Saturday, August 6, 2016

Brooks GTS

I am not a professional runner. I run to relax and let go of the stress that I carry around. I probably don't pay enough attention to my form or the amount of miles that I put on my shoes. I am here to tell you, that no matter if you are a pro or a beginner, it is imperative to track the miles that you put on your shoes and pay attention to your body.

Last week I was out on a fairly short run. I was doing 5 miles and then finishing up with some strides. Nothing that should break my back. I woke up the next morning and my lower back was in excruciating pain. I figured it was because I was not sleeping in my bed, I was on vacation after all. 

I rolled out of bed, got some coffee, popped two Aleve and got ready to head out on a long run. Eventually the pain subsided and I found my rhythm. The next morning I awoke with the same issues. I decided to take it easy. 

I happened to be scrolling through some of the old pictures on my phone when I came across one of me finishing the Marine Corps Marathon. Imagine my surprise when I glanced down at my feet and saw my beloved Brooks GTS running shoes. The very shoes I had on my feet the previous day. Just to give you a gauge on the age of my shoes, the Marine Corps Marathon was last Fall, we are now well into August. I had run a Marathon, several half marathons, and countless training runs in my Brooks. I could have kicked myself!

It was definitely time to update my shoes. There is no magic number out there that will tell you the exact time to change shoes. What is important is tracking your runs and noting how your body feels after a run. Don't ignore body. It will tell when it is time.

So out I went to the nearest running store and got an update. The next day I set out on another 5 miles and felt AMAZING. I also started using an app on my phone called Run Keeper. There is a paid and free version that you can download on your phone. It tracks your mileage and allows you to note how you are feeling on particular days. You can also keep track of the weather, routes, and elevation. I have found it very useful. It will also give you updates every 5 minutes about your average pace and current pace while you are running.

Remember, a body in motion . . . stays in motion!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Going Home

For the last three weeks my kiddos and I have been enjoying the Northwest. We have spent the majority of our time in Washington State and Idaho. Washington State is the place I like to call my forever home. 

Being a military family, my kids have lived all over country. In my heart our true home is the place where I spent my childhood. It is always bittersweet when we come to visit. We spend so much time visiting family and friends and making new memories. 

Today was the day that I had to say "Till next time". I hate saying good bye. My eyes are always overflowing with tears. I am like a faucet that someone forgot to turn off. My kids understand and hold my hands as we make our way through the airport. 

We have to keep moving though, I know one day we will come home to stay.

To Run or Not To Run

Of course the answer is always to run. Running is free and anyone can do it. All you need is the will to get out there and hit the pavement. 

Prior to hitting the pavement, special care should be paid to what you are putting on your feet. Your feet will be taking the brunt of the impact, and if you are not properly equipped then you may experience unnecessary aches and pains. 

If you have the ability, I would suggest going to a local running store that has the capabilities to properly fit you for running shoes. Reputable stores will take the time to put you on a treadmill and video tape your stride as you run. They will analyze the impact of your foot and correct any problem areas you have. In the end you will leave the store with your perfect match. 

If you are in the New York City area, you can head over to one of the Jack Rabbit stores. The workers there will take the time to ensure that you leave with the shoe that is best suited for you.

The other option is to continue reading this post and I will share some vital information that will be useful when you embark on your shoe journey.

Before going out to find your new kicks, you should determine your foot type and how you pronate. Pronation is the way your foot rolls when you walk or run.  This is something simple that can be done at home without the help of a professional. All you need is a wet foot and a dry surface. This is called a wet foot test. You simply wet your feet and then walk across a dry flat surface. You will be left with an impression of your foot. This will assist you greatly in determining the type of shoe that is best suited for you.

This is an example of neutral pronation. This means that the outside of the heel makes contact first, then rolls inward as it comes into complete contact with the ground. This  basically tells you that you can support your body weight without any issues. The way your foot rolls allows for the weight of your body to be evenly distributed, you hit the ground, roll, and then push off evenly from the ground. gives a list of some of the best neutral running shoes for 2016. A stability shoe will best fit the needs of a neutral runner.

This foot impression is an example of an over-pronator. This type of pronator begins similarly to a neutral runner, but the foot rolls inward more than a neutral runner. Ideally you don't want the foot to roll inward any more than 15%, an over-pronator rolls more than that magic number. This causes a problem because the foot and ankle struggle to stabilize the body and the big toe and second toe are forced to absorb the brunt of the work in pushing off the ground. provides you with some of the best types of shoes for an over-pronator. An over-pronator will want a motion control shoe.

Lastly we have the under-pronator or the supinator. This is basically the opposite of the over-pronator. You can clearly see a large difference in the two images. Instead of rolling at 15%, the foot rolls less than that magic number. The smaller toes are forced to do the work of pushing off. The impact is concentrated on a smaller portion of the foot. can further assist you in your search for shoes to suit this style of running. You will be looking for shoes that fall in the cushioning category.

There are so many different sites and resources out there for runners. Whether you are just beginning to run or have been doing it for years, there is always something new you can learn. will even break down the anatomy of a running shoe. From soles to punch holes, this site will explain the ins and outs of a shoe. is another great resource. Once you have conducted the wet foot test, you can use this information and go to this site, and fill in a checklist with other pertinent information. You will then be given a list of shoes that will be great for you and your running style. 

You have now down the research and have narrowed down your shoe search. My final piece of advice for you would be to purchase your shoes and test them out. My secret for you is to utilize a store that allows you to try your shoes out and exchange them if need be. is an amazing site that lets you do just that. For a small fee you can join their VIP program. Not only does this program give you discounts on all the merchandise offered on their site, but you also get a 90 day trial program. You can literally buy your shoes try them out for 90 days, if they don't work out for you, you can send them back and exchange them. Shipping is free either way!

To run or not to run . . . I will always say run! Running does not discriminate, the open road welcomes all. It doesn't matter if your big or small, old or young, running is for everyone. 

Remember, a body in motion . . . stays in motion!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Life Change

My life has taken several unexpected twists and turns due to being a mother and a Marine. Many things that have happened have been beyond my control because of the nature of the military. 2012 was a year where I was able to take my career into my own hands.

In early 2012 I was sent to Career Course in Quantico, Virginia. My twins were two and I had never really been away from them. I was nervous about going to this course because I had struggled with returning to my pre-baby shape and fitness levels. Any woman who has been a Marine will understand the struggle. Career Course is a requirement in the Marine Corps, especially if you want to be competitive for promotion.

Me and 3 of my boys.

I swallowed my fears, went down to Quantico and excelled. I met some pretty amazing peers in the process, one in particular that would change the course of my Marine Corps path. The Marine that I met was a former Drill Instructor. I had always had this secret dream about returning to Parris Island to make Marines, but being a mom to five kiddos in my mind made this dream untouchable. I made a half-hearted attempt one time, and emailed my monitor and asked if this path would be a possibility. He told me no due to the critical nature of my job. 
I told my friend about my previous attempts, he encouraged me to keep trying and not to give up so easily. Every day I saw him in class and everyday he would ask me, "Well?" Finally, the last week of the two month course I made my decision.

I went to visit my monitor. A monitor is a Marine who oversees Marines and places them around the world according to their Military Occupational Specialty or Job. All monitors are based in Quantico. This was fortunate for me. After being denied on my first attempt, I went straight to the source and planted myself down in his cubicle. Apparently he was out to lunch. I was told that he would be back within a half-hour. No problem, I decided to wait. This was my secret dream after all. 

I watched the first hour pass, I dug my heels in and three hours later he returned. He walked in, looked at me and said, "What do you want?" I said, "I emailed you a year ago and asked if I could be released to become a Drill Instructor. You said no, but here I am and I still want to be a Drill Instructor!" In my mind's eye I hoped he would admire my tenacity and let me live my dream. He sighed, sat down, and said, "OK." That day changed the path of my life forever.

I would no longer be just another Marine. I would get the chance to become one of the elite. One of only a few who get the chance to attend the premiere school of leadership in the Marine Corps. I would have the opportunity to forge the future of the United States Marine Corps. 

My Drill Instructor School Photo.

I went to Drill Instructor School 8 months later. I graduated as an Honor Graduate and the class Iron Woman. Being named the class Iron Woman (the most physically fit) was a huge accomplishment for me because I was the oldest woman there at 32, and also a mom. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post how I had struggled to return to my former self physically, well I worked and pushed myself everyday to become a better version of me.

DI School Graduation Day.

 The years I spent as a Drill Instructor were the hardest and most rewarding part of my career as a Marine. I would never trade the experiences I had or the friends I made for anything in the world. I would never have been able to do what I did without the support of my husband and my kiddos. They were there with me every step of the way.

Me flexing as a greenbelt DI.

Encouraging recruits.

Graduating my platoon as a Senior Drill Instructor.

I wanted the chance to make a difference in the Corps. I wanted to have the opportunity to impact young women on their journey to becoming Marines and teach them to live the best version of their lives. Life is what you make it, only you limit you.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Dirty is the Funniest Number

I wish I had written down all the funny things that my kids have said over the years. Each of them has come into the world with a unique personality and sense of humor. There has been no shortage of laughter in my life since they came into my life.

When Emmanuel was 3 years old I told him that I was going to make grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. He looked at me and declared, "Mom, I don't want a GIRL cheese sandwich, I want a BOY cheese sandwich!" I laughed so hard that day I just about cried. He was so serious in his demand, and that made it all the cuter.

Skye was about 6 years old when she came up to me and begged, "Mom can we please get a pimple?" I said a what? She said,  "A baby pimple, they're so cute!" She continued describing all the reasons she wanted a baby pimple, I finally realized that she wanted a baby pit-bull puppy.

I have about a million of these cute little anecdotes. My last one for today is another about Emmanuel. I can't quite remember how old he was when he came up to me and said, "Mom, do you know what the funniest number is?" I, of course, began throwing my guesses out. He finally ended the mystery when he said, "No! Dirty is the funniest number!" He was laughing so hard at this point, I couldn't help but join in! He thought that you pronounced 30 as dirty.

If I could give any parent some advice, it would be to write down these little memories because they are priceless!  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Operation Paddle Board

For the longest time I have wanted to try stand-up paddle boarding. I longed to glide peacefully down a river, just enjoying silence and solitude. There is also the added perk of getting in some physical training. 

Today I finally got my chance! My kiddos and I traveled into Idaho this morning to enjoy the great outdoors. I found a local spot in Sandpoint, Idaho that was finally able to make my dreams come into fruition. Action Water Sports answered our call. 

Me and my niece Hazael.

I was able to rent the paddle board for a reasonable rate and everyone got a chance to go for a ride. 

Emmanuel mastering the waters.

 My older kiddos were able to navigate the waters on their own and I took each of the littles out for a spin.

 We had an awesome day on Priest River!
Remember, a body in motion . . . stays in motion!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

She's 2 and I Don't Know What to Do!

So there I was, clear across the country, all alone with my 2 year old niece. Her hair was every which way on top of her head and I was charged with the task of making her beautiful.

My niece Hazael.

This should be a simple task for me. I am after all a mom of 5, but my daughter is now 14. She hasn't let me touch her hair since she was 9. I literally felt as though I had just woken up out of a coma and had to learn to walk all over again. 

Me and my daughter with the twins.

My Guys

I finally gave up and asked my sister to give me a "How to do Pig-Tails on a 2 Year old" Tutorial.


1) Corral toddler and comb hair.

2) While holding toddler still with your knees, make an even part with comb down the center of her head.

3) Comb into a pony and secure first tail with a rubber band.

4) Repeat on the other side.

5) If all goes according to plan, you will end up with two perfect little pig tails.

And one happy little girl! Now off to the park!

Remember, a body in motion . . . stays in motion!