Staying Motivated (with running)

IMG_0062This year I started a progress jar.  The goal was to add a quarter for every mile I ran and if I did some strength training as well as stretching and rolling I would add a quarter for that too.  The idea is to keep me motivated to keep going as well as save some money to do something special at the end of the 2017.

Well we are officially 3 months in and the pic shows the progress.  I do have to say that there are some flashy bills in there too buried at the bottom (okay the biggest one is a $20 but the quarters don’t tell the whole story).

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For a little perspective, here is a nice roll of quarters just waiting patiently to be added!

I have also committed to run with a running club that meets on Saturday mornings at 8:30am.  To me this is a very doable time.  I don’t mind getting up early during the week but really I want to sleep in a little on Saturday so this is a perfect time for me.  Plus the benefit of this club is that it is part of a running store which is good for several things:

  1. The quick bathroom break before you head out, which is always needed.
  2. Warm place to stretch when we finish and a place to change into warmer clothes instead of in my car.
  3. Oh and occasionally they bring in some guests on Saturdays like today where we got to do some strength training at the end of the run with two wonderful physical therapists.

I also joined the Run the year at the beginning of January.  So basically I have set myself up to run 2017 miles in 2017.  But really if you do the math it is about 39 miles a week, which when I put it that way seemed way more doable.  The progress on that is that I am close to staying on track.  Had a smaller than usual week when we went on vacation but know that when I am training for my next marathon (Marine Corps – Oct) I will be doing way more than 39 miles a week so I can make up for some smaller weeks.

Another motivation tool I use is telling others about this craziness and my running goals whether they want to hear them or not.  I talked about my next goal here so feel free to read it.  This is truly motivating because once you put it out there, unless something major happens, I have to get it done!

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Today’s freezing cold getting it done.  12 degrees with negative windchills btu 6.5 miles done!

Finally I have also been able to be a part of a women’s running group on facebook which is a great support system.  They are all local ladies who cheer each other on and hopefully this summer I will be able to do more with them.

So really it takes a lot to stay motivated. But it is worth it in the end to see those goals achieved.

Is there anything you do to stay motivated? 

Big Announcement….

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Looking so serious but really just hanging out waiting for race time.

I would like to take this time to formally announce my intent to be an amateur athlete maybe I’ll even join the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union).  Oh wait, I don’t want to do that because then I can’t make money at my “free” sport of running.    Also the closest Union is in New York City.  That’s a little far away and some more money I would have to spend to get there.

Oh wait one more minute…. I guess you never have to actually announce your intent you just become an amateur by definition:  1 : devotee, admirer. 2 : one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession. (Merriam-Webster)

Well I would say I am well on my way following that definition…

I guess there is no big announcement then.  Sorry guys, I hope you will stick with me then.

How about a race recap of this weekend’s Eastern State 20 miler instead and an update of how my training is going for Vermont City Marathon in May?!

I have to say the weather could not have been better.  It was in the low 40’s with a light breeze off the ocean, basically a tailwind for the whole race.  The sun was shining bright despite what all the weather men said it was going to be overcast all day (needless to say I have a sunburn that looks fabulous!).  The course started just over the bridge in Maine from New Hampshire.  We then ran the whole state of New Hampshire along the coast into the state of Massachusetts.  So crazy to think in one race you can run 3 states.   There was some great crowd support even if they had to be spread out over 20 miles.  Dave was able to get around pretty easy and see me at two locations during the race and at the end.  This race was great because if you wanted to see your runner more it would be pretty easy to do that as the roads were open and as long as you took your time you could just leap frog ahead.

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This was the start, as always very crowded and hard to get a great shot.

I started out faster than I wanted but really tried to just stick to what felt good.  I was very relaxed because I had no real goal other than finish and test out my plan.  My plan called for 20 miles this weekend with the speed to be close to marathon race pace which I’m hoping will be 9:30 per mile.  Also, I always think it’s fun to do a race with 600-800 of your close running friends instead of a 20 mile training run where you are the only one running.

It was nice to settle into the pace and just chat with some people along the course, listen to my music (sometimes dancing along), and just loving the experience which was never a huge challenge.  I have to say I love that last statement.  I expected to hit a wall and it just did not happen.  In fact after the half marathon point in the race, I got faster by 20 seconds per mile.  That’s crazy isn’t it!  I thought “Hey I only have 7 miles left, I can do this, I’ve done pace work longer than this”.  So I did.  I sped up and just keep speeding up until my last 4 miles were 8:07, 8:08, 8:09, and mile 20 was 7:53.  Holy Cow!  (I use that phrase a lot right now)  And to top it all off, I felt great.  I felt strong!  And I kept thinking, “this training plan is working, all my hard work is paying off”.

Isn’t it great to have things begin to come together?!  After 5 marathons, I changed to this new training plan with twice as many miles, running twice as much in a week and really focused on what I want my next marathon experience to be like.  And the answer is strong!  I want it to be strong!

How do you define strong?  I define it as giving it your all, leaving it all out there, making you a priority and doing with confidence more than you ever thought you could.  On Saturday, I felt strong!  Like a superhero!  I don’t know about you but I love that feeling.  Dave might be tired of me talking about it because I was so shocked at what I had just done, I couldn’t stop talking about it (really he is very proud but I am sure he will tell me to stop when it gets old).  I had conquered a huge thing in my life, I had gotten rid of the wall that usually comes halfway through a race where you are looking at your watch and thinking survival.  I wasn’t surviving, I was thriving. IMG_3918

I was able to finish the race strong enough to be in the top 20% of my age group (the overall winner was from my age group as well, which just goes to prove us women in our 40’s are unstoppable).  I actually came in 25 out of 125 women.  I like the top 25.  It has a nice ring to it.  I also have a first ever PR for a 20 miler or by garmin a 20.15er of 2:53:05 which turns out to be an 8:35 average pace.  Yeah!!!

So how is my training going?  Well if you have not already guessed it, awesome!  I’m feeling better after each long run, more confident about the marathon distance, and really working on staying healthy, getting massages often and balancing my work and training, which is hard at times but doable.  (If only I could declare my amateur status and get sponsor for at least the race fees or shoes)  😉

Tomorrow with my training run I will surpass last month’s miles of 239 and I still have 3 training run days left this month.  It’s crazy to think I could run so far in a month.

How is your training going?  Any recent races where things just began to click and you felt invincible?!

Enjoy these pics from the rest of our weekend:

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The rocky coast of Maine and the Atlantic Ocean

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Hanging out with my love and the Nubble Lighthouse.

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A little ocean water is good for the sneakers.

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Dave helping me out covering my really bad runner’s sunburn!

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These tan lines are going to take forever to go away!  But way to happy to care.

Holy Cow!!

Last week I had one of those very surreal moments, one of those you pinch yourself and think is this really true?  It’s taken me a little while to digest it and to even fathom how I got here?  But this weekend when I was out enjoying an early spring moment running in New England, it hit me.

“I’m gonna have to do all this training over again in the fall.”

IMG_3875Sunday was my first 21 miler of this training plan completing my most miles ever in one week of 68 miles.  This plan goes up to 70 miles so not quite there yet but I am up to 68 with only 12 weeks left of this plan (I know only 12 weeks left but it goes so fast.).

IMG_3548Anyway, some of the good news is that I am feeling stronger each run and confident that I will see a big difference in my marathon performance with just the simple fact that after 21 miles I was able to complete the last mile very strong (wanting to die after but strong and even a sub 9 min mile).  So far I have been very impressed where this plan has taken me, so if you are interested in training for a marathon, you might try the plan in the book “Advanced Marathoning” by Pfitzinger and Douglas.

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So done!!!

Oh okay, back to the “Holy cow” news…. I made it!  I made it into the New York City Marathon on November 6, 2016.  I know that they accepted about 4500 extra people but really I was not expecting to make it because it is a very hard marathon to get in to.  I was part of the 23% of the people in the lottery who made it in.  The official total accepted was 19,083 with 82,172 applying for the lottery.  Those aren’t great odds and last year I did not beat them but this year is different.  This year I did it! IMG_3839

Thanks New York City Road Runners for drawing my name out of the hat (or that is how I pictured it happening, I am sure it was more computer generated.)  Now I’m celebrating.  My marathon #7 will be New York City in November!

Holy Cow… New York City!

I can hardly wait but first, I must regroup because before marathon #7 I have to complete marathon #6 in Burlington, VT in May, Vermont City Marathon.  I am very excited about this one too.  Excited because it is close to home, excited because Vermont is a gorgeous place to run and excited because we will get to spend the long weekend up in Burlington with our oldest child.  So exciting!

IMG_3878 I am also excited because on March 26th I will be running my first 20 mile race.  Okay for me it will be more of a training run but I thought it would be fun to run a race during training that was more than a half marathon (definitely not to disparage anyone from half marathons because I love that distance, but when your plan calls for 20 miles and you get tired of the same 20 mile path, you need to liven it up a little).

Now that my marathons are all set for 2016 I guess I need to plan out the rest of my races…..

How is your training going?   Any race you are looking forward to?

Shocking Moments

IMG_3717This evening when I was logging my miles on mapmyrun I had one of those “shocking moments” that this marathon training plan seems to continue to bring.  As of today, right now, this very moment, I have put more miles on my feet than I have on my car this month.

Okay so I only live 5 minutes away from work and all the things I need are in the same town I live in but really I never thought I could say this.

As of today with three more running days left in the month and two of those fairly long runs (18 miler planned this weekend), I have put 203.37 miles on my little/big feet.   (I call them little so they don’t get a complex but really I have some long ski-like feet)

Today I was thankful for a beautiful springlike day and for my work that usually gets very quiet around 2pm so I can start to wrap things up and leave by 3 to enjoy the weather.  It was nice.

I also had one of those moments today that was not so shocking but confidence boosting.  I am not one to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty good at what I do.  I think it comes from the fact that everything I do with work I do from a place of love, empathy, compassion and desire to help others.  I love what I do and I am so happy to be able to say that.  I know that not everyone has a career/job that they love and I always feel honored and blessed to be able to do my work daily.  Not really a shocking moment but it is shocking in the fact it was not something I ever chose to do.  It kinda chose me.MakeTheMost

Over this past week, I have been reminded to live in the moment, be grateful for each day and make the most of each day.    This should not come as “shocking” information but I encourage you to do the same.

Happy Friday Eve!

 

Holy Crap Training update…

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12 miles in – so close to being done!

 

Well that got your attention.

Yeah.

Really for some marathoners this training update will be nothing but for me it’s all about the miles.  This week I ran 62.4 miles.  Yep you read that correctly.  62.4 miles and I am only in week 4 of my 18 week plan.  I knew that each week of this training plan would have me pushing farther than I ever have but I think the distance is really sinking in.  This plan is a 55 miles to 70 mile plan.  So I’m getting there.  But the huge shock is each week new PR mileage and how fast it adds up.

Also, it’s how my long runs at the end of the week feel.  Today for example was my first 18 miler of this plan.  Going in I had already run quite a bit and yesterday my 5 mile recovery run was very slow and my legs felt tired.  But today, today I felt stronger as the run went on.  Dave came out with me and rode the bike, gave me more water when needed, and we had some fun conversation and pics.  He even commented on how the last 18 miler he rode alongside I struggled from about 15 miles on and it was a flatter course.  That run was also farther into the training plan like week 8 or 10 but that was not the case today.  So maybe this is working.  I really think this is.  I already feel confident that my next marathon will be more successful.

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I was sticking my tongue out at Dave but that didn’t come out so we figured this could be captioned multiple ways, “why are you following me?!” or “just running, nothing to see here”

Now to define that success:

No walking

Keeping a constant pace

Fuel properly

No WALL

Feel good at the end

If I hit that new PR that would be good too!

It is wonderful to already feel your hard work coming together because really I didn’t just start running 4 weeks ago, I have now been running for almost 6 years now and it started with a 5K in 2010 and my first marathon was in 2013 (hard to believe I’m training for my 6th marathon).

Now time to relax and enjoy my rest day tomorrow because Tuesday will be here before you know it and I will be right back at it with another week of PR miles!

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All done!  It felt great!

How is your training going?  Any big races coming up?

It doesn’t seem to get easier….

LifeWe all know life isn’t fair, okay if you didn’t know, life is not fair.  Well life also has times in it that don’t get easier.  I had this epiphany while making dinner.  I know this is going to sound strange but bear with me….

You know when you are making chicken nuggets and you dip them in flour, then in egg and then in the breadcrumbs and your fingers get all covered and it actually gets a little more difficult to make instead of easier because you get in a rhythm.  So you have to stop clean up your hands and start again, sometimes you have to do this multiple times but in the end it is worth it.

I know, I know when did I turn this blog into a blog about cooking?  Really that seems to be the only time today I was able to process everything that happened so here goes with that explanation:

Let’s start with the running…. Today was torrential down pours when I left work so it meant off to the gym I went.  On the training plan today was 9 miles with 10/100m strides and it was to be done on the dreadmill.  Really it wasn’t that bad but it was not easy.  In fact, I was hopeful that it would be a little easier than the 15 miles I completed on the treadmill on Sunday (hey the windchill was in the double digit negative degrees, I didn’t want to freeze to death!).  My hopes of easier where dashed when I had to jump off for a pit stop at mile 3.25, then dropped my GU fuel at mile 5 but finally completed the 9 miles with a 9min pace.  Not too bad but really not any easier than the 15 miler the 2 days before.

The real moment of not getting any easier came from work today when I found out a client who I use to work with before I changed jobs to Program Director, passed away from an overdose over the weekend.  I know the reality of the work I do.  In my state alone 4 people die from overdose every day and I always say that I can’t save people but I can help them if they are ready to work their butts off to do the work to save themselves.  It just does not get an easier.  That is probably why I stay so passionate about my work.  I am always trying to make client’s experiences better, to reach more people, and to do the best I can.  At the end of the day, it does not get any easier to move past a death of a client.  But Dave reminds me to focus on those that are continuing to flourish, to make the changes they need to make and to face life on life’s terms.

So really I don’t want it to get easier, I will continue to work my butt off to run farther, train harder, and set new running goals.  I will also be thankful for these moments that keep me working harder for my clients and the reminder that all I can do is my best.

By the way, the nuggets were worth it.  I like them better than the store bought ones that would have been a lot easier!

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Long runs….

If you have ever trained for a half marathon or a marathon, you know that the weekends are dedicated to the long run.  I usually complete mine on Sunday but have altered it if the weather is going to be nicer on a Saturday.

This weekend I was lucky enough to have two days to choose from for my long run.  I, of course, picked today, Sunday and I think I picked the best day.

My plan called for a 16 miler with 8 miles at marathon pace.   For me my goal pace is around 9:30 per mile.  I am hopeful that I can keep the 9:30 pace for the whole 26.2 when it comes time to tackle the marathon.  I have to say that it is still a little odd to slow down but I completely understand.  The goal is to get to the end still running and typically I have slowed down a lot in the second half of the marathon.  Basically running 9 min miles in the first half and so slow in the second half that when I finish my average time is 11 min miles.  Although this is not bad, I want to be more consistent and get faster.

IMG_3662Back to today’s run.  It was awesome.  The weather was in the mid 40’s with a light breeze.  I went to my favorite “go to place” and was greeted with lots of hills and wide open streets.  At one point I was even singing out loud to my ipod because no one was around and it just seemed like something fun to do to pass the time.  Today was a day I was thankful to be a runner, thankful to be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and thankful for those moments of alone time to think.

This week I finished with 55 miles completed.  I think that is the most miles I have run in a week since the final weeks of my last marathon.  And to think I am only in my 2nd week of this training plan.  Looks like every week after this will be a new mileage record per week for me.  That’s kind of exciting to think about and terrifying at the same time.

Tomorrow is rest day.  I am looking forward to it but it also means that I will do a little cross training because really I am supposed to rest from running.  So the plan is to bike a little at the gym and then work on the core as well as lots of stretching.  It is also one of my favorite Mondays at the gym because it is free massage Monday with a 10 min chair massage.

The rest of the week looks like this:

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 11 mile run

Wednesday: 13 miles

Thursday: 5 mile recovery run

Friday: 9 miles w/ 4 miles @ half marathon pace

Saturday: 5 miles recovery run

Sunday: 15 miles

Total: 58 miles  Holy cow that’s a lot but here goes!

How is your training going?IMG_3663

Still training…

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Beautiful Oklahoma sky!

So there I was ready to write a blog a lot more often and talk about my training for my upcoming marathon and then it happened.  Life again got in the way.  This is not to say that the training came to a stop because it didn’t, it was just the blog that came to a stop again.

Now I am hoping to get back on track…

Recently I had an impromptu trip back to IMG_3588Oklahoma to see my mom, family, and friends after my Grandmother passed away.  Even though this was sudden, it was a blessing in disguise.  My mom had been spending a lot of time taking care of her mother and was suffering a few health issues from the stress this was causing her, so I am glad she can get back to taking care of herself.  This is a great learning moment because it is always so easy to put yourself last in life.  I believe if you do not take care of yourself, how can you possibly take care of others in your life.  This is the one main reason I run.  It helps me regain focus on my life and what needs to get done.  Sometimes if the day at work is long, I find it better to leave at a normal time, go for a run and then spend a few moments during the evening finishing some of my work projects.  It is such a better use of my time and does make me feel better.

Back to the marathon training……

The month of January was a great training month.  In fact I ran more miles (168.21 miles) during the month than I have ever run and ran more days than ever (24 days out of the 31 days).  The good news is that it felt good.  I started my training plan having run 50 miles the week before which is a very aggressive plan but something I think I need to do to reach that goal of a new PR marathon.  Unfortunately I was unable to hit all my goals last week due to my travels to Oklahoma but have been right on track this week.    So far I have completed 39 miles and have a 16 miler planned for tomorrow.

IMG_3621I was spoiled while I was in Oklahoma with some incredible weather and was able to get outside for all my runs.  I even got to run a 10 mile training run last Saturday with about 200 people from the OKC Landrunners.  This seems like a great group of people who are all training for the OKC marathon.  I will hopefully see some of them when I return in April to run the half marathon on this same day with these marathoners.

Some of the most interesting things I have found about this plan are the variations of the runs.  Most of my runs are not even close to marathon pace.  I knew this was going to happen but when you are doing it, it feels so strange.  I spend a lot of time running at a slower pace which I think is the hardest because I want to get the run done.   There is also speed work involved and half marathon pace work which is not really speed work but holding a faster pace for a long period of time.  I think before this most of my runs were at the same pace all the time which is not really a good way to train.

Something else that is hard are the midweek long runs.  Yes I meant for that to be plural.  Think about trying to get in 55 miles or more a week…. Did you figure out how to divide up those miles?  Well this plan has you completing a 13 miler on Wednesday, 10 miler on Friday and a lot longer run on Sunday 15 + miles.  I am use to only one long run on Sunday so I am having to figure out how to give myself the time it takes to run this much.  I do know that in the end this will pay off.   I am also fairly certain that there is no way I could have done this plan when I still had kids at home so I feel so lucky to have this time at the end of my day.IMG_3613

Please don’t think I am complaining, I’m merely explaining the plan.  It is a very involved one, mainly because it is “Advanced Marathoning”.  I think what I am learning in all this, is that in order to be more serious about this marathon thing is that I need to run more to prepare for it.  When you really want something, you have to work hard towards it.  Like I said in my last blog my new motto is:

“Things you want, don’t come easy”

With this in mind time to get some rest for tomorrows long run.   🙂

How is your training going?  Any new plans you are trying out?  Any goals for your next race?

Here we go….

running motivationI haven’t written very much in a while, mainly because I have not had much to say.  Okay maybe that is not a great way to start a blog, with a lie.  I always have a lot to say.

I have started a few blogs but found them whiney so I deleted them.  Today when I was at the gym, once my music stopped and I actually had to think, I was thinking I could just start talking about my training that started officially today.  Maybe this will help Dave, so he won’t have to hear about it every day when he gets home.

So here goes….

Because I am crazy, I signed up for my 6th marathon about two months ago.  It’s called the Vermont City Marathon and we are excited to go up and spend a little time with the oldest child.  When I signed up I was thinking I would maybe hire a trainer to help me with my goals but then thought about it and realized that if I bug my friends enough about their trainers than I can gain their knowledge without the cost (wink, wink).  Okay maybe that is not the truth (what is it about you all that I seem to be lying left and right now).  I really don’t know the first thing about hiring a running trainer but I did ask my friend who has had a lot of success lately what she is doing.  She said she has been utilizing her trainer and they are working through the book “Advanced Marathoning”. IMG_3548

Well that I can handle.  I can buy a book, read it, follow a plan and get better.  So that is what I have been doing.  Although the plan starts today, there is a lot of ramping up you have to do to follow this book, I mean after all it is “advanced” marathoning.  First of all I had to get my running to 6 days a week.  Then I had to get my miles up which made me start to feel I was in marathoning stages way before today.  My plan is to do the medium level training which is 55 to 70 miles a week.

The good news is that I got my miles up to 50, I’m completing the 6 days of week running, and that I am smart enough to realize that my plan is going to be a little modified smaller than the 55 miles but at least it will be more than I am use to.   So with that, today I begin.  And here is what that means…..

Monday =  Rest Day/Cross train

Now don’t get me wrong, I struggle with rest days so I did get to the gym for a light bike ride (10 miles), upper body and core workout.  Some stretching and then the highlight to my every other Monday’s at my gym, Massage Monday.  It’s a 10 minute chair massage but felt so great at the end of the day.

I have to say that this training plan seems a little daunting and I am somewhat scared of it but really things we want don’t come easy.  Well I guess I just found my theme for my training plan.

“Things we want, don’t come easy!”

Here we go…. I hope you will join me on this great adventure.  My real hope is to complete the marathon more successfully.  What that means to me is:

  • Not hit that wall at mile 20 where I start to question why I am even alive, not to mention why I do this to myself
  • Run or some type of continued forward movement without stopping or walking through the length of the full marathon
  • Not have leg cramps so bad in my legs that the next week after the marathon do I question my ability to walk nor do I want to be in the med tent for two hours like my 3rd marathon
  • Enjoy myself. I have enjoyed my running adventure and most of the time I think I should stick with the half marathon distance but apparently twice a year (oh yeah did I mention I am hoping for a fall marathon maybe NYC I registered for the lottery but if not that one, I will find one) I like to test myself and my sanity!  I am clearly insane, glad I have the mental health license so I can diagnose myself!

So join me as I make my quest towards a successful Vermont City Marathon on May 29th and this training adventure to get me ready.   If you have any tips, please let me know.  🙂running motivation3

 

Motivational Monday 9/28/15

 

Less than 2 weeks!  In less than 2 weeks I will be done.  Okay maybe not done but my 5th marathon will be in the books (I am optimistic that it will be a success).

I have now almost completed training for 5 marathons and it is true if you want to change your life train for a marathon.  Each one has been different.  My spring marathon I completed during the snowiest winter ever, completing four 20 miler runs on a treadmill (needless to say I try to stay a long way away from treadmills for this training plan!).

This summer brought it’s own challenges of relentless heat and humidity which only started to subside last weekend right after I finished my last 20 miler.  That’s okay, my hope is that it will not be this hot and humid in Chicago in two weeks.

So this brings me to my quote for today.  It’s one of my favorites and something to think about on this wonderful Monday!

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Happy Monday!  I hope you have a fabulous day!