You see it everywhere in the running world. “Running with a group will make you a better, faster runner”. I have been a huge believer in this, especially with my experience with my old run club in Chicago. What happens when you change locations, or life simply gets in the way and you can’t train with a crew?
Find a source of powerful women and lean into it.
My power source is Oiselle. The sisterhood of the Volée (the Oiselle running team) is made of of runners from all backgrounds and experience levels with one common goal: to set goals and encourage each other to reach them. The connection (whether in person or virtually) created with other in the group provides a constant line of support and motivation; all there ready to remind you what can be accomplished if you only try. We are all real runners with real stories, each one different, yet equally as important. This poem by Lauren Fleshman, perfectly describes the mission of the flock. Even though I may not have my crew of ladies with me on my runs, the connections and shared stories of this sisterhood keep me motivated to get it done.
One of the best perks of being part of this flock is the connection to the Oiselle running pros. The pros are constantly there to answer questions, respond to a social media post, and a consistent part of Oiselle events. One of their objectives (when they aren’t out running the world) is to empower and teach the Volée how to succeed and reach the goals we have set for ourselves. For example, I emailed Devon Yanko last week and she graciously provided me trail running tips to share with my local group at our meet up this weekend…and she did it within 24 hours. That is an example of what makes me feel like I am part of a very special team.
If you would have told me running 15 miles on the trails would be hard (really hard) 6 months ago, I probably would have thought you were crazy. As very experienced marathoner I have run more 20+ mile runs than I care to admit. Running trails in the mountains though, that is a whole different way of running. The pace is slower and elevation gains can be draining. As I progress through my training plan, the miles get longer and the struggle gets realer.
To get through the long runs, I had to go back to my running hacks toolbox. One piece of advice I used to give running headed into their first marathon, was the break up the race into sections, then focus on running that section. When you finish the first phase, focus only on the second phase, and so on, all the way to the finish line. I used a bit of my own advice this week during my long run. I broke my run up into 3 parts of 5 miles each, then channeled the mojo of some pretty badass women the running world for my long run this week. These women have shared mantras that they have used in challenging times to help them stay present and focus on the goal.
My first 5 miles I focused on the mantra Relaxation is Power. I heard Rebecca Pacheco discuss this on a recent Running on Om podcast and it really resonated with me. So many times when we start to struggle during our run, all we need to do is relax. The stress we are carrying is blocking our power. By relaxing the shoulders, take a deep breath in and out, you can find the power and carry on.
The next 5 miles were all about Working the Problem a mantra used by Devon Yanko in this amazing video. As my legs grew tired, and the sun started shining, I started tripping quite a bit. I reflected to my current mantra and realized I need to focus more on my running form and pick up my legs vs shuffling and getting caught up in uneven terrain. Working the problem, rather than giving in to the tired legs really helped and before I knew it 10 miles was done.
The last five miles is where it started to hurt. After hitting an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet it started to feel like the finish was so far away. I kept repeating the famous words of Sally McCrae The further I go the stronger I get and it really helped. It gave me a purpose to those last few miles and to be honest, I was feeling pretty bassery when I was done.
This week’s training:
**I am enjoying this journey into developing mental strength that I spoke about in a previous blog post. In the coming weeks I hope to right a separate post to recap my exploration into mindfulness.
**It’s almost racing season. I am considering doing a couple more races this fall. At least one other trail race, and maybe two. I just need to remind myself to take some time to rest too, even though I now live in a location where I can comfortably run all year long.
What races are on your fall schedule? Keep me posted and I'll cheer you along to your finish line.