Manchester City Marathon

Manchester City Marathon

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2017 Bradbury Whiteout Snowshoe Race

I don't really know why I decided to look up the origin of my last name a few nights ago, but I did. This was my favorite. Haha. People often ask me how drink so much beer and still run so fast. Well... I'm a fucking O'Dell. Haha. And on the other side I'm a Dooley. It's in my genes! My favorite part of that, though, is "Fun Person!" Even though I've felt very unfun lately, I actually consider myself to be pretty fucking fun. I like to do things, go places, eat good food and drink a lot of good beer. Too bad my fun self scares people away. Their loss. I'll just continue to have fun doing whatever the hell I want without them. :)

So you can probably tell I'm feeling a lot better now. A lot of uncertainty and difficult decisions over the last few weeks finally seem to be settled and accepted. I made peace with the other person. Agreed to keep things on a friend level, stay in each other's lives, but keep it more simple. It's actually been working out ok. Not how I wanted it to be, but it is what it is, and I've accepted that. I'm just working on keeping more of my life to myself. I don't need to share so much of it anymore. Obviously, if you read my blog, you know I'm an oversharer anyway, so this is probably a welcome relief to him. Haha. I'm slipping up occasionally but definitely getting better about it.

Even though I'm feeling better about all of that, it didn't really get resolved until later in the week, and then I had a pretty upsetting incident with John's dad on Friday. It was like February 2015 all over again when he was a nasty, nasty person to me for a situation that wasn't my fault. And just when I was thinking things were finally at a good point. But at least this time, he recognized it was wrong and admitted he lost his shit. I think this stuff will happen occasionally. Some trigger will just bring back those feelings of rage and hatred that existed between the last two years of our marriage through 6 months after our divorce. I think it's how we deal with it after that makes a difference now. Recognizing it, admitting the mistake and then just moving on for John's sake. This incident did result in John not wanting to be with his dad on Sunday as planned, but his dad tried afterward to make it right. Neither of us is perfect, but this was a good example of how we can deal much better in the aftermath.

The week culminated with ME totally losing MY shit when I couldn't get the car up my road after we got home from the snowshoe race. Failing to get up the slippery road on about the 5th try (there would be a total of 11 attempts) drove me to my tipping point. All of that anger, sadness, frustration, etc of the last few months finally came out in a fit of rage. Tears, hitting my dashboard (which really hurt my hand, by the way haha) and screaming, "I'M SO SICK OF SHIT!!!" It was funny because through all of that I kept telling John that this just me having a much needed breakdown and that I had to get this out. And I sure as hell did. Haha. Honestly, the sense of calm I felt after was the first moment I really started to feel better about everything. It was then that I realized that I had so much pent up emotions. I knew how I felt about things through it all, but the anger that I thought I'd gotten past was obviously still there. I'm hot headed, so this hot head has to let it out every now and then. And 4 days later, the sense of calm is still there. So, seriously, I'm feeling pretty good right now.

So onto the running part. A good week mileage wise. 60.3. Exactly where I want to be. Definitely not getting in the mountain runs I would like because I seem to have bad luck with the weather during the time I can get out there. I don't enjoy breaking trails up mountains. I like to run on them when they're packed down and have yet to hit it right. This week was tough weather wise, so I never actually got in a long run. I did manage to have 4 days at 10+, though, so I call that good enough. I do what I can do. I felt pretty good this week, too, so I was really happy with that.

I was disappointed to see the Kingman Moonlight Snowshoe Race postponed from what would have been the most pristine snowshoe running conditions to February 25th. I do, however, completely understand why Chris made the call the week before. This is the one race when a last minute decision on whether to hold the snowshoe race or not cannot be made. So once again, I won't be running Kingman! The World Championship Snowshoe Race is that same day in NY. I've already paid my entry fee and for accommodations. I'll admit that I was a bit annoyed that wasn't taken into consideration since quite a few of us who are loyal to the Granite State Snowshoe Series will be at World's and will have to miss Kingman. And funny this was the 2nd time in 3 winters when I ended up at the Bradbury Whiteout Snowshoe Race instead after Kingman was moved when conditions to race would have been fine. But oh well. Can't dwell too much. Just kind of screws up my plans for the Series. I just have to hope I do well at Exeter next weekend since I was already missing another GSSS snowshoe race (the morning after Kingman) due to World's. The championship race on March 5th is going to count as 2 races for scoring, so right now, my standings in the finals are completely up in the air. I'm almost to the point of not caring anymore, though. The GSSS has been pretty disappointing most of the years I've done it. I'd say 2015 was a great year, but other than that, people seem to be losing interest in the Series. Chris mentioned changing things up next year, though, so I hope that works out; it needs improvement with scheduling and, in my opinion, choice of races included in the Series. As of now, I would almost rather go to the final Bradbury snowshoe race or Ski to the Clouds than the GSSS championship....all scheduled for the same day!!! If Kingman had happened as planned, I probably would have ended my series races with Exeter.

My calendar has really filled up with more double race weekends planned through mid-March. The plan is to end doubles after that EXCEPT the weekend of Mt Washington and the Ribfest 5 mile. That being said, my weekly mileage might actually decrease between now and mid-March because of that. Not certain, but I suspect it. These next two weekends are going to be tough. Not sure what I'm thinking with my planned races because two of the 4 are hard road races. I guess in a way I do know why I've done it somewhat, but I'm worried it could end up being too much. Might have to really take next week back a bit in mileage AND speed. I really want to be ready for New Bedford this year; it's been my main goal for the winter. I was extremely unmotivated last year. The year before, I ran a decent time, but it wasn't a good race for me; I was in shape to run a 1:21 easy that year. I have a totally different attitude about it this time around. I may not even run it as fast as 2015, but it sure as hell had better be faster than last year. After that, I have one major goal race in April and one in May, with some other stuff just filling the void. I would actually post all of my race calendar on here if I wasn't worried a certain someone would show up to watch from the shadows.

On to the weekly report!

Monday, February 6, 2017- Got my 5 mile treadmill run in much earlier in the day this time. 36:09. The day ended up pretty quiet until a few calls after 5pm. Slept all night.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017- What's become typical for most Tuesdays, a snowstorm blew in. Rather than sliding around on slippery roads and risk getting hit by a plow, I opted for 10 miles on the treadmill. Like I've said before, it's a much better workout anyway. Way more beneficial than running outside in shitty conditions. Felt pretty good. In part because I added four new songs to my running playlist. It's how I get through treadmill runs. 1:10:57. Same approximate elevation gain around 1,035ft for the run. I didn't feel like I had to work as hard this time around so that's a really good sign that I'm improving my fitness at that distance a bit. The 10 mile distance is really my borderline to where I'm not super great or horrible at them. Right on that line of mediocre. It's the distances after 10 that I feel I'm better at. We'll see how it goes at my next 10-miler coming up here in the near future. It still bothers me that I've twice run a 10-mile split in a longer distance race much faster than any actual 10 mile race itself. At Boston Prep 2015, my 10-mile split was 1:04:33. At the 2014 White Mountain Milers Half Marathon, my 10-mile split was around 1:02:40!!!! That's just crazy. My 10 mile PR...1:06:02. Sooooo, how does that work?! I have no idea, obviously. I'll be honest that if I don't break 1:05 at my next 10 mile race, then I'll be pretty disappointed. Granted, it's on day 2 of a double weekend, so I'm probably setting myself up for failure. Haha.

Anyway, John and I went out into the storm for breakfast at the Sunrise Shack. Breakfast beer and coffee and the biggest omelet I've ever had! I had to take half of the home fries home; they would be all I ate for the rest of the day.

John at Sunrise Shack. Moat Call it a Day DIPA and a coffee.
From there, we drove down the hill to Believe in Books where cross country skiing is only $5/car. The trails hadn't been groomed since probably the week before, but it didn't matter. We don't need groomed trails. These are pretty flat and easy. Did 2.5 miles.

A few of us were able to talk the owner of the gym to still hold ninja class that night since it keeps getting cancelled on Tuesdays due to weather. John's class only had 2 people show up, so Coach Carl worked them hard. John got in a really good day of exercise. I got in my usual Upper Body and Abs workout that night, too, so we both had a good day.

As soon as we got home from ninja, I went out and snowblowed the driveway for about an hour or so. Even though it was still snowing, the snow was going to turn to freezing rain within hours, so I needed to get the 5 or so inches that had fallen up so that I could get to work the next morning. I wouldn't be able to snowblow the frozen rain with my snowblower. Just as predicted, the freezing rain started around 11 when I took the dogs out, and the next morning, the driveway was a frozen mess. I realized at that point I needed to hire a plow for the rest of the winter.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017- Actually struggled through the first mile of my morning 5 miles on the treadmill so I decided to keep the rest of it easy. Funny how different I feel from one day to the next. The early hour is a factor for sure since I don't do well going right to run from waking up. And some Wednesdays, I'm just more tired than others. 36:35 for the 5.

Work started off with a call then was quiet until later and then two back-to-back middle of the night calls. Only got about 3.5 hours of sleep.

Thursday, February 9, 2017- Woke up to another big snowstorm, which be number 2 of 3 for the week. I barely made it down the driveway because it was a total mess. Nothing I could do at that point. John and his dad had been staying there on Wednesday night, but he typically won't help clear the driveway. He didn't anticipate this and ended up getting majorly stuck when he and John were trying to leave. I finally went out to help, but he really didn't want me out there so I went back in. Probably took them 45 minutes to get out. I was getting a little annoyed since I wanted to leave for my run before the snow got even thicker. I just didn't want to leave yet in case he really did need my help. At that point I knew I had to find someone to plow the driveway ASAP. Crazy that I knew no one except a coworker in Tamworth, so I texted him asking if he knew anybody up my way. He told me that he would do it, which was cool. I was relieved to have that set and left for my run.

I'm pretty surprised I've never done this run from my house before. I've done part of it where I started at the Community Market in Madison and run the snowmobile trail to Silver Lake Railroad and back. I remembered that was 9 miles. My goal was 12 miles total, so I thought it might be close to that. I decided to wear my oldest Dion Snowshoes since I would be running on the road briefly until I met up with the snowmobile trail/RR tracks across Rt 16 at Coleman's. By the time I hit the RR tracks, the snow was already pretty thick with fresh powder. Since I knew I would be breaking trail the whole way, I didn't mind this nearly flat route to Silver Lake Railroad and back. The snowmobile trail does a straight shot on the RR tracks the whole way. It starts off on the Conway bypass before it meets Corridor 19 (the section I had run before). I'll admit that it was a long 6 miles. The snow was falling hard so it was getting thicker quickly. The wind was blowing and my eyelashes were freezing up constantly. I dressed warm enough and thankfully chose my heaviest set of (ugly) wool leggings. Had I not, my legs would have been FROZEN by the end. The longer I ran, the thicker the snow got and the harder it was to run. My pace went from the high 9s into the 10s by the time I reached the Silver Lake Railroad station. I found it pretty crazy that from my porch right to 113 at the Station was exactly 6 miles on the dot. I thought it was would be close to 6, but exactly 6?! That's just crazy. Turned around and headed back. A snowmobile had gone through behind me, but it actually made the trail worse. Breaking trail was actually easier, so I ran off to the side until I ended up back on fresh unbroken tracks where the snowmobile had gone off a different way. I was getting really tired by mile 9. My original snowshoe tracks were barely discernible through the fresh snow that had fallen. My pace at this point continued to drop considerably into mid-11 to nearly 12-minute miles. By the time I hit Coleman's I was really done. I was covered in snow from top-to-bottom. I made it home slogging the last mile on the pavement in my snowshoes. 12 miles in 2:07:49. That was truly a LONG run. Good endurance training, though.

My legs when I was done with the run. Craziness.
I went right in the house, took off my snowshoes in the mud room and walked right to the shower dropping snowballs all over the house. Haha. That was the best shower in recent memory. Plow guy never came so I was stuck at home the rest of the day with no food really. I ended up eating year old graham crackers and then grilled cheese for John and me for dinner. Lately, I've had a few low blood sugar incidents from not eating enough over too long of a time period. I was just about to start my upper body and ab workout when the shaking, sweating and nausea just hit me. That's when the graham crackers came in. haha. If you've ever had low blood sugar like that, you know it affects your thought process, so I couldn't figure out what to eat in such a hurry. I just remember looking around and noticing the box of graham crackers. In my right mind, I would normally have a swig of maple syrup immediately, then followed up by real food, but I really couldn't think properly. It's kind of scary in the moment, but it has helped me understand what's going on with our diabetic patients. It's also helped me recognize the signs and symptoms more quickly. Altered mental status always gets a finger stick.

Anyway, got in 20 minutes of a workout and felt fine the rest of the night. John isn't normally with me on Thursdays but had messaged me earlier asking if he could come home for the night. I normally keep this night quiet and to myself since it's the ONLY night of the week I get that, but I said yes. Still no plow, so my plan to go out for errands was out. Might as well have John there with me.

Had to have a really good snowstorm beer that night. I snagged the very last bottle of it they had when I stopped at Foolproof  a few weeks beforehand. Didn't need to go to Barrel Reserve Night after all!

Girl dogs begging for dinner
Friday, February 10, 2017- This was the morning I made peace with the other person and then had my horrible incident with John's dad. Haha. Plow guy messaged me that he was still coming at some point. I was kind of annoyed since I really needed it plowed the night before, but he was also doing me a favor by driving up from his regular area to do it, so I had to let it go. I knew he'd been up all night plowing, but he didn't show up until 11am! And this is kind of what caused the issue with Bryan. But in all fairness to myself, I did nothing wrong and did not deserve the way he treated me that morning. Completely uncalled for, but like I said, he admitted that he lost his shit. The problem with this is that it resulted in John not wanting to be with him as planned on Sunday. He had the whole weekend off, and since I was still helping him out with John on his days, he was going to take John on Sunday. Fortunately, John's lived through this before and was able to get over it quickly, but if this starts happening again, at what point will John be done with it? I'm hoping it doesn't get to this point again. Like I said previously, though, Bryan recognized his mistake and made it right. It just scared me a little to see him look at me with a hatred I haven't seen in two years; and the fact that it was unwarranted made it even scarier.

I had just enough time to get out for very much needed run before Bryan brought John back. They literally pulled in the neighborhood right behind me. I wanted to get in another 12 mile run, but something somewhat decent, so it was down to the roads near Chocorua Lake. My go-to for post-snowstorm road runs. I wore my Hoka Speed Instinct's with microspikes. The road is very well plowed, but it was still slightly soft with snow most of the way making the run a tad slower than usual. By mile 9 the microspikes were starting to make my feet sore through the Hokas, but I finished it up. The day was absolutely beautiful. So worth getting out. 12.4 miles in 1:37:50.

MY Hokas with Chocorua Lake and Mt Chocorua. And no, it is not MY mountain, although it is in MY town, not Tamworth. Haha.
I usually try to get all of my major errands done on Thursdays when I'm alone, but, unfortunately, I couldn't and John got dragged along Friday afternoon. It wasn't much. I had to get my nails done, buy dog food and hit the grocery store. I had John pick out my nail color. I actually really like it. Yellow is my favorite color!

See the age spots?! I've actually had those since I was 35. One of the reasons I get my nails done. So I can look at my hands and see something nice. My most frivolous expenditure.
We got dog food at the pet store after that, then I reluctantly went to Hannaford. I told John that I hate going to Hannaford because I always run into people I know. Fortunately, the two people I did run into I really like and didn't mind stopping to talk. Suzie Carrier, whom I haven't seen in forever, and Andy Drummond, with whom I'm hoping to join at some point this winter up on Mt Washington for some backcountry skiing. I've never done it, but I'd like to try it. Andy has offered and has the gear, so I just have to find the right day!

Got in 20 minutes of upper body and abs, then had the Mt Yasur porter I got at the Tilted Barn. I think it took me less time to drink it than it did to get it filled. I got myself some strawberries and cream white chocolates at the store to give to myself for Valentine's Day. Haha.

Saturday, February 11, 2017- Friday's snow storm dropped another 3-4 inches of snow. It was still tapering off most of Saturday morning so it was back to the treadmill for me after sitting around for awhile pounding coffee. Bryan actually asked if I wanted to go for a run while he would take John to Frontside Grind. Ugh. That rarely happens on a weekend and I was stuck inside for my run!! Figures. That's when I could tell he was really trying to make up for the day before. John didn't want to go to Frontside Grind, so he stayed with me while I got 6 miles in on the treadmill. 43:47. 7:18/mi pace. I had intended to run easier than that, but I felt really good so I increased the speed. I snowblowed the driveway as soon as I was done with my run. What a pain in the fucking ass. Seriously. With a driveway as long as mine, it's just such a waste of time. Started to notice that the snowblower was barely working. This was fluffy powder and the blower could barely throw it. It also was barely moving. Something is definitely wrong with it. When I was done with that, I spent about 20 minutes digging out my completely covered mailbox, only to have the plow guy come through and cover it back up part of the way. I wasn't too upset about it because he at least moved out some of the snow in front of it. After that, I dug out the area around my oil outtake and scraped (very little) of the roof with my roof rake.

John and I went back to Believe in Books that afternoon to cross country ski again. After realizing it wasn't busy at all on Tuesday, I decided to bring Spot and Phoenix along this time. We did the exact same loop as Tuesday, except in the opposite direction. 2.5 miles again. Trail still hadn't been groomed, but my backcountry skis are fine with that. John has regular straight skis, but he's hardly ever on groomed trails with them. He's freaking fast, too! Seriously! I tried skiing all out, like as fast as I could, and he caught up with me quickly every time. If I could just convince him to join the nordic ski team...!


She actually loves plowing through fresh snow.
We stopped at Frontside Grind on the way home for coffee, hot chocolate and toast. I was starving!

Snow depth outside at Frontside Grind...prior to Sunday's storm that brought another 14-15in. Another 15-18 today, so I can't wait to see what it looks like tomorrow!
I went by Paris Farmers Union to buy wood pellets but they were closed! Cry....because this meant I had to go in Walmart! Surprised to get in and out of there in 10 minutes! By the time we got home, I was JUNK. So tired. I opted out of the usual upper body workout since I had the snowshoe race the next day. A lot of the ab exercises also work the hip flexors, and the hip flexors are usually the most worked part of my body when snowshoeing. I didn't want to fatigue that area anymore than I already had from the xc skiing. I knew I would still get in the 4 days of workouts after Sunday anyway. I made us spaghetti for dinner and had some beers then sat like a total sloth on the couch for hours. I was all done, but I wasn't worried about the next day's race at Bradbury. To me, these snowshoe races are more for fun than really competing.

Sunday, February 12, 2017- Bradbury Whiteout Snowshoe Race-

I didn't have to get up super early, but when the alarm went off at 6:15am and I didn't know where I was or why the alarm, I decided to snooze for another 30 minutes. Those 30 minutes made all the difference. With another snow storm approaching and the roads not yet clear, I decided to leave 15 minutes earlier than usual. We got there 15 minutes later than usual. Wow. Does Maine not know how to clear roads? The storm had been gone for nearly 24 hours at this point. Literally, 302 covered in black ice from Bridgton to Raymond. No exaggeration at all. Cars off the road along the way. I don't know how many treks I've made to a Bradbury snowshoe race on shitty roads. It's kind of funny. The snow covered back roads were actually safer and easier to drive on than the main ones. Maine might want to look into reconsidering SALT on its roads. Might actually save a few human lives. While I'm all for a safer environment, do you really think the families of people who have died on those roads are happy we saved some fish or animals by not sanding/salting the roads? If you read up about it, it all comes down to money, not the environment... as does everything, right?

All I can say is that without my car being a standard, I would have already wrecked the damn thing. Having a stick shift has allowed me to get away with only front-wheel drive and all-season tires... for the most part. (Obviously, not being able to get up my road once or twice a winter could be fixed with better tires and 4-wheel drive). But seriously, having a 2-wheel drive and a standard actually teaches you how to drive in these conditions, and while I can't say I won't ever put my car in a snow bank, I will say I'm a really good driver in this shit. People are usually pretty surprised to see me pulling up in my hamster car in this stuff. I will be honest, though. I'm not afraid to admit it. I SO want one of these....

My dream car complete with terrible gas mileage and all. Brand new, this exact color, all the bells and whistles. That's not a possibility in my current life, but maybe some day. 
Anyway, back to the race. Since I showed up late, I had to hustle to get my 3-mile warm up in. Easier said than done since the road was covered in snow, and I had to wear microspikes. When I was done, I had less than 20 minutes to the start. I still had to change shoes, put on my number and use the bathroom one more time. I wasn't waiting in a stupid line so I made a trip to the woods then made it up to the start with 5 minutes to spare. I pretty much lined up in the exact same order as the Squall. I knew the speed of everyone around me so it was easy to get in the right spot. Huge advantage to having raced with the same people through the years. I'll admit that while I wasn't nervous about my competition, I was nervous about the course. Ryan Triffit promised the real deal as far as snowshoe racing goes, and you seriously couldn't get more legit than this. I decided to just go out and fall in line behind some people and not push the pace for at least the first 2 miles, which is pretty much what I did. Turned out to be the right move. The start was a decent stretch on wide snowmobile trail and then it turned into the single track trough. I entered the woods in a small line behind Ian Parlin, Jeff Walker, another Trail Monster, Bill, and then Zak Wieluns. I would end up running the entire race with Zak. We ran the exact same pace the entire way. I couldn't pass him if I wanted to, but I stayed right with him until the last .1 miles when he got ahead of me by 5 seconds at the finish. The guys who had helped make the course actually ended up packing it down really well, so it was in much better shape than I expected. We definitely weren't running all out for the first stretch on the single track. It was a smart move. My heart rate wasn't up there like it normally is in a snowshoe race. It worked well because we could really pick up the pace every time we came out on a nicely groomed snowmobile trail. This is where Zak kept waiting for me to go around him since I would get close. But as soon as we'd fall back into the single track, I couldn't run any faster than he was. So I just followed along. On our second stretch of snowmobile trail, we passed Bill and Ian. The group ahead was long gone, so it was really just Zak and me for the entire second half of the race. Ian and Bill were never too far back, but no one else was in sight. By the second half, of the race, I was happy we had kept the pace slow for the first half because I could really feel the difficulty of the soft single track by this point. The whole time, though, I was really just enjoying myself. We don't get to race in these conditions often, and while it's hard, it's also really fun and why I love snowshoe running. The last .3-.4 miles of the race were all on the groomed snowmobile trail so I ran as fast as I could. And like I said, Zak pulled away to finish 5 seconds ahead of me. The quality of the photos is horrible (not sure why), but you can see that I was actually feeling pain by the end. haha.

I finished 1st female, 9th overall in 33:37. Full Results. The interesting part is that most of us ran this race at a much faster pace than the Squall. Soft snow and a longer distance you'd think would have been slower, but I ran this one at an average 8:54/mi. The Squall averaged 9:42/mi. I felt terrible at the Squall, but I think the sparse snow conditions actually made it slower, as well. Even though I gave the last two miles a good effort here, I can't say that I actually gave 100% for this race. I do feel like I could have definitely run harder overall. I just didn't really want to; I wanted to enjoy it. I'm bummed I won't make it to the third race of the Series. Like I always say, I love the Trail Monsters and their races. Looking at my calendar, though, I still won't make all 3 summer trail races, but it looks like I can definitely make the Scuffle (since I decided not to do Whiteface) and most likely the Bruiser! The Mountain Breaker is my favorite of the three, but it's same weekend as the Ragged 75 Stage Race I'll be doing. I'm also doing the Pineland 50, so I'll still get my fill of Trail Monster races for the year.

Talking to Ryan Triffit and Jeff Walker post race.
I quickly went back out for another 3 miles and almost missed the awards... again. Walked up just as Ryan called my name. I had two beers in my hands for Jeff so I had to quickly have a couple of guys hold my beers. Haha. I chose more beer for my award and then kicked myself for not taking the Wicked Joe Coffee. I have trouble choosing the right thing on the spot. Haha.

At least it's better than Von Trapp!
We had lucked out and hadn't yet been hit by the major snow storm headed our way. I decided to drive back the way we came because the farther north we were, the later we'd drive into it. Just before Bridgton, we started to see snow. I wasn't worried about at this point, so we stopped at the Standard Gastropub for lunch. I really like this place. Great beer and food.

I also had the best brussel sprouts...and stole John's fries.
The drive home was easy. Snow covered roads, but not slippery at all. All was good until we got to my hill, and that's when you can refer back to the beginning of this blog post for my breakdown. More details here, though. First off, the road hadn't been plowed once...and it should have been done hours before this. So it was covered in about 2-3 inches of snow. Even an SUV would have had a hard time getting up it. Luckily, the Coleman's guy who was in charge of it showed up after my first attempt. Except, he didn't do it properly. Just kept scraping the first big hill and NOT ONCE plowing the rest of the road. I was able to make to the top of the hill multiple times, but since he never did plow the left turn up the short, but steeper hill, I kept having to back all the way back down to Rt 16, where I had to back up and then pull into to Coleman's to turn around and try again. The biggest problem was that Rt 16  wasn't plowed at all so that I couldn't get up any speed before I hit the hill. I couldn't even get it out of 2nd gear. I watched the plow guy go up and down the hill over and over never once dropping sand/salt and completely skipping the rest of it. Then he would leave. I would try again, only to end up in 1st gear and nothing but tires spinning just before the left turn. He would show back up, scrape the hill again, leave, I'd attempt, nothing. Literally 10 times. I had already lost my shit at this point. I have NEVER not been able to get up that hill when it was plowed. I think he finally realized that I couldn't get up it and made one last pass dropping sand and salt. So on my 11th try, I was able to get enough juice and speed to get me through it. I still barely made it since he never completed the job on other part of the road. I do believe I pay just as many taxes to have Tabor Circle plowed as those on Wildwood Rd. In fact, I probably pay the most property taxes of anyone in the neighborhood because I have at least double the acreage of every other property. (I should go to the town hall one day and look that up; it's possible some of the nicer houses pay more, but I doubt it. If anything, they probably pay an equal amount). So they'd better be plowing my fucking road. Believe me if I could afford snow tires and to have them put on and taken off, I would have them. If I could afford a better car, I would have one. It's not for lack of want. It's for lack of money. My car still has a year left to pay it off, and it's $237/month. I'm tapped out as far as the car goes. Anyway....THAT is why I lost my shit. It was just unexpected that everything bubbling at the surface for months came along with it. But, like I said, the relief and calm I have felt since has been pretty good. John and I even talked about it all after. I tell John everything (that's appropriate). I'm not afraid for him to see me in my weak moments, and I want him to know what's going on in my life. He's the only one I have. I have to keep it as real as possible.

The rest of the night was the usual. Did some laundry, my upper body workout and watched the Walking Dead. Excited for new episodes to finally be back on. I was SO tired, though, that I barely kept my eyes open. I was dreading the next morning because I knew I had to get up at 4am to snowblow, and there was a potential of two feet of snow that would be awaiting me. Ugh.

Now, hmmmm. What song? As if anyone actually cares and listens to them. But I guess I care. How about an "old" one. Hard to believe this song is 13 years old now. I can still listen to it over and over.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2017 Old Mountain Trail 5K

Digging through my photos for a worse picture than the one I posted in last week's blog post, but it looks like I was actually a little smarter this time and didn't take one. No one needs to see that, especially me. I'd rather see pictures of myself smiling, looking like all is right in the world even when it's not. I'm queen of that smile. It's in nearly every photo on my blog. It's that smile through the pain of a race that I get made fun of for. Haha. It's that smile that only holds on for a split second while the picture takes and then is immediately gone. I like to see those photos because it makes me smile for real; I can forget what came before or after it, whether it's good or bad, and just see the smile in the instant that it did exist. So here's one from this week. It's a real one, and it makes me smile because it's funny and fun.

Action Dave and me at the USATF-NE Awards Banquet on Saturday night
So although this week ended up being WAY worse than the one before, I was busier and had some positives to counteract it. I had my Wilderness EMT Refresher course all day Tuesday, a race and the banquet on Saturday AND some good runs, so I can't complain. I even had a pretty bad head cold for half of the week, but it didn't really affect me until Saturday night and Sunday. By Monday, I felt much better. My mileage was shy of what I wanted, but that I can blame on the head cold since it definitely shortened my planned miles for Sunday. No big deal, though. All of my runs were solid, and I felt sufficiently recovered from the track meet by Thursday. 55.8 miles for the week that included a long run, a race and a workout. Good enough. Just gotta keep on keeping on even when I'm hurting. It will pass...eventually.

Fuck you, horoscope. I'm in no mood for that, and I have no energy to search for anything. My horoscopes are either way too optimistic (like this one) or extremely negative. No in between. Ahhh, but maybe that is the Taurus way! Off to uncover a mystery...said Leslie never! See that? Positive-negative. It's my thing. 
Monday, January 30, 2017- Busy as fuck at work since we had to go on all of the calls during the day, but it really made the time pass quickly. The only problem it posed was that I had to make 3 separate attempts to get my 5-mile treadmill run in. That meant jumping the ambulance with my running clothes and Hoka's still on for every call. I hid my Boston's Mayor's Cup shirt under my job shirt and just hoped no one would notice the shoes. They don't stick out, right? Haha.

At Huggins next to "our" stretcher that wasn't our stretcher from "our" ambulance that wasn't our ambulance. Haha. 
On attempt two, I made it a mile. On attempt three, I completed the last 4! Only took me 6 hours from start to finish!

I did some core work right after that and then stuffed my face with John's leftover turkey wrap from the day before that he didn't like. I was starving. Starving was rare this week because my stress level was high, and I couldn't sleep. That always leaves me with no appetite. I did some core work and then tried to go right to bed. I dozed off for maybe an hour, only to wake up with my mind churning for hours. This is not me. This was me a long time ago until my first thru-hike of the AT in '98. Cured. Only on extremely rare occasions can I not sleep... until the last two months or so. I knew something needed to change soon. I'm not sure if the head cold that came on 2 days later was a result of this stress and not sleeping, but it had been 2 years since I had been sick, and really FOUR years since I had been really, really sick. It was just another thing I thought about all week.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017- I rushed right home from work. Probably could have fit in a few miles on the treadmill, but it was thwarted by the excitement of my new Hoka One One Speed Instinct's arrival! Although, I really need the road shoes ASAP, it was still pretty exciting to open the box.

I spent way too much time opening the box, trying them on, taking the perfect photo to post to Instagram and then coming up with the appropriate hashtags! As much as I hate Instagram, I find it sucking me in. Grrr.

Showered quickly, packed up my backpack with gear and then headed to SOLO for an 8-hour day of Wilderness EMT training at the refresher. This is my third WEMT refresher, and for the first time, I'm really starting to recognize people who have been in it with me all 3 years. Pretty cool. Definitely makes it more comfortable to know who you're with when they throw you right into a mock rescue first thing! Eek! I liked it, though. They don't expect you to remember all of your wilderness skills. This day is usually a fun/no-pressure course and a true refresher on all of those backcountry EMT skills I've rarely used in the last 6 years that I've been a Wilderness EMT. Lunch was awesome (another time that I was actually hungry during the week); everyone was jealous of the homemade whoopie pie I found in the dining hall. I gots mad skillz at finding leftover SOLO desserts, bro. I finally got to be a patient for one of our scenarios, complete with make-up and fake blood I got to gurgle and spit out of my mouth. Haha.

I also had a ruptured liver and broken tibia. I'm a terrible backcountry skier apparently. Haha.
All-in-all a good day. Helped keep my mind off the things that had been eating away at me. During my walk on the trails after lunch, I saw the official announcement (that I never officially got) that I was nominated for USATF-NE Female Athlete of the Year. Super cool. I already knew that I was, but I never actually saw anything formal until today. Thank you to Ellen (Tidd) Raffio and Dave Dunham for both nominating me! Pretty exited to see I was joined by two of my good running friends, Regina Loiacano (we know how to pronounce it now!) and Christin Doneski on that nomination list of 5. I immediately sent out a group text in hopes of getting them both to join me at the banquet Saturday night. I felt like I HAD to go now. By the next day, all 3 of us had bought our tickets. Yay! I knew I wouldn't win, but it was such a cool honor that I never expected in a million years.

By the time class was over, it was dark, but I went ahead with my planned run, a loop from SOLO up Allard Hill, down Dollof Hill, over to Stark Rd to 302 and back to Tasker Hill. I really wanted to get 10 miles in, but I knew the loop would come up shy, and I was fine with that. It was weird doing a headlamp run again. The last two winters meant a lot of dark, headlamp runs since my schedule was different. Since I got off the Monday and Thursday 10 hour shifts in June, I've hardly run in the dark since. I DO NOT miss it. Although, I have to say it probably helped me get through the Stark Rd portion of the run. It's the longest, most boring road in the Valley so it helped not being able to tell where I was. The run came out to 9.2 miles. I was satisfied with that. I had run well. 7:23/mi avg pace with 687ft of elevation gain.

John was with Bryan this Tuesday since we switched out some days, so I went home to a quiet house which I needed after the social interaction of the day. Did a quick Zuzka Light Upper Body and Abs work out then vegged.

I even lit candles! Ooooo. Tilted Barn Raffi. So good. (Ignore the 70s wall decor).
Wednesday, February 1, 2017- Usual 5 miles on the treadmill before work. Felt ok. Pretty much the same as always.

When you get to work and realize it's the first of the month, and you have to do the monthly truck check...

Michelle Dobyne meme. LOL.
Fortunately, it ended up not being too horrible, but it still took 2 hours. Just cleaning the cab took 45 minutes alone. I always look ahead to see what day the 1st of the month is going to fall on, but I had totally forgotten. Kind of makes you want to crawl into a corner and suck your thumb. Haha. Oh well, it got done. It killed time. The day was mostly slow, but both calls were definitely the real deal, so that was good. The rest of the day I spent doing what I'm doing at this moment...writing a blog post, duh. Except I was feeling much worse than I am right now. Mind you, I am not feeling good by any means, but a week ago, I was in that anger/sad back and forth cycle. Today, I'm sad, but it's a different sad. More numb-like and empty. It goes back and forth, but at least, for now, the anger is gone. I knew this was coming; I guess I knew it back in September. Just couldn't accept it yet then. I actually wrote a blog post about it on 9/21 that I never published and never will, but I just reread it, and it's the exact same words. Everything, word-for-word! It doesn't mean the last 4.5 months have been shit; this person was one of the best people to ever walk into my life. I wouldn't trade that time with him for anything, but it's obvious I already knew then that I needed to make a decision and go back to just being alone. Acceptance can be a bitch sometimes, but I have had to do a lot of it, so I'll make it through. However, I'll admit that I miss him already. I doubt that's mutual, but I don't really care about that.

Thursday, February 2, 2017- What I thought was going to be a short, rushed run Thursday from work turned out to be a pretty awesome long run. I supposed to have John from 8:30am on until Saturday, since, like I mentioned, his dad and I switched up some days, but Bryan let me know that John would be with his grandfather for the morning. I was psyched that this would give me a chance to get in a long run for the week. Yay! I wasn't really prepared for a long run, and I was really sick of running around North Conway, so I came up with a plan to make the run more interesting. I ran from Redstone up to Hurricane Mt Road, donned microspikes (that were freezing my hands), then ran an out-and-back to the top of Hurricane Mt Rd in about 1-2 inches of fresh powder (the snow depth varied along the way). It felt great since it broke up the speedy run. Running up Hurricane Mt Rd took a lot less effort than pounding out the fast road miles.

The run back down was quick, and I made a quick stop in the parking area to ditch my microspikes then continued on to 16/302 where I turned and made a loop back to Redstone. 18 miles total. 2:21:28. 7:52/mi avg pace which is skewed from the climb. 1,403ft of elevation gain. I was really happy with the pavement miles, though. The second half of my run averaged 7:08/mi. Such a difference from the previous week's run when I felt so shitty. This was a good one. Unfortunately, though, as soon as I was done, the minor head congestion that had crept up on Wednesday was obviously a bonafide head cold.

Had to share the elevation profile since it's funny.
I picked up John, retrieved my microspikes then stopped at Frontside Grind per John's request. It's so funny going in there with him. EVERYBODY knows him. No one knows me. It's such a nice change. It felt great to be in his shadow for once. I do my best to look like a slob when I'm out in town, so that I don't get recognized or bugged. Seriously, I do. Today was no exception, as I was wearing half of my uniform with socks and Birkenstocks. I had forgotten to bring dry clothes for after my run other than a shirt. If I want people to leave me alone, this is a sure fire way to do it. Hahaha. I was in dire need of food, so I got soup with toast, a day old donut and a latte. I hardly ate another thing the rest of the day.

We skied at King Pine for a few hours in the afternoon, then I was all done. I somehow managed to get my lazy ass off the couch for a 15 minute upper body workout. I'm really hooked on it now. After getting back from Georgia, I've been pretty consistent with 4 days a week of one of Zuzka Light's workouts. So about 6 weeks, and I have seen major results. Seriously, 12-20 minutes each workout, and I'm all of a sudden seeing abs and back muscles again! Crazy. I can't quit now. I'm even doing planks at work. I take photos every two weeks to see the progress. It's amazing how little time it has taken to build up the upper body. And, no, I won't be posting those pictures here. That's too Instagramish. #lookatme. Granted, I do post a lot of selfies in my blog. I'll admit it. But I'm the only one who takes pictures of me outside of races, unless I force John to do it. Haha.

I had to break out a good beer after such an active day, so out came a Fat Alberta. Fortunately, the head cold hadn't taken my sense of taste away...yet. Watched Gone Girl for the first time. Wow. Good movie.

Friday, February 3, 2017- Head cold was worse. My eyes felt puffy and my nose was running like crazy, but I can deal with a head cold. It's the chest cold that really messes you up. I was just hoping it didn't end up there. Running didn't seem to be a problem with it. I went right out for an easy 5.3 mile run through Cranmore Shores in 39:50. Between the long run the day before and a race the next day, I just ran to get something in. I felt surprisingly good.

Rushed John out of the door for my emergency hair appointment that I made on Wednesday. I couldn't go to the banquet the next day with that awful hair. I had purchased a Groupon for Tangles in Bridgton, Maine; $29 for highlights, cut and style. I couldn't beat that. I was really happy with the result! Too bad, I can't fix my own hair, though, because she made it look really cute. I had about 3 inches chopped off. That's how gross it was. I'm done attempting long hair; I just can't do it. My hair is too fine. The length is still below my chin, but just barely. I like it, and I liked the hairdresser. It was entertaining for awhile watching the woman ahead of me complaining about how her hair hadn't been cut to match the picture in the magazine she had picked out. The hairdresser even brought out her boss to help her explain to the woman that what she wanted wasn't possible for her hair type. It was pretty baffling.And after all of that she said, "I have 4 kids so I don't have time to fix my hair anyway." Then SHE paid with a Groupon. Wow. The second she walked out the door, we all busted out laughing.

John and I went right home, picked up the dogs and drove to the Albany Town Forest to x-c ski. John asked if he could walk instead. I told him that was fine as long as he could keep up. And he did. He even pulled me for awhile. Haha!! 2.3 miles. Great conditions and a beautiful day.

Got in my 15 minute upper body workout as soon as we got home then made a fire in the woodstove. I had no appetite, but I still cooked us hamburgers and forced myself to eat. The head cold was really kicking in by this point, so I was super groggy and feeling pessimistic about the next day's race. I mistakenly opened a great beer I'd been saving, forgetting that I couldn't taste it. What a waste. Haha. I posted this picture of it on the FB beer page...and then deleted it 2 hours later.

Saturday, February 4, 2017- Old Mountain Trail 5K-

This was a day that Bryan and I had switched out so that John didn't have to come all the way back to Rhode Island and then to the USATF Banquet later. As heavy as my head felt when I woke up just after 4am, I was happy I only had myself to worry about getting out the door. The drive isn't normally bad, but the grogginess really got to me, so I struggled to keep my eyes open. What it must be like to have a chauffeur! Haha. I looked pretty bad with the puffy eyes by the time I got to Old Mountain, but once I stepped out in the frigid fresh air, I felt good. This was the 2nd race in the Series for the 4th Season Races put on on by Off Rhode Racing, and also another race new to me.

 I checked in then made an attempt to figure out the course before I ended up back at the check in area .4 later where I found Jeff Walker who sent me in the right direction. Since I was wearing my new Hoka One One Speed Instinct's for the first time ever, I really needed to run in them before I raced in them! I also needed to know the course since I heard it was windy, but fast.

My first step into the woods was a significant moment for me. The first time pure joy and an unforced smile came out of me in almost a week. I was running on dirt and leaves! It had been so long! I literally smiled the entire 3 mile run. There were patches of ice spaced out along the course, but for the most part, it was dirt. I was almost out of practice for it, so I was even more thankful for the warm up. The shoes felt great. So comfortable and not too thick of a sole. I could feel what I needed of the ground. The grip was perfect. The only thing I didn't notice on the warm up, since I was running so slowly, was that I'd left the laces too loose in the toe box. During the race, my feet would end up sliding around ever so slightly. No harm done, and it didn't have anything to do with the shoes themselves, so that was good. I was very happy with them.

I only had about 20 minutes between the warm up and the start to get ready to race. I was very much regretting my promise to Steve Brightman that I would wear shorts for this one. The sun was warm, but the wind was bitter cold. Plus, my pasty white legs got enough exposure on the track the week before. Unless it's warm, I'll be back in pants for Belleville. I hung out with a few people before Mike called us down to the field for the race start. I hadn't seen anyone of competition earlier, but a younger woman lined right up on the start line and took off fast. She was wearing Nike road shoes, though, so I was hoping that was an indication of not being a fast trail runner. I was kind of worried after we came around the ball field that I couldn't keep up with her! She entered the woods before I did which was not cool with me, so I decided to really bust it out up that first hill before the trail narrowed and passed her. I didn't let up either. She had me running scared the whole way. I was thankful my trail legs were back so quickly, since I had no trouble with the footing or the twists and turns. I had my eyes set on a dude up ahead with hot pink arm warmers. Um, no. I SO wanted to beat him, so that helped keep me going. I ended up passing two of the guys in front of me, but Andy Neil passed me in the 3rd mile. I laughed and said, "You always pass me!" At that point, I didn't think I would catch up to pink arm warmers so I watched the race ahead of me and hoped Andy would pass him. I was glad I knew the 3rd mile or that evil climb and then the tease of bringing you close to the finish then back out for a climb would have totally taken me by surprise. I actually felt like I knew the course like the back of my hand already only after running it once. I even knew where to step over the few icy and muddy sections. By the time we hit the mile 3 sign, I wasn't too far back from Andy, pink arm warmers and another guy so I was able to watch what I thought was both of them passing arm warmers just before the finish. Andy confirmed this, and I was like, "Yes!" I on the other hand couldn't catch him. He was one place ahead of me, but got me by 12 seconds. I finished in 22:22 which I was super happy about. My goal was a sub-23. I finished 18th overall and 1st woman. The one who had me running scared the whole time finished second woman, but almost 2 minutes back. That was a sigh of relief. Haha. Eric Lonergan took the win, with Brightman 3rd. Three 18 year old guys no one knew all finished in the top 10. Full Results.

I did attempt to smile, but my face was frozen.
I was freezing after only a few minutes at the finish so ran to my car for warm clothes and then right into a 2-mile cool down with Steve Brightman on the course. It felt good to run slowly again. Haha. We barely made it back before the awards. I walked towards my car then stopped to talk to Muddy for a few minutes until I could hear Mike Galoob yelling from behind the building. I was retrieved and told he was yelling for me. haha. So I ran down. Picked out beer for my award, although I don't know why I didn't pick Girl Scout cookies or socks since Von Trapp isn't my favorite beer. I'll just hang on to the case to bring with me to the next party I go to... so it looks like I'll have that beer for the rest of my life. I wonder how well it ages. :)

Made a quick change of clothes, then met Scott Mason, Rachel Flaksman, Mike Crutchley and Mike Macedo at Mews for beers and lunch. I was psyched to sit in the bar for once since I was kid-free! Not that I don't like having John with me, but it is nice to go to a race and only have myself to worry about every now and then. Racing is stressful enough. Add having another person there you have to make sure is safe and taken care of doubles that stress. We stayed for awhile. That post-race high brought my appetite back, and I realized I was really hungry. I ate my entire calzone, and it was huge! Three beers, and I still wasn't stuffed when I left.

Crutchley, Rachel and Scott and Mews
I decided to swing into the Tilted Barn to fill up my bottle on the way north. I didn't realize they took credit cards now, so I stopped at an ATM for cash, only to find it broken. Found another one, but the time this wasted put me in a bit of a rush. Scott had already been at Tilted Barn for probably 15 minutes by the time I got there. And oh my god, for someone like me who has no patience for slowness, I was going crazy inside. It took 30 minutes to fill my bottle which had me leaving there way later than planned to get to Waltham for the banquet.

I still had to get a shower before the banquet, so I drove to Planet Fitness in Waltham where I did the wrong thing. Planned to pay the day use fee for the shower. Walked in with credit card in hand. No one was at the desk. I stood there for a minute. Saw sign that said, "Be back in a few minutes." Watched the devil on one shoulder win the argument with the angel on the other and just walked back to the bathroom without paying. I know. I know. That's just not something I would do, but I did. I probably shouldn't even admit this here. Eek. If I were using the equipment, I would never have done that; not that it makes it right. I admit it. I did the wrong thing, but a part of me is bad like that. Shhh. Don't tell anyone. Haha.

I took a quick shower, then made an attempt to dress up and look nice-ish for the banquet. As I was drying my hair, the head cold just hit me hard. I was all of sudden super tired and groggy and my eyes were bloodshot. I so needed eye drops! I ran into Ginger Reiner as I was walking in. Christin was already there. It was funny walking in with Ginger because we walked into find the majority of the people there so far had been at the masters meet the week before. It was neat seeing everybody dressed up. The crowd was small and comfortable. Christin and her husband, James, came down from their room; I was telling everyone how I needed eye drops. A few minutes later, Regina showed up. She asked how I was, and I mentioned my head cold. First thing out of her mouth, "I have eye drops. Would you like some?" Wow! How cool is that? Regina was sweet and bought me a glass of wine, then we found our table. Our table was a mixed team table of CMS and BAA. We had two empty chairs, so Christin and James took those to make it also a Whirlaway and aR table. Jim Pawlicki and Dave Dunham were there at our table. I couldn't pass up the opportunity for the selfie with Action Dave that I posted at the beginning of this blog. The banquet was fun. The food was great. Abby D'Agostino was the guest speaker and was just so cute. She did a great job with her speech about all of her injuries and getting past them all. Brief description. The awards were pretty quick after. Christin would end up winning Runner of the Year. This was her second time being nominated so it was definitely her turn to be honored. I knew it would be either her or Regina, so I was happy to see her get the award. It would have been nice to win myself, but like I said before, I knew I wouldn't so I didn't get my hopes up too much. Haha.

Christin, Regina, Action Dave and me
The band started shortly after the awards. I was way too warm in there and started not to feel good. Christin and James had already left to go back to their room. Regina was ready to leave, too, so we said goodbye to a few people then walked out together. The fresh air felt so good. I had a long drive that would end up being pretty brutal between fatigue and the head cold. I struggled at the end of it, but luckily made it home ok just before midnight. The one good thing about being sick and tired was that I got the first solid night's sleep I'd had in weeks.

Sunday, February 5, 2017- I woke up only briefly at 7am and then woke up around 8:15am. I was legitimately sick and couldn't get myself out of bed for another 30 minutes. John came in and said his dad was going to take him to Frontside Grind which was cool with me since I was junk. I head felt like it was going to pop. I took the dogs out, but then sat on the couch with coffee for the next 1.5 hours. I couldn't move. I had to run, though. I knew it would actually help my head. I just didn't know what I wanted to run. In that state, I'm not sure how I came up with 10x hill repeats, but that's what I decided on. My street has a really decent hill. Gains about 55ft over .1 miles with an average 8.6% grade (this is all according to Strava, so accuracy is probably off). Wow, yeah, look at this awesome hill I have access to like a few steps from house. Have I ever once taken advantage of that for hill repeats? Nope. Not once in the 3.5 years I've lived in the house. And just hill repeats alone? Nah. Never do 'em. The last time I did hill repeats was when I was trying to train for the Continental Divide Trail Race in 2010, the USATF 10K Trail Championship Race that year. I had one tiny hill near my house on Fort Bragg, so I did hill repeats. Haven't done them since.

Oh, on a side note, that race was the first time I ever saw Dave Dunham and Tim Van Orden. I had already researched the hell out of mountain running in New England in preparation for moving back to NH, so they were already like celebrities to me. I never would have thought I'd get to know them, let alone have one of them nominate ME for Runner of the Year. It's still crazy to me how my life has unfolded, the positive and the negative. It seems like negative is winning out right now, but there really is SO much positive there, too. Funny thing about that race, I guarantee you that I would have been in the top 3 if I were able to go back in the shape I'm in now. I still finished 8th, though, and was happy with that.

Anyway, back to the hill repeats. I ran a really slow mile around the neighborhood to warm up then went right into the hill workout. It definitely hurt, especially with the head cold, but I felt surprisingly good. I was also extremely happy with my splits. They were really consistent for the most part. I was so done by the 9th one, but pushed hard on the 10th to keep it in line with the rest. I didn't run the last ones faster than the first, but I'd say being consistent was good enough. Finished off with another mile cool down around the neighborhood to make it 5 miles total. I ended up with 677ft of elevation gain by the end, so I'd say I ran some hills. Haha.

55ft 0.1 mile 8.6% grade x 10-
 58, 59, 59, 60, 58, 59, 59, 59, 61, 59

I definitely had a headache after but felt better at the same time, so I think it actually helped to do that run. I actually really like the workout, too, so I'll probably be doing more of this in the future. Hopefully, they'll be faster after the sand piles are gone.

I didn't bother showering when I got back in the house. Like I said, I like to look like a total slob when I'm out here in town. Put on the Six03 sweatpants I'd slept in, a hoody and a fleece then took John over to Ham Arena so we could ice skate. We haven't been in over a year, and I totally spaced that John had outgrown his skates, so we had to rent him a pair. The place wasn't crowded at all, so we had a really good time. I didn't feel great at first. Mainly just tired, but I can't help myself once I get back in the skating groove to put on some speed around the ice. It's really fun. Haha.

We hung out for awhile after eating popcorn and then went home. I decided to get my upper body workout in before taking a shower. I was sitting on my yoga mat right after I was done and all of this stress and sadness and anger finally came to a head, and I was ready for an answer as to what to do next. The only solution I could come up with was to completely sever ties with this other person, so I did it right then and there. I won't say it went that well, nor was it cut and dry. I still don't know if it will stay that way because I don't like losing a friend, especially someone who probably knows me better than anyone else in this world. I just don't know if staying friends is healthy for me. I probably shouldn't even be writing any of this on my blog either. This is way oversharing. It's still vague enough for privacy purposes, but it probably is too personal to be writing about. I'm not sure this person will even read it, though, so it probably doesn't matter. I have learned that I tend to cut people off quite a bit. I guess I do it to protect myself from further damage, but it definitely has left me alone. That's why a lot of this is my problem and not his. And also why I'm not sure I'm making the right decision. I think it's too late anyway. In protecting myself, I end up hurting other people, and I think that's what I've done to the point of it being irreversible. The weird part, though, is that I was sad right after I did this, but then felt a huge sense of relief. So maybe it was the right decision. If it wasn't maybe I can make it right down the road. For now, I'm just going to focus on my crazy running addiction and my son.

It's kind of weird that this song just came out a week ago. I was obsessed with one of their other songs 2 years ago when I was at a similar crossroads in my life. Like I said before, a lot of the songs I put on here aren't for any reason other than I like them. This one I'm putting up because I've already had it on repeat and the weird timing.

Thought I'd end it on a beer note. Most of these you can see are from RI/CT friends. They're the best!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

2017 USATF East Region and NE Masters Indoor Champs

That look sums up my week.
Despite having some good events at the USATF Masters indoor meet in Providence on Sunday, my week pretty much sucked. My running wasn't great, but it mostly went as planned (except Thursday's long run). It was really everything else going on in my personal life that sucked. I'm going to be vague here, but only because I don't really want to talk about anything that involves other people. I rarely talk about my relationships with other people on here for that reason. I do bring up my ex-husband probably too much, and I need to stop doing that, since he's a great dad, and I don't want people to think of him in a negative light. Other than that, people are mentioned in passing, but none of the details usually about the people I'm close to. What I've learned is that, other than John, I doubt I'll ever be able to trust anyone with me again. Giving someone 100% of you takes a lot of trust. Now that I've done that too many times and am once again left feeling like a fool, I'm done accepting new people into my life. So anyone who feels I'm desperate and thinks I'm evenly remotely interested in going out with them can just give up now. I'm on empty and have nothing left to give anyone right now. Not to mention, if I were desperate, I wouldn't be single. So, please, just leave me alone. I'm just going to stick with my running obsession, being a mom and share my king-sized bed with two of my dogs. I will NOT, however, get a cat! Gross. ;) So anyway, one of the main reasons I mentioned this is because this post may not be funny or interesting or even remotely worth reading. Just a warning, I suppose.

I was really sore and tired after all of the snowshoe running I had done the week before so I knew I needed to do a low-mileage week to recoup. I didn't plan to take the runs I was doing easy, but I did take 2 zeros. My first zeros of 2017! And both of them, I felt I really needed. It honestly took until Saturday for the soreness in my legs from the previous week to go away. I ended the week with 46.5 miles. I initially thought I would hit 50, but after Thursday's run and the unplanned zero on Friday, it put me under. I was perfectly fine with it. I wanted to be recovered for the Masters Indoor Meet in Providence on Sunday, and I was, so I feel like it was all the right decision. Plus, my mental state wasn't great. That stress made every run harder since I couldn't concentrate. The treadmill runs were better since I listen to music during those; that definitely helped distract the mind. I also couldn't sleep a few of those nights from the mind churning (which is rare for me), so by Thursday, I was junk.

Monday, I took the planned zero. We weren't busy at work either. It was a little excruciating. Really LONG shift.

Chill and Phoenix in the woods behind my house on Tuesday morning
The weather was terrible on Tuesday morning. Around 5am, I woke up to ice hitting the window. It was the weirdest "snow" ever, and definitely not runnable, in my opinion, so I hit the treadmill for a pretty good run. 10 miles in 1:10:22. Avg pace of 7:02. I had to really work for that one. The last two miles were a struggle. Calculated approximate elevation gain at 1,035ft so it kicked my ass. Followed that with 20 minutes of upper body and abs.

Normally, we would ski at King Pine on Tuesday, but it was sleeting by this point, and there was no way I wanted to ski in that again. I took John to see Patriot's Day instead. It was really good, but I actually got more emotional than I thought. I wasn't even there that year either. I had taken a year off after the brutal heat of 2012. I honestly don't know how anyone who was there that day could watch that movie without getting upset. It was tough to watch. But definitely a good movie. Drove John to ninja class after to find the place closed. They only posted on Facebook that they cancelled the evening classes, and I was hardly on FB that day so I missed it. I was bummed, too, since that was supposed to be John's exercise for the day. Oh well.

On Wednesday, it was the usual treadmill run in the early am. 5 miles in 35:55. 7:11/mi avg pace. Another quick run. Work was ok. Couple of calls. Nothing crazy.

I left from work on Thursday to drive to Scarborough, Maine with the intent to run the same run around Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough that I did last year. The difference this time around is that I still felt beat. Lack of sleep both Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I ate way to much Skinny Pop on Wednesday which did no favors for my gut. The wind wasn't anything crazy, but there was a slight tail wind on the way out and a gradual decline to mile 8. The way back was a slight headwind and a gradual uphill. By mile 12, I was done. So done. I didn't feel good at all. I had gone out way too fast in the beginning with the easier running and just killed myself for the way back. I decided I would stop at mile 15 and then jog the last 2.5 miles back to the car. On paper, the run looks awesome, but I felt anything but awesome and seriously struggled those last 3 miles. By the time I stopped at mile 15, I had to make an emergency "pit stop". Haha. Not a good run. 15 miles in 1:45:04. 6:59/mi avg pace. Sounds good until you look at the splits. Ouch. If I had kept going to 17.5, I probably would have been close to 8 min/ per mile for those last 2.5. The worst part is that this is my last long run for 2 weeks since I will have John with me on the next two Thursdays and Fridays. So it sucked to have my last long run for awhile be that crappy. Oh well.

One of the other reasons for coming to Maine this morning was so I could hit Bissell Brothers's new beer release Industry vs Inferiority. My run took way longer than I thought, so I assumed the beer would be sold out by the time I got there. The line ended up not being super long, even though it still took an hour. I know that sounds crazy, but it was a good thing for me to be up standing for that long. Helped keep my legs from stiffening up. I didn't mind it either. I looked ridiculous, though. Meant to pack a coat but forgot. So I ended up standing in line wearing my work coat. I call it the Stay Puft Marshmallow coat. It's so warm, though.

In line at Bissell Brothers in my stupid coat

The line that I normally wouldn't have patience for.

I got my 2 4-packs of the beer and an Umbra to drink then sat upstairs. By the time I was done with the first beer, I needed food, so I ordered from the chicken place next store, grabbed another beer and watched the line below slowly get shorter and shorter. They ended up selling out just before maybe the last 15 people got up there. Bummer for them.

I had a short appointment at 3pm then drove home. I was so tired. I was really happy to see my dogs since they're the only ones who are ever happy to see me these days. I've said I'll never get another dog, but now I'm not so sure. Considering I plan to be alone for the rest of my life, I will probably always have a dog.

As tired as I was, I was able to get in a 20 minute upper body and abs workout as soon as I got home. Then I showered and watched Impractical Jokers for the rest of the night until my eyes wouldn't stay open.

I slept in on Friday with the plan of no running. I would have actually run on the trails if they weren't so soft. Not saying they weren't runnable, but it would have been way more effort than I wanted to put in, so I waited for the water aerobics class to end and got in the pool at Purity Spring for 45 minutes of aquajogging. It felt so good. My legs felt so much better after it, too. Afterwards, I got Spot and Phoenix out of the car for an hour walk on the trails there. I could have walked for hours.

I had planned for us to downhill ski later, but John and his dad had been out x-c skiing for hours that morning before John came home. So we ended up just running errands to Walmart. I got in another upper body and abs workout that night, too.

On Saturday, I woke up at 7am and went right out for a run through Cranmore Shores. This one I actually ran easy. 5.3 miles in 39:20. Loaded up the car and then hit the road for Rhode Island at 9:30am. The drive was smooth as it usually is on the weekends. (I was originally registered to run the Nippo Lake Snowshoe Race this morning, but it was cancelled due to lack of snow. So that planned stop no longer happened.) Once we got into town, I had to stop at Foolproof Brewing. I actually won something! I think I mentioned in a previous post that I entered their Fooltography contest by submitting a photo. Well, I won and got a shirt so I stopped to pick it up. The person who emailed me asked me to take a picture with it on and post it on my social media sites, so I did. I rarely post a picture of myself on Instagram, but I did this time...reluctantly. Haha.

I didn't stay there to drink, just got my shirt, bought a beer and then took all 3 dogs out in the park next door. On my agenda was the Tilted Barn Brewery. It had been almost a year since I had been there so I made sure I got there this time around. Their beer is great. I went upstairs with my beers and was joined by Klaus O'Neal, whom I'd never met. He saw my car in the lot and "knew" me from the FB beer page and figured it had to be me. So that was neat. He would end up being one of two people I would meet that weekend from the beer page. It was nice to have company since I was just expecting it to be John and me. I had 3 sample beers and took home the Raffi Oatmeal Stout, then we left.

Cactus DIPA at the Tilted Barn
We drove back north so John could go to Launch Trampoline Park again. Crazy to think of how the roads were the last time we were there in that blizzard. The place was super crowded this time. John had to wait 45 minutes for his jump time so we made a quick trip over to Barnes & Noble so that he could get more books. The kid went through 6 books over the weekend!!! He loves Manga and just goes through them one after the other. I dropped him back off at Launch, drove to Trader Joe's real quick and then back. He was completely worn out after an hour there.

From there, it was off to the La Quinta to check in. I originally planned for us to go to Union Station in Providence for dinner, but by the time we checked-in, it was so late that we decided to just walk over to Doherty's again. Beer and food were great as always. John read his book for awhile at first, but once he put it down, we had some decent conversation.

For some reason, John always has a lot of energy in hotel rooms. Why can't he have that at home?! Haha. So he messed around with the dogs. I attempted to do some ab work but I ended up with 3 dogs and John blocking my path. Haha.

USATF East Region and NE Masters Indoor Champs-

Sunday morning, I got up around 6:15am so that I could take my time getting ready for the indoor meet in Providence. I took the dogs out, had coffee, showered then loaded everything back in the car. We were out of there at 8:15am. I wanted to get to the track early to get John settled and a warm up with Chill in before our 10am start time in the 5000m.

I ran into Dave Dunham just as we got there. He went to the upstairs bleachers with all of his stuff and set it down before coming back down to check in. I did the same thing. John wanted to sit in the upstairs bleachers. I wasn't too keen on it since I couldn't see up there from one side of the track. I was also uneasy about leaving my stuff up there. My uneasiness ended up being justified. After checking in, I came back up to see a frantic Dave Dunham searching everywhere for his stuff. It was ALL GONE. I didn't like this at all so I immediately made John move down to the track level bleachers. Dave ended up getting his stuff back. A cleaning person had come through and taken it all. Phew. That was lucky. Still odd that this person took all of his stuff but didn't pick up a bit of the hordes of trash strewn about the bleachers. I was glad we moved downstairs.

Went outside to get Chill. We ran 2 miles down the street and around a park. The day was similar to last year. Sunny and warm-ish. Would have been great to have an outdoor race. Haha.

Once back inside, I had 30 minutes to get ready. The 5000m was the main reason I was there today. This year's USATF-NE All Terrain Series called for a 5000m on the indoor track, so there I was. I have only done one 5000 on the outdoor track, but never indoor. Ginger Reiner was there for the same reason and had also not done the 5000m before. Tammie Robie came for the training and hadn't run a 5000m indoor since 1996, so the three of us would make a good team out there, I suspected. Regina Loiacano was registered, but told me a few days before that she wouldn't be coming. It would have also been great to have her there with us. I wasn't exactly nervous like I was before that first 3000m in 2016 at BU, but I was a little unsure of how it would go. I had no idea how to pace myself. Ginger schooled me on the track last year, so I figured I would just hang behind her as long as I could. Tammie's plan was 44 sec 200s for the first 10 laps. I thought that was a little faster than I wanted, so I doubted I would follow her out. It was finally go time. Scott Mason got this awesome photo of us starting off. I really should buy this one from him at some point and probably will if I do an order of prints in the near future.

As predicted, Ginger, Tammie and I went out front together. It was kind of funny because I think each one of us expected one of the others to take the lead, but we hung in a little group for the first lap, hitting it in 50 seconds. Hahaha. We all realized this was way too slow, so Tammie picked up the pace and shot out in front. Ginger followed with me right behind her. I'm sure I was super annoying as I ran RIGHT on her heels the entire 25 laps, but I honestly couldn't go any faster than her. Not even a little bit. We ended up running the same pace the whole way. 25 laps was like an eternity during the 10,000m, but these 25 laps actually flew by. I couldn't tell you my splits since I didn't keep track. I don't have the energy to hit my watch every lap, so I didn't even wear one. All I know is at some point, Ginger and I started to catch Tammie. She had pulled us along for most of the race, but that pace ended up being too fast for her to maintain. She hung on for a long time, though, and without her out front like that, I'm not sure Ginger and I would have run as fast. We slowly caught up to her and passed her, but she never would be that far back. I just stuck to Ginger. By the bell lap, I had nothing left to push and Ginger pushed ahead finishing less than a second ahead of me. I came in in 18:48.00. I was 1st in the 40-44. I was really happy with that time for sure. I had hoped for at least an 18:50, so I hit my goal time. It was a solid run, especially for my first time running that distance on the track. Ginger kept track on her watch and said we ran negative splits, so that made me even happier.

Ginger and me at some point in the 5000. Staring at Ginger's back. Haha.
I didn't have a lot of time in between the 5000 and 3000, unfortunately, so I was feeling it in my legs by the time the 3000 came around. I was seeded first and realized early on that I was going to be way ahead of everyone else the entire time. This wouldn't be good for me pace wise since I don't know how to race a 3000m without someone else to follow. I went out way too fast for the first lap in 38 seconds so I slowed it down from there. I ended up lapping everyone at least once. I had no idea what my splits were. I felt like I was moving quickly, but that wasn't a good indication of my pace since I was also fatigued from the 5000m. It just ended up not being a good race. I finished it in 11:04. 21 seconds slower than BU on New Year's Eve! Ouch. I know I was tired, but I think it was more lack of experience that led to such a slow time. In the end it didn't matter since I was first in the 40-44 and it was really just for training anyway.

I stayed over at the finish area with Scott Mason to watch the men's 3000. That was a much more exciting race. I made my way back over to John just before they finished. He was content with his book and phone the whole time. I felt bad about this, though. He really needed exercise, and I honestly should have made more of an effort to get him outside on the outdoor track. I took Spot and Phoenix for an easy .6 on that outdoor track and saw the coolest graffiti ever on a building nearby. I came back in and told John I was going to take him out to it after I finished the mile. We never would make it out there. He ended up falling asleep briefly and had no desire to go see the graffiti. I definitely failed as a parent by not making sure he got out there. It would have been a short walk with fresh air, but I got caught in the lazy parenting trap, mainly because I was so beat myself. John never complained once, though, so I have to hand him that. But still, shitty day as a mom for sure. Selfish.

So anyway, back to the mile. I had more time in between the 3000 and the mile than I did between the 5000 and 3000. Plus the mile was only 8 laps! Haha. As I stood around, a lot of people approached me saying they were impressed I was doing all of these events. I wasn't the impressive one, though. Diana Davis was also doing all 3 of the same events I was...PLUS the 800. THAT is way more impressive. I hope she got just as many accolades as I did since she deserved it way more than I did. I did enjoy talking to all of these people, though. Everyone there was impressive. I love this meet. The atmosphere is welcoming and laid back. Just a friendly event. I have a feeling I'll be making this an annual thing.

I was surprised to see myself seeded 7th for the mile. I had put 5:40 down for a seed time. Last year, I ran a 5:44 here. I was hoping for around 5:40 since I knew I would be fatigued from the other two events. Plus this track isn't quite as fast as BU. No 5:33 today. I figured the women seeded ahead of me put down some pretty ambitious seed times. I didn't really care, honestly, but Kim Ionta was seeded 1st, and we finished really close in time at BU. Moving from the 7th position to fall in line behind her wasn't going to be as easy as being seeded 2nd. Right off the line, it sucked. A younger woman went out in front with Kim stuck in lane 2 almost next to her. Diana fell in line behind the young woman which left me stuck in lane 2 behind Kim. It was a cluster. I didn't want to drop back behind Diana because I thought I would lose Kim, so we hung there for probably the first 2-3 laps (I really can't remember!) Kim finally pulled ahead of the younger woman and I followed suit. Kim and I pulled out ahead of everyone else at this point. The pace was fast. I didn't know if my legs could hold out since I was really feeling the burn, but all of a sudden at the beginning of lap 6 (I think! Haha) Kim started to slow just slightly. Knowing we were so close to end, I decided to make a move and went around Kim. She didn't let up, though. She hung onto me for the rest of the 6th and 7th laps. Finally the bell lap!!! She was way too close for comfort. I was on my 48th lap for the day, but I knew it was my last one, so I gave everything I had left in me on this last lap. I was able to pull ahead of Kim to finish first in 5:39.39 (damn good on my seed time!) just over 2 seconds ahead of Kim. It was a good race. I was SPENT!

The mile bell lap and my 48th and final lap for the day!
I was so happy to be done for the day. That was tough. 5.9 miles of racing on the indoor track left me way more fatigued than a 10K for sure. I went back over to John who had fallen asleep and watched Darin Brown and Dave Principe duke it out in the mile. Both ran well! Full Results

I had no desire to do a cool down after this, so I went right to the bathroom to change into my girly clothes and HAT! Speaking of, remember my last post where I said I had given up on caring how I looked? Well, after seeing my hair in these pics, I scheduled a hair appointment for Friday. Time to redo those highlights and cut a few inches off. No waiting until March as planned. I'd like to maybe go without a hat now and then. Haha. So I guess I lied. I do care how I look...every now and then. Once I got dressed, I grabbed my 3 medals and then followed Steve Vaitones out on the track floor to get my Iron Runner jacket. He had brought it along to give it to me. That was nice of him to do. The jackets are nice. I totally forgot to take a picture of it for the blog post, but I'll put it in the next one.

John and I went to Ogie's Trailer Park after and had brunch and beers with Scott Mason, Tony Wild and Mike Daniels. As usual, I was STARVING. I had eggs and pulled pork on biscuits. John had a grilled cheese. I was still STARVING when I finished, but decided to wait about 20 minutes to see if I was still hungry. I was! So I ordered two more biscuits and ended up finishing off John's grilled cheese, too. Still not full, but I left it at that.

The drive home took a little longer with a few stops for coffee, gas and more books for John!! We stopped at Barnes & Noble in Danvers and came across sleeping geese in the parking lot. Very strange! We woke them up as I stopped to take a picture.

I was SOOOO tired when we got home, but I had so much to do like unpacking, laundry, getting ready for work the next day, dishes, dogs, etc that I was literally on my feet for two hours getting things done. One of the downsides to choosing to be alone forever. Hahaha!

It was a tough week, but thanks to the Masters meet, it ended ok. I was in a little bit better of a mood that night. Honestly a lot of my sour mood was probably PMS. Sorry TMI, but it's probably true. The things that upset me were legitimate, but I'm normally better at dealing with it emotionally. I don't like feeling weak and foolish, but it's par for the course of life sometimes. This week has only been slightly better, but mainly because I've been really busy. No time to wallow.

I first heard this song about a month ago, and I LOVE it, especially the Kia part. Haha. I wanted to put it on my blog post then, but they only just put it on YouTube 2 days ago. it is!