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Follow the Yaks: Trekking the Langtang Valley in Nepal

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Brendan and I have returned home from a month of travels, the highlight of which was an eight day hike in Nepal's Langtang Valley. Only 120 km from Kathmandu, Langtang is a lesser-known trekking area, as compared with popular routes like Everest Base Camp or the Annapurna Circuit. Despite its proximity to the capital city, the drive to the trailhead takes 6-7 hours, owing to the road being essentially a one lane, muddy, deeply rutted jeep track that winds up and down mountainsides. The valley is remote, but is still a "tea-house" trek, meaning that the trail goes through tiny villages where mountain lodges can house and feed you for the night, so there is no need to carry camping gear. We planned a fairly aggressive hiking itinerary, hoping to cover a lot of ground in the somewhat limited time that we had available, while still making sure to enjoy the journey and leave adequate time to acclimatize to the altitude. After some back-and-forth, we convinced our wonderful gu…

Diez Vista 50k 2018: Back in my Groove

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Diez Vista 50k was my first ultra since May 2017. I tore a hamstring tendon in July of last year, and watched my summer and fall racing (and adventuring) season slip by as I worked to rehab that injury. I was finally healthy enough to start running again at the beginning of November, and signed up for Diez to give myself a goal to work towards and to motivate me through the winter months. I had never done this classic local race and was looking forward to a new experience after having raced Chuckanut for the last two years as my early season ultra.

Fast forward to April 14th: I had a fantastic day out there. I finished in 5:55, placed 6th female and, most importantly, had no hamstring pain whatsoever. I couldn't have asked for a better race at this point in my training, when I am still in a building phase. 

The night before the race, I wrote down my goals and how I planned on achieving them. This is a ritual I do for every race; I find it calming and a nice way to frame my expectati…

2017 in Review: Missteps in the Right Direction

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Every December, I write a blog reflecting on my year of running before I dive headlong into another year of training, racing, and adventuring. My immediate impression when I think about 2017 is that it was a bit of a non-starter: I was sidelined for a good portion of the summer and fall with a bad hamstring tendon strain, and because of this I have been finding it hard to start this post this year. Until just for a change, clarity came in the form of my run this morning. About half an hour into the route I had planned, I found myself ploughing through deep snow on a trail I had assumed would be tracked out. I was getting frustrated at how slowly and awkwardly I was moving - this is not what I had envisioned for my last run of the year! I eventually turned around, and was met with this sight...
...which stopped me in my (fresh) tracks, and smacked some sense into me. Who cares if this run isn't what I had expected? It is still beautiful, and fun in its own way, and I am grateful to …

Tillamook Burn 50k 2017: Redemption via Pinot Noir

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A month and a half ago, I ran the Chuckanut 50k as my first ultra of the year. As I wrote in my last blog post, I had a pretty terrible run there: I never once felt good, the whole race, and missed my time goal by a large margin. It was, and still is, hard to put my finger on what went wrong that day, but something was just... "off". I came out of that race absolutely wrecked: my quads were incredibly sore for a week afterward, and I took 2 full weeks off running before gingerly easing my body and mind back into training. I was also feeling a little deflated, because I had trained hard through the winter and didn't feel like my performance was representative of my fitness. But as with everything, I had to draw from the experience what I could, then put it behind me and move forward, with my sights set on the Tillamook Burn 50k 6 weeks later. Because of the extended period of time off after Chuckanut, I basically just built my running back toward the 50k distance, figurin…