Friday, October 28, 2016

Pete Lamonica, Inspirational Runner

I first met Pete at the Seattle Green Lake Running Group, Tuesday evening run several months ago. I knew he was still new to running but I had no idea how new or how much he has changed his life. I heard him say in passing that he'd recently lost a bit of weight. I didn't think too much of it but then I noticed that Pete was getting faster and faster during his runs. I'm not talking just few seconds here and there, Pete has dropped minutes off his average pace! He has completely transformed over this year. I have really enjoyed watching him fall in love with running and be naturally awesome at it! Finally one day I decided I needed to know his story. 
When did you realize that you needed to make a change in your life?
I had just finished running a 1km leg of a 5km relay. I'd never run a race before, but when a friend invited me to participate in the Fremont Briefcase Relay, I thought that would be fun. I figured that even though I'd never run more than a mile in my life and it'd probably been 10 years since I'd run more than a couple hundred feet, I could certainly run for one kilometer. After all, it was barely more than half a mile.
So when the race started I sprinted along for 100 yards or so, then started to slow, then jogged to the side of the road, and finally walked shamefully most of the rest of the leg. After the hand-off, I sat down on the ground and spent 10 minutes catching my breath. I was exhausted, nauseous, and embarrassed. At 30 years old, I should have been in my physical prime. But here I was, barely able to stand after just a few minutes of exercise.

How much weight did you lose so far and how long did it take you? 
When I graduated high school, I was the same height I am now and weighed about 175lbs. Then I went to college and put on over 100lbs. I'm not actually sure what I weighed at my heaviest. I know I was at least 285. I probably topped out at close to 300 around 2008 or 2009.
I've been up and down ever since. Giving up regular (non-diet) soda made a big difference. By the time I moved to Seattle 3 years ago, I was down to about 250lbs. My driver’s license from the time incredulously pronounces me as "245lbs."
My move to Seattle also brought another helping hand: A walking commute. Just getting out and walking a couple miles a day helped me drop a few more pounds. By the time I ran the Briefcase Relay I was down in the low 230s for the first time in years. That's why I was so sure I'd be able to run that kilometer. Part of what made for such a rude awakening that day came from the realization that even if you lose 70lbs, you can still be a fitness train wreck.
When I got into running, the weight dropped off like I'd never seen before. By New Year’s I was down to 200lbs. I finally settled around 180lbs this summer and I've been within about 5 pounds of that ever since. I took up weight lifting a couple months ago and have put on about 5lbs of (hopefully) muscle since then.
So, long story short, I've lost about 110lbs over around 7-8 years, with about 50lbs of that coming off since I started running last year.
What do you feel like your biggest success is?
It'd be easy to say that it was completing my first marathon just a year after the Briefcase Relay. But that's the obvious answer and I don't think it's the correct one. Instead, I feel like every day I get out there and run is my biggest success
I went water skiing once about a decade ago (yes, I know this is a running blog, but bear with me here). I remember working very hard to get upright. The boat would start to move and I would either drop the rope or flip right over. After several tries, I finally got up on my feet. From that point on, every second was a battle. I knew I could let go at any time and I'd tumble blissfully into the water. But I didn't. I stuck with it until my arms gave out on their own. Every second of that experience was an exhilarating success. It was a success because I didn't give up. I pushed myself to the limit when letting go would have been easy and painless.
That's what running has been like.
Just getting started is one of the hardest parts. The easy thing to do is say home. If I skip a run, no one cares. If I skip a week, friends will tell me that a little rest will do me good. Even once I'm going, I can drop that rope any time and no one will think less of me for it. I don't need to train for speed. Most of my non-running friends don't know how many miles are in a marathon, much less what qualifies as a "good" completion time. I could walk the whole way and people would still congratulate me. My friends and family will love and support me no matter what I chose to do.
So when I got up this morning and set out for a 32km run to celebrate my 32nd birthday, it was my biggest success. But my next run will be, too. And the run after that. They'll each earn that title because I'll be sticking with it. I'll keep at it until I find my limits. I haven't reached them yet and I plan to hold on tight until I do. What then? I'm not sure.

What made you decide on running? 
Did I mention how incredibly boring the elliptical is? It was summer at the time and summer in Seattle is unbelievably gorgeous. Its 60-70 degrees for months on end. The sun is out for as much as 16 hours a day. We have rivers, hills, bridges, lakes, parks, and trees everywhere. One day, I decided I'd go for a nice, long walk. I wound up on the Aurora Bridge, which offers stunningly beautiful views of Lake Union and the ship canal. I was inspired to jog partway across. I realized that if I went nice and slow, I didn't get winded. Maybe my time on the elliptical was paying off, but more likely I'd just found my pace.
My pace was so slow it was silly. I almost felt I could have gone faster walking. But I could keep it up. I realized that I didn't need to worry about being fast. I just needed to find a pace I could sustain and stick with it. I could run surprisingly far that way (2-3 miles straight within just a couple weeks). And there's so much to see and appreciate out there in Seattle. Running gave me a new way to experience my city. My only regret is not having found it sooner.

How have you improved as a runner?
I've improved my running by getting out there at least once every couple of days. On a typical week I'm doing 2-3 easy runs of 3-6 miles each, a tempo run of 5-8 miles, and a long run of 10-14 miles. I'm also going to the gym and doing some weight training twice a week to help improve my strength and speed.
But my running has also improved me. I've met tons of new people through Seattle Green Lake Running Group. I've heard so many inspirational stories: People overcoming serious injuries, a soldier who ran her first marathon in Afghanistan, and even a few folks like me that found running recently and haven't yet discovered their limits. Everyone has a story of how they came to running and the obstacles they've overcome and every story is an inspiration to me.

Do you feel like this has improved other areas of your life? If so, how? 
Certainly my weight loss and fitness gains have improved various aspects of my life. I have more energy. My occasional lower back pain has all but disappeared. I even fit in airplane seats a lot better.

Running has also taught me a lot about friendship and teamwork. I've learned that no matter how hard you work, you can get injured or sick. You don't always have your best performance. Sometimes that can be very hard to get through. Having a community of runners there to support you is such a great way to help get back into the game. I've certainly come to understand that providing that support is important to being part of such an excellent group of runners.

Is your long hair and beard PNW inspired?
I've had the beard since before moving to Seattle. The long hair is a recent addition. My last job before moving out west was at a pretty conservative, mid-western investment firm where I wore a suit and tie to work every day. Some of my old coworkers might suggest there was a long-haired west-coast hippie bottled up inside me the whole time. Maybe they're right.

I heard that you had a birthday run, can you explain what that is? 
It's something I've heard others do before: X miles for your X birthday. For me, 32 miles would be a bit much. So I made the switch to the metric system and did 32km (20 miles) instead. I broadcast my run on Facebook beforehand and was lucky enough to have several friends join me for part of the run; one friend even ran the entire 20 miles with me! I wasn't worried about speed. I even took a 10 minute break halfway through to chat with a friend who took a break from work to cheer us on. It was a great chance to just get out there and had a good time hanging out with friends and doing something a bit unusual to celebrate my birthday.

What are your favorite running brands so far?
I definitely have a lot of respect for Brooks. I've bought a couple pairs of their shoes, but I also love how involved they are in the local running community. They're always sponsoring local races (including the relay that got me started running in the first place). They also support the Wednesday evening SGLRG run, which I attend whenever I can sneak out of work early enough. It's great to see a local company giving back in that way. 

What is your favorite recovery food and drink?
After a long run or race, I'm a sucker for some biscuits and gravy. Absent that, a hearty brunch of some sort is usually in order. When I'm out on my long runs, I usually start thinking about food 5-6 miles in. Being one of those people who runs in part so he can still eat good stuff, thoughts of bacon and sausage can be a nice "carrot" to entice me to finish a run.

What are your next goals?
My biggest goal is to one day qualify for Boston. It's a long way off and might never happen, but I'm working towards it all the time. In that spirit, my next big goal is to run a half marathon at or near my BQ pace. Until then, my goals are the same as always: Get out there, support my friends, and run like crazy.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading Pete's story as much as I did. I find Pete completely inspirational and look forward to continuing to watch his fitness journey. During my own journey people like Pete will help get me to my goals whether they know it or not. Seeing great things like what Pete has done are huge motivators for me. Congratulations Pete on your accomplishments before you know it you'll be Boston Bound! ! 

Keep on Running!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Finally a Part of Team Oiselle Volée!

Welcome, Oiselle Teammates!
All of us were attracted to this team for our own reasons. Maybe it was the community, the race singlet, a desire for inspiration, the free shipping :), or any number of things. The pathways to this email are as unique as the individuals reading it. And now, here we are. What now? How will the story of she become the story of we? Whether it's meeting other local runners, connecting online more broadly, or simply making a friend or two, the people we surround ourselves with weave into our beliefs of what we think is possible, and how we view ourselves and our potential. I hope that like me, you find that meeting another Volée for the first time never feels like the first time. That this team calls you up, opens you to receive inspiration, and compels you to let your light shine even brighter. On behalf of the team, we are so excited you are here.
Lauren Fleshman
I am so excited that I finally was able to apply for the team. They only have open registration every so often and can be easily missed! But I am now a Oiselle Volée Team member! WooT!
Keep on Running!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Beginning of Something Great!

I have started making short videos sharing my journey into the deep unknown world of crazy long distance running. 
This video hosts my big announcement!
This shows where I am currently physically and where I need to go.
This is just a fun after workout video. :D
Current body measurements as of today!
Weight: 155
Body fat %: 24.2
Water %: 52.5
Muscle: 40.2
Bone: 4.8
Neck: 12.5"
Upper Arm: 11.5"
Lower Arm: 9"
Thigh: 24"
Calf: 15.5"
Bust: 37.5"
Hips: 40.5
Waist: 30"
Ribs: 31"
Naval: 35" 

Keep on Running!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hot Chocolate Season is Here!

Hey Y'all! Just a friendly reminder that the Seattle Hot Chocolate 15k/5k is on the way! Use promo code: SEATTLESWAG5 at registration!  I love this race, it is just the right length and the chocolate is amazing! Come join in on the fun!
Keep on Running!

Would you rent out your couch to complete strangers? AirBnB update 2

Money Maker!
Since my last post I have successfully had 4 guests stay with me! I never knew that my little couch would come in handy with paying the bills but here it is lending a helping cushion! What's even more shocking is that I am loving it! I have been blessed with extremely nice visitors. They have all been traveling for different reasons and are from all parts of the world. I have loved visiting with them and learning their stories, finding out what they are interested in seeing while in town, etc. 

October Guest Calendar
This is what my current booking calendar looks like. I have just a few more people staying with me! I am booked solid until half way through November. I couldn't be happier! My rate is extremely low, which draws in a lot of people but that works for me. I could raise my rate but then I wouldn't have as many bookings, $2 or $3 dollars a night can make or break an AirBnB listing. I'd rather have more frequent guests at this point. Later when I want "me time" I will adjust the nightly rate.
I have always been a neat freak but now I am forced to clean every single day. I never leave anything out of place and I wash the bedding between each guest, yes, as all hosts should! But this means I am constantly doing laundry as well. The additional laundry and sanitizing everything several times a week is about the only difference for me. I already vacuumed, mopped, dusted constantly because of Laddie, now I just get paid to do it. :) 
So far I don't have any interesting or juicy stories to share with you about my experiences thus far, thankfully I have had wonderful guests. 

Dog Lovers Paradise in Greenwood, Seattle

Seattle, WA, United States
My place is close to Naked City Brewery & Taphouse, Gainsbourg, Green Bean Coffeehouse, Baranof, and Razzis Pizzeria. You’ll love my place because of the coziness, the light, and the kitchen. My pl...

Thank you all for reading! Maybe I will be able to host you some time soon!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Trail Running Film Festival - Seattle

Imagine entering a room where all of your dreams are being stored, walk into the room and just pluck a dream from the shelf, open it up and dive into it. That's what The Trail Running Film Festival was for me. What's more, I don't think I have ever been surrounded by so many people that share the same  dreams and love for the mountains and running as I do. Instead of being afraid of running 100 miles of hell, they join in. Many in the audience completing more races and runs than I could dream of. I sat in a room of my idols as we watched people share their stories in film. We laughed that the same jokes and cried for the same losses. The unity of shared passions was overwhelmingly powerful. 
I have held many dreams to myself, tentatively sharing tid bits here and there to my friends but this festival showed me it is silly to be afraid to go for the things that you love. Why not? What would I have to lose? After being surrounded by so many people who love crazy adventures as much as I do I announced that I will be running my first 100k and 100 mile ultra marathons this coming year. 
There were way too many films showed at this event to go through and talk about every single one of them. I purposefully waited a few days to write this report, I wanted to see which films were still with me. The ones that left a last impressions versus a fleeting glimmer. 

These films below have made that list. Most of these are full films but some are just previews. 

30 Hours (2016)  Directed by Alex Massey  12 min
Running 100 miles is tough, running 100 miles when you’re 72 years old is unimaginable. Unless you're Wally Hesseltine. Follow Wally as he pushes his aging body to the absolute limit in his quest to become the oldest ever finisher of the world's most prestigious ultramarathon - the Western States 100.
100 miles. 30 hours. One unforgettable finish.

Talk about being on the edge of your seat!!! I almost fell off mine when watching this. This by far left me with the strongest impression. I can't say enough about Wally and his achievements, I can't talk about this one much. I don't want to ruin the fun!

Thirty Hours from alex on Vimeo.

Life on the Fells (2016)  Directed by James Stevens  5 min
A film following the life of Adam Briggs, a passionate fell runner with a unique story to tell. Driven by the events of the past and the constant pull of the mountains, Adam seeks to make the most of the gift he has been given. His life on the fells will take you on a journey through the elements. One which will broaden the mind, strengthen the body, and empower the spirit. Semi-Finalist for Best Cinematography and Best Amateur Short

I felt so little when watching this film. As if I was a weakling that has never lived through anything hard. Adam Briggs is completing inspiring. If you are dealing with anything at all, watch this and it'll bring life back into you! I have been slowly recovering from a severally sprained ankle. I was very depressed for several weeks, this man clearly is way stronger than me. 

Life on the Fells from JEGS Media on Vimeo.

FIFTY -- The Movie (2016)  Directed by John-Jo Ritson  52 min
FIFTY – The Movie follows Mal Law’s bold attempt to run 50 mountain marathons over 50 peaks in just 50 days, all around New Zealand, in order to raise an enormous amount of money for the Mental Health Foundation. The film is every bit as unique and ambitious as the adventure it traces. It’s  about so much more than just stunning mountain scenery and awesome trail running. It’s also about the ‘power of purpose’ and what is possible when thousands of people get together behind one man to help achieve something truly and utterly remarkable. Semi-Finalist for Best Cinematography, Best Use of Humor and Best Feature

Mal Law, the Lion-Hearted man who conquered 50 mountain peaks in just 50 days. He persevered though his own mountains and completed this amazing journey. Mal came to the film festival and had a short Q&A. It was amazing to have him here in Seattle. Saturday morning there was a group run at Discovery Park in Seattle and he joined in on the run as well! It was incredible to run with someone like him.

FIFTY - The Movie from Fifty on Vimeo.

Orcas Island 100 (2016)  Directed by Project Talaria  25 min
The latest work from the up and coming filmmakers, Project Talaria, featuring the first annual Orcas Island 100 miler. The race is directed by Rainshadow Running who are known for their fun, challenging and scenic "destination style" races. Any race in the cold and wet Pacific Northwest in the dark days of mid February is bound to be a challenge but a 100 mile race in the mountains of the San Juan Islands is an extra special challenge.  Semi-Finalist for Best Cinematography and Best Use of Humor and Best Short

This film has my attention for a very different reason from the others above. This one I want to run! This race I have been eyeing for a little while. Please watch and let me know your thoughts. It was created by Project Talaria, my favorite film team so far. 

Orcas Island 100 - Trailer from Project Talaria on Vimeo.

Mystery Drop Bag Challenge (2016)  Directed by Mountain Outpost  15 min
What happens to all those abandoned drop bags after a trail race? Jamil and Schuyler find out! 
Semi-Finalist for Best Short and Best Use of Humor

I had actually seen this film before the festival and had shared it with many of my friends. It is hilarious! Way too funny for words. 

Fat Dog 120 (2016)  Directed by Project Talaria  29 min
One of the toughest ultramarathons in North America is British Columbia's Fat Dog 120 miler in Manning Provincial Park. Semi-Finalist for Best Short

As I have previously mentioned, Project Talaria is my favorite production company for trail films, this one got under my skin the first time I watched it before the festival. I had watched it probably three times beforehand! I was so excited to see it on the film list. I love this film, not only that, I hope to run this race some day because of it!
The location of the race is as close to a dream location as one could ask for. It is located in the Canadian Cascade Mountains. 

Wonderland: Gary Robbins' FKT Run Around Mt Rainier (2015)  Directed by The Ginger Runner  36 min
On July 1st, 2015, Gary Robbins - a seasoned and winning ultrarunner - started at Longmire, in the shadow of Mount Rainier, and attempted to set the fastest known supported time around the Wonderland Trail. Kyle Skaggs' record of 20 hours 53 minutes was always considered unbeatable. 93 miles, over 24,000ft of elevation gain, and record breaking heat. This day had it all. Could Gary step up to the challenge? Semi-Finalist for Best Feature, Best Cinematography, and Best Use of Humor

I am not a fast runner by any means, but wow, this film makes me wish I was! This is the incredible story of Gary Robbins running the Wonderland trail. Here I have been thinking it be really neat to do this trail over a weeks time! Psh!!! Watch and see how long it takes Gary to run his 93 mile run. 
Oh yeah, and he's a ginger :D 

Ski Hardrock 100 (2016)  Directed by Schlarb-Wolf Productions  20 minPrior to tying for the win with Kilian Jornet this summer at The Hardrock 100 this winter Jason Schlarb skied the entire race course! On this "never been done before" feat Jason was joined by fellow elite ultrarunner and Ski Mountaineer Paul Hamilton, the 2013 US Ski Mo Champ Scott Simmons and Noah Howell of PowderWhore fame did the filming. Saying it wasn't easy would be an understatement.  

This film isn't a trail running film, however, it is still worth mentioning it and it definitely belonged in this festival line up. This race is something I have pondered putting on my ultra bucket list but after seeing this... even though this is a completely different scenario, I am not so sure! It is insane what these men do. So crazy your jaw is dropped open for most of the film. A MUST WATCH!

I am already looking forward to next year! I am constantly watching trail films on my phone and computer but they are meant to be seen on the big screen. There is nothing like actually seeing mountains as mountains instead of little specs on the monitor screen. These films are made for the big screen and should be seen on the big screen. 

Thank you so much James Varner and Rainshadow Running for hosting this festival. It was one of the most inspirational events I have ever attended. I can't wait to work with you all again in the future, nor can I wait to run some of your races! I have several on my list! Basically all... you have such good venues, how can I resist!?

Keep on Running!

Orca Running 2017 Races are HERE!

10% Discount!!! SKRH17

Registration is Open!

Register now for your favorite 2017 Orca Running events and secure your spot before they sell out. You can take advantage of early bird pricing when you register now thru October 31, 2016.
Planning on registering for more than one 2017 Orca Running event? Check out theOrca Pass and race bundle offers for 2017.

Special early bird rates October 3-31st!

Orca Running is back in 2017 with SEVEN great events for you! The line-up includes your favorites from 2016; plus our latest addition to the Orca Running family, the Birch Bay Road Race with 5K, 15K and 30K distances. Registration opens on Monday, October 3, 2017 at 7am PT -- except for the My Better Half Marathon, that one is already open! Check out the calendar below for all event details. 
Orca Pass + Race Bundles -- Orca Running is offering a great bundled discount on our long distance run series. The Orca Pass includes registration for the Birch Bay 15KSnoqualmie Valley HalfIron Horse and the Orca Half. Plus, everyone who buys the 2017 Orca Running Pass will receive a custom Orca Running running jacket (pictured below). Prefer a shorter distance? We have race bundles for all distances! Get Orca Pass and race bundles details here. Registration for the Orca Pass and bundles will be open from October 3, 2016-February 5, 2017. Register early to save up to $40!
Men's JacketWomen's Jacket
With all Orca Running events, your registration includes a gender specific participant shirt, finisher medal, FREE professional race photo downloads and post race food and fun!
New for 2017 -- there are some cool new additions we are excited to tell you about. First off, we will be offering community entries for five of our events. Community entries are reduced entries offered to those who wish to participate, but may not have the financial means to do so. Next year we will also have series standings for our half marathon (+ the Birch Bay 15K) events. Learn more about community entries, series standings, the charities we support plus more reason to run with Orca Running here.

2017 Calendar
My Better Half MarathonSaturday, February 12, 2017
5K, 10K & Half Marathon
Kirkland Shamrock RunSaturday, March 11, 2017
5K & Kid's Race
Birch Bay Road RaceSaturday, April 1, 2017
5K, 15K, & 30K

Snoqualmie Valley RunSaturday, June 10, 2017
10K & Half Marathon
Iron Horse Half MarathonSunday, August 27, 2017
Half Marathon
Orca Half MarathonSunday, September 24, 2017
Half Marathon
Captain Jack's Treasure RunSunday, October 29, 2017
8K & 5K