Wednesday, February 6, 2019

2019 Cape Elizabeth Mid Winter Classic

Purposely went incognito as a White Mountain Miler
I put off writing anything for this post on Monday because I was SO upset about how the Mid Winter Classic 10-mile race went on Sunday. So I waited until I'd calmed down a bit to write this. I don't know how I can really be upset, though. My gut told me not to go in the first place, but I didn't listen... AGAIN (i.e. 2017 National Snowshoe Race). I didn't even know I was for sure going to toe the line until the night before, and I still even questioned my decision when my alarm went off that morning. I ultimately decided that since I paid for it and needed the miles, then I should just go do it. Plus, the weather was 100% perfect. What I did wrong was having unattainable expectations. I should have gone into it with only the intention of making it a training run, but I didn't. I went out there trying to race. I could lie and say that yeah, I meant to run my worst 10-mile race since 2010, but I didn't. I tried to race. Ended up finishing 16th female (finished 4th in my two previous Mid Winter Classics). 1:09:48, just barely breaking 7 minutes for my average pace. Full Results

I originally thought racing that distance would be my biggest obstacle since I'm not back in the shape I want to be yet, but that turned out to be a non-issue as far as racing that distance. My biggest struggle was the high hamstring tendons, but also the actual hamstrings. Bilateral, of course! I can't just go small! I literally struggled to run uphill with any kind of speed. I am just physically incapable. This was for sure not a mental thing today. I was shuffling. Almost felt like I was dragging my left leg along, even though I'm sure it wasn't noticeable to anyone else. It was the shorter, slightly steeper hills that I had no power on and struggled the most. I had to go extra hard on the downs and flats just to stay ahead of the game, but it didn't help much. I got passed in droves on the uphills. Like I was standing still. No power and quite the ache. The new thing was the hamstring soreness. I mentioned before that I had never had hamstring issues in my life until after 2016 Manchester City Marathon. Extremely sore hamstring muscles that actually took a month to fully subside, only to have the High Hamstring Tendinopathy show up the first week of  March 2017, basically 4 months later. But since then, I have had ZERO issues with the actual hamstring muscles, only the tendons. Then all of a sudden on Tuesday, a few hours after my run, I noticed significant soreness. And not like DOMS or that kind of soreness from doing something new. Not the "good" soreness. But just like after Manchester City. Like something isn't right soreness. And it went from the top all the way to the back of the knees...which probably means it's tendon related since the tendon insertion as at the back of the knee. But goddamn it. So I was REALLY on the fence about racing 10 miles 5 days later. I should have stayed home. Seriously. Why go through that frustration AGAIN? And I knew it, too.

In the end, the one positive thing you can say about it is that it was actually a good training run. Haha. Sad that I ran those same roads for an actual training long run (17 miles) a few years ago at a faster pace. After running hills yesterday, I realized that I am actually out of shape on the hills. So it was kind of a double whammy. Way too much treadmill running so the only hills I've been doing are super slow on snowmobile trails, and even those have been minimal. It did make me feel better after huffing and puffing up the hills yesterday to know that I can at least improve on that. It will still be slow, but I should be able to improve somewhat.

I'm not going to do a full race report for this one. I felt great at the start, but I already felt the tendons/hamstrings in the first climb in the second mile so I knew this wouldn't go well. I hung in there since it's not super hilly from mile 2 to mile 3.5. I actually felt good, but the hill to mile 4, although short, was steep enough for me to know that I was going to suck the rest of the way. Knowing what was coming, I contemplated dropping at mile 5, which I hit in 34:17. I was actually worried about continuing on and hurting myself since just the few hills we had had so far were causing me a lot of trouble. But I chose not to because it would have taken awhile to get a ride, and I knew I was capable of running 5 more miles, even if it was much slower. I'll be honest that I was actually surprised to only run the second half 1:14 slower. That wasn't that bad considering how much worse I felt with each hill. I really did the best I could. I gave every bit of effort I had so I can say I didn't give up. But it was so defeating to be passed like I was. As each woman passed me, I stared at their ease of running and good form and felt some jealousy because I don't really remember what it's like to feel like that when I run. I'm glad I kept going since I really did need the training. I was super pissed off when I finished, though. You can kind of see it in my face. It was right when I saw the clock and realized I was barely going to break 1:10.

I grabbed water then jogged back to the car which I had parked close to the finish so John could stay in it. I uploaded my run to Strava just so I could see total mileage for the week. My goal was 50 miles, and I really didn't want to do a cool down. 50.1. Excellent. I was done running for the day. I woke John up and then took Phoenix out. It was around 30 degrees and so warm in the sun by this point. It felt great. John and I went in for food and awards. A text from the race timers said I was 3rd in my age group so I decided to stay for awards. I was happy to have John there with me. My little (not much longer!) companion. Without him, I'd be completely alone. We ate our food and then waited forever for my age group to be called. The awards were actually pretty cool. Reflective vests with the race logo. I actually needed a new one so this will be useful for me. I don't know why I was so bundled up, but I wasn't too warm so that's weird. Haha.

We left after that and hit the Holy Donut in Scarborough before heading home. We were both full from post-race food that neither of us ate our donuts until later. Haha.

So you're probably asking why the fuck am I still running. Well, because not running for basically 8 weeks (ran 5 days total in the 8 weeks) did nothing. Not knowing what's going on and being able to still run is just going to keep me running. I've read personal accounts of pain in this area lasting for years with no real issue going on. I love Bob and Brad on YouTube and just watched their video on Tendinopathy vs Ischial Bursitis and came away with a few tips for things to add in. One of them said his wife has been dealing with High Hamstring Tendinopathy for years! So it's not necessarily something I'm going to make worse. I think what I do keep having are flare ups. I've been doing some of the eccentric exercises they recommended already, but there's one using an exercise ball that I'm going to incorporate into my strengthening routine. A tool they recommended is the Pure Wave Percussion Massager to break up the adhesions, so that's one of the things I'm going to buy for myself in the near future. I have a monthly $245 payment I've been paying for almost 2 years (which is why I've been excessively poor!). This is the last month of it so I will be able to make up for the increase in my house payment with that and still have a little left over for other bills and this massager. Just have to get through February. Haha.

So, basically, until I can afford health insurance and an MRI, PT, etc., I'm going to keep running. I think I will have to take mini breaks (like a week) here and there since that seems to help while not losing too much fitness. I'm going to keep working on strength training, as well. Once the Boston Marathon is done, I'm taking myself off-road for most of my training. I know I won't be happy with my road racing results for awhile, but I'm just not willing to take more time off from running if I'm not sure it's going to help at all. This year will not go as planned, but it never does, does it? Haha.

After Sunday's race, I decided to follow through on my original plan to keep my runs private on Strava. I said I was going to do that back in November or December, but I didn't follow through on it. When I found myself worrying about what other people were going to think when they saw my horrible race on there, I realized that it is not healthy for me to keep it in the public eye. I will post my running here, though. If people really want to know how shitty my running is going they can go through the steps to Google it and then spend 10 hours scrolling to find it in my blog. Haha. Slight exaggeration...but only slight. 😅 I love Strava, but I hate trying to keep up with the Jones's. I feel inadequate when I see other people's running and mileage and start comparing myself to them. There was a time when people probably did that with my running, but I'm not in that place anymore, so I need to be careful about getting caught up in the game. I need to just focus on doing what I can do right now. I'm beating myself up every day on my own. I don't need help with it. For me, this loss of running well is so much more since races were my social life. I've mostly lost that since I'm going to keep racing to a minimum for the next few months. So this is not an easy time for me right now.

On a positive note, I'm at least still getting out to the uphill ski race at Shawnee Peak for some bit of social life. These races have basically saved me this winter, and I'm really loving it. This past Thursday was SUPER cold. 5 degrees at the start. But once you get going, you are SO warm. This week, Andrew gave me a different pair of skis. Much lighter and higher end bindings which made a huge difference! My uphill and my transition were so much faster. This week's course went all the way to the summit which meant only one loop. Part of the course wasn't lit which ended up being pretty neat. One section as up through a glades section. Literally had to go by feel to figure out where the cut trail was under my feet. I ended up in a gap by myself for this part so it was neat being in the dark and quiet, and I even took a moment to look up at the stars which were so clear.

The same woman I "beat" the week before showed up at this race, too. I was a little nervous with this just being one loop that she could catch me on the downhill so I went out really hard on the uphill. The last races were less than a mile. This one was 1.3 miles to the top so I definitely felt it as I approached the top. Took me 28:38 to get up there. 1,217ft of gain. My HR hit a max of 171 at some point. I love the cardio workout, as well as going uphill without pain. Haha. Got to the summit in 4th. Two guys caught me at the transition and made it down before me. My transition was a little quicker in 3:08. Just as I started down, the other woman hit the transition. The downhill wasn't too bad. Great conditions with powder but I still skied cautiously and just barely beat her by 30 seconds. Phew. Finished in 37:14. 6th overall. I'm curious to know what her downhill time was because it had to be way faster than mine. She didn't use her own Strava this week, though, and instead attached herself to her friend's activity which shows the wrong time. Oh well. It is nice having someone to race since it seems not many women are out there doing the competitive part of it. I love being competitive so this is at least a good substitute right now for my lack of running races.

We went to the bar after as always for awards and the raffle. I won another baguette and a bag of bagels in the raffle. It was a fun time. Looking forward to tomorrow's race. Hard to believe I will only have two more of these after this since I can't make it to the last week. I'll probably jump in the Schneider Sprint at Cranmore instead that Friday. That will be interesting since it starts with a run through obstacles before putting on your skis and then has jumps on the way down. The jumps scare me, but I might try them. Haha.

Blizzard's Pub

Running for the Week

Like I said, my goal was 50 miles. I hit 50.1. Took a zero on Monday as planned. Roads were just major crap after Tuesday night's snow storm, and it was so much snow that the snowmobile trails were way too soft for running. Ended up on the treadmill more than I wanted. 3 days of the 6 days I ran. It should have been 4 days on the treadmill but I suffered running on snow and icy road one day. Haha.

Monday, 1/28- Planned zero day. After racing on the track the day before, I felt like resting my legs would be a good idea. I wasn't wrong. I actually felt ok through half of Tuesday.

Tuesday, 1/29- I decided to drive down to Corridor 15 in Tamworth off Gilman Valley Rd for a run on the snowmobile trail. It had been groomed the day before and hardly a sled had gone through. Nearly perfect conditions along the hard packed edges of the trail. This is something I used to snowshoe rather than used microspikes because snowshoes still had better traction, but since I can't snowshoe run indefinitely, I had to go with spikes. I really enjoyed this run. Ran out and back for 10 miles total. 1:37:50. 1,540ft of elevation gain. Hoped that Bale Mt would have been packed out with snowshoes, but only one bare-booted postholing asshole had been on it so I passed it by to continue on another mile before turning around.

Wednesday, 1/30- Like I mentioned, my hamstrings became super sore by Tuesday afternoon so I was lucky to even get a run in at all this morning on the treadmill before work. 3 miles in 22:22. 7:27 avg pace.

Thursday, 1/31- Tuesday night's storm dumped about 10 inches of powder, but I stupidly thought that by Thursday Corridor 19 would be well packed from grooming on Wednesday. I was SO wrong. I walked out to the trail to find that snowmobiles had gone through, but it was soft powder. Made an effort to run for half a mile before turning around. I could barely run in that. Wasn't worth it. So one failed mile there that took me 12:29. Haha. Total waste of effort.

I had parked off Hemlock and was about to just drive home to the treadmill, but it was such a nice day out that I really wanted to run outside. So I decided to drive across North-South Rd to Settler's Green to see how their loop road looked. I drove around once. It looked like maybe half of it was covered in snow and ice. Thought maybe I'd just do two loops to shorten my treadmill time. I had planned 10 miles for the day, but after all of this, I bumped it down to 8 miles and planned 10 for Friday instead.

I parked my car then started out on the loop. I remembered it was less than a mile, but I didn't know how much so after the first loop came out to .8 miles, I decided to add in MacMillan Ln for a .2 mile out and back on the second loop. I realized running that it was actually way more snow/ice covered than I thought, so about 3/4 of each loop. So it was slow, but not too bad since it only had one short hill per loop. Adding in MacMillan for the second loop had my GPS hit 2 miles on the dot as I came around. Perfect. As painfully boring as the loops were I still decided I could do 6 of them to come out to 7 miles. The GPS had other plans and decided to keep losing distance with every loop so by the time I got to the end of the 6th loop, I still .4 miles to go to hit 7 on the watch. Grr. I was so over running on this slippery crap but then decided to run through the worst conditions like a dummy in the parking lot which was covered in thick, soft snow to make 7 miles. I was so over this run. 59:59 for time. 8:08 avg pace. Based on my avg HR of 154bpm, though, it's obvious I was putting a lot more effort than what it appears like on paper.

Frustrating run day, but I still got it done.

Friday, 2/1- Checked all the snowmobile clubs' sites to find no updated conditions info except for the Scrub Oak Scramblers who said they still had a lot of work to do to get the trails in good condition so I didn't even bother trying a run on a trail. The roads were complete crap. And not just the shoulders, but now ice was creeping all the way into the roads. Seriously not worth it so it was back to the treadmill for a boring 10 miles. I ran at a slower pace today since I had the potential race on Sunday and didn't want to overdo it, but I honestly don't think I would have run faster than that anyway. Hamstrings were super sore. 1:16:24. 7:38 avg pace. Watched 2.5 episodes of Homecoming on Amazon Prime.

Saturday, 2/2- Still minimal conditions updates for snowmobile trails and still shitty roads so it was back to the treadmill. Fortunately, I only had 6 miles to do today. Ran this very easy on purpose. 47:33. 7:55 avg pace. Hamstring soreness was actually a little better so I was hoping it would be gone when I woke up on Sunday morning. It wasn't.

Sunday, 2/3- I've already been over that disaster, but here's the mileage breakdown. 2 mile early warm up at what should have felt like an easy 8:17 avg pace, but I struggled up the one hill. Ran another .7 miles before the start. I was dressed for racing so it was too cold to stand around on the start line. 10 miles for the race. .1 miles to the car from the finish. 12.8 miles for the day.

Workouts for the Week

Well, I've decided that I really like LIIFT4 so I'm going to stick with it. I can do it at work which is a huge plus. It's only a 4 day a week program, but I'm going to only do 3 days of the upper body work. Starting this coming week, I'm going to be doing Chris Dunn's leg workout as I mentioned in the last post.

I like the simplicity of these workouts and every one of them is different. You don't repeat a single workout. We only have 10lb dumbbells here at work so I'm bringing in my a set of 20s as well. Kind of a pain, but definitely worth it if I can do 2 of these workouts at work when I have so much down time anyway. Some workouts do contain a HIT component which I was going to skip, but I actually like them so I've decided to do those as well. There is some core work, but it's so seriously easy that I did add in Ab Attack from Insanity one day and tried P90X3's X3 Ab Ripper. This was not what I expected since Ab Ripper X used to be really hard. Nope, this was way too easy. Other than that I just did the core work that came with LIIFT4. I plan to add in more Ab Attack's next week.

So for Week 1, I did Chest/Triceps on Monday, Back/Biceps on Wednesday and Shoulders on Friday. Workouts are 30-40 minutes long. Looking forward to adding in the leg workout.

I kept up with 3 days of glute work. 10 minutes each. 4 separate exercises. 320 reps. 160 full range of motion and 160 pulsing. Going to add in that one other strength training workout from the PT guys, but I'll have to do that one at home. Not bringing my exercise ball into work, too.


Monday, 1/28- 30 minutes of circles and stairs in the ambulance bay.

Tuesday, 1/29- Kicked myself for not bringing my backcountry skis for this walk along the Flat Mt Pond/Snowmobile Trail. Conditions were absolutely perfect for it. Just walked 2.3 miles with the dogs instead. Didn't see a soul.

I took a foliage photo from this trail in October. I tried to recreate it for a winter shot. Not at the exact angle, but pretty close. Crazy the difference.

Tried to get a jump on shoveling Tuesday night, but unfortunately, only about 3 inches had fallen by 10pm so I didn't shovel much. Still took me 1.5 hours. Another 7 inches fell overnight. I had to go to work the next morning so the driveway wouldn't get cleared until Thursday. I really hoped Bryan would do it, but I think he saw how difficult it would be with the snow banks already too high to pick up the snow over them. Hell froze over and he told John to tell me (since he can't be an adult and tell me directly) that he would pay for the plow! I couldn't believe it. Unfortunately, I never hired anyone else so I had to have the same guy do it. He actually did the best he could this time. There was just way too much snow and nowhere to put it. He did NOT plow in my garage, but he could not plow it out. Same reason. Too much snow. So I still had to shovel that out, but it made sense this time. That plowing literally saved me 4-5 hours of shoveling Thursday morning. So worth it.

Wednesday, 1/30- 30 minute ambulance bay walk again.

Thursday, 1/31- It was so cold, and the deep snow made Phoenix absolutely frozen so the only walks we did were just to use the bathroom.

Friday, 2/1- Another frigid day so I only took the dogs out to use the bathroom. I got myself out to skate ski at Whitaker Woods, though. I finally got to ski on good conditions! Yay! The only problem was the grooming. For some reason, the groomer left a frozen hump right in middle the skate trail on part of it and then a huge mound of snow on the side making 1/4 of the already narrow skate trail unusable on another part. Not really sure what that was about, but hopefully that doesn't keep happening. It was still nice, though, even though I definitely suck at this. Haha. Took me an hour to go 4.1 miles.

The hump in the trail is there, but you can't see it in the photo with the shadows. 
Saturday, 2/2- Took John and the dogs on a very short 1 mile walk, but it was snowshoeing and breaking trail in deep powder along the Pillar to Pond Trail in the Green Hills so it ended up taking almost an hour. I wanted to go longer, but I was kind of feeling the hamstrings so I cut it a bit short and headed back via Muffler which was somewhat broken out already.

Phoenix prints


John ate the snowball

Snowball in mouth

Temps rose a bit by Saturday so the thaw began.
Sunday, 2/3- Only took a very short walk in the Albany Town Forest with the dogs when we got back from the race. The trail was perfectly packed so we didn't need snowshoes. Immediately ran into 5 people decked out with snowshoes, poles, packs and who looked like they were on their way up Mt Washington. Haha. They had a dog so I picked up Phoenix and had John hold Chill just in case their dog was a male dog so they were under control. One guy passed us, and I briefly said hi then looked up to see the other people who had tried to step off the trail seemingly very agitated. Their dog was on a leash, but it had pulled a guy so that he fell and was lying in the trail unable to get up because of the snowshoes. He was frustrated and asked us to go on by so we walked through the snow with the dogs. The other people were all in a panic. Their dog was a male so Chill growled at it, but John had him restrained so we just kept on moving. Very odd moment, but whatever. We did our out and back to find them still in the parking lot. They saw us coming and got into their car giving us dirty looks. It was very strange. Not sure what we did wrong since it wasn't our fault the guy fell and we moved on by as he asked. I have a feeling these people don't get outdoors much in the winter.

Random Stuff/Photos

When I saw Trillium Brewing had made a beer for Minot Light I had to get my hands on some. It was only a limited release they expected to sell out in a matter of days. There was only one person I could ask who would have no problem driving up to the brewery ASAP to get me a 4-pack. Steve Brightman to the rescue! And not to leave out Jennifer Brightman either. They both made the trip for me. Steve gave me the cans at the track meet so I couldn't wait to try it. That was some damn good beer. Tastes like most Trillium DIPAs, but I don't think I have had one I didn't like.

So why the obsession with Minot Light off the coast of Minot (Scituate), MA? Well, that was where Bryan and I lived in 2000 and 2001. We used to kayak through the marsh to Cohassett Harbor and around Minot then out to the lighthouse and back to the beach. We had a group of friends there we spent so much time with out on Bar Rock. It was where we lived when we got Coy, and it was where we lived when 9/11 happened. It just holds a special place in my heart. Bryan loved it there, too, so I had John give him one of the beers on Monday night since I thought he would really like that. But no acknowledgement whatsoever. Not that I need acknowledgement since that isn't why I shared one with him, but just shows what kind of person he is.

Took a photo of the can with my other Minot Light things I have in the house. We found that painting at the Scituate dump in the take-it-or-leave-it area in 2001. 

Temps below zero on Tuesday night so I got a really good fire going. So warm and cozy down there.
Laura, who picks up John for school sent these photos she took of him walking to the "bus" stop on Wednesday morning. He's actually wearing snowshoes, but the snow is so deep you can't see them. When he's 70, he'll be saying, "When I was your age, I had to walk to the bus stop through deep snow in snowshoes!" Haha. But, seriously, how New Hampshire is this?!

I usually pack down his trail with the big snowshoes, but it took me 15 minutes to dig out my car at the end of the driveway that morning to get to work so I ran out of time to get to his trail.

Took some photos of all the snow on Thursday. There's another double pic in there showing Spot's grave without snow and what it looked like on Thursday. Craziness.

After I picked John up from Cranmore on Friday, he literally stayed outside for over an hour playing in the snow after we got home. I kept checking on him and would find him either playing with Chill or just sitting there in a huge snow pile. It was cool to see him out doing that instead coming right in to play video games. I'm not sure how much Chill liked being buried in the snow, though. Haha.

And time for dog photo overload!!

Chill got the ball but then couldn't get out. I took photos of him trying. Haha

He's so scruffy. Not sure why.

I can't believe it, but we finally finished off the gallon of Running Saps Maple Syrup that I won at the Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race in 2015. Good thing I still have 1.5 gallons left of it, but I didn't actually open one of them. Instead, I opened the half gallon bottle I won at Ascutney in 2017. Haha. So I have YEARS until I run out of maple syrup. Funny, I actually had another Running Saps half gallon that I gave to Bryan last year when he asked if he could buy it off of me. I should have taken the money for it instead of being nice. Haha.

Not a super great week, but not bad. I'm happy I got to 50 miles finally on my 7th week back running, but not sure the journey to get there was ideal. The weekend was a little dull and lonely as usual. I did watch the Super Bowl. I went to an awesome party that I was able to walk to... my couch. I paid more attention to the commercials and the half time show. I'm sorry, but I thought the show was fun and entertaining, and I certainly didn't mind Adam Levine losing his shirt. Haha. I don't get the criticism of the show. I liked it. What I didn't like were the Verizon First Responders commercials. Something about those really rubbed me the wrong way. Glorifying this job when so much of isn't good. And Verizon using these people as marketing tools when this entire field, in general, barely makes a livable wage. I don't know. I can't even pinpoint it exactly, but they bothered me. The stories themselves are great, but to use these people to bring a tear to the eyes of people who don't get the job just didn't sit right. 


  1. Enjoyed the read. The grind. We choose to see it through to the end. Amongst all the other things in life we have to do as regular folk, that grind (running and the things we add to it as we age) is always there.

    50 a week. I kind of settled with myself a few years ago that was the number I felt like I did something. If I take the dog for 2.5 miles you can bet these days that goes to the total.

    It’s bad here. -20 WC and because I missed yesterday because of ice I have to go out. Your blog motivated me so out I will go and see if I can keep staring at my watch until an acceptable distance is reached. Two zeroes in a week makes getting to 50 difficult when you finally hit the 10-12 minute a mile range.

    I always try and remember that other idiots reside out there who are also tough as nails. This will pay off. I will train through this and apply the running beat down to those I consider my nemesis.

  2. I Really Appreciate The Perspective Photos!! Well Done!! Keep Those Winter Wonderland Photographs Coming.


  3. You do look pissed. I saw the picture before I started reading and thought, oh wow, she needs a hug and then to punch someone. ABC Coal Porter, yum! Sorry the race sucked, but it seems like you have come to terms with it. Get Boston out of the way and enjoy the trails? Strava, ugh... I have a love hate relationship with it.