The BLUR that was Spring
Spring in Colorado was especially GREEN this year. But, I hardly experienced it because I was traveling a lot. This is a source of guilt because I wanted to fly less this year (emitting less carbon from plane rides), yet I’ve acquiesced to the fact that my job requires an inordinate amount of travel. All the more reason to do IT right.
I raced in Cinque Terre, Italy. I learned a lot about the corrupt National Park Administration there. I made amazing friends in Christine and Nicola, owners of Cinque Terre Trekking and race founders of SciaccheTrail. They are working hard to keep the trails and heritage of Cinque Terre alive, amid a horrendous mass-tourism situation. I still highly recommend going to run or hike in Cinque Terre, just go in the off-season from November to April or race the SciaccheTrail.
I wrote about the corruption around the lack of trail maintenance for SpiritoTrail, an Italian trail running magazine. Here’s the English version, prior to translation.
From Italy, I went to Ethiopia. Saying “I went to Ethiopia” is like saying someone “I visited the U.S.” Where did you go? Who did you hang out with? What did you do? In short: like the U.S., Ethiopia is vastly diverse, huge, complex and incredible. I’m writing few blogs about it right now and will post them here when they’re published. In the meantime, check out the catalyst for the trip; GIRLS GOTTA RUN. $600/year keeps a girl in school, prevents child marriage, allows her to run and provides a financial independence course for her mom. The organization is lean, runs efficiently and makes real change in empowering women. After seeing it in action, I will vouch for this org all day.
In April, I spent a few glorious weeks in Colorado and Utah, running and developing a trail running advocacy plan. HOW DO WE GET TRAIL RUNNERS ENGAGED IN ENVIRONMENTAL (and democratic) ACTION?! This is one of the topics keeping me up at night. Figuratively, of course. I sleep very soundly these days.
Later in April, Patagonia hosted their Spring Global Sales Meeting. Unlike most other brands, the focus isn’t on making money and selling things. The hype video was about donating money to grassroots environmental organizations . There was a screening of THE DAM TRUTH. Employees from around the world were eager to share with me environmental issues in their local areas and to learn about the U.S.’s woes with our embarrassing EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt, among other topics.
Not to mention, Patagonia product development is off the chain. I ran with designers of trail running clothes for a “chill” three-hour run. Everyone shreds so hard at Patagonia it’s comical. I’m testing new gear constantly and feel challenged to test gear to make it the best in the world for my craft of trail running. I’ve never felt more strongly about saying, “if you *have *to buy something, you’d be a fool to not buy Patagonia.” From the designers, the environmental development people (who make sure products aren’t bad for the world and for the people making them), to sales reps to Yvon himself: everyone is behind the mission. Build the best stuff. Don’t do any unnecessary harm. Help Earth in her current crises.
I came home to CO eventually, I can hardly recall when because I then I visited Ann Arbor, Michigan to see my biggest brother graduate from law school. He’s going to be a public defender in Colorado. Cue criminal justice reform. I’m just a little proud.
In May, Team USA and I raced The Trail World Championships in Valencia, Spain. It was hot, technical, and hilly. The women placed third behind Spain and France. I came in 8th individually; a result I’m not psyched on, but considering I was in 20th place at one point, took a rough fall that banged some ribs (I found out later), and didn’t shit the bed for my Team USA homegirls too badly, I’m proud of the finish I pulled out of nowhere. I was progressing pathetically until the power of TEAM SPIRIT pulled me to the finish in a respectable fashion. Definitely taught me that I should be less of a little bitch when I feel crappy and push myself harder when I feel bad, team or no team. I’m in this sport to push myself (well, that’s one of the reasons), so I better make it burn if I get first or last.
Colorado has begun to dry out now that summer is imminent. I tagged two 14ers before heading to the East Coast for a Patagonia documentary tour about the takayna/Tarkine Forest in Tasmania. Read about it here and see if I’m headed your way. I’m going to be in NYC, DC, New Haven, St. Paul, Boulder, SLC, and Reno. I’m grateful to share this story and to be in a constant state of forest appreciation. What forest has touched you? How would you feel if it were being cut down? When’s the last time you’ve had some quality time in a forest, or with Mother Gia in general? Maybe pay her a visit!