Notes from Rachel: Dirty 30

I’m turning thirty next week, which conjures up a million little thoughts. Like, when my mom was thirty, she had a one year-old (me). Thirty years ago, the Mets beat the Red Sox in the World Series, the Challenger exploded, and Nintendo released the first Legend of Zelda.

My thirties will, most likely, look remarkably unlike my twenties. For most of my twenties, I lived in Seattle, was single, and wrote poetry. That’s a far cry from being married, living in Portland, and buying running product for a living. I was more independent in my twenties, and sometimes more scared. My twenties marked the passing of a great role model in my life – my grandfather – and it was inside that decade I realized that my own parents were aging. I had a lot of overwhelming meta moments in my twenties, when I finally grasped that I too was mortal, and so were the people I loved. I also came to the hard decision that I was not going to try to make a living off my writing, and how unfair the world feels when you pour your heart into a craft and the world receives it like the dump where I dropped off my twin mattress before I got married.


My thirties, I’m sure, will be filled with more moments of forced maturity, of realizing my own mortality, and the precious moments life gives me when I get to be with my parents, my in-laws, my friends. I also have a feeling this next decade will involve more trail running. I’ll tell you what, trails have a way of beating things out of you. They are brutal, unfair, and forgiving at unexpected moments – a fitting metaphor for what adulthood feels like. I can’t help it – they remind me of lines from this Kay Ryan poem called “Spiderweb” (in some small way, I hope I put poetry into your life, my reader, to make richer whichever decade you find yourself):

From other
angles the
fibers look
fragile, but
not from the
spider’s, always
hauling coarse
ropes, hitching
lines to the
best posts
possible. It’s
hard work
fighting sag,
winching up
give. It
isn’t ever
to live.

Trail running is about hauling ass, hard work, fighting sag. It is something you do to remind yourself that living is no delicate thing.

If you are like me, if you find the trail a place where you can work out your metaphors, or meta-conversations with yourself, I hope I see you. I hope you’re equipped. Man (or woman) cannot run in road shoes alone, and there are a lot of exciting new shoes that have just arrived to keep your feet (or bowels, or thirst) from being the distraction.

I hope that when you visit Fleet Feet PDX this year, you’ll feel the vibe I’m giving off – that running is a physical act that works out and refines the heart. There’s a whole lotta people I work with at Fleet Feet that share that kind of heart, and are ready to help.


- Saucony Peregrine 6 (new in January)

- Ultimate Direction Jenny Vest (women’s specific trail pack)

- Skratch Hydration Mix (Matcha and Lemons)

- Honey Stinger waffles (STRAWBERRY)

- Garmin 235 (really sick GPS system that keeps track of you in Forest Park)

- Nike Epic Lux tights (They come in crazy patterns or just plain black, and you can wipe out in them without ripping the fabric.)

- Trail Skills Training with Animal Athletics and Fleet Feet Sports PDX (stay tuned – there will be an announcement about our next session starting up in the spring.)

- Breakside Beer (for afterward. But seriously, if you have not tried the Wanderlust IPA you haven’t lived.)

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