Category Archives: TRAIL RUNNING

WHAT LIGHTS YOU UP?

Back in August a person who I admire, respect and look to for a lot of nutritional guidance asked me a question. We had exchanged some emails back and forth and in her last email to me she asked me point blank, “What Lights Me Up? How can I serve people best?” I don’t think I ever fully responded to her email but the question has been festering in my head for months. For a while, it was ALL that I thought about. At times just thinking about the question truly depressed me. I will be honest, some nights I even cried. Why? Because I didn’t have an answer. I know what I “like” and I know what I “think” my dream job in life would be but honestly, I could not, on one hand, count anything, ANYTHING that I was truly good at or excelled at or that people reached out to ME to handle. Sad right? I think so being that I am almost 37 years old.
 
I even went to work and wrote the question down: “What Lights Me Up?” and “How can I serve people best?” The things I listed are the things that I am interested in learning more about or perhaps enrolling in but is it a career? Would it be enough to support my family and would it truly make me any happier? Am I alone? Am I the only person who has no unusual talents or skills? If you opened up the dictionary and turned to the definition of “plain Jane” you’d find my photo. I am sure of it.
 
Even my vocational background is disjointed and confusing. I went to college for television production and immediately out of college I got a job working for a public television station as a production assistant. I worked my way up the chain topping out at Producer (kinda sorta) Reporter. I loved it. I loved my job, I loved the people I worked with, I loved being creative and creating visual stories for people to view from the comforts of their own home. As it frequently happens, my program/station lost some funding and I was let go. I was young  and in my twenties. I guess  the powers that be assumed I’d bounce back but the television industry is very competitive, temperamental and difficult to sustain. I had also met Vans and did not really see myself leaving the state to compete in another market. Instead, I went back to school to earn my paralegal certification. Why? I don’t know. I honestly do not know and while I don’t regret the decision (entirely) I often wonder if I had pursued a different road, where would I be today?
 
At that time, I was running. Actually I had just started training for my first half-marathon. I knew that I loved running and I had always been an active athletic person. I was a vegan at the time (still am) and I also discovered that I had Celiac Disease. These three things are probably the first three characteristics people think of most when they think about me. “Oh there’s Trailmomma, she loves to run and she’s a health nut. Did you know she’s a gluten free vegan!” I’d say those are my “labels” if you had to label me and I am okay with that. I love being vegan and I love reading about nutrition and living a plant based diet. I love learning about gluten free options and the strides the industry is making in Celiac research but the biggest thing having Celiac Disease has done for me is that it has opened my eyes to the damage that processed wheat can do to your body. I digress and I am sorry but as you can see the topics of fitness and nutrition really speak to me. So of course I often wonder if I had not gone to paralegal school and instead had pursued my personal training certification and some sort of degree in nutrition, where would I be today? Would I be happier?
 
Poor Vans. The topic comes up often. For over a year now I have been bugging him and pestering him that I would love to take the TRX Certification Course in San Francisco and also earn a Plant Based Nutrition Certificate from Cornell University but Vans is the voice of reason and he asks me, “I support you 100% in whatever you want to do but what would you DO with it?” He is right to ask me this. These courses are not cheap and let’s be honest, I have a full time job with two kids who are doing gymnastics, swimming and all the things a new kindergartener (and little sister) does when she is five. Life right now it not leaving much room for extracurricular activities.
 
Yet not a day goes by that I do not think about the question that Ange asked me. I don’t want anyone to think that I hate my full time job either. I work for a very good company and it has been a long ugly road of law firm to law firm to get here. My current employer is good, the people I work with are nice and even the company’s purpose is to help people. Of course it has its politics like any other large corporation but so far, it isn’t anything that would make me go running for the hills. I also did not intend to write this fishing for comments hoping for a pity party or an ego booster. I wrote it for the simple fact that I am not doing what I love. I am not doing something that lights me up every day. Is that even possible? Or is that only something for people who have great luck in life? I am sure someone could argue that if you wanted something bad enough, you’d work hard for it and make it happen no matter what. That may be true but does that someone have two kids that go to daycare and who will someday (I hope) go to college? Get married? Let’s face it, the economy is not great and I have been on the side of being unemployed. Like most parents do, we sacrifice our happiness for our children. Of course I don’t want my girls to see me miserable or pursuing a life that just doesn’t make me smile or laugh but I also want to be able to provide for them. It is such hard and difficult road.
 
I often think of my mom. She died when I had just turned 16 years old. In the time I knew her, I didn’t know her to have a “career.” Yes she had jobs. She worked. Both of my parents worked yet there were periods when my mom didn’t. We were not well off but we always had food on the table and I had toys and I was able to play all the sports I wanted. However, my mother never seemed happy with her jobs UNTIL she started working in our neighbor’s dried flower shop. It may be a small thing to some people but it was a huge deal to her. She was crafty and very good with her hands. She created the most beautiful dried flower arrangements and they sold! People loved her work. Sadly, my mom passed away when she 47 and she had not been working at the dried flower shop for very long. That haunts me. I loved my mom very much and she was a great mother but I don’t want to be 47 years old and finally find the job I should have been doing all along. Who knows how much time is left? Who knows if tomorrow will come? The one thing I took away from her death was that you should live life like there is no tomorrow. Speak your mind when you can and make the most of what you have because it may not (or they may not) be there tomorrow.
 
Now don’t get me wrong, my kids and my family are what truly light me up. Nothing makes me prouder than my girls and watching them grow before my eyes.

photo 4-1 (2)

When I talk about my family I know that I am glowing because my love for them shines right through. The Peanut learned how to ride a bike recently. I have never been more proud of her and of Vans for having taught her. She was beside herself that she even yelled “I am doing it!” while riding.

I just don’t know what road to take I guess professionally. I love that I have a “career” and that my girls see me working for such a huge corporation yet what they don’t hear is me talking about how much I love work when I am at home because the reality of it is, I don’t. It pays our bills, lets us live a comfortable life
and allows me to provide for my kids.

photo 4-2 (2)
 
Clearly there are no words of motivation or inspiration in this rather long and honest post. If you are still with me reading, thank you.
 
Obviously I don’t have any answers right now. There are small doors opening for me including a small gig at a soon to be local running store. I am passionate about running and getting people to run so maybe something will unfold for me yet. Or maybe this will just be another notch in my part-time job repertoire (that is a whole other post right there).
 
But what about you? Are you happy doing what you are doing in life? What lights YOU up? What are YOU good at and how can you help people? I can’t thank Ange enough for presenting me with this question and now I present it to you.

 
~Trailmomma

photo 3-2 (2)

Share This:

LAKE TAHOE 5K

As I reported in my last post, we were in Tahoe for our 9 year wedding anniversary. Instead of running the Emerald Bay Half Marathon, I changed my entry to the Lake Tahoe 5K. My doctor told me that I should be fine to walk the 5K when I told her I was considering it at my post-surgery follow-up appointment. She had given me the “ok” to start running then. I knew it would be hard mentally for me to even attempt walking this race and not run it. I started running on the track near my house a little bit at first and running in the mornings before attending Breakout Fitness but I had the itch to run. Bad.

When Vans and I attended the expo to pick up our race packets, I could see that the 5K field was small, very small. That is when I knew I wanted this race. I didn’t say too much about it. I joked that I could probably ‘win’ the whole thing as it there were not a lot of people at packet pick up but inside I was really considering racing it. Still, I knew that might be foolish and that I had to just play it by ear. Let pain be my guide is what my doctor had told me. The problem is, I have a high tolerance for pain.

Vans had his bike race on Saturday and then Saturday evening we sort of did a hodge-podge dinner as we were tired of going out to eat. I wasn’t feeling 100% but I made sure I was hydrated. We had quite a few evenings of Happy Hour at the hotel leading up to our races that I was craving coconut water each day trying to replenish my electrolytes.

Sunday morning came and we loaded the car. Vans was going to drop me off at the 5K start and drive to the finish (it was a point to point race). The wind was flying and it was a little chilly at the start but not too bad.

Side note here, this will probably be the first of many posts where I talk about Athleta. I do not work for Athleta nor am I associated with them in anyway. I just happen to buy a lot of their clothes (usually on sale but not always). For this race, I was dressed head to toe in an Athleta outfit and I’ll be honest when I tell you what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to running. I am generally quite particular about my workout clothes.  My top was the Kenton Burnout Top and my running skirt was the printed Swagger Skort (the solid color is on sale right now). I love this skort for so many reasons but mostly because it is super cute, very flattering and does not ride up when running. I have not run in it for anything longer than 7 miles but when I have it has worked great. In Tahoe, the temperature was in the 40s during my race and I really appreciated having a shirt with thumbholes while waiting around at the starting line however, once the race started, I got hot. This top is warm! Granted I also had on a vest (Brooks) to cut the wind. I probably didn’t need both but once the race was over, again it was nice having the thumb holes.

IMG_1995-LBack to the race. Standing around at the starting line I noticed that the field looked small and that many peopled looked like they were out for a Sunday stroll instead of a race. There were a few women who looked serious though. I never think I look serious though and I just stood off to the side and tried to stretch and warm my muscles as much as I could. Everything felt stiff and foreign to me.

The start was very unassuming except for the guy that said “go” also had a huge rifle in his hand that blasted my ear drums when he fired it. As I took off running I noticed that four or five guys were sprinting pretty darn fast. I slowed my pace a little bit as I didn’t want to get caught up too fast. There was one girl who was in front of me and I silently made her my rabbit.

I passed my rabbit somewhere between miles 1 and 2. The course was on a paved bike trail and fairly flat. I noticed that my ankle felt great. My lungs on the other hand were burning like crazy. I was not wearing a watch at all because I had not planned on really running. It felt really nice to just let go and run not knowing my pace.

After I passed my rabbit I made a promise to myself that I would not turn around and look to see if she was close. I knew that if I turned around that I might see she was way far back and then would slow my own pace down OR I would see her right on my tail and try and push too hard to stay in front.

The course at one point got a little bit confusing. The arrows disappeared and there were no aid stations left. I saw a man walking along the road and I asked if I was going the right way. He said yes and that I would turn left shortly up the road. When I turned left down the drive to Pope Beach I realized my lungs hurt so bad that if I had to go another mile I might hurl.

I rounded a corner and I saw Vans and the girls walking towards the finish line. He turned and saw me and then tried to get the girls cheer for me.

1

As I was passing him he yelled to me “Um, first female! FIRST FEMALE! RUN! RUN FAST!” Of course I thought that someone was behind me so I tried hard to add some extra fuel to the fire but my lungs were having none of it. I passed through the finish line and luckily did not hurl on the teenage girl handing me my medal.

My girls ran up to me and congratulated me. They wanted to see my medal. The Peanut was quick to tell me that Vans’s medal was bigger. Love that girl.

photo 3-5 (2) 5photo 4-4 (2) 4

The race director came up to me to tell me that he had a special prize for me and to not go anywhere meanwhile a nice woman came by with two kids in a double jogger and asked if we wanted her to take our photo so it would look like we vacationed together.

photo 5-3 (2)

Eventually the race director gathered myself and the first male winner and presented us with a large “trophy” that was in the shape of Lake Tahoe.

2My “big” award (pst, way bigger than Vans’s)

The guy doing the announcing interviewed the first male and female briefly in front of the (very) small crowd. We had to then wait around for the age group awards. I give my girls credit, they played on the beach and hung around even though it was a little windy and chilly outside.

photo 3-6 (2)

The truth of the matter is, this 5K is not as big a deal as it sounds. The field was quite small. I was 7th overall, first in my age group and first female however my pace was an 8 minute mile. Typically an 8 minute mile does NOT win a 5K. Ever. But I am not diminishing my win or discrediting it at all because I do think running an 8 minute mile 3 weeks post ankle surgery is pretty impressive.

Two weeks ago I was wearing a boot that reached up to my knee. The body is an amazing thing and I am grateful for the way in which mine healed from surgery and for the way it continues to surprise me each day by getting stronger. To be truthful, I’ve had a few twinges of pain when walking and/or running this week but not until more than a week after the race so I don’t necessarily think it is related to running but perhaps something I am doing incorrectly at Breakout Fitness Folsom. I am going to pay more attention to our movements this week.

October is my favorite month so I hope you all can take the time to enjoy the leaves turning colors, the awesome smell in the air and just the beauty that surrounds us each day.

scan0001 (2)

Keep Running.

~ Trailmomma

Share This:

LAKE TAHOE RACING

Vans and I were married in September 2004 and this year we celebrated our 9 year wedding anniversary. Before I had planned my surgery, I had the perfect gift in mind for us. We love Lake Tahoe. We were engaged there, married there and found out we were to be parents there. It holds a special place in our heart.

photo 1-2 (2)

So I figured that the best way to celebrate 9 years was to return to Lake Tahoe and participate in their Lake Tahoe Marathon Week adventures! Vans has always wanted to ride around the lake. I cannot tell you how many times he has talked about it. As my anniversary present, I signed him up for the 72 Mile Ride around the Lake event that was being held our anniversary weekend. Little did I know that this was a full on race and not just a leisurely ride around the lake. Vans eventually figured this out and was honestly quite intimidated by the idea of racing in (or behind) a peloton 72 miles around Lake Tahoe at 6225 ft. elevation.

For my gift, I signed up for the Emerald Bay Half Marathon. I ran this event back in 2005 and it was one of the prettiest (and hardest) half marathons I have ever done. Unfortunately, due to opting for ankle surgery (something I do not regret) I was unable to run the half. Instead, I was able to get my money back for this event as long as I signed up for another one. I signed up for the 5K. I figured at the very least, 3 weeks post-surgery, I’d be able to walk the event.

So the week of our anniversary we left work early and hit the road with the girls for a weekend of fun. Vans had his race first on Saturday morning. Not only did he have to ride 72 miles around the lake, he had to ride to the starting line which was 4 miles from our hotel and in total darkness since the race started at 7 am.

When the girls finally woke up that morning I quickly took them to the breakfast buffet and then we hit the road looking for Vans.

photo 5-1 (2)photo 1-4 (2)

I was trying to hide my concern that his race was on an open course, meaning it was not closed to oncoming traffic. Lake Tahoe does not have wide shoulders and inside I was freaking out that Vans was riding around the lake with cars (usually tourists) that know nothing about the twists and turns in the road.  We finally found him on his way back towards the finish. I was that annoying car that kept stopping at various points in the road to get out of the car and take photos. Peanut was happy but Squeaker was not.

photo 3-4 (2) 4Vans stopped to get some water from me and told me that his chain had fallen off about 3 times during the course of the race. He had started with the peloton but the minute they started to climb up Emerald Bay his chain went “pop” and he had to get off to fix it. Until then he said he was keeping up with the peloton and I think it really motivated him.

photo 2-4 (2) 4photo 4-3 (2)

He finished under 4 hours which was one of his goals and for doing so he received not only a finisher’s medal but also license plate frame! He was literally glowing at the end of the race.  The girls were a little tired and hungry but they enjoyed running around the finish area too.

photo 2-5 (2) photo 5-2 (2) 5

I am so proud of Vans and his accomplishment. He has been battling tough achilles issues these last few months that have progressed into his knee causing him lots of pain. Also, having two kids and a full-time job doesn’t leave a lot of time for proper training. He was able to squeeze in rides on the weekends and I can only imagine how he would have done if he had plenty of time to train.

He has the bug and definitely wants to try this again someday and he’s really excited to try another “race” vs a ride. Happy Anniversary Vans! So proud of you! I’ll write about my 5K in another post.

Happy Trails!

~  Trailmomma

Share This:

WINNER WINNER

Even though it is only Tuesday, so far it has been a good week! Tonight I came home to find a package in my mailbox from this girl. Woo hoo! A few weeks ago, I commented on her blog and I won a pink HooRag!

photo 1

 Krista, as you can see from her blog, has a bunch of uses for her HooRag (and looks a helluva lot better in it than I do). I took the easy route and did what I thought was probably the easiest (and dullest) of uses.

photo 2

Snot rag on the wrist for running.

photo 3

Horrible photo Neck Scarf for colder running weather

photo 4

Something to wear when I rob a bank or run in this smokey weather.

photo 5

Or the good old doorag/head band look

Right after I took that last photo the Peanut entered the room and said “Mommy, what is on your head? Isn’t that what old ladies wear?” Hmm, smart kid.

Even though I have not been running very much lately, I have plenty of ideas for the HooRag and I can’t wait to put them to use.

You can always check out their website: www.hoorag.com if you want to see their youtube video to learn more or purchase one. Vans kind of liked it as he needs something to wear under his bike helmet to collect his sweatiness. I am so glad I won a pink one! He won’t steal that from me the way he has taken my various arm sleeves in the past.

Share This: