South Moat

South Moat

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Downward Spiral to Ascutney

I'll never learn, so don't even bother trying to give me advice. I'll just continue to run myself into the ground, thanks. A downward spiral. And that's pretty much what I started by racing Pack. Do I regret it? Of course not, silly. Did I learn from it? Of course not, silly. Haha. I just set myself up for some really tired legs and 2 mediocre races, which I expected. Ascutney and Mt Washington are NOT my strength. Uphill-only? Nope. I suck. And I doubley suck on tired legs. But I expected it, and I wasn't disappointed. I knew what I was getting myself into, so I just had to do what I could do in the moment and move on. I did make an effort to recover between Pack and the Ascutney Mountain Race. I really did. But it just wasn't enough. I just feel like these are races I HAVE to do, so I'm going for it. I was in a similar position last year, but recovering from just one marathon was easier. Racing Boston and Vermont so close with all of the races in between them. And I mean, every weekend, didn't really let me recover completely from one going into the other. I felt great going into VCM, but I can definitely feel a difference over last year. By this coming weekend a year ago, I was ready to race the Whiteface Skymarathon and actually felt great there. This year, my legs are screaming for a break. Last year, I did myself in with Pack, Hollis and Market Square all within 7 days of each other and destroyed myself, but I was smarter and took some major days off to recoup before Washington. That was my plan again this year, but I didn't follow through. Running obsessed much? Yeah. I think so.

Post Pack Monadnock Week Recap

Monday, June 6, 2016- Nothing too exciting at work. We did two calls back to back in the middle of the day. Dropped one patient quickly at Huggins then bolted back out on another call and brought them to Huggins. It's definitely getting busier with the 911s. Ran into my former coworker, Peter, who now works for Napa, at the Irving gas pump during the day. I've been dying to get a selfie with the Napa hat, so I climbed onto Peter's truck to take one. Haha.

After work, I decided to go to White Lake again and run on the Around the Lake Trail 3 times. I added on the Pitch Pine Trail this time just to see where it went and found it was just about a 1/2 loop to a pond and then back to the main trail. 6.1 trail miles. 8:32/mi pace. Absolutely zero elevation gain. My legs were thanking me. It was just an enjoyable run. I love these. The slow run with no goal. Just running to run. It takes the pressure off of myself, and I really need that the day after a race. I have to keep it fun or else I'll burn out, and I love running too much to let that happen. 

I was on call that night, but I did end up doing a strength workout at home. A little too much leg work, but I cut out some of it and just focused on the upper body stuff. Hopped in the shower, soaped up... then the phone rang. Dispatch calling me. Figures! Rinsed off, quickly washed my hair, got out, combed my hair, put on my uniform, grabbed dinner out of the fridge to bring along then hopped in the car. All of that took 4 minutes. I was impressed with myself. Haha. I was there for 2 hours then came home. Slept the rest of the night. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016- This was the run for the week that I probably shouldn't have done, but I didn't run it super fast, and since it was Tuesday, I don't think it did too much damage, but did I really need to run 10 hilly miles two days after racing 10 hilly miles? Probably not. But for some reason, I just really wanted to get some miles in on the road. Like I said before, I do what I want, so I did. haha. Parked at Chocorua Lake and ran an out and back 10 miles that I've done many times on the dirt roads in Chocorua. 7:40/mi pace, but that's only because I was able to pretty much fall down on the downhills. The ups were super slow. 742ft of elevation gain. I went back to my run on Strava to read my run description. Pretty much summed it up in very few words.

I was beat. That night was the first race in the weekly Summer Series at Whitaker Woods, but I just couldn't do it. No way. Even running it for fun was out of the question. Instead, I took John to Conway Lake while I lied on the beach being extremely lazy. I was so lazy that I couldn't even bring myself to change into a full bathing suit. Half would do. Haha. 

I honestly don't even remember the rest of the day other than taking John to his ninja class. We might have gone to the store, but I have no idea. I would definitely remember better if I didn't procrastinate on writing my blog posts. I know I had some good beers. At least I have that memory! Ok, so I had to look that up, too, since I always have good beers.
One I got while we were in Vermont. This is the brewery I ran by during the marathon that tempted me to DNF and go in for a beer.

Really good IPA that Beth Lazor-Smith gave me in a beer trade
Wednesday, June 8, 2016- Skipped the am treadmill run. My entire body was beat and said, "No running!" Somewhat busy day at the ambulance in the afternoon and evening. Like I said, call volume is increasing as it always does in the summer. We're only the one truck in town, so we end up doing all of the calls. Mid-summer will get interesting. We did make it back in time from a call to hit Starbucks and then John's track practice at Kennett. He didn't know I was there for awhile, so I watched him and his friends acting like goofballs building human pyramids and dancing. Haha. He finally spotted me before he started the 50m. He came in last in that and the 100m, but he was trying SO hard. For a kid who hates running, I was impressed he still gave it 100% effort. He's surprisingly enjoyed the track program, but I think if it lasted more than a month, he would start to get tired of it. This has been a perfect chance for him to try it. He definitely doesn't love it, but I think he's still having fun.
50m. In the back.


Goofing around. haha

Bunch of goofballs building a pyramid
We had one more call that evening and then enjoyed a quiet night with sound sleep! 

Thursday, June 9, 2016- It was right into my next shift in Tamworth for the 10. My 3rd to last 34 hour shift! I've been counting down the weeks. I am so, so done with the 34. Another day that was slow in the morning, so I walked two miles on the treadmill. But then we ended up with a working code in an extremely inconvenient location out in the woods, down and then back up a steep embankment. I ended up carrying a lot of equipment out of the woods, going up and down the hill multiple times, so that I was pretty beat by the time I got out of there. Between that and tired legs, I had a feeling the Great Glen Trails race wouldn't go so well, but I drove up there anyway. 

It's about an hour drive from the Tamworth base, so I was in the car for awhile. When I stepped out of the car, I was SO stiff. That was the first time this had happened here. I get there so late that I don't usually have to time to warm up, so I just jump right into racing. This time, I had no choice but to warm up. I could barely walk. A super short .4 mile warm up on the trails behind the building. The wind up around Mt Washington was absolutely insane, but it made for some beautiful cloud formations. It did not make for a beautiful headwind whenever we were out in the open. Fortunately, most of the course was protected, so I can't really pull "Headwind from Hell" out of my Excuse Bag for this one. I think the Excuse Bag only held one legitimate excuse, and that was "Tired".  As soon as I started, the legs felt heavy. I gave everything I had, but it was a struggle. When I saw the first mile was over 10 seconds slower, I knew this wasn't going to be a good race. I was actually surprised to even pull off a 24:07. 18 seconds slower than the week before, but still not bad for heavy legs. Margaret obliterated me this week. Her improvement over each week has been impressive for sure, and I think I'll have to concede the win to her at this point. haha. I really don't think I can race the rest of these hard. It's just become too much at this point. I may give one more of them an all out effort, but I don't know yet. I honestly no longer care enough about winning to kill myself out there anymore. I'm already doing enough, and it's probably doing more harm than good at this point anyway. We'll see, though. If I'm feeling good the week after Mt Washington, then I might make the effort.
GGT Week 5 results
So the wind is absolutely insane. My legs are dead. And what do I decide to do? Run up the Auto Rd to Mile 2. I just wanted to go up there. Not far to where I would die, but I just felt like I needed to get on the Auto Rd one more time. My intended Mt Washington training did not go as planned, and next year, I'll probably skip the Series, but today, I just needed to do something on it one last time before the race. So off I went. I felt surprisingly good, and the first 1.5 miles were mostly protected from the wind, but as soon as I hit that 1.5 mile mark, I ran into HUGE wind gusts. As if running up that thing wasn't hard enough. Running against a headwind made it even harder. I pushed on to mile 2 and found it once again protected from the wind, so I stopped for some sign selfies. :)
Deer in headlights
I ran back down from there and got out of the wind as quickly as possible. I had to bag getting water from the Pinkham Notch Spring on the way back. My bottles would have blown away...maybe me, too! Here are a few pics I took of the amazing clouds.

 I was SO hungry by the time I got back into North Conway that I stopped for yellow curry chicken at the thai place then had a much needed beer to go along with it.

Friday, June 10, 2016- I slept in a little on Friday like I usually do. It was a pretty warm day out, so I decided not to bring Spot and Phoenix along on my run up Black Cap. It's one of my favorite 10 mile trail loops in town. Starts at Thompson Rd, follows the Black Cap Connector Trail up to the top of Black Cap then loops down the ridge to Cranmore. I follow the service road down and then go back up the unnamed trail to the Connector Trail and back to the car. 10.1 miles and 2,362ft of elevation gain in under 2 hours. I kept the pace really slow, so as not to kill myself. Ok, hold on. Wait, wait, wait. I'm such a liar! Did I write at the beginning of this blog that I really tried to recover for Ascutney?! After writing all of this out, I'm calling bullshit on myself! Haha. I totally did NOT try to recover from Ascutney! Who am I kidding besides myself! Hahaha! I think I was delusional in thinking that I did, but there is nothing written that indicates any recovery effort besides maybe Wednesday's zero. And that zero is really just due to pure laziness and not wanting to get out of bed. I guess in my mind at the time, I thought I was taking it easy. Sure, low miles for the week, but with the way I felt and with all of the racing, I could have left out the 100% effort at Great Glen, the 10-mile road run (trails instead!) and the freakin' 10-mile mountain run two days out from Ascutney. I'm seriously laughing at myself right now because it really is funny. Maybe one day I'll smarten up, but I doubt it. Life is way more fun when you break your own rules.
Black Cap. 

View towards Kearsarge and Evans Notch

So glam in my skirt
 I hit Frontside Grind after for my usual latte, then went home. I decided to take John up to Storyland to get our season passes. We were coming back the next day with his friend, but I didn't want to stand in a long Saturday line to get the passes. When we got there, I realized they were open until 5pm, so we spent about 2 hours in the park. The place was dead, so we rode the Roar-O-Saurus 4 times in a row. John did a lot of the other rides and finally wants to ride by himself. I don't mind it all on those spinning rides.
OMG. How did this get on my camera?

Nope. Not doing this ride ANYMORE.

2016 Creepy Clown Photo
 After Storyland, we went to the 99 for dinner. It's definitely not a place I would normally ever go, but I won a $25 gift card through my company during EMS week, so we decided to use it. John was funny and said my beer was way too big. Bigger than my head! So I had him take a photo to compare. Haha. Pretty close!

Saturday, June 11, 2016- I think this is the only day that I actually ran smart. I stuck to 3.1 miles in the neighborhood. The first two miles with Chill and the last one with Phoenix. Spot runs/walks herself around the house. She would look down her snout at me if I ever tried to put a leash on her and run her on the pavement. I've never once run with Spot on a leash (walked, yes), Easy pace (for real this time!) 8:14/mi. See!

I took John and his friend to Storyland for about 4 hours. The place was dead again, there were no lines. Rode the Roar-O-Saurus 3 times in a row. I let them do the other stuff together while I watched. So weird to be one of those parents now who just watches. It's good thing. He's growing up. And I reminded him that in 4 years, he can get a job at Storyland!! Haha! John's friend decided to stay over so that they could have a sleep over.

When we pulled into the driveway, I stopped at the mailbox to get the mail and inside was a surprising piece of mail. I got an invite to be part of "New England's Finest" at the Hartford Marathon! I was invited last year and turned it down, and I really didn't expect to be invited again this year, but there it was. I didn't have to think about it too long. How could I pass up this opportunity a second time? Hartford was definitely not in my plan at all, but the dates actually worked out with it being the weekend of October 8th. I was considering Bay State anyway, so a second Fall marathon (besides Manchester) wasn't a stretch. It just seemed to fall into place perfectly. I'll just spectate at Bay State again like I did last year. That race is really fun to watch anyway. Now, I'm really excited about Hartford, and they do so much the invited runners, too. We even get to bring along a companion who gets entry into the race and can join us for all of the special stuff. Now the question is, who will I bring?? I can't think of a single person who would want to do it with me. I'm sure a lot of people would want to run it, but spend a whole weekend with me?! EEK! Haha. Anyway, I'll be accepting applications to be my companion. A full resume, followed by a background check is expected. Must be a beer snob and like to party. Creepy people need not apply. You know who you are; if you just questioned whether you're creepy or not, then you're creepy. Haha. Ok. I'm totally kidding...except the creepy part.
My pre-Ascutney beer with my invitation letter. Very cool! 
As messed up as I seem running-wise right now, I do actually have a plan. Training is changing the week after Mt Washington. Only 2 more mountain races until September. In between that time, I'm racing one trail race and then ALL roads. So that means, it's time to get serious again and work on getting back the speed. I have a month before the first race, a 10K. Then I get to be part of the elite field at Run 4 Kerri, so that's cool. Both of those races I consider warm ups to the Bobby Doyle, the NH 10-Miler and Seasons 20K, the next 3 NE Grand Prix Races. I really need to pick it up if I want to run decent times at those. This slow stuff isn't helping. I'll still be hitting the mountains on Thursdays, but most of the rest of the week will be road and a day on the track. I've finally decided to try this track training thing. I feel like just racing on the indoor track over the winter really helped, so it's time to train for real. Not like everyone else trains for real, but like a Leslie type of for real. So not actually for real, but close enough. Haha. I'll throw in some longish runs in there, too, just to keep the distance up. We'll see. Hoping to stay injury free and see some improvements back to my former self from long ago!

Monday, June 20, 2016

2016 Pack Monadnock

Race #3 for the USATF-NE Mountain Running Series was up. Pack Monadnock. Probably one of the hardest road races I've ever done (besides Mt Washington), since it's a 10 mile road race that gradually climbs the first 8 miles and then ends at the top of Pack Monadock with a total of over 2200 ft in elevation gain. I was only a week out from the Vermont City Marathon, and I was so, so beat, but I had to get this race in. I could only skip one race in the Series, and that was Wachusett. I knew there wouldn't be a strong field there, but I wasn't sure how I would compete with Jamie Woolsey on this type of course. Her uphill skills seemed to be stronger than mine at Sleepy Hollow, and her result at Wachusett was excellent. My legs were dead, but I thought that if I could run the first 8 miles strong, I'd have enough of a lead to pull off a win. I really wasn't sure, though. There was no way I could run the time I ran last year at Pack (1:17:39). I was two weeks off VCM last year and still felt fatigued then, so it kind of scared me knowing I was only one week off this time around. I predicted I would run a 1:20:something based on how I felt. I didn't know whether I could pull it off, though. We were really fortunate to have very cool temps and rain predicted for the race. I've run this race twice in the heat, and it sucked, so I was excited for a break from it. 

Pack is one of the most logistically difficult races with John, and I was fortunate to have his friend's mom offer to take him for the day. This was such a relief for me and John; he even told me not to hurry back! haha. I felt so fortunate to have help. I love the Mountain Series, but they are not friendly to a mom without help. Haha. So I've had to seek it out, and I am amazed how people have come through for me. I have more support from the running community than I have from the friends here. John's dad's parents have also continued to help out which I really appreciate, considering I'm no longer family, but they've always been kind to me. So as much as I like to be independent and pretend I can do it all alone, I really can't. 

I dropped John off super early and made drive over to Wilton, NH. It was beautiful and sunny when I left, but a look at the radar showed a huge wall of green moving East. Like I said, though, I was happy to run in it and even said so when I picked up my bib. The woman said she was glad somebody thought this weather was great, since so far I was the only one. Haha.
I drove up to the old Temple Ski Area to park, then bummed a ride back to the start with some people I didn't know. One of them, it would turn out, reads my blog. Hi, Steve! 

I chatted with some people, said hi to familiar faces and then went out for a warm up. I felt ok, but the legs were definitely a bit tired. I ran through the disc golf course in the woods, then down to the road and up almost to the top of the 1st climb of the course. I wanted to remind myself of what it was like just so I didn't go out all crazy. 2.5 miles. Easy pace. Got back to the school, handed off my drop bag and then made my way to the start. I saw a lot of young girls who looked decently fast, but I figured that Jamie would be my only real competition today. We lined up, the rain started and the race quickly got under way. Jamie always lines up right on the start line, so I can see her from the get-go. She started off at a wicked fast pace, and I followed suit. I didn't want her to be more than a few yards ahead by the time we crested the hill, so I quickly caught her. But as soon as I did, she started running faster. Having experience with this race, I knew that wasn't a smart move, so I immediately backed off and fell behind her. I wasn't getting sucked into that faster pace. We were already going too fast for what I wanted. That was confirmed when we hit the first mile at almost 30 seconds faster than last year. Whoa. I knew I couldn't hang at that pace, and I was hoping that Jamie would slow down or else I was waving the white flag right then. Fortunately, she did slow, by a lot, and I moved on past her. Unfortunately, though, I knew she would try to hang, so I made the decision to kill myself through the first 8 miles in order to get a good lead. Due to the windy nature of the course, I never could see that far behind me to know how close she was, so I had to keep pushing myself for as long as I could. It hurt. It hurt A LOT. I had permanent pain face on. Running in the rain and fog, the miles all just blended in together. I don't remember much of the race other than a foggy road and the pain. The course continued its steady climb up in elevation with rolling hills along the way. My legs were so not ready for this at all, but I had it in my mind that I HAD to keep the lead because I HAD to win. I put so much effort that I didn't even have into this race. I wasn't running it faster than last year, but I felt like I was running it 3x harder. And it worked. Looking at the split comparison on Strava with Jamie, I definitely pulled away fast right after the first mile and had about a 2-2.5 minute lead through mile 8. I was done by mile 7, though. I blew up. But I anticipated this. The wheels came off from mile 7 to the end. Jamie made up nearly 30 seconds on me in the last two miles, most of it on the climb up the mountain. I walked a lot of it this year. My legs were toast going up it. I even walked near the finish, but only because the rain cloud we were in obstructed the view of the tower and fence near the top. I didn't realize the finish was right there. I came through the finish in 1:20:48, over 3 minutes slower than 2015, but exactly what I expected, so I was happy with it! Plus, a win is a win, and it gave me 100 points for the Series. I needed that going into Ascutney and then Loon since I knew I probably wouldn't do well at either of those. Jamie came in only about 1.5 minutes behind me. After seeing her pace up the mountain, I knew beating her at Ascutney would be iffy. The win felt good, especially after my race directing disaster the day before. I needed that moral boost.

Due to the wind and rain, the race brought our drop bags up to the top this year. And thank goodness. I was soaking wet from the rain and getting cold fast. Plus, I was SO sore. My calves were immediately tight, and just walking was a struggle. Needless to say, I didn't run down. I walked very slowly, mostly with Erik Wight just talking about racing as you age and European snowshoe racing. The walk seemed to take forever, so I was happy I had some warm clothes. I got down to the bottom and ran into Michael Narcisi and Brandon Newbould. Michael needed a ride back to the start so I offered to give him. Ended up talking to Brandon for awhile; he'd had a tough race. I felt his pain since I had, too. Really tough day. 

When Michael was ready, we walked across the road. I grabbed MORE syrup for my award, changed clothes, then we left. I dropped Michael at his car then messaged John that I was headed back. He told me again not to hurry, so I did what he said and stopped at Milly's Tavern in Manchester for a beer and lunch. I only had one beer, since I didn't want to drive with more than that in my system. 

I got home, grabbed the dogs and was going to pick up John until his friend's mom texted me asking if he could stay a little longer. That worked great for me since I needed to walk the dogs, and it was pouring rain. I knew John would be complaining, so it was nice to take care of them before picking him up. I even found a new trail that brought me out to one I used to walk often. I made a quick stop at Starbucks to drop off the containers they gave me for my race and had a Kevin's car sighting.

I spent over an hour hanging out with John's friend's mom, Laura, and her mom, Donna, and sister, Sara. I've known Donna and Laura for awhile now since they are both runners and in the White Mountain Milers. John and I went home after. I was toast by then. I was happy with the race, but I started to wonder what sort of downward spiral I had started. Recovery would now be even harder, especially the Ascutney and Mt Washington the following two weeks. I had a feeling I had set myself up for some mediocre races with this Pack Monadnock move. I would just do my best to recover during the week and see how it all would play out.

Another song that I like that I've been listening to this week:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Post VCM Recovery Week

I felt great the first few days following Vermont. My calves were only slightly sore, and the fatigue was minimal. I knew I still needed to be vigilant about recovering since I had Pack Monadnock coming up on week post-VCM. And in my opinion, it's probably one of the hardest road races out there. It's a 10-mile road race with over 2000ft of elevation gain and hurts when you haven't just run a marathon. I was dreading it, but John's friend's mom offered to keep John while I raced, so I knew I couldn't skip it. Plus, it's part of the USATF-NE Mountain Series, and I need to do all of the rest of the Series. I skipped Wachusett and could technically skip one more, but then I would have to count my score at Loon. With it being the National Championship race, my score will be well down into the 80s, possibly the 70s, since it's based off of a percentage of the first woman's time. I need to be able to drop my Loon score in the final standings, so that means I have to do all the remaining Series races, and that included Pack. I dreaded it all week. Last year, I ran it 2 weeks post-VCM and still remember feeling a little fatigued still. I ran a great time, but I was also faster then, too. Haha. So, anyway, I decided to stay off pavement for the week and try to recover as best I could in preparation.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016- Since I kept John on Monday, his dad and I swapped days, so that he took him on Tuesday. That meant I could enjoy a full day to finish off my 5-day weekend. I was pretty excited since it meant I could sleep in, go to my massage appointment and then take my time getting out for a run and have time to kayak. John hung out with me during the morning until I had to leave for my appointment.

I was super excited about the massage since I really needed one. It was supposed to a deep tissue/hot stone massage. Although it felt nice, I was a little disappointed when I left there. It definitely wasn't deep tissue by any means. More just a like a basic Swedish massage which is nice and all, but not when you really want to work the muscles. By the time I left, I felt like I hadn't even had a massage at all. My neck usually feels so relaxed, but it was still tight. I probably won't be going back to this massage therapist again. Oh well.

From there, I drove down to the Piper Trailhead to run a loop up and down Mt Chocorua. Although it may seem baffling that one could call this a recovery run, it really is a recovery run for me as long as I'm running slowly. I'm so used to running mountains that it doesn't take a lot out of me, and it's very low impact. The temperature was still in the 80s, but after running VCM two days before that, it really didn't bother me. I felt some fatigue in the legs later on during the climb, as expected, but the upper portion of the Piper Trail is tough on a good day. As soon as I got out of the trees, the wind up there was crazy. Made it nice, though,since there were no black flies. I was able to stay on the summit for awhile. Beautiful day. I ran back via the Liberty/Hammond/Weetamoo Trails to make a loop of 8.1 miles.
I had to hold my hat on because it was so windy. 

After the run, I went home to take a shower and eat something. I had plans to go "paddleboarding" with my surfboard find, but I realized I had no desire to stand up. I was all done after the Chocorua run, so I loaded the kayak onto my car and went for an evening paddle on Lake Chocorua to make it a Chocurua kind of day! It was gorgeous. Perfect temps. Amazing day.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016- After an awesome 5-day weekend, it was back to work for my 34-hour shift (which is soon to be over!! Yay!!). Since it was the 1st of the month, that meant the monthly truck check on A3. Monthlies are never fun, but in Tamworth, and in the past in North Conway, we had a crew of 4-6 people to do them. It involves a thorough inventory and the cleaning of every shelf, compartment, piece of equipment, floor to ceiling. It had actually been a really long time since the 1st fell on a day I was on in North Conway, so I hadn't done a monthly on A3 in forever. The truck was FILTHY. It was obvious that no one had done a proper monthly on it in who knows how long, and there were only 2 of us to do it. 2 hours later, we finished, and I was just as filthy as the truck. My clothes were so dirty, and I was pouring in sweat. I ended up having to change into my clean uniform that I brought for Thursday. I wasn't happy, but we got it done. I'm sure it will be just as bad next time, though. Ugh. 

The rest of the day got better. John had agreed to do the Conway Rec Track Program because his best friend was doing it, so I took the ambulance over to Kennett High School to watch. John's dad was there with his cousin, John, whom I hadn't seen in forever; it was nice to catch up since I don't see that part of the family much anymore. My John had a fun time at track. They ran the 50 and the 100 and then got to try one of those sand jumping events (don't ask me the names of those) and throwing a ball. John tried really hard in the runs. I was surprised since he doesn't like running. Haha. He came in last every time, but it was fun to watch, and he ended up having a great time.
John is in the blue.
Thursday, June 2, 2016- I got a decent amount of sleep overnight, thank goodness. I needed as much sleep as I could get. I had to stop by my house on the way to Tamworth to grab my back up uniform for the day, then I went on to Tamworth. It was mostly a quiet day until my partner, Jeff, and I headed down to Ossipee Corner for a 911. I had the misfortune of running over wet yellow painted lines on Rt 16 while going around traffic. It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't been driving our brand new ambulance!!

This picture doesn't even show half of it. My boss wasn't happy, but it really was unavoidable. Who paints yellow lines in the middle of the day!! Oh yeah, the State of NH. It took two of my coworkers and me along with the most potent cleaner, Totally Awesome from the Dollar Tree, to get most of the paint off. My boss was happy after that. Haha. I've never done any damage to any truck in the 5 years I've worked here EXCEPT to our brand new one... and this is the 2nd time!! Argh!! Haha. I can at least say I've never hit anything with an ambulance before. :)

After work, I headed up to Great Glen Trails for Week #4 of the Spring Trail Running Series. I had taken another zero day on Wednesday which I don't think helped much. By Thursday, I was feeling tired and heavy. You'd think I would be more forgiving of myself 4 days post-marathon, but...nope. Haha. I still went all out. But, just as I passed the mile 1 point and turned uphill, I felt a weird "thing" in my lower left calf suddenly. It wasn't a pop exactly, but it was so sudden that it worried me, and it hurt. I ran the rest of the course using as little of my lower calf as I could and still managed to run my fastest time on the 3.4 mile course in 23:49. I was surprised to learn that I had barely beaten Margaret. Only by 11 seconds!! She was improving drastically every week while my effort was getting more and more difficult with all of the racing. I was lucky to snag this one, as it will probably be my last weekly win for the Series. I just can't hang anymore with what I'm doing outside of that. I was REALLY tired and REALLY worried about my calf, so I bagged the Auto Rd run. No need. I felt the calf the rest of the night, but I noticed it really just felt sore rather than injured. I decided to play it by ear if I would run the next day. I was already planning Saturday off, but two days wouldn't hurt leading up to Pack.
Week 4

Friday, June 3, 2016- Up at 5am so I could meet Paul Kirsch over at Tin Mountain at 6am. It was almost that time again. The Dirty Girl Trail Race! This would be the third year of my race at Tin Mountain. I had 154 women pre registered so I was happy about that. Paul and I met up to mark the course early so that he could go into work at some point. I brought Spot along... then proceeded to forget about her and left her in the car. It wasn't until about 25 minutes later when a guy passed us with his dog that I remembered I brought Spot. Bad dog owner! Oops. So I ran back and got Spot. She was perfectly fine and napping when I got there, but she was also happy to get out and join me. I just have to say that this race could not have happened without Paul's help. I really don't have much help outside of race day except for Paul and Jotham, my Tin Mountain contact. Paul goes above and beyond to help me every year and even did the timing in addition to everything else! We spent awhile out there just walking the course and talking. I raked the entire trail on the opposite side of Bald Hill. That trail is rarely used and was almost completely covered with leaves. It's only about 3/4 of a mile, but it took a long time to clear it. During this time, I got a call from John saying that he and his dad had lost Chill overnight. Haha. I've learned to just laugh at this by now since I don't think it will ever stop happening. Chill can be kind of a jerk and just take off on you out of the yard in a split second. Haha. I found out later that Chill had been found at 3am the night before and was taken to dog jail. I have to question our Humane Society, though, since Chill had a tag with his name, address and BOTH of our phone numbers right on his collar. He's also microchipped. They didn't see his tag or check his microchip and put his mug shot up on Facebook. Pretty comical to see him in the cage. Hahaha.

Spot actually ended up worn out

Chill's mugshot on Facebook. I only saw this two days after the fact when a friend sent it to me.
Paul and I finished up the course marking, then I had to hit a few stores for last minute race stuff. I dropped this stuff at home, changed into running clothes and decided to run my race course if the calf didn't bother me. I had felt it walking the course in the morning, but it only felt slightly sore. I took the run pretty easy, and it was only around 3.4 miles. 35:47, 425ft of elevation gain. Lots of small ups and downs. I get excited every year for my racers to come out and run the course. If I could make longer, I would, but as it is, it's challenging enough.

John came home as soon as I was home from the run. Since the next day was going to be busy with my race stuff for half the day, I decided to let him do what he wanted for the evening... play video games. Haha. I was busy anyway getting race stuff in order. I made the overall and age group awards then made sure I had bibs assigned and all the other odds and ends taken care of. Then I had to load up the car with most of it. Definitely took longer than planned, but I enjoyed it.

Top 3 overall got sunflowers. Age group awards got white carnations. Top 3 overall also got extra awards as well. 
I ordered stickers with the 2016 logo to put on the award bottles and to give away at bib pickup. The stickers were all gone before the race ever started. haha.
I was super excited about the shirts. A friend recommended Beeze Tees out of Keene, NH. I had to change vendors after last year's screw up by the company I had been using. (I wrote about their screw up HERE.) It was nice working with a company that took my idea and turned it into exactly what I wanted on the first try! I got better shirts and better service. Way worth the extra money! They also made the stickers.

Saturday, June 4, 2016- Race Day!! Which also meant another early morning! I had to pick up the bagels at Bagels Plus (LOVE their bagels) at 6:30am and then get to Tin Mountain by 7am. John went from his bed to the car seat and fell right back asleep. Paul had already been at Tin Mountain for over an hour by the time I got there. He was marking the finish area and the course near the main building. He went to Starbucks to get the coffee that was ready at 7am. In the meantime, I unloaded the car, set up registration with the help of two volunteers and then marked the start line. Registration started at 7:30am and everything went off without a hitch. I had maybe 4 volunteers maybe a week prior to the race, but people came through for me on race day. I had more than enough!! It was great. So many of them had helped out the previous two years, so it made it easy to just tell them where to go, and they knew the drill.
Tin Mountain on race morning

Paul took this great shot

Start line all set up on Bald Hill Rd
9am rolled around, and it looked like everything was set. I had around 130 racers total who toed the line. It was awesome. The hard work was done, and it was time to send them on their way.

They're off!

As soon as they entered the woods, I went into building to set up all of the pre-race food. John helped out with it and took some pictures of me. He said he was having a lot fun at this race since I wasn't actually racing it. Haha. Things were going so well. And, then....Paul comes running in. There was a course mix-up on the Laurel Loop. My heart sank. HOW???? At this point I didn't know the damage. And I didn't know why. Knowing where the mix up was, it was too late to fix the problem. My friend, Michelle, was there taking photos and called me to let me know the deal. Everyone had gone the wrong way on the loop!! She knew the course and tried to help get them back on track, but it was too late. One of my volunteers had misunderstood the course and sent everyone backwards on the loop. Most of the racers would tell me later that they knew they had gone the wrong way because the flags that should always be on the right were now on the left, but when I course official tells you to go a certain way, you do. The leaders ended up going about a 1/2 mile before realizing the error. They turned around and went back to where they were steered wrong and then completed a full loop the correct direction. The people behind them turned around, as well, when they saw them coming back. So the leaders ended up doing the most extra mileage. Two women ended up back at the finish and dropped, which I still don't understand, since the course snafu had nothing to do with ending up back at the finish. Fortunately, everyone else eventually ended up on the right track after their second loop and kept most of their same places.

However, I didn't know any of this standing at the finish line. All I knew was that everyone had gone the wrong way. I was in panic mode. When my timer his 30 minutes and I didn't see Kristina Folcik come by the finish before the last stretch, I knew it was fucked up. I had run the entire course not at race-pace in under 36 minutes. Kristina finally came by around minute 34. She yelled out that she had run two loops of the Laurel Loop section. I wanted to die. Kristina won the race and tried to tell me what had happened. It was pretty confusing at the time and took us awhile to figure out what had happened. I was horrified. Even though it was my volunteer who had made the error, it was still my responsibility as race director to make sure my volunteers understood the course with certainty. I had thought this was done, but, apparently, it was not, and for that, I failed. It sucked. I honestly didn't know what to do in that moment. A few people finished who were obviously upset. I ended up having an injured runner at the same time. She had a decent scrape to the hand. Nothing bad, but I had to walk her into the building and lead  her to the bathroom. To top it all off, just as I'm walking in, I look in the window and see 3 racers who had finished just helping themselves to extra shirts! WTF! I got the injured person to the bathroom and ran in to stop them from taking shirts. I had plenty left over to give away to racers who registered after the shirt deadline, but that didn't mean they could just come take them. So here I am trying to figure out what to do about my course fuck up and as nice as I could tell these 3 that it wasn't ok to just come take shirts, that I would be happy to give them one if they asked. They then have the gall to complain about the start and suggest I make a course change. Seriously?? I kept my cool and explained to them how trail racing works and that you can end up in a bottleneck leading into the single track and that my course was designed the way it was for a reason, blah, blah, blah.

At this point, I decided I needed a moment to calm down and figure out how to handle the situation, so I stayed inside and started setting up the awards. I was expecting to have people come in and start complaining, but the opposite happened! People came in and started telling how much they loved the race despite what happened. They offered support, hugs and kind words. I was in shock! It was so unexpected!! Right to the very end of the awards, I received nothing but kind words and thank you's. Even following the race, I received comments on the Facebook page saying how much they loved the race and would be back next year. It lifted my spirits a bit, but I have to admit, I was pretty depressed about it the rest of the day. I fucked up, and I couldn't take it back. Just needed time to process it all. After the cleanup which took an hour or so, John and I went home. I needed to unload my car, upload the results to coolrunning and most importantly of all...have a drink.

After I was done, I took John to the lake to swim. He loves it and swam for about 2 hours. I rested the rest of the night. Another early morning on Sunday. Pack Monadnock leered figuratively and literally on the horizon. My body was still tired, and now I was mentally burdened by my race. I needed to have a good race on Sunday.

Thanks to Jamie Gemmiti for putting some race photos in the Conway Daily Sun