Monday, April 28, 2014

Open Heart

The moment my mother felt me kick in her womb, her soul she knew she would never let me go.  Out of love, fear, regret and above all hope she carried me.  From the moment I was conceived strength grew with me, without it I would not be here today.  My mother’s placenta that was at war with my tiny self forced me into a world I was not yet ready to take on.  
Tucson, Az Sunset, 2010 
Born in the beginning of the seventh month a weak three pounds and some odd ounces I was drawn out of the womb by the illusive call of the summer solstice sun at 10:53 PM, June 21st. 

“Dig deep into that inexhaustable well of grit, guts and determination” 
- Ken Chlouber, Founder of the Leadville Trail 100 

I entered the world with battle scars; a mix of purple, black, blue and red bruises graced my little body, looking more like a skinned rabbit pulled from a magician’s hat, than a baby I began my journey through the rabbit hole and into a world of my own: Wonderland.  

Miracle Baby.  
Wild Adventures, Creek ATV Ride, N. Wrangell, AK, Fall 2013

At six months old I was rushed to the emergency room and at last my tiny heart revealed the answer: heart murmur.  The doctors soon found seven holes in the left ventricle of my tiny but strong heart and still beating heart.  Terrifying and yet comforting for my (24 years) young parents, they finally knew that was wrong but didn’t know if my heart could keep beating as they waiting for an answer. 

Church, Phoenix, 2010 
“Isn’t a runner’s story merely a collection of experiences defined by both risk and passion?  
We can define risk as a willingness to embrace the unexpected, unpleasant or downright 
awful in exchange for a chance to feel something strong, pure and barely controlable.”           

- Rickey Gates, Dirt: Trail Runner Special Ed, April 2014 

My father, our rock held our fragile family together.  My parents with their overflowing love filled the holes in my tiny heart with love. Pure Love. The day I was diagnosed with congenital heart disease with ventricular septal defect (for 7 holes in my left ventricle) Alaska Airlines cleared out the entire first class section on the next flight to Seattle and we headed to Seattle for my first of two heart surgeries. The first was much more grim, terrifying, and uncertain.  

“Warehouse where the blood is flowing, warehouse where the heart is bumping.
 Wouldn’t you like to stay in The Warehouse? ”

 - Dave Matthews Band 

The second surgery was major too, but the first was done as a temporary solution to see if I could gain weight and thrive, until me and my tiny heart were big enough for repair.  I’ve been waiting my whole life for “this” moment.  Seattle calls me back this May for some reason.  Seattle is calling and I must go.  The Emerald City.  

“Help. Thanks. Wow.” 

- Anne Lamott 

Today is the day I stop being afraid of my heart and the places it may take me.  I choose to live in the Now because I know that is all we have, the present moment, it cannot be found here nor there, but only in the Now.  Today is also the day I step into a psychatrists office with a true open heart and mind set on healing. I offer up a few crumbs of my story in search of the medium of my life.  Surrender Dorothy. 

“Take these chances, place them in a box until a quieter time, lights down you up and die.”

- Dave Matthews Band 

“Don’t lose the dreams in your head, they’ll only be there until you’re dead.”

 - Dave Matthews Band 

“Happiness is that state of consiousness which proceeds from teh achievement of one’s values” 

- Ayn Rand 

I'm finally ready to deal with my "baggage"…

Very First Computer Written Journal Entry from 9/17/2004, The day I decided I would be come a writer, written to share today, the day I met my density.  I am a writer.  

Family Blanket: 

Generations of wisdom, passing on the richest pieces of ourselves to our children, our children to grandchildren, and so on with the hope creating a blanket that represents family, woven of wisdom, love, honor, respect, hope and promise.  

“The trouble about man is twofold: 
He cannot learn truths which are too complicated;
 he forgets truths which are too simple.” 

- Rebecca West 

A blanket that will have many mistakes, loose threads, and a pattern that sometimes goes astray, but only becomes stronger and more beautiful with time; the length in which continues to be added on year after year shows a stronger weave, richer colors and  the common threads that weave us together and make a family.  When strong winds blow across the sky the blanket flows with the wind, feels air between its weave and stands the test of time. 

Sheep, Oregon, Jan. 2013 
My family blanket is the story in which I was born into.  I hold the responsibility to carry on my family traditions, learn from the mistakes that have been made and to value my ancestors.  To create a path thru the undiscovered forest that is the future, a path that will lead my descendents to a promising future.  

“Take what you can from your dreams and make it as real as anything.” 

- Dave Matthews Band
Fly, Oregon Coast, Jan. 2013 Maya and Honey Mama 

“The real work is to discover who you are and to use who you are in service to the world.”

 - Oprah Winfrey, 2013, Presdential Medal of Freedom Award Speech 

Bridging the Gap, Columbia, OR/WA.  Jan 2013 

“Good writers make their own luck.”

 - William Zinsser 

Doing some "heavy lifting" ;)  Tucson, AZ, November 2010

“Being a writer is like having homework every night of your life.” 

- Lawrence Kasdan 

“Find your inspiration, it’s deep inside you, amend your situation, your whole life is ahead of you.” 

- Dave Matthews Band  

With my "big sister" Wendy,  November 2010, Tucson, AZ 

“You cannot wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”   

- Jack London 

With my "big sister" Tracy, January 2013, Mt. Shasta, CA

P.S. Other relevant Blog Posts:


Run Life From Your Core

With my "sister" Sara for a pre-11.5 mile training run =) 

“When I close my eyes I just see dreams in them” 

- George (4) 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Stubborn Love

The Moose Lodge Experience ended for me on Monday, March 24, 2014 when I walked out of my life and into the unknown with a Subaru full of mostly books and running gear, packed in between my 5 and 6 year old kids, and blue heeler and Shepard lab mix who gets car sick.  Really car sick.  Moving to The Moose Lodge was a mission, a learning expedition and I hoped I could last the year, but seven months was all it took.  It is my physical home and holds my heart close and near, but I belong to the pi in the sky.  I'm a gypsy.  

I vowed to learn how to be a  human being by making the conscious choice to rescind a life as a human doing.  Leaving the experience that was The Moose Lodge meant I left my marriage too and let the final facade of perfection fall as I drove away, all 240.7 miles to my parents driveway where I have been staying between a stint in an inpatient behavioral health center that helped me, but wasn't quite what I needed either.  Now I am medicated, my brain feels fuzzy, and some family and friends have had (many) disagreements with me.  I am retreating. Finding sanctuary. Creating peace in my life one moment at a time.  One single moment.  That is all I can give any of this on my journey.  Becoming a runner prepared me to find the courage to leave.  Courage.

Honey Mama Runs Wild, the blog has been about that experience of sharing the adventure of the journey to the core, to the heart of the land, documenting the seasons and changes of a single beautiful fixed place in time.  While we lived there as a family we noticed that time kept slipping through the hour glass, tiny bits sand falling all around, mounting on the ground, unstoppable by a change in location.  Time slips and moments drip, one following the next.  All we have is now to love and be love, to give love and share loving kindness.  Strong.

Pay it Forward. 

Find your Flow.  Fight it. Go with it. Tread.  Give it all you got. Spawn. 

Preserving the moments locked in time. Captured in the simple composition of life, the magic of nature, paused for a brief moment, locked within a photograph.  A single second made to last.  

An attitude of gratitude is a great place to start and got me many miles down the path of the homesteading life. It gave me the strength to take the negative energy and shield myself from some of it, and in other situations to bring it to the surface and deal.  Just deal with my baggage.  

My best friend, Parke, helped me in tremendous ways to unload my bags, spread my stuff out, and encourage me to do whatever I needed to do to be the most awesomeist “Me” I can Be.  

He set me free.  

Some call that Divorce, not to be confused with divorce.  I knew if I couldn't be set free it would be Divorce, not divorce.  So far my best friend and I are on great terms and have decided we are raising our kids in a different way; we’ve always different (a.k.a. that family that does crazy ill advised or otherwise discounted things), yeah, we're "those" people.  

Meditating and doing yoga for hours and days on end in the final three months I lived  my days out in the The Moose Lodge Experience brought me to my own personal enlightenment I decided: 

I wanted something so I moved" - Scott Jurek

I stopped caring about the external judgement of the simple word “divorce”.  We’re different, this is hard, I feel it all right because I can really only be here NOW, not off in next Tuesday worrying about something that I have no control over.  So I do yoga, and meditate which is how I pray. I meditate to my gospel of mishmash musical madness or fall asleep listing to the soft sounds of the BBC World News waking London as I drift off to sleep.  On rare nights, Coast to Coast AM.  Other times I kneel before a lit candle or cups of ice chips and it helps maintain focus.  Or a simple glass of water.  Simple.

My recent twelve day inpatient behavioral health services time taught me a lot about myself and somethings were really hard to learn, others came naturally and helped confirm what I already knew as my Truth.  It was step one of a very long road because I've been masking it all these years, holding myself back from the edge until a friend said: JUMP and I surrendered to help.  I have made my BEST friends worried beyond worried as we all sort out the mystery of my mania and how to bring me back down.  I am living with a mental illness. 

This is the face of mental illness.  
This is Bipolar I Disorder.  

This is Bipolar I Disorder.  

I am regular person,  I repeat REGULAR PERSON.  A stay at home mom.  I am your next door neighbor.  I am your daughter.  I am your wife. I am your friend.  I am not a diagnosis.

I surrender, but to me surrender also comes with empowerment to make ones on decisions.  I've always  been this stubborn, I have had to be.  If I wasn't, I wouldn't have lived.  I would be the girl who died, instead of the girl who lived.  (Born To Run Essay). 

The $62,000 bill has already arrived and my separated husband and I agreed that I am better, but not $62,000 kind of better.  We have no resources to pay for that, but it saved my life and I have faith.  I am one of those Pollyanna types who believes in miracles.  I believe in miracles. 

”Shower the People You Love with Love” - James Taylor 

The gift of surrender was that it gave me the permission  reminded me of  my most basic human right: self-care.  I wasn’t caring for myself, but instead I worried myself literally sick worrying about others, without any help to give  Once I surrendered I have been blessed  by the love of friends, family, and new friends.  Life is Good.  

Many thanks to my family, friends, and new acquaintances for showing up in my life when you do, just when I need you the most. Remember if I say “I need you now, questions asked!” I mean it.
“Help. Thanks. Wow.” - Anne Lamott

A journey into the past, opening the gift that is the present, while catching glimpses of visions of future life missions, and enticing expeditions: mountain biking, hiking, running, paddling, wandering and fishing in search of Oz on the long and winding Yellow Brick Road. Now I shall run this path alone while keeping you safe in my home, my heart.  I'm still running because baby, I was Born to Run.  - H.M. Wild

Good Bye Yellow Brick Road  xoxo Honey Mama

Coming Soon: 

                   H.M. Wild at  

She'll lie and steal, and cheat, and beg you from her knees
Make you think she means it this time
She'll tear a hole in you, the one you can't repair
But I still love her, I don't really care

When we were young, oh, oh, we did enough
When it got cold, ooh, ooh, we bundled up
I can't be told, ah, ah, it can't be done

It's better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The opposite of love's indifference
So pay attention now, I'm standing on your porch screaming out
And I won't leave until you come downstairs

So keep your head up, keep your love
Keep your head up, my love [x2]
Keep your head up, keep your love

And I don't blame you dear for running like you did all these years
I would do the same, you'd best believe
And the highway signs say we're close but I don't read those things anymore
I never trusted my own eyes

When we were young oh, oh, we did enough
When it got cold, ooh, ooh we bundled up
I can't be told, ah, ah, it can't be done

So keep your head up, keep your love
Keep your head up, my love [x2]
Keep your head up, keep your love
Head up, love
Head up, love
Head up, love
Head up, love

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Run Life From Your Core

Running life from your core takes practice, patience, vigor, curiosity, and the continued desire to seek and find the pieces of the puzzle hidden in plain sight.  Everyday I train: My mind. My body. My soul.  

Building up my base so that I can enjoy life and live every moment to the fullest.  It isn’t about being skinny, achieving an arbitrary number on a scale, or looking “hot”. It’s about feeling good and about breaking down the obstacles that lie in my path, and harder yet, the obstacles I have put there to slow myself down, to prevent myself from moving forward.

“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable 
reason to continue. Your only recourse is to 
call on your spirit, which fortunately functions 
independently of logic.” 
- Tim Noakes: The Lore of Running 

I train because I love the pain.The sore muscles, that spent feeling -- the temporary weakness experienced by the body, overcome by the mind.  One night in June after a particularly hard track workout I felt completely worked over and exhausted when a friend reminded me that “pain is just weakness leaving the body”. Personally, I love the feeling of weakness taking shape as beads of sweat on my skin, evaporating, then invisible, gone: only strong remains.  

I live for the feeling of exhausted muscles, shaky legs, and slipping into compression socks that hug my calves and refresh my legs, so I am ready when life comes calling. 
If you want to move forward you have to be ready.

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
Steve Prefontaine

My recovery involves sitting with my feet up, in compression socks, writing and sipping tea, listening to music and trying to make sense of my life and then share it with my small corner of the world.  Triathlon training builds the physical and mental muscle, so that when I sit down to write, the writing process heals my body by keeping me still, present, in one place; and brings fresh ideas and insights, the butterflies that follow me home on my run, and find their way onto paper, a story, a sentence.  A word. Meaning. Life. One page, one mile, one day at a time.

“Good things come slow, especially in distance running.” 
- Bill Dellinger 

They say to write well you have to write often, that it helps keep the cobwebs at bay.  I would change that and say that in order to run and write well you have to run and write often, it helps keep the cobwebs and kinks at bay.  When I run before I write my brain is stimulated in different ways and the thoughts and ideas that flow are more abstract, unexpected, and pure. I find sitting to be very difficult work and it doesn’t take long before I start to bemoan being stationary, I need to move.  Running gives me movement, it wears me out.  By the time I get to sit down and write, sipping tea, listening to music, I am ready to receive the moment for what it is: a gift.  Running makes me give thanks each and every day for movement. A body in motion.  That is a gift.  Running and writing about it is how I honor the gift of motion.

 “I write to find out what I think”
- Stephen King 

Training hard is the strategic, systematic process of breaking the things that beg to be broken, the parts of my body and mind that cry out for more, giving them what they want, what they need, burning them down to build them back up again, stronger, better, faster. Finding new ways to fix old problems, habits, and ways of knowing and doing. Training.I do not “exercise”, this isn’t about “personal fitness”, or “weight-loss”.  I train for life.  

Simple. Running is simple. And complex.  Pleasure. Pain. And all you need is a pair of running shoes. Get outside and run, let nature do the rest

A section of Pre's Trail in Eugene, Oregon - Jan 2013 

I run because I believe in magic and the simpleness of an ordinary run that can somehow, through perspiration, effort, and distance can transform instantly into a force of its own, allowing you to dig deep and tap into the energy of the universe, when you get “there”: you feel like you can run forever. Heart and my legs fueled by pure unadulterated bliss. Flying.

Cranking out hill repeats, digging deep, cracking myself open to peer inside and seek to find the simple answers that lie in wait at the perimeter of my mind and on the outskirts of my life. The fringe.  Feeling the burn in my legs and the oxygen flowing through my lungs, trying to keep my breath steady, form strong, until I break and start sucking wind, until the lactic acid takes over my entire body and the burning feeling becomes fire, which to my endorphin flooded brain feels like pleasure, like sweet satisfaction.  

“Dig deep into that inexhaustible well of grit, guts and determination.”
 - Ken Chlouber, Leadville Trail 100 Founder

Satisfaction keeps me moving forward and the “feeling”, the experience of a satisfying workout an wash over you like a shower and the best part is: it lingers.  Not every run is a “good” run, but if I run long enough, any run has the potential to be an epic, mind-opening experience.  If you push yourself against your comfort zone, you’ll start to break the wall down, brick by brick.  Mile by mile.  Day by day. Page by page.  Waiting on the other side of your fears and doubt you will find possibility.  

In running and in writing, I find the more I “do”, the better I think, feel and perform.  There is of course a limit and I’m always pushing up against the limit, expanding my boundaries, refining, tweaking, breaking it down to make it whole.  Our move here was the third in “recent history” in our quest to find something we’ve both been looking for and by the time graduation came in mid-December I was exhausted.  My training slowed, but was never put on hold.  I kept at it, week after week.  Progress was slow and motivation was low, but I kept moving forward.  

“You could carry your burdens lightly or with great effort. 
You could worry about tomorrow or not. 
You could imagine horrible fates or garland-filled tomorrows. 
None of it mattered as long as you moved,
 as long as you did something. 
Asking why was fine, but it wasn’t action. 
Sometimes you just do things.” 
- Scott Jurek 

Sometimes running wins the race, sometimes it’s writing, but the important thing is they’re both in the race, working and training hard to raise the ceiling to new possibilities and to explore the limits of the body, the mind.  It’s a slow and patient process.  It develops, like fine wine and cannot be rushed. 

In Joe Friel’s The Triathlete’s Training Bible, he discusses multi-year training goals and explains how to build a plan several years out, if your goal is a serious endurance event like the 70.3 mile Half-Ironman and the 140.6 Ironman distance races.  Last fall I hoped I would be ready to take on the Half-Ironman this year, but in being patient and listening to my body I realized I have to focus on (re)building my core: fixing the kinks and twinges, before I attempt to tear it down, break it apart, peer inside, and build it back up, stronger, better.  One mile, one day at a time. 

Running is the tool I use to crack my mind open wide so that I may peer inside and watch my thoughts running wild, it’s like trying to catch butterflies without a net. This is where the mind takes over the body and the body enters a new territory where anything is possible. 

Digging deep into that place, that state of mind, the switch flips, the trick is that you never know when it is going to be flicked. One minute you’re dying and the next minute you’re at the threshold of enlightenment about to take a sip from a sacred fountain. 

This is the zone. 

It is experienced in moments which are fleeting and often hard to explain and do not abide by the rules of time in a linear fashion, moments like that make their own kind of time and leave subtle, if any, footprints behind.  Everything and nothing all at the same time.  Empty. Full.  Silence. Noise.  Sweet release. Peace. Breath. Light. Wings.  Butterflies.

“Methinks that the moment my legs began to move, my thoughts began to flow...Only while we are in action is the circulation perfect.” - Henry David Thoreau 

I usually finish a run with a feeling of blank, emptiness.  What now?  Then I sit down to work and attempt to interpret “the butterflies”, the fleeting thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotion that surface when I run hard and give it everything I’ve got, as a result I end up with a good amount of random thoughts and ideas, re-reading my journals is like reliving a run, one mile at a time.  Bits and pieces.  One page at a time.

Running and writing are a harmonious union and have allowed me to find a way to put the many pieces of “the puzzle” pieces together.  I stare at the blank spaces, the missing pieces and recall Rilke (thanks again, A & M): 

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” - Rainer Maria Rilke 

This fall when I began building the blog, documenting The Experience that is The Moose Lodge, I ordered business cards for networking, to include with hard copy submissions, etc.  It wasn’t a big deal, they didn’t cost that much, but they symbolized something important: taking my writing and my experience seriously.  The business card had a line for a corporate motto or other related information.  Puzzled, I thought “what am I all about?”.  
“Isn’t a runner’s story merely a collection of experiences defined by both risk and passion?  We can define risk as a willingness to embrace the unexpected, unpleasant or downright awful in exchange for a chance to feel something strong,  pure and barely controllable.” - Rickey Gates, Trail Runner: Dirt, 2014 ed. 
Last January I opened a new chapter in my fitness and embarked on my “Bad Ass Mother Runner” fitness routine (“BAMR” for short), modeled after an idea for a strength training circuit in Train Like a Mother and Run Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea.  I incorporated an easy warm-up and cool-down, with varied sets of weights and body weight exercises using the bosu, yoga ball, blocks, resistance bands, and gravity.  
What I learned after finishing the Big Wild Life Marathon in 2012 was that my core wasn’t as strong as my thirst for running craved.  I set to work and did daily planks in addition to the BAMR routine and regular triathlon training. Why?  Because if you want to run well your core has to be strong, if you want to live well your core (values) have to be strong. Run Life From Your Core became my personal “mantra”, the fuel that keeps the engine running smooth.  My core. The foundation.  Building it up, to tear it down and start all over again. Training brings you to your knees, if you work hard enough and remain consistent training will grant you your wings.  
One page, one mile, one plank, one day at a time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Follow This Mother! Another Mother Runner Feature - April 2014

Follow This Mother!

By Heather D. on Apr 14, 2014 11:45 pm
H.M. Wild with her two kids after a 2K race.
H.M. Wild with her two kids after a 2K race.
Mother runner Krista, who goes by H.M. Wild (Honey Mama Runs Wild is her blog name), made a big life change in 2013—the 30-year-old mom of Maya, 6, and George, 5, and her husband moved their family from Anchorage to a more remote area of the state to live in a log cabin and “live life to the fullest.” She hits the trails whenever she can, and a favorite running event is fast approaching: next month’s Skinny Raven Twilight 12K in Anchorage.
My first race ever: Twilight 12K Anchorage, AK, 2011.
My first race ever: Twilight 12K Anchorage, AK, 2011.
The path less traveled: After helping my BRF nail a PR in the 2013 Alaska Run for Women, I hopped in my Subaru and headed north with my family, on a whim, to meet with a real estate agent who showed us four remote cabin properties. I felt like I was in an episode of “Buying Wild Alaska.” One place piqued our interest: an unfinished log cabin on the northern edge of the largest National Park and Preserve. We put together the best offer we were capable of and agreed that if it were meant to be, it would be.
Running skirt or shorts: I go both ways!
Morning, midday or night: 6 a.m.
My favorite mile in a race: Mile 10 in a half-marathon—only 3.10 miles to go! I eat 5Ks for breakfast.
Me and My Sole Sister, Sara.
Me and My Sole Sister, Sara.
Coolest thing I’ve seen on a run in Alaska: I was on an orienteering trail run with Run Exceed, a women’s running team that welcomes women of all ages and abilities in Anchorage. Me and another mother runner were in the zone, so we broke free from the group and raced each other up and down the rolling terrain of Kincaid Park to the next orienteering checkpoint. Down the trail another 10 feet rested a mama moose and her young baby. I quickly glanced over at the noise of snapping twigs and rustling leaves when the mama appeared—ears flat, hair raised, legs stomping wildly, moving forward. Everything went blank. When I regained awareness I was hugging a birch tree for dear life, standing next to my running buddy, safe. The rest of our team had caught up and were at a safe distance … It was one of the most exhilarating and terrifying moments of my life.
What I thought about during today’s run: Moving forward. One day. One page. One mile at a time.
Best way to cross-train: Mix it up! Hit the trails for a hike, swim to my heart’s content, and ride free. I also regularly practice yoga and meditation.
‘Running from my core’: I consulted my Mother Runner bibles: Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother to build a core-focused training program to strengthen the weakness in me. I coined it my “Bad Ass Mother Runner Routine.” It involved running as a warm-up, followed by intense body weight exercises (and yes, even the inverted push-up), free weights, leg weights, and resistance bands. Within a few months I felt invincible.
At peace living with less.
This mother runner is living and running happy.
Words to live by: When I decided to adopt my mantra, “Run Life From Your Core,” I set about retracing my steps and found that the way to my core can be found along the river, through the woods, across endless wide open spaces, on a  stretch of single-track game trail. Mountains. Water. Sky. All you need is trail shoes. I had to walk the talk. I’d been focusing on the physical aspect of “running life from my core,” but on a personal level I knew that I wasn’t fully living my core values.
On Conquering Hills: Prior to moving to the wilds of Wrangell I found I could avoid major hills if I chose to, but since moving here my times have slowed considerably and I’ve been left sucking wind more than I care to admit. The hills are no longer something I can sidestep, in favor of an easier path. I’m either charging up hill, or floating down hill (or falling flat on my face to take a dirt nap). There is no avoidance of the hard, the cold, the hill. I don’t try and conquer it, but rather give thanks for the opportunity to be stronger, better—and faster.
My running, in three words: Action Gets Results.
Follow This Mother on Facebook and at her blog Honey Mama Runs Wild.

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