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

Hills, hills and more hills……

“If the hill has its own name, then it’s probably a pretty tough hill.”

~Marty Stern

Heartbreak & Agony are just a few of the tough hills I will be running (who am I kidding…..power walking, climbing, shuffling or crawling….) up soon at the VT100.  If they have a name like Stern’s quote says, then they must be toughies, right?? Yup, they are.

It’s hard to believe that the VT100 is a mere sixty-nine days away. Holy Shit…..  Training is really ramping up these past weeks.  This week I put down 52.2 miles with an elevation change of 6,598ft in three runs.  My highest weekly mileage to date.  Ankle is holding up well, I’m being very adamant about rest days……. I know how important they are in this whole process.  I’m being proactive with stretching and seeing my chiropractor on a regular basis.  I already have an appointment lined up for the week before the 100.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. Probably because I haven’t run farther than fifty miles at a time….. I have days where I stop suddenly in my tracks and say “I’d still be running!” or before bed while brushing my teeth, “yup, still running” or in the morning the next day as I’m getting the kids off to school……”ahh, still running!!!!!!!!!!” Of course I HOPE I’m still running, because that’s the goal…to FINISH!…..I’m feeling like I will be using most of the 30 hours to get this done, so visualizing myself doing this and crossing the finish line is key.  I’m still working on my stomach.  I’m taking an acid reducer the night and morning before long runs, I’m honing in on eating during these longs runs, which is getting easier with the aid of Tailwind and the pure act of making myself EAT.  Lulu and Joe also mentioned trying to eat a small bite of food every 20 minutes, rather than waiting until you feel hungry….gonna try this as well.   I’ve noticed improvement, but if there is one concern for this race, it’s my stomach.  I have a fear of throwing up, which is not the best one to have as an ultra runner.  I despise, loathe, and hate vomiting.  I cry like a baby, I pretty much am a baby when I’m or anyone around me is doing this God awful thing…….thank goodness I never had morning sickness, I would have been a complete mess.  So I’m working hard on keeping my stomach in check. Do anyone of you out there suffer with stomach issues during your ultras? I would love to hear what helps you.

Pinelands 50 is fast approaching….3 weeks from today.  I love having another race to use as practice for the big dance.  I’m going to use it as a stepping stone race, no need for PR’s or pushing myself too much.  Just nice and steady, using my time wisely at the aid stations and getting around the course feeling good.  Soon I’ll be checking the weather to see what conditions will be.  Except for my run with Raven in Miami, I’ve yet to train in any sorta of heat or humidity.  I can’t wait for it to warm up in VT and run in some HOT and HUMID temps. I’m excited that so many friends are heading to Maine for this race, and my whole family is running it.  Hubs is in the 50 miler and our two boys are doing the 25k, I think they are secretly going just for the Swedish Fish at the aid stations, ha-ha….. There are also a few new friends that I’d like to meet there as well.  Should be a fun weekend for us all……

Yesterday I finished up my weekly training with a 21 miler with new friends and my lovely hubs.  Lulu and Joe drove up from NYC in the pouring rain Friday and stayed the night with us.  It was fun to finally meet her in person after corresponding on Instagram @ lulu.mnyc . She too will be running the VT100 , with Joe as her trusty crew and pacer.  We enjoyed a great day on the trails with slight humidity, rain, sunshine, wind, muddiness, lots of chit-chat and of course taking fun pics.  We loved having them, Alba did too!! Can’t wait to see you Lulu in less than 2 months!!! Keep up with your great training!!!  We’re gonna Kill the hills girl!!!

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Lulu and I jumping for joy on the trails….

 

I’m staying positive, motivated, grateful and happy about the upcoming 100.  When I told my good friend, Laura Farrell (who is the founder of the VT100, thank you Laura for all you do) that I’m very NERVOUS and excited, she gave me this wisdom….. “Please remember that at the 100 mile, you get to spend a whole day doing something you love.”  This has really stuck with me, I hear her words in my head while training and in life.  I’m looking at this as an adventure…..one step at a time. I’m going into it with a BIG SMILE on my face.  It won’t be easy, it won’t be all fun and games…..but running is something I love doing and I’m so thrilled that I get a chance to take a shot at one of my biggest goals……

Happy training and remember to always have fun!!!!!!

See you on the trails……thanks for following me…….

Krista 🙂 xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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I want you so very bad Mr. buckle…..I’ll take the small one 🙂

Running 8 miles with a legend…..

“Knowing I’m not alone, that there’s people here that want to be with me, that motivates me.  If I had to come out and run by myself, I don’t know if I could.”

“I always felt like an outcast….now this run is like my family.”

~Raven

It’s funny how life works sometimes.  I was promoting one of my Red Horse and Co.  running bracelets on Instagram and doing a March giveaway.  I entered the names of the people who liked and commented on the photo on an online random winner generator.  Lulu.mnyc was picked.  Hooray!!  We’d been chatting prior to my giveaway, because we are both registered in the VT100 this coming July, and had become friends.  I sent her the bracelet and received a nice message back saying “Thank you so much, I love it, it’s beautiful.” and the next message was “I work in publishing and the house I work for is publishing a book about a real life story of a man in Miami who has been running 8 miles every single day for 40+ years.  Would you like an advanced copy, I’d love to send you one.” Um…..yes please!! was my response.  I can’t get enough of memoirs, especially about running or horse related stories.  I’ve loved the connections I’ve made through social media….so thank you Lulu……

“Running with Raven” by Laura Lee Huttenbach arrived a few days later, and I couldn’t put it down.  It is such a wonderful read, that chronicles the life story of Robert “Raven” Kraft.  An excerpt from the front cover follows….”In 1975 Robert “Raven” Kraft, a high school dropout and aspiring songwriter, made a New Year’s Resolution to run eight miles on Miami’s South Beach each evening.  Over 125,000 miles later, he has not missed one sunset. Along the way, Raven has changed the lives of thousands who have run with him-many of them hundreds of times. From all fifty states and over 85 countries, across all ages groups and backgrounds, they come to run with Raven, and in the process find friendship, inspiration-and a nickname.”  Be prepared to be inspired, enlightened, moved, and touched by this incredible story of Raven’s life and come to meet some of the various runners who have run along side of him.  I felt I had to take my time, because I wanted to devour the book in one sitting, I needed to savior it.  I give it 5 stars, one of my all time favorite books, you don’t need to be a runner to enjoy this one.

My husband had a work conference in Naples, FL….it had been planned since last summer.  So our curiosity got the best of us on one long run in March after reading the book.  “Hmmmmm, I wonder how far Naples is to Miami Beach???” We stopped and googled mid run and lo and behold, it was only a mere two hours away.  How cool would it be to run with Raven, to run with a man with such determination and grit.  Hubs and I were like two school kids the whole way home.  We decided to run on April 26, the day after the book was to be released. It was to be a quiet evening at the conference and we could easily slip away.  We told his co-workers what we were up to, and they were equally intrigued by our upcoming adventure.  We don’t like to sit still, so this was right up our alley……We couldn’t wait to meet Raven, run with him, hear his stories and earn our nicknames..

We picked up our car rental and set out for Miami around 1 pm……We left early, allowing enough time in case of delays with traffic and such.  Smooth sailings along I-75, sun was shining as we munched on lunch and chatted about what it will be like to meet Raven.  Driving into the city was a breeze, phew! I’m not a fan of city driving, thankfully Hubs doesn’t mind it.  I pointed out a Parking garage sign near 5th street above Publix, leaving only a 5 minute walk to the beach.  It was hot for us Vermonters.  85 and sunny, with relatively low humidity.  We arrived at the 5th Street Lifeguard stand around 3:45.

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Arriving at Miami beach 5th street Lifeguard station

We love people watching, so we settled in for about an 1 1/2 (yes, we were really early!!)  We saw all kinds of people…. families, pot heads, topless women, endless photo shoots by teens, kite fliers, you name it…it’s on South beach.  The anticipation was killing me and I told hubs I’m gotta pee one more time….. as we were leaving the restrooms….we spotted Raven, heading up to the beach in his black jean jacket and jeans.  I said “OMG, it’s Raven” to hubs and we quietly followed him up to the beach.  I didn’t want to act like a stalker and ambush him right away.  He put his stuff on the lifeguard stand and then we headed over.  We said, “We’ve read your book and it’s incredible, loved it!” He said, “You must be fast readers!” I told him I had a friend who gave us an advanced copy….. Raven was so down to earth and was delighted that we’d be running too!  As we were chatting, “Taxman”, Raven’s number one runner walked up next to us and gave us a fist bump (customary greeting with Raven Runners) Taxman is a 63-year-old accountant and has logged in the most runs (1,959 of them) with Raven.  We also got to meet Close call and Lobotomy.  It was truly like the book was coming alive.  All these people whose stories I have read about, were standing in the flesh before me.  It was surreal to say the least.  We did the Back and Forth North Route.  The miles flew by as Raven did Roll Call of the members (he has the most beautiful deep voice) and told us many stories about the characters he’s met and bits about Miami Beach and his life.  He asks us which part of the book was our favorite and he told us we were the first runners to come after reading the book.  I was in Heaven, I have to say I was a bit nervous at first, because it’s crazy meeting an idol. That quickly melted away, because with Raven, it’s natural and the conversation flowed like we were old friends.  He does a bit of an interview to get to know you to come up with your nicknames.  I told him my love of Arabian horses and endurance riding and about my accident with my elbow and how running has been my savior these past two years, and that horses run through my blood…he responded..”Desert Horse”, how does that sound?” I was floored!!!! It was perfect for me…..absolutely perfect!!  Hubs chatted how about his love of basketball and coaching and his crazy running adventures…..hubs does this awesome “Crossover” move in basketball and viola, “Crossover” was his nickname to be….

As the three of us ended our run (the others peeled off along the way) I felt so blessed to have met this man, and to have made a connection.  Because isn’t that what life is all about, connections?  We all have so much in common in this world. Sometimes slowing down and enjoying a run on the beach with a friend, may be the best way to experience it. We ended the evening with a 1/3 mile swim in the Atlantic………can’t wait to bring our two boys to run with him…….

Raven is a wonderful, humble, funny, kind man.  In a world with such uncertainty and volatility, one thing’s for certain, Raven will always be at the 5th lifeguard station on Miami Beach at 5:30pm.  I hope if you are even in that area, you lace up your running shoes with this great man……….keep on inspiring Raven!!!!

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pre run photo-op with Raven

Hope to see you on the trails…………..

Krista 🙂

aka Desert Horse xoxoxoxo

Runamuck 50k Recap……..

“When you begin to believe, that is when you will be on the right track to try and accomplish whatever you have set out to do”

~Bob Hodge

I love Vermont and I love Vermont Ultra-running races.  Again, I chuckle, because for me the word, RACE is comical.  I’m what you call slow and steady….grind and pound out the miles.  Guy, and our friend, Fred and I arrived at the Runamuck 50k around 7:30am. The race starts and ends at Suicide Six ski area, a lovely ski mountain in the beautiful hills of Pomfret, VT.  This is the first year we’ve run it, which is funny, because the last few years the course ran right by our house.  With surgeries the last two years on my elbow, the timing was never right…..so I was pumped to have finally made it here!! We saw our two great friends, Jon and Astrid right away…always so nice to catch up with these two….  I loved the feel of the race as soon as we arrived.  We met race director Jonathon Vass, who was super welcoming, helpful and smiley ….. a great attribute for a RD.  At the check in table, there were pads of paper, pens and bibs scattered…..”pick you number, write down your name on the paper”…..”now you’re good to go.”  Love it! Simple, quick…smart!  I picked out number 52 and headed back to the heated car….it was freezing!!! No sun, high winds at the foot of Suicide Six, and spitting snow.  BRRRRR.

Waiting in line at the porta-potti I met a sweet runner named Jasmine….we talked about InkNburn, training, and running goals & aspirations….a long line…..I seem to meet the best women waiting in that line at races 😉  I also got to meet Kimberly for the first time, which is awesome to meet a fellow blogger and runner in the flesh!  Jonathan gathered everyone for a quick pre chat, around 100 runners lined up and were off. It felt like a true grass root event, again VT rules!  We headed about 3+ miles up Stage Rd, paved, slight incline….but the adrenaline was pumping and we were chatting it up with fellow runners.  We were running along side a very accomplished VT 100 miler (he has run it since 1993…HOLY WOW), who was making it look incredibly easy, I slowly backed off……I knew it wasn’t a pace I could keep, it was fun while it lasted!!

After coming off the pavement, we hit a dirt road, Lime Pond Rd .  The roads were icy in spots, so you had to watch your footing, and yet at times, they were squishy, which was nice on the legs.  It felt like you were either climbing steep or descending steep, there was roughly 3400 ft of elevation gain.  Not much in the way of flats….VT never is, you think I’d be used to it by now, born and raised here.

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heart-shaped pond…always on the lookout for hearts along the way….<3

 

At mile 12, there was a lovely aid station with tons of goodies.  We got to see Astrid ( vttrailgirl )and her pup, Aggie volunteering, it’s always a boost to see friends on the course.  I gobbled down 3 squares of PB&J and loads of potato chips! I had already drank one and a half 17 ounce bottles of Tailwind and a Simple Square Coconut bar.  First 12 miles flew by….there was a huge downhill into that aid station, so we were cranking off some 9+ minute miles, which is pretty fast for me.

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A nicely stocked aid station….thanks Runamuck!!

There were open stretches of dirt roads where the wind would nearly take your breath away….I had to chuckle at our friend Fred….he started with no outer layer, hat or mittens…..Thankfully Astrid was at the aid station to lend her buff and a spare sweatshirt. The hard problem for me on this run, was where can I pee??? There are no leaves on the trees yet and it was hard to find spots to duck in….I had to pee so bad at one point that I had to scoot behind round bales that were lined up on the side of the road….It was hard to blend into nature with my colorful rose sweatshirt…..hehehe..women problems….

After the aid station there was another huge climb that seemed to go on forever…..when you come upon those you know you will be doing a lot of power walking.  I feel this is an area where I have to get better with my training. Run the doable hills, yet adding power walking to my training will be key for the VT100. I know there will be stretches on the 100 that I will be walking for what seems like an eternity, so I have to build my muscles for that. I seem to get tight in my hips and my back with walking, so it’s a must that I train for that.

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The boys…..love the signs…on ski poles….

With about 5 miles to go, I felt I could push little more.  Originally I wanted to finish around 7 hours, but it was looking like 6:15 to 6:30 was going to be achievable.  I really got a second wind as we passed markers headed down the hill (ones we had passed on our first loop coming up…I made a mental note on the first go round….I think my endurance riding has helped me with loops, because on horses rides, you are always doing loops it seems) so I knew we were getting closer to base camp.  Hubs and I got into an amazing rhythm, letting the miles just melt away with each step.

 

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Yup…show that hill who’s BOSS….love people who put signs out….TY!!

 

It was a nice descent back to the finish line via pavement.  We kept moving forward, slowly gaining on a gal ahead of us.  It was nice to have her in view, because it was so FLAT to the finish, I needed something to focus my mind on.  For some reason, and I can’t figure out why……I get a little nauseous right before a finish line, it doesn’t matter the distance.  I am a bit of an anxious person, but I can’t figure out why this happens to me.  About 1/8 before the finish, I felt like I was gonna dry heave…..but I had my mantra in my head, as I always do and I kept saying, “This will pass” Sure enough, 20-30 seconds of stopping, I gathered myself and pushed to the finish line with a time of 6:16:25 a 50K PR for me!!! We were 82nd out of roughly 100 runners…..I’m still mind blown by the times, such amazing, talented, speedy runners out there, the winner finishing in 3:35, way to go Brian!! …..kudos to you all, no matter where you finished….31 miles is a long way on your feet!!!

Overall, a wonderful race in VT.  Loved the local feel, actually loved everything about it. We got finisher prizes of Darn Tough Socks and a beautiful pin and stickers.  Hubs and I even got a “Couple” award.  Lunch for two at Harpoon, heck yes!! Thanks Jonathon, and all the volunteers and sponsors for putting on such a stellar race.  We will defintely be back……

What worked

My InkNburn clothes were perfect. Capris, and my Rose sweatshirt kept me toasty all day with no rubbing or chaffing…my only running clothes I wear… Someday I will wear shorts again…..

Tailwind (Mandarin Orange) about five 17 ounce bottles for the duration, less than I thought, but it was so cold.

Simple Squares (3 of them for the race) These went down so well….organic, gluten, soy, dairy free…pure yum!! (if you wish to try them, use code vtrunnermom15 at Simple Square website for 15% off.

 PB&J, Chips

Injinji toe socks, no blisters

Buff, gloves

Salomon pack

Strava GPS

Charity Miles

Redirecting my mind at times/Using my mantras

Asics GT 2000

What didn’t work this time

PB crackers (too dry at mile 26 for me) ugh…didn’t go down well at all..YUCK

If you are looking for a fun, fast, Spring race in New England, be sure to look this one up!  We’ll be back for certain!

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Finisher pin

Happy Running……..see you on the trails…..xoxoxox

Krista 🙂

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The Finish! Jon, Me, Guy (Hubs)  Fred and Aggie

Make the most of your dash……

“Life is made of two dates and a dash. Make the most of your dash.”

~Unknown

This quote certainly resonates with my family and I. Everyone’s life is made up of two dates and a dash…..it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, old or young, or what your beliefs are, we all share this same common fate.  What will you do with your dash????  Be darn sure to make the most of it………….I know I sure will!

Training for the VT 100 is on. Saturday I’ll be running the Runamuck 50k in Pomfret, VT, starting and ending at the base of Suicide Six Ski area.  The elevation gain is 3,612 feet and the course meanders along the back roads of rural VT.  This will be a stepping stone in my training for VT100.  I’m going into it super excited and treating it as a killer training run, a chance to make sure things are working seamlessly….haha..nothing in ultra running is ever seamless! I must eat and eat and eat, to train my stomach.  Tailwind will be a huge help of course, but I know I have to get my body eating regular foods, nausea from not eating is my nemesis.  My fellow VT running friends (and New Englanders) and I are ready and deserving of some decent weather. The forecast is calling for 40’s and cloudy on race day….I’m still hoping to wear shorts!!! Looking forward to meeting new friends and hanging with my favorite buds.  The last two mega snowstorms have made it harder to train…..we finally saw the sun on our training run this past Sunday, Hallelujah!! We Vermonters are stubborn, tough, and a tad rugged. We know that summer will be here soon…..75 and Sunny next week!!!!!!! And then perhaps Winter could return..you never know.  So, I’ll follow up with what worked and didn’t for Runamuck….stay tuned!

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Guy on lookout during a long run…..We wore shorts….FINALLY!!

 

What I’m reading…..

So, I have to tell you about a book I just finished reading, Running with Raven: The Amazing Story of One Man, His passion, and the Community He Inspired. By Laura Lee Huttenbach. I was given an advance copy of the book by my wonderful friend, Lulu.  Lulu will be running her first 100 in VT too!!  From the moment I read the first sentence, I was hooked.  It follows the life of Robert “Raven “Kraft and how in 1975, he made a New Year’s Resolution to run 8 miles a day, everyday. He has done this for the past 40+ years on beautiful Miami Beach.  Over 125,000 miles later, he’s yet to miss one sunset.  He’s inspired thousands around the world and hasn’t run alone in the past decade. He gives everyone who runs with him a nickname (the Author is White Lightning) which is so friggin cool and keeps a meticulous log of his runs. You’ll hear many stories of people who have run with him, and learn about who “Raven” is and what makes him tick….I laughed, cried, well, I had pretty much every emotion reading this book.  I don’t want to spoil it by telling you too much, so I will leave you with this…You need to buy this book!!! It hits bookstores April 25, 2017.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did….

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Foodie Corner:

I decided to make homemade Granola bars for the upcoming race……here’s my recipe:

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Maple Walnut Chocolate Chip No Bake Granola Bars

 

2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats

1 Cup Almond Butter

1/2 Cup Walnuts

1/2 Cup mini Chocolate Chips

1/4 of VT Maple Syrup

TBSP Chia & TBSP Flax seeds (optional)

pinch of Cinnamon

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl.  Pour into prepare pan, press firmly. Freeze for 1 hour. Cut and wrapped Individual.  These will be in our packs Saturday. Yum.

Enjoy!

Hope you are all enjoying your training…..Any big races or adventures coming up?? I would love to hear what you’re up to!!

How are you gonna make your Dash count????!!!! Go get it!!!!

 

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My boys living life to the fullest…..

 

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always make time for kisses

 

Thanks for following my running journey….see you on the trails….

Krista xoxoxo