31 years old

Running

When Your Biggest Fear is Running in the Mountains Alone

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Caption stolen from my Instagram on Friday:

 “Tomorrow I’m running in the only area that’s ever scared me. Might join a running group but also might do my own thing and keep it pretty chill. Janelle Mastain was with me.

We were lost on a trail far too long in one direction and looked at our map. No one else was on the trail for a mile or so and we turned around to head back to our destination. It was only a minute of two when I felt him behind me.

I freaked out in surprise and laughed because of it while i said hi to him because he literally came out of nowhere. He never said anything back.

Never looked at me. Just kept walking right behind us.

He was very intentional and not friendly.

All of a sudden her dog that loves everyone saw him and started barking like crazy at him and ran off ahead of us.

That was our sign.

We casually pretended to start running like that was our intention.

Within some time we looked back and he was running too.

We kept running and got to the destination and he was right behind us.

He sat on the ledge and was just staring at us at below his glasses.

Eventually a few mountain bikers made it to the top hooting and hollering(thank god) and the creepy guy started flinching and ran back into the trees.

I’ve always had that in my mind.

It’s changed my solo adventures.

Nothing happened yet my gut knew it was not right.

Anyway wish me luck tomorrow”

 

 

Let’s fast forward to today, it’s Monday and Hello!!! I’m still alive. That was something that happened about five and a half years ago and although nothing worse happened, it’s still in my mind. It still shows up randomly when I’m alone on a trail and I catch myself frantically looking over my shoulder. It’s sad that we humans have to watch out for each other as well as animals. I am 5’3 and an easy kill if anything ever wanted to, and my fearful pheromones probably put a big bullseye over me as well.

So Saturday I ran 13ish miles alone in the same area that that had happened. The first two miles I had mace in my hand. This might sound overboard for a lot of you but I watch way too much Forensic Files along with my previous story to enjoy myself alone in the woods. There was a time when I did enjoy it...before I was tainted with fear. Although I tell you about my fears, I never stop doing what I love but figured I’d share what honestly happens for me out there. If I’m alone, I usually choose popular areas to run. 

Anyway the first two miles started with mace in hand. Then I started seeing a lot of other runners and the mace slowly went back into my vest pocket. Slowly I started to lose the fear and just focus on one step at a time. 

My run was in Bellingham from the interurban trail -> the lost lake trail -> the rock trail -> the raptor ridge trail -> dans traverse trail -> the gravel road which takes me back to the interurban trail back to my car. It was amazing and I only fell twice, I only got bothered by horseflies once, and I brushed through stinging nettles and cursed the world. But I did it. Finishing things that scare me feels good. Trust me this is not some huge blogggable event, this is literally what I go through over and over again to get through these fears. Not a one time - accomplishment. This happens for me week by the week. 

 

Today I was supposed to do Mount Defiance with a girlfriend but she backed out while I was at work today and that’s always hard. I wish I had more girlfriends that would run with me throughout the week but I feel that most are way beyond my skill level or hikers that want to run but don’t run. 

So I’m getting ready to do a local trail loop which should suffice my training for the day and take it easy. This is a short blog for you but just a reminder that we all have fears, we all have stories that make us who we are today, but it is our choice to stop doing what we love because of fear, or to push through it anyway and feel the rewards by never giving up.

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Running

31 Miles, 31 Years of Life

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As I wrote that title, I literally said "Am I 31?" out loud alone at home on my couch just now. I mean is this what happens? You start to forget your age? I can't believe I just said that out loud and had to ask myself what my age was. I think since I've turned 30 I stopped thinking about my age. The time is also flying by so fast and I can't keep track of anything. 

Anyway what that title means is that I want to run 31 miles in a day by my next birthday coming this January. It feels so nice to sit down and write here again. With all the social media buzzing around, sometimes just writing more than a fucking paragraph feels like way too much work but I have to remember that anyone who is reading this actually wants to read about whatever it is I'm doing. If they didn't care - they wouldn't be here. If no one reads this, then that still doesn't matter as well! I think I just miss the days where i literally blogged twice, sometimes three times a week for 7 years. I can't believe I had that old blog forever. But like diaries, the moment I feel that an era has passed, I throw the diary away aka delete my old websites. 

I end up writing with too much detail that I look back and it feels embarrassing. 

In my last era of true blogging I wrote about running. It was 5 years ago and I was just starting to run. I recently got sober in July of 2013 and had a lot of thoughts, feelings I wasn't used to, and energy to expel. It truly changed me. In 2015 I joined a mountaineering group and stopped running as much because I was told that it would injure me for climbing. I was in a place where I just followed directions and thought ok sure, no more running. Training for climbing season was dreadful. I would spend that year carrying weight going up the same steep hikes over and over usually around North Bend. I climbed Baker and Rainier and that was great and all. Then a couple years ago I stopped training. I stopped climbing for the most part, and I started going on the fun hikes with beautiful views that I loved so much. I started becoming obsessed with packing lighter. Basically anything to get me as far away from mountaineering as possible. I started trading my hiking boots for trail runners. I got the vest, my bare essentials, and started running the flats and the downhills. 

This is still basically my life today and that's the happiest I've ever been. I remember the first couple years of sobriety was easy for me because I literally had no friends from having to cut out all the drunkies from my life....so I ran as much as I could and had nothing stopping me. I'm in a similar place today - except today I surround myself with other runners to push in the direction of my dream.

 

When I first got sober I read the book called Eat & Run by Scott Jurek and it was the sole reason for buying a pair of running shoes. When I used to climb, I would think about ultra runners stories and I would tell myself "Tiare people can run 100 miles in a day....you can walk up this mountain slowly while tied up to your friends". I could climb anything knowing that there were runners running miles that seemed absolutely impossible for me.

Some people here in Washington look at Rainier everyday and say to themselves, "Someday I'm going to climb that mountain."

For me: "Someday I am going to run an ultra."

 

That has literally always been my dream. I could always see Rainier as possible, I could see anything as possible.....but when it came to long distance running, I was backed in a corner thinking "not me. that is impossible for meeeeee,"

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So I'm 31 today and today I'm looking at this as POSSIBLE.

It makes my heart burst.

Nothing makes me more excited. I am not fast, I also don't care where I place or how long anything ever takes, but I do have passion and that is enough for me. 

This December 8th I signed up for my first 50k - the Deception Pass 50k and holy smokes I'm so excited. It will be one of the easier 50k's so that is why I chose it as my first. The area is absolutely beautiful and I will try to share my journey along the way, or you can follow me on my Instagram = @tiarevincent

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