My Blog Posts

Hello 2017

Well, Its been a year since my last post. I often thought about posting this past year but I just didn’t take the time to put my thoughts in writing…something to strive for AGAIN this year.

Is anyone else noticing that every year seems to be a “bad” year for people.  Year after year its “good riddance”, “looking forward to the new year”, “…starting over” yada yada yada…

I feel as though every year is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Some years are more “up” and others more “down”. I really dont have a feeling either way about 2016. It was a roller coaster ride. I struggled and am still struggling to get my fitness back, I ran my first and last 50 miler (a redo from last year’s DNF), I found love, I lost love, I DNF’d another race, I ran a trail marathon in my home state of Michigan, I found that I really enjoy mountain bike racing, and I had to quit (hopefully temporary) running. I could say that this year sucked and was a struggle but then I would be overlooking all the good things and to be honest, there are people struggling with bigger issues than mine.


This past week I have been dreaming and looking forward to the change that the new year brings.  I choose not to dwell on the short comings of 2016 but rather to build from what I have learned from the challenges. I am excited for new adventures and new opportunities. I am not going to say “Good riddance”,  I choosing to continue to say “No regrets”. Moving forward.


I believe I will dance again!

Happy New Year!

My one word for 2015 was ACCEPTANCE..

Little did I know I would be facing the challenge of accepting as much as I did.

Imagine yourself at a party where everyone around you was having the time of the life-breaking records, hitting their personal bests, hiking mountains that you want to be hiking, having the dance of their lives.. I felt like I spent most of 2015 sitting on the side waiting for my turn to dance.

Don’t get me wrong, I had some great experiences but the year definitely did not go as planned (as far as running is concerned) and I did my best to accept where I was at and what I was able to do.

I did finish 3rd women in the Granite State Snow shoe series, not bad for my first full year racing on snow shoes. I also finished first woman at the Joe English Challenge and second woman at the Wapack 21.5 miler.  Then came Cayuga. My “A- Race” for the year. I had a great weekend and was joined by two amazing women in “Gorges” Ithaca NY.  They both finished the race, I did not. My first DNF ever. Acceptance. My IT band had other plans for me this race. I pushed to mile 31 and called it. I spent a month and a half working with my PT and attempted to run the Bear Brook half marathon which the decision to *only* run the half involved “acceptance”. I love the marathon but I was unsure what my IT would do I opted for the half. It was a crazy fun morning volunteering at registration and then it was onto the trail. I made it about 5 miles before I had to start walking and I walked from 7 miles on. Very humbling. Acceptance. I finished, I did not finish strong but I finished. I had to sit out another favorite-Escarpment Trial race. I did get to volunteer and had a great day hanging out and cheering on the runners. I did a lot of volunteering and cheering this year. Acceptance. Somehow in the middle of all this I did establish Mountain Goat status for a second time and I am looking forward to running up the Mt. Washington auto road for a second time in 2016. I also crossed a couple more mountains off my 4,000 footer list.

After Cayuga my new “A-race” was supposed to be Dublin Marathon. I had wanted to PR and possibly qualify for Boston but with the lingering IT issue that was finally “fixed” after a couple rounds of dry needling (fun stuff) I only had about two months of training. I have an awesome coach but two months just wasn’t quite enough to prepare my body however we did give it our best effort. Dublin marathon was a mixed bag of emotions. The first half was awesome. The second half? The second half I died a slow painful death. Of course I pre-paid for a picture package and I looked a mess in most of them! The running highlight of that trip was the brief run that I was able to take along the Cliffs of Moher. Beautiful!  My IT pain came back during Dublin but it was manageable afterward. I took a little time off to recover then once I started back up again-BAM! Posterior Tibial Tendinitis. REALLY? Ugh. Acceptance…accept that which I cannot control. Three weeks of nothing-no strength training, no bike, just stretch. That seemed to do the trick but this tibial thing will most likely be with me for the rest of my life. So its time for me to start trying to manage it. I ran 10 miles last weekend and stayed pain-free, phew!  So posterior tib on my left foot and pre-dislocation syndrome of the second metatarsal of my right foot as well as the lingering IT pain on my right side. Acceptance. Moving on.

I do have plans for 2016 but I have already scaled them back a little. Since I don’t know what this posterior tib issue is going to amount to I am hesitant to register for *too* many big races. I have already signed up for a 50 miler in Michigan in August (I did this before I knew about the posterior tib). Yesterday just signed up for Bear Brook trail marathon before the price increase.  I am no longer planning to run Hyannis marathon which means there will not be a BQ attempt for me again this year. I made the decision to focus on becoming a stronger runner rather than cram for a marathon in February. Cayuga is my “A race”. Everything else is for fun.

It is going to be hard for me to not run the complete the full winter race series (Winter Wild and Granite State Snowshoe) but I believe that if I focus on getting stronger and race a little less, I just might have a better chance at being injury free this year.

I believe in DO WORK/get results. I believe I will lose the weight that I gained while sitting on the side waiting for my turn to dance. The weight that is bringing me down mentally as well as physically. I need to change my eating habits and become fit again. I believe I can do it but it might take some baby steps to work back up to this DO WORK life style.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and I am stronger because of challenges I faced with my running in 2015. I believe that this is the year that I finally become a stronger runner (mentally and physically). I believe and have always believed I can do anything I set my mind to.

I believe that with a little positive attitude and hard work great things can happen to anybody. This belief is why I continue to share my stories, to hopefully inspire others to believe in themselves and want to do great things.




Well, I have been wanting to write this post for a few weeks but now, now it seems so trivial.
I wanted to write about how this has been a rough few months for me. I wanted to write about how every time I turn around it seems like the rug gets pulled out from under me-personal relationships, work life, home life, and in my running world. So many “uncontrollables” that set me back and knocked me down a little.

I wanted to write about how running gives me strength and when that was taken away from me unexpectedly after only 12 miles of a 50 mile race, I found myself in a low place. I was even lower in my work life and while that too spiraled out of control I found myself becoming more negative and started turning into an ugly person. I wanted to write about how when this somewhat type A control freak has control taken away in ALL areas of her life a sense of hopelessness creeps in. Really, in the grand scheme of things-what I experienced is nothing.

I do want to share a few things that are helping me get out of my funk. While what I have been experiencing seems like nothing now, I do think these positive life happenings and my thoughts associated to them are important in my daily life.
The first was when I finally got to sit down after working both my jobs and putting in an almost 17hour work day on the last day of the school year. I opened a card that came with an end of the year teacher gift. I need to remind you that I was/am feeling pretty low in my work life and this card surprised me and reminded me why I went into teaching. The card reads something like this:
Ms. Schlaack,
Thank you so much for all you have done to help <insert child’s name here> be comfortable with child’s transition into school.
Your understanding of child’s needs made things so smooth, and your kindness showed through the whole time. I am so happy the school has you on their team and you are one of the first teachers parents deal with.
Thank you
Tears welled in my eyes. This is why I do what I do. Its time to stop complaining and start doing something about my work life unhappiness. I am in control of my happiness. I wanted to insert the video for Chumbawamba’s “I get knocked down” here but  now it doesn’t seem appropriate.

The second is that I started going to physical therapy and was reminded that I am in control of my physical strength and it is up to me to continue to grow stronger. I feel empowered by the PT exercises and am putting together a plan for myself to get back on track physically. This empowerment trickles down to almost all areas of my life because my physical fitness is what I go to when I am feeling lost in other areas of my life. If I can get my physical fitness together life tends to move on the upswing.
I feel so small writing about this now. My pains are nothing, nothing.

My point of wanting to share all this a couple weeks ago was to show that there is always a silver lining. Everything happens for a reason and for me going through what I have been going through the past few months has made me stronger and a little more empowered. I am realizing what relationships are important to me and am trying to take steps to make sure that I do not compromise my happiness.

Yet today I learned some terrible, unimaginable news and am failing to see a silver lining. What good can come out of this? My heart breaks for a former team mate and college friend. She lost her two beautiful daughters last night. They were in a car accident while in their father’s care and all three were killed. How does one get back up from being knocked down like this? Her world, her life, her everything has been taken away from her with no notice. How can I complain about feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under me in all areas of my life? What I have experienced the past few months is nothing. My thoughts go to her. May she find the strength to lose control, to grieve, to fall apart. And then, may she find strength to get back up and find a way to continue living a life that has been changed forever. Thinking of you my friend and sending you love…



My dark moment at the Cayuga Trails 50 captured on video.

A crazy mind game started at Buttermilk Falls turn-around/aid station (12ish mile mark). I was having knee pain but unsure as to whether it was something I could run through or if it was something that could end up being a debilitating injury. My goal for this race was not to get hurt. I did not want to relive my Hampshire 100 experience that left me unable to run for almost 3 months. The pain that I felt at Cayuga was not quite the same as what I felt after Hampshire 100. I felt like it was runnable and that it might just work itself out but at times I worried that I was wrong and that I should stop.  My goal was to get to the start/finish/halfway point within 5 hours from the start. My plan was to grab a bite to eat, get water, roll my ITB and quads, clean off the painful area on my knee and apply my magic KT tape. I managed to reach that goal and was back on the course by 11am. My next goal was to make it to Underpass aid station (7 miles). I could have bailed at Old mill (3miles) but felt I needed more time. The KT tape was working. Unfortunately about 2 miles from Underpass I knew my race was over. I was walking more than I was running and it was almost too painful to run.  I was a crying mess. I pulled it together to pass the hikers, snot poured out of my nose, good times.  About a mile from Underpass I started to get passed by some of guys that I had been running with early on. One in particular slowed to walk next to me,  offered me some support, and I wished him well on his race. To see the painful decision making process unfold, check out the video below. You can see my thought process, I thought twice about bailing and headed toward the food but then put myself in check and said the dreadful words. I am done with the race, I need to drop. That moment started at about 1:03:27 into this video. At about 1: 05 you will see a man wearing a gray zip up sweatshirt and shorts cut across the screen(from right to left) behind the runners to where I was standing at my drop bag, crying like a baby. He said “I cant take this anymore” and gave me a big ole hug…a couple of them. I really needed that and was able to get it together. I walked to our camp site (which was a short distance off the course and about 1/4 mile from the aid station), changed my clothes cheered on Ryan,  Kristina,  and two amazing women (thank you Maria and Carolyn) who supported me during my periodic breakdowns after they completed their races. I will post pictures of the beautiful course and moments I captured from the race on my facebook page. In the meantime this is me, pure emotion…

(forward to 1:03)







You have a choice…

make the best of itSeveral years ago I got fed up with not having anything to do in the winter months. I forced myself to find a winter interest and the most inexpensive sport I could think of was snow shoeing. Mind you this was before I got back into running. I bought a $99 pair of pink snow shoes and trekked around the local woods. Snow shoeing is so peaceful especially when you are out in the quiet woods during or after a fresh snow fall. Every winter I hear the grumblings of what people dont like, I wrote about it last year and I feel compelled to write about again.


One of my first adventures on snow shoes 🙂


Eventually I found running and discovered that I really didn’t mind running in the winter all the much. I completed the Winter Chiller race series that was put on by the local running club-Monadnock Milers. It wasnt easy getting out there with negative temps but having a strong finish in the series was a great motivation. I soon found out about the Winter Wild series. Running up ski trails at resorts in NH, MA and VT-sign me up. Last year I checked out snow shoe racing. My acidotic Racing team mates and other friends swore that I would *love* it. Ha. That first race Moose Mountain runaround was a beast. Fresh powder and some groomed trails with a couple hills about two months out from my surgery. I hated it. Really I did. I was bummed. I wanted to like it but I was miserable the whole race. I cursed those who said I would love it.  I decided to give one more race a try, a night race (I love running at night). I signed up for the Kingman Farms race.  I felt like I was fighting with Sam I am…try it, try it  and you will see…I DO NOT LIKE SNOW SHOE RACING. “Say! Here in the dark! Would you, could you, in the dark?”  Needless to say that was the turning point and yes, yes I like green eggs and ham…I mean snow shoe racing, especially in the dark!


Moose Mountain 2014

Winter Wild Bling

Winter Wild Bling

Beaver Brook First Woman finisher

Beaver Brook 2015
First Woman finisher











10006612_10203419630628476_1496840343_nSo here I sit on another SNOW DAY realizing that it will be another day I have to make up in June, more snow to shovel, more crummy roads to drive on. What stands out in my mind the most is-Yes! I get to go play in the snow!!! That is the choice I am making. Making the most of it. Afterall, it is my choice to live in this amazingly wonderful State!

Time to go play!


Where is the trail?

Where is the trail?


Its all good, still having fun!

Its all good, still having fun!

Josie loves the snow-Really!

Josie loves the snow-Really!

My prediction for 2015 described in one word…

1. the act of taking or receiving something offered.
2. favorable reception; approval; favor.
3. the act of assenting or believing:acceptance of a theory.
4. the fact or state of being accepted or acceptable.

One Word 365 challenges us to stop making resolutions and just choose one word. Last year I chose to go powerful and motivating with #ROAR. Looking back, I didn’t quite have the ROAR year I had hoped but at times ROAR described how I felt about and live life.
This year I had a number of ideas floating in my head. To be and feel strong is something I always focus on. Its my “thing” so I will not chose “strength” as my word. I threw around ideas like “just be” (not one word), “let go” (not one word), simplify, appreciate, grow …see a theme here? All are very calm and tranquil words. But all are words that seem to describe the direction I am taking my life. I researched the definition of the words, searched for synonyms to come up with single words instead of phrases. Nothing really encompasses the direction I am going. “Acceptance” is really the word I wanted to use. I wanted to use it but it’s so darn bland and boring. I also don’t want to give the impression that I am not motivated to move forward, change, and grow.  What “acceptance” does say is that I accept where I am in life. I can appreciate where I have been. I can be still and appreciate what I have. I can let go of the things I cannot change. I can also accept the choices others make and not let their choices impact my happiness. Physically, I am not where I want to be and I am trying hard to accept where I am and recalculate my goals. I still have the same goals but I need to accept that I will need to change the route I take to get there. I want to be more of a “go with the flow” type of person. I am almost there but there is that part of me that still needs to be “the best”. I want to be able to accept that I can still be the best version of me and not compare that to everyone else. I need to get over the fact that I might not be on the podium with an age group win every time. I need to accept that my fitness has fallen a few notches and continue to work on getting stronger, faster than I am now. I do feel that in all areas of life you need to first be able to accept what has happened and where you are at before you can decide to move on, make change, pursue, and live the life that you want.
#oneword365 #acceptance


A good reminder

It’s no secret how much this dog means to me.

Tonight she reminded me once again to take time for myself. I was going to skip my run to catch up on mounding paperwork that has to be done this week. It was rainy/snowy and not a great night overall. Josie was restless, I was restless and with her encouragement off for a run we went. Talk about attitude adjustment! I am feeling 100% better than I did pre-run 🙂

Josie reminding me to stretch those hips!



This I believe…

IMG_8353The past few days I have had some time to reflect about what I am thankful for…
I am thankful for my overall health. I have had some ups and downs but nothing to keep me down for long. I feel fortunate to have a passion for the outdoors; I have so many “happy places” out there! IMG_8356I am thankful for not one but two jobs where I get to help others-both rewarding in different ways. I am thankful for my family. They may be far away but they are always close in my heart. I cherish the time I get to spend with them and it was great to have my dad and step mom spend some time in NH with me this summer. I am thankful for my amazing four-legged super star dog-Josie. She is a great companion who provides me with laughter and unconditional love. I am thankful for good friends-new and old. I am thankful for my running friends that “get me” and my non-running IMG_6937friends who accuse me of being crazy. I am thankful for those who show unconditional friendship-they care for me at my wIMG_8193orst and continue to encourage me at my best. I feel fortunate to be at a place in my life where I feel strong emotionally. The strength I feel comes from weathering some storms and learning from my experiences. I am grateful to be in a place where I am able to share what I have learned with those who need it. To share what I believe to be true.

This I believe:
*Everything happens for a reason. While it sounds cliche it is truly what I believe. It is the belief that I hold tight to. I believe that through any situation, the good, the bad, the ugly, there is something to be learned; something that can be considered a “positive” even in the saddest, most negative circumstances. “Storms make you stronger” ~Bear Grylls.
*People don’t enter your life by chance. The relationships you create, the good, the bad, the ugly, all have a purpose. I am who I am today because of the influence of people I have met on my journey; some of them positive, others negative. Each one has made me stronger.

stephen covey

I have a desire to be strong physically and mentally. I am choosing to be grateful for all of life’s “circumstances”.  Making this decision is what keeps me strong!

Running with cows

When a runner is injured he or she has two choices to make 1. Make the best of it and DO WORK to get stronger or 2. Sulk and do nothing.  Up until a week or two ago I fell somewhere in between the two choices so I guess maybe you could call it choice number 1.5. On the outside I tried to remain positive while on the inside I was feeling miserable. I dont really think it was just my injury that made me feel miserable, it was a combination of things, recent weight gain pre-injury, loss of muscle post-injury and getting sucked into feeling content with doing nothing. After enjoying the life of a slug for about a month I decided to take back control. I completed a detox to refresh my system, refocused on eating healthy, and started a new fitness routine. I started to run more and am feeling stronger every day. I am choosing to be happy and for the first time in over a month I am truly happy-none of this faking it till ya make it crap.


Columbus day weekend run in Fox State Forest

Columbus day weekend run in Fox State Forest

I worked all the past holiday weekend but I did manage to sneak in one good trail run at Fox State Forest and then last night I was able to get in my longest run since the Hampshire 100. 8 glorious miles on my favorite road run-Bear Hill. I love Bear Hill because it runs along the river, there are cows/farms, there are hills, partial dirt roads, and it provides great views at sundown. Throw in amazing autumn colors and you have pretty much a perfect run. I finished in the dark and was prepared with my blinky light and headlamp. Josie is not a fan of running in the dark but if she wants to run she needs to get used to it because that is how we roll this time of year. Last night I was smiling from start to finish. Partially because my favorite cheering squad was out in the field, partially because it was sooooo beautiful and partially because I love running at that time of night. I have included pics of my cheer squad and the views. I also experienced something I had never experienced before…the cows were running with me. I even shot a short video. By the time my phone worked I didnt get much but you will get the gist of what went down.


Then there was tonight. A warm Autumn evening with a hill run at Pats Peak ski resort…at sundown. Josie and I made it to the top of Pats Peak, I mean the real top of the Mountain, not just to the top of the ski hill. We also found a newer ski trail that was either put in this year or last year or newly remodeled. Its sits all by its lonesome near the top of the mountain. We also explored and found trails. We didnt explore the trails very far because it was almost dark but next time, when there is more light or possibly by the light of a good head lamp. We traveled down the road less traveled and found a pond and a nature area and again I was all smiles. Loving life and feeling strong…I mean truly strong. None of this fakin’ it crap. 🙂