Monday, October 29, 2018

Totally enjoyed a rainy Saturday, focus on the good

October 22, 2018 - October 28, 2018

Monday (6.3) - Enjoyable run at lunch time even sucked it up and went down to Jupiter Point.  I dug up my iPod and listened to some music on the run and that was a helpful distraction.  For my 3:30 run segments I saw and felt some peppy paces,  yeah!!  I can't remember why or when I stopped listening to music, trying to remember how to switch playlists on the iPod (its a shuffle, do they even make those any more?) took a few tries and I don't remember how I switched from the Tabata playlist to the Running Music playlist.  I pressed buttons till it all worked, ha!

We don't talk about him snuggling with "Big Mean Kitty"
The look of disgust on his face cracks me up.

Jax decided that he did not want a rest day and took me for a walk.  Surprisingly he is a mile kinda guy and just when I thought he was heading home he went straight!  He got his mile.  Good for him.

Tuesday (7.7) - Ro and I were meeting late in the afternoon to walk, but I still wanted to move for lunch, and I knew I'd be in NYC on Wednesday, I took the long way to the cafe and back with my lunch, and as it happens dinner for Dave because there was way to much food.

May - Spot on!


Ro and I met up, neither of us were in the mood for hills, she had an 8 mile run earlier in the day, complete with pick ups.  We did the beach and Avery Point loop and caught up enjoying the sun immensely.



Jax got to run around on the beach so that got me off the hook for a dog walk, instead he wanted to play tug o'war.  Ok

Wednesday (1.3) - My big debut on the stage moderating a panel discussion between 4 colleagues, two with me on the stage, one in Brazil, and the fourth was recorded earlier.  Quite the technological feat pulled off brilliantly by the guys in the tech booth.  Having worked with them for years I was completely confident this would go smoothly, the rest of the team were not so sure, we would be flipping back and forth between Brazil, video tape, and live in NY, something anything was bound to go wrong.  My biggest fear was not filling up the 45 minutes we were talking, meanwhile I've spent the last month peeling people off the ceiling reassuring them it would be brilliant, the run of show was on point to the last detail and Jose and crew nail everything they do.

Kind of handy reference

Not trying to brag or anything, HA HA, Yes, Yes, I am, clearly, bragging, it went as scripted.  I'm pleased, very pleased.

There is a lot to be said about planning.  Made me think of my training plan for my ultra.  I still have it hanging up on the bulletin board and see it daily.  I may have pitched nearly all of my race bibs and most of the stupid medals in fits of rage or self pity from injury and illness over the last few years.  That, that I kept, I took it down a few times, and looked at it and nearly threw it in the trash, but something wouldn't let me.  It is a daily reminder of working the plan and seeing results.

Ice Age 50K training plan

Jax took me for a walk when I got home and it felt nice to move and get some fresh air.  Gak the air in NYC is disgusting and there was some driver ahead of me on the highway with a bad exhaust and it wasn't until after 8 p.m. until I could take a deep full cleansing breath.

Thursday (7.8) - Run at lunch, I upped the run section to 4 minutes and left the walk at 1 minute.   Wednesday was the day the Prednisone was dropped to 5mg, I wasn't, and still am not sure about the effect.  The run felt good, it was windy and that always changes how the run goes, parts are easier and parts are harder and was it the wind or was it me or was it both and then I added on 30 seconds of running, so there were several different factors at play for the overall outcome of the run.

Spooky


I was out of work early for the annual mammogram, it was quick and efficient, per usual.  That gave me the opportunity to take Jax on a hike.  We went to the old Burlingame Campground, so cool.  We explored different camp roads and checked out the old campsites and camp buildings.  Kind of eerie with the setting sun.  We will go back there, he seemed pretty curious about everything so hopefully, this will keep his interest for a few more hikes, plus it is a super easy and gentle path.

Old camp site


Friday (1.6) - Fuzzy on Friday, ah yes, I forgot my backpack at home, Thought about going for a ride, figured I better get Jax out to the woods because it was going to be crappy on Saturday.  Half-assed a hike with him, trying new to me trails, he didn't really care because they weren't boring carriage road/double track, they were fun rocky and narrow single track.  I managed to get most of my docket at work done, and prepped for the next week, so it was a pretty good day.

Let's get crazy -- Jax


Saturday (1.8) - As planned it rained and rained some more.  Fortunately we got a break around dog dinner time and I took Jax out for a stroll.  He was really into this in town walk, guess he was bored from watching me knit all day?  I enjoyed knitting immensely and am nearly done with the left front of the sweater.  It was nice to knit for hours and not have shoulder pain, well a little but nothing like I've experienced.  Not even worth taking something for it.  In fact, I have only take a couple acetaminophen since the first of the month, and that was due to hormonal crap and not auto immune crap.  This is the longest I have gone in a year not taking something ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen (or all three) daily in over a year.  My liver is probably happy about that?  I even got brave and pulled all but one of the bottles of pain relievers out of my purse!  Living on the edge!

Bored


Sunday (4) - Not exactly a stellar lets get moving day, I think two days of lazies did their toll?  Took Jax out to Yawgoog, in Richmond RI.  It is a Boy Scout Camp, HUGE!  I'm guessing it is where the troops meet for a jamboree.  I'll have to find out more.  The trails were great and we were going to go around the lake, but that didn't quite pan out. I'm not great with directions or maps but I am pretty resilient at finding a plan B or C or Z or whatever it takes.   There was a couple miles of slippery ledge that Jax loves so much so he was content and then we had a little hike on some calmer terrain, he was bored.  We will be back now that I have a better bearings and can make sense of where we were versus where I intended us to go. 

Still not much color
Lake Yawgoog
Beautiful sky


Knitting:

Making stellar progress on the cardigan, looks more like a vest, still need to finish the left side, the sleeves, and the big deep cowl collar.    This was taken after I finished the right side.  To quote Flounder from Animal House "This is going to be great."  I can already tell it is is going to be a warm comfy sweater.



Reading:

"The Curiosity"
by Stephen Kiernan

Status:  Finished

I love this story.  A great mix of sci fi and ethics and human behavior.  The characters are wonderful, and by that I mean you have a very visceral reaction to each and everyone of them, I love it when an author can write a character so well you can see them in your head.  Not all the characters are lovable, some are down right despicable. 

"Alexander Hamilton"
by Ron Chernow

Status:  Started

Guess it's time to learn something?  The book has gotten great reviews from friends and I enjoy Chernow's writing. 

"Factotum"
by Charles Bukowski

Status:  Started

Mind candy, for sure.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A pretty good week. 

Sincerely,
Beth, in awe of how things evolve. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Can versus Allow - the lessons my immunocompromised body teach me

October 15, 2018 - October 21, 2018

Monday (5) - Not quite as peppy as Friday, an excellent run.  A little bit of rain in the beginning.  Felt good to run around the UCONN Avery Point campus.  Guess I accomplished my goal of 5 mile runs far earlier than I expected.  I'll stick with the 3:30 of running for another week and then up that to 4:00.  Underneath it, all my knees are still my knees and I need to be kind to them.

For Dave and Jax
Tuesday (4.1) - Walk at lunch, the air was cool and crisp and the sun was bright, all that felt super nice.  I didn't feel so conspicuous walking for the first time in a while.   Dave took Jax to the beach, they seem to have resolved their differences.  Jax decided to crawl up on my chair with me so he could have some attention.  He is a goofball and definitely perks up with the cool and dry weather.

Haaaahaaaahaaaa


Wednesday (5.7)  -  The fire is on, Jax was happy to curl up in Gus' bed and enjoy soaking up the heat.  Funny for a dog who hates the heat he LOVES the fire.   Not a flattering picture of him, but I don't think he cares.

Happy for a fire.


Hills with Ro was fun, especially fun to be able to almost talk in complete sentences while power walking UP the hills!

Thursday (3.7) - Not a running day but I didn't have enough layers to only walk.   I ran a bit to warm up it felt good to be outside and in the fresh air and sunshine. My hands froze and it was only mid 40's. I should know better.  They burned when they warmed up, it's only October!!

Boooorreeeeddddddd


Friday (3.1) - Hike with Jax.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to run with schedule conflicts.  While this bummed me out not to get in a second 5-mile run. I'm happy I got in one good one!

Burlingame North


My perspective has changed so much over the years.  I was thinking about that when Jax and I were in the woods.  I'm still uber bummed he isn't the great conversationalist of Giz and Gus, they seemed to enjoy my stream of consciousness jibber jabbering and would come to check in with me from time to time or at least look interested. Jax is visibly annoyed with my stream of consciousness jibber jabbering, and don't pull out the phone to take a picture or OMG talk on it if Dave calls.  So I have to think about these things and not vocalize them.  Oh well...  Guess that is what this is for, except I'm not in the woods having all these brilliant thoughts I'm in the house not having brilliant thoughts and can't remember what I was thinking about in the woods.  Jax is snoring on the couch, of course, he is.




Saturday (7.7 & 2.8) - The day started kind of depressing, a second pot of coffee depressing.  By the time it brewed the sun came out!  Yeah!   I went for a gravel/trail ride in Arcadia.  I really didn't have a plan, I knew some of the roads and knew the GPS was easily accessible so I figured I'd see where my wheels took me.  Trail riding requires thought, you can't just pedal you have to think about what to do next.  It is a great way to get out of my own head, even on the 'easy' gravel stuff.  After a few miles of  'easy' getting on to the single track was less scary.  I need to warm up, I guess.  It was nice to be completely absorbed in the trail and where to steer and what to aim for, versus what to avoid.  I go where I look so looking at trouble, guess what gets me into trouble!  It was fun to do one of the more difficult trails without Dave telling me what to look out for.  I'd get myself in a jam and then get myself out of it.  Really it was nice to be outside, in the fresh air and sunshine and pedal.

Barney on the trail in Arcadia.


Jax and I went to Riverwood, the Boy Scouts were there doing some camp maintenance, I had to direct Jax away from that and on to the trails.  He did perk up when we were heading back towards the camp and he knew there were people there when we left.  He got out for an hour and got some exercise, and some new smells and some exploring.  It really is weird having just one and I'm still not used to how independent he is, I probably never will get used to that.  But when he needs someone to do something for him he for sure lets one of us know.

Very serious.
Spud in the background.


Sunday (6) -  I decided to tackle Green Fall Pond again, this time from the pond and not the Narragansett Trail (the one where we needed to cross a stream).  This worked out well just going around the pond, lots of rocks and roots and fun things for Jax to explore.  We did have to cross a bridge, not something Jax enjoys, they really freak him out.  The oddest things freak him out as well, like the cement cylinder in the trail.  He wasn't so sure about that.  I coaxed him over the bridge and didn't have to carry him, phew. 

The scary bridge.


That was less than 2 miles, so I thought we'd explore Carter Preserve.  I've ridden by it on my bike a number of times and didn't know a thing about it so it would be new to both of us.  I figured like most of the Nature Conservancy preserves it would be small so I didn't really study the trail map or look at distances.   Whoops!  We logged over 4 miles in there.  Easy trails but still after scrambling over rocks for two miles at Green Fall Pond Jax was going to be tired, mission accomplished!

What is that thing in the trail? -- Jax


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All in all not as exciting a week as last week.  I'm still fretting over the scale and my puffy face, but I'll take feeling better over a couple extra lbs.

Funny how two weeks ago I finally came to terms with my health and fitness and the next week WAZOWIEEEE steroids changed everything.  I wonder, if I had known the impact would I have asked for them for the Mount Washington Century?  I feel like I could conquer it now...    Guess this is a good barometer for what I CAN do versus what my body will ALLOW me to do.   I'm feeling a lot less like a failure and a disappointment this week, and I believe that will continue because I have learned some very valuable lessons.  As GH says "Should make you appreciate how tough you've been when not feeling well!" 


Knitting:

It isn't easy to take a picture of cables...  The color is a dark plum.

It is an interesting twist cable pattern.  Really hard to capture.

This is the back and the sides knit as one piece.  On either side above the ribbing are the pocket holes.

Books:

"Pachinko"
by Min Jin Lee

Status:  Finished

Historical fiction about a Korean girl coming of age, getting married and living in Japan, facing the discrimination of not being Japanese.

"The Curiosity"
by Stephan P. Kiernan

Status:  In progress

I downloaded this as an available now.  Little bit "Time Travelers Wife" little bit science fiction.  Told from several points of view about the reanimation of a man frozen in an iceberg.  I'm rather enjoying this one!

"The Witches of New York"
by Ami McKay

Status: In Progress

Interesting, unfortunately, it amplifies my everyday frustrations dealing with misogynists.  Intelligent perceptive women are not witches nor are they evil.  We really haven't moved forward as a society in so many ways.

Sincerly,
Beth, who really can call herself one tough bitch.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Quite the eye opening week, in a good way!

October 8, 2018 - October 14, 2018

Monday (4.4) -  Made the right out of the gate, my usual running route.  Felt good to be on a familiar course.  Walk 1-minute run 3:30 minutes seems to work well.  I have a goal of 5 miles 2 times per week.  Maybe next week I'll up to the 5 or maybe not.  I definitely felt this in my knees when I get up from my desk after the run, but they felt better after only a few steps and didn't go back to being achy the next time I got up from my desk, all seems very promising.  After that, I'll slowly transition to more running time, 30 seconds at a time with the 1-minute walk break and see how that goes.  My right knee was bugging me a bit in the middle few intervals, it never felt like it would buckle, it was uncomfortable when I'd land with my foot too far forward, landing fully on my heel instead of more heel/midfoot when my foot lands just a bit ahead of my hips.

Burlingame service road
Not quite fall yet

Strava does this thing where you can see where you are trending on a particular course you run.  For the first time, it didn't bug me to see where I was running this course a few years ago, in the high 9's / low 10's versus my current pace in the 12's. This starts in 2012 when I started tracking things on Strava.  Interesting data and this really helped me in my conversation with my Rheumatologist the next day.


Jax didn't get a walk, instead, Dave played hide and seek with him.  It was pretty clear how much Gus used to help with this game and give away Dave's hiding spot!  I had to crack up when Jax ran by him at least 5 times maybe close to 8 before Dave started making noises and Jax could hear the clue but couldn't for the life of him figure out Dave was behind a chair.  The fun of a house where all the rooms are connected and you can run around in circles.

Tuesday (3.8) Started the morning at the Rheumatologists office.  I could see my bloodwork before he went over it with me.  All the inflammation markers were UP!  Bloody hell.  I feel better than I have in a while, so none of this is making any sense to him.  We discussed the minimal joint pain I do have and I'm pretty sure that directly relates to what I'm calling running these days, he focused on the joint pain in my elbow and hands, gone, completely gone.  The shoulder pain I have is muscular, not joint and is clearly related to crashing on my mountain bike.

My last one, sniff. 


He asked if I was willing to go on a low dose short course of steroids to see if we can get the inflammation reduced?  I wondered if this was going to happen. He said he would have immediately put me on steroids to reduce the inflammation, but wanted to see how it progressed under my current medication protocol.  I'm not thrilled at the thought of a steroid, low dose or not,  but getting the inflammation under control is pretty important to my overall health and organ function.  It all makes me wonder how long this has been a problem and how much I've learned to live with.

Gobble Gobble


I had a nice quick 2-mile walk at lunch, I had 50 minutes to walk, shower, and get to my desk for my next meeting.

Wednesday (7.7)  Hills with Ro.  This was my first day on 10mg Prednisone, so I had no idea how anything was going to go or feel, I thought it best to do as I normally would then I'd know how things went?   Hills were good, peppy, very peppy considering it was 80F and humid, in October...  Well, summer was a month late so fall will be late too I suppose, all these things are like dominoes.  Wonder if winter will be late or we will get snow the first week in November as some weather gurus are predicting?

Camp site marker


The only difference I noticed was my knees, they didn't feel as achy or a creeky after the hills.  I noticed this on my evening hike with Jax.  I did remember my headlamp as we were venturing into the woods and would be there after sunset.  What I forgot was to charge it.  The light was dim but bright enough to see and I turned off the red flashy in the back to help save some power.  We'd be out for only 2 miles, pretty much all Jax can stand in the humidity we had.  He slogged along behind me not at all happy about the weather but happy enough to find things to sniff and pee on.  We scared up an owl and that was good heart racing fun.  Then we happened upon two people with two dogs on the trail, they did not have on anything reflective or headlamps so we nearly ran into them.  If it wasn't for their dogs making a lot of noise it could have been eventful.  I let them go on ahead as we were going the same way on the trail.  Turns out they were the other car in the parking area!   I kept an eye out for people approaching during our walk, for maybe the first 3/4 of a mile but then I forgot about that car, figured they were probably gone by now, as it was dark and who goes to the woods in the dark?

Thursday (3.8) Enough time to take a long walk to lunch, slowly as I didn't have time to change into shorts and wash off the sweat so I didn't smell the rest of the day.  Jax and I had a quick in town walk before the rain came back and before he had dinner.  He is starting to get into these walks, will wonders ever cease?

goofball


Day 2 of the Prednisone.  I didn't do enough to notice much of a difference, but I didn't ache as much going down the stairs, so that's good, right?

Friday (7)  I was anxious about running, pretty normal for me these days.  How was I going to feel?  I definitely felt better after Hills With Ro than I normally feel, so was this a prelude to a good run?  Or was I fooling myself.  I did a 4-minute warm-up/psych-up walk and started the 1-minute walk 3:30-minute run interval timer.  The run started and I felt good, my breathing was remarkably under control, even and smooth, not panting and raspy.  Must be the cooler and drier weather.  The 1-minute walk break came and I was surprised at how much further I was then the same route on Monday. Back to the run and I watched the watch flip over to the pace, I felt good, and not breathing all choppy, 10:21, no way!  Well some of it is downhill and the wind is at my back, it must be a fluke...  the next one 9:56, then 9:22, 9:52, 9:45 and I was smiling and feeling really great.  Most people would say the wheels came off at this point but I settled into paces more in the 10's, where I am also happiest, for the rest of my run segments, a couple I didn't finish because my heart rate was a bit too high.  I'm beyond thrilled.  BEYOND!!!  I chalked this all up to the Prednisone giving me the extra boost until someone commented on my Strava that his brother had the same reaction to the Prednisone and his doctor said  "...Prednisone doesn't make you feel good, but that's how you should always feel..."  I know the brother has been having autoimmune challenges and I've been watching his Strava feeds with speeds faster and distances longer, so maybe, just maybe this will kick my immune system back into functioning correctly?

My mother further gave me hope that some of her cancer support buddies have been on high doses of Prednisone and haven't experienced the weight gain.  I haven't had the weird dreams, which is good, my subconscious is pretty bizarre all on its own, I'm kinda scared what it will dream up (haha, see what I did there) with the Prednisone influence.

Wilcox Homestead
Front Steps

We took Jax on the old campground loop and that was ok,  Dave is such a grouch with this weather.  We found more old campsite markers and I think next time I'll explore some of what I can see are old camp roads.  It is so cool, not at all spooky anymore.  I'm also studying the maps to see if I can add on another loop to this route so we have some choices of loops and not the same old same old.

Saturday (4.5)  The morning was supposed to be icky so I got done a lot of those, oh it takes 5 minutes I'll do it later, until they pile up and four hours later you are only halfway through the list because, well when those 5 minute things start to pile up they seem to morph into more jobs because the piles get out of control.   I did purge out a lot of crap I've been hanging on to for no good reason and found something I thought I lost years ago.

See the blue marker on the other side of the river?
Maybe another day, maybe never we will try this again.


I wanted to see how I'd feel on the Wickaboxet Blue Loop this week from a week ago, granted the weather is much cooler and that makes being outside more enjoyable for both me and Jax.  Grouchy came with us, I really need to make my imaginary friends happy people, shame on me.  He grumbled and grouched most of the way around the loop, I can't say that I disagree with his some of his points, but seriously, I have Facebook and other social media to get my daily dose of grouchy whiney complaints.  This time we discovered the Wilcox graveyard and the front steps of the Wilcox homestead, that was pretty cool!

Jax enjoying the rocks and roots


Sunday (2.5) My plan was to go to Patchaug with Jax and do a loop around Green Falls pond.  How difficult could that be?  Well...  you have to cross a river from the direction we were heading, and well that wasn't happening, not with 80 lbs of rock (Jax).  Crap.  so we drove around for a bit and went to Canochet Preserve for a short hike.  This turned out to be just the right thing, Jax enjoys going for a ride and he was pretty wiped out once we got back in the car, snoring with in 5 minutes.   I forget he is 8 and that is pretty old for a boxer boy, he gets grouchy when he gets over tired like that, and sure enough he got grouchy when Dave tried to move him from Dave's spot in the bed at about 11 on Sunday night.

Goofball

Knitting:

Still no pictures, or no decent pictures.  I'm about up to the armpit area for knitting and getting ready to divide for the back and the front.  Exciting stuff!!

Reading:

"The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane"
by Lisa See

Status:  Done

I loved this book, a great story, not just because it had a happy ending because it was so well told.

"Dark Places"
by Gillian Flynn

Status: Stalled

I may just let this one expire off the Kindle.  I don't know that I want to read something dark.

"Pachinko"
by Min Jin Lee

A Korean woman living in Japan with her new husband.  More Asian culture.  I couldn't figure out how this ended up on my list and it was because my mom recommended it to someone wanting to read historical fiction on Korea and Japan. Not disappointing!

"The Witches of New York"
by Ami Mckay

Status:  Started

This popped up on the Kindle, again, can't remember who recommended it.  So far interesting set int he 1800's, and about, you guessed it witches in NY.  Women with powers to make things happen are called witches, spells and potions to stop pregnancy seem to be the biggest reason these women are called witches.    I'll keep plugging along.  I can't get attached to the main character, always a bummer when that happens.

~~~~~~~~~~

All in all the week was pretty magical thanks to prescription drugs!  I had no idea my normal was hiding there behind all that inflammation, I figured it was gone forever and rebuilding what I lost wasn't in the cards.  I am curious to see how all of this evolves and if it doesn't last I'll enjoy the memories. 

Sincerely,
Beth, better living through chemistry?



Monday, October 8, 2018

Ah-Ha Moments Gives Me Much Needed Peace

Monday (5.4)  Walk/Run for 4 miles.  I felt it at the end, well I felt it in my knees at the beginning, the decent from Shrewsbury Peak, all 1,200 feet of it I felt all the way down and was still kind of feeling.  Moving does help move the pain into 'uncomfortable' versus 'pain'.

Smoke Metal by Burlington Beer Company
Much better in a glass pint glass, funny how beer can be like that.
I had to get a blood draw, and now you get a patient ID tag and have to go through the who are you when is your birthday.  When I saw the "age 51" on the tag I looked at the nurse and said "I'm not that old, am I?"  she laughed and said, "It's just a number."



After dinner Jax noticed me fiddling around with the jacket rack and got all jumpy and spinney, ah, he wanted to go for a walk!  I grabbed a reflective vest, headlamp, the movie to return to the library and Jax and we had a nice stroll in the mist which transitioned to rain.  He was more thrilled about the rain because that meant he would be toweled off once we got home, one of his favorite things especially with a big towel that goes over his head and whole body and he can wiggle around like a ghost I suppose.   All in all, not a bad day.

So many mushrooms in the forest.  This must be a banner year for them.


Tuesday (5) In the morning my knees weren't happy with the extra mile or the rain and I had a day of meetings so I didn't bother to pack my gym bag, I'd at most get a couple long walks in around campus between meetings and between the rain.

I found it rather, not sure what the correct word would be, for someone who ran the Boston Marathon a few short months to be envious of how quickly I can get up a set of stairs and not be in pain, discomfort, not pain.  Funny is one word, but sad is another...  Pain is pain discomfort is discomfort, and mostly what I have is discomfort.  Or I've convinced myself that is all it is.  Hard to tell, we all measure pain differently.  The thought of taking the long walk to the cafeteria didn't overwhelm me like it did him.  We both agreed going DOWN the stairs strikes a few notes of fear.

Meh, not the usual deliciousness Oskar Banks brews

A friend posted an article on "4 Signs you are ready to run an ultra."  I wanted so badly to put in #5.  You are willing to never be able to run again once you've pushed your body further than it wants to go.   But I remembered I should say encouraging things or say nothing at all...

Jax sporting his fashionable orange.

Dave hadn't been out for a ride in a while, I texted to let him know I could get home early and take Jax to Burlingame for a hike.  We all get grouchy when we don't get exercise and fresh air, he definitely needed some of both!  For an imaginary husband he certainly can test my patience; guess I missed the chapter on making your imaginary friends loveable ALL the time.  I mistakenly thought the loop took us an hour, its 3 miles.  We started about 5:30 and the sun sets about 6:30, it would be dark, maybe for the last 1/10th of a mile. About 2 miles in it was really getting dark, darker than normal with the clouds for, oh it feels like rain, crap.  The mist started a bit, then I turned on the flashlight on the cell phone, Jax walked a few steps ahead of me and I shone the light down in that gap to make sure I didn't fall.  We both know this route pretty well, but it had been a few months since I had been on it and who knew what sort of blowdowns had happened or if new rocks emerged from the continued degradation of the trail or if the High School Mountain Bike club were back to their old tricks of moving things off the trail, just when you expect you are supposed to jump over a log, you find it is missing and begin to doubt your memory of the trail you spent a few Saturdays running laps on.  The mist transitioned to rain and we were soaked by the time we got back to the car 90 minutes after we started.  It was a grand time for both of us!!  Next time I'll remember my headlamp.  As an aside the flashlight didn't drain the battery in the iPhone, I was happy about that. 

Whoops it got dark and I forgot my "10 Essentials"

Wednesday (5.7)  Back to the normal day for hills.  Rather warm and humid for an October day, we hit most of our usual paces.  We dragged up the last hill.  I'm not remembering anything else about the day.  

Boooooozzzzyyyyyy


Thursday (3.4) Another day of meetings with just enough of a break to biological balance but nothing more.  I took the long walk back from the cafe at lunchtime, I had to be in that part of campus for a meeting, picked up a friend along the way and I showed her a way to get another 3/4 of a mile by going to the outer edge of the parking lot.   We didn't talk much, her English is really poor and it was just nice to make small comments about the leaves or the nice weather or some of the crazy stuff we saw in the parking lot.   Took Jax out for a walk after dinner, he was bored, in town walks are boring.  But Dave was out testing out his bike for something or another so that was good fun getting spooked by a biker in the dark and then spending a good 10 minutes barking at him.  Jax probably disturbed the neighborhood.  We all make mistakes from time to time.    



This reminds me the neighbor with the loud truck got a new truck a few months ago.  I saw him with the new one and before I realized what I was saying, it came out.  "Nice truck that old one seemed to get louder every day."  He apologized, but I don't think he really realized how loud it was and that we all could hear it through closed windows.  

Friday (3.5)  Dave went biking with a friend so I "worked" from home.  I did get quite a bit done and had some errands to run.  I had considered taking Jax to a new management area to hike, but time got away from me so we went to Burlingame.  I decided to mix up the loop a bit and add in part of the Secret Trail.  Give him something different.  Doing the same loop does get boring.  Once we got up on the table top of granite I remembered running into Jonny up there for one of my training runs for the 50K.  That got me thinking about a lot of different things and what I have actually accomplished running and biking and maybe I should lighten up a bit on what the future may or may not hold or what I failed to complete this year.    Jax was thrilled with all the ledge and I had to scurry to keep up with him and the thoughts disappeared.  

Jax happy for some ledge to scramble up and jump off.


Saturday (7.5 & 0.9) Jess and I were going to meet up to ride the Yellow Dot / Vin Gormley trail in Burligame.  I was super nervous, to the point of nearly wanting to bail, about this ride.  All I could think of was all the trouble I've had riding this trail and how horrible the rock gardens are and those damn bog bridges and falling off them.    We met up and discussed how to ride the trail clockwise or clockstupid.  She thought the race next weekend was clockstupid and I thought probably not because there would be several left-hand turns across hardtop road and that just didn't make sense, but considering who is hosting the race, it isn't out of the question.  We decided clockwise as that is the best way to ride or even run the course.  I was happy for that because I knew I had about 2 miles of super easy riding until the dreaded curvy bog bridge where I fell.



Turns out Jess is only a little bit better than me.  Her years of dirt bike riding helps her to pick the A-line but it's the pedaling that gets her all wobbly and she had to get off to navigate exactly where I knew I was going to have to dismount to navigate.  We could both see the A-line but could not figure out how we'd get the bikes from there up on that bog bridge.  If we would spend an hour 'sessioning' that part we would have nailed it.  So was this a skills session or a ride?  We decided it was a ride and from that point forward until the little hut we walked our bikes over that ridiculously long bog bridge.  I did get on after the hut and managed to fall with only 2 feet of bog bridge left!  OMG Mind over matter!    Of course, I fell on my bad shoulder but was cushioned by some bushes.  No harm was done (to the bike or me).  

Trail Carnage.  I got mixed up in some thorns, it was easier to ride through them.
After that part, it was smooth sailing and I remembered how much I love the VG and while there were a couple spots I did need to dismount because my confidence was a bit wobbly after falling off the bog bridge.  We picked our way through the rock gardens and sped along the even smooth single track.  I had such a great time and felt like I managed to break through a lack of confidence barrier that has been haunting me since the spring.  

Jess!

Jess and I went to lunch and talked a lot about moving through our various illnesses, injuries, and physical limitations, and how sometimes it is ok to not do an event more than once or do an event just because your friends are doing it or know that anything over 3 hours of continuous effort is going to be a stretch.  Very therapeutic, for the first time I was able to think about what I have accomplished and be ok with being impressed with what I've tackled on my feet and in the saddle.  Those things may never happen again, or maybe they will, for now, I've accomplished a lot and should be proud of myself even if I never run another race or ride another century.

Boooorreeeeddddd

Sunday (4.3) Woke up to rain.  WHAT!!!  That wasn't on the schedule.  Dave went fishing, last trip of the season.  I'm a little less than motivated when he's not home and even less motivated with the rain on the porch roof (it is copper, the sound of rain on metal is soooo soothing to me).  I did get up and feed Jax and went back to bed.  He came up to check on me and remind me we had a date for a hike to a new place.  Funny how he can remember those details but not the detail he isn't supposed to go out at 2 a.m. and have a barkfest in the backyard.  

Rattlesnake Ledge
We went to Tillinghast Pond and Wickaboxet Management Areas.  They are connected and there is a third one (Pratt) in there I discovered on our hike.  Of course, it was on one of the maps,  I was really only concentrating on where we were going to hike.  As it was a new place I wasn't sure how used it was or how well marked the trails were, but it seemed like either they were marked or there was just one loop.  

On top of Rattlesnake Ledge
He always makes me nervous, I'm just sure he is going to jump.
Lots of interesting stuff to explore, Jax wandered off to Rattlesnake Ledge and that seemed like a fine idea.  We explored up there and followed an unmarked trail until we found the blue blaze trail we started following and followed that for the rest of the adventure.  I'll figure out how it all interconnects at some point.  It is a 30-minute drive out there, and it seems so silly to me to drive to go walk in the woods for 2 hours, but that is what it is.  The trail was lightly used while we were there, it was humid and kept threatening rain, so that may keep people away?  


It was a good hike and Jax was desperately in need of something to drink and we found a pond!

Soak and drink, multi tasking!


Knitting:

Still no pictures.  I'll get to it. I'm enjoying the rhythm of the pattern.  This is definitely the correct yarn and pattern combination.  I'll be happy to wear this when the snow flies.


Reading:

"The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane"
by Lisa See

I will be sad when this ends but I want to know how it ends.  One of my nieces is a Chinese girl, she was born in the Hunan Province, very much like Haley in the book she was left on the doorstep of the orphanage.  Unlike Haley, there was nothing left with her to even give her a clue where she came from.  At this point in the book, Haley is about 13 years old and in a group therapy session with other Chinese girl adoptees.  They are discussing being Chinese and having a stringed instrument foisted upon them at a young age, as well as the expectation that they will do well in school because they are Asian, and frustrated that the other Chinese kids, born in the U.S. to their Chinese parents look down on them and don't think of them as Chinese because they are raised by white people.  Couple all this with the knowledge they were abandoned by their mother's.  I've always thought Adele, my niece, would have a difficult time, I was mistaken in the root of that problem only being her adoptive parents, not that she looks so different from everyone else and thoughts of why was she abandoned by her mother.  These girls too talked of the fear of being sent back if they misbehaved.  Then I think about my nephew Jin, he is Korean, except his parentage is known, and sealed in the orphanage in Korea, his parents were in college and made the choice to give up their baby versus terminating the pregnancy.  He will have the option of finding his biological family.  I can't blame him if he did, it is important to know where you came from.   I'm sure a parent would have a much different feeling on the matter.   As this is a novel and most likely has a  happy ending, one of the items Li-yan left with her daughter when she left her in a cardboard box on the steps of the orphanage will tie Haley back to her lineage.  There are other story-lines in the book equally as fascinating, however, this one grabs me at a very personal level.

Sincerely,
Beth, swapping peace for anger.