Friday, February 24, 2017

Triple Race Weekend- DUMB

Cue the shaking of the head. The title pretty much tells you how I'm feeling right now. Haha. Sore and tired...and regretful. But at least I'm not injured...yet! Haha. So about 3.5 weeks ago, I made the assumption that the Exeter Snowshoe Race would be cancelled due to lack of snow, AND I was almost 100% sure I wasn't racing the Amherst 10-Miler the following weekend since it's the day after the World Snowshoe Championships. So while perusing the calendar (which was pretty much empty) for the weekend of the 18th, the Old Fashioned 10-Miler caught my eye. And it's obviously predictable as to what happened next. I registered for it. But I didn't just stop there. Oh no. What's this new option here I see on the Old Fashioned website? Oh the BadAss Half Marathon Combo?! That sounds so Leslie! The 5K starting at 10am, followed by the 10-miler starting at 10:45am. No problemo!! Hahaha. I'll cut to the chase. Exeter Snowshoe Hullaboo ended up happening, and not just happening, but in REAL snowshoe running conditions...which meant it was pretty frickin' hard. I woke up the next morning feeling pretty worn out but still drove down to Foxborough and ran two mediocre races. And no sub-1:05 for the 10-miler. Hahaha. But, honestly, I was lucky I even finished it. I think I knew when I signed up that it was a bad idea. I only told 4 people I was doing it. One was my dental hygienist and the other three actually asked specifically. Oh, wait; I did tell Kerri Haskins the day before since I saw she was doing it, but she was the only one I openly told. Not wanting to admit it to anyone should have been a sign that I had made a bad decision. Haha. But then again, I am at a point right now where I don't want to share anything about what I'm doing with anyone except John. I'll write about it after-the-fact here on my blog, but for the most part I'm keeping things to myself. It's helped me feel so much better over the last two weeks. The anxiety is gone. I've been able to sleep. Sharing myself with other people just doesn't seem to be good for me. I think I'm meant to be alone. Seriously.

Monday, February 13, 2017- This whole week was weird. Snowmaggedon. Sweden terrorist attack. ;) Oh, and on that note. I only JUST got this joke....

Now I get it!!

I've never shopped at IKEA. That doesn't exist in my world, so it's taken me over a week to finally get the significance of the Allen wrench. I guess that's funny. But only kind of, since I feel dumb that it took me a week to get it. Haha.

My drive into work. Still snowing hard.
Anyway back to the weird week. It started off with a 4am snowblowing session of the driveway on Monday morning. I haven't been the same since. :) I woke up to so much snow, then my snowblower could barely pick up the snow, and the power to make it roll stopped working. I spent 1.5 hours to do something that should have taken half the time, but I was literally having to manually push that heavy thing the whole way. I was dying. Pouring in sweat. By the time I finished, I realized I was running a half hour late to get to work on time. I debated just bringing stuff to shower with to work, but instead opted for a quick shower and air-dried my hair. Two hours later, it looked like I had a perm. So the hair stayed under a hat all day. I was so out of it all day. Really beat. Crazy tired. That snowblowing really took a lot out of me. I guess that was a hard workout. I literally lied down on my bed in my sleeping bag for hours since it was quiet on the 911 front for the first half of the day. I didn't think I'd be able to get myself on the treadmill at all, but after getting back from a call later in the evening, I felt a little rejuvinated and ran the usual 5 miles in 36:01. A bit of a struggle, but I felt so much better after I did it.

At least it's an option and it works.

As soon as I finished running, I immediately lost the will power I had all day. These were on the table when I came in to work in the morning....

This is what happened...
I love donuts. Just writing this makes me want one right now. 
That was the start to a bad week of sugar cravings/eating. Probably gained 2-3 lbs. No. Seriously. I probably did. (Annnnnd, writing this part about the donuts just made me scrounge my food bag here at work for something to eat. I just ate an entire bag of chips! I blame the donuts!! Haha.)

I was able to get some sleep before a call in the middle of the night, but after only 4 hours the night before, I was beat on Tuesday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017- Tuesday was actually a beautiful day which never happens. I really had to get out on the roads for a run even though I knew they would be a mess with snow. It didn't matter too much to me, though, knowing the weekend I had ahead of me. I didn't need to be busting it out or even running high mileage. I still got in 10 miles doing an out and back on Bald Hill Rd, then cut across Peqwuaket Pond on the pedestrian bridge to Quint St for a loop back home. Came out to exactly 10 miles, which was my goal. Crazy how that keeps happening, but I think I just know the routes well enough that my approximations are pretty accurate. It was slipping and sliding the whole way which made the effort harder and the pace slower. Still kept the average pace under 7 minutes...barely. 1:19:45. Around 800ft of elevation gain, so it's not like it was an easy run to begin with.

I was happy that a friend had come to plow the driveway that morning. I'm so sick of snowblowing. I might have said that before. Haha. I did have to do some shoveling to make sure the vent for the oil was clear, but that wasn't bad. John and I hit King Pine for some decent skiing that afternoon. The conditions and weather were great. I did end up with a scare when John disappeared from behind me at one point. As most mothers do, I assumed the worst that he was dead with a broken neck at the base of a tree and started to panic. I waited at the bottom for awhile, then got back on the lift. My phone picked up a signal near the top, and a message from John came through. Phew. He had ended up on a different trail and come out at the other lift. We did some more runs then hit the bar. My old Monday ambulance partner, Shawn, is in charge of lift maintenance there and joined us for a drink when his shift was up. I miss working with Shawn. He's still there, but we had to change up partners. I think Shawn is one of the few people who has ever seen me really cry. Haha.

Shawn Taylor

Selfie with a beah

HUGE rice crispie treat (the sugar problem continued)

John on his phone per the usual
We had a little time at home before John's ninja class so I got in my upper body and abs workout. Tuesdays fly by too quickly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017- After lack of sleep the two previous nights, there was no way I could get myself up to run the usual treadmill run. I just couldn't do it. I could barely get myself up for real an hour later. Another huge snowstorm was coming in and the flurries started just before I left for work. It snowed ALL day. And we had no calls ALL day...until night time. Bam. Four calls between 10pm and 5am. Once again. No sleep. And the roads weren't plowed AT ALL. It was insane how much snow fell in a matter of 2 hours around 6pm. Fortunately, the two feet they predicted didn't happen. We got around 14-15 inches which was still crazy when you add it to Sunday's storm.

This is my work environment. If I die from one of those icicles, I'm coming back to haunt this company in a demonic fashion.
Thursday, February 16, 2017- Woke up to SO much snow and a 911 call that kept us on shift just a little late. My car was buried in snow, and it took a few tries to get it through the unplowed driveway so that I could go home. My friend came and plowed the driveway, thankfully. Such a relief. I took the dogs out in the fresh snow. It was crazy. I have to wear big snowshoes all winter long to take them out on our trails, but this snow was almost too much for my snowshoes. It was SO pretty, though.

I knocked these down right after that

That's a Dodge Sprinter van under that! That van was supposed be gone 6 months ago. Grr.
I had to dig out my mailbox again, but since I had gotten all of the icy stuff the week before, it was much quicker this time around.

My mailbox is under that stick.

After digging it out
I waited awhile to head out for my run since I wanted to make sure the open portion of Bear Notch Rd and the Kanc were plowed. I called Northern Extremes to find out if the closed portion of Bear Notch Rd had been groomed yet, and it had. I was psyched with a plan to snowshoe run end-to-end. Regular roads were out of the question unless I wanted to do Chocorua  roads again, and I didn't. No shoulder and barely plowed would have been scary to run on. So I drove up to Bear Notch Rd. Sure enough, it was groomed with some snowmobile traffic already having gone through. Hahaha. This made no difference at all except that I didn't have to break through 15 inches of fresh snow. It was SO soft. I struggled to find any part that was somewhat solid. There was nothing. And this wasn't an easy run anyway. Almost 1000ft of elevation gain. I knew right away that I wasn't making it to the other end and back. It was so slow and a really hard effort. I decided I'd run out 5 and back 5. The weather was mostly sunny except at the height of the land. Beautiful. So even though it wasn't a great run on paper, I got a really good workout. It's pretty fucking hard running 10 miles in soft snow with long climbs; even the downhills took a lot of effort. By the time I got back to the car, I was beat to shit. 10.1 miles total. 1:50:28.

Bear Notch Rd ass kicker snowshoe run
I was immediately sore from that run which wasn't good considering I had a snowshoe race 2 days later. Yeah, the snowshoe race I assumed would be cancelled. Haha. Oops! I went right home and took some Ibuprofen. I don't take it often since I think it actually hinders healing, but sometimes I find taking it once immediately after a hard workout does lessen some of that immediate swelling. I rarely have to take it again after that. That shit is just so bad for you so it needs to be limited in its use. Just like the sugar I was eating all week. :)

I took a quick shower then went to Tin Mountain to pick up John from his Homeschool Group. It's normally on Wednesdays so I don't ever pick him up, but it was postponed to Thursday, and I was taking John the rest of the day/night so that Bryan could finish up training at his new job. I didn't know any of the parents there to pick up the kids, and the moms were all sitting together gabbing. There was an older dad and an older mom there, so I stayed with them while we waited for the kids to come back from snowshoeing...30 minutes later! Haha. I actually had a dentist appointment to get to. Fortunately, they were running behind when I called and said it was fine. It was weird, though, this group. I did not fit in at all. It seems like all homeschooling moms here are stay-at-home moms, and I just cannot relate to that. There was a time when I could, but those days are 6 long years gone!

I was glad John was outside getting exercise. He loves that homeschool group. When they came back, he walked in wearing this outfit that his dad bought him at the Army Barracks the day before. I busted out laughing because the first thing I thought of was Kenny from South Park. Hahaha.

Kenny is alive!
It was off to the dentist for my much overdue cleaning, and then we went home from there. I got in the upper body and abs workout later that night. I'm continuing to see improvements. I had mostly been doing Zuzka Light's Black Diamond Upper Body and Abs workouts with a few of the Upper Body and Abs Inferno thrown in there, but I decided to stick with the Inferno through its series this time to see if I have further improvements. The workouts are shorter, but very intense. The only thing I don't really like about them are the use of floor sliders (or paper plates, in my case). Those tend to work my already fatigued hip flexors just a little too much, but I'm still going to complete this series and just modify the slider part if I need to. Here's a YouTube sample of her stuff. I actually pay a monthly fee for her ZGYM. It's worth it.

Good beer for a sunny Thursday
Interrupting this snapshot of last week for a moment in the present. I was in the middle of writing this when we got a 911 that is probably the worst call I've ever been on. I can't elaborate due to HIPPA, but it's definitely one that will affect me for a long time. In the moment, we all did a great job; that's something positive we can take from this. It's easy to separate yourself from the human patient and do what needs to be done with no emotional involvement, but now, it's starting to hit me. Not to the point where I can't work or I'm a mess (I don't get that way in general), but it's going to stay with me for awhile. I'm in a little bit of shock right now, so some tears will probably be shed tomorrow. Right now would be a great time for a run followed with a beer, but I still have 10.5 hours to go until my shift is up. Going to attempt to put it out of mind and finish this blog post now....and still sitting here with nothing. Might have to bag this and finish it tomorrow. Yeah, I didn't finish it. I tried, but now, I'm just tired and should attempt sleep.

Friday, February 17, 2017- I slept in a little to catch up on my sleep. It was another absolutely beautiful day and the temps were rising. A much needed relief from Snowmageddon. I felt a sense of dread for the races to come over the weekend; that's how I knew in my gut that I made a bad decision. But I paid the $$, so I wasn't skipping Sunday. Exeter was my main focus for the weekend, and since it was the next day, I wanted to keep my run plan something slow and easy on snowshoes. Why I thought Kearsarge would be that, I don't know, but it was definitely a good thing that trail wasn't really runnable yet. On to Plan B, Middle Mountain. Drove to the Thompson Rd trailhead. The trail had been packed down enough to snowshoe run, but like the day before, it wasn't solid. In fact, it was super soft. Crazy slow pace as I "ran" up the Middle Mountain Trail. When I got to the Middle-Peaked split, I noticed that the rest of the Middle Mountain Trail was untouched. Four running steps into it, and I realized that was a no-go. I wouldn't have been able to run in that. The snow was just too thick. On to Plan C. I turned around and continued on the soft-packed trail to the top of Peaked Mt. Fortunately, I had the summit to myself.

Dion 121s

Mt Washington looked way more spectacular in person.
I ran back down via the Peaked Mt Trail. My GPS was way off; it's always off in the woods, but it was probably like a half mile short and maybe 100-200ft off the vertical gain. Came out to 3.5 miles. I was glad I ended up with Peaked instead of Kearsarge. I would have been beat to shit...again. Instead, I felt pretty good and ready for Exeter.

I had time to go to Walmart after my run. I scored John a whole bunch of $3 pants and shirts. The kid has grown 5" since July so he keeps outgrowing his clothes! I know it's Walmart, but they actually have some decent boys' clothes there. He was psyched when I showed him what I got later that day. The sugar problem also continued when I saw a heart box of Hershey's kisses on the Valentine's sale table. Oh hell yes! I love Valentine's Day...after it's over! Haha. I was going to grab some groceries there, too, but they didn't have any good tortillas (one of my favorite foods. Whole wheat tortillas!), so I made a quick trip to Shaw's. Getting errands done.

John came home just after I did. He and his dad had been outside all morning getting exercise, so I let John stay behind while I took Spot and Phoenix up Heavenly Hill. This wasn't just a walk. This was donning the big snowshoes to break trail through very thick snow. It took me over 40 minutes to go the .6 miles to the top. I was DYING. Pouring in sweat. This hike ended up being way harder than my snowshoe run earlier. I guess I wasn't taking it easy after all.

My 18 year old Tubbs still put to use nearly every day in the winter.

For a dog born in Arizona, she sure has taken to the New Hampshire winter just fine.
So funny thing. Got a Facebook memory showing I did the exact same thing two years to the day. Broke trail up Heavenly Hill. I even wore the same sweatshirt!! That's pretty crazy. Not much has changed, obviously... except my looks. Boy, have I aged in two years! Most of it happened during the two months of my injury. No lie. Granted, the picture from 2015 was after I had showered. The pic from today is after a run and then sweating to death on the hike up. I actually wasn't wearing makeup in either pic which is funny.

I used to be pretty so many long 2 years ago!

Old hag! Haha. It's the wrinkles. Now, I understand botox.
Oh, and if you think I was done and ready to relax after that hike, guess again! Next on the agenda, shovel that mound of snow in front of the double doors in preparation for all of the snow to come sliding off the roof...only to create a new pile. I'm not sure how long I shoveled, but maybe 30 minutes or so. A lot of it was ice that I couldn't even break through, but I made a good dent in it (two days later the roof snow all came down; the mound is even higher than it was before!). I was seriously so done. Sweat-inducing activity #3 was over, and I was ready for a shower and a beer. Oh but wait, why is my pocket empty?!! The pocket where my phone was when I started shoveling!! Noooooooooo! But Yessssssssssss! It had fallen out of my pocket and gotten buried somewhere in the huge pile of snow I had just shoveled. I think the whine and the "Why me?!" were justified in this case, right? I had a tiny bit of luck find me since I started digging in the right place first. It still took about 5 minutes, but there it was under about a foot of snow. I'm SO glad I have a water resistant, shatter-proof phone. It would be totally destroyed by now. I was so relieved and finally got that shower and beer. Skipped the upper body and abs workout to save more hip flexor fatigue.

Saturday, February 18, 2017- RACE #1- Exeter Snowshoe Hullabaloo

Ok. So this is actually where I stopped on Wednesday night. We ended up with 2 overnight calls, so between that and the terrible 911, I was drained. Thursday was a whirlwind of busy-ness which I'll write more about in the next post. I'm still mentally tired, so I'm not sure the rest of this blog post will be what I'd hoped for when I started writing it.

After Snowmaggedon, the snow was in the perfect range for the Exeter snowshoe race. 100% perfect. I ran Exeter one other time in 2015 when we also had good snow. I remembered it being difficult with constant rollers, but that I loved it. My memory was accurate. The course was different because of a change in the start location and went backwards on the trails from 2015. It made no difference. The course was still rollers and difficult. Haha.

I was happy for the late start since I was still trying to catch up on sleep from Monday and Wednesday nights. We left at 7:15am for the drive to Exeter. Absolutely gorgeous morning. By the time we arrived to the race sight, the temps had risen and the sun was bright. It was great. I checked in then went right out for a 3-mile road run to warm up. I ran into Exeter center to 1.5 miles, then turned around. Easy run over 8 min pace. I got back to the car and took Chill out behind the parking area which turned out to be the water treatment facility for Exeter. It was surrounded by dirt (mud, acutally) roads, so it ended up being perfect to run with Chill off-leash.

Once back at the car, I got changed, made sure John was all set then walked over to the start. A lot of people had shown up for this one. Chris Mahoney was there, as well as two guys from Boston, and a large number of Six03 and aR people. As soon as I walked into the lot by the starting area, I noticed a younger girl doing some serious warming up. My first thought was, "Oh damn. I have competition." She looked super serious like a bad ass. I didn't see anyone else who might be tough to beat. Sarah Canney is probably the closest to me at any of the snowshoe races, but other than that, I don't see much competition. So this red-headed girl had me worried.

I ran the first 100 yards of the start to get a feel of the snow and see how long we had before the single track. It wasn't long, so I knew I needed to start right up front. Just as we were lining up, the red-headed girl walked into the starting area, and then it dawned on me who she was. Hahaha. I chuckled to myself because the last time I raced her, she put on the same bad-ass show, and then I smoked her by over a minute. I knew right then that this was all a show and that she wouldn't be any competition for me. I also didn't think she would be competition for Sarah either, so when I turned around and saw Sarah lined up behind her, I motioned for her to move up ahead. She didn't, but she would end up passing Red early on and then beating her in the end. The girl is only 15, so she will be beating us soon, but I can't help but love putting cocky teenagers in their place.

Anyway, I felt I lined up pretty well for the start, and off we went. By the time we hit the single track, I realized that I had misjudged the guy in front of me and quickly passed him in one of the soft passing lanes on the first downhill. Scott Mitchell and another guy would end up doing the same thing with Scott then passing me in first mile. The course was everything I remembered. Difficult and the real deal for a snowshoe race. Although there was a packed trail, it was still soft and difficult. I hung on behind Scott and we both passed a guy who was ahead of us. The guy who had been behind Scott would do the same eventually so that it was the three of us in a line for the first two miles. It was constant ups and downs. Crazy difficult with my heart rate high. Just after mile 2, Scott slowed a bit on the downhills so I passed him. I felt good still at this point and got ahead of him and the other guy. I didn't really know where I was around mile 3, but I saw a spectator whom we had passed early on in the race so I had a feeling we were actually close to the finish. They said the race was close to 4 miles, though, so I was thinking that I couldn't do another mile of this stuff. I all of a sudden just tanked and got that feeling that I was about to vomit. Right at mile 3.2. Just like Whitaker and Moose Mt.  I was so hoping the 4-mile thing was wrong. When I heard a train go by on the tracks, I knew it was wrong and we were close. I noticed at this point that Scott and the other guy were closing in on me. Scott started being funny and telling me to go, that he was catching up. I gave everything I had, but it wasn't enough, he passed me just before the finish line. Hahaha. I called him a jerk. It was all in jest, though. He beat me fair and now, I want revenge. Hahaha. I'm coming for you at the next one, Scott Mitchell. :)

Just before the finish. Photo by Gianina Lindsay
I finished first woman and 11th overall in 33:32. Not bad considering it was a decent field ahead of me. An unsuspecting guy who brought the Drink Maple won the race. The two guys from Boston, Phil Erwin  and Ed Sheldon rounded out the top 5. Sarah finished about 2.5 minutes back and Red almost 3 minutes back. Full Results

I had run so hard that it took me a bit to catch my breath. I was beat. That was 100% effort right there. Probably took me a few minutes to recover before I walked down to the lot. I ended up talking to Chris and Heather Mahoney for a bit before walking back over to the car. I took Chill and Phoenix on a short cool down back at the water treatment area before John and I walked back over to the race area for food and awards. It was so nice out. Just what we needed after being hit by all of winter in a span of 4 days. Unfortunately, this warm weather was just beginning of the major thaw that would melt the snow quickly. I ended up winning a new pair of ski goggles....hahaha... Julbo ones. BUT, as I stated in my Julbo rant back in 2015, I already wore Julbo ski goggles and liked them, but seriously, on Tuesday, I told John that I really needed a new pair. Voila! There they were. They're pretty nice so I'll be nice for once about Julbo. But, come on, the whole "Eric Narcisi's Sunglasses" post was about a pair of Julbo's! I think I've made up for being so harsh...even though I meant every word I said in that post. :) I talked to the two "fast-looking" guys from Boston for a little bit. They don't snowshoe race, so it was pretty impressive to see them come out and take 2nd and 5th.

After the awards, John and I walked back to the car where I quickly changed. Then we drove to Portsmouth to meet up with Scott Mason, Tony Wild and Chris Jasparro at the Portsmouth Brewery for drinks and food. They would be it for the Tuesday Night Turtles showing up at Exeter and probably for all of this season. With the sunny, warm weather, Portsmouth was mobbed. We had a long wait for a table, but we didn't care. Just sat at the bar. I tried to get a picture of us all through the mirror. Wasn't as cool as I thought, and you can't even see John. Haha.

Me, Chris, Scott and Tony
Scott Mason's photography skills are way better than mine. ;)
I was starving after we sat down and couldn't say no when Tony offered me one of his Volcano chicken fingers. OH MY GOD. I have never in my life eaten anything as spicy as that. I was DYING. My mouth was on fire, and tears were literally running down my face. They were laughing at me; I was laughing at myself through the tears. It took probably 20 minutes for my mouth to be mostly normal again. Wow. That was no joke at all. I could not handle it. Tony took a picture of me laughing through the tears of pain from my mouth burning off. Haha.

The waitress was about to bring me a piece of bread to ease the pain, but our food was up. Lifesaver! Pastrami with chips and salsa. We had another round and some fun conversation then parted ways. They were headed to Throwback Brewery on their way back to Rhode Island while John and I went to Blitz Air Park so John could have some fun. I'm so happy for these trampoline parks popping up everywhere. If only someone would see the huge money potential in North Conway and open one there. But, no, a Taco Bell and more outlet stores are what we get. Eye-roll.

We got home pretty late and the sense of dread and feeling like I had made a mistake in signing up for Old Fashioned hit me. I couldn't believe we were getting up early to do it all over again. Such a dumb decision. I was way more beat from Exeter than I expected. Ugh. If I hadn't paid all of that money, I wouldn't go, but I forced myself into it. I don't know how I managed to get in my upper body and abs workout in, but I did, showered, unpacked then repacked and called it a night.

Sunday, February 19, 2017- Old Fashioned 5K and 10-Miler

4:45am alarm. CRY, WHINE, CRY! I still got up, took the dogs out, went through the usual routine, got John and the dogs in the car then we hit the road at 5:45am. The drive ended up being pretty nice. Beautiful sunrise. No traffic. Just smooth sailing. Stopped at Panera in Waltham to get John breakfast then continued on, getting to Foxborough at little before 8:30am, just as planned. I was in a state of denial that I had to run a 5k....and then a 10 mile...both on tired and unexpectedly sore legs. My quads were slightly sore. I didn't know how I was going to pull this off. I knew that whatever goal I had (sub-1:05) probably wasn't going to happen, but I didn't know how bad it was going to be. Ugh. Why did I do this?

I ran into Bob Kennedy as I was checking in. He's such a nice guy. I talked to him there and then again in the parking lot before I headed out on a warm up. It was nice to run into people I knew. I wasn't sure that I would at this one. Ran 2 miles for a warm up. Normally, I do 3 if I can, but I really didn't need to today with two races. I purposely ran my warm up so I could get my bearings on where the start and finish were for both races. There was only 45 minutes between the start of the 5K and the start of 10K, so I wanted to make sure I had enough time in between to get back to the car to change clothes and check on John.

After the warm up, I went back to the car and got ready to race. Temperature was close to 50 degrees; it was awesome. Perfect racing weather. I wore shorts and a t-shirt. Walked to the start line of the 5K and lined up. Dave Schaad got in line ahead of me so I talked to him for a bit and then we were off. Three women went off ahead of me which made me go out way too fast. My goal for the 5K was between 19:30 and 20:00. "Slow" for me. I didn't care much about my time for this race since it was important not to destroy myself before the 10-miler. But I ran the first mile stupidly fast at 6:00. I smartened up after that and slowed way down. I was 2nd woman by this point with the 1st woman WAY ahead. I knew I couldn't catch her if I tried, and a look back saw no other woman in sight, so I was comfortable to slow the pace. 6:25 and 6:24 for the 2nd and 3rd miles to finish in 19:22. 2nd woman and 6th overall. It was still a little faster than I had planned due to the first mile, but I was happy with myself for slowing down. OF 5K Results


Why are my quads so fat with gross skin all of a sudden?! Ew.  I do like this pic, though.
As soon as I finished, I took a cup of water and walked quickly back to the car. John went to use the bathroom while I changed clothes. I realized then that I was really tired. I couldn't do it. There was no way I could race a 10 miler in 20 minutes. I seriously just wanted to drive away right then, but that damn entry fee kept me in the game. Once I was dressed and John was back, I ran to the start of the 10-miler. I actually ended up at the start with over 10 minutes to spare. That made it worse since I was thinking of how dumb this was. I just paced up and down the road. I talked to a nice couple who had recently moved from New Jersey to Sturbridge; they noticed my Central Mass Striders shirt and asked about the club. They are searching for an active club in their area. I felt bad I wasn't much help since I live nowhere near there. After talking to them, I walked up to the start line. The woman who won the 5K was also doing the 10, just like me. I recognized a few of the men, as well. A few fast looking women, including one in a New Balance team uniform, lined up as well. I didn't care at all. The only goal in my head at this point was to finish the damn thing.

After the start, it spread out quickly. The woman who won the 5K shot out way in front where she would stay the whole race. I was passed quickly by the New Balance woman and her pacer as well as another woman. My quads felt so heavy, but I attempted to maintain my original goal pace. 6:18 and 6:15 for the first two miles, then I was done. I couldn't hold that pace. My legs were screaming at me. By mile 3, I was ready to drop out. I felt dizzy and like I couldn't move. 6:43. OUCH. If I were anywhere near the car, I would have stopped. I wanted to quit. I didn't think I could make it the whole 10. But, ugh, I kept going. I had passed the third woman somewhere in the 3rd mile so now, I was third. I thought maybe I could hold that if I just kept going. Somewhere near mile 4 the New Balance girl and her pacer were standing off to the side. I couldn't tell what was wrong, but she was bent over like she was either in pain or sick. I had no idea if she was dropping out or just taking a break, but this now put me in 2nd place. Ughhhh. No way could I give up now.

I was kind of bummed that I had destroyed myself before this race. I was loving the course since it was pretty and right up my alley with short, yet constant, rolling hills. I feel like it's a course I would actually do well on if I had been 100%. But I never could get my pace back down. It averaged around 6:40 for the last 8, I'm estimating. I know I can do way better than that on another day. But I was happy to just keep myself going. I pushed myself to my max even though it wasn't what I wanted. At a turn just before mile 8, I looked back to see the NB girl in sight. She was a ways back, but the fact that I was junk with two miles to go and she was visible meant that she had a good chance of catching me. I was happy for the gradual downhill for the first part of mile 9 and then again in mile 10. My legs were spent and gravity was on my side. When we came passed this apartment complex I recognized from my warm up, I knew it was almost over. As we turned for the final stretch, I looked back to see no woman in sight. It was a relief. I had no kick in me at all. We passed the race HQ. I could see the finish. The torture was almost over. I hadn't even looked at my watch in over a mile so I was surprised to see the clock still in the 1:05. I was shocked. I thought for sure I wouldn't finish under 1:07. I'd take it! Crossed the line in 1:05:44. 2nd woman again! Haha. 22nd overall. Ten Miler Results. And, obviously, I was 2nd woman in the BadAss Combo. Kind of funny that the top two women were the same in both races. Combo Results

Finishing the Ten Miler

I was SO done. I got my medals, a bottle of water and then started walking to the car. I remember thinking how I couldn't wait to get back to John and the dogs and how I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I even bagged a cool down. It was more fun to go out in the snowy field with the dogs while John climbed the trees. That's all I wanted to be doing at that moment. We briefly went to the awards. It was taking a long time for the 10 mile awards, and I assumed I was just getting another lapel pin so we left. I got an email later in the week saying I had won $50! So that was a nice surprise. I really need a do over with this one at some point. I liked the event and the course and hate coming out of it feeling like shit. Hopefully, it will workout to run it again in the next few years. And I definitely won't do the 5K next time. That was SO dumb! All in all, though, I still did ok. My time wasn't horrible, and I was 2nd in both races. It's just the aftermath and need for recovery that really hurt.

Clouds right at the 93/95 split
John and I stopped for lunch at the Yard House in Dedham. Just like the day before, the place was slammed with people out enjoying the awesome weather. It took us about 20 minutes to get a table, so once again I was starving. Got a burger and fries and had two beers.

After the Yard House, we waited in a ridiculously long line for ice cream for John and a coffee for me before walking back to the car and heading home. Once home, it was into the Sunday night routine of getting ready for my 24 hour shift. I managed to get in my upper body and abs workout. No idea how I had the energy. I showered, then sat down to watch the Walking Dead. All was good until about 10 minutes into it, I felt really sick to my stomach. I so wanted to throw up. When the show was over, I managed to get myself up. Found some Antacid that had expired 3 years prior and hoped for the best. Within 10 minutes, I felt fine...and I didn't die! Took the dogs out, got the dishes done then hopped into bed. I knew the next day had to be a zero. What had I done to myself? Ugh. Stupid decision, but it was over with. Just had to make sure I was smart the rest of the week before the World Snowshoe Championship. Unfortunately, I wasn't expecting the mental recovery I would need after Wednesday's 911. I guess we'll just see how it goes and give myself a break if it doesn't go well.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2017 Bradbury Whiteout Snowshoe Race

I don't really know why I decided to look up the origin of my last name a few nights ago, but I did. This was my favorite. Haha. People often ask me how drink so much beer and still run so fast. Well... I'm a fucking O'Dell. Haha. And on the other side I'm a Dooley. It's in my genes! My favorite part of that, though, is "Fun Person!" Even though I've felt very unfun lately, I actually consider myself to be pretty fucking fun. I like to do things, go places, eat good food and drink a lot of good beer. Too bad my fun self scares people away. Their loss. I'll just continue to have fun doing whatever the hell I want without them. :)

So you can probably tell I'm feeling a lot better now. A lot of uncertainty and difficult decisions over the last few weeks finally seem to be settled and accepted. I made peace with the other person. Agreed to keep things on a friend level, stay in each other's lives, but keep it more simple. It's actually been working out ok. Not how I wanted it to be, but it is what it is, and I've accepted that. I'm just working on keeping more of my life to myself. I don't need to share so much of it anymore. Obviously, if you read my blog, you know I'm an oversharer anyway, so this is probably a welcome relief to him. Haha. I'm slipping up occasionally but definitely getting better about it.

Even though I'm feeling better about all of that, it didn't really get resolved until later in the week, and then I had a pretty upsetting incident with John's dad on Friday. It was like February 2015 all over again when he was a nasty, nasty person to me for a situation that wasn't my fault. And just when I was thinking things were finally at a good point. But at least this time, he recognized it was wrong and admitted he lost his shit. I think this stuff will happen occasionally. Some trigger will just bring back those feelings of rage and hatred that existed between the last two years of our marriage through 6 months after our divorce. I think it's how we deal with it after that makes a difference now. Recognizing it, admitting the mistake and then just moving on for John's sake. This incident did result in John not wanting to be with his dad on Sunday as planned, but his dad tried afterward to make it right. Neither of us is perfect, but this was a good example of how we can deal much better in the aftermath.

The week culminated with ME totally losing MY shit when I couldn't get the car up my road after we got home from the snowshoe race. Failing to get up the slippery road on about the 5th try (there would be a total of 11 attempts) drove me to my tipping point. All of that anger, sadness, frustration, etc of the last few months finally came out in a fit of rage. Tears, hitting my dashboard (which really hurt my hand, by the way haha) and screaming, "I'M SO SICK OF SHIT!!!" It was funny because through all of that I kept telling John that this just me having a much needed breakdown and that I had to get this out. And I sure as hell did. Haha. Honestly, the sense of calm I felt after was the first moment I really started to feel better about everything. It was then that I realized that I had so much pent up emotions. I knew how I felt about things through it all, but the anger that I thought I'd gotten past was obviously still there. I'm hot headed, so this hot head has to let it out every now and then. And 4 days later, the sense of calm is still there. So, seriously, I'm feeling pretty good right now.

So onto the running part. A good week mileage wise. 60.3. Exactly where I want to be. Definitely not getting in the mountain runs I would like because I seem to have bad luck with the weather during the time I can get out there. I don't enjoy breaking trails up mountains. I like to run on them when they're packed down and have yet to hit it right. This week was tough weather wise, so I never actually got in a long run. I did manage to have 4 days at 10+, though, so I call that good enough. I do what I can do. I felt pretty good this week, too, so I was really happy with that.

I was disappointed to see the Kingman Moonlight Snowshoe Race postponed from what would have been the most pristine snowshoe running conditions to February 25th. I do, however, completely understand why Chris made the call the week before. This is the one race when a last minute decision on whether to hold the snowshoe race or not cannot be made. So once again, I won't be running Kingman! The World Championship Snowshoe Race is that same day in NY. I've already paid my entry fee and for accommodations. I'll admit that I was a bit annoyed that wasn't taken into consideration since quite a few of us who are loyal to the Granite State Snowshoe Series will be at World's and will have to miss Kingman. And funny this was the 2nd time in 3 winters when I ended up at the Bradbury Whiteout Snowshoe Race instead after Kingman was moved when conditions to race would have been fine. But oh well. Can't dwell too much. Just kind of screws up my plans for the Series. I just have to hope I do well at Exeter next weekend since I was already missing another GSSS snowshoe race (the morning after Kingman) due to World's. The championship race on March 5th is going to count as 2 races for scoring, so right now, my standings in the finals are completely up in the air. I'm almost to the point of not caring anymore, though. The GSSS has been pretty disappointing most of the years I've done it. I'd say 2015 was a great year, but other than that, people seem to be losing interest in the Series. Chris mentioned changing things up next year, though, so I hope that works out; it needs improvement with scheduling and, in my opinion, choice of races included in the Series. As of now, I would almost rather go to the final Bradbury snowshoe race or Ski to the Clouds than the GSSS championship....all scheduled for the same day!!! If Kingman had happened as planned, I probably would have ended my series races with Exeter.

My calendar has really filled up with more double race weekends planned through mid-March. The plan is to end doubles after that EXCEPT the weekend of Mt Washington and the Ribfest 5 mile. That being said, my weekly mileage might actually decrease between now and mid-March because of that. Not certain, but I suspect it. These next two weekends are going to be tough. Not sure what I'm thinking with my planned races because two of the 4 are hard road races. I guess in a way I do know why I've done it somewhat, but I'm worried it could end up being too much. Might have to really take next week back a bit in mileage AND speed. I really want to be ready for New Bedford this year; it's been my main goal for the winter. I was extremely unmotivated last year. The year before, I ran a decent time, but it wasn't a good race for me; I was in shape to run a 1:21 easy that year. I have a totally different attitude about it this time around. I may not even run it as fast as 2015, but it sure as hell had better be faster than last year. After that, I have one major goal race in April and one in May, with some other stuff just filling the void. I would actually post all of my race calendar on here if I wasn't worried a certain someone would show up to watch from the shadows.

On to the weekly report!

Monday, February 6, 2017- Got my 5 mile treadmill run in much earlier in the day this time. 36:09. The day ended up pretty quiet until a few calls after 5pm. Slept all night.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017- What's become typical for most Tuesdays, a snowstorm blew in. Rather than sliding around on slippery roads and risk getting hit by a plow, I opted for 10 miles on the treadmill. Like I've said before, it's a much better workout anyway. Way more beneficial than running outside in shitty conditions. Felt pretty good. In part because I added four new songs to my running playlist. It's how I get through treadmill runs. 1:10:57. Same approximate elevation gain around 1,035ft for the run. I didn't feel like I had to work as hard this time around so that's a really good sign that I'm improving my fitness at that distance a bit. The 10 mile distance is really my borderline to where I'm not super great or horrible at them. Right on that line of mediocre. It's the distances after 10 that I feel I'm better at. We'll see how it goes at my next 10-miler coming up here in the near future. It still bothers me that I've twice run a 10-mile split in a longer distance race much faster than any actual 10 mile race itself. At Boston Prep 2015, my 10-mile split was 1:04:33. At the 2014 White Mountain Milers Half Marathon, my 10-mile split was around 1:02:40!!!! That's just crazy. My 10 mile PR...1:06:02. Sooooo, how does that work?! I have no idea, obviously. I'll be honest that if I don't break 1:05 at my next 10 mile race, then I'll be pretty disappointed. Granted, it's on day 2 of a double weekend, so I'm probably setting myself up for failure. Haha.

Anyway, John and I went out into the storm for breakfast at the Sunrise Shack. Breakfast beer and coffee and the biggest omelet I've ever had! I had to take half of the home fries home; they would be all I ate for the rest of the day.

John at Sunrise Shack. Moat Call it a Day DIPA and a coffee.
From there, we drove down the hill to Believe in Books where cross country skiing is only $5/car. The trails hadn't been groomed since probably the week before, but it didn't matter. We don't need groomed trails. These are pretty flat and easy. Did 2.5 miles.

A few of us were able to talk the owner of the gym to still hold ninja class that night since it keeps getting cancelled on Tuesdays due to weather. John's class only had 2 people show up, so Coach Carl worked them hard. John got in a really good day of exercise. I got in my usual Upper Body and Abs workout that night, too, so we both had a good day.

As soon as we got home from ninja, I went out and snowblowed the driveway for about an hour or so. Even though it was still snowing, the snow was going to turn to freezing rain within hours, so I needed to get the 5 or so inches that had fallen up so that I could get to work the next morning. I wouldn't be able to snowblow the frozen rain with my snowblower. Just as predicted, the freezing rain started around 11 when I took the dogs out, and the next morning, the driveway was a frozen mess. I realized at that point I needed to hire a plow for the rest of the winter.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017- Actually struggled through the first mile of my morning 5 miles on the treadmill so I decided to keep the rest of it easy. Funny how different I feel from one day to the next. The early hour is a factor for sure since I don't do well going right to run from waking up. And some Wednesdays, I'm just more tired than others. 36:35 for the 5.

Work started off with a call then was quiet until later and then two back-to-back middle of the night calls. Only got about 3.5 hours of sleep.

Thursday, February 9, 2017- Woke up to another big snowstorm, which be number 2 of 3 for the week. I barely made it down the driveway because it was a total mess. Nothing I could do at that point. John and his dad had been staying there on Wednesday night, but he typically won't help clear the driveway. He didn't anticipate this and ended up getting majorly stuck when he and John were trying to leave. I finally went out to help, but he really didn't want me out there so I went back in. Probably took them 45 minutes to get out. I was getting a little annoyed since I wanted to leave for my run before the snow got even thicker. I just didn't want to leave yet in case he really did need my help. At that point I knew I had to find someone to plow the driveway ASAP. Crazy that I knew no one except a coworker in Tamworth, so I texted him asking if he knew anybody up my way. He told me that he would do it, which was cool. I was relieved to have that set and left for my run.

I'm pretty surprised I've never done this run from my house before. I've done part of it where I started at the Community Market in Madison and run the snowmobile trail to Silver Lake Railroad and back. I remembered that was 9 miles. My goal was 12 miles total, so I thought it might be close to that. I decided to wear my oldest Dion Snowshoes since I would be running on the road briefly until I met up with the snowmobile trail/RR tracks across Rt 16 at Coleman's. By the time I hit the RR tracks, the snow was already pretty thick with fresh powder. Since I knew I would be breaking trail the whole way, I didn't mind this nearly flat route to Silver Lake Railroad and back. The snowmobile trail does a straight shot on the RR tracks the whole way. It starts off on the Conway bypass before it meets Corridor 19 (the section I had run before). I'll admit that it was a long 6 miles. The snow was falling hard so it was getting thicker quickly. The wind was blowing and my eyelashes were freezing up constantly. I dressed warm enough and thankfully chose my heaviest set of (ugly) wool leggings. Had I not, my legs would have been FROZEN by the end. The longer I ran, the thicker the snow got and the harder it was to run. My pace went from the high 9s into the 10s by the time I reached the Silver Lake Railroad station. I found it pretty crazy that from my porch right to 113 at the Station was exactly 6 miles on the dot. I thought it was would be close to 6, but exactly 6?! That's just crazy. Turned around and headed back. A snowmobile had gone through behind me, but it actually made the trail worse. Breaking trail was actually easier, so I ran off to the side until I ended up back on fresh unbroken tracks where the snowmobile had gone off a different way. I was getting really tired by mile 9. My original snowshoe tracks were barely discernible through the fresh snow that had fallen. My pace at this point continued to drop considerably into mid-11 to nearly 12-minute miles. By the time I hit Coleman's I was really done. I was covered in snow from top-to-bottom. I made it home slogging the last mile on the pavement in my snowshoes. 12 miles in 2:07:49. That was truly a LONG run. Good endurance training, though.

My legs when I was done with the run. Craziness.
I went right in the house, took off my snowshoes in the mud room and walked right to the shower dropping snowballs all over the house. Haha. That was the best shower in recent memory. Plow guy never came so I was stuck at home the rest of the day with no food really. I ended up eating year old graham crackers and then grilled cheese for John and me for dinner. Lately, I've had a few low blood sugar incidents from not eating enough over too long of a time period. I was just about to start my upper body and ab workout when the shaking, sweating and nausea just hit me. That's when the graham crackers came in. haha. If you've ever had low blood sugar like that, you know it affects your thought process, so I couldn't figure out what to eat in such a hurry. I just remember looking around and noticing the box of graham crackers. In my right mind, I would normally have a swig of maple syrup immediately, then followed up by real food, but I really couldn't think properly. It's kind of scary in the moment, but it has helped me understand what's going on with our diabetic patients. It's also helped me recognize the signs and symptoms more quickly. Altered mental status always gets a finger stick.

Anyway, got in 20 minutes of a workout and felt fine the rest of the night. John isn't normally with me on Thursdays but had messaged me earlier asking if he could come home for the night. I normally keep this night quiet and to myself since it's the ONLY night of the week I get that, but I said yes. Still no plow, so my plan to go out for errands was out. Might as well have John there with me.

Had to have a really good snowstorm beer that night. I snagged the very last bottle of it they had when I stopped at Foolproof  a few weeks beforehand. Didn't need to go to Barrel Reserve Night after all!

Girl dogs begging for dinner
Friday, February 10, 2017- This was the morning I made peace with the other person and then had my horrible incident with John's dad. Haha. Plow guy messaged me that he was still coming at some point. I was kind of annoyed since I really needed it plowed the night before, but he was also doing me a favor by driving up from his regular area to do it, so I had to let it go. I knew he'd been up all night plowing, but he didn't show up until 11am! And this is kind of what caused the issue with Bryan. But in all fairness to myself, I did nothing wrong and did not deserve the way he treated me that morning. Completely uncalled for, but like I said, he admitted that he lost his shit. The problem with this is that it resulted in John not wanting to be with him as planned on Sunday. He had the whole weekend off, and since I was still helping him out with John on his days, he was going to take John on Sunday. Fortunately, John's lived through this before and was able to get over it quickly, but if this starts happening again, at what point will John be done with it? I'm hoping it doesn't get to this point again. Like I said previously, though, Bryan recognized his mistake and made it right. It just scared me a little to see him look at me with a hatred I haven't seen in two years; and the fact that it was unwarranted made it even scarier.

I had just enough time to get out for very much needed run before Bryan brought John back. They literally pulled in the neighborhood right behind me. I wanted to get in another 12 mile run, but something somewhat decent, so it was down to the roads near Chocorua Lake. My go-to for post-snowstorm road runs. I wore my Hoka Speed Instinct's with microspikes. The road is very well plowed, but it was still slightly soft with snow most of the way making the run a tad slower than usual. By mile 9 the microspikes were starting to make my feet sore through the Hokas, but I finished it up. The day was absolutely beautiful. So worth getting out. 12.4 miles in 1:37:50.

MY Hokas with Chocorua Lake and Mt Chocorua. And no, it is not MY mountain, although it is in MY town, not Tamworth. Haha.
I usually try to get all of my major errands done on Thursdays when I'm alone, but, unfortunately, I couldn't and John got dragged along Friday afternoon. It wasn't much. I had to get my nails done, buy dog food and hit the grocery store. I had John pick out my nail color. I actually really like it. Yellow is my favorite color!

See the age spots?! I've actually had those since I was 35. One of the reasons I get my nails done. So I can look at my hands and see something nice. My most frivolous expenditure.
We got dog food at the pet store after that, then I reluctantly went to Hannaford. I told John that I hate going to Hannaford because I always run into people I know. Fortunately, the two people I did run into I really like and didn't mind stopping to talk. Suzie Carrier, whom I haven't seen in forever, and Andy Drummond, with whom I'm hoping to join at some point this winter up on Mt Washington for some backcountry skiing. I've never done it, but I'd like to try it. Andy has offered and has the gear, so I just have to find the right day!

Got in 20 minutes of upper body and abs, then had the Mt Yasur porter I got at the Tilted Barn. I think it took me less time to drink it than it did to get it filled. I got myself some strawberries and cream white chocolates at the store to give to myself for Valentine's Day. Haha.

Saturday, February 11, 2017- Friday's snow storm dropped another 3-4 inches of snow. It was still tapering off most of Saturday morning so it was back to the treadmill for me after sitting around for awhile pounding coffee. Bryan actually asked if I wanted to go for a run while he would take John to Frontside Grind. Ugh. That rarely happens on a weekend and I was stuck inside for my run!! Figures. That's when I could tell he was really trying to make up for the day before. John didn't want to go to Frontside Grind, so he stayed with me while I got 6 miles in on the treadmill. 43:47. 7:18/mi pace. I had intended to run easier than that, but I felt really good so I increased the speed. I snowblowed the driveway as soon as I was done with my run. What a pain in the fucking ass. Seriously. With a driveway as long as mine, it's just such a waste of time. Started to notice that the snowblower was barely working. This was fluffy powder and the blower could barely throw it. It also was barely moving. Something is definitely wrong with it. When I was done with that, I spent about 20 minutes digging out my completely covered mailbox, only to have the plow guy come through and cover it back up part of the way. I wasn't too upset about it because he at least moved out some of the snow in front of it. After that, I dug out the area around my oil outtake and scraped (very little) of the roof with my roof rake.

John and I went back to Believe in Books that afternoon to cross country ski again. After realizing it wasn't busy at all on Tuesday, I decided to bring Spot and Phoenix along this time. We did the exact same loop as Tuesday, except in the opposite direction. 2.5 miles again. Trail still hadn't been groomed, but my backcountry skis are fine with that. John has regular straight skis, but he's hardly ever on groomed trails with them. He's freaking fast, too! Seriously! I tried skiing all out, like as fast as I could, and he caught up with me quickly every time. If I could just convince him to join the nordic ski team...!


She actually loves plowing through fresh snow.
We stopped at Frontside Grind on the way home for coffee, hot chocolate and toast. I was starving!

Snow depth outside at Frontside Grind...prior to Sunday's storm that brought another 14-15in. Another 15-18 today, so I can't wait to see what it looks like tomorrow!
I went by Paris Farmers Union to buy wood pellets but they were closed! Cry....because this meant I had to go in Walmart! Surprised to get in and out of there in 10 minutes! By the time we got home, I was JUNK. So tired. I opted out of the usual upper body workout since I had the snowshoe race the next day. A lot of the ab exercises also work the hip flexors, and the hip flexors are usually the most worked part of my body when snowshoeing. I didn't want to fatigue that area anymore than I already had from the xc skiing. I knew I would still get in the 4 days of workouts after Sunday anyway. I made us spaghetti for dinner and had some beers then sat like a total sloth on the couch for hours. I was all done, but I wasn't worried about the next day's race at Bradbury. To me, these snowshoe races are more for fun than really competing.

Sunday, February 12, 2017- Bradbury Whiteout Snowshoe Race-

I didn't have to get up super early, but when the alarm went off at 6:15am and I didn't know where I was or why the alarm, I decided to snooze for another 30 minutes. Those 30 minutes made all the difference. With another snow storm approaching and the roads not yet clear, I decided to leave 15 minutes earlier than usual. We got there 15 minutes later than usual. Wow. Does Maine not know how to clear roads? The storm had been gone for nearly 24 hours at this point. Literally, 302 covered in black ice from Bridgton to Raymond. No exaggeration at all. Cars off the road along the way. I don't know how many treks I've made to a Bradbury snowshoe race on shitty roads. It's kind of funny. The snow covered back roads were actually safer and easier to drive on than the main ones. Maine might want to look into reconsidering SALT on its roads. Might actually save a few human lives. While I'm all for a safer environment, do you really think the families of people who have died on those roads are happy we saved some fish or animals by not sanding/salting the roads? If you read up about it, it all comes down to money, not the environment... as does everything, right?

All I can say is that without my car being a standard, I would have already wrecked the damn thing. Having a stick shift has allowed me to get away with only front-wheel drive and all-season tires... for the most part. (Obviously, not being able to get up my road once or twice a winter could be fixed with better tires and 4-wheel drive). But seriously, having a 2-wheel drive and a standard actually teaches you how to drive in these conditions, and while I can't say I won't ever put my car in a snow bank, I will say I'm a really good driver in this shit. People are usually pretty surprised to see me pulling up in my hamster car in this stuff. I will be honest, though. I'm not afraid to admit it. I SO want one of these....

My dream car complete with terrible gas mileage and all. Brand new, this exact color, all the bells and whistles. That's not a possibility in my current life, but maybe some day. 
Anyway, back to the race. Since I showed up late, I had to hustle to get my 3-mile warm up in. Easier said than done since the road was covered in snow, and I had to wear microspikes. When I was done, I had less than 20 minutes to the start. I still had to change shoes, put on my number and use the bathroom one more time. I wasn't waiting in a stupid line so I made a trip to the woods then made it up to the start with 5 minutes to spare. I pretty much lined up in the exact same order as the Squall. I knew the speed of everyone around me so it was easy to get in the right spot. Huge advantage to having raced with the same people through the years. I'll admit that while I wasn't nervous about my competition, I was nervous about the course. Ryan Triffit promised the real deal as far as snowshoe racing goes, and you seriously couldn't get more legit than this. I decided to just go out and fall in line behind some people and not push the pace for at least the first 2 miles, which is pretty much what I did. Turned out to be the right move. The start was a decent stretch on wide snowmobile trail and then it turned into the single track trough. I entered the woods in a small line behind Ian Parlin, Jeff Walker, another Trail Monster, Bill, and then Zak Wieluns. I would end up running the entire race with Zak. We ran the exact same pace the entire way. I couldn't pass him if I wanted to, but I stayed right with him until the last .1 miles when he got ahead of me by 5 seconds at the finish. The guys who had helped make the course actually ended up packing it down really well, so it was in much better shape than I expected. We definitely weren't running all out for the first stretch on the single track. It was a smart move. My heart rate wasn't up there like it normally is in a snowshoe race. It worked well because we could really pick up the pace every time we came out on a nicely groomed snowmobile trail. This is where Zak kept waiting for me to go around him since I would get close. But as soon as we'd fall back into the single track, I couldn't run any faster than he was. So I just followed along. On our second stretch of snowmobile trail, we passed Bill and Ian. The group ahead was long gone, so it was really just Zak and me for the entire second half of the race. Ian and Bill were never too far back, but no one else was in sight. By the second half, of the race, I was happy we had kept the pace slow for the first half because I could really feel the difficulty of the soft single track by this point. The whole time, though, I was really just enjoying myself. We don't get to race in these conditions often, and while it's hard, it's also really fun and why I love snowshoe running. The last .3-.4 miles of the race were all on the groomed snowmobile trail so I ran as fast as I could. And like I said, Zak pulled away to finish 5 seconds ahead of me. The quality of the photos is horrible (not sure why), but you can see that I was actually feeling pain by the end. haha.

I finished 1st female, 9th overall in 33:37. Full Results. The interesting part is that most of us ran this race at a much faster pace than the Squall. Soft snow and a longer distance you'd think would have been slower, but I ran this one at an average 8:54/mi. The Squall averaged 9:42/mi. I felt terrible at the Squall, but I think the sparse snow conditions actually made it slower, as well. Even though I gave the last two miles a good effort here, I can't say that I actually gave 100% for this race. I do feel like I could have definitely run harder overall. I just didn't really want to; I wanted to enjoy it. I'm bummed I won't make it to the third race of the Series. Like I always say, I love the Trail Monsters and their races. Looking at my calendar, though, I still won't make all 3 summer trail races, but it looks like I can definitely make the Scuffle (since I decided not to do Whiteface) and most likely the Bruiser! The Mountain Breaker is my favorite of the three, but it's same weekend as the Ragged 75 Stage Race I'll be doing. I'm also doing the Pineland 50, so I'll still get my fill of Trail Monster races for the year.

Talking to Ryan Triffit and Jeff Walker post race.
I quickly went back out for another 3 miles and almost missed the awards... again. Walked up just as Ryan called my name. I had two beers in my hands for Jeff so I had to quickly have a couple of guys hold my beers. Haha. I chose more beer for my award and then kicked myself for not taking the Wicked Joe Coffee. I have trouble choosing the right thing on the spot. Haha.

At least it's better than Von Trapp!
We had lucked out and hadn't yet been hit by the major snow storm headed our way. I decided to drive back the way we came because the farther north we were, the later we'd drive into it. Just before Bridgton, we started to see snow. I wasn't worried about at this point, so we stopped at the Standard Gastropub for lunch. I really like this place. Great beer and food.

I also had the best brussel sprouts...and stole John's fries.
The drive home was easy. Snow covered roads, but not slippery at all. All was good until we got to my hill, and that's when you can refer back to the beginning of this blog post for my breakdown. More details here, though. First off, the road hadn't been plowed once...and it should have been done hours before this. So it was covered in about 2-3 inches of snow. Even an SUV would have had a hard time getting up it. Luckily, the Coleman's guy who was in charge of it showed up after my first attempt. Except, he didn't do it properly. Just kept scraping the first big hill and NOT ONCE plowing the rest of the road. I was able to make to the top of the hill multiple times, but since he never did plow the left turn up the short, but steeper hill, I kept having to back all the way back down to Rt 16, where I had to back up and then pull into to Coleman's to turn around and try again. The biggest problem was that Rt 16  wasn't plowed at all so that I couldn't get up any speed before I hit the hill. I couldn't even get it out of 2nd gear. I watched the plow guy go up and down the hill over and over never once dropping sand/salt and completely skipping the rest of it. Then he would leave. I would try again, only to end up in 1st gear and nothing but tires spinning just before the left turn. He would show back up, scrape the hill again, leave, I'd attempt, nothing. Literally 10 times. I had already lost my shit at this point. I have NEVER not been able to get up that hill when it was plowed. I think he finally realized that I couldn't get up it and made one last pass dropping sand and salt. So on my 11th try, I was able to get enough juice and speed to get me through it. I still barely made it since he never completed the job on other part of the road. I do believe I pay just as many taxes to have Tabor Circle plowed as those on Wildwood Rd. In fact, I probably pay the most property taxes of anyone in the neighborhood because I have at least double the acreage of every other property. (I should go to the town hall one day and look that up; it's possible some of the nicer houses pay more, but I doubt it. If anything, they probably pay an equal amount). So they'd better be plowing my fucking road. Believe me if I could afford snow tires and to have them put on and taken off, I would have them. If I could afford a better car, I would have one. It's not for lack of want. It's for lack of money. My car still has a year left to pay it off, and it's $237/month. I'm tapped out as far as the car goes. Anyway....THAT is why I lost my shit. It was just unexpected that everything bubbling at the surface for months came along with it. But, like I said, the relief and calm I have felt since has been pretty good. John and I even talked about it all after. I tell John everything (that's appropriate). I'm not afraid for him to see me in my weak moments, and I want him to know what's going on in my life. He's the only one I have. I have to keep it as real as possible.

The rest of the night was the usual. Did some laundry, my upper body workout and watched the Walking Dead. Excited for new episodes to finally be back on. I was SO tired, though, that I barely kept my eyes open. I was dreading the next morning because I knew I had to get up at 4am to snowblow, and there was a potential of two feet of snow that would be awaiting me. Ugh.

Now, hmmmm. What song? As if anyone actually cares and listens to them. But I guess I care. How about an "old" one. Hard to believe this song is 13 years old now. I can still listen to it over and over.