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

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

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

Night running……

“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.”

~Vincent Van Gogh

Night running….. mystery….. the unknown…. darkness….peacefulness….calm. Night running is wondrous. It seems as though the world has stopped for a brief moment in time. No hustle and bustle.  All is silent.  The houses twinkle in the distance, the sounds of animals waking up, the moon illuminating the way.  The hills seem to melt under my feet, my mind unable to see far ahead to the next climb approaching.  There’s a sense of lightness, calmness, tranquility, and ease.

This was our first night run of the season, earlier than normal, usually we plan an epic overnight run to prepare the boys of Brownsville for the VT 100.  I was so giddy….excited for the longest run in some time for me, and a night one to boot!! A date night with the hubs, if you will.

Have you ever ventured out in the night to run??? I’d love to hear your experiences! We only had two cars pass us (gotta love country living)…probably thought they were in an episode of the twilight zone with our blue and pink lights flashing.  Our tailwind turned to slush, but we unscrewed our caps and had lemon slushies along the way…yum! Coming out of a trail around mile 5, we heard a man and his dog in the distance. Naia (as we heard him call her)  was very curious as to why crazy, colorful, humans were approaching her.  The man yelled, “Are you walking or on horseback!!??”…we said “We’re running! Nice night for it, huh…….um…is your dog friendly???” She was a love bug, wanting to give us kisses. Phew! Hubs was recently bit while running, hence the pic of him with the “dog stick” just in case.  We followed the moon, who was playing peak a boo with us between the trees, lighting the way. The stars were abundant last night….a bit of quiet before the storm.

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the beautiful moon lighting our way

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the nor’easter is in full force as I type..

Things to remember

Always snag a running buddy or let someone at least know where you are going.

Carry a “dog stick” just in case

Bring fuel/food (preferable tailwind for hydration and my go to.. Luna & Clif bars and my most favorite SIMPLE Squares..

Always wear reflective gear and some sort of blinking light, if on the roads

Headlamp

Dress warm if you live in the arctic like me….layers, layers, layers

Bring camera…iPhone

Have fun and Enjoy!!!

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A few must haves….

A little video of our fun…..Warning! Might be a little trippy with the flashing lights…hehehehe

See ya on the trails……. xoxoxo

Krista 🙂