*Off the beaten path*

For quite some time I’ve felt the pull… the pull of something a little more out of the ordinary as far as racing goes. Something off the beaten path. Something that provides a new challenge. Something that gives me a renewed sense of desire to excel (in some minimal way) in this crazy sport I love.

Cross-country, trail running/racing, (ahem) ultra marathons, and other random events are quickly becoming the focus of my racing calendar. This evening I added another new event to my schedule. A 4k! I mean, really? Racing less than 2.5 miles? On a Wednesday afternoon? At 3:00 PM? I’m game! (It’s a small charitable event… details HERE. Or check out the Run Oregon race preview HERE.)

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Hmm… what’s next???

I will also note that I picked up my first-ever copy of Trail Runner magazine today. Yep. I’ve got the bug!

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*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!

*No running, no blogging*

Ha!

That’s a joke. It was not my intention to skip out on posting this week. Especially after I specifically said I’d still post regardless of my “break” from running. Life just got busy, ya know?

There has actually been a ton going on both in my personal world and my running world. Let me bring you up to speed.

First and foremost, this happened…

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Private Ridenour

My baby is at basic training. Across the country. It’s been quite a week adjusting to her absence but I’m beyond proud and excited to see what the future has in store for her!

I’m currently on day number 7 of my running break. It’s the longest number of consecutive days I’ve taken off in more than two-and-a-half years! I’ve been as active as possible but with two early morning trips to the airport (I also had family in town this week), a heat wave, and some travel, I didn’t get as much in as I had hoped. I’ve got two hikes planned for this weekend though and plan to resume running on Sunday. And boy, am I ready. It amazes me how dependent I’ve become on running. For so many reasons!

The “travel” I mentioned is somewhat running related. I’m currently in Central Oregon, home of the Cascade Lakes Relay. I’m not running it, nor have I run it in the past, but I hear it is a really great event! Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking actually got hired to come out and provide music overnight at one of the leg exchanges. So if you happen to be running the relay, I’ll be at the leg 18 exchange from 10 PM to 5 AM. Just look for the disco ball!

One of the perks of being a running writer is the opportunity to, well, run! As a writer for Run Oregon, team members are often offered race entries to events in which they write about their experience to share with Run Oregon readers. I recently wrote a race preview for the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon, which I ran two years ago, and LOVED! (You can read that preview HERE.) So I was super excited when I was contacted to see if I was interested in running it this year. Um, heck YEAH!

Hopefully, my break from running this week won’t hinder my ability to run the half marathon… which just so happens to be a week from tomorrow! I’m optimistic that it will be a great race no matter what and it comes at the perfect time to restart my marathon training because it’s coming up quick!

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Representin’!!

Speaking of, I mentioned a while back that I’m an ambassador for the Portland Marathon. This is the first year in its history that they’ve had an ambassador program so I’m honored to be a part of it as it kicks off! And, I’m pleased to be able to share a $10 discount with you should you be looking for the perfect autumn marathon. It’s filling up fast (and usually sells out about mid-August) so don’t wait to much longer to register. Plus, there will be a price increase soon. You can register HERE and use the discount code: HYLA10 to save you $10 bucks!

All for now. I’m hittin’ the trails for a hike I’ve been fantasizing about doing for about a year. Woo hoo!

*This week*

Isn’t summer suppose to be slow and consist of easy days in a hammock by a pool or body of water?

I wish!

I’ve had an incredibly busy week. Three days out-of-town for a work training and then, after one night at home, a trip to Central Oregon for the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival.

The highlight earlier in the week was an amazing little trail running adventure at Silver Falls State Park in the Willamette Valley, near Salem, Oregon. Oh my, amazing! And the perfect way to finish the day after a 4 AM wake up call, an hour-and-a-half drive, and 8 hours in training!

One of several falls at Silver Falls State Park.

So beautiful and serene!

The path to bliss!

Tomorrow morning I will be running the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival half marathon. At packet pickup this afternoon it was 99 degrees. EEK!

Holy hotness!

My race strategy is to just finish! I’m not too concerned with my time or “racing”. From what I saw, I’m going to enjoy the course and the scenery in my favorite part of Oregon! Plus, I get to support my friend who is walking the half. It is her first ever event and I’m so excited for her!

Aside from that, I have a couple new blog posts up on Run Oregon! If you’re interested, you can find my previews of two Oregon-area races here: Lostine River Run and Mountain Madness 5k and 10k.

I hope you are staying cool and enjoying summer in a hammock somewhere!

*Writing for Run Oregon*

A few days ago I spilled that I’d been asked to join the team of bloggers behind the scenes at Run Oregon. The regional website/blog offers race previews and recaps, product reviews, personal musings, and numerous other witty pieces by a team of passionate runners and wordsmiths across Oregon and SW Washington.

My first piece was a guest post recapping my experience at the Youngberg Hill Half Marathon on April 17th. I deliberately didn’t share details here so my contribution to Run Oregon would be fresh and original. While I won’t share all of my work that I write for Run Oregon, on occasion, I might link to an article I’ve written if it is relevant to Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking and its readers.

If you’re interested in reading about my take on the Youngberg Hill Half Marathon, you can find my article here.

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Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking’s first-ever race!

I will note we finished in 8th and 9th place overall with times of 1:50:53 and 1:50:54 (I beat him by a second! Ha!) and both received first place ribbons in our respective age divisions.

*A little of this, a little of that*

Sunday evening. Thank goodness for an extra day off this weekend because I need it! Tomorrow is a big day dedicated to getting organized for the coming week. Time management, in addition to simplifying in all areas of my life, has become a big focus for me. I want to minimize to maximize. Oxymoron? Maybe. But I’ve got some fun things happening and in order to bring my A game, I need to create space in so many ways!

A few things on my radar I thought I’d share:

  • There are just a few more days left to take advantage of the registration discount for the Reebok Spartan Race! Use the code: MEMORIAL at checkout to save up to $40 off your registration fee. The offer is only good until 5/27 so don’t wait any longer! (In fact, Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking and I have decided that we are going to do a Reebok Spartan Race together later this summer and are going use this training plan!)
  • Posting here on Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking has been sporadic, at best, lately. My friend, Amanda, Just a Mom who TRI’s, recently shared her thoughts on her own blog with this post: Is the blog dead? I have no plans to quit blogging and have some big ideas around blogging in general that I’m working to manifest. (More on that at some point later!) But I really appreciated her honesty!
  • Speaking of… much of my effort to re-organize revolves around that fact that I’ve been asked to join the team of bloggers that works to keep Oregon-area (and SW Washington) runners in-the-know! I’m so honored to begin sharing my own musings on www.runoregonblog.com, coming soon!!!!!
  • One of my biggest challenges right now, in terms of writing, is that I don’t have a laptop. I’m grateful that I have a computer at all, but I fantasize about owning a sweet little laptop that I can tote around to a coffee shop, or even my deck to sit in the sun, to write. My previous laptop died a while back and it’s just not been in the budget to replace. The other portion of my little fantasy is creating an equally sweet little office space where I can comfortably sip creamy coffee concoctions while I put pen to paper… or fingertips to keyboard.
laptop

Yes, please!

office

The kind of creative space I crave!

  • I’m on a serious super-foods kick. My latest obsession is bee pollen. It’s been a while since I’ve had some on hand but I picked some up at the farmer’s market yesterday and am looking forward to some kitchen alchemy tomorrow. I’m not sure this is the exact recipe I’ll use but something similar.
  • My latest read: You Are a Brand!
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Marketing, networking, branding, oh my!

  • Finally, my thoughts on Memorial Day. This may offend some… but I’ve been saddened to see how deluded this holiday has become. While I wholeheartedly agree with taking every opportunity to honor not only our veterans, but also our deceased love ones, I’m not sure society realizes what it is we are honoring on Memorial Day. It is a day to memorialize our service men and women who have died in the line of duty while defending our country. I love a BBQ as much as the next gal, but I really hope people take the time to recognize the reason behind the extra day off tomorrow.

However you plan to spend the holiday, be safe and make it a day to remember!

*Build it and they will come*

A few days ago, I began to plan a gathering to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the running club I co-founded with my friend, Woody.

Nearly a year ago, we sat down over to coffee to discuss our ideas and hopes for what would become the St. Helens Road Runners Club. Our dream was to be able to provide local runners with an opportunity to get together on a weekly basis for a few miles, meet like-minded people, and socialize in a way that promotes health and fitness in our community. A few weeks later we met for the first time and we have been meeting ever since.

This group… these people… some of whom I barely knew a year ago, have become close friends. I look forward to seeing them on Saturday mornings. I’ve run with several club members outside of the Saturday morning group run. I’ve logged hundreds of miles with BFP, whom this time last year, I had never met. I told the group in a post on Facebook:

“Some weeks we’ve had several in attendance, other weeks just one or two. Regardless, this group has become everything we envisioned. Personally, the people I’ve met and the friendships that have been formed transcends every expectation I had. THANK YOU!”

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Saturday morning group run selfie.

Just today, we added our 100th member to our Facebook group. I’m so excited to see this group continue to grow and bond over our love of running.

If you are looking for a group or running club, check with your local specialty running store to see what they might offer. (Some athletic apparel companies offer runs too.)  If you’re in a major city, you might check out the November Project. And, if you happen to be in my neck of the woods, come join my group! (Details can be found HERE on the Run Oregon Blog.)

Before I run (not literally. ha!), I would be remiss to not take this opportunity to thank our veterans for their service to this country. My deepest gratitude to the men and women who have served for our freedom. “Thanks”, simply is not enough for what you have done but it is all I can offer so THANK YOU!!!