Fancy-Free... well that is just a way of life, being, a frame of mind. It is the idea that we are each responsible for fulfilling our dreams and desires. The knowledge that we can each do whatever we want, and recognizing the courage it takes to go after it- whatever It may be-

About Me

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A writer, a yoga enthusiast, a trail runner and real food junkie. I am constantly exploring new experiences, new challenges and new concepts.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Destination Race

We have all heard of destination weddings. It is way to get to explore a new place with friends, meet some new people, experience something new and call it a vacation. Well, destination races is my version of this. A way to incorporate so much of what I love into one outing. My love of new places. My love of connecting with friends, playing outdoors, and exploring new terrain, be that deserts, woods, or in this case a mountain. I just got back from Black Mountain, North Carolina where I ran the Black Mountain Marathon.  And upon returning home I could not help but thinking... why have I not done this before?

Now to be honest, this was hands down the hardest run of my life. Perhaps, it was because I haven't  been training in the mountains. No matter what the climb is, in this case 2,800’, nothing in my current home state of Ohio compares. Maybe is was because I needed to train more, surely a possibility, but my recovery was quick and despite some tight calf muscles I have been feeling pretty awesome since a couple of hours after the race. My best guess was the terrain, it was on trail but the majority of the trail was rocky, and wet, so very precise steps were always necessary. There were only a few moments on the descent that I felt like I could really open up and allow gravity and my core to propel me down the mountain. My feet were definitely sore. Maybe the fact that it was so hard is exactly why I enjoyed it so much. I pushed myself, my body, my mind and I proved to myself that I could do it. Again. 

 I knew going in that my main goal was fast recovery. I was not only heading down to explore a new mountain and test my current endurance, but I was meeting up with an old friend and meeting a new one. They are both running the race, both in training mode for the Grand-2-Grand Ultra and both bad-ass. So given that this was also a reconnection outing, I wanted to be up for anything afterwards on race day, rather than fighting a dehydration headache and barely able to get off the floor. So, on that front I was hugely successful. Later that day, after much food and yogaing around the fantastic cabin we rented, I was feeling good. Skipping down the street good. Yes, that happened. 

Now Black Mountain is a great little town. I am a sucker for mountain towns and know in the future I will spend significant chunks of time in many more.  There were many places in Black Mountain, which is right outside of Asheville, that offer discounts to all the runners.  The Black Mountain Ale House whose owner helped organize the race 16 years ago, and who ran the 40 mile Challenge that day and was working - even offers runners their first drink on the house. Then there were the residents, who would be out on their porch offering the encouraging word and the occasional soundtrack. 
Plus, the people at the aid stations deserve an award. I mean, I felt compelled to put on a show as I approached each one with the amount of enthusiasm and support they were belting out. A huge Thank You, to anyone who volunteered. Some of them camping in frigid conditions the night before up on the mountain to make sure we would be taken care of. I mean... seriously awesome people. 

When it comes to time away... When it comes to how we each like to travel... My vote is for Destination Adventure. You not only get to check out for a few days, but you also are able to experience something truly unique about that specific locale. Keep it in mind next time you are heading anywhere, look into what events they going on that intrigue you. Yes, for me it most likely lies in some form of endurance test. Something I am glad that afterwards, as I look back I am able to love those moments when I thought... “do I really care if I make it to the finish line” or “why did I think this was a good idea, again?” Because at the end of the day, I did make it, and I know it was a good idea. How you may be wondering?... because I can not wait to do it again. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What is that I hear... Frogs?

On the drive home tonight... I was led to think about the extraordinary. On the drive home I was waiting for it to rain frogs. At every stoplight. I was almost surprised when it didn't.

Yes, you heard me right. I was waiting for it to rain frogs. You know, like in that movie Magnolia. Here is a clip if you've never seen it.

Why would someone be driving home and anticipating this sort of encounter you MAY be asking yourself? I don't blame you. Really. I don't. But come on. Haven't you ever felt like some of your routines have become sort of... otherworldly?

There are those moments when you know there is something... there. Something behind those thoughts that keep arising. Those interest that don't settle. That feeling that you are approaching a cliff and the feeling in your core is saying to go for it...

You could choose to play it "safe" and turn around to what you know.

Or you could choose to just jump. Where you spend everyday doing those things that make you feel like THAT day was worth it. You are exhausted by it. In a good way. You gave it your all. And you got it all back.

I always encourage that. Always. And I try to live by it. To live each day so that I can go to bed exhausted. Exhausted because I have chosen to do the things that I love.

And I have enjoyed those I love. (I'll admit.. this is an excuse to blatantly show off my incredibly cute nieces and nephews)

Lucas and Isaiah!

Riley, Reece & Jaxson

You know the feeling. I hope. The feeling that the brink is near. You may be standing on the edge. Maybe all you need is a push. Or maybe, all you need... is for it to rain frogs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Why I Run

Most people aren't into it... Let's be honest. On a daily basis almost everyone I interact with and the subject of running comes up (which to be frank, happens a lot) shake their head at me, a slight laugh as they all agree that I am crazy, they bond over their detest for running and joy of sitting as their preferred way to relax.

Amazing trail around Mt. Rainier. 

Not all,  some are intrigued by the fact that I want to run mile after mile, gaining distance year after year.  They usually at some time in the past ran themselves... it takes them back and they share their stories and I see that familiar smile and I LOVE talking to them.

But every once in awhile I get to talk to someone else who runs. They may run a few miles, they may be open to running farther. For me... lately... and for awhile, when I chat, I focus on footwear,  zero drop minimalistic footwear. I am into it, I am excited it, about all the new development and what I have deemed the race to the lightest. Then there is sharing trails, distances, the why's, the races and the partner stories. In the end, it is usually the best conversation of the day. I am left excited for my next run.

Cooling down during a run on the South Yuba Trail.

I have been a runner for almost 20 years. It is one of the first things I remember developing a preference for. I decided I wanted to run cross country in Jr. High so the year before I had my father design me a loop around the property.  He would encourage my running style and help me push myself. I didn't have the knowledge of nutrition at the time so side cramps were common and I learned to relax and breathe, to move through them.  At around 11 years old.

I don't really understand why I was drawn to it. As I grew up I would always joke that my running had little to do with physical health and more to do with mental health. I ran to "clear" my head. To keep me sane. Again as a teen ager I had not yet began to understand the mind-body connection. I really never focused on the part of health class where they tell you that physical activity releases endorphins. I still had not even heard of the concept of movement meditation. I just knew that I enjoyed it. That I ran because it served as an outlet for built up energy. That at the end of a run, I would FEEL better, calmer, more relaxed and happier.

Look at me. Being all happy and relaxed. 

During this time I wasn't necessarily pushing myself. Most of my runs were between 2-5 miles. And I have never stuck to a schedule. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to have met some great runners. My three best gal pals are runners. I have experienced "breakthrough" running with these women. By "breakthrough" runs, I mean I set out for a run... of my normal length with them and something about their pace and the energy far exceeded my expectations. Through those, I have raised the bar on my expectations of what I can do.  And it continues to grow.

What am I aiming for Now...

I am trying to stick to a schedule, going against my nature, but just trying to get out for decent distance 4-5 days a week with one long run on the weekend. I impulse bought a marathon a few months ago and that date is fast approaching, thank you Rebecca!  The Black Mountain Marathon is going to be challenging and.... oh so much fun! ...I am glad I did it. It has helped me seek out other races to help train. The first "training" race was this past Saturday morning. The nice folks over at offer some great mid-distance races over the winter months. My next is coming up on 2/9 over at Ceaser's Creek, which is my go-to trail of choice.

What's after that..? Well I am in the mind frame of "let's keep the ball rolling". I am interested to see how far I can go. I never regret going for a run. So building off the momentum of the marathon, I am looking into my first 50k. Luckily for me, there are a few great options for a spring 50k here in Ohio. Why? Well, why not? Running  has never been anything besides beneficial in my life. Very few things you can say that about. So I am going to continue. This is one of "my things" and we all have our own. It is why I run.

Why I Run.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

What's in your Toolbox?

Expanding a past post, looking for ways to cultivate gratitude in seemingly undesirable circumstances by embracing the power of contrast. Diving further, deeper into understanding how to use this as a tool to figuring out what it is you want to manifest into your life by acknowledging, even appreciating, the discovery of what it is you do not want. I do believe we each have within us the power to change our situation, to create our most desired life.

That statement, is just... well it happens to be a huge statement. But it boils down to avoiding negative emotions. When something truly feels good, we know it. We know when we are following a passion, we know when we are serving ourselves and others. And on the flip side, we know when something feels simply bad, and it takes everything you have to just... get it done.  

That statement also brings up so many other notions; personal responsibility, learning to listen to our own intuition, focusing on what we do want - however large or small - to bring into our lives.  I was reminded of this today, as I drank my coffee and stumbled onto a post of someone I just became familiar with (more on that later) and once again I found the concept true and hearing it again useful. And it really got me thinking. 

What in our daily lives are we each doing to live our best life? Our happiest most fulfilled life? I started to take a look at my habits, my routines. I have recently moved and found that in my own space, I have become incredibly more disciplined. I currently have a lot on my plate, enough that is spills over (sometimes creating a mess) and their doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. So I have to pick favorites by prioritizing.

One of my favorite tools has become prioritizing. So useful and something any one that is busy is incredibly familiar with. So as I tick off my list of things that make me feel healthy, happy and whole, I realize that I can use each of these things to go to bed slightly more satisfied.  As we get to know ourselves, we are able to know how things affect us, which ideas and concepts we are drawn to, the things we enjoy and the places we want to go. All of this translates into useful tools we can call upon when we want to create something within us. 

What's in your toolbox?


Here is the article by Selena Soo who changed her life by her desire to avoid negative emotions, and now uses her strengths to help others change theirs.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Change of State

Almost two years ago, I found myself in a new spot. Even though I had become fairly adept at navigation… I was lost. I woke up one day, found myself in a heap of self-doubt, self-isolation and debt. I was on my way back to Ohio, to visit family for my nieces first birthday. I was already in a place where I knew I needed to slow down. I had been on the road continuously for a year and half and had been running at an ever-increasing rate for the last 6 months. Crossing the country from the Midwest to the west coast about 6 times during that time. My thoughts were that I would spend a week back in Ohio, and drive across country again, this time heading to Moab and stay put there for awhile. I had passed through that area a few times and thought it seemed as good a place as any for me to try on for a while. Unfortunately, or rather, fortunately, life had other plans.  What I thought was going to be another short visit, turned very quickly into something else.

To back up a moment, I woke up and realized I needed to slow down. To change my pace of searching to one of settled. I needed to reconnect to what I wanted and to be completely honest, to pay off that heap of debt that I had stumbled into. I had no idea what life back in Ohio would look like. I hadn’t lived here for more than 6 months at a time since my 3rd year at Ohio State. To put that in other terms, it had been about 10 years since I lived anywhere without having an exit strategy. I was used to going, to planning, I was used to movement. So feeling a little lost and disconnected maybe shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it was.  Because it meant that I had to look at things I thought I had known about myself. I had to look at the why’s of my decisions of that past couple of years and face some harsh realities. Like... Perhaps I have a tendency to grasp onto one idea and run with it, past the point of it working. I took to the road and ran it out.

So as I settled into my new life of being still. Words like structure became used in my language in a non-negative format. I began to realize that sometimes it can be a useful tool for giving yourself boundaries when you feel ungrounded. Now don’t get me wrong. I have never been a huge fan of words like restrictions or boundaries.  In the sense that I never want to feel as if I am living the type of life I do not want to live, that I am compromising myself. But recognizing the benefits of things, placing them in your toolbox to pull out whenever something needs a little adjusting is just another way to create more freedom in your life. Once you become aware of the usefulness of something, you now have the ability to use it whenever you see fit. To reconnect to those goals that ultimately are leading you to the life you want to live.

For me, that life involves being debt free. Being connected to my beautiful family. And ultimately to be completely location independent doing things I love.

So would my right now life be a surprise to the me of two and half years ago. You bet. But sometimes you may just need a change of state…

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

For The 10,000th Time

I know we have heard it. I have heard. Most likely you all have heard it too. That listening to what serves you most will not lead you astray.

Let me start here, with where this came from. With my writing, I have hesitated. I have gone through periods of self-doubt. That doubt would stem from wondering if what I was saying was original. It is a hard question to ask.  Because honestly, few (if any) creations are original, so I asked myself… Was I wanting to say anything that hasn’t been said before? The answer is almost unanimously no. Very few concepts, ideas, even if I have thought them for some time, have not been somehow influenced by someone I have met or something I read, so I would keep coming back to… are these thoughts necessary to share. Or have they already been put out there.

Honestly, Not likely. Necessary they are not. But I just spent the weekend at a workshop. Not a writers workshop, but a yoga workshop. And what happened during that first hour of the entire weekend was that I heard something inspiring. Was it a new concept, no. Even new to me, no. Did it still have an impact, Yes! So I started to think about this. For the entire weekend… so I wrote to a friend about the need for a constant reminder…

The mental block. How many times do you have to hear the same thing, intellectually believe the same thing, before you live it? Some lessons are not satisfied being learned once.  And then…  you have to acknowledge The Out. The notion that following your passion can mean you have to refocus everyday, because there will always be easy things… easy things that present themselves in such tempting ways. Which is ultimately ways to justify doing something else. The Out… there are so many.

…The night I return home, I stop by my sister and brother-in-laws’. They had made this delicious GF pizza and their children were being crazy lovey, so I stay. We are sitting there at dinner and Emily starts to talk about something she is reading, about how they are focusing on the idea of no longer compromising the life you want to have. That this book, this concept of leading your ideal life was really resonating. Her husband, Alan, and I just look at each other. I have to say it… “You mean the same thing we have been saying for years”

And it is true. You will hear things that sit really well with you. But if you hear them just once… there is a good chance the impact will fade. Even if intellectually you know them, the trouble lies with experientially knowing… living these ideas. And so I am going to continue to write, my take and my words. Because sometimes you need a different perspective. And sometimes… it takes 10,000 times. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bursting the Comfort Bubble...

Yes I know. It is all too easy to settle into a nice routine. You get comfortable and live to your means.  You are fine, things are proceeding smoothly, but it isn’t quite where you thought you would be. And it isn’t quite what you thought you would do.

Yes I know that thought when you actually get inspired by someone or  something, by yourself and your own dreams, that you think YES! I can. And there is a smile on your face and excitement in your blood. That inspiration came from something new. Something new that you allowed to happen.

…And then a week goes by. You kind of - sort of - stay at your job, you rationalize this dollar amount… this date… this criteria and then…then you will try this something new that will make you happy. 

…And then a month goes by. And all you can kind of – sort of – remember about that essence of inspiration is that it felt good.  Something about it felt light and fun, and maybe a little scary. You start to think less about it, taming your mind into being “realistic”… The more time that goes by, the easier it is to forget that rush, that excitement, that truth that we can do whatever we want... and we slip back - nice and easy - into our comfort zones.

Can you remember it now, in this moment, the last time you felt that flash of life zip through you and your excitement beaming through you and in that moment you felt fully yourself. And fully alive.  
Perhaps you can remember. Perhaps you followed and things went ideally. Perhaps they didn’t.

Honestly… either way… my response is, who cares. Now, lets do it again. And again. Why not? We are evolving beings and we need to step outside of are comfort zone on a continual basis. We need to promote self growth above stagnation. To be proactively alive rather than allowing our lives happen to us.

It is as easy as you want it to be. Or it can be drastic. Seriously, every time I try something new. Read a book with a new concept. Or fly a plane, increase my running mileage, attend a new workshop, or let a friend convince me it is best to get out of bed at 5 am to hike up a mountain... For the sole purpose that it REALLY is fun to run down it! I am always left better, more open and with a better understanding of what I am capable of!
Zorbing! - maybe stepping out of your bubble will lead you into another one. If you find yourself on the North Island of New Zealand please try this!!
As a friend states during most of our conversations... "Make It Happen".   As you approach that comfortable edge, you can feel it. When we burst that comfort bubble we are open to new perspectives. And I will be honest. It is fun.