Golden State of Mind

Although I traveled to California for work (and free time was limited), I was able to snap a few photos at both the LA Arboretum and The Huntington. Simply stunning. (Read more about my trip here.)

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Heads Up, Wings Out

I’m not particularly fast (yet). I can’t use the word fartlek in a sentence without giggling (and I’m OK with that). I’ve only been running for a little while and I somehow manage to injure myself more than I’d like (i was rocking a big ole’ boot last week). And I’m certainly not a running blogger.

But man, I’m really in love with running.

There’s nothing like the post-run feelings of exhaustion and accomplishment, wound together tightly. I adore spending Saturday mornings listening to my favorite podcasts and winding through the back roads and trails here in NH. And, of course, running provides me with quality time with my best girl (below left).

Z and Toronto
Zealand (left). Running in Toronto (right).

But I also love the feeling of community that running provides (particularly when I’m injured and looking for tips to heal, train, etc). I connect with others when I read my favorite blogs and Runner’s World. I meet interesting locals at nearby races and run clubs. I spend afternoons laughing and running with my Girls on the Run team. And now, I’m looking forward to connecting with other birds through Oiselle Volée.

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Sure, I could just join a local running group for free and call it a day. But there’s something special about Oiselle, what they’re doing, and what Volée means. It’s more than just running. The Oiselle Flight Manual advises us to build the sisterhood, set wild goals, own the journey,  be a superfan, and more. Per Oiselle,”We’re building a new kind of family. One that is strong, supportive, passionate, and all-in on a woman-up world.”

Don’t you just love that?

So here’s the takeaway: I’m looking forward to building some bonds with other birds*, particularly here in gorgeous New England. Heads up, wings out!

Hiking in the White Mountains.
Hiking in the White Mountains.

*I’m nursing an injury right now and (regrettably) taking it a bit slow … So bear with me!

Crushing 15K

OK, OK. So it wasn’t the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. But after three failed attempts for entry, my name was drawn for the Nike Women’s 15K in Toronto.

And it was awesome.

Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a Nike fanatic – I don’t run in Nike’s, I’m not particularly partial to Nike clothing, and I don’t have a strong opinion on the company’s political or cultural practices … But damn, Nike knows how to put on a race.

The Crystal Coliseum, Nike’s floating barge/workout studio on Lake Ontario. Photo courtesy of Nike.
The Crystal Coliseum, Nike’s floating barge/workout studio on Lake Ontario. Photo courtesy of Nike.

From beginning to the end, they made the entire race an experience. The Nike Training Club workouts were held on a floating barge on Lake Ontario. The Nike Run Club shakeout runs coordinated with local running specialty stores and took us through the city streets. And the race itself was held on Toronto Island, which essentially became “Nike Women Island” for a full day.

Crushing the shakeout run. Photo courtesy of Nike.
Crushing the pre-race shakeout run. Photo courtesy of Nike.

“Nike Women Island” featured food trucks, music, DJs, massage therapists, organized stretching sessions, and even an entire tent packed with yoga mats, foam rollers, and tennis balls to really work everything out before the race. #bliss

Once we got started, the race wound through every type of terrain imaginable – on a road, on a trail alongside a lightnouse, on the tarmac at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, even along a boardwalk nestled between crashing waves and trees. Check out the video for a peek at the full course. 

Running along the tarmac of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Photo courtesy of Nike.
Running along the tarmac of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Photo courtesy of Nike.

And Nike made sure to keep the 10,000 runners motivated by placing drum lines, gospel choirs, kickass signage, and plenty of spectators along the route.

Maybe it was all the excitement or my new playlist (typically I listen to podcasts, but Ellie Goulding was guiding me through this 15K), but I performed well, finishing 378th out of the 1677 in my age category.

And lest I forget, the “finisher’s medal” is a sterling silver Tiffany necklace, with a pendant emblazoned with the Nike Women’s 15K logo.

It was, quite simply, the best race I’ve ever completed.

Why do race photos always look so awkward? Photo courtesy of Nike.