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.....


  1. there's at least 7 of us who read this :) thanks for sharing

  2. Haha! Thanks for reading my brain spewing. :)

  3. Now there are at least 8 people reading it. You are amazing Leslie. Thanks for being so honest...from carrying fat people to suffering through, and finishing a tough run!

  4. Now there are about 8 people reading it. You are amazing Leslie. Thanks for being so honest...from carrying fat people, to spending time with your son, and getting through and finishing a tough run!