Gratitude……. VT100 recap

“May the gratitude in my heart kiss all the universe.”

~Hafiz

Gratitude…..this is my mantra of the year.  I’m so grateful for my family and friends and all the amazing adventures we share together, so grateful to pursue my dreams, and so grateful to help others pursue theirs.  July 21st was a day to remember.

The week of the race proved to be a little stressful for me. I’m a new member of the VT100 race committee (which I love volunteering for) and my duties for the VT100 included vendor coordination (ie, porta potties, food, tents, trash, sound equipment and organizing & marking the 5k & kids race) I had all my ducks in a row and felt confident that everything was coming together, except the porta pottie company had other plans.  Wednesday, hubs and I drove to all the aid stations that needed the almighty, trusty toilets, to put out signs for placement of them, making sure it was nice and easy for the company to know where they should go…. man does this course cover some ground!  Thursday late morning rolls around and no signs of the potties at base camp.  I get on the phone ASAP (this was a recurring nightmare of mine over the past weeks that no toilets would be out on course or camp) trying to locate the branch manager who could help me find where our missing toilets were….I’ll be honest, there were tears of frustration because I had spent countless hours making google maps, leaving signs and then sheer panic set in, there are hundreds and hundreds of people about to descend on Silver Hill in less than a day.  Shit!!! It took around six hours to finally get someone who would call me back.  Back up to Silver Hill we went, the sight of the first truck was around 6pm (only 10 hours late :/) Hubs helped the guys unload them in flip-flops (please don’t crush your toes!!) and I quickly helped add TP to all of them and sent the drivers off, asking them over and over, do they know where they all go..aid stations are sprinkled out over 5 towns or so….fingers crossed!!! Thanks so much to my amazing hubby who kept me cool, calm, and collected…..I have so much gratitude for you …..thankfully everything turned out ok.

Friday morning we headed up to Silver Hill to drop the boys off for their volunteering duties.  Hubs and I were one of the first ones to check in, it was quiet and peaceful walking though the vendors tents, sampling on caramel and catching up with friends. I was so grateful to have Emily, my good buddy doing my medical check.

 

The Ultra Lite 5k race and Kids race went really well…it was so awesome seeing so many partake in our hilly, tough all-trail course.  Hubs and I loved cheering them all on out there on course.  After the 5k, I started to freak a little about how much we still had to get done.  We hadn’t packed anything yet, animals needed to be fed and friends were arriving soon.  We decided to skip out on dinner, I was sad not to see friends (some of who were Instagram friends I’d never met..boo), but it calmed my nerves to head back home and organize my stuff, take a breather, and to finally get out of the sun….

 

Saturday the alarm went off bright and early.  Hubs enjoyed making his breakfast sandwiches for everyone, it soothes him.  I quietly meditated, allowing my mind to calm before breakfast, this has been a wonderful morning ritual for me.  Hugh, hubs and I chatted with Jules (my BFF and Hugh’s wifey) and gathered our belongings that would be with us for the day.

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Hubs, me and Hugh…..almost time to head to the start! Let’s do this! It’s all about friends…

Walking to the start, we bumped into Nat, we had run some miles with him the year before, such a great guy.  Quickly saw my parents for a hug (found them at the coffee spot..who knew..hehehehe)  and then we walked to the start, we made sure we didn’t get there too early to keep the nerves at bay.  3, 2, 1……and we’re off! It was a totally different feeling this year, I wasn’t a knotted mess like last year.  I thought of all the people who donated to our sponsor board for Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports and looked at hubs, “we can do this…together this year, I know we can”. The first few miles were effortless, cruising in the twilight, the glow sticks lighting our way, the footfalls of runners next to us, the beauty all around.  The excitement of runners all around me…..breathe in breathe out.  We knew this course inside and out and simply wanted to enjoy the day (and then some) together. Date day and night as we liked to call it…….

The miles steadily ticked by, chatting with fellow runners as they passed…I knew the horses would be coming by around mile 10 or so.  Last year, this brought on a lot of anxiety due to my accident….but this year, I was calmer and couldn’t wait to see my horse friends zoom by me…it was like a revolving cheering squad. The horses have such grace and power as they passed, brought back so many wonderful memories I had on the course with my horses…..  I couldn’t wait to see my dear friend, Laura Farrell, aboard her Arabian, Sven….She passed us with the most beautiful smile, my heart was so happy! (she went on to complete the 100 and joined the ranks of women who have ridden and run this event..oh and she’s the amazing founder of both the VT100 run and Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sport…..such a humble, kind woman……couldn’t be more proud of her.) Also fellow horse girl, Michelle Rice went on to finish her first 100 in style and joined the few of us women who have run and ridden both.. pretty stellar weekend.

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Laura on Sven (left) This made my morning!! Blurry as I was running trying to take a pic….hehehe

Our first Handler station would be Pretty House at 21.3 and the first time we’d see our incredible crew….our boys, Justin and Jase (I melted every time I saw them), Elaine (Guy’s sis and fabulous pacer) and Christine (Elaine’s partner and our sis in law…she is also our fearless leader and Badass Crew Chief).  It was wonderful to see everyone, we did a quick shirt change as it was getting warmer and added our ice sleeves and ice bandanas just in case we needed them.  We knew we’d be climbing up and over the Sound of Music (the most beautiful open meadow with the sweetest view for miles) nice cool gear might be helpful.  We dumped our trash and grabbed more tailwind packets and spring energy and kissed everyone goodbye and off we went.  We knew we’d see our crew again in about nine miles.

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Pretty House Aid Station……our sponsor board joined us at every handler station…so grateful for all of you who donated to Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sport on our behalf…..

 

I was looking forward to experiencing the “Sound of Music” in a much better state of mind and body, last year I was very nauseous through most of the first 70 miles (mostly from my anxiety), are you sensing a theme from last year?  I worked hard this year to focus on what I wanted…that being, I wanted less fear, no more boogie man lurking in my mind…less fear of my anxiety, let the worries pass. Breathe in..Breathe out.

 

Onto Stage Road (mile 30.3) and another chance to see our trusty crew…this time adding two dear friends, Tanya (my sensational pacer) and Emily. Thanks ladies for all you did for us!!!

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Hard at work….you want how many Spring Energy gels??

 

It was getting warmer, so we stayed only briefly to swap out our trash for more Tailwind Nutrition and Spring Energy gels.  We were consuming 125 calories per hour of Tailwind and 100 calories from Spring every 45 minutes and food at aid stations where we could.  I’m still not the best eater, so this combo was working really well for me.  I still get a twinge of jealousy seeing someone wolf down a burger at aid stations, so wish I had that talent.  Leaving Stage, you climb up and over Suicide Six (ski area) and cross the AT trail at the top…..we felt strong leaving here and continued pushing on…We had 3 aid stations between Stage and Camp Ten Bear (mile 47 and the next time we’d see our family) Crossing the Lincoln Covered Bridge we felt fantastic…..we ran into the aid station and got a yummy cold popsicle…..nothing ever tasted so good.  We also met Danielle from FL who was back for her redemption run at VT.  We chatted and passed the time on the relentless climb to Lillian’s…I kept promising her that the climb was almost over, but I don’t think she quite believed me 😉 We said goodbye and said “I’m sure we’ll see ya again” and kept power walking the hill.  Down, down, down, we passed our friend, Tina’s (where we got our precious goats) house and almost to Lillian’s.  Another popsicle and more ice to jam into the ice sleeves, and we marched on up Route 106 (one of the few paved sections of the 100 which is a hot section) towards Camp Ten Bear.  We had yet to do a sock & shoe change, so our plan was to do that there.

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So much Tailwind consumed!!

Camp Ten Bear……we’re nearly half way and we are both feeling great!  Do we do a sock change??  Nah, no hot spots, so we collect more TW and Spring and decide to keep going, only spending a few minutes here…last year, I think I spent at least half an hour to eat soup and reset.  A difference a year can make.  Leaving this aid station is demoralizing, as you know you have about a 20 mile loop ahead of you before you come back and meet your pacers, a 20 mile HARD loop in Reading, VT, lots and lots of climbing.  Agony, being one of the hills….self explanatory on that one.

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The rock on Agony that I sat down and cried at last year…This year I said “not this time!”

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selfie time!

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Loved seeing this sign

 

This next section is rolling hills with your sights set on Margaritaville (mile 58.5) There is a 2 mile climb into this aid station that can take the wind out of your sails.  Hubs and I power walked this feeling pretty damn good.  We knew we wanted to take a bit more time at this aid station to get headlamps, etc and I wanted to SIT!  Even if it were for only a few minutes, we hadn’t sat down yet and I was craving it.  We walked past the aid station over to where our crew was and I sat right down on the grass with a shit eating grin on my face….pure Heaven. Our two close friends, Jim and Amanda came to this crew  spot…and brought us Ben & Jerry’s….wow, that never tasted so good!!!  So good to see them… We gobbled some broth down, yum and made our way back to the course.  Only a few short miles (11ish) till we’d see our PACERS……..Yahoo!! We’d been counting down the miles all day, 40 miles till Elaine and Tanya, 25 miles, 15….you get the idea…..You are elated when you can finally have your pacer…

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sitting never felt so good…..

 

The sun was going down, a relief, and we were on Browns School house trail (thankfully done with Brown School House Road..should be named “the never-ending road with slight elevation” My phone rings.. It’s Justin…”Mom, Jase wants to sleep and not come to Ten Bear” Me…”That’s fine bud, if he’s tired, he can stay home” Justin… “I think he should have to come” Me…”I don’t have energy to break up fights right now, I’m at mile 66.5, you guys handle this one peacefully please”  I had to laugh, not at them, just for the fact that being a mom, you are always on the job…and I love it to pieces…

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Puckerbush Aid Station…they even had the Porta Potty decorated….cowboy themed… (mile 61.6)

We popped out of the trail, a few miles from our second trip through Camp Ten Bear.  We get to see our Crew and Pacers!!! Hallelujah!!! A little bit before the aid station, we heard two familiar voices, Chris and Jim walking towards us (one of our bestest friends, who has also finished this beast of a race twice!)  We’re so close, they brought instant smiles to our faces, couldn’t wait to see the rest of the crew….We made it to Ten Bear….30 miles till home, with just a few big climbs sprinkled in.  Can you believe we still didn’t change our socks/shoes….if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it mentality.  I have to say, my ProCompression socks were kicking ass, no hot spots and my legs felt good for carrying my butt 70 miles.

Off we went, the four of us…..headlamps bobbing in the night.  Nibbling on homemade Chocolate Chip cookies from Amanda…still wishing I could wolf it down, I think Guy gobbled down two…  We tackled Heartbreak together, Loop trail, on our way to ’76.  Our main crew would not be meeting us there, they were ready for some much-needed down time (they do it all, animal care, human care, well pretty much everything in those 30 hours..thank you!!)but, Amanda came with fresh Blueberry muffins…Guy wolfed down two…..I nibbled, but asked if we could have one for Sunday….dreaming of eating normal food.  Who brings you fresh baked goodies at 1am….of course…Amanda, we love you!!  We kept praying to the rain Gods, that it would hold off, the weather was calling for a dousing of rain overnight and we all were hoping the rain would not show up……

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The glorious moon…..somewhere out there on course..

Tanya and Elaine kept the mood light and cheery…Guy and I would politely listen mostly, sometimes partaking in the conversation.  Tanya would offer me hard candies, which were to die for.  I was finally getting sick of Spring energy, to this point I consumed, no joke, 24 of them.  I needed a change and the candy was that!  Mile 87 was hard, really hard.  It’s the mile we pass our house.  Last year I cried, this year I was just pissed.  The comforts of home are literally right there, I could feel it.  I knew my boys were sound asleep in dreamland, my comfy bed beckoning me…..but we had to march on to Bill’s, we were getting this done, because we could.

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one of my fav pics of the day….pure exhaustion meets adoration………..I love the way hubs is looking at me…love that boy…

 

We stayed at Bill’s WAY too long, but it was good to get more broth into us and rest our bodies for a bit.  12 miles, 12 freaking miles to go!!  Leaving here, we got more determined.  Our only time goal, was to be under 30 hours, our main objective…to finish.  So, that’s what we set out to do those last 12 miles.  This was our home turf now, a section we run almost weekly.  We started to perk up as the sun was rising (I think it’s pretty special that we get to see two sun rises….) and the energy was building.  We ran into Nat again and his awesome pacer, Chloe….it was great to see his smiling face again.  Tanya and Elaine led this brigade forward with pep, happiness, and zest.

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The sun is rising…

Next stop is Polly’s (mile 94.9) We quickly say hi to Emily and Chris and they hand us a refreshing Gingerale, nice and cold and push us on our way.  It’s now getting so real.  I kept telling myself how lucky we are to be here, in this moment, with friends and family.  We get to do this.  Even if each step is painful, even if at times you feel like stopping, we get to do this, so much gratitude filled my heart.

 

We kept seeing more and more runners, each one of them with the same determination on their faces.  Why did they run this race, what motivated them to push their bodies to do this, it’s on the trails we get to learn so much about ourselves. It’s the trails that speak to us.  I’m forever grateful for my time spent in nature.  As we approached the mile to go sign, we knew we’d finish, I wanted to take it in for the second time with a new set of eyes.  It’s different the second time.  I felt this go round, I enjoyed it so much more when I let go of the fear.  Isn’t that something we can do in our normal lives too, I’m working on that.

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YES!!!!! 1 to go!!!!

Snaking through the trail near the finish, we spot our dear friend Fred (another finisher of this crazy race…it’s amazing how many people from our small town have finished this race) sitting on a rock, cheering his heart out for us.  Our friend Nat had passed us, when we let a pack of people by us, we wanted to have a nice moment across the finish line together….Nat then gently pulled over to the side and said “I’m not going ahead of you two, you helped me along these past few miles and I want you to go ahead”  This. This is our sport.  This is the friendships that form out on the trails.  The comaraderie of fellow runners is astounding.  You’ll see us high-fiving Nat in the beginning of the video below that Fred captured.  Thanks Fred for cheering us on, can’t wait to share the trails with you next year! 2019 is it!!!

 

The Finish

Finishing the VT100 with my best friend and love of my life was pretty darn special….I’ll never forget my second VT100 on foot…Guy made it so magical for me.  Sharing the day with him, chatting about life and our boys made the miles fly by.  I literally had to pinch myself the first 70….we get to do this!  The last 30 I was more tired, but my heart was still so full of gratitude………thanks to everyone who cheered for us, sent us messages, gave us hugs and took care of us during the day and night…..we will be forever thankful for you.  You guys rock!! Congrats to everyone who toed the line and to all finishers…..you are all winners……….Thanks also to the amazing volunteers who make this race what it is today, Amy R, VT100’s fearless Race director, and to everyone who supported Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports. The VT100 raised over $150,000.00!!!!!!!! Now that is something to be grateful for………

 

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out on course….the things you see..

Thanks for following my VT100  journey. I hope you’ll want to run it next year, come see what VT has to offer. Whether you’re an elite, a first timer, or just wanting to get around the course feeling good, I think you’ll love what VT has to offer.  Or maybe you want to pace or volunteer…..we’re always looking for awesome people to help out!  This race is so special to me and my family and is the reason why we live where we do today.

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Hubs and I sharing a special moment at the finish…this was finish #6 for him and finish #2 for me on foot. 10 total VT100 finishes, including my 8 finishes on horseback.  Pretty dang proud.

See you on the trails….wishing you a happy rest of your summer….maybe I’ll see some of you at the Jay Peak Trail Festival and the VT50!!!  Until then, keep inspiring each other and fill your heart with gratitude…..happy trails…

Krista 🙂 xoxoxoxoxo

6 weeks and counting……

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

~Maya Angelou

 

I just want to start by thanking all of you who have donated to our Vermont 100 Sponsor Board.  We think of you often on our training runs and hope you know that you are on this journey with us. The money raised is going to such a worthy cause.  We are so close to our goal of $2500 for Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, we couldn’t have done this without you…many thanks!  It’s so exciting to see the board filling up…. its almost go time!  Our board will come with us to all the aid stations, reminding us WHO is motivating us on our journey and who WE are ALL helping on our adventure together…..Let’s do this!!!!!!!

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It’s been quite awhile since I’ve sat down and typed, it’s always so freeing to let the fingers do the talking.  I’ve been really concentrating on my mind and soul these past months.  My friend Amanda, owner of Forest Trail Retreats introduced me back to yoga in late April.  She is very soothing in the way she teaches and how she guides you through your Yoga, I’m looking forward to continuing classes with her.  She will be up at the VT100 conducting yogas classes for you and your family!!! How cool is that?!   Emily, my running buddy, also nudged me into coming to some classes with her at Mighty Yoga, where the studio is heated.  I loved the connection of my breath to my body, to my mind, and to my soul.  Not to mention it’s a kick A$$ workout or if you slow it down, it’s a great practice to do after a long hard run, stretches out those hammies 😉 …..Looking forward to continue my Yoga practices with these ladies.  A particular quote I love is “Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.”  I kind of feel my running is the same way, it’s taught me abundant lessons in life.  Running has taught me a ton about myself, we are all evolving and adapting everyday,  these two seem to compliment each other greatly. This is now in my list of tools that can help relax me……

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Circa 2011….Guy’s first VT100….my oh my have the kids grown! Mile 99!!

 

Another practice I’ve been doing is meditation.  I never thought I’d be the type to try it, but after the Runamuck 50k this past April, I was a MESS. Why? I really have no idea.  I train, I’m a competent runner,  I eat healthy, I’m not competitive (as my hubs and I call ourselves the “blue-collar runners…we are not fast!”) I have an incredible family life, but I do have a TON of anxiety.  Growing up, I just thought, hey..everyone is like this…..and I’m finding out as the stigma goes away, there are a lot of people who battle with anxiety!  You’re not alone!!  I put a ton of pressure on myself, always have, it’s in my genes, I have a family full of perfectionists and people pleasers.  Not a bad thing, but it can cripple you if you let it.  The thing with ultra-running and most things in life, is things never go as planned…..you have to learn to adapt to any situation thrown at you.  In my running it may be the weather, or certain people who heighten my anxiety, questions, like… do I belong here, did I train enough …at the start of the race, these are all things out of my control, so there is no need to create angst from them.  My anxiety rears its ugly head in the first 10 miles of a race, sometimes it’s the first mile, sometimes the eighth. My hands get numb, my palms sweat and become tingly, I’m one big nerve and I now am realizing that these are mini panic attacks (I’ve had huge full-blown ones after my accident, these are smaller, but you feel the nausea, the worry, the bang, bang, of the your chest, like you are losing control over your body)  My adrenaline is pumping through my body so fast and in the first few miles, even at a slow pace mind you, my heart rate is hitting 180+…..it’s frustrating, but I’m learning new tricks and I’m beginning to lose the fear of the evil monster.  So the second tool in my box of tricks is meditation, I’ve been meditating for the past 3 months, on and off, but mostly on.  I feel so much better when I have taken the 10 minutes to shut down from the outside world.  The app I use is Headspace It’s a free app that guides you through your mediation (his voice is super soothing and British, a win-win), whether your starting from scratch or if you’ve been practicing forever….  I love it, it reminds me to be in the moment, which I feel most of us in the modern world forget to do as well as work on my breathing……..I can’t say enough about it.

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Atop of Ascutney……take it all in..be in the moment, just BE

I’m excited to see what the next four weeks bring in our peak training.  This is a race I look forward to every year and this year is the 30th Anniversary!!!!!!!!  I’m so excited to be part of the race committee,  we have some special things planned for you all.  It’s like my friend Astrid and I always say…”It’s Christmas in July!”  Can’t wait to meet new friends and see my old best pals at Silver Hill……….See you there!

 

 

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vttrailgirl and I at the Chesterfield Gorge 100k! What a HOT day…..but we survived!

 

Happy training, happy mindfulness and happy life……..See you on the trails…..

Krista xoxoxoxo

 

BE Mindful….

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Find your inner kid……

“Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.”

~Walt Disney

 

Fresh snow.   How does it make you feel? Do you love or hate the white stuff that falls from the sky?  I used to be a curmudgeon about winter, dreaded it actually…until I took up running.  Running has brought out the inner kid in me, a sort of release of emotions.  It’s amazing how the mind works and how your perspective changes as you grow older.     I’ve learned a lot about myself through my running.  Running has given me the freedom to feel good in my own skin, to be true to myself, and to never give up.

 

I love how a run can totally change how you feel in that moment.  Maybe you’re having a bad day, feeling down or anxious, or things are piling up and you feel a bit lost.  The moment you lace your shoes up, something happens to your mind and you let things go.  You focus on your breath, your stride and rhythm, the sound of your cadence.  I lOVE this feeling.  It grounds me, keeps me focused on what I love to do, what I’m ABLE to do.  I’m so happy to have found this release, to have found this sport that has changed my mind, body and soul for the good.

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our first snow of the season……how lucky are we to see the different seasons….

Has running helped you cope?  Do you feel a change in your soul after a run?  I hope you get out there and enjoy any sport or hobby that brings you joy and gives you that “inner kid” happiness again.  I’ve also learned a lot from my own two boys about living in the moment, being your true self and finding joy in the smallest things (Boys…I truly love our EPIC football games in the yard, the snow has added an extra element of surprise to field.. ..thanks for teaching me the game you both love so much!!!!!)

…. who doesn’t want to feel like a kid again??  I know I do!!!!!

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday season……….looking forward to the adventures that await us all in 2018!!!!!!! Find your inner kid……… 🙂 🙂

 

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jump for joy………finding my inner kid 🙂

 

Happy Trails………keep inspiring and be kind to each other……… see ya on the trails…..

Krista xoxoxoxo

 

A spin around the Sonoran Desert……….Javelina style!

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

~John Muir

I think one of the best things about ultra running is reflecting back on the races.  Granted, living in the moment is the ideal way to live your life, yet, there is such joy reminiscing about the journey of that one day you tackled.

My Javalina Jundred trek started in the wee hours of October 25, 2017, amid a torrential rain storm in VT.  We dropped our boys off the night before our flight at my parents house (Thank you Mom and Dad, they had a total blast hanging with you guys!!!)  knowing we’d be leaving super early to catch our six am flight out of Boston.  Our flights were great, no problems with connections.  We landed in Phoenix around 11am, AZ time (3 hour difference for this East Coast girl).  Shuttling over to the rental car, I took in the different landscape, nothing like the green back home, but yet so intriguing.  Giant Saguaro Cactus lined the roads and desert as we drove up 17 towards Flagstaff.  Our friend CJ, who is also the Founder of Run Far told us you’ll see over six different eco systems on the way to Flag and he wasn’t kidding! He even told us that the Giant Saguaro can take 100 years to grow an arm…..Whoa!  We’re not in Vermont anymore!

Immediately after checking in, I turned towards my hubs and said…. “We gotta go hiking!!” We were running on fumes, but the crisp sun shined air got us moving.  We can’t sit still. Never have, never will.

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I have to laugh at this photo, because we got out of the car and sprinted up the trail and BOOM…..seconds later we felt utterly and completely drunk, and we we don’t drink!  Our heads were spinning and my hubby was especially feeling woozy.  Then it hit us, this must be some sort of altitude dizziness.  We drove up this crazy road to get to this trail and were now around 8-9k in elevation.  In Vermont, our highest Mountain, Mt. Mansfield sits at 4,395 above sea level.  Our bodies had never felt any kind of altitude.  We slowed and took an easy stroll through what I liked to call, the “Candy Land” trail, and regained our bodies back.

The night finished off with meeting our friends at Run Far.  We had a lovely dinner and chatted about life, races, Run Far, and the upcoming JJ100!! It was wonderful putting the voices to the faces I’ve been working with these past five months. So blessed to have these people in our lives.

With awesome hiking tips from CJ and Mallory, we opted not to visit the Grand Canyon (we’re saving that for a grand adventure with our boys) and decided to head for Sedona! Wow, Sedona blew us away!  We celebrated our 26th year anniversary together (yup, high school sweethearts) hiking, eating, playing, laughing, shopping, and more eating.  It was a phenomenal day.  I felt like the luckiest girl alive.  Give me some hiking shoes, a good trail, my man and some food, I’m set for life.

The beauty and quietness was quite amazing.  We just sat and took it all in………I will never forget our time in Sedona.

Friday we were up early! We couldn’t wait to help man the Run Far booth at Javelina.  I would be meeting more Run Far peeps, it was like Christmas in October! Let me tell you, it’s WAY hotter in McDowell Mtn Regional Park than Sedona or Flagstaff.  When we stepped out of the car to get to the booth, I felt like I was walking on the sun’s surface. And we were told this is cooler than last year! Yikes!

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Run Far gear

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setting up

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open for business, one of our fearless leaders Mallory and my hubs, Guy

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The Run Far team

It was awesome meeting and chatting with fellow runners and telling them the Run Far message.  At Run Far we raise awareness about veteran Suicide and PTSD, while raising money for the children of our fallen veterans who have lost their battle at home due to suicide.  All proceeds from sales/donations goes 100% to the Sergeant Sean Northcutt Scholarship Fund.  We are out running and going beyond our goals to let these children know there are so many people rooting for them and to always know, “Never Give Up”

We got a quick pre-race photo by the photo extraordinaire, Howie Stern and then headed back to our hotel for some rest and relaxation before the big day.

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Our race day started at 7 am.  Walking to the start I was very calm, which is funny, because I am typically an anxious person.  I work on it daily, as it heightened after my horse accident.  I however am not competitive when it comes to running.  For me, it’s a chance to see the world around me at a slow pace. I consider myself a snail when it’s comes to running, much different than my equine endurance life, I LOVED the competitiveness in that sport, but with running I just love the pure joy it gives me.

We stared out winding through an alley of crew tents and cheering, slowly turning into a single track in the desert.  I kept wanting to pinch myself, to enjoy everything my eyes and senses were experiencing.  I was running along side my hubs and great friend, Missy.  The terrain is totally different from VT.  Way flatter, Way hotter, and no humidity. And oh yeah, Cacti. Some people at the start were wearing jackets as Guy and I were already hot, oh dear.  First loop brings you to the first aid station, Coyote Camp (4.0 miles in) This came relatively fast as we were gently cruising down the trails.  We got our ice bandanas out and filled up our arm sleeves with ice (This is a MUST DO…..it will save your race. Ice on you, not in YOU) filled up our bottles with tailwind and off we went.  I was consuming about 17 oz of Tailwind every 45 minutes.

It would be 6.5 miles until our next stop, Jackass Junction. There is a rocky section, so you have to be careful of your footing, mindful not to twist an ankle.  I was excited to see this aid station.  I’ve heard so many stories about this one, it’s like legends passed down from one runner to another. The volunteers greeted us with cheer and were so helpful filling up ice bandanas and water bottles.  I nibbled on a few potatoes before snapping a few pictures.  Thanks John Christley for capturing some great shots of us.  The sun was starting to get a little stronger in the sky, but we were locked and loaded with ICE. Thank you Aravaipa Running for having so much ICE.  This northerner thanks you!

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Jackass Junction…about 10 miles in

Our sights were now on Rattlesnake Ranch, 5.2 miles out.  I felt really good leaving JA, I always feel on a high as I leave an aid station. So much adrenaline.  On this section of the loop we were starting to see the front runners of the 100 coming at us.  I have to say, this was such a high for me.  Seeing some of the elite racers, so focused, yet so kind.  We’d yell, “Great job” and in return they give the same.  We were mindful to get to the side, as they were really RACING….it’s quite impressive to witness.  The first loop is the longest, it adds about 2 miles or so before you get back to Javelina Jeadquarters. The sun was becoming relentless, but we marched on, we couldn’t wait to check off our first loop!

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Map of the loops

Coming into Javelina Jedquarters was a hoot.  You wind through camp and literally cross through the finish line and loop around and head back to your aid station tent.  Our Run Far family was there helping out with whatever we needed.  I actually changed out of my cute stars skirt and into my more comfy, fashionable Inknburn shorts before heading back out.  I also grabbed a ginormous sandwich, I was eating!!!!!

Loop two would be reversed of what we just did, minus the 2 extra miles.  So our first aid station would be Rattlesnake Ranch approximately 3.7 miles into loop 2. After filling up with yet more ice, you can only imagine how fast that stuff melts in a desert, we trudged on for 5.2 miles to Jackass again.  This is where my wheels were starting to fall off.  I felt like something was off.  I had been drinking my tailwind and determined that I may have added a double dose to both bottles by accident.  I knew I needed to drink, but the overly concentrated tailwind was messing with me and the unforgiving sun was really starting to make me feel junky.  During races, I normally dry heave.  It’s just what happens to me. So I felt the anxiousness creeping up. When this happens, I honestly don’t want to have anyone near me.  I pulled back from Guy and Missy and stayed in my bubble.  I worked on my breathing and mantras.  I thought long and hard about what I overcame at the VT100 a few short months ago (I began dry heaving at mile 7 there, but ultimately finished).  Guy could tell I was struggling a bit and chatted with Missy, telling her she should go on, that we were going to walk for a few miles into Jackass.  I felt bad not saying goodbye, but I was so thankful for the miles I got in with her.  I craved shade, a seat to sit down on, but I knew I had to keep trekking towards the aid station where there would be shade, ice, and a much needed bathroom.  I have to thank my hubby again for his sweet friendship, he could easily lap me, but for some odd reason, he loves being out there with me.  I truly love running with him. He gives me so much strength and support, he’s been my coach this whole year and I’m forever grateful for his love and guidance on and off the trails.

Coming into Jackass, I was feeling crummy, I had just come off a DNF at the VT50, so I really, really wanted this finish.  It’s was humbling knowing that I was only 50k into my 100k, essentially half way, feeling like crap.  I immediately went and grabbed ice and sponges to cool off.  I longed for the chair, please let me sit in the shade.  I sipped on gingerale and politely asked the nurse if she could check my pulse.  My heart was racing a bit, but she said you’re fine, just sit and cool off.  Had a nice chat with a gentleman who was doing pretty much the same thing as me.  He told me broth would be served soon, which surprisingly sounded yummy given it was a cool 92 degrees out (I was told last year hit over 100….Holy Hell) Guy was looking for me, as last he knew I was in the bathroom. I forgot to tell him that I was going to sit and chat with the nice comforting nurse, so he began knocking on the porta-pottie “Krista?!?!?!??!” My bad.

Of course I spotted Jim Walmsley from my chair and so wanted to say hi and course take a selfie with him. I’ve love following his running career, he has so much guts to just go for i, I admire that.  I whispered to Guy and said, wouldn’t it be awesome to get a pic of us with Walmsley?  Guy said, “I already talked to him and asked him when is he coming to run VT????” He needs to come East. So he walked over and asked if we could snap a shot, that it would really cheer his wife up. I have to say, this kid is so nice, soft spoken and genuine.  Thanks for cheering this old gal up!

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This cheered me up! Selfie with hubs and Walmsley

About 45 minutes had past and we knew we should get out of dodge.  The one sweet spot about this 100k is there is really no time pressure.  You have 29 hours to complete.  But we had a goal, that we wanted to be kinda close to.  I can’t tell you how nice my body felt to cool down, fuel up and relax.  It’s all I needed to get my temperature down.  Leaving Jackass, we knew we’d hit the rocky section again, but it would be mostly downhill into Coyote.  I could actually run again! The sun was starting to sink closer to the mountains in the distance.  I finally knew we were down to a few hours left of that unwavering sun.
Coming off loop two was a relief!  We ran fast through the timer’s mat, changed and refueled for the last and final loop.  I have to say, it’s nice knowing where you’ve been.  Up hill climb to Jackass and the rocky section, but then we could coast into the finish.  Well, after 19 miles or so.  The night was a welcome relief.  I knew I had some pretty hefty blisters, but I chose to ignore them and my whiny feet.  They could wait, especially since I wasn’t going the full 100.

The desert was amazing at night, you could hear the coyotes yipping in the distance, yet at times I felt like they were right behind me!  We saw our first Tarantula……she was indeed docile like our friends told us she would be.

Crossing the finish line with your best friend is priceless……….. A little piece of my heart will forever be in the Sonoran Desert.  Thanks to Aravaipa Running, the volunteers, and all the runners for making our first time to Arizona freaking amazing!!! Congrats to all who took on the challenge….if you are running Javelina next year, you won’t be disappointed!
Until next time Arizona………
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Happy Trails and keep inspiring……..
See you on the trails…
Krista xoxoxoxoxo
A glimpse of the trail…sorry it’s so bumpy! Beware of motion sickness 😉

Spreading hope………

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.”

~Christopher Reeve

 

Hope…what does this word mean to you? To me, it means life.  There is so much hurt in the world right now, you can’t even turn on the news without seeing another mass shooting or a natural disaster.  The sadness can bog you down.  I keep telling myself… hope is what makes the future bright, hope is what keeps us all moving forward, hope is life.

Many of you know how much passion of have for Run Far and their mission.  For those of you who don’t,  Run Far is an non-profit organization based in Prescott, AZ, who are raising awareness about veteran suicide and PTSD while providing scholarships to the children of fallen United States Military service members that have taken their own life.

We believe that the brave men and women who have protected our country respectfully deserve to have their families protected as well. Through the Sergeant Sean Northcutt Scholarship, we will provide educational benefits to the children of these fallen service members who have lost the battle at home. 

This above statement (taken from the Run Far website) is what Run Far stands for….the kids. It’s all about the kids.  As I’m out on my runs, not only are my kids on my mind, but those of our fallen veterans too. I think about them often.  It gives me purpose on my runs, pushing me harder.  It gives me hope knowing that there are so many amazing people out there spreading the same message for one cause.  It makes me smile knowing there’s a team of remarkable people coming together to make a change.  If we can give hope to these children through an educational scholarship, imagine what the future holds for them.  They will know they are not forgotten and know that someone out there really cares.  So when the world gets you down, do something to change it.  Be the voice for someone else……

If you want to get involved with Run Far, give me a shout!  There are many ways to help support Run Far and the children. First, through donations.  Every little bit helps, a dollar here or there can really add up….. 100% of the donations go directly to the Sergeant Sean Northcutt Scholarship fund.  Second, Run Far sells some pretty sweet hats and shirts, again with all proceeds going to the scholarship.   Third, my company, Red Horse and Co. sells a beautiful RWB Run Far bracelet , with 50% of the proceeds going directly to Run Far.

Our local running club, Brownsville Runners are going to be organizing a stellar 6 hour race here in the beautiful hills of VT in 2018.  ALL proceeds will go directly to Run Far…..I hope you can come join us to race, volunteer, cheer runners on, and spread Run Far’s message and love…… stay tuned for more details…….we are super excited for this!!IMG_3339

These are just a few ways to help, the possibilities are endless.  Follow Run Far on IG to see what they’re up to, and of course check out the Run Far website.  It’s a great way to stay informed on the latest Run Far news……

I leave you with this beautiful video of the Founder of Run Far, CJ Schneider III…..it’s inspiring, uplifting and brings hope.  No matter what you do in life, make sure you live life to the fullest………even in the darkest of times……there’s always hope……

 

Looking forward to meeting a lot of my Run Far teammates in AZ in a few short weeks at the Javelina Jundred.   We will be sharing our love of  running and of Run Far with so many incredible runners.  I’m truly excited to meet everyone and inspire more people to become a voice for these kids…….

Happy trails & keep inspiring……

Krista xoxoxo

 

Jay Peak & Beyond……

“It hurts up to a point and then it doesn’t get any worse.”

~Ann Trason

 

This quote can relate to many things in life, especially Ultra running. This past weekend my family and I ventured to the Jay Peak Trail Run in Jay, VT.  Driving up on Saturday, the sky was blue, the air crisp, two eager boys in the back, ready to tackle their 5k.

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The boys stride for stride at the start of the Green Circle 5k

What I like about the this weekend is we make it a mini vacation, with a side order of running. The facilities are top notch, rooms are gorgeous, we were lucky to get one overlooking the mountain this year.  Great restaurants, a general store, and don’t forget the amazing Waterpark to get your splash on or relax in the giant outdoor hot tub! A must do on Sunday night to soak your tired muscles…….

The boys enjoyed their 5k, but were eager to get to the waterpark afterwards, what kid wouldn’t? The waterslides and lazy river are so much fun…….we had many races against each other…we came to realize that whoever rode down the slide with hubs, was clearly going to win!! Hehehehe

We grabbed a nice lunch at the Pub, it was the most beautiful, picture perfect VT day.  Not a cloud in the sky, near 70….you couldn’t imagine any bad weather coming in on the horizon.  Yet we knew, they were calling for frigid temps and lots of rain…..EWWW… After getting our packs ready and laying out our gear, tailwind, simple squares for the morning….we chilled and put on a movie and settled in for the evening.  Our alarm would be going off at 5:30am.

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I thought I was buying oatmeal……maybe the worst pre race breakfast ever!

BUZZ, darn alarm…..I jumped up and started getting breakfast together and making our oatmeal….WHAT THE HECK IS THIS?!?!?!?!?  What I thought was oatmeal was some sort of pancake batter thingy.  I made mine ultra thin and you can see hubs made his thick.  Thank goodness we bought english muffins….

We walked down to the start, it was cool, no rain yet.  Some people had rain jackets, others just a tank top and shorts.  I decided to go with my Skylight Inknburn tech and Mermaid shorts. I love me some Inknburn……. I don’t love being too hot, I heat up rather quickly while I run, but I did pack a rain jacket.  Hubs and I always laugh when we stand around at the start, because as we look around, we have packed the whole house into our packs, and others have nothing.  I always feel like I’ll need something and I want to be ready, but boy, I gotta learn to minimize!!!

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At the start..go team RunFar

And we were off on our 35.5k, adventure… so a 22 miler with two loops.  Each loop has an elevation gain of approximately 3500+ feet.  They label these races as Quad Burners and that is 100% true!!!  We start off meandering by the lodge and up into a nice slightly elevated groomed trail….climbing roughly 700 ft.  Then the BEAST climb, pretty much up the face of Jay.  The third mile has an elevation gain of 1200+ ft! In ONE mile!!!! I could feel my legs burning a bit, but the rain was holding off so we could see the majestic view below us!!!

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Rain was at a minimum during loop one

As we reached the top of that climb, we entered the “mossy forest”…as I aptly named it.  Gorgeous, rugged, gnarly, rocky, rooted trail.  After this brief climb you are almost to the top where there is a cool lodge building.  Teenaged boys handing out water, bananas, and such.  They looked so cold!  Thank you to all the volunteers for being out in the frigid temps to help us runners!!! Much appreciated!!!

 

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almost to the top! Storm’s a brewin’

From there, lots and lots of downhill to reach our out and back down the Long Trail.  This is a hard section for me, because as you are making your way down, all the front runners are hiking back up, FAST.  It’s difficult mentally knowing it’s about a mile down and then the same mile back up….but there is a cool aid station at the bottom and oh did those Oreos taste AMAZING!!! Thanks ladies……

From the top of the Long Trail section, it’s pretty much a coast home for the last five miles.  Nearly all of your massive climbing is done in those first 6 miles, don’t get me wrong, the last five miles aren’t flat, but there are more sections that are runnable.  Numerous runners had trekking poles, I think they would have been extremely helpful on the steep downhills, it was hard at times to hold yourself back.  As we headed into our tenth mile, the rain started coming down.  Luckily we had our rain jackets stuffed in our packs….they kept us warm and somewhat dry, even though our base layer was wet…I did feel warm enough.  With eleven miles done, we had the midway aid station at the starting area, and then it was back to the intense climbing and repeating the loop again…….I actually enjoyed it way more the second time, I was tired and my quads were barking, but I knew what was coming ahead and that after six miles, we would be in the clear.

*This is the “mossy trail”…..haha hubs called it an awful trail as a joke…we just kept laughing at the conditions……I have to say it was an epic day! 40’s and rain and mud….best trio for an ultra!!!

I just love this race!  I totally recommend it, it’s not easy, but you know you’ve done something after you conquer Jay!!!!!!!!!!! We’ll be back for sure in ’18!!!!

 

Looking ahead…….I may have, accidentally, maybe, uh, hmm, signed up for my second 100!!!!!  AHHHHH…..I’m really pumped for this one, because I will be meeting up with all my RunFar friends.  We will be racing the Javelina Jundred in the beautiful desert of Arizona this upcoming October.  Hubs and I are flying out together (thank you Mom and Dad for hanging with the boys…..and we get to celebrate our 26 year anniversary of being together to boot <3) Looking forward to meeting the amazing folks at Aravaipa running who put on the JJ100, and to finally meet my fellow RunFar athlete/friends face to face.  I’m so proud of what RunFar stands for. Running for them is a constant reminder of our veterans serving our beautiful country.  I want to continue being a voice, sharing their message…….getting veterans the help they need with PTSD and mental trauma can hopefully save lives and saves families.  RunFar’s mission is to raise awareness about veteran suicide and PTSD while providing scholarships to the children of fallen United States Military service members that have taken their own life. Please take a moment to check out their website, grab a sweet RunFar trucker hat/shirt or send a few bucks their way…every little bit helps…..thank you….

I leave you with a cool video from RunFar….enjoy and keep inspiring others…..

RunFar video  

Click on above link to see what RunFar athletes are up to in October…….

See you on the trails…………

Krista xoxoxo

 

A wee bit windy at the top!!!!

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boys cheering us at the finish!!! Best kids ever!

VT100……29 hours, 5 minutes, nine seconds….

 

“Keep your dream in front of you. Never let it go regardless of how farfetched it might seem.”

~Hal Higdon

 

The VT100 and what it means to me….

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Family, friendship, heart, horses, team, Vermont Adaptive, never give up, hope, hills, running for those who can’t, willpower, strength, mental toughness, Song, beauty, selflessness, positivity, feet, RunFar, guts, blisters, nausea, tailwind, ginger, memories, happiness, suffering, highs, lows, mantras, finish, happiness

Reflection…….  It’s been ten days since I crossed the finish line and I still get choked up about the day.  When I reflect back on my VT100 journey……..I will sum it up in two  words…..the first…..HARD.  This was the most difficult thing (besides being severely kicked by a crazy horse and the three surgeries that followed that accident) I’ve done in my life.  As I ran in, I remember yelling out “One and DONE!!!”  As the days rolled by, the mind and body forget all that you endured to get to the finish line.  I totally equate it to childbirth.  The second word to describe my day was,  JOY…..my heart was full sharing this experience with the people I love.  Learning even more about myself with every mile, inspiring my kiddos to reach for their dreams.  It wasn’t just about finishing a 100 miles, it was about feeling whole again after my accident………crazy how time can heal wounds…..

The day for me was made up of many struggles, gratitude, thrills, nausea, highs, lows, family, friends, hills with killer names, volunteers, horses, breathtaking scenery, hope, faith, resilience, owls hooting, darkness (which woke me up after 12am), meandering trails, digging deep, sunsets, sunrises x2, moving one foot in front of the other to finish something I started.  I couldn’t have done this adventure without the help of my amazing friends and family (You know who you are…I love you and can’t thank you enough)….They pushed me forward when I thought all was lost, they clapped and gave high fives to raise my spirits, they sent messages with mantras and tidbits to motivate me, they lugged my stuff around from aid station to aid station.  All with a huge smile on their faces………It still warms my heart today…

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This hug from my son Justin will always have a special place in my heart and mind… It was taken by my pacer Jasmine at mile 99.75.  To me, it embodies raw emotion, elation, gratitude, love between a mother and son, hope, determination, and the strength of the human spirit.  Justin and his brother, Jase crewed their Dad and I all day and into the evening with their aunties, and they still couldn’t wait to run up the trail to meet me with a quarter of a mile left.  The feelings when I saw them came gushing out.  They’ve seen me through struggles after my accident two and half years ago.  I’ve always been honest with them, and they know that if they set their mind to something, it’s achievable.   Thank you Justin and Jase for making your mom so very happy…. i love you xoxoxoxo

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Besides the crazy trash in my pack (so many broth cups)…..hehehe…this photo was captured by my best friend Julie at the finish.  This is another hug I will cherish for eternity.  Separating at mile 40 was extremely hard for us, but I was suffering from nausea for most of the race and was having anxiety about holding him back.  He was going after his 500 mile buckle at VT this year, and there was no way I was going to hold him back.  We separated with tears in our eyes, with the hope of reuniting at the finish.  I am so Damn proud of you Guy for finishing this race 5 times!!!! Such an amazing feat! Guy….. you are my hero, my life, my everything…..I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life and a better dad to our incredible boys.  Love you always and forever……xoxoxoxo

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Even with nausea I mustered a smile…. because we are so lucky to be able to do something we love….I’m thankful for that…..

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Sound of Music….Running with your best friend is the most amazing feeling in the world……….Gosh VT is so beautiful…

 

 

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Guy and his fearless pacer and sister Elaine at mile 95!! WOW!! They look like they’ve gone a mile!

 

 

Hope you enjoy the memories of our 100……I’m blessed to have ridden it on my beloved horses and to have run it on my own two feet…two unbeliveable ways to experience the VT100!!!

All I can say is Dream Big, Dream often, and go find your adventure…….

Happy Trails……..

Krista xoxoxoxoxo

18 days till the big day………VT100 :)

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.”

~Les Brown

It’s hard to believe after 9 months of training for the VT100, the intensity is winding down.  I think back to the sub-zero degree days, putting on my thick tights, yak trax and occasional snow goggles to battle old man winter.  Now a days, it’s all about tackling the humidity and frequent rainstorms.  Everyday I wake up, I drive my family crazy…..”This would be a horrible day for the 100, the air is so thick I can’t breathe, it’s like a thick soup!” OR “This would be the best day, sunshine with cool breeze.” Soon, I’ll be stalking Intellicast, looking to see what Vermont has in store for all of us on July 15th.  Whatever Mother Nature is going to throw at us, I feel like I’ll be ready……… I’ve run in almost every condition.

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Flashback to a beautiful January run…..

I’ve been reminiscing a bunch on my long runs…..remembering funny moments on certain sections of trail or roads that I’ve run with hubs and friends or solo.  Memories that I will surely lean on as I’m running the 100.  I have to chuckle at the time we found a cool looking green bench swing on a long run.  It was 91 degrees and we were coming down a beautiful grass field and viola…. A swing!!  I said to hubs, “Go sit and swing and I’ll snap a cool boomerang video of it” Well, he did and proceeded to fall completely over backwards..I missed pushing record because I was laughing so hard (especially after I knew he was OK)……we curse every time we run by that Damn swing……or the time when I saw the same lawn maintenance truck pass me over and over on my long solo run.  Hours later the older gentleman stopped and rolled down his window and said “HOW FAR ARE YOU RUNNING, we’ve seen you all day??”  I told him 25 miles with a smile and he joked “That’s pure craziness….” “YUP, pretty much!!” I responded.

There have been dog bites, crazy creepy drivers, downpours, intense heat, snow blizzards, glare ice, gorgeous views, scary partridges jumping out of nowhere, incredible single track trails, finding streams to splash and cool off in, tons of pictures and lots and lots of laughter. So. Many. Memories. Of. The. Journey.  We’ve trained hard, but we’ve also had so much fun along the way.  I never want running to be “work” for me.  I want to play, have fun, work hard, give my all, but never lose the joy of running.

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I think I can, I think I can

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Going up!!? Intense hill we found running the other day

 

So this week, we’ve started decreasing the intensity of the workouts.  We do have a hill climb tomorrow planned, but the long mileage days are coming to an end.  I’ve had so much fun learning from others, following their journeys, and truly finding myself. I’m a changed person for it.  It’s been an epic adventure and the best part is, it’s just getting started.  Go after your dreams and don’t forget to DREAM BIG!!! 

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A gift 

My friend Andrea @  Ultrasandcupcakes sent me this book.  Such a sweet and thoughtful gift, especially because she knows I’m headed into taper time or as some call it “taper tantrum” time.  The time when the mind can wander and freak out….Did I prepare enough? Am I capable of running 100 miles?  I didn’t train as much as this or that person?  The little doubt voice who taps you on the shoulder every now and again to throughly flip you out……..I’m super eager to delve into this book and calm my mind and keep myself in check these last two weeks…..So thank you Andrea!!!! You are the best!!!

I’m excited to see everybody soon at the check in!!!!!  Silver hill awaits us all……….can’t wait!!!

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Silver hill…… and the fabulous swimming pond at the VT100

See you on the trails 🙂

Thanks for following my running journey…….

Krista xoxoxoxoxo

Speed Bump……….with a side order of Redemption…& a lot of purpose!

“If you fall short, you don’t cross that arbitrary line, it doesn’t mean you suck.  It just means that you have ambition, that you try to do big heroic things. That’s what matters. A DNF should be a badge of honor. It means your dreams are boundless.  

~Mishka Shubaly

Thank you to my friend Andrea for messaging me this above quote after my DNF at Pinelands……really meant a lot….

Memorial Day weekend is best spent with family, friends, and remembering the veterans who have given us the freedom we know today.  Driving up to Maine, hubs, the boys and I were super pumped.  We couldn’t wait to get there, the drive was smooth, except for the car in front of us on I93 hitting a deer….so sad. I couldn’t wait to see friends and hang out at our little pre race potluck BBQ together, before race day.  I have to say, the running community is really special.  So much camaraderie and encouragement between everyone.  So happy to be part of such a great group of people.

The boys

The Grill Masters…Charcoal vs Gas

We went to L.L. Bean and picked up our bibs before heading over to the venue for dinner.  Great to see Jen (who is an Inknburn addict, like me) for the first time.  So proud of her for running her first 50k!! She smashed it, I think she’s hooked!!!  Also got to hang out with my BFF, Julie and her family, and got to meet her lovely friends….So fun hanging with our four running buddies,  Jim and Amanda and their adorable boys and Jon and Astrid..it was like VT moved to Maine…

We settled in for the night, and the boys had the movie “Vacation” playing on the boob tube…I heard giggling and reciting of the movie (mostly from the big kid….aka Hubs) as  I packed my gear and got stuff ready for the morning.  Amanda was sweet to offer to bring our boys to the start of their 25k around 9:30am, since hubs and I had to be there at 5:40am.

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The VT crew..hubs, myself, Reeve (what a cutie grabbing my cheek), Amanda, Jim, Astrid, Jon, Hugh, Julie, and Naia before the 50 start. Love these people!!

 It was super foggy at the start.  We settled towards the back of the pack, got the chance to see Heather who was running her VT 100 qualifier!! (She by the way, rocked the friggin course!! Congrats Heather!!)  The start was calm and relaxed….we settled into a nice pace around 10 minute miles and then we were doing about 5 miles an hour, for the first 15 miles.  It’s nice to bank some time in the beginning when you’re fresh, yet still run smart, which we were.  Then the wheels fell off……..  I dropped at mile 20, finishing just the first loop of the 50.  I had to stop and use the “forest” bathroom at least seven times (TMI..I know) on the last five miles of that loop, thank you to my hubs for hanging in there with me…our time was really dogging by that point…..I knew at about mile 15 something wasn’t right.  I was taking in my appropriate tailwind and bars, but couldn’t keep anything in.  My stomach would gurgle, and sharp pains ensued.  I tried Rolaids with no relief.  My body wasn’t digesting correctly like it normally does. I’ve run lots of 20+ mile runs this year in training, nothing like this has ever happened.   Hubs was really worried about me, I could see it in his face. We ran into the aid station where our team tent was. Hubs loaded up with more tailwind and headed out on his second loop, after making sure I was ok.  I told him I would sit and rest and see if I could keep fluids/food in. If I could, I would get back out on the course.  I had plenty of time.  The weather was near perfect (it was the mud that everyone kept talking about, the fields were saturated by the immense rain we’d had).  So I sat, ran to the bathroom, sat, ran to the bathroom.  Ate and sipped…..I felt like I lived in the gross porta-potties all day…..ewwwwwww.  I decided it would be a no go, and made my way to the timer to turn in my bib….wah, wah.  I knew my boys were somewhere on the 25k course…..they were flying and it took hubs nearly ten miles to catch them.  (The 25k loop is done twice by the 50k and three times by the 50)

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my boys on their way to their 3rd 25k finish!!!Beasts!!!

It was nice having friends/family come off loops and see the determination and happiness on their faces.  It was a nice distraction for me.  One point in particular was when Julie and Naia came off their fist loop on their 50k..both looking to finish their first ultra!!!!!!!  I helped Julie with her blisters…and tailwind refilling. I got the nicest message from her after I got back to my hotel room (I was feeling a wee bit sorry for myself….)  She wrote…… “For what it’s worth, having you at the tent my first lap made my day and I am eternally grateful for your help and support at that point.  Maybe you were meant to be there at that moment…I sure needed you.” This is why I run, this is what it’s all about.  Connections, people, friends helping each other, encouraging one another.  That really brightened my spirits, when I needed it the most.  So Jules (and Naia) way to epically ROCK your first Ultra together, I can’t wait to see where the trails lead you…….love you to the moon and back girlies…..

So thank you to all my friends and family who reached out with encouraging words about VT100.  Somedays, the fairytale in your head doesn’t play out.  But, I live to run another day with these beautiful people in my life.. and I’m thankful for that!!!!

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Hubs at the 50 finish!!! He’s an animal and my HERO!!! Pic by the famous Allyn Genest

 

Congrats to all who ran Pinelands, we will certainly be back next year, celebrating Memorial Day weekend in running fashion with friends and family…..

 

Follow Up Since the 50 debacle

After Pinelands, I went to see my Chiropractor, Dr. Beth (who is a complete Goddess and Savior to me and my family) She felt my stomach had not recovered fully from the stomach GI thing I had 5 days before Pinelands (the stomach I learned from her takes 10 days to regenerate…I’m learning so much about how the body works)and that she feels my bloating in my everyday life is from a lack of acid in my stomach…who knew!? The whole time, I’ve been feeding myself Tums, Rolaids, anything to help…which in turn was hurting me worse.  I’ve been following her advice:  take 1 tbsp of Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with a bit of water before each meal.  I’ve felt wonderful this week…

I decided to map out 50 miles on my Strava map and run my own “Brownsville Redemption 50 miler” …as I affectionally named it.  I awoke Friday morning a little nervous…I didn’t know how of would feel and I was still a bit worn out from the weekend.  Thankfully hubs was going to crew for me out there, bringing me tailwind, extra food, grilled cheese and of course his smile and positive attitude……As I laced up my shoes and headed out the door, I was thinking of my Grandpa Blitt, who had passed away the morning before.  He was 95 and lived such a full and exciting life.  He fought in WWII, was an incredible artist, some of his paintings would blow your mind……His spirit was with me all day…….I’m forever grateful for that.

There was no fanfare, no accolades, no cowbells….just me, my breath, my every foot fall. The backroads of VT were so peaceful that day,  I never saw a runner, biker or horseback rider.  I felt as if I were all alone, yet had so much strength wrapped around me.  Thank you Guy and Justin who helped and encouraged me throughout the miles…….I’m so grateful for my family always………

 

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50 miles done!!!!!

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I’m also excited and humbled to be a RunFar Athlete

This is what they stand for and was taken from their website:

“We believe that the brave men and women who have protected our country respectfully deserve to have their families protected as well. Through the Sergeant Sean Northcutt Scholarship, we will provide educational benefits to the children of these fallen service members who have lost the battle at home. Founder of Run Far, CJ Schneider III, veteran of the United States Marine Corps, is an Ultra Marathon runner whose goal is to bring people together through fitness to raise awareness for Veteran suicide and PTSD”

“Run Far is all about inspiring runners to reach goals that before seemed nearly impossible. It’s for those with dreams of adventure & successes, and for those who want to put a little more good back into this world.”

Donate to RunFar

Sergeant Sean D. Northcutt Scholarship

Sergeant Sean Northcutt, Proud Veteran of the United States Marine Corps, served multiple deployments in both Iraq and Afghanistan. After honorably giving 8 years of his life to his country, Sergeant Northcutt was diagnosed with PTSD and depression prior to transitioning into civilian life. After a long fight with these horrible illnesses, Northcutt took his own life on July 20, 2015 at the age of 31, leaving behind a widowed wife and two children.

​ Sergeant Northcutt lived a life filled with immense pride and discipline in everything he did. He carried himself with the love of his family, country and fellow service members. Northcutt affected many lives in a positive way in his short time on earth.  Ideally, those who benefit from this scholarship will emulate the principles by which Northcutt lived, thereby keeping alive the legacy of our fallen Hero, Brother, and Friend.

I’m so excited to be part of the #teamrunfar. Together we can help veterans and their families……every dollar counts….Thank you.

RunFar hats

100% of every purchase and donation goes towards the Sergeant Sean D. Northcutt Scholarship fund.

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Run Far hats (they are pretty awesome!!!)…100% of every purchase and donation goes towards the Sergeant Sean D. Northcutt Scholarship fund.

 

The moral is…..do not give up, do not let thoughts/or failures tear you down.  Get back up and fight another day…….

Happy Trails….and thanks for following my running journey….

Krista 🙂 xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Five days till the 50!! Yippee Skippy!

“Do the work. Do the analysis. But feel your run. Feel your race. Feel the joy that is running.”

~Kara Goucher

The clock is ticking…….Is it me, or does Spring seem to be flying by??!? I love spending Memorial Day weekend with family and friends at the Pinelands Trail Festival, so pumped that this weekend is right around the corner! It’s such a great race, endless distances from a 1k kids race to a 50 miler.  The vibe in Maine is relaxed and it’s always a treat for this Vermont girl to see the ocean on the way up on our drive.  This race will be a great warm up for VT100 coming up in July.  It’ll be a family affair, the boys are running the 25k and hubs and I will both be running the 50…….I’m sure we’ll see the boys out on trail…..They’ll do one lap, and we’ll do three, so chances are they will pass us! Can’t wait to meet some new peeps and hang out with my precious dear friends…..Happy Tapering everyone!!! Can’t wait to see you all!!!

 The past three weeks have been HUGE for me in the mileage department.  I’ve logged 122.4 miles with an elevation gain of 19,402 feet thus far in the month of May!!!  Including two Mt. Ascutney climbs (getting myself ready for those relentless long hills of VT, remember the ones with scary names?!?!!) I’ve been adamant about having my training elevation mimic that of the VT100.  Granted, most of my training loops are crazy hilly, so it’s not that difficult to achieve that.  Last week it was in the upper 80’s, low 90’s and my 19 miler kicked my bootie!!!  I’m focusing on eating smaller portions more frequently during longer runs.  I really have to get more heat training runs in, I’m waiting on Mother Nature tho.  This weekend actually looks picure perfect, 62 and partly cloudy, let’s hope the rain holds off…..

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6 miles into our 19 miler….it was hot! Love this shot of hubs running down one of our favorite back Vermont roads….

 

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Loving my Last Horse Runners hat….check them out 

I hope your May training is going well……..I’ve had a few rest days.  Trying to preserve my legs and be careful of injuries……My shins were definitely sore after my last hike up and down Ascutney……feels good to rest the bones……..lots of hot baths filled with epsom salts and lavender….I kinda like tapering…….

Soon, packing will begin…….

  • Fun happy clothes….InkNburn of course! Now which outfit….hmmmmm
  • Hydration Tailwind Check!
  • Bars Simple Squares….. I will have extra if anyone at Pinelands would like to try some!! Come see me!!
  • Socks Only Injinji…..knock on wood no blisters…however the compression didn’t end up working for me.  My calves locked up in the first mile of a 22 miler I did….Luckily hubs came to the rescue and brought me my shorter socks…….not sure why my legs disagreed with compression. As soon as I switched, all was right in leg land…
  • My running supply drawers I made for races…….holds everything from Lube, tampons, bobby pins, rolaids, tums, pens, bandaids…..you name it, it’s in there. Also works great at home, I always know where things are……

 

Sweet drawers!

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fuel for one of my long runs…..

 

And please, please, please turn on the Charity Miles app…..I’ve logged 429.28 miles in 2017, which is $107.32 for the charities of my choosing……..Every Mile Matters……..

 

Running with Raven

When you love a book so much, you read it again…. “Running with Raven”

 

I’ll let you know how the 50 goes! It’ll be a great test to iron out any kinks before VT……I’m a little nervous. My only other two 50’s were at the VT50….home turf…  Of course, it’s a kick ass hilly one, so I’m hoping this one will be a tad easier…..but who am I kidding, 50 miles is 50 miles!!!!!!! Thanks for following my running journey………..

Happy Trails, & see ya at Pinelands!

Krista 🙂

xoxooxoxoxo