Love Wins in Indiana

Today love wins in Indiana for everyone. Maybe there will be appeals. People will probably kick and scream in anger. But today anyone, every one of my friends, can go to the clerk’s office and marry the person they love. Today that’s good.

“It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage – not a[s] same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.”
- U.S. District Judge Richard Young

Ragnar Trail West Virginia. A Runner’s List.

You Know You’re a Runner If…

1. You’ll spend $30 on a technical fabric running tank top, but refuse to spend more than $15 on a regular tank top.

2. You run through injuries because you just can’t feel the pain while you run. It’s only after when you take off your shoes and peel off your clothes that you really notice them.

3. You know the pain of putting a body part in a bucket of ice (possibly while eating breakfast).

4. You always pack a pair of running shoes and shorts when you go on vacation.

5. You have friends who you’ve met exclusively through running, but who you count as your real life friends now, because you’ve sweated so often together.

6. You’ve limped around after hurting yourself at a race saying these words: So what’s our next race? Let’s sign up for another one! What half do you want to do this fall?

7. You are more in tune with your body than you ever thought was possible. Every ache, adrenaline rush, and noise that it makes.

8. You have a different and complicated relationship with food. You know exactly what foods will irritate your stomach, how long you have to wait for food to be digested enough to run, and what foods will give you the most energy.

9. You feel that itch, whether it’s strong or barely there, to lace up and hear the sound of your shoes rhythmically hitting the ground.

10. You take runcations, vacations that revolve only around running (but there’s usually beer and food involved somehow, too).

One day you start doing something, you try something out. Four years later, it’s a really big part of your life. You plan your days around it, you’ve made real friends through it and become closer to friends you already had because of it, and you do weird things you would’ve previously thought were crazy.

This is how running is for me. Four years ago I could barely run. Now I’ve got two half marathons, one full marathon, and three Ragnar relays under my belt. My life often revolves around my running schedule. I’ve gotten up ridiculously early to run, not race, just run. I’ve injured myself countless times. I’ve traveled to a few cool places for races. I’ve made running friends, real friends, who I never would have met otherwise, and a few of my friendships have become 10 times stronger because of running.

This past weekend I participated in my first Ragnar Trail race in West Virginia in the Appalachians. I’ve done the Madison, WI to Chicago Ragnar road relay twice before (here). The trail relay is an entirely different game. The camping aspect was great, soggy, and involved club music (not my team’s choice).

My teammates were incredible (four who I’ve done Ragnars with before, one who joined our team last minute), and picked up my slack when I badly sprained my ankle on my first trail.

The hot dogs and beer were plentiful. The wind, rain, lightening, and thunder were terrifying, but somehow brought us closer. (I mean we were all huddled nervously under our camping canopy.)

The mud on the trails was like brownie mix or fudge. There were times when we were freezing and wet and miserable, but looking back all I remember is the gorgeous scenery on the trails, the ridiculous nicknames we gave each other, the hot dogs and beer two of my teammates amazingly ate for breakfast, the really nice girl who I visited multiple times at the first aid tent, and how every one of us ran our hardest and pulled our weight.

Self Love. It’s Not Weird.

photo by Karl Bolter

In the past year I’ve started reading a few new blogs by a few pretty rad ladies (The Morning Fresh and Campfire Chic). One recently made a big move across the country to do what felt right for her. Uproot your life? Sounds like a great adventure, but is it practical? The other mentions this idea called self love a lot. She does some how to get yourself motivated to blog again things and one writing topic is self love. I would read those two words and  laugh. Self love? That sounds straight out of a psychologist’s office, something you need to focus on if you’re in a dark place. I love myself, I take care of myself, I’m a happy human being.

The past six months I’ve been struggling hardcore with back pain. My mid back and shoulders are crazy tight. The chiropractor and massage therapist I see tell me to work on my posture, to be conscious of how I sit at my desk, to add 10 measly minutes into my morning and evening routines to open my chest and stretch my back. And I do, but then I don’t, and then my body becomes a wretched mess of pain for a few days, disrupting sleep.

This is not self love. This is the exact opposite of self love. This is making myself hurt because I’m not paying attention, because I’m not treating my body as it deserves and needs, even though I know better.

Self love. Now I get it. I’m not laughing anymore. It’s about being caring and aware and in tune with yourself. And how, with my brain packed full of yoga and recycling and and not eating processed foods and barefootedness, did I miss this? LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! LISTEN TO YOUR BRAIN! Maybe self love is about making time for those things that you know are good for you, physically or emotionally, about readjusting your schedule for yourself, not for someone else. Maybe it’s about taking a big, earth-shattering event and making a big and equally earth-shattering positive change in your life. For me, I think I’ll start small in building some self love routines. I’ll add them in by little bits to my days.

Maybe all I really needed was a new perspective, a quick conversation, to make me see something that I’d be staring at and scoffing at for months in a new light. Maybe that’s where this whole self love business starts, with a new perspective, even if it’s only a tiny shift, a tiny ripple.

 

Resolutions. 2014.

In 2014 I will …

Turn 30.

Embrace 30.

Run a half marathon in two hours.

Hike on the Art Loeb Trail in North Carolina.

Make at least one recipe each week from one of my actual cookbooks.

Judge less. Look deeper. Understand more.

Glaze Lola.

Rediscover all the best things about Indianapolis with Karl, because he lives here now.

Go outside, even in the cold, because I own a First Ascent coat now.

Buy rain boots.

Camp.

Adventure.

Write.

Photograph.

Visit one place that I love and one place that I’ve never traveled to before.

Not shave my armpits.

Run long, run far on the weekends for fun.

I Ran a Marathon. My Body is a Miracle.

I’m a woman. I’ve stood in front of my mirror and looked at my naked body and criticized. I’ve been late to work because I spent 20 minutes standing in front of my open closet, changing outfits, each one making me feel fat, making my stomach bulge. I’ve weighed myself every few days, marked down the numbers, obsessed over one pound lost or gained. I’ve not bought perfectly cute pants because I refuse to buy a size 10. I’m a size 8 damn it. Once for a year or so I dropped a pant size and I rejoiced. I swore I’d get back there again some day. I’ve talked the skinny talk. “I’m going to loose 10 pounds before attending that wedding.” “I can’t have pizza tonight. It’s soo bad for you.” “Man, I wish my thighs didn’t touch.”

I’ve never once stopped eating or purged my body of food I’d just eaten because I felt inadequate about my body, but I have definitely disliked myself a whole lot because of how I looked, because I didn’t think I was skinny enough, because the way my stomach folded when I sat or bent forward made me really sad.

One day I started running. And then another day I kind of got addicted to running. That was hard. I read magazines, blogs, articles, all very helpful words, and looked at the accompanying pictures. Lady runners have flat stomachs. They don’t have a big chest. They have small thighs. My thighs only got bigger, stronger, the more I ran, the farther I asked them to carry me. My girls have to be squashed into a sizable bra before they kind of sort of don’t bounce. My stomach? Well maybe it got a little flatter, I’m sure it got stronger, but my love of cookies was strong, too.

At first I ran to combat that love of cookies. Today I run because I love my body, because it feels great after I run, because it’s capable of doing amazing things. It does amazing things looking mostly the same way it did when I stood in front of the mirror and felt sad.

A week and a half ago I finished my first marathon, the Monumental Marathon. My body killed it for me, as in “damn girl, you killed it! That was awesome!” It not only carried me 26.2 miles from start to finish line, it hauled me through months of training, long runs, early mornings, and mental breakdowns. Today there is no way in my right mind I could look at my body and think, “I wish you were different.” My body is a dang miracle, you guys, and I am so thankful for it. It got me to 13.1 miles in 2:07. It pushed me past my house and my cheering section twice.

It started to falter in the last six miles of the race, but somehow, by God’s grace or thanks to the energy stored perhaps in my toes from all the gels I had eaten, somehow that last mile I ran hard, I flew, and I crossed the finish line in this weird mix of emotions. Exhaustion. Joy. Ecstasy. Shock. Anger. (Yep, I wish I’d gone faster.) Pride.

Today I had this epiphany while I was watching this video.

Robyn Lawley says she loves her body. Is she nuts? She’s a woman. Women don’t love their bodies. And then I realized that I do. I love my body after all that time thinking it kinda sucked, that it could be better. I can say the same thing Robyn Lawley says. I love my body the way it is for appreciating when I fill it with pasta and pie and kale and homemade soup and cake. I love it for bending as much as it can when I try to twist it into bird of paradise. I love it for hiking up mountains and through deserts and up and down my street every day behind a silly black dog. I love it for letting me lace up my running shoes every week.

I love my body because it let me finish a marathon. What has your body done for you today? I bet something pretty damn spectacular.

Yurtcation 2013. A Gear in Review.

Our favorite gear from our road trip to Utah — tested, tried, reviewed by me and Karl (thanks for helping me with these reviews!).

Mira

The odds are pretty good that you don’t have a Mira. However, if you are lucky enough to have a four-legged friend like the Mira, take him or her on a road trip with you. How do you know if your dog is good roadtrip companion material? Here’s how we knew about Mira. She loves the car….seriously, she really loves the car. Walk her out back and she thinks she’s going on a ride. The excitement, it’s very real. But it dies down once in the car. She’s a very quiet and patient car rider. And she can wait hours between bathroom breaks, which makes her an ideal road trip buddy. She also provides great protection at sketchy rest stops and gas stations. If any questionable human gets close to the car, she politely lets them know that their jugular will be hers. Remember to pack poop bags and always pick up after your dog at rest stops and gas stations. We scheduled in a few longer breaks to feed Mira, that way she didn’t feel rushed to scarf down her food at a gas station while we were filling up. She’s a nervous eater, and that definitely comes out more when traveling. Know your dog’s quirks and be prepared for them to be magnified while road tripping.

Cons about Mira, and possibly about traveling with your four-legged friend. National parks. Whether they’re closed because of government shutdowns or not, dogs are not allowed in them. This means you’ll need to be staying in a place where your dog can spend his or her days while you explore the wildernesses that our great country have deemed worthy of protecting. The yurt provided a more permanent abode than a tent for the Mira to hang out in while we were gone. Remember that your pup may also be a bit anxious about traveling to a new place. Be sure to bring some comforts of home with you such as favorite toys and dog beds or blankets. Allowing the occasional treat such as bed snuggle time or wet food instead of dry food, may help make the transition to a different place a bit easier.

Kelty retro packs


The Kelty packs started out for us as a fun way to carry necessary items when we were having local adventures around our cities and to hold clothing as we travel back and forth between Milwaukee and Indianapolis. Even in this capacity the Kelty packs rock. One can hold an incredible amount of shit. I’ve packed all of my clothes for a weekend to Karl’s in mine. So of course they would be coming on the Yurtcation. One of our favorite things about this particular Kelty pack is the classic design. Kelty rereleased this design, which echoes the original Kelty daypack with modern updates. As unhipster hipsters we appreciate anything that suggests vintage and historical and classic.

We used our Kelty packs pretty much every day while hiking and exploring. At the parks we packed fleeces, water, my camera, lunches, snacks, and emergency items (i.e. headlamps and first aid kit) in them. The small inside organizer pocket, complete with zipper, is great for small items, like chapstick, drivers licenses, and money. We were shocked to find that the modest Kelty pack stands up to class II rapids, too! Our Colorado River rafting trip took us through a few rapids and Karl’s Kelty kept our few items (fleeces, Karl’s camera, and ids) perfectly dry. Now, I’m not sure just how much water this pack can withstand, so please don’t test fate.

Sleeping pads (trekker 1.75 REI)


Sleeping pads are a necessity for a few reasons. 1. Something insulating between you and the ground will keep you warmer, and as Bear Grylls always says, “One layer on the bottom is worth two on top.” 2. The ground is rocky. For years, like I’m talking 15, I had a ThermaRest self-inflating sleeping pad. When I finally admitted that the tiny hole somewhere in the pad was inconviently keeping the thing always inflated and set out to buy a new one, I figured I’d go ThermaRest again. Karl, however, convinced me otherwise.

Karl decided to replace his foam sleeping pad with a self-inflating one earlier this summer and ended up going with the REI brand trekker 1.75. Not only did it come in long (big points for us tall folks), but it was super soft and less expensive than a ThermaRest! Win. It didn’t take much for me to get the same one, but the women’s version. And I’ll tell you what, we have had nothing but fantastic sleeps on these things. They are incredibly comfortable and seem to be durable. The only downside? They take about an hour to self-inflate. We usually encourage them along by blowing them up ourselves.

Check back soon for our reviews of foot and legwear!

Yurtcation 2013. A Photo Dump.

In September Karl, Mira, and I roadtripped out west to Utah to celebrate Karl’s impeding 30th birthday.

Our route out took us west on I70 through Illinois, Missouri, (never-ending) Kansas, Colorado, and finally Utah. The return route took us through Durango, CO and the Colorado mountains, and back to I70.

Our digs varied from a KOA campsite in Limon, CO, to four nights in a yurt in Monticello, UT (think Genghis Kahn goes glamping), to an inn in Ouray, CO that Mira and I are convinced was haunted after a hairy mountain drive in the dark, to my cousin’s house in St. Louis, MO.

We explored Moab one day as hail fell from the desert skies and questioned Utah’s low ABV content law.

We stood under arches, marveled at nature’s ability to balance rocks on top of each other, and scrambled up rocks at Arches National Park.

 

 

We rafted on the Colorado River.

We followed cairns through Canyonlands National Park’s Needles District and off-roaded with Karl’s Subaru Forester, Jake.

We had coffee in an Airstream in Cortez, CO., ate well and hiked in Durango, woke up in the mountains in Ouray, stood on the Continental Divide, and barely made it out of Kansas with our lives.

 


What do we wish we could’ve done? Spend more time in Denver and Colorado in general, camp and explore more in Canyonlands, and visit Zion National Park and Goblin Valley State Park (but we know that Leave No Trace applies to the boulders there, *cough* *cough* Boy Scouts of America).