Monday, September 24, 2012

Pants, metaphorical tsunamis, and my new gig

Too many adventures to write about, too little time! Let it be known that over the past few weeks, I have donned a variety of pants - literal, figurative, and otherwise. I've taken turns wearing my fancy pants, my mountain pants, my eating pants, and of course, my running shorts.

(Please note: If you're tired of reading about mountains and running, you can find a brief interlude from those themes buried in the middle of this entry: just look for Cee Lo Green!) 

So, two weekends ago, I went to Oregon with my friend Deby for yet another crewing/pacing gig. While Deby knocked out her umpteenth 100-miler this year, I tagged along for the road trip down to southern Oregon and a long weekend of rich conversations, glorious meals, evening hot-tubbing, and sleep-walking mountain miles.

The race, Pine to Palm, is Oregon's only 100-miler. After cruising for two days around the backcountry roads there to support Deby and the other runners, I'm definitely adding P2P to my Ultra Bucket List. Beautiful part of the country, great trails, tons of runnable single-track, thoroughly challenging course. The time cut-offs, unfortunately, were rather aggressive early in the race; paired with intense heat on a lot of exposed ridges and a couple aid stations running out of water, the conditions caused many runners to drop out in the first half of the race.

Strong, steady, and determined as always, though, Deby cruised through like a champ. A little before midnight on Saturday, I jumped in at Dutchman Peak to run the last 35 miles with her. The thin air in the Siskiyou mountains got to us quickly. Around 3 a.m., while trudging up a long section of service road, we both began drifting into walking sleep. It's the strangest sensation, to be moving, to drift off for a second or two, and come to stumbling along in the darkness...your legs still walking, but your mind completely shut down. We curled up on the side of the road for a short nap, but found neither of us could actually sleep - so we marched onward. When the sun came out, it proffered a welcome energy lift.

Perhaps the most amazing moment of the weekend came in the form of a kind stranger at the finish line, who let us borrow her car for several hours to go retrieve our own from Dutchman Peak. Prior to her generosity, we had hit a bit of a panic, realizing suddenly we were not on our home turf in Washington, where we're both accustomed to knowing a good chunk of the people there and could count on hitching a ride with someone. The two other runners and crews we knew had both dropped out in the middle of the night, so we were essentially stranded at the finish line, with no friends, no prospects, no money (left our wallets in our car at Dutchman!), no cell phone reception...and certainly no energy to backtrack 35 rugged miles on foot to get back to our own vehicle. Disaster! Thank goodness for the kindness and trust of strangers. We live in a good world.

All the time I've been spending doing this sleep-deprived rambling around in the mountains has been good processing time for my little heart. 2012 has undoubtedly cast some tidal waves of change in my direction. Metaphorical tsunamis, for better or worse, require a good amount of energy to handle.

As many of you know, I recently accepted a new communications job with a mobile start-up. It was a difficult decision to leave REI, as for 3+ years it's been an absolutely amazing company to work for. Ultimately though, I'm really excited about this new opportunity to further develop my skill set - and hopefully make a bigger impact than I felt capable of making in my old role.

I wake up every day with new tasks to tackle, whether they be drafting letters, writing video scripts, designing newsletters, or in the case of last Friday afternoon - greeting, schmoozing with, and being the face of my company for 400+ members from all over the country. I met good folks from New Orleans, Tulsa, Salt Lake, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and beyond. Really cool experience. Then jetted over to Seattle's EMP in the evening for our official launch party...rocking out to Cee Lo, scarfing hors d'oeuvres, and sipping Sprites at the open bar like the classy lady I am.

But putting on my fancy pants (or dress, as it were) didn't prevent me from totally shifting gears and donning my mountain pants again at 7 a.m. the following morning.

We've had a truly beautiful summer here in the Northwest. 40 consecutive days without rain, and more sunny, blue-skied, 70-degree days than I could count. It's a shame to reach mid-September without having tromped around even once in the stunning North Cascades - so this weekend, with the help of my new friend Steve, I rectified that. There was a tremendous amount of fog, but happily, we enjoyed the little island paradise of Mt. Forgotten, rising above it all at 6000 feet.

It was a rigorous hike that began in deep fog - but the upshot was getting the mountain (true to its name!) all to ourselves. We ditched our packs for several little exploratory scrambles around. Tasty Ramen mash, mountaintop Scrabble, and cliff-side naps in the sunshine sweetened the whole experience. Not to mention obligatory post-hike milkshakes.

North Cascades for the win.

And...I like my life! Thank you to all who continue to make it a good one.


  1. Such a busy, happy girl! So glad I could share P2P with you it was so much fun having your support. Glad your hike went well and the live party, I think about you every time I see Cee-Lo on the Voice.

  2. I love your blog! :0) waiting for IMTUF RR.... :)