*The high life*

Over the weekend I attended my first Oiselle Volée meet up!

Before I share that story, let me just tell you that in order for me to go, I had to step outside my comfort zone. So here’s the truth bomb… I drove on the freeway.

Any SNL fans out there familiar with the skit, the Californians? (Google it if you’re not. It’s hilarious!) “You take the 101 to the 405 toward Santa Monica, exit at Sunset…”

The freeways and the amassed traffic are a nightmare. One that I managed to avoid for 8 solid months. Until Saturday. The 405 is such a joke here. So much so that I actually saw a greeting card in a gift shop once that read “I’d take the 405 for you.”

Which is exactly what I ended up doing in order to drive out to Pacific Palisades where I met up with two other SoCal members of the Oiselle Volée team. It was worth every steering wheel-gripped mile!

We met up at 8 AM for a hike up the Los Liones Trail to the Parker Mesa Overlook. It was a cool morning to start but sunny. Round trip, the hike was 7.5 miles with about 1,300 feet of elevation gain. Basically, all uphill as we made our way to the overlook and then all downhill to return to the parking area. The trail became more crowed as we made our decent so clearly it’s a popular choice for hikers, runners, and cyclists looking for a challenge.

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New friends, Saturday morning hikes, sunshine, and ocean views!

The view was incredible! Given that I live on the east side of town, it’s not too often that I get to see the ocean and to be able to view miles of it stretched out as far as I could see was pretty spectacular. I also tend to forget that there are some vast green spaces here too. It was a welcome reminder that there are wild lands within the sprawling city.

Whenever I explain to someone that I’m still fairly new to the Los Angeles area, the first thing they ask is how I like it. My typical response is something along the lines that it’s growing on me or I’m starting to feel acclimated. However, while hiking back down the trail in the company of two great women, the sun shining down on me (in November!), breathing in the fresh ocean air… it occurred to me that I’m actually sort of starting to love it here. (Minus the traffic, I later told my husband.)

It was a fantastic morning and I’m so grateful for the connections I’m starting to make through my Team Nuun, Oiselle Volée, and November Project affiliations (as well as a Saturday morning group that meets for a run and coffee hosted by the Fleet Feet store in Burbank). So worth the drive on the 405!

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The high life!

*John Muir is my homeboy*

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

                                                                                  ~ John Muir

The naturalist and environmental philosopher, John Muir, was waaaay ahead of his time. Having died in 1914, long before modern conveniences and technological advances, he recognized our innate need to connect with the natural world. His foresight has allowed for the preservation of some of the most beautiful, serene, and untouched parts of the country. I feel it is an honor to be able to go into the wilderness to witness such spaces. For the second time in a month, I was submerged in some of the back country that Muir is renowned for and I’m beyond grateful.

After a trial one-night, 8-mile backpacking trip a few weeks ago, my brother, sister-in-love, soon-to-be three-year-old nephew, and I set out for a more challenging two-night trip. Over the course of three days, we hiked approximately 25 miles up and over passes in the Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. We camped at two different lakes, visiting three over the course of the trip. It was magical. Being that we were in sequoia territory, I made my brother make a quick pit stop to get this pic:

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Sequoia trees grow in groves and are native to only the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

When I venture out into the wild, I’m seeking quiet, an escape from the busyness of society and life, and to see parts of the country that few will see with their own two eyes. I return with much more than that, just as John Muir predicted. (It also made for some hardcore cross-training!)

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I will note that I (happily) did not encounter any bears though we did see a paw print and bear poop right on the trail.

*The family that adventures together…*

Running, without a doubt, is at the top of my list of favorite things, as is probably obvious since I write a running-related blog. However, it is not my only love.

When I was growing up, my father, a wilderness enthusiast, had my brother and I hiking, camping, road tripin’, and exploring the western part of the US as often as possible. As a kid, I could have cared less. I remember, on a couple of occasions when I was in my teens, being pissed that I was camping in Colorado instead of cruising around town, or stuck on a beach with my parents somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula instead of hanging out at the local Taco Bell with my posse. (To make matters worse, this was waaaaaaaaay before we all had cell phones and social media to stay in touch.)

Fast forward a few years and I cannot even begin to express the gratitude I’ve found for my upbringing and my own love of the outdoors. I’ve done the exact same thing to my own children and it gives me so much joy to see my daughter plan hiking trips with her friends and beau. (The apple never seems to fall far from the tree, right?)

In recent years, one of the things that I’ve been most grateful for are the opportunities to, once again, share these types of adventures with my lil’ bro. My adventurous excursions pale in comparison to what he, and his wife, have accomplished over the last 14+ years but I’m just grateful that every once in a while, they invite me to tag along!

Last weekend was no exception.

The four of us: my brother, sister-in-love, nephew (not quite three years old), and I went on a two-night camping/backpacking trip about four hours northeast of Los Angeles in the Sierra Nevadas. The original plan was a two-night backpacking trip but due to the fact that it was a holiday weekend, and we didn’t pre-reserve a backcountry permit, it seemed we’d be campground camping for the weekend. While still fun, they were looking forward to testing the backpacking waters with their toddler in tow. As is turns out, we made a second attempt to get a permit and we got one for the second night. Score!

My experience backpacking is still limited and I learn something new every time I go. I also fall in love with it more each time. It amazes me to think how few people will ever get to experience this:

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Blue Lake

Despite the mosquitos (and there were A LOT of them!), this adventure was everything I fall asleep at night fantasizing about. I can’t wait to do it again! And, hopefully, one of these times, bring my boys along!

 

*Soul-satisfying trail run*

I’m a happy, happy girl!

On Monday, in my weekly mileage recap, I balked about how traveling to any of the nearby trails to run was just too much effort. Well, I stand corrected. And the effort was rewarded with my favorite run, to date, since moving to Los Angeles!

We had a few free hours this morning so after dropping our son off at school, Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking and I ventured over to Wilacre Park to check it out. As far as I can tell, it’s probably the closest trail to where we live. It is obviously popular too. The parking lot was packed just after 8 am! The trail is actually part of a network of trails that connect several green spaces in the Studio City and Laurel Canyon hills.

Wilacre Park

It just so happens that this was also the hilliest run I’ve done in months but it felt surprisingly good. I even found myself a little disappointed when we made the decent back towards the parking lot. I would have liked a few more miles!

I’ve been having some pretty big Pacific Northwest withdrawals for the past week so this was a soul-satisfying run for me today and I’m already looking forward to doing it again next week!

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Happy girl! Grateful for a few miles on a trail this morning! (And I love my new banner pic!)

*One Boston Day*

Today marks the third anniversary of the bombings at the Boston Marathon. It is a day that no runner (any American for that matter), whether they’ve run the Boston Marathon or not, will ever forget.

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One Boston Day

2013 was the year that I set forth on my quest to qualify for Boston. The tragedy didn’t deter me in the slightest and I know I’m not the only one. Running the marathon last year was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I hope that every runner that dreams of running the most prestigious race of its kind gets the opportunity to do so. It will always be held in my heart as the greatest accomplishments I’ve achieved and such an honor to toe the line with some of the best athletes in the world.

This website and blog where created from the dream that I had to run the Boston Marathon and with Patriots Day approaching Monday, I can’t help but be filled with awe and gratitude for the journey of the past three years. Even as I’m currently sidelined (by choice), running has been one of the greatest gifts I’ve received.

I’m sending out positive vibes for a fantastic race to everyone running (and spectating) on Monday (hopefully better weather this year) and for those still in pursuit of qualifying; don’t stop fighting to make that dream a reality!

*Falling off the wagon*

Legend has it that there are occurrences in one’s life that leads them to fall off the wagon. I had heard of such things but never in a million years believed that I would be susceptible to it. (Injury, illness, marriage, divorce, babies, school, MOVING, etc.)
Several weeks ago, I mentioned to an acquaintance that my running was suffering. My family was preparing to move and I was under a ton of stress. I had recently been sick with a sinus infection and suffering from symptoms that I’m fairly certain are the result of adrenal fatigue. His response to my comment was “well, it just proves that you are human.”
Indeed.
Running has been such a huge part of my life for so many years. I never imagined that I’d find myself in the position in which the last thing I desired to do is run. Worse has been the reality I’ve faced; it has probably been really good for me.
Immediately after arriving in Southern California, our new home, I caught another head cold. The fifth cold I’ve had in less than 6 months. Transitioning into a new area, a new life if you will, creates its own challenges and with that, comes more stress. I’m either wired and on the edge of my seat or exhausted. Then wake up at 3 AM only to lay in bed for hours with my mind swirling with concerns about finances, uncertain about how to make the vision I have for my/our life in my head a reality, and worry about how my son will adapt and whether or not we are completely fucking up his life.
So now, about two weeks since my last run, which was a measly 2.75 miles, I understand the true meaning of falling off the wagon.
Despite my own consciousness about the situation and choosing to not run (although I’ve been hiking/walking here and there), the knife to the heart is seeing the hullabaloo over the upcoming Boston Marathon next week and the destructive self-comparison I find myself making to where I was a year ago versus now.
It’s not that I don’t want to run. I do! But I also feel that some time off is a good thing. I’m a firm believer in exercise for stress reduction. However, it has been my experience that placing a lot of pressure on one’s self (and I’m talking about me here), can create stress on the body. I’m electing to take one of the few things I can off of my plate for the moment to allow myself to adapt to my new environment and hopefully give my body a break. Because I’m certainly not done with running!

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If you want to change your life…

The upside, because there is always an upside, is that I’ve really enjoyed the hilly hikes I’ve taken. While I have yet to actually unroll my yoga mat, I’m feeling VERY drawn to reignite my yoga practice. I also find myself looking forward to more strength training and, don’t laugh, hula hooping. I’ve struggled with cross training the past few years so having a desire to be active outside of running is a refreshing feeling.
My final confession is this: last week this website domain was set to expire and I came very close to not renewing it. Given the circumstances, I didn’t feel worthy of owning a blog that has been, first and foremost, a running blog. Hours before it expired, I had a change of heart. I know that I would have been devastated at losing Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking as this space has given me my voice as a runner and writer. It has taken me a week to get the courage to write and post this because I’ve been feeling very critical of the situation. As always, though, I know that I’m not alone in my struggles and I find solace in knowing there are others out there that can identify with what I’m going through. For that, I’m so grateful.
While running might be on hiatus, I vow to find my way back to this space and continue to share my passion with anyone and everyone that is willing to listen.
xo

*Weekly mileage ~ March 14-10*

Mileage for the week of March 14th – March 20th

Total weekly mileage: 15.5

Total March mileage (to-date): 52

Total year-to-date (2016) mileage: 296.5

Run review:

3/14           24:48 min./3 mi./8:15 pace

3/15           29:47 min./3.25 mi./9:10 pace

3/16           27:47 min./3.25 mi./8:51 pace

3/17          3 miles (1.3 w/Run Girl Run, 1.7 on my own)

318           No run

3/19          24:31 min./3 mi./8:11 pace

3/20          No run

This past week was much like the one before. Super busy with a side of adrenal fatigue. (Or, at least, that is what I believe I’ve been experiencing. Although I am no doctor and my diagnostic credentials are primarily based on my studies at the University of Google.) I will note that I am starting to feel a touch better this week and grateful BIG TIME. We are down to the wire and moving day is approaching fast!

I don’t doubt that this week will prove to be just as challenging and already anticipate missing much of the upcoming weekend since those will be travel days. There is a steady flow of personal reminders that I’m doing the best that I can under the circumstances and during a recent conversation with an acquaintance about my slacking mileage, the response was “well, you are human.” Huh. That’s right. I am.

It does pain me a little to see people training for spring races, especially the Boston Marathon, but I know that once the dust settles, I’ll have a whole new town to run in and new running friends to find. Lots of adventures are on the horizon!

Happy Spring!