Friday, March 30, 2012

What Makes People Tick?

In June, I will be volunteering at the Spartan Death Race in Pittsfield, VT. I have no idea what I will be doing to help but I am excited to be there to feed my curiosity and to try to shed some light on two things: Why the hell does someone do this and how do they get through it? It is an intense, physical, and VERY MENTAL challenge. Read about it and/or watch the video via the link above. Actually, I do understand why someone would participate in this...it's a personal challenge, testing your limits, and an experience to grow and learn from. I have always been fascinated by how one pushes through, whether it is a race like this, iron man races, grueling tasks, even war. I have a strong affinity for all things World War II because of this question. How did those soldiers keep moving on, living and see each other dying day after day. And how did the prisoners of war keep faith, as well as those who were held in the concentration camps?

I have read many books about intense trials and adventures. A favorite, Touching the Void, by Joe Simpson. Joe falls 150 feet into a icy crevasse (after making a first ascent of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes), breaks his leg, and somehow has the will to pull himself out and crawl back 5 miles (which took three days) to his base camp, with no food, no water, only to reach camp in a couple hours time before everyone left. HOLY CRAP. I have watched and read that book several times and still marvel at what it took to keep going.



Another favorite is the book Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. I almost could not read this book yet I could not put it down. United States soldier, Louis Zamperini's  B-26 plane was shot down over the open ocean and for 47 days he floated there with no food except for whatever fish and birds he could catch and what little rain water he could collect. When he found land, he was captured by the Japanese where he was tortured and starved for months. HOW DID HE KEEP GOING? How far did he reach inside himself to survive? Why didn't he give up?

The same thing can apply to those who suffer a loss. My daughter died in childbirth in 2005...how the heck did I move on? I could have easily given up and said, "fuck it, this world sucks and I was handed something really shitty". But, instead, I picked myself up and moved on. I told myself, maybe I could learn from this experience instead of suffer and dwell on it. Instead, I memorialized her and focused on getting myself well and was fortunate to meet other mothers and fathers who had experience the same loss. I gained strength from that experience, and maybe this is what others feel when they are in a tough situation. Perhaps they spark the survival instinct to get through the day to day, but in the end, it is a learning experience and a chance for someone to grow. With every experience, bad or good, we learn.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dreaming of 4,000 footers...

These freakish, warm days have me dreaming of peak bagging, a hobby I started in 1995. I pulled out my AMC White Mountain Guide last night and looked at the list of 4,000 footers: what I have climbed and those that I have left to climb. Out of 48 peaks, I have done 37. I have 11 peaks left! The final 11 are all pretty much single hikes. There are no longer any peaks in which I can get 2-3 at a time while backpacking (except for the Presi ones). So, these final peaks will take a bit to finish. Back in the day (aka "before Aida"), Seth and I would so often throw our backpacks together and head out for the weekend. We miss that freedom to get out in the woods together. But, perhaps there will be a day when Aida will throw a pack on and join us out there.

Final peaks to get:
1. Adams
2. Jefferson
3. Monroe
4. Carrigan
5. Wildcat
6. Zealand
7. Wildcat D
8. Moriah
9. Passaconaway
10. Owls Head
11. Isolation

Goal after the NH 4,000 footers? The New England 4,000 footers! I will only have 6 left in Maine to get after finishing the NH 48 to complete the New England's 67 (there are only 5 in Vermont and I finished those).

Goals keep the heart and soul happy! The woods always keep my heart and soul happy...it is place to grieve, cry, laugh, contemplate, and reconnect with those you love. Can't wait for the next 3 seasons of 2012.

Hiking season is just around the corner! Join me if you would like!

10 billion stairs going up Mt. Flume



Sunday, March 18, 2012

What is a Scrubnut?


Hey! Welcome to my blog!

I guess I have stuff to say because I am not much of a writer but I feel compelled to write it all down. I should probably answer the burning question; What is a Scrubnut? In my mind, a scrubnut is someone who lives life simply and incorporates the outdoors into their lives daily. If I don't venture into the woods or get out for a run once a day, it ain't pretty. It is vital to my existence. It is my time to step away from the busy day of work and parenting and take a breather. Seth and I have always been like this and made a pact when Aida was born to make sure we give each other time to get outside everyday. We have not broken that pact yet.

Here are some other examples of my own personal scrubnuttiness:
  1. My hair is going gray! No hair color for me. It is graying exponentially, too. Wow.
  2. I am not much of a consumer. Never have been. Examples: My wardrobe is limited to, like, 6 things. I own one pair of Dansko shoes and one pair of Choco sandals, both of which get me through all 4 seasons; I have used the same Timbuktu messenger bag for 10 years (this is my "purse").
  3. Wear make-up? Not so much.
  4. I watch tv shows on my laptop via Netflix, which usually means I am year behind whatever tv show is happening.
  5. Just a heads up: there will be mistakes in this blog and the grammar may suck, but hey, this is my blog and I am not a perfectionist. So, put on a good filter and try to ignore that stuff. The posts more often than not will be a free writing piece. Non-perfectionist= scrubnut.
  6. I married a scrubnut.
  7. I have a scrubnut kid (who likes princess clothes and painted nails).
  8. The one non-scrubnutty thing I do?! I get a $65 haircut.  :)
So, now that you have a clear definition of what a scrubnut is, my posts will be about my new love of trail running, hiking mountains (solo and with my husband), and being a mom to my sweet 4 year old, Aida Mae.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Seth, Aida and I
Photo by: Annie Crawford