Thursday, January 30, 2014

Running in Summer Snow on the Continental Divide

Warning: This video might make you really miss summer (it did for me)!

This video features a spectacular run Sage and I did in Eldora, Colorado last June. There are great trails, awesome views, and some lack of skill as you see Sage falling and me trying to get up a wall of snow! :

Enjoy!  :)

Thanks Hammer for the socks and gels on this run!

Also, I'm very happy to announce my new sponsor Ultimate Direction! A team of women did an absolutely amazing job creating the Jenny Collection. The Ultra Vesta is perfection so check it out by clicking on the UD picture! :)

Run Wild, Live Happy, 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ultra Running and Sponsorship for Women

Thanks for all the support and the kind, thought provoking comments so far on this post!

As many of you know Sage is working on an awesome film called MUT Runner. The subtitle is “A new breed of Mountain Ultra Trail runner has emerged”. In this case the word “new” just means some people are coming from speedier (track/road) backgrounds and that there’s more prize money and sponsorship. Otherwise, the only people in the sport are still going to be people who love the trails and people who are crazy enough to see running and training for ultras as fun.

There’s only one problem, a major problem in my opinion, that’s new and I see as compromising the sport. I indicated that there is now more sponsorship in the sport, which is true, but to be blatantly honest the elite women are getting screwed. There, I put it on the table. Now lets go deeper.

***Before I begin I will acknowledge that my knowledge is limited to only elite American ultra-runners. I am also not acknowledging myself as an elite runner and therefor am making no reference to myself or my sponsors (which I of course only picked because they're awesome!). Also, this post refers mainly to major sponsors (companies with a lot of money to give), as some of the smaller companies are definitely doing it right!

Since I know a lot of elite female and male runners I have gotten a pretty good idea of how much a lot of runners are making…or err uhm…not making. It’s in most people’s contracts to not publicly say how much they’re making so I won’t name specifics or names unless the knowledge is already out there.

Let’s look at the guys. There are probably 5 elite guys who are making enough money in ultras to live comfortably. The top paid guy are making about 4-5 times higher than what the top elite females are making. With prize money matching at least one guy made $40,000 last year from ultras. Then there are quite a few guys who aren’t making enough money to live off of, but are making enough where they don’t have to work full time. It’s easy to look on facebook, read blogs, and watch irunfar race interviews to see that some guys have been able to run for work and travel all over the world thanks to their sponsors.

If we look at New Balance and Brooks they both picked one elite guy to showcase for their trail running lines and gave them a nice salary. Does Brooks even give free product to other trail runners anymore? (I’m just asking here. I haven’t heard anything about their I.D. program in a long time.) The least either company could do is pick one main female athlete as well. No offense to New Balance’s or Brooks’ main trail guy, but they’re not going to inspire me to buy something like an elite woman would. Also, I really hope that Nike improves its 7 men to 1 women ratio for their trail team because it looks really bad. Isn’t it bad enough they’re one of the biggest companies known to treat their foreign employees like crap they don’t care about (obviously me ranting here, sorry! On the plus side Nike has done a great job promoting their female road/ track runners. Maybe they'll do the same for trail runners.)?”

Honestly, I think this is wonderful for the men. I love seeing people live out their dreams and I’m very thankful that companies are giving them enough money to do what they love. It’s awesome! What about the women though?

Does anyone know of a woman making a comfortable salary that’s enough live off of (Not including prize money)? I’m hoping there are at least a few women making close to $10,000 and sure, Jenn Shelton had (has?) a sponsorship with Hundai but that’s only one woman. If Timothy Olsen and Rob Krar are getting a lot from the North Face then Rory Bosio and Stephanie Howe should be too, right? Why hasn’t this year’s female ultra runner of the year gotten a big sponsorship? Pam Smith just killed it in 2013 with a Western States win and a world record, where’s her big salary? She uses her kids as weights and put ice down her pants to stay cool during WW100! She deserves a big salary too dammit!  To make matters worse I know that many of the elite women we saw in the top 10 for Ultra Runner of the Year make a whopping $0. That’s right, no salary, no travel, no bonus. These women won some big races this year and all they got were some free shoes and clothes. I’m not saying shoes and clothes aren’t nice, but it’s not fair when I hear how much the men are making.

I know in almost all sports women make a lot less than men. The salary of a WNBA player compared to an NBA player is a joke. I also know that there are more male ultra-runners than woman and the elite men run faster than the elite women. Let’s move on to why this shouldn’t matter.

A lot of people still consider ultra running as a “pure” sport where people share their joys and pains together. The sport itself is awesome, but it’s not very pure to put the “glass ceiling” on female ultra runners. Companies now put this dreaded obstacle over women. By the way, if you don’t know this, it’s mostly men creating sponsorship deals for athletes. This might not be a good for the company or the sport and both are losing out. Just having a woman helping on the deals would be beneficial.

The fact that there are more male ultra runners than female runners isn’t all that important. The number of women entering the sport is growing too and more importantly, women really like to buy running clothes and shoes. How often do you hear a guy say “I love your jacket! Where did you get it?”. With sports bras, running skirts, and headbands there are more things for women to buy as well. Guys are also more likely to wear the same sweaty clothes a few times a week, thus not having as many running clothes. C’mon major sponsors, women are great for promoting your stuff! In road running Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Davila, Lauren Fleshman, etc. have done amazing jobs showcasing their sponsors. Actually road/track running seems to have done a great job of treating men and women equally. Shouldn't we carry that over to the trails?

Unfortunately, the elite men will almost always beat the elite women at races. It’s just life. There are a few things that need to be remembered though. When Ellie Greenwood and Timothy Olson both set course records at WS100, Ellie took two hours longer to finish. I GUARENTEE this doesn’t mean that Timothy Olson was pushing any harder than Ellie. That means Ellie is a complete badass for pushing that hard for two hours more. Seriously, she’s a beast and women are tough! Furthermore, while the elite women aren’t beating the elite men, they’re still beating a large majority of the field.

One other interesting thing to note:
I had a conversation with a few female runners this year that really left a bad taste in my mouth. The discussion was about some of the elite women not getting as much attention or support because they didn’t have “the right look.” Unfortunately, as a fellow woman I can tell you this probably isn’t just in their heads. It’s ridiculous, awful, sad, and wrong. Any guy in good shape is considered good looking to a company; it should be the same for women. Any woman who has the mind and body to run an ultra is stunningly beautiful inside and out. Other ultra runners know that but we need companies who give out sponsorships to see that too.

 Again, I think it’s great runners are getting better sponsorships. Most are working as hard or harder than other professional athletes who make millions, so it’s about time some ultra runners are making enough to live off of. Everyone deserves a chance to live out their dreams, or at least see if that dream is right for them. It’s just a shame women aren’t offered the same deals as men.  This is the great sport of ultra running and in my opinion the sport will lose some of its pureness if women aren’t supported on the same level.

On another note completely please vote for Rachel Nypaver, Valley Girl Adventures!!!!

Run Wild, Live Free,


Always try to see the good in people. Its okay to have differences. It's even okay people make mistakes that bother you. The majority of the world has a good heart if we choose to see it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How to: Plank Variation Exercises for Athletes and Beginners

My favorite part of my body to workout by far is my core. It's so important for running efficiently and being balanced. The fun part, however, is that there are so many exercises to work on your core. I could do a whole core workout standing, on a yoga ball, with a weight, on my back, or just doing planks like in the video. So many options to make things more fun! Anyway, the first core video is on planks because they are easy to do anywhere since you don't need anything but yourself, you can work on other body parts at the same time, and they're just so effective. If you like the video and want to see more core workouts leave a comment here or on the youtube page.


Run Wild, Live Happy,


Thursday, January 9, 2014

One of my favorite places to run in Ohio...

Mohican State Park has a special place in my heart as it's where I ran my first ultra, the Mohican 100 Trail Run. When I was in Ohio for Christmas Rachel, Sage (who got the great footage for me to edit), and I manageg to slip away from the holiday bustle (good, happy bustle) and did a beautiful 3 hour run on the trails.

I BELIEVE ART DISCOUNT: I know everyone just spent a lot of money for Christmas and New Years so anyone who mentions this get's $10 off on a charcoal drawings or paintings for Valentines Day. Art takes time so this offer is only good until the end of Sunday, January 12. As always. 7%  of the proceeds goes to charity.

One last note. I started coaching and I absolutely love it! It's something I thought about for awhile but just never did it. Thankfully, an already awesome runner asked my to help her get ready for some ultras including a 100 miler and I gladly agreed. It's a true joy for me to be able to do this and I get excited just thinking about it. I can write more about this in a later post but just wanted to put it out there for anyone interested.

 Run Wild, Live Happy,

Sunday, January 5, 2014

An iBelieve Christmas

Some memories from spending the holidays in Ohio:

My sister Rachel and her boyfriend Steve race direct the I Believe 5k/10k and give all the proceeds to the Boys & Girls Club. Below are pictures of the 1 mile kids race and then me after finishing the 10k. I loved the mud!
Coolest Start/Finish sign ever!

Had to retire my Christmas socks after the race.

Sage and I had a bit of a rock star running schedule. We both won the I Believe 10k on Saturday, the day after we ran 16 miles, Monday we ran 3 hours in the beautiful Mohican State Park with Rachel and Pacer.....

Then on Tuesday we won the Frosty 5 in 15 degree weather followed by a trail run. It was a blast! However  it really made racing 5 miles on the road hurt!

I gave someone a good Christmas present by leaving my Garmin watch there.

After the Frosty 5 we headed to my mom's house for my family's annual Christmas Eve Party.

My wonderful friends, some who've I've known since elementary school.
To work off some of all the food we ate Rachel, Sage, some of my Ohio running friends and I ran the annual Waterfall Run in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. 3 waterfalls in 17 miles.
Rachel, Me, and our friend Lee running Pine Lane on our way to the first waterfall.

Rachel, Me, and Sage at Buttermilk Falls.
I also fulfilled my duty as an aunt by spoiling my niece, Pacer, with tons of play time and belly rubs!

It's always a little sad to say goodbye.... (Fortunately for Pacer she has my sock to remember me by.)

Run Wild, Live Happy,


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Farewell (for now) Tears

I leave Ohio after celebrating Christmas with family and friends to go back to the mountains of Colorado for the third time.

I love the mountains as they are my home and I am very lucky to have someone to travel back with this year, but like every year, I leave Ohio in tears.

It’s ridiculous really; I should be used to it by now. I shouldn’t be so emotional, but I can’t help it. It doesn't help that every time my tears slip from my eyes, I catch what at first seems to be my reflection in tears as well. In these moments I remember that it’s okay to cry, as the bond between soul mates is indeed very special.

(When I was a kid I thought a soul mate was a significant other and I could only have one, but as I grew wiser I learned that it is possible to have more than one soul mate, and soul mates can come in forms of various people.)

As I once again leave my amazing twin sister, Rachel, I feel like I’m leaving parting with a piece my heart.
Growing up I didn’t see how perfectly our lives fit together. We each had hard battles that we dealt with separately, yet we later realized our battles were often the same. To this day we still find ourselves sharing paralleling paths, but now we gratefully share our thoughts and dreams together.
Me (left) and Rachel in CVNP
Rachel is not only my twin sister, she is my best friend, soul mate, and my hero. She is the person that will go to events with me that no one else will. She is the person I seemed to have accidentally started an online book club with. She is the reason I still look up when someone says Rachel, thinking that they might be talking to me. She is the one who always listens to my crazy ideas and often takes part in them. She’s the only one who believed in me when no one else did.
Rachel running Forget the PR 50k

When we were kids I saw her as a rock of determination and pure will power as she’d have me put on ankle weights for early morning runs before school in 6th grade. It was also during this time I learned that while she might be the most determined person on the planet, she was like me and had plenty of her own mental struggles.
Rachel on her way up Kilimanjaro
I remember the day I learned this. My mom and Rachel came home from the doctor and my mom told me that Rachel had to go to the hospital right away. Her pulse was so slow her heart could stop beating at any moment. At that moment I felt like my heart stopped. How could someone with such a strong heart possibly be at risk of having it stop?

Rach taking in the view from Molas Pass (Colorado)
She wanted to fly, so she flew.
For two weeks she was in the hospital, for two years she was constantly going to appointments, and till this day I know she sometimes struggles. However, she has already won the battle and the war. Now she is truly the definition of strength as she constantly works to help and inspire others whether it be through her presence, writings, directing the I Believe Trail Races for charity, being on a mental health board, or helping young girls stay on the right path.

I remember two ideas I had that only came to life because Rachel agreed to do them with me, and that has forever changed my life.

The first was to start a volunteer group, Students Making a Difference, at our college. We already felt liked we were busy, but we jumped in any way to follow a path of service, which gave us the gift of believing in our abilities separately and together. We had no idea what we were doing, but we took one of the most important steps of our lives as we now always consider how we are affecting the planet and its people.
Right: Students Making a Difference becoming an official club!

The other idea always makes me smile to this day. At the age of 21 I went on an i2P expedition, quit my basketball team (and so did Rach), and signed up to run the Mohican 100. The longest race I ever did prior to signing up was a half marathon. 100 miles was crazy, but I knew I could do it. Rachel knew it too. Everyone else thought I lost my mind. About 30 miles to go in the Mohican 100, I picked up Rachel. I said I needed her with me and despite her not running much beforehand due to an injury, she joined me for the rest of the race. She stopped me from making wrong turn and together we ran for our first time in the dark, and soon after both our flash lights dimmed till we could barely see.  Together, we finished my first 100 mile race in first place.

Rachel and her daughter (my beautiful niece), Pacer
Because of these events, I continue to dream. I dream big, wild, almost impossible dreams. While I’m sure most of my family  still doesn’t know what to think of me (though my dad is pretty awesome and is happy if I’m happy), Rachel continues to believe in me, and I continue to believe in her.

I don’t just believe in her because she’s my sister, I believe in her because everything about her shows she’s meant for greatness in whatever she decides to do. As she continues to see the goodness and power in herself that others already see, I hope we can dream some big dreams together and make them come to life. After all, it’s why we were put on this beautiful earth together.

My wish for everyone reading this is that you learn from Rachel that struggles can show your true strength and beauty, and that showing people you believe in them can change lives in a big way.

I love you Rachel.

Me (left) and Rachel at Twin Spring in Manitou Springs, CO

Run Wild, Live Happy,


Why God makes twins

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Savannah, the Purring Dog

Savanah Banana, my lovable family dog starts to "purr" whenever someone says "bellies" and then pets her belly. People confuse it as growling but you can tell her tail is wagging and she just wants to be petted.