Category Archives: Life

Best (and Worst) of 2015

I haven’t felt like writing/blogging/stream of consciounessing for a while. I’ve been kind of bummed about how long recovery is taking me. My legs haven’t felt “good” in quite some time, and I’ve been battling just a twinge of post tib tendinitis (Thanks, Leah Sawyer for the help with that!) I have barely averaged 20 miles a week (until last week), and this really affected my mental/emotional state. I think I need at least 40 miles a week to feel good and like a normal person. So, to get me out of my funk, and since it’s the end of the year, I decided to compile a list of my running/racing/RD’ing bests from each ¬†month this year. And with the bests must come the worsts, right?

JANUARY

Best: RunWILD Tour of Trails begins (still time to sign up for NRC‘s 2016 training! #shamelessplug); running Bearwaller Gap for first time

beaman new

Worst: Having to DNS Mountain Mist 50K

FEBRUARY

Best: Black Warrior 50K (sub-5 hr); fun runs in the snow

Worst: The Ice Storm postponing Dry Creek

ice storm

MARCH

Best: Taking the RunWILD group down to River Gorge (come run it with us this year!)

river gorge

Worst: March was pretty good . . . so I guess it’d have to be the soreness from RunWILD’s St. Patty’s Day “Hill Repeats”? ūüėČ

APRIL

Best: Boston – experience (being there with my mom, the race environment, seeing Bree in Boston obvs) and marathon PR; meeting Sage Canaday

sage

Worst: April was pretty good month . . .

MAY

Best: Strolling Jim suffer fest; Running at Frozen Head for the first time

strolling jim 2

Pre-Strolling Jim ass kicking w/ Jobie

Worst: the day after Strolling Jim. I couldn’t leave my house because stairs must descended to do so.

JUNE

Best: Running in the big boy mountains of Idaho and solidifying my love of the West

IMG_0792

Worst: DNF-ing River of No Return 108K where the big boy mountains chewed me up and spit me out. Not even Little Red Riding Hood could get my ass in a good enough space to continue that race.

JULY 

Best: Pulling the trigger on signing up for a 100; Bowie Park race having record numbers

Worst: Pulling the trigger on signing up for a 100; losing my key on the Bowie course and spending hours “sunbathing” in the parking lot waiting for help

AUGUST

Best: RunWILD: Hot, Wet, & Wild started; knocked out my annual 5K @ Tomato

tomato

Worst: hardcore face-planting at Beaman during our first RunWILD run from which I still have the scarred up knees

SEPTEMBER

Best: Running in Chamonix (and London, Paris, Cinque Terre, and Rome); I’ve wanted to live and just run in the mountains ever since I went westward last year, but running here really made me fall in love.¬†#movemetoColoradoorBendASAP

IMG_1434

Worst: Leaving Chamonix

OCTOBER

Best: Defeated Creek — this was my baby race of the year. Thankful to NRC and others (Phil, Duane) who helped me bring this to fruition in just the way I/We envisioned when setting foot out there for the first time. Having such a big group at StumpJump; Mini Tour de Rouge (when we doing 10, Jeff and Jobie?)

stump jump bathroom

StumpJump bathroom pic

Worst: The nerves prepping for Pinhoti

NOVEMBER

Best: Pinhoti 100 — probably the highlight of the year for me; Riverside Screw, duh.

start line

Worst: Recovery from Pinhoti; post race “blues” –> always hard to deal with for me no matter the race but extra bad for this one #WhyGodMadeBeer

DECEMBER

Best: Wrapping up a decent first year as RD with Peeler park; focusing on running with my own pups; slowly getting mileage up

Worst: Loss of fitness and speed from taking a little too much recovery

So, that’s my pretty boring yet incredibly self-indulgent Best/Worst of Running for 2015.

Stay tuned for my Goals for 2016 which is sure to be riveting.

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My Christmas Wishlist

In case anyone wants to get me something for Christmas, I’ve compiled my ultimate Christmas wishlist.

Private Dance Lesson from Channing Tatum (his hot wife can totally be in attendance)

channing tatum

To Be Yelled at by Nick Saban

SABAN-FREAKOUT (1).gif

A Scouting Trip to Bend, OR

bend

Three More Pairs of Lone Peaks 2.5

lone peak

Entry into Western States

wser.jpg

A National Championship

henry

To Be Serenaded by JT

justin timberlake jay z suit and tie

To Be a Part of This

adele

To Be Jenn’s Best Friend

jenn shelton

And Finally, Absolutely Anything Trail Running Related

 

Back Where I Come From

As someone with a personality of the¬†‚Äúgrass is greener‚ÄĚ, the next adventure is always better, my favorite race is always the next race, it can be hard to reflect on the past (unless, of course, I‚Äôm using it as training or motivational tool). I hadn‚Äôt been back home in over a year when I returned last week to drop Gyps off with her Pop¬†before leaving on our trip. Since it had been so long,¬†¬†I decided to take the time to reflect a little bit on my past . . . and what better way to do that than on a run.

Big-eyed fish

Big-eyed fish

I started my run as I had done for over ten years ‚Äď I ran out of my parents‚Äô driveway, out of their sleepy neighborhood, and onto the busy ‚Äúhighway‚ÄĚ. Before I had even warmed up, I passed the spot that was exactly 1.5 miles from home. I knew this without looking at my watch; this was my regular turnaround spot for years because who needed to run more than 3 miles at a time?

Standard view on my run for years

Standard view on my run for years

I did the loop where, when I felt froggy one day, I ran 5 miles for the first time ever . . . after which I thought I was going to die and was sure no one else had ever run that far. I ran past my old high school where I lived it up from 2000-2004. While there, I thought I had found my permanent identity, a hodgepodge of hippie/jock/nerd . . . and I guess that still stands in some form or fashion (mostly in the form of running. And the hippie part of me has calmed down a bit). I saw the softball fields that I thought would be my future and my ticket out of town.

Dear ol' high school . . . where the magic happened from '00-'04

Dear ol’ high school . . . where the magic happened from ’00-’04

All of these places and experiences shaped and molded the present day me — for better or for worse. For instance, my right arm will always be massively bigger than my left thanks to 10 years of pitching/softball. I recognize the importance of acting like everyone is watching because, well, they were. I appreciate the ‚Äúbig city‚ÄĚ of Nashville. On runs, I learned how to hurdle road kill, how to dodge trucks who think it‚Äôs funny to drive directly at you while you‚Äôre running, and how to answer cars that pull over asking ‚Äúdo you need a ride?‚ÄĚ.

"Downtown"

“Downtown” Alex City

Even though I won’t stop obsessing over what I’ll race next year or the next or where I’ll live in the future (looking at you, CO), it was a cathartic and cleansing visit to the past.

Shrine to me . . . or my parents' house

Future shrine to me . . . or my parents’ house

Things to Keep in Mind When Dating/Married to/Friend of/Parent to an Ultra & Trail Runner

  1. When we say we “need” to go for a run, we mean it. Whether it’s for sanity’s or training’s sake, we literally need to go run. After we get that run in, we’ll stop talking about it . . . until the next day. In that same vein, we may sometimes complain about HAVING to go for a run. Yes, we know we could technically “not go” . . . wait, actually no, we have to go. If we don’t, it’ll pick at us all day, everything will remind us of the fact we didn’t go, and we’ll be cranky and¬†miserable because of it.
  2. However long we say we’ll be gone on a run, it’s safe to add AT LEAST an hour or two. Sometimes, we fail to take into consideration travel time, bonk time, refueling time, or “we felt good so we just kept going” time.
  3. Grocery bills will increase along with our training. And yes, we are eating AGAIN.
  4. Friday nights are usually more tame than any other night of the week BECAUSE Saturday morning alarms for long runs are usually much earlier than week day alarms for work.
  5. Vacation time is still running time.
  6. We may accidentally leave wet shoes, dirty clothes, ¬†or sweaty hydration packs in our car from time to time which means it may smell like a dead body in there from time to time. We’ll also come home smelling like ass, covered in sweat, mud, and God knows what else. We promise we’ll take a shower and get back to our normal, sexy selves as soon as we peel ourselves up off the floor.
  7. We think about running . . . a lot. We follow obscure races and geek out over runners you’ve never heard of before. This only intensifies when we get around our ultra/trail running friends. Eventually, we will talk about other things; be patient with us.
  8. Ultrasignup can be a more dangerous website than Ashley Madison. If you see us on there, rein us in. We could easily sign up for 10 races in 10 different states at any given time if left to our own devices.
  9. We, at some point, will likely (literally) fall victim to our sport. We may twist an ankle, bruise/skin knees, pass out, need IVs, or piss blood. Yes, we know we brought this on ourselves. Still, listen to us talk about it again and again, tell us what bad asses we are, and try to spare us a lecture (until at least maybe the wounds and urethras are healed). We also realize you’re only concerned about us and appreciate and love you for it.
  10. We love our sport, and we love you. We also¬†understand that you, more than likely, are not obsessed with what we do¬†(or at least to the degree we are).¬†And that’s ok. However, nothing makes us happier than when you show an interest (even if feigned) or want to crew/support/spectate/talk running. That being said, it’s not always expected. We know we’re weirdos and are thankful you love us in spite of it.
Gratuitous Jenn and Tony pic

Gratuitous Jenn and Tony pic-photo cred: luis escobar

One of the Guys . . . and Girls

Anyone who knows me knows I love me some Anna Frost and that I follow her on every social media outlet (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tinder . . .).¬†So, basically, I’m instantly aware of any move Frosty makes. This held true¬†when Flora posted their new campaign featuring her, Stephanie Howe, and Krissy Moehl.

anna frost

And I was instantly pissed. Here were three incredibly talented, strong, bad ass women who were being vamped up (yes, I said vamp) to sell a product. Where were their dirty faces, running clothes, hydration packs, trucker hats, and other signs of their trail running awesomeness? Why would they try to eschew indications of their ferocity and strength for femininity and sexuality just to sell a product? And as I put my dress and makeup on for work the next day, I looked into the mirror and thought, “you bloody hypocrite.”

I have always loved being “one of the guys,” and this has definitely proven true with my¬†venture into trail and ultra running. My best running partners are guys and that’s who I feel more comfortable running with.¬†I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy runs with some girlfriends, but honestly, I’d rather¬†run with the boys. So much so that at East Nasty the other night, I ran faster than intended just so I didn’t have to run in a big group of ladies. I don’t mind conversations about clothes, nails, and boys, but I’d prefer them to be about running clothes, black toe nails, and Krar/Sage/Tony/Max. I want to geek out about all things trail running,¬†get muddy/dirty,¬†have completely inappropriate, NSFW convos, laugh about shits in the woods, ass water bottles, and dick chafing, and run hard. As I’m writing this, I realize how stereotypical and sexist I sound; if I want to, I can have all of these same conversations and experiences on runs with my female friends (looking at you, Donica and Jewly). And as much as I love my trucker hat, braids, and running shorts, I enjoy¬†getting all dolled up for work or outings.

Because, while trail running defines who I am on the inside, it doesn’t always have to define who I am on the outside. I can wear a skirt and still be taken seriously as an athlete.¬†And being a woman/girl doesn’t mean that I can only talk about kittens, rainbows, and unicorns. I can tell That’s What She Said jokes and drop the F word in every sentence if I want to. As women, we can be bad ass and beautiful, foul-mouthed and feminine, strong and sexy. So,¬†I am sorry group of East Nasty gals, Stephanie, Krissy, and Frosty, and to my gender in general. I am proud to be able to hang with (most of ) the guys, and I will always enjoy being one of them (or at least trying to be).¬†But I also love and embrace¬†being a¬†woman*¬†(all sternum jokes aside). And as a steward of trail running, I should love, embrace, and accept anyone who is awesome enough to get out on the trails.

*Side note — calling myself a woman kind of nauseates me as I still view myself as young enough to be considered a girl, but numbers don’t lie . . .

Top 30 Reasons Joy Travis is the Best Friend Ever

Everyone knows of David Letterman’s Top 10. Well, my best friend of 11 years, Joy Travis, turns 30 TOMORROW,¬†August 1. In her honor, this is my top 30 of why she’s my bestest friend ever.

30. ¬†We can go years or¬†months¬†without seeing each other and pick up exactly where we left off (albeit a little older and only slightly wiser) *fortunately, we no longer have to go years without seeing each other’s face.

29. She can rock Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” in karaoke like nobody’s business. Seriously, she was bought MULTIPLE shots for her performance in NOLA.

28. Speaking of NOLA, she’ll stay out on Bourbon Street until after 6am and then completely rally to be the best Maid of Honor/only Bridesmaid ever.

27. She completely understands my love of DMB and the Boss.

Dave-matthews-band

26. She’ll fly across country, schlep up to Jersey, spend an eternity converting a sunscreen bottle into a flask, and party her heart out at DMB caravan. To this day, it’s one of the best weekends of my life.

25. She knows the importance of “MAYDAY!”

24. She knows when to hide the Jack Daniels . . . and then where to find it months later.

23. She has your back when the woman at the Arby’s drive thru window tries to get sassy with you.

22. She was the co-creator of the short-lived game, Tot-zar.

21. She understands the importance of keeping a running “shit list” and how even the smallest of things can warrant placing someone on there. We’re still looking at you, girl in the library circa 2005.

20.¬†We can have complete and coherent conversations using only lines from HIMYM (Because we’re awesome).

Himym

19. She doesn’t judge you when you eat an entire tuna casserole by yourself . . . straight from the casserole dish.

18. She knows the correct pronunciation of “mozzarella” and “facebook”.

17. When you decide to leave your job in Florida and move back to Nashville, she’ll help you pack and then drive your car the entire 11 hours for you.

16. When you move back to Nashville and have nowhere to live, she lets you move in with her. And her mom makes you vegetable stew to take to work every day.

15. She drives an hour to come pick you and your dog up from a gas station after you’ve been in a wreck, totaled your car, and the cop just drops you off there.

14. She knows that, sometimes, if you turn your head really fast, you can see Abercrombie models in concert lights.

13. She understands that “Whiter Shade of Pale” ¬†can sometimes be confused as “Tears in Heaven”.

12. She doesn’t flip out on ¬†you when you decide to dye your hair in the shared bathroom and you (naturally) get the dye everywhere.

AreYouEffingKidding

11. She thinks taking pool balls from a fraternity party is hilarious . . . and she’s right.

10. She knows the importance of putting your “happy face.”

9. She understands the Mexican food and Dr. Pepper are the PERFECT Sunday food.

8. She gets that pizza and wine can fix just about anything.

7. She takes care of my girls at the drop of a hat anytime I ask her to.

6. In fact, she’s one of the few people in Gypsy’s “inner circle”

5. She indulges my existential, 1/3 life crises without judgement and with total understanding.

4. She’s put up with my crazy and my flakiness for 11 effing years.

3. Her texts help me get through life most days.

Himym (1)

2. She passes the front porch test with flying colors.

1.¬†She’s my person.

my person

Staying On Path — Literally

While running out at Percy on Saturday, I had the privilege of running with a group that has run thousands of miles out on those trails over many years. As we ran, Phil, Jeff, and Theresa kept pointing out how different the trails look compared to when they were first built. Anyone who’s run on the white trail in the past 6 months knows what a mess certain areas are. On both the white and red trails, what used to be single track is now double track and, and in some areas, is¬†wide enough to drive a car through. From this discussion, we started really paying attention to the trail as we ran. Sure enough, you could see the¬†original barriers ¬†. . . and the expanded trail¬†which¬†had been made around them. When the trails were built, these barriers were strategically placed to prevent erosion, protect vegetation, keep soil on the trail but have been basically rendered useless. In countless areas, we saw paths that had been “constructed” around trees or roots or muddy areas.

Obviously, over the years and with increased foot traffic, there’s going to be a little widening of the trail, but this is extreme. So what’s caused this? Go out whenever it’s rained or is muddy, and you’ll find your answer. Hikers and runners who don’t want to run through puddles or mud will circumvent the actual trail to avoid getting their shoes dirty. Granted, with the widening of the trails, it’s a little hard to tell where the original trail actually is, BUT if you’re stepping on vegetation — that ain’t it. If you don’t want to get muddy or dirty, it’s cool; stick to the roads. If you want to run trails, however, you have a responsibility to be a good steward of them. Take care of the trails that take care of you. Pay attention, and stay on path, even if it means you may have to wash your shoes.