My Blog Posts

Short cuts make long delays…

learningMy goal for 2014 was/is to “train more”. So far I have FAILed at meeting that goal. I don’t handle failure well.  CONFESSION: This has NOT been a great year for me. Surprised? Yeah, I guess I have mastered the “fake it till you make it” lifestyle. It started with a longer than expected recovery from surgery with more downs than ups as I got closer to running season. I gained weight even though I was active. My body was out of whack and it really affected my confidence. Everything started coming together late Spring and then fell apart mid summer.  Yes, I  was on the podium a few times but I was never in great shape this season. In July I started gaining weight and as luck would have it my scale broke. Yippie. I dont know why I started gaining. I was active. Maybe it is because I started eating foods that I had taken out of my life. Last year I was in gastric distress most of the summer, I cut weight and was the smallest I had been since pre-college yet I was in the best shape in my adult life by the time I went into surgery in December. Late spring of this year I saw a GI specialist who gave me the green light to eat things that I thought were bad for me. Not a good move on my part to listen to him.  When I started gaining weight I started falling back into my ole big girl ways. I took on that “screw-it” attitude. I was still eating what I wanted to whether I ran or not. I found many excuses as to why it was a challenge to stick to my training plan. I was frustrated with myself for not being in better shape as I go closer to my first 100k. I knew that I could do anything I put my mind to but I was concerned about my fitness and if my body would let me finish. I ended up having a great 100k experience minus the pain in my knees the last 5-7 miles. This pain eventually grew to an irritated ITB on my right side after the race (WTH, my left side has the reoccurring ITB pain, I was worried about my left!). So here I sit on my fat a$$ feeling frumpy and lumpy and out of sorts. I haven’t been able to run for a month, I started a second job that has sucked up some of my extra time, and  I have tried several times to take back control and start my own fitness routine but that hasn’t worked for me. Time to swallow my pride and say “screw it” for another reason. I do feel that I can do this on my own. I don’t need a fad diet and I definitely should be able to do it using real food BUT…desperate times call for desperate measures.  I need a boost to get me started. I plan to start this boost within the next week. I am also canceling my gym membership and resorting to a kick-ass video routine that I guess could fall into the “fad” category.  I really do hope to incorporate some of these things into my lifestyle. I plan to go back to eating the somewhat Paleo diet that was working for me last year. I hope to lose some weight but more importantly I hope to gain some fitness. Most important I want to feel that well rounded happiness that I felt before things started falling apart. I am happy just not happy in all areas of life. Time to take control and get it back. #noregrets

“Short cuts make long delays” ~J.R.R Tolkien






Hampshire 100-more than a race

I finally found time today, 7 days and 3 hours after the the race start, to sit down and write about my Hampshire 100 experience. Last week at this time I was working towards the mile 17 intersection where mountain bikers and runners met with my first goal to get to the 24+ mile aid station somewhere around 10am. I was especially looking forward to that part of the race because I would be running within 3 miles where I live and even though I haven’t had experience running on that course I knew right where I was running.

Two weeks prior to the race I finished up teaching summer school and headed to Michigan where I was able to spend a day with my bestie and 5 days with my family. My mom and I caught up on our beach time. I was able to hang out with my nephew. We all had a nice dinner with my brother and cousins the night before I left. I was able to get some running in. Flat. Very flat but I found some nice trails that I will be revisiting on future trips. In the mornings I was able to join my dad and

My nephew William and I

My nephew William and I

stepmom at the gym while I tried to get in a couple months’ worth of strength training-Everything I should have been doing all along but found it easier to do in the convenience of the gym. Prior to coming to Michigan I learned about my grandmother’s passing and was grateful that I was going to be in Michigan to attend the services and find some closure. Early (2-3am ish) Saturday morning my dad, stepmom, and I were on the road to New Hampshire (NH). This was going to be their first trip out here since I moved to NH 8 years ago. It was a long drive (as usual) and we made it home in time to go pick up Josie and grab a bite to eat. We hiked

On top of Monadnock

On top of Monadnock

Monadnock the next morning and hiked two more mountains throughout the week. I was excited to be able to take them to the White Mountains! They left two days before the race which gave me some time to clear my head and start mentally preparing myself. Saturday morning I tried to relieve some anxiety by driving around and finding the road intersections and figuring out where the aid stations were located. My friend Kristina stopped over and we relaxed and chatted while we waited for my friend Maria to join us. In the back of my mind I was realizing that I had so much left to do but we needed dinner and decided to attend the meeting with the trail boss. After the not-so-informational meeting (that we should have skipped because it pertained mostly to the mountain bikers) Maria and I went back to my place where we frantically started throwing together our drop bags in hopes of a good night sleep. I stayed up a little later because I was a little less prepared and I was having some trouble feeling sleeping. I finally crashed hard and got a good 4 hours sleep. (Good thing I got a full night’s sleep the night before).

Josie scoping out the race course

Josie scoping out the race course

Maria and I met up with Kristina at the start. I almost forgot my bib-duh. I was nervous, excited, and a little anxious all that same time but thought I was doing a good job at keeping it together for the most part. I had been feeling under trained and there was this fear of the unknown since I had no idea what to expect after mile 32. I tried to think of it as a relaxing long run/hike. I have Maria, Kristina and my friend Carolyn (who was off running the inaugural Eastern States 100 miler and had finished the Hampshire 100 the year before) to thank for their advice and insight as I psyched myself up to run my first 100k.

We all said “good luck” and Kristina lined up at the front of the pack while Maria and I nestled in towards the middle. Maria and I had a deal. She would help me keep it slow in the beginning and I would keep an eye on her fueling. We also agreed that we would hang together as long as we felt comfortable and if one of us felt the need to go there would be no guilt with the separation. Shortly after 5:30 am we got the command to go and were off like a herd of turtles racing not so much against each other but more so against a 14 hour time limit. Kristina was racing against herself and wanted to have a 10 hour finish but feared a looming Achilles injury. She shot off and was leading the way for the pack and Maria and I trudged along at nice conversational pace. I was hoping that Kristina’s Achilles would keep intact for her because she was off to a good start. I was feeling great and enjoyed running parts of the course that I had been on while doing trail work and while

The first view of the day

The first view of the day

running the High Bush half a couple of years ago. Soon I was in uncharted territory and enjoyed exploring and having the company of Maria on the trails. We soon hit the first aid station and for the life of me I don’t have a good memory of it but I am certain there were friendly volunteers, I don’t think we stopped at this aid station, if we did it wasn’t for long. We made our way to some double track and gravel roads. Soon the name assignments began. First there was the “man who runs all the hills” and then the mud appeared and there was “shoe in the mud” guy or “Shoezer”. Shoezer ended up being one of the guys we had saved from running off course a couple miles back and as we laughed about the mud he and his friend thanked us for getting them back on course. We hung out with those guys on and off throughout the whole race and had a nice chat with them at the finish. Shoezer’s buddy even ran off course after aid station #3 and ran about 3 miles out of his way before calling the race director to get him back on track. Anyhow back to my race. We ran the familiar back roads after aid station #2 and then headed out on some newly cut trails back into the woods then back to some gravel as we made our way to the pavement I was expecting to see, it led us to the intersection I volunteered at last year. Off to the beach we went (sandy snowmobile/ATV trails). I was starting to hurt a little. I was dreading the flats. This section was real flat and my legs were not liking it one bit. I had a little bit of adrenaline as we neared Hedgehog road, I was excited to hit this road/hill since I had heard about it but had never been up there.  I was looking forward to finding out where the trail head was so I could come back for a visit. Hedgehog road is straight up, loose gravel. The mountain bikers were dreading this. I had started to enjoy and looked forward to hiking the hills. We crested Hedgehog where I started to get frustrated with some of the mountain bikers. Here they were on all-terrain vehicles and expected us runners to give them the right away on the narrow, less rocky sections of the trail. There was no way I was going to be able to step of and navigate on those rocks with wobbly legs and risk twisting an ankle. I was excited to find the trail head and we ran the hilly gravel road back to the trails. At some point, I can’t remember where exactly it was we hit the power lines and a big climb. I have a story to share about my climb but will save it for later. Eventually we crossed a main road and onto some private property. As we ran onto the property I started to realize where we were and was hoping to see someone I knew. Within a couple of minutes I recognized a family sitting on a big rock along the trail waving and cheering for the runners and mountain bikers. I had a huge adrenaline rush when one of my students came running out to say “Hi” and cheer me on. The next day I got a sweet email from the girl’s mother. She sent a picture and ended the email thanking me for being a strong female role model for her daughter. OMG! Totally made my day getting that email. That made me even more proud of what I had accomplished. The other great thing about being on this property was that I knew that the next aid station was close. It was the 3rd aid station and the first one to have a drop bag. Carolyn had warned me not to get too comfy there and I did my best to get myself reorganized and moving again. Maria still ended up waiting for me, the Ultra running newbie. We took off and I chowed on the tortilla I had packed…nice…hiking up mud…photographer. Yep. She took a nice pic of me feeding my face. We almost immediately started a climb and had a nice hike up a gravel road into some double track. Eventually we were back onto some trails. I knew where I was on a map but wasn’t really sure what to expect in this section. Maria had shared with me that she started to feel some hot spots. She had some issues with blisters a couple weeks back at Vermont 100 and was really hoping that she wouldn’t have any problems since she felt they had been healed. We made our way through the single track, through some logged areas, we found the fiddler in the Morris Family’s back yard and savored some ice cold water they had waiting for the racers. We drank and bathed in it. Mile 26ish. Marathon

The fiddler

The fiddler

complete. We headed into more single and double track back onto dirt roads then onto some paved roads with some hills. Those were some of the most dreadful downhills I have experienced. We made it onto some nice soft pine needle trails and that is where I started to lose Maria. I figured she would catch up. She was stronger than I on the road and I was just happy to be back on the trail. Soon she was not within my sights. I hit the gravel road and slowed up to see if she was coming. As soon as I saw her I ventured out onto another short section of downhill pavement and then back into some aggressive uphill single track. Mile 33. Woo hoo! Entering the twilight zone. Not sure what to expect from my body after this point. The adrenaline kicked in and I was feeling good as I power hiked to a water stop at the top. I refilled with some ice cold water and took another bath. As I was getting ready to leave Maria was arriving. I called out to check in with her, she was good, I was on my way. The next miles were soul searching miles and I was feeling okay. I was rejoicing at the sight of the hills. My body was getting tight and sore but it was manageable. I had already had several woozy stomach situations (you feel like you are going to be sick or have to go number 2 but your really don’t) but I talked myself out of them. It’s funny what the mind can do for you, it can either work against you or work with you and I was determined to have it work with me.

I hit some more pavement and knew exactly where I was. Stopped briefly at a water stop where I read that the next aid station was 1 mile away. I swear that was THE longest mile ever. Not to mention at one point I started a climb, looked behind me and noticed a female runner that wasn’t Maria. Needless to say not only was I now running against the clock, I was running to keep my place. I knew I had to be in 3rd or 4th place. I finally made it UP to the aid station which was anti-climactic since there wasn’t a bathroom or food that interested me. The next woman hit the aid station and I was outta there. Down a very steep gravel road back onto some double and single track. So as you can guess, the next few miles I was running scared but it is what I needed to keep me motivated. I was starting to feel guilty about leaving Maria so early but knew that she would get to the 50 mile mark just fine. I made my way to the next aid station that also seemed like it took forever. I stopped at a water stop to have my pic taken with the 43ish mile sign. I was so excited to be feeling so well at this distance. We then were taken into some fun gnarly single track and then into some daunting logged sections. I was thankful to not be on a bike in that

Trail laced with baby heads.

Trail laced with baby heads.

section. I was also thankful to be running by myself. I knew that I needed to do some of this on my own, at my own pace, not having to worry about holding someone back or holding myself back. It also forced me to provide myself with my own confidence boosters. I finally made it to the next aid station where my 2nd drop bag was. I had packed an extra pair of shoes but after some thinking and discussing with aid station workers I decided not to. There was a water crossing coming and changing now would be a mistake. The word “shit” might have come out of my mouth and I might have apologized profusely as I realized this aid station was manned by girl scouts. Oops! I gotta outta there fairly quickly after refueling since I knew chickiepoo was on my tail. Yep there was a big ole puddle of water. Ankle deep. Made my way through and headed out creating some distance between myself and a couple of guys that headed out with me. This section was fairly easy single and double track and it would eventually lead to the 6th aid station and my final bag drop. The guy who talked me into not changing my shoes ended up catching up to me at this point. He apologized to me because he had said “you wont see anything in this next section that you havent seen up until now” and then bam. Water. I laughed and said no worries and then followed a good distance behind him to the 50 mile aid

Excited to reach the 40 something mile marker as a newbie ultra runner

Excited to reach the 40 something mile marker as a newbie ultra runner

station. He had spent a good amount of time at the previous aid station, I think he wasn’t doing so well and then was able to fuel and catch his second wind. He must not have stayed long at this aid station because I didn’t see him there but I did see my friend Melissa who had confirmed with me that Kristina ended up dropping out after the 3rd aid station and that I was 3rd woman. I was bummed for Kristina but happy to at least finish 3rd in my first 100k. Granted there were only a handful of female runners but I’ll gladly take 3rd. The race wasn’t over yet. It was 4:30 and I had 12 miles to go. I knew what I was up against because we came down at mile 10 what I was about to go up at mile 50. Mile 50 was also a bail out point. If runners didn’t feel it, they could end the race with a 50 mile finish or risk a DNF and go forward. I was feeling it. I eventually caught up with the guy I had been following before mile 50 (I couldn’t think of a clever name for him)and passed him as we power hiked up a double track leading us to the Crotched Mountain trail head. He whispered “nice job”. I whispered back “thanks, its my first 100k”. He chuckled one of those “oh great, I am dying here and getting chicked by an ultra-newbie” kind of chuckles. I didn’t see him again until he crossed the finish line a little over 15 minutes after me. When I got to the trail junction for Crotched I was in a little shock as it climbed straight up at one point. Oh yes, this is what Carolyn had warned me about. At this point I was

Heading down the Crotched Mountain trails

Heading down the Crotched Mountain trails

hoping that Maria took the 50 mile opt out because I was starting to run out of time myself and this was a tough climb. I eventually made it to the trails I had worked on just 3 weeks before. I eventually  found a little adrenaline rush as I an down the beautiful handicap accessible trails to the aid station where I found my friend Melissa again! She fed me some Doritos and wished me well. At that point I was wishing I had a new pair of knees. Down hills were brutal. I had around 5 miles to go with over an hour of cushion to finish in 14. I knew the course from this point out which should have made it easier but I was mentally starting to lose it. Tough, tough, tough. I got to the point where I just wanted to walk the flats but had to push myself to keep going (I had tears welling in my eyes). The clock was ticking. I made a wrong turn and put myself a few minutes back. I should have known better, knew that section of the trail but I wasn’t as alert as I needed to be to make the slight left turn. I started to run a little scared not exactly sure who was behind me but eventually settled down to run my own race and just beat that darn clock that was ticking! I got to the last intersection crossing a main road where a wonderful family was directing traffic. The young girls had noise makers and everyone was cheering and congratulating me…it brought tears to my eyes. Not the kind of tears that I had a mile back when I just wanted to be done but instead there were tears of pride and joy! Then one of them said…”less than two miles to go”. I knew I was close but I thought I was closer. Two fricken miles ugh. I was again on trails I had been on for the Highbush half and then I saw it. Pavement. I was never happier to see pavement. Specifically that pavement. The road to victory. Fighting back more happy tears I pulled myself together for a strong run to the finish. I felt like I was running wicked fast but I probably looked like a wounded bear! I crossed the finish line, got my medal and looked around. Not a lot of peeps were at the finish so I walked off to be alone and then I saw Maria. Tears of joy came back as she was there to help me celebrate my first 100k finish. Crap. Tears are welling in my eyes now as I am typing. I am such a sap. Maria ended up taking  a 50 mile finish and is planning to tackle the Hampshire 100 again next year. This year was tough for runners and mountain bikers due to trail conditions. Many mountain bikers had finish times that were an hour slower than last year.

The last view of the day

The last view of the day

Anyhow Maria and I reminisced about each other’s races; I broke our agreement and apologized for leaving her. She brought me some salt and vinegar Pringles that she sent home with me! Life was good. My body was shot and I was feeling on top of the world. Maria left and I stuck around to get my medal. Me and two fast ladies from Canada. I was the last female to cross the 100k finish line. The second place finisher ended up getting lost just before the last aid station and added 6 miles to her race! She had been in 1st place until that happened and she still finished a half hour ahead of me but not far behind the 1st place finisher. If I hadn’t seen it happen, I wouldn’t have believed it but the “man who runs all of the hills” ran all of the hills. He looked a little worse for wear hobbling around at the finish but he did it! I said goodbye to Shoezer and his buddy and hobbled to my car. Beaming, I made my phone calls to my mom and then to my dad. I got home and the fun began. I couldn’t get out of my car. I wish there was a video camera on me. I looked like a feeble, elderly woman as I rocked back and forth, forwards and backwards trying to get enough momentum to hoist myself out. I made it out and up the stairs. Needless to say I didn’t unpack the car that night. After taking Josie out, I couldn’t bear to take the stairs again. What an adventure that day was. Hampshire 100 was more than just a race for me. It was an experience. I learned a lot about myself that day. I learned that I truly can do anything I set my mind to. I learned that while I was strong enough to finish the race, my recovery would have been a little easier if I had trained more. I also learned that I know a lot about my body and how to fuel and hydrate myself-that had been a concern of mine prior to race day. I learned that I do not want to race anything longer than 100k and I would like to do a 50 miler. After the race I swore that I would be happy just volunteering again next year but as the week went on and as I shared more stories about the race I am starting to feel like I want to do it again. If/when I do it again I really need to be better trained. I want to beat my 13:38 finish time. I am very grateful to Maria for getting me through the first 30 miles and supporting me as a newbie ultra-runner, Carolyn for being my ultra-running Guru and mentor, all my Acidotic team mates who knew I could it even when I doubted myself, and my parents for believing in me every step of the way! Thanks to my friends near and far for the texts and the encouragement as well to all the face book peeps who kept me motivated! I encourage everyone to put something big on their bucket list and check it off sooner rather than later! NO REGRETS!


*side story-While climbing up the power line trail a black fly buzzed in my ear. In an effort to shoo him away I think I ended up shoving him in my ear. I could hear his wings flapping. It sounded like wind. I started to freak out but no one knew what was going on. I was quietly hiking alone while I could hear Maria chatting with another runner about 20 feet behind me. I eventually was able to tip my head and widen the ear canal so the darn thing could escape. I smooshed my blood out of him as he bit me on his way out. Imagine a black fly bite in your ear canal. It drove me crazy! Eventually it went away. Then shortly after mile 24 I was stung by a bee! He stung me through my calf sleeves. The bugs and I have not been playing nice this year!



Nursing a new ITB injury that surfaced shortly after I finished the race


Escarpment Trail Run, Mountain Goats Only!


noun \i-ˈskärp-mənt\
a long cliff or steep slope that separates two flat or slightly sloped areas


noun \i-ˈskärp-mənt\
a race that trail running mountain goats compete in to find out how bad ass they truly are.

Not this kind of Mountain Goat...

Not this kind of Mountain Goat…

This kind of Mountain Goat!

This kind of Mountain Goat!


I had no expectations going into this race…at least that is what I was trying to tell myself and anyone else that was listening. I had built this race up in my head by watching the videos and reading what others had written about the race. This was hyped to be a pretty intense race. Not having expectations for a race is what keeps my nerves at bay. I was fairly calm leading up to the race, up until the last couple minutes when my heat (#14) lined up at the start where I did my usually bouncing/jumping in place. When it was go time we all hurried off like a pack of turtles. There were four of us leading the pack of 15. Within the next quarter of a mile the four broke up into two groups of four. One woman (who was also breaking in her Saucony Peregrine trail shoes) and a man led the front with myself and a guy wearing bright green following. My guy in green ran this race before so I figured it would be fairly safe to follow him. I really wanted to try to stay with the pack of four. I had such a great experience at Bear Brook running with people but I was struggling to keep up today. I found myself running their race and not my own. I thought back to the conversations I had with my team mates and camping companions the night before and decided that I needed to pull back a little. Slow down and get back into aerobic mode. I felt I was pushing myself too hard and I definitely wasn’t running at a pace I could carry for 18 miles. So I found myself running my own race…alone. The first climb was a little over 3 miles, mostly runnable. I was able to pass several small groups of people from waves 12 and 13. Mostly men. The first aid station was a welcome site. I threw down some water and kept going. The aid station volunteers throughout the day were amazing-very supportive! Shortly after the first aid station I spotted another strong running female runner, thank goodness! I now had someone to keep me going. I did my best to run my race but follow the carrot dangling in front of me so I didn’t get too comfortable and lost in my thoughts. I eventually caught up to her on the climb. I hung back a little can chatted with my new friend on trail. Funny thing is we were also running with my campground neighbor Ben who the guys and I had been chatting with the night before.

My camping companions and team mates

My camping companions and team mates

Yes. I was camping with four men-Two team mates, their friend and their friend’s father…great group of guys. Anyhow, we stopped at the next rest stop. I handed water to my new friend, grabbed some for myself, downed it, grabbed a snack of some sort and darted back up the mountain. Friendship over I guess. I was alone again. I wanted to create some distance so I pushed at a good pace. Found myself running along another ridge and passed a few more runners as we started to climb blackhead. They weren’t looking all that good. I felt a little guilty sneaking by with my breathing intact. I met a guy on that climb who was on his first trail run ever! He was taking his time going up and was videotaping with his go pro. I am wondering how his body felt the days after…running these mountains is not even comparable to road running. Anyhow, I scampered up Blackhead. While it was steep in spots, it didn’t last long and I was feeling like the camera angles from the videos and the pictures were a little deceiving and this wasn’t as difficult as I had thought it would be. I got to the top and there was another rockin’ aid station. I grabbed another quick snack like a Twizzler or Swedish fish, a quick drink of electrolytes and down I went. I was feeling good! I was feeling strong. I started to become a little emotional-big shock! Ha ha. I started thinking about how I was feeling and that I was actually making decent time. I was strong. I started thinking about my grandmother and how she was no longer able to be physically strong as she once was. I started thinking about the fact that she really wasn’t able to live life anymore, she was merely surviving and I wanted her to let go. REALLY…all of this started rushing through my head. Tears weld in my eyes. I was close to bursting out but then I shook it off. I needed a clear head to maneuver this terrain. I started out on the ridge between Blackhead and the next climb on my own. As I was slowly trudging up a small incline I heard “go Acidotic”. Drats. I had been waiting for this but was hoping I was running strong enough that it wouldn’t happen. One of my team mates that started a couple waves behind me had caught up to me. That was motivation to keep myself moving fast. “you can run but you can’t hide” ha ha…smart ass. I did slow down a little and he eventually passed me. Our other team mate wasn’t all that far behind. Sure enough about 5ish minutes later there he was. Drats. I was a little deflated. I was doing my best to shake it off and not let it get to me mentally. I finally settled back in to my comfort zone and became content with running my own race. Much to my surprise I caught back up to the last team mate that passed me. As I got closer I shouted out to him that he needed to spend some more time in the Whites. I do feel running in the Whites helped prepare me for this race! Soon I was passing him on the climb. I tried pulling him along but he wasn’t having it so off I went. Holy Schnikes! Low and behold its Mr. Green shirt from the start of wave 14. Excuse me while I pass you. Every time I pass someone like that I get a little extra motivation. I know that by passing I am putting a big target on my back. I mean, I do that. Someone passes me and that gives me some umph to get going and try to stay with them. Eventually, on another climb I caught back up to my team mate who was chasing me down earlier. I climbed with him for a bit then found my groove and passed him. I had heard that once you see the plane crash on the final climb, you were almost to the final decent which was about 4 rocky, crazy terrain miles later. My team mate and I rejoiced at the sight and then I kicked it in and knew he wouldn’t be far behind. I could hear him for a bit and a couple times I looked behind me and eventually he was out of sight but I knew he wasn’t far. I was running scared. I DID not want him to pass me again and I was feeling strong so why not kick it in and hope I don’t bonk. It was mostly downhill after all, I am pretty sure I got this. I had been a little unsteady on the descents up until this point due to the slippery pebbles and uncomfortable terrain but I justglinda let it go and coasted down to the next aid station. What a great spot, right on a cliff. I grabbed a drink, drank some of my water, and started the climb off the cliff. One of the volunteers had a bag a chips and I took a handful at the last minute as I started to climb down. I was right behind a couple men and they must have seen it on my face. I was determined so they let me pass and off I went, unsure about where anyone behind me was. I ran as fast as I felt comfortable and came to the conclusion that if I was passed, so be it. I wanted to be safe. I couldn’t afford injury. As I got down to the bottom of a rocky section I set off on a strong run and got some kudos from hikers “go 198, you go girl”. Then I hear my team mate shout some smart ass comment, I couldn’t hear what he said but I did hear him say “right Sarah?” Sure, whatever. No, no you are not going to pass me again. Knowing he was right behind me made me kick it in that much more. It was a fine run down, with several steep cliffs and great views. I took a couple of quick glances and kept pushing. I didn’t notice anyone behind me but I wasn’t going to take any chances. I knew I was near the end and it was great to have groups of people along the trail cheering the finishers on. At about a half of mile to go I was still feeling good and felt that I had way too much to give, I must have been a little too conservative at the beginning of the race. I felt strong as I happily crossed the finish line, 4 hours and 32 minutes after I had started. My goal was to finish in less than 5 hours. My secret goal to finish in 4:30, My super-secret goal to finish in the top 10 women. I finished 5th woman overall, 10 minutes behind the Saucony Peregrine girl from the start of the race, one hour behind the top 3 women. I felt so good after the race! I was feeling a little guilty for feeling so good. I am looking forward to doing it again next year!Maybe I will have a super secret goal to finish in 4 hours…oops did I say that out loud?

2014 Escarpment Trail Run from on Vimeo.



Bear Brook and Beyond

Here I sit the day before my next big race and I have yet to write about last weekend’s amazing running experience. So here it is, lacking some details, a little all over the place but you will get the picture.
Last weekend I ran the 2nd out of 4 big races for me this summer. I was really looking forward to running the Bear Brook Trail “Marathon” this year! I feel much more confident with my distance running than I did last year at this time. Last year Bear Brook was my first “marathon” after recovering from an ITB injury. It is a trail race and I knew one false move could hamper my training for Marine Corp Marathon. I took it easy last year and finished in 5:25. The course ended up being a little over 27 miles. This year the race was even longer and the actual distance was pretty much a surprise until a week before the race. Come to find out those that didn’t follow the Facebook posts had a big shock at the start of the race when myself and a couple others were joking about the distance. A few of them looked a little panicked at the news but we all ran on smiling.

I REALLY wanted a good race!  My public goal (the one I talked about to friends) was to finish with a pace faster than 12:12 which was last year’s pace. I didn’t put any time expectations since this was a different race course. (I hope the Ryan and Kristina keep changing up the distance and the course every year. It adds to the excitement). My secret goal was to finish in the top 10. I kept thinking to a picture that my friend and ultra-running mentor Carolyn posted on my Facebook page:


That last line really stuck with me. I am smarter than I think I am. I knew what I needed to do I just needed to trust myself to do it. I knew that in order to do this I needed to start the race with confidence. I did just that. For the first 5 miles I was in 3rd place. At the 2 mile mark I knew that my 3rd place was not going to last for long because Bridget and Meghan were not far behind me at the first aid station which was an out and back run so I was shoulder to shoulder with those who were chasing for the front of the pack. I was also in a little cat and mouse game with another runner. I tried my best to keep at a strong pace however she kept slowing down and speeding up. She lost ground on the descents and gained it on the climbs. It was kind of annoying but it was her strategy or running style and it must work for her. It was working for her until Bridget and Meghan closed the gap. Wouldn’t yah know it if they didn’t just swoop me up and take me with them. We were now in 2nd, 3rd, 4th. I thought for sure they would just blow past me but instead we got to talking (it was tough for me, easy for Bridget) and next thing I knew we were creating a lot of distance between us and the runner behind us. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to keep up forever and I did lose them at some points but I also caught them and spent a good amount of the race running “with” them. Bridget is so positive and generous. She really knew how to keep Megan and I going. Eventually it was just her and Meghan with me trailing behind but I was okay with that. I expected that. We had been passed by another runner and we were passed in another section by the first place woman who had gotten lost and definitely made up for it by blowing past us, stepping on some bees and pissing them off enough to sting Bridget and another male runner on the course. Yikes. Meghan and I slowed up got our bearings and tried our best to go around without getting stung. This race was the first time I really had a chance to run with other women and it was very motivating and fun. Insert secret goal at about mile 6. My mind got racing and I had created a goal of finishing in the top 5. At mile 20ish we passed the girl that passed us earlier on in the race and were now 2, 3 and 4. I definitely ran faster and ran more sections that I probably would have walked if I was on my own. After a pee stop between mile 22 and the finish I found myself running faster than I would have to finish the race. I was trying to catch up with Bridget and Meghan after stopping for a potty break. I never caught up with them but it was definitely a motivator to try. I felt fairly strong on the course however during a few flatter sections I was reminded that my hamstrings and hips were tired and sore. I was almost looking forward to the second run/hike up Catamount so I could stretch my legs out. Now keep in mind all while this was going on could sense that my feet were getting a little beat up. I was wearing my Hoka tarmac trail shoes but they were not helping keep my feet comfortable on the descents. Coming down Catamount I drank my last drop of water…yikes. Over 2 miles to the finish! I should have filled up my bladder at the last aid station but I didn’t want to slow down so I had some Gatorade and made due with the full hand held. Trying to forget the fact that I was needing/wanting water I did my best on the descent from Catamount. Trying to keep some speed yet trying not to cause my feet more pain. This was the surprise I found after the race:

Nasty blisters, ugly runners feet

Once I hit the flat ground I knew the end was near. I had no idea what my overall time was, I just knew what pace I had been running and my total mileage. It was a beautiful morning, no bugs, just enough sunshine and it didn’t really start feeling all that humid until I was on the top of Catamount for the second time. Ryan and Kristina did another great job at creating a fun winding course with just enough ups and downs. The finish was flat except for one small push at the very end. I was still feeling strong (minus the hamstring/hip cramping) and happily came across the finish line and ready to give Bridget and Meghan some running love for helping me push through that course. I finished in 5 hours, 5 minutes. I cut 20 minutes off of last years’ time and yet it was a longer and tougher course! All goals were reached! I could not have been happier and was on a runners high for a few days after. I also finished fourth or you could say 3rd since Bridget and Meghan tied for second crossing the finish line together. 😉


Meghan, Bridget and I (and Josie too)


Here is a great video and interview with the race directors Ryan and Kristina:

What’s next? Tomorrow I face the Escarpment Trail Run. “ The Escarpment Trail Run is very arduous, highly technical, single-track trail run; with nearly 10,000 feet of elevation change over the 18.6 miles. It crosses no roads requiring all aid stations to be backpacked into the trail. Qualifying standards are set in place insuring that all runners have a reasonable chance of finishing within 6 hours.”

Yeah. This is going to be “fun”! Here is a sneak peek video of some of the gnarliest sections of the course:


On another note. Please take a minute to vote for my running friend and fellow NH Blogger Sandra Laflamme.  She would like to be on the cover of Runners World Magazine: Vote!

Sandra and I at the start of the Bear Brook.

 Click on the picture to visit Sandra’s Organic Runner Mom blog!


What does that mean?

no regrets Why Run Strong, No Regrets?

Well, its not really all that glamorous of a story but I thought I should share why I chose this name for my blog.
A few years back I attended a forum that Saucony sponsored just before the Boston Marathon. The speakers were all athletes and survivors-cancer, injuries, and illness. Micah True (also known as Caballo Blanco) was scheduled to speak at that forum however that was the year he went missing and sadly he was later found dead on the trail he had been running on. His good friend Luis Escobar attended on his behalf. The theme of the event was Find Your Strong and so Saucony’s Find Your Strong initiative began. It was a powerful night, I drank the Saucony “kool-aid” and felt empowered by the speakers and the initiative.
Here is the less than glamorous part…Months later, I went to a Thirty-One Party and purchased a bag for my running gear, a kit bag so to speak. I wanted to monogram it so I added a tiara (yeah, I know). I also wanted to monogram Find Your Strong over the tiara but it was too many letters so I shortened it to Run Strong. I liked it so I went with it since Find Your Strong was already taken 😉   In all seriousness,  I feel that running has impacted my life in so many ways but overall it has made me stronger. I am stronger physically but I am also stronger emotionally. Running is a great release and I often spend my runs figuring out life’s problems. Running has also increased my spiritual strength. It allows me to spend hours in the woods, I find the woods to be peaceful and relaxing and in a sense it is my place of “worship”. I am thankful for what my body can do and where it has taken me. I strive to run strong.

No Regrets morphed from No Excuses. I am not really sure why I decided to use it other than I cant seem to turn down a challenge, I don’t want to have regrets. One can always find excuses to NOT do something but I have found that excuses can lead to regrets.

I wanted to create a symbol to represent Run Strong, No Regrets. I had been researching symbols of strength for years while looking for my next tattoo. I decided that I wanted to combine a symbol of strength with the symbol for infinity (infinite strength, foreinfinity2ver strong…)

Now the symbol of strength that I use does look similar to a flower but it is not. It’s the Tabono symbol, which represents strength and perseverance. It’s an Ancient African symbol originating from Ghana on the Ivory Coasttabono
I decided to use pink for the symbol of strength. Pink is my racing color. Pink stands out, I don’t like to stand out, blending in the crowd is just fine with me. BUT as I became more confident in racing I wanted to show that I am strong, strong enough to stand out a little so I made pink my color.

run strong_603


Self talk on the trails…

So I ran a trail race yesterday and got 2ndoverall woman. My goal was to beat my time from last year. I wasn’t out to win, just beat my time. At least that is what I originally told myself. I don’t know about you but I do a lot of self-talk before and during races. I started out just wanting to beat my time but similar to last year I did have fleeting moments of winning the 10 mile race.  Last year I finished 4th.
My thoughts during the race make me laugh after the race. I figured I would share them with you and see if you can relate.
I lined up at the starting line with my acidotic RACING team mates-all men so we were at the front of the pack. It took me a minute to realize where I was. I looked around and it was all men, I was at the front, like second row front. Thoughts began…

Photo Courtesy of Gianina Lindsay, SNAPacidotic

What the heck am I doing here? Where are all the fast women? Oh geesh.  I think they are looking at me, I wonder what they are saying. I know I don’t belong here, Please don’t think that I think I am one of the FAST racers. I am just hanging with my friends. Don’t worry, you’ll pass me. Oh look there’s Ryan, where’s Kristina, okay she is not running. Where are the fast girls? Could this be another race where I am one of the fast girls? Ha ha. I just want to beat my 1:32. Don’t get hung up on placing. Do your best.

Okay here we go. Keep comfortable, where are the women. Okay this is fast but good. Let the fast men by, okay where are they, c’mon boys pick up the pace. Okay, I just got passed by a woman. I am good with that. Really, it’s okay. I know I am not the fastest woman here. Not possible. Damn I was passed by a woman. She might be running the 4 mile race. I want to keep her in my sights. There she is. Damn this hurts. I need to slow down but…damn where is she. Crap there’s another one. Okay. Worst case scenario I am third. Damn, I am not enjoying this pace. I need to slow down. But it’s a race and I am possibly the 3rd place woman. Okay, don’t get passed again. That is my goal. Run my own race BUT don’t let anymore women pass me. I want to look behind me but I don’t want to jinx it. Okay, I only hear men breathing behind me. Quick look. Don’t think there are any women back there. Okay. Set a goal. Yep, going to try to keep those guys in my sights. Passed by men. That’s okay. Crap they are gone. Crap, this hurts. I want to walk but it’s not really a hill but geesh I want to walk. So fast but yet feel like I am running at a turtles pace. Where is the turn off point, it’s got to be coming up. I want to know if those women turned or if they headed to the long course. Do I ask? Oh Hi Craig. Thanks. Okay, Oh hey Chris…shit I should have asked. Here we go. Onto the long course. Hills and stuff. Let’s do this.
Second wind. Feeling good. Oh hey…who is that…oh yeah he is the guy that was next to me in registration. Oh look mountain bikers. “She’s close, go catch  her then push her down”. Ha ha. Seriously? I wouldn’t push anyone down. Is she really that close? I doubt it. I can’t see her. Ugh, out into the power lines. Ugh sun. Damn its hot. We have to be turning into the woods soon right. Please no snakes, please no snakes. It’s so hot. Back in the woods now? Nope. Oh okay now. Phew. Second wind. Need to catch those guys up there. Probably not going to catch them but a girl can dream. Damn. Feet are getting sore. Stupid bunion. Running running running. It’s hot. Wait, where the heck did he come from? Don’t let him catch you. Don’t do it. Nice, the next aid station is near. I like this part of the trail. I remember it from last year. How am I doing with water? Oh maybe I should get some water. Yes. Aid station. Sip of water, some blue stuff, water in my bottle. Damn that guy just took off. I need to get him. Crap there is the Superman Underoos guy (guy running in superman underwear and wearing a cape). I DO NOT want to be running behind that. I am outta here. Fast. Faster. Do not let him catch up. Oh here is the technical hill stuff. Ouch, ow. Oh. Stupid flippin bunion. Okay he is slowing up on the hill, take him. Huh. I am slowing down too. Not this time. Ouch. Ouch. There he is again oh crap its Super Underoos behind me. Darn, go faster. Shit where is the trail. “you guys see the trail”?  “white arrow goes this way” thanks Mr. Underoos but you are not going to pass me. “I sure hope you know where you’re going because I am following you” chuckle chuckle…he will stay behind me. I don’t want to see that junk. Push it girl. Get away, far away. Okay, I got that guy now. Thanks, You too buddy. I am going to die. Ouch, oh,  ouch…Oh F@%K! My toes, my toes-that hurt. Now it’s not just my bunion. It’s all my toes. Might lose a toenail from that one. Darn rock, it’s not the rocks fault. You’re getting tired.  Oh look there is Tristan. Hmm…wonder if he is hurt. Aid station on the other side of the tunnel. “I think your second woman, go get it”. shot of water. Okay second wind. I wonder how far behind I am. I am all by myself. No one behind me, no one in front of me. Crap. Pay attention. Push yourself. Just a little under 2 miles to go. Push yourself but save a little. Oh hey it’s that fast guy cooling down. “good job, second woman”.  Great. That confirms it, I really am second. It’s okay. I am not fast enough to be first. If I was first that would be the slowest first place finish time ever. Darn. It would have been cool to be first. Ugh. I just want to be done. Push yourself. Okay I hear cowbell. False alarm, there was cowbell but it’s not the finish. Thanks for cheering! Okay keep pushing. Oh awesome I see the building. Oh look its Gianina and Cameron. Smile. C’mon smile. Okay. Push it, the finish is around the corner, push it. Feeling strong. Okay and done. Woo hoo. Cheers. Okay I am second woman.  What. Seriously? I was two minutes slower than last year? Ugh. Oh hey thanks. Yeah but I was two minutes slower than last year.  Okay second woman. Not bad for such a hot day and tired legs. I did climb a few mountains last week. Okay I guess I am okay with my finish time. Next year. Next year I need to be faster. Good thing I got a free entry.
The end.

Look what I found. A picture of Mr. Superman Underoos. I modified the picture a little. I am sure he is a nice guy but I wanted to enjoy the view of the trail and not be distracted by his outfit.


Body image…

Recently a popular Facebook women’s running group was inundated with women posting pictures of themselves in bikinis, underwear, swim suits etc being loud and proud about their bodies and progress they have made. I don’t closely follow this particular group but to be honest I was wondering what the heck was going on with all these pictures that I didnt really care to see popping up in my news feed. I thought it was a little strange that this group was promoting this but to each its own. Not something I would do but for many people this is how they measure their progress. 
What caught my eye was a non-bathing suit post. It was a post from a woman named Maria (I think) who had commented that these “success stories” were not inspiring her. She mentioned that she had been feeling proud of herself and how strong she was becoming through running. She also noted that seeing the bathing suit pics started to take that pride away from her. She has had multiple C-sections and feels like she will never be able to attain the success that the women posting have had. She was being honest and real. She was not pointing fingers, just expressing how the posts made her feel. I was upset to read this and for the first time ever, I commented on a strangers post in the group. As I scrolled up I could see people relating to her and commenting about surgery etc. This is NOT what this woman needed to read. Surgery is NOT an option for many people. I was upset because she had lost hope. She was feeling proud and let other people’s “success” bring her down. After I left my comment I had read some comments below mine about how these pictures need to stop.

I had a couple people like my comment, heck, I liked my comment. When I went back to the post to see what transpired…It was gone. I then went to the group’s page and saw that the administrators had removed the “negative” posts and were pleading to keep things positive. To be honest, this frustrated me a little because Maria’s post was not negative. Maybe some of the comments that transpired after her post were negative but her post itself was just plain ole honesty. I would think that it would be important for the admins to maybe apologize and ask the negative comments to stop but they deleted the whole post. On a positive note, they did create a photo album for people to post their progress pictures in. Still, the pics continue to come across my feed. I am debating upon leaving the group or just ignore the pics. I really dont want to see the photos, how I look in a bathing suit is not how I measure my progress. I measure my progress with how I am feeling. But that is how I choose to look at my journey, I understand that not everyone feels the same way I do. I respect that.

So, what was my comment to Maria? Well, since it was deleted, I will need to paraphrase…

Maria, please dont compare your journey to other people’s journeys. We all had different starting points. You should continue to be proud about the strength running has given you. I have gone from a size 16/18 to a size 4/6 and would never post a picture of myself in a bathing suit to show my progress. You cant *see* how you feel…

With that said I was wondering if I was being a hypocrite because I had just posted this picture on my Facebook page…

Really what this picture is saying is that when I was bigger I appeared to be happy and really was I miserable on the inside.  It took several years and many, many, ups and downs to get the point that I am at today. I do feel strong on the inside-for the first time ever. Losing weight and finding physical strength definitely added to my ability to find emotional and spiritual strength but seriously, this is the first time ever that I have felt this way. I didn’t feel this good about myself back in high school when I weighed 125. Its the journey, the good and the bad, that has built the happy and strong person I am today.

Hey did you guys just run a Pemi?

Last weekend I ran my first Pemi. If you are not from New England or if you don’t run/hike mountains you might not know of the “Pemi”. It’s a Pemi Loop, more specific it’s the Pemigewasset Loop. Still confused, it’s a trail that forms a loop in the Pemigewasset Wilderness in the White Mountains. The Pemi Loop covers 31 miles of trail and 9 peaks with the opportunity to take a couple boot spurs to grab a couple more peaks for a total of 11 peaks.  Nine out of the 11 are official 4,000 footers (there are 48 in total) of New Hampshire. After this trip I have 30/48 4,000 footers completed.
I didn’t do this loop on my own. I was fortunate to join 3 other amazing women on this adventure. I started out the weekend barely knowing one of the women, not knowing one at all, and getting to know one better over the course of the year. I finished the journey with a powerful bond shared with all three of these women. Each of us had our ups and downs over the course of 14 hours we spent on the trail and we rallied together to pull each other through. We didn’t talk about it we just did it.

The day was predicted to be a little dismal. Reports of rain to start the day, with cool overcast skies throughout the day. We were fortunate that the rain had stopped long enough for us to break down camp and get ready to run. We quickly grabbed our breakfasts, did some prepping and then headed over to the trail head for last minute prep. Two of us were newbies (myself included) to this type of endurance running. One of us (not me) had never been to the Whites to hike or run. Crazy girl-first trip out and she was preparing to cover 31 miles and 11 peaks…in the Whites. Not an easy goal to meet.
We started out a little slow, then got off and running as soon as we hit the single track. The air was heavy and the fog was thick turning into a heavy mist. The skies cleared a little as we got up to where we should have been able to see the beginning of great views. We got to the top of Flume and it was chilly and super foggy. Time to add some layers. After a couple quick photos we were on our way. I should take a moment to mention that we had adopted a solo hiker along the way. His name was Josh, I deemed him “Man who walks with sticks” or Man with Sticks for short. He has running/hiking with poles and we always knew where he was whether we were getting closer to him or he was getting closer to us, we could hear the tapping of his poles against the rocks. We met up on almost all of the peaks for the first part of the hike.   After Flume we hit Liberty and Little Haystack.  It was still foggy and I am not going to lie, fog or no fog, some of the cliffs freaked me out. Had to keep telling myself to focus and not look down, it made my head spin. As we were preparing to hit Lafayette, we layered up. The wind was strong, 20-40 mph.  I was surprised that I never got cold wearing a running skirt and extra wind resistant layers on top (hat and gloves too). I am thankful that I have hiked Lafayette before on a bright and sunny days because the views from the top are amazing. Last Saturday there weren’t any views but it was still pretty sweet to be running along that ridge. From Lafayette we headed down to Garfield, got a little thrown off but quickly found our way and were off and running. This is where my low point started. Because we were running on small wet rocks my feet were doing a lot of sliding around. No matter what shoes I wear I tend to have the same issue. My right foot (bunion on my big toe) was starting to ache. Every time I hit the inside of my foot (where the bunion and callus are) pain would shoot up. I was super uncomfortable but was determined to work through it, I knew it would work itself out but lagging behind is not something that settles well with me. We hit Garfield and again the view was not as great as it was for me the last time I was up but the last time I was up there the sun was out but the clouds were low  and I didn’t have a clear view of the valleys and mountain tops then either.  Descending from Garfield I knew what to expect since I was just on that trail last fall. What I didn’t expect was descending down a waterfall. Super cool and the cold water that sneaked its way onto my feet was a little refreshing on my painful feet. After more rugged trail and some steep climbs up large rocks we hit the Galehead hut. Two of us stayed at the hut while the other two made and extra mile (round trip) hike to the top of Galehead. I had already summited that peak and was ready to give my feet a break. I knew the hike up South Twin was going to be steep. I went down that trail last fall and was watching all these people hike up with their big ole heavy packs and I was thankful that I was not them. I ate my lunch and rested and after the other two got their break we were off and “running” again. My legs were tired as we started ascending but as we got half way up, I was feeling great.  We hit  South Twin, took another “selfie” and were on our way to the Bonds. I should note at one point there was talk about bailing on the run if the weather wasn’t going to clear because wind, rain, and cold on the Bonds would not be all that fun. BUT we didn’t bail and the odds were in our favor as the sun started to peek.  Us two Newbies took the boot spur to West Bond .6 miles there and back. That far in the trip the thought of the extra mileage was daunting but I was psyched to add another 4,000 footer to my list. When we summited West Bond we could see the sun peering through the breaks in the clouds. We had a decent view and were pleased to make the trip up to the little peak.  Back on the trail we trudged along made it over one more hump and the trees opened as did the skies! It was gorgeous. The sun shining on the green shrubbery and a clear view of the rocky trail that was before us. We took a quick moment to take it all in and were on our way. First Bond then to Bond Cliffs. There was a spectacular view from Bond Cliff, the wind was a little strong and I did my best to stay away from the cliff edge. There was no way I was going out on the peak to take a picture, I feared a wind gust would take me of the edge. After a quick break, slap happy laughter and talks of pizza and BEER we were on our way down. Wowzers that was long descend with several river crossings and lots of mosquitos as the terrain leveled out. We got to the intersection that signified 6 more miles. Shit. SIX MORE MILES! We all sucked it up and put our running legs on and made our way towards the finish. There was no stopping for fear of turning into mosquito bait. Pushed through shredded quads and finished in just under 14 hours. Our goal was 12 but I am sure having us newbies in tow and the few side runs to bag a couple of peaks added to the time. Our running time was under 11 hours. We were all on  runners high including man with sticks who was waiting for us in the parking lot. We feasted on some food that might not be so good for us like salty chips. But I did remember my recovery drink and washed everything down with some refreshing cold coconut water. While we all were on our runners high,  

a couple of us were a little nauseous at the finish and the pizza and beer we dreamed of didn’t happen. We stopped for a quick bite and were on our way, four giddy girls who just shared a powerful experience and now share a special bond provided by the Pemi Loop. Lets share a beer soon ladies, reminisce and plan our next adventure!

Tomorrow I take on the Rockpile. Mt Washington Auto road race-7 miles up. My first trip up that mountain. What the heck was I thinking!

My photo gallery (I had issues posting them within the blog).

First view

First view



The trail/waterfall
Go Acidotic!

South Twin

West Bond

I see sun!

Trail ahead


On our way to Bond Cliff

View of west Bond from Bond Cliff

love the views!

She got asked to take their picture…I would have said No! Too scary

Bond Cliff
Back down we go


Running strong or just lucky?

At the right races at the right times.
That’s how I would describe the past month and my racing successes.
Don’t get me wrong, I worked for each one but I know, and the thought goes through my head every race, I need to train better, train more. After all, that was my goal for the year!
My Spring training has not gone as planned, one lame excuse after another but the bottom line is I haven’t been trying as hard as I want IT. I just plain suck at pushing myself and motivation has been lagging. So, while it appears I have been fairly successful, I don’t always feel I deserve it. I know that there are faster and stronger runners out there, lucky for me they haven’t been at the races I have been at.
Earlier in May I ran the Joe English 25k trail “challenge” where you are encouraged to sign up for the race and “find your inner wild”.  There were 3 races that weekend that I wanted to do. Joe English was the closest in distance and I had been on some of the trails before so I figured I would give it a shot. How tough could it be…I had been on some of the trails before. I decided to give my Hokas a try so I wore them on some shorter trail runs leading up to the race. During the race I was chatting with fellow Hoka runners about how pleasantly surprised I was with how I was able to maneuver the trails and still feel somewhat light on my feet. The first 7 miles were just as I thought they would be. I was feeling strong and was keeping a good position ahead of another woman I had been playing cat and mouse with. And then, and then BAM! Down I went. I awkwardly landed my left foot and I fell to the ground. Passersby checked in with me I thanked them and shooed them off stating I just needed a moment. It was longer than a moment and for a brief period of time I thought I was going to have to end my race. Eventually I was able to put pressure and hobble on it, then jog, then a modified run. Unfortunately I was passed by a bunch of people when I was down including that one woman   

and she was now out of my sights. My goal was to finish the darn race at this point. But then it got *better* with bush wacked trails and stream crossings. Just what you want to face with a swollen and weak foot/ankle. I ended up slipping and falling trying to jump over stream crossing #563. It was graceful and the water was deep. I ended up wounding myself (bloody/banged up knee) and drowned my phone in the process. REALLY! Could it get any BETTER? The next bushwhacked section was rough, down hill in deep dried leaves. Rocks, roots, and no real trail to follow. I was extremely happy and grateful to finally hit the trails again when no sooner did I start to pick up the pace I twisted my right ankle sending a twinge of pain up my leg. REALLY? REALLY! This is not happening. Tears welled in my eyes until I told myself to suck it up. No regrets. No regrets.  I finished, it wasn’t pretty. And when I found out I came in fourth woman, I was a little unnerved to say the least. I could have been third if it wasn’t for that darn fall. Ugh. I was happy with fourth and somewhat happy with my 3:01 finish (I was shooting for under 3). Most of all I was happy to have done that well because it was better than I deserved. I did not train like I should have.
Then came the Wapack and Back 21.5 miler. Definitely didn’t train well for that but I had a great race. I did a lot of self talk getting me through my low points and at one point facing the fact that I was on my way to being one of the top female finishers and I wanted to keep it that way. It was a dreary foggy morning but it was still a great day on the trails. I ended up finishing 3rd overall for the women. I was pushing myself hard after mile 13 to stay ahead of 2 women who I knew had me in their sights. Running as if I was a deer fearing for my life… It paid off and finished under 5 hours and  I won a free registration for next year. Oh yes, I will be back. The day after Wapack I spent my recovery hiking an easy trail with Josie up South Pack Monadnock (one of 5 or so mountains I raced on the day before). I enjoyed cheering on my acidotic RACING team mates and other running friends and I set a goal for myself. If both races fall on the same weekend next year, I want to be in shape to run both. 

Last weekend was another great racing weekend for me as I challenged myself to a 5k ROAD race. One of two road races I had on my schedule this year. My friend and mentor Carolyn was on the planning board for the race and it was for a great cause-Vets Count. For those two reasons, I did it. Guess what-the fast girls didn’t show up and SHUT UP…I won the race! It was a great feeling and the Ultraspirehydration pack and $100 cash was a nice perk too!  I still felt funny because I won with a 22:28 pace which isn’t a fast pace, it wasn’t even my fastest but a win is still a win.  Then there was today. Training was definitely a factor today. As I began the ascend and was passed by two women early on (which made me 3rd woman for most of the race) I was scolding myself for not training like I should be. I finished 4 minutes behind the 1st place woman. I also noticed that some of the fast girls that I had seen running the series in the past were not in attendance.  I finished 3rd overall woman and 1st in my age group at the Wicked Wildcat Wander trail race which is part of  the Western NH Trail Running Series. It is a great series and in a couple weeks I will be running the Six in The Stix which was my first ever trail race 3 years ago. My life was changed by that race. My love for the  running the trails was sparked by that race.  So what is next? My goal this  long weekend is to recharge my batteries and get my life organized. Work has been crazy and I am having some emotional ups and downs in conjunction with the work stuff. This has affected my training and my overall home life. So, I am taking this weekend to get my Sh!@t together. Hampshire 100 is only a couple of months away. I have no choice but to get myself together and train more or I wont be running that race. Looking forward to the Dirty Girl Trail Race in Albany NH next Sunday. Should be a fun race!  

Challenge accepted!

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed. I finally got 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I don’t remember when that has happened for me. I have been working late hours, traveling, and feeling a little under the weather so its been a rough few weeks. But today. Today I woke up with new ambition…its a new day, new week,  and a new opportunity to try again. 

I don’t hide the fact that I AM A SLACKER. I have a really hard time motivating myself! I will take on any outdoor challenge, I will push myself to run tough races but training…that’s another story. My big goal this year is to #trainsmarter. Yeah, that hasn’t been working out very well for me. One excuse after another (some legit but still an excuse) and I am not much farther than where I was when I made that goal. I really cant afford a personal trainer and while I belong to a gym (Planet Fitness) it is a 30 minute drive. AND (see, more excuses) the gym itself is an older, smaller, smellier version of PF. I keep the membership just so that I can have options when I am out and about and traveling. Anyhow, I digress. Part of my training needs to focus on my problem areas-My ITB issues and piriformis pain. I have strength exercises I need from my kick-ass physical therapist Amber Ferreira but I just need to do them. The other area I need to focus on is my back/shoulder strength. This is ever so evident in my race photos, here is the latest ugly truth:

photo courtesy of Gianina Lindsey @SNAPacidiotic

Now you might look at that pic and think I am being overly critical but I know my problem areas. Shoulders/Back are my focus right now, mainly because my shoulders are always tight and today extremely tight and sore, you could bounce a quarter off them today. I do need a couple of things 1. a good massage 2. a visit to my chiropractor. What I also need to do is work on strengthening these problem areas so I dont have to worry about spending the cash to repair the damage. I was given some good soup can lifting shoulder and back exercises, I have some exercises/stretches given to me from my physical therapist, and last night I sat down and researched a few more. On my agenda today was to “create a workout schedule”. Other areas of focus are butt and upper legs (baby got back) 2. my abs/belly (surgery really did a number on that region). This morning I was briefly flipping through my twitter and saw a post by Amanda at Run to the Finish. Something about last day for Bootie Buster Challenge 2014. I have read about her holiday challenges but this one is great timing for me. This is her second year doing a spring challenge and I said to myself “game on” (and it got me out of trying to throw together more workout routines I can do at home). Because I signed up late the registration was $25…$25 dollars for fitness advice and people to hold me accountable. I will take it. It feels a little lazy to me but I need more time in my life. I am still going to map out my shoulder/back work outs as well as strengthening my leg lower body issues, I am hoping this little challenge keeps me on track since you get points for the time you spend being active. If you need a quick spring boost, check it out and sign up today or its going to be too late! Happy Training! No Regrets!!!