Hiking Whiteface, what cures hopelessness

This morning I head up to the White Mountains to hike Mount Whiteface. I attempted her early this spring and turned around at the granite ledges because I seriously thought I would die. It was snowy and icy and I brought my dog. I wanted to live. So I turned around.

Now, June 1 I hike Blueberry Ledge solo. I want the peak. I am not sure what the day will hold for me; maybe Passaconway, too. But I don’t have a plan except to bag Whiteface.

The trailhead has a little history for me. Back in 1988 my boyfriend at the time took me to Sandwich and Wonalancet for a second-hike-ever to Whiteface. He told me that he wanted to be buried in Wonalancet because he loved the place so much. Now, so many years later I had a first kiss in the trailhead with a guy I really liked. Hmmphf. The mountains. The place where I felt reborn after not having any goals and not knowing what my life would be like after high school graduation – the most confusing time of my life. I feel for high school graduates.

June 1, 2019 – I’m running/hiking Blueberry Ledge for the third time in my life and I’m feeling great. One week after running 50 miles I feel like a million bucks….. Until I get to the ledges where I turned around a month ago. It is so steep and scary and I feel at any moment I will fall to my death. Okay, a little dramatic, but I’m not in love with this trail or this mountain in any way, shape or form. I somehow manage to scramble to the top and I’m pissed. The trail diverges and I don’t know where to go. I go left and then it doesn’t feel right. The view is amazing but I’m distracted. I take off my pack and look at the map and I have to decide where to go. I’m not going back the way I came; certain death. I decide to go the Rollins Trail and just go home. I know I should summit Passaconway, I’m so close. I’ll wait and see.

But my mood is dark. I’m mad. I’m pissed. It has more to do than the hike and certain death; I’m just mad.

I follow the trail and it meanders into dark, moody places along the ridge. I run when I can; I want out. I think about Leadville and how I will feel running downhill. Will there be as many rocks and roots? There will definitely be more people. I stop and eat and finally take a picture.

I’m praying and hoping the mountains change my mood but I’m mad. I want the mountains to change my mood; I want to be happy and hopeful – but I’m not. There are no people on this trail. I finally reach the trail junction where I can head to Passaconway or go down Dicey’s Mill Trail.

I chose home.

I run as much as I can and finish 9.7 miles back to my car. The parking lot is overfilling with cars. I only saw 5 people the entire day.

I actually came to do what I set out to but in the back of my mind it would’ve been good to get Passaconaway.

I stink. I’m mad. I drive home.

I walk down to the Concord Co-Op for dinner. My heart hurts for a million different reasons. I feel like a teenager whose heart is broken and my stomach aches. As I enter the store I hear the song, Let It Be from the Beatles.

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree

There will be an answer, let it be

I buy my food and walk home. I hear a line from a book I read so many times, so many years ago: Running From Safety, that reminds me –  take me out of the ball game, tell me it’s over, and I get instant perspective.

The anger, frustration is gone, gone. Instant perspective is all that I needed.

While the mountains didn’t cure me today, I’m still certain they will.

Tapering is hard, part 2

Tapering is hard. You have so much free time and your emotions are raging; you just want to run. You want your body to be tired so you can sit on the sofa and veg, but it’s raring to go. It wants to run and play.

I’m restless and anxious.

So after a few talk sessions and advice taking; that has helped me immeasurabley – I decided to head to the bike shop and buy the bike I’ve been researching, and hemming & hawing about. It’s my first time buying a bike with a 29 inch wheel – yickes. But I love her already.

I’m so excited to start riding but I’m not going on the trails until AFTER Sunday’s race.

Thankful

Tuesday. I’m five days from race day. A race day that is brand new to me. 50 miles. It’s like the first Ironman or first triathlon or first anything. I’m emotional and making bad decisions; par for the course.

But you know what is never bad or wrong – being thankful. Thankful for the people in your life that stay in your life. The people that aren’t scared away from my crazy, neurotic ways.

I’m thankful for my friends and family who stick with me and support me. I love you all. Five days to the newest adventure that I hope will give me a 50 mile finisher pint glass at the end.

Am I saving the world or making the world a better place? No. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week. But I want to. I’m working on it.

Here’s to the adventures of the last few years; may they continue for the next 20:

My BFF, my friend who will meet me anywhere to swim, bike, run or trail run at 10,000 feet.
Mary and Kathy – who showed up at Arizona to cheer me on at Ironman; and at the finish line.
Hiking Tumamoc in 100 degree heat in Tucson, sealed the deal – friends for life. Kassandra is the best person I know. A great mom, wife and friend. My BFF.
Jeff, my friend for 20 years. My longest friendship. You’re the best!
My mom. Who always says I can do anything I want to do as long as I smile.

Born Free – Long Run Playlist

For my Saturday long run I always create a new playlist. This Saturday I added some new songs I haven’t heard in a long time from the Dixie Chicks to Trisha Yearwood.

The one song I added but didn’t really know was Born Free from Kid Rock. I have some of his songs on other playlists like Cowboy and Wasting Time but I added Born Free not really remembering what the song was about but curiously remembered when the new CD came out – oh so many years ago.

As I’m running up the big Carter Hill Born Free plays and now, a few days later, I remember every word as my heart is pounding and the wind is whipping in my face.

Calm facing danger
Lost, like an unknown stranger
Grateful for my time with no regrets.

Close to my destination
Tired, frail and aching
Waitin’ patiently for the sun to set

And when its done believe that
I will yell it from that mountain high

Kid Rock, Born Free

I think a lot about my life while I’m running for hours in my home state of New Hampshire. So many songs remind me of my time out west, chasing dreams and living the life west of the Continental Divide in the high peaks of Colorado and the deserts of Arizona. I lived out west for almost 15 years and it was my dream. Now, as I get older and I’m back east, I’m trying to find out new dreams and figuring out how to make my life extraordinary. Songs like this remind me to not give up, and make me feel so lucky that I can still go find my dreams because we are born free. We are free – don’t take it for granted. Seriously, there is still so much to do, achieve, dream and be. Songs like this remind me of that.

Training Week 28 Recap – The Road to Leadville 100 Run

The Road To Leadville

This week I did every run on the training plan. It’s not the official plan since the Official 25 Week Leadville 100 Run training plan doesn’t start for 3 weeks but I’m getting the disciplined training down.

After running twice on the treadmill this week due to icy road and trail conditions it was great to run outside on Saturday and Sunday despite the frigid temperatures that forced me to wear a balaclava.

The treadmill is just so boring.

This week I did three weight room training sessions for the first time. This is week 4 of weight training and I started slowly with two times a week. I do feel stronger and pushups are much easier. I’m gradually adding different options and getting advice from the trainers.

I’ve been thinking that I may plan a trip to Colorado in June for the Leadville Marathon in addition to going out in July to hike Pike’s Peak with my Colorado friends. It would be good altitude training for the August 100 miler.   

The next few weeks of running look like this:

Each run during the week has a purpose:

Tuesday: Hills
Wednesday: Speed Work/Temp
Thursday: Recovery Run


I do have a little issue with my low resting heart rate and low blood pressure again. I am monitoring it and salting all my food. I just need to stay healthy and get stronger; I can do this!