Marathon Mama: Different types of run options

Hogeye MarathonThe Hogeye Marathon is about a month away and there’s something for everyone – races of all distances, volunteer opportunities, and lots of room to just watch the running show.

We’ll have two more posts from Northwest Arkansas mom Beth Gallini in the Marathon Mama series before race day and Beth said she’d love to hear from new runners (or any level, really).

If you have a question for Beth — or if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered here — feel free to email her at

Here’s Beth’s latest Marathon Mama post:

At first running seems straightforward – lace up your shoes and head outside.  However, it won’t be long before you’ll find yourself getting more curious about how you can take things one step further.

Whether you want to extend how far you can go, reach the finish line faster, or become a stronger runner, varying the types of runs you do each week can help.

Here are different types of runs you can add to your training:

running womanLong run – The long run is a staple run for any distance runner.  In its simplest form, this run is the longest run of the week.  The length of your long run will vary according to your goals.  Someone training for a 10K or half marathon will have shorter long runs than someone training for a marathon.  These runs are normally run at a slow pace (60-90 seconds slower than your goal pace).

The goal is to get accustomed to being on your feet for longer periods of time.  You will get the same physiological benefits as you would if you ran faster, but you will reduce your risk of injury by keeping your pace easy.

Easy/recovery run – Easy runs are run at a slow pace and are runs that allow you to get extra mileage during the week while allowing your body to recover from harder workouts.

Speed workThe last post in this series covered how to introduce speed work and I would encourage you to reference those tips before adding in any of the speed workouts below:

  • Fartleks – Despite the silly name, fartleks are a great way to introduce speed work.  Fartleks are unstructured speed work where you add surges of speed into an easy run.  You can do this by running fast until you reach the third street light, five cars pass you, or any other form of measurement.
  • Hill repeats – Hills are speed work in disguise and will quickly make you a stronger and faster runner.  To perform hill repeats, you will want to find a hill that will take you 20-90 seconds to run up, run at about a 5K effort, and then run easy downhill for recovery.  Hills encourage proper form and will make you a more efficient runner.
  • Tempos – Tempo runs help you learn how to run faster for longer periods of time.  They are run at a “comfortably hard” pace that falls between your 10K and half-marathon pace.  Those who are new to tempo runs or training for shorter distances will want to work up to a tempo run of about 20 minutes in length, whereas more experienced runners or those training for longer distances will want to work up to a 40-60 minute tempo run.
  • Intervals – Intervals are a more structured and advanced form of speed work and should only be introduced once you have a comfortable base and have already incorporated other forms of speed work.   Tracks are the best place to run them because they are flat, a standard distance, and you can easily measure how far you are running.   One lap around most tracks is 400 meters, which is a quarter of a mile. Common interval workouts include 400s, 800s, or 1600s with a recovery distance in between each interval.  You will want to run hard for each interval, but do not go all out.

Rest days – Taking days off to allow your body to recover are just important as all of the other training you do!

McMillan Running offers a calculator where you can enter recent race time and it will provide you with training paces for a variety of runs.

Beth Gallini runningAbout Beth: Beth is mom, runner, running coach, and the blogger behind RUNNING around my kitchen.  She and her husband adopted two boys who are a month apart and are 1 year old. Beth serves on the board for the Hogeye Marathon and is interested in helping other moms with their training and answering any questions you have.   Be social, connect with other Hogeye runners, and let them hear from you by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!  #hogeyemarathon


Love notes from Northwest Arkansas Moms

love letters

We recently asked moms to write love notes to the most important people in their lives.

We wanted to share a few of them today since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. Love was sent to kids, husbands, friends, parents, fiancees, God and even the publishers of this website. One mom sent a love not to herself. Go, mama!

For your reading pleasure, love notes written by Northwest Arkansas moms:

‘And this is the choice,
made and kept, to choose you now and at each sunrise.’
To my love of 35 years


I am so lucky to have so many loves in my life. I have a special someone I like spending time with, but right now it’s a circle of friends who fill me up and take care of me. And I love taking care of them, too. This past year wouldn’t have been livable if it hadn’t been for all of them.


To my hubby,
I love you so much. Thank you for taking such good care of me while I’m moody, sleepy, and sicky while being pregnant! I love you!


Anthony, you are such a blessing to me. You not only love me just as I am, you are an actively-engaged father to our four daughters. You are a true example of a loving leader, and I love you so much.


Happy valentine’s day to my husband- the best man in the world.
Also, can’t forget my daughter and parents- also the best daughter and parents ever!


Would love to win this! My husband has really stepped up this past year and has loved me unconditionally through a cancer diagnosis, radiation and chemo. I couldn’t love him more.

~ Becky

My love is the paint brush that colors my grey world beautiful.


My Valentines are my little family, my husband, Zach and two girls, Caroline and Charlotte. They are my heart and soul and bring me joy everyday!

~ Dara

sweetsTo my sweet boys…my cup runneth over.


I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without you. I wouldn’t be pursuing my dreams without you, nor succeeding at them. You make the days brighter, each passing year more exciting, and you’re always willing to try new things with me. Here’s to many more years of experimentation with my best friend, my lover, my husband. Love you, Destin!

~ Kim

I won the lottery on kiddos. My two daughters are both brilliant, hilarious and beautiful. I’m so very proud of both of them. Lucky me!

~ Jena

My valentines are my 2 grown kids always! But my main valentine is my adorably fun loving and understanding husband! I can always depend on him to make feel better about any situation! He’s super understanding and never complains.

~ Monica

Honey, through hell and good times, we have made it. Thanks for hanging in there.


I love you, Robert. My soul mate since we were only teens.

~ Ginny

Thank you for always putting us first. I love you more than the stars in the sky! Happy Valentine’s day to my super awesome husband. =)

~ Tiffany

Dear Keelee and Kara, you are my heart and soul. I love you, mommy!

~ Kristy

To my husband who has always been so patient, kind, and understanding with me .. I know I can be difficult but he loves me through it ! Hugs and Kisses always!

~ Cammi

To my wonderful husband, thank you for the 11 years that we’ve spent raising our beautiful family! It hasn’t always been easy and there have been many obstacles that we’ve had to endure, but our love has always stood strong and we’ve always found our way through. You are my rock and I will forever be the solid ground for you to stand upon.

~ Leah

15 years….2 states…3 kids….the future is ours❤

~ Marie

Happy Valentine's Day!To my husband: who is supportive of my momma season and keeps me calm when the storms of our house arise! Thanks for the love!

~ Brandy

There are moments in your life when you see with certain clarity that everything happens for a reason….and that reason is you! Having close to a decade b/w the times we have spent together has made me appreciate you so much more. I am so incredibly proud of you not only as someone I love, not only as my boyfriend, but simply as a person. I know where we are at now was b/c you let your defenses down to open up and see where ‘we’ stood. That took courage and was against your better judgment but after all…I was the one that got away. This time, I won’t be taking my heart back, you can keep it. So this year, let’s not waste too much time on sweet love…it’s the friendship that lasts in a relationship. Love you B! Always and forever after, H

~ HB

Shout out to the 3 most amazing guys in my life…Anthony, Dixon and Chamberlain. I love being the only queen of our household and appreciate the love, affection and devotion we all have for each other. Can’t imagine a Valentine’s Day or any other day w/out them!

~ Brittney

What a FABULOUS Valentine gift this would be! Hugs & Kisses to my little lovies, their Daddy, and my fabulous amazing friends and family as well! <3 HAPPY HEART DAY, Mamas! XOXOX

~ Angie

I won’t try and quantify the different holders of my heart, so this is for my partner, best friend, husband, late night move watching, creative, powerful, beautiful, Darling.
Thank you, from the depths I my soul, for all you do. I look forward to each time we are together!

~ Betony

I love my family with all of my heart. They are the reason I live, they have made be the best person I could ever hope to be.

~ Alexis

To the man who must love me endlessly to brave a 5th pregnancy as my hubby;)-you are more than I ever dreamed.

~ Tara

You are simply the best. The most caring, helpful, funny, loving husband and father.

~ Courtney

Much Valentine love to my sweet gandbaby girls, oh yes and to my children too….just something extra sweet about those grands!!!

~ Willa

valentineTo my husband of 15 years, Thank you so much for the love you’ve shown me for the past 20 years. You are selfless. I’m so grateful for the love and support that you give our family. You are a dedicated police officer and put others before yourself every single day. I appreciate the dedication that you give to the City that you work for as well as the children in our community. I love you so much and thank God for our bond! You’re my one and only, always.

~ Jennifer

Happy Valentines Day to my loves. Michael and Fiona you make my world a whole better place to be in. Thank you for everything. I love you both.

~ Heather

One of my favorite “love” quotes:
“Success in marriage and love is much more than finding the right person; it is a matter of being the right person.”

~ Amy

“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrong doing. It does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres.”
Corinthians 13

~ Amy

You each fill my heart with love in your own unique and wonderful way. I am thankful everyday for each moment I get to spend with you. And to your Daddy, my husband, I thank for these sweet little blessings that fill our days. I love the four of you with all my heart, always!

~ Stephanie

Troy, you are the love of my life. I can’t imagine being on this crazy, wonderful journey with anyone but you. You have my heart and my love. Love always, Me

~ Amy

I want to shout out about the amazing man God has put into my life. I have never experienced a love so deep for anyone before…I never want to be the cause of hurt in his life and I can’t imagine growing old without him. Love you so much MKS.

~ Rebecca

To my Valentine, my husband,
We have our ups and downs but in the end we truly love each other and want to be together! Thank you for being here for me and having the patience when I didn’t. Thank you for being the best dad to our 4 kiddos! I love you!

~ Brandy

To my husband and best friend. I am so thankful that God brought us together and I get to do this crazy busy life with you. It may not always be the most romantic, but it is real and it is beautiful. Love you so much!

~ Marian

To my sweet baby buns.

You are the love of my life and I thank God for sending you to me. You have been the best hubby, dad and grand dad. I would love to spoil you on Valentine’s day this year with dinner at fantastic restraint and a night stay at a great hotel. And to add to that a basket of yummy chocolate bars. You are the best baby and you deserve the best.

~ Cherie

Thanks to my sweet husband for still being my Valentine after 2 states, 2 kids, breast cancer, 2 jobs, & a broken leg. What a guy!

~ Sharon

Forever and ever amen.

~ Kathleen

hershey's kissesMy love note goes to my amazing husband. He works 2 full-time jobs in order for me to be able to stay home with our kids. Now that I’m surprisingly expecting baby #4, he has been taking care of me through morning sickness and fatigue, as well as helping out around the house even more than he was before. He is absolutely wonderful, an I couldn’t ever imagine a more perfect husband and father!

~ Sara

To the man who loves me in spite of myself…. the man who dotes on our son… the man who makes me want to be a better person… the man who stirs my heart like no other.

~ Christina

God, I am overwhelmed by your love and Grace. You knew me before I was born. You created such a blessed life for me on this earth. You surrounded me with loving parents and grandparents who created who I am today. You gave me a role model and playmate, the best big sister anybody could ask for. Wow! I cannot thank you enough for my precious and amazing husband. As you designed, he makes me laugh and thrills my heart. God, I love the way you love me. You have blessed me with two beautiful and caring daughters, who bring me joy daily. Thank you for sending me their birth mothers, who selflessly gave me the gift of life. Thank you for comfort, peace and hope. Your love never fails me!

~ Jerri

I am blessed!!! 30 years and counting, with a Godly husband who puts Jesus first.
I fall in love all over again, every time I hold his hand, hear his voice, look in his eyes…MY LOVE!!!

~ Kami

For my fiance: Thank you for being that perfect piece of the puzzle that completes my life. Thank you for being the brightest light of my life when everything else may seem dark and dreary. Thank you for your love.

~ Kaylin

How do you describe the perfect love? Well, he’s honest and kind, loving and giving. He lifts you up when you are down and does everything in his power to provide for his wife and kids. He follows Jesus and leads his family to Him each and every day. He cuddles and snuggles and giggles with the kids, and reminds them that they are wonderful just the way they are. He teaches us all how to love and be loved. He lives life according to God, and no other person can distract him from that. He is a man unlike any other I’ve met, and I’m so glad to call him mine!

~ Melissa

Happy Valentine”s Day , Mitchell. We’ve lost some very special family members in the past year, especially your mother on Christmas Day. Your daddy being sick recently and my mother being sick has been very difficult. Your birthday is February 6 and this gift would help us get away for a whole to recharge. Then we can get back to taking care of our family. You’re my Valentine”s gift from the Lord. I love you!

~ Brenda

A Happy Valentine’s Day wish to my husband who makes me coffee and breakfast each day and says he is “lucky to have a hott wife!” I am quite average, yet he makes me feel beautiful everyday. He is the love of my life. I am so happy I chose well and received this gift of such a wonderful man to spend my life with!

~ Sarah

To the most amazing husband…words cannot even truly begin to express the love that we share that continues to grow. Everyday I am blessed by your love. The longer we are together the more I see a true reflection of your heart in the way you love me and our family. I know my heart is forever safe with you, and for that…I am beyond thankful. We have been through quite a journey so far together. We have had amazing seasons, and seasons of serious trials. We always come through stronger thanks to your love and leadership. It’s a blessing to see that our kiddos not only know they are loved, but know they are protected through your guidance. Thank you for being such an amazing husband and father for our family. You are our world. I love you always and forever.

~ Amber

To my children, I am so very blessed to be the mother of three amazing children. Each one of you holds a special place in my heart and I could not imagine life without you. I know that being a single mom was not in our plan and it can be challenging at times, but everything I do is for you and to better your lives. I am thankful for Blaklie for stepping up and being the best big sister (2nd mama) to her younger siblings. Boston has stepped up to be the man of the house and is very protective. And little miss Sam, at the tender age of 2 keeps us on our toes everyday! You all feel my life with joy and happiness. Whether it’s been a long day at work or a tough night at school I am so thankful I have your beautiful faces to come home to each and every day. I love you all to the moon and back.
Love mom

~ Chelsie

valentines01To my wonderful, hard-working husband,

This year has been truly a year of ups and downs that have tried us more than most. I’m so blessed to say that those trials have only made our love stronger and greater. I look back on our almost 10 years of marriage, and just can’t believe that I’ve been lucky enough to have you by my side for all of those years. You are truly a man committed to his family, his job, and our Lord. Thank you for everything you do for me and our boys. We love you!

~ Stephanie

I would love some time with love of my life! We are going on 25 years together and I never go a day without being thankful for Nathan Wilkerson my amazing husband, awesome father to our children!

~ Jamie

To my amazing husband! I am so thankful for an incredible man who loves our family so well! You are an amazing husband, father, coach, teacher and most importantly love Jesus so well! Thank you for your example to our kids and myself- love you so much! Also, a shout out to my 2 sweet kiddos and our new baby on the way- excited to meet you in a few short months!!
Love, your wife and momma❤

~ Jami

A love note to myself:
I know how hard you work at your job and at home. You are a fantastic mother and a generous wife. You deserve a bit of pampering.

~ Ruby

To my husband and my two handsome, big-hearted sons. We missed out on our original honeymoon get away for lack of funding, then enjoyed the next 20 or so years coaching, laughing with and entertaining the two sons God blessed us with. We have and are enjoying all the time we spend with our 3 beautiful granddaughters and that handsome and funny grandson of ours. But really-Mom/Grandma needs a honeymoon getaway. Keep this in mind guys if we don’t win this one. Love you all-Always

~ Diane

To my sweet husband,
Thank you for taking the time to be a good nurse to me while I’ve been ill this year. You’re bedside manner is perfect and you handled our 4 kids with ease. (and your dinners were yummy!) Thank you!!

~ Arrin

To my wonderful husband, he works hard to provide for our family. He puts my needs and wants first. He treats me like a Queen. He’s always been here for me through good and bad thick and thin, ups and downs. He’s the love of my life, I love him with all my heart, he makes my heart beat. The smile on my face, the sun on my skin. He’s my Valentine!

~ Ellen

Even after 27 years of marriage, you still melt my heart!

~ Karen

To my wonderful and amazing husband,
You came into my life when all was dark, but you gave me the light and I found my way. You have pushed me over the last 4 years to reach for my goals of becoming an RN and without your love and support I wouldn’t be able to say today that I am a nurse! The last 10 years have been a roller coaster ride but I wouldn’t want to ride this coaster called life with anyone but YOU! I love you babe :x!

~ Stephanie

To my amazing little boy,
You are truly my hero! You have been through more in the first year of your life than most people will go through their entire lifetime. I admire you and your fighting spirit. I am so thankful that God chose me to be your mommy. I love you more than words can say! What better day to celebrate those you love than February 14th….not only Valentine’s Day, but also Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Day! Mommy Loves You!

~ Andrea

Want to express my love for God who has given me the most wonderful other loves in my life, my husband and my daughter.

~ Sue

I have two loves…my daughter who makes my life so easy. She is just one of these easy going kids with a big heart. My next is my boyfriend…he supports me in my decisions and encourages me to always be myself. I love both very much!

~ Carrie

A shout out to the love of my life and soul mate! He’s the cheese to my macaroni and cheese.

~ Erika

cheese and mac

My love note would be to my Mom, who passed away Valentine’s night in 1997. And it would simply say “I love you.”

~ Elizabeth

All my love to my three heartbeats = my husband + two kids. I am a very blessed wife and mom!

~ Leann

To my husband and my 2 boys, ya’ll are my true Valentines, I love the 3 of you more than I ever thought I could love someone else. I can’t wait to spend Valentines Day with you 3. But to be honest, if I win this package, I will check myself into the hotel alone and lay in bed in pajamas, watch tv and drink coffee for 24 quiet hours. I love you all, but momma needs a break before momma has a meltdown.

~ Rebecca

valentineWould be great to experience this with my hubby! He’s a hardworking guy that deserves to be taken away. Even if just for the night!

~ Caroline

and one last love note to us ….

Lots of love to the Mamas for all the SWEET giveaways!


You’re welcome, Jody! And lots of love to each of you who posted a love note. We hope you have a happy Valentine’s Day!

Marathon Mama: 7 tips for running on the treadmill

treadmill walking

By Beth Gallini, runner mama of 2

The Hogeye Marathon is now just over 10 weeks away and it seems as if the cold weather is officially here!

My last post shared tips for running in the cold, but we all have days where we opt to stay indoors if it is too cold or icy outside.

Hogeye MarathonThe treadmill is a great training tool and provides an option to run when you might otherwise not be able to, whether that is because of the weather, it’s too dark outside, or if you can only squeeze a run in while the kids are sleeping. However, the treadmill frequently gets a bad reputation because it can be boring.

Trust me, I know – I used to be in the camp of calling it the ‘dreadmill’ and couldn’t manage more than a few miles on it. But then my husband and I brought home two baby boys and I had to learn to love it in order to keep training.

Although I still prefer to run outside, I have found ways to enjoy running on the treadmill:

Have everything you need before you start. It is tempting to use the convenience of your home or gym to get what you need when you need it, but treat a treadmill run like running outside and be prepared.  This means you should go to the bathroom before you start and have water and anything else you’ll need with you on the treadmill so you won’t have to stop once you start.

Dress for warm weather. Regardless of what the temperature is outside, you will warm up quickly on the treadmill, so dress accordingly. If you are cold at first, you can wear a long sleeve top that you can take off after you warm up.

Bring a towel. A towel will serve two roles on the treadmill. First, I highly recommend covering up your time, distance, and speed.  Unless I am doing speed work with specific intervals that I need to track, I always cover up my data screen so I’m not watching it creep along. Second, you may want a towel to wipe sweat off your face.

Find a ‘treadmill only’ show. Whether it’s a movie, a hit TV series you missed, a guilty pleasure reality show (me), or a sporting event (my husband), find something that will grab your attention and then only allow yourself to watch it on the treadmill. I pull up Netflix on my iPad and find a show that is a couple of seasons in to watch from the beginning — and then I only watch that show on the treadmill, so it serves as an added incentive. This was a game changer for me; I would not last long on the treadmill without having a show to watch!

Be sure to warm up. It is important to warm up when you first start your run and not crank the speed up right away. I find I need to warm up a little longer on the treadmill before I really get in a good rhythm, so be patient and find what works for you.

Play around with the speed and incline. A good way to get a little more from your workout and keep things interesting is to increase and decrease the speed and/or incline at random intervals.  As I mentioned, I keep the time, distance, and speed covered and then I press the arrow keys up or down according to how I feel and see where I end up at the end of a run.

Expect it to feel different. Comparable paces will likely feel different when running outside and inside. Don’t worry too much about matching the pace you would be running at outside and, instead, focus on running at the same perceived effort.

FYI, Hogeye merchandise is now available online. Whether you are participating in one of the races, volunteering, hosting an aid station, or spectating along the course, you can show your involvement and support with some Hogeye gear.

Beth Gallini runningAbout Beth: Beth is mom, runner, running coach, and the blogger behind RUNNING around my kitchen.  She and her husband adopted two boys who are a month apart and are 1 year old. Beth serves on the board for the Hogeye Marathon and is interested in helping other moms with their training and answering any questions you have.   Be social, connect with other Hogeye runners, and let them hear from you by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!  #hogeyemarathon

The mammogram was clear, but a Sonocine exam found breast cancer

terri with family

Guest post by Terri Mallioux, mama of Trevor and breast cancer survivor

I could hear the laughter outside my kitchen door as teenagers were in the midst of celebrating my son’s 16th birthday and the beginning of their summer break. After the long, cold winter, everyone was looking forward to sun, fun and a little down time.

As I was peering out the window watching my son and his friends interact, the phone rang. It was at that point my plans for the summer took a dramatic shift.

“Mrs. Mallioux?”

“Yes,” I responded.

“This is the Breast Center,” the woman said.  “We need you to come in for some additional testing. We have some time at 1 p.m. today.”

My heart briefly stopped.  I had just had a mammogram 11 weeks earlier and it was all clear.  Then it dawned on me — I had opted to have an additional test at my own expense and I realized it was that test the clinic was calling about.

So there I was, 11 weeks after a “normal” mammogram, on my son’s 16th birthday, waiting in the Breast Center of Northwest Arkansas for further tests.

In all honesty, I was thinking to myself, “Surely this is just a false alarm. After all, false positives happen all the time. Remember Terri, you’ve had call-backs before and your mammogram was fine just weeks ago. You’re only 47.”

It didn’t take long for me to know this wasn’t just another doctor’s visit. The seriousness of what doctors had seen on my Sonociné exam, otherwise known as Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound, was palpable.

I looked at the doctor and ultrasound technician while I lay on the table and said, “Is it cancer?” as I stared at the irregular shaped black blob on the ultrasound monitor. The doctor said, “There are many characteristics that don’t look good. But the good news is it’s small.” She stressed the word “small” as to reassure me.

I walked out of the office and I knew. I had breast cancer. I didn’t even need to wait for the results of the biopsy scheduled for the next day. My summer plans had changed. My life had changed. And despite the magnitude of the moment, I felt a feeling of pure thankfulness; I was filled with relief; I was grateful; I was proud of myself.

The source of those feelings was due to the fact I had chosen to have a voluntary Sonociné exam at my own expense. That decision and that test could have saved my life.

I have known for years that I have extremely dense breast tissue because I have had a few breast ultrasounds and doctors have always commented on it. Dense breast tissue is comprised of less fat and more fibrous and glandular tissue making it harder to spot cancerous tumors on a mammogram.

Think of it as trying to find a pearl in a pile of snow — cancerous tumors appear white on a mammogram (the pearl) while the dense breast tissue also appears white (the snow).  In others words, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, for doctors to “see” a tumor via mammogram in women with extremely dense breast tissue.

A few facts:

  • denseMore than forty percent of all women have dense breast tissue.¹
  • Mammography misses every other cancer in dense breasts.²
  • Breast density is one of the strongest predictors of the failure of mammography screening to detect cancer.³
  • Breast density is a well-established predictor of breast cancer risk.⁴
  • Cancer turns up five times more often in women with extremely dense breasts than those with fatty tissue.³
  • Two-thirds of pre-menopausal women and one-fourth of post-menopausal women have dense breast tissue.³
  • Doctors have spoken to less than one in 10 women about breast density.⁵

You likely are asking yourself, “How do I know if I have fatty breasts or dense breasts?” A radiologist determines your breast density by viewing your mammogram.

There are four levels that doctors use to categorize breast density:

  • The breasts are almost entirely fatty
  • There are scattered areas of fibroglandular density
  • The breasts are heterogeneously dense, which may obscure small masses
  • The breasts are extremely dense, which lowers the sensitivity of mammography

If you’re curious while having your mammogram, simply ask the technician performing your exam. My philosophy is it’s your health, the least you can do is ask! You can also request of copy of your radiology mammography report from your referring doctor and look for the descriptions of your breast tissue. You’ll likely learn more about your breasts than you ever dreamed.

I applaud the Breast Center of Northwest Arkansas and other clinics locally and nationwide that are voluntarily informing women of their breast density on their post-mammogram letters to patients.

My post-mammogram letter which notified me of “normal” results also said this:

“Your mammogram shows that you have dense breast tissue. Since dense tissue can hide small abnormalities, you may benefit from having an Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound (AWBUS) exam. This examination is specifically designed for women with dense breast tissue like yours. Using Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound in combination with screening mammograms may find significantly more breast cancers in women with dense breasts than mammograms alone.”

This notification was the push I needed to get an additional examination. Sonociné is not a replacement for screening mammography. However, studies show an ultrasound examination, in conjunction with a mammogram, can find more cancers in dense-breasted women than if doctors rely on the mammogram results alone. I am proof of that.

Fortunately, 20 states now have state breast density reporting laws mandating breast density information must be included in a patient’s mammogram reporting results. Unfortunately, Arkansas is not currently one of those states. We have work to do! Federal legislation was introduced in are you dense logoJuly in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Kelly Ayotte following a companion bill introduced in the House by Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Rep. Steve Israel. The goal of the Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act is to have a national standard of reporting breast density to patients. The bill would set a minimum federal standard for notification and recommend women discuss with their doctors whether additional screening is necessary.

The bill also directs Health and Human Services to study improved screening options for women with dense tissue. It is supported by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the Breast Cancer Fund, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Are You Dense Advocacy. Dr. Nancy Cappello, founder and director of Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc., and the inspiration behind the first density reporting law in the country says, “A national standard will ensure that every woman across this country is given critical breast health information as part of her mammography report.”

Sen. Feinstein adds, “Early detection of breast cancer is key to survival. By requiring that patients be informed if they have dense tissue, this bill allows women to make potentially lifesaving choices about their care.”

terriAt the time of my diagnosis, I was the 8th patient out of more than 800 that underwent a Sonociné exam at the Breast Center of Northwest Arkansas that was diagnosed with cancer following a “normal” mammogram. We are a special bunch. And we are a group that can make an impact on your health and awareness.

I am currently cancer-free and feel great following a lumpectomy and radiation treatment. I remember vividly asking one of my doctors how long it would have been before my tumor was spotted on a mammogram had I hadn’t have had the ultrasound procedure. He said it likely would have been at least two years and I would have been dealing with a much more difficult cancer to treat.

We all know early detection of breast cancer is of the utmost importance. And simply asking, “Am I dense?” can make all the difference in your medical care and your life.

For more information, visit or

Data cited in this article derived from: ¹ Breast Center of Northwest Arkansas ² Breg et al, JAMA: 2012 ³ Are You Dense, Inc. ⁴ Journal of National Cancer Institute ⁵ Harris Interactive Survey: 2010

Most Popular nwaMotherlode Posts in 2014

most popular, cropped

A new year is a time to look forward to what’s ahead — and to take stock of the year that’s behind us.

Here at Motherlode we publish a new post every day (including the weekends), so we have LOTS of posts under our belt. As we looked back over our analytics, here are just a few of the posts that were the most viewed/popular in 2014.

Click on the name of the category or post to pop over and read more:

Kids Eat Free. This list consistently shows up at the top of our analytics. It’s super popular because mamas all like to save a little money when they take the kids out for a meal. And because we sometimes just really don’t want to do the dishes and need somewhere to eat (that won’t break the bank) right now.

popular posts iconCalendar of Events. The calendar tends to be super popular because mamas want to know what to do and where to take the kids for some fun. Here’s a link to our latest calendar.

A review of the keratin treatment hair process. Apparently mamas have lots of questions about whether or not to go the keratin route and, if so, what to expect. This is a detailed review and offers lots of tips.

New in Town. One of the reasons we started nwaMotherlode was to help mamas who are new to NWA. We have so many families moving into the area and we like being able to help get them plugged in ASAP. The New in Town post offers tips on where to go for fun with your family in Northwest Arkansas. This post is consistently on the top 10 list of most viewed.

Where to shoot family pics in NWA. It’s always fun to scope out new places to shoot beautiful family pics and this list was extra special because the suggestions came straight from Motherlode readers.

The Rockwood Files: Are You Crazy Busy? The Rockwood Files are written by Motherlode co-founder and syndicated newspaper columnist Gwen Rockwood. She’s hilarious. She has a book out, as a matter of fact, of her best “Files”. You can order it here.

Life with Ladybug: That Unwelcome Monthly Guest. Mamas near and far can relate to the drama around Aunt Flo’s annoying arrival. Good for a laugh.

Summer fun printable. This one’s great for printing out and keeping on your fridge for a quick reminder of everything there is to do in NWA in the summertime.

Swim lessons in NWA. So many moms reach out to us asking for swim lesson recommendations, so we posted a list to help. This post is always popular starting in the spring.

Blog 66: Things to do in Little Rock. Little Rock is only a three-hour (or less) drive from here, so this post was visited quite a bit for ideas on what to do while in the state’s capitol.

Healthy Mama: What foods should I avoid eating while pregnant? Dr. Steed of Mercy NWA offered up some advice for which foods to steer clear of when you’re pregnant. This is always a hot topic for expectant mamas.

butterfly online hotlineMental Health: Urgent Answer for an Important Question. This was one of our most-viewed posts ever, actually. A local mom reached out to us on our online hotline and confidentially shared that her husband was hitting her. She wasn’t sure what to do. We got an answer on the website quickly to hopefully help her out. If you’re reading this now, mom, we hope it did help.

nwaMotherlode Business Directory. When mamas need help deciding on where to have a birthday party or where to find a good xxx, the business directory can help.

Giveaways! Of course, giveaways are super popular on Motherlode. In 2014, we partnered with lots of amazing local businesses to bring you the coolest giveaways for Northwest Arkansas moms, including lots of great date nights with Walton Arts Center and a brand new refrigerator from Metro Appliances!

What were your favorite posts from 2014? Thanks for reading, mamas. We’ve got tons of fun lined up for you in this new year!

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