Tuesday, March 24, 2020


"If you cannot see the bright side of life, polish the dull side."
~ Christina Dodd

Okay, first and foremost, I am not suggesting in any way that the pandemic we are all dealing with is anything other than a total bear.  These days are stressful, scary, frustrating, sad, chaotic and a million other things.  I feel it all and I know you do, too.  Every day presents its own unique challenges and we're all just trying to get through.  But, and if you want to reach out and slap me so be it, for me there have been some noticeable silver linings in these last couple weeks and I feel like, at least for my own sake, it's worth sharing.  Many of them put a smile on my face when I think about them.  I love that.  Maybe it will do the same for you.  Or perhaps it will make you think about a similar "bright side" scenario on your end.  And at the very least, I'm potentially providing a quick and easy read and something to do during your lunch hour.  Hopefully that counts for something.


1. I'm not really going anywhere lately.  And thus, I'm not spending money on gas.  That's nice.  Even better, I'm already significantly over in mileage on my lease so my time off the road is allowing me catch up to where I should be.  Also nice.

2. My body is kind of broken.  I have plantar fasciitis in my left foot.  And last week I tripped and twisted my right ankle pretty badly.  So, basically, I'm being forced to take a break.  And the nice thing is, I don't have to stress about my training and what I might be missing.  With no races on the horizon, I can slow it down and give myself the care I need.  And, quite honestly, the care I wouldn't be giving myself if things weren't as they are.  Perhaps others who have been running through minor injuries can do the same.

3. My older daughter admittedly hates running.  This makes me sad but I don't force it.  Last week she asked me to drop her at the pond to run the 2 mile loop.  When I asked why she was suddenly running she explained it was because she needed something to do.  When she finished she told me it wasn't that bad and the she was glad she'd done it.  The next day she did it again.  If my daughter becomes a runner of any kind when this is all over I will be beside myself.  Not that I will show her that.  I will, of course, keep my cool and pretend like her running is no big deal. 

4. It's been a week and a half and I have successfully cleaned out and reorganized two closets in my house.  Closets that were stuffed to the gils with crap.  Closets that I used to open, claim I was going to clean, and then close and walk away from because the thought of dealing was too overwhelming.  This was so ridiculously satisfying and a very large accomplishment on my part.

5. Both my daughters (ages 13 and 15) are getting crafty and spending their time doing things they never would have done if they weren't being forced to stay at home.  They're making forts, decorating and sleeping in our tent, painting, sketching, latch-hooking, making cool ceramic thingys, making new phone cases. I am in awe of the constant flow of creativity and I'm blown away by their enthusiasm to try new things or, in some cases, old things that they never had any interest in when the situation was different.

6. Our family time has sky rocketed.  Honestly, my girls' lives are so busy between friends and sports that I rarely see them for more than thirty minutes at a time during the school week, especially my 15 year old.  If I get a meal with them it's a minor miracle.  Now we're eating multiple meals together, having good quality conversations, watching movies, even playing games.  Okay, truth, we have to force the games a little, but they've been caving because, well, there's not much else to do.  Not that I care.  I'm really enjoying and cherishing this time with them as I know it will end and they will be back to business as usual in a skinny minute.

7. I have reconnected with my best buds from high school and am now talking to them multiple times a week.  I went through some old pictures last week and found some gems so I sent them to the whole group.  The conversation that unfolded was amazing.  I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.  It was so what I needed.  I also haven't talked to these women in far too long and am thrilled to have them as part of my daily life again.  Even if it's just virtual, it's still awesome.  And, yes, my hair was a hot mess.

8. I have a pile of 10 books next to my bed that I used to stare at every night.  I also have a list of about 20 movies that I've wanted to see.  Well, folks, I am checking off the boxes.  Because there is plenty of time to read and more than enough time to watch a movie.  Particularly on the weekends which feel about ten days long.  I highly recommend Knives Out (movie) and Nothing to See Here (book).

9. People are moving.  Not for long, not very far and not in groups.  But lots of people out there who are usually reluctant or don't have time to get up and go outside for whatever reason are doing just that.  Because sitting at home all day is pretty damn brutal even for those who don't mind doing it.  People are walking their dogs, riding bikes, going running, gardening.  And all of these things are good for the body and soul.  Humans are made to move.  Movement keeps us healthy and living longer.  How great if we have a whole group of people who are excited about staying active once this is all said and done.

10. The inherent good in people is coming out and visible daily.  People are reaching out through email, phone and social media and doing so much for others.  Today I ran into the woman who's team wallpapered my bathroom a couple weeks ago.  She's driving around to paint stores and buying paint suits and masks from anyone who will sell them and then dropping them off at hospitals here in the Boston area who have the greatest need for them.  People are buying groceries for strangers (see above).  Friends are sending care packages to those who need a pick me up.  The desire to help and to give back is just so insanely high and such a beautiful thing.

Listen to this:
Inside Out by Grouplove

Thursday, March 5, 2020


🎶 I'm not sh*t without you. Crew is the future. 🎶
~ Sam Spiegel feat. Elliphant & Agent Sasco

Last Thursday I flew down to Atlanta, primarily to watch the Olympic marathon trials, but also to visit family and spend time quality time with my Oiselle teammates, most of whom I don't get to see very often, so I was pumped for all of it.  It was an epic weekend and I am still reeling.  I'm also still very tired.  Because cheering your brains out for three hours and then cutting a rug for four hours after that takes a lot of you.  Worth every second, of course.  Here's how the weekend played out.

My sister and brother-in-law live down in Georgia, so I went down a day early so I could spend a night with them.  Courtney treated me to dinner at a swanky Italian restaurant which I was totally underdressed for.  Story of my life.  Then we headed back home and caught up with her husband, Alex, before turning in on the early side because, um, that's what I do.  Friday morning I got up, drank some coffee and went for a run around their neighborhood.  It was not quite as warm as I'd expected; the temp being in the low 30s, which seemed weird because everyone calls it Hotlanta.  Nope.  Not hot.

Still, it was beautiful out, clear and sunny, and I thoroughly enjoyed my run.  I carried a detailed list of directions with me as I didn't want to have to deal with looking at my phone at every turn.  I did pretty well, only having to ask one person to help me out when I got confused.  This very nice gentleman and I ended up running and chatting for about a half a mile together before breaking off in different directions.  It was lovely.  Gotta love runners.  When I was done, I joined my sister and her friend for a second cup of coffee before making my way into the city to meet up with my Oiselle family.  My sister dropped me off at the Ponce City Market, this really cool industrial area with restaurants and shops.  I found Jackie, Courtney and a few others and dropped my stuff with the group so I could go grab, yes, a third coffee.  You can imagine the look on my face when I ordered a medium latte and the guy told me it would be $6.  It was good, but it was not $6 dollars good.  Whatever.

Atlanta has a lot of unique and funky street art and architecture and we were not afraid to play tourists on our way over to the race expo where we'd be meeting up with the rest of our crew.  Plus, we were having a bit of a love fest as we hadn't all been together in quite some time.  Basically, we stopped for lots of photos and didn't care how dorky we looked.  We got to the conference center around 1:00 and found the rest of the team easily as there was a massive Oiselle group with over a hundred ladies in it packed in the middle of the room.

Jackie and I bee-lined it over to Erin, aka Jungle Chicken, one of our nearest and dearest and the three of us caught up on lives, running, and what not.  I also took a second to grab my race bib and t-shirt for Sunday's half marathon.  That's right, my friends.  Despite the stupid plantar fasciitis that I have been battling, I was planning, with my coach's blessing, on lining up and giving it a go at an easy effort, just to see how the foot would hold up over a longer distance.  I signed up for this half a year ago when I was healthy and assumed I'd be racing but shit happens.  I hate throwing out the cash from a race registration if I can avoid it and I'm still trying to feel out whether I can line up for Boston in April, so it made since to give this a whirl.  It was not, however, high on my list of worries for the weekend as I haven't been training for it and am just barely back to running in general.  To be honest, I wasn't one hundred percent sure I'd even do it, but good to have the option with no strings or stress attached.

Later that eventing all 100 + of us met up at the Monday Night Brewing Garage for dinner.  This was yet another really cool area of the city with a couple different restaurants in the enclosed garden area in addition to this brewery.  Ours had both a bbq food truck inside, which is where we grabbed our dinner, and a plant store.  That's right.  Plants.  So, you could pick up a plant on your way out, you know, in case you wanted one for yourself or you needed to grab a gift for a friend.  Unexpected bonus for sure.  If you are in the Atlanta area and looking for a place to chill with friends, I highly recommend this one.  You can even bring your dogs inside with you.  We hung out for a couple hours, continuing to catch each other up on our lives since we'd hung out last and meeting new birds.  But, as you can see from the photo above, most of us were admittedly tired after traveling and wanted to get to bed so we had plenty of energy to cheer our heads off at the trials the next day.

We woke up to a crystal clear, bluebird day.  A little chilly and very windy, which was not ideal for the racers, but it definitely could have been much worse.  Chicken and I took off for a five mile shakeout, enjoying the scene and waving to all the other runners out on the street.  Between those who were there to watch the trials and those who were in town to race on Sunday, the roads were packed with runners and the vibe was electric as we cruised through the city.  My foot was not doing great, a little sore from all the walking around the day before, but I was too excited to worry or even think about it at the time.  We were about to see who would make the Olympic team in the marathon.  We were giddy.  We got back to the hotel, showered and grabbed some food before making our way back out to find the Oiselle cowbell corner where we planned to plant ourselves for the next three hours or so.


Five HUNDRED and eleven women qualified for the trials.  That means five hundred and eleven women ran under two hours and forty five minutes in a different marathon to get themselves to the line in Atlanta.  It was the biggest women's field in the history of the race.  It's mind blowing, really.  But, only three would qualify for the Olympics.  There were easily ten to fifteen pro women who could have taken those spots on any given day - Des Linden, Jordan Hasay, Sarah Hall, Molly Huddle, Emily Sisson, Steph Bruce; the list goes on and on.  And every single woman in this group of top runners had a shot.  Which is why the day was so exciting for spectators.  It was truly anyone's game.  The race course was three brutally hilly loops throughout the city which in and of itself is tough.  Factor in the wind and it was flat out nasty.  All that said, it was awesome to be so close to the women who literally flew by us three times in total beast mode regardless of pace or place.  I was in awe for three straight hours.  It was incredible.

Des Linden & Sarah Hall leading the pack early on

Kellyn Taylor, Jordan Hasay & Emily Sisson also in the lead pack

Once the runners passed us for a third time, we gathered to watch the finish as we continued to cheer on those who were still racing.  In the end, the top three spots went to Aliphine Tuliamuk, Molly Seidel (total wild card) & Sally Kipyego.  (note:it's worth googling all three of these women.  Their stories are unique and each one is worth reading about) . These were not the three women that anyone expected to win, but none were totally surprising either.  All the women who raced were and will always be absolute badasses and I bow down to every single one of them.  

Olympic Marathon Champs

After the race we had a pretty short window of time to get ourselves together and recaffeinated in preparation for the Oiselle fashion show and dance party which tends to happen at most major run events that Oiselle attends and is by far the best part of the weekend.  Things kicked off around 8:00 with the Queen, Sarah Lesko opening up the night by introducing the models who would be walking the runway.  Below are a few shots from the night which was kind of nuts in the best of ways.

Emcee Sarah Lesko

Chicken at her finest


w/ Sue Nearpass & Pamela Jock

a group of us celebrating with Abdi Abdirahman who took third in the men's race.  Super nice and humble guy.  He's 43 years old by the way.

For the record, I got back to my hotel room around midnight.  Most of you who know me know that I'm typically in bed by nine, so this is unprecedented.  I kept trying to leave earlier but I had major FOMO as I'd see people dancing or taking photos and not have the will power to pull myself away.  I made it through most of the evening, but I paid the price the next day when my alarm went off at 5:30am.  Oh, right.  The half marathon.  As I mentioned, I wasn't planning to "race" it but I was still going to get out there and run it and it started at 7:00 so I had to get my ass in gear early and it wasn't pretty.  

This is me drinking coffee at 6am and seriously considering bailing all together.  Most of my friends were still asleep.  I could crawl back into bed and no one would even know or care.  And my foot was sore from the walking and dancing so maybe it really wasn't a such a good idea.  I wavered back and forth for about half or so until finally I said, "F it.  Let's do this."  That was the coffee talking.  I jogged over to the start and checked my bag.  It was cold out again so I tried to warm up a bit as I waited for things to kick off.  I had originally been slotted to line up in Coral 1 based on my seed time, but I tucked myself in Coral 3 so I would not be tempted to take off and to alleviate any pressure I felt to run hard.  This was a test.  A way to see how the foot would hold up over 13 miles.  Nothing more.   As you can see, I slept walked through my first couple miles.  Literally.

But once I got moving and warmed up a bit, I found my groove, turned up the tunes and zoned out.  I did not look at my watch as I had no time goal.  Running like this was really freeing and it was super fun for me to be in a race setting again, despite my easy effort, as I haven't been able to line up yet in 2020.  I realized very quickly how much I love and miss racing.  But, I'll get back to it in time.  Hopefully my foot knows this, too.  I did kick into a bit of a faster gear for the second half and finished strong-ish, all things considered.  I was really happy I did it.  And even happier to get back to the hotel and get back in my bed.  Which I did immediately.  Like, do not pass go or collect a hundred dollars.  Straight to the Hyatt.  And then out like a light.  

And that's about it.  It was a jam packed weekend full of awesomeness.  It is always so much fun to be surrounded by family and friends, even when it's just a short window of time.  Add to that the inspiration I soaked up from the women who ran in the trials and I flew home with a full heart.  I was very sad to leave but I'm ready to do it all over again when we gather for Boston marathon weekend.  Assuming it still happens.  Fingers crossed.  Final note.  This team.  They are my people.  And they rock.  All of them.

Listen to this:
Crew - Sam Spiegel