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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Count down: 8 days....thoughts

First off...here is the link to the charity that from this point on I am connecting to each and every personal adventure and or challenge I make....I have a personal connection...and it is time to give back.

http://www.crowdrise.com/OvarianCancerResearchFundTeam/fundraiser/trailgrrl

I slept OK last night but I feel like I should be putting sleep away like money in the bank : )  I had a great work out with Trooper Dave at the Westboro gym lots of hard work and laughter...he is an awesome training partner as he has no problem taking suggestions from me..some men just get angry and snippy when working out with me..they can't take the fact that I work harder then them...my fav training partners have been Brian and TK as both men were just as focused in the gym as me and I would always learn from them.  I have trained once with Mark but I really liked hitting the gym with him...we trained different body parts but  because Mark is focused and has a real love for training it was just fun to go with him.  I want him to help me with my squats though : ) He has pretty amazing trunks!   Dave, like Roy, is different....he will take suggestions from me and help me with my pull ups and bench and laugh with me and it is just fun.  Dave is my silliest training partner to date even though he worked really hard he just can't help but making jokes : )  Roy is a big guy and he focuses on the big lifts when at the gym, bench, shoulder press, squat, dead lifts and push ups pull ups and crunches..he is going for strength and does not bother with any of the single body part moves.  I love training with other people as each one of them brings something to the plate that I can learn from.
In terms of my training I feel really good about it.  I have peeked at some of the other Death Racers and honestly for a moment I felt like a little pip squeak ; ) there is this gorgeous creature Sophie who could bench me ha ha and Katie wow love the strength that she exudes...these woman are so strong and beautiful...what to me is a true reflection of beauty...strong, confident, muscular..not "skinny fat" they should be on the cover of Glamour and Vogue....so for a moment I had this little niggling hint of self doubt...yep I am strong for my size and I can run forever but there are certain things that may be really big and heavy at the race and I worry will I physically be able to move, carry, drag these things?  Well when I feel this way I take a deeeeeeep breath and say to myself "yep you will...it will take you longer Mish but you will be able to do it".  I know some of the D. Racers have posted their work outs on the Peak facebook site and they seem pretty fricken hardcore! Yet....I have to go into the race day doing what works for me : )  I need to bank on my strengths and not let my weaknesses hold me down...my heart will help me when I have to push or pull or carry heavy things, my legs will keep me moving along at a steady pace..my humor will keep me calm and at peace, my penchant for self depreciating humor will keep me humble and thankful, and my support will keep me fed, warm, dry and will kiss my boo boos ; )

Kevin always reminds me to love myself...hahaha it is funny but I NEED reminding at times...every morning I get a txt from Kev that says "good morning sunshine" and almost every night a txt that says good night in french : ) Dave txts me every morning when he leaves the overnight shift to say good morning and have a good day and txts me good night. Roy sends txts and leaves messages about his day and the farm and Quenton that always make me smile.  Each day I am given little reminders about just how precious life really is and just how lucky I am to be here doing such amazing things and meeting such good people.

Someone once told me that I throw the word "friends" around too much...that men and woman really can't be friends and I have thought long and hard on that point....there are some truths to that statement but then again there really are some exceptions.  I am who I am...at times I have "dated" men and even though it did not work in the long term I liked them so much I wanted to remain connected in some way...I have been accused of NEEDING male attention...and that is why I keep in contact with men from my past....but that is just not the case....those people who really know me know I do not like that kind of attention from men...I am not and never will be a flirt.  If I am in a relationship with a man that person is my only focus and any other men in my life are there because I like to train, work out with, talk with or want to be a shoulder for them to lean on. I do not jump into relationships with men...it takes some time for me to get to know them and trust them I guess it takes a certain kind of man to be in a relationship with me and I have come to realize that I can not change who I am to be in a relationship...I will not pretend to be someone I am not.

I keep connections because I have come to realize just how precious life is and how the connections we make with people is the difference between living a static life and continuing to grow as a person. 

Through the Death Race I have met quite a few amazing men.  Strong men who are committed to their wives and girl friends, family, friends, goals, and who challenege themselves each and every day. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to get to know them, to train with them and come June 24th to race besides, behind and in some cases in front of them.  I have met some of the women racing through facebook and I have seen through their pages and blogs the wide range of commitments and accomplishments they have made...some have sacrificed things and some have experienced hardship.  I continue to be in awe of these athletes and this experience...if you asked me last January would I be doing what I am doing right now...well I can't say I knew in my heart I would be..I hoped my body and soul would heal enough...so today I end with this thought.....that which does not kill us makes us stronger....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thought of the day....

“Well behaved women rarely make history.”



Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, American historian

true that!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monadnock... the biggest little mountain in New Hampshire

It was a good weekend...I am  really excited that my fund drive for Ovarian cancer research has already raised 600 dollars in 2 days!! My mum stayed over and we had such a nice time getting drunk and gabbing about her childhood and mine at 4 Pond Street.  Saturday I got many DR errands done and got in a good workout at the gym.

Sunday I went back to Monadnock to get in another DR training day.  This time I met up with Dennis Lynch another DR guy from Goffstown NH. He will be doing the DR with Jay Defina from Manchester NH (Jay is a most excellent gentleman as well as keeper of the peace).  Based on Jay being close with Dennis I knew I would like Dennis...and let me tell you.... he is the shit.  Dennis has climbed Denali and Rainier
as well as all over the Whites.  He is an ice climber and first responder. He is trying to get a job as a fire fighter.  He is getting married to his gf Jen a nursing student in July.  Dennis also just bought a fixer upper in Goffstown, he is training for the Death Race oh and cherry on the top of the sundae...he adopted a new puppy..oh wait for the sprinkles... he leaves Wednesday to climb Rainier again....and I was worried about over training before the Death Race...I am officially a big wussy...

Dennis had his pack ready to go for our first ascent, but for good measure he threw some huge rocks in it : ) I did the first summit with my weighted vest and smaller pack. We took the steepest route straight to the top and made excellent time...I fell in behind Dennis as he is a far stronger hiker than I am...and I am pretty strong. I have realized a few things in terms of training these past few months.  The first thing is a weighted vest rocks for training..thanks TKLee...I have better cardio and a stronger core and back from wearing it.  Second, hiking with a pack and hitting Monadnock as much as possible has made me and will continue to make me stronger and therefore I think when I return to training for my summer and fall ultras I will be able to knock time off of my 50k and 50m prs.  I was also asked today to pace Sara and Patty at VT100 and my goal is to help get them to a sub 24 hour finish and get them their belts so all of this DR training helps me to help them!!!

The descent down white cross was so slick I had some seriously epic falls right on my face..lol I looked like a dork. I hit the bathroom and went to my car to fill my large pack for the second ascent.  We took a side trail to the white arrow trail that was  steep...we were making excellent time. The pace was WAY faster than any pace I would do for DR and that was actually good...I felt very strong.  My legs are shorter and I had to use more total body at times to move up the rocks when Dennis was able to just step up onto the next rock, so I was pleased hiking with him and really putting in a good workout. We summited and then headed down the white cross trail a final time where I had my worse fall slicing my thumb all around and under the nail..looks pretty yucky today.  At the end of the hike we decided to team up our support crews at DR..Dennis's fiance Jen, Jay's sister, Kev, Julie, Roy, Mark, Dave and other friends I have popping in throughout the weekend will all be set up together so that the three of us will always have someone there when we come in, and it will just be more fun for the support crews : )

Thinking back on the day..it was great...we had an easy convo going for the entire time we hiked...he is a funny dude...I like how he lives his life, and I love how he speaks about Jen...the way a man discusses his girl says a lot about him. The trail was pretty slick. I had some excellent falls...and when all was said and done last night I had pain in my right knee climbing stairs and climbing in and out of my car at Dave's softball game(to get warm) because of one terrific face fall, but that only helps build my mental strength as I WILL get hurt at DR and have to suffer through the pain.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bliss

I know that seems like a strange thing to post about, but it hit me today that I am happy and it has been quite a long time since I truly felt blissful.....

When I first started trail running, before the ultras and Death Race, back when I was focused on just being Stonehead champ...just running as many of the WMAC races http://runwmac.com/ that I could, training with my mentor Nipmuck Dave, when I first met the Tuggers (Kev, Dan, Em, Julie, Streph, Rob, Steve, Stas, Bill H) when I went on my first Blue Hills run with Garry and Kev and met Bob C. Deb and Steve Pero, Bogie and all the Trail Animals crew, when trail running was my muse...I experienced that state of euphoria quite often.

Those friends had my back when I got sick the first time, and again the second time...they were always there even though I turned away from them for a period of time... they always asked Kev about me...always checked in with him as he was the only one to still be in contact with me....I am lucky.  I would not change anything that has happened in the past year as I think I have emerged a stronger person.  I failed at WS but it made me rethink my training methods, I loved living with the Lee family and felt a part of something really special that I feel so blessed to have had in my life but I made some choices that ended up hurting people I cared for, and choices were made that ended up hurting me...it is what it is...I miss them...but there are things in life you just can't have...and accepting that fact is what makes you stronger. I experienced some serious health issues but I dealt with them the best I could. I isolated some people when I got sick again, but I felt I did what I had to do to keep the people I loved from having their lives disrupted. 

I have been really hard on myself the past few months, but yesterday I just realized it was time to forgive myself.

I realized that I had moved to a point where I could look back and not feel regret...ahhhh the thing I hate most, second only to jealousy.  I was able yesterday to say my past is just that..my past...and my future is wide open.  I need to take what I have learned about myself from the past year and use that to make decisions that will bring me back to that state of bliss.  I know what I want and need from a relationship, from my friends and family, from teaching, and from training and competing. 

The Death Race is something I am doing for me.  It is one path back to that state of bliss...it is 2 weeks away.  I am so excited...not so much for the prerace hoopla...in fact that makes me anxious as hell. I am gonna stay low profile as my anxiety may come across as being snobby when in truth I am just kinda shy and uncomfortable with lots of talk and noise and people....What I am excited for is the race itself...for the moment when the group thing they make us do to torture us and make us quit is done with....the moment I get to be on my own ...some where hopefully out on those gorgeous trails in the dark with some stars in the sky...lugging whatever crazy thing they want me to lug..just me challenging me.

I guess this years DR theme is religion.....I am not religious in the traditional sense, but in a way the state of bliss that I am searching for is the closest I get to whatever presence is behind it all...so my bliss..my religion will be experienced on those trails around Amee farm....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Amee Farm weekend Death Race training 3 weeks out and Peak 53 ultra

Spent the weekend on the Peak campus (penned by KZ) and I would not have wanted to be anywhere else. 
Gorgeous weather for a race and training.  Kev and I arrived early and sat our big tushes out on the Grist Mill patio for a few drinks and for Kev a few friend Pickles (ugh).  I was tired from being pretty sick Thursday and Friday so the resting on the porch was good for more than my soul : ) Kev and I also needed to decompress and catch up.  I have been going through some tough shit so far in 2011.. only a few friends people know what is going on...Kev and Julie are two of the few.. so I spent some time talking not always serious as I am not really a doom and gloom kind of gal..just me trying to work through what is going on, how I am going to handle it, and as always busting my own balls cuz that is what I do best....

We left the General Store and checked into the Clear River Inn http://clearriverinnvt.com/cool place with a great dive bar right there.  Clean enough for me as I am not too picky...we dropped off our stuff and headed to the General Store so Kev could get his race number as he was running the Peak Ultra as was Julie and our friend Christine M. We saw Sara P at the store as well she ended up rocking the course as first female and 3rd overall..Christine got 3rd female...cripes those two amaze me.  We saw Andy and I let him know I was on my way to the farm to carry the hay bale to the top...he kind of laughed and said that he did not get any bales delivered yet.  I explained that Kev and I already stopped at the farm and asked one of the workers if he had a hay bale...he walked me over to one that was wet and kind of gross and he said you can take this one.  So I bid Andy adieu and Kev and I went to Amee Farm http://www.ameefarm.com/ .  We saw Julie right off the bat and she walked over the the hay bale with us.  I decided to cover the bale with my roof rack netting to keep its form better.  Kev had two plastic handles and I put them through the twine on the bale and picked it up and onto my shoulders.
I had Kev take a pic and put my camera in my bag so I could take a second pic at the top to show Andy and I was off.  It was about 5:15pm  3 hours later I was running along the road to the General Store to show Andy my pic.  It was not as hard as I thought.  My legs and back are ripped up and have lots of little bites all over them due to bugs (fleas I imagine) in the bale. I hiked with it on my back to the metal bridge...then moved it down to carry it along the front of my legs for about .5 miles but the bites were really annoying. I decided to attach the two plastic handles together making a foot long handle and attached that to the bale and proceeded to drag that sucker up the mountain.  I took the race course or Peak53 course following the pink ribbons then I took the stairs trail to the escalator trail and then jumped back on the pink ribbon course.  There were shorter routes but I was not familiar with them and for the Death race they don"t allow short cuts... It was tough when the netting got stuck on roots and rocks and I would have to stop and go unwrap it.  Otherwise I just moved up the mountain at a pretty even pace...I did not have to stop and rest as my cardio is good. The last section was tough as it was steep and there were lots of rocks at one point I was like parallel pulling the bale but kind of being suspended until I could get my footing : ) 

The worse part of the whole thing was forgetting to put on bug spray at the farm...the mosquitoes had a feast I had some huge honking bites on me...two on my forehead that were somewhat disconcerting ; ) When I got to the top I took the netting off and the clicked a pic.
The run down was gorgeous...I just floated down that trail.  When  got back to the store Andy laughed and asked me to send a pic. He and Kev talked about his swim of the English Channel he was training for and Kev talked up using duck tape for keeping stinging nettles off of him....I just focused my attention of the jar of Swedish fish and begged Kev for some money. I bought myself a yummy little bag of candy and then Kev and I took off for our room to shower, eat and head to the bar.  We had stopped in Whole Foods in Boston before heading to VT  and I had brought a nice prepared salad of chicken and veges which I devoured on the bed while watching the History Channel. We took quick showers or a least I did but I refused to wash my hair as it is a pain in my butt to dry it...I just combed out the bugs and washed the dirt off my body..the scratches, flea and mosquito bites were covered by my jeans but the huge bites on my forehead were not
: ( We went to the bar had a few drinks gabbed and laughed and listened to a dude playing some cool southern acoustic rock...I was happy happy happy....life does not get any better than this...a great workout glass of wine, good music and good company....bliss baby.....

We went back to the room and pretty much I fell asleep by 11. Alarm sounded at 4:30 am. Kev had to prepare his drop bags so I just lolled in bed a bit and then I ended up going to the General Store at around 5:20 to grab coffee and the girl there made me a delicious smoothie with my protein powder I brought..oh was it yummy..went back and grabbed Kev.  I was not dressed to start training but saw Ray at the store and told him I would meet him at the farm to send Kev and Juli out and then would need to go back to the room to get ready for our training. Kev and I arrived at the farm.  I saw Amy L and gave her a big hug she is so sweet she just came off of a first place finish at Pineland and was here to pace her bf Brian as he ran the 53..she is training for VT100 and was taking a well deserved rest day.  I saw Kev and Julie off on the course...went over to ray and it was decided he would head off up the mountain and I would meet him at the top.  I went back to the room, changed put water in bladder grabbed a sandwich and a GU and made my way back to the farm.  I headed out on the trail with nothing so I could catch up with Ray.  We met on the stairs trail he was carrying a bucket of bricks and had on his full pack...I was lite as a feather for this fist part of the hike so I grabbed a big rock and decided to carry that. 

I am mostly a loner..there are few people I enjoy training/running with..obviously Kev is one, Tom was always someone I loved training with, my friend Brian was one of my fav gym partners, and John M. has an open invite to train with me any day and now there is Ray.

Ray is someone that has gained my utmost respect and admiration.  He has an amazing story to tell, but it is not mine to tell, so I can only say that I was blessed with the opportunity to hear it from Ray as we hiked up that mountain.  He is a good man, and I don't throw that compliment around lightly.  I especially liked hearing about his wife and kids...this man will finish DR and if I can help him in any way while out on the course well....I have his back.  We hiked up and down the mountain then went to cars.  I grabbed my weighted vest and Ray dropped off his buckets and we headed out to the trails on the opposite side of the street from the farm that I am unfamiliar with.  We talked alot about the race, our lives, some times we just hiked in silence.  This loop was long and some sections were pretty tough..we got lost well not really lost as Ray always had an idea where we were.  We kept going on and off the Peak 53 course and at one point ended out on these beautiful back roads.  I was glad to have the vest..Tom was so right..it is a great training tool.  It makes your shoulders ache and you need to keep your balance and your core strength at all times. 

I felt good out there....I liked training with Ray because he is humble and kind and generally appreciates life..he is not a whiner or a bragger...I don't mesh well with those kind of people. I can't wait for those times during the race, especially the over nights, when I am alone and it is just me and the trail. I hope they make us do a marathon...I hope they incorporate long hikes carrying something....I am at my best and feel most myself during lone overnight hikes.  Kevin will laugh when he reads this because he knows me so well.  I become so overwhelmed by situations where there are lots of people and noise...I am not shy exactly....how to explain it...well I work with kids who have Aspergers and I often connect with these students when others don't.... I just get where they are coming from maybe it is because I experience similar reactions to the world as they do. 

When we finished up Ray had to head out.  I gave him a big hug and headed back out on the trail with my bucket and harness system Dave sewed for me.  I filled the bucket with a gallon of water and enough rocks so that it was about 30 lbs.  I headed back up the Amee farm side of the mountain.  The harness system needs to be tweaked a bit it is too long and hits my thighs, but overall it worked well.  When I was done with this loop I dropped off my bucket and headed back out on the course to hopefully meet up with Julie and Kev to run the last loop with them.  That was when I saw Brian and Amy.  I knew then that Kev had seriously underestimated his finish time.  Later after the race Kev said he realized out on the course that this was the case.  It was about 5 p.m. (I think) when I went to mile 37 to see if he had come in and found out they were still about 2 hours back.  I went back to hotel and got it for a second night.  Showered and went to bar ordered a wine and chicken wing and watched baseball. Headed back to mile 37 and Julie and Kev rolled in and I gave them both big hugs and grabbed their drop bags and saw them off.  At this point I knew they had some time before finishing so I kept myself busy.  I eventually headed to the finish at the farm and joined the small group around the camp fire.  I was quiet and just enjoyed the heat of the fire until Andy called attention to me as Death Racer and I blanched...I am not super talkative but thankfully most people there could have given too shits as they just ran Peak and or were waiting for friends to finish so I had a few "that's nice" or "that's cool" and a few nice smiles were made in my direction and then I was quickly ignored : )  and I went back to my quiet mode in front of the fire waiting for Julie and Kev.  A little after 10 pm Saturday night my love bugs crossed that finish line with HUGE smiles on their faces...I could not have been more proud of both of them...Julie has some shit in her life that she mucks through with grace and beauty that I could only dream of showing and Kev...well what can I say about my turnip other than he has a huge f'in heart. These two are my Death Race support and I am truly blessed...

We went back to the room and Julie and Kev showered and Julie and I talked for a bit which was nice as I have not had lots of time to be with her. I have been MIA from the ultra community for a variety of reasons so far this year, so I have missed talking with Julie.....Kev always keeps her up to date about what has transpired in my life and she always sends good advice and positive energy my way.  Kev and I went back to the bar and chowed on popcorn and had some drinks..we pretty much passed out pretty quick when we got back.  Sunday we slept in and then went to the General Store for a big breakfast and yummy espresso.  Back to the room to pack up and head off.  Great conversation on the way home.  I had been mulling over a really tough decision all weekend and Kev just listened he did not put in his two sense as he has kept out of this part of my life and has just lent an ear to me. I know he has hurt watching me hurt and cry the past 6 months over the loss of someone dear to me...I made the decision to break the tie as I was not moving forward and not healing but instead hoping for something that would never come..it was hard and I felt my heart break all over again.  Then we stopped at a McDonald's to go to the bathroom.  I saw a Luna moth on the wall and the moth walked on my finger and Kev took a photo.  I love Luna moths and rarely see them..in fact I have only found a dead one once...


I felt like this was some sort of sign....I took the moth and put it on the back seat of my car and when I got home  let it go in my landlord's garden.  Maybe Dan sent it...I believe that he is always watching out for me...maybe it is a sign that I made the right decision letting go of the past even though it hurts so much...maybe it means my DR will be everything I want it to be...or just maybe the moth was there because it was dying....maybe it has something to do with death....I hope not....I have some health decisions to make in the next month and I want the end result to be positive....whatever it means it is like my friend Kelly always says...there are signs everywhere you just have to have an open heart and an open mind and if you do they can help lead you to the right path...that path may not be one that is easy.....it may be filled with pain and sorrow but it is still the path that we must sometimes choose..if you always choose the easy path...well where is the fun in that!