Running Out of Gas

The last two months have been a practice of going inward and reflecting on everything from career, parenting, running, and relationships. This has resulted in no recent posts. No apologies necessary. This is just a time of year I go inward.

My career coach, mentors, and long-top therapist have all said in separate instances that ” it is time to get out of your head and into the world.”

Nothing proved their point more than the circumstances that brought about this photo!

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Let’s just get to the point. My car ran out of gas thirty-five miles outside of my mountain home. I was returning home after my weekly working-in-the-office-stint in the Bay Area, listening to Jenny Blake’s Pivot Podcast, and reflecting hard on my next career move when they car began decelerating up the mountain pass.

I quickly realized that the car was dying still, with no idea why, pulled over, called my husband and said, “Something is wrong with the car.” He says, “How? It is a brand new car.” It was then that I saw the gas light. “How many miles do you have? Do you think you can make it to the gas station?” Nope. The indicator says “zero miles” and the car won’t start.

I had driven nearly two hundred miles to this point and stopped mid-way to fill up my body’s tank and get groceries. Not once did I get out of my head long enough to think about gas for the car. Indeed, it is time to get out of my head and into a new year where I will get back to posting stories on nutrition and adventures both mountain and in the day-to-day.

So, there I sit at the bottom of the exit ramp off Interstate 80 calm as could be on the phone with roadside assistance. As roadside was attempting to find my mountain pass location a flatbed tow track came backing down the I-80 on-ramp like a mirage out of the darkness ( it was 9:30pm). Wow, roadside, that was quick!

Turns on this kind man and his wife were traveling east on the highway and saw my hazards when they decided to reverse down the on-ramp and see if someone needed help.

That someone was me! “Let me just throw your car on the truck for free and drive you the one point five miles to the gas station. You will wait forever for roadside.” Roadside highly advised me to wait for their service provider but, I took a chance on the kindness of this man and his desire to help. Indeed I was taking a chance on humanity but, it was going to save me at least sixty minutes so I went for it.

The next day I had a call with my career coach. I knew that running out of gas meant something. I took away a few things from this:

  1. Grandpa Eric is right, “It is just as easy to fill up the top half of the tank as it is the bottom half.” Don’t wait. Just fill it
  2. People do like to help people with whatever means they can
  3. It is time to move out of the thinking mind and into action
  4. When something goes wrong, I will know what to do

 

Running Rim to Rim to Rim

Choices are hard sometimes . I had already begun to imagine the dirty trail beneath my feet, the view, the exhaustion, and the gab session when my running-mom-partner-in-crime (Lisa) asked me a random question to distract us from the inevitable fatigue that would set in while running the Rim to Rim to Rim (R2R2R) of the Grand Canyon. I just couldn’t make it happen this round.

Perhaps the decision not to join in the R2R2R fun was what propelled me to plop down on the couch with a glass of wine with my laptop and proceed on a race registration “bender”. Late August I put another set of challenges of no less equal magnitude on my race calendar: The North Face 50km, Cal International Marathon, Seven Summit Series by Ragnar, The Truckee Half Marathon, and the furthest out and most outrageous, Comrades Marathon in South Africa (running-mom-partner-in-crime from college made me do that one – Stephanie).

Some people online shop in the late evening hours after their family is in bed; I sign up for races.

More than the wine, it was having to decline the great adventure of running the Grand Canyon. The R2R2R, I have discovered,  is one of those things runners do not as an organized race but rather, a collective challenging adventure that produces stories and memories for years to come. It is roughly forty six miles of rough running down, across, up and back again in one of our countries most beautiful, natural landmarks. It sounds ridiculous but, it is available to all who of the desire to see the entire Grand Canyon on foot. Last April another running crew I associate with went out as a seventieth birthday party with our high school cross country running coach we are all still in touch with.

Tomorrow morning my running friends from CLIF embark on this great adventure, starting before sunrise.  Not joining them was  tough decision. Instead, I am on a different kind of adventure, exploring the nutrition and running communities of Chicago and bringing new insights back home from a nutrition conference. Blah, blah but, don’t worry. I will make those insights worth it.

This R2R2R crew is so on my mind that last night I dreamed I had the weekends mixed up and that they were actually running it next weekend instead. I could join the after all! Alas, it was  a dream. It is impossible to “do it all” after all.

Given I have a an ultra and a road marathon coming up I will be putting in some miles between nutrition sessions. My Grand Canyon crew on my mind all the while. Just knowing they are out there will motivate me to cover the twenty two miles on my training plan tomorrow while I think of them having to go twenty-four more miles to meals, showers, and bed (likely in that order). Enjoy every spectacular minute!

 

Selfies in London (with Friends) Day Two

Today’s selfie infused run (that started out as six miles for me and ended in eleven miles) was joined by my superstar colleague at CLIF, Serena and her husband Sean. We looped the Thames River and reveled in the opportunity to be here, running together before we Ride London in a few days. Last winter Serena and I also worked hard promoting CLIF and nutrition at another amazing opportunity space – The World Ski and Snow Board Festival.

Reflecting on opportunity, my mind has been turned inside out.  It isn’t our jobs that afford us opportunities. Our jobs are simply a means of expressing the opportunities we create for ourselves. Thankfully, my company brings people together who seek opportunities and have creative curiosity about what we can accomplish together not because of our jobs but, rather through our jobs.

It will be important for the next generation not to measure their worth and value on the job, position, or title they hold. These things are not only fleeting but, also less important in a digital world where opportunity is increasingly accessible.  In this world our true value (skill, knowledge, talent, creativity)  can shine.

It is my hope that I can teach my boys they each have unique gifts, skills, and talents to contribute so the can be ever more confident and conscious of their value and worth much earlier than I was.

Then they will see, that every conversation, calculated-risk taken, or challenge accepted is what opens us to opportunities like running and biking around London to make observations and connect my company to the culture. Carry on.

Selfies in London Day One

Rise and shined from my morning nap to hit the streets to see what I could see. It has been a long time since I explored a new city and, even longer since exploring an international city. I contemplated running my sleepy self around. Then I thought I again. Why hurry through? This is time for meandering.

My Mom has a fascination with the stories of Henry the VIII and his wives.I am embarrassed to say that thanks to the HBO series, The Tudors, so do I. Who needs history class when you have dramatized fiction based on history? So Mom, you will be happy to know The Tower of London was first on my list of attractions this afternoon. I crossed the Millennium Bridge, breezed by the free version of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and footed it over to The Tower. Much to my surprise The Tower is actually a compound of structures and tours with history and exhibits worth multiple visits. I got my money’s worth today though and covered broad ground with a close of the Armory exhibit. I also got a close up of the encryption  in the walls of a tower that kept ‘prisoners’ through the centuries.

After my tour I continued my walk across the iconic Tower Bridge and looped back for the comforts of my hotel.  Walking back during evening commute I caught many runners with backpacks obviously combining their commute and their run. My novel idea is not so novel here. It makes perfect sense. Urban run-commuting through London is probably the most efficient use of time.

I did find myself lonely and thinking of my family often. Man, I can cover a lot of ground on my own but, it just isn’t as fun as sharing it with my people. They make everything more interesting for sure. They also make everything more challenging.  I literally had to pee for like two hours before I found a bathroom and, I was starving! No kid of mine tolerates that for ten seconds. Nor should they. It isn’t good for a person. My boys keep me on track.

When I as trying to figure out how to reach Aaron through hangouts I stumbled on this gem:

Just a Normal Week

First of all my Ridge Run training is in the pooper this month. Second of all, I can’t afford the time or money to run it this year as much as I want to. My Mom says I have to make choices. Admittedly, when I was young choices were not my forte but, I have improved. So the choice was made.

Why can’t I take our family on our annual summer pilgrimage back to my Montana homeland? Well, because I am learning what it means to buy a new house, move completely out of our home of the past nine years, fix it up to bay area standards , and list it all while continuing to work and parent my very active and emotionally-in-transition boys all in the span of one month plus an international work trip! My training goal at this point is to just maintain fitness to salvage some of the fall running fun. And if that wasn’t enough, I am traveling to London for work.

What could a dietitian working for CLIF, steepeded in parenting, adventure, and running nutrition possibly be needed for in London?

Good question! I will be providing nutrition news and education to some of London’s food, health, nutrition journalists, mingling with British nutrition experts and get this….riding a bike for forty six miles representing CLIF and bikes at Ride London. 

Now, let’s be clear, I own bikes for commuting and jigging around mountain trails but, a road bike? This should be interesting given running forty six miles sounds more comfortable. Show me what you got London.

World Ski & Snowboard Festival, Whistler, and Smoothies

Whistler, British Columbia is a magical place in summer and winter. I have delighted in experiencing both seasons at their best. In April I returned from an event inspired once again to explore wild places both outside and within myself – adding the Spearhead Traverse to the list of places I want to run.

This event was the World Ski & Snowbird Festival. This celebration brings together people who love to hang out in the snow and the mountains.  From roller derby competition to skiing powder along side back country snowboarding wonder Tamo Campos, this event had just the right amount of quirk, inspiration, and beauty all wrapped into one.

As part of this event, I  hosted “wake-up and get-after-it” nutrition talks with Canadian journalists and entrepreneurs. What did we talk about? We talked about rethinking our approach to food. Instead of over thinking food, I encouraged them to focus on “that thing you set out to do or accomplish”. In this case it was a day of chasing after patches of untouched powder over the stretches of Whistler-Blackcomb.

I believe it is impossible to go wrong with any food choice if it is made on the back drop of a healthy foundation. That was the inspiration behind my experimental smoothie making one morning with @yogaceo Julian Brass and @gracetoby of Canadian Living .  This smoothie was nutrient-packed for sure. It had to be to get us through a full day of skiing, concert-going, and some of the most inspiring speakers and believers in pursuing adventure for self-exploration and, quite possibly the meaning of life, I have ever heard. Thanks to Mountain Life for bringing the talks together.

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Here is a clip of us gettin’ crazy with smoothies. I would advise against avocado UNLESS there is banana to sweeten the deal a bit.

And a stylized glimpse of the week as seen through the lens of one of the photo journalists on the trip

Come back Home After Long Holiday

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Memories from my time in West Coat

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Today’s Adventure: New York Subway

Every time I take a plane ride across the country and hop into a car to take me to the action I have arrived for I inevitably feel sluggish, car sick, and longing for fresh air. The thing is, I love exploring like a local on gritty, clanking, big-city public transit. The allure of the car sevice and its point A to B promise usually sound like the better deal . “Sounds like” is the key phrase here.  So today I listened to my inner wisdom opted for the sights, sounds, smells, and connection with the locals over the isolated nausea of a personal car.  Let the adventure of this moment begin. And yes, I hydrated and ate for energy.

Peanut Butter

Because Eric has a life threatening peanut allergy no one in our household comes within 2000 miles of peanut butter.

Sunflower butter is really close second to peanut butter so we are not missing out on much, but to people who use to eat several peanut butter banana honey sandwiches a week and loved Peanut Butter Puffins it is sometimes just making do.

When asked where I wanted to go to dinner in New York last week I responded with “anywhere that sell peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” If I had to be thousands of miles away from my kiddos I was darn well going to eat a PB&J!

Don’t tell Eric because he believes Momma is also allergic to peanuts. I didn’t want him to feel like he was alone in his allergy and since we can’t have peanuts around or even on our breath I might as well be allergic too.

I remembered a visit to New York City years ago where I had the most delicious PB&J so Danielle and I pilgramaged in the rain to Grey Dog’s Coffee in the Village. I ate half of my treat in an instant and saved the other half for dinner.

It was delicious but I must say my pallet has adjusted I do now prefer the safer butter of the sunflower.

As a dietitian and an allergy mom I am always searching out info and found this great resource www.allergymom.com

If you care for a loved one with a food allergy watch this video. Get educated and informed. Eric’s allergy is life threatening and with every exposure the reaction is more severe. There is no such thing as a “mild allergy”. The best thing about a reaction is that it can be prevented by avoiding the allergen!