Hiking Doesn’t Always Include a View – Part 2

Hiking Doesn’t Always Include a View – Part 1


Summit of Mt Abraham

With zero views the day before, drinking and stuffing our faces at Prohibition Pig, and my brilliant idea for everyone to hike from App Gap to Lincoln Gap, grabbing two of Vermont’s 4000 footers, well, everyone but myself and Ruby as we were playing car sherpas, it was a new day.

Another drizzly dreary day and the view from App Gap was almost non-existent.  We had Ruby’s car, my car, Ryan’s truck, and Dani’s car to shuttle so we sent the runners off down the trail and got started.  It took us a solid 3 hours of driving back and forth to transport all of the vehicles and get ourselves ready to start hiking.  Our goal was to hopefully meet everyone at the summit but they were moving fast and were about a half mile down from the summit when we met up with them.


Fairy House

We noticed we were all in Topoathletics!


Topo Party

They headed on down the hill while Ruby and I continued our climb.  The top was completely socked in and with everyone already at the bottom waiting for us, the plane crash exploration would have to be tabled for another trip.  A couple quick photos and down the mountain we went.

Summit with Ruby

After picking our way down from the summit, we ran where we could, and before we knew it were back at the bottom!  This was a quick and fun hike that has become one of my favorites when time is limited.

How do you do it…!? How do you run the crazy long miles..!?

My friend Crystal, over at Muscles and Miles, posted the question “How you do it IT…!? How do you run the crazy long miles..!?”

✨✨Okay, trail runners [especially my ultra running friends] — how do you do IT…!? ✨✨How do you run the crazy long miles..!? • • I'm asking you, because someone asked me the very same thing earlier today. And, the answer is really not that easy. Of course you put in the training time, you practice the nutrition, and try to live life. But, the how to these miles is so much more. It's heart, will and the ability to suffer. It's the digging deep to turn can't into can. It's making it to the next tree or walking backwards down the mountain to save your legs. Who knows exactly how I do it, but I do. And, that's what counts. • • Let's hear your thoughts 😃. #womensrunning #womensrunningcommunity #sweatpink #trailrunner #trailrunning #ultrarunner #ultrarunning #run #runfar #runner #runitfast #runshots #adventure #fitfam #fitmom #getfit #optoutside #instarunners #inspiringwomenrunners #musclesandmiles

A photo posted by c r y s t a l (@crystalseaver) on

It wasn’t an easy question to answer because sometimes I wonder myself, “how do I do it.”

Before I can answer the how, I guess I should answer the why!  Why do I run crazy long distances.  I should also clarify that currently for me, crazy long distances equals 50k.  I won’t be breaking into anything longer until next year when I am signed up for my first 100 miler.  Yes, you read that right, I am signed up for Infinitus, put on my the Endurance Society, which if you remember, I ran last year, racking up 34 miles.

Back to my why.  It’s so simple and yet so complex.

Q. Why?
A. Why not?

Q. Why?
A. Because I can.

Q. Why?
A. Because to pick a goal, a thing beyond my current reach, to work towards that goal, to get stronger, to get healthier, to see what I am capable of, to know what I am capable of, to have to dig deep when I reach the darkest parts of my mind, to have to remember to slow down to navigate and continue and to speed up when the opportunity arises, to be in surroundings that take my breath away, to push when my mind when it wants me to quit, reminds me who I am.

So how do I do it?

Left foot, right food, repeat to the fiinish. One foot in front of the other until I reach the goal in front of me.  This often gets broken down into making it to the end of the lap, to the next water station, to the top of the hill, to the next tree, just 5 steps, in whatever increments I need.

I check in with my body and evaluate the pain and hurt.  Am I pushing injury? No?  Keep going.  Are things starting to look fuzzy and wobbly? Time to eat sugar and drink water.

When my mind is telling me no more, I tell myself, yes more.

In the end, if the training is there, and I can keep my mind right, I can do anything. Sometimes I want it more than others. Sometimes I have to think of others who can no longer do what I am doing and would give anything to do it, sometimes I have to think of others who can no longer do it because they are no longer here in the physical sense and I am doing it in their memory and honor.  Sometimes I just have to pull on pure stubborness.  If you know me, you know just how stubborn I can be!

I also rely on friends to support me! I am not in this sport alone.  In fact, I wouldn’t be where I am without the support of this crazy and amazing community.

group 20 miler

Never discount the power of friends to support you❤ @ Infinitus 2016

So you signed up for 24 Hours of Shale Hell, now what!

24 Hours of Shale HellOriginally written for and posted on http://www.newenglandspahtens.com, July 29, 2016.
See the post here: http://www.newenglandspahtens.com/so-you-signed-up-for-24-hours-of-shale-hell-now-what/

So you bit the bullet and signed up for 24 Hours of Shale Hell or 8 hours, or some other race where you must go as many laps as possible in a given time period.  Your reasoning might have been a desire to challenge yourself to see what you are capable of or you might have been suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out) but at this point, the why matters a little less and the how matters a little more.

A 24 hour race takes a little more than just showing up.  Many of us can show up and fake our way through a 5k or even a 10k.  To go for 24 hours, you must pay attention to your nutrition, you hydration, your feet, and your body.  You also have to keep your head in the game.

where-magic-happensSet a goal.  It gives you something to push towards or something to push beyond.  The way you set your goal is your choice.  You are going to go as long as you can, regardless of how many laps that gets you.  You want to get at least 5 laps or more than 3 laps.  You might want to go the entire time and take less than 20 minutes between each.  Whatever will drive you forward.

Know your why.  This can be a part of your goal but doesn’t have to be.  You want to push yourself.  You are running in memory or honor of someone.

Stephanie Rios Bin Drop

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rios

Head Games.  Your mind will try to tell you that you are too tired to go on, that you can’t do it.  Find a way to silence that voice.  That being said, listen to your body and stop before it gets injured.

Despite telling you to watch out for head games, if you decide you are done and have had enough, that is okay. Just make sure it is a rational choice and not an emotional “I QUIT!”

So now that your head is in the game you need to take care of everything else!

Stephanie Rios Food Bin

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rios

Hydration.  Start early. Start now. If you normally drink 3-4 liters in a day, up that should be plenty.  If you drink less, up it.  While Shale Hill has 4 water stations on course, I encourage you to carry water with you in a bottle, a belt, or a hydration pack.  The last thing you want is to get dehydrated while running multiple laps in the hot sun.  If you like your water icy cold, bring a cooler with ice, don’t count on a venue to have it.  If you like having something mixed in your water, electrolytes, sugars, such as Nuun or Tailwind, you can pre-mix in liters or gallons and keep in your cooler ready to refill.

Stephanie Rios Food

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rios

Nutrition.  Keep your tummy happy, don’t try new foods on race day.  If you know bean burritos give you an upset stomach don’t eat them the night before or during the race.  Make sure to consume calories during your run and in between your laps.  This can be in the form of gels and chews while on the course, or via tailwind,
but could also be real food, almonds and dried mangos.  When you come in to transition, in addition to refilling your water, make sure you to consume calories.  Eight to ten hours into a 24 hour even is not the time you want to bonk.  Bring more food with you than you think you will need.  Remember, food for fuel and food for happy.

Foot Care. Keep your feet dry and happy.  Change your shoes on socks as often as necessary to keep your feet dry. Apply Trail Toes or some other type of moisture barrier.  Powder your feet to remove moisture, drain blisters as they form to keep them from getting worse. Blisters are not your own problem, keeping your feet dry is imperative to keeping away maceration.  Maceration, if severe enough, can end your race.

Body and Chafing. Lube is your friend.  Inner thighs, where the waist pack or hydration pack rubs, shoulders, and especially between your butt cheeks.  Finding out you chafed when you get in the shower is not a pleasant experience.

Stephanie Rios Bin

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rios

Gear List. Towels, headlamp(s), spare batteries, water, food, gels, hydration pack, water bottle, socks, shoes, two to three sets of running clothes, long sleeve, hat, sun glasses, tent, chair, first aid kit, foot care kit, sunblock, bug spray, and a roller if you want one. Don’t forget a bin or bag to hold it all and keep it organized!

That’s it! Oh, and remember to have fun.

Hiking Doesn’t Always Include a View – Part 1

Mansfield UpA few weeks ago, my plans were all over the place.  I finally had it nailed down, or so I thought, and then I had to change them again.  The weekend turned out to be a fantastic time with friends, old and new; we climbed a few mountains, ate good food, played with puppies, and drank good cider.

Dinner at The Bench in Stowe was incredible.  A must go if you are in the area. Roasted half duck, gluten free wood-fired pizza, sandwiches, poutine, beer, and cider! It was the perfect way to start off the weekend.  Thanks Ryan and Tess! I look forward to stuffing my face here after The North Face Race to the Top of Vermont.

A night of new faces, fire, and drinks, it wasn’t long till everyone was passed out. I got up as almost everyone was getting ready but since I was hungover, I wasn’t ready yet to go hiking.  A nap in my new Lamzac was called for especially since I figured out how to get some air in it! Watching Ryan try to fill it while drunk the night before was hilarious but netted zero results. I woke to the sound of my picture being taken.

Sleepy Hannah

Sleeping like a baby… or like I’m hungover… same difference

It wasn’t long before we were driving up through Smugglers Notch looking for the trail head to Hell Brook Trail.  I forgot just how beautiful this area is.  While getting ready, I realized I had made a grave error when packing my gear! I had a long sleeve with me, but my shell to put on at the summit was no where to be found.  Apparently I had left it on my kitchen table.  Whoops! Don’t be like me, pack your shell.

Mansfield Up 2

Long sleeve was ditched long ago.

We started to climb.  I knew by looking at the map we were pretty much going straight up the side of the mountain making it a short and steep climb.  I read the guidebooks after the fact.

Hellbrook Trail Sign

They weren’t kidding on the straight down! It is also straight up.

This is a very advanced trail, they don’t suggest downclimbing it, they don’t suggest climbing it with dogs.  We did both, on a rainy day.  The trail was technical and challenging but beautiful.


Mansfield Puppies

King Tuckerman and Cayenne the Boss

The summit was socked in, there was no view to speak of, save for the 5 seconds the clouds parted while we were on the Adams Apple and we could see Mansfield.  The wind was whipping.  We didn’t last very long before it was time to head back down the mountain. I was cold!

Mansfield Summit

How often can you say YOU were in a cloud?

The climb down was easier over all.  I could simply sit on my butt and slide when I needed too.   I consider it a win that the one location that is a real scramble, with a bolted in steel bar for assistance, that I didn’t cry when I went over it.

Mansfield Puppies and Caves

Caves.  I kinda wanted to just hang out in them! 

The trail was beautiful.  One I highly recommend.  Even if it is challenging.  There were waterfalls, caves, climbing, and on a clear day there are even views from the top.

Mansfield Waterfalls

One of the waterfalls along the trail. This is closer to the trailhead.

* All photos courtesy of Ryan Trott.

Infinitus 2016

We all have our favorite events for one reason or another.  One of mine is just over the mountain from me, tucked away in Goshen, Vermont.  Infinitus is put on by The Endurance Society and is billed as a rugged trail race (registration is now open for 2017).  Rugged is putting it mildly with distances raging from 8k to 888k.  Yes, you read that right, 888k or 551.8 miles.  I was signed up for the 48 hour option, my goal to beat my mileage of 26 from the previous year.  Many had a goal of 100 miles in order to earn a belt buckle as is customary at 100 Mile Ultras.  Anyway, the rugged miles are only a part of what makes this one of my favorite races.  It is like a family reunion, people I only get to see once or twice a year.  These people have amazing hearts, incredible grit, and unbelievable courage.

When I showed up on Thursday evening to get ready for my 48 hour challenge, the 888k runners had been going for 7 days at this point, the 72 hours had started that morning.  There was an energy in their air that wouldn’t be dampened by the oppressive heat.

Camp was set, hellos were said, hugs were shared, and it was time for food with Ryan, Yitzy, Boh, Stephen, and two others before getting some much-needed sleep.   Morning came way too fast and as base camp buzzed to life and we were all giddy with anticipation, or trepidation, I am still not sure which!  Andy Weinberg, one of the race directors, asked me if I was racing every time he saw me because I didn’t put on my shoes until the last-minute.   The answer was always the same, yes Andy, I am racing!

I had no plans to stay with anyone, no formula on how to achieve the most miles, I was simply going to go until I couldn’t anymore.  I wanted more than I got the previous year (26 miles) and I wanted at least one of my loops to be in the dark.  As we were lining up, I chatted with Devin, Jessica, Amy, and Amy, and we all kind of state we would stay together as best as possible.


The best view on the 7 mile loop. Scott, Hannah, Amy, Amy, Jessica, Devin

The canon sounded and we were off, running, way too fast.  Not a pace I could keep happily.  Luckily it wasn’t long until we were across the road and into the woods facing the first of many climbs and we all slowed to a crawl.

clown day

Might as well kiss the creepy stuff, clowns and all.

It wasn’t terribly long before we started encountering the creepy things that Andy and Jack, although I firmly believe this is more Jack than Andy, like to place on the trail to entertain us.


Selfies with a creepy kitty.

Many shenanigans ensued as we took photos with the creatures and paraphernalia we encountered.


Just a quick break!

Up and up, down and down, and it before we knew it we were finishing the 7 mile loop.

End of 7 Mile Lap Jump

Jumping for joy!

I succeeded in hiking up with little to no rest, running the downhills, and despite the shenanigans was pretty happy with my time.

End of 7 Mile Lap with Amy

7 mile loop is finished!

In base camp, we were to refill our packs, check out feet, and we had hoped to be back out on course within 20 minutes.  It was closer to an hour.  This MUST change for next year.  Too long.

Time to tackle the 20 mile loop.

group 20 miler

20 mile loop.

This was going to differ from the previous year and was, from what we had heard, nowhere near as sad.  The bugs were not as bad, the mud was much drier, and while longer, it wasn’t as miserable.  We were about to find out.

creepy 2

Always kiss the creepy things! It somehow makes it less creepy.

More walk/hike/run.

creepy 3

More creepy things.  

We saw a bear flank!  Water station 1 and we all took a quick break refueling, refilling, reapplying.  About mile 9 of this loop, I roll my ankle.  It sucked!  I stand off of it for a few, start hobbling along, and then seem back to normal.  No view at the top. More hiking up, more running down. No mini rolls but as the miles truck on, I can tell that I am compensating, that my gait is changing.


Contemplating what I have done and what I still must do.

After a really long run down to the 2nd water station, our group has gotten separated at this point, I am starting to hurt.  Jack is arriving to drop off ice, we chat for a few, he takes off, I wait a few minutes as a I see two of my group approaching, but I don’t wait for them after a quick hello.

The sign says that we have 6.5 miles to the end of the loop.  I continue my walk/hike/run method, I start to cry because my body hurts.  I come up on another racer who is clearly hurting, I try to get him to move with me but he says I am moving much faster.  I move on.  My cry turns to sobs as my body hurts but I eat some food, take a quick break, and then pull up my big girl panties and take off down the trail.  I am good, I’ve got this.


These reminded me of you, Mom. Pretty pink Wild Columbine.

Time passes and I see some pretty pink flowers that make me think of my mom.  She used to take close-ups of flowers when she hiked.  I stop to photograph them and lose it.  I sit down, I cry, I scream, I talk to my mom.  For the second time, I stand up, pull up my big girl panties and take off down the trail.


One more break at the dam, more food, a few minutes to take in the beauty, and time to finish this lap. 

Ahead of me I see where the 20 mile loop and 7 mile loop come together.  I know I only have about 2-2.5 miles to go.  I breathe a sigh of relief and feel the tears coming again.  At that moment, I spot a runner just coming into view where the trails merge and before I can open my mouth, Ryan calls out.  He is just finishing his second 7 mile loop.  We walk together, chatting, I expect him to take off at any minute but he doesn’t.  We finish the loop.  I didn’t cry again.

in between laps

Little muscle release to get Ryan back out on the 20 miler.

Back at base camp, Ryan, Yitzy, Mike, and some others are getting food and gearing up to go back out.  I know that I need to rest my ankle and reevaluate.  I have done 27 miles.  I visit, I help the boys get ready to go back out, I contemplate.  I want more than I did last year, so that means a 7 mile loop.  I want a night lap which means I need to wait a bit.  Do I go out tonight or do I shower and get some rest.  After rolling my ankle, I don’t know if the 20 mile loop again will be a smart decision.  Back and forth I go.  Eventually, I decide a shower and sleep is my best option.  I can hang out all day, rest my ankle, and get a night lap on the 7 mile loop.  I won’t have enough time to attempt the 20 mile loop.  If I did the 7 mile loop that night, I might just attempt the 20 mile loop again, which would not have been wise.

I crawl into bed and get a text from Ryan, “vomiting,” so after a little back and forth and finally no response, I guess he is out of service and head out to greet the pack at the 2nd aid station.  Several people come back with me, they are done, others continue on.  Daylight brings a new day and I am the only one planning to go back out.

The 8k, marathon, and 88k runners are arriving, there is more hugs, hellos, and great energy.  Before we know it they are off.  The rest of us are hanging out under the tent, recovery care, ciders, cheering of the runners.  We are getting ready to go for food, snagging Orla to go with us.


It was HOT. Refilling the ice.

More time hanging out under the tent, more recovery, more ciders, more cheering.  We made many new friends, Dani is just up the road from me in Waterbury! The day was simply fantastic and before I knew it, it was time for me to start getting ready for my final 7 miles.  I had no plans on who was going with me but it didn’t take more than a few minutes to have Shannon and Jamie ready to go.

final lap

Awesome guys. Jamie and Shannon, I will take you on course with me anyday!

They were content to let me set pace and the only time they were ever ahead of me was during my pee stop.  We climbed and climbed, we ran and ran.  We had a great pace going.  I was a bit worried about how I would feel coming upon the clown in the dark.  I was prepared, it wasn’t as creepy as I feared.

clown night

Creepy clown.

Look, it’s the sign post, look it’s the pond, let’s go! Running across the road and to collect our medals.  Andy was ready and waiting.  Our friends were hanging out on the cool concrete floor of the barn.  None of them were ready for us to walk through the door.  This 7 miles was about 30 minutes faster than my first 7 mile loop.  I am exhausted, knowing that I made the right decision to work my way out of the 20 mile loop because I would have attempted it.

I stay up waiting for friends to finish, worried because of text messages, relief when they are on course, and finally they are in and I can go to bed.

stay puff man

Will Bradly – 888k Racer – As the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man

Morning comes and with it, the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, the winner of the 888k crossing the finish line in one of the creepy masks from the course, more good food, time with friends, and packing up.

Selfie Brook

Till next time! 

7 Sisters 2015 Race Recap

Courtesy of http://7sisterstrailrace.com/
What do you do the day after running 3 laps of an obstacle course race located on the beach, covering approximately 12 miles?  Why you go “run” the 7 Sisters Trail Race of course!
Billed as the “Hardest Up/Down Race” by Runners World Magazine on their America’s Best Trail Races list.  With a cutoff time of 12:00 for the turnaround.  Whelp, make that 11:30!  Apparently I missed the posts on their Facebook page about the change in cutoff.  What was already going to be a challenge, I had been freaking out for days about now making the cutoff, and I just lost 30 minutes, was now something I seriously thought I would DNF.
I arrived early with plenty of time to register, use the bathroom, and do what I really love to do: visit with people!  I knew quite a few people running, several who had come out just to spectate the start, and it was a fantastic way to spend the morning.  It wasn’t long before we were lining up, I missed the group photo, and we were off.  It is a matter of yards before the trail takes a turn and we are going UP.  The ups and the downs are no joke.
Up we go.  Photo courtesy of Heather Gannoe
It was hot.  I was sunburned from the day before.  I had a plan to drink every time my Runkeeper spoke to me which was every 15 minutes and every mile.  This worked well.  I would eat something every 1-2 times she spoke to me and ingest a salt tab every hour or so.  I never bonked.  I never stopped sweating.  Despite my legs feeling brutalized, I never actually felt bad.
Top of the first section of the ascent after the cutoff.  I MADE THE CUTOFF!!!

I was really worried about making the cutoff.  Luckily for me, despite saying 11:30, they seemed to have adjusted the cutoff to be 2:30 hours from the time your wave started.  I made it, with mere minutes to spare.  I had just enough time to get some fruit, refill my pack, rinse my hands, and get back on the course.  I never got a photo of the view from the Summit House but it was beautiful.  The volunteer at the top told me if I hurried, I should catch a pair of females who were just ahead of me. That running together keeps you motivated.  So I moved, as fast as I could.  I finally caught up to them!

Heidi, Marie, and Cat.  What amazing people.  I had a great time with them.  Heidi was struggling, so I did what I do best.  I figured out where she was hurting, helped get her moving, rubbed out her butt, and got her to smile.  Marie was moving slowly as she had rolled her ankle, bad enough to slow her down but not so bad she didn’t make the cutoff!  Cat was amazing. Turns out we have mutual friends. After staying with them for quite a while, I had to keep moving as my legs were wanting to tighten up.  I could hear them off and on and when I came in to the last aid station, signaling we had two miles to go, I was able to see them come in.  Heidi, despite her pain, was adamant that she was going to finish.  I had to hug her before moving on again.

The LAST tiny bit of downhill before rounding the corner to the finish!

Luckily they took off not much later and we were able to semi stay together the rest of the race. Coming down the last hill together and seeing the finish line. We all dug deep and gave everything we had left to give.  My friends cheering at the finish and willing to hug my sweaty nasty self was amazing.  Thank you all for the support.  I cannot wait for next year.


My official results! 429. Hannah Hawley, 33, VT 5:51:23 out of 434 finishers, 471 started.

Recovery #chocolatemilk with my 7 Sisters hat.  That pattern? That’s the elevation!

Frigus 2015 Race Recap

10887264_1619465784948111_4202685732232091291_oFor the second time in my life, I let Andy Weinberg talk me into doing a race that I was convinced was beyond my capabilities.
The Endurance Society‘s second event.  Frigus.  A winter race with the options of a 10k, 30k, or 60 snowshoe; 10k, 30k, 60k back-country ski; 5k sled run; and combined, 30k ski, 30k snowshow, 5k sled run.
I wanted to sign up for the 10k snowshoe.  I ended up signing up for the 30k snowshoe.
Taking place at Blueberry Hill Inn in Brandon, Vermont, with packet picket offered Friday evening in addition to Saturday morning.  While a room could be booked at the Inn, it was rather pricey.  They also offered space in the upper loft of the ski lodge where we could drop a sleeping pad and sleeping bag.  We had access to bathrooms and running water and a place to sleep that couldn’t be closer if we tried to the start for $12.  Arriving early meant that time could be spent with other racers and the race directors.  I couldn’t imagine starting the race any other way.
10974727_1627509224143767_5408604746780086258_oWith packet pickup, we were provided with our bib, a t-shirt (reminded me of our NE Spahtens shirts in the male cut) that were unisex size but super soft.  We signed waivers, confirmed our distance and were given the option to change it, and were reminded of our start times.  They had the finishers medals on display, as well as the winners certificates, and the winners Endurance Society etched maple syrup bottles.
A great evening of visiting with friends, a decent nights sleep, and it was morning and the air was buzzing with the energy for the day.  The morning was spent visiting, hugging, feeling nervous about the race!  The temperatures were in the single digits when we started with the highs promised to be in the low twenties.

All the skiers were to start at 7:15, all the snowshoers were to start at 8:15, and the 5k sledders at 9:15.  Andy called out that all heats would be starting on time.  10 minute and 5 minute warnings were given, that a brief meeting was to be held before each heat started and they wouldn’t be waiting if you weren’t there.
10506838_10155223366425357_4869254861594683998_oAndy instructed everyone to get behind the start line for the skiers, a combination of 10k, 30k, 60k, and combined racers.  They were given there briefing and off they went.  An hour later, the snowshoers were given the same.  We had 2 miles of gradual up, 2 miles of steep up.  We would have one aid station at approximately the halfway point.
And we were off.
Neely Fortune, Mathieu Lo, and I decided to stay together, walk the course, have fun, push ourselves to finish.
The first section of the course was for all 3 distances.  At some point the 10k would turn off and we would continue on.  It was incredibly inspiring to watch Mark Webb crutch his way up the hill, taking on the 10k.  I was able to have a glass of wine with Amy Parulis and her father as they were doing a party lap 10k to celebrate his birthday.  I tackled Mathieu, my way of passing along Ilene’s hello.  Got a hug from the fantastic Richard Ricciardi.
The course was beautiful.  Mountains, streams, lakes, snow.  We went uphill, downhill, flats, up and down.  We passed my next home, crossed some bridges, saw some skiers out for a jaunt, snowmobilers, and we were at the aid station.  Greg Tappin was there with a smile and my chocolate milk and gluten free pretzels for me!  While we were there, we were lapped by a 60k skier.  He was flying!
10676158_627406416924_7211098258695582779_nWe were told we were approximately halfway.  On we went.  We would get passed by more 60k snowshoers, Drew lapped us on his way to a 2nd place finish, listened to music, and start to feel our bodies breaking down.  Hip flexors, knees, chafing.
It wasn’t long before the finish line was in sight.  My own personal cheering section was waiting for me.  I hurt.  I wanted to cry. I did it!  I hugged Lisa Klinkenberg, looked at the ground, and laid down.  I was exhausted.  I was given my medal and mustered the energy to stand up and get inside where there was chili and warmth.
10801600_10153062948853903_839463310116814731_nThere was a fire outside to enjoy and racers still on course.  We enjoyed the fire, the sunset, and cheered racers as they came through.  Since the course didn’t close until midnight, there was a bit of time left to wait.  Having been in the back of the pack too many times to count, whenever possible, I like to be there to greet finishers.
We took a trip up to the aid station in hopes of catching friends and cheering them on.  We missed Amanda and Billy, helped out Ryan with encouragement to keep going since if he finished he would be the 2nd place finisher for the combined, cheered on Shannon and Doug, visited with Jane and Ted, and heard from Eric that he hadn’t passed Liza and Jordan.  Worried that they were headed back to base, we headed back ourselves.
The fire needed stoking, racers were finishing, and eventually we got word that Liza and Jordan were still on course and would be finishing close to midnight.  It was an amazing atmosphere.

Overall, The Endurance Society nailed it.  There seemed to be no issues at registration, they didn’t run out of medals, race directors were visible and available.  No one got lost, the event started on time, everything that was promised was delivered.
My Official Results: 8:04:05 for the 30k Snowshoe
Next year: make my first lap faster than this year… and still go out to finish the 60k!!!
I cannot wait for Infinitus!

Stop Hiding Behind Your Comfort Zone

where-magic-happensWe have all heard the saying “Life beings at the end of your comfort zone.” by Neale Donald Walsh.
We all have places we feel comfortable and confident.  We know that we will succeed, even if it takes effort and all that we have, we know we will not fail.  That is our comfort zone.
It’s important to know where your comfort zone is.  To know what your boundaries are.  It is within those boundaries you can relax and reflect.  It should be where you can recharge and reevaluate.
Now comes the hard part.  Step outside of it.  It doesn’t have to be big.  It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing mentality.  Find something to push you.  That is where you grow and learn about yourself.  That is where you find yourself.   Don’t like meeting new people?  Introduce yourself to one new person, not a whole group.  Don’t think you can run a 10k?  Sign up and finish, however that happens.
Comfort zones are wonderful.  Reach for growth, step outside of it!

What it takes to be an inspiration.

Just what does it take to inspire someone?Not necessarily as much as you might think.  It will differ for each person.  You might not even realize that you are being an inspiration.  Everything that you do can be inspiring to the right person.

Did you share a recipe that was healthy?  Someone might have seen it and decide that looks good and takes a step to cook a meal at home instead of going out.  Guess what! You just inspired someone.

Did you post a photo of yourself at the gym?  Someone might have seen it and decided they were going to do something active.  Guess what! You just inspired someone.

Did you do something that pushed you outside of your comfort zone?  Did you shout it to the roof tops when you finished?  Someone probably saw it and probably decided to do something else to step outside of their comfort zone.  Guess what! You just inspired someone. 

I know that running a marathon or an ultra marathon is inspiring.  So is running a 5k when you couldn’t run 30 seconds a year ago.   You know what else is inspiring?  Walking a 5k even when you are worried people might be looking at you. 

Anything you do that pushes you is inspiring. Remember that what you are doing could be inspiring someone, just as you are being inspired by others.

Resolutions and Goals

I am not a big New Year’s Resolutionist.  If I set them too quickly, without a lot of thought, they usually aren’t right for the long term and I give up.  If I spend too much time setting them, the year is too far into it and I give up.  Sometimes I set them too hard and challenging, so I give up.  Rarely do I set them too easy but when I do, they are over before I even get the satisfaction of working on them.  Sense a theme here?  I give up on them.
Goals should be in constant evolution as you grow and change.  When you realize there is something you want, figure out how to obtain it and go for it.  Don’t wait for the New Year to start your weight-loss journey, your sub 3:00 marathon, your quest for all the 4,000 footers in NH, the list goes on and on.
So what are you waiting for! Just because New Year’s Day has passed doesn’t mean it is too late or too early to set those goals.  Goals are motivation!
Set your goal.
Set when you want to achieve your goal.
Write down the steps needed to achieve your goal, including mini goals.
Execute your plan.