Monday, February 19, 2018

2018 Old Mountain Trail 5K

This turned out to be a really good week with my running/racing. I actually felt good on my runs and had a good race on Saturday at the Old Mountain Trail 5K in Rhode Island, the second race in the South County 4th Season Race Series. Got my mileage back up with a little guidance from my friend so I was happy about that. 60.2 miles for the week. 3,238ft of elevation gain which is pretty good. Got in 2 treadmill runs, 2 trail runs and 3 road runs. Even got in my first real long run in awhile.

The week was quiet without John there, and I missed him. It was too quiet, though, and I started to get that feeling of just someone going through the motions since he gives me a true purpose in life. Someone else to care for who needs it. I guess the only good thing about him being gone was that I didn't have to hear from Bryan at all except once just to tell him John's flight number on his way back to Boston. This was one of those divorces that had we not had a child, we would have signed the papers and been done with each other completely forever. Sad to say something like that after 16 years with someone, but we were never a good match, and by the end, we really had nothing left to share with each other. But, unfortunately, I have to deal with him, and just when I write how he's calming down and I'm giving him a break...BOOM. I've been fooled again. John wasn't back 12 hours when shit started up again. He just doesn't get it. But, anyway, the 5 days of no-Bryan contact were nice. My stress level dropped. I felt good. Running felt good. It's amazing how much stress can affect you.

Found some cute pictures on John's school's Facebook page of him in baking class making those biscuits I mentioned in the last post. And then one of him in a class. Actually got a little choked up when I saw these because he's so happy there. I'm going to be so sad for him if the school closes, though. I finally made the decision to write to Ellen DeGeneres seeking out help for the school. She literally has an option for help for your school on her website so I figured why not. What would it hurt to try? The hard part was I could only write 1500 characters so it was hard to fit in everything I wanted to say about the school, but I tried to hit the key things. I'm sure they get 1000s of these so they need to be short. Such a long shot, but I had to try.

Monday, February 5, 2018- For the first time in forever, Rob and I didn't have a single 911 call the entire 24 hours. It was a very long and boring shift. Fortunately, I broke it up with a 3 mile run on the work treadmill. The usual 3 miles in 22:09...always a 7:23 pace. This treadmill is just so uncomfortable to run on. Hoping to stop using it and get my ass up on Monday mornings to use my own treadmill.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018- John's grandmother texted me a photo of John in Florida...

Meanwhile in New Hampshire...

Yes. That's an unhappy me at the end of my run Tuesday morning. Not sure when snow entered the forecast for Tuesday, but I did not see this coming...and it literally ended an hour after my run and the sun came out for the rest of the day! Haha!

This was first true long run of my Vermont City Marathon training that began this week. I was actually looking forward to this run. While it wasn't new roads, it was a new loop I made up that started at work and did a lollipop loop. I was actually looking forward to this run and felt really good right off the bat. That's always a good sign. Things were going well, and then in mile 9 right in the middle of Freedom Village, snow flurries started. Hmm. As I ran up the bitch of a hill on Cushing Corner Rd and got up high in the open, all I could see was a wall of snow heading my way. WTF. Totally caught me off guard. This isn't the first time I've been caught in a surprise snowstorm during a long run in Freedom. It was still a good 4-5 miles before the roads became totally white, but still had some slight traction. The last miles...forget it. The roads became a slippery mess and every single fucking step had my foot sliding. It sucked so bad! I actually almost quit and called my coworkers to come pick me up in the ambulance. (I'm a true a believer in the use of the Wahhhmbulance Taxi Service. Haha) I was so close, but I wanted to get in the miles dammit. At least my effort stayed the same, even if the pace slowed slightly. Considering that, I was still really happy with my run. Definitely the first good long run that I've had in awhile. 18.6 miles in 2:19:13. Still a 7:29 avg pace which made me happy despite knowing it should have been faster. 750ft of elevation gain. I took this photo of the road right after I finished my run...

I was pretty annoyed to see the sun come out as soon as I got home, but it was also a good thing since I was making a quick trip to Portland for an appointment. Stopped at Target after the appointment to get some supplies for John for school and a few groceries. Ended up getting hypoglycemic while I was in there and almost passed out. Started sweating so much that it was soaking through my shirt. Not sure why that happened since I ate before I left home, but it did, so I grabbed what I needed quickly plus some extra food to eat as soon as I paid for it. I made a quick stop at the Bier Cellar and then drove right home. One of the things that I couldn't find in Portland was a calculator. So weird. Neither Target nor Staples sold them (other than a really small cheap calculator as part of a $10 set of math supplies). Decided to check the Dollar General on the way back into town and sure enough. Got a calculator for $2. Sweet. Just sat around the rest of the night. I was pretty beat.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018- Today marked the first day of getting help with my training from my friend. I was told to run easy or die. Haha. I chose to live and ran easy (for once!) on the treadmill before work. 4 miles in 31:03. 7:46 avg pace rather than my usual sub 7:10 pace. Felt pretty good and what I needed after yesterday's long run.

Today was the last shift with my partner of two years. Just when I had gotten used to him, too. Haha. Oh well. Pretty sure my old Thursday partner, Jeff (Hi, Jeff!!), is going to take his place as my regular partner. Yay!! We work well together so that's good.

We got a huge snowstorm in New England today which I had been dreading since I knew it meant shoveling. UGHHH. Little did I know, I would also have to shovel our driveway at work so we could get the ambulance out. Yeah, whatever! Who cares about an ambulance getting out to respond to 911 calls. Fuck us! Ugh. No one plowed our driveway. There's a guy...but he decided to wait until the next morning to show up. WTF. The snow stopped around 10pm so I went out and shoveled the snow in front of the bay door until I hit the plowed section of the lot that belongs to Amerigas. They weren't even open but their plow guy still plowed. I'm sure my company found the lowest rate they could for plowing since that's all they care about it. The bottom line. Leaves us without the supplies we're REQUIRED to have by the State all the time! Anyway, when I finished shoveling the ambulance out, I shoveled my car out and moved it over to Amerigas's plowed lot. Haha. I went to bed after that dreading the fact that I would be shoveling 8 inches of snow from my huge driveway the next morning, too.

My car haha.

Where my car had been haha.
Thursday, February 8, 2018- Woke up to a beautiful morning. Had a trail run planned down south for the afternoon so I went home and got started on my driveway. I decided to Strava my shoveling. It's not quite accurate since it can't really pick up my short movements. Took over 2 hours and 20 minutes. Would have been longer had the plow guy who is supposed to plow the end up my driveway and the well not felt bad for me shoveling it already (that took me an hour alone just breaking through to the road) and took the plow down one pass on part of my driveway. Saved me a good hour by doing that. I was so shocked to see him do that since he never has once. Usually plows my driveway IN after I've already shoveled it. I did attempt to get the snowblower out, but finally figured out that one of the augers isn't spinning. Pretty sure it's a belt, but I can't figure out how to open the thing up to fix it. So it was back to shoveling. My knee was so bruised from using it to turn up the push shovel, and my hands had blisters through my mittens. Strava picked up exactly 2 miles, but it had to be more than that.

Wall of snow blocking my driveway. This should have been cleared already since the neighborhood pays the well company for it as part of our water bill. Grr.

My driveway

After it was clear

After it was clear
Spent over 2 hours busting my ass to find out from John when I got home that night that Bryan had the nerve to say that I didn't get the job done and that he was surprised I even did it. As if I haven't been clearing that driveway for the last 4 winters before this?? And what right does he even have to complain about it since he doesn't pay for that house? Grr.

I showered and drove south for more trail exploration. For some reason, getting lost is the name of the game with this one. Even did a full loop at one point without realizing it until coming back to where we started. It was hilarious and took us a good 1.5 miles of unplanned running around until we figured out where we went wrong. Another problem is the goddamn Bay Circuit Trail which kept intersecting the route and steering us off course. All of a sudden we'd be in totally the wrong place with a stupid Bay Circuit Trail marker laughing at us. So screw you, Bay Circuit Trail! Still a really fun run with some good climbs and views. Made it back to the lot with only about 10 minutes to spare before the gate locked for the night. Eek! 9.4 miles in 1:31:33. 1,217 ft of elevation gain. These hills are surprising me! Caught my legs on a briar at some point and didn't notice that I had blood pouring down my legs. Haha. The after picture is no good since it was dried already. :) Had some post-run beer and yoga then headed home.

I'm giving that sign and white blaze the middle finger right now. Haha.
Friday, February 9, 2018- John was home from Florida the night before so he was up for school on Friday morning. And as I mentioned before, all of the issues with Bryan that had dissipated while he was gone were back when I was lying in bed and heard Bryan screaming at John at the end of the driveway. I guess John forgot something so Bryan turned around to get it and ran into the snowbank. Apparently this was somehow my fault for how I shoveled the driveway and then Bryan wanted John to shovel it out. I'm like WTF and get up to find John coming into the house in tears. He told me what happened. I was ready to just put him in my car and drive him to school, but my car was blocked in by Bryan's. John went back out and screaming began again. This time I heard John screaming back so I finally opened the door and asked if there was something I could do to help. That was met with a, "Stay away!!" Ugh. I yelled back for him to stop screaming at John and went back inside feeling helpless as to what to do so I started crying. So I just watched and they finally freed the snow bank and left. About 5 minutes later I get a text from Bryan that his car broke down at the gas station. John is already late for school at this point so I quickly change out of my pajamas and get in my freezing cold car (it was -8 degrees out) and drive up there to get John to school.

Wow. Way to make a re-entrance back in our lives, Bryan. It's like I give him a break, think maybe I'm overreacting or hypercritical and should back off a bit, and then he does stuff like this that just reminds me that I'm right. It's his temper. He can't control it. It's that rage that once you're in it, you can't get out of it even if you know in the moment what you're doing is wrong. That is the problem, and he always feels remorse for it. Always. But like my life with him, there comes a point where you just can't forgive and let it go anymore. It eats away at you. You withdraw from that person and he never gets you back. It's over. That's what I'm afraid of happening with John. He's only 11, and he already sees it. I've told Bryan over and over that he needs to do something about his temper, but I don't know if he knows how. He's losing John, and that makes me sad since John needs his dad and there won't be another dad. And meanwhile, I just have to sit on sidelines watching it unfold, and I really don't know what the fuck to do.

So it was a very frustrating morning that fortunately turned into a very nice day. I stopped on the way back home to let the dogs out at the Wonalancet ski trail lot and found a freshly groomed xc track. I had no idea where it went so I decided I would come back down here for my run and then ski this trail after.

Checking out the trail with dogs. I only went this far since I didn't want to mess it up with boot tracks.
It sucked that I had to go all the way back home, but I had the time. When I got back down to Wonalancet, I ran a pretty easy 6 miles out-and-back into Sandwich. 46:22. 7:40 avg pace. 352ft of gain. Pretty good hills on this one. I was little sore and tight from the trail run the day before since I'm really not doing much trail running right now.

Finished up the run, changed clothes in my car and ventured out on the ski trail. It was really beautiful and cool to be the first one on the fresh grooming. I didn't know where I was going, but the trail just went up and up until it ended near the summit of Mt Katherine. Realizing where I was at this point, I decided not to go back the groomed trail, but to break trail down the hiking trail to do a loop. This part was so much fun. I've never actually broken trail on skis down a mountain before so this was a new experience for me. It wasn't steep or very long, so it was perfect. I saw a lot of moose tracks along the way. The trail came out to a road that went back to 113A, but I cut across a field and through the woods to get back to my car instead. 2.8 miles total. Not a lot, but perfect since I didn't want to overdo it anyway with a race the next day.

I picked John up from Cranmore later. He always has so much fun. I'm sure he's going to be bummed out when the ski season is over, but he will be doing kayaking for his Friday activity after that which I'm so excited he chose. Nothing else to do that night since we were leaving early the next morning for RI.

Saturday, February 10, 2018- Old Mountain Trail 5K 

Of course snow was predicted for the early morning when we'd start our drive, but from the looks of it, it would be gone by Wakefield. Crazy enough, the road went from snow-covered to completely clear LITERALLY on the town line. But the first part was a bit hairy.

Rt 16 in Albany
The rest of the drive was fine and seemed to fly by. John slept the whole way and then refused to get out of the car the entire time we were at the race. It was so nice out that I wanted him to get fresh air, but I stopped fighting him over it when I realized it was just stressing me out within minutes of the start.

We got there pretty early so I hung out in the lot a bit chatting with some people until we could check in, then I took Chill out for a warm-up on the whole course. I wanted to see the conditions, and, as predicted, it was going to be a mudfest. Yay! I actually like racing in the mud (not Muddy Moose type mud, but runnable mud). Once back at the car, I traded Chill out for Phoenix who wanted to stay in her blanket and ran her just a short distance to where I left Chill's poo bag and back. Haha. It was close to race time so I changed out of my Inov-8s and into my La Sportiva's. They felt SO much better. It was so warm out that I didn't even wear gloves. Just a singlet and shorts today. Yay!

I hung out with the WTAC team before the start and saw a super fit and fast looking woman there. I was pretty sure it was the one who had out-kicked me at the beach race, but since we were all so bundled up at that, I wasn't sure. I was pretty sure it was her, though, once I saw her line up on the start line. Dammit. This was going to be another race of going all out and then getting out-kicked. Fuck. Haha. Oh well.

Mike started us off, and I was surprised to see a different girl dart out ahead of both of us. Two of them now?!! The tight turn around the field was a slippery mess, but I hung onto the inside and quickly moved ahead of Ciara (the one who beat me at Resolution) and set my sights on whoever this blond was ahead of me. She looked super young so I hoped she was just going out too fast. I was right and as soon as we hit the single track, I passed her quickly.

Just about to enter the woods behind Nick Fox with Bob Corsi and Ciara right behind me.
 Once I passed the younger girl, I caught in a bit of gridlock for awhile which sucks for trying to see the trail in front of you. I finally got around Nick and ended up behind a guy who I was stuck behind for awhile until it just became to excruciating. I finally had some space and was able to go all out running scared the whole time with no idea how close Ciara was at all. I finally passed one last guy, and then the only person I could see was Mike Daniels who was some distance ahead. I didn't let up, but once we got down around the pond, I was able to get a good look back and saw Ciara wasn't far back at all. Maybe 15 seconds at the most. Dammit. This next section had a lot of slippery bog bridges, and I almost busted on the same one I almost fell on during the warm up. Somehow, the group behind me caught up to me through this section. Eek!! Ciara was maybe 5 seconds back. I had to bust out this last section that climbed up, then down, the back up and then down to the finish.

Fortunately, this was my type of running. I passed the guy in front of me and dropped all of those guys behind me. I even put some distance on Ciara but thought for sure she was going to outkick me at the end AGAIN. Ugh! I honestly though there was no way she wouldn't catch me, but a look back as we took the right turn to head down to the finish, and I couldn't even see her. OMG. I might just take this. As soon as I came out into the field, I just opened it up. I got so caught up in it that I didn't notice I was passing finish line too far to the right. Haha. Goof. Came through taking 1st woman in 22:29, 8 seconds ahead of Ciara. Phew! Another close one!! 12th overall. Full Results

After chatting a bit, Ciara and I headed out on a cool down together on the course. She's from Beverly, Ma and knows a few of the same runners I do on CMS. It turns out that she's mainly just a 5K and less racer and had just run her first 10K not too long ago. So this distance is her thing and explained why was hard to beat. Haha. We ran 1.7 miles then made our way back in time for awards. I wanted to change first but didn't have the time. Our WTAC women's team won 4 six packs of Whalers beer...even though we came in 2nd. The kids beat us this time around. Haha.

Things were over quickly so we headed to the Mews. The WTAC group sat in the bar where John wasn't allowed so I joined the Turtles and Brightman at a table in the dining room. My son took one for my team and sat where I didn't want to sit. He's the best. Lunch was fun. After that a smaller group of us made our way to Proclamation for HOURS. I told John that if he was cool with going then he could to whatever he wanted the next day. He was very keen on that. Haha. He ended up loving Proclamation. I know this because I overheard him telling his friend that he was at this place with free arcade games and it was awesome. Haha! Yes! We ended up eating waffles, and I have no idea how I fit that in my stomach after an entire calzone, but I did. Haha. I have no idea how we were there as long as we were. Time passed quickly. The place was super dog and kid friendly so I had John bring Phoenix in. She was SO good which is unlike her. I was taking a photo of her with Bob and Mark when John photobombed it. Haha.

It was finally time for us to leave so I took Chill and Phoenix out in the same part of the lot as I did the weekend before and then we headed home. The last part of that drive was a struggle to stay awake, but I managed it. Super tired when we got home so I went to bed as soon as I could. Fun day.

Sunday, February 11, 2018- As promised John got to do whatever he wanted which was playing video games all day. Haha. It was raining most of the day anyway so it was gross. I was able to get my run in before the heavy rain started. Only had a light drizzle in the last mile. I ran from home doing a Conway/Stark Rd Loop. Opted to run home through Conway Village instead of Cranmore Shores to avoid the snowy/icy road section. On the way out, I passed Terry Ballou, Kim Proulx and Suz Laughlin heading the opposite direction on a group. I was kind of bummed that I've only been invited to join them that one time, but then I remembered that I would have declined anyway. I needed to run a bit longer and faster than they did so it was ok. But still. No pals for me. Haha. I don't fit in with them really anyway.

I felt really good on this run surprisingly. 11.2 miles in 1:22:44. 7:22 avg pace. Not crazy hilly but still 328ft of gain.

I did an upper body and abs workout when I got back, and then just did stuff around the house the rest of the day. In the afternoon, Bryan let us know that he picked up a shift at work the next morning and that John would have to make his way to the school van stop on his own. Great. John's first time riding the van and he has to do it alone. I wasn't keen on this, but I went out and packed him down a trail in the snow to walk there. Then I brought him out and made him walk it with me so he'd know where to go. Funny that he had to walk to his "bus" stop on snowshoes. SO New Hampshire! Haha.

Caught this hilarious pic of Phoenix jumping for a snowball. Haha. And, no. She did not land on her feet.

I was really happy to have John back this weekend, and I'm glad he had fun in Rhode Island on Saturday. He's been way more positive overall about going to races lately. He still doesn't love going, but he seems to be going with the flow a bit more. Plus, I'm making sure he gets a day where he's home a lot to make it even for us.

Really good week running-wise for me. Had quite a bit of fun this week, too. :) I'm feeling more positive about my running even though I know I have a long way to go still. Upcoming races: USATF-NE Indoor Championships at Harvard on 2/18, more RI trail races, Snowshoe Nationals and the start of the USATF-NE Grand Prix. Busy month coming up. Eek!

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