The Green Girl's Ultimate Secret Santa Holiday Gift

The Green Girl received a surprise in the mail from her Secret Santa yesterday.

Before I reveal what I received from my Secret Santa, I would to formally thank Jill from Run With Jill for organizing the Ultimate Holiday Gift Exchange.

So, when I got home from work yesterday, there was a square envelope with a metallic candy cane sticker waiting for me. The return address was from 'Blogger Secret Santa'.

I excitedly ripped open the envelope and pulled out a green Season's Greetings card.

My Secret Santa revealed her hidden identity as Raegun from Diminishing Returns.

Inside the card, was a folded up piece of paper with a hand drawn Keroppi marked 'Open me last. I'm your gift!'.

I opened it up to discover it was a receipt for a generous $20 donation to the Angelman Syndrome Foundation!

Raegun, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the most meaningful Secret Santa gift ever. The amount of thought you put into my present means a great deal to me.

I love that you managed to incorporate my favorite things - the color green, my beloved Keroppi, and my passion in life - finding a cure for Angelman Syndrome.

Although children with Angelman Syndrome have normal life expectancies, seizures can sometimes shorten their lives.

This has been a very difficult holiday season for Angelman families who had to say goodbye to their angels when severe seizures took them away.

This gesture from my Secret Santa means a lot to me as my heart goes out to each and every person who was touched by one of these precious angels who passed on this year. And as much as I love my niece, I am anxious to see the day when no child is born with this genetic disorder.


Happy Holidays From The Green Girl

The Green Girl would like to wish everyone a happy holiday full of loved ones and fond memories to cherish forever.

I will be heading up to my parent's house again for the holiday weekend to play with my niece.

“To many people holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance.” Philip Andrew Adams


Happy Holidays, CasITa-to-5k! Happy Running!

The Green Girl wanted to do a little something for the CasITa-to-5k for the holiday season.

I decided to order some customized Softie Shoe Keychains from Mostly Even, Sometimes Odd to give as gifts.

The Softie Shoes are replicas of the CasITa-to-5k's Saucony shoes.

Our little running group is currently on hiatus but I am hopeful we will be able to get back into our routine in the new year.

I'd love for us to be able to do a 5k together in the spring for a CasITa-to-5k graduation celebration.


The Green Girl Won An Inperspire Towel Giveaway

The Green Girl won her second blog giveaway and would like to thank Stephanie Anne from Running to Health for the awesome Inperspire Towel.

The towels come in 28 different designs and I loved that I was able to choose which one I wanted.

Without hesitation, I chose my favorite quote. It's the same quote my mum had engraved on my ring and I used for my MOO MiniCards:

A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. Lao Tzu

The exact Chinese translation of the quote 千里之行,始于足下 is 'A journey of a thousand li starts beneath one’s feet'. A li is the equivalent of roughly a third of a mile.

When my package arrived, the towel was wrapped in mustard colored tissue paper secured with an intricately decorated sticker.

The towel is the perfect size for working out. It's large enough that I will be able to lay it down on the mat when I'm doing floor work but small enough that it's not too bulky to carry around the gym.

Thank you, Stephanie Anne and Inperspire, for giving me this amazing towel featuring my favorite quote in the whole world.

It could not have been more perfect!


Winter Solstice Christmas Tree Run Race Report

Runners at the Starting Line
with rain ponchos and umbrellas
On a rainy shortest day of the year morning, at the Winter Solstice Christmas Tree 5 Mile Run, the Green Girl's boyfriend joined her and did his very first race.

The race was held at a very soggy El Dorado Park.

It was amusing to see so many rain ponchos and umbrellas at the Starting Line.

It was a relatively sluggish start because most of the runners were slowing down and going around the large puddles.

I tried to keep up with my boyfriend but I lost him and the crowd of runners around him before the Mile 1 marker.

At a blazing 13:30 minute mile, however, I managed to leave all the walkers in the dust mud.

I maintained a steady pace as I ran around the park. I couldn't stop blinking because of the pelting rain and I regretted leaving my baseball cap at home.

After awhile, I started wondering if I was even on the course anymore. There wasn't a runner in sight.

I decided I was officially lost when I reached a dead end with the largest ducks I'd ever seen in my entire life.

I suddenly realized this was the Summer Solstice Watermelon Run all over again.

Once again, since I'm familiar with the park, I started heading in the general direction of the Finish Line when I felt the mileage was appropriate.

I ended up having to go backwards through the Finish Line and then I quickly turned around and announced I was actually finished.

All the finishers received a full sized Christmas tree.

My boyfriend enjoyed his first race and he said he's ready for a 10k!

Angel Runners Race For Research Winner

The Green Girl is pleased to announce the winner of the Angel Runners Race For Research Giveaway.

There were a total of 29 Angel Runners entries submitted via blog reply or email. The winning number, 18, was randomly selected based on results from random.org.

The winner is Molly from I'm a Sleeper Baker!

Congratulations, Molly! Please send your mailing address and choice of Angel Runners apparel to giveaway@therunninggreengirl.com.


Santa Fun'd'-Run 10k Race Report

The Green Girl did the Santa Fun'd' Run yesterday.

The race was organized by The Neighborhood United Methodist Community. Some of the Sole Runners are actively involved with this organization.

The proceeds benefited the Fitness 4 All's Progressive Marathon Program and the CANTA! After-school Academy.

Fitness 4 All is a local Long Beach after-school program in downtown Long Beach. 4th and 5th graders had the opportunity to run the distance of a marathon in six weeks. At the Finish Line of the Santa Fun'd' Run, they had completed all 26.2 miles.

The CANTA! After-school Academy is sponsored by the Long Beach Opera The Neighborhood United Methodist Community, and Fitness 4 All.

CANTA! is a cross-curricular after-school program in downtown Long Beach for 4th and 5th grade students. Opera America's Music! Words! Opera! (M!W!O!) curriculum is used to help the students create, produce, and perform original opera productions.

To help show my support, I volunteered to bring some finisher cupcakes.

The owner of my favorite cupcake place, Miss Priss Cupcakes & Such, Karie Foster, offered a generous discount in support of the event.

An Elf won the 10k
It was a damp and foggy race morning but the runners were all in good spirits.

The course was along the Long Beach Shoreline Pedestrian Bikepath. The path was surprisingly empty for a Saturday morning - presumably due to the rain.

The volunteers were all smiles
As I headed out, I cheered on all the 5k runners on their way back.

The hydration stations had brightly covered tablecloths that could be spotted from miles away. They had the standard runner staples of water, oranges, and pretzels.

Santa Claus gave all the runners a candy cane at the Finish Line as we received our Santa medals.

I loved that the local youth were able to be a part of the event raising money for their program.


Heart Rate Monitors USA Online Retailer Review

As the Green Girl mentioned in her Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor Review, she purchased a Premium strap for Mr. Green Garmin from Heart Rate Monitors USA.

I wanted to take a moment to share my positive experience with this online retailer.

As I mentioned in my Yelp review, I have been very pleased with Heart Rate Monitors USA's customer service.

As a cheap Green Girl, I am always on the hunt for a good bargain and I was very excited when I came across the HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com website. They had the lowest Garmin prices I could find online and I was thrilled to be able to get such a great deal on a replacement heart rate monitor.

From my experience, they offer good sales on a regular basis and I love their free two day shipping on all orders over $99.

Since I joined their mailing list, I receive coupons for additional discounts on top of their already low prices on a regular basis. At the moment, they are offering 10% off all Camelbak and Polar products with coupon code DEC2010.

If you are considering purchasing a GPS unit or heart rate monitor, I would recommend Heart Rate Monitors USA without reservation.


Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor Review

A few months ago, the Green Girl purchased a Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor (Soft Strap) from Heart Rate Monitors USA.

This was a replacement for the heart rate monitor that shipped with Mr. Green Garmin.

I found the original strap to be uncomfortable. Although the plastic was fairly flexible, it still caused chafing and left marks.

While searching online for anti-chafe solutions, I was directed to DC Rainmaker's comparison of the original strap, the Premium strap, and a newer version of the Premium strap in his Garmin Edge 800 In Depth First Look Review blog post.

You can imagine my disappointment when my Premium Heart Rate Monitor arrived and I realized I had received an inferior current model.

I decided I would give it a try and if I had problems with it, I would contact the manufacturer and try to exchange it for the latest and purportedly, greatest.

The Premium model features a snap enclosure on both sides as opposed to the 'twist and secure' on the stock strap.

I had concerns the metal snaps would loosen and become less effective but this has not been the case.

The strap is extremely easy to put on and take off.

Instead of extending the flexible plastic like the stock model, the chest transmitter contacts are built into the soft strap.

The first time I went out for a run with the Premium strap, I tucked it under the bottom band of my sports bra just as I had worn the previous model but the plastic piece was too bulky.

The next time I wore it, I lowered it so it was just below my sports bra and that worked out perfectly. It's so comfortable that I often forget I have it on.

I love my Premium Heart Rate Monitor. I'm also pleased to report I have not had any reading issues.


Angel Runners Race For Research Giveaway

Ever since her niece was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, the Green Girl has been extremely passionate about raising money and awareness for this genetic disorder.

The Angel Runners are a group of runners who are raising money for the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST).

FAST provides grants and fellowship programs to encourage research aimed at finding a cure for Angelman Syndrome. The organization also provides education and advocacy services.

In addition to raising money on their FASTRunners donation site, they also offer Angel Runners apparel.

I am going to give one lucky winner their choice of any Angel Runners apparel item.

The winner will be able to choose one of the following:
  • Angel Runners Beanie
  • Angel Runners Hoodie
  • Angel Runners T-shirt
  • Angel Runners Unisex Zip Up/Pullover

There are two ways to enter this giveaway:

Bonus Entries (can be submitted in a reply to this post or via email):
The deadline to enter this giveaway is Sunday, December 19th, at midnight Pacific Time. The winners will be announced on Monday, December 20th.

If you are interested in Racing For Research and becoming an Angel Runner, please visit the Angel Runners webpage for more information.


Santa Monica - Venice Christmas Run Race Report

The Green Girl did 'LA's Largest Holiday Running Event', the Santa Monica - Venice Christmas Run, yesterday.

The Christmas Run benefited the non-profit organization, Partners In Malawi. Partners In Malawi is an HIV/AIDS care organization that supports the Partners in Hope Medical Center in Malawi.

The Partners in Hope Medical Center offers free HIV testing, counseling, and treatment.

The organization also created the Our Action for Behavior Change program that works with 40 schools to educate the youth of Malawi about HIV prevention. The Tikambe Youth Center was also established to provide 'youth friendly' HIV testing.

I carpooled with Rad Runner Girl and we met up with our friend, Janey.

For the first time ever, I decided to get into the holiday spirit with some Christmas tree knee socks.

It was an unusually foggy morning. The 10k kicked off at 7:30 am but the 5K didn't start until 9:15 am, so we wandered around the booths through the mist and collected free goodies.

The race was the consummate moving Christmas party.

There were Santa Hats and ugly sweaters galore. I even saw a giant elf running with a baby Santa.

Unfortunately for me, my Christmas tree socks were not conducive to running and my festive feet were sliding around too much - even though I'd tightened my laces before the race.

I'm accustomed to wearing thicker socks and I believe the thin holiday socks were too slippery to be worn with my orthotics.

My shins were throbbing before I hit the Mile 1 marker and I ended up walking the majority of the remainder of the race.

Fortunately for me, it was a fun race with a scenic course that took us down the Venice Beach promenade past all the street vendors and booths.

The race was well organized and there were lots of volunteers full of holiday cheer.

After I'd crossed the Finish Line, I changed into my awesome Santa Monica - Venice Christmas Run technical shirt.

Despite the epic sock fail, I had a lot of fun and it was a great way to start off the Green Girl's Holiday Race Series.

...With the kids jingle belling,
And everyone telling you,
'Be of good cheer,'
It's the most wonderful time of the year!


The Green Girl's Santa Poo Poo-Pourri Winners

The Green Girl is pleased to announce the three winners of the Santa Poo Poo-Pourri Giveaway.

There were a total of ## Poo-Pourri entries submitted via blog reply or email. The winners 22, 4, and 7 were randomly selected based on results from random.org.

The Grand Prize winner is dragonfly180!

The second and third place winners are nikeathena and Our Life with 3 Guys and A Doll.

Congratulations to all the winners! Please send your mailing addresses to giveaway@therunninggreengirl.com.

And, once again, if you're looking for unique yet practical gifts for the holidays, you could place your very own Santa Poo order from the Poo-Pourri online store at www.poopourri.com. If you use coupon code BLOG, you will receive 20% off your entire order.


The Green Girl's Holiday Race Series

'Tis the season to be running!

For those of you who stay on top of The Running Green Girl's Race Schedule, you may have noticed that the Green Girl is doing a holiday race series this year.

It wasn't my intention to do every Christmas run in Southern California but I have a hard time saying no to really great causes.

This Saturday, I'm starting off my holiday race series running with Santa Claus at the beach at the Santa Monica - Venice Christmas Run. I even splurged and paid an extra $5 to get a technical shirt.

The following Saturday, I'm going to be doing the Santa Fun'd'-Run.

This race is organized by some fellow Sole Runners so I want to go out and show my support. Plus, we've all been promised a cupcake at the Finish Line.

And I'll follow the Santa cupcake run with a Winter Solstice Christmas Tree Run the next day.

The cool thing about this race is that every finisher will receive a Christmas tree.


The Green Girl's Sunday Bolsa Chica and City Run

The Green Girl missed her Saturday morning Sole Runners run because she had to attend an Advanced Topics Seminar (ATS) on Special Regulations and Requirements for the Healthcare Industry.

In order for me to maintain my Project Management Professional (PMP) credential, I must accrue 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every three years and this involves attending meetings and training courses on a regular basis.

One of the Sole Runners, Michelle, joined me for an early afternoon run at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.

As we ran, the occasional raindrop fell from the dark stratus clouds low in the sky.

It had been awhile since I had the opportunity to run on dirt and I was thrilled to feel the soft, uneven ground beneath my feet.

As the drizzle become more consistent, large breaks of clear blue sky appeared in between the grey clouds.

There are many things I love the cooler months and being able to run later in the day is one of them. In the summer, I feel like I'm always trying to squeeze a run in before it gets too hot or after the sun goes down.

I admired the ripples created as the ducks skimmed the water's surface in formation.

On account of the impending rain, we cut our run short but later on in the evening, I decided to go for a run around the city.

As I headed out, it started to sprinkle again. I wasn't expecting this so I didn't bring any rain gear.

As I continued to run, the drops became more consistent. I ducked under business awnings for temporary shelter from the rain as I ran.

Much to my relief, Mr. Green Garmin appeared indifferent to the precipitation.


The Green Girl's Santa Poo Poo-Pourri Giveaway

Poo-Pourri because even Santa has to go...

The Green Girl received a surprise package from Poo-Pourri team today!

After the success of the Green Girl's first Poo-Poouri Giveaway, Poo-Pourri was excited to share their newest holiday scent, Santa Poo with me and even sent some extra Santa Poo's for a giveaway.

The Poo-Pourri product is spritzed on the toilet water before you do your business. The natural essential oils magically mask any bad smells by creating a film on the surface of the water that traps the odor at its source.

I absolutely swear by Poo-Pourri when I'm traveling and sharing a hotel room.

The Santa Poo has the signature Poo-Pourri citrus scent with just a hint of holiday spice.

Ho, Ho, Ho - Oh. No. Gotta Go!

I am thrilled to announce I am giving away the following Poo-Poouri Santa Poo products to 3 lucky winners:
  1. Grand Prize: Poo-Pourri Santa Poo 4 oz bottle
  2. Second Place: Poo-Pourri Santa Poo 2 oz bottle
  3. Third Place: Poo-Pourri Santa Poo 2 oz bottle

There are two ways to enter this giveaway:

Bonus Entries (can be submitted in a reply to this post or via email):

The deadline to enter this giveaway is Thursday, December 9th, at midnight Pacific Time. The winners will be announced on Friday, December 10th. Due to shipping restrictions on liquids, this giveaway will be limited to the U.S. and Canada.

And, if you're looking for unique yet practical gifts for the holidays, you could place your very own Santa Poo order from the Poo-Pourri online store at www.poopourri.com. If you use coupon code BLOG, you will receive 20% off your entire order.

Good luck to everyone!
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