Waterville Valley 2019

Waterville Valley 2019

Monday, March 23, 2020

World Shuts Down...My Life Gets Busier

Conway Rec Path walk with John and the dogs
I wasn't planning to write a blog post today, but I had to because so much has changed in a week! I'm currently on my 3rd to last shift at North Conway Ambulance. Last Wednesday, our offer letters from Brewster Ambulance (now managing us at North Conway Ambulance/Careplus) came in. Take a look...

You might think that sounds amazing. I did, too! $22.55/hr?! That's $2/hr more than what I was originally getting. I wasn't psyched to go to two 12-hour shifts and one 24-hour shift, but it wasn't horrible. Except it's a lie. We aren't getting that hourly rate. I would still be making $11/hr indefinitely. I was told no raises until Brewster completes the acquisition of Careplus. "When?" "I don't know. It's in 'legal'." What does that mean? I don't know. What I do know is that we were told by Brewster people in December that they were unsure they could acquire Careplus's assets without making the North Conway contract null and void. So this raise could literally take a year. And at that point, if Brewster continues to impress no one up here, they will NOT be getting the North Conway contract. Either Action Ambulance or Conway will be taking over.

I see the writing on the wall. I have for the last two months, but I was waiting until the Careplus 6-town contract was up... which is next week. A few weeks ago, I threw in an application at Action Ambulance, which is taking over Careplus's contract on April 1st. Funny enough, I got a call on Wednesday, about an hour or two before the Brewster offer was presented to me. The bad feeling in my gut about Brewster led me to set up an interview with Action for Friday. All I saw after getting the Brewster offer were red flags. And women should always listen to their intuition, right? When I received the offer, I was told who I would be working with and then some of the other people on shift. After I heard Monday's crew, I knew there was no way I could do it. The Monday 24 that I have been working for the last 4 years was being given to the BRAND NEW EMT who was hired at $18/hr (it's possible I previously wrote $16/hr in other posts; I've found it is in fact $18/hr). She has NEVER worked at this base and only just got off training. How could I show up for my Monday 12 with a positive attitude while working alongside someone who took "my" shift and is making $7/hour more than me with zero experience. I know I would walk in here pissed off every time and that I couldn't do that. I just can't. Plus, they're taking away one of my free days (since working 7a-7p really leaves no part of the day left to enjoy other than being in my own bed) and still paying me $11/hr. My choice was pretty much made up if Action could give me two 24s during the week.

On Friday, I met with the owner of Action down in Ossipee. I asked for the days I wanted which was actually Tues/Thurs 24s. He "only" had Mon/Wed 24s with an offer of $16.50/hr and then $17.50/hr when I got my Advance license. Sold! I didn't even need to think about it. I was in. Fuck, Brewster! I felt so relieved and like I had made the right choice. That pay is REALLY good for this area. The $16.50/hr is almost exactly the same pay I make now if I work an extra 10-hour shift/week, which I hate doing. It will be nice not having to work that extra shift unless I need to.

The downside is that I'll going back to working in the OVMA (Tamworth, Ossipee, Effingham, Freedom, Eaton, Madison). I hate Ossipee, but the way things are going, I will probably be back at the North Conway base in a year with the new contract. The positives far outweigh the negatives by far. It's still private ambulance so it comes with all the private ambulance issues, but that's across the board. Everything I'm seeing so far is SO much better than Careplus and Brewster. Brewster really screwed themselves over and in turn screwed us all over. Like I said, I saw the writing on the wall months ago. I just couldn't make the change until Action was ready to hire people for the new contract. Everything has fallen into place, hopefully for the better. Maybe my co-workers who stick it out here WILL get those raises a month or two from now, but I wasn't willing to give it chance. Brewster has given us no reason to trust them at all. I can't wait around for what might happen when I could make a change now to what will happen. May not be the raise I was expecting, but I'm more than happy to take it now, then wait for a later that will never come.

I already spent most of yesterday doing AVOC training with Action. They bought a HUGE ambulance to use for transfers. This was previously an ambulance for Boston Children's Hospital (and ambulance much like the Barbara Bush one for Maine Med). I have never driven anything like this, and air brakes? What are those? Haha.

Other things. I started working in the Covid-19 testing tent at Memorial Hospital. Tuesday was really busy with my health screening and orientation. I'll be honest. I don't believe in the flu shot. I've never had it or the flu. But it was required. It's been so ineffective at hitting the right strains each year anyway. This year was no different. And not a great time to possibly weaken my immune system. I thought, "Just watch. I'll probably have some bad reaction to it." Well, I wasn't completely wrong! Noticed some soreness in my armpit Wednesday but since I was at work for 24 hours and never changed my shirt, I didn't realize what was causing it. Rushed home Thursday to shower so I could do my first shift in the tent. My shower is dark, but as I started shaving my right armpit, I noticed the skin was bouncing. WTF. Felt it with my hand. HUGE bubble of fluid taking up my entire armpit area. About 3 inches in diameter. It felt like touching watery jello. At first I freaked out thinking of all times for me to get breast cancer, even though I knew breast cancer is typically a solid lump. Then I remembered the shot. So I got out of the shower to see if this was a common side effect of the flu shot in the shoulder and sure enough it is. Lymph node swelling. Or so I hoped anyway. It was really sore all day. Fortunately, by Friday morning, the bubble was almost gone. The soreness would be gone by Saturday. Phew. But makes me REALLY hesitant to ever get another one.

I took this photo of myself in the tent. I was taking a photo of the rest of the tent and other people working when I accidentally got one of myself looking at them. I really liked the photo so I posted it on Facebook. I regret it. I've almost deleted it many times. I shouldn't have allowed comments. I HATE being called a hero or a rockstar or people praising me for all I do. I'm not doing shit. I'm not a hero. Just helping out for $18/hour! I'm picking up extra work because I need money and I have the free time to help so I should. I'm not a hero. Just writing this makes me want to delete the photo. I want to delete the comments, but I feel like that's rude. Posting the photo is like a "look at me" post. I'm hating it so much. This is the photo of people actually doing things in the tent.

I had to buy scrubs at Walmart on Wednesday. These are the "cheap" ones at $26. Those things are expensive. 
I only spent 3.5 hour there that day since it was technically just supposed to be orientation. I'm officially working 3 mornings for 4 hours this week. I can't really do more than that with John home and as I'm still working my regular 24 hour shifts. Plus, I need to run, yo! Haha.

Speaking of running, this week was lower mileage than planned. Between 5 hours of orientation on Tuesday, the tent on Thursday, my Action interview on Friday, 5 hours of AVOC training on Sunday AND my two 24s, I don't know how I even managed 43 miles for the week. And just when I thought my life was getting back to normal. But there is no normal right now. Just look at these headlines!

Running, March 16-22, 2020- 43.6 miles. Made the decision to not run anything over 13 miles for awhile. No need. Nothing to train for since VCM is postponed to October. Anything more would wear me out, too. I'm ok with this.

Monday- Zero Day. 30 minutes on the spin bike. Intervals w/Hannah. Peloton workout.

Tuesday- Treadmill. 4 miles. It's all I had time for in between the hospital stuff. 29:00. 7:15/mi avg

Wednesday- Treadmill. 4 miles. Nearly identical to the day before. 29:04. 7:16/mi avg.
Gorgeous day out so I also walked 2 miles on the trail out back.

Thursday- Gloomy, cold and misting, but I had to pick up my car at Frechette. Stopped by to pay for it on my way home from the hospital. Told Justin I'd run back later to pick it up. I wonder if he knew I meant that literally. Probably. Haha. I needed to get more miles so I turned 3.4 miles into 11 miles by adding in Bald Hill, the Kanc and Hale Estates. I was cold and wet by the time I got back to my car. I was SO happy to have my car back... $567 later for a new starter (and oil change). Wahhh! Third year in a row I've had to dish out big bucks around this time. 1:27:06 for the run. 7:55/mi avg pace. 822ft of elevation gain.

Friday- Another gloomy day. Ran up Pine Hill Rd in Ossipee after my interview with Action. I love this run. Normally I continue it all the way up to the top of Bayle Mt, but the dirt road turned to smooth ice after I turned off Connor Pond Rd. Turned around. 8.3 miles. 1:05:49. 7:55/mi avg pace. 910ft of elevation gain.

Pine Hill Rd
Took a short walk through the neighborhood and around the Waldorf School (which is no more after this year) with John and the dogs.

Saturday- Slept in late since I needed to catch up then went for a boring run from home. Bald Hill Kanc Loop. This typically comes out to around 10 miles, but when I looked at all the times I've run this route, I could see the GPS is way off all the time. My "fastest" time is showing 10.6 miles. Exact same route today showed 9.7 miles. Haha. Sometimes, I would add on the top of the neighborhood to it to make sure it was at least 10 miles, but not today. What's the point? I didn't want to. 1:18:26. 8:04/mi avg pace. 892ft of elevation gain.

Took John and the dogs on a walk on the Conway Rec Path. Another really nice day. I'm not getting John out much other than on some walks. Other than Cumberland Farms on Sunday, he hasn't been anywhere outside the house other than our walks. I went in Shaw's, but left him in the car. This is on purpose. While I'm out and about for work-related things, I'm trying to limit going other places unless I need to, like the store, which was only twice this week.

Sunday- I didn't know the AVOC course was going to last most of the day, but I wasn't done until 3:30pm. I still wanted to get John and dogs out for a walk so I had to cut my original miles planned. I opted for 6 miles instead. Since I was supposed to participate in the Cabin Fever Virtual 10K this week, I decided to go ahead do that. It was not great. Haha. I ran from Coleman's out and back through Cranmore Shores and Conway Village. I am SO out of racing shape. Plus, I hate running in the afternoons. Felt way harder and faster than it turned out to be. Good workout, though. 42:51. 6:54/mi avg pace. 301ft of elevation gain. I've run all of that faster for just a regular run through there. Really sad.

We did get in a short walk in the Albany Town Forest after my run.

This week is going to be just as busy as last week so I have no idea if I can get 50 miles in or not.

Pen I got during Memorial orientation

New beer at Saco River Brewing

I admit to hoarding half&half. Haha

2020 Six03 hat that came in the mail. Cute with the license plate. 

Sitting in the sun on Saturday

My solution to making sure I don't run out of butter.

I seriously received this in an email. Sick fucks.
 The following two photos express what really needs to happen here in the Valley. We were flooded with vacation people this weekend, mostly Mass plates. And most of these people don't realize why they shouldn't come up here. One friend saw me post about this and sent me a message that he felt guilty for being up here and that it never even crossed his mind that that might not be a good thing for our community. That I can forgive. What I can't forgive is the self-centeredness of others who think it's all about them. Trying to explain it to them is useless. They only care about themselves. To those who are doing their part and staying home instead of enjoying a vacation in the Valley, it's very much appreciated. To the rest, it's not all about you right now.

On a brighter note, I put together a women's team for a Virtual Run Grand Prix that Scott Mindel put together. I've never been into virtual runs, but this sounded fun. We have a 5K, 1-mile, 10K and Half marathon. Our team isn't really competitive. Just people who wanted to participate. It will give us something to do look forward to...even though I learned from yesterday that I suck at racing virtually. Haha. Oh well.

I think that's pretty much it for the week. Just wanted to update my job situation. This post should have been way shorter than it was, but you know me. Things really haven't changed much in my life. The solitude is normal for me. I'm still working. John being home all the time is the biggest change, but other than that, most is the same. I'm lucky I don't have to worry about being out of work...well, until I get the virus.

Monday, March 16, 2020

AEMT Class/2020 Irish Road Rover 5K/Covid-19

That's me on the right
Busy, busy was the name of the game for February. I felt like I had no time for anything. The Advanced EMT class was really fun, and I enjoyed the break from work, but the Monday-Friday gig left no time for much of anything. We had take-home tests every night that took about 1.5 hours so this left me with no ability to read the text book without immediately falling asleep. But that's how it is with an immersion class. You do the stuff in class that you absolutely need real instruction on and then it's left to you to complete the rest on your own. Which is what I'm doing right now and why I still haven't updated my blog. Haha. I want to do the written test in the next 2-3 weeks so I'm trying to get the textbook read. Once that's done, I will go over all the practice tests and then follow up with the stuff I'm really struggling with. Then it will be time to torture myself with the National Registry's (NREMT) computer-based test which is absolutely horrible. I still don't know how I passed the Basic CBT. Multiple choice "trick" questions are not something I did in school growing up. Our tests were mostly short answer and essay questions. I learned multiple choice when I went to a public college, but I still struggle with it. It's just not the best way to test knowledge. Anyway, once I get the CBT test out of the way, I'll have to work on my practical exam stations. These are so nerve wracking. You have to follow a specific order and hit all critical factors. I find this very challenging because this order is not really how you do things in the field so I have to relearn it all.

I wrote the previous paragraph 2 weeks ago. I've been spending my free time at work reading the AEMT textbook. I hope to have it done by the end of this week and hopefully test next week sometime.

Shit is crazy. So much change since my last blog post! And even just since 2 weeks ago! 1 week ago, I was pissed that the New Bedford Half Marathon was cancelled. Today, I made the official announcement that I'm postponing the Dirty Girl Trail Race! You change your tune quickly when the reality of the situation hits. We are in scary times right now. And if you're still denying it, then wake up. The country is basically shutting down. John's school is closed. Ski areas finally closed today. And that is much appreciated due to all the tourists who think their work/school closures mean time to vacay in the Mt Washington Valley. No skiing gives them one less reason to come up here. No one wants you here right now. Stay at home. And that's not personal, but with the ever increasing cases of Covid-19 in Massachusetts, you people really shouldn't be traveling up here where we have less capability of handling an outbreak. I just got hired yesterday by Memorial Hospital as additional personnel to be on hand to man the Covid-19 tent. Yes, tent! You heard that right! That's what we will have for people if this virus spreads rapidly. So let that sink in to your thick skulls before you plan to come up here. Believe me, I didn't think this way a week ago, but it's critical now that people understand what one infected person can do to the Valley.

Last week (above photo) I volunteered to participate in a drill between Conway Fire & Rescue and Memorial Hospital. Josh MacMillan and I acted as the care providers for a fake Covid-19 patient. We went through an entire scenario of donning our PPE and PAPRs, arriving on scene, examining the patient and transporting him to Memorial so they could test their system when we arrived. There were a few changes that needed to be made, but it all went well. I was nervous as hell since WMUR-TV decided to come film the whole thing. That was probably the quietest I've ever seen Josh, and I barely uttered a word myself. Haha. But here's the video on YouTube if you want to watch. It actually came out well. I'm in the majority of the video, but you just can't tell it's me most of the time. Very good training.

I'm so glad I was able to join Conway Fire. Although, I still haven't had the chance to drive with my little red and white flashy light to the station to cover a second 911 call, I'm sure the time is coming. I'm only doing one shift a month right now when needed, but I find myself at the station a lot for other stuff.

Even with EMTs being in critical need, my current full-time job (yeah, the one I complain about all the time) is STILL uncertain. We STILL haven't been hired by Brewster, as Brewster continues to hire new employees to work here with us at their pay rate. A brand new, out of school EMT got hired making $5-6/hour more than the rest of us. I just can't. Morale is super low. We've started having to do all of the Brewster requirements... yet we aren't employed by them. I never thought the job here could be worse than working for Careplus, but it is. We have been lied to and given the run around for 4 months now. It's bullshit. The best part now? I don't even know if I have a job here in 2 weeks. We lose the Tamworth base (due to the loss of that contract) on April 1st so only the North Conway base will remain. Where are the Tamworth crews going? No idea. We don't know if they're replacing us. We don't know if we still have full time hours or even what days!!! TWO WEEKS! We haven't been hired by Brewster. We haven't gotten raises. We're being kept in the dark. I walk into work pissed off to no end due to this bullshit. Our manager can't fill the current open shifts so she begs us to help out and pick them up. Well, fuck no! You wouldn't have open shifts if you had given us all the raises you promised. Instead almost everyone has quit. Just out of principal, I refuse to work anything other than my scheduled shifts. Unfilled shifts are not my problem to fix. The best part, though, she sends out praise e-mails constantly praising individuals, especially for helping out by picking up shifts. Managers should NEVER send out group praise emails. EVER. Don't get me wrong, I really like our manager personally. I worked with her on my very first day as an EMT. I'm not blaming her for the problems, but Brewster really needs to provide her with some sort of manager training course. So yeah, I'm pissed off. My temporary job at the hospital will be paying me $18/hr! That's more than I make working overtime here right now. I make $11/hour regularly. So if I get fucked with in 2 weeks, I will walk out with no notice. I have a back-up plan to apply at AMR in Manchester and commute. And then maybe a hospital job will open up at some point. Who knows. At a time when EMTs are needed and the job should be secure, mine is not. Stop keeping us in the dark. You're fucking with people's lives! Especially right now when we're dealing with a rapidly spreading virus. UGGHHHHH. (Oh and I must add one thing. That job I applied for and waited on for 6 months last year would be a NIGHTMARE right now. I am SO thankful I didn't get it. This pandemic is exactly what the job entails. I imagine the person who got the job is working around the clock right now. I dodged a bullet with that one!)

Ok. Deep breath. I had to get that off my chest before I could go on with positive stuff because most of the last month has been positive! Let's start with the AEMT class. It was so much fun! It was an awesome break from work, but I can say that I'm happy I don't have a M-F 9-5 job. How do people get anything done?! Haha. We had a great group, though. Four of us in the class were on Conway Fire, so we kind of formed our little click and were definitely the class clowns. It was a comfortable setting with Josh (same one I did the Covid drill with) as our main instructor and Chris (in my original WEMT course) as our back up instructor. Since it was an immersion course, our brains were stuffed full of info fast. We also only had 2 weeks to perfect our skills. We were doing IVs on each other by day 2. We had take home tests every night to prepare for the National Registry exam. It's going to be awful, but that's why I'm reading the entire text book beforehand. There was literally no time to read during the course, but that's part of the deal with a course like this. Get the didactic portion out of the way and then the rest is on your own time. This format only works if you're self-motivated. The 2 weeks flew by. I'm missing my buddies, Marissa and Tom. I still see Garrett and Tyler all the time at the first station. I miss the 3 meals a day and my snowshoe walks at lunch. It was almost like a 2 week vacation. And it kind of was. After my 96 hour work week, I only worked one 24 hour shift the following weekend and then not again for another week while I finished up the course. I still had to do 3 12-hour clinicals after that, though. Two were back-to-back overnights at the hospital which was really tough to stay awake for. We weren't super busy, but I got all my skills done except one...that I'm still waiting on. My IVs sucked badly there, though. The following week, I finished it off with a 12 hour clinical at Conway Fire, and we didn't have a single call. I did get to ride in the fire truck for the first time, though. I'm able to use my Advanced skills at work since I'm still under "student" status. We have had two critical trauma patients that I was able to get IVs on with an 18g. One was in the back of a bouncing ambulance (well, technically 2 IVs, but the horrible driving caused me to pull out the first good IV. Grr). So I feel a little more confident.

Time for photo overload...

Day 1. I drew the inside of the skeleton. Hahaha.

Practice IV arm. Tubing had leaks. Haha.

After this, Marissa tried to Ben an IV and he nearly passed out.

I posted this on FB just to be funny. Garrett gave me a middle finger for it. Hahaha.

Chris joined me my first day out on snowshoes at lunch. I posted this on Facebook, too, since it was a bad photo. Haha.

Marissa giving Tom an IV

Me prepping Marissa for an IV

Failed prank on Tyler

Psychedelic CPR

We got Kindle Fires with our textbooks on them. We got to keep them.

Typical morning start

snowshoe walk during lunch

Marissa and I with Hal during the Sim Lab

I had just done that IV on Tom

Cold lunch walk when Josh drove by and almost hit me... on purpose. Haha.

The class, minus Tom and Ben

Josh placing an LMA

Me prepping an IV that I would end up missing. Haha.
Me napping in room 6 in the ED during my clinical when we literally had zero patients my second night. 
Riding in the fire truck during my clinical at Conway. That's Tyler behind me. He would end up with the flu that night. 

Arrived at Conway for my clinical to find $400s worth of clothing for me. So different than Careplus where I'm still wearing my same shirts from 2013.

I stole Sol Rosman's mug during the clinical. Sol and I used to be Thursday partners in 2015 when I worked in Tamworth. He's on Conway Fire, too.

Marissa and I trying on dry suits at the fire station for our upcoming Swift Water Rescue I course in April.
John and the dogs got the shaft a bit, but thankfully John was in school then. I was able to bring home food from SOLO every night so I never had to worry about making dinner or anything for the two weeks. We were all set. I did manage to get John and the dogs out some, but my time was so limited. John was really helpful the first day of class. I came home to him shoveling the driveway! It was a HUGE help.

John playing in the snow one night for almost an hour...after skiing at Cranmore for 3 hours.

I did manage to run during all of this. Miles were low and almost entirely on the treadmill early before class, but I got it done.

Week 1, Feb 10-16- 34.8 miles. 1,053ft of elevation gain.

Monday- Treadmill. 1 mile. 6:41.
Tuesday- Treadmill. 10 x 1 min on/off. 5 miles. 37:27. 7:29/mi avg pace
Wednesday- Treadmill. 6 miles. 46:04. 7:41/mi avg pace
Thursday- Treadmill. 2x 2 miles. 13:21, 13:11. Total: 6 miles. 42:41. 7:07/mi avg pace
Friday- Corridor 19 Snowmobile Trail during lunch. 5.2 miles. 44:14. 312ft of gain
Saturday- N Sandwich/Wonalancet road run. 11.1 miles. 1:26:52. 7:49/mi avg pace. 741ft of gain
Sunday- Zero Day. Had to work my 24 hour shift and didn't feel like doing anything.

Week 2, Feb 17-23- 35 miles. 2,067ft of elevation gain.

Monday- Got up early at work for a 30 minute Tabata ride on my work spin bike.
Tuesday- Treadmill. 4x 1 mile. 6:31, 6:27, 6:24, 6:19. 6.2 miles total. 43:14. 6:58/mi avg pace
Wednesday- Treadmill. 5 miles. 38:40. 7:44/mi avg pace
Thursday- Treadmill. 3 miles. 21:29. 7:10/mi avg pace
Friday- Allard Hill Rd run after the class ended. 6 miles. 51:57. 8:39/mi avg pace. 748ft of gain.
Saturday- Tabor/Wildwood loops to avoid cars. 8 miles. 1:06:22. 8:18/mi avg pace. 802ft of gain.
Sunday- Kanc/Bald Hill/Snowmobile Trail. 6.8 miles. 55:15. 8:05/mi avg pace. 520ft of gain.

The week after the course was over, John had winter break. Tuesday was his 14th birthday!! Unfortunately, he needs a physical for school next year and this morning was the only appointment I could get. Poor kid's birthday didn't start off well. We went to Sunrise Shack after that for his birthday breakfast and then to the movies in the afternoon to see Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey. It was pretty good. He didn't want to go out for dinner or do anything else so it was a low-key birthday. Crazy how much he has grown in a year!

My breakfast pizza. So good.
Oh yeah, speaking of food. I had no choice but to let my low-carb diet go during the course. I didn't have time to make anything, and with 3 meals provided every day, I was going to eat it. Honestly, it didn't affect my weight or anything. Once the course was over, I attempted to go back to the diet. It was a failure. As I've ramped up my mileage in the 3 weeks since the course has been over, there's just no way. I'm starving all the time. I'm trying to eat minimal carbs on the days I'm at work and sedentary, but as predicted, the low-carb diet isn't sustainable for me combined with running. It sucks, though, because I'm now back eating things that irritated my gut. I've been good still about beer, though. Sticking to minimal amounts of it. Sadly sugar has creeped into my diet again, but I always crave it the last few weeks of March every year. It's SO weird. But I really think my beer consumption was my biggest problem that needed correcting and so far so good. I'm sad to be off the low-carb diet, but that doesn't mean I'm still not using most of the recipes I was using. I'm still eating the awesome soup and making this amazing "bread". It is SO good.

The last week of February was interesting. This pissed me off...Haha.

On Saturday, John and I took a walk down Corridor 19/19A with the dogs. We parked at Coleman's. When I went to grab my puffy jacket, I realized I had forgotten it so I had to use my bright yellow work jacket. I would be SO thankful I had that jacket 20 minutes later. We stopped at bridge over a pond. John climbed out on one of the giant stones so I pulled my phone out to take some photos.

As he stood up and turned around, I held the phone up to take another photo, but the phone slipped out of my hand onto the icy snow and continued to slide into the pond. John and I looked at each other in disbelief. Omg. What do I do? I stood there for a minute contemplating this. My phone is waterproof. If I leave it, I have to pay $150 for the deductible for a new one. I had to try and get it. It was that simple. I had to try. Well, luckily, the phone screen was still on so I could see where it was. It appeared to be only 2 ft down. I got in and sunk about 3 ft down in muck. This would mean, I'd have to go under. I was hyperventilating from the cold and had to control my breathing before I went under or I risked sucking in water that would cause a laryngospasm. Lucky for you, John decided to film the whole thing. Haha. 

I have never been so cold in my life. Luckily I had the big coat and hoody and my hat. The walk back was only .8 miles and we were about half a mile drive from home. I went right into the shower when I got home. Was it worth it? Hell yeah! The phone was totally fine. I didn't really like my Google Pixel 2 before this. I like it much better now. For the record, I would never have gone in there if I were alone. That would have been too risky.

2020 Irish Road Rover- The following day was the Irish Road Rover in Portland, ME. I did this race last year and really liked it. It's a really challenging course. Definitely not one most people would PR on. This is why I like it, though. Although slightly colder than last year, the conditions were nearly identical with a crazy headwind for a good portion of the course. It has a huge hill and cobblestones in mile 1 and most of the last half mile is uphill. It's weird that I didn't know a single person there again this year, but it didn't matter. I warmed up on the course then hung out in my car where it was warm. I got the exact same parking spot as last year so it was right by the start. Another quick warm up, some hip loosening and it was off to the start. There were 3 women lined up ahead of me that I figured would beat me...and that's what happened. 4th and no prize money again. Haha. I would pass a couple of women/girls just past the start and stay in 4th the entire rest of the race. 

I was trying out my new Hoka One One Carbon X shoes that I got instead of the Nike Next%. They were about $100 cheaper. Not squishy but definitely bouncy. Not sure if they helped or not, though, but I liked them. The race was pretty uneventful. I had some dude breathing ackwardly and loud right behind me the entire race until he passed me just before the finish. I don't understand why people don't realize how annoying this is. Grr. I'd had enough of it by the last half mile and just wanted him to go away. Haha. Last year, I was pretty out of shape at this time and ran 20:01. This year was MUCH better in 19:36. I was so happy to run this time on this course. For comparison, the woman who finished 2nd ran an 18:47. Her last 5K was a 17:45. Not saying I would have run an easier course a minute faster, but I think I could easily run closer to 19:00 right now. Little did I know this would be my last race, indefinitely. Results

I brought her along. She was watching seagulls.

After I finished, I changed clothes and walked to the Holy Donut. Place was packed, but it was worth the wait. I walked back to the car and then drove to Goodfire Brewing. I hadn't been here since my sister visited back in 2017 so I wanted to try it again. As good as I remembered. Had one pour and a taster then took some to go. Stopped in the madhouse that is Trader Joe's then went home. 

Good sour

In the window next to the Holy Donut
The Irish Road Rover culminated my first week of running over 40 miles since October!! Craziness. 43.1 miles total for the week. The 12 hour clinical on Friday made it difficult to get more miles in.

Running for Feb 24- March 1- 43.1 miles. 1,581ft of elevation gain.

Monday- No run. Work spin bike. 20 min tabata ride with Robin

Tuesday- Conway Village/West Side. 7 miles. 51:50. 7:24/mi avg pace

Wednesday- Treadmill. 3 miles. 22:11. 7:24/mi avg pace

Thursday- Treamill workout due to gross rain/ice. 10.2 miles. 1:10:34. 6:55/mi avg pace
Approx 11min warm-up

3min MP
1.5min HMP
30sec 5KP
3min MP
1.5min HMP
30sec 5KP

1.5min jog

4min MP
2min HMP
1m 5KP
4min MP
2min HMP
1min 5KP

2min jog

5min MP
3min HMP
2min 5KP
5min MP
3min HMP
2min 5KP

2min jog

3min MP
1.5min HMP
30sec 5KP
3min MP
1.5min HMP
30sec 5KP

Friday- Treadmill. 4 miles. 31:09. 7:47/mi avg pace

Saturday- Corridor 19/19A snowmobile trail. Wore microspikes. 12 miles. 1:53:54. 9:26/mi avg pace 1,086ft of elevation gain. 

Sunday- 6.8 miles total. Warm-up + Irish Road Rover 5K

Life was mostly back to its normal schedule these last two weeks. I only worked my 2 24s and then just did whatever else I felt like doing. It was so nice. I finally got back to over 50 miles for both weeks. Yay! 50 miles is my sweet spot for weekly mileage so I'm happy.

Running- March 2-8- 51.4 miles. 6,348ft of elevation gain.

Monday- No run. Spin Bike before work. Hill Climb with Cody. 30 minutes.

Tuesday- Bear Notch Rd Snowmobile Trail. 14.2 miles (gate-to-gate-to-gate). 2:10:50. 9:12/mi avg pace. 1,507ft of elevation gain. The first 3 miles were solid with microspikes. The rest was soft footing that just got softer as the temps rose. You can see I was overdressed in the beginning. Good run.

That afternoon, I took Phoenix on a hike up Middle Mt. I've missed my afternoon hikes with Phoenix.

Wednesday- Treadmill. 3 miles. 23:27. 7:49/mi avg pace. These Wednesday runs are just to get something in before work.

Thursday- Middle Mt/Peaked Mt x2. I did the first loop with Phoenix and second solo. Snow was solid on the Middle Mt side and really soft and rough on the Peaked side. 10 miles. 2:33:49. 15:14/mi avg pace. 3,392ft of elevation gain. It's time to start getting back in mountain running shape.

Friday- Haley Town Rd out-and-back. One of my go-to's for a quieter paved road and gentle hills. 8 miles. 58:02. 7:15/mi avg pace.

After dropping John's skis off at Cranmore, I took the dogs on a 2-mile walk on Town Hall Rd. This road is a snowmobile trail in the winter, but that didn't stop these people from trying to drive on it. I couldn't contain my laughter, but I still stopped and asked if they needed help. They didn't. Checked on them again on the walk back and could NOT resist a selfie with the car. PSA: Don't follow your GPS onto a snowmobile trail. But that provided me with a day's worth of laughter so I thank them for that.

Saturday- Cranmore Shores up Tasker and Allard Hill Roads. 10.1 miles. 1:19:23. 7:49/mi avg pace. 870ft of gain. This run gets REALLY old by March, but there's light at the end of the tunnel for an early spring.

Took a 2-mile walk with John and the dogs on the snowmobile trail in Tamworth that afternoon since we had to fill up our jugs with spring water down there anyway.

Sunday- North Conway Loop with my friend, Jill Pelletier. She and Matt were up with friends for the weekend. 6 miles. 1:00:59. 10:09/mi avg pace. Really enjoyable run. 

Something was wrong with my car ignition so it wouldn't start and I had to break out the Kia Soul to make it to our run. I finally got the Sorento to catch and start after multiple tries when I got home. I left it running, then John and I drove it to Frechette to leave it. It was such a gorgeous day so we walked the 3.3 miles home on the RR tracks with Phoenix. 

Random photos from the week:

Dale throwing a baseball. Pretty sure he was about to code.

Caught my eye at Walmart! How could I not buy it? Turned out to be so good!

Where she loves to be

John and his friend at school working on a podcast
This last week was another good week for running. Plus I made it out to the last Friday Night Lights Ski Race. On Monday, I was pissed to hear the New Bedford Half Marathon was cancelled. Friday night, I was actually feeling uneasy being in the crowded lodge with all the skiers. Like I said already, I changed my tune pretty quickly when the seriousness of the Coronavirus was finally acknowledged. 

Running March 9-15- 52.5 miles. 3,153ft of elevation gain.

Monday- No run. I'm committed to sticking to the spin bike on Mondays. HIIT and Hills with Olivia. 30 minutes. Since I started running again, I can barely get my HR over 150 on the spin bike now. While spinning kept me fit, I've gotten even more fit very quickly.

The trail behind work was clear of snow! Walked 2 miles.

Tuesday- Tamworth/Wonalancet Snowmobile Trail. 9 miles. 1:29:41. 9:57/mi avg pace. 938ft of elevation gain. John and I were wondering during our walk if we could make a loop out of it. The answer is yes, but it's 9 miles. Haha. Footing was fairly soft for nearly all of it, but still runnable with microspikes. Total solitude and quiet. Really enjoyable run. Tried out another new pair of shoes during the run. The Merrell MTL Sky Fire. SOOOOO comfortable as soon as I put them on and for the entire run. The real test will be the grip when the trails are clear. If it's solid, I think I may be switching from La Sportiva to Merrell. I don't recall the last time a trail shoe ever felt that comfortable.

I went to Conway Fire after I got home to get fit tested for my PAPR mask for the Covid-19 drill on Thursday. It took 3 different masks until we found one that passed the test. It turned out that my mask used to belong to my old boss here, Mitch. I took a sharpie and crossed out his name and wrote mine next to it. I texted it to him later. Haha.

I attempted to ski on the snowmobile trail with Phoenix after, but the trail was so melted that it was a half walk/half ski, but we still did 2 miles.

Wednesday- Treadmill. 3 miles. 21:40. 7:13/mi avg pace.

Thursday- The Covid-19 drill was first thing in the morning and lasted until after noon. Headed down to Chocorua for a run after. Chocorua dirt roads, 113A, Gardiner Hill Rd and back to the dirt roads. 11.75 miles. 1:33:17. 7:56/mi avg pace. 892ft of gain. 

Camera guy putting a mic on Josh.
Took the dogs for a walk on the RR tracks later. 2 miles.

Friday- Nasty day. Rainicing so I did a workout on the treadmill. 4xmile. 6.2 miles total. 42:13. 6:49/mi avg pace. 1 mile warm up. 6:20, 6:15, 6:12, 6:06. 0.3 rest in between and to finish.

The weather bored me so I went to Tuckerman Brewing to try a new beer.

Dawn Patrol IPA
It finally cleared up for Friday Night Vertical, even though the wind kicked in. This was a different format with it starting at the top of the loop for a down, up, down, up course. I was shocked when I saw the skis Andrew had given me. They turned out to be Hilary's skimo racing skis! They maybe weighed a pound each. I had never skied on anything like these so I was a little nervous about the downhill. I have skied with the light bindings before, though, so I was psyched to have such a lightweight set-up for the uphill. 

I skied up to the Lostbo Cabin where the start would be. Amazing how fast it was going up without putting in any effort. I was way too early but didn't have time to ski back down and then skin back up. I wish I had, though. 

On the way up. Pretty sky!
I waited for the start which was freezing and windy by that point. They started us off like a real ski race with us doing a run around the pond before putting our skis on. I knew I would be dead last for the downhill so I didn't try to run that hard. I realized quickly that I couldn't anyway. Running in snow mush in ski boots really hurt my tendons.

Me in the run

Me on the left struggling to get my boot in the binding as Jim Stevenson heads out ahead of me.
I got to the skis and struggled to put them on then headed down. Yep, almost died. Didn't realize that these have no tails. Tried to turn, my right leg flew out and I came within a few centimeters of running into the marker light post. Haha. It was terrifying on these skis. I thought I was going to die the entire way down. This was probably my slowest downhill of the last two years. Haha. Over 6 minutes!! Good thing I was the only woman doing 2 laps even though I was way faster on the uphill than the other women, their downhill times would have given them enough time to stay ahead of me. My transition was really quick with these skis since there isn't much to them. Up I went. 15:05.7. I was dead last at this point. Another very quick transition at the top since you don't have to take these skis off to remove the skins. Love that part. I finally figured out the downhill in these skis, but I still didn't go fast in them. Under 4 minutes down this time. Caught up with this guy Alfred and Rick Chalmers came in behind us. He would have normally been ahead but he lost his phone and stopped to search for it. Another quick transition. Left the base with Rick and the two of gained on Alfred. We passed him, then I passed Rick. Amazingly my second uphill was almost identical to the first. 15:05.8. These skis were awesome uphill! I'd love something with a tail but with light bindings like these. Not sure I will be able to buy a set-up now, though. Frechette just called. $300 for a new starter. But we'll see. If Memorial needs me right away I'll be making good money. Finished 3rd to last in 45:50. 1,453ft of elevation gain. I love this stuff!

Once again, I won 1st woman by default...since I was the only woman. Haha. I really don't understand why more women won't do two laps. I'm assuming because they're the opposite of me and don't like the uphill part. As I was standing there taking off my skins and talking to Andrew, I looked down to see only on ski. The wind had blown the other one down the slope! Oops. I ran down and yelled out that I'd lost a ski. Jim Graham's son happened to find it pretty much on the trajectory I had assumed. I would have felt so bad if I lost Hilary's ski!

I skied down, changed clothes then hit the bar. The pizza was gone, but I had a beer then talked to Jim, Rick and Alfred for the rest of the time. Didn't win a raffle prize unfortunately, though. Fun time. I'm glad I made it out for the last one.

Andrew told us not to smile, but the other woman couldn't do it. Hahaha.

Saturday- I will admit that sleeping in instead of racing was SO nice. Haley Town Rd again. 8.1 miles (turned around just a tad later than last week). 58:41. 7:14/mi avg pace. Slightly faster than last week. Tailwind on the way out. Headwind on the way back. 302ft of elevation gain. Realized during the run that I was wearing gear from my two previous teams. Haha.

I had to take Phoenix to Tractor Supply for the rabies clinic so John and I walked the dogs on the Cotton Valley Rail Trail first for 2 miles.

Phoenix did NOT like getting a shot. She almost bit the doctor. I couldn't really blame. Poor thing. Drove over to Ocean State Job Lot after to grab some stuff. This week is First Responder Discount week. 25% off. We save over $10. Should have gotten more. If I'd known that people were going to be greedy fucks and strip the shelves clean, I would have. 

Sunday- I was supposed to originally run 15 miles with Rich Fargo, but his injury from last summer resurfaced after running the Hampton Half. I settled on just doing a loop from home. The same old boring run through Cranmore Shores up Tasker and Allard. Left on muddy Dollof Hill to the easy Stark Rd. Looped back on 113 to Conway Village then headed back home via Cranmore Shores. Gorgeous day. Only saw 2 people I knew. Haha. 14.4 miles. 1:52:19. 7:46/mi avg pace. 1,029ft of elevation gain.

When I heard people were ravaging the grocery stores that morning, I knew I needed to go back and get two weeks worth of extra food. John and I hit the Family Dollar first. All paper products gone. I can't understand this at all. That is NOT a necessity. Morons. Shelves were pretty cleared here, too, but anything I grabbed that was low in stock, I was sure to leave some for others.

We took a walk on the RR tracks after that with the dogs. Turned around short because we were both getting cold in the wind and shade. 1.5 miles.

Reluctantly went in Walmart after. Luckily, it was pretty empty of people...and food, but surprisingly it still had plenty of it. Just not bread or butter. I decided that I would just make my own bread so I brought my bread maker back up from the basement and had bread all made before bed. We already had plenty of food since I could make so much from scratch, but I wanted to buy some easy stuff that John could make if he had to.

Other random photos from the week...

John drinking sparking apple cider from a champagne glass

Got my nails done. Who knows when I'll be able to do that again?
Letter I received from DCYF on Saturday. Come again? Makes no sense whatsoever.
So there's a glimpse into my life update. I don't know if I'll get another blog post in next week or not. Who knows how things could change in a week. I could have Coronavirus by then! Or I could be working around the clock helping sick people. Or things could be just as they are now. Who knows.