Cumberland County Fair

I am a total nerd when it comes to fairs and festivals. I love them. So I said yes right away when R's sister asked if we wanted to meet them at the Cumberland County Fair Thursday night. I hadn't been to the Cumberland County Fair in years.

We did it all.

It was all you ride for $15 night. So we hit up the rides first (figured it would be wise to ride before we ate). We did basically every adult ride there was. High-up, upside down, spinning around in crazy circles, even a very competitive stint on the bumper cars. I was relieved that I had a blast on the rides, because at the Yarmouth Clam Festival earlier this summer I thought I might be losing my ride mojo because I could barely walk after the Zipper.

After a solid hour and half of rides we were ready for food. However we got distracted by pig races. The pigs were supposed to race to their owners- the first pig to take a treat from its owner was the winner. It was a riot, the pigs went everywhere but to the kids holding the treats.

Between the 4 of us, we ate a ton of food. The boys had turkey legs, Erica had a burger, I had a chicken gyro, then we split giant tubs of hand cut onion rings and french fries. Somehow, we also had room for dessert. I got amazing hot apple crisp with maple pecan ice cream and everyone else got fried dough. It was getting cold fast, so we all shared some hot cider to warm up. I heart fair food.

We wandered through the midway where R won a sweet stuffed bulldog. Unfortunately, the dog started leaking it's stuffing after about 5 minutes. Then, since it was an agricultural fair, we had to check out the animals. The poor sheep had just been sheared, so they had on funny little coats and hats to stay warm.

The pigs were all snuggled up to keep warm.

We ended the night with a ride on the ferris wheel. I am not usually a fan, but it was really pretty at night with all the lights.

And of course when you have a nice warm body to cuddle up to. It was cold at the top!

On our way out we passed the giant pumpkins. They were enormous- like more than 100 pounds. They made awesome jack-o-lanterns.

Hooray for the fair. It really put me in the fall mindset.Would it be over-kill to go to the Fryeburg Fair next week?

What are your fall rituals?

Happy Anniversary to me and my house

A year ago I bought a house. 

It was definitely the biggest financial commitment I'd ever made and represented a major life change. After spending the 5 years after college renting in Boston and living with roommates, I was moving back to Maine and living alone. But, it all felt so right that I knew it was the right decision. 

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being back in Maine. I mean, I can see this every day of my life.

And it has been wonderful to reconnect with old friends. There is something special about a friend who has known you since you were a dorky kid.

And, I have learned so much about owning a house. I have constantly amazed myself with the things I learned to do.

reupholster chairs? no biggie.     
refinish my kitchen cabinets? okay it sucked, but was so worth it!    

I think it was taking this huge leap and doing what I really wanted to do, and making myself happy first, that put me in a position where I was really, finally, ready for a real relationship. It's been a pretty sweet year. May the next be even better!

Running in Silence

I think I am cursed when it comes to ipods. Remember that new ipod I got just a few weeks ago? Well I went to turn it on Tuesday night and got the screen of death. Now it won't turn on at all. Booo.
pretty new pink ipod, you are dead :(

At first I had a minor freakout. Then I started to think. If the most import thing to have on my run is something to distract me from the fact that I am running, then maybe I have lost track of what is important. Maybe this was a sign that I need to reconnect with running.

I decided to try out some new trails, Robinson Woods. Good decision. I was so busy watching my feet that I didn't get bored. It was a glorious fall day- cool and sunny. There was something magic in the wood, and I would not have wanted to ruin it by blasting my music. I had just the sound of my breath and footsteps.

This is why I don't procrastinate

I do not usually procrastinate. I was that annoying person in college who had my papers written weeks ahead of time. When I am leaving for a trip I liked to pack 2 days ahead. This usually hold true for signing up for races too. Except that because of all the change at work, I had no idea what my schedule would be like this fall. So I put off signing up for the Maine Marathon (I wanted to do the half). This weekend I finally knew for sure that I'd be around to run it and went to register. Only to see this:

I am so bummed. I was so excited to run this race and get more into the Maine running community. Plus, I want to get in a 13 miler in the next week and I am so darn tired of running alone.

I have never bandit-ed a race, but I am considering it.

What do you think?


Someone asked me this morning how I was. Normally, I pretty much always say, "Okay thanks, how are you?" Today though I responded, "I am exhausted."

And I am. It just hit me.

It makes sense, I basically I haven't gotten a good night's sleep since last Wednesday. That's a solid week without good sleep for those of you who can't do math.

Last Thursday-Satruday night I was doing Reach the Beach. Total blast, but not a lot of sleep.

Middle of the night. And we are running..... not sleeping.
Monday morning I had a very early flight, so I was up at 2:45 to run. I landed in California at noon and powered through meetings until 7 at night. Yeah that was a long ass day.

Tuesday-Thursday I was in California. I was up at 4:45 am every morning to hit the gym and then busy with work stuff until 7 or 8 at night. Monday and Tuesday night I actually got into bed by a decent hour but sleep just wasn't happening. The hotel was loud and the time difference was messing me up.

Thursday night I was supposed to take a red eye to Newark, have a 3 hour layer at 5 am, and then take the 9:00 am shuttle to Portland, getting home at 10:00 am this morning. That would have sucked. Luckily I got to take an earlier flight home. Still, I did get to sleep until about 2 this morning. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to haul myself out of bed and go to my favorite step class.

It was there that the exhaustion hit me. Although normally I need a solid 8-9 hours of sleep, I actually felt pretty darn good all week. Today, not so much. I felt like I was wading through mud trying to get my feet up on the step. I couldn't focus on the choreography and I messed up constantly.

I shouldn't have gone. But it's a fine line. A lot of times scrimping a little on sleep to fit in exercise in the morning makes me feel so much better. It energizes me for the entire day. Today though, I clearly needed the sleep.

How much sleep do you need? How can you tell if you are better off sleeping or getting up to get in a workout?

About that travel thing……

About that travel thing……

So remember how a few weeks ago I was all sure that accepting a new position where I didn’t travel was the right thing to do? 

Yeah, I’m not so sure about that now. It is really hard to get used to having rigid, set hours, working 5 days a week, and doing a lot of redundant tasks. And I get pretty darn bored with myself being alone in my house all day. I know, wah, wah poor me. It is a job after-all. If it were my only option, I’d be fine with it. 

But, it looks like I may have options. I got a last minute request late last week to come to California this week to consult on the new regionalization project. Due to budget issues, it looks like they may end up being more flexible with remote work, so I wouldn’t have to travel every week. So now they are trying to get me back on the project. The work is so much more interesting. Plus, it is like a reunion. These are all the people I’ve been working closely with for 2 years and I have formed some great friendships. I forgot about the good parts of travel. The mushroom, spinach, and egg white omelet being delivered to my room with a giant pot of coffee in the morning. The long dinners with co-workers at amazing restaurants that I don’t have to pay for. Walking outside in the warm sunshine when you know it is pouring, freezing, and windy at home.

So now I am totally torn. I know that being home more is really important to keeping my relationship moving forward, which is really important to me. But, I also want work that I enjoy and find fulfilling. I know myself, and I have a short attention span. I get bored easily. Maybe I need the constant stimulation of travel?
The hardest part of the situation is that it is basically out of my hands. My new manager doesn’t want to let me go, but the project really wants me. So they are fighting over me and all I can do is wait and see what fate they decide for me.

Reach the Beach 2012: Part 3

After a blissful 2.5 hours of sleep at Julie and Lisa’s, I got a call letting me know Van 2 was an hour away from the next VTA. We hopped out of bed, thoroughly enjoyed getting to brush our teeth and wash up in a real bathroom. Julie and Lisa had even done a 5 am bagel run. They seriously are the best! We chugged some coffee and stuffed down bagels and we back in the van. By this time, the back of the van was a total disaster. You couldn’t get anything out without having to move everything!

It was a close call at the VTA. We passed our runner from Van 2 less than ¼ of a mile from the hand-off, so poor Jimi had to hop out of the van and start running after him to catch him. He didn’t even get to use the bathroom. We flew through our last rotation. Jimi handed off to Carissa. He looked done by the end of his leg.

Carissa handed off to Jason, who tackled his 8 mile leg like a champ. I would not want my last leg to be the longest! Jason passed to Eileen. Eileen handed off to me at a great TA, where a boisterous Santa was cheering the runners in.  

 Then I was off. It was warm and sunny again and my leg had more hills, but none of it bothered me. Just 4 miles and I would be done. We really went crazy showing the love to our vanmates on our last leg, and my leg was no exception. I felt like an elite runner with my choice of water and Gateorade, my own personal pump me up song playing (Some Nights by Fun), and customized cheers as I passed my van at 2 miles.  

 I held a 9 min/mile pace and cart-wheeled into my last TA. Leg 3 done!

 I handed off to Tim who rocked the jester costume for his last leg. 

When Tim finished we were officially done. Van 1 is the coolest!

After pictures we headed for the closest Dunkin Donuts. Ice coffee never tasted so good! Then we were beach bound! We reached the Beach!

We were all set to grab a beer and the amazing looking Baloco bowls at the end when we got a call from Van 2. Rich had gone down during his last leg. Gene and Dave had caught him and got him to the med tent, but they didn’t know what was wrong yet. We grabbed lids for our meals and ran for the van. We needed to go pick-up Henry who was stranded at the end of his leg. We hopped in the van and we almost out of Hampton Beach when the other van called us back. They didn’t need us after-all. Rich was dehydrated and had heat stroke, but was already doing better after some fluids. They were taking him to the hospital just in case and the rest of Van 2 was back on the road. Talk about leaving it all out on the road and sacrificing yourself for the team. Rich, we love ya!

So we went back to the beach and hung out down by the water. The ocean was frigid! I made myself stay in until my feet were numb because I figured it would be good recovery. About an hour later the Van 2 crew arrived and we stood by the finish waiting for our last runner to come in so we could cross the finish together. Except we got busy talking and totally missed him until he was across the line. Oops! 

We stood in the sand after the finish and did our private medal ceremony that has become our tradition. And then I headed home, sandy, exhausted, and so happy.  Reach the Beach 2012 was in the bag. Sole Sacrifice finished in 27:55:04, with an average pace of 8:15, good for 155th place.

Reach the Beach 2012: Part 2

Hello from somewhere between Chicago and California. After one short day at home yesterday, I’m back on the road, heading to Anaheim for work for the week. At least getting up and running in the dark at 3 am this morning before my flight didn’t feel so usual because RTB got me used to little sleep and night time running.

When I left off my last recap our van had just finished our first rotation. We headed to Delaney’s Hole in wall in North Conway. I’ve been there before and love it because they have a little bit of everything. We ordered a round of chocolate milk (best recovery drink ever) as we studied the menu. I SO wanted the bacon, turkey, avocado, and caramelized onions on garlic Texas toast, but I didn’t think that would settle very well. I didn’t want a repeat of 2 years ago when I ate 3 giant pieces of BBQ chicken pizza and then had to run sooner than I thought. I ended up throwing up most of the pizza on the side of the road during my run! So I stuck with plain grilled chicken on a bun and asparagus. Not exciting, but safe. 

mmm food makes us happy!
 After dinner we headed to the next VTA to hang out until it was our turn to run again. It was only 8:30ish, but I was feeling sleepy. I knew I was going to be awake until at least 4 am, so I decided to try and catch some sleep. I took my sleeping bag out into a field, crawled inside, and actually fell asleep. All the travel for work has made me much better at sleeping in strange places. It was really nice actually, sleeping out under the stars.

I was woken up later by one of my teammates yelling my name. I guess he couldn’t tell which dark sleeping bag clad lump I was in the field.  It was fully dark at this point, and our lights on the van looked super cool. 

We all put on our night reflective gear to be safe. Also, a porta potty at night without a headlamp is a dangerous place! 

Then we were on the road again. I woke up just a little hungry, so I ate a ¼ of a bagel with peanut butter and jelly to fuel up for my leg.

I was most nervous about my night leg. It was 9 miles with a LOT of uphill. I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel after hammering my first downhill leg, and I had a feeling I’d be pretty tired overall since it was 2 am when I started! Apparently preparing for it to completely suck was a good idea, because when I actually started it didn’t seem so bad. Yes the first 2 miles were brutal. It was a long ass steep uphill. But I knew it would be there and I just put my head down and slogged up it. After the uphill we turned off onto a side road which was nice rolling hills. It was dark on the side road which made the stars overhead seem super bright. I remember why I used to love running in the dark. I feel fast. It feels easy. It is just me and my breath. I can’t see my Garmin so I am not obsessing over distance and pace, and I can’t see far in front of me so I can’t worry about the hill I see looming in the future.

I was very glad to regain this sense of peace and happiness on my night leg. Last year I hated my night leg. It wasn’t long after I was attacked from behind while running, and so I was still very skittish. Last year I started on a trail and I was so freaked out in the dark woods by myself. Then I proceeded onto this creepy back country road and I hardly saw any other runners or vans. I was terrified the entire time. This year there were a lot more runners and vans all around me. I still jump and freeze up when I hear footsteps coming up behind me. So here is a tip for all your super fast runners. If you are passing another runner, especially in the dark, say something nice to them as you come up behind them and pass. Don’t just blow by, brushing their shoulder.

The 9 miles went much faster than I anticipated and I feel pretty darn good. I had resolved my chafing issue on my bottom half, so naturally I then had an issue on my top half. The blinkies weighed down my reflective vest and made it rub against my neck. It looks like a vampire bit me because I have 2 matching red wounds on each side of my neck.  I held a solid 9:30 pace which was pretty decent given the dark and the hills. I tried to push it and drop sub 9 for the last mile, but my plan was foiled when the last mile turned out to be uphill. Really? Who planned that?
 I ran into the TA around 3:30 and handed off to Tim. My hardest leg done!

The checkmark photo had to wait to the next morning when it was light out
 And even better, after Tim was done we were going to get to sleep on real beds and use a real bathroom. Good family friends of ours, Julie and Lisa, bought a house in Deerfield, not far from the race course, last fall. I felt so bad when we got there because they had misunderstood and thought we were coming the next night! But they were amazing. They pulled out the couch bed, opened up the foutons, and blew up the air mattresses in no time. We gratefully collapsed onto them and passed out in about 3 seconds. 


I turned 35 in June. It's an age that felt both momentous and ominous to me. I'm not just an adult, I'm an ADULT. I've never...