Waterville Valley 2019

Waterville Valley 2019

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

2018 Brrr-lingame Trail Race

John watching one of three swans swimming at Conimicut Point Park in RI
Pretty good week. I was a little beat from New Bedford but not overly. Only lasted about two days, and I still got a long run on one of those days. I recovered pretty well in time for the Brrr-lingame Trail Race in Rhode Island on Sunday. This was the last race in this winter's South County 4th Season Race Series. I didn't actually have to do this one to count for the Series since I pretty much had the Series win already, but I still wanted to complete it. Plus it was a new course! No more loops. Less mileage, around 8, but one big loop. I really enjoy this Series and plan to continue doing it as long as it fits into my schedule, and I'm not injured. Haha. I love the group of people who run it, too, so it's just a fun part of my winter racing and usually (but not always!) on dry trails. A nice tropical retreat from the New Hampshire tundra.

This race did not go without a snafu, of course, though. There's always a first for everything. Haha. And I finally had my first race where I had to make a "pit stop"...FIVE of them actually! Hahaha. Yeah, remember when I said I thought I was improving? Well, I was doing ok Wednesday and Thursday, but then it got worse again. 4+ weeks now! At this point, it doesn't matter what I eat or don't eat or even if I hardly eat anything. Obviously something is amiss, but what is it? A water borne illness? Microscopic Colitis? It's very unlikely to be a gluten allergy since you don't just "come down with" that suddenly. If I had health insurance I would have gone to the doctor 2 weeks ago, but I don't since I can't afford it, and I can't afford a doctor's visit because it will involve tests that I also can't afford. Welcome to the world of the lower class. That's me. And this is my dilemma. All I can do is just count on my otherwise strong body to fix this for me. But if that fails? I guess I'll be paying medical bills $20 at a time for the rest of my life. Haha. If it comes down to that, then that's what I'll have to do, but I just can't get myself to make that step yet. Ok, geez, moving on. Never thought I'd be talking so much about this crap (haha pun intended) on my blog, but it has genuinely become a major issue.

Didn't quite make it to 60 miles for the week. I had planned a longer cool down after the race, and it just didn't happen. Still got in a decent 57.5 miles. 3 road runs, 2 treadmill runs and 2 trail runs. Nice mix. Got some decent climbing in, but I'm so ready to add in mountain runs again. Get my ass in shape, literally. Haha. 3,950ft of elevation gain. I actually felt good on my runs all week, too, so I was happy with that. Overall, the week was good.

Monday, March 19, 2018- I was so tired after getting home from New Bedford the night before that I needed all the sleep I could get so I opted to skip the early morning run and just hop on the treadmill at work at some point. I did eventually get on it in the afternoon. Only about 3 miles. Had to guess on that since the gauge is broken. Ran for 23 minutes and kind of went off of feel to decide that that was about 3 miles. Haha.

It was nice to have Jen as a partner again. She'll be my new Monday partner until mid-May. When she walked in that morning she said, "I really hope we get an overdose today; it's been a long time since I've done one." And...both of our calls ended up being overdoses! One was basically close to dead and had to be brought back via Narcan. He spouted off the typical line as soon as he came to, "I didn't take anything! I swear!" They always say this and then it's followed by, "I've been clean for xx months!" The second overdose was an intentional swallowing of pills in a suicidal attempt. So I guess Jen got what she asked for.  Haha.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018- Long run day, but only 15 miles. I had felt pretty good on Monday, but by the start of this run I could feel some fatigue and soreness from New Bedford. I chose to do an out-and-back from work on Ossipee Lake Rd since it would be less hills than some of my other long runs. I kept the pace decent. Not pushing too hard but keeping it in the upper 7s for the most part. This was more just getting some miles in. I felt alright, but like I said, a little leg fatigue, as expected. 15 miles. 1:56:09. 7:44 avg pace. 438ft of elevation gain.

The run had started out at 22 degrees and finished around 40 degrees so I was a bit overdressed by the end, but this meant a beautiful day was in store so I had to get back out for a walk later. Bryan had kept both dogs so I ended up by myself for a hike on the Hammond Trail. That was weird since I rarely ever walk without a dog. I had expected the trail to be solid from the morning's cold temps, but the sun hits this trail most of the daytime so the snow was mashed potatoes for part of it. I didn't bring snowshoes and was worried about being a boot wearing asshole so I made sure to walk off to the side of the trail when it turned to slop. I complain about those people all the time since they ruin the trail; I didn't want to be one of them now! It was crazy warm out after I got going. This was my progression of clothing from the beginning to the end....

I only walked 2 miles since I had to pick up John. I had 10 minutes to spare to bask in the sun when I got back to the car. Felt so good. Can't wait to get my tan back! Haha.

Brook on the Hammond Trail
I didn't really do much else after picking John up at school other than take him to his ninja class. I was pretty beat from the run and hike.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018- Pretty tired this morning. Managed 3 slow miles on the treadmill in 23:59. Just getting something in basically.

A cheesy FB memory of mine reminded me that this would have been my 15th wedding anniversary today. Crazy. I'm still thankful I never let it get to 12. Haha. My life may not be what my naively optimistic self thought it would be by getting divorced, but it still SO much better than it was. It was the scariest, hardest decision I've ever made, but also one of the best. No regrets on that!

Work started off with our meeting to come up with a new training plan for the new hires. It lasted FOUR hours! It was actually pretty productive. Two of our managers and 3 of us minions are going to be the only trainers for new hires when this system goes into place. But that's the one thing we don't know will ever happen...the system actually going into place. The managers have to get it set up and we're still unsure if they will actually follow through. They often talk the talk, but nothing ever really gets done. So we'll see. Until it does, I'm still refusing to train anyone. Like I said last week, I'm done until it's done properly and we're paid.

911 calls were steady today starting with a bad ski accident at Cranmore. Our guy was F-U-C-K-E-D. He ended up with a trip to Maine Med. One of his many injuries could have been prevented had he been wearing a helmet. Wear the fucking helmet, people! It won't stop all head injuries, but it can stop some. I love the parents who make their kids wear helmets, but then don't wear them themselves. Way to lead by example, morons. Anyway, I've seen WAY too many head injuries to fuck around with that, and I've even seen bad ones with helmets, but why take the chance? I'll never get it. I'm a freak about helmets now. And the argument, "Well, we didn't wear helmets when we were kids and I survived just fine." Well, guess who didn't make out just fine, people like Jimmy Kurtz, my friend's little brother who was hit by a car while riding his bike. Head injury killed him. He might still be here today if he'd been wearing one. Ok, ok. I digress.

Our other two transports were pretty interesting, too. Actual real stuff going on so we weren't just a wahhhmbulance today.

Thursday, March 22, 2018- I had some time at home this morning before heading south for a trail run so I got in an upper body and abs workout and then added in what I'm hoping to start doing 3 days a week... plyometrics. Back when I did Beach Body workouts, I did a lot of jump training. It really strengthened up my hamstrings and glutes. For the last 7 years, I haven't done it at all since I've found that running/power hiking up mountains has pretty much done it for me. But all of a sudden, I realized I've lost a lot of strength in those areas from not doing ANY mountain runs since the fall basically. This was the first winter I didn't run up a single mountain since I moved back here. Crazy! A little late on adding the jump training in since it's already spring, but I need to do SOMETHING.

I chose something simple. Five different exercises. 10 reps each. Do as many AMRAPs as possible in 20 minutes. Well...I didn't make it to 20 minutes on this first try. 12 minutes and 150 reps. Box jumps, lunge jumps, lateral jumps, split lunge jumps and squat jumps. Turns out that 150 reps was WAY too much to be doing the first day since I was wicked sore the next day. (You were right to call me out on that, Beth Lazor-Smith! Haha). The nice thing, though, was that it was soreness, not pain! It actually felt good since I could feel all of the muscles that I haven't been targeting in nearly 6 months! And it's exactly the muscles I NEED to be targeting. My inner quad muscles as well. I notice those diminish a bit after the fall every year, but it's been really noticeable this time. Part of my glutes and mid-hamstrings. Now, I wish I'd started this sooner. What a dummy! Anyway, my plan is 3 days a week with this with the next time only at 100 reps and slowly work my way up from there. Such simple exercises with a whole lot of punch. Doubtful I will be ready for Sleep Hollow in a month, but maybe it will help some.

Speaking of Sleepy Hollow, I made the decision this week to bow out of the Mountain Series. It's just becoming too much of a headache for me. The logistics for so many of the point-to-point races have been so difficult and stressful for me with John that I just need a break from them. So I only plan to do my favorites: Sleepy Hollow, Cranmore, Loon and, sadly, only the vertical race at Bretton Woods (the fell race conflicts with Lone Gull 10K this year). But, honestly, making that decision feels good and right. Plus, I just need to cut back a tad on racing after April anyway. I'll still be racing more than most people, but I want to attempt to have more free weekends the rest of the year. So far, I'm liking my calendar. And, honestly, I already feel less stressed making the decision to opt out of the Mountain Series. Maybe this will give me the excuse I need to bow out of Mt Washington next year. Haha.

I left around 11:30am to head south to where the trails were almost clear of snow. Most of it was really nice dirt! The run was fun since the trails are a maze and I just followed along. Ended up doing some bushwhacking along the way and run through some snow. Just fun. 7.3 miles. 1:15:22. 1,059ft of elevation gain...LOTS of hills. Only stayed after briefly and then headed north. I decided to stop at one of my new favorite breweries, Castle Island Brewing, on my way for one beer. Kind of sucked to be there by myself so I wasn't staying for more. I stopped at Whole Foods, as usual, for pizza slices then continued to NH. I struggled badly on the drive this time around and had to stop at the NH rest area to sleep for 30 minutes. I made it home just before midnight. Not sure why I was so tired this time around, but maybe since I never caught up on sleep after getting up so early for New Bedford.

Greetings from Skibb
I received a text from John's reading and writing teacher today with some photos from their class. I love these! This is inside the greenhouse at the school. Have I mentioned how much I love this school? Haha.

Friday, March 23, 2018- Another crazy beautiful day like Tuesday. With the warmer temps, I had a feeling Carter Notch Rd would be clear so I drove up to Jackson, parked at the Wentworth and started the run up, up, up! This is such a quiet, pretty place to run, and I really should do it more often. The run out gets pretty difficult and steep, but it just makes the run back down more fun. I was supposed to only do 8 miles, but I decided to keep going until the plowing ended and the road turned to ice. It was really slow going  since it's so damn steep, but I enjoy this type of running...obviously. It's the closest I'm getting to mountain running these days. Haha. I felt good. Finished with 9.4 miles. 1:16:29. 8:08 avg pace. 1,123ft of elevation gain.

View of the valley
I had gotten too late of a start that morning so my xc ski plan was shortened. I had brought Phoenix with a plan to hit the groomed trails at Believe in Books, but now I would only have about 30 minutes of ski time and no way was I paying $5 for that. Instead, I decided to take a gamble on getting up Town Hall Rd in Intervale to the parking area. Turned out to be fine so Phoenix and I got our 30 minutes on the unplowed FS Rd/snowmobile trail. Conditions were awesome, and the weather was perfect. I wished I'd had more time. 2 miles total.

John didn't have school for teacher workshop so he got home just a few minutes after did. His dad had taken him xc skiing, too, so we didn't go back out to do anything else.

Saturday, March 24, 2018- I decided to take Rachel Flaksman up on her offer to stay at her place that night in Rhode Island so we wouldn't have to make the 4 hour drive to Burlingame State Park the next morning. I had done that drive morning of last year, and I was a hurting puppy by the time we got there. I didn't plan for us to leave until 1pm, but I still got up early enough to get in my run and get us packed up without having to rush.

Today's run was similar to yesterday's since it involved running up and then back down, but not quite as bad. I ran from home up to the view on Tasker Hill Rd. It's such a gorgeous view from up there with Carter Notch being prominent. Pretty cool to be looking out (almost) at the yesterday's run. This turnaround is where I smashed my face in 2015, and I'm STILL cautious turning around there, ice or not. Haha. Felt good on this run, too. I didn't run it slow except for the climb up Tasker Hill, but I didn't run it all out fast either. 8.1 miles. 1:02:31. 639ft of elevation gain. Trying to work on my climbing legs a bit!

We left pretty much right on time, but 20 minutes later, just as I got into Tamworth, I realized I had forgotten to turn the warmer off on my Bunn coffee maker; it has no automatic shut off. UGH! I debated for a second whether I could just leave it, but then realized it would probably burn out and I'd be left with a half broken $100 coffee maker I couldn't afford to replace. So, I turned around. Sucked to do it, but it wasn't like we had to be anywhere at a certain time. Plus I was able to make the coffee that I brewed and left behind. Haha.

I had planned for us to take a walk out to Conimicut Point Park when we got down there to exercise John and the dogs. I didn't want to just park there and walk around, and Rachel's house was a little too far to walk from so I parked at a gas station a mile away so that we could walk about 2 miles. John complained at first but ended up really having fun with the dogs and loved the place. When we got down there, I noticed all sorts of birds in the water. Two were white tail feathers sticking out of the water. When they came back up, I was surprised to see they were two swans! Cool. Turned out there was a third out there that was in the middle of a flock of these other birds I'd never seen before.

We walked the mile back to the car and then drove over to  Fellini's for dinner. The place was packed, but we were sat right away since there was one table of 2 available. The food was so good. I had gone there because John loves pizza, but he ended up ordering a pulled pork sandwich. Haha. The bread was made there, and he said it was the best pulled pork he's ever had so I guess it was a win after all.

We didn't get to Rachel's until after 8pm. She wasn't going to be there at all so she left her place all to us. I was pretty beat and didn't stay up too late. Race the next morning!

Sunday, March 25, 2018- Brrr-lingame Trail Race

This year Mike Galoob decided to do away with the 5 & 10 mile options to make a one-loop 8ish mile course. I was really happy when I saw that because I wasn't a huge fan of the two loops, and I was also excited to run a new course! Mike always changes up something every year, but this would be a completely different course since the portion of the previous course we were on was all done in the reverse direction. I was looking forward to it.

We arrived early so that I could get a mile run in with Chill and then get John out there for the kids race. John wasn't too happy about it, but I paid him $5 again to do it. Heehee. He seriously is a much happier kid after he's done these races, and it was only 1.5 miles. He told me I can't ever sign him up for a kids race again, but I really don't understand what he means. Does he mean like never ever or just like never again this week? I'm just going to assume the latter. Haha. :)

There was a decent group of kids this time around lined up. I decided to follow John along and make it another warm up. Jonny Hammett's son, Jackson, was also running so Jonny and Greg Hammett followed along as well. John and Jackson would end up running together the whole way pretty much so we had a nice group run. Even though it was tough for John, he once again ran the entire way and didn't complain at all. He really has the potential to be a decent trail runner if he ever ends up wanting to do it without his mean mom making him. Haha.

He made that face on purpose. Hahaha.
As usual, John retreated to the car and never came out again. Haha. I had just enough time to take Phoenix out for another half mile to make a total of 3 miles of a warm up for me. When we got back to the car, I made the decision to just wear a singlet for the race since the sun was out at this point. This would change many times over the course of the race when the sunny skies would all of a sudden turn to snow and then back to sun. The weather was nuts. Haha.

We lined up, and I was very thankful to see no competition here today. Not only did I not want to go all out today, I also had a feeling this week was going to be my first race ever when I had to make a pit stop, and with competition, it could cost me a win. I got through New Bedford fine, but I was definitely feeling something awry in my gut and just hoped I could get through it.

The new course started us across the field as usual but in a slightly different direction and right onto the same single track the kids race had been on. This section was really fun and fairly fast. I ended up right behind a big group of guys who would slowly pull away with a few of them in sight for the first 4 miles.

Photo by Beth Lazor-Smith in mile 2, I think.
We ended up on the old course backwards in mile 2 and 3 for a stretch before Mike took us off on some cool trail he made up. I liked how he put in a lot more fun single track some of it not even an actual trail. Although my gut was starting to feel funny, I made it through mile 4, running sub-8 pace easily. And this is when it all went awry. Mile 5. It finally happened. I had to stop. I hoped that was it and continued enjoying the course especially my new favorite part on the trail that looped up on the ridge around the sand pit. It was just fun. After coming out of the sand pit, it happened again. I had to stop. My split for mile 5, which was the slowest split of the course anyway, jumped up to 10:04. Hahaha. I kept expecting to start getting passed at this point, but no one was in sight. Somehow, even with the stops, I did, however, keep catching up with the guy in front of me. Hoping I'd made my last stop, I continued on what would be almost all of the old course in reverse so I knew this section well. I actually really liked the ridge top section much better in this direction. I'm not sure why since it was a climb up either way, but for some reason this way was more enjoyable. As I came to the top, I found Seth Acton there shooting a video and Jeff Walker sitting on the ground with two very bloody knees. He'd take a pretty hard digger, but he would end up getting back on his feet and finishing the race. As I came off the ridge, Beth was there again taking photos!

Just as I took the turn at the bottom of the ridge, I was like, "Oh no!" Yep. I had to stop again!! But I had to wait until no people were in sight, and once again, I was catching the guy in front of me until it was thwarted. I only made it about another .3 miles before I had to stop AGAIN! OMG. This was so bad. I think I was even saying out loud to myself, "This sucks so bad!" I really hoped this was it, but nope just into mile 7, I had to stop one last time. It really wasn't the last time I had to, but I vowed to make it through the finish without stopping again. Five times was enough. Ugh. I was so thankful to be popping out of the woods onto the field, and, funny, I wasn't far behind the guy in front of me still. He crossed the line just as I got out on the field. I finally came through. 1st female. 10th overall. 1:02:59. Crazy that the two French guys I had run with at the last two races beat me by quite a bit today. I don't think it was just because I had to stop, though. I definitely wasn't going as hard as I had been at the previous races. I was actually pretty happy with my race in general other than having to stop. I ran pretty much how I wanted to run this one, and I got lucky to not have competition on a day when I was having some shit luck! Hahaha. Pun intended again! :) Oh and speaking of, as soon as I finished, I grabbed my jacket and ran to the woods!! I would have to do this one more time after the cool down! So yeah, my issue did not get better at all. Full Results

As one would expect, I had zero energy at this point so my plan for a 3.5 mile cool down did not happen. Plus, I ran out of time anyway and would have missed the awards. I managed a VERY slow 1 mile cool down with Chill. Once again, my Rhode Island team (since I have to specify which team I'm running with for each race haha), WTAC, won the team awards again for both men and women. We got to split a case of Foolproof. Not many people took beer from it so I ended up with 6 from the women's case, and I think Jonny ended up with the same from the men's. It was kind of sad to see the Series come to an end since I really like these races and the people, but I'm planning to be back again next year. Final Series Standings

Since I was a bad mom the weekend before, I decided to be better this weekend and just head for home after the race. I would say a good mom, but I think I was demoted to just "better" for making him run the kids race. Haha. We got invited to go with the WTAC group to the Charlestown Rathskellar, but I knew that if I just stopped in quickly, we wouldn't leave for 2-3 hours. We made a stop at Starbucks for drinks and then drove straight home.

Out cold with his drink in his hand
I was actually really happy to be home by 4:30pm since it was so beautiful out! I had time to take the dogs on a walk. I made an attempt at Heavenly Hill with them, but it was just too much soft snow so I turned around. Still enjoyed having the daylight to get out there after the long drive.

Still winter in that part of my yard

Spring by my house
I was spent early. I did open up one of the beers that Beth brought me. She was way too generous!

Duck-Rabbit is one of my faves!
So like I said, it was pretty much a good week other than the obvious issues. With spring starting to unfold, I'm feeling a little bit better in general. Winters up here are starting to get to me, I think. I'm just not enjoying them like I used to. But I can now look forward to some mountain running and kayaking soon. And maybe I will eventually be healthy again. I feel like my body is so worn down that it's weakened my immune system. The phlegmy cough I had on Sunday turned into a full on head cold yesterday. My hamstring tendons are still destroyed from the snowshoe race, too, so I'm not going into the Frank Nealon Boston Tune-Up 15K this coming weekend with much optimism. I thought I would be up until now, 3 days before the race. Ugh. I thought 2017 was going to be my shitty year, but I really think it's going to be this one unless I can turn it around in May. The ebbs and flows of running. Just have to accept it and keep trying.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

2018 New Bedford Half Marathon- USATF-NE GP #1

My friend and teammate, Regina Loiacano, at the start of New Bedford.
Yet another week with another terrible race, but this time, I wasn't upset about it. Even though I ran it slower than last year, I realized at mile 2 that my effort wasn't even close to the pace I was running so I had 11.1 miles to get used to the idea and accept it. Haha. But seriously, I had no issues with this one. I came in with a very low goal (that I didn't even come close to haha) and really no expectations. It was my first longer road race in a REALLY long time (other than that 50K, but that was slow) so I'm looking at it as hopefully something I will improve upon. If not, well, then you'll get to look forward to MANY more whining posts about how much I suck. Haha.

Yep. Still going to talk about my intestinal problem. Haha. So it did NOT get better like I thought. In fact, it got much worse...until race day. Honestly, a huge sigh of relief there. I've never had to stop mid-race to use the bathroom, and I certainly didn't want New Bedford to be the first time. Haha. Seriously, for over 3 weeks I was in the bathroom no less than 7 times a day. More often it was 10. Sooo yeahhhh. Yikes. I didn't let on just how bad it was, but it has been BAD. I don't know how I got through Belleville or the snowshoe race either since I didn't make it through a single regular run in those 3 weeks without having to stop AT LEAST once. I was so nervous about going into NB with this, but I remembered on Saturday that I had eaten some Paleo banana bread I bought at the Local Grocer pre-snowshoe race. I didn't have issues during or after the race (I was in the bathroom 6 times pre-race, though, so who knows if it was that I had nothing left. Haha. TMI). So I decided to make some of my own. I have no idea if that helped or not, but I made it through New Bedford with only stomach sloshing and a lot of gurgling from mile 3 on but nothing more. And now one day later, I feel like it's turned a corner. But I just have to wait and see. It would be really nice to have my energy back and not be constantly dehydrated for the next two weeks before the GP race #2. I just wrote WAYYYY more about this than I planned on, but whatever, it's been a big deal the last 3 weeks. Haha.

So onto the week's running. An easier week with New Bedford looming in the air but still managed 51.6 miles. 1,936ft of elevation gain. No long runs and no workouts. Just mostly easy running. I think I'm becoming a challenge for my friend who's helping me out since I'm such a mess. He should fire me. ;) I always said I couldn't be coached because I would be fired, but I haven't been defiant at least so maybe he'll keep trying to work around all of my problems, my racing addiction and weird schedule. :)

Got an email/letter this week from the United States Snowshoe Association welcoming me to the 2018 US National Snowshoe Team. I purposely left this out in my last post because it's honestly not something I'm "proud" of at all. I only made the team because I'm a master. The top 3 masters make the team, as well as the top 5 overall...so that makes me 8th, aka last on the team. Whoop-di-do. My race sucked. I still don't even want my 3rd place masters medal. I don't feel deserving of being a part of the National team, but... after getting the letter, I'm thinking maybe I'll appreciate this next year (if I snowshoe race again). Maybe something cool will come out of it. It's not like I can take advantage of racing at Nationals or Worlds in 2019 since there's no funding for that, but maybe it will bring some local opportunity. Until then I'll try not to be such sour grapes about it. But seriously, don't congratulate me on it, please.

Monday, March 12, 2018- My first zero day in a long time. I was wrecked after the snowshoe race. I didn't regret it one bit. I did nothing all day. I didn't even walk. And I was perfectly happy with it.

Oh Mondays at work! I love you so much! So today's fun started first thing when I found someone's patient information from FRIDAY sitting in my truck. Muwahahahaha. The State Temsis report is required to be completed within 24 hours. We were going on maybe 60ish hours at this point. This was actually a good thing. Gave me some leverage to get shit brought up higher up in the company. I didn't know whose it was, but I held onto it all day until I had the fax machine space to myself. Since this is actually my job to work on compliance, billing would have expected me to handle it prior to it entering their hands. If I did that, however, they would never know anything was wrong, so instead, I sent it as anonymous fax to them first so they could document it and then send it back to me. 10 minutes later, I get the email. Haha. So, now, they know about it. My next step was to figure out who it belonged to. Did some digging and it was worse than I thought...heehee. Also a good thing. It belonged to an employee I'd never heard of. I'd never heard of him because his very first day, he was put on a truck without any training whatsoever. VERY FIRST DAY. This was excellent. Once I found that out, I was able to use our improper training of new employees as reason for billing delays. And the main thing the owner cares about? Getting his money. Fortunately, my connection in billing is really cool so I asked for this to be sent higher up in the chain. Hahaha. Well, it worked. On Friday at the company manager's meeting this was a hot topic and now four of us are meeting tomorrow to come up with a new training plan. One of those includes my manager, the one I had to go around to get anything done. I tried and I tried to get through to him, but he refused to do anything about it. (The last time this happened was when I got myself a raise in 2013; I had to go an alternative route to get it.) Not only did I make it clear that we needed trainees to have quality vs quantity training, I also demanded money for those of us training them. It's never been paid. EVER. And when I walked in this morning to yet another brand new person I absolutely refused to do the training. I was done. One of my coworkers walked out the week before because of it. Trainers will now be paid. You're welcome.

So anyway, that wasn't the only shady thing going on today at work, but it wasn't by me this time! I just knew about it. Haha. And really, I wasn't being shady. Neither was the way I got my "raise" in 2013. I tried all proper avenues with both and when those failed, well, I took a different approach. As an EMT here with this company, I'm completely expendable, but now that I work with billing, I've brought Temsis report compliance up to close to 99% for our division. I'm not so expendable anymore since that means more money coming in. The private ambulance service treats its employees pretty terribly across the board. It's not just my company; it's a National problem. It's a constant fight for raises, fair treatment, working equipment, supplies, etc.

So yeah, that was Monday morning. Haha. Only three calls. This would be my last day with Rob, my partner. I was really happy to finally see him get out of that hell hole. He will now be home 7 nights a week for the first time in 28 years. He started as an EMT in Lynn, Mass, worked his way up to a paramedic, all this time working on ambulances. He will finally have a normal schedule and be home with his wife and kids every night. Good for him. My only concern was who was going to be my new partner! Omg. This could be bad until I realized no one would want to work with me. Hahaha. My manager confirmed that they're all afraid of me. Haha. And they should be because they know they can't get away with not doing their job if they work with me. So now I'm working with my friend, Jen, on Mondays and Jeff on Wednesday. We are some of the very few holdouts here, and people I'm on the same page with. We've all worked together for years. So things will be good...just have to work on getting us raises next. Except I don't think hell is freezing over anytime soon.

For some reason I really loved this because it's so true. 
Tuesday, March 13, 2018- Dreaded looking out the window when I woke up at work. The next Nor'easter had been expected to start just after midnight. When I looked outside, I was like, "Huh?" No snow had fallen at all!! Omg. This was awesome! So I looked it up and saw it had stalled, but I only until right around 9am for it to start. EEK! If I hurried, I could get a run in outside!

This is what it looked like 10 minutes before I left work. Haha.
I hurried home, changed clothes and then rushed out the door for an out-and-back through Conway Village and up West Side and Passaconaway. The timing was perfect. Light flurries started in the last 2 miles. I actually felt decent for this. Just as I got home, John's dad was dropping him off so John and Phoenix ran the last .1 miles with me down the driveway. Haha. 10.1 miles total. 1:15:06. 7:23 avg pace.

I assumed that I would be stuck at home the rest of the day, but once I showered and realized it was still only light flurries, I decided to rush to the store and then to vote at the Albany Town Hall. I almost made it before the heavy stuff started, but it got me for the 2 mile drive home from the Town Hall. Haha. That would be the end of my driving until the next morning because the snow got heavier and heavier.

I had two people on back up to plow...so I thought. The first one never showed and as 4:30pm rolled around and 4inches of snow had fallen, I realized I had to shovel after all. It was 4 inches of fluff so it seemed easy at first....until it started falling harder and my snow mounds were so high that I had to lift my push shovel up and over them every time. I had no where else to push snow. It had to go over the top. I was exhausted an hour in. 2.5 hours later, I finished...only to get back down to the house to find 5 more inches of snow had fallen on what I had already shoveled. At that point, I was expecting possible 8-10 inches more. I couldn't do anymore. I was done. My strength was literally at its max. I couldn't lift snow any higher. So I quickly shoveled part of that section again and moved my car to the top of my driveway. Fuck anymore shoveling. I just had to hope I could find a plow for the next day while I was at work. Well, crazy enough, I ended up on the line just above the heaviest snowfall. It only snowed 3 more inches by morning. Wow. Just southeast of us got 24in in some parts. Huge sigh of relief.

This isn't so bad, I thought. haha.

Trying to show how high my snow piles were. 

Almost dark and just finished shoveling. You can't even tell. 
The storm meant ninja class was cancelled so we never went back out. John's school got cancelled for 2 days in a row since it never actually stopped snowing until Wednesday night.

Danced with Phoenix in the kitchen. Cabin fever. Haha.
More cabin fever. Haha. 
The song I was dancing with Phoenix to:

Wednesday, March 14, 2018- 4 slow miles on the treadmill before work. 31:27. 7:52 avg pace. Very quiet day at work with only one fire alarm for the whole 24 hours. Like I said before, it snowed all day long. It was light, though, so most of it didn't stick. I was really happy to hear from my backup plow guy who plowed my driveway today. Yay! He isn't just a plow guy, though. He's my friend and former partner at work, Sol, who was doing me a favor less than a week before going in for major surgery and treatment for cancer. Sol is in recovery from this major surgery as I write this! About 2.5 months ago, Sol had an emergency appendectomy. During what would have been a routine procedure, cancer was found in his appendix. I'd never heard of such a thing until now, and it turns out it's extremely rare and most often considered fatal. Amazingly, Maine Medical Center is one of about 100 hospitals in the US who was able to offer him the HIPEC procedure. Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy. This is a great story that explains it well: One Man's Desperate Quest for a Brutal Surgery. Sol's wife is keeping us updated throughout the day and it looks like the procedure went as planned which I'm really happy to hear. He's one of the kindest people I know here. In fact, I've always suspected he was the one who left me the the anonymous lawnmower. I'm hopeful he has a positive outcome from this.

Funny moment of the day. Receiving this fax from my manager...from the other room. Haha. Our cameras are bogus. Haha.

Thursday, March 15, 2018- I would normally have left work at 7am but after Tuesday's snowstorm ruined my plans to run dry trails in Mass for the second week in a row, I ended up staying at work another 10 hours. Jen had called out and the 7a-7p part of the shift still wasn't filled 20 minutes to 7am, so I offered to stay... but only until 5pm. I had to run. Haha. It ended up being a LONG 10 hours since we had zero calls. That meant 34 hours at work and only one fire alarm. Shoot me. I was SO bored by early afternoon. I paced the bay. I did an abs workout. Then finally I was able to go home. Yay! Run time!

Rt 16 was really busy so I decided to veer off my original plan to run into Conway Village and run up Bald Hill Rd. I'm always super stiff after working a 34 hour shift and this was no exception. Plus Bald Hill is a huge ass climb. Haha. So this run was slow. 6.6 miles in 54:44. 610ft of elevation gain. Felt good to get out and run after such a long shift.

Friday, March 16, 2018- I didn't sleep in since I had to get John up to his van stop for school. He had skiing that afternoon with his school so he can't carry all of that stuff through the woods. After I drove him up, I procrastinated awhile at the house and then drove over to Maine for another run on Haley Town Rd. Same run as last time. 8.1 miles in 1:01:24. 7:34 avg pace. Pretty easy pace for that run. The weather was beautiful and the road was quiet. Just like I like it.

Got my nails done after my run and then went home to pick up Phoenix for a walk on the Conway Rec Path. Such a gorgeous day for it. 2 miles total. Then it was off to Cranmore to pick up John. It was the last day of skiing for the season for him. Boo. I know he's going to miss it. Being the goofball he is, he decided to wear a costume for the last day.

Our walk along the Saco River

John's crazy costume haha
We didn't do much else that night. I got in an upper body and abs workout, but that was it.

Saturday, March 17, 2018- Another beautiful day...looking out from inside my warm house. Haha. Very beautiful out, but it was very cold. I waited a bit before I went for a run, but it was still really cold. I planned an out and back from home to somewhere on the Kanc, but when I passed the Albany Town Forest off the Kanc, I decided to make a mid-run change. I was wearing completely the wrong shoes to run on the snow. Brooks Pureflow 6. But I was able to run no problem, just a little slow. It was such a good decision. I've been missing the trails so much! 6 miles total. 51:50. 8:35 avg pace.

I let John do what he wanted for most of the day since it's our compromise when I drag him to races one day of the weekend. I did make him get out for about 1.5 miles back at the Albany Town Forest. He still needed some exercise, as well as the dogs.

Our walk

Looking back I should have rested more than I did today, but I decided to bake that paleo bread and then make dinner. I also got a fire going in the woodstove since it was so cold out. It saves on oil and actually makes the house warmer. I'm just so lazy when it comes to making fires. Haha. John joined Chill by the fire for a little bit. I'm not sure Chill was thrilled about this. Haha.

The ugly couch

I got everything packed for New Bedford then went to bed at a decent hour.

Sunday, March 18, 2018- This would be the first time that I'd driven all the way down from home the morning of this race. 3hours15minutes. Not horrible, but it was probably a little much before a half marathon. I always get there early since it can sometimes be a bit hectic. I planned to be there at 9am, but we got there at 8:45am. Haha. I was able to snag a parking place in the YMCA lot which made me feel better about leaving John in the car. He had the option of hanging out in the gym, but he was comfortable in the car with the dogs and 5 books that he brought. Haha. It was really nice not braving the crowd in the gym and then having some time to relax before my warmup. The drive is a bit tiring on my right leg since I don't have cruise control so I rested it for about 20 minutes before getting antsy and going out for a 2-mile run. First, I took both dogs out and told off the guy parked behind me who was giving me shit for leaving my dogs in the car. It was in the mid-20s, not the middle of summer. They were perfectly fine. Ugh. I started my 2 mile warm up but ran into E-J Hrynowski so I just walked a bit with him chatting. We talked to a local police officer doing a detail who had run his first half marathon here last year. Haha. Poor guy. He said it was so awful that he'll never do it again. Unfortunate to have last year's New Bedford as your first half.

I actually felt good on the 2 mile warm up. I had a lot of energy. I was surprised considering how drained I had been for 3 weeks. I thought maybe I would have a good day. My hamstring tendons were still bothering me, though, much like last year so that worried me a bit. Like I said before, I've had this for a year, but since the snowshoe race, they've been hurting more...just like last year. Ugh. I really think snowshoe racing caused it and now irritated it. I figured I could push through it, though. Well, at least I hoped. In the end, they did bother me for the entire race, but I really don't think they were my issue today as far as such a slow time. I know I posted something last year about my hamstring tendon issue, but here is another really good article explaining what I've been going through the last year. I basically should stop running to heal it, but I'm just not smart enough to yet. Haha. Most of it has been just a dull achy pain that hasn't affected me too much even though it's always there. A Pain in the Rear.

I went back to the car a bit to hang out with John then went back out for another mile. 30 minutes to race start when I was once again back out at the car. I dreaded ditching my warm clothes, but it had to be done, and, man, was that wind cold. I actually opted for standing in line for one more bathroom stop inside the gym just so I would stay warm while I waited. It was actually a quick moving line, and I found myself in the starting corral with 10 minutes to spare. I was COLD in there, but as people filed in ahead of me, the wind was blocked and it wasn't so bad. The last 3 years here, I've always lined up at the front in the women's start section, but this time, I didn't want to go out too fast and opted to start farther back. Regina joined me there so I had a pal. Not too many teammates there that I knew or even crossed paths with.

Once we started and I crossed the mat, the running began. I was happy with where I had started since I really didn't have to get around too many people. It was kind of the perfect spot. My pace felt pretty good, but I was a little surprised to see 6:20 on my watch. It felt faster than that. I thought that maybe the headwind was a factor or that maybe I was actually being smart...which isn't likely. Haha. A weird thing happened right at the beginning of mile 2 that I never felt the whole race. A very brief like muscle burning in both quads. It only lasted like 2 seconds, but it was that burning you get when your legs are fatigued. My quads definitely weren't fatigued so I don't really know what that was about, and it didn't happen again, but it kind of made me wonder if things weren't going to go right today. Well, it was confirmed when I saw my 2 mile split. I actually thought for a split second that my watch was broken. It couldn't be right. It just couldn't. I felt like I was running so much faster than 6:46. OMG. Ok. This wasn't going to go well. I knew it then. I had a little glimmer of hope I could pick it up after the hills in miles 3 and 4, but when I hit those hilly miles in 6:53 and 6:51, I knew any picking up of my pace was not going to be the pace I hoped for. So at this point I just accepted it. I really did. It just wasn't going to be my day. Every split was way off of feel. It was what it was. I let it go. I'm not sure why this was so easy for me to be accepting of it when I was blubbering a week ago over the snowshoe race, but it was. Maybe it's because I really don't like this race much. I don't know why. Something about it just doesn't appeal to me. Maybe it's partly the wind. I don't know. But I just stopped caring about how I was doing. I caught myself 3 times daydreaming, totally losing focus. My pace wasn't totally inconsistent, though. I just felt like I was out for a training run in a way even though I couldn't run faster. I just didn't feel like I was in a race.

I have to say that the weather was actually not bad. The start wasn't bad. The middle was actually too warm, but I wasn't about to ditch anything because I knew it would be cold in the wind. We actually had a TAILWIND in a section we've had a headwind for the last two years. But as predicted, we hit the wind at mile 9. I didn't think it was really that bad, but it was very cold. It froze my face pretty quickly. I did get passed here, but not like last year when probably 50 people passed me. I was in what felt like a deadzone. Haha. There really weren't a lot of people around me here. I noticed I was catching up to a Whirlaway woman, and I was wondering who the hell she could be. Just as I caught up, she turned and said, "Hey, Leslie!" It was Lauren Tilton! I had no idea that was her. She was having some issue in her leg that felt like it was going to snap if she pushed any harder so she had slowed way down. This kind of reminded me of 2016 when she passed me in mile 8. Hard to believe that I thought I was having a bad race that day since I would kill for a 1:25 today, but I remember turning to her and saying, "Hey Lauren!" So it was like the opposite this time. I ran with Lauren for through mile 11. I felt badly because she was chatty, and I was struggling a bit here with the frozen face and the wind. I had trouble speaking. Haha. When I saw my mile 11 split, I knew I had to pick up the pace and move ahead so I did. I actually felt good on the hills. The splits for miles 12 and 13 are slower than 11, but I was actually trying a lot harder here than in miles 10 and 11. I even passed a few people. The wind was brutal here, and I couldn't wait to see that KFC. I cringed looking back at my splits for the last miles since they were all over 7 minutes. Pretty sad performance for me really, but whatever. Just as we started the downhill, I caught up with Nakri Dao, one of the men on CMS, and then Apryl Sabadosa came flying by both of us. Nakri picked up the pace and also left me behind. I didn't care. I just wanted to finish. I already knew this was going to be slower than last year, but I really hoped I'd still come in under 1:30, so I did put in a good effort to the finish. When I saw the clock nearing 1:29, I gave it a little extra and crossed with a gun time of 1:28:59. Haha. Chip time: 1:28:45. Craziness. As soon as I stopped, I wasn't really out of breath. So strange. It was as if I HADN'T given 100% effort, but I had. So I don't know why I felt that way. Normally, I can't breathe or talk, but I was back to normal within seconds. Full Results

Mile 13. Photo by Kim Gordon

Photo by Kim Gordon
I was met at the finish by Regina and my Whirlaway friends. We only talked briefly before they headed off to cool down. I walked a bit with Todd Brown before running back to the car. I had planned not to do a cool down since I didn't want to make John wait longer in the car. I had packed a bag with my post race stuff so I just grabbed that and went into the gym to change. It's so much easier to change in there than in the tight space in my car.

John in the car with the "abused" dogs that I left in the car. Haha.
As soon as John was ready, we walked up to the Pour Farm Tavern to meet up with the Tuesday Night Turtles for drinks and food. The place was packed, but as soon as the table next to us opened up, I jumped on it. John opted not bring his phone and just his books so he pretty much read most of the time. I'll admit that I did make him stay too long there; I was definitely a bad mother when we hit the 4th hour. He actually got pretty mad at me because we weren't going to get home in time for him to play video games with his friends. I didn't really feel bad about that part since he got to play with them most of Friday night and almost all of Saturday, but I did feel pretty bad afterwards that I made him stay so long. Just got caught up in a good time, and I don't have those often. It's a struggle trying not to be selfish in those moments when I know I need to have some fun sometimes, but I did feel guilty still, especially the next day when I could really think it through. I actually ended up getting pretty mad at John when we left New Bedford because he took both of my hats off my head and then hit me in the head since he was so angry at me. It ended up not being good. And it's totally my fault for staying so long, for being selfish. I feel like I give him SO much time to do what he wants, and all I really ask for is a day to go to races, but then I push it a bit much sometimes. I'm just winging it here really. I don't live a normal life; I'm just doing the best I can to make everything be right for us. Hopefully, I can do better in making sure we're both happy. Fortunately, we were both happy for most of our time at Pour Farm. It was a good time overall.

He actually WASN'T mad when I took this. Just pretending to be. 

Accidental selfie that I found on my phone the next day. haha.
A photo by Scott Mason...with some editing.