Disclosure: Today I have a guest post from Colleen Cleary. In January this year I put on my brave pants and went out to a fun run where I didn’t know anyone. That’s how I connected with Colleen. If I didn’t already have plane tickets for a non-negotiable event, I’d go to RunAway Girl’s Weekend! When I heard about it, I offered Colleen the opportunity to write a guest post because I think it sounds awesome and I wanted to share with you! All of the words and images below are from Colleen(if I make a little edit, I’ll put it in brackets so you know).
A big thank you to Elizabeth for inviting me to share with all of you about a passion project of mine. As a health coach and distance runner, I created RunAway Girl’s Weekend because I had the desire to bring together women runners for a weekend retreat at a local venue. In the summer of 2018 I was inspired by a visit to Abbey Road Farm in Carlton, Oregon. I immediately knew I had to host an event there and couldn’t wait to invite my BRFs (Best Running Friends).
This weekend celebrates everything beautiful about women’s running. From sharing the challenges of our sport to sharing laughs and stories and finding commonalities as well as a sense of belonging and community. [ERB here: one of the things to love about having a running community? You can engage in your favorite solo sport and be social at the same time. I think I’d love this retreat because Colleen’s about to give you permission to run like a rabbit or a tortoise or just take a long walk to kick off the weekend.]
RunAway Girl’s Weekend happens October 19th & 20th this year and starts with a trail run at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey in Carlton, Oregon. This year the route takes runners on a one mile warm up loop then uphill for 1.5 miles to a gorgeous view at the top and the joy of running those same 1.5 miles back downhill to the start. It has been confirmed that the running police will not be in attendance this year so participants have the option to complete the one mile warmup only, to repeat the one mile warmup loop, or tackle the entire course. I completely understand and welcome anyone who feels like that they just need a relaxing walk, a combo of walk/run or full out run. [ERB: check out the photos of the area around the Abbey on their website!]
Once finished on the trails, participants can grab some hot coffee or tea & a snack before heading just half a mile to Abbey Road Farm where the rest of the retreat takes place. Samantha Baker WithRadical Wellnessis returning again this year to lead a yoga class on the lawn designed just for runners. The combination of Samantha’s sweet spirit and understanding of runner’s needs won over everyone last year even a couple of yoga skeptics.
The day continues with yummy food and a class taught by Brooke Galster-Boston of Cypress Counseling Services. Brooke has put together a talk with a focus on the pursuit of happiness and how it effects our mental health.
The fun doesn’t end there! There are optional massages, wine tasting and visiting with the adorable farm animals that reside at the farm to also enjoy.
For overnight guests there will be s’mores around the fire pit and a dance party in the ranch house. The next morning everyone will gather for breakfast and an optional group walk.
Spots for this weekend continue to fill up but there are still both overnight and Saturday only options available. Pricing and further details can be found at colleencleary.net/events
For all of you that kindly took the time to read this blog post today you may take $20 off your event fees just by mentioning TrainWithBain at the time of registration!
Want to connect with me further? I hang out on Instagram under my name here, and the event has it’s own page here. I’m also on Facebook and would love to connect with you!!
[ERB: Don’t be intimidated! Colleen is an adult-onset runner too! She’s also a RRCA Certified Running Coach. Can’t make the retreat? You can always sign up for her mailing list to be the first to hear about next year.]
Disclosure: Portions of this post were provided by New Hope Network and are from Melaina Juntti’s article, “10 Ways to Say No to Plastic.” I am a member of the New Hope Influencer Co-op, a network of health and wellness bloggers committed to spreading more health to more people. New Hope is NOT related to #PlasticFreeJuly, which is based in Australia.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen a lot of information about plastic recently. Whether it is the Great PacificGarbage Patch, or the fact that China is no longer accepting plastic from the United States for recycling, we are generating more plastic waste than ever.
Humans have generated 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic since 1950, when plastic first came into common usage, according to a 2017 University of Georgia study. What’s more, almost 80 percent of that plastic is still sitting in landfills or junking up the environment. Plastic—even the “biodegradable” kind—is a permanent substance and in the United States we are using it to solve problems that last for just a minute. (Most biodegradable plastics just break down into smaller and smaller pieces, which might become fish food.) It clogs waterways, chokes out wildlife, and emits an unfriendly mix of chemicals (when it burns or breaks down) that leech into water and soil.
Join me for #PlasticFreeJuly
I just learned about the Plastic Free July Challenge, and I’m game. Are you? According to the Challenge website, the top four sources of plastic waste in takeaway/to-go items are bags, straws, bottles, and coffee cups (either the foam-like self-insulating cups, or the lids on paper cups).
Ideally plastic is like junk food: just don’t bring it home, and you can’t use it. In reality? I get it. There are some applications for which there isn’t a good non-plastic option available to you. (I can think of some medical items that I would rather not re-use, for example!) If you absolutely have to get a plastic thing, choose the least plastic you can, and choose the option that is reusable and try to re-use it as long as you can. Large yogurt containers, for example, can be re-used for storing leftovers (or broken crayon bits, or legos, or…).
Tip #1: Skip Even More Plastic Bags
Choose to Reuse–at ALL The Stores. If you’re a green shopper you probably already bring your own your own re-usable shopping bags to the grocery store. (Do you take them to Target, too?) If you’re choosing paper, remember that you have to re-use them multiple times to reduce the environmenal impact of making them (otherwise the single-use plastic is actually more Earth-friendly, no kidding). I keep mine in the car so they are there when I go shopping, and keep a Chico Bag (or two–they’re small) in my backpack. Next up, do you really need to toss those individual green peppers into a disposable plastic bag? You’re going to wash them before you eat them, so letting them go free-range in your cart shouldn’t be a big deal. Other alternatives: get reusable mesh produce bags, or toss produce right into your cloth shopping bags while you finish shopping. And hey, you don’t need that giant plastic tote from the running store either. Your shoes come in boxes, and you can choose a reusable bag instead–if you work out, you probably have a few dozen.
Avoid the Plastic Wrap Trap. You can save time (and money!) by using a reusable beeswax paper wrap such as Bees Wrap. Many beeswax wrappers will stick to themselves to seal. Just be careful when you wash them: make sure the water is not so hot that the wax melts, and use the softer side of the sponge. When you’re done, many of these wraps are compostable or at least repurpose-able (no more wax = fabric for craft projects). Not ready to commit to beeswax wrap? Try aluminum foil. If you don’t crush it you can wash it and re-use it multiple times. When it has reached the end of its useful life, give it a thorough bath, dry it off, and toss it into in the recycling bin.
Skip the plastic baggies too. At home, choose re-usable storage containers. While those made by baggie companies are reusable, invest in something sturdier that will last longer. IKEA has plastic containers with rubber-sealed lids for $1 each piece, and the ones I’ve had for years are in great shape. You can also choose glass (glass lids are easy at home but tricky in lunches), though I admit it’s less than ideal for families with young children who mess around in the fridge. For lunchboxes, you can wrap sandwiches in waxed paper (which is also compostable, though not accepted by all municipal compost facilities). I’m using silicone “bags” that are resealable and reusable by Stasher. So far, they are holding up very well to multiple uses, reuses, and washes. As a bonus, they are dishwasher safe. Perfect for my pre-race and post-race snacks. They come in multiple colors, include fun limited edition shades.
At the races, skip the plastic bags! You’ve got multiple ways to skip plastic bags here. (1) Unless a race is FORCING you to use a plastic bag as your checked bag, DON’T TAKE ONE! If you run a bunch of races in the same series that insists on using plastic bags (such as Revel or Rock ‘n’ Roll) REUSE your bag. It’s the same identical bag, you don’t need another one. (2) Don’t use a plastic garbage bag as a warm-up in the corrals. Instead, either use clothing you’re willing to toss, or buy something very cheap at the thrift store (bathrobe, anyone?). Clothing tossed at start lines often goes to charity, and some races put it directly on the backs of local people experiencing homelessness (after a good washing, of course). (3) If you carry supplies in a plastic bag–which isn’t a terrible idea, since rain and smart phones don’t go together–choose a freezer bag, and then reuse it. Freezer bags are slightly thicker than regular zip-top bags, which means you can reuse it dozens of times before you will need to replace it. If you’re not going to use your phone to take pictures, a Stasher bag might work well too.
Skip the Plastic Bags at theGym! Lots of gyms have a roll of plastic bags in the locker room to bag up your wet swimsuit or sweaty gym clothes. As nice as it is to keep those sweaty, wet things from getting loose in your gym bag, a plastic bag is not the best way. Instead, try using your swim or shower towel to wrap those things. I lay the towel on the bench, layer on the wet stuff, fold the towel in half, and then roll it up like sushi.
Tip #2: Choose Wines That Use Real Corks
Celebrate Sustainably! Trust me, I enjoy a good post-race bubbly or glass of shower wine. I’m definitely NOT begrudging you yours! About 15 years ago, buzz began circulating that cork, the classic wine preserver, wasn’t so sustainable. There was concern that cork tree forests were being depleted, so perhaps plastic wine stoppers would be better. Well, the truth is cork production is pretty darned sustainable. The bark can be stripped and used to make wine closures without cutting the trees down, and this process actually makes the trees better able to offset carbon dioxide. Also, Mediterranean cork forests host some of the greatest plant biodiversity on the planet, according to the World Wildlife Fund. So next time you’re selecting wine, opt for bottles with real-cork corks, not plastic stoppers. As a bonus, many wineries will accept corks for recycling, or you can get a cork box through TerraCycle.
Check Your Inner Wine Snob. As an intermediate option, don’t snub your nose at screw-top wine. While screw-tops used to be endlessly mocked as they were only used on cheap, poor quality wines, now even big and fancy wineries are looking at screw-tops. They make it easier to re-seal your wine bottle, but also tend to protect your wine better than corks. And hey, there’s always that old college staple. (No, not Boone’s Farm!) Boxed wine, while lined with a plastic bag, keeps much longer than bottled wine. If you only indulge every now and again, boxed wine might be your best bet…and the more people nudging the wine makers to recycle their packaging, the more likely it is that it will happen.
Stay Tuned for More Tips to Just Say No to Plastic!
In the meanwhile, what’s your top “just say no to plastic” tip? Do you have a tip that is especially applicable to runners?
I’d love to have Thanksgiving all year. Well, maybe not the endless food parade, since it is definitely indulgent (and generates a lot of dishes, too!). The parts I like the best do revolve around food, but only because my family likes to eat, and pretty much all of us like to cook.
My favorite Thanksgiving moments all involve laughing, and much of that laughing takes place around the table or in the kitchen. When the Three Stooges assemble (that’s me and the brothers), hilarity ensues. In 2011, I brought home my first iPhone. I’m pretty sure I took more pictures of the dog than I did of the family, but here are the highlights.
Why yes, I do have a weirder neck than the turkey that graced the table that year. Centering? Filters? Editing? Retakes? Yikes. Onward and upward (you’re supposed to look up at the camera!).
Thanksgiving dinner at our house must always include certain items: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce (the kind that comes in a can) and bread. (Why yes, I did grow up in the Midwest!) Over the years, traditions evolved around past events. Required commentary included asking Mom ten times whether she remembered to take the rolls out of the oven, mocking the cranberry sauce shaped like a can (the one year I mashed it up, one of my brothers yelled at me), asking Bruce to go put the leftover turkey in the workshop, and reminding everyone to feed green bean innards and corn kernals to the pet cockatiel (still thriving at age 23).
There appears to be some kind of prohibition on leaving any empty space on the table. Part of the required commentary is advising others on how to rearrange the food so it will all fit for at least 10 minutes, at which point we all give up and stick some of it on another piece of furniture (preferably one that is too high for the dog to reach).
There is also a required program of entertainment. I was shocked when we ended up deviating from it this year, but the typical day goes like this: get up early to stick the turkey in the oven. Drink lots of coffee, while claiming that not eating breakfast will make it easier to stuff ourselves at dinner. Hang out and catch up. Start drinking beer. Give in and eat lunch, then start picking on random snacky things while watching the Lions lose a football game. Start drinking wine. Eat dinner. At some point the brothers disappear to the basement, where they play Intellivision for hours, and you can tell which games they are playing by the sounds emanating from the basement–not the ones from the games, the sounds from the brothers. Eat dinner. Pause. Round two. Then we have Christmas.
So it goes, from year to year. Some years we have Christmas on Saturday morning. Once the three kids moved to three different locations, and I hit the west coast, it just got too expensive (airfare!) and impractical (a day off work to fly each way) to do two separate holidays. Thanksgiving was the first time I met the then-to-be-sisters-in-law. It’s sort of the acid test: if you can’t hang with the siblings, you’re not going to cut it in this fam.
Thanksgiving without Mom isn’t the same. If you’ve lost a parent, you know what mean.
In 2014 I decided to try something new: go run the Detroit Turkey Trot, even though no one else in my family would have anything to do with it. (One brother is just not getting up that early on Thanksgiving, the other insists he’s not paying anyone and he can go run 10k whenever he wants; the sisters-in-law don’t run; that leaves Dad, and someone has to cook the turkey.) It was the
I took a billion pictures, you know, “for the blog,” and notice how I reviewed the 2014 Turkey Trot on the blog? (Don’t go looking for that review…)
Funny thing about Thanksgiving: the more ways we have to take pictures, the fewer pictures I have! I’m sure I could dig hundreds of pictures of Thanksgivings past out of the basement in Dad’s new condo. I bet there are several table shots from two houses ago, the year that my brother and my cousin broke the decorative wood off of the front of the china cabinet. Yet I have none with my friend Michelle (who I see every year), and fewer than a half dozen from each year on my phone. Hm.
The last Thanksgiving in the house was special for many reasons. (I wish I’d known it was going to be the very last one.) At several points there were seven of us in the kitchen cooking. It was also the year that me, the vegetarian, accidentally won a turkey during the #CompleteYourFeast twitter contest. Oops! I’ve got to say that I’ve never had customer service like we got from Diestel Turkeys, and I wasn’t even a proper customer! After I won, a few quick emails back and forth got the home address connected with the turkey, a 15 pound Organic Heirloom Turkey (which I’m told was uber delicious). Tuesday I got a call from Heidi–yes, Heidi Diestel!–to let me know that the turkey’s plane was delayed, and I should call immediately if the turkey wasn’t the proper temperature when it arrived (they’d express another one). The next day, she called again to make sure the turkey had arrived in good shape. (I was napping, so she talked to Dad, who was very impressed that I’m somehow important enough to get a call from a Diestel!)
The twitter chat contest also included a box of produce from Melissa’s Produce. (Honestly, when I stumbled into the #CompleteYourFeast twitter party, I was hoping I’d be lucky enough to win one of the runner-up prizes, like a cookbook.) There were apples, dutch yellow potatoes (the BEST), small onions in every color, fennel, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, steamed and ready to eat beets, two packages of quinoa, fancy salt and seasonings, and even an dessert sauce! Dad had already bought some produce, and we had no idea what might show up in the box, so it turned into quite the feast. Fennel was a new one for me, so I made one of the recipes I found on the Melissa’s website; same with the quinoa.
There’s an old funny story that ends with, “here comes Bain with a second load!” and that might as well have been our motto last year. It was the first Thanksgiving meal we shared with Dad’s new fiancée (she passed with flying colors, and baked enough pie for dinner and breakfast–very important!).
We all ate ourselves silly. The post-dinner interval lasted much longer than usual, as we all wanted to eat pie, but none of us could figure out how on earth we’d manage to put more food in. Per our tradition, we spent “Black Friday” sleeping in and then hanging around at home while eating everything we had for dinner the night before.
This year was the first year the brothers and I have eaten the family Thanksgiving dinner in anyplace other than our childhood home on Moonlight Drive (we moved there in 1979). We’ve had a few “moveable feast” Thanksgivings, where we had Thanksgiving the second weekend in December, for example, or the week before the actual holiday, but never in a foreign location. It turned out just fine.
First, I convinced Dad to join me at the Detroit Turkey Trot. (Note the evolution of my selfie technique.) Ellen wasn’t so sure this was a good idea, since he’d decided to tackle the Detroit International Half Marathon on four training runs no longer than six miles, but I promised I wouldn’t let him injure himself. We did 1 minute intervals, walking and running (“jogging,” said my brother, “with a soft J”). In between viewing the amazing architecture of the Detroit that once was one of the richest cities in America, I played Ingress, we watched multiple groups of costumed runners (the ghostbusters, turkeys, turkey dinner, and all sorts of other things).
This year there were two turkeys, all the things my family usually had (but not the White Castle stuffing–Bruce was on strike), the fluffy marshmallow and oranges thing, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green beans, two kinds of stuffing (including some vegetarian stuff not cooked in the bird for me), and another dozen dishes that didn’t fit on the table.
We shared dinner with Ellen’s daughter and her family, using all of the counter space, all of the chairs, and most of the dishes. The brothers never did hook up the Intellivision, but that might have been because the football games were so exciting. We were all in shock that the Lions won, and then the Chicago/Green Bay game kept us up well past when we wanted to go to bed. Thais is still doing her American residency, so she had to work on Friday, meaning there was less wine drinking and laughing until all hours. We only made it through one pie.
It was a good year to start some new traditions. (I wonder if the Intellivision will come out again next year.) I could do this every weekend! Well maybe not every weekend, that would put a serious dent in my running calendar. How about once a month?
What do you like best about Thanksgiving? Does your family have any traditions you love (or hate)?