Monday, June 25, 2018

First 150 mile bike week, camping, and hiking

I wanted to give a shout out to one of my running friends, rather a woman I met through running and we became friends. She is in her 60's and started running at 59.  Her goal was to run her first 5K the year she turned 60.  And she did!  And we all know how that goes, the 5K was awesome so we roll into the next distance and we all celebrated her first 10K, and then the excitement and the feeling of accomplishment was so great she tackled a 1/2 marathon.  A HUGE undertaking!  After her 1/2 things just stopped going well.  She took a break for a few months and then got back to the Couch to 5K training to start running again, and that wasn't working, so she did a walking program.  It wasn't the same.  She hung up her running shoes. She was very sad, and you could tell how she longed to get back out there but her body was not going to let her.

Nearly a year later, a month before her approaching retirement at the end of June she had a long talk with her body and it agreed and she started Couch to 5K again!  Running is where it is at for her, clearly, now, at age 65, she can't give it up!  To say I am honored she calls me a friend is beyond measure.  

People like Connie give me the courage and motivation to keep on keeping on.  All of our situations are different, some of us have bad days and want to call it quits, some of us have hip replacements, and can't wait to get out and run and bike again.  

Never give up. Never surrender.

Monday (3.2) As unwise as it was I went out.  I ran into Mikey at the gym and he said "Walking or Running?"  I didn't really know what I was going to do, but for sure I was walking up that first hill. Sorry Shari, at least I went up the hill?  My body hurt, the only thing that didn't hurt was my nose, which was a surprise considering all the pollen I'd been breathing in and honking out.

Monday beer, mostly because Leslie can't.

Jax didn't get either of his peeps to take him anywhere, but I did take him on a ride in the car, it's too hot for him.  He is pissed with both of us, while he is nearly 8 and close to 56 years old in human years, he is very much a sullen teenager when he doesn't get to do what he wants to do. 

So this is it?  A ride to the store.  Sheesh, I should pee on the floor.  -- Jax

Tuesday (0) My greatest activity was mowing the lawn.  It desperately needed it and I had a Fat Alberta (Throwback Brewery) waiting in the fridge for me once I completed that task.  Jax helped me scoop poops in the backyard, pointing out that his reserved for poop area had been neglected and he had to poop in his pee area.  He is a quirky weird dog.

Lives up to the hype!

This is the first time I used the mulch function on the mower.  I think the lawn has been deprived enough of grass clipping fertilizer, right?  After all of that and actually mowing the stupid hill, Jax really wanted to play. I found Buddy the Glow Ball and we played with that.  I was surprised Jax was willing to play with Buddy, he'd been outside for quite some time, being relegated to an outside ball is akin to death for that dog.  But he was good with it and we fetched, yes both of us have to fetch because of someone throws like a girl.   He brought Buddy into the house and plopped him down near his food tray, I guess Buddy is back in the rotation. Oh, goodie it will be fun to see a glowing orb in the darkness.  It is kind of freaky from time to time.

Guard dog on duty!

Wednesday (76) Ro, Charlotte, and I went out to Long Island to do a Metric Century, we aren't really good with the metric system so we did 76 miles.  It was a nice loop Ro and Mark do once in a while and Dave and I joined them last year.  Long Island is flat.  You pedal the entire time.  I feel surprisingly good for pedaling for over 5 hours!  Ok, there were two ferry rides between Greenport and Shelter Island and Shelter Island and Sag Harbor...  SO really it was less than 5 hours of pedaling.  :)

me, Ro, Charlotte

Tom from the EBAC Tour de Testosterone suggested we three gals would click.  I was dubious as I always am, he was right.  It was like we'd been hanging out together for years.  I love it when that happens!

Relive the ride here.

Other than the old man in the bright red car trying to take the three of us out, it was a good solid ride.  

Me and Charlotte ready to sleep on the ferry ride home!

Can't wait for our next adventure where we roll our Ruby's!!

Thursday (1)  Off to camp!  The experiment this time was a late start and setting up camp while it neared dark.  Jax and I had a couple laps around the campgrounds.  All went well and we enjoyed some 'smores before bed.

Mmmmm melted marshmallows
You can kind of see Jax's glowing eyes at the tip of the stick

Friday (28)  Dave was off to Thunder Mountain in the morning, I dropped him off and then picked him up.  I really didn't need a vehicle, other than to find a package store and get some beer and a newspaper so we could start the evening fire.  Jax and I went on a hike and had a nap and procured beer and a paper in time to pick Dave up at 2.  We may also have been munching on some of the most amazing chocolate covered pretzels.

He's impatiently waiting for me, it was slippery!

My adventure was a road ride.  I found on eon Ride with GPS that would be about 40 miles.  I was a little unsure of a 40-mile ride with long climbs two days before a Connecticut hilly 45-mile ride so I found a shortcut.  HA!  Yes, it was shorter but with about 1,000 feet of the elevation in a one-mile climb (versus a 4 or 6 mile climb).  DOH!  I walked my bike up most of that, it was steep and littered with runaway truck ramps.  Not smart on my part, the elevation maps are there for a reason, as well as the segment being called "Monroe Hill the second steepest paved climb in New England"  I have no idea if this is true or not, it was no joke.

I accidentally trespassed on this bridge.

After that, I was rewarded with nearly 10 miles of downhill.  I did remember the write up on this ride, 20 miles of climbs with 10 miles of downhill.  The climbs to the point of my short cut were nice and enjoyable.  I missed the enjoyable climbs with my shortcut.

The Town Pound is where lost sheep are stored till their owners claim them.
For the local folks, you can see the remnants of one near Lenny Lane in Burlingame.

I also discovered I have to adjust my back derailleur to fully use my cassette. I still think I'd like a bigger cassette, I'm struggling more than I need to up hills.  But maybe actually being able to get into the 32 tooth cog will be all I need?  Pretty sure this all loops back to when the cable bird caged (frayed) and I never got it adjusted correctly (under Dave's watchful eye).

Relive the ride here.

All in all, I'm not disappointed I am 9th on the leader boards (out of 9) or that I walked my bike a fair distance.  I didn't give up and go back the way I came.  Plus I broke 40 MPH on the bike for the first time this year!!

Tardis!  - Rowe MA

Looking at the elevation profile, maybe a clock stupid route would have been ok?

Saturday (6) It was due to be rainy most of the afternoon.  Dave went off to Thunder Mountain, with the truck, I didn't need a vehicle and the cell service is so bad he could text me for hours to come to pick him up and unless I happened to stand on the picnic table I'd never get the message.  

Let's go this way Peeps!  -- Jax

Jax and I went on a short hike on part of the Mohican Mohawk Trail.  I suck at poorly marked trails.  We still had fun.

Another place for lost sheep!

After Dave got back we took another hike where I had a bit better of bearings and a couple map pictures on my phone.  We saw some beautiful areas and also hiked on a bit of the Mohecain Mohawk Trail.  I need to find some history about this trail.  

The picture doesn't do it justice.
The black dot is Jax

Sunday (45) I made plans months ago to do the Seven Lakes Ride Pedaling for Patients with Ro, Darleen, and Grace.  Since meeting up with Jess a few weeks ago for a ride, with Dave, Spud, and Jax in tow didn't go to bad, we decided we'd try it again.   This time the ride started from a school and Dave had a better idea of what he'd want to do.  He mostly cleaned up Spud and finally got an eMail sent off to the guy reviewing his Christopher DBG (Double Bass Guitar).  The initial review was excellent!  

Me, Dar, Grace, Ro

The ride was a charity ride raising funds to help cancer patients pay for medical bills.  

Me, Grace, Ro
Dar did the short course

Relive the ride here.


Feet: 10
Saddle: 150


Nothing to report, I think...  I can't remember, but probably no knitting this week.


"A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Daily Life"
by Greg Jenner 

Status: In progress

Still interesting!  

"The Loom"
by Sheila Gillus

Status: Finished

Parts were hard to follow because the female character names all started with L and male with J. After reading the prologue this was by design, and reading the prologue made me appreciate the book even more than I did after I finished it.

The lives of the slaves were horrible, some only ever wanted to be free, others to just die and be done with the torture.

Worth the time to read, pay attention to the names and the symbolism in the book, it is really striking.

"War Brides"
by Helen Bryan 

Status:  trying again for the 4th time, per Goodreads I've already tried to read this three times and couldn't get into it.  Maybe it wasn't good bedtime reading?


My mother wrote a family friend passed away, he suffered a stroke in December and months later, when things didn't get any better he said he'd had enough.  I remember Mr. Kizer very fondly.  He and my father worked together and had a great friendship inside and outside of work.  Of the many Mr. Kizer memories my favorite is when I was an adult, working at Ford, his wife was our departmental secretary (they were called that way back then).  Mr. Kizer came to visit Pat and I greeted him with "Hi Mr. Kizer" as I had done since I was about 10 years old!  He looked me square in the eyes and with utmost sincerity said: "We are at work, you can call me Phil."  I said "OK Mr. Kizer."  Mr. Kizer and Pat (she was always Pat to me) laughed!  You don't undo 15 years in two seconds!

I remember Phil (that is still hard to say!) and his first wife Lynn visiting one night and getting raucous with my parents doing the twist in the living room.  I swear the whole house shook with the four of them acting like teenagers.  It was really cool to see that side of my parents.  

Definitely many good memories of Mr. Kizer/Phil.  I still have a hard time calling him Phil and it's been 40 years!  

Emily Dickinson said it best:  

Unable are the Loved to die
For Love is Immortality,
Nay, it is Deity—

Unable they that love—to die
For Love reforms Vitality
Into Divinity. 

Emily Dickinson

There has been an incredible amount of death of loved ones in the past month.  Maybe this will help ease someone through the pain.  I do believe Emily was correct, the memory and spirit of those who are loved never dies.  The body may no longer be with us, the spirit is.


All in all an exhausting in a really good way week, I'll be curious how my recovery goes and if I have any issues.  I feel like I did a good job of getting enough hydration and rest.  (As of publishing this on Monday night, I definitely needed to take today off and may take most of Tuesday off, my body isn't exactly happy or unhappy, but sending out warning signs I should listen to).


Beth, kinda sad we can't have 'smores before bed every night.  (because she needed to end on something not so morose as death)

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Ruby Girls and Mount Washington!

Monday (0) Brought my stuff, didn't manage my calendar, no excuse for that.  Grocery shopping and laundry kept me pretty busy in the evening. Gosh, I'd love to have a wife to take care of all that shit. Imagine all the free time I'd have!  (don't forget I also work a 40 -50 hour week, can I hear a hell yes from my other working wives?). Jax seemed content to sit on the porch with me while I enjoyed my last 603.

You'd have to ask him what the neighbors were bickering about this time.
I'd of divorced her too if I was married to her.  Poor Jay.

Tuesday (40) The plan initially was a ride out to Misquamicut and back to Groton with the EBAC Tour de Testosterone.  That ride crept up to 66 miles with the leader not wanting to ride the same road twice. No fucking way (it's my blog I can swear if I want to, phttttttt).  A few eMails between Tom, Ro, Me, and Charlotte.  Tom has now dubbed us Char Ro Be or something like that.  And we had a flat 40 miler instead.

Relive it here.  I think I love the part where we did circles in the parking lot for 1/2 mile!  HA!

Tom thinks the guys need their heads examined, who wouldn't want to ride with three charming and funny ladies?

Ro, Charlotte, and I all ride Rubys!
The Ruby Girls!
We were happy for the company and for him to push the pace from time to time to keep us on task!

Wednesday (3.2)  A therapeutic walk with Ro at lunch, she hasn't really experienced spitting nails, Beth, before.  After letting me talk and yell and scream I felt so much better! 

Thursday (2) Rachel and I had a therapy session at the Beer'd Running for Rescues.  REDACTED

Happy 19th work anniversary to me!

Friday (0) It rained earlier than I expected.  I had a loose idea I'd take Jax for a hike before I headed to NH, figuring my meetings didn't start till 10 a.m. and Dave was up and out by 6 a.m. Surprises awaited me in my inbox and surprise, rain.  

Saturday (8.4) Hike up Mount Washington and cheer on a few of the runners we knew and then hike down.  We started about 7 a.m. 2ish miles up Tuckerman and then 2ish miles up Lion Head.  

Steve, me, Mark, Ro, Grace

I hiked with Ro & Mark who've done this year round and at least a dozen times.  And Grace & Steve I think Grace has done the first 2ish miles of Tuck as part of some crazy race, her husband Steve?  He is all politician, I blocked him out as much as possible.

The first 2ish miles looked mostly like this.

The trails were crowded, it was a great day for a hike and everyone was taking advantage of it!  We ran into a woman from our part of CT/RI so that was pretty cool. She too was hiking up to see the runners finish, she sped past us and we wished her well.

Yeah, a ladder...  it got steep!

For my first hike, it wasn't bad, I think I did ok considering I have zero mountain climbing skills and no idea what to expect.  I had the upper body strength enough to hoist myself up and lower myself down when needed.  Imagine if I actually got back to working on these things.  I don't have the speed of everyone else, probably a combination of not knowing what I'm doing and an overabundance of caution because of the terrain and I'm slow, period.  

I got to see Rachel and that made me tear up.  She solidly beat her B goal and I'm proud of her!  Leslie and Sarah were far to fast!  

It's not called "The Rock Pile" for nothing!

And for this, my 4th time up the rock pile I got the dorky photo with the summit sign.  

See dorky

The way down was easier cardiovascularly and tough mentally, you really have to think about the next three steps ahead plus watch out for on coming hikers and hikers wanting to pass and making sure you are staying on the trail going from cairn to cairn when you are over the tree line.  


My biggest worry was my knee buckling.  I felt the warning signs a few times and I'd stop and do what I needed to do to get everything lined up again.  Happily, it did not buckle, gave me enough warning so I could adjust.  My knees are the least painful part of my body at present.  

The other two hitchhiked back to their car.

Sunday (1) We took Jax to the field so he could get out and scrub off three days of being cooped up in the house.  He'll get to go adventuring next weekend.  

Happy 18th Wedding anniversary to me and my Imaginary Husband!

One of the many wedding cakes!


Saddle:  40
Feet: 16


"The Pillars of the Earth"
by Ken Follett
Status:  Finished

Exceptional story, for such a huge undertaking it was easy to keep the characters and their individual stories straight.  I kind of want to go look at all the old churches in Europe now!

by David McCullough
Status:  Finished

Well researched and extremely readable and understandable.

"A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Daily Life"
by Greg Jenner 
Status: In progress

So far interesting, we are going through the process of a day from waking up to I'm assuming going to bed, and all the activities in between and the evolution of them.  Like waking up when the sun comes up and how clocks differed from town to town and that worked fine until we had railroads and time schedules and if you were going from town to town it may be 10:15 when you leave on an hours journey and be 11:05 when you arrive, yet an hour has still passed.   I'm enjoying how Jenner is attempting to pull together a million years of history in one day.

I picked this one out because it was available, and no other reason.  I discovered I did not have any more books loaded into my iPod classic!  YIKES, First World Problems.  


Slow progress, who wears socks in the summer anyhow, plus they are probably going to be the ugliest or second ugliest pair I've ever made.

All in all a good week definitely depleted any saved energy stores and I need to figure out how to manage the coming week and not burn out.

Beth, pain is temporary, pictures are forever.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Choice: Focus on feeling shitty or Focus on what doesn't feel shitty

I should probably change this to Beth Rides in RI, ha!  Clearly running is not what I'm doing much of, and I am so happy to not be in constant pain.

Monday (2) I could feel something odd happening inside me so I bagged a lunch run, besides I’d done something physical for the last 3 days so maybe it was time for a small break.  Dave and I took Jax on a hike along the Yellow Dot to the Outenback for a grand total of 2 miles.  Jax seemed less sullen than on Sunday.  

Cool Luna Moth from the campground
I didn't have a lot of pictures other than camping.

Tuesday (20)  The Tour de Testosterone was riding out of New London Tuesday night and it was supposed to rain, Ro and I were going to ride in Groton, the question was when.  We decided on a lunch ride to be sure we missed the predicted afternoon rain.  Mark found a great path leading from the neighborhood before Bluff Point through Haley Farm and along Mumford Cove.  This eliminates the hairy experience up Fort Hill.  The hill itself isn’t the issue, it’s a short 7% grade climb, the concern is the traffic or riding on the crappy sidewalk and being alert for cars backing out of driveways.  All around it’s a bad place to bike.  This is a great alternative to get out to Groton Long Point, plus it is an all-around pleasant biking experience.

We did a lap around Groton Long point and back to Campus.  I was tired, more tired than I should have been.  But I didn’t sleep well on Monday night, nor did I sleep well on Sunday night.  I had a couple really good and energetic weeks, guess that’s all my body is going to allow me, now to put some effort into not to pissing off my body more.  Back to faking being well for a while.  Lovely.

Advil: 2
Tylenol: 4

Wednesday (5.7 +  1)  After a slower than usual power walk, can I even call it that?  It’s my blog I can mostly say what I want, right?   Good and a handful of Advil helped me limp through the rest of the work day.  Crap I hate this so very very much.  

It was pretty clear I was heading for a big crash but had to honor some commitments.  I vaguely remember going through the motions sorry if you have to repeat yourself next time we talk.  Dave had to laugh when I farted and said "Good night" while nothing about any of this is funny taking it to seriously makes it worse.

This was from Charlemont, I didn't have many interesting pictures not from there.
Jax gets very concerned when he is separated from his peeps and that big silver thing.  This is his concerned stance.

Jax got gypped on his walk so we ended up playing "The Dumb Game" I felt bad he didn't get a good adventure.

As always, I went to bed thinking: TOMORROW I’ll wake up feeling normal!  

Advil: 6
Tylenol: 0

I haven't figured out which works better for what but Advil was what I had on my desk, so there you go.  I think Tylenol actually works better at the fever part...

Thursday (2.5)  I slept through the night, probably mostly out of pure exhaustion.  Spent the day telling my watch to shut the fuck up about "It's time to move."  

I'm taking over some responsibilities from a retiring colleague.  They've been doing this job over 20 years and she is at a loss on how to train me or what to tell me, so she said, I can't figure out how to do this, maybe we can try a couple different things?  Sure.  She gave me the basics of guidance and shuffles the inquiries on to me and I tell her what I think the next steps are and sometimes I'm right sometimes I'm wrong.  So far it is going well but come July 2nd when she is officially gone I'll have a melt down.  The thought of transitioning my job responsibilities to someone else scares me too, at some point it all becomes second nature on what to do.  I think Cecilia did the best by giving me the most basic of guidance, a contact list, and a reference list.  Most of it I've been able to noodle through pretty successfully and even use my own network to find answers!

He's such a goof.

We took Jax on a hike at Riverwood, looking for snakes didn't see any but heard something like a goose being strangled by a pig.  Who knows what goes on in the area by the Pawcatuck River.  

NO Advil or Tylenol, a sure sign of better things to come.

Friday (3) Off to Mohawk State Campground in Charlemont, MA for a quick trip.  

When Jax figured out we were going adventuring he was ecstatic.  Seriously!  He had his usual Flying Wallendas routine, the random punching of things, and added to this a whole body shake, it was HILARIOUS!

The camp loop logged about 0.6 miles when Jax and I went to investigate to get our bearings.  It was a mile walk, out and back to the dumpster to deposit garbage, all asphalt, not great fun.  We did our camp loop 3 or 4 times a day.
Deerfield River, Charlemont MA

We were a quick decent to the Deerfield River, or a bit safer longer decent.  Dave picked the 'That was a bad idea' decent the first time and we picked the reasonable assent to get back to the campsite. 

Deerfield River, Charlemont MA
Dave had to sign a paper saying we were aware we were camping in black bear country and food was to be kept in the food safe on the site, not in tents, don't leave food waste around, pretty much clean up after yourself and anything that might be a tasty snack or attract a bear should be in the food locker or disposed of in the dumpster before nightfall.

He wanted to go out there, sure thing pal, how ya getting back?

This had me a little worried the first night.  But when Jax's nose whistling became so annoying we had to get up I checked all around our site and didn't see any bear tracks to that made me feel a little better.  Drama much, Beth?  Ha ha

It is hard to know what you are looking at.
Jax (you can see a tiny bit of his white chest) is staring intently at Dave who is roasting a marshmallow. He couldn't understand why Dave was playing in the fire.
Dave and Jax enjoyed their first ever 'smores!

We were without reliable cell reception, excellent.  If you stood on the picnic table you could get a bar, excellent.  I got a couple photos posted but it really wasn't worth the hassle.  

Bridge of Flowers, Shelburn Falls, MA

Saturday (3) Dave went to the Thunder Mountain Bike Park to do downhill biking and Jax and I were going to hike Indian Trail to the lookout point.  

A cliff on the Indian Trail, just after we turned around.

Dave's day was far more successful once he bought a pair of gloves (he forgot his) so his hands stopped slipping off the handlebars.  Jax and I set out with plenty of water and a drinking vessel for him in a backpack on me.  The initial part of the trail was a gentle slope and then it turned into an uphill hell.  We made it 0.3 miles up the trail to the tune of 700 feet of gain and I called it.  What if he fell and I had to get him off the trail?  This could be bad.  He was happy to have already had half his water at this point too. We went back to the campsite, and he chased flies and other bugs and I read.  

I love finding old decaying vehicles in the woods, this is along the Nature Trail (I think)

We took a much more reasonable hike later on and found some perfectly reasonable trails to explore.  He is not a mountain goat and I am working very diligently at reducing the stress points in my life.  I may need to go live in the woods permanently.

Family Photo

Sunday (40) Months ago Jess and Faith and I planned to meet up for a bike ride on June 10th.  Last week that dropped to Jess and I.  (Faith had to adjust her schedule so she could keep up her training for her Vermont 100K race.)    

Totally didn't plan on the neon green theme!!

Jess and I decided we'd go back to Mansfield CT, somewhat central to both of us, and ride the 40 mile Tour de Mansfield course.  The wrinkle was the start time because we'd be 2 hours away by car, 2.75 hours away towing a trailer.  Fortunately Jess was a little worried about the heat  and a late start of 10 to pulling it back 1/2 hour.  Instead of 9:30 Dave and I got there at 9:45 and then there was an issue with parking.  All went well we were rolling by 10:08 a.m. and the weather was perfect for biking cloudy, cool, and no direct sun.  If we would have gone with 10 we would not have rolled until 10:30 or 10:45.   

I think I need to raise my seat.
Picture by Jess, while she was riding, bad Jess, bad.

Relive the ride here.

The best part of the ride other than the constant conversation was Jess' new bike is perfect for her.  The hills on this course were tough for her last year and with a smoother just a bit lighter bike and I think a bit more core strength as a result of PT to manage her physical challenges (Scoliosis) she was zipping past me on a few hills.  It was freaking awesome to see, she looked so much more at home on the new bike.  There is something to be said for having the correct equipment for the job and for your style.

We agreed on a stop at mile 20 to just get out of the saddle and it so happened we were at the top of an incline and found a completely empty parking lot to hang out in for a few minutes and drink and eat and incessantly chat.

Overall we did more miles on the course than last year and Strava showed a marked improvement in our times.   I have to say that is the FIRST time the second time I did something I did better. 

Dave and Jax hung out in the parking lot, took a hike, did some trailer maintenance.  While I feel guilty having to have him wait he reminded me that was pretty much all I did yesterday.  Yeah, but I did it in the woods, was it really the same?

Overall for a pretty impromptu trip we managed to not forget anything!  

Definitely will be back!! I have a few road bike rides in mind for sure!!


Feet:  17
Saddle: 60

For feeling like something the cat barfed up most of this week I did pretty well!



Feast:  True Love in and Out of the Kitchen
by Hannah Howard

This was disappointing. An anorexic who turns into a bulimic and makes bad choices. I kept wanting it to become more engaging, there was a lesson to learn, it was an interesting peek, a very short peek, in to the culinary world.

In Progress:

The Pillars of the Earth
by Ken Follett

Aliena is exacting revenge on her father's killer, it's getting good!  Richard is going to be Earl.

The Loom
by Sheila Gillus

A story about a light skinned slave who can fake it in the white world however doesn't want to leave her world behind.


Slower than usual progress on the socks...

Beth glad for a fun weekend to erase the shitty parts of the week!