Introducing Venture Vermont: A Vermont Travel Guide

It is no secret that many of our readers and guests may only visit Vermont in the winter time. However, have you ever visited us in the summer, to witness the beauty of the Green Mountains in all its green glory?

This summer, starting June 18, join us on the journey to Venture Vermont and explore Southern Vermont’s best summer
logoactivity spots, all within a short distance to Stratton Mountain. Our goal with this travel guide is to find the best unique activities, swimming holes, hikes, mountain biking trails and more and give you the information you need to know such as directions, gear guides and first hand activity highlights, so your family can enjoy the best that Southern Vermont has to offer. Choose from a variety of lodging options here at Stratton and you can stay comfortably before and after you start your outdoor adventure.

Follow our Blog,  website and social media channels for everything Venture Vermont. We also want to see how you do Vermont in the summer! Share your photos with us using the hashtag #VentureVermont, and your photo and activity can be featured on our channels and you could be picked for special give-aways.

Facebook | Instagram |Twitter | Pinterest 

The best thing about Vermont isn’t the amazing winters; it’s that every season is incredible. The Venture Vermont journey kicks off on June 18, with Stratton’s Wanderlust Festival. Join us on this adventure as we share the wonders of Vermont in the summer – the beauty may surprise you.

For questions, more information or to suggest a place for us to visit, please email Cassie at crusso@intrawest.com.

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11 MUST-DO Activities @ Stratton this February Vacation

By Cassie Russo

February has brought so much snow and fun activities to Stratton – making Southern Vermont the best place for February Vacation. Whether your trip is planned, or you are here right now, here’s what I think are the 11 must-do activities while here at Stratton on your February Vacation.

1. Ski and/or SnowboardHSP2015_8576-2250pxA bit obvious, but with 60″ of fresh snow in February alone, conditions are better than ever!! Mike via Twitter said that these are the “Best conditions I’ve EVER skied.”

Snow conditions

2. Visit the Ice Castle

150117_IceCastleNight_HS_3572If your kids are in love with Disney’s “Frozen”, which they probably are, they will be in awe of the ice Castle at the Sun Bowl. It’s growing and changing every day, so there’s always something new to explore!

Hours and ticket information

3.Go Fat Biking

Fat Bike VillageThe newest and most popular trend has arrived at the Sun Bowl. On February 21, the whole family can try out Fat Bikes and learn more information about the growing sport!

Event information

4.Enjoy Live Music in the Village

No matter what your taste in music is, we’ve got a variety of live bands playing all season long. With 14 during President’ week alone, the whole family can enjoy live music at many venues throughout the village.

Live music line-up

5. A Night Out for the KidsHSP2014_0222-2250px

Kids Night Out returns on February 21, where kids of all ages come together to enjoy s’mores by a campfire, sledding and a movie night! While the kids make new friends, Mom & Dad can have their own night out (see #6.)

Kids Night Out

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6. Date Night

While the kids enjoy Kids Night Out, Mom & Dad can enjoy dining without ever having to leave the village. With a multitude of dining options, the Village is sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.

Dining information

7. Retail Therapy

HSP2014_0161-2250pxWhether you want to splurge on that new jacket you’ve been eying or treat your sweetie to a new pair of earrings, the Village is full of retail shops to satisfy all your needs. Check out the Stratton Clothing Company, where you can take home souvenirs from your Stratton exploration!

Retail shops

8. Go TubingHSP2011_4010Tube with the whole family at the Sun Bowl day or night! The Tube Park features four lanes of lift-serviced snow tubing, warming hut with light refreshments and fire pit.

Tubing information

9. Explore the Nordic CenterHSP2014_5966-2250pxCross Country ski or snowshoe our 12km of nordic trails located at the Sun Bowl! It’s a great activity to get the family together and stay active!

Nordic Center information

10. Pamper yourself at the SpaHSP2013_7268

Facials, massages and manicures are just the beginning of what the day Spa at Stratton has to offer. Treat yourself, you’re on vacation.

Spa information

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11. Visit the Training and Fitness Center

Stay active during your vacation with our Fitness Center’s many classes, including yoga, spin and swimming! The indoor salt water pool, hot tub and massages will help you wind down after a long day of skiing.

Fitness center information

Wanderlust re-dux

By Guinevere Hilton

I walked into my first workshop at Wanderlust at Stratton Mountain with an abundance of body image issues, and a well developed arsenal of was to deal with them. I was ready. I knew that I could find lots of reasons to hate on myself, to compare and despair, to judge, belittle and then hop on the self-improvement train (which for me usually means immediately becoming vegan and ending the day curled up in a ball with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in one hand and a pork chop in another). Not this time. No way. I am 40 now! I’ve got this covered. I have spent the last year making it my mission to accept my body and create a place for others’ to love, celebrate and accept theirs. I figured that the chances of this issue rearing up and dominating my experience were slim to none. I was actually excited to show off how far I’d come.

I may have jumped the gun a wee bit. I walked in to the tent and all around me I saw what I wasn’t: thin, beautiful, born with innate fashion sense and a stylist. I was immediately thrown back to being 20 again: living in New York City, trying to be an actress when the flavor of the times was cookie cutter skinny. I wanted to hide. I actually started to cry on my mat. I was sitting there, about to take a workshop with two of my most favorite teachers, Elena Brower and David Harshada Wagner, and I felt so gross, less-than and ashamed that I was considering walking out. I went to the corner and filmed a little video expressing my dismay and concern. My idea was to turn this experience into content for My Real Yoga Body. Then I watched the video, was horrified by how old I looked and promptly deleted it and went back to my mat to continue weeping.

Class began. David started to lead us through a meditation. He opened with the reminder to move away from “self-improvement” and towards being our best selves. Thank you. I softened a little … which just made me cry more. He kept reminding us that “You deserve the best of life, and life deserves the best of you”.   Elena led us through a powerful asana practice; they tag-teamed taught our group in the most loving, authentic and no-nonsense way. I began to move away, at least a little, from my analyzing, self-improvement mind, and towards a part of me that at least was open to the idea that maybe it doesn’t matter so much that I am not a Lululemon model. Yet. Just kidding. Maybe.

There is a reason I started the My Real Yoga Body project, and it is not because I embrace and exemplify body-positivity. It is because my relationship to my body is my embarrassing Achilles heel. I hate that my body, my desire to be what I am not, is one of my biggest challenges. It is an old and familiar nemesis. And I am ready to, as they say in Buddhism, invite it to tea. And then, as I say in Guinevere-ism, smash it over the head with a scone.

At the end of the workshop, David gave us some tips on enjoying Wanderlust and getting the most out of it. The one that stuck with me was about conserving your energetic budget and being careful what you laid your eyes upon. He noted that there was so much exciting activity, interesting people, and neat stuff to buy that the experience could be exhausting and depleting. This helped me SO much through my time at Wanderlust. I reminded myself again and again to choose wisely. To spend a little time window-shopping, and more time looking at trees, mountains and sky. To spend less time sizing people up and wondering where they got those pants and more time making eye contact, laughing, and listening.

I had an amazing time. In the end, body stories did not dominate my experience. They were tempered and calmed by the yoga, the teachers, and the warm, friendly people I met. They became smaller and joy became larger. And again, I am left grateful for the mystery school that is yoga.

 

About the Author:

g hiltonGuinevere Hilton lives on a big lake in New Hampshire with her two beautiful boys. She is the founder of My Real Yoga Body (myrealyogabody.com, https://www.facebook.com/myrealyogabody, and on Twitter and FB #myrealyogabody.), a home for embracing all the various shapes and flavors that make up real yoga bodies. She is eternally grateful to her yoga practice, love that keeps buoying her up and the constantly surprising nature of life. Xoxo!!

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Keep It Simple – A profile of Bill Nupp

By Courtney DiFiore

Health is important, but it shouldn’t be a point of stress or anxiety. By incorporating healthy habits and activities into your lifestyle, fitness will become a source of happiness and peace.

Some people spend their whole lives searching for the secret to happiness. According to Bill Nupp, Vice President of Lodging and Community Relations, keeping it simple is the key. “My active lifestyle has been one of the main reasons for my happiness and peace in my life,” shares Nupp.

‘Active’ to Nupp has a wide range of meaning; getting outside, walking the dog, taking a swim all qualify. This insightful VP shares the reasoning behind his “keep it simple” philosophy saying “it used to be that my goal was to be within sight of Sky Foulkes’ fitness level. But since he has gone on to amazing levels, I am left to more modest goals of being be in good enough shape to live an active lifestyle.”

Growing up on a farm, being outdoors came naturally. Now, as an adult, he explores the Southern Vermont outdoor playground. Nupp opts for activities like hiking, road biking, jogging and in the winter snowshoeing and skiing. “Working is part of living and when you can work in a place you love to live, surrounded by people who appreciate it just as much, I just don’t know how it could be better.”

One of Nupp’s go to workouts is a hike to Stratton’s summit for sunrise, “you get to witness something that makes you feel really alive and lucky.” When Bill takes a break from the elements and hits the gym, he keeps his workout fresh, changing up his routine by trying fitness classes. “Most recently ‘Tondreaus,’ Susan’s Cross Fit routines, seem to be the most productive workout I have ever done,” shares Nupp.

It’s nice to know you can live a healthy lifestyle without it being a chore and Nupp has found the perfect balance. The next time you begin to feel stress because of your daily workouts remember Nupp’s advice to keep it simple, keep it fresh and just get out there.

The Goddess Within

By Anne Reynolds

Anne yoga 1.0 If you had told me fifteen months ago that I would discover my inner goddess through the practice of yoga I probably would’ve spit out whatever I was drinking and told you to lay off the home brewed Kombucha.

I didn’t particularly care for yoga or those that practiced it. In my opinion the typical yogi or yogini could best be exemplified by my old college roommate Chloe and step grandmother, Virginia. Chloe was beautiful, married rich and looked amazing in her Lululemon pants. Yet the only yoga pose she ever practiced was a forward fold when she was trying on shoes at Nordstrom’s. My step-grammy, on the other hand, was stuck in the counterrevolution of the sixties. She preached free love, women’s liberation and spent way too much time in her transparent white leggings. Her favorite pose was snow plow but only if she had a predominately male audience.

Anne yoga 2.0Admittedly, my knowledge of yoga was limited but that didn’t stop me from dismissing all yoga practitioners as phony and pretentious. These two women were definitely polar opposites but they were both classic examples of posers, yoga posers.

I had no desire to try yoga but it found me anyway. It didn’t knock politely on the front door of my intolerance. Instead it snuck through the back door of my people-pleasing issues and inability to say no. Stratton had just opened a brand new yoga studio and yoga was quickly becoming one of the most popular non-snow activities at the resort. The consultant for the new studio was also a yoga teacher and we would meet occasionally to discuss employee involvement with our health & wellness initiative. One afternoon she mentioned that she was having trouble finding someone to help with class check-in. Before I could stop myself I said “I’ll do it!” in my best please be my friend, people-pleasing voice. Not one to pass up on free labor she gave me my schedule.

I woke up with a migraine on the day of my first shift. I debated long and hard about calling in sick but people- pleasers don’t call in on their first day.  With a long sigh I ripped off the tags of my new yoga pants and went to the studio. I was allowed to join the class after everyone was checked in so against my better judgment and rapidly increasing head pain I unrolled a mat, stood there in my socks and figured how hard could yoga be anyway?

Yoga, as it turned out is hard, very hard. I quickly discovered that I was about as flexible as the LTR (learn to ride) snowboard that I could never seem to learn to ride on. I could barely touch my knees let alone my toes and jumping back to plank position or anything closely related was not happening. By the end of class I was sweating profusely, completely out of breath and sure I had torn every tendon in my body.

Ironically it was the last pose (Savassana a.k.a Corpse pose) that I found the most intimidating. I understood that all I had to do was lie there and play dead for five minutes but the thought of being still longer than 30 seconds with just my own thoughts seemed torturous.   While I was lowering myself down on my mat I made a decision that if I couldn’t stand it I would get up, quietly excuse myself and go to the restroom where I would spend the rest of the class checking email on my iPhone.

Something happened during that last pose that prevented me from following through on my planned escape. I don’t know exactly how to describe it but once I settled my body on the mat and started to breathe deeply I felt something inside of me begin to soften and open up. When we finally sat up I felt physically lighter and an overwhelming sense of peace. On the way to my car I noticed that my head didn’t hurt anymore. My migraine was completely gone! That was good enough for me and from that moment on I was hooked.

I now practice yoga daily. I don’t go to class to parade around in the latest yoga fashions or scope out the scene. I also have no plans on giving up all earthly pleasures to move to an Ashram in India. I don’t practice for the physical workout either but I am in the best shape of my life. I am amazed at what my body can do and how strong I am. I can not only touch my toes but I can do handstands and almost a full split.

I practice yoga for one reason only: to feel connected. It’s as simple and complicated as that. When I am able to connect my mind and body with the universe I am able to experience authentic happiness. Does this mean I’ve become a spiritually enlightened goddess? Hardly. Fifteen minutes ago I just used an inordinate amount of force and half a can of Raid to kill a spider. I wish I was in a constant state of Zen but alas, I am still a mere mortal on most days. I continue to struggle with letting go, people pleasing and saying things that I later regret. It’s not uncommon in yoga class for an instructor to remind us to “meet yourself on your mat”. This truism has taught me that the most important relationship you should have is the one with yourself. This means I have to accept me exactly as I am right now. Practicing yoga has given me the ability to understand that my weaknesses are equally as important as my strengths. After all, if I wasn’t a consummate people-pleaser I might not have discovered yoga when I did. When I can accept myself completely I am better able to accept others including the ones I love.

Yes, as it turns out yoga has shown me the path to my inner goddess. This is our true self and everyone has an inner god or goddess. Some days are harder than others to connect with her but when I do I know without a doubt that she is all that is good. She is pure love, beauty and light. She is me.

Summer is for Adventure

By Shane Kelly

In honor of Men’s Health Awareness month, I find it appropriate to take time, sit back and recognize the importance of health and wellness. Stratton Mountain and the rest of the beautiful Green Mountain State provide endless opportunities and adventures to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.A healthy lifestyle leads to more than just a fit body, it opens doors to new opportunities, improves overall quality of life and much more. Healthy living has been a building block to my success. By sharing my journey to lead an active lifestyle, I hope to inspire others.

I’ve spent the last two winters working at Stratton Mountain and during that time adopted a new lifestyle that I had been looking for since graduating college. I found my American Dream; I was snowboarding up to 100 days a season, spending quality time at the Stratton Training and Fitness Center and getting paid for it. As the winter wound down, I panicked. Do I make my way back to the hectic hustle and bustle of New Jersey or do I stay and see what exactly a Stratton Mountain summer has to offer? I’m happy to say I chose the latter. I now call Stratton Training and Fitness Center my home (make sure to come say “Hello!”). The facility offers such an array of equipment, classes and knowledgeable staff that it’s almost a crime not to be a yearly member. Other perks that can be found at the S.T.F.C include a 25 yard salt water pool, hot tub/steam room and indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Having an indoor option is a big advantage to the resort, but let’s not forget about the natural gym right in our backyard, the Green Mountains.

My first Stratton summer has made me realize that I haven’t even hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to taking advantage of all Southern Vermont has to offer. The amount of activities and events Stratton Mountain has in the summer is unbelievable. I’ve been exposed to a whole new world of subcultures and challenges that I’m excited to experience. Where will you find your adventure?

 

The Benefits of Not Training

team-watermelon-preraceOur guest blogger this month is Lauren, an RRCA certified coach and the mastermind behind Health on the Run. Her running and wellness blog has been a favorite among the sneakered set since 2010. Since then, she and her husband have started a new life (and a new family!) in Southern Vermont. Follow her adventures in running in the Green Mountains.

 

This blog was originally written in July 2013, but the content is timeless. Enjoy!

Some runners run purely for recreation. A few miles a couple of times a week, just to stay in shape/burn off calories/eat that extra slice (or three!) of pizza on Friday night.

While I can’t argue with the fact that these are great benefits (and I’ve used running to justify splurges more than once), I personally need more out of the sport. Like many of you reading this, I thrive off actively training — the goal setting, the hard work, the endorphins, the races. I complain about it sometimes (of course), but I generally like the structure of a training schedule. It keeps me accountable, keeps me motivated, and helps me feel accomplished. For the past several years, I’ve gone right from one training cycle to the next…hitting a goal, resetting, working towards another. I love the sense of order and consistency it brings to my life.

But that kind of schedule can also lead to burnout. And now that I’m not training (not really), I have to admit that there are some very nice benefits to the time off. Especially when it’s summer in Vermont, and you don’t have to worry about fitting in your long run when there’s all sorts of other fun outdoor adventures to be had.

I still set goals for myself each week. I track my workouts, and come up with a set number of days I want to run and a certain number of miles I want to hit. Of course it’s all sort of arbitrary at this point, but it’s really the only thing that keeps me motivated. And the structure brings a sense of normalcy to an otherwise crazy time.

Sometimes, however, it’s good to put those goals to the side…something that’s a lot easier to do when there’s no race on the line. No one really cares how many miles I run every week except for me, and running isn’t the only form of physical activity (sometimes it’s easy to forget this when I’m in the middle of a training cycle!). In fact, there are other things I like doing just as much.

cascade falls_1

Like spending the day hiking up a nearby mountain.

cascade falls_17weeks

It’s so funny to me how I can feel absolutely fine (and like my old self) while running a race, but not while walking at an easy pace…well, not when that walk involves climbing a mountain, anyway. I love hiking, but it’s embarrassing how easily I get out of breath now. And I don’t particularly like the fact that I’m lagging behind Evan the entire way.

But, other than my damaged pride, hiking really is a great workout. And I can’t think of many other ways I’d rather spend a day. If there ever comes a day when I give up running for good, I think I’ll just dedicate my life to hiking mountains all over the country.

On Saturday, we headed to Mt Ascutney, the site of the crazy trail race I ran last fall (but not the same trail). It was a tough, but beautiful hike. About halfway up, we stopped for lunch at the top of a waterfall. Eating sandwiches with our feet hanging off the edge of the “world” and the endless green mountains all around is basically my idea of heaven on earth.

weathersfield trail_cascadefalls lunch

cascade falls_viewPictures don’t really do it justice

The day was humid, but not overly hot, which made it perfect for hiking. And although it was a little cloudy at the top, the mountain ranges still seemed to stretch on forever.

Mt Ascutney_top

Have I mentioned lately just how much I love Vermont?

On our way back home, we happened to drive by an orchard advertising freshly picked berries. So we just had to stop to pick up some strawberries and blueberries, which we devoured within 24 hours (in the form of strawberry shortcake and blueberry pancakes).

The next day we continued our Vermont adventures by running from another waterfall…this time, one that’s a fairly well-known spot for swimming on hot summer days. We drove out there with our towels and ran an easy (hot!) 4 miles out and back from the falls. The sole purpose of the run was to work up enough of a sweat so that the icy cold water would actually feel refreshing.

Turns out, it’s going to take a lot more than a 4-mile run on a hot sunny July day to make that water feel good. It was so cold that going under momentarily took my breath away.

buttermilk falls

But there’s nothing quite like an ice bath in a Vermont river. I think if I could finish every run at a waterfall/swimming hole, I’d be way more likely to take regular ice baths during training.

IMG 3913

And if I can spend every weekend frolicking in the Green Mountains, I’d say life is pretty good. Living in Vermont has its downsides, but weekends like this past one remind me why we chose to live in this state…and how lucky we are to be here, no matter how long it ends up being.

And I have to admit that it makes me pretty happy to not have any sort of long race to train for. There will always be another training cycle. I plan to enjoy this downtime as much as I possibly can.

10 Reasons to Ditch the Garmin

team-watermelon-preraceOur guest blogger this month is Lauren, an RRCA certified coach and the mastermind behind Health on the Run. Her running and wellness blog has been a favorite among the sneakered set since 2010. Since then, she and her husband have started a new life (and a new family!) in Southern Vermont. Follow her adventures in running in the Green Mountains.

 

This blog was originally written in December 2011, but the content is timeless. Enjoy!

 

***

Up until a couple of years ago, I rarely ran with a watch if I could help it. And when I did wear one, it was usually because I was running for time instead of distance. Which meant that unless I went and mapped out the route later, there wasn’t any way to tell what pace I was running. The year I qualified for Boston, I timed myself on treadmill runs (you can’t really avoid that) and long runs, not because I wanted to keep a specific pace, but because I wanted to have a general idea of how long it took me to run 20 miles. Those long run times were the only running “data” that I had going into the marathon. That year, I managed to take 19.5 minutes off my marathon time – my biggest marathon PR to date.

But then I got a fancy Garmin as a gift, and this girl who once loved running free and un-timed suddenly became a slave to numbers. I thought I would hate all that feedback, and would hate always seeing my pace in front of me or exactly how far I had gone. But the truth is – it was love at first run. I loved not only having data on the run, but also being able to upload it and see what my runs looked like over time. I loved that I could run in any direction, without any sort of plan, and still know how far and fast I had gone that day. In short, I was hooked.

ifyouseemecollapse_ Health on the Run

I know many of you feel the same way about these little wrist computers. They’re a great tool to have when you are actively training for something. But they’re also incredibly easy to become addicted to. And even though I just spent the first part of this post talking about how much I love my Garmin, sometimes I think the dependence becomes too much. Like so many others I read about, I became a little obsessed with seeing the numbers on every run. If I got ready to run and found out that my Garmin wasn’t charged, it threw everything off. “But how will I run without knowing how fast I’m going every single step of the way??” It’s a little ridiculous, really.

Now that I’m not actively in training, I’ve decided to ditch the Garmin – for most runs. And instead of feeling panic at the loss of so much “valuable” data, I can tell you that it’s been wonderful. So wonderful, that I think it’s something you should do too.

10 Reasons to Ditch the Garmin (for now)

It’s true – runners love their numbers. Average pace, fastest race times, miles per week, miles that need to be run at X pace in order to hit X time – our life revolves around them. I know breaking the cycle by ditching the Garmin has been discussed before, but here are 10 reasons why I think it can be great to run without the feedback. I promise it won’t kill you.

1.) Break the addiction

Pure and simple – you won’t break your dependence on the watch if you never let yourself run without it. I know this seems obvious, but you need to give yourself more than one day. Running watch-less multiple days a week will help you break free of your dependence. I promise it may feel weird at first, but that’ll soon pass. After a few days, seeing an uncharged Garmin before you head out the door on your run won’t even phase you.

2.) Stop worrying about mileage

I am one of those runners who, when I get to the end of what was supposed to be a 5 mile loop and see 4.83 miles on my watch instead, will run up and down the street until I get to exactly 5 miles. Why? I could tell you that it’s because those last .17 miles are just so important, but really it’s because I just like seeing the even number on my watch. Plus, who wants to go out and run 4.83 miles? That’s not as good as 5, right? Five full miles will make me a better runner – 4.83 ? Not worth it.

The beauty of it all is – once you ditch the watch you won’t know whether you went exactly 5 miles or not. And you’ll find that you don’t even care, leaving you free to actually finish the run right in front of your house, instead of 3 blocks down the street.

3.) Stop worrying about pace

Even on days when I’m not trying to run for pace, it’s hard to not keep checking the watch to see how I’m doing. If it tells me that I’m running slower than I want to be, there’s a huge part of me that wants to pick up the pace until it’s back where I like it. Even if I manage to not look at the watch during the run, I still know that the time is being recorded, ready for me to pick apart and analyze later. Running without a watch is the only way that I really, truly don’t care how fast or slow I’m going. I just run.

4.) Embrace the freedom

It’s amazing how freeing it can feel to just shed one little piece of running equipment. There are no paces to hit, no exact mileage to run. Just you and the road.

5.) Run simpler

That freedom you get from ditching the watch takes you back to the simplest form of running. How fast or far you run doesn’t matter. Instead, the run is just about being out there, about experiencing the miles, and getting back to the reasons you fell in love with running in the first place.

6.) Zone out on the run

Besides the fact that you never actually get anywhere, one reason people hate running on a treadmill so much is because of the constant feedback. You can’t escape the monitor that tells you how far you’re running, how fast you’re going, how many calories you’ve burned, and (if you just grab onto the handrails) your heart rate. The watch does the exact same thing – it just lets you know all that stuff without being chained to a treadmill. Having so much feedback all the time makes it really hard to zone out. The watch beeps, you have an urge to glance down at the numbers, you check to see how much further you have to go. None of that helps you “get in the zone.” Ditching the watch gives you less to think about, making it easier to spend the run getting lost in your own thoughts.

7.) Your arm stays warmer

Okay so this may not be at the top of your priority list, but if you ditch the watch your forearm is likely to stay much warmer this winter. It’s amazing how great NOT having a huge chunk of metal against your skin or having to lift a layer or two to see the numbers on the watch feels.

garmin-layers {health on the run}

8.) Easy runs become easy again

I’m one of those runners who has certain paces in my head that I feel like I should be hitting, and paces I don’t really like to go above even on easy days. But running is weird. We all know that some days a certain pace will feel so effortless while other days we’re struggling to hang on. So when I go out for what is supposed to be an easy run and see that my pace is a lot slower than it feels like I’m running, instead of telling myself that I obviously need the extra rest today so should slow it down, I push through, often trying to speed up a little in the final miles. At the end of the run, I may have hit the arbitrary pace that I feel is acceptable, but I haven’t exactly had a nice, easy, recovery day either.

When there isn’t any feedback to tell me otherwise, I run as slow as my body wants to go. It may seem silly that I can’t do this normally, but it’s all a part of the “Garmin Effect.”

Which brings me to…

9.) Relieve the pressure and run stress-free

Wearing that watch can put an unnecessary amount of pressure on you. Just like I described above, when you know something is always recording how fast you’re moving, it creates pressure to hit certain paces. I know this isn’t completely logical. No one (literally no one) cares how fast I complete that 7 mile run except for me. But when I’m being timed, it’s as though the stakes are higher. That run will be recorded forever. Everyone will know I ran slow today. And I will be annoyed with myself that I couldn’t hold the pace I wanted to.

Getting rid of the watch means removing that pressure – the pressure to hit a certain pace, the stress of getting caught behind a group of walkers or a slower runner who might mess up your average pace for that mile, the stress of getting stuck at a stoplight or stop sign (should I pause my watch? Try to sprint across? My pace is ruined! My watch will say I’m slow when I’m really not!)…all of that will be gone.

10.) Become more in tune with your body

Finally, and most importantly, running watch free means that you can’t rely on a piece of technology to tell you how fast you are running, or should be running. Instead you just run by feel. When you don’t have the numbers to tell you if you’re hitting a recovery pace or a tempo pace, you are forced to look inward. A few weeks of running watch-less can help you become more in tune with your own body. You’ll know an easy pace because you know what it feels like to run it – the rate of your breathing, the length of your stride – these will help you determine how fast you’re running, not the watch.

When marathon training starts up again in January, I’m sure my Garmin and I will be reunited. Like I said, the watch can be an incredibly useful tool. But that doesn’t mean you need to run with it all the time. If you find yourself tied to your Garmin, I encourage you to give it a break even if just for a few weeks. After awhile, you might find that you don’t even really miss it…

Run for Life

By Myra Foster

You’ve no doubt heard that Vermont consistently ranks at the top for both health and happiness. Yup, fit and happy. They go together like kale and quinoa. Ben & Jerry.

As skis and snowboards go in, bikes come out. There’s hiking, paddling, softball, soccer, Frisbee. And gardening, that’ll put a smile on your face and fresh, organic, absolutely local food on the table.

Simplest of all forms of fitness, though, might just be running. All you need is a pair of shoes and Darn Tough socks, crafted right up in St. Johnsbury. And nowhere is it better than right here, right now. In my humble opinion.

Somewhere between the end of sugaring season and the start of fishing season, running season begins in earnest. Senses awakened along a rolling road, surrounded by fields and trees and flowers starting to sprout. Just the sweet sounds of spring on your playlist. The dreadmill a distant memory.

We all have our reasons for running. It could simply be to feel great. Or enjoy a little time for yourself in the fresh air and sunshine. Maybe it’s to train for that 5k, 10k, marathon or even the Vermont 100 Endurance Race in Woodstock on July 19-20.

The thought of running a hundred miles makes the Shires of Vermont Marathon seem like a breeze. Now in its fourth year, the course travels from Bennington to Manchester on May 18 with an 872 foot gain in elevation and at least one covered bridge to cross. It is Vermont.

And if I were king, or governor, I would issue a proclamation for the Green Mountain State!

Whereas:
• We celebrate health and wellness; it’s in our nature.
• We value mindful movement; it makes us fit for life, gives us focus in our work and play, and joy in our mountain lifestyle.
• We explore, we ski, ride, hike, bike, climb, paddle, run … rinse and repeat.
• We don’t sit still.

For recovery days, I hear there is a strong correlation between eating chocolate and winning the Nobel Prize. Just saying.

Summer To-Do List

By Courtney DiFiore

I always seem to adopt a new attitude and find myself reaching for new goals during the changing of seasons. I’m not sure why, but it’s a pattern that continues year after year. I clean the house more, I get restless, I yearn for change and become impatient with the weather and its cruel tricks. As a result, I began to create my summer to-do list early this year.

I add things like go to Hamilton Falls, host a BBQ, golf and hike new mountains. As I was creating my list, I felt like it was lacking so I enlisted the help of my co-workers. We all share a love for Vermont and the outdoors, so I knew I’d get some great suggestions. Here’s what the co-workers and I will be doing this summer.

What are you doing this summer?

Team Stratton’s Summer To-Do List – 2014
1. Float down the Battenkill on a tube
2. Go horseback riding
3. Attend the Frendly Gathering
4. Hike 14 miles a week
5. Visit Vermont Breweries (2 down already – she’s the over achiever of the bunch)
6. Do a century ride
7. Visit all the local watering holes (and we don’t mean the bars, but it’s not a bad idea)
8. Play a round of golf, or two, maybe three
9. Train for the Maple Leaf Half Marathon
10. Grow a garden