The Mighty Outdoors

We are Family

There has been no running in my life for the past five weeks and though painful, I have been staying occupied. My childhood friend, my cousin, and her daughter (my niece) trekked from sunny Florida to the Pacific NW and we made it a point to show off the mighty northwest.

A walking bridge is like pixie dust, it makes surroundings so magical.

Miami, Florida is a mega-tropolis and though I appreciated growing up in a such a rich and culturally diverse environment, there are definitely some drawbacks. With a population of 3,000,000 people – Oregon has a combined population of 4,000,000 – you can imagine what commuting looks like. Furthermore, because of it’s flat terrain, you don’t get to experience mountains or the views one would gain from climbing a mountain. Thus, it was critical for us to ensure my family experienced elevation and the rewards of the huffing and puffing that come from the climb.

The white patch shaped like a heart is what remains of Winter Snow.

Hosting and playing tour-guide was rather exhausting, but we felt great pride showing off the beauty the state of Oregon has to offer. What was most refreshing was the detachment to materialistic possessions. Hiking to the top of a mountain, pausing to enjoy a waterfall, sitting around a campfire to roast marshmallows, and the lack of reception made us feel not only connected to nature, but to one another. We were able to give each other our undivided attention and participate in the give and take of an organic conversation. The only status updates pertained to food, the beauty of our surroundings, and the magic of a campfire under the scintillating stars.

The rewards of stepping outside and setting one foot in front of the other.

I still have another three more weeks before I can even attempt to run a single mile, but as long as I have the mighty outdoors, I have enough to be grateful for. With two more months left of Summer, I reckon there will be plenty of adventures that will give me the opportunity to count my blessings.

Jake The Explorer. I swear our dog is 1/4 mountain goat.




We Didn’t Start the Fire

It was 1989. I was a twelve-year-old, sixth-grade immigrant in Mrs. Cameron’s Introduction to Computer Class. Jon Villoch, Adriana Ochoa, Jeanette  Menendez, Robert Wilson, Daniel Syron, and I, gathered round a table next to our high-tech IBM computers. We were supposed to have been studying BASIC programming language, but we opted to talk about matters way more important to the adolescent mind – pop-culture. The girls and I, for the most part, were Blockheads (New Kids on the Block); while John, Daniel and Robert were headbangers (Metallica, Guns N Roses, Motley Crue). Garbage Pail Kids, Nintendo GameBoy, Batman (the one with Michael Keaton), stone-washed ripped denim jeans, and our raging hormones were common ground. Because I grew up in a Spanish-only speaking home, many of the musicians my peers referenced were foreign to me. The musicians I knew (Julio Iglesias, Jose Luis Perales, Emmanuel), were foreigners to most of my anglo-saxon peers. Sixth grade was my introduction to self-consciousness, angst, and Billy Joel. It wasn’t hard to be smitten with Billy Joel. His song, We Didn’t Start the Fire, possessed everything that captivates the adolescent mind: passion, drama, and energy. Jon Villoch, whom we called Goldilocks because of his curly blonde hair, knew all the lyrics and owned his album (cassette) Storm Front. I was jealous Jon had mastered the rote memorization of  Billy Joel’s lyrics, and I made it a personal goal to learn the lyrics as well.

A sunset in Eastern Oregon last Summer during a long run. I remember hurting during this run and hoping I could make it back before I lost complete daylight.

The lyrics, though filled with intensity, were actually meaningless to me. It was merely a list of what seemed to be important world events occurring way before my time. As a twelve-year-old, I was myopic to how their happenings were relevant to my own happenings. In spite of my developmentally detached connection to the historic affairs Billy Joel so zealously crooned about, that moment in time marked a significantly bold point on my time line. belonged. To a circle of friends who equally shared and diametrically opposed my interests and values. To a small group of people in a massive city whose existence was inconsequential to another group of people in a small distant city. To an age group misunderstood by the age groups that experienced Billy Joel’s lyrics. To a time in the cosmos when the masses on a planet named Earth was encapsulating a decade titled the 80’s, and bridging a futuristic one called the 90’s.

My sister visited me from Florida and we enjoyed the beauty of Anthony Lakes.

No, I didn’t understand back then, at the age of 12, the link between the past and the present. That philosophical abyss rang true for me in my teen years, and well into my twenties. In my thirties, a spark awakened, and I fully recognized I was never really authentic, interesting, or as revolutionary as I presumed to be. And then 34 happened. A miscarriage. The recognition that life was fragile. At 35, I had the opportunity to give life again. Four months later, my beloved grandmother exhaled her final breath of life. It was at that very moment, while holding my four-month old close to my heart, and witnessing the closing of my grandmother’s eyes for the last time, that I knew my fire was as easily extinguishable as it was combustible. My life, no longer a nebulous trajectory of events, had now shifted to the portion on the electromagnetic spectrum visible to the human eye. I could no longer consciously hide my actions within the shadows of ignorance.

Cause all I want is to be in the light.

On Saturday, June 4th, I will be running 26.2 miles in Newport, Oregon. I was considering missing the race in order to avoid disappointment and heartache. To avoid seeing numerical results that could possibly trigger feelings of inferiority. Avoid experiencing heartache and the cliche that Life is indeed unfair. To refrain from dealing with the hard truth that sometimes hard work takes a considerable amount of time to payoff, and sometimes, it never pays off the way we intend it to. It can be so easy to remain as ignorantly blissful as the twelve-year-old I once was. When life felt like a joyously vacuous existence wedged between historical time lines of the past and those of the future waiting to be plotted. But I don’t want to be ignorant. I don’t want to purposefully live on the perimeters of the spectrum for fear of visibly failing. I want to feel and experience the passion of Billy Joel’s Lyrics. I want to belong to an age group that reminisces about the 80’s, and shakes its head at the trends of the current youth. To an age group that equally shares and diametrically opposes the values of presidential candidates. I no longer want to just memorize the lyrics. I want to experience them. I want to START THE FIRE.


Wind in my Sails

There hasn’t been much running or blogging happening on my end this past month. In a way, it feels like I have lost the wind in my sails. My job, which was supposed to have been a twenty hour a week job, has snowballed into a 30-35 hours per week job. While I have always understood that a job may sometimes require a little extra time past the allotted pay to get done, 10-15 extra hours per week was not an expectation I had when I originally accepted the position. The stress has caused me to be physically exhausted while experiencing restless nights trying to figure out how to get all my work done on time.

Three weeks ago, I stated my case to my supervisors, and this past week, I was informed that starting next week, my hours would increase! I tell you what, there is nothing more uncomfortable than advocating for myself and risking the chance of coming off to my supervisors a whiny employee who is unable to manage her work load. However, I knew if I didn’t say something, I would grow resentful and eventually resign. At the end of the day, I figured my self-advocacy would either lead to change, or affirm that resigning was the right option. Thank goodness the former and not the latter panned out, because I GENUINELY enjoy working with students and administering assessments to help them access their academic potential.


One of the many work demands required me to attend a three day workshop in Portland. While i enjoyed all the new knowledge I gained, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting my old stumping ground. Boy do I miss Portland and all of the amenities a major city offers.

Work, while stressful, has not been the major culprit of my low mileage. In January, when I ran my first half-marathon of the year, I ran with an uncomfortable pain on my left arch and heel, which in turn caused a jolting pain in my left hamstring. Furthermore, I also ran the race with severe stomach and back cramps and I  attributed all the cramping to that biological time of the month. It wasn’t until I got to my hotel room after the race, used the restroom (in a rather painful manner), and noticed small like crystals in the toilet that I learned the cramps weren’t due to the time of the month. In reality, I was passing KIDNEY STONES! I spent three days after my half-marathon drinking excessive amounts of water, running to the bathroom, and bracing the pain. Fortunately for me, the stones were small enough to pass naturally and there was not further medical action needed. When studying my eating habits, the following was discovered:

  • I was not consuming enough water throughout the day
  • I was exercising with a dehydrated body
  • My kidneys were working extra hard to filter the six supplements a day I was consuming with very little liquids in my system
  • I wedged myself into the coffee drinker category, further dehydrating my body
  • When I was drinking “water” it was carbonated (Perrier) water, another diuretic because of the carbonation.
  • Since November, I went from consuming 40-60 grams of protein per day, to 90 and above grams of protein per day!

There has been a good amount of snowfall in the mountains this year. This is so good for Oregon considering the awful drought we experienced this past Summer. We took a drive to the top of the mountain and snapped a picture of this quaint cabin.

Thank Goodness I did not suffer from larger sized kidney stones after the drastic dietary changes I underwent! Thus, my water intake has now increased, I am now in the social-occasion coffee drinker category, I’ve decreased my protein intake to my pre November levels, allowed carbs to continue to be the major source of my nutrition, stayed away altogether from carbonated water, and flushed all of the supplements down the toilet – which is where they were ending up any way. The experience has only confirmed what I have always known; what works for one person does not necessarily mean will work for another person (me). Our bodies are unique machines, and while there are health guidelines that are important to adhere to, the guidelines are not a step-by-step written in stone subscription to how every individual should be governed (no different than parenting).


My husband and I recently ran a snowy trail and boy did we get our socks wet! So excited Winter is coming to an end and Spring is right around the corner.

Because I have been training without a purpose since the end of the Marine Corps Marathon last October, my training has felt like a job without pay. This means I HAVE TO FIND A RACE. I am planning on not running at all this week to allow my hamstring the maximum amount of rest, but would like to schedule a half-marathon race taking place in the next eight weeks or so. I’m also STILL trying to figure out a good marathon that will give me an opportunity to train properly. Because of some personal scheduling and conflicting travel schedules happening this Spring and Summer, I have not been able to find the “ideal” marathon.  I may just have to take the plunge and sign up for one so that I can be forced to figure out a way to make it work instead of the other way around.


While short, the three snowy/slushy/muddy were extremely challenging.

There have definitely been family adventures this past six weeks, and I am hoping I get to further detail our family outings in the next post or two.

Have you ever had to advocate for yourself at work? How did your speaking out turn out? Do you think you consume enough water throughout the day?



Turn, Turn, Turn

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

The weather is getting cooler, the days are getting shorter, and school is about to start. I’ve also returned to work after staying home with my younger daughter for 2.5 years and she will be soon starting preschool. My husband has been away for three weeks, and after living in Oregon for 13 years, my mother has finally visited me. Of course, it only took for me to buy the airfare for her to come (yes, there is resentment in this sentence), but that is a post that needs to be saved for another day, or year, or decade. On top of that I am still in marathon training for the Marine Corps Marathon.


Summer Hike in Wallowa Lake towards Aneroid Trail


Long Live Summer

I’ve never shied away from declaring how much I love Summer and dislike Fall and Winter (and sometimes Spring). I don’t care for falling leaves, boots, scarves, or anything pumpkin. Ha, I sound like Grumpy Cat right now, but there is just something about short, cold, gray days that give me so much anxiety! When it’s bright and sunny outside, I want to jump out of bed and break out into song and dance like a musical on television. On the other hand, when it is cold, windy, gray, and dark out, it takes so much mental and physical energy to remove the blankets off my body. In fact, I am feeling so much anxiety thinking about it right now. With eight weeks remaining of marathon training, I am hoping I can continue my training streak and not miss a single workout ahead considering the days are getting shorter.


Summer views of Eastern Oregon



My 11-year-old is starting Middle School!!! This new endeavor – for me and for her – makes me as anxious as the change of seasons. Middle School broke my spirit, and I am concerned it will not do the my daughter’s own spirit. To this day, I don’t have an exact reason why middle was so challenging for me, but I know I entered middle school as a happy, fearless, and enthusiastic 12-year-old, and exited as a moody, anxious, and self-conscious 15-year-old. If you are wondering about my age, when I first moved to this country, I was placed in the first grade as a seven-year-old because I had no school records and could not read or write in either Spanish (my native language) or English You can read more about my school memories before moving to this country here. Anyhow, I can only speculate as to why my spirit was shattered into a million pieces, and it is my intent to be available for my daughter and help her navigate the social nuances of adolescence. While I am completely aware I will have many moments where I will falter and she will believe I don’t understand what she is going through, I am hoping she will look back and appreciate my effort.


My 11-year-old knows all about selfies


Independence and Learning the Rules

My soon-to-be three-year-old is stubborn, strong-willed, and ornery, but she is just as sweet, funny, and witty! She too is beginning a new journey in her life; one that includes navigating the social world where she can be independent yet learn to get along with others. I loved spending time with her while at home, but honestly, I felt like I was holding her back. She is so funny, and so smart, and because I was so unstructured, she could have learned so much more than what I offered. I know, I know, she’s only two, but it seems like nowadays, infants are born knowing how to walk, read, and play the piano. With me, she learned how to use an iphone, and ipad, watched every single Disney movie and learned all the songs on the radio. My concern for her is how she is going to handle preschool. Apparently, the school expects for three-year-olds to wipe their own butts! Their arms can barely reach their backs let alone their butts! I am also concerned about her orneriness and like any other mother, I want for her to be happy, kind, confident, intelligent, and all the good wishes a mother prays and hopes for.


She hikes to the beat of her own feet


Mommy Wars

I’m back at work, but it is only part-time. This means I am either going to be stellar juggling my mother and professional duties, or completely mediocre. I don’t really want to get into the mommy wars, because I don’t have an answer as to what is best. For the first six months I stayed home with my daughters, I loved it. The house was organized, the laundry was washed, folded, and stored away on the same day, and I felt total bliss not having to do the morning rat-race. But things changed. Because I was new to a small town, I did not know anyone. The only adult interaction was with my husband, and I pined for his presence and felt so lonely when he took off for work. The chores that I excelled in the first six months became “chores.” It was as if the only way to measure my self-worth for the day was whether the house was cleaned or not, whether dinner was ready or not and whether the little one was clean or not. So I became disinterested and I longed for something more. I wanted to solve problems that did not involves spills, stains, or tantrums. Plus, I also wanted to earn my own money. I wanted to buy unncesessayy items without worrying how much it would put a dent on the budget. My husband has never begrudged or made me feel like his money was only his, so it had nothing to do with feeling financially oppressed. On the contrary, my husband has always been nothing but supportive of my wants and needs, but there is a sense of freedom and empowerment when a paycheck is made out to your name. It’s like you have put on your superhero cape and you have saved the world from a natural disaster. I knew didn’t want to go back to the full 40+ hours, but I definitely wanted to be a part of the working community. Well, patience has paid off, because not only am I returning to work exercising the profession I invested in (School Psychology), I am only doing it part-time, giving me the opportunity to balance my work life with my personal life.


My work clothes have rediscovered their purpose



As I was typing this, my husband walked into the door. After three LONG weeks, he is home. I’ve missed him so much, and as each day goes by, I feel so blessed knowing how fortunate I am to have not only a loving husband, but a formidable father as well. He is the father I never had and the husband I dreamed of. While he was away, my mother has been helping me out a lot. Despite our differences, I know my mom is doing the best she can. We are not close by any means, but perhaps my time with her (she will spend a total of six weeks with me) will help heal some of the wounds I have been carrying around for years. Because I cannot change who she is and what she thinks, the healing has to occur with me alone.


My mom taking our dog Jake for a walk


Marine Corps Marathon

The negative voices of self-doubt have been present the last two weeks of marathon training. I’ve not written about my training much for fear of disappointment like the one I experienced during Eugene, but I am still very much loyal to my runs. This past Saturday, I had an 18 miler, and it was definitely challenging. My legs ached, and my mind kept wandering negative thoughts, “What if I do terrible?” “What if I get hurt again?” “You are so slow.” “You are not a real runner.” Anyhow, I had to move each foot in front of the other and wrestle the demons that feast on weaknesses to prevent it from letting it get to me. I am officially eight weeks away and don’t feel as strong as I felt for Eugene eight weeks out, but I am still giving it all I’ve got. I don’t want to put much thought into this anymore in order to keep the voices of doubt way back in the dark area of the brain.


Summer running on my last leg of Ragnar Relay NW Passage


Are you looking forward to the change of Season? Do the shorter days affect your mood? What is your fall race schedule?

Catherine Creek Classic Half-Marathon

Exactly a year ago today, I was chasing a sub-2 half-marathon. That goal was achieved on August 2, 2014 at the Catherine Creek Classic Half-Marathon. This year, I ran the same course, but with goals and thoughts completely different from the ones I possessed a year ago. For one, I was no longer seeking a specific finish time. Second, after spending two months on the sidelines due to a plantar fascia rupture, I was grateful for the mere of opportunity of being able to run. Finally I was racing for distance in order to test my endurance and gauge if my foot could sustain the upcoming demands of marathon training for the Marine Corps Marathon.

Last year, I had the opportunity to race with my husband. This year, my friend Kim, whom I ran Bridge of the Goddess Half-Marathon with back in September of 2014 was also running the course. She trekked all the way from Portland, Oregon to savor racing in Eastern Oregon. Unlike last year though, the temperatures were supposed to reach the 100’s for the day. While I personally prefer running in warmer temperatures over cooler temperatures, I’m highly aware how challenging and demanding running in temperatures over 80 degrees can be. The temperature at the starting line was 72 degrees, and for me personally, that was just right. I do not like starting in temperatures where I’m shivering and my muscles are cold. Since the course had water stations every two miles, I only carried Huma energy gels with me (thanks to my mother-in-law, I now have a sweet amount to choose from), and wore sunglasses to protect my eyes from the sun.

Up close and personal after the race with my friend Kim.

Because I really did not have any expectations about the race except to measure the endurance and strength of my left foot, I was extremely relaxed and free of anxiety or self-imposed demands. This time around, I was excited for the opportunity to run with the goal of just crossing the finish line. There were no voices of doubt and confidence wrestling back and forth between one another and trying to placate them with visualizations or negotiations. If there was anything my injury taught me was that a number on a race clock does not quantify the will, determination, and struggle of the human spirit. The clock at the finish line is a mere snapshot capturing just that – the finish line; it does not capture what transpired before, during, or after the race. The acceptance that the time clock was by no means a measurement of who I was and what I was capable of doing took away any stresses I had a year ago. I was not worried about the hot temperatures, the elevation, and distance I needed to cover in a specified amount of time. It was genuinely a run that I was going to enjoy.

This was the day of the Blue Moon. The moon looks tiny, but it was big and bright in person. We were trying to capture a sun set the night before our race and after dinner, but we got to see a moon rise and it was a captivating experience.

When the clock started and we started racing down the hill (much of the race is a net loss and it is mostly downhill), I was smart enough not to go all out like I did last year. In fact, in comparison to last year’s time, I was almost one minute slower than the first time I ran it (2014 – 25:40, 2015 – 26:39). However unlike last year, I was feeling extremely strong the last four miles of the race and did not feel like my energy was waning. Last year, I was fighting tooth and nail not to let my pace slip to a ten minute mile in fear I would not make it to the finish line under two minutes. This year, I did not bother to look at my Garmin during miles 9-12 because I did not feel like I was struggling at any point either physically or mentally. My foot felt great and I was not experiencing any significant pain at any point. My back and shoulders, when exhausted, begin to hunch forward, but I never felt like I was losing my form. When I only had one mile remaining, I realized that my time on the course had flown by! I had no idea what my time would be, but I knew that I had probably run one of the best races I had ever run in my life. The time on the clock: 1:53:21. My time last year -1:57:46. I shaved four minutes off my time! Would this post had been positive had I finished in 2:07? Absolutely! My goal the entire time was to finish my race and to finish strong. Because I did not place any pressure on myself, I managed to run a very strong race. It is my hope to repeat this performance during the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

Second in my age group! I love small town races.

Summer Training Potpourri

My training since I last blogged (apparently it’s been a while) has been more consistent than my blogging abilities. Let’s just say Summer has been a busy month, and sitting down and typing my current affairs have been placed on the back burner.

The coast in the background and a moment alone with my amazing husband.

Since my participation in Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back, I have ran another Relay – Northwest Passage. There will be an upcoming post rating the experience, but for now, it’s only a draft. My first half-marathon (Catherine Creek Half Marathon) since my injury is this upcoming weekend and I am rather scared and excited about the event. It will be interesting to see how perform given it’s only been about two months since I started running again due to my plantar fascia rupture. The Catherine Creek Half-Marathon was the half where I finally broke under two hours last Summer. It is my hope to finish strong, but most importantly, I will be just happy to finish considering I did not toe the starting line of Eugene Marathon. This year, a good friend of mine will be racing Catherine Creek as well and I am hoping she can set a PR!

Here is a run down of what my training for Marine Corps Marathon looks like:

Trail Runs

Working the trails at 5:30 am!

I’ve falling in love with trail runs. They are definitely challenging, but I feel they are a deviation from the concrete runs I had while training for Eugene Marathon. In the last month I have been running trails, I’ve definitely felt like it has improved my running pace as well as sculpt my calves, quads, and hamstrings. Even better, my foot, which was given me trouble when I started running, is loving the dirt path over the hard pavement. Overall, I’m really enjoying getting up early in the  morning and breathing in the fresh air and being enveloped by the beautiful scenery. So far, my longest run has been a 10k, but I am hoping I can increase that distance within time.

Up in the morning with the Oregon Sun.

Relay Races

When an opportunity presented itself for Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage with my husband, I immediately jumped on it! Running on the same team with my husband in the state of Washington for a relay was exhausting, but it was so worth it. I love running as much as I love my husband, so being able to share this experience with him (and without our daughters) was such a memorable occasion for me. In Wasatch, I barely ran 12 miles for my total distance. In Northwest Passage, I ran over 20 miles! It was a strong run for me and it boosted my confidence that perhaps I can start training harder for my Marine Corps Marathon and my foot injury may finally be behind me. I’ve got one more relay race ahead of me, – Elkhorn Relay August 7 and 8 – and once that relay is over, my long distance runs in the double digits will commence.

At the finish line of our 200-ish mile journey with my wonderful husband. Running together is a rare occasion for us, so this moment was very significant for me.


Surrounded by the majestic views Eastern Oregon in Wallowa State Park on the Aneroid Trail Lake.

This past Sunday, we spontaneously hiked Aneroid Lake Trail,  a beautiful trail in Wallowa Lake State Park. The roundtrip distance was 12 miles, and it was pretty exhausting to do with a two-year-old, an 11-year-old, and a beagle. There was an elevation gain of over 2,500 feet, which made for a challenging climb (for the young ones). Because it took us 3 hours and 20 minutes to get to Rogers Lake, .5 miles short of Aneroid Lake, and it was already 6:30 pm, we decided to head back out before the trail was completely dark. Our way down was so much faster, as our return only took us 2 hours and 15 minutes; enough time to make it out before darkness blanketed the trail. We are definitely interested in returning before Summer ends, but we would like to start the hike much earlier in the day. By the end of the hike, we were all exhausted! Because I had a challenging nine mile run the day before, my knees were definitely feeling the climb and the descend.

The combination of water, trees, skies…just stunning.

Summer has been busy so far. We’ve grilled, swam, hiked, visited family, stayed up late, and slept in. The mornings have gotten a little cooler, and even though we still have at least another six weeks of Summer remaining, it makes my gut ache thinking that this will soon come to an end and the dark, cold, gray days of winter will soon be creeping in. It is my intent to soak up as much vitamin D and heat as I possibly can.

How have your summer days been filled? Have you hiked any trails?

Trying out the Trails

Trail running is not my thing. For one thing, trails around here tend to be technical and require an acute sense of awareness between body and surface; a skill I’ve not honed given my clumsy nature. Add in a history of numerous sprained ankles, and I’m pretty much a running hazard. Thus, I’ve done most of my running on concrete and consciously avoided trails. Following my injury, I’d been advised to avoid concrete and have been dutifully logging my miles on the softer surfaces of local tracks. However, my long runs are now longer than five miles, making running around in circles pretty tedious. Plus, with Summer in full session, running around the track means getting scorched by the hot sun due to lack of shade.

This past Thursday, my friend Sarah and I had a 5:30 am running date on the trails. My excitement levels were so high the night before, I kept waking up every hour for fear of oversleeping! The run was as as challenging as I expected it to be. Every muscle, joint, tendon, and ligament in my body was constantly working as my legs and body maneuvered and shifted uphill, downhill, and around switchbacks. The elevation made an imposing presence on my lungs and made it more difficult for my nostrils to take in oxygen.

Because we had to make it back home for both our husbands to make it to work on time, we managed to cover 4.75 miles in an hour; .25 miles short of our targeted five miles. Normally, it takes 24-48 hours post-workout for me to feel the effects of physical exercise, but as soon as I sat in my car, my quads, hamstrings, calves, and ankles were pretty sore! My Thursday was definitely off to a great a start, and I knew I would come back again for more!

Views for Breakfast!

Nuun Hydration put together a virtual 5k/10k/ride race to benefit Girls on the Run and I chose the 10k, which coincidentally aligned with a scheduled 6 mile long run. Even better, the run landed on what is perhaps the best day of the entire year – INDEPENDENCE DAY! Once again, I headed towards the trails, but this time, I went alone – a first for me. This 10k wasn’t only to log 6.2 miles to cover the virtual requirements of the race, it was symbolic of my freedom and embracing all the blessings I have that millions of oppressed individuals around the world only imagine having. More specifically, I was running for all of the women around the world not allowed to drive, or are stoned to death for ludicrous accusations. My run was for little girls who do not have access to an education, and for women who can’t walk out of their homes without permission. Because I got really lost, and it took me longer than expected, I had a good amount of time to be thankful for my life, and was ever grateful my daughters were growing up in a country filled with so many opportunities.

Lost in nature and enjoying the views.

I’m definitely adding trail running to my repertoire mix. It’s challenging both mentally and physically, and the trails are bursting at the seams with awesome views. Here are some things I have learned with only two measly trail runs under my belt:
1) I will get lost.

This is pretty much a given, since I get lost even walking around my neighborhood. Fortunately, the trails connect and eventually lead to the starting point.

2) Compression socks make a difference.

I started purchasing compression socks this past fall, when I registered for the Eugene Marathon, in order to help with recovery during the long runs. I decided to wear them during my long run on Saturday and they really helped protect my legs from tall grass, dust, dirt, and debris.


Patriotic socks in the tall grass.

3) Trail running shoes matter.

I ran in the Gel Nimbus and the sole had minimal traction on the trail, which made for a slippery run. Looks like my husband is going to have to twist my arm so that I can purchase trail running shoes.

4) GPS apps/watches are unreliable.

I for both runs, I used my Garmin Forerunner 220, and my mapmyrun application on my iPhone. Both were off. This means that the joy of running will be more joyous if you don’t take technical stuff too seriously.

5) Deer and Antelope Roam

Nature will definitely be on fully display. While on my run, I ran into deer and antelope, and I’m certain I traversed hundreds of insects and other species of animals that I may have not seen but were definitely present. I may just have to carry some pepper spray to fend off from any animals that may attack me.


Can you spot the deer?

Are you a trail runner? What tips do you have for a novice like me?