Day 9 of Gratitude…Rumi

I’ll be honest, I never really heard of Rumi up until a couple of years ago.  I just happened to be in a bookstore and picked up a collection of his sayings.  They are simple and to the point, so I thought I would share.  So often we look for advice in others that aren’t walking the same path as you.  Learn to listen to your inner self and know that your path is just as great and meaningful as someone else’s path.  Find those that are on the same path.  Happy Miles to You!!

 

 

Day 6 of Gratitude ~ Heroines

Happy Tuesday my friends!  I hope the start of your week is a good one.  I am getting excited about this weeks race and it looks to be a clear but cold day.  Better than rainy and cold.  Planning for two miles today and some strength exercises.

Something to think about….

“Above all be the heroine of your life, not the victim”.

~ Nora Ephron

Happy Miles to You!!!

Day 4 of Gratitude ~ Mileage Recap 22 Oct – 4 Nov… In The Arms of The Angels

Happy Sunday everyone.  I usually do my mileage recaps every Sunday, but every now and again, time and circumstances get the best of me.

First, let me give a shout out to all my friends who ran the New York City Marathon today!  They say there was 50,000 runners.  Unbelievable!  I was reading an article about a teacher who experienced one of the major school shootings and she had a quote that running “heals the soul”.  I agree with that statement. That will be one of my last races I do in my mileage journey.

Training is steady as she goes for next week’s 2018 Veteran’s Day 10k Race.  Not a long race, but the beneficiaries of the race will be Team Red, White & Blue, a group that helps veterans around the area.  There are chapters all around the country.  I’m just happy to be running.

Running

I continue to improve my pace on the shorter runs.  My breathing is good and my stamina is slowly building.  It has been a bit of a struggle trying to get back to what I consider an optimum pace for my age ~ lol!  I still maintain my goal to beat my PR marathon goal of 4:41 and keeping my average pace in the 9:00 min range. I finished October with 58.65 miles ~ about 10 shy of last month.

This weeks long run was okay.  I was a little winded from lack of sleep (excuses I know) but I got it done.  The trail was covered in leaves in a lot of places which made running difficult because I was looking at the ground so I wouldn’t slip and fall!  Plus I was taking pictures!  I think my pace would have been in the 10 minute range.  It was just so pretty!

You can see the leaves falling in the video!!!

I have completed 5734.82 miles in my journey with 5580.18 gratefully remaining.

Cycling

Not much to update here, after the 10k I look forward to focusing on my cycling.

You might be wondering why I titled this post in the arms of the angels.  It is one of the reasons I’m calling November my month of gratitude.  Not only does it have to do with my birth month and that I want to scream from the hills every day isn’t promised and is a gift.  Let’s face it, soon I will be 51 and although that is young these days, I do look at it as a time to be thankful and grateful for each day that I am given.  I recently found out a friend of mine committed suicide last month.  I was notified by Facebook© IM of all things.  This would have been the only way this person could have notified me and I don’t hold it against her because I didn’t know her personally.  I have a love/hate relationship with IM.  Technology is awesome.  We can find old friends, share ideas and pictures and converse instantaneously from around the world.  I have a few friends that ONLY use this method of communication.  Needless to say I find it rude and a little cowardly.  People who only IM are lazy and frankly if someone doesn’t take the time to call you ~ they’re letting you know that, yeah you just don’t mean that much to me or I can communicate only when things are convenient for me.  I know not everyone will agree with my assessment, but think about a person who only converses electronically ~ you may begin to see that person in a new light and agree with me on certain points.

The individual that died was a big part of my life for about five years.  She was a step-sister in a marriage that didn’t work out.  We were all young during that time.  It was a difficult time in my life and when she contacted me about six years ago I had reservations about starting up a conversation.  We became online friends and kept in touch with each other through the years.  She had experienced a lot of ups and downs, but I always kept a line open and offered my telephone number many times in case she wanted to call, but she never offered hers.  I hadn’t heard from her for a while and then a couple of months ago she contacted me to tell me her mother had passed from pancreatic cancer, again I offered her my number.  I had checked up on her a couple of times insisting she give me a call.  I got her address and sent her a sympathy card which she acknowledged she received and that she would respond.  During our conversations she had told me how she was working hard ~ studying for a Spanish test and how things were going well.  She had missed her Mother, but that life was moving forward.  Then I heard the news that she had hung herself.  As I write this, I can’t put into words what I’m really feeling.  Bewilderment, sadness, and sympathy for a life cut short.  I was dumbfounded as to why she would do this until I went on her Facebook page and saw how she had been battling depression for a long time.  It’s sad for me to hear and I often find myself thinking about her even though I hadn’t seen her since she was a little girl.  I guess I feel she just didn’t get a fair shake.  Life isn’t fair, no doubt.  So, if you’re following me in this month of gratitude ~ I ask for a gift gentle reader.  Reach out to someone – by voice.  A short call or a meeting for coffee.  Talk to them and let them know you care.  It doesn’t have to be sappy.  Sometimes just sitting there, together, sipping wine or drinking coffee is enough.  Pick up the phone and say hello.  That might be all it takes.  I firmly believe we have allowed ourselves to become too dependent on communication through social media programs as primary communication.  We are forgetting the art of conversation and interaction with other people.  My thoughts only…

Rachel was a beautiful woman:

 

She leaves behind two children and will be missed.  Even though we separated under strenuous circumstances, life is about forgiveness and growth.  Rachel is in the arms of the angels and free from the pain she experienced on this beautiful earth.  May she rest in peace.

I feel I should post this to help anyone in need:

National Suicide Hotline:  Call 1-800-273-8255

I hope this Sunday finds you in a peaceful state of mind.  Happy Miles to You.  “in this sweet madness, this sweet glorious sadness”….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fly to Pie Half Marathon Race Recap…Halfway Mark Reached….Vermont Style

Happy Sunday Everyone!!  Nothing like a three-day weekend, right?  If you are enjoying one, then good for you.  I’m back and rested from my fourth half marathon ~ Fly to Pie in Newport, Vermont.  This is a great milestone for me because I am now halfway there!  I only have 5651.43 miles left to go.  When I say I’m halfway there I laugh and think of the movie Dumb and Dumber.  Do you remember the scene where Jim Carrey is trying to win the affection of Mary.  She tells the character there’s a one and a million chance that they will be together and he replies “So you’re telling me there’s a chance”!

Ha!  Meaning there’s such a long way to go ~ but my determination and positivity is on point!

Fly to Pie Race Recap

~ The registration

This was positively the most frustrating and strange race I have competed.  As you remember from previous posts, this race was advertised on Active.com.  I have always wanted to see New England and I was excited to give Vermont a try.  From the beginning everything was difficult.  The website, the registration, trying to get information on packet pick up,  and where exactly was the race starting etc.  I was constantly calling and emailing the closer I got to the race date.  The person who was in charge was waaaayyyy too laid back for this girl.  Called a couple of times for him only to tell me he was busy with the swim event at the moment and would get back to me as soon as he could.  Well, that never happened and I found myself packing and setting out for Vermont with a mere start line address and nothing else.  But as you know, that’s how I roll.

~ The drive up   

I love dragging my friends with me to these events.  The way I look at it, hey I’m going to run this thing…then we can have fun!  I took my friend Rajni Anderson and it was truly a girls trip!  We got a late start on Friday night and ended up staying in Delaware the first night.  Sign in  (uh huh) was to take place on Saturday 9 – 5 at the Newport airport.  I knew I was not going to make the time.  Normally, I would have been really stressed about this, but for some strange reason I wasn’t.  I think everything was already crazy enough that I decided if I didn’t find the start line ~ I would make my own start line ~ somewhere somehow.  The drive up was great once we got past NYC.  The leaves slowly started to change into the brilliant Autumn colors.  When we finally got to the state of Vermont that’s when we really started to see the Fall foliage.  The countryside of Vermont is absolutely beautiful.  Rolling hills, streams, rocky edges and farms dotted the countryside.  I even saw a black bear!  It was on the side of the road (not dead) but just mulling around.  At first I didn’t know what I was seeing!  You get used to the usually stuff like deer etc., but a bear!  It was very, very cool.

We rolled into Newport around 5:30.  I decided to make reservations at a Bed and Breakfast suggested on the race site called the Little Gnesta.  Little Gnesta  It was a cute B&B run by a super lady named Ruth.  I really liked Ruth.  She was a transplant from Ohio and about 67 years old.  We had conversations about politics and every day things.  She knew the person who was in charge of the race and actually called him to let him know I was here and to expect me tomorrow morning.  Ruth ows two houses that are B&Bs.  When I asked her how she liked running them she said she liked it but she didn’t want to do it for this rest of her life.  She said she wanted to sell one and then go traveling.  She had a lot of stuff to still to do ~ I love it.  There is no better thing to hear a 67-year-old say, yeah this is great but there’s still more to do!  Newport is a small town.  It’s funny because I always thought of Vermont being populated by  wealthy people, ski lodges and cute second homes dotting the countryside.  Although there is some of that, the realism is Vermont only has about 650,000 people in the whole state and there is a lot of poverty and mostly dairy-farming.  It’s funny how we think certain places are by things we hear or what we may see on the Hallmark channel.

Here are some pics of Newport I took:

Our room in the Little Gnesta

 

Flowers at the dock.

Boats on the Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~  The Race

The race started at 9:00 am.  That alone should tell you all you need to know.  I will say, it was nice to have a race start at a decent time.  Here was my race kit:

Bought a whole new much-needed kit.

The new outfit I bought was great, but it was a little chilly for me and I had to opt for a long sleeve shirt instead of the cute sleeveless one.

The race was to begin at the Newport International Airport.  For the life of me I can’t imagine what plane internationally would be landing there.  It was a normal community sized airport.  But hey, what do I know.  I showed up at about 8:15, signed in, got my number (407) and my t-shirt.  I was really hoping I would have the number 409 ~ get it?  So, you are probably wondering, what is Fly to Pie.  What that means is we were running to a restaurant called Parker Pie. At the end was beer and pizza.  The perfect ending for any race.

There were three races.  A half marathon at 13.5.  Yes, I know:/….but that’s what it was.  I’m ending a sentence in a preposition ~ I totally hate that:)  There was a 17 mile and a full marathon.  No more than 50 people participating and 20% proceeds going to Halo Foundation ~ Cancer help and research.  Hmmm, but if you think of it ~ whose saying yeah I’m going to Vermont to run a marathon.  Well there is a big one in Burlington ~ but unfortunately I missed that date.  Since this race was like literally on the down low ~  I wondered how well it was supported.  I soon got my answer.  From the race head ~ “Hey everybody, we had tables of water and snacks every two miles but some of the tables got stolen last night”.  Ooookaaay.  The I turned and there was this bright cheery youngster and I asked the most important question of all.  Are there portos on the route.  She looked at me and said “hmmm, I think there’s one at Irasburg at the halfway mark, but I’m not sure.  But don’t worry, there’s plenty of woods around – just go in the woods – that’s what we all do”.  Hey, thanks for that…really.  Then she proceeds to tell me that the course may not be marked properly and that I’m probably not running as fast as I think I am.

Hey this one has a peace sign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ And we’re off!

So we begin…just the 50 of us…running down a gravel path…off into well, somewhere in Vermont.  My iPod Nano broke just before my race.  I was bummed when I found out they didn’t make the Nano anymore and I would have to use my iPhone.  I have an older version so it’s not that big.  I can’t imagine running with an iPhone 10!  It’s like a brick.  I started off fine.  Two miles in was this:

Again, this pretty much tells you all you need to know about the course.  Gravel roads and lots of hills.  The person in the photo was Gwen.  Gwen was celebrating her 50th birthday, so you know I couldn’t let her beat me…and I didn’t.  Yeah, I know…I’m a bit competitive at times.  I’m telling you, if a bear would have come out of the woods and chewed my arms off…by cracky I was going to beat Gwen:

About at mile four is when I realized two things…I was alone and I was running past the biggest pile of cow manure I’ve ever seen.  I mean it was about three stories high with what seemed like tires on top to keep it from disintegrating.  And the smell.  I’ll share a little secret, I love the country smell, i.e. cow patties.  There is something wholesome about that smell.  But this, was a pungent acrid smell.  As I was running past Mount Shitmore, it didn’t help that trucks were speeding by, kicking up dust and well…cow poop and I was getting dusted with a nice sheen of stank!

Around mile 5 I had to go to the bathroom.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a tree that spoke to me so I kept on running.  Finally at mile marker six I made it to Irasburg, the halfway mark, and I saw the lone porto potty in the distance.  Yay, I don’t have to go in the woods!  As I arrived there were three race support ladies standing by the porto potty.  They ominously looked like the three Fates from Greek mythology:

One was telling me to use the bathroom, the other asking if I wanted a Nutrigrain™ bar and the other wishing me good luck.  Hmmm….thanks ladies but I’ll use the porto and be on my way.

Ahhh…nothing like being halfway through….Doh!  Mile 9, I have to p….use the bathroom.  Dang you 50s!  Luckily I was able to make it to Parker Pie with no wood adventures.  I arrived at the restaurant and didn’t see my friend there…no worries I’ll just call her on this handy cellphone.  Hmmm…for some reason it wouldn’t go through.  I go into the restaurant that had wifi and asked about the cellphone.  The waitress says – Oh we don’t have no cellphone connection up here”.  Drop.the.mic.babe.   There I was with no way to contact my friend, no pizza (because everyone ate it) and no money for beer.  Literally the trifecta of hell.    No cellphone, pizza or beer?  Oh heck no!  So, I resorted to what any red-blooded American would do ~ I got on Facebook and posted to Rajni’s page that – Momma was ready.  Apparently, there were awards afterwords, of which I didn’t stay for….I smoked the newly minted 50-year-old and that’s all the award I needed.  I found my friend and back to the B&B.

Finished! No bling:( Picture by my Subie…so Vermont.

~ After the Race

We went and had some lunch at a little cafe in town:

Yes, that’s a Vermont beer. Don’t judge!

I love the race part but exploring my surroundings is just as exciting.  I went back to the B&B to clean up and we were off to explore the area.  Newport is very close to Magog, Canada.  Magog, is a quaint town in Quebec with a lovely main street about 30 miles from Newport.  It was interesting to hear everyone speaking French.  We did some shopping and ate at the restaurant called La Table.

My bun was a little burnt, but it was sooooo good.

Beet salad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we were off to Burlington.  Some sites along the way:

Covered bridge still in use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ Burlington

Burlington is a great city to visit.  The University of Vermont is there and the city is vibrant with places to shop and eat.  A few pics:

Ruin stacking

The main street

Lake Champlain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poutine – Canadian dish of fries, gravy, and cheese curds!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, a great experience.  I have completed 5663.57 miles in my journey.  I believe that every day we have on this earth is a gift, a chance to experience God’s greatness, peace, love, and joy.  It’s not always roses and butterflies, but we have the ability to make it fulfilling and good while we are here.  I am reminded of the reason I am compiling these miles, for my sweet mother Karen Ellen Dennis Mastromonico who died at age 31.  I can only hope that she is with me on this journey, experiencing these places she never had a chance to visit.  Maybe somehow through her spirit, she is with me in some capacity.  At least I hope.  I am halfway through.  I look forward to the next half.  I hope this post finds you with the excitement of living a new day as we approach a new season.   Life is short ~ be fearless ~ be strong ~ be present.  Happy Miles to You!!

I think this song sums up my Vermont run!  Only way to listen….Turn.It.Up.:)