Into the Darkness Race Recap + Chocolate-Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Last time I posted was right before I was off to participate in the Mountain Junkies Night Time 4 Mile Halloween Trail Run (called “Into the Darkness”). Josh and Gina rock at putting on races; from the organization, to the trails being cleared of slippery leaves, to the post race food spread, and not to mention, giveaways galore…they get an A+! If you are ever in the Roanoke, VA area when a Mountain Junkies race is being held, you MUST sign up. Additionally, if you ever get the chance to take part in a nighttime trail run….you HAVE to do it. Sure, the risk of tripping and getting scraped up is a lot higher, but sometimes all it takes is a few falls to realize you are a lot tougher than cell phone screens circa 2002, and can totally handle it!

The Race: Started off with 3 waves this year vs. 2 from last year and it was SO well done. When we registered we entered our pace and fastest Into the Darkness finish (if applicable) and were seeded into starting waves. Previously there was a whole lot of passing that had to occur, which can be very hard to do on trails…especially at night. This year, it was pretty much right on. I was able to latch on to a group from the get-go and we were all in sync. 1st mile is down a hill and always fast, no matter how much I try to rein it in. That pace is quickly brought into check because the 2nd mile starts UP, UP, UP! From there it is rolling hills, mainly single track with a few spots to make a move if you want. A woman who had been behind me & making sure I was okay approximately every minute when I tripped and nearly fell over various roots and rocks, passed me around mile 2.5. Mission: Hunt her down!! Caught back up to her just as we were leaving the woods towards the finish and passed her! Wooo. Thanks random stranger for giving me the motivation to chase you and finish strong!

Into The DarknessRESULTS: Overall (67/425), Female (9/218), Division (1/34); 36:16 for an 8:57 pace…so actually the same as last year’s pace as the course got a little bit longer this year due to a reroute going down the first hill!

Lots of work to do before the Blue Ridge Marathon next year, but this was a step in the right direction. Hoping that some day soon I am filled with a desire to run rather than forcing myself to do each one!

Now…onto the recipe. I tweeted about this smoothie a while back. Something along the lines of “I want to go to bed now so morning comes sooner and I can have another Chocolate-Pumpkin Pie Smoothie!“. Protein shakes have been my ‘thing’ for breakfast lately. Quick. Customizable. Tasty….also a good way for me to get in enough protein at breakfast without much effort on a vegetarian diet. Since it is pumpkin season, of course I needed a way to incorporate this seasonal squash into my morning routine!


  •  1 cup milk of choice (I use Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I use a whey protein w/30 g protein, 2 g carbs, and 1 g fat)
  • ~1 cup canned pumpkin, frozen into small ice-cube tray blocks
  • pumpkin pie spice, to taste
  • optional: sweetener of choice, to taste


  • Blend all ingredients, pour into glass…drink through a straw.

Like everything I eat – quick and easy!

CPProteinSmoothieFor more of my favorite protein smoothie recipes, check out this post!

What’s your ultimate pumpkin recipe? How about your best protein smoothie recipe? Send me the link as I am always up for trying out new ones!



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