Category Archives: Races

PPYMCA Fall Series

I used to write about my races on this blog. Remember that? Back when running was my primary fixation and I was hitting a 5K, 10K, 10 mile, whatever race a month. Since running has slipped from my focus, so has my documentation of it.

I think I fell out of love with races first. After so many 5Ks, they all start to feel the same. After so much running, I questioned why I was paying for something I could just do anywhere, anytime. The gimmicks became too much. Foam run, glow run. color run, chocolate run. Metals for everything. And the race fees only went up with each creative coupling of running and whatever else.

So I started to race less and less. Then when my hip was injured, it was even less. I found other avenues of fitness. Despite the fact that barre contributed to my hip injury, I shifted my attention to barre and hiking. I returned to belly dance. I spread myself thinner across more interests instead of just running 30 miles a week.

Running has not returned to how it felt before tearing my hamstring and hip labrum. I have worked myself back up to decent condition multiple times. I can have good runs. Yet the relationship is just not the same, not as intoxicating or fulfilling or euphoric. It’s more struggle and frustration than any of the things it used to be.

However, I have always run the local YMCA fall 5K series.

In their simplicity, these have always been my favorite runs. The routes are decent. The prices are reasonable. And the shirts are awesome. They are just enough race to be worth it and not too much race to drive me away.

So, for old time’s sake, let me write briefly about my three races this year.

The series began with the Creepy Crawl near Halloween. This is our gimmick run. We always dress up in some of group Halloween costume. And, true to the culture of our group, these costumes have been escalating. The latest (Mario Kart) incorporated multiple couples and their children. We also tend to win some kind of costume award for our efforts.

Colorado gifted us with a hefty snowfall then some melting and refreezing, leaving a sloppy and slippery course. The route begins at a lake then does an out-and-back down a gravel trail. It is usually decently smooth and fast but not in these conditions.

This particular race was special because it was my son’s very first 5K. He began running at school this year and loves it in a way my daughter never did. His excitement is infectious. He struggled with the distance, but as a turtle shell, he distracted himself by knocking us off the trail. Ultimately, he made it, and I was so proud.

Maybe I have my little runner after all.

The next race/holiday was the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. I love the Turkey Trot tradition most because I can run off my hangover of Thanksgiving eve and earn the calories I intend to binge with all the festive eating.

However, Colorado decided, once again, to coat the course in ice. The conditions did cut the usually teeming crowd in half, but my running partner and I ran in spikes to be safe. With traction to keep us from busting our asses, the morning was actually quite pleasant. We laid down a decent run before hurrying off the the holiday.

The series concluded with the Jingle Bell. Ironically, of the three, this December run had the balmiest weather. Due to an overbooked day, I had to run and then… run. I was hoping all my recent speed work and intervals would show on this largely flat (until the last half mile) course.

I have been doing speed work for the past couple months, in pursuit of bring my pace down to 9 minute miles. I have recently been able to run a single 9 minute mile (on a treadmill, at sea level). Unfortunately, that progress did not show at the race. I finished in my typical time, at my typical pace, which was more frustrating and disappointing than I anticipated.

Again, I have just kind of fallen out of love with running. And I am frustrated enough with zero progress on weight loss or other fitness. I feel infuriatingly trapped on a perpetual plateau in all things.

Despite this slump I find myself in, I still enjoyed the series. I will still sign up and run the races again. Perhaps if I keep going back, I can recapture some of what I lost with running.


Christina Bergling

Jingle Bell 5K

It is that time of year again: the time to freeze our bells off running a 5K in the variable Colorado winter weather.

On the morning of the Jingle Bell 5K, I woke up feeling rather awful. My head was splitting; my stomach wound in agitated knots. I felt hungover without the benefit of getting drunk the night before. I also dressed for a balmy 40-50 degree run and was instead greeted by a penetrating frosty bite on the air.

In short, I was simply not feeling it.


My daughter and I began with a visit to Santa, where I asked for a healed hamstring for Christmas. Then the kids’ race was first. My daughter again asked to run without me, which left me feeling some combination of proud and a little hurt. I know she ultimately does not want me to run with her because I push her, don’t let her stop, don’t indulge her crying. Maybe I’m too hard on a 5 year-old.


But she does great without me. Without me, she ran the full distance at a good pace. Maybe I bring out the whiner in her.



After the kids were whisked away to the warmth by grandparents, Trisha and I settled in to run our race. We decided to just stick together and just run. No striving, no PRs, just running.


And we just ran. We chatted about nothing. We watched a fight ensue over headphones versus stroller running (like really? Merry Christmas, guys). I didn’t think about pace or if my muscles were burning or if I could breathe right or if I was keeping up with other runners. I didn’t think.

I floated the majority of the first half. Just floated right along, which is extremely strange for me in the opening mile. A little exertion warmed me right up, and I was shedding layers in no time. My hamstring had ached in the morning yet felt better on the run. It would balk from time to time, twinge at a certain stride, yet overall, it hurt less to be running.

We ended up laying down a great race. At the Great Pumpkin 5K (October), I ran a 37 minute 5K. At the Turkey Trot 5K (November), I ran a 35 minute 5K. At this Jingle Bell 5K, we did a 34 minute 5K. So, even though my injury persists and my running regiment has gone to hell, my pace is steadily improving. Perhaps thanks to all the cross training. Whatever it is, I will take it!

(Also, turns out the Great Pumpkin was also my 50th race; that happened when I wasn’t paying attention.)

I was extremely pleased with the run overall. Our time turned out awesome, but it did not even really matter. It was running with a friend for the sake of running, and the simplicity was so enjoyable after so many months of over critiquing myself.

It felt free.


**Hamstring update**

I finally folded and went to the doctor for my hamstring. These near five months later. The pain had escalated to the point that it hurt to sleep, hurt to sit in a chair, hurt to stand up completely straight. That constant pain started to affect my mood and irritability levels, which in turn got taken out on my family, so steps needed to be taken.

In all honesty, I went to the doctor just hoping for some Vicoden or any other pain killer that would make it stop just for a little while. Just one night of being able to roll over without whimpering. Just one day of not cringing and hobbling around. The doctor, not too surprisingly, decided on a different course of treatment.

Rather than pain killer to mask the discomfort, he gave me anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the inflammation and hopefully promote healing. The first couple days, it felt like a cure. My leg felt completely like mine again. My flexibility returned. My body felt normal. I could have vibrated out of my skin with relief and excitement. It took every ounce of my considerably weak self-control to not overdo it and leap directly back into full force exercise. I wanted to run a marathon and climb a mountain.

Yet, as the dosage of the medication weaned off the nine day burst, the pain returned. First, it was just twinges again, just the wrong movement or wrong angle. Now, completely off the pills, the leg is slowly creeping back to where we began. It is still better. My flexibility remains vastly improved, but it is worsening by the day.

My ultimate gauge, the line I had in my mind to mark where I was, had been if I had the painful hitch when I stood all the way up. Until today, I was short of that. Today, it started to hint. That stab in my buttcheek as I step out of the car, that hiccup in the fluidity of standing.

I hope I’m not regressing fully. It was so nice to taste recovery. If nothing else, it gave me a little hope, reminded me of what it will be like when it doesn’t hurt every day.

I am scheduled for an MRI next week, so we will know more then. Though my money is on, “hey it’s torn or whatever, just let it heal and do some physical therapy. Oh and pay us $1,000 for the MRI.”

Either way, I can run, and my fitness feels on point lately, so it’s good enough for me. I have found a way to make myself sane around the injury, and at some point, it has to get better.


Christina Bergling


Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!


thewaning_coverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!



Collected Christmas

Some of the best voices in horror fiction decided to band together and tell you some tales about a different kind of Christmas.

Available now on Amazon!

Annual Turkey Trot (Year 4)

I have now entered my near fourth month with the hamstring injury. Overall, it has improved, yet day to day, I move forward one step then back two to six. The pain moves, migrates. It has traveled over the length of my hamstring, lingered in the attachments on the side of my knee and deep in my buttcheek. It has even crept up into my sciatic nerve. Once I adjust to the new manifestation, it mutates again. More or less, I am just in constant discomfort.

Yet, beneath the constant, nagging pain, it is slowly improving. My flexibility on that side is returning, working to match the healthy side. It feels better when I’m active. Actually, it feels better during and after activity than it does any other time. The absolute worst is while I am laying down and sleeping. Turning over is an instant of sheer agony.

After working with my chiropractor and personal trainer over these months to rehab the injury, I finally folded and went to the doctor. The doctor seemed rather impressed with the severity and persistence of the injury. He sighted so many points of inflammation and compensation. I wanted pain killers, something to just ease the pain as I healed, especially while I slept, yet I walked out with anti-inflammatory medication and an order for an MRI. Physical therapy is coming. I guess I will take it. I’ll try anything at this point. The resting pain is getting brutal.

But, like I said, activity is getting better. Which includes running! After months of skipping my own runs and focusing only on training Michelle at run club, I decided at the Turkey Trot, I would try to actually run for real. I did so at The Great Pumpkin Run, but that was the only other time, and that was rough.


So I went for it. I ran like I had no injury, and strangely, I felt like I had no injury. I also felt like I had not run for months and my cardio was absolute shit, especially in the blasting icy wind. But I didn’t have hamstring pain during the run!

This Turkey Trot is always a challenge. The opening mile is painful, rolling incline. By the time I finally reach the returning decline, I am usually sputtering and roasting to death in my own exertion. This year was no different than the previous, only with the inclusion of my lack of training and the wind blaring off the prairie.

I went back to basics. I just kept pushing. I just kept running. I forced myself not to obsess over my pace or gauge myself against the surrounding runners. I made my focus the lack of pain in my hamstring and not stopping. I didn’t stop. I just ran, sloppily wogging at best at points. I scarcely found a float at any point, and I dry heaved with vigor at the end, but it was worth it to feel something like myself again.


I even pulled a pretty average time for me. Happy Thanksgiving to me!

I’m hoping it is a step back into running. A cautious, slow step. An attempt at moderation and compromise with my body. Because my mind is not taking this no running business. The insanity is flaring up on all sides and screaming for the outlet. Just not at the price of the flesh. I think I will always tear myself apart, even trying to be healthy, even fumbling for balance.

In addition to my own 5K, my daughter participated in the 1K kids’ run.


And she ran the whole thing. All by herself with her friends. She was so excited and proud of herself. And so was I.

It was a good run morning. My favorite way to start the holiday. I crashed when we returned home, of course. My sinus infection flared up; my hamstring tightened. I just drank mimosas until I didn’t feel feelings, and it turned into a good day.

Christina Bergling


Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!

Creepy Crawl 5K

Before I say anything else, why in the hell is it so HOT in October? At the end of October. It is just ridiculous. It almost makes me happy that I still cannot really run.


Halloween is my favorite holiday, so naturally, I love a Halloween themed run. Especially on a flat, beautiful course as part of an awesome fall series that includes the best shirts.

This year, we stepped up our group and costume game. We went as our own namesake: Zombie Turtles



We had an entire pack. Or herd. I’m not entirely sure on turtle terminology. My daughter even dressed as a zombie belly dancer to participate, while her bestie was our sole survivor, Supergirl.

We really embraced the dead look.



Under the stupid and unseasonable hot sun, we wogged along. We learned that fake blood liquifies again when you sweat. It may have dripped directly into my eye, fusing my eyelashes together. I think we all looked more gory and more dead at the end of the race.

But Michelle did AMAZING. Even in the heat, she ran great. In my injury, I have turned my attention to her training, and she is showing great progress. It is fun to focus on someone else. I also might be a touch of a sadist.

After the 5K, we took the kids on the kid race. For the first time, my daughter ran the whole distance without stopping. It was under a mile. There was some whining, a few tears, maybe even a little bargaining, but she did it! And I was so proud of her.


This race was not really about running. It was more about being festive and having fun as a group, and I think we accomplished all that. We were never more zombie turtles than we were jogging with bloody shells on our backs.


My injury continues to effectively hinder my running. I can wog slowly with little pain. In this race, for example, it felt pretty good aside from aggravating it traversing railroad tracks to get to the race. Honestly, I have not tried to run for real. I have found the injury to be transitory, variable. Since the pain migrated from hamstring to sciatic nerve, I have been broken. Mentally more than physically.

I thought I was getting close to recovery; I thought I was making progress. It was a touch crushing to go back to severe pain and limited mobility. I have been making slow gains again, but now I am gunshy. I also made some crucial realizations about myself and my tendancies, and I am trying to make better decisions.


In either case, running is just not happening lately. I am still working out. A lot. I am rolling around on the torture ball, avoiding stretching, going to the chiropractor, letting my trainer adjust my form. Just plugging along basically. I continue to allow this injury to be my teacher.

I miss running–deep in my soul–especially as the fall weather flirts with this endless summer. Yet I am resolved to continue compromising with reality. I will get back to full running one day; for now, runs like this one are a great pacifier.


Christina Bergling


Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!

Great Pumpkin 5K

After two full months, I do not know what more to say about this race but that I ran it. The whole thing. Three full miles of gentle jogging. Since this was the first time I ran over a mile (or really a couple blocks) in two months, that is all that really matters.

Back to running.

FINALLY! Just in time for fall.

I really enjoy the Great Pumpkin Run at Venetucci Farm. I loved picking pumpkins there as a child, so the location holds a palpable nostalgia for me. Running through a pumpkin patch just seems to entirely encapsulate fall itself into one moment.


This year, I honored my injury and registered for the 5K, instead of the 10K. The October morning was unseasonably warm, but I lined up at the start line with no expectations. I forced my obsessions down and focused on just enjoying whatever might happen. I made myself happy to just be out for a run at all.

As I broke out into a stride, bobbing among the crowd through the pumpkin patch, the run felt better than I expected. With a new configuration of KT tape, my hip felt shaky but not painful. I tried to hold back against the excitement of familiar movement and lean on the wisdom to baby the injury. In the first mile, I knew I was probably running past my hamstring and even my cardio, but it was hard to care with the autumn sun on my face and that reminiscent float blooming in my chest.

I calmed down as we rounded into the backwoods. Jogging through chilled, knee-deep water definitely slowed me. And also felt awesome. Water squished out of my shoes with each step on the mud. The more I ran, the better my leg felt, the more the rhythm of the movement became natural. My hamstring would only balk at an uneven forest mogul or rutted gravel path.

It just felt good to be running. I forced myself to not care about anything else.

Ultimately, it was my cardio that betrayed me. I felt those two months of not running with the heat on me. I struggled the last half mile, battled up a small hill, dry heaved across the finish. I managed 37 minutes, which is acceptable even on a good day. I will take it.


My hamstring even did well after the run. The two recent runs have actually seemed to accelerate healing, increase flexibility. It’s like my body needs the exercise to be itself, but that might just be my addiction talking. I did tweak my hip the next day, but that was from unrelated circumstances, and I believe my chiropractor fixed it. He said the change in the pain was the injury unraveling from all the compensating I was doing. He assures me this is a good thing and progress. If he says so.

It is a start. It is a step towards normalcy. And I am going to learn to take it.

The entire experience is proving to be a learning one, more so than even my last injury. The way my obsession really hobbled me with the previous injury humbled me, taught me about myself and what was wrong with how I treat myself. I let my hatred of my post-baby body and my fixation on exercise and progress literally tear my hip and prevent it from healing for the better part of a year. It was an ugly thing to see about myself. I always knew it was there, yet it was another thing to tape the consequences every day.

And I just repeated the pattern. I healed, pushed myself too hard, and injured myself again. So, this time, I am making the conscious effort to break the cycle, to change my behavior, to learn from my repeated mistakes. I don’t want to be limping around or having body parts replaced when I am old because I could not take a damn break. I don’t want to injure myself any more than I already have managed.

So, as I move into my favorite running season, I am going to strive to still temper myself. I am going to attempt a balance, which I have never had any talent for. I live in extremes, but I am going to push myself for moderation. It will require me to compromise with myself, who might be the person I compromise with the least (and that is saying something). It will also require me to be lenient with myself, relent a bit from my own torture, give myself a break.

This should be interesting.


Christina Bergling


Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!

Hot Chocolate 5K (+1)

I have been injured almost 8 weeks now. 8 weeks on Friday but who is counting? 8 long, never ending, torturous weeks.

My hamstring has improved, marginally. The pain used to be unbearable. It also used to extend the full length of the tendon. Now it has receded to the attachments and only whines at certain positions or movements. Yet, for the first 7 weeks, I could not run on it. At all.

I tried. Of course, I tried. I went to run club one night and could not even make it a block before the pain wrapped around my hip. Every time I fell into a stride, it only got worse. So I gave up and forced myself to remain patient, which is hardly my strong suit. I did not avoid activity. I could not foresake my addiction. So I poured myself more into barre (which is what caused this damn injury) and more into zumba and more into lifting. My body (aside from my hamstring) seems happy about it (and is changing), and my mind is pacified.

Yet, this weekend, I was able to run for the first time. Sort of. Kind of. A little bit.

We did the Hot Chocolate 5K in Denver, and I brought my 5 year old daughter.


The Hot Chocolate Run is always a fun and easy run. Usually, it is nice and cold, though not at all this year. The course is flat through downtown Denver. And we’re really there for the chocolate not a PR. The only time I strove was doing the 15K last year (and I passed my goals!). But, especially with the kiddos, we were just there to be active and have fun.



If you asked me at the end of the run how things went, I would say, great! However, if you asked me during, it would depend entirely on the mile.  We all started out strong. Happy kids. I was even able to run (after experimenting with a new KT approach). It was all smiles and jogging.

Then, around mile 1, my child lost it a bit. She hit her wall. Just like her momma, it came in the beginning of the run. There were tears and whining and bargaining, but somehow we managed to encourage her to the first chocolate station. After that, she was a delight.

Unfortunately, she tagged out her tiny bestie. My best friend’s daughter then hit her wall. Just like her own momma, she struggled to the end. More whining and crying and tears across the finish line.

However, all averaged out, it did actually go very well.


Once again, my friend and I realized that oiur children are, in fact, us running without filters. My daughter had to overcome her wall in the opening miles, just like I do, convincing herself to go until it didn’t hurt anymore. All the things she whimpered definitely go through my head at that point in the run. I have just learned to talk myself out of them and push through. So I attempted to push through my irritation and be that voice for her.

While the girls did the 5K, my husband did the 15K. Without training for it at all. I envied him both because he was physically capable of running distance and that he could run said distance without working for it. I always kill myself for every mile, train relentlessly. The results rarely match the effort. Neither do his, apparently, but in the opposite direction. Yet I was also proud of him for accomplishing it. I hope his soreness leads to more of a fitness commitment.


Then, of course, there was the chocolate and the sweet hoodie. Incentives I will always come back for. We have already registered for next year.

October is the start of my running season, which is making this injury all the more difficult to accommodate. I am missing my favorite run (Cripple Creek). I downgraded my registration for the Great Pumpkin from 10K to 5K (I adore the 10K of this race). The temperatures are dropping, and I can’t be out on the trail. Yet I can’t force the flesh. I do not want to make it worse. I just keep telling myself that there will be other falls. These weather conditions and these races are annual.

I can do this. I can recover.

On Saturday, I will be doing the Great Pumpkin 5K. I’m curious to see how much I am able to run. Or maybe how much I able to permit myself to not run.


Christina Bergling


Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!

Run to the Shrine (With Kids!)

The first time I did Run to the Shrine, I was good and pregnant. Last year, the hill completely defeated me (to my dismay). This year, instead of being about me doing anything, I made it about doing something with my daughter.


Recently, I have been working on running with my daughter. She’s now 5 so we have been practicing the 5K distance. She has completed some with some success (and some with less than success). She seems to be learning and improving, and I am also learning to be patient and adjust my expectations. I think it has been good for both of us.

I decided to take her with me to Run to the Shrine because it is conducted at our local zoo, which is one of our favorite places. However, her father pointed out that expecting a 5 year-old to walk 2 miles up a mountain then back and then behave at the zoo all day was unreasonable. I could not deny his logic, so we compromised. I wore my daughter on my back for 1.5 miles up; then she walked the last .5 mile up and 1 mile down.


On a normal day, this would have been a brilliant plan. However, the unpredictable Colorado springtime decided to lob some frigid foggy weather our way instead. It was cold, really quite cold, especially when a icy mountain breeze would start tickling the route.

My daughter did great on my back. I believe she might have fallen asleep on my shoulder if I let her. I also finally felt the fruits of all my work. Walking up a mountain, wearing a 30 pound child felt like nothing. I wasn’t fatigued; I wasn’t winded. It felt easy, which, in itself, was amazing. It is nice to see the results of all my self-torture occasionally.

When I put my daughter down to complete her half of the race, things did not go as simply. Mostly, she was cold. Even in her coat plus my coat plus my attempts to get her to jog to warm up, she was just very cold.  She held it together well. She contained her whining and crying and pushed through (yes, it is because I bribed her but still). We walked the majority of the way until her father came back for her. He has the talent to always convince her to keep going while thinking it’s a game.


I loved watching them run together. I loved watching him motivate her in ways I couldn’t. He has a talent to be able to make our children forget the hard parts. But she finished her mile and half. She ran across the finish line, and I was very proud of her.


Unfortunately, it was too cold to enjoy the zoo afterward. However, everyone seemed happy enough to sip hot chocolate instead. End to end, it was an enjoyable race experience. Maybe next time there will be sun.


Christina Bergling


Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!

Mother Runner

Today is the first day in my running career that I did not finish the full distance of a race. I ran the 5K on St. Patrick’s Day (not on St. Patrick’s Day) with my (nearly) 5 year-old.


My daughter is an active child. She swims; she dances; she plays hard. But I know all too well that running is its own thing, and a 5K can feel like an eternity in the beginning. Remembering that and her age, we did practice beforehand. In previous months, she ran 1K and 1 mile races linked to races I ran. Then, the week prior, I even took her to run club and did a full 5K, to make sure she could do it. She walked for large chunks but finished strong, even despite large hills. (She has also completed a 5K race before.)

She did not do as well at the race, however. I would have assumed that she would have done better in the morning on a completely flat course, but that was not the case. She bolted off in the first half mile, very motivated and having fun. We took a walk break and made it through the first mile. In the second mile, the whining started. Her feelings had been hurt by a friend we were running with, and I think that was part of it, but she was still reasonable. We agreed to do intervals between stop lights, walking then running. She ran like a little champ past her daddy and brother as we rounded past the start for the final leg.


Then she hit what I assume to be a baby wall. The whining became constant. I had to pretty much drag her at a walk. She complained and repeatedly begged for me to hold her. I am familiar with how she was feeling. I have hit that wall and felt that way MANY times in MANY races. As my friend pointed out, they have no filter at this age; they just let their suffering and insecurities hang out.

She has had these whiny phases before when we have run. Usually, they pass, and we can make some progress. This time, it was relentless. I tried to encourage her; I tried to push her; I tried to motivate (read: bribe) her. She would not be moved. At some point, she just seemed to be suffering, and I was about ready to come out of my skin from her whining. Instead of finishing the leg, I drew the line, and we turned around early, turning 3.2 miles into 2.4.

My daughter continued to whine and even spouted some tears. Yet, at the end, she managed to power through and finish running.

At the time, I was definitely very irritated. Whining grates on my nerves, and not finishing the race, of course, irked me. But I know she is young, and running a 5K is a lot to ask of her tiny body. I am ok with her having a rough time. I am ok with her not being able to run much or complete the full distance. My concern and my confusion is more on what I should be doing in these instances as her mother.

More than once on the race, when she begged me to hold her, I wanted to. I wanted to pick her up and just make it better. I did not because I did not want to teach her to just give up. I want her to learn to challenge herself and push herself. But she is only 5 years-old, so where is that line? When am I challenging her and when am I pushing her too hard? Where is the line between pushing through and sucking the fun out of it?

So while I am at complete peace with the mess the 5K turned into and do not even really wish I had run it by myself instead, I do now find myself questioning this facet of my parenting. I am caught between not wanting my daughter to grow up to be like me, coasting through life and never challenging herself until in her 30s after she has children, and not wanting to try and fix my mistakes through her. I want to teach her how to challenge herself and succeed and also how to fail. I fear I’ll be asking myself these questions her entire childhood.

But with a 5 year-old, how far do you push her?


Beyond the child drama and the parenting paradigm questioning, the race was a success for running mate Michelle. She smoked us mommas and preschoolers and laid down some good miles, finally coming out of recovery from her respiratory illness.


Christina Bergling


Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!

Jingle Bell 5K

Though my running has gone to shit in the course of November and December madness, I still needed to finish out my year of registered races. Over the weekend, I ran my 45th race–the Jingle Bell 5K.

Last year, I definitely enjoyed the YMCA fall series offered in our city; however, this year, I have been fully seduced by it. I deeply enjoyed the Creepy Crawl, Turket Trot, and Jingle Bell 5Ks. (I don’t think I even bothered to write a post about the utterly frozen and icy Turkey Trot that I wogged this year.) The staff and the management for the series are superb and very responsive. I feel like my race fees are actually going towards something more than just the event itself and profit. The routes are enjoyable. And the shirts are my absolute favorite long sleeve tech shirts.

I think part of the reason I so relished the series this year is that my daughter participated in the kid race for each. I adore being able to share running with her, watch her enjoy it, have her there with me at a hobby where I spend so much time and effort. I also think she will have quite the aptitude for it as she grows older.


She did well yet again, despite the biting cold that had her complaining about her nose. My poor child has no body fat or insulation to stand up against winter temperatures, no matter how many layers I put on her. She fled to the indoors when it was time for me to run the 5K.

I had been concerned about running a race after my routine had so effectively crumbled. Thankfully, my performance ended up being what I would consider average. I ran the fastest 5K I have in a long time, nearly flirting with my normal time before having my son. I still have a lot of work to get to where I want to be, but I definitely was not disappointed in myself.

The race took a new route this year. Instead of winding through residential streets then delving into a small park, this time, the route began within a park and looped back onto a creekside trail. The first two miles were blissfully (Colorado) flat(ish). At first, I felt relative spry and motivated. I experienced a float before crossing the second mile mark. Knowing myself and my usually delayed float, I knew this was a trap, so I tempered my excitement and leaned on my pace.

I welcomed the cold temperatures (as soon as I was running). As I weaved through the trees, a few wayward flakes floated through the air. I have been itching for snow since October, so I will take any tiny manifestation of it that I can get. The real flakes held off until after the finish, which was probably for the best.

The second mile drew out long. The false float dropped away, as I knew it would, and I had to work harder. I was fortunate enough to be beside a father training his son who consistently spouted out the pace and the mileage. Usually, I keep myself in the dark until the end, but it was nice and even motivating to hear. The second mile spilled downhill, and I knew the return mile would be more difficult.

For the past few months, I have been experiencing a series of stomach issues. The most notable being relentless nausea, likened to that I experienced during my rather unpleasant last pregnancy. I have been to doctors and specialists and had a regiment of tests with no answers. I had a bout of nausea prior to the race as I attempted to put down oatmeal for breakfast. The acidic bubble below my breathing returned with the exertion to complete the race. With Trisha jogging beside me, I felt the cold sweat on top of my own heat, the tense flex in the bottom of my jaw. It seemed to stupid to stop so close to the end though.

I ran to my edge, to where I felt the vomit teasing at my throat. I wanted to flat out sprint at the end, like I always do, but I could not manage it. I dry heaved as the volunteer cut the timing chip off my shoe and knew that I had pushed as hard as I could.

Trisha crossed the finish line with me. For years now, we have run together, perpetually trying to sync up our paces. It appears that we may have finally succeeded. I have not been completely in stride with a running mate since my very first. It is a nice feeling again. It may not last, as our running will continue to change or go in different directions, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.

My nausea crawled back down from between my molars as we walked back for Michelle. Michelle has been training hard to leave intervals behind and run a full 5K. Her goal, when we separated at the start, was to run the first 2 miles straight. We found her well after the two mile sign still jogging.

And she kept jogging. Up the small, yet daunting final hill. Around the last curve. She huffed and puffed through the pain and managed to keep a run in her stride across the finish line. As we approached, Santa stood at the finish line and cheered his heart out for her. His excitement and encouragement were truly awesome.

We made it across the finish, and Michelle tossed herself in the grass. I recognized the gasping and pink cheeks of being utterly wasted. But she had run her fastest 5K to date and made a huge leap toward running the entire distance. I felt only one thing: proud.

All in all, it was a simple race and a good race. I left it feeling good–about myself, my running mates, my daughter–which made it the perfect way to close out the running year. After travel and the holidays, I will return to running with the passion I usually sustain. I have plans to return to my routine and goals to move me back in the direction of where I used to be. It will be nice to start fresh again and see progress.


Christina Bergling


Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!

Creepy Crawl 5K

Do not throw a Halloween party before a race. Do not drink copious amounts of pumpkin flavored alcohol before waking up early to run. Lessons (re)learned.

Last year, I could not participate in the Creepy Crawl 5K because I had a newborn baby. This year, I definitely crippled myself with a flirtatious hangover. Then unseasonable heat just beckoned my nausea.

The first mile, we stuck with Michelle and encouraged her to her goal of running a mile straight. She made it! The first step to the goal of running a full 5K. I was excited at the progress.

When she took her walk break, Trisha and I continued on. Trisha lit out, while I hung behind and went through all the uncomfortable stages of my hangover. Ultimately, I was really not feeling the run at all. I never found a float, and I just did not want to be running. I was hot and felt sick and just did not want to do it. However, I resisted the urge to walk and finished the run.

I have felt creeping doubts lately. I catch myself wondering if I have fallen out of love with running. The stagnation in my running recovery and post partum weight loss have left me frustrated and burned out. I cannot tell if that is influencing my feelings or I really am over running. Maybe I exhausted my obsession and it just died when I had to take my baby break. I am not sure how I feel or what I want. I do know that the continued warm weather is robbing me of my beloved fall running. It seems like it will be winter before I am not melting to death.

At least the run was beautiful. Though hotter than I would have liked,  the weather was pleasant. The route disappeared along the train tracks before folding on itself and winding around the lake.


The highlight of my morning was the kid race. My daughter did a couple kid races in the YMCA series last year, but she has put a 5K under her 4 year-old belt since then. She wanted to run more of the mile than I expected. She took a couple walk breaks and complained a bit, but she was bound and determined to beat her friend.


When she turned on her little sprint, I could barely keep up with her. She is going to be very fast as she gets older, much faster than her zombie turtle mother. She will be outrunning me very soon, just like almost everyone does. I was quite proud of her. I just need to teach her about being a better running mate in the future.



Christina Bergling


Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!