I hope you have been having an awesome winter! In Tahoe, the winter started out great, with December and January dumping some amazing powder all over our mountains. I love it when the same trails you hike in the summer turn into a frosty winter playground. I have definitely been taking advantage of it and trying to get in my riding time as much as I can.
When it comes to riding, you might say that I am more old school. This is my 20th season riding (where did the time go?) and growing up, I have NEVER worn a helmet on the slopes. It just wasn’t something that we did as kids and when helmets started to grow in popularity over the past few years, I never adopted the new thinking that one might actually just save your life. In fact, I have been pretty anti-helmet whenever someone suggests that I wear one.
Well, a couple of weeks ago, there wasn’t any snow and me and the guy decided to go play a round of golf in the valley. Being that we are a wee bit on the competitive side, we decided we needed a bet. If I won, he had to shave his baby (aka his one-year-old beard). If he won, I had to buy a brain bucket and wear it every time I ride. For some reason, he doesn’t like the idea of having to teach me the alphabet all over again.
Do you notice anything different? No. That’s okay. I’ll tell you anyways… new year, new blog name!
When I first started this little blog over a year ago, I had two main purposes: complete a project for my MBA class and share my passion for running and, well, eating. That’s when the site runningprimal.com was born. It was a combination of running stories and adventures in the kitchen cooking healthy, paleo recipes to keep me going.
Over the course of the following year, this little way to share some of my passions turned into so much more. I spent the summer backpacking and hiking to the tallest peaks in the area, and continued to blog about it along the way (even in the absence of a professor assigning me blog posts for homework). This silly blog became an outlet to reflect on the adventures I’ve had, share them with family and friends, and hopefully inspire some others along the way.
A couple of weeks ago I had to travel to beautiful (ahem) Las Vegas for a big work conference. While the work part of the trip was well, work, we managed to have some fun, too. When we got there on Friday night, a group of my coworkers and I went and saw the Cirque du Soleil show, LOVE. If you like the Beatles, or even if you don’t, I would highly suggest this show. The performers are all amazing and the experience is one you won’t forget. We sat in the front row and had some of the performers in our faces. Literally. While I liked being that close, I think I would opt to sit in a section back further if I were to see it again. That would allow you to take in the whole experience without having to constantly look up and strain your little neck.
The other highlight of the trip was the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. When we knew that we would be traveling to Vegas for work several months ago, a coworker and I saw that there was also this race taking place at the same time. There was no way that we couldn’t make this one-of-a-kind race happen. The race was on Sunday night (that is right, at night) and they close down the ENTIRE strip for the race. Along the race course are bands, DJs, and spectators the entire way. Not to mention, it was just so f’ing cool to run on the closed-down strip at night!
I did it!!! I bagged my 15th peak in 2015 a few weekends ago… and to make it even more special, it was on my bday! Happy birthday to me! When I set a goal earlier this year to summit 15 peaks in 2015, I wasn’t really sure if it would happen. In fact, there were times when I thought it would be downright impossible, but one by one, I started to check them off. When I climbed to the top of the Sierra Buttes on Halloween, I checked the final one off of my list for the year. I got it just in time, too, because the past few weeks in Tahoe have been pretty snowy and it would have been a challenge to try and get any more in.
When I set a goal earlier this summer to summit 15 peaks in 2015, I wasn’t really sure if it would happen. Then one after another, I started checking them off. With each peak came an increased motivation to get the next and the next. Since I started on May 31st, I have managed to check 14 peaks off of my list. Each one is a different experience and none have ever disappointed.
Yesterday, I grabbed peaks 13 and 14 with a solo adventure that was interesting and exhilarating, to say the least. I summited South Camp Peak and Genoa Peak, which are both accessible from the Tahoe Rim Trail. One day I would love to do the entire Rim Trail, but until then, I will settle for some awesome out-and-back day hikes on this well maintained and beautiful trail.
I haven’t posted anything in a couple of weeks, and man, those weeks have been jam-packed with adventure. To start, the weekend before last I took a road trip with one of my besties, Jenn. First, we went to San Bernardino for an amazing music festival. All of the bands that I grew up listening to were playing and we had so much fun. After that, we had another two days to do whatever we wanted. We tried to get into the Half Dome lottery, but were unsuccessful. So, instead, we decided to take a road trip up the California coast to Big Sur. We did some camping there last year and had a great time, so we went back. It did not disappoint. If you have never been to Big Sur, you should definitely put it on your list. The coastline is so dramatic and gorgeous. Pictures don’t do it justice, but below are a few (P.S. Have I told you how much I love the camera on my new iPhone 6s!?! Well, now you know.)
Another fun weekend has come to a close and another peak is in the bag, Maggie’s South Peak. I was hoping to get two peaks this past week, but weather and school had different plans for me. This still brings me to 11 peaks out of my goal for 15 this year. Only four more to go and I really hope that I can squeeze them in before the mountains are covered with snow. The weather is starting to turn in Lake Tahoe and it feels like we skipped completely over Fall. On my runs last week, the aspens went from a little color to all of the leaves being knocked off in a matter of days. What is up with that? I am sure it had something to do with all the rain we got this last week, but come on Mother Nature. Can’t we enjoy Fall for just a little bit?
Speaking of interesting weather, yesterday was no different. Jenn and I made a pact earlier in the week that we would get a peak yesterday, rain or shine. Well, it was a little bit of both, but still an awesome adventure. We got a little bit of a late start (I guess that’s what happens with late nights, oops), and left the North Shore for Emerald Bay at around 1:30. The trailhead is located at the far end of the Bayview Campground near Emerald Bay, across from Inspiration Point. If you have never been to Inspiration Point, I highly encourage you to stop and check it out. Get inspired!
I checked peak number 10 off of my list this past weekend on my quest to bag 15 peaks by the end of the year, Castle Peak! It was definitely one that I had to work for and am still feeling it four days later, but it was so worth it. If you are looking for a challenging but rewarding hike, this one is for you! Not only is the view amazing, but the peak itself is one of the most unusual peaks that I have been on. It was formed from an old volcano and the turrets on top of the peak are crazy interesting. There are so many places that you can climb around that even on a really busy day, you could still feel like you have part of the peak all to yourself.
Another fun-filled weekend has come and gone and I have a lot to fill you in on. First of all, I got a new iPhone 6s! The thing I am probably most excited about is being able to finally take good pictures. My stupid little 4s just wasn’t cutting it anymore and had to be replaced. The only thing is, my new phone keeps acting up on me and I am starting to get super frustrated. It keeps dropping service and then I have to restart it to get a signal back. Sometimes I won’t notice for a while after it happens and then people think I’m ignoring their texts or calls. So weird. Any Apple people out there know what is going on???
Then Saturday, I got another peak in my bag, Castle Peak! That puts me at number 10 of my #15peaksin2015 goal! I’ll write up a post about that with some pictures in a day or so, but first I have to tell you about peak number 9, Mt. Rose. With a mission to get to 15 peaks this year and some serious catching up to do, I decided to do this on a weekday after work. I knew that it would be tight trying to get it in before it got dark, but we made it happen by running half of it.
I know what you are thinking. ‘Cauliflower crust pizza? That is so overplayed.’ And yes, I agree that there are thousands of variations of this super trendy pizza. But if you haven’t tried it, I have to tell you it is played-up for good reason. While this is still “pizza” it is definitely much healthier than it’s not-so-distant cousin, regular flour-crust pizza. While I wouldn’t recommend making this all of the time because of the cheese, I do think that it is a great way to indulge a little, as long as you can tolerate dairy okay. After all, who doesn’t love pizza? Come on.
I’ve tried numerous recipes for cauliflower crust pizza, and after lots of trial and error, I finally have refined a recipe that is delicious, holds together pretty well, and still makes you feel like you are eating healthy. You can pretty much put whatever you want on the basic crust recipe below, but I have to say that figs and prosciutto are one of my favorite flavor combinations.
Pyramid Peak. It has been on the top of my list for the past few months. I attempted it once several weeks ago, but couldn’t go because of a fire that had closed the road to the trailhead. Well, this past weekend, I officially checked that one off of my list. At the same time, I added one of the most pride-filled moments I have had in a long time.
The weekend started with taking Friday off and heading out backpacking with my big brother. It was the first time that I had been backpacking with him and was totally looking forward to some brother/sister time (especially since we now have something in common after years of being typical siblings that thought the other one was retarded. kids). We began at Lyons Creek Trailhead off of Hwy 50. To get there from South Lake Tahoe, take Hwy 50 for 15.75 miles to Wrights Lake Road. Take a right on Wrights Lake Road and follow it for about 3 miles to the Lyons Creek Trailhead.
After my 14-miler yesterday, I posted a picture of my awesome view to Instagram (IG: mtn.ems) with the caption, “trail therapy.” This morning, one of my friends asked me, “Is everything okay? You mentioned needing therapy on the trail.” LOL. Although I know she had nothing but the best intentions, my reaction was, “Really? Of course I’m okay. I’m excellent! I’m a trail runner.” By saying that the trail, or running in general is my therapy, I don’t mean that in the literal sense that I actually need therapy (…okay, some might disagree), but I meant that the trail is my safe place. The place that I go to get all the crap out that builds up in our daily lives. If you aren’t a runner/hiker/biker, you might not exactly understand what I am talking about, but I would challenge you to give it a try. Go out in the middle of nowhere, all by yourself, and let me know how you feel when you come back. Alive? I think so.
Guess what day it is?! Hump day long run! I don’t intentionally save my long runs for the middle of the week, but when your weekend is consumed with the typical Labor Day festivities, sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get in a long run, hence why I decided to run 14 miles after a full day at the office. Ewwww.
Before I get to that, let’s talk about the weekend! On Saturday morning, I participated in the Butterfly Effect 5K. The nicest girl that I used to go to school with was diagnosed with thyroid cancer a couple of years ago and her and her awesome friends decided to put on a 5K to raise money and awareness for this horrible disease. Their website does a much better job explaining it than I ever could, so go check it out. Overall, I was happy with how the race went. I finished 20th overall, but still managed to get 5th in my age group. Errrrr. I guess the field of 30-39 year old women was stacked. Next year I’ll get on that podium!
I hope you all had an amazing weekend like I did! The summer might be coming to a close and I am back in school, but that’s not going to stop me from having a great time. No way. Team Fun right here. On Saturday, I had my Mindful Leadership class, which I can tell is going to be a great class for me personally and professionally. My professors are top notch, there are some great people in my class, and we get to meditate and do yoga as part of the curriculum. How cool is that?! If you haven’t heard of mindfulness, I suggest you look it up. I’ll give more details throughout the semester, but it in a nutshell, it means being present in the moment in a non-judgmental way. Let go of the past and don’t worry about the future. I think we could all benefit from a little more of that! It is crazy to think about how much stress is wasted each day thinking (or obsessing, like me) about things that you have absolutely no control over. I am definitely going to try and embrace living in each moment a little more.
It’s officially over. School starts this week and I will no longer be able to just pickup and go on weekend adventures. This semester I’ll have classes on Thursdays and Saturdays. Really!? Who creates a Saturday class? It’s a topic that I am really excited about though (Mindful Leadership), so I guess I’ll put up with it. Luckily, it’s not every Saturday, so I’ll still be able to sneak off on a few weekends here and there throughout the Fall to do some exploring.
This past weekend, I had to get one more trip in before it’s back to the books. My friend Jenn and I headed out to Star Lake with the intention of bagging Freel Peak, Jobs Sister, and Jobs the following day. My brother was originally going to come, but ended up coming down with a cold at the last minute. So it was just us two girls off to do some exploring.
The past couple of weeks I have been so stoked to have one of my good friends get into trail running with me. Don’t get me wrong, I love running trails by myself or with my little sidekick of a dog, but being out there with a friend who is learning to love running is so much fun. I am running on trails that I don’t usually run and just having fun with it since a lot of our runs are run/hikes because she is working on building a foundation.
Last week we decided to run to the Mt. Rose waterfall, which is part of the Tahoe Rim Trail. Earlier this year I hiked this section when I bagged Mt. Houghton and Relay Peak, but I had never really run it. I am glad we did and I will definitely be back for more, even if the trail did beat me down.
Holy balls. I have not been able to keep up with my life lately. I have been on the go for the past month straight and don’t see any signs of slowing down soon. The combination of backpacking every weekend, work, dealing with a remodel of my condo in-progress, and starting marathon training, have left me feeling like this summer is going by way too fast. But to be honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way. It has been so much fun! Let me share my most recent fun adventure, backpacking in the Stanislaus National Forest to Bear Lake this past weekend.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to tag along on one of my friend’s annual family backpacking trips. Every year they get together (dad, sisters, cousins) and go to one of many cool spots they have found over the years. How cool is that?! This year, they decided to go to a beautiful mountain lake they had been to a few times before, Bear Lake in the Stanislaus National Forest. From Lake Tahoe, it is about a 4 hour drive, but definitely worth it. You head South on Hwy 395 and turn West at Sonora Pass Road (Hwy 108). From there, you follow the road for 49 miles until you pass through the tiny little town of Strawberry. After Strawberry, continue to follow the road for about 1 mile until you reach the ranger station. Backpacking permits are free, but you will need to check-in and let them know where you plan on camping (hint: you can only stay one night at each lake, wink, wink).
I feel like I have so much to fill you in on! The past 7 days have been non-stop, but all in the best way possible. To start, last Saturday, August 1st, a group of friends, family, and coworkers participated in the Squaw Valley Mountain Run. More on that in a sec. Then right after the race, I left with two of my friends to go backpacking for the weekend. I got back on Monday night, worked three days, and am now headed out for another backpacking adventure in just a few hours. There have been so many great things going on this summer.
I’ll be back in MBA classes starting in a few weeks and I am definitely taking advantage of being outside, exploring, running trails, paddle boarding, and whatever else I can do. I feel like I haven’t had the chance to make any good recipes, but I promise I will get back to it soon. I have some good ideas brewing. In the meantime, below is a recap of what I have been up to the past week.
I think I have a new favorite thing to do. I went backpacking last weekend with two friends and am totally hooked. So hooked, that I have backpacking trips planned for the next two weekends.
The first time I went backpacking was in high school, but I hadn’t done it since. I honestly don’t know why. Being out in Desolation Wilderness this past weekend reminded me how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place and that I need to spend as much time outdoors as possible. The weather has been beautiful this summer in Tahoe and I only have one month left before my life will be re-consumed with MBA work. I am definitely taking advantage of both of those factors.
I had fun shooting some video and taking pics with my GoPro along the way. I am pretty sure that a GoPro is a backpacker’s dream. Well, for anyone who is not a professional photographer. My brother would argue for a different set-up, I’m sure. They are super light, weather proof with the case, and versatile. Check out the video below.
This past weekend we originally wanted to hike in from Hwy 89 to Lake Sylvia so we could summit Pyramid Peak the following day. Unfortunately, a forest fire had other plans for us and closed the road that we needed to get there. With a quick change of plans, and some helpful rangers at the Forest Service office, we decided to go into Desolation Wilderness from Glen Alpine Springs to Lake of the Woods. The rangers gave us two options, the 8.5 mile moderate route past Susie, Heather, and Aloha, or the 5.5 mile black diamond route up the primitive trail.
We decided on the more direct primitive trail, as we were feeling up to the challenge, especially since we could no longer summit Pyramid. I would not suggest the primitive route to the faint of heart. The first few miles of the trail are straight up a mountain. You follow a stream bed most of the way and there are a few slick areas, but it was nice to have some water this time of year. There are also quite a few boulders to clear, so be careful. If you do decide to go this path, the unmarked trailhead is about .1 mile shy of the parking lot at Glen Alpine Springs trailhead. The easiest way I can describe it is to drive all the way up to the parking lot, turn around, and use your odometer for distance. Look on the right side (up the mountain) for the small trail that goes up. This trail is not marked on most maps; however, I did see one that had it dotted. I parked in a small shoulder area across from the trail and was fine for the three days.
After weaving through a forest for a bit, you will find yourself starting to go up. Once you get onto the rocky part of the mountain, look for the piled rocks (or cairns) that serve as trail markers. The trail is easy to lose and we lost it once, but were able to find it again after a few minutes. All-in-all it took us 3 hours to get to the top of the saddle. From there, it was another fairly mellow 2 hours to Lake of the Woods. I am sure that you could do this much faster than we did, but we were taking our time, talking to other hikers, snapping pics, and filtering water from the stream. There wasn’t much left of the stream and I would imagine it will be completely dry by Fall, so don’t rely on a water source on your way up.
We got to Lake of the Woods at around 7:00 pm, with just enough light to get camp set-up and cook dinner. When we got into Lake of the Woods, we followed the lake around to the right and found a great spot on the tip of a little peninsula. There were a few other groups there, but it was pretty spread out that you didn’t feel like you were in a campground.
The next day, we thought we would just try to see if there was a way to summit Pyramid from where we were, but there really wasn’t. At least, not one that was safe. Instead we ventured to Lake Aloha then onto American Lake. We had lunch there and stared up at the mountain that was being blocked by a huge granite ridge and boulders the size of VW beetles. I’m all for an adventure, but there is no need to try and get hurt in the middle of nowhere. I’ll get Pyramid one day from the right side of the mountain!
After a while, we went back to Lake of the Woods, took a dip, and relaxed in the hammocks. It was such a nice afternoon and evening, even if it was a little on the chilly side. I am definitely bringing a down jacket next time.
The next morning, we packed up and decided to take the other route home. Not only would it save our knees from a brutal descent, but we wanted to go past Aloha and some of the other lakes. We headed out on the 8.5 mile hike on the moderate trail toward Glen Alpine Springs. Although it was a longer route than on the way up, it took us an hour less because it is mostly downhill. I am glad we took this path on the way back to make one big 14 mile loop. We got to see most of Aloha, which is one of the most unique lakes I have ever seen. The views of Heather and Susie are also beautiful. After about 4 hours we were back at the car.
I had such a great weekend and times with friends in the middle of nowhere are some of the best memories in life. It is also a great way to rejuvenate the soul and feel ready to tackle anything in life that comes your way. Unfortunately, I can’t be on the trail all the time, but making the time when I can is something that is super fulfilling to me. Not to mention, completely disconnecting and being out of cell range is a good get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. What things do you do to feed your soul?
Almost seven months ago, did you make a New Year’s resolution? Maybe it was to eat healthier, exercise more, drink less, spend time with your family, or whatever else. And like 92% of Americans, have you since long forgotten about that New Year’s resolution? I don’t personally believe in New Year’s resolutions for the sheer fact that most people fail at them. If you do believe in resolutions, more power to you. What I do believe in however, is setting goals each year and using the year to work toward and achieve that goal. Habits aren’t made overnight and I often think that is why resolutions can be destine for failure. If you have one bad day in the second week of January, the whole year is shot. At least that is how I am with my all-or-nothing personality.
Regardless of what you believe in, we are almost seven months into this year (yikes!) and it is a great time to do a self-evaluation and reset goals for the remainder of the year. Even if you didn’t set goals at the beginning of the year, commit right now to making the second half of the year the best you can. Personally, it is a great time for me to self-reflect, celebrate some of my accomplishments, and focus on what I can do better or differently throughout the remainder of the year.
At the beginning of every year, I write my goals down in a day planner. It is something that I use on a daily basis throughout the year, whether it be to document my training, appointments, or schoolwork. It is always in front of me and I look at my goals often. As I was looking at them the other day, I thought, ‘what better way to stay accountable than share them with a bunch of strangers on my blog?’ So here are my top five goals and the progress I have made, or not made, to date:
Goals as of 1/1/2015
- Start running again – I have identified as a “runner” for the better part of my life. However, I have definitely had my fair share of hiatuses where I didn’t run for a year or more. 2014 was one of those hiatuses and I didn’t run. Period. As 2015 was approaching and I was feeling pretty down on myself, I made this my top goal for 2015. Getting my stride back wasn’t easy and some times were downright discouraging. When you go from running marathons to barely being able to get through two miles without walking, you better check your ego at the door. With patience and persistence, I am happy to report that I have definitely conquered this goal. So far this year, I’ve done two 5ks, the Lake Tahoe Relay (10.5 miles), and a half marathon. So what’s next? That brings me to my next goal…
- Run a marathon – The ultimate goal here is really qualifying for Boston, I’m not going to lie. But, being that this is my first year back after a hiatus and I need to work on my foundation, I am not going to kill myself trying to achieve a qualifying time this year. If I do, added bonus. What I am doing however is running a marathon in December that will hopefully set me up to be able to qualify in 2016.
- Spend more time doing things for myself – This is something that I constantly have to work on…but I am getting better! I am learning that it is OK to say “no” to going out with friends all the time. I am learning that it is fun going for a hike, trail run, paddle, or other exploration by yourself. I am learning that sometimes you just need to sit in a hammock in the middle of nowhere and enjoy the solitude. And I am learning it is perfectly acceptable to enjoy your own company or a good book dining at a restaurant solo. Being a strong, independent woman is something I strive for and I am definitely making progress.
- Summit 15 peaks in ’15 – This is the area where I have the most catching-up to do to hit my goal by the end of the year. At the beginning of the year, I thought it sounded cool, but now I am realizing it is harder than I thought to find the time. Right now, I have four: Mt. Tallac, Relay Peak, Mt. Houghton, and Rifle Peak. Each peak takes the better part of a day and if you add backpacking to that, you are taking about at least 2-3 days. Combined with working full-time, MBA course work, races/running schedule, and unpredictable weather (or fires in the case of this past weekend), it is proving to be a challenge, but I am bound and determined to get all 15! This weekend we attempted to summit Pyramid Peak, but I was only able to view it from my hammock by the lake (picture above). I’m putting together a video blog for you on my backpacking trip this weekend and should have it for you in a few days. Stay tuned! In the meantime, tell me all the peaks you know of that don’t take a full day. Go!
- Go to the dentist – I can certainly check this one off the list. For the first time in 8 years, I went back to the dentist this past April. Since then, I have had three fillings, one crown, and one wisdom tooth pulled. The good news is, it wasn’t as bad as I remembered. It feels good being back on track again, but you still won’t ever hear me saying that I love going to the dentist. Who likes the dentist? Really.
All in all, I am super proud of the progress that I have made so far this year. I have really dedicated time and effort into living a healthy, active lifestyle, and it shows! The following is a quote I have held near and dear to my heart along the way.
“Love the life you live, live the life you love.” – Bob Marley
It is so true in so many ways. We all have the option to live exactly how we want. Sometimes it is a real struggle to break old, bad habits or on the flip-side, create new, healthy ones, but those are the things in life that are so worth it! You can either wish you lived your life a certain way, or you can actually do it. It is really that simple.
In the last part of 2015 I plan on continuing to focus on my goals that make me a happier and healthier person. I am living the life I love by running the beautiful trails in Tahoe, taking in the view (and always yelling) from mountaintops, and spending a lot more time relaxing in my hammock in the middle of nowhere!
How are you planning on killing the last 5 months of 2015? Killing time or killing it at life by being the best you can be?