Forgoing The Passive Route and Flaunting Compassion

** Though it may seem unnecessary since this is my blog, I want to reiterate that these views are mine.**

First, thoughts from The Women’s March on January 20th, 2017. Second, what’s happened since. Third, some very important phone numbers.

_dsc8860
Photo: @carolinelovesphotos

The Women’s March

Feeling full of hope, yet also full of exhaustion. I’m tired of everything that is unfair, wrong and depressing. My privilege is overwhelming to the point of guilt. I feel empowered, yet paralyzed. I feel swift and strong, yet so insignificant. I sometimes wonder if there’s any point in trying to make change.

Then I remember this awe-inspiring thing called humanity. I remember that I’m a part of it. Like in a bee colony, every bee matters. I’m a worker bee and there’s lots of pollen to collect. Small granules that I’m capable and willing to pick up, to bring back to the hive. Like a hive needs individual pollen granules, humanity needs individuals making small changes of improvement.

For me, it starts with unyielding compassion. Compassion for the people I interact with everyday. Compassion for people who deserve extra love and understanding due to their genetics, their upbringing, their lack of opportunity, their bad luck. Going the extra pollen granule to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

Like the person who needs an extra quarter at the launder mat, who doesn’t speak much English, but hey, THIS IS AMERICA! Who cares if he doesn’t know English in this moment? Give him a quarter because you are both part of this thing called humanity. And the chance that he has had less privilege than you, by complete randomness, is pretty darn high. Let’s all realize that a lot of our success is due to our genes and our upbringing. Think about people’s misfortunes similarly. Often, misfortunes are actually not someone’s personal fault, but due to those random parts of each of us.

We could all exude more compassion for the randomness of humanity. If we all did our part to collect more pollen for the hive, we’d be better off. This means: stand up for those discriminated against on basis of religion, sexuality, ethnicity, wealth, or myriad other reasons; give that quarter to a fellow human; give that $50 to Planned Parenthood; buy less crap you don’t need; use less energy that emits fossil fuels; donate your time locally to those who need your pollen.

Though this should’ve been my biggest goal at the onset of the New Year, it took twenty days and the largest march in history to catalyze these thoughts and to realize now, more than ever, the importance of compassion.

Forgoing the Passive Route

I’m so grateful to be associated with a company like The North Face, who skipped the easy, passive route this weekend. The North Face told its athletes that it supported us if we wanted to march. I was planning on going already, coincidentally (or not) with my TNF teammate, sky running shredder, Hillary Allen and photographer friend Caroline Treadway. The North Face didn’t stop at just support. They posted two photos about the March on their Instagram. The photos showcased support for everything the March stood for: equality for all, climate change mitigation, women’s and minorities’ rights.

Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 20.29.49.png

Sure, it would’ve been extremely easy for TNF to not post anything about the March. To choose a sweet ski or snowboard photo to amaze and inspire us during these winter months. But no. Those photos come the day before and the day after January 20th. On this seminal day, The North Face chose to stand for equality and for what’s right in this increasingly frightening atmosphere. The North Face chose to stand for compassion.

My take on the few comments that opposed these posts is simple: If someone wants to live in a vanilla world where climate change and discrimination against minorities and women doesn’t exist, then by all means, I encourage the search for that vanilla glazed niche of social media, and of the world in general, that shows only the passive, easy route. That’s a world that ignores important issues that affect us all.

That being said, if you’re a The North Face customer, chances are you enjoy the outdoors. Thus, that vanilla niche without conflict doesn’t actually exist. Climate change is affecting every biome, every ecological niche on the planet. This is undisputed. Public lands are at risk for being sold to private owners, preventing our access to enjoy open spaces.

The North Face isn’t afraid of making this known. That the world we live in isn’t a neutral sea of vanilla and fresh powder. Of course I, too, wish it were as simple as that. That there weren’t climate change or discrimination. That women in this country didn’t have to face the possibility of losing access to affordable birth control, Pap smears, and family planning services.

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-20-28-43

What’s Happened Since The March

To reiterate how The North Face wasn’t posting merely for dramatic effect, but out of real reason for concern, just yesterday, President Trump reinstated the Gag Rule. This is the defunding for any NGO that even mentions abortions as part of their services, this includes Planned Parenthood International. When in reality, these NGOs are primarily providing critically important reproductive health and family planning services.

It won’t stop abortion, but it will make it less safe. Experts suggest that this will result in an increase in deaths in developing countries, which currently receive care from such NGOs, due to an expected increase in unsafe abortions and lack of access to and birth control. Abortion rates are lower when access to affordable birth control is available.

This is a prime example of how women around the world are already worse off than they were last week. The world and now our country, more so than ever, are far from vanilla.

Lastly: the health of our environment. Just this morning President Trump just revived the Keystone XL pipeline and passed construction orders on the Dakota Access pipeline. Concerning Earth’s health, this is not good. It’s undisputed that these pipelines will negatively, and significantly, contribute to climate change.

We have a long, dare I say terrifying, four years ahead of us. At the very, very least we can exude infinite compassion.

Find Your Two New Favorite Phone Numbers

If you’re compelled to actively speak out, which I highly encourage you to do so, here are the phone numbers of every state’s Senators. The way approval for each Cabinet nominee (leaders of Executive Branch Departments) works is the Senate votes on each nominee and a simple majority is all it takes for approval. Thus, calling your state’s two Senators and urging them to consider each of Trump’s cabinet nominees very carefully would be doing something.

Specific to the environment, I recommend you recommend your Senator to not vote for Trump’s EPA director nominee, Scott Pruitt, who has spent much of his time as Oklahoma’s attorney general fighting the EPA over clean air and water regulations and greenhouse gas emission mitigations.

I don’t care if you’re red, blue, purple, or tie-dye, if you care about the quality of air you breath, of water you drink and whether your grandkids will get to play in ample snow, you should probably speed dial your Senators now. Leave a message if they aren’t there, or call back during office hours tomorrow.

In alphabetical order by state:

Jeff Sessions (R-AL) (202) 224-4124

Richard Shelby (R-AL) (202) 224-5744

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) (202) 224-6665

Dan Sullivan (R-AK) (202) 224-3004

Jeff Flake (R-AZ) (202) 224-4521

John McCain (R-AZ) (202) 224-2235

John Boozman (R-AR) (202) 224-4843

Tom Cotton (R-AR) (202) 224-2353

Barbara Boxer (D-CA) (202) 224-3553

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (202) 224-3841

Michael Bennet (D-CO) (202) 224-5852

Cory Gardner (R-CO) (202) 224-5941

Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (202) 224-2823

Chris Murphy (D-CT) (202) 224-4041

Tom Carper (D-DE) (202) 224-2441

Chris Coons (D-DE) (202) 224-5042

Bill Nelson (D-FL) (202) 224-5274

Marco Rubio (R-FL) (202) 224-3041

Johnny Isakson (R-GA) (202) 224-3643

David Perdue (R-GA) (202) 224-3521

Mazie Hirono (D-HI) (202) 224-6361

Brian Schatz (D-HI) (202) 224-3934

Mike Crapo (R-ID) (202) 224-6142

Jim Risch (R-ID) (202) 224-2752

Dick Durbin (D-IL) (202) 224-2152

Mark Kirk (R-IL) (202) 224-2854

Dan Coats (R-IN) (202) 224-5623

Joe Donnelly (D-IN) (202) 224-4814

Joni Ernst (R-IA) (202) 224-3254

Chuck Grassley (R-IA) (202) 224-3744

Jerry Moran (R-KS) (202) 224-6521

Pat Roberts (R-KS) (202) 224-4774

Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (202) 224-2541

Rand Paul (R-KY) (202) 224-4343

Bill Cassidy (R-LA) (202) 224-5824

Dave Vitter (R-LA) (202) 224-4623

Susan Collins (R-ME) (202) 224-2523

Angus King (I-ME) (202) 224-5344

Ben Cardin (D-MD) (202) 224-4524

Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) (202) 224-4654

Ed Markey (D-MA) (202) 224-2742

Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (202) 224-4543

Gary Peters (D-MI) (202) 224-6221

Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) (202) 224-4822

Al Franken (D-MN) (202) 224-5641

Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) (202) 224-3244

Thad Cochran (R-MS) (202) 224-5054

Roger Wicker (R-MS) (202) 224-6253

Roy Blunt (R-MO) (202) 224-5721

Claire McCaskill (D-MO) (202) 224-6154

Steve Daines (R-MT) (202) 224-2651

Jon Tester (D-MT) (202) 224-2644

Deb Fischer (R-NE) (202) 224-6551

Ben Sasse (R-NE) (202) 224-4224

Dean Heller (R-NV) (202) 224-6244

Harry Reid (D-NV) (202) 224-3542

Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) (202) 224-3324

Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) (202) 224-2841

Cory Booker (D-NJ) (202) 224-3224

Bob Menendez (D-NJ) (202) 224-4744

Martin Heinrich (D-NM) (202) 224-5521

Tom Udall (D-NM) (202) 224-6621

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) (202) 224-4451

Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (202) 224-6542

Richard Burr (R-NC) (202) 224-3154

Thom Tillis (R-NC) (202) 224-6342

Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) (202) 224-2043

John Hoeven (R-ND) (202) 224-2551

Sherrod Brown (D-OH) (202) 224-2315

Rob Portman (R-OH) (202) 224-3353

Jim Inhofe (R-OK) (202) 224-4721

James Lankford (R-OK) (202) 224-5754

Jeff Merkley (D-OR) (202) 224-3753

Ron Wyden (D-OR) (202) 224-5244

Bob Casey (D-PA) (202) 224-6324

Pat Toomey (R-PA) (202) 224-4254

Jack Reed (D-RI) (202) 224-4642

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) (202) 224-2921

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (202) 224-5972

Tim Scott (R-SC) (202) 224-6121

Mike Rounds (R-SD) (202) 224-5842

John Thune (R-SD) (202) 224-2321

Lamar Alexander (R-TN) (202) 224-4944

Bob Corker (R-TN) (202) 224-3344

John Cornyn (R-TX) (202) 224-2934

Ted Cruz (R-TX) (202) 224-5922

Orrin Hatch (R-UT) (202) 224-5251

Mike Lee (R-UT) (202) 224-5444

Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (202) 224-4242

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (202) 224-5141

Tim Kaine (D-VA) (202) 224-4024

Mark Warner (D-VA) (202) 224-2023

Maria Cantwell (D-WA) (202) 224-3441

Patty Murray (D-WA) (202) 224-2621

Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) (202) 224-6472

Joe Manchin (D-WV) (202) 224-3954

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) (202) 224-5653

Ron Johnson (R-WI) (202) 224-5323

John Barrasso (R-WY) (202) 224-6441

Mike Enzi (R-WY) (202) 224-3424

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Wildlands Alliance Ambassador

Couldn’t be more honored to be a new Winter Wildlands Alliance Ambassador. The organization represents human-powered outdoor enthusiasts, advocating for quiet (non-motorized) recreation and climate change mitigation policies. They support the baller Backcountry Film Festival, and more importantly, they stand up for our shared public lands as the threat of increased motorized recreation and private land takeovers impends. I look forward to sharing as much information as possible on the state of public lands, climate change policy, and overall backcountry stoke through this platform. Whether we like it or not, we’re all in the business of environmental advocacy because who doesn’t enjoy recreating outside in state or national parks? Watch this informative and wintry short film for more info!

10683542_10206907995753093_8538083842521186103_o (1).jpg
I promise I’m keeping my eyes and ears open on what’s going on regarding OUR backcountry!

Thank You 2016

2016 Personal Year Review: It’s like a gear guide. Except not. There was a lot of stoke in 2016, and here’s just a tip of the melting iceberg of a year.

Moved to Boulder and found my trail running tribe. This was after living in Thailand for the majority of the previous two years. Exciting note about Thailand, my Earthraging water-safe and environmental stewardship program for underprivileged Thai students is thriving, without me!  Check it out.

My Dad cajoled me into partnering with him for various skimo races around Colorado. Little did I know, this would solidify my love for the sport. It also solidified that Team Fueled by Flatulence would never race as a team again. Picture: girl towing Dad. Girl yelling at Dad. Dad hitting tree. Dad breaking pole. Girl waiting for Dad. For hours…etc.

img_4511

Emergency rooms became my 12-hour work haunts. I scribed in ERs in the Denver Metro area. I had medical school aspirations and ERs only solidified my desire to work in medicine, and to work with people. I was constantly learning, laughing, and thinking. Little did I know that I would overhaul my aspirations six months later.

I tutored, and still tutor. Chemistry, math, writing. My tutees rock.

Princeton in Asia invited my Thailand, Earthraging partner, Haley Read and I to return to the annual banquet at Princeton and speak about our program to the Board of Trustees. An honor we’re not soon to forget.

img_4990

Raced Dirty Thirty 50k, in Black Canyon State Park, just outside Boulder, to gear up for summer. Got 2nd behind Alicia Shay. I was pleased.

img_5210

Many summer weekends were spent running in the mountains. The Salomon Squad of Boulder runs deep and it was an honor to be an initial member of the Ambassador Program.

img_5570img_5527

HOTSHOT repping. Talked to thousands of people about the neuromuscular workings of the spicy liquid shot that PREVENTS and TREATS cramping. Worked with awesome people who taught me a lot about cramping.

img_5851

Organic Chemistry II. I dropped it within five days. I realized I didn’t want to be a doctor anymore. Anguish, fear, feelings of failure ensued.

 

Published coral paper! This paper was based on research from my senior thesis on baby corals and crevices. This may be my proudest accomplishment of the year, considering I’m completely removed from an academic setting, and have been working with my advisor, Christopher Doropoulos, who lives in Brisbane, Australia, since my junior year at Princeton—4 years ago! Knowing how devastated the Earth’s coral reefs are from the impacts of climate change, I fear an ugly world for future generations. But I also have immense hope that the U.S. can stick to the Paris Agreement, even if our President doesn’t.

Raced USA 30km Trail Champs in Colorado Spring. Got second behind Megan Roche. Congrats to the fastie for getting Woman Ultra Runner of the Year.

img_5719

Raced Aspen Power of Four (25km) and won, barely. Two weeks till Leadville. Heavy legs and heavy heart in anticipation for my first 100-miler.

img_5837

Moved out of the Tiger Den, into Kreith Household. The Tiger Den was an adorable studio apartment that I shared with my former Princeton teammate, Molly Higgins. She ended her career as a professional triathlete as I ended my medical school plans. The Tiger Den went through a lot. I moved into a basement studio of two retired CU Professors, Frank and Marion Kreith. Frank pretty much invented solar technology. Both of them escaped the Holocaust. I’ve learned a thing or two living there, to say the least.

img_4796

Leadville 100:  Went into the race with the goal of making the podium. Day went exceptionally well, winning and getting the second fastest women’s time ever. Stoked. Couldn’t be more grateful for my dreamteam crew of friends and family.

img_6074

 

Raced The North Face Endurance Challenge Half Marathon in Park City. Met idols like Rory Bosio and Rob Krar. Joining The North Face team was a dream and it felt eerily close to reality. I won the half marathon, even with spraining my ankle with two miles to go. GORGEOUS COURSE, even when dropping five F-boms per minute.

IMG_6214.JPG

The North Face Athlete Summit – Dreams do come true. Joining The North Face Team is like putting dynamite in a apple. My mind is constantly blown away by the adventures, feats, and creative energy of TNF athletes. Not to mention that my runner teammates have been my idols for years. It’s even cooler to join a company that values environmental conservation and puts its money where its mouth is. I look forward to a long relationship with TNF, in running and environmentalism.

img_6991img_6583img_6595

img_6686

A film crew from Talweg Creative (REI) followed me around for nine days. What an experience to meet the coolest group of journalists, all of whom write for my fav magazine, Outside. We didn’t have any fun at all. Nope, I hogged it all during my cluster of a trail marathon in Moab.

img_6779img_6775

Raced Moab Trail Marathon – Placed 6th, not my best day, at all. Maybe I had too much fun with the Talweg film crew…

Thanksgiving and Turkey Trot: Tried to defend my family’s honor in the annual Washington Park Turkey Trot (with > 9,500 runners). Lost to my former Princeton teammate, Abby Levene, who is a professional triathlete in Boulder. A very swallowable loss!

img_6929

Raced The North Face 50-mile Championships in Marin County, California. Good day amongst the redwoods. Read the recap.

img_7145

Raced the Northwest Passage skimo race in Mt. Brundage, Idaho. Got my butt handed to me! DNFed in the vertical race (my only chance at making the Worlds Team) due to a moronic skin choice, i.e. my old skins iced up so much they didn’t stick to my skis and I couldn’t climb up, which is the objective of the race. The following morning, it was -19F and I mustered through the 10.5 mile, 6,000 feet of gain race. The downhills are what tore me apart. I guess racing your race off in a 50-miler two weeks before trying to shred down moguls with skinny skis isn’t the best idea.

img_7212

Spent time with my two older brothers: Eric, who is training in Green Beret Special Forces school, and Scott, who is in 2L of law school at Michigan, and will be working at a Colorado Public Defender’s office next summer. One brother back in CO! Also spent precious time with high school friends and cousins.

img_6938img_7277

Rang in the New Year skiing with Boulder friends in the mountains. Grateful for health, community, and the 45 books I received for Christmas. Only half were self-help books…

unnamed-1

unnamed (21).jpg

Considering I am horrified about the prospects of America’s environmental 4-year future, I am counting my personal blessings and springing into 2017 with more vigor and stoke than I ever thought possible. We are so small on this gorgeous planet, yet, so powerful. Cheers to a year of passionate crushing!