Running is the largest constant in my life. If you know me at all, I imagine you know this. For years, I have used running to process my emotions, push the boundaries of my mental and physical abilities, and interact with the outdoors in the simplest of ways.
My most recent feat has been graduating college last month from Santa Clara University with a degree in Environmental Studies, and it has never been clearer just how much running helped me get to the finish line. With an anxious mind and a bar set extremely high for myself, running acted as a tool to elevate any mindset I am in. It helping me clear my headspace and tackle each day with zest and gusto.
I realized now that while each run throughout my college career allowed me to digest my most intimate feelings, it also helped me deal with the harsh reality I was learning in the classroom: our environment is in dire need of serious help. As me and my ESS peers carried the weight of the health of environment on our shoulders, I embarked on endless miles to ruminate on my place in the environmental movement.
Having since made the move back to Bozeman, Montana from San Jose, California, the most predominate feeling I have felt is the gratitude to be able to drive 10 minutes from my home and be on public land, able to train for my upcoming race: the Bridger Ridge Run.
The Ridge Run is a 19.65 mile trail race, with 16,300 feet in elevation change total. It is technical; it is exposed. However, perhaps the most defining characteristic is that it is a network of trails all on public land.
Every single training day, I can pick from the myriad trails and open spaces that Bozeman (and beyond) has to offer. With countless options, all I must do is chose the level of ass kicking I can handle that day. Although training for this race has come with the physical and mental challenges of overcoming an injury, and has hurt A LOT… my gratitude for all the work that has gone into protecting this land trumps all.
This is the very reason that I have decided to take a stab at raising money for the Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT) through this run. The GVLT connects people, communities, and open lands through conservation of working farms and ranches, healthy rivers, and wildlife habitat, and the creation of trails in the Montana headwaters of the Missouri and Upper Yellowstone Rivers. GVLT is one of the many local organizations that are dedicated to the health of the environment, and providing access for all outdoor enthusiasts.
Whether you are from Bozeman or not, it is safe to say you have benefitted from public land. If you have gone on a hike, enjoyed a day at the beach, floated down a river, biked on trails, or climbed at the crag, I would greatly appreciate a donation of any amount to my fundraiser.
Thank you so much!