Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stillness in Motion; Motion in Stillness

Trail Running has a way of slowing us down.  Truly slowing us: in thought, pace, spirit, time.  The trail pulls us in, welcoming us with solace, eager to hear our stories and help hold our heavy thoughts.  Slowly, as our bodies wind around the bends, up and over the hills, we come back to ourselves. Our feet step lightly across the rocks in the streams, brush passed the green carpets and soft dirt, and it starts to feel as if we have always been there just like the trees.   We come back to ourselves in a way where the things that were cluttering our mind and hearts somehow clear out and we are left with the things that matter most.  We move, but yet, find stillness.  And with stillness, we find motion in being able to move forward in life.  

Motion in Stillness:  Moving Forward
Last night's trail run at dusk was the best way to get ready to say "goodbye for now" to a place I've come to love so deeply.  Despite the fact that we are neck deep in boxes, packaging tape and a house in disarray as we get ready to drive our family of five to Bend, Oregon, I knew I needed to get to the trails here in Asheville for one last run.  Just Me.  And I knew I needed to drive my little blue Corolla one last time. We just sold this special car and there's a BIG story here that is part of a my greatest love story. The following is just a small snippet of that story:

"So that summer I packed up my Corolla, borrowed a map and drove west without even a look back!  I can't quite explain the feeling that filled me so completely as I was driving through the mountains and plains of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and finally Oregon!  I had never felt what I was feeling during that drive.  I felt as if I was living my life, really living it fully ALIVE for the first time ever!  I had no fear, no worry, no confusion or stress.  I was flying free!  I had never felt such a powerful presence of the "this is meant to be" feeling and I knew something big was just on the horizon. "

There was something beautiful and strange all at once about driving this car one last time right before  such a huge transition in our life.  I remember clearly how much my life was changed back in that car changed everything. Or rather it was my determination to change my life that changed everything.  And the unexpected and seemingly divine gift of a check that came in the mail at a time where everything in life felt hard (full story:  The Minute I Heard My First Love Story, I Started Looking for You...)  Driving this Corolla across the country when I was 21 with a heart full of hope and possibility was perhaps one of my most exhilarating experiences of all. I was moving forward, driving towards my destiny, about to meet the love of my life and start an entirely new chapter like never before, but yet my spirit was the most still and calm it had ever been.  Stillness in Motion.  I feel as if, in a sense, I am coming full circle back to the love story from 2000. As we get ready to drive from Asheville to Oregon to start a fresh and exciting chapter (this time married with three kids), I feel something wonderful stirring in this heart of mine.  Something big is again "just on the horizon".

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sad about leaving Asheville.  A piece of Asheville will always be in this heart of mine and a piece of my heart will always be here.  Home to each other.  I truly do feel home here.  But for the first time since this process of coming here, working through some pretty big things, preparing for new starts in Bend, Oregon (instead of going back to Portland), finding a new house to call our home, I'm READY.  I'm ready to MOVE FORWARD and my heart and spirit feel the beautiful gift of stillness.  I know some of the reasons we moved here and I can see part of the extraordinary road that stretches out before me.  It's exciting.  I'm not that same twenty one year old that I was when I first packed up my blue Corolla to drive from Colorado to Oregon by myself, but I do have the same heart.  My spirit is still the dreamer and  still passionately alive and full of hope and possibility.  And I have a feeling deep inside that is so so similar to that feeling I had during what was one of the most meaningful and important moments of my life.

It's amazing to me to be able to see the connections and the reasons behind the past many years of my life.  Comforting and exciting to see just why I needed to experience all I have in the last few years and to see such clear significance that this year and a half in Asheville has been:  Another GIFT!

Yes, I'm ready.  I can see clearly today.  So many opportunities waiting for me...things I am in awe of, but yet, not surprised by, for they have been my dreams all along.  I just didn't know what exact forms my dreams would take. I needed time to stand still, even wander a little.  But now, everything that is on the horizon is what I know is right for me, for us, right now.  I'm standing on the edge of something big, ready to leap.  I'm trusting and taking comfort in stillness as we move forward.

Here's to Moving Forward and Finding Stillness in Motion,

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Freedoms and 5ks

This Independence Day was one of the best I've had in years.  I'm beyond thankful for the freedom we've had in being able to spend a year living in this small town, traveling, and taking part in so much life!  It's been a FULL year and a reminder of just how much is out there for us to experience if we're open to embracing the things things that come our way.

I'm typing quickly here as I find myself with a short stretch of quiet to myself with my kids off to a friend's house. A few hours to myself and I almost don't know what to do with myself and this time to think in peace.  I do know that I want to take time to write and run in the forest with my husband and that's just where I'm starting.

I'm loving this time I have after marathon training where I don't have a specific workout I'm trying to fit in or a race on the horizon that I'm gearing up for.  It's a change of pace that comes with pros and cons. On one hand, my body is thankful for the break in mileage and workouts but on the other hand, without a training plan or a goal, I'm kind of lazy.  Well, as lazy as a mother of three can be in the summer when the kids are home all day.  Let's clarify and say lazy with running.  My long run has gone from 15-20 miles to a whopping 5 miles.  In fact, I don't think I've run more than 4 miles at a time since Grandma's Marathon almost three weeks ago.  Yikes!  That means a drop in endorphins, clothes fitting a little tighter, and my running splits getting slower by the day.  However, it also means that inspiration has returned in other ways!

The mental energy and time I was putting into marathon training is now open for other things like parenting, relationship building (lots of friends I've had more time to connect with), planning for our move and new house, and WRITING.  My writing life has been sparked up again and it feels glorious.  My notebooks are out, dusted off and open and I always have a pen or pencil near wherever I am so I can capture words and ideas that come to me.  My only problem now is that I sometimes forget what notebook I wrote what in.  Certain snippets of thought gets lost because I either A. Write too fast and can't read my own handwriting or B. forget where I wrote it down at.  I never said organization was a strength for me.  However, I'm finding this new rush of ideas and inspiration to be such a wonderful feeling!  For now, these ideas stay in notebooks, email and on my computer but just the process of writing is fulfilling and energizing for my life.  Writing is one of my greatest freedoms and I'm beyond thankful for it.

Speaking of freedom, the 4th of July is always such a great reminder of all the freedoms we get to enjoy on a daily basis.  Not just the freedoms we have as a country but the freedoms we have in our individual lives...the freedoms we get to enjoy in being ALIVE.  This Independence Day was one of the best I've had in years and I went to bed the night of the 4th with such a happy heart.

Thankful for my personal Freedoms:
  • This year in our town near Asheville, NC.  Freedom to explore and spread our wings.  
  • Traveling around this side of the country.  Freedom to see new places and things.  
  • The lull that comes between training for races.  Freedom to enjoy other passions and have more energy to give to things that sometimes get put on the side.  
  • New ideas.  Freedom to think and write.  
  • Safe friends to share ideas with.  Freedom to grow and share ourselves.  
  • Validation.  The freedom that comes from having people we respect and love respect and love us back.  
  • Honest feedback.  The freedom that comes from sharing our ideas and personal goals with those we trust and having them give their honest opinions.  So FREEING to have people like this in our lives...people that genuinely want the best for us. 
  • Partnership with my husband.  Freedom to be raising a family together and to be able to treat it all as a partnership with me staying home for now and him contributing by growing his career.  Never once has my husband not made me feel like an equal partner in everything!  He's shown so much respect for my role in this family unit.  And he's supported and encouraged me in every goal and dream I have.  
  • Moving to a new place.  Freedom to set down roots, develop new relationships, find new places to run, connect with new businesses and people who share similar passions.  
  • Time with my kids.  Freedom to see my kids grow and enjoy their days with them.  Don't get me wrong, many days are filled with sibling fights, messes, high stress, and feeling like I'm going CRAZY!  But if I take a deep breath and step back, I'm so very mindful of the gift I have in being with these kids right moments that go so fast!  
  • RUNNING.  Freedom to move.  Freedom to run.  Freedom to find joy in racing and being active.  Freedom to set goals and train for them!  Freedom to challenge ourselves and push ourselves to new limits.   

Firecracker 5k
In my last post, I wrote about the 5k and my possible plans to face my 5k fears and just go out there and run for fun!  That I did.  We all did!  It was another year of making it a family affair.  My youngest daughter ran her very first 5k with her dad and a friend. She smiled the entire way and in the last stretch was beyond joyful to hear that there was going to be a sports drink offered as refreshment.  It's the little things for her.   My oldest daughter ran again and made it a fun race with a friend.  And yes, I ran this one too.  Let's just say, two weeks out from a marathon (make that two marathons if you include Boston in April) with no speed work, and being in the heart of PMS mode, doesn't leave you feeling super SPEEDY and Fresh.  I knew how I felt going into the race just from trying to test my legs out the day before.  Marathon pace felt like death.  But I'm so proud of myself that I did it anyway!  I went out there and ran for myself without pushing myself any harder than what I felt like on that day.  I let pride go.  I let pressure go.  And I allowed myself to be where I was even if it meant running way slower than my last 5k time.  In fact, I went out there and ran a race with a smile and a goal to just push myself through a tempo-like run instead of to puke-pain-5k race mode.  The course went through my neighborhood here in Weaverville so I enjoyed high fiving, saying hello to my friends, and smiling at how ridiculously heavy my legs felt.  It wasn't like any other 5k I've ever run.

As much as I was able to let go of so much pressure in this race, I'd be lying if I didn't struggle a little with that feeling that comes when you know you weren't your best.  I've had years of competing with this distance in particular and it's hard to shake old habits and feelings that we associate with certain things.  I did find myself sitting with some weird feelings.  Pride started to creep in a bit.  That thing we runners do when we start defining ourselves based on our clock time even if we didn't make time a focus?  Well, that creeped in a bit too.  However, I was able to quickly toss these thoughts and feelings to the curb and get back to myself and what my intentions and goals were for this Firecracker 5k:

"Yes, I think it might be time to race another 5k. Why?  For myself.  Not for the purpose of a PR.  I'm far from 5k racing shape.  It just seems like a good time to face a fear.  As we near the end of this adventure we've had in North Carolina and get ready to move to Bend, Oregon, it seems right to go out with a bang other than the fireworks tomorrow night.  Maybe just going out there without a watch or a goal and giving what I have even if it means being much slower than I'd like to be is just the perfect ending to this very full of adventure year we've had.  It also seems like a great step towards my goal of putting myself out there more, opening doors for opportunity, and taking chances on things even when I don't feel like I'm entirely ready or that everything is Perfect.

I'm actually excited to race. And even more excited to see my daughters race. I know that by racing my own race, no matter how I race it, I'll be experiencing a freedom that only comes when we are willing to truly accept and give of ourselves just as we are...where we are...right now.  It's a good feeling to be able to do that.  How fitting for Independence Day."  

Overall, it was a great race and a fun way for our family to start our day of Independence!  I placed second in my age group with a time of 22:10.  Not my fastest 5k by a long shot but pretty good workout post marathon if I want to see it like that.

I may never truly think of the 5k as FUN but I do admit that finding a few more 5ks to run this summer might just be a fun idea!  If anything, it would be a way to grow and push myself in ways I have avoided for a long time.  I might not ever break that 20 minute goal but then again, maybe I will.  Or I might just run and not even care about time. Either way, I'll still take joy in my FREEDOM to RUN.  What a gift.

What personal freedoms are you most thankful for?  
Did you race on July 4th?  How was it?  


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Racing on July 4th: A Growing Tradition. And Facing 5k Fears.

As so many in our country get ready to celebrate our nation's independence, I can almost smell the food grilling on BBQs, the smoke from fireworks and the sounds of joy that come from holiday parades. People everywhere are stocking up on sparklers and ingredients for their favorite patriotic dessert. And many of us (including our family) are setting out running shoes and running clothes in preparation for a July 4th Race. What a fun way to start a day of celebration!  

 I've spent the last few years kicking off Independence Day with some kind of race.  It's becoming a tradition of sorts.  In 2011 and 2012 it was The Foot Traffic Flat Marathon in Portland, Oregon.  Such great memories with this race. My race in 2011 was purely for fun after a disappointing June Newport Marathon.  On a whim, my husband decided to run it with me.  It was the first time I ran a marathon with him and it was his first ever.  We rocked it with a 3:24 and big smiles all the way to the finish line! Racing a marathon with my best friend on a day we celebrate freedom and independence goes down as perhaps my favorite race.  

Last July 4th brought a different kind of race and one that has become a most special memory.  Instead of racing with my husband, I was honored to run with my daughter.  My oldest daughter, then eight years old, raced her very first 5k.  Without a doubt, this is my favorite 5k memory.  No pressure.  None of the fear that I had been associating with racing the 5k from years of high school and college cross country. It was just a time to soak up every second of running next to my little girl who was finding so much joy in racing.  We ran side by side for most of the way, waving at people on their front porches, giving high-fives, and talking about the strategy of pacing so she could finish strong.  In the last stretch, I encouraged her to go and give it her all.  It was so exciting to see her kick in it and finish with a smile.  She was so proud of herself and I was one proud mama.  

Tomorrow will bring another Independence Day where our family takes part in racing.  This year my middle daughter might even give her first 5k a try. My oldest daughter will race for the first time by herself and my husband will run with our younger daughter to make sure she gets through the race. 

That leaves me.  Well,  I could run with my daughter again.  Or, I could muster up the courage to just race the darn thing myself.  Funny how I just ran a marathon less than two weeks ago and if you asked me to race a half marathon tomorrow for fun, I'd say yes but yet racing a 5k (even for fun) sounds dreadful.   In fact, I avoid racing this distance as if it is the plague.  Truly racing a 5k hurts in a way that makes a marathon look heavenly. And let's be honest, even when we race something for "fun", many of of still push ourselves.  That's part of the fun. But do Fun and 5k even go in the same sentence?  Not so sure.  Especially when you're not in 5k race shape!  Such a different beast of a race distance.  Don't get me wrong, a 5k is 3.1 miles whereas a marathon is 26.2 miles.  Clearly, you need more endurance to cover the distance of a marathon and when I claim to my nonrunner friends just how much harder the 5k is for me than the marathon, they look utterly confused.   It takes a different kind of training, work, and mental game to be your best in the 5k.  

To race the 5k or not...that is the question.  It's long overdue.

My last 5k was in 2011.  I wasn't training specifically for a 5k but it did end up being my personal best. It was a strong and surprisingly not so hard race.  I was in a great place mentally and ready to make things happen.  But here's the kicker:  I ran a 20:01.  20:01???  This close to breaking 20 minutes?  I think I would have  preferred a 20:10 or 20:30 even but a 20:01.  I'd tried for years to break that tricky 20 minute barrier and I'd heard from many of my running friends that once you break 20 minutes, it feels so much easier to do it again and again. But race after race, year after year, I fell in the 20's.  Even when my workouts would show that I should be able to easily run in the 19's, when it came time to dig deep and put myself in that sort of pain, I wimped out.  

I haven't raced a 5k since.  

It's been three years now.  

Yes, I think it might be time to race another 5k. Why?  For myself.  Not for the purpose of a PR.  I'm far from 5k racing shape.  It just seems like a good time to face a fear.  As we near the end of this adventure we've had in North Carolina and get ready to move to Bend, Oregon, it seems right to go out with a bang other than the fireworks tomorrow night.  Maybe just going out there without a watch or a goal and giving what I have even if it means being much slower than I'd like to be is just the perfect ending to this very full of adventure year we've had.  It also seems like a great step towards my goal of putting myself out there more, opening doors for opportunity, and taking chances on things even when I don't feel like I'm entirely ready or that everything is Perfect.

I'm actually excited to race. And even more excited to see my daughters race. I know that by racing my own race, no matter how I race it, I'll be experiencing a freedom that only comes when we are willing to truly accept and give of ourselves just as we are...where we are...right now.  It's a good feeling to be able to do that.  How fitting for Independence Day.  

In just a few years the whole family will be racing together on the 4th!

Do you race on July 4th?  
Do you run with your kids?  For inspirational stories on sharing the love of running with your kids, you're always sure to find something on Tia's blog:  Arkansas Runner Mom.  Every year her daughter tries to run her age in miles.  This is year she ran 10 miles! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hodge Podge of Bulleted Thoughts

I sat down this morning to try to write. I thought I had one flowing concept going.  You know, the kind of post where you start with an idea, talk about it and then wrap it up in one pretty bow of a paragraph and think of a title that would apply to all of it?  Yeah right.  I'm all over the place with thought.  Can't keep my head straight today.  So, in lieu of a well thought out post that flows, I'm all for the bullets today.  After all, this is my blog.  It's for me to process and write as I want.  No deadlines or rules.  Bring on the bullets of random thought!

  • Writing and running are my two biggest ways of processing.  They both bring me back to myself and I'm forever grateful for them.  It's crazy how when I'm away from them for even a few days, it feels as if I've gone forever without them.  It's only been a little over a week since Grandma's Marathon and I've run at least four times since but it feels like I've gone months without a decent run.  In this warped way of thinking, I feel like I've lost all my fitness at once.  I know this isn't the case but even an 8 minute mile sounds hard right now.  The idea of 26.2 miles in sub 8 pace sounds ludicrous!  
  • I just finished reading the book The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. As is typical when I finish a book like this,  I'm left with a load of ideas and feelings that sit with me for awhile before I'm ready to just dive right into another book. I'm always in awe at how some can just finish a novel and move right on to the next almost before the other is finished.   I need time to process.  I crave opportunities to sit down and really talk about a book.  This is true with fiction and nonfiction.  Granted, if the book is just some fluff book written purely for entertainment and a way to kill brain cells time on the beach, I can move on as soon as I leave the book next to a stack of gossip magazines for the next person to find.  But this isn't one of those books.  This is one that made me think and want to write in margins and start a book club that talks about the book at least half of the time (on my list for Bend).  It isn't the best book I've ever read by any means or even a book that is life changing but it is one that will sit on my shelves as one I greatly enjoyed.  And after hearing Gilbert talk at her book signing last week, I'm even more thoughtful about the characters and ideas she presents.  It's a story that has me itching to travel, learn, further my education or career, stop being such a procrastinator and coward when it comes to putting myself out there in ways that are new to me, and really just be true to where I feel most called.  
  • As I sit out on my front porch to write and have coffee before the kids wake, I'm thankful for the morning moments to sit with my thoughts that settled over night.  It won't be long before the whirlwind of the day leaves me with a head full of messy clutter and I can't keep one thought separate from the next.  Heck, in about an hour, I'll be answering three questions at once, wiping up some sort of mess, trying to convince all three kids to agree on the same activity for the day, and doing anything but sitting quietly with my thoughts.  
  • Morning thoughts are the best.  They are the hopeful and optimistic thoughts.  Full of grace and second chances.  Morning time is when I write my goals and gratitude lists.  It's when I'm most forgiving of myself and see endless possibilities to make up for the things that didn't happen yesterday.  Morning thoughts for me are so different from the thoughts I have right before bed.  Another kind of stillness and quiet.  The dust has just settled after a busy day. The kids look especially innocent and adorable sleeping in their beds. And instead of love and grace for myself, I often let guilt and regret creep in. YUCK!  Such worthless and toxic emotions! And letting these feelings fill our heads is a hard habit to get rid of!  At night is when I tend to beat myself up for all the things I feel like I failed at.  It's when I have a chance to catch my breath and then realize all the things I could have done differently with my kids, spouse, etc.  It's the nighttime thinking that I'm trying change.  Nighttime thoughts aren't always so full of regret.  I'm getting much better at shifting my thinking and taking note of the things I did well.  This is important for me.  I should start keeping a notebook next to my bed where I make a list of gratitude and things that WORKED and went well during the day.  Maybe I'll start that tonight.
  • Stay at home motherhood in the summer is especially challenging!  Don't get me wrong, I love my kids.  I'm thankful for this time.  Glad to be home with my kids...blah blah blah.  But I also feel like a shell of myself some days.  Some days I feel like a crazy lady in search of her mind and sanity and trying desperately to hold on to a piece of ME while I'm being pulled in three or more directions at once.  Some days are a slice of amazing and wonderful and others are a slice of the reality that motherhood really isn't always rainbows and butterflies.  It really is hard work sometimes.  
  • In looking at my blog stats over the years, I'm amazed that my most popular post (by a long shot) is a post I wrote purely in jest and fun about Braless running.  I created some seemingly serious Braless Running Society in the name of minimalistic running.  I wonder how many people really tried to call 1-800-BRA-LESS over the last three years.  

A few personal snippets of thought I wrote at earlier this past week:
  • I'm not entirely sure what came over my children. Or perhaps they aren't MY children. Some legos came in the mail today for Sam's birthday and, not exaggerating, all three of my kids have been playing TOGETHER on the living room floor for 6 hours! SIX. Not a single fight. Nobody told on anyone. No whining. They just got along. Pinch me. They have a small village in there...tire stores, roads, stop lights, trees, hospitals... There's paint and cardboard out for the roads and legos are all over the place...really the floor is trashed with legos...but I've never been happier with a mess! I've served them dinner, brought them a few snacks and drinks, sat on the porch with Waylon, read a book (to myself), baked banana bread....and a few other things that tired parents sometimes don't get to do. What's happening? I think I should make them all sleep now considering it's almost 11 p.m but I think tonight is a night for an exception.
  • I love the stillness that comes in knowing that big decisions have been made for the near future, being done with a big race, or finishing up with something I've been plugging away at for so long.
    I love the quiet and endless possibilities I have with my days when I don't have a specific goal or pressing to-do or workout on the schedule.
    I love the simplicity of sitting on my porch with a beer and a book, while my feet rest on the chair in front of me and my kids play with neighbors. Such are the seasons of life. The ebbs and flows of desire and goals to aspire towards.
    It won't be long before I'm eager and hungry for my next goal...signing up for a race, finding community in Bend, or applying for something of one kind or another...possibly starting a new career or writing about a new idea,
    but for now,
    on my porch,
    with my feet resting,
    with nothing pressing,
    I am Happy.
    Content with this moment.
    Cheers friends! Here's the the many seasons in life...
    And recognizing and embracing stillness when it comes.
  • So inspired after hearing Elizabeth Gilbert speak tonight! Brilliant, beautiful mind! You bet I took notes! So many of her words resonated with me. One thing she said (and what I asked her to sign here in my notebook) in regards to taking action with our life dreams rather than just sitting around waiting for it to happen to us is: "Your labor is your contribution to the miracle." The miracle is already it! Lean In! 
  • I breathed deeply through every sibling fight today without losing my mind. There were many. At one point I almost laughed at the crazy energy and exchange of words that occurred in a matter of the 5 minutes that it took to get from the YMCA child watch, down the elevator, and to the car: "Get your hands off your sister, please don't jump on his back, did you seriously push all of the buttons in the elevator?, why did you think it was okay to just wipe a booger on the window?!, please put your shoes back on and get off the floor...." Sam survived without injury despite how many nerves were stepped on, angry gestures displayed, and arguments provoked. There were many laughs and fun spots amidst the summer chaos today... but also plenty of moments where I realized the truth to family: You sure can love these little people so very much but yet at the same time, in certain moments, you might not really like them much at all. In the end, I'm so glad to be a mother...THEIR mother... and that I get the privilege to love and enjoy these three kids of mine. My life sure is richer for it. And holy crap, it's humbling. The good kind of humbling...the kind that makes you realize that you'll never be too old to grow and learn from the people and experiences that come with life. And we'll always have room for more give and receive.

I already feel better having written this vomit of an online journal.  Something about processing my thoughts on here that is so helpful in clearing my head and finding new focus.  Maybe it serves as a dump of sorts.  Same with the journals I've kept since I was in third grade.  Once things are written down, it's time to get on with my day.  I might come back to these thoughts later and process more (another thing I love about writing....capturing those thoughts for later) but for now:  Bring on a clean slate!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Inspirational Workout Space for Runners

It wasn't long ago when we brought her home to live with us.  We didn't have much space but  managed to find a perfect spot where we would all be happy. She was beautiful and had that new smell and fresh look.  I knew from the moment I saw her that we would have some incredible experiences together.  At the time, in our small Portland home of three bedrooms, her room would have to be the garage.

Not the worst place for a treadmill.

I remember how excited I was to get a treadmill to call my own. I admit, running on a treadmill isn't my top preference these days when it comes to running but it was what made marathon training possible a few years ago. In a sense, I actually preferred the treadmill to the road back then.  I know, I know, that almost feels wrong to write.  I can hear the outcry of runners everywhere who avoid the treadmill or dreadmill at all costs.

Whether I liked the treadmill or not, it was what worked for me during certain seasons of my life.  As a mother of three young kids, I didn't find much time to run outside in the winter unless I pulled myself out of bed before the sun came out (yuck), or ran at dark once my husband came home from work.  Living in Portland, Oregon meant that sometimes there were weeks on end where we didn't see the sun or a dry day.  Running in the cold AND dark is for the birds!  So, I did the majority of  marathon training on treadmills.  In fact, even before having kids, I hit up the treadmill at the gym after long teaching days to avoid the winter rain and dark.

Before I even tested out my new treadmill, my brain was working on ways to create inspirational space in my garage.  If I was going to spend so much time out there logging miles and dreaming of my goals, I wanted to be surrounded by things that motivated and inspired me.  I did the best I could with the space I had. The first thing that came out was my box of running bibs (those that I actually saved) and racing medals.  I found an old bulletin board and pinned up some of the things that inspired me the most:  Boston Marathon bib from 2004, winning age group award from my first marathon, notes from my kids telling me they loved me and believed in me, my time goals for specific races, notes of encouragement from friends and blog readers, and several other things.

 My workout space wasn't anything to showcase by any means but it sure did make running mile after mile in that garage much more enjoyable.  It was MY space.  My space to train and dream big.  And even though it was just in a dusty old garage, it was MY dusty old workout space.  Many a run in that garage.  Many a dream.  Thoughts of crushing my goals and racing strong.  There were even workouts that brought discouragement and doubt.  However, no matter what kind of workout I had out there on that treadmill, having a place to call my own, sparked motivation and helped me keep my dreams alive.

As we get ready to move to our new house in Bend, Oregon, I anticipate that most of my runs will be on the Deschutes River Trail that runs right next to our home.  In fact, we are only a block from the river trail access.  This sounds like a dream, and no doubts, it will feel like one too.  However, I'm also aware that the winter weather in Bend will mean that some days are inside runs. This is especially true if I continue to train through the winters for spring marathons.

In seeing Jenn's picture of her finished treadmill room, I realized what a difference it can make to have this inspirational space to call our own.  Creating space that inspires us can do wonders for our athletes, artists, writers, etc.  As many of us know without a doubt, the mind is one powerful player in creating and achieving our best!  So, bring on the inspirational space.

One perk to having more space in our new house is having the space to give my treadmill a place inside  the house instead of in a dusty, cluttered and cold garage.  Jenn's workout space inspires me and I'm so  excited to plan my indoor workout space!  In fact, I think I'll start now by framing my Boston Marathon posters from 2013 and 2014 before they get ruined in the move to Bend.  Once we unpack, you bet I'll be pulling out old medals and racing bibs to frame and make visible from my treadmill.  I'm sure there are many things in my old running boxes that would be  perfect for my inspirational running space.  It will be fun to look through them.

Some ideas to include in a home workout space for runners:

  1. A bulletin board or wall filled with race bibs from past races. 
  2. Framed race bibs from races that are particularly special for one reason or another.  If I can find them, I will frame the bib from my first marathon and my four Boston Marathons.  
  3. A medal hanger to display your racing bling.  You can find these at almost any of the big marathon expos or online.  Some of you might even have a friend that makes them.
  4. Your goal times written down where you can see them from your treadmill.
  5. Framed posters from special races.  Again, I will be framing my Boston 2013 and 2014 posters.  I don't think I saved any from 2004 and 2012.
  6. Notes of encouragement from our children, spouses, friends, etc.  
  7. Photos.  I'm sure many of us have photos from some of our favorite running memories:  On the bus to the starting corral, running a race, posing with runners that inspire us, receiving a medal, that moment where we just finished our first race, etc.  I haven't included photos in my workout space but I have some great ideas for pictures I might frame if I ever get around to that.
  8. Words.  I love words!  You bet, I'll plan on putting up powerful quotes, mantras and even just words by themselves that inspire me in one way or another.   Do you have an inspirational space or workout room in your house?  What does it look like?  Do you have old race bibs and medals up?  Pictures?