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

Fifty Miles….DONE!!!

“Part of a runner’s training consists of pushing back the limits of his mind” ~Kenny Moore

I swore after my first fifty miler in 2011, that I would never do that again.  I guess the motto is…never say never. I’ve changed a lot since then, I’ve become mentally stronger (even though I still need a boost here and there with my mantras) after my injury and I’ve changed as a runner, I think most in part because I have more passion for it.  I’ve been counting the days until the fifty, so pumped to run the beautiful trails and dirt roads of Brownsville, Hartland, Windsor, & So. Woodstock, VT.  This race is so special because it’s held in our backyard and supports The Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sport.  (http://www.vermontadaptive.org) They are the largest year-round disabled sports non-profit organization in VT.  The Vermont 50 is a wonderful race. I love running with the mountain bikers and the other 600 runners, especially this time of year in VT. The volunteers and race management are top-notch, and the course is incredible.  Long stretches of single track and a mix of dirt roads and open trails. (Thank you landowners!!)  It’s one of the best in the East. Registration opens in May 2017(https://vermont50home.blogspot.com) You won’t be disappointed!

We awoke early Sunday morning, fed the animals and then came inside to eat and get ready. One word…BRRRRR.  It was a crisp 33 degrees, stars were out in full force.  A gorgeous morning to start, I kept saying “How can we be this lucky to have the perfect weather for our 50??” The weather forecast was supposed to be 59 sunny, so we put lots of layers on, knowing we’d be peeling them off along the way.

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The four amigos at the start…Guy (my hubs) Me, Fred, and Hugh

We got to the race around 6am, and watched the mountain bikers leave in waves.  My teeth were chattering, there were people huddled by huge lights, trying to stay warm. Others were covered in blankets, “why didn’t I think of that!?” Good conversations passed the time until our 6:30 am start.

I was surprisingly calm before the race, I was able to eat a big breakfast and I was just relaxed..which is not always the case for me.  I think I looked at the day as a fun, enjoyable run in the woods with Guy.  Like I always say, he’s my rock, I love running with him.  He grounds me, inspires me, gives me confidence, and is just a fun running partner.  I know, this is where you can <gag>….our horse farrier calls us the “cupcake couple”  I’m actually flattered by this…. We love doing everything together, even running!

We couldn’t wait to meet our family at Skunk Hollow which was 12 miles in….the first stretch of miles was so enjoyable. The early meandering trails are our normal training ones, so those flew by.  Loved chatting with numerous runners from all over, DC, Boston, Chicago….each one kept saying, “You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world ” My sister, Karrie and her boyfriend Dan, my parents, our boys and Alba (our chi) were waiting for us at Skunk.  What a lift they were….smiling, cheering, encouraging, there’s nothing like seeing your crew.  Such a boost to the soul and heart!! Thank you guys!!! I knew we had to leave, time is NOT on your side in this 50.  We reluctantly said goodbye, waving “see you at mile 30! Yikes!! That’s so far away” I thought……

We climbed and climbed for miles and miles up to Garvin Hill….What a stunning view.  Loads of volunteers lugged aid stations goodies up there for runners and bikers.Yum, everything was so good!  Potatoes, chips, and PB&J sandwiches. Holy Shit, I was eating!!! This was a first, I normally shy away from food, knowing I will pay for it later.  Tailwind was being consumed about 17 ounces every 1 1/2 hours. So I knew that played a huge part in my eating. Tailwind gives you 100 calories per scoop and electrolytes. Read up on it here. http://www.tailwindnutrition.com/why-tailwind/  It was a life saver for me…like I said, I ate all day, even at the last aid station!!!!

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Garvin Hill Mile 18!!

 

Garvin Hill Clip

 

Heading down after Garvin, we knew we had 12 miles until we saw our faithful crew again.  It would be so great to see them!! We knew time was getting tight, 12 hours seems like a lot, but at times you actually feel like you are going backwards! Strange feeling.  We trudged along, through Cady Brook, and M-Ville aid stations.  Leaving M-Ville at 26.5 miles, Guy was concerned about time.  We left there at 12:25, only 35 minutes before the cut off time….that’s when my mind and stomach felt nervous, “Can we make it?” All the negative thoughts started running through my mind…The mind is a powerful thing….it can give you a boost or it can cut you down.   Running is a good example when the mind can trick you…you may hear “You can’t do this, your arches/quads are killing you” or “Why did you sign up for this” “how much further?” I had many thoughts throughout the fifty miles, good and bad.  Mantras really helped me a with a few low points in my fifty miler. A mantra is a statement of slogan repeated frequently.  Leading up to Greenall’s at mile 30 (where I’d see my family) I repeated it over and over “You are strong, you can do this, Remember what you’ve gone through, You are strong, you can do this, Remember what you’ve gone through” Mantras are incredible.  I repeated and repeated it, looking at my mala bracelet, peace and calmness flooded back over me.  My stomach felt better, my nerves calmed.  Back to business..As we ran down the big hill behind Silver Hill Farm, we saw our two boys running towards us. What a sight for sore eyes…they literally brought tears to my eyes.  How sweet they are to come looking for us, running and laughing and so full of life.  Love them to pieces, they are what keep me ticking. A moment I won’t forget.

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The incredible trails….

 

Clip a few miles before Fallon’s

We quickly said hi to everyone, filled our water bottles with more Tailwind and grabbed a snack and kept going. My BFF Jules, nudging me out of the aid station, “Get going girl” she said….I needed that, or I would have wanted to stay longer.  We knew 30-40 would be a hard single track section, leading to Fallon’s.  We met runners in our situation. We knew we would be running against the clock, one gal came up and asked “Do you think we’ll make it?” Guy kept doing the calculations in his head, “We gotta keep moving!!” So onward we went.  I loved knowing that at Stones (39.8 miles in) we’d see our friends, Jim, Amanda, Mark (he was going to pace Fred in the home stretch) Again, we quickly said hi, grabbed food and marched on.  See the trend, we never stayed long and kept moving the whole day, where does the time go????  We had ten miles and two hours and forty-five minutes… Ok, doable, but not a gimme.  Mark kept the mood light, with jokes and encouraging words.  We slogged up and down single track trails, with hopes that we could get to Johnson’s with an hour and twenty for the last 4.1.  We wanted that cushion, the end was different from what we’ve known in the past, so that had me a bit rattled.  We came into the last aid station with one hour and 25 minutes to do the last 4.1…OK, I could finally breathe.  I knew we still had to move, power walk up the hills.  As we left, the trail leaded us right, away from Mt. Ascutney.  Ugh…. Our bodies and mind wanted to veer left, knowing left would lead us to the finish.  The expression on people’s faces and the silence in the woods was deafening….the soft sounds of feet hitting the dirt, each one of us putting one foot in front of the other, wanting the same goal….. A FINISH.  We must power on, relentless forward motion RFP, RFP..repeating in my head.

When we reached the one mile to go sign, we all tapped it as we went by it.  One mile to go, was it really happening? Were we going to finish within the time perimeter? We seem to always make a dramatic ending, my last 50 I had six minutes to spare, six! This time I knew we’d have more, but not by much!! We could hear all our family and friends from about 1/2 mile to go….the tears were flowing, all the work, time, and energy had paid off, we were going to finish…I could taste it now.  This time we finished 11:43:57…16 minutes to spare!!! I was now qualified to enter the VT 100!!!! Something I’ve dreamed about for the last few years….

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love the high fives

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almost there!!

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the finish

Thank you to all the volunteers, race managers, land owners, who make this race happen year after year…..it’s a special one for my family!!!!

See you on the trails…… xoxoxoxox

Krista 🙂

A Fresh Start……

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Training run with my hubby on the beautiful roads in VT

Some time has passed since I’ve sat down and blogged. It’s been quite a year, and it’s hard to believe how much I’ve changed as a human being during it. I’ll always be feisty, but I’ve evolved in the way that I’m more relaxed than I’ve ever been, calmer, more at peace. Not to say I don’t get stressed, worried, scared or intense at times, but I’m starting to learn to slow down, breathe and enjoy the little things in life. It’s so cliche, but life flies by us so fast, that stopping and truly smelling the roses is something I’m grateful to be doing.

Since my last post, I’ve undergone two more surgeries on my elbow. One to release the joint from all the scar tissue that had formed (and I’ve been informed from my surgeon, that I grow an insane amount of it) and another after my elbow re-fractured in two places after the capsule release, most likely in one of my numerous braces that I was in.  January and February were tough months to be honest, because having three surgeries in ten months is taxing on the body, mind and soul.  At a particular low point in January, my husband wrote me the most positive, beautiful letter that I’ve ever read. I cried, laughed, and felt hope come back as I read it.  He wrote about numerous people who had overcame injuries and illnesses that seemed far worse than my shattered elbow.  The one person who seemed to resonate with me was Janine Shepard.  She was in a horrific accident in her 20’s and ended up writing a book called “Never Tell me Never”.  I couldn’t put the book down, and I’m forever grateful to her to have the courage to share her story with others.  I highly recommend it and am excited that she has a memoir coming out this fall.

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Never give up! Healing this arm day by day..

I’m excited to be running again. I’m shooting for the VT 50 in the Fall, as someday, I’d love to qualify to run the VT 100.  I’ve ridden it eight times on my horses, and would love to someday join the ranks of the toughest guys and chicks around.  This weekend is the Pinelands Running Festival in Maine and I’m beyond excited to be running the 25k with my best friend, Julie and our 4 kiddos.  My hubby and numerous running buddies will be tackling the 50!! It will truly be a beautiful day in the woods spent chatting, running, eating and enjoying each others company.

I guess if I can say anything about this past year, it would be that I’ve become more compassionate and I’m getting closer to “full circle “in my mental healing, as I’m the one encouraging others in their dark times.  I really couldn’t grasp that this winter, that I could be smiling again and seeing true joy around me.  Injuries are tough, especially the ones that really knock you on your ass, but they do have a way of making you tougher, more resilient, and kinder. You understand what it truly means to endure.  I’m going to be kind to myself and allow my love of horses to creep back in once the fear has left, as the the Japanese Proverb says, “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows”.

I’ve been fortunate to have Egalite join our farm…he’s a beautiful, seven year old Arabian gelding.  I feel a strong connection to him already, and hope he will give me the courage to ride again and dissolve my fears.

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Egalite

I look forward to see what the summer brings us……remember to be kind to yourself, to others and our beautiful world around us…it’s all we got.

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Get your run on…