Monday, July 29, 2013

Move Number 4...or 6

"Are you counting how many times you've changed addresses?  The only reason why my address book fills up is because I have to keep crossing out and adding your address!"

This was Rachel’s reply after I sent her my new address…again. I had to laugh as I read it as I realized my new move would make it my third move in the last 12 months. It would also be my fourth move in two years, or 6 moves if you count the times I decided to camp for 1-2 months to make a home outside.

This move will be a little different though. For the first time in my entire life, I signed a 1 year lease, of course with Sage by my side. It will also be the first place since I moved to Colorado that has a population of over 5, 000.

With each move comes a lot of excitement, a little fear, and a little sadness for what I’m leaving behind. Each move also comes with a lot of learning on what it takes for me to feel like I fit in a town. I've learned a lot as some towns definitely threw me for a loop as I really got to experience them on a new level once living there.

The first official town (this came after 6 weeks of camping) I lived in once I moved to Colorado was Salida. The first time I went to Salida I actually really didn’t think much of it as it looked a little too much like the desert for me and I had just come from 120 degree temps in Arizona  where I didn’t have the best experience. Funny enough, I absolutely love Salida now. The trails, even in winter, were a blast to run on as the ones close to town barely get any snow. I also really enjoyed being decently close to all kinds of great trails in Colorado. Salida also offers lots of art, music, and positive energy that makes a great community. I also found some great, really talented, people to run with. It's got my vote for best, not very well known, trail town in Colorado.


                                            (1 month of camping in between)

Then there was Buena Vista, rightly named with beautiful views of 14ers from town. The summer/fall trails there are spectacular. I will always miss my runs in the fall there where I often had the Colorado Trail or other high alpine trails to myself for hours at a time. It was quite magical to have so much beauty to myself. However, in the winter the town changes quite a bit with the lack of tourists, the best trails get packed with snow, and the wind can get brutal. My opinion may be altered of Buena Vista as I hated living/ working at a motel there as one of my two jobs at the time, but I really hated the winter there.

Buena Vista

After Buena Vista, of course came Nederland, possibly the most interesting place I will have ever lived in terms of both the town and the cabin/ trailer Sage and I were renting. The views again, were beautiful, the wildlife was sweet (complete with a “pet” fox and moose) and the trails were pretty good. However, one thing I didn’t realize before moving there is the town culture. While it has a good variety of people, I just didn’t feel like I fit in, and it never really felt like home. It probably didn’t help that Sage and I once came home to our toilet in the kitchen and it smelled like shit….really, really bad!

Now, I’m in Boulder for at least one year. One year ago, I would have never of thought I’d be living in Boulder. I didn’t want to live in a running “mecca” or have to drive through the crazy crowded streets. I was set on living “in”, not besides, the mountains. Yet, this time last year I already knew I was getting a little lonely. While I had a blast in the mountains, solo or with friends, I’d finish a run only to be alone again. I have to admit, I am probably more comfortable to be alone than most people, but day after day with no one I loved around, I grew a little too lonely.  Though I already miss the summer and fall trail access from Salida and Buena Vista, Boulder has it’s perks too. Like it’s one of the easiest towns in the U.S. to be a vegetarian and eat gluten-free. I’m also less than 10 minutes away from a Target, which was a HUGE inconvenience (not at all really but I do like Target) living in the mountains. Probably the biggest perk to me is that Boulder will most likely be the warmest place I have ever lived in for the winter. I should still be able to hit up my favorite mountain in Boulder, Bear Peak (that thankfully isn’t very traveled via Bear Canyon trail), in the colder months. No complaints there. While a warmer winter is the biggest perk (town wise), Sage is the only reason Boulder will feel like a place I can call home. In the grand scheme of things, it’s much better to have someone to come home to, rather than have a nice few hours in the mountains and come home to no one. Already, our apartment, though small, feels comfortable. For this first time, I can actually really settle into an apartment, and make it feel like a place Sage and I can call our own.

I’m not sure when I will find a place and think “this is the town I want to grow old in.” Maybe I’ll never get that feeling and perhaps the only way to truly enjoy the place that I’m living in, is to simply focus my energy on everything positive about a place and not worry about its downfalls (though I will never live in a town far from trails as that downfall would be too much!).

Right before I moved to Colorado I read Into the Wild.  The book is part of the reason I quit a job to go on a month long solo adventure. While reflecting on the places I have lived, I remember Alex Supertramp’s (Chris McCandless) thoughts:

"Upon finishing reading Tolstoy's "Family Happiness" McCandless marked passages including:

"He was right in saying that the only certain happiness in life is to live for others...." 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Finisher Awards for White River 50- I Believe Art

          When I created my I Believe Art Facebook Page I wasn't really expecting much. It was just kind of a last hope of not having to find a "regular" job and doing something i enjoyed while still being able to explore the mountains. I actually had the idea in my head for a while but then talked myself out of it. Fortunately, one night an urge overtook me and without another thought I set up the I Believe Art page. I did it just in time for not long after I got asked to do the honor of making the finisher awards for White River 50! I really enjoyed making the paintings so I thought I would share some pictures of different steps of the process...

Had to show off my birthday present from Sage!

To get the boards ready I first applied a layer of gesso and once that dried I put on a layer of paint
over each board. This way the canvas doesn't absorb paint and no white will show. 

To start I did a quick sketch on the board. Then I began painting from the background to foreground: sky, white mountain (Rainier), green mountains, trees, etc. 

Since the runner is the main foreground, I did the runner last.

Finished female finisher painting.

Finished male finisher painting.

The hardest part for me was making almost 400 prints of the paintings as I had never done it before.
I had a little scare when I counted the prints and realized the printer left me 30 short of what I wanted.
Thankfully the printer made me more pretty quickly and I sent everything out the next morning.

The box on the right was 13 lbs!

          Hopefully this will be a good way to remember the race instead of a finisher's medal. While I do appreciate my medals, I know most of mine are in boxes but the few races I received an art piece from are out on display.

         To check out more of my art click on my iBelieve Artwork tab above.

         Good luck to all White River 50 runners and anyone else racing this weekend!

Run Wild, Run Free,


(Special thanks to John Wallace and the White River race staff for asking me to provide the art!)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Going My Own Pace: Ten Mile Traverse

Ten Mile Traverse Adventure (Frisco to Breckenridge):
-20 miles
-10 peaks ranging from 12,600 to 13,600
-Difficulty: Class 3 scramble
-8,200 ft.
(Photo by: Jon Harrison)
6am Wednesday morning (July  17) Sage and our friend Jon Harrison started the Ten Mile Traverse from Frisco to Breckenridge, CO.  We started a steep climb up to the first peak and I immediately knew it was going to be hard day physically as my legs were already tired from lots of climbing and miles. It probably would have been a good time to turn around but I wanted the adventure. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with Sage and Jon though, and I didn’t want to torture myself trying to. Thus, I put my pride away and let them get ahead while periodically waiting for me so we could still somewhat stick together.

                This worked for a while and I didn’t slow them down too much but then much of the way between peaks 2-4 required some class three scrambles. Then I knew I was really slowing them down. While it seems like it’s becoming a Colorado trend for ultra runners to get good at climbing, I am just not fitting in to that right now as I have a HUGE fear of falling off of a mountain. I’m actually okay with heights when I’m in a plane or have a window protecting me from falling, but when it’s just me and my clumsy feet on some sketchy rocks, I am absolutely terrified. I knew going into it there would be a little class 3 scrambling but I had no idea it would last for so long. Plus, it was my first time doing anything class 3 and so I had no idea what it would be like.  

                As soon as we got to the first class 3 scrambling after peak two I got really nervous and then upset as I saw how long the rocks lasted for. Jon excels on the technical parts of the mountains and Sage, for previously being a road runner, definitely holds his own. I watched in amazement as they seemed to effortlessly navigate the rocks that could lead to their death if they took one wrong step. I didn’t even want to take a step forward, let alone try to somewhat keep up.
(Sage Canaday)
                After a few moments of almost shedding a few tears I realized I had a decision to make. I could turn around, I could unhappily attempt to trudge on and be mad at myself for being scared and really slowing they guys down, or I could just do my best and be proud of myself for at least moving forward, even if I was terrified and moving like a snail. While the first two choices would have initially been easiest, I decided to go with my third option. I really did move at a snail’s pace and I was scared the whole time, but I did it, and even if it was ugly, I’m proud of myself for moving forward at my own pace. It of course really helped that I had two great guys by my side.  Jon helped show me where to step when I had no idea where to and then Sage, being the wonderful loving boyfriend that he is, slowed down to stick by my side and help me whenever I really needed him to. I was with the right people and they were still happy to be with me even when I really slowed them down. J

(Jon Harrison)
"How much longer will this last?"
(Jon Harrison)
Happy to be breathing hard up less technical climbs!
(Jon Harrison)

(Jon Harrison)

(Jon Harrison)

(Jon Harrison)

Peak 10, right before the hail/rain started
(Sage Canaday)
Animal sightings from the week:
-1 moose
-baby ptarmigans!
-"Little Prince", Sage and mine's "pet" fox

Run Wild, Run Happy,


Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to Defend Being a Vegetarian to Your Midwest, Meat-Loving, Family

Sometimes talking about being a vegetarian to a meat lover can be like talking about religion to a person who has very different views.  Thus, I normally try to avoid it but sometimes it’s unavoidable, like when my meat loving family (besides Rach) decides to tell me I should eat meat again. Sometimes they even like to tease me about it. I usually just sit there and take it. Sometimes it’s best to just ignore the comments but if people are going to give me a hard time about being a vegetarian, I’m at the point where I at least want to be able to defend myself. Maybe instead of me having to just suck it up and take it, I can defend myself with some hard facts, possibly causing my meat loving family and friends to just not bring it up anymore.

(If you’re reading this and you eat meat- please take no offense as I’m not judging you at all. I just want to give my vegetarian friends some info the could use to defend themselves when certain people make fun of them for not eating meat)

1)      Albert Einstein was a vegetarian and he was really smart.
 “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances of survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
- Albert Einstein

2)      Pigs are emotional, sensitive, and extremely smart!
Pigs are actually one of the most intelligent species in the world even though they are rarely painted in this light. They’re more emotional and intelligent than a dog. Could you imagine eating something as loyal and loving as your dog? They even have the mental capacities of a three year old human! Pigs, when trained, can do all kinds of tricks and tasks.  They love to play and can get very curious. Pigs can also experience fear and sadness. They can very well feel all the pain, physically and emotionally, humans cause them.

                Cows have feelings too. They respond better when they are given an individual name and even like some people better than others.
                For me, the last thing I ever want to do is cause another living, emotional creature pain, and it’s why I became a vegetarian. For more on this subject here’s some good article to start with:
             James Cromwell, lead character of the movie Babe, has this to say:
“To deny an animal its right to self-determination, its right to live out its life as it chooses in its natural habitat, that is an aggression; it’s an aggression against the planet and all other sentient beings.”

3)      One of the biggest things meat eaters tell me is that human bodies were designed to eat meat.
That’s a load of garbage.
         I will compare myself to a mountain lion-
              At the end of my long fingers that are great for picking fruits and veggies are fingernails, not claws. While I can certainly make a scratch on skin with my fingernails, there is no way my finger nails are capable of tearing into another body.
               Then there's my teeth and mouth. My mouth is quite small compared to a mountain lion and there is no way I can open it was wide as a mountain lion. I certainly can’t fit the whole neck of an animal in there or crack any bones with my mouth.  As for my teeth, they’re great for smashing fruits and veggies (again, not bones). If I tried to dig my teeth into raw animal flesh, the animal would probably be laughing at me. Mountain lions have sharp long teeth. You can even see these teeth sticking out of a closed mouth. I’m pretty sure I don’t have that as I think I would be considered a vampire.

                Even my intestines lack resemblance to a mountain lion. My intestines, like all herbivores, are nice and long. A mountain lion has short intestines to quickly get rid of the rotting flesh of animals that’s in its stomach.  Additionally, while a mountain lion is okay eating fresh meat, I would get extremely sick eating any raw meat. My body would want nothing to do with it.
                Lastly there is my mind which is built to care about other living things. A mountain lion’s brain isn’t built to care about eating animals for food, but my mind cares for other animals. If a person, like me, isn’t able to kill the animal and prepare it himself/herself, it’s probably a good sign that he/she wasn’t meant to eat meat

4)      One HUGE reason it’s good to be a vegetarian is for the environment.  
         Livestock is one of the biggest causes of global warming.
               First of all, there is methane which is 72 times more potent than CO2! If everyone stopped eating meat, the world would be much better for it. Then there of course is the deforestation to grow feed for livestock, the transportation and refrigeration of meat, and the processing of meat, all of which accounts for making livestock a huge cause of global warming. Meat production also uses tons of water and other resources that could be used for much better causes.
         Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang wrote a great article for World Watch that started off like this:

Whenever the causes of climate change are discussed, fossil
fuels top the list. Oil, natural gas, and especially coal are indeed
major sources of human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide
(CO2) and other greenhouse gases(GHGs).But we believe that
the life cycle and supply chain of domesticated animals raised
for food have been vastly underestimated as a source of GHGs,
and in fact account for at least half of all human-caused
GHGs. If this argument is right, it implies that replacing livestock
products with better alternatives would be the best strategy for
reversing climate change .In fact, this approach would
have far more rapid effects on GHG emissions and their
atmospheric concentrations—and thus on the rate the climate is warming—
than actions to replace fossil fuels with
renewable energy.

5)      Meat is just not all that healthy for us.
          The more meat you eat, the more at risk you will be for heart disease- the number one killer of women. Red meats and processed meats are high in saturated fat which raises cholesterol. If you’re a vegetarian you will also be less likely to have some cancers, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.                            What makes meat really unhealthy now more than ever is all the hormones injected in livestock. The hormones in meat are affecting human hormones, thus negatively affecting the way human bodies work. These extra hormones can possibly cause certain cancers, weight gain, early puberty, etc.
I know this is a touchy subject, so I’ll stop there for this one. J


6)    Sage Canaday has been a lifelong vegetarian and he’s one of the fastest ultra/ mountain runners out there.

           I know I could go on an on about this but that would make for a little bit of a boring post. However, I really encourage you to do your own research on this as knowledge really is power, especially when you're trying to defend being a vegetarian to your Midwest, meat-loving, family.

 "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian."
- Linda and Paul McCartney

Monday, July 15, 2013

Trying to Catch Up with Happiness (Oregon and Utah)

Trying to catch up with happiness is one hell of a run, but when I get to travel and explore with Sage, I seem to be running along with it for a bit.

Oregon Coast:

Sage and I did some hill repeats on the sand dunes.
Though it looks warm, the beach in Oregon is cold! I put on a sweatshirt after this and I was still cold.

Benjamin Franklin 

Salt Lake City & Snowbird Utah

Sage's Cafe- all vegan!
If you ever go to Sage's Cafe you should know that the sign is impossible to see as it is covered in grape vines.

Sunset over Salt Lake City

Previous home of the winter olympics

Snowbird, Utah
I'll be back here in less than 2 weeks for Speedgoat 50k!

The next day after this picture was taken Sage and I had a toilet in our kitchen and our cabin smelled like shit... literally. It's already funny to us but it wasn't when we walked in at 10pm and wanted to go to bed soon. The problem is fixed (although it seems like a new problem arises daily), but it is time for Sage and I to move on from our little trailer/cabin. A new adventure awaits us!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Benefits of B12/ B-Complex

Vitamin B12/ B-Complex

In my newest attempt to get my iron levels higher I have received a couple of b12/ b-complex injections.

It’s completely legal. I swear!

The reasoning? My b12 was (is?) low and it hurts my chances of getting my iron back up. Thus, if I get my b12 back up, my iron should hopefully go up.

Some symptoms of having low levels of b12/ b-complex:
·         Fatigue
-In my case, and a good sign of a vitamin deficiency, I had what is sometimes called a “foggy brain.” I felt like I couldn’t think clearly to get things done.
·         Anxiety
·         Asthma
·         Depression
·         Chronic Pain

Conditions that can be exacerbated by a deficiency of b12/ b-complex (I find this kind of interesting):
·         Alzheimer’s disease
·         Crohn’s disease
·         Cancer
·         Heart disease
·         Osteoporosis

Benefits of increasing b12/ b-complex:
·         Healthier immune system
·         Improved sleep
·         More energy and stamina
·         Improved mood
·         Clearer thinking
·         Reduced stress (physically and mentally!)
·         Can reduce allergy symptoms
·         Decrease inflammation and pain
·         Promotes healing

If you are now thinking about increasing your b12/ b-complex levels, here are some things you need to know:
                >I’m getting b12/ b-complex injections right now because I have trouble absorbing vitamins and I’ve been training hard for some difficult mountain ultras which is putting a lot of stress on my body. If you think you might be like me, it’s pretty easy to do an internet search to find a qualified nurse to give you the injection without a doctor’s prescription. But PLEASE, do your research!

                >You can’t overdose on b12. That’s why you don’t need a doctor’s prescription to get injections.

                >Most people (so I suggest trying this first) can get benefits from taking b12 vitamins. (You can take other b vitamins but b12 is the most important by far) But, DO NOT GET CAPSULES! You will ruin your chances of absorbing the vitamin. You have to get a natural, chewable b12 vitamin. Don’t chew! Place the b12 vitamin under your tongue and let it dissolve there. You will increase your chances of absorption.

                >Quick fact on why humans now need to take vitamins and supplements:
Besides the obvious reason that processed food is awful for you and very negatively effects vitamin absorption, the way human bodies deal with stress now is very different than in early humans. For instance, an early human saw an animal that wanted to kill them and they ran. A human today receives an expensive bill and they most likely freak out without running a step. For you science people, I’m talking about the “fight or flight” response to stress. When faced with a problem, the “fight or flight” response releases cortisol in the body. In this first instance, the person got rid of their cortisol because they ran. In the second instance the cortisol stayed in body, resulting in a constant stressed state. This negatively affects the mind and body (feel free to do some research to learn more).
                To get back to b12/ b-complex, taking extra b12/ b-complex can significantly help the negative side effects of too much cortisol in the body. That’s why it can even help improve mental disorders like depression, which is made much worse by cortisol.

         Lastly, I’ve never been to medical school so please do your own research as doctors might have different opinions.

Special thanks to Valerie from Boulder Shots for helping me learn most of this!

Run Wild, Run Healthy,

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Growing up in the Oregon Forest

When playing outdoors, children 
grow emotionally and academically by developing an appreciation for the 
environment, participating in imaginative play, developing initiative, and 
acquiring an understanding of basic academic concepts such as investigating 
the property of objects and of how to use simple tools to accomplish a task 
(Kosanke & Warner, 1990; Guddemi & Eriksen, 1992; Singer & Singer, 2000).

Proof of this: Sage Canaday (along with his brother and sister) and the Canaday Family's Yard

(Though not pictured, Sage grew up in an absolutely beautiful house built by his dad and mom. Sage and his brother even helped build additional rooms)

One of the disc golf holes Sage built with his dad and brother.

Part of the trail Sage and his dad built in their yard.

Yes, this is all part of the Canaday property (I know, it's pretty sweet).

The turn around for the Canaday trail.

Sage's one man circus. He can even juggle flaming torches (if he practiced again).

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Video: Running in the San Juan Mountains (part of the TMR course)


If you haven't already you can check out my previous post for more info about the San Juan Mountains and the Telluride Mountain Run course:

Run Wild, Run Happy,


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Where I Want to Be

A few pics from the start of Sage and mine's trip to Oregon...

On the way to Sage's home...

Boise, Idaho (I swear this trail was steep and at a weird angle)
Where did Sage get us lost this time? 
Multnomah Falls in Oregon

Pacific City Beach

Starfish hanging out with the sea anemone

Starfish hiding under a rock (probably not wanting people to poke them)

Sea Anemone

"You know where I want to be right now? Right here. Not in the future. Not in the past." (From 180 South)