Waterville Valley 2019

Waterville Valley 2019

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

2017 Run with the Beavers Trail Race

Being goofy for Scott Mason's unmanned camera
Pretty good week running-wise. I felt good for most of my runs and even got in over 50 miles. Haha. Seems so low, but it's a struggle to get this many miles in due to not a ton of free time. I did have two long-ish mile days, but I surrounded Run with the Beavers with two really easy, short days, so it kind of evened out. Funny, when I worked more days a week at the ambulance, I was able to get way more miles in. That's because I was able to run decent miles on Monday evenings and not wake up beat to shit on Tuesdays from no sleep. Even though I worked Thursdays then, I was out at 5pm and would hit the road for some decent miles right after work. Long runs ended up being on Fridays, and I was doing longer distance races more regularly. But, I ended up injured. I'm hurting now, but nothing like that injury. I'm finding now that 50 miles is perfect. I do hope to up that at the beginning of September, but we'll see how I recover from the stage race in August. So anyway, I got in 54.6 miles for the week. Less elevation than the norm at 4,318ft, but that was on purpose. 7h41m of run time. Only 3 days of upper body and abs since I ran out of time on Friday, and I was beat by the time we got home on Saturday. All good, though, since I did a little bit of core work and stretching by the campfire on Friday night.

Monday, July 10, 2017- Every Monday morning, I set my alarm for 4:15am, and every time it goes off, I turn it off and sleep another hour. I just CANNOT motivate myself to get up, especially when I know I'm probably not getting any sleep Monday night. Work was busy, busy, busy, and sure enough, out overnight. Lack of sleep was really catching up to me badly, even with sleeping in on the weekend. My brain keeps telling me that this job isn't good for me, mentally or physically, but it's a steady job, and the schedule is perfect. However, I'm underwater so badly that I have to get a second job shortly after the stage race. I think I mentioned this in a recent blog post. I keep mentioning it because it's a constant source of stress for me. CONSTANT. Always on my mind.

I didn't eat them! Reading the ingredients was enough to turn me off! Yay.
I attempted a walk out back and found blueberries in the process, but we got a tone after only a half mile.

As I said, very little sleep that night due to a 911 right in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017- Woke up pretty tired but ready for my run...only to find my bag not in my car. Turned out I left it by kitchen table, so the mountain run I had planned was out. I didn't want to waste time driving, so I decided on a road run from home. This was a loop that I hadn't done in awhile since it involves a lot of time on 113, and it's just so busy this time of year. Turned out to have more traffic in Edelweiss than 113! I ran the usual Cranmore Shores and up Tasker and Allard Hills, but instead of turning around at 6 miles, I continued down Town Line Rd and into Edelweiss to make a loop back home with 113. 113 was still busy enough that I had to run on the dirt shoulder most of the time, but at least there's a shoulder! Haha. Finished up with 11.1 miles total in 1:22:22. 7:23/mi avg pace, so that was good. 857ft of elevation gain, almost all of which was in the first 6 miles which made it easier to finish up faster for the last 5.

I got in 20 minutes of Zuzka's Black Diamond Upper Body and Abs #4 as soon as I got home, then waited for John to come home. We went to Conway Lake for him to swim until it was time for the Summer Series race at Whitaker Woods. I got in a very slow shuffle of a mile warm up. I was so stiff and sore that I could barely move. I wasn't sure I could even run the race, but once I loosened up, I realized that I could at least jog it. And then I saw two women looking like hot shots lining up on the front line. Dammit. Now I had to run faster. I was really hoping I could still keep it under race pace. Terry Ballou and I always line up together so as we got going, we both passed one woman right away at the same time. One of us on each side of her. Haha. I didn't see the younger woman, but she had me running scared the whole time that I ran way faster than planned in 20:57, close to the same time as the first week. Grrr. Still under race pace, but also still too fast. And there was no need. The younger woman was 2nd to me, but by about 2 minutes. Haha.

As soon as I finished, I took a drink of water and ran to the car. No time for a cool down or to change clothes. I had to get John to ninja class. Since this was the week after the BIG vacation week, town was actually somewhat quiet so we made it to the gym in 8 minutes. Class starts at 6pm, but I can't get there until 10 after. It works out fine, though, because John is still completely worn out by the end.

I'm loving the new 6pm class instead of 7pm so we now get home at a decent hour. It gives me more time to take the dogs out, make dinner and then relax with a beer before the next 24 hour shift. I was definitely running on empty tonight, though. Two hard runs and very little sleep. There was no way I was getting up early the next morning to run. No way.

Old Course Porter
Wednesday, July 12, 2017- Yeah, I didn't get up early. In fact, I slept in later than normal because I didn't even shower. I had showered before bed and planned to run on the trail out back at work early into the shift while it was still cool out and not busy. I waited about an hour after eating breakfast then went for my attempted run... with SUCCESS! Yay! 5 miles on the trail. I'll admit that it was a bit tough running back and forth .2 miles each way to make 13 times I ran up and back on the trail. The trail goes farther, but I can't get away from the base that far. It isn't horrible, though. It's on a trail in the woods, and I'm able to do it while getting paid. 5 miles in 40:52. 8:10/mi pace. Mostly flat, but still ended up with 161ft of elevation gain. Haha. I got right in the shower when I finished and then sweated to death right after, so that ended up being pointless. It got hot quickly, and I could only stay in the crew office so long before it was stifling. I did end up going by Starbucks at some point to get my free drink I'd been saving for over a month. Visits to Starbucks are now a rare thing for me since it's just too much money, so being able to get a normally expensive drink was awesome. Haha.

Goodbye to Starbucks visits and goodbye to the nice nails. :(
We ended up with only one real 911 call and then 4 non-transports, 2 of which happened to be around 10pm and then after 1am. So sleep was interrupted again. Not as long as Monday, but it still cut into that middle of the night sleep. Ugh.

Thursday, July 13, 2017- My run for the day would longish, but with no steep climbing since I had Run with the Beavers on Saturday. I still ran longer than I should have. I made a loop through the Moat Mineral Site Trails and up Whitehorse Ledge that I calculated to be a little over 13 miles. It came out to 14.2 miles on my GPS and had me running miles 12 and 13 at a 7:20 and 6:32 pace which is definitely wrong! I wasn't running anything under 9 min pace the whole time. The moving time was accurate, though, at 2:15:10. Elevation gain was pretty accurate as well at 2,062ft. I felt like I took it easy enough to not sabotage my race on Saturday, but I ended up being somewhat wrong. I ended up having a decent race, but I was SO sore beforehand. Looking at the elevation profile from this run makes sense as to why I was probably sore, even though I wasn't pushing myself all that hard.

I was pretty tired so I did a short upper body and abs workout when I got home. John was actually staying with me Thursday night instead of his dad since his dad was able to pick up a shift at work and asked if I could take John. It was raining anyway so I didn't really miss out on kayaking or anything.

Friday, July 14, 2017- I HAD to sleep in. I knew it would end up with us getting on the road to Connecticut late, but even just the two extra hours would help. John and his dad still did their usual Friday morning routine at Frontside Grind and then First River. They took Phoenix with them, so I took Chill and Spot for a very short 3.8 mile run at the Albany Town Forest. I just wanted to get something in and exercise the dogs before John and I left.

I showered then loaded up the car with all of our camping stuff for the night, and then John and I left around 2pm. I thought for sure we were going to hit terrible traffic, but we only hit two slow-downs and were never really stopped more than a few minutes. We stopped at Gamestop on the way down so John could buy himself a game for his Nintendo DS, but that was our only stop.

This year, I booked a campsite at the West Thompson Lake Campground just over the RI border in CT. It was way cheaper than  the other and didn't require a 4-night minimum (never heard of such a thing). As soon as we checked in, we attempted to set up the tents in their groomed area of the site. It was like rock, and after beating the tent stakes to a pulp with a rock, I decided to set the tents up in the leaves outside of the groomed area. Yeah, oops. I wasn't busted right away since we left to go to the grocery store to grab a few things. I brought spaghetti to cook for dinner but wanted to add ground beef to it. We also picked up some s'mores stuff and breakfast for John. I had nothing for kindling so we walked to the Dollar Tree to get matches and $1 package of brown lunch bags. If you're ever in need of kindling, this is the way to go and works like a charm!

When we got back to the campground, I stopped at the gate to fill a box of firewood when I saw the fuzz coming my way. I avoided eye contact, but then I heard a, "HI!" I knew what was coming. "Are you in site 22?" "Yes." "You're going to hate me, but you have to move your tents." Argh. Dammit. Busted. Haha. So it was back to the campsite to once again beat my stakes to a pulp only to get them as much into the ground as possible and hope for no wind. Haha.

We were starving by this point so I broke out the camp stove and started cooking, then multitasked by getting the fire going at the same time. I used to suck so bad at making fires, so every time I make one now, I still get excited.

There was no way I was leaving there without breaking some rule and getting away with it, so it was time to break out the beers! I had the coffee porter while I cooked dinner and then sat by the fire later with the Second Fiddle.

Can you spot the hidden Second Fiddle? Haha.
For some reason, spaghetti tastes 10x better while camping. We were also starving. Haha. John and I made s'mores, then he went to his tent to play his new Nintendo game. Haha. Of course. I just ended up sitting by the fire for a few hours until I'd used up all of the firewood. It was nice. Did some core work and stretching and then just sat there watching the fire. My phone was put away for awhile.

The Hoka's I rarely run in. Haha.
Once the fire began to dwindle, I went to bed.

Saturday, July 15, 2017- Run with the Beavers Trail Race-

I woke up at 6am so that I had some time to make coffee for me and hot chocolate for John and eat breakfast. I brought PB&J for me. Not ideal, but I didn't want to spend any more money than I had to. We left the campsite set up since I had to pay for the two-night minimum and left around 7:15 for the short drive over to Pulaski State Park. Not many people were there yet so the lot was empty. Still didn't stop me from almost parking in a non-parking space next to the handicapped space. I backed up and parked in the real space next to it, psyched I'd have no one parked right next to me on the right. 3 guys in a Zip Car showed up just as I did and asked if this was the right place. They were SO excited to be there. Just as I told them this was the place, Chris Mahoney (with Heather and Eliza) tried to park in the non-parking space. I dashed his parking dreams when I told him it wasn't a space. As he backed up to move I said that someone is going to make it a space. Literally, one minute later...the park ranger made it a space. Hahaha! Too funny. Screw the handicapped. Haha.

I had offered to bring first aid supplies for the race so I carried my huge box of stuff over with me as I checked in. I just set it down on a picnic table bench, got my bib and shirt ( :) ) and then went back to the car where John was still out cold. John was working the water stop with Shawn Whalen again just like last year, so I had arranged for John to ride over there with him. I got ready for a warm up and then got John up and ready to meet Shawn when he showed up with his truck. I recognized his truck as soon as he drove in then walked John over there. I left him in Shawn's passenger seat then went for a warm up backwards on the course. This year's weather seemed so much nicer than last year, but by the time I was a mile into it, I was still sweating my ass off in my singlet. It wasn't 100% humidity and like 85 degrees like last year, but it was still a shirtless race. The weather was actually pretty nice, but I wasn't going to roast to death in a polyester top. Time to show off my 41 year old hot bod, i.e. droopy skin and fat belly. Oh well. Haha. I am actually to the point where I seriously don't give a fuck. I know I'm fit. The older I get, I probably won't look it, but if I can still out run you with my back fat hanging over my shorts, then you can't talk. :)

I went over to the start, and then everyone else started to walk over after it was announced for people to move over there. I didn't see any female competition as I lined up and tried to seed myself in the proper spot. I knew most of the people in front of me, but not the ones next to me. I figured the first .3 miles on the wide dirt road would get most of us in the right spot before going onto the single track. Bob gave the pre-race instructions, something about the different GPS watches getting all sorts of different mileages in a race. Blah, blah, blah. This reminds to change my rating at the A Better Pace FB page from 5 stars to one since I only got 9.3 miles on my watch. I feel cheated and want a refund! Haha. Obviously, I'm kidding. The GPS is never accurate on the trails.

Start of the race. 
After Bob finished up his announcements...he had to do it all over again. Haha. People in the back couldn't hear it the first time. The race got started right after this, and I found myself running way too fast up the road. A few guys passed me, and then I got stuck behind about 4 of them as soon as we hit the single track. They all flew up the road, and then slowed way down. Grrr. That meant I needed to pass them at some point. In the meantime, I figured they were keeping me from running faster than I should have been here. The pace was still quick, but I got to the point where I couldn't see the trail in front of me. I cannot run right behind people on a trail since I can't plan my next step. First to go was Texas shorts. Of course I was behind a guy in Texas shorts. But wait! It gets worse!! There was a group of about 4 guys ahead of me, one of which was Seth Acton. Last year, I tended to run close to Seth's pace, but over this past winter, he was smoking me big time. Then he ended up with an injury that had him out I think about a month, so I know that slowed him down a bit. It seemed like he was back running my pace so I decided to keep him in my sights to pull me along. There were two other guys running right behind him, one of which...wait for it......

That outfit. WHY?? Haha.
Hahaha! Didn't I just write about how I end up in the Ridiculous Outfits Group in so many races. Well, forget keeping up with Seth. I was going to beat THIS guy. Sights set, I continued to race hard. I came to the water stop where John was with a cup of water for me. I was parched and drank about half the cup before moving on. It's so cool to have your own kid hand you a cup of water during a race. :)

Right after this, we had some dirt road sections with a section of single track in between. I lost sight of the three in front of me on the first road section but started to catch them a little on the single track. By the time we hit the single track by the pond I was right behind Suspenders! Unfortunately he put on a little speed through this section and got ahead of me, but as you can see in Scott's photo, I was moving fast to catch him.

I love this photo.
I made up a little time on the more technical section and then saw Suspenders walking up the one big hill on the course. By the time we were at the top I was on him! He asked me if I was doing the 5 or the 10. I said I was doing the 10. He said something in reply, but I couldn't hear him. At this point I was using that downhill to catch him and figured since he was slowing down I would easily pass him at some point. Well, I got a surprise when we came into the field and watched him veer off to the finish line for the 5! Haha! I yelled out something to the guys standing there that I was going to beat him no matter what. I guess he made it easy for me by only doing the 5 mile. Haha.

Heather Mahoney got this video of me coming through the first lap.

I came through the 5-mile checkpoint in 37:07. Now it was time to catch the group of 3 ahead of me. They maintained a good distance ahead on the dirt road, but as soon as we hit the single track, it was like the first loop all over again, as I got stuck in the conga line. Couldn't see the steps to take in front of me so I made a move to go around the two guys behind Seth. Seth was still moving quickly so I ran a few steps behind him for awhile until he slowed up and I went around him. Right after this I passed a woman on a mountain bike who told me there was a man down on the trail ahead and that 911 had been called. "Oh shit!" The EMT in me started running faster...ok, what felt faster. Not sure it actually was. I wondered if it was like a man down, as in cardiac arrest or just an injury. I knew that if it ended up being something bad, I would definitely have to stop to help. It seemed like I ran forever and never ran into anyone, then about a quarter of a mile from the water stop, I came up on two people helping a man walk out of the woods. I asked if they were all set as I passed and breathed a sigh of relief when they said they were. I came out of the woods and saw some fire guy there and told them that the injured guy was walking out and only a quarter of a mile back. John had moved away from the water stop to watch the commotion, and when he saw me he started running over to the table to get me water. I didn't need any water so I told him it was ok and not to worry about it. I ran on.

I tried to pick up the speed through these next two sections of road and trail. I never did quite lose Seth and the other 2 guys, since they were always in view, but I felt like I had a good lead on them going back into the single track by the pond. As I came around the corner at one point, I passed a woman and then noticed Scott's unmanned camera by the trail. I couldn't help but play it up with some ridiculous face. And yeah, "ridiculous" is the key word! Haha.

I know I already put this in this post, but here it is again. Me just glowing with hotness! Haha!
When I turned onto the really technical single track, I saw Scott off to the side. I almost went straight through a small section here instead of veering right to go up the small hill to where Scott was. I realized my mistake and quickly moved right, passing by Scott and his clicking camera. Haha.

It looks like I must be showing ass crack here with my shorts so low, but I don't think I was. Haha.
I came off the single track to the big hill and ran up it as quickly as I could and passed by a family doing the 5-mile together. Then all of a sudden, I heard someone cough. I turned around and Seth was right on my heels! Haha! I thought for sure he was about to pass me, but I decided to hold him off and actually picked up my pace as soon as we hit the long downhill before the last climb to the finish. I think I was actually running faster here to stay ahead of Seth than I was on the first loop trying to catch suspenders. I thought for sure Seth was going to pass me as soon as we hit the uphill, but he never did, and I was able to hold him off as I ran through the finish! 1st female in 1:15:16. 13th overall. 38:09 for the second loop. A little over 2 minutes faster than last year, but the course was also slightly shorter. I was thinking I ran a pretty similar pace as last year, and I was correct! When I looked, my avg pace this year was 8:01/mi and last year was 8:03/mi! So spot on. Last year, I was in a little bit better shape for the speed of this course, but it was hot as balls, like 85 degrees and what felt like 90% humidity. Although this year was still humid, neither that nor the temp was any comparison to last year. All in all, I was pleased with my race since I thought I was actually going to run much slower. To see I ran the same makes me happy, considering where I am speedwise. Full Results.

Heather Mahoney got this video of me shuffling into the finish.

As soon as I finished, I caught up with Jonny Hammett and Steve Brightman who both had pretty good races. Beth Lazor-Smith came over to chat. She had run the 5-mile race today. I realized that this was where I met Beth in person for the first time a year ago. Seems like yesterday.

I walked over to print out my results only to find I was listed as 2nd female. Oh hell no. Haha. I knew it wasn't right, but I checked the timing guy. He said it was someone registered for the 10 who dropped after 5 and that he was about to fix it. Phew. Haha.

I went back to the parking lot and talked to Heather for a bit before attempting a cool down. OW. My plantar fasciitis that hadn't bothered me at all during the race was now crippling me. I hobbled a mile and then went back to the field to check if the awards had started yet. I met back up with Beth who introduced me to Julia Gaynor, and what a sweet person she is. I really enjoyed meeting her.

Me, Julia and Beth
Bob started the 5-mile awards so I stayed to watch. When they were done, Bob said he was going to wait to do the 10-mile awards. I was relieved because my feet were DYING. I needed to get my shoes off ASAP. So I went back to the car and next thing I hear is Bob doing the 10-mile awards. Damn him. Haha. I ran through the woods and just missed my name being called. I went up just as Bronson Venable, who was first overall, was getting his award. I was eyeing one beer in particular that I wanted, but I let Bronson pick first. Relief when he picked the other Berkshire porter and I got the one I wanted. Bob tried to stiff me on my hat award so I had ask for it. :) Haha. Pretty awesome awards this year.

I watched the rest of the awards then finally got my shoes off. Such relief. I hate shoes. I'd prefer to wear sandals 100% of the time if I could. After the shoe change, a parking lot beer exchange would ensue. Haha. I didn't have enough money to buy more than 4 Call it a Day DIPAs from the Moat to share, so I felt bad when so many people came over to me with beer! Steve B, Mike D, Pat Q, Tony W, Jen Graves, Crutchley. I came with 4 beers to share and left with 9 (including my award beer)! People are so generous. I wish I could give more, but I just can't right now.

Shawn and John came back from the water stop, and John went right to his Nintendo DS in the car. Haha. He said he had a lot of fun at the water stop again. I thought he might just be saying that since he knows it's what I want to hear, but I overheard him talking to a gamer friend that night. He was complaining that he to go (oh the horror!) camping, but that was followed by telling the friend that he worked the water stop at his mom's race and that it was really fun. Phew. Haha.

I went back to the field to get my first aid box and learned that it actually got used! Yay! Haha. I guess that's not really something to celebrate, but I'm glad my stuff was available when it was needed. The group of us that was all going out for lunch after hung out there in the field chatting while we waited for the last runners... who didn't exist. Haha. Dave Principe swept the course, and when he came back through, he said there was no one else out there. Woohoo! Time for food and beer.

It was about a 5-minute drive over to the Tilted Tavern where we shocked the poor staff there with a huge group. They definitely weren't prepared for that, but they were lucky to have very patient customers who were having a great time no matter what. John and I snagged the last two seats at one end of the big table in the middle. I was sitting next to people I didn't know very well. Serge, Liz and a guy on TNT whom I met after Bobby Doyle. Conversation was good. John wanted to order the steak tips, of course, so I had to put a stop to that. I'd only set aside so much money for this lunch so that we could join, and I was ordering one of the cheapest things on the menu. John had to settle for the beef tenderloin sandwich. Tough life. Haha. I got a loaded spinach calzone which is making me drool right now at the thought of it. Me want! I had a couple of beers with that. All of my end of the table mates left, including John, so I scooted down and people from the other tables moved in. I talked to Shawn, Mona and then Dave before I decided to leave. I was walking out with Steve Brightman so I said goodbye to him. I think he's the only one I told I was leaving. Sometimes, I like to slip out like that.

Wachusett Wally
John and I went back to the campsite, packed up the tents then headed home. Our drive was made better by 2 cds that Tony had burned for John. I think we listened to the first one 3 times. Haha. It was music from some anime. Don't ask me the name. Haha.

The drive home wasn't that bad. We were back at a good hour. I was happy to see the dogs! Too beat to do an upper body workout so I just showered then lounged around.

This year's Beavers shirt is awesome!
Sunday, July 16, 2017- Really lazy Sunday. I only felt like a short recovery run on Sunday morning, so I did a short loop around Conway. 4.5 miles in 34:14. 7:32/mi avg pace. Actually a faster pace than I thought my legs and foot would let me run. Got in an upper body and abs workout. Yay!

After that it was off to Conway Lake for hours with John. Stealth beer of course. It was a hot day out so I actually got in the water a few times and swam a little.

We made a stop at the grocery store that would be our last chance to buy food for a week, so I tried to make sure I had enough to last. We didn't starve the next week, but it sucked not having any snacks. I found myself drooling over other people's food all week. Haha.

Snuggle time with Phoenix that night
OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! I found out Lana Del Rey released a new album this week!!! I've put her songs on my blog posts in the past. I have been a huge fan for 3 years now! Just when you think she can't get any better, she throws another spectacular album in your face just like, "Here ya go, bitches." So of course this post's song choice is one from the new album. It's so hard to choose, but I love this duet she did with Stevie Nicks, so that's my pick.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

4th of July Week

Ice cream at Wolfeboro Docks
The picture above is where we were instead of the Whiteface SkyMarathon. By Monday, I knew I wasn't going. It pained me to skip Whiteface after how much money I had dished out for it already. Two nights of camping for $53 (got back only $14 with the cancellation). Plus the Kid's Vertical K for John and the SkyMarathon for me. Ouch. But I just couldn't do it. We needed a break. We needed a race-free, travel-free weekend. The money was spent, though, so by not going, we didn't spend even more money on gas, food and the ferry. I LOVED Whiteface two years ago, and if we could have driven over morning of, I still would have done it, but it was just too much. I hated missing the race, but I had absolutely no regrets. I felt relief. That's when you know it was the right decision.

That doesn't mean it was a race-free week, though! I did end up doing a local 4th of July road 5K. Of course, of all mornings when I needed to get out early, we got a 911 call at 6am!! For someone with a cough that had been ongoing for 5 days! The good part about that was that we knew I was teching the call. So we loaded her in the ambulance and immediately left the scene. I got back to the base at 7:50am. The race started at 8:30am!! Fortunately, this was the Ordination Rock 5K in Tamworth, and I was in Tamworth! I parked the ambulance, then ran upstairs, grabbed my stuff (forgot my sandals which would still be in the exact place I left them a week later) then ran to the car. I got to the KA Brett School by 8am. I registered then hurried into the bathroom to change. Little did I know the shuttle to the start was one pick-up truck that people were riding in the back of. Of course it was! This is Tamworth! A couple realized I was waiting for a ride and were about to drive to the start in their own Jeep and offered me a ride. They asked me my name. I said Leslie. "Are you Leslie of the White Mountain Milers?" Yes, I am. Turned out to be Zach Switaj's parents! Haha. Zach had already run to the start. I was lucky to get any warm up in. As soon as we arrived, I warmed up a half mile. That was it since everyone was heading to the start. I probably could have gotten in a whole mile, but I just wasn't sure, so I just ran down to the start. I looked around for competition. There were two women who had the fast look and then another older woman I noticed line up next to me right near the front. Hmmm. She was older, but looked confident. I remembered not being able to catch her on my warm up.

The woman in charge of the race gave pre-race announcements then sent us on their way. Since it started on a downhill, I went out fast. This younger guy went flying out in front past Zach, and then an older guy on Tamworth Fire went out ahead of me, leaving me in 4th. I had no idea if any women were on my heels or not. I just hoped to get a good lead on this downhill until we turned onto a gravel road at Remick Farm. I was definitely running sub-6 pace, but the dirt road majorly slowed me down. At this point, I had just passed the older guy and started to catch speed racer who had gone out in front at the start. Kid was a little too gung-ho. Haha. This dirt road section was a good .25-.30 miles. Not only was it all uphill, but the dirt road was slightly washed out and rough footing. I passed Speed Racer just as we hit the 1 mile mark and the road started downhill back to the paved road. 6:07 1st mile. I was in 2nd overall behind Zach at this point and would hold that place through the finish.

Once back on the paved road, the course would make a slight uphill to Rt 113A. This mile should have been fast, but since I suck balls at 5Ks and everything on the road right now, it was slow. Over half a mile of mile 2 was a slight downhill!! 6:15 for mile 2. Oh come on, self! Ugh. About half of mile 3 would be a slight uphill. By the last "climb", my legs were just done. All done. That was it. I had nothing. I could feel myself slow significantly. I was dying. I am so out of 5K shape!! Even when I'm in great 5K shape, I still can't go under 18:30. I would kill for anything under 19 right now, but nooooooo, finished this one in 19:30. UGHHHHH!! I suck!! I was 1st female and 2nd overall, but my time still SUCKED. I've been trying not to be so disappointed since I seriously haven't trained for this speed since last year, but it still hurts. I was running 19:30s in 2011 when I was slow as fucking Christmas. People told me the course was long, but I got 3.11 on my watch. I don't think it was long at all. That would have been great for my excuse bag, though.

Only pic I found from the race
I wish I had the money to run a 5K once a week to get my speed back, but I don't. Most 5Ks cost more than the mountain races. I'm going to embarrass myself at the Downtown 5K in September. I'll be back on the track regularly the 3rd week of August, but a month isn't enough time to get my fat ass faster in the short stuff. Oh, and let's not forget the Millen Mile. No 5:26 for me this year. I thought the first half of 2016 was bad. So far 2017 is looking to be a total wash of sucking badly. Of course, people reminded me that I had just raced Loon 2 days before, but I didn't think I was tired or sore from that. Maybe I was. I did have to rush to the race, but that wouldn't have affected me that much. Oh well. Leslie O'Dell not only sucks now, but she's also fat and injured AND OLD. Too bad I didn't get divorced sooner or I would have had more time to develop my running before getting old. Haha. The only reason I ended up fast and where I was before I sucked again was due to getting divorced. Seriously. You laugh or question that, but it's so true. There are the few who watched the transformation and can vouch for it. Haha.

Unfortunately, the 9 miles I had planned for the morning were thwarted by the 911 call, but I was still able to get in a 3 mile cool down. I had missed the awards, but when I saw what I got, I didn't care much. I seriously try not to complain about awards, but seriously?? A plastic 1st place medal. They shouldn't even bother. They could have gotten donations from a business in Tamworth. I just wish I could take them by the hand and guide them away from what not to do. No trophies and no medals. Something functional. I didn't care that much, I swear, but seeing this medal really made me cringe. It was still a good race overall. I'll probably do it again...just not next year since I'll be working the 4th of July again. Ugh. Oh, and I almost forgot. That older woman I thought would be fast would turn out to be none other than Julie Menosky, aka Julie Peterson, of long ago Mt Washington Road Race fame. Level Renner mention. She would finish a distant second to me here, but I have never come anywhere close to her Mt Washington times.

I rushed home to be there by the time Bryan dropped off John. I did my upper body and abs workout, then wrote my TEMSIS report from the 911 call. After I showered, John and I headed over to Amy and Rick's Bernard's vacation house in Madison. Chris and Heather Mahoney and Charlie Bemis were there, as well. We had beers down at the beach while the kids swam. I tried to be funny and showed up wearing my 1st place medal, but the joke fell through. No one noticed. Haha. Oh well. I had an a-ha moment shortly after arriving when my ass broke through my chair. I AM morbidly obese, just as I thought!

After about 3 hours, John and I were the only ones left at the beach. Then I got a picture of the margaritas being had up at the house. I was adamant that I was having NO TEQUILA this time, but as soon as we got back to the house. This was placed in front of me...

I think Heather's smile might be evil because she knew what I was about to do. Haha.
As always, dinner by Rick was amazing. I was STARVING, too. I felt like a pig, but a homemade meal by someone else is so rare for me that I probably ate more than my share. It didn't help that another tequila drink was handed to me, and I took it. Bad, bad, bad idea. I don't drink liquor ever! I think the last time was with these guys the summer before! After dinner, we headed out to the fire for s'mores.

Chris took this. I look ridiculous.
I finally realized we needed to get home. I had to work at 7am. UGH. This was going to be a rough morning.

I was correct. I woke up SO HUNGOVER. The worse hangover I have ever had. I don't know how I made it to work on time. I felt horrible. Wanted to vomit all morning.

I ended up lying down for awhile, but I still wanted to vomit. I hadn't had a chance to get to the store the day before so my partner and I went to Hannaford around 1pm. I needed bread. I felt like bread would do it. I had filled my basket and was in the self-checkout when a tone dropped. I quickly checked out since it was just a fire alarm activation and ate a small loaf of bread on the way to the call. It only took about 10 minutes before I felt 100%. Wow. I was so relieved, and that was a very good thing because that fire alarm would be just the beginning of 911 after 911. I made an effort to run on the trail out back and made it 1.9 miles before we got another call. I threw my uniform on over my running clothes and showed up on scene literally drenched in sweat. Oops. I had time to finish my run when we got back to make 5 miles total. I felt so much better by the evening. We were so busy, though, that I couldn't get my blog post done. That started the cycle of me now being two weeks behind, and why I'm going to rush through the rest of this post without even separating the days! Egads! For someone who used to be so Type A, it hard to believe I'm now the complete opposite. An utter mess! Seriously. More than I will actually ever write on here. Haha. I'm open about a lot, but the actual true mess that I am will remain vague.

Thursday morning surprise in my mailbox
I was glad to be feeling 100% by Thursday morning since I had a long, difficult run planned. One I was unable to complete the year before. All 4 bottom-to-top trails on Mt Pleasant in Maine. I chose this to replace Whiteface since Whiteface was supposed to be training for Ragged 75. This would be VERY comparable. Whiteface was 15.5 miles with 7500ft of elevation gain. My run would end up at 17.3 miles with 6,902ft of elevation gain.

This run is seriously one of the hardest runs I've ever done. Harder than the Duncan Ridge 50K which had over 10,000ft of gain and took over 7 hours. I could see why I failed last year. I almost failed again this year! Fortunately, the humidity was way less than last year, and I brought enough water. What I should have done was not put Tailwind in ALL of my water. By the last trail, I just wanted plain cold water. But it started off well. I ran slower up the Fire Warden's Trail than last year, but I hoped a slower start would mean completing the run this time. I felt good when I got to the turn off for the Bald Peak Trail. I wasn't long into the trail when I took a hard fall. I was up then I was on my back on the ground. Haha. It hurt, but I knew right away it wasn't anything significant. I waited until the blood dripped down the leg to get a good pic for dramatic effect. Haha.

I decided to skip the spur trails on the way down this time since my goal was really only to do the bottom-to-top trails. Those trails were boring and had nothing of significance. The first brook I came to, I stopped and cleaned up my leg. I didn't really want to look like the fool I was who had tripped over a root.

I got to the trailhead, then drank some water before making my way back up. By this point last year, I was already struggling. I felt so much better this time around, so I was sure I would be able to complete all four trails this time. I stopped to eat blueberries on the ridge for less than a minute and snapped some photos then continued on to the summit.

The summit was insanely crowded so I drank some water and made my way down the Ledges Trail. This was the trail I skipped last year because I knew I couldn't finish. I was out of water by this point then and had to skip this one. I felt pretty good still this time around and the way down wasn't long. Less than two miles. I still felt good until about half way back up. I started to feel drained but I got back up to the turn off for number 4, and final, trail of the day, the Southwest Ridge Trail. That sounded good and all until I realized I still had nearly 8 miles left! I was tired, but I was finishing this damn thing. I only made it about a half mile before I started bonking. It was uphill for about a half mile, and then downhill for the next 2. I was STILL bonking and wanted cold water! I started questioning being able to finish this when all of a sudden, I came across running water crossing the trail. What's this?! Last year, I BEGGED to find water along this trail and there was none. My only hydration was blueberries, and I had already begun stopping constantly to do the same thing. But this water!!! It was running, but slowly. I knew it was seasonal which meant I could find the source! I wasn't expecting to find it only 10ft up the hill. Lifesaver!! I forgot I had an Ultraspire reusable cup in my pack at this point and dipped my hand in the spring for water. It was a slow moving pool so it was a bit more risky than a spring flowing right out of the ground. I didn't care, though.

View from the Southwest Ridge Trail
I continued on down to the trailhead and wanted nothing more than to jump on the road and run back to my car. I wanted to quit so badly, but I had to finish this. But oh my god. The bonkfest that ensued. I was struggling. I could barely even run a step. I think I power hiked more of it than anything. I started thinking of nothing other than that spring. I kept expecting to come back upon it but it was never in sight. Where was it?! I felt like I wasn't going to make it. Water, water, water. The only thing on my mind. And finally, there it was!!! I remembered my cup! I sat down next to that and drank probably a liter of water. I also ate half of a food bar. I needed the energy.

Once I felt rejuvenated, I continued on. Running was a little easier now, and I was finally back at the summit. It was all downhill from here back to my car. 2.5 miles. Being as tired as I was at this point, this downhill wasn't easy. It was very technical so I had to step carefully in my fatigued state. Getting to the gate and stopping my watch was such a relief. I was done! 4:26:17...( my 41st birthday! Haha)

I was done. And all I wanted was a beer. Good thing Saco River Brewing was finally open on Thursdays and only 10 minutes away. Their newest DIPA was amazing and totally hit the spot. Sometimes a damn good beer is all you need to feel good again.

Beer with my trail carnage in the background
I went home, showered, took the dogs out and then loaded up the kayak for a short paddle on Chocorua Lake. I don't know how I had the energy, but I had to do it. The lake was super crowded, and I was very entertained by a bold 25 year old that asked me out in the parking lot. It was pretty funny. I told him I was too old for him. "Age is just a number!" "Is it because I'm fat?" Hahaha. Well, I told him I preferred a runner. His response, "Well, I can become one." Hahaha. As I put my kayak in the water, he told me he'd leave his number just in case I changed my mind. So funny. I'm sure he was just messing with me, but it gave me a good laugh anyway.

The paddle around the lake was quick. I saw the same Loon family and beaver as the previous kayak there. Such a peaceful evening. I love it.

I assume I sat on my ass the rest of the night. I honestly don't remember. Haha.

It was safe to say my legs were absolute junk the next day, so for once, my run on the Mountain Division Trail wasn't under 7 min pace. I ran all the way out to the other end (and down the road a little to make it 4 even) and back. Not a bad pace, but I was definitely having to work hard for the 7:14/mi pace I ended up with. haha. 8 miles total in 58:10. I went right home and did my upper body and abs workout. I was tired, so John and I did nothing else the rest of the day. I finally looked through my New England Runner and was shocked to find myself on the last page. Haha. I forgot Mike McGrane was doing a Sleepy Hollow write-up, but there it was, along with a photo by his wife Amanda Watters. Cool!

My nickname by Fitz!

It felt great to have no plans for the weekend! I was thankful to be home instead of in NY. I knew it was the right decision for sure. We slept in both mornings! It was great. I made plans as we went along. Nowhere to be.

Thursday's ass kicker of a run caught up with me on Saturday. I was really tired and sore. I ran from home like I usually do since John is at the house, and I like to be close-ish and not be any driving distance. These weekend runs are getting really old already, but still not as bad as Tabor Circle x10. Haha. I ran through Cranmore Shores and up Tasker Hill, past SOLO and to the very spot where I smashed my face 2.5 years ago. This turn still freaks me out even on the non-icy surface. I basically stopped running for 2-3 seconds here to turn around. I feel relieved every time I do this. Another face-not-smashed day! Woohoo! Total run was 8 miles. This was one of those "trending slower" runs on Strava, although Strava likes to keep the peace and never point this out. They only post "Trending faster"! Woohoo! Gold fucking star! But trending down... Swept under rug, elephant in the Strava feed room. No 25th personal best time on this segment. We don't talk about these things. No acknowledgement. Just kudos my shit and move on. Thx. Haha. 1:02:53. 7:52/mi pace. 637ft of elevation gain. Another mediocre run to add to my slowly fading running career.

What to do on a Saturday off? Well, something that's been bugging me forever! How do I get to the top of Rattlesnake Mt.?? I assumed there HAD to be a trail up it somewhere, but there isn't!! Why, I don't know. So I told John we were bushwhacking to the summit. He was excited about it until I took him one way, then back down, then up a steep hill through the woods. We got to a decent ledge that I think they call Redstone Ledges, and John called it quits. I had to go on just a little further so I continued up to another ledge. In the process I followed animal (mostly deer) trails and old survey markers that must have been when the Nature Conservancy acquired most of the land in the Green Hills. It was pretty neat, and I wanted to go on, but I couldn't get too far away from John, so I turned around. Still fun since it's been a long time since I'd bushwhacked in search of a summit. I think Heavenly Hill was the last time back in 2013. I used to be obsessed with finding summits when I was younger. I had my parents drop me off at some random island on Lake Chatuge because I just had to hit the summit. I'd been eyeing it for probably two years when they finally gave in. So funny when I think back to that.

Granite removed from the old Redstone Quarry. 

Old sign in the middle of the woods

You can just make out that it's an animal trail

One of the many ledges on Rattlesnake

John at the old granite pilaster that was a reject and just sits in the woods.
The history of Redstone Quarry is pretty interesting. Steve Swenson, one of my yearly volunteers at the Dirty Girl Trail Race, posted quite a bit of history online about the Redstone Quarry.

Joe Viger did a photo shoot back here at the quarry with Paul Bazanchuk, Kyla Brustin and me back in the summer of 2014 for a Trail Runner article about North Conway as a trail running town. None were used. I didn't care about that. I was more turned off by their promotion of only the Presidentials and the trails from Appalachia which are 45-55 minutes north of North Conway. In fact, the trail town for that is Gorham, not North Conway. It was pretty annoying, but whatever sells, right? It was the reason I let my Trail Runner subscription go. I hate bullshit publications like that. I never even read the last article they published in late 2016 about this area. It was basically a photoshoot of the same people they used in the 2014 article and only about FKTs. I honestly couldn't give two shits about FKTs. How about just trail running? Oh wait, that doesn't sell anymore. You have to do "epic" stuff to be cool now. Here are a couple of pics from that photo shoot with Joe Viger. I can't find the others.

Paul Bazanchuk

Paul and me
Kyla, Paul and me
Oops. Sorry. Damn tangents. Someone just pissed me off, so that made me get all negative. Haha. Anyway, after our hike, we were sweating to death so we dropped the dogs off at the house and then went to the beach at Silver Lake to cool off. Some friends gave us a pass so we could use the beach. As an EMT here in the town, I feel like we should have beach passes to all the towns we cover, but we don't. I was so psyched to finally have a pass here for John.

Clouds moved in as soon as we got there, so I was cool enough, but John still swam. A huge rain storm moved in that went right over our house. It was neat watching the rain move from Chocorua and on over Conway.

John sitting on the dock in his raft. Haha

You can see the rainstorm over my house
Sunday was much of the same. What to do other than sleep in? Well, it was more running from the house, so I decided to warm up with one Heavenly Hill run with the dogs and then follow that with 10 hill repeats on Tabor Hill. Same hill repeats I've been doing. It didn't start well because a neighbor almost backed over me. Didn't even look as he backed out of his driveway, so I had to veer to the other side of the road and then back. I thought it had slowed me way down, but it was 60 seconds flat. Still threw me off so I ran the next one too fast. By the third I found my groove. 59, 59, 59, 57, 57, 57, 55, 53. Of course that means nothing to anyone but me, but it's about .13 miles and 55ft of gain. The numbers basically just show that I had a good workout. Very happy with it. Still felt the high hamstring thing, but I'm so used to it now that the plantar fasciitis is way more noticeable now. In other words, I'm a mess. Or did I mention that already? Haha. 1.2 mile cool down around the neighborhood.

I showered then grabbed the bikes out of the garage so that John and I could bike the Cotton Valley Trail in Wolfeborro like we've done once the last 3 summers. As I was grabbing the bikes, I just happened to notice 4 of my stolen beers in Bryan's recycle bin. I was ripshit. I knew those were missing! Just thought maybe I was forgetful. And seriously, how does he think I don't notice these things; I was with him for 16+ years. I notice EVERYTHING! Haha. Needless to say, a not so friendly text was sent. I basically expressed how disrespectful and disappointing this was. It's like anytime I give a little, someone takes a lot. And that's not just Bryan. My trust level is at bare minimum right now.

We parked off 109 and then biked to Albee Beach for John to swim. I really, really wanted to hit the Lone Wolfe Brewery this time so I made John get out of the water after an hour and hit the brewery about 20 minutes before they closed. And wow! What great beer! I've been missing out.

We opted out of the usual ice cream place since it was cash only and went across to the Wolfeboro Docks where we could get ice cream for half the price and still use a debit card. We sat by the water which was reminiscent of the first time we did this two years ago. I was so at peace here eating ice cream next to John, the only constant REAL person in my life. Someone who doesn't steal or lie to me and who just sees me as "mom" no matter how weird or crazy I am. Moments like these make me realize that I AM lucky to have him in my life. Even though the rest is shit, I still have him. I know the teenage years are ahead and will probably be challenging, but for the here and now, I'm so thankful to have the closeness with him.

After the ice cream, we biked back to a now empty Albee Beach for John to swim again and then back to the car. 6 bike miles total. Stopped at this store for a few groceries for work the next day then went home. Another week over.

Got in my goal miles for the week. 50.4 miles. Just under 9 hours. 9,167ft of elevation gain. Finally 4 full days of upper body and abs workouts. I'm so happy with my upper body fitness from these workouts. Even missing some days hasn't been too bad, especially with the kayaking thrown in there. That works the arms, back and abs. I definitely look bigger compared to a year ago because of this upper body stuff, and all of my sports bras are way too tight in the chest now, but I don't care. I'd rather be bigger than be a weak waif. I'm too old to be neglecting my upper body. Plus, I have to be strong for my job. I'm lifting fat people every shift. Try carrying a large man down a curved flight of stairs with just your partner in the middle of the night. It's way more upper body than you'd think.

Anyway, time to end this post. I'm still two weeks behind! If we aren't busy at work tomorrow, maybe I can get the next post done, but I doubt it. I HATE not having a laptop. The only reason this post is getting done is because I'm borrowing John's laptop. So anyway, the next post will get done by Thursday, I hope. And it's not like I have more than 5 or 6 people who read this anyway. Not even sure why I bother sometimes.

Good song, and don't think I've forgotten. You know who you are.....