“Firsts” that occurred this fall.
– First time that I felt like I don’t have anything to prove athletically. Winning CCC settled my competitive need-to-prove myself. At least for a few months… I took rest seriously after CCC and quelled some knee problems that had arisen during the race. REST IS GOOD. REST IS NECESSARY.

PC: Mike Thurk
– First time that I trusted my coach as much as I trusted my own body. I’m so grateful for [David Roche’s](https://swaprunning.com/) patience in coaching me, which has now for almost a whole year. I know that I’m not the most coachable runner, but he’s adjusted my needs and tendencies to his own coaching.

Here’s a brief recap of my training from CCC (September 1st) to TNF50 (this Saturday November 18th) Note: TNF50 is short for The North Face 50-miler Championships in San Francisco. Preview here.

I took almost three weeks off after CCC. As mentioned, rest and also acupuncture worked wonders on my mountain-ravaged body. Then, like a whale coming up for air, resuming running again felt necessary, natural and fun. David has given me succinct, killer workouts and has let me fill in the rest. We’ve learned to work well off of this loose direction. My weekly workouts are spotlights in my mind, but I don’t worry about them until the morning of said workout, I read my Google Doc (“Adventure Log,” as David titles it) and then do the effort. The other days, I listen to my soul (or my training partners). I feel fit, albeit exhausted from so much travel. That leads me to another first:

– First time in my life that I realized I don’t want to travel non-stop. Naturally, I had this epiphany while I was traveling non-stop. I have never yearned for a stable lifestyle before; it’s always been the opposite: What next? What new place? Where can I travel? Now, I firmly believe that I will be a better person if I travel with more intention, which will mean traveling less frequently and working harder to make change at home in Colorado.
– First time I used my car as a home base for a month. I spent most of October in Arizona:

– Flagstaff for Rob Krar’s Ultra Camp, which I highly recommend to anybody who likes to run on trails, eat amazing food, and befriend interesting, delightful people. One such person was Houda, the race director of TransRockies, which I’m psyched to run in 2018!

Rob Krar being Rob Krar (Sedona, AZ).
– Sedona for The North Face Athlete Summit, which was a week of raucous activity, desert reflection and contagious inspiration. The North Face Athlete Team could be described as people who live life to the absolute tippy, tippy-top fullest of the most overflowing glass of life’s liquids.
TNF ultrarunner (ultra-shredder) Rory Bosio.
TNF team captain Conrad Anker hiking Mt. Wilson in Sedona.

– Sonoran National Monument, because why not sleep in the desert in the middle of nowhere en route to picking up my brother, Eric, who was jumping out of airplanes on the Mexico border.

When’s the last time you’ve visited a new national monument? It’s guaranteed to be fun!
–[Chiricahua National Monument](https://www.nps.gov/chir/index.htm) for a 30-km race with Eric. Neither of us got hurt! The voodoo rocks are incredible. [Bucket-list race](http://www.rocamotion.com/inaugural-boulder-dash-13k30k/).
After winning the 30k in southeast Arizona.
Green beanie Eric after a casual 30-km race. ALSO HAPPY VETERANS DAY!
Thankfully, Arizona’s climate is warm and dry. Thankfully, Rob Krar and his wife, Christina, and my wonderful friend Wilson are all extremely welcoming. So no, I didn’t sleep in my car every single night, but close. I can’t wait have my own bed now. – First time I sent a fruit basket and realized that you can’t take the best people in your life for granted. And a fruit basket is not, in fact, enough to prove that. – First environmental conferences I’ve been to since being out of college (two in one week, nonetheless):
  1. Protect Our Winters is an organization that pushes climate change mitigation policy and pushes electing lawmakers who vote to protect our climate. I’m really amped on POW’s elbow grease and ability to enact needed change in this country.

We met in Salt Lake City for crash courses on climate change science, American voting patterns, perceptions of climate change, and to talk shop with some of the hardest hitting snow-sports athletes in the world. I was one of two trail runners there-Dakota Jones being the other-and was so inspired by the global camaraderie to help America become a climate change mitigator and not a climate change contributor.

Shoutout to two of my former professors, Michael Lemonick and Heidi Cullen, who taught one of my favorite courses at Princeton, Communicating Climate Change. They taught me how to elucidate science in a digestible, relatable way and their work was rampant at POW’s conference. Connecting people to science through emotion and storytelling is the best way to make change. Pro snowboarders, like POW founder Jeremy Jones, don’t need to be climate scientists to enact change. Sharing stories of glacier retreat and low snowfall is more relatable than the Keeling Curve will ever be. (Although, the Keeling Curve is still the foundation for everything).

There is no dispute about the  science behind climate change; the key is convincing Americans that we should do something about it. We are winning this battle, but need to convince more of the “cautious” and “concerned” demographics.
[2) Winter Wildlands Alliance](https://winterwildlands.org/) is an organization that protects human-powered winter recreation. It’s been working for the past decade to set precedence in National Forests, and other public lands, to protect land from motorized recreation, development, and slews of other nefarious things. We convened in Tahoe for three days of forest planning workshops, advocacy panels, and roundtable discussions on how to protect human-powered recreation and the lands we love.
Athletes and activism panel with Caroline, Thomas Woodson, Forrest and Brody.
I was overwhelmed with motivation *to do more *at the end of this week. I took copious notes about what activist athletes like Jeremy Jones, [Caroline Gleich](http://www.carolinegleich.com/), [Forrest Shearer](http://www.patagonia.com/ambassadors/snowboarding/forrest-shearer.html), and [Brody Leven](http://www.brodyleven.com/) have been doing for years. I’m just a seedling in this forest of activism!

YOU can join both organizations, donate to them, and/or follow their progress via their websites. WWA is worth joining because if you get outside on public lands, it is working to protect those lands whether you realize it or not. POW is worth joining if you care about Earth’s future.

– First time I’m realizing that I’ll make the most impact if I specialize my focus, and I aim to focus on climate change mitigation policy. Although public land protection is absolutely imperative, halting climate change is the most important thing humans must do. Nothing really matters unless we don’t halt climate change. This means electing public officials who have the power to make legislation that’ll guarantee change.
– First time in my life I’ve been OUTRAGEOUSLY fired up to get involved politically. I realize the next three years are everything when it comes to electing legislators (governors, senators, city council members, representatives, a president) who care about our planet’s future. We have to hustle. Three years is not, in fact, an ultramarathon, but a sprint. We can start with making sure everyone in our lives is registered to vote. Easy first step! Let’s get to it!
Onwards to TNF50! I’ll be racing with our little blue planet in mind.

Life firsts, Fall 2017