It’s the day before the winter solstice. My garlic is planted and I got my first snowy run this morning.
There’s something totally magical about frolicking (because that’s how I run) among fatty flakes floating gently toward the ground.
Until your jacket starts to soak through. Then it’s time to go home.
Yesterday I moved into a tiny cabin my boyfriend built. I miss my old house in Dunsmuir, but it’s nice to be out of the canyon. I need more sunlight to thrive. Now we’re out in the hills, technically in California but basically Oregon, bordering on BLM land inhabited by gorgeous horses who think they own the place.
Cold weather and darkness have me spending lots of time indoors, reflecting on 2017 and all the exciting things that happened.
So, enough about me. Here’s more about me:
Here are my top 7 best moments in running of 2017
Definitely the craziest thing I did all year, maybe even in my entire life? Aside from my first (and only) ever snowshoe backpacking trip in Zion, where I was 100% unprepared, I really can’t think of anything.
My favorite running event of 2017 wasn’t a race. A group of local ultra studs attempted to summit all three peaks in the Mount Shasta area in one day — Mt. Shasta (we had to turn around due to bad weather), Black Butte, and Mt. Eddy.
3 Peaks was definitely transformative. It was the first time I’d ever kept moving all the way through the night, pushing through layers of physical and mental exhaustion. It doesn’t sound very appealing in writing, but during the hike up Mt. Eddy, in the wee small hours of the morning, was when I decided I really wanted to run a 100 miler.
I guess that experience just gave me a different perspective. I got to explore the limits of my own body in a new way and was left wondering how far it could go.
We find out in 2018!
Getting coached by my biggest shero
I was camping out in Flagstaff, Arizona when I learned Jenn Shelton joined the crew of coaches at Trails & Tarmac. I felt this rush of excitement that was almost immediately squelched by the certainty that I was not nearly cool enough to even think about working with her.
I mean, she’s a total rock star. A bad bitch with a heart of gold who smashes records in a bikini while chugging beer.
And who am I? I guess at that time, I wasn’t sure.
It wasn’t until months later that I finally had the balls to reach out to Jenn. I remember waiting for her to call me for the initial interview. I was pacing back and forth, driving my dog crazy.
When she called, I remember my hands trembling as I held my phone, determined to let it rung a few times… so I could look cool?
The cheerful voice and infectious laugh on the other end put me at ease right away, and it was nothing but rainbows and unicorns from there.
Hiring a coach was easily the best investment I made all year and I can’t wait to start working with Jenn again early in 2018.
Coach Jenn’s highlights deserve their own post. Or book, or movie…
Finishing Waldo 100k
My biggest race of the year, the one that literally kept me up some nights worrying… about nutrition, pacing, ALL the things… couldn’t have possibly been better.
Crossing that finish line was the proudest moment of my life. Moreso than college graduation or that time I won a ten-speed at a circus. That’s probably why I collapsed into a pile of tears.
Waldo was a gorgeous race full of amazing runners. Honestly, the mega eclipse of 2017- the event that had the entire world losing their shit over – meant NOTHING to me compared to that race.
It was also the first time I ever felt post-race depression. I imagine it’s something like postpartum depression, and plan to explore this topic more in its own post.
Random mountain adventures with friends
I came back to Mount Shasta because I missed the mountains and the community of runners I met here. We just don’t have shit like this in New Jersey. So you better believe I spent every free minute getting out there and having fun with the crazy crew I’ve come to love so dearly.
Almost every weekend, I would meet a friend, or group of friends, for an adventure. There’s something really special about people who are compelled to run long distances. As my trail sister Linn once said, “I think there’s something wrong with all of us.”
I couldn’t agree more and want to take this opportunity to thank every_single crazy motherfucker out there who has connected with me over running. I’m not just talking about the ones I’ve met and run with. I’ve talked to some incredibly inspiring runners on social media, too. I love and cherish every one of you quirky badasses.
You do amazing things every single day and it makes me so happy I cry. I’m crying right now because of you.
Random mountain (and desert) adventures alone
This spring I had the opportunity to explore the southwest with my dog while we spent the month of May in a state of surprise homelessness. We camped out on public land, ran new places every day, and endured some extreme winds.
It was an amazing experience that sometimes makes me long for the forced simplicity of #vanlife.
Before I got picked for Waldo, my intention was to not push distance in 2017. I wanted instead to become a faster runner. I had no clue what that even meant, but I thought maybe a 5k or 10k PR would be cool.
I’m really, really stoked to share that I was able to do both. I finished my first 100k with a time I was happy with while also:
- Setting a one mile PR (I don’t think I’ve ever even tried that before)
- Winning my first 5k (don’t even know what my time was)
- Taking over 30 minutes off my 50k PR twice (once in May, again in July)
- Taking over 30 minutes off my Headwaters 50k PR
Making it through my ultra season without getting sick, injured, or dead
Started thinking about my ex-boyfriend as I trotted down the PCT this morning when the almighty trail gods gave me a not so gentle reminder of how important it is to stay present by literally tearing open a healing wound. I read you 5×5… ☠️⚡️☠️⚡️ #keepyaheadup #relationshitgoals #bleedforit #owwies #trailrunning
This one is pretty self-explanatory. More than any of my races or time accomplishments, I’m proud of the fact that I made it through unscathed. Aside from a patchwork pattern of scars and scabs on my knees all summer, I am entirely uninjured.
I don’t know if this was from taking good care of myself or sheer luck, but it’s pretty effing great. One thing I will mention is that Jenn reigned me in more than she ever pushed me as a coach, and frequently inquired about the health of my mitochondria.
Turns out, mitochondria are v important. Look it up!
Well, friends, thank you all for reading. Thank you for being a part of this wild adventure, and, as always, thank you SO MUCH for your support.