Confession

Confession: I feel very sad. Because sometimes timelines don’t match up etc. etc. and my heart is a little broken. Today feels particularly heavy for a couple different reasons (one of which is just my body and the chemicals in it! So fun!) The person who I am missing doesn’t read this blog so I figure it’s safe to share just a bit on here.

I’m very sad.

A few years back I remember a similar type of sadness, and I chose to counter it by exercising 1-2x a day (endorphins), so I’m back at that now. I’m also not feeling guilty about drinking sodas right now, because soda brings me joy, so I’m doing it. And I’m trying to put more focus on my scripture study each night, because even though I’m feeling a little sad about how my life is feeling right now, I’d rather be with God than without Him.

I’m very tired and I’m very sad, but I’m doing my very best.

Tender mercies:

  • A last minute trip down to Las Vegas for work, and using the money I earned to get myself a nice room at a resort. That was the first time in a week and a half that I felt some peace.

  • A trail run last week that resulted in a very funny story that you can ask me about sometime.
  • Literally 10 minutes after finding out that a part of our family can’t attend Thanksgiving dinner, I ran into an aunt who I haven’t seen in a couple years at a gas station, found out that they have no plans for the holiday yet, and was able to invite them.

  • 10 minutes after that, I decided to treat myself to my favorite apple fritter. The woman at the drive thru window said they had ONE left, and it was kind of crumbly, so I could have it for free. I told her it made my day!—and I think that made HER day too!

  • Spending time with my dear friend Erika. Regular messages and calls from Kathryn. Support and check ins from Jason.

Freewrite: Death, Anxiety, Running, Vacation

There are things on my mind but I haven’t really known what to say or how to say them, but after a solo weekend away (full truth: it was a work trip, and I pre-spent my income from the weekend on a nice hotel room for myself, and it was the best), I figure now is as good a time as any to free-write all my thoughts out, right?

DEATH

A couple weeks ago I found out that someone I knew passed away in August. I had just deleted my Facebook prior to that and somehow missed the memo otherwise, and it hit me hard when I googled to try to find her website again to see what she’s been up to, and found out that she and her new husband had died in a car accident. I wrote out my thoughts on a blog post that somehow disappeared, so I took that as a sign to keep it to myself. But it’s worth mentioning, because I’m still thinking about her death, and death in general.

Basically, this quote:

“I wonder what it would mean, what effect it would have in my life to know that I had only one more day to live. How would I treat my wife, my children, and others? How patient and polite would I be? How would I take care of my body? How fervently would I pray and search the scriptures? I think that, in one way or another, we all at some point will have a “one more day” realization—a realization that we must use wisely the time we have.” – Elder Taylor G. Godoy

And this quote:

“In a bizarre, backwards way, death is the light by which the shadow of all of life’s meaning is measured. Without death, everything would feel inconsequential, all experience arbitrary, all metrics and values suddenly zero.” – Mark Manson

In Mark Manson’s book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” (which is very very good and I’ve listened to the audiobook twice—but I do not recommend if you don’t care for swearing), he has a whole section on death, and I just listened to it again on my drive home today. Basically, it’s good to remember that YOU AND I WILL BOTH DIE SOMEDAY. Because when we remember that, it’s easier to not give an eff about the things that really don’t matter.

ANXIETY, SADNESS, RUNNING

Due to some anxiety and sadness lately over some life things, I’ve started running more again. I cut back a lot last summer due to tiredness, focusing energy on creative endeavors, then focusing my time on a relationship. I love running, but I find that it’s a similar outlet as creativity, and I don’t always have the energy or time to give 100% to both at the same time. And relationships? Nothing matters more to me, whether it’s friendships, dating relationships, or family. I realize it’s a value I hold, and as long as those relationships are healthy, it is well worth cutting back on running goals to nurture those relationships.

I’ve chosen to not post about my recent runs on Instagram just because it’s sacred me time right now. I need it.

But if you wanted to imagine what that Instagram picture would look like: it’s just me running in the dark (morning or night), overdressed with ear warmers AND gloves AND a fleece jacket even though it’s not THAT cold yet, and thus sweating profusely. Got that picture in your mind? Good. Continuing on…

Running goals though! I can say something here. Right now I’m just building up my base again. I intend to do a small “race” later this month with some girlfriends (not actually “racing” though, just enjoying our time). I intend to then train for a half marathon next spring, with a specific goal in mind.

VACATION WEEKEND

It was very nice, thank you.

IN CONCLUSION

Thanks for reading! I hope it makes sense. I don’t feel like editing it.

P.S.

New article of mine on the Healthy Humans Project website: The Two Things That Helped Me Forgive

August Updates

At the beginning of the year, I had a goal to make 3 new recipes a week. I was signed up for 2 races, then a third. I was in the most peaceful relationship of my life. In February, for my 29th birthday, I visited my cousin just outside of Las Vegas, where we enjoyed meaningful conversation, delicious food, and we ran a half marathon relay together and I PR’d everything. I was hoping (and planning) to ride that momentum through the entire year.

In April I got shin splints and had to cut back on training a lot. I started adding in more trails (less of an impact on my body).

In May that peaceful relationship ended—which was fine, but it was hard to lose such a close friend.

Also in May, I realized that any pavement running caused my shins to ache, so I moved completely to running trails. I ended up dropping out of my June half marathon (more on that here).

I kept my July half marathon on the schedule, but I had just barely started adding pavement runs back into my schedule so the race was pretty rough. I felt so good as I started the race—but I soon realized that I went out too quickly. I started out at my usual pavement race pace, but I was NOT prepared or trained for that (trail running is very different—my pace is slower and I do a lot of power hiking). I crashed FAST. By mile 5 I hit the wall. I stopped and slow walked, calling Kathryn and leaving her THE MOST pathetic voicemail. I finished though, and am glad I did the race. But man oh man, I think it burnt me out more than I realized.

It’s been about 4 weeks since that race. My third planned race this year is next month, and my new training cycle was supposed to start yesterday. Every time I even THINK about running right now, I feel like my body gets 20 times more tired and I feel like crumbling into a ball on the floor. SO.

I feel like my body is craving slowness and gentleness. At the beginning of the year I taught a 3-class series of gentle yoga classes, but by the time I finished teaching those classes my focus had turned more to running. I felt like I was done teaching yoga—at least for the foreseeable future, and maybe forever.

But now I feel like it’s time to come back. To be gentle to my body. To come back to that space.

The year so far is not how I planned it to be. My hips are wider than I expected them to be (despite exercising more intensely and eating better than I did last year, if I’m remembering correctly), my bank account is about where I expected it to be, and I have run far fewer races than I had planned to.

And yet, this year is so much more than I thought it would be. I have healed from multiple heartaches faster than I ever have in the past. I feel SO much fulfillment in my job—a job that has grown over the last few months in really great ways, and I am so grateful. My heart has healed in miraculous ways, and things that would have triggered trauma in the past no longer shake me like they used to. I have been blessed with greater closure from past heartaches than I ever thought I’d receive. I have the joy of serving in the LDS Temple every week, which is bringing me more joy, light, peace, and clarity than I ever expected it to. I upgraded my living space to include more space and light. I’m learning how to care for my body better. I made really good cookies last week, and on Sunday I cooked my first roast! Monumental times over here! 😉

 

This year so far isn’t what I expected it to be, but despite the setbacks, losses, errors, and what have you, this year has led me to exactly where I need to be right now. I have no idea what the rest of 2018 will hold, but I have a feeling that it will yield some of the greatest gifts I’ll ever have.

Recap: Coast to Crest Challenge, July 1 – July 3, 2018

From July 1 – July 3, 2018, I completed the Coast to Crest Challenge, hosted by the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy! Here is my “race recap” 😉

I found out about the Coast to Crest Challenge from the @hike.sandiego Instagram account a few weeks ago and got excited, knowing that I’d be heading to San Diego this summer (where I grew up, and where my parents still live). The challenge, hosted by the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy (SDRVC), is to complete 5 specified hikes along the 70-mile Coast to Crest Trail anytime between July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019, and take a selfie at a designated location along each trail. Those who complete the challenge fully receive a certificate and small prize pack.

I ended up being in San Diego from June 29 – July 3, which gave me just enough time to start the new round of the 2018-2019 Coast to Crest Challenge starting on July 1… and finishing just a few hours before I left to drive back to Utah!

I’m going to outline the five hikes in this year’s Coast to Crest Challenge, share my favorites, and give little tidbits about each trail.

General tip: I recommend doing these hikes earlier in the morning when the marine layer is still covering the sky. On the practical side of things, there isn’t much shade on any of the trails so the marine layer helps keep it cooler. On a personal note, I just think the marine layer also makes everything look really cool. This is also coming from the girl who lives in Utah, so we don’t have a marine layer there, just clouds and the occasional fog. The marine layer is now one of my favorite things about Southern California, just because I haven’t had it regularly for several years!

 

Trail #1: Santa Ysabel East Preserve Kanaka Loop, 1 July 2018

July 1 landed on a Sunday. I don’t typically run on Sundays to observe the day of rest, but sometimes I hike! I knew I needed to use every day I could to complete these trails, so on Sunday afternoon I grabbed my brother (thank you, Gary!!) and we went up to Julian to hike this trail.

The SDRVC website said that this trail is 6.7 miles and rated easy/moderate. My Garmin clocked us in at 7.09 miles with 958 ft of elevation gain (which doesn’t matter much in San Diego, but I live in Utah where most of my hikes include climbing at least a bit up a mountain, so I pay attention to elevation gain!).

I liked this hike and had a lot of fun doing it with my brother. I also learned that I’m scared of cows (they’re huge and just stare at you) and I’m grateful that Gary kept his cool while I nervous laughed every time we passed near them. There was little shade on the hike, so if you do it, I recommend wearing a hat + sunscreen.

Fun Fact: We also saw a lot of rabbits and a coyote. Gary, did I miss any animals?

 

Trail #2: Piedras Pintadas Trail, 2 July 2018

I did Trails 2 and 3 on Monday, July 2, and I chose to run them — though I stayed conservative with my pace and hiked a bit of the uphill to conserve energy, knowing that I had more trails ahead over the next two days. I was also treating these two days of running as my “long run” during my “peak week.” If those words mean nothing to you, continue on! I’m just nerding out about running training. Haha!

This was probably my FAVORITE trail out of all of them. The website said this trail is 4.4 miles round trip and rated easy. My Garmin said it was 3.91 miles and had 331 feet of elevation gain.

The route took me from the parking lot, to educational signs about the Kumeyaay Natives who used to live in the region, to crossing a stream, then to a loop that led me near Lake Hodges and up the hill to an incredible overlook—then back to the beginning. It was a beautiful area. The trails were also well maintained, clear, and mostly flat with some gradual inclines, making it very hikeable/runnable for most people (there is a retirement home across the street and I think some of the residents walk on these trails).

 

Trail #3: Santa Fe Valley Trail, 2 July 2018

My second trail on Monday… and my least favorite of the whole challenge. Website says 4.4 miles round trip and rated easy. My Garmin said 3.74 miles and 390 feet of elevation gain.

By the time I got there, the marine layer had burned off so the sun was shining pretty brightly. I also saw no other person on the trail, which is kind of eerie to me. I let my brother know where I was and when to expect me back, just to be safe!

Most of the trail ran along a golf course, then a lot of switchbacks in a canyon lined by neighborhoods, and ended at power line poles. The two things I liked: the switchbacks made the incline very gradual, so I could pretty easily run most of the switchbacks; and there was a very small stretch of the trail that felt a bit tropical and had a small lake nearby, that felt a bit like Jurassic Park maybe? So that was cool, but also only lasted literally a minute or two while I ran by.

While I wouldn’t recommend this trail… I do recommend it if you want to complete the challenge! 😉

 

Trail #4: Raptor Ridge, 3 July 2018

THIRD AND FINAL DAY! The website says 4 miles round trip and rated easy/moderate. My Garmin said 4.51 miles and 363 feet of elevation gain. *I should note that I started my watch at the parking lot, and you had to run by a palm tree farm for a bit and cross the street before the trail itself started. On the way back, I stopped by watch right before crossing the street and walked the rest of the way back along the palm trees to the parking lot. So the trail is probably somewhere between 4-4.75 miles.

The Raptor Ridge Viewpoint trail was pretty beautiful. This is probably my second favorite hike (or tied for second with the Ramona Grasslands Preserve). It starts, as I said, at a parking lot across the street from the actual trail. You then walk beside a palm tree farm for a bit before crossing the street at a designated spot. After you cross the street, you’re then in a more open area with a lot of native Southern California plants. The trail is mostly flat here, with some small rolling hills. The trail then takes you off to the right and you begin making your way up the hill. There are benches and picnic tables at the viewpoint—and it really is an incredible view! I recommend walking around a bit and seeing the different vantage points. I like this more rural area of Escondido/San Diego a lot.

Note: There is no bathroom or port-a-potty at the parking lot or anywhere along this trail. A plant may or may not have been watered during this trail run.

Personal note: While I was trying to take it easy yesterday, I really did my best to push my pace today—though my pace ended up being very similar to those of the day before. During the second half of this run, as I began my descent, I started to feel my right IT band get tight—which has never happened before—and I started noticing some tightness in my shins too. I had to take it easier on the downhill than I would have liked to because of this. I think this was just from overuse over the last couple days. Gratefully, I didn’t notice either issue on the next run.

 

Trail #5: Ramona Grasslands Preserve, 3 July 2018

LAST TRAIL!! The website said 3.5 miles round trip, rated easy. My watch said 3.4 miles round trip with 277 feet of elevation gain.

I had intended to do this hike first on Tuesday, but when I arrived just before 6am I discovered that the gate was locked and wouldn’t be open until 8am. I was pretty frustrated (I had woken up early to get back on the road to Utah as soon as I could, and this altered my timing a bit), but it turned out okay. When I finally got there, I was grateful that there was a nice port-a-potty in the parking lot (with water and paper towels even—see, these things matter to me, haha) and that there were several cars already there. This is apparently a popular spot, and I understand why!

This is another very runnable/hikeable trail. The incline is mostly gradual (the back end is a little steeper at a point but it’s still very manageable), the trail is clear, and the mileage is definitely doable for hikers of most experience levels (the mileage is probably closer to 3 miles if you just did the Wildflower Loop, or even shorter if you just did the smaller loop to the left, whose name I can’t recall. So there are a couple different options. The challenge had me complete both loops). For all of these reasons, I definitely recommend this trail to everyone! It’s also very beautiful, and I’m guessing at a certain time of the year, Wildflower Loop is particularly beautiful (though the plant life was pretty sparse at this time of the year).

Aside from feeling tired, I felt pretty good on this trail. I continued to run/walk it, but found bursts of energy to go up little hills toward the second half, and power to the end. Miraculously, even though this was one of two most inland trails (the most inland being the first one in Santa Ysabel), I even had the marine layer covering for the first half of the run, until around 8:30am. That was sure a blessing!

AND DONE!!

To summarize: from July 1 – 3, I hiked/ran 22.5 miles—which is more miles in THREE DAYS than my average WEEKLY mileage lately (my weekly mileage lately is closer to around 17 miles). I am SO STOKED and SO TIRED after completing this challenge!

I THINK I was one of the first people to finish the challenge for the year—if not THE first. I finished just before 9am on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. According to Instagram (#c2cchallenge), it looks like another man finished later that day. I think he was hiking the trails (as I think most people will do) so that’s even more time on his feet, which is crazy impressive to me.

I loved this challenge. It was worth the 5am and 6am mornings, even during my “vacation.” It was (mostly) worth feeling so tired during this trip, and it was definitely worth starting my day each morning on the trails. If you live in San Diego or are going to the area sometime, I recommend checking this challenge out. You don’t need to do it in 3 days—you have an entire year to do all 5 hikes, and you can do them at whatever pace you’d like, as long as you’re on your feet!

Thanks to SDRVC and Hike San Diego for creating and managing this awesome challenge! It was a joy to participate in it!

I think I’m dropping out of an upcoming race, and here are my thoughts on that.

Written 1 June 2018 —

I dropped out of the AF Canyon Half Marathon.

At the time of writing, I haven’t actually done that yet, but I’m saying it out loud to see how it feels. (Undecided).

Yesterday I hiked/ran in the mountains with a new friend (Melissa/@runninlong— Instagram friends are so great!). We went 8.5 miles. She let me take my own pace for it, and pause when I needed to. It was SO nice, and while my legs felt a bit like noodles afterward, I did my usual icing and compression sleeve routine, and the next day I felt pretty dang good! I noticed my quads a bit, but barely.

Tonight I rode my stationary bike for 10 minutes to warm up, then decided to go for a night run—because I LOVE night runs in the summertime, and it’s finally getting warm enough to feel like summertime. I did NOT take it easy because I had a burst of energy to get out before I left. I By the end of the mile I was going at an 8:30 pace—ending at just under 9 minutes for the entire run (I started slower and reached that 8:30 pace toward the end). I focused on keeping my knees bent to absorb the shock of the asphalt. I felt good as I ran, but as soon as I stopped, I felt horrible.

Both of my shins hurt. The outside back of my right knee hurt. And when I went inside, sat down, and started stretching and icing my legs, my right calf cramped up.

That’s when I realized, I don’t know if I can do the AF Canyon Half. This is me writing out my feelings.

The AF Canyon Half is a downhill race, and my goal pace would be just a bit slower than what I was running tonight. That is more of an impact (because of the downhill) at the pace I was running tonight. The last downhill training run I tried to do also hurt my shins (last Saturday—I only made it the first 4 miles downhill before my shins hurt too badly, and I knew I risked injury if I continued my run).

Sometimes things just don’t work out like we expect them to—even the best of things.

A few years ago I was working a full time, relatively fulfilling job as a social worker. I was helping people! I was building relationships, working creatively, and every day was different! I had my own office! I wrote such eloquent court reports (I really love writing, if you can’t tell)! And I regularly got to go to court and be all official! I worked hard and I cared about my work!

But my shoulders ached. (As I typed that, I just dropped my arms off of the keyboard and whispered aloud, “Oh, crap.” The pieces are fitting together now).

My shoulders ached and all the yoga, stretching, Deep Blue Rub, and chiropractor appointments couldn’t get the ache to subside.

I had registered for classes to work toward my SSW (social work license) that summer. With the stress of work increasing, I decided to drop that program and get my license later. As I drove home from work on the day that I dropped the social work classes, I suddenly realized that my shoulders didn’t hurt anymore. For the first time in months, my shoulders were relaxed, and I realized that maybe this wasn’t my path right now. I put in my notice at work and left a few weeks later.

How does it sound to not stress about hitting that PR? Pretty dang nice. How does it sound to just run and hike in the mountains? With all the fresh air and grounding earth and green trees and satisfyingly burning muscles? SO nice.

There are things that intimidate me about training trails, but if I could have 1000 days like yesterday morning, I’d gladly take them.

I think God has more in store for us than we do for ourselves.

If I hadn’t left my job as a social worker, I don’t know if I’d be where I am now—so fulfilled in a completely different field of work, making less money and working fewer hours right now, but grateful for the many opportunities for growth and creativity with this company.

There are other things that are hard, like a recent breakup that has me feeling a great deal of missing—but I’m appreciating the opportunity to work through the layers of my own character, insecurities, and shortcomings. A couple weeks ago I asked God to show me what I am to learn from this, and I continue to have “a ha!” moments as time goes on.

I don’t know what’s going to happen as life continues to unfold—in running, love, employment, and what have you. But I can tell you that my faith and hope in God have never been stronger.

If I drop, I drop. Maybe I’ll rest my legs for the next week, then couple weeks after that, and feel energized and ready to run the AF Canyon Half. Either way, it’s going to be okay.