Run Coco Run

Text February 27, 2014

So many oranges

After a week in Gandía, I have this to say: Duck, Duck, Goose is a guaranteed hit; instant coffee tastes like travel to me; and there are oranges everywhere.

Photo February 18, 2014
Mountains of fear. 

I just ran a racecourse I was convinced would be murderous. I was undertrained going into this event—runner-speak for I simply didn’t put in as many miles beforehand as I ought to have done.  Brutal cold in Chicago is my main excuse, but in retrospect, I wasn’t thinking of this race the way I’ve thought of marathons in my past. I looked online at the elevation (above) many, many times, without ever absorbing the significance of the numbers on the chart. I only saw what I feared, and in my fearful mind, it grew. I entered the race convinced I had before me two passes at nothing less than a mountain. Nothing anyone said shifted this idea from my mind—not the local runners who had experienced it themselves in past years, not the charming race director in his pre-start speech; I was unshakeable in my conviction that I was in for a near-vertical ascent with a harrowing downhill, and worse still, the privilege I’d paid for was to do it twice. Thus I was faced with the choice of dropping out halfway, or struggling through a distance for which my legs were not going to thank me. 

The Pemberton 50K loops twice along a gently rolling track with a peaked midpoint. There is an ascent to the first 8 miles, and an equal downgrade to the next. It is not what I believed it to be. My fear had distorted my perception so severely that I had to wonder—in what other arenas of my life is fear wreaking havoc? I hope I maintain the right mix of foolishness and courage that spurs me to attack those mountains anyway.

Mountains of fear.

I just ran a racecourse I was convinced would be murderous. I was undertrained going into this event—runner-speak for I simply didn’t put in as many miles beforehand as I ought to have done. Brutal cold in Chicago is my main excuse, but in retrospect, I wasn’t thinking of this race the way I’ve thought of marathons in my past. I looked online at the elevation (above) many, many times, without ever absorbing the significance of the numbers on the chart. I only saw what I feared, and in my fearful mind, it grew. I entered the race convinced I had before me two passes at nothing less than a mountain. Nothing anyone said shifted this idea from my mind—not the local runners who had experienced it themselves in past years, not the charming race director in his pre-start speech; I was unshakeable in my conviction that I was in for a near-vertical ascent with a harrowing downhill, and worse still, the privilege I’d paid for was to do it twice. Thus I was faced with the choice of dropping out halfway, or struggling through a distance for which my legs were not going to thank me.

The Pemberton 50K loops twice along a gently rolling track with a peaked midpoint. There is an ascent to the first 8 miles, and an equal downgrade to the next. It is not what I believed it to be. My fear had distorted my perception so severely that I had to wonder—in what other arenas of my life is fear wreaking havoc? I hope I maintain the right mix of foolishness and courage that spurs me to attack those mountains anyway.

Text February 1, 2014 • 1 note

Don’t Make Assumptions About A Girl Who Travels

There’s this ridiculous post going around right now called 'Don't Date A Girl Who Travels'. It’s meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but comes across as almost a threat: any and all men who can’t keep up will be trampled under the Chakos of these wild and miraculous sun-kissed beauties. UGH. Can we please, just for a moment, acknowledge when we’re being reductive!?!

Women travel for different reasons. We do it for adventure, for work, for a tan, or maybe because we identify with a world community that is bigger than our nation of origin. I get that the author of the blog post used the word travel to mean ‘goes backpacking’, or ‘takes Intrepid/Gap/Dragoman tours’ or ‘dances topless at a Full Moon party’, but I resent that taking part in those activities is presented as incompatible with such concepts as ‘holding down a job’ or ‘being on time’. The post also seems to indicate that all women who travel are impossible to satisfy in a relationship, so the message is hey guys, don’t even try.  

Well, in spite of being ‘a girl who travels’, I am currently in a marvelous, stable relationship. I almost always wear a watch, because I value punctuality. I have had the same job for 8 years, and in that time I have traveled solo to Ecuador, Morocco, Ireland, Fiji, blah-blah-more-countries-sounds-like-bragging. I have not ‘wasted’ my college degree, I’ve used it and expanded upon it. Travel was my first true love, but like all loves, in addition to bringing joy, it caused me pain and stress and occasionally despair. Yes, I have great stories, and if you ask, I’ll gladly tell you. 

I supposed my reason for writing this is to encourage women who do travel or who want to someday. Please don’t read that post and think, damn, if I travel, the world will see me as flaky and difficult and too independent to need anyone. I won’t lie to you—there are people who will make those assumptions, and it will be frustrating to combat the stereotype. It is possible, however, to be on time, and be loved, AND dance naked beneath the full moon. 

Text November 10, 2013

I heart Shrink Session (and so will you!)

image

(yeah girl, punch that boring hotel art!)

erinstutland.ontraport.net/t?orid=3697&opid=3

The Brisket calls it ‘bouncing’: ‘Babe, how long do you need for your bouncing?’ or ‘Is K coming over to bounce today?’ 

I call it wildly uplifting cardio-dance with motivating self-loving creativity-boosting delicious affirmations. Einstein was right (ha—understatement award goes to ME): Nothing happens until something moves. These workouts will move you inside and out. 

I bought Shrink Session in January of 2013 because K sent me a link. Mostly I’m a distance runner, but I was on tour in wintery places for the first 6 weeks of the year, and moving to Chicago in February, so indoor workouts that I could do on my schedule were absolutely necessary. I was also in need of a boost—winter and work were wearing me down. Shrink gave me a trainer I looked forward to seeing, a community of support and encouragement, and most importantly, integrated my love of self-help with my need to work up a righteous sweat. 

Full disclosure: I bought the program thinking hey, if I do each of these workouts twice it’ll be about what I pay for a drop-in yoga class…but that was a wild underestimate of how much I would love Shrink. I have logged hours upon hours doing the workouts, the journal exercises, and listening to the meditations. (Hello, flight delays? Instead of blind rage, I’ll take 11 minutes of soothing inspiration, thank you) 

Try the sample workout. I dare you. Shut the door and say the affirmations OUT LOUD—I promise, it will feel oh-so-good!!

Photo October 29, 2013
Show the world we want a phone worth keeping! #phonebloks


 http://thndr.it/15eLEMU

Show the world we want a phone worth keeping! #phonebloks


http://thndr.it/15eLEMU

Photo October 15, 2013
I don’t like the way you’re looking at me…

I don’t like the way you’re looking at me…

Photo September 24, 2013 • 2 notes
Today we celebrate One Hundred Years of Gram. Happy birthday to my best traveling buddy! 

Today we celebrate One Hundred Years of Gram. Happy birthday to my best traveling buddy! 

Photo September 12, 2013 • 1 note
Text September 12, 2013

homing instinct

The heart wants what it wants, said M to me last week. Well mine wants to go home. It wants to write and go running and snuggle the Brisket and continue befriending his tiny volatile kitten. Because we moved in together, but I’ve only spent about 6 nights in our apartment, so it’s sort of like he just moved in alone. And I’m way overdue for a rest, but I’ve got a month more on the road and then Gram turns 100 and then we are running in a relay…

Text June 13, 2013 • 2 notes

Tri, Coco, Tri!

I’m taking part in my first triathlon this weekend. This may seem inevitable, given the running and running and running, but to me, this presented an even greater challenge than running the ultra (at altitude!) did.

Some of you know that a dear friend of mine was killed in a cycling accident. She was competing—

(Of the two of us, Beth was the competitive one. If you’ve read much on here, you know that’s saying something. We met in a Muay Thai class and became friends; we decided to be roommates on the day I bloodied her nose. So when I say competing, I mean she was competing to win)

—in a race on country roads, not unlike the ones I will be riding this weekend. It was a freak accident and she was terribly young and it was awful and I listened to a lot of Damien Rice and I miss her and I have been very very nervous about riding a bike ever since. I never understood people who were anxious fliers, but oh man, have I changed my tune. When I started going for longer rides I noticed that my brake hoods were angled oddly—it turns out I was gripping them so tightly I’d pulled them out of alignment. If I weren’t too scared to ride at night, I could probably use my white knuckles as headlights.

Amazingly, after a few months of wobbling along, hollering at tourists on the lakefront path, I am looking forward to the race on Saturday. Thanks to a lot of patience and support from my dad, Brisket and Coach K, I have the confidence to get out there and even have some fun. I’ll always be a cautious rider, but I actually enjoy cycling now, and I think Beth would be proud.