South Moat

South Moat

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Child-Free Week! Irresponsibility!

Haha. Despite the title, I was actually pretty tame, believe it or not! I think it was just too hot most of the week to be crazier than normal. I was happy to have the week before end on a good note with Run4Kerri. After such a crappy week, I was feeling so much better and more like my normal self. It was an odd week, though, since I was alone for all of it. Just the 3 dogs and me. At times, I thought, "Is this what it's like to be a single 40 year old woman without kids?" Being alone has it's perks since I can REALLY do what I want, but after having had more than a week of that, by Sunday I was over it. I felt like something was missing many times. I didn't feel sad or upset because I knew John was fine, but I often wondered how I would possibly find as much meaning in life or use my free time to its fullest if I didn't have a kid. This is definitely not something I would ever have understood prior to having a kid, but, now, I do. What a sad life it would be not to have my child in my life. I can't even really explain well how I felt, but it was almost like going through the motions without a purpose. So strange. I definitely had a great time during the entire week, but that's because I understand my free time is so valuable and not to be wasted. This is something I've talked about with other parents, mothers especially, who get it. It's just an interesting thing I experienced over the week. And I was never sad or depressed about it, but something that had me thinking quite often as the week wore on. I can be very selfish by doing things for me, but to always have this person to whom you gave birth, love unconditionally and care so much for that you would give your life for them just takes the purpose of life to a whole different level. But, anyway, blah, blah blah. Haha.

Monday, August 8, 2016- So in case I wasn't clear, I was alone all week. Haha! Since dogs aren't allowed at the Cape, that meant I had them with me until Friday. Rather than search around for people to help me out with them while I worked my two 24 hour shifts, I just took care of them myself. I hate asking people for help, so this was just easier. I couldn't take them to work in Tamworth on Monday, but I was able to drive up in the ambulance around 5ish to let them out and feed them since my house is right on the coverage area line, as in my property line is the Albany-Madison town line.

Since I knew they would be spending most of the 24s alone in the house, it actually motivated me to get up at 4am and take them to the Albany Town Forest to run them 5.1 miles on the trails. It's still pretty dark at that time, so I had to wear a headlamp (a reminder of how much I hate running with a headlamp all winter). We had a good run, and they were definitely worn out by the time we were done. The run wasn't super fast, averaging an 8:46/mi pace. Any run for me on a Monday morning is a win no matter how slow it is.

Work was slow most of the day with a few calls in the evening, but that was it. I was able to take care of the dogs, so it worked out well. I was really tired after getting up at 4am so the overnight sleep was welcome.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016-  I came home to some very happy dogs. Oh the love of dogs!


I bagged the track run because I actually had time to get my long run in today! I get out of work at 7am, and John comes home at 10am, so that's why I normally just do the track; it doesn't take too long. It was perfect to get my long run today so that I wouldn't be worn out for the weekend's race. I wanted a fairly difficult loop from home since I just didn't feel like driving far, so I picked a run I had done once almost a year ago that took me through Conway, Madison, Eaton, back to Madison, then back home. It's 18 miles exactly and has some killer elevation gain. The weather was much cooler with lower humidity, so the run was actually pleasant. I remember being close to the bonking point for the last 4 miles of this last year, which makes sense; I ran it in the evening when I tend to have less energy. This morning I felt pretty good and ended up staying that way the entire run. Glines Hill is a total bitch, but I ran it 50 seconds faster than last year. Wow!! I ended up finishing the entire 18 miles 9 minutes faster than last year for 2:14:46, averaging 7:28/mi pace and 1,466 in elevation gain.

This run was a VERY good sign, and I was super psyched about it. I felt good AND ran it faster. I wasn't even worn out after I was done. Things were looking up. Could I be back to my 2015 self??? Could I actually not only be back, but FASTER?! I don't know! Time will tell, but I swear I'm feeling it all of a sudden. Ever since I had that deep tissue massage with Tina at Body Mechanix, I've been feeling a huge surge of improvement. No pain, no muscle weakness. Other than some days of a poor mental state, all in all, I really think I'm doing well. It's interesting because around this time last year, I actually started to feel a little run down. I was doing way too much. Racing 1-2 races every weekend AND high mileage (well,for me, anyway. 70-ish). When I look back at what I was doing, I can almost put all of the pieces together that led to my injury, and I feel like I'm kind of figuring out how to create a happy medium now. I'm averaging about 20 miles less per week than this time last year, but I feel stronger this time around. I'm still racing nearly every weekend, but I've cut out the weekend doubles and cut back on the mountain runs. Work can still leave me pretty fatigued, but I try not to push myself too hard if I'm feeling really run down. Last year, I pushed my limits, tested them. I really did want to see how far I could take it. I knew I was nearing the point of needing a break, but I had no idea I was nearing the point of that injury. Knowing the sequence of events and the aches in the glute, I can see it all unfold like watching a movie. It's kind of sad because I want to go back and tell myself what's about to happen, but I can't. In hindsight, though, it's all been fine. It humbled me for sure. Gave me the ability to be empathetic towards other injured runners. It has given me a greater sense of accomplishment to be where I am now after SO much hard work. Might I get injured again? Probably. It seems to be the way of the running world. But while I'm healthy right now, I'm going for it. Oops. Wow. I get off on a rant sometimes, but seriously, this run was pretty significant as you can probably tell. Blah, blah, blah.

So I decided that since I was childless for the day, I would go see Bad Moms in a REAL movie theater, aka NOT the Mountain Valley Mall Cinema in North Conway. I wanted stadium seating. Haha. I kind of procrastinated, though, and just barely made it to Cinemagic in Westbrook, Maine right on the dot for the movie start time. Why can't people drive the speed limit at the bare minimum? One of the biggest mysteries of the world. Hahaha. No surprise, I smuggled a beer in. I was watching Bad Moms. I thought that gave me a free pass to be bad. :) The movie was cute and funny. A little fairy tale-ish, as I think they intended, but they got so much right. Haha. I was the only one laughing out loud, though. Is that bad? Maybe I laugh TOO loudly. Maybe that's why I'm such a turn off. Hmmm. Haha.


I had 4 orders of beer to pick up at the Bier Cellar in Portland. I vowed not to buy anything extra and just to pick up what I had already paid for. I can't believe I had the will power to follow through on that! Granted, I was picking up more than I needed, so that made it easier.

I decided to use my $50 gift certificate at Foreside Tavern in Falmouth for an early dinner since I had eaten absolutely NOTHING all day. Even with the 18 mile run, I just wasn't hungry...until now. Haha. I was STARVING. This place is pretty cute, especially the outside. I always sit outside if it's an option and the weather is nice. I ordered a Peeper Ale by the Maine Beer Co, a fancy appetizer AND a burger. I devoured every bite.
Peeper Ale

Cute outside area at the Foreside Tavern in Falmouth, ME
I drove home after this and took the dogs for a walk up Heavenly Hill. The sun was setting just as we walked back to the house. I opted to try one of the beers I had picked up at the Bier Cellar. The Rain Shadow Stout by Buxton Brewery in the UK.

Me on Heavenly Hill with Chill in the background. Notice the sweat? haha

Pretty sky over my house

Omg. How did those Mews Tavern coasters get on my coffee table??
Wednesday, August 10, 2016- I don't know how I had the energy to get up at 4am again, but it really wasn't an option NOT to. The dogs needed to get a run in. It was back to the Albany Town Forest for the same exact 5-mile run as Monday, except I ran it much faster. 8:30/mi pace.

On Wednesdays, I work at the North Conway base which meant I couldn't go take care of the dogs in the ambulance. We're the only truck covering North Conway so we can't leave the coverage area. But since we are the only crew here at the base, I was able to bring all three dogs to work with me! Bring Your Dogs to Work Day! I like it. And I didn't even ask. I just did it. I kind have the ability to do that here. They wouldn't bother anyone, and I kept them in the only air conditioned room we have upstairs, so they were super comfortable. I was able to take them out a lot out back on the trail by the railroad tracks, so it ended up working out perfectly. Plus, I got to hang out with my dogs! Yay! No surprise, by the afternoon, I could barely keep my eyes open, so I spent a few hours hanging out in their room with them. Then Phoenix slept with me in my regular room overnight. It was nice having them there.
How did they get in there?!

Nap time with Phoenix
Thursday, August 11, 2016- A good night's sleep again! Wow. I thought this meant I was going to be refreshed and ready for the Moat Traverse Loop I had planned, but noooooo. I could not believe how hot and humid it already was when I left work at 7am. Omg. I wanted to bring the dogs along, but there is absolutely no water the entire time you're up on the ridge, and with the heat, there was no way I could bring them.

I parked off of High St since I run to the old Moat Mt Trail from there, then connect with the current Moat Mt Trail to run up South Moat across Middle and North, then down the other side and loop back via the lower trails. It's about 14.5 miles, and I really love this run. Well, today it didn't happen. I would end up having probably the worst run ever. I don't even know if I was a quarter of the way up South Moat yet or not when I realized there was NO WAY I could do the whole loop. I was DYING. I was so hot. I ended up having to walk way more than I think I've ever walked up South Moat, even when I was in worse shape. I had to stop and drink water along the way, which I never do. I felt so bad. As in so, so bad. I felt completely drained by the time I got to the top of South Moat. I always take pictures on my runs of the Moats, but I only took 3. And they were all in a row of me feeling awful. I didn't even have the energy to take more. Just zapped. I'll even put all 3 pics on here. haha.

I HATE heat and humidity SO MUCH.



The run on the ridge to Middle Moat and then down the upper part of Red Ridge wasn't too bad since there was a slight breeze, but I was still dying. I ran past a group of like 8 men on my way down Red Ridge. I didn't even look up, only mumbled with a "hi". A "You're insane!" was returned to me. Yes. Yes, I am. I think that's pretty much the consensus since I here it at least twice a week. Haha. How I didn't fall running down that technical trail in my state of delirium, I don't know, but I made it in one piece then took the Tent Boulder, Mineral Site and High School Loop Trails back to my car. I was done. So done. 11.3 miles of blah mountain running. Over 3000ft of elevation again and about 5 pounds of water sweated out. My energy was zapped and all I wanted was a pint of ice cream. So I stopped at a convenience store and got a pint of Ben & Jerry's. I ate the entire thing as soon as I got home. Being the dummy that I am, I ended up booking up my entire day, first with a haircut and highlights, followed by an unplanned nail repair plus an entire fill because I might as well while I'm there. Then I went so far beyond the normal me and went shopping! I hit TJ Maxx and the outlets. I was really looking for one specific thing. A dress. And the idea of what I had wasn't anywhere to be found. I did buy a sundress at Old Navy and a t-shirt at Rue 29, but the dress I pictured existed nowhere in this Valley. And what's up with the popular dress style being a bunch of potato sack-fitting shit?? I don't want to wear a bag. It seems like things are made for big bellies lately. I have a big ass and a small waist. I want something that fits THAT. Nada. So I felt like I had wasted a lot of time and just wanted to go home! I took the dogs out and had a beer. I think I got to bed pretty early since I was beat.

Look! Do you see it? Right there! Look at it. It's taunting me still. The GRASS is GROWING!

Different, but good, beer. Anchorage Brewing's Anadromous Black Sour Ale.
Friday, August 11, 2016- Ok. So if any day of this week had to be considered a day I was irresponsible, it was this day. (And after thinking about it, I was similarly irresponsible this exact same weekend last year. haha.)

The day started off innocently enough. I slept in an extra hour than planned because I really needed the sleep. I got up, had a cup of coffee, then hit the trail behind my house with dogs for a run up Heavenly Hill and into Tin Mountain for a really easy and slow 4.2 trail miles. It was once again extremely hot and humid. Fortunately, this run has plenty of water for the dogs because they were dying. The run isn't easy either. Over 900ft of gain and pretty technical.

Phoenix cooling off in the mud at the end of the run
Once back at the house, I got in the shower then started loading up the car for another weekend in Rhode Island. This time I wouldn't be camping at least. Scott Mason offered his 3rd floor apartment for me to use while I was there. It ended up being perfect and reminded of how little space I really need. Made me want to ditch the house and move in. So much simpler! Anyway, I still ended up packing just as much junk. 8 pairs of shoes, 3 potential outfits for each day and my sleeping bag and pillow. I don't know why, but I think it took me over an hour to load up the car. Sometimes I wonder how I ever lived in a van... or even out of a backpack, for that matter. It's almost like I'm being defiant of my former self. Haha. Hit the road and had a really smooth, almost completely traffic-free drive down to Rhode Island. I only stopped for my reward drink, a Flat White, at Starbucks in Dover and gas in Attleboro. I was on a mission, and that was to get to Bucket Brewery in Pawtucket. And this is where irresponsibility began. Haha. I was good here...but I should have paced myself and skipped the 12oz pour of Park Loop Porter after the flight of 6, but the Park Loop Porter was so damn good. I hadn't eaten all day (my summer trend), so it went right to my head. I took a 6-pack of Black Goat of the Woods with me and left.
Bucket Brewery
Park Loop Porter
Food was next on the agenda as I drove into Providence. I found the closest Whole Foods since I wanted to hit their food bar and grab some recovery protein powder for after Saturday's run. I bought some really strange things that I didn't even remember buying until I opened the refrigerator the next morning. BBQ chicken fingers. What?!! No idea. (I ended up giving them to the dogs when I got home on Sunday.) A chocolate chip bran muffin for breakfast. Ew. I snarfed down a spinach pie and cupcake in the parking lot in my car while a HUGE thunderstorm passed over, then drove to Scott Mason's.

I should have known Scott would offer me beers when I got there. Haha. Scott showed me around the place. It's a really nice place with a huge apartment downstairs from Scott and then "my" apartment up top. The heat this week had been insane, so I was thankful to see Scott had put in a window a/c unit for me. I don't think I could have slept up there without it. Haha. The thunderstorms continued to roll in making a nice breeze on the sun porch where we sat drinking good beer and talking.

It got late, but I decided to go out to a bar where I proceeded to have more food and 4 more beers. I guess it was all spread out enough over many hours that it didn't seem like a lot, but looking back, I was having my own private beer fest. Yikes. 4 beers later and I wasn't back at Scott's until almost 2am.
I honestly have no memory of taking this at the bar. Pretty sure it's the Jack's Abby Framinghammer.
It wouldn't have been so bad if I could have slept in, but I was meeting Bob Jackman, Dave Principe and Fred Campagna, one of the other guys on the Turtles, at 8:30am for a run at Goddard Park. Oh boy did I wake up pretty hungover. One bite of that bran muffin made my stomach turn. I made a cup of coffee since I can have coffee almost any time, but I had to just skip the food. I remember thinking that I had just totally ruined my race at Bobby Doyle after Friday. At the time, I didn't really care since I knew the temps would be well into the 90s with nearly 100% humidity. I figured I would suck whether I had partied or not. Haha.

I got myself to Goddard Park on time, so that was a good sign. I found Bob, Dave and Fred and we stood around for a little bit. Dave's son, DJ, was there with his cross country team for practice, so we kind of waited until they got started before we did. There were cross country teams everywhere. It was pretty amazing. My high school team did nothing like this for training. There were a lot of girls teams there, too. All so serious and fit. We were definitely not like that. A high school teammate brought back a FB photo from the dead this week that I had tagged her in from our cross country days. We look SO lame compared to these boys and girls out there training. The only thing similar was the heat. This picture was from an August x-c meet in Georgia when temps were in the 90s and humidity was 100%. I actually remember that because it was the hottest race we ever ran in all 4 years on the team.

Athens Academy Cross Country 1991. Mary Beth and me running our super fast 24 min x-c 5Ks. SO slow.
Anyway, just standing out there waiting to run, I was dying. Not only hungover, but so hot and pouring sweat. We all ditched the shirts (ok, so I kept the sports bra) then finally got going. I actually felt pretty good as soon as we started moving...probably because I had already sweated out the alcohol just standing there. Haha. It was nice running in a group being able to talk the whole time and just run in a new place. We did some sort of loop, out and back thing that I could never repeat, but Bob knew where we were going, and the rest of us just followed. We even got out on the beach for a brief stint. That was nice, since I love running on the beach...when the sand is hard-packed. It was a really nice place to run, and I can finally put a visual to the name. The pace wasn't hard, just perfectly on the quicker side, and I actually felt good with it. 6 miles at a 7:20/mi pace. It definitely sobered me up but didn't wear me out. It was nice to be invited along since I would spend the afternoon by myself.

We hung around for a long time after waiting for DJ and Fred's son to finish up; they were doing 12 miles which just seemed brutal in this weather. I learned that Fred is a meteorologist and didn't have much good to say about the weather for Sunday's race. He said he had been watching it coming for awhile, and even though he didn't say these exact words... we were fucked. Haha. If we thought this morning's weather was hot and humid, we had another thing coming, and it was no lie. As we stood there, I couldn't stop sweating. It seemed like an hour, although it probably wasn't, that I stood there pouring in sweat. I just happened to have a beach towel in my car that I kept wiping myself down with, but I didn't change clothes until we left. Seemed pointless. The 4 of us a adults and the two boys went to Dunkin Donuts after. I forced myself to get a bagel twist because I had to eat something. Also got a giant iced coffee. Haha. Then we all left.

I went back to Scott's. He was off on Martha's Vineyard all day shooting photos for a race, so it was just me and his cat. I showered then laid down for a little while to recoup. I was feeling pretty beat all of a sudden. Still couldn't eat, but I able to drink one of those recovery drinks I had gotten at Whole Foods. I have to say. That air conditioning felt so good and made it really hard to get back up.

There was no way I was coming back to Rhode Island for an entire weekend by myself to be lazy and do nothing, so I forced myself up, put on my bathing suit and some sunscreen and headed back down to East Greenwich to rent a paddleboard. Just my luck, a thunderstorm rolled in that was ONLY over Warwick and East Greenwich. No lie. I got down to the marina where Rhode Island Paddle Sports was, but as soon as I pulled in, more storms blew in. I kept watching the radar, and it seemed like more and more kept popping up JUST over Warwick and East Greenwich. I really thought I was going to have to bag it so I left and drove around East Greenwich for awhile... like 5 minutes. I realized I was starving and thought about getting food, but all of a sudden, the sun came back out, so I drove back to the marina, checked the radar and realized I was good to go.

I walked over to the rental area where two really young guys were doing the rentals. One was nice and the other wasn't so much. Probably had no desire to be working on a Saturday. I asked if I could rent a paddleboard, and the grouchy one said, "For two of you?" I said, "No. It's just me." Incredulously, he said, "JUST you?!" And immediately following that, the nicer one said, also incredulously, "It's JUST you?!" Wtf. Haha. I have no idea why they seemed so shocked, but I chuckled to myself. Hmm. Maybe I don't look capable of being alone or maybe people in Rhode Island don't do things alone. I wouldn't put it past them. They do eat things called Stuffies and pizza without cheese, and don't you dare put a straw in a frozen lemonade! So you never know with these people. Hahaha. :)

The rental process took about 5 minutes. I had 2 hours to use the board for only $15! That's unheard of. I planned to use every bit of that 2 hours, and I did, too, got back to the dock right on the dot. I set off across the marina towards Goddard Park, where we had run that morning. I paddled along the beach to Sally Rock Point and out into Greenwich Bay a little bit. It was so much fun. I hadn't paddleboarded in 2 years, but it only took me 3-4 minutes before I was comfortable with it. They really aren't that hard to balance on. I took a couple of short breaks to sit on the board and enjoy just floating on the water. I could see thunderstorms off in the distance over Providence and Massachusetts. There was nice cool breeze. I felt like I was in the only logical place to be on a hot day like this. On the water. It was such a peaceful, relaxing way to spend the afternoon without just sitting around.




I paddled back from the bay towards the marina and into Greenwich Cove before turning back. I realized I still had time to paddle, so I made my way over to what I guess is called Chepiwanoxet Island then made my way back to the dock to return the board.

I could have walked to where I was headed next, but since that was the way out, I drove down the marina a little bit to have dinner at McKinley's Irish Pub. It kept catching my eye every time I drove in and out of there.  I sat at the end of the bar since it was the only seat available not under the a/c unit. It was a nice place to hide. Haha. The beer selection wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible either. I had a Harpoon UFO White and an Allagash White. And would you believe it?? Yes. Yes, you would because this is Rhode Island. They had Stuffies on the menu! I couldn't help but order them, along with a burger. Once again, I ate every bite. It would be my only real meal of the day, so I fueled up for Bobby Doyle the next day.

Stuffies. I'm sending the bill for these to Level Renner. #stuffiesonthelevel
Sorry inside joke.


UFO White
I went right back to Scott's after, only stopping to get two gallons of spring water. I was so tired that I wanted to collapse. Scott had just gotten home so I talked to him for a few minutes. Then I showered and got right in the bed. I think it was around 7pm. I needed the rest. Lack of sleep and doing a lot during the day had me down for the count. I dozed in and out until probably 10ish when I fell into a deep sleep. I was hoping to wake up refreshed and ready for Bobby Doyle the next day.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Run4Kerri 2016

Run4Kerri wasn't on my radar at all, even though I knew about it, but after Michael Crutchley brought it up with me via Facebook, I decided to look more into it. It only took me a few minutes after reading the meaning behind the race to decide that I was in. Run4Kerri is a 4-mile road race that was started in memory of Kerri Bessette, who died after contracting bacterial meningitis in 2001 during her freshman year of college. Her family started up the race and created a scholarship fund to help two South Kingstown, RI female athletes attend college. Check out the website here: Run4Kerri. While perusing the website, I noticed there was an elite field option, so I inquired about being a part of it. After submitting a list of requested PRs, I got an official invite from Scott Bessette to the elite field. Along with that was a free entry code. While I always love free entry into any race, this one didn't sit well with me with my knowledge of the reason behind the race, so when I registered, I used the free code for the registration and then gave a donation of entry fee amount directly to the scholarship fund. I'm not a super awesome person looking for a pat on the back, but I felt like this was the right thing to do here. And maybe this will encourage others who sometimes get comped race entries to consider what the race is for and also make a donation. Anyway, I was in. And excited about it. Another new-to-me race in Rhode Island. I had to get through the week first, and it ended up being a rough week for me personally. Left me pretty off mentally. I realized later on that August has been really tough for me now for the 3rd year in a row. Obviously 2014 was because of the divorce, but for the second year since then, I've had shit come up that's just been tough mentally. Maybe I can turn this around in 2017 because I don't like the trend. But even as I'm sitting here writing this, I'm feeling really blah. Not depressed or anything like that, just blah. I don't know how to describe "blah" really, but I guess it's kind of a numb feeling. Anyway, despite the rough week, I managed some pretty decent runs which left me feeling better, as they always do.

Monday, August 1, 2016-  Typical zero day. I needed it. I was actually sore from the 10K. Definitely no surprise. And I couldn't get myself out of bed anyway. I wasn't ok mentally. And to top it off, it was the 1st which meant the monthly ambulance check. I walked out of the house leaving my coffee on the table to start and then walked into work with our usual ambulance out of service and A12 in its place. AND we had to do the monthly on the day following the biggest slob working on it. Monthly checks involve thorough cleaning of the entire truck, as well as an extra thorough equipment check. The dirtiest part of an ambulance is the cab, since we spend a good amount of time in there. I usually start on this, and it almost always takes me an hour and a half. And just as expected, I find a fucking chocolate chip cookie right by the driver's seat, as well as a bunch of food trash shoved in the door and coffee and some sort of red sticky juice spilled all over the container in the center holding the gloves, map book and protocol book. WTF.
Cookie after I threw it onto the bay floor in anger. That's also old muffin trash that had to be over a month old. 
After I was done with that cab over an hour later, it was spotless. My partners (we had a third) finished up the rest in the back, and then we finally headed out for coffee. I ended up with gross Dunkin' Donuts, but it was better than nothing. I made my breakfast, drank the coffee and then started to feel better, gradually feeling like myself again by the afternoon. We only had a few calls, but it ended up being a good day, and my usual happy mood returned.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016- Tuesday ended up being a good day. Usual Track Tuesday! Coming off the 10K and with Run4Kerri coming up, I didn't want to do anything crazy. I had the plan to do 12x400, but track-smarter friend suggested 8x400 instead. I was happy with that. Still ran the 2 mile trail warm up at a quick pace and then had a pretty decent workout. I like 400s and find it easy to be consistent with them, even though I was a bit off today. In seconds: 87, 84, 86, 84, 86, 85, 83, 82. Two mile trail run back to the car.
The black top at KHS. Sizzling, as usual.
That afternoon, John and I went to Storyland. It was crazy crowded, so we didn't do as much as usual.
John waiting in line for the Turtle Twirl
I made just enough time to drive up to Pinkham Notch to get spring water since it wasn't too far of a drive up from Storyland. John was sound asleep the whole time. Ninja class for John, as usual, after that, while I ran Spot and Phoenix on a trail run in the Outer Limits, shortened, of course, since I don't have much time. 4.3 miles.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016- Got my ass out of bed to find my calves really sore from the track workout. Funny, when I'm not always feeling 100%, I tend to have good runs. Busted out my fastest Wednesday morning 5 mile treadmill run feeling really good. 6:58/mi pace. Progression run. 1-3% every half mile. Really happy to see my fitness level increasing.

The only downside to getting my ass out of bed so early is that I am junk most of the day at work. SOOOOOTIRED. I rarely nap, but after spending hours working on the billing stuff, I lied down for hours. Not sleeping, but just resting in the quiet. I was back in this week's slump and couldn't eat all day until I forced myself to eat a salad around 9 after we got back from a call. Lying down did help with my mood, so after that call, I felt ok again. This whole week would go like this. Up, down, up, down. You could chalk it up to PMS, but the timing was a tad off for that. Haha.

Thursday, August 4, 2016- Woke up feeling good. Yay! And Thursday ended up being a good day, even though I was tired as hell. I drove over to Franconia Notch for the short loop of the Franconia Ridge Run. I was originally planning the longer loop, but I barely had the energy for the short loop, and it was HOT. The last time I did this run it was with Kyla Brustin, almost 2 years ago to the day. I didn't plan it that way; just realized it after the fact. It was an absolutely picture perfect day, just like when Kyla and I ran it. I was hoping to run it faster this time, even feeling beat. I felt great at first, then once again, bonked SO hard in the last half mile. I had to power hike almost all of it. I still made it up there a minute faster than last time. Don't look at Strava; I must have stopped just a few feet off of the segment's end this time since I had 1:03 on my watch when I got to the ridge. I took a 5 minute break to drink water and refuel then moved on. The Strava segment says 1:08, so I must have been just shy of the ending point. Anyway, I continued on, definitely lacking in the energy I had the last time I ran it .
View from where I reached the ridge.

Looking back from where I came from

Weird face, but I couldn't see what I was taking. Lafayette behind me.

Back down below with the ridge I just ran behind me.
The trail was so crowded, but I expected that. It was a beautiful day to be up there. Just makes it hard to pass people. I love this ridge run, though. Just so amazing. I still remember the first time I made my way across it during my 1998 AT thru-hike, my first time ever in New Hampshire. It was amazing! And it STILL is! I just went through my 1998 photo album. Such a shame that we still used film cameras then because the photos are terrible, but I found this gem of a photo (DORK! haha!) from my first time every on Mt Lafayette.
Love my oversized men's Gore-Tex jacket. Those Leki poles next to me have travelled over 7000 hiking miles with me.
9/4/1998
I didn't spend long on Lafayette. It was super crowded. The run down the ridge to Greenleaf Hut is beautiful, but technical. Past Greenleaf, the trail gets super technical. I had forgotten just how technical, so I had to really concentrate hard to keep up a quick pace. I even amaze myself sometimes with my skill at this. The quick coordination between my eyes to my feet took years of practice, and it's pretty awesome to be able to move through that stuff so quickly. That doesn't mean I don't choose poor steps at times, but I have learned to quickly offset poor step choices, too. I still fall and still hurt myself, so I'm not perfect, and I do wonder at what point my reaction time will slow only for me to realize it as I'm tumbling down some rocky trail onto my head. Hopefully, I still have time! Haha.

Finished up the 8-mile loop in 2:30:50, nothing impressive, but 12 minutes faster than 2 years ago, so I'm happy with that. I was tired and bonking, so I'll take it.

It was right to the Woodstock Brewery for lunch and beer. I sat at the bar outside. The food took like 5 minutes, so I was in and out of there quickly.
I love dark beers year round!
I SO wanted to get out kayaking that afternoon, but after the drive home across the Kanc, I could barely keep my eyes open. I went right to the couch and lied down for an hour. I doubted I would have the energy to get up again, but the lake was calling. I had saved a beer Michael Crutchley gave me at Run with the Beavers race and decided to bring it along for this kayak paddle since I was bringing Spot and Phoenix along. The beer is Dogs & Boats and beats Heady Topper in my opinion. Getting a shot with the beer and both dogs on my kayak took a lot of tries. Haha. Spot fell in twice. I ended up just getting more individual dog shots. I decided to paddle Chocorua since it had been awhile. It took forever with the dogs, and Spot literally almost got attacked by a loon. There was a loon in the middle of the lake with its baby. We weren't close to it, but Spot was swimming along behind the kayak. I saw the loon dive under from a distance, and the next thing I knew, the thing popped out of the water right next to my kayak!! I've never seen one that up close before. She then turned and started swimming and yelling behind me going after Spot. Poor Spot; it would just be her luck to be the only dog attacked by a loon. Spot was just swimming along and never went near the loon, and the thing finally backed off and swam back to its baby. Here's a series of fun shots I took with the dogs and the beer. I have way too much fun. Too bad no one can keep up to join me. Haha. Ok. That's a lie. The people who actually get to know me realize eventually that I'm no fun at all. So if you're thinking I'm fun, run far away! Haha.







Friday, August 5, 2016- No rest for the weary because I've got shit to do. Haha. Ok, I wasn't that excited when my alarm went off at 6am so I could get to Portland for an early morning appointment. Nothing medical. All "beauty". Haha. Some things you just can't get done in the Valley. I had just enough time to swing by the Holy Donut for a power breakfast. The last time I had a Holy Donut before a run over the winter, it was the best long run I had. It has to be those Maine potatoes. :) I got a donut for me and one to give John later, hit my appointment, then drove down to Scarborough to run on the Eastern Trail. As always, I planned an easy run, but since it was SO flat, I ran it a little quicker than that. I still kept the effort low and tried to keep the first half of the run on the slower side.

This was my third try on running the Eastern Trail, and I guess the third time is the charm. Even though it was SO hot out, most of the trail was in the shade. Probably 95% of what I ran, anyway. The only open parts were the short sections through the marsh. I ran an out-and-back for 8.1 miles. Averaged out a 7:04/mi pace which is quick, but on a flat trail like that, I would normally run it all under 7s, so I was happy to reign it in somewhat.

I had just enough time to get lunch before driving home and went to the Little Tap House in Portland. This place was great. I sat outside even though it was really hot out because I smelled and was pouring sweat. Haha. The beer hit the spot.

When I got home, I found this in my mailbox...


Yikes! A reminder at how close this is getting! Pretty cool, though. Went right on my car. I've started to add more and more stickers to my car again. It's almost looking like my Jeep in college. I so wish I had a picture of it. My ex husband HATED stickers on the cars, and every time I put one on, he would take it off. So I take great pleasure in putting this shit back on my car knowing that it makes him cringe every time he sees it. Haha.

The rest of the day/night wasn't so fun. John and I just hung out at the house. We had to get up REALLY early the next morning to get him to the Cape before the traffic, so I wanted to get into bed early.

Saturday, August 6, 2016- Woke up at 4am, and we were on the road by 5am. I was dropping John off at the Cape with his dad's family for over a week! It's their annual 2-week vacation to Truro, and John and his dad always go down for part of it. Since I was heading to Rhode Island anyway, I decided it would be easier to just drop John on my way. We barely beat the traffic, too. It was starting already before 8am. Those people are crazy! John's grandparents met me in Yarmouth. I was pretty sad to say goodbye to John for so long, but I knew he was in good hands, and it's good for him to hang out with his extended family. He hardly ever sees mine, so I'm grateful they are so close and so good to him.
It was hard to leave him for so long. I felt like a piece of me was gone and immediately felt lonely. I have plenty of days without him during the week, but this would be the longest I had ever been away from him. He's the only person I have in my life, so it's no surprise I felt this way. I was in store for a very lonely week. I still had fun at times, but in general, it got old.

I said goodbye and then drove over to West Barnstable Conservation Area for a short run. I only planned 4-5 miles and didn't have time for much more. The trails at this place are insane. So many of them, and unless you have hours to kill, a map is a necessity. If I hadn't printed one off, I would have gotten so lost. I picked a loop that looked like it would be 5ish miles and would also take me over the high point of Barnstable. It was nothing spectacular at just over 200ft, but still cool to hit. Haha.
Highest point in Barnstable, Ma.
The loop landed me back in the parking lot right at 5 miles on the mark. Not bad! I made it a super easy run since I didn't want to be tired for the next day's race. Kind of a fun place to run. I would definitely stop here again.

It took me awhile to stop sweating so I hung out in the parking lot until I could change into my dry clothes that I wouldn't sweat all in. Then I headed to Providence. I needed food badly at this point, and in my Google search for the best breakfasts in Providence, I found homemade corned beef hash at the Elmwood Diner. Sounded worth a try so I drove there. And wow, what a breakfast (even though, it was noon by this time)! It did not disappoint. The waitress seemed to hate me the whole time, but she still gave me good service, and the corned beef hash was amazing. I highly recommend it! Ignore the neighborhood and the run down look of the place. It's worth the visit. I did end up sweating buckets while I was in there, so I changed clothes again and put my nasty, sweaty hair up in my hat. Make-up, earrings, and I almost looked like I had showered! Haha.

I had gotten a ticket to Augtoberfest at Foolproof Brewing in Pawtucket and since I had nowhere else to go in the meantime, I just drove back up there. I was a little early, but it worked out for parking and getting a beer right away. I brought my chair and tried to set it up so that I wasn't too obviously the only loser there alone, but that didn't work. There was another loser there alone who of course spotted me right off the bat and tried to make small talk. Yeah, no. I don't think so. I was friendly enough, but he got the picture and moved on. Smart guy. I wasn't in the mood. I felt like a total loser and wanted to just leave already, but I tried to enjoy the band a little and got another beer.


The Pawtucket Times photographer, Ernie Brown, took my picture there, so that was kind of fun for a few minutes talking to him. He asked why I was in RI, and I told him Run4Kerri. He said he used to cover the race years before when he worked for the paper down there and asked me to tell Scott Bessette hello for him. I did end up getting a chance to do just that, and Scott remembered him. It was nice talking to Ernie, however briefly (and no, my picture didn't get in the paper; no one wants to see a pic of a a single loser at a brewfest). I was really missing my buddy at this point and texted John for awhile to see how he was doing. He had already been in the waves and said he was having fun. I do almost everything alone, but sitting in the middle of a crowd all alone made me feel so exposed, like they could all see right through me. The sun all of a sudden came out in full force, so I moved over to the shade by the building. I decided that after I finished my second beer, I was just going to leave. Use my $5 food voucher on the way out and just go down to my campsite at Burlingame. But all of a sudden... I heard, "O'Dell!!"

Who the hell would know me here?! To my shock I looked up to see Tom Hooper and his girlfriend, Camie, standing in the line for beer! I had told Tom I was going to this the day before. He actually said he might come down because his stepbrother, Chris, does sales for Foolproof, but when I saw that he had run a race in NH just a few hours before, I doubted he would show up. So I was definitely surprised, especially since they only came down for this and were headed right back to NH after, and so relieved that I had people to hang out with. They have no idea how much they made my day. I was able to hang out with other adults! Yay! Haha. Chris took the 3 of us in the brewery to check it out and then we hung out outside. I ended up using my extra token that had been sitting in my car since Big River Half and had four beers instead of the three. Kind of a mistake on my part since I had an hour drive down to the campground, but at the time, it seemed worth it. The drunk texting I regret doing was not worth it, however. Haha. We ended up staying until the next session people started to show up. I didn't want to stick around for that, so I bolted. I made a stop at Whole Foods and Starbucks on my way down and made the drive down.
Camie, Tom, me and Chris. 
I checked in and drove to my campsite which turned out to be super nice. I wanted a shower and walked up to the bath house only to find a long line and that they were pay showers. Nevermind. I walked out and right over to the pond and got right in the water. I was wearing what I'm wearing in the picture above and would have preferred to skinny dip in there, but there were a million people around. So I just said fuck it and got right in. I had to wash off the million layers of sweat I had put on during the day somehow.

I walked back to the campsite and ate the empanada I had gotten from a food truck at Foolproof then crawled in my tent for an early night.

Run4Kerri 4-mile Race, August 7, 2016

I ended up getting some great sleep, and since I was close to the race site, I didn't have to get up too early. I felt refreshed, but slightly shakey. I fired up my stove to make myself coffee and then ate some stuff I bought at Whole Foods. I felt so much better and started getting into race mindset. I left and drove the 20 minutes over to Matunuck to the middle school, getting there pretty early. I went right to the elite room to pick up my bib and leave my things. I knew a few people in there, but not too many. I talked to Dave Principe and Paige Ethier, whom I remembered from Brrr-lingame Trail Race. Most of the other women looked super serious and intimidating, so I just stuck to my part of the room while I put my shoes on and then headed out for a warm up.

I wanted to check out a post-race swim at the beach so I ran that direction. The beach looked perfect, so I continued on down the road, turning around at a point to make the warm up 3 miles at an easy 7:50/mi pace. I went back to the elite room after that. The fire alarm ended up going off, and I tried to hang out in there still, but it started to get to me, and I went outside. It was time to get serious, so I went out back, did a few strides and then tried to focus a little bit on the race ahead. I had only run one other 4-mile race, so this was going to be tough. It was super hot out. The last one I ran in 24:29 in March and thought for sure I would be able to beat that. But, that was completely flat and the weather perfect. The heat and I don't mesh, so I didn't know what to expect from today.

About 15 minutes before race start, I ran up there and spotted Aileen Cole (Cow Print Shorts from Run with the Beavers) so I hung out with her chatting and then we lined up together at the start. I wasn't expecting to finish high on the podium, but I WAS expecting to finish as the first master, so I did have some goal. The race started and off we went.

I watched 4 women get ahead of me and quickly made my way around all of the kids who had lined up at the start. I went out fast, too fast. As in WAY TOO FAST and hit 5:48 for the first mile. What was this? New Bedford all over again? It was hard not to go out fast since it's mostly a downhill for the first mile. I ended up right behind Jeff Walker and figured I was in a good spot and would try to hang with him. I actually felt good after the first mile but made an effort to slow it down a bit. I passed Scott Mason who was riding in the Smart Car. Obviously, I still felt good because I smiled for the photo.

I passed mile 2 in 5:58, and it all sucked from there. You'd think the course was flat, but oh no. It's not flat at all. I crossed mile 3 in 6:11. Ouch. At the end of mile 3, there's a steep hill that nearly took everything out of me. By the time I got to the top, I wasn't sure I could even finish the race! I was still with Jeff at the top of the hill, but I couldn't hang after that. I lost it. I was so done. Damn 4-miler. It took everything I had to finish this race. It FINALLY crested the final hill (where the start line had been) and went downhill towards the finish line. I was in a world of hurt by the time I made the turn into the school. Scott snagged a picture of me that I love. I look awkward, but I love the pain face. The constant smiling comments can be damned. I do NOT always smile. I do try hard, even when I smile. I never take it easy. And this picture shows it all.

This had to be the longest straightaway ever, and when I saw the clock, I was definitely disappointed. I knew I was going to finish slower than I did in March... when I think I was in worse shape. But it's ok. I was close enough. 6:26 for the 4th mile, though, so that was a yikes. Haha. I finished with a chip time of 24:32. 3 seconds slower. Ughh!! My pacing was terrible! But I finished what I thought was 5th woman and definitely the first master so I was psyched about that. Little did I know that Steph Reilly had been directed off course and ended up with a DNF. Being the awesome race director that he is, though, Scott Bessette gave Steph the prize money for 3rd to make up for the mistake. He did what he could to make it right, and I think that's awesome. So I ended up 4th woman and walked away with $100. No double dipping was allowed, so I wasn't acknowledged as 1st master, but the woman who was is 49 and fast and very deserving of the honor.
I also got a nice coffee mug that has replaced my NH XC Festival mug from last year.
I talked to some of the people I knew there at the finish, then headed back to the elite room to put on a shirt, then headed out for a short cool down to the beach. I thought the beach would be filled with runners jumping in the ocean, so I was surprised to find myself the only one there from the race. People were staring at me, but I didn't care. I walked right out into the ocean in my clothes. It felt SO good. And omg! An ocean I could swim in! The temperature was perfect! Not too cold like Maine and NH, just absolutely perfect. I could have stayed in for much longer, but I didn't want to miss the awards, so I headed back. I was soaking wet, but I felt refreshed. 1.9 miles for the cool down, since I stopped at the finish line to talk to Scott Mason and watch the last finishers come in. I went to my car to grab a change of clothes then got cleaned up just in time to walk out of the door to hear my name being called for 4th woman. I hung out with Michael Crutchley after I got my award. He asked if I was going to Mews after the race. I knew about it, but hadn't planned on going, but he invited me along so I changed my mind and decided to go.

We had a huge group at Mews, and I'm so glad I went. It was such a good time. George Ross and his wife were hilarious and had me in stitches the whole time. Then Rachel Flaksman from the FB beer page showed up, so I finally got to meet her. I think we were there for 3 hours or so.
Group at Mews Tavern
I had a long drive ahead of me, so I stopped at the Starbucks down the street and then made my way home. It ended up not being so bad. When I got home, I took all 3 dogs on a walk up Heavenly Hill for the sunset. And then broke out one of my take-home beers from Augtoberfest.



Despite the rough week, it ended on a high note. I had placed well at Run4Kerri, had a good time at Mews and then got home in one piece. Reflecting back, I can't say enough good things about Run4Kerri. If it works out with my weird race plans for 2017, then I'll definitely be back. It was such a great race. It had that hometown race feel that I used to love about the races I did in Athens, Ga growing up, but I loved how they brought in the elite field with it. Everyone was so nice, and I appreciate all of Scott's efforts to put this on in honor of Kerri and for the future young women in the sport. I honestly can't say enough nice things about it. Highly recommended to anyone looking for a great event for a great cause.

I don't know why I like to add songs to the end of some blog posts and not others, but I am to this one. After hearing of the tragic death of Jim Soroka last night and thinking of Kerri Bessette's short life, I feel it's a good reminder to live life while we have it. Obviously, we don't always follow through and have down times (this blog post is a case in point), but Jim definitely lived a full life and died training for an Ironman. Kerri died so young, but based on her bio on the race page, she did so much in her short life. This song doesn't quite fit since it's not really about that, but the title itself says it all,  Born to Die. We are born and then we all die. It's just a matter of when and what we do before then. We have to make the most of it. I definitely try... and fail... and try again.