Doyle's Emerald Necklace

Doyle's Emerald Necklace

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

2017 Mansfield Double Up

Baldface Circle Trail
This was a much better week for me for the most part as far as feeling better. I still got little sleep Monday and Wednesday nights, unfortunately, but other than that, I didn't really feel fatigued. I did have some major issues with my plantar fasciitis (PF) all week, though, and it ended up hurting my race on Sunday, where I finished a frustrating 3rd female. The PF would just be the start for that one, followed by a fatal mistake that cost me the win by less than a minute when I stopped for over a minute in the last mile, but I'll get to that later. It was really the PF, though, that I suffered through on every downhill and slowed me down. It sucked to feel so strong otherwise but then have to step gingerly and move slower on the downs when those are normally my strength! Totally amazing race, though, and I loved every minute of it. The weather was absolutely perfect. You honestly couldn't get a more amazing day in New England the last weekend of July. More on the race at the end of the blog. So...far...away!! Haha.

Rounded out the week with 51.2 miles and 9,396ft of elevation gain. All of my runs were pretty good (even if painful) except the track workout on Friday...which was my worst track workout ever and probably a dumb idea to do two days before the Mansfield Double Up. Haha. Maybe I subconsciously sabotaged myself so I'd have a bag full of excuses. Don't get me wrong, I lost fair and square, but between the foot and a dumb decision, I'm really disappointed in myself, for my body failing me and my brain in its never-ending fog. Haha. I'm pretty sure I didn't have any drama this week to write about so I'll cut to the chase with the daily crap. So boring! I know! :)

Monday, July 24, 2017- As with every week, I set my alarm for 4:15am, shut it off and then slept until 5:15am. I need to face the fact that it's just never going to happen. I'm in denial every Sunday night, though. Haha. Work was surprisingly very slow...until the night time. Middle of the night call that just sets the week off on the wrong foot with sleep deprivation. And it doesn't help to have a family member who is absolutely clueless. (PSA- if you have any medical history and/or you're on any medications, have it ALL listed on a piece of paper (typed preferably) and in a handy location for emergency services. Your family members cannot be trusted to have any clue. If I hear the words, "I don't know," I'm not a happy camper.)

Got in a 2 mile walk on the treadmill during the day. Way too hot outside to walk in thick pants and a teflon-coated shirt in the sun. Lied down on my bed the rest of the time to avoid sitting and to rest my foot.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017- I've basically returned Tuesdays to a mid-length run on the road for the most part. Obviously not last week, but I did a road run on Friday instead. Like I said, my road speed was lacking so I decided to bump up the road stuff...against my better judgement. I left right from the base this morning. The weather was actually cool and cloudy which was a good thing because I brought dark-colored running clothes and had to opt for my cotton t-shirt instead. It was still too hot and drenched in sweat when I finished, but it was worth it to be visible on Ossipee Lake Rd. My PF was present, but not that bad, so I was able to run at a quick pace. This isn't an overly hilly run, but it's not flat either. Only came out to 332ft of elevation gain (which is flatish for me haha). I ran 11 miles, and the turnaround point was exactly at the Ossipee Lake Rd/Bennett Rd split. I ended up running the second half faster than the first which never happens, so I was pleased. 1:18:59. 7:11/mi avg pace. I did have to work harder than I used to for that pace, and I've run the full 15 mile on Ossipee Lake Rd much faster than that, so it looks good if you take it out of context. Still not bad, and, like I said, I was very happy with it, but it still makes me cringe to compare it to a previous run.

Right after I stopped my run. You can see the shirt I was wearing.

It was much prettier in person.
Got in my upper body and abs workout after I got home. John and I had errands to run and then we took the dogs on a walk on the Conway Rec Path. It was bug hell which is basically what this whole place is ALL SUMMER LONG, so we just walked to the bridge and back. When we got home, I had a few beers on my "new" table on the big deck. That's when I noticed the ice damage to my roof. It isn't really visible except from this vantage point so I didn't see it until now. It's the same damage we had repaired when we moved in so it's obviously a design flaw. The roof sucks since the previous owners did the work themselves and didn't make the pitch steep enough, and where two slopes meet, ice builds up all winter and just bent up all of the metal roofing in this spot. Not sure what to do about it because it almost seems pointless to replace the metal sheets again since it will be destroyed in 2-3 years. The entire roof design is really needs to be redone. I might have to hit up the mortgage company for another home improvement loan for this one since I can't afford to have it done out-of-pocket right now. We'll see.

The ever present audience

It was Tuesday so that meant Whitaker Woods! Haha. Yeah, I know. I had beer before every race. Plenty of time in between, though. My friend/teammate, Jen Graves, from CMS was vacationing with her family and asked if we had any group runs, so I told her about Whitaker Woods so they came to do this week's race. John became friends with her son, Andrew, when they worked the water stop at Wachusett together this year. I was bummed they wouldn't get to hang out since Andrew was doing the race and then we had to leave right after to get to ninja class.

I warmed up with a mile shuffle when we got there. I was really feeling the morning's run since I ran it pretty hard and hoped I could follow through on running slower tonight, but, of course, someone showed up that I had to compete with. I debated just letting her go and kept my pace on the slower side for the first mile as I ran close behind her. I SO didn't want to push any harder, but as soon as we hit the hill in the second mile, she was easy to pass. I kept the pace quick until the downhill when I coasted a bit, and then kept the pace quick again for the last flat section to the finish. Slower than my fastest times this summer, but still way too fast in 21:11 so really less than 20 seconds slower. Not what I wanted to run tonight because I was so beat, but competition always drives me to do stupid things. Haha.

As soon as I walked out of the finish line, I got water and walked to my car. John was at the playground with his friends so I snagged him, and we went to ninja class.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017- Totally beat from lack of sleep and from running hard for both runs on Tuesday kept me from dragging myself out of bed for an early morning run. And OW, my PF was on fire. Ugh. Decided to just bring clothes to run in at work and then shower after. I was working with Michelle again which was awesome since we have fun working together. Went shopping at Walmart haha. Browsed. Just fun girl things that I don't get to do with my male partners. I wish Michelle was still my Wednesday partner.

I did end up running on the trail out back. I intended 5 miles, but my foot just hurt way too much, and I had to stop at 3 miles. No sense in going on in such pain. I showered after. Not a crazy busy day. A few calls and then of course one overnight one. Ugh. No sleep!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017- It was nice having a Thursday when I had nowhere to be so I could take my time. The weather was iffy with storms predicted around noon, but I decided to make attempt #2 on my yearly Baldface Loop. I LOVE this loop because South and North Baldface are two of the best summits in the whites. They are never crowded, and you're above treeline for a long period of time on the ridge. It's just so beautiful. As I was leaving, a sad little face was watching me about to leave her behind again, and I just couldn't stand it, so I decided to bring Phoenix along. She actually ended up being really good without the other dogs around!

There was only one car in the lot when we got there, but of course two vans full of kids pulled in just as I got my shoes on! They were just going to Emerald Pool, but I didn't want to be caught in their group so I hurried Phoenix out of there before they started hiking. I actually felt great today (except my foot). The weather was cool so that helped. I took my usual route up by taking the Slippery Brook Trail up to the Baldface Knob Trail. I usually end up walking a lot of this towards the end where it's steep, but today, I felt good enough to run almost all of it and ran the last mile about a minute faster than last year. The rest was nearly the same. So the uphill felt good and didn't hurt my foot at all. Phoenix kept right up, too. When we got to Baldface Knob, the views were stunning. In and out of the clouds. Just amazing. I was so glad I chose this for today. We stopped a few times to pick blueberries on the last stretch up to South Baldface, then we took a good 5 minute break up there like I always do.

From here the trail goes downhill on the open ridge, and this is where I began to slow since my foot was hurting. It was still enjoyable, though, and all I had to do was slow it down and take it easy. I was relieved to hit the uphill to the top of North Baldface for a break on the foot and actually ran this uphill segment faster than I ever have. We stopped on the summit of North Baldface for a few minutes.

There was a lot of downhill from here on out so it was very easy going. Phoenix was needing water, and I knew of two small brooks coming up so I stopped at the first one, and she climbed right in and sat down. Haha.

Just as we hit the turnoff for the steep downhill on the Baldface Circle Trail, I got a text from Bryan asking if John could stay with me for the night so he could work. I had no plans whatsoever and just happened to be getting home in time for him to leave John so it worked out well. The rest of the run down wasn't too bad. The pain in my foot seemed to subside enough that I could move at a good clip. Phoenix started barking at one point as we ran so I knew we were going to catch up to someone soon and sure enough, we did. She was the only person we had seen up to this point. After we passed her, though, we began to run into the masses of people headed to Emerald Pool. Why people like to be in nature in huge crowds I'll never understand. They all smell of soap and one person was even smoking a cigarette while he walked on the trail. Thanks for that, buddy. How considerate of you! *sarcasm*
Finished up the 10.2 mile loop in 2:36:46 for moving time which is really slow for me, but I just can't bomb down the hills right now. 3,588ft of elevation gain.

The weather ended up being crappy the rest of the day so we didn't do anything. Lack of sleep caught up with me which kind of sucks for John when he's with me on some Thursdays. I'm usually like go, go, go, but if I haven't slept much in 4 or 5 days, I tend to use the second half of Thursday as a lazy bum on the couch. After my upper body and abs workout, that's pretty much what I did. I was beat. I did have a good beer to go with the cooler weather, though.

Friday, July 28, 2017- Not a good decision to hit the track this morning, but I'm really good at making bad decisions. Haha. I slept in late first, and then John went with Bryan for his usual half of Friday. I really wasn't feeling a trail run or a road run, so I think that's mainly why I chose the track for today, but it just ended up not going well. My foot did hurt the whole time, so I'm sure that was a factor, even though I tend to get more on the forefoot when I do a track workout. I wore my Hoka Hupana's to see how they would fair as track shoes. That could also have been a factor in the slower speed since I didn't have spikes, but I was too worried about the spikes really hurting my foot. Besides that, though, I felt very heavy and sluggish. Started with a 2 mile trail run on the Conway Rec Path to warm up. Also slow.

The original plan was 6x800, but I didn't want to do that and decided on 3x800, 3x400, 3x200. Don't ask. I just made it up. To sum it up my splits were I:suck, I:suck:more, I:suck:badly, etc. Haha. Ok, I guess I'll share my real times, even though they're embarrassing.
3x800- 3:01, 3:01, 3:03. Wish I could blame the neighbor backing out of his driveway for the last one.
3x400- 89, 89, 89. Slow, but at least consistent.
3x200- 40, 42, 43. I think the 200s got longer with each one. Only explanation for that. :)

Not to make an excuse, but the black top track is hot as balls in the sun.
Ran the two miles on the Conway Rec Path back to my car even slower. Just crumminess all around. I should never have done this workout to begin with, not only because I sucked, but because my plantar fasciitis was on fire after this.

I had to make time for kayaking so I drove over to Conway Lake right after the run to get in an hour of paddling. It was kind of hot without much wind so I was sweating. Just did an out-and-back on the lake for 3.3 miles. On the way back into the cove which is super narrow, I started to hear screaming near one of the docks so I looked over to see a water spout forming. WTF! There wasn't any wind out on the lake, so I was shocked to see this thing swirling around as it crossed the narrow cove. I have never seen anything like it, but the thing had ripped off the awning of the boat where I heard the screaming and then made its way across before slamming into a boat with a really loud exploding noise. It then hit the land and was gone! Only lasted less than 10 seconds, but it was wild! If I had been in that it would have flipped me over. I think we've all seen the wind get swirling mildly before with leaves or snow, but this was the biggest one I've ever seen and it got huge with water quickly. Had the cove not been so narrow that thing would have picked up and been a full on water spout in no time. I SO wish I had had my phone in my hand to get a video, but it was just the most insane thing to watch.

Kayaking pre-water spout
I went straight home after to find John already there. We went back to Conway Lake at the beach so John could swim for a few hours. It was really warm day so I got in a few times myself. Then it was off to the store to buy more food! Payday! Woohoo! Haha. We spent the rest of the evening at home since I was dragging John to camp again the next day in Vermont.

Saturday, July 29, 2017- Lazy morning. I got on the treadmill for 3 FLAT miles. With the Mansfield Double Up, I didn't want to do any hills this morning. The weather was beautiful outside so it kind of hurt to be on the treadmill. Well, it hurt in two ways, actually. My fucking foot was killing me. UGH. This made me super nervous about the next day's race. 3 miles in 21:58. Not too fast, but not too slow. Other than the foot, it felt good.

I woke John up so he'd have time to do John things before we left. I love the surprise, "What?!" when I told him what time we had to leave. I only told him 6 or 7 times that we were going to Vermont to camp, but then he says he didn't know! Ugh. My voice really is Charlie Brown's teacher 95% of the time. Haha. He still had about 3 hours to do whatever before we left.

Funny hair when he woke up
We had to bring all 3 dogs with us this time. It was going to be cool enough, and I already had Bryan taking care of them the following two weekends, so I decided to just bring them. The only problem is that it's nearly impossible to fit everything in my hamster car. 3 dogs, John and all of our camping stuff. Good thing Phoenix is small. The other two dogs are up close and personal in the way back, and our stuff is piled high next to John and in the passenger seat. As organized as I try to make it, it's still not easy to get to everything easily. I used to think Suburbans were stupid cars. Now, I want one. Haha. Oh how I wish I still had my Toyota Previa. AWD minivan. Coolest minivan evah! So I just searched for a photo of it, and since I'm on the work computer all I could look through was my old Photobucket account. This photo from 2005 was the ONLY one of the van I could find. Haha. Ignore the pregnant cow blocking the view. ;)

This is proof that I did once have boobs and a HUGE ass. Haha
So, anyway, we left around 1ish headed for Stowe, stopping briefly on the Kanc at FS Rd 511 to walk a mile with the dogs before continuing on. It's not a bad drive, and we got to take roads I'd never been on before so that helped make it better. As we got near Stowe, we passed a few breweries. Lost Nation, Rock Art and one other I can't remember. I wanted to stop so badly, but I couldn't afford to do more than my plan of hitting The Alchemist, where you can have as many free 2oz samples you could want. I got two 4-packs of beer. I wanted more, but that was all the budget would allow, then John and I hung out while I had few samples.

John's love for breweries is reflected in his face. Haha.

We drove out of rich person's mecca. I mean Stowe. I had booked us a campsite at Smuggler's Notch Campground so we stopped there first to check in and pitch our tents before heading over to the ski lodge to pick up my race packet. Although they took cards to pay for firewood, I was so psyched that I paid cash instead. $6 for firewood got me $14 back. Four of those dollars came in the form of two $2 bills!! John had never seen one before so he was psyched when I gave him one. (Of course, now 3 weeks later, he just wants to spend it on Roblox bucks haha. I won't let him.). These were fresh, crisp $2 bills that the campground gives back as change to guests because of Thomas Jefferson's Embargo Act of 1807. Vermonters used Smuggler's Notch to continue illegal trade with Canada.

I had to drive around twice to find our campsite since the sign was completely hidden until after you passed it. When I got back around, I realized we had to share parking and a trail with two other campsites. The two other campsites had three cars total all spaced apart and at an angle so that I could barely fit my car in without blocking the next campsite over; I was literally on the line of where the other campsite's parking was. I felt like an asshole, but I had to ask the other people camping if they could move their cars so that we could all fit. But, seriously, they should never have parked like that in the first place. There was room for 6 cars if they had parked right. They obliged, but I don't think the one guy cared for me much. He was one of those campers who comes there every year to the same site and just assumed we weren't coming since we weren't there Friday night (it was a 2-night minimum that I had to pay for).

There was a nice brook behind the campsite so I got the dogs out and took them in the woods to use the bathroom and get some water. I set up my tent and was about to set up John's when he said he would prefer to just sleep in the car. At first I said no, but when I thought about it, it made sense. We had to leave there by 5:45am so I wouldn't have to wake him up, drag him to the car, then take down the tent. It was actually a great idea.

We went over to the ski area and I got my first up close look at Mt Mansfield. Wow! I knew right away this was going to be a tough race. I ran into Hilary McCloy whose a friend of mine from home. She had signed up, too, and was the only person I knew there. I talked to her and a guy who did the race the previous year for awhile and then went inside to get my bib. Then it was back to the campsite. I was starving!

I made us spaghetti and opened up one of my Beelzebubs from The Alchemist. I didn't have to keep it too stealth since we were way back in the woods. While I cooked John took the dogs back to the brook for awhile which was really helpful. I also made a fire, but this one would not get going. When it finally did, the wood would not burn; it was too new and not dried out enough. Took forever to have a nice fire, but it finally happened. John and I had good conversation during dinner which was nice since we don't actually sit down for dinner otherwise. The cell signal was terrible, so that made him stay off of his phone and talk to me. Haha.

He has always loved to climb trees.

The dogs were very upset to be on leashes. The atrocity!
After dinner, we made s'mores, then John went to the car to go to bed. I packed up everything and put it in the car then went to my tent for bed. Spot and Phoenix slept in the car with John, and I kept Chill tied up at the campsite with me.

Sunday, July 30, 2017- Mansfield Double Up-

Although I had taped my foot and worn my Strassburg Sock to bed, my PF was still bad when I woke up. I didn't know how I was going to do this. The ups would be fine, but the downs. Ugh. I just had to hope for the best.

I made coffee for me and hot chocolate for John, then ate a bagel with cream cheese and got the dogs out to use the bathroom then I took down my tent then loaded up the car. We drove 5 minutes up the road to the start of the race. The weather was unbelievable. Clear, blue skies, cool and low humidity. You honestly couldn't ask for better weather the last weekend of July. The morning was gorgeous. I parked in a marked space where I thought there would be decent shade for Chill to sit in outside of the car. I'm not sure what planet everyone else was from, but every car but mine ended up parked at an angle in this row, as in, not in the marked parking spaces. Hmm. Angled parking at the campground the night before. Now this. Is this a Vermont thing?? Haha. Of course I'm the one who looked like the oddball if you looked over from distance, but I didn't care since I was the only one actually doing it right. Haha. I meant to get a photo of this and forgot.

This race started in waves of 10 people each, starting 10 minutes apart, and I was in the 2nd wave with a 6:40am start. I only did a short warm up then went over to the line when they called wave 2. I was pretty bummed to be the only woman in the wave. Hilary was in the one behind me with one other woman and the rest were mixed in other waves. I don't typically race men, so I had a really hard time actually "racing". I never felt I was ever in race mode really since I was never around any women the whole way. I did end up around one guy in my wave basically the entire race, though, so I at least I had someone nearby. Most of the wave was way too fast for us right from the start, and I was in the last of the 10 in wave 2 within minutes. I was able to hang with that guy I would do the whole race with somewhat, at least.

The race started off with a long climb up Mansfield. The first 1.5 miles was steep, rugged single track. I power hiked a lot of this section. It opened up onto a grassy ski slope that was nearly the grade of Upper Walking Boss. I laughed as we hit this. This was my thing, though, so I was able to pass the guy in front of me and somewhat catch up to the next guys before we hit a parking area. Across the parking area, the course entered more single track that was rolling and technical before coming out to a view that nearly took my breath away. I can't even describe how beautiful it was, but the first thing I thought of was how it was the perfect spot for a photographer to take shots of runners from behind (there was no photographer, but it would have really made for some amazing shots haha). The sun was at the back and we ran across the wide open ledges of Mansfield with Burlington, Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks sprawled out in front of us. I definitely took a moment to slow down here and take it in. I had to. It was just too amazing. Fortunately, this descent down the backside of Mansfield was constant views of this. The descent was mostly down steep rock slabs similar to the White Mountain granite, but not quite; it was slightly smoother, but I was able to move down this at a decent speed. My foot had been ok for the ascent, but I did have to start stepping more gently on some of this section. Nothing crazy because it wasn't a lot of hard pounding. The guy I had passed on the way up (and this is the same guy I would be with the whole way) still came flying past me on the slabs, but once we dropped into the woods, the rock slabs were slippery and wet in a lot of places. I passed him back since I have no problem with this terrain, and he said he wasn't very confident on this stuff.

The descent was long, but we finally came out to a double track road called Maple Ridge that basically cut right to go across the mountainside. I actually was relieved to find us going back up to give my foot a slight break, but it only went up for maybe 1/10 of a mile before it began a very long, approximately 1300ft descent down for about a mile. My race buddy would pass me quickly and end up ahead of me by a couple of minutes by the end of it. I was pretty bummed out because this is my thing! Where I can FLY on the downhill! But my fucking foot!!! This is what hurt it the most. I had to slow way up for this section. I just couldn't run fast on it at all. I was so frustrated but decided to use this time to eat a gel and drink some water since it was easy on the breathing. I knew this was messing up my race and just hoped it would end quickly and start climbing again.

I passed the aid station without stopping, crossed a bridge and finally started the climb up Sunset Ridge for our second ascent of Mansfield. This was nearly all power hiking for me after the first quarter mile probably. I ran off and on, but it was so steep that power hiking was faster. I passed a guy from wave 1 who was really hurting, but didn't see my buddy until we got out onto the amazing open ridge that took us up. This was called Sunset Ridge, and I could see why with open view west toward Lake Champlain. I didn't catch up to him until we took a right and made our way up to the top of the ridge for a brief stint on the Long Trail. (One thing I learned for next year was to bring a hat and sunglasses for the climb up Sunset. The sun was in my face blinding me the whole way.) The Long Trail segment quickly ended as we descended onto some of the most technical trail I've ever been on. And they weren't kidding when they said treacherous because there were literally a few places where there was the trail and a drop off on the other side. This was the Canyon Trail that would often remind of Mahoosic Notch as we wound our around and through boulder caves. It was absolutely nuts, but I absolutely loved it. The whole time I was thinking just how awesome this was. It was slow going for sure and never seemed to end, but wow, amazing. Seriously. (I'll add in some pics at the end of this). I ended up passing my buddy and catching up to another guy along the way. I was really good at moving through this section, even if it was slow. Some dude from wave 4 ended up flying past us. THAT was impressive. He gave me a fist bump on his way by which was cool.

We finally hit the other side of the ridge near the summit and popped out on a service road for a very short 2/10 or so. This was extremely runnable...except it wasn't! My legs were trashed. I passed the guy in front of me who was walking, but I was barely moving much faster. We turned back onto the single track and connected back to the trail we had started on for the rolling section in the woods. The guy I had just passed passed me right back, and my race buddy was close behind. My foot was killing me again, but I was able to move through this section ok knowing that we only had about 2 miles to go to the finish. Once off the single track, we crossed the same parking lot and descended on the same ski slope we had run up (the one I said was like Upper Walking Boss). I passed the guy in front of me here because I wanted to just bound down this section. Screw my foot pain. I was almost done. At the bottom of the slope where we had exited the single track in the beginning, we were steered onto a different section for the descent to the finish. This section as wet and overgrown, but the cold water felt good and the squishiness eased the foot pain. I flew so fast down this that my buddy and the other guy weren't even in sight. As I came out to another slope I looked at my watch which read 2:55:something and thought there was a chance I could break 3 hours! There was a race arrow pointing to the right across this slope, so I turned right and came right out to a service road. And this is where I made a fatal mistake. It STILL bugs me so much. My gut told me the course went down this road, but this was the ONLY intersection without a course marker.  WHY???? I KNEW it had to go down, but then I thought what if it goes up here and then down another slope?? So I stopped. I took off my pack. I pulled out my map and then waited for those guys to show up just to be sure. We realized I had been heading the right way all along. I was pissed. My watch now read 2:57:something. FUCK. And I actually thought that if this stop cost me the win, I'll be so pissed. But I ran as hard as I could even though it hurt like a mofo. One of the guys passed me, and my buddy stayed right behind. 3 hours came and went. My map flew out of my pack and on the ground behind me. I had to stop and go back for it then continue on. I came through the finish in 3:02:40. 10.6 miles on my watch so probably closer to 11 miles in reality. 4891ft of elevation gain. Now I just had to wait and then be crushed to first lose to Hilary by 8 seconds and then to the eventual first woman by 52 seconds. I was so bummed out. If I had run slow, then whatever, but my stop is what cost me that win. A stop I knew in my gut I didn't have to make. It hurt. Haha. I'll admit that was a tough loss for sure. But I got over it. You have to. You can't beat yourself up over the what-ifs. The fact that we top 3 women finished within less than a minute of each other without actually ever physically racing is pretty crazy. I would end up talking to Hilary about that after the race, and we both agreed that it would have been pretty cool for us to have actually raced each other. All 3 of us probably would have run it faster, and the competition would have made it feel more like a race. I did end up emailing the race director with the suggestion of having a women's only wave like 7 Sisters. He wasn't really into it, but maybe we'll at least have more women in the same wave next year.
Full Results

Now, for the photos! These are just a sample of the awesome photos that Greg Maino took on the course. None of me, but you'll see some of the other racers. It's pretty amazing, and they don't even cover the whole thing.

He also made a cool video...

After I finished I found John in the lodge just as we had planned. He was good so I went to my car and took the dogs out briefly then changed clothes. I went back up to the lodge where I hung out with Hilary and her parents while the racers continued to finish. Super awesome pizza was delivered and I had a Focal Banger while sitting out in the sun.

I couldn't drink the Focal Banger from the can. It wasn't allowed. Haha.
As soon as John and I had our fill of pizza, we left. Awards weren't for another hour, and I promised John we wouldn't stay. He had already been a trooper without a single complaint for a race that took me longer than a marathon. There was no way I could make him stay. Plus, his friend was coming over for a sleepover when we got home.

The day heated up fast, but for some reason I don't understand, we were only a few miles down the road when my a/c blower decided to work!!! The dogs stopped panting, and we stopped sweating to death. Unfortunately, it goes back out again once I turn the car off so I waited until my tank was almost on empty before stopping for gas. We made it to Littleton, so that wasn't bad. While getting gas, I cashed in two lottery tickets I accidentally bought when I thought I could get change from one of those scratch ticket machines and ended up having to spend $20 on lottery tickets! Haha. Guess I should have read the sign that was literally above where you insert the cash that said, "This machine does not make change." Hahaha. I won $6 back. What the hell. It bought me a coffee and John a blizzard at Dairy Queen so at least it was something.

Once we got home, I walked the dogs up Heavenly Hill, and John's friend came over. They had fun, and I let them stay up really late. Tough loss, but an awesome day nonetheless. I already can't wait to do this race again next year.

An old favorite...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

2017 World Run-Paddle Biathlon Championship

Trail up Whitface
I almost quit my blog two days ago, then decided against it. Then yesterday someone told me I reminded him of this person on Instagram. She was the type of Instagram poster I can't stand (although definitely not the worst). I temporarily disabled my Instagram account. My blog posts were being compared to the #lookatme posters on Instagram. Feeling discouraged and horrified that that's what I'm perceived as, I decided to quit my blog. And then this morning, I got an email that Freddi Triback had left me a comment on my July 4th post. She didn't have to say much, but it was just a few kind words that made a big mark. So I decided to keep posting. (Thank you, Freddi!) I won't lie. Still feeling discouraged about it. He didn't mean it to be negative. In fact, I think it was meant to be a compliment, so I feel bad that I kind of blew up over the comparison, but I REALLY can't stand women like her on Instagram (lost count on how many ass pics she has up). I guess I see why there's a similarity, though. Selfies, abs, etc., but I'm not putting this out there in hopes to get as many followers as possible and a million likes. I have no idea who reads this (unless you've told me haha). I don't advertise my blog either. I don't put knew posts up on Facebook. I don't mind people seeing it (or else I wouldn't do it), but I figure the people who really want to read my brain spewing are reading it. My blog tells my story in words, and photos accompany it. Instagram is a superficial photo "story" accompanied by searchable hashtags and inspirational quotes or song lyrics. I guess another difference is that my blog isn't in your face, while the whole notion of Instagram is to be in your face, to get as much attention as you can. While I obviously don't have the highest self esteem, I still don't really have a need for attention to boost it. Yeah, I post a lot of selfies on my blog. Who else is taking pictures of me in daily life besides John occasionally? I love photos. I always have. (I have got to find one of my first selfies ever that I took in 1997. It's so bad that it's hilarious.) I figure my blog should have pictures of me, and I try to make them interesting or fun. Running photos get boring. But now I'm thinking... does it make me seem attention-seeking like her? The only saving grace is that I beat this Instagram queen (and that name is deserving since she has almost 16,000 followers) at Cranmore this year. Thank fucking god (if there was one).

One of the many #lookatmyassphotos on her Instagram page, and the quote below it couldn't be anymore perfect in making my point. I was also a bum when I attempted to read Dharma Bums in 2002 back when we lived in our van and on the trail for 2 years and didn't have social media to post about it. I made it about 1/3 of the way through the book before I was bored to death. Kerouac was not that interesting.  (I blocked out her Instagram username. I don't want to be responsible for more followers.)
Speaking of attention seeking. Yes that was a nice segue into an issue I feel I have to address. Of course, this issue would get more views on Instagram. Haha. But I'm going to leave it here. There's a certain female runner on the New England running scene with whom I do not get along. It happens. We don't all get along, and I'm not going to bash her. We have opinions of each other, and we're entitled to them. Whatever. Not everyone sees eye to eye. However, when it comes to someone spreading a lie about me, I feel like I need to call her out on it. Not by name. Just need to speak up for myself. I was told by a friend recently that this person messaged him privately and randomly told him that I try to break up marriages. If you think about it, I should be flattered, right? I mean, she thinks that I'm awesome enough to be capable of such a thing! Haha. Well, I'm not. The only marriage I've broken up, or even attempted to break up for that matter, was my own. This person has accused me multiple times of having an affair with her husband, as well. I did no such thing. Not at all. I've never had any interest in her husband whatsoever. I don't even know where this came from, but for some reason she continues to believe this happened. I've denied it over and over, but to no avail. I do have friendships with married men, but I'm not trying to break up their marriages. That notion is ridiculous. So, if this rumor of my "reputation for trying to break up marriages" lands in front of you, know that it's untrue. I'm 41 years old and have a kid. I'm not THAT desirable (except among the desperate and odd, apparently, and I don't want either). I will never settle for someone again just so that I'm not lonely. I'm comfortable being on my own until I meet someone who knocks me off my feet. Will that happen? Probably not. I'm way too picky. Haha. Anyway, I debated posting this here or not, but it just has me wondering who else she has told this to, and I felt a need to defend myself. And wow, this blog post is starting off way too negatively, but I swear I'm not feeling negative at the moment.

I'm still behind on my posts because I can't NOT blah, blah, blah. Haha. But I'm going to try! I promith! Haha. That's the word my best friend and I used when we were lying. :) I really don't remember much about this week other than that I was extremely fatigued and hungry for snacks. After a week of not being able to buy food, John and I walked through Market Basket like thru-hikers just off the trail drooling at shelves of food that could spark gluttony. Hahaha. I still didn't buy too much, but damn, soft french bread! Mmmmm.

I had no good runs all week; they were all horrible (excluding the run portion of the biathlon). I had no energy whatsoever. Had to cut my long mountain run short. I could barely run what I did attempt. Checks of my resting pulse at work had it up in the 60s, so I knew something was up and decided to keep the miles under 50 for the week. Well, it was still barely under 50 since I ran 44.5 miles with 5,948ft of elevation gain. This was going on week 3 of calls in the middle of the night for all shifts except the Wednesday shift of this week. I just hadn't been able to catch up on the lost sleep, and it finally caught up with me this week. Add that to the increasing plantar fasciitis pain, and I was a mess. I've just gotten used to the hamstring thing now. It's like a soreness, but the plantar fasciitis, omg! Like Heather Mahoney said, until you've had it, you think everyone else is just being a wimp, but wow, no. It's crippling! I get it now. It's just indescribable just how painful it can be. When it's hurting, it's constant SHARP pain, like the foot is broken. All of the downhill portions of my mountain runs are just as slow, if not slower at times, than my uphills. I'm at the point where I don't know how I'm going to pull off the Ragged 75 Stage Race. I'll admit that I'm pretty nervous about it. Fortunately, I've built in 2 weeks of nothing after Ragged. I had planned to ramp up my road/track stuff, but I may have to take those two weeks off instead. Although it doesn't really make sense, I went against my plan to stay off the roads until after Ragged and decided to start getting my ass into road shape again. Probably why the PF is hurting more. I feel like I want to have a jump start on it if I do have to take some time off after Ragged. I'll lose some fitness, but at least I'll go into it in a little bit better shape. Ugh. Everything seems so up in the air right now. I feel like if I can just get through October's big races, I can start to cut back and let myself heal up after that. I have some short distance trail races in November, but after Thanksgiving, there is nothing on my calendar until 2018. I might just take December off completely from running. Get in the pool and do Zuzka Light workouts. Hopefully walk into 2018 healed up. Out of shape, but healed up. Just start back over from there. Blah, blah, blah. See now! I kept my promith! ;)

Monday, July 17, 2017- Busy, busy at work. We had a pretty bad call. I was pretty happy with the care my partner and I provided and how well the two of us worked together in the back. Calm and collected and kept the patient alive. The person unfortunately didn't make it due to her injuries. I didn't feel too much emotion over this one. It was a young person; it was all business, but I'm all of a sudden finding it on my mind. I can't stop remembering her perfect finger nails. Unfortunately, this all of a sudden brought the bad call from February back from where I'd been successful at locking it away. Boom, just like that. All I see is his face over and over and over. The strong emotions I felt then have subsided, but the film is playing in my head again. I'm hoping it's short-lived. Busy overnight, too. No sleep. The cycle continues.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017- I forgot my original plan, but whatever it was got nixed. I decided to drive up to Hurricane Mt Rd after I got off work to do a Black Cap run up Red Tail and down Kettle Ridge. I used to do this run a lot, but now, not so much. It was nice to get back up there. It's a gentle climb up, and I didn't feel that bad on this one. It's always funny running into hikers who've walked the mile up from the top of Hurricane Mt Rd. Most of them don't know the trail I came up exists. I ran into a couple on their way down just below the summit and heard, "Great job! You're almost there!" Haha. I laughed and just said, "Yeah." I get those cheers of encouragement a lot on my mountain runs. I don't mind it really; it's just funny. I attempted to follow the blazed trail pointing toward Maine that I've never ventured on, but it fizzled out quickly. I'm not sure if it's just over grown or if I hit the end. I wasn't interested in finding out so I turned around. 7.6 miles total for the run. 1:31:09, definitely on the slow side. 1,661ft of elevation gain.

When I got home, I got in some upper body and abs work and was about to hop in the shower when my pager went off for a second 911 call in North Conway. I waited until the second tone to see if anyone signed on, realized I was the only one available, told John I was going to do that call and then drove to the base. Funny, on the way there, I got delayed due to the traffic from the duty crew's 911 call. Haha. I called the fire chief's cell who was on scene at the call I was headed to to let him know I was delayed. I was confused when my friend, Melissa, answered. Haha. She had also responded to the call since she's on North Conway Rescue, also. I also had to make sure someone from North Conway Fire & Rescue would be available to drive the ambulance since I was responding as a crew of one. It was all set. I got A3 and drove to the scene. It was funny because we ended up with the duty crew coming on the call after all since they cleared the hospital and we needed a paramedic. This was a much longer call than I thought it would be. Haha. I was so gross from my run, too. Oh well.

I'm feeling uncomfortable with every selfie I post now. ugh. Me getting ready to drive A3 back to the base after our call. 
As soon as I got home, John and I went to the head of Silver Lake so he could swim before we had to head to the Whitaker Woods race #6. I was pretty beat and planned on jogging it, but once again, someone fast showed up, Sean Livingston's daughter, Abbey. I ended up working way harder than I had the energy for after I realized she was right behind me just after the mile point. I couldn't hold it the last half mile, though, and got passed by Abbey and Sean. 20:52 for this week's race.

As soon as I finished, I went right to the car to take John to his ninja class. This Tuesday was super busy and over before I knew it.

REALLY good beer

Wednesday, July 19, 2017- I actually got up to run on the treadmill, and it kicked my ass! I don't think I've done one of my usual 5 mile progression runs since May, and yeah, I'm out of shape. 36:42. 7:20 pace. Not horrible, but I had to work for that. As always it's 1-3% elevation every half mile so it's a tough run anyway. I need to do more of these, but I'm struggling getting up early with the lack of sleep. Ugh. The Tuesday night races don't help, so maybe when those are over, I'll feel like doing the Wednesday treadmill again.

I was super excited to work with my old partner, Michelle, again! We worked together for 2 years. It was fun to be at work again! We weren't busy this shift and actually slept all night.

Thursday, July 20, 2017- Still woke up super groggy, even though I slept all night. I don't know why that happens every Thursday morning, but it's every week. Like I said, my resting heart rate was pretty high this week, so I was just run down in general. I should have known my planned run was not a good idea. I knew I was going to struggle before I even started out for a 10-mile loop over Whiteface and Passaconaway from Ferncroft. It was worse than I thought. I was dead at the get-go. By the time, I entered the woods, I could barely run. When the trail got steeper, I was running at a crawling pace. The woods were SO humid and hot. By the time I passed mile 2, I think I was power hiking more than running. It was a sufferfest. I knew I wasn't going past Whiteface today. I was cooked. When I got to the top, I stopped and sat down.

I was trying to capture misery. Probably should have taken a #lookatmyass photo instead.
I ran on to the true summit, turned around and ran back down the mountain. It seemed to last forever. I was so hot and drained. 8 miles total at a crawling pace. 2:16:11. 3,036ft of elevation gain. I wanted nothing more in this moment than the cold beer I'd brought along for post-run. I was on-call that night for work, so if I wanted to have a beer, it had to be early, so I sat at the trailhead and drank a pretty awesome beer that Michael Crutchley had given me at Beavers.

I had picked today's run because of its proximity to the Sandwich Spring since I had to fill up my water jugs.

The nice thing about cutting my run short is that I had enough time to kayak on Silver Lake before the on-call shift started at 5pm. I did my usual paddle from on end to the other. 5 miles total. No kayak beers and no selfies!! Can you believe it?

As soon as I got home, I showered, started making cornbread...then got called into work. It would be a busy evening for the duty crews. Between 5:50pm and just after midnight, I got called in three times! The nice part about that, though, is that every time I'm called in, I get two hours of overtime on top of the $50 stipend pay. In actuality, I probably worked a total of 2.5 hours. I wish the pay was like that for every shift!

Found these when I got called into work the first time. Take one? Why, yes, I took two.
I so needed sleep and crossed my fingers after getting home from the third call-in that that was it. Fortunately, it was, and I slept in until 8:30am.

Friday, July 21, 2017- Since I had to fill out my timesheet after the on-call shift, I decided to run from the North Conway base on the road. Not sure what I was thinking. I'd waited until it was insanely hot and the Friday traffic was in full force. Moron tourists drivers were on the loose! And...that's why my run ended up being called North Conway Run Rage. I almost got hit twice crossing the same crosswalk. Both cars got WTF arms. I had to ask a group of tourists blocking the entire sidewalk if I could get through. Cars going over the white line, way too much traffic and the heat led to a case of run rage. That run was a horrible idea. Haha. I really struggled in the heat the last two miles and just felt wicked tired. 8 miles in 59:42. 7:22/mi avg pace.

Took a funny photo of Chill today that reminded me of Large Marge. What do you think? Hahaha.

After John came home, we went to Story Land. On the way, we stopped at the bank to cash a $15 check that my grandmother had sent to John for his birthday back in February. It's been in my purse forever. I told him that if he wanted any food, he had to pay for it himself. He walked in with $15 and out with $0. Haha. Ugh. I guess he needs some work on not blowing all of his money in one place. Haha.

John about to shoot me with water on Pharaoh's Rain
John went on his own while I hit the bathroom. I got back over there just in time to get some pics of him on the Roar-O-Saurus. That ride is still so much fun.

Got home and started getting my stuff together for the run-paddle race the next day. Thankfully, while looking at something else on my calendar, I noticed the race was on SUNDAY. Wow, I almost drove us down to Concord for nothing. Haha. No idea why I had Saturday in my head.

Saturday, July 22, 2017- After my run rage run the day before, I couldn't bring myself to run out on the road in traffic hell. For once, running around my neighborhood sounded far more enticing. Haha. But I decided to mix it up a bit and add in some hill work on Tabor Hill and then cut through the woods to the Waldorf school to add in a trail loop. It was actually a fun little run! I put on headphones, too, just for something different. I ran 6.3 miles in just over an hour, so it was slow. The hill work I ran slightly slower than usual, but not that much. Got 3 of those in. Ended up with 908ft of elevation gain since that trail is a decent climb. I'll probably do more of these in the future.

After my run and upper body/abs workout, I took John to the beach at Silver Lake. Once he got in the water, he literally didn't come out for 3 hours! No exaggeration! I just sat there while he swam and started to get a little antsy towards the end, but I guess this didn't show because some guy walked by and said, "Wow. You look so chill." At first I was offended that he thought I looked like a dog. Haha. Kidding. Thought it was funny because I was at my most antsy when he said this.

I should have brought two beers.

A selfie with my kid
After literally staring at people as they ate snacks from large bags full of food the entire 3 hours, I was starving. I felt like I really needed to spend some money so we could have a good dinner. The only place nearby was this Farm-to-Table store in West Ossipee so I knew it was going to be overpriced, but I found a huge frozen lasagna with grassfed beef for $12 that I knew would make 3 meals so I got that. It ended up being SO good. I decided we needed to make a trip to Market Basket the next day while we were in Concord for food. My plan to hold out another 5 days wasn't happening. Haha.

Sunday, July 23, 2017- World Run Paddle Biathlon Championship-

It's not as huge of a race as it sounds. Haha. This is the brain child of Tom Walton, the cross-country coach at NHTI in Corcord. I know Tom from the snowshoe series. In my search for kayak races, I came across his event that included a 2.5 mile trail run, followed by a 2.5 mile kayak race on the Merrimack River. This sounded super fun so I signed up.

The drive wasn't too bad down to Concord. I did have to stop once when I noticed my kayak was turning sideways. Oops. Haha. It's not the best set-up at 75mph, I guess.

The weather was really nice so we lucked out. When we got there, I took Phoenix for a warm up on one loop of the trail (x-c course) to check it out. It was going to be fast. Hard-packed and flat. I bought Phoenix back and went back out for another loop. When I got back, I saw an older couple had arrived with racing kayaks. Hahaha. Yeah, I knew I didn't stand a chance of winning this now! I got all ready for the race...then start time rolled around with no race start. It turned out that Tom had put down 11am on the FB event page and 10am on the official brochure, so he decided to start it at 11. This was a bit frustrating, but I just decided to pass the time by running another warm up loop and then chatted with Ellen Raffio. As race time approached, I jumped in the river so that I would be cool for the run, then it was time for the pre-race meeting.

Once instructions were given, we lined up for the run. I figured my only chance was to run fast and beat the woman in the fast boat by as much as possible before we got in the water. This would end up being useless. Haha.

The run came easy fortunately. 2 loops of the xc course came out to 2.4 miles at a 6:20 pace. First woman to finish the run and in the water with about a 4-minute lead on the racing boat. This course involved two loops around an island in the river. I was paddling as hard as I could, but I had feeling my boat was still going to be no match for this...

I was about to learn a hard lesson when it comes to sports that use equipment. You can buy yourself a win. As hard as I paddled, I watched her catch me at the beginning of the second loop and pass me with very little effort as if I was standing still. I could say it's not fair, but even my crappy boat was far better than some of the others there. As a friend pointed out, it's the same with bike racing. It was hard for me to accept as a runner, since even the best shoes really mean nothing for the most part. All the work comes from the body. I would end up finishing a distant 2nd place.

When I was exiting the water, I said to Tom that I didn't stand a chance against that boat. He agreed with me. Haha. He said I could have used his (the same racing boat) for the race. Dammit! Oh well. I did get a chance to take it out. The boat weighs about 30lbs less than mine, so you can carry it with one hand. With the scoop paddle along with it, it was unbelievable the difference! So much faster. I wished I had used his boat because she never would have caught me. Haha. Oh well. I was a bit miffed; I'll admit it. I'm not used to losing because of a difference in equipment, so it was a tough lesson for me to soak in all day. Even my boat was a lot faster than a lot of the other boats out there, so none of it was really a "fair" competition. But it was still fun and it had me looking forward to my next kayak race two weeks later.

We hung out and waited for everyone to finish. John swam in the river a little bit, and I got Phoenix out for awhile to bark at people. Haha.

I packed some nice looking clothes for him that he happily put on. He looked so spiffy!
After I loaded up my boat, we drove less than a mile to Market Basket to finally buy groceries. This place was amazing! So much food and so much less expensive than home where I pay tourist prices. I found so much stuff and walked out paying less than I would have up here by far. It was so nice to buy food again. The only other time I've been like this was when I was out on the trail hiking for days in between towns, but never in my life have I had to wait to buy food until I got paid again. Even though, I feel like a sad piece of crap that my life has turned out this way, it's making me appreciate things more. It will be a good lesson for John that's for sure, and hopefully, it will make him not want to be like me so he'll actually be successful in a career some day. Of course, there are ways I would like for him to be like me, i.e. become a runner! Haha.

We drove home from there, and on the way back I got a call from the neighbor saying Chill was at his house. HUH? I locked Chill inside before I left. Hmmm. The neighbor was cool since he knows Chill and said he was fine, just wanted to let me know. We got in the neighborhood and I had John get out to walk Chill home. Bad dog. It took me awhile to notice how he got out, and he's never launched himself through a screen window before, so I'm assuming the bear was in the yard. It's funny, though, because John's mini trampoline is right under the window, so he must have used that for extra umph. Haha.

I had John walk Chill home while I followed. The car was too full of stuff to fit Chill in.
Chill's escape route. 

The rest of the evening was spent playing with the dogs and having some beahs and not much else.

Someone on Facebook added a link to this song in his post, so I clicked on it since I usually do when people put songs on, and I was like whoa! What is this and how I have I missed this band?! I'm usually pretty good with keeping up on the obscure new music out there, but I missed this one! I really liked the song so it went right to my playlist and made it this blog post's song.