Run Oregon Profile of the Week - Tina Langley Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 7:00 AM By Maryalicia Verdecchia-Community Blogger
Welcome to the Run Oregon Race Profile of the week; profiling avid or passionate runners in the Oregon and SW Washington area. This week's profile features an Tina Langley. Tina is one of our bloggers and helps us with Eastern Oregon and Idaho relations! The basics: where are you from, where'd you go to school, where do you work?
I grew up in St. Anthony, Idaho. When I was 18 I moved to Idaho Falls and went to Idaho State for a while then moved to Portland in ‘97 and have attended Portland Community College. I now work for IBM in Beaverton.
Tell me how you got into running, and who/what was your inspiration or what started your passion for running?
I had some difficulties in my teenage years; you could say I was a bit of a Wild Child. I partied a lot and wasn't very responsible. I stayed far away from running or any other kind of exercise. Healthy wasn't much in my vocabulary. In my 20’s I realized I needed to get healthy, but it was a process.
After going through some tough times at the age of about 30 (a breakup and a move to a new city where I hardly knew anyone) I was depressed and gaining weight at an alarming rate. At the end of that particular year I found a route near where I worked comprised of quiet neighborhood with a few sidewalks and a scenic loop through a lovely duck park. I began by walking. Everything about me was out of shape. It took me several weeks if not a month of walking almost every day to become comfortable with a 25 minute walk at a brisk pace. When the walk no longer gave me that heart rate boost and adrenaline we all chase, I began to run. Well, I wouldn't call it “run” at first, at all. Just somewhere limping my way along, alternating a slow jog with a fast walk in pre-calculated minute ratios. If I jogged two minutes, I would then walk for five. Slowly the ratios turned themselves around and I worked myself up to being able to jog continually for three and a half miles.
A lot of exciting things were happening to me at that time; career change, new relationship and purchasing a home. In spite of a 3 mile jog three or four times per week, I still found myself twenty pounds overweight as I started a new job. I hadn't worn jeans for a while and on casual Fridays I was embarrassed because I didn't have any that fit. That made me determined to get focused on losing the weight. The first thing I did was change my diet. I did not “go” on a diet, just made changes to the one I was already on. I made up the rules. Instead of taking things away, I switched or added. White bread became good wheat bread, sugary yogurt was removed and Greek yogurt, full of protein and low in sugar, was added. Five fruits and vegetable a day became a steadfast rule. Even if I ate badly all day, I still had to force down the veggies. I began to drink more water.
In one year my life changed profoundly, not just because of the decision I’d made to live a healthier lifestyle. What really happened was that I ran my first and then second races ever. The very first race I ever ran was the Susan J. Komen Race for the Cure in Portland. I signed on with a group of co-workers. We ran it taking turns pushing one woman’s toddler in his stroller. We ran it at about a ten minute pace. We talked some, but mostly I just moved along in awe at the number of like-minded people I was surrounded by at that moment, and the reason they were all there. You could truly say I had a life changing moment at that event.
I began to look for the next one. I worked in Lake Oswego at the time and a girlfriend told me about a brand new charity run called The Red Lizard Five-Miler. I jumped on it, ignoring the fact that the longest distance I had ever run to date was 3.6. I knew I’d be okay, and I was.
I could very easily throw many words on these pages describing how I felt during that run. I could probably get the jest of it across, but I’m the only one who has that feeling captured; the one that I consider to have changed my life profoundly. For simplicity’s sake, you could call it a kind of runner’s high.
The RL5-Miler starts in George Rogers park, winds around the lake coming out onto a residential road meanders through the neighborhoods where after a turn around, you end up back where you started, enjoying a nice bit of downhill to take you home to the finish line. It’s a fund raiser for local high schools put on by the Red Lizards. It’s a great race and if you haven’t ran it I highly recommend it. My intent is to “streak” this one for life. Big goal, I know!
It tends to take me almost three miles to warm up…three miles to fully relax and ease into the run. It’s usually not too long after that when my mind starts to drift. From the very beginning of my running I only ever made one solid rule and it is this: There is zero negative thinking allowed for me on a run. I can be retrospective as long as I’m nice to myself, introspective…same rule.I can listen to music and drift away completely. Sometimes I focus on solving a problem, but only if thinking about said problem does not cause me to feel stressed in any way. For me, stress and anger and frustration have never fueled my running nor have they done absolutely anything to help it. Only good thoughts, yes, it’s sort of Peter Pan-ish but positive thoughts and vibes, well wishes towards others, setting new goals and optimistically looking forward to the future all help me the most.
As I run, I plan events in my mind. I carve out routes and make mental lists of people I need to contact. The two races I direct…the Bald Peak Half and The Ponderosa Pine Relay, were both preliminarily mapped out and tossed around with my husband during long runs.
When I hit a bad spot during a run…tired, sore or just lacking the motivation I need, I picture myself crossing the finish line of a marathon. If I really need help, I picture doing it in less than four hours! Funny, the imaginary clock in my head never registers anything under 3:59:59. In 10 years I really haven’t broken my rule to keep it positive. No matter how stressed out I feel with my job, with deadlines, with anything, a run never fails to make it better. I can honestly say I’ve never once regretted going for a run, well…except for maybe that time I got carried away at lunch and stayed gone way too long and received a really dirty look from my boss when I returned. But even then…
That first time I ran the TRL5-Miler, I don’t think the giant goofy grin came off my face once. Where had these types of events been all my life? Why wasn’t I doing these before and what was going to come next. I’ve never exactly been one for too much moderation or careful consideration when it comes to something I really want, so halfway through the run I decided what my next race would be: The Portland Marathon. Sure! Why progress from a 5k to a 5-miler through a 10k and to a half when you can just go straight to 26.2? Following a conservative training plan to the T for the proper amount of time saved me from in injuries or serious doubts and in October of 2007, one week before I turned 40 I completed my first marathon, which was also my third race ever.
Tell me who/what is your current support/motivation and how they help you stick to your training and racing plan.
One of my greatest motivations with running is strictly selfish. I want to be happy and healthy, and I need the release it provides. My long runs are therapeutic and meditative; I’m so used to the Saturday long run I don’t know what I’d do without it.
I have so many wonderful people in my life. My daughter is so supportive and proud of me. She’s been at mile 22 at every marathon I’ve ran. The relationship I have with her is hugely motivating; I want to continue to set a good example. I hope to pass on my passion and someday run a marathon with her.
Are you a member of any running clubs/groups (like MM or Coach Jim's)
I’m not currently a member of any running groups, although for my first few marathons I ran a lot with the Portland Marathon Training Program put on by Warren and Patty. I would suggest group long runs for anyone training for a first time marathon. There’s something really magical in the way we draw strength from others while running in a “pack.” On the flip side, I love to do 20-milers by myself. I love the feeling of having to dig deep from my own personal well to finish a run. When no one is around it’s just me, the road, and my head. My body has never stopped me from completing any run or distance, simply the gray matter between the ears. If I can convince my brain first, my body will follow anywhere.
You work a pretty crazy schedule. How does that impact your training plans?
It does! There’s no way around it. I’m fortunate though, in that where I work I can walk out the door at lunch and hit the Nike Campus trail, giving me easier access to lunch time runs. I try to always do a weekend long run, a mid-week “semi” long run and a couple of short lunch time runs. Sometimes I hit the mark and sometimes I don’t. Like all of us, I wish there was more time just for running, but all of the runners I know lead super busy and full lives, and everyone seems to manage okay. I guess it’s all about priorities.
What is your favorite race in the area? (you can have more than 1!) What about out of the area?
Hands down the Portland Marathon. The organization and detail that goes into that event every year is really something to marvel at. The scope of it is huge, but the feel of it is very welcoming and small town. I've never seen the same level of course support at any other race. It’s truly incredible.
After that, my next favorite is a little half-marathon in Hillsboro called The Bald Peak Half. **DISCLAIMER** I am the RD for this one.
Putting together this event was a huge learning experience. There are so many details that you don’t even think about when you first start planning. For instance, parking…there is only one place on or near our entire route that would allow for enough parking (Hagg’s Tree Farm) and they just happened to be gracious enough to welcome our idea with open arms. The course, while really very challenging, is truly breathtakingly beautiful. We had 100 brave souls show up last year. After they ran their hearts out on the hilly course we helped them recharge with, what else? Pancakes and bacon!
As the RD, (actually co-RD with my husband, Pattric Langley) I stood at the finish line for over three hours last year and spoke to as many people as I could after they crossed. I also just walked around eavesdropping on conversations (I’m allowed, right?) to get the feel for how the race went. I can’t believe how many people said something exactly like this: “That was the absolute hardest race I have ever done in my life. I LOVED it!!” I really did hear that refrain over and over. As a runner I’m really happy to have been part of the planning. While I obviously couldn't run the race, I have run the course and it’s spectacular. The event also benefits the Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division, and organization who has been helping needy families with food and clothing since 1923.
What are your favorite types of races?
I don’t care much for any race shorter than 5 miles. Don’t get me wrong, I have fun doing any race, but it takes me 5k just to get warmed up. So I love a good 15k, or a half, and I would have to say that the marathon is my favorite distance.
I also have a passion for relay running. A group of my girlfriends and I have an all-women’s ULTRA Team called The Sick Sisters. They are serious, dedicated and accomplished runners. Two of them are Iron Man triathletes as well. ( They are: Alanna Woods, Lori Figone, DevonePickrell, Maggie Smith and Jan Darden)
We are working on our fourth year of preparing for another relay. We haven’t quite decided which one we will do in 2013. I am a RD and in addition to the local race The Bald Peak Half, I direct The Ponderosa Pine Relay in Idaho. The girls want to do it in 2013 (Ponderosa) but if they do I can’t run it with them, for obvious reasons. I’ll be okay with that decision though because I’ll be out on the course the whole time, seeing them and keeping in touch with them. I’ll still be there with them. It is a true gift to have the kinds of bonds that running creates among runners. I believe the “Sisters” will continue doing relays together for a long time.
The Sick Sisters put together an event on December 22nd called The Day After Doomsday Run. It’s not a formal race; just a fun run. There is no registration, no set place you have to run (although all are welcome to run with us in Hillsboro on 12.22.12, you can check out the website for details.) For the rest who can’t make it or don’t live in the area it’s just a virtual run, a celebration of life, and super cool tech tee that you can purchase on our website. We will be ordering a second round of shirts a couple of days after the race, for those who missed out the first time.
How many races have you run?
I’m really not sure how many total races I’ve run. Maybe 40 or so? I haven’t always been someone who needs to have a race on the calendar all the time. Some years it’s been just a few favorites and the Portland Marathon, which I have ran 6 times. I was sad over the summer when I had to break my streak due to illness; I had intended to continue with that streak for at least 10 years. Oh well, the greatest thing about running is that we can constantly revamp and update our goals. No matter whom we are, or what the level is that we run at, every single one of us has goals.
What is your dream race?
One of the races on my wish list right now is Big Sur. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it. I believe it was Bart Yasso who said (and would know) that if you only ever do one marathon, make it Big Sur. I believe I’ll be making it a goal for 2014.
How did you get into blogging?
I used to journal when I was younger. Then when I started running I kept a very faithful log for quite some time. Unfortunately I’ve gotten out of that habit, but I tend to like to write about my running experiences. When I was planning the Bald Peak Half, I met Kelly Barten, who is the founder of Run Oregon and probably the most connected person in the running community. She has helped me tremendously in many different ways, connecting me to vendors, sponsors, etc. She asked me to write a blog or two and it has become something I really enjoy doing.
What is your next race
On the calendar next: The Roaring River Half and the Cascade Half.
Did you enjoy reading about a fellow runner? Interested in reading about a friend, family member, or yourself? Do you know someone who has a passion for running? Or runs for interesting reasons? Maybe they just started running or have been running for over 30 years. You don't need to be popular- you just need to email us with Title ' Nom for Run OR Profile Post' and must be willing to let me contact you to talk about your running story.
New relay: Ponderosa Pine Relay in Idaho coming this July, By Kelly Barten-RunOregon Community Blogger (Describing our Inaugural event)
We like races put on by local runners, like the Bald Peak Half Marathon. The organizer of that Race, Tina Langley, is also putting on a relay in Western Idaho this July.
The Ponderosa Pine Relay starts in Weiser, Idaho - just over the Oregon/Idaho border southeast of Baker City; and finishes in Cascade, Idaho - on the shores of Cascade Lake. The standard route is 190 miles, which can be covered by anywhere from 6 to 12 teammates over two days. The route loops up and around Payette Lake, with the last 12 legs heading south.
There's also a sprint relay option, in which teams of six can take on the last 12 legs (about 62 miles) for a one-day race. This race starts north of Cascade Lake in McCall, Idaho, on the shores of Payette Lake and runs south to Cascade.
The 36-leg option starts on July 20, 2012; the 12-leg sprint relay starts on July 21, 2012.
The course is made up of rails-to-trails pathways (The Weiser River Trail), back roads, and runs around Payette Lake, then skirts the western shore of Cascade Lake, which offers some pretty amazing views. (If you are the team captain, you get first dibs on which legs you run. So check out the course maps and plan ahead!) There looks to be some pretty spicy uphill on the course too, but you know that a lot of those really tough hills lead to the best views!
Like most other relays, teams do need to provide volunteers - or you can "hire" a volunteer for $100; 100% of which goes to local charities.
This event is capped at only 55 teams, so send your running buddies an email and get planning! If there is still space available, you'll be able to register online for the full distance relay until May 31, 2012 for $1,050 for a 12-person team and $550 for a 6-person team. After that the prices go up to $1,150 and $600. For the sprint relay, it's $550 until May 31, 2012 and $600 after.
Keep tabs on developments and chat up the RD and other participants on the Ponderosa Pine Relay facebook page, where you can also ask questions and maybe even find yourself a team or some runners!
For me, running overnight relay events creates many vivid memories. Some will fade and some will be indelibly etched in my mind. I have a silly little one from last year’s event, which I ran as part of my all female Ultra Team.
This particular memory involves a fellow runner I like to refer to as… “Good Job Guy.”
I was running my sixth and final leg. I’d had a difficult go of it on my last few legs and especially my fourth, which had been in the middle of the night. I’d felt nauseous and had to walk-run part of it to get through. Lots of things were going through my head during that final stretch. You might say I was on my last leg figuratively as well as literally. I was feeling a combination of intense relief knowing I was so close to being finished, and a certain kind of pride , unique for me, to running in this type of event. I was also feeling sad that it was going to be over again for another year.
I love running with my girlfriends, we have developed an intense and wonderful camaraderie, and in our third year of Ultra running planning our event has become a very smooth process.
In relay running, there’s a term called “road kill.” It’s great or not so great depending on whether or not you are the killer or the killed. Pass someone from another team on one of your legs and… (you rock!) it’s a road kill. However, if they in turn pass you back, or if someone else passes you, you have to erase the notch you only just mentally added to your belt. Many teams have fun with this by creating a scorekeeper on the side of the van. Some keep score by writing on their bodies. Last year I applied a cool skull Band-Aid to my leg for every kill. Sadly, they had trouble sticking; even sadder… I had to pull them off at an alarming rate. I’ll get more creative this year.
Even though it was early that day, the sun was already beating down, and even with the adrenaline running through my veins I was moving quite slowly. As I was churning along at a snail’s pace, two or three people passed me. For some reason, it has become almost a standard to say “good job” to a road kill…as you pass them. So really, "good job" is a polite way to say “got ya sucker!!” Or “ne-ne-ne-na na-na!
A guy passed me and said, “Good job Lady.” Okay, pretty nice of him huh? You could say he customized the phrase, added a little bit to it by referencing my gender. Just a way to throw out a little encouragement to a woman who, let’s face it, wasn't looking too good at that point. After all, he was on his third leg, not his sixth like I was. He had barely warmed up, really, and now he was just about done. He had the room, not to mention the energy, to be giddy. I however was slogging up the hill repeating a mantra a good friend of mine inadvertently gave me once (thanks to a typo.) You’re tough as snails Tina…you got this. Tough as Snails.
Sleep deprived, mentally and physically weary, and sick to my stomach with my legs feeling like lead and the grime from the road sticking to me like dog hair on my black wool cardigan… needless to say I was not happy. Actually I got kind of… mad. Good job…Lady?? All right buster. I may not have much in me, but I’ll bet if I dig really deep that I have a little something left. Oh and by the way you’re not running fast, per se, I’m just running very slowly. And did I mention I’ve ran twice the mileage you have? And on top of that your shirt’s ugly. Okay, his shirt was not ugly, I just made that up…
Right about then, I was gifted with a few shade trees on the side of the road and a light breeze, and suddenly an adrenalin rush came over me and I was able to kick it into gear. For a little while I felt, well, giddy. I sped up. I couldn’t stop smiling. Yeah, I was going to be done, for this year, but there’s always next year, and if fortune smiles on me, many years of relay running to come. As I cross off each relay I want to do I’m creating memories, not to mention bonds that will hold me over to the next summer, and potentially last through a lifetime. As I blew past him that day, and I did blow past him… I absolutely could not resist the urge to say…”good job;" and I meant it. I could never hold resentment against a fellow runner for trying to add another notch to his road kill belt.
For 2012, I’ve signed up to run three relays and I’m directing one. Whew...By the end of August I’m sure I’ll have had my fill, but by the end of October I know I’ll be ready to sign up for 2013.
Here's to all of us creating some amazing memories this summer with our running endeavors. And maybe notching a road kill, or two.