Waterville Valley 2019

Waterville Valley 2019

Sunday, February 9, 2020

2020 Super Sunday 5-Mile Race- USATF-NE GP #1

Finish Line of the race
Last Sunday was the first race in the USATF-NE Grand Prix Road Race Series at the Super Sunday 5-Mile in Cambridge, MA. I voted for this one back in November since I loved seeing a new bidder for the 5-mile. Ribfest had run its course for me. I also love races in the city so I was really excited when it got chosen for the 5 mile championship race and looked forward to it. Fast-forward to 2 weeks out from the race, and I was feeling a little nervous about my hip. I already accepted the fact I woudn't be in top shape for a 5-mile race, but I definitely couldn't accept it if my hip wasn't healed. There was some consolation after running the track meet pain-free (in the hip), but that was only one week of no hip pain. What if it came back?!

Despite being nervous, I was a little reckless with the runs I chose to do in the days leading up to the race. My nervousness should have made me rethink the run down Mt Kearsarge North on Friday. After running downhill for almost 3 miles, I did "feel" the hip. It wasn't painful per se, but just feeling it was enough to skip running on Saturday and just hit the bike. What I did not mention to anyone prior to the race, since I didn't want to sound like a sandbagger, was that that same run down the mountain destroyed my quads. I honestly forgot I wasn't in downhill running shape so it didn't cross my mind. I woke up Saturday morning with really sore quads. And on race day... they were even worse. SO sore. I already had the head cold that I couldn't hide with the nasal-speak so I didn't want to add on one more pre-race excuse to that and the fact I've hardly run in 2 months. Haha.

By Sunday morning, the hip pain was gone, but the head cold was in full force along with totally trashed quads. Good thing I didn't expect much from the day's race. I knew the course would be on the faster side, but I honestly didn't expect to break 32 minutes. I hadn't been able to run under a 31:40 since before my chronic injury, and that was way back in 2016 at Bobby Doyle. I just assumed I would tank around mile 4 and finish just over 32 minutes. But really, I didn't care. Being a championship in the city, this race would bring in a huge field, and it certainly did. I had no expectations coming into this. Also didn't help that some of my usual masters competitors have not been injured and are now running their fastest times wearing the Vaporfly's. I can't compete with just the shoes alone, nevermind my lack of running. So I actually went into this still excited about it. I wanted to see where I was fitness-wise and if the hip would hold up. It was nice to have my focus elsewhere instead of my finish place.

John stayed home for this one since I wouldn't stay long after the race. I had to work at Conway Fire for the overnight shift at 6pm so I wanted to get home. I had a goal of leaving at noon (and literally left at 12:01 without even watching the time). For me, 2.5 hours of driving is a "short" drive so it wasn't bad at all. It's amazing how much people freak out to see I've traveled "so far" for a race. If I didn't there wouldn't be many races for me to do. But that's ok. No one understands my life in general... unless you read this blog. Haha.

On the way down, I had my keto "bread" which is half whey protein and stopped at Starbucks for my new go-to pre-race meal, the Gruyere and Bacon Egg Bites. I started this new routine before Cape Cod. Granted, I haven't had too many races to test this out, but so far, it's been perfect as a pre-race meal. Plus, they are SO good.

I got there super early on purpose. Got one of the best parking spaces in the Kendall Square Garage. All of the race stuff and start/finish were right outside the garage door. It was great. Most of us have to walk farther for nearly every other race. I ran into Mark Capperella right away...and I would proceed to run into Mark more than anyone today. Haha. Weird how that happens. I had a lot of time to kill so I went back to my car where it was warm to slowly ease into race mode. I needed to loosen up from the sitting and went out for an easy mile. I ran off the beaten path for most of it to scope out a last minute bathroom before the start (when the porta potty lines are insane). Amazingly, there were quite a few places there in Cambridge. Haha. I felt alright on the warm up except for the quads. My head cold didn't cause any problems, and I didn't expect it to during the race. Brought my Kleenex along for the ride, though.

I went back to the car for a bit. I was meeting my new teammates on HFC Striders at the start line at 9:15 for another warm up. Luckily, I found Mary right away. She a singlet for me to use for the race. It's old one and a little big, but they are doing a new design for this year's gear so there was nothing left for me. This would do. I just needed something with the team logo. We ran into two of the guys on the team, but they went on ahead while we waited and just jogged around the start area. Finally, most of the women showed up and we went out for 1.5 miles. That was all I needed. I'm not used to warming up as a team so it was a little weird. Since we were chatting, I was actually slightly out of breath. Haha. They did lose me a few times since they kept crossing roads in front of cars who had green lights. I just won't do that. Not worth the risk for me. Drivers can be so distracted and running close to traffic terrifies me. So I kept having to catch back up. Haha. Just have to say that EVERYONE I've ever run with at road races does this, not just my new teammates. And this isn't because I'm from rural NH. I'm actually from a city and have lived in the Boston suburbs (and other cities). I'd like to think it's just because I'm not impatient when it comes to stopping and waiting in order to remain uninjured and/or alive. But anyway, all-in-all it was cool to finally have a team to warm up with.

I went back to the car for final race prep...which meant stripping down to the singlet. Brr. I did a hip rotator muscle energy stretch that Kim Nedeau showed me. Not only does it activate the glutes, it also loosens up the hips. This is also a new pre-race go-to of mine. I finally went up and got into the corral. They didn't have an elite women's starting area, but I went for that area anyway and moved up to the Whirlaway group. I started to have second thoughts at this moment when I realized this is the team I line up with at every race. This is the team I'm closest to. Should I have set my misgivings aside and joined them? Well, maybe. There are reasons why I've never joined them. I find in general it's too Grand Prix focused and the owner is a bit controlling of the women. Christin gets only negative or zero recognition for her ultrarunning/mountain running successes. In fact they are often brushed aside as to the reason she gets injured. I've hear Christin and Amy both say, "He won't let me..." in reference to races they've wanted to do. So this has been my hesitance. with this team. Most of them are also too serious in training for me... but then there's Christin. We train similarly, if you can even call it training. So standing there, I did have some regret that I might have made the wrong decision. But my decision isn't forever. I can always change my mind in a year.

Someone told the RD that the women were supposed to have part of the start line so he announced that and the men moved to the right quickly. We moved up. Now, I could see who all was there. So many people I "know" but don't know, but we smiled at each other and said hey like we were friends. It's just a cool familiarity with the usuals. I love that about the New England racing community.

The RDs were short and sweet and then we were off. The start was super tight, but it's Cambridge; what can you do? They posted a video of the start from up above on Facebook. Thought it was cool.
See video here. We start and finish on this same road which was a straightaway before a sharp left turn where some dude almost took a few of us out because he needed to run the corner tight even if other people were there. 😠 Luckily, this road was wide so we were able to spread out from here. I felt really good and not like I started out to fast. Looking at my 1 mile split (6:07), it appears too fast, but I really never felt like it was since it was completely flat. I don't regret my pacing at all. My effort was solid and never felt too fast or too slow except up briefly the hill at mile 4, but that was because I lost focus.

Mile 1. Paul Hammond destroyed me today.
The course is mostly flat but had two decent climbs so it's a generally fast course. Mile 2 had the first climb which I felt like I pushed hard on. 6:27 for that. I had been focusing on certain people ahead of me whom I could see since the start. Used them to pull me along. The course took two consecutive sharp right turns in mile 3. It was crazy how many people were in this race. I was getting passed while passing others. Just before the next hill, I noticed I was gaining on Nick Fox so I decided to focus on catching him. This extra push up the hill started to make me feel queasy in my stomach and I found myself staring at the ground and worrying about it. Once I was aware of this, I actually talked myself back into the game. In my head I told myself to stop focusing on your stomach. Pay attention to the race. And strangely enough, I looked back up, paid attention to the running...and the queasiness was gone. Weird. Has that issue been mental the majority of the time? I wonder. Obviously, Boston was not, but I wonder about other races now. Who knows? (Miles 3 and 4: 6:24, 6:17).

But anyway, I caught Nick just as we came over the hill and we ran side by side for most of the last mile. It really helped having him there for that push, but just before the final right turn to the finish, he pushed ahead to outkick me. As we came around the corner, I noticed someone on the side throwing up. It only took a second to realize it was my friend, Sybil Shapiro! And it's cool that Leslie Poitras actually caught the look on my face just as I'm realizing it's Sybil.

Nick in the green shorts outkicking me. Haha.

You can see the concern on my face when I realized it was Sybil.
I made a beeline right for her and told her, "Come on! Run with me!" She got right up and bolted towards the finish before she vomited again. Leslie got an awesome play-by-play of Sybil for this whole ordeal. I won't share that, but I'll share one. We were laughing about it afterwards so she won't mind me posting this. It's also funny because I know Brad Klinedinst who is running past her.

I pushed as hard as I could to the finish since once the clock came into view. I couldn't believe it. I was going to break 32 minutes easy. About 10 yards from the finish, Ralph Lufkin passed me. I said, "Aww, Ralph!" and apparently was smiling about it because you can see it in the finish line photo at the top of this post. Haha. Ralph is just ahead of me in Tuesday Night Turtles singlet. I crossed the line in a chip time of 31:19! What?! My fastest 5-mile race since 2016 on barely any running for 2 months?! Sweet! Ralph gave a quick fist bump, then Christin came up to me just as I noticed Sybil was doubled over so I made a beeline to her (I apologized to Christin later for blowing her off). I stood there for a few seconds with Sybil until she was ok. Gave her some space as we left the finish area. (Oh yeah, mile 5 split was 6:09).

I was so happy with my time. I know this is a fast course, but it's no downhill Westfield 5K or something. The two hills were enough to slow you down a bit. I was surprised not to finish that far back from a few people I normally compete against. This was a real boost to my confidence that I really am faster now than I was a year ago.... or at least more fit. I really think the spinning was the trick to keep me in decent shape for the short stuff. It's the long stuff that I'm going to struggle with, but I'll get there eventually. Not expecting much out of New Bedford Half and Frank Nealon other than good training runs for VCM. I just won't have the time to get in HM shape with this course I'm taking. I'm ok with it. And I'm really just happy to be throwing down a time like I did today on very little training. My base is good so I'll get back to the distance pretty quickly, I hope. My goal for next Saturday is 13-15 miles, weather permitting. I've gotten in some good 10 mile runs, so I'm ready to just see how I feel going a little farther. I can't do any other long runs until this course is over, but it will be good to have time to do one decent run over the next two weeks.

I stayed after the race to have my two free beers and food, but ended up standing in line for the good beer for almost 45 minutes. It was really good stuff from Mighty Squirrel, but by the time I got it, I was freezing and hungry, and I had been alone this whole time. I eventually found my teammates in the food line, but that was also long so by the time I got my free chicken bites, they were long gone, and I had to leave. That's something the race could improve on, but they were dealing with a much larger field this year, and other than that, I thought it was a well done race. I really liked it and would definitely do it again even if it wasn't a GP race. I probably would have had more fun post race if I didn't have to rush home.

I was glad I had about 3 hours to hang out with John and the dogs before I went to Conway Fire for my first shift there. I was at least working with someone I've known for years. This is such a different world to me since I've never been on the fire side of things. There's just so much more to know and do. The station is SO nice, too. The crew quarters is huge, and women have their own bathroom!! There's a treadmill and a stair climber and weights so working out there is a possibility. I'd like to pick up more shifts, but there really aren't many available. My main job is to come in for second ambulance calls. I've been listening in in hopes of getting one, but that didn't happen until Friday when I was already working in North Conway. Grr. The overnight shift went ok. We had two car accidents, but no transports, so it was super easy. I just couldn't go back to sleep when we got back at 3am. Got up a 5am to wash the truck before I left at 6am. I'm glad I got that first shift out of the way, but it did set me up for a huge sleep deficit that I'm in right now a week later. Haha.

Funny. This was in my FB memories from today 12 years ago at the Children's Museum in Monterey. The only 2 photos I took that day were of John in the "ambulance". This job wasn't even a blip on my radar then.

That's a good segue into John. One thing I forgot to mention in the last post was that John's school is closing... well kind of. When we got the email, I wasn't surprised. John and I had literally just talked about this and he said none of the students thought the school would still be open next year. They just can't make it financially with so many kids leaving the last two years. Their vision is to turn it into a boarding school and sell the land off for senior co-housing. I don't see either of those happening. And also when I said "kind of", I got a separate email that they wanted to keep the school going for one more year, but only for 6 students, the two who would be seniors next year and 4 others they felt did well there. One of them was John. While I thought it was great they chose John, I just don't think it's a good idea for him to stay there, especially knowing that it's just one more year. He'd have to transfer to the public high school as a sophomore. That sounded like a bad idea. Better for him to start as a freshman with the rest of his class. I'm both nervous and excited for him. I'm nervous about it being overwhelming and strict, but he'll get used to it. He'll be around kids who live in the area. The Career and Tech center offers so much. I know he's going to struggle a bit, but once he gets the hang of it, he'll be ok. It also takes the financial burden off of Bryan for The Community School. And that's a good segue into Bryan. Haha.

So Bryan finally went to court for the child endangerment case, but I guess it wasn't the trial. Instead it was their findings after his psych eval. He texted me afterward which surprised me, but it shouldn't have. We actually had a good conversation via text over the weekend about his mental state and how he feels about missing John, stuff like that. He said there's nothing wrong. Said he feels great and healthy. I told him that I did believe that there was something off mentally, and he actually didn't get angry or defensive. So when he texted me after he got out of court, I could tell he was sad. They found him legally incompetent to stand trial. He's been appointed a State attorney and forced treatment at the VA. He couldn't really answer many questions because the court will only deal with his attorney because he isn't allowed to be "an active participant" in this. I told him that I see positives to this. First off, if he complies, then the case is very likely to get dismissed. Also, getting treatment is exactly what John has asked him to do so this could save his relationship with John. I'll admit I had one selfish thought in that I was glad that this happened. Not in a vindictive way, but just for the fact that all this time, it wasn't just me who thought something was wrong. Everything I hid from people the last few years of our marriage because I was embarrassed actually had solid ground. I was right to feel there was something wrong with him. This makes me feel better, but that doesn't mean I'm cheering about it. Like I've written before, the whole thing is just sad. I mean, imagine being in his shoes thinking everything is fine to all of a sudden having people tell you you're crazy and then that being backed up by a mental health specialist. I haven't talked to him since so I don't know how he's handling it. Hopefully he keeps me updated as he finds things out. He has no idea right now if his treatment is in-patient or out-patient. I know he'll tell me that part when the time comes.

Overall, I think this could lead to a good outcome. I hope so at least for John's sake. He hasn't had a dad for over 5 months. Well, he's there, but John doesn't want to see him. John's having to spend more time alone at home because of this since I work 24 hour shifts. (Just another reason going to school at Kennett will be good. New friends will be closer). He and Bryan's relationship did have some positives to it so he's definitely missing out on that. There is no "stepdad" potential either. I don't even make an ounce of effort. I have too much baggage to put on someone else, and I can't do that. Not that I've had any opportunities anyway. Haha. So single mom life it is.

So, anyway, I'm writing this on the 82nd hour of my 96 hour work week. This has been tough, but I had to do it. Looking forward to my AEMT class starting tomorrow. I'll be home every night and no work again until next Sunday's 24 hour shift. I can't wait to be in my own bed for 6 days straight. Tough 3 weeks for sure, but worth it in the end. We'll find out Tuesday when we should be getting our raises. I'm hoping by March 1st so I can give the overtime a break for a bit. No idea if I'll have any time to update my blog over the next two weeks. Maybe next Sunday I can do a quick blurb, but we'll see. Since I was at work for 4 days this week, I'll just do a quick recap of the week so I'm caught up.

Monday, 2/3- 24 hour shift. 20 minute Tabata Ride with Robin (Peloton) on my work spin bike.

Got to work to find the place a disgusting mess. Raw chicken blood spilled all in the refrigerator. I made Dale clean up his mess before he left, but he still walked out leaving a spilling over trash can and the ambulance a mess... also with the trash spilling over. I went right to the manager. I spent over an hour cleaning up his filth.

Dirty dish and Skoal can. You can just see the trash takeout box on the table. There was also trash on the floor.

On a bright note, one of our recent patients stopped by to thank Jeff and me for coming to her house to check her out after she fainted. So sweet. And this is a rarity in our profession. She gave us each $10 gift cards to The Met. I couldn't believe it. Unnecessary, but so appreciated.

Tuesday,2/4- 10.3 mile run through Cranmore Shores up Tasker Hill to Allard Hill then turning around. 1:23:19. 8:05 avg pace. 886ft of elevation gain. Took a 3 mile walk on Corridor 19 with the dogs in the afternoon.

So spoiled

She puts herself in all the warm blankets
Wednesday, 2/5- 2nd 24 hour shift. Still couldn't get up early to workout. Head cold made my head pound for a few hours. Did the work spin bike instead. Climb Ride with Robin. 20 minutes of a real ass kicking. Dumb post bike selfie...

It was such a gorgeous, mild day, and most of the snow had melted on the trail out back so I actually got in a 2-mile walk. That would have been unheard of on Feb 5th last year. Haha.

Thursday, 2/6- The opposite of Wednesday. Snowed all morning so it was a treadmill day. I decided not to do a Peloton workout and instead mile repeats with one 800m at the end. 10 miles total in 1:10:16. 7:03 avg pace. I didn't feel good in the first mile so I kept the treadmill at the same speed for the second mile. Felt fine after that and worked my way down in pace.

After my run, I showered then snowblowed the driveway for an hour. It had snowed way less than expected. Only about 3 inches so it was easy. Just as I finished it started raining. Perfect timing. We didn't do anything outside otherwise. Weather was gross.

Friday, 2/7- 3rd 24 shift for the week. Woke up to everything covered in ice. The weather was SO nasty all day. I couldn't believe we didn't have a single car accident in North Conway. I rolled down my window as I was driving down my driveway on the way to work. The ice stayed. Haha.

Craig and I did a call as soon as we got there. Hadn't even gotten in the truck. Get on scene. I go in the back to find trash all over the floor and the used glucometer still sitting out on the counter with a dirty (blood on it) strip still in it. WTF. I was so mad. Dirty nasal cannula also sitting there in the action area. Manager heard from me again after I messaged Dale. He drove all the way down to apologize. Haha. He was definitely spoken to AGAIN and I guess he stepped up his game on Saturday according to his partner. Haha. I've fucking had it with his lazy ass.

We stopped at The Met on the way back from the hospital. I used my gift card and actually ordered a carb-full breakfast sandwich. I knew I wouldn't be eating for hours otherwise since we had to do the monthly cleaning on the truck once we got back.

Around 1pm I decided to do stair repeats instead of the bike for 30 minutes. 13 stairs up and down. Watch recorded just over 2 miles without using the GPS. Might be close to accurate, but I don't know. Had the nastiest weather all day long until it turned to wet snow later in the evening. Had me dreaming of being in Hilton Head again.

Saturday, 2/8- Woke up to my car covered in a layer of 2in-thick ice. No exaggeration. Took me 35 minutes to scrape it all off. My fingers were dying. Finally leave and start passing cars covered in ice. Lazy. This is the stuff that kills people when it flies off your car, morons.

Got home to find a wall of frozen solid snow that had been made by the road plow. Slush that had frozen overnight. I had to break out the regular old shovel for this stuff. I first shoveled the light snow layer that fell in the parking area then spent 30 minutes just digging out my mailbox. Maybe only 10 feet of the driveway to shovel but I was looking at at least another hour. I literally had to break it up layer by layer and shovel it off layer-by-layer.

I had gotten part way through the mailbox section. I wasn't using that blue shovel.
As soon as I finished the mailbox area, I saw a private plow guy pull up at the house next door. Looks like the poor vacation renters complained. I decided I was going to flag down the plow guy if he drove my direction. Sure enough, he did. I flagged him down and said, "If I gave you $20 would you just plow the end of my driveway?" He smiled and said he would do it for free. Took him about 1 minute. I had the cash in my pocket. I held up the $20 to try and make him take it, but he smiled and waved at me as he drove off. Wow! I was floored. He saved my day and my back. It probably helped that I was in my uniform since he knew I was a local. I was SO thankful. If he only knew.

I had a haircut at 12:30pm so I barely had time to run. It was SO nice out, though, so I drove down to Chocorua Lake to run the roads there. They are so well-plowed. Still not fast moving uphill with some softness, but totally runnable. I wore screwshoes again, but not sure they helped at all. 5.1 miles in 41:30. 429ft of elevation gain. It was mostly all up hill on the way out and downhill on the way back. Mile 1 was 8:51 and Mile 5 was 7:20.

I didn't really have time, but Batter Up was literally 2 minutes away so I drove down there for a cinnamon roll for John and some keto bagels and fat bombs for me. I usually make all my own stuff, but her bagels are awesome. Everything she makes is awesome. If you're driving up Rt 16 to Conway, stop at Batter Up, the last business on your left in Chocorua Village just before you climb the hill.

By the time I got home I only had 20 minutes to get showered and head out. I woke John up before I left. Haircut was at JC Penny. I originally wanted just a straight 1/2 trim, but I gave in to layers. I think I like it. Haha. Just different. After that I had to go to REI to buy a new pair of Microspikes. My knock-offs made it less than 10 uses before breaking. Ugh. My last pair of knock-offs lasted just as long as my previous pairs of real Microspikes, but not this time. I decided to just bite the bullet and buy a real pair instead of taking a risk on a different brand of knock-offs.

After I got home, John and I took the dogs on a snowshoe walk in the Albany Town Forest. We only went a mile, but it was something.

I felt like I was in a hurry all day, and I pretty much was. I only had time to sit down for a bit before I headed to Shawnee Peak for the second Racing to the Moon Uphill Ski Race. If this was still a weekly series, I would have skipped it, but since it's only 3 times the whole winter, I had to go. Plus, I do the registration for Andrew. On the drive over, I caught a glimpse of the moon. Wow!!! It was amazing. The pics don't do it justice.

Shortly after we got set up, Andrew and this guy, John, headed out to mark the course. I brought along a protein bar that I bought awhile ago and decided to eat that so I'd have energy for the race. Well, within 5 minutes of eating it, my stomach started to hurt. It got worse, but never too bad throughout the registration. We had 11 people there again. Small turnout, unfortunately. This time I wasn't the only girl, but the other two were young girls who just did the touring option (started early just to complete the course). Other than them, I was once again the only woman in the race. Luckily it was so cold out that I didn't feel my stomach ache once I stepped outside. Although it was really cold, the moon was full and there was zero wind. I didn't need my headlamp for the way up except for the last section through the glades. It was cool, too because the first part had the moon at our backs so I could see my shadow skiing in front of me. Haha. I don't know how, but I beat last month's Strava segment by 4 minutes! I'm thinking one of these readings is off because that just isn't possible. Haha. I felt really good the whole way up to the summit. Luckily, I was so warm that the cold didn't bother me in the transition or the whole way down. I don't wear goggles for these, but I really haven't had an issue with that since the downhill is only a few minutes. Ended up finishing 3rd overall in the race again. It was only one lap since we went to the summit. No splits because I accidentally stopped my watch instead of hitting the split button at the top. Luckily, I noticed before I left the transition so I could start it again. 2.2 miles total in about 35:39 (didn't stop my watch right away when I finished). 1,226ft of elevation gain.

I'm messing with my watch because I kept hitting start by accident. I never wear mittens, but I did tonight. That's why I had watch button issues. Haha.
As soon as I walked inside and felt warm, I also felt the stomach. The ache got worse and worse. I changed clothes and then attempted to eat the pizza and drink a beer. I thought maybe it would help, but oh no. I started feel like I was in a daze and just as Andrew finished the raffle, I knew I was about to hurl. I didn't say anything. Just casually got up and walked down the stairs. Just as I hit the bottom of the stairs, everything came up. Somehow I managed to stop myself from barfing all over the place and made it to the toilet where I threw up 4 times. So gross. I hate throwing up!! I cleaned myself and walked back upstairs acting like nothing was amiss. I never told anyone I got sick. Haha. But I was suddenly really drained and felt so tired. I basically had no sustenance for hours. Luckily, whatever was in that bar that made me sick was immediately out of my system and I felt totally fine in that sense. I have no idea what made me sick. I had another one at home so I looked at the ingredients when I got home and there was nothing amiss. The only thing that stood out was the egg whites. I had an RX Bar that made me almost as sick. It also had egg whites in the ingredients. That was the only common ingredient other than almonds, and I eat almond flour every day. Never had an issue with them. So who knows what it was, but I was thankful it was gone. Haha. Threw that second bar in the trash.

I was SO tired when I got home. I had John take the dogs out. All I could do was shower, throw the laundry in the wash and then get in bed. I was beat.

Sunday, 2/9 (today!)- 4th and final 24 hour shift for the week! The day isn't over, but I'll go ahead and write about its excitement. Ok. There is none. I did get on my spin bike for a good 20 min Tabata ride with Leanne. First time taking a class from this Peloton instructor. It was really good. I honestly feel like I've gotten in a hard workout after only 20 minutes. Other than that, we've only had one fire alarm. As soon as I'm done with this, I'm going to sweep and mop. Haha.

Running for the week: 27.5 miles. 1,312ft of elevation gain. Not great, but getting in my runs this week was a challenge. Headcold, work and laziness combined.

And that's a wrap. Maybe you'll hear from me in a week. Maybe not. Just depends on how busy I am studying. Running will be a challenge, but I'll get 'er done. Probably only a 30-mile week, but I'm doing what I can.

Monday, February 3, 2020

January 2020

John after his first (and probably last) biathlon
January seems extra long this year since it spans through 5 weeks. Although I am somewhat "racing" this month, I've decided to just to make this a monthly recap post so I'll be writing it in spurts. I'm doing this mainly because I'm still riding the bench for the most part. Running is maybe happening 3 days a week; 4 days if I'm lucky. Every time I run outside or for too long on the treadmill, I have a setback with the Trochanteric Bursitis. I've read this injury can be a bitch to heal so I'm trying to be smart about it and not run through any pain. And I'm just getting on the spin bike when I can't run. Although I'm somewhat out of running shape, I actually think I'm in better shape than I was at this time last year. I feel far more fit, and weighing consistently 5lbs lighter than a year ago has definitely helped. The spin bike has really changed my legs over the last two months, showing new definition in the quads. I honestly just feel healthier overall, and I'm doing what I can to stay active. I physically cannot run through hip bursitis pain so I'm just going day-by-day with running. You'd think I'd be upset about it, but I'm not. I'm actually feeling pretty good this winter so far.

Speaking of winter, it's been far more mild so far than last year. And clearing snow has been much easier, especially since I fixed my snowblower. Turns out that it actually WAS a busted shear pin this whole time. I don't remember who mentioned it, but when I told them the issue and said the shear pin was still in there, they told me to double check that pin. They said that sometimes it breaks on the inside while a piece on the outside stays put, making it look like the shear pin isn't busted. Well, lo and behold, if they weren't right. That's exactly what happened. A year of hell shoveling last year that could have been fixed in less than 2 minutes...  which is as long as it took me to fix it. Motherfucker. Haha. I had to laugh. We also were gifted a second snowblower by Don Fredrikson, but it's old and very heavy so now it just sits as a backup. Funny, I wouldn't have imagined I'd end up with two working snowblowers this year. I will say our first heavy snow on New Year's Eve was not good for snowblowing and still took almost 5 hours with both John and I (and both snowblowers) out there. Wet, heavy, sticky snow constantly jams up in the blower and the tires just spin in the snow. I finally had to go back to the trusty, dusty shovel for the last quarter of the driveway. I was definitely exhausted after that and axed my run and bike plans. That was more than enough of a full body workout. When we were done, I asked John if he now understood why I was in tears so often after shoveling last year. He said he definitely did. Haha.

So onto the big news... my USATF-NE team change! It wasn't actually my original plan either! After the XC meet on Nov 10th, I spoke to Amy Rusiecki and some other Western Mass Distance Project women I know who were considering starting a new team geared toward the MUT runners. I told them to keep me in the loop because I'd probably be in on that. Fast forward 1.5 months to the end of December. Nothing had been done. I was told they were going to meet with WMDP board members over the following week or 2 to discuss getting more from the team for MUT stuff. If they could get what they wanted, they'd stay WMDP and then I would join WMDP. Fast forward 2 more weeks. I was told the exact same thing. Meeting with the board in a week or 2. Ok. It's early January and I have two USATF-NE events coming up. I waited 2 more weeks and said fuck it;they were being too wishy-washy, and I needed a team. So I joined the team I've truly been wanting to join since early 2019. HFC Striders! It's definitely a team I fit in with. Really fun and still serious about running. I'm excited about it. I won't get my races paid for like at CMS, but I think it will be worth it for a better fit. I won't have a singlet or anything for the USATF-NE Masters Indoor meet, but I should have one for the first Grand Prix race in Cambridge on February 2nd. Looking forward to the change!

While our changeover to Brewster Ambulance still hasn't happened (meaning still no raise), I was officially hired at Conway Fire & Rescue. The fire side of things is completely new to me. While I'm not a firefighter, I'm still working at a fire department so things are different than private ambulance. I've over there twice for orientation and will go back one more time before I'm let loose to respond to calls for the second truck and any available per diem shifts I might want. It's going to be a learning experience for me for sure. Higher expectations, better equipment and a few new-to-me things. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about it. They do intimidate me, but hopefully, I'll do alright.

Yellow helmets indicate "NOT firefighters". Haha.

In my spare time, I made a meme...

Week 1, Dec 30, 2019- Jan 3, 2020

This would be my highest mileage week since the week of Thanksgiving, coming in at a whopping 26.3 miles. Sadly, this is my highest mileage week since, as well. Haha. But it was all good, especially since Steve Brightman put together a fun run of the former Resolution Beach and Trail Race that was part of the now-defunct 4th Season Races in Rhode Island. I was on board as soon as I saw it. No way was I missing out. I didn't even know if I could run or not, but I hoped to at least be able to jog it. The weather ended up perfect! No wind which is unusual. Overcast and not even that cold. It was so much fun getting back out there. I ran harder than planned because I didn't want Stupidface to beat me. Luckily it didn't hurt my hip while running. I think the soft footing took the blow. I ran it 1:08 slower (22:04) than my 2017 time (20:56), but I was still really fast in 2017; this was 2 months before my high hamstring tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis appeared. So I was happy with today's time. I can't say that I felt really awesome, though. Despite being 5lbs lighter than my last race, my body felt 10lbs heavier. Just not used to racing anymore. No "race" photos, but I took some beforehand when I took Phoenix and Chill out. John was asleep in the car.

About half the group went out to Ocean Mist for brunch after. I was STARVING and today was a day to eat whatever I felt like. Irish Benny. A stuffy, of course. And two beers.

Everyone headed to Long Live Beerworks in Providence after. I was going to skip it because I didn't want to drink anymore, but funny enough, we were on our way to one of the Knead Donuts when I got messages from people asking if I was coming to Long Live. I said no, then changed my mind. Had NO idea there was literally another Knead Donuts right next door to Long Live. Crazy how that worked out. OMG. These are the best donuts. I got John a cinnamon roll that he said was pretty much the best one he'd ever had. Grabbed the donuts then went to the brewery. Sticking with my plan not to drink too much, I've started just doing tasters and sipping them. I was able to stick around for almost 2 hours and hardly drank anything. So glad I showed up since it ended up being fun, and I got to hang out with people I don't see much anymore.

Bob, Steve and Nick

Steve and Rachel
Other highlights of the week were a massage with Tina in Dover. I got there early to buy ski boots for John at Philbrick's with my gift certificate. Snagged the only used pair in John's size. And only $25! Total score. Had time to grab a few tasters at Garrison City Beerworks before my massage. Nicole literally made one of the best beers I've ever had! Neverending Circles. It just might be the only beer I've rated a 5 on Untappd.

My massage with Tina was as awesome as always. Hoping to be able to see her more often if/when I get this raise. Once every 4 months doesn't cut it. Hopefully, every 6 weeks would work. Not planning to spend a ton of money with this raise, but things like deep tissue massage I feel are important for my body. It will honestly just be nice to pay my bills on time, be able to buy new running shoes and, of course, not worry about being able to buy food or gas until my next paycheck. I'm having doubts about this raise, though, so we'll see.

John and I went nordic skiing for the first time this season. He skate skied and I just used my backcountry skis. It was fun.

I decided to give snowshoe running a try with my Redfeather Snowshoes on Corridor 19. Brought Chill along and ran slowly which ended up being ok. 6 miles total. Gorgeous day. I think snowshoe running just might be ok this year, as long as I don't try to race in them. It opens my winter world back up. Well... as long as the hip won't stop acting up. Haha.

I took two snowmobile trail walks this week which I love doing in the winter. Snowmobile trails are a great go-to for trails that you know will be packed down in some fashion. I checked out Corridor 15 with dogs one day and then Corridor 19 with John and the dogs, the same day I snowshoe ran there.

Running Totals: 26.3 miles

Wed- 5 miles. Treadmill. 37:57. 7:35 avg pace.

Thurs- 6 miles. Treadmill. 45:27. 7:35 avg pace

Fri- 4.1 miles. Treadmill. First time trying a Peloton training run. I loved this since it made the treadmill far more bearable, and I had someone telling me what to do. It was a really good interval workout with Becs Gentry. Base on the workout, I figured she had to be fast so I looked her up. Sure enough! Becs Gentry. This was the workout:

Sat- 5.2 miles total. 1.1 mile warm up. 5K for the Resolution Beach Race. 1 mile cool down.

Sun- 6 miles. Snowshoe run with Chill on Corridor 19. 1:07:46. 622ft of elevation gain.

Spin Bike

All rides are Peloton workouts. I keep track of my HR during every workout. It's how I keep track of how I'm doing during the ride. Warm-ups are usually long so they skew the avg HR a bit low. Most rides, I spend about 40% well above my avg rate. It's just a fun tool to have, especially to see how much more fit I've become on the bike. Much harder to get my heart rate close to max even when it feels like I'm there. Only 2 days this week on the bike since I thought I was on my way back with running.

Monday- 30 minute Tabata Ride with Tunde. Avg HR 128bpm.

Friday- 20 minute Climb Ride with Robin. Avg HR 132bpm

Week 2, Jan 6-12, 2020

Just when I thought I was on my way back, I wasn't. Attempted another snowshoe run on Tuesday on Bear Notch Rd. It was a gorgeous day, and I was the only one out there making tracks for most of the run. I've missed snowshoe running this road so much. Felt great...then the last half mile, my hip really started to ache. Motherfucker. Grrr. Still managed 7 miles. It's a good thing I had to be at Conway Fire at 1pm or I would have run farther out for 11 miles and then my hip probably would have been much worse off on the way back. Ugh. Of course, my brand new La Sportiva Kaptiva GTX shoes arrived after this run. It was painful not being to able to wear them for like 2 weeks.

Thank you to Christin Doneski for giving me her 40% off code so I could finally buy these.
This hip pain set me back two days and had me scared to run outside again for awhile. Seems like the treadmill is my only friend right now, even though I've had to cut a couple of runs short still from hip aches. But I just stuck to my spin bike. I do love it, but sometimes I just want to be outside.

Worked a lot this week since I picked up an extra 10 hours on Thursday. The shift started off ok. Dale and I went to breakfast at Priscilla's which was fun. We stayed busy all day just doing stuff.

An hour before I was done, we got a shit call. Our patient ended up having a massive brain aneurysm and she tanked fast. We did our best, but she just didn't have time. The hospital kept her alive, and she was flown to Maine Med, but she didn't make it. Super sad. Immediately after that, we had a dead guy which kept me past my shift. I just wanted to go home after that. I was happy I had gotten up early to use my work spin bike because I was ready to just veg once I got home.

I finally attempted another run on Friday on the treadmill. More intervals with Becs for 6.3 miles. Felt the hip the last 5 minutes so the workout was mainly good.

I didn't run again until Sunday since I'm trying to be good and alternate it with the spin bike (this was actually my original plan for the winter...just didn't expect to be stuck on the treadmill and such short distance). Sunday was an awesome run since I made it over an hour with no hip pain. Marathon Race Prep w/Becs was awesome. 8.7 miles in 1:03:14. 7:16 avg pace. Cool workout.

I had bid on a pair of Brooks Hyperion shoes on eBay and forgot about it...until I was notified that I won them. Very narrow and thin, but these things don't hurt my foot! All of my road shoes are SO old so that's probably why these feel so good. But these are definitely not a shoe I would run in on the road right now. I'd need more support. But for $42, they're working out fine. Hopefully they continue to workout fine until I get my raise because I can't afford more shoes. I'm super lucky to have 2 new pairs at once right now.

Just like last winter, I'm dropping John's skis with him at Cranmore around noon then heading out for some activity with Phoenix while he skis with his school. I had to get my nails done first so I went straight there and then over to Believe in Books to xc ski with Phoenix. The wind had blown snowdrifts all over the groomed tracks, but it was perfect for my backcountry skis and meant no other people around. Haha. Skied 3.3 miles in just under an hour. Funny how slow I am at xc skiing, but I like it that way. As soon as I was done, I reached down to open my bindings and heard a crack! No! My brand new nails! Took off my glove to find exactly what I thought. Immediately called the nail place to ask if I could come right back after I picked up John. Not only did they take me right in, the nail person refused to charge me for it, and refused a tip. They are so nice! And I was so happy to have my nail fixed.

My new boyfriend took this photo...lies. Haha. Self-timer.

I stayed busy over the weekend, especially Saturday since I did an hour long climb ride spin bike workout in the morning. Broke trail on a snowshoe hike up Heavenly Hill with the dogs in the afternoon and then did the Racing to the Moon Uphill Ski Race at Shawnee Peak that night. Let's just say that I learned this low-carb diet thing will definitely not be sustainable once I start running more miles. I was STARVING. I had to eat a Clif Bar Andrew was giving out while I worked registration. I would have suffered during the race if I hadn't eaten this.

Heavenly Hill snowshoe hike

I had to buy an uphill season pass at Shawnee Peak that I can't really use except at the 3 events.

The race was pretty awesome. Not a big turn out for the crowd, but I still enjoyed it. The weather was stupid warm, and I ended up soaked in sweat by the end. I opted for 2 laps like always. I was 3rd to the transition and happy to learn that I was only 8 seconds slower on one of the segments I had done at last year's last race of the season. This means I am pretty fit because that was the first week of March with 8 races under my belt. The conditions were pretty terrible downhill so I went super slow and got passed by a few guys. None of them went out for a second lap, though, so I still finished 3rd overall. 1st woman by default since I was the only woman who showed up. Interesting that there really aren't a lot of women out there being competitive and doing 2 laps. Even at the more popular Friday Night Lights, women are scarce in the 2 laps. I REALLY hope we get those raises soon because I want to buy a used set up from Andrew at the end of the season so I can do this all the time next winter. I'm missing out on so much right now. The rental fees are just too much to do this every week. Today's course was 3.8 miles. 1,913ft of elevation gain. I just missed breaking an hour. 1:01:38. 19:51 to the transition 1st lap. 5:57 down (I was nervous with the poor conditions). 20:58 to the transition 2nd lap. 4:39 down (much more comfortable). I struggled to get my boot in the bindings on the second transition at the top so lost almost a minute.

Afterwards, I had the most expensive Harpoon UFO White, 4 pieces of pizza and a chocolate croissant. Brought John home some regular croissants that I won. And some cool beer from Washington State. So like I said. Low carb diets won't work with this much activity. Good for my days at work or other down days, but definitely not all the time.

Today was the last time the On the Run column would be in the Conway Daily Sun. Cool to see I made it in there.

Sunday, 1/12, I actually went to a party! My second invitation in a month. Another group of Six03 people who are roommates in this awesome farmhouse in Barrington, NH. This was right up my alley with a Stout & Porter party. Everyone brings stuff to share and we all taste. There were SO many beers and a lot of good food. I made sure this was not a low-carb day. Haha. Since I had a bit of a drive, I had to be careful so I brought my own shot glass-sized cup to limit my drinking. Worked out perfectly since I was there about 3 hours and maybe had the equivalent of two 12oz beers. Had the first few as 2oz then quickly changed to make every taste only 1oz. It was the perfect way to still enjoy all the beer and not drink too much. Stuffing my face and walking out with a handful brownies probably helped, too. Haha.

This is what I brought. Rachel Flaksman gave me the Peppermint Hot Chocolate. At over 14% alcohol content, I knew there was no way I could drink it myself so I brought it to share.

Someone thought she was getting a snack at he Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru. I was just getting a coffee.
Couch snuggles
Run Totals for the Week: 22 miles. The hip set me back a bit so it was another disappointing mileage week.

Tuesday: Bear Notch Rd snowshoe run. 7 miles. 1:11:32
Friday: Treadmill. Peloton Intervals with Becs. 6.3 miles. 46:20.
Sunday: Treadmill. Peloton Marathon Race Prep with Becs. 8.7 miles. 1:03:14

Spin Bike Workouts:

Monday: Peloton HIIT Ride with Robin. 20 minutes.
Wednesday: Peloton HIIT Ride with Sam. 34 minutes.
Thursday: Peloton Sweat Steady Ride with Jess Sims. Good workout, annoying instructor.
Saturday: Peloton Climb Ride with Christine. 1:02:15.

Week 3, January 13-19, 2020

So this week I got a huge surprise! My email was returned by Tin Mountain! I did NOT expect an email, and I certainly didn't expect it to be positive. But it was kind and stated that we could still host the Dirty Girl at the venue! I was floored and excited! Hell yes! So it's on! I'm sure a few people are wondering why I'm continuing to put on a race there after last year's issues. Well, it's as simple as I love the venue and I created the race specifically for it. So I immediately went to work on approving a date and then set up registration. I decided to do something special this year. I decided to use Beth's photo for the new profile photo on the event page and stumbled across one of her photos that she had used for her fundraiser. So I looked it up. The fundraiser she had been a part of has since merged with another to be now known as the Go2 Foundation for Lung Cancer. This was a cause near and dear to Beth because her mother suffered from lung cancer. So I thought, why not start a fundraiser to this charity in memory of Beth and link it to my race! And that's what I did. It's already raised $155 in 5 days! Interested in donating or just looking at the link? Look here:

PledgeReg Dirty Girl Trail Race

I've continued the Dirty Dude option this year, as well, and I already have 15 registered. I love it that the guys are into this. Check out the Facebook page for race information and then the registration is through RunReg.

Race FB Page

Dirty Girl Registration Page

Dirty Dude Registration Page

I'm really excited about the new logo. I think I proved my point with last year's shirt so I'm ready to move on and try out a logo that will appease everyone. My shirt company, Beeze Tees, has already come up with a good rough draft. I just need one small change and it will be good to go. I think everyone will like it.

So, anyway, yay!! I'm excited to host again. It will of course be a high stress week of the race, but it's worth it.

This was another meh running week, but I did decide to run the Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble. Notice I didn't say "race". I will never snowshoe race again, but I love the hometown race so I will still participate in one way or another. I volunteered for registration as usual which is always fun. The poor woman helping me didn't get to check many people in because I knew nearly everyone there and had them checked off and Popsicle stick (bib #) in hand before they ever got to the table. She was super helpful with the day of people, though. Definitely made it easier with two people.

I barely had time to warm up. I literally ran down the trail out of sight to use the bathroom and warm up. And that was it. Right to the finish line. I was treating this as a quick run and would warm up after we started the race. I lined up with Maureen Gillespie and Tom Hooper at the start. Sarah Canney and Haley Heinrich were there to race so I stepped back a row from them. No interest in that anymore. I had my time to shine on snowshoes, and it ended up being the straw that broke the camel's back to cause the High Hamstring Tendinopathy. I won 4 Granite State Snowshoe Series, and that was more than enough. As soon as Chris Dunn announced he was ending the Series, I breathed a sigh of relief. I could finally stop snowshoe racing! So here I was lined up for the snowshoe race, but just like in 2019, doing it just for the enjoyment of it.

On the cover of the paper. I'm behind the Paul Smith's College runners in the white top.
I started out running with Maureen at a pretty easy pace. Even at an easy pace, the hills will still get the heart rate up enough to make chatting difficult. Tim Charboneau caught up to me for the climb up the longest hill of the course and spoke a little bit as we crested the top. Jamie Gemmiti got a photo of us with Maureen not too far back.

Tim dropped back a bit for the next mile, but I could hear him chatting with some of the runners behind me. Even without trying, I passed all of the Paul Smith's College kids. By the last mile, Tim caught back and we spent the last mile just running easy and chatting. It was nice to do this in a snowshoe race for once. We came around the loop and then finished (almost) together, with Tim getting me by a millisecond. Haha. Fun times. Still a good run. Got my HR up enough to feel like a good workout, but neither my hip nor my tendons were destroyed. Finished 3rd female and 1st in the 40-49. So glad I jumped in the race. I even happier that I can now be ok with not going all out sometimes. The attitude change the last year has been the best thing. I'm still competitive, but I don't let that drive rule me anymore.

Post race was good. Soup, coffee and baked goods by Jess Tilton. Kevin Tilton said this would probably be the last Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble. It's been a good run, but sometimes you're just ready to give it up. I'm happy I've been able to participate in 8 of the last 9 of these races and appreciate Kevin's hard work putting it on every year.

Thank you to Tom Hopper for bringing me the Six03 puffy to the snowshoe race! Love it!!
I feel like all I've done is work for these next two weeks. I did 5 hours of orientation on Tuesday and then picked up the overnight shift on Thursday. This left little time for me to get out and do stuff. It was a little painful, but I needed to get the orientation thing out of the way. Unfortunately, we had zero calls so I didn't get a chance to see how these guys work together. That's always the biggest challenge for me in this job. Just learning how new-to-you partners operate and how to make it work. I'll figure it out. Just hope I don't do something really dumb in the process, though.

We got quite a bit of snow on Wednesday night so I spent almost 2.5 hours snowblowing the driveway. While it still takes a lot of time, it doesn't leave me exhausted like shoveling did. Pretty easy walking around, especially since it was powder snow that my snowblowers are much better at blowing! Haha. My phone GPS measured my snowblowing at walking almost exactly 3 miles. It's probably pretty accurate since I don't move in a small space like I did shoveling. It's up and back, up and back. My driveway one way is .07 miles. I just can't get over the difference between this year and 2019. Just having the snowblower working again and less huge snowstorms has made me like winter again. I'm actually enjoying it so far. This, I can handle. I don't hate it here anymore.

Now, if I could just get Bryan to stop messing up my edges of my driveway, that would be great. He's been purposely driving over the edges of my snowblowing which pushes piles of snow into the driveway. Totally fucking it up on purpose EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. I finally said something yesterday. All I got back was, "Alright."

I was happy to get out for one hike with Phoenix this week. After we dropped John's skis at Cranmore, we drove up to the Red Tail Trail where I was lucky to have a completely unbroken trail. There's something so satisfying about breaking trail in snowshoes. Gorgeous day, but pretty cold. I had planned to hike up to the clear cut and turn around, but I noticed that it was getting colder as we got higher up and Phoenix was starting to shiver. I turned around at 1.7 miles.

After picking up John, I swung by Tuckerman Brewing to pick up a 4-pack of their latest attempt at their Double IPA. It only took over 3 years, but they finally nailed it. This is good. Unfortunately, they don't tend to keep their good beers around, though.

We had another decent snowstorm come through starting Saturday afternoon that lasted until about 3am. John and I were leaving around 7am to drive to Norway, Maine so I stayed up really late so I could snowblow before bed. I went around 11:30pm to take care of the 5inches that had already fallen. Pure powder so it only took me an hour to clear it. I just wanted to be able to get out in the morning without having to clear the driveway. Turned out to be the right move since we got maybe 3 more inches after I was done. Made it a breeze to get out on Sunday.

I had registered John for a nordic biathlon at Robert's Farm Preserve after he said he thought that sounded cool. Well, he did not think it was cool come morning. And I was even questioning it when crossed over the border and onto the bullshit plowing of Maine roads. They're horrible they really are. And I'm an idiot. I really am. I followed my GPS to Norway which took me on ever more bullshit backroads that were just fucking ridiculous. Maybe plowed once by some small truck. It was awful. I made sure we drove the main roads home through Bridgton.

Not the way to tour Maine
It was a relief when we arrived. I had never been here before. Eva Johnson told me about it, and I'm so glad she did. This place was awesome. It was chilly but so gorgeous out. John wasn't too thrilled, but he seemed to be into it once he got his cool bib shirt. He looked so official. He did a round of rifle practice and hit 2 out of 5 targets. Then we took a warm up lap of the 1K course which is what John would be doing. We should have used the Preserve's freshly waxed skis since that would have made a big difference for John. The snow was so soft that it wasn't exactly ideal for skate skiing. And having skate skis that I've never waxed I think made it harder for him.

Learning how to use the rifle
The start was a little delayed for the 3x1K race so we went into the warming lodge for awhile then came back out. We got John's gloves really wrong today, but he didn't notice until he was into the first lap. Luckily I followed him on the second lap since I could see he was struggling and gave him my mittens. Poor John was dying by the second lap. So out of breath. He wanted to quit and pretty much hated every minute of it. I was happy to see he did hit one target with the rifle on the second try so he only had to do 4 penalty laps. He was hurting so bad, but pushed himself through the final 1K to finish the race. Even though he was cursing me, he was happy to have finished. Says he'll never do it again, but I'm glad he at least tried. Haha.

The finish!

John was ready to sit in the warm car and veg for a bit so I took Phoenix out on the "Dog Trail" which was the ungroomed, singletrack snowshoe trail. Dogs aren't allowed on the groomed trail which I totally agree with. (Just attempt to skate ski at Whitaker Woods and you'll see what I mean. Boot prints from the humans and dogs running over the groomed classic trail). This trail would end up being SO much fun to ski. I'm glad I brought my backcountry skis for this. It was awesome. We skied out and back for 2 miles. I could have kept going, it was so much fun, but I didn't want to make John wait too long. Robert's Farm is awesome. I'm bummed it's not closer, though. Free to use the trails and free rentals on weekends. Total gem they have there.

When we got home, I went back out with the snowblower to get it smoothed out again. Only took just over 30 minutes. Breaking it up into two was the right way to go. Instead of 1.5 hours total, doing the whole thing after all the snow fell would have taken 2.5 hours.

It was dark shortly after I finished but I somehow still had enough energy to get on the spin bike for a really tough climb ride Peloton workout.

Running Totals- 20.9 miles. Still had setbacks with the hip and Sunday ended up just doing other things.

Tuesday- 6.4 miles. Treadmill. Video for my Peloton workout kept lagging so I did an easy progression run. Planned 8 miles, but the hip stopped me at 6.4. 46:31. 7:16avg pace.

Thursday- 6.3 miles. Treadmill. Peloton HIIT Run w/Chase. Decent workout.

Friday- 4.2 miles. Treadmill. 31:35. 7:31 avg pace. This was half of another one of Bec's Marathon Race Prep workouts, but I really started to feel the hip and ended the run. Went upstairs to finish up the workout on the spin bike.

Saturday- 4 miles. Whitaker Woods. 34:56.

Spin Bike Rides for the Week

Monday- Recovery Ride with Robin. Very easy 20 minutes on my work spin bike. Just to do something.

Wednesday- HIIT and Hills Ride with Tunde. 30 minutes. This was not an easy workout at 4:52am, but way easier to get in a quality workout that early on the spin bike as opposed to the treadmill.

Friday- Power Zone Max Ride with Matt. Avg HR of 134 really doesn't show the brunt of the the workout was in the 143-157 range and peaking at 164. Another tough ride in only 22 minutes!

Sunday- Aforementioned ass-kick of a workout. Climb ride with Jess K. 30 minutes.

Week 4, January 20-26, 2020

Things are finally looking up!! My first week with no hip pain. Well, I had one run where I felt it, but it wasn't painful. It was while running downhill on the road, but that was it! Could the hip bursitis finally be on its way out?! It seems to be, but that doesn't mean I won't still be cautious. I actually ran 5 days this week! Still fairly low mileage at 28.2 miles, but that's still more than I've run since the week before Thanksgiving. So 2 months now!

The end of this week would bring my first real chance at racing, and I was really nervous. I had no idea where I would be speedwise. I know that I'm fit. I actually feel more fit than I did at this time a year ago. But as far as running goes, I had no idea. I was also super nervous about the hip while going all out on the indoor track at the USATF-NE Indoor Masters Championship. Everything seemed so up in the air when I walked in there. On a positive note, I would at least know where I am with my running and have a base to start back with. This was my 5th year in a row doing this meet. While I know I was much faster in 2016 and 2017, I was really only focused on 2019 when I had just taken time off, as well. Except, I'd already been back running a month by this time last year. I remember feeling slow and heavy last year. I was about 5lbs heavier. I made the decision to stick to only 2 events this year. The last 3 years, I've done 3 events, but I had no interest in the 5000m or 800m, so I was sticking to the 3000m and mile, just like in 2016. It was a good choice.

First up was the 3000m with a very small field of women. Unfortunately, this would mean the 4th year in a row where I would run our front all by myself. My best time here in the 3000m was in 2016 (10:54) when I actually had competition and finished 3rd. Other than that. I've had to "race" it all by myself which is difficult even if you know how to pace indoor, which I don't. I at least had Nicole L'Etoile right behind me the first two laps, but with me leading, the pace was still a little slower than I would have preferred. Once I pulled ahead and started lapping everyone, I found it really hard to focus on speed. I could still smile the last few laps. I feel like I'm definitely capable of running this faster than I did, but I was super psyched to finish in 11:19.02. 5 seconds faster than last year! This was a good sign. I won't say it felt easy exactly, but I never felt like I was going all out. The best part about this race was NO HIP PAIN. I had honestly expected it to hurt and possibly cause me a DNF, but I felt nothing!

Start of lap 2 in the 3000m with Nicole behind me.
As soon as I finished, I really felt soreness in my calves and quads. Ouch. I had started off with sore hamstrings (which I didn't sandbag about to anyone. Haha). I hadn't worn those spikes since a year before at this meet, and my calves were not ready for that at all. Haha. While I didn't run in between events, I made sure the only time I sat down was to put my spikes back on after a long break. I think that really helped my legs stay loose, although they were still a bit stiff and sore by the time the mile rolled around.

I was seeded 3rd in the mile. I put down a 5:45 for my seed time even though I ran a 5:50 last year. I was being a bit optimistic. Seed 1 didn't show up so I was in the 2nd starting position. Looking around, there would be plenty of competition in this race. Yay. The woman in lane 1 (Amy) was super nice. She introduced herself since she's friends with Terry Ballou (who was also at the meet). She was also intimidating because she was RIPPED. Looked like a total powerhouse. Next to me was one of my new teammates I recognized but never met. Her seed time was 5:48 so I figured she would be good competition, too. The unsuspecting one was in lane 5 (seeded 6). Upon go, she blasted out right into the front of the inside lane. I fell behind Amy, while just edging out my teammate who almost got in front of me. I didn't want that to happen so I made a quick move that pushed me into 3rd. Through 6 laps, us top 3 would run close and in a line. I had no strategy and even questioned my ability to hang to this pace by lap 3. But I just did. I pushed myself to do it. No lolligagging like the 3000. I was all out. And it was tough. Every new lap, I expected one of the two in front to pull away, but it just didn't happen. By lap 6, I just hoped to hang on to 3rd, but then 3/4 of the way around, 2nd (Amy) all of a sudden fell back and I found myself passing her. This ended up pushing me to the outside on the curve a bit to the first woman got a slight jump on me as she hit the bell lap. I had to go around another person we were lapping on the outside so I just assumed that 1st would pull away from there. But as soon as we were back on the straightaway, I all of a sudden caught her and passed her. What?! I don't do that! Haha. But after passing her, I floored it. I had no idea if she was holding back to kick it past me for the finish so I gave all I had and hoped it was enough. And it turned out to be enough. I took the win in 5:42! 8 seconds faster than last year!! Yes!! And still no hip pain!

What a good day I had!! Faster than last year after hardly running for 2 months. 2 wins. And no hip pain! I was ecstatic. And wow, the support from the other racers was just awesome. I hung out with the usuals and then got to know a few new people, as well. I love the friendliness of this meet.

So now I know where I am. I think all of the spinning kept me fit enough for short-distance stuff. Plus, even though I still feel the High Hamstring Tendinopathy, I feel like the time off did help it improve. Going on 3 years of chronic pain, but I can say that I feel 10x better right now than I did on the Wednesday following this meet last year. So many positives. The negative is the loss of distance training. Having to build that all back up again is frustrating. I'm just thankful I didn't sign up for Boston. Doing the Vermont City Marathon gives me a whole extra month to train. Focus for February will be building up to the half marathon in hopes of a sub-1:30 at New Bedford. I haven't run over a 1:30 since 2013 when I ran a "horrible" 1:31. And I don't want to do that again. I'm actually looking forward to New Bedford this year because it will be really good training for me. Taking a year off from it has really helped, as well. I don't like the race, but the break from it has helped me see the positive in it for 2020.

After the Indoor meet, John and I drove down to Long Live Beerworks/Knead Donuts. I had been looking forward to these donuts for weeks. We walked in an hour before closing to no donuts!! They had sold out. CRY!! John was disappointed, too. Ugh. Walked over to Long Live to meet Steve Brightman and Scott Mason. We had tacos that took 45 minutes to make (only 3 things on the menu). The place wasn't even that busy when we ordered so I'd hate to think how long it took the people behind us to get food. I was getting super hangry. So my advice, skip the food at Long Live. Haha. The beer on the other hand was awesome. I only had one full pour and then 2 tasters.

We weren't there that long, maybe just over an hour. I told John we were getting donuts even if it was Dunkin' Donuts, dammit. Drove down Elmwood Ave. Noticed two cop cars pulling out of a DDs with lights on going on a call. I pulled in the lot to 4 more cop cars. At first I thought it might be crime scene or something, but then I realized they were all sitting at a table. I walked in to every single one of them getting quiet and turning around to look at me. Yikes. I must have looked suspicious or something. It was a little unnerving. Bought a dozen donuts which I took back to the car. We ate a few of them then made the drive home.

This whole week was decent since we had mostly good weather. On Tuesday, I ran 6.3 miles on Corridor 19. The snow was pretty soft, but microspikes were fine.

We haven't had running water at work except on occasion for 3 weeks due to a busted underground pipe, and apparently my co-workers think that's a excuse not to do their dishes. I managed just fine with the bottled water we had. The dishes in the photo were literally there for a week until someone finally did them. I refuse to do other people's dishes. Ridiculous.

And we can still mop the truck at the hospital, lazy jerks....

Thursday was another gorgeous day. After reading FB posts from Sunday, it appeared that Red Hill would be packed down enough to run with just microspikes so I decided to run up there. It just so happened that a friend working in Moultonborough needed a gift picked up in Conway and brought down her way that morning. When I saw her FB request, I was like how perfect is that since I was driving right by her place of work. Funny how that ended up working out perfectly.

What didn't work out perfectly was the run. It's a short run up so I planned to go up and down twice, going a different direction each time. I brought Chill and Phoenix with me since there was no way I couldn't bring them along on such a nice day. The first part of the trail was packed, but it quickly became too soft and I realized that I should be running in snowshoes and not microspikes. For the uphill, enough boot prints had been made (not frozen) so I tried to stick to those and not make new ones. Although it didn't really matter because I passed a woman hiking up in snowshoes near the beginning so she would actually be fixing whatever I messed up. I was still mad at myself for not bringing snowshoes. How those guys ran it on Sunday is beyond me. It was barely runnable today. When we got to the top, we stopped for awhile. It was just too pretty not to. And I knew I was scrapping my plans for a second loop.

We continued on to the trail that would take us back down. I was a total hypocritical asshole. After we got down a bit, the trail wasn't packed AT ALL. No prints, which means the wind had blown snowdrifts over it because I know for a fact those guys ran up this trail on Sunday. By the time I got to this point, to turn and go back up would have been miserable so I did the thing I HATE. I bare booted the trail. I'm even cringing as I write this. I was so mad at myself the whole down this section of trail to the snowmobile trail. "I'm such a hypocritical asshole!" Honestly, if I lived closer I would have gone home, grabbed my snowshoes and fixed what I had done, but I didn't have time since I had to go back and work the overnight shift later. Hopefully, over the next two days someone went snowshoeing on the trail and fixed it. Maybe even the woman behind me did. But I really did feel bad about that. Dogs enjoyed running downhill through the powder, though!

I put the dogs in the car when we got back to the lot then I went out for 2 more miles on Red Hill Rd. I kept my microspikes on because some of the road was still messy. The road was also super hilly. It felt extra hard after trashing my legs on Red Hill and ran a 9 minute pace. Haha.

Stopped at Cup & Crumb for a coffee and splurged with a blueberry oat bar. Ermehgerrrd. So good. Then filled up the water jugs at the spring in Sandwich. Could I look more NH? Haha.

Friday was a pretty busy day, and I learned the hard way that low-carb does not cut it for uphill ski racing. That morning I had a really good 5.8 mile run through Cranmore Shores. My first road run on pavement with NO hip pain. I felt so good. So much power from my glutes. The first and last mile paces are always a bit skewed in winter because of the 1/4 of a mile on slippery ice and snow. But I even ran that section faster than usual. On the way back, I hit a segment I made up the hill on Pequawket. I have run this segment 98 times. I ran it the fastest on 1/1/17, prior to the HHT (High Hamstring Tendionpathy). Today, I ran it my 2nd fastest!!! I felt so good running up it and knew it would be one of my better times, but out of 98 times, it was 2nd fastest?! I couldn't believe it! I've run this same route 26 times so I decided to look at the history. My last time I ran it under a 7:30 avg pace was literally a few weeks before I got HHT. Today was my 2nd fastest time on this route since I got  HHT. So WOW. The whole run came out to a 7:32 avg pace (43:51 for time). Excluding the 2 icy miles, my splits were 7:09, 7:23, 7:09 and 7:15. Very happy to have a good run like that. Gave me a huge boost of confidence for the track meet.

In the afternoon, I took Phoenix for a 2 mile walk on the snowmobile trail. I ate dinner when I got home, but I made a huge mistake in making it low-carb. The uphill part of the ski race is very much like running a fast, short-distance race. I felt like total ASS on the first loop. Struggling to move. No energy. HR around 170. Just awful. Perfect conditions for the downhill so I flew down. I love that kind of downhill. 17:16 to the top. 2:30 for the transition (not bad, but could be better). 2:55 downhill. 2:30 transition back to uphill mode. Felt awesome on this second loop. No idea how I all of a sudden had energy, but I felt great and even got up there slightly faster in 17:10. I feel like I should have had some sort of high carb energy food right beforehand to get me through the first loop and will next time. Not sure where the energy came from for the second loop, though. Much faster transition in 1:39 and 2:37 downhill. Negative splits! Woohoo! 2nd woman for the 2 lap race in 46:40.

Licks from Squall on my sweaty face

I was total trash after this. Had no food until I got home, although I did have a beer that Rick Chalmers bought me. I was beat. Granted I did a lot today, but I definitely did not fuel properly. And this affected me on Saturday.

The next morning, I did almost the same run. Just added on to make it 6.2 miles. Barely had the energy to run faster than an 8:22 avg pace. I did chores around the house then took the dogs out in the woods for a run while I skied. Only a little over a mile, but I was so beat. All done. When I got back I had to sit down on the couch for awhile before I made dinner and put the laundry away. I decided to look up information about running and keto diets and found quite a bit. One was actually a good study done and the rest were all personal accounts. The Article on the Study did actually find what I suspected.

Researchers found that when the participants followed a keto diet and exercised at less than 60 percent of their VO2 max—the amount of oxygen you can efficiently consume and use—their exercise efficiency remained the same. 
But in exercise over 70 percent of VO2 max, their speed and endurance declined. In fact, running speed at VO2 max declined by 5 percent after keto-adaptation—when your body shifts from using carbs to using fat as the primary energy source.This suggests that the keto diet would be just fine for moderate running efforts, but if you want to get faster, or work out at more intense levels, like powering up a hill, it may not be the best diet plan for your goals. 
One reason? Fat is a less-efficient fuel source when you are exercising at high aerobic capacity, study author and registered dietitian David Shaw, Ph.D. (c), of the Auckland University of Technology, told Runner’s World. It requires more oxygen to create energy than carbohydrates do. Plus, the fatty acids were not as helpful in producing energy needed for muscle contraction, which may have contributed to the loss of speed.

In my own experience, I'm finding this to be true. The personal stories correlated with this as well. Seemed like marathon runners did ok on the diet, but the short distance runners did not. So this meant one thing, carbs for dinner the night before the Indoor meet! Haha. I don't know if it helped or not, but I certainly had two good races and felt great. To be honest, though, I would never do a race without having carbs beforehand, but I just didn't think of the uphill ski race in the same light as a fast running race when it's nearly the equivalent! Lesson learned. I'll continue to experiment with this diet, though, since I feel so much healthier on it. Obviously, I can't do a strict Keto diet since it's proved not to work for me at all times, but I'm still keeping it to a minimum. I'm making such good food now. Everything from scratch. (I spent 3 hours in the kitchen last night). And my gut is happier. No gross fat layer covering my body. I just feel good. There has to be something to that. I think the key is actually keeping the processed and/or sugary foods to a minimum. Like this week, I had sugar two days. The oat bar on Thursday, and the donuts on Sunday. Not healthy, but no harm done at the same time. It didn't cause a downward spiral of binge eating sweets or pounding 3 beers. So I'm basically my own case study to see if I can find the perfect balance between eating healthy while still fueling properly for my level of exercise. Just hoping I don't mess it up for a race in the process. Haha.

Running totals- 28.2 miles

Tuesday- 6.35 miles. Corridor 19 snowmobile trail. Microspikes. 1:06:36. 663ft of elevation gain.

Thursday- 3.4 miles. Red Hill Loop w/dogs. Microspikes on super soft snow. 53:14. 1,332ft of elevation gain.
                 2 miles. Red Hill Rd out and back. Microspikes. 18:41. 204ft of elevation gain.

Friday- 5.8 miles through Cranmore Shores. 43:51. 422ft of elevation gain.

Saturday- 6.2 miles through Cranmore Shores/Tasker Hill. 52:01. 449ft of elevation gain.

Sunday- 4.3 miles. .9 mile warm up. .5 mile warm up with Phoenix. Both outside in Providence.
              3000m- 11:19
              Mile- 5:42

Spin Bike- Only one day. Wednesday. A really excellent ass kicker Peloton tabata ride w/Alex. 32:20.

Week 5, January 27-February 1

Yes, that's short one day (Feb 2), but that will be its own race report post. So yay! Finally on the last week of my January post. I'm not planning to continue writing only monthly recaps. I just did this time because I wasn't running much. Kind of silly that I did it this way, though, because I was literally writing each week as it was completed so I could have just published them. But oh well. Here it is at once.

I'll include February 2nd in this week's total mileage since it was my first week over 30 miles in over 2 months! Yay! 32.8 miles! And for the most part, I felt really good. I ran all outside and just enjoyed the mostly runnable trails and roads. It feels good to be running in the fresh air and not on my treadmill. I've finally gotten over my fear to run outside. Mostly no hip pain for the second week in a row. I only just kind of felt it after Friday's run down Mt Kearsarge North, but I iced it immediately and just did an easy spin bike workout on Saturday instead of running. It was the smart thing to do since it would end up being fine for my race on Sunday.

I actually got quite a bit of climbing in this week and didn't do anything fast at all. I was insanely sore in my calves from racing in spikes. I could barely walk Monday and Tuesday, but it was finally gone by Friday. I was able to run Tuesday, but they definitely hurt, and after the run, I could barely walk again. Guess I shouldn't race in spikes after only running in spikes once in the last year. Haha. Oops. No damage done, just needed extra recovery time... until that downhill on Kearsarge on Friday left my quads insanely sore (even through Sunday's race).

I planned to run 5 days, but I also ended up with a bad head cold! I woke up with it Monday morning, but it wasn't until Tuesday morning when I felt like my head was going to pop from the sinus pressure. Wednesday was even worse so I couldn't get up and run or bike early that morning. Once I'd been up for a few hours, I felt fine. And running/spinning was just fine with no issue. Just those first few hours after waking up were the worst. I still have this head cold now (a week later), but it's on its way out. Thank goodness it wasn't a chest cold. That's all I'm saying. I'd be down for the count from quality training for the next 6-8 weeks.

Tuesday, I decided to go back and run on the Chocorua Lake Rd. I used to run this all the time in the winter, but I kind of got sick of it after awhile. Wanting to avoid the weight of microspikes, I decided to finally put my Ice Spikes on a different pair of shoes. They have been on my Brooks PureGrit (original models!) which had long overstayed their welcome. I decided the Saucony Kinvara's had the perfect sole for the spikes so I switched them over. In the process of getting my Ice Spikes tool, I found a sealed envelope that I'd forgotten about. It was Coy's Therapy dog ID, bandana and tags. I won't lie. The tears were flowing. I'll forever miss that sweet dog.

Once I got the shoes in order, I headed down to Chocorua Lake. It really is the best winter run. Only 10 minutes from house and hardly a car. I expected the road to be mostly ice, and I was right. In fact, microspikes would have been the better choice, but the spikes were perfectly sufficient and way more comfortable to run on. My plan was 8 miles so I basically ran 3 out-and-backs. It was a gorgeous day. My only run over 8 miles since November. Not a fast pace, but it never is here, and I just don't care. 1:09:39.

In the afternoon, I took Phoenix skiing on the mountain bike trails behind Walmart. The trails were completely destroyed by bare booters. I kind of deserved this after my bare booting the week before, but it really sucked badly. It was totally frozen and made skiing difficult, but I tried to ski around it or next to it to make it better, and overall, I enjoyed myself and Phoenix got a good walk. About 2.5 miles. Weird for me that I didn't take a signal photo!

That evening was a nice winter sunset and then couch snuggles with Phoenix. The reason she is SO bad is that she's SO cute so she gets away with everything. Haha.

Like I said, Wednesday, I woke up pretty sure my head was going to pop from the sinus pressure. I could barely get up on time, let alone attempt a planned treadmill run. So I had to opt for a 20 minute workout on my work spin bike later. At least I have this option now!

I worked with a Brewster AEMT today as a partner. He'd already worked up here before so I knew him. Unfortunately, we didn't have any real calls so I didn't get to really work with him. But he's definitely different than the crews I'm used to up here. Kind of sad he was being paid about $20 more an hour than me since this was overtime for him. Still no pay raises in sight and yet another person just got hired to work for CarePlus at the Brewster rate! I'm getting really annoyed with this. But what can I do? Our manager is really going to bat for us, but that's all she can do. And it's so refreshing actually having a manager willing to fight for her employees for once!! She's trying her hardest. Hopefully, it will work soon.

It was so hard to decide what to do on Thursday. So many nice days this week. I don't know why I always opt for something local, but I guess, I like to do more than just run on my days off, and the other mountains mean more driving. Plus, the places I go mean very few people, and I saw no one today on my run on Hurricane Mt Rd and Black Cap Mt. Complete solitude. It was awesome. The North Conway side was in the worst condition I've ever seen it. Boot prints and a snowmobile track all frozen. The only saving grace was the awesome person who dragged a sled up at some point since it made the smoothest path. Once over the height of the land on the Chatham side, the footing was perfect. This side is groomed snowmobile track so it's usually in better condition. It was even just slightly on the too soft side, but still as perfect as you can get.

It's a long haul from the Chatham gate to the summit of Black Cap, but I like adding on the summit to the run. The trail up was perfect (except one small section) since it's a snowmobile trail. Unfortunately, all the snowmobilers get off their snowmobiles at the summit and destroyed it with boot holes. I'm talking frozen boot holes EVERYWHERE. But luckily it was only the summit. I ran back down to my car for a total of 10.3 miles. 2:04:54. 2,835ft of elevation gain.

I went right to my nail appointment as soon as I changed clothes. Went for blue this time.

I took Phoenix on a walk in the Albany Town Forest after I got home. Just a short 1.7 miles loop.

Unfortnately, I picked up yet another Thursday overnight shift at work. So tired of these. And this wouldn't be my last shift of the week either. I picked up another 12 hour overnight at Conway Fire on Sunday making this a 72 hour week. Luckily, we had no calls tonight, but I still couldn't sleep between Dale's phone blasting, his snoring and him getting up multiple times all night. I finally got sleep and then one of the replacement crews showed up at 5am! Woke me up. No idea why he was there so early.

I was so happy to go home on Friday morning. After seeing that Victoria Weigold had run up Mt Kearsarge North the day before, I asked about the trail condition. She said it was pretty good, so that was my run today. This was a pretty slow run up for me, but it's ok. I'm definitely not in mountain running shape, hence why I'm trying to do a lot of it now. Last winter, I hardly did any at all because of the snow. I made a plan way back before I was injured that I would be doing a lot more winter mountain running this year. And luckily the weather has been cooperative for this. Yay!

The trail was packed down, but it was still lumpy from the bare booters who had to have destroyed the trail a week ago. Luckily the high amount of traffic over the week packed down the prints to make the trail about as smooth as you're going to get nowadays. It's gotten so bad over the last few years, and I don't see it getting any better so it's really something I'll just have to adjust to.

I passed all of the people ahead of me on the trail to end up with the summit to myself. It was so warm and beautiful up there. A few pieces of rime ice were still hanging on to the railing of the fire tower. I couldn't resist knocking one of the pieces on the outside railing to the rocks below to hear and see it smash. Haha. I didn't stay long since I had to get back down to take John his skis at Cranmore. 5.7 miles. 1:30:51. 2,553ft of elevation gain. The run down didn't do me any favors. As aforementioned, my quads ended up destroyed and sore, and I was kind of feeling my hip afterwards. So that was actually not the smartest move. I'll have to figure out what to do about long downhill runs for awhile. Two days in a row is probably not a good idea for awhile.

I had time to go home and sit outside in the sun with a beer! On January 31st! I love it! Phoenix was still a little chilly so she jumped up in my lap.

Spotted this truck in the Lowe's lot from North-South Rd while I was driving and took a detour to check it out. I knew it was a prank right away so curiosity got the better of me...

Phoenix and I had time to take a short 1.3 mile walk in the quiet section of Whitaker Woods before picking John up from Cranmore.

Saturday was a very enjoyable low-key day. I got in a 20 minute low impact spin workout in the morning, then John and I took both dogs on a walk on the Conway Rec Path for 2 miles. The shadow of the coming 3 weeks of hell was hanging over my head so I really focused on enjoying this moment with John and the dogs. I won't have a lot of time for this for awhile. But it's all for good so that I can get my Advanced EMT.

Back home, I spent a lot of time packing for the next 2 days. First the next day's first Grand Prix Race at the Super Sunday 5-Miler and then enough clothes for 36 hours of work thru Tuesday morning. Ugh. It was too much. I really shouldn't have picked up the 12-hour shift at Conway Fire, but they needed the shift filled, and I honestly felt like it showed goodwill that I was willing to work and not just be a part of the fire department which is a status symbol in firefigher world. Haha. I didn't pick it up for the money. I could make more working overtime at my regular job. It's really more about just being apart of a different aspect of EMS and with better providers. Plus, I really want to get out of the awkward, nervous phase and get the hang of things.

The next post will start with Sunday and my race recap so I'll just leave this here. As I'm writing this I'm at the start of the hell weeks. In order to still get my shifts in for the following pay week, I had to stack my 24s onto the end of this week, Friday and Sunday, in order to take the following Monday and Wednesday off. This means I'm working a 96-hour week. The thought of it makes me want to cry. Not only will I see little of John, I'm going to see little of my own bed and the outside world. Nevermind trying to get runs in. Just when I'm feeling better and need to train for New Bedford, I'm going to be too busy. Oh well. It needs to be done.

Luckily, the week after this my course starts. It's M-F 8-5 plus two evenings. The brightside is that I get to be home every night until Sunday when I do a 24 hour shift in place of my Monday 24. I'm using earned time for my Wednesday shift. This means I don't have to work at all the 3rd week, just go to the class and be home every night. Although I'll be mentally drained, the break from the overnights and just work in general will be nice. I'm looking forward to that part. And hopefully by the time my schedule returns to normal the last week of February we'll be close to getting our raises so I can cut back on overtime for a bit. So anyway, that's my life for the next 3 weeks. It's going to be tough, but I'll get through it.

On a different note...wtf, Active? Thanks for the heads-up. Luckily Dave Dunham posted a link to the archives. Who knows how long that will be available, though.
(Edited to add: Thanks, Jeff Walker, for making me realize I forgot to include that link. Here it is.)

So anyway, that's my January! I promise to be more blog active from here on out... well, except during my course. But there will be nothing to write about then. But there will be one more post by the end of this week at least.