Friday, October 31, 2014

All Things Running: Emcee (yikes!), Boston Marathon Thoughts, Healing Trail Runs, Trail Fun and More

It's Halloween day and I've yet to put a costume together.  My husband and I try to get in the spirit and make memories by dressing up with our kids and it often means coming up with a costume idea last minute.  Except last year when Whiplash from Ironman 2 was part of our family for the night. I won't say how excited my electrical engineer husband got about creating that costume.  Let's just say there were several nights of work (electrical work included) involved.  And boy was it authentic! So, we have about four hours to pull something together.  We're thinking a modern Luke and Leia--if we can't find a blonde wig for him then it will be an older Luke that has started buzzing his hair off (since it's much sexier than a comb over).

Running Running Running!  Lots of running thoughts lately.  The summer is officially over and this girl is settling into her running season.  I'm not sure what this winter holds for me with running but I'm getting excited to think of some plans.

Road Running vs. Trails
I ran on sidewalks today for one of the first times since we moved here.  Almost all my running has been on dirt, rocks, hills, and winding trails through the trees and along the river.  I'm not complaining one bit.  I'll take trails any day over the road.  However, I try not to pay much attention to my watch when I run on the trails since pace is MUCH slower.  Today I dropped my son off at his Montessori school and then ran to a meeting downtown.  It was a pleasant surprise to see what my pace was on sidewalks/road compared to the trail!  In fact, I rarely run with a watch these days on the trails now that I know the distance of most my routes.

Something New That Makes Me Nervous: EMCEE
Yikes yikes yikes!  So, I agreed to be the Emcee for the Sister's Happy Girls Half Marathon and 5k (put on  by Lay It Out Events).  I'm a mix between excited for the opportunity and nervous as all heck! Public speaking is something I'm not bad at once I'm comfortable (after all, I was a teacher for almost 10 years) but the first time for anything is just a little scary.  I'm kicking fear to the curb and trying something that scares me.  I think each time we say "YES!" and put ourselves out there (even if it means stepping outside of our comfort zones), we open doors that lead to new possibilities and connections. As soon as I agreed to do this, I sent a text my friend Sarah Bowen Shea (Love this gal!) and she gave me a short text pep talk and gave me the link to her article about her own Emcee experiences:  Fun at the Finish Line.  For any of you at this event, I'm warning you now that my voice might be ten octaves higher than usual until I relax.

Boston Marathon Indecisiveness 
Boston Boston Boston.  The Boston Marathon is in April.  That means many people start training in December.  Some like shorter training plans and start in January.  In the past, I've used October to December to build a strong base and get my mileage up before using a specific plan.  This year brings up a whole bag of indecisiveness:

  1. First thing I'm questioning is if it is even in my best interest to run Boston this year.  It's expensive to get there, I've already done it four times, and it just might not be the best idea on a number of levels.
  2. If I do run Boston, I need to decide how I'll run it and how I'll train for it. The Boston Marathon weekend is so much more than just a race weekend.  It's a weekend where I get to see some of my closest friends as well as be involved with the running/marathon community on one of the most exciting race weekends out there.  Nothing quite like Boston when it comes to the marathon.  Talk about ENERGY!  I can certainly train in a way where I just log miles and don't train specifically for any time goal.  This would allow me to run Boston for fun and possibly use it as a training run for an ultra marathon.  I'm also looking into different training plans that I might use if I do decide to train a bit harder.  Another option is finding a coach to work with (maybe even someone new to coaching (or just wanting to grow their coaching business) and wanting a guinea pig and someone to help them advertise/market through my blog.  However, with the latter, I'm not so sure I'd want just anyone telling me what do when it comes to running/training so it would have to be a seasoned runner who knows their stuff!  My gut tells me I'm going to go with training myself and possibly carrying my training over to an ultra marathon.  Of course, it all depends on this body of mine and how well it holds up! Oh, and who knows what a Bend winter holds.   
Trail Run Fun
Many of us have seen the Instagram pics of runners running on trails. One of my favorite Instagram feeds to follow is Speedy Mama Jess here in Sisters, Oregon.  I love seeing these kinds of shots! They are inspiring AND I get to see all the beautiful spots people run while seeing them enjoying doing what they love.  However, I admit, I always wonder how much time they took to set up their camera timers to snap the perfect shot.  It makes me laugh but I also think it's fun and I enjoy the pics as much as they enjoyed taking them!  I suppose this is part of what blogging and instagramming is all about:  capturing moments and sharing our lives with others.  On Tuesday, my husband and I hit up the trails for 11 miles.  It was such a gorgeous day so we decided to try one of those timed running pictures.  We'd never done it before and it made for some good laughs.  Our dog thought we were a little weird with our running back and forth for a few minutes while getting our shot.  But I think he kind of liked the game.  When we were ready to run on and not try for another shot, he actually turned around again thinking it was picture time. Ha!  Made me laugh.  

Deschutes River Trail taking off from Meadow Camp

Healing Trails
If you asked me about my favorite trails to run on here in Bend, Oregon, I'd have to say Shevlin Park would be the first place that comes to mind.  Now, I've only been here since August and I haven't even begun to discover all the trails there are around here but for now, Shevlin Park is where I go when I want to get lost in the trees and be alone with my thoughts and the beauty surrounding me.  It's GORGEOUS!  A bit less on the high dessert feel and more of the lush GREEN that I love.  Tumalo Creek trail is one of the easier trails in Shevlin Park--just what I needed for my Thursday run this week.  I won't go into details (yes, I'm allowed to be vague on here--it's my blog after all) but I will say that there were a few days this week that proved to be rather difficult and deeply painful on an emotional level--related to some news I received about a friend.  Running in the forest was just the medicine/comfort I needed. It was a time to be wrapped up in all the forest has to offer:
old, wise trees
fall colors
still and white waters from the creek
soft dirt
shaded paths
steep climbs that take you above some of the tallest trees
the perfect rocks on which to sit.

Plenty of tears and conversations/prayer on this run.  But also an incredible amount of peace, healing and hope in my heart once I finished.  Thankful for the gift of the run.  And beyond thankful for these forest trails I have at my fingertips.
Much wisdom and peace to be found on a trail run in the woods. Beautiful how these forest walls with their still and white waters, old towering trees and winding trails can pull us in so deeply and bring us so gently back to ourselves--telling us stories, whispering answers, and listening to our heart's every word. I'm so thankful for the gift of running. 

I have much more to say about running but this post is getting way too long so I'll leave some for next time.  I want to ask about recommendations for running pants, share some of the things I'm loving lately with running stuff, and put some potential races out there.  Oh, and I plan on trying this hands-free leash with my dog (honestly, I'm not sure what to expect with this type of leash...part of me fears falling on my face!) and then writing a review and giving one away to one of you!

Happy Friday!  And Happy Halloween to those of you who take part in it.

Laying it on thick with the questions today but lots I want to ask:
1.  Have you ever been an emcee at a race or somewhere else?  Would this make you  nervous?
2.  What are your favorite marathon plans that you'd recommend if I decide to use a plan for Boston?  
3.  Do you have a running coach you'd recommend?  
4.  Do you find healing and comfort through running?  
5.  Are you dressing up for Halloween?  Your kids?  What will you be?  



  1. Love the pictures and places you are currently running!
    You will be a great Emcee!!!
    I find lots of comfort in running and can't wait to run again!!!

    1. Thanks Kim. Wait, run again?? Okay, I'm way out of blog land again... going to head over to your blog to catch up. Yes, it is a comfort...I think the older I get, the more I'm inclined to keep running at a lower intensity so I can do just that....continue running!!

  2. I have heard of that race! You will be a great EMCEE. You have the charisma for it :). Your trail running shots are great Amanda! It is fun to play around with the pics, though ..

    1. Hey Raina! Thanks. I'm still nervous...I know once I get my emcee mojo I'll be fine but...just reading a script feels so to thank the sponsors...seriously, sounds so unnatural. ha! It is fun to play with pics, yes! Funny but fun!

  3. Wow, EMCEE....very cool! I find running in general so healing and so recharging, but have especially found that mostly so on the trails.

    Been tough keeping up with blogs, so nice to have some time again to read and grab energy from my fellow runners/bloggers :)

    Good luck with your Boston decision. It's obviously such an awesome race, but there are so many others too. I'm really enjoying finding other races (road and trail) to build some new memories on :)

    1. Hi Lisa! Yes, trail running is an entirely different side to healing and energizing. It's exercise and meditation rolled into one! I hear you on blogs! Same here. And yes, so much more to marathons than Boston. If it weren't for my good friends I get to see, I would definitely pass this year. Gotta decide soon.

  4. I think you'd be a great emcee! You're funny and entertaining, and have an upbeat way of making conversation. Should be a fun experience!
    Last night David and I went to a costume party as Roman candy - a New Orleans tradition. It's just long taffy, but it's exciting because you buy it from a horse-drawn cart on St. Charles Ave. It's just one of those NOLA things to do. It was also a super easy costume! Just solid colored clothes and wax paper twists over head and feet!
    You should do Boston. It's such an experience. I'm jealous of all my friends going back.

    1. Thanks Gracie! It was so fun to meet up with you and David during Boston 2012. Fun that I got to have my post race beer with you! You had already finished and changed by the time I was just coming out of such a HOT and hellish race! ha! It was like a walk in the park for you. I remember that silly tiny Brooks top I had on and how I opted for no bra (just the built in bra in the top) because it was 90 degrees. And how I didn't even care that I looked like a 14 year old boy (with a pony tail). ha ha!

      Your costume and Halloween sounds fun! What a cool tradition. I need to get there someday!

  5. You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place! I'm interested to hear how your winter weather is too! Of course, we here in the midwest are supposed to suffer through another polar vortex. I hope the predictions are wrong.

    ~Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home

    1. Hi Wendy. You know, I think there are so many many beautiful places...but yes, Bend is one of them. Beauty to be found in most places. I remember loving all the places I've lived for different reasons...Iowa, Colorado, Oregon, NC... The midwest gets so COLD! Brrr. I hear it will be cold here too. But sunny and cold is better to me than cold and rainy like Portland was.

  6. I have had a coach before, and the one thing I'd think about before choosing someone is whether you would prefer someone you can see in person as needed. My coach was 2 time zones away and there were many times when I wished she was here to critique form, show me drills, etc. For me, I would have liked a live person for track workouts or a session in the gym. I'm keeping that in mind when I get ready to go back to a coach.

    1. Yes yes. Interested to hear what you decide. I don't need a coach but it sure is nice to have someone tell you your workouts and guide you. I think I'll be choosing one of my many plans on my book shelf and then adapting from there. Really, after running/racing for over 20 years, I could probably just train by making up my plan as I go.

  7. I would LOVE to meet you in Boston! I also completely understand that it's an expensive event, especially when you have to fly, too.... but I selfishly hope you'll come. :)

    1. Yes, I'd love to meet you too Laura. I'm emailing you.

  8. I've got the McMillan up to 55 miles per week - 18-week training plan I can send you in PDF if you want to check it out. I've used it and like it.

  9. The picture story is hilarious! I tried it once with my dog and he was not having it. He was so confused why I wanted to keep going back and forth so I gave up. I LOVE THAT SHOT and I also love following her IG account. Such gorgeous trails you guys get to run on!

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