Organic Runner Mom

Run Green. Eat Clean. Laugh Strong.

XTERRA Stoaked 12.5K Trail Race Recap

Are you stoaked about trail racing?

XTERRA Stoaked Trail Race

XTERRA Stoaked Trail Race

Last weekend I finally felt ready (well somewhat) to hit the trails again for a race. This was my first race (other than the Loon Mountain Race which I did not truly race so here is last years recap) since the Muddy Moose 14 Miler which was the straw that broke the camels back when it came to my foot and the painful peroneal tendonitis. I was excited but also feeling nervous. I am finally getting my mileage back up but until last week with a fun (painful!?!) hill training session I have not done ANY speedwork recently.  (pssst . . . can I tell you a secret? It is hard work getting back up to my previous race speed!)

I raced the XTERRA Stoaked Trail Race a few years back and it is one of my favorite summer races even though the course is a challenge (same course as the XTERRA Stoaked TRI). This race is run by Team Amp and my good friend and amazing Ultra Runner Chad Denning (he is the same race organizer as the Winter Wild Series).  This race is a part of the Western New Hampshire Trail Running Series which runs all summer long and features some of New Hampshires best single track and every race has a fantastic raffle at the end!

XTERRA Stoaked Trail Race

XTERRA Stoaked Trail Race

I got to the course with plenty of time ready to race in my Purple Haze Skirt Sports Gym Girl Ultra and Wonder Girl Top with my favorite bright pink compression socks from SLS TRI. I figure even if I don’t race well at least I can feel fun and cheerful in my bright colors. I went out for a nice (somewhat hilly) warm-up to ensure that my muscles were warm and ready for the race. I have finally determined that I am not a sprinter (duh . . . I am a long distance runner!) so I need to run at least 20 minutes in order to get my body fully warmed up and ready to go otherwise it feels like I am not ready for the race until the race is halfway over!

Do you need a good long warm-up before you go out and race?

After I finished my warm-up I decided to carry water with me as I was already good and sweaty and that would ensure that I had plenty of fluids and would not need to stop at the water stations (YES!).  This sumer I have become accustomed to my new best trail running buddy my UltrAspire Surge Hydration Pack. It is light and has all kinds of cool pockets for my refueling needs and it has been good practice wearing it since I will be racing in it at my first 50K in October (YIKES!).

Do you every carry a hydration pack with you when you run? What kind?

The race started out fast. The front runners took off like a flash. I wanted to race today but am still a little nervous about my foot so played it safe on the trails where there were more rocks and roots (Careful footing during a trail race means a slower time but NO INJURY).  I am hoping that I will regain some confidence soon. During the race I focused on keeping a steady pace and running up the hills at an even pace with a strong push up to the crest of the hill and back down the other side. There was a lot of UP in the beginning of the race which really took a lot out of my legs.  At around 3.5 miles I started feeling somewhat lightheaded and decided to take my Ignite Naturals Reload Energy Gel and to have more water (I discovered later that night that I had picked up my kids terrible sinus cold which probably explains the fatigue/lightheadedness during the race).  After refueling I started feeling better after a few minutes and was able to get  my focus back on the race.

The last couple of miles in the run by a reservoir which I wanted to jump in to cool off) and through an open field which surprisingly was motivating because I could again see the other racers (I was alone in the woods for most of the race).  I was able to finish the race in 1:23 and change right behind this amazing 10 year old girl (YES, I said 10!). She was so speedy and seemed to be having an absolute blast on the course! I placed 5th in my age group (30-39) out of 13 which I feel was a strong finish considering how much time I had to take off from running earlier this year. Hopefully with some more time and hard work I be back to Boston Marathon shape in no time!

Even though I was not in the top three I was happy with my finish and even happier to win a prize in the raffle–a loaf of bread from King Arthur Flour!

Breadwinners! Thank you King Arthur Flour

Breadwinners! Thank you King Arthur Flour

Do you have a favorite trail race? Please tell me which one!

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Winter Wild Championships at Bretton Woods Race Recap

Winter Wild Championship at Bretton Woods Organic Runner Mom Team Amp

Winter Wild Championship at Bretton Woods photos coutesy of snapACIDOTIC

Challenging myself racing up a mountain–It’s Winter Wild!

The Winter Wild Series Championship at Bretton Woods Ski Resort (NH) definitely rounded out the winter mountain running series with a bang.  I woke up on race day to a surprisingly gorgeous, fluffy, 6 inches of fresh powder just outside my doorstep. Ironically being the closest race to home this was the slowest drive due to the star wars like snowflakes coming directly at the windshield as we headed to the mountain. I picked up my friend Bridget (Series Champion Age Group 30-39 and most awesome training partner) and we were both geared up to conquer the mountain.

This would be the 7th mountain course that we would tackle together this winter. This seems like an awesome feat especially since these races all take place in the wee hours of the morning in the middle of frozen New Hampshire winter. The community of racers had developed an excellent camaraderie over the course of the series joining together on the morning of the race with wide smiles and energized excitement.

After determining how many layers to wear (and of course being the day before St. Paddy’s Day I was decked out in all green, even my Skirt Sports running skirt), and putting my MICROspikes on over my new favorite trail shoe (the Montrail Mountain Masochist–Appropriately named don’t you think!) Bridget and I headed out to check out the snow and to warm-up. While the fresh powder may seem great for the skiers and snowboarders it added an additional challenge for the runners. The trick was to find  the best surface to gain the most solid traction. We ran up the narrow snow mobile path carved in the sweet powder meeting fellow runner Brandon Baker on the trail. We all agreed that running in the untouched powder actually seemed to be less slippery and offer more purchase than the groomed section of trail.

After a nice warm-up to get the blood pumping and the breathing going we headed to the starting line to find our friendly competitors. I absolutely love the energy at the start of these races, all racers counting down to the start in unison wearing spikes (like something out of medieval times), with boards strapped to their backs and feet (snowboards and skis). As soon as the race starts an extreme quiet falls over the field of runners. The only sounds to be heard for the trek up the slope are the sounds of breathing and crunching, and the shushing of skis.  The climb is more gradual than some of the races have been but goes on for TWO MILES! I quickly move over into a corridor of soft powder parallel to the groomed corduroy (skiers delight).  I focus on my own strength. I use my legs and remind myself of all of the work on the mountains and on tough runs through the winter that have built my quads, hamstrings and calves for power. I use my upper-body to find a rhythm and propel myself up. I focus on my breathing working to use calm power as I challenge myself to keep up with the other runners. The field is strong and the women in the front of the pack work in a tight group to challenge each other. The determination is incredible. Each runner/racer works through their own challenges trading places with strategic passes all the way to the top. It is beautiful on the mountain. A moment to capture in your mind.

Reaching the top is exhilarating and the sweat now dripping is a reward for the effort of the climb. I round the corner with an amazing female competitor just on my heels. On the way down my feet disappear into clouds of powder. Each footfall has a soft landing. You feel like you are gliding almost flying. The kid inside of me lets go and I run with a crazy smile and determination (one minor setback on the way down, a shoelace becomes untied–I worry that my shoe may fly off but run harder anyways). As I close in towards the finish line I hear Bridget and Amy cheering and glimpse the pink jacket of awesome runner Sarah out of the corner of my eye. I passed her on the way up but could not hold her off into the finish line. I finish in a time of 41:15 for a 4.25 mile mountain course. I am thrilled and the endorphins are rushing.

The Winter Wild Series ends for the year at Bretton Woods and I find myself finishing as 2nd Woman Overall in My Age Group 30-39. What an amazing experience to be a part of. This race series has helped me not only to fine tune my body with some super intense speed-work but also to fine tune my mind for the season ahead of challenging races. I am stronger and I have mental toughness and motivation to get out and go for it–Boston Marathon here I come! I challenge you like I challenged the mountains all winter long!

A big thank you to Chad Denning of Team Amp for putting on the amazing Winter Wild Race Series and also to acidoticRACING for hosting the series championship! Congratulations to all of the racers for an amazing series. I hope you had as much crazy winter wild fun as I did!

I can’t wait to see you all out on the trails and in the mountains this spring and summer!

Link Love:

Where the Wild Things Are-Outdoor Mom

Three Incredible Days With Lots of Incredible People-DangerGirl

Winter Wild Course Preview-Irongirl and Ultrarunning Boy

Winter Wild at Suicide 6-Photos by Nanci

2013 Winter Wild Championship-snapACIDOTIC 

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Motivation Monday: Dream. Focus. Motivate. Challenge.

#MotivationMonday

#MotivationMonday

I’ve got big dreams for what I want to do with running and am surrounded by such inspirational people who have dreamed amazing dreams, focused on their goals and dedicated themselves to making their dreams a reality. I want that reality too! Now, if only I could get over this wicked cold virus so I could get back down to business! I am trying to heed the advice of my coach Denise (The Sustainable Athlete) and take it easy but it’s hard. Just when I was feeling my strongest physically and mentally my immune system crashed. It’s pretty hard to avoid getting sick when you spend your days with little ones who want to snuggle and need help blowing their cute little noses all day.

The Boston Marathon is in about 7 weeks or so and training was a complete bust last week. I ran once on my treadmill and ran the Winter Wild Mountain Race on Saturday Morning at Pat’s Peak. Running the mountain race probably wasn’t the best decision since I was not feeling in 100% health and I had to get up at 3:30 in the morning to get to the race on time. But you know what it’s like when you are a crazy runner–I had to do the race to get my points for the series since I am currently holding steady in second place.

Sweet 2-lap 4 mile mountain race course at Pat's Peak (yes, I even run up mountains in the winter in my Skirt Sports!)

Sweet 2-lap 4 mile mountain race course at Pat’s Peak (yes, I even run up mountains in the winter in my Skirt Sports!)

The weather on Winter Wild Race Day was gorgeous. Light snow was falling and the temperatures were in the high 20’s. WARM! Unfortunately for the runners (in MICROspikes) the running surface was a bit mushy under foot making footing a bit tricky especially on the way down the mountain. The racers on skis and snowboards (“Heavy Metal” division) were loving the conditions though! I was happy to be at the race on such a beautiful morning with some of my favorite runners and competitors. Before the race I warmed up on the ski hill and enjoyed the gorgeous view of the sun just starting to paint the sky in pastel hues. When we lined up at the starting line it was just perfect seeing the smiles and feeling the positive energy coming from this somewhat crazy group of athletes. There were many kids at the race too trying to win money for the athletic programs at their schools through Michele Obama’s “Let’s Move!” Campaign. To be totally honest though I’m not sure who had bigger smiles, the kids or the adults.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel as I headed up the mountain but quickly discovered that I had no “Go Power.” My body felt like a noodle . . . not strong at all. Usually when I get to the top of the mountain and am ready to descend I am able to switch gears and just go for it. Not this time however, there just wasn’t any more . . . Have you ever felt like that during a race? So, I just decided to run and have fun . . . as fun as you can have running 4 miles on a 2-lap mountain race course. Even feeling less than 100% I still managed to pull of a third place finish in my age group which I was pleased with. My prize, a sweet Winter Wild beer mug!

Cheers to another awesome Winter Wild Mountain Race at Pat's Peak!

Cheers to another awesome Winter Wild Mountain Race at Pat’s Peak!

There are three races left in the Winter Wild Race Series. One is a dog race at Whaleback Mountain. I am not sure if my crazy cairn terrier Lucy is up for the challenge but my friends and I had some good laughs imagining Lucy riding in a sled behind me up the trail.

Crazy Lucy AKA "The Scrambler." My awesome cairn terrier.

Crazy Lucy AKA “The Scrambler”

The final two Winter Wild Mountain races are at Mt. Sunapee and the Championship is at Bretton Woods right before St. Patty’s Day so be prepared for a mas of runners clad in green descending down the mountain at morning’s first light!

So now, it’s time to nurse myself back to 100% health and get back to some serious Boston Marathon training. I dream about a marthon PR at Boston and I am ready for the challenege.

Now I am going to make a giant pot of chicken noodle soup when I am done writing, I am going to drink a lot of water, take my vitamins, and go to sleep early like a good girl! I want my body to be able to function like a well oiled machine on marathon day and the focus and hard work begins now. Even though it’s been tough to take it easy, I know in the long run my body will thank me and hopefully I will reap the rewards of some amazing race results this spring!

I dream of being a faster stronger tougher mountain and trail runner. What about you?

I AM READY. BRING. IT. ON!

Oh and just for a little extra challenge for my race schedule this summer I have entered the lottery for the Mt. Washington Road Race again. Fingers Crossed that I will get an entry this year. I will keep you posted!

Am I crazy? The ultimate Mountain Road Race Challenge–The Mount Washington Road Race

Am I crazy? The ultimate Mountain Road Race Challenge–The Mount Washington Road Race

How do you stay motivated and focused when you get sick?

#MotivationMonday Link Love

#MotivationMonday Link Love

Marathon Monday Week 1: Happy Fit Mama

Monday Motivation: Little Fancy Nancy

Training Truths NYC Half Week 6: Running Escapades

34 Ways to get in 30 minutes: Food & Fun on the Run

Two Races in 16 Hours: Dangergirl 

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Motivation Monday (Tuesday) : Mini Winter Wild Mountain Runners and goals

Motivation . . .

It’s Monday and wow! am I tired! I will have to dig deep to find my motivation for the week ahead. What about you? What will you do to find your motivation this week to get out and run? . . . do you have a big race coming up? Are you training for a marathon or do you just have some personal fitness, health and wellness goals that you are trying to achieve in your everyday life?

Here are my goals for the week to help me keep my motivation and hopefully I will be able to check my goals off the list at the end of the week.

Organic Runner Mom’s Weekly Goals

  1. Go to BED earlier!!!! I am so busy these days–Running around taking care of my busy kids (ages 4 and 2), Working for our family business (Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs), Fulfilling the weekly requirements for my Health Coaching Program (Integrative Institute of Nutrition), and of course TRAINING for the Boston Marathon. I am in the habit of going to bed WAY too late which has got to change!
  2. Make at least 2 new recipes! (Check HERE for last weeks new delicious recipe!)
  3. Clean and Organize the toys. This clutter post holidays is driving me NUTS! Do you have any awesome systems for organizing your home?
  4. Complete core strengthening exercises twice this week because those abs of steel are not going to happen on their own unless perhaps you use the “As Seen on TV AB BELT” which claims to tone your abs through muscle stimulation without any exercise at all!!! (REALLY?!?!?)

    The AB BELT!

    The AB BELT!

  5. Do some YOGA to achieve some inner-peace. 

    My little yogis in training

    My little yogis in training

  6. RUN!!!!! The next Winter Wild Mountain Running race is coming up this weekend at Ragged Mountain (Check out the race details from last year HERE) and I need to work hard to maintain my standings in the series (currently 2nd overall in my Age Group!).
Winter Wild Mountain Running Series–If you take on this winter challenge brought to you by Team Amp (Chad Denning) you might be the winner of some Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs in the awesome post race raffle!

Winter Wild Mountain Running Series–If you take on this winter challenge brought to you by Team Amp (Chad Denning) you might be the winner of some Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs in the awesome post race raffle!

(make sure you notice the “photo bomb” by fellow #Fitfluential and blogger “BigzigFitness” in the back. He is now hooked on this crazy mountain running series thanks to me!)

And now for some extra motivation and entertainment for you today and the rest of the week here are my kids doing their early morning “Winter Wild” mountain running race at our house.

What Goals do you have for yourself this week to keep up your motivation?

 Motivation quote Steve Chandler
Motivation

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And later this week my recap of The Boston Prep 16 Miler.

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It’s time to get Winter Wild! Winter Wild Mountain Running series starts Now! Are you ready to play?

Winter Wild Mountain Running Series starts NOW!

First of all Happy New Year! Secondly, I hope you are ready to get Winter Wild again! Well, I am! It is time for the Team Amp Winter Wild Mountain Running Series to start up again and just in time for the arctic weather to arrive! If running up a mountain in the winter in New Hampshire is too much for you then I hope at least that you will follow my journey through this epic winter mountain running series.

WinterWild.com Mountain Running Series

Winter Wild-Winter Fun Race Series

Wachusett Mountain-Winter Wild Mountain Running Series

Wachusett Mountain-Winter Wild Mountain Running Series

 This weekend the mountain running series starts out at Wachusett Mountain in Massachusetts.  The race begins at 7 a.m. (before the skiiers hit the slopes) which hopefully means a r sunrise as an additional reward to the extreme endorphin rush after reaching the summit and racing back down the mountain! Last year I had never raced the Winter Wild Mountain Running Event before so each race brought new confidence and additional strength. I finished the series last year in 3rd place overall in my age group which was awesome. This year I am “hungry” to be faster on the mountain and hope to improve my finish times. This year I have spent a lot of time mountain running and trail running and have added additional core and strength training to my workouts. Hopefully I will feel stronger on the first climb this Saturday.

You are probably wondering how to get extra traction on the climb to the summit. The answer for me is a sweet pair of MicroSpikes from Kahtooola. These easy to wear crampons are amazing traction on freshly groomed mountain corduroy. This is especially beneficial on the run down the mountain when speeds borderline out of control.

Are you feeling motivated to join me yet? Well, maybe mountain running is not your thing but if you live in New England the best thing to do to ward off the winter blues is to bundle up, get outside and “play” in the snow. I can’t about your winter “play.”

A Perfect Day in the Outdoors-Winter Mountain Running

A Perfect Day in the Outdoors

Link Love:

King of the Hill-Trail Runner Magazine writes about the growing popularity of winter mountain running races including Winter Wild

Post Exercise Stiffness-Team Amp

Running in the Winter:Tips-Team Amp

Top 10 Tips for Winter Running-Montrail Blog

How I Survive Winter Running-Carrots N’ Cake

Winter Running Tips-ZOOMA Women’s Race Series

 

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Six in the Stix and a ski jump?

Saturday was my first time racing at Team Amp’s Six in the Stix Trail Race. It was a hot and sticky morning in NH do running in the woods sounded like a perfect idea. Before the race I quietly warmed up on the trail and this was one of the first things that I encountered . . .

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This might be the quickest way to the finish!

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Too bad I forgot my skis

A little ski jumping anyone?
I was hot before the race got started and felt antsy to get going. The energy of the racers was high as we entered the woods and I quickly found my pace as we entered the woods for some uphill. The woods were cool and the footing was soft.
Every time I get on the trails I feel like a kid on an adventure through green fairy land. The air always feels refreshing and the woods always seem magical even when i am pushing the pace. How do you feel when you are on the trails? Racing or just out for a fun run?
This race was my favorite distance. I know I can push hard through the finish and have begun to find my speed. The downhill came at about 3 miles in. I have been working hard on my downhill running. I’ve found it’s best to stay loose and let gravity take over. Running down is all about watching your footing while at the same time being just on the edge of out of control.
The race finished near the ski jump on the track. The loop around the track was a little jolting after being on the trail but I pushed to the finish in 49:56. I ended up third in my age group which landed me a spot on the “podium.”

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Psyched about my 3rd place finish and even more excited about enjoying some pancakes and my prize syrup.

The prize was sweet-maple syrup! Yes, please!
I hope to hit the trails again soon for another awesome trail race.
Happy running and get out there hit the trail!

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Syrup anyone?

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Six in the Stix Trail Race

Tomorrow will be another day of fun racing. I am headed to Newport, NH to run in the town forest at The Six in the Stix trail race. This race is a part of the Western NH Trail Race Series put on by Team Amp (Same organizers as the Winter Wild Series).

Trail Running Adventures

Trail running and racing is one of my favorite things to do. My first real experience with trail running began when I moved to Barnet, VT and began running on the Kingdom Trails with a bunch of runners who like to call themselves the Kingdom Krazies. We would spend countless hours running the endless trails, uphill and down, up the mountain, through the winding beautiful Vermont wilderness. How could you not fall in love with trail running? Racing on trails means going fast and the additional challenge of navigating the rocky/root covered terrain (roots sometimes being referred to as chicken necks which I think is hilarious) sometimes made slick by the rain. Racing on the trails brings a huge endorphin rush but at the same time a weird sense of calm that comes from the intense focus required for the fancy footwork as well from the crisp fresh air in the woods and sounds on the trails.

I welcome the adventure that awaits tomorrow. What adventures do you have planned?

Related articles

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Winter Wild Championship at Bretton Woods

Over the weekend I completed the Team Amp Winter Wild race series. The championship event took place at Bretton Woods and was hosted by Acidotic Racing.
The weather at race time (6:30 a.m.) was an unseasonably warm 40 degrees so I decided it was time to break out my green Skirt Sport running skirt with nothing on my legs but some crazy purple patterned Smartwoolsocks. Very festive for St. Patrick’s Day.

20120319-104925.jpg I was super psyched too to try out my new Kahtoola Micro-spikesfor better traction on the way up the mountain (especially helpful in the mushy slush covering the mountain). I was psyched about my new “bling,” a raffle prize from the series given to me by Magrethe a fellow Kingdom Krazy since my luck in the raffle was no luck at all (more on that later).

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The race began and I felt energized and strong. My calves and quads have definitely gotten a lot stronger since the series began which will definitely be helpful for my marathon this spring. The mountain was draped in an eerie fog from the warming snow. The runners at the front of the pack disappeared into the fog as they reached the summit. The strong women racers on the mountain have been inspiring at each race, so strong and determined and so fast!
The descent was exhilarating. Today the footing was a little softer and slippery allowing you to slide and glide with each foot strike. Running down the mountain I always feel like a kid, arms flailing, running free and light.

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I finished the 4.25 mile course today in 38:57. A fifth place finish which put me in a 3rd place finish overall for the series! Sweet!
It was great to see all of these high energy racers every week which today included my friend Martha aka Outdoor Mom enjoying her first race on skis with skins and Kingdom Krazies too!
The only disappointment for me at these races was that I did not win any of the excellent prizes in the raffle. Wait . . . I actually did win one prize . . . my number was called so I excitedly went to the front to find that I had won some organic eggs. Not just any organic eggs, ironically they were our Pete an Gerry’s Organic Eggs the eggs that we had donated to the race as prizes. Too funny!

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All in all what a great experience! We were lucky this year to have mild winter weather to make each race extra enjoyable. This race series is definitely something you should add to your race calendar next year to add a little adventure into your winter. Plus these races are extremely well run by energetic race director Chad Denning.
I can’t wait for the Western NH Trail Series also put on by Team Amp starting this spring.

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Happy running and hope to see you on the trails!

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Energy

It has been crazy around here. I love having a full plate and being scheduled to the max. I always feel more productive. Although sometimes when I take a break for a minute I almost feel winded (almost like after running up a mountain . . . Which by the way I’ll be doing again tomorrow morning at the “egg” crack of dawn. Winter Wild Round 3 here I come!).

2 Laps of Pats Peak=4 Miles of Winter Wild

My two little chicks keep me on my toes every day. I wish I could drink in endless amounts of twirling, dancing, jumping, laughing pure energy. From the moment they awake they are out of their beds as though the starter pistol has gone off at the start of a race. During the race of our day there are meals to be made and devoured, intense playing at home and at pre-school, a daily battle of wits between 3.5 year old and Mommy, and wrestling matches with a cranky toddler who has discovered the joy of play and doesn’t want to concede defeat to exhaustion.

In the middle of this chaos is time for me to work, to write, to run. I officially started training for The Key Bank Vermont City Marathon this week to add in a bit more craziness. A coach from my friend Doug’s awesome coaching business The Sustainable Athlete is setting up my training. I am looking forward to having a daily plan to provide extra motivation. It’s been a long time since I had real coaching for sport.

Sweet one on one coach for ENDURANCE athletes

I am hoping for a Boston qualifying time which will be a fast 3:40. I feel like I’ve built a good base this past fall and winter thanks to half marathons and long miles with the awesome Pete and Gerry’s Organic Chicks.

Now it’s time to dial it up a bit. And just to kick things off with a bang my first official workout was intervals and I chose my friend Bridget (crazy fast with the energy of my 3.5 year old ) as my interval buddy. I had great plans to complete this workout in the morning but life took over. So, this workout ended up being a headlamp run on a dark VT dirt road. It felt amazing though and always the perfect way to end a crazy day and somehow I am always able to find the energy.

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Post Intervals Glow

Now begins the race to the finish line. This time with a plan to guide me and high energy surrounding me to serve as motivation.

Where do you get your energy?

Find your power source

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