forceofnature

Running

Sweat, Laughter & Pizza Rolls

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On March 28th I started my first run club with Salomon. I got a job as Community Marketing Manager for the PNW and since then, my life has turned into one happy pizza-roll eating party.

Before I got this position I was slanging shirts for Choose Mountains and dreaming about creating a run club. I was already wearing Salomon vests, shoes and was an ambassador. When I heard they were expanding to the northwest and needed someone to do community events, it only seemed right to jump on that.

Boy, has it just filled my heart. I now have an opportunity to create a run club that I have always wanted but I get to share my favorite brand by letting others demo the shoes for our run.

Naturally by nature I am shy. I feel like when I’m in a position to lead, I can show up fully and be my best self but if I’m not the lead, I will always let others take over most conversations so I was nervous at first. On my first day, 25 people showed up and I was like “shit, this is amazing!!!”. Since then it’s been a big party. Everyone that shows up I now consider a friend and they make my job easy.

I’ve seen people who have never run before show up. I have seen people get faster and faster over time. I’ve also seen someone fall and have a bad ankle sprain and everyone come together to help get her safely off the mountain. More than anything I see people come together and forget whatever’s going on outside of the evening together. I slang 90’s mom snacks from my mom van after every run (pizza rolls, pop tarts, watermelon and drinks) and everyone just belongs. 

I haven’t been updating this blog at all, but know I’ve been busy making friends and watching this community grow. If you have fear when wondering if you should come or not, just show up. Don’t worry about anything because we all have a place on the mountain and keep coming back and watch how fast you start to feel more comfortable.

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If you want to join, we meet on Thursdays at 6pm usually at a Trailhead around Tiger Mountain in Issaquah— here is the link to our fb group that has specific events:

Salomon Run Club Page

I promise you will have fun! Buttttttt you must show up with an open heart!

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Running

Finishing My First Ultramarathon

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I didn’t write a post directly following my race. So here I am now, sitting in an airport getting ready to meet my boyfriend in Sunriver, Oregon and figured this is a great opportunity for a follow up.

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I can’t believe despite my injury, I finished that race. I felt like it went as perfect as it could have gone. The first 20 miles were pretty relaxing and I kept a pace that would allow me to save my energy and ENJOY the race in its entirety. As you know from the previous post, I chose the Deception Pass 50k through Rainshadow Running. There was only 4500 ft of gain which was nice to keep it runnable  and not toooooo much up and downhill which  benefited me since having that knee problem. I stayed with Becca for the ENTIRE race as well. That was really the best part. Sometimes we’d talk for awhile, made some friends around us, other times we ran in silence trying to keep our groove and mind right.  

My boyfriend drove Becca and I which allowed us to tear up watching “How to run 100 miles” for the millionth time on the car ride down. That is my goal. I would love to run 100 miles someday. When I first got sober I was obsessed with Scott Jurek, Rich Roll and Dean Karnazes. I read books about ultrarunning continuously before I even fathomed the idea of running more than 10 miles. 10 miles was a lot for me in 2013. In my mind, an ultra was IMPOSSIBLE. In 2013 I would run every single day. It was usually only 3-7 miles but I did it. I didn’t know about headlamps or reflective gear and I found myself only running in the dark. See- I was a party animal so when I stopped drinking and doing drugs I found myself restless in the evenings. Evenings were usually my time to party with people I barely knew and now I was left alone. I cut everyone out to stay healthy. With no friends and restless evenings - I found myself running after the sun went down, fired up by adrenaline and loving every moment of it. I would listen to all those books via audiobook so that I didn’t have time to think about anything else on a run and keeping me forever inspired. I think addicts make great atheletes because if we stop the very thing that we loved most (destroying our bodies with drugs/alc.) then we have to channel all that addictive energy somewhere. So that’s what I did. I ran. All I could think about was running. I’m not the fastest and I didn’t care how long I ran, I just know that I always felt better after it was completed.

in 2015 I stopped running because I started mountaineering and everyone in the course kept telling me to stop because running hurts your knees and it would ruin climbing so I just followed directions. I climbed a couple volcanoes that year and realized that I hate carrying 45 pounds on my back and moving slowly. Climbing never got my heart rate up and I found myself constantly hating the process of training. When I would climb with the group I would just tell myself to go one step at a time and think about the runners I’d read about. I would think ‘if they can run for a hundred miles, I can walk up this goddamn mountain’ :) the climbing happened, it was fun to get summits, eventually I started rock climbing and that was fun too. None of this lit me up inside the way running did. I used to think that damn, I could run this mountain and get some of these summits in a day with a lighter pack. It would be the best- no camping, no heavy gear, no freezing to death, and I would enjoy this more. 

I left that group two years later and since then, the thing that fills my life with joy is to go light and fast(faster than walking at least:) 

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Our 50k was a blast, the last 10 miles hurt. My knee started acting up around mile 20 and I just slowed my pace. I started to count my steps when my mind wouldn’t stop rolling, eventually I got back into the groove of things. When we both passed 26.2 we cheered for ourselves in excitement since we’ve never even ran a marathon before. The last two miles of the race felt as long as the first 20 but knew how excited we were to almost be done. Derek met us at an aid station that we passed a few times and along with the finish line which made my whole day.

Finishing the race was the best feeling in the world and man my knee hurt. I accomplished my goal of a 31 mile race while I’m 31 years old. Within one week, Becca and I signed up for the Sun Mountain 50 miler this coming May. It was a personal accomplishment since I first got sober.  I realize now that I am capable of going farther. Capable of anything as long as I keep enjoying the journey.

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Running

Tomorrow is My First 50k!

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Or will it be? HA I’ve been dealing with patellar tendinitis and can tell there are some hidden gems of unknown pain hiding throughout the solar system of my left knee. it’s funny how this happens. Last summer a few weeks before my first trail marathon, I severely sprained my ankle getting groceries out of the car that were supposed to be my groceries for climbing El Dorado Peak the following day (also a mountain I still have yet to climb).

i can have a super great healthy year and always, right before the race, I get injured. People tell me that I shouldn’t be running injured and blah blah blah but I’m sort of in a state right now of: “If I can run, I’ll try”. I can run — I just know that after tomorrow I’ll need to pull back and get more serious.

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In the last couple months I’ve seen massage therapists, a PT, my chiropractor, as well as trying cryotherapy, buying a buff gun thingy....and have been using band work to strengthen the knee. It’s all hit or miss and sometimes I feel okay but if there is a hill going up or down, game over.

What a great deal that 31 miles only has 4400 ft of gain tomorrow? I’m just hoping to finish. I’m just hoping to make it before cutoff....but if I need to drop out tomorrow, I will.

It’s no big deal.

I run because I love to run. When I’m healthy, I find myself signing up for all these races because I’m feeling good and then when the time comes down to it, I wonder why I do this so often.

But one thing about me is that I never give up. It’s almost best that I don’t care what happens tomorrow because for me, when I stop having expectations - I have more fun. I’m a creature of strong anxiety before ANYTHING that I do. My friends know not to even talk to me about a race or climb a week before we do something because they already know how bad my anxiety gets me. Before I climbed Adams this past summer I was telling them that I’d never climb again and that it’s not for me. I’m silly.  

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So here’s a blog to tell you hi! I’m attempting my first 50k tomorrow and I give no fucks and grateful to just show up and do what I love. The cool thing is that I’m not here to impress anyone - I’m not here to prove I can do this, I already know that I can. Let’s see if my body will let me:) 

(side note: I forgot to say that it’s the Deception pass 50k here in Washington)

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.