Fit To Be July Spotlight - Jennilyn Eaton! July 18, 2014 16:23

We love hearing the stories of athletes who are working towards specific goals. Runners, cyclists, triathletes, CrossFit fanatics...the people who are working hard and training diligently  for something special. Every month, we are featuring someone who inspires us and motivates us to be strong. To be fit. To be fast. To be better. Welcome to our "Fit To Be" JULY series.
THIS MONTH: We are featuring Jennilyn Eaton!
Jennilyn is a mother of two, and works part-time at a chiropractic office. She came to trail running from rock climbing, and find it plays into the way she approaches running-- She says, "obsessing about lines rather than races and competition, with an emphasis on exploring and completing rather than PR's." Jennilyn is a bit shy and timid by nature, but tries to use running as a way to inspire other women. Mountain running (especially in ultra-length distances) is a sport where female participation is minimal for a variety of reasons, and she'd like to do what she can to remind other women that they can continue to dream and accomplish whatever their goals are.
Jennilyn ran in the Utah 13ers. "Utah plays host to 19 mountains above 13,000 feet elevation, nothing special by national standards. But what people have yet to notice is that all of those peaks – representing the tallest mountains in Utah above a given elevation – are all in the same remote mountain range – the Uinta Mountains. All of the peaks lie in a relative clean line along a ridge and never, at any point, do you cross a road between summits. Receiving support along the route would be difficult, at best, and once on your journey and atop a peak your nearest trailhead is well over 10 miles away. If you throw out the arbitrary number of 14,000 ft and simply look at the total number of mountains above a certain elevation in any given state Utah undoubtedly offers the single most aesthetic challenge in the country. So while the rest of America has their sights set on 14,000 ft they are missing out on what is probably the greatest peak-bagging opportunity on the continent." --Craig Lloyd
Here's our Q&A with Jennilyn. 
What motivates you to chase such impressive peaks, literally?
Motivation is drawn from all over. Sometimes it’s the line and the peak, sometimes it’s the time I’d like to do on it. Sometimes I’m motivated by my family and friends or from external support. Having several sources of motivation is helpful, there is always a reason to go out and push!
What do you enjoy most about hiking & being outdoors?
The happiness and freedom of motion are great parts of being outside. Peace and solitude in such a busy world are difficult to find, but in the mountains all the really important parts of life stand out and everything else seems to fade away.

What essentials are you bringing with you for the Utah 13ers?
I’ll bring my Petzl NAO headlamp, which will be useful to spotlight hill sides in the dark. Extra clothing, plenty of food, a bivy, a spot tracker and GPS, and a knife bare minimal first aid supplies. I’ll be wearing my La Sportiva Bushidos, the only shoe with enough traction to handle that kind of difficult terrain with a body that’s worn down after 30 hours of travel.

What’s the size of your crew?
There will be 3 of us as a team to do this. Since at any given point the closest trail head will be 10 miles or further, we won’t be receiving any support or additional assistance. Everything we’ll use for the entire trip will be taken with us.

What inspired you to conquer all 21 peaks in one single push? What do you hope to gain from this experience?
The line was initially thought of and drawn by Craig Lloyd, and is his dream. This will be his third attempt at the line. I was invited to join this year, and have since latched onto the idea of this line. As far as gains, well, I’ve been on enough mountains to know they don’t offer anything. But mountains always do teach me new lessons on life, and on the 13ers I expect to learn a lot.

Is there a peak that frightens you the most? How will you encourage yourself to reach the top?What’s your biggest concern about summiting all 21 peaks in FKT?
There are a few places that are a concern! Some of these ridges have seen little to no traffic, and some of the routes we’ll be taking to link these peaks are less than desirable. The ridgeline between Powell Peak and Henry’s Fork peak, for example, looks pretty scary, and we’ll be hitting that in the dark hours of early morning.

What are you doing to train for the Utah 13ers?
I’ve been tracking my weekly elevation gain instead of miles, which has been the single biggest training change I’ve made. As runners we like to track numbers, and switching to tracking elevation was an easy enough transition. I’ve also looked at and completed many other local ridgelines for applicable training and experiences.

After a high-endurance effort like this one, how do you like to unwind, chill out, and recover?
My husband is the best part of my recovery! He helps take care of me. As a family we’ll go for bike rides and walks, and I’ll watch movies with my kids. Foam rolling and Epsom salt baths are crucial for my recovery!

What are you looking most forward to when you hike all 21 peaks of the Utah 13ers? What are you nervous for?
I am looking forward to each summit, each ridge and mini goal within a goal. The views, the stars, the adventure of it all are enough to capture me! I am nervous for the typical mountain thunderstorms and for some of the required down scrambling in the dark.

What athletes did you admire most growing up, and who do you look up to now?
Growing up I was a rock climber, and I looked to Lyn Hill, Chris Sharma, Beth Rodden, and Tommy Caldwell. I also spent time researching climbers like John Salathe, Warren Harding, Royal Robbins, Yvon Choinard, and others who impacted the growth of climbing in Yosemite. Right now I look up to Emelie Forsberg, Anna Frost, Kilian Jornet, Joe Grant, Timmy Olsen, and others. Locally there are many talented athletes in the Wasatch, pioneers in creating ridge link-ups like Jared Campbell and Jason and Andy Dorais.

What has been your most memorable moment in hiking so far?
One of my favorite hikes I’ve done was a 3 day backpacking trip with my husband in the Tetons, I was pregnant, we saw bears, we spent days above 10,000ft, and just really enjoyed the peaceful adventure together.
Why do you think running and hiking so much fun?
I think climbers view climbing as a religion. I think runners view running as a drug. Hikers on the other hand seem to be out there for more meditative reasons. As someone who does all three, I guess I’m just indecisive!


What's the longest distance you've ran? What’s your fastest time?
The furthest I’ve run are 100 mile races. My PR is 20:18.

What motivates and inspires you to keep going?
Typical the beauty and energy around me is motivating. My family is also supportive and motivates to continue on when things are hard.

What's your favorite motivational/inspirational quote?
“What it is to give light must endure burning” –Viktor Frankl

What are your favorite pre/post training snack, treat, or beverage?
I love burritos! A nice carne asada burrito with guacamole post run is incredible. For treats I have a sweet tooth and I love frozen yogurt.

How many years have you been running, and what motivated you to start?
I ran cross country off an on from 7th grade through the end of high school. I knew I liked the motion but I didn’t like the rigidity of the training or the races and spent more time out of the practices and meets for climbing than in them. In college I started running longer distances, and really took off in the sport once I discovered trail and ultra running.

What is your dream race, event, or trip?
I think my “big 3” dream races are Hardrock, Barkley, and Nolan’s 14. Conceptually and aesthetically Nolan’s is a line for me, and is calling my name.

What do you believe is the first step to achieving life/fitness goals?
Believing that it is possible. Too many people see only limitations. Remove them. Our bodies are capable of so much if we only help take them to that level.

Which mountain peak are you looking forward to conquer next?
This weekend I’ll be attempting WURL, a very long and technical local link-up with well over 20 named peaks.

What is your advice to new runners and hikers?
Enjoy your adventure! The opportunities we have each day are a blessing, be grateful. Our sport is so full of life, live it! 

Do you hope your children learn to love running and hiking as well?
I hope my kids find peace and happiness in the mountains away from the hustle and bustle of city life. They’ve taken time to live with us out of a mini-van on extended climbing trips or in a 5th wheel trailer to accommodate a nomadic lifestyle. I just hope they learn what’s important in life, and that life and joy can’t be bought with a price.


Flash Round

Summer or Winter? summer
Salt or Sugar? sugar
Poached or Scrambled? scrambled
Twitter or Instagram? instagram
Cat or Dog? …chicken?
Beach of Mountain? mountain
Sunset or Sunrise? sunrise
 
You can follow Jennilyn on her Blog