Sara Pedrosa is an esthetician, cosmetic tattooer, salon owner & endurance runner currently based in Ogden, Utah where she moved to from Portland Oregon after 15 years to be closer to the mountains.
- Have you always been comfortable adventuring alone?
Yeah pretty much. As the years have gone on my confidence level have gone up considerably.
- Do you still experience fear when alone on the trail? If so, how do you manage it in the moment?
It’s rare but yes for sure! If I’m feeling alone on a mountain trail (mainly I’m afraid of big cats) and sing out loud and talk to clap my hands haha my god if anyone saw me out there doing that! It makes me laugh and I generally just push through.
- How has your comfort level evolved over time?
I’ll do longer days alone these past few years. Knowing I CAN and HAVE gone the distance helped. Fully knowing I’m strong enough mentally and physically to keep it together for hours allows me to feel comfortable in my own skin being out there alone.
- Was there a turning point that made you more comfortable? What was it?
Honestly, I just kept pushing forward alone. I would go longer and longer over the years. My very first 50k 5 years ago was running Wildwood E2E alone. I’d never done anything over 20 miles before that and I didn’t really know anyone that wanted to go that far yet. After I did that (woo boy was that a death march the last 2 miles!) I was like, OH I GOT THIS.
- Do you adventure alone because of preference or necessity?
Both reasons really! I just moved so I don’t know too many people yet that want to go quite as far. I do love being out there alone though. It makes me feel really strong.
- Describe a solo adventure.
In September I flew to Denver to meet a friend. We drove to Aspen to run the 29-mile Maroon Bells 4 Pass loop together. It’s a well-traveled loop, with a lot of people completing it over a few days. You climb up and over 4 passes going up to 12k. The whole morning was kind of a mess and we ended up starting way later than we wanted. By mile 7 she was having a hard time, just having a bad day you know. She decided to not push on. I finished the loop without her. I only saw a few other people the remaining 7 hours it took me, and I had a few low points, one is when I fell and cut myself badly and had to wrap my arm and run with it up above my heart to try to stop the bleeding, haha, but damn finishing felt so good! The first 2 miles of the trail is the most popular so as I started to see people I was like hell yes, I’m doneeeee! It was so awesome. I’m so glad I finished even though plans got messed up.
- What steps do you take to ensure safety when adventuring alone?
I let at least one person know where I am and what time would be the latest to hear from me.
- What would you tell someone that is nervous about encountering wildlife?
I know this sounds morbid but we are all going to go some time. I’m not letting any fear stop me from doing what I love. Just make sure you take precautions. Make yourself known in brushy areas, carry bear mace if you are in an area where that is needed. Know how to react if you see wildlife.
- What is the scariest part of adventuring alone?
On that Maroon Bells loop, I tripped and fell, and my arm went between two boulders and I cut myself badly. I definitely needed stitches. I had first aid stuff, so I wrapped it up and pushed on, but I think a lot about what would happen if I broke my wrist? My ankle? Injuring myself alone is definitely the scariest.
- What is the longest adventure you would consider doing alone?
I was planning on a 40-mile solo adventure this weekend actually! That would be my longest so far. I think 40 miles might be my max mentally but who knows! I’ll keep that open-ended.
- How has solo adventuring changed your confidence outside of trail running?
YES YES YES YES. I’ve generally always been a confident person but knowing I have the ability to be out there for hours running/climbing/whatever alone has made me realize that I can do anything I set my mind to. That feeling has overflowed into my professional life, my personal life. It’s made me a better person and I’m so thankful for it.