Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Fall Tour

When I was younger I used to watch a show called "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" Best. Show. Ever. Check it here.

Anyway, I've felt a little like "Where in the world is Stephanie?" Since early summer I've been on the road. A lot. It's been a lot of fun, and there are still a few upcoming trips, but it's really nice to be home! Fall in Bend is wonderful.

I've had some awesome opportunities recently. Without further ado, I present The Fall Tour:

Crested Butte

Hiking near Crested Butte
August started with a trip to Crested Butte for a friend's wedding. It was a short trip, but we were still able to enjoy some great scenery and see good friends :)

NMU & UAA College Teammates :)

Next up was a big one. 

My wedding

 I couldn't have asked for a better day, well week really. I wasn't stressed about it, so I enjoyed the whole week. It was fun to see so many good friends and family come to support us.

Post-wedding we spent a few days in Portland to celebrate. We did things like drink copious amounts of coffee, eat ice cream for breakfast (Salt and Straw), shop, visit OMSI, taste wine, and eat amazing food. Andina anyone?

Ice Cream for breakfast

Newly weds!

Run Rabbit Run

It was a brief trip and once we returned Zach headed out to chase Elk and I traveled to Steamboat Springs, CO. I was planning to race Run Rabbit Run 100. It was a bit of a stretch- I didn't exactly have a lot of time to prepare, but I thought I'd give it a try. I wanted to challenge myself. 

Early fall colors on the trails
Steamboat was a lot of fun! I had never been before, so I definitely took some time to check out the area. I had a little mishap in a parking lot right when I arrived (resulting in a broken nose. Ugh), that prevented me from doing too much. I still did a couple hike/runs and went to Strawberry Hot Springs. 

Getting excited to race!

Fish Creek Falls

Strawberry Hot Springs
Run Rabbit Run was not the race of my life. But, it was a good experience and I was proud of how I handled the race. 
Love these girls! (yes, we sort of planned the matching braids :)
I started out strong, feeling amazing. In fact, by around 40 miles I had a 40 minute lead. It was great! I was a little nervous about running through the middle of the night, but I had stashed lots of warm clothing (READ: down jacket) and various aid stations. And sure enough, around 2:00am my down jacket and hand warmers came in handy!

Early on
Photo: Paul Nelson
Sometime in the middle of the night my knee started hurting. I stopped in one of the aid stations for 5-10 minutes to warm up, and when I started running again my knee was not happy. So unhappy in fact that it forced me to walk the next 12 miles downhill. I was pretty sad. I still felt great and wanted to keep racing, but my knee was not cooperating. After some deliberation with my crew I decided to try walking the out and back back section (about 9 miles) and then make a decision. I already knew at that point what my decision should be though. 

Running through the night
Photo: Paul Nelson
It's really hard to pull out of a race that you are leading, especially when the rest of you feels great. But, I have learned from the past that it's not worth running through pain and ending up sidelined for months. So, I made the hard decision to quit at 4:00am, 78 miles in to RRR. 

I was sad, but also proud of myself for pulling the plug. It means I learned something in the last couple years. And, post-race my knee was feeling better after a couple weeks. Much better than sitting out the next several months. 

Bittersweet. But there's always next year :)

Try Something different

What do you do when a race doesn't go well? Jump in another sport! Ha. The day after I got back from Colorado there was a cyclocross race in Bend. I'd never done one before, so why not now? 

The race was a lot of fun and definitely lifted my spirits! I think I spent about a 1/3 of the race running next to my bike.... :)


I didn't have long to be bummed about RRR before my next trip. Three days in fact. Before I knew it my car was packed full of frozen plasma samples and I was on my way to Laramie, Wyoming. The final phase in my dissertation study was analyzing the blood samples I took in the spring for the appetite hormones. Since OSU doesn't have a lab equipped to analyze hormones (PYY, GLP-1, and ghrelin for you science geeks), we decided to collaborate with the University of Wyoming. 

The drive to Laramie was pretty, and it provided some distraction to the fact that I couldn't do anything active. I was also solo, which gave me a lot of time to think. About running. About the big picture. I needed it to help me reset.

While in Laramie I spent most of my free time in the lab. It was great. I secretly (or not so secretly) like to geek out on science stuff. It was really cool to learn the techniques and get one step closer to 
finishing my PhD!
This was my Friday night. Pipetting!
I did find some time to get out in the Snowy Mountains. So beautiful. I wasn't really ready to run yet, but I did a couple beautiful hikes.

 About halfway through my time in Laramie Zach flew out to join me! I was so excited that I got sick. Well, that's not really why I got sick, but unfortunately I came down with a killer cold. Bad timing. We still managed to get out for one hike together though.

Zach near the Gap Lakes


As soon as I finished in the lab I got in my car, drove to Salt Lake City, and was on a plane to Kauai. When I left Wyoming it was snowing. When I arrived in Kauai it was 85 and sunny. Talk about temperature extremes!

My favorite beach in Kauai

I  was only in Kauai for 72 hours, but I got to spend it running on the Na Pali coast trail, hanging out with some awesome people, and working on my tan lines :) Not too shabby!

Sage Canaday and I at 'the' waterfall on the trail 
Being a goofball


From Kauai I took a redeye to New York for a North Face media event. I had never been to the city before so I was super excited! I landed at 6:00am and planned to do some shopping and sightseeing, but instead crashed on my bed. I woke up at 5:00pm. Just enough time to eat dinner and go back to bed. Bummer- I totally slept away my free day :)

Rory and I getting ready for some rooftop Mountain Athletics!

Times Square
The North Face media event was a ton of fun though. I was with teammates Rory Bosio and Angel Collinson, and we sure had a blast. The event took place on a rooftop near Times Square. Lot's of energy and tons of fun!

Photo: Matteo Vettorel
Leading a Mountain Athletics workout
Photo: Matteo Vettorel

The next morning I was able to do a short run in Central Park before my limo (yes, limo) drove me to the airport. What? I just asked for a taxi, but I didn't turn down the ride. Good ending to the trip :)

View of the city from Central Park
Fall in Central Park


I am so excited to be back. I was on the road for over a month and really missed my husband, my friends, and my dog!

Top of South Sister

Best friends ever. Love you guys!

Riley Osama