There hasn't been a lot of wandering around here as of late, but I like images like the one above to remind me of my natural tendency to explore. I have a growing list of winter destinations involving snowshoes and skis. But before the snow piles onto the trails I'd like to make it here and here.
My goal is to be well-rounded this winter and surround myself by others that want to get out in the cold and sometimes dark weather. I rarely mind the rain in the Pacific Northwest and I love the mystic energy that surges through Seattle in the winter. I always wonder why one might live in the PNW if they truly hate the weather. It's not that terribly unforgiving! Ok fine, sometimes it is. That's why it's good to stock up on canned goods and other non-perishable necessities like instant beer.
This time of year I could always use a little kick start to my running since the days are getting shorter and I am running mostly in the dark. What's better than a few links from around the web to keep you inside for even longer? Just kidding, I kept it short so you can get out the door and go running!
Justin is hyped about The North Face 50 that's less than a month away. I swear I get daily emails regarding minor details or excitement. This interview was a great conversation Justin had with Eric at Ultra Runner Podcast! It's 50 minutes, so grab a glass of red before you press play.
Every now and then in the abyss of running videos I stumble across a good one on youtube with depth. This video touches on the darkness of ultra running. I still haven't figured out what makes running addictive, but I liked this guys reflection.
This story blew my socks off!
What if everybody ran?
Justin is incredibly inclined to get more into climbing and combining it with running. This article had great unsolicited advice. I'm drawn to the mountains as well but I'm certainly not as bold as him. The day he races KIMA I will probably be on the sideline.
And lastly, mark your calendars for January 2nd!!
July has boasted itself as the most trail oriented month in my life. I felt like there were more races around the country (and the PNW) than any other month. Justin and I headed south to CA for the La Sportiva Table Rock 27k. One short week later Justin jumped into the White River 50-mile.
There has been a lot of hype recapping the White River 50-mile this past week - and for good reason! I couldn't be more proud of my husband Justin for winning his first 50-mile race in a high profile ultra. This race was easily one of the biggest running achievements of his career so far. This was my favorite post from the web (WA pride!):
My dad also ran the White River 50, although he had a dramatically different experience than Justin. At mile 15 he took a hard spill and sprained his hand. When he approached the mile 27 aid station he looked rough and was having trouble opening his GUs because of his swollen and lacerated hand. He had one hell of a day out on the trails and I could barely stand each minute waiting for him to reach each aid station, and finally the finish line. It was questionable at times and downright inspirational that he crossed the finish line. Thanks to Lesley Mcoubrey who kept in touch with the other aid stations via radio to track my dad. He finished in a solid 14:09! And then straight to the recliner post race...
I've mentioned before that Justin and I have a good massage exchange between the two of us with a regimented schedule of at least one massage per week. There is plenty of science backing the importance of massage for athletes, plus it feels good. I am a strong advocate for incorporating massage into a regular training routine. I've been perusing the net for a cheap massage bed... it's only a matter of time. But for now Justin and I are experimenting with different massage lotions and oils. Here are a few we've tried in the last month:
1. Fair Trade Shea Butter: My favorite so far. Unscented with no extra chemicals or crap incorporated. Justin thinks the smell is oddly nutty, but at least its natural. The firmness of the shea in the container keeps portion control easy when giving someone a massage.
2. Jojoba Oil: This works well for a five minute massage. But who likes five minute massages? The oil absorbs too quickly to make use of and I find myself going through a quarter of the bottle on one of Justin's calves.
3. Revita Stimulating Massage Cream: This stuff is horrible, don't buy it. It's beyond slippery and smells like battery acid. It's cheap for a reason.
4. Free-Up Massage Cream: This product is on the expensive side, but it also works really well. I noticed its used by many health practitioners. It works great and has the perfect combination of a smooth and gripping feel while massaging. The biggest downfall is that it has parabens.
In other news, Angel's Staircase was canceled. The wildfires in Central Washington are tragically horrific. This race has been the biggest target on our schedule this year but I'm hardly disappointed I can't run because of the loss others have suffered in the area. If you are able to donate, you can purchase one of Baylie Peplow's beautiful prints from Red Umbrella Designs. All proceeds go to fire relief. If you don't want a print you can always straight donate. I'm partial to the print on the left.
As I move forward into August I am letting my body recover mentally and physically from a long streak of racing. For the first time since college I am taking a couple weeks off from running to re-charge and recoup. I'll still be around here writing about the great outdoors through the lens of dual nature.
June is probably the best month in the life of a trail runner. Snow melts and clears higher mountain trails followed by a vibrant green up and blooming wildflowers. There's a contagious energy in the trail running community from the nicer weather and open roads. People are ready to get out there - and everyone fuels each other. It makes me think back to this and my congruent urge to travel, because such a desire goes hand in hand with running. I am inclined to run, wherever I might find myself in the world.
June ends with the best bang of all: The Western States 100 mile race in California. The race that brought our sport to life, thanks to Gordy Ainsleigh and his delusional idea of going by foot in a horse race in 1974. Did you know he briefly held the world record for fastest marathon by a person weighing over 200 lbs? He also slept on a massive pile of horse shit in a sleeping bag the night before he curated the 100 mile race. Beast, that man, but you already knew that.
As you know, Justin and I are relatively new to trail running and have been scoping all the resources around the area. We joined Seattle Running Club and debuted our singlets at the Vashon Ultra/10M in the beginning of the month. We also got acquainted with Seven Hills Running Shop, Seattle's one and only trail specific running store. Thanks for the new Hokas! I'm officially a part of the clown-shoe platform gang.
Seven Hills Running Shop also hosted a movie event at their store. They played Solstice, which documents local athlete Ashley Lindsey and her debut 100 mile race at the Western States. The movie caters to the larger crowd of trail and ultra runners because she isn't part of the elite pack. I loved her outlook on the race and hope to one day take on the ultimate running endeavor of a 100 miler. The cinematography was really well done and I think even those who aren't obsessed with running would enjoy this film because running 100 miles is such an incredible feat. Watch the trailer here.
We also watched Unbreakable. Oof... this movie wasn't bad, but it was disappointing. The film featured amazing, inspiring athletes, all whom I glean motivation from, but there was way too much film wasted on shooting everyone's dinner and random acts of affection with their significant others. I got dizzy when the camera couldn't focus on the sauteed kale in Anton Krupicka's kitchen. I'd rather watch the happenings of the actual race than a ten minute choppy shot of athletes talking about their race numbers, whose conversation you can barely hear. The trailer is far more entertaining than the movie itself. Watch it here.
In other news, Justin stuck his hand in a blender earlier this month before the Vashon Ultra. I bought him some hand sanitizer to keep things from getting infected.
I'm also on the brink of simultaneously losing more toenails than ever before. To keep myself in denial and avoid flashing my bruised and blistered nails during the summer I solved my problem and painted my toes black.
I read this article and was reminded to always make sure people know where I am when I hit the trails. Actually, this article isn't about that. It's about making sure people aren't searching for you when you are WITH THEM.
Still thinking about Gordy Ainsleigh? Watch this.
And finally, this is for all the women on the trail. Make sure you run like a girl.
I am an outdoor and travel junkie who is currently completing my doctorate in occupational therapy overseas in rural Fiji. On Sweet World Travels you will find stories of my life with my husband, the communities we serve, and the many adventures we take.