Thursday, October 23, 2014

First blogpost on the Stonewear designs blog site

Hey everyone I posted a blog on the Stonewear Designs blog page for timeless "classic" advice for first time ultrarunners- check it out and let me know what you think! Here is the link:

I am loving being a Stonewear ambassador and working with such a positive company ( made In the USA! ) and wearing, field testing their amazing clothes!!
If you haven't checked out their website please do so! The link is on the logo on my page - so if you click the logo it will
Directly take you to the Stonewear website!
And thank you so much for the shout out regarding mountain primaDonna, llc!! :) I have mountain masochist 50 next weekend on Nov 1st! That will be my next post:)

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Stonewear Designs clothing review- first of many!

Hey everyone! Life has been going at lightening quick speed again since my SNP adventure several weekends ago.
Finally catching up with myself to write my first blog post primarily about Stonewear Designs. I was so elated to named to their team of female mountain athletes. Firstly, because I truly love their story of functional, versatile clothing for women that is made in the USA and can be utilized for whatever you wish- you can use it for having epic adventures in the mountain or going to yoga and then shuttling your kids to soccer games- the clothes are classic, sturdy and simple(but cute!) and can meet anyone's needs whatever they maybe- so I like the mass appeal aspect and that they aren't really catering to a certain sport or niche.
Secondly, I love that it's a small company that reps in house and has outstanding costumer service.
Thirdly- my heart truly is passionate about getting more women of all ages and skill set outside being active and being in the mountains (if they feel led to go there) there is so much personal growth in setting goals for ones self, reaching outside your comfort level and doing things that perhaps you only dreamed you'd like to do. You can make that a reality- all you have to do is "be a doer" we are what we repetitively do. So if you want to learn to trail run- find a group! If you want to learn how to rock climb, google to find your closest climbing gym- same with yoga- find your nearest yoga studio and go!! We grow by seizing the moment, experiencing new things, meeting new people and practicing enough self care to do things for ourselves. Whether that be running an hr or going to the gym- love yourself enough to make time for yourself. :)

Wow- didn't mean to go so deep with that! But with out further ado I wanted to do some gear reviews of some Stonewear pieces that are in heavy rotation in my wardrobe :

- The wunderlust skirt- I have two of these one grey and one khaki and I wear them all the time. I wear them to work- running errands, I've worn it hiking, family camping and to a festival and a Dave matthews concert. This skirt never disappointed me once- easy to care for - the fabric is super sturdy, quick drying, washes well- never shrinks or fades.

My favorite feature is the zip off external pocket. I loved this when I went to the Dave concert. I put money, my car key, ID and iPhone in my zippered pocket and I was hands free with no purse to keep up with! Genius!

Second pic is a two for one! The Lyra top- which is my absolutely favorite of the supported tops by Stonewear. It has an internal bra (with bathing suit type cups) which I think rock!! Please keep doing this to your tops and dresses!! The material is a comfy stretchy technical fiber- great at wicking, and quick drying. This top can be used for running, hiking, yoga, rock climbing- but it's also nice enough to be paired with a nice skirt accessories and you could wear it to a dinner date

Third item is the nomad Capri.

I love this Capri for so many reasons. I love the cut and the fit. The material is indestructible - so sturdy- first time I wore them- I took maverick my Aussie to zazzy z's coffee and accidently spilt coffee all over myself- I did worry that they would stain- but nope one cold water wash and dry later- good as new. You could wear these hiking, adventuring and I think these are a great 3 season travel pant option.

My last review is for the Lyra dress this is from the spring line and is currently on sale but I had to mention it because I love love love this dress- it's so sassy, but without being too revealing- the hem is low enough you will never feel self
Conscious it's right at the knee. It offers the same cross back feature as the Lyra top and I just think it's strikingly beautiful on anyone who wears it. I usually am a solid color kinda girl but I have been digging the river stones print. I think it's funky, outdoorsy and fun.

My last closing comment on Stonewear designs clothing for this post is that it means so much to me that they create this line with such a broad audience in mind. These clothes look great on virtually any body type or age- my mom can wear Stonewear to the gym or working in her garden- so can the little 14 yr old girl across the street who runs cross country.
It really is such great high quality clothes with a reasonable price point. And they are so durable they last forever. I have a pair of rockin pants that are 11 yrs old I bought from msl - when I first got married. still look awesome.
Hope that was an adequate gear review and I do want to thank Stonewear designs for this opportunity and for believing in me and my abilities to represent their brand in a positive way. Thank you!!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dirty Mother SNP weekend

Wow. I'm still processing the adventure from the past weekend. I spent last Friday, Saturday and Sunday running the length of the AT through Shenandoah National Park with 4 other awesome
Ultrarunning women who are all moms- we called our group "the dirty moms" and the run "dirty mother SNP run". Annie Stanley, Maratha wright, Sophie spiedel, Stephanie Wilson and myself composed the group

I won't go into all the logistics because I think Sophie and a couple others are going to blog in detail about that, but today, in my mind:
It's full of all the wonderful imagery of the trail- there are some really sweet sections and amazing overlooks. I didn't use an iPod all weekend so my head is full of birds chirping and insect noises and the crunch, crunch, crunch of out Cadence on the trail. We had some very fun miles full of laughter and excitement in shared adventure. For me by the end of day two their were some tears of both happiness and some tears of frustration because running 75 miles on single track in two days HURTS. I'm so incredibly proud I got through day 2 and got up and ran day 3- which was blissful because I knew the journey was drawing to a close and wanted to relish every second I had left even if my feet were trashed. We ate together, slept in close quarters, ran in the woods together - this was like summer camp! And we all got along so beautifully and were so supportive of each other. This was a magical dynamic I wish more women in our sport were able to experience.

It was so amazing to bond with such strong girls with whom I have so much commonality. I drew from their tenacity and life experience as much as I could, and found it extremely inspiring- each one of the group I felt had something special and unique to bring to the table- Sophie: her leadership skills and organization. Annie: steadfastness and consistency, Maratha: loving, nurturing- she was our "trail mom" very quick to always help others in time of need even if it was at the sacrifice of her pace. Stephanie: quick witted, hilarious and always optimistic- she and I bonded over our love of making things ( art) and shared suffering on the trail- many many funny Jenny and Steph stories from the weekend.

What I take away from this experience is this was UltraRunning in its purest form: no competition, no egos,  we just plotted a course, got a minivan with tons of shared aid and went out and had a great epic adventure and enjoyed ourselves and each other- end of the day, it won't matter how many buckles or medals you have collecting dust- what truly will come to mind is your experiences you've shared with others and that is what they will remember you for- not how many wins, finishes (or dnf) you had- your fellow ultrarunners will remember how you made them feel when you talked to them, or that one time you both ran out of water and had to struggle to make it back--etc I really understand now when david Horton stands at hellgate and says "people need people. We all need each other."
 I truly feel blessed to have had this experience and be apart of such a wonderful community.
 I love being competitive and racing, but  I most certainly am in a place in my life where I plan to make time for MORE of things like this.

Here are some pics from my super awesome 3 day epic journey!!

CHEERS YALL!! My next blog post ( hopefully tomorrow)  will be some Gear Reviews for Stonewear Designs new FALL 2014 line:) 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2014 CTR 10k RD report

  The 7th annual CTR 10k was held on August 9th 2014 6pm.  The weather was  overcast, high's in the 60's.
This was the largest field in the history of the race with 119 registered runners and 102 finishers.
I was so elated to see Todd's race grow, and the love and support from the running community was most certainly felt by my family and I. The CTR 10k is the annual fundraiser for the Christopher Todd Richardson Memorial Scholarship. These are scholarships both merit and need based for students in southwest, Virginia who are majoring in geology, mining engineering,  or some other energy related field to date in the past 7 years we have given away $14,000.00 in scholarships. I'm so extremely proud to be able to look back and know that we have honored and are continuing to honor Todd's memory by helping others.

The race boasts a fun cross country style start at the picnic shelter area at the head of the trail

That then merges onto the VA Creeper Trail in Abingdon, Va. The Creeper trail is a rail to trail system  so non technical/wide trail with cinder surface. 
  The race awards are made by local artists: For the 7th year in a row  my good friend Debbie Grim Yates has made the pottery overall awards. She lives in Konnarock ( near white top/damascus) and does amazing work)
The age group awards were made by myself  I made the "freedom to be" medallions which is the name of my blog and my personal creed because my brother todd had a 4h sticker that said this on the side of his desk when we were children. This has always resonated with me that is how Todd lived his life and conducted himself-- people truly where always comfortable with him and at east in his presence because he was so accepting and allowed people to simply be themselves, and Todd was unapologetically genuine and authentic-- So it is that which I pattern my life- and hope to inspire others to do the same.

  Feel it's extremely important for the runners to visually be able to see and read about my brother, and the scholarship recipients so they feel a personal connection and understand they just aren't merely running a 10k, they are apart of something truly special.
  Michael Holland, 17 crossed the line in 35:13 and was the overall winner of the 2014 CTR 10k
  My good friend jaime simmons ( who is a stellar triathlete with XC/TF, D1 NCAA background was the overall female winner and 39:40 and seventh overall
    Overall male winners michael holland, Daniel Scott Hamilton-- who I have to mention Ran and WON a trail half marathon in Chat ( RockCreek trail series) Then drove to Abingdon and ran CTR 10k and got second on tired legs , and Eric Grossman ( who is a great mentor/friend and super accomplished ultra runner in his own rite- he has coached me several times)
 Was completely star struck that Tom MacCormack ( who was 4th overall and masters winner) ran CTR 10k, Tom was a member of the original ETSU Irish Brigade from the 70's- he ran an amazing race. sub 6 min miles for 10k and he is 61-- really people, what is your excuse??
                           The lovely Jaime Simmons receiving her overall awards-
Jaime and Rebbeca Webb first and second woman respectively. 

The rest of the results are listed here at State of Franklin Track Club

HERE is a link to all the other CTR 10k pictures on my FB page

 I would like to personally thank ALL THE RUNNERS, VOLUNTEERS, SPONSORS for making this years race such a success.  None of this wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for so many kind hearted people supporting the race, ( almost all independent, locally owned businesses) and the scholarship. 
The sense of community and positive atmosphere at this race is immeasurable. It truly is a special event, but it's THE PEOPLE who are present that make it that way. So THANK YOU to everyone are participated and for making CTR 10k such a special day for my family and myself. 

Stonewear Designs ambassadorship 2014-2015

I'm soo happy to announce that Stonewear Designs  has selected to me to be one of their ambassadors for 2014-2015.

Stonewear designs is a women's active/sportswear company based in boulder, co. It is the brainchild
Of a climber chick- that saw the need for
Functional, yet cute outdoor clothing for women that can look great on essentially any body type.

The line is essentially lifestyle, yoga, and some
Running clothes- Really fun, versatile and comfortable.
Below are two of my favorite dresses from
Spring 2014 line up.

I'm very excited to have this opportunity to represent and promote for this company because it's a brand I've been familiar with for years, but I feel while it's has a stronger presence out west, many in the southeast may not be familiar with Stonewear.

Things I love about Stonewear and my relationship with the company in terms of my job:
1. They are small- rep in house - and their customer service is unparalleled. You have an issue they will get it fixed.
2. The clothes are made in the USA- when is the last time something from lulu, Patagonia or northface yoga gear had a made in the USA tag?
3. Their yoga pants are amazing- so soft and super flattering-and no quality control or "sheer" issues here!!

I really feel in addition to SALOMON and GU this is a great companion to my ambassadorship resume. Excited to wear and field test their gear-

Watch for events and promotions for Stonewear on my blog and social media as well as gear reviews in the coming year. Yay!!

I would definitely like to take the opportunity to personally thank Stonewear Designs for allowing me to be apart of what they are trying to accomplish- I'm very humbled, and also super excited that yet again I have people believing in me and enabling me to chase my dreams. cheers y'all!

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Jarmans invitational marathon

When I first heard about the JIM I was intrigued but doubtful I would
Run it. The brain child
Dan spearin: It is a 29
Mile race up and down jarmans gap rd in Crozet, Va. - 5 times - 7,200 ft of vertical climbing and descent- no flat- just straight uphill and straight down hill. Even on the race website it's selling point was: "this race sucks!"
The more I thought about it I decided that: "you know, this will be killer masochist training." And I'm right! I know for Mmtr I need to have my quads very prepared for all the ups and downs. So I signed up. :)
This event was free so I figured it would be more of a FA type event- but while I didn't want to race, I wanted to have a good solid training effort.
I drove up the evening before and stayed in waynesboro and had booked a room at the holiday inn express- I walked in and the receptionist was like- we are soo full is there anyway you'd stay in this king room down stairs it's a little musty but will give you the rate of 60 bucks- ( my rate was 139) score!! My room was fine way bigger than what I booked and just smelled like any normal basement it wasn't a big deal. I am now a freak post pinhoti about eating out before a run so I had a tomato and basil sandwich I had packed (from
Tomatoes and basil I grew myself) and pretzels and a peach and it was lights out. It was so nice to sleep early and sleep in both for this event with the 12 noon start-
I made my pilgrimage to Crozet Running to see my good friend Michelle Anderson - her husband john is a friend and fellow ultrarunner as well- and they own this amazing running store in Crozet

- If you are ever in the cville area stop by and check it out. Got to have a great conversation with her- picked up some Crozet running merch- then headed on to the race start- you pass all these cute horse farms and this great peach orchard. This is the cutest town :)
The race start it was like a family reunion. I loved seeing all my friends! I hadn't raced much- tj100k and highlands sky and I really missed chillin with my peeps!!

The start of the race was no biggie- super relaxed. And I just tried to find my rhythm. Knowing this would be a long day. With a 12 noon start it wasn't too hot but it was warm and humid very humid.
I got to run with Rachel bell Kelly who has been a fb friend for like two yrs - so that was great to get to run with her- she went on to scorch the course and run really strong all day to claim first female.
But pretty much how I described the course is how it was- up 3 miles down 3 miles -- over and
Over- I listened to music, I talked a lot with my friends on the climbs- I ran with the intention of one not killing myself during a training run - and two- just was so grateful
To be out there doing what I love. It literally brings tears to my eyes when I compare how I FEEL running in 2014 to running in 2013. I'm stronger and have so much more energy . Running feels good again- I was just so drained before and ran tired- it was a grind- to get to run happy once more is a tremendous gift :) I'm so grateful- I know I'm not the fastest out there right now but with all I'm doing with work, my business and race directing- I'm so thankful for my journey and to look back over my shoulder and see growth and gained strength and perspective. And I love these people I run with- Sophie, Annie, bill gentry, Marc, bob, Christain, Helen etc etc if you guys only knew how much I value you! Sophie took some pictures from the climb on lap 2

So nope no racing we had fun - and I also in addition to my new root beer gu ( lemonade roctane gu, and new roctane electrolyte tabs with ginger (psst. These are amazing) I ate two doughnuts from
Sugar shack in Richmond - yum! And guzzled Mtn dew out of a 2 liter bottle. I'm soo unhealthy during these things!
And I sprayed myself
Off with a hose from someone's yard along the course every lap. To keep cool:) and get all the salt and sweat off of me.
Very fun day I ended up with a 6:19 finishing time. I was very cool with that given the vert and how I putted around and wasn't in a hurry- and what was awesome I just felt like I was getting started- my feet didn't hurt and I really am excited to run a 50 and 100k this fall because I do love longer efforts- post run was great to catch up with all my peeps and fellowship

I highly recommend this event and hope they are having it again next yr!!
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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Injinji 2.0 review

Several weeks ago, a very cool (and fun!) opportunity fell in my lap when Injinji ( reached out to me
To demo their latest line and write a blog giving my thoughts about them. Of course, I told them: "absolutely!"

I have used Injinji socks since 2008 and really found them to
Work well for me. I guess i should
Back up and explain also
During 2008 was what I call the "born to run/ vibram 5 finger" boom. I feel Injini kinda exploded into the mainstream along with vibram 5 fingers and many people (espcially non runners) very closely associate the two.
But what I feel : they were originally marketed as a blister prevention sock to runners? If memory serves me correct. Well, regardless the UltraRunning and marathoning communities alike have always loved Injinji and majority of runners from
These communities are familiar with what great socks they are- if you are not- yoo hoo! Over here! if you are a runner and have blister issues: check out these socks.

I wore them while I ran(consequently won overall for
Females) during grindstone 100 2012. They worked beautifully as I had no blisters and lost no toenails
That race and that's saying a lot given the gnarly terrain and all the uphill and downhill one has to
Cover. They are pink- I still
Have them and will show you a picture later in the blog when I compare/ contrast 1.0 from

I so arrived home from
The beach and found a box on my porch and inside was this:

- Pretty exciting, huh?!

So the very next day I began to demo- ran on pavement for 10
Miles In a pair of the "run 2.0" I was impressed just putting on the socks and taking note of the new features: 1. a mesh panel across the top of the sock for ventilation and better breathability.
2. Reinforced toes and heels (same as 1.0) I've already attested to how long lasting these socks are - they are awesome - now
They have added cool max xtra life
Fiber -- these socks could probably survive a zombie apocalypse, now.

3. New feature for run 2.0- a cuff that goes higher on the heel- this eliminates friction of your shoe rubbing the back of your heel
Above low socks!!!
This feature made me extremely happy because during my first 100, umstead 2012- I was literally reduced to a crawl the last 20
Miles because I had worn smart wool low cut socks and my Solomon slab wings rubbed a gapping hole on the backs of both Achilles they were bleeding and just the most painful, excruciating experience with every step. (Shudder!!) never want to replicate that so that is something
Since that race, I immediately look for when buying new socks- and make very sure I always wear taller above ankle non-cute socks for trail and ultra trail running.

Here are two pictures of on my left foot is the grindstone 100 2012 sock- see? Looks
Great! I wear these socks all the time!! And on the right is the new Injini run 2.0 sock. Note the mesh panel and taller lip of the back of the heel in comparison to the pink 1.0s.

I really liked the trail 2.0 as well they offer same features but the sock itself is above the ankle boasts a "double cuff"
To insure the socks stay In place and keeps debris from
Getting into your sock- which you ultrarunners and trail runners know- trail debris- hubris and small
Rocks and dirt is another awesome
Way to get a blister or
Hot spot. -- these guys on the design floor for Injini are on it. The trail 2.0 also offers some light padding. Personally, I'm not big on padded socks for running- but these were nice- definitely wasn't super noticeable. I still felt
I could "feel" On the inside of my shoe while running.

And lastly: my favorite!! Injini has some
2.0 compression socks. Out of all the socks I demoed- these are my favorite- because I love to
Utilize compression for long trail runs and races- makes your legs feel great, i use them ESP
Day after a long ultra for recovery benefits - I find I don't get leg cramps while
Running as much wearing compression during running long races and quite simply when you are trail running in they a wearing a talk knee sock protects you from briars, sticks on the trail trying to
impale you, poison ivy, etc-- and plus if you're a chick: super cute in my humble opinion to pair knee compression socks with shortie running shorts or a running skirt- yes, guys it's all about looking cute while doing all that suffering out on the trail! So with Injini: you get the best of both worlds!! The blister prevention of a their toe sock- and benefits of compression. here are some
Pictures of Injini's compression socks

And my last favorite feature of the Injinji compression - comes with a free hair tie- didn't know if the packaging guys are aware of that but that is what I use mine for- makes a cool
Bracelet too:)

So I hope that gives all you guys a good perception of the latest line of Injini and their noticeable advancements in design. Again, i have to reiterate the durability of these socks are amazing, and I'm very excited to see how long lasting these 2.0s I have are.

I do have to thank the kind people at Injini for thinking of me to do this. I really enjoyed demoing your line (and will continue to enjoy my socks!!) very appreciative for the opportunity to do this.

Lastly, running wise: I registered for several races!! I am running jarman's marathon in Charlottesville, va on aug 2nd-

Will be running the length of the AT through Shannondoah National Park over Labor Day with a group of strong and amazing women ultrarunners.

Plan on running a big ol chunk of a long run with the yeti trail runners on the va creeper trail in oct. As a long run for Mmtr-

Running Mmtr nov 1

Hopefully running hellgate

And I am registered for fort clinch 100 miler next march 28th.

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