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: jendenichols@mac.com
 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. http://www.active.com/abingdon-va/running/distance-running-races/christopher-todd-richardson-memorial-10k-2015

"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 (www.whitetopyoga.com)
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 (http://www.mountainprimadonna.com) 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! www.mountainprimadonna.com  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 http://www.livestonewear.com/2015/03/27/5-steps-spring-training-success/

 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.