Tag: transitions

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!

(more…)

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!

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.