Valentine’s Day as an Ultra Runner


If you are looking for rose petals, cliche romance, candle lit dinner and all things pink & red, you are probably coming to the wrong place. But, I can promise, a recap of one incredible day, and a pure love [for life, adventure and each other].

Valentine’s Day has never been my thing. But, this year, well this year is different. It is the first weekend in a series of weeks that Jesse and I FINALLY had time to spend together. You see, right now, work commitments have us going in opposite directions. Jesse still spends the weeks in Rhode Island, and I spend the weeks in our new home in Maine [let it be known, I have the better half of this deal – but, without complaint, this long distance thing is HARD]. Add in my weekend travel schedule over the last month, and you can count the days we have seen each other in the most recent weeks on one hand.

SO, with all that said, this weekend was much anticipated and much needed. And, it just happens to include, Valentines Day.

The day has been P E R F E C T [it’s not quite over yet, although bedtime comes early for us, we have a couple more hours to go – I hope.]

Back to P E R F E C T – today has been as real as our life gets, it has included all the things we love. It’s included all the things we at one point in time, probably took a little too much for granted. It’s included the things we are working hard for. It’s included simple, thoughtful and a lot of extra love.

In true open book diary fashion, Valentine’s 2016, in review:

5:30 AM: Thank you internal alarm clock, wide-awake and this is what we call sleeping in. I guess that is what you get for a normal wake up call of 3;50 AM [Georgia Death Race isn’t going to run itself].

6:00 AM: Bundle up, put on all the layers. It was a beautiful -12 this morning (feels like -35), brrr! Take the fur babies out as fast as possible and get back inside for a good morning hug. Never forget the power of a hug, sometimes that embrace is enough to say it all.

6:30 AM: Coffee. Simple gifts [the card is ALWAYS the best part]. Relax. Let’s talk about the gifts for a brief second. We will credit these to our love for the mountains – handmade mountain coffee cups (Pottery by Alexa Apland – click here for more information) for him and Salomon hiking boots (click here for more information) for her [truth be told, Jesse’s ears probably hurt after hearing me narrate just how cold my footsies are during recent adventures].

7:00 AM: Shower time, breakfast date to follow. We even put on real clothes for this one.

8:00 AM: Kristas, Cornish, Maine. It was a Valentine’s breakfast of champions in the coziness of this establishment [we venture here on many weekends, it’s kind of our thing].  Amazing food, amazing people, amazing atmosphere. Today’s menu: oatmeal, banana and a sprinkle of brown sugar, egg scramble with sausage, peppers and onions with a side of raisin toast, 2 large coffees, and one GIANT pancake. MMM!

10:00 AM: Back to home sweet home. It’s still sinking in that this is all ours. It’s still a little surreal to have a home in the country, feet from the trails, yet close enough to all the things, and of course, Caylee. Balance. A few hours of work, dog entertaining and ultimately relaxing – the best part, we are doing it together.

12:00 PM: Pack the bottles and fuel. Let’s talk about the number of bottles we stashed in our gym bags for an adventure to the gym. It looked like we were about to move in. Electrolytes, BCAA’s, water, post-workout shakes with extra, extra ice. A 2.5 hour sweat session was on the schedule today. And, while this was supposed to be 2.5 hours plus of mountain exploring, the Arctic like temperatures caused a change of plans

Set on goals, flexible in training.

This is what ultra running is about. It doesn’t always go exactly as planned, but you have to have a plan, and you have to stick the course (detours included). This is what training for an ultra is about. There are no holidays, especially when the holiday falls on a Sunday. Sundays are for the second of back-to-back long runs. Luckily, yesterday, in full ninja like attire we were able to venture outside. Today, when surrounded by purple, Arctic-like temperatures seemed entirely desirable [note: I did not say smart!].

1:00 PM – 4:00 PM: S W E A T SESSION. 2.5 hours of good company, burning legs, and a solid dose of mental training. Raise your hand if you have ever looked forward to 3ish hours at Planet Fitness […that is exactly what I thought].

Today’s BE MINE, VALENTINE throw down went like this (written with extra love of course);

1 hour dreadmill
20 minutes running/10 minutes climbing
[slow & steady, slow & steady]

1 hour strength circuit

20 squats
20 alternating lunges
20 leg raise series (front, side, back)
20 side lunges
20 cross jacks

lateral band walks x2

20 bird dog
20 bridge lifts
20 dead bug
20 donkey kicks
20 side leg raise

Rest for 1 – 2 minutes, r e p e a t!

This was pretty the first couple of times, then the burn set in. And, lateral band walks – ugh! For love or hate, they will make us better runners.

30 minutes Arc Trainer
Strength Mode

just push through it – you can do anything for 30 minutes

This was true love right here. Train together. Push through the suck. Get super comfortable with uncomfortable and just be positive. At least we got to suffer through this one together,

5:00 PM: Shower round two. [2 or 3 showers a day have become the norm in this house – 2 workouts a day, and well, smelling isn’t exactly the way to find the truest love]. And, dinner prep. On the menu: filet, roasted broccoli and potato [man dinner] and homemade cookie ice cream sandwiches. Chalk it up to well balanced and well deserved.

6:30 PM: Dinner. DELICIOUS. Enough said. Thank you to Chef Jesse – my dinner creations are not nearly as pretty. It’s a good thing I do not aspire to be a housewife.

7:00 PM: Finish this post & get to the point. The day was P E R F E C T. It has been everything I spent all week looking forward to. It has been everything that keeps me going during the weekdays. It’s been a P E R F E C T day because it has really been normal. Just a normal day that led to realizing some really important things that I want to share with all of you [this is what happens when I spend too many hours on the dreadmill].

*          *          *

The last few years have been a whirlwind. For the long story short version, we met in a gym, and the rest was history. It’s been up and down. It’s been from Rhode Island to Maine. It’s been about creating a family. It’s been about living passion. It’s been about running, adventuring and doing it all together. It’s about putting ourselves out there, letting our guard down, opening our hearts — to really soak up life. And, THIS, all of this has come down to one thing.

If you are not a little scared than you are not doing it right.

All that we do is a little bit scary. To tell you it is not would be a flat out lie. This is an open book diary – as real as it gets, as down to earth as it gets, as TMI as it gets. But, when you become vulnerable, when you really put yourself out there, when you let scary transpire, you start to see how P E R F E C T life can be.

Don’t be afraid to love. Don’t be afraid to give [more]. Don’t be afraid to embrace the scary. Don’t be afraid to give positive energy. Don’t be afraid to fall head over heels. Don’t be afraid to follow your heart. Don’t be afraid to be happy.

Don’t be able to find P E R F E C T [perfectly imperfect]. 

Happy Valentines Day. XO. –Crystal

PS – Tonight’s agenda includes cookie sandwiches, snuggling and some more perfect.


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