Saturday, December 15, 2012

Beautiful Girl by Sandi Nypaver

Here it is: Beautiful Girl (revised and hopefully final copy)

Rachel Nypaver and her little sister
Please feel free to print out to give to the beautiful women in your life. Might make a perfect stocking stuffer.

This book is dedicated to….
The little girls who know they are beautiful, just because their loved ones tell them.
The little girls who have started comparing themselves to others and are doubting their own beauty…. You are absolutely gorgeous inside and out!
The beautiful women who have struggled with confidence, body issues, eating disorders, depression, etc. May you get to a place where you see beauty in your struggle and realize your mind is more beautiful because of it.
All the women who realize what the media portrays as beautiful is absolutely wrong. Together, it is time to create a force stronger than the media and show girls of
every age what real beauty is again.
My beautiful sisters Amanda and Rachel Nypaver, I love you with all my heart. Rachel, you will forever and always be my hero.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Year of the Struggle

and Awesome Alpine Adventures (with the help of my great running brother Jon)

"We got no money, but we got heart"
(Something to listen to as you read- it's my all time favorite song)

I feel like I almost subconsciously asked for a year of struggling. It was really nice having started off my ultra- running career so well, but I have always loved a story about someone overcoming obstacle after obstacle, struggle after struggle, and then perseveres at the end. After already overcoming many huge (to me anyway) struggles in my life, I was really hoping to not have to go through many struggles with running, my safe place. But of course, life never stops handing over tests of mental strength. In this story, I will have to become my own heroine. TNF 50 showed me I’m slowly getting back up on my feet, but I have a lot to work on from big things to small things- like to stop being an idiot when it comes to eating in ultras and actually get in enough calories (in my own defense I’m allergic to gluten and so it really sucks when aid stations don’t have gels like at TNF and then I can only fit a few in my carry-on liquid/gel bag). For those of you who I have told about suffering from very low iron from the beginning of the year till recently- my iron level rose by 30 which puts me on the low-normal side and my ferritin level is still a bit low. Hopefully that will continue to improve as well, as that has really hurt (huge understatement) my running this year.

The North Face 50

So while I sit here typing this, I can’t help but feel a little sad of everything I sacrificed this year in hopes of reaching my dreams. However, as always, I still believe I will one day soar, and that everything happens for a reason. For instance (for those who follow my blogs regularly) me worrying that I wouldn't have a place to live when it got below freezing has led me to living in a place for free without a lease, and not moving to Durango in September like I had wanted has definitely led to some interesting, and I think good, turns. I also can't help feel a little proud that I have handled things this year better than I ever had in the past. I love running, how it has changed my life, and I will do absolutely everything I can to reach my dreams. Till that day, I will keep dreaming of running on trails all over the world, and I will fly the best that I can on the trails and through the trials before me.

“One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
If all goes well this will be me again come spring

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE! Ohioans hit me up for a run in the CVNP in a few weeks. 

With love,


(Please look back on my previous blog about women's oppression. Some of the stories I wrote about really show what a tough woman is.)
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~Plato

Monday, November 26, 2012

Women's Oppression- We help because these are our mothers, daughters, friends, and loved ones

"When I treat rape victims, I tell girls not to go to the police," Dr. Syed added. "Because if a girl goes to the police, the police will rape her."

Women’s Oppression Info Week:

Since learning about the living hell women go through every day throughout the world, I have become horrified, sad, and angered. I haven’t been sure of the best way to help, but I have to start doing something. So every...

day this week I will post stories, information, quotes, etc to raise awareness. Some things will be hard to read and deeply disturbing, but its important people become more educated on the subject.

Please, read the posts and share them with friends, family, repost them, etc.

Why? Because if you needed help, you’d hope someone would come help you.
What STRONG is: Mukhtar Mai

Mukhtar's younger brother was gang raped by a higher status clan. The higher clan covered up their crime by saying the boy raped a higher status girl. Mukhtar represented her famil...
y in court and tried to apologize for her brother (it was pointless to say the clan lied). The council concluded the apology wasn't enough and SENTENCED Mukhtar to be gang raped. They dragged her to a barn where four men raped her while a crowd waited outside. She then had to walk home almost naked, while preparing to do what any Pakistan girl was EXPECTED to do: kill herself. Suicide was deamed the only way a girl could cleanse herself and her family. Thankfully, Mukhtar's parents prevented that option. Over time Mukhtar's feelings changed from humiliation to rage. The rage turned into action. While Mukhtar fears for her life every day from government threats, check out this site to see what STRONG is:
I had trouble just writing some of this...

17 year old Dina walked home from work in a bean field. Five Hutu militia members surrounded her. All had guns and knives, and one carried a “stick”. They told her “If you cry out, we will kill you.” The 5 men raped her. Then they held her down and shoved the “stick” in her which broke into her bladder and rectum causing fistula. She was found half dead ...
and temporarily paralyzed. Thankfully, her family heard about HEAL Africa, a hospital that fixed her injuries and got her walking again.

Please realize this is something that happens daily in parts of the world. Eastern Congo is the rape capital of the world. Even a 3 year old girl was raped and then had a gun fired into her.


"When a girls' junior high school caught fire in 2002, the religious police allegedly forced teenage girls back in the burning building rather than allow them to escape without head coverings and long black cloaks. Fourteen girls were reportedly burned to death. " -From the book Half the Sky
(please realize that most stories don't end up with a fair ending)
How one woman inspired change:

“They say he (Akku Yadav) took one woman, Asha Bhagat, and tortured her in front of her daughter and several neighbors by cutting off her breasts. Then he sliced her into pieces on the street.” Akku constantly committed these barbaric acts against women and the police ra...
rely intervened except to accept cash bribes. Daughters were taken out of school to be kept inside their homes.
One day Usha (her family was higher educated so Akku stayed away) went to the police after Akku raped a 13 year old girl. Akku then went to Usha’s house with 40 thugs to threaten her. She refused to back down and turned on the gas in her house and got a match. As Akku threatened to break in, Usha threatened to blow everyone up. Akku and the thugs stepped back. The neighbors saw Usha fighting back and gained courage. They picked up sticks and stones and threw t them towards Akku and he turned himself in for protection.
A bail was scheduled and word spread that the police were going to release him as part of a bargain. Hundreds of women marched to court. When Akku saw some of the women he raped he mocked them and told them he would do it again. Hundreds of women then took turns stabbing him to death, right in court.


This video ROCKS!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Two Wrong Turns

“Damn. This can’t be happening again. Please, not again.”
These were my thoughts as I realized I had my second wrong turn during 2 races within 2 weeks.

Run Rabbit Run:
Very low iron for months left me slower no matter how hard I worked. Still, I figured it out and my energy was coming back. If anything, pushing myself through physical fatigue left me feeling mentally prepared.
Months back, I signed up to run a 100 miles in the beautiful mountains of Steamboat, Colorado. Months, I’ve been dreaming about the climbs I would face in the dark.
The race started straight up a mountain, I was happy, I was mentally strong. A bend in the trail, a sign saying “100 milers this way”.  Yet, that wasn’t the way (as many others found out throughout the day). 6 miles out of the way I went. A distance too hard to make up. A distance that left me dehydrated and puking when I finally got something to drink. My preparation would be useless; this wasn’t going to be my day. I was devastated, to say the least. Tears. No place to call home. No family by my side. I didn’t feel like smiling.
Thankfully, nature can heal.

Devil Mountain 50k:
“One hell of a run”
I just need something, a boost, a little confidence. I need to feel the burn in my lungs, and the changing of mountain leaves.
One week before the race, I click on the register button.
I start out fast, and it couldn’t feel better. 3 men ahead of me when I reach the intersection of ribbons. They went right. There are ribbons in both directions, definitely more to the right. I pause, waiting for someone else. He says right. I go right. Ribbons for about a quarter mile and then nothing.  Nothing till a mile later till there’s an intersection and many people on another trail. A mile added to my distance. 3 men in front of me to 40 people.  A mental battle was fought and won. I can catch up, I know I can. 10 women were passed in 6 miles to regain the lead. Tired legs from too match effort playing catch up. I’m hiking up the mountain when I should be running. “It’s okay; just do your best Sandi. Believe.”
The last aid station arrives. Two good men beside me. One great fried. “Just do your best.” A few miles to go: A steep hill. PUSH! A rolling dirt road. PUSH! I embrace the pain; I know I can hang on.
The finish. 1st place overall. Barely missed the course record (with a harder course?), stupid wrong turn. Proud- I didn’t give up. Hope…. My dreams are still there. Mountains. My home.

In a motel room. MY motel room. For now. Working here for a couple of months. A free room. Still loving playing with big hearted kids at the Boys & Girls Club. I couldn’t leave them (kids) yet. They begged me to stay. They made me better. I love them. No, I couldn’t leave yet. Then, I don’t know. I will sail by the wind.
Two months to go. Lots of work ahead. Faith. Sacrifice. Beauty. Mountains. My heart. Let’s see what I can do with two months of being healthy. Hellgate 100k or North Face 50? Will my indecisiveness ever stop? Doubtful. That’s okay, things seem to work out.
I explain my crazy, indecisive, unsure life to a friend. Friend asks:” Would you have it any other way?” Me: “Absolutely not.” A smile on my face.

Buena Vista: Home for now

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Home??? Where are my ruby red slippers? (and of course current updates)

"She goes no more to the places she used to be. She goes to fly now into life's mystery." -J. Richman

LOST…. To a little less lost. That’s kinds how I feel about the past year.
Well…. not exactly lost, or not really in a bad way, and somewhat at home while lost.
Over the past month I’ve had the same lyrics go through my head every time I feel completely confused about what decisions to make about my life:
“I’m like a bird, I’ll only fly away. I don’t know where my soul is, I don’t know where my home is.” (Nelly Furtado)
Possibly sounds a little corny, but those words have become comforting. I don’t hear them like they’re negative, rather, that I’m still flying, just going by the wind instead of by step by step directions.
In August, I completed a year of Service with AmeriCorps at the Boys and Girls Club of Buena Vista (while living in Salida). AmeriCorps was great- I got some great experiences, learned a lot, and lived on a small living allowance to see what it was like living under the poverty level. I’ve made huge messes with paint and sequins, built fortes, helped kids raise money for Impossible2Possible through running, flown kites, and also had my patience tested when kids go off the deep end. Best of all, I have formed some beautiful relationships with the kids at the club and always get greeted with hugs from the little kids to the big kids. I’ve also seen what can happen behind the scenes in organizations where normalcy isn’t normal. The staff changes, budget cuts, staff hours cut (not mine b/c I was AmeriCorps), and much more was sometimes frustrating to take in. Not mainly for me, but for other staff and the kids.
Another great experience I have taken away from AmeriCorps is the humility of being poor. AmeriCorps hopes volunteers get this experience. We really aren’t given enough money to pay bills and for food comfortably, so AmeriCorps encourages all volunteers to use Food Stamps. Before this year, never in my life did I think that I would be using food stamps. But, that’s what I was told to do, and also needed to do. Even though the Safeway was closer to my apt, and I have unsure feelings about Walmart, I mainly shopped at Walmart because I felt even more self-conscious about using food stamps at Safeway. It was also interesting to think about food stamps while using them and gain a better understanding of people who have used them for years. I won’t get into that so much because I think my studies in social science and experiences have given me beliefs (or understandings) that may be disagreeable. Lastly, AmeriCorps really had reaffirmed how much I love serving others and how important I think it is. For those of you who are unaware, there will be no AmeriCorps volunteers at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Colorado this year due to budget cuts. Please learn about these things in your state because I really don’t think it is good to cut out service programs right now. The B&GC’s really depended on some of the AmeriCorps volunteers and they will be hurting this year without them.
But that’s not why I’m flying with no idea where to land. Although I will admit the lack of income the past year is preventing me from just going off and exploring Colorado the next month as the leaves begin to change.
I’ve had a BEAUTIFUL summer exploring mountains and high alpine trails. My heart soared and I’ve never felt so at home, or exactly where I was supposed to be in my life. I get butterflies just thinking about some of the places my feet have taken me this summer. My mind and heart felt completely, 100%, at home.  But, I always have to come down from the mountains, my home with a hole in the roof.  I come back to beautiful small towns I really enjoy, but rarely have anyone to share them with. There were great little festivals all over this summer but when alone, I just browse around for a little bit and then wonder what to do. I miss my family, always feeling guilty and sad on missed birthdays and holidays. My dad’s 60th surprise birthday party is tomorrow… I should be there. My family and Ohio friends are my home too, I don’t feel complete without them, but I also can’t deny my personal growth this year from living a calmer way of life in the mountains and small towns. I now realize, that I will always have a part of me that will be missing something, but I hope knowing that I am loved will keep the rain out of the hole.

If only Rach (and Steve!) would move to Colorado!  :) (Rach on right)

About running…….
Unfortunately, I have felt physically “off” for a long time. I know going up a mountain there is nothing to do but work hard, and it will hurt a little, but I really thought I should be feeling better. I felt myself getting tired easier and easier, only moving on because I adored where my feet had taken me that day. Finally, I went to the doctor so I could get some blood tests and found out my iron was very low. I eat tons of things with iron (though admittedly no red meat…I really loved driving pass the little calves this past spring) and took iron supplements, but my body wasn’t absorbing it. Common in distance runners, main symptom is fatigue, and it takes a month + to get to normal. I found this out two weeks before the Pikes Peak Marathon.  Two days later I pulled my calf muscle and couldn’t run the rest of the week. New Pikes Peak Goal: just finish. I did finish in 10th, and it hurt.  I deeply missed the spring in my step that I haven’t had in months, but I was still happy to push on and be on the mountain.  Though a week later I won the small (but huge in beauty and fun) Silverton Alpine Marathon after a week full of adventures in Southern Co with Rach, my confidence is almost shot going into Run Rabbit Run. I was hoping to improve this summer, but my speed work out times ended up getting slower as the summer progressed. I am feeling better now, but I just don’t know if the quality of this summer’s training will be enough.  My hope lies in knowing that while I am physically not in the shape I hoped to be in, I still have a deep passion in my heart for 100 miles and the mountains. I will go into the 100 miles with no crew or pacer, just with knowledge of the love of others who support me, and the love I have gained for myself this past year.  If nothing else, I WILL finish.
Of course I fell (Pikes Peak)

Just doing my best to get to the top. (Sometimes it's all we can do)

Starting my descent at the Silverton Alpine Marathon
                Last weekend, I moved out of my apartment. I packed everything I own, once again, in my car (not without 2 stops to the donation center). I didn’t just drive to another apartment and unpack. I don’t know where I want to go or what I want to do…again. Really, I just want to quit my part time job and explored the mountains before the snow comes, but with hopes of one day traveling to New Zealand or other foreign lands, that isn’t a possibility right now. However, much to my family’s dismay, it’s a bit of a relief to be back in my tent the last month of summer. I don’t have the pressure of committing to a place I’m not sure I want to be just yet and I get to wake up already outside.

My gym while camping

“Sail by the wind sailor, turn by the wind.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


"They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be, in order to be who they were... which you have to in order for connection" "What made them vulnerable, made them beautiful"

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Trials of Miles, Miles of Trials (John L. Parker)

                                     (or Just Suck it Up and Finish)
I’ve trained specifically for one race in mind since December (maybe November).  I got an email asking if I wanted to run Ice Age 50 again, thought “heck yes”, and put it as the first race on my schedule for 2012. I of course did Destin 50k in February but that was because Rach and I won the trip and I wanted to see her and my dad. For winter I just keep a decent base till around March so Destin was just something fun.  I then followed that up with a DNF (sinus infection) at the Salida Marathon.  In other words, Ice Age has been on my mind for over 5 months.  In the past few months I’ve put in the best training I think I’ve ever done (it was a blast!) and got in what I thought was much better shape than I was last year for Ice Age. Unfortunately while hard work normally shows in running, ultras sometimes just depend on the day. The day was all wrong for me. I ran into the finish 15 minutes behind my time from last year. 
My mental weaknesses in running: I put way too much pressure on myself and as much as I fight it, thoughts of doubt always creep in that I’m not good/ fast enough. This year I wanted to prove I was good enough…  I wanted to prove it mainly to myself, but also to others, to my mom so maybe she would stop thinking I made a mistake by giving up a great job and financial stability, to sponsors, etc. I run 110% because I love it and I need it to keep my mind in check, but thinking I had something to prove has been constantly in the back of my mind for months. I also recently learned that I may have let the confidence I found the past few years rely on running a little too much. I was depending on this race to be my way to prove I was a good runner, I could run with the best, and that all my hard work and running in Colorado would result in a better time than last year. (No, I’m not mad about 3rd place, but I am upset I didn’t run as well as I know I can)
If you haven’t figured it out, I’m using this blog to sort out my own thoughts (sorry!), but here’s how the race went:
It was Denise, Melanie (They were awesome!), and I from the start. We were all always about 30 seconds to a minute away from each other for the first 20 miles. From the start, my legs never really felt like they had any “spring” in them but the pace still seemed good and like something I could maintain. Before the race even started, however, I got a bit worried about the humidity. The air in Salida, CO has been extremely dry and I’ve had a scratchy throat for weeks. The humidity in Wisconsin was a bit of a shock and I could feel the heaviness of the air in my lungs. A few miles in I knew I was sweating way more than I had since August (last time I was in Ohio). I tried drinking as much as I could but my stomach could only take so much and I think (okay…I know) I took S-caps too late. I drank water bottle after water bottle but still got severely dehydrated by mile 23 and started feeling dizzy. It probably was made worse by taking caffeine gels too early. I normally never take caffeine gels till the 2nd half of the race but it was all I had left when I was packing. Dumb, I know. I wanted to quit. I knew I screwed up that day and even before the race started by probably not tapering enough after long hard miles. I let myself walk 30 seconds to regroup and collect my thoughts. After pushing aside the thought to just lay down off the side of the trail I reminded myself why I’m in this sport. I never started running to win, but to help me become mentally and emotionally stronger. I felt like crap mentally and physically, but I knew I could get through the race even if it wasn’t pretty and I knew that’s what Rach would tell me to do. I just had to suck it up, and put one foot in front of the other. I proceeded to feel like crap till about mile 37 where I could finally pick it up a little, though I knew it would never been enough. “Suffer well” I thought to myself and that’s what I did. I suffered with my mind and body, but I move forward without any more thoughts of quitting.

Denise and I in the first few miles
I ran through the finish line looked at the clock. 7:45. 15 minutes slower than last year when I had a shitty stomach and when I know I’m in better shape now. 20 minutes faster than MMTR, a course that’s 53 miles and 3,000 more ft of climbing (to me meaning that If MMTR was only 50 miles I still would have ran it faster than I did Ice Age.) Mrs. Pope gave me a hug, I wanted to ask her about how she did in the half, but my heart had already sunk. Months of hard work and dreams down the drain (till another day). I tried to stop myself from crying, but I had too. I needed to let out my disappointment in myself so I could sooner pick up the pieces. (As I wrote in a previous blog I’m just an emotional person. Better for me to be true to myself then hold it in.)
There’s a chance you might be thinking “stop complaining- good runners have bad days all the time”. However you’re probably thinking of established runners like Geoff Roes or Krissly Moehl who have established themselves and have great sponsorships and support. They’ve ran so many GREAT races it’s perfectly fine for them to have a bad race. I definitely do not fall in that category yet. Plus when I (or most people) have one race in mind for months, I get emotionally invested.
Looking back a few days later, I’m still thoroughly disappointed in myself, but I realize I learned a lot of “what not to do’s” for future races. Most importantly, I really do believe that a person has to overcome struggles to get where he/ she needs to be. Everyone I admire has had to overcome plenty of struggles. Even the worst days of my life I am now grateful for because of the strength I received for overcoming them. In my heart, I know this will be the same.


Next up is a fun run at the Grand Canyon.  My dad and some relatives are taking a trip to the Grand Canyon and some other parts in AZ in June. Some of my uncles and cousins are hiking across so I figured I could do the R2R2R when they do that, and not feel bad about missing out on family time. I’m not going for the record (June is a bad time of the year to do it because of the heat… I’m starting in the evening or 1-2am) but I’m definitely going to see how fast I can do it starting at an odd time and in the heat of June. After that I’m still debating on Speedgoat 50k or Silver Rush 50. Speedgoat would be awesome and I LOOOVVEE climbing, but I think I really might need to save the money from the drive right now and do Silver Rush (in Leadville, so quite close to me). Plus Speedgoat is cutting it a little close to Pikes Peak Marathon in August. Even with an ultra before then, I’m really drawn to Pikes Peak and running up a mountain.  Thus that will be my focus and I am really excited about spending my weekends on 14ers.
For those of you who followed my summer adventures, here’s my progress:
I have about 300 hours left of volunteering through AmeriCorps at the Boys and Girls Club out of 1,700! Last week the Impossible2Possible club did a Fund Run to raise money for i2P. The kids were so motivated and had a blast doing it. I was bursting with pride! AmeriCorps has been a wonderful experience, but it will be time for something different when my term ends the beginning of August. I was hoping to have things figured out of what I want to do after but I really have no idea yet.  I’m a little worried but I won’t forget last summer’s lesson that I will end up where I need to be. I will say that if I can, I am really going to try and live in New Zealand over winter. I found a program that will help me get my work visa and aid in figuring out logistics. New Zealand has been number one on my list for places I wanted to travel to for a few years now and so if I can get the money, I’m going to go for it.
In other news I’m starting my attempt of getting one or two children’s book published. One is aimed to get kids outside and using their imaginations. The other I am still working out the kinks but it’s called Beautiful Girl. It’s a book aimed to help young girls (and aid parents to) see what really makes  girls beautiful in an era where 8 year olds are putting on mascara and female stars in rehab are getting more attention than female Nobel Peace Prize winners. If anyone can help me get my foot in the door please contact me! =)
Lastly: Living in Salida, CO
Just today I saw Salida was voted as one of the top 5 outdoor locals-only towns in the U.S.. Yes, Salida is that special. My first time there I actually didn’t like it. I saw desert looking mountains and a big brown ugly mountain right next to downtown Salida. I wanted GREEN! However, Salida has stolen my heart. The trails are everywhere and the farther back I go, the prettier the trails become. Within a 10 minute drive there are breathtaking runs through pine and aspen trees, water crossings, ridge lines and views of 14er peaks. Salida is also a very art focused town with a good percentage of stores being art galleries, which I of course adore. All this adds to the main reason why I love it: I can breath and I can think (I never felt like I could keep up with life in Ohio). I can feel my generalized anxiety (actually, this might be gone!) and social anxiety getting better and better. At Ice Age I actually went and talked to Timothy Olson and Cassie Scallon (I felt like a 13 yr old girl asking for an autograph- no I did not ask for an autograph) without much hesitation at all. Sometimes I still really have to push myself to talk, especially in big groups, but a good portion of the time I am barely hesitating. Unless you’ve had social anxiety, you have no idea how good that feels. Yes, I can feel the mountains and nature helping me put some of my demons to rest, so I have more room to believe that I can overcome my struggles.
Run hard, live happy,

"You have to put in many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before you achieve anything worthwhile." — Brian Tracy
(Did you really think I'd post a blog without a quote?)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Run Hard..... Live Happy (even after a DNF)

It’s always easier to focus on the bad, but we get much more out of focusing on the good. Yes, it takes more effort and it can be hard, but happiness takes work-just like everything else worth having in life.

That’s my number one Secret of Adulthood. Secret of Adulthood? Some of you have no idea what I’m talking about but some of you have a smile and are thinking “she’s read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin”, which I indeed have.
I’ve actually had this Secret of Adulthood (though I didn’t call it that till now) for years, but I am finally making some progress with it.
The past 3 weeks of running have offered a great test: My first overall win and my first DNF.

Which one is it easier to focus on? You already know… the DNF. BUT how about I not get ahead of myself and start at the beginning.

If you want a bit more of a detailed report of the Destin Beach 50 you can check out my sister’s and Steve’s combined blog:

Here's my shorter version:
I entered a contest to run an ultra at Destin Beach with one thing in mind- the chance of getting to see Rachel and my Dad. I adore where I live, but it doesn't mean that I don't miss my family every day. I think the only reason I won the contest is because my intentions weren't “I want to go soak up the sun in Florida”, they were "I want to see my family and give them a short vacation as a small thanks for everything they have done for me.”

Rach and I at the Pre Race dinner (I just like the painting in the backgound)

Just after Rach finished

            The race was great. Zane, the RD, put on a great event. I was feeling strong as the race started so I took off fast and held the pace for 16 miles, hitting the 16 mile mark at 2:08. I was on track for a PR but then as I turned around I hit some crazy headwind. All I could think of was the Tuesday morning tempo group runs up a five mile mountain road (then back down of course) and thought I’d rather run up that for 15 miles then the wind and the “sticky” sand I was in. For the first 16 miles I was blessed with hard packed sand, but the winds brought waves that ruined the hard sand and the sand was either “sticky” or way too soft. Hills definitely would have been easier. Fortunately, the view was still gorgeous, for once I was actually doing great on nutrition, and I was still feeling strong. I was the first person to cross the finish line that day (2nd place overall male came in 40 minutes behind), but best of all my dad was there for the first time to see me finish a race.  Everything else you can read about in Rach’s blog.
(side note: I learned that the course would only be 50k if you ran straight. Of course the better (at least for the first 16) footing was close to the water which was always curving, make the course quite a bit longer)
Sean "Run Bum" Blanton's video of Destin 50:
The Salida “Run through Time” Marathon:

Home Sweet Home: Salida, CO

            I’ve been running the hardest parts of the course as a long run since late November. 8 miles of uphill to beautiful rolling hills to come back on. I loved feeling stronger every time I ran that 8 mile uphill stretch and I thought the course was a perfect fit for me with long climbs and technical down hills. Sure it wasn’t an ultra, but I wanted to do well and prove I could be fast in the mountains. It’s a low key (somewhat), cheap race that trail runners love, and it brings out some elite runners like Nick Clark and Tim Parr every year as a “season opener”.
            Unfortunately my first year working with kids all day means that no matter how healthy I am, getting sick is going to be unavoidable. A few days before I felt an itch in my throat and immediately started taking cold medicine. It didn’t help. That Thursday and Friday I felt like my head was going to bust open from the pressure and couldn’t stop sneezing for the life of me.
            I started the race hoping my legs would still have some power but after two miles I knew it wasn’t going to be a good day. For 13 miles I’d look at my watch and know that I had hit points of the race faster on training runs where I wasn’t going all out. My legs felt weak. I know climbing is my strength and it was disheartening to feel so bad. I got up to the 13 mile aid station not having any fun and feeling light headed. I decided to go to one more aid station and see how I felt. I just started getting dizzy and upset because I knew I had run this rout almost 40 minutes faster as a training run. It just wasn’t worth it. With not one regret I placed my bib still in 3rd at the 20 mile aid station and said I was done. I gave myself the rest of the day to be upset about my first DNF, then knew I had to move on by Sunday. There was no point into focusing on a DNF when it was out of my control, I had won a 50k three weeks earlier, and I have many more good races to come.
Why do so many of us hold on to silly little negative things when there is so many good things? “Because it’s easier”, isn’t an excuse I can live with anymore.
            I am also very excited to say that if I stay in Colorado after my AmeriCorps term is up, I will be the new Race Director for the Salida marathon. I’ve always enjoyed being behind the scenes, but I really think I could put on a great race with a little help to get me started.
Added 3-20-12
            A week after the marathon I felt better, but not all the way so I decided to hike Mt. Princeton instead as a kind of "I got in the Pikes Peak Marathon!!!" celebration. I once again got to test my Secret of Adulthood in nature.
One adventure done so another one can begin
           Twister (roommates dog who is my official hiking buddy) and I started up Mt. Princeton road in hopes of getting in a winter summit. Because of the lack of snow Colorado has had this year and the warm temps the past week, it was definitely doable though still snow and icy. Twister and I were having a blast going up even though the ice made some spots a little dangerous (I came a little too close to sliding down the mountain and I once had to jump on my stomach to save Twister from slipping). I knew that just under 11,000 I was supposed to see a stair case leading up to the single track trail that would take me to the summit. Unfortunately, the snow completely covered up the stairs and there was no sign. I followed footsteps the whole way and thought this was a pretty good idea. Unfortunately, it too me up to Tigger Peak at 13,900 ft. It was a 40 minutes scramble on all fours to get up, I slipped and caught myself by grabbing a plant with a bunch of thorns, and I didnt see Mt. Princeton until I was almost at the top. I was mad for a second, knowing the summit of princeton would take another hour and Twister would get too tired, but then I could help but find it amusing and took the time to laugh at myself and my never failing lack of direction. This made it a great adventure. Going up Tigger Peak I saw my first mountain goat up close running on the mountain! On the way down the peak, I took an alternate route to jump on the single track (I was supposed to be on to begin with) and tried to slide/ scoot my way down the snow. It worked great at first until I hit hard back snow, started flying down the mountain, jammed my trecking pole in the snow, had the pole break in half (the other one was broke anyway), and had to use the half still in my hand to stop. What a ride! The way down was warm and sunny and me and Twister even got to run the last couple miles to the car. The day didnt go a planned, but it was a beautiful day spent in the Colorado wilderness.
            Lastly, I’m hoping within the next week or two to post a blog that is in more in line with my summer adventure blogs. After all, the past few months have just been an extension of my adventures, even if my life is somewhat “stable” at the moment. If not, I’m finally starting “full” training this week again (I always take it easier in winter and don’t go all out till spring), so hopefully I can have a good report after Ice Age 50 in May.

Run Hard, Live Happy