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#smileoryouredoingitwrong

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There are so many reasons to be grateful. Like having amazing friends. ✨ #ultramarathon #ultrarunners #kodiakultramarathons #smileoryouredoingitwrong #maskorima

•Wear a smile - one size fits all!• Jeans, jacket and shoes: @frauensache_wue
#smileoryouredoingitwrong #wüfashion #styleprix #teenchoice #thegirlsoutfits

UTMB 2017 Race Report part 5/6
*******
I wanted to quit so bad. Funny thing about quitting when you're in the middle of a blizzard on the side of a mountain, you cannot. Lie down and die or keep moving. I choose the latter. At the top, the wind was 60mph and icicles were growing sideways on the course flags. The downhill should have been a nice bomb, but I was out of gas. I stumbled into La Fouly aid station a broken man. My only saving grace was that I knew I would see Lauren in 9 miles. They had vegetarian soup and I sat and had 2 bowls with 10 pieces of baguette and started to feel reborn. The energy returned, and I charged down the Swiss valley eager to see Lauren. In my mind, once I got to her I only had 20 miles to go. 20 miles is just a little jog in the park as we all know. My math was wrong and a new level of pain cave was in my future. I managed to reengage my legs and push up the hill to Champex La aid station (Mile 80) where I met Lauren. This aid station was incredible. They had live music and delicious-looking food. I drank a Red Bull, ate a bag of Fritos, and had some soup. Three more climbs and 26 or so miles. Energized and motivated, I took off. Darkness was coming and as sunset number two finished, I put on my headlamp. It started raining hard again or maybe it never stopped. This mountain had by far the worse mud of the whole course. I cursed and moaned. So bitter that I couldn't move faster. Fuck, I finally felt good again and was sinking in mud. The downhill was worse. Unable to ski down due to the technicality of roots and rocks, I slowly made my way down. But I made it and still felt good. Lauren was anxiously waiting. My tracker had stopped working and it showed me motionless off the side of a cliff for an hour. Red Bull, cookies, baguette, and off I went. Only two climbs to go! I was 90+ miles in and the fire was lit. I attacked that mountain like I had fresh legs. At the ridgeline, I was running fast to catch a group ahead and had a good trip. I went flying off the side the mountain, but was able to grab ahold of some plants and long grasses. Self-arrest successful, but a little scary.
To be continued...

UTMB 2017 Race Report part 3/6
*******
And off I went into the night and started the first significant climb to the top of Bonhomme. Around Mile 22, it really started raining. It was getting quite steep, and the mud was everywhere. I stopped and put on my rain jacket, gloves, and pulled out the pussy sticks. The ascent turned quite technical with large step-ups and rock formations. We were in a cloud and visibility was quite poor. The combination of a headlamp and cloud basically blinds you because the light reflects off all the moisture in the air. A large conga line had formed. We were not moving fast, and it was getting cold. Around 6500’ elevation it started to snow. At the top, we were treated to basically white-out conditions. Luckily, the other side of the mountain was much nicer; the snow fall decreased, and mud disappeared. It was a beautiful single track that I was able to run down quite fast and regain some lost time. At the bottom was Chapiuex aid station. I decided I needed a little caffeine, so I tried some Coke for the first time in 10 years. What's the saying about don't try new things on race day? Either way, the Coke worked and I shoved some more baguettes in my mouth and got out of there. It was warm and the carnage was starting to add up; exhausted runners lay everywhere. I looked at my watch, 31 miles down with 10,000’ of vert! Let's start climbing again. 19 miles to Lauren. The climb to Col Seigne was hard. Again, we were faced with snow and limited visibility. When you can't see more than a couple feet ahead of you, it's difficult to charge. After Col Seigne we dropped down just to climb to Mt. Favre. I know this only because the map told me. Conditions were bad, and I was just trying to get through it. What the two summits did was keep us all in the snow for an extended period of time. To be positive though, the wind was not that bad yet.  We then started descending into Courmayeur. As we dropped into that Italian valley, the clouds parted briefly and I got my first sunrise. Probably the most beautiful part of the race. Lots of technical downhill, and my quads were starting to feel a little trashed.

To be continued....

UTMB 2017 Race Report part 6/6
******
The downhill was muddy, but something clicked and I figured out how to run down it. I embraced the mud. Don't try and avoid it. Look for the biggest deepest section and plant your foot right in it. Trying to go around it or looking for the places with the least amount of mud doesn't work in a 100-mile race. I didn't wear gaiters and even still the Hokas kept the mud out. And just like that I was at Vallorcine aid station. The last spot I would see Lauren before the finish. I felt strong and was impatient. I quickly drank a Red Bull and was out of there. I didn't even fill my water bottle. I wanted to keep the momentum going and failed to think about the future. The last section had been changed due to the inclement weather and I was given poor intel from an aid station. I underestimated it and thought I could just fly through to the end. Only 10.5 miles to go, and we all know 10 miles is nothing. The first 3 were slightly uphill and easy. Then—bang—1000 feet of vert over less than a mile. My legs were screaming in pain. How deep can we explore that pain cave? This might be a good time to also mention that for the last 18 hours of the race I had been hallucinating. They started mildly but at this point had progressed to almost every rock, stump, or leaf looked like something else. Moss on rocks became faces and boulders became couches. I saw a man lying unconscious on the trail only to realize it was only a puddle of water when I attempted to help him. Back to the trail. We got to the top of the first climb and then began rapidly descending the other side. It was steep, the trail was poor and a cloud had moved in limiting visibility. So here I was, basically blind and hallucinating, 102+ miles in and needing to start Class-3 climbing down rocks. I was displeased to say the least. We descended over 1000 feet and then started climbing again. I was thirsty and out of water. I was hungry and out of food. I was so close to being done and yet couldn't see the end. This climb went on for about 2000 feet. It seemed never ending. I would have drunk from a stream if I found one.

UTMB 2017 Race Report part 4/6
*******
Courmayeur was the Mile 50 aid station and where you could get your drop bag. Lauren was there, and she helped put a smile on my face. But I was starting to suffer and knew that I was going to start struggling. I recharged my watch, switched iPods, drank a Red Bull, and ate a huge plate of pasta (when in Italy…). I should have reapplied my lube earlier. I waited to get to the aid station to reapply and by then the ass chaffing was painful. Oh well, the pain helped keep me awake. Off I went up another big climb. This is where the wheels came off the train. My legs started feeling weak, not tired, but lifeless. I was moving, but without much purpose and for the first time in the race was getting passed. At Bertone I was so tired. I had some easier miles ahead of me and couldn't get into any sort of positive rhythm. I just forced myself to keep moving forward and played with negative scenarios in my head. I attempted to turn it around multiple times, however, none of my mental tricks worked and I just sank deeper into the darkness. At Mile 60 it started raining hard and was very cold. Flurries of hail and snow came and went. I had a 2-mile, mostly downhill section to the aid station, so I figured I'd push through and change gear in the comfort of a warm tent. I was cold and wet when I entered Arnouvaz aid station. I had a big climb ahead of me and judging by the weather it would be very cold. I put on my long-sleeved thermal shirt, rain jacket, beanie, buff, and got out my warm water-resistant gloves. I then went to eat. As I grabbed some baguettes, I was told that we had to put our waterproof pants on as well or couldn't continue the race. Apparently, conditions were so extreme at Col Ferret they wanted us wearing everything. I started worrying they might delay us leaving, or worse, cancel the race, and so I got out of there fast. This was a huge mistake as I didn't take in enough calories and, in hindsight, was already operating at a deficit. About 400’ into the climb, the snow started and did not stop until I was on the other side at the bottom. It took me 4 hours to go 9 miles.

To be continued...

UTMB 2017 Race Report part 2/6
*******
We started at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. Imagine thousands of runners packed into the tiny streets of Chamonix. After the race started, I probably didn't cross the start line for 10 minutes. Then it was a slow walk for another 10 minutes down the center of town. Thousands of people lined the streets, all reaching out for a high fives. I neurotically thought about how dirty someone's hand would be that gave 500 high fives and stayed in the middle of the pack. Easier to avoid the awkwardness of not high fiving. After a quarter mile, we started trotting and finally we were running. There is no organization to how the runners are lined up at the start, with the exception of the professionals, and so I spent a couple miles passing hundreds of people. It was crowded; everyone walked the slightest uphill, and people busted out the trekking poles (pussy sticks) immediately. So the beginning kind of sucked. It was a mostly downhill dirt single track, and then we got on road when passing little communities. After some gentle miles, we started our first climb. It was a standard ski-mountain climb, steep but runnable in many areas, and so I continued to make up time. I was feeling good and enjoying the views. We descended into St. Gervais, and I refilled my water and ate a couple pieces of baguette (when in France…). It was dark now, and I was running by headlamp. It was brisk but not freezing and occasionally there were slight sprinkles. Around Mile 20 I arrived at the Contamines aid station. Minutes before on the descent, I had taken my eye off the trail for a second and tripped, flying off the trail, down a steep embankment, only to be saved by a small tree. Lesson learned early on: focus Andy, focus. Lauren was waiting for me at Contimines. I drank a Red Bull, refilled my water and ate more baguettes. It was great seeing her but sobering realizing it would be another 30 hard miles before I saw her again.

To be continued....
#ultramarathon #ultrarunning #trailrunning #trailrunner #mountainrunning #runnersofthewild #run #runner #veggiepower #nomeatathlete #dontbesorrybebetter #carbopro #hokaoneone #beyourownchampion #rei1440project

Exploring Paris with @lavariaslauren is the best active recovery from UTMB. The artwork at the Musee d'Orsay is breathtaking. Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Degas...Incredible. Still a little sore, but overall feeling great. What a perfect vacation. Smile or you're doing it wrong. .
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#ultramarathon #ultrarunning #trailrunning #trailrunner #mountainrunning #runnersofthewild #run #runner #veggiepower #nomeatathlete #dontbesorrybebetter #carbopro #hokaoneone #beyourownchampion #rei1440project #runobsessed #runitfast #utmb #100miler #race #fenix5x #dbap #behumblesitdown #smileoryouredoingitwrong #notinclaremontanymore #activerecovery #museedorsay #paris

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UTMB 2017 Race Report part 6/6
******
The downhill was muddy, but something clicked and I figured out how to run down it. I embraced the mud. Don't try and avoid it. Look for the biggest deepest section and plant your foot right in it. Trying to go around it or looking for the places with the least amount of mud doesn't work in a 100-mile race. I didn't wear gaiters and even still the Hokas kept the mud out. And just like that I was at Vallorcine aid station. The last spot I would see Lauren before the finish. I felt strong and was impatient. I quickly drank a Red Bull and was out of there. I didn't even fill my water bottle. I wanted to keep the momentum going and failed to think about the future. The last section had been changed due to the inclement weather and I was given poor intel from an aid station. I underestimated it and thought I could just fly through to the end. Only 10.5 miles to go, and we all know 10 miles is nothing. The first 3 were slightly uphill and easy. Then—bang—1000 feet of vert over less than a mile. My legs were screaming in pain. How deep can we explore that pain cave? This might be a good time to also mention that for the last 18 hours of the race I had been hallucinating. They started mildly but at this point had progressed to almost every rock, stump, or leaf looked like something else. Moss on rocks became faces and boulders became couches. I saw a man lying unconscious on the trail only to realize it was only a puddle of water when I attempted to help him. Back to the trail. We got to the top of the first climb and then began rapidly descending the other side. It was steep, the trail was poor and a cloud had moved in limiting visibility. So here I was, basically blind and hallucinating, 102+ miles in and needing to start Class-3 climbing down rocks. I was displeased to say the least. We descended over 1000 feet and then started climbing again. I was thirsty and out of water. I was hungry and out of food. I was so close to being done and yet couldn't see the end. This climb went on for about 2000 feet. It seemed never ending. I would have drunk from a stream if I found one.

UTMB 2017 Race Report part 5/6
*******
I wanted to quit so bad. Funny thing about quitting when you're in the middle of a blizzard on the side of a mountain, you cannot. Lie down and die or keep moving. I choose the latter. At the top, the wind was 60mph and icicles were growing sideways on the course flags. The downhill should have been a nice bomb, but I was out of gas. I stumbled into La Fouly aid station a broken man. My only saving grace was that I knew I would see Lauren in 9 miles. They had vegetarian soup and I sat and had 2 bowls with 10 pieces of baguette and started to feel reborn. The energy returned, and I charged down the Swiss valley eager to see Lauren. In my mind, once I got to her I only had 20 miles to go. 20 miles is just a little jog in the park as we all know. My math was wrong and a new level of pain cave was in my future. I managed to reengage my legs and push up the hill to Champex La aid station (Mile 80) where I met Lauren. This aid station was incredible. They had live music and delicious-looking food. I drank a Red Bull, ate a bag of Fritos, and had some soup. Three more climbs and 26 or so miles. Energized and motivated, I took off. Darkness was coming and as sunset number two finished, I put on my headlamp. It started raining hard again or maybe it never stopped. This mountain had by far the worse mud of the whole course. I cursed and moaned. So bitter that I couldn't move faster. Fuck, I finally felt good again and was sinking in mud. The downhill was worse. Unable to ski down due to the technicality of roots and rocks, I slowly made my way down. But I made it and still felt good. Lauren was anxiously waiting. My tracker had stopped working and it showed me motionless off the side of a cliff for an hour. Red Bull, cookies, baguette, and off I went. Only two climbs to go! I was 90+ miles in and the fire was lit. I attacked that mountain like I had fresh legs. At the ridgeline, I was running fast to catch a group ahead and had a good trip. I went flying off the side the mountain, but was able to grab ahold of some plants and long grasses. Self-arrest successful, but a little scary.
To be continued...

UTMB 2017 Race Report part 4/6
*******
Courmayeur was the Mile 50 aid station and where you could get your drop bag. Lauren was there, and she helped put a smile on my face. But I was starting to suffer and knew that I was going to start struggling. I recharged my watch, switched iPods, drank a Red Bull, and ate a huge plate of pasta (when in Italy…). I should have reapplied my lube earlier. I waited to get to the aid station to reapply and by then the ass chaffing was painful. Oh well, the pain helped keep me awake. Off I went up another big climb. This is where the wheels came off the train. My legs started feeling weak, not tired, but lifeless. I was moving, but without much purpose and for the first time in the race was getting passed. At Bertone I was so tired. I had some easier miles ahead of me and couldn't get into any sort of positive rhythm. I just forced myself to keep moving forward and played with negative scenarios in my head. I attempted to turn it around multiple times, however, none of my mental tricks worked and I just sank deeper into the darkness. At Mile 60 it started raining hard and was very cold. Flurries of hail and snow came and went. I had a 2-mile, mostly downhill section to the aid station, so I figured I'd push through and change gear in the comfort of a warm tent. I was cold and wet when I entered Arnouvaz aid station. I had a big climb ahead of me and judging by the weather it would be very cold. I put on my long-sleeved thermal shirt, rain jacket, beanie, buff, and got out my warm water-resistant gloves. I then went to eat. As I grabbed some baguettes, I was told that we had to put our waterproof pants on as well or couldn't continue the race. Apparently, conditions were so extreme at Col Ferret they wanted us wearing everything. I started worrying they might delay us leaving, or worse, cancel the race, and so I got out of there fast. This was a huge mistake as I didn't take in enough calories and, in hindsight, was already operating at a deficit. About 400’ into the climb, the snow started and did not stop until I was on the other side at the bottom. It took me 4 hours to go 9 miles.

To be continued...

UTMB 2017 Race Report part 3/6
*******
And off I went into the night and started the first significant climb to the top of Bonhomme. Around Mile 22, it really started raining. It was getting quite steep, and the mud was everywhere. I stopped and put on my rain jacket, gloves, and pulled out the pussy sticks. The ascent turned quite technical with large step-ups and rock formations. We were in a cloud and visibility was quite poor. The combination of a headlamp and cloud basically blinds you because the light reflects off all the moisture in the air. A large conga line had formed. We were not moving fast, and it was getting cold. Around 6500’ elevation it started to snow. At the top, we were treated to basically white-out conditions. Luckily, the other side of the mountain was much nicer; the snow fall decreased, and mud disappeared. It was a beautiful single track that I was able to run down quite fast and regain some lost time. At the bottom was Chapiuex aid station. I decided I needed a little caffeine, so I tried some Coke for the first time in 10 years. What's the saying about don't try new things on race day? Either way, the Coke worked and I shoved some more baguettes in my mouth and got out of there. It was warm and the carnage was starting to add up; exhausted runners lay everywhere. I looked at my watch, 31 miles down with 10,000’ of vert! Let's start climbing again. 19 miles to Lauren. The climb to Col Seigne was hard. Again, we were faced with snow and limited visibility. When you can't see more than a couple feet ahead of you, it's difficult to charge. After Col Seigne we dropped down just to climb to Mt. Favre. I know this only because the map told me. Conditions were bad, and I was just trying to get through it. What the two summits did was keep us all in the snow for an extended period of time. To be positive though, the wind was not that bad yet.  We then started descending into Courmayeur. As we dropped into that Italian valley, the clouds parted briefly and I got my first sunrise. Probably the most beautiful part of the race. Lots of technical downhill, and my quads were starting to feel a little trashed.

To be continued....

UTMB 2017 Race Report part 2/6
*******
We started at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. Imagine thousands of runners packed into the tiny streets of Chamonix. After the race started, I probably didn't cross the start line for 10 minutes. Then it was a slow walk for another 10 minutes down the center of town. Thousands of people lined the streets, all reaching out for a high fives. I neurotically thought about how dirty someone's hand would be that gave 500 high fives and stayed in the middle of the pack. Easier to avoid the awkwardness of not high fiving. After a quarter mile, we started trotting and finally we were running. There is no organization to how the runners are lined up at the start, with the exception of the professionals, and so I spent a couple miles passing hundreds of people. It was crowded; everyone walked the slightest uphill, and people busted out the trekking poles (pussy sticks) immediately. So the beginning kind of sucked. It was a mostly downhill dirt single track, and then we got on road when passing little communities. After some gentle miles, we started our first climb. It was a standard ski-mountain climb, steep but runnable in many areas, and so I continued to make up time. I was feeling good and enjoying the views. We descended into St. Gervais, and I refilled my water and ate a couple pieces of baguette (when in France…). It was dark now, and I was running by headlamp. It was brisk but not freezing and occasionally there were slight sprinkles. Around Mile 20 I arrived at the Contamines aid station. Minutes before on the descent, I had taken my eye off the trail for a second and tripped, flying off the trail, down a steep embankment, only to be saved by a small tree. Lesson learned early on: focus Andy, focus. Lauren was waiting for me at Contimines. I drank a Red Bull, refilled my water and ate more baguettes. It was great seeing her but sobering realizing it would be another 30 hard miles before I saw her again.

To be continued....
#ultramarathon #ultrarunning #trailrunning #trailrunner #mountainrunning #runnersofthewild #run #runner #veggiepower #nomeatathlete #dontbesorrybebetter #carbopro #hokaoneone #beyourownchampion #rei1440project

We finished the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in 36 hours and 39 minutes. I could not have done it without the help, love and support of @lavariaslauren. I was in a very dark low point from mile 50 to 80. She was the light at the end of that tunnel. She makes me a better stronger person and for that I am grateful. Thank you so much. I'll write a race report soon entitled, "Rain, Mud, Snow, Wind or how I learned to love the mountains." Smile or you're doing it wrong. .
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#ultramarathon #ultrarunning #trailrunning #trailrunner #mountainrunning #runnersofthewild #run #runner #veggiepower #nomeatathlete #dontbesorrybebetter #carbopro #hokaoneone #beyourownchampion #rei1440project #runobsessed #runitfast #utmb #100miler #race #fenix5x #dbap #nakedrunner #utmb #behumblesitdown #smileoryouredoingitwrong #findmespot #theweatheroutsideisfrightful #notinclaremontanymore

Tomorrow at 6pm I begin the adventure of my lifetime. I will be running Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. A 171km race with 10,000+ meters of vertical climbing. We start in France, run through the Alps into Italy, then into Switzerland and back to France. It took me years to qualify and luck to win the lottery. I'm here in Chamonix, France now awaiting the challenge. It pouring rain and suppose to snow. Luckily, I have @lavariaslauren crewing me and making sure I'm okay. And it's suppose to snow! No naked running for me. Smile or you're doing it wrong.
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#ultramarathon #ultrarunning #trailrunning #trailrunner #mountainrunning #runnersofthewild #run #runner #veggiepower #nomeatathlete #dontbesorrybebetter #carbopro #hokaoneone #beyourownchampion #rei1440project #runobsessed #runitfast #utmb #100miler #race #fenix5x #dbap #nakedrunner #utmb #behumblesitdown #smileoryouredoingitwrong

There are so many reasons to be grateful. Like having amazing friends. ✨ #ultramarathon #ultrarunners #kodiakultramarathons #smileoryouredoingitwrong #maskorima

They say if you don't like the weather in the Sierras, then just wait a minute. Before this sunset we had dark thunder clouds and rain. After the afternoon storm we were presented with this beautiful sunset.
We began our hike at Twin Lakes outside of Bridgeport, CA. We first hiked to Robinson Lake and made camp. We had to cross 2 knee high rivers and swarms of mosquitos. Don't forget your deet. We hiked up and over Mule Pass the next day. Entering Yosemite and finding this campsite on an unnamed lake, sitting between the Sawtooth Ridge and Finger Peaks.
#ultramarathon #ultrarunning #trailrunning #trailrunner #mountainrunning #runnersofthewild #run #runner #veggiepower #nomeatathlete #dontbesorrybebetter #carbopro #hokaoneone #garmin #fenix5x #beyourownchampion #summit #mountain #peakbagger #rei1440project #runobsessed #activerecovery #Yosemite #runitfast #Matterhornpeak #highsierras #backpacking #hiking #smileoryouredoingitwrong

Bagged Matterhorn Peak (12,279') in Yosemite during my epic backpacking trip. Mostly class 3 climbing with a little class 4 at the top. We climbed Burro pass and followed the ridge up. That Sawtooth Ridge is breathtaking. Last vacation before UTMB. Take that Kerouac.
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#ultramarathon #ultrarunning #trailrunning #trailrunner #mountainrunning #runnersofthewild #run #runner #veggiepower #nomeatathlete #dontbesorrybebetter #carbopro #hokaoneone #garmin #fenix5x #beyourownchampion #summit #mountain #peakbagger #rei1440project #runobsessed #activerecovery #Matterhorn #Matterhornpeak #Yosemite #runitfast #findmespot #smileoryouredoingitwrong #pushforthepeak #utmb

24 years ago I summited my first peak, Wheeler Crest. We were having a family reunion at Sky Meadow Ranch and my three cousins and I decided it would be a fun thing to do. I was instantly hooked and have spent countless hours bagging peaks ever since. I revisited my first peak today and the view did not disappoint.
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#ultramarathon #ultrarunning #trailrunning #trailrunner #mountainrunning #runnersofthewild #run #runner #veggiepower #nomeatathlete #dontbesorrybebetter #carbopro #hokaoneone #garmin #fenix5x #beyourownchampion #summit #mountain #peakbagger #rei1440project #runobsessed #activerecovery #wheelercrest #runitfast #smileoryouredoingitwrong #skymeadowranch #utmb

Completed a double San Gorgonio Mountain summit today. 36 miles and 11.5k of vert. Starting around midnight under a full moon I solo ran up and down the mountain. I wore my entire #UTMB kit and it performed quite well. Looks like I'll be using Nathan's new #vaporkrar hydration vest. After getting back to parking lot and eating a little bit I changed from night ops to day ops. @runcoachkrun joined me, dragging and pushing me up for the second time. At 10,000 feet I was so swollen I looked like a marshmallow. The summit was beautiful the second time and we could see from Big Bear to Santiago peak. Afterwards we gorged ourselves at @thestateonstate . Nap time. It's what you do in the dark that puts you in the light.
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#ultramarathon #ultrarunning #trailrunning #trailrunner #mountainrunning #runnersofthewild #run #runner #veggiepower #nomeatathlete #dontbesorrybebetter #carbopro #hokaoneone #garmin #fenix5x #beyourownchampion
#mountaineering #sangorgonio #summit #mountain #taper #rei1440project #runobsessed #activerecovery #sangorgonio #runitfast #sidechick #smileoryouredoingitwrong #naps

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