Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jogger Stroller Joyride Towards the River

Thank goodness for sagebrush and other high desert plants that line the trail along the river by my house.  If it weren't for them, I'm quite sure my son would have had the most thrilling jogger stroller joyride of his life....on down into the Deschutes!  Yesterday was one of my most adventurous of trail runs yet.  My husband suggested I take both boys on my trail run--Ashe the dog and my five-year-old son Sam.  Ashe comes running with me every day now...that's no problem at all.  But I think my son has grown to be a little too big for the jogger stroller. My husband thinks otherwise.  He takes Sam for runs in the jogger stroller often.  Apparently, he has a great system worked out where Ashe runs ahead, Sam hold on to the leash and all that's left to be done is steer the stroller a bit. I went ahead and tried this out for myself.  It worked fine.  Great actually.  But there were a few kinks in my plan:  1.  I'm not used to the jogger stroller anymore.  2. I've grown quite comfortable with the fact that my kids are old enough to fend for themselves most of the time with regards to staying nearby, walking, not shoving dirt in their mouths.... you know, being responsible.   3. Running with the dog AND the stroller is new to me.  4.  I didn't expect the dog to have to poop at the top of trail right as we started running.  

As soon as the dog decided to do his thing, I saw that his leash was in the way.  I didn't think anything of letting go of the stroller and bending down to untangle the dog. S#$t!  Right as I was unsnapping the leash, I hear my son shouting (a happy and fun shout) "Woah! Woah!!  Ahhh!" as the stroller rolled down the path straight for the river's edge.  I think I've found my new SPEED work!  Forget the track! My heart jumped into my throat and I ran as fast as I could to catch up with him.  Lucky for all of us, he crashed into a huge bush.  This made me laugh a little but I was still kind of scared at what could have been.  White water and a little boy strapped in a jogger stroller aren't a good mix.  My son thought it was hilarious and fun.  He said "At least I was buckled in!"  Um, no, that really would have made matters worse if you would have rolled in the river.  Mother of the year award goes to....

A few positives from this story:
  • My son didn't roll into the river.
  • It made me laugh when it was all over and I was able to see the whole situation from an outside perspective...this mom, her pooping pup, and a five-year-old in a jogger stroller speeding towards the river with nobody steering.  
  • The run actually turned out to be a good one.  It's a great workout running on trails, period.  Then add a jogger stroller and you get an even better workout!  
  • Having this adrenaline producing experience actually proved to be quite a boost in my mood...after the fact.  
I'll be sure to add this adventure to my new journal where I'm writing about trail running adventures and reflections.

Note:  Just for the record, the place where he would have rolled off into the river wasn't actually one of those steep embankments around parts of the Deschutes.  However, he would have been quite shocked to find himself bounding off rocks and into a bitter cold and rushing river (not a calm spot).  

And just a video from this morning's trail run (without a jogger stroller):  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Relentless Forward Progress

Relentless Forward Progress.  

What a great name for a book! What a great string of words, period. Relentless Forward Progress. This  sums up so much of what it's about to live life: continuing to move forward from where we are and make progress one step at a time.  Hope. Finding things to work on and be intentional about so we can keep making our life what we want it to be.  Small steps.  Big steps.  Daring leaps of possibility.  This is one of the things I love so much about running and training for marathons (and maybe soon to be ultramarathons).  We start where we are and we keep moving forward with progress.  Running is a metaphor for life.  Sometimes we train for a big goal where we push our limits and sometimes we run to be with ourselves and do something that brings joy.  No matter why or how we run, it adds an element to our living that keeps us striving for more... health, life, possibility, energy....  I truly think that running is one thing that helps us be the best possible version of ourselves.   

Relentless Forward Progress is the next book on my reading list as far as running books go.  Up until now, ultrarunning isn't something that I've had a deep desire to try. And I'm still not entirely sold.  In fact, I've often said that the marathon is the longest distance I would ever want to run.  When my husband read Born to Run a few years ago, he started talking about his desire to run an ultra and I just rolled my eyes and said how ridiculous that sounded.  Of course he usually brought it up right after I finished a marathon and I was still in the stage of thinking I never wanted to run that long ever again.  I remember him asking me if I would ever want to run the last 30 miles of a 100 mile race with him.  I thought he was nuts!  30 miles?!  26.2 is plenty long enough!!  Funny how time changes things.  I think I'm finally at a place in my life where running a trail ultra sounds kind of fun!  It definitely sounds like a challenge!  And here are the biggest reasons I think it just might be time to do it:
  1. We live in a trail running mecca that is the best possible training grounds for a trail ultra!  In fact, since we moved here at the start of August, I've almost exclusively run on trail.  Not just flat trails either...lots of hills, rocks, turns...varying terrain.  
  2. It would be such a special thing to be able to train and run my first ultra with my husband (his first too).  We'd start with a 50k and see what we think.  The 50k we are thinking of is in May (a very challenging one!) so I could use the Boston Marathon as a training run if that's what I decided.  
For now, I'm still deciding what to do about my next training goals.  I might use a different marathon plan and train for Boston starting in January and then still try to run the ultra in May but then I also might just truly train for endurance with no specific marathon training and use Boston as a true long training run for an ultra...slow and steady.  I'm hoping this book will bring inspiration.  I hear good things about it.  Here's what the back of the book has to say:

Speaking of relentless forward progress....on my run today, I thought of some short term and long term goals I have for myself as I continue to move forward here and set down some roots:
  • Start paying more attention to my daily diet.  Since moving, it hasn't been the best.  I stopped taking a daily vitamin, was skipping some important nutrients, and so much more! I'm pretty sure this added to the depression I was dealing with. It's time to get back on track here.  I'm confident that being more conscious about a balanced diet with the right nutrients will help will help with mood, focus, ambition, and athletic performance.  
  • Get back in a routine of writing in my personal journals daily:  free writing, gratitude, goals, and just processing.  
  • Continue to fill my life with positive intentions and thoughts that I want to fulfill.
  • Continue to live with vulnerability and authenticity.  This is how I thrive.  Being open with my feelings and thoughts as they come can be scary but also very empowering.  
  • Make efforts to build new relationships while nurturing the ones I already have.  
  • Spend 10-15 minutes of focused quality time with each of my kids weekly. Really, this doesn't sound like much but with all the many things that fill the week with three kids, this is harder than it sounds some weeks. We spend lots more time with our kids and will likely have many opportunities to connect with them in meaningful ways every day.  However, things can get busier than we intend.  Being conscious of spending specific time with each of my kids is just one way to make sure each day isn't a "we'll get to that tomorrow" type day.  Even if each kid has one night a week where I cuddle with them in bed for awhile before they fall asleep...this INTENTIONAL quality time goes a long way. This will be their time.  A run, a cuddle, a walk, a trip to the store together....  This is in addition to the every day stuff.  A slow-down, special, deliberate connection.  
  • Same as above but with my husband!  But make that a date night or day.  Just deliberate time  we set aside for each other.  Free of distractions.  
  • Add some yoga or strength to the fitness routine.  I still have a hard time slowing down for these things but I'm getting better.  My friend Rene made a yoga for runners video that I will share soon.  Simple, short, and great for adding in a routine!  Again, I just need to remember to slow down and make time for this!  
  • Continue believing in, researching, and writing the book I'm co-authoring.  More on this another time but I'm excited at the progress so far!  

Follow up to my last post 
There was a blog comment on there this morning that got my fingers moving quite quickly in response...a good comment that provoked lots of words so that comment might explain and elaborate on so much from that post on Depression.  If I was vague, I tried to be clear in the comment.  So, if you want more explanation, read the comments.  :)  

I can't help but feel exposed after my last post.  Vulnerable.  Lots of room for misunderstanding and misconception.  Writing on the topic of depression and feeling so stuck wasn't easy but it was freeing and helpful in finding a refocus.  Honestly, writing it was therapeutic.  Reading your comments and private messages where you shared your personal experiences and struggles made me more aware than ever that mental health is something that needs to be taken more seriously.  Depression is just one mental health topic that our society needs to talk MORE about in order to give people a voice and sense of hope.  I read so many of your stories--stories of depression, anxiety and fears of talking about and admitting your struggles.  Because there is such a stigma that comes with depression, so many people are embarrassed to talk about it. There is also such a spectrum when it comes to the severity one can experience depression.  Someone like me, who is quite low on the spectrum might feel embarrassed to even admit to having a level of depression at all.  Especially if you see what's out there when you search for things on depression. I searched the hash tag for depression (#depression) on Instagram as I often do before I slap a label on my Instagram posts...just to make sure I'm putting my blog posts with the right category (you never know!).  Oh MY!  Before Instagram even let me into that hash tag group, I got a warning along the lines of the images I was about to see would be disturbing.  Wow.  My recent stretch of feeling depressed and struggling to understand my lower level feeling of depression were not even close to being like what I was seeing in these posts.  They were labeled #depression but so may of the people posting were dealing with things far far beyond anything I can even come close to comprehending. Some SEVERE mental illness!  With that being said, I think writing my post served even more of a purpose than I realized. It helped me process and acknowledge some very real feelings and gave a voice to others who might be in the same place of feeling embarrassed to admit to experiencing some level of depression.

I enjoyed this article:  Overcoming the Stigma of Depression.  

A few bullet points: 
  • I've never been clinically diagnosed with depression.  I know there are people out there that have severe levels of depression that I don't even begin to understand.  However, I do know the difference between just feeling down and blah and truly experiencing lows that feel out of our control.  
  • Mental Health in our country...the world...is equally as important as physical health.  I so strongly believe that we need to address this topic more and more.  In fact, it is likely that with an increase in mental health awareness and support, we will see a decrease in physical illnesses. 
  • This last month of my life has definitely been about finding my ground and setting down roots.  A close friend came to visit this weekend and reminded me that it takes time for plants to have a strong root system and she compared this to how it is for us to feel rooted after a big life change.  Yes!  Feeling unrooted, stuffing feelings of struggle as they came up, and then getting to a point where I just felt stuck, led to some pretty dark feelings.  Getting stuck like this and not knowing what to do with all the hidden feelings we've stored up can surely make us feel sick on a mental level. 
  • Being depressed and truly struggling for awhile isn't the same for everyone.  For example, running, self awareness, diet, self expression, talking it out, setting goals, and being heard...these things are just some of what is enough for me to get back on track.  Others might need much more.  Although I've never needed, wanted or used antidepressants or any kind of medication, I do think some people need this!  And I don't think it is anything to be ashamed about!  In fact, talk about it!!  That's just it...let's talk more about this so people don't feel so alone!  
Have you run an ultramarathon?  What one?  Do you have any interest in it?  
Have you read this book Relentless Forward Progress?  

Friday, September 19, 2014

On Depression

"...the act of repressing it seems to repress everything else too, simply because I am spending a lot of time avoiding something." 

"When I'm cranky now, miserable, dissatisfied, pessimistic, negative, generally rotten, I recognize it as feeling.  I know the feeling can change.  I know it is energy that wants to find a place in the world and wants friends."  --from Writing Down the Bones --Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

"Ex-pression is the opposite of de-pression. Whenever we de-press, we usually need to ex-press. Tune your channel to creativity and let the goodness flow out of you!"  --Sark

I've been depressed.  There, I said it.  I finally decided that if I'm going to ever pick this blog back up again and make it something where I truly have a place to write ME, connect with others in authentic ways, and have it be the blog I intended it to be...the blog I WANT it to be...I have to be honest...real...and willing to write what's on my heart as it comes.  The happy and wonderful things as well as the low and kind of ugly things.  With that comes vulnerability.  I don't like that V words these days.  But with vulnerability and sharing real feelings comes connection.  Chances are, if we break down our walls and expose the things that are most pressing on our hearts, there are others that just might relate and find some of the same freedom in reading as we have in writing.  

When it comes to writing the stuff we are drawn to write, it can feel scary and too personal...so we hold back, repress, replace the hard stuff with surface, and the cycle of STALE continues until we can express ourselves truly.  Repressing the pressing thoughts and feelings can be quite DEPRESSING.  I think it's time for some real heart driven writing so I can make room for other energy.  

Depression.  Definitely not a word to toss around lightly.  There are bad days.  Blues.  Feeling dumpy.  Being in a rut.  And then there is some more serious stuff that can creep in there and really take a hold on our life for longer than just a day or two. I know this because I've struggled with depression on and off for much of my life. Not always in the ways it has presented itself lately though.   Recently, depression has taken a form in my life that I haven't seen before.  It's been a little darker.  Deeper.  To the point where I've been embarrassed and confused by it. 

It took me awhile this time to acknowledge that what I was dealing with since moving to Bend six weeks ago was really a little more serious than just feeling sad.  It took seeing some of my friendships suffer, noticing my husband worry, and realizing that I was slowly becoming a shell of myself where I needed --wanted-- to reach out and tell my friends how I was feeling.  Just this act of reaching out led to a lift and feeling happier.  What a FREEDOM it is to be able to EXPRESS our real human bags of STUFF!  Yes?  

Email to one of my closest and most special friends a few days ago:  

"Haven't been in the best of places lately.  Weird really.  Some ups and downs.  The ups are extremely happy and amazing but the downs feel pretty dark.  Sad.  a little lost.  Depressed for sure.  This transition is harder than most for me.  Maybe because it seems so forever.  Maybe because change is just hard.  Period.  But I'm riding the waves and trying to listen to myself and give myself what I need.  Such a weird place to be.  So happy but yet struggling too.  With all the shit in the world, people who are really really hurting, and living in this place that everyone thinks is so great (and really is as great as it looks and sounds), it is almost as if I feel badly for feeling sad or depressed. Shame.  feelings of not deserving to feel a certain way because of how good I have it...  As if i have no right.  Again, a really weird place to be to feel ashamed of feelings. Or to not feel control over my sudden drops in mood.  Some days I'll feel good and alive and inspired and then two days later I can feel a complete lack of any interest in anything.  As if I'm just going through the motions.    New territory for me.  I also find myself wondering what the hell is wrong with me to feel depressed  and how can I be depressed but yet happy at the same time.  All the things I share on fb and blog, etc.  These are all real moments of joy...my book, the new dog, living in Bend... but there's a lot I'm not sharing too...the parts where I'm just sad.  It's as if I'm trying to wake myself up every week but yet I end up still stuck.  Some days it feels as if I'm looking at my life through plexi glass but I can't feel it or reach in and hold it.  I'm hoping that these are things that will change soon. Really really hoping to get unstuck.  Setting up my creative space today has made me feel hopeful that I can make this house feel more and more like space that inspires me.  I know enough about myself, depression, moods, creative people, etc. to know that this doesn't define me but gosh, it feels shitty to feel shitty every other day.  Lots of tears.  Lots of missing Asheville and then feeling guilty or embarrassed for missing it.  Just lots in this heart of mine.  I'm telling you this as a friend... a private conversation... not for any other reason than to let you in to my life a bit since you're a dear friend...if I seem distant as a friend or a really crappy emailer or communicator, I'm sorry.  This has a lot to do with it.  I know it is a season in life.  I'm fine...just taking it as it comes.  And if it doesn't get better then hopefully training more for a marathon will help...and making new friends...and continuing to find my place here....moves take TIME.  I've only been here for 6 weeks so I expect things to be rocky.  If only the moods would stay a bit more stable.  :)  But reading new things, changing my space, meeting new people, starting date nights up again, writing and reading...these things will help too." 

When it comes to Depression, there are so many misconceptions and labels out there.  They have crept into my thoughts and been a bully of sorts.  This bully within has told me that something must be wrong with me to be feeling these dark feelings at a time where I'm still happy and have so much to be grateful for.  It's told me to feel shame and hide the depression...stuff it deep in the back draws where nobody has to see it.  The only problem with that is that it is still there!  Being repressed...hidden...the opposite of expression and ultimately leading to more...depression.  

It doesn't help that we live in this society of social media that has turned into something that almost holds us to this standard of perpetual happiness and all things Happy.  Somewhere in this attempt to present our best selves and focus on gratitude and happiness and making LIFE GREAT with our intentions (all very very good things in themselves), we've almost made it seem wrong to express the ugly stuff....the stuff we don't like...the stuff we struggle with...the stuff that is really, kind of a downer. We forget that life does't always have to be HAPPY.  You can still have a heart full of gratitude and incredible intentions for living and be SAD...Angry...Depressed.  You can still be living a GREAT LIFE that you LOVE DEEPLY and need to process the shit!  I say we bring back our ability to tell the world...those we love...the people on our Facebook and Instagram feeds...what we REALLY feel and stop trying so hard to stuff the gross stuff and only show the good stuff.  What do we fear?  Being a downer?  Losing friends? (um, newsflash:  they weren't friends in the first place if they "unfollow" or shut the door when you are real.)  

One of the biggest and most important things I've learned about myself and depression lately is that it doesn't help us in any way to hide it from others.  In fact, this only suffocates us.  Sharing helps.   Telling people in our lives how we feel deep down...this is what helps us get unstuck. Expressing our shitty feelings and the dark parts that creep into our life sometimes does so much for us. And others too, really.  When we are real, we help others to feel freedom to be real too.  We tell our friends that it's okay to struggle and not be alone with our struggles.  It tells them that it is normal to not always feel happy.   It leads to connection and clears our energy so that we can do just what we want so much to do: find happiness and continue living in authenticity.  It helps us be true to ourselves and get rid of the shit so we can keep climbing towards the our best selves.  Our best self doesn't mean PERFECTION or PERFECTLY HAPPY every single day.  Sorry social media and surface bullshit posts, you suck in this regard.  Sharing when we are happy is awesome.  Sharing gratitude is even more awesome.  Sharing the good parts ...YES, bring it on! Inspire. Radiate JOY.  Yes yes!  But share the stuff you struggle with too!  At least with those who are closest to.  

Am I the only one annoyed by this post being tossed around out of context?  

It's posts like this above that really sum up what our society has pushed so much.  To the point of ridiculousness.  Fake.  Fear of being real.  And heaven forbid, NOT being in LOVE with our life every minute of every day!  Seriously?  Yes, this is a great message that focuses on love.  But in reality, are we really in love with every moment of our life?  Hmm, after I get over how much this post (being tossed around on social media OFTEN) annoys me, I can see the truth to it.  Yes, I could analyze it and say that yes, I'm still in love with my life even though I don't love everything about every day.  But I just think this captures that high bar of living...that unspoken expectation from the world of social media (which is unfortunately how so many of us connect these days)...that unattainable level of perpetual happiness that really leaves many feeling like one big fucking failure because we can't keep up.  We can't keep up because we are holding these heavy bags of shit that we just need to address so we can do just that...Be HAPPY.  Be REAL.  True to ourselves.  EXPRESS.  Live with Authenticity.  Find JOY in BEING with ourselves where we ARE and not always one step ahead of the game, masking ourselves with only parts of our life that really are happy no matter how real they are.  If we are too scared of cleaning our life fridge out, eventually no matter how much fresh produce and food we stock up with, there is still going to be rotten food inside that stinks the whole damn fridge up.  I'm not in love with these parts but I still have to deal with them.  

Here's what I've had to really tell myself lately about depression:
  • All kinds of people can struggle with depression.  Depression doesn't mean something is terribly flawed in you.  It doesn't mean you are broken. It means you are human. Some of the most amazing people we will ever meet in life have struggled with depression.    
  • You can experience happiness and depression in the same stretch of life.  Your depression doesn't negate your happiness.You can certainly be happy, thankful, and living a great life and still struggle with depression. I think it is when we repress our feelings and try to hide them from the world in hopes they will go away...that's when depression can really creep in and suffocate us.  
  • People need to share.  Express.  Validate.  Acknowledge.  These things help.  
  • Depression is hard to understand. People ask "Why? Why are you depressed?"  This can't always be answered with a clear cut sentence.  Sometimes you just feel sad.  And sometimes you are depressed. Even if the life around you is happy, thriving, and full of so many reasons for why you should feel blessed! In a recent attempt to reach out to someone, my mom explained her depression in a way that made so much sense.  She said, "It's like standing behind plexiglass watching your life but not being able to reach in and really feel...touch...taste.."  YES!  This is how I've felt so much lately.  
  • I think there is a definite connection between creativity and depression.. I've learned a lot about myself as a creative person lately.  Actually, a lot about creative people in general...writers, artists, musicians, comedians (all artists).  Creativity or lack of creativity can come in waves...these waves can have a dance with depression.  I've noticed this particularly with my mother as she's suffered from pretty serious depression over the years (all my life really).  Her brilliant (damn near genius) creations with her art are often followed by long silent lulls.  I can't ignore the fact any longer that this is MY mother...a woman I am very much like.  I've tried so hard to not be my mother (don't we all?) that I think I've skirted around the issue that I too have some struggles with depression even if my life is full of so much JOY.  
A note on depression:  I think there are surely varying degrees of depression. I'm far from an expert on the topic.  In fact, it is just recently that I've even acknowledged that depression is a real thing for me...more than just sad feelings. Not to the point where it has taken over my life...but enough to address it!  If you think you are experiencing serious depression, GO See someone.  Yes, I think the term depression is tossed around quite lightly in our world and I think too many people are too quick to want to get a quick fix with medication before they try other things.  There's a difference between moodiness and feeling blah and true depression.  However, we need to stop judging people here and recognize that depression is also a real thing that people avoid talking about.  Many people really need medication.  Although, I've never used antidepressants, I know many people that do.  This is okay.  My depression has never really gotten very bad...it comes and goes through my life...usually at the end of a creative spell or during huge life changes.  For the most part, I have found incredible relief from depression and very long stretches where it isn't dominant in my life (most of the time really).  

Things that help with Depression:
  • Running.  Running has always provided a natural release for me.  I know some people are sensitive to tossing around the term: Running is my therapy.  But I have no issues with this.  Running has been therapy for me in a sense.  I've always guided myself through the roughest patches in life with the wisdom deep in this head and heart of mine...these words often come out on a run.  Running is also known for producing ENDORPHINS.  Endorphins are real.  They do boost mood.  So far, this has worked for me.  
  • Talk about IT!  Talk about it.  Share your heart.  When we stuff the things that are the hardest for us, we ISOLATE ourselves.  This eventually leads to some pretty heavy stuff.  Reach out.  
  • Therapy is a good thing.  My opinion is that everyone could benefit from therapy.  Even if we aren't depressed or struggling in life.  I've seen a therapist lots in my life.  I'm open about this.  In fact, some of the the biggest lessons in my life and about myself have been learned through therapy.  If you have ways to see a therapist, take advantage of that.  Get matched up with someone and GROW.  Process.  LEARN.  A good therapist can be an incredible asset to our lives.  Someone to talk to.  My last therapist was a cognitive behavioral therapist (CBT) who taught me some powerful cognitive skills for working through some of the anxiety and fear I was dealing with.  The things she taught me are tools I will have for the rest of my life...breathing, self talk, understanding research behind how our brains and bodies work.  Real stuff.  Don't ever let the word therapy embarrass you or cause you to feel shame.  Some of the smartest people out there...leaders...have a therapist.  Brene Brown, one of the most widely known therapists around has a therapist! 
  • Diet and vitamins!  
  • Yoga and mindfulness.
  • Cry.  Cry when you feel like crying.  Such a release.  
  • Be Honest with yourself.  Journaling helps.  
  • Let others LOVE YOU.
Okay, there you have it.  Even if this was mostly for myself, it has worked.  I already feel unstuck. Is depression gone for good?  No, I don't think it works like that.  I think we just continue to find ways to work through those sides to ourself...we learn to own it and take the good with the ugly.  It takes time to work through everything at once, but after writing this, I feel incredibly empowered.  Admitting my struggle with depression hasn't taken away from happiness in life one single bit.  Nope.  In fact, I now feel like my dirty fridge has been cleaned out, I've added another layer of REAL and authentic, and I'm free to enjoy the good stuff.  My creative energy feels like it is free to flow again....  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

As Seen on My Run #2: Trail Run Weekend and Other Random Tidbits on Running, Motherhood, Life

  1. You bet I grabbed the vaseline before we left for our trail run date today.  After a weekend of trail runs in this rugged mountain high dessert climate (dry and constant sunshine), this girl has some armpit chaffing going on! This is relatively new for me except for Boston 2014.  Ouch!  In addition to chaffing, I need LOTION for my thirsty skin.  Lots of it! 
  2. After my ten miler yesterday (with 4 in the morning to make 14), six on Friday and seven today, my body is SORE!  Sore but happy.  
  3. Running with a dog is hilarious!  It's completely different from running alone when you have a new dog.  Such a new experience for me.  Instead of having little kids and stopping to talk to random strangers about each other's kids, it is now stopping to talk to random people about their dogs.  It takes twice as long to run a trail when doing this.  Every stop is like an opportunity to socialize your dog.  "Say hi."  "He's nice."  "How old is he/she?"  "What kind of dog do you have?"  And it's even more hilarious to me at the ego stroking going on between dog owners.  So many people complementing other dogs and loving have others to talk to about their dog.  Oh, and people we would otherwise rarely stop to talk to...they are our new trail buddies...all because of our dogs....old ladies, other trail runners, families with kids, etc.  I got so many laughs out of our run today.  Note to self:  If we are going to get a steady workout without stopping, we must resist the temptation to stop to let Ashe talk to every dog we see.  
  4. Speaking of Bend and dogs, um, could you get any more dog friendly?  We went to a very popular brewery tonight called 10 Barrel and took Ashe with us.  Half the people there had a dog with them...as long as they are leashed, dogs are allowed in so many restaurants.  And we forgot a dog bowl for water, but guess what?  They had one for him.  With dog bones painted on the side.  Really?  So, we enjoyed a cold IPA and french fries and he did some people and dog watching.  Score!  
  5. What a good good family weekend!  A weekend I most DEFINITELY needed!  Soccer games, sunshine, plenty of mileage, more settling into a routine, some journal time with my coffee that helped me be present and content, finding a new church that fits our family needs (haven't been to church of any kind in over a year...but this one seems like a good fit for our family on many counts), a trail run day with my husband, new babysitter and so much more.  
  6. This weekend was even a weekend that felt ON in the motherhood department (well, by the end of the weekend). Having a 4th grade girl (going on major teenager), 2nd grader and a five year old is new territory for us.  It always is...every year is something different when it comes to this parenthood gig, right?  And I don't think we are ever fully prepared.  We just need to do the best we can.  It helps to have some really good friends in our life to look up to and get advice from!   Funny how once we feel like we have some sort of grip or control over the stage our kids are at, things transition again. 

Okay, onto our trail runs.  I'll leave most of this part to the pictures.  These pictures include two pictures from the Shevlin Park trails (around Tumalo Creek) and Green Lakes Trail towards the end.  However, most of them are from today where we took Marci's advice and ran on the Deschutes River Trail near Meadow Camp going towards Mr. Bachelor.  Thanks Marci!! This section of trail is my favorite of all of them around here so far!  Gosh, it's hard to choose a favorite here but this one was incredible.  Besides the many dog owners with their dogs we saw off leash and the fly fisherman, it was pretty much just us and nature.  Glorious.  Oh, and my husband actually coached me a bit in regards to running fast downhill on the trails!  He just made some simple suggestion about making sure I took small steps and didn't let my toes go in front of my knees.  I'm not sure how he worded it but WOW! For the first time trail running, I felt like I learned a new trick that led to noticeable improvement in efficiency and speed!

Playing toss the pine cone into the river.  Ashe is strong swimmer!  

LOTS of this on our run today. Quite funny to me to see how things change when you have a new dog.  

This place rocks!  Dog friendly, good vibes, in a cool area, and good beer!  And darn right, I earned these fries after this weekend of running! YUM!

Who Knew?  I LOVE him!

Our family went to the Green Lakes Trail before soccer games on Saturday.  I went off for my mother/daughter run with my sweet girl and we brought Ashe along for fun.  He's so gentle with her on the leash! 

View of Tumalo Creek from the Shevlin Park Trail.  

So long to clean trail shoes!  These Brooks Cascadias are so DUSTY!! I love these shoes.  

Um, this has nothing to do with trail running.  But it is darn cute.  Our family surely has a  new completeness to it now that Ashe is here.  

  1. How was your weekend?  Long runs?  Exciting plans?  Did you have a much needed lazy weekend?  
  2. Do you run with your significant other on run dates?  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five Things Friday

1.  We Got A Dog!  I've never really felt the need or pressing desire for a family dog by any means but our kids sure have.  They've been asking for a dog for years.  At one point we told them we'd get a dog when their little brother was two.  Well, he's five now.  Then we told them we'd get one when we moved back to Oregon after our adventures traveling from Asheville.  Well, here we are.  It was time to hold up to our end of the bargain.  We are officially dog owners to one beautiful, smart, happy, and eager young boy named Asher or Ashe (I'm liking this version more).  He was named after Asheville but the name is also very fitting for him.  I think I kind of love him already.  A few things I love about Ashe so far:
  • So good with the kids!  Really, he chose them and they chose him.  They found each other.  When we first went to the Humane Society, he was just brought in as a stray and looked so scared and unsure of everything.  I was immediately drawn to him for some reason but figured he was a little too timid for our family dog.  But then we went back a week or two later and he was so different!  He let the kids play with him through the door (we couldn't take him out yet since he hadn't been assessed) and he would bring his ball right up to where they could reach in with their hands.  Today, we was ready to be adopted so we went to spend some time with him.  There was no way I could say no to this dog after seeing him with the kids....all of us really. 
  • He is so well behaved and smart!  I can't believe this dog is under a year old and seems to know so much.  He let my husband and the kids give him a full on bath tonight and just sat there patiently until it was over.  He followed the kids all around the house and I'm pretty sure he tucked each one of them in in his own dog way.  Now he's at my feet chewing on a bone after giving up on me throwing his toy in the air for him to catch.  Oh, and it's like he speaks our language already because I will just talk to him and he seems to know just what I'm saying.  GOOD Dog. 
  • He's a Lab/German Shorthaired Pointer...or so they think.  He has a lot of energy...just enough for our family.  Eventually, he will make a GREAT running partner.  He will be able to do so much with us...hiking, running, road trips.  Oh, and Bend is the most dog friendly city on earth from what it looks like so I'm thinking he'll get his own seat at the table when we dine out.  Kidding.  But maybe not kidding knowing Bend. 
2.  Boston.  I'm registered for Boston 2015!  I love this race but more importantly, I love this race weekend and the friends I get to see when I go. This will be my 5th Boston so I think after this one, I should be done for awhile...maybe. There's more to marathons than Boston. And way more affordable marathons for sure!   I don't know how I'll train for Boston but I can figure that out soon enough.  The more I think about it, the more I think it would be fun to use it as a training run for a 50k in May like I mentioned a few posts back.  I guess I'll wait and see how a Bend winter treats us.  

3.  Bend Winter.  Speaking of Bend in the winter, it is already quite cold in the mornings and evenings. I still keep seeing posts about humidity and heat.  Those posts are surely not written by people in Bend.  I'm thinking it is time to pull out the winter running tights soon.  

4.  Sunshine and Aging.  Is it possible to look older after only a month of living somewhere? Can wrinkles show up that fast?  Seriously, the sunshine here is the real deal--strong!  When I lived in Portland, I used to joke that the constant gray and rain was actually our best kept beauty secret...I think people in Portland who have been there a long time usually look younger than they are.  They are definitely a shade or three or four lighter than most people. A good place to live if you are a vampire.  Bend is a bit different.  No vampires here...they'd all die.  The sky is almost always blue and the sun is always shining.  I'll take it.  But with the happiness of sunshine comes lots of exposure to those sunshiney rays.  Daily note to self:  Hat, sun screen, sun glasses.  

5.  Twin Cities Marathon.  I'm so excited to travel to MN next month to watch the Twin Cities Marathon.  One of my best friends will be racing and I know of a few others that will be there too.  I've heard such great things about this race and about how beautiful it is at this time of year.  My friend that's running has been one of the most supportive and loving friends a girl could ask for. When I ran Grandma's Marathon in June, she drove down to Duluth to spend the weekend with me and she was at so many places along the course running next to me and cheering.  I'm so glad I get to be out there to support her this time.  Even better....another dear friend is traveling out there from Boston to be there too.  A girlfriend weekend, time to support our friend, and the opportunity to be part of the beauty and energy that this marathon has to offer!  

1.  Do you have a dog?  What kind?  Does he/she like to play catch/fetch?  Do you run with your dog? 
2.  Have you run Twin Cities Marathon?  Do you know someone running this year?