Thursday, December 5, 2013

On Friendship

We'll be friends forever.

That same phrase was written over and over in my junior high school yearbook. I still have that yearbook stashed away in a box in the basement, much to my husband's dismay. He would like to be able to walk through our storage room without tripping over boxes that lie untouched for years at a time. But while I am not generally a pack rat, there are some things that hold so many memories and tie me so strongly to the past that I simply cannot part with them. And my yearbooks are one of the things where those memories are so easily brought to life.


Many of those friends who wrote the words above are no longer in my life. They may be someone I would enjoy running into on the street some random day but it turned out that we weren't actually meant to be friends forever. (Shocking, I know.) Our lives have moved on and taken divergent paths that are likely never to cross again.


However, I still consider myself blessed in the friendship department. No, my inbox is not overflowing with invitations to go out on the weekend and my phone isn't ringing off the hook with a girlfriend just wanting to chat. In fact, my husband and I often joke that we don't have any friends because of how frequently an empty weekend on the calendar stares back at us. But I feel lucky to have a handful of friends who I could call at a moment's notice and know they would drop everything if I needed them. And most of those are friends I have had since I was a child.


There is something about a friendship where your roots are co-mingled with one another's. Where your foundation shares the same soil. Where you remember one another in that awkward phase of life. Where you grew up knowing each other's family and siblings. Where you remember their first crush, their first broken heart, the first car accident one of you had after receiving a newly minted license...and many more "firsts". We knew one another when we all had flawless skin, taught bellies and no sign of gray hairs.


My group of childhood friends and I have been there for one another through so much of life.
High school (some as far back as preschool),
college,
grad school,
marriage,
divorce,
childbirth,
infertility,
good times,
bad times,

celebrations,
struggles,
sickness,
depression
and general confusion about where we belong in life.


We've been through that period where, after trying so hard to perfect our lives, we realize we are really all building our lives on quicksand and it could all shift or fall apart in an instant through unexpected events. This realization has led us to cling a little harder to the things we know. And part of what we know is one another. It wasn't until the last of us had our last child (which was me at age 37) that we all seemed to return to our roots and come together as a group. It coincided with our 20th high school reunion and the retrospective nature of that event likely spurred us on.


I read a book recently by Anna Quindlen called Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. I could relate to many parts of the book but loved this one quote in particular:

"The thing about old friends is not that they love you but that they know you. They remember that disastrous New Year's Eve when you mixed White Russians and champagne, and how you wore that red maternity dress until everyone was sick of seeing the blaze of it in the office, and the uncomfortable couch in your first apartment, and the smoky stove in your beach rental. They look at you and don't really think you look older, because they've grown old along with you, and, like the faded paint in a beloved room, they're used to the look."

Of course, this says nothing about all the other meaningful friendships we have made over the years -- college friends who have known us over half our lives or neighborhood friends or friends we met through a shared passion. I have some incredibly close friends from various stages in my past who I am blessed to have in my life. In fact, I am spending this weekend in Seattle with two of my dearest friends, both of whom I met on a 20 mile training run almost ten years ago. I can't imagine the past ten years of my life without these two women in it!

meeting up with these two sisters this weekend...

One difference with some of these "newer" friendships, however, is that we have the ability to somewhat reinvent ourselves with each new friend. We can share as little or as much of our history as we want with them and, therefore, help shape their view of us. But there is something special about those friends that have known you all your life -- that know all your faults and flaws and have seen you at your worst -- and yet are still by your side.

Then...

...and now.

Do you keep in touch with your childhood friends? 

At the end of the day, I am eternally grateful for all of my friends...both new and old!! I just happened to come across a box of old things yesterday that made me particularly nostalgic.  ;)

- Kristen

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

And yet another reason I love running...

Just when I think I can't love running any more than I already do -- when I think I know all the reasons I love to run -- I get hit over the head with the realization that I've missed something.  Something important that running brings to my life and yet I wasn't even aware of the connection.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that my writing has slowed way down in recent months.  Waaaaay down.  As in, I haven't posted anything since September.  I know that "they" say the key to a successful blog is to post often -- sometimes multiple times a day -- in order to keep readers engaged.  Clearly, having a successful blog using that definition has never been my goal.  I write simply because I love to write and because I want to connect with others who share common interests and goals.

I never pressure myself to write and give myself the freedom to do it only when the words come on their own.  I hadn't given it much thought but assumed I wasn't writing lately because I have been injured for months and haven't been running.  Yes, some of my posts have nothing to do with running but, for the most part, they are fairly running-related.  (I am, after all, the Happy Running Mama!)

However, two nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like my head was going to explode.  Not because I drank too much wine the night before but because I had so many thoughts and ideas floating through my head.  When I am asleep and dreaming, the creative part of my brain lights up like fireworks at night.  If I could just hop out of bed at 2am and sit down at my computer, I know the words would flow like water from a spout.

But, lately, all those thoughts and ideas dissipate into the dark recesses of my mind by the time I sit down at my computer.  This is due mostly to the fact that my writing takes place after the mind-numbingly painful first hour of the day.  The hour that involves getting three kids up, fed and dressed as well as getting lunches made, the kitchen cleaned and all three dropped off at school.  That hour seeps not only the creativity but also some of the optimism right out of me.  That hour is, by far, the most challenging hour of my day.

In months past, I would go for a run immediately after dropping the kids off.  It might be cold, rainy, foggy or windy but I would lace up my shoes and head out the door.  When I returned, I would often sit at my computer and the thoughts would come to me quicker than I could type them.

Circling back to the point of my post (finally), what I realized is that my creative juices flow on a run the same way they do in my sleep.  My mind wanders free during a run and goes places I don't normally go during a day filled with driving the kids places, doing laundry and refereeing fights.  I never realized before that running gives me the time and space to daydream.  To let my imagination run wild. To fill me back up with hope and optimism for not only the future but even just to make it through the day.  And this has all been missing from my life for the past few months.

So, yes, I suppose in a sense I haven't been writing because I haven't been running.  But it has nothing to do with writing about running and everything to do with the creativity and freedom and passion that running brings to my life.  A new reason to love running that I never realized until today.

***************

I will be surprised if anyone is still reading this after all that rambling and I'm not sure it all even made sense to anyone but me!  But just in case someone is still there, I'll give a little update on the last few months...

As far as my injury goes, I have been diagnosed with something called chrondomalacia.  Basically, the cartilage under my knee is a little rough and that is where all the pain is coming from.  The damage to the cartilage is permanent and surgery is not really recommended or very successful in fixing this problem so I am left with few options.  Mostly, I am focused on strengthening my glutes and improving the flexibility in my hips.  These changes will, hopefully, help pull my kneecap so it is tracking correctly and will keep the pain at bay.  At the same time, I am constantly icing and taking ibuprofen in order to decrease any inflammation under the kneecap.

While it has been a long road, I am optimistic that things are finally starting to improve.  Last week, I was able to run a mile with no (additional) pain in my knee!  Without a doubt, it was one of the happiest miles of my life and I was grateful for every step of it.  If all goes well, I will very slowly and carefully continue to increase my mileage and hope to be running longer distances soon.

The rest of my life has been busy with family activities, including my niece's first birthday party, a trip to the pumpkin patch, lots and lots of soccer games, a weekend in Vegas and Halloween.  All of this is most easily shared through pictures...

my little niece...who needs hands to eat cake?!

Ian and my dad at my niece's party

a rare night of dress-up for J and me

first day of soccer practice

watching my oldest play soccer

beautiful October morning spent kayaking with a dear friend

Oregon Ducks game with friends

weekly Wednesday coffee date

one of the many days in October when I looked outside and wished I could go for a run

one of the last pictures where I am still taller than my son

Vegas at 7pm

Vegas at 3am (like many things in life that seemed like a good idea at the time....)

family pic

Now that October has left us and taken with it the beautiful Indian Summer we were experiencing, the dark, dreary days seem to have arrived for good.  Although I will miss the sunshine and the warmth that it brings, I look forward to Thanksgiving with gratitude.

Does anyone else find they are more creative after a run??

- Kristen

Thursday, September 26, 2013

In like a lion, out like a lamb

The month of March is often thought of as coming "in like a lion" and going "out like a lamb."  It suggests the month starts off with winter storms and freezing temps but ends warm, spring-like and peaceful.  For me, that phrase also describes the past year of my life...the first year of my 40's.  I don't mean to imply the last year started off negatively in any way -- more that it started out loud and full and busy and is ending quietly and calmly.

It was almost exactly a year ago that I wrote about registering for my first Boston Marathon and the accompanying excitement and anticipation of running such a historic race.  I looked forward to training hard, to pushing myself and to testing my physical and mental limits in the marathon.  Within a couple of weeks of that post, I was sharing details of the surprise trip to Italy that my husband had planned.  That week was filled with mouth-watering food, incredible wines, delectable desserts and picturesque towns in the Tuscany countryside.

a tiny town on the coast of Italy

The next few months were consumed with marathon training.  With pushing myself.  With learning to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.  With trusting my coach to provide the right workouts for me.  With adapting to running during the cold, wet, Oregon winter.  With doing everything I could to reach my goal of a sub-3:30 marathon at Boston.

frozen fingers became the norm for me

and frozen spiderwebs


pre-race excitement

(short-lived) post-race happiness

Of course, the importance of that goal evaporated shortly after crossing the finish line when tragedy struck.  I was filled instead with shock, anger, sadness, gratitude, relief and guilt...  The what-ifs were simply terrifying.  The emotions I felt over the next few hours and days were overwhelming and just when I thought life had returned to normal, something would bring me back to those feelings that I felt in the immediate aftermath of the marathon.

I remember going to a parade with my husband in early June and both of us feeling uneasy.  We realized it was the first time we had been in a crowd since Boston and I found my heart beating rapidly and my breathing becoming shallow.  I fought the urge to leave.  As the months have passed, however, I have felt more and more like myself.

Until recently.

Just six weeks after Boston, I ran the Newport Marathon on the coast of Oregon.  My time was sufficiently fast to allow me to register for Boston the first week that registration opened.  I really wanted to register and run the race but wasn't sure how the logistics would work for my family.  Easter Sunday is the day before the marathon, my youngest child's birthday is the day after the marathon and my oldest child's birthday is the day after that.  Those are hard dates to work around.  I was uncertain if I should even register.

However, the day my registration window opened was September 11th.  After dropping the kids at school, I sat quietly in my kitchen thought about where I was on that fateful day in 2001.  I remembered how healing it was to run the Marine Corps Marathon just weeks later.  How deeply proud I felt to be an American and how grateful I felt to be running a marathon.  I thought about how I have now run two marathons that were touched by terrorist attacks and how important it is to not be afraid.  And I knew I had to be there in 2014 to heal my own invisible wounds as well as to run for those who can no longer run.

So I clicked on the register button and signed myself up.  I felt fear creeping into my heart and the old feelings coming back as I did so and found myself immediately doubting my decision.

But this time around -- and my goals as I'm heading into the coming year -- could not be more different than a year ago. A cartilage issue with my knee has kept me from running for months and has made me realize that running is so much more to me than chasing PR's or comparing myself to others or even comparing myself to my former self.  It is a part of me and of who I am.  It is my therapy and my best friend and my exercise and my confidence-booster all in one.  It is good for my body and for my mental health and for my kids and for my marriage.  I am lost without it.



Assuming I am able to run again shortly and start building a running base, I hope with all my heart that I will find myself on that starting line in Hopkinton again in 2014.  I expect there will be anxiety and tears and a lot of nerves but I also am hoping for peace and healing for all those involved.  It is a great honor to be able to participate.

For me personally, this will almost certainly be my last Boston and possibly my last marathon.  I look forward to going out like a lamb...full of peace and freedom from strife.



- Kristen

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Easing my way back into it

September is always a month of transition.

Summer slowly fades into fall.  The hot weather of August gives way to cooler September nights.  Baseball is replaced with football on TV on the weekends.  Kids adjust to waking up early for school.  Parents spend hours filling calendars with all the family activities and arranging carpools to sports practices.  We mourn the loss of hot, lazy days at the pool while we simultaneously embrace the routine that comes with the school year.  

I am definitely easing my way into the transition.  

I am enjoying having all the kids back in school.  I am looking forward to soccer games, school functions, gymnastics practices and swim lessons.  I am loving having a few free hours in the mornings so I can grocery shop in peace.  And I am hungry for some time to write and to connect with others.  But I am most excited about my transition back to running.

I had to give up running completely for most of the summer and relied instead on doing Insanity workouts plus the occasional spin or swim workout in order to feed my addition to exercise-induced endorphins.  But they are really poor substitutes for the joy I feel when my feet are pounding the pavement or hitting the trails.  

The last straw for me was when I had to drop out of the Hood to Coast team that my husband and I had put together with friends and had looked forward to all summer.  I ended up driving the van for the team (and had an amazing time) but I spent the weekend feeling like an addict who had their favorite drug in front of them but wasn't allowed to partake.  I'm not gonna lie -- I was so jealous every time one of our team members jumped out of the van to run that it was painful at times.  

I finally saw an orthopedist and, following an MRI, received the news that the cartilage under my left knee cap is "roughed up".  While I was initially devastated and thought this spelled the beginning of the end of my days as a runner, I have since changed my outlook.  I am seeing a physical therapist who believes strongly that I will be back running pain-free soon if I work on some simple strengthening exercises.  Of course, any damage that has been done to my cartilage is irreversible but there is no evidence that my running is the sole cause of all this damage.  Yes, it would be naive of me to think that there was no relationship between my years of high-mileage running and damage to my cartilage.  But I have also been an active person my whole life and I'm no spring chicken.  So, taken in context, a little damaged cartilage isn't all that surprising.  I am seeing the orthopedist again this week where I am hopeful he will clear me to begin running again.  

Of all the things that I am easing myself back into this month, running is by far the one I am most excited about.  As the days get shorter, my runs will hopefully get longer.  

We celebrated the end of summer with a trip to the Oregon coast over Labor Day weekend

The last ice cream of the summer

Who else has been injured recently?
Do you miss summer already or are you ready for the transition to fall?

- Kristen


Friday, August 9, 2013

A "summer break" that is living up to its name...

I hadn't planned to take a summer break from anything, really, and certainly not from running.  I kicked off the summer on June 1st with one of those rare races where everything comes together.  It was the perfect culmination to a hard season of training through the winter for two back-to-back marathons.  I had big plans for this summer and how I would use it to transition into an even bigger fall season of racing shorter distances.

Unfortunately, my body decided it didn't like these new plans.  It is high time I finally admit that I am injured.  Ever since my last marathon, my left knee has been bothering me.  It appears to be runner's knee, although I haven't actually gone to a doctor for any confirmation.  As far as running goes, I took it relatively easy all of June and July and had gradually worked up to some longer distances that were fairly comfortable.  But then, of course, I did too much too soon and suddenly my knee was really hurting.

Like many runners, I am my own worst enemy.  Though I have been pretending to rest my knee by not running much (or at all) lately, I have continued to do the Insanity program five days a week.  And when I do the Insanity DVD's, I always skip the rest days, the cardio balance days, etc. and only do the hard, month two workouts.  [If you aren't familiar with the Insanity DVD's, they are similar to P90X but with more cardio and plyometrics.  They involve a lot of jumping from one lunge position to another, quick lateral movements and general stress on your body.]  So even though my knee doesn't usually hurt when I'm doing Insanity, the truth is that I am definitely not resting it, either.

it may not look like much but I am so much stronger than I was at the beginning of the summer
I know some people sweat this much just walking out the door but I am someone who rarely sweats...I just overheat.  But the Insanity workouts definitely cause me to break a sweat!!
Now here I am with the Hood to Coast relay just two weeks from today and I'm unable to run pain-free for even a quarter mile.  I tried yesterday on my treadmill and stopped just two minutes into the run because my knee was really hurting.  I am the captain of our HTC team, however, so I don't see dropping out as an option.  My new plan is total rest for the next two weeks!  I'm not sure how I will mentally cope with no exercise for two weeks but it will be worth it if I can start back up again and take better care of myself.  Obviously, starting back up with a 200 mile relay race isn't ideal but that is where I'm at today with my running...

As it turns out, I seem to be taking a break not just from running but from blogging this summer, too.  Days stretch into weeks between posts and I never know where the time has gone! 

As I was scrolling through the pictures on my phone, I realized the break from blogging has likely been due to how busy I've been and all the fun we've been having as a family.

There was the three day raft trip on the John Day River in late June.  Although my son is a veteran of many raft trips, this was a momentous trip as it was the first time the girls had been on the river.  They went from only having been car camping for one night to three nights of sleeping on just a tarp with no tent under a starry sky!  Despite a rocky start with Annie crying that she wanted to go back home, we had an amazing trip and can't wait until our next big adventure on the river.

the whole family (except the dog...who was in the river at this point)


Captain Fish (a.k.a. my dad) flyfishing

the view from our campsite at sunset
We also spent 10 days in New York visiting my in-laws and the many relatives we have on Long Island.  We saw amazing fireworks, spent lazy days at the pool, played at the beach and took the kids to their first Broadway show.  Fittingly, we took them to see Annie.  And to my immense joy and my husband's dismay, the girls have not stopped singing all the Annie songs since seeing the show.  (It helps that I know every word to every song and constantly am singing it with them.  Ha!)

celebrating the 4th of July with cousins

sunset over Long Island Sound

bubbles at the BBQ

great-grandma celebrating her 95th birthday with some of her great-grandchilren

the big kids fishing on the pier

Annie at Annie


Of course, anyone who lives in Oregon knows that it is the best place to live in the summer.  So as much as I love taking trips and vacations to see friends and do fun things, there is nothing better than a day of golf, an afternoon bike ride or an evening spent cheering on the Portland Timbers.

typical summer forecast -- our reward for putting up with so much rain the rest of the year

a rare sight -- an afternoon spent golfing with my hubby

an even rarer sight -- my son and his friends spending time with us on a bike ride to a park

Portland Timbers game

I am so excited for an upcoming beach week on the coast of North Carolina with friends, a weekend in a stinky van running HTC and whatever else the rest of summer holds.  And here's hoping I get back to running (and blogging) on a regular basis soon!!

Happy Summer, friends!

Anyone else out there injured??  Who else is running HTC?  Any Insanity fans out there?  And what fun things have you done this summer??

- Kristen

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Who wants to run Hood to Coast?!

This isn't going to be my usual wordy, picture-filled blog post...this is just a quick invitation to join my Hood to Coast team!  Plans change, injuries occur, life happens and suddenly we have found ourselves with THREE spots open in Van #1 (I'm in Van #2).

Come alone or grab a couple friends and fill all three spots!  The runners who dropped out will be covering the cost of the race fee so you will only have to cover gas, food and part of a hotel room if you decide to stay in Seaside on Saturday night.  The race is Friday and Saturday, August 23rd-24th and our start time on Friday is 3:15pm.

Let me now if you are interested -- reply in the comments or email me at happyrunningmama@gmail.com.  And please share with anyone who might be interested!!

- Kristen

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Running on Empty

I was coasting through life on fumes on Sunday.  Late Saturday night, we had returned from almost two weeks of visiting family in New York.  Come Sunday morning, the kids were tired, the laundry was piled to the ceiling, my husband was gone for a rare day of golfing, the fridge was empty and so was I.

By the early afternoon, I could feel myself losing it.  I was having one of those woe-is-me days where I was only seeing the negative in everything.  Suddenly, the sacrifice and work I had put in to earn my MBA back in 2002 (when I had a 3 month-old baby) was on the forefront of my mind.  [You know it is bad when you are going back 10+ years to gather frustrations!]  I was lamenting the fact that I had worked so hard for something only to leave the workforce in 2008 to stay home with kids who were currently driving me over the edge.  I was frustrated that it is almost universally women who must make the hard choices in life regarding pursuing their career versus caring for their children.  And embittered that there was no right answer for most of us.

Needless to say, when my husband walked in the door at 2:30 that afternoon, I walked out.  With tears in my eyes.  I was doing my best to not have him bear the brunt of my frustration and I knew there was only one way for me to do that -- and that was for me to find a way to get centered.

So despite the fact that my knee has been bothering me ever since my last marathon in early June and most of my runs have been limited to a mere 3 miles, I jumped in my car and drove to Forest Park for a nice, long trail run.

Forest Park is basically a huge forest that has trails criss-crossing it that are perfect for walking, running and riding mountain bikes.  Usually, I keep my runs to one of the busiest trails because I feel safe there.  It is sad to admit but, as a woman, I just don't feel comfortable running on many of the trails in Forest Park by myself, especially on a weekday.  However, this was a Sunday and an absolutely gorgeous day so I knew there would be enough people in the park to allow me to run on a trail that usually is eerily quiet and empty -- Wildwood Trail.

Wildwood Trail...a.k.a. Heaven on Earth
I ran with no watch, no music and no goal.  Although my car said it was 86 degrees out when I started, the lack of humidity in Portland combined with the cooling canopy of the forest to create perfect running conditions.  As I flew along the single track trail, I could feel my spirit lifting.  The warm breeze dried my tears and I dropped each concern, worry, frustration and regret along the trail and never looked back.





I found myself picturing my husband at the pool with the kids (which was where he was going to take them while I went for my run) and smiling...thinking about how lucky I am to have his love and support in whatever I decide to do with my life.  I found myself grateful for the beauty that surrounds me every day and for the people who are in my life...even the little ones who drive me crazy at times.  And I found myself becoming ME once again.  I returned to my car around 9 miles later a completely different person.




Everyone has different mechanisms for coping with stress.  Some people eat.  Some people see therapists.  Some people drink.  Some people shop.

I run.

I run long distances to feel good (not to look good).  It is through the pain of running that I find serenity.  And I am filled up once again.

*******************

[And, truth be told, stopping for beverages on my way home helped a little, too!]


- Kristen

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The year in review...and what's next

While I have been a runner for many years (my first marathon was 17 years ago!!), the last year has been a time of significant growth for me in my life as a runner.

Until last year, running had always been a very solitary pursuit for me.  I did all of my running by myself, partly due to scheduling conflicts but mostly because I didn't know any women runners who lived nearby and enjoyed running longer distances.  I wasn't a member of any running clubs and never had someone to keep me company on my 20 mile training runs.  As much as I loved running, it was never something that I was able to share with anyone else -- literally (as in running with someone) or figuratively (as in writing/reading/talking about my passion with someone else who actually cared).

Last June, I was searching the internet for others who had successfully battled tendinitis of the foot when I came across some running blogs.  I had never been one who read or followed any blogs and didn't have any friends who wrote one, either.

I started reading about these women and their attempts to balance their passion for running and their struggles with eating healthy, raising kids, working (in or out of the home), grocery shopping, cooking, volunteering at their kids' schools, practicing yoga, keeping their houses (relatively) clean and keeping their spouses (relatively) happy.  These women supported each other, encouraged each other, comforted each other and motivated each other.

They certainly don't all have everything in common -- some are married, some are single, some have kids, some are childless, some are young, some are old, some are overweight, some are thin, some are fast, some are slow, some are vegan and some live in the midwest.  [Any vegans from the midwest??]  But they all share a love of all things running.

I became inspired.

I started a blog.
I hired a running coach.
I registered for Boston.
I set a big goal to run a sub-3:30 marathon.
I turned 40.  (Okay, this one wasn't something I chose to do or even wanted to do...but it seemed like a big deal to be doing all of this while turning a pivotal age where most runners are starting to slow down.)
I made new running friends who believed in me.
I put in the miles.
I hit the track.
I became comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I added cross training.
I developed a strict post-run recovery routine.
I started going to bed earlier in order to maximize sleep.
And last, but not least, I started to believe in myself.

a jacket I literally had to work for

40th birthday celebrations

Putting in the miles
The site of many 800m repeats

learning to become comfortable running in freezing temps


post-run smoothie

I've looked at this many, many times during my runs

I almost reached my goal in Boston when I ran a 3:30:30 and then finally did a few weeks later with a 3:25:25 in Newport, Oregon.  I was so happy at that moment that I was ready to hang up my running shoes and walk off into the sunset.



But now that a couple of weeks have passed, it is time to start focusing on what's next.

I took a full week off with no exercise whatsoever and then decided to start the Insanity DVD's.  I had bought them a year or so ago but had never actually done them.  I am almost finished with my second week of the program and am really enjoying it so far.  I thought it would be a good way to strengthen my core while also giving my legs a little bit of a break.  As it turns out, my left knee has been really bothering me every time I have tried running so it is probably a good thing for me to be mixing it up a little these days.  Sometimes I run 2 miles on the treadmill after the Insanity workout but even that short run bothers my knee so now I'm taking another week off from running.

I also am realizing that Hood to Coast is just two months away and, at some point, I will need to start training for it.  Running HTC this year is not something that I was planning on doing.  I ran it one time, about ten years ago, and had a great time but I was a last-minute addition to the team and only knew one person in my van.  I knew I wanted to do it again one day and then the opportunity presented itself about two months ago when a friend offered me an entire team to buy.  I jumped at the chance and am looking forward a fun, exhausting and unforgettable weekend with a mix of college friends, high school friends, friends of friends and my husband!!

I haven't yet thought much past HTC but my tentative plan is to run some shorter races in the fall and then pick another goal marathon for next spring...I'm thinking of Boston or maybe Eugene.  And I'm definitely planning on setting another big goal for that race!

Has anyone done the Insanity program?  Thoughts?  Results??

Anyone else running HTC this year?

Has anyone else run the Eugene Marathon?  Would you recommend it?

- Kristen