Hot & dirty: Headwaters 50K review

It took me a little while to get around to this, but last week I ran the Headwaters 50K for the second year in a row.

Which, due to unexpected circumstances this summer, also turned out to be my second ultra!

Now that I’m rested, recovered and rehydrated, I have to say it was a damn good time.

I set out with the starry-eyed goal of finishing in under 6 hours. Anyone with an uncannily sharp memory and/or stalkerlike obsession with my blog might recall that, earlier in the year, I set a very far-reaching goal of cutting two hours off my 2014 time.

Welp, I didn’t do either of those things. I did cut two MINUTES off last year’s time, though!

Reach for the stars and you may just land on the moon, my friends.

I finished in 7:03 and change

This race was tough. Last year, I finished on a stress fracture and still think that was easier than this year’s race.

How could that be?

A) It was hot. Way hotter than last year.

B) I totally failed to consider the weather beforehand and only brought a single 12 oz handheld water bottle with me. This was a stupid mistake I’ll never make again.

C) Hot. It was hot.

But I finished, and I improved!

My day started at 6 am with my boyfriend singing “Happy Birthday” to me. It wasn’t my birthday, but I guess that made it even cuter.

We stopped for coffee and then hauled ass down to Mount Shasta so I could do some weird warmup skips and dance moves in the parking lot.

Due to the numerous wildfires in surrounding areas, it was a little smokey, but definitely not as bad as it has been. I brought a bandana with me just in case I wanted to wrap it around my nose and mouth. This ended up being an invaluable item. I would dunk it into the ice water buckets at aid stations, or into the cold river, and then lay it over my head or stuff it down my bra.

Without that thing, I just might have turned into jerky.

Gerad Dean, the race director, said that 44 people started the 50K. It was hard to tell at the start line because everyone was so spread out. 32 finished.

I tried to pace myself a little better this year by wearing my giant old skool Garmin watch


That thing is almost as big as I am!

I also tried something new by alternating jogging with hiking. I was VERY determined to finish this race without an injury!

When I got to the Rainbow Ridge aid station at mile 5, I was told (several times by a very enthusiastic volunteer) that I was second female.

Sweet! That lasted a whole 2 minutes. As I was struggling to stop my stupid tiny water bottle from leaking, I got passed by a man-woman couple.

I would continue to pass, and get passed by, this couple over the next 10-12 miles. I learned that they’re from Portland, and can climb hills much faster than I can.

When I hit the Sisson Callahan trail, I decided to just slow down and hike the whole way up. I was running low on water and just ate a baggie of salty pretzels. I also just like to take that section easy, because it’s about 5 miles of nothing but up.

I got passed by another man-woman couple. The woman, who would finish second female overall, called back over her shoulder as she passed-

“Hey! Did you get better shoes this year?!”

She must have been one of the people who passed my sad, limping ass in the final stretch of last year’s race! She remembered me! I felt very warm and fuzzy, but mostly thirsty.

I didn’t see those two again until I got to the finish. Power couple, let me tell you. They devoured that trail like it was a blueberry muffin with crumbs.

At some point, I got a little too hot and dry to think straight. I knew I was still over two miles from the aid station, so I filled my water bottle in the river.

I did.

I know better. Way better. But, I was REALLY thirsty and figured that if I got sick, it’d probably happen after I crossed the finish line.

Somehow, that seemed perfectly rational mid-race. Now that I have this mysterious diarrhea… I can see the blatant folly.

On my second lap through the North Fork aid station, I started to notice runners dropping out. A few people were just sitting in the river. I had reverted to monosyllabic communication and was bleeding from a skinned knee. I guzzled several cups of water, peed for the first time throughout the entire race (extremely unusual for me, I usually pee every 20 minutes) and grabbed a few chunks of banana.

I tried to eat them, but my stomach wasn’t having it. By the time I got up to the final aid station at High Divide, I was disgusted by the thought of solid food.

It’s okay, they had Pepsi. I normally don’t like soda, but let me tell you, when it’s 100 degrees and you’re at mile 25, that shit is THE NECTAR OF THE GODS!

It’s true, Pepsi saved my life and got me through the end of that race.

On my second run down a long, 2.5ish mile rocky hill, I was followed very closely by two women who were deep in conversation about their recently deceased canines.

I don’t wanna sound tooooo Jersey Shore, but I really wanted to smack those ladies. It’s hot, I’m using all my brain cells to focus on not falling down this hill, and you’re gonna go on and start filling the trail air with sad stories of your dead dogs?!?!?!


Anyhoo- I kept up with them until about the last mile, when suddenly wings sprouted forth from beneath my heels and everything stopped hurting all at once.

I flew past a few people and glided across the finish line like a fucking gazelle (or at least, that’s how I remember it- a graceful gazelle clutching an empty, half crushed can of Pepsi), snagging the third place female by the skin of my teeth.

The only words I could say were, “It’s hot,” before stumbling over to a shady spot and parking my ass on the ground.

After some lovely volunteers surrounded me with praise, poured ice water down my back and brought me a plate full of watermelon, I felt reborn.


Ready to do it all again!

I won a sweeeeeeet pair of Smartwool socks, which I put on as soon as I swabbed the layers of trail crust from my feet. Sadly, I have no pics of those. They’re sweeeeeet!

I also got a Klean Kanteen steel pint glass for finishing second in my age group.

There was a keg of Ninkasi at the finish, but the beer patrol man said I couldn’t use my prize cup for it. Silly rule, but I hardly had the energy to argue.



Top takeaways:

  1. Bring a bigger water vessel next time!
  2. Bandanas are awesome
  3. Packing clean post-race clothes to change into makes a huge difference

Fun race, stoked for next year!


Farming is hard

:::update: I removed most of the photos from the Edible article to reduce the file size and make it easier to read:::

I’ve been hearing a lot of that recently. The war cry of the weary in late July. In fact, if I had a dollar for every conversation I hear about how hard farming is, I could quit my…

oh, wait.. never mind!!

But it is. I live with a farmer, some of my closest friends are farmers, and I occasionally volunteer on farms while managing my own budding homestead. It’s a lot of really, really hard work.

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It’s not just about charging ahead, but seeing where you want to go..

Sometimes people say things that resonate in our hearts forever.

I’ll never forget one particular night in a tiny apartment in Cuzco five years ago. A small group of yoga students were lounging on the living room floor, enjoying an indoor picnic and grounding from a San Pedro ceremony, when a young shaman to-be opened her bedroom door. Elegantly holding a glass of red wine, she boldly announced:

I just realized I’ll never be comfortable again.

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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


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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