Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Strawberries, RKUC, Eagle Cap, and the People I Love

I really needed to hit the reset button.....

After returning home from Western States I took a couple days to lick my wounds. I was in a little bit of a funk, still trying to process everything. My grey mood, combined with my overflowing inbox and pile of work waiting for me, pushed me even further into the dark hole. It was time to change my attitude. 

Strawberry Mountains

A few days later Zach and I got out the maps began scheming. Neither of us had spent time in the Strawberry Mountains, so we decided to give it a try.

Heading East. Dog is my co-pilot.
Best buds
What we didn't know was that a fire raged through the wilderness a few years ago, leaving the trails pretty much nonexistent after a couple miles in. That made for a long hike, especially on not fully recovered legs! 

Along the way we noticed that the hillside was covered with blueberries! I have some pretty strong gatherer instincts, so we spent a good hour picking blueberries. 

Blueberry Mountains?
After hiking about 7 miles, we came across Bum Kamp. Perfect. What a great find! 

The following day we did a little hiking, but the trails were so tough it took us almost 3 hours to walk 5 miles. Phew! The scenery sure made up for it though. The hillsides were covered in wildflowers.

Happy Birthday "Merica!
Enjoying the wildflowers
View from the top. Of course we had to summit something.
 Our goal was to hike to some lakes about 8-10 miles away from our camp to fish. Due to the slow going, it wasn't going to happen. Plus, a thick layer of smoke was starting to move in from a massive fire nearby. So, we decided to cut our losses and head back home. Since it was only a three hours drive we could still make the fireworks!

4th of July. Just the three of us hanging out in our backyard.
And since we came back a day early, why not fit in a Broken Top summit? It was such a beautiful day!
View from the Top ring to rule them all
Running down the scree. Whee!


Almost 24 hours later I boarded a plane for Flagstaff. I was headed to the Rob Krar Ultra Camp for the week to help out and give a nutrition talk. I spent some time in Flagstaff a few months earlier, but was anxious to get back and see even more. Flagstaff is such a beautiful place, and this time I could fully enjoy it instead of focusing on training. 

Humphrey's Peak
Photo: Jon Ornate
RKUC really was a once in a lifetime experience. Rob had every detail planned and spared no expense to make sure the campers had an absolute wonderful experience. Each day was filled with a glorious trail run (often a point-to-point) on some of Flagstaff's best trails, followed by a picnic lunch (think Trans-Rockies type organization), with an even better spread of food (thanks Christina & Kyle)! 

Running the Arizona Trail
Photo: Taylor Maltz
Following the run, campers had the option of a massage followed by some evening activities, including a short night run with headlamps, a brewery tour, a visit to the observatory, guest speakers (myself, AJW, and Ian Torrence), and much much more. It was an incredible week and I feel fortunate to have been a part of the camp!

Hanging out after the run.
Photo: Stephane Bailliez
Aspen Corner
Photo: Stephane Bailliez

Eagle Cap Wilderness

I left Flagstaff Friday morning and arrived in Bend around 8:00pm. Zach picked me up from the airport and we headed straight to the Wallowa's for Zach's birthday adventure.

The past three years we've done a backpacking trip in the Eagle Cap Wilderness for Zach's birthday weekend. And each time I am reminded of what a beautiful place Eagle Cap is. It's totally worth the 7 hour drive....
Camping out with friends the first night

The best part about the Eagle Cap wilderness, besides the stunning scenery, is how quiet it is. We saw about 6 people the entire weekend. Hundreds of elk, some deer, fish, and maybe a bear, but barely any people. I love it.

Caught on a Tenkara rod. Riley sure wanted to help!
Family photo at the summit
We ended up hiking 49 miles over three days (NOT 50....right Zach?) He likes to give me a hard time for being so exact with everything :) What can I say, I'm type AAA. Part of the goal was to scout for Elk, for the upcoming fall. I think it's safe to say we found a good area.

The People I Love

Coming back home I've realized what a great group of family, friends, and sponsors I have. It's really incredible to think about how many awesome people I have in my life. I don't think I take the time to thank everyone nearly enough. So here goes.....

My family

Zach. What would I do without you? I have no idea. Over the past 4 weeks we have been through some very fun, happy times (adventures!) and also some low, dark the last 10 hours of WS. But, good or bad, Zach was there the whole time. Thanks babe!

My mom and dad came out to watch Western States this year. It was the first race they have seen me run. It was incredible to have them there to see me work through and ultimately finish. My dad even ran the last mile with me. I am so thankful they could be there!

Zach's parents and brother also came out to watch. They were out at every crew aid station cheering me on. Phil even rode his bike, ironically 100 miles, to watch me race.

My fantastic cousins, Ryan and Jillian, made the trek out from Minneapolis to be a part of Western States this year. Jillian and I have gotten really close over the past couple years and it meant so much to me to have them there! They also made really awesome signs for me :)

Torsten. Not family, but might as well be. Thanks for all your help this year and for being such a great friend and role model over the past few years. Zach and I are so lucky to have you and Beth as friends!!

My friends

You guys are my rock. Thanks for keeping some balance in my life and including me in some fun, non-running adventures. I feel like a lucky girl to have so many awesome people in my life:

Elisa, Chris, Natalie, Ryan, Matt, Nate, Rob, Christina, Erin, Mandy, Scott, Chassen, Robbie, Meg, Rick, Rebecca, Renee, Kami, Meghan, Monkey Boy, the Bouclairs, and so many more.....

My Sponsors

I am able to pursue my dreams because you believe in me! I am so thankful for all the support you've given to help me get here.

The North Face My Family. I love my teammates to pieces! Thanks to the North Face for supporting such a great, close knit group of athletes. I couldn't imagine a better team dynamic. Thanks for all the great support and product. I am very fortunate to be a part of the team!

Clif Bar I am fueled by Clif Bar products every single day. Thanks for taking athlete input and including me in the development of Clif Organic Energy Food. This product, along with the rest of the Clif Bar family, has fueled me through miles and miles.

Flora  Keeping me healthy during training and racing. I never leave home without my 7 Sources and Green Blend!

Nathan Hydration and a whole lot more. Support both on and off the trails. Thanks for helping me dial in a hydration pack that's perfect for me!

Julbo Shades for running, relaxing, and looking cool. I love our group of athletes!

Drymax Happy feet! No blisters for me!

Roch Horton at Black Diamond Lights lights lights! And, good advice from a ultra running legend!

Burke Selbst at Focus Physical Therapy My therapist, both physical and mental. Not only do you help keep my body healthy, but you listen to me vent. You have helped me overcome so much!

Ian Torrence My coach and mentor. Thanks for helping me run to my potential and not letting me take myself too seriously :)

Recharge Sport Where I work and hang out. I'm thankful to have access to a wonderful recovery lab and shoot the shit with the best athletes around.

Footzone Always providing me support and opportunities to interact with our wonderful community.

Matt Trappe For grinding out two killer photo shoots within 24 hours of Western States, and not wearing me out! You Rock!


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