Monthly Archives: January 2016


Today while in the locker room at the gym I had the pleasure of chatting with two young ladies. I was leaning on a shelf looking into my phone when they walked in and one (we’ll call her Tiffany) commented on my tattoos, starting a conversation. We chuckled over our mutual love of bigger brighter tattoos then talked briefly of her wanting more ink over her stretchmarks and I showed her the graffiti on my right hip.

She waved her hand in a dismissive gesture, scrunched up her face, and said my stretchmarks were prettier than hers.

The friends put their stuff in a locker, whispering among themselves for a bit and wished me a good day as they passed on their way out. The other stopped to weigh herself (we’ll call her Rita) while Tiffany told Rita how she never weighs herself because the scale only tells us numbers, it doesn’t tell us how our bodies are changing. I don’t usually intervene first because it’s none of my business and second I do enjoy observing women help one another, it makes my heart smile. However, they allowed the possibility by being friendly and open, so I took the opportunity to continue the encouragement.

Tiffany is right, the scale doesn’t tell us the whole truth. It only tells us our entire weight of compressed tissue, muscles and bones. It doesn’t tell us how many inches have been lost from around our waist or neck or chest. It doesn’t tell us there are fat cells being silenced every time we exercise like when we take the stairs instead of the elevator. Tiffany nodded at her friend as I reminded her of this, saying something like, “See? She knows, too.” I shared with them the only time I weigh myself is every few months if that, how most often I go by how I feel and whether or not my clothes fit.

And then it happened again. Tiffany waved me off saying I didn’t need to work out.

I laughed and asked her how she thought I got this way, Rita asking the same question of her friend at almost the same time. Then I told Tiffany how I started at a swollen 175#, that I began running almost 7 years ago and really paying attention to my food within the last two years, that I now eat to fuel my body with the occasional cheat meal to keep things interesting. I continued with me being 126# now, but I’ve worked hard to get to this point and if I stop working this hard I will quickly go back to 175#. I reminded them both that healthy is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. Tiffany asked if I got this way by exercising and eating healthy and I responded with an absolutely. Rita shared with us how she used to be 400# and intimidated by the gym but now laughs at the meatheads and does her exercises without shame. I congratulated her on the progress and overcoming her fears.

And then it happened again, Tiffany lifted me up while putting herself down. We were discussing our baby bellies, she said mine was prettier than hers. sigh

I’m only going to say this once boys and girls:


No One will ever have the perfect body
no one

Do we really want to die being unhappy with ourselves, flaws and all? Do we really want our last moments to be of criticizing the parts of us that are unique?

Society isn’t very helpful in this area of body image. For both men and women. The charged message is we should eat McDonald’s, Burger King, Hardee’s Big Burger and gigantic smoothies while remaining a svelte slab of lean muscle.

I’m telling you right now it’s not possible. Get it out of your head. Realize you have a choice. And accept it is yours. You only have to answer to yourself and whichever diety to whom you profess your allegiance. You are the only person who has an opinion that matters. Fuck errybody else.

Love yourself, your body and who you are.

Make the decision to shut out those extraneous voices and then fight for your right to your own happiness. Don’t wait until you have the perfect body or the perfect puzzle pieces to fit into your life. Be happy right now. We are all beautiful magnificent unicorns. We are but a single snowflake in this large space of humanity.

So go on, go be your brutiful self, unapologetically.

You deserve it.




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Posted by on January 31, 2016 in shine on, truth


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Yours, regretfully

Time to head onward. I know these beautiful trails of the Khumbu so well now. It feels like they are more familiar even than many of my alpine haunts. The memories of all the times I have trodden them before run through my head but they are absorbed into the sensations and feelings of ‘Now’, so my experience is somehow time past and time present merged into one. But isn’t this how we are? Everything that came before had to happen for us to be the person we are now. And the greatest moments of clarity come when we look back and we realise that it was all necessary and all beautiful.     ~Lizzy Hawker, Runner

I am a knitter. I have been an experienced knitaholic for about 12 years. I gush over yarn just as I gush over trail shoes. I get just as excited about a challenging project as I do a challenging race. When searching for knitting projects, I wait for one to speak to me, to sing its siren song. I pick races in much the same way. Stubborn and willful, I need to know I won’t be bored, that when I am finished, it will have been hard and I will have used up everything I had. I do not like complacency. I dislike comfort zones. I want to push myself throughout the experience, to learn something while going through the process. It is this reason I am picky about races; I don’t want to do them just because.

Running in the mountains and knitting complicated patterns simultaneously intrigue me. Both may cause curse words to fly but the beauty of the finished product is the best reward. Trail racing and knitting require skill, sometimes a lot. Both demand trust in that skill.

For a long time now, at least 10 years or so, I have had a very strong desire to open a yarn store. I even have a name picked out for it already, combining my love of books with my love of yarn. (I’d reveal it but someone may steal it and I want it all for myself!) I’d been telling myself that I can open the store when I retire, then I won’t have to worry about feeding and clothing the kid, he’ll be well into adulthood and I’ll be responsible for only me.

Except, y’all, I’m 40. That means I don’t retire for another 27 years. Do I really want to wait that long? When I asked myself that very question in October, the answer was a loud and resounding, No.

Within the last year my confidence and love of self has soared (with a few dips now and again, it’s inevitable). I’ve been afraid of failing while also being afraid of too much success. My depressive ugliness reminds me constantly that I am selfish, a fraud and don’t deserve good things. I now know I’ve been making myself invisible and dimming my shine to make others feel more comfortable about themselves. I ain’t doing that shit no more.

And I’ve got all this trail running, camping, climbing up mountains and crossing the finish line of my first 50m to thank for that.

So I’ve thought about it. And I’m going to do it. No regrets.

Now that I’m thinking about the opportunity in terms of definitives instead of someday, I know I can do this. I really can do this! I don’t have to wait until I’m 67, I can do this right now! I don’t know how, but that’s not as important as the why. I’ll simply take it one step at a time, beginning with learning what I need to get started on this new and exciting journey other than a few ideas.

I jumped into the ultra world without knowing exactly what would happen, starting my own business shouldn’t be any different.



Posted by on January 29, 2016 in shine on, Universe


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Whispers on the Wind

The other day I heard this:

As you access the infinite unconditional love that you are, you will start to recognize in every person the infinite unconditional love that they are. And you will give them permission to access the freedom that every human on this planet deserves to be and experience. Access your apple tree and you will remind others to access theirs.

How I envision the transformation from simple happiness to inner joy, the deepest center of peace within ones self, is something like what happens in Disney’s animated Cinderella.

The fairy godmother starts with a ‘bibbity bobbity boo’ as she waves her magic wand and sparkling dust comes from the dirt and it begins circling Cinderella’s feet. The fairy dust swirls around Cinderella as it works its way up, finishing with her fancy hair and headband.

Notice the first part, the magic dust rising from the dirt at her feet then making its way to her head.

Imagine experiencing in real life the same thing. Our feet are what plant us in each place we arrive, the foundation from the very beginning. We learn to walk before we are able to speak, we are rooted into life via our loving soles. We pedal through life, feet carrying us long and far, sometimes thousands of steps in one day or often many summits or maybe even more miles. They know where we are before our eyes do, and not just because they arrive at the destination first. Our feet discover newness and change before our head does. It is our feet we trust to get us to wherever it is we are going.

Yesterday, as I stood at the edge of the river under the Manchester Bridge listening to the water rage passed, my feet solid on the ground fastened to each piece of dirt, I realized no matter where I am, I rely on my feet to help me feel strong. Confident. Enduring. Rooted. Capable. Solid. In nature I am pure joy because it knows who I am, the wind bringing me reminders each time it moves against my cheek.

I wonder if that is how it must feel to be a tree.

Think about it.

I considered on my run yesterday the trees as I listened to them creaking while the heavy winds blew. Even in winter a tree reaches its leafless branches to the sky seeking sustenance while firmly held in the ground. Their roots are buried deep, relying on the dirt to hold them firm while they grow taller and wider, keeping steady the trunks that eventually belie their age and experience. I stopped in a field on the Poop Loop to listen and ponder the idea that maybe the trees creak to remind us they are still alive, busying themselves with preparations for their spring release. Maybe it’s their love language, a singular affectation.

Then I decided we need to be more like trees. Supportive Leaning Accepting. They don’t care if their neighbor is a maple, or hickory, or pine, or oak. Trees only care about the authenticity of the support offered so they are able to thrive, together. Trees know they need one another to remain balanced and unyielding, a formidable opposition against life’s many trials.


Trees teach us that outside on the dirt we are all loved and accepted for exactly who we are.

And there is a superb joy in that.

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Posted by on January 11, 2016 in meditation, nature


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It is a longing for some place you have never been, going deeper than Wanderlust which tends to be the superficiality of ambling at an attempt to discover your passion. Fernweh is more a soulful ache, a longing for those undiscovered destinations you have yet to meet. There is no English translation other than being considered a farsickness.

Fernweh does a better job describing my need to see places I have never been. Farsickness is a real thing and it is not going away so I have been feeding it the best I can while I wait for money to grow on trees.

Priest summit

The mountains have been crooning, their whispers growing stronger and more persistent as I dive further into the dirtbag life. My kid is 16, I am two years closer to his self-dependence and my ability to travel without having to worry about him and school. He will be the one who stays home while I traipse the globe seeing the wonder I have been longing to experience.

Until then, I have been summitting peaks, running in the beautiful green spaces we have here in Virginia: George Washington National Forest, Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Jefferson National Forest. Soon I will travel to the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina. And top on the list is Cold Mountain.

As I stood at the top of the Priest on New Year’s Day breathing deep and seeing ridge lines for days, I felt the wind carry away my sorrow longing and doubt. The word of the day was ‘breath’ and that is just what I did with my eyes closed, arms open wide, face toward the sky and an overwhelming feeling of contentment settled.

A while later we were standing at the bottom of the largest falls on the east coast. I had the luxury of standing in that spot for almost 10 minutes before the group started catching up and it was peaceful serenity. I breathed again, inhaling the fragrance of rushing mountain water.

I felt that familiar tug of the soul hug. And realized I was exactly where I was supposed to be right at that perfect glowworm moment.


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Posted by on January 4, 2016 in fernweh


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