*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.


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!


The high life!


*Griffith Park 8k Trail Race recap*

The runner’s high I got from the Griffith Park 8k Trail Race I ran this morning hasn’t quite dissipated yet. Although physically I feel like I ran a hard race (I’m exhausted this afternoon!), the rest of me just feels really content and happy that it was everything I didn’t expect it to be.

As I wrote about in a post a few days ago, I went in with little expectations other than to appreciate the early start before the heat of the day, be well fueled, enjoy being among running community, and just have fun within the experience regardless of performance.

Check, check, check, and check!!!!

The event that I ran was the sister race to a larger trail marathon relay made up of teams of five people. Each team member runs the same 5.25 mile loop. The route was mostly packed dirt and fire lane roads nestled into the canyons of Griffith Park. Within the first two miles the elevation gain is roughly 500 feet. The event I ran today was the inaugural 8k and followed the same course as the relay with the only difference being that we started about 10 minutes before the relays teams, about 90 of them, took off.

The 8k started a few minutes later than planned and there was some slight confusion at the start as to where we were suppose to line up – and which direction we were going – but that was the only fault I found with the entire event.

Teams set up camp on a large grassy slope that is known as the old Los Angeles Zoo, right next to ruins of what used to house caged animals on exhibit. Also, a good place to take pictures if you don’t get creeped out easily… there are stories about the caverns being haunted…


My adoptive Team Nuun Family (minus one) for the morning. Photo credit: www.crossmyheartfitness.com

I was invited to hang out with some Team Nuun teammates from around the area who had a relay team participating. I really enjoyed meeting some new people and reconnecting with the few that I’d met before. I love running, training, and racing for so many reasons but connecting with people who share my love of the sport is truly a highlight!


After a 7-month racing hiatus, pinning on my bib felt so good!

As far as my actual “race” went, I felt good. I felt strong! There was a pretty challenging climb the first two miles and I was proud that I didn’t succumb to walking. I sure as heck wasn’t moving very fast but I felt that maintaining some sort of momentum would payoff. I felt like I was flying after I reached the summit and the trail leveled and then dropped. I smiled. A lot. It’s been a while since I’ve experienced that kind of mental ease – like, “Hey! I’m just here to have fun!”


The classic *stopping the Garmin at the finish line* picture.

Apparently, I was the 8th overall female to finish with a time of 45:26. As far as I could tell, they didn’t do a gender/age category breakdown but I’m guessing that I probably finished in a decent spot. Doesn’t matter though. It was a fun day and great reminder of why I love running and racing!

*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.


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.
Susie Stehpen yoga

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.

*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!

*Friends and family*

Ya’ll know I LOVE Nuun so I’m pleased to spread a little bit of the Nuun love with 20% off to my friends and family. Yes, YOU! are a friend (and/or family) so please feel free to take advantage of this sweet discount. My gift (well, Nuun’s really) to you!


Spreading #nuunlove one friend at a time!

Obviously, being that it’s summer, hydration is so important and not just when you are exercising! Staying hydrated helps support healthy body function and can increase energy. Speaking of, if you need a little energy boost, check out the Nuun Energy line. (Cherry Limeade is my fave!)

Visit www.shop.nuun.com and save 20% on your order, good off most items! This offer is valid until July 23rd. Use the code: NuunSummer15 when you checkout to get your discount. Stay hydrated, friends!!

*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!



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!!