Friday, August 28, 2015

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

"Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, 
unearth it, and gnaw it still."
~ Henry David Thoreau


Last Saturday night I was having a deep conversation with a friend of mine over a hamburger.  We were talking about his dad, who is over 70,  still working full time, and loving every minute of it.  Here's how our conversation played out:

Dayton: Yea, my dad has absolutely no intention of retiring any time soon.
Me:  No kidding?  That's impressive.  And that's not too much of a physical or mental drain for him?
Dayton: Nope.  He's still traveling, managing a bunch of people, doing presentations, all of it, really.
Me: Wow.  My dad doesn't do much more than take a walk around the hood and the NY Times crossword puzzle these days.  I'm surprised your dad still has enough energy for such a demanding schedule.
Dayton: Yeah, well, as I said, he still really loves what he does.  It sounds weird, but it's almost like he gets a high from it.  People always ask him why he hasn't stopped working.  But, why would he stop if it still makes him happy, you know?
Me: Yea. I do know.  It makes perfect sense.  That's awesome.  More power to him.

Later that night, when I gave it some more thought, I realized that Dayton's dads' situation with work is not much different from my own with running.  His dad doesn't need to work, at least not from a financial standpoint.  His kids are all grown up and out of the house.  He could easily just chill out and do whatever it is retired people do these days.  But he chooses to work.  Why?  Maybe because he likes the challenge and craves the intellectual stimulation.  Or perhaps it's because he's good at it and he has fun doing it.  Maybe it's all of these factors.  But the bottom line is, he wants to work and he still can.  So, why wouldn't he?  I'm not 70.  But, in the runner's world, at age 40, I'm considered an older runner.  Do I need to run?  No.  Do I want to run?  Hell yes.  And to my good fortune, I still can.  I'm not a professional athlete.  I'm not making money from training and racing.  My kids aren't going to starve if I hang up my shoes.  There is absolutely no pressure on me to run day after day, year after year.  And yet, still after having run eleven marathons and countless miles on the road, much like Dayton's dad likely does every time he leaves for work, I still get a little giddy every single time I lace up my kicks.  Marathon training is incredibly rewarding for me, regardless of the outcome of the race.  When things don't go well, it makes me want to work even harder the next time around.  I am constantly learning, improving, making mistakes and starting again.  And I'm not even close to being done.  I can't tell you how many people give me looks of disbelief or confusion when I tell them I'm still running marathons. Some of the responses I get are even better.  Things like:
~ No way.  Really?  Marathons?  
~ Isn't that hard on your body at your age?
~ Wait, you like to run?
~ Why would you put yourself through all that torture?
and then my all time favorite
~ So, like, you're still living the dream or something?
Yes, yes and yes.  The dream is mine and, yes, I'm still living it.  Running makes me happy.  It gets me high.  I can still do it and I want to.  And my age has nothing to do with it.  Maybe one day, Dayton's dad won't want to work anymore.  Or maybe he won't be able to.  But, clearly, that day isn't coming any time soon.  Not by a long shot.  The same goes for me with running and for all the rest of us who continue to do what we love.  Aren't we the lucky ones?

Listen to this:
Amadeus - Family And Friends or listen w/

Monday, August 24, 2015

LONG RUN MADNESS:A TOP 10 LIST


As you may know, after all the bitching and moaning I did last winter, I'm trying very hard not to complain about the summer and all it's related challenges in regards to marathon training.  That said, summer long runs are tough.  They just are.  And no matter what kind of shape I’m in, if I’m out on the road for over 2 hours, I typically start to get a little loco.  Any combination of heat, lack of fuel, dehydration and/or exhaustion and my mind starts to cloud over with some crazy ass thoughts.  Take yesterday, for example, when I was about 10 miles into a 20 miler.  It was drizzling, so the temp wasn't too bad, but the humidity was in full force.  Just as I was thinking about how heavy my legs felt, I looked up to see a very large wild turkey in someone's driveway.  He was just staring at me, almost daring me to do something.  I felt like saying, "what the hell are YOU looking at."  And, if I'm being totally honest here, I entertained the idea of giving him a swift kick to the gut.  Though, not to worry, I did not do either of these things.  It did, however, make me laugh...at myself.  Turns out, most of these wild thoughts that I have are not even remotely socially acceptable.  But, I'm guessing (hoping), many of them will likely be understood by my fellow runners.  Maybe?  Regardless, as you're reading through my latest and greatest list of things I've considered and, in some cases, come very close to doing during my long runs, but didn't (I swear), feel free to laugh with me, laugh at me, whatever.  And, at the very least, if you see me cracking up on the road....to myself...you now know why.  The mind works in mysterious ways.  Especially for runners.  What are you gonna do?

TOP 10 THINGS I'VE THOUGHT ABOUT DOING 
(BUT DIDN'T) 
ON MY SUMMER LONG RUNS


1. Taken off my shoes and socks and jumped in a stranger's swimming pool.
2. Stuck my head in a puddle.

3. Walked into a Dunkin Donuts and offered the cashier my Garmin in exchange for a Coolatta.  
4. Spoken to and then kicked a wild turkey.
5. Picked up an abandoned drink by a park bench and finished it.
6. Asked a stranger for money so I could buy a water.
7. Walked into someone's yard and turned on their hose to take a drink and wet my head.  Though I completely understood why my running partner, Kirsten, broke down and did this last week because if I had been home, I would have been right there with her.
8. Veered off the bike path and laid down in the grass.  Just for a little while.
9. Picked up a duckling and pet it.  They look so soft.
10.  Stuck my thumb out and hitchhiked home.

Listen to this:
Hard Time - Seinabo Sey or listen w/  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

BIRDCAMP 2015:THE NUMBERS


As many of you know, I just spent five days out in Leavenworth, WA with my Oiselle teammates. A little background info...Oiselle is a fresh, fierce and fabulous women's running apparel company.  The word Oiselle is French and, loosely translated, means female bird.  Thus, the best way to describe this vacation/retreat/bootcamp/lovefest that we all just took part in is simply BIRDCAMP.  I have had the privilege of being a team member/ambassador for the brand since 2011 and this is our second annual bird camp gathering.  I know several of my fellow birds, along with the company itself, will likely post blog entries with detailed descriptions of all of our goings on.  Thus, I have tried to spin it a bit differently here.  I am going to attempt to break the whole thing down for you in numbers.  It's hard to put in words the experience that I just had with my birdfamily.  So, I'm feeling like this is going to do the trick.  For you and for me.  Flock on.

BIRDCAMP: THE BREAKDOWN IN NUMBERS



90 women
18 professional athletes
1 former Olympic athlete (Regina Joyce)
2 Bro-birds (Daniel & David)
64 songs or 4 hrs 14 mins
200 pairs of sneakers (at least, probably more)

My own sneaks on day 5. Time for new ones.

hugely anticipated reunion w/ Ashley & Nicole
8 meals in the Kingfisher dining room
5 yoga sessions w/ Bree from Jasyoga
1 morning meditation (also w/ Bree)

#BIRDSISTERS

50 pounds of food (at least, probably more)
*Including but not limited to:
1 - 5 lb of chocolate chips (yes, they were ALL eaten)
Thousands of jellybeans
Hundreds of ounces of coffee
Hundreds of gallons of water
Hundreds of tubes of NUUN
5 lbs of pretzels
150 bagels
200 apples
* thx for the data JJ

Pre-race w/ Nicole & Holly

1 5K w/ the team
2 wrong turns (definitely NOT KMet's fault)
1 bear sighting (didn't get a photo)
7 high fives (that I was part of, I'm sure there were more)

Pre run w/ Kimmie, Tammie, Ellen, Christy & Sheila
note: we had NO idea what we were about to tackle.

16 Mile Run
1 accidental port-o-potty walk-in (He didn't lock the door. Come ON.)
3-4 stops for water & fuel
2 major hills...er...mountains

The Strava breakdown

2,512 feet of elevation gain
4-5 'F' bombs
2 twisted ankles
1 contact lense removal (due to dust)
several words of encouragement from Tammie (bless her)
3-4 tears of joy shed when we finished

Taking it all in mid-hike

2 popped tires (one elliptigo & one bike)
1 dead car battery (sorry Mel)
1 insanely beautiful & challenging 9 mile hike
2 lakes (though, I only saw one)

LAKE COLCHUCK

1 float down the Wenatchee River
67 tubes
7 paddle boards
2 kayaks
dozens of Bavarian pretzels (though, I think Sydney ate several of them)

#FLOATIN'

6 lectures (including, but not limited to)
~ Physical Therapy/injury prevention w/ Jay Dicharry
~ Goal setting w/ sport psychologist Adrienne Langelier
~ Design process w/ Oiselle owner Sally Bergesen
~ USATF politics w/ pro-athlete Lauren Fleshman
breakout sessions
1 Jungle Chicken Presentation (I'm not going to be able to explain this one)

Erin Block (aka Jungle Chicken)

3 birthdays (including Penelope's 1st)
5 injured birds
5 little birds (children of mama birds)

Penelope & Sarah Mac

30 miles (my own mileage for the trip)
2 very early wake ups (thx for the ride JJ)
200 hugs (probably more)
shit ton of swag


#BIRDSWAG

And a partridge in a pear tree.....

Sleeping Lady gardens

.....or something like that.

Listen to this:
RADIO - SANTIGOLD or listen w/ 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

RUNFAMILY


As I mentioned in my last post, this Friday I'm heading out to WA to run, swim, race, hike, tube, talk, eat, hang and cut a rug with over 200 of my Oiselle teammates.  For me, it's like a mini vacation.  When my kids ask me about it, I describe it as camp for grown ups.  They think that's funny.  When my friends ask, I tell them it's a running retreat/getaway.  They get that.  In a nutshell, it is basically five fun-filled, action packed days with an amazing group of strong women from all over the country who share my passion for running and all things running related.  In my book, it's bliss.  I joined the Oiselle team back in 2011.  The timing could not have been better.  I'd run four marathons by then and was starting to ramp up my training.  I had also just taken a job as a high school girls XC and track coach.  Hence, my life beyond family was becoming very centered around running.  I was loving it.  But, I clearly needed a new group of people to share this outlet with.  My husband, who is one of my biggest supporters in regards to my running, was more than thrilled that I'd tapped into this new running community.  You can only listen to your wife talk about training plans, splits, race strategies, and running clothes for so long before it starts to get a bit tedious.  Over the past four years, I have met some incredible people through Oiselle, many of them whom I now consider some of my closest friends.  My RUNFAMILY, if you will.  Basically, a group of women who support each other both in sport and in life; who run together when we can, who race together often, who cheer for each other all the time, and who love each other in a way that only a run sister can.  But, you see, it goes way beyond running now.  We celebrate the good stuff (ie. engagements, weddings, new jobs, new babies) and help each other get through the bad (ie. injuries, unplanned moves, military deployments, New England winters).  Seriously, though, not a day goes by when I don't think about how lucky I am to have this group of women in my life.  As I get ready to embark on another adventure with the Oiselle crew, I have taken some time to reflect on this past year and all the amazing moments that I got to share with these gals.  I did not know any of these ladies before I joined this team.  Honestly, I can't imagine my life without them now.  There is absolutely no question that family comes first.  But, my RUNFAMILY is a close second.  Very close.

w/ Nicole & Ashley at last year's Oiselle camp
Bend, OR  August 2014


Fall Classic 5K w/ Amanda, Stacey & Jess
Cambridge, MA  9/2014

Mohawk Hudson Marathon w/ Steph & Mollie
Albany, NY  10/2014

Fall meet up w/ Lauren & Amanda
Lexington, MA 10/2014

Jingle Ball 5K w/ Jess (coldest race EVER)
Winchester, MA  12/2104

Boston Marathon Team Dinner
Winchester, MA  4/2015

BAA 5K w/ Holly, Laurel & Jess
Boston, MA  4/2015

I think I’m on to something
Cause I feel the good times coming
~ Ella Eyre, 'Good Times'
Listen to this:
Good Times - Ella Eyre  Listen w/