Tag Archives: #naturephotography

What a year…and listen to your body!

I have so much to say about this season including how you need to listen to your body!  With the world of social media the blog post has been put on the back burner because sometimes it is just easier to post away instead of sit down and take the time to write.

Soaking in the river mid run
Kilkenny Ridge Race! Photo by Jeff Sinon

I have been very busy this year playing, working, farming, race directing and trying to be the best person I can be!  My year began with me being injured and after months of x-rays, MRI, tests and trying alternative therapy I finally found out it was my sciatica that was causing all of the issues with my hip.  With my hip feeling better I was excited to reach out to Jeff Browning and start being coached again!

Beautiful day in the Whites!
Nate Hut Traversing
Beautiful day in the Whites!

The season started out incredible with two new ladies course records at the Traprock 50k and Worlds End 50k.  Something happened at Manatous Revenge, I got homesick and burnt out.  I just wanted to go home, so I did.  At mile 30 I dropped out of the race, hitched a ride to the finish line and bailed on every single trip and race I had planned this year with the exception of the Vermont 50.  Something kept me from pulling the plug on that race.

Hut Traverse Sunrise
Hut traverse sunrise

Vermont 50 was my first ultra run almost 14 years ago!  I signed up mostly on a dare with maybe 40 miles of running for the year.  The day was spent chasing cut offs and smiling….I was hooked!  Never did I imagine one day I would be good at running and doing ultras all over the country!

We have goats!! One of them, Destiny is learning to trail run!

After Manatous I set my eye on training for the White Mountain Hut Traverse FKT attempt.  I spent every moment I had pushing myself hard in the mountains.  The more vert, the more miles, the longer and harder the effort the happier I was.  I pushed myself on some local FKT routes and got a handful of them this summer.  My mountain fitness was the best it has ever been!  It became an obsession and I felt like a caged animal set free!

Skillet Toss winners!
Ashleys 48 finish!

Mid summer my husband Ryan took a huge fall and broke his finger which require surgery.  Long story short, it sucked and he was not able to have the same type of summer I did although he did end up landing his dream job which was awesome so now we both have jobs we enjoy going to!

Paddle boarding
Hut Traversing

Ryan and I hosted 3 new races in the White Mountains which were a huge success and we hope to add 3 more to our schedule in 2019!  We absolutely love race directing and can’t thank everyone involved for making them simply perfect!  Check us out at www.rockhopperraces.com

We are so excited to bring challenging races to the White Mountains while focusing on building a community as well as raising money to keep the trails beautiful!

I did end up getting the ladies FKT on the Hut traverse in a time of 14:28 which I am confident on a day that is not as hot or crowded I could go under 14 hours. I will try again next year!  The bummer was that after the hut traverse I did not take enough time to rest and ended putting my body into a bad place.

My beautiful mountain!

I am very fortunate to have some other ladies to talk to about the things that happen to female athletes who train a ton.  I was training around 11-19 hours every week.  I was also working full time.  Something eventually has to give.

Happy and tired after the hut traverse!

I have been through this before and saw every single sign but could not stop myself because with each success in the mountains I wanted more.  I was constantly fatigued, felt shaky inside, started losing some hair, lost my sex drive, had dizzy spells, got night sweats and an array of other strange symptoms.  I don’t have issues with eating but I do think about whether or not what I am eating is okay and how it might affect my training.  I started losing my appetite and I knew where I was headed, my hormones and adrenal system were starting to drift into an unhealthy place.

There is nothing more important than listening to your body, noticing the small changes-good and bad

I had a long talk with my coach about how I may have pushed myself too hard.  I often talk with one of my friends about being a woman and pushing the limits.  She has experienced this too.   It is comforting and sad to hear that other ladies experience these side effects of trying achieve maximum fitness levels.  I realized that women need to be far more careful than men with training and eating needs, this needs to be talked about more.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in our goals and key races that we become addicted to success and after a while success slips away slowly as our bodies deteriorate.

Finishing the Hut Traverse!
White Mountain running on one of the few easy trails!

I had 2 weeks to go until Vermont and really wanted to run the race.  I had long conversations with my friends and coach about my health and whether or not this race would break me.  I literally shut it down and took 2 weeks to eat and sleep like a champ.  Three days before the race I started to feel less fatigue.

Chocorua Mountain race photo by Jeff Sinon

I decided to go to the Vermont 50 miler and not race it.  Being a sponsored athlete with several great accomplishments over the last few years made this decision very hard to make.  I wanted to hammer myself and see what I could do but I needed to see if I could make a smart decision.  I needed to see if I could still love running races again.

Morning moon
Eating Crickets with Nicole!

Race morning came and I was unusually giddy, typically I am gagging on bits of granola and feeling sick and dizzy thinking about racing.  This time I was simply there to have fun and I felt so calm.  I also knew that even though I was in awesome mountain running shape I barely spent any time running on dirt roads so those muscles were about to be woken up.  My goal was to finish happy and strong.  This was going to possibly be my last race for a very long time.

Maybe taking one race a year to step back and make is social is a great way to remember why running is so fun!

Winning is fun but so is spending time being able to experience simply finishing!

Once we took off I started yapping with everyone around me!  I was laughing and the miles just flew by!  I felt a joy that I could barely contain!  I spent 50 miles running with friends and got to finish with a friend who was running her first 50 mile!  She laid down an amazing time and we even tied for 9/10th place!

Jack Puppy!
Bennett!

I was beat up the day after the race and had a lot of time to reflect on the race.  Two days later I woke up more excited to race than I have been in years!  I think I needed a non competitive day to realize why I run and why I race!  Now it is time to get some bloodwork done, see where my  health is, hit the gym, ski and hike.  I will be running too but not with any formal training until the spring.  I am ready to rest up, recharge the batteries and enjoy life a bit more!

Having fun with my Ryan!
I am loving this new Lycan GTX!

I am cutting back my work hours substantially in January so that I can focus on my running, farming, spending time with my husband and friends, and just having time to take care of myself.  The challenge of feeling relaxed before a big race is going to be tough but fun!  Life is always full of lessons and each day I am so happy to learn something new about myself and where I want to be!

Running is awesome but so are other things in life-friends, family, farming, biking, cooking, meditating…you know, those things that don’t involve running!

Make sure you live a well rounded life so that when you can’t run there will still be purpose in your life!

VT 50! Photo by Andrew Drummond
VT 50! Photo by Andrew Drummond

Thank you to my sponsors La Sportiva, Julbo USA, Boom Nutrition and Choucas Hats for their support.  If you haven’t checked it out you can see my new favorite shoe through this link!  #spnsrd Thank you to my friends for being so supportive and to my husband Ryan for being my favorite running partner.  Thank you to my sweet Jack puppy and Bennet for being the best trail pups ever!  I am a very lucky girl!!

There is nothing better than being in the woods!