*Woman Crush Wednesday ~ Susie Stephen*

By now, I’m sure most everyone with any type of social media account is familiar with the term “Women Crush Wednesday.” It has been made popular on sites like Twitter and Instagram. (You might also recognize these widely used hashtags: #womencrushwednesday and #wcw.) WCW posts typically tag a photograph of a woman who the user admires or looks up to.

Why the lesson on this social media phenomenon? Because I’m crushing hard on some badass chick athletes that are super inspiring. I’ve been playing with the idea of a bi-monthly WCW feature that introduces you to some of the women that I think are super awesome and after a few weeks of planning and connecting with a handful of them, I’m ready to launch it.

I’m kicking the first installment off with a rad chick named Susie Stephen. Susie is a fellow Nuun athlete and we met when we ran Hood to Coast on a Nuun team in 2014. Riding in a van with a bunch of strangers is a sure-fire way to get to know one another and when Susie and I started to share our stories, the similarities were profound. (Except for the fact that she’s English and a super fast runner! Oh, not to mention gorgeous!) It was fun to learn that she was a yoga instructor and cross-country coach. Both of which I was doing at the time.

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Susie crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon. Source: http://www.instagram.com/longrunergy

List five words that describe you?

Um – gosh, how about active, adventurous, compassionate, coffee drinking English woman, runner/yogi.

If you could only eat one food forever, what would it be?

Oh wow this is tough – probably bread! It leaves you satiated, there are loads of different types, it can be eaten for any meal – is easily transportable and doesn’t go off as quickly as say fruit – which would be my second favourite food! 🙂

If you could have a super-power, what would it be and why? 

It would be amazing to be able to breathe under water so that you could explore the oceans and see all the amazing marine life!

What one piece of advice would your adult self give your child self?

Try not to worry about what people think and don’t compare yourself to others!

Tell us your running/racing bio… How long have you been a runner? How many marathon’s, half-marathons, etc.
Upcoming events? Favorite race? 

I started running cross-country as a 7th grader in England age 11 and ran all the way through high school, University in the UK (Newcastle University) and college in the US (Northern Arizona University). Since then I’ve been back and forth with running but have never really stopped completely. In 2008 I ran my first marathon in London, and since then have run 7 more marathons and 3 ultra trail races. Overall I have to say I’m still learning and feel keen to test myself further. Right now I’m preparing for the cross-country season back in England, where I’ll be for the winter – but I’m already looking forward to the trail running season back in Hawaii in 2016.
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Susie practicing yoga in paradise. Source: http://www.instagram.com/longrunergy

Goals for the upcoming year?
I think my biggest goal for 2016 is to create more yoga tools to help runners – especially trail runners.

 Anything additional you’d like to add?
Yoga is awesome 🙂
I want to send a super HUGE thank you to Susie for allowing me to feature her here on Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking and also congratulate her on two things: first, her recent first place finish at the Kailua Surfriders Run and second, on her upcoming exhibition, Retracing Routledge. Susie curated the exhibit after retracing the steps of anthropologist Katherine Routledge, who was the only woman a part of the 1914 expedition to Easter Island. (I found this great article about Susie and her journey here.)
You can connect with Susie via her website and social media sites.

*Pin me*

A couple of days ago, while doing some intense research for work, (that’s a lie… I was on Pinterest), I stumbled across a “pin” that made my heart leap!

On Pinterest, one of the “pinners” I follow is Oiselle, women’s running apparel maker extraordinaire and kick-ass running community creators. I love the brand. I love their clothes, their philosophy, their marketing, the community of supportive and inspiring women runners that they’ve attracted…

So I was over the moon when I saw this!

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No, not Christy Turlington. Though she is stunning! (She ran with the Oiselle Hood to Coast team a few years ago and I saw her from just a few feet away. She is as gorgeous in person as she is in the media. *Sigh*)

Anyway! That’s me on the bottom right. On their photoshoot inspiration board. Holy smokes! That is so frickin’ cool and it totally made my day. It’s probably been there for a while since that photo is two years old. But either way, so frickin’ cool!!!

*The return of autumn and XC*

Last week, the National Weather Service issued a warning that indicated the Pacific Northwest was due for a wet weekend. Their statement said that we could receive more rain this weekend than we’ve had total over the previous five months.

Dang.

Those weather guys kind of nailed it! (The unseasonably inclement weather has resulted in chili making and pumpkin scented candles burning. It feels like fall!!!)

Great news for the firefighters battling multiple wildfires in our region! Not so good for the poor Hood to Coast runners (while I’m typically sad when I miss a year, I picked a good year to skip it!) who were treated to downpours, high wind, and thunder and lightning. But I’ve been enjoying the heck out of being snuggled up at home. After a fun, busy summer, it’s time to embrace the fact that fall is upon us and with that comes the start of cross-country season and the beginning of a new school year.

These past few days have been spent cleaning and organizing some of the spaces in my home, a few writing projects, planning and preparing meals and snacks for the coming week, and creating a training plan and schedule for my XC athletes.

Because. Oh. My. Gosh. Cross-country starts tomorrow!!!

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The glamorous life of an XC coach.

I’m feeling ready for the transition… a new season of cross-country… a new school year… autumn… and a few new goals and revised training plan for me…

Bring it!

*A little bit of random*

Today has been a series of random events that have made for a pretty decent day. Taking time to get organized yesterday allowed for a flawless execution of what is typically a hectic morning routine, especially after a weekend. I arrived to this beautiful sight at work:

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Outside my office door! No filter!

My co-worker surprised me with a divine, and much-needed, latte. All of my evening activities, including driving my daughter 45 minutes, one-way, to soccer practice, got cancelled so I got a bonus night at home. The free time resulted in an awesome, albeit hilly, 8 mile run in the sunshine after realizing that Boston is exactly three months away!

See? Random!

I’ve had a few other random things on my mind the past couple of days too. Some running related, some not. But I thought today would be a good day to share the random!

::  If you haven’t seen this video, which is a small portion of an image that NASA release of the Andromeda galaxy, take a few minutes to watch it. Apparently it is the largest photograph ever taken. Seriously mind-blowing!

::  I’ve been wanting to introduce you to a really neat guy that I met last summer. I met Joe, aka, the Recycling Runner, when we ran Hood to Coast with Nuun Hydration last August. I was immediately impressed with him! He is an Army veteran, father of three (including two adorable twins), an illustrator, an influential recycler, and a heart attack survivor! In fact, all of the recyclables he collects that can be redeemed for money is donated to the American Heart Association. I really enjoyed getting to know him and want to spread the word on his efforts to support a cause he believes so much in. Not to mention helping the environment too!

::  The Boston Marathon is three months away from today. THREE!!! Today, the Boston Athletic Association announced the 2015 John Hancock Elite Athlete Team. I’m happy to see three USA ladies on the women’s team. I’m pulling for Shalane Flanagan again this year. She wants it BAD! (And on the men’s team, of course Meb.) Do you realize how fast these runners are? Shalane’s PR is 2:21:14 which she got in Berlin last year. Wowza!!

::  For the past three weeks, I’ve been obsessed with snowboarding. I’ve only been once, several years ago. I tried so, so hard but I sucked at it. And totally loved every single minute of it! I’ve spent way to much time on Pinterest checking out cool gear and dreaming up adventures to the mountain. Having a board would be a good start I suppose so I’ve been educating myself on how to select the right one (should I win the lottery, otherwise I’ll just keep dreaming) on the Burton website.

::  Since I’ve been trying to keep my diet clean, clean, clean, I’ve been looking for a new twist on one of my favorites: the Buddha Bowl. Essentially, a Buddha Bowl is a hearty salad with a combination of raw and lightly cooked or roasted veggies, a grain (typically quinoa), maybe some seeds or nuts, and some type of healthy dressing. This Thai Peanut Butter bowl made my mouth water! So did this Kale Power Bowl with Miso Dressing! It caught my attention because of the miso dressing. I love miso soup but have never used miso for a dressing before. Sounds delish!

If nothing else, please check out the video of the Andromeda galaxy. You will not be disappointed and it will leave you in awe of the vast expansiveness of our universe. Really incredible! Have a great evening!!

*A look back at 2014*

Without a doubt, 2014 has been a really great year. It wasn’t without some major lows but it also had some major highs and I’m choosing to focus on those highs… the moments, experiences, and people who made 2014 so very good.

I reached a lot of milestones, met several goals that I set for myself, and accomplished things that I once only dreamt of. I worked hard, I played hard, and I’ve celebrated a lot of victories.

Tomorrow, I will recap my the final month of the year as far as mileage totals and such goes, but today I thought I’d just share this gallery of some moments that I will cherish forever and ever.

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This barely scratches the surface! I’ve been so blessed with some rad people, some rad adventures, and some rad goals checked off my list. I’m grateful for each and every person that supported me, ran with me, dreamed with with me, loved me, believed in me, and helped make 2014 one I will look back fondly on for years and years to come!

*15 things you never wanted to know about me*

I mentioned a few days ago that I was nominated for a Liebster Award from Running on Healthy. I’m honored that she chose me, my blog, as one that she felt deserved the recognition! These types of awards are passed from blogger to blogger and a fun way to find new, inspiring blogs to follow.

When you are nominated, you are asked to answer a series of questions about yourself. So I present to you 15 things you never wanted to know about me.

  1. What is my current health related goal?

Right now I’m just focused on getting through the holiday season without too much over-indulgence. I will begin training for the Boston Marathon immediately after Christmas so it would be nice to start that process without having to undo damage caused by eating, drinking, and being merry!

  1. What is my biggest irrational fear?

Fear is my biggest irrational fear. Living in fear prevents us from living life fully and I want to live my life FULLY! I’ve always been such a cautious person… I want to be fearless… It is my top intention for 2015!

  1. Do I enjoy wrapping presents?

I like the “idea” of wrapping presents. I see images of beautifully wrapped gifts adorned with ribbons and clever little trinkets and think that I could do that too. But let’s be real. (ie; suck it Pinterest!) Gift bags all the way, baby!

  1. What is my favorite cross training activity?

Any type of strength training. I used to really be into bodybuilding. I like feeling strong and really admire the definition on a lean, muscular body. More strength training is high on my list for my next marathon training cycle.

  1. If you came to visit me, what would we do?

The Pacific Northwest is beautiful and I’m blessed to live within just a few short hours of beaches, mountains, lush forests, and high desert. I’d show you some of my favorite places! We’d also share a bottle of wine!

  1. I have two weeks off work and two round-trip plane tickets to ANYWHERE. Where would you go and who would you take with you?

Neither of my children has ever been on an airplane. My daughter will be graduating high school in the spring and I’ve been dreaming up a mother-daughter trip somewhere with her. So since we are dreaming here, we’d go to Brazil to visit family in Sao Paulo. (We’ve been promising them a visit for years!!) The beaches are amazing, there is abundant, healthy food, Brazilians are very active and there are a lot of options for outdoor recreation.

  1. What is the most embarrassing thing that you have had happen to you during a run or a race?

An unfortunate mascara incident. The product sucked anyway but it was a foggy, misty morning and the two did not play nice. Also, it just so happens that I met, and ran with, BFP for the very first time ever that morning. Awesome first impression.

  1. The three best days of my life? Or at least the three that pop into my mind?

I think more than days, it is moments. Like seeing my children’s faces for the very first time. (Because honestly, all the preceding stuff getting to that point on those days was not a lot of fun!) I really can’t pick just three but I do believe that the best is still yet to come!

  1. Okay, so I have to eat a fast food meal. What restaurant would I choose and what do I order?

I hardly ever eat fast food… being a gluten and dairy free vegetarian, fast food isn’t always friendly but I do like Chipotle and they have a tofu option that is pretty tasty.

  1. Have you ever met a celebrity?

I have met several celebrities but the most memorable one was meeting Brittany Murphy (Clueless!) not long before she died. She was tiny. She was very petite and I towered over her even though she was wearing what I guess were 4-inch stilettos. I told her that I loved her shoes and she commented that she wore them for the added height. She told me she wished she was taller, like me, and then said something about the “grass being greener”. It struck me as odd and cool that this beautiful actress would consider me lucky to have something that she did not.

  1. Share a picture of myself in non-workout clothes.
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Pre-holiday gathering selfie last night.

  1. If I could choose to have a “do-over” and switch careers, what would I choose and why?

I’d like to be a life coach. Half the time I don’t feel like I have my shit together so how could I possibly help anyone else get theirs together? But I always feel so good when someone shares with me that I’ve inspired them in some way and I like helping others feel good about themselves. Coaching, in various forms, is a pretty consistent desire for me.

  1. If I won an Olympic gold medal, how do I think I’d react?

I’d cry hysterically. Seriously!! I cried hysterically when I received the email from the Boston Athletic Association that my race entry had been accepted.

  1. What do I want for Christmas?

Anything handmade or created for me because the giver knows how much I will use it or love it. One of my favorite gifts ever (he’s done this twice for me now) is from my father-in-law. He gave me a big box of cedar kindling to start fires with. I love wood heat. It’s how we heat our home. His gift ensured I’d be able to quickly start a fire and be warm. It was such a practical and thoughtful gift. I’m still touched that he did that for me!!

  1. What skill do I lack?

I can’t sing, dance or act. However, it never stopped me from trying out for musicals in high school!

Okay, now for a few of my own nominations! Oh, and it just so happens that these peeps were also a few of my Nuun Hood to Coast teammates!

Just a Mom who Tri’s

Running Backwards in High Heels 

The Weekend Warrior

Longrunergy

*Hug A Runner Day*

Tomorrow, November 20th, is Globally Organized Hug A Runner Day! Or as it’s founders call it: GO HARD. It’s the brain-child of Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano from Run the Edge. (Yes, Kara is involved too.)

There are all sorts of ways to participate and I love the idea of spreading the love with fellow runners! You can find more information HERE and HERE.

That said, I figured GO HARD would be the perfect opportunity to throw out a few “virtual” hugs to some of my favorite runners right here on Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking. So without further adieu…

Woody:

Since we literally met while running, years and years ago, and our paths have continued to cross through various running related events and organizations, you are probably one of my longest running friends. You have been a wonderful mentor as I’ve started venturing into the world of coaching youth running and I’m grateful for your support and guidance. I was so happy to discover that we shared the dream of starting a running club and couldn’t ask for a better co-founder and partner in crime. When it’s time to run 51 commemorative birthday miles next month, you know you can count on your PB (pry bar)!

((HUGS))

Kelcie:

You are still such a new friend but we’ve already bonded so deeply and I love running with you! I love our talks! Witnessing you run and PR your second half marathon this past spring was pure magic. I know you can achieve whatever goals you set for yourself and will support you however I can. We are kindred spirits and I’m eternally grateful to have you as a friend and running buddy.

((HUGS))

Bob, aka BFP:

A year ago, I never would have imagined the impact you would have on me and my running. I can say, without a doubt, that I have logged more miles with you than any other person on the planet. I know I slow you down. And talk too much. And sometimes complain… sorry. ; ) You are an amazingly gifted runner and just a really amazing person. I look forward to logging many more miles with you and watching you chase down some of your own dreams because you have been so very supportive of mine.

((HUGS))

My Nuun Family:

To all of my peeps at Nuun Hydration, my fellow ambassadors, and my Hood to Coast teammates… you are family. Truly! Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the connections that have been created over this past year as we’ve gotten to know one another, interacted on various social media sites, and with some of you, spent hours in a van together making the epic 200 mile trek that is HTC. You are all an awesome bunch of people and you all have secured a special place in my heart for eternity!

((HUGS))

St. Helens Road Runners Club members:

This group Woody and I founded nearly a year ago has exceeded every expectation and hope I had for it. Our Saturday morning runs are the highlight of my week. Seriously! I’ve enjoyed meeting runners in my community that I would not have met otherwise. Watching the group grow has been such a gift and I can’t wait to see what the coming year brings for us!

((HUGS))

WJTWT readers:

It has been such a pleasure to interact with you here in this space! Your support, comments, and encouragement have given me hope when I was on the verge of losing hope. You’ve rallied behind me and shared a part of your lives with me. Yet most of you, I’ve never met in person. The internet is an amazing tool for bringing like-minded souls together and connecting with you here proves it. Thank you, thank you!

((HUGS))

If you can’t hug your runner friends tomorrow, I hope you will at least take a moment to tell them just how much you appreciate them! Happy GO HARD day!!