2014

Fit Family Fun + Run

http://tinyurl.com/pdcpnvh
 
 
FIT FAMILY FUN + RUN
A unique outdoor experience for the whole family!

30 min intervals/run/walk (one min each) - followed by 30 min of family/partner stretching & Full Deck Fitness workout (www.fulldeckfitness.net) at the playground.
 
 
Each family that registers for all three sessions will receive a hard copy of
We Are Girls Who Love to Run by Brianna Grant.
 
 
Families of 2-4 persons; children ages 5-18 yrs; strollers welcome

Register for one session or all three sessions at a discounted rate.
$49 three week session / $20 class

Tuesdays - Aug 12, 19, 26 at 6 - 7 pm
August 12, 6:00 - 7:00 pm - Orfan Park, Sun Prairie
August 19, 6:00 - 7:00 pm - Sheehan Park-West, Sun Prairie
August 26, 6:00 - 7:00 pm - Burke Park, Burke

Online registration -
http://tinyurl.com/pdcpnvh
Please email Jamie at runningdivamom@yahoo.com to pay by check.
 


Friday, June 20, 2014

Running Lake Monona

If you've ever been to Madison, you know that we are blessed with so many great running routes and paths.  I really try to take advantage of most of them - especially on the central to east side of the Mad City.

A couple of weeks ago, I coached a 5K on Willow Island.  Willow Island tends to 5K events almost every weekend during the summer months now.  It's quite a popular place to hold races.  Most likely because parking is easy and it's located centrally. 
 
After coaching the new ladies at their first 5K, hubby and I headed across the street to Olin Turville Park for our own run.
 
 
I have run the Lake Monona 20K previously, which is held annually in May at Winnequah Park and the route takes you around Lake Monona.  However, I've always wanted to run the lake on my own time.  We were going to head out for six-ish miles over some of the "lake loop".  There were a lot of cyclists out, but not many runners.  It was hot - and it was crazy humid.  We were armed with handheld water bottles, but quickly ran out.  We stopped about 3-4 miles in at Winnequah Park to hydrate some more.  We figured that since we had come this far, that we could run the remaining seven-ish miles back to our starting point, and continue around the lake.  We started back out towards Monona Drive and our pace was slowing from 9:30/10:00 min miles to closer to 11:00.  It was hot and we were out in the open on the busy Monona Drive near Lake Monona. 
 
We stopped again at Olbrich Gardens to enjoy the air conditioning and hydrate some more and fill up water bottles and use the restrooms.  I also enjoyed a more-than-warm energy gel.  After some motivation from the volunteers at Olbrich Gardens, we headed back out through the Atwood Ave neighborhood and along the Monona Terrace.  We hydrated again at a park and stopped and walked a bit and then ran back to Olin Turville Park - eventually. 
 
It took a long time.  Probably longer than we'd like to admit.  It probably wasn't the smarted decision we've made together.  We did finish together and we finished smart -by including stops, walk breaks and hydrating continuously and slowing our pace.  It wasn't the most enjoyable run.  But, as I always say - you never regret a run. 
 

Asics Electro33 Running Shoe Review

Asics (HERE) contacted me this spring to try out their new Asics Electro33 Running Shoes.  I had worked in a running shoe store and fit several customers with the new Electro33's.  Customers really liked the open, mesh toe box.  People also liked the Gel cushionining, as that was a really popular selling point.  And, I was eager to try them out myself. 
 
This shoe is suitable for the neutral to slightly over pronator.  Pronation is how a runner's foot rolls medially between footfall and toe-off. Overpronation is when it rolls inwards, and a neutral pattern is when little rolling occurs.  I fall into this category.  I have tried a variety of stability shoes across many brands. 
 
 
Shoe Details:
 
The GEL-Electro33™ debuts as the newest introduction of the Natural33™ by ASICS, constructed with FluidAxis™ aligned for the mild to moderate overpronator. Engineered mesh and Seamless Construction combine with the Natural33™ Specific Last for a slipper-like fit and feel. The Solyte® Midsole and Ortholite Lasting create the lightweight ride and underfoot comfort needed to electrify any run.
 
The Electro33 retails online for $110 which is quite comparable to other running shoes.  The shoe is available in three color schemes for both men and women and I (of course) choose the  pink pair.  The color was even brighter in person - more towards a neon pink, than a hot pink or fuschia.  The other color schemes are quite unique and fun.

 
Shoe Stats: weight 7.1 oz / heel height: 19 mm / forefoot height: 9 mm   
 
  • Anatomically correct deep flex grooves have been aligned to the joints of the foot. This innovative construction enables the shoe to recognize, adapt, and respond to the athlete's exact load and positional change from first impact to toe-off.
  • Attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to midstance.
  • ASICS lightest midsole compound has been reengineered to reduce weight while providing enhanced cushioning and exceptional durability.
  • The use of seamless materials reduces the potential for irritation and friction caused by traditional stitches and seams.

  •  
    I love the seamless construction in these shoes.  I suffer from toe problems and bunions and anything that has seems, tends to really bother my feet and cause my bunions to throb and sore for days after a long run.  The seamless construction and mesh overlay really allow my feet to breathe and move around and my toes aren't restricted.  I felt like my ankle was cinched comfortably, yet my toes could move around.  Loved that about these.
     
    I liked wearing these for mid-distance runs or when I coached shorter distance.  I loved the gel cushioning.  However, I'm just not that use to as light of a shoe for my longer distance runs.  My other running shoes have more stability and I'm use to a slightly heavier sole for my longer runs.  These were awesome for 3-9 miles.  I just am not ready to break them out for anything longer than 90 minutes right now.  It's unbelievable how light these babies are.  If you like lighter shoes, then I would really suggest giving the Electro33 a try.
     
     
    The sole worked just fine for pavement or crushed gravel.  It's not an overly aggressive sole.
     
    The laces were great at staying tied, too.  I sometimes find that some of my laces aren't staying tied, even when double-knotted these days.  These stayed put.
     
    I also took them hiking and geocaching with the kids.  They were great for summer and super light and "not clunky".  They got dirty and cleaned up really well and easily after our outings at local parks and state parks.




     
     

    Have you checked out the ASICS Race the Sun challenge??  On June 21st, two teams of ASICS trail runners will be working in relay to run 162 kilometers through 3 countries before the sun goes down—giving them 15 hours and 41 minutes to complete the route. It will be a groundbreaking event! Check out the course sneak peek (HERE).  Be prepared to be motivated by this epic video.  Makes me look forward to my trail half marathon later this summer.

     
    Disclaimer:  I received a pair of Asics Electro33 for free in exchange for my review.  I was not paid for my comments/feedback.
     

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    Mumford and Sons Running Playlist

    I use to only listen to top 40 and hip hop tunes during my runs.  Recently, I discovered that one of my favorite playlists is also great for running.  Mumford & Sons' music keeps a fantastic rhythm and their music is so emotional and intense.  Use this playlist on your next run ...

    Friday, June 13, 2014

    Win with Wisconsin Chocolate Milk - The 2014 Tour of America's Dairyland - June 19-29

    The Tour of America's Dairyland (ToAD) presented by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is the largest competitive road cycling event in the United States (right here in Wisconsin!), featuring multiple amateur and Pro categories for 11 consecutive days in 11 Wisconsin communities. In 2013, an average of 650 racers competed daily for more than $150,000 in cash and primes before an estimated 160,000 passionate, dasherboard-banging, cowbell-clanging fans.
     
    Over 1,100 cartons of Wisconsin lowfat chocolate milk
    will be served to participants per day for recovery.
     
     
    July 19 - 29, the event takes riders from Shorewood, Wisconsin to Wauwatosa, WI.  Check out the tour schedule for complete details and sponsor information.  This is sure to be a great event for participants and spectators alike.
     
    Make sure you stop and spectate at the stops in Fond du Lac on June 27 and Wauwatosa on June 29.  The Win with Chocolate Milk Team will be handing out FREE SAMPLES AND SWAG at both events.  Come by and sample, get some freebies and cheer on those dedicated riders on the route.
     
     
    Did you know that a tall glass of white or chocolate milk contains 30% of your daily Calcium and 25% of your Vitamin D requirements.  Pair that up with Phosphorus, Riboflavin, Protein, Vitamin B-12, Potassium, Vitamin A, Niacin and Vitamin C, you have a glass full of nutrients for the entire family.  A glass of chocolate milk contains 135 calories.  While a glass of white milk contains just 85 calories.  Wisconsin Milk's nine essential nutrients can make your kids grow up healthy and strong - and you parents will benefit, too.  Why not set a good example at the dinner table tonight and serve up a glass of milk with your family's meal. 
     
    Wisconsin chocolate milk is also a fantastic way to refuel after your workouts - with a perfect combination of protein and carbs to aid in muscle fiber recovery.  The electrolytes will also help refuel what sweat you lost during that fantastic workout.  Stock up on a couple of bottles of cold chocolate milk and keep them in the fridge for when you return home after your next long run.  Why not stash a few bottles in a small cooler the next time you meet your running buddies for a training run.  You can enjoy cold Wisconsin chocolate milk while you are doing your post-run stretching.  Your friends will appreciate the miles you shared together and the benefits from refueling with chocolate milk.
     

     
    John Dettmann, Director of Strength and Conditioning at the University of Wisconsin, is just one of many athletic professionals who have seen the direct impact that chocolate milk can have on an athlete's performance. Check out the video
     
     

    Giveaway Winners ....

    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 ……..

     
    On the Road to Find Out Book
    RDM Review: 
    HERE
    Company Website:  HERE
    Winner:  Jennifer at Diaper Derby Adventures HERE

     
    SewKrazy Running Skirts
    RDM Review:  HERE
    Company Website:  HERE
    Winner:  Jessica @ Four Princesses in Training! 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 ) ]

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    On the Road to Find Out - Running Book Giveaway

    Rachel Toor (HERE) just wrote a great book about running and we can all identify with it.  Running changes you in so many ways - your body, your fitness level, your mind, your health, your outlook on your life, your routine, your schedule.  It changes you inside and out.  Whether you are a new runner or a seasoned runner - you are going to enjoy, "On the Road to Find Out".  This book will be available on June 10, 2014. 

    From the Author, Rachel Toor:

    I’m grateful to have an opportunity to do a guest post on Running Diva Mom because there’s something I want to say.

    I say it frequently during races when I’m running near another woman and the distance is long and the pace is slow enough that we can chat and she tells me she’s a mom.

    That’s when I have to confess that I am a child-free single woman. I have no dependents except for a four-year-old mutt, Helen. I am a renter. I pay a dude to mow my lawn every other week. When I became a tenured professor, I decided to spring for a monthly house cleaner. I refuse to cook and subsist on Cheez-Its, Ramen soup, breakfast cereal, and Tootsie Rolls.

    What I want to say is this: there should be a separate awards category for mothers who run. When I think about my life and how much free time I have to train—and to read, and to write, and to do nothing—I become aware that I have few excuses for not putting in the miles. If I’m not running well, I have only myself and my weak will to blame. 

    Mothers are in a different category. Working mothers, single mothers, even mothers whose children have left home—their focus can’t be solely on themselves.  We all make choices and I’m happy with mine. But I would be lying if I didn’t say how much I admire women who are able to do what I do with more limited resources of time, energy, and sometimes money.

    Run on, mothers. You deserve an award.

     
    About the book:



    On New Year’s Day, Alice Davis goes for a run. Her first ever. It’s painful and embarrassing, but so was getting denied by the only college she cares about. Alice knows she has to stop sitting around and complaining to her best friend, Jenni, and her pet rat, Walter, about what a loser she is. But what doesn’t know is that by taking those first steps out the door, she is setting off down a road filled with new challenges—including vicious side stitches, chafing in unmentionable places, and race-paced first love—and strengthening herself to endure when the going suddenly gets tougher than she ever imagined, in On the Road to Find Out by Rachel Toor.

     
     

    Excerpt from On the Road to Find Out

     

    I pumped my arms and covered ground with almost no effort. I was Superman. I was Nike—not the shoe company, but the winged goddess of victory. I could practically hear Bruce singing that tramps like us, baby—well, you know.
    For one and a half blocks. That’s the part he left out. We may have been born to run—but not very far. After two blocks, everything started to hurt. I couldn’t get enough air and each leg weighed about eight hundred pounds. Great Lake–sized puddles lurked at every corner and I stepped in all of them. When I tried to leap across, I landed—splat!—in the deepest part.
    I hadn’t expected to see so many people out on this dreapy holiday morning. It took only a few minutes for me to realize my New Year’s resolution was typical, ordinary, and uninspired—just like me.
    The boulevard was buzzing with runners, all trucking along in their tight tights and sporty vests, their long-sleeved shirts with the names of marathons or colleges or clothing brands plastered across the front, their baseball hats from professional football teams and their nondescript black beanies. Some had on backpacks and belts studded with water bottles, as if they were going to be traveling for days. Some people ran alone, and some were in groups. Those in groups chatted as if they were using no more energy than it would take to hoist a latte to their lips. When they came toward me they’d nod and raise a gloved hand.
    Which reminded me I was not invisible. I hadn’t realized—when I squeezed into the jeggings my mother had bought me years ago (but that I only got to wear to school twice before my best friend, Jenni, told me they were already tragically unhip), donned a long-sleeved T-shirt from an unfortunate family trip to Disney World, and layered on one of my dad’s plain old slightly tatty sweatshirts—no, I hadn’t realized the superpower I would most want when I set out for my first run would be invisibility.
    Each time someone ran past me from behind, splattering me with dirty sidewalk water, I straightened up, went a little faster, and tried to hide how hard I was breathing.
    And each time someone came toward me I’d look up only for a second, raise a paw in acknowledgment, and think: Don’t look at me. Please don’t look at me.

    My feet hurt because I had secretly borrowed a pair of never-worn, slightly too-small running shoes I found in my mother’s shoe room. Yes, my mother has a room just for her shoes. Other people might call it a closet. But then, as Dad likes to point out, other people live in houses with less acreage than the space dedicated to my mother’s footwear. She’s a material girl, my mom, a doctor who earns enough jack to pay for everything she needs and wants, and a bunch of things that I neither need nor want.
    My eyes never stopped watering and I had to constantly wipe my face with my sleeve. I’m sure I looked like I was sobbing throughout the whole thing. It might have been the wind, or maybe I was really crying.
    My calves cramped up and I felt dizzy. On the other side of the street I could see a huddle of teens smoking cigarettes. Or something. They yelled an insult, or maybe it was just a whoop, a holler, and I thought again: Make me invisible.
    My feet still hurt. It felt like my arches had flattened into the shoes. Some jerks drove by in a pickup truck adorned with a Confederate flag and honked their horn. It scared me so much I jumped and landed funny and that made my feet hurt more. I wanted to scream, Go back to your cave, you howling trolls, but I didn’t say anything.
    Then came the panting. I was breathing like a prank caller. My arms were so heavy I could hardly swing them.
    And then a guy with long legs, floppy hair, and a dog that looked like Toto with trashy blond highlights passed me.
    Hear this, people: I got passed by a dog who was off to see the Wizard. The little dude trotted fast on his abbreviated limbs. He held his head high—as high as you could hold a head on legs only about four inches tall. He wore a harness with a camo design, and his leash had rhinestones on it. His mini-legs were going like crazy.
    The guy took graceful strides and did not seem like someone who would have a little dog dressed in camo at the end of a sparkly leash. Toto dogs go with blue-haired old ladies who smell like Cashmere Bouquet body powder and maybe the faintest hint of pee. People and their animals usually look right together. These two didn’t.
    The guy was around my age. He was attractive. He was so attractive Jenni, a small girl of big appetites, would have referred to him as a tasty morsel. He glided along, his head straight, his arms tucked in neat by his sides.
    I struggled to try to keep up with them and did. For about ten seconds. Then they pulled away.
    I had been chilly when I left the house, but my body soon equilibrated (yes, I paid attention in honors chem), and I sweated through my layers. I stopped for a second to wrestle out of the sweatshirt and tie it around my waist, and looked up to see another pair of runners coming toward me, a guy and a girl. The girl had her hair pulled into a long ponytail and as she ran it swung from side to side, a blond metronome. She was smiling and he was smiling too and he said something and she laughed and she turned and socked the guy with a playful punch to the belly, and he bent over—all while they were still running—and when he stood up straight again I saw the sweatshirt he wore.
    It said, “YALE.”
    The burn rose from my stomach and settled in my throat. I could feel my face flush. I choked up.
    The happy couple passed by me without a wave, without even noticing me, and I thought: Right. In some ways, I am invisible. I am nothing.
    I slowed to a walk. My nose was full of snot and I didn’t have a tissue. I felt like throwing up. On this day, January 1, I had kept my New Year’s resolution and gone for my first run ever.
    It was over in eight minutes.
    For about seven and a half of those minutes, around 450 seconds, when I had been concentrating on running—on how much my body hurt, on what other people saw when they looked at me, and even on wondering what that hot guy was doing with a Toto dog—I had been able to forget that I, Alice Evelyn Davis, top student in my class at Charleston High School, champion taker of standardized tests, favorite of teachers, and only child of two achievement-focused parents, had been rejected Early Action from Yale University, the only college I ever wanted to go to.
     
     


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