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It's dark and all I see are steps below me.
Railings protect me from falling deep into the cold earth. Each step is deliberate. A meditation that takes me deeper into the internal. Each step pulls deeper into the next leaving doubt, fear, and hurt behind me. I pause halfway down to see a small cave to my left. I look into the darkness and see a body barely visible. Sobbing, regret, and pain fill that dark space. There's movement. I walk closer to peer into the black, fighting the darkness to see the person, a man, who is crouched in the space. I see months and years past hidden in there. I feel sick. My stomach is in knots. I'm in a state of anxiousness that is too familiar. My mind is racing with worry. Am I enough? Am I loved? Have I made the right decision? I'm sucked into the pain of that heavy space and although every fiber of my being is screaming to get out, I find myself longing to run and jump into the arms of the soft black space and to be held in it's da…

The Adventure Stoke Commences

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I am reinventing myself again.
About a month ago I began to feel a sense of freedom that I haven't felt in a long time. A REAL long time. I had an epiphany. I suddenly realized I was feeding a cycle of hurt that was holding me back. I finally decided to man the fuck up and do something about it. I quit the cycle. It's funny how we like to nurture our pain. But when you constantly feed the pain the wound is always weeping. You will never heal in that state. Salt in the wounds feels so good but sometimes you gotta learn to let it go.
Looking Forward I had to make a conscious effort to look beyond the hurt and start making better decisions for myself. It's a very tough decision, but you will never make it to the other side if you never take the leap. The other side can be scary and something completely estranged from what you know, but that's because you haven't jumped. Once you're there, it's all you know.
The shock and awe of my life decisions are settling …

Rising From the Ashes of the Undead

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I pretty much faded away to nothing.

I just disappeared. Stopped writing. Stopped sharing. I guess in a way I stopped living. I was frantically trying to fix my shit. But in actuality, I was in the middle of a maze-like chaos. Like a dying rat bumping into corners looking for the the last bit of food to sustain itself. I took my last breath. Now it's like I'm on the operating table in the O.R. I'm being shocked back into living. I can see the lights above me blurry and intense. I'm beginning to feel the pain from the fractures and broken bones surfacing from the numb.


Fuck my heart hurts.

I'm bruised, broken, and bleeding. But I'm alive.

Barely.


So I've experienced a sort of death recently, although, if I'm being truly honest, it felt like I died and was resuscitated several times over during the past ten years. It was my decision to end my marriage. I spent the last 20 years with an incredible man. A good soul. A wonderful father. A very thoughtful and giv…

Those Last Miles - The Transformation

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I was recently volunteering at The Rio Del Lago 100 Miler and everything was business. A wave of runners had come through our aid station and every volunteer was on point filling bottles, ladling soup, restocking the table or rummaging through bins for band-aids or other random items. Every runner was diligently being taken care of. After sending a runner off with a breakfast burrito and a full pack, I turned to walk back to the warmest part of the tent. My toes were numb and frozen. I glanced off to the side of the cooking area where a lone runner sat, eyes fixated blankly out into the darkness beyond the tent. 

Something in me connected with him.
The distant stare of an ultrarunner who has just arrived at mile 87 is profound. Fatigue and determination have stripped them raw by that point. They peer into nothingness with an intensity that is indescribable. Maybe they are surveying the miles of wreckage inflicted on their body or game planning on how to cope with a sour stomach. Maybe t…

What's New, Stupid Foot?

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It's been over a month since I finished that 50 miler and it still feels like there's a piece of gravel embedded deep in my forefoot.I've decided I would embrace a prosthetic right now. Please, I'll buck up and do the gory hacking of my foot off if someone would gladly donate a bionic foot for me. Really. I've had it.

So, obviously, I haven't been running lately. What's new, right?

Instead, I've been vending at local races, working full time, hanging out with my boyfriend Megaphone, taking care of family stuff, and trying to be as consistent as possible with the gym. I miss having goals though, but until my foot is back to normal I don't feel comfortable putting anything out there I can't do right now. This neuroma is unpredictable and I can't say when, if ever, it will be back to it's normal, dormant self.

This fucking sucks.

But oh well. At least I have the gym and its not like I ran much before anyway.

So I will be doing more cerebral thin…

How I Did 50 Miles on Strength and No Running - For Science

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Despite now knowing what it's like to run 50 miles on a trail of hot pokers, I also know what it's like to run 50 miles on pure strength alone forgoing any run training whatsoever. I did that. For science. Cuz that's what I do.

Somehow my life has turned into a grand experiment in many ways. I've been a training guinea pig for The Ranch Athletics' coaches long before the inception of their gym located in Loomis CA where they are known mostly for training various athletes most of which are runners and powerlifters. These young fitness geniuses began testing their theories on training with me long before I ever ran my first ultra. They are the only ones who can really speak on the effectiveness of their training style, but in a nutshell, their training philosophy is cemented in strength training as a fundamental building block to running. They are firm believers in quality training over quantity training and how it translates into a stronger and faster runner.

Sadly, I…

And For My Next Trick...

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So despite the fact that I have unfiltered tendencies to overshare, I have not included the Radical Honesty Movement in my life's grand experiment.I'm not totally comfortable with violent contact of fists to my face and prefer to keep my friendships in tact. I would venture to say that I'm more likely to adopt the Radical Nudity Movement instead, especially when the temps start hitting the triple digits here in NorCal.

But since everything I do in life right now is for science, I've decided to take on another experiment.

Surprise.

Ladies and gentlemen, for my next trick, I will attempt to run a 50 miler with about 10,000ft. of elevation gain with NO RUN TRAINING.


That's 0 trail mileage per week and I quit that shit about 3 months ago. Well, I've had a few lapses where I ran the Blood, Sweat, and Beers 11 miler back in July, and may have ran a teensy bit on my "hike" to the top of Mt. Rose with the girls, but other than that the only training I'm doing…