*Magical unicorn rainbow stardust shit*

For pretty much the entire duration of my training cycle leading up to the Portland Marathon, I let self-doubt rule. Slow training runs plagued with discomfort, a random knee ailment that forced me to miss several days, lack of training supplemental to my long runs (ie: hill repeats, track work, etc.), and not feeling as fit as I could have been in general lead me to feel that I wasn’t up for a rockstar race performance or that I deserved to line up in the B coral.


In the days leading up to the race, I shared my wish list of what I hoped could happen if for some reason, and I quote “magical unicorn rainbow stardust shit” shows up the morning of the event. Given the mounting insecurity, especially with the travel, on-the-go eating, time on my feet at the expo, and cramming in as much time as I could with family and friends while I was in Portland, I really was just hoping I’d be able to run the whole damn thing without a DNF (did  not finish).

On Saturday afternoon I pretty much thought I was screwed. I was exhausted while I worked a few hours in the Portland Marathon information booth at the packet pickup and expo. I bailed a little bit early because my legs were tired from standing and I was getting hungry. I found a bite and browsed a few stores to kill some time and take my mind off the marathon. Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking was working just a few blocks away so I was planning to make my way to his location but wasn’t in a huge hurry because I’d be basically just waiting around until he finished his day.

I finally made my way there but was feeling a little cranky and was getting hungry again so I toured the set and watched some of the filming before I went out in search of food again. When I returned, I found a distant corner in a hallway and set up camp. I napped for about an hour before someone woke me up apparently concerned whether or not I was okay. Not long after filming wrapped for the day, Mr. WJTWT and I walked around the corner to a bar. I was so groggy, and exhausted, and emotional that I was literally crying into my wine glass with worry about the race. (Yes, I drank a little wine the evening before.) Mr. WJTWT proceeded to give me a pep talk which helped and promised me a chill evening and early bedtime.

We picked up Thai food as we made our way to where we’d be staying for the night. (I had Thai for dinner the night before I ran the Boston Marathon so I was hoping for some good juju.) Another glass of wine was consumed with dinner and then I started getting ready for bed.

Originally, the weather was forecasted to be perfect! Around 55° at the start with a high of 77° for the day and dry and sunny! Reports Saturday starting indicating a turn and sure enough, I woke on Sunday to pouring rain. Considering I’ve probably run the majority of my runs over the course of my life in some sort of precipitation, the rain itself wasn’t too much of concern. However, for the past four months, I’ve been training in a warmer, dryer climate so of course, this was cause for added anxiety about how things would unfold.


The pre-race look of terror while trying to fake a smile…

Mr. WJTWT drove me to downtown Portland and dropped me off just a few blocks from where I needed to enter the coral holding area. I immediately jumped in the porta potty line and then found shelter in a doorway where I waited right up until they moved the coral toward the starting line. My relentless and optimistic ambition had me join the 3:30 pace group. I wasn’t cold but I should have probably made some effort to warm up… which I didn’t. Fortunately, the rain had become more of a light mist and restored hope that maybe we’d have a dry morning.

Soon we were off in a congested glob of sogginess. I immediately was several yards behind the pace group and then found myself among the 3:35 group. That was fine with me. I hung with them for a little while but they pulled ahead and again I was separated by a mass of bodies rhythmically prodding forward.

It took me a couple of miles until I caught back up to the 3:35 group, somewhere between mile four and five. The pace felt too easy so I sped up and set my sights on catching up with the 3:30 group. I believe it was around mile 7 that I settled in with the 3:30 pacers. That lasted until about mile 12 when my pace dropped back and I once again found myself among the 3:35 pack.

Somewhere along the way the rain returned. And then the wind picked up. I started to get chilled and aware of the increasing numbness is my legs and fingers along with psoas discomfort on my right side. Good times. I had a few mantras on rotation that I kept running through my head which I believe was ultimately what got me to the finish line.

Similar to the first year I ran Portland, the approach to the St. Johns Bridge proved to be a setback. The elevation at the peak of the bridge is about 150 feet. My strategy was to take it easy but stick close to the pace group. As I started to ascend, I struck up a conversation with a runner who commented that it was steeper than he thought. We used each other as a distraction from the hill, up and over the bridge, and into the residential neighborhood of St. Johns. While the distraction was nice, my pace slowed more than I wanted it to and now I was further from the 3:35 pace group. I started to fear that the 3:40’s would be hot on my heels soon.

I never really got back to the low 8:00 pace I desired. I settled into a roughly 8:25 pace and decided that from mile 19 to 23 I’d hang there and then pick it up for the last 5k. I could no longer feel anything from my hips down and marveled at how I could still actually be moving with no feeling. But despite that, I didn’t feel like I was completely falling apart. I kept repeating my mantras over and over. I smiled at the spectators that braved the rain to cheer for us and loved hearing people yell out at me, by name since it was printed on my bib, that I looked strong, had a great stride, etc. (That made a huge difference.) I talked with a few runners as we briefly paced side by side. I just kept moving forward.

Those last few miles were tough. They always are. But I was able to pick up my pace slightly. The 3:35 pace group was long gone but the 3:40’s hadn’t caught up yet so I found some hope that I still might make it to the finish line in under 3:40. I gave it everything I had left the last mile and when I rounded the final corner and saw the time, I knew I’d have a Boston qualifying time, even if a squeaker.

I finished in 3:37:40.

It wasn’t a PR but I walked (slowly and painfully) away completely satisfied with my performance. Given the conditions and how I felt leading up to race day, staying mentally strong was a HUGE win for me!


Good enough for a BQ! Even if only by a 2:20 margin!

You just never really know what you’re going to get on race day. Months of preparation can be affected by so many variables… whether or not you’re in a good mental state, the weather, how rested you are, what you consumed in the days leading up to the event… a lot of it is truly chance. And maybe some magical unicorn rainbow stardust shit.


*Weekly mileage~Sept. 19-25*

Mileage for the week of September 19th – September 25th

Total weekly mileage: 44.75

Total September mileage: 182.75

Total year-to-date (2016) mileage: 1,065.25

Week in review:

9/19     No run/rest day

9/20     44:50 min./5.25 mi./8:32 pace

9/21     39:46 min./4.75 mi./8:22 pace

9/22     55:53 min./7 mi./7:58 pace

9/23     1:15:23 min./8.5 mi./8:52 pace

9/24     44:13 min./5.25 mi./8:25 pace

9/25     2:01:19 min./14 mi./8:40 pace

Another solid week is in the books. I’d like to think of it as the transition week before the real transition week!

My focus now, based on the guidance I’m following from this Runner’s World article, is to cut my mileage back by roughly 15 miles and drop my pace back on all runs, except for two miles at my goal race pace during one of my weekday runs. It is sooooo hard for me to drop my pace by 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per mile so I doubt that will realistically happen but I will aim for something near the 9 minute mile mark.

Nutrition wise, I’m aiming to keep my protein high, fat and carbs moderate. Lots and lots of water and not go crazy on either coffee or wine. A little is okay. A lot is not okay.

13 days to go but taking it all one day at a time.

Have a great week!

*Categorize under good life choices*

Current status:


Dinner of champions: pancakes and wine.

It’s officially race weekend and I just nailed Friday night dinner! Blueberry, flax, protein pancakes with cashew butter and maple syrup accompanied by some Charles Shaw merlot in my fancy mason jar. Good life choices.

Seriously, though, I’ve been having a lot of conversations with myself (she’s a great listener and TOTALLY gets me) about the difference between reaching goals and something we hope works out well in our favor: EXPECTATIONS.

I’m notorious for setting my expectations too high. By definition, it’s a strong belief that something will happen or be achieved. The result when it doesn’t happen includes disappointment, self-doubt, and a slew of other negative emotions. I’ll share this example: as you may (or may not) know, for more than a year I’ve been working to build a small business offering writing services such as blogging, web copy, product descriptions and the like. When my family and I decided to finally make the big move to Los Angeles this past spring, it was my expectation that I would be able to build up enough clients and generate a decent enough income so that I would not have to find additional work. (Though I will note that my biggest motivator isn’t money… It’s freedom and flexibility… which isn’t always possible when you’re working for someone else, right?)

Reality set in about five weeks later. Do I still believe I can be successful as a writer and small business owner? In short, yes. However, I took a part-time job that has left me mentally exhausted at the end of the day with little desire to write or find jobs and clients. While that has been on hold for the past two months, I’m feeling a bit more settled now. I’m starting to think that I can allocate more time to my business and once again, begin working toward what I want to achieve by setting some new goals, while letting go of any expectation that I have about where I thought I’d be by now.

My point being is that the difference between expectations and goals lies in the effort. Goals require effort. Expectations don’t. Goals create direction and results while expectations are merely a belief that something could happen.

Why this? Now?

Because not only am I reevaluating what I want from my business, which wasn’t really the point of this post, is that I’m racing my first trail race this weekend and my first race in more than 7 months. I’ve decided that I’m going to run Sunday without any expectations other than running it to experience my first trail race and first race in my new city. Since I didn’t set any goals or put in any additional effort (training) for it either, it makes it easier to not fall into the trap of expecting a specific outcome.

I know the course is categorized as intermediate and challenging. I know that it is forecasted to be in the low 80’s Sunday but should be fairly cool for my 7 AM start. I know that I’m fueling myself like a champ with pancakes and cheap wine. I know that I’ll be happy to be surrounded by running community (because I’ve missed that a lot.) And I know that whatever the outcome, I’ll enjoy the experience without any expectations regarding performance. That statement, in and of itself, is a good life choice! Happy Friday!

*Thoughts on why I’m not running Boston*

It was about this time, roughly, three years ago that I set my sights on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. At the time, I needed something to focus on. I needed something that would challenge me, help me reconnect to the athlete that was living somewhat dormant inside of me, and give me a sense of purpose (beyond wife/mother/employee/etc.). Boy did it ever!

Where it all starts. Just 26 miles and 385 yards to go!

Where it all starts. Just 26 miles and 385 yards to go!

My quest to qualify began in the spring of 2013. The entire journey has been chronicled here on Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking. In fact, the purpose of starting this online journal was to share the trials and triumphs of the experience. In a nutshell, what I thought would be a year-long trip took me two. I learned so much along the way and it truly was one of my greatest personal accomplishments of my lifetime. Publishing a book is next. ; )

After qualifying for the Boston Marathon on my fourth try, in April of 2014, I had two options considering that my original intention was to qualify for Boston, run Boston, and be done with marathons. I could either slack off and go to Boston to enjoy a really long run for fun. OR, I could prove that I deserved to be there, and, if all the stars aligned on that Patriots’ Day in 2015, maybe qualify for 2016.

Even then, I didn’t intend to go back this year. Just knowing that I had potentially earned a spot was enough. With my time of 3:33:06, I’m fairly certain that I would have made the window had I decided I wanted to go for another round.

Truthfully, that decision is a little bittersweet as I watch so many runners prepare for the April race. Every time I come across an Instagram image, read a blog, or see a post come up on my Facebook feed regarding training for Boston, my heart sinks just a tiny bit. That could be me.

However, I chose not to enter the race and while those reminders sting just a bit, I’m glad I decided to not go this year for a number of reasons.

  • I’m still basking in the experience from last year. The magic that is your first Boston Marathon is one that I want to fully marinate in for quite some time. Sometimes I feel like I need to pinch myself. Did that REALLY happen?! It is not necessarily a once-in-a-lifetime experience but at this point, for me, it is. I’d like to hold onto that for a while longer.
  • I once heard someone explain their reason for not running Boston every year that they qualified and it really hit home for me. The wise one explained that she was creating space for someone who had never run the race before (like me) to experience it. There are only so many spots available, after all. I thought that was a really awesome perspective and I hope that my absence allows a first-timer their own magical Boston Marathon.
  • As I’ve been eluding to, there are some changes on the horizon for my family. If all goes according to plan (which I don’t expect it to because this move has been three years in the making) I don’t know where I’ll be in April. Or how I would manage to train through the relocation process. The thought makes me cringe so I know it would stress me out. As if moving isn’t stressful enough!
  • Let’s be real. It costs a ton. Between race registration, shoes (because training alone requires a few replacement pairs as mileage creeps higher and higher), airplane tickets, a hotel room, car rental, meals and snacks (and if I’m being real, WINE), souvenirs, commemorative marathon apparel and tchotchke, and so on, it is not a cheap trip and I just can’t swing it two years in a row.
  • On that note, I’d rather put whatever travel dollars I can swing this year to attend my daughters Army AIT graduation in Texas coming up next month. Plus, a trip to SoCal to search for a place. And, Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking and I have a BIG anniversary coming up this spring. Hawaii, maybe?
  • Not training is really nice. I mean I’m running and all, but not having some big hairy goal looming over me, eating up every single spare minute or requiring 5 AM wake-up calls on Sunday mornings is rather lovely.
  • Finally, I want to earn it. Again. I worked really hard to prove myself when I ran Boston last year. I’m proud of my PR and qualifying for 2016. Perhaps I could have used that momentum to repeat the cycle. But for some strange reason, I think I’ll ultimately find more satisfaction in stepping away, and if I so choose at some later date to try to qualify again (like when I hit the next age division), diving back into it for the fresh challenge. I think it will mean more to have to bust my butt for it again.

This by no means is intended to downplay the accomplishments of those repeating Boston year after year. It is a very personal journey and we each have our own reasons for wanting to run the Boston Marathon.

So with that I say GOOD LUCK to everyone working their asses off training for this year’s event and to those of you that have yet to qualify but are working your asses off too, keep at it! It is soooooo worth it!

*November has come… and gone*

November Review:

Total miles: 122.75

Longest run: 8

Total days running: 28

YTD mileage: 1,741

Some of my favorite November moments included:

  • Meeting with and talking to several entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, along with my business coach, that added fuel to the flame of passion for building my business, Blogger Bitch. A little progress is happening every day!
  • Spending time with my friends from Left Coast Raw at Portland Veg Fest. Sharing whole-food nutrition with the attendees was a ton of fun!
  • Dinning solo when I took myself on a date. Dinner and a movie! I had a delicious Thai dinner and then attended Rainshadow Running‘s Film Festival.
  • Finding out that I’m being welcomed back for my third year on the Nuun Team!
  • Enjoying a dry November Friday afternoon with 6 muddy miles on one of my favorite trails.
  • Inviting my running club out for a few Thanksgiving morning miles and have 19 people show up!
  • Celebrating the blessings in my life. I am so extremely grateful for my mister, our beautiful, healthy children, that we have every need met, and a bright future.
  • Opting to spend Thanksgiving weekend outside thanks to the rad campaign created by my favorite outdoor store, REI. #OptOutside!
  • Tasting delicious wine, beachcoming, hiking, reading, relaxing and just enjoying one heck of an awesome weekend at the coast with my boys.

*Weekly mileage ~ Sept. 28-Oct. 4*

Mileage for the week of September 28th – October 4th

Total weekly mileage: 41.5

Total September mileage: 132.5

Total October mileage (to-date): 31.25

XC mileage (part of weekly total): 6.25

Total year-to-date (2015) mileage: 1,548.25

Run review:

9/28            XC only (3.25 miles)

9/29            32:51 min./4 mi./8:13 pace   +XC (3 miles)

9/30           No run/travel day

10/1           18:28 min./2 mi./9:14 pace

10/2           27:24 min./3.12 mi./8:43 pace

10/3           No run/rest day

10/4           5:01:11 hr.-min./26.2 mi./11:30 pace (*there was some walking mixed in)

Between coaching cross-country, a three-day trip for work, volunteering time at the Portland Marathon expo booth, and running the marathon itself, it was a wild week! I’m grateful for every single mile I logged!

This week is off to a rough start but I’m trying to stay positive. I was supposed to travel to South Carolina this week to see my daughter graduate from basic training but due to the hurricane, the Army has cancelled the graduation ceremony. While I’m heartbroken that I won’t see my daughter until Christmas, my thoughts are with those affected by the storm and I know that officials made the tough decision with everyone’s safety in mind. My post-marathon recovery last night consisted of frantically cancelling flights, lodging, etc.

On top of that change in plans, within hours of finishing the marathon yesterday, a slightly scratchy throat manifested into a full-blown head cold.

Oh. And it’s my birthday tomorrow.

There may be some sorrow drowning in the form of wine consumption.

Kidding aside, I truly hope you have a wonderful week and please give the people in your tribe an extra hug to let them know you love and care about them!!

*August was AWESOME*

August Review:

Total miles: 142

Longest run: 16

Total days running: 24

YTD mileage: 1,384.5

Some of my favorite August moments included:

  • Beginning the new month in Central Oregon with Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking, swimming, hiking at Smith Rock, sleeping under the stars, and enjoying some time together.
  • A fun packet pick-up adventure the day before the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon in wine country. Wine, snacks, new shoes… fun day!
  • Running the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon. No expectations except to enjoy myself and the event. Done and done!
  • While we couldn’t celebrate together, I did celebrate my daughters 18th birthday on 8/12 with 8.12 miles. I can’t believe my baby is 18!!!
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How is it possible that this sweet girl is 18? Heart explosion!

  • A crazy-fun two-day backpacking trip with my boys that turned into one rainy night of backpacking followed with the second night in a hotel and a day hike.
  • Hiking with my dad. We’d been talking about hiking Saddle Mountain, in the Oregon Coast range for at least a year. We finally did it a few weeks ago. It’s an intense hike but the view at the top is amazing!

You can see nearly half of the Oregon coastline from atop Saddle Mountain.

  • A surprise overnight trip. On a Friday afternoon a few weeks ago I was told to “be ready to leave by 2:30 and pack an overnight bag.” Oh my. Mr. WJTWT surprised me with a trip, by train, up to Centralia, Washington were we stayed the night and explored the cute historic downtown area the next day before traveling back home. So fun and sweet!

There was running sprinkled in there throughout the month too! August was just so awesome! We really packed in some amazing adventures and I’m so grateful for that. The next few months are filled to the brim with work, school, cross-country… not a lot of play for a while so I’ll be holding these adventures close to my heart for many weeks to come!

September is here and in full-swing. The weather has started to turn (I considered turning on the heat this morning!) and while I’m a little sad to see summer go, I’m excited for the arrival of autumn too. Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend and best of luck to those of you that are shuffling little people back to school next week!