I don’t talk about this often, but its time I face the facts. I’m 46 years old. My mind thinks my body still functions the same, uses fuel the same way, and maintains fitness the same as my 30-year-old self. However, truth be told, for the past year or so, my body says something different.
I run slower.
I have a harder time maintaining muscle.
Even though I maintain the same clean diet, I tend to gain a few pounds a bit easier than before.
I have cellulite
My blood pressure regulates my body temperature differently
Here is the thing, this is kind of freaking me out. I don’t want to lose the strength gains I have made over the years, and I’m not ok with getting slower on my runs. I get frustrated with my body reacting this way. Yes, I realize it’s part of life, but it sucks.
In all honesty, when I see other runners my age, still looking strong and meeting racing goals I get a little envious. Not in a way where I am jealous of their accomplishments, but I become less confident of my own. Funny thing..I consider myself a pretty confident gal, but understanding myself and my abilities as a masters runner is a new challenge to overcome.
Since I struggled with how to accept these changes, I wasn't comfortable speaking to others about it. So, I did what others do. I searched the interwebs hoping to find the motivation and tips I need from other masters runners…but no luck?!?! Yes, there are general comments about how to run while your body changes with age, or how to incorporate fitness and/or running at later stages of life. Funny though, no discussion, no details on how to make adjustments (both physically and mentally) to training as a female athlete over the age of 45.
So now what? Give up running…hahahaha as if that would happen. I still have goals. I realize I may have to train a little more creatively, mix up my nutrition to make sure I give my “new” body the type of fuel it needs, rest and recover a bit more, and maybe even adjust my goals to a new type of challenge.
When I am on the trails, climbing peaks and running the ridges my goal is to feel strong. Strong enough to reach heights and run the miles it takes to accomplish goals. I am a goal oriented person, I plan my seasons around what running goals I can meet and train in order to accomplish them. The work to get there isn’t always pretty, glamorous or what “athletes” may be perceived to look like. The outward appearance doesn’t matter to me, what does is the accomplishment of completing the task I set out to do, and putting in the work that allows me to enjoy the experience.
This training season will no doubt require quite a bit of learning; possibly working a bit harder, in more creative ways, accepting new methods of training (such as more strength/mobility work, more specific nutrition and weekly yoga to work the mind.) Not only do I seek to find the answers to my questions on being a female masters runner, but to share those ideas with others, in hopes that others come out of the shadows into their running ability.
I don’t have all the answers on how I will do this just yet, but I do I have a secret weapon…My powersuit. Sally Bergesen wrote an enlightening blog post and gave a beautiful talk at the Muse Women’s Conference this past weekend. Her talk discussed how apparel can give us the mental edge.
When I am out on the trails, I bring the gear I need to get me through the day, this includes fuel, hydration, even a buff to wipe away the salty sweat. More importantly I wear clothes and sometimes my Oiselle singlet that empower me. They don’t empower me to create an appearance, they empower me with their ability to function, their ability to breathe, allowing me the space to do the work. I have no doubt when I put on my power suit I can make it through a training day, one step closer to the finish line.
I hope you stick around for the ride as I find new ways to Run Fierce and Live Fit.
Ok, Its been a while since I posted a blog, so let me fill you in.
I’ve spent the last month running 3 half marathons. Let me clarify…road half marathons. This includes the Phoenix Women's Half Marathon, Surf City Half Marathon and the Palm Desert Half marathon. I am not gonna lie, while they were all great, well run events, it was a challenge.
Yes, last year I said I was done running road races, and here I am running multiple road events this spring? So what gives? I set out doing these races knowing I needed the mental challenge of the road. I have long distance trail plans for the fall and that means lots of mileage and long hours training and racing. In order to do this, and not get into a rut I knew I needed to build a base of running miles both physically and mental. (with that being said, running on the beach with ocean breezes and mountain views is a actually pretty awesome)
Don’t let me fool you, I did not run these three half marathons fast. The reason why? I didn’t train to race them, just to run. Like I said, my intention was to build a solid half marathon distance base this winter in order to prep me for spring trail running. However, truth be told I probably took it a little too easy (ok a lot too easy) and should have been more diligent about my training for those events. However, after my most recent race I realized one important thing. While I may not feel like I am in the best physical/training shape, I do feel like I am mentally much stronger. The route for my last race (the Palm Desert Half) was boring, we are talking running on the side of the highway for 90% of a half marathon boring. No crowd, no scenery (with the exception of numerous palm trees) but I was able to use a few techniques I have learned in mediation and pulled through the miles without any mental angst.
As I write my race reviews on my month of half marathons I have made a few solid reflections.
Overall this base building phase was just what I needed. It wasn’t too high pressure, I learned quite a bit about my self physically and found that itch to set future running goals. This winter, I also spent a lot of time supporting the LA Oiselle Volée team who are training for the LA marathon. Watching their growth over the past couple of months has been so inspiring. Surprisingly, I am not at all having FOMO over not running this marathon, yet it has definitely motivated me to get back into a more scheduled training routine.
With that being said, it’s time to head back to the trails for a spring race. As it stands now that race will be the Mailbu Creek 22k at the end of May. There will be a couple other events between then, but this new race and new goals are focus.
Follow along this new journey; I promise to post more blogs, share more photos and even tell a few new stories.
On Saturday January 21, 2017, history was made when close to 4 million women united together to bring awareness to women’s rights. Unfortunately, due to a previously scheduled commitment I couldn’t attend the rally in LA but instead spent a good chunk of the morning glued to the tv and internet stream soaking in as much energy as I could. There were empowering speeches, and inspiring interviews, but the photo I posted above resonated and inspired me more than anything.
This sign is from the rally in Washington DC. I don’t know the women who are holding the poster, nor do I know the woman who created it, but there is a story that goes deeper than the photograph. As you can see, this poster is recreation of the iconic photo of Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman-Hughes from the women’s rights movement of the 1970's with the smaller poster bringing the correlation of that movement to the next generation of women. The message is clear, fighting for the needs of women now, impacts the rights of those yet to come.
What you don’t see is the story behind those females of our future. One of those future females (the blonde one) is Avery. I have no doubts that Avery will grow up to be an amazing young women. Why do I know this? Because she is blessed with an incredible Mom. Her mom, Colleen is beautiful soul with an even bigger heart. It’s no wonder she is a school teacher, because she has is leader and a guider. She listens to conversations intently, she responds intelligently, and makes everyone she is surrounded by feel like the most important person in the room. She shares with her daughter her love for life, which in turn molds a daughter with a love of life.
Like so many others who were inspired by this showing of the power of women uniting this past weekend, I have been soul searching trying to find out where to go from here. Since the time Colleen shared this photo with the world, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. There are so many young girls whose life is surrounded by amazing strong women, but there are so many who aren’t. I keep coming back to the empowerment of being surrounded by strong guiding women in your life, and the reality that there is also a guidance, and a power of not being surrounded by strong women in your life.
While this weekend, reignited the flame for so many, this is actually something I have been stewing around in my head since I moved to LA. I heard Lauren Fleshman speak on occupying space in this podcast with Julia Hanlon. I too have been trying to find my place, finding a way to fulfillingly occupy space, but doing so in a way that serves me. When I was in Chicago I was pretty heavily involved in Girls on the Run, serving on the Board and volunteering with them for many years. While I love everything about that organization, the time has come for me to find a new form of service. I want to be a light, guiding the path, a support system for females, especially those who are the future. The future can seem a bit scary right now, in many ways, but I really believe, if we come together, support the ones we love, and the ones we don’t, we can make a difference.
While I don’t know exactly where to go from here, I have a few ideas and some avenues to research. We (myself included) live in a society where it is easy to make time to scroll through social media, but difficult to find the time to get out and meet others for coffee or a run. The power of connection that social media brings also leads to isolation for so many. This weekend, we saw the beauty of what happens when we come together, in person, as liked minded people to connect and peacefully share a message.
I commit to spending the next few weeks, sourcing out volunteer options, getting to know my local political leaders and discovering ways to be of service in LA. This might be through running, through facilitating ways to bring others together, or something completely new, I am remaining open. What I do know, is my mission is to be one who is guiding, molding, shaping, and engaging while listening to the voices our future.
Oiselle posted a blog post that really resonated with me about setting goals and rejecting the distractions. This post beautifuly describes where I am with my running right now...on the edge of reaching new heights.
I am goal orientated person. Goals, to-do lists and game plans keep me focused and help guide my daily path. I have been like this since I can remember. (Anyone who has ever worked with me, knows all about my fluid to-do lists) Over the years I have learned, analysis and setting goals works better for me on periodic basis rather than at the beginning of each year, when all the cool kids are setting New Year resolutions. I find breaking goals up into smaller, more achievable ones versus long term options help me not get overwhelmed but enjoy the process of meeting that goal and getting to cross it off my to-do list. I tend to sit down and review my goals on a quarterly basis. The change of seasons, finishing a goal race, or even watching someone inspiring reach new heights are times I find are best to hit reset and adjust as necessary.
With that being said, I have spent the last couple of months of 2016 without any running/training agenda. Breaks are necessary, but for me, so is structure. No personal running goals, or game plans has been such a welcomed way to keep me sane and prevent running burnout, but now it is time to get back to my routines and get out the door training.
This year it will be different. Last year was about trying new things. This year its about taking some of the new experiences I enjoyed, doing them again, but with bigger expectations. I want to race events (not just run), I want to hit times that will place me in the top bracket of my age group, and do this while still finding a balance between personal and running life. I know I need to step out of my fitness comfort zone, digging deep to get stronger and faster yet making sure the experience brings me joy (aka prevent burnout).
What's first in my Flight Plan for 2017? A base building training cycle.
As you know, I absolutely fell in love with trail running, and I intend to take what I learned dig even deeper this year and maybe even take a few more risks. However, since I took a couple months off from scheduled running, I recognize the fact that I need to build a strong running base in order to be a stronger trail runner. When I was offered a chance to run a couple winter half marathon in Southern California as part of the Bib Rave ambassadorship I knew that was the perfect way to get myself back on the roads to focus on running form, speed work and most of all my mental strength (the monotony of running roads can break me down).
Here are my key races for now. I will figure out more trail running options in spring.
But my first quarter goals don’t stop at running. I have also committed to incorporating a few things into my life on a regular basis with the hope that they become permanent routines.
Road racing training season has begun. I am committing to hitting new heights, while rejecting things that don't allow for balance in my life. #wheelsup2017
I sit here like most of you on the last week of the year, reflecting on 2016. The year started with my move across the country to Los Angeles without knowing anyone except Matt’s brother and sister in law. From the minute I arrived here it just felt right. The decision to leave Chicago, all the friendships, family and a way of life behind was well thought out, but did come with a bit of a risk. When you move to a new city, find a new job, make new friends you never quite know if it is going to work out as you envision. For me, it was truly a blessing in disguise. The transition was pretty smooth, I have meet so many new friends, and the change of pace in life was something I didn’t even realize I so desperately needed to function properly. (yes living a life amongst palm trees, beaches and mountain trails is as amazing as it seems) Overall the common thread of my year though was try new things…sometimes it can help you find where you were meant to be all along.
But how did this all work out so well? This is LA afterall. The city with a reputation of being the opposite of friendly and inviting. To be honest, I found the people to be generally wonderful. (the traffic on the other hand not so much) How was this possible? By searching out and embracing places, people and events that had a sense of community.
In Chicago I was pretty heavily involved in the running community, via my run club Crew Runs the World, Nike+ Run Club, Fleet Feet and Girls on the Run. Much to my surprise, finding groups like this in LA was even easier and much more welcoming than I imagined. I have tried a few different options, but want to highlight a few that have made all the difference in my new life.
November Project: It’s not a cult, but it is seriously something I can’t get enough of. If you live in an area without a tribe and don’t know what November Project is, let me enlighten you. It is a group (there are various tribes throughout the world) that meets twice a week for a 45 minute outdoor workout. The workouts are can include drills, hill sprints, burpess, squats, (all the painful exercises) and are for all fitness levels, all shapes, all sizes, all people. I will be the first to admit the LA tribe has some really athletic, fast people in the group, but this free fitness group is different. They push each workout to help you reach your potential, high five you until your arm hurts, and finish with a cheer tunnel that makes you want to come back for more. There is no comparing yourself to others, but instead the focus is on encouraging others to just show up and give it your all when you get there. There is also a social component to the group and so many options to train, race and even drink fun drinks together. I am looking forward to getting to know people in the group even more in 2017.
Oiselle: I honestly don’t have enough words to express how much I love being a part of the Oiselle team. Earlier this year, I decided to join the Volée and it was one of the best decisions I have made in 2016. Lucky for me in July I was chosen as an area leader and have had the opportunity to make new friends in Southern California via various meet ups over the past few months. But the Volée is more than just meeting friends to go for a run. The company, its values its athletes have empowered me in ways I didn’t imagine. From watching Kara Goucher at the Olympic Trials, to getting trail running tips from Devon Yanko, to meeting Sally (the CEO) at a track meet and seeing first hand her love for the Oiselle athletes, to getting to know Heather and Lesko the duo behind the Volée ;two of the most beautiful, caring, encouraging, inspiring people I have ever met. Don’t even get me started about meeting at the start line of a race with other Oiselle runners in our singlets, ready to conquer the world. This sisterhood is not a marketing ploy. These are real women, empowering real women to be real runners who reach goals that dreams are made of.
Nuun: I have been a Nuun ambassador for a couple years now, but the friendships I have made through this program have been a key to my success in the move to LA. When I ran Hood to Coast in 2015, I made friends with other SoCal Nuun runners. Those friends introduced me to others here in LA especially in November Project. Lauren helped coach me through my first trail race. Jody, who is just an all-around amazing, welcoming person, and I connected quite a few times this year, even ran a race together. I am so happy I get to see her now (although I need to make that a more regular thing in 2017). The best part though is I have met tons of others in LA from the nuun community, including Hyla and Stephanie who I see at November project and at Oiselle meet ups. One of my favorite Nuun events this year was running Ragnar Trail Tahoe. Trails + Camping + Nuun friends was seriously the best way to launch into my trail running adventures.
To recap, in the past year I ….
The moral of the story, if you want to have an amazing year, try things you never thought you would do, get outside as much as you can, and most of all find a tribe and discover a community of amazing people to feed your soul.
Check back next week to see what I have planned for 2017.
If you hadn’t’ heard already, the main reason for my move from Chicago to LA was the weather. I wanted the ability to run all year, in the sun. I finally gave up my badassery winter running attitude and accepted the fact that I needed sun more than snow in my life. This past weekend when Chicago was in the middle of a deep freeze, I was reminded how important of a decision it was for me to move to a warmer climate and the impact it has had in my life. Ok, let me interject here that I am not trying to rub it in to my Chicago peeps.
This weekend I did a 10 mile run in the sun, on the beach at it was glorious. The temps have finally cooled in LA and a 50-degree winter run is what I consider just perfect. Seriously, my long run felt so good and a lot of that had to do with having warm sun on my body. For so many years I spent doing the hardcore winter training in Chicago, being “weatherproof” to the elements. There were so many early mornings meeting friends for below zero runs. I am not going to lie, running in horrible conditions does a lot to make it easier push through races because you face the weather demons and win.
However, this weekend when I was out for my Saturday long run in the “cool” temps with sun on my face and sand under my feet I knew I was truly in my happy place. I realized sometimes it is ok just to find a way to make running feel good again, and it doesn’t always have to be about making the run as challenging as possible. As I went farther along in my run reflecting on my blessed life, the sacrifices I made to move across country didn’t seem so bad. I realized I can find other challenges in running to conquer, that don’t involve horrid weather.
This week I was back at the grind. The next few weeks will be primarily spent running on roads. I have seen other trail athletes take this approach (especially Sally McCrae) and I am going to try it out too. I will try to focus more time on strength training and trying to improve my speed for the long miles, versus hill climbing and endurance. I am hoping this approach to base building will serve me well once I start trail running training again in February.
My training this week wasn’t too spectacular but I did get in the following workouts:
Random thoughts from the week:
**I’ve been testing out Epsom salts and I have become obsessed. I don’t really like to take baths, but I have found the salts from Epsoak really help. I also started using them with body scrub in the shower and I am loving that option. Pro tip…get them with added fragrance…makes all the difference.
**My eating sucks right now, with holiday parties and cookies everywhere. I have decided to try to balance as much as I can but not stress too much about it for the rest of the year. In January, I am going to attempt vegetarian eating for at least a month (although I might include fish) in the hopes that I can slowly remove meat from my diet. I have done a lot of research on the benefits of eating a plant based diet I am convinced it will work. I just need to get my taste buds on board with that concept.
Happy holiday everyone! Since all the cool kids are doing it, I’ll be back next week with a sappy year-end review.
When I first came to LA, the most frequently asked question I got was “why did you move to LA”? My standard answer was “I moved for the weather”. Oddly enough most people didn’t get it, until I reminded them how exhausting Chicago winters can be…especially if you are a runner. Yes, my main motivation for moving across the country was to be able to comfortably train and run races all year long.
Now that it is December and winter has finally arrived in LA, I must make good on that rationale. After a few weeks off, and a move to a new neighborhood it’s time to get my rear in gear and start training again.
Even though it is LA and winter running here is soooo much better than winter running in Chicago, it still can be a struggle some days to put on the shoes and head out the door. Dark mornings, cool temps and gloomy skies have provided not so great excuses to skip runs and extend my recovery time. Which means it’s time to dig into the running toolbox, and use the tips and tricks to get myself out the door. Yes, I realize the irony, when only a year ago I would get out to meet a friend to run on 20 degree days with no issues.
First up: Pick a race…. actually pick 3. Yep, I signed up for a half marathon, then another, then another, all within 3 weeks of each other. (They are all road races, but it is base training for a late spring, early summer trail running series) January 29th Phoenix Women’s Half, February 5th Surf City Half and February 19th Palm Desert Half. I find having a race to train for, gives me the motivation I need to run consistently in the winter. I am super excited for the Phoenix half, because I will be meeting up with a large group of Oiselle ladies and a leadership meeting. I am running the other two as a Bib Rave Pro, so you will hear more about those events in the coming weeks. (Yeah for so many racing options in winter)
Second tip: Great gear. Yes, even though I am running in Socal, I still run first thing in the morning when the ocean front temps are chilly. This year I stocked up on Oiselle long sleeve base layers and will occasionally add a jacket to layer. I find layering works well, so I can peel off as my body warms up.
Third tip: Recovery tools. Seriously kids…proper recovery is the key. I have committed to properly stretching and rolling out the tired muscles this training season. I am the first to admit I get lazy with that, but it really does make my recovery time so much better so that I can get back out the next day without legs that feel like lead. In the warm months I love ice baths after a long run, but this winter I am going to try Epsom salts. I received Epsoak to try, so stay tuned on how that goes.
Fourth tip: Journal the process. I have been a bit of a slacker on this as well in the past, but I am determined to record running experience each day. I use Strava to record my mileage, but I need more details, because I can never remember the "run". I will note how the workout went, my hydration & nutrition and the actual experience (was I tired, did I hit my marks,etc) I just got the new training journal from I Believe called Compete and boy it is filled with goodness. My intention is to use this spring training as base building for spring/summer trail racing and more significant fall races. I hope the journaling will give me more detail on what worked and what didn’t. I also plan to hire the coaching services of Ekiden again and I will also use this journaling time to record notes and tips I learn.
Training officially kicks off for me this week, and with that so will the blogging. . I will share my weekly runs and the base work I am doing to begin trail racing again. I have big goals for 2017 and with lots of hard work I will check them off one by one.
I will be brutally honest...the word Compete scares me. I love running races, I love setting goals, I love training for my goals. However, when it comes down to race day, I have a hard time pushing myself to the ugly zone.
I didn’t run competitively or participate in school sports when I was younger, so I wouldn’t necessarily say I am a “competitive” person in the most practical sense of the word. However, I have felt successful in my racing; by running a new distance, new race, or even helping others across the finish line.
When I first began distance running, I was chasing goals. Some goals were distance based, some were to conquer a new course, but mostly I wanted to beat my PR. Somewhere along the way reaching those goals on race day, began to hurt, so I pulled back, too scared to push through it. I convinced myself it was ok to shift to my Plan B goal, then somewhere it shifted to Plan C goal until I lost the drive to push to my full potential. It wasn’t about not wanting to do the training, I think this was about the fear of not meeting the goals and the disappointment that follows. It felt easier to become complaisant with my running than to compare myself to previous PR’s or others success (or what I perceived as success).
What I didn’t realize, this complacency wasn’t just effecting my running, it was reaching my everyday life too. I was caught up in so many activities and obligations that I wasn’t putting my whole self into any one thing. I was fine just doing what I needed and not pushing to make those responsibilities priorities or even something special.
Here I am, a year later and so much has changed. The move to LA has definitely helped shift my perspective. In the past year I have let go of the responsibilities that weren’t serving me, I have stepped back from being a leader (both professionally and personally) to being a student. In that time, I have learned so much. I have realized I can enjoy yoga, how to run alone in the woods/mountains with nature and really like it just as much (if not more) as I love running in the chaos of a downtown street, it’s ok to let go of my identity of a “marathon runner”, and taking the time to smell, taste and hear the life I am surrounded by.
As I leave another year of running and begin to focus on 2017 I feel the excitement I was missing for so long. The excitement not just to run an event, but to race it. When I ran my 25K a few weeks back, I got a little taste of running with a race strategy. Then I received my copy of latest version of the Believe training journal…Compete. After reading through so many great tips and tools to guide runners through the process, it all began to click. (I’ve used the Believe training journal for a few years and swear by it, the new version is even better)
As a sidebar I have to say being a part of the Oiselle Volée the past year has opened my eyes to my running potential. I had spent a lot of time in the past few years surrounded by runners I could mentor, or runners that were so much faster than I. While I know that was where I was meant to be at that time and I wouldn’t trade those experiences, I do believe it is the reason I lost sight of my running needs. Being part of the Volée, sharing stories with other runners I can relate too, hearing tips from pros in ways I understand, has truly rejuvenated that love for my running that I had buried.
My goal in 2017 is to focus on competing. Learning to compete with myself to push the goals I know I still have in me. Running in my 40’s is a bit different, but with specific training, journaling my progress and utilizing additional coaching I believe I can hit some key targets. These targets may be specific time goals, age placement in a race, or even a PR.
I will be taking a couple more weeks in my recovery mode (mainly because it’s the holidays, and I am moving to a new apartment), but will start up a progressive training cycle by January. For now, I will focus on a few half marathons, then build up to longer distances (or a tougher challenge) in the spring. I will review this again in early summer, and then set my racing schedule for fall.
I’m setting my intention, and I commit to owning it. It’s time to push past the comfort zone and train to compete. I know I have it in me, and now it is time to explore the path that leads me there, and run right through it.
Last week, I basically took the week off. My 25k was last Sunday, and I needed a few days to let my tired legs heal. This was perfectly timed considering the Cubs were down to the wire in the World Series, and I was glued to my TV for every game. This was followed up with constant checks into social media to get the latest on the celebrations throughout Chicago. (Yes, basically my social media balance went out the window last week) Even though I was feeling major #FOMO for not being in Chicago, the break to my training schedule made it possible to stay up for late nights, without the worry of early morning workouts.
All kidding aside, my training went well, my race went well and it is important to me that my recovery goes well. After speaking with my Ekiden Coach, we determined I would take a couple days of complete rest, then spend the weekend doing a few easy runs and yoga to stay loose. This next weekend I have one more trail race, a 10K, so I want to maintain, but keep the legs fresh for that event.
This week (once I get past the election drama) I will sit down and map out my race plans for spring. This will allow me to determine how long of a recovery session I will take and when to kick back up the training.
Recovery is such an important part of running, that I want to make the most of it. Typically when I am done with a race, I take one of the two paths. I get caught up in the post race blues that I keep pushing so I don't miss some "great" event, or I spend too much time resting and loose a bit of fitness while gaining a few pounds. I don't necessarily want to rest more or eat what I want during this recovery cycle, so to help with that, I will create a recovery cycle plan.
My goal for this recovery cycle is work toward restoring my base for another training. This includes incorporating more strength sessions, (I want to do weight training at least 2 times a week), keep integrating at least 1 yoga session into my weekly plan, and maintain my running without pushing too hard. My focus is to restore my muscles and build back up my strength. I also will be focusing on good nutrition, which can be a challenge during the holiday, however living in the land of year round fresh produce I hope makes it easier this season.
The last month I have been utilizing the services of Ekiden Coaching and I am really hooked. My review of my coaching experience with them is listed in this blog post, and I intend on using their services again after the holidays when I start training for a spring race.
Here are a few random thoughts from the week.
If you haven’t read this Runners World article about what it’s like to be a female runner, then you need to stop and read it right now. I am so grateful they have started this conversation. Everyone I know has experienced some form of harassment while running and it can be exhausting and intimating. I hate that it makes people not feel safe running, I hate these experiences take away from someone’s hard work, and I hate that people get away with saying the things they say to runners. Harassment effects so many runners out there, and it time we take back the power from those bullies. A great follow up to this story is the Runners World podcast episode.
Last night the Los Angeles chapter of November Project had a showing of an amazing documentary of this world wide fitness movement. This documentary called Showing Up, featured the backstory on a few members from various tribes. This movie reminded me November Project has a place for everyone and if you have a tribe near you, please try it. Here in LA we have people from all walks of life, all athleticism levels and all ages. Yet on workout day none of those variables matter, we are just there to create a community of free fitness…and free hugs.
Have an awesome week! Check back next week when I review where running will take me next.
Most think of Medal Monday as a way to review a race/accomplishment you achieved that week while showcasing the post-race medal. However, this week, my Medal Monday digs a little deeper. This isn’t just a recap of a three-hour experience I had this weekend, but a complete change to my athletic focus and abilities.
This past Saturday I ran Whoos in El Moro a 25k trail race. The race was challenging with rolling hills (who are we kidding it was mountains), canyons and tons of single-track. I climbed a total elevation gain of 2,331 feet, ran downhills that were so technical every footstep had to be just perfect. I felt the warmth of the morning California sun, then the breeze of the Pacific Ocean. I did this feeling strong, confident and at times amazed at the moment I was in.
Now that the dust has settled, I realize this race meant more to me than just running around chasing goals. It renewed a love for running, for making goals, and most of all trying new things that seem to hard or to “scary”.
If someone would have told me a year ago I would move to Southern California and fall in love with running trails in mountains, I would have laughed really hard. I have always been an urban runner. I love running in traffic, through neighborhoods, even with the noise and smog. But there is something about the challenge of climbing a mountain, then running without fear (or at least trying) back down to the bottom. Both styles of running take a bit of grit and grace but more than that being open to fearlessly try something new.
Four months ago knew I wanted to take the plunge into trail racing. I researched races, and when Lauren told me about Whoos In El Moro, I knew that was the one for me. I honestly had no idea how hard this trail running training would be. There were definitely more days that were humbling then ones that were easy. What I didn’t expect was how grateful I would become for those humbling days. They opened my mind to understanding the why behind the missed goal which led to learning so much about myself. I have run 12 marathons and had humbling days before, but to be honest since I was so familiar with the ins and outs of marathon training, those days just felt defeating, and could be hard to turn around. As crazy as this sounds, trying something new like trail running, created a shift in me. Not too far into the training I began to see those hard days a positive instead of a negative. The hard days made me curious and I realized as a runner I could still learn and push to new heights (literally and figuratively).
So how did race day go? It was really amazing. I will post a separate race review later this week, but suffice to say it was one of the best events I have run and I will be adding this race to my yearly calendar. I went into this race with a plan. A plan to use the knowledge and experience I gained over the last few months to push through the climbs and run fearlessly down the mountains. I was shooting for a goal of 3 hours, and ended up pretty close at 3:12. Even though the last 2 miles I slowed down a bit, I realized when I was done I physically had a little left in the tank and could have pushed a little harder. I honestly spent most of the race, feeling strong, well hydrated and mentally tough to push through whatever came my way.
My main goal though was to see how it felt to trail run, see if enjoyed the challenge and wanted to come back for more. The answer to all those questions was yes. Even when it got hard and my heart rate was higher than it should have been I realized this trail racing thing is the perfect challenge for me. It requires so much physical strength, so much relaxation and race strategy. I have known for a while I am not going to be a fast 5k runner. What I do excel at though is the endurance it takes for distance running. This race gave me a taste of what is out there. I have the drive to continue to build the necessary physical strength and mental stamina so that I can continue to grow and get better at trail racing.
Where do I go from here? I will admit it, I have been bitten by the trail running bug and this only the beginning of the journey. I will put together a winter and spring schedule soon but at this stage I think I want to stick to mid-distance runs, such as a 25k and 30K. I want to get better and faster at this level before I decide about moving on to longer distances. I have another small race in a couple weeks and then I will focus on a recovery series. I want to spend some time hiking, doing yoga and strength training to build a stronger base. In 2017 I hope to learn more about making my running more competitive. I want to set new goals and push fearlessly to reach them. If I am able to podium in my age group that would be a huge plus.
The weekly posts will continue for the next few weeks and then may cut down a bit. But don’t worry, I still will share my journey of how I am going to Run Fierce and Live Fit.