Doyle's Emerald Necklace

Doyle's Emerald Necklace

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

2017 Ascutney Hill Climb

Summer bridge jumping is finally back!
Not a super exciting week, but I did a lot of trail/mountain runs and took on the Ascutney Hill Climb on Saturday. I hit my most elevation gain in a week for the year this week at 10,000ft exactly. 50 miles for the week which is where I want to be. And 9 hours and 1 minute (had I just run a 1 minute faster at Ascutney, I would have had 3 even numbers!) of run time. The weather was crazy this week from mid-40s and pouring rain to 95ish degrees by the end. Sad to say, I didn't take a lot of photos during my runs...except maybe one? Haha. Still plenty of photos for the week, though. I certainly wouldn't want to disappoint!

My hamstrings and plantar fasciitis were, both, a little "wishy washy" during the week. Sometimes fine and sometimes really sore. And I'm talking about the "injured" part of my high hamstrings. I'm a bit of a mess still. I should probably go see Tina again sooner rather than later for a deep tissue massage, but I wanted to use up the free massage I won at that 5K in Dover on Mother's Day first. It will just be therapeutic, but I actually need that, too. Starting to feel a little tense and stressed again, and the lack of human contact probably doesn't help. A good therapeutic massage is great for the psyche and somewhat makes up for that lack of human touch, even though there's nothing personal behind it. What the Lack of Affection Can Do to You is a short article about this. I wouldn't say it's nearly as bad for me as this suggests, but I do fall along those lines a bit. So, basically, what I mean by all of this is that I think the therapeutic massage will actually be more beneficial to me right now than the deep tissue, even though I could definitely use both. Haha.

Monday, June 5, 2017- Blah, blah, blah. Same as always. Pretty slow day for the 24 hours of work. Walked 2 miles on the treadmill. Attempts to avoid getting my ear talked off for an extended period of time failed. That's my Monday. Haha.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017- Woke up to pouring rain and temps in the 40s. Commented to a friend that my track workout was going to suck. He suggested I do something easy instead since I was already planning to run the first Whitaker Woods Summer Series race that evening at a tempo pace. Hmm. Why didn't I think of that? Haha. Well, there is an answer: because I really have no idea what I'm doing. I just do stuff.

I was reminded the day before as we drove down 25 in Effingham of how I've been wanting to go back and run Green Mountain. I knew I wouldn't have time to do all the three trails down and up, but I couldn't definitely fit in two of them. So I headed to the start of the Dearborn Trail after getting off of work at 7am. It was pouring rain from start to finish. I ran up the Dearborn Trail to the summit. The new fire tower is pretty nice! I didn't go up it, though. It was windy, rainy and probably around 40 degrees up there. I made the decision to do the Highwatch Trail down to its base next. I remembered this being steep, but my memory was slightly inaccurate. Only about .3 of it near the top was steep. The rest was at an easier grade. When I got to the bottom, I turned around and ran back up to the summit. Had I had the time, I would have gone all the way down to the bottom of the Fire Warden's Trail, but I didn't. Instead, I opted to check out the Hanson Top Trail just off the Fire Warden's Trail below the summit. I'd never done this one before. It was all single track and short to what would be an overlook...if I wasn't in a cloud. Haha. By the time I got back to the summit, the tops of my hands and arms were numb from the cold. I had a jacket with me, but it would have just gotten soaked and not really helped my hands much so I didn't put it on. I ran back down the Dearborn Trail to my car. 6.1 miles total in 1:33:56 with 2,708ft of elevation gain. This is a fun run to do, so I'll try to get back and do all the 3 trails in one run again.

I was happy I brought dry clothes, but since the air conditioner/heat blower in my car just broke, the dry clothes did nothing for my numb hands. I was so cold to the core after cooling down that most of my drive home was freezing. I have no idea what I'm going to do next winter without heat in my car. Not having a/c sucks, but it's somewhat bearable. Heat won't be. Maybe I should start a GoFundMe account. Hahaha. I was so happy to be in warmth when I got home. I had to make coffee old school with my French Press since my Bunn coffee maker broke the week before, but I didn't mind. I like the French Press. Unlike my car, though, the Bunn was still under warranty so they shipped me out a new one for free.

My large French Press
John and I didn't really do much during the day in the rain. I got in my upper body and abs workout, and then went to Whitaker Woods for the first race of the Summer Series (a 5K trail race). I only did one of these last year, so I'm hoping to hit more this time around. I know I'll miss the 3rd and 4th ones, but maybe I can make the rest. It was still pouring rain when I got there. Most people were lined up under a tent staying dry. I warmed up just under a mile and then joined them over there. It was nice to see all of the familiar local faces. Terry Ballou was there. I really like talking to Terry since she's super competitive like me, but also just a cool person. Looking around, she would be my closest competitor tonight...which unfortunately meant my plan not to run hard would go out the window. Haha. I stopped racing these a few years ago (except that one Tuesday in 2015 when the high school-aged xc girls showed up and the redhead tried to beat me haha). I still run fast-ish, but never race pace. Terry pushed me hard off the line on this one so I ended up running the first mile super fast. It wasn't quite all-out race pace, but it was close. My legs were junk from Cranmore so the 2nd mile was pretty slow on the climbs. The 3rd mile was pretty fast again. I finished around 20:55 maybe? 1st woman. A tad over a minute than my fastest there. And really, just a tad too fast. These mid-week races are just too much for me now that I race every weekend, so I really don't like going all out in them anymore. I prefer to do a tempo pace instead (even though I don't know what my "tempo pace" is; I'm just trying to sound runner knowledgeable).

For the second time today, I was drenched so I changed clothes again. Between me being soaked and having John and all three dogs in the car, the windows were completely steamed up. No defrost made it difficult to drive so I had to keep wiping the windows. Haha. No idea how this is going to work without air in my car. John and I made a quick stop at the store and then on to his ninja class. I took the dogs on a very short walk in the rain, then came back to watch John's class. It was Coach Carl's last day. I'm still so bummed about that.

Some dog pics from the day...


Wednesday, June 7, 2017- I woke up at 4:15am to run and felt really banged up. I did the same loop around Conway as the week before, just backwards. I was insanely sore in the hamstrings, and the plantar fasciitis was really bothering me. 4.6 miles was a struggle in 38:48. It was probably from going so hard at Whitaker the night before. I should have just zeroed since I probably needed full on rest more than a shitty, slow run. I need to learn that when the high hamstring tendon thing is flaring up, I really need to just take the day off. These are tendons, not muscles, at play. Big difference (I would heed my own advice today, the following Wednesday).

Work was slow again. Only one call the entire 24 hour shift. I did make it over to John's track practice and got to watch him do the 200m. He's not fast, but he still likes it. He moved across the field to do the shot put where I couldn't see him well, so I left. I didn't want my ambulance partner to have to sit there for the whole hour in the ambulance. John told me he did the 400m later, though, so I'm sad I missed it.

John running the 200
I got in a walk not too long after we got back. Only a mile, but my foot was really hurting.

Thursday, June 8, 2017- Woke up to beautiful weather. I had to get my run in by 9:30am so I opted to run the Green Hills again right from work. I did almost the same run as last time (maybe month or so ago). I only modified the trails I chose for the way back. The last time, I felt really out of mountain running shape and was feeling super nervous about Cranmore. I felt like I was in significantly better shape than that last run, so that's a good sign for all of my upcoming mountain runs (well, Ascutney aside haha). The run ended up being about .6 miles longer and not really that much faster than the previous time, but the fact that I felt so much better made me feel good about where I am right now. The loop I did started from Redstone and up through the Outer Limits around the backside of Rattlesnake Mt. Up to the ridge to hit Middle and Peaked Mts, then down the Peaked Mt Trail. I veered off from my previous route about half way down to hit the Black Cap Connector Trail where I ran down close to the Thompson Rd trailhead to hit Pillar-to-Pond for my run back. 10.6 miles total in 2:02:10. 2,144ft of elevation gain. I actually felt really good on this run.

I have to climb on the tree to reach the sign.
The reason I had to rush home was because I was taking John for a tour of The Community School in Tamworth. Ever since I first heard of this place, I thought it would be a good place for John. The idea of sending him to school makes me want to cry, but I think this place would be wonderful for him. He, on the other hand, was very apprehensive about it, so I wasn't holding out much hope. I just had to make sure I didn't push him into any decisions. I wanted it to be all his. We arrived about a half hour before the weekly community lunch to meet with the director, then take a tour with some of the kids. The place had a great vibe. Nothing seemed off to me. The kids were all extremely happy since it was the last day of school, which helped give off a good vibe. The kids we really talked to said they loved the school. As we toured it, I felt like I was at a combination of my old summer camp and the private school I went to in Athens, GA. So much openness and freedom, and the kids all had daily chores. The classes we walked through were all at one table facing each other. Even though my school was extremely strict academically, it was run very similarly. I loved it. John on the other hand was very standoffish at first. I think he had ideas of what school is in his head, but I could slowly see that going away. We walked outside to check out the farm animals and the grounds, then it was time for lunch. We sat with a student and one of the teachers who all spoke to John. That was one of the things I liked about this place. They didn't only speak to me as the parent. All questions were focused on John. Parent-centric is not how a school should be, and that's why I backed out of my parent-only visit with the Waldorf School. That was a big no-no in my book.

John really began to open up as we listened to one of the students tell us what she loved about the school. And the lunch was phenomenal. John said it was the best salad he's ever had and ate every bite. This kid does not like vegetables. His whole demeanor changed, and I watched him open up and become comfortable there. A boy from his homeschool group at Tin Mountain showed up with his family for the lunch which made John really excited. He went over to say hi to him, and when he came back, he said his friend was going to the Community School next year and that he wanted to go there, too! I'll be honest that I was completely taken aback. I didn't expect him to want to go, but he said, "I definitely want to go here." As we finished our lunch, we read through the application which has questions for the parents and the kids. I read all of the questions to him, even the parent ones, so he could start thinking about answers. We weren't filling it out at that moment, but I wanted him to be familiar with it.


The school is an old farm house

John at lunch

View from the farm area

Edible flower in our salad
We left after lunch to head home. John seemed pretty excited about the school, and I'm excited for him, even though, like I said, him going to school makes me want to cry. Haha. 6th grade will be his first day of school ever! Verklempt!! I was a little disappointed that Bryan wouldn't join us for the visit, but we didn't know this was the last day of classes. He was willing to visit at another time if John wanted to go there. He can still visit, but it won't be the same without the kids being there. I don't think he's thrilled that John wants to go, but he's following through on letting John choose. I'm a little nervous his attitude might affect John's decision, but hopefully not.

Since John is normally with Bryan on Thursdays, he came back to pick him up and I headed down to Chocorua Lake to meet an old friend from my WEMT class who was in town. He was going to join me for a paddle. I was laughing when we got out there since his kayak was a tiny river kayak. He was struggling to paddle that thing through the water. I barely paddled the whole way. While it was nice having company and catching up, I was a little bummed not to get in a good paddle. But it was ok. I don't hang out with people often other than post-races, so it was good.

Chris struggling to keep up with my sea kayak. Haha

I had a Focal Banger while Chris drank 2 Miller High Life's. Haha.
We stopped at my house so I could change clothes, then Chris drove us to May Kelly's for drinks and dinner. I was surprised how quickly time went by. All of sudden, we were the only two left and closed the place down. Haha. I enjoyed hanging out with Chris. His life is always somewhere completely different every time I see him. He's just moved in with his girlfriend, then the next time, he's engaged to someone else and moving to Connecticut. Two really bad experiences for him. Haha. This time around, though, he seems to have finally found the right person, and they just bought a house together in Asheville, NC, one of my all time favorite cities. After the AT in '98, I was going to move there. That was my plan. I had it all in place, but then I got the job as flight attendant and New England became home. But anyway, I'm super happy for him and hope this one works out. He seems like he's in a good place, and I'm hoping the next time I see him his life is still in the same place.


May Kelly's, with my friend, Jill, behind the bar
Friday, June 9, 2017- I was so tired from the late night that I slept in and then took a long time to get myself out for another run. Had I really cared about how I would do at Ascutney, I would have run a very short run at no elevation, but, nope, I went out to the Moat Mineral Site Trails for an out-and-back up Whitehorse Ledge. I did cut back on the mileage this time by skipping the High School Loop, and I ran at a very easy pace, but the elevation alone on already tired legs probably wasn't the best idea. 8 miles in 1:32:18 and 1,493ft of elevation gain. It was a pretty enjoyable run overall, and, as I ran, I thought about this specific trail network and how awesomely diverse it is. A mountain, a waterfall, brook crossings, forest service road, a giant boulder shaped like a tent, a huge beaver dam, different vegetation and trails. This network really does have it all, and White Mountain NEMBA does an amazing job of maintaining the trails there. In just the last month, all of the signs and bridges were back. I love it out there, and I'm lucky if I ever run into one person. Gem of a place.

I had planned to sneak in a real paddle after, but just as I finished my run under blue sky, the temperature dropped, clouds moved in and the rain started. Haha. I ran some errands instead then went home. I was psyched that my new coffee maker arrived so fast! Yay!



I procrastinated as long as possible by setting up the coffee maker (this one is a little different than your typical home coffee maker) and then got in my upper body and abs workout. Then I set out a plate of cheese and crackers for myself, all fancy like. Haha. I was originally going to take John bowling in Fryeburg, but I really had to mow the lawn. It's hardly been warm, but my yard was a field of tall grass. I knew this job was going to take me a LONG time. Why I decided to do this the day before Ascutney, I don't know, but it was really the only day I felt like I had nothing else to do, and the weather was decent, i.e. not hot as balls. The bugs (black flies and/or mosquitoes) are really bad this year so I put on long sleeves and pants and a hat, cracked open a beer then crossed my fingers the mower would start. It did!


As suspected, this was not an easy job. My yard is all sloped in different ways and directions, and the grass that grows on the top part is so thick that I have to go over every bit of this section TWICE. I went through 1.5 full tanks of gas and had to take 3 5-minute breaks. I made John take the dogs out because I was beat. My hands were red and numb from the mowers vibration. Finally, after 3.5 hours, I was done!! And I'm pretty sure where I started had already grown back by the time I was done. Haha. I'll NEVER understand why anyone plants grass in their yard. Why, people?! Why?! Haha. And why would anyone waste time on yard work unnecessarily? It's awful! Hahaha.

I was SO beat by the time I finished. I'd been on my feet nearly all day. I showered, made us dinner, then sat down for a long time. It was a really early morning the next day for Ascutney.

Saturday, June 10, 2017- Ascutney Hill Climb-

Last year, it was announced that the Ascutney Mountain Run had ended its run forever. Due to this, it was obviously no longer part of the USATF-NE Mountain Running Series. As much as I suck at uphill only road races, I was sad to see this one go. I've never done well here and hardly improved (just like Mt Washington), even though all of my other types of running have significantly improved over the last 3 years, but for some reason, I really liked this race. So,in April, when I caught wind that Brandon Baker of Team Amp was bringing it back to life, I put it on my maybe calendar. My friend, Robin Allen-Burke, was taking over as RD, so it was hard to say no when it came down to deciding between the MANY races over the weekend. I had planned to do Market Square Day originally, but being in the shitty road shape I'm in AND the 10K being my worst distance, I decided against the embarrassment. I really wanted to support There's a Black Fly in my Eye 10-Mile Trail Race at Great Glen so it was hard to choose between the two. One was local, and the other 2.5 hours away. Should have been an easy decision, but Robin offered me a free entry and that sealed the deal. I was also able to offer her a volunteer for the water stop: John! (Little did I know just how badly she would need John's help. She only had 5 volunteers, including John!)

I came into Ascutney (now called the Ascutney Hill Climb) treating it as just a training run for Mt Washington. That didn't mean I wasn't going to go as hard as possible. It just meant that I really didn't care about the outcome. I didn't expect to win since I knew Suzy West would be there, and I assumed Jamie Woolsey would show up, too, and she did. I don't know why no one believes me when I say these types of races are not my strength. Granted had I run it in 2015, I probably would have run it much better than before that and now, but that was my one and done fastest time of my life. That's not happening again. I knew I wouldn't do well there, and I know I won't do well at Mt Washington this weekend. They just aren't my bag. I struggle at that grade and type of run. It's just a fact. I'm ok with it, even though I'm sometimes disappointed at Mt Washington still. For the most part, though, I've accepted it. So, anyway, that was my mindset going into Ascutney. Go hard, but don't worry about it at all.

I was up at 4am which is always a struggle, but with it being light out already, it definitely makes it easier. I wanted to bring all of the dogs along, but it was going to get way too hot in the car for Spot and Chill, so I only brought Phoenix. John crashed the whole way there. It wasn't a bad drive. I got there right around 7:30am. It was so weird to pull into a nearly empty lot. I've never been here when it wasn't in the Mountain Series, so it's always busy. Robin was a little worried since she only had 47 pre-registered, but she would end up with 70 total. Not bad. Still mostly the same people from the Mountain Series showed up, so it might as well have been in the Series. Haha. I'd just seen them all the weekend before, and when we all left, it was, "See you next weekend at Mt Washington!" My running "family".

I checked in then went back to the car to get John up. I made sure he had long pants and his hoody because this is a bad year for black flies. I haven't seen it this bad since 2011. It was a little tough getting John up and out, but when he was ready, I walked him to Robin's car so he could ride up to the water stop. I got in a mile warm up then made my way to the start. It was kind of nice having the smaller crowd for a change. I had written last year's splits on my arm to attempt to run close to that time. I wanted to go out somewhat easy for the first mile, which I never do here. It turned out to be too slow. Jamie and Suzy would put quite a bit of distance on me very quickly. I didn't feel like I was going easy, but I could tell it was probably not the pace I should be running, and sure enough, the first mile was 31 seconds slower than last year. Eeek. Mile 2 is much steeper, so to regain there was not happening. I no longer saw Jamie, and I would only catch glimpses of Suzy. It was great seeing John around mile 1.6. I took the water he handed to me and told him I'd see him later.

John at the water stop in full bug battle gear. Photo by Fred Ross
I felt like I was pushing as hard as I could for mile 2, but around 1.75, I was running along feeling like this was it, this was all I had, when I realized that it wasn't. I just all of a sudden had an a-ha moment! I had just kind of given up mentally and thought that I was going as hard as I could, but all of a sudden, I realized that I could run faster. It was so weird. I even said it to myself. "Wait a second, you can actually run faster than this." So I did. I still hit mile 2 27 seconds slower than last year, but I had only realized towards the end of it that I was mentally holding myself back. I fell into my new pace here and passed the guy who had been right in front of me up to this point. I started catching up to the next guy and finally passed him. And then all of sudden I was gaining on Suzy. I knew that there wasn't enough race left to catch her, but I gained quite a bit on her the last 1.6 miles. (Jamie was long gone!). I was super happy to come through mile 3 13 seconds FASTER than last year. The last .6 ( or .7) is always tough, though, and I lost a little bit of what I had gained only to run it 15 seconds slower than last year. I came through the finish exactly 1 minute slower than last year at 41:59 (last year was 40:59). Full Results

Coming into the finish. All photos by Fred Ross



Look of pain on my face. Heading for water!

Not a great race overall, but I have to admit that I was happy with how I was able to get out of my rut the last 1.6 miles and almost run the same as last year. I NEVER do that with uphill climbs. Once I get stuck in a pace, I struggle and never get out of it. It really took the mental aspect to get out of that rut and realize I did have more in me than I thought. I think the nature of this type of race for me tends to send me into this place mentally where I don't think I have anything left in me and I don't believe I have anything more to give. I think this is where I struggle at Mt Washington, although, it's double the distance of Ascutney so it's much harder to have any push left by the end. Your whole body is tired and in pain so to mentally snap out of a rut will be difficult. I'll do my best to not let the mental defeat win over, though. What I think will help was a wonderful thing that Tim Van Orden posted on Monday on his YouTube page. We went through nearly identical races at Ascutney. I would say he had much more awareness of what was going on his brain than I did, so it was great to listen to what he had to say about it all. It's really long video, but I couldn't help but listen to the whole thing. It was really just an amazing thing to listen to. The way he put it all into words and explained the real meaning of a positive attitude. It seems so mushy positive at first, but as he explains it more and more, you realize how it isn't like that at all. His explanation just wowed me. If you decide to listen to this, listen to the whole thing because it's really not what I expected to hear at first. It's worth listening to all the way through. It's opened my mind a little bit more, and I'm hoping I can use this on Saturday at Mt Washington. Thank you, Tim!


So anyway, back to the race! Haha! Post-race was really enjoyable, except the black flies. They were SO bad. I was glad I packed a jacket in my drop bag, but I should have packed pants, too, I was getting chowed on!! The best relief ended up being the porta potty that was fortunately super clean and a nice break from them. A huge improvement to the previous Ascutney was definitely the Harpoon beer! I had one right away and then later split two with Todd Callahan. Todd's funny and told me I was crazy for putting pictures of myself up on my blog. Haha. Oops! Too late now! :)

Photo by Fred Ross

Me, Freddi Triback, and Donna Smyth

Me with Robin. I realize now that I officially have old lady legs. Boo.



During the awards someone went down to pick up John. I was originally going to run down to him and then walk with him the rest of the way, but Robin said she would get him to the top. I grabbed him some cookies before they were all gone. He was able to sit in Robin's car to get out of the bugs, and then she thankfully drove him down. Walking down with him last year wasn't so much fun. It was LONG. I ran down with Tim, Jamie, Todd and Michael Narcisi. We caught up to Erik Vandendries and his daughter so they joined our group. Jamie and I chatted the whole way down pretty much. It was a nice run. John and Robin had passed us not far from the bottom so he didn't have to wait long for me. We walked to the car. Mikey was nice and brought me over a beer, a tick remover and a natural soda for John. I let Phoenix out then changed clothes. On my way out, I stopped at Matt Howard's car to leave him the USA Mountain Running shirt I had snagged for him the weekend before. I was thanked with a great picture on the beer page that's worth sharing. My pic from my last blog post on the left and his on the right. Too funny not to share. Haha. This isn't the first time I've been copied on the beer page, so that made it even funnier.


Of course, the real reason I go to Ascutney is for the Harpoon Brewery after! Ok, not really, but I do love this place. It holds a special place in my heart from the night before the VT50 in 2015. Even though I ended up DNFing, the time I spent at the brewery the night before is a special, happy memory for me. You can read about my whole experience in my blog post about it. It's a good mix of happy and sad, especially now because I've never gotten back to where I was fitness and speed-wise after that day. VT50 DNF. I just reread that, and it made me cry.

John and I had a great time at the brewery. We played John's version of  "chess". I kept telling him that I didn't think his rules were right, but he insisted they were and of course beat me. Hahaha. It was still fun.


I love bratwurst.

Getting ready to play John's version of giant chess. 
I took the northerly route home to avoid Bike Week traffic in Meredith. I do this every year I run Ascutney. It's almost the same distance time-wise since it's mostly interstate. When we got home, I made John walk up Heavenly Hill with the dogs and me. It was bug hell, and he was walking so slowly. It was also really hot out by this point, so it wasn't the most enjoyable walk. Haha.


Since I missed Thursday night's upper body and abs workout, I did one tonight. I was pretty beat, so it was extra hard for hard for me tonight.

Sunday, June 11, 2017- I tried to get up at 7, then 7:30, then 8. It was close to 8:30 by the time I got out of bed. I guess I needed the sleep! I took my time. Took the dogs out, made John breakfast and drank half a pot of coffee. Why I chose to drink that much coffee right before running is beyond me. It's pretty uncomfortable the entire time. Haha. I was able to enjoy my coffee on the deck with the help of my Thermacell. It was mosquito hell out there, but these things really work. I was glad I remembered to buy replacement parts for it a few weeks ago.



It was getting really hot outside fast, so I ran the dogs (minus Spot, who opted out) up Heavenly Hill. I wanted to get them some exercise before it got crazy hot. 1.3 miles in just over 20 minutes. 489ft of elevation gain. I put the dogs in, changed into road shoes and headed out for a road run. My ass was SO sore from Ascutney. Not my "injury", but genuine real soreness. It actually felt good to be sore since it's such a different type of pain. It's like a good pain. The temps were in the 80s but most of the run wasn't that bad. Just the last 1.5 miles along Rt 16. I only needed to run 6.7 miles to hit 50 for the week so I chose a short Bald Hill/Kancamagus Hwy Loop. The only parts I don't like about this run are the beginning and end on Rt 16, but I love going up Bald Hill and looping back to the Kanc. While the Kanc was crazy busy, there's enough shoulder to get safely away. This did mean that most of my run was on the dirt, though. One guy scared the crap out of me as he drove towards me and all of a sudden veered off the road. He got "What the fuck?!" arms! I couldn't really see through his windshield because of the glare, but I could tell he waved a huge apology wave, so I was good with that. The run wasn't super fast. I wasn't trying to make it super fast. I couldn't have been super fast if I wanted to be. I have a feeling my road fast days are over for awhile. Just hope I can get them back by September when the last half of the Grand Prix starts back up (I'm expecting nothing from myself at Ribfest on Sunday). Would you believe that my run came out to exactly 6.7 miles? That always happens! 51:35. 7:42/mi avg pace which is decent for that run with the long climb at miles 2 and 3. Nearly all of the 498ft of elevation gain is in these two miles. I was happy with it.

With temps getting up in the mid-90s, I decided against the planned bike ride and took John to Storyland instead. I had almost forgot about it, and we have season passes. I knew John would have a blast on the water rides, and he did. I actually haven't seen him have that much fun there in a few years. The place wasn't crowded at all, so there were no lines and we rode a few things back to back. His favorite is Pharoah's Rain. This also happens to be my second least favorite. It gets you soaked! I attempted to soak him with outside guns, but he kept nailing me with water so I would scream and run away. Haha. It was so weird as I watched him run around Pharoah's Rain shooting water at all of the other people. I was looking at a grown kid! In just the last 9 months, he's grown so much! He looks like a big kid. Since there was no line for once at the old cars, I had him drive me around. That was also weird to have him driving me for once; it was great, but then I realized how soon that's going to come for real! I'm all verklempt again!! Haha.

Another water ride where I just spectate. Him getting hit with water.

At one of the Pharoah's Rain water guns

Goofy head on the train

He's driving me!!!!!

That face again!
After we left Storyland, we stopped for ice cream at Trail's End by the scenic vista. On a day like that, you just need ice cream. We sat with a kid from John's aerial class and his mom and grandmother. I'd never met them, but they were nice. Then it was off to our first day at Conway Lake of 2017!

I couldn't believe how long we stayed there! 3 hours! I ended up having to drag John away after 7pm! He was in the water the entire time. He jumped off the bridge a few times, but other than that, he was swimming and swimming and swimming. It was awesome. This is what I've been waiting for for him! Yay! I relaxed on the beach since the water was still too cold for me to get in. I brought the beer Mikey gave me and put it in my stealth beer mug. Haha. It was funny because the beach filled up with a lot of the regulars we see every year. Crazy to see how much the kids have grown every year.


I had to hit the grocery store on the way home so we didn't back until after 8pm! I took the dogs out first thing. My house was super comfortable. It rarely gets too hot in there. I just use fans since I don't care much for air conditioning, except at work where I'm stuck there. I heated up dinner for John then made time for a short upper body and abs workout before showering and sitting down on the couch for an hour. We had a pretty awesome day. I was happy to leave the week like that. Good week overall!

I just heard First Aid Kit's version of "America" by Simon & Garfunkel yesterday. I've been a big fan of First Aid Kit for 3 years now, so I'm surprised I never heard this one. I listened to it while I was walking today, and I was immediately taken back to my mid 20s during my post 9/11 life upheaval when Bryan and I chose to be homeless for 2 years living out west, then thru-hiking the PCT, then moving to Key West, then thru-hiking the AT a second time. It brought a huge smile across my face thinking of that time when I lived in the present and how I had little worries or stress. We had our fights and shitty moments, but most of it was good times. So that's this post's song choice.





1 comment:

  1. You don't have old lady legs, stand next to me and it will be clear! Glad John likes the school, I'm far from maternal and that made ME cry!!! Or maybe it's the beer.... probably both.. Congratulations on continuing to wow me with everything you do! I'll be sure and hug you next time I see you! Ha ha ha

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