*Ten tips for growing your running tribe*

Running has provided me with so many amazing opportunities over the past few years… I’ve qualified for, and ran, the Boston Marathon, I’ve been an ambassador for a few races including the Vancouver USA Marathon and the Portland Marathon, and products such as Nuun Hydration and Left Coast Raw, I’ve been able to travel to Las Vegas and Utah to run Ragnar relays, and most of all, I’ve met so many incredible people and athletes through various running groups and affiliations which has quenched my thirst for connecting with kindred spirits who love running as much as I do.

I remember several months ago, before my family moved to Los Angeles, researching running groups and clubs in the area with hopes that I’d find a place to connect with other runners. At the time, it seemed a little sparse and I worried that there weren’t the same kind of numbers of runners here as there is in the Pacific Northwest.

I’m pleased to report that my assumption was absolutely false. And thank goodness! Not only is there a thriving running community here but several trail and ultra running groups too. Given the size of the region, everything is pretty spread out here but it is still reassuring to know that they’re out there.

Because I am more introverted than extroverted (surprising but true!), making these connections is still, and will continue to be, a work in progress. I haven’t made much effort either, aside from going to the November Project somewhat consistently, since I’ve been settling into our digs, getting acclimated to the neighborhood, and adjusting to a new job.

That all said, I’ve begun strategizing a plan to expand my circle and thought it would be worth sharing. (Not to mention hold me accountable!)

  • Find a running club or group. (Or several!) This might take some research but they’re out there. Most of them have a Facebook group page. I’ve been joining every group that I find within about 20 miles.
  • Join a membership-based group. Honestly, I slightly struggle with the ethics of this. There are a few brands that I absolutely adore (Oiselle, Territory Run Co.) but in order to join, you have to pay a fee. They benefit by free marketing when you blast your social media accounts with pictures of you racing in their singlet while you maybe get a 10% discount on orders. Regardless, I’ve seen the impact of the community that Oiselle has created and I SO WANT IN!
  • The best place to start is with a local specialty running store. Most of them offer some form of a weekly group run. There is a Road Runner Sports store a little over two miles away that meets weekly and I swear, one of these evenings I’ll actually go!
  • Running stores aren’t the only hosts of group runs! There is a pizza franchise that hosts weekly meetups. I believe a bar down the road too. Do some homework (aka Google) and see what you come up with.
  • Start your own group. I have yet to find something closer to my own neighborhood and have considered starting my own. As a co-founder of a running group back in Oregon, I’ll say that it has crossed my mind more than a few times and it’s really not that difficult.
  • Look beyond “running” clubs. I’ve mentioned several times recently that I’ve been attending the November Project. It’s chock-full of runners! How about your local gym? Or yoga studio? There are runners there too!
  • The number of virtual running friends I have, by far, exceeds the number of running friends I have in real life. Thanks to social media, I can connect to runners across the globe. But, I can also connect to runners in my own neck of the woods (er, city) using the same practices.
  • Use your affiliations to find your tribe. I owe so, so much to Nuun Hydration for a number of friendships that I have thanks to their vision that is Team Nuun. I am so fortunate to know so many incredible athletes that, like me, are members of the team. True story: I think it was my second time attending the November Project and in the crowd, I spotted a woman wearing a hoodie with the Nuun logo embossed on the back. I approached her and struck up a conversation. Boom! Another team member and recent transplant to LA, like myself. We are now friends on Facebook, follow each other on Instagram, and are planning to run the same 8k next month so the commonality creates an opportunity to connect.
  • Volunteer at an event. I have yet to do this but I will. If you’re not racing, the next best thing is to support the runners that are and who knows, perhaps you’ll befriend the person you’re manning the aid station with.
  • Just show up. It’s the November Project motto (by way of hashtag) and it’s true. I can talk, and/or plan, until I’m blue in the face but unless I actually show up, I’m on my own and that translates to not meeting people.

BONUS TIP: Don’t forget that the best running partner might be your life partner!

Without a doubt, I know that I’ve overlooked an idea or two so please feel free to comment and share your ideas on how to meet like-minded runners obsessed with the sport as much as you are!

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*Team Nuun 2016*

Some good news couldn’t have come at a better time!

On my commute to work this morning, the battery light on the dashboard illuminated. That was followed by another warning light (that I don’t even know what it was warning me about) lighting up. A few minutes, and some weird noises later, I was stopped alongside the road with no gauges, heat, radio, or lights. All the while the engine kept running, thank goodness, and I was able to turn back and make it to the nearest service center.

Long story short. It was a grueling day dealing with a fried/dead battery due to a fried/dead alternator. A few hundred bucks and 6 hours later, I’m back in business. But the whole ordeal left me feeling like I’m fried (fortunately not dead though)!

Then the perfectly timed email arrived in my inbox.

For the third year in a row, I have the great honor of representing Nuun Hydration as a member of their ambassador team! I’m so thrilled that I was selected to continue to serve as an athlete for a company that not only produces the best hydration source on the market, but has allowed me to connect with amazing athletes and fellow Nuun lovers from all over the world. I’d say Team Nuun is more like Family Nuun!

Hood to Coast with Nuun.

Hood to Coast with Nuun.

(Speaking of… be sure to check back tomorrow when I unveil a new feature here on Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking that showcases one of my fellow team members!)

Let me ask you this: do you love Nuun? Do you use Nuun to fuel your training? Would you like to join the BEST team of athletes from around the globe? If you said YES, then check out this link for information about how to submit your application to become a Nuunbassador.

Tuesday is looking up!

*Podcasts, Prefontaine, polish, and pallets*

For eight years I worked in radio. It was a glamorous life. I jockeyed disc’s, reported the local news, commiserated over the weather with my listener’s, and could rock a public service announcement like nobody’s business. In a recent conversation I had with a social media maven about some of my blogging/writing/website stuff, she asked me if I’d considered podcasts. My immediate answer was no. I had not considered podcasts and it was the honest truth. Her inquiry sparked something though and I have found myself giving it a tiny bit of consideration over the last few days. Probably because of said job in radio and I have been told that I have a fantastic radio voice…

Hmm.

That was completely random and not really what I intended to share today.

Seriously. I was going to give you a dose of *a little of this, a little of that*, a few random things on my radar at the moment. (We’ll revisit the podcast thing later.)

  • Oh. My. Goodness. I FINALLY just watched the movie Prefontaine. It is 18 years old. How have I not watched it until just now? (Especially considering I’ve been a Jared Leto fan since his My So Called Life days!) I’ve been mesmerized by Steve Prefontaine’s story for years. He died 40 years ago this past May yet his legacy continues to inspire runners all over the world. I might have to add the Prefontiane Memorial Run in Coos Bay, Oregon, to my race calendar next year.
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Source: Benjamen Purvis

  • Despite a lengthy to-do list today, I gave myself permission to keep the day chill, not work, and spend waaaay too much time pursing useless projects on Pinterest that I will never actually reproduce. I also spent more time on Facebook than usual and stumbled across this enlightening article from Women’s Running. I’m relieved to know my suffering is shared.
  • Gel nail polish. (Sorry, boys.) It might be the best thing ever.
  • But if I did decide to do a Pinterest project, it would probably be some sort of wine rack like this one made from pallets. I have two pallets in the bed of my pickup truck as we speak…
  • One week from today I will be representing one of my awesome sponsors, Left Coast Raw, in their booth at the Portland Veg Fest! While I do eat some seafood, I’ve ate primarily vegetarian for about 10 years now. Veg Fest is such a great way to experience how abundant a vegetarian lifestyle is. I’ve never felt deprived eating plant-based. If you happen to be there next Saturday, come say hi! I’ll be working the booth from 10 AM to 4 PM.
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Raw Whole-Food Fruit & Vegetable Shakes.

  • Tomorrow, as I just learned this evening, is World Run Day. According to www.runday.com, World Run Day celebrates the sport of running by promoting the health benefits of running to others – while running “their own course” for the day. Running, either by themselves or with small groups, many participants also pledge a monetary donation directly to their favorite charity. While there is an event in my community, I’m going to commemorate the observation of World Run Day with a few miles dedicated to our Veterans.
  • Podcasts. I’ve been on a crazy podcast kick recently for personal and professional development. Earlier this week, I discovered that Elizabeth Gilbert (author of one of my favorite books; Eat, Pray, Love) has a series of podcasts on her website that compliments her latest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. I can’t wait to get a copy but the podcasts have been a valuable resource in the interim.

I think that’s plenty of random for one day! I’ll leave you with this quote that inspired me tonight:

“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.”

~ Steve Prefontaine

*Marathon training update*

Apparently, there is a *first* for everything. After two-and-a-half years, and 7 marathons in which I was either trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon, better my qualifying time, or actually running Boston, I’m going to run a marathon for fun.

Umm….

Is that an oxymoron? Run a marathon for fun?!

Marathon #8 is not about me at all… Not about some crazy, obsessive drive to push myself to see what I’m made of, set a new personal record, or seek out the elusive sub-3:30 marathon. There is a sweeter sentiment to my intention. On Sunday, October 4th, my good friend is running the Portland Marathon, which is her first marathon! Throughout some personal struggles, she has met the demands of training and has triumphed every time. It is such an honor to not only witness her journey, but to get to accompany her on the final stages of it as she tackles 26.2.

As for me, it feels good to have clear direction. And let’s be honest. Less pressure to perform!

The icing on the cake is that since I’m an ambassador for the Portland Marathon, I get to experience it both as a participant and a representative.

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My current long-run mileage is at 16 with 17 miles coming up this weekend. The timing… taking this marathon easy.. couldn’t be better since I’m finding my groove again after a few rough months following the Boston Marathon.

If your interested in running the Portland Marathon, whether it be competitively… or for fun, you can use the code HYLA10 to save $10 off your registration.

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Throwback to the Portland Marathon expo and packet pick-up in 2013.

I’m curious. When it comes to running marathons (or any distance for that matter), are you driven by a competitive desire to perform your absolute best or just out for a good time with your friends and fellow runners?

 

*Weekly mileage ~ Aug. 10-16*

Mileage for the week of August 10th – 16th

Total weekly mileage: 32.75

Total August mileage (to-date): 73.75

Total year-to-date (2015) mileage: 1,316.25

Run review:

8/10          No run/rest day

8/11          26:09 min./3 mi./8:41 pace

23:44 min./2.5 mi./9:30 pace

8/12          1:16:28 min./8.12 mi./9:24 pace

8/13          44:07 min./5.25 mi./8:24 pace

8/14          2:05:04 min./14 mi./8:56 pace

8/15          No run (backpacking)

8/16          No run (backpacking)

I’m still riding the high that made last week pretty dang awesome! (Minus getting harassed on one of my runs by a crazy lady! True story!) First, some quality runs! I only ran four days last week but pulled off more than 30 miles and brought my year-to-date total to a little over 1,300 for the year!

On Wednesday, my oldest baby turned 18. While I wasn’t able to run 18 miles in her honor, a friend joined me to commemorate her birthday with 8.12 miles on 8/12. (Thank you, Kelcie!)

Then on Friday, I ran my longest run since the Boston Marathon. Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking joined me for 14 wet, hilly miles. After several weeks of struggling to get my marathon training act together, I was grateful to know I’m still capable of running distance. I just need to keep building on that!

I took the weekend off from running to pursue one of my other greatest passions. What was going to be a two-day backpacking trip turned into a one-night adventure with the second night spent at a sweet little mountain inn. Sometimes you just gotta roll with it, right?! ; )

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Ready to hit the trail!

In case you’re wondering, I didn’t share much of my experience at the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon because I was on assignment for Run Oregon. While it’s not “my” race experience per se, it does highlight some of the features of the event that makes it a truly great race! You can read more about it HERE.

Alrighty. Short and sweet! Back at it this week as I continue to rebuild my base and my mileage in preparation for the Portland Marathon. Speaking of… you can see my little ambassador profile on the Portland Marathon website HERE.

I hope your week is off to a fantastic start!

*Portland Marathon Ambassador*

A few days ago I received some super exciting news from the Portland Marathon! They invited me to be an ambassador for the 2015 race, which will be held on October 4th!! (Welp – – guess that means I need to start training! HA!)

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I knew immediately after running it in 2013 that it would be a race that I would run over and over again. The mostly flat course winds through several Portland neighborhoods and provides some of the best views Portland has to offer. Every detail of the race, from the entertainment along the route to the tree seedling that they give participants at the finish, makes the event one to remember!

It is such an honor to be able to share this great event with my readers and I’ll be doing more of that in the days to come! I will note that registration usually fills about August so if you’ve been considering running the Portland Marathon, you might want to sign up soon! (It is a great destination race too! The areas surrounding Portland include fantastic sightseeing and hiking opportunities in the Columbia River Gorge, easy day trips to our beautiful beaches, and of course world-class wines in the Willamette Valley!)

I want to extend a huge THANKS to the great folks at the Portland Marathon for welcoming me into their family!

Speaking of family, I’m heading out for a little family adventure for a few days. I won’t be posting while I’m gone but if you care to follow my shenanigans, you can find me on Instagram. Have a great weekend!!

*Team Nuun*

Honestly, it’s more like *family* Nuun and I’m so honored that I’ve been accepted into that family for another year!

They’ve made some changes to the program for 2015 and while I’m still technically an ambassador, representing a company and product that I use and love, this next year I’ll be a part of the second tier of ambassadors on Team Nuun!

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I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to all of my fellow ambassadors and teammates, the Nuun elite team, and the rad folks at Nuun HQ! You guys and gals all ROCK and inspire me like crazy! If you are a new member of our family, welcome and congratulations!!