Doyle's Emerald Necklace

Doyle's Emerald Necklace

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2017 Bretton Woods Fell Race

Sunset in Redstone
Still plagued with full lungs all week, but I was able to pull off some ok runs, including a long run in thick, foggy humidity. I came up .9 miles short of 50. Haha. Didn't realize it until Monday morning or I would have actually gone back out for another .9. So 49.1 miles for the week. Got a lot of climbing in for 9,560ft of elevation gain. Most of that was from 3 days straight running at Bretton Woods. Got my last "long" run in before Hartford, if you can actually call 16 miles a long run. I did my best to regain what I'd lost, but not being able to breathe going on week 4 at this point just kept me down. That didn't ruin my excitement about Bretton Woods, though. Even though I knew my chances of winning this year were nil, I still had some smidgen of hope that I could outwit my competitors. Already registered were Christin Doneski and Kassandra Marin. I knew I didn't stand a chance against either of them with speed, but my knowledge of the mountain could. Knowing I had to really be on my game this time, I actually did some recon for the race on Friday. I know the mountain well, but not well enough to know some of the new-to-me ski slopes I would need to take. In the end, this paid off, so I was glad I made it up there. I was nervous about it all week since I love this race and always seek the win here.

Monday, September 25, 2017- Not a bad day at work. The crazies wouldn't come out until the following week. Haha. I didn't walk today because it was SO hot outside and in the ambulance bay. I would have been soaked in sweat and miserable. Instead, I hung out by the air conditioning. Haha. I did spend part of the day prepping for Bretton Woods with the map and Dave Dunham's notes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017- Luckily for Rob and I, we weren't up when the tone dropped for mutual aid to Wakefield at 6:30am. The other crew had the bad luck. Dodged a bullet with that one, although we'd get our payback the next week. I really needed to get my last long run in, and I was a little annoyed that Bryan had picked up a shift at work starting at 7am. I said I wasn't really comfortable with him leaving John since I would be so far away from home, and my car, on top of that, but I talked to John about it and felt like he would be ok. I knew he would be, and I made sure Bryan left John his work number in case of emergency since he would only be 10 minutes away. I HAD to get this long run in. If not, I probably would have just gone home and run from there. John's almost 12, and it was a good test. I called him once during my run to check in and he was fine. I'm glad we did give him a chance because I was comfortable doing it myself two weeks later. I already leave him to run or go do errands, but I'm never that far away. Baby steps. Haha.

I decided on my favorite loop on the Tamworth back roads starting at Remick Farm. I LOVE this loop. Super hilly, but quiet and pretty. Today was just gross, though. Everything was blanketed in a thick fog of humidity, which in the end actually stopped me from cutting the run short halfway. It kept the sun at bay! It was still stifling, though. Couldn't breathe worth a shit, so the run sucked. The only good part was finishing it! I made the same loop I always do when I run this. Up Cleveland Hill to Bunker Hill and loop back via 113 and then the dirt roads that loop me back.

With all of the climbing, it's never been one of my faster long runs, but it was definitely much slower today. 7:50/mi avg pace. Would have been 8 minutes probably, but the last 3 miles are all downhill and quick. The rest is very slow.

This where I stopped to call John. You can see the humidity. Yuck.

I was absolutely drenched in sweat when I finished. Like soaked. And I was totally drained. I called John to let him know I was on my way home. I was relieved that worked out.

Once home, the sun started to come out and the temp skyrocketed. This called for a beer instead of my usual coffee, and it hit the spot. This was the same beer that E-J gave Scott after Lone Gull, and it was SO good.

Always wants to play stick
I don't know how I got myself to do my upper body and abs workout, but I did, then I took John to the lake to swim. It was in the high 80s and would probably be our last lake day of the year. Cry!! It was nice watching John swim. I had so looked forward to when he could swim in the lake this year, so I can't believe it's already over! It went by way too fast. We went home for awhile and then back out to John's ninja class that night so he was worn out.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017- I got myself up at 4:30am to run on the treadmill. I don't know what's happened to me. Last year and most of this year, I was very consistent with 5 mile treadmill runs every Wednesday. All of a sudden, I just cannot get myself up, and when I do, it's always after two alarms, and I'm left without the time to get in the full 5 miles. Just no motivation to get up that early anymore. But I did this morning! 4 miles in 29:12. Decent 7:18/mi avg pace. I think part of it is that I know I can run at work now if I don't get up so I get lazy. The treadmill runs are usually better quality runs, though.

The 24 hours at work was the usual. Not crazy busy, but consistent. We had a late call midnight-ish, but slept the rest of the night.

Thursday, September 28, 2017- Got up at 5:45am to run on the trail out back of work. It sucks that it's dark out at that time now and I have to use a headlamp. The trail is actually pretty rooty so it was much slower than I normally run it. 3 miles in 26:46. It started to get light out for the last mile so I was able to actually run that at a decent pace for that trail. It's really just bonus miles for the day before I go sit around at Club Motorsports all day for the work detail.

Went home, showered then drove to Tamworth to pick up the ambulance and drive over to the race track. My partner, Eric, was already over there. Eric was one of the first people I ever worked with here and probably trained me the most in the beginning. We used to be friends along with his wife, Mel, who is also a coworker. We all great times at the North Conway base when there were 6 of us on shift, and we hung out outside of work a lot, as well. After all of the restructuring, I hardly saw them anymore since we all worked different shifts and there really wasn't much else we had in common, so I stopped hanging out with them. Until today, I'd hardly talked to Eric in probably 2 years! So we spent the entire day catching up on life while we watched the sports cars race by. Haha. It was nice. Eric is probably the only one who actually knows Bryan and me, both, and was one of the few who was there when the marriage began it's breakdown. So he's really the only witness and person who knows both sides. I didn't think of that until today, and I felt sad that I'd lost touch. But it was like we'd never stopped working together. So easy to catch back up. He seems to be loving his new-ish family of four kids and just staying busy working on his house.

One of the reasons I'm writing about Eric is that he's one of a good number of people I cut off in the last 2.5 years. I've been slowly coming around and trying to mend some of those broken bridges lately. I recently made up with someone else with whom I'd had a falling out. It was funny, like it was time. A former co-worker that I had been friends with until his lack of work ethic just sent me over the edge. My last text to him in 2015 had, no lie, 5 f-bombs in it. It was a downward spiral after that. I hated it that it ended that way, and for the last 2 years, every time I passed him on the road, I waved. I kept waving and kept waving. And finally in August, I ran into him at the 80s concert, and it was like all of a sudden, we were both over it. So weird. There's someone else I kind of chatted with then suddenly cut off after a short time; I felt badly about that and have been slowly trying to let that person know I'm not the total bitch I'm sure I appeared to be. There are others I still haven't fixed things with. Not sure if I will. These others I have just happened randomly with paths crossing again. Interesting the ebb and flow of relationships and how people move in and out of our lives.

I finally felt comfortable enough to ask Mike, who oversees the track operations at Club Motorsports, if I could run the track after hours. He's so laid back and cool and didn't even hesitate to say yes. Even said I could come anytime after the track is closed and to just let him know. I was super excited! Squeal! I couldn't wait! I started saying I was going to make Strava segments using their names for the track sections and then realized no one knew what the hell I was talking about. Haha. But it was only a minute or two later when I got an email from Mike with the track map and the proposed section and corner names, so he got mostly what I was blabbing about. Haha.

When the last car left the track, I drove the ambulance back to the base, got my car, then headed back to the track. There was a ton of traffic entering the track to unload cars for the next day's huge event, so it took me almost 20 minutes just to turn in there. I was antsy to get running. The course is basically a climb, a downhill, a steeper climb, another downhill and then a fast straightaway. I entered the course like the cars and started the first climb. I could breathe! The air was cool and dry and the sun was setting. Perfect! It was fun seeing where all of the cars had run off the track. Haha. Tire tracks all through the grass. Dents in the siding. Crazy drivers. Haha. I have to brag that I definitely felt special being the first person to ever run the track. I made two segments for the two climbs. I would run the first segment exactly the same on both loops. The other segment was slower on the second loop since I stopped for a photo. Haha. This was just so neat. I'd love to put a 5-mile road race on here, and it's actually a possibility. Not sure if I want to take that on, but if I do, I'll talk to Mike about it next season. 5.2 miles in 39:17. Surprised at how much elevation gain it was! 1,083ft!

Crazy hair in the wind!

Beautiful view
I was kind of on a high from running something new and unique. Haha. I'm a running dork.

Friday, September 29, 2017- I didn't really want to drive all the way up to Bretton Woods since I was already doing it twice this weekend, but something told me that recon would be really important for this one. Not going to say the other year's courses were easy, but I found that the shortcuts were far more obvious. I would realize that this one was very difficult. Any which way might be faster, but not by much unless you really have no navigation skills. Haha.

I brought Phoenix along on our fun, random run. With Dave Dunham's notes and print-out of Ed Sheldon's recon in hand, I decided to start off with Dave's idea for the start by using the road. I found the quickest route from the start had to be done through the playground since the rest of it was fenced off. I messed up and went on too much of the road but still found the base of ski lift to start uphill. Immediately, I was met with a very overgrown slope with two different options to go around it. I chose the glades this time. I noticed that more of the slopes in general were overgrown than the past years. I would also realize that some of Dave's recon that was a month prior actually didn't work due to the insane overgrowth that had happened so I made notes of it all to pass on to him. I didn't know the exact location of checkpoint A and ended up going too high above it. I followed most of his route to checkpoint B but then opted to check out a slightly different route to C. I would do his route in the race, but after doing both, I think either, or, would have been about the same. After checkpoint C, I stopped for some photos since it was so beautiful out. Plus, I needed the breather. B to C kicked my ass. I was actually hurting pretty bad which made me regret signing up for Saturday's race and worried about Sunday.

I found Dave's route checkpoint D had a steep overgrown section. What had been overgrown for him was half-mowed now and less wet so I took it back up and decided this was what I would take on race day. I followed Dave's idea to follow the road across and then up, but on my way up, I realized where Ed had gone and felt pretty confident that Ed had chosen the better route. On race day, I wouldn't make my decision until I literally had to. I chose Ed's. By far the faster route. I also followed Ed on the climb up to E. Dave would take a look at it again the next day and realize that we were right. His idea was far steeper.

I intended to follow Aggasiz down as Dave suggested, but I found the slope to be very overgrown and thought I would attempt Ed's idea through the glades. I've used these same glades to checkpoint F multiple years, but never from Aggasiz. Always from Avalon. But I decided to go for it. Once in the woods, trails went off in different directions. I picked one then realized at the base of it that I should have chosen another. I crossed Avalon and found myself at the top of the Cherry Mt Slide. I followed these glades all the way down until I came out at the bottom and found I was maybe 100 yards down from checkpoint F. Perfect. This was my route for this one for sure. I just planned to do it one more time to make sure I knew it exactly before Sunday. My recon came out to 6.9 miles and 2,527ft of elevation gain. I knew the elevation gain would be about the same on Sunday, but I was hoping those miles would whittle down closer to 6 miles. We spent 1:48:43 out there. It seemed long and it was. 27 minutes of that was spent NOT running. Crazy. Often stopping and looking around and the photo stop with Phoenix. This recon went on PRIVATE on Strava. I wasn't having any competition look at my route. Good thing I did, too, because it probably would have cost me a place.

On the way home, I had just enough time to run back on the Kismet course to take down a Six03 sign that Tom had left behind. Glad it was only .3 miles in since the sign wasn't there. Haha. John didn't have school today so he was already home when I got back. I got in some upper body and abs, but found I was pretty exhausted the rest of the day. I had two races this weekend (since I'm dumb) so I decided to just rest up the rest of the day.

Saturday, September 30, 2017- Mt Rosebrook Ascent Race-

I didn't originally plan to do this vertical climbing race at Bretton Woods, but I decided to after all. The goal was just to have fun and test my lungs out on the climbing. Definitely not go all out since I needed to save my legs for the Fell Race on Sunday. The late start made the morning easier, but John still slept in the car the entire time. Haha. There wasn't a huge turnout, but I liked that. I knew mostly everyone there so it was more intimate. I ran a mile warm up to do more recon on Dave's route up the pavement for Sunday's start. I realized where I had gone completely wrong the day before and thought this was definitely the faster start (this would be TOTALLY wrong haha).

I realized that I hadn't even looked at today's course and had no idea where it went. When I looked at the map, I saw it followed the service road the whole way. Ew. Hmm. Not going to be my cup of tea, but I figured it would at least be more gradual. The footing was what turned me off. Very loose, lumpy gravel.

We all lined up at the start for Chris Dunn's pre-race speech. There was a very fast looking woman there that I thought was much older, probably 50ish. (I feel badly because I would learn later that she's 3 years younger than me! Oops. Do I look 50?? Omg. Haha.). I didn't know her at all. I spoke to her only briefly about my Ink 'n' Burn shorts just as we started, and she took off fast! I knew I wouldn't stand a chance against her on a good day. She was obviously a good mountain runner. I ended up quickly with Paul Kirsch and a younger guy as we vied for space on the best parts of the road for footing. I immediately struggled to breathe so I just kept my pace "easy", and I say "easy" because running up a mountain is never easy, but I wasn't giving 100%. It still hurt, though. Haha. The first half would be somewhat steep, and this is where Paul has the one-up on me, so he stayed just a few steps ahead. The kid, on the other hand, was slightly annoying because he's the typical young guy who can't stand being passed by a woman. This happens often to me when I pass guys under the age of 20. They immediately speed up and pass me back. Today was no different, but I just stayed my pace and kept going. There's a point where I always break them due to their surges to get ahead of me, and sure enough, around halfway, or maybe just past it, the grade eased up, and I easily passed Paul and the kid. I was shocked to find us at the top of the lift quickly so I knew I was almost done, just a gentle climb across the ridge and one last very steep climb to the finish. The footing on the last steep climb sucked badly so I was just kind of jogging when everyone started yelling that Paul was catching up. One look back and I saw I had plenty of time to just keep jogging...and laughing of course. I was even yelling out that he couldn't catch me. I finished laughing and barely out of breath. Second woman. 1.7 miles total with 1,337ft of ascent. 23:22. That was actually really fun, and I was happy I didn't push myself too hard. Full Results

Jeff Hixon capturing my look back to see where Paul was.

Photo by Dave Dunham just before the finish. 
So we learned after that the first woman, Sula Gay, was once Sula Young. She was part of the Scottish Women's Team at the 2005 World Mountain Running Championship where she placed 16th and the team won silver. Her husband was a fell racer in Scotland and would be racing the next day. They came over from NY, NY with their young child to participate, so that was cool having them there.

I hung out for a bit at the top catching up, then started my run down via the glades, as planned. I knew this was the faster route so I wanted to memorize it. There would be no time for mistakes...and sure enough, there actually wasn't the next day! I ran into a group that included Christin Doneski and a few others just out doing recon. Christin was super nervous about the fell racing aspect so she continued on with her group as I turned on to Aggassiz and found my exact route down for Sunday. Muwahahaha. I definitely had evil laughter in my head as I ran down this. Once I was down, I ran down some lower slopes and just before crossing a wooden bridge, I stepped in a huge hole completely obscured by grass. This sent me sliding a good 5-6 ft down the slope face first. Definitely caught me by surprise, but I was laughing my head off. Too bad no one else saw that show. I actually couldn't stop laughing at myself the rest of the run back to the lodge.

Awards took awhile, but there just happened to be free beer tasting from really good breweries. Basically all you could drink. Otter Creek, Stoneface and Shed. Score!

Just before we left, Emer O'Donaghue, loaded us up with two HUGE trash bags filled with boys clothes for John. Her boys are all big now so she passed it along to us. And wow!! It was so much great stuff. John is set for years!! Thank you, Emer!

Before going home, John and I stopped at Story Land for one last visit this year. He's kind of over it so this was probably our last year with season passes. There are only a few rides John still likes to do. We'll probably just pay full price one day next year to go. We weren't there long. It was kind of chilly and rainy, but we got in everything John wanted to do. Kind of sad to know he's outgrowing it, but that's just part of growing up.

Pretending to be attacked by an octopus
We weren't home long when our guest for the night arrived. Rachel Flaksman! She was staying overnight for Bretton Woods. I don't know how long we stood in the kitchen gabbing and drinking beer, but it had to be over 3 hours! Fun to have girl talk...and gossip! Haha.

Rachel with Phoenix
Sunday, October 1, 2017- Bretton Woods Fell Race-

How is it October already?? What the hell. Time moves way too fast these days. I'm not looking forward to winter right now, and not because of the snow, but because I remembered how shitty my snowblower is and makes me cry, and I have no heat in my car. Haha. I'm laughing and shaking my head at the thought. Sometimes you're just screwed and you have to accept it. So I guess I'll just accept it when the time comes. Solutions: one of those car defroster/warmer fans, that don't work that well for the whole car but will at least defrost my windshield, and probably two seat warmers that plug into the 12V. If they're expensive, I'll just get one for John. My only issue that I'm most concerned with is my hands. They go numb when I touch cold things so I need to buy some really grippy gloves to make it safe for wearing while driving. I can put toe warmers in my shoes. So looking at a less than $100 solution vs $800 for the new blower installation. Not ideal, and it's going to suck so bad that I'll probably cry over that, too, but it's something. Well, unless I win Publisher's Clearing House. My chances are good! 1 in 1.7 billion by one estimate. Someone has to be the ONE. Pick me! Pick me! Haha.

So anywho...time to cut the shit with the whining and get on with the day. John wasn't too thrilled about going back to Bretton Woods for a second day in a row. (This would be my third!) But once we got there, he was good. Got his computer out and set everything up at a table. Actually didn't give me a hard time at all. So that helped reduce my pre-race stress level. I was nervous. I always am for this one because I'm never sure if my route is the right one! I found out once I was there that Kelsey Allen had shown up. Dammit! I knew I couldn't beat her. I did beat her here in 2014, but I also beat Kim Nedeau, and we all know I can't do that now. I was so good then that I'm not surprised there were some people who genuinely thought I was doping. Haha. No doping, just divorce. Hmm. Maybe I should get remarried and then get divorced so I can be fast again! Hahaha! Ugh, so having Kelsey there crushed my hopes of a top 3 finish. They would all have to screw up royally with their route for me to beat them. I took my nerves out for a mile warm up. Well, that didn't help because I realized my breathing was way worse!! I was wheezing! WTF.

Todd Brown took this photo of Christin and me at the start
At the start, Christin, Dave Dunham and a few others of us lined up at the back of the pack. At this race, you didn't have to actually cross a start line at the start, so we stood in the back ready to go the opposite direction, and that's what we did. Quite a few people followed us. I thought for sure we were getting a huge lead on the rest, but I should have thought better of it when Todd Callaghan told me pre-race that he wasn't going the road route. I still don't know how our route wasn't quicker, but we came out to an open point and saw who we were running parallel with, I realized our route was big mistake. We were mixed in with the middle of the pack! NO!! I could see Kassandra Marin FAR up ahead. Fortunately Christin was with me so we talked it out a bit. That helped. Then she moved on ahead of me slightly for the steep climb up the slope. I was SO discouraged at this point, and I couldn't breathe. I didn't know why! How could my breathing be worse today?! I struggled for air up to checkpoint A, but then all of a sudden, even though it was still a gradual climb across the top on the road, I could breathe again!

I followed my planned route down to checkpoint B, and by this time, I found Kassandra Marin way far ahead of me. That meant Kelsey was even farther ahead. I'm talking 3-4 minutes. I was able to stay close to Christin on the downhill to B, but she gained a good 30-45 seconds on me on the climb up to C. I SO had a plan to do what I had done the day before up to C by cutting left above Latitude 44, but after seeing everyone else (including Ed) going straight up the slope we were on, I decided to follow them. The only thing I did differently was follow the flagged part of the slope. I don't think it helped or hurt me, but by the time I got up to the checkpoint, I couldn't even see Christin anymore. I was once again so discouraged, but I saw Josh Fields taking photos and realized I had to smile for them so that helped.

Photo by Peak Focus Photography

Photo by Peak Focus Photography
I rounded the building and actually passed a guy who had been ahead of me. He just started walking. I crested the slope, and...OH! WHAT'S THAT?! I see Christin with two guys running back up the slope to a black diamond for the descent to D. Omg. They're going the wrong way! Christin was going the right way and then chose to follow them. They were still really far ahead of me, though, so I didn't know if it would help me at all, but I started hoofing it down the slope on my planned route past Latitude 44. I was thinking at this point how happy I was I did my recon. As I got closer to my turnoff at Deception Bowl, the ski slope to my right came into view through openings, and...OH! WHAT'S THAT?! Why it's Kassandra Marin, Michael Narcisi and another guy coming from completely the wrong direction. All of a sudden, I was parallel to them and as they exited their slope onto mine, I was just in front of all three. I felt like I was at Lionel Playworld and my frown was turned upside down! Haha. So in a matter of about 3 minutes, my race had totally changed. I realized that Christin and Kassandra had really messed up their they probably would again! I also realized on the way down the steep and wet Deception Bowl that I got ahead of Kassandra quickly. That was a good sign for the final descent to F. I just needed her to mess up her route in between that.

I went through D and was easily passed by Mikey and Kassandra on the up. I just had nothing for the ups still, BUT I could breathe! We were halfway up before passing Christin. She had really gone the wrong way. I was bummed for her because her fear had come true, and I hate that, but since we were in a race, I had to keep on competing. I got to the top of Deception, and this is where I had to make the decision to go the way I had practiced or Ed's route. Looking up and over, it was a no-brainer to go Ed's route for sure. I just happened to look up to my left as I was crossing over, and...OH! WHAT'S THAT?! What the hell are they doing?! Kassandra, Mikey and the other guy are totally going the wrong way. It would still get them there, but it was much longer. My route was spot on!! And I had no one anywhere in sight or near me. It was like everyone completely disappeared. But just as I was nearing the top of the slope, the three came running by just above me. They had lost so much time. I got up to the road and ran my planned route which also happened to be the marked course. It was definitely the right way to go. Just as I passed by the base of this insanely steep-ass slope on my left, I looked up, and ...OH! WHAT'S THAT?! Mikey, Kassandra and the other guy are going up it?! Omg. Like totally a mistake, and I'm thinking SUUWEEET as I was sneaking by, but that's when Kassandra must have looked below her and thought, "OH! WHAT'S THAT?!" Dammit to hell. All of a sudden I heard footsteps behind me! It was Kassandra and she was smiling! She'd caught me! I think I laughed and said, "Oh damn. You spotted me!" It was actually kind of funny, BUT we were really close to E, and my plan for the descent to F could be thwarted! We ran together to E, and the whole time I'm trying to come up with a plan to get out of her view, so I very slowly and carefully started to back off behind her as we approached Aggassiz. When we hit the slope, I started to run to the left, but then I thought better of it. The left side was overgrown; the right side wasn't. If she saw me running on the left she would know something was up. My turn off was just up ahead, and I could see Kassandra was just about to go over a slight hill. As soon as she did, I quickly sprinted left and into the woods onto the glade as planned.(Little did I know, Kassandra had seen me and followed, but lost me quickly). I was FLYING down the glade. There are so many here that you could go so many different ways, but I had my route memorized. I was filled with evil laughter as I crossed over Avalon and onto Cherry Mt Slide glade. I was running with second place in hand, and I knew it. Muwhahahaha!! My plan had worked!

I couldn't resist using this meme again as me running with my 2nd place cowbell down the slope!
I hit the base of the glade and turned to run the short distance up to F. I had nearly caught the two guys who were pretty far ahead of me prior to E. I ran through F, and still no Kassandra! All of a sudden, I see her come flying off of Avalon, but instead of turning left to F, she started running towards the finish line. To be honest, if I thought she could have caught me at this point, I would have been evil enough to let her run all the way to the finish only to have to go all the way back up to F. But I knew I had 2nd place in the bag and couldn't let her do that, so I started screaming for her. She was still pretty far down slope already that it took three tries before she heard me, "You missed checkpoint F!" I continued down only to pass Mikey coming the opposite direction to F. I told Kassandra after, "Don't ever follow a Narcisi!" I ended up passing Brian Ruhm running back up and thought he was on his cool down. Nope, he had totally gone the wrong way and was also headed back up to F. I'll admit it. I was laughing the entire way to the finish. Once again, my navigation skills had saved me at Bretton Woods. Kelsey got the win, as expected, but she didn't exactly run away with it since she also went far out of the way at one point and only beat me by just over 2 minutes. So my total mileage came out to 5.98 miles (on my watch; Strava bumped it to 5.9). 1:06:25 for time. 2,463ft of gain. And the reason I saw no one after D was because so many people ahead of me chose poorly. I finished 9th overall! Wow. And THIS is why I love the Bretton Woods Fell Race! Full Results

We hung out for the awards and raffle outside. It was so nice out in the sun. The free beer was 603 today which I don't really like, but it was free so what the hell. I'm happy that Chris Dunn has switched from them to Tuckerman Brewing as a sponsor. I don't love Tuckerman either, but they do have a few that I like, and I think it's good quality beer. I ended up winning a crowler, but no ski sign this year! Wahhh. Kind of sad, but I didn't really have the space for it anyway. Haha.

Just as we walked out of the lodge, I noticed Sarah Canney place something on my windshield, but I couldn't tell what. When I got to my car, I saw that she had left me the coffee she had won in the raffle! That was so sweet of her. She was backing out so I waved a thank you.

I really wanted to stop somewhere with John so I chose Frontside Grind where everyone knows John. Haha. I only had a gift card with $3 on it and a few bucks to spend but it was enough to get him a hot chocolate (special order for John that they all know how to make) and a coffee for me.

I chilled my crowler while I took the 3 dogs on a walk up Heavenly Hill. They'd been neglected this weekend so they deserved the walk. I enjoyed my crowler when I got back.

I was finally happy again with a race!! It had felt like SO long. And it really was. Exactly a month to the day that I had gotten sick. This boosted my mood greatly even though I still dreaded my next race, the Hartford Marathon. That month of SO much lost training. I didn't even know if I could finish Hartford at this point. But it definitely helped to have a good finish at Bretton Woods be my last race before Hartford. Otherwise, I would have beat myself down mentally. I knew I had no sub-3 in the cards this year, but this helped me get past that and rethink my goal. I decided to give myself (and John!) a racing break the following weekend and just focus on Hartford. It would be a really good decision.

Nice upbeat tune that is one of my faves!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

2017 Lone Gull 10K- USATF-NE GP#5

War on Drugs at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion 
Moved on into week 3 after being sick and still not feeling 100%, but I was definitely a lot better than the previous two weeks. Unfortunately, though, I still couldn't breathe well, especially with the continuance of that damn HEATWAVE. Ugh. Some of the mornings were cool, but the humidity was just insanely high. This did not help things when trying to run. I was still able to get in some decent miles this week; they were super slow, but I at least completed them all. Haha. I also felt like they weren't a waste. Got in a long run and a really good tempo run, so I was not complaining. I had to keep the uphills at a minimum, though, because I was still really struggling on them as I gasped for air. I did one mountain run and definitely felt it.

I knew Lone Gull was going to be bad, but after the Downtown 5K the week before, I had decided to keep a positive attitude about it. I didn't care so much about this one now, since I was able to accept it after the 5K. I'd go out and just do what my body would let me. I wasn't in 10K shape prior to getting sick anyway, so it was better to just prepare myself ahead of time for the inevitable. I couldn't prepare myself for the 6.2 miles of physical torture I had to get through, but mentally I could and I did. I actually cared more about Saturday night when I had the extremely rare chance to go see a show in Boston. This was something I never get to do so it ended up being far more important than worrying about Lone Gull the next day.

50.4 miles for the week. 3,530ft of elevation gain.

Monday, September 18, 2017- No idea why I was so motivated, but I actually ran 3 miles on the treadmill at work. Within the first few minutes, I was reminded of why I stopped running on the thing. SO uncomfortable. No give. It felt good to run, but I really felt it in my high hamstring area. I suspected way back in the spring that running on this treadmill might have contributed to this injury. I think I might have been correct. I'm not convinced it was the main cause, but I think it was definitely a factor. I may run on it again occasionally, but I'm definitely not going to make a habit again. I had the treadmill at max speed and ran the 3 miles around the usual time. 22:06.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017- Humid and gloomy day, but this was one of the cooler mornings so I ran a long run right from work. I chose a super boring route, but I needed a flat run and those are few and far between around here. It was choking humidity outside, so I wasn't even sure I could finish it. Good thing I'd have 3 available ambulance taxis to come to my rescue this time. Haha.

The humidity wasn't as bad as I expected it to be, but it still affecting my breathing, and, thus, my pace. Had to keep it on the slow side the whole way. It was the only way to get it done. Even though it's flat-ish, I still had some hills that I struggled up. I had just planned to do an out-and-back on Ossipee Lake Rd but changed my mind at the Bennett Rd split. Bennett has some huge hills. I don't really care for running on Rt 153, but I figured since it would only be brief, I decided to take it back over to Ossipee Lake Rd. And I learned that the distance between the two via 153 is actually not brief when you're running and not driving! Haha. I seriously thought it would be like a half mile, but it was 1.5 miles. Just not a fun road to run on. Got to Ossipee Lake Rd and headed back to the ambulance base. I just might have hit over an 8-minute mile in there. Haha. The last two miles are mostly a gradual uphill. My foot really started the point that it was radiating into my right ankle. That's never happened before (or since!). So weird. Plantar Fasciitis is such pest. Finished up with 16.2 miles. First completed long run since the Green River Marathon, the day before I was sick. Woohoo! 2:05:31. 7:42/mi avg pace. VERY slow for me on such a less hilly route, but I just needed to get in the miles at this point. 541ft of elevation gain was still more than I expected.

Managed to get in my upper body and abs workout today. These have been so sporadic since my energy level has been so low. It's really only now as I write this 2 weeks later that my energy is back 100% (the lungs aren't, though. ugh).

John, the dogs and I took a short walk on the Audubon Trails by LL Bean down to the river. It was gloomy out, but I thought it would be nice to go down to the river. We were immediately attacked by mosquitoes and headed right back to the car. Haha.

John by the Saco
Stopped at the end of my driveway to get my mail and found the latest issue of Runner's World (that I didn't subscribe to) in there. Took one look at the cover and saw the dumbest headline. Snapped a pic to send to someone, walked in the house and threw it in the recycle bin. I don't exactly dislike Runner's World, but it just doesn't appeal to me. I'm not really in its target market anyway and maybe that's why. I really hope that Leslie Beckwith chick it's addressed to doesn't mind that I tossed it.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017- I actually got up to run on the treadmill before work. Only ran 4 miles, though, since I turned off my alarm and reset it for a time that would cut my run short. Still, though, I ran! Haha. 29:09. Felt pretty good. Spent an hour of the evening pacing in the ambulance bay just to loosen up the legs after so much sitting. We have this cool clock in here left behind from the previous business.

Fairly steady with calls today at work, but I still managed to finish my catch up post. I was starting to get super excited about the upcoming War on Drugs show Saturday, but first I had to get through this 24 hour shift and the next day's 10 hour shift. And what a weird week for our 911 calls, too. A guy who was tased. A suicidal child. A car vs bicycle. A 3-car accident involving a tractor-trailer that everyone walked away from. A mystery problem. And other weird stuff. Just the gamut of problems when the week was all said and done.

Thursday, September 21, 2017- Got up at 6am, showered, loaded up my car and then headed to Tamworth for my next shift. I hate 34 hour shifts, but I needed the money and my Club Motorsports detail was cancelled. I got outside for a 2-mile walk in the morning after dropping a check at the Community School for John's Friday classes. We had a huge car accident, but that was it for the day. I was SO happy when 5pm rolled around. Time to run! Yay!

I chose to run the exact same route through the two aviation communities in West Ossipee that I had run maybe 4 weeks prior. I wanted to attempt something speedy and relatively flat to test out my fitness. Well, it looks fast on paper, but it was about 10 seconds slower per mile than the run prior to getting sick. I didn't have to struggle for it like I did the last time, but we had actually lucked out with cooler, drier air today which I think made the run feel easier. 7.4 miles in 51:33. 6:54/mi avg pace.

I ended up not getting home until really late. I HAD to go to the store to get John's food for his lunch the next day. Didn't get paid until today or I would have done it at work the day before. Drove all the way up to Hannaford in North Conway. John needed $5 for ice cream during their bike ride at school, and I had zero cash on me. The self check-out never gave me the option for cash, that I was expecting. Went to the ATM, but of course I only had a $20. Figured I'd break it at Discount Beverages, but I was 3 minutes past closing. Hoped the one by my house would be open. Nope. Ended up at the Community Market in Madison where I bought some beer to break the $20. Haha. Got home after 9pm! Long day! After all of that, when John came by the next morning to get his lunch, he told me he already had the $5 for the ice cream. Haha. Oh well. I was able to get some good beer at least, and I tortured Phoenix with a beer photo op. :)

Friday, September 22, 2017- I was woken up to John coming in super early to pick up his lunch and bike for school. He was not happy to be up that early so I was a little nervous about his upcoming day. I really hoped he would have fun. If not, in his eyes, it would all be my fault. Haha.

With Lone Gull on Sunday, I decided to do an easy run up Mt Kearsarge North with Phoenix. The weather was beautiful in the morning, even though it was starting to heat up fast, and the humidity was kicking in. The first part is somewhat gradual, but as soon as I hit the steeper part, I was still having breathing issues. Not horribly. I felt ok in general, but I had to keep it slow. Ended up only 5 minutes slower than my fastest time up there so I was pleased with that considering how I'd been feeling for weeks now. 54:43 to the top. There were people in the fire tower who were super nice so I talked to them for a few minutes. Phoenix hates going up there and refused. She was very upset with me. I didn't stay long because I didn't want her barking at people. The way down was pretty slow just because. Haha. 5.6 miles in 1:18:37. 2,579ft of elevation gain.

I went home to do a quick upper body workout. I'm totally slacking on these since getting sick and working the 57 hour work weeks, as I mentioned above. I'm going to wait until after Hartford and Baystate to get back into 4 days week with it. 2 days seems to be maintaining it just fine for now.

Picked up John from The Community School at 3:30. I was nervous as he rolled his bike out to the car. He was in a good mood and said that he had fun. PHEW. As a parent who kind of pushed her kid into this, I was really hoping for the best. So glad he liked it and has continued to like it. He was beat, though. Sound asleep by the time we got home, and I couldn't get him out of the car for a few hours haha.

Since the Kismet Cliff Run was on Sunday, Tom Hooper, Tony Bargado and John Sheedy were using my house as pre-race headquarters on Saturday night. It really worked out since I would be out of town, and they could take care of the dogs for me. The only downside...I had to clean. Haha. Not that they would really care, but I did, so I spent 5 hours making the place look somewhat presentable.

Cleaned so many Six03 water bottles! 

Spotted this lone leaf growing from my "steps" outside
Saturday, September 23, 2017- Today was going to be a BUSY day!! Like non-stop. I got up super early and ran 4 miles on the treadmill. Easy and flat. 30:22. Then it was off to Believe in Books for the 100 Acre Challenge. This a race for John every year (even though he would still only do the kids race). He loves obstacle races. He doesn't love me waking him up and dragging him over there so early, but I was helping Richie Blake (Yankee Timing) with the timing of the kids' race and inputting day of entries into the computer so I had to be there by 8. I let John stay in the car another 45 minutes to get sleep.

I enjoy going to this race and seeing John finish. This year, he actually finished 3rd in his age group! He was so excited and won 4 free passes to mini golf. Afterwards, he finally agreed to do the long course with me next year! That will be so fun! And I can still help Richie with the timing of the kids race. Richie was super generous as always and paid me way too much, but it was definitely appreciated. I was able to pay for the night's concert ticket with it instead of out of my budget AND I could have lunch at the brewery after the race on Sunday. Sweet! Oh, and I could also swing by the bagel shop for breakfast for both us on our way home.

Timing the kids race

Photo by Richie Blake

Photo by Richie Blake

Photo by Richie Blake

Coming into the finish

John opening his award
I had to pack up for the rest of the weekend, and it took me way longer than I planned. I wouldn't have time to shower again before the concert so I brought my flat iron to maybe make my hair not look like a wind-blown frizz ball...didn't help. Haha. We left a little after noon to head to Gloucester. My friend and teammate, Regina Loicano, was not only putting us up for the night but also keeping John while I went to the War on Drugs concert. She was so nice to take on the extra kid, especially since she had also sustained a sudden foot injury the day before. So she was bumming. When we arrived at her house, she was the most gracious host!! She put out a huge spread of food, ordered pizza, too, and just made sure I was all taken care of. I ate so much that I was full the rest of the night. Haha. I was SO bummed for Regina, though. When I saw her foot, it was extremely swollen. Her home race, Lone Gull 10K, was the next morning, and she couldn't race it. Running means so much to her, and I hated to see her with an injury after so much good training for Baystate. After multiple doctor's appointments the next week, they diagnosed her with a stress fracture. I felt so guilty leaving her and wanted to hang out more, so I did end up leaving about 45 minutes later than planned to head to Boston. Regina took John fishing for the first time while I was gone and sent me a pic. She truly is one of the kindest people I've ever met. I'm so lucky to be surrounded by the nicest running friends!

I was really excited about the show! 20 years since my last big show is a long time to go without, especially since I was so into live music at one point in my life. I didn't want to pay much for parking, so I chose the $5 garage about 1.2 miles from Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. I didn't mind the walk since I needed to stretch my legs and help my food digest. Haha.

I met up at Harpoon Brewery first with Patrick Quinn who had invited me to the show, along with his brother and a coworker. The place was jampacked with people much younger than us. Haha. I'd never been here before so it was fun. Had a few beers, then walked next door to the Pavilion.

Pat and my beer
The show was awesome! We had a really great time. The facility was amazing, too. Great acoustics. Music was even better live! Someone there put most of the show on YouTube after, so here is one song, if you're interested.

$12 beer! Pat bought a round. We about gagged when the guy said $48 total!!

Rather than have me walk the mile back to my car, Pat and his brother drove me back to the garage. It took us a few tries due to road closures which was funny, but I finally made it and headed back to Regina's in Gloucester. Awesome night! I probably won't go to another show for 5 years, but this should hold me until then. Haha.

Sunday, September 24, 2017- Lone Gull 10K- I was so happy to wake up at Regina's instead of my house since it meant sleeping later. I was only 10 minutes from the start. I had slept pretty well even though the night had me on a bit of a high before I could fall asleep. Once I was out, I was out. Woke up feeling rested, but still coughing up so much junk. That wouldn't be the worst of it. It was HOT AS BALLS again!!! Why me?! I thought 2015 was hot and humid. It was, but at least we had a headwind on the way back to cool us off. This year, it was nothing but hot, stagnant, humid air. I knew this was going to suck no matter what. That air would be really hard to breathe in. I didn't know if I could even break 41 minutes. The difference between the week prior was that I had actually accepted it this time. I wasn't going to be upset after. I felt so much better than the week before. I knew my lungs were still full of gunk. (I would still be coughing up so much mucus for 2 weeks after this race!) I felt I had all of my energy back at least, so I would give it my best. Not start off too fast like I did the previous 2 years.

John would end up coming to the race with Regina later, so it was nice for me to be able to get there and warmed up without having to worry about John. I ran a 2-mile warm-up partly with Amy and then the rest with 2 Whirlaway guys. I felt super shaky after the warm up. Charlie Bemis offered me a granola bar which did the trick, then I ran to the start. I decided to go with the CMS sports bra due to the heat. Once again, I don't know how anyone where's a singlet in that weather. I lined up with Amy and some other people and then we were off. I was smart the first mile. I stayed at a comfortable talking pace. The ocean air was just cool enough that I felt I could breathe alright. 6:00 even for the 1st mile. Perfect...and then we hit the 2nd mile that veered away from the ocean. Stifling. I knew I was done there. All of a sudden I couldn't breathe. Immediately it was a struggle. I had to slow way up and tried to get back in a pace where I wasn't dying. 6:27 2nd mile. Horrible, but I just didn't care at this point. I was still able to cheer on a few of the top guys as I was heading into the turn around part on mile 3 since it was flat and we had some ocean air creep in there. But as soon as we hit the hill, I lost everybody I was with. I was struggling for air. Heather Mahoney passed me and asked how I was doing. All I could answer was, "You can hear my breathing." Haha. At this point, I just wanted to drop out. I've never come that close to seriously dropping in a road race. I've said I wanted to, but this was the first time, I seriously contemplated it, but then I thought about the Series and how I needed to complete it, so I carried on. 6:27 3rd mile. I passed a front of the pack runner who had dropped and was walking. I so wanted to stop with her, then I kind of got pissed. If someone in my position could keep going, she probably could have, too. This made me not want to drop out even more. Mile 4 was AWFUL. 6:43. I just needed it to end. I started getting passed at this point, but I didn't care. I had to finish no matter what my time was. Finally mile 5! 6:27. Geez 3 miles at 6:27. At least I was consistent for half of the race. Haha. Funny that 6:00 for mile 1 was actually me being conservative. Haha. One more mile, I got passed by two Amanda's, Watters and Wright. I like them both and cheered them on. Great to see Amanda Wright back out there after going through injury and surgery and recovery. The last mile dragged. I couldn't breathe. My teammate, Jenn Brooks, finally caught me in the last stretch. I had no kick. I jogged it in to finish in 40:19. 4th in the 40-49. 3rd in the 40-44, which meant I had 8 points for the GP score! Sweet! Finishing paid off!! Like the week before, just by showing up, I was able to keep my Series lead in the the 40-44. I had something to be happy about at least!!

Photo by Kim Gordon. I did actually smile for her and Scott Mason this time. 
As soon as I finished, Christin came over and got me a bottle of water. I was dying. I moved right to the shade where I talked to Ginger Reiner for a bit. She's been having an amazing year. Jenn and Regina joined us. I felt so bad that Regina had to miss the race. She was still out there cheering, though, and took care of John in the process. Such a wonderful person!!

It took me awhile to get my shit together after. A lot of chatting involved when you know so many people at these races. Dave Dunham gave John his race shirt, as he often does. (John is actually wearing the Lone Gull shirt as I write this. Haha). We had to stop at Ed Sheldon's cool car thing that he had painted with the Central Mass Striders logo. Ed and his wife were sweet and let John sit in it for a photo op.

Ed and me
After that I got a 1.5 mile cool down in with Amy and Christin. I SO wanted a shower, but since there wasn't one, I headed for the ocean. It was so hot out that the water felt warm, and the waves were amazing. I realized as I walked out diving into the waves that this was my first (and last) real ocean swim of the year. It was so refreshing. I miss the ocean often! Upon getting out, I realized I had set my dry stuff a little too close to the water and it was currently being soaked with sea water. haha. Oh well. That hit the spot. I changed and then it was Whirlaway party time in the parking lot. That was a really good time hanging out, and it was a mix of a lot of teams. Good beer, too. I put the beer I brought Scott Mason into his cooler and realized my mistake of not taking all of his beer and running. Haha. I made my own meme out of the little fat girl running meme and sent it to Scott later. The lot party was so the place to be, and I was glad we all waited to hit the Cape Ann Brewery after that. Once we were hungry, though, it was off to the brewery for lunch.

Nightshift Buzz that E-J Hrynowski gave to Scott and then eventually me at the Cape Ann Brewery.
Amy, Mike D, Scott, me and Pat

Not the first time I've seen Paul Hammond get extra close with a dog. Haha.
The drive home was easy since the weekend traffic was going the opposite direction. I came home to a 4-pack of Alchemist in my fridge from John Sheedy, so that was a nice surprise!

So the day ended up being good. Very disappointing race, but I didn't let it get to me this time. Acceptance had occurred. Such a bad fucking year, though. Wow. Amazingly bad. And there's more bad to come with TWO upcoming marathons. Haha. And guess what?!! The current weather forecast has the first one with a high of 75! Hahaha! Of course it does. Of course. Maybe the second one will be cool. Ugh. It just sucked getting sick. I wasn't in great speed shape beforehand, but getting sick sealed the deal. I was done for the year. I couldn't believe how much stuff I would continue to cough up. No wonder I couldn't breathe! Seriously. I turned out to be just one of MANY people I know with some sort of chest illness, so at least I have a club of other sickies out there to commiserate with. And the excuse bag I've filled up is pretty much one of my best!

Heard this song while at the nail salon this week. I'm not a Miley Cyrus fan at all, but it's with Adam Sandler, and who doesn't love Adam Sandler? I thought it was beautiful.