Exuberant and overjoyed, I watched as these two women achieved a unified goal.
One came flying down the mountain, looking freed and renewed, and handed the simple yellow pipe to the other, who took off determined and unafraid.
This moment was more than just the passing of a baton, it was the moment they’d been waiting for and working so hard for over the past few months. In this moment they caught lightning in a bottle from the storm that had been building up inside of them.
That lightning energized these women to spend countless days and nights selflessly and tirelessly laboring away to bring together 30 people, some of which were complete strangers to each other, to collectively run nearly 160 miles and climb nearly 23,000 feet on this day.
The idea came simply and innocently among friends, but their execution was nothing short of detailed and miraculous.
In this moment they turned that lightning in a bottle into a priceless and unforgettable moment that I had the pleasure of witnessing.
Thank you Sheny and Corina for allowing me, as well as the rest of the Anytime Runners to be part of this experience; and thank you Jeff for inspiring them to exponentially create something bigger than us all!
December 25, 2012-
I gave myself the best Christmas gift I could have ever possibly given myself, and it was completely free.
On this day, I went running on a trail for the first time ever and took this photo. I remember waking up that day and being bored after a long evening of festivities with my family (keep in mind us Hispanics don’t really do much on Christmas Day since most of us celebrate on Christmas Eve).
I had been learning to run for about 3-4 months at that point and I decided on this day to go for a hike on a trail completely new to me.
It had just been raining and the trails were muddy and the trees and bushes were covered in raindrops and dew. I had never seen such beauty with my own two eyes until this day.
I started hiking on the trail and was loving it, but quickly became impatient and thought to myself “I wonder if I could run this?” and the fire in my heart was sparked.
On this day, I fell in love with the mountains, trails, flora, fauna and running on trails; but most importantly with nature.
I had no idea what I was doing, and I had no idea what trail running was, or how difficult it would be to run 8 miles on a trail versus a road, yet I was out there doing it.
It’s a beautiful thing when you accidentally find your passion.
PS - This was the year the great Timothy Olson set the current course record for the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. 6 years ago I had no idea that a human was even capable of doing such a thing, and now, I deeply desire to some day run that race. Some day I will.
📍- Los Robles Trail West, Thousand Oaks, CA
I want to humbly and respectfully, yet proudly let everyone know that for the first time in 6 years of running, that I finally beat my big brother in a race at the Phantom Trail Races in the 20 mile distance.
I’m not posting this to brag, but to simply highlight this breakthrough performance I was able to achieve after 6 months of very focused, purposeful lifestyle changes.
6 months ago after my last trail race, I told myself I wanted to be in this sport for the long haul and that I wanted to healthiest and happiest person I could possibly be.
I am proud to say, that at this very moment as I’m typing this, I am the healthiest and happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life and it’s all thanks to the dedication and perseverance to see my goals through, no matter how long they may take to achieve.
Nothing worth having comes easy, including your own health and happiness, but if you can believe it, you can achieve it!
PS- Thank you to RD Erica and her fantastic crew of volunteers for taking care of me on the course and helping me to have the best race of my life so far. Thank you also to my friends on and off course for supporting me and encouraging me from start to finish and beyond.
If you’d like to know more about the changes I’ve made in my life over the past 6 months, feel free to ask; they are not secrets, but I also don’t feel the need to tell you all about them unless you’re actually interested. 😉
Thank you for always being there for me when I need you. You are an infinite constant in my life and I’m so thankful to have you. You’ve never abandoned me, and I don’t plan to ever abandon you.
From the moment I first laid eyes on you, I’ve been mesmerized by your good looks. I’ve seen you early in the morning when you first wake up, as well as at the end of a long day when all you want is to unwind, I’ve seen you in the middle of the day when you’re most busy and stressed, and on many occasions I’ve seen you in the middle of the night when your cool silence draws me to you; regardless of the time of day, you’re always just as gorgeous.
I love you so much, my dear mountains. I hope I am half as good to you as you are to me. You’ve changed my life for the better from the moment we first met, and I guess it’s true what they say, you never forget your first time. If you’ll be so kind as to continue to unfold your beauty to me as you’ve always done, I promise you I’ll continue to cherish and appreciate every bit of it.
Once again, thank you for everything you’ve ever given to me, and may you live forever.
The most important lessons I’ve learned in my life have come as consolation prizes for some of the stupidest mistakes and hardest experiences I’ve survived.
Even more important than those lessons I’ve learned, is the way I’ve put those experiences to use, to make my life better one day at a time.
Those experiences have given me the tools and desire to live a life with purpose; a life where I look forward to waking up each day, working hard to live a healthy life and balancing the everyday stress of life, with the induced stress of pursuing my passions; a life of humble simplicity and determination; a life where all it takes is an alluring smile from one special person to motivate me to be the best person I can be; the type of life that would make this world a better place if everyone chose to live this way.
Because, no matter what you’ve ever been through or are going through, life is as good as you’re willing to make it and happiness is a choice.
You deserve all the happiness you’re willing to work hard for, but you’ll never achieve it if you don’t believe it.
Close your eyes and visualize the best possible life you could be living as soon as tomorrow, and get started on making it happen today.
PS - Long live the mountains!
Is it impossible, or just intimidating?
Think of whatever challenge is currently in your way, no matter what it is.
It’s probably something that’s taken either a huge mental or physical toll on you, or maybe even both. It’s probably stressed you out a lot just to think about it, yet you probably can’t stop thinking about it.
If it’s something you’re doing for the first time, like running your first long distance race, it might seem impossible and almost incomprehensible.
But, is it truly impossible, or just intimidating? Odds are it’s just intimidating, and it is fully possible to achieve and overcome the challenge at hand. You just have to believe in yourself and your ability to make it happen. It may get tough, and it may even be the hardest thing you’ve done so far, but then again nothing worth achieving should be easy. Just do the work it requires, keep moving forward and don’t stop believin’!
📹: @goooossse - High Sierra Trail, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, CA - January 2018
At some point, I think everyone realizes that they’re worth so much more than they’ve always thought of themselves, and that they can do so much more than they’ve ever imagined.
And I’m not talking about career-or-job-wise or financially, but rather filling your primal urge to explore and adventure.
Some day your body may no longer allow you to move freely through the world, and you may regret everything you didn’t do and everything you didn’t see.
Take the time now to work on your health and fitness, not so you can look a certain way or fill a mold, but so you can really experience what it’s like to feel alive, wild and free.
Do it now!
I promise you it’ll be the best decision you’ve ever made.
📹: @goooossse - High Sierra Trail, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, CA - January 2018
Slow and steady makes you faster and stronger.
Ten miles, 2K feet of gain, 86 degrees (in February) - Average heart rate 146 BPM - Sunday, February 4, 2018
Day dreaming of being up in the hills today.
And now, a few pics from the High Sierra Trail.
I’m so thrilled I got to experience a long, tough run on the HST, especially in the middle of January.
The trail features some of the most epic and breathtaking cliffside single track in CA with 360 degree views of of the Sierra, valleys, rivers and surrounding forests.
I could tell you a long story about the challenge, adversity and triumph of our adventure, but the truth is you just have to experience it for yourself.
It was just us, our trusty gear and the mountains, far away enough from reality to be able to create our own.
“Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality”.
- John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra
The simple joy being in a thickly covered forest can bring is unmatched except by the simple joy being high up in the mountains can bring.
Sequoia National Park is a special and beautiful place because it can give you both, and all you have to give it is your respect and appreciation.
Last weekend my brother and I took an overnight trip to Sequoia National Park with the sole objective of getting in an adventure of a long run.
The drive was manageable and it didn’t cost us very much to make the trip happen.
It was, however, very rewarding!
We ran through the Giant Forest among the Giant Sequoias feeling tiny and insignificant amongst the massive and powerful trees.
It’s hard not to gaze up at these trees and not feel numbed by their grandeur.
“The General Sherman Tree is the world's largest tree, measured by volume. It stands 275 feet (83 m) tall, and is over 36 feet (11 m) in diameter at the base. Sequoia trunks remain wide high up. Sixty feet above the base, the Sherman Tree is 17.5 feet (5.3 m) in diameter.” - NPS -
This tree is marvelous and its sheer size is stunning as you stand at its base and look up to realize just how massive and amazing this tree is!
Sequoia National Park, CA -
A mountainous wonder and treasure of the Sierra Nevada forested by the largest trees on the planet.