That’s a Wrap!

One-thousand three-hundred and fifty-three miles: the amount of miles I ran in 2015! These have been the most miles I have run in a given year, and I am hoping to log many more for 2016. If I remain injury-free, I should be able to reach 1,500 miles for 2016. However, because I am more interested in remaining physically healthy, I prefer not to make miles a running goal. Thus, if I run less in 2015, but manage to remain injury-free, I shall be content. Here is a look back of some of my favorite moments of 2015:

January – Made the decision to start “believing” in myself and committed myself to train hard and step outside my comfort zone in order to perform my very best in the field of running.

February – Half-Marathon PR in the Run 4 Luv Half-Marathon on Valentine’s Day (1:50:25). I had no idea I would PR, so when I crossed the finish line seven minutes faster than my previous PR, I was completely shocked.


March – Celebrated my 38th birthday and ran my first 20 miler since summer of 2011! It was a fantastic run, and gave me a confidence boost that I would be able to break 4:20 goal for Eugene Marathon. I also ran 190 for the month of March, the MOST miles I have ever logged in a single month.


April – Ruptured my plantar fascia and experienced disappointment and heart ache like I had never experienced before. Because I could barely walk, I had to drop out of Eugene Marathon and dig deep to not fall into a trench of self-pity.


May  – Celebrated Mother’s Day with my family and ran 1.2 miles for the first time in five weeks.

June – Ran my first Ragnar Relay with the Oiselle Team in Utah. This was my first solo getaway since 2012! It was refreshing to get away for the first time and enjoy a running escapade with 11 completely different strangers.


July – Officially started training for the Marine Corps Marathon and ran my second Ragnar Relay. This time though, I ran alongside my husband in the state of Washington.


August – Went back to work after staying home with my youngest daughter for two years and ran my third (and final) Relay (Inaugural Elkhorn Relay). I also ran my second half-marathon (Catherine Creek Classic) of the year with my friend Kim, who visited me from Portland.

September – Liberated myself from the chains of resentment, pain, and bitterness that I had been carrying with me and forgave my mother. Out of all the things that happened in 2015, this was the MOST LIFE CHANGING for me. It allowed me to see my mother as completely different person. Furthermore, forgiving my mother gave me grace as a mother myself. I know I will never be perfect, but I don’t have to beat myself up when I am not the ideal mother I strive to be.

October – Hello 26.2! Toed the starting line and Crossed the finish line of Marine Corps Marathon in 4:13! It was a thirty minute PR and I got to run honor my running journey by running with MARINES. I also got to explore the magnificent history of Washington D.C. with the family.


November – Spent Thanksgiving with my youngest sister, Angela, who visited me from Florida. This was the first time I spent Thanksgiving with one of my family members since 2005! She endured the coldest Thanksgiving she has ever celebrated.

December – Gratitude and more gratitude. The year was good to me. Despite my injury, and not being able to complete Eugene Marathon, I had an abundance of experiences to be thankful for.


Merry Kalikimaka

Life has been busy but good. For the first time in ten years, I’ve celebrated a Holiday with one of my family members.  My youngest sister, who is a traveling nurse and was working in California, came to visit me for Thanksgiving. It was truly magical and memorable. We shared many Oregon memories with her. She was a trooper for putting up with below freezing temperatures and always going along with the flow. Despite the fact she only spent ten days with us, they were significant enough for me to miss her when I dropped her off at the airport. This past Thanksgiving gave me so much to be thankful for. 


Obligatory snow fun at Anthony Lakes with my youngest sister and the family.


Running is still very much a part of my agenda. Whether it may be fortunately for some, or unfortunately for others, a lot of my miles have been logged on the treadmill this year. Even though the treadmill gets a bad reputation, it has been very good to me.This upcoming January will be my treadmill’s sixth year anniversary. I still recall the moment it arrived; January 2010, in a large box, heavy, and disassembled. At the time, my husband was in Iraq, it was my first year practicing as a Licensed School Psychologist, my oldest daughter had started her first year of public school, I was traumatized over hosting (and kicking out) a foreign exchange student from H-E- double hockey sticks, and I felt COMPLETELY ALONE. The treadmill was supposed to help me train for the Newport Marathon given I was single parenting. Well, ten miles was the most I ever logged during that marathon training, and with a finish time of 5:43 minutes, it was symbolic of the extremely painful year I had endured.

Me time with my homey. My treadmill has been good to me.

Finally FINISHED my online class I was taking {that was keeping me completely busy and hence away from blogging} and got an A-. There was an assignment that I was just not motivated enough to attempt (Venn Diagram – my brain had a hard time conceptualizing the task at hand) and therefore did not get the A+ I may have earned. S’ok though, the grade is reflective of the amount of work I put into it and I cannot be upset about it. Juggling the demands of younger human beings while attempting to work, pursue personal running goals, and maintain my professional license, is way more exhausting than I remembered it to be when I was doing it six years ago. Perhaps that was the reason a ten mile treadmill long-run was the best training I could do for the Newport Marathon. The busy work though has not deterred me from achieving a very important long-term goal: earning my Ph.d. I don’t know when it will happen, but IT WILL!


Speaking of goals, the new year is coming, and we all know the start of a new year is an opportunity to turn a new leaf, dust-off cobwebs, and embark on a new journey. Frankly, I don’t have any goals right now. Does my lack of ambition self-analysis suggest a life void of any meaning? I sure hope not. The only goal I have right now is to survive WINTER, figure out how to be an ideal mom for an 11-year-old who is embarking on her own journey of self-identity, be more patient with a stubborn three-year-old, and less fearful of what the future may hold.


How do you handle the closure of the Holidays? What are some of your goals for the upcoming New Year?

This is where God wants me.

Catherine Creek Classic Half-Marathon

Exactly a year ago today, I was chasing a sub-2 half-marathon. That goal was achieved on August 2, 2014 at the Catherine Creek Classic Half-Marathon. This year, I ran the same course, but with goals and thoughts completely different from the ones I possessed a year ago. For one, I was no longer seeking a specific finish time. Second, after spending two months on the sidelines due to a plantar fascia rupture, I was grateful for the mere of opportunity of being able to run. Finally I was racing for distance in order to test my endurance and gauge if my foot could sustain the upcoming demands of marathon training for the Marine Corps Marathon.

Last year, I had the opportunity to race with my husband. This year, my friend Kim, whom I ran Bridge of the Goddess Half-Marathon with back in September of 2014 was also running the course. She trekked all the way from Portland, Oregon to savor racing in Eastern Oregon. Unlike last year though, the temperatures were supposed to reach the 100’s for the day. While I personally prefer running in warmer temperatures over cooler temperatures, I’m highly aware how challenging and demanding running in temperatures over 80 degrees can be. The temperature at the starting line was 72 degrees, and for me personally, that was just right. I do not like starting in temperatures where I’m shivering and my muscles are cold. Since the course had water stations every two miles, I only carried Huma energy gels with me (thanks to my mother-in-law, I now have a sweet amount to choose from), and wore sunglasses to protect my eyes from the sun.

Up close and personal after the race with my friend Kim.

Because I really did not have any expectations about the race except to measure the endurance and strength of my left foot, I was extremely relaxed and free of anxiety or self-imposed demands. This time around, I was excited for the opportunity to run with the goal of just crossing the finish line. There were no voices of doubt and confidence wrestling back and forth between one another and trying to placate them with visualizations or negotiations. If there was anything my injury taught me was that a number on a race clock does not quantify the will, determination, and struggle of the human spirit. The clock at the finish line is a mere snapshot capturing just that – the finish line; it does not capture what transpired before, during, or after the race. The acceptance that the time clock was by no means a measurement of who I was and what I was capable of doing took away any stresses I had a year ago. I was not worried about the hot temperatures, the elevation, and distance I needed to cover in a specified amount of time. It was genuinely a run that I was going to enjoy.

This was the day of the Blue Moon. The moon looks tiny, but it was big and bright in person. We were trying to capture a sun set the night before our race and after dinner, but we got to see a moon rise and it was a captivating experience.

When the clock started and we started racing down the hill (much of the race is a net loss and it is mostly downhill), I was smart enough not to go all out like I did last year. In fact, in comparison to last year’s time, I was almost one minute slower than the first time I ran it (2014 – 25:40, 2015 – 26:39). However unlike last year, I was feeling extremely strong the last four miles of the race and did not feel like my energy was waning. Last year, I was fighting tooth and nail not to let my pace slip to a ten minute mile in fear I would not make it to the finish line under two minutes. This year, I did not bother to look at my Garmin during miles 9-12 because I did not feel like I was struggling at any point either physically or mentally. My foot felt great and I was not experiencing any significant pain at any point. My back and shoulders, when exhausted, begin to hunch forward, but I never felt like I was losing my form. When I only had one mile remaining, I realized that my time on the course had flown by! I had no idea what my time would be, but I knew that I had probably run one of the best races I had ever run in my life. The time on the clock: 1:53:21. My time last year -1:57:46. I shaved four minutes off my time! Would this post had been positive had I finished in 2:07? Absolutely! My goal the entire time was to finish my race and to finish strong. Because I did not place any pressure on myself, I managed to run a very strong race. It is my hope to repeat this performance during the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

Second in my age group! I love small town races.

Skora Tempo Shoe Review

Seventeen years ago, when my running journey began, a pair of shoes with laces and rubber soles sufficed for running. After rupturing my plantar fascia seven weeks ago, I would say that aside from a decent sports bra, running shoes are now one of the most essential running items on my list. While I do not fully blame the shoes I wore as the sole factor for my injury, I strongly believe it was a contributing factor. Naturally, when the opportunity presented itself a couple of weeks ago from a Skora representative to test and review their latest model of running shoes – Skora Tempo – I did not hesitate to venture in the world of drop-zero shoes.

Let’s start with some information about the company, Skora. Skora actually was founded by David Sypniewski, a CEO all-too familiar with running injuries that not only hurt the love of running, but the finances from all the money spent on doctors, shoes, rehab and countless of expenses to remain injury-free. Thus, SKORA, was “the result of a 12–year journey to craft a better running shoe.” The company believes “that the best shoe is one that complements the human body and allows it to perform naturally.” The company aims for the shoe to make running efficiently, effectively, and with ease. As an injured runner, his journey and the company’s mission completely spoke to me given I have every desire to continue running well into my 100’s!

Since I am slowly easing back into running, transitioning to a zero-drop shoe was the perfect time to do so. Unlike 99.99% of the running shoes in the market, Skora’s shoes are zero drop, meaning there is no difference in height between the heel and the ball of the foot. The leveled foot allows for the middle of the foot to make initial contact with the ground instead of the heel; reducing the impact transmitted to the body when the foot strikes the ground. The outcome is returning to the natural form of running that has been altered by raised heels. Furthermore, the Skora Tempo is a shoe with 22 mm of cushioning, providing a soft landing for feet.

My first official run testing out the Tempo took place two weeks ago on the track. While excited, I was still concerned. My goal was not only to test my foot, but also the shoes. I had no distance goal in mind, only to run for as long and as far as my foot would take me. 

The shoes, were flexible, and the cushioning, while not overt like other shoes that exaggerate the thickness of the foam was definitely present. This made the transition of the foot very smooth because it was not sinking into the foam. The toe box is generous. In fact, the size 10 provided ample space for my toes to spread out, so much so I may have even gone down a size and still had plenty of space. The aesthetic of the shoe is very clean, with a distinct appeal that has taken into consideration even the smallest details.

I was able to log 1.2 miles wearing the Skora Tempo for my first run as it was the most my foot could handle. The shoe definitely impressed me. First of all, because it was the ligament in the middle of my foot that was injured, I was extremely worried about trying the shoes considering the design of where the foot is supposed to land. However, I actually found that there was less shock on my foot than I anticipated. While I did feel pain while running, I attributed it to the injury and not to the shoe. 

Just as impressive were the placement of the laces – off to the side and with a significantly fewer amount of eyelets compared to the average shoe. Plus, there is no slipping or sliding of the tongue as the upper part of the shoe is all one piece. When I first looked at the shoe, the design looked a little foreign, but now that I understand that reasons why, I’m surprised other companies have not started following suit.

My longest run with the Skora Tempo shoes was a 5k on a gravel and hilly trail during the Memorial Day weekend. If there is anywhere to test the plushness of a shoe, it is definitely on a gravel road. 

Once again, the shoe lived up to the hype. The shoe, while plush, still allowed my feet to make contact with the ground in order to have a good grip. The sole while sturdy is completely lightweight, which makes running feel right efficient on challenging terrains. The mesh material is also breathable, and easy to clean, although perhaps a little too ventilated for winter running.

I still have at least another five weeks left of healing before my injury is 100% clear, which makes it ideal for me to run in the Skora Tempo. While injuries are extremely frustrating, I can most definitely say that I will not only come back stronger, but I will also be learning the art of natural running, which will hopefully lead to less injuries.


Passing the Time

Now that my life no longer revolves around the preparation of running 26.2 miles no thanks to my plantar fascia rupture, I’ve been trying to keep my sanity in a variety of ways.


If I can’t run 26.2 miles, I might as well lap my couch with Netflix marathons. Sometimes Netflix is way off in its suggestions of what I may enjoy, so when Gran Hotel was one of the suggested series, I hesitantly pressed play. I don’t know if I should say fortunately or unfortunately, but I was HOOKED!! In fact, in the two and a half days it took me to watch the 42 episodes, I averaged 4 hours of sleep and only moved away from the television when it was completely necessary. Much to my disappointment though, the final season is not being offered, so I was left hanging and hoping Netflix comes to its senses before I go out of mine.

Gran Hotel is a spanish series (english subtitles) filled with passion, intrigue, romance, sabotage, and images that totally captivate you. I give it 10 stars!


With each day that passes by, I feel like I’m transforming into the blob and all of the training is evaporating into the ozone layer. I’ve been trying to maintain some of my cardio by rowing. There are days where 10,000 meters feels like a breeze, and other days where I cannot fathom rowing even 100 meters. But, row I must if I want to return to running without feeling like my lungs have collapsed. 

I’ve posted this picture before, but I’ve not taken too many rowing pictures.

Juice Concoctions

I’m still trying to figure out my grandmother’s beet and chia juice recipe. On my last attempt, I blended beets with water, chia seeds, and a squeeze of lime to counter the earthy flavor and it was nothing worth bragging about. This time around, I added carrots, strawberries, apples, and used orange juice instead of water. One thing I learned is how much effort juicing requires when you don’t have an expensive juicer. Because I only have a blender, I had to manually strain the pulp with a colander, and it took ages to squeeze out 8 ounces of juice! And to think my grandmother used to make a gallon of the beet and chia juice! These realizations make me love her even more and wish I could somehow have her with me so I can give her a big hug and tell her how much I love her.

Juicing is hard work!!! By the time I strained the glass pictured, I only had 1/2 the quantity.


I’m not much of a drinker, but I do enjoy an occasional adult beverage here and there. While I’m partial to margaritas, I don’t particularly care for the effect they have on my brain the morning after. Anyhow, the week I started hobbling on my foot, a local grocery outlet had a 20% discount to their already reduced priced bottles of wine. Since I figured unwinding my stressed out brain was worth a little splurge, I went ahead and purchased a dozen. My husband was rather pleased with my investment and we have been enjoying a glass of wine while feasting on Netflix shows once our offspring are finally in bed. I’ve discovered that Pinot Noirs are my favorite and prefer them over whites. Salud!

Looks like my dishwashing skills need a little help. These are my favorite wine glasses from my favorite non-race of Fueled by Fine Wine.


My two-year-old will be starting pre-school this fall, and we have been investing time helping her learn the alphabet. We have been using flashcards to assist with letter and sound recognition and so far she recognizes about 50% of the alphabet. She makes me proud.

She was oppossed to having me take her picture.


My 11-year-old has been begging me this past year to enroll her in gymnastics. The guilty mom in me wants to enroll her, but since the closest gymnastics center is an hour drive, the realist in me says “no.” Thus, I’m completely cognizant that this may end up being one of those things my daughter may resent me for sometime in the near future. While I don’t find pleasure in negating the desires of physical challenges to one of my daughters, especially because gymnastics was something I really wanted to do as a little girl (but knew without a doubt that was something my mother would never support because of finances and extracurricular activities were a foreign concept), it is a bit too taxing to invest a two hour commute for what may be a short-term interest. It’s a gamble I guess, but gambles seem to be a part of the parenting role. I do hope someday she finds it in her heart to forgive me should her resentment grow stronger. For now, I appreciate her tenacity and enjoy witnessing the various physical movements I wish I could perform.

Cheering my little self-taught gymnast!

Have you ever had an injury or a temporary detour during training? What do you do to keep your fitness level and your sanity?

Generativity vs Stagnation

A rupture in the plantar fascia.” That was the verdict from the podiatrist almost a week after walking around with a painful limp on my right foot. He then informed me it would take anywhere from 4-6 weeks for the rupture to heal on its own. Resting, wrapping, and icing would help the healing process. Reasons for the strain consisted of improper shoes, over stretching of the band due to high impact exercise, and improper landing of the foot. 

Heal, foot, heal!!

With three weeks left until Eugene, and after shedding and abundant amount of salty tears, experiencing heart ache, disbelief, anger, and finally acceptance, I now know I cannot complete what I set out to do back in October. Crossing the finish line at Hayward Field is no longer the goal. 

I’ve experienced disappointments in the past. In elementary school, I came in the third place for a poetry contest after forgetting my lines despite the fact I could recite them in my sleep. At the age of 21, I failed my driving exam three times in a row. My first failed attempt at running a half-marathon in under 2 hours was also disappointing. 

This time around though, the disappointment is far more painful than the aforementioned experiences combined. It is so strong, it feels like my insides have been carved out. The pain doesn’t just stem from the amount of time I have devoted to training it’s the stage of life in which I find myself.

Generativity vs Stagnation

Erik Erikson was a psychologist who established the model of psychosocial development stages, each stage defined by a psychological “crisis.” Erikson believed that each stage in our personal development requires the mastery of a specific task. Successful mastery of each tasks leads to positive personal growth “and the opportunity to develop the virtues of hope, determination, courage, competence, loyalty, love, care, and wisdom.” However, if unsuccessful, the outcome creates a conflict within our identity that can lead to maladaptive behaviors.


At the age of 38, I find myself questioning my footprints and what I can offer to the world. I’ve given up my career as a School Psychologist because I believe staying home for my daughters is what they will appreciate. When my grandmother passed away, what I valued most was her presence. It was her whom I saw when I first came home from school. It was her who stayed home with me when I was sick. It was her who prayed with me at night and walked me to school. Her presence was a gift for me. 

Giving up my profession has been difficult. It was an integral part of my identity that I worked really hard to earn. When I walked away from it two years ago, I decided to focus on becoming more than just a recreational runner. For years I secretly pined to be an athlete and I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to live out my dream. Unlike the many confident singers who clearly can’t sing but still end up audiotining on American Idol, I’m completely aware I’m not an athlete, but I know I can be the very best non-athletic me. The injury has brought to light that I’m not getting any younger. Opportunities I took for granted as a teenager and well into my early thirties are now opportunities I want to seize. Opportunities where I can leave my mark and feel like there is a sense of value to my mortality.

But for now, I wait. I wait as impatiently as a child who sees 24 hours for Christmas to come as infinite amount of time. Except now, I don’t take time for granted, and I must continue to cross train so that the last four months of training do not slip away.

Got a 5K PR rowing 22:40!

Marathon Training: Week 4

My first month of Marathon Training has been a complete success!



Monday started of with five miles at an average pace of 8:44 per mile. The snow had started melting and it turning in a giant glob of slippery mush. Every time you stepped on a pile of snow, it turned into a muddy slurpee. It was pretty gross out, and I was ready for the snow to completely melt away. Quickly after my run, I did an hour of strength and HIIT training at my Crossfit box.


Pile of wet snow

Piles of slushy snow


The treadmill has definitely become my best friend, and while at one point, anything over a 5K on the treadmill seemed daunting, I now feel comfortable running anywhere from 8 – 12 miles on it. Sometimes circumstances like a spouse working away from home often forces you to befriend the treadmill. My runs usually happen when my younger daughter is napping, and there are times when she just refuses to nap. I’ve had her come in my bedroom with me where my treadmill is stationed and play music while I’m running and she’s lying in bed. She seems to enjoy taking naps while listening to the sound of the treadmill and music in the background. Anyhow, Tuesday was eight miles with 6×40 seconds at 10k pace. My overall average was an 8:54 for all eight miles. My 10k pace was an average of 8:13. This run made me feel powerful, not only because this was the first time I have done a fartlek run in over 16 years, but because there was never a point during my run in which I doubted myself.


Post eight mile stretch

A little stretching following my strong eight miles. I wish I spent more time doing yoga. I know it’s great for the body and good for running.



Did not run today, but I did an hour of Crossfit. I’ve been trying to do Crossfit at least three times a week consistently because I do not want to lose any of the strength I have been working really hard to build over the last year. Crossfit has really helped me become a stronger runner, and it has truly transformed my physique, so it’s definitely a part of my training I don’t want to give up. I understand I will have to consider less weight once the weekly training mileage goes into a 6-day running week, but for now, I am still making an effort to lift heavy. It’s made for some sore running on certain days, but nothing that impedes from finishing my runs.


Because of the heavy weights from Wednesdays Crossfit workout, my seven miles started off very slow due to sore arms and back, but once my muscles warmed up, I finished really strong. Because I failed to run while my daughter was napping, thoughts and desires of wanting to skip the run made their way across my mind a couple of times, but I did not let them win. My average per mile was 8:52, and once again, it was another solid run.


Looking forward to days with longer daylight. It was only 4:00 pm and it was already dark out.



Crossfit at 5:30 am. Man, is it painful to open one’s eyes and shift from the horizontal position to the vertical position when it’s pitch black outside. Because there were no runs scheduled for Friday, I had peace of mind knowing I could shower once done and move about the rest of the day without worrying about dirtying more workout clothes.

I’d have to say I am not enjoying the amount of laundry I’ve been washing, and folding, and using again when working out twice a day. My hair has also been suffering tremendously because of the amount of showers it has endured the past month. I’ve been washing my hair almost every day, which may work for some individuals, but because we are in the middle of Winter and I live in a very dry climate, my hair does not get enough moisture as it is. My skin is also suffering, and I am constantly moisturizing my hands and feet to keep them from being so dry due to all the scrubbing.


Have you heard of the 2015 miles in 2015 challenge? Two friends and I are doing the challenge as a team, which is actually a lot of fun. I asked them if they were interested in running eight miles with me on Saturday, and one of them agreed! While I enjoy running, having someone to share that passion with makes it twice as fun. It makes the miles not only go by faster, but you also tend to see the pace pick-up as well because you feel the pressure of not wanting to slow down the person you are running with.

My Garmin had a very weak battery, and I was hoping it would survive until at least mile 4, which was the summit of a long hill. I had not run this route that includes the long hill in almost five months, so I was curious to see if there was any improvement since the last time I ran it back in August. This particular hill gradually climbs for 3/4 of a mile. The first half mile is a gradual climb, but the last 1/4 mile is really steep, and it makes your lungs, calves, quads, and hamstrings burn.


A picture of my friend, Sarah, making her way down the hill.


My friend and I started the hill strong, with an occasional exchanging of chit-chat here and there, but once the climbing got serious, there was not enough oxygen to spare for chatting. My breathing got heavier, and my legs were doing everything they could to keep the pace and get the darn climb over with! My friend, who had not run the hill was doing fantastic!

When we reached the top to catch our breaths and pose for pictures, I noticed that my Garmin watched was barely alive and recorded a time of 11:38! I had managed to shave 35 seconds off my time! That may not seem like a whole lot of time, but when it comes to climbing over 700 feet of elevation, I’ll take 35 seconds less of climbing.


All smiles once I reached the top.




Rest day. There was nothing but smiles all over my journal and all over my face! This was the first time in all of my training (or lack thereof) in which I consistently nailed every single training run without skipping a beat and ran a total of 28 miles! In fact, I wanted to say that I’ve NEVER been an individual who has followed a training plan. I’ve actually resisted, telling myself that running should be enjoyable and I should not be enslaved to a running regimen. I’ve defined myself as a runner who likes running but hates training. I thought I knew myself, but I have discovered that I LOVE have a training plan. It has made my runs so much more enjoyable. I’ve approached every single run with the idea that I can do it, and even if for a second I question my abilities, I’ve gone into my runs with an attitude of at least giving it a try. And as crazy as it sounds, a training plan has helped reduced the anxiety I have experienced in the past about running. I no longer go into a training run “winging” it, and trying to figure out in the middle of a run how far I should go. I’ve discovered something completely knew about myself. A training plan is exactly what I need to not only be a faster and more disciplined runner, but to also enjoy running. Kristen Yax, thank you, because I did not make this discovery until after I read your post.


Do you use a training plan and journal? Are your hair and skin suffering from the harshness of Winter training and the Winter weather?