Monthly Archives: November 2015

#TestifyTuesday: Val, The Cog in RE.

picmonkey_image-14Val took a very very bad Couch to 5k Class, when my business was taking off, and we had some growing pains. I won’t go into details, but I screwed up and her expectations were not met. I learned my lesson, and she gave me another chance. I mention this only, because it speaks volumes into Val’s integrity and REalness. She is the kind of person I hope to be: A great friend, a well organized master mind of carpooling feats, and a strong runner. Val, thank you for giving me another chance, and for being such an amazing lady. And now she is the Runner of the Year!

Here is her story.


As I was getting ready to head out on yet another rainy, drizzly, cold run, I was thinking about how I got to be the kind of person who would even consider getting up at 5am, or running at night, or running 12 miles in the rain, or running 26.2 miles ever!

Running had always been something I enjoyed in small doses.  I ran track in high school – I was a sprinter (stop laughing!) mostly because the thought of running continuously for more than a minute or so seemed really unpleasant.  Over the years, my running habit had started and stopped many times, usually in conjunction with an upcoming 5k I had commited to.   But a few years ago, as I was about to turn 50, I realized that I really had to get a handle on my overall health…I needed to develop some consistent habits that would take me through the next few decades.  I signed up for a Running Evolution boot camp – 4 days a week, in the evenings and Saturday mornings, in the darkest, wettest part of the year.   And it was hard – but I stuck with it, and suddenly realized that I was actually getting stronger, and feeling like I was ready to think about re-starting my running  routine.  So I trained for a 10k, then a half marathon, then a marathon!< As my workouts and running got more consistent, the biggest  thing I realized was that by  being so active during the dark winter season, I had minimized that feeling of doom that typically settles in between November and April.  Something about getting outside in the dark, rainy weather (especially if my running buddies join me) seems to essentially flip winter off and minimize those negative feelings.   Don't get me wrong - I struggle as much as anyone to get out of bed when its dark and cold, but I remind myself how much better I will feel when I am done (and showered). Running is a metaphor for me.  As my distances increased I have come to realize that it isn't about the actual race...Its about committing to something, and then doing what it takes to accomplish it.  Its about taking things that are overwhelming (have you ever seen a week-by-week marathon training schedule?) and breaking it down in to smaller pieces.  Its about relying on others for support, and supporting them in return.  Its about being a role model for my kids - they see me get out there and realize how much of life is influenced by just showing up. For me, its never going to be about speed – but I am looking forward to running a long-distance race when I’m 80, with all of my running peeps joining in!

#TestifyTuesday: Michele is Back in Action!

If you have ever met Michele, you would no doubt say that she is dedicated. Dedicated mom, dedicated runner and a dedicated friend. She came to me a few years ago with a passion to get back into running. She started on a 5k and never looked back. She has the determination of a bullet. Here is her story.

How I RE:Found RunningHapalua Half 2015

I had my first baby when I turned 40. I was able to stay fairly active walking around the neighborhood with my baby in our new cool stroller but after the second child was born two and a half years later, things got tough. Number two didn’t sleep through the night for 21 months.  I couldn’t get to the gym. I couldn’t even muster enough energy to jump on the elliptical at home or get outside to walk in my now double stroller. I relied on caffeine & chocolate to survive those days.

Somewhere in those years of toddler/baby bliss I had forgotten to take care of myself. Like so many moms I gave almost all my time, energy and body to my kids. At age 46, I realized as time was whizzing by that turning 50 was around the corner. How did I want to meet 50? I imagined myself healthy, vibrant and ready to take on another 10 years of parenting and more. I imagined my body being strong and in better shape than ever. When my second child turned four, I weighed the same as I did at the end of my second pregnancy and I knew I couldn’t blame it on the baby anymore.  I joined a boot camp kick starting my road to fitness and it was through my boot camp owner/trainer Sara Dean Sutherland that I first heard the name, Beth Baker. Sara was training for a half marathon with Beth and it was through her that I found my way to Beth’s website. I was curious. In boot camp sometimes we would run a few laps to warm up. I just wanted to run more. My legs felt good under me. I didn’t want to stop.

The truth is I used to run as a kid. For about 2 years I ran with my family. We lived in Hawaii and my parents were part of the running boom that swept America in the 1970s. Besides a few 10ks and maybe one half marathon, my parents, my brother and I trained for 3 months for the Honolulu Marathon in 1978. I was 13. Even though I don’t remember wanting to run much after that it must have stayed in my blood. There must have been some muscle memory. honolulu marathon 1978

Fast forward to August 2013, I had not run in over 30 years. Beth was offering training for the Women of Wonder 5K Race. What have I got to lose? I was afraid and excited at the same time. My husband said I had no business running because I had had back surgery 3 times for herniated discs. It is true that my doctor called me a ticking time bomb and he offered to fuse my lumbar spine. I was 36 at the time and said, No thank-you! But this was all pre-kids and Hey, I thought, I survived pregnancy and the birth of my babies.

I decided to sign up for training and then I decided to show up. Feeling painfully self conscious and out of breath, I wondered how I was going to be able to make it all the way around Greenlake which is about 5k. I really hoped someone would pick me up off the ground and call 911 when I collapsed from the heart palpitations I was having. At the end of that first run, all the runners made a tunnel of arms to welcome each runner back. I really loved the camaraderie and support I felt that day. There was no judgment and no time clock. I followed the schedule she gave us, not perfectly but as the days led up to the race, going out for a run was not such an intimidating thought as it had been. I didn’t want to be seen, huffing and puffing down the street. I put on my earphones and it was just me and my tunes. The time in my head cleared my mind and everyday seemed brighter after a run. My kids didn’t stress me out or maybe they did but I was too happy to notice.

The race was only a few days away when the realization came that I was going to be able to do this thing which Beth had always said was possible. I was running around Greenlake and imagined myself on race day and I knew I was going to make it. Tears were flowing down my face. I WAS making it. I had already made it! It wasn’t really about the race. It was the journey I had made from not being a runner to being able to run 3 whole miles! It was the journey from being afraid to get out there in front of people, a lot of people, to knowing that it would OK and that no one had the right to judge me.

Taking on this life challenge was purely for myself. It wasn’t for my children but it was about ME giving back to me. I learned to believe in me, in my own strength, how far my lungs and legs could carry me, how my own drive could take me even further. I learned that the ideas that frightened me the most were the ones that also made me the most excited. They were the ones that challenged me and grew me the most.

The Women of Wonder 5K Race in September 2013 was my first race in over 30 years. After that day I became completely obsessed with running. When I wasn’t running, I was reading articles about running. When I wasn’t reading about running I was thinking about it and dreaming about all my running goals.

Then I did a crazy thing and signed up for the Seawheeze Half Marathon the following August. It felt crazy because I had not even run a 10k at that point. How could I do it? I knew with Beth Baker and her wonderful community of runners that I would find a way. That dream would be mine. Even when I doubted myself along the way, she never did. With my plan in hand, I ran as much as I could and Beth introduced me to all these amazing runners and running locales around Seattle that I never could have found on my own.

The Half Marathon Training class ended just before the Seattle Rock and Roll Half Marathon 2014 so I ran that. See Jane Run Half followed naturally in July. Seawheeze in August made three. How crazy I thought it would be to try to run a half marathon a month for year with a few 5ks sprinkled in there. After 13 months and 13 half marathons, I was done with my Year of Halfs. I did what I had set out to do. It was hard but I learned so much. I jumped on another dream, running Ragnar NWP in 2015 which took me out of my comfort zone in ways I didn’t expect. I can’t wait for next year.

My re-found love of running has taught me so many things about myself as a person in the last two plus years. I have logged almost thirty races in that time. I have met 50 now and I am excited to celebrate this new decade (and new age group) with my goal of running a full marathon in 2016.

I am thankful for all the runners I have met through Beth and Running Evolution. They are a constant inspiration to me. I am so grateful for support of this amazing running community. I look forward to more happy days on the road and I hope that they will be with you! “

#RUN101 Tip: See & Be Seen. 5 Tips Safety.

nighttime-safetyBOOM! It happens just like that. The sun is no longer there. Thank YOU winter, day light savings and a very northern latitude.


But, when the heck are you supposed to get your run in, especially if you feel uneasy running at night or in Seattle, 4:00 in the afternoon. Here are a few tips to make it happen, and feel safe doing it.

1. Light yourself up like a mother trucking Christmas tree! I recommend head lamp, butt lamp, and something near your ankles. (just to verify to other people that you are indeed a runner, and not a slow, low moving drone)

2. Buddy UP! And make sure they are lit up as well or take out a nice big insurance policy on them.

3. Take off your earbuds. Yes. I know, this isn’t fun. But being aware of your surroundings is essential and you can talk to your buddy, who is lit up!

4. Stay on well lit  and populated streets or parks. AND make sure you are seen by bikes, car drivers and other runners. Don’t assume other can see you. Give a little waive or nod to make sure no one is going to get hit.

5. Weather! It is double hard to see runners in a down pour  or fog. You can still run, but please be extra cautious out there.

And, when in doubt, add another light on there. It may look a little dorky, but dorky is better then dead.

AND if you want a accountability group over the holiday season, check out Seasonal Smackdown Series. 4 weeks, 45 runs. And Prizes!

#TestifyTuesday: Jen, a runner who found time to smell the roses.

Jen in Ragnar UtahI met Jen a few years back, and I have to admit, she was a little intimidating. Blond, cute, dimples that you could plant something in. And she was clearly in shape and oozed with niceness. She came to earlier this year to do the half training and she was fast, and I tried my best to slow her down, letting her know that, like a race car, there are several speeds, and on long runs, she needed to pull it back in a slower speed. She really took to it and we became friends, and I got to keep up with her. Here is her story.

I have always loved fitness. My degree was in fitness. And even though I didn’t work directly in the industry, it has always been an important part of my life.

But life started getting in the way. I couldn’t do AM workouts because my son needed to get off to daycare. My job started consuming my days so much so that I didn’t workout during the day. And the evenings were filled with commutes, dinner, shopping, or appointments.

What motivated me to sign up for Beth’s class was I ran a Ragnar in 2014 and as much as I loved being with my friends I hated my runs. I felt like a tick after a big meal on a hot day. And every minute running was horrible. So what did I do? I signed up for a Ragnar in 2015. But I wanted to make 2015 different. I needed to get over the slump and needed to find a group I could feel comfortable running with, like Running Evolve.

Beth’s half-marathon training was what I needed. We built our miles up over time but never got to a place where it got stressful. The first thing I learned was to stop worrying about running a PR. I relaxed. Then I stopped feeling like I had to compete – the people in the class were so nice that I ran to chat vs. to win. Over the course of months, I continued to run in new beautiful places in Seattle, with more and more miles in a row. I followed the calendar as best as I could. I got outside, ran what I could and walked when I needed to. I always ran at least one more day per week because of the calendar and rather than ending my runs frustrated, I started to feeling like I may like this.

The true test came at the Ragnar Wasatch-Back in June. I had an 8.2 mile run for my first leg and rather than feeling anxious and out of breath like the year before (for my 3 mile run), I was confident and excited to go. When the wrist band slapped me, I was off. I reminded myself to run my run. It was the best run of my life. To feel good and prepared, to be in a beautiful place because of running, and to have a van of amazing friends supporting me along the way. I stopped to take pictures, stopped to take other people’s pictures, and enjoyed the moments. I stopped worrying about keeping up and ran faster than I can remember, with a smile the whole time. My second and third legs were just as awesome. Even with the challenges I had strength and compassion for myself I never had in the past.

I love the Running Evolve community and Beth because they got me out there and taught me how to run for all the right reasons. Knowing I need a community to keep me on track also reminds me that every quarter, this is the best money spent. I can honestly say I love running more than ever. I just went out and ran nine miles for the fun of it. Now, I get up ready to work on “my business” like I did before 40 but with a new sense of freedom.

The three steps I took for my transformation that I would recommend to all my friends are:

  1. I signed up with Running Evolve to keep accountability and fun
  2. I allowed myself to run the pace I wanted – no competition allowed – I focused on miles only
  3. I showed up as much as I could and didn’t beat myself up if I missed a day