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I just came back from a week of work travel followed by rest and relaxation up north.  During this past week, I got to thinking about a few things in particular.  The conclusion I came to was impacted by four things:

  1. Consulting with my coach and my PT as to how to proceed with this fall and early winter because…
  2. My calves haven’t wanted to heal despite the self care.  I have had calf tightness and cramping in the past.  I haven’t had to deal with it for a number of years, but something isn’t right with my body right now and I am blaming….
  3. Stress.   This is a road I have been down before.  Stress wreaks havoc on healing.  I bite off a lot professionally (and personally) and have no doubt I need a break right now from structure.
  4. Break time… I haven’t ever taken a self imposed running break and it’s time.  I’m ready.

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My coach and my PT have been absolute rocks through my training.  It’s because of them I tackled and accomplished a monster year.  It’s also because of them I am confident now is the right time to break, reset and move forward.  I am always 110% and suffer (like many runners) from FOMO – Fear of Missing Out.   The trails will always be there.  The mountains will always call.  Right now, I want to get healthy so I can tackle 2018 with strong legs and a smile.

I am committing to meal prepping, smart workouts that will enable me to maintain fitness but heal the parts that need time off and catch up with those I don’t see enough.  Training is a part time job… I am missing the people, the range and time to myself that isn’t structured.  I am positive this will bring me back stronger and eager in the New Year!  

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I said “nope” this week.

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Stopping to enjoy the fall sunshine!

If you know me (even if through this blog), you are aware my drive is something that generally doesn’t shut off.  This week… it came to a grinding halt.

There have been warning signs since September.  Signs I simply chose to ignore, blaming them on the fatigue of getting back into training.  Blaming it on rolling my ankle.  Blaming it on being mentally tired from work.

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Exploring new trails… it’s choose my own adventure time!

I am done with the blame game.  I have been able to get the workouts done, but I haven’t enjoyed a single one… not the way I was in May and June.  My body doesn’t want to recovery between sessions and that became a huge warning flag for me.  This week was an “easy” week and my calves were in 100% revolt mode.  I am not injured and I AM LISTENING to my body.  I had a huge year…. multiple marathon+ distances, 50 miles and 100 miles.  I’m physically tired right now.

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At one of my favorite places in the whole wide world! Lifting makes me so happy… even more so that I have Altra HIIT XT shoes to do it in 🙂

I need a break.

What that means is knowing what I can expect from myself in the coming months.  The 2018 season is already massive for me, with my own prep and A race plus pacing duties.  I need to roll into that healthy and strong.  Right now, I am just ready to hit reset, hike, run for fun and crew for races.  Crewing and pacing makes me so happy!  I decided to drop the Fells 50K from my schedule in December, opting to crew for Tony instead and cheer on the other racers.  Taking this break also means I can hang out in the gym more and work on crafting a social running boot camp activity once a week!

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Working races, crewing and pacing are a few of my favorite parts of this sport!

I love running so much and know that in order to do it long term, I need to slow down a bit!  I am grateful I chose to do it without pushing myself into injury.  I love the idea that this fall is “choose my own adventure” territory!  I hope the moral of this story for others is it’s ok to take a break… there is no shame in saying “nope.”

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Breaking 1000


I finally did it.  After being a runner since 2012, I finally reached the goal of breaking 1000 miles!  My journey included weight loss, learning how to run, learning how to strength train and a lot of education (on my own and through others in the field).  I pulled my Strava data to get a picture of what each year looked like.  Here is the rundown, with a quick memory from each year.

2012 – 443.5 miles: This was my first year seriously trying to get into running.  This was a year of tremendous growth but also discouragement.  I realized my job (which at the time consisted of many 3rd shift hours) was impacting my ability to shed weight consistently and gain strength.  I had been working 3rd shift hours on and off for over twelve years at that time.  Despite all of that, I found TRAIL RUNNING that year.  Check out my recap post for that year, which includes many of the big dreams I had for myself!


2013 – 638.1 miles: I clearly remember starting 2013 with illness and injury.  I had a hamstring strain from slipping on the ice early in the year followed by bronchitis, the croup and a rectus sheath hematoma.  The highlight though was finishing my first 25K at one of the muddiest Pineland courses to date.  That race sucked but I LOVED how it felt to finish. Hooked.


2014 – 651.2 miles: This will be known as start of 18 months of ankle rehab.  I rolled my ankle HARD in the spring of 2014 on the Sweet Trail and wound up in a brace with a high ankle strain and a pre-stress fracture (bone inflammation).  I was crushed, as I was hoping to break into the 50K distance that spring at Pineland.  I was cleared to run the week before the race and needless to say did not make it to the starting line. I went on to trail run, hike and roll my ankle two more times that year.  The highlight of that year was my solo on Isolation.  I hiked when I could, ran more than I should have and finally figured out that I had to STOP running and start strength training and rehab late that year.  I started at Athletic Instinct (then Progressive Training) with Ben in October 2014 and haven’t looked back.  He introduced me the concept of “functional fitness” and being strong for every day life.  I began working out twice a week by and that has remained a staple in my training.  Ben was the best thing that happened to my running (and ironically he is not a fan of running!).


2015 – 394.8 miles: I spent much of 2015 rehabbing in the gym and hiking.  Many of the miles listed here were done in the Whites as I didn’t really start running again until that November.  I did a ton of solo and group hiking, to include an overnight at the Galehead hut.  I found happiness in the mountains when I couldn’t run the way I wanted to!  I also committed to strength training, discovered acupuncture and came back slowly using heart rate training.


2016 – 956.4 miles:  This was a huge turning point for me!  I trained from November-May and completed my first 50K at Pineland.  I followed this up with pacing 30 miles of Vermont for Tony and stayed healthy all year.  I had some failures too (bailed Pemi attempt) that kept my perspective where I needed to it to be to stay injury free.  I made a decision to go big in 2017 with both a 50 miler and a 100 miler. What was I thinking???? When I look back at it now, I KNOW how insane that idea was at the time.  A shout out to all who believed in me and Altra for taking a chance on this very “average” runner! Choosing a coach was the right move for setting the stage for 2017.


Breaking 1000 is just as special as my first trail race, my first ultra and that first 100 miler.  It symbolizes how hard I have fought to get here and SO many memories built along the way.  It’s never been about the running, but rather the epic experiences that are possible nearly every time you hit the trail!  Thanks again for following along and reliving the years with me.


Back in the saddle


Cathedral Ledge on a pre-run of the Kismet Course. I worked this race, sweeping for the long course, in September.

Two months after my last blog post and I am well on my way to training for a winter 50K.  Recovery was an interesting time for me, full of emotion and for a brief period of time, lack of motivation.  I wasn’t sure what was next and simply spent some time hiking and running easy until I my desire woke back up.


Working my legs again just shy of one month post 100. Pre-running portions of the Ragged 75 (my “A” race for 2018!)

This was the longest recovery period I have ever taken.  It was certainly longer than some of my other friends, but I do not believe my base is quite at a point where hopping back into training any sooner would have been a smart idea.  To that point, I have been dealing with some pain in my left ankle.  For months, I couldn’t figure out why.  I had a few indications something was up:

  1. Left ankle soreness after Vermont, in the area where the peroneal tendon crosses over the outside of the ankle bone
  2. Minorly rolled that left ankle on both a short run on the Ragged 75 course and Mt. Chocorua.  The ankle felt unstable.
  3. Inability to hyperextend without discomfort.

I enlisted the help of my favorite chiropractor and PT to get things back in order.  The pain never grounded me and I started consistent running again mid-August.  The fact of the matter was it was a nagging soreness I couldn’t treat on my own.  While working in the barn today, I had an epiphany… I had written about this “phantom” ankle pain during my Vermont 100 recap.  That pain hit me between Margaritaville and Camp 10 Bear while negotiating some rocky trail sections.  It’s quite possible I rolled it somewhere in there and in true 100 fashion, didn’t give a shit.  I do remember the pain going away during the race (or at least I stopped paying attention) but it was there in the weeks that followed.


The Whites…where my heart soars!

I always feel better when I can put the pieces of the puzzle back together when it comes to “issues.”  While I don’t know why or how I messed things up, I am well on the road to recovery.  Here is what the last few months have looked like:

  • August: 68.4 miles and 9,090 ft of gain
  • September: 88.4 miles and 12,292 of gain

I averaged 2-3 heavy weight workouts during both months and have been giving the blessing my Coach Chris to keep on lifting heavy for now.  The gym makes me almost as happy as the trails!  Speaking of which, I am continuing on with Chris with a plan that will take me into next year.  As it stands now, the structure is as follows:

  • December 2: TARC Winter Fell Race (50K): This race is gnarly and takes down runners every year.  The field is small, the weather sometimes sucks, but I have been told it’s epic.
  • June 2: The Endurance Society Infinitus Marathon: Like TARC Winter, this course is also supposed to be epic.  I wanted to choose events I hadn’t done before and would test my fortitude.  This should do it.
  • MY “A” RACE – August 2018 – Ragged 75 3-day Stage Race: I flipped flopped between another 100 and a stage race.  I wanted to head out west, but finances and time just won’t allow.  Instead, I chose Ragged.  This race was formerly known at the Emerald Necklace and is held on a trail network in New Hampshire.  I have crewed for this race a few times and worked it this past summer.  Now it’s my turn!  Stage racing is a different beast, as you run a predetermined number of miles each day, running point-to-point and camping each night.  Getting up each day and doing another marathon or 50K is the trick.  This will be HARD, but I am ready for the challenge.

Finally, as I find myself knee deep in training, I want to share that I taunted my coach one night.  I found myself with a glass of red wine in my hand and my phone in the other, writing an email about how I am done with being the slow girl on the climbs.  What that got me was an uphill running clinic with Coach Chris and instructions on how to be a better hill climber.  I now dry heave and curse on climbs on a regular basic.PreviewInstanceData

I am a very strong climber when it comes to fastpacking, but running them is a different beast.  I am ready mentally to take that leap.  Evidence of this came last weekend when I shaved significant time of one of the local race courses I ran for training.  I ran all of the ups and eased back to recover (while still running) the downs, which is the opposite of how I have been training.  Its hard, it feels different but I saw instant payoff.  THAT was enough to motivate me.

I want to take a moment and say how thankful I have been for the 2017 season I have been blessed to experience.  I was chosen late last year as an Altra Ambassador and wear nothing but their shoes (Lone Peaks and Escalantes are my favorite) while I tackled some magnificent goals this year.  I will continue to embrace zero drop as I take on some more huge challenges in 2018!  Altra changed my running life in 2016 and I haven’t looked back.


Altra is more than shoes… for me it’s a mentality. This company embraces running, no matter where it takes you, and the relationships formed along the way. RTB2017 and I finally ran into fellow Ambassador, Emilie!