Merry Christmas Runners and Friends

Dec 24
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Read This, Reflections, Writing

So, last week my grandmother had hip surgery. Be kind to your joints, friends, and don’t take them for granted. Grandma is 85 and she’ll heal slowly, but even when she does heal, she’ll have to be careful. No crossing her legs, no bending over at the waist to touch her toes. I’m going to do both of these things everyday with mindfulness from now on.

The surgery was fast and easy, but getting her there at 85 wasn’t. We had to have her assessed by a cardiologist, a hematologist, and a pulmonary specialist before they would give her the go-ahead to have the surgery. My poor Gram had so many tests and blood draws, it’s a miracle she decided to push through it all and to go through with the hip replacement. I think it must be a testament to how much pain she was in with the old hip. She reported immediate decrease in pain after the surgery!

Yesterday was the first day in a week I didn’t speak to either Gram or Grandpa. No news is good news, as they say. Thanks to all of you who sent your positive thoughts and prayers.

Merry Christmas to all of you who have followed my blog this year! I appreciate being in relationship with you even if we don’t know one another’s faces. Every comment, facebook message, and personal email is gift to me. As a writer, one spends a lot of time alone in front of a screen. It’s nice to know someone is engaged. Thank you, especially, to those who participated in the 2012 Challenge to run your first full or half marathon. As a runner, life can also be lonely at times. Most of us spend an awful lot of time solo (with our headphones) or with our dogs. So it was lovely for me to know what other runners were up to and how they were progressing toward their goals. I’m a big fan of each of you!

If you did participate in the 2012 challenge, I’d love for you to update me on your running AND I have something for you, so I’ll need your address. Shoot me a personal email (

All my best wishes to those of you for whom Christmas is a sacred day. May you connect with Mystery in ways that are peaceful and meaningful.

Joy and Love to all of you,


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!

Some Things to Think About

Oct 14
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Advice, Read This, Reflections

If you’re up for a little reading today, this Sunday morning, here are two of my recent posts from other venues.

First, as we watch the leaves turn colors, here are some reflections on seasons in our lives.

Next, this is from my Psychology Today blog: some ideas about how to name the next stage in your journey.

Have a great start to the new week!

Bruce Sheriff of Iowa Talks about his Seven Marathons on Seven Continents

Sep 26
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Advice, Conversations, Guest Blogger, Race Reports, Read This, Travel log

I’d like you to meet my pal, Bruce. He’s in his mid-sixties, an adventurer bar none, and a determined runner after my own heart. Recently he completed his seventh continental marathon, and I asked if I could interview him about his experience. Check it out! And scroll below for a smattering of Bruce’s photos (in no particular order). Thanks Bruce!

Bruce and Gerry in Australia


What made you want to run a marathon on every continent?

My quest for the 7 started in of all places Havana, Cuba after the Habana Marathon, which was the only marathon I started and failed to complete (five hour time limit, and after doing the first half in 2:30–it was hot, humid, and I was apparently not in as good of shape as I needed to be–I chose to stop at the half and call it an experience). After the race, I was having dinner with Lee, a friend I met on the run. We had good wine, wonderful Cuban cigars and a view of La Catedral de La Habana Church and Plaza with Havana Harbor as a background.  Lee told me I should consider the Antarctica marathon.  He sent me a DVD of his trip he had made the year before, and after watching it, I signed  up for Antarctica with Marathon Tours, making the trip in March 2009.  I had completed several Marathons in the USA and had finished Prague, CK in 2005, so after completing Antarctica I had three continents completed, including the hardest to get to: Antarctica.  I was still doing these trips as adventures and really hadn’t heard of the 7 continents club  \until Antarctica, where people were doing running to complete their seventh continent.  Africa, Asia, South America, and Australia were left for me, one per year and I could be done before I turned 65 years old. I finished my 7th at the Outback Marathon, Ayres Rock Australia on July 28th, 2012 my 65th birthday exactly!!


What were the 7 marathons you chose and which countries were they in?

I had run several in North America: Tuscon AZ, Reggae Jamaica, Brookings, SD, Phoenix AZ, but I chose Portland, OR to use as the official one since it was documented well.

So here they are:

2002 – Portland OR  5:09

2005 – Prague CK   5:43

2009 – Antarctica   6:29

2010 – Kenya, Africa  6:17

2011 – Tateyama, Japan 5:47

2011 – Buenos Aires, Argentina  6:08

2012 – Ayres Rock, Australia 6:04


Which continental race was your favorite and why?

Each one has a special meaning and experience, but the Tateyama Waskahio Marathon in Japan was our (mine and my companion, Gerry’s) favorite.   The race was relatively level, cool temps, with wonderful views along the bay and lots of people enjoying the runners. It was my favorite.  Thanks to you (Cami) the experience of being in a small race with friends of yours and now ours was something Gerry and I will remember for a lifetime.  As you indicated we got “the full treatment.”  And it was wonderful!!

In Japan with the Kawasakis

What was your favorite place you visited during your quest?

I enjoyed Havana very much.  I went there alone, and was concerned about that but upon arrival found the people extremely friendly, and the city architecturally amazing, with no western influence–and unspoiled beaches.  The people have very little to spare but would share what they had with you. Conversations were wonderful, be it about politics or whatever. And they loved to discuss political views with those of us from the States.


What was your most disastrous travel story?

Really we have not had any major problems.  We had our luggage stolen in Costa Rica from our little cabana on the beach.  Had nothing to wear but the clothes we had on!  Gerry lost her purse and billfold, but I had mine, so back in San Jose we bought enough items to return home.

In Brussels, we arrived by train about midnight with no hotel room reserved. Our taxi driver drove all over the city central trying to find us a room and only one could be found for like $400 per night. Finally we agreed to that one, blowing our budget in one night.  Gerry gets tired of me saying this, but I always say: “If you have enough money to buy your way out of a problem, you don’t have a problem.”

Then in Buenos Aries we got 500 pesos from a bank ATM machine and no one would accept the money.  We couldn’t figure out why they would take Gerry’s money and not mine.  Finally someone explained that the money I got was all counterfeit.  That was on a Saturday, and Monday was a holiday. Our flight left that same evening so we still have the bills as souvenirs.


What advice would you give others who are trying to do 7 on 7?

What was that old Nike commercial? “Just do it!”  I do think that anyone should try and get Antarctica off the list ASAP.  It is so environmentally fragile that anything that would happen to harm it in any way could cause these recreational trips to be curtailed in the future.  That is only my point of view, but I can see it happening.

Anywhere you travel, if you are a walker, jogger, runner, get up early some morning, put on your running shorts, lace up those shoes, head out the door, and no matter where you are in the world, you won’t go far before you meet someone on the streets running. You may not speak the language but you will receive a smile and a wave.

Don’t be afraid to travel out of the States, Homeland Security is the worst thing you will probably have to face.


Whats next on your bucket list?

The Des Moines Register Newspaper sponsors a bike ride across Iowa the last week in July called RAGBRAI.  Which stands for Registers Annul Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.  It is a big event, (10,000 plus riders) and takes five days. Riders stay in small towns each night and ride 40 to 100 miles per day, starting with your back wheel in the Missouri River on our western side, finishing with your front wheel in the Mississippi River on the east.  I want to attempt it this coming summer.

I also really want to go to Iran. Everyone I have spoken with (outside of the US) says it is a wonderful county to visit.  The people are friendly, well educated, and really like Americans, contrary to what our State Department says. Guess I just want to go see for myself.

Running on Snow






Ice berg








With an Australian Joey



Buenos Aires 2011

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.