Tag: Mt. Shasta

Love Hurts: Headwaters Ultra 50K Race Review

My day started out as usual. Woke up at 6, ate my typical pre-long run breakfast of toast, almond butter, honey and banana and washed it down with some strong espresso. I was really pleased to look out the window and see that my prayers had been answered. The hazy smoke from nearby wildfires that was building up in the sky all week had miraculously blown out of Shasta. It was an exceptionally beautiful day for a trail race.

Before I left my house for the starting line at Lake Siskiyou, I gave myself a middle school-style temporary sharpie tattoo on my upper arm.

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Because I neglected to snap a photo of it before the race, credit goes to my friend Jason, one of many wonderful volunteers who made the race so much easier for us runners. This was taken at Aid Station 3/4, right after I shoveled some PB&J and watermelon into my sweaty, salt-encrusted face. Since I was certain not all of it got into my mouth, Jason was so kind as to keep my head out of the photo :)

Leif is the owner of the mountain shop that I work at, and has been in critical condition for the past few weeks. It’s been a really difficult and intensely emotional time for those of us who work at The Fifth Season as well as many members of this beautiful community. Leif is a very strong and driven man who many of us look up to as a father-figure rather than simply just a boss. Although it’s been a tough time for all of us, the love and support that this community has provided is thoroughly heart-warming and makes me feel so grateful to be here. I figured dedicating my first 50K to Leif was the very least I could do. In fact, it helped me to finish.

I started off strong. Maybe too strong. For all the long runs I’ve done, I honestly have never pushed my body so hard that I found its breaking point. I decided that Saturday was my opportunity to really see what I could do. I didn’t want to bring my GPS watch because I didn’t want to know how fast I was going, I just wanted to listen to my body and focus 100% of my energy on finishing the race as fast as I possibly could.

At the starting line, I ran into our Smartwool rep, who I had met at the shop the day before. We had joked that I was going to pack a sleeping bag so that I could nap comfortably at the finish line while I waited for him. So, of course, my nickname for the day became “sleeping bag.” Hated it/couldn’t do anything about it/learned to love it.

I pushed really hard for the first few miles just to establish a spot for myself. That spot happened to be among a pack of alpha males that included Smartwool. After running together for the first several miles, it became clear that they were all pretty well seasoned ultrarunners, one of whom was chatting casually about trying to win a silver in a very famous 100 mile race. That’s where I found myself. Little newbie blonde girl’s gonna try to keep up with the big boys.

When they slowed down to walk up a hill that I knew was nothin compared to the hills to come, I decided to push past and jog up it with the short stride, high cadence approach. Clearly, being expert ultrarunners, two of the big dudes immediately began critiquing my technique, referring to it as the “granny shuffle.”

“Hey,” I yelled back at them, “this feels so easy, I might as well be reclining in a La-Z Boy!”

Not only did that shut em up right quick, I also heard one say, “Shit, I can’t believe I got chick’d so early in a race.”

He got chick’d. I LOVE IT!

But they were right. I was pushing at an unsustainable pace. They flew ahead of me at the first aid station, and I didn’t hear their hoots and hollers again until I hobbled across the finish line, greeted by giant smiles and hugs.

Why was I hobbling instead of running? Somewhere around mile 22ish, I busted my right foot. I just had it x-rayed yesterday, and definitely have a stress fracture in my second metatarsal, which is evidently a common injury for ultrarunners. I blame myself and my shoes for this injury. I’d been training on the race course, and knew that my old, beat-up barefoot Merrells weren’t nearly enough to protect my footsies from all the rocks on the course. I tried to order myself a new pair of trail shoes with some cushioning and a rock plate, but the delivery failed, twice, and I had no choice but to use what I had. I suspected it might be a problem, and I only made that worse by bounding down a rocky slope at full-speed before I reached the halfway point of the race.

It was straight-up masochistic and egomaniacal, and I paid the price.

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I love my feet.

Every time I set my right foot down, I felt searing pain. After 9 or 10 miles of this, including a second trip down the rocky slope I had totally killed the first time, my pride hurt just as much as the foot. I worked so hard to stay ahead for the first 2/3 of the race, and now suddenly people were passing me.

As they ran past and saw that I was limping, other runners would try to cheer me up, but I wanted nothing to do with it. I was angry at myself and on the verge of tears, but I kept going. There was no effin way I was going to drop out of that race.

I kept fuming silently, and occasionally crying out loud, until about half a mile before the finish line. Somewhere around this point, I realized that I was about to finish my first ultra. The notion brought a smile to my face that stayed with me until I dragged my gimpy ass across the finish. My time was 7:05 and change, which I’m pretty pleased with, considering the circumstances.

I set out to challenge myself and find out what my body can do. It was the first time I ever finished a race feeling like I couldn’t go on any further, and that feeling is intensely satisfying. Mother nature beat my swollen ego back into place and taught me that I am NOT, in fact, a superhuman. My body is breakable, although my spirit sure as hell ain’t.

The best part of all, is that while I was relaxing with some beer and pasta after the race, apologizing to all the passing sweethearts that I had growled at in my painful, self-loathing misery during the last leg, the dude I made the La-Z Boy comment to called me a STUD. This, to me, made it all worth it. I will break a foot any day to have a gorgeous, tall, broad-shouldered, athletic male ultrarunner call ME a stud. Instant ego re-inflation, my friends.

I will be back on the trail in about 6 weeks, or whenever my bone is healed up.

I don’t know much, but I do know this: with a golden heart comes a rebel fist

… I can’t help agreeing with those that would not quit.

In less than two days, I will run my first ultramarathon.

The past several weeks have been intense, fun, hellish, painful, liberating, terrifying and astoundingly transformative. I’ve observed my body and mind undergo drastic changes throughout the three months I’ve spent training for the Headwaters Ultra 50K. I’ve lost 10 lbs since June, and my legs are finally starting to resemble the powerful, sinewy structures they once were.

More impressive, though, is the attitude adjustment I went through very recently. A couple of weeks ago, I had a full-on anxiety attack about this race. I was convinced that I had somehow messed up my training schedule. The one 26 mile run I was supposed to do turned into an 18 miler due to an extensive hunt for spring water in this awful drought. My morning runs before work were embarrassingly slow despite all my effort. Everything was WRONG! I was doubting myself and feeling scared. I started telling myself I couldn’t do it… again

You see, this is the second 50K I’ve registered for. I had a similar freakout moment before my first one, and ended up dropping down to the 25K version of that race. Although it was probably a good idea overall, being my very first trail race and everything, I’ve never felt proud of that decision. I guess you could say it haunts me a little bit.

But then, everything changed.

Everything.

I started listening to my friends, who would praise and support my dedication to running. I would respond with, “anyone could do it, you just have to want it!”

When I took a new friend on her first 3 mile run ever, I assured her that, “your body is so much stronger than your mind wants you to believe!”

Meanwhile, I was telling everyone else: “I won’t place in this race. I’m a slow runner. I’m not ready for this. I’m SOOOO out of shape. blah blah blaaaaaahnegativeblah.”

I was pulling tarot cards that represented false illusions and unhealthy habits, wondering who was trying to dupe me… but then I realized that I was encouraging everyone else to try to do something that I was clearly afraid of failing at, miserably.

Then I was all like, “oh honey, dat don’t make NO SENSE!” and I slapped myself. Real good. Then, my tarot cards started representing courage, triumph, and adventure.

Conveniently, this attitude adjustment lined up with my body finally falling into athlete mode, and I was running like a goddamn gazelle. It just happened. Like BAM!

I decided to deviate from my training “plan” and go out for 26 miles on a week I was supposed to be taking it easy. I ran most of the course, through a thunder-hail storm, and did NOT stop or turn around despite all my wilderness guide training that told me to get the eff away from all those trees and lightning. I was very nervous, but I pressed on, and I finished strong.

Watch the weather change
Watch the weather change

 

It was intense, but I feel happy. I’m ready. It’s go time. In less than two days, I’m going to run my first ultramarathon, and I’m going to fucking rock it.

 

To see farther, climb higher

 

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The view from Mt. Eddy summit, looking down on Black Butte (the little peak in front of Shasta)!

It’s been quite a while since I last updated this blog. That’s only because I’ve been directing all of my energy toward a major transition (yes, another one).

Shasta is just so utterly, undeniably wonderful- I decided that I wanted to move here indefinitely. Oddly enough, I meet people with similar stories almost every day. People who came to Shasta for a visit and have now been here for over 15 years.

They say Mt. Shasta is an energy vortex. She either sucks you in or spits you out. Well, I guess I got sucked right in, because within a couple weeks of falling in love with this place, I was able to find a sweet job at the coolest mountain shop in town, a great room to rent on a homestead, and an amazing group of new friends.

A double layer of icing on that cake- my room has green shag carpet and there’s an ultramarathon happening only a few miles from where I live!

But it hasn’t been all hunky dory over here. With all of these changes occurring in my life, I was starting to feel a little out of control. A little frazzled. A little bit like I needed to start training for a race!!!

Honestly, the moment I learned about the Headwaters Ultra, I was 100% convinced that I was meant to be in Shasta. I’ve found Home.

Training for my very first 50K has helped me restructure my life and stabilize myself in this amazing new place. It forces me to take very good care of my health, to wake up early every day, and to spend hours running through the mountains, breathing fresh air and drinking wild water from mountain springs. It teaches me to quiet my mind and focus my energy on moving forward. It provides me with the confidence that I can, in fact, commit to something that I love even though it hurts and sometimes keeps me from doing other fun things. It gives me perspective.

Every other week I do a long run exceeding twenty miles, which always proves to be a transformative experience. Spending several hours running through the wilderness makes me feel completely at peace and madly in love with the mountains, while simultaneously making me feel like a savage beast who can rip your face off with my teeth. Sometimes I get hungry enough to do so.

This past long run took me up Mt Eddy, one of the beautiful mountains I admire every day. I parked at Lake Siskiyou and ran a few miles down North Shore Rd before getting on the Sisson-Callahan Trail. By the time I got to the end of that trail, I was about a half mile from turning around. I had planned on only going 24 miles, but some tourists I spoke to told me that I was only about a half hour hike from Mt. Eddy summit. There was no way I was going to turn around that close to the top. No_effing_way, baby. That is NOT my style.

So, I added a couple miles to my route. I ran out of water on the way up the summit and had to beg for a bottle. I was almost late for dinner. But all of these things were worth it for the incredibly spectacular views from the top!

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I could have gone down to Deadfall Lakes and refilled my water bladder at a spring, but the summit was too tempting. Maybe next time, lakes.
You can see Lake Siskiyou, my starting point, in the distance. THIS IS WHERE I LIVE!!!
You can see Lake Siskiyou, my starting point, in the distance. THIS IS WHERE I LIVE!!!

 

Starting point: Lake Siskiyou, 3,185 feet

Turnaround point: Mt. Eddy Summit, 9,037 feet

When I say I “ran,” I mean I power-hiked up and actually ran down. That’s just how I do. Hell yes!

What danger is there if you don’t think of any?

I have a truly horrible sense of direction, but I hear that getting lost helps you find yourself. One sunshiny day last week, I woke up feeling hungry for adventure.

About twenty minutes of internet research had me set on hiking the Castle Crags Dome Trail. I remember reading about Castle Crags in Cheryl Strayed’s book, Wild, and the view of the crags from I-5 is pretty stunning. I was stoked.

The Crags! Heavily edited.
The Crags! Heavily edited.

(more…)

YES! I aM Crazy! It’s LiBerating, you should Try it!”

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.

*high five*

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.

This is me and the new friend I met at my pre-race breakfast, talking about how slow we're about to "run"
This is me and the new friend I met at my pre-race breakfast, talking about how slow we’re about to “run.” Forgetting my shades was a major mistake.

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

Dang
Dang

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.*

POW POW

Post-yoga open mic bar blog

wikikundalini

Tonight I went to my very first Kundalini yoga class. I was soooo excited to see that Mt. Shasta hosts donation based Kundalini classes. It’s something I’ve been wanting to try for years, but Kundalini classes are rare and hard to find (especially on the East coast).

One of the distinguishing factors of Kundalini compared with other types of yoga is that it focuses more on breathing, chanting and moving energy than other types of yoga that are more asana-based.

I’ve been practicing yoga for a loooooong time now, almost 10 years, and I feel thoroughly unfulfilled by classes that treat yoga as a fitness regimen. I especially can’t stand classes that use the same boring sequence of movements over and over… I would honestly much rather get Ripped in 30 with my Jillian Michaels DVD than take one of these classes.

For me, yoga is so much more than that, it’s about uniting my body and mind, leaving my anxiety at the door and LISTENING to my self. Increased flexibility and muscle tone are merely (killer) benefits. There are also numerous health benefits to practicing yoga that are actually way more important than the way it makes you look in yoga pants.

Fur example:

~ SPINE HEALTH! As we grow older, our vertebrae start to do nasty things like crush the cartilage cushions between them and even fuse together, but moving and twisting your spine in ways you probably wouldn’t even dream of during your typical work day can help keep your backbones nice and healthy.

~ KEPPIN da FLOW! The class I went to tonight targeted the movement of lymph. This is really important for immune maintenance because lymph fluid does NOT move on its own. Unlike our blood, which is propelled though our little vessels by our big, strong heart, moving lymph requires you to actually move. Yeah, sorry.. gotta do it. This, as I learned tonight, is particularly important for women, or anyone else that has boobs. Apparently, toxic lymph fluid tends to pool in the boobies, and everyone knows that stagnation makes us sick, right?

~ RRRRRELAX! Another great thing about yoga is that, if you’re doing it right, you turn your awareness inward and really feel your body in a way that we tend to ignore in our day-to-day lives. You took time out of your day and paid however much to take this yoga class, are you really going to waste it by worrying about what your going to make for dinner, what your significant other meant by that little comment, or, even worse… work? NO! This is your time. It’s like a nice hot bath, but better!

~ LET IT GO! This is related to the last one. When we get stressed out or upset, our muscles react. We tense our shoulders, clench our jaws, make our hands into fists. I have a tendency to roll my shoulders forward and cave in my chest. Classic heart-protective move. The major bummer is that our muscles often store these negative emotions like batteries, except the kind that drain power out of you rather than provide it. Imagine little stress ticks and leeches on your muscles, sucking out your power and feeding it to the negative tension that was created whenever that particular trauma presented itself. You don’t need this. Yoga is a way to get rid of these ticks and leeches; to release them in a safe place where you are totally loved and supported. Doesn’t that sound nice? Trust me, it is.. but only when it’s over.

Oftentimes, our worst memories are stored in the tightest, hardest muscle knots that we have, and the process of releasing them comes with a brief moment of re-experiencing those memories. While I wouldn’t say that hurts, it definitely isn’t comfortable. But after it’s gone, it’s GONE, and you feel so light, flexible and free. And one of my yoga teachers once said. “We can learn a lot by doing things that make us uncomfortable.”

That brings me to my final yoga benefit:

LEARNING YOUR BODY! and respecting its limits! How can you know how far you can bend if you don’t try? Practicing yoga is a great opportunity to find out what your body is capable of, and noting progress over time. And you never (or never SHOULD) feel pressured to push yourself beyond what your body is able to handle that day. Transformation is hard work, but oh so rewarding, and anyone can do it. Even within a single yoga class, I can feel the difference between beginning, middle and end.

Even if yoga isn’t your thing (and I would urge you to try a few different classes in different environments with different teachers before you decide it isn’t) please do SOMETHING to nourish your body, mind and soul. Move around! Breathe! Smile! Find love! BE LOVE! Punch the hippies! Think happy thoughts!

I’m going to sign off here because, as the title suggests, I’m enjoying some local acoustic musicians at Mt. Shasta’s oldest bar. Yo.

Guess who’s back?

Whooooa!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.