Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I turned 40!

Monday, 4/25/16- Another very slow day at work, but for some reason, I was fired up and ready to run afterward. I guess I'm ready to get my ass in gear if I want to redeem myself for the rest of 2016. I definitely wasn't feeling fully recovered from Boston, but at the same time, I was still feeling really good. It was strange. I don't think I've felt that pumped and motivated for a Monday evening run...ever. Haha.

I drove from work over to Potter Rd off 153 to do my 11 mile loop run in Center/South Conway. After looking at Strava, the last time I did this run was in Sept 2015, two weeks prior to my injury. It was also my fastest time ever running this loop. I was hoping to come somewhere close to that time today; I knew it wouldn't be that fast, but I wanted it to be close enough to it. I started off feeling really good and fast. Even the uphills felt fine. I thought I would die on the climb up Gulf Rd, but I still felt great and could tell I was moving along at a good clip. I decided to stop at the top of Leavitt Rd and get a picture of my favorite view in the entire area. I think I've posted a picture of it before, but it never gets old.

I only stopped for maybe 30 seconds then booked it on the long downhill back to Potter Rd. This is a slight uphill for the way back to the car, and I was actually able to run this stretch faster on the way back than I did at the beginning. I just felt great. Finished the 11.2 miles in 1:23:56 that included my stop. Just about a minute off my fastest time. My moving pace was 7:26/mi. 879ft of elevation gain. I was super psyched about this. I felt really good the whole way, and then I realized why. I had to have an awesome run this night because it was the last run of my 30s! It had to be a damn good one. I drove home feeling good about what was to come. My 30s were the craziest decade of my life so far, so I was happy to be leaving that behind and moving on to, hopefully, a more stable life (a week into my 40s, and this is NOT happening) and a new age group! Masters!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016- My 40th Birthday! Wow!! I am officially old even though I don't feel old. Just saying "40", though, and eek! How did that happen?! Haha. I was actually really excited about my birthday. I didn't have anybody to spend it with other than John, but we have always had a great time on my birthday... when it was just the two of us. (Crazy to think he was only 2 months old when I turned 30. Where did the time go?!)

I think I had gotten my hopes up too much, though, that this was going to be so much better than my 30th birthday when all I got was a beer and take-out handed to me while I nursed John on the couch and was ignored by my ex. I expected it to be great this time around...and then it snowed...A LOT. Most people know that weather doesn't usually bother me, and it didn't really at first. I thought we were going to get 2 inches max and that it would end by the time John got home so we could go about our day. I did have to change my run plans just because of the driving, but that wasn't a big deal. I decided to take Spot on a run up to Carter Ledge and back. It was snowing pretty hard the whole run, and I was noticing that this was way more than two inches of snow already. It was nice to run in the fresh powder, but it made it really slow going. This was only an easy run anyway, so I just enjoyed it.

Spot and me on Carter Ledge in the snow

My stopping point
It was a slow 5.3 miles, but beautiful and enjoyable. I was still happy with the day ahead even though I had stupidly scheduled a dentist appointment on my birthday. I thought it would be a quick appointment, but it ended up taking almost 2 hours!! It still wasn't a big deal. Bryan kept John a little later so he wouldn't be bored at the dentist with me, and it still left plenty of time for us to enjoy the day. I couldn't believe it, though, when I walked out of the dentist's office. The snow was coming down really heavy, and my car had about 4 inches of snow on it! My plan to take a birthday hike with John was out the window, and my back up plan to go to Portland was also thwarted, both mainly due to how bad the roads were. We still could have hiked somewhere close in the snow, but John wouldn't have enjoyed it, and I had already been up a mountain. I had no plan C yet and got really bummed out. Of all days it had to snow on. I figured it was just par for the course for my shitty luck and started to feel sorry for myself. What better way to feel sorry for yourself than to start drinking. I had been holding onto a Fat Alberta from Throwback Brewery just for my birthday, so I decided to break it out early while I contemplated what John and I were going to do the rest of the day.

Damn fine brew for my birthday beer!
There is nothing to do in the Valley in inclement weather so it took me awhile. I thought about candlepin over in Fryeburg, but I wasn't feeling it. Then I remembered the only other thing to do here. Go to the movies! And since it was my birthday, we were going to see something that I wanted to see, so the The Boss it was. Even though this is Hicktown, USA, I still decided to get all "dressed up", which translates to me actually looking nice for a change. It was my birthday, dammit; I didn't want to look like a rag doll. I had John take some pictures, and he did his usual 15 or so goofball shots of me as I was walking and talking. Haha.
I was actually walking backwards here.

Why didn't someone ever tell me my hair looked this bad from the back?!

The movie was actually really good, and I laughed A LOT. Two people walked out about 3/4 of the way through. My laughing must have driven them away because I don't see how they could walk out on it. Yeah, some of it was just silly, but still. Why not finish it? Not my problem, though. I thought it was hilarious, and laughter was what I needed on a day when I was feeling disappointed. I guess that's what happens when you have huge expectations. I should have known better, and I was trying to make the best of it. I even walked out of the movie feeling pretty good. We stopped at Starbucks so I could get my free birthday drink, a quad venti Flat White, and then headed over to John's ninja class.

John took a posed picture of me with my Starbucks.
I think I spent most of John's ninja class looking up places to eat for dinner. I wanted to choose the right place. All of my top choices were out. Ebenezer's in Lovell was still on early Spring hours and closed. The Oxford House in Fryeburg was closed for vacation. Liquid Riot was my Portland plan, and that was obviously out. The White Mountain Cider Company was next on my list, but it is just so expensive, and I've never eaten there without a gift certificate of some kind in hand. Next was the Margarita Grill or the Parka, but both were such a long drive that I had to stick to North Conway. And nothing appealed to me at all. All of the restaurants are almost exactly the same. Lame beer list and the same menu. I should have gone with May Kelly's, but we had gone there for my 38th birthday, and that was a bad memory I didn't want to relive in my head. I was sick of the Moat. We went to Sea Dog last year. So I settled on Delaney's Hole in the Wall. And wouldn't you know it, terrible choice. The beer list was so-so, but the food was great. It was the server who made the experience less than stellar. He was SO not friendly. We were one of 3 tables in the place, so it wasn't busy, but he acted annoyed with us the second we sat down. Like blatant about it. I have waited tables many times in my life, so I get the job, and because of that, I am the most low maintenance patron. The only thing I had to ask him were the sizes of the appetizer flatbread and pizzas since it wasn't listed, and he acted like I was taking up way too much of his time. It took all of 5 extra seconds to tell me. Then he walked up and took John's plate away before John was finished. I had to stop him, and oh my god, he glared at me. WTF. As a former server, I haven't left less than a 20% tip in probably 15 years, but I broke that tradition that night. 15%. To be treated like a bother on my 40th birthday when it was already kind of a shitty day wasn't going to get this guy anything more than that.

I wrote that 40 on the table to be funny. :)

They didn't call it a stuffie, but it was.

I wanted to get a picture of the two of us, but I wasn't about to ask the waiter, and no one was out front on our way out, so I had to set up the self-timer. I look like I'm wearing a turtleneck. Haha. Oh well. 
I was going to get dessert at Delaney's, but since our waiter couldn't wait to get rid of us, I decided to stop by Hannaford and buy myself a cake. Most of it is still sitting in my fridge a week later.
We went home. It was almost 9pm by that point. I changed into my sweats and carried on with my usual Tuesday night stuff. Laundry, dishes, sweeping the floor and packing for my two days away at work. So that was my 40th birthday. Looking back it wasn't horrible; I got to run in the snow in the mountains. I spent the rest of the day with John. I saw a good movie. I didn't have to work. But the disappointments still reminded me of how much I really don't like living here. Not many friends and no family. Nowhere I fit in. I just don't belong here. I've known it since before we ever moved back here in 2011 and why I left the first time in 2004. The beauty of the place is what keeps me enjoying it as much as possible, though, so I'm just hanging in there until I can figure out what I want to be when I grow up and get the hell out of here.

Even though my birthday was sub par, I'm still really excited to be 40, mainly because of the age group change with the racing. I've been so ready to hit masters, and it's finally here. It's giving me that extra motivation I need to get myself back into shape. I may not be as fast as I was last year, but I want to feel like I'm trying again. Get back into serious mode... as soon as my legs (and hip and glute and groin....) are 100% again. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016-  Ran 4 miles on the treadmill at 7:00/mi pace before my 24 hours in North Conway that involved a lot of moving from our old base to the new one. It's kind of sad to be leaving Valley View Rd after almost 5 years there. I lived on the street for 2 years of that, so there have been a lot of good memories there. The new base is great, though. The owner renovated the whole thing, and it turned out really nice. Another plus to the new base is that it's right next to Johnson's Auto Care, so it's easy to drop the car off to have work done during my 24 there. I decided to take advantage and drop the car off for the yearly inspection. And, good news! It passed...$600 later! Ha! Ugh! They say bad things come in 3s, but I think I just hit #5 or #6 as I write this. Losing count. The hits just keep on coming. I feel like it's been never ending since my dryer shit the bed in February. So hoping for it to end. I'm not sure how much shit I can handle before I have to start drinking more. Haha. I was SO wrong. My 40s are not starting off great. Haha. Anywho..... 
Bye bye, Valley View Rd

Hello, Redstone!
911-wise it was quiet until just after midnight. It was the only call we had in the entire 24 hours. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016- Drove down to Tamworth for the next 10 hours of my shift, and I think I was doubled over in laughter for most of the day. The crews helped me set up Eric's sunglasses shot with the handcuffs and doll (see previous post for the photo). We had one call and then I met up with Amy Benard after work for a run on the dirt roads near Chocorua Lake. Amy wanted to do about 7 miles since it was an easy day for her. That was perfect for me, too. I came up with a route that I thought was 7ish. Turned out to be 8 miles, but it was fine. I really enjoyed running with Amy. She's the perfect pace for me to run with, and I really enjoyed our conversation. I'm such a loner runner, but I would welcome another run with Amy anytime. Fortunately, she and her husband just bought a vacation house only 3.5 miles from my house, so I see more runs with Amy in the future. Our pace was pretty fast considering we were talking the whole time. 8 miles around 7:37/mi pace and over 600 ft of elevation gain. 
Amy and I on the bridge at Chocorua Lake
Friday, April 29, 2016- Friday ended up making up for the crappy birthday somewhat. I had found a Groupon for a hot stone massage, facial and foot scrub at Life and Earth Massage in Conway and booked that for 10am. I really need a deep tissue massage, but I also needed something relaxing and this fit the bill. Since I had a race the next day, I only needed to do a short run, so I ran from home with Spot up Heavenly Hill and over to the Tin Mountain trails. I've done this exact run 13 times, and this time ended up being the fastest of them all ever! I even smoked two of my own previous course records on Strava. I was surprised since I wasn't pushing myself at all. 5.4 miles in 55:34 and just over 1000ft of elevation gain. I ran most of the Dirty Girl course and found it to be in pretty decent shape. The other side of Bald Hill needs some work since even I was getting off the trail due to the leaf cover. Speaking of the Dirty Girl Trail Race, it looks like I have a couple of conflicting races the same day, so my numbers are a bit down. I still have 93 registrants and 32 days until race day, so I'm not too worried about it. 

When I finished the run, I showered quickly and had no time to eat before my massage, but I didn't care because I was about to have a massage, facial AND foot scrub! Wow. I have to say, it was really nice. The massage was hot stone; I had had one before a long time ago, but this one was way better. I had never had a facial before, so that was also great. And the foot scrub. My nasty feet really needed that. Almost 2 hours of much-needed relaxation. Samantha was fantastic, and I already booked a deep tissue massage with her for after VCM. I can't really afford it, but I need it. I was sad for the massage to end, but all good things must come to an end.

By this time, I was STARVING, so I decided to take myself to lunch at the Sunrise Shack. I was going to do breakfast, but the special burger was calling my name, so I got that. This funny old man at the bar with me asked where I was going to fit all of that food. I told him that I'd probably take half of it home, but, no, I ate the burger and all of the fries. Oh and the beer. A Shed Mountain Ale. I didn't eat again until about 7 hours later.

I had invited my friend, Jen, to join me, but, as always, she was too busy, so I drove up to her house after lunch to see the work she and her boyfriend had done on their house. It looked great. If only I had the motivation and extra hands to fix up my place. Haha.

I picked up the dogs from home and John from his homeschool group at Tin Mountain, then we headed down to the Sandwich Spring for water and a walk on the Brook Path. We only walked a mile, but it was all the dogs really needed. I love this trail, though. It's why I keep coming back to it. So pretty.

When we got home, John remembered a bird that was trapped in the upstairs of our garage and decided to save it. The bird was really weak at this point, so he was able to walk in and pick the bird up. He was so happy with himself for saving the bird. He brought outside and then opened his hands to let it fly off. The bird wobbled a bit at first, then flew away just fine. I thought it was so cool that he saved the bird since he was so proud of himself.

John saving the bird
The rest of the night was just prepping for the next day's race at Big River in Rhode Island. I wasn't ready for it, but I was really excited about it. I love trying out new trail races and this one looked beautiful and fun, so I definitely was looking forward to it. Big River post to come...

My latest favorite song for the last week.

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