Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Just Another Week in the Frozen Tundra

I love this clip from Bringing out the Dead. This movie came out almost 20 years ago, and not much has changed. I even recall writing in some blog post this year, "Fire me, please!" Haha. Put me out of my misery. Another funny part in the movie is when he's just been in an accident with the ambulance while he and his partner are drinking gin; he walks away and says, "I quit!" The next day, he's back at work and all his manager says about it is when he asks him to fill out an incident report when he can get around to it. Haha. We had an employee who was texting and driving and then totalled an ambulance. Fired? Nope. I tried to quit once (although I didn't actually quit; I still worked every other Wednesday's stipend shift). Within 2 months I was begging for my full-time job back. Right before I left, my boss actually smirked at me and said, "You'll be back. You can never leave EMS." If you haven't seen this movie, it's definitely worth watching. A bit depressing, and although slightly outdated, it paints a good picture of what it's like to burn out in this profession. I love all of the accuracies in the film that I think only someone in the field would notice. Although this is big city EMS, so much carries over to all EMS, as well.

Fortunately, I'm actually not miserable in my job anymore. After getting out of the Tamworth base for Monday 24s, I've been so much happier. I don't have to deal with the children down there. It was like a fucking free-for-all. Appalling. I was about to lose my shit. Plus, so many of the calls down there are just so depressing. Since we just cover the North Conway area now, our calls take much less time. And since we're the only crew, we're not dealing with the drama that comes with every shift in Tamworth. We always know we're up so there's no argument on who's going. The truck is better kept. Although only one other crew does a truck check besides us, the truck is generally in good shape. We work with one fire department for rescue/911 calls instead of 7 like we do out of the Tamworth base. Life is simpler. I have the same partner for both 24s. We get along well, which is key. One of the biggest benefits to being in North Conway is "my" workout room upstairs. I do some sort of workout up there every shift. I can take walks around the bay in the winter. Once the snow is gone, I can run and walk on the trail out back. I also have a quiet office where I use the computer (where I am right now!)

I just took this. Haha.
The North Conway base is also not a pig sty like the Tamworth base. So many reasons to be happier in my job right now. I'm still picking up random 10 hour shifts down in Tamworth, but I can handle that on a limited basis. I was told we would no longer be doing the Club Motorsports details next season which I'm kind of upset about, but I have a job there if I want it so I'll probably do some part time stuff with them. There are still downsides that will never change. The pay sucks. The benefits suck. Lack of equipment sucks. Being the laughing stock of the local EMS sucks. It's a dead-end job. But for now, I'm staying in it. I still plan my escape once John can drive, but I do carry that thought in the back of my mind. Can you ever really leave EMS? Sometimes I beg for this company to fold, to close its doors. To force me out. To make me get another job. Will that be my only way of escape? I guess I'll know if the company closes or in 2022, whichever comes sooner.

EMS thoughts are on my mind probably because I took a 3-day refresher at SOLO this past weekend. Although it's always fun and a good review, it's still sitting for 3 days straight. With the change in recertification for EMTs, the class has changed somewhat. I actually prefer it over the old way with its mandatory practice stations. I hated those. The new way is more scenario and lecture based with time to practice on equipment if we choose to do it. The scenarios are done as a group; funny how easier they get every year. This is my 4th recert (every two years) and my 4th refresher at SOLO. I love knowing that I'm getting better in my skills every time I go there. So much easier to do the scenarios and the practice MCI (Mass Casualty Incident). I did practice on a few pieces of equipment like the King airway and the KTD traction splint since I have never used them in the field. Needed to know I could still do them on the fly on a real scene. I was really glad we tried the KTD because there ended up being 3 of us trying to figure out what we were doing wrong. Nina finally realized that one of the clip pieces had been put on backwards. Haha. Once that was figured out, it was a no brainer.

I had a good group. Nina Chandler has been in my refresher for 3 times now so we always share a group. Scott Sutherland, a former fellow employee, joined us again this year for the second time. We also had a very experienced Army Medic who was super cool and provided a good deal of knowledge from her real experiences with wounded soldiers. The other two women had been more in the Wilderness EMT role so it was a good mix. Our instructors (2 Josh's) were great. One Josh taught me in my original Wilderness EMT course 7.5 years ago. Although I would have preferred being outside hiking all weekend with John, it was definitely time well spent. And who can refuse the free lunches?! Isn't that why we were really there? Haha. I still have to go back for my WEMT recertification, but I'll do the February class.

Scott and Nina

Josh MacMillan

Lounging on the 3rd floor
For the 4th year in a row, I decided to head down to Hampton for Throwback Brewery's Fat Alberta release. As with two years ago, we had to go later after my EMT refresher got out on Sunday. It's definitely a long drive for beer, but it's now the only beer release I go to every year (unless on the rare occasion I just happen to be somewhere having a release). John slept the whole way down and was so tired when we got there. I got him dinner which perked him up. I got a flight of 3 Fat Alberta variations and one other of their stouts. They were all good. I ended up being hungry, surprisingly, so I ordered some sweet potato fries. Took 4 cans to go. Quite an expensive trip but once a year is ok.

Tom Hooper told us to stop by his house on the way home. He and Camie had Alex Shaffer and Maureen Gillespie over so for the first time ever, I agreed. Haha. It wasn't even out of the way home from North Hampton; just a different way. A planned quick visit of course turned into at least two hours. Haha. But John had fun with their bulldog, Bentley. Tom told John to bring Phoenix in, and I warned them that she would be a brat, but they insisted. Well, I wasn't wrong! Haha. She immediately thought it was her space and poor Bentley was barked at and treated like he shouldn't be there. Haha. We had a good time. Alex encouraged me to start an Instagram page for the Dirty Girl Trail Race so I did. Dirty Girl on Instagram. I haven't done much with it, but I will as the race gets closer.

Tom, Maureen and the B-RAT, short for Big Rat. Haha.
Although my body rebelled against me after sitting for 3 days, I was still fortunate to get out for a hike on Thursday. Yay! No work! Double yay! It's my first of three Thursdays in a row free! (I switched up my schedule Christmas week so that I could take my regular Wednesday shift off for Nooseneck; working Thursday instead. Plus, I picked up Christmas). I am so excited to just be working my scheduled shifts for three weeks. The paycheck won't be as nice, but I NEED the free time. I feel like I've been SO sedentary for the last 1.5 months.

Knowing the trails would be well-packed after a week of no big snowstorms, any busier trail was a safe choice for just using microspikes. I really wanted to get above treeline but nothing crazy since the weather didn't look great up there, so I chose Mt Pierce via the Crawford Path. I did all of my workouts first, then Phoenix and I drove up to Crawford Notch. As we got higher, it was snowing. Very light snow, but enough that it was pretty gloomy. I was super thankful for my new winter tires driving up and down into the Mt Clinton Rd trailhead. It was covered in snow, but I had no problems at all getting in and out. Yay! I wouldn't even have attempted it with the other tires and would have had to come up with another plan. The trailhead was exactly how I like to see them. Mostly empty!

I only ran into one of those people which was awesome. In the summer or a nice, sunny winter day, this trail would have been packed. I wouldn't even have chosen it. I love having the quiet trail to myself, especially when everything is covered in snow. And omg, it was SO beautiful! SO much snow. There was a layer of about an inch of fresh powder over the hard packed trail so the microspikes alone were still perfect. A few people had postholed the trail by probably coming up on Monday when it was really warm. I wish more people understood how bad postholing is for the trail. I understand why they just don't know since most don't realize what happens to their bootprints after they leave. Temps drop and the holes freeze leaving deep icy holes that then get covered over by a few inches of snow. What you have left is a hidden ankle breaker. Grr. Although mostly unavoidable in the spring when the snow is just too wet for snowshoes, this time of year, there is really no excuse for it other than the 3 or 4 postholes you make after leaving solid trail before turning around and going back, or, if you must go on, continuing to posthole well to the side of the trail. Postholing Etiquette.

Anyway, I was fortunate to be able to avoid most of the holes and carry on up the trail with my microspikes and Leki poles. I decided to break out my old Leki poles (I have a new, barely used pair, but let's just say a certain ex-husband "borrowed" them and now they are in operable. Haha.) I figured the poles would help lessen the pressure on my hamstring tendon and work my upper body as well. This was the first time using these poles in 13 years, but since they have been over 7000 miles with me since 1998, it was like old hat. And they were mostly helpful. The hike up the Crawford Path was sheltered from the wind, so I was actually sweating to death under my light layers. The hike up is fairly easy and gradual, and when snow-covered so much easier to hike on instead of over roots and rocks. That's one of the things I love about winter mountain running. Let's hope I get back to that this winter. So the hike up was easy. Phoenix had a great time sniffing out all of the tracks. About 10 minutes from where trail swings around into the open for the walk up to the summit, we ran into that one other hiker. He was dressed in full winter weather gear. He told me it was a storm up there and recommended I get geared up before I left the windless trail. Good thing I took his advice. As soon as the trail went right, we were suddenly in insane wind and thick cloud. I could barely see in front of me since everything was white. The other hiker's footprints had already been obliterated. We came out to the intersection sign where I had intended to turn right for the 1/10th of a mile to the summit, but between the wind, the trail completely covered in high snow drifts and Phoenix shivering, it was a no-brainer to skip it and turn back. I took some very quick photos before my hand froze and we turned back. All I had to say to Phoenix was, "Let's turn around," before she immediately bolted back the way we came. In just a span of maybe two minutes, my footprints had disappeared. I didn't regret missing the summit one bit. It wasn't like there would have been a view, and I've been on the summit plenty of times before. I took a ton of photos. I couldn't help but keep stopping since it was so pretty. Funny. We were the only color in the land of black and white. Haha.

The hike down seemed longer than the way up, probably because there was no anticipation of what we would see. Just the trailhead at the end. Haha. This came out to exactly 6 miles on the GPS with 2,343ft of elevation gain. We made it up to over 4,200ft. Total elapsed time was 2:46:11. Moving time was 2:24:29 which is crazy. So many short stops added up to over 20 minutes!

On the way home, I finally got my season pass for the Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring since it opens December 15th. It's the only affordable option around at $69, and it works out to also be the closest to me. I used to get a free pass here as a resident of Conway so it sucks paying now, but it's ok. I brought in my old pass from 2014 since they like to reuse the same pass every year; they didn't care that my name had changed, so looks like I'm going to be Leslie Beckwith while I ski. Haha.

Definitely not the most sophisticated id. Haha.
I really wanted a stout so I stopped in at the Moat for a Square Tail Stout and a cup of the corn and crab bisque. I had her fill my growler with the stout, as well, and then made a trip to the grocery store before going home.

Phoenix in the car after I came out of the grocery store
Thursday wasn't the only day I was able to get outside. The first Tuesday in 4 weeks that it wasn't snowing. Yay! After my workouts, I drove up to Bear Notch Rd to attempt a ski. Kevin Tilton had skied it the night before when it was soft and perfect. Today? Not so much. It was basically just skiing on ice. I only made it a mile before I turned around. The road got steeper to the point where I had zero grip. The only reason I made it a mile was because of Kevin's ski track that gave me something to ski in. I'll try again after we get some fresh snow.

We got back to the car, and I drove about 1/4 mile down to the Nanamocomuck Ski Trail to try that out, but Phoenix refused to get out of the car so I decided we would swing by the house and pick up my snowhoes instead. Since I needed to get spring water, I figured we'd snowshoe somewhere nearby. I carried the snowshoes up to the start of the Big Rock Cave Trail and was excited to see that snowshoes were going to be needed. Yay! Unfortunately, though, someone else was ahead of me on the trail. People!! Nooooo!! Haha. I decided to go whichever trail they didn't go at the split. For me, that meant the untouched Cabin Trail. I only had a certain amount of time to be out there with no goal in mind so it didn't matter. I'd just walk until 45 minutes then turn around. The trail ended up being kind of annoying for the first part of it. The rain from Sunday had actually melted a lot of the trail, but it would only last for about 10 yards before being snow covered again. So I just kept the snowshoes on even though I was walking on dry leaves part of the time. Haha. As we got higher, it all became snow again. At 45 minutes, I realized we were only .1 miles from 1.5 so I kept going until we hit 1.5, then turned around. 3 miles for the snowshoe hike. 1:26:13. Very gradual climb but still with 653ft of gain. It didn't feel like that much. Filled up the water jugs at the spring then picked John up at school.

She was on high alert for the school dog. Haha.
Workouts for the Week

I'm still sticking to the schedule. Getting up early before work and then the weekend before my class. I'm doing my Booty Core workout 5 days a week now, skipping Thursday and Sunday. I get so much of a butt and core workout with Insanity Max 30 that I don't need to be doing this workout 7 days a week. Insanity is only 6 days, with one of those being a shorter, low-impact workout. I get on the spin bike that day, as well as on my full rest day from Insanity.

This was week 5 of Insanity Max 30, when the workouts get harder, and oh my god, wow. So much harder. For the first 4 weeks, I may have "maxed out" once or twice (rarely) during a workout. This week, I couldn't even keep track. Haha. I think I took 6 breaks in one 45 second exercise alone. Haha. It's mostly the upper body work that is just so difficult. Plyo pushups are pretty hard. Haha. I have a feeling I'm going to see more results in the arms, chest and back after these next 4 weeks. Plan is to continue with this program but maybe not every day if I'm back running. 3-4 days a week. No idea yet on that, though.

Monday, the FIRST day of the week, 12/3
-21 Day Booty Core Day 20 + 5 min abs. 35 minutes.
-Spin Bike Sprint Intervals. 30 minutes.
-Ambulance Bay Walk. 45 minutes.

The only real excitement at work.

Tuesday, 12/4
-Insanity Max 30: Max Out Cardio. 32 minutes.
-Insanity Max 30: Ab Attack. 10 minutes. Yep. Still hard.

Wednesday, 12/5
-21 Day Booty Core Day 20. 30 minutes.
-Insanity Max 30: Max Out Power. Ouch. 32 minutes.

Thursday, 12/6
-Insanity Max 30: Max Out Sweat. 32 minutes. The only one in the new section that isn't too difficult.
-Insanity Max 30: Ab Attack. 10 minutes.

Friday, 12/7
-21 Day Booty Core Day 20. 30 minutes.
-Insanity Max 30: Max Out Strength. Destroyed me. Hard to imagine how hard this is for someone who started from scratch at the beginning. 32 minutes.

Saturday, 12/8
-21 Day Booty Core Day 20. 30 minutes.
-Insanity Max 30: Friday Fight Round 2. Just when you think it couldn't get more difficult. Crazy. 32 minutes.

Sunday, 12/9
-Insanity Max 30: Pulse. Low impact recovery workout. 20 minutes.
-Insanity Max 30: Ab Attack. 10 minutes.
-Spin Bike VO2 Max Intervals. 30 minutes.

So not much going on really. No good drama to talk about. Makes for a boring blog post. Haha. I'm sure I could have come up with some interesting topic to whine about, but you guys deserve a rest week. Haha. I don't even have any good photos to share since there wasn't any noticeable change from the workouts. The only change I've had is the addition of extra fat stores for the winter. Haha.

I'm hoping this blog will be about running again, but I can't make any promises yet. I plan to travel down to the snow-free land, one State down, on the 20th to do my first test run on a dry trail. If running sucks, I can just turn it into a hike. Haha. Nooseneck is still in the cards, though. It will be slow and difficult, but you gotta start back somewhere. I'm really bummed to miss the BU Mini Meets this year, but the last one is on the 22nd, and that's probably too soon to go out and sprint around a track. Haha. I'm setting my sights on the Masters Meet again for the 4 year in a row. Bowing out of the 5000, though, and trying out my first 800 instead, in addition to the usual 3000 and mile.

I'll leave this with a few photos. This week was the 6th anniversary of getting Phoenix and the 8th anniversary of getting Chill so I thought I'd share some puppy photos. Plus a few others, including one of John at school.

Chill was a HUGE puppy.

Let the dog torture begin. Haha.

I LOVE this song...

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Marriage Proposal

Black Cap Mt
No, as hard as it is to believe, I wasn't proposed to (I know. Right?! Who wouldn't want this bundle of joy and kindness around 24/7?!)). I'M the one making the proposal! I really need health insurance so I can get an MRI on this hamstring tendon and might as well throw in the foot, too. So if there's anyone out there with really good insurance (and is single haha), "Will you marry me?" I promise a full divorce with no alimony asked for upon my complete healing. And I'm not picky; a cubic zirconia is fine...unless you feel like buying me a huge diamond/platinum ring that I can hock at a local pawn shop after the divorce is final. That works for me as well. Either, or. Haha. Obviously I'm not serious. I don't want to have TWO divorces on my track record. That would make me look bad. Hahaha.

In all seriousness, though, I had planned to get insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace so that I could have had these injuries looked at, as well as the intestinal issue (yes, still going strong!), but after applying, my only "affordable" option would be using the full premium tax credit of $278/month they said I "qualified for". Well, the last time I used that tax credit, I had to pay every cent back. Although I have the option to use however much of it I want, not using it makes it unaffordable. Haha. So if I used all of it, my cheapest plan would be $108/month. I could do that! No deductible. $10 copay for specialist visit...BUT I have to pay 40% of the cost of x-rays and MRIs (any electronic imaging). Well, that's what I need, and THAT is not affordable. Plus, if I have to pay back the tax credit with my taxes in 2020, then that's $3,336 I have to pay back. So, once again. Not affordable. So if I didn't use the tax credit, my cheapest plan is $314/month with a $6,500 deductible, Coinsurance for ED, primary care and specialists are all 40% after deductible. Plus, once again, x-rays/MRIs are also 40% after the deductible. WTF. This whole Affordable Healthcare crap is such a fucking gimmick. I paid for it for 2 years and was "fined" both years (one for a reason I never understood and the other was for the tax credit pay back like I mentioned before). It's cheaper for me to pay the fine for NOT having it and then pay $20/month on a hospital bill for the rest of my life, if I ever had a catastrophic event. Those of us who live just above the poverty line really are the ones who get screwed. Neither poor nor rich enough. And as far as my company insurance goes, they offer $181/bi-weekly payment for a plan with over a $7000 deductible. What's the point?!! Seriously!!

So off I go into another year of being uninsured, my 7th year since 2011 being uninsured. With my left hamstring tendon NOT improving so far, I'm worried it could be an avulsion of some degree of the tendon from the bone which means surgery if it's 5cm or more. But I'll never know. But it also may not be even injured anymore! I'm in a private Facebook group for this injury where most of the people have had full avulsions and surgical repairs. Reading their posts, I'm discovering that most still feel the same pain years after the surgery even though MRIs and x-rays show it fully healed . So could it just be pain I'll feel forever? Is it torn? I'll never know!! I'm SO FUCKING SCREWED. All I can do is just hope this starts feeling better. The thing is is that it doesn't feel like a tear. My former gluteal tendon tear felt completely different. But that doesn't mean much since this could be just a partial tear. UGH. Can you sense my frustration?

So, anyway, that's where that stands. For now, I'm just staying very focused on doing things that don't hurt the tendon. I will still have days where it's more sore than others, which could mean I'm occasionally overdoing it, but I'm really trying not to do exercises that hurt it. I still modify as needed with the Insanity Max 30 workouts. This is very little, though. Most exercises don't bother it which I still can't believe. It's been great, though. I'm really enjoying getting FULL body fit again. And some of  these workouts are really hard, even if only 30 minutes. My upper body has improved significantly over the last 4 weeks. Soooo....I do have some more posing photos for you. The progress is cool.

But first! I finally have to do my big (pun intended) ass reveal! And no, sorry, not unclothed. I meant to take a photo after I completed 21 Day Booty Core but kept forgetting. So instead, it's after 5 weeks of doing Booty Core. I've been doing Day 20 almost every day since I finished the 21 days. I remembered yesterday to take a photo. I knew there was some improvement. My pants have been fitting a bit a tight around the ass, and I could just feel that it was more muscular, but I was NOT expecting to SEE such a huge difference in the before and after. The lighting is different in the photos, but it doesn't really matter since it's the shape that is different. In both photos, I'm standing completely relaxed, not flexed at all. And oops. I made the collage photo with the after photo first. Haha. So I labeled it. I seriously cannot get over the difference. From flat to round! Yay! Haha.

After 5 weeks of glute strengthening
I'm offering free slapping of my ass for anyone who wants to feel how solid it is. Ok now, not everyone needs to line up at once. Geez! Plenty of time! Haha. Yeahhhh...not really.

As far as Insanity Max 30 goes, I can't believe I'm halfway through the 8 weeks already. This is when it gets switched up to harder workouts for the 2nd 4 weeks. Considering the progress I had with the easier ones, I'm hoping to continue seeing it with these more challenging ones. I haven't done pull ups in months now and the last time I tried I could no longer do one. I decided to try again over the weekend and was able to do 2! That's just with doing Insanity workouts and no pull-ups. My back was pretty ripped prior to doing these workouts, but only the upper back. While I've lost some of the pull-up muscle tone, I'm pretty psyched to see a huge improvement in the lower back, as well.

Pardon the hair, as this was post-workout.
And a few #lookatme posed shots. It's just cool to share the progress, and I at least keep it to my blog and not on other social media platforms, but it still feels a little weird doing this in EVERY blog post lately. Haha.

Look closely and you can see the flab on the hip.

Ok, so now I'll mention what you aren't extra fat. Oh yes, there is. While I've been great about sticking to my workout schedule, I have let my diet get completely out of control. And I have put back on some significant weight. It tends to hang out on my hips, butt and love handles. The only reason you don't see it in these photos is because I'm purposely hiding it from you. That strong ass in the previous photo is not without its fat, cellulite layer. I'm being 100% truthful. I even have cellulite on my hips and below my ass. This is ALL due to diet. I always gain weight in December, but this is a bit much. I'm eating way too much sugar (and I don't mean the beer). But the main problem is that I'm eating like I'm still running. But all that said...I'm not ready to stop. I have to be ready, and then I can do it. Prepare myself by setting a date to detox from the sugar. If I'm not ready, I fail. I just need to get in the right mindset and focus. I am not naturally thin, though, so the longer I let this go on, the more chubby I'll get so the sooner the better. But this brings me to another issue. What do I eat?!

I'm learning that with this intestinal issue, I can't necessarily eat a lot of "healthy" foods. I can rarely tolerate whole vegetables. That's actually been an issue for a few years. So I tend to use my juicer instead so that it's pure liquid and easily digestible, but all of sudden, juicing is making me feel nauseous for a few hours after, and my body is not tolerating even that. Whole grain anything is a no-go, except some whole wheat bread, but that ALSO started prior to my current issue. Sadly, the thing I digest best is low fiber, refined carbs. I actually have no problem with meat or eggs so at least that's good. I was eating sweet potatoes for awhile, but those also started to give me issues. The healthiest, most digestible thing I can come up with is whey protein with almond milk, but that's really expensive on a daily basis. I'm very tempted to order some Shakeology anyway, though. I've used it in the past with great luck, but it is WICKED expensive. So I'm in a bit of a dilemma here, and that's one of the reasons I'm not ready to fix my diet. I can't come up with what to eat! So in the mean time, I might put on some more pounds and just be ok with it. Speaking of...going to get some chocolate. Be right back...

Chocolate, down the on to the week! It was a much better week despite a blow out with Bryan, another 15+ inches of snow and working another overtime shift. I think my snowshoe hike up Black Cap on Friday and then buying winter tires on Saturday made it all better. Haha.

I wanted to cry when I saw the forecast for snow starting early while I was at work on Monday and continuing into late Tuesday afternoon/evening. Always. Without fail, our biggest storms always happen when I'm at work so that by the time I get home the next morning, the snow is so high that I can't do much with it. This would be the third Tuesday snowstorm in a row, so I was over it!! I couldn't believe we were getting another storm before I could get snow tires, but I decided to be more prepared so I dug out my wire chains that I used to use when I had bald tires during the winter of 2014. I was going to put those things on my tires at work so I could get home the next morning. I'd have to drive around 20mph the whole way, but I figured being that asshole would be ok on a morning like this. The chains went on easily; amazing the difference a warm garage and hands can make when putting those things on. I breathed a sigh of relief that I would be able to get home.

This storm did not disappoint. Woke up to over a foot of snow already, but I was stress-free. Getting home would be no problem. You know where I'm going with this, don't you? Haha. Take a closer look at those chains in the photo^^. Just a wee bit rusty, huh? So, I pull out of the lot and make it about 1/4 mile before I start to hear a loud clang with every rotation of the passenger's side tire. I wanted to pull over, but a huge tractor trailer was literally riding my ass. That alone was so wrong and so unsafe, but anyway. I'm just hoping it hangs on until I can get off the road. I turn right at the light, the clanging got worse....then silence. Dammit! It fell off! So I turn into the next plowed lot I find to take a look. The chains on that tire are gone so I get back in and decide to drive back to find them,..but they weren't there! How the hell? I had to continue pretty far in the opposite direction until I could find a place to turn around. Ugh. At least I still had one set. I immediately had a long line of cars behind me, but there was nothing I could do about that. I made it a mile, then, CLANG, CLANG, CLANG... Noooooo. The other one was about to fall off. I barely made it into Conway Village and pulled over at Cumberland Farms. That's when I realized the clip on the outside of the chains wasn't staying on. The rust had caused the metal to stretch so much that the rubber tightener wasn't tight enough. So I put it back together. Fell right off. Hmm. Meanwhile, a tree above me is dumping snow all over me. Haha. I had to get some gloves from the other side of the car so I walked around and noticed that I never lost the other chains. I had been dragging them the whole way. Hahaha! When I stopped it must have been covered in snow so that I didn't see it. I attempted to put it back on only to realize that a piece was broken. So it was now useless. I took its rubber tightener and put it on the other chains so that it now had two on there. Proceeded on. Made it 10 yards before the clip came loose and the clanging started again. I was less than 2 miles from home! Finally, it got so bad that I knew it was going to fall off so I pulled over at the Mobil station, only .6 miles from my road, the one thing I needed the chains for. Put it back together. Clanging started immediately, but I kept going. No ability to get any momentum since my hill is sharp right turn, but I gunned the fucking thing. The hill hadn't been plowed or sanded in probably over an hour. I never would have made it without that chain, but just as I was about to clear the top, the chains fell off. I had enough speed to keep going. I'd made it!! I had to stop and walk back for the chains and found the metal completely shredded. Time from work to the end of my driveway: about 45 minutes. Normally 10-12. Haha. And then the blowout with Bryan began...

As I got to my driveway, I see a wall of about 2 feet of wet heavy snow blocking it. Bryan's van was there just before the end of the driveway. Looked like he was still sound asleep in it. You'd think that since he's allowed to camp there FOR FREE, he could have shoveled the driveway the night before to lessen the amount I'd have to shovel today. Or you'd also think he would get up and start shoveling his way out, but nope. Didn't do a fucking thing. So I was irritated. This snow was so wet and heavy that clearing the whole driveway would be beyond me, so I messaged the plow guy and said I'd definitely need him to clear the driveway. He said he'd be there shortly, but I really needed to get my car out of the road so I walked through the snow to Bryan's van to grab the unused shovel that was leaning on it so I could start clearing the end of the driveway to at least move my car in a bit. Bryan decides to get out and as I'm shoveling asks if he can borrow the shovel. Are you fucking serious right now? I tell him that I'm using it, but he insists. Takes it, walks back to his van and starts shoveling around it. That's when I lost my shit on him. That was probably the biggest screaming fight we've had since the winter of 2015. You could tell we were a little rusty on our insults since I actually had to pause before I came up with "moron" and then as I finally walked away, the best he could end it with was, "You're a dufus," after I made fun of him for believing in UFOs and aliens. Haha. He deserved that after mimicking my voice every time I said anything, just like he used to do every time I tried to talk to John the last year of your marriage. I had to get a dig in there somewhere so I chose the aliens thing. It was bad, though. He started telling me to get back in my car like he can tell me what to do. Ha! I told him he could get the fuck off my property. I finally went to the house so that I could get a check for the plow guy who showed up just as I came back out the door. After watching him plow my driveway this time, I can see why he charges me $50 instead of the smaller driveway $30. It was actually a big job and took awhile. I have to say he plowed it very well, and I was SO thankful to have the plow service. I honestly think that shoveling over a foot of wet, heavy snow from my huge driveway might have actually been beyond my physical ability. $50 well spent. I knew once he plowed it, I could shovel whatever else fell in the afternoon.

The end of my driveway when I got home, complete with two downed trees. 
The snow was so heavy that my birch trees were literally touching the ground. I took this photo after I freed them from the snow.
Since John didn't have school, he was going to leave with Bryan to go to Frontside Grind. I thought this was going to be the end of it until I heard Bryan screaming at John from inside the house. Oh come on!! So I had to go out. Bryan wasn't being overly horrible, believe it or not, but he was talking to John like he was a dog which set John off. Bryan was doing it in a Bryan humor way so he really wasn't trying to be a dick, but John ended up in tears and back in the house. And...that commenced Bryan coming into my house again for another HOUR long conversation. I have to say this one actually went better than others. We were able to talk like human beings and let the anger go. I wouldn't support John going with him until he assured me he wouldn't yell at him at all. He said he wouldn't and ended up following through on that...FOR ONCE. So man, that was my morning. Haha.

I enjoyed the peace and quiet with a cup of coffee and then got to my workouts. I only left the house to walk the dogs briefly. With the heavy snow, trees were snapping and falling like crazy so I didn't want to spend too much time in the woods. The snow turned to a rain mix that lasted until about 8pm. I went back out around 3pm to shovel the 2 inches that had fallen since it had been plowed. Took just under 2 hours. It's great exercise when I'm stuck at home all day, but I still hate it. Haha.

That night with John and Phoenix

She's never lied down on the back of the couch before. 
Oh so in response to my "anonymous" creepy stalker letter that I received in the mail in September about me not having big boobs, well, guess who's hitting my blog on a daily basis?

Looks like I made the cut...

Other fun shit from the week. On hour 33 of a 34, my partner and I had just brought in a patient. I teched the call so my partner was in charge of cleaning the truck. I made my way out into the doorway where the EMS coordinator at Huggins has snacks and a Keurig set out for us. I was about to make coffee, when out of the corner of my eye, I see something moving outside. I turn and see our stretcher that my partner had put outside in the gusting wind moving to the right, it then immediately starts spinning in circles until it hits the hill. I immediately busted through the emergency door hoping to catch it, but down the hill it went with me running after it at a full sprint. But I was too late. The stretcher hit a snow bank and did a complete flip! Haha! I was pissed at first because my partner is physically incapable of doing this job and couldn't get the stretcher before it got loose so I had to run after it. But then, I took a step back and thought, "This is actually really funny," so before I picked it up, I snapped a photo. Thankfully, there was no patient on it!

Workouts for the Week

Monday, 11/26 
21 Day Booty Core Day 20 + 5 min abs. 35 minutes total
Spin Bike before work. VO2 Max workout. Love this one. 30 minutes.
Ambulance Bay Walk- circles and stairs. 30 minutes

Christmas tree in the bay
Tuesday, 11/27
-21 Day Booty Core Day 20 (yep still doing the same workout). 30 minutes.
-Insanity Max 30: Max Cardio. 30 minutes. I wasn't supposed to start this one until the next week, but Cardio Challenge was getting too easy.
-Insanity Max 30: 360 Abs. 15 minutes. I love this one since it works the back as well as abs.
-Snow Shoveling- 1:57:12.

In the rain/snow
Wednesday, 11/28

-Insanity Max 30: Tabata Strength. 30 minutes
-21 Day Booty Core Day 20. 30 minutes.

One of the reasons I'm getting fat. A former co-worker brought this to us. 

Booty Core selfie at work.
Thursday, 11/29

-Insanity Max 30: Sweat Intervals. 30 minutes.
-Insanity Max 30: Ab Attack. 10 minutes.

Did both workouts early at work before I had to shower and drive down to Tamworth for the rest of my shift. Skipped Booty Core since I was out at 5 and had errands to run in North Conway. Wasn't home until after 7pm since I drove all the way up to Intervale after getting dog food to buy beer at the only good beer store in town. Vista Bev has a small, yet awesome selection.

Friday, 11/30

-21 Day Booty Core Day 20. 30 minutes.
-Insanity Max 30: Tabata Strength. 30 minutes.

Saturday, 12/1

-21 Day Booty Core Day 20. 30 minutes.
-Insanity Max 30: Friday Fight Round 1. Last time doing this workout and the first time I was able to get through the whole thing without taking a break. Onto Round 2 next week!

Sunday, 12/2

-Insanity Max 30: Pulse. 20 minutes. Low impact recovery workout.
-Insanity Max 30: Max Out Abs. 15 minutes.
-Spin Bike- Climbing Intervals. 30 minutes.
-Snow Shoveling. 1:48:21. In the POURING rain. Shoveled about 2 inches of snow slush that fell overnight.

CycleOps video

I don't sweat as much in 58 degrees and no humidity.

Halfway to go

Halfway done
Had a comical encounter with Bryan while I was shoveling. He came by to drop off Chill and was obviously very stoned. But, I'll take stoned Bryan over mean Bryan any day. Stopped to talk about my financial future, told me to let the snow grow and live at the top of the driveway and let the house burn down. When I couldn't demonstrate that I understood what he was saying (this has always been a thing with Bryan), he drove away to leave Chill at the house. Then he yelled at John. And on the way back out, he stopped the car and said, "Not to be mean, but your poncho sucks," and then drove away. Cuckoo. I actually laughed at that and then carried on with shoveling. Seriously, stoned Bryan is annoying but it could be worse. By the way, I was completely dry from the rain under my poncho. Bryan is obsessed with his "poncho system". My poncho is just for taking the dogs out in the rain and shoveling in the rain. Haha.


Friday, 11/30
Friday's hike up Black Cap Mt probably made my week. It was such a beautiful day and I could finally get out. I was unsure of conditions, but I really wanted to break trail in my snowshoes and figured Hurricane Mt Rd would be mostly untouched. I was partly right. Only one skier had been through as well as one snowshoer. This left a whole 1/3 of the road free for me to break trail. It started out icy to where I was walking on top of the snow, but within about 1/4 of a mile, it became pure powder. It was very slow going and an insane workout. Phoenix traveled in the other snowshoer's tracks which were mostly frozen. By the time we got to the top of Hurricane Mt Rd, only the skier's tracks were left as we took the right up to the summit of Black Cap. It was insanely pretty! The skier stopped and turned around about half a mile from the summit so I had all the fresh snow to myself to break. Once we got out on to the open summit, the snow was crazy deep with huge drifts in places. I was psyched to be the first one up there since Tuesday's storm. There's something peaceful about being up in unbroken snow. We didn't stay long on the summit since I was running out of time to get back to pick up John. From the summit, I decided I would bound down the fresh powder but forgot I wasn't in running snowshoes and only took about 3 steps before I fell into the snow. It was pretty funny. I had been calling for Phoenix to follow me, but she just showed me the paw and went back down the way we came up. Haha. I thought the way down would be quick, but I was still breaking trail. I had forgotten to start my GPS until about 1/2 mile in so I don't have accurate mileage or time, but it was about 2hours45min and 6 miles total. I was actually pretty exhausted after that. That was definitely more of a workout than a mountain running on clear trail. Photo overload....Sorry!

After I fell haha

Saturday, 12/1

John and I drove down to Concord to buy some used snow tires (finally!) from someone on Craigslist. The tires had only been used one season and were in great condition. $180 for all 4. $320 brand new so that was worth it.

After we got the tires, we drove back north a few exits to Oak Hill Hiking Trails. I had never heard of this place but found it on Google Maps. I was surprised at how hilly it was. And no leash rules! I did keep Phoenix leashed and also leashed Chill when we saw people coming, but it was nice to let Chill be free when no one was around. We had tried to make it to the Oak Hill Fire Tower but ran out of time before dark so we turned around. John talked to me about Fortnight the entire way. I'll never remember all the details specifically, but it is actually an interesting game. Just as we were getting back to the lot, we ran into a worker replacing all of the old signs with new metal ones. He asked if we wanted an old sign, so we took one. Pretty cool. About three miles total for our hike. I would really like to come back and run here sometime.

After our hike, I decided to try a nail place in Concord. I just had TWO nails break within a week of getting them done at the place here in town. One nail even broke in half in my sleep! No idea how that could happen, but I swear, every time I use Nail Envy, I have no less than 2 nails break within 2 weeks. They are either skimping on the amount of acrylic or using really cheap product.

So I looked on Google for a salon with the best reviews and came up with Jade Nails which happened to be right near Five Guys where I bought John dinner. This nail salon was awesome! First off, they did the gel polish for the same price as the regular so I finally decided to try it. And wow! I get it now. I'm not sure I can go back to the regular polish. They also served free wine! I was the only one in there who opted for red wine. What is up with women and white wine? Plus the nail tech was so nice! He showed me pictures of his 4 small dogs and then when their credit card machine didn't work, they trusted me to leave and come back with cash. That was a bit of a pain, but the machine didn't work. What were they going to do? I didn't mind since they had provided such good service. Why can't we get good places here? Grr.

My "new" winter tires!

Nice new nails

The look when she's on alert waiting for me to grab that yellow ball behind her and throw it

Sunday, we literally went nowhere because it was gross out. I got plenty of exercise between workouts and shoveling. John didn't, unfortunately, but it just wasn't a good day to go out with it pouring rain and temps in the 30s. He had a shit ton of homework anyway. He had to correct his math quiz which he got every answer wrong on. I still can't figure it out. It took only a few minutes to explain the concept to him and then he blew through the rest with very little help. He has a lot of trouble focusing, though, so I had to keep redirecting him, but he got it done. I left him to the poetry and then his Spanish class research on his own.

So definitely a much better week than last week. And it's just going to get better since I don't have anymore extra shifts on my schedule for awhile. The money has been good, but not getting outside has been depressing me so I need the break. I miss my free Thursdays. I will definitely miss the money, though! I can't wait to go for a hike tomorrow! Yay!

I did have some moments of missing running. Some days, I just wanted to go out for a run. But I'm definitely not depressed by not running since I've filled that void with something else in the mean time. It's crazy, though, looking in the mirror and seeing how much I've aged from not running. This happened my last injury. It was so sudden. Crazy how youthful looking running keeps you. I'm not looking forward to getting back in shape (if I can ever run again at all). That was the part that had me in tears last time, and this is going to be much worse since I wasn't in good shape when I started the time off. Last time, I was at my fastest when I had the sudden injury so getting back took no time at all. This will be different and frustrating, but it is what it is. I'm trying not to add much to my 2019 calendar. Everything I have added is mainly just a wish list...except Boston. That's the only one and true definite. This is kind of how I approached 2016 with my last injury and it worked out well for me. Hopefully, it will again.