Spring Flings or Forever Loves?

It’s officially SPRING! The sun has been shining the last few days in Squamish, and it’s inspired me to put together a list of my current favourites.  I’ve got new shoes, a new jacket, a new necklace, and some other great new things that I’m loving this spring.

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Hint – 2 of my faves are featured in this photo…

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Solid. I feel solid.

Well, CRAP.  This was supposed to post more than a week ago, but for some reason, it’s still sitting here.  Ah, technology, you jerk.  Anyways, nothing more has changed, I had ANOTHER solid weekend, this past weekend, with the girls.  Did 4 days of running, with 13 ladies, 4 dogs, and covered some 80kms.  BAM!!

So, let’s go back to the original post from last week…

It’s amazing what a few good training days does to a person.  I’ve had back to back SOLID training weekends the last 2 weekends, and I’m riding high.

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Girl Power

Since we still have so many friends, family, and events that happen in Vancouver, we’re down in the city a lot, and seemingly every weekend.  Which is totally fine, but when Jay has to go into the city for work more often, it gets hard.  It gets to be not fun, and not something either of us feel up to.  He’s been working lots in the city, and it’s been soul sucking on his energy and drive.  So, we decided that we just had to spend the weekend at home, and since it was a long weekend, it meant 3 days in a row of not driving.

I had plans to run on both Saturday and Sunday with new ladies I’ve connected with in Squamish, and I decided I might as well post it in The Ladies of the Trails and see if we could round up a posse.  Well, let me tell you, we rounded up amazing posses for both days, 6 of us on Saturday, and 7 on Sunday!  And the bonus is that on Friday and Monday, I got out on 2 more trail dates with 2 more rad women.

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Me, fake? Yeah, right.

To be honest, I wrote a post a few months back, when I was fuming angry and offended beyond belief.  I was lived and almost shaking with negativity.  That post was written on my iPhone while bumping along a dirt road in Western Kenya, that was riddled with pot holes, mud, and definitely was not a smooth sailing drive.  One of my favourite people in the world snoozed beside me as we bumped along, for some reason, that comforted me, and led me to typing out a very long-winded and emotional post.  I found it therapeutic and a huge release to write it all down, although I knew that I couldn’t actually post everything I wanted to say, and that in order to post anything, I would have to come back to it when I was calmed down and looking at it with a clearer mind.

Basically, this blog is public, and as much as I want to convince myself that it’s ok to stoop to that level and bash others, it just isn’t.  It isn’t who I am as a person, and it certainly isn’t who I want to be in the future.  Part of the reason I haven’t posted and blogged as much in the past few years is because I went from being just a runner in a big group of runners, to a race director and group organizer.  I have to censor some of the things I’d like to say for the benefit of my public persona, and the different companies and groups that I represent, and am the front line for.

That doesn’t mean that I’m not who I am anymore, it just means that I’m more cautious and careful as to what I put out there for the world, and in particular runners in my community, and racers at my races may read.  The Vancouver running and especially the trail running community is an amazing community, but as in any community or group, there’s unspoken issues, dislikes, and impressions that may or may not be truthful, and as someone who’s both out there/involved in the community, and someone who’s outspoken, blunt, speaks their mind (sometimes without thinking first), and isn’t great at sugar coating, or being fake, well, you can imagine I get my fair share, if not more than, misconceptions about who I am.

Anyways, this post is a combination of the post I wrote while in Kenya, edited with a few months of perspective and the post I was encouraged to write after seeing one of my favourite doggie instagrammers @Nalu.co posted about herself and her story, her background, and really just responded to those who “call her out” on instagram and question all of her life choices and decisions through a computer screen without actually knowing anything about her and her life.

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The Plague(s). Yes, Plural.

I get so excited to write, I sit down to make it happen, and then a text pops up on my screen, or an email comes in, and of course, me being me, I can’t ignore it, and before I know it, I’m down the rabbit hole of work.  It actually JUST happened again.  Majority of the work I do is at this computer, and if I try to go on here for purely social reasons, I get distracted and it just never ever ends up working out for me.

And then, over the holidays, I got sick not once, but twice.  And the second time, well, I’m still not 100%.

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#FollowTheLiters, Kenya 2015, The Trip of a Lifetime

Suddenly, I find myself in Western Kenya, in the Kakamega rainforest, with a bright blue team t-shirt, a Kenyan cell phone, a Lifestraw Go Bottle that I’m instructed to use at all times, and surrounded not only by my team members from all over the World (yes, seriously there was people from Canada, USA, Switzerland, India, China, Malaysia just to name a few places…) not to mention all of the local Kenyan staff and drivers.  I’m instructed to smile lots, ALWAYS shake everyone’s hands (no matter if they are covered in dirt), to sing and dance whenever possible, and to not be taken back if there are children that seemed to be frightened by me, as I might be the first white person they’ve ever had the opportunity to see…or touch.  Oh and by the way, we’ll be driving all over the place, there’s usually a huge rainstorm in the afternoon, but sometimes it comes earlier, it’s likely we will at some point get stuck in the mud, the roads aren’t always roads, the drivers drive really fast, and we’ll be visiting 4 schools a day, approx 1.5-2 hours at each school, plus driving to each school.  Sometimes you’ll have a full car, 5 people in 5 seats, sometimes you’ll end up with more in your car.  It happens.  When something goes wrong, or weird, well, you just have to go with the flow, and remember, you’re in Africa.  You may not get lunch, or it might just be chapata (like a homemade naan bread) at a road side stand.  Some schools you’ll be busting your butt to get the Lifestraw Community filters put together and working, other schools, you’ll be busting your butt to entertain 100-1000 kids that speak very very little English.  Guaranteed, when you say, I’m Solana, from CANADA, you’re going to get a ton of laughs and giggles.  Also guaranteed, if you reach your hand out to the kids, you will be swarmed with everyone wanting a turn to touch your white skin.  If you dare, let down your hair, and let them touch it, you’re guaranteed to be mauled (in a good way).

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Photo by Jess Daddio.

Whatever happens, you’re going to come out of each and every day, exhausted, happy, grateful for the experience, and thankful for all of the things we take for granted in Canada.

Let me tell you about my whirlwind experience in Kenya this November…

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Day 1 Beast Streak = Success!

I’ll be honest, this morning was not pretty.  I woke up with a headache the size of New York, and I felt really super crummy.  The Beast Streak was almost not even started.  It was raining outside, my ankle/foot has been iffy, my head hurt, my day was a bit turned upside down to start with.  So, I questioned whether I would even get out the door.  But, I grabbed the dogs, and forced myself out.  You may have noticed, I haven’t been wearing a watch or tracking my kms in the past few months, so I just put the stopwatch on my phone on and off I went.  I took my phone to time myself, and grab some photo proof, but I didn’t think it was going to be particularly pretty in my trails.  I was wrong.

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Helloooooo December

Crazzzzzzzy.  Last I remember I was settling into the new house at the beginning of October, getting ready to relax, spread out work, and “hibernate” a little bit.  And then all of a sudden, I’ve crossed off a bunch of bucket list runs, I’ve represented Lifestraw by Vestergaard on their Follow the Liters campaign in Kenya, I’ve hosted a house warming, I’ve gutted a condo – re-painting, cleaning, new carpeting, and listing it for sale, and all of a sudden, *POOF!* it’s the END of November.  What the heckkkkk.

In some ways I feel totally cheated and confused by where the time went.  In other ways I feel blessed beyond belief and like I’ve done and experienced so much in the last 2 months.  I haven’t quite fully comprehended and fully caught up.  I’ve caught up with important stuff, but some not so important things, have definitely fallen by the wayside.

But, I can’t dwell on the fact that the last 2 months have been a bit of a blur, a whirlwind of adventures and experiences.  Instead I have to focus, re-group, celebrate the last 2 months but also recognize that it’s now DECEMBER, the last month of 2015!

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Picture from Adam Ciuk from our Lifestraw Adventure

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December #BeastStreak, Let’s Make It Happen.

The last 2 Novembers we’ve rocked a BeastStreak, a running streak for the month of November, 30 days straight of a minimum of 3K a day.  It’s a great way to keep moving when the weather turns cold and wet, and by making it into a group challenge, we keep each other accountable, encouraged, and keep moving every single day.

So, with being away for the first 2 weeks of November, I wasn’t able to organize or participate in a run streak, I’ve never really liked December for this sort of thing, because December is BUSY.  However, I’ve decided it’s worth doing, and we’ll change up the rules to make it manageable for everyone.  In short, let’s do this.

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Hey Girl Hey

Gosh I miss blogging, and holy crap I have a lot to say, but it’s always SO difficult to pick up the pieces and start again.

But, I’m great with to-do lists, so how about we make a “to-blog” list and get it started that way.  Sound good?  Sounds great.

  • I’m doing a December Beast Streak Run Streak.  I really like November for streaking, but with going to Kenya, that wasn’t an option.  I’m going to have the post up for this soon, with a Google doc so that everyone can play (run) along with me!
  • Kenya – ya I’m not even sure I mentioned that because it happened so crazy fast, and things were absolutely nutty, but I went to Kenya with Lifestraw on their #FollowTheLiters campaign, bringing clean safe water to schools in Western Kenya.  Say whattttt?  Ya, I seriously have so much to tell you, but for starters, Lifestraw, Vestergaard, and anything they touch is wonderful and amazing.  Just trust me.
  • 2016 5 Peaks dates are set, and we’re looking at a great season already.
  • Squamish life is amazing.  100% the right choice to move up here, and between 30 seconds out the door to trail, to the hot tub on our back porch, to the super great small town feel and friends we’ve made, it’s all going really really well.
  • Can you believe it’s December in a week?!?!  Holy cow the fall has flown by.  Nothing really on the Christmas list this year, just grown up crap that we need…like a bedframe, front hallway rug, living room TV, matching cutlery, blah, blah, blah.  Houses are expensive, and look a whole heck of a lot better when they aren’t all mismatched.
  • You may not remember, but when Jay and I met, he lived in and owned an apartment in PoCo.  We’ve had the same tenants for the past 6.5 years, and they’ve decided to move out.  We’ve had to change the carpets, re-paint the whole place, and it’s going up for sale this week!  Crazzzzzy.
  • I have lots of running/racing ideas for 2016, but my feet and ankles still aren’t 100%, and I’m just getting back into regularly running in my Salomons, so I’m not pushing anything or making any solid plans yet.  However….I will say I’m thinking about Lord Hill, Nimble Bear, KneeKnacker, SQ50 (heck, we live here now!), and Golden Ultra for next year.  I would loveeeee to do TransAlpine, especially since our schedule actually allows it, but that damn husband of mine is too fast!

Ok so….my to-blog about list, has kind of turned into a point form updates list.  Opps.

Anything else to tell you?  Not really, I have to spend time properly blogging about Kenya and Lifestraw, and getting our #beaststreak set up.  I’ll leave you with this amazing shot from our trip, from Chris Brinlee Jr.

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xoxo

-S