Wednesday, December 29, 2010

No More Excuses in 2011 - Commit.

In order to be an inspiration, one must inspire.  In order to have others follow, one must lead.

As I encourage you all to be deciding on your goals for 2011, I feel it is only appropriate that I not only share my plans for the new year, but that I commit those plant to paper as well.  I hope that my marathon story proved the power of setting goals.  Through hard work, dedication and positive beliefs, it is almost unimaginable what you'll be able to achieve in the next twelve months!

My 2011 Fitness goals

Coaching for Luke's Locker winter / spring Quick Beat program:  This program lasts 20 weeks and over the course I'll be working on strength and speed.  As a participant last year, I was able to improve my running form and technique, which ultimately lead me to become faster.  I'm giving back this year by helping others do the same by being a coach for the program.  Notable races:  Several 5ks throughout the program.

Early Marathon training:  In May, I will start to ramp up my mileage and begin training for my fifth marathon.  I have selected Chicago as my destination marathon.  It's been on my list for several years and it just works out perfectly this year.  Race date:  Early October

Cross Training:
Insanity:  I started my third round this week.  I will continue to push play throughout January and February until the VERY highly anticipated The Asylum is set to be released.  This program makes Insanity look like a light stroll through the park.  I'm so scared of it...and I can't wait!

P90X One on One:  I love this new program.  I get a brand new DVD each month.  It focuses on muscle confusion to keep the workouts fresh and the plateaus non-existent. It will be excellent crossing training during the brutally hot summer marathon training.

That's it!  It just took a little thought and some planning, and now I have my entire year's plan set.  Now that it's set to paper, I have no excuse NOT to commit.  Switching up the routines and adding variety are keys to keeping me motivated and staying healthy.

Have you decided?  Are you ready to commit that decision to paper?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

No More Excuses in 2011 - Decide

As January 1, 2011 approaches, many of us are probably squirming in our own skin.  We know a new year is a chance to begin again, start fresh, kick bad habits and add healthy ones to our daily repertoire.  While all the best of intentions can never be doubted, the fact remains that without a solid decision to make a change, our new season of change will undoubtedly be short-lived.

It is no secret that a vast majority of New Year's resolution involve some sort of vow to become healthier.  Don't believe me?  Try stepping into a gym post January 1st and try to get on a treadmill.  Good luck!  Health clubs, basements and gymnasiums are packed with people on a mission to lose weight and get healthy.  So why do those same places have about half the attendance once March rolls along?

I recently read the book, The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson.  I was awakened to the premise that it is the little things that we do, or do not do day after day that create the type of life we ultimately live.  While most of us live in a 'gimme it quickly' mentality, it is easy to fall back to our old habits when the results we wanted so badly on January 1st have not magically appeared by February 1st.  Many of us don't even make it that long.

If you don't live with the Slight Edge mentality, you fail to see the good of daily exercise when your belly pooch has not turned into a six-pack overnight...or in 30 days.   The little things you should be doing daily become just as easy not to do and you gradually pick back up the old habits.  Just one little cookie here or a cigarette there.  After all, you are stressed and what can be wrong with just one?  Ah...remember..the little things we do day after day that create the life we ultimately live.

Being healthy is a daily choice.  It's easy easy to eat fast food, but it's just as easy to pack a healthy lunch.  It's easy to sleep in, but it's just as easy to wake up an hour early for exercise.  It's easy to accept yourself as unhealthy, but it's just as easy to start getting healthier.  It's easy to make excuses, but it's just as easy to just do it.

Over this next week, I want you to DECIDE.  Decide to make a healthy choice.  Don't just say you're going to do it.  You might as well quit before you start.  Write down what you want, who you want to be and how you envision your life one year from now.  Yes, ONE YEAR from now.  A resolution is a formal expression of opinion or intention made.  Don't just state your intentions.  Make a choice, decide and commit!

Then ask me how I can help you achieve it!

No more excuses 2011!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's Christmas

Today I began my third round of Insanity!  Merry Christmas to me!  I am SO excited for 2011 and all the exciting things it will bring! 

As the Holidays wind down, I am preparing to get back into my regular motivational writings.  No Excuses in 2011!  Let's do healthy things for ourselves, our friends and our families!

My life is filled with so much joy and I have so much to be thankful for! I have this short video of what Christmas morning is like at our house.   How could I not be happy when I watch this?

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

How I Lost Five Pounds in Three Days

I've been busy and I've been cleansing.  I would think my life would ease up a little since the marathon but that is really not how I roll, so on top of everything else changing rapidly in my life, I decided to shock my body the past three days by doing the Shakeology Cleanse.

I have a tendency to put on some weight after running a marathon.  Not because I get lazy and stop working out.  You know me better than that.  However, I do dramatically cut back my weekly mileage and therefore my diet needs to make a huge adjustment to compensate for the reduction in total calories burned.

I've learned my lesson in the past years about trying to get back into running too quickly to avoid the weight gain pitfall.  So with the holidays looming and with my deliberate attempt to be very gentle on my body physically for the next couple weeks, doing a 3-day Shakeology cleanse seemed appropriate.

When people hear the word cleanse, they often cringe and immediately think of frequent trips to the potty or associate it with uncomfortable hunger and starvation.  I can honestly say, that is NOT the case with this cleanse.  What surprised me completely is that I drank no coffee and didn't have a horrible headache. I felt energized AND I wasn't hungry!

So what is so magical about this cleanse?  Shakeology!  The healthiest meal of the day x three!  Read more about the science behind the drink here.

Day 1:
Morning:  one cup of green tea - no sweeteners
Breakfast:  Greenberry Shakeology blended with frozen strawberries and ice/water
Mid-morning snack:  Apple
Lunch - Chocolate Shakeology blended with ice/water / One cup of green tea
Afternoon Snack:  Chocolate Shakeology blended with ice/water

Dinner:  Large salad with chicken breast, cucumber, beets, zucchini, peas, tomatoes, low-cal dressing

Total calories Day 1:  920
Thoughts:  No hunger.  No headache.  Feeling energized!  I was really surprised by this.
Total weight loss:  2 lbs.

Day 2
Morning:  one cup of green tea - no sweeteners
Breakfast:  Greenberry Shakeology blended with frozen strawberries, cinnamon and ice/water
Mid-morning snack: Apple
Lunch:  Chocolate Shakeology blended with ice/water / One cup of green tea
Afternoon Snack:  Greenberry Shakeology blended with ice/water
Dinner:  Large salad with chicken breast, cucumber, yellow squash, tomatoes, low-cal dressing

Total calories Day 2:  920
Thoughts:  A little headache, some hunger, still energized.
Total weight loss:  4 lbs.

Day 3
Morning: one cup of green tea - no sweeteners
Breakfast: Greenberry Shakeology blended with frozen strawberries, cinnamon and ice/water
Mid-morning snack:  Apple
Lunch:  Chocolate Shakeology blended with ice/water / One cup of green tea
Afternoon Snack:  Greenberry Shakeology blended with ice/water
Dinner:  Large salad with chicken breast, cucumber, yellow squash, tomatoes, low-cal dressing

Total calories Day 2:  920
Thoughts:  No headache.  No hunger.  VERY ENERGIZED!  I was wide awake at 11:30!
Total  weight loss:  5 lbs.

A few items to note.  The cleanse is meant to detoxify and rejuvenate your body while kicking in weight loss.  Although my goal was not to lose weight, I was more in a preventative weight gain frame of mind for doing the cleanse.  Other items to note:  NO dairy, extra sugars, almond or soy milk for optimal results.

I did do light workouts the first two days that included an easy run and yoga.  I completely rested on the last day.  Overall, I am so glad I did this for the full three days.  It was not hard and was over before I knew it.  I'm overjoyed by the fact that I was able to go without coffee and didn't feel much hunger at all.  I feel completely rejuvenated and clean!  I HIGHLY recommend giving it a try!

Whoever said the average person gains seven pounds during the holidays obviously has never done a Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

From Excruciating to Extraordinary

Six months of training completed.  Hundreds of miles logged.  Thousands of calories consumed.   It all came down to three minutes.

I woke up Sunday morning with what felt like a Tyson / Ali fight going on inside of my stomach.  I was a ball of nerves and although I tried my best to get ample rest, by 3:45 a.m., I couldn't sleep any longer.  The blood was surging through my veins as my adrenaline increased with each passing minute.

Determined to NEVER have another Poop marathon, I drank two extra bold cups of coffee took ample measures to ensure a repeat of last year's marathon would not ever happen again.  I ate my waffle with peanut butter, then slowly and methodically dressed myself, making sure every inch of exposed skin was appropriately lubed with Body Glide.

I adjusted my socks until they were just right, knowing the slightest discomfort could spell disaster over 26.2 miles.  Two lost toenails in my last marathon was a reminder to pay special attention to the placement of the seams of my socks. I paced back and forth while triple checking that my bags were packed appropriately with pre- and post-race necessities. 

Finally ready!

I left my house at 5:45 a.m., feeling really ready.  I knew I would need to find one more bathroom upon my arrival...just for good measure.  It's sad that pooping was more of a concern for me at this point than the fact that I was going to be running for nearly four hours!

After a long drive to the the race site, I found it rather ironic that when I finally parked, my trip odometer read '23 miles'.  Hell, I could have run to the race!

I arrived at Fair Park, gathered my 'checked' bag and was on a mission for a toilet.  I followed the crowd  and came across an open door of a building.  I saw one other person inside and a huge WOMEN sign.  Ah...heaven.  There was just one other lady inside and I have the luxury to select any stall I wanted.  Success.  I walked out and to my surprise, in a matter of three minutes, the line to the restroom had managed to wrap around the building.  Some strange phenomenon I cannot explain other than this was simply going to be MY LUCKY DAY!

I made my way to the Start Line and was reluctant to give up my warm ups, but I wanted a good position, so I stripped off my pants and breathed in a sigh of 37 degrees.  Thankfully, I stumbled upon some of my running crew for last minute good lucks and laughs and then I put on my game face.  I was ready to do this!

More waiting due to the television broadcast, the singing of the National Anthem, and a little ba ba ba ba
ba baaahh-ing by Michael Jackson to get my blood pumping and before I knew it, the gun sounded and I was off!

My plan was to run a conservative, smart race.  Don't start off too fast.  Run the first 10 miles at an 8:30 pace, the next 10 at an 8:15 - 8:20 pace and then to go for it the last 10K.  The first three miles were a bit crowded and I would find myself getting off pace several times, but I didn't let panic set in.  I trusted myself.  I knew I could do it.  Miles 1-5 average pace:  8:29

I saw my friends at mile 5 holding a NEVER2LAYT sign.  What joy that brought me!  Still full of energy, I ran by with a "WHOOHOO!"  About a minute later, I saw Ced and Jackson holding these signs.  Pure jubilation! 

I was prepared for the slight ascent over the course of the next five miles.  It was early enough in the race to not feel much fatigue.  The fan support was great and I was fully warmed up to toss my outer gloves and lock in a conservative pace.  Miles 6-10 average pace:  8:28. 

Mile 10 was the second friends / family sighting.  You can imagine how pleased I was!  It's hard work getting from one point to another as a spectator and to have them see me and cheer for me twice by mile 10 was so uplifting.  I joke that it is easier to run a marathon.  I just follow the crowd.

Around Mile 11, I knew I was going to qualify.  I had no idea what was going to happen over the course of the next 15 miles, but I did know that my mind was solid.  It was made up before we started.  There was no way I would disappoint anyone today.  I felt great and I was already approaching White Rock Lake.

I've run the course so many times.  I know every turn, every slight ascent.  I know where the wind tunnels are and where to use the wind to my advantage.  I love the lake and its familiarity gave me even more confidence.  This is where I started to gradually increase my pace per my game plan. Miles 11 - 15 average pace:  8:24.

Much to my delight, I noticed my friends waiting for me again.  I am so grateful and am learning their race strategy is almost as detailed as mine.  I check my pace band at Mile 15 and I'm a minute under my goal.  I don't have a lot of room for error and I haven't even reached the so-called wall yet.  Rather than panicking, I trust my training and much to my surprise, I see Ced and J again!  "Go Mommy!"  I can't let that disgustingly cute child of mine down!

I am starting to feel my first signs of fatigue at mile 16.  I'm experienced enough to know that you go through a series of many ups and downs over the course of marathon, so I know it should wain within a couple miles.  I take advantage of the wind at my back and the flat course to try to regain some of my energy. 

Without slowing my pace, miles 16-20 are tough.  My quads are starting to cramp and I am starting to panic.  I rotate water / gatorade at each aid station.  The pain is excruciating at times, but I focus on my goal.  I haven't felt tightness like this before, but I tell myself to deal with the pain after the race. 

I make a sharp right to a crowd of supporters near mile 19 and I hear "Go Mommy!" REALLY!??  I see my boys AGAIN!  I'm tired, emotional, focused.  I shout, "Hi BAAAAABY!" and am on my way.  I see my friends again and I've regained my energy.  They would later tell me my expression at that point was complete determination.  I know I'm going to do it.  I won't hit the wall today.  I have a 10K to go and it's time to pick up my pace.  Miles 16-20 average pace:  8:20.

White Rock Marathon is infamous for the Dolly Parton Hills.  Without any further explanation, you can probably gather, they are two hills at mile 21.  Any other day, they are just an A-cup, but at this point in a marathon, they are a DD.  The aid station has men dressed in blond wigs, resting water and gatorade on their boobs, acting completely obnoxious.  Normally, I would think this is really funny, but my sense of humor at this point is...gone.

I take in more water, eat my Clif chomps and I will myself through the bossoms.  Mile 22 is my breakthrough point.  I have just over four miles to go.  My quads are hurting so badly.  It feels like someone has taken a knife and is cutting me with each step, but stopping is hardly an option.  Instead I pick up my pace.  With the gradual descent and a vision of Boston in my sights, I begin to make pass after pass.  Many people are walking, stretching, struggling.  I am pumping my arms as I completely absorb myself into my 345 playlist.

Fans cheering start to call out my name, from my bib.  I don't smile or acknowledge much.  I am so focused.  I look at my pace band at mile 23 and I now have three minutes to spare.  Essentially, I could slow my pace at this point and still make my goal, but I'm not taking any chances.  One last Usher song and then a little inspiration from Kirk Franklin and I'm almost there.

I start to pass much slower runners and realize I'm passing the people running the half marathon!  I see Mile 26 in the distance as I pass by Ced and J one final time.  I know I've done it.  My emotions take over me as Ced cheers for me to 'FINISH....FINISH'.

I run through the finish line and completely lose control of all my emotions.  I knew I could do it.  I had been envisioning this moment for the past five months.  It was happening.  I did it!  I qualified for the Boston Marathon running a 3:42 marathon.  Final 10K pace:  8:21

There is nothing special about me but on Sunday I was able to do something extraordinary because I set a goal for myself.  I worked so hard and always believed I could do it.  I'll see you in Boston!

This post brought to you by:
Mama's Losin' It

This week I want you to write a post inspired entirely by one of these words:

Simple. Angsty. Excruciating. Enchanted. Bold.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Did It!

Back in August, I set a goal.  Today I accomplished it!  I learned that qualifying for the Boston Marathon is so much greater than just running.  In fact, accomplishing this isn't even about me.  It's about purpose.  I know that I have a greater purpose in my life and with today's successful 3:42 marathon finish, I am certain that I will lead so many people to not only dream, but to make those dreams a reality!

I am living proof that if you really want something bad enough, you dedicate yourself and you do the work, all things are possible.  Today I am a Boston Qualifier because I committed to a plan.  I believed in myself and most importantly, I never once doubted I could do it. 

Thanks for allowing me to take some time from my normal writing to make a video diary of my week.  It's been fun, interesting and most of all, incredibly fulfilling and rewarding!

My last vlog...for now!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Purpose

In the final days leading up to the marathon, I'm reflecting on the past six months and realizing that running is so much more than qualifying for Boston.  It gives me purpose and meaning.  I'm extremely emotional today and this video shows the passionate side of me and how running affects my life.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Freaking Out

It's FOUR days until the marathon and the underlying theme seems to be...I'M FREAKING OUT.  I took the day off from running and rested my body with some extra sleep.  I needed it!  Now, if people could just stop coughing, hacking, wheezing and sneezing around me, I could get it together.  Yeah.  Probably not.

Coffee Shots and Camels

Five days to White Rock Marathon!  I'm officially a hypochondriac this week!   I'm freaked out about any germs getting within 100 feet of me.  I'm feeling achy.  I'm overly paranoid.  Sunday cannot come fast enough!

Today's vlog is focused on yoga workout and my not so conventional morning ritual that gets me going.  It works and I'm not about to change anything this week!

Congratulations to all who entered my P90X giveaway.  I really truly wish I could give everyone the prize! 

The winner is:  Nicole Rosenbeck!! 
I will be contacting you via email so get ready to BRING IT!!

Monday, November 29, 2010


This is just a little glimpse of what my mornings have consisted of over the past six months.  Now here I am.  Six days to go to White Rock!  I'm so nervous, but I'm ready.  I'm ready to make good on my goal.

"Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about."
~PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Rhonda in the Raw

With just one week to go until my marathon, I decided to keep a video diary of my thoughts leading up to the race.  I'm not trying to win any beauty contests here.  This is me, in the raw, with my thoughts.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cuz John Smith Says So!

I decided to get a little different perspective on Thanksgiving and sat down with my six-year old son last night and had a short Q&A with him about his thoughts about this day. Enjoy!

What do you think Thanksgiving is?
A time to say thanks and share life. A time of learning about the first Thanksgiving and a time to remember about those Pilgrims.

What is a Pilgrim?
An ancestor which not most of us really have.

Why are they called Pilgrims?
The call them Pilgrims because I think there was a law in England that said if you’re a grown up or a child you have to be called a Pilgrim.

What happened on the first Thanksgiving?
The Indians taught them how to plant fish and they sang great songs.

If I were a Pilgrim I would…
Help the Indians cuz John Smith said, “if you don’t work, you don’t eat!”

Who is John Smith?
He is the leader that got tied up on the boat because the Pilgrims wouldn’t listen to him, so they stopped and listened to him.

What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving?
I get to eat turkey and some other sweet things.

What are you thankful for?
For being in a family and that I have grandparents. I have 3000 hundred things I am thankful for and that’s the end people!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Live Healthy!  Be Thankful!

This post inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. 
Interview your kids…what do they think Thanksgiving is for? What are they thankful for? etc.

Mama's Losin' It

Only 6 More Days to get registered for my November Giveaway!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Cards

What did I get myself into again?  Each year at this time, I start to feel the pressure.  I get a lot of anxiety to outdo myself from last year's performance.  People and friends have come to expect it from me each year.  I set the bar high for myself and now I have to deliver.

I wish I was talking about running a marathon, but it's the annual Layton Holiday Card that causes me stress every year.

It all started out ten years ago, when we decided to be funny and did this caricature. It was funny alright especially since I turned out looking twice the size as my boys.

 Then we tried to be cute with our dog, but unless you look closely, you don't even notice our lab.  And what is up with my hair?

In 2003, I was WAY pregnant and I preferred to show just my belly rather than my face.

 This is one of my all-time favorites! It was the year my sister's family came to visit us for Thanksgiving and took our family picture with the newest addition to our family.

We shared our Texas love in 2005...

 ...and represented Dallas sports in 2006.

Perhaps my most creative card was our Avatar Poem in 2007.  This one got rave reviews!

In 2008, I thought it was would be a GREAT IDEA to do a pop-up card.  I can't exactly show it here, but after spending nearly 40 hours on cutting, clueing and popping up our little elf family, I don't think I EVER want to see that card again.  I received the most favorable response from this one, but I will NEVER do that again!

Last year, I decided to let someone do the work for us. I finally got smart and had a photographer take our family picture and I have decided from now on, this is the way to go!

I plan to use Shutterfly for making our creative holiday cards this year.  I can upload my pictures and make really cool collages that look very professional as though I did a lot of work! They have really cool templates that help save time so I can spend it on more important blogging or training for a marathon!  Now, I just have to find time to take a family picture!

I'm a big fan of black and white photography and collages so I've narrowed my template choices down to these three designs.  What do you think?   I'm so glad pop-up is not an option!

Take the guess work out of your cards this season and try Shutterfly!  As part of this post, I received 50 free holiday cards!

Don't forget my November giveaway!  Check it out here!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Seek the Message

Whenever I make a mistake or when things don't necessarily go as planned, I always try to seek out the message or lesson I'm supposed to learn.  I made a mistake today and I am searching frantically for the message.

This morning was my final group run before my marathon in two weeks (YIKES) and I was looking forward to a nice easy 12-mile run.  One last hurrah around the lake with my friends before we meet up again on race day.  Yes, 12 miles does seem easy after you run 22.

I did all my familiar Friday preparations, including sending an email to my running group stating how excited I was for our final run together.  I had my usually glass of Pinot Grigio, as is standard for a Friday night.  I set my alarm for 3:45 a.m. and switched it to weekend mode and I read my ten pages after crawling into bed.  Then lights out.

The next thing I saw was a clock that read 5:53.  I never liked math story problems, but I do know that if I have a
35-minute drive to the lake and the run starts at 6:00 a.m., I am equal to screwed!  Don't think I didn't for a split second try to come up with Plan B.  Unfortunately Plan Z wouldn't have gotten me there on time!

So I surrendered.  I got up, I had my coffee, peanut butter waffle, dressed  and prepared for a run around my neighborhood.  No excuses. 

I found some last minute friends that are always willing to keep my on pace and help me stay motivated.  We ran together and it wasn't the same as the group atmosphere and not as scenic as running around the lake, but we managed.  They never complain and seemed even 'charged' up for the run.

So what is the message?  I'm still not completely clear, however, I think three things stand out for me.

1.  Rest.  I've done the physical training.  I'm ready.  In order to hit that 3:45 marathon goal, I must focus now more on resting and recovering rather than pushing myself any harder. 

2.  Friendships. It's not just about running.  It's about camaraderie, accountability, laughter, health and community.  I missed that today and coincidentally running an easy 12 miles was very difficult.

3.  Forgiveness.  When I make a small mistake, rather than make an excuse, I own it and forgive myself, I seek alternatives and move on with my day.

If you make a mistake today, seek the message and you'll be better for it.

Have you heard about my Giveaway?  Click below to enter!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

P90X Giveaway!!

Prior to May 2010, I would have considered myself fit and healthy. I did the things I was supposed to do. I ate healthy foods. I went to the gym, ran and attended as many yoga classes as I could possibly fit into my schedule. But my clothes were tight and I was not motivated by my workouts. My brother suggested I try the Beachbody Insanity workout, since it was designed for people like me, those who like a kick in the butt workout at a high intensity level. At first I was skeptical and my ego told me I’m better than home dvd workout programs. I’d witnessed the success he had with P90X, so I agreed to give it try.

I started Insanity on May 1, 2010 and was immediately humbled. It wasn’t just another home DVD. This was by far the hardest workout I had ever done, and I’ve tried them all. I decided that if I was going to do it right, I was going to completely commit myself to the program and the nutrition plan. I kept a food journal and followed the workouts and nutrition plan as if I’d designed them. I immediately started to lose weight. In all my previous workouts, I would either maintain or gain, but I never lost, because I fell into the as long as I was working hard trap , it didn’t matter the amount I was eating.

After Month One, I lost seven pounds and noticed quite a difference in my waistline. It became tighter as my pants became looser. At the end of Month Two, I was down 10 pounds and lost even more inches off my waist. My body fat dropped 4-5% and it completely changed my mindset about home dvd programs. Being a runner, the interval training helped me get faster and my endurance increased dramatically.

I started replacing one meal a day with Shakeology in September 2010 and my weight once again started to drop. I've gone down a size in my pants. Even after a hard workout, I have so much energy throughout the day, and I'm happier than I've ever been. It has changed my attitude, my spirit and motivated me to be very successful in all aspects of my life.

I’m in the best shape of my life at age 36. I’ve been so inspired by both my brother and my success that I became a Beachbody coach to motivate others to be successful as well. He presented me with a wonderful gift when he introduced me to Beachbody. It has truly changed who I am.

I would love to help you reach your goals too! As your Beachbody coach, I will not only help you find the right program that fits your schedule and lifestyle, but I will be here to inspire, motivate and hold you accountable.

Because of all the success I've had with Beachbody, I'm going to give away a brand new P90X DVD set.  My journey began after witnessing my brother's success with P90X and I want to pay it forward to begin a journey for someone else.  So if you're ready or really want to give the best Christmas present ever, enter the contest below and get ready to Bring It!

Rules for the Contest:

***You must be someone that I coach in order to be eligible.***
      So if I'm not your coach, sign up here for free.  I want Motivationmama to be my Coach!
      Be sure to comment below if I'm already your coach!
Ways to earn extra entries!
The contest period is from today, November 17, 2010 and runs through November 30, 2010 at 11:59 PM CST.

The drawing will be held on December 1, 2010 and winners will be notified via this blog and by email.

If you have any questions, please send me an email.  Good luck!!

To learn more about the healthiest meal of the day, check out this video on Shakeology and learn why I love it so much!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

22 Miles to Glory

Yesterday was an amazing day for me!  A day of validation for all of my hard work over the past six months! 

I began my Saturday as I do every week.  The alarm jolted me at 3:30 a.m.  Drank my coffee, twice.  Inhaled my peanut butter and waffle.  Packed my bag, loaded the cooler with water and Gatorade, layered up for the brisk morning run and headed out to the lake.

It was our last really long run before my marathon in three weeks.  Twenty-two miles!  No excuses, no fear, no quitting.  I am taking charge of my plan by qualifying for the Boston Marathon and the only way to reach my goal is to fight through the pain, do the work and get to the finish line.

I've had some pains show up recently in my toe (you don't realize how important toes are until you run) and in my left hamstring.  It's normal. I've been pounding the pavement for weeks!  If all I have to endure is a little pain to experience the glory of finishing, then I'll deal with the slight discomfort.

We had a great run yesterday.  I went through phases of being energized, fatigued, recharged, down, and then euphoric when I finished.  It's hard to believe that five years ago, I had this dream to complete my first marathon.  I made a plan, I did the training for what I thought was an insurmountable goal and because I followed the course for success, I did it.  Now here I am today, getting ready to run my fourth marathon.

Before I didn't believe qualifying was doable for me.  Only fast people qualify.  I saw myself as average.  I was afraid to even label myself a runner.  But when I started to do the work, I started to believe that I was fast.  I believed I could reach any goal I set my mind to. When I allowed myself the permission to dream big, I saw myself for who I really was. I am a runner.  I am fast.  I am a Boston Marathon Qualifier.  I am and I will.

I didn't have much time for rest after my run.  Instead of an ice bath, which my muscles were screaming for, I propped myself on two ice cold water bottles for the ride home.  Ah...heaven.  You do what you gotta do!

I spent the afternoon attending Beachbody training and learned that the path I'm following in my life is so clear to me now.  I finally found the perfect avenue to motivate others, keep myself at my most optimal  health and pursue my ultimate goal of staying home full time as a mom.  I know I'll get there.  That I know for sure!

Oh...remember Billy?  We met up yesterday and took this photo together.  One year ago, Billy was sitting on the couch stuffing his face with pizza.  He was unhealthy and unhappy.  Today, thanks to P90X and incredible self-improvement, Billy is a half marathon finisher!  How awesome is that?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ready! Set! Gobble!

Nine years ago, my family started a Thanksgiving tradition.  What started out as a simple goal to finish an eight-mile race has since evolved into my huge passion for running.  Today, I can't think of a better way to start the day than to be privileged to be a part of sea of  humanity with a commonality for giving thanks for family and health.  Many cities across the country are catching on to the Turkey Trot trend and cool, brisk November family-friendly races are becoming just as popular as pumpkin pie and football.

In 2002, I was clueless about dry fit or wicking fabric or that cotton socks were a HUGE mistake.  The only way I knew how to buy running shoes was to go to a sporting goods store and pick out a cute pair.  I didn't care about my stride or my arch or the pronation of my feet.  I had no idea what GPS was and I certainly wasn't concerned with my pace, heart rate or how to fuel my body.  I just wanted to run and I wanted my family to cheer me on to the finish line! 

I never thought when I ran my first Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot eight years ago that it would be the beginning of many major races for me. I was inexperienced and naive, but I was driven to finish. I had participated in several 5k races, but eight miles seemed nearly impossible. I made a plan and I committed myself to it! I not only successfully completed that first race, I've gone on to run several half marathons and and am currently training for my fourth full marathon.

The Turkey Trot has grown to unimaginable sizes in the past ten years as thousands crowd the streets in Downtown Dallas.  Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same for us until we've been a part of the morning festivities.  The eclectic crowd consists of families, competitive and not so competitive runners, walkers, a few dressed up turkeys, a lot of dogs, many strollers, a Pocahontas here and some Pilgrims there, and the man who runs merely in a speedo and feather each year.

This year marks the ninth anniversary of our Thanksgiving Turkey Trot tradition.  While I run, my boys hang out in the family activity area and make their way to cheer for me my last mile.  They've learned to time it just right and we have a system for finding one another one the race is complete.  Eight years ago, I finished my first race with bloody feet from wearing the wrong songs and slept like a baby the rest of the day from pure exhaustion.   This year, it's just a short eight-mile training run a week before the White Rock Marathon.

Whether it's 30 degrees outside or I'm six months pregnant, nothing has broken our tradition. The Turkey Trot is what defines Thanksgiving Day for us.  We'll be a part of it regardless of any circumstances and I'm thankful to be able to call it my favorite day of the year.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

13.1 at 13

Today was my first training race for White Rock Marathon in 28 days!  Simply referred to as 'The Half', The Dallas Running Club's Half Marathon is one of my favorite races.  It follows the same course as our Saturday long runs, albeit the opposite direction.  I know the route well. I have studied and tested the hills.  We have an understanding.

I set my goals high today.  I must 'PR' (set a personal record) and I must run under 1:45.  I believe in always setting a goal to keep my mind motivated and legs moving. 

It was a brisk morning - a cool 45 degrees.  Perfect running weather!  As much as I love to run in this weather, I loathe the pre-race shivering and so my clothing selection was a bit tricky.  After much debate, I settled on shorts, a tank and my homemade arm warmers (a cut off pair of compression stockings from Target). 

Fueled by an extra hour of sleep and months of training, I made a dash from the start. Today would be the day I would simply go for it.  No holding back in fear of bonking.  The conditions were ideal and today had potential to be a near perfect race day.

I locked in a comfortable pace.  In the back of my mind, I still had that apprehension of starting out too quickly, but if I was going to PR today, I had to go for it.  When the rolling hills began around mile three, my confidence from all those hill repeats I've done in my training kicked in and I started making my passes - one by one.

When I made it through the most difficult part of the course (miles 3-7) and I knew the rest of the course was relatively flat, I let myself loose and I went for it.  I locked in a 7:40 - 7:50 pace.  I just kept passing people and instead of fueling my thoughts with doubt, my adrenaline wouldn't allow for anything but a positive mindset. 

Around mile nine, I approached a young boy, running briskly in the distance.  I could hear someone shouting his name, pleading for him to slow down.  The boy simply acknowledged the yells with a "C'MON! We can do this!  Get Up HERE!  We are going to finish together!"  Then like a flash, two young boys swiftly passed me to catch up to their friend.

I was so inspired by the friendship, the teamwork and the encouragement I was witnessing between the three of them.  "We finish as a team!  This is just like a cross-country meet.  We DO NOT quit!

How could I ever imagine slowing my pace while I witnessed such a positive display of human interaction and compassion between such young kids?  With that I kicked my legs harder and pumped my arms stronger and passed them as I gave them a huge thumbs up!  "Let's go!  You guys are awesome!" I shouted loudly.

Nothing was going to slow my pace now.  No time for negative thoughts.  I continued onward.  Mile 10, then 11 and 12.

Then in the last half mile, I felt someone approaching me and it was the boy.  The leader.  He asked me how much farther we had to go and was showing signs of extreme fatigue.  My heart ached for his desperation and I simply couldn't let him down.  "C'MON.  We're going to do this together!  You are going to finish with me," I shouted.

With that encouragement, he picked up his pace and when I looked at my watch, we were clocking a 6:50 mile.  A pace I could only dream to run.  We came to the last turn as the crowds lined the finish line.  There we were, the young boy and I, racing to the finish.  He passed me and finished seconds ahead of me and I have never been so happy to have someone beat me!

I later learned he was 13 years old.  WE finished in 1:44!  Ironically, my greatest achievement today was not accomplishing my goal, but rather being a part of a special camaraderie that unites runners of all ages, genders and abilities.

**Update:  I was able to obtain these photos today of the trio of runners!  Aren't they awesome?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

When You Fall Down...

...You Get Up!  It happened.  I fell.  Flat. On. My. Face.  Okay...well, on my hands and knees, but after all the near misses with the pavement and occasional swan dives and stumbles, I finally had a complete and total buckle with the street today during my morning run.

I attribute my gracefulness to stubborn drivers, uneven asphalt to concrete and lack of night vision.  And by the way, for the three cars that drove right on by after you saw me fall, "Thanks!  You're awesome!  Don't worry about me!  I'm OKAY!"

It was a cold morning and I layered up for the first time all season and I'm thankful for the brisk chill to the air for two simple reasons.

Number one:  Running in cool weather is so EXHILARATING!  I felt electric and alive. 
Number two:  Ripping my gloves if far less painful than ripping my hands to shreds.

When I picked myself up from the road and winced in pain,  I set aside my embarrassment and fought away the tears.  Suddenly the fear of a potential injury and not being able to run the marathon in five weeks swirled though my mind like a fly trapped in a pickle jar. 

When my adrenaline became less intense, my left knee started to hurt badly.  But I continued on.  This could NOT be happening.  A few more steps, several deeps breaths and slowly the pain started to subside and I realized it was just a bruise.  It was going to hurt for the short term, but I was going to be just fine.

I picked up my pace.  And I ran faster than ever.  As the pain exited my body, the joy came back into my heart.  I ran faster than I ever have.  I just kept running.  Run Rhonda Run!  I ran all the way home.

I grabbed a glass of water and that's when I noticed my ripped glove and my slightly swollen knee. 

It's just another story along this marathon journey.  My knees are sore but I'm not going to let it get me down.  When you fall, you don't give up and wallow in your sorrows and walk home.  You get up, you take a deep breath, you brush off the wound and you keep going.  And in my case, you get a new pair of gloves.

So the journey continues!  Join me for the ride.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Transforming My Mind, Body and Spirit

In May, I stepped outside of my running comfort zone and left the gym.  I started Insanity.  I was so scared to start.  I had no idea what was in store for me.

I continue to run and train for a marathon, but I have now completed two rounds of Insanity.

Last month, I incorporated Shakeology into my daily regime.  I have the most delicious and healthy meal of the day for breakfast.

I am at my lowest weight since I was a teenager.

This is how Beachbody has transformed my mind, my body and my spirit?  It can change your life too and I would LOVE to help you get there.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chapter 1 – Training for White Rock

There are so many events in recent history that I would have loved to witness. Being part of the masses brings a different kind of energy that you can only experience in real time, in real life and not through the filters of a television screen or an audio replay. Unlike the interoffice friction that a political discussion can stir, sporting events have this surefire ability to bring people together clearing any lines of division between race, culture and values.

I could only dream to have been one of the thousands in the stands at the 1984 Olympics to watch a young Mary Lou Retton win the all-around Gold Medal in women’s gymnastics or to have been a witness to Michael Phelps’ record-setting eight golds in Beijing in 2008. I wish I could have watched the Saints win their first ever Super Bowl last year and see through my own eyes the joy in the hearts of the people of New Orleans or to say I was there the day Michael Jordan won his sixth NBA championship.

Marathons are an atypical event in the sense that the elite athletes are placed among the amateurs and thousands of cheering spectators line the street to cheer everyone on despite ability. It’s the one event where losers are sometimes the biggest winners and a 70-year grandmother can beat a 25-year young man.

On December 5th, I will be making my 4th attempt to qualify to run the Boston Marathon in April. Running “Boston” is a claim not just anyone can acknowledge. It is a prestigious event and in order to run, your bib number must be earned.

Based on my age and gender, I have to run the White Rock marathon in Dallas in under 3 hours and 45 minutes. It takes training, discipline, grit and a lot of heart and determination to accomplish this feat. I have run three marathons previously and the energy is always unquenchable. It can take your breath away to stand in a crowd at the starting line to know what your body will experience during the course of the next four hours. So I cannot imagine what it will be like to be among 20,000+ in Boston who have traveled from all over the world and earned the right to take part in such an electric and historic experience.

I made it my goal this year to qualify and not a single day passes by that I don’t think “3:45”! I wake up to the thought and remind myself before my training runs of the pace I need to sustain. I place daily reminders in my personal surroundings to keep me focused on my goal and to eliminate any doubt or negativity.

So what happens if I don’t qualify? Will I be so disappointed and lose all my enthusiasm to run? Absolutely not! It is supposed to be hard to qualify. It is supposed to require a nearly perfect race. But who is to say I can’t do the things that I’m not supposed to do?

Check back here on December 6th to hear about Chapter 2 – Training for Boston.

This post is inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.
Mama's Losin' It

If you could witness (or take part in) any event in history, what would it be? Why?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Running Friend

I often write about my morning runs and all things crazy and sometimes scary associated with them.  A lot can happen in the dark of the morning and I take the necessary precautions to avoid any kind of danger.

Running is such an emotional and physical release of energy for me that it allows me to stop focusing on my fear of the dark.  I embrace it along with the stillness of the morning.

This morning as I was coming up on my last hill of my last mile, I was sharply startled by a loud "WOOF".  I jumped a bit, but was calmed to know the voice of the dog came from the other side of the fence and so I just kept on running.

Then, I felt a wet sensation at the heels of both my feet and as my heart skipped a beat, I looked over my shoulder to confront the danger.  Licking at my fleeting legs was THE dog, following every strike of my feet.  I calmed myself by going through all the lessons I learned as a child if I dog were to chase me.  Don't run! Walk! Don't Panic! 

I slowed my pace to a walk as my heart began to beat rapidly.  When I walked, she walked and I was able to claim her as a gentle Rottweiler.   That fierce, yet sweet face is identifiable anywhere.  If she hadn't attacked by this point, I knew she was only befriending me.

So I as gradually increased my pace, she began to tag along and my most feared enemy quickly became my safest ally, my partner, my confidant.  I feared for her life as we ran down a busy street with the early morning traffic.  No leash, no collar, no identity.  Just friend.

"Where is your Mommy?"  I shouted, as if I expected an answer.  "Don't run in the street!  Be careful!  Don't cross before the light turns green!"  The rest of the way home, I galloped as she peed and I talked as she wagged her tail as if she enjoyed the companionship.

My friend followed me all the way to the my door.  I told her to sit and she obediently obliged.  I brought her some water and she refused.  I went back inside as I contemplated what to do and when I came back out, my friend was gone.

Sometimes if we take a risk and face our fears, we might learn that doing things are easier than we could have ever expected.  If we always play it safe and don't challenge ourselves to step outside of our comfort zone, we may miss out on the opportunity to experience life's little treasures.

I hope is she is okay.  I feel bad that she left me before we had a chance to say good-bye.  But I know she served her purpose today and hopefully we'll have another chance encounter soon.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Ingenious Idea!

I have an idea for an invention and although I realize I'm risking millions my divulging my secret, I can't help but share my excitement for all my fellow runners.

I'm convinced this invention will transcend the "sweaty to fresh" ordeal, making what now seems nearly impossible, to a simple, efficient experience.  It will preserve the dignity of women and and restore the modesty of men. 

No more sweat-infested driver's car seats.  No post-run funked up smelling vehicles.  This will once and for all bring an end to all my partial boob flashings and keep the peeping runners focused on the path rather than my car. 

My invention will bring the comfort of home to the weekend runner who travels at least 20 minutes for a group run and willl cost less than the tank of gas that got them there.

There really is no telling the time this will save in post-run rituals or the money it will save in washing sweaty towels.  I won't have to worry about sweat stains on my seat belts or the cost to get them removed.

There will be no more contortionist yoga poses to remove my sweaty sports bra inside of my car or embarrassing crotch shots for the gigantic SUV parked right next to me.  I'll be able to drive home in dry clothing and will not have to risk a shoulder separation to get this small luxury.

I've given this some thought and after very careful consideration, I feel my secret million-dollar idea is so worth it, that I've decided to share my idea with all you runners out there who may be experience the same embarrassment and frustration week after week.

Are you ready for this?  A pop-up changing room!  It's ingenious!  I go to my car, I get it out of my trunk and POOF!  Instant changing room!  Just as fast I change into fresh, dry clothing for the drive home, I can fold it up and put away even faster!  This is GREATNESS!  Surely no one has EVER thought of this!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chubby Girl

They say we are all products of our childhood. I’m not really sure who ‘they’ refers to, but if there is truth to this, my childhood has a very direct correlation to the woman I am today.

I was a very chubby young girl. It wasn’t so much that I was labeled, but more the fact that I labeled myself. I lacked confidence because of it, I was shy, easily intimidated and naive. Ironically, my weight was something we RARELY talked about. I was ashamed by it and could tell my parents tried to do things to get me to be more active, but I fought it because I was embarrassed by it.  I was always too afraid to talk about it or admit it.  So I just pretended it didn't exist. 

Here's me playing basketball in sixth grade.  Notice how much bigger I am the other girls.

I always had a clean plate after a meal.

Some boys teased me and would often remind me when I looked like I had gained weight. Those boys were 'friends' of my brother. Even though he has no recollection of these events, I will never forget how he used to stick up for me when the words pierced my heart. It’s probably one of the very reasons we always have had such a close bond and relationship. He always stuck up for me. I hated being the chubby girl. I HATED IT and he knew it.

In high school, I finally decided to do something about it. At that time, 'doing something about it' didn’t necessarily mean doing something healthy about it. I deeply restricted my calories, lost the weight and then let it become my obsession to lose even more. What I didn’t realize was that I just transferred my emotional over-eating to emotional under-eating. I wasn’t any happier because I was skinny. I was hungry but no food could ever satiate that desire. I was starving to find me, my purpose in my life.

Weight is something I have struggled with my whole life. It has consumed my mind, caused me frustration and regret. Food was my enemy and my best friend. I hated what it did to me, but I wanted it so badly. 

I know now that it wasn't food that was making me hungry!  I wasn't happy with the way I looked, so instead of doing things to make me healthy, I told myself how horrible I looked and picked at every flaw I had.  I failed to see the beauty in myself so I fed it with food instead of feeding it with love and nourishment for my soul.

Today, food is no longer my friend or enemy. Food is my fuel!  I made a choice to be in control of my body.  I started to run and I couldn’t run without that fuel. Running was so hard initially, but I loved how it made me feel when I finished.  That made me want to run even more.  I loved feeling healthy and I started to love what it was doing to my body.  So I ran a 5K, then an 8-mile race, than a half marathon. Now here I am today, getting ready to run my fourth marathon, and I can proudly say, I love the woman I’ve become.

I am so glad that I was the chubby girl. I needed her to help guide me to serve my higher purpose today. I have such a deep passion for helping people who struggle with weight, because I know what they are feeling and what they are yearning to be.

We can learn from our past, but we do not have to be a product of it.  When we learn, we make a choice for a better life.  We cannot change our mistakes, but we can use them as a tool for our future.  If you're struggling with something and want to make a change, make the choice to make today the first day of the rest of your healthy life.

This post is inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.
In what way were you labeled as a child and how did it affect you?
Mama's Losin' It
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