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:
~ 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:
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.
~ 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.
~ After the Race
We went and had some lunch at a little cafe in town:
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.
The next day we were off to Burlington. Some sites along the way:
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:
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.:)