Showing posts from August, 2015

Another round in Chamonix

Beat and I arrived in France on Sunday night for our annual sojourn (of pain) in the Alps. Beat has his nearly-back-to-back-200-mile races that he can't quite pry himself away from, and so we're back in Chamonix for the 2015 Petite Trotte à Léon. 
Friends know I have no love for PTL, which pits a hundred teams on a high-mountain course that combines difficult terrain, long distances, often tricky navigation, and a time limit that ensures extreme sleep deprivation. Basically, it's light mountaineering with compromised strength under moderate sedation. Of all the things Beat does that cause me to fret, PTL is the most unnerving. Every year, the organization switches up the course to make it even harder, which only ensures it's more dangerous. Oh, but it's okay, because slipping is "forbidden." 
This year, Beat is racing with Pieter Schaaps, a young Belgian that he met last year at the Tor des Geants. The race started under heavy rain and high winds on Mond…


While looking for a photo for this post, I realized I hadn't taken any photos of my outdoor excursions (all runs) in a couple of weeks, and I haven't posted a California picture on my blog since May. How far my blog has fallen from its original intent (a day-to-day journal and cycling log.) This photo is from July, taken during one of Beat's favorite running routes — a 16-mile grinder in Portolla Redwoods State Park to visit a 1,200-year-old redwood called "Old Tree." Seems an apt image for a birthday post.

My running over past few weeks has been a series of steady and deliberate efforts to get my "wind" back, through whatever biological mechanisms aid in this process. What it's felt like is a slow strengthening, from the early days of July with tight constrictions in my bronchi and a weak heart (resting at 90 bpm but too taxed at 130 bpm) to clearer breathing and a strong heart. (I did seek out medical tests during this process. Lung X-Rays were c…

Becoming Frozen

Today (August 17) my latest book was released. "Becoming Frozen" is my own story about falling in love with Alaska, after a rash decision to follow my then-boyfriend to the North completely changed the trajectory of my life.

The release coincides with the tenth anniversary of that decision, which was set in motion during the week of my 26th birthday. Coincidentally, I was camping in the Wind Rivers in Wyoming when I had my fateful "why not?" moment, and I hadn't been back those mountains since, until last week. It's funny how life continues turning in circles.

This book is one of the accumulating projects that I finally just had to push out the door. I don't blog much about my book projects, which are part of the day-to-day work I do. (People often wonder what I "do." I'm a freelance copy editor, if you weigh my career by the bulk of my paid contracts. Secondarily I'm an author, and book sales bring in my next largest chunk of income.…

This one time at Fat Camp

A few weeks ago, while I was nursing weak lungs and a festering disappointment about my failed Tour Divide, I received a text from my friend Danni in Montana, who I've missed and haven't seen in at least two years. She asked if I wanted to join a group of friends for a backpacking trip in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming, playfully dubbed "Fat Camp." I was unsure about my health and the logistics of wedging another trip into this already-packed year, but at the last minute decided I couldn't bear to miss it. 
"I SO want to join you," I replied. "Otherwise this will be the worst summer ever, seriously." 
"I'm really pathetically fat and out of shape, so don't worry even if you still have pneumonia," Danni wrote. 
I couldn't ask for better backpacking companions — self-contained and capable women from a variety of backgrounds. There's Amber, a fish biologist and fast mountain biker/skier from Kalispell, Montana; Lor…