Join Us for Our Half Marathon!

Jun 5
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Around Town, Current Events, Preparations


Summer in the Northwest is the best. Today I’m sitting on a friend’s porch (in my shorts and t-shirt!!) enjoying bird songs and blooming flowers.

I’m here with pen and paper making some of my final to-do lists for the fourth annual Wind Horse Half Marathon, which is coming up here in a few weeks (July 19 to be exact). I do love co-directing this event every year, and this year there’s more to love than in years past. Why? Because we have a new partnership with the Bellingham Sister Cities Association!

As you may know (because I blab about it all the time), the Sister City program, developed by President Eisenhower after World War II to promote citizen diplomacy (otherwise known as “world peace”), is and has been an important part of my life since Bill and I visited one of Bellingham’s seven sister cities in Australia many years ago (Port Stephens).  Subsequently, we also made our way to two of Bham’s other sister cities: Tateyama, Japan and Punta Arenas, Chile. Our town’s newest sister city is Tsetserleg, Mongolia, and while I’ve not yet visited, I have been involved in raising funds to provide school uniforms and supplies to the children of Tsetserleg for the past few years. The proceeds of the Wind Horse Half Marathon have gone to The Blue Sky Education Project, which distributes the funds as needed.

Well, this year, the Wind Horse Half Marathon and the Bellingham Sister Cities Association are teaming up to put on the race. This way, we can benefit two organizations we believe in with one super fun event.

If you haven’t participated in the Wind Horse Half Marathon before, consider joining us this year. The course runs parallel to Chuckanut drive. On a clear day (which we promise to have on July 19), you can see the San Juan Islands while you enjoy the cool shade of the trail and smell of pine and ferns. We are a low-key, low-cost race, but we do serve a barbecue after the run in the tradition of the Mongolians. AND, you’ll get a medal with our awesome graphic on it. We’re walker friendly (we’re just generally friendly, too) and have very cool first prizes–also in the Mongolian tradition–for the female and male finishers (but you have to be 21 years old to take it home, or we would be arrested). Sign up now, if you haven’t already. See you there.

To sign up for the race, CLICK HERE.


If you’d like to volunteer (and we do need peeps to support our runners), send an email to


Best Foods to Get Ready For and Recover From a Long Run

Nov 26
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Preparations, Training

Hi runner friends. I was approached by who asked if I’d like them to do a guest blog post here on 7marathons7continents and, since I’m amping up my training to get ready for the Austin Marathon and I know many of you are putting in some long miles too, I asked if they would write about nutrition and long runs.

Below is an article written by David Novak (see bio at the bottom of the article). I’d love to hear feedback from you. What resonates for you here? What would you add? Getting the right fuel, both before, after, and during a long run or a race is always a challenge for me. Since I grew up on junk food, I’m still challenged to eat my fruits, veggies, grains, and protein (true confession: as opposed to French fries and pizza). But the fact is, when I eat better, I run better.

So here’s what has to say:

Best Foods to Get Ready For and Recover From a Long Run


It is essential when training for athletic events requiring endurance that you have a keen understanding of health and nutrition. The basics of proper rest, stretching, and considering the environment are just as important as proper nutrition for the machine; that is your body. Depending on your goals, whether you just want to stay or get into shape or in fact take the steps necessary to finish near the top, you need the fuel and power for your endeavor, both before and after each training day.

Preparation Nutrition

Just like if you are preparing for a cross-country road trip, proper fueling is essential. The primary fuel for the humans is carbohydrates which are stored in the muscles and liver. The body during the course of any activity draws on these stores for energy, which is stored as glycogen. For the reason that the body can only store a fairly miniscule amount of carbs, it is important to maintain your levels as they are depleted rather rapidly during strenuous exercise.

There are a few questions that need to be considered for every run.

Question: After I have eaten, what is the time frame I should wait before beginning to run?

This is a question that is based on your individual fitness level. There are beginners, intermediate runners who have some experience, and of course those who have run many contests. Of course, you have to know what’s best for you, which includes consulting with your doctor. A rule of thumb is to wait a few hours after eating a large meal, which will allow the process of digestion to begin. If you have eaten a small snack, your waiting time to run should be between 30-minutes to two hours.

There are some metrics you can consult such as the glycemic index score, otherwise known as GU. This metric helps you to understand how long it takes the body to process your food into glucose. Foods with a high GI scores are processed faster by the body. Additionally, the body has an easier time processing the food. These can include foods like banana bread, fruitcake, health shakes and pancakes.

Another rule of thumb is to eat foods that release energy into your system slowly over time thereby fueling your training over a longer duration. These are low GI foods.

Question: What kind of nutrition should I consider for a morning run?

Eating in the morning before a run enables you to also train your stomach for the running event you are training for. There are two types of athletes we are concerned with here; the early riser and the straight out of bed runner. The early riser is well served with a serving of oats and whole grains, eggs and muffins and perhaps a health shake or a smoothie. The straight out of bed runner prefers to push themselves fresh out, and could benefit by consuming fruits and nuts or perhaps a shake. These kinds of foods release their energy to the body immediately. This kind of runner can also benefit by eating a heavy meal the night before, rich in carbs such as pasta potatoes or even rice.

Question: What should I avoid eating before a big run?

Before going on a big run you should definitely avoid high-fiber, fatty or spicy foods as these are known to upset the stomach. Limit your caffeine intake and alcohol as well as these kinds of foods are associated with diarrhea and upset stomach by physical exertion.

Post Run Recovery

Just like proper nutrition is essential when preparing for the big day, it is also necessary to ensure that you eat properly during the recovery phase. You will want to supply your body and muscles with the nutrition that optimizes muscle building and muscle recovery.

Eat within 30 minutes after your run to ensure your body has the ingredients to rebuild damaged muscles and get the repair process underway. This is also true for training recovery leading up to the race.

You are going to need both proteins and carbohydrates. These are the main sources of energy and of course you need to replace these as they are heavily depleted after a strenuous training session or big run. To build back muscle tissues, protein fits the bill here because it limits muscle pains. If you find this difficult, you should look to drink plenty of fluids. Of course, this should be your course of action in any case. Here are some good recovery food ideas:

● Half liter protein or health shake

● Fruit filled yogurt or a smoothie.

● A sandwich, fat-free cheeses or eggs

All training regimens are based on individual preferences and your particular body type, as well as consultation with a nutritionist or health professional. You need to make sure that your priorities, whether it be weight loss, endurance training, competitive aspiration and the like are considered. For the most part, your body can be ready to resume training shortly after you have run a big race, but again it should be stressed, this depends on the person. Fatigue is of course a sign that your body is still recovering and you need to take the time needed to feel good again before you get back out there. A week is usually sufficient.

Always remember, ensure that you take care to get enough rest, rehydrate, repair your body and refuel your energy stores. By following these general suggestions, you can achieve most if not all of your goals when training for and running an endurance race.


David Novak is a international syndicated newspaper columnist, appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV around the world. His byline has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest and GQ Magazine, among others. David is an expert on health, wellness, diet and exercise, and he writes on a wide array of health topics for various publications, including regular editions appearing in For more of his Healthline articles, visit

Week 24—See Jane Run

Jul 12
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in 2013 Challenge, Preparations, Training

Tomorrow I go to the See Jane Run half marathon expo to pick up my packet. The race is on Sunday. I’m excited. This’ll be my third shot at trying to beat my best time. I don’t know about you, but I usually go into races with two goals. The first goal is about how I ultimately want the race to go, the second is plan B—in case I can tell at some point that the first goal is obviously not going to happen.

My number one goal isn’t always about time. Sometimes the goal is practically unrelated to running, like last year when I ran the Run with the Wild Horses race in Wyoming, my goal was really a hope: I wanted to see wild horses on the route and get a picture of them. Alternately, I wanted to listen to as much of the audio book of Hunger Games as I could cram in (I got to do both). Sometimes my goal is all about my attitude, or a life-lesson I’m grappling with, something I want to learn about myself from a race.

This year, I’ve devoted my running to improving form, efficiency and, therefore, time. I’ve been working hard to speed up the turn over between each footfall and on relaxing my shoulders and feeling a new, unfamiliar pace and cadence. A couple of months ago I couldn’t sustain my 10K goal pace (9:30/mile) for more than one mile before I needed to rest. With some good coaching and a commitment to being regular with my training, I’ve met my 10K goal and put in many more consecutive miles at that pace. Have you ever wondered if you could do something and discovered that you could? It’s quite powerful!

So this weekend my first goal is to maintain a 10-minute  average for the whole race. This would mean a finish of 2:11. Falling short of that, I’d be happy with my number two goal: To beat 2:15. Of course, there’s always the chance that something goes awry and I roll in later than I hope. I’m happy anytime I give my whole heart to a race and let it really teach me something. That’s sure to happen no matter what the pace.

What happens for you when you set a goal for a race and can see half way through that it won’t be met? How do you manage your attitude in the middle of a long, hard race? Would love to hear about your process.

Check back in on Monday. I’ll be posting a race report. Cheers.

Week 22—Changes Afoot

Jun 29
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Preparations, Reflections, Training

I recently again saw the images of officials trying to stop Katherine Switzer from running the Boston marathon.


Remember how people used to think that women shouldn’t run long distance? It was commonly thought that if a woman ran, her uterus would fall out! We women had to fight for the right to run, had to prove that our bodies could handle it and that the world wouldn’t fall apart if we joined the race. Once these things were proven, the culture of running changed and women runners were no longer invisible.

Now women make up more than half of all marathon entrants! A woman (Mary Wittenberg) is even the race director of one of the biggest marathons in the world—New York.

This week, we’ve seen evidence of a shift in the culture of our country. The supreme court ruled that every marriage (where a state has sanctioned it) will be recognized by the federal government and afforded federal benefits. This is for the country what Switzer’s run was for women racers in that we have the chance to see that certain myths are unfounded, that they are based on misinformation and fear.

I rarely comment on political issues on my blog, but I feel like it’s important to acknowledge the DOMA ruling. A wrong against a specific woman—Edith Windsor, who brought the challenge—was righted in this decision. And many more people have had the burden of invisibility lifted and their relationships have been afforded dignity.

To my friends who are directly impacted by the decisions made this week: I’m celebrating with you.


My training this week:

I’m still working toward the Seattle See Jane Run half marathon on July 14, so I’m trying to get my 10 minute pace to feel consistent.

Sunday: Day off.

Monday: Speed work. 4 miles with 25 minutes of “ins and outs”—hard on the straight part of the track, recovery on the curves.

Tuesday: No running.

Wednesday: 3 easy miles.

Thursday: 4 easy miles

Friday: 10 miles with 8 miles of pace work. I did four 2-mile repeats aiming for 9:50 per mile. For the first four miles I was right on. The third repeat was slightly slower, and the fourth one slowed to an average of 10:15. The workout didn’t bode well for me reaching my pace goal in the upcoming race, BUT it’s still stronger running than I’ve ever done before, so I’m not discouraged. The fact is that if I even beat 2:15 in the See Jane Run half, I will have my PR.

Saturday: 6 mile trail run with The Fit School women.

Hope your week in running was good, friends. I’d love to hear about both your training and your reactions to the rulings this week. Hugs to all.

Week 20 in Training—And Getting Ready for the Wind Horse Half

Jun 14
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in 2013 Challenge, Preparations, Training

Windhorse twitterheadIn addition to my training for races, I’m also getting ready to direct a half marathon in July. Have I mentioned this lately? This will be my third year as co-director (along with Bolor Smith and Andrea Gabriel) of the Wind Horse Half Marathon. We started this race, which follows along the Interurban Trail in Bellingham between Fairhaven Park and Clayton Beach, right after Tsetserleg, Mongolia became Bellingham’s seventh official Sister City.

Bolor, who is from the area of Tsetserleg, and Andrea, who traveled there a few years earlier, started a foundation called The Blue Sky Education Project to raise funds to buy supplies and uniforms for children in Tsetserleg so that they could attend school. One evening when Bolor and I were having dinner together, we had the sudden idea to put on a race to raise funds for Blue Sky and threw the first race together that first year in a matter of months. And we raised enough money to send 40 children to school!

The second year was just as successful, and this year, we hope to repeat the whole thing once again.

Join us if you can! It’s a low-key, low-cost race with a barbeque afterwards. If you can’t run, why not volunteer? We still need a handful of people to make the whole thing go off without a hitch.


So, as for my training this week:

Sunday: 10K PR. See previous post!!

Monday: Took it easy. Walked a couple of miles.

Tuesday: Pace work to start getting ready for the half marathon I’ll be running in July. I did a warm up and then 5 one-mile repeats at a 9:50 pace with a minute in between each to recover and reset my watch.

Wednesday: Three slow miles.

Thursday: Pace work. One-mile warm-up followed by 4 miles at my half marathon pace, followed by one mile of jogging.

Friday: Day off.

Saturday: Trail running on Galbraith Mountain.

Thanks to everyone who “liked” my post on Facebook or otherwise congratulated me for meeting my 10K goal! I was pretty excited to feel like I’m getting better! To read more thoughts on getting better, take a look at my latest Psychology Today post.

Cheers everyone!