Oiselle Volée (, team nuun ( Reader. Pet lover. Coffee/beer drinker. Part adventurer, part homebody.

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Stepping Into My Capability Zone

Five weeks ago, I was preparing for one of my favorite marathon workouts: 8 x 1-mile repeats at lactate threshold. I love this workout because each repeat feels controlled, but the cumulative effort is massive. Every ounce of energy is slowly squeezed out of the tank, and what remains is an incredible mix of exhaustion and a weirdly immediate sense of fitness gain. It’s awesome.

But my feelings about the workout on that particular day were somewhere between anxiety and dread. For the previous 10 weeks, I had prepared for each workout and long run by looking back at the result of the same workout during my training cycle for the Mercedes Marathon in February 2015. The timing and my fitness level certainly lent themselves to comparison. I followed the same training plan for that race, which was just one week later in February than the LA Marathon is this February. I ran a big PR at...

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Expectation and Hope

In typical runner fashion, I am trying to make sense of my race today and why it didn’t go as well as I wanted. I finished the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon in 1:25:04, and was the 25th female across the line in what has become an incredibly competitive race the last few years. Certain aspects of the race are specifically catered toward runners making attempts at the qualifying standards for the US Olympic Marathon Trials - pacers for the blazing fast qualifying standards, cash bonuses for Americans achieving those standards, and well-organized pre-race accommodations. Because of the talented and deep elite field, I wasn’t expecting to be a top finisher today, but I was expecting to run a PR (my previous PR of 1:25:26 is from early 2012). If you’re following along, then you’ve realized that I did run a PR, and you’re maybe wondering why I am even a little disappointed...

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Pep Talk

I have a confession: I can be a whiny wimp about running in poor weather conditions. Temps in the 90s, plus humidity? I’ll probably whine about it. Wind, with or without precipitation? I will most likely shed actual tears. Oh, and hail? I will shout curse words at the sky. So, there was really no hope for me today. I had a tough 20-miler on tap - one continuous run with the first 5 miles easy, then 10 miles at marathon pace, and the last 5 miles easy. I was prepared for the intensity that comes with a hard mental and physical effort. But add gusty 20mph+ winds, plummeting temperature, and snow to the mix, and you can be sure my whiny wimp came out in full force. What really brought it to the surface was the classic frustration that comes with thinking there’s a headwind in the first half of an out-and-back run, only to discover upon turning around that the wind is blowing in...

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Think Kit Day 4: 2¢

I’m working my way through SmallBox’s Think Kit, folks! The fourth prompt is:

Whether you asked for it – or not – what good advice did you get this year? Did it come from an unexpected source? Was it unsolicited, or did you need a word or two after an eventful day, week, or month? Has the advice changed the way you think about the world? Changed the way you think about your advisor? Changed the way you think about yourself? Changed the way you act? Can you distill the message and help the rest of us out, or is it too personal to be universal?

The most inspiring piece of advice I received this year didn’t come to me directly. It was shared at a running camp and I came across it through social media. The lovely and honest Lauren Fleshman shared this gem with camp attendees:

The best gift you can give yourself is to disregard what other people see as success and name it for yourself.


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Think Kit Day 3: Deck the LOLs

Here is the next prompt for SmallBox’s December Think Kit:

Let’s loosen up: share a side-splitting story from the last year. What made you laugh out loud until tears formed? What made you giggle every time it was referenced? Whether it’s a story, an image, a video – we want to hear about the banana peel on the floor, your best practical joke, or gems from the mind of a three-year-old. Whether it’s sassy, sarcastic, or just plain silly: make us laugh!

Let me be clear: I love to laugh. But also, let me be honest: I hate to share stories that I think are funny, for fear that they will fall flat. Instead, I’m going to share a story that isn’t so much “haha” funny, but more “I can’t believe that happened” funny. In a previous post, I shared that I won a marathon this year, which was incredible, but even more incredible was the unintended obstacle on the course.

Mill Race train.jpg
That’s me in the teal...

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Think Kit Day 2: Flip the Script

If you’re a subscriber to my blog, I apologize in advance for the flurry of posts over the next few days as I catch up with the past week of SmallBox’s December Think Kit. The next prompt is:

What did you change your mind about this year? Was it a big deal – the way you feel about an issue? Or something small – maybe you learned to like Brussels sprouts? What was the moment or series of moments that changed how you felt? How did your friends or family react? Have you uttered the phrase, “I’ll never change my mind!” since then?

2014 was the Year of the Smoothie. It wasn’t so much that I learned to like smoothies themselves (because I already thought they were delicious). But the thought of making a smoothie weirdly intimidated me. What should I put in it? How do I know if it will taste good? Should I keep the ingredients on hand all the time? Will they be healthy, or will they...

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Think Kit Day 1: A Thousand Words

I’m playing catch-up with SmallBox’s December Think Kit, a month of daily writing prompts for bloggers both seasoned and new. The first prompt is (well, was…):

Share your year in photos. Was there a moment of unrestrained happiness? An unexpected encounter? What role do photos play in your life – were you more selective with your phone (er…camera) this year? Or are you the King of Selfies? Dig into the deeper meaning of a moment frozen in time.

Usually, by the time November rolls around, I’m excited for the holidays and the fresh start that the new year brings, and I don’t spend much time on year-end reflection. As a kid, I wanted today to just be tomorrow already. Growing up with two sisters who are five and seven years my senior, I constantly wanted to be in their shoes, at their stages in life. I wanted to get to the future. As an adult, any reflection is usually related to a...

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How to Feel Alive
(5 Easy Steps)

The weekend before Thanksgiving, I was pretty busy. While busy is my norm, that weekend presented a unique set of experiences that helped me break out of my day-to-day pattern of work/run/eat/sleep/repeat. If you’ve also been feeling tied up in a sleepy and/or boring-busy daily routine, I’d like to offer five suggestions for awakening your playful spirit.

1. Laugh. Last Saturday, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in an outdoorsy lifestyle shoot for New Day Craft, a local company that specializes in craft mead and hard cider. I’ve been in front of a professional photographer’s camera a whopping three other times - senior portraits in high school, engagement photos, and wedding photos. So, this was one of those experiences that excited me with both fun energy and nervous energy, like waiting in line to ride a roller coaster. The great thing about this particular shoot...

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Shortsightedness is a Virtue

It can be overwhelming to think about the massive effort required to maintain a consistent level of running performance. I’m a high-mileage runner, and the repetitive force on my muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones means that I have to take good care of them, especially as I age. The miles themselves are the easy part. Then there’s strength training, stretching, mobility work, core work, massage therapy, fine-tuning nutrition and keeping track of iron, vitamin D, vitamin C, calcium, protein, carbohydrates… Finding time for all of that can be difficult, mainly because running isn’t my career. It is possible to create a delicate balance, and I’ve found it before. Usually, it’s as simple as taking things one week, and then one to two days, at a time. My typical Sunday thought process goes something like, “Do I have any evening events this week? Okay, I’ll have to run in the...

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The Return of Run Love

It’s been two weeks since my most recent marathon, and still no sign of PMD (post-marathon depression). I use that phrase somewhat jokingly, but it gets at the true feeling of the comedown after a marathon effort. If you’ve completed a marathon, or any project that necessitated significant time and energy over a span of weeks or months, then you’re likely familiar with the emptiness that can follow such an achievement. Pouring yourself into something can quite literally leave you drained - mentally, physically, and emotionally. But this time around, my valley isn’t quite as low, my well of energy not quite as empty, my emotions a little more balanced. So after two weeks, I think it’s safe to say I’m in the clear. In fact, I’m excited about running again, in the purest sense. This is a major shift from the mindset I’ve had for the past two years. I set a few big PRs in 2011 and 2012 by...

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