Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Thoughts on Running in 2015: Part II

Run #LikeAGirl

I know it's already well into 2015, but I like to take some time to disconnect after the season and not worry about training or racing. So I'm a little late to the game creating my goals for 2015, but nonetheless, here are my plans for 2015.

2015 Race Schedule

2/7 Vert Fest Skimo Race, Mt. Bachelor, 1st
This was my first actual skimo race. I had some technical issues, but it was a great all around experience.

3/7 Way Too Cool 50k
Should be fast and furious. A little intimidated to be running fast in early March.

3/28 Elk's Grand Traverse, Skimo race
High on the 'oh shit, what did I get myself into' list. This is a 40 mile backcountry ski race from Crested Butte to Aspen beginning at midnight. It is going to be freezing cold, dark, and a little terrifying. WAY out of my comfort zone. Which is why I'm doing it :)

4/11 Lake Sonoma
Classic. California wine country. Tropical John. Fantastic course and organization. Need I say more?

6/27 Western States
I am drawn to this race. It was my first 100 miler and I will never forget it. I'm going back to experience it all again..... I don't have expectations for myself, except for improving areas where I struggled last year.

8/28 UTMB
Uncharted territory for me. The course profile alone intimidates me. But I like a challenge. And I really like espresso and croissants. I am very excited to give UTMB a go this year. It's been on my bucket list for a few years now.

12/5 TNFEC
Great season ender. This race is tough- it's late in the year, running conditions in Bend are less than desirable, and holiday craziness has already set in. But the energy and atmosphere make it worth the effort. Plus, the celebration afterwards feels so justified!

Other races
I'm hoping to add 1-2 races if everything goes to plan. I hate to have too many commitments until I really see how things play out. So, if recovery allows, I'd like to add races in May, early August, and the Oct/Nov. I'm considering a road marathon for the fall race. GASP! I know! I've been wanting to run a marathon for awhile though and there's no time like the present.

Non-tangible goals for 2015

1. Be a positive ambassador for the sport
This is important to me. I want to be a positive role model and encourage others to uphold high standards in sportsmanship, environmentally, and

2. Run #LikeAGirl
That's right. Get after after it and take chances! I'm not one to be intimidated by male runners, and I want to help bring women's running to the same level as men's running.

3. Get out of my comfort zone
Try some new things! I want to continue to challenge myself and do things I'm slightly intimidated by. Point in case: Grand Traverse and UTMB. Both will be totally new experiences for me, especially the ski race!

4. Keep a healthy work/run/life balance
The more involved I get in running, the more blurred these lines become. It's important to me to keep a good balance though and remember that my life includes MANY different areas.

Someone's excited
And finally, I have some great sponsors helping me to reach my goals! Thanks a ton for your support this upcoming year!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Thoughts on running in 2015: Part I

In 2015 I have two types of goals that are very different. Thus,  I decided to split it into two posts- more reading, right?! My first post (below) is about doing something bigger in life. My second goal, in the next post, is more focused on racing and running #LikeAGirl

I've had a slow start to 2015. It's been really good to reset and experience life when doesn't revolve around training. Zach and I just returned from 2 weeks in Bali, where we did everything but run. We spent our days surfing, paddle boarding, and getting fabulous massages for $10, and our nights eating great food and having cocktails on the beach.  It was a great chance to disconnect and relax. I didn't know I had it in me to be that lazy! I mean that in a good way. I was worried that 2 weeks of no activity would drive me bonkers, but as it turns out, it did quite the opposite. It gave me time to think about things other than running and enjoy some down time. I was quite sad to leave.

Daily offering in Bali
I'm glad we choose Bali for our honeymoon for two reasons:

1) It's a very hot and humid tropical island. While Zach was profusely sweating, I loved the heat and spending the whole day in my swimsuit. Quite a change from the normal January weather in Bend. 

2) Bali is still a developing country. While there is a great deal of Western influence and 5-star luxury resorts, there are also small rural villages that are quite primitive. Spending time in these areas and observing the differences in day-to-day life sparked some good thoughts. 

Over the past few weeks I've been thinking about my goals for 2015. Obviously I have goals and want to race, but I also have been thinking about how I use running in a different way. Reflecting on the differences in my life vs life in a developing country made me realize how privileged I am. I felt selfish about my chosen lifestyle. Much of what I do on a daily basis is to benefit myself (running) or help the upper 10% of the population (coaching/nutrition). Not that I don't help people, but there is such a disparity between the people I help and the people out there who need help. 

Cutest baby monkey ever!
 Most days my biggest concerns are getting my training in, eating well, writing training plans, connecting with my athletes, and working for OSU. I never worry about where my next meal will come from or how I will make enough money to take care of my family. It's crazy when you start to put it in that perspective.  My first world problems seem silly and unimportant. 

While I'm very supportive of a lifestyle that includes running and training to reach goals, I also want to make a bigger difference for others. I'm inspired to do something bigger. And I want to use my running to help make this difference. I don't really know what that will look like yet, but I've been thinking on it for the last couple weeks. 
The market, filled with people desperate to make a sale
While reflecting on the 2015 goals of myself and other runners, I think it's important to take a step back and realize how privileged we are to have the life we do. It's easy to get caught up in the small details and becoming very self centered. Most blogs I've read lately seem to have an "entitled" tone to them. This is not everyone, I know some will probably take that personally, but I'm not singling out any one blog. It's hard to seem humble when the purpose of a blog is to talk about yourself and results! I know my blog reads like this. What I want to do in 2015 is take a step back and look more at the big picture. It's not just about how fast I can run, but how I can use running to help others and make me a better person. Again, I'm not really sure how I will do this, but it's one of my top goals for 2015.

And it seems that thinking this way is promising as there seem to be others coming from the same school of thought. Take for example, the piece AJW wrote on running and being a good human being:

This article really resonated with me. While I DO have sponsorships and am motivated to race and perform at a hight level, I never want that to become more important than being humble and appreciative for what I have. One of my goals for 2015 is to smile when I am racing, thank the volunteers, and be considerate of those around me. I think if we all did this ultra running would maintain it's reputation as the friendliest sport in the world. I fear with more sponsorships and money on the line the sport is slowly becoming tainted and greedy. Let's not let that happen. I challenge everyone in 2015 to run for the reasons in their heart. For me this is the feeling of pure joy as I push my physical limits and cherish the feeling as I cross the finish line, proving to myself that I am capable of more than I thought.  

Why do you run? 

Photo: Glenn Tachiyama