The green fields had disappeared and given way to browns and oranges, dust and rock. There was space, but also dimension. Jagged patterns zigzagged up cliffsides. Meandering washes ran in opposition to the horizontal power lines marching clear across the land; man trying to make order among chaotic wildness.
I don’t know how many days and nights I’ve spent hiking, camping, running, and climbing since moving to Utah, but these public lands have changed me.
Covered in pinyon pine and juniper trees, speckled with prickly pear cacti and broad-leafed yucca, the vast stillness urged me to explore further.
“It’s too quiet out here, and I’m sleeping without the rainfly. The thin mesh netting seems a flimsy barrier to anything outside. But I feel a sense of independence...
I never considered myself strong or athletic while growing up. I wasn’t even really active until after college, when I started running along Lake Michigan a couple times a week. So if you ask me how that girl turned into the woman finding her way up rock faces with a bunch of carabiners and slings attached to her harness, I’d have to tell you I’m not really sure.
Get outside, use those lungs, let your eyes wander. Be curious. Don't check your phone. I repeat: stay away from your phone. Seriously.
I had begun training in August, and as the race approached, I found myself getting anxious. No matter that I’d completed my long training runs without any issues, or that I’d faithfully adhered to a training plan I’ve used before. I kept thinking about the the “what ifs”.
After stopping for gas at a rest stop, a curious urge made me check the deep pocket behind my passenger seat. By something I can only call fate, the book was there, every dog-eared, highlighted, and notated page. I'd loaned it to my boyfriend a year earlier and must have never gotten around to re-shelving it. The fact that it happened to be in my car as I was moving all of my belongings across the country felt like a small miracle.