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.


Boston Marathon Explosion–We’re OK!

Apr 15
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Current Events, Race Reports

I just want to post a quick note to let you know that Bill and I are totally okay here in Boston. We were very near the explosions. Bill had finished the race and was in the recovery area (maybe 300 yards from the bombs). I was with the father of our friend Lindsay heading toward the family meeting area. The explosions were confusing because they sounded like they could have been celebratory blasts of some kind–although it was difficult to imagine why they would have been happening at that point in time. It was only after we got a little closer that we realized the area was in chaos.

We tried to quickly get out of the downtown area, but the green lines on the subway (the ones we needed) were shut down, so we just took whichever line was available and found ourselves in the Italian district where we sat and had a drink and watched the news. Later, we made our way to our friends’ hotel in the north end of Boston and stayed there until things calmed down and our friend could drive us back to our car which was outside of the city.

Right now, we’re at our hotel and everyone we know is accounted for and doing well. Our hearts go out to Boston, to those who’ve been injured, and to the families of those lost. Thank you to all who have contacted me on twitter and facebook or by text or email. I so value you as part of my community and appreciate your love and concern.


Running 4 Our Lives

Dec 7

I’m still a little under the weather, but limping along this week. This time of year is always a little hard (see my recent Psychology Today post on Running Away from the Holiday Blues) with the holidays and weather and the short days, but throwing this cold in the mix has worn me out. Seems like a cold is all it is, though, so… Rest and wait.

In the meantime, I’ve had plenty of time at my computer to work on various projects:

My new book, Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religion will be out in April. Susan and I got our “first pages” last week and I used my down time Monday to finish proofreading the draft.

NaNoWriMo is over and I enjoyed every minute of it. I spent some of my tea-sipping days this week reading through the round robin novels my writer friends and I created last month. Check out TAKE ONE and TAKE TWO of No Rest For the Wicked. They are deliciously hilarious.

I’ve also had the chance to do some additional brainstorming and scheming with my friends Carol Frazey and Rose Sporty Diva Coates. We’re cooking up some workshops and races to offer in 2013. Check out Running 4 Our Lives for more information and stay tuned.

And last, but not least, I’ve spearheaded my next writing/editing project, an anthology of women writing about how their writing has changed their sense of who they are. (Check out for details or to learn how to submit something.)

So, even though I’ve been low in energy, it turns out there’s a lot you can do from a sitting position. Who knew?

Even so, I’m hoping my nose will stop running this weekend and my legs will get back to it. Thanks to all of you who sent me your remedies and cures. I’m sure they helped me cut this bug short!

Bill’s job as the anchor will be harder than mine

Oct 13
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Advice, Current Events, Preparations

Today I watched Bill head out into the rain for his training run. He has to get ready for this relay challenged he’s issued, too. Ironically, although he only has to shave off two minutes from his most recent best half marathon time (in contrast to my six minutes), he’s got the tougher job.

Bill runs every race “leaving it all out there,” which means that he doesn’t have two minutes to spare. I run every race wishing I had someone to talk to and saving up my energy in case someone comes along. I sometimes even stop to pet a dog if a supporter or volunteer has brought one to the course. And I always chat with the folks at the aid stations while I sip my water (seems polite, since they’re standing out there all day waiting for me). This isn’t to say that running thirteen 10:17-minute miles (see Bill’s correction of my math in his comment on the previous post) won’t be hard for me, it’s just to say that I regularly build more padding into my races so that I don’t feel too pushed. But if pushing is what you’re doing as a matter of principle, shaving off two minutes might be pretty difficult.

Don’t tell Bill this, but I’m going to run my hardest half marathon ever to buy him some time. I’m planning to try to pass him the baton at 2:13 to give him a couple of minutes to spare!


Stoppin’ and Startin’

Sep 17
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Around Town, Current Events, Preparations, Read This, Reflections

So, I’m at the tail end of co-editing a book that will be coming out in April. I’ve had a wonderful time getting to know our authors and supporting them in the telling of their stories. And here near the end of the project, I’m having that feeling you get in the last six miles of a marathon: tired and dragging but gone too far to turn back now–and too proud of your accomplishment to consider it! By the end of September, I’ll be at mile 26: ready to be done, but knowing the finish line is right around the corner and ready to receive a medal and a bottle of water for my efforts.

One thing I’ve missed is the time to update my blog regularly. There’s so much to comment on, tell, wonder about… but so little time. So here are some bullet points of random items of interest I would have blogged about if I’d had more time in the past two weeks (in no particular order, as you’ll note).

  • Girls on the Run in Bellingham (probably everywhere) needs coaches. If you’re a woman who can offer girls encouragement to be themselves while leading them as they become runners at their own paces, contact Jen Gallant (
  • I’m heading down to the Baker Lake 50K on October 6. I’m sort of freaked out about it because I was the dead last finisher in my last 50K, but I’m excited too! And I could use a ride, btw, if anyone is willing to tote me down there. Don’t worry, Bill will pick me up, so you won’t have to wait for me to finish before you can go home.
  • My e-friend, Rose Coats, will be staying with me the night before the Bellingham Bay Marathon. I’m excited to meet her in person because she’s a real inspiration. She’s lost over 100 pounds and now encourages others to be committed to their own health and well-being. You should check out her blog.
  • The writing club I co-founded (Red Wheelbarrow Writers)–and friends–will be writing a round robin novel during NaNoWriMo in November. We still have days available if you’re interested in joining us. Laura Kalpakian will start us off and then one person is assigned to write a chapter (at least 1,666 words) each day in November. Send me an email if you’re interested in joining in! It’s just for fun.
  • I’ve started offering life-coaching (in addition to therapy, which I also still offer). This is a new career direction for me that allows me to support people as they focus on their goals and future direction. If you’re interested in knowing more, send me your email and I’ll give you details.

OK, we’re caught up. More soon.