chords and cadence

Another runner's writ

Archive for the month “June, 2013”


I like views.

I like starting at the bottom of something, and looking up ahead and thinking, for a split second, that I need to come up with an excuse to turn around.

I like convincing myself that there is no valid excuse at the moment, that moving and going will erase the lazy desire for said made-up excuse. (You are dumb, you made up that excuse last week. Time to get original.)

I like picking up the pace.

I like slowing down when there’s a slight change of environment so I can enjoy it.

I like saying hello to others.

I like getting to the point where I feel grateful.

I like the feeling of “almost there.”

I like pushing through the last few challenging maneuvers.

And then I like the views.

There’s no denying that views are spectacular, pretty much wherever you go. The word ‘view’ automatically implies an aesthetically pleasing scene. Sometimes thrilling, sometimes just…nice.

From them, you can see what you can’t when you’re living your normal life.

People and cars look like ants.

Things like clouds and trains and rivers and airplanes get more and more lethargic the farther away they are. The world is suddenly big and there and opened up, like it always is, but just especially in that moment for you to notice.

At the view, I like knowing what it took to get there.

I like looking forward to a different perspective during the descent.

I like the challenge of not looking at the same thing the same way twice.

I like seeing the same thing again, and finding confirmation I’m going the right way.

I like getting back to the start, knowing I have another experience under my belt, and another story to tell.

I like views.

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Give me uncomfortable, or give me (something-not-so-dramatic-as) death

Man, I had a lot more to write about when I was training for marathons.

These days, I’m enjoying running in new shoes (Pearl Izumi N2s – Thanks, Nashville Running Company!), enjoying running with friends, enjoying beating my boyfriend up hills (it’s okay, he’s hip to my competitive side), and enjoying solo runs in the woods. I’m even enjoying runs in the heat and humidity (mostly), but I know that those ones are better kept short (Trudee didn’t raise no fool).

There’s not much to write about when it’s all runner’s high and rainbows. When there are no challenges to conquer, no self-deprecating humor to share, and no inspirational stories coming out of a hardship, there is no story to tell! And I’m a writer, k? Writers need stories to tell.

I’ve noticed that I’m starting to feel comfortable in my running, which, in turn, makes me uncomfortable.

Cue: Change.

Yesterday, I received ‘Spirit of the Marathon’ in the mail. I had ordered it off Amazon because I was feeling guilty, as an avid runner, that I hadn’t yet seen it.

Anyone who knows me well will attest to the fact that I get very animated when I’m excited. This was no exception. I danced a little bit from my mailbox to my door, tearing open the package, tweeting about it (@taymcoughlin), and anticipating the inevitable inspirational gut punch this documentary is said to deliver.

And of course it did. Of course. Katherine Switzer is my new hero, and the Chicago Marathon is now a must-do.

A good friend asked me yesterday, before ‘Spirit of the Marathon’ time, what races I had on the horizon.

My answer, for the first time since December 31, 2011 was none. It’s not that I don’t want to be racing, I don’t have to convince you that I do, but I’m too cheap to pay to run a 5k, and the south isn’t really huge on summer marathons, turns out. The heat, maybe? Humidity? Whatever; pansies. Haven’t they heard of Badwater?!


‘Spirit of the Marathon’ tugged at me. I wanted to be training again, keeping up with a plan and celebrating progress toward a bigger goal.

Goals, as we know, keep us motivated. They keep us craning our necks through the uncomfortable, achy, frustrating, and seemingly endless obstacles marathon training generously provides. They keep us going, and they keep us sane. I’m starting to miss those uncomfortable, achy, frustrating, and seemingly endless obstacles.

All this considered: I need a new goal, and I need one STAT.

I have a couple races in mind for fall, and I know that committing to one of them will help this necessary transition from comfortable to uncomfortable.

And I am really itching to get uncomfortable.

National Running Day blog post

I love running so much, I feel like National Running Day is equivalent to Valentine’s Day: I get butterflies in my stomach thinking about it. I can’t wait to see it later (and I saw it this morning, too). I would buy it flowers, but I think I’m too nervous.

I could be self-indulgent and pour over every magnificent run that stands out in my head (be glad I’m sparing you…) but today, I don’t want to reflect on me + running. Honestly, that’s all this blog is about.

To shake it up, here are some of my most favorite quotes on running, or quotes that have inspired me to get out there. I hope on this National Running Day that you are inspired to lace up your shoes – whether you wore them yesterday, or two years ago and can’t find the other pair – get out the door, and see what your legs can do. Do that has made me who I am, and I have never been so comfortable in my own skin.

What can it do for you?





What? You haven’t left to go outside yet? Okay, here are some more…





My personal favorite:


Happy National Running Day! Now get out there!

Rewind: May

Lots happened in May, guys! Lots of really great things.

I ran, I went to the beach, I ate well, I drank well, I saw live music, I danced, I saw mountains, I saw my family, I flew, I laughed a lot, and I ran some more.

Total mileage: 75.5

My mileage decreased because I didn’t have any marathons, nor was I training. I was just running for sprints and grins (but still keeping track of mileage because I am just a tad OCD. We’re all a little weird).

Within this Rewind, I have a race recap! (TA-DA!) of the Bolder Boulder. I’m still pinching myself because it was so dang’d awesome.

I flew home to Colorado for a super quick weekend…needed to see my kick-ass family, mountains, and friends. Since I was back, I wanted to soak in all of the outdoor goodness my higher elevation home offers. So, I ran stairs with a friend at Red Rocks, hiked 6 miles, biked ~20 miles from Frisco to Breckenridge and back. Then I turned 24 and ran the Bolder Boulder 10k (America’s All Time Best 10k!) with my awesome mother. I know. I sound like Iron Woman. I wasn’t always like this, but I’m glad I am now.


The Coughlins take a photo op in Breckenridge

The past couple races I ran were grey, squeaky, and wet. The sun decided to peace out on me for those races. But as we drove into sun-kissed Boulder on May 27th, the sun wasn’t peacing out anytime soon, and the sky was blue, speckled with white clouds. The Birthday Gods and the Race Gods supposedly had a little get-together and agreed that there would be nothing but sunshine for my day. Thank you, Birthday and Race Gods. May I see you working together in the future!

My mom and I took places in our given time waves, and as I slowly moved up to the starting line at 8:15am, my adrenaline started pumping and I had a shameless shit-eating grin on my face. I will never get sick of that at-the-starting-line feeling.

Throughout the 6.2 mile course, I ran with men painted like tigers, Teletubbies, firefighters, fairies, hippies, dads and daughters, moms and their moms, kids, superheroes, and wheelchair racers. I ran past belly dancers, the first house I lived in as a sophomore at CU, a slip-n-slide, and friendly college kids on summer break offering tempting cold cans of PBR. I was beyond thrilled to run in Boulder on such a beautiful day with such happy people. It was just a dream for me, guys. It’s how I want to spend my life: Outside, being active, and surrounded by happy, active people. I wouldn’t complain about free PBRs either.

My time was 52:50, which I wasn’t thrilled about, but I wasn’t looking to PR anyway. Plus, I figured the slower starting time held me back a little. And the altitude. And the walkers. And being tempted by cold PBRs. But as much as I try to just run for joy and whatnot, I still am a perfectionist when it comes to running and yes, times DO matter. We’re all a little weird.

What was really, truly the icing on the (birthday) cake was not running through Folsom Field (oh, the memories!), and not seeing the thousands of people cheering on the sidewalks and lawns and street corners, but being surprised by these two girls (the sister and photo-bomber excluded).


Ashlee (far right) and Maddie behind her. Kara (sister) is on the left, and Photobomb King.

Ashlee and Maddie have been such strong, positive, solid friends (I wish Emily and Erika would have been there to complete our group!). We’ve laughed about boys, shared beds in hotel rooms, and have many great pictures and stories that we will never share outside of us. We are that group of girl friends and I am blessed to have ’em.

I hope to do this race again, but I know it’ll never be as good as the first time (insert ‘that’s what she said’ snicker here).

Ashlee, me, and Maddie having some fun at the Boulder Creek Festival after the race.

Ashlee, me, and Maddie having some fun at the Boulder Creek Festival after the race.

And that, my readers, was May.

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