a vegan couple: eating; running; living–minimally.

Tag: trail run

Taking an Extra Moment in Nature


We rounded the bend and came to a sudden halt. The tractor inched down the intersecting trail, breaking the rhythm of our run and the calmness we had found. I grew impatient and frustrated as the tractor plodded and sputtered. I stopped my watch; the metaphorical foot tapping in my head in grew louder.

Katie and I had been out on an easy run at our local trail system on the Brewster River in Jeffersonville, VT. A rolling combination of single and double track, these trails were a refuge for us, a moment away from parenting and life’s concerns. But here life and technology and waiting were thrust at us. But then, just as suddenly, I realized what I was frustrated at. I had to stop, sure, but the tractor was hauling dirt and rocks to help improve the trails I was running on. More importantly, this momentary interruption was giving me a few extra quiet moments in the forest, a few more moments with the person adult I love most in this world (cause love for your kid is on a completely different plain).

Why the hell am I frustrated at this?

Too often we grumble and complain about a momentary interruption that is really a chance for quiet, for surprise, for engagement, for taking a breath. The next time you find yourself faced with an interruption take a breath and ask yourself “Why am I frustrated at this?” I’ll bet that

Crazy Times: Failed House Hunting & Five Races in (About) One Week

It has been a while since posting, but life — in all meanings and manifestations of the word — made this a busy and hectic summer. The most stressful and time consuming thing was trying to look for a house. We twice went through the process of putting in bids on different homes. The first ended with the initial inspection, which revealed substantially more work that was needed on the season ski-house which (I wont lie) was in the amazing place: right on the Brewster River about 1 mile from the Smuggler’s Notch Ski Resort. Location location location. It was gorgeous, but the owners simply half-assed all the necessary home fixes since it wasn’t their residence. So, Fail. The second home was a foreclosure that we knew might need some TLC but which we hoped could be alleviated with the help of a 203k Rehab Loan. It was a really cute house, with the space and (many of) the features we were looking for. But multiple inspections later, with numerous estimates on the total costs, things quickly soured and we had to walk away. In the hole for a few thousand dollars plus hours and hours of effort…it has made for a taxing last couple of months. That said, renters we shall remain.

I haven’t run that many races this year, partly for a lacking of the time and and partly for the lack of the training. As it happens, though, my year was to end with three events happening in the span of just over a week: The North Face Race to the Top of Vermont, The Jay Peak Trail Festival, and the Cambridge Rotary 5k.

The Race to the Top of Vermont begins at the Stowe Resort and climbs the toll road 4.3 miles up Mt Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. The race climbs over 2,600 ft (the constant grade of the road changing) and then requires you to hike/run/walk back down. So close to 8.5 quad-busting miles. I was not hoping for anything spectacular, nor was I envisioning any grand finishes. All I wanted to do was finish this race with my legs feeling good and warmed for the three 5ks the next weekend. This I did, as my legs were tired but felt great. My run down the mountain happened to be with the second place finisher. It was a really enjoyable time.

This year I decided to try and do all three 5ks at The Jay Peak Trail Festival, so the following weekend I drove the 40 minutes up to Jay Peak to see how I’d do. In descending order of “difficulty” I ran the Black Diamond (1,163 ft.), Green Square (632 ft.), and Blue Circle (510 ft.). In total that was about 2,300 ft of climbing. The Black Diamond course was altered from last year and was SIGNIFICANTLY HARDER. The grade at times was between 10% and 40%!!! Insane. I really wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish all three. I had to hold back on the descents to not run my legs off, but this just left my legs thrashed. With each race I dug deep to finish as strongly as I could not leaving anything behind until the Blue Circle run. This series of races (including the 25k/50k the following day) are always super fun. I was surprised to find out that I finished 7th overall for those running all three races. Not bad. While I don’t know if I’ll do all three again I will be back to run a 5k or try the 25k again.

Two days later I dragged my sore legs out of bed and toed the line of the Cambridge Rotary 5k to see if lightning might strike twice and perhaps I might win for a second year. This is a hilly course, with both long and short climbs, making it fun and challenging. Even with rested legs there was no way I was going to beat winner, who incidentally won while pushing a jogging stroller! That said, I finished third, completely spent, and happy to have a new 5k PR of 19:00. Seriously, I was one second away from breaking 19 minutes.

This whole year, running wise, has been about adjusting to running with limited time, on a minimal number of runs per week, and aiming for quality over quantity. My goal for next year is to try to integrate some long training runs in the hope of doing some longer races.

Here’s to the run.

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