Monday, February 19, 2018

2018 Old Mountain Trail 5K

This turned out to be a really good week with my running/racing. I actually felt good on my runs and had a good race on Saturday at the Old Mountain Trail 5K in Rhode Island, the second race in the South County 4th Season Race Series. Got my mileage back up with a little guidance from my friend so I was happy about that. 60.2 miles for the week. 3,238ft of elevation gain which is pretty good. Got in 2 treadmill runs, 2 trail runs and 3 road runs. Even got in my first real long run in awhile.

The week was quiet without John there, and I missed him. It was too quiet, though, and I started to get that feeling of just someone going through the motions since he gives me a true purpose in life. Someone else to care for who needs it. I guess the only good thing about him being gone was that I didn't have to hear from Bryan at all except once just to tell him John's flight number on his way back to Boston. This was one of those divorces that had we not had a child, we would have signed the papers and been done with each other completely forever. Sad to say something like that after 16 years with someone, but we were never a good match, and by the end, we really had nothing left to share with each other. But, unfortunately, I have to deal with him, and just when I write how he's calming down and I'm giving him a break...BOOM. I've been fooled again. John wasn't back 12 hours when shit started up again. He just doesn't get it. But, anyway, the 5 days of no-Bryan contact were nice. My stress level dropped. I felt good. Running felt good. It's amazing how much stress can affect you.

Found some cute pictures on John's school's Facebook page of him in baking class making those biscuits I mentioned in the last post. And then one of him in a class. Actually got a little choked up when I saw these because he's so happy there. I'm going to be so sad for him if the school closes, though. I finally made the decision to write to Ellen DeGeneres seeking out help for the school. She literally has an option for help for your school on her website so I figured why not. What would it hurt to try? The hard part was I could only write 1500 characters so it was hard to fit in everything I wanted to say about the school, but I tried to hit the key things. I'm sure they get 1000s of these so they need to be short. Such a long shot, but I had to try.

Monday, February 5, 2018- For the first time in forever, Rob and I didn't have a single 911 call the entire 24 hours. It was a very long and boring shift. Fortunately, I broke it up with a 3 mile run on the work treadmill. The usual 3 miles in 22:09...always a 7:23 pace. This treadmill is just so uncomfortable to run on. Hoping to stop using it and get my ass up on Monday mornings to use my own treadmill.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018- John's grandmother texted me a photo of John in Florida...

Meanwhile in New Hampshire...

Yes. That's an unhappy me at the end of my run Tuesday morning. Not sure when snow entered the forecast for Tuesday, but I did not see this coming...and it literally ended an hour after my run and the sun came out for the rest of the day! Haha!

This was first true long run of my Vermont City Marathon training that began this week. I was actually looking forward to this run. While it wasn't new roads, it was a new loop I made up that started at work and did a lollipop loop. I was actually looking forward to this run and felt really good right off the bat. That's always a good sign. Things were going well, and then in mile 9 right in the middle of Freedom Village, snow flurries started. Hmm. As I ran up the bitch of a hill on Cushing Corner Rd and got up high in the open, all I could see was a wall of snow heading my way. WTF. Totally caught me off guard. This isn't the first time I've been caught in a surprise snowstorm during a long run in Freedom. It was still a good 4-5 miles before the roads became totally white, but still had some slight traction. The last miles...forget it. The roads became a slippery mess and every single fucking step had my foot sliding. It sucked so bad! I actually almost quit and called my coworkers to come pick me up in the ambulance. (I'm a true a believer in the use of the Wahhhmbulance Taxi Service. Haha) I was so close, but I wanted to get in the miles dammit. At least my effort stayed the same, even if the pace slowed slightly. Considering that, I was still really happy with my run. Definitely the first good long run that I've had in awhile. 18.6 miles in 2:19:13. Still a 7:29 avg pace which made me happy despite knowing it should have been faster. 750ft of elevation gain. I took this photo of the road right after I finished my run...

I was pretty annoyed to see the sun come out as soon as I got home, but it was also a good thing since I was making a quick trip to Portland for an appointment. Stopped at Target after the appointment to get some supplies for John for school and a few groceries. Ended up getting hypoglycemic while I was in there and almost passed out. Started sweating so much that it was soaking through my shirt. Not sure why that happened since I ate before I left home, but it did, so I grabbed what I needed quickly plus some extra food to eat as soon as I paid for it. I made a quick stop at the Bier Cellar and then drove right home. One of the things that I couldn't find in Portland was a calculator. So weird. Neither Target nor Staples sold them (other than a really small cheap calculator as part of a $10 set of math supplies). Decided to check the Dollar General on the way back into town and sure enough. Got a calculator for $2. Sweet. Just sat around the rest of the night. I was pretty beat.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018- Today marked the first day of getting help with my training from my friend. I was told to run easy or die. Haha. I chose to live and ran easy (for once!) on the treadmill before work. 4 miles in 31:03. 7:46 avg pace rather than my usual sub 7:10 pace. Felt pretty good and what I needed after yesterday's long run.

Today was the last shift with my partner of two years. Just when I had gotten used to him, too. Haha. Oh well. Pretty sure my old Thursday partner, Jeff (Hi, Jeff!!), is going to take his place as my regular partner. Yay!! We work well together so that's good.

We got a huge snowstorm in New England today which I had been dreading since I knew it meant shoveling. UGHHH. Little did I know, I would also have to shovel our driveway at work so we could get the ambulance out. Yeah, whatever! Who cares about an ambulance getting out to respond to 911 calls. Fuck us! Ugh. No one plowed our driveway. There's a guy...but he decided to wait until the next morning to show up. WTF. The snow stopped around 10pm so I went out and shoveled the snow in front of the bay door until I hit the plowed section of the lot that belongs to Amerigas. They weren't even open but their plow guy still plowed. I'm sure my company found the lowest rate they could for plowing since that's all they care about it. The bottom line. Leaves us without the supplies we're REQUIRED to have by the State all the time! Anyway, when I finished shoveling the ambulance out, I shoveled my car out and moved it over to Amerigas's plowed lot. Haha. I went to bed after that dreading the fact that I would be shoveling 8 inches of snow from my huge driveway the next morning, too.

My car haha.

Where my car had been haha.
Thursday, February 8, 2018- Woke up to a beautiful morning. Had a trail run planned down south for the afternoon so I went home and got started on my driveway. I decided to Strava my shoveling. It's not quite accurate since it can't really pick up my short movements. Took over 2 hours and 20 minutes. Would have been longer had the plow guy who is supposed to plow the end up my driveway and the well not felt bad for me shoveling it already (that took me an hour alone just breaking through to the road) and took the plow down one pass on part of my driveway. Saved me a good hour by doing that. I was so shocked to see him do that since he never has once. Usually plows my driveway IN after I've already shoveled it. I did attempt to get the snowblower out, but finally figured out that one of the augers isn't spinning. Pretty sure it's a belt, but I can't figure out how to open the thing up to fix it. So it was back to shoveling. My knee was so bruised from using it to turn up the push shovel, and my hands had blisters through my mittens. Strava picked up exactly 2 miles, but it had to be more than that.

Wall of snow blocking my driveway. This should have been cleared already since the neighborhood pays the well company for it as part of our water bill. Grr.

My driveway

After it was clear

After it was clear
Spent over 2 hours busting my ass to find out from John when I got home that night that Bryan had the nerve to say that I didn't get the job done and that he was surprised I even did it. As if I haven't been clearing that driveway for the last 4 winters before this?? And what right does he even have to complain about it since he doesn't pay for that house? Grr.

I showered and drove south for more trail exploration. For some reason, getting lost is the name of the game with this one. Even did a full loop at one point without realizing it until coming back to where we started. It was hilarious and took us a good 1.5 miles of unplanned running around until we figured out where we went wrong. Another problem is the goddamn Bay Circuit Trail which kept intersecting the route and steering us off course. All of a sudden we'd be in totally the wrong place with a stupid Bay Circuit Trail marker laughing at us. So screw you, Bay Circuit Trail! Still a really fun run with some good climbs and views. Made it back to the lot with only about 10 minutes to spare before the gate locked for the night. Eek! 9.4 miles in 1:31:33. 1,217 ft of elevation gain. These hills are surprising me! Caught my legs on a briar at some point and didn't notice that I had blood pouring down my legs. Haha. The after picture is no good since it was dried already. :) Had some post-run beer and yoga then headed home.

I'm giving that sign and white blaze the middle finger right now. Haha.
Friday, February 9, 2018- John was home from Florida the night before so he was up for school on Friday morning. And as I mentioned before, all of the issues with Bryan that had dissipated while he was gone were back when I was lying in bed and heard Bryan screaming at John at the end of the driveway. I guess John forgot something so Bryan turned around to get it and ran into the snowbank. Apparently this was somehow my fault for how I shoveled the driveway and then Bryan wanted John to shovel it out. I'm like WTF and get up to find John coming into the house in tears. He told me what happened. I was ready to just put him in my car and drive him to school, but my car was blocked in by Bryan's. John went back out and screaming began again. This time I heard John screaming back so I finally opened the door and asked if there was something I could do to help. That was met with a, "Stay away!!" Ugh. I yelled back for him to stop screaming at John and went back inside feeling helpless as to what to do so I started crying. So I just watched and they finally freed the snow bank and left. About 5 minutes later I get a text from Bryan that his car broke down at the gas station. John is already late for school at this point so I quickly change out of my pajamas and get in my freezing cold car (it was -8 degrees out) and drive up there to get John to school.

Wow. Way to make a re-entrance back in our lives, Bryan. It's like I give him a break, think maybe I'm overreacting or hypercritical and should back off a bit, and then he does stuff like this that just reminds me that I'm right. It's his temper. He can't control it. It's that rage that once you're in it, you can't get out of it even if you know in the moment what you're doing is wrong. That is the problem, and he always feels remorse for it. Always. But like my life with him, there comes a point where you just can't forgive and let it go anymore. It eats away at you. You withdraw from that person and he never gets you back. It's over. That's what I'm afraid of happening with John. He's only 11, and he already sees it. I've told Bryan over and over that he needs to do something about his temper, but I don't know if he knows how. He's losing John, and that makes me sad since John needs his dad and there won't be another dad. And meanwhile, I just have to sit on sidelines watching it unfold, and I really don't know what the fuck to do.

So it was a very frustrating morning that fortunately turned into a very nice day. I stopped on the way back home to let the dogs out at the Wonalancet ski trail lot and found a freshly groomed xc track. I had no idea where it went so I decided I would come back down here for my run and then ski this trail after.

Checking out the trail with dogs. I only went this far since I didn't want to mess it up with boot tracks.
It sucked that I had to go all the way back home, but I had the time. When I got back down to Wonalancet, I ran a pretty easy 6 miles out-and-back into Sandwich. 46:22. 7:40 avg pace. 352ft of gain. Pretty good hills on this one. I was little sore and tight from the trail run the day before since I'm really not doing much trail running right now.

Finished up the run, changed clothes in my car and ventured out on the ski trail. It was really beautiful and cool to be the first one on the fresh grooming. I didn't know where I was going, but the trail just went up and up until it ended near the summit of Mt Katherine. Realizing where I was at this point, I decided not to go back the groomed trail, but to break trail down the hiking trail to do a loop. This part was so much fun. I've never actually broken trail on skis down a mountain before so this was a new experience for me. It wasn't steep or very long, so it was perfect. I saw a lot of moose tracks along the way. The trail came out to a road that went back to 113A, but I cut across a field and through the woods to get back to my car instead. 2.8 miles total. Not a lot, but perfect since I didn't want to overdo it anyway with a race the next day.

I picked John up from Cranmore later. He always has so much fun. I'm sure he's going to be bummed out when the ski season is over, but he will be doing kayaking for his Friday activity after that which I'm so excited he chose. Nothing else to do that night since we were leaving early the next morning for RI.

Saturday, February 10, 2018- Old Mountain Trail 5K 

Of course snow was predicted for the early morning when we'd start our drive, but from the looks of it, it would be gone by Wakefield. Crazy enough, the road went from snow-covered to completely clear LITERALLY on the town line. But the first part was a bit hairy.

Rt 16 in Albany
The rest of the drive was fine and seemed to fly by. John slept the whole way and then refused to get out of the car the entire time we were at the race. It was so nice out that I wanted him to get fresh air, but I stopped fighting him over it when I realized it was just stressing me out within minutes of the start.

We got there pretty early so I hung out in the lot a bit chatting with some people until we could check in, then I took Chill out for a warm-up on the whole course. I wanted to see the conditions, and, as predicted, it was going to be a mudfest. Yay! I actually like racing in the mud (not Muddy Moose type mud, but runnable mud). Once back at the car, I traded Chill out for Phoenix who wanted to stay in her blanket and ran her just a short distance to where I left Chill's poo bag and back. Haha. It was close to race time so I changed out of my Inov-8s and into my La Sportiva's. They felt SO much better. It was so warm out that I didn't even wear gloves. Just a singlet and shorts today. Yay!

I hung out with the WTAC team before the start and saw a super fit and fast looking woman there. I was pretty sure it was the one who had out-kicked me at the beach race, but since we were all so bundled up at that, I wasn't sure. I was pretty sure it was her, though, once I saw her line up on the start line. Dammit. This was going to be another race of going all out and then getting out-kicked. Fuck. Haha. Oh well.

Mike started us off, and I was surprised to see a different girl dart out ahead of both of us. Two of them now?!! The tight turn around the field was a slippery mess, but I hung onto the inside and quickly moved ahead of Ciara (the one who beat me at Resolution) and set my sights on whoever this blond was ahead of me. She looked super young so I hoped she was just going out too fast. I was right and as soon as we hit the single track, I passed her quickly.

Just about to enter the woods behind Nick Fox with Bob Corsi and Ciara right behind me.
 Once I passed the younger girl, I caught in a bit of gridlock for awhile which sucks for trying to see the trail in front of you. I finally got around Nick and ended up behind a guy who I was stuck behind for awhile until it just became to excruciating. I finally had some space and was able to go all out running scared the whole time with no idea how close Ciara was at all. I finally passed one last guy, and then the only person I could see was Mike Daniels who was some distance ahead. I didn't let up, but once we got down around the pond, I was able to get a good look back and saw Ciara wasn't far back at all. Maybe 15 seconds at the most. Dammit. This next section had a lot of slippery bog bridges, and I almost busted on the same one I almost fell on during the warm up. Somehow, the group behind me caught up to me through this section. Eek!! Ciara was maybe 5 seconds back. I had to bust out this last section that climbed up, then down, the back up and then down to the finish.

Fortunately, this was my type of running. I passed the guy in front of me and dropped all of those guys behind me. I even put some distance on Ciara but thought for sure she was going to outkick me at the end AGAIN. Ugh! I honestly though there was no way she wouldn't catch me, but a look back as we took the right turn to head down to the finish, and I couldn't even see her. OMG. I might just take this. As soon as I came out into the field, I just opened it up. I got so caught up in it that I didn't notice I was passing finish line too far to the right. Haha. Goof. Came through taking 1st woman in 22:29, 8 seconds ahead of Ciara. Phew! Another close one!! 12th overall. Full Results

After chatting a bit, Ciara and I headed out on a cool down together on the course. She's from Beverly, Ma and knows a few of the same runners I do on CMS. It turns out that she's mainly just a 5K and less racer and had just run her first 10K not too long ago. So this distance is her thing and explained why was hard to beat. Haha. We ran 1.7 miles then made our way back in time for awards. I wanted to change first but didn't have the time. Our WTAC women's team won 4 six packs of Whalers beer...even though we came in 2nd. The kids beat us this time around. Haha.

Things were over quickly so we headed to the Mews. The WTAC group sat in the bar where John wasn't allowed so I joined the Turtles and Brightman at a table in the dining room. My son took one for my team and sat where I didn't want to sit. He's the best. Lunch was fun. After that a smaller group of us made our way to Proclamation for HOURS. I told John that if he was cool with going then he could to whatever he wanted the next day. He was very keen on that. Haha. He ended up loving Proclamation. I know this because I overheard him telling his friend that he was at this place with free arcade games and it was awesome. Haha! Yes! We ended up eating waffles, and I have no idea how I fit that in my stomach after an entire calzone, but I did. Haha. I have no idea how we were there as long as we were. Time passed quickly. The place was super dog and kid friendly so I had John bring Phoenix in. She was SO good which is unlike her. I was taking a photo of her with Bob and Mark when John photobombed it. Haha.

It was finally time for us to leave so I took Chill and Phoenix out in the same part of the lot as I did the weekend before and then we headed home. The last part of that drive was a struggle to stay awake, but I managed it. Super tired when we got home so I went to bed as soon as I could. Fun day.

Sunday, February 11, 2018- As promised John got to do whatever he wanted which was playing video games all day. Haha. It was raining most of the day anyway so it was gross. I was able to get my run in before the heavy rain started. Only had a light drizzle in the last mile. I ran from home doing a Conway/Stark Rd Loop. Opted to run home through Conway Village instead of Cranmore Shores to avoid the snowy/icy road section. On the way out, I passed Terry Ballou, Kim Proulx and Suz Laughlin heading the opposite direction on a group. I was kind of bummed that I've only been invited to join them that one time, but then I remembered that I would have declined anyway. I needed to run a bit longer and faster than they did so it was ok. But still. No pals for me. Haha. I don't fit in with them really anyway.

I felt really good on this run surprisingly. 11.2 miles in 1:22:44. 7:22 avg pace. Not crazy hilly but still 328ft of gain.

I did an upper body and abs workout when I got back, and then just did stuff around the house the rest of the day. In the afternoon, Bryan let us know that he picked up a shift at work the next morning and that John would have to make his way to the school van stop on his own. Great. John's first time riding the van and he has to do it alone. I wasn't keen on this, but I went out and packed him down a trail in the snow to walk there. Then I brought him out and made him walk it with me so he'd know where to go. Funny that he had to walk to his "bus" stop on snowshoes. SO New Hampshire! Haha.

Caught this hilarious pic of Phoenix jumping for a snowball. Haha. And, no. She did not land on her feet.

I was really happy to have John back this weekend, and I'm glad he had fun in Rhode Island on Saturday. He's been way more positive overall about going to races lately. He still doesn't love going, but he seems to be going with the flow a bit more. Plus, I'm making sure he gets a day where he's home a lot to make it even for us.

Really good week running-wise for me. Had quite a bit of fun this week, too. :) I'm feeling more positive about my running even though I know I have a long way to go still. Upcoming races: USATF-NE Indoor Championships at Harvard on 2/18, more RI trail races, Snowshoe Nationals and the start of the USATF-NE Grand Prix. Busy month coming up. Eek!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

2018 Bamboozled IPA Pre-Game 5K

Bayle Mt
I decided to spend most of this week off the roads. Between them being icy and me feeling unhappy with every road run, I decided to take a break from them all week until Sunday's 5K. I didn't do any long runs this week either, but I got in two 12 mile runs on snowmobile trails on back-to-back days which probably didn't help my 5K Sunday. But whatever. It is what it is right now with my short distance speed. In general, I feel like I made the right decision to stay off the road to force me to keep things slower all week. By the end of the week (just to clarify, Sunday is the last day of the week Haha), I finally felt recovered from the 50K thru the stressful week. The 5K was a major disappointment, but I walked away from it feeling pretty good body-wise. 53.2 miles for the week. 3,730ft of elevation gain. I was happy with that but hoped I could get back up to 60 again the following week.

With John finally going to his first full week ever of full-time school, I hoped the issues with his dad would die down. They did a little bit, but he still bugged the hell out of me since he was incapable of figuring out the tuition and getting the school van set up on his own, so I had to do it. I created a monster by taking care of EVERYTHING when we were married (or since we first moved in together in 1999 for that matter). He never had to personally pay a bill, do taxes, stress over the debt we accrued in our 20s, etc. I even had to pay the bill when we went out for my birthday. Pretty much left him clueless to taking care of most adult things. So now I'm still stuck with this responsibility when it has to do with John. Frustrating but it's the only way things will get done properly and on-time so I just dealt with it. It was definitely a lot better than the previous few weeks for sure.

John's week at school went really well. Better than expected! Since I was at work, I didn't see him again until I picked him up at school on Tuesday afternoon. I learned from the director and a teacher that John decided to jump into two extra classes instead of the three he had chosen. His first math class ever...Pre-Algebra! He told me, "Math was so much fun!" Say what? Wow. He also spent the entire drive home working on his drawings for art. Who is this kid? Haha. It made me so happy for him. He was so happy! I know school is new and it will get old no matter how great the school is, but he really went into it with an open mind and positivity this time. Let's just hope the school can stay open. If not, I don't know what to do for him. I just don't think the public school is the right fit for him yet.

Monday, January 29, 2018- Typical Monday with plans to get up at 4:15am for a run before work, but I failed. I had showered right before bed the night before, though, so I decided to sleep until 5:40am and skip the shower. Instead, I would plan to run at work and then shower after. That ended up working out. I felt like a jerk, though, because with 5 minutes left to run, the mechanic showed up to take our truck and the rest of the crew and my partner were changing over equipment to our back up truck while I ran. I just wanted to finish it up, and since I normally don't slack off or try to get out of things, they didn't mind. As soon as I was done I jumped in and helped get the job done. 4 miles in 29:32. 7:23 pace! Haha. We actually spent awhile getting it set up since Rob and I are pretty anal about our truck, and then I showered. It felt good to get all of that out the way, have breakfast and get ready for the rest of the day. Nothing exciting. Only one call during the day and one at 4:20am.

Sat in the ambulance for awhile at Freedom Fire while my partner had something to deal with at the fire station.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018- Left work and drove over to Gilman Valley Rd to do a run on the Corridor 15 snowmobile trail. I did this run last year on snowshoes, but this year the trail was just a very thin layer of icy snow. No snowmobiles had been on it for awhile, but it was perfectly runnable with microspikes. This run starts off with a lot of climbing before it turns to rollers and then a slight downhill to Marble Rd, which was my planned turnaround until I came across a clear, runnable trail of Bayle Mt! I've been up there when there's basically no snow, but the trail has still been totally covered and not packed down at all. Today was different, so I changed my plan to run up the mountain....and I stole my own Strava CR! Haha. Which surprises me since I had to actually walk around a huge patch of ice at one point, but whatever, any CR makes you feel good. It felt great to stand on the summit since this has become one of my favorite smaller mountains to run up in the area.

Bayle Mt trail

View of Ossipee Lake

Dork on a mountain

The snowmobile trail (Corridor 15)
I turned around from there for the run back to my car. 9 miles exactly without even trying for an even 9. 1:43:12. Seems slow, but that was because of the mountain part. I was actually pretty happy with my pace on the rest of it. 2,066ft of elevation gain.

The rest of the day, I kept forgetting what day it was. I'm so used to John being there on Tuesdays that I kept think it was Thursday. I actually didn't do much other than an upper body and ab workout since I was a bit at a loss. Haha. Free time, and I really just missed him. But it was good that he's at school since as I said before, when I picked him up, he was so happy.

Selfies with Phoenix while I waited for John to come out of the school

This Tuesday free time is still weird to me, and I do miss doing things with John. However, I'm still seeing him after school, and he's been staying with me on Thursday nights mostly since he doesn't want to live in the van. I think with him in school now that I would rather not have my alone night. I'd rather see him. His dad is still responsible for him if I go away for the night (which is rare), but I like having him at home with me; he's much happier this way.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018- Could barely get myself out of bed, but I did it. 3 miles on the treadmill. 21:46. 7:15 avg pace. It's something. The 24 hour shift was actually pretty busy. First ski accident transport for me this year. Coming down to the 1 year anniversary of the worst 911 call I've ever been on. Haven't thought about it too much except one morning during the long drive to a race when it brought me to tears as I passed the hometown of the deceased. But other than that, I've been doing well with it.

Thursday, February 1, 2018- I was in no hurry today after I got off work so I went home, took my time and then hit the snowmobile trails again since the roads were a complete mess, and it was snowing pretty hard. I had to do a short run on the road to get to the snowmobile trail, part of Corridor 19 through Conway and a small part of Madison. For some reason, I'd never done this section. Kevin Tilton had biked part of it the day before, so when I saw his post, I decided it was time for me to check them out. Even though it was snowing, the snowmobile trails were still in the same condition as Tuesday so all I needed were microspikes (Disclaimer: They aren't actually "Microspikes" but a total knock off that cost me only $17.98. They look exactly like microspikes, but the quality is obviously not quite the same. I would still rather buy a new pair for $18 every year than spend $60 on a pair of Microspikes that have never lasted me more than 2 winters.)

The run had quite a bit of climbing once I hit the snowmobile trail. It wound around behind Cranmore Shores via the power lines and then a fun, hilly stretch in the woods before evening out to more gentle rollers until I turned around at mile 6. I debated making a whole loop via North Conway instead of turning around, but since I didn't know the mileage, I decided to just stick with the out-and-back for 12 miles total in 1:52:16. 1,166ft of elevation gain. Really enjoyable run in the falling snow (minus the road part at the beginning and end).

Dork on a snowmobile trail
After I showered, it was time to get rid of the long, red nails I'd gotten in Hawaii so I headed to the nail place. It's seriously my favorite pampering outside of a massage. The nail salon had just gotten in some new metallic colors that the nail tech offered me in place of what I picked. I was like hell yes! I want to do a different one next time. Super cool how they're purple at one angle and green at the other.

From there, I drove to Hemlock Lane to take Phoenix on a walk. She was having an insane amount of fun just running through the woods. Drove me a little crazy, but she needed a good walk today. Found a tire swing by a snowmobile warming hut that was all locked up. Couldn't resist so I untied it from the tree and swung on it until my hands were frozen.

I couldn't get my blog post done on Wednesday at work with all the 911 calls, so I finished that up later that night and got in my upper body and abs workout. Had some beer and watched Impractical Jokers. Bryan dropped John off for the night with me. He was happy to be home doing his thing, and I was happy to have him there since he was just about to leave for Florida for 5 days with his grandparents.

Look at that fool! I'm talking about the glass, you jerks! :)

Friday, February 2, 2018- Bryan picked John up to take him to school so I slept in. Still not wanting to run on the road, I ran from home to the snowmobile trail by Coleman's right across Rt 16 from my neighborhood. It starts with a short section that spurs off of Corridor 19 to go into Conway and then meets Corridor 19, which I ran all the way to the Silver Lake Railroad and back. This wasn't the wisest choice of runs. Every single time I do this, I feel completely beat up and sore the next day. This section follows the railroad bed the entire way. It has some very, very gradual ups and downs, but feels very flat. Funny, about 4 days after doing this, I had a Facebook memory pop up from the first time I ran this trail in 2014 and I said how sore I was from running this flat trail for so long. Haha. Guess I didn't learn. Plus, it's extremely mundane just staring down a never ending railroad track. Don't get me wrong; it's very beautiful, and I'm sure I'll do this run again next year, but it definitely did a number on me this year and might have affected my race on Sunday (I only say *might* since I don't know that for sure). 12 miles total in 1:47:20. Only 257ft of elevation gain for this one, but it hurt the most. Give me hills, dammit! Haha.

Corridor 19 through Madison
I took a quick shower then drove into North Conway to finally use the 1 hour massage gift certificate that I won at the Purity Spring race. Donna Cormier really does give the best therapeutic massage I've ever had. Just like last year, she had me snoring. Haha. I really needed that today. I had a little time to walk the dogs on the Pudding Pond Trail before picking John up at Cranmore after skiing.

I had no desire to upper body and abs work tonight so I skipped it. I felt pretty beat by the time we got home, although I did have enough energy to build a fire. The rest of the night I was on the couch. This strong beer got the better of me, and I, of course, said mean things to someone I shouldn't have that always leads to regret the next day. I don't have a problem saying things when I'm completely sober, so my filter gets really clogged when I've had anything to drink. Oops. Haha.

Good, but it made my mouth overflow with garbage. Haha.
John made biscuits at school that morning. SO GOOD.

Phoenix and Rowlette watching me build a fire.
Saturday, February 3, 2018- I didn't sleep in late today. I wanted to get my run in and then had to pack up my stuff for the night and next day. I was taking John to his grandparents' house in Marshfield, MA to stay the night before catching a flight to Florida the next day. It would be a short trip, but that was perfect for him after just going to Hawaii for a long time. I was actually kind of bumming to see him go, so I made plans to do a little brewery hopping after I dropped him off.

I had originally planned to drop him off then go for a trail run at F Gilbert Hills, but that would mean dragging John out early. I wanted him to have the morning at home instead so I changed my mind and just did a short run on the treadmill since the roads were still crap. Ran pretty easy for a change. 5 miles in 38:11.

Noticed this frozen face John had made on the window the night before. Haha
John packed his suitcase while I packed a bag for the night. I also had to pack food for the dogs and a sleeping bag since I planned to sleep in my car in Weymouth, MA that night since that's where the next day's 5K was. There were plenty of people I could have stayed with that night, but I didn't want to ask. I kind of just wanted to do my own thing. I'll admit that it was a bit lonely going to all of these breweries alone since I had no one to talk to, but at the same time, it was nice just doing my own thing. It was a very rare kid-free Saturday so I wanted to do what I wanted to do and not follow anyone else's plan. It was a trade-off, and I ended up having a fun time. Plus, I'm just used to doing things on my own so it's cool.

The drive to Marshfield wasn't too bad (just a little traffic on 93S). John slept the whole way as usual. Haha. I was excited to go out, but I was also sad to leave him. After I did, I took the dogs on a short walk at Carolina Hill where I used to spend a lot of time walking and running when I lived on the South Shore.

After the walk, I started my drive south by going north to Braintree first. Haha. Widowmaker Brewing was right off 93. Rachel Flaksman suggested it and since I'd never heard of it before, I figured it was worth a stop. It was a really nice space. One of the bigger breweries I've been in. They had quite the beer selection so I decided to get a flight to start...well, that and a meatball sub; I was starving! The beer was good. I wouldn't say awesome, but definitely good. Would I make a special trip here again? Nah, but I would go there again for sure if I were in the area. I enjoyed the Russian Imperial Stout and one of the Double IPAs. Since it wasn't super awesome, I got a half pour after the flight and then left. I needed warmer temps and RI beers so I continued south.

Next stop was Proclamation Ale Company. I had been wanting to check this place out since I'd heard it was pretty awesome, so tonight was the night! I got a Broze Oatmeal Stout and headed right to Asteroids. One of the coolest parts about this place is free arcade games. I really wanted to play Galaga, but it was taken so I made a pretty horrible attempt at Asteroids. The hand coordination isn't there anymore so I gave up and found a place to stand near a corner where I didn't feel as weird being by myself. I planned to get another beer when I was finished with the Broze but changed my mind as I walked to the bar. Paid my bill and left.

Took this on the sly. Selfie dork.
I let the dogs out in the back of the parking lot before driving a short distance north to Buttonwoods Brewery in Cranston. I had a hard time finding street parking out front and just happened upon a quiet parking lot out back that was at the end of the road. Not a thru-way. Hmmm. I think I just found my hotel room for the night. It was seriously perfect. Better than the Walmart parking lot in Weymouth I had planned. Haha.

This brewery is in an old mill,and when I walked in, I really, really liked it. I could feel this was a good place. The beer I got was excellent. There was one guy running the whole show at the bar who wasn't missing a beat. The place is on the smaller side, but not too, too small. It was just comfortable. This would be my favorite stop of the 3. I definitely want to go back and try some of their other beers.

Something Deep About Life Stout

Dragon Ninja. Collaboration with Long Live
I closed my tab just before he stopped serving at nine. It was a short walk to my fancy place for the night. Haha. It was actually a nice night. Not too cold. Got a pic of the moon before zonking out. Asleep by 9:30pm. Perfect since I had to get up for the 5K the next morning around 6:30am. Plenty of sleep. I'll admit that I wasn't comfortable all night. Phoenix and I played sleeping bag wars quite a bit and I occasionally had to stretch my legs out onto the window, but other than that, it really wasn't bad. Although I felt pretty safe here, I did have my huge knife on hand just in case. Haha.

Sunday, February 4, 2018- Bamboozled IPA Pre-Game 5K-

Woke up to a nice morning. Took the dogs out for a bit then realized I needed a donut. I wanted to hit PVDonuts, but they didn't open until 8! That's so late for a donut shop. The one place open at 7am that wasn't too far was 4Corners Coffee. Although it was the opposite direction than where I was going, it wasn't too far. I just needed something heavier than a bagel, and I remembered that I've had good runs after eating a Holy Donut, so I figured why not. I have to say, from the outside this place doesn't look like it would have amazing donuts. Looks a little like a Honey Dew Donuts. Kind of. But OMG, when I walked in, I think my mouth literally fell open! DONUT HEAVEN! Amazing square donuts that were so hard to choose between, but I opted for the chococlate mint one with a thin mint on top. So fucking good. It was so heavy that I didn't even finish it!! I don't do that ever. That just meant I got to enjoy it post-race.

The drive to Weymouth wasn't bad. I was one of the first ones there and was greeted by Bob "Fitz" Fitzgerald and Michelle LeBrun of New England Runner. I've had the pleasure of getting to know these two over the last year and a half so it was good to see them. They're fun people. They're actually the reason I found this race since I saw in the New England Runner email. Looked fun since it was at a brewery, and I needed the 5K "speedwork". I was already coming down there the day before so it seemed like a no-brainer to sign up. I was excited to learn that Mimi Fallon would be there, as well. I knew she'd give me a run for my money in the race which is what I needed. Plus, she's super cool, and I enjoy talking to her. 

Once I got changed, I took Chill on a run of the whole course just so there wouldn't be any surprises. I was glad I did since it probably helped me out in the race a bit. We ran a little extra for 3.3 miles at a very easy pace. Gone are the days where I warm up on the 5K course at a 7:30 pace. I traded Chill for Phoenix, but only did a half mile with her. She didn't want to get out of the car since it was a wee bit chilly out. Once I returned her, I headed up to the finish line where I found Mimi and talked to her for a bit. I was surprised to learn she left the BAA! She was much happier (and more comfortable) to be wearing the HFC singlet. She was unfortunately sick today so I had a feeling she might not be running as fast as normal. I was hoping she could help push me to a faster time than I have been running. 

I lined up with her and a few of her teammates after a bit of a delay with the police car arriving to lead the race. There was one young girl lined up front who looked fast so I wasn't expecting to win today. I got off the line ahead of Mimi and the younger girl, but it was only about 100 yards before this other woman came flying by me. She pulled away pretty quickly so I assumed she'd be out of sight after the next turn, but I was wrong. It was only about a quarter mile until I passed her easily. I was in the lead for the women. I felt like I was running quick, but it also felt a tad too slow for a 5k, and just before we went under Rt 3, a police car with lights and sirens going came flying up behind us forcing us all to move quickly to the opposite side of the road. Haha.

Once we turned off of the main road, the course climbed for a good .6 or .7 until just past the mile 1 marker. I felt like I was moving once we crested the hill and the course leveled out. I started to pass a few of the guys who had been ahead of me. I felt like I was holding my pace and not slowing at all which made me happy because I was running scared! As we finished up the lollipop loop just before mile 2, I heard a, "Go Mimi!" not far behind me. Oh shit! Knowing I was getting close to the downhill we had come up for mile 1, I picked up the pace a bit to stay ahead and flew down the hill until we took a right back on the main road. This last part was a small hill before it would flatten out and turn right for the downhill finish. I never took a look back. I just ran as hard as I could in hopes of holding Mimi off. She outkicked me at Ribfest last year so I knew she was easily capable of doing it again if she was close enough. I lucked out, though, and took the women's win. I was happy until I saw the clock as I approached the finish. Omg. What a terrible time!!! 19:35!! Are you kidding me?? How?! How is that possible?! That's barely faster than when I was sick as a dog in the blazing heat at the Downtown 5K. I was SO disappointed. Definitely happy for the win, but oh my god. Seeing that time on the clock was just a major punch in the gut. I ran faster than that on the indoor track. Ugh. My splits were negative, but as I suspected, way too slow in the first mile and even the second. 6:26, 6:22, 6:03 and 5:52 for the last .1. Mimi came in not too far behind me in 19:51. I seriously think she would have run much faster had she not been sick. Full Results

Michelle caught my finish. She's the only reason I'm smiling. 
I couldn't wallow in my sorrows, though; there was beer to be had. I took Chill on a short 1 mile cool down then headed into the brewery for beer and the awards. This was really fun, and I ended up hanging out with Fitz and Michelle until nearly all the other racers were gone. The beer was good here, too, so it's definitely a place I would come back to...maybe even their summer 5K.

I hit the road for the trip home, only stopping for gas and groceries at Trader Joe's. I was STARVING and snarfed down a chicken salad wrap from there as soon as I got back in the car. 

No Superbowl parties for me, but I think I had partied enough for the weekend. I don't normally watch the Superbowl, but I decided I would tonight. Good thing I don't really care about the outcome much since it didn't go the Patriot's way. Haha. It was actually really fun to watch. Still hasn't turned me into a football fan, but I can see why people get into it so much. So overall, it was a really good weekend even though I was already missing John. I was happy with my race win, and the terrible finish time was really a good thing. Showed me that I needed to change up my training. With the help of a friend who knows me well, I'm going to do just that. It won't be a crazy change, but I know there are things I don't do right or things that I should be doing that I don't. Just need a little guidance from someone I trust since I'm pretty fucking stubborn. Haha.