Yesterday was my 35th birthday. I have to say, it was the best one yet. Maybe it was because I had so many other things to celebrate this time — … Continue reading happy to be alive
First, did you even know that May is Mental Health Month? I’m admittedly a little late in acknowledging it here on my blog, but for me, every month is mental … Continue reading How do you honor Mental Health Month?
Today, October 10 is World Mental Health Day, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to stray from the topic of running to write about another major theme in my … Continue reading Much love and little black hearts to you all on World Mental Health Day
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 … Continue reading It’s not just about charging ahead, but seeing where you want to go..
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 … Continue reading I Run Loving
Left ’em behind, and followed rock & roll. This morning I saw a man dressed in a button down & tie for the first time since moving to Northern California. … Continue reading Learned to let go of the things we can’t control…
When I first started this blog, it was primarily about running. It’s my true love, the thing that saved my life and keeps me going. That’s kind of why I chose the name “irunintotrees.”* Trail running is way better than road running (obviously) and sometimes, when I’m not paying attention (often) or when I run without contact lenses, I might (often) smack into a branch or two. With my face.
I haven’t been writing a whole lot about running recently. Not because I haven’t been running, but more because my running routine has gotten much more… routine. I only began running a little over five years ago, so at first everything was new, exciting, and I was pretty darn impressed with my constant improvement. After a while, it started getting more and more difficult to out-do myself. I still remember the first time I ever ran the entire 15 mile stretch of the Columbia Trail in New Jersey. It took at least half a day before I could even believe I had done it. My feet haven’t amazed me like that in a really long time.
One of my favorite aspects of the long runs that used to totally dominate my weekends was the thrill of knowing that, at some point in the ever-increasing distances, I would hit a point where every step I took was the farthest I had ever ran. Today, I would have to run over 31 miles to hit that same point. That ish takes time, yo! Not to mention that I don’t think I could go much farther than 15 miles right now without hurting myself (body and ego). So, needless to say, I miss that feeling.
I haven’t pushed miles in a couple of years, and during the bizzy farming season my body was way too exhausted to handle more than 20 miles per week. In January, when I registered for my first official (timed and paid for and all that jazz) race in over two years, I figured I would probably just be embarrassing myself.. but hey, I LOVE EMBARRASSING MYSELF! It makes people look at me like I’m very special. But I’m really glad I went for it, because the 2014 Trinidad to Clam Beach 8 3/4 mile run started to bring back that warm, fuzzy love buzz I used to get from running.
However! I actually rather impressed myself with my performance. Before the race started, I told this lovely lady pictured with me below that I’d be happy if I ran a 9 min mile for the 8 3/4 race. After saying it out loud, I thought to myself how I might not even make that pace. I’ve hardly bothered to keep track of my times and miles in the past year or so. I used to log that data religiously. My nerdery has decreased substantially with the whole dropping off the face of the Earth, living off the grid, out of my car, in a tent, and on what should have been called, “The REAL World: White Hippie Farmers” kind of thing I’ve been getting into recently.
Anyway, I clearly had no idea what kind of shape I was in, and one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in life is that if you set your expectations way low, you’re much less likely to feel the sting of disappointment! Yay positive thinking!
The race was amazing. It started out in the lovely little coastal town of Trinidad, CA. The night before, I couch surfed with an older (but by no means OLD) woman who is locally famous for her involvement in environmental activism and food politics. It was honestly the best possible couch surfing experience I could have imagined. Carol was also hosting three dudes who were cycling from Seattle to San Diego that night, but she let me stay in “The Princess Room.” The cyclists were all friendly and I stayed up chatting with them for a bit after Carol went to bed, but I mostly hit it off with this one guy who, of course, turned out to be a runner himself. Even better, a trail runner. Better yet, an ultra trail runner. I should have known upon first sight; he just had the look to him. The long hair, scruffy beard, and well-conditioned body combined with a general “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. The crass jokes that didn’t really hide the sweetheart underneath. Oh yeah, he was one of us and I knew it.
Obviously, we started talking about running. The conversation, and not just the subject of running, but the opportunity to share this somewhat unusual obsession with another individual, one who felt as passionately about it as I do, roused some pleasant butterflies in my tummy that haven’t made their presence known in quite a while. It felt so good! I missed those butterflies.
“You gotta run like 100 miles per week,” he told me, completely seriously as his travel companions scoffed and rolled their eyes.
“Umm, I would.. buttt I don’t think I have enough time to do that while I’m farming. I don’t even think I’d even have the time to eat enough calories to fuel that much running while working a physically demanding job,” I tried to explain.
“You could do it. Just run everywhere. Stop driving. Run instead.” Something about the way he said it and the look upon his face made me instantly zip my lip. I knew that voice. It was almost like the one I use whenever someone expresses doubt about their own ability to run a marathon, 10K, or even a mile.
It was also exactly what I needed to hear at that time. Not that I’m planning to train for an ultra this summer or anything, but I’m not going to tell myself I can’t either. If I determine that that’s the kind of hell I should put myself through, then I’ll do it. It’s just that most people tell me I’m crazy or some similar adjective whenever I express my burning love for running, especially when the milage gets beyond their own comfort zone. This guy was refreshing because he was ALSO CRAZY and he knew the secret: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A COMFORT ZONE, FOOLS!
He gets it, and I appreciate that. You know who else gets it? Dogs. But they don’t talk, soooo..
I said goodnight to the cyclists and washed up for bed. But before I retired to the “Princess Room” for the night, ultra-runner dude pointed a finger at me from his spot on the floor in the living room, and shouted, “REMEMBER! The only good pace is suicide pace, and tomorrow’s a GREAT day to die!!” Steve Prefontaine might have said this? Either way, it was perfect.
Back to the race: my couch surfing hostess let me keep my car at her place and gave me some “backroads” directions to get to a sweet little cafe where the bus would pick the runners up to shuttle us off to the starting line. It was a gorgeous walk across this beach
Two mugs of java and two delicious pastries later- I was warming up by the starting line. The race went pretty smoothly. It was mostly on the road, with some rolling hills in the beginning. I’m not so great at going up hills, but I can bomb the downhill like a champ. Usually, I can gain distance on people on downhills, or at least keep pace with runners who pass me on the uphills. I just let gravity do its thing and hope I don’t fall.
The last part of the race was a steep downhill, then a small river crossing, and then a good couple of miles on Clam Beach at low tide to the finish line. As soon as I got to this last part, every cell in my body knew it was go time. From the steep downhill onward, I was only passed by two people, who I caught up with about a quarter mile before the finish line. All of the road miles up until that point just felt like a big group run, but when I crossed the river I found my race. I ran in my Five Fingers, so didn’t have to worry about taking off my running shoes when I got to the river crossing like a lot of the other runners did. And when I got to the beach, my feet instantly remembered running barefoot on the sand in Costa Rica, where I officially decided to ditch running shoes altogether. “I totally got this.” Was all I could think as I passed one runner after the other. Either I was getting faster, or they were all getting slower, but probably both.
I passed at least four more people on my final sprint through the finish line and was greeted by Humboldt State University’s pep band, dressed in clown costumes and playing Queen on the beach. Gotta love it!
As far as results go, I was thrilled with my 8:22 pace. I was even more thrilled to find out that I had placed in the top 10 of my age/sex group! I know that this is only because I turned 30 last year and am now among the youngest in my age group, but still.. I finished in the top 25% of females overall. Considering the fact that only five years ago, I couldn’t even picture myself finishing this race, I’m going to be pleased with myself. Plus, I have plenty of room for improvement :)
Last week, I took a nice, slow long run around the base of Mt Shasta for about 10 miles. It made me feel so warm and fuzzy to do that again, I have no doubt I’ll get back into it.
*I have another wordpress blog that’s currently for my eyes only because I felt like I was so totally over my “asneuralslime” phase. Maybe I’ll poke through it and maybe bring some (or all) of it back to life.*
Where in the world is Lauren, now? I’m in the magical, mystical land of Mt. Shasta, CA, where people come to reflect, heal, and embark on spiritual quests.
What am I doing here? Well, right now I’m sitting in a tavern called “The Goat” and using their wifi to update my blog!
Honestly, the fact that this town has a tavern called “The Goat” just makes me all the more convinced that I’m exactly where I should be.
Goat Lady 4 LYFE!
That’s a picture of me and Freida, one of my boyfriend’s goats. Yes, I have a boyfriend now. One of the many reasons I haven’t been keeping up with my blog.
What else have I been up to? Well, aside from changing careers, radically shifting my lifestyle, and moving to the opposite side of the country, I found a new life partner, was a damn proud bridesmaid in the wedding of my only brother to an amazingly rad woman, I sold the trusty subaru I drove across the country with to buy a gigantic, old 3/4 ton pickup truck named Daisy and learned to drive her STICK SHIFT in Portland, OR during rush hour. I’ve also been living on a little farm in the mountains of Northern California without electricity, and DEFINITELY no wifi.
That’s me and my brother on his wedding day. I’M SO PROUD! Yaaaaay love!
So please forgive me for not keeping you fine folks entertained with the crazy stories of my silly little life. It’s not because I don’t care, it’s just because I’ve been living like a cavewoman AND LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT!
But I digress, I came to Shasta because…
because they have a tavern called “The Goat” and I can sit here at a table by myself and rekindle my old blog flame while oh so daintily sippin on what might very well may be the ONLY IPA from the northwest I haven’t tasted yet. Where any dude who was thinking of hitting on me will be instantly deterred by the pile of garlic fries I’m shoving into my face with joy. *psst- this place covers regular old french fries with raw garlic and chopped herbs and makes them the most incredibly delicious man-repelling things I’ve ever eaten*
So yeah, I believe that Mt. Shasta is where I need to be right now. I’m renting a small cottage at the end of a private road for what I’m calling a “Creative Retreat.” I have goals, one of which is to rejuvenate this blog and generally get back into the habit of writing every day, but I also just want to freaking relax. R-E-L-A-X, yo. After completing my very first farming season, and after living with and working for a new love on his off-grid farm, and before getting thrown back in to the crazy 60+ hour per week schedule of working on yet another new farm and meeting yet another group of new people, this little rugged-ass biotch needs a rest.
I’ve undergone so much change in the past year, that I honestly just felt like I needed a break from it all. A little cave of solitude. A BAT CAVE!
Our ancestors believed that the mountains were gods, and when they needed some healing, insight or energy restoration, they fled to them like a baby to his momma. In that, way, I feel like what I’m doing right now is natural and maybe even.. right?
Today is the first day of March, meaning last month was February (seeeee, I haven’t completely lost touch!) The month of love. This past month, loving myself and re-discovering my inner voice has been a major theme. I started seeing an energy healer, who has helped me tremendously in my efforts to let go of old issues I was clinging to from as far back as my early childhood. I also started meditating again and even had a session with a “fierce cheerleader” who basically told me how awesome, courageous, smart and intuitive I am for 20 minutes.
LOVE! My other half and I at a bar in NYC. Picture taken by another little love who I left on the beast coast.
A few years ago, I would have considered it strange, ridiculously self-indulgent, and really unnecessary to do such things. I’d be all like “pfft, who the f#*k does that girl think she is. treating herself like a damn princess!” But why not? This is MY life. I’M the one in charge, here. If I say I deserve this kind of attention, then who are you to argue with me, dammitt? Eh? Ehhhhhh?
What I’m trying to say is, I’m happy because I make the time to be. You should, too. YOU SHOULD, TOO! I love you just as much as I love these garlic fries… and this gorgeous volcano I’ll probably end up climbing.. if I feel like it.
This bartender has been more than patient with me, so I think it’s about time for me to publish and perish this place. I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate this garlic breath, anyway.
Real free range chickens. You never know where one is going to pop up.
I have some terrible news. Four of the baby goats that I wrote about last week died. They all belonged to the same mother, and she’s very, very sad. The day after they were born was a cold and blustery one (we get 40 mph winds out here) and in addition to the four goat casualties, the entire asparagus field froze. Needless to say, morale was very low on the farm that day.
It was the first really awful day I’ve had out here, so I guess we were about due for a reminder of how hard life can be sometimes. I just wanted to curl up in a ball with my roommate’s dog and watch sci-fi movies all day, but calling out of work just isn’t an option here.
It was also (not surprisingly) the first day I felt really lonely. I’m out here all alone on a farm full of freaking couples. Ew. Blek. (jk). Not only am I without a close friend, but I’m also the only one who doesn’t have a close friend on the farm or in a town nearby.
Realizing this made me evaluate my situation more closely. Why I decided to come all the way out here, what I’m trying to accomplish, and how it compares to my previous experiences traveling alone in far-off places.
In 2010, I traveled around South America a bit by myself, hoping to do some major soul-searching, transformation and self-development. However, I was also kinda sorta trying to maintain a long-distance relationship which turned out to be emotionally and physically abusive. We were in contact every day. A friend I had met while volunteering in Perú even mentioned that she recalled my relationship “strongly affecting” me when I was there. I was only really on my own during a 4 week yoga detox in the Amazon, when I told my boyfriend I didn’t think we should be in contact. Looking back now, it seems like half of me was still living my old life in the US the entire time.
Whatever progress toward healing I had made in South America that year quickly dissipated upon returning to my home state. I tried to fall back into my old life, which felt even more uncomfortable than it had before I left. Tight. Restrictive. Itchy.
Whatever it was that led me to up and leave in the first place (maybe I’ll ponder that later) was unresolved. I didn’t really do it right the first time, but now I’m pretty sure I got me right where I want myself. Feels good. Yes, I am lonely sometimes, but I’m also very grateful to be single and free.
The first time I heard this song was on a 13 hour bus ride which marked the beginning of a journey that would change my life forever.
I’m right where I want to be, doing what I want to do, and it was all my idea. I remember a conversation with a co-worker at the camping store I used to work at back in NJ. It was sometime during the remarkably long and drawn out process of separating from my ex-boyfriend. He told me I “need a man.”
“I don’t need a man,” I corrected him, “I need a saxophone, a dog, and to move out of my parents’ house.” Those were my priorities. I wouldn’t even entertain the possibility of another relationship until I had those things.
Welp, now I pretty much have everything I wanted, except the dog technically belongs to my roommate. I got it all. Everything I asked for. Thing is, I still don’t want a boyfriend. I couldn’t be happier with my life just the way it is right now. Why would I want to go and change it? Besides, Nikola Tesla died a virgin and there isn’t a single person reading this who doesn’t owe their happiness to him <3deadgaynerdcrush<3
It’s as if I’ve found some kind of peace and stillness that’s really comforting. However, with all that said, I can already feel the ground rumbling from far off in the distance.. Peace and stillness never last very long. Something major is going to happen to shake my life up, and it’s coming in the next few months, so I’m focusing hard on being present and APPRECIATING EVERY MOMENT RIGHT NOW WHILE I CAN.
The cheese stands alone.
I feel like I should close this one with a namaste or something.
A few days ago, I learned (or maybe was reminded) that Peter Buck, the guitarist of R.E.M., released a solo record in 2012.
Those who know me are already aware that R.E.M. has been my absolute favorite band of all time since I was about 10. I’ve even gone so far as to plan a whole road trip around visiting Athens, GA, where I visited the Wuxtry Records shop Peter used to work at, the railroad trestle the cover photo of Murmer was taken, and (of course) Weaver D’s Delicious Fine Foods:
I’ve always said that, if I had a time machine and could go anywhere in the past, it would be Athens, GA in the early 80’s just to be a part of that scene. Still holds true. (Not that I don’t LOOOOOOOOVE my Jersey music scene.)
My obsession with R.E.M. shaped my entire musical experience. I started listening to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, Hüsker Dü and the Replacements because members of R.E.M. cited them as influences. I have no idea what kind of garbage normal kids were into at that time. I started listening to Minor Threat because I saw Michael Stipe wearing one of their t-shirts in a photo.
Side story: I remember purchasing my very own Minor Threat t-shirt in Hot Topic several months later. The guy who sold it to me said that I was the first person to buy one. I was 13 years old and paid for it with saved-up lunch money.
That road trip also involved the first (and only) time I ever got to see R.E.M. play live. I cried. It was also the first (and only) time I’ve been bitten by a snake, but I’ll save that for another day.
I never really had a favorite band member (and it was definitely never Stipe), until I saw them live. Watching Peter play guitar on stage reminded me of watching my friends play at Elks lodges and VFW halls for sparse crowds. At a time when his band was clearly churning out crappy albums just to fulfill a record contract, it appeared as if Peter never forgot what made him want to do this in the first place. In short- Peter Buck defines rock & roll to me.
I had to get this freaking record. Not only because I expected it to be great, and because Corin Tucker (of Sleater-Kinney) and Mike Mills (of R.E.M.) are on it, but because this was a vinyl-only release limited to 2000 copies. I’m leaving for the northwest in about a week and am not planning to take my record player with me.
I had to drive about an hour to get to Vintage Vinyl, the nearest record store that had a copy in stock. (oh, Brooklyn, how I miss thee.) I brought some unlikable CDs and old DVDs to exchange for credit, and hunted around the shop for my record. I had to ask for help finding it, and the VV employee and I searched for several minutes before looking up and seeing RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR FACES. I literally jumped in the air with delight! Might have squealed, too. I also picked up a CD copy of The Odds by The Evens, Ian MacKaye’s latest project (full circles, friends).
After I left the store, I met a friend for a movie and coffee. As much as I loved spending time with her, I couldn’t stop thinking about my new LP, and how badly I wanted to go home and listen to it. It was like a date. I had driven a long way and spent half the money in my wallet to get this record, and I couldn’t enjoy it until I got home and set up my record player. With most bands releasing their tunes in mp3 format available for instant download that you can burn, stream, an listen to anywhere, I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so much anticipation for an album. This is the way my parents must have felt when new Yes albums came out.. right?
I was able to listen to my new CD in my car (which has a BOOMIN sound system) on the long ride home, but I was still thinking about Peter Buck. **Also, thinking about how my new Bad Religion record must have been delivered to my brother’s apartment by now and how badly I want to snatch that baby up. Ahem.**
Even though I got home really late, I unpacked my record player and speakers, lit candles in my parents’ basement, and opened a bottle of red wine. I’m guessing that most people don’t think that buying a new record is an occasion that warrants opening a good bottle of wine.
Every day I thank god I’m not one of THEM.
My doubts that this LP would come with a digital dl code was affirmed the minute I looked at the liner notes, which read:
“This is analog music: recorded and mixed on magnetic recording tape… mastered by Rick McMillan onto a half-inch Scully deck at 30 ips; and finally cut to lacquer disc… utilizing a custom-made tape machine that requires no digital conversion.”
There ya go. I sat on the floor, plugged my decent headphones into my crappy speakers (there was no way I was going to listen to even one note on decaying audio equipment), and listened to the whole thing. Occasional pauses were made to take low-res photos of myself to document the event.
<3 <3 <3 Everything about this album supported my belief that this dude just freaking LOVES making music. Except, perhaps, the track titled “Nothing Matters.” That’s just plain bad. I appreciate its placement at the end of side 1 so that it’s nice and easy to skip over from now on. <3 <3 <3
I like this.
Evidently, I was so awestruck by the record that I forgot to blow out the candles. Mom left me a note this morning.