Gratefulness. And Training–Week #36

Sep 6
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in 2013 Challenge, Around Town, Reflections

Have you ever had someone visit your town and when you took them for a run you noticed new things about your regular route that you never noticed before because you’re seeing it through your visitor’s eyes? Well I have. Monday Bill and I took a run with a friend of a friend who was visiting Bellingham (and who is now our friend). For an hour, we toured Whatcom Falls Park, through the cemetery, and up to the bridge that crosses Alabama Street. We wanted her to get a look at Bellingham from atop the hill. While we were standing on the bridge, Bill pointed out landmarks:

“Over there is the university. And out beyond the bay you can see the San Juan Islands,” he said, pointing out the green mounds in the water I usually take for granted.

I stood back and listened to his narration–and looked out at the panorama. I was suddenly struck that I live in a very beautiful place. In fact, Bellingham is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been (and I’ve been to every continent, as you know)! If I were a traveler visiting my town, I wouldn’t want to leave. And since I live here, I only have to leave when I go on vacation.

Sometimes I forget to be grateful for what is right in front of me. Not this week.


Sunday: Pace work. Bill wanted me to try a new workout with him at the track. His plan was to jog down to the track from our house (one mile) and then do four one-mile repeats, speeding up each mile by one minute, before jogging back home. He planned to run his miles at 10 minutes, 9 minutes, 8 minutes, and 7 minutes. I knew I couldn’t keep up beyond the nine minute mile, so my repeats were as follows: 10:00, 9:00, 9:30, 9:40. If the goal was to run the last mile faster than the first, I might have been better off speeding up by only 15 seconds for each mile. Live and learn.

Monday: Six mile run with our new friend, Talca.

Tuesday: Slow couple of miles.

Wednesday: Speed work. 4 miles total with 25 minutes of that time doing ins and outs at the track (slow on the curves, hard on the straights).

Thursday: Slow couple of miles.

Friday: Slow couple of miles.

Saturday: A half marathon that starts at the Lummi Stommish Grounds. I’m doing this just to get the miles in and not so much for time, so I expect to finish in around 2:25.

It’s nice to be back on track. How’s your training going? How did summer treat you? What are your goals this fall?

The Wind Horse Half Marathon Race Report

Jul 22
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Around Town, Current Events, Race Reports

Well friends, last week was the first week in 2013 that I failed to blog and catch you up on training news. The reason you didn’t hear from me is that I spent Friday (my usual blogging day) rushing around town (Costco, Haggens, equipment pick-up at the city) in preparation for our annual Wind Horse Half Marathon. The race was on Saturday, and by Sunday I was too wiped out to put two words together.

If you’ve never run the distance in Bellingham between Fairhaven Park and Clayton Beach, you don’t know what you’re missing.  The course travels along the Interurban Trail right above the shoreline of the bay. You can’t beat the views of the San Juan Islands or the aroma of “woods”—green ferns and moss—that follow you the whole distance. We Bellinghamsters sometimes take for granted the number of gorgeous trails we have to run on. But because the Wind Horse run had a lot of out-of-towners running the route this year, we heard “What a beautiful course!” so often that I had to pause and give thanks on Saturday and promise myself to really appreciate the view the next time I run the trail.

As you may know, we created the race to raise funds for The Blue Sky Education Project, a local non-profit that raises funds to send children to school in Bellingham’s Mongolian sister city (Tsetserleg). Only $50 buys a child everything she needs (school supplies and clothing) to go to school for a year. This year we’ll be sending at least 50 children off to school. One of the things I love about our little race is that it has a very Mongolian flavor. We give out “khadags” to winners and serve barbequed meat at the finish line. It’s true that meat is not usually your typical recovery food (we have bananas, bagels, and oranges, too), but in Mongolia, meat is the primary food source. Many people are still nomadic, traveling with their herds and taking all their sustenance from them—milk and meat (we stop short of serving milk at the aid stations—runners just get water).

Our racers seemed unusually happy this year; we agreed there were more smiles than usual coming across the finish line. The weather was perfect, after all.

Bolor, Andrea, and I (the three race directors) want to extend our heartfelt thanks to EVERYONE who participated in our event on Saturday: Volunteers, runners, and our significant others (Eric, Janna, and Bill—they support us in our craziness every year).

(You can check out in the video below with pics from previous years.)


As you might imagine, my training has been a bit disrupted this week. I was sore after last Sunday’s See Jane Run half marathon, so I took Monday off and only walked on Tuesday. Wednesday I took a slow three-mile run, and Thursday and Friday I did 4-mile pace runs.

Because I’m running another half-marathon on Saturday (the Anacortes Art Dash) to try once again to meet my goal of getting in under 2:15, I won’t be running hard this week either—a little tapering never hurt anyone. I’m excited about the race this coming weekend because I really think the hard race last week was good preparation. My strategy in Anacortes will be different than it was in Seattle. I’ll be wearing my Garmin and will work at starting out slower so that I have something left in the last part of the race. (Is anyone out there going to the race? I’d love to say hey if you are.)

The Art Dash will be my last race for a few weeks. There’ll be a bit of a disruption in my training through the first part of August because I’ll be traveling to Japan to accompany Bill as he celebrates 25 years with the program he directs AND as he celebrates his impending retirement!!!! I’ll be traveling around Japan to work on some research for my next book, so I’ll be doing a ton of walking, but I may not get much running in. The urban planners who envisioned Tokyo didn’t exactly take runners into consideration, so there aren’t terrific places to get long runs in. There are parks with trails, and I’m sure I’ll get some shorties done in the mornings before the humidity hits 200%, but these will serve only to help me keep my fitness level intact. I WILL be blogging (and posting pictures) from Japan, so be sure to check in during the first two weeks of August if you’re a fan of virtual travel.

See you soon.


Call Me Coach

Mar 29
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in 2013 Challenge, Around Town, Training

This week Carol was out of town and she invited me to substitute for her in her Monday/Wednesday women’s running program. I’m inspired, as you may guess, by women (like many in Carol’s classes) who push past their inner barriers and take up running as adults (or renew their commitment to it). This quarter, in fact, I had the privilege of writing about some of the women in Carol’s programs in Adventures Northwest magazine (for an online version of my first ever ANW article many moons ago, see this!). Pick up the current issue on news stands around Whatcom County now to read about how Carol inspires us all to do our best and make our running more effective.

This week I got the chance to directly cheer on Carol’s program participants along with my own workouts.

Sunday: Wow, I can’t even remember what I did on Sunday. My guess is that it was a slow three mile run (that tells you how busy this week has been).

Monday: Speed work. 25 minutes of running one lap hard on the track followed by a half lap of slow recovery.

Tuesday: Just a slow walk.

Wednesday: Pace work. 25 minutes of running two laps at a 10K pace and one lap of recovery. Because I was coaching and timing others, my workouts consisted of warm-ups and cool downs in both the morning and evening classes and two sets of drills, core exercises and stretches. I did about a hundred lunges, which made me super sore.

Thursday: Seven miles with friends (thanks Janna and Bill).

Friday: Three slow miles.

Saturday: I plan to do 14 or 15 miles–feeling ready to get beyond the half marathon distance for my long run. I’m considering doing the Vancouver Marathon on May 5, so I really need to ramp up to get ready.

This week has also been a remarkable week for me because my new book has shown up in bookstores, and we’ve had some media interest. I find book promotion fascinating but hard and have been especially grateful for my commitment to running this week. I want to give a huge shout out and thanks to those of you who have wished me well this week. Especially to my running pals who understand how running keeps us grounded: Thanks.

EggsOh, and also thanks to whoever arranged for the sunshine this week! It was amazing and uplifting to see the sky. I understand we’re in for a sunny weekend in the Northwest. Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate. You’ll have a great day for egg hunts.


Week 5 of Training and a Visit from Marathon Man

Feb 14
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Around Town, Conversations, Training

Happy Friday! A big thanks to those of you who have commented regularly on my training updates. I’ve never really blogged about my training process before and it’s fun to hear about your workouts as I’m going along with mine.

This week I’m moving my long run to Sunday because we’ve got company (more on that in a moment). So, quickly, here’s the training for this week:

Sunday: 3 slow miles

Monday: Speed work. After a warm up, Carol’s group did 25 minutes of “ins and outs” (running hard on the straight part of the track and slowing down to bring the heart rate back to normal on the curved part of the track). Carol ran with me and really pushed me on the straights. I was sore on Tuesday.

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Pace work. This week I did two-mile repeats (two of them) with two minutes rest between. My goal was to run each of the 4 miles at my 9:30 pace, but I started out too fast. My first mile was about 9:20. I say “about” because my Garmin funked out on me and stopped measuring my pace for the first mile, but I’m starting to get the feel of the different paces. The second mile I definitely ran at a 9:31 pace. Miles 3 and 4 were slower: 9:54 and 9:47, respectively. Carol had encouraged me to slow down a bit from my one-mile repeats, even at the beginning of this workout. She was wanting to make sure I don’t go out too fast (which I did) and that I finish strong (which I didn’t). This is my last pace run before the 10K Smelt Run in La Conner next Saturday, so we’ll see how it goes! Even the pace I did on Wednesday would get me in under an hour (my goal) for my 10K next weekend.

Thursday: 3 slow miles.

Friday: 4 slow miles.

Saturday: I’ll be walking the “Two For the Road” with my pal, Sharon.

Sunday (I know it’s the start of next week, technically): Long run at Birch Bay–maybe 10 to 12 miles.

Marathon Man Comes to Visit:

So, aside from my training this week, the other exciting thing we’ve had going on is that Bill and I have been hosting an international visitor. Trent Morrow, otherwise known as Marathon Man, is here in the States working on his goal to break/shatter/smash/take down the world record to run the most marathons in one year. To complete this quest, he’ll have to run at least 160 marathons in 2013 (that’s right, if you do the math it comes out to 3.08 marathons per week). We are home base for him these last few days as he gets ready for the Woolley Runs (Saturday), the Birch Bay Marathon (Sunday), and the President’s Day Footrace (Monday).

Trent is working hard to find sponsors and welcomes conversation with folks who can share local knowledge with him in the cities he’ll be visiting. See his site for his tentative itinerary. As you can see (below), he spent his Valentine’s Day with two lovely Bellingham ladies and a container of chocolate ice cream. What could be better?

If you’d like to follow Trent on his journey (or contribute to his cause, offer him lodging, tweet him with encouragements, or suggest a sponsor), you can find him on Facebook and Twitter. And stay tuned right here for an interview with him in the coming weeks. We’ve been delighted to have the chance to get to know him.


Don’t Forget

And one more thing, since you’re here. This is the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) you can download our 26.2 Life Lessons: Helping You Keep Pace with the Marathon of Life on your Kindle or Kindle app. Spread the word. The more the merrier!

Dec 18
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Around Town, Reflections

Yesterday I was scheduled to have lunch with a friend at a little soup and bread cafe about three miles from my house.  I was busy throughout the morning, scurrying around to get work and laundry done, cramming in bits of writing here and there between phone calls, wondering how I would get my run in. I’m not training for anything specific, so four miles would do the trick, but when…?

It dawned on me that I could RUN to meet my friend and have her drive me home after lunch (as I said, I was swamped, or I might have decided to run back home too). I mean, I’ve got two good, functional legs; there isn’t any reason they can’t be my transportation from here to there! So that’s what I did.

I took the long way to add on an extra mile and I met my friend at 1pm for soup. As I jogged along, I thought about my dear grandmother. She’s having surgery today to replace a hip that is nothing but bone on bone. For months I’ve watched her labor and moan as she stands up, watched her propel herself forward with her walker by sheer force of will. And more than once I’ve put my palms on my own hips and thanked them for working properly–for now.

I’m not sure how I’ll manage to re-work my identity if and when there comes a day that one or more of my joints give out. It’ll be hard. For now, I want to remember to tell my body how much I appreciate the fact that it’s doing what I ask it to do. It’s not perfect (e.g., muffin top, dangling skin on arms, etc.), but it does everything I need it to do and I because of that, I try never to criticize it.

If you think of it, send my gram good wishes today at 10am. We’re hoping this new hip will get her back to bargain hunting in second hand stores.