Since my last post life has been good and also the usual crazy! I have found regularity in my training again and have adjusted to my work schedule. I am starting to run with friends after work and learning new areas in Wolfboro.
I had registered for the Middlesex Fells 40 mile trail race and was trying to get into shape to break 8 hours. This race has been a very wacky part of my life. The first time I registered I showed up on crutches to volunteer because I broke my pubic bone. The second time I registered I was two minutes shy of breaking 8 hours. Hellbent on breaking 8 hours I trained hard for the race last year only to fracture my skull and get a concussion about a week prior to the race and had to sit it out. This year I had been in an emotional and physical funk but decided no matter what I would give it my best and see if I could break the stout cut-off this race has. My peak mileage was only 60 miles and most weeks were 35-42 miles a week and I was only cleared to start training again in mid-October. I had no clue as to how it would go but with my new attitude and goals with my running/racing I didn’t care. I was going to run with a smile, just like I did when I first started racing.
Ryan and I have been having fun with the girls and we had quite the wild Thanksgiving! I got up around 4am Wednesday morning to bake pies and then went to work. It started snowing and Ryan had to go from his FedEx job right to his snow plowing job and Ryans dad and dad’s girlfriend were bringing the kids over for Thanksgiving. I got home that evening and made dinner and baked the rest of the baked items for Thanksgiving. The storm was getting crazy and the power would come and go. I called Ryan and he was able to pick up a small generator that would run the pellet stove. He had it in his truck and would bring it home when he was done plowing.
We lost power around midnight and Ryan was able to come home for two hours to sleep and drop off the generator while the storm went crazy. He got up and left to go back to plowing. I got the generator assembled and ready to go and then realized we didn’t have any gas or oil for it. Our driveway was an absolute nightmare and the snowblower was broken. The gas stations were not open until 6am so I fixed the snowblower, cleared the driveway and shoveled. I drove down our class VI road, driving over down trees and some wires. Luckily my car is like a tank in the snow and I got to the gas station and waited in line for gas and a huge cup of coffee. It was fun shooting the shit with the plow guys as we chugged our coffees and filled our gas cans as we were treated to an amazing post storm sunrise!
I got home and the house was now 49 degrees. I got that generator going and cranked the pellet stove. Luckily we own a grill and we have a gas stovetop. Ryan called to check on me an suggested I cook the turkey on the grill, what a fabulous idea! I got the meal going on the grill and the stovetop and smiled. Years ago my parents taught me how to take care of myself. My dad taught me how to work on engines, fix cars, fix houses, do plumbing, electrical, etc. My mom taught me how to be a nice and caring person and to be strong. Even though they were in CT on Thanksgiving I had to call them and thank them for teaching me how to take care of myself. It felt good to be able to provide for my inlaws and step daughters and for Ryan to feel comfortable at work without having to worry about his family. My parents always told me that I shouldn’t need a man in my life, I should want one.
Ryan made it home in time to carve the turkey and enjoy dinner together as a family! That meal never tasted so good and turkeys on the grill are so yummy! We enjoyed time together and then Ryans family went home. We put the dirty dishes in tupperware bins and settled in for an early night without power.
Saturday we had the kids again and we still didn’t have power but made the best of it. On Sunday, still no power but we did get a Christmas tree! We wanted a 6 footer and somehow ended up with an 11 foot tree! Luckily we have cathedral ceilings! It was a bear to get it in and up but the tree was beautiful!
We then went sledding with the kids and Hannah managed to get stuck knee deep in a pile of cow manure. Ryan had to rescue her and pull her boots out of the poop. At the end of the debacle the four of us were covered in cow poop and Jack puppy was eating it. We decided to carry on and go sledding, maybe the snow would wash off some of the poo.
We came home and finally on Sunday got power back! We were so thrilled and made sure everyone got showered after the cow poop sledding adventure!
The next week was restful. I had bronchitis and was on medication for several days and the prednisone part was tough. It made me feel sick, cranky and I was unable to sleep. I was on four medications and an inhaler but after a week I felt better and was thrilled because I could now race the Fells!
I went to the festival of trees gala preview with the office on Thursday and it was a really nice time! It was fun to get dressed up too! I took an easy rest day Friday and then woke up super early to go to the Fells race on Saturday. Ryan had to go into snowplow around 1am and would not be able to make the race and I was so sad. I almost didn’t go because I felt bad and when I saw what a disaster the roads were I almost turned back but instead kept driving. I made it to the race 20 minutes before the start and was so happy to see friends there smiling.
Jack puppy joined me and my friend Carolyn had offered to get him out while I was racing. That little dog is just way too cute! We started the race in 34 degrees and slight drizzle. The forecast was ugly but it was going to be fun! Seriously, New Englanders are tough. There were a bunch of people standing at the start, smiling and ready to run! We don’t care about cold, rain, sleet, snow, mud, rocks, hills and roots! Suddenly we were off!
I chose my favorite direction on the course and a couple of guys followed me. We chatted for a while before separating. I spent most of the first two loops solo. It was wet, cold and slick. Sometimes it rained. I was having a blast and feeling really good and steady! I had no idea if I would even be able to finish but I kept on going ahead with a smile! Everytime I saw someone on the course they would be smiling too! It was so much fun!
Lap two I took two diggers and was a bit bloodied up. I almost passed out when I saw blood dripping down my hand. I was really out of practice on the trails and the skyline loop is extremely rugged! I just kept tripping on roots and rocks! Traction was not in issue because I had on my La Sportiva Bushido’s, my favorite shoe for slick places!
On lap 3 I ran with Dima and took a couple more diggers, one was so bad it took my breath away. I wailed my arms, hip and knees on the rocks in a rock garden. I thought I broke my arm. I looked at my arm and it looked like a golfball where I hit the rock. I almost passed out and Dima told me not to look and to keep going. I smiled and carried on in pain. We had fun running together! I was in pain and tried to drop at mile 24 and nobody let me drop so I went back out for more madness! At that moment I knew I would finish.
On lap 4 I was solo again as Dima went in a different direction. My knees started hurting from the fall and I could no longer descend well. I was losing time and motivation. I was really lonely and wanted some company. It was a struggle but seeing a smiling face every so often on the trail kept me going. I thought about why I run and reminded myself that I am tough, I could do this and that I would finish for Ryan. He trained so hard for the race and was not able to go. Then I saw Carolyn with Jack puppy! They were pacing Danielle and I gave my pup a smooch and smiled. I ran the rest of the loop happy.
To my surprise my friend Tony showed up to pace me for my last loop! I was in desperate need of a pacer, I lost about 13 minutes on loop 4 and had 1 hour 56 minutes to break 8 hours when I rolled into the aid station. I grabbed food and told Tony to get me back in under hours. We took off and having company was like having a second wind! I felt like shit, every muscle ached, every bruise throbbed and every scrape burned from the rain and sweat. My breathing was erratic and I was totally exhausted but somehow I kept going.
I was steady, didn’t fall and had fun conversations with Tony that distracted me from how I was feeling. I was so out of it and so tired but just wanted to finish strong. When I got on top of the hill with the tower Tony said there should be a bell to ring. I started laughing told him I needed a punching bag to punch when I got to the top! My legs were SCREAMING at me and somehow I was laughing! Once we hit the dog park I knew we were home free.
I had to stop and tie my shoelace twice and then once we got on the last descent I picked up the pace. I saw a guy coming from the other direction and told him I was racing him to the finish! It was hilarious! We were sprinting each other and he out kicked me by 14 seconds!!!! We hugged after and laughed at how it was a great race! I was thrilled! As I began cramping violently I smiled knowing I just PR’d by 20 minutes! I finished in 7:42 and was beyond happy! What a way to end the season! I was surrounded by friends and smiles. Carolyn made sure I didn’t forget to put dry clothes on and after some puppy kisses from Jacko I hung out for a while to enjoy chatting with friends. We laughed about the weather and that crazy race I love so much. Ryan called and congratulated me on my PR, I felt so sad he wasn’t there.
I have a lot of people to thank for helping me figure out so many things this year. I think changing my racing and running goals to solely being having fun and great experiences is going to be good for me. This also means lower profile races and being a bit mysterious with where and when I will be racing. Life is too short to not be having fun and I never want my running to feel like a job. Running needs to be a way to keep my soul smiling! Oh, and a way to stay fit enough to tag those US highpoints! I am still always looking for running partners so please email me! email@example.com
Happiness comes first and sometimes you really have to be honest with yourself and what makes you happy. I am so thankful that I seemed to have found my happy place again! :)