Getting High on Mountains

How many ladies wear men’s size 11.5 mountaineering boots?

… just me?

But really, I think my feet were just swollen from a 10 mile road run in Five Fingers before heading out to rent gear. I still felt like a monster when trying them on.

Enough about my freakishly large feet. I climbed Mount Shasta this past Sunday! Due to a dark, lenticular cloud that formed at the top within a matter of minutes, bringing crazy winds, I had to turn around about 120 meters from the summit.

lenticular cloud

Here’s a nice photo of said cloud taken by Hike Mt Shasta.

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Annual blood sacrifice to the trail gods

Whew! So, after much web research, asking around, and creating a mega nerdy spreadsheet of trail races within a 500 mile radius, I think I’ve finally decided on the ones I’m going to run this year!

One of my running goals for 2015 is to compete in at least five trail races. Last year, I only did one and a half. I would have done more had it not been for that dang foot injury. ::shakes fist::

So far, I’m only registered for three: Continue reading

Final thoughts on the sugar detox

Diet’s over! I’m free!
Sunday was the last day of my sugar detox. I stuck it out the whole 21 days without cheating and now I can eat whatever I want!!!
Except I’m finding that I want to eat pretty much the same as I have been for the past three weeks.
This is throwing me off a little bit. When I decided to try a sugar detox, I really wasn’t expecting to like it. I mean, it essentially cut out all of the foods I eat for pleasure…
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Day 17 of the Sugar Detox- It’s the FINAL COUNTDOWN

..and I feel great.

There’s more to it, and I’ll get into that. But first.. BIG news.

I’m excited to share this article that I wrote for one of my absolute favorite publications, Outside online. This is the first time I’ve contributed anything to a website that gets a lot of traffic, so it’s kiiiiiiind of a big deal.

*I was dancing around the house all day!*

I would love to celebrate with some champagne and chocolate, but, you know… sugar detox.

I told myself that if I slipped up, I would start the 21 days over again, and I really, really don’t want to do that.

So I’m hangin tough.

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Little over a week into sugar detox- I’d sell my soul for a Sin Dawg

Here’s What Happens To Your Brain When You Give Up Sugar For Lent | IFLScience.

This article popped up in my Facebook newsfeed at just the right time. I’m on day 9 of a 21 day sugar detox diet, otherwise know as the “fuck this, I won’t eat anything but a muffin” phase, and reading a well-referenced article on the neuroscience of sugar addiction was exactly what I needed.

Nobody likes to listen to people blab on about their diets, but this is my blog and I need to vent some serious detox-related gripes.

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I Run Loving

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

I’m definitely not one for overpriced flowers and overpackaged chocolates, but I can get down with celebrating love. And the one thing that I love more than anything else is RUNNING!

While my buddies back on the east coast are getting buried in snow, winter is pretty much over in California. I heard that it was really cold for a couple weeks while I was visiting NJ for the holidays. I guess I missed winter.

But hey- I won’t complain about sunny skies, warm weather and running on trails again.

My foot is all healed. I’m sick of the dreadmill. I’m getting amped up for this year’s running season.

Today was my first 10 mile run this year, which feels like enough cause for celebration to me. It’s always good to get that first double digit distance run behind you just for the purposes of building confidence.

Today made me think back on past runs:

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Nothing is so much to be feared as fear

I was really inspired by this video. Like everyone else, I read Eat, Pray, Love. I read it in Costa Rica right after I had resigned from my secure-ish ivy research job in favor of a life of constant uncertainty and steadily dwindling funds chasing my dreams.

I really admired the courage she, and so many other artists/writers/poets/whatever had to just share herself with the world.

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I guess I can’t say “winter is coming” anymore

This morning I woke up in the middle of the sky to an intercom voice announcing initial descent into Newark, New Jersey. I opened my eyes to see the sun peeking over the blanket of clouds and immediately resented the East coast for being three hours ahead of the time zone I’ve grown accustomed to.

After eating, napping, and somewhat acclimating to the modern splendors my parents house has to offer, I remembered that today is the winter solstice! Had I remained in Mount Shasta where I belong, there is no way in hell I could have forgotten such an important day.

The shortest day of the year, and a new moon on top of that!

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I’d Run for Food

First things first, I hope that everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!

Other things first: I ran my very first Thanksgiving day turkey trot this year, which was also my first race since busting my foot in the last race that I ran. Annnnnd I placed first in my age group!

WeedRunforFood

So many firsts!

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My First Wildfire

This story does not end well, but I’m going to try starting it off on a lighter note.

Since I’m recovering from a running injury, I decided to give aqua-jogging (yogging) a whirl. I bought myself a temporary gym membership and found an incredibly helpful list of aqua workouts for runners.

It was a bit awkward getting started, trying to get the funky foam floatation belt to fit properly without knocking off my bikini top, but after all the kinks were worked out, I was happy as a clam. Trading my crutches in for a floaty was a very positive step for my physical and emotional health.

It felt sooooo good to finally be able to use those muscles I’ve been resting for over two weeks now. Picture the look of pure bliss on a puppy doggy-paddling with a trophy stick in her mouth, or a toddler splashing around in her swimmies. That was ME! Running in little circles around the deep end of the pool, trying to avoid collisions with the other old ladies doing aqua-robics, I just could not stop smiling.

That’s the happy part.

Yesterday, I tried out the gym in Weed for the first time, since I’ve heard great things about the salt water pool they have there. Soaking in chlorine for hours is not my cup of tea.

As I was getting my aqua workout on with the usual crew of old ladies, we all noticed the smell of wood smoke. Moments later, dark clouds of smoke blocked the sun from shining through the large glass windows. Since it was a pretty blustery day, the wind would blow the smoke in gusts. Blue skies one second, dark reddish-grey the next.

One of my pool companions decided to open the door marked “KEEP CLOSED” (that rebel) to scope out the scene. “Oh, it’s BAD,” she exclaimed, “I’m getting out of here!”

Being a newbie Californian, I don’t have very much experience with wildfires, but I did know that oftentimes the sky fills with so much smoke that you can’t even see Mt. Shasta. Naturally, I assumed that this smoke must be coming from a fire about an hour away. I was safe because nothing bad ever happens in my naive little bubble.

While the other pool dwellers hastily packed up and left, I delighted in having the entire pool to myself. I figured that if there was a fire, a pool was the safest place I could be. I mean, wildfire only floats on water in Game of Thrones, right?

But then, the gym manager rushed in to fetch me, warning that the building was being evacuated.

I spent a few years working in elementary schools and am very familiar with fire drills. However, all that practice must have slipped my mind, or I was far too deep in my imaginary bubble of safety, because I took my sweet time getting out of that pool. I even stopped to use the restroom, during which event the gym manager rushed in to the locker room, once again insisting I leave the building ASAP and appearing far more flustered this time.

Finally picking up on the urgency of the situation, I ran for the first time since breaking my foot.

As soon as I got into the parking lot, I saw towering flames and plumes of fiery smoke- right across the street. I’ve gone to burning man, but never in my life have I seen a wildfire up close. As much as I wanted to take a photo, my fight or flight instinct moved me out of there more quickly than my body would normally be capable of right now. As I drove down the windy road that leads to the center of town, small fires were blazing up on each side of my truck.

It was terrifying, but I did stop to take some photos once I was a safe distance away:
fire in weed

That hardly shows anything, but much better quality shots are available on other internets.

As I drive out of there, my brain struggled to comprehend the scene. Giant pine trees roared with hot angry flames directly behind the elementary school while a small group of teens strolled beneath an otherwise blue sky. My little safety bubble completely disintegrated. I was witnessing devastating reality.

At the end of the day, my mom texted me to check in on how my foot was healing. I replied, “Foot is getting better. I started aqua jogging. The gym I was in today burnt down, but I’m fine.”

It’s so extreme and close to home that I still get a little nauseous thinking about it. Nothing humbles the soul and incites charitable action like a disaster that affects thousands of people. Aside from a newly re-swollen foot and a major nerve-shaking, I am totally fine and counting my blessings.

My heart goes out to all those affected by the Boles Fire and I’m happy to do whatever I possibly can to help anyone in need.

Unrelated: there was a very confused bear wandering around the pasture yesterday!

bear in the field