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.


  1. Congo line, that is perfect. I actually got caught up in a few of them, and in the back you have the headphone people who can't hear you say then yell "ON YOUR LEFT" or as I heard someone comment "that asthmatic girl's breathing is annoying" HA HA. The 'man down' was behind me and the screaming was horrible. Glad he got out with assistance. I thought it was Burrlingame '16 we met face to face for the first time... You gave me my first Allagash! Yes, you are a flabby mess, hardly. I'll take my shirt off and you can feel MUCH better about yourself! HA!!

    1. I stand corrected! You're right! It was Brrr-lingame!! Haha.

  2. I'm always entertained by your posts. You're a terrific/funny writer. You don't have Patreon or any other way for me to show my appreciation for your efforts. Can I sponsor you on a couple pairs of shoes? (Even though you hate shoes and would rather wear sandals all the time. Haha.)
    Let me know.

  3. Just getting caught up with a lot of your posts over the last months. It's been a while. I mentioned you once on Running Ahead, you might remember that. Anyway, I saw you mention thinking of quitting your blog (which you obviously didn't) but I wanted to let you know that I get a lot out of reading your blog. As a 44 year old lady, recently divorced, runner and outdoors person, I just like knowing you are out there doing your thing and you've got lots of great ideas on how to live your life. I'm not great at gushing about people but you're "good people" and you make me think. Thanks for that! ... Joann Y (from Chicago)

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Joann. Glad I could help! I try my best to make it through the challenges while still having fun in the process. :)