Footnotes – A Book Review

Well, well. What to say about this book…. I don’t even know where to begin.

I guess I’ll first just copy and paste the synopsis:

Footnotes – How Running Makes Us Human by Vybarr Cregan-Reid

Running is not just a sport. It reconnects us to our bodies and the places in which we live, breaking down our increasingly structured and demanding lives. It allows us to feel the world beneath our feet, lifts the spirit, lets our minds out to play, and helps us to slip away from the demands of the modern world.

When Vybarr Cregan-Reid set out to discover why running means so much to so many, he began a journey which would take him out to tread London’s cobbled streets, the boulevards of Paris, and down the crumbling alleyways of Ruskin’s Venice. Footnotes transports you to the deserted shorelines of Seattle, the giant redwood forests of California, and to the world’s most advanced running laboratories and research centers. Using debates in literature, philosophy, neuroscience, and biology, this book explores that simple human desire to run.

Liberating and inspiring, Footnotes reminds us why feeling the earth beneath our feet is a necessary and healing part of our lives.

Sounds interesting, huh? I think it was. I did read it. All of it. But I barely can recall what I read.

Okay, okay. It’s not a horrible book. There’s some good pieces in there….if you can find them or haven’t skimmed right over them. The description makes the book sound like a personal journey through running. I think that’s in there… somewhere.

On first impression, this book is dense. The chapters, and paragraphs within them, are long and overwhelming and upon opening it, I didn’t want to begin reading. Then, you start… There’s a TON of info in this book. I mean A LOT… studies, personal opinions, references to fictional literary works, and more.

I started off strong, trying to absorb all the info, but it was tiresome. The long bulky paragraphs feel like a textbook and the topics switch too quickly for me to follow. One minute we’re in the author’s personal story and then next we’re following the research of some scientist or a fictional character from a book the author studied.

Maybe the concept of the book was lost on me but I find that hard to believe because I’m a very science minded individual. Topics range from biomechanics, senses, mindset, to the treadmill and how to (literally) run wild and trespass to find a route.

My favorite chapter was the last one (and not just because it was almost over). It was about running and the creativity and freedom it can bring to one’s life. The author tells the story about their first marathon and how he accidentally finished it and about running through different countries and the social barriers to doing so.

Overall, I give the book a 2 out of 5. In my opinion, it seems to me like the author didn’t really know what they wanted to write about and just threw EVERYTHING they knew about running in to this book. The topics jump fast and I got lost. There’s just too much info to sift through. I found myself skimming a lot to find the personal stories rather than reading through the references.

A couple of quotes I did like:

“My running has become something much deeper than a habit or an exercise routine. Now it is part of who I am. It is a part of my personality. I am unsure which came first, or what came from what: am I more self-reliant because of my running, or am I running because I am more self-reliant? The same goes for resilience: I feel like it has taught me how to be in my own company, and continues in helping me to maintain perspective.”

“Running doesn’t have to exercise. it doesn’t have to done to make you ‘strong’ or ‘fit’. It doesn’t even need to be done as a sport – it can be done entirely for its own sake”

-Vybarr Cregan-Reid


Don’t believe me and the synopsis still interested you? Add it to your Goodreads list or buy it on Amazon:

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LEGEND Compression Wear Ambassador Highlight

Check it out! I was a LEGEND Compression Wear Ambassador of the month a few months ago and my Ambassador Highlight just came out on the Legend Blog!

Here’s what it says, or check it out right from the source!

As the owner of her own rock climbing guide business, there’s no obstacle big enough that LEGEND Brand Ambassador, Whitney Vestal, can’t climb over.

“Climbing is scary and overcoming that is a huge part of why I like climbing,” Whitney said. “Every day I climb and don’t cry is a big accomplishment!”

Whitney also does marketing for a running company and assistant coaches a high school cross country team. And while she may joke about her climbing anxiety, she is very serious about health and personal fitness- enough to make her life all about it.

“I knew what I liked and I changed my career to match that. It was not easy by any means, but I knew what I wanted to do and I took it one step at a time to reach the point of where I’m at now,” she said. “Sometimes it felt that I was going back two steps for every step I took forward, but you have to just keep staying positive. And I’m not done yet. I keep dreaming and keep planning and taking the steps to get to where I want to be.”

Whitney’s ambition to overcome obstacles is so strong, it spills over to the kids she helps coach:

“It’s a blast to watch kids work through the uncomfortable-ness, mentally and physically, to reach their goals. I keep pushing so hard to be the best I can be for them, to show them that we all have obstacles to overcome but that it’s your mindset that gets you to where you need to be,” she said.

Whitney’s passion for running and fitness began when she was the same age as her current students. She started running in middle school and participated in the annual Race for the Cure in Denver with her mom. In high school, she quit volleyball to pursue cross country, and senior year of college she ran her first marathon. She’s been a runner ever since.

“Running started to be a big part of my life when I used it to stay fit and healthy. Since then, it became a rock in my life, something I could always rely on, something I could control when the world around me was hard and chaotic,” she said.

And some time after that, three years ago to be exact, Whitney added compression to her normal recovery regimen. “I was continuously injured, tired, and my muscles just never seemed to recover after workouts. One day, I tried a friend’s leg compression machine, you know the ones that you fit over your legs and it fills with air. I felt amazing afterward, and from then on I started using compression socks/sleeves durning long training runs, after and at racing events,” she said.

Whitney is a regular wearer of LEGEND Compression Wear. “I love LEGEND’s products. They are well made, made with science and compression technology in mind, and are comfortable!”

“The recovery socks are by far my favorite product and I have yet to find anything like them elsewhere. And recently, I discovered their new hiking socks! They compress my feet, wick moisture and leave my feet warm enough on cold days. They are perfect for hiking – I even wore them on my most recent backpacking trip in the Tetons,” she said.

As a coach, runner, climber, and all-around busybody, Whitney shares some recovery insights: “When I’m really good about foam rolling and stretching after EVERY run or workout, I notice that I feel much more fit and can get through all my workouts, no problem. But when I am rushing between all my jobs and my own workouts, sometimes I skimp on the recovery, so I really do use the Recovery Socks. By no means do they replace stretching, but they do feel good and help my achy feet and calves.”

With feet and calves feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, ain’t no mountain tall enough to keep Whitney Vestal from crushing her next big achievement. Go Whitney!

Check out my post on the recovery socks, or when I became a LEGEND Compression Wear ambassador.

Save $15 off your first order, click HERE! Shop compression gear for all sports and ways of life at LegendCompressionWear.com and remember, always #BeALegend!

Climbing Free – A Book Review

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a book review and usually they are about running. Today, I have a climbing book for you!

I have been looking for some climbing inspiration, help with trying to overcome fear and get on some harder climbs. In addition, it’s hard to find fellow female climbers to look up to. They’re out there, don’t get me wrong, but I haven’t found them (or the ones I do know have completely different schedules than me so I don’t get to climb with them).

Anyway, I was googling climbing books and I came across Lynn Hill’s book. I had heard of Lynn Hill and her amazing skill before (first to free climb the nose in Yosemite), but I didn’t know much else about her, so I decided to buy the book and see if I could find some inspiration. I brought it to read on my backpacking trip in the Tetons. With an attempt to climb the Grand, that seemed a great time to read it.

The book is fun to read and flows really well starting with her childhood life, how she started climbing, and goes through her climbing career. While, I’m jealous that she was naturally a good climber in the beginning, she did work really hard to improve her skills. She also goes into her accident (a bad fall) and how tough it was to come back from that as well as making a career out of climbing, something she is super passionate about.

My favorite chapter was about her success climbing the nose. I don’t want to give anything away, so read the book to see her journey, but after many attempts, she became the first person, a woman nonetheless, to free climb the nose in a day.

I do want to note that the only thing I didn’t like about the book is that it seems that she talks about someone that died in the sport of climbing, alpinism or mountaineering in every chapter.  She wasn’t there for any of them, but talks about friends and colleagues that were on other trips and expeditions and passed away. That really freaked me out and still has been on my mind.

While the book didn’t really give me the inspirational jump to get back out there or overcome my fears, it was a good read. It did give me hope that if you keep working at it, you can find a career doing what you love. If you’re a climber, I highly suggest this book!

Add this book to your Goodread’s “want to read” list!


 Check out the book online!

Backpacking in the Grand Teton National Park (attempting to climb the Grand)

Backpacking is like day hiking on steroids. The load you carry is considerably larger and the trails tend to be longer and much, much more steep. It seems there’s no in-between.


After a few friends of ours wanted Ben’s help to climb the Grand Teton, we decided to make it a mini vacation for ourselves as well. The plan was for Ben to take me up the Grand to get to know the route better than he could from just reading about it and talking to people. Then, the next day, he would take up our two friends. That was the plan.

As an old friend used to say, “the only sure thing about a plan is the plan will change.”


Sunday afternoon, after I got home from working a race, we loaded up the car as fast as we could and hit the road heading toward the northwest corner of Wyoming. Driving through the barren landscape, I took a nap in the passenger seat as Ben drove on.

We arrived in Jackson, WY around 8pm, checked into a hotel and searched for some food while walking around the cute town. After looking around for quite a while, we finally found an affordable place to eat at a local pizza and pasta joint, Pizzeria Caldera. My baked ziti was delicious and Ben ate his whole pizza.

The next morning, we drove up the highway into Grand Teton National Park, checked in at the Ranger’s station to get our back country permits, and off we were to the trailhead. It took us awhile to get organized and ready to hike (partly due to a leaky camel-bak), but eventually we made our way onto the trails.

Super hazy from all the nearby (ish) fires

This is not the grand. This is a ridge right in front.

With a short misleading beginning, the trail starts off flat and into a gradual incline, but once it started to incline, it never stopped! The 6 or 7 miles (Ben keeps telling me something different) was the hardest trail I’ve ever hiked, let alone with 45 pounds on my back. A seemingly endless climb, loose dirt and rocks, boulders to scramble over…. 6 miles over this varying terrain challenged me beyond my ability.

This IS the trail….just right over those giant boulders…

Still looking generally happy….

With about a mile left, and at least 1000ft, I was reaching the end of my energy levels. Crying and struggling to take steps, my trekking poles kept getting stuck. With a small temper-tantrum, I chucked the poles up hill while Ben snapped some photos of my hissy-fit. I was so done with that hike. I was crying because I was tried, feeling defeated, under trained and my thoughts kept drifting  to my life and why I was feeling so out of shape!

You can’t see, but I’m definitely crying in the pictures and have just thrown my poles.

After one more tantrum (I’m not making this up), we made it closer, but still had half that ground to cover, but not really knowing how much was left (Ben didn’t even know, having never been there), I was finding it hard to keep moving. I kept looking up and no matter how many steps I took, the peaks didn’t seem to get any closer!

I look PISSED!

Not even bothering to use my poles, I dragged them behind me. Ben took this moment to go ahead to the camping spot (how he can just trek up mountains like their nothing, I’ll never know). He dropped his bags, turned around, came back to grab mine and we finished the quarter-mile to where we would set up camp.

After a quick dinner, I was asleep in the tent before the sun went down. Justly so, we had an early wake up call at 1:00 am the next morning. We woke up with an almost-full moon overhead lighting up the whole mountain corridor. With a much smaller pack, we left camp and started out on the last bit of the approach to the climb.

The view in the morning…

It was painstaking work to me. More steep hills, loose dirt and rocks, large rocks to step over… I was breathing hard within the first few minutes. This was hard. REALLY HARD. Harder than anything I’ve every tried before. And I’m not sure why.

As the hike went on, there was more scrambling, short-roping and slippery boulder stepping than I wanted to deal with. The higher we went the more nauseous I felt. Altitude sickness? Maybe. Nerves thinking about what lie ahead? Maybe. Exhaustion? Probably. A mix of all the above? Most definitely.

Trying to look happy after turning around

At a place called the Needle, I sat there thinking about the amount of rope work ahead of us and the tall peak we were about the climb. I felt like I was going to throw up.  Ben thought I looked pale. I started to get a headache and we decided to turn around before the harness needed to come on.

Days later, I’m still disappointed in myself and going over my thoughts. Was I scared? Was it all in my head? Or did I really have the onset of altitude sickness? I don’t know. I’ll never know.

After we hiked back to camp, I curled up, back in my sleeping bag again. As it turns out, a thunder-storm rolled in and that would’ve meant we would have been stuck on the summit during the storm. I guess it all works out for a reason. See, the plan always changes.

The storms raged off and on throughout the day. We found a nearby cave that we could stand in (rather than being scrunched up in the tent). We caught bits of conversation with the area guides stopping in for a reprieve from the rain while we waited for our friends to hike in.

The cave…bigger than it looks!

Eventually the rain stopped and our friends reached camp. We helped them set up camp, go over what they needed for their next day’s summit attempt, and cooked some dinner.

The rest of MY journey from here is pretty boring (except the storm on the way out, but more on that later). Ben and our two friends hiked and climbed for 11 hours to and from camp and made it to the summit! Their journey sounds amazing and I am super jealous. These two ladies from Golden wanted to do something BIG for their 50th birthday and they accomplished it all, putting me to shame!

I slept in, sat in the tent, read a book, hiked the little bit to stream to get water, read some more, ate food, and waited around. But at least I had some fresh mountain air and beautiful views!

Waiting in the tent for them to come back

The fresh water stream we got our water from…yes, we boiled it or used a Lifestraw!

Once they came back to camp, we packed all our gear back up, only a few pounds lighter from eating food, and hiked out. About half way down, a storm thundered nearby and got closer and closer. Terrified of lighting and since Ben was staying with our friends, I picked up the pace, running between clearings, catching my breath in the forested areas but banging my poles together in the woods, attempting to scare away any bears since I was hiking by myself.

Yes, there were really bears in the area and we got many reports of sightings on our way up. However, the only wildlife we saw were pika, marmots, deer and chipmunks.

Hiking out

A marmot, posing for me

It was probably a hilarious sight to see, me careening down the trail with a 40 pound bag on my back. Getting tired of running and still nervous about the lightning, I slowed my pace, feeling exhausted when I heard the magical sounds of…. A CAR HORN! I was close, I must be! I picked my pace back up, escaping the confine of the woods to the safety of my car!

This was actually the start of the hike but thats my sweet Jeep!

After dropping off our bear cans at the ranger station, we celebrated an incredible journey at the Snake River Brewery back in Jackson! The next day, we slowly got up, had breakfast at Cafe Genevieve and drove north again for some sightseeing in the rest of Teton National Park and a little bit of Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone Lake