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Just Be Weird, Normalo

by Carilyn on April 12, 2018


Turning 50 has definitely changed the way I view my running. Suddenly, all (okay, most) of my ambition is gone. I’m no longer (very) obsessed with winning races or setting records. Now, I seem to only care about getting miles done because…hell, I don’t even know. It’s really just a habit. Like brushing my teeth. Or yelling at people who drive too slowly. Most of the time I don’t even realize I’m doing it until I’m halfway through.

I’ve been running 20 miles a day since 2005. Somewhere, I read that was what Pam Reed did, so I did it, too, no questions asked. I wanted to run like Pam, so I needed to train like Pam. She also ate muffins for breakfast, but that’s where I drew the line. I dislike muffins immensely.

After I started my very scientific just-do-what-Pam-does training regimen, I read that many of the top ultra runners ran 120 miles per week. Perfecto. 20 miles x 6 days = 120. Pam’s Plan was right on the money. Research? Done. Now I could start thinking about important stuff, like what to have for breakfast that wasn’t a muffin (PopTarts became the solution, in case you were wondering.)

And the plan/no-plan worked! I won/placed in a couple of ultras my first year, and then made the US National Team my second year. I looooooooved days full of trying to fit mileage in whenever I could – while my kids were in guitar lessons, around the parking lot of a hospital while Tim was having some tests, at 3 a.m. if I had to catch an early flight. I loved the challenge of hitting the magic number of 20 every day, shuffling pieces around like an unruly puzzle that really had no pattern.

But these days, there is really no reason to feel the need to run 20 miles. I no longer run with a group. I don’t do any specific workouts. I’m past the point of believing I can qualify for another US team. With no kids at home, I don’t have to contort my mileage around work and kids’ schedules. But for some reason, I still feel compelled to get the miles done. Call it OCD. Call it insanity. But to me, it is just something that makes me feel pure, unadulterated joy.


How often do we get to feel that in our lives, especially for free? How often do we get to do something every single day that makes us feel alive and connected? How often do we get to feel like we are doing something uniquely us?

We want people to “accept” and “celebrate” our weirdness, our eccentricities, our OCD/annoying/bizzare tendencies, like running 20 miles a day for no reason, dressing like a superhero after the age of 10, or binge-watching My 600 lb Life. But they never will. Because they are too embroiled in their own weirdness and eccentricities. And living their own joy.

Remember, joy should be reward enough, especially after all the years you did it for other reasons. Now just do it because you want to. Even if it is 20 miles a day. Or wearing superhero costumes (which is still totally weird).


Be Stupid! (Tim thinks I give BAD advice. Ha!)

by Carilyn on January 22, 2018

With Keto listed as the WORST diet of 2017, my post the other day was timed just right, don’t you think? As ultrarunners, we seem to be always swimming upstream. Apparently, we take great pleasure in doing things that the rest of the world deems moronic, dangerous, and unsustainable. Yup, we are spitters-into-the-wind.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t TRY to do stupid things; I just seem to be really, really good at making terrible choices. I tend to leap before I look, ignoring the best-intentioned advice more often than not. When I think back on some of the things I have done, I feel lucky not to have ended up in prison, rehab, or regional dinner theater. I wasn’t a bad girl, just a dumb girl.

And this lack of good judgment seems to have held true into my adult years. I gave up a career in law to run around a one mile loop/track for 24 hours. When that got old, I decided MORE would be better, and switched to 72 hour races. When people at parties told me I was insane and/or a masochist, I thought THEY were the ones who were delusional. And yet, I still love nothing better than spending a day logging miles on a treadmill while watching documentaries. Delusional, much, Carilyn?

What is the draw of doing weird things, even when the whole world is telling you you’re an idiot? I don’t seek out the strange, the novel, the certifiable. It’s just always there, whispering in my ear, like the potions in Alice in Wonderland – Try Me (I realize that Alice was actually littered with drug references, but for the purpose of this post, that is NOT what I’m alluding to.). There is something irresistible about a trail off the side of the road, an ocean full of sharks, an unopened book, a city not on a map. And anything other people think is stupid is, at least, worth a look.

Because how will we know if it is stupid FOR US if we don’t investigate? If we don’t ask questions? I we don’t, sometimes, try?

For despite the sometimes very mean and judgy comments of “well-meaning” friends and relatives, the best, most interesting, most meaningful things I have ever done have been those that most have never understood. The things that I had to do despite what others thought. The things that spoke to me with enough urgency that I was willing to ignore “common” sense and good judgment.

Those were the things that changed my life. That changed me.

It’s a new year. Be brave. Be stupid.


I Don’t Know What To Do Without Donuts (Shhhh…Nobody Knew These Were Keto)

January 16, 2018

When I was a competitive swimmer, my pre-race meal was always the same: two Winchell’s cake doughnuts with sprinkles and a carton of milk. Every. Single. Swim meet. Yes, we were super on top of nutrition back in the 70s and 80s. I’m sure the sugar/fat bomb combo only lasted for a couple of hours […]

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No, I Didn’t Eat Six of These. You Can’t Prove Anything. (Keto Chocolate Almond Butter Mini Cheesecakes)

January 11, 2018

  Living without sugar (and wine) has been the toughest part of keto for me. If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I LOVE sugar. If I were smarter, I would figure out how to search my site to see just how many high carb/sugar-filled/dessert recipes are on here. […]

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Of Course, We’re Going to Start With Bread (Keto Everything Bagels. Because Bagels are EVERYTHING.)

January 8, 2018

Keto Egg and Bacon Bagel Sandwich When most people first contemplate going keto, they usually wail some version of, “But I can’t live without bread!” While my lament was more something along the lines of, “But I can’t live without doughnuts! And pie! And cookies in the shape of hearts and decorated with sprinkles!,” I […]

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Keto in French: KeTOW, Mes Amis (See? Isn’t that more appealing, already?)

January 5, 2018

Editorial note: I’ve started experimenting with keto desserts, so next post we will resume recipes. I just thought I needed to give a little more background so y’all weren’t like, What the hell is going on here?! Have all the adults left the premises?! When Tim and I first started keto, part of what made following […]

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Don’t Say Keto! Don’t Say Keto! (Sorry, I Said It)

January 3, 2018

So I’ve received a lot of questions and comments about what I posted yesterday regarding my eating. I really hate getting into “diets” or food programs on the internet, because, first, I’m a foodie and don’t really think that any food is “bad,” and, second, I truly believe everyone is different and thrive from all […]

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I May Still Be Insane, But I’m Less Puffy (and I can see my computer screen)

January 2, 2018

It’s New Year Resolution Post time, right? I mean, I didn’t miss it, did I? Surely there is at least a one week grace period. Since we’re all trying to be “better people” (or cool like Beyonce), I think that a little grace isn’t too much to ask for. Please. Why do we always feel […]

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How a Thursday Chocolate Chip Cookie Became a Friday Chocolate Chip Cookie – Laziness

October 9, 2017

Last week, I made chocolate chip cookies, just because. No special occasion, no special recipe I wanted to try, no special ingredients. It was Thursday and that seemed like a good enough reason. And when I pulled them out of the oven, they were terrible. Flat. Greasy. Falling apart. A Thursday cookie, indeed. Then something […]

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Southwestern Chicken Tacos (that were something else entirely, yesterday)

October 5, 2017

Mom and I went out for our usual Wednesday lunch date yesterday, and per custom, said good-bye only after an exchange of dishes we had made. We both love to cook, so there is a constant trading back and forth. I took her some of the Blueberry Walnut Crumb Cake (because I definitely Do Not […]

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