dirtbagdarling

Running, Photo Journal

Ultra Training around Mount Baker

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Becca and I are training for a 50k in December. Our schedule said to run 20 miles on Saturday so we pieced together a route that did just that yesterday near Baker. I’ve done pieces of this trail before but never in good weather.  This Saturday was absolutely perfect having this sunny day on the one day out of the weeks of rain ahead.

It’s crazy that just one year ago I was recovering from an ankle injury that kept me from running for months. Last November I started a little group that would run (just one mile a day) for every single day of November. I also was signing up for 3-5 mile trail races and finding it incredibly tough. I loved them but at the same I couldn’t see past the idea of just running that distance. 

I have always found the idea of running an ultra distance impossible. Now one year later and back to back half marathons in the mountains along with a couple 20 mile races, here we are! We have to run around 20 miles every Saturday followed by 10ish every Sunday and a couple runs during the week. It’s amazing what is possible for your body and what is possible for your mind when you truly want something. I am not fast, I don’t care about being faster, but I do care about experiencing joy on a long run. At this moment in my life, 20-30 miles is a long run. The joy I get from long days in my favorite places is exactly where I want to be and what makes me the happiest.  

 

Saturday we met at 5:30am to head towards Mount Baker. We started to head up the Chain Lakes trail which was breathtaking having Mount Shuksan behind us and Mount Baker in front of us. Then we trekked over to Ptarmigan Ridge for awhile before we saw a gorgeous green lake off to the left of us so of course we had to go there. After that we headed back to Ptarmigan on our way to the Glacial Route trail. Weather moved in so we made our way back to finish the Chain Lakes loop then to the Goose trail only to find our way back at the parking lot with 17 or 18 miles.  

Even though Becca had a bad ankle roll at the end of our day we knew we had to get 20. We made tons of loops around the parking lot till we hit 20 and that is always the best feeling. It’s hard to see that you’re almost there then settle for something below your goal.  

So there is beauty I’m finishing strong. 

There is beauty is the journey:) 

Here is Becca, Hamlin and Nate heading up the Chain lakes trail

Here is Becca, Hamlin and Nate heading up the Chain lakes trail

📸: Nate Brown

📸: Nate Brown

Becca and I on a little patch of snow on the Ptarmigan Ridge trail

Becca and I on a little patch of snow on the Ptarmigan Ridge trail

Runnable spaces. 📸: Nate Brown

Runnable spaces. 📸: Nate Brown

We looked to the left and far this lake and so grateful we took a side trail to get a little close

We looked to the left and far this lake and so grateful we took a side trail to get a little close

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 📸: Nate Brown took this of me frolicking in the way back to Ptarmigan 

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📸: Nate Brown

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my favorite kind of trail

Gorgeous views of baker  

Gorgeous views of baker  

Layers  

Layers  

Becca and I taking a look at the parking lot we still needed to run to.  

Becca and I taking a look at the parking lot we still needed to run to.  

Running

Death and Running to Heal

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People love to run. People hate to run. I don't realize how much I love running until it's placed in front of me. 

I got sober 4.5 years ago when shit got real, when I had either two choices. Die a slow death of living as an alcoholic or get sober. You obviously know which one I chose and it saved my life. Everything I have today including my emotional and spiritual health is due to my sobriety. I went to a memorial last weekend for a friend of mine who got sober at the same time as me. About a year ago I asked her about things and why I hadn't seen her around outside of teaching yoga and she told me a story about how her new (relapsed) way of living was working for her and everything was great... Fast forward to a week ago she was taken from this disease and it hurts my hurt whenever this happens.

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The memorial was beautiful and she has so many people that love her. Pastor Ryan said something that really stuck with me. It was something along the lines of "I am not here to tell you where Madeline went...I don't  know what happens once you die, I know you already know a theory or two but I do know about life. I do know that we ALL have an expiration date and we will all die, but what I do know about is how to LIVE. Everyone knows that they will die but do they know how to truly LIVE".

My friend Tiffany and I had a sunset trail-race directly following the ceremony (like 40 minutes to leave, change, and get in line at the race. It was the Bridle Trails Winter Festival Race and it was everything from 5 miles to Ultra distances. I just signed up for the 5M as I was sick all last week and hate doing loop courses. We both went from memorial to run and oh was it exactly what we needed. We were emotionally heavy after the ceremony and once we started running it was just BLISS.

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Running has that way to just let you forget all the things that clog your mind...or at least work through them. I am currently getting ready to run a marathon in Bend, Oregon this coming April! The month before in March, I am joining a Run Like a Girl retreat to Costa Rica and I can hardly wait! Through my toughest times, running always helped save me. I need to continue to do it to remind me how to LIVE.....and live fully. 

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Minimalism

recognizing our ‘fantasy self’

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i struggle with trying to find purpose in life. my mind turns faster than my movement. i am impulsive. when i am having a ‘down’ day, i start to crave things. i want to buy things that i do not need to help fill up the ego of my fantasy self.

can you think of a way you feed your fantasy self? a fantasy self is the side of yourself that you see in your “goals”.

let’s see - someday i will accomplish blah blah and my future enriched self will wear this item, she will use this camera and she will definitely need such and such for the vacation she hasn’t bought yet.

she will buy that vacation - don’t worry, she’s just busy saving now.

she will keep clothes that don’t fit her because someday she will lose the weight and fantasy self can step back into those small flattering jeans - maybe.

 

but maybe when we reach that fantasy self, fantasy self won’t even want to wear those old fucking jeans. maybe fantasy trip to italy is no longer even in her mind and now wants a trip to greece. maybe fantasy self doesn’t need a dslr because her iphone is taking fantastic pictures - and it’s oh so compact.

 

what i’m getting at is this - we hold on to possessions and ways of being to support some fantasy version of who we wish to be. but we forget who we are.

right now.

i mean right at this moment.

 

we’re so busy thinking about the anxieties of who we want to become...maybe we should take a step back and see what’s happening at this moment. what if we focus on living one day at a time. maybe we create boundaries on our idea of fantasy self and start to truly high five our whole self, the one who we get to be every moment of right now.

 

 

that’s where i’m at right now. i recently bought a new camera on an off week which was last week. last week i was envisioning how i would feel with this specific camera. i loved it for how small and efficient it was. i obsessed about it. i watched a million youtube videos on it and when i got it, i was excited. it’s less than a week later and i want to return it because i realize how much i already love my big and heavy dslr.

 

our emotions are so tricky. when we are down,  we sometimes imagine how much better our day would be if fantasy self had a new item to add to our sad day....when in reality sad days pass and no amount of material possessions will cure that feeling for longer than a moment.

 

i’m trying to live without regret. i know that i must return this and i will feel better financially. i know that last week i was just having a down week and that it’s okay to have it. i can’t run from my feelings but i can acknowledge them.

 

things i am working on:

 

  1. return impulsive items that do not serve my reality self.
  2. when i have the chance - get out into nature, it’s free and always makes my day better.
  3. try to go to yoga 4-5 times a week and have the intention of “ground down”.
  4. spend more meaningful one on one time with my love.
  5. don’t watch the news - don’t give my opinion on the news - as i don’t believe everything the media suggests we believe in.
  6. give away all items of clothing that are either too big, too small or don’t match who i am today.
  7. ask friends and family to no longer gift me material objects but experiences instead.
  8. build savings account
  9. keep all of my clothing for my company, Choose Mountains in a storage unit. keeping work separate from home is very important for me right now.
  10. daily gratitude lists
  11. only surround myself with positive people that bring joy to my life
  12. stop worrying about what people think of me
  13. take more photographs
  14. buy replacement pieces for broken things, rather than buy entire new items, especially when things can be fixed!
  15. take workshops or classes for things i’d like to learn.

 

i believe we are all on different journeys and my journey may be quite different than others reading this. i think it’s great to always check in with yourself and make sure you are living and thriving within the reality of who you are today and not daydreaming of who you wish to be in the future. it’s a beautiful thing to water the grass we already stand on, then wish it looked like our neighbors lawn.