This is my life

Today was one of the days when I stepped back and said: wow, this is my life. 

And yesterday and the day before – wow, this is my life.

Is it perfect, the way I thought my life would always be? Hell no. I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be where I am today.

As I’m driving south from Gilford at 9 p.m. in thick fog, I’m anxious about getting home and letting my dogs out. 

I seem to feel more anxious and scared about so many things: life, work, dogs, hiking, training, reaching goals. 

But then the same things make me so happy: life, work, dogs, hiking, training, reaching goals.


All I’m saying is life is funny. It gives you everything you want, takes away everything you want and all that is left is you, on your sofa, writing your blog post, eating salad, drinking wine and glad your dogs are right next to you. 

A new beginning, Gunstock

I started a new job at Gunstock Mountain Resort this week. It’s so exciting working for a mountain resort because 1) the people are fun and energetic 2) I am marketing fun summer activities such as e-bike tours, Segway Trail tours and camping and 3) I get to partake is said fun activities and most importantly 4) winter is coming.

As I drive the access road to the base lodge I pinch myself that this is my new life. 

While Gunstock is located in the Lakes Region, working at a ski resort is the realization of a desire to get back to the mountains since moving back to New Hampshire in 2017. I’m a mountain girl. I love living rurally and thrive in mountain towns. And while I always look forward to winter, and hiking in the White Mountains, this year I’ll be back in ski gear, watching the weather and praying for snow! 

Here’s the view from my office and looking out to the base area.

But the best way to view what’s going on at the mountain is viewing the web cams

Screen grab of the webcams

I’m looking forward to getting to know the trails around Gunstock and Belknap mountains. 

Life is good. The dogs think so too. 

A July Pemi Loop (attempt)

I met my hiking friends at Lincoln Woods at 3:30 which meant the alarm went off at 2:00. We started shortly after 3:30 with headlamps hiking up Osseo Trail with the most elevation gain to start. It was a slog to Flume with a socked in summit but still beautiful to be up there. Onto Liberty and still no views but we felt the fog would burn off.

By the time we hit Haystack a gorgeous 360 degree view of the Pemi Wilderness and Franconia Notch made all the suffering worth it. 

From Haystack looking toward Lafayette

At this point everything hurt. The first eight miles my ankle was sore from spraining it last week and my balance seemed off. I used poles and they kept me balanced. 

The hike to Lafayette makes you forget all your ailments with spectacular views and rocks formations. At the summit a light wind kept the bugs away. As we headed toward Garfield I struggled with leg pain every time I lifted my right leg. I didn’t feel great but I was happy to be there.

I began thinking about what my hiking partners said, that the hike would be about 18 hours and we wouldn’t get off the trail until 10:00 or so. 

When I started the day, for some reason I was thinking we would finish in 15 hours. Mentally, I didn’t think I could end at 10:00 or later. So many things conspired to make this a day of not finishing what I started. 

I really want to finish what I start but many times over the course of my endurance-athlete-life I get mental blocks. My legs are dead or I’m having a bad race and I just want to be done. I’ve talked to other athletes who didn’t finish what they started, whether it was a 100 mile race or a marathon and they told me – they just wanted to go home and be around their family. When I’m stressed or think I can’t finish I just want to go home. 

When we arrived to a closed Galehead Hut where we were hoping to resupply food, I decided that I didn’t have enough food to make it over Twin and the Bonds. So I took the bailout option well….. And … because .. I couldn’t fathom getting off the trail at  midnight. 

As I hiked/ran down Twin Brook and Franconia Brook trail I was nervous. I didn’t want to hike alone at night so I ran as much as I could. My thoughts go to a dark place telling myself I would never do this again. I thought of all the things I did wrong: how I need to fix my injuries, train harder and keep working on mental strength. I hiked/ran about 26 total miles but my Garmin, that died at mile 19 didn’t synch to Strava so I have no elevation gain for the first 19 miles it recorded before arriving at Galehead.

Today, Sunday, I completed every run on my training plan that included 21 miles of running this  weekend. And I talked to Mark about running a Pemi Loop in the fall. 

I’m getting there – back to where I want to be: super fit.

Here’s Vicky on the Franconia. Ridge – a fun hiking partner. It was a great day to be above treeline.

Walking Tour of Concord NH

I got an idea in my head that I would walk all the streets in downtown Concord as a way to get three miles in. Copying the idea from Rickey Gates who ran every street in San Francisco. Since I can’t run, yet, I decided I would walk (without dogs). I don’t count mileage when I walk dogs. 

Today I decided that on this walking tour I would listen to my new playlist I just created for April. I started from my house and headed to downtown. I walked up and down the streets:

I decided to take some pictures of the beautiful buildings and some trees.

My playlist was pretty awesome.

Girl from the North Country – Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. 
I recently watched Escape at Dannemora and this song played during a dramatic scene. Plus the lyrics are pretty awesome and I love the North Country. “So, if you’re travelin’ in the north country fair, Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline, Remember me to one who lives there, She once was a true love of mine.”

Time to say goodbye – Andrea Bocelli 

Change – John Waite
From the soundtrack Vision Quest – just love this song. “It doesn’t matter who you are It’s all the same. What’s in your heart will never change”

Pretty – Ingrid Michaelson
“I’m not just pretty, No, I’m pretty damn good, Sure in my own skin, Again and again and again.”

Roll Me Away – Bob Segar
Pretty much my anthem: “Stood alone on a mountain top, Starin’ out at the Great Divide, I could go east, I could go west, It was all up to me to decide.”

Shallow – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
“Tell me somethin’, girl, Are you happy in this modern world? Or do you need more? Is there somethin’ else you’re searchin’ for?

When You Were Young – The Killers
This is my all time favorite Guitar Hero song to play. “Can we climb this mountain, I don’t know Higher now than ever before, I know we can make it if we take it slow.”

My Body – Young the Giant
This is a great song to run to but alas, I walk: “My body tells me no! But I won’t quit ‘Cuz I want more.”

He Knows – Jeremy Camp
“He knows. Every hurt and every sting. He has walked the suffering. He knows.”

Just be Held – Casting Crowns
This is one of my favorite songs. Beautiful: “There’s freedom in surrender. Lay it down and let it go. So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away, You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held.”

Nothing Compares 2 U – Chris Cornell version
I just discovered this version by Cornell that is on the playlist. I like the Sinead O’Connor version but I can’t listen to it. “It’s been seven hours and sixteen days, Since you took your love away.” Here’s the O’Connor version:

Colorful – The Verve Pipe
The Chris Cornell song reminded me of this song that was on the Rock Star soundtrack so I added it to the playlist. I just love the final scene in the movie when this song plays.

Happy Sunday.

Thoughts on Hope

There are moments I think we all feel hopeless about the future, and that nothing exciting will ever happen again. I know I felt that way almost every day this week. I start down the path of negative thinking and my mind spirals. 

This morning on a hike with my dog this happened and I couldn’t shake it. 

I hiked from the usual start on the Winant Trail and randomly took one of the many spur trails and ended up on a windy, back and forth trail that I’d never been on. It was one of those trails perfect for mountain biking because it helps you practice sharp turns and zig zagging up a hill. 

I only saw one other person and his dog during the early hike. The sun was shining and it seriously was a perfect day but my mind was not so perfect. 

Towards the end of the hike back to my car Winnie disappeared for the longest amount of time. She loves chasing squirrels or digging in the dirt. Ten minutes later she appeared on the trail after searching up and down calling her name. She was out of  breath, tongue hanging to the side and dirt all around her snout. I was so mad but at least she came back. I got back to the car and drove home in an even more foul mood.

When I’m in a bad mood like this I write; and today I wrote while sitting in my sunroom trying to get rid of my dark thoughts. I started writing about how I feel pessimistic about the future. 

But then I began thinking about last year. 2019 was such a game changer for me. I started dating again and just when I thought I’d never meet anyone I met someone. I started to really liking my job. I trained for 28 weeks for an A race. Nothing about all these things was perfect but thinking about how they came into my life – many by chance, by taking a risk, by changing my attitude – changed me in such positive ways. 

As I sit and write I remember how everything – everything – can change on a dime.

I’ve had the same morning routine for five weeks: get up, open the curtains, walk the dog, drink coffee. Thirty five days in row.  I want and need a change. I think about how one little event or action can change it all: a phone call, an email, a text, a random conversation. Everything can change in an instant. And these random acts can change your thoughts, your mood, your happiness and the future. That’s what I want to remember.

As I write about this hope, I decide that I will try to be the one who gives it to someone else instead of expecting it all myself. So that is what I’m going to do today. I’m going to call, text, send an email. 

This is what writing does for me. It helps me process what is going on in my head and change it around. The simple act of pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) makes me more hopeful. Thanks for reading.