Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Double Snowshoe Race Weekend

This was a good week mileage wise and racing wise. Although, I struggled big time in the Bradbury Squall Snowshoe Race on Sunday, I still ended the week well. 66.3 miles. Not a lot of elevation gain for this week, which was something I'd hoped to keep up over the winter, but the day I had planned to do a mountain run just didn't work out. And since conditions have been so iffy with the snow, I didn't want to hit any higher summits. The weather has been crazy! Snow, followed by rain, followed by warm temps. It's a like a cycle. I feel like we're back in the 2015 winter when we got a lot of snow early on (Nov and Dec), then just icy gross conditions most of January only to be hit with an onslaught of snowstorm after snowstorm all the way to April! We lucked out this week, though. Both snowshoe races, Moose Mountain Runaround and Bradbury, were able to go on and actually have challenging snowshoe running conditions. So all-in-all, not bad. I have a feeling more snow is coming.

I spent half of the week on snowshoes, the other half on the road or treadmill. The snowshoe running wore me out. It's pretty taxing on the body after awhile because it's so much harder than running on the road or even a dry trail. I'd like to hope it will help me with the road races I have coming up in March and April, i.e. New Bedford, the Boston Tune-Up 15K and a few more road races thrown in there before it's back to trails for a bit. I was in super shape after the snowshoe season in 2015, so I'm hoping that will go my way again. I know I'm not as fast as I was at this time in 2015, but I still hope to do well.

Monday, January 16, 2017- Another holiday I don't receive. Haha. I try to avoid Strava because it seems like everyone else lives a normal life and gets to do epic runs on Monday holidays. But, I work 2 days a week. You really can't beat that, even if it means you're just above the poverty line. I still got a run in, though! Very thankful for the really old treadmill we have at the Tamworth base. Seriously, it works and gives me the option to run during my 24 hour shift. So I got in a 5 mile run in 36:10. Actually a decent pace.

Relatively quiet day work-wise, although we had one serious call. Overdose. With the stuff opiates are now laced with, Narcan really isn't lasting long. This is just going to get worse. I don't get it, and it makes me scared for John to be living in a place where these types of drugs are so rampant. I know they're everywhere, but it's easy here for people to be "bored" and/or unemployed and/or uneducated that so many young people are trying it and then addicted.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017- This was the day I had originally planned to run up Mt Chocorua, but since I wasn't sure about conditions, I decided to do a long run from home. Well, that didn't work out either. I had planned to do a 19-mile run around that Valley that I had done last year. By mile 5, I just wasn't feeling it and decided to cut it short at 10. Granted the run I did up Bald Hill Rd, down the Kanc and home is always a difficult run. It has a lot of climbing the first 6 miles with a few downhills here and there, so it's pretty slow. I felt like I was putting in way effort to maintain the pace I usually do, so that's when I decided to bag the long run. I was still able to throw down sub-7s for miles 7, 8 and 9 which were pretty flat along the Kanc and 302. Mile 10 is a climb all the way up to the top of my neighborhood which almost 100ft over .4. So the pace for that sucked. Haha. 10.1 miles. 1:16:16, which was actually my second fastest time ever running this route, so I wasn't disappointed after I saw that. And it ended up working out that I cut it short. Since Bryan dropped John off early. I was just getting to the lights at the Kanc and 16 when I saw them go through headed towards my house. So, yikes. Had I gone on another 9 miles, it would have been another hour! Not that John can't be left alone now for that much time, but the route I was going to take would have had me pretty far away. So in the end, I was satisfied with the run I did.

Waiting for John to go to King Pine

The day was warm and sunny for once (never is on a Tuesday!) so ski day at King Pine was awesome. We skied for about 3.5 hours. John was really enjoying it since he decided to go on the terrain park. I eventually gave the easy jumps a try, and, yeah, super fun. We took a break in the middle at the bar. John got a hamburger, and I got a beer, of course.

John taking a break in "Spring" as he called it. The sun felt so nice. Didn't realize my camera lens was covered in something yet.

Trails End Pub
As I mentioned last week, John was coming down with a bad cold. Today was the worst, but he seemed to have a lot of energy to ski. As soon as we left around 4pm, though, he fell asleep and didn't wake up until 10pm! He only woke up to walk from the house to the couch.

I had planned a second run during his ninja class, but since he obviously wasn't going to make to that, I decided to just run 5 more mile in the neighborhood. My legs were junk after skiing, so it was crazy slow. 42:43. It was insane how difficult this run was for me. I was glad to get in the extra 5, but seeing it that slow made me a little nervous. #hasbeen! I did 15 minutes of Upper body and Abs when I got home. Really seeing a difference all of a sudden in my arms, back and abs. My ass is still fat and gross, but the upper body is coming along.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017- 5 miles on the treadmill before work just like always! 35:40. 7:08/mi avg pace. I was SO close to not getting up and running, but I was glad I did. I always am. Long, sedentary 24 hours. Had a middle of the night call for a lift assist that turned into an hour. Couldn't get any help after 3 tones for fire and rescue for this heavy guy stuck on the floor in an awkward spot for lifting. We just needed one more set of hands. Luckily, on the third try and a lot of difficulty, we just barely got him on the edge of a chair, 300ish lbs of deadweight because he refused to make any effort at all. I felt that in my back afterwards. Miraculously, after we got him on the chair, he was able to get himself to a standing position and walk just fine on his own with his walker. People who can help themselves even just a little bit, but refuse to, irritate me. Not to mention, he was yelling at us the whole time we were trying to get him up. He was definitely in rough shape; no doubt about that, but he could have made an effort. A Rescue guy finally showed up after we got him up and stayed with us just in case we needed more help. By the time we got back to the base, I was wide awake, and it probably took me 45 minutes to go back to sleep.

Thursday, January 19, 2017- Woke up surprisingly not tired. I guess it helped I went to bed early, so even with the overnight call, I got a decent amount of sleep. Overnight, we got about 3 inches of fresh snow, and the roads were still covered so I decided to do a snowshoe run as my long run. This would up being an ass kicker of a run. I wanted to do a loop on the snowmobile trails in Fryeburg and Brownfield, so I drove to the Maine Visitor's Center to park at the start of the Mountain Division Trail...which is a snowmobile trail in the winter. I went inside to see if they had any maps for the Burnt Meadow Snowmobile Club. The volunteers in there were two older ladies. They were very nice, but I don't think they could hear a thing. One told me to go to the Citgo to get a map of trails in Denmark, ME, and the other gave me a map for bike riding in the Fryeburg area. Haha. It looked like the teeny tiny map I had found online would have to do.

The first mile and a half on the MDT was great. Enough snowmobiles had been through that it was quick running. That was the only 1.5 miles that it would be like that. I turned off at an intersection to find the trail hadn't been touched since the day before, so I was breaking trail through about 2-3 inches of fresh snow. It wasn't too bad at first. More of a workout, but still doable...and then I hit the trail in sun. Temps were rising, and I was all of a sudden in sticky snow that immediately began forming snowballs in my cleats constantly. I was begging for some snowmobiles to come through, and then I heard it. Their sound! Yay! But, no! It didn't help at all. In fact, the trail was worse, but I kept going. I guess I just expected it to get better, but it was hard, slow running. I got to an intersection at the end of Farnsworth Rd about 5 miles in and decided to change my plan since it was so slow. I was hoping to do 15 total, and just going off where I was and one previous run on the trails there two years ago, I figured changing my route would still bring me close to 15 miles. My goal was just to get up Peary Mt. All I changed was the route. This direction took me down Farnsworth Rd which was plowed and quick running. As I approached the Peary Mt trailhead, I was stopped by an active logging operation. Of course!! This is Maine, right?! The trail up Peary from the north side was temporarily closed. Like I said, I have shit luck. The guy I talked to was super nice, though. Apologized left and right. Haha. I told him it was no problem as I knew another route up Peary from the East I thought. I continued on Farnsworth, and at 6.5 miles came across my planned route up Peary, only to find the snowmobile trail thick with unbroken snow. I don't think a snowmobile had been on it in weeks. I stopped. Debated. Decided to go for it. So I was trudging through breaking thick snow uphill. I got to the fork for Frost Mt and Peary Mt. I still don't know why I didn't just go up Frost at this point since it was closer, but I didn't. Instead, headed towards Peary. I went up, up, up, and then all of a sudden down, down, down. I started crossing many sections of trail that had melted out with brooks running across it. I kept going and got hopeful when the trail started back up again, but it was to no avail. The snowmobile bypassed Peary Mt on this side and whatever snowmobile trail normally cuts across the summit (I know it exists because I saw it two years ago), wasn't apparent. I realized I had to make a decision at this point to either turn around or continue on to where the trail crossed Haley Town Rd, take off the snowshoes and then run the 6 or so miles back to the car on pavement. I looked at the distance and realized that the pavement route would be a lot longer, and I didn't really want to carry my snowshoes for 6 miles, so I turned around. Continuing to break trail, since I couldn't follow my own path exactly. Got back to Farnsworth, crossed over and continued to break trail. By the time, I got back onto the main snowmobile trail, I had broken trail for the last 3 miles.

The only picture I took on the run. This was where I came out after 3 miles of breaking trail. Those are my snowshoe tracks.
I was happy to see a snowmobile had gone through, but the trail was still SO soft. I was also SOAKING wet from all of the snow I had kicked up. I had actually been soaking wet since mile 5! I was at the point where I just wanted it to be over, but I knew I had at least 5-6 miles to go. I headed east, crossed 113 and then followed the RR tracks for what seemed like forever. Snowmobiles had gone through, but it didn't help at all. The snow was just churned up mush. I kept seeing cars passing by up ahead at the next road crossing. They seemed so close, but I never seemed to make progress. Felt like forever.

I finally crossed 113 again and hit the bike path for what would be 4 slow miles of running on giant snowballs in my cleats that just slid out from under me as I ran. I kept kicking them off, but only a few steps later they were back. I couldn't run fast enough to keep warm at this point. The sun was super warm. Temps in the 40s, but I was soaking wet and my toes just got more and more numb as I ran. I've never been so happy to see that Visitor's Center. I only had to run past it about .1 to reach my goal of 15 miles. No idea how I calculated that one exactly in my head, but I did. Crazy when that happens. So 15 miles in 2:40:45, even though I was out there for just over 3 hours (stops to look at the map and talk to the logging guy and some snowmobilers early on).

I was thankful for the warm visitor's center where I could change. Dry socks haven't felt that good since my last thru-hike. Went right to Starbucks for a coffee and then onto the nail place to have my nails done, then home. Got in 15 minutes of upper body and abs.

Lounging with Phoenix before going out
I was so beat and nearly fell asleep on the couch, but somehow, around 8pm, I got myself up and drove to McGrath's to watch Paul Kirsch's band, Diana's Bath Salts. I had only intended to stay until 10pm or so, but I ran into people I knew, and a third beer was bought for me which meant I had to stay even LONGER so that I could drive home. Good thing I stuff my face with Reuben Skins. Of course, as soon as Pam and Mike left, I swarmed by out-of-town guys, one of which was a huge douche. Without fail. I can't go out here without getting hit on my some guy from out of town. I've had one beg me to come back to his hotel with him. Looking for a little local trash, I guess, but that's not me. Try Club 550 next time, boys. I was actually so disheartened by this that I would be hard pressed to ever go out again late night here. It was just very uncomfortable by the end. I really enjoyed the band, though, and danced some. They were REALLY good. I finally left around midnight and didn't end up getting to sleep until close to 2am. Ugh!!

My beer and Paul when they were getting ready.
Friday, January 20, 2017- I slept in really late. I had to. Procrastinated with two cups of coffee, then drove down to Sandwich to run and fill up my water jugs at the Spring. I brought Spot and Phoenix along to walk them after my run. I parked at the Spring and then ran an out to Wonalancet and back on the road. I had decided 8 miles was my magic number today and ran them pretty hard. There were a few long hills in the beginning that made for a slower pace, but the rest, I ran pretty hard. I felt good, but the whole time I was doing it, I could feel the soreness in my quads from the previous day's run. I had two snowshoe races over the weekend, so this probably should have been an easy run instead. 8 miles. 57:31. 7:06/mi avg pace.

I talked to this really nice 84 year old man at the Spring as he filled up his water jugs. He said he moved to Florida after 44 years of living in New Hampshire, but that he had come back because this is where he wanted to die. He loves it here. I kind of felt guilty for how much I don't love it here, but then I do remind myself that I do, in fact, LOVE it here. I just don't love living here, but it truly is a beautiful place when you can take away all of the stress of it. I love running in the mountains. I love my house and living in the woods where I don't need blinds or curtains. I like the peace and quiet and the ability to be alone. But I'm lacking my city fix. The stuff, the different people, progression, friends! So anyway, I've beaten the dead horse with this topic.

I filled my jugs then took Phoenix and Spot on a short walk on the Flat Mountain Pond Trail which is also a snowmobile trail, then went home.

John's friend, Dylan, came over that night and stayed with us until Sunday morning. I was happy Dylan was coming along the next morning to the snowshoe race so that John would have someone to play with for a change. I ended up in bed early due to my late night the night before.

Pre Race Beer
Saturday, January 21, 2017- Moose Mountain Runaround Snowshoe Race-

I only learned the week before that Moose Mountain had a new location which meant a new course, so I was a little nervous. I always am with a new course. This new course would be two loops starting at a farm in Milton Mills, NH. It was only about 10 minutes farther south from the old course, so the drive was about the same. With a 10am start time, we didn't have to get up that early. I love that.

Once at the race, I checked in, talked to some people I knew then went out for a 3 mile warm up. Ouch. Soreness. I was feeling Thursday's run. Not the brightest thing I've done. Jonathan Miller joined me for my last mile of the warm up. He had also done a crazy snowshoe run (far more difficult than mine) on Thursday, so we were both a little beat up. When I got back to the car, John and Dylan were having building a fort in the car. It was SO nice for John to have the company. They ended up having a really good time...spending most of it in the car. Haha.

The start with Tom Hooper, Sarah Canney and Scott Mitchell. Can you see what's missing?
I changed shoes then carried my snowshoes to the other side of the road where I put them on, then took my first steps onto the course. And wow. Thick soft mush with only snowshoe prints. Nothing was packed. I didn't go far, but I knew right away this was going to hurt and be slow! When I got back to the start, I ditched my fleece and talked to some people. I didn't even realize Brandon Newbould was there until he walked up and asked me what the course what like. I told him that it was new, and I didn't know, but that it looked soft. We all lined up. I got in a good position, so I thought. Well, it would actually be about the position I finished in, but there were quite a few guys who went out way too fast who passed me. Since it was two loops, and these were 100% legit snowshoe racing conditions, I knew right away I was taking this first loop easy. The loop was probably 2/3 single track and the rest snowmobile trail. The single track was tough. Even taking it "easy", I was dying. I stayed right behind Jonathan and Warren Angel. The three of us would end up passing about 6 of those guys who went off way too fast. I don't know what they were thinking. All I knew was that I wasn't running fast through that sloppy, thick snow. The course was also pretty hilly. They were short hills, but a short hill feels like a long one in conditions like that. It's funny because I don't usually run that smart, but since I didn't know the course, I really wanted to just get a feel for it before the second loop. But like I said, I already felt like I was dying after the first loop.

Can you spot what's missing?

Once back on the second loop, the trail was completely packed down by all of the racers who had gone through. That, coupling with now knowing the course meant a much faster second loop. I really picked it up, and when we came out of the single track onto the snowmobile trail, I passed Jonathan and Warren.. That would make 8 people I passed by mile 3. I pushed myself hard on this second loop.  At mile 3.2, I wanted to puke. Snowshoe races just bring me to that point. It helped having Jonathan and Warren there to push me along from behind since I never actually got far ahead of them. The last part of the loop is on snowmobile trail with two decent climbs before the descent to the finish. I was so done and had absolutely no kick in me at all. I heard Jonathan and Warren closing in on me. I had nothing. They both passed me about .1 from the finish. Another guy had caught back up, but I wasn't letting a third person pass me and held him off through the finish. My mileage came out to 4.3 miles, so it was probably closer to 4.5 or so. I ran the second loop about 30 seconds faster than the first which is just not some I ever do, so that was cool. Results STILL aren't posted. I stopped my watch a few seconds after the finish. 37:25. I believe I was 7th overall. Damn, getting passed back at the end. But I was first female again, which gave me another 100 points for the Series. I expect Amber to show up at some point and school me, but maybe I can squeeze another two wins. Doubtful, but maybe!

I was hurting. Haha. Notice anything missing? I didn't.
As soon as I finished, I took off my shoes then went to my car to see if I could get the boys to come out. The word "food" was enough. Haha. I decided to go ahead and change back into my road shoes since my feet were soaked from the race. I finished tying the second one, then looked up and saw it....

My race bib! Right where I left it after I checked in and came back to my car! Hahaha! So funny. I never had it on during the race. This is when it pays to have people know who you are! :) I had no idea until I saw it sitting there that I had forgotten it. Too funny.

I walked the boys over to the food and the fire, then went out on a 2-mile cool down. I had already stiffened up, and my legs were sore, especially the upper quads. I started to question my sanity at signing up for the Bradbury Squall the next day. As soon as I finished the cool down, John and Dylan were walking back to the car. Haha. Oh well, at least they were out for a few minutes.

I grabbed chili...ate two bowls in fact and talked to people while we waited for awards. The awards took forever so the crowd left was small. I can't believe that when it came time to choose my award that I picked a hat over a taproom gift cert. I just have a thing for hats. Of course, it's a little too big for my tiny head, but I still like it. I took off the New Hampshire thing when I got home. I kind of regret that, but it just didn't go well with the hat.

Bad pic of me, but whatever. I give up on trying to look good most of the time now. Haven't had my hair done in almost 6 months. Just don't care.
Instead of doing anything post-race like we usually do, we just drove home. Before they got into the games, I sent the boys with sleds to the Waldorf school behind our neighborhood to sled down the big hill. I gave them the option of taking a walk or sledding. They chose sledding. Haha. I got in a short upper body and abs workout while they were gone. That was it for the day and night, too. I was still tired and went to bed early again.

Sunday, January 22, 2017- Bradbury Squall Snowshoe Race-

Bradbury starts even later at 11am, so it was another easy morning. We dropped Dylan off at his house on our way out of town. It seems like this was the first time I've driven to a Bradbury snowshoe race when it wasn't snowing. The drive was easy! The main reason I signed up for this race was because I really missed the Trail Monster races. I used to do their summer series and this one. Then it got to where I could only make one snowshoe race and one trail race. Last year, I didn't make any. I couldn't believe it had been a year and a half since I last ran one of their races! I love this group so it was nice to see them again. It was cool because it was just the same pretty much. All of the same people were there as before!

I was really beat and sore after the previous days race and the week's runs, and I really felt it on the warm up. I ran 3 miles on the road. Kevin Tilton joined me for the last mile or so. I went down to the start with my snowshoes and saw Jeff Walker. Jeff and I made a bet that whoever beat the other had to by them a beer. I was game. I knew I wasn't going to race 100%. As we lined up, Ian and a few other guys were telling me to line up ahead of them. Haha. I kept saying that I wasn't going to do well today. I was right. I finished behind all of them including Jeff! Haha. The conditions were pretty similar to the day before combined with a few bare spots, so it was weird. But where there was snow, it was soft mush and really hard to run in. I was really glad this as just the Squall and not the Blizzard! 3 miles was long enough for me today.

I turned out to be lined up pretty well. I only passed one person, and no one passed me. I ended up pretty much right behind Jeff and Zach Wieluns the entire race. I was close behind the first half and the second, they got a good lead on me but were still visible. There was no one really close behind me that I could see after the first mile. I definitely struggled through the 3 miles. When I looked at my watch and saw we had only done 1.26 miles, I knew that this wasn't going to go well. I didn't care, though. I knew it from the start and just gave all I could. And it worked out fine. I was still 1st woman. There really wasn't much going on to write about for this one. It was pretty much the same from start to finish. Just plugging away. Finished 11th overall in 30:01. I was definitely in a world of hurt by the time I finished, so my effort was there. Full Results. Kevin Tilton would end up winning the race overall which meant the male and female winners were both from Albany, NH! Haha.

My cooldowns took forever since I took each dog separately. First Chill for a mile, then Spot and Phoenix each for a half mile. I just wanted to get over to the post race stuff. John joined me briefly...before once again going back to the car. I ended up hanging out with Jeff and Kevin during the awards. I actually passed over the Frontier gift cert for Guthrie's in Lewiston. I'm never there, but the place sounds good. I'll venture over there at some point. There weren't any pictures of the first half of the field unfortunately. Must have had something go wrong with the camera maybe? The only ones were from a trail cam which are neat, but not very good shots. Haha.

I love their creative shirts.
Jeff, Kevin and I drove to Falmouth to meet at the Dirigo Public House, only to find it didn't open until 4pm. So odd for a place like that not to be open during the day, at least on the weekends. So it was to Otto Pizza instead. John was starving. We got our drinks, and just as the waitress just finished telling me to be careful that the table was slanted on our side, John's drink went crash. Poor kid. It was because of the table slant. Just slid right off. Fortunately, it didn't cover him too bad. The beer list was only two beers so I opted for Boom Sauce and a mashed potato, bacon and chive pizza. So good. I ate the whole thing.

Kevin and Jeff with beers
On the way out, Jeff followed through on the bet and bought me a beer. I was also informed that Holy Donut was inside this place, too, so I couldn't walk out without one.

The beer Jeff bought me.
As promised, John and I went down to Spare Time in Portland to play laser tag. We ended up in a game with two guys who creamed us, me especially. It was really fun even though I screamed every time I got hit. John later told me that my hat glowed in the black light so it was easy to spot me. Haha. Dammit. From there it was a quick trip over to Bissell Brothers for 10oz of Angels with Filthy Souls; I didn't like it as much as I did last year's, but it was ok.

We went home from there. I skipped the strength training workout, but did some planks instead. Back to work the next day, along with a much-needed zero day.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble

Front page photo in the Conway Daily Sun 1/17/17. Photo by Jamie Gemmiti
Another interesting week running-wise. Not so much the conditions like last week, but with most runs on the slower side. A lot of that had to do with terrain and/or snowshoes. I still got in a solid 61 miles for the week. 5,854 ft of elevation gain, which is pretty decent without doing any mountain runs. I got the Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Race out of the way. I'm always nervous about that one since it's the first race of the season, and I never quite know where I am fitness-wise beforehand. But I ended up with the women's win! Woot! And the fastest time ever on the course...which isn't saying much since conditions vary from year to year, but it's still pretty neat. Kevin Tilton put together a spreadsheet of the times from the last 7 years. I only missed the first year (2011), but had some SLOW finishing times as Leslie Beckwith. Haha. WW Snowshoe Scramble Times.

Other exciting news from this week... I'm now part of Team Hoka One One New England for 2017! I can't take credit for pursuing this on my own, since it's not something I would have done. Seeking out sponsors isn't really my thing. I was told I had to give credit where credit was due so people didn't think I got this because of my speed or my photogenic qualities. I see his point since this is so damn irresistible...Haha.

No, I have Bob Jackman to thank for this one. When I heard he was on the team, I told him I was interested, so he passed my name along to Jack Pilla, the team manager. The next day, I was welcomed to the team! Pretty cool. So add the new uniform to the ever-growing collection! Haha. I'm really looking forward to trying out more of their shoes. I've owned 3 different pairs and have been training in them for over 2 years now. The models I have are on the heavy side, so I only raced in them once. Looks like I'll be racing in them almost exclusively here pretty soon. Obviously, being a part of Team Hoka One One New England means I'll be writing about Hoka on here a lot more in the future! I'm still running for the Central Mass Striders as my USATF team, but I'll have to find another way to get the CMS logo visible at races. New tattoo?

Monday, January 9, 2017- Opposite of the week before. Not a single call all day...until midnight. Then we were out for 2.5 hours. Made for a rough rest of the week trying to catch up on sleep. And it was for basically our ambulance "taxi" service. I'm amazed how some people have managed to make it as far as they have in life. The more I do this job, the more jaded and unsympathetic I become. Not good qualities to have in the long run.

I had planned a zero and would have been fine with it, but after sitting around for so long, I decided to get on the work treadmill. I did bring clothes just in case I changed my mind, so that made it easy to get on there. I'm actually liking that the treadmill won't go any higher than it does since it forces me to have an easy day. I planned 3 miles. Ran 4. 29:19. That treadmill isn't the most comfortable to run on and feels like running on a hard board, but low miles and a slower pace make it tolerable.

My dog, Coy, who died in 2011 has been coming up in my Facebook memories a lot lately. She was the best dog. Love her.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017- I also brought clothes to work for Tuesday's run. I really wanted to get out on Corridor 15 in Ossipee for a snowshoe run. Since no snowmobile trails opened last year, I've missed them. This was one of the runs I did 2 winters ago, but longer. I wanted to get in 10 miles for the day. This was a tough 10 miles, too. A lot of elevation gain on snowshoes left me junk by the time I finished. Not to mention that it was -4 degrees F when I started. It literally took 3 miles for my toes to warm up. I was thankful that I just happened to have a pair of hand warmers in my car. I picked up Corridor 15 right at the end of Gilman Valley Rd. in Tamworth. A small parking area is plowed out which makes it easy to park. Corridor 15 is right on the other side of a snow mound there, so I was on it in 30 seconds heading south to just beyond Marble Rd for an out-and-back. It climbs nearly 800ft in the first 3 miles, then has a decent descent followed by constant rollers to where I turned around. I saw the Bayle Mt trail had been packed down at some point, so I started to go up it, but it was only about 20 yards before the footing became sketchy, so I changed my mind and kept going on Corridor 15. I never saw a single snowmobile, but I wasn't expecting to with it being below zero.

Corridor 15 near Marble Rd in West Ossipee

The long downhill at the end felt great at first, but by the last mile, I was ready for it to end. I was beat. Finished with 10.1 snowshoe miles in 1:33:08. 9:10/mi avg pace and 1,407ft of elevation gain.

I was so beat that it was awhile before I got John and me out to King Pine for our weekly downhill ski day. Weather was better than last week, but still on the cold side. Not much else going on except John's ninja class and errands. 20 minutes of my upper body and abs work with Zuzka Light. Finally took the Christmas tree down that night and then I was in bed earlier than usual since I was so tired from the lack of sleep the night before.

She always misses me after my 24 hour shifts
Wednesday, January 11, 2017- As always, up at 4:30am for my treadmill run before my next 24 hour shift. Once again, almost took a zero, but got my ass up for the usual 5 mile progression run. 36:05.

I was interested to look at all of these Wednesday 5 mile treadmill runs as a whole over the last 6 months so I looked at my data since the first week of June to 1/18/17 (34 weeks), I've run this exact same run on a Wednesday morning 19 times. 10 Wednesdays were zero days, and 5 of those days were other runs. My fastest run was 34:50 on 8/3/16, and my slowest was 36:47 on 1/4/17. My average time came out to 35:52.1 which makes an average pace per mile of 7:17. Doesn't really mean anything, but it's a pretty decent pace overall for early Wednesday mornings. Each week fluctuates with how I'm feeling, but as you can see, all runs fell right around within 2 minutes of each other. Most were close to the average time. Pretty much useless data, but I just felt like looking at it. Haha.

Another work day the opposite of the week before. Very, very quiet. I had some work done on my car next door at Johnson's. I actually only wanted an oil change but asked them to check the air filter. $168 later... Haha. And then my check engine light came on the next day. WTF. Oh well. The Hamster Mobile is nearing 100,000 miles. Eek!

Thursday, January 12, 2017- Woke up to icy roads everywhere, but with temps getting above 40 later that day, I had hope for a long run on dry roads. So I decided to go home and relax for awhile before heading out. Even though I had probably slept 8 hours the night before, I still woke up dead tired and nearly fell back asleep on the couch. This has become a theme over the last 2 weeks. Not sure what's going on. Started back up with my usual Vitamin D supplement that I take in the winter, but that hasn't seemed to help. I should probably have my blood work done to see if low iron could be a culprit, but that's not something I've ever had except when I was pregnant with John. But, now that I'm back to being uninsured, I don't want to pay for a CBC. The fatigue just seems excessive and very unusual for me. Could just be that I'm having more difficulty recovering from the late night calls, but there really aren't enough of them lately to make such a difference. I don't know. Resting heart rate is higher again than usual, too, but I don't think I'm overtraining this time. I don't have any health issues and take no medications. Beats me. I'll just have to see how I continue to feel over time. Maybe I just need to increase my burger intake. Haha. ;)

As tired as I was, I have no idea why I followed through on the run I had planned around Eaton and Freedom. I've run it many times, and even on a really good day, it's kicked my ass. It's definitely one of the hardest runs I do here which is why I don't do it often. It's normally 16 miles, but when the shoulders of the road are icy, I park at The Mill at Purity Spring (where I swim), so it cuts off about .6 miles of total distance. It still felt like 16 miles, though. Actually more like 30. Haha. As soon as I started, I noticed Horseleg Hill was still covered mostly in ice. I almost turned around right then, but told myself to follow through and get the run done. I brought microspikes along just in case the dirt road section was slippery, and as soon as I hit it right around mile 1, I had to stop to put them on. The road was nothing but an ice sheet with very minimal sand, so microspikes were a must for three miles. At the top of Rice Hill/Swett Hill Roads, the pavement returned for a wonderful 8 miles of dry pavement and warmer temps. I continued on Rice Hill for 1.5 miles to the Maine State Line where I stopped briefly after hearing my phone ding from a message from John; I always stop and reply to his messages. It was just a quick question asking me where something was, and I also sent along this picture. Haha.

I'm actually standing just over the Maine line where the roads were suddenly covered in ice.
The State Line is right around 600ft, and I had just run DOWN a steep-ass, long hill that I had to turn around and run back up. 485ft in one mile. It hurts. It does. It really does. Haha. Once back at the top, there's another super steep drop down Swett Hill Rd. It's SO steep that I really can't just go all out down it. It's always covered in a lot of sand, so I have to hold back just enough to not tumble down the thing. It drops about 100ft over .3 miles. Then the run turns into a gradual descent/flat for the next 2.5 miles to Cushing Corner Rd where it climbs steadily to Watson Hill Rd, another dirt road. Watson Hill was covered in so much sand I didn't need microspikes, but it was almost like a thin mud until I stayed straight onto Burnham Rd. Burnham was a little icy, but only the last half mile of it could I really have used the microspikes. Instead of stopping to put them on, I just slowed it down a little. Didn't seem worth it for a half mile. I was finally back to where I had started, and it fortunately ends with a nice downhill for the last .8 miles back to my car. 15.4 miles in 2:09:10. Slow as hell. 8:23/mi avg pace. Splits are really all over the place with this one. 2,154 ft of elevation gain. So never an easy run. I never felt better than blah for this run so it was a struggle. Link to my Strava run for this. The last time I did this exact run was in 2015. My Strava comment says, "Felt good," and I only ran it 2.5 minutes faster. So, all in all, not bad since I didn't feel good. It's a hard run every single time no matter what.

Elevation profile gives an idea of how hard this run is
As soon as I finished, the rain started. Like within less than a minute of finishing, so I at least lucked out with that. I had no plans to leave town this Thursday, so, instead, I went to Starbucks where I cashed in my reward drink for a Venti Flat White with 5 shots. Haha. I actually stayed there to drink it then got some more wood pellets at Paris Farmers Union. The pellets are now cheaper there than Walmart AND the dude loading up my car threw in an extra bag. He wasn't sure if one of them had gotten moisture in it, so he gave me the extra bag just in case. All 3 bags are fine. Score!

I was feeling a little bored so I finally decided to go to the Oxford House Inn in Fryeburg for their Pint & A Pound. I've had a $10 gift certificate that my old boss gave me to there for over 2 years! I really had nothing else to do, so why not? The place is normally packed and reservations are recommended, but since it was just me, I sat down in the pub at the bar. And WOW, this place is awesome. I can't believe I've never been in here before. So quaint and comfortable. And not to mention, good beer on tap!! Since it's in Maine, it had Bissell Brothers Umbra and Foundation Burnside Brown, two Maine beers. And also the Moat's Call it a Day IPA, their latest beer and one of their best. I was wowed from the get-go. I had the Umbra and enjoyed talking to the bartender and the server for awhile until 5:30 hit and the place was immediately slammed. I ordered a pound of muscles with a side of sweet potato fries. So good! I was joined at the bar by two really young guys from Rhode Island who were up to snowmobile so I talked to them for awhile then left. So it ended up being a nice night out. The hype for the Oxford House is legit, and I plan to go back there for sure. I went home from there. Did 20 minutes of my upper body work, then watched Office Space. 

Bissell Brothers Umbra

Full moon over Fryeburg as I left
Friday, January 13, 2017- Super lazy getting up this morning, then drove over to the trailhead behind Walmart with plans for a short snowshoe run on the trails. My venture on the trail didn't last long before I had to turn around. So many bare-boot-bastards had destroyed that trail that it was impossible to run on, even in snowshoes. Frozen boot prints covered the trail. So I turned around and ran a super slow 6 miles on Corridor 19 instead. Phoenix and Spot joined me. It was a beautiful morning and not too cold, so the run was enjoyable. 1:01:48. With the Whitaker Woods race the next day and after Thursday's run beating me up, I needed to take it easy today. I still got in a 22 minute upper body workout that evening, but John and I did nothing else. He had already walked before his dad dropped him off in the afternoon, so we just stayed in most of the night, only going out for a quick errand to the Moat to fill a growler for Amy Bernard's birthday the next day.

John in his rain gear and slippers. 

Poor Spot. Haha.
Pre-race beer. Can't get over how good it is.
Saturday, January 14, 2017- Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble

A rare local race! Yay! I was able to sleep in then take my time getting ready to go. The first race of the snowshoe season for the Granite Snowshoe Series was finally here, and while I love this race, it makes me SO nervous! The first snowshoe race always hurts, and I always dread that initial shock to the system. Plus, I expected Amber Ferreira to be there, so I knew I would have to be on top of my game. I know I can't beat her, but I don't want to finish that far back from her either. It's been a long time since I've really competed at a snowshoe race. Not saying there aren't some fast women out there that have me running scared, i.e. Abbey Wood and Sarah Canney, but it's not quite the same as trying to keep up with someone like Amber.

I got John in the car and went by Big Dave's to get John a piece of coffee cake. John fell asleep as soon as we started driving and never woke up again until it was time to leave the race hours later! I tried and tried and tried, but he was really tired. Now, I know he was coming down with a bad cold, but at the time, I was kind of frustrated that he wouldn't get up.

I purposely got there early so that we could snag a parking spot in the main lot. I didn't really want John hanging out in the car over by the school. I got one of the last spaces then walked inside. As always, it was a huge reunion. I wanted to get in a decent warm up, so I made sure I got out quickly after checking in. I ran 3 miles through North Conway at a pretty decent pace. It was really cold out, so it took awhile to warm up. By the time I got back to Whitaker, the little house was packed with people. I think it took me at least 5 minutes just to make it from the door to my stuff with all of the catching up. It was great to see everyone. The only problem is that there were so many people and so little time. I would have loved to catch up with more of them, and hopefully, I will as the season progresses. I changed shoes, ate a gel and then took my snowshoes outside. I decided to leave my fleece (the one I won at Whitaker last year) on and ditch it at the last minute. Even though the sun was warm, it was still too cold to strip down to just the nordic top. The top is perfect while racing but cold on the skin beforehand. And speaking of the nordic suit, I just couldn't bring myself to wear the bottoms. If they were black, maybe, but I'm just way too self conscious in them. I wore them last year when I was bigger and still trying to get my weight back down from the injury, so the pictures of me in it then just won't get out of my head. Bad self-image. I know. Blah blah blah. I can't help it. I don't have a great body. I just don't. So grey tights really don't do it for me. But my wicked loose Pearl Izumi tights do! Yay! Haha.

I put on my snowshoes outside and subtly looked around to check out the competition. No Amber. Sarah and Abbey were there. There were two other women who looked potentially fast, but the rest I all knew wouldn't be competition. Abbey is fast. She was 3rd at Snowshoe Nationals in 2014. I was 16th! Granted, I'm a lot faster now, but she definitely has the potential to kick my ass at any time, so I'm just waiting for it. I ran a very short .4 on the snowshoes to warm back up and use the woods then ventured over to the start line. The men's field was stacked. Nacho was there, so he was a shoe-in to win, but after that, it was going to be close for the top 10 or so. I lined up behind Jeff Litchfield and next to Jonathan Miller. It was nice to be back on the line with Jonathan. We ran really close to each other in 2015, and I always liked him there to pull me along. We would end up running this whole race really close the entire way. He was a huge help in pulling me along.

Kevin Tilton made race announcements quickly, then jumped in the pack himself before another guy started us. And we were off. The start is always the danger zone of potential falls since it's tight and people step on each other's snowshoes, but as far as I know, no one went down. I actually ended up lining up exactly where I should be. By the time we hit the woods, I was already pretty much in the position I would stay in for the duration of the race. I had a few back and forths with people, but for the most part, there wasn't much passing or getting passed going on. I was in a group the whole time with Jonathan, Kyle Northrop, Jeremiah Johnson and Mike Townsley. Sam Wood was just ahead of us the whole way. I was told the course was going to be fast today, so I was surprised to find all of the groomed sections to be soft. Not as fast as they made it seem. Definitely not fresh deep snow slow, but it was enough give to feel like a real snowshoe race for those sections. Haha.

The nice thing about this course is that I've raced it 5 times and run it many, many more prior to today's race. I know it by heart. I know that the first climb is going to hurt, but it's short, so I pushed myself up it. Probably harder than I ever have. That feeling every year of my lungs popping out of my chest was there as I turned down the next hill. Caught my breath on the flat and then proceeded up the hardest climb of the race. It's not particularly steep, but long, climbing about 140ft over a half mile. This first mile is a beast, but if you can get through it, the rest is easy. By the time we hit 1.1 miles at the top of the vista, I looked back to see no woman in sight. Only Paul Bazanchuk. That was a relief. I passed Kyle Northrop here then hauled ass down the icy single track to our next decent climb. It's another one that hurts, but it's short enough that you make it to the top just before you're all done. It was right to another icy and narrow downhill. Jonathan and I got stuck behind Mike Townsley at this point. He was reluctant to pound down the hill. It was a bit frustrating, and I asked Jonathan if he wanted to go around. He didn't make a move because the sides of the trail looked sketchy to run on, so we hung behind Mike until we came out on the double track again. I made a move and passed both of them right away; Jonathan followed suit and passed me back. This was another short uphill (and pretty much the last) that I powered up to the top of the powerlines. A long stretch of fast downhill ensued, so I fell into it and ran quickly down it. Jeremiah Johnson had passed me on the down, but he knew I was a bit better on the single track, so he let me go ahead of him for this next single track section. I chased after Jonathan through here and back out to the power lines. This is the one place where you can really see who's behind you after you make a u-turn. No women in sight. I saw Paul Bazanchuk and then Paul Hammond, who was just coming out of the woods, before I re-entered the woods on the other side. Jeremiah caught up with me here, and we ran side-by-side until he was able to move ahead. Kyle Northrop was saving something for the end and once out of the single track flew by me, Jeremiah, Jonathan and Sam. Very impressive kick. We made one last turn before coming out to the field and then as I entered the field, I immediately wanted to throw up. But then I heard someone yelling, "Go Sarah! Go Sarah!" I was like oh shit! Thinking Sarah had caught up to me, I put on a little kick, still feeling like I was going to barf. As I rounded the field and looked back, I realized that whoever was yelling for Sarah thought I was Sarah. Hahaha. Too funny! Just as I realized his mistake and felt relief, I came up on Sam Wood who was doing what I wanted to do. Throwing up! He threw up three times, and I caught up to him just as he finished. He started running again very slowly and stepped aside to let me by, but we were just about at the finishing chute. I slowed down and told Sam to go ahead, that I wasn't going to pass him. He had already lost 2 places, and I just couldn't do it. It didn't matter. I knew I had the women's win. So Sam crossed in 21st, in 30:30.2 and me, 22nd, in 30:30.8. Full Results

Photo by Joe Viger
Photo by Gianina Lindsey

Photo by Gianina Lindsey

Photo by Gianina Lindsey
As soon as I finished, I stayed at the finish area and talked to Sarah and Maureen Gillespie and my old friend, Kyla Brustin. After about 10 minutes, I was getting cold and needed to get my sweatshirt on and into the house to warm up. I was trying to get out quickly for a cool down, but I ended up chatting with a few people. Once I was finally heading out the door, the two guys I loaned my 2 other pairs of snowshoes to were right there just coming in to return them to me. Perfect timing since I was stopping at the car anyway to wake up John. Once again, a fail. I left the snowshoes and went back out for another cool down. Bad choice taking Kearsarge Rd because the shoulder was ice and the tourists were flying down it. Kind of scary. Still got in 3.1 miles at a faster pace than the warm up. So I got in a total of 10.3 miles for the day, hitting my goal of 10.

When I walked in the house from my cooldown after once again failing to wake up John, the place was jampacked and really warm. I went right to the bathroom to change into my sexy Six03 sweatpants, pullover and hippy hat. I was stylin'! Haha. Awards weren't much longer after this. Kevin was funny since he mentioned that he'd better get my name right, going back to 2015 when he announced "Leslie Beckwith" as the winner. Haha. He wasn't allowed to live that down, but in his defense, I had only officially been "Leslie O'Dell" again for 2 months, but I enjoyed poking fun at him for it. Haha. As usual, the edible awards were made by Jess Tilton and were super yummy. She also painted a cookie jar. Very cute. We also got a choice of gift certificates. I decided to be all fancy and take the $50 to the Stonehurst Manor (where I once worked for one night as server then said I was never coming back). The food is excellent, though. Not a place I would choose to go normally, but it will be nice.

Kevin giving me my award

Cookies by Jess!

I also won Best Dressed! Haha
Once the awards were over, I packed up the car and FINALLY got John to wake up. He was seriously really tired, but like I said, he was coming down with a cold; we just didn't know it yet. The post-race party for acidoticRACING and Six03 was at Tuckerman Brewing. John didn't want to go so I drove him home first. I only live a mile from Tuckerman, so I was close by. Tuckerman was fun! I got a flight of 8 that I sipped on over the next 3 hours. The pizza was from Pizza Hut, so I only ate a few pieces. That coupled with being dehydrated caused the beer to go right to my head! I probably talked to way too much to Roxanne, Liz and Cammie before it was finally time for me to head out. I needed to get home, shower and then head back out to the Moat (it was originally Flatbread or else I wouldn't have gotten the growler filled the day before haha) to meet Amy and Rick Bernard, Chris and Heather Mahoney and their friends from the lakehouse, plus all of the kids. It was Amy's 39th birthday.

Roxanne and me at Tuckerman. I look pretty awful. Haha.
I showered quickly, then John and I drove over to the Moat. They lucked out and got the front private room which is a huge score. You can actually hear what people are saying when you're in there. I got nachos like I always do and only one beer, the Square Tail Stout. Rick ended up paying for everybody's meal! That was fun...and we continued the fun at their vacation house, just down the street from me. Chris and Rick watched the Pats game while Amy, Heather and I gabbed. It was SO late by the time we left. I took the dogs out when we got home and by the time I was in bed it was 2am! Long ass day! Hmmm. Maybe I know why I'm so tired. Scratch all that stuff I wrote above. Haha.

Sunday, January 15, 2017- I slept in super late. I had to after going to bed so late. Took the dogs out then lounged around, drank two cups of coffee, worked on my previous blog post then finally decided to go running. I started with an attempted run up and down Heavenly Hill with all 3 dogs. While I did the whole thing, it was pretty terrible. The trail conditions had turned similar to the ones I ran into on Mt Roberts the previous week, and I was post-holing like crazy. Once again, it hurt like hell and I was throwing out expletives left and right. Needless to say, we only ran one of those. 1.3 miles.

I still needed to get in 8.7 more. Without even trying, I ran just past SOLO and back, stopping at my driveway at 8.7 miles. Damn, I'm good. Haha. Nothing crazy fast today. 8.7 in 1:05:35. 7:31/mi avg pace. 670ft of elevation gain. Gave me 10 for the day. Woot.

John and I took a walk around Pudding Pond with the dogs later that day. John never complained once and as usual seemed to really enjoy himself. I love those walks with him.

John running down the trail

When we got home, I cooked... yeah, I actually cooked lentil soup and had my planned Sunday beer that Chris and Heather had given me the night before. Treehouse Single Shot. Really good!

I got in another upper body and abs workout after that making 4 workouts this week. That's exactly what I'm shooting for. They're so easy to get in usually so there's really no excuse for me not to get in 4 days. Definitely seeing results. Other people may not, but I definitely do. I can do 3 pull-ups in a row now without stopping. It's super hard, especially with the weight I carry around, but I can do it. :)
Next up...3 double race weekends!! Sounds crazy, but 4 out of the 6 are short distance snowshoe races. And the other two are Old Mountain Trail 5K (the second race in the 4th Season Series) and 3 events at the Masters Indoor Track meet in Providence. I signed up for the 5000, 3000 and 1 mile. Ouch. That is going to hurt. But all in all, none of these races will really beat me up. I can do the double weekends no problem. Once mid-March rolls around, though, the longer stuff will start, and there will be no doubles. Right from snowshoe into New Bedford and beyond!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Resolution 5K Beach & Trail Race

So another week of keeping the miles up in the 60 range where I like them. 60.2 to be exact. Haha. This was a fun week. I ran a little of everything from road, treadmill, mountain, trail and BEACH! My first race of 2017 took us back to Rhode Island for the Resolution Beach 5K, the first of the 4th Season Races and my first time doing it. The entire week ended up pretty adventurous with my running. Black ice, freezing rain, post-holing through frozen snow and then a snowstorm on the beach. I honestly don't know if I could have done more diverse running conditions if I tried. So all-in-all, a good week. I took home the women's win at Resolution and then landed on the cover of the Level Renner Jan/Feb 2017 edition thanks to Scott Mason, the LVL crew and the weather! So now, I'll be annoying people with my face for the next two months. Yay!

About 30 minutes into the start of Winter Storm Helena
Monday, January 2, 2017- Couldn't get up early to run on the treadmill before work. Yeah, another week of no observed holidays. People shouldn't be allowed to call 911 on an observed holiday so that I can take the day off. Haha. But, noooooooo, we were SO BUSY. And it was the week of repeat patients both shifts. And I mean, the same patients twice in one shift AND other patients I have taken multiple times. The frequent fliers. I brought running clothes and was able to squeeze in a 5 mile run on the work treadmill, once again turning it up to its max speed for an easy paced run. Haha. 36:37 for the 5. Still a decent pace, but I can't change the elevation on it like I do at home, so that makes it easier. I'm not complaining. At least I have the option there to run at the Tamworth base. The shit pretty much hit the fan right after I finished my run. Two 911s overnight left me without about 3.5 hour of sleep total (it was broken up).

Treadmill literally at its max
Tuesday, January 3, 2017- With weather predicted to turn to frozen rain early, I planned ahead and brought all of my running stuff so that I could run right from work. I had a long run planned so I needed an "easier" route in order to get it done faster and opted for an out-and-back on Ossipee Lake Rd from the ambulance base. It's almost exactly 7.5 miles one way. I got out just before 7:30am. I felt good from the get-go hovering close to a 7-min pace for the first 10 miles. Unfortunately for me, I didn't beat the weather. The sleet/frozen rain started during mile 10, and by mile 11, I was running on black ice. A plow truck came by and dumped sand down the center line which wasn't much help to me except when the road was void of cars and I could run down the middle, but I spent a lot of the last 5 miles on the black ice and on the shoulder which was a little better with the snow covered in some sand. I was surprised I was able to maintain the pace I did. I ran really consistent right around 7:15/mi pace for the last 5. The running wasn't fun, though. I was soaked immediately and then all of my clothes froze into ice. Literally. My jacket was frozen solid on the front when I finished. It was pretty funny. I was glad I chose this route, though. I didn't want to be out in that weather any longer than I was. 15.1 miles in 1:48:05. 7:08/mi avg pace. So a really good run even with the weather.

I changed into dry clothes when I got back to the base and drove over to the Tamworth Lyceum for a latte and whatever that delicious sweet thing was that I got. It tasted like a pumpkin cake covered in a sweet cream frosting. I don't know if that's what it was, but it was so good. I did NOT need that, though. I may have run 15 miles, but the sugar consumption over the last month really didn't need to continue. Haha.

Latte at the Lyceum
When John came home later, we ended up going to King Pine to do some downhill skiing. It had been snowing, and the roads were terrible, but it's really the only day we can ski since I only got mid-week passes, so we were going dammit. The snow turned into freezing rain again, and we were drenched the whole time. The skiing conditions were great, and John didn't have a care in the world. I only lasted about an hour before I was freezing and called it quits. I felt bad, but the cold, frozen rain just chilled me to my core while riding on the lift.

King Pine skiing in the frozen rain
The freezing rain eventually turned into snow just in time to go to ninja class. The roads were horrible, but I took John to class anyway. John wanted Taco Tuesday from Jalisco again, so we did that after ninja. He would end up eating two bites of one taco and never finished the rest or the other tacos. Soooo, Taco Tuesday ended after only 2 weeks. Haha. Another thing this body didn't need anyway was Taco Tuesday, so it was for the best that we don't continue that. Got in 20 minutes of strength training pretty late. I was SO tired from the lack of sleep but still got to bed late.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017- No idea how I got up at 4:30am for my treadmill run. I had had only about 8 hours of sleep in two days. I was definitely tired and ran it on the slow side for me. 5 miles in 36:47. We ended up being SO busy at work starting before 8am. We were either on a call or I was writing a report until the evening. How we managed to not get called out overnight is beyond me, but we did get an early wake-up call at 6am that put us about 30 minutes past the end of our shift. The sad part about that is that our company won't pay us for the full 24 hours unless we go out at night between 10p-4a, which we didn't. Busy as hell but giving the company 4 hours for free. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Worst company I've ever worked for in my life. But I choose to stay, so it's my own fault.

Thursday, January 5, 2017- A beautiful sunny day, so I had to get up in the mountains. The temperature had dropped close to zero overnight so I expected the trails to be pretty solid. My original plan was Chocorua, but after seeing another friend's post earlier in the week at Castle in the Clouds, I knew I had to go over there. I spent about 30 minutes that morning plotting out 5 different routes. I didn't want to do a long run since I had an appointment with Tina at 3pm in Dover. I ended up not running any of them. With Spot and Phoenix in tow, I started at the lower trailhead on 171 and ran up the Shannon Pond Trail which is also a snowmobile trail in the winter. Footing was solid, especially with microspikes. I had finally decided on a Bald Knob loop, but I only made it about 10 yards before I started postholing and turned around and continued on the snowmobile trail. At this point I really had no idea what the rest of the trail would be like, but I knew I could always just stick to the snowmobile trails if need be.

At the fork where the snowmobile trail and the Shannon Brook Trail split. Two trails diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one up Mt Roberts, and that has made all the difference in having bruised shins or not! Ha.

The trail had been packed down at some point. The rain from the day before melted it, and then it froze solid making it the perfect running surface with spikes, so I decided to continue with it up Mt Roberts. As long as I stayed in the narrow, packed portion of the trail, it was solid and made for awesome running. It was beautiful, and I was really enjoying myself. Then all of a sudden conditions changed as soon as I hit the ledges about 1.3 miles from the summit. The solid footing began to feel less solid. The previous day's warm sun must have melted the snow and only a very thin layer had frozen over top. I learned quickly that one misstep off the packed trail (which was soft itself) meant postholing through the ice into the soft snow below. And that meant my shins jamming right into the ice. There was a lot of cursing going on when that happened. I had to slow it down at that point to carefully follow the trail. It was SO beautiful up there. So worth it. The freezing rain had covered all of the trees in thick ice, and then about .3 from the summit, there was a fresh layer of snow that must have fallen overnight. The mountain tops were all white from that and the ice. Even though it was chilly from the cold temp and wind, the sun was warm, so I was able to stop at the summit for longer than usual.


Spot and all white

The trees were covered in ice.

Phoenix on a fresh layer of snow just below the summit

Ice covered

The sun went behind the clouds and made this a great shot of Phoenix and Lake Winnipesaukee. 

My little dog is tough.
I took a lot of photos on the way back down since it was slow-going for the first mile anyway. As much as I tried to follow my footprints to stay on the trail, I still managed to post-hole even more than on the way up which resulted in more expletives yelled at the top of my lungs. That shit hurt! I was thankful when we finally reached the solid trail again, and I was able to fly down the mountain. I did have to stop to wait on Spot since her downhill running has greatly slowed in her old age, but when I was running, I was moving quickly. Finished up with 8.2 miles.

I changed into dry clothes that made me look like a local. I'm assuming this because I stopped at Cup & Crumb on the way home for a latte and pastry (and I wonder why I'm gaining weight!). When it came time to pay, the barista didn't even ask if I was a member; she just turned the computer to me to input my member number. Never asked if I was a member like they usually do. So I had to assume I looked like a true local who had just stepped away from my farm work to grab a snack. Haha. I definitely looked it.
I could not get a good picture of the bruises, but you can kind of make out that half of my shin is swollen and bruised.
By the time I got home, I only had about 45 minutes before I had to leave for Dover. Spot wanted back out, so I let her out. I showered, then was ready to go, Spot. This was going to be my third try in a month to get to an appointment with Tina. The first time was thwarted by Spot's paw in the trap, the second by Fortis (the snowstorm the week before) and now, it looked like it could be Spot again. Ugh!! I called and called, but no Spot. I really needed to leave to get there on time. I have no idea how this popped in my head, but I immediately thought of the one thing that always has Spot right at the door in an instant... gunshots. Well, I looked like a local, so I guess it was time to act like one, too. I took the gun outside, stood on my porch and shot it in the air. I contributed to my early hearing loss, but within 2 minutes, Spot was at the door ready to come in. SOOOOONEWHAMPSHIRE. Well, it worked, didn't it? Hahahaha.

After driving in two circles around downtown Dover listening to Google tell me, "You have arrived. Your destination is on your left," over and over and over, I finally had to park and call Tina to get directions to her new space in the Bending Bodhi Yoga Studio. Turned out, Google was right. I had arrived at my destination, and it was on my left. There was just no sign. I love her new space at the Yoga studio! My massage was wonderful as always. It was LONG overdue. I was a mess! But Tina worked her magic. I still can't recommend her enough! Tina Carr, Licensed Massage Therapist.

My next destination was just down the stairs on the other side of the building. Garrison City Beerworks, where I was meeting Tom Hooper briefly. Maureen Gillespie just happened to be walking her dogs and saw Tom, so she was there, too. Although I was there for the beer, it was also somewhat of a business meeting with the owner to talk about sponsoring my race and another trail race Six03 is putting on in April. I'm excited that we'll have Garrison City beer as one of our awards at the Dirty Girl.

Maureen, Tom and my flight at Garrison City
Tom had to bail shortly thereafter for another meeting, but I hung out with Maureen for awhile longer. When I finished my beer, I realized I was starving and decided to walk over the Brickhouse. The bar was full, so I had to sit at a table for 2. After posting a picture of my imaginary date in the empty seat across from on the FB beer page, it was only about 15 minutes before my seat was filled. Mark Arsenault saw my post and then joined me for the rest of the evening. I hadn't talked to Mark in over a year, so we caught up over beers and dinner then I drove home. Ran into Korrie Von Wedel there, too, when she came in with friends. I just have to say that this would never have happened in North Conway. How is it I go to Dover and randomly meet up with people I know, but here in the Valley, nada? Just shows you that I'm living in the wrong place.

Mark at the Brickhouse
Friday, January 6, 2017-

Woke up extremely bloated. Major water retention. Not TMI this time since it always happens after the massage. This was why I had originally booked the appointment for the week before. This made me nervous for Saturday's race, but there was nothing I could do at this point.

After little sleep all week, I slept in then drove up the icy Kanc to Bear Notch Rd. I had planned to run a quick 6ish miles in microspikes. The road had been packed down by snowmobiles, but the warm temps had really softened it up. Snowshoes would have been a much better option, but I didn't have them. Since I knew this wouldn't be the quick run I had planned, I decided to just add on miles and ended up doing 10. It was slow, but still a good workout, nonetheless. 1:27:59. 8:41/mi avg pace. It was probably a good thing I was forced to keep it slow since I had a race the next morning anyway.

View from the run

Bear Notch Rd
As soon as John came home, we packed up the car and drove to Rhode Island. I don't know how it happened, but we drove I-95 right at Friday night rush-hour and didn't hit a single bit of traffic!! I doubt that will ever happen again! We made great time. Checked into the La Quinta then met Rachel Flaksman at Doherty's for drinks and dinner. We had a good time, and it was nice to have the company.

Photo Rachel took of us

Me with Spot and Phoenix in the hotel room

Selfie I took of us at Doherty's

Saturday, January 7, 2017- Resolution 5k Beach & Trail Race

Woke up to dark skies. The inevitable snowstorm loomed off to the south. The snow was set to fly right around the race start time. I was happy for the easy drive down to Narragansett, but I had a strong feeling we wouldn't be going home that day. Knowing this, I should have gone ahead and extended our stay another night at the hotel. Not sure if our second night would have been the same rate, but it would have been worth a shot to save $30! I had booked way in advance with a cyber Monday deal. But I still wasn't ready to make the call, so we checked out.

Once at Scarborough, it was cold and the wind was picking up. I was psyched that Mike Galoob hadn't postponed the race because what lay ahead was a pretty cool race experience. I checked in, then took Chill on a 2-mile warm up backwards on the ocean side of course. I warmed up quickly once I got moving. Although the trail along the water was snow-covered, it wasn't too slippery since it had been packed down. I had been dying to do this race, and as I ran the course, I was so happy to be there. So beautiful! On the way back, I ended up getting taken out by dog and fell into the seaweed. It was actually pretty funny. The dog was trying to play with Chill and ran over, cutting me off. I actually had Chill on leash at that point, believe it or not...although I let him off-leash for most of the run when there were no other people around. The puffiness/water retention was still there, unfortunately. It definitely affects my running, but I hoped I could get through it today. I'll have to plan my next massage much better because it ended up taking 5 days for my body to return to normal.

I beat Michael Crutchley in the registration competition and ended up with bib #1. Haha.
I decided to take Spot and Phoenix out post-race since I was running out of time. As I made my way out to the beach with 10 minutes to the start, conditions had changed. The snow had started and a strong wind along with it. I was told this was the opposite wind direction than usual for this race which meant a tailwind for the last mile of the race. I was happy about that, especially after running in the headwind as I tried to stay warm at the start.

By the time we lined up at the start 10 minutes later, the snow was really coming down. It was COLD. Huge difference from an hour earlier. As I stood on the start line, a guy walked up and introduced himself saying he was on the FB beer page and had brought me some local beer in case I didn't get a chance to have any due to the storm. I was like, "Wow!" This person didn't even know me and brought me beer. I was floored. Pete Rumsey left me four Proclamation beers, one of which I enjoyed that night. I don't deserve such kindness, but I certainly appreciated it.

Mike Galoob got the race going shortly thereafter. I was ready to get going and warm back up. The race started heading south down the beach which meant the tailwind. It was a quick pace, and this young girl shot out way ahead of me. I had no idea who she was, and I couldn't catch her the entire stretch down the beach. I was trying, too. I was just hoping she had started out too fast and would slow, but I wasn't sure at this point since she was hauling ass. I felt really heavy, as I worried I might, but I still ran as fast as I could. As we approached the turnaround about .4 miles into the race, I was in a group with Seth Acton, Andy Neil and a guy in FiveFingers (Hell, no. My feet would have been frozen! I was a part of that FiveFinger craze back in 2009 and gave it up when winter hit and my feet froze! Never tried it again. Haha.) As we turned back the other direction, the wind and snow blasted into our faces. The snow was stinging my eyes, so I had to hunch over and keep my head down. I could barely see. The wind was fierce. Such a difference from one direction to the other. I immediately got passed by Andy and Fivefingers, but instead of dropping back, I followed. I had a chick to run down. And as I hoped, she slowed way down, and I quickly passed her. I had no idea if she would still chase me down, so I basically ran scared the entire rest of the race. As we got near the other end of the beach, I peeked up to see Scott Mason there with the camera, so I opened my eyes and looked up just long enough for the photo op. Hahaha.

My face was so frozen it felt like it was going to fall off, so I was happy when the course veered off the beach. We were still in a headwind and now soft sand mixed with slippery snow, but the trees were just enough to make it more bearable. I hung on just behind Andy and Fivefingers through this stretch. It was slow-going for sure with the footing, so I was thankful for the brief stretch on the pavement where I could speed up. It was back in the trees and then the turn back to the South which was such a relief. A tailwind! Since I ran this section on my warm up, I knew where I was and picked up the pace. The snow wasn't too slippery, just as on the warm up. I passed Andy and Fivefingers at this point and felt completely alone for the rest of the trail and into the house (whatever it is). There was a photographer in there who surprised me. He ended up being from the local newspaper, and I made the front page. Haha. Two covers in one week! Could I be more annoying?! :)

Move over Conway Daily Sun. I'm now invading Rhode Island newspapers! 
As I came out of the house, I saw Scott, and then I got confused as to which side of Scott the trail was on. I started to go right, then realized that was wrong and I was going to run over him, so I made a quick move to the left. Scott got the LVL cover photo as I was still going right. He got this one of me laughing at myself when I correctly went left.

I'm a goofball.
The finish line seemed close to here...but it wasn't. Not at all. Haha. The beach seemed to go on forever. Fivefingers passed me back. Grr. Then just before the finish line Andy passed me; I didn't mind him passing me since he wasn't wearing FiveFingers. Haha. I finished in 20:55 and 1st woman. When I crossed the finish, I was told my face was covered in ice. It was so numb, I couldn't even feel it. My time was obviously slow as hell. I'm not sure I can actually blame the conditions for all of that. I felt slow in general, like a fat bouncy ball rolling down the beach. My lack of speedwork was apparent, but I also felt like the water retention played a role as well. I felt 10 pounds lighter 3 days later, so I think it could have been a factor. It really didn't matter, though. I got the win and the cover(s). Haha. As for my competition, the girl from the start ended up finishing way back, but another woman finished only a minute back. So I have a little more competition this year. Not a bad thing. It will make me work harder for sure.

I only stayed warm for a few minutes, then had to get to my car for more clothes. I originally wanted John to get out and take a walk down the beach, but the weather was brutal by this point. The change in just 1.5 hours was crazy. I didn't even encourage John to get out. Most people were finishing and bailing. I tried to take Spot out for a cool down, but she was so slow and literally turned around to go back to the car. I switched her out for Phoenix, who was a little better, but it was still slow enough that by the time I got her back, I was just too cold. I had planned to get in 4 miles for a cool down, but I couldn't warm up and decided to bag it. I did a quick beer exchange with Steve Brightman, Rachel Flaksman and Scott. I had beer for a few other people, but one had already left and the other didn't race. By the time I drove out of there, my cooler was spilling over with beer. Full Results

This is what I brought home minus 2 beers that I drank that night!
By the time the awards started, there were only a few of us left. The building blocked a lot of the wind, but it was still blowing snow sideways and COLD. The awards were quick. I HAD to pick this one....

I took a few pics of those of us left. I even got to take another beer home since there were more raffle prizes than people left.

Jonny, Muddy, Steve, Seth and Mikey

Seth and Steve

I couldn't wait to get in the car and change out of my wet shoes. By the time we left, the roads were already horrible, but it's not like it was anything new to me. John and I met Scott Mason and Mike Daniels at Mews Tavern for lunch. I really like that place. Good beer and good food.

John at Mews
I knew we weren't leaving Rhode Island at this point. When we left Mews, the roads were unbelievably awful. I didn't have any trouble, and I probably could have driven home, but it would have taken 6+ hours, and the other drivers worried me! I really needed to do something for John, though, so I made the drive to West Warwick where the Launch Trampoline Park was. It wasn't crazy crowded, but there were a decent amount of people there. I took the dogs out at one point while he jumped, but Phoenix refused to get out of the car. The snow and wind were crazy.

Unfortunately, I stupidly only packed for one night, so I had to make another stop at Target to get some things, including more dog food! At this point, the roads were so bad that I was starting to get on edge and couldn't wait to get back to the La Quinta for the night.

Actually worse than it looks
It was a huge sigh of relief when we pulled into the hotel. I wasn't happy to be spending the extra money, but it was really our safest option. It was kind of a bummer, though. I'm in RI for another night, but we couldn't really enjoy it. Definitely a boring night. Even John got antsy and didn't sit still for hours. At one point, he was throwing a pillow in the air and punching it. Lunch filled us up so we didn't need dinner, just a snack, and I had two of the beers I had been given at the race. I ventured out reluctantly at one point with dogs to about a foot of fluffy, perfect snow. The dogs were loving it.

Phoenix buried in the snow. Haha

One of his few calm moments

Pillow punching

Beer from Scott. And Spot trying to tell me she wanted up on the bed.
Sunday, January 8, 2017-

The next morning was beautiful, and I was even more bummed that we couldn't stay and enjoy it. It was chilly, but the sun was warming things up quickly. The snow was so pretty when I took out the dogs. I had planned to jump on the hotel treadmill for 5 miles before we left, but in my search for the fitness center, I discovered there wasn't one. A sign on the bottom floor actually said "fitness center" with an arrow pointing into the wall. Haha. No fitness center existed. So much for the treadmill run. I packed us up, dug out the car and we hit the road. I realized that we were passing Providence when PVD Donuts would be open. Sweet!! Until I drove over there to see it closed. BOOO. Of course, they were closed for the week. I really do have a lot of shit luck occasionally sprinkled with teasing glimpses of good luck. I swear. Haha.

The drive wasn't bad at all. Moved right along making good time. John and I snowshoed up Heavenly Hill with dogs. He slid almost all the way back down having a blast.

John on Heavenly Hill
It was still so slow that I ended up getting cold and could not get warm again; just chilled to the bone. My plans to head back out for a run after the walk were nixed. I got on the treadmill instead. It even took me a mile to warm up on that! I actually ran a really good 10 mile progression run. So good that it was probably one of the best treadmill runs I've ever had. I felt great. I jumped up the speed by a lot early on and then bumped it up slowly every mile after that. 1-3% elevation, alternating every half mile. 1:09:51, just under a 7 min pace. I followed the run with 20 minutes of upper body and abs. I missed a few days of it this week, so it felt good to be back at it. I'm already noticing a big difference, especially from the pull-ups.

I had a good week mileage-wise. 60.2 miles. So I'm hitting my goal of 60 miles a week more consistently. I'm finding it to be a bit of a struggle to make 60 miles with my schedule. I have to make an effort to hit that, especially with two 24 hour shifts a week, but I've been successful so far. I won't be upset if I don't hit 60 every week, but I'm keeping it as a goal anyway. Up next...the first snowshoe race of the season at Whitaker Woods!