HEADLANDS MARATHON RACE REPORT

Wait! Stop! Just LOOK at that EFFING city! Oh my god!

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That pretty much stopped me dead in my tracks and made me laugh, out loud. When Stonegate sees a view that she wants to capture, she makes sure you (and everyone else around her) knows about it! 🙂

Last year on a whim, I reached out to Stonegate and asked if she was interested in running the Headlands Trail Marathon with me. She was … so we did and we laughed… a lot.

So when sign ups came for the 2016 Headlands Trail Marathon we both jumped at the chance, not really thinking too much about our fitness level and mileage.

I have had a few longer runs under my belt recently, nothing more than 15 miles or so though. Stonegate however, had not really run much more than 7 since her 50 mile race back in April. Still, we went into this run looking for fun and adventure. Pure and simple. No expectations. No agenda.

We arrived in Mill Valley late afternoon on Friday. We bummed around town a bit checking out the shops and planning our post-race meal location for the next day. This town is absolutely adorable. We crashed at our friend Mill Valley’s place just as we had last year. We made her a plant-based dinner in exchange for two comfy beds to crash in pre-race and a nice shower post-race. We are super lucky to have her and she is one of THE nicest people I have ever met.

Saturday at 4 am my alarm started blaring and we began getting ready. We arrived at the race start pretty early. We sat in the car until race registration opened up and we could go get our bibs and use the restrooms.

Start area
Start area

The race start is steps, literally, from the ocean. The temps were breezy and cold but the salt water air was a refreshing change from the pollen and smoke filled air of the central valley.

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When race time neared, we headed back down eager to get the day started. While milling about waiting for the pre-race meeting, we ran into Miss P and Pearls (named for her Pearl Izumi shoe obsession – which by the way, she’s super sad the shoe has been discontinued, but she’ll always have her nickname!).

Me, Pearls and Miss P - love these ladies!
Me, Pearls and Miss P – love these ladies!

While also hanging around, we noticed two people wearing shirts that said VEGAN in super large lettering. Of course I had to say something. I sort of walked over and said, “Awesome shirt! Woo Hoo, go vegan!” The conversation started and we all talked about being plant-based and learned that Vegan Skott, who was from Boston, was running the Headlands Hundred! Rachel, his crew, was assisting him. Super sweet people!

Vegan Skott and Rachel
Vegan Skott and Rachel

The race director jumped on top of the water fountain and gave us a little pre-race briefing. After that, we lined up at the start.

RD on a water fountain
RD on a water fountain

Different from last year, the marathon started at the same time as the 100, 50 and 75 mile races but instead of going right, we went left to tack on an extra mile to make our distance equal 26.2.

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There seemed to be a lot more marathoners this year than last year. You spread out pretty easily though so there is no stepping on feet or anything but it does take a minute or two to get some space.

My legs felt a bit heavy from the start. They had not quite woken up yet and I hoped that the sensation would eventually fade otherwise it would be a super long day.

I knew it wouldn’t fade right away though because the start of this race is up hill. Like REALLY up hill, for quite a while with very little break. Like hands on hips hiking straight into the fog up hill.

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Looking down

The central Valley allergies were still present. My chest felt tight and my right eye started watering. Stonegate affectionately started calling it my “leaky eye.” It was annoying but we kept hiking.

A quarter of the way up, we noticed something moving on the side of the trail. None of the other runners seemed to see it.  It was a coyote! It had been at the start and now, it had run up the hillside and was watching us runners run by. It blew me away that no one else seemed to notice, or maybe they didn’t care. We stopped and took photos. Of course. 🙂

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Photo by me – he looks superimposed!
Photo by Stonegate
Photo by Stonegate – we swear he’s real!

Unlike last year, the fog never seemed to dissipate. Last year we were rewarded with some amazing views of the ocean from the top of the hill but not this year. This year, we saw fog and lots of it.

Still we ran the flats and hiked the up hills stopping to take goofy photos along the way.

Do Not Climb On Historic Gun TWSS
It says: “Do Not Climb
On Historic Gun”  ……TWSS
What? Oregon Border?
What? Oregon Border? On my way!

The fog also didn’t deter us from taking photos on amazing cliffs overlooking the ocean.

Stopped to get one of Stonegate ...
Stonegate soaking it all in

When we reached the aid-station at Muir Beach, for some reason I glanced up and saw that someone had placed a plastic pig on top of this sign hanging from a lamp post.

See the piggy? haha
See the piggy? haha

Because I am a dork, I pointed it out to Stonegate and the whole aid-station heard and they all started laughing wondering why this plastic pig was just sitting there. I assumed it was kind of a weird treasure hunt game thing. 🙂 Only I would notice something as random as that.

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After that aid-station we were back on the trails hiking back up hill. One of the things I told Vegan Skott before the race had started was that he might enjoy the many “eco-systems” that we’ll get to run thru throughout the day.

Maybe “eco-system” isn’t the right word but it is the best way to describe running from a cliff beach like setting into something that looks like it belongs in a rain forest!

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These “rain-forest” sections are my absolute favorite. It brings a huge smile to our faces and often draws out an “Awe yea” or “Look at this!” from one of us.

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From the rain-forest eco-system you are then thrust into an urban/city-like touristy eco-system as the trail has you running high above the freeway one minute and then down below the Golden Gate Bridge the next.

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You run a paved road down until you are underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s kind of crazy. The aid-station is at the bottom and this year it was closer to the bridge. Stonegate and I stopped and added some water to our pack. This was about mile 20 here.

We got to see Vegan Skott arrive. Rachel, his crew had this mini-van that was full of plant-based food and she invited us to have anything inside that we wanted. She also offered to get us coffee to have at the finish. This girl is crazy sweet. We wished her well and told her we’d see her at the finish.

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As we were making our way back up the hill, we looked to our left and did a double take. A bunch of people were gathered around this guy who appeared to have the largest gold chain and what looked like a gold roll of toilet paper hanging from it??!!! He was also rapping … about being under the Golden Gate Bridge. They were apparently shooting a rap video?! It was the craziest thing and totally unexpected!

Photo by Stonegate
Photo by Stonegate

We climbed back up the way we had come. Slower now, as it was uphill and there were still runners coming down. The trail leads you back across the windiest section of the race. Last year Stonegate almost lost her visor. This year she was prepared and she held it in her hand. The trail even has ropes on either side to keep you safe.

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Back across the we went. Stonegate I think was starting to feel a bit off at this point. The girl hasn’t run more than 7 miles so I don’t blame her. I think her stomach had decided it was done. She battled some nausea the last few miles or so.

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We would run and then stop to walk. She urged me to go on without and I wasn’t quite sure that was a good idea. This race wasn’t about time or performance but at the same time, sometimes when you are not feeling well, the best thing is to be left alone.

So I told her, “Let’s run some. If you need to stop again, I will just keep going. Don’t feel you have to rush to the finish or anything though.” So with about 2-ish miles to go, she stopped again and I continued on.

I have to say, those were the longest two miles ever. My legs had regained some energy somewhere along the run, I think back on the “rain-forest” trail so I had some pep in my step. I ran and cheered on all the ultra-runners who were coming back up to start their second loop of the race.

The trail along the ocean was pretty but never ending. You had the ocean to your left and a parking lot to your right. Lots of spectators were standing about which was nice as they cheered for you as you ran by.

Finally, I made the turn to the finish. There wasn’t much hoopla. A few claps from people but boy did it feel nice to be done! Stonegate finished not long after either. We’d made it, we finished the Headlands Marathon despite our lack of training.

We chatted with Miss P and Pearls for a bit. Said hi to Rachel and wished Vegan Skott well on the rest of his race. As it turns out, he didn’t finish the 100 but stopped at mile 50. Having only trained in Boston, that was one tough 100 to try and run. Kudos Skott!

Stonegate wanted to jet out of there as we had to get cleaned up, eat and hit the road so that we could be home for the last concert in the park with our families.

Overall, it was a great day. The cool temps were great compared to the warmer temperature last year but I did miss seeing the views just a bit.

I am super lucky to have Stonegate who is open to adventure on a moment’s notice. She dug deep on this one and finished. Not sure if this will be on our calendar for next year. We love visiting with Mill Valley but maybe we’ll pick a different race? Who knows, but no matter what, it’s always an adventure.

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Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

(Finish time: 5:44, 1st AG)

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THE PLANT YOURSELF PODCAST

Just a quick post today as it has been quite a week for me! I am currently heading to the Bay Area to run the Headlands Trail Marathon today! Woot woot!

If you follow me, you may remember that a few weeks ago, I attended Plant-Stock held on the Esselstyn Family Farm. It was my second year in a row attending and it was unbelievable.

While there, I was able to meet so many wonderful plant-based gurus, pioneers and just every day do-ers living the plant-based life! It was great.

One of the people I was lucky enough to chat with was Howard Jacobson, Ph.D. I knew Howard when I saw him because I listen to his podcast, The Plant Yourself Podcast. I also have read Proteinaholic by Dr. Garth Davis which Howard helped write as well as Whole, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. another amazing book that Howard also helped write.

So I knew who he was but he didn’t know me other than he probably thought I was a super smiley perhaps overly creepy excited person who randomly walks up to people like Dr. Garth DavisJosh LaJaunie and Rich Roll with a super dopey grin. 🙂

Anyway, Howard and I chatted and he took my contact info. Fast forward he emails me and asks me to do his podcast! WHAT?! My initial thought was, “Tell him you’re a nobody. Tell him you don’t have some mega crazy transformation story.” But then, I thought it about it and realized, I DO have a story.

I am me and I do what I do, every day. Some days I inspire people. Some days maybe I don’t.  I know I have helped people along the way. I know I have people who “lurk” but are inspired none the less by the things that I post on social media or say on my blog or even the things that do in my day to day activities like running crazy ultra trail runs. We all touch someone.

I am just a girl who wants to share the plant-based message world wide and help as many people as I possibly can while at the same time, feeling stuck in an office job that is wonderful, but not fulfilling the true burning passion inside of me. Ah, if I could only make a living on doing what I am doing (blogging, running, photo-taking, recipe testing, laughing, loving, living) … aaaaaannnnd that’s a story for another day. 😉

The point is, we ALL have a story. We do and Howard captured mine on his Podcast. So, if you have some time and care to listen, you can click HERE or you can search The Plant Yourself Podcast on iTunes and find it there. Just keep in mind, this was my first time ever doing something like this … but, it is what it is and I am kind of proud of it. Enjoy!

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Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

 

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FEED A FAMILY – Rice Love Bags

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” 

– Mother Theresa

I am excited to announce my recent partnership as a Rep with Rice Love Bags. I stumbled across this company quite by accident actually. I have a small (okay, huge) addiction to bags. Some women buy designer shoes or high end purses, I buy bags or backpacks. I’m a nature girl who loves to travel after all.

The Peanut's cheesy photo of me! LOL
The Peanut’s cheesy photo of me! LOL

But lately I have been purging and cleaning out the closets in my home and was realizing, that we have a lot of useless junk. I am tired of purchasing frivolous items and instead, was looking for a way to do something a little more meaningful. Enter, Rice Love Bags.

Photo from Rice Love Bags
Photo from Rice Love Bags

When I discovered Rice Love I started digging a little deeper. Who are they? What are they all about? Essentially, they are vegan bags made out of old rice sacks (side note: I love rice! 🙂 ) . The company was started by two guys who met in Hawaii. One was from California, the other India. Together, they came up with the idea to help the 450 million people in India who are starving.

Worldwide, there are roughly 795 million people in this world who do not have enough to eat. With every item sold, Rice Love gives away 1 kilo of rice.

Now 1 kilo of rice (2.2 pounds) wouldn’t help a family of four very much. Instead, Rice Love gives each family (or person) 20 kilos of rice at a time and they don’t wait until a bag is sold to do so. They give away the rice as they are making each bag.

Currently, Rice Love is feeding India (1/3 of the world’s hunger population), Nepal and are working on expanding to Hawaii as their homeless population is also growing at a rapid rate.

Rice Love is a pretty unique company. How often do you support a company that claims to help those in need but you never actually see who you are helping directly? Well Rice Love shows you and lets you hear from them.

You can look up which family you helped with every purchase.
You can look up which family you helped with every purchase.

And let’s be honest, the bags are super cute, vegan and 100% unique. They are handmade in India, which also provides jobs for those needing work. Their supply is limited because each bag takes time.

The Peanut snagging my Rice Love Bag
The Peanut snagging my Rice Love Bag

If you are interested in helping or just want a really cool bag, then check out Rice Love Bags (www.ricelovebags.com) and if you purchase one, use the code TRAILMOMMA at check out to receive 20% off your purchase . . . every time you purchase. This is not just a onetime code. They make really great gifts too.

The Peanut loves her new pencil case Rice Love Bag
The Peanut loves her new pencil case

The Peanut loves her Rice Love pencil case and she was really interested in seeing who she helped give a bag of rice to as well.

The Peanut loved reading about who her bag helped feed.
The Peanut reading about the family she helped feed.
family
Photo from Rice Love Bags – the family we helped

This opportunity has also opened up a lot conversation between the Peanut and I about hunger, other countries and food. She was shocked that the dad in this family, only earns $1-2 dollars a day as a construction worker but has to support his family of four.

So take some time, if you can, and check out www.ricelovebags.com. Read their story, check out the bags and take a look at who they are helping. If we all take baby-steps, it will some day create leaps of change.

“From small beginnings come great things.” – Proverbs

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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BUFFALO STAMPEDE 10 MILE RACE REPORT

Home from Plant-Stock and trying to get back into our routine and into the swing of things.

One of those “things” was running the annual Buffalo Chips sponsored Buffalo Stampede 10 Mile race. I have been doing this race since we lived right on the course many years ago.

It is a road race, not a trail race which meant I had to dust off my road shoes and hoped they still fit.

Last time I wore these was for CIM December 2015.
Last time I wore these was for CIM in December 2015.

The morning was a bit chaotic so I ended up leaving the house solo and letting Vans and the girls sleep in. The plan was for the Peanut and Squeaker to run the kid’s free half mile race when my race was over. There was no reason to wake them up at the crack of dawn to drive down and wait.

Having left the house much later than I wanted, I arrived at Rio Americano High School, parked the car, RAN to the race area, picked up my race bib and schwag bag and then ran BACK to the car to put that all away. I then pinned on my number and raced to the starting area with about six minutes to spare. Whew!

The race started and I just tried to find a groove. I had no expectations for this race. I haven’t been running regularly enough nor have I done any speed work. I just decided to let whatever happen, happen and hope I lived to blog about it.

Mile 1 (8:13 pace) : Okay, that’s probably about as fast as I will be able to manage today…that’s fine. Good pace.

Mile 2 (8:14 pace) : Yup. Hey look there is Allyson! She’s running strong.

Mile 3 (8:00 pace) : Okay. That’s okay. Still seems manageable. You tend to run faster when chatting with people.

Mile 4 (7:51 pace) : Hmm, that was quite a jump but it is because I am running past my old house and while I know Vans and the girls won’t be there, I always speed up here thinking I’ll see them. Settle down. 

Mile 5 (7:58 pace) : Yup, slowing back down. Uh oh! What’s that? A giant turkey?! Oh geez, not again!

Mile 6 (7:49 pace) : Your pace is faster only because of the turkey, I am blaming the turkey on this one. Where did he go?

Mile 7 (7:58 pace) : Is that them!? Is that my family?! No. Man, there are a lot of tall skinny guys who have cute blonde little girls out on this course. 

Mile 8 (7:47 pace) : Just hang with these two guys. You’ve been behind them all day and they are setting a nice pace. BEEP BEEP! Hey! Look! It’s Vans and the girls! They made it. Now just stay steady. Don’t go crazy. 

Mile 9 (7:52 pace) : What!? My pace guys are pulling away! They must not want to be “chicked” at the last minute haha. Come on, you can do it, pick up the pace. Move past this group but keep it steady, you still have a mile to go.

Mile 10 (7:49 pace) : There they are! I see my family! They made it! Woo hoo you did it! Now don’t hurl, whatever you do, don’t hurl! Your kids are watching!

The Peanut cheering me on at the finish.
The Peanut cheering me on at the finish.

While I hadn’t set out to race this by any means, I did end up with a 17 second PR! Whoo hoo. I ended the race 6th in my age group (out of 60) and a sub 8 pace (per my Garmin – official race results have  me at about 8 mins).

After my race was the kid’s 1/2 mile free fun run on the track. Both the Peanut and Squeaker showed up ready to run. Squeaker’s best friend from her old daycare also joined them and it is total cuteness from here on out!

Squeaker and her BFF about to run!
Squeaker and her BFF about to run!

Ready set go! They all took off!

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Squeaker blew me away. She kept a great starting pace while all the other kiddos took off like a bat outta hell. Eventually, all the speedsters slowed down realizing that two laps, is kinda hard!

Even the Peanut was winded and tired but not Squeaker! That girl just kept going!

My little speed demon
My little speed demon

When they completed their two laps, Squeaker said, “Can we do it again!?” 🙂

And they did. She and her BFF walk/ran another two laps around the track bringing their distance to a full mile! She’s five! 🙂

Racing kids!
Racing kids!

It was so adorable to watch. I hope that we can get these three together again soon for another run.

The rest of Sunday was spent visiting with an old friend of Van’s and then home for a nice family afternoon.

I was pretty hungry after my  race and only had a few random things in the fridge.

Homemade Chipotle Bowl
Homemade Chipotle Bowl

I took some left over rice that we had in the fridge and I threw it in a pan with some lime juice and some veggie broth and cooked until warmed through. I added a bunch of cilantro and cooked it a little longer. I then layered the bowl. Steamed kale with vinegar on the bottom, my cilantro lime rice in the middle followed by some oil free roasted onions and zucchini. Some salsa to finish and voila, an easy homemade post race meal that really hit the spot.

I do say that was a perfect Sunday after a weekend of traveling.

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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PLANT-STOCK 2016 – A plant-based dream come true

But where do you get your protein?” Usually a loaded question but one I did not hear for two straight days this past weekend. Why? Because I was in plant-based heaven.

Photo by Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

Last year I attended Plant-Stock (you can read that experience here). I had traveled the 3,000 miles from California all by myself to attend this two day conference held on the farm and home of the Esselstyn family. This year, I had a friend.

East Coast here we come!
East Coast here we come! (Photo by me)

Sit back and settle in as this may be one of my more “lengthy” posts filled to the brim with photos from a weekend that completely blew me away. It is worth the read though so grab a cup of tea and relax.

How I travel.
How I travel. (Photo by me)

Stonegate and I took a red-eye out of California which headed direct to Boston. Our layover in Boston wasn’t terrible. We recovered from our overnight flight and talked about how excited we were for the weekend ahead. Stonegate also made fun of my “folder making” habit … When I travel or do anything that requires planning, I make folders. What can I say? I am a very organized person.

Folders!
Folders! (Photo by Stonegate)

Forty-five minutes and one tiny plane later, we landed in Newark Airport. Stonegate hopped on a train and headed to NYC to visit with some family. I met my dad and headed to my hometown in NJ for a quick visit.

Sad to leave my family, I then drove the 3 hours (usually 2.5 but there was an accident) to upstate New York where I checked into our hotel and scored a gluten and oil free vegan pizza from Baba Louie’s Pizza in Hudson, New York. It is the best vegan pizza I have had ever.

The best!
The best! (Photo by me)

Later that evening, I picked Stonegate up at the train station and brought her back to the hotel. We ate pizza and seriously laughed the night away (I think we were deliriously tired from traveling). We were beyond excited for our weekend to begin.

Saturday morning bright and early we drove to the Esselstyn Family Farm in Claverack, NY. This place is breath-taking. 500 acres of the most amazing fields you have ever seen. It is one of two farms in the entire state that is owned by the same family dating back many centuries.

We checked in and took our seats and were treated to a plant-strong breakfast. Speakers were just wandering around. Attendees were trickling in. I saw people who in “my world,” are celebrities just mingling with everyone.

The event began on time. Rip Esselstyn started our day and our plant-education was under way. When Rip was done, he introduced his dad, the legendary Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr.

Photo by Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

The format was such that someone would talk and then we’d have a break. This was nice as it helped get us out of our seats and kept us moving.

Stonegate Hula Hooping
Stonegate Hula Hooping (Photo by me)
So fun!
So fun! (Photo by Stonegate)

On one of the breaks, I saw Dr. Garth Davis. He had been surrounded by people since he had arrived but suddenly, he wasn’t. I walked over and introduced myself. We chatted a bit about his book, his blog, his posts on Facebook (follow him if you don’t already) and just how “enthusiastic” he is about a plant-based diet. Stonegate took some photos of us.

Super excited to meet Dr. Garth Davis
Super excited to meet Dr. Garth Davis (Photo by Stonegate)

He was incredibly genuine and easy to talk to. I admire his drive in promoting plants over meat and I am blown away by his intelligence and ability to prove his point. He was a new addition to the Plant-Stock line up this year and one I truly hope they continue to have. His talk the next day was a hit.

PSDay1 3
Dr. Garth Davis

The first day we heard from the following speakers: Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Paul Chatlin, Dr. Doug Lisle, Dr. Michael Greger, Adam Sud and James Wilks.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell - legend Photo by Molinski Photography
Dr. T. Colin Campbell – legend
Photo by Molinski Photography

During one of the breaks, I met a super nice guy who was also there taking photos for the event. He was about as local as you could get living just 5 minutes from the farm. We talked quite a bit and he told me that one of his jobs that day was to head to the train station to pick up Rich Roll. WHAT?! He was super chill about it but at the same time, feeling incredibly lucky because he’s a huge fan and I am sure was beyond excited to have the chance to have that 20 minute drive with Rich Roll.

Later, when Rich Roll arrived, we had been on a break. I saw my opening and I took it. I walked up to Rich and introduced myself. He had been talking to Howard Jacobson, Ph.D. (who I had met and talked with earlier) and Josh LaJaunie (another exciting athlete that I follow and had chatted with earlier). I explained to Rich that Vans was a huge fan. So much so that he even read his book (and Vans doesn’t read books often). I explained that his birthday was in a day and he was home with two kids while I was here, meeting him. He laughed. I told him he could potentially save my marriage if he’d do a birthday message video to Vans. He kindly obliged.

You can see the full video on my Instagram page
You can see the video on my Instagram page @Trailmomma

Stonegate wasn’t around to see this and was floored when I found her and showed her the video. She got a photo with Rich too.

PSDay1 9
Photo by me

What a great guy and yes, Vans was totally blown away. Marriage saved! 🙂

My favorite photo. Photo by Molinski Photography
My favorite photo.
Photo by Molinski Photography

We also heard from Adam Sud whose talk brought me to tears quite a few times. Such an inspirational guy and I am so happy he is out spreading his message.

Photo by Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

Next we heard from James Wilks who is a retired professional mixed martial artist and winner of The Ultimate Fighter but who is currently a film producer. The work he is doing is super exciting and I cannot wait for it to be released to the public. He was also another incredibly nice person.

James Wilks
James Wilks (Photo by Stonegate)
PSDay1 7
Stonegate and James (Photo by me)

James actually ended up sitting with us at dinner and we chatted about his family and his plant-based kids and how he handles certain situations. It truly was a once in a lifetime mind blowing experience.

Dinner was fabulous. The setting was beautiful. The food was outstanding.

Photo by Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

It was a five course meal for 420 people and the plates were delivered still hot and right on time. That rarely happens.

Such a beautiful setting.
Such a beautiful setting.

After dinner, we heard from Rich Roll, our final speaker of the day. His talk was great. It was filled with humor and inspiration. Rich has a tremendous way with words and it was a great way to end what had been an amazing day.

Photo by Stonegate
Photo by Stonegate

Stonegate and I left feeling excited, energized and motivated but also pretty darn tired. Our three hour time change was still looming over our heads a bit. We were eager to get to sleep because Sunday was going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity that will forever be etched in our minds.

Fun time!
Fun time early Sunday morning! (Photo by me)
Weeee!
Weeee!

Engine 2, the creators behind Plant-Stock, had decided to host a group run on the farm property WITH SCOTT JUREK PROFESSIONAL ULTRARUNNER for those who were interested. Um, say no more!

The run/walk group.
The run/walk group. (Photo by Engine2)

At least fifty people were interested. There was also a group walking with Jane Esselstyn so you didn’t have to run the full 3 miles. Stonegate and I were bursting with excitement for this. Also joining the run was Dr. Garth Davis, Howard Jacobson, Rip Esselstyn (with his 2 year daughter Hope on his shoulders) and Josh LaJaunie! How freaking cool!? My friend Tara, who works for Forks Over Knives and Engine 2 was also able to run and Michael, my photographer friend also made it! I was smiling from ear to ear the entire time.

Rip with Hope on his shoulders
Rip with Hope on his shoulders (Photo by me)

The run was not as easy as many would think. When you are not used to humidity as thick as it is on the east coast, it feels like your lungs are running in water. Your breath and your chest feel it first. Pushing any uncomfortable feelings aside, I just ran like I was a child again.

Beautiful!
Beautiful! (Photo by me)

Scott Jurek worked his way back through the group so that he could chat with everyone. He reached us just as we were going up a steep hill.  He is a super nice guy who remembered where a lot of people were from which blows my mind. He truly was listening to everyone.

Photo by Michael Molinski with Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

The run ended with the whole group going up this big hill with a picturesque view. Josh LaJaunie was standing at the top and I could hear him cheering as everyone was climbing. I decided I had to run the whole thing and I did and he cheered and gave me a high-five as I reached the top. Nice!

Josh LaJaunie
Josh LaJaunie (Photo by Stonegate)

Scott stayed and took photos with EVERYONE. Stonegate and I took photos with him solo and as part of a group.

Wow, right?
Wow, right? (Photo by Stonegate)

Michael, our photographer expert took some AMAZING photos during the run as well as after.

Michael aka Molinski Photography (Photo by me - with his advice LOL)
Michael aka Molinski Photography
(Photo by me – with his advice LOL)

Talk about an amazing way to begin the day. Seriously, I know my kids would disagree, but this was better than Christmas!

Love this photo.
Love this photo. (Photo by some guy)

After breakfast we heard from Dr. Esselstyn again. His second talk I think is more mind blowing for the non-scientific folk. Stonegate I know was blown away by some of slides showing the reversal of heart disease.

The man himself. Dr. Esselstyn
The man himself. Dr. Esselstyn! (Photo by me)

Sunday was the day we heard from Dr. Garth Davis. His talk was fantastic. Full of energy, humor and some pretty great slides.

Dr. Garth Davis
Dr. Garth Davis (Photo by me)

We heard from Dr. Richard Oppenlander as well. I have not read his books yet but I plan to. His presentation was focused on our environment and how it will not survive if we continue on the path we are headed. Living in California I see this first hand with our drought. Most of our water is feeding cattle and could, in fact be used in a better more economical and sustainable way that could save our planet and rid the world of hunger.

Dr. Richard Oppenlander
Dr. Richard Oppenlander (Photo by me)

Dr. Doug Lisle spoke again on Sunday and I absolutely hands down LOVE this talk that he does. He did the same talk last year and I loved it then too. His talk, How to Get Along, Without Going Along is an absolute must at a conference like this. He understands that we will walk away feeling like we have found the “Holy Grail of health” and like the kind people we are, we will want to share it with EVERYONE.WE.MEET. Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t want to hear it. Dr. Lisle provides everyone with the tools and the knowledge to handle certain situations when you leave Plant-Stock.

Dr. Doug Lisle
Dr. Doug Lisle (Photo by me)

Stonegate and I had met a lovely Canadian couple at dinner the night before and the wife was discussing this very situation. Her coworkers don’t understand and she doesn’t know how to handle it. I told her to wait and hear Dr. Lisle’s talk. Afterwards, I found her and she was bubbling. She loved it and thought that it hit the nail on the head and felt ready to head home with some additional knowledge.

We also saw a cooking demo (aka comedy show) with Ann and Jane Esselstyn.

Ann and Jane cooking and laughing.
Ann and Jane cooking and laughing. (Photo by me)

These two ladies have my heart. Their energy and laughter are infectious. I would love to be at their house on Thanksgiving morning helping them prepare meals. It must be a hoot.

I ADORE this woman! Photo by Molinski Photography
Jane Esselstyn – I ADORE this woman!
Photo by Molinski Photography

They also had a plant-strong family discussion with all of Dr. Esselstyn’s kids (Rip, Ted, Zeb and Jane) and their spouses. Between them all, there are a lot of grandkids, who are also all entirely plant-based. This discussion was new and I found it very interesting. Although, I would LOVE for them to meet my picky Peanut someday as I think she could give them a run for their money. 😉

Plant Strong Family
Plant Strong Family

Right before this, Rip’s 9 year old son Cole showed off his plant-strong muscles by climbing the pole of the tent we were sitting under. Insane. I glanced at Rip to see if he was as nervous as I was during this. That kid climbed to the top!

That kid can climb!
That kid can climb! (Photo by me)
I think dad was nervous though. I was!
I think dad was nervous though. I was! (Photo by me)

The final talk of the entire day was Scott Jurek. He took the stage with his wife Jenny and 3 month old daughter Raven. They were lovely. His presentation was on his 46 day 2,189 mile journey through the Appalachian Trail. It was engaging to watch. He also saved time at the end for questions from the audience.

Photo by Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

And sadly, the weekend had come to a close. We knew it was bound to happen but I just didn’t want it to end. The weather had cooperated for most  of it, the speakers were great and I met so many lovely people this year. Stonegate and I said our goodbyes to Michael the photographer and exchanged contact information. I went in search of my friend Tara but unfortunately, she had already left.

Love this girl. Find her on Instagram: @tarafraserkemp
Love this girl. Find her on Instagram: @tarafraserkemp (Photo by me)

The rain had started to fall as we were ending the day. It was almost fitting. Semi pushing us out the door seeking cover ready to move on. We were leaving the comfortable nest of Plant-Stock.

Dr. Esselstyn & Ann Crile Esselstyn - two amazing kind hearted people. Photo by Molinski Photography
Dr. Esselstyn & Ann Crile Esselstyn – two amazing kind hearted people.
Photo by Molinski Photography

I am not going to lie, the car ride back to New Jersey scared me out of my mind. Torrential, can’t see the road in front of you down pours almost the entire way. I live in California now, we’ve been in a drought for four years. I haven’t driven in rain like that in a VERY long time. Holy cow.

Overall, the weekend was a blast. Despite it being my second year in a row, I did learn quite a few new things I hadn’t before and I met so many more amazing people this time around. From speakers to attendees, the people I met and conversed with over the course of the weekend really touched me. So many stories, so much emotion, Plant-Stock is a place where anyone is welcome and there is no judgment.

Photo by Michael Molinski with Molinski Photography
Photo by Molinski Photography

I truly hope to attend next year. The cost  of travel isn’t easy for my family but they do see how charged and motivated I am when I return. Next year, I would love to bring Vans and I know Stonegate would love to bring her spouse. Let’s just hope they can handle a little east coast run!

Photo by Stonegate
Photo by Stonegate

Happy Trails,

Trailmomma

SHOUT OUT: Hey upstate New York readers and friends, if you are EVER looking for a photographer for an event, family photos, you name it, please check out Molinski Photography (click here). Their work is stellar and some of the nicest people you will meet. Thank you Michael for all the amazing photos.

DISCLAIMER, I was in no way compensated for writing this post or for attending Plant-Stock. All opinions are my own. I 100% believe in the message they are sending. If you are interested in attending Plant-Stock 2017, please check out this link.

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Trail Running + Mommyhood = the best adventures