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.
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