Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Finding Hope In Disaster

On Sunday our community was devastated by tornadoes. It's reported that 42 tornadoes occurred in Illinois. Within hours people were coming together to help those in need.

Three towns in my area were severely damaged. Pekin has reported 100 homes/buildings with damage. I live in a rural area between Pekin and East Peoria, which has damaged homes as well. Some completely destroyed. The worst hit was the town of Washington. Homes were leveled and sadly, one life was lost.

Steve Neubauer was a long time family friend. My sisters and brother-in-law were good friends with him. I've known him and his wife since I was a teenager. They are both wonderful people who would do anything to help out someone in need. Beth, his wife, just barely made it to the basement in time. Steve was on his way down behind her when the tornado hit their home. He is greatly missed by his family and his many friends.

This is the path the EF4 tornado took through the town of Washington.

I have friends who suffered minor damage to their homes and friends who have lost everything. My family who lives in Washington was thankfully untouched by the tornado but they are still without power and under a boil order. Our power went out on Sunday right as we made our own mad dash to the basement amidst tornado sirens, thunder, and heavy rain pelting our windows. Other than a few limbs down in our yard we had no damage. Our power came back on Monday afternoon.

This photo of the tornado was taken in Washington by Anthony Khouri.

One of the stories I read and can't stop thinking about was Julie Locke's story. Julie lost her son, Dax Locke, to cancer in December of 2009 and she is the founder of The Dax Locke Foundation. She now has a young daughter. Julie started writing a blog while Dax was sick and has since kept it up. She wrote about her experience during the tornado. Her house is in Washington. She had just gotten home from church when the tornado hit, they had little time to get to the basement. She covered her daughter's body with her own while the tornado hit their house. Once it passed and they were okay, she immediately went out to help others. She even gave her shoe to a person who had lost one of their own. I am repeatedly amazed by this woman's courage, strength and her spirit to help others.

One of my husband's long time friends was hospitalized with a broken vertebrae and collarbone. His house was also destroyed. His wife and children suffered minor injuries. You can watch his interview on the news here. You can also send a donation to help his family here.

These are just a few of the countless stories from Sunday.

In spite of the devastation, true beauty is everywhere. The beauty of the human spirit is shining bright in Central Illinois. People all over our area have come together to help in any way they can. Businesses are opening up their doors to those in need, organizing fund raisers, donating supplies. Churches have become Red Cross shelters. Utility trucks have arrived from out of state while utility workers are working around the clock on clean up and getting power restored.

One of my good friends, Danell, has a business called Go2Girl. She is one of the most kind-hearted people I know. She is donating her time this week by collecting and dropping off supplies/donations for anyone who needs assistance in the Pekin area.

Another friend, Kim, owns a chain of Papa Murphey's Pizza restaurants. She and her husband are donating 50% of their proceeds on Thursday of this week to the Red Cross tornado victim fund.

I've read about car dealerships offering free rental cars, apartment complexes and realtors offering housing, churches setting up free meals for those in need, furniture stores giving away mattresses and the list goes on and on.

There is a lot of work to be done. But there is hope. Central Illinois is filled with generous and giving hearts. Washington is the same community that came together to give 'one more Christmas' to Dax Locke. They are a very strong community who will no doubt rise above this tragic event.

Peace, Love, and Happiness!

If you would like to help, you can donate to the
Be sure to specify that you are wanting to donate to the tornado victims. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

HipS-sister Product Review and Giveaway!

I was able to try out my new SportS-sister HipS-sister for the first time on one of my runs last week. A HipS-sister is a hip waist pack with two zippered pockets and one top loading pocket. It's goal is to help you live your life hands free.

I chose a size Medium HipS-sister, which is equivalent to a size 8-10 in women's jeans. When I slipped it on I liked how firm it felt and how flattering it was. I took a selfie to show you what it looked like. 

The real test for me was to load it with my running must-haves and hit the pavement. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical that this new contraption would stay put once I got up to cruising altitude. 

I loaded my HipS-sister with my keys in the back pocket and my iPhone in the front loading pocket. As I started running I noticed the pressure of my keys, but mind you I have 8 keys on my ring and a picture holder. My keys weren't flopping around, but I felt them. I do not think there is any way that I wouldn't feel my key ring with the amount of keys I have though. Next, I payed special attention to my iPhone that was in the front loading, non-zippered pocket. I was astonished, no flopping! 

Now it was time to get up to cruising altitude and give my HipS-sister the real test! As I increased speed and added miles what I noticed was that I forgot about my HipS-sister, which means I wasn't feeling it any longer. I had grown accustomed to it. It was staying put and my items were, too! On that run I did 4.75 miles at a 10 minute pace. I think I gave it a true test. 

What I loved about my SportS-sister HipS-sister:

1. I loved that it stayed put and didn't ride up. Honestly, this was a big concern for me.

2. I love that it has room for all of the essentials for running, but also for living. I can see me using this for shopping and while doing my "life" chores when I do not want my phone an inch away from me while my kids are in school. I typically use my Tune Band for running, but it is not very stylish. I see friends laugh when I am wearing it while not running. Now I will use my stylish HipS-sister to fulfill that needed hands-free role.

3. HipS-sister is stylish! Even the black one I have is super-cute. Plus, if you go to their site here (HipS-sister www.hipssister.com) you can choose a variety of HipS-sisters! I really like the bling style!

4. HipS-sister is flattering! Okay, most of us that have had children have this beautiful accessory that came with our children as soon as the nurse gave us a mountain of paperwork to sign called a "shelf". You know that beautiful part of skin on your stomach that is right above your pubic bone, layered with stretch marks that no matter how much weight you lose or crunches you complete will never tighten unless you visit Doc Make-Me-Perfect for $10K!?? Ladies, you know what I am talking about?! Well, you're not alone! The HipS-sister is a great accessory to help hide that extra gift from your kids for around $30 and no anesthesia. Bonus! Now if they come up with something for the flap-jack, pancake, waist boobs from nursing....

5. I love the variety of styles of HipS-sisters! There is a Left Coast Sister, Park City Sister, Vegas Sister, Global Sister, Bling Sister, SportS Sister, SwimS Sister, and Sisters for a Cause. If you want to view the collection click here

6. The best thing about HipS-sister, Sisters for a Cause!

One cause dear to us is our "Military Community". At hipS-sister we believe that this is a "National Community". Our Military "Sisters" are Active Duty, Veterans, Spouses, Parents, etc serving within our national community. We honor these "Sisters" and our Military Service Members by donating $10 for each Camo Print hipS-sister to Military Outreach programs. Our Military Lifestyle Expert connects our Military "Sisters" & non-profit charities with support. We appreciate our sister-hood due to the sacrifices of our Service Members and their families. Thank you for purchasing the "Sister-For-A-Cause Camo Print" hipS-sister and supporting our National Community.
A second cause dear to us is "Girls and Boys Clubs of America". Girls and Boys Clubs are a great place to learn and grow all while having fun. It is the place where great futures are started each and every day. Club programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence. As parents ourselves, and as women, we understand the challenges in growing up and finding our voices in the world. We feel it is our duty to help the young mature and become amazing young adults. Part of the profits from all our ‘heart inspired’ apparel will be donated to this organization. Part of the profits from all our "heart inspired" apparel will be donated to this organization.

I am very happy with my new HipS-sister and know I will use it for a multitude of tasks. We think you would enjoy one too, so HipS-sister and Sexy Mother Runner are teaming up to give one lucky sister a HipS-sister this week!

Here is how you can enter to win a HipS-sister:

1. Go to our Sexy Mother Runner Facebook page by clicking here.

2. If you have not already "liked" us, please do. You must be a follower to win.

3. Share our HipS-sister Product Review & Giveaway Facebook Post on Sexy Mother Runner by posting it on your own personal Facebook page. You can share as many times as you like. The more times you share the better odds you have of winning.

4. Next start browsing for the new HipS-sister that you would like and let us know your favorite on our Facebook page. 

One lucky winner will be drawn at random on November 22! Winner must provide an email and mailing address to receive their HipS-sister! 

Good luck and start sharing today!


Want to chat to us more?
Email Bekah and Danyelle at sexymotherrunner@yahoo.com
We love hearing from you!

Enjoy the run!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Juice Fast Next Week!

Fred and I are going to be doing a juice fast next week. It starts this Sunday and will go through Saturday. I will post our recipes throughout the week so stay tuned! 

If you would like to juice with us we would love to hear about your recipes and your experience as well! 

Peace, Love, Happiness!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Once Again, Way Out Of My Comfort Zone

I've been telling people to get out of their comfort zones and try new things for over a year now. I've also been practicing what I've been preaching. Over the course of the last year, I've completed a Super Spartan, zip-lined, swam with sharks and stingrays, completed a 25k, and joined the PTL at my daughter's school. All of which were scary in one way or another, especially the PTL. ;)

None of those things were anywhere near as terrifying as what I did over the weekend: Singing. In public. Like, to a crowd of people.

I actually did sing in public about 4 years ago. It was one song with my husband at a church function. It was a small audience at my church. Though I was nervous then too, I was mostly confident that no one in the church was going to be mean or boo me. Mostly...

So, I've spent the last week doing something that I really love. Singing at home with my husband. Here's the deal. My sister owns a little neighborhood bar, it's actually been in our family for 27 years now since my parents owned it before her. This month marked the 27th anniversary so she wanted to have a customer appreciation celebration. Lots of planning went in to this by both of my sisters and the employees. There was a bags tournament scheduled, a dart tournament, prize giveaways, food, and some live music.

My husband, Fred, was asked to provide the live music a week before the event. Just an acoustic set about an hour long. Fred played guitar in a band when we first met but hasn't done that for years. He plays a song or two on occasion but nothing like what they were asking. So, he said he would do it but what he meant was that WE would do it. I let my sisters know. Their response was, "You can sing? Though my response was, "Yes." it was more of an "I hope so."

Getting up in front of people and singing for the first time was a terribly scary thought for me. I love to sing but that doesn't make me good at it. I've watched American Idol, some of those people love to sing too and, well, yikes. I had to trust that Fred was not lying to me about the way I sounded or blinded (deafened?) by his love for me. He's the only person I've ever felt really comfortable singing around.

So we practiced a handful of songs all week. Fred playing his guitar and both of us singing. With one week to throw this together we decided to stick with some 'safe' songs that we have done before just around the house. We did throw in a couple new ones that we thought would also be fun.

Our kids watched us practice all week. They got into it too and had some jam sessions with us. You can watch a small sample of that here:


We got to my sister's bar and set up. I was so nervous. My hands were shaking a little and my stomach was re-enacting Mary Lou Retton's floor routine. But I did it. No one booed or threw tomatoes. There was no loud gong sound. (Yes, I just referenced The Gong Show there. It's okay if you didn't get it.) Some people even clapped and whistled after the first song. Okay, it was my Mom and sisters. But still.

We played through 10 songs. Then, our wonderful friend, Matt, who is a runner as well as a musician, took my place and he and Fred played. I was relieved and so grateful to be done.

Lots of people came up to me saying that they had no idea I could sing, told me I sounded great. My sisters both told me they were so nervous for me because they had no idea if I could sing or not. My sister, Dannette, said that she was actually in the bathroom when we started and that she knew it was me singing but she couldn't believe that I could actually sing like that having never heard me. So, yes, my sisters who I am very close to and very comfortable with never even knew I could sing. That's how petrified I am of singing in front of people. In fact, only a couple of my friends knew I was doing this and I kind of waited to tell them until last minute so that no one else would show up.

I don't think anyone was blown away but I think I did okay for my first time. When it was all said and done I was really glad that I did it. It may even happen again sometime.

It took 33 years for me to decide to become a runner. It's taken me 37 years to make myself get way out of my comfort zone and sing in public.

Don't let fear keep you from doing something you enjoy or think you might enjoy. Keep getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things.

Peace, Love, Happiness!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Race Recap: Komen Promise Run 13.1

I can't believe that it has been 2 weeks since I ran the Komen Promise Half. Time goes so fast during this season of my life! I am sure many of you are like me and your calendar doesn't even have a white space to spare to write anything else.

The Komen Promise Run was the biggest, pleasant SURPRISE race of my life! I signed up for this race as I needed a local (low cost) half to keep me motivated this Fall. Secretly, I wanted a PR too, but as I heard more and more about this race my PR spirit deflated. Friends started telling me that it was all hills, through boring neighborhoods, and a repetitive out and back course throughout the entire race. This disappointed me immensely. Honestly, if the race course map would have been disclosed prior to registering I wouldn't have even signed up. That would have been a HUGE mistake for me! A few days before the race I decided to change my attitude and just look at it as a fun race among friends that went to a great cause.

The morning of the race I met my friends Lori, Heidi, and Trinity to ride together and of course that started the morning off with many laughs. Yep, 6 a.m. laughing...who doesn't want that?! Then we met my friend, Kathryn and her husband, Kenny...more laughing ensued. Yes, my race attitude kept getting better and better. Then we ran into all our other fun running buddies for pictures, laughs, hugs, and cheers! That sealed the deal! An awesome race was ahead!

Stephanie, Kathryn, myself, Laura, & the photobomber, Debi!

The race was small with only 416 participants. It was near 40 degrees, which is my favorite race temp. It started quickly and easily. I was able to settle into my pace nicely. Of course, I had to dance, air guitar, and be goofy for the first mile as I decided to be the "special" (You can interpret "special" in so many ways....be nice...hahaha!) entertainment for my friends Trinity and Lori. It was Lori's first half and I was so excited for her!
Trinity, Heidi, Lori, and me

The course started with an out and back of the Bob Michael Bridge which is one of my favorite places to run. It's beautiful! I always feel like Rocky at the top and must sing..na na naaa...na na naaaa! One of the best race surprises was our cheering friends Debi, Shelly, Beth, and Renee who were waiting at the Bob Michael Bridge to cheer us all on! That started the race off with a ton of motivation for me and the best part was they continued to cheer throughout the entire race. They were at so many spots that I am not even sure how they did it! We had many hugs and motivating exchanges. I can't thank them enough for this! After this race they even drove an hour and a half to another race to cheer for our friend, Kassie who was finishing her first marathon. I am so lucky and proud to call them my friends.

Renee, Debi, Shelly, and Beth
Best cheerleaders ever!

Next we were off to Main Street Hill. I saw a few old family friends and Steph's husband, Joe. It was so nice to see all of the local faces! At this point we are getting close to already having 4 miles on the books. BAM! It felt good!

The Peoria Sole Sisters!
Yes, they rock!

Before I knew it we hit Lower Bradly Park where the Peoria Sole Sisters had set up a cheer and rest/water/supply station at the bottom of the hill. They were awesome! It was so nice to see all of their faces and hear them yell my name! I told them to keep yelling as I needed them to help me get up the Park Road hill that was behind them. This hill was huge!!! Here is a pic of my friend Stephanie hitting this hill hard core!
Steph has always been a hill lover and she nailed them again!

I never walked this or any of the hills throughout the entire race. I was very proud as hills have never been my friend, however I have forced myself to train them this year. This benefited me immensely!  I figured that if I didn't earn a PR then at least I could say I never walked a hill!

One of the things that I enjoyed the most about this out and back course was passing each of my friends! It really motivated me! Stephanie and Heidi were ahead of me so I was able to high five Steph a couple of times and yell at Heidi (even if she didn't hear me over her music...hahaha!). I was also able to high-five, thumbs up, or yell at Lori, Trinity, Laura G., Linda, Melissa, Laura, and Kathryn as we passed each other near Springdale Cemetary. That was really neat as it made this previously thought boring course very fun! 

As the course came to the final last few miles exhaustion started to set in, but I was not giving up as I glanced at my time and I was slated for a PR. I was so ridiculously happy I could have screamed! I pushed the mental envelope so hard at this time! I was even able to run a bit with a veteran runner friend, Louisa. However, at one point she took off and was then one minute out of my reach. I completely expected this to happen, but have to admit that I was very happy that I even kept up with her for a bit. I surprised myself...and probably her! hahaha!

As I saw the finish line I started sprinting. Ya know the kind of sprint where you make disgusting, unattractive faces while you hold the puke back from actually spurting out your nose and mouth like a thumbed garden hose. Luckily, Heidi got a great picture of that! She did ask permission to post it and of course I said yes. (Side Note: I sure love being the age I am as I don't care anymore about how I look or what goofy thing I do in public! What a blessing!) 

Almost to the finish!

As I crossed the finish line I saw a 2:22:39! Yippee! Skippee! I had a PR hills and all!!!! I didn't expect this at all with the course circumstances. I was elated! My first and only other half was at the Illinois Marathon 4 years ago on a flat course when I weighed 10 pounds less, so you can see why I thought I wouldn't have a PR at this race. My finish time for the Illinois was 2:28 (I can't remember the seconds). So I took off 5 plus minutes on my time. I was ecstatic!

After we watched the rest of our friends finish we went to the after race celebration. I thought it was very nice. The hall exhibited white table cloths on round tables surrounded by pink decor. There was a hot/cold buffet and a few vendors. Although there was not a lot of bling, they made up for it with a free photo booth. I think this was a nice touch! The girls and I had a blast taking pics together!

Lori, Trinity, Heidi, and I
Overall, there was only one major disappointment with the race. They did not have finisher medals for the participants. This is very important for runners, especially those completing their first half. However, the Komen Foundation listened to those concerns and finisher medals will be mailed out mid November to all finishers. I think the foundation handled this appropriately and we need to exhibit grace for this inaugural race.

I am still surprised at how much I enjoyed the Komen (Hilly) Promise Run. It was a great learning lesson for me. Hills...I've got them! Lesson is, don't be afraid to try something new. Try something that you may not think you will like. Try something out of your comfort zone. You never know you may end up liking it, like me!

The best thing about this race is that there was $21, 236.53 earned for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and that I enjoyed a yummy cookie from an old friend and family! God's handy work was all over this!