Hope you’re staying safe and merry (as possible) during this very, erm… different holiday season.
I started a self-love newsletter at actpot.substack.com and would love it if you continued to follow me there. I wrote my first post about why I started a new thing at this time. I’m planning a weekly or biweekly drop for now, definitely nothing that’s going to clutter your inbox.
You can also follow me on Twitter (which I rarely use) and Instagram (where I hang out most).
There’s so much anger and sadness in the world today, and rightfully so. Up until this point, I’ve been pretty quiet- on my blog, on social media, and online in general.
Part of that is because I just didn’t know what to say. Honestly, I still don’t.
But I recognize that silence is part of the problem.
About two weeks ago, George Floyd was killed by a police officer. Another unarmed black man murdered by a system that’s finally being exposed as the inherently white supremicist institution it’s always been.
It’s disgusting, upsetting, and vile.
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.
Not because it doesn’t deserve attention, but because so many others are covering the issue in greater detail and with more expertise than I have to offer here. If you’re not already doing so, I urge you to educate yourself.
Watching these videos is a good place to start:
Examining my own role in racism
I’ve never thought of myself as racist. I still don’t. You probably don’t either.
But recent events and the national call for change has triggered an outpouring of personal emotions.
Coronavirus quarantine combined with witnessing brutal acts of explicit racism have led so many of us to sit with ourselves and examine our own attitudes and beliefs toward race.
This is heavy work.
And it’s so, so important.
If you feel angry, confused, or even depressed, you’re not alone.
The feelings I’m grappling with most are shame and guilt.
I started to express those feelings in my most recent instagram post:
The response to that post helped me realize that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
My greatest sense of guilt is around Ahmaud Arbery’s story. As a runner myself, this one hit especially close to home.
Even though this story was deeply disturbing, I failed to acknowledge it on my blog or on social media. And I feel like I should have.
I should have confronted the horror that his story exposed instead of turning from it.
Maybe I had a lot of other projects going on at the time, but when I really sit with it, I can see that I made excuses to avoid it.
Because commenting on the topic of racism made me uncomfortable. And the more I sit with that, the more I can see how that was me contributing to this larger problem.
When it comes down to it, I was afraid of saying the wrong thing.
Because, no matter how open my mind and my heart are, I’ve only ever experienced the world first-hand as a white woman.
I know that there’s a lot I’m missing because of that. There’s a lot I don’t understand.
But now I see that, even if I do say the wrong thing and get criticized or corrected for it, I can use that as a learning experience.
I’ll admit, I’ve never made it a priority to educate myself about racism. But, now, I’m committed to learning.
I’m going to leave off here for now.
But I promise to keep doing the work and checking in here.
If you want to keep in touch, please sign up for my email list:
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PS – I edited my last post on EFT tapping to remove the link to Jenna Kutcher’s podcast. Recent events have brought to light how poorly Jenna has handled race relations in the past and exposed her as a completely un-relatable, out-of-touch, and self-serving person. I no longer follow her accounts or support her work in any way.
Saying no to what no longer serves your highest self is part of personal development. I’m all for the collective change that’s happening right now and looking forward to building a better future.
How are you doing? I know I’m not the only one who’s had an extra-tough time staying positive this past week. That’s why I wanted to share this quick blog post about EFT tapping, a free and easy technique I use to combat anxiety, stress, and depression. (I talked about this a bit in my post about staying physically and mentally healthy during quarantine.)
I highly recommend EFT tapping for the following reasons:
Instantly reduce stress and feel happier
Dissolve anxiety, even in the middle of a panic attack
Increase confidence before a race
Stop spiraling into depression
Improve my focus and clarity
At the risk of sounding kinda woo, I’ve also used tapping to manifest things I want. I could argue that I used tapping to manifest the house I’m sitting in right now, but that story is for another post. Maybe even a book!
Tapping is easy to personalize for your own needs. I learned how to do it from Gala Darling:
Gala takes a twist on the technique. Instead of starting at the inner eyebrow point, Gala begins the tapping sequence on the top of the head. She also uses two hands, in a method she calls “power tapping.”
I just love the sound of power tapping!
With so many of us quarantined due to COVID-19, feelings of uncertainty and isolation can really take a toll on your physical and mental well-being.
This past week has been really tough for me. I’ve been feeling extra lonely since moving to a new place and haven’t yet found any trails I truly love.
While I’m sure my girl gang and my ideal patch of dirt are out there somewhere, my heart really felt their absence.
I started feeling a deep sadness and level of exhaustion that felt all too familiar.
I was never interested in running or smoking weed until I met my college boyfriend. He was an avid trail runner and high-functioning pothead. He had a career, a healthy diet, and the kind of easygoing charm that mother’s perceive as husband material.
Long story short, he was an example of how I could use cannabis AND have my shit together. At my young and impressionable age, that’s all I knew.
After work, he’d take a hit or two before going out for a run. Then, he’d come home and smoke a bit more while he stretched on the floor.
So, naturally, when I started running shortly after that, it made perfect sense to include weed. It always helped me focus on my form and calm the constant buzzz of my racing thoughts.
Generally, it just made the experience more enjoyable. Now that I write about the health benefits, of cannabis, I know it also contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties that promote muscle recovery.
Fast-forward to my ultramarathon career, when I started taking edibles before long runs that were upwards of 20 miles. This type of stoned running helped by not only alleviating nagging pains, but also by quelling mental tedium.
Well, those cookies aren’t going to bake themselves.
I hope you enjoy this day in whatever way suits you best!
PS- I don’t know about you guys, but I find that all this free time in quarantine is really helping me keep my bong clean ;)
PPS- Have you joined my email list, yet?
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Wow, so much has changed in the weeks since my last post. I moved to Maine and bought a house! This all happened right as the Covid-19 pandemic was really starting to get crazy.
We moved on St. Patrick’s Day, just a couple of days after people started sheltering in place. We loaded up our dogs and our possessions, drove about eight hours, and arrived at our new home just before dark.
In the time since then, my life, my running, and my work have all gone retrograde. I feel like I jumped through a rabbit hole and ended up in a place where nothing is familiar.
Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, I’m sure you can relate.
Maybe you’re among the many of us wondering what to do when the race you’ve been trining for gets canceled.
My 12-hour race in May was canceled, but I also registered for Burning River 50-miler in July. So far, that one is still on, but I’m just not feeling confident about it.
The move itself paused my training plan for about five days. I found that moving furniture and heavy boxes all day is enough of a workout.
But then, when I tried to start back up again, I felt anxious and overwhelmed. I didn’t know where to run, what roads were too busy, which trails would be runnable this time of year.
I almost bought a treadmill. I still might.
But that wasn’t all. I would finish a short run feeling exhausted. As if I was carrying the weight of collective dread on my back, getting heavier with every step.
Then, I realized what was wrong. I was trying to go back to “normal” in a time where normal does not exist.
I gave myself a couple of days to sink into it. To process the grief. To comfort my soul and relax my nervous system.
And then, when I was ready, I started thinking about how I could adapt to this strange time.
This is what I’ve been doing to stay sane and fit during quarantine.
1. Virtual energy healing
This is something I’ve been doing long before the coronavirus came along and it’s especially helpful now.
I’ve been a member of Amberlee Rose’s Body Talk healing circle for years now. Body Talk is a healing modality that’s kind of like acupuncture but without the needles. In addition to regular monthly sessions, Amberlee is offering bonus weekly immune tune-ups and grounding sessions right now.
She only opens the circle to new members seasonally, so make sure to join her email list if you’re interested!
I’m also a member of Gala Darling’s Vortex, which is basically an all-you-can-eat buffet of high-vibe goodies. Gala teaches a different tapping modality (I do a lot of tapping to move energy!) It’s called the emotional freedom technique (EFT). She also partners with experts who provide guided hypnotherapy, meditations, and visualizations to help reduce stress and boost your immune system.
2. Creative restoration
Finally! After listening to just about every creative person I meet rave about the wonders of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I finally started reading it. I’m on week three and am happy to report that I haven’t skipped a day of my morning pages!
If you’re feeling stuck creatively, or just generally longing for something to change in your life, I highly recommend The Artist’s Way. Or, you can use this time to finally read whatever book (or stack of books) you’ve been meaning to get to but never have the time.
Not into reading? Bust out the watercolors, build a lego castle, the possibilities are ENDLESS!
My friend Amber is making beautiful moon phase necklaces out of pennies!
3. Indoor workouts
As you may know, trail running is the center of my universe, but the move and the lockdown have shaken up my normal workout routine. This is partly due to the lingering winter weather in this area.
We’ve been averaging about one snowstorm per week, the last of which knocked down a power line that laid across our road for several days.
But it’s also due to the fact that I don’t know where the good trails are and I don’t think right now is the best time to go out exploring on my own.
With the health care system as stressed as it is, avoiding accidents and injuries is especially important.
On dry days, I run back and forth on the half-mile stretch of dirt road we live on, usually with one to three dogs.
On rainy days, I ride Jason’s bike on the trainer.
I also started rowing regularly and upped my strength routine from three days a week to four. The extra resistance training gives my legs the workout they’re missing due to the absence of mountains.
Exercising indoors gives you control over your workout regardless of the weather. That means there’s no excuse not to do them!
I was even able to work out every day we didn’t have power. Bonus- doing burpees in my kitchen motivates me to keep the floor squeaky clean… even under the cabinets!!
4. Home projects
There are still plenty of days where the joy of owning a home far outweighs the stress and anxiety of the coronavirus. It’s so exciting to plan and execute home projects!
So far, we’ve built two dog fences and started a fence around the space that will eventually be our garden. Okay, when I say “we” I mean my handy husband, Jason. He did most of the work. In fact, he’s building a shelf as I write this.
You don’t need to own a home to spruce up your living space! Home projects can be as simple as decluttering your office or buying a new bedspread.
5. Setting up an email list
YES! My home isn’t the only area getting TLC. I also used this downtime to spruce up my website, adding an email list so you can receive special news and updates in the comfort and convenience of your own inbox.
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6. Getting your skincare routine on lock
Quarantine is the perfect opportunity to experiment with new skincare products. This applies to hair, too. But if you want to experiment with a new hair color, you may have a hard time finding dye.
Right now you can pretty much try anything without worrying about whether it’ll force you to wear a bag over your head when you leave the house. No one’s leaving the house without serious head-coverage these days, anyway.
My skin is so sensitive that just looking at it the wrong way makes it go all red, so I’m always hesitant to try new products. But I purchased the Drunk Elephant Littles set right before we moved and have been so impressed with the results. Plus, it’s fun!
7. Singing and dancing
If you get tired of doing burpees in your kitchen, this one is just as effective at boosting your mood and your blood flow.
One of my favorite things to do is join in on DJ D-Nice’s live Club Quarantine dance parties on Instagram. You might catch Halle Berry or Michelle Obama there, too!
I’ve also found myself singing a lot more ever since an Artist’s Way exercise revealed that I’ve always secretly wished I could sing! This usually happens in the shower or while watching dishes so I don’t have to hear myself.
What are you doing to stay healthy during the pandemic? I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to leave a comment here or shoot me an email.
Before March 2015, I had been pretty secretive about my cannabis use. Even after moving to California, where it was legal for medical use at the time, I didn’t want my family or employers to know. But that all changed the day Outside Magazine published my first online article, How to Run Stoned.
The whole experience was so thrilling, I still get a goosebump or three thinking about it.
Between this being my first publication outside the local newspaper (and my blog) and the fact that I was announcing my support for cannabis in a very public way, I was a bundle of nerves.
I didn’t know what I was doing as a writer. I didn’t know how the world would respond to the content.
To give you an idea of just how new I was to the world of freelance writing – I didn’t get paid for this piece until six months after it ran, not because Outside is stingy, but because I didn’t know I was supposed to submit an invoice!
Fortunately, the feedback I got from How to Run Stoned was 100% positive. To be honest, I was surprised by the amount of support I got.
At the time, writing about using cannabis while running seemed like a great risk. But it also felt like something I had to do.
I still remember the day this idea struck me. I was drinking my morning coffee and reading the news when an article in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye.
This article quotes one of my all-time sheroes, Jenn Shelton, who would become my running coach a couple years down the road.
There’s something about Jenn that really drives me to take action. More than an inspiration, she moves me to take some of the craziest and most rewarding risks of my life.
And so I let this spark of an idea take hold of me. I immediately sent a text to my friend Matt, who was a travel editor at Outside at the time. He let me know this wouldn’t fit in his department, but urged me to email the fitness editor about it.
In the weeks that passed between the moment I sent that text and the article going live, I was a hot mess. We’re talking heart palpitations, insomnia, nausea, sweating and trembling, and basically preparing for my whole world to end at any minute.
I didn’t even tell anyone about it until it was published.
Thankfully, my world didn’t end. It did, however, expand quite a bit. I had opened up about something a lot of people seemed to relate to but no one else wanted to talk about. Women’s Running reached out to interview me. Burgeoning cannabusinesses sent me free goodies. Life was groovy.
And now, in 2020, it’s not hard to find an athlete willing to speak freely about the benefits of cannabis.
There’s even a whole fitness event series based around cannabis culture
Not that I expect ultrarunning to gain major recognition anytime, soon — when I tell people I’m a runner, many still assume I circle a track in bunhuggers for a few miles — but the sport has definitely shed its obscurity.
Or maybe I just exist in a bubble.
Either way, it’s fun to look back and see how things have changed in five years. I’m grateful to have been a small part of it. I’m grateful for the cannabis community and every person who makes an effort to destigmatize this powerful, yet gentle, medicine.
I think it’s really important to talk about the things that have shaped your life, even if you’re not sure how people are going to take it. It’s scary to put yourself out there. But chances are, there’s a whole community of people out there who can totally relate.
That’s the mantra I’ve been repeating — silently in my head, out loud to others, to my own reflection in the mirror, and, now, to you. Feel free to quote me in your Insta stories.
But before I go ahead and tell you why, let me wish you a Happy Belated Valentine’s Day! Belalentine’s Day? Why not?
I’m not a big Valentine’s Day person, myself. My sweetie is pretty good at surprising me with flowers and delicious treats on a regular basis, which he did when I saw him last week.
This was our first Valentine’s Day apart.
But it wasn’t supposed to be.
We were supposed to close on our first house on February 13 and spend Valentine’s Day sleeping on an air mattress and freaking out over all the work we needed to do before the house would feel like home.
But then, shit hit the fan. After several weeks of stressing out over a house that never felt quite right and a realtor who couldn’t tell the difference between a septic inspector and cupid’s ass, I finally listened to my intuition.
I walked away.
And that, my friends, is where the mantra comes in.
I’m proud of myself for not using the time and money I had already spent as a justification for settling. Sometimes, it’s hard not to resist settling for what’s in front of you when you don’t see a better option YET.
But that’s what faith is, isn’t it?
And it’s always worth it.
In fact… we found a house I absolutely LOVE only hours after terminating the other contract. Hours!
The horrid experience gave me so many valuable lessons so I can do a better job this time around.
But the true golden egg born of this whole fiasco is… I finally registered for a race!
That’s right. If you read my last post, you may recall that I’ve been so focused on moving I haven’t even planned out my 2020 races, yet.
Well, the stress of dealing with the problem house pushed me over the edge. One night, I found myself pacing back and forth in the Airbnb, fists clenched, when I stopped suddenly and turned to Jason.
“You know what I need to do? I need to train for a race. I need one thing in my world that makes sense.”
I’ve always wanted to do a race like this, where you see how many loops/miles you can finish in a time period.
I signed up for the 12-hour race, which means I have to complete at least one 3.11ish mile trail loop every hour for 12 hours. That’s at least 37 miles. I think that’s a totally attainable goal even though I haven’t run a 50k since Paiute Meadows last year.
I decided to go with this rather than a 50-mile race because I thought it’d be less pressure. That’s one thing I have enough of right now ;)
The race is May 30, so I’m still figuring out my training plan.
Today, I celebrated. The weather was clear, albeit frigid, so I enjoyed a nice, 8-mile run.
It felt like the first step in a long, exciting journey, and I feel really, really good about it.
I hope you all did something to celebrate love this weekend. Even better if it was something to treat yourself.
And if you didn’t, it’s not too late!
Til next time, Love Bunnies
*cover photo by Julie Jablonski courtesy of flickr
My first post of 2020 may be coming in a bit late, but honestly, I felt so exhausted by the holiday season that planning the year ahead seemed overwhelming at first. But the past few days marked a New Moon and the Chinese New Year, so now’s feeling like as good a time as any to set some intentions for 2020.
I know I’m not the only one who feels like this new year comes with a little extra oomph. We’re in a brand new DECADE, baby!
Things like #tenyearchallenge and #2010vs2020 on Instagram bring up memories of where you were at the beginning of the last decade, which really helps you appreciate how far you’ve come.
The funny thing is, I’m in the same physical place now as I was in 2010 – staying at my parents’ house in New Jersey as I prepare for a major life change!
Back in January 2010, I was getting ready to leave my research position at Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute. I was staying in this same house, the one I grew up in, and driving a total of three hours round-trip to commute to work. Because I was also training for my first marathon at the time, my days typically started before the sun came up and ended well after it went down so I could run at the gym after work.
But I had the energy to do all this because I was so excited about what would come after it: my first cross-country road trip with my then-boyfriend, my first marathon in Napa Valley, California, and then the rest of the year spent traveling and teaching English in Costa Rica and Peru.
Now, here I am again. Except, this time with my husband and four dogs. We’re getting ready to buy our first house. I’m a full-time freelance writer, working less than 20 hours per week in whatever location I choose. My mornings typically involve getting up to meditate and journal before I watch the sunrise. Then, I go for an easy jog around the neighborhood with Bruce, followed by a pack walk with Jason and the other dogs.
It’s peaceful and enjoyable, exactly how I want it to be.
As far as running goes, I’m proud to join Hammer Nutrition for my third year in their sponsored athlete program!
But with moving across the country from California to New Jersey and searching for/buying a house in yet another state (will reveal the location soon!) I haven’t signed up for any 2020 races, yet.
This lack of races to train for really frustrates the 2010 version of me who packed her schedule so full she hardly had time to think! I’m sure I’ll register for something fun soon, once I give myself some time alone with Ultrasignup.
Right now, I’m still focusing on more strength workouts than ever before and letting my morning dog jog of 2-3 miles count as a run. Even as I type that out, my inner mean girl is saying, “that’s it? you should be doing more.”
And that brings me to the intention-setting part of this post.
Yesterday, as I was following along with my monthly BodyTalk virtual healing circle, the practitioner brought up the topic of intentions for the year. She mentioned how she also didn’t feel called to set any around the start of the calendar year but felt like now was a good time.
She suggested a few that resonated with me so much that I wrote them down: Be meticulously kind to yourself.Let things be easy. And finally, she added that setting intentions and making change is good, but know that things are already okay.
That last one really shook me.
Things are already okay.
This concept is one I’ve been processing for a while now.
If you’re like me, this truth can feel a little tough to swallow. As an ultrarunner, dog mom, and self-employed babe, I always want to be better. At everything.
And as soon as I finish something I spent months working toward, I tend to jump right into planning/training for the next big thing right away.
But the key is to respect where you’re at right now, celebrate every accomplishment, and reward yourself for hard work. I think that’s where the meticulous kindness comes in!
I love those intentions, but I also have been holding something of a resolution since New Year’s Day: teetotalism.
I love that word!
That means I haven’t had a drink since champagne on New Year’s Eve.
My plan is to go through the entire year without drinking at all. Last year, I took four months off from alcohol between December-March. Not drinking made such a huge improvement in various areas of my life. I slept better. My skin looked great. It was the first winter I can remember that didn’t involve depression.
All good things.
When I started drinking again, it was typically only 1-3 per week. Beer or wine only. But even that small amount had an impact on my mood and sleep quality.
I want to see what magic happens after a full year.
I also know I’m going to want the occasional glass of wine or beer before too long, so I’ve already forgiven my future self for that.
This year is a little bit different than last time, though. Aside from a Snoop Dogg concert a few days ago, I haven’t had any weed since arriving in New Jersey. I promised my mom I wouldn’t keep it in her house and I take that promise seriously.
So that means 100% of me is dealing with 100% of all the things right now.
The stress of buying a house? There’s nowhere to hide. I can’t tell you the number of times I joked about picking the wrong time to give up drinking! But it’s all good. This just proves to me that I really don’t need a glass of wine or a bong rip to take the edge off.
The edge is here, honeybuns. I’m standing right on it with a clear, sharp mind.
But I gotta tell you, that joint at the Snoop concert was like a refreshing desert oasis. So, I guess technically it’s been a nearly-stone-cold sober January?
I’ll leave you with the song Snoop played as he walked off the stage Thursday night.
That’s it for now. I look forward to circling back to update you on my race schedule for 2020. In the meantime, please share with me what you’re excited about this year! And don’t forget to be meticulously kind to yourself.
I ran the 10k distance after dropping down from the 25k, a decision I made due to some nagging calf pain that came up this week. (I’m fine! Running made it feel better, actually.)
The race was at Forest Park in the adorable town of Jacksonville, Oregon, which, by the way, is in full-on fall foliage glory mid-October.
I was really impressed with how well-organized and professional everything was, especially considering this was Woodlands Running Co.’s first race. I can’t wait to see where they go from here!
The first time I heard about this race was during a group run. About six months ago, I started running with a rad group of ladies in Ashland called Women of Woodlands, formerly known as Ashland Trail Sisters.
Once a month, I drive up there for a WoW long run. We hit the trails for about three hours and then run down the street to Ruby’s/Gil’s for burritos and beer. Not only is it a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning, but it’s also introduced me to some of the most badass women I know.
The whole Woodlands running tribe is warm, welcoming, inclusive, and enthusiastic AF about running. I was delighted and not-at-all surprised to see that Twin Peaks Trail Runs reflected all these qualities.
A few reasons I thought this race was superb
There were dairy and non-dairy milk options at the coffee table (I was stoked they even had coffee)
Women’s-specific merch was available
Registration prices were kept low with the option to purchase a race shirt separately (I did- because they were freakin cool)
There were vegan and meat-filled tacos at the finish 🌮
The race was open to runners of all experience levels — quite a few people finished their first official trail race that day. On the other end of the spectrum, seasoned ultrarunners claimed that the 25k kicked their butts!
OODLES of volunteers were around very corner making sure all needs were met
It was also very professionally executed. The trail was well-marked with signs that displayed the WRC logo so you could be 100% sure you were on the right path. The start/finish had a sweet handmade wood arch that looked waaaaay cooler than those giant inflatable things. There was live music, tasty tacos, and finish line photos by the multitalented Jamie Wilson.
It was just fucking classy.
And so full of friends!
I felt completely supported, encouraged, and motivated by the Woodlands community the entire time.
A group of Women of Woodlands friends volunteered at an aid station and one of them dressed as Log Lady!!
The majority of the race was on smooth, buttery single track that’s easy on the feet. But my favorite aspect of TPTR was being surrounded by creative, enthusiastic people living their best lives and having so much fun in the process. Thank you for making this happen!
I look forward to running TPTR again at some point in the future. For now, I’m getting ready to move back to the east coast with my husband and four dogs. And that’s it’s own special kind of adventure.