Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Child-Free Week! Irresponsibility!

Haha. Despite the title, I was actually pretty tame, believe it or not! I think it was just too hot most of the week to be crazier than normal. I was happy to have the week before end on a good note with Run4Kerri. After such a crappy week, I was feeling so much better and more like my normal self. It was an odd week, though, since I was alone for all of it. Just the 3 dogs and me. At times, I thought, "Is this what it's like to be a single 40 year old woman without kids?" Being alone has it's perks since I can REALLY do what I want, but after having had more than a week of that, by Sunday I was over it. I felt like something was missing many times. I didn't feel sad or upset because I knew John was fine, but I often wondered how I would possibly find as much meaning in life or use my free time to its fullest if I didn't have a kid. This is definitely not something I would ever have understood prior to having a kid, but, now, I do. What a sad life it would be not to have my child in my life. I can't even really explain well how I felt, but it was almost like going through the motions without a purpose. So strange. I definitely had a great time during the entire week, but that's because I understand my free time is so valuable and not to be wasted. This is something I've talked about with other parents, mothers especially, who get it. It's just an interesting thing I experienced over the week. And I was never sad or depressed about it, but something that had me thinking quite often as the week wore on. I can be very selfish by doing things for me, but to always have this person to whom you gave birth, love unconditionally and care so much for that you would give your life for them just takes the purpose of life to a whole different level. But, anyway, blah, blah blah. Haha.

Monday, August 8, 2016- So in case I wasn't clear, I was alone all week. Haha! Since dogs aren't allowed at the Cape, that meant I had them with me until Friday. Rather than search around for people to help me out with them while I worked my two 24 hour shifts, I just took care of them myself. I hate asking people for help, so this was just easier. I couldn't take them to work in Tamworth on Monday, but I was able to drive up in the ambulance around 5ish to let them out and feed them since my house is right on the coverage area line, as in my property line is the Albany-Madison town line.

Since I knew they would be spending most of the 24s alone in the house, it actually motivated me to get up at 4am and take them to the Albany Town Forest to run them 5.1 miles on the trails. It's still pretty dark at that time, so I had to wear a headlamp (a reminder of how much I hate running with a headlamp all winter). We had a good run, and they were definitely worn out by the time we were done. The run wasn't super fast, averaging an 8:46/mi pace. Any run for me on a Monday morning is a win no matter how slow it is.

Work was slow most of the day with a few calls in the evening, but that was it. I was able to take care of the dogs, so it worked out well. I was really tired after getting up at 4am so the overnight sleep was welcome.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016-  I came home to some very happy dogs. Oh the love of dogs!

I bagged the track run because I actually had time to get my long run in today! I get out of work at 7am, and John comes home at 10am, so that's why I normally just do the track; it doesn't take too long. It was perfect to get my long run today so that I wouldn't be worn out for the weekend's race. I wanted a fairly difficult loop from home since I just didn't feel like driving far, so I picked a run I had done once almost a year ago that took me through Conway, Madison, Eaton, back to Madison, then back home. It's 18 miles exactly and has some killer elevation gain. The weather was much cooler with lower humidity, so the run was actually pleasant. I remember being close to the bonking point for the last 4 miles of this last year, which makes sense; I ran it in the evening when I tend to have less energy. This morning I felt pretty good and ended up staying that way the entire run. Glines Hill is a total bitch, but I ran it 50 seconds faster than last year. Wow!! I ended up finishing the entire 18 miles 9 minutes faster than last year for 2:14:46, averaging 7:28/mi pace and 1,466 in elevation gain.

This run was a VERY good sign, and I was super psyched about it. I felt good AND ran it faster. I wasn't even worn out after I was done. Things were looking up. Could I be back to my 2015 self??? Could I actually not only be back, but FASTER?! I don't know! Time will tell, but I swear I'm feeling it all of a sudden. Ever since I had that deep tissue massage with Tina at Body Mechanix, I've been feeling a huge surge of improvement. No pain, no muscle weakness. Other than some days of a poor mental state, all in all, I really think I'm doing well. It's interesting because around this time last year, I actually started to feel a little run down. I was doing way too much. Racing 1-2 races every weekend AND high mileage (well,for me, anyway. 70-ish). When I look back at what I was doing, I can almost put all of the pieces together that led to my injury, and I feel like I'm kind of figuring out how to create a happy medium now. I'm averaging about 20 miles less per week than this time last year, but I feel stronger this time around. I'm still racing nearly every weekend, but I've cut out the weekend doubles and cut back on the mountain runs. Work can still leave me pretty fatigued, but I try not to push myself too hard if I'm feeling really run down. Last year, I pushed my limits, tested them. I really did want to see how far I could take it. I knew I was nearing the point of needing a break, but I had no idea I was nearing the point of that injury. Knowing the sequence of events and the aches in the glute, I can see it all unfold like watching a movie. It's kind of sad because I want to go back and tell myself what's about to happen, but I can't. In hindsight, though, it's all been fine. It humbled me for sure. Gave me the ability to be empathetic towards other injured runners. It has given me a greater sense of accomplishment to be where I am now after SO much hard work. Might I get injured again? Probably. It seems to be the way of the running world. But while I'm healthy right now, I'm going for it. Oops. Wow. I get off on a rant sometimes, but seriously, this run was pretty significant as you can probably tell. Blah, blah, blah.

So I decided that since I was childless for the day, I would go see Bad Moms in a REAL movie theater, aka NOT the Mountain Valley Mall Cinema in North Conway. I wanted stadium seating. Haha. I kind of procrastinated, though, and just barely made it to Cinemagic in Westbrook, Maine right on the dot for the movie start time. Why can't people drive the speed limit at the bare minimum? One of the biggest mysteries of the world. Hahaha. No surprise, I smuggled a beer in. I was watching Bad Moms. I thought that gave me a free pass to be bad. :) The movie was cute and funny. A little fairy tale-ish, as I think they intended, but they got so much right. Haha. I was the only one laughing out loud, though. Is that bad? Maybe I laugh TOO loudly. Maybe that's why I'm such a turn off. Hmmm. Haha.

I had 4 orders of beer to pick up at the Bier Cellar in Portland. I vowed not to buy anything extra and just to pick up what I had already paid for. I can't believe I had the will power to follow through on that! Granted, I was picking up more than I needed, so that made it easier.

I decided to use my $50 gift certificate at Foreside Tavern in Falmouth for an early dinner since I had eaten absolutely NOTHING all day. Even with the 18 mile run, I just wasn't hungry...until now. Haha. I was STARVING. This place is pretty cute, especially the outside. I always sit outside if it's an option and the weather is nice. I ordered a Peeper Ale by the Maine Beer Co, a fancy appetizer AND a burger. I devoured every bite.
Peeper Ale

Cute outside area at the Foreside Tavern in Falmouth, ME
I drove home after this and took the dogs for a walk up Heavenly Hill. The sun was setting just as we walked back to the house. I opted to try one of the beers I had picked up at the Bier Cellar. The Rain Shadow Stout by Buxton Brewery in the UK.

Me on Heavenly Hill with Chill in the background. Notice the sweat? haha

Pretty sky over my house

Omg. How did those Mews Tavern coasters get on my coffee table??
Wednesday, August 10, 2016- I don't know how I had the energy to get up at 4am again, but it really wasn't an option NOT to. The dogs needed to get a run in. It was back to the Albany Town Forest for the same exact 5-mile run as Monday, except I ran it much faster. 8:30/mi pace.

On Wednesdays, I work at the North Conway base which meant I couldn't go take care of the dogs in the ambulance. We're the only truck covering North Conway so we can't leave the coverage area. But since we are the only crew here at the base, I was able to bring all three dogs to work with me! Bring Your Dogs to Work Day! I like it. And I didn't even ask. I just did it. I kind have the ability to do that here. They wouldn't bother anyone, and I kept them in the only air conditioned room we have upstairs, so they were super comfortable. I was able to take them out a lot out back on the trail by the railroad tracks, so it ended up working out perfectly. Plus, I got to hang out with my dogs! Yay! No surprise, by the afternoon, I could barely keep my eyes open, so I spent a few hours hanging out in their room with them. Then Phoenix slept with me in my regular room overnight. It was nice having them there.
How did they get in there?!

Nap time with Phoenix
Thursday, August 11, 2016- A good night's sleep again! Wow. I thought this meant I was going to be refreshed and ready for the Moat Traverse Loop I had planned, but noooooo. I could not believe how hot and humid it already was when I left work at 7am. Omg. I wanted to bring the dogs along, but there is absolutely no water the entire time you're up on the ridge, and with the heat, there was no way I could bring them.

I parked off of High St since I run to the old Moat Mt Trail from there, then connect with the current Moat Mt Trail to run up South Moat across Middle and North, then down the other side and loop back via the lower trails. It's about 14.5 miles, and I really love this run. Well, today it didn't happen. I would end up having probably the worst run ever. I don't even know if I was a quarter of the way up South Moat yet or not when I realized there was NO WAY I could do the whole loop. I was DYING. I was so hot. I ended up having to walk way more than I think I've ever walked up South Moat, even when I was in worse shape. I had to stop and drink water along the way, which I never do. I felt so bad. As in so, so bad. I felt completely drained by the time I got to the top of South Moat. I always take pictures on my runs of the Moats, but I only took 3. And they were all in a row of me feeling awful. I didn't even have the energy to take more. Just zapped. I'll even put all 3 pics on here. haha.

I HATE heat and humidity SO MUCH.

The run on the ridge to Middle Moat and then down the upper part of Red Ridge wasn't too bad since there was a slight breeze, but I was still dying. I ran past a group of like 8 men on my way down Red Ridge. I didn't even look up, only mumbled with a "hi". A "You're insane!" was returned to me. Yes. Yes, I am. I think that's pretty much the consensus since I hear it at least twice a week. Haha. How I didn't fall running down that technical trail in my state of delirium, I don't know, but I made it in one piece then took the Tent Boulder, Mineral Site and High School Loop Trails back to my car. I was done. So done. 11.3 miles of blah mountain running. Over 3000ft of elevation again and about 5 pounds of water sweated out. My energy was zapped and all I wanted was a pint of ice cream. So I stopped at a convenience store and got a pint of Ben & Jerry's. I ate the entire thing as soon as I got home. Being the dummy that I am, I ended up booking up my entire day, first with a haircut and highlights, followed by an unplanned nail repair plus an entire fill because I might as well while I'm there. Then I went so far beyond the normal me and went shopping! I hit TJ Maxx and the outlets. I was really looking for one specific thing. A dress. And the idea of what I had wasn't anywhere to be found. I did buy a sundress at Old Navy and a t-shirt at Rue 29, but the dress I pictured existed nowhere in this Valley. And what's up with the popular dress style being a bunch of potato sack-fitting shit?? I don't want to wear a bag. It seems like things are made for big bellies lately. I have a big ass and a small waist. I want something that fits THAT. Nada. So I felt like I had wasted a lot of time and just wanted to go home! I took the dogs out and had a beer. I think I got to bed pretty early since I was beat.

Look! Do you see it? Right there! Look at it. It's taunting me still. The GRASS is GROWING!

Different, but good, beer. Anchorage Brewing's Anadromous Black Sour Ale.
Friday, August 11, 2016- Ok. So if any day of this week had to be considered a day I was irresponsible, it was this day. (And after thinking about it, I was similarly irresponsible this exact same weekend last year. haha.)

The day started off innocently enough. I slept in an extra hour than planned because I really needed the sleep. I got up, had a cup of coffee, then hit the trail behind my house with dogs for a run up Heavenly Hill and into Tin Mountain for a really easy and slow 4.2 trail miles. It was once again extremely hot and humid. Fortunately, this run has plenty of water for the dogs because they were dying. The run isn't easy either. Over 900ft of gain and pretty technical.

Phoenix cooling off in the mud at the end of the run
Once back at the house, I got in the shower then started loading up the car for another weekend in Rhode Island. This time I wouldn't be camping at least. Scott Mason offered his 3rd floor apartment for me to use while I was there. It ended up being perfect and reminded of how little space I really need. Made me want to ditch the house and move in. So much simpler! Anyway, I still ended up packing just as much junk. 8 pairs of shoes, 3 potential outfits for each day and my sleeping bag and pillow. I don't know why, but I think it took me over an hour to load up the car. Sometimes I wonder how I ever lived in a van... or even out of a backpack, for that matter. It's almost like I'm being defiant of my former self. Haha. Hit the road and had a really smooth, almost completely traffic-free drive down to Rhode Island. I only stopped for my reward drink, a Flat White, at Starbucks in Dover and gas in Attleboro. I was on a mission, and that was to get to Bucket Brewery in Pawtucket. And this is where irresponsibility began. Haha. I was good here...but I should have paced myself and skipped the 12oz pour of Park Loop Porter after the flight of 6, but the Park Loop Porter was so damn good. I hadn't eaten all day (my summer trend), so it went right to my head. I took a 6-pack of Black Goat of the Woods with me and left.
Bucket Brewery
Park Loop Porter
Food was next on the agenda as I drove into Providence. I found the closest Whole Foods since I wanted to hit their food bar and grab some recovery protein powder for after Saturday's run. I bought some really strange things that I didn't even remember buying until I opened the refrigerator the next morning. BBQ chicken fingers. What?!! No idea. (I ended up giving them to the dogs when I got home on Sunday.) A chocolate chip bran muffin for breakfast. Ew. I snarfed down a spinach pie and cupcake in the parking lot in my car while a HUGE thunderstorm passed over, then drove to Scott Mason's.

I should have known Scott would offer me beers when I got there. Haha. Scott showed me around the place. It's a really nice place with a huge apartment downstairs from Scott and then "my" apartment up top. The heat this week had been insane, so I was thankful to see Scott had put in a window a/c unit for me. I don't think I could have slept up there without it. Haha. The thunderstorms continued to roll in making a nice breeze on the sun porch where we sat drinking good beer and talking.

It got late, but I decided to go out to a bar where I proceeded to have more food and 4 more beers. I guess it was all spread out enough over many hours that it didn't seem like a lot, but looking back, I was having my own private beer fest. Yikes. 4 beers later and I wasn't back at Scott's until almost 2am.
I honestly have no memory of taking this at the bar. Pretty sure it's the Jack's Abby Framinghammer.
It wouldn't have been so bad if I could have slept in, but I was meeting Bob Jackman, Dave Principe and Fred Campagna at 8:30am for a run at Goddard Park. Oh boy did I wake up pretty hungover. One bite of that bran muffin made my stomach turn. I made a cup of coffee since I can have coffee almost any time, but I had to just skip the food. I remember thinking that I had just totally ruined my race at Bobby Doyle after Friday. At the time, I didn't really care since I knew the temps would be well into the 90s with nearly 100% humidity. I figured I would suck whether I had partied or not. Haha.

I got myself to Goddard Park on time, so that was a good sign. I found Bob, Dave and Fred and we stood around for a little bit. Dave's son, DJ, was there with his cross country team for practice, so we kind of waited until they got started before we did. There were cross country teams everywhere. It was pretty amazing. My high school team did nothing like this for training. There were a lot of girls teams there, too. All so serious and fit. We were definitely not like that. A high school teammate brought back a FB photo from the dead this week that I had tagged her in from our cross country days. We look SO lame compared to these boys and girls out there training. The only thing similar was the heat. This picture was from an August x-c meet in Georgia when temps were in the 90s and humidity was 100%. I actually remember that because it was the hottest race we ever ran in all 4 years on the team.

Athens Academy Cross Country 1991. Mary Beth and me running our super fast 24 min x-c 5Ks. SO slow.
Anyway, just standing out there waiting to run, I was dying. Not only hungover, but so hot and pouring sweat. We all ditched the shirts (ok, so I kept the sports bra) then finally got going. I actually felt pretty good as soon as we started moving...probably because I had already sweated out the alcohol just standing there. Haha. It was nice running in a group being able to talk the whole time and just run in a new place. We did some sort of loop, out and back thing that I could never repeat, but Bob knew where we were going, and the rest of us just followed. We even got out on the beach for a brief stint. That was nice, since I love running on the beach...when the sand is hard-packed. It was a really nice place to run, and I can finally put a visual to the name. The pace wasn't hard, just perfectly on the quicker side, and I actually felt good with it. 6 miles at a 7:20/mi pace. It definitely sobered me up but didn't wear me out. It was nice to be invited along since I would spend the afternoon by myself.

We hung around for a long time after waiting for DJ and Fred's son to finish up; they were doing 12 miles which just seemed brutal in this weather. I learned that Fred is a meteorologist and didn't have much good to say about the weather for Sunday's race. He said he had been watching it coming for awhile, and even though he didn't say these exact words... we were fucked. Haha. If we thought this morning's weather was hot and humid, we had another thing coming, and it was no lie. As we stood there, I couldn't stop sweating. It seemed like an hour, although it probably wasn't, that I stood there pouring in sweat. I just happened to have a beach towel in my car that I kept wiping myself down with, but I didn't change clothes until we left. Seemed pointless. The 4 of us a adults and the two boys went to Dunkin Donuts after. I forced myself to get a bagel twist because I had to eat something. Also got a giant iced coffee. Haha. Then we all left.

I went back to Scott's. He was off on Martha's Vineyard all day shooting photos for a race, so it was just me and his cat. I showered then laid down for a little while to recoup. I was feeling pretty beat all of a sudden. Still couldn't eat, but I able to drink one of those recovery drinks I had gotten at Whole Foods. I have to say. That air conditioning felt so good and made it really hard to get back up.

There was no way I was coming back to Rhode Island for an entire weekend by myself to be lazy and do nothing, so I forced myself up, put on my bathing suit and some sunscreen and headed back down to East Greenwich to rent a paddleboard. Just my luck, a thunderstorm rolled in that was ONLY over Warwick and East Greenwich. No lie. I got down to the marina where Rhode Island Paddle Sports was, but as soon as I pulled in, more storms blew in. I kept watching the radar, and it seemed like more and more kept popping up JUST over Warwick and East Greenwich. I really thought I was going to have to bag it so I left and drove around East Greenwich for awhile... like 5 minutes. I realized I was starving and thought about getting food, but all of a sudden, the sun came back out, so I drove back to the marina, checked the radar and realized I was good to go.

I walked over to the rental area where two really young guys were doing the rentals. One was nice and the other wasn't so much. Probably had no desire to be working on a Saturday. I asked if I could rent a paddleboard, and the grouchy one said, "For two of you?" I said, "No. It's just me." Incredulously, he said, "JUST you?!" And immediately following that, the nicer one said, also incredulously, "It's JUST you?!" Wtf. Haha. I have no idea why they seemed so shocked, but I chuckled to myself. Hmm. Maybe I don't look capable of being alone or maybe people in Rhode Island don't do things alone. I wouldn't put it past them. They do eat things called Stuffies and pizza without cheese, and don't you dare put a straw in a frozen lemonade! So you never know with these people. Hahaha. :)

The rental process took about 5 minutes. I had 2 hours to use the board for only $15! That's unheard of. I planned to use every bit of that 2 hours, and I did, too, got back to the dock right on the dot. I set off across the marina towards Goddard Park, where we had run that morning. I paddled along the beach to Sally Rock Point and out into Greenwich Bay a little bit. It was so much fun. I hadn't paddleboarded in 2 years, but it only took me 3-4 minutes before I was comfortable with it. They really aren't that hard to balance on. I took a couple of short breaks to sit on the board and enjoy just floating on the water. I could see thunderstorms off in the distance over Providence and Massachusetts. There was nice cool breeze. I felt like I was in the only logical place to be on a hot day like this. On the water. It was such a peaceful, relaxing way to spend the afternoon without just sitting around.

I paddled back from the bay towards the marina and into Greenwich Cove before turning back. I realized I still had time to paddle, so I made my way over to what I guess is called Chepiwanoxet Island then made my way back to the dock to return the board.

I could have walked to where I was headed next, but since that was the way out, I drove down the marina a little bit to have dinner at McKinley's Irish Pub. It kept catching my eye every time I drove in and out of there.  I sat at the end of the bar since it was the only seat available not under the a/c unit. It was a nice place to hide. Haha. The beer selection wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible either. I had a Harpoon UFO White and an Allagash White. And would you believe it?? Yes. Yes, you would because this is Rhode Island. They had Stuffies on the menu! I couldn't help but order them, along with a burger. Once again, I ate every bite. It would be my only real meal of the day, so I fueled up for Bobby Doyle the next day.

Stuffies. I'm sending the bill for these to Level Renner. #stuffiesonthelevel
Sorry inside joke.

UFO White
I went right back to Scott's after, only stopping to get two gallons of spring water. I was so tired that I wanted to collapse. Scott had just gotten home so I talked to him for a few minutes. Then I showered and got right in the bed. I think it was around 7pm. I needed the rest. Lack of sleep and doing a lot during the day had me down for the count. I dozed in and out until probably 10ish when I fell into a deep sleep. I was hoping to wake up refreshed and ready for Bobby Doyle the next day.

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