Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thank You Christmas

 I love Christmas – the decorations, the tree, the gifts, the baking, the special meals, the surprises for people, the Carole's – I love it all. It’s truly my favorite time of the year. I even love the cold weather. Besides the trails I would say my kitchen is my second home. I love to cook and bake, and make things from scratch. It warms my heart, is a huge passion of mine, and one of the ways I show my love to those around me. 
I have friends that don’t really like Christmas all that much. I mean, sure they like it because we are celebrating Christ’s birth, but they don’t like all the other things that I so love. It got me thinking about why I love everything about the Christmas season, and really think its important to point this stuff out. I am incredibly spiritual. I don't wear it on my sleeve, but God has a huge place in our home. Putting that aside though Christmas to me is allot more than just that. After all everyday is a gift to be celebrated, and I wanted to share these thoughts with all of you during this blessed season. 
I know it has its roots in my growing up years. Every year as a family we would go shopping together for the Christmas tree. We always wanted to find the perfect one, and we came close! We had a beautiful tree every year. We’d come home and and decorate it for hours. Of course my mom always had special baked/cooked treats to eat while we did that. Then on another day, my mom, sister, and I would put up outside lights or decorations. We had a two story house, and we got ladders out so we could decorate both levels. It wasn’t anything fancy, but those bright, colored lights were so beautiful to me because I had helped put them up. I treasure the memories of us doing these things together every Christmas. Any other time of the year we just didn't really spend anytime together. There was so much turmoil and toxic icky stuff going on in the house because of my step dad that Christmas was really the only time of year things were peaceful. Thank you Christmas :)
Every year my Mom said he couldn’t afford any gifts, and every year she would take my sister and I Christmas shopping. She had been tucking money away,  and we always got lots of great new clothes.  The three of us would always go out to lunch after, and it truly was a very special day for us. My mom was not the best mom to say the least so this day always stays in my mind as really special. Due to the holiday we were able to spend this day together, and create memories that will last forever. My mom has since passed(2009) from multiple causes all related to years of abuse with alcohol and prescription pills. I am so happy I have these good memories of her. Thank you Christmas. :)
My Step dad was a product of his generation – one that had a hard time showing emotion and expressing feelings, and was incredibly mean.  I think Christmas is when I really saw my Stepdad’s heart and came to know who he was inside. I treasured that! It literally was the only time of year he was nice to me. I am not sure why, but Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I never remember him even raising his voice. Strange, but true. If it wasn't for the holiday season I would have never been given that gift. Thank you Christmas. :)
Close to Christmas we usually had a family dinner where we would go to my Grandma's. ……and sometimes others who lived further away would come in. I often joke and say my family talked a lot but didn’t say much. We talked about everything, but rarely was it “heart” stuff. Except at Christmas……and then it seemed that people opened up more and shared their hearts. This was another treasure for me. I have so many fond memories of hanging out with my Uncle David and his kids (we never saw them otherwise). After Christmas dinner he would tell us really cool ghost stories, and we would all hang around the fire and eat my Grandma;s homemade chocolate raspberry bunt cake. God that woman could make a bunt cake. Thank you Christmas :)
My mom never had a lot, but she shared everything she had – all the time, but especially at Christmas. She cooked and baked up a storm! She was such a great cook(thank you Mom).  My friends loved to come to my house and sample it all!  My family wasn’t poor, but we didn’t have a lot of extra either. My mother gave out of her gifts and talents because she had such a generous spirit. She was an incredibly giving woman, and would make these amazing over the top Christmas Eve dinners. We would all sit down together as a family, and no one would yell or fight. It was great, and I treasure that memory so much. She would go all out and decorate our entire house for the holiday. It was always so beautiful, and has inspired me every year to do the same. I love to decorate my house for the Holiday. Its important as it continues on the values and traditions I learned as a child. Thank you Christmas. :)
As parents, we want to establish family traditions and make memories that our children can take with them all their lives. I have those special memories tucked away in my heart……..and they help make Christmas so very special to me. I love it! I have made a hard effort to do that with my son, and in our house Christmas is extremely special and important. Why? Because everyday is a gift, and the days we make memories are the best gifts. The holiday season is about making memories. It forces you to meet up with friends at parties you wouldn't normally attend, see relatives you never talk to at all, and connect with people that otherwise are absent in our lives. This is key. If it wasn't for the holidays when would we ever make an effort to see Aunt Julie or actually sit down at a dinner table with our parents. One day each one of us will be gone. That is just the facts. Stop for a minute and think about that. As time passes and passes what we have that no one can ever take away are memories. How lucky we are that we have a holiday that forces us to create those memories. As silly as it sounds its wonderful. Its a time of year to meet with a friend for coffee that maybe you have not seen in a while, send a box of great gifts to your nieces and nephews (so fun to give!) and overall its just a wonderful time of year to celebrate life....because in the end everyday is a gift, and Christmas is a wonderful way to celebrate life and make memories that will last a lifetime. So eat that extra cookie, go out for a fun run these next few days with friends, and maybe show up with a little gift. Rejoice in the holiday, and say thank you Christmas!! Of course I will leave this post from one of the best scenes in my favorite movies of all time...and YES we will watch this on Christmas Eve in our house. Its a tradition along with homemade pecan pie and truffles..... Thank you to the movie Elf! You always make me laugh so hard and fill life with joy!

Santa: I've been to New York thousands of times.
Buddy: Really?
Santa: Mm-hmm.
Buddy: What's it like?
Santa: Well, there are some things you should know. First off, you see gum on the street, leave it there. It isn't free candy.
Buddy: Oh.
Santa: Second, there are, like, thirty Ray's Pizzas. They all claim to be the original. But the real one's on 11th. And if you see a sign that says "Peep Show", that doesn't mean that they're letting you look at the new toys before Christmas. 

O come, O come Emmanuel….”God with us.” Matt. 1:23

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Believe in yourself ~

“Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.”
―Gordon B. Hinckley

I am sure many people were thinking this post would be a race recap from Chimera 100 Mile. Its not. I raced, I won(YIPPIE!!), it was hard, and I came in sixth overall. The course was a few miles longer than previous years, and to date was the toughest hundred I have ever done. It was incredibly well organized, and if you like 20++ hours of self punishment then sign up for this hundred. In my opinion it was significantly harder than the Angeles Crest 100 mile. Seriously. Thank god for my kick ass Patagonia gear. It was freezing temps at night, and overall the cold was never an issue. I was prepared, well trained, and got through it. Enough said. This race is the real deal. Tough as Heck. One and done for me! With that being said I felt like I needed to get something up that was a little more inspiring than just another race recap. Looking forward to a new year, and felt like this post was a great way to end 2013. I love my life so much. I love my job, my man, my son, and all the awesome components that make up my awesome life. I hope I can spread the inspiration, and add a little encouragement to you life through my blog. Have an amazing Holiday my friends, and don't forget to celebrate life!!! 
Life is short. I am very good at ignoring what should be ignored. You will never see me getting caught up in other people's crap. My life is to filled and busy to worry about what issues other people have going on. What you gossip about, have issues with, or are negatively stuck on does not and will not effect my incredible great life. I CHOOSE THAT. Period. Now hopefully this will inspire you all to do the same.....

The president and co-founder of an amazing local charity in our area is a 38-year-old musician and tattoo artist who’s covered from head to toe with tattoos and piercings, and has long brown dreadlocks that dangle below his waistline.  He’s been running the charity since he was 20 and has helped hundreds of people get back on their feet, including a woman I know personally who is now a successful entrepreneur.
I just had a short, inspiring conversation with this unlikely hero yesterday, and now I’m sitting here thinking about the dozens of happy, successful people I know like him who ignore stereotypes, negativity, and naysayers, and go against the grain to make a difference by doing things their own way… the right way.
And following in their footsteps isn’t hard either; you just have to start ignoring…

1.  Other people’s judgments.

It’s OK to listen to others, but not at the full expense of your own intuition.  Throughout your life there will be many times when the world gets real quiet and the only thing left is the beat of your own heart.  So you’d better learn the sound of it, otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s telling you.
When you spend too much time concentrating on everyone else’s perception of you, or who everyone else wants you to be, you eventually forget who you truly are.  So don’t fear the judgments of others; you know in your heart who you are and what’s true to you.  You don’t have to be someone else to impress and inspire people.  Let them be impressed and inspired by the real YOU.  Honestly, what does life matter if you lose yourself along the way?  Even your mentors should teach you HOW to think, not WHAT to think.  So if someone – anyone – is belittling your truth, it might be time to turn the other way.

2.  Old troubles from the past.

You can’t change what has already happened, so choose to look ahead instead of behind you.  Don’t stress.  Do your best.  Forget the rest.  Your past mistakes are meant to guide you, not define you.  Life is a beautiful circle.  You’re strong because you know your weaknesses.  You’re wise because you’ve been foolish.  You can laugh now because you’ve known sadness.
It’s crazy how you always end up where you’re meant to be – how even the most tragic and stressful situations eventually teach you important lessons that you never dreamed you were going to learn.  Remember, oftentimes when things are falling apart, they are actually falling into place.  Just because you’re not where you want to be today doesn’t mean you won’t be there someday.  Everything is going to be come together – maybe not today, but eventually.  

3.  Each day’s little frustrations.

A bad day is just a bad day.  It comes and it goes.  Choose not to make it anything more.  You will find that it’s necessary to let some things go simply for the reason that they’re heavy on your heart and soul.  Go ahead and let go of them.  Don’t clamp shackles to your own ankles.  It’s incredibly easy to enjoy more of your life right now, no matter what the situation.  It’s just a matter of dropping of the layers of nonsense that are weighing you down.
Behind every beautiful day, there has been some kind of struggle.  You fall, you rise, you make mistakes, you live, you learn.  You’re human, not perfect.  You’ve been hurt, but you’re alive.  Think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive today – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, and to chase the things you love.  Sometimes there is sadness in your journey, but there is also lots of beauty.  You must keep putting one foot in front of the other even when it hurts, for you will never know what is waiting for you just around the bend.
Follow this daily to-do list and you’ll be just fine:
  1. Think positively.
  2. Eat healthy.
  3. Exercise today.
  4. Worry less.
  5. Work hard.
  6. Laugh often.
  7. Sleep well.

4.  The necessary pain of hard work and growth.

There are two types of pain in life: pain that hurts you, and pain that changes you.  But when you learn from it, they are one and the same.  If you want something, you must endure the pain of working for it.  It’s that simple.  If you’re not where you want to be right now, take the time to visualize yourself in the place you want to be and take the first step in that direction.  You may not be able to change your destination in a day, but you can change your direction right now. 
Remember, strength doesn’t come from what you can do.  It comes from overcoming the things you couldn’t.  Tough situations build strong, successful people.  No matter how much it hurts now, you have to hold your head up, grit your teeth, and keep going.  In the end, consistent action speaks for itself.  So focus diligently, work hard in silence, and let your success be your noise.

5.  Insignificant busywork.

In the beginning, you need to say “yes” to a lot of things to discover and establish your goals.  Later on, you need to say “no” to a lot of things and concentrate on your goals.  Stop over-committing and trying to do too much at once.  Start saying “no” more often.  If you never say “no,” you will take on too much and all you will achieve is stress and frustration.
As Bruce Lee once said, “It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease.  Hack away at the inessentials.”  Many of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.  Don’t be one of them.  It’s not what we claim are our priorities, but how we spend our time each day that reveals the truth.  Let your daily actions reflect your highest priorities. 

6.  Impatient thoughts.

Patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.  It’s the willingness to stay focused, confidently staking one small step at a time, knowing that the way you move a mountain is by moving one stone at a time.  Every stone you move, no matter how small, is progress.
Whether you are working on improving your health, learning a new skill, or getting a business venture off the ground, you can’t expect instant gratification.  Instead, you must dedicate yourself to the best of your ability and understand that real change takes time.  Sometimes it may be hard to see your progress.  Sometimes it will be frustrating when the results you seek don’t appear as quickly as you had hoped.  Still, you are advancing.  Hang in there.  You may be moving things along slowly, but you are still moving a mountain.

7.  The things that can’t be controlled.

Never force anything.  Do your best, then let it be.  If it’s meant to be, it will be.  Don’t hold yourself down with things you can’t control.  Stop talking about the problem and start thinking about the solution.  Forget what could go wrong for a sec and think of what is already right. 
Remember, change happens for a reason.  Roll with it.  It won’t be ideal or easy at first, but it will be worth it in the end.  When times are good and everything is comfortably in order, it’s easy to become complacent and forget how skillful and resourceful you are capable of being.  Unanticipated troubles are necessary evils that push you forward, because they eventually end, but the lessons and growth you gain from them last a lifetime.

8.  Unfounded fears.

Life is about overcoming fear and taking risks.  If you don’t take risks, you won’t know what you’re capable of.  If you don’t risk anything, you risk everything.  Truth be told, nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.  Now is the time to expand your comfort zone so you can experience things and understand more… so that you may fear less in the long run.
The reality, of course, is we all get afraid sometimes.  It’s not about not being afraid, but what you do when you feel that way.  When you feel doubt, or fear, or anxiety, or frustration, know that you can let it go just as surely as you can pull your hand away from a flame.  Keep your mind focused on the goodness, on the possibilities and on your most treasured goals.  What begins in your mind ends up in your life.  Think continually of the way you would like to be, let these thoughts drive your actions, and your reality will reliably catch up with your thinking.  

9.  The most important on this list.... 

Believe in yourself through tough times.  Believe in your capacity to succeed.  Believe that your relationships are worth the effort.  Believe that people make mistakes on their way to greatness.  Believe that people can be foolish and intelligent, selfish and generous, and stressed and happy all at once.  Believe that very few people hurt others on purpose.  Believe that there are many roads to what’s right.  Believe in your intuition, especially when you have to choose between two good paths.  Believe that the answers are out there waiting.  Believe that life will surprise you again and again.  Believe that the journey is the destination.  Believe that it’s all worth your while.
Or as Roald Dahl once said, “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.  Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Thank you to the internet(Andy) for the inspiration from this post. :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A note to my 17 year old son

As the days roll by, and I get closer and closer to the date my son will leave for the Air Force I diligently try to teach him life lessons. I want him to go out into the world with purpose, direction, motivation, but above all a deep desire to succeed. The last thing in the world I want is for him to be roaming around in his thirties with no real direction on where his life is going. I want him to live with true purpose. With passion. Often times I sing in my head that Rod Stewart song, "I wish that what I knew now I knew then when I was younger...." its actually been stuck in my head for the last 15 years! Imagine if all we knew now we new when we were 18! Oh my goodness. So I am going to make an effort this last 6 months while my baby is still here to write him notes on my blog. Just randomly when I think of advice he needs. For now I will start with the things I wish I knew most when I was 18, and hopefully he will get something from it as will all of you. Never hurts to share inspirational stuff we read. Love you Tyler!! Thank you to the internet for the inspiration from this post, and Rod Stewart of course :)

  1. Commit yourself to making lots of mistakes. – Mistakes teach you important lessons.  The biggest mistake you can make is doing nothing because you’re too scared to make a mistake.  So don’t hesitate – don’t doubt yourself.  In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance.  You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  Most of the time you just have to go for it!  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win.  Remember, if you never act, you will never know for sure, and you will be left standing in the same spot forever.
  2. Find hard work you love doing. – If I could offer my 18-year-old self some real career advice, I’d tell myself not to base my career choice on other people’s ideas, goals and recommendations.  I’d tell myself not to pick a major because it’s popular, or statistically creates graduates who make the most money.  I’d tell myself that the right career choice is based on one key point: Finding hard work you love doing.  As long as you remain true to yourself, and follow your own interests and values, you can find success through passion.  Perhaps more importantly, you won’t wake up several years later working in a career field you despise, wondering “How the heck am I going to do this for the next 30 years?”  So if you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop.  You’re on to something big.  Because hard work ain’t hard when you concentrate on your passions.
  3. Invest time, energy and money in yourself every day. – When you invest in yourself, you can never lose, and over time you will change the trajectory of your life.  You are simply the product of what you know.  The more time, energy and money you spend acquiring pertinent knowledge, the more control you have over your life.
  4. Explore new ideas and opportunities often. – Your natural human fears of failure and embarrassment will sometimes stop you from trying new things.  But you must rise above these fears, for your life’s story is simply the culmination many small, unique experiences.  And the more unique experiences you have, the more interesting your story gets.  So seek as many new life experiences as possible and be sure to share them with the people you care about.  Not doing so is not living.
  5. When sharpening your career skills, focus more on less. – Think in terms of Karate: A black belt seems far more impressive than a brown belt.  But does a brown belt really seem any more impressive than a red belt?  Probably not to most people.  Remember that society elevates experts high onto a pedestal.  Hard work matters, but not if it’s scattered in diverse directions.  So narrow your focus on learning fewer career related skills and master them all.
  6. People are not mind readers.  Tell them what you’re thinking.– People will never know how you feel unless you tell them.  Your boss?  Yeah, he doesn’t know you’re hoping for a promotion because you haven’t told him yet.  That cute girl you haven’t talked to because you’re too shy?  Yeah, you guessed it; she hasn’t given you the time of day simply because you haven’t given her the time of day either.   In life, you have to communicate with others.  And often, you have to open your vocal cords and speak the first words.  You have to tell people what you’re thinking.  It’s as simple as that. Be honest, upfront, and direct. Stay clear of people that cannot do the same. 
  7. Make swift decisions and take immediate action. – Either you’re going to take action and seize new opportunities, or someone else will first.  You can’t change anything or make any sort of progress by sitting back and thinking about it.  Remember, there’s a huge difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it.  Knowledge is basically useless without action.
  8. Accept and embrace change. – However good or bad a situation is now, it will change.  That’s the one thing you can count on.  So embrace change, and realize that change happens for a reason.  It won’t always be easy or obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it.
  9. Don’t worry too much about what other people think about you. – For the most part, what other people think and say about you does not matter.  When I was 18, I let the opinions of my high school and early college peers influence my decisions.  And, at times, they steered me away from ideas and goals I strongly believed in.  I realize now,  years later, that this was a foolish way to live, especially when I consider that nearly all of these people whose opinions I cared so much about are no longer a part of my life.  Unless you’re trying to make a great first impression (job interview, first date, etc.), don’t let the opinions of others stand in your way.  What they think and say about you isn’t important.  What is important is how you feel about yourself.
  10. Always be honest with yourself and others. – Living a life of honesty creates peace of mind, and peace of mind is priceless.  Period.
  11. Talk to lots of people in college and early on in your career. – Bosses.  Colleagues.  Professors.  Classmates.  Social club members.  Other students outside of your major or social circle. Teaching assistants.  Career advisors.  College deans.  Friends of friends.  Everyone!  Why?  Professional networking.   When employers look to fill a position, the first thing they do is ask the people they know and trust if they know someone who would do well in the position.  If you start building your professional network early, you’ll be set.  Over time, you’ll continue talking to new people you meet through your current network and your network’s reach and the associated opportunities will continue to snowball for the duration of your career.
  12. Sit alone in silence for at least ten minutes every day. – Use this time to think, plan, reflect, and dream.  Creative and productive thinking flourish in solitude and silence.  with quiet you can hear your own thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, and you can focus on mapping out the next logical, productive step in your life.
  13. Ask lots of questions. – The greatest ‘adventure’ is the ability to inquire, to ask questions.  Sometimes in the process of inquiry, the search is more significant than the answers.  Answers come from other people, from the universe of knowledge and history, and from the intuition and deep wisdom inside yourself.  These answers will never surface if you never ask the right questions.  Thus, the simple act of asking the right questions is the answer.
  14. Exploit the resources you do have access to. – The average person is usually astonished when they see a physically handicap person show intense signs of emotional happiness.  How could someone in such a restricted physical state be so happy?  The answer rests in how they use the resources they do have.  Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has 25 Grammy Awards to prove it.
  15. Live below your means. – Live a comfortable life, not a wasteful one.  Do not spend to impress others.  Do not live life trying to fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects.  Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you.  Always live well below your means.
  16. Be respectful of others and make them feel good. – In life and business, it’s not so much what you say that counts, it’ how you make people feel.  So respect your elders, minors, and everyone in between.  There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected.  Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your cousin Jonah.  Supporting, guiding, and making contributions to other people is one of life’s greatest rewards.  In order to get, you have to give.
  17. Excel at what you do. – There’s no point in doing something if you aren’t going to do it right.  Excel at your work and excel at your hobbies.  Develop a reputation for yourself, a reputation for consistent excellence.
  18. Be who you were born to be. – You must follow your heart, and be who you were born to be.  Some of us were born to be musicians – to communicate intricate thoughts and rousing feelings with the strings of a guitar.  Some of us were born to be poets – to touch people’s hearts with exquisite prose.  Some of us were born to be entrepreneurs – to create growth and opportunity where others saw rubbish.  And still, some of us were born to be or do whatever it is, specifically, that moves you.  Regardless of what you decide to do in your lifetime, you better feel it in every fiber of your being.  You better be born to do it!  Don’t waste your life fulfilling someone else’s dreams and desires.
  19. Stay clear of the drama. - This is something your mama learned at a very young age. I had to adapt to my rough childhood, and be very tuff at times when most little girls would have buckled. This has benefitted me more than I could ever put into words. It has taught me to not get caught up in other people's crap, and also to quickly recognize when people  have a lot of ickiness in there lives. I can move on quickly from bad situations, and not let it effect my future in anyway. If a person you know is continually at bad means with other people they need to be loved at arms length. Do not take on other peoples dramas or let them suck you into there own dilemmas. Smile, be nice, and cut them out of your life. Only keep the good ones in that close inner circle. This will keep you out of future messes I promise. 
But above all, laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you can’t change.  Don't let other people decide your happiness. Life is short, yet amazing.  Enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Over the Peak and Through the Pines: 2013 Angeles Crest 100 Film

Over the Peak and Through the Pines: 2013 Angeles Crest 100 Film: On the day before the 2013 Angeles Crest 100, I was getting ready to head to my hotel when RD Ken Hamada approached me and asked me to give ...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy Happy Girl!!

Running on my new Sean O'Brien 50M course 
In Idyllwild

Since my drop @ Kodiak due to that nasty cold I had things have been really awesome for me. Its almost hard to put into words, but I most certainly will do my best. I got better, and then not to long after spent the entire day a few weeks back with one of my best friends on the planet Jimmy Dean Freeman. We actually ran the entire 50k course for my new race(in placement of Ray Miller) the "Sean O'Brien 5050"... below is a link to the new race so you can check out all we have going on. I am so super pumped about this race. Like crazy bat shit off the walls excited. I like that I make shit happen. I don't sit back and wait for life to pass me by. I simply get shit done, and change people's lives in the process. Ok I am done sounding arrogant. I am very far from that actually. Just having a moment; my sincere apologies. Link: 

I also got to finally chat with USFS about the new Leona Divide course, and I am super excited to announce that the new trails and sections of the PCT that I want to use we actually will be able to come 2014 race time. This will be an easier course, but I actually think its pretty darn cool that runners will get to run on a brand new course. Hey who does not love new trails! Jesse and I will be out there for the entire weekend in mid December to run, map, and garmin the new 50 mile course with our friend Karl (Karl is also the same friend that created all the courses for Leona Valley Trail Races). Yippie! 

OK so tackled the courses being burned by fires. How about we DON'T have anymore fires on my race courses pretty please Mother Nature. I am sure many RD's here in Southern Ca can share my pain. Please, please no more icky fires this season. :-)

So then a little while back I started running every morning with my dear friend Michelle Barton. She is most definitely my soul sista of the trails. We have shared endless amounts of hours and years playing together on the trails, and we have been having so much fun!! Its funny but we both said to each other, "why have we not been running together all this time??".... I love Michelle with all my heart. She truly is one of the people that will always have a special place in my heart. We will always be friends. The best part about running with her is that she pushes me, and I need that. I tend to run and log lots and lots of miles. I get lazy, run slow, and it does not help my performance. Its good to change it up, and get good turn over. A 12 mile sunrise trail run with Michelle is like a big dose of crack before I am even awake! I show up half asleep, and we just blast off. We also never stop chatting the entire time. We just laugh, and laugh, and I do my best to stay with her. It is so much fun, and we have gotten into this great routine. I truly am so blessed for her awesome friendship. Friends can come and go, but the true ones..the best ones stay for ever. I love you Michelle!!! 

All this running and having fun has set a deep deep desire in me for adventure. That has been a huge change for me lately. All I wanna do now is fun adventures. I honestly have zero desire to race anymore. I wanna just go for super long adventures on the weekends, and see where my feet can take me! I am sure that will change, and I am still planning on doing Chimera 100 in the next couple weeks. Jesse and I did Cactus to Cloud this past weekend, and that was insane!! We had intended to do the 8,000 meter challenge (which means to summit the three highest Southern Ca peaks in one day), but it had snowed, and the conditions were not the best for doing so. Below is a pretty funny video of me sliding down the Marion Mountain Trail though. OMG so fun!! Some pictures of us doing the Cactus to Clouds route are below also. We were not able to do the 37 mile round trip run as it was getting late, and we had been on our feet for hours already trying to Summit Mt.San Jacinto from Marion Mtn first. Not so smart! Gonna try the C2C2C again maybe the weekend of Nov has over 8,000 feet of vertical in 10 miles right off the bat so I am excited, but scared! Bring it! 
  Video Link:

So in a nutshell life has been really super awesome. I know I say this time and time again but for the most part it's because I get to spend my life with the most amazing man on this planet. He is my best friend, my partner in crime, and my true soul mate. I cannot imagine one single minute of my life without this man. He is loyal, kind, honest, and has so much integrity. He also happens to be pretty damn gorgeous! I am so blessed for him. He truly makes my life so complete. I cannot even imagine if I would have stayed where I was many years ago. I am so glad I have learned to live my life not out of fear but truly out of confidence. One of the best lessons I have learned in life is you never regret the shots you take, but you always regret those shots you didn't take. I feel so lucky that I took the risks that needed to be taken in order to find true happiness. Anyone can pretend and convince themselves they are happy. That everything is great, and all is well with the person they have settled for. Life gets busy, and we shove emotions down. Remember this very important thing though. Eventually all those emotions and unhappiness you felt deep down inside from the very beginning will find there way to the surface again. It might take a few+ years, and you can keep on keeping on, but sooner the later it will hit you again. Sadly enough there you will be exactly where you were 10 years before, but older and more unhappy. Just how life rolls...and it always keeps rolling on. 

On,On,On my friends...and never stops! Do whatever it takes to find your happiness. You can do anything you set your mind to. You can change your life. Pain is temporary, but regret is forever. Stop watching life pass you by.... !! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kodiak 11 Mile Race

It's a wonderful world. You can't go backwards. You're always moving forward. It's the wonderful part about life. And that's terrific.
Harvey Fierstein 

This weekend I attempted to finish the Kodiak 100 mile race. Unfortunately my son had been sick last week, and by Thursday evening I was not feeling to hot. I figured I could just fight it off, and still run the race. By Friday morning I was pretty damn sick. I pumped all kinds of remedies and vitamins all day Friday, but by the 6pm Friday night start time I was riddled with a fever, and feeling pretty bad. I still toed the line, and hoped for the best. By mile 11 I knew it was not gonna be a race I could finish. I left the mile 11 aid station torn with what to do. My love Jesse gave me a kiss, and told me to be smart. I also was very lucky to have my dear friends Chris and Sharon Rodarte there helping with crew. I got about three miles out from the aid station, and stopped in my tracks. I was shivering in the night cold, and turned back to the aid station. It felt like it took me for ever to get back down the trail, but eventually I made it. I was so happy to still see my crew there, and quickly got myself in the warm car. 17 miles was enough for me that night, and I knew I had made the right decision. 

I have spent the last few days working on getting healthy, and I can say as for today I am finally feeling a bit better. Lots and lots of rest was the best medicine. I most certainly had not intended Chimera 100 mile to be my key race this season, but it looks like it has turned out to be just that. I also am going to add Twin peaks 50 mile into the mix this next month as I am all trained, and ready to run something! I am chomping at the bits now to do something with all this training! 

As far as the Kodiak Race itself I honestly didn't get to see enough of the race course and organization to give an honest opinion or recap. I can save the 17 miles I saw were very well marked, loved the pre race meeting and organization, and the course was gorgeous from what I saw. Unfortunately it got pitch dark just an hour 20 mins after I started. I definitely would not prefer a night time start. Running a 100 miles is hard enough! Not sure why Race Directors feel the need to make it harder. I prefer a normal 6am start time, but thats just me. So in awe of everyone who finished that race! Amazing. 

Looking forward to the next few months, and some great racing. I am itching to do something with all these miles I have logged! :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Making it all work

Enjoying Steamboat Springs Colorado!

The best way to predict the future is to create it for yourself.

Its funny how time flies, and things change. Priorities, needs, and so on. They all change. Writing blog posts used to seem so important to me. I honestly looked at it like it was all part of my business, and getting the details up of what is going on in my personal life for people to read seemed so important to me. I now know its not. It does not mean that I don't love to inspire, and encourage, but in general a blog post is not something that matters to me anymore. My life has changed in the last year, and shifted a bit in some different directions, and I believe its all for the best. I believe we should always trust the path. Life will lead you where you are supposed to go weather we want it to or not. I also believe things will work out for the best if along that path you make good financial decisions, stay true to your heart, never settle for anything but what you want, and live a frugal and humble life. Things get icky and out of our control when we live above all those means or live someone else's idea of what life is supposed to be. To me it can be as simple as that. I also believe having a strong faith helps to :)

Jesse and I have a very strong base in our relationship that is something that holds us together like glue. We have an honor code to each other to never live above our means. We simply don't spend money we don't have. I am writing about this as I can think of about 40 people off hand that I know of that need to read this, and hear my advice. Stop spending money you don't have. Stop buying crap you don't need. Stop going places you cannot afford to go to. Stop eating out every meal, and stop flushing money down the toilet. I hear time and time again people stressed about money, broke, and just trying to make ends meet month to month. In the last three months Jesse and I have traveled all over the West coast, taken handfuls of vacations, and never once did we use a credit cards or go somewhere we didn't have the money for. Stop for a minute and look at your checking account. Could you write a 1,000$ check if you had a life emergency? Seems like a random amount to pull up, but still ask yourself that. The rule of thumb should be about a 500$ base always sitting in your account. If something were to happen you should be prepared.

I believe people have lost the value in real relationships. Jesse and I rarely  go out. Yes we always have people over, and definitely entertain. But that is the key. We do not need to pay someone else (re-a restaurant ) to entertain us. I also refuse to pay 15$ for a glass of wine when I can buy that same entire bottle for 15$ at Trader Joe's. Heres an idea, and I promise it will change your life. Have date nights at home. Cook yummy food, hang out with your kids, and make your dining room table a night out. I would guess we save about 700-800$ a month by not going out. Yes you read that correctly. Sit down and give this some thought. Now tally all your receipts form every meal you eat out. Even w/out fancy dinners I would guarantee its around 700$. Total I spend in groceries every month to feed my entire family, and entertain friends a few nights a month is 650$, and I am feeding a teenage boy! Imagine if tacked onto that was an additional 800$. Thats two car payments folks. Better said is that is money that could go straight into your savings. I promise it can be just as fun at home, and you will gain value in your relationships. Kids tend to hang out at the table longer, and chat. Its just the facts, and will change things dramatically in your household. Heres the bigger eye opener. Anywhere you go to eat I guarantee the sodium levels are ten times more than your body should consume in an entire week. Sodium=BAD. Cook at home. Eat healthy foods. Save lots of money.

Second stop shopping. I have not been in a mall or bought a single new item of clothing in a solid two years. Guess what? I am perfectly ok. I have more clothes in my closet than I know what to do with. They key is keeping things organized, and sorted. If you have crap piled onto crap, and not a fluid clean organized system you will never see all the things you have. The average american woman spends 500$ a month on new clothes. Thats medical and car insurance payments. Imagine if you were not doing that every month. Take the time to go through your closet, and get rid of stuff you don't need, and organize your life. Sort it by day wear, night wear, and dress up or office casual stuff. Learn to buy one or two new pieces a year to mix in with all the hundreds of pieces you already have, and this will save you over 5,000$ a year. Put it away into something that 20 years from now you can live off of. I promise when you are 60 you will want to travel more than you do now. Don't live your life so when you get older you are still stressed about money. Stop buying crap you don't need. It's only clothes. It just does not matter. I promise.

Buy a vehicle you can afford. If you are making less than 40,000 a year you cannot afford a car that is more than 25,000$. Yep you read that correctly. You are driving around a car so other people will think you have more money than you do, but in reality you are struggling every month to pay for that brand new car. Buy a simple, small, affordable car, and then pay it off in two-three years. Take very good care of it. Change the oil regularly, and then keep driving it until you turn the engine. Then its time to buy a new car. If you do not even have the credit to buy a car then that means your car should be a nice small used 4-5,000$ little beater until you get your finances in order.

If you cannot pay cash for it you cannot afford it. Stop using credit cards. Stop. The average american household carries 40,000$ in debt. Oh.My.God. Stop spending money. Its actually not even money. Its a plastic card, and that 50$ dinner is actually 65$ because of interest. Cut them up. Pay them off. No matter how long it takes. If you cannot pay cash for it you cannot afford it, and you don't need it. We all have a little debt. That is perfectly ok, but if your debt exceeds 7,000$ you need to get yourself in check. Spend a couple hundred bucks, and see a money planner or financial planner, and have them help you get yourself out of debt. It might take 10 years, but who cares. Get it done now. When your 50 you will thank me.

For every 100$ you spend save 5$. Every single time you spend 100$ take 5$ and put it in an envelope. Every six months put that money in a savings account. Every couple years have your financial planner invest it the right way for you. 30 years from now you will thank me. Simple, and easy. Plan for your future. If you are 35 and you have not started saving for the future you should probably start.

Last, but not least stop buying all those expensive grooming products. The best anti aging hydration syrum on earth? Raw coconut oil. I use it on my face every night. On my elbows, knees, and so on. Next in line would be Jojoba Oil. Both are very cheap, you only need small amounts, and it will last for ever. Get rid of your 100$ bottle of moisturizer. Its all lies and marketing. Hair products. Stop buying expensive brands. A good conditioner is key, but otherwise a shampoo is all the same. Buy a inexpensive shampoo from Trader Joe's, and spend the extra money on a good conditioner. Conditioners last for ever,a nd if you add a small tiny amount of jojoba oil to the routine it will last even longer, and your hair will be super healthy.

Live within your means. Plan a bit for your future. Life is a gift. Stop stressing about money, and stop spending money you do not have.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cacoa aka Cocoa~ The Human Superfood!!

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”  ~Thomas Edison

Did you know that raw cacao benefits human longevity and health without negative side effects?
cacao beans, raw cacao, health benefits of chocolate, raw cacao benefits, cacao podUnlike processed dark chocolate, antioxidants are preserved in raw cacao. Benefits from keeping organic chocolate unheated include; much higher levels of the famous chocolate antioxidants (oligomeric procynanidins,resveratrol and thepolyphenolscatechin andepicatechin) as well as the preservation of vitamin C,phenethylamine (PEA, the feel good neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of love!), Omega 6 fatty acids (which when heated become rancid and cause inflammation),tryptophan (a commonly deficient amino acid in those who consume a diet of mostly cooked food) and serotonin. The cool facts about chocolate in this article reveal how this fun and amazing superfood is actually healthy for you!
It turns out that all the bad things commonly attributed to non-raw chocolate bars, such as cavities, weight gain and diabetes, are actually caused by the dairy, sugar and others fillers added to the dark chocolate. Health benefits of chocolate when it is in the form of raw cacao beans, butter, nibs and/or the powder include; weight loss (because of its high chromium and coumarin content), prevention of cavities (theobromine actually killsstreptococci mutans one of the strains of bacteria that cause tooth decay) and regulation of blood sugar which is beneficial for diabetes (chromium can naturally regulate blood sugar). Also raw cacao benefits the heart and the entire cardiovascular system as a whole.
Cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which also happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. Magnesium relaxes muscles, improves peristalsis in the bowels and relaxes the heart and cardiovascular system. The dark chocolate antioxidants have been clinically proven to literally dissolve plaque built up in the arteries which helps in reversing heart disease and causes naturally lower blood pressure. Also, various other vitamins and minerals in raw cacao benefits the cardiovascular system. You can find organic cacao butter, cacao powder, cacao nibs, cacao beans and cacao paste at a great price, by clicking this link.


dark chocolate antioxidants, health benefits of dark chocolate, raw cacao benefits, cool facts about chocolate, facts about chocolate~Yang JingQiShen, Blood
~Cooling, in excess heating
~Sweet, Astringent, Bitter
~Heart, Kidneys, Spleen
The antioxidant content of raw cacao benefits the cardiovascular and general whole body health. In processed dark chocolate, antioxidants such asepichatehins, chatechins, resveratrol and procyanidins can be present, but are in much lower levels than in unheated raw chocolate nibs as an example. Out of all the whole foods that contain antioxidants, raw chocolate is the highest in the world. It dwarfs the popular foods and beverages commonly touted as being antioxidant rich foods such as red wine, green tea and blueberries by a factor of 10x or more! There are certain herbs and spices, such as the chaga mushroom and cinnamon, which have higher levels of antioxidants in them but generally you won't be consuming enough volume of them to get as much antioxidant value from them as you would from a normal dose of raw cacao. Benefits from consuming antioxidants come when a range of different types of foods high in them are in your diet, since different coloured foods have different antioxidant compounds which target different parts of the body. The phytochemicalanalysis of cacao beans reveal that raw chocolate is perhaps the most chemically complex food on Earth. There are compounds yet to be discovered in this most amazing of live superfoods. Phytochemicals usually degrade in the cooking process, so the raw forms of them should be abundant in every diet for longevity.
~Anandamide (the only food that contains this neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of "bliss")
~ N-linoleoylethanolamine (prevents the re-uptake of anandamide)
~Phenethylamine (PEA, a neurotransmitter known as the "love molecule")
~Seratonin (a neurotransmitter that acts as a "stress defense shield" by making you feel good)
~Dopamine (a neurotransmitter that boosts motivation and pleasure)
~MAO Inhibitors (prevents the re-uptake of serotonin and dopamine)
~Coumarin (has appetite suppressant, blood thinner and anti-tumor properties)
~Theobromine (controversial but actually quite beneficial for humans, see last section)
~Asparaginase (an enzyme that has anti-leukemia properties)
~Ergosterol (a precursor to vitamin D)
~Sitosterol (decreases LDL cholesterol)
The nutrient density of raw cacao benefits every function of the body. One of the many cool facts about chocolate is that it is the highest source of magnesium and chromium of any food! Magnesium is the most deficient mineral in the average human. All of the compounds found in raw cacao benefits longevity in humans.
~Vitamin A
~Vitamin B (1, 2, 3, 5 and 6)
~Vitamin C
~Vitamin E
~Omega 6 Fatty Acids
~Saturated Fats
~Amino Acids
~Soluble Fiber (which is the type people need more of)
~Enzymes (including catalase, lipase and amylase)
~Other Beneficial Phytonutrients (such as the antioxidants already mentioned in this article)


Dr. Gabriel Cousenstheobromine content! It even raises insulin sensitivity! One of the other cool facts about chocolate that he discovered was that it's not toxic to the liver (many people are falsely claiming the contrary), except when combined in large amounts with sweeteners high in fructose such as agave. This is basically the only well known clinical study done specifically on how raw cacao benefits human health. raw cacao benefits, cacao beans, cool facts about chocolate, dark chocolate antioxidants, facts about chocolate

It has been shown that raw cacao benefits a wide range of cardiovascular issues. The dark chocolate antioxidants and abundant amounts of magnesium and otherphytochemicals can balance blood pressure, lower high cholesterol, scrub away arterial plaque and promote general health by reversing heart disease. (Raw) chocolate bars are known as a great remedy for many menstruation issues women can get. It is also confirmed as an aphrodisiac for both genders. What more do you want from one of the worlds top live superfoods? For more information about this amazing superfood, check out the book "Naked Chocolate" by David Wolfe and Shazzie which is packed full of information and amazing recipes!
The famous "Dutch study", which was done on regular processed chocolate, followed over 200 Dutch men over the course of twenty years and found that those who ate the most milk and dark chocolate had lower rates of all major diseases compared to those who ate little to no chocolate. The health benefits of chocolate were really emphasized in this study by the fact that there was no upper limit to how much chocolate could be consumed by these men. What they literally discovered was that the more chocolate you eat, the more your potential for human longevity increases! The chocolate being eaten in this study was processed milk chocolate mostly, so just imagine the difference that would come from eating raw cacao beans, nibs or other raw cacao products instead!
In a Harvard study on the Kuna indian tribe off the coast of Panama, there was a unique chance to examine the health benefits of dark chocolate in a controlled way. Close to the region where the Kuna tribe lived there were other tribes of identical genetic heritage, very similar diet and identical lifestyle habits. The only difference was that the Kuna tribe lived in an area where cacao trees grew abundantly. They would consume up to 5 cups of a bitter dark chocolate drink on a daily basis (although they weren't aware of how raw cacao benefits your health even more than the cooked version). This resulted in them having lower rates of all major diseases as well as a longer average life expectancy. This study lead by Dr. Hollenberg spurred more research on the health benefits of chocolate, as well as the unique dark chocolate antioxidants that were abundant in these cacao drinks the Kuna tribe enjoyed so much.
The world's oldest human being to have ever lived (that was officially documented) was Jeanne Louise Calment of France. She lived to be 122 and many say that one of her secrets to longevity was her consumption of 2.5 pounds of bitter dark chocolate a week. The third "official" oldest person ever to have lived was Sarah Knauss, who also regularly enjoyed the health benefits of chocolate, although not in as large quantities as Jeanne! On top of that, Chanel, perhaps the world's oldest dog to have ever lived (she lived to be 21, 147 in dog years), ate chocolate on a regular basis. She even once devoured an entire bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! This is very odd since chocolate is commonly touted as being toxic to dogs, even in small quantities... Imagine how long these people and animals could have lived if they had been aware of how raw cacao benefits your health more than the processed version.
chocolate nibs, raw cacao benefits, raw chocolate, cool facts about chocolate, health benefits of chocolate


These people never have any evidence to support their opinions. This is simply because there are no scientific studies that show any detriments to consuming chocolate! Raw cacao benefits all people who consume it unless their constitution is imbalanced. There is anecdotal cases of people having bad reactions to it. This is what these anti-chocolate campaigners go on and on about, yet little do they know that people can have bad reactions to any food depending on their own unique constitution. The amount that they take and/or whether the raw chocolate (or cooked chocolate) product is contaminated in some way will affect different people in different ways. Much in the same way people can have negative reactions to the Chinese herbs ginseng or astragalus if they are imbalanced, a strong Jing foundation must be developed first to support the very Shenbuilding qualities of raw cacao beans and other raw chocolate products. The theobrominecontent of raw chocolate nibs and all other chocolate products is the chemical commonly vilified as being toxic. However no death or liver injury from theobromine poisoning in healthy humans has ever occurred! Over 20 pounds of pure raw chocolate would need to be consumed all at once to reach toxic levels of this phytochemical. The alkaloidtheobromine is a cardiovascular stimulant that has little to no affect on the nervous system. It dilates blood vessels which naturally lowers blood pressure (taking strain off the heart) and increases nutrient uptake during digestion (when combined withadaptogenic herbs and other live superfoods, raw cacao benefits and potentiates these other phytochemicals).
Theobromine also kills streptococci mutans, one of the main types of bacteria responsible for tooth decay and improves asthmatic type conditions by opening up the lungs. Of course anyone with liver damage should avoid chocolate products because of their high copper content and not so much because of their theobromine content. Stimulants in an of themselves are not a problem, as all foods contain various depressing or stimulating factors within them. Caffeine which is actually more harmful than theobromine is either very low or absent in chocolate (depending on the variety of cacao beans used to make the product). Virtually all plant foods contain different alkaloids which are toxic when isolated from the plant and taken in large doses. This does not mean that the plants that contain them need to be blamed in any way. When a persons body begins accumulating too much of a certain alkaloid, a natural aversion to that food begins to develop until the metabolism of the body has removed that compound.
cacao pods, raw cacao benefits, benefits of raw cacao, cool facts about chocolateThe many raw cacao benefits are also called into question when people learn about its oxalic acid content. Oxalic acids can accumulate in the body blocking calcium absorption, causing kidney stones and other forms of calcification. It should be noted that many other common foods can contain up to 10x the amount of oxalic acid as chocolate. When you compare how much chocolate people eat at once (a few grams at most) to the amount of spinach (which is high inoxalates) that can be eaten, it becomes absurd to be afraid of this factor that's present in cacao beans. One of the cool facts about chocolate in it's unheated state is that the oxalic acid is harmless since only cooked oxalic acid combines with calcium to form oxalates that can accumulate in the body!
Finally, many people are afraid of becoming addicted to this superfood. Despite all the raw cacao benefits in this article showing that this is perhaps the best thing to be "addicted" too, people still attack the health benefits of chocolate. You can become addicted to any type of food especially if it tastes good and makes you feel good! With the exception of physically addictive substances (like heroine or cigarettes), addiction is an entirely mental condition and needs to be addressed by temporarily abstaining from the food or thing that you're addicted too and then addressing the underlying emotional issues causing the attachment to that food or activity. Vilifying and claiming the activity is toxic is not addressing the issue and will lead a person with an addictive personality to some other food or activity to take its place. The health benefits of chocolate are outstanding and any addiction to it is the fault of the individual and not the chemicals within the cacao beans themselves.

Change your food, change your diet, change your life. I would love to help you!