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Race SLO Community Ambassador: Sharyl Naftal

Our Race SLO ambassadors share their stories about motivation, determination, endurance and growth to inspire us and remind us that we are on this journey together.

I’ve spent most of my life in Atlanta, but after visiting San Francisco in 1992, that was it! I would make it out west someday and that was that.

Then on April 16, 2001, my world changed. I lost my mother to cancer after a long six-month battle.

I have always been a runner, but had never run more than 6 miles. My running buddies thought it would be good for me to train for a marathon. Not having run nearly that long before, but being the driven “I can do anything” person, I said yes. We trained for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. in October, 2001. I remember the race very well.

As we ran past the Pentagon, where the damage of the 9/11 attacks just happened, I was overcome with emotion. It was not only my first marathon, at a difficult time, but then passing what was left behind from what happened to our country on Sept 11, 2011 – was overwhelming. The Marines were at the finish line putting medals over our heads – I remember how I felt – but the next thought that came to my mind was OK, I’m ready for my next race!

I did four more full marathons afterwards, three in California, and too many half marathons to count. I came out to run the San Francisco half marathon over the years many times, always knowing I’d be back to live on left coast for good. I still do the SF half marathon every year.

When my daughter finished college and my son high school, it was time! We packed up and headed west. We moved to SLO without knowing one single person.

I keep up with friends and family on the other side of the country and miss them very much. But I can truly say I am a happier person being where I was meant to be. My runs have so much more meaning. When I run I can work out my thoughts, plan my days, revisit situations needing attention and just get inspired to live more productive days.

At 55, I can honestly say that running has given me the strength, energy and power to make every day count.

I think we all have something that gives us that. If you don’t, you must find it and make it part of your life. Running has always been there for me as the one constant through raising my kids, the times of celebrations and the bumps in the road of life along the way – puns intended. Now, I must go run...

Sharyl Naftal

Pismo Beach, CA

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ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races (Spring 2018), 3rd SLO Ultra trail races (late Summer 2018) and the recently added US Trail Running Conference (late Summer 2018).

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

Race SLO Community Ambassador: Ashley McComb

Our Race SLO ambassadors share their stories about motivation, determination, endurance and growth to inspire us and remind us that we are on this journey together.

How running set me free: the magic in the misery. 

“The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life.” —George Sheehan

My heart beats fast,

Each step a gong ringing in an ivory temple.

One by one, my strides lift my body into moments of weightlessness. The in-between that feels more elongated as the miles accumulate: timelessness. 

I run to feel alive, 

I run to escape the pain of living fully,

I run to feel as the birds do in flight above raging seas or an ocean made of glass pink sunsets. 

The feeling is indescribable: my pulse in rhythm with my breath, and blood infusing with oxygen like the roots of a tree in a spiraling interwoven masterpiece. 

These are the moments I feel the untamed freedom of aloneness. 

Nothing between me and the fire of my thoughts: or the gentle wind of my run-dream hallucinations. 

The world is at my fingertips, 

I am strong and fiercely unstoppable.

My running body knows no end, nor does it even remember a beginning. Present fully in the here and now, and this is the only subtle glimpse of this very moment I will ever experience. 

Rewind to the beginning: running changed my life. 

I started running what I thought was only a few miles with my dearest and most cherished friend. She was the greatest four-legged companion who loved more unconditionally than any being I have ever encountered. She and I would explore the seemingly endless beige battered trails — freedom, both of us unleashed: our tiny frames felt limitless. I was young, and feeling broken, but these moments running wild on the trails of Santiago canyon set my heart on fire. 

Later I found that our beloved daily run on the streets of Mission Viejo was far more than just a few miles. My darling husky-mut and I were running nine-miles in just under an hour and a half, thinking I was traveling at snails pace for a three-mile jaunt. When the veil of the distance unraveled from my eyes, I did not realize that from that moment on, my life had completely changed: I would run forever and running would save me. 

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Needless to say, it did. I ran and ran. Months and years accumulated, and I ran nearly every day religiously. Not because I had to, because it was my only taste of freedom and over-flowing white light: I had something to look forward to, even when the moments of stress and darkness enveloped me. On those rare occasions of needing to skip a run, my body longs for its daily kiss with freedom. 

Some days I run a mile or two, other days 30 or more. In the misery of the moments beholding 10 miles times three, four, or five, my body becomes one with my soul. Or perhaps it is better to say that my soul seems to transcend my body. 

There is magic in the misery: carbon consciousness holds no power over the transcendental runners-high. I run with a hunger to feel more alive, and those moments in steady stride remind me how precious life is. What a wild and rare gift it is to even exist.

Ashley McComb

Yosemite National Park


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REGISTRATION FOR SLO ULTRA NOW OPEN. On September 1, 2018, join us for an epic day of trail running, live music, BBQ and more! Pick your race - 50K Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) State Trail Championship, cross country half marathon or a 5K run. Plus kids races! Racers can register HERE.

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ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races (Spring 2018), 3rd SLO Ultra trail races (late Summer 2018) and the recently added US Trail Running Conference (late Summer 2018).

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

Race SLO Community Ambassador: Stephan Cugnier

Our Race SLO ambassadors share their stories about motivation, determination, endurance and growth to inspire us and remind us that we are on this journey together.

In 2010, I decided to quit my job in France.

I had been working for ten years as the editor in chief of an important newspaper and my life was absorbed by my work. I even slept once a week in my office and spent too little time with my family. I wanted to see my kids growing and be more supportive of my wife’s career, so I made a radical decision. I was 39 and found myself at home 24 hours a day.

I enjoyed my first months as a house dad, but I also felt that I needed something else. I was very competitive in my work, so I was looking for something with a bit of a challenge. I’ve always been in love with sports, playing basketball in my younger years at a semi-professional level, then playing tennis for quite some time.

I was living 10 miles from Paris, near an empty field and a forest, so I started to run. At first, I was pathetic. I wasn’t able to do more than 3 kilometers (less than 2 miles) in 20 minutes. I was totally red, huffing and puffing, and my body was so sore the days after that I considered quitting to do something else.

But I have my pride, so I trained more, and quickly made some progress. I joined an amateur running group with some friends and neighbors, and I was hooked.

Six months later, I moved to Santa Barbara. The perfect weather conditions allowed me to run more often, but without any training plan or watch to keep track of the time and distance. I wanted to listen to my body and find my own natural pace.

Finally, two years after my first awful workout, I signed up for a 10K in April 2012. I managed to cross the finish line in 47 minutes. Not a great time, but it made me realize that I was able to do more. And I did.

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Since that first race, I ran more than forty of them, in Europe and in the United States, every distance: mile, 3K, 5K, 4 miles, 10 miles, half-marathon. I had some good results and some bad ones. I made some mistakes along the way, then struggled with a plantar fasciitis for eight months at the beginning of 2014. But I’m still running.

I also had the chance to meet some great people, some fantastic runners and the “camaraderie” is something I have never experienced in other sports. That’s what makes running so special – I don’t “fight” the other runners, I admire them and I’m inspired by their performances.

So far, my greatest satisfaction was when I officially became a marathoner. It was on May 1st, in San Luis Obispo. Even if my time wasn’t great, I enjoyed every minute of it. The course was gorgeous, the volunteers amazing and the organization more than great. I cannot wait to do it again, this time with the secret goal (not so secret anymore!) to get my BQ.

Running is now a big part of my life. I can’t describe how good it is to put my running shoes on every day. I’m not a great runner, but I enjoy the feeling and the experience, even on a bad day or a bad workout. Moreover, I love to compete… against myself. I don’t run to be better than anyone. I run to be a better me.

Favorites races: SLO Marathon and “Paris-Versailles 10 Miler” in France (you start under the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the finish line is in front of the Palace of Versailles! http://www.parisversailles.com/site/en/)

Stephan Cugnier

Santa Barbara, CA

 

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ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races (Spring 2018), 3rd SLO Ultra trail races (late Summer 2018) and the recently added US Trail Running Conference (late Summer 2018).

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

7th ANNUAL SLO MARATHON, HALF MARATHON AND RELAYS PRESENTED BY PACIFIC PREMIER BANK

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      

Contact: Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO Founder & CEO

(805) 458-0655

media@RaceSLO.com

<Printable Copy of Press Release Here>

 

7th ANNUAL SLO MARATHON, HALF MARATHON AND RELAYS PRESENTED BY PACIFIC PREMIER BANK

With NEW lululemon ‘Athlete Recovery Lounge’ Featuring Free Jamba Juice & Wine

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – (March 12, 2018) – Race SLO is proud to introduce Pacific Premier Bank as the presenting sponsor of the seventh annual SLO Marathon and Half Marathon, and the inaugural Relay races. Starting and finishing at the landmark Madonna Inn and Meadows, the Central Coast’s largest running festival slated for April 28 and 29 includes a marathon, half marathon, two relay races, 5K and two kids races.

Pacific Premier Bank prides itself on their commitment to providing unparalleled client service and strong support for businesses, individuals, and nonprofit partners in the communities they serve. “We welcome the opportunity to partner with Race SLO, the Central Coast's endurance sport leader, and support their mission to create social and economic impact through human experiences,” said Market President, Rob Osterbauer.

A new and improved marathon and half course will take runners and walkers through the streets of beautiful San Luis Obispo and out along the rolling hills of the Edna Valley. New this year are two relay races, a 4-person marathon team relay and a 2-person half marathon team relay, perfect for new runners and walkers who prefer to spread out the miles with their friends. There truly is something for everyone at this SLO Spring tradition endurance festival.  

After crossing the finish line Sunday, all racers are given free access to the Athlete Recovery Lounge hosted by lululemon, featuring yoga sessions, pro-athlete meet and greets, a free Jamba Juice and for those 21 years and older a free glass of wine. Runners, walkers and spectators will all enjoy a Race SLO first class post-race celebration, solar powered by Pacific Energy Company, with live music, Lagunitas brew, fresh food vendors and more!

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For more information or to register for the SLO Marathon, Half Marathon, Relays, 5K and Kids races, visit slomarathon.com.

About Race SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races (Spring 2018), 3rd SLO Ultra trail races (late Summer 2018) and the recently added US Trail Running Conference (late Summer 2018).

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive endurance sporting events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue and SLO County Parks projects. Visit RaceSLO.com for more information.

“Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.”

Race SLO Mission

 

About Pacific Premier Bancorp, Inc.

Pacific Premier Bancorp is the holding company for Pacific Premier Bank, one of the largest banks headquartered in Southern California with approximately $8.0 billion in assets. Pacific Premier Bank is a business bank primarily focused on serving small and middle market businesses in the counties of Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, California as well as Clark County, Nevada. Through its 33 depository branches, Pacific Premier Bank offers a diverse range of lending products including commercial, commercial real estate, construction, and SBA loans, as well as specialty banking products for homeowners associations and franchise lending nationwide.

My New Year’s REVolution

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On both my Summer time birthday and then again at my end of year Winter Solstice I like to hit pause and breathe deep. These biannual gifts of time and space that I give to myself create slack. This invaluable slack allows for honest personal reflection, followed by goal & strategy setting, and these actions are literally the right and left legs that run my personal growth race. Truth be told, in my thirties (after I transformed my shitty life and broken body), I actually hosted social parties forcing myself and those I hung out with to do this process with me (just ask any of my badass friends how painfully fun this party game was). #cardsFORhumanity

So preparing for the close of this last UNgreat year, I felt a heavy sense of pain from both my own fair share of trials and from bearing witness to many of the people I love, our community and in fact our entire nation really struggling. To break through this funk I decided that this New Year I wanted to embark on a personal REVolution, instead of setting the traditional New Year RESolutions. To me, the annual New Year’s resolutions we all make generally tend to be 1) out comes of a lot of negative self-talk 2) dressed up with a lot of publicly vowed words but 3) not necessarily followed up by the right choices or consistent actions. In fact, statistics show most peoples resolutions have fail by Valentine's (Love) Day, how ironic. Where’s the self-love and commitment people? I am a person of action and though I don't always succeed, I damn well go for it! Actually, we are all “Action Heros” in our own life story.  

After many hours of crazy making internal dialogue and many more hours of writing down my laundry list of goals and desires for change I decided to simply get REAL. To truly create desired and permanent change I needed to really simplify and create a easy to follow daily plan of action. Overly emotional chatter and overly complex lists just breed excuses. After all, dream lives aren’t created with words on paper resolving to act. True REVolutions come from within, out of the depths of your soul. REVolutions are not petty or ego based. They are deeply personal and once released, are unstoppable. Fully embraced REVolutions spread into all areas of your body, your life, your circle of influence and your community. Here are my four easy to follow 2018 REVolution action steps. They are crystal clear daily choices that reflect my values and will undoubtedly guide the physical body and mental health I truly desire.  

  1. Choose Simplicity: in both big and small decisions, just keep it simple.   
  2. Choose Health: all input to & output from my body must support health.  
  3. Choose Adventure: seek and explore new places & new experiences.
  4. Choose Your 5 Wisely: our personal development, character and actions are deeply influenced by the five people we spend the most time with. Steer away from the unproductive negative and move toward empowering positive. Surround yourself with people who make YOU a better person. 

(Watch all 4 Video Segments in the carousel below)

Now let’s explore your 2018 REVOLUTION. Are you ready to move beyond the temporary resolution mind set? I want you to join me. I believe in you and in your power to dig DEEPER and go BIGGER. Together we are stronger, held accountable and inspired. Fuel this fresh year with simple action. In fact, become your own life’s “Action Hero.” Lord, knows the world needs you.

 

Daring Greatly Together,

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Samantha Pruitt

RaceSLO Founder/CEO

www.raceslo.com   #RaceSLO #EnduranceTownUSA

www.raceslo.com

#RaceSLO #EnduranceTownUSA