Monday, October 3, 2016

yeti 100 and other ramblings.

YETI 100  appealed to me for several reasons: first it's 10 minutes from my HOUSE!! When Jason Green ( who is a bristol native) told me several years ago he was going to have a 100 on the Creeper Trail. It kinda blew my mind. uh, OUCH!  The Creeper is a rail to trail system that is 33.4 miles from White top Mtn to Abingdon, Va. I had ran it once in it's entirety  with my friend Dennett in 2012 - and that hurt.  i couldn't fathom running BACK UP white top and then running back to abingdon for a third pass. Its runnable but I knew courses like that are deceptively hard- they can chew you up! but I was intrigued!!  I have used the Creeper for all different kinds of training all throughout my  different running phases- and when I RDed, CTR 10k was held on the Creeper so it seriously holds copious amounts of sentiment and memories for me-- 

 secondly,  I seriously wanted to alleviate myself (for myself only) the monkey on my back of haven't successfully ran a 100 since grindstone 2012- I had collected two dnfs in 2013 at Old Dominion mile 75- and pinhoti 2013 mile 55- and had not attempted the distance since  and pretty much had hung up training and ultrarunning- I made jewelry and taught yoga- but even during my yoga teacher training - I spent tons of time getting quiet and listening -  meditating - and one truth that always came through to me is that I was an ultrarunner in a yoga teacher training- it's WHO I am- running in the woods is MY medicine- it's what helps me process, decompress, and connect with the earth and it energizes me. 

So here I was full circle- I have made this huge journey in four years and felt I was right back looking at 100 mile races but with different perspective and armed with all sorts of life experience, tools, mental fortitude and tenacity I never had as an ultrarunner in 2012 or 2013. It was time. And beyond that I missed my community. (however I grew from my experiences and I feel each made me stronger tougher, wiser and have gratitude for my journey and the tools I received from my ryt 200 are invaluable )  -  and I know how much yoga helped me- it helps keeps me injury free and strong - aids my recovery-  makes me mentally strong and able to focus and I do feel why I became a yoga teacher is it's my dharma to help other runners- 

the ultra community I felt no matter what I did they accepted me- if I raced well- raced crappy- if I  quit racing made jewelry, taught yoga-   Went back to school- whatever- they still accepted me, supported me and were my  genuine friends. Plus I have this knowingness that I love 100s - and think with the right fitness can be good at them.

So I registered! And little by little I gained some fitness-   trained over the summer -   i ran the training run- that gave me some confidence- and that made it 2 times i had ran the entire creeper from white top to abingdon- and it was 90f and humid- in june for the training run. 
I knew my goals for yeti 100 was first and foremost to finish.  Mentally I had to be solely laser  focused on that goal- that it's finish or they would have to drag my dead carcass off the trail- and I truly went there in my mind- I knew not finishing wasn't an option- I took it off the table. 

  During my hiatus of YEARS I had let all my sponsorships and ambassadorships go-  which was fine because i felt I put too much pressure on myself - which resulted in races not being fun anymore- which resulted in me not running or racing much- 

  However, this summer HOKA offered me this grassroots type local(southeast area)  ambassadorship- Based on my social media presence- I explained my past  ambassador experiences and how I felt it ruined things for me- and my running ( my own fault because  my head trips made it killjoy) the rep had an amazing idea  he felt would work: we worked out an equitable  energy exchange I help host hoka shoe demos, lead some group runs, and teach yoga for runners at the demos after the run. I feel awesome and good about that. I feel I'm earning my keep there. We had one at Crozet Running in Sept and it went really well. 

 Then one  past sponsor found out I was running yeti 100-  farm to feet socks -  and I came home
To a surprise box of socks at my door! Made in NC 100% American wool. Great socks- one is even called "Damascus" sock- I felt it was a good sign I got those socks for this race.  And I'm grateful for their gesture of support.  Love y'all back! that was so sweet and thoughtful. 

and I just want to say since I'm promoting both of these on here- you know what would be cool?? if anyone wants to buy hokas- i know locally they are sold at fleet feet, mahoney's MRO in damascus-- Crozet running sells them in charlottesville, etc
for Farm to feet they are sold locally at Mahoney's , MSL, Highlands ski haus, MRO-

and if you aren't in my area- support your local independent retailer- it's good for the local economy- and has so much better juju that internet or big box store shopping ( okay that's my PSA of the day) 

 So fast forward to week of the race. I tapered for 12 days-  played tennis and shot my bow- ran easy- I rested tons- ate plenty of healthy clean food.  I wrote in my journal- I did yoga, I visualized finishing and Jason handing me my buckle and hugging me- Wednesday night I went to sleep at 8:30pm- I felt that was crucial to rest better two days before an event than even the night before. 
I went to pre-race at Wolf Hills got my packet with sweet yeti swag. (Reuseable yeti bag, yeti 100 buff, some zinc oxide cream that's awesome, race shirt, Ultraspire cup)

 I met the legendary Tom Green the original grand slammer and his lovely amazing wife who  kindly snapped this pic for me and graciously let me be a fan girl. 

   and I met allen another awesome uber veteran and great friend of Tom's I ran with allen a lot during the beginning of the race and saw him a lot during the race as well- he's cool.


I had been prepping for the race all week- (blowing the dust off my tool boxes and tackle boxes I used for my races years past- ) making drop bags, formulating a plan for my crew and pacers- 
So I came home about 8:30pm- was asleep by 9:30pm- woke up race morning 4:15am had my pre race breakfast of poptarts and coffee. Then Brock and I drove to Whitetop - we took exit 35- rt600- and In the dark saw a bear on the side of the road.- my heart swelled - think it was a sign from my brother Todd I was going to have a good day. 
We got to white top- it was dark but I knew it would be light in 30 min so I didn't use my headlamp- Jason gave last min instructions 

                                                          I'm in the yellow :) and it was so cool to see Lone wolf at the start- Lone Wolf is a thru hiker- damascus resident from rhode island- and also a veteran ultra runner he ran masochist with Tom green and allen back in the day! ( but I digress)

 we were off! I tried to keep my pace nice and easy (which is hard descending white top)  the sun rose and I shared miles with Meredith and Samantha whom I both met at the yeti100 training run in June. 
 I adore these girls we had kept in touch with each other over the summer, and we were excited to be reunited on the trail. 

I ran some with Allen my friend I had met at packet pick up too. He has an easy going demeanor and the miles went by fast. 
Before I knew it I was  at mile 13- I stopped and drank a mini- coke- Brock was there crewing for me at straight branch with plans for him to meet me again at mile 26- I was  drenched with sweat already. It was about 60f but humid. 
It was pulling onto the trail here that  I met two fun, crazy Yeti's - Deano and Keith-  they were on a run walk system- of run 5 min and walk 1 min. I kept leap frogging with them and they seemed like they were having a blast - so I just started running with them! Plus walk breaks! I ain't too proud to gallowalk!! These two kept me giggling. we arrived at mile 18 aid station together (creeper trail cottages owned by my friends buddy and Sean albro- who are AMAZING-- if you ever need a place to stay in damascus stay with them)  and  then we left together-  buddy took a pic of us 

Me with my mouth full of Nutella sammich and two  crazy Atlanta Yeti's 

We continued to run the next 13 miles together where we discussed NASCAR, professional wrestling, spooning with your pacer at a special  tree on the gdr course - 

 we passed a random Pepsi machine that dispensed fireball. yes this is real. 

 And we stopped  dead in the trail and watched dumbfounded the runner ahead of us crawl commando style under an Electric fence  in between Damascus and Alvarado because they didn't know they could pull open the gates along the trail  YES THAT HAPPENED. city folk. lol. I'm sure they figured it out eventually. 

By Alvarado mile 25- I kinda knew I had to say good bye to Keith and deano- because I was starting to feel super overworked - I think our 5  min runs were too fast for me-  felt my HR was too high -( for a 100)  I needed to dial back my efforts so I kinda came in to that aid station freaking out a little ( the boys knew it lol but they were cool about it)  I drank another Soda and refilled my bottle-   - so I started towards Abingdon solo- let the deano and keith charge on ahead.  I just ran my own pace with some walk breaks and got to mile 33 right at 6 hrs and some change -  I felt that was just right- not too fast not too slow.  robin Grossman met me to encourage me and wish me luck- she was leaving town to run her first 5ok at the breaks -  which really gave me a big boost and it was super cool to catch up with her! 
I told Brock 
Soon as I saw him "I'm staying here ten min" and I did- I changed my socks and hokas- and changed my shirt - rubbed a+d ointment anywhere I felt was trying to chafe - I ate fries and a cheeseburger and a soda and off I go for my second pass of the creeper -Jason green took a pic of me leaving 

See? New shirt! So fresh and so clean!
So I then made my way back towards damascus and really enjoyed just Being outside- lost in the task at hand. the miles clicked by- i didn't really meet anyone but tried to smile and wave at everyone I saw- one of my good friends who is a team USA triathlete was out doing a long bike ride and she kept riding by cheering me on-  consequently i was walking BOTH times- lol oh well it is what it is- in the moment it is. 

 Brock met me at mile 42- more soda and lemonade- 
I made it back to mile 50( buddy and Sean's As) in 10 hrs- I had some chicken soup- grilled cheese bacon and I kinda chilled and hung out here  a min laughing and talking-  I was really enjoying just kinda doing my own thing this race I wasn't racing at all - just focusing on finishing but actually enjoying myself- not suffering 
It was a light bulb moment - there is a time for big goals and competition-  and that can be fun or absolute hell- however you want to look at it-  but I seriously ran Grayson highlands 50k this year and that's it- I just needed to do what I was- be sustainable - soak up all the joy from being in the moment with all these great people. 

I got to Brock at mile 55- completely changed my clothes (they were wet) I put on yoga pants a long sleeve capiline - traded out my hand held for a pack and got my headlamp-  and Hoodini/ gloves in case it got cold changed socks and shoes-
I pressed on to taylors valley met my pacer the lovely fleetly Kate white  and she paced me up to white top and back to straight branch. We had a blast! She kept me moving we got to white top- I got my punch on my bib- and Bert Kate's husband was there with a bottle of orange crush Kate had for me as a surprise! It was better than Christmas! I have to say I felt my jacket yoga pants and gloves were all essential for me- I would of been super cold had I not had them - or been in Sweaty clothes- I saw a lot of carnage- glad I had the layers. 
We ran back to green cove-   hiked more from green cove to straight branch as I was starting to feel pukey when I would push too hard. But I could hike 15 min pace so we stuck with that. 
I got to mile 80 at 2am and Brock started pacing me for the next 6 hrs (yep they were slow miles) through the fog back to Abingdon. We had fun though- he kept me moving - we heard roosters and owls- by watagua day broke and I hobbled in about 25:20 to finish yeti 100 and get my Buckle had visualized so many times over the summer being in my hands 

Post race I went home took a shower- napped - watched football and ate Bellas pizza 

This is the first hundred my feet weren't trashed- never got swollen etc- even now recovery has been great it's Monday after the race and I did yoga and took maverick my dog for a walk for 2 miles - 

I have to thank Jason Green and Sean Blanton for getting me to run their races this year and disallowing me from walking away from ultrarunning- y'all truly did me such a favor pulling me back in the way you did.  you helped me fall in love with it all over again- and the  quality of my life and volume of my happiness has increased tremendously.  Very excited to run more of your races in the future! Grayson highlands 50k and yeti 100 are already on my list for next year! Going after the sub 24 buckle! 

Special thanks to all the volunteers- who worked so hard and were so positive and encouraging to get us all to the finish.  thank you to the yeti runner and ultra runner community present at the race- you all were SO LOVELY. I felt SO happy all during the race and it was because it was a super happy vibe there-  people were SO NICE!!  Love my ultra running family. 

And I am beyond grateful for my crew and pacers- Kate- as I have said before you're the real deal- I'm so blessed to have a true blue genuine friend such as you! Love you! i owe you a pacing gig. 
 Brock: thank you so much for staying up all day crewing and then pacing me in the last 20 miles- I had so much fun getting to share the time on the trail with you- but I'm so grateful and appreciative the time energy and great care you took to help me- I love you and so extremely proud of you and your running!

Next up- I will probably take the rest of the week off running- and focus on some bow hunting during my recovery-  on my parents farm! my first season hunting- but def plan on utilizing any game - if i'm successful. 

play some tennis- more yoga etc.  family adventures- 

  run in the mtns for fun!  go to some big group runs all during the fall and holidays.. 

lastly I want to add I'm one of the moderators for East Coast Trail and Ultra Runners group on FB that Sean Blanton started- if you aren't on that group- you should join! tons of great info, pictures, discussions- - there is a podcast now connected to the group that is available on sound cloud and iTunes.   it's about  contributing  and being apart of a community. and the only rule is  BE NICE :) no being a meanie pants-

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

well, lets try this again..

  The great news is I'm BACK RUNNING! well, I never really stopped running but i did stop ultra training for about a year to pursue my RYT 200 and build up my first business Mountain Primadonna.
 I graduated from my 220 hr Yoga teacher training in Oct-

November, I hired Andy Jones-Wilkens to coach me for the rest of this year and into 2016 to get me ready for my races.  So since then I've been building back very slowly- but I'm SO HAPPY to get to run long runs in the mountains again!!! it's been so fun to have adventures with my friends I love so much!
So far my race schedule is TJ100k , Grayson Highlands 50k,  I would like to run Highlands Sky 40 in June  but haven't registered for it, and then this september I'm running Yeti 100 here at HOME on the Va Creeper Trail- after that... will probably REST.

This past weekend I had the honor to help crew and pace Amy Albu at Hellgate 100k and it was just an incredible experience to get to be back out there in a community of people I love so much. I stayed up all night ran 24 miles of hellgate course in 76F heat and drove home SO energized because   I had such a positive experience and left so inspired by the many many strong willed, driven athletes I have the pleasure of being acquainted.

Its been a journey for me. To find balance with my life, my work, my passion for running, and now yoga.  My personal practice is a daily part of my life, and i feel it not only aids in flexibility and recovery- but yoga is so much more than just the asana- the physical... there are so many healthy benefits to having a yoga practice mentally, emotionally, spiritually...  yoga and running BOTH feed my soul.  I feel the past year truly was essential for me to hit the reset button, and focus on these other areas of my life I had long been coasting through. Making space for yourself is important. Finding that juxtaposition between training/tearing down and recovery/building back up is so vital.

I feel my "second coming" into ultra running, I'm returning with much different goals in mind, and i'm a much different runner- and most certainly one who doesn't take one second of being "out there" in the mountains running for granted.

 AND finally here are some pictures from my world  things that make me happy and all apart of the the big picture for me to be ME.  spending time outside. working on my business,  Family time, yoga, running, time with friends. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

CTR 10k 2015

 This past saturday the 8th CTR 10k was run on the VA Creeper trail at 6pm. HERE ARE THE RESULTS

 I truly can't thank the sponsors, volunteers, runners, my family / friends, the community for the outpouring of love and support for this event and the scholarship. That core essence of  human goodness, hope and courage is what propels the scholarship forward year after year. This year the race raised enough money for two  annual scholarships. Each runner, volunteer, and sponsor played a part in this accomplishment. THANK YOU  for helping us honor my brother Todd's memory by helping others.
HERE is the CTR 10k photo album on my FB

Also we are looking for new recipients for 2016! If you know of any seniors or college students majoring geology, geography, environmental science, mining engineering or some other energy related field. PLEASE have them contact me:
 I can email them an application. There is a 250 word essay-  high school seniors much have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, and college students 3.2 or higher. The board of directors of the scholarship fund selects new recipients every second week of April at the annual board meeting.
 here are a few other shots from the race:
overall and age group awards

last minute course directions

and they are off!



Very pleased with the way Todd's race is continually growing and moving forward. I never really fathomed I would be a race director or my life would be on the path it's on at all. I am choosing to be grateful for my journey, using all lessons from both good and bad experiences for my personal growth, and to enable me to be a better person that helps others. Treats others the way I would like to be treated. End of the day, I just want to be productive, do what I can, when I can- and life a full life- that I know my brother would be proud of -  THANK YOU AGAIN to everyone for helping me make this happen. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Life with the volume turned up

Well this is my second attempt at posting this- I'm trying to make efficient use of my time on the trip back from Virginia beach to do some online "housekeeping" :)
The past couple months have been at cosmic breakneck speed.

Currently I'm still working hard on preparing for CTR 10k August 8th. It's an evening race. We have more entrants this year than last yr- at this point and I'm so extremely grateful to all my running family who help me year after year remember my brother Todd, honor his memory and help others in celebration of the amazing unique and special person he was in our lives.

"Freedom to be" is the name of this blog because it was my brothers personal credo and since August 10 2007- I have adapted it to be my own. I try very hard everyday to not only be my authentic self, live a life that is being true to myself and who I am, but completely want and encourage everyone else to do the same. It's not always easy, its scary and it can come with difficulties. Many times others will try to pull you down or admonish you. Call you names (such as "self promoting" for example lol) to try to get you to shrink back- stay stagnant and small- this is because these people are scared. They are just trying to smear their fear/ judgements/criticisms they have on you- so they will feel better about themselves. Don't let that be a blip on your radar. Not everyone will "get" your journey- and that's okay- what's important is that YOU know your mission, focus and intentions and where your heart is- follow your heart, intuition - truly lean into it and it won't lead you astray, and as for the haters- they gonna hate- "those that mind won't matter, and those that matter won't mind." I just feel sorry for them have loving kindness and compassion- send a prayer to them that they find something to make them absolutely on fire about life like you have - then they won't have time to glom on you. Lol but also have strength and absolute resolve that no one is going to divert you from your path. (That's my sermon for Sunday)

Running: since this IS primarily an UltraRunning blog. I have been doing just that! Running almost every single day this summer. Feels amazing to run with energy and not hurting- uninjured. I don't take a step of that fore-granted. I have primarily been doing road running. With some
Shorter trail runs- due to my time constraints on my life its about all I can squeeze in but I feel it's exactly what I needed to build up from the basement level. I am planning on running Jarmans on August 1st- very excited to get to run 3o miles in the blue ridge mountains with so many friends- I know it will feel like a family reunion.
For the remainder of fall, My A event isn't a race but an experience. I graduate with my RYT in October- and also I turn 37 on August 22nd. My summer is scheduled so tight and I'm so busy- I am waiting to celebrate my Birthday by running r2r2r - which is running 42 miles at the Grand Canyon- south rim to
North rim and then back again. My brother Todd was 37 when he passed away so that's the significance of this is a BIG YEAR coming up for me and I want to do something special in celebration of the milestone of me being here- and also in remembrance of Todd because I know he would think my R2r2r run would be freaking epic and BA. So that's my gift to myself. Hope to def have several ultras on my schedule
For 2016- tj100k is on my radar. Maybe umstead 100 if I can get in.

Yoga: wow. So most of my year has been dedicated to deepening my personal practice (to heal my tapped out endocrine system) and to become a yoga teacher. The journey has been amazing and absolutely love instructing because it gives me a sense of purpose that I'm helping others- that is my "dharma code"
For right now: " to grow, expand, thrive and to help others." I'm so extremely grateful for all the information that is being bestowed upon me. I know it's helped me in so many ways physically but emotionally and mentally as well. I know I'm a more stronger, grounded, steadfast, resilient person than I was before my training. Of course I hope to utilize this for racing, but the big WIN is I'm already utilizing these tactics within my life and my Business with great results and I'm so thankful.
Delving inward has been hard work but it also has helped me have great realizations about myself - the good, the bad and the ugly. That is hard- to look In the mirror and own it all. Great thing is that the parts you don't like or know you can tweak to improve- DO IT. It's also helped me love and accept myself- unapologetically. Oh yeah I'm more flexible And have better balance too :)
My teaching schedule right now is my public classes I teach:

Monday power Vinyasa 9:15am
Tuesday mindful flow- 9:15am
At Whitetop yoga in Abingdon (
And on Fridays 8:30 am I teach a free outdoor vinyasa class offered through Bristol parks and rec at pinnacle park (in front of bass pro shops)

And lastly: Mountain PrimaDonna, llc. Whoa. This weekend last yr- I was happy to sell two necklaces per week in etsy and make about 50.00 extra dollars- my mind is blown how in a year my Business has grown. But i have been working my ass off. I have worked harder than I ever have in my life- harder than training for a hundred. It's hard work to MAKE the products you sell as opposed to resell. I was so happy to start my website ( because I felt selling the cool boho/hippy clothes i love :) would give me space to grow and not have to take so much time grinding out jewelry- well, the clothes have helped me make more faster- but the irony is my jewelry is what sells the most and demand just keeps getting higher and higher. I sold 70 necklaces last week alone. I'm soo happy!!

 Love that people love the things I make - every farmers market seems like it's a huge rush and confidence builder in my abilities - and capability to run my own little business successfully. But at the same time- wow. How I can do all the things I want- that make me happy- (like run and relax in the evenings with my family) be everywhere I'm supposed to be- (yoga classes, trainings, farmers markets and getting my kids to their activities (lax, tennis, swimming) - I have to sacrifice my all my free time for the time being. Almost every second. Im okay with it because being able to look over my shoulder and see progress- that feels so much better than curling up with a book- or playing on Pinterest - one thing I don't sacrifice my sleep- I have to get up at 5am most mornings so I try to be in bed 9:30pm and asleep by 10- I have to or I cant function. So I'm trying to just be efficient in my one management. I have to be a lot of things to a lot of ppl right now it seems- but change isn't easy- and I know for me to grow I have to grind hard and pay my dues - this applies for it all UltraRunning, yoga instructing, business
So I'm going to continue selling at the farmers market and I'm vending at Floyd Yoga Jam- Labor Day weekend- and mistletoe market in Abingdon, va at the higher Ed center- in November - I'm so grateful for all the opportunities that's been given to me and I am so enjoying working hard to improve.
So that's the craziness that is my life right now. Um, yeah- you know what I love? Change and impermanence. I used to loath it. Now- I relish it. Because I know all this( me not having a second to myself it seems) isn't forever- after yoga teacher training is finished I will have much more
Time every weekend. All these sacrifices I'm making- I'm getting rewarded and seeing results. Or I will in the future I have absolute faith in this.
Tuesday farmers market will end- holiday farmers market is only every other weekend. So I'm viewing this as just the season I'm in. I'm making hay while the sun shines. But I know there is an ebb and flow to it all- I'm just relaxing and accepting- learning to
Ride the ride๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’• and I'm so grateful to just be here - really and truly. Life is a gift. (Love you, brother!!)

 have to brag on my 7 yr old son,  Todd on his first swim meet of his season! he won two races ( breaststroke and back stroke and got second for freestyle) 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

8th annual Christopher Todd Richardson Memorial 10k online registration is now open!

 Hi! Just wanted to let you guys know that online registration for Todd's race has opened today. This is such a special, special event - This race is an out and back on the VA Creeper Trail starting from the trail head in abingdon out 5k and back. It's an evening race ( which I feel makes it fun) We also have a walk- so it's SO family friendly- one parent can run, while another and kiddos walk- it's dog friendly, stroller friendly- it's just a friendly race. period.  We award super cool swag and one of a kind awards, and the BEST part its 100% of the entry fees goes directly towards Todd's scholarship fund- not race overhead- So no you aren't buying your t-shirt when you enter- YOU are helping send a couple of kids from Southwest VA to college and realize their potential and fulfill their dreams.

Tomorrow is my brother Todd's birthday. He would of been 45. Birthdays and holidays ( even now 8 yrs later) are particularly difficult for me. What I find helps me the most? working on the scholarship and his race. It gives me focus, it's a healthy vehicle for my grief and allows me to feel empowerment, not helplessness.  Losing Todd was hands down the hardest thing I've been through- It's a wound that is always there- I think as time moves on I have just found better ways to deal with my loss, and accept what happened, did happen- even though some days I have to say just seems like no way it's true- like it was just a bad dream..
 I try to always ALWAYS focus on GOOD memories and have SO much gratitude that Todd was in my life the time that he was, and I have so many awesome memories and hilariously funny stories. Such a gift.   I also am so happy that by helping others in his memory through the race and the scholarship- YES LIGHT CAN COME FROM DARKNESS. I feel so personally victorious in that regard- because there was a time in the weeks and months after he death- I was in such a state of shock and grief, I had no idea how I was going to resume my life. My life changed from that moment. Once I figured out there is no more normal- or going back to what was- I had to make the choice to trudge on ahead- HOWEVER- TRUDGING with Todd's positive attributes ingrained in my heart- SO I can live a life that I know my brother will be proud of. Todd's legacy is not what happened to him aug 10th 2007- Todd's legacy is how many people he impacted while on this earth. MANY family, friends, classmates, co-workers. Toddy quiet simply was an amazing, dynamic individual. How many people he has positively influenced even once he went to heaven ( and yes, he is THERE) . SO MANY PEOPLE. So while I don't understand why he was taken from us, and in the manner that I feel he so unfairly was- I have gained this peace in KNOWING- 1. he is okay 2. he is waiting on me in heaven- so I do not fear death the way i did before he died. 3. I like to think Todd sees how much I've grown ( unsure if he does or if that's possible) his death did create a HUGE shift in my life with being so acutely aware of my own mortality and the fragility AND RANDOMNESS of life.

  I was a stay at home mom with two small kids, led a pretty simple existence up until that point.  I loved to run local races and marathons but I never thought I would become a race director not in my wildest dreams and for the cause that it's for.  I never dreamt I would become an ultra runner- but I feel it was always there under the surface just waiting to manifest- todd's death catapulted me towards DOING. Not just wishing and wanting but DOING.  I always wanted to be a yoga teacher- wow- I'm doing it- working on my RYT. I always wanted to be captain of my own ship and master of my destiny and I'm doing it through my business, Mountain PrimaDonna, LLC- I'm not saying all this to toot my horn- but I'm just saying Loosing Todd was my wake up call. I know that sometimes people criticize me and arm chair quarter back ( esp people who really don't know me well, value me  or  have any sort of insight about what my journey is all about) but I digress I got over all that crap years ago-- if I let negative junk like that hold me back I would never get anything accomplished.  Bottomline:  even though I don't have my brother Todd physically here with me in my life,  I am SO grateful for my journey because it's made me who I am. The good stuff and the adversity and challenges. I am grateful for it all. The challenges have strengthened me, given me compassion and empathy, and perspective.
Todd: I miss you everyday! I truly am SO proud to be your sister, and as long as Im alive I will always try to honor your memory by living life on my own terms, giving second chances, and being REAL and GENUINE- and working hard/playing hard and living life to the fullest every single day. . LOVE YOU, BROTHER! HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Saturday, April 4, 2015

mountain primdonna, llc website launch, Adventures in pursuing RYT, and shorter races

                             Wanted to do an update for my blog! The past 3 months have been a blur. I've been working so hard, but so very excited at seeing progress and growth where I am placing energy and intention. I am truly following my heart and intuition. While my journey the past 3 months has been SO different than the past 5 yrs and one of low mileage( compared to ultra training)  and not as much time in woods as I would like. I know me sacrificing some mtn time now, I will be able to make up for it much later. Plus, I truly feel I need the rest:) and it's awesome to run everyday pain free. I didn't realize how much I hurt. for years, and I ran anyway-  I only realize it now- because I feel SO good when I run.    
                                        I ran a short race! Shamrock 4 miler. I was undertrained but got to share the last mile with one of my personal heroes, Gerry Duffy. Gerry originally hails from Ireland and ran track and CC for ETSU. We were both suffering a little at the finish, we were talking about how work can get in the way of training, balancing family time, ebb and flow, and having different seasons of focus.  I was thankful to be able to reflect back for a second for both of us- we are runners. it's WHO we are, it's what we do. We have times we have to focus more on more pressing matters, but the sheer love and enjoyment of running races- it's a magical common thread that unites all runners, ultra runners, trail runners.
GU has a new look!! they have rebranded their logo! love the new look
  I have been teaching yoga the past two months at White Top Yoga twice a week, and have lead a couple of yoga for runner's clinics. I am so excited about my Teacher Training. Happy I am able to gain experience and jump in and be on the schedule. It's such a sweet studio. It truly is something special, adds so much to the town of Abingdon; and I'm so happy to get to play a small part in it.  I can certainly say that teaching and my personal practice both have been so wonderful for my creativity and for allowing my body to heal.

Now for all the fun work related content ( oh wait, yoga part is kinda work too? lol) I have been SO busy with my company. I have been selling at winter market at Abingdon Farmer's Market from january until present. Very excited for regular season to begin April 18. After that I will be selling every tuesday evening and Saturday morning. 

                                     I have been so blessed so have been approached by several companies to sell to them so that they can place Mountain PrimaDonna in their stores. So now, in addition to white top yoga ( who gave me my running start on this journey before I even had the idea of setting up my company!)  My jewelry is now at MAHONEY's OUTFITTERS. They gave me an incredible launch. Hosted a meet the artist, event. I'm so appreciative to them for their belief in my vision, and so excited about partnering with them and growing.

Also, in Bristol PHYL'S OF BRISTOL contacted me about making some jewelry for their store- and WOW the response. I have been exclusively making Bristolcentric pieces and they can't keep them in stock! I have been in their store a week, and they have already done a fill in order.  I'm so humbled, happy and excited that these are doing so well. 

Lastly, two days ago, I finally launched MY WEBPAGE!  please click on it and look around! I built it all myself and worked so hard on it. 
I love my etsy site, but my vision from the beginning of starting my company was to grow Mountain Primadonna as a mountain lifestyle brand. I have wanted to sell clothes that merchandised well with my handmade jewelry and accessories and the time has finally come to push aside any fears- and lean into my intuition and go for it! The past several days have been AMAZING. Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased clothes from my webstore! The clothing is going to be much like my jewelry. Always evolving and changing. 

working on my headstand. trying to evolve to a full handstand. I also received my spring line for Stonewear Designs. I'm wearing their "stride skort" running skirt and their  tech fabric activewear long sleeve. I wrote a blog a couple weeks ago for them on spring training and easing back into running after a long break- OR it can be used as a running for beginners program

 I know I'm throwing a lot of info out there all in one post. Bottom line, I'm pretty much the busiest Ive been in my entire life in terms of not much free time or down time. BUT that really helps me to be SO PRESENT, MINDFUL and THANKFUL- and the time i spend with my kids, loved ones, family and friends to be HIGH QUALITY.  I truly am so thankful for my journey the good, the bad the ugly has all made me WHO i am and brought me here to this point. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the wonderful people in my life, opportunities that I am given. I promise I don't take one second of it for granted.  Wishing all my readers, all the love, happiness, and GOOD that life has to offer. Each morning we wake up, we have so many choices in how to act, what to do with our time.  whatever you do with yourself- BE WELL, DO GOOD THINGS, BE BRAVE and  BE KIND. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


well I just had my first run back since I had the flu last week, and second run since hellgate dnf.  my hip is tight- even with some yoga. but I ran pretty much pain free- so I'm glad I was patient enough to allow myself to heal.  Looking back 2014 was a great year.  I had so many cool adventures:  here is kinda my highlight reel:
  ANNIE DUMPED A PITCHER OF TAILWIND OVER MY HEAD about 50k into a 100k race.  I never will forget that! but MORE than the sticky tailwind residue- that day cemented mine and Annie's friendship. That girl paced me for  the final 20 miles and endured me being stripped down so raw and I really got to see what a caring, loving pure soul she is- LOVE YOU.

   TJ really is a FANTASTIC race. DO IT. AJW, John Andersen and Sophie/ CRUT crew do such an amazing job with this race.

Carter and I happy with our Swag post TJ 100k

 I got to go to Barkley. again. but this time I hung out with cool CALIFORNIANS  and learned the art of crewing- and made life long friends.  I hope to go back again in 2015

 I had a running club in Bristol based out of Mountain Sports we met every Wed evening. and over the yr hosted several demo events with Salomon, Montrail, Skratch labs ( and of course) GU energy labs. sometimes ( esp for demo nights) as many as 40 people would come- but usually we had 15-20 people. it was great experience getting to know so many bristol runners, and making so many new friends!
 I got to see Dave Matthews shows- 3 of them- that was pretty freaking cool

                                      had the luxury of running Highlands Sky 40-  ran it an hour slower than 2 yrs prior but was SO happy to just have a beautiful day running in the mountains- another incredible race for any east coast ultrarunner- easily a 40 that runs like a 50- it's technical -yo.

 I was afforded the opportunity to run up  and down Jarman's Gap like a gazillion times until I ran a 50k.  okay- I will be honest THAT SUCKED. The donuts, beer, peach ice cream from crozet peach orchard and  the awesome company of super funny, sweet running buds-  did NOT.

 I got to be in Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine article as a tour guide for trail running in our area! Thanks jess daddio!!  the photo shoot at Beauty Spot on the AT was an amazing morning.

 I got to do a lot of non- race adventuring this year.  I went camping a lot, hiked a lot with my kids, intentionally went places I had never been before.

 I grew TONS of really beautiful tomatoes, peppers, herbs and really got so much satisfaction and fulfillment for doing that for myself. Definitely plan on replicating that in 2015.

Ran the AT through SNP over Labor day Weekend with the Dirty Moms. THIS WAS AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE. 

Steph and I being brave. 

 I race directed two races. CTR 10k for the 7th  consecutive year and raise enough money for two scholarships.  and the Virginian "extra mile" 4.1 mi race for the Nicewonder Cancer Center- for the second consecutive year.  10k was raised for the cancer this yr

    in July,  I started my own company! I set up Mountain PrimaDonna as an LLC and  began selling on etsy-  I decided to branch out- I stepped away from my buying responsibilities at MSL- I left on great terms with just with an understanding that whatever I do i have to be "all in"  and i just felt very compelled to DO THIS for myself and couldn't have splintered focus- They completely understood- so not burnt bridges and have worked with MSL on several projects this winter- I'm so grateful for my experience there- because I know there is no way I would have been able to do what I'm doing now- had I not had 2 yrs of buying experience with them.
 SO after I truly became self employedL began selling at the Abingdon Farmers Market on Sept 6th.  For me to do this- I had to face a lot of my fears and insecurities- really work on myself tons- but decide that i had what it takes to do this for myself. It was sink or swim- GO TIME.  and I'm happy to  say - I'm swimming.
  Has my running suffered? well.... there is this thing called TIME.  I feel to be a killer ultra runner- business person anything etc- you have to be able to invest TIME AND ENERGY AND INTENTION into whatever goals you are setting out to achieve.  I have kids-  I feel I really have to prioritize-  I love running and will ALWAYS be a runner- but for the time being- I really am focused  on building my business and I run FOR FUN, health and because I love running in the mountains- it makes me happy- I love it it also makes me happy to make jewelry, and sew, it also makes me happy to do yoga.  totally plan on "making a comeback"  I feel I'm just in this ebb with my ultra running so I can take care of some other areas of my life that really needed some tending too.

 I love love love my logo

                                      I love making things that reflect how much I love running in the mountains

 I love making things that reflect the valuable lessons running in the mountains have taught me- because let's face it- there are times- IT SUCKS. IT's HARD, IT's NOT FUN- IT's PURE MISERY. but you trudge forward.   and you grow. ( not looking back over your shoulder- you look FORWARD down the trail) but guess what for all the times it's crappy - I guarantee you have 10 times more POSITIVE stuff to focus on:  runs, races, life time events that are THE BOMB- It's BOTH the good and the bad that make us the unique, cool well rounded people that we are. AND if things were just flipping amazing all the time- we wouldn't even know to value and appreciate- So for me practicing patience during the Ugh times- absolutely LOVING the crap out of life when its Good and being so grateful to God for blessing me with IT ALL.  It's true I LOVE LOVE LOVE being me, and that I get to live my life. 
You can find the GOOD in practically any situation. and even dark dark days of tragedy when they visit your door- and they do for us all- you may not see it at the time, but as you heal you will see that you have a choice you can allow dark occurrences to change you for the better, to make you a stronger, better person. ( and it sure gives you perspective, empathy and compassion for others) or you can play the victim and replay things in your mind over and over and choose to let it define who you are and sit right there and not move forward. ( don't do that- MOVE FORWARD) It's all about Choices- and WE ALL are 100% in control of our lives and the choices we make daily. man up and be responsible for what you choose for yourself.  I had to to. and it's not an easy thing sometimes to look REALLY honestly at yourself in the mirror- but I feel the key to that is--- LOVE YOURSELF.  but tough love and honesty is sometimes just the ticket, if there are things in your life you don't like-  analyze why you do what you do- what self limiting beliefs you are totally lying to yourself about- and go about to CHANGE what you don't like- YOU CAN DO THAT. Realizing that for me was SO freeing.  LIVE YOUR TRUTH  ( sorry for the ramble just felt compelled to share that) 

               I got named to the Stonewear Designs ambassador team 2014-2015- I am on a team of just amazing women from all sport backgrounds --super excited to promote for them, and honored they wanted me to be on their team.
 in oct. I was lucky enough to crew this fine, young man for about 17 hrs as he ran ( and won) Grindstone 100. It was so amazing to be back there and to get to LEARN so much from him.

 and I had an amazing helper. Todd crewed too and it was a wonderful weekend to spend with my son- he loved every second.  and he thinks Jeff Browning and Jordan Chang are super heroes

                                            I cut my hair!!!  and I LOVE it - was ready for a change!

I've done a lot of yoga this year.  I really think it's helped me in so many different areas of my life. 

                I love it SO much- I'm planning on teaching a couple classes and  pursuing my RYT in 2015. ( and all the clothes in the above 2 pictures are Stonewear designs- aren't they great?)

 last race I finished for 2015 was MMTR- I was so thankful to get run my third Masochist and finish and run the new course and have a great weekend with friends.
 john price is one of my heroes. 

end of the day- WOW. I am blown away- I see how incredibly blessed I am- to have so many wonderful people who I love and who love me in so many different places in my life. Family, friends,  in ultra running, in my community, at the farmers market--- I'm so grateful for it all.  Just as David Horton says ( he is that handsome young man surrounded by all those lovely ladies in the last pic) "WE NEED EACH OTHER. PEOPLE NEED PEOPLE."  That's what it's all about.  SO to all my people: THANK YOU for making my year and my journey so amazing. It's been a mountain climb the past two years- but i'm getting there!!  I can see the summit- just a couple more ( okay 20 min) of switch backs- but just knowing i'm going somewhere MEANS SO MUCH. LOVE YOU ALL!!