Monday, April 29, 2013

That First Spring Run: Video

Check out my new video based on the poem "That First Spring Run" I posted a few weeks ago...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

5 Things Kids Know that Adults Need to Learn

                Today was my last day working at the Boys & Girls Club of Buena Vista. I was supposed to be done working there in August 2012 after my AmeriCorps/ Year of Service term was done, but I couldn’t. The kids became part of my life and I wasn’t ready to leave. I guess I’m still not ready to leave the kids, but I’m ready to leave the job to explore someplace new and most importantly be with someone I love. That’s for another post though. Today is a tribute to the kids at the Boys & Girls Club and 5 (out of many) things they taught me.

5 Things Kids Know That Adults Need to Learn:

·        If someone is behaving badly, they might just want your attention.
                Some of the worst behaviors I saw at the club were from kids who have parents who aren’t around much and/or don’t have the support they need. Thus, they want attention anyway they can get it, good or bad. Sometimes it’s actually harder to get attention for good behavior and unfortunately kids pick up on this.
                At first I thought this just applied to kids, but then I realized this is still true for many adults. It may be subconsciously, but I bet at one time or another all of us adults can admit to behaving in not the greatest manner to catch a person’s attention

·        You really don’t need much more than your imagination to have fun.
                Sometimes after school I’d take the kids to a field and would just tell them to have free time. They didn’t have any balls or toys to play with, yet they’d immediately run off and start a game or find something fun to do.
                I feel like if I did this with adults that I’d mostly get a bunch of people pulling out their phones. Can you see the problem in choosing a phone over a big grass field filled with opportunity?

·        Most of the reasons you get mad at someone are silly. Say sorry, shake hands, and then go play.
                One moment I’d see two kids crying because they hurt each other’s feelings, the next moment they’d be playing together. Kids have real feelings, just like adults, yet they don’t let their feelings ruin their fun for very long. They want to work things out so they can get to playing again.
                 Adults, how many times have we held onto a grudge over something silly? Is it really that hard to say sorry or forgive and then shake on it?

·        Be open with your feelings.
              If I saw a kid who looked upset all I’d have to do is ask what’s wrong to have the kid spill out exactly what they were upset about. There was no need to persuade them to tell me. They were more than happy to share. Normally, right after they’d tell me, they’d be back to being happy.
            I admit, as an adult, I’m completely guilty of doing the exact opposite. I hold my feelings in and sometimes won’t even tell a person what’s wrong even if they ask me. That’s just a recipe to make me feel bad longer than I need to. Even as adults, we normally feel better as soon as we tell someone our problems. We aren’t burdening someone! We want the people we love to tell us when something is wrong so why wouldn’t we tell someone we love when we have a problem?

·        Say what you want.
                Kids always asked me to go on unplanned hikes, give them extra time for an activity, give them extra food, etc. While they didn’t always get what wanted, a lot of times they did. Even if they got turned down sometimes, they would have never of gotten what they wanted if they had never asked.  Also, they didn’t “beat around the bush”, they just told me exactly what they wanted.
                Adults, please don’t be afraid to do this! I know I’ve been too afraid in the past to ask for what I wanted and it really ended up hurting me in the end. Far better to ask 10 people for what you want and have 1 person give it to you than to ask no one and get nothing.

The kids wanted to lift me up, they asked for it, they got it!

Now go and act like a kid!

“In America there are no other people’s children” –Bill Russell

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Pre-Race BIG Mistake for an Almost No Mistake Race: Desert R.A.T.S. Double Marathon

Rewind to one week ago: Monday, April 15

              I woke up early to get a 10 mile run in before my first work shift of the day. My legs still felt a little tight from the 28 mile hard run I did that past Saturday. After wearing myself out physical and mentally with trying to fit in lots of miles and getting ready for another move/ life change, I knew I needed to start really resting for the Desert R.A.T.S Double Marathon in two weeks.

             I went to the race website to check out some race details. The first thing I saw was that the race was on April 20th, not the 27th like I thought!!!!  I immediately started panicking. It was a nightmare! I had just ran 28 miles hard and my body was tired from a few weeks of big miles (for me anyway). I wasn’t even close to being physically or mentally rested enough to race in a few days!  Living at such a high speed for weeks had led to a silly mistake and had taken its toll. After a couple hours of panicking, I felt better, but I was still beyond worried.

The Race:

                The race started under cloudy skies and cool air. It was perfect running weather. After a few moment of silence to honor those who have suffered from the Boston Marathon tragedy, we were off. At the top of the hill at 1.3 miles was a $100 bill for the first man and woman to reach it so I watched some of the men take off at a sprint to go for it. I didn’t want hurt my chances of doing well at the race so I decided not to go for it, figuring some women in the marathon would surely take off for it. A half mile in I realized there were no women sprinting ahead of me and I knew I had taken off  a lot faster in other races. Suddenly, with hopes of offsetting the hotel bill (I originally planned on camping but cold temps changed that), I decided to go for it. I sped up to a tempo run pace, saw that no woman was following my move, and then charged up a steep hill for the money. Normally I try not to care much about race money, but at this point in my life, getting the premium was really helpful. I have to admit, this part of the race was really fun! 

                Soon after getting the premium, a woman wearing The North Face race uniform passed me and I knew it had to be Helen Cospolich who has won the race numerous times. I knew my legs weren’t fully rested due to my silly race date mistake, and I decided to just run comfortably the first half. Still, I never lost sight of her.

Coming into an aid station. Photo Credit: Stephanie Lefferts
                About 17 miles in I heard footsteps right behind mine and then heard another women’s breathing. I had no idea if it was a marathoner or a doubler, but I just told myself to run smart and to hold back. A couple miles later this thinking paid off as I rolled into the 20 mile aid station with Helen and Melissa Bay, who was the runner behind me. I couldn’t help but be a little relieved when I found out Melissa was a marathoner. The three of us began the steep climb out of the aid station together. I was feeling good and knew I could run the whole climb without wearing myself out. I was hoping for the women to follow as they’re great women and the company would have been welcomed, but I soon found myself alone and passing quite a few men. I was the first women to make it to the finish line/ turn around and was happy to know I still had a lot in me. After a year of experiences that had me wanting to sleep on the trail during races, a response to significant vitamin deficiencies, this was a huge relief.
Sage did a perfect job crewing for me!  Photo Credit: Stephanie Lefferts

Photo Credit: Sage Canaday
            The second half of the race was probably the best second half I’ve had since I won Mountain  Masochist in November of 2011. I ran the long climb after the turn around point without a problem. Of course, the second half of a double marathon is never easy, but I knew any pain I was experiencing I could deal with. Some races I have to repeat mantras over and over in my head again to keep my mind off of the pain, but between the beautiful views and navigating the rocks and mountain bikers, my mind had everything it needed to keep my legs going. For a few miles I enjoyed the quietness of my mind and was completely satisfied to be alive and running. Still, at the last aid station I was really wishing the course was only 50 miles instead of 52. I had the hardest climb of the day in those final miles. Even though the course was two loops, second lap in reverse, I had absolutely no memory of how steep and long the final climb was! I could have sworn the first time I ran down that trail it wasn’t nearly as steep or as long! It was the first time all day that I had to hike some steps.  Every time I thought the climb was over, there was another switchback. Finally, I was greeted by some mountain bikers who told me I had only downhill left. I smiled at the thought of a long downhill, but this downhill was rocky and technical. It was impossible to find a rhythm and my joints hurt from the rocky trail, but I made sure to appreciate that downhill after working so hard to reach that point.
An awesome trail with a view of the Colorado River. Photo Credit: Sage Canaday


               I crossed the finish line in 8:34 as the first female and 8th overall. It wasn’t a perfect race and I knew I was feeling the effects of a short taper, but I’m really happy with it. After physically struggling all of last year, I am really happy to see I’m on the upswing. I still know I have huge room to improve, but I now have regained confidence that my body can handle what it takes to make those improvements. This race served me as a great reminder to never stop believing in myself.

The finish! Photo Credit: Stephanie Lefferts
I'm using a Simple Hydration bottle here. Use the promo code "SANDI" when buying  it for a  big discount!

Video of the race. Sage filmed and I edited.


                Of course, I have to thank my twin Rachel Nypaver and my boyfriend Sage. Even though Rachel was in Ohio, I knew she was supporting me the whole race. Sage, after a CR at Lake Sonoma, took a break from racing to film, volunteer, and be the perfect crew. I couldn’t ask for better number 1 fans!

Run Wild, Run Happy, 


Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Summer Just Got Way More Interesting.....

In about a week I will be moving to the beautiful town of Nederland, Colorado! It’s only for a few months but I’m excited to see why the town’s motto is “Life is better up here!”.   It sits at 8,234 feet which will make it the highest town I have ever lived in (Buena Vista was right at 8,000).

Not only will I be moving to Nederland, I will be living in a trailer with an attached sun room. The most exciting part, however, will be the views I wake up to- pine trees and mountain views all around!  My mouth is watering just thinking about the surrounding trails.

Another town filled with trails, art, and interesting people!

Can’t wait to tell you all more about it but it’s time to start packing for this weekend’s race!

Home Sweet Home!

Winter view from the sun room.

Run Wild, Run Happy,


Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Run through Buena Vista (Beautiful View) in Pictures

After yesterday's long run I decided today was a good day for some easy miles and to bring my camera along. I started at my doorstep and weaved through town till I crossed the Arkansas River to do a small loop on the trails. For such a small town there is tons of unique and interesting sights to see. I only captured what I could during my run. It will definitely be a little bittersweet in two weeks when it will once again be time for me to move.

Enjoy the "buena vistas" from my run...

Love this wall painting! Sums up BV perfectly.

Can't wait till that sign says open again!
You can also see the only stoplight in town.

Sleeping Indian Mountain- Can you find her sleeping?
(Hint: Head on left, feet on right)

BV still has its own black smith

This place sits right on Main St.

Love the coffee here! The artwork inside switches every month with
a new local artist.

Now a bar with some cool concerts in the summer.

Every time I run by I wonder what this entrance used to lead to.

Boys & Girls Club- 8 days left of working there.

The school sign... always good for a joke!

This skate park is awesome but I'm pretty sure I would break something
if I tried to use it. 

Typical house in South Main

Not your normal playground.

Bikes like this are all over town in summer.

Outdoor living room complete with a checkers table.

Nice place for a drink in summer.

Arkansas River

Not the comfiest chair but looks neat.

How I access the trails when I run from my doorstep.

Midland Trail

From when BV was a mining down.

Another shot of the bridge that leads to the trails.

Old railroad still cuts right through town. A memory of the past.

Church outside my window.

Where I will soon be moving from.