Last year, my first race back after injury was at the Indian Creek Fifties 15 miler [officially declared to be 14.25 miles, but we all know better]. It was a beautiful, runnable, rolling course with bomb-able downhills and sweeping views along the Colorado Trail. It was the beginning of an incredible year. I’ve had my eye on one more ultra this year, but didn’t officially register in order to allow space for recovery after Mt Hood. I was pretty set on running the 55k since it is three months post-50-miler. But I’m not ready.
It’s been a short and wild summer. I spent the majority of my weekends in the high country, which means regularly getting up at 3-4am on non-workdays. I have loved every single adventure and was even getting used to the early morning wake up calls, though I can definitely feel the accumulation of sleep deprivation. I climbed a few 14ers, a few 13ers, ran a couple of iconic loops and segments, ran my first hard af 50k, ran my first extremely runnable 50 miler, had a lot of ups, a few downs and feel like I took advantage of the summer to the best of my capacity.
Last weekend, I acknowledged the coming of the fall, and it’s coming fast, with the second annual Skyline Traverse Season Kickoff Run. This Boulder classic is 17-20 miles, depending on your preferred method of descending Sanitas, with vertical gains of just over 6000′. I ran nine of them last season – September to May – as the winter weather was very accommodating. This run hits the five major peaks along the Boulder skyline – if you run it in my preferred direction, South to North, you’ll hit South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak, Green, Flagstaff and Sanitas. I hadn’t done it since just before my first race in May and I’m looking forward to many more of these over the coming months.
I thought all my ultra-inspired lessons would come in one neat package on the trail, that they would fit snugly between the start and finish lines and I’d come out the other side a different person than when I started. That’s the thing with lessons – you invite them into your life and expect them to enter through the front door like gentlemen, but instead, they sneak in through the window while you’re sleeping and put your hand into a bowl of warm water. Continue reading That time I ran 50 miles
The other night I went to the Trails in Motion film festival, leading up to the Golden Gate Dirty 30 race that I’m running tomorrow. Featured in these films were a couple of local legends – Courtney Dauwalter and Clare Gallagher. More importantly, several films showcased athletes who may never podium, but who demonstrate an inspiring amount of heart, grit and perseverance, who put themselves in unique positions to experience both suffering and joy.
Quad Rock has a reputation for being either hot as balls or near blizzard conditions year to year. Spring in Colorado is unpredictable and despite 70+ degree days surrounding race day, this year it was in the 50s with rain and mud. Oh, so much mud. And every kind of mud. There was the kind of mud that tries to steal your shoes, the kind of predator mud that stands by while its prey exhausts itself trying to stay upright, the splashy diarrhea mud, and the pottery-slip mud. And in the final stretch was the kind of mud that turns your Salomons into Herman Munster shoes.
Hi stranger! How the shit are you?
I didn’t mean to ignore you, I’ve just had a lot going on, and it has occupied most of my waking hours and some of the sleepy ones too. The good news is that I stopped all the emotional flailing. I removed myself from an environment that was bringing out the worst in me. I let go of things I so crave but aren’t available to me. I’m feeling much more centered despite the whirlwind of the past few months. Here’s what I’ve been up to:
- went under contract on a condo while out of town
- closed on the condo in two weeks (loan paperwork, inspection, more loan paperwork, appraisal, final paperwork)
- quit my job
- started a new job
Currently, I’m staring down the race schedule that somehow snuck up on me in the midst of all this. I never did get on a specific training plan, but for the last couple of months I’ve averaged 160 mi // 35,000′ gainz, so I haven’t been grossly neglecting the miles or the vert – just the speed-work and hill repeats that are critical to a solid performance. smh
Right around mid-March, while I was traveling, there was a week where all I got in was a measly handful of shitty road miles. I had to make up dumb challenges to stay motivated as I dodged an unreasonable amount of shit smeared on the sidewalks. Whether human or dog, I can’t say. So when I got back to Boulder, I went balls out and put in a 53 mile week with 14,000′ vertical gain, followed up with a 46 mile week and another 8000′. I started to feel it in all the wrong ways. With a little help from Dr. Google, I self-diagnosed with ITBS, a typical beginner’s injury and got some advice from some other local trail runners that I admire and respect. Over the last month, I’ve been getting weekly acupuncture treatments, rolling and stretching. It’s made a HUGE difference and I’m looking forward to my first race next weekend.
I’m not exactly sure how to train in between since I have two A races that are very different. I’ve gotten some great advice, again, from local trail runners that I admire and respect. I’m going to take it all in, assimilate the information, listen to my body and go with it. I’d love to hear how you would train between these three races – tell me!
When I was in high school, I was attracted to guys who were interested in having deep conversations about philosophy or economics or anything I was curious about, which was everything. The first and last to break me was one of those. He was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known and a true original thinker. I met him when I was his math tutor. He was crazy smart but didn’t care about proving it. He introduced me to the author Douglas Coupland and more specifically the book Life After God. I read it at least three times, reveling in the fact that someone could articulate with such sarcastic wit, the existential curiosity that lived within me.
How does a girl who grew up constantly being told “you’re so smart, you’re so pretty, you’re going to go so far in life” spend so many years feeling worthless, only to level-up to imposter syndrome once she gets older? I figured it out yesterday while slow-jögging up Green-Bear, as there is magic that happens when I move my feet in the dirt. Self-worth, for those of us not innately blessed with it, has to be and more importantly, can beearned. While I appreciate the external validation from the well-intentioned adults, it focused on celebrating qualities that were completely out of my control and did nothing to help me develop a sense of value or grow as a person. What I needed was to be taught a growth mindset.
I “used to” have this superstition that if I acknowledged an area of my life that was going well or that I was excited about something, I would jinx it and it would all fall apart. I think I still feel that way to a degree. I keep the things that excite me to myself, especially when they are still delicately taking shape.
I never really considered giving advice on running trails because I consider myself to be very much a beginner. I still have so much to learn. I get DMs fairly often asking about gear and how to get into trail running, but recently someone reached out to me on Instagram, my favorite, favorite community building platform, to ask me for tips on getting into running trails to cope with a difficult life experience. I know a lot about that! I started reflecting on my journey and would like to offer some recommendations based on what I would do differently and what I got right – but mostly on what I do now after getting it wrong. It’s not that tactical, but I promise you, it’s just as important. You’ll figure out the tactical stuff as you go along.