Wednesday, March 20, 2019

2019 Thirsty Leprechaun 5K

Foulmouthed Tammany Stout
This photo is the post-race beer at the Thirsty Leprechaun 5K in South Portland on Saturday. The best part of this race was that it WASN'T the New Bedford Half Marathon. I can't tell you how relieved I was not to be racing New Bedford this year. I've run it the previous 4 years and it has been nothing but a beat down of disappointment every time. I've never had a good race there relevant to my current fitness level. I've left disappointed and thinking I'm a shitty runner every time. I hate it. I hate the course. I hate the wind. I hate the last 3 miles. That being said, it's one of the best organized races around and other people love it. But ugh, it's just not for me.

What I wrote in my 2015 recap:

"We hit the hill at mile 12. I actually started to feel better, but I was still getting passed. My pace was 6:49/mi for this one. Ouch. Finally, I hit the top of the hill and just picked it up to the finish. 18th woman in 1:23:25. I got through the finish and kept walking to my car since I was getting cold fast. I was thinking how disappointed I was in my race. I really thought I could do better than that, but it just wasn't how it played out. It's still my second fastest half marathon time, so it's not like it's horrible, but the disappointment was still there."

I would KILL for that time now, but at the time, I knew I was capable of running faster and had expected to run a PR. Instead I bonked at mile 10 and was extremely disappointed.

2016 recap: "I ran up to the start and had to weave through the entire crowd to get up to the elite women's corral. I didn't really belong here, but all of the people I knew were in it, so I hopped in. It was nice to be surrounded by so many familiar faces so we chatted up until the race started. At this point, I don't think I had quite accepted the fact that I was about to run a half marathon. I could not focus. The only goal I could come up with for this year was to hold back on the first mile; last year, I shot out and ran a ridiculous first mile. I wanted to take it easy off the line and just ignore all of the people passing me. I thought I had done this. I felt like I had and even believed I had until later that night when I realized I had read my watch wrong. I went out almost as fast as last year!! Why?! Ugh. I caught up with Jenn for the 2nd mile and proceeded to chat; chatting is not my forte, but, for some reason, I chatted way too much during this race. Jenn took off on the first hill, and I was happy to let her go. But no sooner than Jenn was gone, Kelsey Allen caught up to me, and we proceeded to chat for awhile. Upcoming race plans, my injury, etc. What was I doing?! It did slow me down for the 2nd and 3rd miles, but too much! Then, right at the 3rd mile, I felt it. My legs. Beat to shit. My quads were so fatigued. The 5K. I was feeling it! Such a stupid move!! I wasn't sure I could even run a sub-1:30 at this point, but I had people around me that pulled me along. I just followed."

Despite what I wrote, I actually wasn't too upset with this one. I fueled earlier and ended up running the last 3 miles faster than 2015. I was more upset that I had gone all out to race an 18:47 5K the day before that totally ruined my race. I wasn't happy with my time at all (once again; I would kill for that time now haha) and was just down on myself for my bad decision to race a 5K.

2016- terrible photo haha

2017 Recap (it just gets worse): "The ride home was tough for me because it was when I could finally reflect on my race. The first time I allowed myself to even think about it. It immediately brought me to tears. I had had such a bad race. And, yes, the wind affected everyone...but not the same. I was one of the ones who just couldn't handle it. I was so down about it the whole drive. Pissed about all of those people passing me. I felt like I just sucked so bad. I had two friends say the exact same thing to me; that I was being too hard on myself. They were probably right, but this one hit me really hard. To have it go from my goal race to a total shit show is like a punch in the gut from my own fist. I knew my time would be slower than I originally wanted, but by over 3.5 minutes?! The wind was a huge factor, but I think it was my inability to power against the wind due to lack of strength that made it so bad. So really, it was a rough day, but it's my own fault."

I ran a 1:28:09. It's funny because it WAS actually my high hamstring tendinopathy that was the cause for this. I mention it in my recap saying it definitely wasn't; the pain in the glutes had only started the week before and I still thought it was just some weird soreness. It was only over the next few weeks that I realized that this was an actual injury and that something was wrong. Two years later, this injury is still around and has pretty much ruined the speed I had. I still cannot run against the wind due to the power it takes to push against it. I want to console my 2017 self because it wasn't that I sucked. I was actually still pretty fast at this point. I was just embarking on the chronic injury journey that has caused my downfall.

I would end up changing up my training to mostly trails by May of 2017 which actually kept the injury at bay. I was able to have a good year for 2017 and early 2018 because of this. It did cause me to slow a bit, but I was ok with it. I still won over $3000 in prize money that year. I couldn't complain. Although the pain was constant, it was minimal...until the second week of March 2018.

 2017.You can see how unhappy I am.
2018 recap: "Once we started and I crossed the mat, the running began. I was happy with where I had started since I really didn't have to get around too many people. It was kind of the perfect spot. My pace felt pretty good, but I was a little surprised to see 6:20 on my watch. It felt faster than that. I thought that maybe the headwind was a factor or that maybe I was actually being smart...which isn't likely. Haha. A weird thing happened right at the beginning of mile 2 that I never felt the whole race. A very brief like muscle burning in both quads. It only lasted like 2 seconds, but it was that burning you get when your legs are fatigued. My quads definitely weren't fatigued so I don't really know what that was about, and it didn't happen again, but it kind of made me wonder if things weren't going to go right today. Well, it was confirmed when I saw my 2 mile split. I actually thought for a split second that my watch was broken. It couldn't be right. It just couldn't. I felt like I was running so much faster than 6:46. OMG. Ok. This wasn't going to go well. I knew it then. I had a little glimmer of hope I could pick it up after the hills in miles 3 and 4, but when I hit those hilly miles in 6:53 and 6:51, I knew any picking up of my pace was not going to be the pace I hoped for. So at this point I just accepted it. I really did. It just wasn't going to be my day. Every split was way off of feel. It was what it was. I let it go. I'm not sure why this was so easy for me to be accepting of it when I was blubbering a week ago over the snowshoe race, but it was. Maybe it's because I really don't like this race much. I don't know why. Something about it just doesn't appeal to me. Maybe it's partly the wind. I don't know. But I just stopped caring about how I was doing. I caught myself 3 times daydreaming, totally losing focus. My pace wasn't totally inconsistent, though. I just felt like I was out for a training run in a way even though I couldn't run faster. I just didn't feel like I was in a race."

1:28:45! Worse than the year before! 2018 was mostly just a blah race. I wasn't mentally into it, and my tendons hurt pretty bad, but I wrote in there that I felt like it was more just feeling drained which makes sense. My intestinal issue had started 3 weeks prior, and I didn't yet know that my extreme fatigue was because I was anemic. So I had a lot going on. I wasn't super upset with the 2018 race, but I wasn't happy with it either.

Hunched over. Totally different from 2015.
So needless to say, I was not upset to miss the 2019 race. I was so tired of feeling defeated there and needed the break. There are certain races I do every year because I love them. New Bedford I only did because it was USATF-NE Grand Prix race and to help out my team. I do feel somewhat badly about letting down the team, but I've pulled my weight for the last 3+ years and helped us win quite of bit of team prize money. Three straight years as an Iron Runner was enough for me. And considering my current condition and poor running shape, I picked a good year to skip it. I'm actually at the point where I don't know if I'll ever road race competitively again. I'm kind of over it. Maybe this will be temporary, though, since you never know.

So for 2019, I opted to go to a closer fun 5K. Much better decision...

Free beer and $100!
I signed up for the Thirsty Leprechaun a few days after that mile race on New Year's Day. I already knew I wasn't doing New Bedford, and I was sticking to it. I was originally going to go back to do the Marshfield St Patrick's Day 5K since it had been awhile, but when I saw this one, I signed right up. I didn't completely get away without some New Bedford tradition. The wind followed me! It was actually pretty strong. Not quite New Bedford 2017, but definitely up there.

I liked that this race was close and that we didn't have to leave the house until 7:15am. Since it was street parking only, I got there early enough to get the exact parking space I had picked out on Google Maps. Haha. Literally right across the street from the race HQ at the American Legion in South Portland. I checked in then took Chill with me for a run of the course. Once again, I was glad I did since I knew where the headwinds would be. As predicted, though, the wind was actually worse by race time. It was a nice run with Chill. Really pretty course that went out to Bug Light Park and then ran back via the bike path right on the water.

Just finishing the warm up back at the race HQ
I went back to the car to get ready to race. Despite the wind, it was actually pretty warm in the 40s so I decided to wear just a singlet and shorts. I brought fun St Patrick's Day socks for the race, but they wouldn't stay up on the warm up so I had to wear them that way for the race. There are zero photos of me (and most people) in the race so I don't get to see how stupid I looked with my socks like that. Haha. I tried at least!

We had 10 minutes to the start and I really needed to hit the bathroom one more time, but when I got across the street, the porta potty line was from one end of the lot to the other (they need way more porta potties next year). I decided to venture inside the American Legion in hopes of a shorter line. Man did I luck out to find the one-person bathroom completely unoccupied. Phew. Haha.

By the time I got back outside everyone was at the start line. I ran up towards the front but stopped a good distance back. There were definitely women there who looked faster than me. There were also quite a few I knew I would pass, but I was happy where I was starting. I'm finding it better to start back a bit so I can assess the situation ahead of time.

As soon as we started, it took about 4-5 seconds to cross the mat, but once I was free, I immediately started picking women off. The course had a short uphill followed by a long downhill, all with a very strong tailwind. Needless to say, I felt great here. I found myself 3rd female within about the first quarter of a mile and by the half mile passed the woman I had thought would be tough to beat. But I still wasn't in first. Instead, a girl wearing a green tutu and running with a dog was still ahead. She was actually super fast. The dog was pulling her a bit, but I can't say whether it was making her faster or not. All I know is that she kept increasing her lead.

After we hit mile 1 (5:55), the course took a left...right into a huge headwind. This didn't last long before we took a right into the tailwind again. I was surprised to find the 1st woman falling back here a bit. The course then veered left again right into that headwind and I found myself catching right up to her. As we turned for another right with tailwind, I passed her. I actually felt bad. I kind of wanted her to win since it would have been cool for girl wearing a tutu and with a dog to win. I actually said, "That's awesome," to her as I passed and smiled down at the dog.

We weren't in this tailwind long before going left again around Bug Light Park out in the open along the water. The headwind here was very close to 2017 NB, but like I said, not quite. I still felt like I was struggling to run against it. After getting around the open park, we hit the tailwind again for a short distance before turning into it around mile 1.8. We would be in this headwind the rest of the race EXCEPT the last .1 miles. Haha. I hit mile 2 in 6:16. A lot slower than mile 1, but the wind really made most of the difference with split times today.

The rest of the race would be on the bike path all the way to the finish. I had the lead at this point but had no idea how far back anyone was and I didn't want to do a look back. (I found out later that the dog ended up having to take a poo. I also found out that the girl was Haley Heinrich's sister, Hanne, whom I've actually raced against in the Mountain Series. So that was neat.) The guy I had run with almost through mile 2 had pushed on ahead with two other guys. One stayed close enough to me so I just focused on him to pull me along. I just hoped no other woman was about to pass me in the final stretch. I could feel myself slowing in the wind as we climbed a few gradual hills, but once we hit the final stretch and the trail curved to the left, it was wind-free and I ran it in to win 1st female overall. It definitely was not the time I wish I could have run. And my last mile was super slow in 6:46. Ouch. But it was under 20 minutes for 19:56. Sub-20 goal is the new me! Haha. (It actually pained me to write that 18:47 above in the 2016 NB recap.) I haven't run sub 19 since this tendon injury. My last sub-19 was January of 2017. Since then, it's been anywhere from 19:15 to 20:01. It's ok, though, I was just happy to pull off first female (8th overall)...even though it only ended up being by 10 seconds. I won $100 which was a huge score. I was able to buy John 3 books and us both lunch at the mall later. It's also paid for my haircut. There are zero race photos of the front of the field. Someone took some, but they weren't there before the front runners went through. Too bad Maine Running Photos wasn't there today. They're always great. Racewire was the timing company and didn't do finish line photos like they usually do. They also screwed up the results which weren't fixed for hours. Fortunately, though, they had all of the awards right and they did fix the results. Full Results

I took Phoenix out to use the bathroom then changed clothes. It was warm in the sun but windy so John wanted to stay in the car. I walked back over to find the beer line doubled over twice the length of the parking lot. Haha. Dammit. Should have grabbed a beer first.

This is actually the beer line...

 These are few people who had gotten a beer...

The beer was worth the wait since it was a good Irish Stout from Foulmouthed Brewing. While I was in there, Denise Curry of Dirigo introduced herself to me. I had noticed her at the start line and thought she looked really familiar. I didn't know her name, but I have seen her at quite a few races. She was really nice so we hung out and chatted. She invited me to join the Dirigo women for runs which I would love to take her up on. It's a group that intimidates me (Sheri Piers, Mary Pardi), but I feel like it would be the ideal group for me. Plus, one of my loose plans (I have 2-3) over the next 3-5 years is to, first, commute, and then eventually move to the Portland area so it would be nice to get to know some other good runners there. I already know a lot of the trail runners, but it would be great to find a road group, as well. Unfortunately, they do their group runs on weekends, but it's possible it could work out if I could bring John along and have a place for him to hang out. So we'll see how that goes. I'm hoping to stay in touch with Denise in the meantime.

Group of us at the finish. I'm second from the left. Denise is to the right of me. Photo by Allyn Genest
After the awards, I walked back to the car and we headed for the Maine Mall to get John some lunch. The place was the most crowded I'd ever seen it! Since I had just won some money, I asked John if he wanted to look through the manga books at Newbury Comics. They were buy 2 get 1 free so he got three and read the 1st one in its entirety before we got home. John got Johnny Rockets for lunch. I wasn't really hungry but decided to grab a vegetable and noodle bowl for less than $5 at the Japanese place. It was so much food!

If you can believe it, I didn't go to any breweries or buy any beer!! Probably a first during a trip to Portland. Just drove home then sat outside on the porch playing stick with the dogs and having another beer.

Fun race hats. And I didn't notice until later that I was wearing the shirt from my 5K PR. An Ras Mor 2016. 18:30. I couldn't imagine ever running a 5K that fast again. (Sorry for all the fast times nostalgia in this post.)

 Charms and Hexes. A perfect day for a sour.

Playing stick in the warm sun. 
So all in all, I was actually perfectly happy with my race. I did expect to run it faster than I did since I'm no longer having hamstring pain (I'll write about that later. I feel like I can actually run!) But the wind was definitely a factor in the last mile. I'm not in 5K shape anyway. This does make me want to work on it, though. In addition to staying on the trails for most of my training after Boston, I do plan to do track workouts once a week. It won't be enough time before the Westfield 5K in May, but maybe the June 5K I have planned will go better. I still love 5Ks. I have since I was a kid. That's one road race distance I won't ever give up, even if it's not my strength.

So, anyway, on with the boring stuff! Yay! So I planned a down week running-wise, and it turned out to be so needed, mentally and physically. With my deep tissue massage on Tuesday, I didn't have time for a long run anyway. I took zeros both Monday and Wednesday. Wednesday was planned since I wanted to give my legs time to rest and recuperate from the massage; they were pretty sore. I ran fairly low miles Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Sunday was a longer run, but at a very easy pace. Still ended up with 41.5 miles for the week. I actually only planned 30ish, but I felt good enough to run farther than expected on Sunday. Not one treadmill run!! Yay! Only one snowmobile trail run, but that was only due to the warmer weather making the snow a mess. The rest was on the road. Fairly decent elevation gain at 2,723ft.

With Eastern States 20 looming, I felt like this was a good plan for the week. The following week will also be mostly easy, shorter runs before race day. Although I'm not planning to "race" Eastern States, I would still like to go into it with legs that aren't fatigued. My goal for ES20 is really just a quick long run, something I would have scoffed at until recently. Do a race and not race it?! What's that about? But, first off, I'm not in the shape I was the last time I ran it in 2015. I went all out (I was still training for VCM 2015 at that point) and ran one of my best races ever, even called it an "A+ race for me" on my Strava. I could only dream of running that fast again. The course is slightly long. I had 20.1 miles. Others had 20.2. And that's not just GPS long. The course is actually stated as being long. Ran it in 2:11:11. Averaged 6:30/mi pace! Crazy! I have no idea how I did that that day. I just felt good I guess. The weather was also ideal. Plus it's is insanely flat. I only had 143ft of elevation gain on Strava for the whole race. At that time, flat was so easy for me. Now, however, long flat running hurts me the most. So I'm in that place now where I can step back and do a race as a training run, especially since I have no idea what to expect speed and pain wise. My tendons will fatigue in the late miles; that's a fact. How much? Beats me. I'd like to run in the low 7s, but I'm not holding myself to that. Ideally, I'd still hope for around 2:30. But I may not even be able to do that. So, really. No goals. The weather looks great right now, but that could change between now and then. I could wake up feeling tired or well-rested and ready. I'll admit I'm still a bit nervous since I don't know how it's going to go, but hopefully, I'll be happy with whatever happens.

A little more nostalgia for this post...

ES20 2015
Running for the Week

Monday, 3/11- Zero. Still got in my LIIFT4 weight lifting workout at work. Chest & Back. 39 minutes. And the usual 10 minute glute workout.

Tuesday, 3/12- 8 miles. I didn't have a lot of time since I had to get down to Dover by 12:30pm so I drove right to Hemlock Ln from work to run on Corridor 19. I was surprised to find trail conditions near perfect. Wore microspikes as usual. It wasn't too cold out either so it made for a really nice run. 1:17:59. 9:38 avg pace. 710ft of elevation gain.

Cool view from my run. Lenticular clouds are so neat.
Wednesday, 3/13- Zero. Planned it this way to let the legs recover. I skipped the glutes for this reason, as well. Still got in my LIIFT4 shoulders and arms workout at work. 34 minutes. Also walked 30 minutes around the ambulance bay in the evening.

Thursday, 3/14- 8 miles. Put this down as one of my best runs all winter. After my deep tissue massage, my legs were back! Well, not the tendons, but the hamstrings, glutes and calves! I was as much of a mess as I thought. The entirety of my hamstring muscles were covered in adhesions. It was why I couldn't move them. My glutes were actually worse. I told her when I walked in that it felt like my butt was in a forever isometric hold. The quads, the calves, the feet. Total mess! My entire body, really, since the back and neck also needed work. 90 minutes and she didn't even finish. 45 minutes alone on my hamstrings and cupping in addition to working them out. I walked out of there feeling like I had new legs...ok, minus the old high hamstring tendons. But wow. Such a difference. I booked another appointment already for 2 weeks out from Boston.

So in honor of one of my typical runs the winter of 2015 (have I mentioned this was when I was fast? Haha. Sorry), I decided to test it out on Haley Town Rd in Fryeburg. Did my 8 mile out-and-back just like old times. I always liked this run because it was hilly but not the LONG hills I typically run on. I went out a little gung ho but the first 1.5 miles are all uphill so it slowed me down enough. However, this would be maybe one of only two runs I've been able to run at a sub-8 pace for the first mile (7:39, after looking later). Before, the tightness and stiffness would take so long to loosen up enough just to run barely under 8 minute pace. And I'm talking outside runs here, not treadmill runs. I didn't look at any splits since I had auto lap turned off. I just wanted to run by feel. I couldn't believe it felt so good to run again. I knew there would be two sub-7 miles in there with downhills, but the hilly miles would keep most of it in the 7s. I never once did this run over 6:45 avg pace in 2015, but I knew that wasn't in the cards today. I was putting in a hard effort with this run and thought I'd end up with close to a 7:25 avg pace. I would have been disappointed in this because I felt faster. To my surprise, I ran the 8 miles in 57:22 averaging 7:09 pace! I was ecstatic! Getting down to that pace seemed impossible for the last 2.5 months. Yay!! 294ft of elevation gain.

So anyway, this run made me super happy which was a good thing after getting back to the parking lot to find this... Haha.

That's not a space, dude. I couldn't even open my door all the way. 
I will say that my tendons were very sore after this. In fact, they're still really sore, but to be honest, I don't think it's worse than before. I think I'm just feeling them more now without the distracting pain of the hamstrings which was worse. As much as I would love to run pain-free again, I'll take what I can get right now.

Friday, 3/15- 5.6 miles. I planned this as a slow, easy run, but I'll be honest that I didn't feel like I had on Thursday. Averaging 8:12 pace felt much harder than it should have. 46:03 for the run. Probably good that I ran short with the race the next day.

Saturday, 3/16- 6.3 miles. Aforementioned Thirsty Leprechaun 5k. 3.2 miles with Chill. 3.1 mile race. I'm back to giving cool downs the middle finger.

Sunday, 3/17- 13.3 miles. I had originally planned 12 easy miles, but for some reason I felt compelled to run the half marathon distance since I was missing New Bedford. I had a feeling I would only make it to 8, though. This is the same run I've been doing from home through Cranmore Shores, up Tasker Hill and turning around at the top of Allard Hill. Every time, I've planned to run the 12, but by the time I would get to 4 miles, I was shuffling and hurting so badly that I turned around. While today was a planned slow run without looking at my watch, I had hope that my "new" legs would get me to 13.1. And, sure enough, they did. At mile 4, I wanted to go on. At mile 6, I wanted to run up Rockhouse Mt Rd. When I got into my neighborhood, instead of going left to head home, I felt like continuing on to the top of the neighborhood (adding on another 150-ish ft of gain) before coming back down to finish at my driveway with 13.3 miles. 1:49:03. 8:10 avg pace. 1,252ft of elevation. Although not fast at all, I felt good on this run. Huge yay.

Hikes/Skiing/Walks for the Week

I got out a little bit more this week than I have been, but I'm still looking forward to doing more once the snow melts.

Tuesday, 3/12- I only had time for a short 1 mile walk with the dogs since the massage took up so much time with driving. Ran into 2 guys starting their run on the snowmobile trail which was now mush compared to my run in the morning. I still wonder how far they made it before turning around.

Thursday, 3/14- With uphill skiing over for the season (for me), I can finally get back to hiking/long walks on Thursdays (except for when I pick up overtime shifts). I was so excited to hike with Phoenix again! I've missed our long hikes and walks. Thursday wasn't super warm so I banked on the trail up Mt Kearsarge North being solidly packed, and it was for the most part. The last mile was starting to get rough from boots. No postholes or anything, just regular steps. The snow was also super sticky up there so my microspikes became useless as the snow balled up under them. I finally took them off. Since I carried snowshoes up just in case I decided to put them on for the descent just to smooth it out a bit. I love running downhill on snowshoes still so I couldn't resist and ran about half of the way down. Downhill doesn't hurt my tendons so it was fun. Nothing too exciting really. We had the summit to ourselves which was nice. 5.9 miles. I didn't speed hike this one. Just took it easy and enjoyed it. We spent about 3 hours out there.

Friday, 3/15- The day started with pouring rain and turned into a gorgeous 55 degrees by the afternoon. I was psyched I had allowed enough time to take the dogs skiing before picking up John. I parked off of Frost Heave Hell Rd (113A) in Tamworth with the intention of skiing the groomed snowmobile trail but lucked out to find trail 220 ungroomed. That is so much more fun on backcountry skis so we followed that out for as long as I had time for. It was awesome skiing, and the dogs were loving it. I couldn't get over the beautiful weather. Longing for consistent temps above 50!
3.3 miles total in just over an hour.

Saturday, 3/16- I had planned a walk at Willard Beach in South Portland after the race, but the wind had actually gotten worse, and I had no desire to walk in it. A trail walk would have been nice when we got home, but with the warm temps, it would have been posthole city. Trying to think of a place to walk on pavement took awhile until I thought of the high school! We only walked one loop around it, but it felt so nice to walk on pavement. Seriously, we've been living in ice/snow land up here for 5 months!! I haven't seen the ground in my yard since October. So this felt nice to walk on ice/snow free pavement.

Sunday, 3/17- A wee bit chilly walk up Hurricane Mt Rd since John enjoyed playing around so much. I couldn't stay warm. I had to totally laugh to see that he hasn't changed since this Facebrook memory of him lying face down in the snow on a walk in 2012 popped up last week. Our walk went like this....

We turned around at the mile point. 2 miles in 1.5 hours. Hahaha. I didn't mind. Getting him outside where he's enjoying himself with a little exercise thrown in there is all I'm aiming for at this point. And plus, it gives us a chance to just talk since now that he's 13, he's started shutting his bedroom door. Haha. I do still like to mess around and bother him, though. :)

Random Stuff

John's school did these video interviews with the kids. I love John's video SO much. I've watched it over and over so many times. I love his animation, and I can still see his baby face! I couldn't save it, but here's the link to it on the school Facebook page. The Community School video.

Speaking of his school, John's elective this semester is cooking so he brought home a glass jar of freshly made meatballs. When he got in the car, he said, "I have some Rammy meatballs." Um, Rammy was the ram at the farm. Made it a bit hard to eat the meatballs since they had a name, but damn are they good. Haha. They do raise some of the animals for food there which I think is cool, but putting the animal's name with it almost makes me want to become a vegetarian. Haha.

John in class on the far right.
Oh so I need to plug something! I try to support causes when I can and didn't hesitate to order a t-shirt in support of the US Mountain Running Team as soon as Peter Maskimow shared the link. A little on the pricey side, but it felt like a worthy cause. You can order yours from Allie HERE.

My job is so ghetto, but I like to keep my food classy...

Monday's dinner at work

7.5 years of wear and tear...They won't buy us new ones. Looks SO professional, doesn't it?
 She misses me when I'm gone for my 24 hour shifts so she insisted on sitting in my lap.

I learned the hard way that the fast-charging cell chargers are actually too much voltage for Petzl headlamp batteries. Totally fried it. By the way, Petzl customer service was amazing. Just some dude who works there got back to me right away. We had a back and forth all day long. Very positive experience. Ordered a new battery from Moosejaw since it was cheaper. Excited to find a love note on the box from Eddie when it arrived!

All I could think of was, "Oh, Eddie..."

(In case you didn't know, Courtney from that commercial is actually real. She has a pretty cool blog (hasn't been updated in awhile) and Instagram page with photos from her travels.)

Sunrise while driving into Conway Village on my way to work Wednesday morning.
It was like a Wild West standoff between Phoenix and Leibling when I picked John up at school on Tuesday. Can't you hear the music in your head right now?

Chill Dog
 Good beer from Woodland Farms Brewery in Maine. Loved the label.

Big Effin' Porter
I'm looking to buy another car in the next month. This came up in my Facebook memories this week. This was my car brand new on the lot after our test drive. John and I were so excited. And my first official BRAND NEW car ever. Too bad the car I'm looking to buy now is the same year as this one, but with less than half the miles, at least. I've loved this car, but it's been way too small for our travels with stuff and the dogs. Plus, I'm really tired of driving a standard. The Kia Soul will be saved for John's first car in 3 years.

Couch snuggles with Phoenix...

In general, I had a good week. Although, I'll admit that I actually didn't feel good after writing last week's blog post. I thought I felt awful before that, but for some reason, I actually felt worse after writing it. It wasn't a hard thing to do, and I felt it was the right thing to do. But I guess I just started thinking about how I'd been in the dark about the whole thing for so long. Kills me that I couldn't do something about it sooner. Now all the hits on those blogs posts make sense. I just can't believe no one said anything. No hate messages or anything. Kind of surprises me. I would have preferred the nastiest, meanest email/comment over being "out of the loop". I've had time to think more about it, though, and have just let it be. I think I did the best I could to make it right. There's nothing more I can do. I won't beat this like a dead horse. Live and learn. Move on.

And speaking of moving on...goodbye winter! Spring just arrived! I'm so ready!! And this song is amazingly perfect...

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

I Fucked Up

The part of this that goes along with the title was originally going to be its own blog post. Then I was going to put it at the beginning of this one, but I thought it would make it start off on a sour note. I finally decided to put it at the end of this blog post so if you want to skip right to that scroll down until you see, "How I Fucked Up." I wrote that part first so I'm not sure how the rest of this is going to go. I'll try to keep it positive, though.

Another race-free week unless you count the real last Racing to the Moon Uphill Ski Race on Thursday. Andrew was able to secure the East Lodge just for us so he threw in one last race for the season. It turned out to be one of the best. It was nice being away from the 5 million kids that crowd the main lodge and just have our small group of 20-ish people. It was a nice way to end the Series. The east slopes are unlit for night skiing so tonight meant we needed lights for nearly all of the course. With the temps lower than the previous weeks, I had to wear my thick mittens so I couldn't use the knuckle lights. To avoid the headlamp falling in my face problem that I had the one Friday Night Lights race, I duct taped my headlamp to my helmet. It ended up working out perfectly.

Tonight's course would end up being the shortest distance at 1.9 miles, but still 1.1 miles to the summit and close to the same elevation gain as the other races at 1,225ft. I personally thought this was the toughest climb of all 8 races. I'm not sure why, but it had a lot of steep climbs that I went really hard on. Ended up 4th to the summit, passing Mike and Phil on the last really steep pitch before we started our lollipop loop to the summit transition. My lungs felt like they were going to pop out of my chest here. 21:19 to the summit. Unlike last week, the groomer had prepared a larger section of the slope down, and I have to say this was hands-down the most fun downhill I skied. Perfect condition. Untouched only by our group. The steep black off the summit didn't even scare me because the skiing was so easy. I loved it that our last race ended this way. Not sure how many passed me in the transition, but I know two people did for sure. So I was at best 7th overall. I'd share total results for the Series, but Andrew hasn't finished putting them all up yet.

After the race, we had pizza and beer and just sat around talking. Squall was able to join us at this lodge so he put on a show doing tricks for us. I won another baguette as first woman and a collapsible water bottle that actually has a handle, unlike the one I already own. So that was cool. It was sad to see the Series end, but I was kind of ready for it. Now, I can pick up some overtime shifts again or just enjoy taking my time on Thursdays again. I'm not sure Andrew will do the weekly series at Shawnee Peak again, but I'll hopefully be able to do some racing next winter anyway. I had planned to do the Wild Corn race at Black Mt in April since it's a whole day long festival type thing, but $40 + ski rental is a bit steep for me. So tonight was probably my last ski race of the year.

Cool shot that Andrew Drummond took of us heading up. We're the lights on the slope. Look at that sky!

I'm 3rd from the left.

Jeff came back out this week! He killed the uphill.


Cool reflection shot. You can see Squall out on the deck.

Fun couple 
Running this week was ok. I was at the point of wanting to quit, though. The tightness and soreness in the entire lower half of my body was finally wearing on me. My long run was even worse. But I managed to hit perfect trail conditions on Friday and was able to do a trail/mountain run. Yay! I took 2 zero days...out of laziness, but still ended up with my highest mileage week since I started back from the time off. 53.4 miles. 4,216ft of elevation gain. So that part is good at least. I was losing motivation fast, though, and counted down the days to my deep tissue massage with Tina.

Running for the Week

Monday, 3/4- Zero. This was kind of planned so my legs could recover from the 5K and be ready for my long run the next day. I still did my upper body weight lifting with LIIFT4. Chest/Triceps. And did 10 minutes of glutes.

Tuesday, 3/5- 20 miles. Another awesome day of great weather. I actually felt much better than I did two weeks prior when I did my long run here in Sandwich. Ran an out and back on 113A and 113. I didn't even plan it, but my 10 mile turnaround was exactly at John's school. The run started off ok, but like clockwork, I could barely move more than a shuffle the last 6.5 miles. My hamstrings and tendons were SO sore. I felt physically unable to run. It took so much effort just to shuffle it in. 2:43:42. 8:10 avg pace. So disappointingly slow. 1,189ft of elevation gain. I made the decision after this run to skip my long run the next week and have a down week. My massage would be Tuesday so it would be good to do that then just run easy until the 5K on Saturday. Missing one long run probably won't make any difference whatsoever.

After the run, I filled up the water jugs at the Sandwich spring then headed to the Village Green Cafe in Sandwich since I had some time to kill before picking up John. Plus, I needed food asap. This is a nice little cafe, and I keep forgetting about it.

Wednesday, 3/6- Zero. I woke up fine to my alarm. Could have run, but I just didn't want to. Got in my LIIFT4 Back/Biceps and glute workouts at work, though.

Thursday, 3/7- 8 miles. I had packed everything for a run outside straight from work this morning, but it was -4 degrees out. No thank you. I couldn't wait for it to warm up since John had his follow up appointment at 1pm. So it was yet another treadmill day. I had planned 8 miles so I decided a 3x2-mile workout would be good. I believed I settled on a good speed and thought wow damn, this is easy today. Well, that's because I ran them way too slowly. I would have seen that had I not left my auto lap setting on that messed up my splits so that I couldn't see the 2-mile totals. Ended up being 13:48, 13:38, 13:30. Definitely should have done that faster, but it was still a workout. 8 miles 58:13. 7:17 avg pace total.

Friday, 3/8- 8.2 miles. John and I took a walk the day before around Pudding Pond so I was able to scope out the trail conditions. Packed solid! Yay! So I made a plan to run Middle and Peaked Mountains twice for today's run. They aren't long climbs so I thought a double would be perfect and around 9ish miles. The weather was gorgeous and perfect this morning. I started with the run up the Middle Mt trail that was solid just as expected. Ran with microspikes. I hit the Peaked/Middle intersection to find that no one had packed out Middle. Boo! I don't understand why Middle isn't as popular because it's one of my favorite mountains. Since this meant only Peaked for the day, I had to change my plans to a triple run of Peaked Mt. I've never actually done multiple runs of either mountain during one run and ended up finding it pretty fun. I had the trail to myself for the first loop then ran into an older guy near the summit on the 2nd. He recognized me as a runner he sees around town so that was cool. Really nice guy. By the third loop, I was really feeling it in my quads, but I still ran the entire way. I don't need to power hike at all on these mountains, but power hiking is something I need to get back to soon to prepare for Cranmore and Loon. 8.2 miles total in 1:59:15. 3,031ft of elevation gain. My quads would end up being sore from this run for the following 4 days. I know what I need to work on!

Hazy view of Mt Washington today

Start of the run down from the summit

View from my first of three summits of Peaked Mt.
Saturday, 3/9- 5 miles. Purposely planned a short treadmill run this morning since we had to leave early to drive to Vermont. Just a basic, easy run. 38:08. 7:38 avg pace. Got in my LIIFT4 Shoulders workout that night.

Sunday, 3/10- 12.2 miles. I could have easily gotten up and run 12 miles outside before the snow started, but I really wanted to sleep in and take my time. It would snow until the evening so we weren't going anywhere anyway. No need to rush into the run so I ended up on the treadmill. Still loving the 4, 3, 2, 1 workout. I ran the first 3 miles of the 4 at the same pace I did last time, but realized I could bump it up another notch after that. I felt pretty good today, even with the increased speed. Mile warm up in 8:04. 4 miles was 6:58 avg pace. 3 miles at 6:39 avg pace. 2 miles at 6:45 avg pace. And 6:41 for the 1 mile. .3 miles rest in between. 12.2 miles total in 1:27:29. 7:10 avg pace. 36 seconds faster than the last time I did this workout.

 I still keep getting lost in my head and forgetting to hit the split times with this one.


Still not getting much in for walking and hiking right now. That probably won't change much for a few more weeks. We did do some things, but I'm looking forward to being done with long runs and other random stuff that keeps getting in the way.

Thursday, 3/7- John had his follow-up appointment for the shoulder surgery at 1pm so we went for a 2.1 mile walk around Pudding Pond with the dogs after the appointment. It's crazy how much snow we've gotten. It was all the way up to the gate and some signs were nearly buried. Good walk. Snowshoers had packed it down well.

The top of a gate that blocks cars from driving in.

Look! Dirt and leaves!
Friday, 3/8- I only had time to take the dogs on a mile walk on the tracks in North Conway before I had to pick up John at Cranmore where he WASN'T skiing. Haha. I was sad to discover that the oozing snowball had met its demise.

Saturday, 3/9- John, the dogs and I drove all the way to Berlin, VT (almost 2.5 hours) to look at car for sale that I'd made appointment for. It's the car I'm looking for and had really low miles. Turned out the woman who claimed to be meeting us was never going to so we just got assigned some random sales guy who wasn't even supposed to be doing this with us either. He greeted us and went to find someone else to help us. I guess he was told to do it. First bad vibe. He brings the car around. John and I are excited to test drive it so we get in. As soon as I put my seatbelt on, the sales guy comes up to the window and says that he's sorry but someone else just bought the car. Are you fucking kidding me? Ugh. So we got out. He told us to wait just in case the other person's financing didn't go through. It took over 20 minutes and during that time, the sales guy kept coming back with other cars which I refused to look at. I didn't come for other cars so quit trying to scam me, dude. Finally, I'd had enough and told him we were walking out. Oh suddenly the other person's financing went through and they had the car. We left. That place gave me a bad vibe. 802 Toyota. I don't recommend it.

So disappointing to waste a beautiful day with all of that driving, so I drove over to Montpelier to take a short walk in Hubbard Park. What a beautiful place. Basically right in the city. We only walked a mile, but I was glad we got something in.

Sunday, 3/10- The only walking I did was just over 3 hours of shoveling. This storm's timing was perfect, though. It dropped about 3 inches total during the day. I got out a little before 5pm. The snow was fizzling out by then and stopped by 7pm so I was able to get it all completely done at a reasonable hour and be all set in the morning. It wasn't really that bad, but because the snowbanks had reached the height I could no longer reach, I had to push everything in little spurts to the end of the driveway. It was easier since I didn't have to lift, but it also took much longer and involved A LOT more walking. Strava calculated 2.8 miles. Since I was walking longer distances than the usual way, I think the GPS was way more accurate. When I was finally down to the mailbox part, John called me on the phone. He was worried because I had been out there so long. He had come outside and called me, but I didn't hear him from the other end so he called to ask where I was. I was kind of shocked, but that's a good sign that he was paying attention and had something gone wrong, he would have found me. I was really happy to have warmer temps to melt some of the snow this week because the driveway was now at my max for width, just wide enough for my Kia Soul. Eek.

And speaking of, Kevin Tilton shared this meme with me the other day on FB. I can't stop laughing over it.

Other Random Stuff from the Week

When I got to work on Monday, the ice overhang we walk under and where we pull the ambulance out was literally treacherous. No doubt sudden death if it fell. It would also have blocked us from getting the ambulance out, so I messaged our manager about it expecting nothing to happen. Lo and behold, he actually showed up and took care of it himself! Hell froze over!

About 3 inches of solid ice under the snow

Had to get a chip in my windshield fixed so I brought it in to be warm for the Safellite guy.
Hell continued to freeze over into the next day. We had gotten about 3-4 inches of snow Sunday overnight so I couldn't shovel it until Tuesday. I didn't know how I was going to fit my long run in along with hours of shoveling before I had to pick up John. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I turned in the driveway. Bryan had shoveled it!!!!! Wow. All of a sudden, the last two weeks, he's stepped up his game a bit. He's being nice via text. He's being nice to John. Then he shoveled!!! I was so relieved. Like so, so relieved. I had to go over a few soft spots in the middle, but it only took 20 minutes. Saved my day!

Tuesday night was the White Mountain Milers Annual Meeting at Tuckerman Brewing. I've missed the last two years because John was taking ninja class that started at 7pm so I couldn't go. I wasn't missing tonight, and I brought John along since his friend, Dylan, would be there, and there would be free pizza. It was actually really fun. I sat with Terry Ballou, Kim Proulx and Kathleen Murdough. We all had some beers and pizza and chatted, probably getting a little loud and rowdy. Haha. It was a fun night out. So many other people there I knew, too. I won the first raffle prize which never happens. I got a HR monitor watch which I don't need currently but I'll hang onto it in case. John might want it at some point, too. So glad we went. And I'm very impressed with how much the new leadership of the Milers has improved the club. We have so many more young runners now and the events are increasing and so well run. I'm glad I handed off my Treasurer position when I did. It was time for a change after 4 years, and I was just too busy to do much else to help improve the club. I love just being a regular member again.

The kids. John on the end.

Their new peanut butter porter!
So, John's follow-up appointment for his shoulder surgery went well, and I finally got pics of the x-rays. The first one, you can see the "dagger" bone that was about to break through the skin. Ouch! The second is obviously the repair. John thought it looked like a bug in his shoulder. Haha.

Chill made the local newspaper on Saturday. I sent in a pic of him in the snow since they requested pics of how we're buried in the snow. Funny that Paul Kirsch did the exact same thing with his dog and that it's in the photo underneath Chill's. They left out Paul's caption, but the Conway Daily Sun and Paul haven't always gotten along, so I think it was probably on purpose. Haha.

The dog in the third pic is SO cute.

This was the other photo I sent them.

Woke up to find John had slept on the couch all night. Haha

You weren't getting away without a Phoenix pic!
On the way home from Vermont Saturday, I decided to stop at Rek'lis Brewing in Bethlehem for food and beer. John hates going to restaurants so he complained at first, but once we got in there, he seemed to really like it. The atmosphere is awesome. Our server wasn't great, but I have a feeling she was new so I still left her a good tip. And the place isn't about the service anyway. It's about the beer and food! After John got his hamburger he said, "This is SO good. I'm SO glad we came here!" Whoa. That takes a lot to get him to say that. I told him the food was really good. My burrito was so, so good. I had one beer that was good. Everything there is GOOD. Haha. Highly recommend this place if you take a trip to the mountains.

The people sitting next to us noticed that the sun was shining through the logo on the outdoor furnace and reflecting on the wood. Super cool. 


My blog writing finally took that bad turn. But not in a way that I fucked myself over, but in that I wrote something that really hurt someone else. This might be long but hear me out as I go through the explanation of how it was not my intention at all. In fact, my thoughts at the time were actually the opposite of what came across this other person. BUT...then I'll write about why that doesn't matter at all. Why no matter what we intend if it hurts someone then we are completely in the wrong.

So Sunday, I was sitting in my kitchen finishing a cup of coffee before heading out for three hours of shoveling. Dreading it, I decided to procrastinate a bit and scroll through Instagram. I like to look at what people I follow like sometimes just to find new cool stuff, so I was looking through that when one of these likes caught my eye. The title and the tiny little photo in the preview implied it was some sort of running page, but by two women. You don't see that often so I clicked on it. I didn't know them, but it appeared they were two friends who are also runners living in different parts of the country, sharing an IG page. I thought it was cool so I started to scroll through. Considering what I had just written in my last blog post, it was kind of funny that I'd come across an Instagram account by women runners that was truly refreshing. They had photos of running, working out and selfies, but it didn't have that #lookatme vibe. I was really enjoying it. And then, I came across a photo I recognized, because I had the same one. It dawned on me that she was a person I had raced against in a race last summer. Then I read the caption. I was HORRIFIED.

What she wrote didn't horrify me. It was the words that I wrote in my blog post about that race. There they were in her caption, and, with them, her account at feeling body shamed at what I had written. Oh my god. I think that was my first thought. Then I thought, "What have I done?!!" I sat there stunned for probably a minute trying to wrap my head around it. I was thinking, "No, no, no! I didn't think that at all. I thought she had a perfect body!" I went to my blog post and read what I wrote. And wow. Horribly written garbage. I know what I meant by it, but no context with it. I could see plain as day why she felt shamed. I would have felt the exact same way if it were me in her shoes. I deleted what I wrote shortly thereafter, so this isn't exactly verbatim, but as close as my memory can get. I wrote something really close to this, "I caught up to a woman wearing a size too small bun huggers with her ass hanging out." You're reading this and thinking that's it's horrible, right? Well of course. It is horrible. There's no context written there to explain it. But here's what I meant by it (reminder, that my explanations mean nothing in the end, but I still want to explain it). It was actually supposed to be a comical remark about bun huggers. I know you're like, "What? That's not funny," and I know. I've joked about bun huggers with friends saying things like they always look like their too small so they ride up their asses and how is it comfortable to run with your ass hanging out. And that's not a dig on the bodies of women at all. I've seen those things ridden up on the fittest of the fit. It was about bun huggers.  It was such an inside joke that how could this person I wrote this about have any idea? She couldn't at all. I didn't even write in such a way that anyone could take what I wrote as anything other than shaming this woman. Why did I even write this in the first place? Because I wasn't thinking.

I followed this with something like, "You may think I'm being negative, but I'm not. I was actually super jealous. If you got it, flaunt it." Honestly, when I caught up behind her, I thought she looked perfect. Super fit and fast and intimidating. There's nothing more intimidating than a woman in bun huggers. :) Seriously. If I'm in a trail race and I can only catch someone through a technical section, it means she is faster than me. And she was dressed the part of a serious, fast runner. She WAS faster than me and would proceed to have me running scared the entire race. Only my technical trail running skills gave me the upper hand that day.

I then followed that with what was supposed to be making fun of myself which is something I do all the time. I laugh at my faults. I wrote about my ridiculous full-coverage running skirt and demi sports bra. This was supposed to imply that I was wearing that because I could never pull off bun huggers. People would be vomiting behind me. And also that I was wearing a demi bra because of my lack of boobs. I was purposely body shaming myself in jest. But when I reread this, it really wasn't clear that's what I meant. I know that's what I meant, but everything was just lost in the context on the reader. Me writing that I was jealous was meant to be compliment, but it was just so poorly written that none of it read as what I meant or had intended.

What I meant or intended didn't matter, though. If all context is lost and all that's left are the words on the "paper", then it's going to be misunderstood. And it was. With good reason. All of the people who commented on the IG post who had read what I wrote also interpreted it as body shaming. And that's all that matters. What I wrote hurt someone, and for that, I was completely in the wrong. It was out of line, and I was ashamed. I still am. This has been eating away at me for 4 days now. On my mind constantly. The damage is done, and it's been MONTHS of it. Meaning that this woman has been feeling put down and hurt for a long time. All of my excuses mean nothing.

At first, I really didn't know what to do to make it right since I don't believe there is really a way to make it right. The damage has been done; that hurt she has felt is now deep. But as I sat there just staring at this Instagram post feeling like the biggest asshole in the world, I knew I had to do something. First, I went to the blog and deleted everything I wrote that I believed was hurtful. I thought it was the right thing to do, although I don't know if it was. I'm not trying to brush it under the rug; I just made an assumption that this woman did not want these things I wrote associated with her. I didn't delete it as if it never existed, though. I made a note with each one that I had deleted something and a vague reason why. Next, I knew I had to apologize. So I did it right there on that Instagram post. I felt a public apology was the best thing to do. Like I said, it won't fix much at this point, but it was the least I could do.

I'm still very upset with myself that I made someone feel body shamed. I've had to ask myself why this happened. Well, I certainly wasn't thinking of how this person would feel if she read it, that's for sure. I write with a stream of consciousness and forget that not everyone knows me and my sense of humor and may be visiting my blog for the first time. The context could be completely lost. This experience has taught me to rethink what I may write about a competitor. Keep it objective and in the running/racing realm. Rarely, someone pulls a jerk move, but in general we're all out there for the same reason, and the competition part is fun.

I'm not afraid to admit I was wrong. I don't mind the public shaming I received on Instagram and wherever else this ended up. I deserved it. Although not a fun experience, I needed to be called out on this. My only wish is that I had come across this sooner. For months, I've been walking around like a moron, ignorant to the harm I had caused. I wish I could have tried to make it right sooner. But you can't go back in time.

This didn't flow quite liked it did in my head the last 4 days, but I hope it all came across clearly. I should add that this person I shamed beat me in the next race we competed in. I'm sure that felt good. Haha. I know our paths will cross again. My hope is that she can forgive me and we can have that friendly competition that I have with nearly all of the women I've raced against in my lifetime. I'll understand if she can't, though.

I want to end this with some humor by saying I should be punished and forced to wear the ugliest, most unflattering pair of bun huggers/shorts to the 2019 version of this race and then be required to post a photo of them from behind at the top of my blog post. Haha. All she has to do is say the word, and I'll do it.

I thought this was an appropriate song...