On Finding What You Need

Aug 21
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Chile 2014

When you move to a new town, for even a short while, everything you need must be re-established. I need a few things to really thrive in this world day by day. Love, time to think, deep friendships, and fresh air all go without saying. I also need dogs, decent wine, good coffee, cultural experiences, interesting running routes, and favorite haunts.

I don’t expect to create a perfect life here in Concepcion, but I do hope to embrace this place and find favorites–special moments that stand out. In the past week here is what I’ve explored…

This past weekend, Bill and I decided to finally brave the busses. First, we hoped on the bus in the direction of San Remo because we understood there was a lake there–Laguna Grande–that had some trails surrounding it. We hoped we might find a place to do a nice long run….


Laguna Grande, it turns out, is indeed a beautiful lake with some trails and pathways along the shore, but there isn’t a path encircling the whole lake. We went as far as we could in the direction I was walking in the above video, and then turned around to find the trail that traces the water’s edge out to the peninsula.

photo 1-4

photo 2-4

While it looks dry and fairly clearly marked in the above photos, the trail turned muddy not far in–which of course didn’t stop us. We ran/mucked our way through about five miles of forest beside the shore before catching the bus back to Concepcion.

A quick turn around (you know, spit shower, change of clothes, and a little deodorant) saw us walking out the door to catch another bus to a coastal town north of us called Dichato. Apparently Dichato was completely wiped out by the 2010 earthquake/tsunami tragedy, so everything we encountered is a new version of what used to be there. We’d heard that Dichato was a good place to get some excellent seafood. This turned out to be true. OMG, we ate until we were completely stuffed.

photo 1-3


And then took a lovely walk on the beach, partly along the newly constructed seaside walkway.


photo 3-2


photo 3-3

Little by little, we’re finding what we love and making memories in our temporary home.

Fairhaven Runners Waterfront 15 K

Sep 16
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in 2013 Challenge, Around Town, Current Events, Race Reports


Notice the picture of me smiling like I’m having fun? This photo was taken by my awesome running coach Carol Frazey during Saturday’s Waterfront 15K in Belllingham–right around the halfway point, I think.

For months, I’ve been faithfully putting in my training as prescribed by Carol, making sure to get in at least the three critical workouts she recommends each week: one day of speed work, one day of pace work, and one long run on the weekends. And while I’ve managed to get PRs in both the 10K and half marathon distances this year, I’ve felt they were hard won and didn’t necessarily represent good race strategies. For my 10K PR, the last mile was a lovely, accommodating downhill (which I appreciated, but I do have to give gravity at least a little credit). For my half marathon PR (which was my best time by a handful of seconds, really), I’d gotten tired and slowed to an eleven minute pace for the final two miles–which means I’d run the first few miles too fast. (Let me quickly assure you that I’m not being hard on myself by noticing these things; I’m just looking at the big picture of becoming a more proficient and efficient runner. You won’t find me slipping into perfectionism, I promise!! I was content with both of those races.)

What I’ve been trying to do is what everyone says is optimal in a race: that I start at a reasonable and sustainable pace and hold it there so there’s something left in the tank at the end. I’m very excited to report that I achieved this in Saturday’s race.

I think because the course was super crowded at the beginning, I wasn’t able to start very quickly at all. On the narrow path available next to the traffic buzzing through Fairhaven, there simply wasn’t space to pass anyone, so I was lucky to have snuggled myself in the starting area among other runners who were also going for a 10 minute per mile pace. They kept me from using precious fresh energy too soon.

I knew the first half of the course would allow me to hold my 10 minute pace because there were no uphills to contend with, but mile seven and mile nine on the way back both had hills. I set my heart on holding 10 minute miles until I hit the hills on mile seven and then doing mile eight at 10 minutes or faster, if I could. And I could!! My final overall pace average was 10:03 and my finishing time was 1:34. That’s 10 minutes faster than the last time I ran the Waterfront 15K in 2011!!!

Friends, I’m here t tell you that if you keep up your training and don’t give in to discouragement, it will pay off. Although I’m an avid runner, I’m not a naturally athletic person. I’m also 46 years old, 135 pounds, and a lover of cheese and wine. My body is not built for Boston Qualifying, nor do I have the work ethic to push myself to the brink of common sense to get myself there. What I do have is what anyone can have: tenacity–in good-enough measures.

If you’ve been following me on this journey and working toward your own goals, I hope you’ll notice the small improvements you’re making and celebrate them. Sometimes movement is measured in time, sometimes in attitude. For me, more important even than the PR or the consistent strategy I employed during Saturday’s race was the fact that I had a good time. This is the first time I’ve come close to my time goal AND felt happy for the whole race. You might remember me saying at the beginning of this year that I was going to give one year to getting faster, but that if it made me unhappy to run harder, I’d go back to lallygagging my way through races. Looks like one can work hard and be happy at the same time. Who knew?

Week 3 Training

Feb 1
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in 2013 Challenge, Advice, Training

Week 3 of my year-long marathon training to knock an hour off my average marathon time (which my pal, Brandon Nobach has calculated as 5:30:49)!

Before I get to what my training looked like this week, let me just say a word about the value of support and accountability. Last Saturday I was scheduled to run 8 miles for my long run, but when I woke up in the morning I could already hear the rain pounding on my roof. And at 9am, it was still coming down–hard. I knew I had to run, because I’d already blogged about it, already said I WOULD do 8 miles (accountability), but every part of me did not want to venture outside into the muck. At some point, mid-morning, I posted this on Facebook: “How long should I wait for the rain to abate before just going out for my run? Is there a window in the near future? What say you weather prognosticators?”

I received 33 comments, most of them to the effect of Molly’s encouragement to, “Go for it Cami! It wasn’t too bad out there and not super cold!! Get it done, then you can really enjoy the rest of your day. I don’t like having that monkey on my back all day.” Several people, in fact, said that they had already gotten out for their runs. How could I stay inside with everyone shouting, “Go run!” and setting such a good example for me? And so I did!

You cannot measure the value of 1.) telling a whole bunch of people who may ask you about your progress what you intend to do and 2.) asking for support when you’re wavering about whether or not to proceed with your stated goals. Thanks all!



This week’s training schedule was:

Sunday: Day off.

Monday: Speed work. Warm up and then 25 minutes of intervals–1 minute hard, one minute easy–at the track.

Tuesday: Off.

Wednesday: Pace work. After 2.5 miles of slow warm up, I ran 4 one-mile repeats with one minute of rest between each. The goal was to hit 9:30 for each mile. Mile 1 was 9:34; mile 2 was 9:46; mile 3 was 9:46; and mile 4 was 9:54. Obviously I didn’t reach my time goal, so I plan to repeat this workout next Wednesday to see if I can hit it then. This week I felt heavy (although my actual weight is down a little bit). In fact, I wouldn’t have even finished the last mile of this workout if Carol Frazey hadn’t run it with me, pushing me to complete it and to relax into my pace. I’m not sure why it was so hard, but there’s always another chance!

Thursday: Two slow miles with Bill and Fuji.

Friday: Three slow miles.

Saturday: Long run. 10 miles.


Hope your training is going well this week, friends. I’ve loved your comments telling me what you’re up to and how you’re progressing. Extra cheers for those of you training for the first time and for those of you who are in the beginning stages of your running life (Ashley Ostman comes to mind–remind me to brag on my cousin sometime). Until next week!



Travel Running

Jan 17
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Advice, Travel log

A few days ago, there was a terrific article in USA Today about travel running: running as a way to see the sights when you’re on vacation. You might think that what Bill and I did as we quested to run a marathon on every continent was the kind of travel running referenced in the article. Actually, while the marathon routes we chose did take us through some pretty spectacular places (the Weskus National Park, Old Panama City, the Mudgee Vineyards), “travel running” is something different altogether.

Moi on the Great Ocean Walk in Australia!

I didn’t write about it much in Second Wind, but Bill and I do quite a bit of travel running in addition to our racing when we travel. We’ve run through the Saguaro National Park in Arizona, for example. We chose a route that might take us past memorable land marks and then we went for it at a leisurely pace. When we run for sight-seeing, we always take water along–and a couple of granola bars. We walk when we feel inclined. We stop to read signs and take pictures. And we cover a lot of ground in a fraction of the time we could if we were walking or even taking taxis. We’ve done this in Australia on the Great Ocean Walk.  We’ve also done it at the Grand Canyon (11 miles along the South Rim of the Canyon), at the Organ Pipe National Monument, in the Joshua Tree National Park, on the circuit of monuments in Washington DC (Jefferson, Lincoln, etc.), on parts of the trail along the W in Torres del Paine, Chile, along the greenways in Tokyo, through downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil into Ibirapuera Park, atop the Sea Wall in Vancouver, BC, and so on…. It’s fun.

What are your favorite travel running routes? Which routes take you on a quick sight-seeing tour and give you the flavor of a place? It’s long been a dream of ours to travel with a handful of other runners to do spontaneous runs of the marathon distance or longer along trails and through the national parks of the world. Where do you dream about running?

Do You Ever Rest?

Nov 26
Posted by Cami Ostman Filed in Advice, Reflections

I’m cooking up all kinds of schemes and challenges for 2013, but in this last month of 2012, I’m resting. By resting I mean that I’m not training for anything in particular or working especially hard at my running. Yesterday, while I was out for a pokey three mile run I thought, I don’t have to log my miles or do speed work or even set aside a few hours on Saturday for a long run. I don’t know about you, but once in a while (usually for about a month sometime during the winter) I feel it’s sort of wonderful to run short and slow just for the sake of feeling fresh air on my skin and getting a bit of exercise.

Increasingly, as I’ve run more races and invested in improving my form and my pace, the joy I used to feel has eluded me. Bill and I often talk about our different approaches to running. He likes to focus on improvement while I like to think of my running as a practice in well-being. Still, the longer I do it, the more I feel compelled to increase the challenge. Faster, longer, stronger…. The question I asked myself repeatedly in my book is still one I seek to answer: What are my limits and what happens when I push myself past them?

BUT, through December I’m enjoying doing nothing but running 5 and 10 Ks around town, puttering on the trails near my house while listening to podcasts and well-loved music, and then retiring to the sofa with a good book.

Tell me about resting in your running life? Do you ever take time off from your training? When? What does it look like? What are the benefits for you?