We kind of live in a world of all the photos. Between Instagram, Snapchat and plain ol’ texted photos there are a lot of reasons to take photos. And, yes, I take photos for all of those reasons. I have tens of thousands of photos floating around Google Photos, Dropbox and other nooks of the internet abyss. Sometimes they get shared, sometimes they just sit around feeling lonely until I get ambitious enough to scroll through them.
When I decided to make the move onto this site [rather than run.around.aroo, where my oversharing used to live] I started scrolling through old posts…and then through old photos. Holy drunk monkeys, a single photo can spark so many memories! If you already follow me on Instagram you’ve seen these photos but I really like them + the stories they come with so I’m re-sharing them here. Oh, the things that can happen in two years…
[I initially attempted to embed all the Instagram photos but they were being cranky + not listening to the coding…if you’re really into the Instragram thing just click on the images, they’ll take you to IG]
Notice anything different? I’ve made the switch from@runaroundaroo to @heidikumm…and in the process of that change I have scrolled through hundreds of photos. Photos that triggered memories that changed how I live my life today. Photos I want to share.
Like this one!
About two years ago I talked@trainerpaige + @runwritehike into running trails with me…I just wanted company, who knew they’d fall in love with dirt ribbons? I think this was when I realized how much joy comes from watching friends find their own version of crazy. This may be my proudest#runabler moment! 🏃💞🏔
Here’s another photo I found while changing my site over to heidikumm.com…this one brought up mixed emotions + a little anxiety.
I snapped this during a bio break along the mountain roads leading away from Silverton after a long weekend of crewing + volunteering at the Silverton 1000 ultra. I didn’t run a single step but I learned more about what goes into ultra races than I imagined possible.
I found my limits as a crew — it was so incredibly hard to watch my runner struggle knowing there was nothing more I could do to help. Even today, 2+ years later, I can’t talk about it without getting all emotional. Goals were not met but every thing I learned from my own mistakes + the other runners/crew/volunteers made my long weekend of crewing at Big’s Backyard Ultra that much more successful!
This entire experience [Silverton + Big’s] has helped me understand + appreciate the selfless giving that goes into crewing! If you ever need a crew — especially one who rocks at back country grilled cheese + bacon + rice krispie treats — hunt me down! Crewing is easily my favorite part of ultras! 🏃😏🌜
Tonight’s bit of reminiscing takes me back to Oregon. This was my first truly solo trip. Sure, I was visiting a friend [@eforunner is basically the best hostess ever] but for the first time in my life I wandered a city + unknown trails completely alone.
I also discovered how much fun you can have when weather derails all of your plans! A random winter storm covered the trails in shin deep snow then plunged the temperatures down below zero…not exactly ideal backpacking weather! So, we improvised, found a campground with yurts and made the most of the untouched, glistening snow.
It was the first of many baby steps toward my current version of independence. I will forever be thankful for Erin + every other friend who has encouraged me to just get out there! This is me, testing the boundaries of my comfort zone + loving what I found beyond that imaginary line! 💞😏🏔❄ Find your version of happy, it is SO worth it!
I found this beauty + a handful of very expressive but unflattering selfies while meandering through blog posts as I moved everything over to heidikumm.com. The sandy trails of Moab in February dug up a pretty resilient side of me.
We hiked nearly 20 miles uphill over slick rock + through sand with snow boots + snowshoes strapped to my back.
By the time we finally reached snow it became obvious the conditions were not ideal so after only 2 miles in snowshoes we turned around…to eventually finish our day with 42 miles of wintry desert shenanigans, bacon + rice krispie treats.
No longer pressed for time on the return trip we paused to address cranky tendons, dump sand from our socks + shoes, make a game of picking up trash, guesstimate distances based on our echos and let ourselves find our own ways to be independent friends. Unfortunately, I never worked up the courage to pee of that edge.
But I did learn how important food is. Even if you’re only two miles from the trailhead and you know pizza is in your future, EAT! An exhausted, hungry Heidi gets irrationally cranky + bossy in milliseconds. It’s not pretty + I’ll try not to let it happen again…probably.
In the past week I’ve scrolled through hundreds of photos taken along the trails. It got me thinking…about my first time actually running on trails. It happened years ago + only because someone who barely knew me believed in my stubborn determination stick with it even if I did whine a bit.
It was a simple run on a well known local trail but I remember all the random details.
— The trailhead parking lot where I didn’t have cash to pay the fee.
— The terrifying terrain my roadie feet didn’t know how to navigate + how diligently I tried to follow his footsteps over the rocks + stumps.
— The easy flow of chatter as we scampered through the woods, me following without making note of where the trail wandered.
— The rock outcropping we watched the sunset from while eating cinnamon rolls that magically appeared from a running pack.
— The sense of newbie shame that came with forgetting my headlamp + jacket.
— The stomach-in-throat panic + girly freakout caused by a face-to-face encounter with the biggest glowing spider + spider web I’ve ever seen.
— The unexplainable sense of accomplishment when my no-more-than-a-10K legs were easily running back into the parking lot nearly 10 miles later.
That’s all it took. That skilled enabler that took me on my first trail run got me thinking about endurance + determination. A few days later I ran 26.2 miles to “see if I could do it” then promptly signed up for my first 50K. And that poor enabling friend of mine? Don’t worry…I paid him back with many, many miles of training, pacing + crewing. It’s made me a better trail runner + whiner.
Since then almost every long run has been motivated by miles of chatter, stunning scenery, trailside treats + moments of “wow, I just did that!” euphoria. In my world, these are the things trail running are all about. It’s what I encourage + why I’m a giddy
I used to be someone who planned out all the details + had very specific expectations for every event. I haven’t completely ditched the planning — I still get giddy about color coordinated lists — but I over the last two years my expectations for myself + life have changed a lot.
Oh, I still have expectations, they’re just a bit different. Hitting the trail on a snowy day? Forget time, distance or distance. Heck, forget the running shoes, layer up in real winter gear + shake trees, make snow angles + tromp out snow artwork!
The time you spend outside it’s always about running or training or cross training or IG photos. Sometimes it is…but most days it’s the “screw this, I’m going outside” moments that you remember.
Like that one time we were the first ones on the trails leading away from NCAR. We made it maybe two miles up the trail but we shook ever tree + dug out snow pits + giggled like children. Some days you just need to forget what’s expected of your decisions or personality or feelings. Just go with it…it’ll be worth it. At the very least, you’ll end up with a good story!
I always tell people rain is fun, because…puddles! I stand by that statement but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having at least a bit of a struggle with the constant rain @mtnsandmiles + I encountered during our first few days of our Torres del Paine backpacking trip.
And we attempted to avoid the puddles until we came upon a knee deep river crossing. We had no choice…we gave in. With soaked shoes we skipped, hopped, splashed + danced through every puddle we could find. Then Logan fell in…and I laughed so hard I couldn’t help her out.
Tromping through the puddles didn’t make the train go away but it did stop our grumbling. How’s that for a life lesson metaphor!
Last March’s trip to Chile was my first attempt at *real* international travel [I’m not counting study abroad in SKorea] and it doled out a few reality checks but I’ll forever love Logan for giving me an excuse to get my tush out there. I met incredibly welcoming people, showered less than I should have, discovered hostel life + figured out how to live out of UD’s 30L Fastpack. It all gave me the guts to pack up for Europe five months later.
Optional Moral of the Story: I’m the “friend” that will laugh myself into the ground will you struggle to pick yourself up out of a puddle.
Not a bad place to brush your teeth, right?! Had I stuck to my original plan to complete the Tour du Mont Blanc trail I never would have found Cabana d’Orny…the Swiss Alps Club hut that changed all of my plans.
As I packed for Europe last fall I kept saying “I’m going to go with the flow, just see what happens”. I meant it, as much as I could at the time. But when I started out on my own, after the UTMB races, I felt this uncomfortable pressure to do certain things…like complete the entire TMB trail at “fastpack” speeds.
Less than two days in I stopped having fun. Rather than being excited about getting out in the trail I was dreading the trek from one touristy city to the next. Something wasn’t working for me.
At the suggestion of a few hostel strangers I broke away from the TMB trail and headed up the mountain toward a glacier. A few hours later I found Glacier d’Orny…then Cabana d’Orny + Cabana Trient. I worked up the courage to ask the German hut guardians if I could stay there and, boom, I discovered the Swiss Alpine Club hut system.
This hut + the amazingly friendly people I met there [ahem, @rolandpabst +@cindypabst] unknowingly gave me permission to do what I wanted rather than what I thought I *needed* to do. So, yes…this is a pretty fantastic place to brush your teeth! 😬🏔💚
While I’m definitely not done growing, changing or learning I think my last solo trek in Switzerland in November is a pretty perfect example of who I am right now.
With only a few days left in Europe, before I ventured back to the States just in time for Thanksgiving, I got ambitious…the Tour de Grand Muveran was calling my name. It is a 52K trek around the Grand Muveran that the average hiker does in 4-6 days. I literally did not have time to be an “average hiker”…I finally found an excuse to play my ultra runner card!
I only had two days. I packed my@ultimatedirectionusa FastPack with a few layers of clothes, enough food for a three days, basic emergency necessities + lots of caffeine…then off I went!
The mountain trails took me up, up, up. I ran whenever the terrain welcomed it + hiked when the terrain demanded it. I met a few people out on day hikes but for the most part I was alone. But I wouldn’t say I was lonely.
I talked to myself.
I talked to the critter footprints.
I talked to the lichen.
I talked to Snapchat.
As I neared the first pass summit in the early afternoon I got excited…downhill! Then I crested that pass summit + nearly got blown off the mountain. The trail I was following vanished. into a field of wind blown snow. The wind was so strong I literally could not stand up straight.
My only sensible option was to turn around…which is exactly what I did. I was prepared for a night in the Alps. I had the gear, the food, the mindset…but Mother Nature said “nope”. Guess it was time to change plans.
I spent maybe three seconds being bummed about my thwarted plans before scampering back down the mountain…there was an orange came being baked back at the hostel + I was going to make it back in time for dinner + dessert! Even better? I got to spend the next day on the Tour de Argentine with friends. #silverlining
Those are just a few nuggets of the experiences I’ve had on the dirt ribbons that have been taking over my life. It’s weird, so much of those moments of life that happen outside have transferred over to other parts of my life. As I started being more outgoing + adventurous on the trails simply because it made me happy I saw similar changes in my daily life. It’s like the moment you realize it’s okay to like broccoli as a kid…suddenly it’s delicious and you’re totally okay with Mom adding it to most meals, not just once a week!
I actually enjoyed sharing these random photos + their memories I think I’ll start doing it a bit more often, most likely on Instagram [go follow @heidikumm, if Instagram is your jam]. It’s fun to remember…the moment, the people, the story, the change.