12 Challenges in 365 [1]

At the beginning of the year I thought it would be fun to take on a relatively small “challenge” by posting 1 photo from the day on Instagram… each day. For the entire year. Easy, right? Yea, it’s pretty simple. Especially if you love Instagram as much as I do. However, within the first 2 weeks I found myself regretting that relatively small daily task I wanted to commit to for 365 days.

In the last 31 days I found that some of my photos didn’t always have a story worth telling other than sharing a pretty sunset, or some told a story that wasn’t always the most authentic. Captioned: “What a beautiful day! Each day is such a gift! So happy to get outside for a run!” Not captioned: “What a beautiful day that was actually plagued by my anxiety and I ugly cried!”

While sure, you don’t need to disclose every detail of your life on the internet and I could have chosen to only post a photo, it started to bother me when I realized my photos were starting to fall into the “BEST DAY EVER! EVERYDAY IS A GREAT DAY!” category. While my heart is full and my life is good, I think most people know that even when life is good “BEST DAY EVER, ERRR’DAY!!”  is not realistic for anybody.

Or, if I didn’t have an outdoor photo to share, I was photographing things that I own. While I have worked hard and sold items that weren’t necessary to keep to afford the maybe 2 items I have that have any monetary value… we are by no means fancy nor find joy in things. Josh and I both have creative and free minds and our joy is sourced over moments, adventures, connections, ideas and actions. We aren’t extravagant. Anything we find that we need that we don’t already have (like replacing a cooking pot) we purchase at Family Dollar or Walmart. However, with a few photos that made their way into #31of365.. someone could think differently.

In conclusion I stuck it out for a month, discovered that it’s not for me and that’s okay! The bright side about taking a photo everyday in January was that I finally started using my Nikon DSLR that I purchased years ago and haven’t spent much time with.

While taking all of this into consideration I realized that it was kind of fun committing to something each day, and that it might be fun to have a different daily commitment each month this year. It’s been said that it takes 3 weeks to make a habit, so it could potentially be a great way to discover (or rediscover) something new about myself.

I’ve also been wanting to write about new subjects, and it seemed like a good opportunity for that as well. For whatever reason I’ve had a really hard time writing about races and running other than short blurbs on Facebook or Instagram from time to time. Oh, and everyone knows sharing your goals for everyone to read is a great way to keep you accountable. ;) :)

If you’re still reading, consistency in running is something I’ve struggled with since Run Rabbit Run 100. The end of September seems so long ago, and it blows my mind that I still can’t seem to get into a good rhythm with running. That was 4 months ago! During my last run it hit me that  training for a 100 miler with a broken rib (2015) was easier than trying to come back from a 100 mile race. Right now I’m not even sure I’m interested in running another 100 miler anytime soon.

It took about 7 days for all of the bloating and swelling to leave my body, and I was almost convinced that I had gained 15 lbs after running 107 miles. To be completely honest, I was upset with myself for a while after Run Rabbit. I was upset that I’d probably been severely anemic for quite some time and never pieced it together, and apparently  rhabdomyolysis sn’t something to toy with either. How was I placing those expectations that I had on myself, and so completely out of tune with my body at the same time? The stress fractures, insomnia, low energy, and having most runs feel like a slog more often than finally not made sense.

I had my blood work rechecked at the end of November, and while still anemic, there was much improvement. Being the end of January I’m going to go ahead and assume that things are back to normal. While they might be back to normal now, there hasn’t been much running for me since September. Obviously you want to take time off after for recovery, etc., and while my circumstances required a longer recovery period, now I’m just dealing with frankly being out of shape and a low mental game when it comes to running.

Anyway, this brings me to my challenge for February. In December I attempted (and failed, by like day 5) at running each day. I think the longest I’ve ever gone without taking an “off” day was 2-2.5 weeks. I don’t intend to make it anything over the top, and while I do have a daily time minimum in mind, the overall goal is consistency and not X amount of miles. Let’s be real. I could run 1 mile a day in February, and still have more miles than January. Ha!

While that might seem trivial, I have a training plan that has been going to waste that I’m letting go of just to get consistency back. Basically just get out the door each day with no expectations and see what happens.

I’m finding that the best things come along and surprise you when you in fact… have no expectations. :)

Gnarly Cakes!

While I’m not gluten free, I know that I feel and train better when I exclude corn, wheat and soy from my meals. Let’s be real, I dislike the word “diet” no matter how it’s used.  At one point I was vegan, but after landing myself in the emergency room after finishing Run Rabbit Run 100 and having 1 of 4 diagnoses being severe anemia (and a $5k medical bill/holy expensive belt buckle!) my vegan era came to an end. Right then. With a Chipotle steak burrito in the emergency room when I finally came to. Thanks, Danelle!

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4 Pass Loop

There is no lack of adventure here in Colorado, and this was a run that had been on my radar for a while. Notorious for wildflowers, the 4 Pass Loop climbs four 12,000 ft passes in 28 miles with 8,000 ft of elevation gain in the Snowmass Wilderness area located just outside of Aspen. Checking this off my list, timing this as my last long adventure 2 weeks before lining up at the start of Leadville 100 seemed like a great idea to me, and I counted it as a triple victory for getting my friend and trail partner of the summer, Mike, to tag along with me.

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no blocks on the trail

You can block out as many things in your life as you want to. Eventually the right moment will find you when you aren’t looking for it, or the right person is going to ask the right question that’s going to bring it back. It trickles in, in bits and pieces. Maybe it’s a 5 second moment on the trail that you identify a certain feeling. You don’t process it, but acknowledge that it’s there. Then one day it hits you like a ton of bricks. How did I not see or remember that?

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The Leadville Trail Marathon

I’ve put off writing this post for so long, because as we all know, sometimes it’s hard to put crazy experiences into words. It’s no secret that home girl has some serious love for Leadville. The town itself has its own quaint little charm, and what surrounds it is truly majestic. My introduction to ultra running started here, and my interest in ultra running essentially grew here as well. There will always be a special place in my heart for Leadville!

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