2018 Running Report Taking it to the trails & the hills!

It’s all uphill from here!

Early in the year my friend Kristin shared a post from a local running coach “Coach Kim” looking for runners to coach that were focused on Mt Washington. My choice to not do the Boston Marathon and change from my usual endurance and marathon focus to more mountain and trail racing was clear at that time and enthusiastically I said “Sign me Up!” The year started out focused and with a quiet first quarter ramping up (no pun intended) for the tallest peak in the East was my goal and I planned to crush it! Skiing and ski teaching at Stowe Mountain Resort in the winter is my priority but I got in some early miles and started the plan with my coach. I love the virtual support and someone looking at my performance and training to make me the best runner I can be! Truly it paid off! The Performance of the Year recognition from my Western Mass Distance Project Club was the culmination of the incredible results that I am sharing below. VERY proud of it all and despite the lack of “real time” race reports, I think it is great to share my results and reflect as I set some challenging and new goals for 2019.

SMAC Northampton 5K Cross Country Series

This photo is from 2 years ago the night that JoEllen won her age and after my birthday that is the age record that I am currently focussing on.

My focus in the beginning of the year was a commitment to race at the local 5k cross country series in Northampton MA. A priority goal was to break my age record. It has been incredible participating in the series this past season – coming as close as 10 seconds off the record! My PR for the season was a 22:37. Looking forward to 2019 where I will do my best to break the age record once again! Love this community of runners – such a great way to spend a Tuesday night – April to August! Below are my times for the 7 times I raced. Very happy with the results!

USTAF New England ALL Terrain Series

USTAF All Terrain Series

Run with the Beavers, Trail – 10 mi USATF-NE Championship (Chepachet RI) 1st in age, 9th woman, Time: 1:33;35 2nd Open Woman’s Team

USATF-NE Open Championship Track 1500 meters – (July 7 – Worcester MA) 6th woman, Time: 5:58:40

My first All Terrain Series! My first Track competition in my life! And I rocked the trail race. I committed to do the whole series and am so glad I did! I met some incredible women runners from the other clubs across the state and truly enjoyed every event. Looking forward to doing this again in 2019!

USTAF New England Mountain Series

Pack Monadnock, NH  2nd in age 1:32:26 – 10 miles

Mt Wachusett , MA May – 1st in age – 27:46 – 3miles 

Mt Washington NH  June  – 5th in age – 45th woman – 1st master team (I was 4th scorer) 1:39:50 – 7.2 miles

Loon Mountain Race, NH, (US Mountain Running Championships) – July 8 4th in age – 1:32:14

Mt Greylock Road Race, MA Sept 1st – 2nd in Age group – 52nd overall, Time: 1:15:23:42 – 8 miles

Yes – I truly am drawn to the mountains! Mt Washington was my goal race and I was faster than last year! I feel my strongest on the mountains and in the hills – getting strength from my fellow mountain goats out there…. the community of mountain runners is the reason I love to do these races year after year!

USTAF New England Cross Country Series

Greater Boston XC Festival  – MA(Sept 9) 1st in age, 18th woman, 4th on Open Team (2nd), 3rd on Master’s team (1st) 22:03 Distance 5k

WMDP XC Western MA (Sept 29) 2nd in age – 28:28 Distance 5K – 25th woman, 1st Senior Team

Wayland XC MA – (Oct 7)  22:51 Distance 5k- 1st in age, 28th woman, 5th on open team (2nd), 3rd on masters team (1st)

The Hills are Alive, Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe VT (Oct 28)- Distance 5k – 24:43 – 1st in age – Scored for Open (3rd) and Masters (1st) team

USTAF NE Cross Ctry Championships, Franklin Park, MA (Nov 7) Distance 6k 26:21 – 2nd in age – 2nd senior, 4th master, scored on master (1st) and senior (2nd) teams

Cross Country is a team sport! We count on every one getting out there on the trail and focusing on doing their best till the end. A smaller squad means we need your time to score – so every second counts!

My love for the trails is truly evident when I get out on a Cross Country course! I train on the trails every day with my dogs, Maverick & Muzzy — and fall being buy favorite time of the year makes it a great way to end the running season!

USTAF NE Grand Prix Road Series and more!

Lone Gull 10k –  4th in age, 264th overall, 2nd on open team (10th), 1st on master team (7th), 1st on senior team (4th) 43:13 

NH 10 miler   1:14:44 – 4th in age, 2nd for WMDP Open Team 

My first Lone Gull and it did not disappoint! The beach run and fun with these strong women made this a memorable trip and truly loved celebrating my Tier 1 achievement that day! The NH 10 miler was an amazing course – beautiful and HILLY – which I love! Jessica was truly a great traveling team mate and Apryl is our amazing top runner from WMDP. Fun times and great T-shirt “What the Hill!’ ❤

The Big Fourth – July 4 – Distance: 5k Time: 23:10- 2nd in age

One of my favorites because it is SO flat! And the Springfield Harriers do such a great job running this one every year – it’s the best way to celebrate the 4th!

The Minnechaug Mile – August 18th – Distance 1 mile – Time: 6:17 – 1st female

A first time community event in Wilbraham, MA that my friend MacKenzie Gray was the official timer and helped to organize. Friends from SMAC attended and I gave it my best and was first overall female!

Eversource Hartford Half Marathon – October 12 – Distance 13.1 miles – 3rd in age – 48th female

My second time running the half marathon after running the full marathon 3 times prior. I love this course and the Hartford community. This year I ran for the American Cancer Society as a DetermiNation runner and raised $1000. My best friend Sue Ann was an amazing host and all the DNation runners were so fun to hang out with before the start. My buddy Wendy challenged me along the way to raise the funds needed to support the great mission of ACS and I was so happy to be a part of that team!

Bridge of Flowers Distance: 8K Time: 36:59 – 2nd in age 24th overall woman WMDP Master Team (2nd)

This is truly one of my favorite local races. We have so many of our team mates at this event and the whole community comes out to cheer! They shortened it to an 8K and kept the crazy hill! Truly one to keep on the calendar every year!

Hot Chocolate for Safe Passage – December 2- Distance 5K Time: 21:29 2nd in age, 12th overall age graded

There is nothing like running for a good cause. Our team is one of the top fundraising teams at this race every year and it is one of my favorites. I stay home from skiing this weekend to run with my WMDP team mates! It’s one of the best races for participation and spirit in the whole state of Mass!

Awards and Recognition

1st overall in USTAF New England All Terrain Series Female / Master

1st overall in age USATF New England Cross Country Series

WMDP Respectees Best All Around performance award

Achieved WMDP Club Tier 1 status with a 10K time of 43:13

Incredibly proud of an amazing season with an amazing team. It is this team of women that inspire me to keep pushing to be the best I can be! Running may be an individual sport but it is the camaraderie of the runners that come to the races each week and weekend that make it fun and worth every bit of training! Thank you to Dana & ED for the car pool rides to Boston for XC – we missed Ruthie’s van – but you guys are amazing! Love my running family ! Looking forward to new goals for the new year!

What is on your race schedule this next year? Please share below in the comments. Next up to set some new goals for 2019! Happy Trails and Climb those Mountains! Thanks for stopping by!

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The Topics Master!

Cynthia The President. Danielle – my first Toastmaster friend that welcomed me and asked me to sit with her on my first meeting there and ME “The Pink Power Ranger” 

My journey to improve my skills as a motivational speaker drew me to our local Speakeasy Toastmaster’s Club.  Since August of this past year, twice a month, Wednesday’s at 7 PM I have been attending the club meetings at the Elaine Center in Hadley.  We have a vibrant group of great speakers with very diverse backgrounds and experiences.  I highly encourage everyone to check out your local Toastmasters Club as a great opportunity to increase leadership and speaking skills! One of the best parts of the meeting is the Table Topics competition.  It’s a friendly competition where members are asked to give an impromptu 2-3 minute talk and then the club votes on the best talk to be awarded.  Table Topics helps to train members to quickly organize and express their thoughts.  As the Topics Master you are asked to great creative on how best to ignite some creative talks from the members.  

When you are the Table Topic Master…

Taking on this role improves organization skills, time management and facilitation skills. As the Table Topics Master here are some things to help you get organized.

  • Select topics in advance of the meeting that allow speakers to offer opinions.  Get creative and make it fun!  
  • Decide if you want to share the question  / photo / object prior to asking for a volunteer speaker or ask for the speaker and then surprise them with the question.
  • Give members who aren’t assigned a speaking role the opportunity to speak during the meeting by assigning impromptu talks on non-specialized themes or topics.
  • If all guests and members without a speaking role have already participated in Table Topics, you may then invite members who have spoken to participate.
  • Don’t ask two people the same thing unless you specify that it is to generate opposing viewpoints.
  • Make a list of the speakers that volunteer and a quick note about their talk to summarize when it comes time to vote.  Read the list for all to remember the talks and may the best speaker win!
  • Pass out the voting papers prior to the meeting, and collect them after the completion of the Table Topics section. Tally the votes, then present Best Table Topics speaker award when invited to do so.
  • Celebrate the winners with a round of applause and a photo – recognition is the best award to give and encourage others to “play along” next time!


Below are a couple of ideas I have recently used as Table Topics at our meetings.  The first time that I was Topics Master I brought in a cloth bag with items from my house – mostly children’s toys from my storage in the basement.  I asked the members to tell a story about the item or about a memory or experience that the item spurred in their mind.  Have fun with table topics! It’s a great way to involve every one in the room!


Toastmasters table topics for Winter

It might seem normal for some, but for others, winter is something they’ve never experienced. Snow, ice, and everything related to this time of year is something many will never see.

  1. What is your favorite winter vacation destination and why?
  2. Describe the perfect snow day!
  3. Which is your favorite winter sport?  Skiing, skating, snowboarding, or sledding?  Or tell us about something  you love to do inside in the winter?
  4. Have you or would you ever go ice-fishing? Why? 
  5. Did you ever have the chance to make a snowman? If so, what was your best one?  If not share something fun you can do outside in the winter?
  6. What do you think about Santa Claus? Share a childhood memory of how you celebrate this holiday season? 
  7.     Do you decorate with Christmas decorations outside and/or inside?  Tell us about your decorations or of someone else’s house that you admire and why?
  8. Have you ever gone caroling?  What is your favorite holiday song to sing or musical instrument to play or listen to? 
  9. If you could have anything you want for Christmas or this holiday season wrapped under the tree what would it be?
  10. What are some things you enjoy in cold weather that you can’t do in warm weather?  
  11. Would you prefer to be in a snowstorm or a thunderstorm and why?
  12. Do you like snow?  Why or why not?
  13. Would you live in an igloo?  Why or why not?
  14. Describe winter using your 5 senses, what do you see? What do you hear?  What do you feel? What do you taste and what do you smell?
  15. Would you participate in a Polar Bear Swim event?  Why or why not?
  16. Has your home ever lost electricity because of a snow or ice storm?  Describe the experience? IF not how would you handle life without electricity?
  17. What is your favorite winter holiday?  How does your family celebrate this holiday?


Table Topics for the New Year

1) What is your most memorable new year celebration?

2) I love new year ! Describe your favorite way to celebrate the New Year.

3) I hate making new year resolutions because….

4) What are the changes that you want to see in our community this year?

5) Share with us your new year resolutions!

6) What is the ONE new year resolution that you make every year?

7) 5 things that you would like to stop doing, starting this year?

8) New year resolutions are meant to be broken. What is your favorite resolution to break? 

9) What if you got promoted to be the CEO of your company, this year? What would you do?

10) The one BIG THING that you can predict is going to happen in your family in the new year

11) Pick one word that you would like to focus on this year.  Tell us why you chose that word and how you might encompass it into your life this year. 

12) If you could turn back time and change something from this past year what would you change and why?

13) What can you do today that you couldn’t do a year ago?


I love being the Topics Master!  I am able to use my creativity and encourage all to participate.  It’s fun to hear the quick little talks and celebrate the winner.  What is your favorite Table Topics theme or idea?  I would love to hear more ideas so please share! 

Thanks for stopping by!  Please leave a comment below!




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Presto Chango! Chicken Pesto!

We are a family that loves basil. My husband probably could eat pesto every single night! So… I searched and searched for recipes that number one have the ingredients that we have in the fridge in that we eat on a regular basis. And number two fit the keto lifestyle. This is a combination of a few simple recipes that are out there plus my experience in cooking with pesto.  Normally pesto recipes call for parmesan but we love our cheddar from Cabot Cheese so I improvised and it is super tasty!

What you need

  • Chicken breasts
  • Fresh Beefsteak Tomatoes
  • Cabot Cheddar cheese
  • Garlic cloves
  • Pinenuts
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Coconut oil spray

Pesto Magic!

  1. In a little food processor I put 1 cup basil, 2 garlic cloves, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup pine nuts and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.  Blend it up to make the pesto paste.
  2. Spray a glass dish with coconut spray
  3. Slice the chicken breast in half to make thin filets and place them in the dish
  4. Spread the pesto paste on the chicken
  5. Cook for 15 minutes
  6. Take out of the oven and add the sliced tomatoes with cheddar cheese and top with some basil leaves and cook again for another 15 minutes

Done! Simple and easy as that.  It’s a fabulous meal! Healthy and good for you!


Do you have a special pesto recipe to share?  I love this paste and save the leftovers for other things too – can’t wait to experiment with this recipe and other uses for pesto.

Thanks for stopping by – please leave a comment to say hello and let me know what you think of my recipe posts!




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Fuel for the Body: Groovy Fruity Smoothie

This is a third in a series of posts celebrating whole food – fresh food and creative ways to prepare it as fuel for your body.  


I have a confession to make, I’m in love with my VitaMix. It is definitely the most used appliance in our household. My husband has this coffee drink that I’m saving for a later post and I am addicted to smoothies. Why do you ask? Because you can pack all the nutrition you need in the blender zip it up in minutes you have a full meal that is so tasty that keeps you satisfied and helps recovery from any exercise that you may have just tackled that morning.


What goes in the smoothie:

Ginger – slice it up ahead of time and keep it in a freezer bag in the freezer and just pop in as much as you like. I am a ginger fan so this is a necessity and makes all the difference in the world to have that taste of ginger.

Coconut water: so much goodness in coconut water!  I love it!

Fresh Frozen Fruit: I Buy my fruit fresh and then freeze it in Tupperware containers.

Pineapple strawberries and even bananas frozen are great to add in. You can freeze grapes and blueberries and just about any fruit including watermelon that may be left over from some fruit bowl you made. I don’t like to buy the frozen fruit in the store because they usually add sugar so be careful to read the labelsFresh fruit: I always toss in a banana and a whole apple, nectarine, or an orange.

Orange juice or Almond milk. If I don’t use a whole orange in the vita mix are use orange juice. Or I use unsweetened almond milk.

Other fun food-stuff: I like to try Goji berries or kale or any other superfood. I am not a big green smoothie person so I throw in a little kale for the added nutrition.

Protein Powder: you can use vanilla protein and it doesn’t change the taste of the fruit so it is my go to for protein. There are lots of brands to try but my favorite is… Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Vanilla Ice Cream Protein 🙂 

There you go! Whip it up in your vita mix add a stainless steel straw and it tastes like a strawberry shake! Amazing, tasty, replenishes your body with fuel you need to recover and feel good.  A great breakfast to start your day or a drink mid day to fight those afternoon lulls.

There are so many different things to try – different smoothie recipes out there – hope you try this one and share your version or favorite below in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by! 


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Stand up for health! Flexispot hits the spot!

What can I say?  It was easy to set up, great to change up my day and move about while being more productive … this stand desk is a game changer!  My job working from home for the American Cancer Society has me at my desk throughout the day, engaged in team calls, nationwide webex meetings, video calls, working from my desktop 100%.   Checkout my interview below sharing my experience in getting a stand desk for my home office.

Why as an active healthy person in today’s workforce do you want to consider a standing desk?  

All the latest research shows how bad sitting is for you — people driving or flying for a living don’t have a choice but to be sitting.  When I am driving or flying neither do I, but at home I need to make a conscious effort to stand up and MOVE to keep healthy, not to have issues with my back, neck or body as a whole.  You need to listen to your body – you need to move – you need to get up and not always be sitting.  Having a stand desk gives you that option and movement for your body is good in any form to keep things active and moving during my work day! All active people should focus in all ways to stay active and this is just another way to be in the active mode!

How did you choose your desk model?

I chose the Alcove Riser in Mahogany – 28” – it fits in my office area without adding bulk and matches perfectly.  I love my Teak office desk and Flexispot had all options for colors and sizes.  I measured my desk and looked for the best matching color that would fit just perfect.  The Flexispot desk is great as it moves up and down without moving forward so it is stable and no need to worry about any other additional space limitations. There were so many great reviews on the customer service and the delivery and ease of set up on Flexispot – for me it was the best choice.  My experience has been flawless from delivery to set up! Thanks for stoping by – I have some pics and videos posted below so you can see how super easy it was to set up! Let me know if you have any questions about the Flexispot Stand Desk they have so many great active options to help your workplace — check out their informative website and blog for more information.


 Change it up – get creative while having the option to sit and stand.  It’s healthy – it’s the right thing to do for your body.


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Fuel for the Body! Apples! Apples! Apples!

This is a second in a series of posts celebrating whole food – fresh food and creative ways to prepare it as fuel for your body.  

Apples…  makes you think of fall right?  At least here in New England, we have so many amazing apple orchards in Massachusetts and Vermont, in a good growing year they are abundant, fresh and flavorful!  In our town the University of Massachusetts manages Cold Spring Orchard for research and education – it’s a great orchard to visit and scenic for some great photos too as it overlooks the Cold Spring area!

In the spirit of some sage advice given…. an apple a day keeps the doctor away…  we know that fruit is good for us and to find fun ways to prepare our favorite fruits is a wonderful challenge.  My number one favorite is apple sauce, cook up some apples, add some cinnamon and zip it up in the Vitamix (my all time favorite kitchen appliance)!

Of course there is apple crisp, with oatmeal and brown sugar, cinnamon and butter — mix it up and top on sliced apples and bake!  Easy peazy!  Apples can be baked in all your favorite foods – so healthy for you and tasty!  Find your favorite apple and see how it tastes in all those fun recipes!

Today I am featuring Apple Chips!  I haven’t yet expensed a fruit dryer so I just carefully bake (don’t take that lightly because they burn easy) in the oven at a low temp and you will be successful.

Apple Chips!

What you need;  

  • 5-6 Apples (Granny Smith are my favorite this time of year but you can use all varieties)
  • Cinnamon – Penzey’s makes an amazing Vietnamese cinnamon that I love!
  • Coconut oil spray for the pan
  • Mandolin for slicing – or a large kitchen knife to cut them as thin as you can.

I have been using spray coconut oil to keep everything fresh tasting and light — add some Penzey’s Cinnamon and bake at 300 for 20 minutes carefully watching and stirring them to help them dry.  The thinner they are the faster they will cook.

Super yummy!   Good in oatmeal, granola or just for snacking!

Thanks for stopping by! What’s your favorite apple and apple recipe – please share in the comments if you have one – I would love to hear it!  Fall is my favorite time of year in New England!  Keep on following me for more great apple recipes during that special time of year!





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Fuel for the Body! Roasted Caprese

This is a first of a series of posts celebrating whole food – fresh food and creative ways to prepare it as fuel for your body.  

You want to eat “clean” you say?  What is there to eat that tastes good, something to crave and makes your body jump for joy!  OK – maybe not jump, but this is my struggle and maybe it is yours too.  We live in the heart of organic farm country, farms offering farm shares where you pick up or farm your own plot.  So many farm stands with fresh veggies all along the road – some official, some just the farm with a few tables out front with a tin can to put your money.  The season is short but plentiful with healthy whole food!

Today is a spin on my absolute favorite salad — Caprese!  I love this salad in so many different ways, that I may share later, but for now I happen to have some tomatoes that had been sitting around and I had a feeling wouldn’t get eaten if I didn’t do something fast!

Ingredients: Fresh Tomatoes (6), Fresh Garlic (2 TBSP), Fresh Basil (15 leaves), Coconut oil spray, Oregano (I love to use Penzey’s Turkish Oregano

Bake in glass pyrex dish at 250 degrees F for 90 minutes, turning the tomatoes over in the dish to mix with the garlic and basil every 15 minutes.

Serve over a slice of fresh mozzarella and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Aged Balsamic and sprinkle fresh ground pepper and himalayan sea salt on top!



What is your favorite salad?  

Please leave a comment and say hi!

 Thanks for stopping by! 





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