The Day Before

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Today is the day before I leave for Australia... I'm not packed yet and I'm about to head out and go paddle-boarding on Lake Whatcom with my Mom. It's supposed to be another hot day and I want to squeeze in all I can before I go away for two weeks.

I plan to travel minimalistically on this trip which is a big challenge for me so I keep going over in my head what the bare essentials should be. Pocket sized super-computer (iPhone), wallet, passport, camera, contact solution, toothbrush, hula hoop and running shoes. Isn't that all I really need? It's not that easy... I'll be pairing it up and down all day in my mind I'm sure. I probably should squeeze in a run today too.

Hard Lessons

 Sunset off the coast of Northern California.

Sunset off the coast of Northern California.

I finally was able to run last Tuesday after eventually recovering from learning some very important life lessons the hard way. A few weeks without running and my mood was getting dark, seriously.

It's hard to run when you leave home without running shoes for one. That was just one of the many mistakes I made on this last trip but I'll spare you the details of that here- you can read it in my book later. I've told the story enough times recently to refine the way I want to write it so for now let's just say running is super important in my life, it's right up there with the one thing I need most of all- sleep.

It's amazing how we can take so many things for granted until we don't have them any more. I didn't really realize how important sleep is to some very basic functions in life, especially when under stress and without the option to run off the fight or flight adrenalin. There's not really time for me to get into the details today either but it's been too long since I've created a blog post so I had to write something.

Just a quick update, I'm doing the recreational division Padden Triathlon tomorrow. Then all my energy is going to be refocused on training for the half Marathon coming up on July 22nd in Australia. A lot is on the calendar between now and when I fly out on July 15th so time is limited but I will try to write more. I'll be instructing Youth Keelboat sailing at the Bellingham Yacht Club for the next few weeks which will possibly give me more good reasons to make sure I take time to run to de-stress.

You'd think that being on the water is relaxing but I can assure you that depending on the conditions it can be very physically, mentally and emotionally taxing, especially when you're the most (and possibly the only) experienced person onboard. I wouldn't have thought that experience would give me the kind of background to know that sometimes no matter how cautious and careful you are the unexpected can happen. It's the unexpected that gives me anxiety and I will continue to play it as safe as I possibly can. Getting enough sleep will be a main ingredient in the upcoming weeks.

Procrastination Station

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The name for this title just popped into my head so I googled it and there is an Organic Coffee shop at the University of Massachusetts called the Procrastination Station. What a great name for a cafe! However it's not such a great concept in the context I'm referring to... writing. I love to write but this blog post feels like it's been a long time coming... I've been seriously procrastinating. Even typing this first paragraph has been full of distractions prolonging the completion of a few sentences. Why?

I'm extremely thankful for all of the help I have received lately in a lot of different ways and I'm not sure how to fully express my gratitude. There are so many people who have encouraged me and are helping me to achieve my goals I don't even know where to begin. I suppose if I'm honest I have to say that I'm struggling with feeling worthy of it all. I appreciate it so much and I want to give back in all the ways that I can. Self-confidence is a real struggle and I'm afraid I still worry a little too much what people think. In my mind I fight with a perfectionist who is never really satisfied but I trudge forward and do the best I can. It's similar with running.

I call myself a runner but sometimes I feel like a fraud for no logical reason. Maybe it's because someone once told me that I would never be a runner and it stuck somewhere in my mental tissue. For some reason I believed that I would never be able to call myself a runner even though I run. I started off just trying to go a mile, then I tried to get my mile down to under 10 minutes and the journey continues even after reaching my goal of running a full marathon five years ago and running since then. Sometimes I wonder if I could even run a full marathon again.  

Of course part of me wants to believe I can do anything I put my mind and heart into, but part of me gets stuck on the what if and why and how mixed with voices of doubt from the past. My intentions are good, honestly and isn't that good enough?

I believe that anyone who runs, no matter what pace or distance should proudly be able to call themselves runners. Why am I the exception? I believe everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, that people are inherently good and that life is supposed to be fun for everyone so why am I still so hard on myself? These are the tough questions I aim to answer but at the same time they're the reason I hang out in a virtual procrastination station avoiding dealing with the feelings of unworthiness I've tried to push away.

Well, there it is, I said it. Now you know the struggle is real. I'm working on it and I only hope by exposing my vulnerable side here it may help someone else. It's really hard to accurately judge a book by it's cover or a person by how they appear, we all deal with fear on a daily basis and I just hope it doesn't prevent any of us from doing what we love. 

And I do love to run. So THANK YOU for all of your support and thanks to everyone who has believed in me when I struggled to believe in myself. I appreciate it more than you'll probably ever know and I feel very blessed to know so many amazing humans.

Syncing Feeling

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I feel like its important to have everything synced up however I am not the most organized person so this is another challenge for me to overcome. My goal is to be able to post on the long haired runner blog and have it link/sync to the matching Facebook Page at the same time.

So far I have a few posts here and a few posts there as well as some other posts elsewhere so please bear with me while I get this all sorted out. Hopefully I'll gain clarity on one of my long runs on how best to achieve this overall blog synchronicity. Long runs always seem to be good for sorting things out in my head.

Binge Eating Cookies

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I made a batch of Gluten free cookies today and I already ate eight of them (they're not small either). I don't make cookies very often and I certainly don't normally gorge myself on them. After 4 days in a row of running I'm sure I was just making up for lost calories. After long runs I usually get pretty hungry but I don't normally run every day even when I'm training for a race. My reason for running this much is a good one though.

I started on Monday working for the YMCA as a Trailblazers coach. Trailblazers is an after school program that was created by Jen Gallant for the YMCA after being involved with the Girls on the Run and having parents ask her for a similar program where boys could run too. Trailblazers is a great co-ed program that is less structured than Girls on the run and gets the kid's out trail running during the week. I first heard about it through the Greater Bellingham Running Club who is a big supporter of the program but I didn't really know much about it until I heard they were looking for extra help since it's become so popular so fast.

It's a different group of kids from several schools each day, the coaches drive the big Y vans to gather the young runners and we all meet at one of the local parks. This last week we went to Lake Padden and ran almost 3 miles every day on the back horse trails. Thursday it was absolutely pouring down rain but the kids were troopers and kept big smiles on their wet faces. I was drenched and cold afterward but still happy that I was out running in weather where I would have normally stayed home. (That probably added to my calorie deficit too- burning fuel to stay warm.) Thanks to the cookies I'm going to have plenty of fuel to burn for my long training run this weekend.

And then starting on Monday I get to run every day of the week again with some great kid's who hopefully will continue to enjoy running for the rest of their lives. I often wish I had learned to love running when I was much younger and I hope to inspire these young people to keep going with it. The health benefits are endless and it's a bonus to be able to eat a little extra without much concern. I wonder what trails are on the agenda for next week... there are so many beautiful options and the weather is just going to keep getting warmer. Yay!

This is the perfect part time job for me. Not only do I get to earn a little extra money for my Australia trip, I get to share my love of trail running with some amazing human beings (coaches included) while making sure the kids are safe, happy and healthy while out on the trails. It's an extra bonus to have multiple good reasons to get out and run everyday, rain or shine. I'm thankful for this opportunity and look forward to more adventures as we blaze the local trails this spring.

 

GBRC Gazette Article

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If you have been following my blog I think I said I would share my write-up for the Padden Mudfest. Here it is released as a special preview before the full March 2018 edition of GBRC gazette even goes out (because I spent the day writing and now it's time to get the cottage pie ready for dinner): 

Padden Mudfest Trail Running

The morning of the race the sun broke thru the gray skies as runners anticipated the mud bath that was to come with this magical run. However, this year was not nearly as cold nor as muddy as the previous year but the trails were as beautiful as usual. Familiar and new faces were abundant as member volunteers were busy making sure everything was ready to go as they attended to the usual day-of-race duties. 

Race director Tjalling Ypma was in fine form after making sure the course was well marked and was interviewed by Leo Schumaker was also present to capture the whole Mudfest racing scene. If you haven’t seen it on facebook already you can view the 2018 Padden Mudfest video on his youtube channel, Leo’s Running and Racing. 

I was there to run and take pictures so I had high hopes that my favorite mud puddle from last year was going to be in the same state of wetness. I passed the muckiest spot on the ridge thinking I would find a better place to stop and take some mud action photos only to find a totally dry trail where my puddle was supposed to be. 

I hadn’t run this race for a couple years and I guess I forgot those minor (major) elevation details. I’m pretty sure some of those hills went straight to my head which put me in keep-moving-forward mode. Before I knew it I was at the finish line, pulsing with those fabulous running endorphins. It still felt like winter for sure so the post race cooling occurred rapidly and I raced for the down jacket I had stashed in my car after crossing the finish line. I don’t know about you but I’m excited that the warmth of spring is almost here.

Thats it! Thanks for following my blog- stay tuned for more updates coming soon.

Super Excited!

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I'm super excited and there is so much to do! I meant to write something after the Padden Mudfest but time is moving so fast, if only I could run as fast as time flies these days. I don't know if I mentioned it before but I have been doing a bit of writing for the GBRC Gazette- Greater Bellingham Running Club's monthly newsletter. There is another issue about to be published and I promise there will be a little write-up for the not too muddy Mudfest that just happened somewhere in there.

For now I just wanted to say thank you for following my blog, I hope to create much more inspiring content as I work towards the big adventure in Australia coming up in July. My Facebook fundraiser was just approved and I'm grateful for all the help I can get along my journey. I'll be running for love, running for peace, running for health and happiness. Heck, I'll even be running for you if you don't want to run yourself.

Happy Friday!

 

Lake Padden

I love Lake Padden and I'm totally excited for Greater Bellingham Running Club's annual Padden Mudfest tomorrow! I'll have some photos and a write up here for sure. Let's see how muddy I can get. 

 This image is from my run a couple days ago and the sky was absolutely stunning so I had to attempt to capture it. I threw myself into the image for perspective and to further illustrate why I'm calling this blog The Long Haired Runner!

This image is from my run a couple days ago and the sky was absolutely stunning so I had to attempt to capture it. I threw myself into the image for perspective and to further illustrate why I'm calling this blog The Long Haired Runner!