South Moat

South Moat

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Race Double- SELT Trailfest

The SELT Trailfest was in impromptu race put together over the last month to benefit the Southeast Land Trust of NH. I heard about it via Facebook and decided that it looked too good to pass up. I promptly crossed the NH 10-Miler and the Mt Abrams Ascent off my list and signed up for the SELT 10-mile trail race.

Yesterday, I was looking on the website for the directions to the race parking when I noticed I'd overlooked that the 4-mile and 10-mile races started an hour apart from each other. How could I not do both?? Seemed like the obvious thing to do. Well, maybe for a crazy person. Ha ha. So I signed up for the 4-mile race, too. When I woke up at 5:15am this morning, I immediately regretted it. :)

I got up, made coffee and breakfast for John and me, took the dogs out and got our stuff in the car. John awoke just enough to go from the bed to the carseat and back to sleep. I so wanted to go back to bed. What was I thinking? The drive down wasn't bad. No traffic. We got there right at 8am. The race was being held at the Tucker and French Family Forest in Kingston, NH (near Epping), and it was a really nice spot. I was impressed with this race right from the get-go. VERY organized. They had a great start/finish line put together and tents for the registration/food, the band, the beer and the medical aid. All of it was in a large field. I checked in for both races and confused them a bit when I told them I was running both races. Ha ha. Then I signed John up for the Kids 1K race. I went back to the car, put on my shoes then headed out for a very short 1-mile warm up. I didn't want to do anything more because the 4-mile race was going to be the real warm up for the 10-mile... if I didn't screw things up. When I got back to the car, I made sure John was all set; he was going to stay in there for the first race and then move over to the start/finish area for the 10.

I went over to the start where the race director gave some instructions, then we lined up. I saw Carolyn Shreck just as I was lining up. She was funny since she asked, "You're doing the short race??" I laughed and told her I was doing both races. Fist pump. Hell yeah. Ha ha. There wasn't a huge field for the 4-mile, so I had a feeling I could take it pretty easy and still finish 1st woman, but for the first two miles, I went way too fast. Three guys ended up ahead of me, and the trail was so easy (mostly double-track) that I ended up going way faster than I had intended. I was planning more of an 8-min mile pace for the 4 mile, but my first mile was sub-7 and the second just over 7. Fortunately, the third mile hit some single track with some small, but noticeable, rolling hills, so I couldn't help but slow down to the intended 8-min pace. This single track was an out and back and was obviously brand new trail. It was freshly cleared and a lot of roots still covered the trail. I tripped over one and went down. I actually said out loud as I laughed, "I just fell in the 4-miler?!!" I even got a small scrape above my left knee. I decided to take note for this part for the 10 so that I didn't fall again. The course went back to the double track, and I just took it easy for the run into the finish. I didn't want to be out of breath, so that I would recover quickly enough for the 10-mile. I came through in 29:18. 1st woman, 4th overall. I grabbed water then went to the car. I changed outfits then helped John get his stuff, and we went back over to the start/finish. He chose to set up his lawn chair under the big tent, and I hung out with him until it was time to line up for the start (I only had about 30 minutes in between the two races). From my vantage point, I was able to scope out any competition. There was one woman who looked really serious and had an intense pre-race routine going. Two other women also looked really fast, but you really never know. I know for a fact I don't look "fast", and I've learned that having the "fast" look doesn't mean someone is fast. It's easy for some people to dress the part, and they always throw me off, just like these 3 women did.

We lined up and the super serious chick got right on the start line with the other two right behind her. Now, I was regretting running the 4-mile since I figured I now had competition. I didn't know if I could hammer it out the whole race; my legs were actually kind of tired. Dumb idea to do both races, but whatever, it was done. I just knew I had to go off fast like I usually do to attempt to get some sort of lead on them before my legs gave out on me. The race started, and I immediately blew past serious chick and the two others. Quite a few men ran ahead of me, including Jonathan Miller, my snowshoe racing rival. Ha ha.
Start of the 10-mile race. I'm in the Six03 tank. Bib 33.
I went off super quick and ended up next to my old aR teammate Jeff Hixon for most of the first mile. We actually chatted a bit; he was telling me about his 6-week sabbatical from work in the Swiss Alps. He ran some epic races over there; it sounded fantastic. I have that on my list for when I grow up. ;) I took a peek back near mile 2 and noticed fast girl #2 in the yellow tank way too close for comfort. Dammit. No slowing down yet, so I just kept hammering it out, but at mile 3, she was still there!! Ugh. I had to bank on her not being a trail runner, but the first 6 miles of this race weren't very technical trails. I was hoping it was enough, though, when we got on the first few hills of more "trail-like" stuff. And I think it was. She was nowhere in sight on my next peek back, but that didn't keep me running scared for the next 5 miles.  I was also running alone from this point on until the finish. That makes it tough to push yourself. I kept thinking she was holding back and would totally school me at the end. The only way I would know what when we hit that same hilly out-and-back single track between miles 7 and 8 that I fell on during the 4-mile race, but I had a long way to go until then. So I just kept hammering it out. Right around mile 6, the course turned onto more single-track with some small rolling hills. My kind of thing; I hoped it was no one else's thing. Ha ha. Finally, the course looped around a pond and then hit the out-and-back single track. I was looking forward to this part because I would get to finally see how far back the competition was. I also got to see how far ahead the guys were. Jonathan was barely holding down 3rd (and would manage to keep it for the finish). The guy in front of me was about 2 minutes ahead. On my way back, I finally saw the woman behind me. She had to be well over 2 minutes behind. That was a relief for sure, but then I knew she would know where I was now and probably try to catch me. I didn't think she stood a chance, but I still didn't let up. There was another short out-and-back right after the first one, and when I passed her, she was a good half mile or more back. I wasn't worried because I knew I was almost done. I could hear the announcer calling the names of the guys in front of me and then soon enough, it was my turn. 1st woman, 8th overall. 1:07:11. Not a fast time for a road 10-mile race, but really decent for a trail race. Even though, there weren't any big climbs, there were enough little ups and downs and twists and turns to slow the pace down a bit, just like any trail race. I can say for sure that I was much happier racing a trail 10-miler than the NH 10 Miler on the road. Granted, I haven't run a 10-mile road race since I was much slower, so it would be nice to see what I can do now, but that will have to wait until sometime next year, I suppose. Hopefully in MUCH cooler weather. I am so not into the heat and humidity (I think that's the 100th time I've written that in my blog).
John on my back after I finished my race. I like photobomb guy behind us. Ha ha.
As soon as I finished, I went over to John who had already pinned his bib number on for the kids race. He was really excited. It was so cool. He had killed the battery on my phone, so I ran over to the car (that was about it for a "cool down"; I was all done) to grab my old phone so that I could take pictures of him during his race. He was taking it very seriously. Doing some stretching.

The kid can do almost a full split! Oh to be that flexible. Gymnastics is paying off.
The race director gathered the kids together next to the start line, but as he was preparing the start, the kids got confused and lined up facing the wrong direction. When he told them where the start was, they misunderstood again and just started racing! Ha ha. It was so funny. At least they were going in the right direction. The race director, who was going to lead them, didn't realize it at first and had to sprint to catch up with them. Ha ha.
John and the other kids just took off! Ha ha. John is in the grey shirt and black shorts
The race was a 1K so I had time to grab my free beer from Stoneface Brewing Co before he came back to the finish. Ha ha.
John finishing

Big smile through the finish
He was super psyched to finish 4th, but he was also beat. He said his throat and stomach hurt. Ha ha. That means he ran hard. He was really happy, so I was happy. I'm glad he did it.

Other people started to come in so I caught up with them. Carolyn Shreck, Jessica Goldman and Korrie Wedel. It was really nice catching up with Carolyn since I seem to only see her in passing at races lately. The post-race event was really nice. Free beer and pizza and a really good live band. Definitely a winner of a race in my book. All around. I'm glad this one had a good turn out for being put together so quickly.

We stayed for the awards. I got two cool wood plaques, and John got a medal.
1st overalls

John with the other kids

Top 3 overall in the 4-mile

Top overall runners in the 10.
We left after that and stopped by Memories Ice Cream at Carolyn's recommendation. Only John got ice cream. I didn't want to spend that much money on myself, so I just got a coffee.

When we got home, I took care of the dogs, and then John and I headed up to Bartlett for the night. I picked up the overnight on-call shift at the ambulance, so we're camping at the fire station for the night. So far it's quiet, but the night is young. I, on the other hand, am not young, and I am so ready for bed... on the couch. :)
It's bring your child to work night

Friday, August 28, 2015

Mt Chocorua

I went to bed early Thursday night to catch up on the lost sleep and was then woken up out of a deep sleep at 8am Friday morning by John coming in to drop off his stuff and the dogs. His dad had sent me a text that I didn't get due to being out cold telling me he needed to drop off the dogs and John's things. I guess I don't get a choice in the matter. Ha ha. It was nice to see John for a few minutes, though, before he left to go back with his dad. I was awake so I decided to make coffee, then get ready for a run. I felt bad now that I had all 3 dogs, since I wasn't taking them with me. I drank my coffee then drove over to Scott Rd to run the Hammond Trail up Mt Chocorua. The weather was SO beautiful. Just perfect. I chose the Hammond Trail since I had never run it (plus the Liberty Trail) all the way to the top. I had done the whole trail, just not at once. Plus, it's not too difficult, and since I have a race (or races) tomorrow, I didn't want to kill my legs. I took it really slow the whole run. It's about 3 miles on the Hammond Trail until it ends at the Liberty Trail which goes the whole way to the top. So far, I'd say this is one of the easier routes up Chocorua that I've done, but I have yet to go up Chocorua from the Paugus Mill Rd Trailhead. Once at the top, I ran into two sisters who were really nice and started asking me all sorts of questions about my mountain running. They were working on their 4000 footers. They moved over to another part of the peak, so I had the summit to myself for a little while. Just took some time staring out at the view, then I headed back down the way I came.
My Buff needed some adjusting, obviously. :)

I only saw a few other people. One was the local dog walker, whom I've run into on the Hammond Trail before. Two of her dogs followed me down a ways, but I didn't mind. They were very sweet dogs, and they eventually turned back to meet up with her again.

When I got home, I took the dogs up Heavenly Hill. I stayed up there for awhile to drink the mug of coffee I brought up. Then I walked back down and drove over to the Swift River Covered Bridge in Conway to pick up John since he and his dad were hanging out by the river down there.
Blurry shot of us. Phoenix wasn't too thrilled. Ha ha.

Poor little dog. Ha ha.
Interesting thing I learned today. I see what happens when you post skinny-dipping pictures of yourself on your blog. Looks like I hit the big time and made it onto two Tumblr sites. Ha ha ha.
Natural Swimming Spirit
Let's Get Nekkid
Good thing I don't care. Too funny.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Madison/Tamworth Roads

Made it to Tamworth by 7:30am for my shift. My partner, Tyler, was finally back after being out for a shoulder injury that happened just before Christmas. We were supposed to work the Christmas 24 hour shift together, but when he got injured (fell off the back of a fire truck), I was stuck with the most depressing person ever. Nice guy, but when the first thing he says on Christmas morning is, "If I wasn't here today, I would probably be dead," you know you're not in for a Christmas filled with yuletide joy. Ha ha.

Tyler and I have had some fun times working together in the past. We took one truck down the North Conway strip one time blowing huge clouds of black smoke all over the cars behind us. It was the funniest thing ever. One guy eventually followed us until we stopped at Walgreen's to tell us that the smoke was so bad, that he couldn't see or breathe and had to pull over. Very difficult to hold in the hysterical laughter while talking to him. Then a Conway PD officer, stopped by to let us know there was something wrong with our truck. We didn't hold in the laughter with him and even got him laughing.

So today ended up being a fun day catching up with him. He got married over the last 9 months and has really gotten his life more in line with where he wants to be. We had a decent call in the morning that was pretty entertaining and then just hung out at the base the rest of the day. It was nice to have him back.

The weather was beautiful today, so I couldn't wait to get out for my run. The air was cool and dry!! I decided to just run from the Tamworth base down 41, then up High St to Washington Hill to Deer Hill and back to the base on 41. What a difference the weather makes in how I feel, since I felt fast and strong. I haven't felt that in awhile, other than a random run here and there. This run is exactly 13.1 miles. 7:06/mi pace. 794ft of elevation gain. Good pace for a training run. And I wasn't dead tired after it either. Such a relief, although it will be short-lived when the higher temps return over the next few days. As soon as weather like today becomes a mainstay, I'll be back out running some of the same mountain and road runs I was doing last Fall and this Spring to see how I compare to those runs now.

Wednesday 8/26/15

Up at 4:40am for a 5-mile treadmill run in the basement. 1% incline for .5 mile, 3% incline for .5 mile, etc. Upped the speed every mile. This is my usual type of treadmill run. Pouring in sweat, but I felt really good and even danced through the last mile to a good song without falling off the treadmill. Mission accomplished. 5 miles 7:14/mi pace.

Worked the 24 in North Conway and ended up doing 3 Maine Med transfers that started in the morning and ended around 3am. I drove there and back for the first 2, but after driving over the third time, I was all done. The eyes can only handle so much driving. For the first time in almost two years that I've been partners with Michelle, she actually insisted that she was driving home and not me. I was that bad off. I even had trouble backing into the parking spot at MMC. A few Portland Fire guys were making fun of me as I tried to back in by pretending I had hit them, but I didn't even care. Ha ha. As long as I didn't hit one of the two cement pillars I was squeezing in between, it didn't matter. I didn't even know what they were doing until after I had parked. :) EMS=thick skin.
Maine Med ER Ambulance bay at 1:30am
I was actually able to sleep a little bit on the way back. Not very soundly, but it was something. We got back around 3am, and I went right to bed. Slept for 3 hours until I had to get up to shower before my 10-hour shift in Tamworth.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Carter Ledge

Woke up a little late, but I still had plans to run up Chocorua via Piper. I brought Spot along because she really needed some exercise, and I knew I would be running slowly. The skies were dark and a light drizzle had started by the time I got to the Piper Trailhead. I think I was even more sore than the day before and realized I was moving too slowly to make it to the summit to be back in time for John to come home. I made the decision to make this an easier run and turned off of Piper at the Nickerson Ledge Trail, which has a brief, steep climb up before some really easy running through evergreens on soft ground. After about a mile, it ends at the Carter Ledge Trail which I followed up to the top of Carter Ledge.
Spot on Carter Ledge

I thought this picture was cool because it looks like it's glowing behind me (even though there's nothing "glowing" about me; I'm surprised it wasn't a dark cloud). You can see the sweat on my shirt. Muggy. 
From there we turned around and headed back the way we came. I took a short jaunt out on the Weetamoo Trail to the brook so that Spot could take a swim to cool off. Then we ran back to the trailhead from there. 5.7 miles, 1771ft of elevation gain. Pretty easy "recovery" run from the night before.

Tonight was supposed to be the annual Kennett Challenge at the middle school. The White Mountain Milers vs Kennet's XC team vs Fryeburg's XC team. It's a two-mile run on part of the XC course. I've won this in the women's division the last 2 years, and it's something I was looking forward to, but, unfortunately, with the thunderstorms predicted, they decided to postpone the event until Wednesday. I was so bummed since Wednesdays are my 24-hour shift. :( Now, I can't run it. I'm pretty disappointed, especially since there was no rain, nor thunderstorms, during what would have been the race time, but I understand why they did it. A thunderstorm did roll in around 6:30pm, so it was close. They made the right call, but at around 5:30pm tomorrow night, I'm going to be sulking.

It rained with thunderstorms for most of the day until around 2pm, when the sun came out. John and I decided to go up to Storyland for a few hours. The weather was perfect while we were there, but the place was empty! I think we rode the Roar-O-Saurus roller coaster 6 times in a row. Love that thing!! We did a few other rides and walked around. A small rain shower started just as we drove away, so we hit it perfectly today. I picked up my paycheck from Bartlett-Jackson Ambulance while we were up there then went home to get the dogs before going to John's ninja class. I took the dogs on a short walk while John was in his last ninja class of the summer, then they had a pizza party to celebrate the end of the session.

We got home to find Chill tied up in my driveway. WTF. But whatever. He was fine. I'm just glad he wasn't stuck out in a thunderstorm. I hit up my second weight training workout for this week. Biceps, triceps, back and legs. This one was tough. As you can see from the above picture, I have no biceps or triceps anymore, so that's going to take some work. Ha ha. The next workout is legs and shoulders, but I'm not sure if I will get to that before Sunday. I have a race on Saturday, and I don't want to be too sore, so I might need to just wait until then for my next workout.

Conway/Eaton/Madison Loop

I woke up Monday REALLY sore after the previous night's workout. My legs hurt. Just touching my chest was painful. So weak!! Ha ha! I'm glad I'm getting back into it, though. I had to work my regular 10-hour shift in Tamworth, where it was pretty quiet most of the day. I heard from John's dad that John was still tired and slept until 1:30pm!! Had to be a virus or something. In the afternoon, we got a 911 call that had us out for a few hours, then put us back at the base right at 5pm, time to leave.

I had a big run planned for Monday night, but I had forgotten about the earlier sunset and wasn't sure I could pull off the whole run before dark. I didn't feel like bringing lights, but I grabbed my reflective vest and tied it around my waist to use once it got dark. I made up this loop which left my house and ran the same route through Cranmore Shores that I always do. I took it pretty slow the first mile because my legs were SO sore and needed to loosen up big time. They were so sore that I didn't know for sure whether I would be able to run the whole loop I had planned. The soreness was actually gone by mile 3 when I started up Tasker Hill Rd. I ran up Allard Hill Rd to its end at Modock Hill Rd and took a left eventually hitting Dollof Hill Rd which was a nice downhill break after the climbing up Allard. Just before I got onto Rt 153, Don Fredrikson and his wife, Sharon, passed by on their way to movie night at the Inn at Crystal Lake. I so wanted to jump in the car with them and head to the inn. It sounded way more appealing. They waved, and I continued on. I hit 153, which I reluctantly run on, since cars scare me, but this time of evening, it was really quiet. I ran all the way into Eaton, passing Crystal Lake and the Inn where Don and Sharon were. Once again, I wanted to stop there for movie night, but I kept going straight up Glines Hill Rd for a killer climb. For a road climb, it was pretty tough, but the run on the road was so peaceful and quiet. I really enjoyed it. Quiet dirt roads are some of my favorite places to run. Glines Hill passes Modock Hill Rd, and I forgot that my plan was actually to go that way and onto Colby Hill Rd, so I continued straight with Glines Hill eventually turning into Mooney Hill Rd for a long downhill to 113 in Madison. 113 was a little scary, since it was getting dark and all I had was the reflective vest that I stopped to put on before getting on 113. The newly paved road and graded shoulder made the run much nicer than the last time I ran it. It was still light enough for me to see for the first 2 miles down the road, but after that, it got pretty dark, and car headlights were blinding me. Most of this run was downhill. I didn't kill it, though. I can usually run a portion of this in 6s for pace, but I held back a bit into the 7s. I was so done by the time I got to my driveway. When I looked amy GPS, I was surprised to see 18 miles flat. Cool. Didn't even plan that or have to make that happen. Just worked out that way. 7:58/mi pace with over 1400ft of elevation gain. Decent run for a really muggy Monday evening. Not really fast, but I was happy with it.

Sunday 8/23/15

I decided to take a zero on Sunday. My legs were toast from the two races and 17-mile mountain run over the previous 3 days, so I felt like I needed a break. I had a big day planned with John for a hike up to Tuckerman Ravine, but that ended up not happening. John was really tired and slept almost the whole day. I thought that he just hadn't gotten enough sleep, but I think he was fighting off something.

I shortened our hiking plans to an easy walk to Ripley Falls, only 1.2 miles roundtrip, thinking it would fun for him and perk him up, but he slept the whole way there, then looked like a zombie the whole walk. When we got to the waterfall, he slept there, too!
John sleeping in front of Ripley Falls

He woke up for the walk back to the car, but still looked like a zombie. I stopped at Trails End to get him ice cream. He ate it, but then went back to sleep in the car on the ride home. It took me forever to get him out of the car, and then he slept for 4 more hours! I figured he really must need the sleep because this isn't typical for him, so I just let him be.

I decided that evening that I was going to commit back to lifting weights 2-3 days a week, just like I used to up until a year ago. I've lost so much muscle since then! I decided it was time, so I did my first workout that worked the legs, back of the shoulders and chest. I was surprised to be able to lift the same weight that I left off with, so I must still be fairly strong. It was only about 45 minutes, but it kicked my ass. I'd like to do this 3 days a week, but it will depend on my running/racing schedule whether it's 2 or 3 days a week. I don't want to mess up the good thing I have going.

John woke up around 10:30pm. He was hungry, but only for a bowl of cereal, which he ate. He stayed awake maybe an hour before going back to sleep for the night. Poor kid.