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Monday, January 30, 2012

How I LOVE to list

I like to keep lists of things..
things I need to get done
things I need to buy
things I want to buy
things I need to clean
things I need to fix
I have a calendar just for all the races I am running (circled in blue clouds) but I also write in the races I plan on running..I check them off with a "paid" when I commit to them...

I use the FIT day website to list all the foods I have eaten each day as well as the foods I  plan to eat that day
I document my workouts in a binder I carry around with me at the gym and then I take all those handwritten details and add them into my daily mile online and sometimes I even add them into the FIT day just so I can see how much of the day's food intake I have burned

Every month I list bills including rent, cell phone, car payment, insurance, my REI credit card and my school loan for my doctorate

I have kept a diary from the age of twelve chronicling each year up until about two years ago when I just started to use my blog as my diary.  I have every one of those diaries in a box in the back of the closet in my tree fort....some day when I am snowed in maybe I will crawl back there and open one up and try to see where I was at 4, 5, 10 years ago in my thinking...If I ever keel over I pray that the box is thrown away before my mum gets a hold of it : )

When I first met Roy and he moved from Massachusetts to his farm in Ohio I would write 20 page letters to him sharing everything I did each day. I would sit in my bed at the end of the day with a glass of wine and some thin lined writing paper and just "talk" to Roy through the page...now I just call Roy (but he brings up to me that no one has written letters to him like I did and he saved everyone of them).

I am a also a voracious reader...  I have boxes and boxes of books in the eaves of my sisters garage attic...I have stored them there since I sold my last house back in 2003 and started living a nomadic renter lifestyle.
I am probably one of only three people who  keep Annie's book stop in Marlboro in business. Instead of television (don't have one) I read each night to wind down and relax... I go through 2-3 books a week easy.  If you have not stepped into an Annie's I suggest you do....it is a great business model and they will buy back books and give you a credit for new books.  I keep some of the ones that I know I will reread or share with a friend or if I find a first edition otherwise I sell them back and buy more. 

I live a pretty simple lifestyle and I have said that if my tree fort catches fire and I lost everything  I would only be sad about the pictures I lost of my mum when she first came to America....she was and still is so beautiful.  So it is not things that fill me but actions.  Some of the actions that make up my day to day existence are due to a obsessive compulsive disorder (listing things and cleaning) and other things I do help to relieve anxiety (getting a facial, going for a walk, hot yoga) while still other activities are my passions (trail running, collecting books and losing myself in their words, listening to music while driving my car to no particular destination.....slowly, fast packing new  and off the beaten path trails, strength training, antiquing, refinishing furniture, gardening, or just daydreaming)

The thing is I have come to a point in my life where I have accepted who I am and what has brought me to this place (I have an anxiety disorder and I am pretty sure it is due to a three year period of abuse at the hands of a neighbor starting at age nine)  It is surprising the number of children who have experienced some form of emotional, physical or sexual abuse..sadly I am just one person in a sea of who knows how many who have to live with this...I think in some ways I am lucky as I believe this abuse made me a stronger individual and probably directly resulted in my choice to work with children first as a social worker for sexually and physically abused children and then as a teacher.  My abuse will never be chronicled in a tell all book or a made for TV movie...I will never be on Anderson Cooper sharing how my abuse brought me to the point in my life where I created a not for profit, or became a doctor and worked diligently for a cure for cancer....it simply made me want to work with children and it made me for some reason a very tolerant person.  It also resulted in my need to list things, clean things a bit obsessively, run away from confrontation,  experience bouts of disordered eating and exercise induced bulimia, shy away from getting close to men, and at times experiencing a quiet depression that causes me to eat an entire container of frosting and call KZ and cry.....but I am happy to say I am no longer scarfing frosting....I do not exercise to a point of hurting my body..I have put 7 lbs of muscle on my body and I am learning to trust and open my heart up to others...I am sure  footedly moving towards a pretty nice state of bliss

I had some amazing conversations this weekend with my 'luvs" and I realized how lucky I am to have people who except me for who I am and who want to see me be the best me I can be.  I have two camps now as to whether or not I should "talk" with someone about the abuse..I tried once to talk with an "expert" and she was NOT helpful in fact she made it far worse...but I have felt a great deal of shame and sadness that has built up  inside of me and I agree with my friends....I do  need to get it of my chest....so I decided to just share it here.  I want to share the process of trying to deal with what is now out there and in the open with people who know me in person and just through this blog..and who knows..maybe someone who has had a similar experience will reach out to me and they will have some advice for me now that I am starting on this path...I think I had to deal with the health issues first before I could deal with the emotional issues...and so it begins...I want to find a way for that little girl to rid herself of the shame she has carried...I want her to be free of it...I want her to feel at ease and comforted...I help children every day find their voice..to learn and grow and be the best they can be...the least I can do is give the "little girl" inside of me the same chance...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beast of Burden....or better title "Poopy Pants Roy

So my trip to Lockport NY started off well.  I spent the night packing up and enjoying chicken wings and wine..as Cappy D liked to say “maxing relaxing but never taxing” (I don’t know what the hell that means but it sounds old skool bad ass).  I made sure to pack loads of warm clothes.  In fact I actually PLANNED (that is almost like a swear word to me) for this race.  I actually put on the clothes I had in my tree fort before I shoved them in a bin.  I planned on three layers top and bottom and I wanted  to make sure I had maximum comfort level  (for me this is VERY difficult clothes are pretty much never comfortable…why can’t I live in a nudist colony or better yet a nudist state!!! I just can’t abide by clothes…well that is not totally true…I like loose fitting clothes or clothes with bands that I can roll down way past my tummy and hips but sadly you can’t live in hot pants, tanks, sundresses and flip flops 12 months of the year in New England and I am just too lazy to move some place warm…so I am stuck with being uncomfortable until spring.
OK so back on track...I was resting and relaxing before heading to Lockport NY to run the Winter Beast of Burden 100. Trooper Dave was going with me acting as both driver and pacer. It was an easy 7.5 hour drive to the town of Lockport.  I made sure to drink so much water Thursday and Friday so I made Dave stop at pretty much EVERY rest stop to pee.  When we arrived we went to the Lockport Inn to get our room…hello Jacuzzi!!!! Holy moley I was BEYOND excited…there was a huge flat screen TV right in front of the Jacuzzi.  I don’t own a TV... haven’t for over 15 years so it was cool to be able to watch the Food Channel while eating food in a giant jacuzzi…basically I love to watch people make and eat really bad (as in unhealthy not yucky) food…I like that show Diners, Dives and something or other with that goofy blond haired dude… the problem was I was not there for vacation..I was there to run a 100 mile race in the dead of winter 30 miles from the Canadian border…the fact that I forgot that Friday night is directly related to the fact that my race clothes are in a plastic bag on my tree fort’s front porch, but I am getting ahead of myself.
So we checked in and went to the race start which was only 3 miles away on the Erie Canal.  I just wanted to see where I would be running and check out the ground..snow and some ice but it looked pretty good.  We went to find grub and stumbled on a BBQ place called One Eyed Jacks where I had the most delicious bowl of chili with one piece of home made garlic bread and a glass of cheap wine...ohhh heaven...we then stopped at a Walmart so Dave could get some gloves (he could not find his) and then he grabbed a cheap bottle of champagne (again bad choice before a 100 miles race).  We then went to the grocery store so I could buy some healthy things to have as my prerace meal...of course I never ate said healthy food instead I drank half a bottle of champagne and ate 5 super sized chicken wings both in the jacuzzi and laying on the floor of the hotel as Dave and I watched show after show about yummy delicious fried food...by the time I finished eating my stomach was the size of a beach ball and I was tipsy...at this point I said "umm Dave I think I need to go for a quick run" I needed to try to get rid of some of the rolling bubbling gurgling mess that was inside of my belly. So we put on clothes and went for a sloppy walk run through the neighborhood's of Lockport at 10 pm...where I proceeded to fart and complain and groan and make myself a general nuisance and bother to Dave who could have cared less because he has an iron stomach and would only need to run 25 miles tomorrow...bastard....
So surprise surprise I had a horrible sleep ...up three times with diarrhea and burping up hot sauce I think from the chili earlier in the day...alarm went off at 7 and I pleaded with the almighty that if he just takes the bloating, pain and now constipation away from me for the race I would devote myself to a life without any joy...eating only bread and water and giving all extra income to orphans in Tchad...sadly god was not interested in my self induced problems and I then took to complaining and sticking my belly out to Dave...I tried to go to the bathroom..I gave it the old college try and I believe the result of that was self induced hemorrhoids...nice....my bum was on FIRE!! and I had to now squeeze into my sausage pants....I was wearing silk tights then these cool wool tights then my kind of bulky cross country pants..on top a Smartwool top, a Cloudveil top and then my waterproof-wind proof light weight jacket with a reflective vest for the overnight section...wool socks and my Salomons....I was a pathetic excuse for a human being as I stepped out of that room with my pants rolled down below my belly and my head aching from a hangover....Dave drove to the race start and I tried to put a good spin on how I felt...I knew that running usually takes care of any constipation (boy that turned out to be an understatement) and I talked myself into believing chicken wings and champagne are a great choice before a cold run...my body needs the fat to keep warm I kept telling myself and champagne well best choice of any alcohol to drink...christ I could be nursing a whiskey hangover....so yes I made a smart choice with my prerace meal...yay me!!!


Here is me 30 minutes prerace trying to put a good spin on my fat bloated fire butt self : ) nice try Roy

Now back to the main reason I was here..to start training seriously for McNaughton...all things lead to McNaughton.....there were 100 mile, 24 hour and 50 milers here.  I saw Mike Menard and his lovely wife at the start and was able to high five him (he was ahead of me until he had to drop due to very painful back spasms).  As we checked in we got a wicked cool bag filled with goodies....gloves, hat, food, lip stuff, and other sundry race swag...awesome.  I went in the car with Dave and relaxed for a bit....then headed out to the starting line.
I started out in the way back..I think there was like 10 people behind me.  I waved at Dave and said I would see him later and off I went.  It was around 20 degrees with a light wind.  I was actually very comfy in terms of the cold..in fact folks I was slightly sweating!!!  That was excellent news as I never sweat..hence RMM's belief that I am really an alien life form sent to earth to drive him insane : ) The course was 12.5 miles out and then you turn your ass around and run back to the start..you do that 4 times for a total of 100 miles..seems easy on paper : ) 
There were 3 places along the course for food/water at the start (heated tent), midway(heated tent and outdoor fire pit) and at the turn around (an empty office space next to a laundromat that you got to by leaving the canal trail and crossing a bridge) 


Each stop was very welcoming with warm and cold food choices.  The mid point and final stop are run by  the RD's "girls" (daughter(s) and wife) and let me tell you they were great..the volunteers at this race are truly top notch there was always someone ready to fill your water bottle, get you food and even give you a hug : )
I chose to eat 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich at each 6 mile mark.  The first 25 miles I finished in 5:15 and drank 4 handhelds so I felt I was in a good place in terms of fueling.  Back at the start Dave was nowhere to be found with my car and my tampon stash so I had to run around looking for a tampon which added to my race day troubles....all of the men just shrugged their shoulders and looked slightly uncomfortable but then some wonderful woman heard of my plight from her red faced husband and  ran me to her car and handed over all the feminine products that were in her purse...so I was back out there.. Dave arrived just after I left and drove by on the road portion and said he would stop ahead to give me a sip of Starbucks coffee he drove miles to find...yay Trooper Dave..so he was waiting by the bridge that took me over to the other side of the canal gave me a sip of coffee and an encouraging word and I was off for the second 25 mile loop.  This one was slower..around 6 hours for this loop.  I met a really sweet young kid named Jimmy who happened to know Sherpa John really well...we gabbed for some time about races and then we hit the midpoint and I moved ahead and put my ipod on and just zoned out...when I reached the 36 mile mark I saw Dave and got some Advil and had some more peanut butter sandwich.  Dave shot a pic and posted it to FB for my running peeps back home and I was back out there. It was getting colder and the wind was picking up but I still felt no discomfort in terms of cold.  I noted my belly was rolling a bit so I decided to speed walk the next 12.5 miles and give myself a rest...I was doing a steady 14 minute mile pace and was still on target for a sub 24 hour finish I was worried though as I could not make myself drink any water or eat any food...just the thought made me sick to  my stomach.  When I got back to the start 50 miles in I was a bit nervous about the lack of food and water intake.  I grabbed a sandwich and put it in a bag and drank half a cup of ginger ale which helped a bit. Dave was ready to pace me for this 25 mile loop. It was getting colder now and I was feeling kind of off so I told Dave I would be speed walking the next 25 miles... He said no worries as my previous 12.5 miles was done in 3 hours so I was on schedule. 
It was not so bad that first 6 miles to the halfway point.  I made a mental note that I had not taken a single sip of water for that 6 mile stretch and so when I got to the midpoint I took a sip of Ginger ale.  When we left the mid point we were about 1 mile in and it was getting dark.  My stomach was really rolling now and I felt very bloated and gassy...I told Dave to stop as I felt like I was going to fart...ummm not quite I actually pooped myself...

It is during moments like these...on a windswept canal in the freezing cold darkness with poop in your pants that you really have to say "wow man life is good".  I of course exclaimed out loud to Dave "I pooped  myself" to which he replied "oh!?" I mean what more could the man say? He showed his true colors when he said just move over here and try to poo more before we move on....that was almost impossible as there were runners coming up behind us...so I stepped off to the side pulled my pants down and wiped myself the best I could with a napkin I had..then cleaned off my hands in the snow and I was back at it....it is NOT fun to run with poop all over yourself but luckily the poop pretty much just froze on my butt and legs : )  I knew at the 12.5 mile turn around I could go to the bathroom and try to wipe up some of the mess...I was just focusing on a clean bum for the next 6 miles.  When we arrived I went straight to the bathroom and to the best of my ability washed myself off...I could not get it off my pants and it was frozen and my butt was hurting from running 6 miles with crap on it...I washed my hands blew my nose and had a sip of Gatorade and some ginger ale and that was it..my stomach was officially shut down for the night....so we went back out for the return 12.5 miles.  I was an absolute mess at this point.  Very weak and the cold started to creep in...I had not had any fuel for my body to burn so slowly but surely I felt my core temperature dropping....we were now at about a 16-17 minute mile pace.  At the midpoint after a tough six miles I stopped for 30 minutes and sat in front of the heater to warm up and try to drink some broth.  The volunteers were so kind.  I was freezing at this point and one woman gave me a vest and her winter coat...I now had 5 layers on and yet I was still cold.  I dreaded leaving the warmth of the tent but I knew if we got back to the start finish we could rest a bit and I could change into clean pants which would make a difference.  I was so ill and cold for these six miles Trooper Dave was getting nervous.  I asked him to hold my hand as we speed walked the 6 miles....he kept me from falling over.  With 3 miles to the finish I felt sick again and we had to stop in the middle of a parking lot I had horrific diarrhea and nothing to wipe myself with but my hand and snow....let me tell you in freezing cold temperatures chunks of snow do not feel good wiped along an already sore tush....I ripped off a bit of flesh in the clean up process...Dave was awesome he held my hand (not the one I wiped with : ) and got me the final 3 miles to the finish.  I was freezing and sick to my stomach.  I sat down in front of a heater and the volunteers and RD brought me a blanket and some broth.  The RD told me to just sit and relax...I had plenty of time to go back out there and finish the last 25 miles as I finished 75 miles in 19:30...so I sat and shivered and drooled on myself for close to two hours.  The sun came up and I decided to go into my car and try to clean up a bit and change my clothes to head back out.  Dave warmed up the car and I stripped and used up an entire thing of baby wipes cleaning off my body..I put the dirty pants in a plastic bag and tied the top..I took my shoes and socks off and noted the glorious black toes and huge blisters that I did not even feel as I guess I was too focused on the upset tummy and pants crapping.  My stomach was rolling and I knew I was not going to be able to fuel up at all.  Dave had to work that night (he is a real Trooper) and so we had a 7.5 hour drive back.  I knew I would need to sleep and rest for quite a long time before I thought I had a chance to get my tummy under control enough to eat.  I decided to DNF rather then wait a few hours only to find out my stomach could not take it and Dave would be late for work.  The RD was awesome and he said he wanted to see me back next year and seriously he will....it is a great race but it requires you not to be a bloody boob...so I need to take care of that between now and next January!

I am not sure why I am such an idiot...I mean my parents raised me right...I had a fine education and I have not hit my head too many times in my 42 years on this earth...and yet I am still making stupid mistakes in terms of my training and my running...I think it has something to do with my complete lack of a competitive nature...I have run races and done what I have done mostly to find a way to not think about my health issues and yet I do things that put me in harms way like drinking and eating crap before a 100...and truth be told I did not train at all for this 100...since September I ran Stonecat 50, a marathon at the Fells winter ultra at the start of December and another marathon distance at a fatass in Springfield and that is it for my outdoor runs...I train on the treadmill..maybe 10 miles a week if I am motivated...so here it is in a nutshell...my monumental failure at The Beast was the best thing that could have happened...I needed to cover my self in sh@t to get my sh@t together!  I will fail at McNaughton if I do not start to take things seriously...I live life by the seat of my pants and it is getting old people...time to grow up and get serious.

It is time for poopy pants Roy to start wearing the big girl pants...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Steve "The Bard" Latour's new bookie wookie

The Tuggers mugging it up
So here it is...hot off the press..Steve's book on Amazon (or at least out of my mailbox) Steve's second book and yep you  got it right..the pic on the front is of the world famous TUGGERS...or trail ultra gang...so named by Steve? Em?  Can't remember exactly but those there are my running peeps and a few of the best damn people on the planet...Julie in white, Em in pink behind me Kev, Dan in front next to me in red and Steve, said author, in blue...we are missing Rob and Streph from the original crew.
Steve and I at the Ghost Trail Rail
Steve is a pretty amazing guy.  He and his wife live in New Hampshire and Steve is presently the RD of New Hampshire's only hundred mile race, the Ghost Rail Trail race in Brookline/Milford New Hampshire.  He also RD'd the Fells races that were left RD-less after Bogie took off for Colorado a few years back.  He is an excellent RD and an even better friend. 

When I got the book in the mail Trooper Dave was over my place looking through some old design magazines I had collected over the years.  He was sipping a beer and deep in "design mode" trying to pick out some kitchen designs he liked (Trooper Dave is planning on redoing his entire kitchen and bathroom on his own...more about that later) I was snuggled on the couch reading the book and drinking my wine.  Kev called to tell me about a trip to see Garry in Colorado Springs he took with Deb and Steve..they ran a really cool fat ass and he was describing the trip...I was interrupting him every few minutes..I was listening but also skimming through the book.  I would stop him mid sentence every few minutes with a loud guffaw or to read a passage out loud.  You see Steve is funny as hell..hands down the guy is funny in life and funny on the page and very rarely do I laugh out loud...about anything...but I get Steve's humor.  He is also a really great writer ...he has a style that is truly unique and makes reading his books a super enjoyable experience..even though I was there at some of these events and even when he wrote about me I was able to get a whole new perspective about things that I had never thought of...Steve also knows me well and he gets my sense of humor and my bizarre personality...spot on...it is nice when someone "gets you" it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside...Steve points out all my strange idiosyncrasies and instead of making me look wacky makes it really fricken funny.... I have always liked that I am different, weird, strange...and the great thing is..so does Steve : ) I love that Steve made quite a few references to my well known dislike of water and showering or pretty much bathing in general : ) Steve and I have a connection based on our love of strength training and we can kibitz about that when others in our running circle may not understand our gym rat mentality.  The year I met Steve...the year we became "the Tuggers" was a really happy one for me...prior to that I always ran solo.  I still like to be alone in the woods with my thoughts, but I have found that running with my trail friends ALWAYS brings me peace.  They have been with me through thick and thin and I am always myself with them. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I know what love is....

I have said it many times before and I will say it again.... I have had some of my deepest and very best conversations with KZ who is truly one of my dearest friends if not my best friend.


We talk on the phone almost every night.  I am usually eating dinner and drinking wine snuggled wrapped in a blanket when we talk.  Sometimes I am in a really good place and the two of us get very silly and our conversation radiates joy...other times I am neutral and may spend 20 minutes discussing what I ate that day and how I REALLY need to get off then chicken wings....and still other times I am lost and he just listens.....

When I got into work this morning and checked my email I had one from KZ..it had a link: I know what love is........ and the following written after

I'll never forget your having asked me once if I know what love is.. and I
may never stop sending along reactions to the question.

 So I clicked on the link and relaxed with my misto and read........

The person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad mirrors reflecting and illuminating the powers and thoughts and the emotions that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No words or deeds may encompass it.

This is Adams explanation of romantic love I imagine.
It made me think more of a prism than a mirror because the different colors would represent the thoughts and emotions from within

A source of light from the outside shines in and is then refracted into a myriad of different colors.  I am the prism my love would be the light.  I think I am always surprised when any man I have cared for tries to explain how he SEES me... because I believe you never truly see another person as they see themselves.. What I send back out onto the world in the form of my thoughts and emotions of 'my love" well it can be a revelation to that person...both positive and a negative....

How I see them (both their emotional and physical self)  how I have come to understand them (their motivations, dreams, fears, hopes, strengths, weaknesses) are often framed by past experiences....that is why "first love" can't be replicated... it is the closest to pure refraction because there are no other prior loves  (except possibly the love they witness between their parents) by which they can frame things...that is why we often think back to our first love with fondness and for some regret....

Adams shares
Friendship is another form of love — more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptance of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of reality.

I have often been given a very hard time about my friendships... KZ has experienced first hand the brunt of this.  The thing about my friendship with KZ is his acceptance of me...he has NEVER wanted to change me but loves me in spite of all my foibles....I have yet to experience a romantic love that has not at some point wanted to change me or worse has made me feel bad about being me....yes it is easier to "love" a friend when the romance is not a factor but I know first hand that a friendship between a man and a woman can be a very deep thing that brings much to the table.

So my quick post today KZ is to say thank you for being my friend....and to share with others what you share with me....

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A weekend of things I love....

I have made the focus of this past weekend things I love...I took Johnny's advice and I thought about Carrie and Julie and others who I respect and realize they have gone through trials and tribulations and they keep on truckin.....so in honor of those people that get it done...I will too : )

So the first thing I did was to remove myself from every FB group that did not involve ultra running. Now I almost did it for the Spartan page as well but they use that page to give you info you need to know about DR and I am going there to get me a skull so I stayed on, but I will only read posts that are put up there by Andy or Joe....it is funny because I just did my "rant" last week about the hoopla and white noise surrounding DR and a few running peeps sent me emails Thursday about a new show called "Unbreakable" based on the Death Race or some such nonsense....I fricken laughed out loud as I read the emails as they jokingly said you should try out...first off  "I am never not broken" so I could never be on a show that is called unbreakable  (I am so cracked I can barely keep together as it is) and reality shows are trashy and silly..so there it is in a nutshell..something I loved....the Death Race..something that had a great deal of meaning for me last year and helped me to deal with my cancer and surgery...something I felt was very pure is now officially turned into a fucking money making television show.  They of course have the right to do that..it was never truly "my race" I guess.....but the thing is it should have been...DR should have stayed for the Racers and they should have kept that family feel to it...it was so fucking special...one of a kind and it brought me joy last year when I really fucking needed it...I bet if you ask the racers that have done the PEAK DR from the start I bet they would have called the race theirs...I feel that way abut the TARC races like DRB...created and carried out solely for the celebration and love of ultra running...no money made, great volunteers, everyone brings food, people cheer one another on, no prizes..just a good f'in time had by all....a family....how can the DR be a "family" when so much outside shit is brought in...it makes me sad...it makes something like McNaughton or Barkley and Vol State stand out thank god they exist.....this year is my last DR I will earn the skull and close that chapter in my life and move on....

The second thing I did was make a commitment to hot yoga two times a week for 90 minutes.  I truly love it and surprisingly I am getting better at it...I am still the worst student in the class...the huge 6'4" guy that sweats alot is a close second but even he can do the back flip thing...so I pretty much ummm stink...but and here is the important part....I love sucking at yoga....yoga is a practice..I can go at my own pace and slowly work up to things like the crow and eventually maybe years from now one of the head stand thingies!!!

I rock any plank move and the low push ups...I am a super star at those...splits are a very ugly thing to watch me do....Jeff, the instructor, has to try to keep his face neutral but I see the winces and the eye rolling as I fall over and roll around in my little corner of the studio...and still...oh god I love it : )  Did a class Saturday morning and it was an amazing way to start my weekend.

Another thing I did was FINALLY go back to school...signed up for a course on blended learning http://accept.org/node/258 and I will spend the spring semester designing and building an online class for my face to face STEMs courses.  I am excited I mean it was two years ago I walked away from Lesley with only half a thesis left and 20,000 in debt...I HATED my thesis.  I had been in school nonstop since kindergarten with only a break for the Peace Corps all up till the age of 38....that is ALOT of school....three Bachelors degrees  (Sociology, Elementary, and Middle School Education) a minor in Political Science, a masters from Fitchburg State in Science Education (Environmental Education and Biology)  and another Masters from Lesley (Middle School Science Education) and my silly doctorate....I was burned out..I had taught as an adjunct faculty at Lesley in their grad program for three years and prior to that I was an adjunct faculty at Simmons all the while working full time as a middle school teacher and getting my own degrees..no wonder I just fizzled out...well the other day I got a spark back..a spark about work and a spark about education....and let me tell you it feels soooo good. I am one of those people who are lifelong learners...I will go back and get my doctorate...I am so close I just need to get excited about learning again and this is the first step : )

I also started my official search for my own home : ) I contacted an agent and she is searching now from my dream home (or dream shack)....yippeee I am soo excited.  Although I love my tree fort I really miss not having a kitchen as I love to cook and love to have friends over for dinner..I also miss gardening and just DIY'ing around the house.  I have bought, renovated and sold two homes for profit in my 20's and 30's and basically helped the douche bag  fix both of his houses (painting and decorating and gardening)...it was fun and I am GOOD at it...this one is going to be more of a retreat a place I can always call home even if I decide to move away from the area and travel or do whatever...it will be a place I always want to return to....a tiny little cottage

not actually for sale....but I wish it was...my dream cottage : )

So I took Saturday after yoga and my run to head to Southern NH and go...Antiquing!!! I bought two of the absolutely cutest chairs for $70..for both!!! they are now in my tree fort and I am happy as a clam : )

These caught my attention right when I went into my fav place on 119 in Townsend

Now one sits in my rearranged tree fort living room

and the other sits next to my bed for reading
Now it is Sunday and I will be heading out soon for my run with Julie and Brenda at Leominster State Forest...been a while since I have been there...Dan and I used to go mtn biking there and rock climbing at Crow Hill so I know it will bring back memories of Dan and that is always a good thing...I think he would be proud of where I am going right now...I know he would have laughed his tush off over the unbreakable thing...he was special forces and the toughest mother fucker I knew...a bit of a lady's man and had a bit of a roguish streak in him...left broken hearts scattered over three continents...hehe... but god we had some fun....
Tonight dinner and drinks with a friend ; ) and Monday early yoga class, gym, course work and REI for some stuff for next week's Beast 100...

So Johnny... thanks for telling me to "get on with it" : )

I had a few people leave my blog following and 5 private emails to me about my blog post on the reality show and my comments on DR and one comment that was WAAYYY to offensive to post. All the opinions shared are cool with me...I can be all those things... everyone is entitled to their opinions : ) it is what I love about the blog universe : ) freedom to speak your mind...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2011 TRAINING RECAP and ramblings……

1328 race miles documented 

Pounds burned: 40 HUH?!...I added 5 pounds of something to my body during 2011

Miles by Month:
Jan 50 miles
Feb 98 miles
March 96 miles
April 118 miles
May 52 miles
June 130 miles
July  179 miles
Aug 105 miles
Sept 192 miles
October 136 miles
November 94 miles
December 93 miles

What this tells me…well the start of 2011 the low mileage makes sense as I was in surgery and sick…and this January I already have 50 miles under my belt and after running the Beast (100 miles) in two weeks and then the Cape Cod Frozen fatass (50K) or a 50k in New Hampshire Julie was telling me about…. I will be WAAYY over last year’s January totals…so I am back on track, but the truth of the matter is compared to 2008 and 2009 my running has slowed dramatically…
A big piece of that was due to the change in my lifestyle in 2010 and my illness in 2011.  So here it is 2012 and my health is good… no major issues right at the moment and my lifestyle does not involve family obligations so if my mileage does not increase there is no reason that I can attest to other than laziness…..and I think my January training recap will show that is not the case.
So now that I have the time and the good bill of health to increase my mileage what things are standing in the way…because it has ALWAYS been tough for me to increase my mileage during the winter months..running when trails are covered with snow has been an issue in the past but I have DIONs now and the lack of snow makes it ideal for winter trail running, so what makes me cringe about winter trail running?  It all revolves around comfort…I HATE RUNNING TIGHTS, I hate tight undergarments that are meant to be the base layer..they wrap around your tummy and add that to tights and I feel like a human sausage….everyone who knows me knows I don’t like tight things wrapped around my tummy….nor do I like to overheat…to bundle up to start a run when I am absolutely freezing then get ten minutes into the run and start overheating..I don’t sweat…I just heat up like a little furnace….ok now I know I am bitching and can I run with tight pants, when I am cold and or overheated ...I have done it many times during races when I am unprepared for the weather.  I ran last year’s cape cod frozen fatass in a pair of hip hugger tights that fell down the ENTIRE time revealing my entire bum…I was so annoyed constantly reaching under my jacket to pull up my fricken pants it really put a crimp in the enjoyment of the course…..I guess the problem is I am VERY tactile..things that feel funny on my body well  I can seriously perseverate about them…pajama bottoms that are too tight around the tummy…a tank top that is too long and tight..headbands are torture for me and they make me feel like my brain is going to pop out of the top of my head from the pressure…I would be happy running in hot pants and a tank top but living in New England makes that impossible unless I train solely on the treadmill for the winter months…I do a great deal of treadmill training during winter but it just can’t replicate the trails and my ankles are never as strong when March comes around and I start running races in earnest. 

This weekend I got in two long runs, two treadmill incline training sessions as well as a killer lower body workout and 90 minutes of hot yoga.  I ran Saturday in Upton Town forest (my old training grounds from way back in 2007) and then Sunday I ran with Trooper Dave and Julie from her house to the mountain and then up and over Wachusetts and back to her pad…Julie and I talked the entire run and it was awesome..she is my emotional mentor much like Nipmuck Dave was my trail running mentor and Dick Vincent was my WS mentor…and Deb and Steve are just the trail god and goddess I wish to one day keep up with.  Total mileage for the weekend was around 30 miles which is good since next weekend I will be running 100 miles. 
So I need to go to REI and find myself an outfit that can keep me warm, is not tight and has ventilation so I do not overheat…a lot to ask for I know and I am nervous I will NEVER find a pair of winter running tights or pants or whatever….that I can deal with…it would be so much easier to head out for a training run knowing that comfort is not an issue…
This week is really busy so I will do most of my week training on the treadmill: intervals, incline weighted vest training and 2 lower and 2 upper body workouts.  This weekend I want to get in two runs no longer than 10 miles each to try out my clothes for the Beast and to possibly break in a new pair of Salomons in case the race weekend is snowing or rainy I can have a pair to change into if they get too wet.  furniture…
I loved this past weekend and I am excited about this coming weekend…I was thinking about my last blog post..how I am searching for that woman I once was…I thought about it and I realized to find that part of me I need to do the things I was doing when I was true to myself.  First off I needed to spend more time training alone.  I dropped out of the Tire Guys camp at the last minute to give my weekend solely to me.  I love the camp and I wanted to see Sheri but I also wanted to have the entire weekend away from all the hustle and bustle of others and I did not feel training like that would be beneficial to my 100 two weeks from away.  Truth is I prefer training alone with the occasional (rare) group training.  I have totally been overwhelmed by all the white noise surrounding DR 2012 and so I want to close myself off from that….I  rarely read the DR FB posts…..I pretty much will not go back on there again…I do not have Internet at home and only use my phone to post pics to FB about running…if I miss some important info on FB about DR 2012 I can just ask Andy about it at McNaughton.  Training with others is awesome but I don’t need to do it…I have years of overnights and fast packs under my belt, but I always did them alone just because I liked to be alone in the woods on the trails or in the mountains…I have had so many emails about Winter DR based on my blog post about it….where people are asking me advice and I want to be helpful but I am not sure what to share and what advice to give.. …last Winter I was sick as a dog and I did so well at that race just because I am tenacious not because I am some powerful Spartan chick..I am not a Spartan..I WILL NEVER call myself that nor make a reference where I use that word..it is a great business plan that Joe has laid out…my ex BF is one of the founding few he is a great guy…but this is about MONEY…when DR was under the radar and it was a PEAK race I just don't believe it was about being a money maker…but now anyone who thinks money does not play a role is naive....now having said that… I do not think DR makes Joe much money, but the IDEA of DR as the grand Spartan race does make the Spartan organization money..it sells and idea and it is an idea that people are willing to buy into...I LOVE my DR sweatshirt and I wear it with pride and I will also say I LOVE the Death Race itself and I am willing to fork up the dough to do the race and challenge myself...hell it is a shit load of money to put something like that on…and I say kudos to the Spartan founding few…. you got yourself a great product there and I imagine you work hard for it and I appreciate being able to experience the time and effort you put into planning the race..it is pretty fun...but I will not run around calling myself a Spartan cuz that is just silly…. I am a dorky 42 year old ultra runner who loves strength training and going out on her own running with her log or doing an overnight hike alone or with Trooper Dave
I am coming to realize something else I need to do to return to my true self and that is stop the FB posts from coming into my phone..it is really stupid the whole FB thing…stupid to me but I know not for everyone..some people are very extroverted and FB is just an extension of who they are, but it is not me I am really an introvert..Kev and I have that in common….some times I like to add something silly or irreverent or make fun of myself on FB but the posts where people share how crazy hard core and bad ass they are…yeah not my thing….I don’t have the time or the stomach to be barraged with that shit on a daily basis…I am just trying to find out what the hell is going on with me and get over this gosh darn depression…  You may call me out and ask well smarty pants “how is your blog any different than people posting how bad ass they are on FB?” Hmmmm?  My answer is…well….there is really not much of a difference.  If I had to try to explain it I would say I guess FB baddassers come across as living their entire lives as cool as a cucumber ..never afraid of anything….never questioned themselves or their motives… never looking deep inside themselves and seeing something they possibly don’t like….. some weakness they want to cut out...it is possible I guess to be perfect, but me well I am so far from perfect….I am completely honest in this blog..to a fault…it has got me into trouble…in terms of men and friends and family and I am sure people who read this have their opinions of me..I put it all out there and some people may wonder why…they may think what I do is far worse than a bragger on FB…and they are entitled to think that…I have no issues with it at all…judge me all you want but if you don’t like it don’t read it…I don’t want people to stop being braggy on FB…I just want to remove that from my life as it is not really something I find fulfills me in any way…..it is like the anti-abortion people..they have a right to speak their mind and put up their billboards and their bumper stickers…it is their car and the side of the highway is shared by all…I have the choice to look or not..to  take it in and be offended or not…to me I don’t care as long as they do not force me to change my belief I am cool with them having their own…I just choose to avoid their parties ; )

So what I think I need as a first step to getting back my bliss in 2012 is to increase my running mileage…in doing so I will be doing something I LOVE that brings me joy (as long as I find the right pants) and I will be doing it with the people I love the most...my quirky group of running friends who make me smile and laugh and always feel good about where I am and where I am going….

I need to continue to increase mileage and choose my training with a focus on McNaughton…DR will be successful or not based on me not getting hurt and me staying out of the hoopla and just going there getting what needs to be done done and then going home and taking a long hot shower… either you give up and quit at DR or you don’t..it is pretty simple…McNaughton takes real focus on my part and serious training you can’t fake 500 miles you can’t just wing 500 miles….nope there is no screwing around when it comes to McNaughton.

I will find a way to stop all the FB posts from Goruck and DR and Spartan Chicked (all great pages just not for me) that constantly stream through my phone.....it drives me utterly batty!!!! I waste so much time deleting all the posts.  I can't access FB during the day from work nor at night as I don't have Internet..but the constant posts on my phone email is way over the top...so I need to get to Verizon and figure out how to make that stop..I will continue to post my ultra photos and the occasional stupid idea or remark to my profile and check out the Trail Animals FB page (my running club)  but I need to stop all the other noise as honestly I don't care about how awesome and tough every one's overnights were or about patches and t-shirt designs or who built a really cool slosh pipe or every persons WOD of the day...damn I am having trouble just figuring out why I am so sad sometimes...I don't have the mental energy or interest....I do have to say though..I LOVE reading blogs...so much honesty and humor...I love to catch up on the blogs on my fav list during my lunch..I eat my sandwich over my keyboard and spend 20 minutes catching up on people's lives...I learn so much and I am often amazed at the strength people have....I learn a great deal from people who admit to their foibles.. who call themselves out and who live their life as imperfect beasts.....I guess I love the quirky, the imperfect, the ripped, the stained, the rough around the edges, the slightly disheveled, the dirty, the smelly, the unkempt, the disorganized, the dark dank and sometimes dreadful sides of life....cause when you face those things head on and make it through all the "good" things seem to reverberate to shine to spread their glory and you APPRECIATE it more you know...I appreciate my life having faced losing it..I appreciate bliss having lost it...humility, thankfulness, honesty, internal fortitude, inner strength and beauty...those are words I would have inked across my heart.....

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A letter to self

Dear Self,
Come home.....

You know I used to be a fearless, fun, irreverent, silly, giddy, potty mouthed pirate...never let anything stop me from moving forward..one of my tats is relentless forward motion.....it is a permanent testament to that...

but I lost you self....I let you be degraded and abused and the shame of it...well it has made me just a shell of who I once once....Dan I know is shaking his head right now looking down at me......I have an idea where you are..I see you you know..you can't hide completely from me...

The sad thing is I am finding it so hard to capture you...you flit about and you are shadow-like a movement just out of the corner of my eye....you are so fearful and weak now..where you were once filled with strength and joy...I want to blame that man for beating you down...I want him to feel guilt and sorry for all the lies and all the pain he caused you...the horrible damage that was done to something that was once so free and harmless really....but I know it will not bring you back...no one can find you if you don't want to be found....you are here somewhere..

I told you self...I catch glimpses of you from time to time..this weekend you came roaring out of your hiding place to help me make a tough decision but then you realized you were in full sight and you were gone before I could say " I missed you so much"...."I need you...."

Self I am all talk and no action without you..please come back and help me find my voice again....
I am crippling sadness...please come back and help me find my smile....
I am empty....please help me to feel something again...

I am numb...a body shot up with Novocaine and heart dark from betrayal....I experience small snatches of joy but they are mostly due to forgetting for a short span of time the pain and the hurt that has been with me for far too long....I need not to forget self but what I need is help to come to peace with it all and move on...

But I am in a tub filled with tepid water and I don't have the strength to stand up...I will sit there naked and shivering even when the water drains...I need you to hold the towel open and beckon me in to its warmth...

What is going on self?  Why can't you let it go?  You have been there hidden away but cognizant of the conversations I have with others about this past year, you know what I write in this blog as I try to work through it all, and late at night when I can't sleep I speak to you....I know you hear me...We have hashed this out over and over again self and you keep giving me signs that you are OK you are a fighter and you are ready to stand up and be counted again...you are back in it....but then you pull the rug out from under me self and I don't have time to break the fall......

or maybe I like to suffer? Maybe I am punishing you self...I mean you got me into this in the first place....you let your guard down and I put my faith in someone and gave my heart away...you should have seen it coming...you should have been there to catch me but you had disappeared and you left me to crumble...I hate you for that....but I need you self....

What do I have to do to bring you back?  It is just me and you open and honest here...no bullshit self....no guilt, no remorse, just forgiveness....I forgive you self...can you forgive me for abandoning you?
I know he did not like you self...and I listened when he said bad things about you...I started to believe him even when friends tried to help as they slowly and painfully watched you disappear...but I was too caught up..I am so sorry I put our goals and dreams on the back burner......and I let you slowly die his needs and wants replacing yours..yes I chose him over you and I am ashamed of my weakness...in the end all the deceit caught up to him and that was the only way he would let me go...but I know self it should have been me to break the tie...I am sorry I let you down...please come back I can't do it without you..I know I lead you to believe that he was more important than you....I am so very sorry for that...I loved you all along even when I let you go without a fight I often thought of you with longing....I would sit and reminisce with K. and R.  about you...they missed you too...please give me a second chance..

Self we have so many things waiting for us...the adventures, the people, the places and experiences...
touches that will make you blush....smells that will bring you back to childhood...tastes that make you sigh with contentment.....laughter that fills you with warmth....the sound of silence we enjoyed together when we ran....and not the lack of noise due to emptiness....I wish those things for you self and for me as well and  I can't do them without you....

self please come home......

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 off with a bang..or at least a trip to the salon

Yep so 2012...a new year.... unlimited possibilities...could be a great year or it could suck..I could finish all 500 miles of McNaughton then last through the torture of DR2012 to earn myself a skull or I could get sick again and die ...I am hoping it is the latter...as I think most would agree dying ain't no fun..unless I could then be a vampire or something cool like that...is a werewolf dead or are they just like bitten and then they get like a werewolf disease?  I would rather be a werewolf and run around the woods at a full moon then be a vampire what the heck do they do?  I am claustrophobic as it is...and when dirt smells musty and wormy I kind of gag...
but I digress....

So I ended 2011 with a trip out west and did some amazing hiking in the Smokey Mountains.


I must admit I was horrified by Pigeon Forks or Pigeon Cove or whatever the hell the town was I had to drive through to get to Gatlinburg and the mouth of the Smokey's in Tennessee...then again Gatlinberg was slightly scary for me as well...I DO NOT like crowds and I DO NOT like crowds of very overweight people smoking cigarettes and blocking the sidewalks to all people who walk faster than .25 miles an hour....vegetables were very difficult to find in the restaurants but not so fried food...hence I gained like five pounds...but I did not take up smoking,  loose any teeth, nor take to teasing my hair up and using an 1/2 can of hairspray to hold the gravity defying creation in place...nor have I become born again...God is great and good and all,  but giant billboards exposing how he wishes me to suffer in the hell fires if I support a women's right to choose just didn't scream "hey come on down to church and join in on the fun"....

I burned the pounds off hiking the glorious trails but my first hike I made the stupid mistake of starting close to sunset and ending up at the summit right when the sun was going down..without a head lamp...
Here I am 5 minutes from summit looking up
Here I am 10 minutes later looking down into the darkness...
I also enjoyed just sitting in front of the woods stove making nice meals..my favorite was a Salmon grilled outside over coals and then I sauteed kale with mango and green onions...yummy...Every morning I started off with a Perfect Foods Vegan green shake with fresh berries...and every evening I sat in front of the stove with a book and a glass of wine...I slept till 8 every morning..It was like I was making up for all the sleepless nights of 2011 and there were quite a few.  I had a great trail run in Huston Woods that made me yearn for spring....I did not push myself but just let myself...BE....I reconnected physically and emotionally and tried to focus on keeping my heart open...that is not always easy for me...

Then I came home...and it is 2012 and I feel..well how is it different from 2011..as it just feels the same..ummm a bit shaky, unstable...so I make a hair appointment and for the love of god I color my hair...dark..I am a blond..albeit a dirty blond..and now I am a brunette with red highlights...
I realize after sleeping late and almost being late for the final bell at school that coloring my hair..doing something so different on the outside is just the first step for me....I also realize that in this picture I look a bit like Tatum O'Neal..before her heroin addiction period though..I think her first years with McEnroe...but yet again I digress...

I am realistically thinking about a career change and a move as well....but I am still "thinking" I have not really felt settled back home...and by home I mean...me...settled inside of me....I am just kind of trying to figure out where I am at and what is important.

I am excited to get my tat done....Trooper Dave did the design..and it..well it just rocks......I have also been writing a book...so that is something very few people know about...but it plays a big part in my 2012...I think my theme for 2012 is to simplify...find balance...

Speaking of balance I am struggling a bit with balancing my McNaughton and my DR training...this weekend I have the chance to do DR camp 3 with the Tire Guys or to run the G.A.C. Fatass...of course G.A.C. is better for McNaughton and Tire Guys are better for DR...same thing the last weekend of the month...choose DR camp at Amee farm or the Cape Cod frozen fat ass 50k which is tough in and of itself and I LOVE running it... I have the 100 miler in New York the 21st and 22nd of January that is my big race of January and I want to go into that strong and healthy.  I am not psyched with water training in these temperatures...and the Tire guys are asking us to bring our bathing suits....I don't know if it is the smartest thing in terms of my prior issues with hypothermia..I don't have a wet suit of any kind at this point and don't yet have the money to purchase one...I have been hospitalized 3 times in the last 5 years for hypothermia...do I really want to take the chance for a camp?  I do not believe that I can "train" my body not to get hypothermia..I can suffer through it but it is a balance that could change from race to race...food and clothing play a roll of course and my immune system functioning at its best plays a roll as does adding some body fat...all this helps but it is a situation by situation type of thing...I have been hospitalized in early spring, summer and late but strangely enough never in the winter..I froze my bum off at Winter DR last year but did not suffer...but I was in dire straights in 2009 at VT50 in October and at the Wapack and back in March.  I don't want to take a chance of not going into the Beast in perfect shape....

and so I realize that all the questions of 2011 have just come with me into 2012...some baggage you just can't get rid of I guess : )