*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!

*Following in my footsteps*

Two years ago this past weekend, I went to a shakeout run as part of the Vancouver USA Marathon festivities, hosted by Mr. Bart Yasso from Runner’s World. He is a true gem and I was honored to meet him and get an infamous “Bartie” with him. I’ve had the privilege of “running” into him a few times since then, including at the Boston Marathon race expo and again last summer when he was in Vancouver for the marathon. (I even bought him breakfast!)

Anyway, now that I’m residing in Los Angeles, meeting up with him while he was in town for the marathon last weekend was impossible. However, the coolest thing happened! A few months ago, my daughter was hired by Energy Events which puts on the Vancouver USA Marathon. On Friday afternoon while I was sitting at work, I received this:

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My daughter, following in my footsteps.

Day made! Better was the fact that when she told him that she was my daughter, he knew exactly who I was and even remembered meeting Mr. WJTWT in Boston. Truly, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet!

I came across this link earlier this evening and considering the timing, it is kind of ironic. More so, I discovered that I’m in one of the photos!!!! I finally made Runner’s World! Super cool!!! (I’m in the 6th photo as you scroll down in the purple Boston Marathon jacket on the left!)

*Weekly mileage ~ June 15-21*

Mileage for the week of June 15th – June 21st

Total weekly mileage: 26.75

Total June mileage (to-date): 76.5

Total year-to-date (2015) mileage: 1,084.75

Run review:

6/15            29:38 min./3.25 mi./9:07 pace

6/16            No run

6/17           42:03 min./5 mi./8:25 pace

6/18           43:59 min./5 mi./8:48 pace

6/19           24:45 min./2.85 mi./8:40 pace

14:24 min./1.65 mi./8:41 pace

6/20           27:47 min./2.75 mi./10:06 pace (+.25 mi.)

6/21           47:28 min./6 mi./7:55 pace

Finding my groove after being sick last week was a challenge but I’m grateful for the miles I did get in! The highlight of my week was catching up with Bart Yasso on Saturday for a pre-Vancouver USA Marathon shakeout run. I didn’t race the event this year but couldn’t miss a chance to say hello to Bart!

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One of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet!

Have a great week!!

*Beanies and Bart*

Whew. FriYAY is here!

We kicked the weekend off in Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking land with a yard sale. Holy moly is it a LOT of work. And I feel like I’m barely making a dent. But there is something sweetly satisfying about selling iconic 90’s stuffed animals to unassuming kids.

Remember Beanie Babies?

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This is my “WTF” face.

What in the hell were we all thinking? Am I right?

Aside for the Beanie Baby debacle, I’m super stoked that my buddy Bart Yasso is in town for the Vancouver USA Marathon this weekend. I met him one year ago, tomorrow, and am thrilled that I have the opportunity to say hi and run with him when he leads a shakeout run in Vancouver, WA, in the morning. I also had the privilege of saying hello to him at the Boston Marathon expo in April!

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Just another day hanging out with Bart.

While I’m not running the Vancouver USA Marathon this year, it is a great event. And because of Bart, it will be a fond memory for years to come, despite my performance. I mean, really! When you approach the finish line and hear your name being called by Bart Yasso, well, that is pretty dang awesome!!!

Finishing to the sound of Bart Yasso announcing my arrival.

Finishing to the sound of Bart Yasso announcing my arrival.

This photo makes me smile!

And just because…

Hey, if you need any Beanie Babies, let me know!

*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!

*The Oregon Marathon ~ training update*

You know what they say… time flies when you are… flying by the seat of your pants?

Gathering with a few of my running buddies this morning I was reminded that I am tapering. Say WHAT? How in the heck is it possible that The Oregon Marathon is already just 7 days away?!

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I’ve been so busy with the whirlwind of the start of a new school year, coaching cross-country, my children’s activities, the daily grind of laundry (and yes, I still feel like I’m being eaten alive by laundry!) and household management, etc., that I really hadn’t given much thought to the process of tapering for my upcoming marathon.

I guess if I were going to get technical, I’ve been tapering for a couple of weeks now.

My last long run, 20 miles, was three weeks ago. My original plan was to run another long one last weekend but the days were so full with activities and family fun that I didn’t do it. I didn’t feel bad about it either!

At any rate, I’m starting to embrace this whole taper thing and beginning to really mentally prepare for my race one week from today. While my calendar is still quite full, I’m blocking out time throughout the week to make sure I’m getting a little more rest and downtime. As I wrote before the Vancouver Marathon in June, here, my diet doesn’t change much but I will be introducing a few more high-carb meals to my routine mid-week. Of course, hydrating like a crazy lady will be a top priority, especially with the little heat wave we are currently having in the Pacific Northwest (it is predicted to hit 95 degrees today!).

Most important, I’m going to try really, really hard to not stress about what I hope/want to happen. There is a super slim chance, and I mean SUPER SLIM CHANCE, that if I PR that day, I might be able to make it into the third wave of entries for the Boston Marathon before it closes that evening. If you aren’t familiar with the registration process, this is how it works:

General registration for the 2015 Boston Marathon will open on Monday, September 8, 2014 at 10:00AM (ET) for those Qualifiers who have met the qualifying standard by 20 minutes, 00 seconds or faster.

  • If space remains, then registration will open on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 10:00AM (ET) for Qualifiers who have met the qualifying standard by 10 minutes, 00 seconds or faster.
  • If space remains, then registration will open on Friday, September 12, 2014 at 10:00AM (ET) for Qualifiers who have met the qualifying standard by 5 minutes, 00 seconds or faster.
  • Registration will close on Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 10:00PM (ET).
  • If space remains, then registration will re-open on Monday, September 15, 2014 at 10:00AM (ET) through Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 5:00PM (ET) for all Qualifiers who have met the qualifying standard.
  • If space remains after this initial two-week period, then on Monday, September 22, 2014 at 10:00AM (ET) registration will re-open to anyone who meets the qualifying standards on a first come, first served basis. At that point, registration will remain open until the maximum field size is reached.

(Information taken from the Boston Athletics Association website: www.baa.org.)

If I don’t PR… well, I will just have to hope that there are still opening available on September 15th and be grateful that I qualified in the first place. (Which I totally am!!!)

Anyway, as of today, right now as I write this, there are still 16 entries available for The Oregon Marathon! If you’ve been waiting to register, wait no longer. If running alone doesn’t entice you, the race boasts access to Mt. Angel’s famous Oktoberfest (BEER!!!), where the event starts and finishes.  I’ve heard there is wine too! ; ) You can register here.

*Weekly mileage ~ catching up*

Mileage for the week of July 7th through July 20th:

Total weekly(x2) mileage: 62.5

Total July mileage (to-date): 95.5

Total year-to-date mileage: 1,231.5

Run review:

7/7      38:44 min./4.75 mi./8:09 pace

7/8       31:54 min./4 mi./7:58 pace

7/9      49:25 min./6 mi./8:14 pace

7/10    25:40 min./3.25 mi./7:54 pace

7/11     17:42 min./1.9 mi./9:19 pace (Smith Rock)

37:44 min./3.6 mi./10:29 pace

7/12     1:10:13 min./8 mi./8:47 pace

7/13     35:38 min./4.25 mi./8:23 pace

7/14     56:09 min./6 mi./9:21 pace

7/15      No run/x-trained – 6 mile bike ride

7/16     26:25 min./3 mi./8:49 pace

7/17     26:58 min./3.25 mi./8:18 pace

7/18      1:25:16 min./10.25 mi./8:19 pace

7/19      45:20 min./4.25 mi./10:40 pace

7/20      No run/rest day

Whew. I’m caught up on my mileage posts! It was easiest to just lump it all together so this reflects the past two weeks of training. If you can call it training since I’m not really training right now. After the Vancouver USA Marathon, I was planning to take it easy for about a month so between recovering from VUM, and a busy first half of July, it has worked out perfectly.

I’m a little behind schedule on jumping back into marathon training for The Oregon Marathon in September so this week I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my training plan and then it is GO time!!