For the last five months I have dedicated my life to something I don’t even like. Right after Pinhoti I began the preparation for the Boston Marathon. I felt like I was betraying who I am, but trying to actually stick with a marathon plan is my first goal and trying to break 3 hours in a marathon is my second goal. I never gave an honest effort, or really any effort to train for a road marathon and have hovered so close to the 3 hour mark it drove me crazy! One day I decided Boston was where I really wanted to put in once last ditch effort at the sub 3 marathon and I honestly did not think I would have lasted this long.
I have 4 weeks to go. The last 5 months have been hell. I try so hard to tell myself on every run why I am doing this. I tell myself to have fun and I can usually muster up some sort of fun but deep in my heart I feel my body losing it’s mountain fitness and gaining road fitness. For my goal this is a wonderful thing, for my heart and soul it is killing me. The very essence of my soul dies a little each day I choose to stick to the plan, but I also become stronger as my desire to get back in mountains grows stronger!
I have gone mad, made myself sick and my anxiety is unbearable. The shoe company I run for doesn’t even make road shoes, I am a mountain runner, why would I do this!?
I have one more month left, one more long run, a few more tune up runs and then the big day. Tonight I realized that this training has taken so much away from me including my happiness. I also realized this training has given me hope and has proven that I am capable of absolutely anything. I decided tonight that running sub 3 hours was never the real purpose of what I have done to myself but instead I needed to see what I was made of. I put in the work, I sacrificed and even before I stand at the starting line I have already succeeded. Sometimes life has a really funny way of teaching us things about ourselves.
So, in 4 weeks I will join a bazillion other runners at a race that I have absolutely no business being at. I am going to put on my La Sportiva race kit and do my thing. I am going to have fun and I am going to spread my wings and fly. As soon as I cross that finish line I will no longer need to fly, I will be back dancing in the mountains where I belong and where my heart and soul shine.
Thank you so much to my sponsors La Sportiva, Choucas Hats, JULBO USA and Carboom for your support on this crazy journey! Thank you to my friends and family for understanding and for watching me lose my shit and come undone. I have gone way too long without my “mountain therapy”. Your encouragement along the way has helped me stay strong. I am a very lucky girl and I can’t wait to dance again.
In 2013 I ran my first road marathon after having to bail on my plan to run Pinhoti 100. I just didn’t have the means to get down there and about a month before the 100 I switched over to marathon training. My coach had me hammer out some track workouts and the plan was to finish the marathon in 3:30. When I crossed the finish line in 3:03:32 I was shocked and of course wanted to join the sub 3 hour marathon finishers club! Well, a few weeks later I smashed my head open trail running and the next few years were brutal.
My training was inconsistent and I dealt with headaches and depression. It wasn’t until 2015 that I started to feel like my old self again. I signed up for the Cape Cod Marathon and instead of doing the road runs my coach told me to do I kept on trail running until about a month before the marathon. I was so mad at myself when I ran 3:00:16 because I knew that if I had actually done the work I could have gone sub 3. I tore my quad during that marathon and in the winter tried the Hyannis Marathon against the advice of my physical therapist and ran a 3:01:47.
Breaking 3 hours matters to me so I signed up for the Boston Marathon with the hopes of running along side a bazillion runners and having thousands of crazy spectators would give me the ability to break 3 hours. I committed to this and have been doing road runs, even on the snowiest, windiest and coldest days. My pace has been hard to nail in these conditions and I haven’t raced since Pinhoti in November! I have no idea where I stand at this point and it is nerve wracking.
There are days where I just want to bail, go play in the mountains and forget even going to Boston, but I have been trying this time and with only 5 weeks to go I know I can stick it out! My heart is in the mountains and I am not going to lie, I can’t wait to get back to where I belong. I am a mountain runner.
I do believe that attitude is so important with everything in life and I am doing my best to smile, to enjoy the hard tar surface and the sound of my feet smacking the pavement while dodging cars, being harassed by idiot guys who have nothing better to do than yell offensive comments out their window, breathing fumes and feeling my body suffer from running on a crowned surface. I am fortunate to live in an area where there are very few cars but I also live in an area where there are a ridiculous amount of hills! What is stressing me out is the fact that hitting my actual marathon pace has been tough. The track finally melted out the other day and it felt good to see what I had in me!
I do absolutely love track workouts because they are consistent. I can generally lay out a solid pace and hold it there. I love the variety of workouts the track has to offer and there is nothing to do except count laps. It is numbing and strangely offers my mind a temporary silence from the never ending thoughts rolling through my head. I can’t let my mind wander, I will forget which lap I am on!
So, I am going to give it all I have and stick with the Boston training! I have some great friends coming to cheer me on which makes me feel so loved! I am pretty sure that I have decided this to be my last road marathon, even if I don’t break 3 hours. But…………I also said I would never run another 100 mile race. Sub 3 or not I will be there smiling and bringing whatever fitness I have on race day. I will finish the race knowing I tried and on April 18 I will finally be able to get back in the mountains! (realistically after I recover)
I want to thank my sponsors La Sportiva, Choucas Hats, JULBO USA and CarBoom nutrition for their support! It means so much to me that these companies help me to be the best runner I can be! Thank you to my friends and my Ryan for sharing so many miles together and so many smiles! Thank you to my Jack Puppy and Bennet for being the best trail buddies and snuggle buddies ever! Thank you Jay Philbrick for sometimes taking me away from my running clothes and making me feel like a beautiful princess! I am one very lucky girl!
Anyone that knows me can attest to my always on the go and non stop personality. In so many ways it is a wonderful trait to have, but it also is my biggest demon. I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I took a continuing education course last month and it opened my eyes up to the fact that I mask my anxiety with staying busy. When I have times to sit, I have time to think and it drives me crazy.
I have spent years in and out of therapy learning to make peace with my troubled past and trying to make peace with my chaotic mind. The last year has been the biggest emotional struggle of my life and there were a couple of people who managed to make my life hell, until I found the courage to tell them how their inappropriate actions were affecting my marriage, my life and my own well being. Bottom line is the last year has taken away my self-esteem, my love for myself and made me question who is lying to me and who is being honest. Combine these toxic people with my anxiety and it is a recipe for disaster.
I have chosen to forgive people but also to keep certain ones out of my life. I have chosen to use my running and my love for the mountains as therapy and I have chosen to keep my true friends close. I think the best part of getting older is realizing that life is too short for bullshit, and learning that it is okay to slow down.
I have found myself having almost no downtime and it was beginning to affect my health and my happiness. I am trying this relaxing thing, it is hard to look at all the chores I could be doing and just sit. It is hard to let my mind wander and force myself to stop worrying about all the things that could be and most likely won’t be. I need to work on myself and slowly I am falling in love with myself again. I have re-visited one of my favorite books called “Embrace your magnificence” and it is helping to remind me that I can’t be happy until I do actually know that I am special and I deserve to love myself. We all need to love ourselves.
So, blogging has been something I haven’t been inclined to do for a while because I allowed certain people and circumstances to hurt me. I was afraid of causing tension and afraid of people hating me. Well, let them hate. I don’t need everyone to like me, I simply need good people in my life.
Sitting here in the snowstorm waiting to go our for a ski on our local trails is feeling pretty good. I have done some small chores and will save the shoveling for later. It is all about peace, balance and mountain therapy right now!
I am registered for the Boston Marathon and I have two goals, have fun and break 3 hours. With the snowstorms and slick roads my training has not been what I had planned so I made peace with winter and decided that even if I don’t break 3 hours I tried my best and will move on from the marathon and get back into the mountains where I belong!
Between a full time job, having a small farm and having a rigorous training schedule I don’t have much down time so I am working on taking at least one day a week to do nothing other than run, take care of the farm animals and just relax. I am starting to enjoy it!
Our mountains are finally starting to turn white and for the first time in a few years there is trail breaking to do! The nordic skiing is phenomenal and on certain days the snowmobile trails are sweet for running on with and without snowshoes! There is something so magical about winter! Everything becomes more playful and more beautiful. Of course it also makes our upcoming trip to the Caribbean even more exciting!
The pups love the snow but winter is tough for them. We don’t take them out if conditions are too rough or if it is too cold. Every adventure we take them on is about their safety and well being so if something is going to be tough for us they have to deal with taking a zero day (which also means zero sleep for us!)
I am excited about this year. My racing is all about having fun and seeing new places. I want to be the best athlete and best person I can be! I could not imagine living in a better place to train for mountain running and am excited to go on many more adventures this year!
I want to thank my 2017 sponsors: La Sportiva, Julbo USA, Choucas Hats and Boom Nutrition. I love all of their products because they keep me running happy! I don’t feel deserving of the amount of support they give me but I am so darn thankful that they give me an opportunity to represent them! Thank you to my coach Jeff Browning for helping me train through this wild winter! Thank you to my friends for being there for me, sharing adventures with me and being such a wonderful part of my life! I hope my friendship means as much to you as yours means to me. I am excited to enjoy 2017 as much as possible and to learn the art of relaxing and loving who I am.
On the other side of fear is freedom-I love that quote, it is one I keep close to my heart. I have a lot of things that scare me and this past year was a year of trying to make peace with at least a few of these fears. I somehow have convinced myself that I am going to live to be over 100 so that means that I am not going anywhere for a long time! This belief has helped me to look at my fears and realize that I can work to overcome many of them and that once I do I will become more free with each day that passes.
2016, it had been a wonderful year and a difficult year. I had a lot of personal challenges and major life decisions to make. I learned about who my real friends were and also learned a bit about myself. It was a year of travel, adventure, trying new things and overcoming my fears!
I think the one thing that stuck with me every day was my beautiful mountain. I look at that mountain every day and no matter what the weather is, that mountain stands strong and never moves or breaks. I look to the mountain for strength and hope to be that solid. I climb the mountain for physical strength and a hope of becoming a better athlete each day.
I took on a few too many challenges this year and learning to farm was a big one that makes me really happy but sometimes is a bit stressful. There is nothing better than raising your own food, to eat something that you grew, raised, slaughtered, canned. For me, it brings a new meaning to what I eat. Food is no longer just something I take for granted, I now appreciate everything I eat.
My running was incredible this year! I don’t remember the last time I felt this good! I took a liking to cross training and found myself with fewer running injuries! I have lofty goals for myself but am slowly finding that I also want to just get out there and do it all! My running took me all over the country in 2016 and it was a fun year of travel races! This year will be focused on staying local and then maybe in 2018 get back out there seeing more new trails and races!
Today was one of my first long runs to get ready to run Boston. We have had an incredible winter with so much snow and it is impossible to keep me from heading to the mountains to play, throwing on my skis to explore and just having fun enjoying the change of activities that winter brings! Fat biking has become one of my favorite activities on the snowmobile trails! I have been driving my coach nuts with my lack of obedience and honestly with the frequent storms the roads just don’t feel safe to me. Thank you to my coach Jeff Browning for dealing with my nonsense!
I have a fun crew that I run with after work at night and we hit the roads in our reflective gear and headlights. These girls are so much fun that we chat the miles away, even on those single digit nights!
Last night I woke up to pouring rain completely ruining our beautiful snow. I was not looking forward to running on the roads and knew the trails would be a mess. I put my head back into my pillow and fell back asleep. When I woke up again I opened my eyes to see a small patch of blue sky and smiled. After making a massive stack of pancakes and stuffing myself the sun came out and so did my mountain. It was really warm out and I felt ready to run!
Our road is icy and the first part of the run was slick but so pretty. When I hit the pavement I felt great and enjoyed looking around at the fields, the mountains, the sparkling wet snow. I could hear snow falling from the branches in the woods. I started to feel very happy and my legs moved with ease. It was such a beautiful run, one of those that is so spiritual that at the end I felt like I was one with the universe. My world was shimmering around me and I was right there in the middle of it with a smiling heart.
These are the times when I know why I run, this is my therapy. There is no better medicine for a busy mind than getting outside and taking in large calming breaths of fresh air. I came home feeling so refreshed and took some time to help with shoveling out the barns and just watching the chickens scratching around in their new shavings. They came running in the barn to scratch around and see if there is anything good in the clean shavings. I throw out some scratch grain to make it fun for them and loose myself in watching them living such a simple existence.
Why can’t we live simply, why do we have to do so much? I am finding myself trying harder each day to pull away further from what society tells me I should do and closer to what my heart tells me to do. I want to farm, live off the land, feed people healthy food. I want to play in the mountains, enjoy adventures with my Ryan, Jack puppy and Bennett. I want more time but right now I need more money. I am very fortunate to have a job that I love that provides me with the ability to live my life but I still find myself needing more time.
The more stressed I become the more I need my exercise. The more I exercise the more I love the outdoors. Being fit has given me so much more than just being able to run. It has given me the ability to escape from life for a little bit and travel under my own power to some of the most incredible places I have ever seen! It has given me beautiful friendships and a zest for life that I never had prior to living an active life!
I am very excited to announce that I will be representing La Sportiva again in 2017! They make the best shoes for mountain running and their clothing is so comfortable I have to keep checking to see if I have any clothes on when I run! It is so soft, breathes so well and never feels constricting. My favorite shoe is the Akasha because it has cushion and traction which I need to move fast in the White Mountains! I am also once again representing Choucas Hats who now makes hats with pony tail holders! These hats and headbands are my go to piece for every run! Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your companies!
I guess I should have a goal for 2017. It is to continue my journey towards financial freedom, inner peace and being the best person and athlete that I can be! I hope to build the farm and someday establish community programs where people can exchange time learning to grow their own food in exchange for healthy food. I would love to see small local farms providing for their communities and communities helping these farms grow. We all deserve to eat healthy! Happy New Year!
It has been 4 years since I ran a 100 mile race. It is not my favorite distance and the training involved in finishing one of these things is intense. I had signed up for Pinhoti 3 times and 2 of them I had been injured and unable to race. The third time was going to happen but I was nervous. I had a great year of running but also had a great year of farming and sailing which meant low mileage. It was also a transitional year for me with hiring a new coach because I stopped listening to my old coach. It was a nice change but my mileage was not able to get up to more than 50 miles a week due to my busy life.
Jeff and I had a pretty grim conversation the week of the race where he said I could just bail on the race. I have had a very tough few weeks in my personal life and was so sad that I could not eat without throwing up. I lost 7lbs in a weekend and was not feeling too good. I told him that at this point it would be therapeutic to run 100 miles and at least I could get my legs to hurt more than my heart. What is more suffering when you are feeling so down.
I like Jeff, he is realistic and does not blow smoke up your ass. My original goal was to challenge the course record but with my current fitness level just finishing the thing would be a challenge. I really wanted to break 24 hours and he told me I could maybe do that but instead to focus on healing and having fun. He told me to walk all the uphills for the first 80 miles and just enjoy the journey! I had two great girls flying in to help me finish that race and knew that they would not let me quit. I felt really happy going into the race without a race mentality.
The week before the race I couldn’t resist running a local mountain 10k in the fresh snow! I ran the Randolph Ramble and had an incredible run! It was a great warmup for my upcoming 100 miler!
Sue and I flew down to Florida and drove north to summit Britton hill in Florida which is the highpoint! We had to stop along the way for some amazing barbecue and realized that New England does not know how to barbecue! At a whopping 345 feet we really struggled with the altitude! It was absolutely hilarious and then we drove north to Alabama to check in for the race.
After checking into our hotel we showed up for the prerace meeting with growling tummies and I was a hog and the first person to the buffet. I won that race!!! We filled up and I went to bed and Sue went to get Sarah at the airport. I woke up at 3am and had no nerves which allowed me to actually eat before the race! Sue took me to the bus and I laid down for the two hour drive to the start. It was freaking cold out and I found a car that still had a warm engine and pressed my shivering body against it. A girl who finished Grindstone in the hurricane came over and gave me her jacket to wear. I was so happy for her generosity as it helped me out so much!
We started the race and it was literally like a 5k! I started out 3/4 of the way back and got stuck in 3 Congo lines on the single-track for about 3 miles. There were about 80 people in these lines and myself and another guy slowly worked our way past everyone and found serenity in the quiet forest. It was really pretty and I made sure to walk every uphill. I looked around and when the sun shone through the trees it lit up the smoke from the forest fires and I felt like I was going to start seeing fairies and butterflies! It was so magical!
I spent the next several miles running and laughing my ass off with two hilarious dudes that had the best southern accents! We had the usual poop, puke and chafe conversations that happen in these races. One of these guys started getting sick and they stayed back at the aid station at the dam and I moved forward.
I was starting to feel good and was walking very efficiently up the hills and jogging the flats and downs! I ran with two super nice girls for a while before pulling ahead on a climb. We wished each other luck and I was alone again. I was happy and doing really well with hydration and nutrition but it was getting really hot and humid out. I focused on the beautiful forest and sweet ridgeline views! Before I knew it I was on the top of the high point of the course. Sarah and Sue were there and told me the high point of Alabama was actually a half mile away which would add another mile. I sadly said I would pass on hitting it and resupplied.
My nutrition this race was very different. I did not have any sugar and kept one pouch in my pack full of random things like pickles, potatoes, banana chips, salted plantain chips, coconut chunks, chips, toast and dried tart cherries. This is called my “nasty sack” and it has been very good to me at my races this year. Everything gets soggy and tastes blend together but somehow when I am racing I don’t care how gross it is! I started to struggle with getting gels down and got a bit of nausea which led to me not drinking enough and I got a bad headache and sore kidneys. I knew I messed up on hydration. I wanted darkness to come so that I could have cooler temperatures and regroup.
I got lost coming off the high point and then got back on track after a guy yelled down to me that I was off course. I was so happy to see Sue and Sarah at the next aid station with huge smiles! They helped me get regrouped and I would see them again at the next aid station to pick up Sarah as my pacer from mile 55-85 because that was the tricky part of the course to navigate.
I made it to mile 55 about 30 minutes after darkness came and was so happy to have my pacer! I am afraid of running alone in the dark and honestly didn’t know how I would manage miles 85-100 alone but I was also very excited to see if I could be brave! She was there with a smile and Sue and Sarah got my pack ready with water and filling my nasty sack with the variety of unsweetened oddities. I was not getting vomiting or diarrhea which was nice! We left the aid station pretty fast and I started to wonder if it would bite me. Well, it did.
I hadn’t peed in hours and was feeling very sick from being dehydrated. Sarah had me take salt and keep drinking. I walked a bunch but slowly I started to come alive and after a while I was peeing so much! She helped me ride that line between pushing too hard and not hard enough. It really motivated me and at times when it really hurt I was just quiet and let her do the talking. My feet were blistered pretty bad and every step caused a twinge of pain. I had fallen twice and my knees were beat up but I kept on moving forward.
The aid stations were amazing, one was playing the song Ryan won me over with and I had to stick around and listen to it with a smile! Then at night they were so awesome, lit up with lights, loud music, televisions, a full spread of food that I wished I could have eaten and incredible volunteers! It was like a beautiful oasis in the middle of nowhere!
When I run 100’s I feel so helpless yet so strong. Having people with smiles helping you stay motivated, strong and happy is amazing! Every time I saw Sue and Sarah I could not believe they were taking time out of their lives to help me. Running something that long really teaches you gratitude for others kindness.
We made it to mile 85 where I would test my mental grit with running alone at night. It was 2:08 am, my watch died and I had 15 miles to go. I sunk away into the darkness and heard coyotes off in the distance. I kept thinking of the next aid station which was unmanned and then seeing everyone again in 10 miles. The smell of the forest fires was so soothing. It reminded me of campfires and it made me feel so at peace. My feet were quite sore and my legs were not happy but I was almost done! Quitting was not an option.
After a while I came into the last aid station with plenty of time to break 24 hours! I asked Sarah to run the last 7 miles with me and she couldn’t. I was so broken down at that point and both Sarah and Sue came over and smiled and gave me hugs. I walked up to the aid station with tears of joy in my eyes. I could not believe I was going to break 24 hours! When the aid station volunteers told me I did not have 7 miles left but instead only 5 and I sobbed. I thought they were lying to me but the thought of only having 5 miles left made me feel so many emotions! I was sad it was almost over but also so happy it was almost over. Sarah helped me stuff my nasty sack with the only two things I could eat at that point chips and pickles. They told me to go and I ran the best I could!
The single-track was a bit tricky to follow in parts but soon enough I was on the pavement which meant 3 miles to go. I did not know what time it was and that pavement was uphill. Sarah was about a mile and a half from the finish and ran with me to the track where I crossed the finish line before the sun woke up! I broke 24 hours and found out I was the second woman!!!!! I asked what my time was and they told me 21:54!!! I did not believe them! I asked them if they messed up because of the time change but they said no! I was in complete shock and so freaking happy to not only break 24 hours but to have a 100 mile PR by 3 hours!!! The best part was now we had enough time to go back and have me tag the high point of Alabama! I planned on finishing at 1pm so I booked us flights at 7pm!
We took showers, got breakfast and I got highpoint #19! We got a hotel to sleep in before flying out and I pounded down a jar of Nutella to celebrate!
I have so many people to thank for helping me finish that race! Thank you my sponsors La Sportiva, JULBO USA, and Choucas Hats! Thank you to my coach Jeff Browning for training me so well and never blowing smoke up my ass! Thank you to Sue and Sarah for being my angels out there during the race, I don’t think I could ever repay you for helping me out so much! Thank you to my Ryan, my pups, my friends for always being there for me on and off the trail! Thank you for the inspiration, the encouragement, the happy memories you all have given me. I had a lot to think about there and I decided this will probably not be my last 100 mile race like I said it would be. Not having GI distress and feeling so good made this race about simply moving through the woods and taking care of myself. I am so damn lucky to have so many amazing people in my wacky life!
And you can view the entire set of pictures including behind the scenes shots from my Eaglet Spire photo shoot with Jay Philbrick here!
I signed up for a 100 mile race in November, I must admit running 100 miles is not my favorite thing to do. I am not feeling like I am physically or emotionally ready to race it but I do feel like I am physically capable of finishing it, hopefully under 24 hours! My main goal of this race is to tag the high point of Alabama (which happens around mile 40) during the race! I have two friends who will be crewing and pacing me and hopefully making me laugh! My friend Sue will also be joining me to tag the high point of Florida on our way to the race! It is going to be an adventure!
I am struggling to feel ready to finish this race and need something greater than my own personal goals to finish and to run happy. I wanted to pick a cause to raise money for but there are so many causes that are close to my heart that I could not pick just one. I also know that money is tight for most of us so I wanted to find a creative way to do something to motivate me while doing something great for others!
I am a pretty lucky girl and have had an amazing life so far. I have had a lot of very kind people in my life, of course some not so kind but I have forgiven all of them. Forgiveness does not mean that I want them back in my life but I no longer allow them to hurt me.
So…I came up with this: What if for every mile I am to run each person promises to perform 1 random act of kindness! These do not need to cost money and they can be as simple as giving someone a compliment that looks like they need to smile or buying someone a coffee that is standing in line behind you! Use your imagination! So, I plan to run 100 miles, can you commit to 100 acts of kindness!? Money can’t buy happiness or fix problems but kindness can! I want this fundraiser to change lives, to make people smile and I want to hear about what you are doing to make others happy! Think about how nice the world would be if we were all kinder!
I had quite the week of adventure and really realized how lucky I am! I’ve been doing some great runs, super fun bike rides and even did a wild photo shoot with Philbrick photography which included rock climbing up a spire, camping in a small cave below the summit and standing on a spire in a dress! It’s been wild and this past weekend was my last big week of running and now it is just getting ready to show up and run 100 miles! Will you help motivate me to run with a smile!?
This summer has absolutely flown by! With working full time, farming full time and working with a running coach again I am tapped out and barely have the time to turn on my laptop! My day goes something like this: Wake up around 4am to the rooster, let out the birds and make sure the birds and pigs have food, gather eggs and check the gardens, make sure the dogs go to the bathroom and look up at the mountain with a huge smile. Clean the litter box, feed the dogs and cats, then feed myself. Drink half a pot of coffee with breakfast, brush the dogs fur and teeth, do the dishes and maybe laundry, vacuum, get ready for work, make lunch and walk out the door and look at my flowers, smile and drive to work.
I then stop and take my daily photograph of the mountain, drive to work and spend the next 9 hours at the best job anyone could ever have! It is an absolute joy, I love my co-workers, patients and boss! I always take off for my lunch hour and either swim in the lake, meet up with my friend Roberta, hit up the farmers market or practice my fiddle! The day ends and I drive home to take the hounds for a run. Ryan and I meet up before sunset to put the birds to bed, feed everyone and lock them up in their shelters for the night. Sometimes there is barn shoveling or taking an injured or sick bird to the rehab tub for some medical care and TLC. We come back in the house, tag team dinner, take showers and go to bed. That is life M-F. The weekends give us from sunrise to sunset to play, hit up the local farmers market and do chores around the house. Farming is so much fun and it doesn’t even seem like work! It is going to be really exciting when we have a freezer full of meat and all of our vegetables canned for the winter!
This lifestyle takes some adjusting but it is so awesome to be able to provide your home with food that you raised and grew! We treat our animals with love and respect and give them plenty of space to free-range and explore. Of course we have our regular paying jobs to fund this adventure but I love where I work and what I do so that doesn’t even seem like work!
This summer has been one of the most fun summers that I can remember! Kristin and I learned to sail and I went out and bought myself a small “pirate ship” to take people out on! We have sailed together and with friends and Ryan is even taking a liking to sailing! Kristin and I did end up trying a race and quickly learned that rocks are a bad thing to hit! We are okay, the boat got fixed and the pirate ship is back on the water!
There has been a lot of running, hiking, mountain and road biking, swimming and simply enjoying the amazing area we live in! Moving to the White Mountains has been the best thing that ever happened to me! Every day I look out my window and up at the mountain and wonder how I got so lucky! Getting my job in Wolfeboro (which is a wonderful town to work in!) changed my life in a way I only dreamed of! I make sure I put 150% into every day there because losing that job would be the biggest mistake I ever made and I will not risk it!
I’ve come to the realization that I have some serious permanent brain damage from my head injuries which I can live with but sometimes affect my life in not so good ways, but I am still here and can enjoy my life. It’s not that bad, I am just different now.
I have a new love for running and decided to hire a new coach because I stopped listening to Jack! I am working with Jeff Browning and his training methods are very different than what I am used to. I think it will be a bit before I start to see real changes in my running but so far I am loving the variety and training by time rather than miles. With my life being so busy training by miles really started to stress me out.
I had Lyme disease for the second time this summer and am recovered from that , I still have some residual tiredness but it will pass just like it did last time. My joints don’t hurt anymore which is really nice and I can run pretty well again too! Jack puppy is the one dealing with Lyme now but he seems to be feeling much better as he moves through his course of antibiotics!
My friend Carolyn had suggested I try to do more different races because I was getting bored with doing the same ones over and over so, I signed up for some travel races this year! My friend Elizabeth and I had a blast down south and then a few weeks ago I took off on my own to run the Skyline 50k in Utah and visit my brother, his wife and my nephew who is 2! The altitude killed me but the course was stunning! I walked when my headache was bad and ran when I could! The nausea kept me from eating and drinking but it was only 50k so getting through it wasn’t too bad! I barely pulled off a new women’s course record and then headed out to spend some time with my family!
It was awesome to see them and we took a nice bike ride on the bike path near their house! I miss them but totally understand needing to live where you are happy! I can’t wait to see them again! I have some more travel races in mind and just need to decide on which ones I want to do! It’s really fun to run in new places!
With fall in the air I am struggling to let go of summer but also looking forward to the change of seasons. New England is so awesome because of the constant variety in weather and seasons! Soon the mountains will be covered in frost, then snow and then the flowers and trees will come back to life again. It is a beautiful rhythm that reminds me that life itself is always changing. There is no plan, nothing is forever and you just have to hang on for the ride and appreciate the good things in life and push through the bad.
This year has been a roller coaster of emotions and it has not been an easy one for me. There has been a lot of struggle and earlier in the year I wasn’t even sure I would be here to see the change of seasons. Luckily I have a lot of wonderful people in my life who take time to talk to me, play with me and remind me that everything is going to be okay!
Thank you to my Sponsors La Sportiva, Choucas Hats and JULBO USA for their support this year! Your equipment just keeps getting better all the time! Thank you to Jeff for taking me on as a client even though I am a bit nuts! Thank you to my Jack puppy and Bennett for making me smile so much on the trail (and driving me nuts sometimes!). Thank you to my friends and my Ryan for being a part of my journey through life, you make me so happy! I am a very lucky girl!
It’s a beautiful day and I am on my back deck surrounded by yellow butterflies, blooming apple trees, peeping chicks and turkeys, three piggies romping around in their wooded pasture and our soon to be massive vegetable garden. The sun is shining and the mountain is watching over my home which is a work in progress but starting to morph into our homesteading oasis. Our homemade Kombucha is finally ready for consumption and fresh rhubarb jam sits in the refrigerator after our first attempt at canning! Mulch beds have been created, flowers planted, hummingbird feeders hung around the front yard and wildflower seeds tossed throughout the front yard are beginning to sprout. Our home hadn’t been maintained in quite some time and we really want to add our own personal touches to the home, inside and out. Slowly we are making changes and one day will have it tidy and well kept but for now I am learning to be patient while living in an ongoing project. The last time I put this much effort into a home was when I bought my first house right before I graduated from college and instead of rushing through it, I am enjoying taking my time to discuss our dreams and goals and then slowly making it happen.
Of course this takes a lot of time, so does raising 8 turkeys, 6 guinnea hens, 51 New Hampshire Red Chickens, about 25 exotic show chickens and three pigs. Toss in two kids, two dogs and two cats and we have our own little farm! Taking care of these animals is incredible and I am really enjoying my new life! The last few months have not been good and with some therapy and working hard to find peace again I feel like I am no longer at rock bottom and instead on a path to a new beginning.
I have been adventuring in the mountains again and loving the feeling of getting back my mountain legs. I was a bit bummed out about having to cancel my Mount Hood trip due to terrible weather out west and getting an awful chest cold but the mountain will still be there and the money lost is only money which I can make again. Ryan, the pups and I have been really doing some big days in the hills and one that really stands out as a new favorite is what I will call the Beautiful Loop. This loop is 20 miles of ridiculous scenery, views and the longest waterfall I have ever seen! The climbs are brutal and there was still some ice up high. We started on the Bald Faces and finished on the Royces. It was a great way to exhaust myself before flying down to North Carolina for a grand adventure with my friend Elizabeth.
Friday night I got to Elizabeths house around 8:45pm after work and we got up at 3am to catch our flight from Boston. We landed and got right off the plane and picked up the rental car. I had talked Elizabeth into doing some more US Highpointing with me and she agreed to do South and North Carolina during our trip. When we got the map at the rental car counter I saw that Geaorgia’s high point was not far and that we could maybe tag that too. Then Elizabeth grabbed the map and said that we might as well hit Tennesse. At that moment I knew I was on vacation with the right person! We stocked up on food from Whole Foods and drove to the high point of South Carolina and snagged the summit of Mount Sassafrass! We laughed as we drove to North Carolina to tag Mount Mitchell and check in for the race. We got our room key and drove up the mountain and took the paved path to the top! High point number two was under our belts. It was time to check in for the race and to our surprise the meeting was actually right off the back deck of where we were staying! I ate a massive pasta meal and went to bed around 10pm.
We woke up at 3am and got to the race shuttle. As soon as the sun gave us enough light to see the race began and we headed straight up a massive White Mountain style climb! I was totally in my element!! There were some really fast looking girls there and I just focused on staying steady. I had been so focused on leg speed this winter that my mountain fitness was not quite where I wanted it to be. I stood on top of the first climb happy and feeling at home in the rime ice and blustery conditions! I felt so happy and took in the amazing views from the ridge as I ran back down off the mountain and to the bottom of a very fast descent. My crappy memory bit me, I forgot they said we had to run up that climb and my heart sank! It was over 5 miles back up to the top and there was a flock of fast girls hot on my tail. I jogged, walked and focused on just having fun. As I got up higher and back into the ice I was happy again and forgot that I was racing. The ridge was incredible and I felt like I was in the White Mountains again. I ran with various people along the way and focused on being steady.
The next descent was a hoot and when I hit the bottom I knew there was a really long climb ahead that the race director said was runnable. I did not want to hear those words! I ran the first part, and then it got slippery with leaves and I walked, and then ran and walked for miles. By the time I got to the top I was rather tired of climbing and my calf started to seize up on me! I saw the volunteers at mile 26 and grabbed some water for my pack and a few cookies for the last 8 miles. I struggled on the flat field section but then my body came around and the descent was incredible! I flew down the rocks laughing and smiling! It was so beautiful and so much like home! The course crossed a road and took us on a dirt and gravel path for a bit and then there was the finish line! I was thrilled to run 7:33 on a course that was longer and had more elevation than last year! And the bonus, I took first woman and 2nd overall! I always question my fitness and it was nice to see that I am in a good place and this race confirmed that I need to stick with mountain running because when I run happy I have fun! Elizabeth did incredible and we both were nicknamed “New Hampshire”. People apparently thought our rock running was rather impressive and our ability to run in the icy trees was interesting. We could only respond by saying that all we have to run on here is rocks and it’s always cold up high!
We got to bed nice and late and after doing some math discovered that we had to leave at 3am if we wanted to tag the high points of Tennesse and Georgia. So, we got up early and got to Clingmans Dome just as the sun rose! We only had 30 minutes to hike and take pictures of both high points so on tired legs we had to hustle! After a quick tag of Clingmans we hopped in the car for another long drive to Georgia! We got to Brasstown Bald and took the short hike up to the summit, took in the views and got back down to the car with barely enough time to get to the airport without missing our flight. Luckily there was no traffic and we got there on time even though our flight was delayed. It was just what I needed to feel renewed and to smile again! I would like to call that trip the US Highpointing 50k sandwich! It was absolutely delicious!!!
I came home and back to reality. Luckily reality isn’t all that bad! I have the best job in the world and although tired I was thrilled to see my coworkers and my patients and have my weekly lunch with my friend Roberta!
My weeks have been busy and getting used to the waking up really early to take care of the critters and making sure they are all set at night is becoming easier. Watching these animals grow and seeing our seeds sprouting is the coolest thing in the world! When I retire from dental hygiene in about 13 years my goal is to focus on farming and helping communities establish farming programs that allow small farms to provide food for the communities and educate people on why supporting your local farmer is important and encourage people to shop locally as well as try their hand at gardening or raising animals. I am very passionate about supporting locals and finding ways to make clean and healthy living available to everyone regardless of their income. Maybe community bases programs where families in need can spend time helping to raise animals and crops on community farms in exchange for food is a start? Maybe establishing agricultural programs within the school systems is a way to teach our children that food should be raised ethically and with kindness and that farms do matter.
I have also realized that I absolutely love running but need more to keep me smiling. Taking on new challenges is so much fun! Ryan and I entered a canoe race on a whim after I bought a large fishing canoe and managed to win our division! We both enjoyed doing something different and something that we had to work together as a team to do! I am taking sailing lessons this summer with my friend Kristin with hopes of sailing the Carribean in a few years. I have found a new fiddle teacher that has taught me how to play 4 songs already and it’s so much fun learning from her! Best of all I am back to running my mountains after work and on the weekends with my Ryan, Jack puppy, Bennett and friends. If feels good and it makes me happy!
Racing is going to be tricky this year with the new farm. Unless one of us stays behind it is really hard to get away, especially when the critters are so small. We can’t leave the baby chicks and turkeys yet because they require so much care. I am going to be focusing on FKT’s this summer that are local and racing locally during the farming season and after the slaughtering I plan to be able to do some travel races. I am okay with that, I need balance in my life and variety. I plan to be around for a very long time and I don’t plan to walk away from running but I do plan to venture out and try new things.
I want to thank my sponsors La Sportiva, JULBO USA and Choucas Hats for their support. They make awesome gear that makes me happy and keeps me rubber side down in the mountains! Thank you to my Ryan for working on our lives both individually and together. We both have a lot on our plates right now and both realize that we are always a work in progress. Thank you my Jack puppy and Bennett for being my fun little trail buddies and snuggle buddies at home! Thank you to my friends for always listening to me, playing with me, giving me hugs when I need one and going on wild adventures with me! Thank you to Jack Pilla for coaching me the best he can when I am a total mess and can barely get in my miles. I have a long way to go but every day that passes brings me new joy and closer to feeling truly happy again.
Life isn’t easy, it’s work. We are all a work in progress, we all have had something traumatic happen to us at some point along the way, we all have good days, bad days and days where you want to throw in the towel. Thanks to my amazing friends who never give up on me, I tossed the bottle of pills I was going to take on a solo run in the woods and instead have been dealing with my stress head on. When life punches me in the face I take a few breaths and focus on feeling my feet on the ground, my hands, feeling my breath coming in and out of my body, the air on my skin, my hair in my face. Somehow something so simple brings me back into the moment and I can see that life really isn’t all that bad and I do have control over my happiness.
I was out running last week and two miles in I sat down and cried my eyes out. I decided I have had a good life and didn’t care if I took another breath of air. I’ve accomplished enough, seen beautiful places and experienced wonderful friendships and adventures. I looked deep within my soul and knew that this isn’t who I am, I want to live to be 100, and not just be alive, still be living and loving life! I scooped up what pieces were left of my conflicting feelings of wanting it all to end peacefully at that moment as I take my last breath and the complete opposite of wanting my life to continue and be filled with love and adventure. Gasping and crying, I chose to do my scheduled workout. I ran down that hill and did my hill repeats at the best effort I could between tears and shallow breathing. Why I kept running, I do not know. It wasn’t fun but the thought of not running wasn’t fun either. So many moments in my life ran through my mind as I put each foot in front of the other and listened to my breathing as it went from fighting back tears and gasps to the gentle rhythm I am so used to hearing on my runs.
My life has been great, but also filled with stress over the last few months. I am struggling with trusting what people tell me, I am afraid that my entire life is a lie and worst of all I have been having debilitating panic attacks and not capable of sleeping more than a couple of hours without waking up covered in sweat with a racing heart. I have a lot going on right now, some things I feel okay sharing publicly and some that I do not. I saw my doctor for tons of blood work which all came back absolutely perfect and attempted to find a way to control my stress. My weight has plummeted which is normal when I am undergoing stress and have dropped to an unhealthy 110lbs. At 5’3″ I prefer to be over 115lb and feel better physically and emotionally being at that weight. My workplace seems to be the only place I find peace because my job makes me happy but I also focus on providing my patients with the best dental experience I can offer and it takes my mind off of my own problems. As soon as I walk out that door at work my mind goes back to all of the things that are creating stress in my life and I no longer feel at peace.
My doctor gave me anxiety medication to take and I am not interested in treating with medication but the quality of my life was crumbling away faster than I could handle. I took the medication and spent the next few weeks feeling like I was in a drunken stupor. It made me sick, affected my running, made working difficult and took away any happiness that I had left. I was able to sleep and for that I was happy but decided to stop taking the medication and try some Kava root instead at night and after a talk with my doctor came off of social media and the internet. Minimal visits to Facebook and other social media platforms seemed to be helping me sleep and feel happier but I felt like the medication took me back a few steps once I stopped and although I wasn’t dealing with feeling sick from the side effects I really believe it has been messing with my mind and giving me symptoms of depression. I am a rationale person and I know that taking my life or wishing my life to end is certainly not who I am or who I want to be. I have to ride this one out because a side effect of coming off of these medications is a feeling of sadness and hopelessness. It really makes dealing with some of the stress in my life difficult and certainly gives me more panic attacks and sadness but I am determined to find my happy again and know I will.
I’ve been through this before with my post concussion issues and maybe this is a part of old injury or maybe a side effect of stopping the medication. All I know is I feel like I am living outside of my body, watching my life fall apart as someone else living in my skin tears me apart and breaks me down. As I watch my soul shatter I gather up the pieces and know that I can put them together with a little help, so I will once again seek out therapy with the hope of getting back to who I once was. I’m not a quitter, I am strong and I will be okay. I am no stranger to seeing a therapist and honestly think that having a benign party hear my scattered thoughts and worries is the best way for me to pick up my shattered pieces and put them back together again. The beauty of seeing someone that does not know me is that they are able to look at what I am saying and see it without emotion and help me see it for what it is.
So enough of my pity party. Although I do feel I have not been able to fully experience the joy I am capable of feeling I have had some incredible runs and adventures with many more in my future! The trails here in the White Mountains are an icy death and I have gotten out on some adventures but even microspikes are not enough and we are swinging from trees like monkeys trying to navigate the icy trails! So much road running has been good for the leg speed but I miss my mountain running! I’ve shared some adventures this winter which included a winter presi traverse with wild winds, sunny blue skies and trails that glistened with ice, fun hikes with friends and the doggies, a trip to do some Caribbean trail running and started a small farming operation at our home.
I was planning on racing Breakneck again this year but with the new addition of some piglets, the puppy just being cleared for running and a need to get my head straight I decided to stay home next weekend and take care of the critters and go for a local adventure on some smaller snow free mountains! Ryan and I are going to have to take turns with most of our races this year so that one of us is home taking care of the pigs and chickens while the other ventures off to a race. Raising animals for meat is new to me and I am a very compassionate person so I may be vegetarian by the end of this journey but I a may not. I eat meat and feel that knowing how my meat was raised is important enough for me to want to raise my own animals for food. We are going to have meat and egg chickens and also pigs. We also will have a very large vegetable garden, fruit trees and berry bushes. We tapped some trees this winter and made some incredible maple syrup and plan to get some honey bees next year which would be amazing! Ryan is the farmer and I am simply learning and appreciating raising my own food and feelings about raising animals to eat.
So many people have told me not to name the animals, not to get attached and to treat them like food. I was ready to do that until the day we got the piglets. Ryan found a local farmer and liked his attitude toward farming. What surprised me was that he named his animals, he hugged the piglets and told them they would be okay as the squealed at the top of their lungs when he separated them from the litter. I was in shock, why would someone be so compassionate towards animals that were bred to die for us to eat. He explained he does not believe in castrating the piglets because of how traumatic it is for everyone involved and that he and his wife choose to give the animals a good life and treat them with respect and love. Something inside me changed at that moment.
When Ryan and I got home and introduced the pigs to their new home I watched them, I sat with them and the next morning they allowed me to pet them. They are fascinating to watch, the way they eat, sleep in a pile, interact with each other, dig in the ground, drink, scratch themselves on their shelter, bury themselves in the straw to sleep, the noises they make and how they like dogs. They are such peaceful animals and after only a few days with them we decided to give them names. I looked at them knowing that one day they would be sacrificed to be on my plate and vowed to love them and give them the best possible life I could provide for them. Why not, they are giving their lives for us humans to eat. The least I can do for them is give them a happy life full of love. We all die and we all want to have a happy and fulfilling life before it ends, why should these animals have anything less? It would be selfish of me to treat them poorly because I am afraid to love them only because I will be sad when they die. Take it one step further and I feel that I should be the one to take their lives because I will be the one who gives them a life. This is going to be an emotional adventure for me and when the day comes to sacrifice them I will be sad but I hope I am happy that they lived a beautiful life. I am not afraid to get attached to them and I will make sure that wherever they end up taking their last breath that it will be done with respect and as humane as possible.
As for my running, it has actually been great! I feel so strong and so healthy! La Sportiva came out with some incredible new clothes and shoes for this year! After taking the gear out on the trails I am so thrilled with how comfortable everything is! The Akasha shoes are amazing, they offer traction and cushion which really takes mountain running to a new level of comfort and the clothing is so comfortable I have to keep looking down to see if I have any clothes on! Zero chaffing, wicks better than anything I have ever run in and the sports bra is so comfortable that I don’t bounce and don’t feel like I am being squashed! Julbo makes the Aero glasses which are incredible and don’t fog! They are super comfortable and the Zebra lenses are very nice to have when running in varying conditions. Of course I love my choucas hats, headbands and bandits! My favorite neck gaiter is the polartec because it works in so many different weather conditions!
Bennett has been cleared to run and is really enjoying getting out on the trails with Jack puppy! He is working on his 4 thousand footers and has a handful of them already! They are such silly dogs and have so much energy! I love my trail pups, they make playing in the woods so much fun and seeing them romping around on the trails makes me smile.
I want to thank my sponsors for providing me with such amazing equipment! Your gear gives me the ability to go on wonderful adventures and perform the best I can while being comfortable! Thank you to my coach Jack for dealing with me through the ups and downs of training and the emotional and physical roller coaster that it takes me through. Thank you to my Ryan for joining me on so many adventures including the adventure through life. Thank you to my friends for always being there to set me straight, make me smile and share adventures with me on and off the trail. Thank you to my Jack puppy and Bennett for bringing me so much joy and joining me on so many adventures in the mountains! Thank you to everyone who has given me the opportunities that I have had in my life, although I am going through a rough patch I do know that I am a very lucky girl and I will come out on the other side smiling and happy! I have a lot of living left to do and only have 13 of my 50 US High Points so I can’t call it quits yet! Oh, and a few running races to explore!
Next up: A weekend adventure of running new trails, a quick trip to attempt to climb Mount Hood, then a fun training race with a friend which will include some more US High pointing and then my first key race of the year!
When life beats you down, be strong. Know that every mountain can be climbed, some with tools and some without. If your climb gets technical then pull out that ice axe, grab that rope and get ready for a hell of a climb. I’ve got out my crampons, axe, helmet, harness and axes for this one. And remember,
“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”-Rene Daumal
It’s been a long road to changing my body through physical therapy but it’s really been paying off and I feel stronger each day! The cross training has made my running more enjoyable and I’m finding that it brings me an inner peace that running alone can’t give me. It feels so good to hop on the bike, throw on a pack and go for a hike or lace up my running shoes and go for a run. This winter has been pretty interesting with the lack of snow and abundance of ice. It’s been a tough one for the pups with open river crossings that are higher than normal and trails that are glare ice! It’s been tough for us humans too but at the same time fun to experience winter in a completely different way.
I made a promise to my coach that I would not race the Hyannis marathon and he intentionally kept my training in line with using it only as a training run. My training has been going really well, my speed isn’t quite where it was last fall but it also wasn’t that far gone. I would test out my new legs on some of my runs and was pleasantly surprised at how strong they felt! I did a few fast runs and was excited to see that my speed is coming back and I am recovering better than I previously could!
I also have been trying really hard to take care of myself this winter with goals of not getting sick like I usually do. So far it’s been pretty good! The week of my marathon I came down with a sinus infection but I get them so often I was able to catch it early and got into the doctor who put me on some Augmentin and within two days the pressure came down and I started feeling better, my tummy was feeling pretty upset from it but I made sure to eat a lot of yogurt and do the best I could to prevent it from debilitating me.
I’ve had some wicked fun adventures, one which really stood out was an attempt to do Owls head with Elizabeth and Kristin. Winter is usually a great time to attempt owls head because you can take advantage of the bushwacks and frozen rivers. Kristin is working on her NH48 and we were excited to take her up the mountain! We started out on Lincoln woods and the trail was quite icy. The black pond bushwack was unbroken and had a few inches of new snow that had been blasted with rain. Elizabeth and I have been on the schwack many times and worked together to navigate while Kristin must have been wondering what the heck she got herself into! Kristin asked how we knew where to go and Elizabeth grabbed a broken branch and pointed to it and said “This is not Nature” and walked ahead to point out another. We had a pretty good laugh about navigating it and finally came out to the roaring river!
We hopped on the icy Lincoln Brook trail and everything was okay until we got to the first of two river crossings. The first one had some ice on it but was pretty thin. We carefully made our way across without incident. Then we came upon the second one just before the Brutus Bushwack. It was huge and there was ice under the raging river and was not really passable. Kristin and Elizabeth crossed over by using a fallen tree. Jack puppy was too small to follow Katahdin across the river so I stood partially in the water and passed him across to Elizabeth and then I crossed. My La Sportiva Crossovers are incredible and there is nothing better than a waterproof shoe this time of year!
We got on the bushwack and it went from a thin layer of slippery snow to glare ice. The pups had trouble, we had trouble and after taking some time to chat about what to do we decided this was not fair to our doggies, we would take much too long to summit and would be crossing the river in the dark and the sun was melting everything quickly which could make the river crossing impossible for us. So, with less than a mile to get to the summit we turned around. When we got back to the river we were very glad we did.
In that short amount of time things had changed. The water was higher and pushing harder. Elizabeth crossed, but not without submerging her feet, I tried to step on some ice that was stable earlier and pass Jack puppy to Elizabeth and I fell in up to my knees in water and did not feel the bottom, my pack seemed to stop me! My crossovers are awesome in water up to my ankles but to my knees, nope! So, I got out and went to a different part of the river where I was able to pass Jack across and then I made my way through the ice and water. Kristin was able to get across without getting soaked. Elizabeth and I were both pretty happy to have on waterproof shoes because as long as we kept moving the water in our shoes stayed tolerably cold. We got back to the cars happy that we were okay and our pups were okay. We had enough gear to spend the night if we had to but were glad it didn’t come down to that! It was a great day in the mountains that taught us all some lessons!
Then Ryan had his team over for a weekend of adventuring which was not as wild as hoped due to wicked high winds, trails being a disaster and lots of ice and rain. We made the best of it and ended up doing a super fun backpack trip near the house and Bennett had his very first camping adventure! The pups did great on the hike and in the tent! We enjoyed a summit of Passaconway with beautiful weather and even a moose sighting on the trail!
Then there was the Hyannis Marathon. I really didn’t know what to expect. I felt strong and fit but have not been doing much for speedwork and instead have been working on building up my endurance and strength with my newly found glutes and hamstrings! I made a promise to my coach to run at a 7:30 pace. On race morning I wasn’t sure what to expect but there was a pretty competitive field and I wasn’t sure I could not try to run my best. We had some friends over for the weekend and it was really nice to see them! Ryan and I were tapering for the race so we weren’t able to hike with them although it looked like they had great weather!
I didn’t feel nervous at the race start but felt very unprepared. Usually I have an idea of pacing, nutrition and strategy. Today I was hoping to behave but as soon as the race started I wanted to fly. I tried to keep it around 7 minute pace and when my first mile ticked off at 6:23 I knew I blew it. Ryan was running the half and he ran up to me and told me to slow down. I backed off a bit but found myself in a pack of runners working together to ward off the strong winds. I have never run in a pack before and it was a bit clausterphobic but also a lot easier than being out there alone! I stayed in the pack and we broke off into two groups, I fell back into a comfortable rythm with the second pack. We stayed together until mile 11 and then I was off on my own. A few people chatted with me and I liked the company. People don’t seem to enjoy chatting at these road races and I get pretty lonely. This course was stunning though and I really found the beaches that we ran by to be beautiful!
As I rolled through the start finish onto my second loop I felt a burst of energy! I was feeling awesome, my tummy was okay and I was having fun! The second loop was drastically different than the first. There were hardly any people on the course and the wind was insane! I pushed through it the best I could, smiling and enjoying the challenge! It slowed me down a ton and I started ticking off sevens. Well, that sub three was fading away quickly but I did find out I was in a solid 3rd place position and 1st and 2nd were coming undone but far enough ahead of me where I may not be able to catch them. I ran well and strong until about mile 22-23 where my tummy started to turn. I made sure that I was drinking from every water stop because of the antibiotics I was on and because it was really warm out! It was such a beautiful day for a run, sunny and 50! The winds were powerful but refreshing! When my stomach turned I started sipping small amounts of Gatorade and chasing it with water. It seemed to keep my energy level steady.
I also noticed that my energy became erratic as I was very focused on not having to take a bathroom stop and finishing the race in 3rd. I was happy and I was having fun, but bummed out that my tummy had turned. I turned it off and ran as strong as I could to the finish! When I saw the finish chute I got choked up as usual and fought my tears of pride! I don’t care how fast or slow I am or how long the race is, I am always so proud to cross a finish line. There is such a long story associated with each one. The finish line is last page in that story, what you wrote leading up to it is what matters! For those seconds leading up to crossing that finish line I see the hard work, the sacrifices, the happy training runs, my friends, my coach , my family, my pups. All of those memories and the ones I hold in my heart are with me during the race and right there in my heart when I finish.
Every person that toes that starting line has a story they wrote, people who helped them get there, good days, bad days and an adventure that will continue until they cross the finish line. Nobody is alone on race day, everyone has a reason they are there and people in their lives who were there during the training, hard work and sacrifices. First or last, be proud of the story you wrote and know that your race is the last chapter in that book. Make it a good one and have fun, be the best you can be and always be proud that you completed your journey! I have found that it’s fun to always have another goal on deck, something to look forward to, another journey and another story to write my way to the next finish line!
I want to throw out a huge thank you to my Sponsors La Sportiva, JULBO USA and Choucas Hats! Your gear is amazing! Thank you to my coach Jack and I am really sorry to have dissapointed you by not running at the pace you wanted me to. I do think I learned a ton about myself, running a marathon and why you wanted me to hold back. The good news is I will recover and I will listen to you next time! Thank you to my Ryan, Jack Puppy and Bennett for being my best buddies on and off the trail! Thank you to my friends for sharing so many great times together, your friendships mean the world to me! I am a very lucky girl!