Training days and tidbits…….

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul”

~John Muir

As I sit and write on this blustery March day…..wait…what!?! MARCH?? Feels more like January around here in Vermont.  After a few weeks of pretty mild weather (we hit close to 70 degrees), old man winter is not loosening his grip on us.  We are supposed to get dumped with 12-18″ of the white stuff on Tuesday.  This kind of weather makes it challenging to get runs in for us Northerners, but as long as you dress for it, you will be just fine. I’m sporting my crane tights in the pic above from InkNburn.  They are my most fun tights I run in, you will definitely be seen by motorist or deer, have no fear!! I love how comfy they are and of course the hidden large pocket in the front for carrying my phone, never miss a fun shot on the trails.  The weather doesn’t bother me too bad (hmmmmm, as I write tho, I’m dreaming of summer days, please have mercy!), I’m not a treadmill girl, can’t wrap my head around it.  I’d much rather feel all the elements thrown at me…of course at the VT 100 in July, I’m sure I’ll be wishing for these -10 windchill days when I’m melting like a snowcone in Phoenix (couldn’t help myself, I love Mrs. Doubtfire)  In VT, we definitely get a little bit of everything……..

Four weeks from yesterday will be the Runamuck 50k!!! First race of the season!!!! I can’t wait to finally run with my friends and family, it’s feeling more real as my training runs are going well!  Fingers crossed! Pretty please with sugar on top!  Excited to meet Kimberly, a fellow blogger whom I met through our love of InkNburn.  She has a wonderful blog called  Kimberly on the Run.  It’ll be fun to meet up in person as we toe the line in South Pomfret, VT.  She is lightening fast, so I better talk quick, hehehe.  She is a superb runner, mom and friend.  I love all the connections I’ve been making through my running. My sister-in-law, Elaine is also running the 50k, this will be her first ultra.  She’s been a wonderful crew and pacer for my hubs (her brother) throughout the 6 years he’s done the VT 100. So I’m ecstatic to see her find the love of running and join the ranks of all us crazies…..I hope we can all do a photo-op together!!! Hint hint…..

Friday, hubs and I got in a nice five miler.  It was cold, but sunny and we decided to run to in our town forest and trek on some of the fun trails. We seriously have a playground around us. It’s nice to see the ice melting, can’t wait to get back to them on a regular basis.  Running on trails is so different from the roads, every turn is a new surprise.  As the seasons change you around you, you feel subtle differences in yourself as well.  Hubs and I are working to intergrate core routines into our training. I found at Runner’s World, a great list of core exercises.  I really want to add strength to my runs, something  I can pull from when I’m feeling weaker at the VT100.  During our run, we pondered life, did planks and bridges and were just goof balls.  If you can’t bring fun into your training runs, then you are missing out.  I want my runs to be focused but equally entertaining as well.  It’s a great stress reliever out there, use your time on the trails to unwind.  As I run, I feel the layers peel off and I begin to feel lighter….

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Hubs pondering life……mid run…

Another site I’ve been following is Bigger than the trail.  Tommy and his wife, Amber are raising awareness for mental health. One in five Americans suffer from mental illness, yet only one in 50 seek help.  They are running the Bryce Canyon 100 miler in Utah and are raising $1 for every vertical foot of gain in the race, 18,000!!  They are looking to improve the lives of others struggling with mental illness…wanting to stop the stigma of it and start changing the world together #biggerthanthetrail. Bigger Than The Trail partners with individuals to provide opportunities for education, support, and treatment.  I received my pin, that I proudly wear on my running pack, a reminder to keep the conversation going.  As a former sufferer of panic attacks (I now have tools to help me), I understand the impact it can have on one’s life. No one should suffer alone.  Join the movement. Be the impact.

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#biggerthanthetrail

Tidbits………

This is for the ladies….I’ve finally found a way to wear my hair running….drum roll please….the double ponytail!!! I suffer from migraines, so just the slight pull on my head will produce one.  This is a way to achieve the ponytail, without the heavy weight on top of your head….phew. Another life hack checked off….

I was sad not to become a Tailwind Trailblazer for 2017, I think they had thousands apply. Kudos to all who made it, and thank you Tailwind for taking the time to reach out to all who applied personally, such a nice touch. I am such an advocate for their product, I won’t run without it in my water bottles. I love the Lemon and Mandarin Orange flavors the best.  The VT50 last year was the first time I really ate throughout, and I accredited it to Tailwind. This will be my one and only hydration for all my races. End of story…..If you haven’t tried it yet… do…….you won’t be disappointed!

On a side note, the aroma of maple syrup is abundant in my kitchen right now. Hubs and our boys are boiling again today on our stove…who knew you could boil 2o+ gallons of sap inside the walls of your home?! Of course we haven’t seen our electric bill yet :/ and there is a bunch of condensation pooling up on the ceiling…..but dang, that fresh syrup is yummy!

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boiling…p.s. I want that hat!!

Lastly, InkNburn is holding a 30% off sale store wide.  The discount will reflect in your cart.  Great chance to stock up on some favorites!  They are moving locations, making room for new designs….their clothes are happily Made in the USA and the only running clothes I love to wear!! Boom! Don’t forget to mention you heard it from your favorite InkNburn Ambassador, Krista

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Our playground…

Keep on training, be goofy and just enjoy your beautiful life…..we only get one ride around this wondrous planet….make it unforgettable!

Thanks for following my running journey….See ya on the trails…….xoxoxox

Krista 🙂

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 🙂

Getting excited for VT 50…..14 days and counting….

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Pausing at the Jay Peak Trail Running Festival 25K

What a wonderful Labor day weekend my family and I had at the Jay Peak Trail Running Festival. I highly recommend this race to all runners because they seem to truly offer it all!  First, you have a plethora of choices of distances; you can enter the beast of the 50k, 25k (which is still an animal) and on the day before they have three 5k’s (still a challenge!) and a kids race.  You can enter one, two or three of the 5k’s, ranging from black diamond, blue square, or green circle.  The 50k has been called one of the hardest 50k’s in the northeast, and I can see why!  Running the 25k is a killer on the quads, so double that for the 50k..the races have an elevation gain of +3000 feet (some bloggers indicating they had upwards of 4000 elevation change), including an out and back jaunt down the Long Trail and running straight up and down the mountains lift trails. Your quads will SCREAM at you on this race, but the epic views, race directors, volunteers, swag, and venue will surely make up for it……..plus running this race, really confirms that you are a Bad-Ass!   Second, you and your family will love treating yourselves to the Pump House indoor waterpark (ask about the Run and Stay deal when booking your room), numerous restaurants (our fav was the Foundry Pub and Grill….the flatbread Pizza was to die for!), and it’s own General store.  Be sure to check this race out, you won’t be disappointed!! Jay Peak Trail Running Festival.  This was a great run to add to my training calendar for the VT 50.  It gave me a boost on my hiking and hill-work training.  We used our Tailwind religiously and it was great.  Non filmy and acidy like the gatorade I had been using before….hoping Tailwind will be a huge help for my stomach at the 50.

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Guy climbing a trail at the Jay Peak Trail Running Festival

 

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runners making the trek Up, Up, and UP!!

SO it’s T- Minus 14 days until the VT 50…..I have one more long run scheduled for tomorrow, then it will be lots of tapering and mental positive thinking on my part.  I really want to finish this 50 and qualify for VT 100 next year (one of my daily mantras)  I’m going to be running with my rock (My hubs), who I know will keep me focused and calm and he’s one hell of a numbers guy!  I know I will ask him over and over, “do we have time? will we make the cutoff?” I really hope I can finish this 50 with more than six minutes in the bank like my last go around.  It was wonderful to finish, but wow, it was stressful running against the clock!!!!!!!  I hope all you fellow runners and mountain bikers are enjoying your last few weeks of training and are soaking it up!

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the boys at their 5k race

 

Here’s a glimpse of the Jay Peak course…………..

See you on the trails in a mere few weeks…………

xoxoxoxoxo, krista

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Our Asics drying in the sun….

 

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…

 

Ready for the VT 50k!! One can hope!!

In ten days, I’ll be joined by hundreds of runners and mountain bikers who will be meandering down the picturesque trails of Vermont for the VT 50!!!  What a beautiful state we live in, especially in the Fall!! It’s been a great summer of training for me and my hubby, Guy. He recently finished the VT 100, so this will seem like a walk in the park, right? Haha, all kidding aside, any distance of running, whether it be a mile to 100+ miles, is still a feat!! We have a great group of runners in town that we are blessed to share training with. What an eclectic group we are; from all ages, running styles, and different goals. We come together to train, share ideas of what works and doesn’t, races we’d like to do, food, kid/spouse topics, vent from time to time.. you name it….we’ve probably talked about it. Sometimes I feel like I have the Wikipedia out there with me!! I feel blessed to have these great people in my life, miles seem to fly by when you are chatting with new and old friends. Our numbers swell at times and decrease when life gets busy, but we all know we are there if someone needs a running buddy! I feel having a spouse, partner, friend, your kiddo, or someone to motivate you is a blessing. You feel accountable, like.. hey..so and so is waiting for me to run, I better get going to meet him or her! Can really be applied to whatever sport you enjoy!

Brownsville Runners

Brownsville Runners

This year I’m pumped to be running the 50k with my good friend Carrie. This is her first, she has done numerous marathons, the Ragnar relay and too many to count endurance rides on horseback (our other passion we do together). We’ve finished great training runs, pushing each other, but mostly just enjoying the chatter, and beauty around us. She is a talented runner who will do great at her VT 50k debut! Go Carrie!! Next year…we battle the 50??? Hint, hint!

My friend Carrie and I on a 22 mile training run...getting ready for the 2014 VT 50k

My friend Carrie and I on a 22 mile training run…getting ready for the 2014 VT 50k

My hubby, Guy is probably my biggest supporter, besides my kiddos, he makes me feel confident in anything I put my mind to. I think back to 2011, when I finished my one and only VT 50…I do want to try another, even though I swore my distance is the 50k, emphasize on K!! I finished with 6 minutes to spare on my 12 hour cutoff time. My funniest memory was (it wasn’t funny at the time) when Guy heard whimpering behind him…..me!! I was in the throes of nausea and exhaustion and feeling the pressure of the clock! He looked back briefly and said “…we got this, only five more miles (which felt like an eternity to me)..one foot in front of  the other.” I cursed in my head, wishing I could hop on a mountain bike, on the downhills only…I don’t know how people bike in those hills!!! I put my head down and pumped my arms, pretty much saying, ” I think I can, I think I can!” Guy said he didn’t want to hug me or put his arms around me, for fear I’d crumble…which I may have, right there on the trail. Sometimes a little pity parade is ok, right? Thank you Guy for always being there and sharing this beautiful life with me…you are my hero..from a non-runner to ultra marathon man in less than five years, you are amazing!!!!!!! I love you babe..

Finishing the VT 50 with my hubby, Guy (he's also my HERO)

Finishing the VT 50 with my hubby, Guy (he’s also my HERO)

Wish me and my friends luck, ten days and counting…..