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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Things you probably don't want to know about me....

So I was gabbing with Kev last night...I was about an hour into my dinner...bison, roasted brussel sprouts, steamed cauliflower and beets with roasted onions and a huge dollop of horseradish....all cut up into teeny tiny bites and eaten with chopsticks and a glass or two of Chardonnay...it takes me over an hour to eat as I take tiny bites and read my book and relax...chopsticks make me a mindful eater : ) soooo back to the point...I was gabbing with Kev about what hundreds I want to do between now and McNaughton when the conversation turned to.. I don't remember... but my response was "I bet you did not know that I had waxed my bum"  Now please note that A. I specified that I only do it like 4 times a year (more in summer) and it is not my entire bum but only a small part.  B. I did it the first time because while wearing a skimpy bikini my ex BF D. noted "you have cute blond hair on your bum".  He said this matter of factly and not with an ounce of bother or care....I on the other hand felt a moment of sheer horror..and I ran into the bathroom and bent over and looked at my bum and yep...I had some blond hair there and I was pretty immediately thinking to myself "umm yuck don't like that" so later I went to CVS and bought a little waxing kit....you warm the strips in your hand stick it to your bum and pull...and there you are a nice hairless tush...miracle of miracles : )  Now after explaining all this to Kev and him laughing at me I said hey "I bet that was something you did NOT want to know about me" and a light bulb went off over my head and I decided that the last blog post I make before 2011 comes to a close will be "things you probably do NOT want to know about me : ) hehe or subtitled: TMI Michelle wtf get a hobby and stop blogging....

so..... 
1. I have and will again wax my bum...
2.  I HATE when my eyebrows grow in...it freaks me out.  Whenever I have a multi day hike or camping trip or multi day endurance event one of the first things I will do when I get home...even before showering...is to look at my eyebrows in a magnified mirror and pluck whatever stray hair has grown in. I believe this is a result of living in Africa in my twenties in a mud hut and not shaving any part of my body (except my head) and having no access to water to bathe...when I got on the plane to head to France and then from France to the United States I was looked at like a total bald hairy freak...I had a vicious uni brow...
3.  I really love to pluck my eyebrows or anyone elses for that matter and have "groomed" many a mens uni brow to help them achieve a more enhanced and neat appearance for their lady friends whether or not I was that lady...so fyi if you are a friend and a guy I may try to attack you with pluckers if I see the need to do so...do not attempt to run...I will catch you...and on my return from Africa after I got out of the hospital I was in ecstasy plucking my eyebrows back into their normal shape : )
4.  I love sugar but if  eat just one piece it will immediately leave me crazing more....so much so that I have sucked on frosted flakes to get my sugar rush...
5. I like to stick my stomach out really far and say "ugh I am so fat" to anyone who will pay attention..and even if you ignore me I will continue to do so and probably come into your personal space in such a way that my protruding belly touches you..it is best to notice the belly right away and then make a comment and then I can move on to other things...do not ignore!! I will follow you around with a plumbers butt and my belly sticking out until you say something and that can be awkward when this happens in a fine dining establishment.
6.  I crave chicken wings 24/7 and I could eat them EVERY night for dinner and have eaten them for 8 consecutive nights over one month ago....it was kind of gross but then again very satisfying...
7.  I love dry shampoo...I wash my hair two times (max) a week unless I am trying to impress (which is not very often) then I may move to three times a week.  I use deodorant every day but choose to shower a limited amount of time...again I will shower if the need arises but I have yet to be told by anyone that I smell and need to shower so I take that to heart and until I am told otherwise will only shower every other day at the most....I consider a swim in the ocean, a pool or a jacuzzi (of a known friend) to equal a shower...also a clean river but not a lake...I like to shower after a dip in a lake...I don't like smelling like fish.... now the truth is I can't swim so a "swim" really means up to my waist and at the most a floundering around splashing and or doggie paddling like a drowning rat...I DO NOT like getting my face wet nor will I put my hair in the water especially chlorinated water as it will turn it green and I have some TERRIBLE memories of green hair in ninth grade from over chlorinated town water and being teased by the senior football players who are now probably fat and bald and whose butts I could kick in most endurance events ( I am not bitter in the least : )
8.  I hate cars and all things car related...I have anxiety attacks over changing oil, filling washing fluid...and if my car breaks down I lose my ever loving mind..it paralyzes me and puts me in an inconsolable state......I bought AAA and I feel slightly better...
9.  If in a relationship I would expect my BF to be in charge of all things car, insurance and tax related...while I would clean, organize our gear, make sure the fridge is stocked and prepare the morning smoothies.
10.  When I am single I do not believe in exchanging birthday cards, buying wedding presents (I decline wedding invitations), sending Christmas cards or even buying and exchanging presents, accepting presents of any kind and sending thank you notes (which I rarely have the need to even think about doing because I rarely accept presents) there are the few people I do like to buy a present for but it will be based on finding something that I think they will love and not adding to the mounds of junk that they may already have : )
11.  I don't like wedgies and I often have them hence I prefer not to wear tight pants and or any pants if given the opportunity...which leads to the fact that I go commando not because I think it is "sexy" or "edgy" but because I am the wedgie queen....I have high hips..Peewee Herman pant look is often a factor unless i buy low rise pants....running tights...dear god they are horrible torture devices that reach up to my boobs...a body stocking..I look like a bizarre sausage.....
12. I pick my nose but try to be neat about it...and I try not to do it in public..sometimes though I forget : ) me bad
13.  I never sweat while running and actually I sweat only when I have a nightmare and then I soak the sheets....
14.   Kev and I can talk about stupid things every night for over an hour..I appreciate the friends and family network on Verizon...
15.  I know I could use a bit more common sense but I am actually pretty intelligent...I am aware that I do not often come across as intelligent though..and I am totally cool with that.....
16.  I really like to say "dude"
17.  I want to learn to ride a motorcycle but I know within twenty four hours I will have maimed or killed myself because I am a really bad driver.
18.  I still cry when I think about my cat Newmie...he is dead....obviously
19. Log is slowly ripping a mole on my neck off and I am too lazy to go to the doctor..I have been to the doctor far too friggen much in the last three years...
20.  I am totally at peace with the idea of dying.....I just hope that there are chicken wings in whatever place I end up : )

See you in 2012...dude

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Weight on my shoulders..physically and emotionally....

if given a choice I would choose the physical kind hands down....this weekend as usual I experienced both... 

So I had some big plans this weekend.... and it started off  on the right foot with printing out my receipt for my plane ticket for my Christmas get away....then a night out Thursday at Wildwood with wine and oysters and great conversation at the bar...Friday a low key day at school followed by an easy work out at Gold's then off to Whole Foods for a prepared meal and a stop at Annie's for four new books to read.  I settled down on the couch with a glass of wine, my book and dinner...and I was happy as a clam.  Saturday I would be heading to Springfield for a fatass 50k with Log.  It was my goal to run as many loops as I felt like doing...hoping I had 10 in me but totally fine with whatever I could bang out in the time limit.  I knew that the road 50k would be an issue for me.  I have road shoes but they have NEVER actually touched pavement I wear them solely on my treadmill training, and my trail runners are not comfortable on roads as they are big and clunky to keep my poor monkey feet safe...my arches are so abnormally high...seriously they are a sight to behold...so when I run it is pretty much on my metatarsals and roads hurt like hell...

So as I sat there Friday I had some thoughts floating around in my head.  Thoughts about love and training and running...that seems to be the gist of my blog with a bit of existential angst and potty humor thrown in for good measure...so Friday night I was trying to wrap my head around a question someone posed to me the other day about the possibility that I repeatedly sabotage my chances for love with a good man.

My friend C. had this to say about me over a beer or two the other day, "Michelle I have never met a woman who has so many male "friends".  I think they all start out as potential suitors and you in most cases immediately (whether they like it or not) make them into a "friend" because you have commitment issues.... you are attractive, smart, self sufficient, funny and relatively clean.... a real catch, and yet you sabotage every potential "nice guy" that comes your way by acting either like a "guy" and making them a friend, acting as if you could care less if they called or worse still you run away the moment you feel  them getting too close".

Well umm thanks for the heads up C....just what I want to hear...I am a manly commitment phobe...lovely....

Actually I am tired of hearing that old song and dance....it is all bullshit.....I want to be happy and I want a committed relationship just like everyone else.....every guy, but one, that I have ever been serious with I can call my friend and this is because I  am a good person.... when a relationship ends in 99% of instances they have fond feelings towards me because their children loved me or their parents loved me or we just had a friendship all along that was too good to let slip away just because we were not meant to be in LOVE.  It has  been a sore spot for some of the men I have dated....that ex's still call and email and check in with me....I would think that women who have crappy things to say about their ex's  and or the ones whose ex's hate them should be the greater concern...but that is a topic for another day....I have never and will never be described as a bitch..it is not who I am..I am respectful and open (to a fault at times)...I do not manipulate or use men...I just do not commit easily nor do I stay committed to someone who is not right for me....bottom line is I have guy friends BECAUSE I HAVE EARNED their friendship and respect...so nothing personal C. but feck off to all the commitment phobe comments you or anyone else tries to hit me with in the future..I am way too quick for them and I will duck...if you don't watch out they may bounce off the wall in hit you right back in the kisser...

I will admit that I have issues that cause some problems when I am in a relationship but they are NOT relationship issues... I  tend not to put my complete trust or faith in people easily...I will give them the shirt off my back but I am hesitant to accept their shirt when it is being offered to me...preferring to run around naked and cold instead of finding out that the shirt is really a 7.99 Walmart special that loses buttons after the first wash...I guess I just don't want to be let down.....



Saturday I woke up not necessarily with a clear head but I did decide to use my Christmas trip as a time to continue to think about all of this and to try really hard to be more open to the opportunity for love with a good man....I also woke up with a desire to run with log and physically tire myself out....hoping it would quiet my mind.  I was up early and read a bit before heading out to Springfield with T. D.  The course was laid out in Forest park and it was 10 repeats of a 5k loop (all roads) with one hill up and one hill down...the rest flat.  T.D. and I arrived  on time(barely) but not prepared to start the race..we still had to change and fill water bottles so we actually missed the start of the race..duh....but I snapped this pic....
as I was changing into my running tights (which I had to take off after the first loop because they were driving me batty).  T. D. and I went down to the start to get directions (which we both thought the other person was listening too so when we started to run we got lost and bickered with one another trying to put the blame on one another for not listening...ugh). So we started late and we wasted at least 12 minutes running around in circles and then we saw runners who told us the way to go... so an 8:30 race start really ended up being 9 am for the two of us...once we got started though we both fell into a smooth pace Dave having decided prerace to stick with me for a few loops...I ran pretty fast for the first 5 loops..a very comfortable pace...by the end of the fifth loop my feet started to hurt and the loops after that... well...my feet were screaming...I made the stupid choice to add the weighted vest to the last 2 loops... makes total sense to carry an extra 40 lbs when your feet hurt...duh...


When we finished we headed to Northhampton spur of the moment to hit the Japanese spa there for a quick thirty minute jacuzzi...T.D.'s knees were toast and my feet hurt like hell...I managed only about 10 minutes before I got too hot and showered and changed into fresh clothes but T.D. stayed the entire time...we hit the Toasted Owl after for football, wings and beer and then stopped into a candy store for chocolate (three pieces each) then Starbucks for a coffee for the ride home.Overall it was a great day in terms of training...my shoulder are massive right now from holding log and the weighted vest...

Sunday was supposed to be a day of training..of carrying more weight on my shoulders but sadly it all got messed up and the weight turned out to be emotional....not going to blog about Sunday as I am not sure why what happened..happened...all that I have to say about that is I drove all the way to Monadnock to hike and then returned home without ever stepping foot on the mountain...sometimes even I can't find the right words...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

cheating....

yep I must admit to my indiscretions....I have been cheating ...on LOG......hehe


Last weekend I headed up to Monadnock with Keith (another DR guy who lives in Framingham) to train with Bruce and Ryan.  I had a LATE night Friday that included a really nice meal at Bullfinches and did not get to bed until close to midnight..the alarm buzzing at 4:30 resulted in me falling out of bed slightly hungover from the three glasses of wine the night before. I brushed my teeth, dressed and wiped the sleep from my eyes with the tissue that I blew my nose with the night before (save trees) and I was out in my car waiting for Keith.  Keith brought a crap load of ...well...... crap..either he wanted to carry it up the mountain, or in case we had to build a shelter and survive a surprise apocalypse...to be honest all the crap in my trunk was actually very comforting as I miss KZ.... anyone who knows KZ  knows that he does like him a bit of the gear : ) so with a packed trunk and happy thoughts of Turnips dancing in my head....Keith and I headed out to find a DD and grab some much needed coffee.

I like the ride to Monadnock it is about 70 minutes from my place and takes me on some nice back roads. As we drank our coffee and gabbed  I felt pretty much pulled together to get my lazy ass up the mountain a few times.  When we arrived we saw Bruce running along the parking lot...we realized pretty quick that the mountain was ummm covered in this white stuf...duh..what the hell was I thinking?  I had yet to changed out my late summer fall gear in my trunk for my winter gear...so the trekking poles, crampons, micro spikes, Nemo winter tent, jetboil, booties and snowshoes were still in the attic of my landlords barn...(when I returned Saturday I went right to the barn and changed out my gear see below : ) now I am ready for winter...minus the Dions that I keep in the treefort so I can just head out my door into the woods when we get some fricken snow!!!)


(my next car will not have a back seat as it is always taken up by my packs and climbing gear)
Of course all I needed was the spikes and maybe some poles but nope I am officially an idiot and let it be known that KZ mentioned I should change out my gear as NH would probably have snow and ice on the mountain.. but noooo I was relaxing drinking wine after showering before heading out for dinner..the last thing I wanted to do was crawl around in the barn attic...so since I know myself (I have been with me for almost 42 years now) I knew that the icy top half of Monadnock would not be a place I would want to be in my Salomon trail runners..I have this fear of  falling during DR training and that would end my ultrarunning goals..and therefore I would wither away and die...it was decided we would just summit as many times as we could not carrying stuff.

I had my weighted vest in my trunk (along with a pillowcase of rocks, 6 bricks wrapped in duct tape, 3 axes, a saw...you can see why men find me slightly strange when they see my car) so I threw it on (20lbs) knowing that if it was too dangerous above treeline I would make that point the turn around for my continual summit attempts...


The vest slowed me down a bit and Ryan and Bruce headed off...Keith stayed with me and then moved ahead...after the 1/2 point when we got to the part that transitions into small craggley trees and then tree line ends I turned around and headed down.  It was fricken icy and I was honestly afraid to fall and smash my knee....I yelled to Keith that I would see those three on my second up.  I was heading down to the car to get bricks to add to my pack.  The down was slow and steady.... no where near as enjoyable as the up, although the up was difficult...I never really felt like I would fall.   I made it down and grabbed 3 bricks for a total of about 18 lbs and put them in my pack..I was now about 38 extra lbs on my back and I felt that on the second (half) summit attempt...I passed the guys heading down from the summit and they said they were heading to the car to grab a bite to eat.  I made it up past the 1/2 way mark and then turned to head back down to the car to grab another brick or two.  I passed the guys (Bruce, Ryan and Keith) as they were heading back up to summit with some big ass logs....haha I yelled to Bruce that I hoped mine wasn't that size..it was almost as long as me!! Bruce said he had a log in the back of his car for me (a baby log!)  still in length it was bigger than LOG. I  dropped my bag with bricks and kept the vest on..I grabbed log from the back of Bruce's vehicle and headed out for the 3rd 1/2 summit attempt..it was awkward with the log and for the scrambling sections I had to push it in front of me and 2x's it slipped and rolled back down to the start of the rock face....ugh...this is what DR training is all about though..things that are hard, annoying, hurt, frighten, frustrate you...seek out these kind of things so that you build up an immunity to pain and frustration...you choose to do DR so wtf...don't get pissed when it sucks...training helps to bring you to that state because lets be honest...all of us have our breaking point...mine is cold water and not being able to poop : ) the worst form of torture for me is to be forced to eat a diet completely lacking in any fiber...I would cry uncle in a nanosecond!!  I made it up directly to the sign that said 1/2 point to summit and decided the lack of micro spikes and the awkwardness of this log may make it dangerous for me (a woman who lacks grace in all of its forms) to ascend to the car...slow and steady I made my way down to the car and got inside to warm up and eat my chicken sandwich...Keith came back before the other guys having hurt his knee..it was decided we would head out now as Keith had family obligations that required us to leave the mountain by one at the latest..it was noon so we decided better Keith rests his knee than start back for another summit.

We stopped and grabbed a coffee and were on our way....good conversation actually spent the ride home laughing quite a bit...Keith is fricken funny and the two of us can be down right gross and inappropriate in our conversation topics..he has also been a good friend in terms of what has been going on the last few weeks with me...he never gives advice if I don't ask for it nor does he judge....he just listens and calls me out when I need to be called out...a true friend calls you a douche bag when you are well.... being a douche bag : ) ....one of the coolest things about DR is the people I have met through the race but also, just through the training.

Last year DR was really hard for me and I had to suffer in silence with a black cloud hanging over me but this year that won't be the case...yippeee!!! I have been made a promise that the cloud will remove itself from my sky and I could not be happier : )


Although my body and my mind are in a bit of a funk (seasonal affective disorder is real when you spend all day in a cold Tech Ed room aka "the shop" with no windows) I am looking forward to this weekend. I have a 50k on Saturday and I will return to Monadnock with microspikes and do a full summit or two with the new log on Sunday.  I love a weekend that involves training as well as "down time".  I am trying to make sure I balance social activities ; ) with training activities and so far I am doing ok....what would be perfect is to meet someone who would actually want to climb Monadnock with me carrying a log and then buy me flowers and woo me on the ride home....oh well.....beggers can't be choosers : )

Friday, December 9, 2011

I am the Queen of run on sentences........

Musings...
For the next month many of my posts will be stream of consciousness musings...much like my beloved Kerouac...I am the queen of run on sentences......
and I will bring 2011 to a close with a bit of irreverent banter....

Got my first pair of magnified reading glasses yesterday at Whole Foods...a real bargain at 20 bucks...they are pink with flowers painted on the side...I look like my mother...dear god....a few weeks back I realized I could no longer make out the words on the page when I tried to read a book... disaster!!! If I am not at my local dive bar scarfing wings and watching sports I am sitting down with a glass of cheap Chardonnay and prepared Whole Foods (usually cold steak or chicken, cold roasted brussel sprouts, cold steam cauliflower, beets, and roasted balsamic onions cut up and eaten with chop sticks) dinner on the couch...I don't have a kitchen table..in fact I don't even have a kitchen really (I have a sink and a dorm fridge and a counter top and a microwave)..no television no Internet..reading is my only form of enjoyment (that and any company I may have for dinner..if I do have company I sit on the floor with my plate in my lap and offer up the futon couch to my guest...all very posh and high end...some times I even light a candle..oh yeah you got it right...ambiance baby...setting the mood...too bad the majority of people (men) I have over for dinner involves some sort of training and or running adventure and no romance) so due to my lack of electric appliances that allow me to keep entertained seeing the words on the page is kind of important.  So I broke down and grabbed a pair of glasses and I realize you have to wear them on the end of your nose...I worry about nose stretch now...I don't want nose wrinkles...last night I put my old school ipod (that still has all the songs from my BF whom I broke up with in 2003) on the 15 dollar ipod/alarm clock thing I found on the clearance table at Staples...and I read my new book and drank wine and ate chicken wings and I was happy...f nose wrinkles... it is worth it...


Botox...hmmmm....I have a line between my eyes...they call it the "frown line" but for me it is the squint line...as I choose not to wear sunglasses at times...they give me acne on the side of my forehead...I hate acne worse than wrinkles....botox will fix that my dermatologist tells me as she is checking my moles...yep "fix" it so I look surprised all the time I think...damn.. people who know me know I am confused and surprised enough as it is...still....what does it all involve??? I mean I had my flu shot yesterday and that was a big mf needle and it wasn't too bad...and the odds of the flu shot keeping me from getting any instances of the flu is not 100% ..so botox needles are smaller based on what the Internet search tells me...it is more expensive then a flu shot (flu shot = free) but it supposedly will take some years off me...now thinking about taking years off...well that is a good thing..i guess..it depends really on how much....I look pretty good for 42 as it is...I could pass for 38 if I showered more...so botox may make me look what?  33?  Does that mean I have to date younger men since I will look closer to 30 then 40?  I have done the cougar thing in my mid 30's with a guy in his mid 20's...fun but a but difficult in the end..I was working on my PhD and he was playing beer pong...
I like men in their 40's I love gray hair and a bit of gray in their beards..I love wrinkles around the eyes and a bit of a weathered look..you see that a man has lived with a face like that..a smooth face of a 30 year old..not so much..like a babies bottom..not for me...if I did botox I guess I could counter balance a too youthful look with my magnified reading glasses..although I can't see shit with them unless I am sitting there reading a book...if I wore them out I could trip and fall..and although I look closer to 30 my 42 year old body does not bounce back as fast as my 30 year old body... I could break something..then I would have a 30 year old face but a cast on my leg and I would just end up back on my couch with my wine and my book...hmmm botox...not worth the money...rather spend it on books, wine and maybe a new futon....

Baggage...every body has it...you find some on the middle shelf right at eye level in the high end luggage store while others are found in the back of Marshalls on the dusty clearance rack..don't get me wrong...I like to search out that dusty rack...I prefer to search among the mismatched pieces with the broken handles and scuff marks for a diamond in the rough...for the piece that is missing the rest of its set...for the bright orange bag with zebra stripes that at first may seem very odd but comes to grow on your with every use....I find that those clearance pieces (although returned or rejected by someone else) can be just the right piece for me...the bag that on the outside does not show immediate promise but when you take the time to open it up...bonus..the mf'er has more storage space and secret pockets than you know what to do with...I have a bunch of odd shaped things....I often have to leave them behind on my adventures cuz I just can't figure out how the hell to store them...ohhhh to be able to bring them along for the ride...then you hit the store without really having anything particular in mind and BAM here is a piece that can fit all that is important to me and it is on sale and I have a coupon!!!!....I have been told by well meaning friends maybe it is about time that I splurge for a bit of high end baggage... but I did that once and it turned out to be a disaster..it looked great on the outside, but when you looked closely it had a few loose strings and a few uneven seams...soon enough the bag began to fall apart...it may have looked handsome but in the end it was just a piece of shit....luckily I was able to return it..seems there are people out there who prefer carrying a nice looking bit of baggage then having something that can hold together when it really matters most...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Back into the gym....

I have been slacking the last three weeks in terms of my strength training..and the reason is not over training, too busy, money issues, or even time issues...to try to explain why this week was my first "real" time back in the gym..I have to go back a few months...

At the end of September I decided to reach out to John M a fellow DR friend and co-owner with his wife of Cross fit Craic.  John and his wife are just good people plain and simple.  Well I reached out to John about cross fit and whether or not I should move away from my traditional training methods and try something new.  He sent me some things to read online and took the time to answer some questions and the end result was me walking into the Marlboro cross fit one Saturday morning for a free class.

What I did not share with John, or anyone else, was  the real reason I walked across the street from my Gold's gym into that cross fit studio...

I have always been a huge "gym rat" not the kind that stands around admiring my muscles and wearing lip gloss and cute matchy matchy gym attire...although there is nothing wrong with that..in fact If I wanted to do those things I probably could not pull them off...lip gloss always ends up caked on my lips like I just ate a glazed donut and cute gym clothes always seem to involve showing the belly...I don't like to wear belly anything so those cute sports bra ensembles...so not me....I would obsess about my forty something  tummy jiggling with every ball pike I did...I have always been head down, earphones on,  forge ahead relentlessly without a break or time for small talk kind of gym goer...not that I am unhappy...far from it..I am in my happy place when I am lifting...pyramids on the squat rack and I am euphoric...bench press negatives simply trippy with joy...back leaning against the mirror heavy barbell curls (so not to cheat) its like I won the lottery.....you may not assume I am happy and I have been told that I look bit intimidating...that is of course not based on my physical attributes ( 5"4" and 110...don't know how intimidating that can get) but it is more so my facial expressions and how I seem to be in my own world....intimidating as in "please don't speak to me I am in the zone".  I met Roy a few years ago at a gym in Groton.  He had come up to me and offered me his book to read on the treadmill. After our friendship was cemented that summer he told me a bit about what he thought of me at the gym and how he was nervous to come up and talk to me..it kind of made me laugh a bit as I am really just a big dork who often trips over pebbles and snorts when she laughs....so the long and short of this is I have ALWAYS had confidence in the gym and felt like it was a place I felt true to myself....that is until a few months past.

I had struck up conversations with some trainers at my gym, one is a really gorgeous competitive body builder and she also is a trainer and the other was also in his time a body builder and now trainer.  I train for my ultras and I also like to lift...I prefer muscles on my body and believe the reason I have never had muscle soreness or hardly any injuries running is because I strength train and I do it pretty hard core for my little self. I am often  reminded by both other runners and friends who just lift that trying to build big muscles on my body while doing ultras is counter intuitive, to want huge quads and a J-LO butt when you run ultras well that is just wishful thinking...but I have tried nonetheless.  I am also training for DR and that requires me to be able to carry my body weight for long distances...I need to have a strong grip and legs that will not crumble under weight and time on feet.  I am  like the little engine that could..I can go forever...I may not be the strongest in fact in comparing myself with other female DR athletes I would say pound for pound I would be pretty weak...in terms of most of them being able to bench press their body weight...well umm not even close on my end.....but the truth is I am tough..as Trooper Dave likes to say, "don't let her go all Cheshire cat on your ass..you will regret it"
I am like a tiny pissed off pocket book puppy, or a really nasty weasel...a fisher cat is what I liken myself to most (Dave continues to confuse a fisher cat with a Cheshire cat...and well both work equally well to prove my point so no worries there). I have different reasons for doing what I do in the gym...functional strength and muscles that do work not necessarily look good...when I am in the thick of ultra season I lean out...I look gaunt if I am not careful and in the past plummeted to 103...now I try to eat more and I have changed my training so as not to burn out my body and mind both physically and mentally...the thing is I started to take advice from these two trainers based not on what has worked for me the past 4 years but on what they train for....and I got very clouded and f'd

Now crossfit...I liked it....and yet...I didn't...the thing was I had my first injury EVER with weights...I f'd up my right shoulder so bad I could barely lift anything with my right arm the entire time I was going to CF..make that two months my friends...the pain was excruciating and it made it difficult to near impossible to enjoy what I was doing..running with log on that arm was so painful it made me want to leave log home! I could not press a 10 lb dumb bell with my right arm without pain and worse than pain a weakness I had never experienced before......it did not stop me from doing what needed to be done in terms of training but I was not happy anymore!!!! I dreaded heading there and instead of intensity written on my face there was discomfort and confusion....

So I stopped going to CF and I stopped going to my gym..for about 2 or 3 weeks I maybe made it to the gym once and spent most of the time doing light plyo stuff and training on the treadmill with the weighted vest...I felt my body turning mushy and my mind was just not as clear...the edges were a bit blurry....then last week Kev arrived and I got my tush out on the trails again. I had a 51 mile week and I although there was still lingering issues from Thanksgiving I was in a much better state of mind.  When I told Roy how I let the words of people at the gym cause me to doubt myself he was shocked, but in hind site I think I understand why it happened...

I am the kind of person that is constantly questioning my own motives for doing what I do and I hold myself to a pretty high bar...I can't lie to me...some people can lie to themselves and all the people they love and do it pretty damn well... I on the other hand am an open book...I couldn't lie if I wanted to...so I think the past few months of uncertainty are the left overs of a pretty f'd up 2011. Seriously this year was pretty damn insane so there is really no wonder that I am questioning EVERYTHING on the cusp of the new year.

It is a good thing...I am back at the gym doing what has always worked for me and I have not felt this happy and strong in weeks. I would not have cycled back where I belong if i did not try something new and then ask myself those tough questions when i did not get what I wanted from the experience..asking myself why I am doing what I am doing and holding myself accountable to the choices I make will  help me to come up with a plan for 2012..not a plan set in stone..I am far to silly at times to have a concrete plan...but an outline at least..an outline for the story that will be my training regime and my goals for the new year. I will take some of the things I learned through CF and incorporate them into my own training...my training is much like my cooking...I do not follow recipes to a T in fact I often add what ever is left over in the fridge into the recipe and make sure to throw in some cayenne pepper to give everything a bit of a kick....I get many compliments on my cooking so that seems to be working....the next time I have unsolicited advice I will just smile and say, "I will take that into consideration..thanks".

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 31, 2010 38 miles... December 4, 2011 38 miles

I noticed tonight as I updated my daily mile with Saturday and Sunday's mileage that the month of December last year was a total of 38 miles and this year four days in and I have already reached that number...it forced me to take a moment to recall where I was this time last year and where I am now...and to reflect on the changes and how I feel about them.  I am still thinking......

Friday night Kev, who is visiting from New Mexico, and I had a nice meal and relaxed and talked and were fast asleep by 8 so we could get up early and head to the Fells...Kev got to see the Tuggers (Steve, Dan and Em) and Norm was there as well as Paul L, Brenda M, Kevin M, Paul S...and I was so excited to see Stas (who  ran up to the car to give me a great big bear hug when we arrived and I was bare bummed changing from sweats into my running shorts).  I knew that the run would be tough as my mind has still been clouded as of late...I like to empty my mind when I run...and too many dark thoughts were there for me to have a sense of clarity and to reach that blissful state which for the most part is why I run in the first place. 

Kev and I managed three loops and with close to over 6000 feet of elevation change (around 2000 per eight mile loop) I was feeling those three loops...we went out and back for a total of 26.2 but I had to call it quits as I was not in the mind set to run and I was getting frustrated by the thoughts that were weighing my body down....at one point along the course I stopped and just lost it for a minute or two...I cried a bit...then when we came in after the second loop to see Em, Dan and Steve standing there and clapping...well my armour came loose a bit and I needed two hugs from Em...ans she held my hugs tight...I just looked at Dan and said it has been a tough week and he said "I know" but you won't let that happen ever again....and I knew in my heart he was right..

We left and headed to Whole Foods in Sudbury to buy some lunch and then a quick stop at Starbucks and we were back at the tree fort.  I slipped into pj's and plooped down and we ate and talked a bit...I was not in a good place..my body was tired...more than it should have been from only a marathon under our belts...and my heart was heavy.

On the course I yelled at him at one point...Kev was trying to get me to do the fourth loop..to be a positive amongst the clouds surrounding my head...and I reacted by yelling "I do not need a cheerleader" It is funny as Kev has stayed by me and held my hand both in real time and figuratively for the better part of three years...he has loved me and asked nothing in return...I do not deserve this kind of devotion but I am so very grateful for it...he has a piece of my heart and always will...and the man in my life will always need to understand and accept this....

I did not want to go out...I wanted to stay home and wallow...Kev left and headed off to Julie's.  I was on the fence about just crawling into bed and closing my eyes...then Roy called and we talked.  We had not been talking for a bit...we had another one of our arguments (if you call it that as it is hard to define) we frustrate one another because we are brutally honest and say things that we do not want to hear...this can lead to some pain and anger.  The thing about Roy and I is when it is good it is amazing and when we close down and close off from one another it is really really bad.  Saturday night we had one of those talks that is just so amazingly honest and yet positive for both of us...sharing what had happened over the Thanksgiving weekend with Roy was so helpful..as he had been there from the start and had witnessed all that was done to me....instead of judging me..he just listened : ) and that was the best gift he could ever have given me...Roy holds me to things that others do not...I can get so angry at him that I see red and blow my stack and yet we seem to never be able to let one another fade from the others life....he made sure I got my ass off the couch and in the shower and head off to this party as he knew it would do me good to be amongst friends...

Trooper Dave has been adopted into the Tuggers just because well...he is Trooper Dave..there is not a single person on this planet who when meeting T. Dave for the first time will not fall in love with him : ) He is the kind of person that deserves to win Megabucks...and he has been a real help with my anxiety and stress..he calms me and helps me to work through how I react to stress...he is my living stress ball...

So T. Dave arrived and we headed off to Julie's and right when we arrived I knew it was the best thing for me to have done....The atmosphere, the people, the music and the kids well they lifted my spirits...excellent food, a living room full of guitars and singers, children and pups running around...Kev and T. Dave and Julie and I talking running...and then just sitting and talking life with Julie with amazing melodies being sung ten feet away and the warmth of the stove......oh she and I are so very alike...she is just further along and at a place that I would one day like to be....she has been here for the entire saga of the past year and will continue to be here while I try to FIGURE IT OUT....
to think I was willing a second time to give up these people....I am disgusted and ashamed with me....but at the same time I am going to try to be kind to me and not beat myself up...this time it will end with healing and not a wound just covered up with a band aid.... 2011 is almost over and I can look back on it as filled with growth and forgiveness and forward motion...2012...well I have no idea what it has in store for me....but there is something about a blank slate that makes me smile...what colors will I choose to dip my brush in..ah the unlimited possibilities....will I f up?  Of course!  I am a bit of a hot mess and well maybe it is time to embrace this part of me..I can't be that bad if you look at the people who choose to call me their friend...

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Fells...memories past

The Fells races are connected to some of the people I love and respect the most.  I remember one of the first training runs I did there with Kev, Dan and Nipmuck Dave and I think Em was there over 2 or almost 3 years ago.  I remember running a loop of the fells race that year with Kev and we talked about nutrition, health and wellness for the entire loop and then an email from Kev opened the door to a friendship that has seen me through some of the toughest situations I have experienced to date.   I remember the winter fells race two (or is it three years now) when I crossed the finish line to find out I made the WS100 lottery. The trails make me think of Bogie and how there is no one like him and how much I appreciate his quirky sense of humor.  I remember sitting in Steve P's car after one race waiting for Kev and we talked about my cancer and his sisters death and then a few days later I received a beautiful email from his wife Deb that cemented my respect and love for them.  I remember Steve "The Bard" L's video of his last loop of the course the year I dropped after three loops..he continued on being one of the last ones out there on the course in the cold and dark and snow that video not only made me crack up but it placed him in a category of toughness that I could only dream of aspiring to...so many amazing people I have run those trails with...it is a blessing the fells is this weekend....
Kev is home for the week visiting from N. Mexico and we will be running the Fells Saturday together....let me tell you it could not have happened at a better time...I need him here to laugh at the absurdity of the situation..I need the race to see old friends and be surrounded by light and love....I need Julie's party Saturday night... I have lost a little bit of faith in humanity this week....but knowing me I will bounce back pretty quick..I am like Tigger...I bounce...it is just what I do...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I could have been easier on you.......

.....the chorus of a beautiful song on my newest mixed CD...I love the song...and I realized this morning on my way to work when I sang along I was really singing this to myself.  I have tried  for the past year to move on and to forgive myself and every time I came close I WAS PULLED BACK IN and reminded of what I did and what I could have had but had given up....

My blog has been a place where I have been very open about what goes on in my life.  For this latest chapter I will be silent...for the most part...but I need closure in my own way so here is the one blog post about this....

There is the truth and no in between...there are two people who know the truth...sadly there are times when a person will choose to lie to others and even themselves because they are confused or afraid....and my heart goes out to them......life is scary, full of uncertainty, sadness and guilt...we all face it every day....but the key is to be bigger than the fear...find your joy and grab onto it and bask in it.... roll around in it like a dog in fresh cut grass....like a child in a pile of leaves...lick the frosting off the whisk and laugh when someone says you have chocolate on your face....

Friends expect me to show more anger than I am....they say, "what was done to you.there is no excuse for it...it was reprehensible" and my answer....of course it was!!!! I am not a buddah I have a heart...what happened to me well people would cringe to hear of it....but the truth is I have suffered far worse in my life and I always come out a little bit better for it...stronger. I am lucky enough to know who I am and where I am going.  I know my bliss.

Friends wonder how I can sit by and let people lie about what happened and make it seems as if I was the shark circling...smelling blood just waiting to move in...my response: two people know the entire truth and a few innocents had to sadly witness most of it as well.....I will choose to keep silent when the lies are thrown out against me...this is because I am strong....I have no need to lie as I am not afraid.
Those who know me know the truth and those who don't well what they think does not matter...
.
and if it ever comes to the point where I need to dispel lies because they hurt people I love or they cause people  I love and respect to think ill of me...the truth...the story of the past year.... it exists in a folder on a desktop labeled PERSONAL and on a phone under a file called SAVED...It's funny because until three months ago I never knew you could save text messages.....

and that my friends is the END

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Never not broken

A prism hanging in the window...the sun enters....painfully bright... multi colored shards bounce off the wall and the person seated on the couch lost in thought...

I played hobo as a child.  Packed a lunch in a kerchief and wrapped it around a stick and would walk along the rail road tracks from Chelmsford to Carlisle...or I was an orphaned polar bear running away from the evil zoo keepers...or I was just Mishy...and had no particular thoughts except to be weary of the water snakes that sometimes sunned themselves on the tracks...

Tchad was hot...my home was mud and shit and straw...my body was weak and I woke up covered in sweat thinking bugs were stinging every surface of my body...I left the hut and walked 5 miles in the pitch black as I had no oil in my lamp and I could not organize coherent thoughts enough to find the headlamp at the bottom of my pack...I remember thinking what if a hippo kills me...who will laugh and who will cry...who will take a bite of their sandwich and just shrug...

At one time I lived in a tiny story book cottage in Pepperell..the last house before NH....my home abutted the Beaver Brook Reservation and I would run and walk the trails pretty much everyday...The man I lived with started out as my love but grew into my friend....he made me smile..he wanted to wear a man skirt like Harvey Keitel in the piano and he looked like an otter...I liked his two front teeth and his laugh and his long funny fingers and toes. He played drums in a band and they practiced in a studio he fixed up in our basement...I was 30 and working on two masters..one at Lesley College (at the time) and one at Fitchburg State..I had no time to breathe let alone realize the stress of working full time and school and the commute was spoon feeding those cancerous cells in my cervix....I would return home from class usually around 9:30..I smoked then...he did not know....I was a closet smoker..I would look through the basement window and light an American Spirit and lean my back against the house near the rose trellis and breath in and watch the night enfold and listen to the music escape the rectangular panes and drift into the starry sky.....I would for a time forget myself...


I once took the kids to an indoor water park off of route 2....on the way home I took back roads just because I wanted to introduce them to the idea of the blue highways...and the concept of the adventure drives....we were listening to one of the mixed Cd's that Dan made for me while he was in Bakina Faso... I spoke aloud what I was feeling silently in my heart...that I love to listen to these songs as they remind me of Dan.....V who is so intuitive knew there was a story to be told and asked me about Dan...I shared the story of our friendship and how I believe he watches out for me.....it started to rain...hard...as we came near Princeton, where Dan used to live, it subsided and then we saw it..I think it was A. who noticed it first... a double rainbow...perfect..cars were stopping and people got out to take pictures on their phone...but I just continued on...
 
epiphany...a word I want to use in a sentence..but have yet to do so....
 
California..... running to Auburn....ten hours into the race...I enter the canyons and I am alone.   I am sick altitude and heat and my body being broken have brought me to the brink of collapse and missing the cut off.  The canyons maybe the most difficult part of the race and it is here that I need to make up time...I run with my heart and close my mind to the pain...I hear it below me..in the brush and the trees...something is following me...immediately I think mountain lion....I am so scared my stomach clenches and I feel no sourness just cold...I yell to the thing that follows me and I run faster than I have ever run with a body that has not had food and barely any water for over 10 hours...when I finally catch up to a group of runners I have closed the gap..I will meet the cutoff time...at least for now....fear was my pacer...
 
I have a mirror in my apartment...it is warped and old but beautiful in its scalloped frame.  I look at my body in this mirror and sometimes I see its strength and I am thankful for what it can do and other times I just stick out my tongue and walk away.....
 
W. said she was a vampire and bit my neck and arm...little bites with her tiny teeth...little hands and feet monkey like...running over to me she says "smell my breath" and I lean forward and she blows her breath into my mouth and nose..I never hesitate...she says "I smell like peppermint" and she does....her sister says you two look so much alike...I feel the pain...it is sharp and quick like a knife that leaves only a drop of blood..
 
I love his hands...strong...my hands look delicate when they are resting in his..
 
I stand on the very edge of the dock and if I lean back too far and fall in I will probably drown.....I close my eyes and lean back because for the moment I feel like I am flying....
 
I am never not broken......

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thoughts on running in my back yard, taking rocks for a stroll and Betrayal...

This past weekend I was SUPPOSED to have my bum out of bed at 3:45 to make it to Lynn Woods for a 5am start time of the Nougat 100k.  My body had other plans.  When I went to bed the pain was pretty overwhelming and I could not sleep.  When the alarm went off I knew I was not getting up and turned it off and went back to sleep.  6:30 I woke up on my own accord. A little after 7am I was on the trails of Callahan running....slow but feeling pretty good.  I played around on the trails doing loops.  I had to run back to my apartment at one point and strip off two layers...It was November and I was running with shorts and a tank top!  I was following the pink tape of the Busa Bushwack named after Rich Busa an amazing trail runner in his eighties who is a major figure head in the trail running community (he most recently ran Stone Cat). 

It was my plan to just run the trails and then stop when the race started and cheer runners on as they headed out over Edmands Road and then run to the finish line to cheer runners on there as well and then run some more.  The race started at 9 and by 9:30 I was in the Edmands parking lot with Wendy who was taking pictures of all the runners as they headed up the pipeline trail right around mile 2.5...it was so nice to see Wendy and then all the familiar faces who ran by yelling "Michelle why aren't you running" and "where is log?"  Dan was there and ran up to me and took my picture haha then a quick hug and he was off.  I ran to the 9 mile mark and stood up on a bench and cheered on the runners passing by then booked it to the school to see everyone cross the finish line..

I got about 20 in for the day then headed off to Wachusetts to do some hiking with heavy things.I did a repeat with weighted vest and log and a repeat with weighted vest and bag of rocks...the weight was about 50 lbs with the vest and rocks and it was tough...I did not drop rocks like I did at Monadnock but brought them back down with me...I felt it in my bum and quads later that night so I knew I took the right amount of rocks for a walk : ) 




I am happy with my training at this point...I have been doing this stuff for years so don't feel the need to be obsessive about training..overnights are good but for me there is no need to do so many this far out from DR to prepare.  I have years of them under my belt and truthfully I need a good nights sleep ; ) I need to focus more on the swimming and time on feet for McNaughton....

I am going into DR2012 far better prepared physically and emotionally.  Last year I went into DR with a broken heart and on the tail end of some serious health stuff...this year well let's just say I am feeling pretty positive about many things....in fact I feel downright giddy...I have spent the last year trying to deal with my loss through this blog....the past two weeks it seems like all that I have endured the past year and all the changes I made emotionally and physically have brought me to this moment in time...and I feel like I have a second chance and we can all agree that second chances are rare indeed....when you have the opportunity for one you need to close your eyes.. smile and jump!

The only problem is...before you jump  make sure that someone filled the swimming pool with water!!!!

It is funny as 2012 is the year of Betrayal...hahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahaha jokes on me ; )

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monadnock Hike

I have always loved Southern New Hampshire.  When I owned a small little cottage abutting the Beaver Brook reservation in Pepperell back in 1999...I spent hours running those trails or heading out on adventure drives on the back roads Southern NH.  The first time I stumbled on Hollis NH with its numerous apple orchards and farm stands and then Mason NH's Parkers Maple Barn I knew I was deeply and madly in love and I would always dream of living there.  I have had this plan to open a trail running lodge...to find a place along the Wapack or Monadnock Sunapee or Metacomet Monadnock trail system and have an old school lodge with a huge fire place, no television, outdoor fire pit and Swedish sauna...no frills just comfortable...with an honor system bar filled with Berkshire Brewing Company Growlers and big family style breakfast...I would still teach and or a least tutor and the lodge would be open on weekends and holidays..all year round with snowshoeing and cross country skiing as well as a lodge "race" and just long group runs.

Two weekends ago I went back to S. New Hampshire, Jaffrey to be specific, to train with Jeff and Bruce and their friend Mike along with T.K. The plan was to hike Monadnock and Bruce and Jeff has a little extra surprise for me as I missed the last DR camp.  TK and I arrived first and I had not seen him since DR...the thing about us is we can bust each others balls with ease...when the other guys arrived and we had finished our brief intros to T. the guys pulled out a bucket of rocks and a pillow case...I exchanged some toys  bought for the outer limits fitness Christmas drive and in return I got a pillow case filled with rocks...hahahaha seems fitting...

We started the hike and moved through the parking lot towards the cliff walk trail which I realized I had never done before which was surprising because I have trained on Monadnock quite a bit.  I had to stop and regrip the pillow case a few times and I realized I would have to dump a rock or two as the guys may have overestimated my strength.  I took out two big rocks and although it was still heavy I felt like it was a perfect balance of "suck" and "achievable".  I was looking forward to the hike.  Meeting Bruce and Jeff at the start of DR last year and sitting with them in the front pews and then getting to know them more so through their camp and meeting Sheri has been one of the best perks of DR.  Mike and I did the first Outer Limits DR camp together and were buddied up for many of the tasks and he helped me immensely with the wood chopping..he is a funny guy who I immediately felt at ease with and I knew TK would fit right in with these three as he is a hardcore like the brothers but yet very humble and has his head on straight. 

The ground was muddy and my brand new sneaks were immediately inundated with muddy water...what the hell did I expect?  The hike was not easy but then again it was not "difficult" I got a unique sense of just how much my fitness level has changed since this time last year.  I am bigger and stronger and although I have always been able to run forever without aches and pains now I can carry the extra weight on my frame...I have started to be more about functional strength and endurance and less about how muscle looks on my body.  The weight gain has been a real boon and my quads have a few inches on them since this time last year.  Overall I have never been in better shape on the cusp of my 42nd year...a few more wrinkles yep but I can deal with that : ) smile lines give me character hahaha

I had one or the other brother with me for the start just gabbing about DR and some ideas they and Sheri have to get me back at a camp.  Then the four guys started to set a good pace...I was behind them but at each trail intersection I would get to drop one of the rocks.  I also had a fair stretch up to the summit to hike with TK and talk..we have always kept in contact via txt and email but this was the first time we had been able to talk and of course it was filled with humor and busting on one another.  I did happen to pull a few dumb blond moments and make some references about spitting and swallowing that were related to the snot that was flowing freely out of my nose and yet sounded too good for the guys not to rank on me... I have always appreciated guy humor and it is safe to say I am not easily offended..in fact I can't imagine myself really getting offended by much...TK and I have always tended to call each other names that would not be appropriate to banter about in many situations...but on a hike with Mike, Bruce and Jeff and it was easy to fall back to the old banter.  We talked about some serious stuff too........it felt good to see him...my body got a great work out but so did my heart...I have used the word broken to describe me..but that day I left feeling stronger than I have felt in ages..I realized I am not the broken one....and it made me finally forgive myself for things I was always told I did...when in truth I was never guilty of those things.

At the summit I had four rocks left..and I built a little cairn...then we got to the top..the brothers took off and TK, Mike and I talked a bit then TK took off and I had such an enjoyable hike down with Mike and I talking snack food the entire way...A most excellent day for mind body and heart...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stone cat

I love this pic of Julie and I pre race at Stonecat...because that smile came from my tummy and burst out of me like a big loud laugh...when I walked into that gym Saturday morning at 5:30  it felt like coming home...

I have NEVER felt this way about a group of people like I do the TUGGERS and the Trail Animals and every single individual I have ever met through trail running.  There are no "clicks". Every person on the trails...fast, slow, mid pack...they are all .running the same trails..sharing the same aid table pretzels and coke....wearing the same tec wicking T-shirts from their favorite races or their running groups...GACers and Striders and WMACers and so many other New England race series....it does not matter in the end because  every 50 mile finisher at Stonecat walked away with that gorgeous jacket whether it took them 8 hours, 10 hours or 12 hours to cross that finish line...


(Tuggers: Dan, Steve, Rob, Julie, me..Em was in the potty and Bill was sick...Kev was in New Mexico sending all his positive thoughts)

I mentioned how Stonecat felt like coming home..it is difficult for me to express just how much the ultra and trail running community in New England and beyond (big shout out to those out west Kev, Steve and Deb, Garry and Nancy and Bogie, Sherpa John and Bob Crowley who is bicoastal).  I feel a part of something far bigger than me when I run these races...when you see runners like Norm and Chris H volunteering their time when they can run that course hours faster than me..when you see Josh K finishing his fourth loop when you are out on your second and yet he takes the time to give you a big hello, when you cross the finish line and Melanie is there to hand each and every finisher their jacket....when Julie runs across that finish line in the cold darkness with Steve by her side and I know her tootsies are frozen from river crossings in shoes that did not release the water..to see her hubby Dave and her three kids waiting in the cold and dark for their superstar mummy .....when Rob battles through the rocks and roots of those trails to grab his first ever 50 mile finish....these people who do not boast..who do not step on others to rise up but would give you the shirt off their back to see you succeed..well this is the family I am proud to say I am a member of..and at times I wonder if I am even worthy..I know that I continue to strive to be....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Picking Battles

You need to learn to pick your battles 

In life you can't let fear of conflict stop you from taking a stand but at the same time you need to be aware of why you are really choosing to fight for something.

In terms of teaching I pick my battles based on fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves..it is about what is in the best interest of my students.  In my family I chose not to fight but instead to be a deserter.  In terms of love well the one man who was willing to fight along side me I failed to see as an ally so I am still working on that aspect.  In terms of friendships I have strong alliances with people I know have my back.

How do you know who is really on your side?  You can focus on strategy and ask yourself what does this person have to gain from choosing your side? Is the person who blindly follows you and agrees to your every command a true ally or is it the one who disagrees with you..who takes the opposing side... are they less of an ally for standing up to you because they believe strongly that you are wrong?  What is there ultimate goal..what do they stand to gain or lose and how do you fit into their strategy?

I have this thing with passive aggressive people...those people who have to have one up man ship..who have such low self esteem they will do everything possible to point out your foibles to take the spotlight away from their own.  The worst kind of weakness is the person who stands on the back of others to gain attention.  I had a wonderful conversation last week with Julie.  She is an old soul and very wise...from what I know about Buddhism she would be a Bhikshu who lives on a mountain side running up and down the mountain and spouting wisdom with a slight air of witty "let's not take ourselves too seriously now" kick ass attitude. She and I were talking about how to deal with the friend who is worse than an enemy.  The so called friend who prays for your downfall on a very personal level..an almost obsessive need to witness your destruction..this is a very scary person because they play the perfect compatriot...they fool many people and infiltrate your inner circle and unlike the outward impersonal  horrors of battle..they poison from within..they gain your trust only to when the time is right strike you down...

When can you use the term obsession? I have come to believe you can when someone tries to insert themselves in everything that is yours..everything that you love..they MUST be a part of..they must do it better...they must make more noise..they must have lots of positive feedback because their sense of self comes from without and not within....obsessive behavior...I am just so sick of it...so this week end I gave up something I really enjoy just so I would not have to see a person who is starting to make me feel very uncomfortable...after talking with friends who know of the situation they agreed this was a battle that was not worth picking...they said retreating was the smart choice...but how long can I do this...retreat from the things I love because this person has infiltrated every aspect of my life?  At what point to I stand my ground and fight?  As a woman it is hard to make this decision because although I am strong fear creeps in...what kind of person acts so obsessively?  And to what extent will they go to take from you all that you love?

Friday, October 28, 2011

A kinda sorta race report?


The Ghost Rail Ultra gave me an opportunity to see just how fast I could run an ultra.  I went for the 22 hour finish pace of 13 minute miles for the 100 and kept that pace easily up until the end of the fourth loop where I gave my feet a break and walked a bit.  My splits for the 15 mile out and backs were:

Start time 9 am

Loop 1- 11:40 left for loop 2 at noon


Loop 2- 2:49 left for loop 3 at 3:00

Loop 3- 6:12 left for loop 4 at 6:40

Loop 4- 10:15

60 mile complete in 13:15...with 15 miles basically walking : )

My plan was to walk/run for miles 60 to 90 to give my feet a break and also because it was really dark and the rocks and roots were covered by the leaves.  The last 15 miles I would push for a finish time of 7 am.
I would end at 105 miles.  I was on pace for a 22 hour but would have been fine with any finish under 24 hours : )

Turns out that I did not expect the 36 degree overnight temperatures in southern NH and I did not bring pants and did not wear my hat nor gloves nor warm undershirt when I went out for the fourth loop. By the time I finished 60 miles at 10:15 my core was frozen.  I was not shaking which is a BAD sign…when you shake it warms your body up.  I took off all my clothes and wrapped myself in a blanket and blasted the heat.  I was going to take ten minutes to warm up my body but silly me I fell asleep for two hours.  Now I should have gone back out there.  I still could have blasted out a midnight to nine am 40 mile run…9 hours is doable.  Instead my body revolted and said no f’in way....even with the body weight up from 107 to 110 (sometimes after wings 112) I still can't handle the cold.  my immune system is compromised and I have low red blood cell count (Anemia, low hemoglobin, low hematocrit). This causes the following things to happen: I fatigued easily and feel weak and at times when I am very cold or my body is taxed I become short of breath.  I can experience headaches(but I do rarely) and chest pain which was one thing that happened at DR...I suffered what I thought was a mini heart attack on the ride off the mtn. My skin becomes very pale...add to this hypothermia which is a problem I face often on overnight runs or anything that involves prolonged wet conditions.  The thing abut the red blood cells is they carry the oxygen and nutrients throughout my body. Less red blood cells means less oxygen and nutrients make it to the cells to provide energy..in terms of a long endurance event this can become a serous problem.  After WS100 they did test on me in the medical tent and the doctor came over with my results and said "What the hell are you doing out there?  You just ran 70 miles?  You should not be able to make it 10 miles.."  He had given me a complete blood count. A (CBC) is a blood test used to check your blood count specifically the the RBC, hemoglobin, and hematocrit are tests to see if you have low red blood count. Normal Adult females should fall in the following ranges:

RBC  4.2 - 5.4 M/ul

Hemoglobin (HgB) 12 - 16 g/dL

Hematocrit (Hct) 37 - 47%

My results are so wildly off (but not appropriate to put on my blog) let's just say it is amazing I can do what I do.  Changing my diet from vegetarian for 20 something years to a full blown carnivore was an absolute must, as was training less and taking longer rest times..basically just being smart. Now I was NOT smart when I went back out without my hat and gloves and warm clothes....I just tend not to think of anything but that exact present moment in time when I am competing.  I need a support person on hand and they need to know what I tend to do and they need to be strong enough to force me to take clothes or basically just dress me and shove food down my throat as I also tend to have my digestive system shut down after 50 miles and I forget at time to eat and or drink..and for the first 50 miles I tend to crave fat and chocolate (that is why I subsisted for 50 miles on peanut butter balls with chocolate bits).

When I  ran with Kev he always has extra clothes in his pack I can borrow, but in terms of Dave pacing me he had never supported or paced someone in this long of a run so was unsure of what his focus should be.  He said he thought I would be cold but never spoke up as we headed back out.  He will come to Tire Guys with me so he can pace at Stonecat and he said he will wear a pack with an extra long sleeve shirt, hat and gloves just in case.

In terms of DR2012 Dave has offered to support me and basically stay with me for most of the race carrying food and water..Grace's husband and Hobie's brother did that and it seemed to be a big help..if the weather is kind I won't need it but if it is cold and rainy I will....a huge problem at DR2011 was I had no dry or warm clothes after the overnight and no food for a long period of time and at one point when we came out of the river I after a long cold night I had no food and no water!!! DR was so different than an ultra I think my support was just unsure what they needed to do...add in freezing cold rain and they were cold and tired as well.  Well lessons learned will be taken into next year's DR....but more importantly lessons will be used to finish the McNaughton 500...I really really really want to finish : ) and I think a diet of peanut butter balls and and hot pants and tank tops is not going to equal success : )



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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rail Trails, Peanutbutter balls, the Po Po and Akhilandeshvari...

I ran the Ghost Trail Ultra this weekend and much of the time on the trail was spent in constant forward motion at a very set pace between 10 and 12 minute miles.  I had lots of time to think.  I ate far too many peanut butter balls at the out and back aid stations but a jar of peanut butter aside I felt strong, cold. but strong.

When I was not dreaming of peanut butter and chocolate I was thinking about men.  I was thinking about the men in my life now and the ones that have long since moved on....


After the race I had a phone conversation with Kev.  I was trying to explain what was going on with me. I was in the process of making a big decision to move on from a relationship I had had in my life that was not moving forward just backwards and therefore was not helping me to grow but instead to remain stuck in place.  I was trying to explain why at this point in time and with this person I was unable to generate any forward motion. I was trying to explain why I thought I had had such a difficult time making strong connections with men.   The simplest way to explain what was going on was to say….I am broken…..there was no drama behind this statement….I said it with the same intonation I would if someone asked me my height or weight.  “I am 41 years old, five feet four inches tall, I weigh one hundred and nine pounds, I have blond hair and green eyes and I am broken…”

My heart broke and I never really had the opportunity to heal and so the heart led to the soul and the soul to the actual body and then I shattered.  The conversation seemed dark but there is a silver lining....I am slowly finding ways to glue these broken pieces of me back together.  And I am finding that you can barely see the lines left behind once the shards are pieced together with the gorilla glue.  Truthfully some of these lines that can be seen... well they give me character.... like a plate I once found at a yard sale.  It was a dinner plate from Italy.  It had gorgeous red, orange, and yellow flowers on it...colors of Tuscany...obviously the plate was glued together....and I thought that this plate was  loved so much that someone took the time to glue it when it shattered.  I thought this plate was breathtaking.  When I placed it on a plate rack on my wall in my old apartment in Groton  I found myself walking by and catching the bright yellow or red hues and stopping a moment to admire the colors. In terms of relationships I can only hope that someone some day will find my glued cracks to be the same...and they will think "how compellingly flawed,  so vibrantly eschew....so brilliantly off center" and they will sigh and think....her imperfections are breathtaking.


KZ sent me a link... about a blog...this woman speaks of an Indian Goddess called Akhilandeshvari she writes that “Ishvari” in Sanskrit means  "goddess"  and “Akhilanda” means essentially “never not broken.” In other words, she writes this goddess is......The Always Broken Goddess....I read on.  She shares that this goddess is not broken as in weak..but instead her strength is in her ability to tear apart the things in life that stagnate us...those things that we return to again and again and never seem to give us bliss but slowly suck the life from us.....oh how this spoke to me...to have the strength to break the chains to relationships or habits that we repeat over and over again but they just take us two steps backwards instead of a step forward.  I consider myself courageous on many fronts and weak and pathetic on an equal number...but lately I have decided to break those binds from my past all in one fell swoop...like an ax splitting through a log as if it was butter I am slicing away at the people and practices that are keeping me from moving forward. 


I laugh at myself...I always do..I find inconsistencies my weaknesses my silly absurdities deserving of a good hard laugh.  It is one of the things that people have told me they like about me...I call myself out on the carpet...I can take myself very seriously at times but I love a person who can bring me back to planet earth...who pulls the chair out form under me..who hits the back of my knees so I fall to the floor...I need it and I appreciate it equally in a friend or a partner..  This weekend I fell asleep for two hours when I was supposed to take a 10 minute warm up break in the car..naked and covered in my peanut butter balls I threw in the towel and gave up at 60 miles driving home through the dark cold back roads of southern NH.  I was pulled over...a speeding car late at night through a small town will have that result....naked except a blanket dirty, desheleved, tired and sticky with peanut butter and chocolate I had a flashlight shined on my face and instead of being worried..I just let what ever happen happen...a warning... a smile... a shake of the head and that was that....I thought to myself at that very moment I am living life exactly how I wish to...why would I waste a single moment doing anything other than that...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ultras....Hot Yoga....Crossfit....Weights..my head is spinning

Last weekend I decided to go to Julie's Bday 40 m fatass over the VT hike.  I am glad that I made that decision and it should have been a given...how could I ever have missed such a wonderful day with Julie...we talked for like 6 hours straight : )  I miss the Tuggers...I would like to see them more because they are kind, good people with huge hearts who have been there for me for the past few years when I needed friends to lean on.  Still my life then was all about running races...Stonehead three years running says something...yes it says I am dedicated but it also said I didn't have much of a life or I am obsessive compulsive : )  I want BALANCE and today I can say in terms of training I am more balanced...still I spend far too much time training when I should be devoting myself to personal relationships...especially the romantic kind...my needle is stuck on that record and it just keeps playing the same chorus over and over again.. and although I would love to move back..you can't do that...so I need someone or something to help nudge my record player forward...I believe that what I truly want may come to pass if I just have faith...but until then I need to focus on making my life more even keeled.

I am working hard to do this. Last weekend I got in a cross fit and hot yoga class Saturday and lots of errands were done and I had a nice meal and relaxed with a good book and  felt on top of my game for Julie's run.  Now one week later I am poised to run a 100 miles Saturday through Sunday night and I am going for 22 hours and I feel like my body has had adequate rest top achieve this goal. It is all about balance (this should be my next tat after Reckless abandon).

I have a few guys from DR 2011 (Tom L, John M, Dennis and Jay) whom I really respect and connect with.  They tend to do their own thing but will join in with a group when it fits.  All four men have gf's or wives and jobs and 2/4 have kids in their lives....they seem to have a pretty good balance in terms of life and training...I have no one to answer to but me...I go home to an empty apartment and all my time (outside of teaching) can be devoted to training...but there is no real balance....I benefited from having Tom's kids in my life as they gave me an a window into what is important...bath time with Weenie was pretty funny and how can I say a gym workout was worth more in the grander scheme of things than bubble bath and bath toys?

I sent an email to John M today.  He owns his own Crossfit place with his wife.  The two of them are pretty amazing...John gave me some great advice in terms of balancing my training...he cautioned that I was trying to do too much and that I had a\can't or should not (although I think I do) have a very unforgiving and or inflexible schedule in terms of training..he stressed to listen to my body. Sometimes I think I train so much because it keeps me busy and I don't have to think about my health or my love life or my family issues...I just close my mind off from it all and get shit done...but at what cost?  Is this the way to a successful and blissful 500 miles?  To a finish at DR?  When is something just too much?  Is it bad to use training to push your body past its limits over and over again?   What is my ultimate goal in all of this?  Yes to finish the 500 and DR but REALLY why do I do what I do?  It has a lot to do with my health issues...I kind of think these goals are the  strongest medicine in my fight...and yet when does it become about the finish instead of the journey...when I get caught up in it all who is there to kick my ass back to earth...who is there beside me to celebrate these goals....lots to think about...or maybe I think too much.....

Acidoticracing

Me and Michael St Hilaire at the finish...his wife snapped this photo of him holding up a twig to my log.  What a great couple.  I am always excited to meet new people out on the trails.  It is funny because Micheal, unbeknowst to me, then took this pic and posted it to his racing team site and said they should get me to race for them and then a DR guy saw this somehow and posted it to the Spartan DR FB site...you need to be aware of the many facets of FB lol luckily this was a positive thing although people who don't know me may think I am either a crank, an ass or a bragger...

I think the idea of racing for a team is pretty cool although I know nothing about it. I consider my racing to be uber personal. I am and always will be just Michelle  (and there is no real way to define that...except maybe hot mess lol) and I don't necessarily want to define myself by the things I do or the people I do them with....but in all truth I do define or label or connect or consider ultra running to be an integral part of who I am (don't get me wrong in terms of this post, this not a post against being part of a team or a particular type of racing style or pursuit...this is just about me trying to figure out me). I love DR, but not so much the "Spartan" aspect of it...in truth would rather it had stayed a low key under the radar Peak race than become the Spartan Death Race dadadadummmmmmmm...

I have no desire to do Spartan sprints, or Tough Mudders or any of that stuff as there are WAY too many people and much too much hoopla for me...I would get too anxious with all that...and I like that DR is a multi day race..that better suits me.   Everyone involved in these types of races and activities (To many people DR is considered  the pinnacle of these obstacle type races) are there for different reasons, and one reason is in no way shape or form better than another.  What I am coming to realize is that my reasons for doing DR don't always mesh with others and when I get caught up in another person's training style, schedule, or expectations I am really only moving farther and farther away from my own personal goals which are to finish the Peak 500 and finish DR2012.    I love to fast pack and hike and sometimes like to go lite while other times I like to bring a full pack or wear my weighted vest or carry a rock and I love to do overnights, but it is important to note that overnights tax the body...I know this because I have done them for over 20 years..starting way back when I was in college and a big fastpacker and backpacker.

I know I can do an overnight with ease and I know I can stay on my feet for over 24 hours and still stay pretty lucid and focused on the task at hand.  I need to pick and choose my overnights as they sap the energy from me both from a health perspective and also sadly an age perspective.  I am not an old lady by far but there is a difference with a 25 year old and a 42 year old...it is what it is...I can't train as much with that high level of intensity as I did in the past..I want to do way too many things now and can't just spend all my free time running..I have to train smarter especially with my ultimate goal for 2012 being the Peak 500. In terms of training for Peak one weekend a month would be better spent running 5 hours Friday after school then eating a nice dinner with a book and a glass of wine....sleeping 7 hours then running 10 hours Saturday going out to eat with friends Saturday night then sleeping 7 hours getting up having a nice morning doing errands then running 5-7 hours Sunday and hitting the sheets early Sunday night. Overnights are awesome and fun but they tax the body.  I know how my body reacts to being submerged in freezing cold water and I have experienced hypothermia...I know that it is often a crap shoot in terms of whether my body can deal with 24 hours straight of being soaking wet and freezing..I have low body fat, a small frame, a compromised immune system and an alarmingly low red blood cell count..that equals being fucked when wet and cold.  I know what I need to wear to combat that and what nutrition I need to take in to make sure I have energy to burn to warm myself up and keep trucking..whether or not all the pieces come together... you can't always control for it...but at this point I have experienced enough ultras in the pouring rain and freezing temps to not need an overnight that involves water in October : )  the exception would be the Outer Limits training as they have people on hand if I get to cold I can jump in a car and heat up.  So although I think it is pretty cool to be part of a team..I already define myself as a Tugger first and foremost but also a Trail Animal (loud animal yelp inserted here).