Wednesday, March 29, 2017

2017 Brrr-lingame 10-Mile Trail Race

Weezer can take the title of their song and shove it....
Although I don't love summer either with its bugs and humidity, I have to admit I'm looking forward to being tan, kayaking and taking John to the lake. This freakin' Weezer song came on like a cruel joke. I need sunshine, and I need it now. We did have a few days of sunshine this week, but it was combined with more snow and wind!! Argh! Haha. It was a good week, though, but looking back, it was very isolating. Other than talking to people I knew at Saturday's race, co-workers and John, of course, I really didn't have much human interaction. It's starting to be on purpose. I'm kind of avoiding getting close to people again; it never turns out well. I still chat with a couple of friends, and, like I said, things are going well with those few close people, but none of them live here, so I just keep to myself. Normally, I socialize post-race, but it didn't happen this time. Oh well. Next week!

I stayed true to my plan and hit the trails most of the week. Conditions were very much less than ideal, but it was worth it. I hurt less, even though I pushed myself enough that I didn't really heal anything. 50.1 miles with 7,477ft of elevation gain and a lot of time on my feet, over 9.5 hours. I felt a huge sense of relief, weight off my shoulders, the pressure I've put on myself. The funny part, though...I have an itch to road run. Hahaha. I will be soon enough, since the Frank Nealon Boston Tune-Up is coming up next weekend. Also, trail conditions might just be a huge mess after all of this rain and warm temps, so I could be on the road sooner than I'd like. I knew this was coming, though, so it's not a surprise. I didn't rest all week, even leading up to Saturday's race, and my legs are now pretty much trashed. The glutes and hamstrings are definitely shot, so I'm thinking it is probably tendonitis. I'm going to continue running through the Boston Tune-Up. If that race is a disaster, then I'll know I'm injured and will have to take some time off. It's not an ideal time for it, but it's also not the worst time for it. I'll deal with what comes.

I had trouble sleeping and sitting still and feeling antsy again this week. I think a lot of it was my disappointment at New Bedford and just things that have been on my mind lately. I started thinking again that since I graduated college, this is the first time I've been in one place for more than 1.5 years. I've now been here 6 years straight as of about 2 weeks from now. (After only being back here 6 months exactly, I had John and the dogs in the car once as I was sitting in the line at the Starbucks drive-thru, and I wanted nothing more than to get my drink and just leave. Just drive away leaving Bryan and all of my things behind! Eddie Vedder's Hard Sun was playing in the car. I'll never forget that moment.). I think this is why I go away every weekend. I'm seeking new places. I've got that itch to find somewhere better, and it's almost like living somewhere else every weekend, if you think about it. The only part that I'm starting to detest is the driving!! I drive myself everywhere. I drive everyone else around at work...which irritates me to no end. Some people have huge dreams. I have two some simple ones: a chauffeur and, I'll just throw this one in here, coffee delivery to my bedside every morning. Haha. Is that reeeeeally too much to ask? :)

Weird. Just as I was typing this, a friend posted this on Facebook. It's one of those "anything is possible" type inspirational things. Those things that always seem to make so much sense. They have you saying, "Yes!" Until you realize it really isn't that simple. I love the idea of it, "You’re allowed to leave any story you don’t find yourself in. You’re allowed to leave any story you don’t love yourself in." Blah, blah, blah. Yes, it's allowed, but is it possible? Not always. I made huge changes in my life, but with that came other hardship. So while this inspirational blah, blah is great, it leaves out the part that when you DO choose to follow through on these things, you will be making sacrifices. That's the hard part, and that's where I'm struggling now. Wait a second! Maybe this is all actually A MIDLIFE CRISIS! That shit just might be a real thing after all! Haha. If it is, can anybody tell me how long it's going to last because I'm all set with it now thanks? :) Or should I just go out and blow my last bit of credit on that impractical sports car convertible now? Or better yet...a Google self-driving car! Hahaha

Ok. Enough of this BS. I'm starting to become overly dramatic, which I would have said isn't me, but I sure as hell am starting to feel it is. Ugh!! On to the running part of my "running" blog!

Monday, March 20, 2017- Day 1 of putting my runs on private on Strava. I'm keeping them on private for 2 days before I take it off private. It's cut down the serial kudos (when people go on Strava and give you a kudos on every single thing you've done in the last week ALL AT ONCE). I don't mind kudos in general, though. It's more just everyone seeing what I'm doing immediately after I've done it, every single day. The delay of posting has made me feel better. I don't need to be completely private, but my running doesn't need to be put out there right away either. I love Strava, but it's just becoming a little too much with the social aspect of it. I use it for my running/exercise log since I write nothing down. There are a few other people whose runs I'm interested in seeing, but others, I can do without knowing about.

Not that today's run would have gotten a ton of kudos, but I still put it on private. 3 miles on the work treadmill in 21:53. Really just getting something in. I'm finding the work treadmill really hurts to run on and could be a contributing factor to my (possible? likely?) injury. It's designed for walking, not running. Might cut out the Monday runs completely now, but we'll see.

Work wasn't too busy, and I slept all night. No tone at 0545 this week! Still woke up feeling like I hadn't slept at all. I wake up every Tuesday and Thursday feeling this way. Groggy. It's hard to sleep soundly at work since you're always on alert for a tone, but sometimes I feel like I do sleep soundly only to wake up feeling like I just pulled an all-nighter. So I really must not ever be in a deep sleep. I've had co-workers see me the next morning at shift change and ask if we were out all night just by the way I look. Hmmm. Seems like so many things are affecting my sleep right now.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017- Just before 7am, I changed clothes then left work ASAP. I was planning to run Mt Kearsarge North again and had allotted an exact amount of time for it. As drove up to North Conway, I changed my mind. Hurricane Mountain Rd was calling my name instead. I wanted to get in some elevation, but my legs really weren't feeling good enough for the steepness of Kearsarge. Plus Hurricane Mt Rd would be a longer run. With the road still covered in snow, it's no different than running on a trail. I put on my microspikes and headed up. Keeping with my plan for this week, I just ran at a comfortable pace with no need to look at my watch except to check the time to see I was running late. haha. It felt great. The snow was a tad soft which made it somewhat slow, but it didn't matter. It was good enough.

Just as I neared the height of the land, I was surprised and happy to see my friend, Kyla Brustin, running towards me. Kyla and I used to run together often in 2014 until she ended up badly injured for over a year! She was seriously the best person I could have run into that morning. Kyla gets where I'm coming from with getting back into what's fun with running and not worrying about keeping up with high, fast miles on the road. We stood there talking about all of this for over 10 minutes. The interesting thing that started this conversation was that as soon as she saw me she said, "Oh I'll turn around and run back to the top with you since it's right there. That way you don't have to stop just before the top." When I stopped running and replied, "No that's ok. I don't mind stopping right now," Kyla actually looked surprised and said, "Oh. Really? You used to always have to keep going until the top without stopping." I realized how right she was. I was always chasing my own CRs on every climb and going as hard as I could. If I ran into someone who wanted to chat I just muttered that I couldn't stop and had to keep going. So the conversation ended up with us talking about doing more what's fun and what keeps us uninjured. (Granted, I was probably already injured by this point, so it was a little too late.) It was good to catch up. I'm sad we kind of lost touch over the last 2 years, since she was one of the few women friends in my life when I was having a rough time in my marriage. She's super down to earth, too. I definitely need to make more of an effort at our friendship for sure. To totally contradict what I said at the beginning of this blog post, I guess I do need friends. Not many, but I do need some.

So anyway, I realized I did need to get moving along to be done in time for John to come home, so we went our separate ways. I continued on to the top and then back down the other side to the gate in Chatham and turned around. The run back up this side is tough when the footing is soft, so it took longer than I expected. By the time I got back up to the top of Hurricane Mt Rd, it was already 9:45am. Oops. Fortunately the run back down to North Conway was quick. 8.1 miles total in 1:29:44 (not including the stop). 2,175ft of elevation gain. I called John to tell him I was running late and that I could come pick him up at Frontside Grind since I was passing by there anyway.

Still plenty of snow on Hurricane Mt Rd
I walked into Frontside Grind and talked to someone I knew who was there before ordering my drink and toast. I saw John and Bryan were sitting with two other people. After I got my drink, I walked over. One of the other people stood up; he looked familiar, but it wasn't until Bryan asked if I remembered Evan, and then the other person turned around. Christie O'Neil! Wow! Friends of the Beckwith's I've known since 1999! I hadn't seen Evan or Christie since Bryan and I got divorced, so it was a nice surprise. I didn't even ask. Just told them I was pulling up a chair. I didn't even consider the fact that me joining them might be awkward or uncomfortable. It was great to talk to them at first but then I started to notice awkward glances and silences. I could tell me being there was weird for them. At first, I thought maybe I was reading it wrong, but then it dawned on me that there were false things thought and said about me when Bryan and I were getting divorced. His family thought I had cheated on him and had found someone else, just as Bryan thought for 2 years. This was never true. Never. I did nothing of the sort, but I started to wonder if any of that had ever been resolved among the O'Neil's and extended Beckwith's. Was I still thought of as the "bad guy"? I just felt like Christie was starting to feel uncomfortable around me. I could be totally mistaken, but I just got this feeling that I was making things weird, so I finally decided it was time for me to leave. I snapped a picture of the four of them, though. I thought that would be nice for their friends/family to see on FB.

John ended up staying with them so he could take a walk and spend a little more time with Christie and Evan before they headed back to Rhode Island. This gave me time to swing by the store on my way home where I made my annual purchase of $2 Daffodils at Shaw's. Brightens up my life every year.

Still my favorite flower
Once home, I showered and got ready to leave for Dover for my deep tissue massage with Tina Carr. Yay!! This was long overdue. My appointment for the previous Tuesday had to be postponed due to the blizzard which was a huge bummer since it's possible I would have run better at New Bedford had I had it then. But oh well. As soon as Bryan dropped off John, we headed down. As always, the deep tissue massage was amazing. Tina is the best! When I got off the table, I felt 100% better. Totally pain-free. Tom Hooper just happened to book an appointment right after mine so I talked to him briefly. He brought along my map and trail description book for the Ragged 75 race. I'm really excited about this race...just hope I'm 100% by then!

As John and I walked to the car, I hear, "Leslie!" from a passerby in a car. It was Frank Nordaby, one of my RI 6HR Relay teammates. Without fail, I always see people I know when I'm in Dover. If I could move right now, Dover is where I would go. Centrally located to the mountains, ocean and Boston! I wanted to hang out, but we needed to get back home for John's ninja class.

As planned, I opted out of beer that night, which was tough because I always enjoy a few beers on Tuesday's in between my two 24 hour shifts. Plus, I had SO much good beer in my fridge. But I really needed the 4 day break from beer, specifically, and followed through on that. (But I'll be honest. It was supposed to be a 5 day break, but a trip to the Moat on Friday led to one beer that day. And I did have wine on Thursday while I cooked dinner.)

Got in a 19-minute upper body and abs workout that night.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017- What would have been my 14th wedding anniversary. Just one of those dates you don't ever forget. I wasn't regretful or sad about it at all. Not a bit. Thought about how even more miserable I would be right now if I were still married. We're both so much happier not being married to each other anymore. But I'll still always remember the date of our wedding. I don't need to forget it; it was a fun day. And why the hell not? Here's a poor quality pic...

When people still used cheap film cameras! Haha. Punta Gorda, FL 3/22/03
I have to share these pictures of our van that we lived in at the time, too. Funny! We were a couple of hippy bums then, too. Hahaha! SO not me anymore...

Our 1985 Dodge Prospector camper van. Total cop magnet.

Woke up early for my usual treadmill run. I really wanted to do the treadmill climbing again, but my hamstrings and glutes were sore again when I woke up. Booo. Decided it would be best to skip that since I was doing mountain runs this week anyway. Did the usual 5-mile run, still with some elevation at 3%. 5 miles in 36:43.

After I showered, it was light out, and I noticed it had snowed about 3 inches overnight! WTF!

Quiet most of the day at work until we had 3 back-to-back-to-back calls midday. Then nothing for the rest of the shift. Slept all night without waking up once. When my alarm went off at 6:25am, I looked at it, panicked and jumped out of bed. I overslept! I was going to be late for work! Then I realized I was at work. Haha. Got up. Felt insanely I hadn't slept at all. I was SO tired. I think a combo of sitting all day long at work and then not sleeping as soundly as I think I am is what's causing this since it's only when I wake up on Tuesday and Thursday for the most part. Weird.

Thursday, March 23, 2017- It was a beautiful sunny, but cold, morning, and the wind was whipping through the trees. I procrastinated at home until it warmed up a bit then continued on with my plan to run up Mt Chocorua via the Champney Falls Trail. The trail was perfect condition at the start and the sun was warm on my face. I could hear the wind high up above me, but there wasn't a bit of it for the first 1.5 miles. That's when I started to hit snow drifts covering the trail. Not crazy ones, but they were just thick enough that my microspikes couldn't get any grip underneath them. Slowed me way down. I had a little break from them just past the second trail to the Falls, but as soon as the trail turned a sharp right, I was back in snow drifts. Still runnable, but slow. As I got higher, the snow drifts got thicker and thicker. Finally, I reached the switchbacks where the trail was barely discernible and the snow drifts were up to mid shin in places. Still nothing crazy. I couldn't really run through them, but it wasn't something that I would turn around for. I also started to hit the wind at this point. Once I reached where the Piper Trail met up with the Champney Falls Trail, the snow drifts were mostly gone, and I had a very short section trail that was hard-packed. But as soon as I got to the open ridge, I was met with a blast of cold wind so strong I could barely stand. I made it just a few feet up the granite slab before the wind literally knocked me into the rock in front of me. I couldn't even stand upright after this. It was an easy decision to make. NOPE. Not worth the risk. I wasn't even up on top of the first granite rise and I was being blown off my feet; I wasn't even going to consider attempting to get on the summit. When I turned back, the wind was so strong that I had to bend down to walk against it. I got back down just before the trail goes back into the trees and tried to get some photos. I look like a goober since I was squinting and couldn't even see what I was taking. It was fucking cold, too. I maybe took 30 seconds with the photos, then just grabbed my stuff and made my way to the tree cover to put it all back in my pack and head back down the trail.

I look silly.

The run down wasn't super fast running back through the snow drifts, especially the switchbacks, but it was much faster than the way up. I decided to take the spur trail to the Falls. Only one person in boots had been on the upper part of the trail, which would normally annoy me, but his prints had frozen into nice steps for the walk down by the Falls.

I knew they would be ice, but too much snow covered it to really see it.
I made my way back on the loop to the main trail which had great footing for a quick run back to the parking lot. I passed one guy on his way up. I wonder if he actually went to the summit. If he did, he's braver than me. Haha. I only made it 6.6 miles round trip, so I lost about a mile of the run. It was still really enjoyable for the most part, and at least I made it up to the open ridge, even if briefly. Moving time was 1:29:57 with just over 2000ft of elevation gain.

I felt like still wanted to run more, so on my way back down the Kanc, I stopped at the Albany Town Forest to run a little more. The trail was a complete mess of frozen footprints that made it really hard to run on, but I still got in 3.5 miles. 10:42/mi avg pace!! Sounds slow, but it actually took a lot of extra effort to run in that mess. I did my upper body and abs workout as soon as I got home.

I showered then went back out to the grocery store and the nail salon to get my nails done. I'd ordered a cookbook someone had shown me the week before. It came on Tuesday, so I was going to actually make dinner for myself on Thursday!

Although all of the recipes are vegetarian and I don't eat tofu, a lot of the stuff looks really good. I don't eat meat every day anyway, so I'm all for vegetarian stuff. Flipping through it, I decided on enchiladas.

Although it was a bit time consuming and a lot of dirty dishes, it was actually very simple to make, and, wow, were they good!!

I cheated with wine.
By the time I was done cooking and eating, it was kind of late. John messaged me asking if he could come home for the night since it was cold in the van. I said of course since I wasn't doing anything so he came home for the rest of the night and watched Impractical Jokers with me.

Chill watching a squirrel from his window bed
Friday, March 24, 2017- I slept in until 8am, took the dogs out, loaded the car up to go to the dump then headed out. John went back with Bryan like he does every Friday until 2pm. As I was leaving the dump and headed out Passaconaway Rd, snow started falling. What the hell? When I got to the empty trailhead, I looked at the radar to see nothing but snow! You have got to be kidding me!!!! Unfortunately, it was no joke. My run up South Moat Mountain started in flurries and ended in heavy snow. ARGH. I was happy to still make it up the mountain even though the trail was an absolute mess. Once again, uneven footprints covered the trail. I could see someone attempted to break out the trail in snowshoes, but they stopped at one point and all that was left were many frozen footprints making it really hard to run on. By the time I got about a half mile from the summit, the trail was completely unrunnable. Whoever broke trail after the last storm did so in boots. This is seriously the worst year I've seen with ignorant people's boot prints ruining the trails. Trails should ALWAYS be packed out first by snowshoes or skis! What made it worse was that whoever did break the trail out in his boots didn't know the trail well at all and veered from it constantly. It took me almost as long to get up to the summit as it did when I was injured and walked, with a little jogging, up the mountain in 2015. Craziness! All the frustration aside, I was still psyched to be up there. I was getting my mountain fix in this week no matter what condition the trail was in.

The snow and wind were picking up by the time I reached the summit so I didn't stay up there too long. The run back down was super slow in order not to twist or break an ankle on the uneven trail. By the time I got to the 2004 reroute, it was really snowing hard.

When I got back to the lot, there was another car parked there that must have belonged to a younger woman I passed on her way up. I didn't even need to see the license plate to tell she wasn't from the Valley...

The only car in the lot and she chose to park RIGHT next to mine. She was parked so close that I couldn't even cut the wheel as I was backing out until I had passed her car. City people. No concept of personal space. I just find this SO odd... and I'm from the city!

I had beer to obtain for Jonny Hammett in exchange for buying our lunch at Oak Hill Tavern, so I changed clothes then headed to the Moat. From one Moat to another! I had to break my no beer streak (4 whole days! Hahaha!) for a Square Tail Stout. Filled Jonny's growler with Call it a Day DIPA. I had a bowl of their brussel sprouts which are SO good, then drove on to Tuckerman Brewing to fill a howler with Rockpile IPA. Then it was home. John showed up right behind me. Got in my upper body and abs workout first thing then showered and relaxed for awhile. John came home feeling a little under the weather with a sore throat and congestion and actually fell asleep early.

The rest of the afternoon, it snowed and snowed and snowed!!! I was so mad watching it come down just knowing it was going to get over 3 inches. That would mean I'd have to snowblow. And, yep, it did. Out I went. Only about 4 inches, but if I didn't snowblow it, the driveway would have been a total mess. Still took me forever since the snowblower has no power blowing snow. There has to be something wrong with it. Probably took about 1.5 hours, but it was done, and the snow had stopped. The skies would clear up and the fresh snow in the woods when I took out the dogs was beautiful.

Saturday, March 25, 2017- Brrr-lingame 10 Mile Trail Race-

Crazy early morning when my alarm woke me up at 3:45am. Last year, I stayed down in Warwick the night before this race since it's a 4-hour drive. With all of the recent hotel stays, I just didn't want to do it this time, but I probably should have. It wasn't a horrible drive, but 4 hours in the car left me super tight and groggy. We had gotten there pretty early so it gave me time to get all 3 dogs out for really easy warm up miles each. Spot was super slow, but I didn't mind it. I just needed to loosen up the legs.

Just before the race started, I gave John one take pictures of everyone finishing. I went over the instructions at least 3 times with him, "When the alarm goes off on my phone, put on your shoes then make your way out to the finish area. Stand just in front of the finish line so you get people right before they finish. Hold down the button so it takes about 5 quick photos of each person. Make sure you get them up close. You'll only have to take pictures of about 10 people before I finish, then I'll take over. Don't fail me." He said he understood. He appeared to be listening. We would see.

I made my way down to the start. Most of the usual peeps were there, except Jeff Walker who I raced with most of last year. I took a look around to see if I had any competition and didn't see anyone. I'll admit I was relieved because I was hoping I didn't have to actually race anybody today. I had feeling the hamstring and glute soreness would reappear as soon as Mike Galoob said go. And it did. Although the trail/mountain running had left my legs feeling good and in no pain, it would be short lived. As soon as I put on a little speed, the hamstrings and glutes were pretty sore. It wasn't too bad on the first loop which I started off with Andy Neil. I liked his pace and just made it my goal to try to keep up with him even though I could tell he was taking it easy and that I'd probably eat his dust on the second loop.

Speaking of dust, the feeling of running on dirt was amazing. It was totally dry, too, so I was enjoying this a lot! We started off in a small group. The front runners had moved ahead quickly. Around mile 1, Andy and I ended up behind two teenagers. They were moving at a decent pace, but it started to get frustrating when we hit the first few hills. Their technical skills weren't that great and by the time we hit the section of trail on the ridge, I was dying to get around them. Andy made a move early on, but I got stuck, just due to the nature of the trail. I was finally able to move by them and catch back up with Andy. As we ran down the wide path before the single track to all of the bridges, we could see a few people ahead of us. By this point, I was starting to feel the pain in my legs. I couldn't really jump from bridge to bridge like I normally would, and by the time we exited that section and made the climb out through the campground, I was already struggling on the uphill. I had no ability to continue with much speed. The soreness/weakness in the hamstrings and glutes wouldn't let me move any faster. We came by the start/finish area to complete the first loop about 2 minutes slower than last year. Ouch...literally and figuratively. I was genuinely ok with it, though. It wasn't really my fitness that sucked. My body was just failing me.

Andy was gone quickly as soon as we hit the woods for the second loop. I'd occasionally see him early on way off in the distance, but that didn't last long. Surprisingly, I caught up with Jonathan Short right at the beginning of the second loop. He must have been hurting today because he finished a place ahead of me at Belleville. I passed him and set my sights on catching a guy in a white shirt who was still a good distance ahead of me. The climbs, albeit very short, gave me some trouble on the second loop. Feeling this inability to go any faster due to the hamstrings and glutes made me realize that this probably WAS the very reason I was unable to run against the wind at New Bedford. Seeing that I had no strength to push up these short hills with any speed was how I knew. I needed strength to run against that wind at New Bedford, and whatever is going on back there in my legs has weakened me. I could not go any faster. I didn't dwell on this thought, but I knew at this moment that I was in fact most likely injured and had been since the Granite State Snowshoe Championship.

I didn't give up on trying to catch the guy in front of me, though. I caught up to him at the bridges, but since I couldn't jump from one to the other, he gained a little on me. When we got out into the campsite area, I was about to pass him when he slightly cut the course a little bit to make a straighter line and ended up farther ahead of me again when he got back on the course (it wasn't significant enough to say anything). I was surprised to catch him on the next climb since I was hurting. By the time I wanted to go around him, I noticed he had headphones in both ears. Grrr. It took me saying, "On your left!" twice before he heard me and almost ran off the trail. Right after this, we came down to the lake with only about .3 miles left of the race. I caught up with one other guy, but the last .2 were all uphill, and he gained a little on me there to finish 11 seconds ahead of me.

As the field came into view just before the finish line, I started to look around for John. I didn't see him at first, but I kept looking. He was out there! But.... he was leaning up against a tree with my phone pointed at the ground when I came in. Hahaha. Ugh. I'll admit I was disappointed in him for not listening because he said he understood, but he obviously didn't. I couldn't be too mad, though, because he did actually get out of the car and make some sort of attempt. I was happy about that. Sometimes you have to take what you can get. He got a few pictures of people coming through their first lap, but that was about it. They looked like this...hahaha.

Too funny. At the time, though, I really didn't realize how sick John felt. I honestly think he was too groggy to pay attention to what I was saying. He had a headache and the start of a chest cold. He went back to the car and fell asleep. I ended up finishing 1st female in 1:14:33, over 3 minutes slower than last year. Another ouch, but I expected it and wasn't disappointed in it. Funny enough, when I told John he would only have to take pictures of maybe 10 runners before I came in, I ended up being right. I came in 11th overall. haha. Race results.

I took Chill out for a very short .8 mile cool down. My legs needed it; they were SO tight. As soon as I was done, Mike Galoob started the awards, so the race was over and done with quickly. I got to pick out beer for my award, and when I could decide between the two, Mike insisted I take both. That was cool of him. I haven't tried either beer yet, but I will soon enough. I emptied my cooler by giving Jonny his two bottles plus 4 cans of other beers I brought him, then I was surprised to be filling my cooler back up!! Beth Lazor-Smith brought me a bag of beers, Steve Brightman handed me two cans and then Seth Acton surprisingly placed a beer in my hand. (And I say "surprisingly" because I haven't given Seth anything! Now I owe him beer, too. Haha.) With those and my winnings, my cooler was filled again!

I said goodbye to everyone. Kind of weird knowing it's going to be over a month until the next race at Big River! I changed clothes, then drove to Narragansett to finally use my gift certificate to the Bike Stop Cafe. Colin Carroll had won it in the raffle at Bobby Doyle and left it for me on the windshield of my car. I really needed to use it since it meant not spending a lot of money eating out that day. When we got there, John was still sound asleep. I woke him up to go in, but he said he just wanted to sleep; this is when I realized that he was really coming down with something. I had a little trouble making the decision to go in without him because I knew I'd be at the bar having some beers with my food, and I wasn't sure if that was really acceptable. He had already eaten a large pizza strip and some other stuff at the race, so he wasn't hungry. He said he was fine in the car, so I went inside. I was starving.

As soon as I walked in, I went right to the bar. Just as I was about to sit down, the bartender kind of had a rude tone when asking how she could help me. I don't know if I was reading her vibe wrong, but it definitely was unwelcoming. She ended up not being that bad, and I still tipped her over 20%. Lunch was kind of dull by myself. I really wanted to have lunch with John. Instead I just played on my phone. It was either that or stare at myself in the mirror. Haha.

I got lobster fritters, too. 
Whalers Brewing was right down the street, so I decided to fill my bottle that I had won at Belleville. John had woken up and was excited about playing Giant Jenga at the brewery. It was nice to see him refreshed. The brewery was pretty crowded and another family hogged Jenga for over 30 minutes. I got a flight of 3 and filled my bottle. I drank the flight while we waited for Jenga. This brewery was pretty cool. They had a pool table and corn hole. Just a neat atmosphere. I have to admit that as I looked around, I started to feel a little lonely. Everyone there was with a friend or spouse or significant other. Made me a little depressed to be hanging out there with just John and no friends. I typically hang out with people after these races, so I think I was missing that. I was happy when Jenga opened up so we could play. We played two games since other people were waiting. It was pretty fun. We each won a game.

Thanks to Dave Dunham for the race shirt for John!

We left after that, and I finally remembered to hit the bathroom before we left. I have to add that Whalers has the nicest public restrooms I've ever been in. Haha.

We drove north and stopped at the Starbucks in North Kingstown that I've stopped at so many times in the last year. I just needed a coffee and John a frappacino, but then the drive-thru guy came to the window with a bag, "We accidentally pulled this birthday cake pop. Do you want it?" Hell, yes, I want it! I joked with John, "Look John. I finally got something for my 40th birthday!" I thought it was funny so I made a FB post about it. Looking back, I probably just made myself look sad, and now I want to delete it, but I won't. Haha.

The drive home was LOOOOONG! I think I have to set a limit on anything over 3 hours one-way and staying over the night before. I drove 8 hours round trip. It was too much. And I didn't even stop on the way home except to get gas. In hindsight, I should have stopped along the way just to walk the dogs for 20 minutes. Something! John passed right back out for the whole drive. He really did end up being sick I would realize the next day. I was kind of glad he slept most of Saturday; it was a good day for it.

By the time we got home, I was SO, SO, SO tired. I unloaded the car, took the dogs out and then got ready to shower. When I took my socks off, my mouth fell open. My legs were SO swollen that the top of the socks left a huge indentation. I'd never had that happen before and it kind of scared me knowing that that can lead to blood clots and a pulmonary embolism (paranoid EMT alert!). Yikes! It should have dawned on me that driving that much and being dehydrated would cause this swelling, but since it's never happened, it didn't. As soon as I showered, I put on my compression socks and then found aspirin in my first aid kit. I haven't taken aspirin since 1995 when I took too much of it that it started to give me a stomach ache and make me sick. The thought of taking it now made me nervous, but I felt it was worth it to be on the safe side. Sure enough, within 30 minutes, I felt so sick to my stomach. I fortunately remembered I had Rolaids in my purse which did the trick. I needed to sleep so badly so I was thankful it worked. Out like a light.

Sunday, March 26, 2017- I guess I was super tired because I slept in until almost 9am! I actually felt great when I woke up. I woke John up, too, because I wanted him to have time to play his games for awhile before we went back to Wildcat to ski. He seemed much better than the day before, and I was glad since he loves to ski at Wildcat and it was ANOTHER picture perfect day.

I didn't waste much time having my coffee then getting out to run. My hamstrings and glutes were super tight, so I did a REALLY slow mile warm up. Then I stopped at the bottom of the hill on Tabor Circle for 10 hill repeats. Considering the issues I've obviously been having since it seems like I've written the words "hamstrings" and "glutes" at least 100 times in this post, you'd think this wasn't a good idea, but it actually ended up being fine. I actually felt ok. The repeats were a tad slower than last time, but not by much. I was really happy with this workout. Pretty consistent. The hill is about .12-.14 miles with about 55ft of gain. Splits were: 60, 60, 59, 61, 61, 60, 60, 60, 59, 60. Ran 1.3 miles for a cool down after to make the total mileage for the day 5 miles. These hill repeats are hard, but I really like them.

I got right in the shower, then John and I headed for Wildcat. It was Pay Your Age day for kids, it's always $30 after noon on Sundays, so we had two tickets for $41. Not that much more than $17 day. $41 is a steal for two people. It wasn't nearly as crowded as last time either. We went right to Polecat from the top. The conditions were surprisingly even better than the last time!! John only did Polecat for a warm up and then headed over to the blue trails for the second run while I went back to Polecat. Man, did I have fun. I can actually really fly in the conditions we had on Sunday. John took awhile to get down the blue this time and said it wasn't as fun as last time and wanted to go back to Polecat. He got really quiet at this point and started skiing really slowly. I kept having to stop to wait on him. We had decided on 5 runs total, but as we got in line for the 5th one, John said he didn't want to do the last one. I honestly thought he might just be being lazy, so I made him do the last one. Now, I feel badly about that. After we got on the lift, he totally was feeling really sick again with a sore throat and headache. Ugh. Poor kid. We made it back down after the 5th run. I had an awesome day there this time, so I was bummed he didn't. He tried, though.

I couldn't see a thing because the sun was so bright.
We did stop at Sea Dog for a late lunch since John perked up a little after we left. I'm not sure why I decided to stop there. I'm always disappointed. I asked to sit upstairs but was told we couldn't. It's the best part of the whole restaurant and it wasn't crowded at all, but he said he didn't have anyone who could wait on us up there. I know that line...because I've tried to use it when people ask to sit in a part of the dining room you don't want to open because you'd have to clean it! So we got sat right next to a family in a different empty room. Our waiter was cool, and my friend, Kacey, who works there, sat with us to chat until he got a table. The beer and food are ok, but it just reminded me yet again that this place is just a chain restaurant catering to tourists. Not sure when I'll go back any time soon.

Stout. Lighting was way too much!
John was pretty under the weather after we got home. He would end up with a really bad chest cold by Tuesday that would have him in tears from the coughing causing him to leave ninja class early.

He did end up eating a decent dinner of spaghetti, but he was asleep fast after that. I got my upper body and abs workout in at some point and watched The Walking Dead before taking out the dogs and going to bed myself.

I was never an Amy Winehouse fan...except for this one song...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

2017 New Bedford Half Marathon- USATF-NE GP#2

After the double race weekend of the trail race in Rhode Island and the snowshoe race in Vermont, I was a hurting puppy. I needed some days off from running completely. I still had hope that New Bedford could be a good race for me. That faded over the week until Saturday when I had false optimism about the race. And in the end, it would be a disaster. Oh well. I think the days off were needed anyway. My glutes and hamstrings were killing me, and I was just tired. Too much racing and driving. It ended up being good timing for some zeros since Tuesday we were slammed with nearly 2 feet of snow. The runs I did do were slow on purpose. It was a good recovery week. Just too bad it ended on a low note. Haha.

Monday, March 13, 2017- Like I said zero day, but I planned ahead for Tuesday's impending doom of Storm Stella and brought my stuff for the pool at Purity Spring. Slept all night...then second week in a row. A call at 0545! Of all mornings when I wanted to get out on time so I could workout and beat the storm. Actually lucked out and the patient signed off. We got back to the base right at 7am.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017- Of course there's a blizzard on a Tuesday!! Always a Tuesday or a Thursday. Grr! But I rushed out of work to Purity Spring to get a quick aqua jog in the pool. The flurries had already started  by the time I got there, but it was light. I had just enough time. No one was there except one other woman so I had some room in the pool to move around. It was weird. I've been able to put that 911 call out of my mind for the most part, thankfully, but the second I started aqua jogging, all of a sudden, the heartbeat on the monitor just popped into my head. That was it. I don't know why just that or why then, but it quickly faded and I moved on to other thoughts. The 45 minutes seemed to pass quickly, and the snow outside the window was getting heavier!

I had arrived before the desk was manned, so I stopped back by to give the woman my punch card. I basically got scolded for arriving with a punch card before 8am, and then she said that I was lucky no one showed up for class that day or I wouldn't have been able to use the pool. I was a little confused and said I didn't know there were classes on Tuesday mornings. She said, "Yes, every other morning during the week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday." Haha. She apparently didn't know what day it was, but I didn't correct her. Just stated that I was trying to beat out the storm and figured it wouldn't be busy. If there had been a class, I would have gotten out of the pool. I was a little annoyed since that did cost me $10 for the one visit to the gym/pool with only one other user, and I was now being reprimanded for coming in before 8am. Geez. She's lucky I decided to be an honest person today instead of like what I did at the Planet Fitness in Waltham. Haha. Ok, maybe that last sentence shouldn't be followed with a "haha." Oops.

The roads were already getting slippery on the drive home through East Madison, but I made it with just a quick stop at the Community Market for a few things. This storm was going to be nuts, so I knew I wouldn't be going back out again until the next day for work. John's dad had already messaged me asking if he could go ahead and leave John at the house. That was cool since I was on my way anyway, so John was there when I got home. This is his kind of day! Not having to go anywhere!! Haha.

Trying to pet Spot when I got home

Phoenix was jealous

Only the beginning of Stella
Chill the snow dog
I decided to go ahead and get my upper body and abs workout in, then showered. As I've said before, I am not into house projects, but I have been wanting to fix up the mess in my kitchen for awhile now and decided today was a good day to do it. Silly me didn't think to take a before pic until after I had already started emptying the shelves. It looked WAY worse than this. So bad.

I cracked open a beer and spent about 2 hours rearranging that whole thing. Once I was done, I realized I no longer needed both of those racks so I moved on to my dreaded bookshelf project.

And I don't have a before picture of the bookshelf, but this is what it ended up with...

It's not a bookshelf technically, but the one we had was gross, ugly and falling apart. I happen to like these kitchen racks for shelving.

When I was done there was no rest. The snow was coming down so hard and fast that it was over a foot by this point. I had to get out and snowblow to keep up with it. If I tried to wait, my snowblower would never be able to pick up almost 2ft of snow at once. It was slow enough with a foot of snow already and took me FOREVER to get through it. By the time I made it to the other side of the driveway, I kid you not, 4 inches had already fallen back over what I had started with. I couldn't keep up at all, but it was still better than nothing. Took me 2.5 hours and I didn't get to part of the driveway by the house. I was exhausted! It's not just standing behind this thing that moves for you. You still have to push the stupid thing. Plus, I had to shovel still and scrape whatever of the roof I could get to. When I came inside wanting to collapse, I found John hadn't completed the one job he was given to do. Sweep the house. I was so mad. After busting my ass, he started complaining about having to sweep! Well, I made sure he did even though he wasn't happy about it, cussing, complaining and sighing the whole time. It was actually hard to hold back the laughter. You'd think I'd forced him to poke out his eyes. Haha

I relaxed for awhile, but still had to take the dogs out and do laundry before I went back out to snowblow AGAIN around 11pm so John's dad could get down the driveway to park his van for the night. The storm had actually passed and only about 4-5 more inches had fallen. I still had to shovel again to get the snowblower out, started it up...only to have the shoot where it throws the snow clog up with snow. I'd clear it; it would clog. Over and over and over!!! By this time, I had lost my shit completely. 1.5 hours and I made it 2 ft. No exaggeration. I was in a complete meltdown. Thankfully, what I had cleared earlier was enough for Bryan to get down the driveway. He pulled in with his headlights right on me. Took one look at me then told me to go inside. That he had it. Haha. Nice thing about an ex-husband is that he knows you well enough to recognize when you're losing your shit. I felt really bad because he'd just gotten off work, and it seemed like 10-15 minutes before he could get the thing going. When I last looked he was still snowblowing and shoveling. That was probably the nicest thing he's done for me since well before we even got divorced. I was sure to thank him the next day. I was so tired. Out cold as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017- No way could I get myself up at 4:30am to run after the day before. I was so beat that I struggled all day long. The skies were clear and the day beautiful, but I was stuck at work. We had some good calls all back to back to back in the middle of the day and then nothing else the rest of the shift. I tried to write my blog post, but had trouble concentrating and took too long.

Thursday, March 16, 2017- Decided it was time to run again. I needed to fill my water jugs so ended up parking at the spring again and running from there. This time towards Center Sandwich instead of Wonalancet and back. I had a loop planned originally but then realized those were probably dirt roads that would still be covered in snow/ice. I didn't want to run in microspikes today so I ran an out on 113A and 113 to Upper Rd and then back. I ran easy, rarely looking at my watch. It was a beautiful day out, but this run was hilly, and I was still really sore and stiff. Starting to think New Bedford was going to be bad. Looked like the weather was going to be awful, too! 45mph winds and 3-5in of snow!! What?! My goal race now looked bleak. My run was 10.4 miles total in 1:21:23. 718ft of elevation gain. I wasn't too psyched about how I felt. It was as if I had taken no rest at all. My quads and glutes felt exactly the same. Could I have high hamstring tendonosis? Possibly. Time will tell, but that's what I meant in my last post. I might already be injured! This pain really came about after the Granite State Snowshoe Championship Race. I was sore from my long run the Thursday prior to the race, but this really came on after the race.

Once back at my car, I filled up 23 gallons worth of water. In the process, I ended up slightly dropping a jug and spilling water all over my legs and hands. By the time I finished filling the jugs, my hands were in agony from the cold. Someone had pulled in the lot just as I was finishing so I couldn't change clothes there so I drove with my hands practically inside the heating vents to warm them. The thawing was excruciating. I parked at a trailhead to put on some dry clothes and then drove on to the Tamworth Lyceum for a latte and a blueberry thing. Haha.

It was home from there and into a hot shower. Ah. I didn't stop there, though. It was right back out to Tin Mountain to ski with Spot and Phoenix. I was originally hoping to pack down my trail race course (shameless plug here!!!!! Dirty Girl Trail Race!), but hardly any of the trails had been touched. The ones that had were either by another skier whose track was way too narrow for me or a few snowshoe tracks that were hard to ski in. Most of it was untouched and what wasn't I still broke trail alongside of it. That was tough! I made it 2 miles in over an hour. I was pouring in sweat. It was an even harder workout for the dogs, especially Phoenix who still sunk into the snow the whole way.

Thursday is normally my day to myself, but John had asked if he could come home that night. Even though I wanted the quiet, I also wanted him there, so he came home right after I did. I still wasn't done, though. I still had to get in my upper body and abs workout. After that, I was SO done and sat down the rest of the night watching something on tv I can't remember. It definitely wasn't basketball. I hate basketball...and I played it for 10 years and got two varsity letters...for riding the bench. One of the worst experiences of my childhood. Seriously. Too stubborn to quit, but I've never liked basketball since except for shooting hoops on our own "court."

Friday, March 17, 2017- Couldn't help myself with a slightly offensive post on Facebook. Haha. But it is SO true:

I'm pretty sure I only got unfriended by one person...whom I was about to unfriend myself. So that worked out. Haha. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about the fun of St Patrick's Day. It's just a pet peeve of mine when people refer to themselves as Irish, Italian, French, etc. when they're AMERICAN. They may be of 100% Irish or whatever descent, but don't call yourself Irish if you weren't born there or don't hold dual citizenship. For someone like me to say that would imply I grew up in mid-80s Ireland when the economy sucked, The Troubles were ongoing in Northern Ireland and emigration was at all time high. I am not Irish. I'm an American who, in the 1980s, lived in a middle class (then later upper class) neighborhood. My parents both had great jobs, and I went to private school. Big difference. Celebrate your heritage! By all means!! It's good to keep that going, but don't identify with something you are not. And then don't get your panties in a wad when someone like me writes it on FB. And this just proves that I'm right! It's basically on a shirt! Haha

Anyway, it was actually pretty enjoyable for the most part. I actually liked most of the responses I got!

John's dad picked him up then I went out for another slow, easy run through Cranmore Shores. Still sore, but not as bad. 5.8 miles in 45:32. Some of the roads were slow going since they were snow covered still, but I didn't care. Not breaking any CRs today. Once again didn't even look at my watch.

Came home, showered, then packed up our ski stuff for $17 day at Wildcat!!! It's our favorite mountain, but it's usually for rich people, not us. But on $17, here come the locals! Haha. Every time we've been able to go to Wildcat, the weather and conditions have been phenomenal. Today was no exception. I picked up John from Frontside Grind then drove up to the notch. The wind was whipping over the Presidentials, but the sunny skies won out. Even with the wind, I was never cold once. It was perfect!! John was so excited.

The first run down Polecat was tough. I wasn't used to skiing in so much snow so I had to get used to it. On the second run, it was way more fun, but my quads were already on fire!! Polecat is 2.5 miles long and took over 10 minutes to get down. I'm not into speed. Skiing still terrifies me. Fun is a green slope at a slow pace. Haha. After the 2nd run, John said he was ready to go down the other side. That meant blue trails. So, blue trails at Wildcat are like black diamonds at the other mountains around here. I don't do those. No thanks. But John really, really wanted to, so I reluctantly agreed. Oh my god. I was scared to death the whole time. It was awful. Haha. John had to keep waiting on me. By the time we got to the bottom, I told him I was never doing that again. Hahaha. It was time to take a break so into the lodge we went. Yes, of course, it was beer time. Pig's Ear Brown for me. A drink for John and some chicken fingers. So healthy! Now, where to sit? Even though signs clearly state no bag storage on this floor, every single table was covered in people's things! Why do people need to bring in all of that stuff?! That's something I'll never understand. No need for it. We've never once brought in a bag to a ski lodge. Put on your boots at your car and carry your skis over. What more do you need?! My wallet, phone and keys go in my pocket. Obviously, I must not be meant to be downhill skier. Haha. So in trying to find a place to sit, I spot two empty seats. Of course the floor under those seats was covered in bags and shoes, but this isn't elementary school. No saving seats. Just as we're sitting down, I see it's right next to Mick Arsenault! Funny! He met his dad there to ski for the morning. I talked to him for awhile until they left. We finished our drinks and food and then headed back out to ski some more.

As we were getting on the lift, John said he really wanted to do the blue trail again. I told him I couldn't do it. It terrified me. I could see the disappointment in his face. So I finally had to make one of those big parental steps. Let him go alone. For me, this wasn't as simple as letting go. He's responsible; that wasn't the issue. This was letting my kid go after the incident I had recently had to go through at work. Skiing is a high-risk sport. So many injuries. Deaths. But I know John loves it, and I didn't want to hold him back. We got to the top. He went right. I went left. I tried not to worry and just enjoy myself. Most of the people had left so I had the trail to myself most of the time. It was really fun, but as I got to the bottom, I started to look around for John, and there he was. Arriving at the same time as me. Phew. Then he said, "That was so much fun! Let's do one more!" How can you say no? You just can't. My quads were trashed and screaming, but back on the lift we went. Absolutely no line. Once again at the top, we parted ways. Again, alone on the slope for the 2.5 miles down. When I got to the bottom, I didn't see John, nor did I see him on his way down. A little bit of panic started to form until he popped out of the crowd by the racks. He had beaten me down. Haha!

It was time to ski back over to the overflow lot where we parked. John was so happy! That's when I realized that next winter, it might be time to just buy him a season pass to Wildcat/Attitash. If he's ok with skiing by himself, we can afford it! John said he was game. Right now, it's "only" $400 for a Peaks Pass (7 mountains total) for a junior. I talked to Bryan about it, and I think we're going to do it. A pass for me or Bryan is out of the question. Just not affordable. But between us, we can pull off a pass for John.

John dabbing
John was pretty much exhausted and fell asleep on the way home and then for another hour or so when we got home. I got in my upper body and abs workout. I had really worked myself out these last two days and hoped it wouldn't affect my race on Sunday. Eek. The weather still looked terrible anyway, so I had already thrown my goal time out the window.

Trying to get myself psyched up for New Bedford with my team glass. It didn't work.
Saturday, March 18, 2017- An absolutely beautiful day...that we spent most of in the car. It was kind of shame really. Sunny and warm. I had some regrets about driving down to Newport, RI for the night. The weather was still showing snow overnight and in the morning, so I thought staying down there the night before was a good idea. Turned out to be unnecessary. It made for an easy morning before the race, but it was also a wasted day.

We didn't leave until 11am, so we still had time to hang out at home. I got on the treadmill for a FLAT, slow 3 miles and stupidly felt this false sense of optimism. I felt great! I had this feeling that things were going to go well and I would  have a good race. Usually when this happens, it comes true because a lot of it is mindset. But for me, it would be wrong. Dead wrong. And, duh, of course I felt good. I ran the 3 miles in 23:35, a 7:52/mi avg pace. Easy. Oh well, at least I did go into it feeling as positive about it as I could.

This happened along the way. I think I've driven over 30,000 miles in the last year. No wonder my ass hurts.
I had to make a stop in Saugus on the way down, but it only took about 45 minutes before we were back on the road. John wanted to go to Monkey Joe's again, so we stopped there for him to play. I took the dogs out on a road that was closed on our end, so that made it nice to let them off leash for a short bit.

Spot rolling in the snow
I went back in Monkey Joe's and found John having a blast. We only stayed about an hour this time, but he was pouring in sweat and worn out by then. It was back on the road to Newport. We went the longer way around and got to drive over the bridges. I'll still never forget the first time I drove over these bridges in 1993 when I was 17. I remember I was listening to some really calm music tape as I looked out the window thinking this was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. Funny how those tiny little moments stay with you. I've since seen many more beautiful places, but it was still a memory I hold on to.
Phoenix's perch during the drive
Finally, we arrived at the Motel 6. Funny, I didn't remember it being so seedy the last time I stayed there in 2007, but now, I could see why it was so cheap. Eek. Just as we arrived, so did 3 police cars, a fire truck and an ambulance for an overdose on the second floor. Haha. Nice. John called me from the car all worried the place was on fire. I told him later it was an overdose.

The place was definitely a dive, but the room was actually really clean. The only issue I ended up having with it was that the bed halfway collapsed overnight! Hahahaha! I woke up feeling like I was rolling right, but it was so slight that I didn't think much of it until I saw the bed the next morning. Pretty funny. But seriously, no other issues besides that. We didn't go out for dinner this time around. I got Five Guys from right next door and had a beer that I brought from home. John was pretty happy there since he actually likes hotel rooms. I'd prefer to camp myself, but campgrounds aren't open right now.


I'm trying to watch tv, Chill

As you can see from all of the room pics, I was pretty bored. Haha. I did watch Marley and Me on TV and vowed not to cry at the end this time. I failed. Haha.

Sunday, March 19, 2017- New Bedford Half Marathon-

Woke up to no snow, mostly cloudy skies and wind. It wasn't so bad where we were, so I thought maybe the weather wouldn't be so bad after all. It was definitely nice having the 11am start time, so we didn't have to leave until 8:45am. I love not rushing out in the morning. The drive over was only about 35 minutes. The drive was interesting to John because he got to see a  nuclear power plant for the first time (that he can remember). He just stared at it.

*Editor's Note- It has been brought to my attention that I am mistaken. This is a coal plant. Oops. I'm a moron. Haha. Oh well. It's still cool to look at.

I decided to park on Water St right next to the Y like I have the last two years. It's just so much easier for going in and out of there. I went in to get my bib and left John in the car to get his warm stuff on. He was going to hang out with Tony Wild and Scott Mason during the race. While I'm sure he would have been fine in the car with all three dogs, New Bedford is just one of those places I wasn't comfortable with him doing that. Plus, I really like it when he can get out and walk around and actually take part in what's going on. He generally enjoys it and gets exercise at the same time. Plus, he's always hanging out with cool people. Tony is one of those cool people since he speaks John's language. John is really into manga and anime, and Tony knows all about it! They've had multiple conversations about this. It's great. Last time we saw Tony after Exeter, I told him that he and his wife needed to have kids. Haha. He is so good with them, or John, at least.

It worked out that Scott and Tony were in the Y when I messaged them so we met up, and I left John with them. Then I went out for a warm up. Where I ran for the first mile, there wasn't much wind, but when I turned around to run back up most of the last mile of the course, I hit an insane headwind. Oh boy. This was NOT good. Finished up two miles at my car. After the race, I felt like I should never even have bothered warming up. I titled it "Pointless warm up" with the description, "Should have just pounded two beers in my car instead." Notice that was in the description box...not the title, Strava users!! :) Haha. The warm up had been extremely slow, and I was feeling it in my glutes. I kind of had a bad feeling, but at the same time, I still felt like I could pull off the same time as last year. My original goal of 1:24:30 was already thrown out the window. With the wind, I thought maybe a minute slower. Once again, I was wrong. DEAD wrong.

Got to the start and made my way up to the front where the women line up only to find Ginger Reiner and Diana Bowser there. I talked to them for a bit. I think they were dreading this as much as I was. It was cold standing at the start in that wind. I was happy I had gone with the long sleeve and 3/4 tights (skirt thing) just for this part. People quickly started to file in. It was great being surrounded by a big group of fast women that I've gotten to know over the last few years. The wind was beating on us, so I knew this first mile would be nothing like my first mile the previous two years, 5:45 and 5:50. I was already feeling a sense of dread and just wanted to get this over with. I didn't have a good feeling. I was relieved when we started just to be warm, but it was right into a crazy headwind. I was struggling from the get go, but I felt strong and stayed in the group I wanted to be in with Christin and Amy and a few other women who are usually the beginning anyway. The pace felt quick, but against the wind, I knew it would be pretty slow. 6:34/mi. Ouch, but we were all in the same boat. The next 2.5 miles would be mostly climbing (with one nice downhill before the long climb up Hathaway). I felt really good here. It helped having some strong women running with me. Surprisingly, I ran this last climb to mile 3.5 my fastest ever. It was probably due to us having a bit of tailwind by this point, but, still, this climb is tough. I felt good by the time we made the left turn to start the LONG descent for over 3 miles. In 2015, this is where I hauled ass and started passing people. This year, it's where I got passed. By nearly everyone. All of the women, except Diana Bowser, just pulled ahead. Diana would the one person I would run with almost the entire way. She probably didn't know this since I was right behind her, but we were literally right together until I passed her in mile 11 or 12. She actually helped me keep going that whole race.

The 3 miles seemed to go on FOREVER. The best part was right around mile 5 when I saw John! I always, always, always love seeing him during races. I think I need to find a non-runner guy who will come to all of my races and hang out with John. Hahaha. And I don't really remember a tailwind or a headwind here. It was nice, but I guess I really wasn't speedy through these miles. I didn't feel bad, but I was comfortable in the pace I was going and didn't want to try pushing it yet. I knew what was coming and wanted to save my energy. As we approached the bottom of the hill where we take a hard left, I could see flag blowing hard to the right. That meant we were about to turn into the wind. Ugh. And sure enough we did. It was a blow. I could not run against it. My pace slowed 24 seconds for the 8th mile. This is when I started to get passed by women I beat at Amherst. It was as if I was standing still. I felt like I was giving 100% effort at this point, but I could not go any faster against that wind! Tammie Robie and Kelsey Allen went by me at the same time. I could still just barely see Amy. Christin was long gone. Mile 9 was a bit of a reprieve since we had some shelter from the wind for a good portion of it. I was still already feeling discouraged, though. I actually never looked at my watch once from mile 1 until mile 12. Not once. I knew after mile 1 that this race was going to be slow. But it got slower than slow.

Towards the end of mile 9 and the start of mile 10, you can see water out ahead of you. It was all huge white caps. It was almost like knowing you're walking into your death, but you don't stop. You just keeping going. It's inevitable. I knew it was going to be strong and thought I was prepared for it. I was not! At the turn, the wind slammed into me so hard that I felt myself get pushed backward for a split second. I wasn't prepared for THAT. I could not move! But then, all of a sudden, like within seconds, I started getting passed like crazy!!! I was like what the fuck!!! It was mostly men at first. Like I was standing still. Then women! I was seriously going ALL OUT. I didn't know how these people were running against that wind. Was it because my glutes/hammies were hurting me by this point and I just couldn't get the power to move against the wind? I'd love to use that as an excuse, but I really don't think it was that. I think a lot of it was due to my size and lack of strength (nothing to do with my soreness). The extra 5lbs probably did make a difference in that wind. Lack of leg training?Yes, I think so. I've run a lot of hills, but that's it for my legs. In the summer when I'm cranking it out on trails and mountains, my legs are considerable stronger, but right now, I honestly think my lack of strength training in that area held me back. I don't think it was particular to me just being slow or having a bad day since I never actually felt bad. I really do think it was a failure on my part to train in that area. At the time, I couldn't figure it out. I was getting so pissed at being passed in droves. It seemed like Diana, Tammie, with whom we were slowly catching up with, and I were the ONLY ones being affected by the wind. I started to get so pissed off and so frustrated. Like I said, I didn't look at my watch until mile 12. I didn't even look at my splits until later that night. I couldn't bring myself to do it. 7:29 and 7:18 for miles 10 and 11. OMG. I'm so glad I didn't look or I would have been even more upset. There was a slight break in the wind during mile 12 so I was at least able to bring my split under 7 minutes. Woohoo. 6:54. When I saw the clock roll just past 1:20 at mile 12, I cringed inside and thought. I may not break 1:27 minutes!! Funny to think that I was horrified by that when I ended up not even breaking 1:28!!! I didn't feel bad in mile 13, surprisingly, but I still couldn't run against that wind. 7:28 for mile 13. Once again. Glad I didn't look.

Finally, the turn at KFC. Downhill. It seemed longer than I remembered, but I think that was because I was mentally all done. I could see Scott Mason in the distance so I looked a little harder until I could see Tony with John. I was so beat. I managed to wave and smile at John just before the turn onto the final stretch. That's why I was still smiling in Scott's pic. Not sure I could have mustered a smile otherwise.

The turn to the finish was amazing. The headwind at the start was now a strong-ass tailwind to finish in. Although, it's probably not accurate due to a short segment, Strava has me listed as second (along with Apryl S) for the second fastest. Hahaha. Pretty funny to see that after a shitty, horrible, awful, etc race.

Coming into the finish
I couldn't believe the clock when I saw it. Over 1:28!!! My time would be 1:28:09! I was horrified. I came through the finish not too far behind Tammie so when we saw each other, we both were like, "That was awful." I turned around to see Deb Slason right behind me. She said the same thing. Tammie already had the right attitude of oh well, gotta let that one go. I wish I could have had the same attitude. I didn't even want to take a medal, I was so horrified by my time. Walking through the shoot, I was cooling down quickly. I just wanted to get to John and tried to walk down to where he was, but it was blocked off. so I had to walk up a block. Happy I found empty porta potties where I stopped for a minute, but as soon as I stepped out, the cold wind hit me and I was COLD. John seemed so far away, and I almost turned around to go get clothes first, but I really wanted to get to him. I was freezing cold by the time I over to him. Bob Jackman was there so I talked him for a minute about the Hoka Hupana's I was wearing since he almost wore his, as well. I was happy with them during the race. I think they're perfect up to that distance. Tony looked really cold. I felt bad he was out there in that cold for so long. John looked perfectly fine. Haha.

John and I started to walk back. I was frozen by this point and ended up having to borrow John's "Kenny" jacket for the walk back to the car. I was dying. Thank goodness he had that jacket. Once back at the car, I changed clothes, but could not get warm. I was shivering uncontrollably. Just could not get warm. I was glad the Moby Dick Brewing Co was literally right there. It was so warm inside that I was comfortable again within minutes.

I met Tony, Scott and Mike Daniels there. They had two rounds, while I just had one. I couldn't stomach another one. Their beers were not good. Yuck. The place just opened last week, though, so they'll improve. I'd definitely give them another shot to impress me.

We went from there to Freestone's at Scott's suggestion. Fitz and Michelle and some of the BAA people were at the bar so we said a quick hello, then got a table. We were starving. Better beer was had here. Troegs Java Stout. The food was great, and we ended up having a good time. I only had the one beer, surprisingly, but I think I was just so full!

Scott and Mike. Tony was there but out making a phone call. I love how John put his face in the shot.
Scott and Tony were parked in an opposite direction so we said our goodbyes. Mike just happened to be parked almost right behind me, so we walked back together, then said goodbye. I took the dogs out briefly, then hit the road. John had walked about 3 miles during the course of the race, so he fell asleep for hours on the ride home. I took 93 through Boston since it was shorter, but a really bad accident happened just as we got into the city. I was lucky to make it to the Ted Williams Tunnel before the traffic started to back up and took 1A instead.

The ride home was tough for me because it was when I could finally reflect on my race. The first time I allowed myself to even think about it. It immediately brought me to tears. I had had such a bad race. And, yes, the wind affected everyone...but not the same. I was one of the ones who just couldn't handle it. I was so down about it the whole drive. Pissed about all of those people passing me. I felt like I just sucked so bad. I had two friends say the exact same thing to me; that I was being too hard on myself. They were probably right, but this one hit me really hard. To have it go from my goal race to a total shit show is like a punch in the gut from my own fist. I knew my time would be slower than I originally wanted, but by over 3.5 minutes?! The wind was a huge factor, but I think it was my inability to power against the wind due to lack of strength that made it so bad. So really, it was a rough day, but it's my own fault. But, then I think. How can I possibly fit in leg work without getting too fatigued? This is what happens EVERY time I try to add leg work in. My legs end up overly tired and sore too often before a race. Once again, it's like I should cut back on racing so that I can cross train and build strength so that my races are better, but if I cut back on racing, I miss out on a lot of good races and the chance to be social. So it's like, what do I give up? For starters, it IS the racing... to a point, since I backed out of the marathon. That weekend will now be race-free. The weekend after will be a fun race. I think that after the 15K on April 1st, I'll add in the leg work and see how it goes. I can't have a New Bedford 2017 happen to me again. It was bad. So bad. I sucked! But it's changing my perspective on things, so it has its positive.