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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Monday, June 16, 2014

What I've been up to: salomon demo, MSL running group, adventures in jewelry making, and Highlands Sky 40

This is going to be a WHALE of a blog post. You've been warned! My blog has been idle since TJ100k, not because not much has been going on, but because I've been going pedal to the metal ever since!! We are on our way to the beach, so thought this would be the PERFECT time to catch everyone up to speed with whats going on in Jenny land.

Really busy spring with Kid's soccer and end of year events. I have to say I am so extremely blessed that MSL is really flexible when it comes to my schedule and understanding if my kids have something going on. Jack and Todd had a great spring and I'm really enjoying all the family time with them this summer. They are growing so much-- they are starting to get out to sugar hollow and run a four mile technical loop with me. We have a great time.. we hike the climbs and run the downhill and flats and they are little pros at finding their rhythm

jack and todd running in their kids XA Pros

on the Job front-- It has been such a great progression to watch the MSL Wednesday night running group really flourish and grow. We have had Skratch labs come visit and hand out samples, a montrail demo,  a trail running clinic with post run pizza at Mellowmushroom, and several track speed work sessions with Coach Tom Murrell.  We held a Salomon Demo at Sugar hollow park on  June 10. It has been so fun to have these events, and see the group take shape as a community. Bristol truly needed a running group.  if anyone is interested in joining us for a run on Wednesday nights at 5:30 we meet at MSL parking lot and have routes of 3, 4, 5, or 6 miles downtown Bristol.  If we do track work options or trail running options, we announce it on our FB page : so go there and join the group so you can be in the know with  what's going on. This is a VERY FUN, POSITIVE, INCLUSIVE group whether you are a veteran runner or a newbie there is something for everyone.  We usually have between 20-40 runners at every fitness level, so you WILL have someone to run with if you wish and won't feel awkward or weird  at all- I PROMISE :)

Another Cool thing that we did at MSL was have our First ever : MSL YOGA DAY. We offered free outdoor yoga class to anyone who wanted to come, and they got 20% off coupon for any of our active wear ( aka yoga apparel) in the store. We offer some really great yoga gear: Stonewear Designs, Prana, patagonia, and lole. Adriel Slaughter led the class and we had a GREAT turn out for a first time event.  While I was doing yoga outside the store with the group. It was kind of surreal moment if anyone would of told me 2 yrs ago that MSL would have a Yoga day or an actual running group that met consistently  and I would the one come up with it and bring it to fruition - WOW. I know it's not all me-- it's MSL, the people who are coming in and participating, but it's really been awesome to invoke positive, noticeable change.

okay, so riding this wave and during the week before MSL yoga day I met Julie. Julie opened this AMAZING yoga studio in abingdon called WHITE TOP YOGA. This yoga studio quite simply is the coolest thing Ive stumbled upon in awhile. The studio itself is bright, happy and clean, with tons of natural light. This is very different from the yoga I was accustomed to, where the room is pretty dang dark. Just the general vibe of this place is SO HAPPY, POSITIVE and SUNSHINEY!! What hooked me though was Julie and the yoga itself. Julie RYT certified very knowledgeable and experienced, and in her classes you can talk, you can laugh, you can ask questions.. it's all good.. it's just yoga. Her classes really challenge me, but on the days I don't want go all out, she is so wonderful to offer modifications and I feel very sensitive to everyones fitness level. Anyone could come to her class and really enjoy it. I had tried to headstand for the past 2 yrs. A month of going to White top yoga a couple times a week, look what I can do: not perfect, work in progress but I can do it!!

so if you are looking for new, different, happy, want to change your perspective and turn your world upside down in a good way-- AND get super freaking fit-- go to WHITE TOP YOGA!!

SO ( I told you guys this was going to be a long blog - hang in there) all these inversions  I swear started stimulating the creative side of my brain- on a whim I decided I wanted to start making some handstamped jewelry and playing around with metal working. I have made jewelry, sewed and done tons of other arts and crafts on and off since college. but this was the first time something truly resonated with me and I felt I could really improve my skill and do something with it. I made myself some cool pieces, then friends started asking if I would make them some personalized custom pieces.. then more friends requested my stuff. SO I made myself an Etsy shop on may 11th and it's been doing AWESOME the  past month. i am SO surprised! The support of the ultra community and my friends and family of this has been amazing.

and I have some really cool ultra runners wearing my things now :)

Sophie and Annie of the Crozet Ultra team!

Jimmy Dean Freeman

Bill Gentry and Kimba , Meredith

among a bunch of others!

Then Jason Green from the yeti trail runners approached me about making the female awards for Yeti Snakebite 50 miler and 50k-- and that was SO FUN making something cool for an ultra trail race!! Those got such a great response I'm making some extra pendents to sell just for their Ultrarunning club.

Julie Smith is also selling some yoga centric jewelry I've made in the retail section of her studio so if you are ever there, check it out!

thank you so much to everyone for supporting me, believing in me. It's been incredibly inspiring to create all these pieces and I do draw so much of my energy from ultra running and yoga and the communities i'm apart of. So GOOD GOOD stuff!

okay lastly another cool things that happened to me: I'm going to be in the july issue of  Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine Jess Daddio had approached me about helping her with an article she was writing and it's from the stand point of road trips.. so I'm the guide for a trail running road trip-- so I take the reader on three of my favorite routes, to my favorite local restaurants and watering holes etc. I'm so excited to see how this turns out and had so much fun helping Jess ( who is an AWESOME  very bright and  talented chick currently traveling around in her little camper and adventuring for A YEAR! )  We did a photoshoot for  the article up on beauty spot on the AT near Erwin TN and here are a couple of images she has been kind enough to share with me. Thanks so much Jess Daddio for letting me use these


Okay, oh yeah this is an ultra running blog: So my first race back from TJ 100k was Highlands Sky 40. Where I have been so busy, I knew I was going into this a little undertrained in terms of time on my feet. with the track sessions and road running. I knew I had my speed back. I ran Orange Dot  3 weekends ago and PRed by like 17 minutes by running it 3:45 ( should of found myself a shorter trail race had I wanted to be competitive! lol just kidding) but I knew once I past a certain  mileage - probably going to hurt.  I love being outside. I love ultra running. I love training. but it really has been a challenge this spring to balance it all. When I was a stay at home mom, it was much much easier to find the time to get my long runs in.  and be in the mtns more. Logistically it is very hard for me these days! but I'm working on it! plugging away at it, and you know-- it's actually been great to kinda start again from ground zero.   I feel I'm not making mistakes I did in training several years ago, been able to implement experience and patience. The great news is that  I know Im GETTING THERE.  I really feel by fall - I will be running well and have an excellent base. I think I'm doing it RIGHT for once and embracing my journey. Enjoying where i am in the season I'm in, without comparing myself to others and putting so much pressure and self loathing on myself when I didn't meet my expectations. Ive had the realization that life is short, and we have enough adversity to overcome and critical people to deal with-- without beating ourselves up too.  So yeah I know I'm not peaking yet, but I can see the peak and know I"m moving towards it at a solid rate and I know I will get there.

So Highlands sky: I got there to Canaan Valley resort late. Missed the race meeting, got my number,  laid out my gear : great salomon tech tank, ( I did opt for some lulu shorts- just couldn't find the "just right" salmon shortie shorts for this race) smart wool socks ( with blister shield, Suunto Ambit 2S, and Salmon XT wings 3 shoes.

got up at 4am feeling nauseous- just like pinhoti 100 it was creepy-- is this nerves?? sinuses/ allergies?  all I knew I felt like I was going to blow chunks. I ate a banana and  sipped on 7 up and tried to just think about how much fun I was going to have, that I couldn't wait to run. I literally slept in the car on my way to the start. I felt tired. I was thinking - "hmm probably should of tapered and rested more."  but then i thought- "well ,I didn't so it is what it is. just go do it. "

and that is what I did. I started slow, and just stayed steady all day. I didn't  get in a hurry at all- just ran by feel, and by the time I was climbing the mtns among the stinging nettle, I thought- yep- just going enjoy my day and not put any pressure on myself- it's going to be a long long day- so may as well sit in.  It was VERY muddy, I fell a couple times, this course is super technical, and intensely beautiful- had I known I was going to run so slow, I would of brought my iPhone so I could of documented.   but every time I would look up I was amazed-- and kept telling myself how blessed I was just to be out there.  I was super full of gratitude, just thinking back to some of the things I've been through in life and to be where I am now. THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME BE HERE. So I did I got to brock at mile 19 in right at 5 hrs.  but I was happy. and told him yep this is going to be a 9:30-10 hr day, assured him I wasn't hurting and having a blast just being out there. 

me at mile 19 getting ready to run across the road across the sky.

So the whole day I kept leap frogging with this super nice ultra runner from balitmore named Shawn/sean.  I noticed him picking up other runners gel packets off of the trail. and immediately told him i didn't know him just seeing that made me know he was cool. lol We worked together a lot esp the second half and I really enjoyed hearing about all his races ( he had ran WS, hard rock, wasatch, MMT etc) so I am sure I talked him to death picking his brain about 100s.  I love 100s and I can wait to get back to them.

So 9:45 my wonderful, happy, blissful  selfish fun run at  highlands sky ended.  I think from the picture you can tell how I felt about it all.  This was my 33rd ultra. I've realized they aren't all going to A races. This was like a D race- lol-- but i had fun, enjoyed the day, got some great time on my feet and I really feel with consistency and what I have planned for the summer and early fall-- I will have a strong MMTR and hell gate this year.  I have my speed back- because I can consistently run 7 min pace- on the road for 5 miles or so.  I hadn't been there in a LONG time, boys and girls.  I'm so flipping thankful to just be on the road back.  and post HS40, I'm not too sore ( because I didn't run hard duh) but still 42 miles is a LONG way no matter how you slice it and my gear all worked great. no blisters or issues so my socks and shoe selection was spot on.  I never bonked or got fat fingers so my  salted watermelon GU worked great, it wasn't too hot so I didn't take any salt tabs.

SO THERE! for those of you who made it! CONGRATS! That was an ULTRA of a blog post! really excited about the direction I'm going in- I'm helping coach a high school cross country camp at Western Colorado State in july, and plan to run all of the AT in SNP over labor day  weekend with annie Stanley, sophie,  steph wilson and Martha wright- our group is called "dirty moms" :)

I promise I will update more frequently than three months or chop up my posts from here on out squeezing in four months is tough!! Cheers y'all! be kind and do good things! and love yourself! :)