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Monday, April 26, 2010

Running in the Rainforest

My husband got a great job making Facebook games at Playdom . So we're leaving the Sage Brush and Juniper of Central Oregon's High Desert and moving back home to the ultra-fertile Willamette Valley and Eugene, Oregon.

Eugene is home to Nike, thousands of hippies who show up for the Oregon Country Fair, the late, great Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, and more giant moss-covered oak trees and ferns than you can shake a stick at.

As a 5th generation Oregonian with roots in the valley, I do feel a certain happiness well up inside me when I smell the rain forest of my youth. It's a Pavlovian reaction, I think. I can't help it.

The earthy smell reminds me of camping and fishing along the McKenzie River as a kid, picnics in the woods and searching for fairies at Hendrick's Park with my kids when they were little, and running on Pre's Trail, one of the best running trails in the Northwest.

We're looking for a place to live, so I packed the kids up and left Bend on Friday night and drove to the grandparent's house in the McKenzie Valley, about 30 minutes from home. I got up Saturday morning and took myself out for a run along Deerhorn Road.

After months of looking at winter snow on the gray-brown rocks of Bend, my eyes had to adjust to the new emerald green palette of the valley.

It was easy to talk myself into 4.5 miles since I was rewarded with a spectacular tree at every bend in the road. The running was easier, too, since I've been at a higher altitude for so long. I wasn't expecting the difference, and my lungs were as surprised as I was.

I wonder how long it will take before these trees and colors become ho-hum again, as part of my every day landscape. Never, I hope.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Play Games with your Feet!

And now, a word from two of my delightful sponsors: The FootZone and FootGaming - it's all about the feet here at Chubby Mommy Running Club!

The FootZone
Good people, good stuff.

We are thrilled to have Bend’s FootZone as the host site for our May 19 media event. If you know of anyone in the media who would like first scoop on all the great FootGaming Bejeweled news, send them to this blog! As runners flock to FootZone to collect their race bags and schwag, they can stop by next door at the Liberty Building for Footgaming fun.

Every step they take while playing the incredible Bejeweled Twist will count as one vote for a finalist ExerLearning school. Local school need the more than$5000 in grant awards for fitness and technology. We are extending the grant deadline to May 15 – so share the grant link with a local teacher.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"I'll Take 'Things I'm Good At' for 200, Alex"

I haven't watched Jeopardy in a while, but I am a list maker, and a list giver. My kids are used to lists. Alex Trebek would not phase them.

The other night, as I was frantically working through my list before bed on my computer at the dining room table, the children complained - OK, whined - about needing some attention (they're old enough to just say, hey, give me some attention!)

The 16 year old said I needed to put "hang out with children" on my list. So I did.

I sat on the couch with them and we played that game where I tell them all the things they're good at, and all the things I like about them. It's a favorite game of theirs. Who wouldn't love this game?

Then I wanted a turn, so this is their list of things I'm good at:

Things Mom is good at:
  1. You're good at giving hugs - you're warm.
  2. Domesticated animals love you.
  3. You're good at making clubs, like your Try Not Cry Club on Chubby Mommy Running Club.
  4. You're good at listening.
  5. You're good at teaching us good habits (Huh. Time to teach dish-doing and floor mopping?)
  6. You're good at creative ideas and making things grow, like how you made up movies and stuff for Francine.
  7. You're a good wife because you're mature enough to handle Dad and his jobs and negotiating things for his work.
  8. You're good at telling Dad what to do and trading things for kisses.
  9. You're good at bringing peace to the family.
I'm also good a raising nice kids, apparently, because these are the nicest things I've ever heard.

What's on your list?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chubby Mommy Running Club at the Beach

This is me and my friend Sissy. She just got a beach house. I liked her before she got the beach house, but now I'll love her forever.

Sissy has many friends who love her unconditionally. I've been on a couple of fun trips with this group in the past, including a jaunt to Cindy's Lake House last summer, which convinced me that everyone needs a house with a location noun in front of it, or at least a friend or two with extra houses.

What I didn't realize before we got to the beach, was how many of these lovely women are runners. Some of them run 3 miles at a leisurely pace, like me, and some of them are regular 10K racers. Some of them, like Sissy, do not run, but enjoy a nice walk and good conversation just the same.

Some of them did cartwheels with me.

All of them were good sports.

The best part about running on the beach with friends is the actual running on the beach. With friends.

Plus, when you're running on the beach there's always a valid excuse to stop running when you spot a beautiful rock in the sand. I stopped a lot. As usual.

The other great thing about running on the beach with friends is you earn a good excuse to enjoy a drink with a view. Also, the ocean air burns more calories, I heard. So you get to have an extra drink, if you want one.

Plus, when you run with a group, you feel like you're in a real club, even though you just made up the name Chubby Mommy Running Club on a whim, but everyone else thinks it's a real club and they want to join.

So if you work it right, you can turn this whole thing into a real club, where all Chubby and Not so Chubby mommies all over the world can meet in real life for their own real life running clubs and running weekends, and then you can write off the entire trip as a business expense, which is always an added bonus.

But mostly? Waking up to blue sky and friendly smiles on the Oregon Coast is priceless.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

@juliejulie at the Beach!

I'm at the beach, in Waldport, Oregon with my friends. Happy happy, joy, joy. More about the running tomorrow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Running With Babies

These are not my babies. I don't even know them. I met these babies at The FootZone in Bend last week. They were there with their mother, I think. They went on our fun run with us, and they were much faster than me.

I remember running with babies. I have 3 kids, all 3 years apart (because I'm a good planner...) so I had a baby and a toddler in a double jog stroller like this for years. I remember that it was heavy and hard to push up hills. But hey, it got us out of the house.

Kudos to the babies, and the mommy who gave them cool sunglasses, and a free ride.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Get Into the Groove...

Some days I feel like a break-dancer. Things move fast, I'm zipping around in circles and it feels like my head is spinning.

Except if I actually try to spin around on my head while kicking my legs up in the air to get the momentum going, I'd break something.

Like a lamp, or a vase. Or my neck.

Today my life felt like a big long break dance in my mind. I needed to clear out the spin, or tomorrow would feel the same way.

I knew I needed to go for a run, but I didn't want to. I wanted to crawl back into bed and stare at the ceiling. Then take a long hot shower and talk to myself as the water ran over my head so I can work out all the spinning puzzle pieces, and make them fit back into the smooth, easy picture I want.

But I'm smart. I know staring at ceilings and talking to myself only works for so long. Eventually, I have to let nature take it's course and force my body to move around and let some endorphins out of their hiding places. They fight the stress chemicals.

Running is my version of releasing the hounds.

So today I tricked myself into running. I reminded myself I have some good songs on my iPod Shuffle, and it was actually charged up and ready to go. I also said I could just run for a bit, and walk the rest of the way if I wanted.

I believed myself (why wouldn't I?) put n my headphones, turned the music up, and took off.

Mick Jagger, Beyonce, and Gwen Stefani got me going, and the Indigo Girls, Kate Bush and Madonna kept me pounding the pavement. I skipped Michael Jackson, I wasn't in the mood for him today.

It worked. I ran about 3.5 miles. I feel better and my brain is clear. I'll have to think of another trick tomorrow.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chunking It Up with "Run Like a Mother's" Sarah Bowen Shea

Last week I had tea with Sarah Bowen Shea, one of the authors of the fabulous "Run Like a Mother" blog and book. She stopped in Bend on her book tour at The FootZone.

Sarah's a full time freelance writer and contributing editor for Runner's World and Shape magazines. She also writes for Self, the New York Times and others.

She's also the mom of an 8 year old and 5 year old twins. And she also runs marathons. Lots and lots of marathons.

Oh, and she also wrote this book with her friend Dimity McDowell, another writer/runner. Oh, and also? She is traveling around the country promoting the book and running little 5K "Fun Runs" in each city with her fans, while also training for the Big Sur Marathon.

There are so many "alsos" in Sarah's life that I almost had to take a nap during tea, just from taking so many notes. Next time I talk to her, I'm bringing an audio recorder and I'm ordering coffee.

Here's a typical Saturday for Sarah, who admits she'd like to sleep more:
  1. Up at 5:45 a.m. to run 22 miles, which took her 3.5 hours (a marathon training run, she doesn't do this every day, she assures me!)
  2. Breakfast and entertain family/guests visiting from out of town.
  3. Quick shower (seriously, I'd need a massage and hot tub at this point!)
  4. Take oldest kid to soccer game.
  5. Take twins to a play.
  6. Take oldest daughter to church event.
  7. Prepare Easter baskets for all three kids, working from the trunk of her car, outside in the rain, so they wouldn't see.
  8. Dinner for family and guests.
  9. (Skipped a scheduled ladies wine night with friends. Bummer, but really...)
  10. Collapse into bed.
  11. The next day was Easter, a busy day at their house with friends and family.
Work days are even trickier for Sarah, because she's often on tight deadlines for all the publications. She reminds me that her running schedule would not be possible without the buy-in from her husband, who helps her juggle all of this.

How does she keep up the pace day in and day out? I asked.

"I just gotta chunk it up," she says. "I think about things in chunks of time. When I'm running 22 miles, I think in terms of the first 8 miles, the second 8 miles, then the last 6 miles. I can't worry about those first 16 miles during the last 6 miles. I don't have fresh legs during that last chunk, so I have to have a fresh mind. I do this for work, too. I have to focus on the task at hand, for that chunk of time, not worry about the before or the after."

I like Sarah's "Chunk it Up" method of time management. I should start using it. I need to stop thinking about Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream every time I hear the word Chunk, though. Or I could eat the ice cream and just start running marathons on Saturdays. Right?

I also like Sarah, and I'm hoping I can get more chunks of her time in the future. She's smart, fun, and inspiring. I want to be more like her when I grow up. I'm not sure about that whole 22 miles at 5:45 a.m. on a Saturday thing though, Chunk or no Chunk.

Here are a few pictures from Sarah's FootZone tour stop in Bend, Oregon, for your viewing pleasure. There are more on their Facebook Fan Page, and if Sarah or Dimity came to your town, I'm sure we'd all love to see your pictures, so post 'em!

After a quick social mingle in the store where I met some adorable babies in strollers, and their mothers, we went outside for a picture before we started our fun run.

The sun was out, we were a relaxed group of runners, clumping together at first, then settling into comfortable pace where everyone went at their own speeds and found others who matched their pace.

For the record, I came in last place. It didn't bother me, and it was fun, because I ran with a friend and we chatted the whole time, which is one of my specialties. Also, trying to be first in a race stresses me out, so I let Sarah win.

The fact that Sarah often runs 18 miles for her marathon training runs at an average pace of 9 minutes and 49 seconds (or something) and I usually run 3 miles at an average of 11-12 minutes, really has nothing to do with it.

Later, after a leisurely day of work for me, an easy dinner and a long shower, I went back to the FootZone (and their famous "Wall of Shoes") and listened to Sarah read excerpts from Run Like A Mother.

My favorite chapter Sarah read from was about the fine art of discreet peeing during long training runs (behind bushes, parked cars, anywhere, really) and I truly appreciated the helpful hint about how convenient those fun little running skirts are for this little problem. I'd never thought of them as easy access potty skirts. I wondered why people thought they were such a good idea.

Here's the truth about Sarah's book: I have a confession to make. I got so busy talking after the book signing (big surprise, I know) that I totally forgot to buy a book, and now I have to go get one so I can have an excuse to spend a whole Chunk of time reading it.

And then, I'll do a book review!

Friday, April 9, 2010

"I Made You Jump and Down!"

I went to Washington DC a couple of weeks ago, after my trip to the FitBloggin Conference. I was only there for a day, but managed to meet some old friends and some new friends. I'm lucky that way.

It was a chilly Tuesday morning in DC, and I was standing in front of the White House when I called my Twitter friend @NewMediaJim. I'd never met Jim, but I talk to him on Twitter which seems like real life, sometimes.

Jim's a very busy man, over at Verge New Media and I wasn't sure if I'd get to meet him on this trip or not, so I didn't want to get my hopes up. It turns out, he was just down the street in front of a Starbucks when I called, and through modern technology and excessive arm waving, we found each other.

Jim bought me some coffee and a hard boiled egg and we talked about Old Media and New Media and how everything changes and we have to change with it or we just end up stuck sitting around in the same old place wondering what to do next.

I get the feeling Jim isn't stuck. His life moves even faster than mine (amazing, but true) which is why I had to jump up and down in front of the White House just to get his attention. But it was worth it, just to meet Jim. Plus, I got some extra cardio in to boot, right?

Ah, the power of the's so great to meet other goof balls in real life. Makes me feel almost normal.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Running with Inga the Wolf Dog: he loves me, I swear it

I went running around the Deschutes River Trail in Bend today with Roxanne (not her real name) and her dog Inga (not his real name.) Roxanne runs faster than me, so I usually bring my camera.

Roxanne is a professional photographer, so it's easy to make her stop every half mile and take a picture of me, which allows me to catch my breath.

I love Inga the dog, but he's shy. Roxanne says he perked up when he saw me today which means he likes me, but I saw him perk up near a bush, and then I didn't feel so special. She said he loves bushes, too.

Sometimes it takes a while for Inga to warm up to me, but eventually, if Roxanne allows it, he'll let me hold his leash.

"I think you are stifling him," I said to Roxanne. "Clearly he needs a change of pace. He wants to run with me, obviously." She gave me his leash when he was busy watching a duck. I thought he might not notice.

"Look, Roxanne," I said, "he's fine. No need to worry. Inga and I are friends now, see?"

"He is not embarrassed, Roxanne," I said. "Inga is thrilled to be with me. Thrilled! I've never seen him so happy. Can we run again tomorrow?"

"Maybe," says Roxanne. "I'll call you after his therapy session. He may need a little quiet time tomorrow to regroup. Nothing personal. It's not you, it's him."

Dogs are so fickle.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

@juliejulie. Mannequin. Vegas. U2.

This doesn't have anything to do with being chubby, a mommy, or running.

This is just me being weird, scoring some great tickets to U2 in Vegas, putting my mannequin on an airplane, and making my best friend come along for the ride. I wrote a story about the Francine goes to Vegas adventure a while ago, but there's just something about video...

I thought you'd want to watch.

Also, if you strolled over here from The Bloggess's blog, this one's for you people. I figure you're used to weird stuff, and you're funny. And really, a handless mannequin from the 1960's isn't nearly as weird as a line of Christmas cards based on a taxiderm-ied boar's head. Right?

Thanks for visiting Chubby Mommy Running Club, where you never know what I might come up with next, which is why you should keep coming back.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Easter Bunny vs. Quaker Oats Guy

They are fighting for my very soul, I think. Who will win today? I need the Quaker Oats Guy to go all Ninja on my secret boyfriend, Mr. Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Do you think he can win? Will the cashews step up and help him? If the jelly beans side with Mr. Reese's, I could be in trouble. Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Long Run

A funny thing happened today while I was running with a friend I haven't seen in a while. I ran 7 miles. In a row. That's the longest distance I've run in many, many years.

Sure, we walked a bit here and there on a few hills, and stopped for about 5 minutes to get some water, but the fact is, I ran 7 miles from start to finish.

It was the talking that did it. We had so much to catch up on, so many stories to tell, that we just kept going. I've been quite busy lately, and more than a bit lax about my running routine (I went twice last week, 2-3 miles a pop), so I was surprised that my body allowed this distance.

My legs and my lungs did start protesting at around 3 miles, like usual, but I was right in the middle of a good story about my recent adventures at the FitBloggin Conference, so I distracted my legs from themselves.

The protests were ignored. I hate to interrupt a good story.

I bet I can do a lot of stuff I don't think I can do, if I just keep distracting myself from the hard work by telling good stories and hanging out with fun people. It's worth a shot.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Is There a Chubby Mommy Inside?

Welcome Footzone!

Our newest sponsor here at Chubby Mommy Running Club is the Footzone store in Bend, Oregon.

Teague Hatfield, the owner, has a passion for running, but as the married father of two young kids, he wants women everywhere to know that there's no "typical" runner out there - you don't have to be a marathoner to enjoy running or join a local community of like-minded runners.

Footzone's Learn to Run classes have been a smashing success, and he's had to cap each session out at 150 people. But don't worry, new sessions start all the time.

I shot this short video of him telling me "There's a Chubby Mommy in all of us" yesterday, and I'm trying to figure out how to load it up here in the body of this post without crashing. For now, you'll have to click through to my YouTube channel. Ideas?