Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Marni Renison - Guest Blogger - Hood to Coast

This post if written by my friend Marni Renison, (pictured on the right) along with our friend and Hood to Coast teammate Aubree Swart.
Marni is a bright spot in my life...below is a blog from Marni about Hood to Coast that I think you will enjoy...thanks, Marni!

The Hood to Coast event is a hugely sought after and highly anticipated race of 12 teammates, divided into two vans running 197 miles from Mt. Hood to Seaside Oregon. Generally, there is no sleep, you get to know your teammates intimately and whether you like it or not, you may start to look at parts of nature as a freshly cleaned bathroom at the Ritz Carlton.

Two years ago, I was approached by Paula Harkin, of Team RunWithPaula to join her van to fill in for runner. I quickly agreed, because Paula had been such a staple to my running since my arrival in Portland, but promptly raced home to talk through all my fears of the race with my husband.

“Am I’m not fast enough – these girls are FAST!”

“I get bitchy without sleep – I don’t want them to see my evil side.”

“What if I literally go crazy without sleep? Like hauled off in straightjacket?”

“What if I have to poop on the course?”

“What if I get lost?”

“What if they get last place because of ME?”

Ugh. Torment.

Well, just with anything in life, you have to jump in, live in the moment…enjoy the present and if you’re running Hood to Coast….you makes jokes, support your girlfriends and run hard.

Last year, my second year on the team, we took first place in our division. So, this summer, we’re coming back to keep our title. With a little fun and hard work along the way.

My name is Marni Renison (middle). I am a wife, mother of two daughters, runner. I began running about 6 years ago because of a “bad mom” day. I took my dog out for walk, ended up running as hard as I could for as long as I could (which was about one city block – and I nearly barfed) to release some anger. When I came home, I felt refreshed, more in control and I knew I would be back. I was going to do that again. Soon after came my first 10k, half marathon and marathon. I’ve since run 7. Running has returned benefits to my health, my community and my sense of wellbeing that otherwise would remain dormant. I balance many things with training: yoga, work, media shoots from time to time. But, my priorities remain the same. Wife. Mother. Runner. People. In that order.

Everything else falls quickly in line.

As I prepare for the races of this year, I realize, first I need to set some goals. Plan my races. And mentally prepare for the hard work ahead. Hood to Coast is a pinnacle event. And I need to come through for my girls. Because we’re going to be defending our title. J

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Baby steps are not just for babies

Baby Steps...(goggles upside down)

I CAN swim. I CAN swim. I CAN swim. I can swim from one end of the pool to the other and back again. I sometimes feel panic when I do but I can swim 75 meters and I did today. This is where I am at, I will get better. I will make my way back to continuous swimming! Baby steps.

Is this what new runners feel like when I tell them they CAN run a marathon or half marathon? Are they feeling like I am feeling about swimming? Do they wonder if it will ever all come together? I think this is such a great experience for a coach and an athlete because the answer is an easy yes as a coach but as an athlete it is a little harder to say. I do remember my beginning days of running and they were very hard. Swimming is hard. I am happy swimming is hard because as I have said before - hard is rewarding. This is a good reminder that things take time and I need to be patient with myself.

I am going to set my sites on another triathlon in 2011. Setting this goal is really important as it will keep me focused on exercise each day and training my body to be strong and capable. Isn't that what we are doing when we set a goal? I think it is so important to remember that exercise is about being healthy and strong and not just about losing calories.

Here are a few tips/goals for 2011 - be the first one up to assist, be the one to lift something heavy for someone else, walk a little farther to the shopping mall by parking a little farther out, mow your own lawn and plant a few flowers, shake out your rugs, and use the stairs instead of the elevator. If you eat something unhealthy, leave a few bites, motivate someone in your life to move their body. Say something positive every day and be grateful. This is the biggy. Be grateful for all of the wonderful things in your life, we all have them, sometimes we have to look a little harder for them but they are always there. Listen to the universe. Listen to your heart. Be true to yourself and your word. These are gifts we can give ourselves and we can start today and make them a habit and while building this habit we can be healthier both mentally and physically and make our households, our offices, our communities just a little better. Let 2011 be about being just a little better.

I am grateful for SO many things but today I am grateful that I can learn to swim.

Day 739