Tag Archives: Auburn

FOURMIDABLE 50K (Lessons Learned)

Well the first race of the season has come and gone and boy was it a ginormous MUD-FEST!

I ran the FOURmidable 50K last year for the first time and had an amazing race. In the days leading up to this year’s race however, I noticed that my race recap from 2016 generated a lot of traffic (and a few emails). FOURmidable this year was a USA Track & Field 50K trail national championships and therefore garnered a lot more interest and entrants (almost double in the 50K alone). Quite a few top names and elites showed up which was pretty amazing to watch.

My day started with an awesome comment from elite runner (and blogger) Jean Pommier on my last year’s report. That put a nice smile on my face.

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Then I found a little present from Vans while I was chilling in my car pre-race. I love his simple, but wise advice: Keep Running. Watch your step. 🙂

The weather leading up to the race was definitely something to contend with this year. I have been running on these exact trails for weeks now so I knew what to expect … and I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it.

My peeps!
My peeps!

I’ve spent the last few weekends running with Pigeon, Not Chris and Grumpy. Not Chris and Grumpy were making their Auburn trail race debut! Not Chris ran the 35.5K and Grumpy the 13K.

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Watching the excitement on their faces in anticipation of the race was awesome. I love seeing new found trail love and joy.

Pigeon and I saw Not Chris and Grumpy off at their start since all the races (50K, 35.5K, a half and 13K) had a staggered start.

boys

After the 35.5K and 13K left, it was time for the 50K runners to line up.

Pigeon and I all smiles!
Pigeon and I all smiles!

One thing to note, is that the start of this race was completely different than last year. We started and ended IN the overlook parking lot. Last year, we started down by Gate 142. This is important to note mostly as it pertains the finish … and we’ll get there I promise.

Cute Heather Morris with her hands up. Me behind her. Photo courtesy: Nelson Medeiros
Cute Heather Morris with her hands up. Me behind her.
Photo courtesy: Nelson Medeiros

Similar to last year, the 50K runners had to run down to base of Cardiac. This year however, the route to get there was different. We were on trails a bit more than pavement, which was nice.

As we descended down, I noticed that my pace was in the low 8s. That didn’t unnerve me much because I did the same thing last year (although this year I was faster).

Photo Courtesy of TrailTaylor
Photo Courtesy: TrailTaylor

When we hit the base of cardiac, I first saved a runner who somehow did not see ALL the pink ribbons and was on his way towards the river. He was pretty grateful I stopped him.

The climb up Cardiac hit me like a ton of bricks. Very similar to last year and that is what I kept telling myself – which was a huge mistake and my biggest lesson this race.

I let quite a few people pass me on this section. My legs just felt heavy and my lungs not quite ready for what I was about to ask of them.

Happy to be at the top finally, I shook off any bad feelings and just kept moving.

We hit the first aid-station at Gate 142 and I ran right by. I had enough fuel in my pack that I didn’t feel the need to stop. The trail then brought us around and below the overlook and popped us out right by the horse staging area.

A girl standing on the side of the trail said, “You are in the top ten for female.” Ugh, don’t tell me that! It’s way too early for that kind of info and, to be honest, I think she clearly must have miscounted!

MUD Photo Courtesy by TrailTaylor
MUD (not me)
Photo Courtesy: TrailTaylor

From this point on, the only competitor that I fought with ALL day, was the mud. The above photo doesn’t even do it justice, that section was nothing compared to what was ahead.

I ran the section down to No Hands Bridge, still not feeling like I was “in” this yet. I had stepped into a mud pile that went up to my knee and was trying desperately not to throw my back out on these slippery sections.

It felt good to finally reach No Hands Bridge and then see that it was almost completely under water.

Me on No Hands Photo Courtesy of TrailTaylor
Me on No Hands
Photo Courtesy: TrailTaylor

After swimming through that puddle, we reached the aid-station. I climbed the trail towards K2 fueling as I knew what was ahead.

K2 believe it or not, seemed like it was in better condition this year than last year. Last year there was a stream running down the hill.

Normally I love K2. I do. I am a hills kinda girl, but I still wasn’t finding my mojo yet and I was beginning to get frustrated.

I kept comparing this race to last year’s race and how I felt at each point last year. BIG MISTAKE. NEVER compare yourself to other runners and NEVER compare RACES. So much can change in a year. Clearly the trail conditions were a separate competitor this year. I also have a lot more going on in my life.

However, I would not come to this realization until later in the day. I kept battling with myself that I was not doing what I thought that I was capable of doing.

Needless to say, the muddy conditions only got worse as the day wore on. I was done with dancing around mud and puddles. A lot of people were running off course to try and avoid it, only to be hit with a section where there WAS no way to avoid it. Forget it, just run straight down the middle. Simple as that.

Oh just a abnormally large puddle! Photo courtesy of: Rob Schmidt
Oh just a abnormally large puddle! (again, not me)
Photo courtesy of: Rob Schmidt

I finally reached Knickbocker Aid-Station #1 (mile 13.4) and stopped. I grabbed some stuff and refueled and walked at the same time.

The next section took us down to the Old Auburn Damn. I ran that section pretty well, just letting it all open up.

I hit the damn hill and settled into a hike. I was beginning to feel a little bit better but again, was still comparing myself to last year.

At the top of the damn, we made our way back to the single track and I just focused on moving. I was finally beginning to feel like my old self.

The trail took us back to the Knickerbocker Aid-Station (mile 18) and I grabbed more fuel and continued on my way. My spirits were beginning to finally come around.

The section through Knickbocker Creek (um, it was more like a raging river) was awesome. The whole section of trail on the Cool side was one giant mud puddle.

There was no getting around it. You’d cross a bridge and be grateful there was a bridge only to have it “T” into a giant mud puddle that went up to your shorts anyway.

I hit the Cool Aid-Station (mile 23.4) and was eager to get moving. I knew that my favorite “roller-coaster” section was coming up and best of all, that would lead me back to the finish!

I flew down roller coaster much like I did last year. I think I was tad slower and then out of no where, I ran into some horse back riders and had to stop dead in my tracks to let them pass.

When the trail dumped me onto No Hands (mile 27.2) I knew we only had 4 miles to the finish. I fueled as I walked through the lake sitting on top of No Hands and I texted a few people telling them I was 4 miles from being done with this $hit!

I ran/walked the next section staying close to a guy who seemed to be following the same plan that I was which was: Let’s get this over with!

When we finally made the sharp left that took us down to the river, we both said, “Here we go!” Having run this last year, I KNEW what was in store. Paulo, our Race Director, makes your work HARD to get to the finish line.

I ran the down as well as I could. Then I ran and hiked some of the other sections. Then, you are hit with an uphill climb that will blow your mind.

Remember earlier when I said the new location of the finish would come into play? Moving the finish arch to the overlook added ONE MORE steep climb to finish … and believe me it was a doozy!

Luckily, I saw two little blonde girls standing there with huge smiles on their faces!

Photo Courtesy: Vans
Photo Courtesy: Vans

I wanted to hug them but if I stopped, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep going.

Way up there is the finish!
Way up there is the finish! But you still have a smidge more to go!

I saw the finish arch, heard some voices cheer my name and ran.

I finished! Wow, what a crazy race. I ended up running 15 minutes slower than last year and considering the conditions, I guess that wasn’t so bad. I still didn’t feel 100% like myself out there but I learned my lesson. I won’t compare races or seasons anymore. Life sometimes has other plans and I have to learn to go with the flow.

Although unofficial, I may have gotten 5th in my age group (though remember I am bad a math) – not entirely sure yet as the age division results are not up.

Once again. Single Track Running and Paulo put on a stellar event. The course was extremely well marked. The aid-stations were stocked and the volunteers amazing.

Having Vans and the girls surprise me at the finish was awesome.

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The post race festivities were great as well. Massages, beer, and some awesome swag!

That my girls stole!
That my girls stole!

I am happy that I ran it. It was a great indicator of where my fitness may or may not be. I love the trails and I love that course, despite how grueling it is but that’s what makes it so special.

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In the end, the sun came out, Vans gave me a hug and we waited and cheered for Pigeon to come in. Could not be a luckier girl right now.

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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STILL RUNNING

Even though it appears that I have not been running (it might if you only follow me here on the blog), don’t worry, I have been. I just haven’t been posting much about my runs for various reasons.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been taking photos while I run though. I always take photos. 🙂

2017 has brought some changes in my training routine. I don’t really care to go into detail but I am training and I am focusing. I fully admit that I entered 2017 in a bit of a lull, lacking “mojo” and motivation.

However, luckily it was short lived and I have my zest for running trails back where it should be. A lot of that has to do with who I have been running with lately.

My usual partners in crime (Pigeon, Stonegate, Burning Girl) for a while were not able to run with me. They have a life and sometimes life gets in the way (fully understandable). I also have a life and my life lately has been consumed by the Peanut and Squeaker’s basketball teams.

Coaching means tying shoes.
Coaching means tying shoes … oh wait, I do that as a mom too. :)

I am the assistant coach to Squeaker’s team and they are hands down the cutest 5 and 6 year olds on the planet!

Squeaker looking to pass!
Squeaker looking to pass!

Peanut is on her own team but this is the first year either of them have ever touched a basketball, let alone play the game.

Peanut!
Peanut!

I have a long history and love affair with the sport of basketball (Vans SO does not) and so I’ve happily taken the reigns of shuttling to practices and working with the girls. I love it.

Look at that form! :)
Taking the shot! Look at that form! :)

Yet because of basketball and coaching, my run days have been moved around.  No big deal but it was hard to find people to run with from time to time and I am not one to go out on the Auburn/Cool trails by myself for very long (safety first).

Enter Grumpy and Not Chris ….

Grumpy, me and Not Chris
Grumpy, me and Not Chris

I work with both of these two and they both were looking to get into trail running. Not Chris is registered for the FOURmidable 30k in a few weeks. I have no doubts he will do well. Grumpy is also registered for the 13K FOURmidable race and is really putting in the work.

It has been fun running with two people who are new to trails and who are smitten by them just as much as I am.

This past weekend my worlds collided! Pigeon is back on schedule to run with me now (thanks to a new baby in her immediate family) and she met Grumpy and Not Chris for the first time (she is actually to blame for Not Chris’s nickname).

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Pigeon!

We all met in Auburn and agreed on the mileage beforehand. The route we picked was nice because even though Grumpy doesn’t need to go as far as we do, he’s able to join us on some pretty cool sections.

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Not Chris
Grumpy!
Grumpy

The weather this past weekend was amazing. I know we need more rain, but the rain has made for some pretty gnarly runs lately. I do love the sunshine especially early in the morning.

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I’ve taken the boys out a few times solo but this past weekend we took them on a different loop. I think they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

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We’re all different paces but it seems to work. We run, we meet up at any turns and we continue on. Sometimes we stick together. Sometimes I run ahead because I want to take photos! 🙂

Pigeon and Not Chris
Pigeon and Not Chris
Grumpy flipping me off - hence the name Grumpy. :)
Grumpy flipping me off – hence the name Grumpy. :)

After we got done with that loop, we took them up Stagecoach. I’ve taken them up before, but Pigeon took us a different route which led us to the famous “bench” and we forced the boys to take the obligatory “bromance bench” photo.

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After the climb up Stagecoach, Grumpy left us and ran back down. He doesn’t need to rack up mileage. Not Chris, Pigeon and I continued on.

It was an awesome day. I finished feeling strong. My legs felt worked but I was smiling ear to ear. Later that afternoon, I ended up playing 90 minutes of basketball with the girls and some friends at the park! I guess I had more pep left in my legs than I thought.

So I apologize in advance for not writing much this year about running. I’ll pop in from time to time with some photos and maybe some recaps of the girls and their basketball games. Race reports are one thing I love to write about since I do go back and read what worked and didn’t work race by race, so you’ll see those for sure.

Maybe now that I have found my running mojo, I’ll find my blogging mojo. 🙂

Until then ….

So far, she loves it and that makes me happy!
So far, she loves it and that makes me happy!

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

 

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OCTOBER IS MY FAVORITE MONTH

Sorry I have been missing from posting here lately. I have been busy mostly because I absolutely LOVE the month of October and am jumping at any chance I have to be outside.

I love the changing colors!
I love the changing colors!

I apologize for being vague here, but I am juggling a lot “balls” in the air right now all related to various projects that I essentially have created for myself. I can’t help it, I love being busy!

Hopefully, when the time is right, I will be able to share more.

So in exchange for a vague post, I’ll just fill you in on some of the things I have been doing lately.

A few weeks ago, Stonegate, another friend and I created a relay team called The MOMsters and ran The Folsom Lake Ultra Trail 100k (relay) also known as F.L.U.T.

Some damn awesome mommas right here.
Some damn awesome mommas right here.

It was my first ever trail-relay and I was running a section of Folsom Lake that I have never run before.

Gorgeous!
Gorgeous!

The run was tough. My section was 25 miles, a lot of pavement and quite a few climbs.

Unfortunately, our team did not finish. Stonegate started her leg at 3 pm in the afternoon, when it was already quite hot outside. She mis-judged her fueling routine with the later start time and ended up not being able to finish her leg. She was pretty ill and I know for her, it was a very tough decision to make. As her relay team, we didn’t care one bit, we just wanted her healthy.

After that, I took a “me-day” from work and ventured to Santa Rosa!

I wanted to visit True North Health Center in Santa Rosa, the home of Dr. Alan Goldhammer and Dr. Doug Lisle.

2While there I saw a cooking demo which was great because I am hosting another plant-based cooking demo in a few weeks! I am kind of excited about it too. Hopefully I will do a post about that as well.

It was really interesting to see how someone else demonstrates certain cooking techniques to others.

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After the cooking demo, I visited the Savory Spice Shop and was in total spice heaven!

Smelled amazing
Smelled amazing

I bought some fresh herbs and spices to try at home.

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My time spent in Santa Rosa was brief but lovely. I had never really been there before (that I can recall anyway) and I can’t wait to go back.

THEN, I had a friend who I met at Plant-Stock in 2015, text that she was headed my way and was wondering if she could crash and visit for a few days with us. I was beyond excited to see her!

TARA!!!!
TARA!!!!

Tara is a bundle of absolute positive energy. She is a joy to be around and my girls had a blast with her. Hopefully they didn’t scare her from having children in the future! 🙂 My kids were pretty wired when she was here and in rare form. Squeaker was on fire and quite hilarious.

We made massive yummy salads every night.
We made massive yummy plant-based salads every night.

Unfortunately, Tara picked the worst weekend to be here because we had our first ever major storm. A weekend full of rain and wind which doesn’t make for great hosting and sightseeing.

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While she does run trails, Tara didn’t have storm weather appropriate running shoes with her so she wasn’t able to join Stonegate, Pigeon, Miss P, Pearls and I on our Sunday morning run in Auburn.

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We were the only ones on the trail and we had one helluva time!

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It was MUDDY and slippery but oh.so.much.fun!!!! We ran, we laughed and we all were in total complete heaven.

Running through the flood on No Hands Bridge
Running through the flood on No Hands Bridge

How often do you find a group of women like us who live to get muddy and soaking wet at the butt-crack of dawn on a Sunday? 🙂

These ladies rock!
These ladies rock!

So, as you can see, I haven’t been hiding under a rock. I’ve been out enjoying nature and all that October has brought with it thus far.

Like I said earlier, I hope to be able to share some of the projects that I have been working on lately with you or at least the status updates of those.

I am hosting another plant-based cooking demo later in the month for a small group of people who are interested in learning how to cook plant-based. I am excited to open my kitchen to them and to answer any questions they may have about the way that I cook.

Hopefully, down the road, maybe I can do more of these or even better, be invited to other people’s homes to  show them how to use what they have to cook and eat plant-based.

Until then, I am enjoying some family time and some adventures.

My mini me.
My mini me.

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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FALLING BEHIND

It has been an absolute whirl wind around here. Blogging has taken the back burner unfortunately but hopefully there is a light at the end of this crazy tunnel and I can resume some normal activity on here.

Let me try and recap the last month or so.

Nothing like bullet holes in a sign to wake you up!
Nothing like bullet holes in a sign to wake you up!

To start, I had a great run in the canyons on the Western States trail with Pigeon. We only ran 17 or so miles but we climbed over 6,000 feet. We started at Michigan Bluff and ran to Devil’s Thumb and back. I love this trail and no matter how many times I have been on it, it never gets old and it never gets easier!

It will be a great run when your hat matches the sunrise.
You know it will be a great run when your hat matches the sunrise.
These views never get old!
These views never get old!
On the bridge!
On the bridge!
Super HOT climb back to up to Michigan Bluff
It was a super HOT climb back to up to Michigan Bluff

Then Jersey Dad arrived for a visit and to celebrate the Peanut turning 8 years old. I quickly jumped from running mode to mommy and hostess mode.

Jersey Dad and his grand daughters!
Jersey Dad and his grand daughters!

On top of all of this, Squeaker had the chance to try out for the swim team! Big sis was there in support (sort of) and luckily, she made it with flying colors! So proud of that kid.

Congrats Squeaker! Age 4!!
Congrats Squeaker! Age 4!!

Alas, that means swim team season has officially started with scheduled practices 5 days a week! We are working on a routine and balance right now. School comes first even though there is not much school left!

Auburn!
Auburn!

During Jersey Dad’s visit, I took a “mental health” day from work and joined Pigeon on her mid-week long run since I knew running over the Peanut’s birthday weekend wasn’t going to fly. It was a hot day and running long on a Thursday really threw me for a bit but we had fun regardless, as always.

Pigeon
Pigeon
So done with climbing K2 this season!
So done with climbing K2 this season!
The meadow in Cool
The meadow in Cool
Love this place!
Love this place!

Shortly after that long run, it was time for the final long run of the training program! Pigeon and I agreed to meet on Saturday and kick out 30 miles as our last long run before our race in two weeks. The day started out nothing short of entertaining …

Base Jumping off the bridge!
Base Jumping off the bridge!

Within minutes of running we were startled by some base jumpers off of the Foresthill Bridge. Talk about taking your breath away. These guys were super nice. They landed right in front of us so we chatted with them for a bit before continuing on our run.

A perfect landing!
A perfect landing!

It was a beautiful day to run and we’d occasionally switch things up by picking a new (old) trail to follow to change the course a bit. There was also an equestrian race happening at the same time so that made things very interesting. I don’t mind sharing the trail with horses but I do admit, they give me a bit of a scare at times. I’ve met too many not so skilled riders who tend to not have control over their horse. Hence, my fear level always raises a notch when we encounter one. I am sure the horses can sense that.

A beautiful day.
A beautiful day.

We had to cut the run a few miles short to due to a small situation at home (nothing to worry about) but I was content in myself and the way that I was feeling during the run, that I could have continued on if need be.

I feel pretty darn good going into taper right now. Truth be told, I was mentally ready for taper about a week ago! My training this round, I feel has been good. I raced two solidly hard 50ks (not intentionally) and was able to maintain a higher mileage for longer than I normally would in a training period. That’s the nature of the beast when you choose races as ‘training runs’ and have life get in the way from time to time.

I feel comfortable in my ability to climb, mildly comfortable in my ability to descend (going to take it super easy on those to save my knees) and I feel somewhat comfortable in being able to handle the distance.  A 100k is farther than I have ever gone before, so I can’t lie and say a small part of me isn’t a tad bit nervous about that but mostly I am excited and curious. I am curious to see what unfolds. I know there will be ups and I know there will be downs.

Pigeon and I have decided to run together. She has a set pace and a set goal in mind and since this is my first ever 100k, I am content to go with her flow. We both want to finish. So, for my first ever 100k, I am content to enjoy the experience, the company and the scenery so long as I finish, and finish smiling AND qualifying for the Western States 100. 😉 Can’t forget that little piece of the puzzle right? Although, that wasn’t my initial reason for doing this race … but it is a HUGE cherry on top.

Now, to enjoy my two weeks of taper. This should include taking care of myself with good quality food, some decent sleep and lots of stretching.

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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BACK TO WORK

It has been a few weeks since my last post. Sorry about that. I took a quick (5 day) trip back east just days after the race and then returned home feeling quite drained and a bit behind in work/life.

I ran the first weekend home and it was a bit of a struggle. I blame a lot of it on lack of sleep and allergies. The minute I landed in California, I’ve been attacked severely by seasonal allergies like you wouldn’t believe. I know I am not alone. Geez. I know rain is what we need but lordy has it caused a slew of allergic reactions in our house.

So when Pigeon and Stonegate said they were ready to hit the trails for a nice long run this past weekend, I was super excited and hopeful that my allergies would give me a break for the day.

Trails and friends make everything better!
Trails and friends make everything better!

Wanting to get in some decent mileage we decided to do our usual loops adding and changing what we wanted to make the miles work.

Adding to the fun, my roommate from college mailed my girls her son’s Flat Stanley. I decided to include Flat Stanley on our run. 🙂

Flat Stanley checked out the Free Library stand in Auburn
Flat Stanley checked out the Free Library stand in Auburn

Our first loop was about 7 miles plus and did not disappoint. We were able to see some amazing waterfalls.

Waterfall fun!
Waterfall fun! Gotta Jump off Rocks

Then we refueled and dropped some gear off at the car. It was getting warm and the rain was holding off for us.

We started our second loop up Stagecoach hill. Stonegate was waiting for a friend to come join us on the second set of loops but he had not arrived just yet. So the three of us took off hiking up Stagecoach with the plan that Stonegate would turn around when she received notice that he had arrived and would head back down.

Well, we all reached the top of Stagecoach and it was then that Stonegate got the text that Paul had arrived. So she headed all the way back down as he was working his way up.

Pigeon and I decided instead to work on our power hiking skills. We’d run about half way down and then turn and power hike our way back up. We did that three times before we caught up to Stonegate and Paul who were climbing back up.

Through Auburn we ran to the Overlook and then back down towards No Hands. I had to stop by No Hands to remove a rock from my shoe … once again, we decided to have some fun jumping around off the rocks (really we were making fun of this trail running video that made the Facebook circuit earlier in the week).

Flying!
Flying!

We all refueled at No Hands and then started making our way up K2.  K2 was actually quite busy! I ended up passing two men who were out there hiking. I am still working on my hiking skills to get ready for  13,000 ft of climbing come May.

Once we regrouped at the top it was time to fly down roller coaster back to No Hands. I thought that I would zoom like I have been lately but about half way down, my body just said, “Nope, not today!” The trails were super thick and sticky and every so often, we’d run into the trail maintenance crews out there so I took it a little more conservatively. My legs were happier with that.

When we all met at the bottom, we decided not to do another loop and to call it a day. I think we were all a bit tired. This was the longest toughest run I have done since FOURmidable three weeks prior.

We ended up finishing up at the perfect time as the winds started to pick up and the temps started to drop. We had perfect weather for our run but Mother Nature had decided enough was enough.

POST RUN FUEL

After I got home and showered, I warmed up some Split Pea soup that I had made earlier in the week along with a gluten free roll. It was exactly what I needed to warm up and refuel.

Post Run Plant-Based Recovery Fuel
Post Run Plant-Based Recovery Fuel

Overall it was a great day. I am happy with how my body responded during the run. I almost thought too much time off would hurt me but it was probably just what the trail doctor ordered.

I especially enjoyed all the laughs we had out there. Running with friends really can make all the difference in how you feel sometimes.

My face is priceless!
My face is priceless!

This photo makes me laugh so much so I had to include it. Before we climbed Stagecoach, I used the restroom and had left Flat Stanley outside (some things Flat Stanley doesn’t need to see).

Pigeon and Stonegate were trying to play a prank on me but I foiled it. My face cracks me up. 🙂

Laughter on the trails truly is the best!

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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