Doyle's Emerald Necklace

Doyle's Emerald Necklace

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Treadmill

Today was just a really easy 4.5 mile treadmill run at 6:58/mi pace. 1% incline the entire run. I didn't want to do any elevation since I have the Shoe to the Clouds Race tomorrow.
I'm still bummed I missed the Kingman Farm race tonight, but John had a great birthday party. It was at his gymnastics center. I love parties there because parents can play. I might have played too hard, though, since I was running around in there like I was 12, instead of 38. The round offs hurt, and I'll probably be sore from the rings and the trampoline flips. I just hope it doesn't affect tomorrow's race.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Haley Town Road

I originally had plans to run Mt Kearsarge North with some other people, but after one of them backed out, I decided to run close to work after I was out at noon. I'm really short on time for a run Fridays since I get out of work at noon, and my son comes home at 2:30. Kearsarge would have been cutting it close.
I ended up on Haley Town Rd just over the Maine border from New Hampshire. I've driven past it a million times but never once have I been down it. I was kind of excited to do a "blind" run. I headed out from the Maine Visitors Center, and after a short stretch on the snowmobile trail, I stepped out on dry, paved road. Aaah. I decided not to pay attention to how fast I was going and to just run hard. I felt like I was putting in a decent effort but heavy and slow at the same time. I just knew I was going to be disappointed when I looked at my pace after I finished. The hills were moderate, but I thought for sure I was going to be around 7:45/mi pace. I kept it on for the whole run and completely surprised myself when I saw I had run a 6:43/mi average pace. Not bad. Slower than I ran Boston Prep, but I wasn't racing, so I really shouldn't compare. Now, I just need to get some distance back in there.
Tomorrow will be a super easy, short run, probably on the treadmill. My legs have been junk for a few days now, and since I refuse to take a zero, I'm just going to do something light. Shoe to the Clouds Race is on Sunday. Not sure I'm ready for the elevation gain, but I'll still put in my best effort.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Corridor 15

I decided to go somewhere different this morning, so I drove down to Tamworth to hit up the Corridor 15 snowmobile trail for a snowshoe run. I was feeling pretty beat after yesterday's runs, but I enjoyed just being out there all alone for a very peaceful, quiet run; not a soul in sight. I ran to the intersection with the completely unbroken trail up Bayle Mt and then back. Very deceptive on how much elevation there is until you realize you are running almost entirely downhill (minus a few places) for the whole way back. 8 miles in 1:12:18 with 1347 ft of elevation gain.
Corridor 15 where I turned around

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Triples

I got up at 4am this morning to hit 6 miles on the treadmill, thinking it was going to be my only run for the day. I actually felt good, despite the hour, and ran it at a decent pace in 42:42. Today ended up being gorgeous with "summer" temps in the mid-20s, so I opted to skip the eating part of my lunch break to take a 3-mile x-c ski on Mountain Division Trail instead of the usual 2. I completely miscalculated the time and barely made it back to the office on time. I walked in still wearing my backcountry ski boots and pouring in sweat, but clocked in right on the dot. The rest of the day DRAGGED at work. I was bored out of my mind so I had time to think about my evening plans. I knew I was headed up to SOLO after work for their monthly continuing education EMS lecture since I still needed 8 hours to complete the 48 hour requirement I have to have every 2 years. I realized that if I bolted out of work right on time, I could make it home, change and then run up to SOLO instead of driving there. It's only 3.6 miles, so I knew if I gave myself a half hour, I'd be good. So it all worked out. I walked out the door at 6:28pm and ran up there. Once I got there, I knew about 1/3 of the people. The rest were part of a Geomedic class going on, so they were out-of-towners. My friend, Tom, yells out, "Leslie ran here!" Thanks, Tom. As if it wasn't obvious enough that I was pouring in sweat (my theme for the day) and probably smelled. The lecture and hands-on were about placing airways which I had just done in my refresher, so I didn't really learn anything. Just practiced a few airway placements that I use on the ambulance and then spent the rest of the time telling this guy from Oregon where to run around here. After that, I put my gloves back on, said thanks to Dr. Hubble and ran back home. So I ended up running 3 times today plus the ski. 13.2 miles running for the day. And it's so late, that I'm just now at almost 11pm having dinner. Leftover chinese and the rest of a bottle of wine (which, sadly, only came out to a half glass). Super healthy. I'll be up in about 7.5 hours to run again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Level Renner- Who Knew?

I took my son to the Maine Mall today. As he was riding the carousel, I decided to read Level Renner's most recent interview, but when I clicked on the link, I found this:
WTF
It was like a shock to the system. I'm watching my son innocently riding a carousel at the mall, as my innocence is suddenly lost. I couldn't believe it. They've been posting my likeness in their pseudo running mag?! I've been in two recent videos. Does that make me a porn star? Should I now call myself "Cindy Pickle" (porn star name courtesy of my favorite porn star name generator)? Is that how I am supposed to register for all of my future races? The more I thought about it, I realized all of the signs were there. Magazine covers with scantily clad women. Topless photos abound. I googled the word "dominate" and "Level Renner" and came up with no less than 16 hits. This one REALLY caught my eye:

I still couldn't be sure, so I decided to peruse the porn mag section of my favorite Chinatown market only to be faced with the truth. And there it was. Right in front. I felt like Charlton Heston when he found out soylent green is people!

I have the good people of Maine to thank for outing them. I don't even want to know what that interview I clicked on was really about because I'm sure it was NOT about running.


Now, that I have that off of my chest, I guess I'll continue with my typical blog post. It might help me heal from the betrayal, even though I also felt betrayed by winter this morning when I woke up to -17 degrees. I couldn't decide what to do since I really didn't want to run on the treadmill or run outside. So I had a cup of coffee to help me decide (or to help me procrastinate is more like it). An hour later, I looked out at the bright sun and knew I had to run outside. So put on my warmest running gear, hopped in the car and drove over to Hurricane Mountain Road for an out-and-back from gate-to-gate with microspikes. 8.2 miles in 1:20:08 with 2200 ft of elevation gain. I felt a little slow at the start, but I think it was because I was so cold. Not a bit of wind, so even though it was -2 degrees at the start, I was warm enough once I got going. By the time I finished it was 12 degrees, and I could definitely feel the difference. 
Around midday, John and I took a short trip over to Portland to celebrate his 9th birthday with me. Tomorrow is his official birthday, which he'll spend with his dad. Lucky kid gets to have TWO birthday days. His favorite place is the Maine Mall, so we did the usual Gamestop visit, got him a Minecraft Creeper that he wanted, a haircut and then his favorite lunch at Johnny Rockets. This was followed by a trip to the Apple Store to see if my dead Macbook had a chance. I was told (AGAIN) that my Macbook is "vintage" and that I would have to take it elsewhere to be fixed; this guy at least made an attempt to fix it first, but it wasn't meant to be. I need a whole new display which runs around $300. No way am I paying that for a 2007 Macbook. At least I still have the 2007 iMac that I'm using right now. Ha ha. The Apple Store visit was followed by the carousel ride which led to the above "incident" that I won't repeat. 
We came back to North Conway for John's ninja class and then out for his favorite dinner, a Pu Pu Platter at Peking. 2nd birthday in a row that he's asked for it. He loves that place. Dinner started off great with me knocking a glass of water all over him. Happy Birthday, Kiddo!! Ha ha. It was all good. He had great birthday. Here's a picture of us as we were leaving.
Happy 9th Birthday to John


Monday, February 23, 2015

Somewhere in Maine

I was back to work at my regular job this week, so that meant my usual lunch break xc ski down the Mountain Division Trail for a quick 2 miles. I must look ridiculous since I'm always dressed in my work clothes. No time to change, and I barely make it back on time as it is. I'm usually clocking back in right on the dot. The weather was still on the warm side and SUNNY.
Fast forward to 6 hours later when I was back at the Mountain Division Trail in the dark, temperature at 1 degree, wind blowing. After checking out the conditions at lunch, I knew I would only need microspikes for this run, and that was mostly true. It was pretty solid for a snowmobile trail, but still just a bit on the soft side. I decided to do an out-and-back and veer off onto a snowmobile trail for awhile, so I spent 2.5 miles running down this snowmobile trail having no idea where I was. All I could see were insanely bright Venus and Mars right next to each other in the sky up ahead of me almost the whole way... even after I turned around. So I knew that I must have been headed in some sort of loop back the direction I came. I wanted to take out my phone to see where I was so that maybe I could change my out-and-back into a loop, but by that point, I was FROZEN. Taking off my mitten would have been torture for my hands, so I just decided to turn around at mile 4, which left me with the wind in my face the whole way back. I felt like my eyes and cheeks were freezing, literally. Towards the end, I started to think that I was running on autopilot since I wasn't really feeling it. Then I realized that I wasn't really feeling it because my entire body was numb. Ha ha. I finished up 8 miles at a slowish pace of 8:08/mile, but considering the conditions, that wasn't that bad. I was running pretty hard, so I felt like the effort was there. I got right in my car and, as usual, never warmed up until I was home and in the shower. I almost used all of the hot water just to thaw out. I am so ready for some warmer temps.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday

I spent hours this morning snowblowing, shoveling and then attempting to clear my roof. I kind of... okay, not kind of, I DID let my roof get way too covered with snow. It is so bad, like 3 feet in some places. Oops. I was able to make a dent in it, but I just can't get up to the top part to get the rest since I'm too scared to go up there. It's a nightmare, so I might have to break down and hire someone to do the rest. I was working really hard, and it hardly looks like I did a thing. I had to stop, reluctantly, around 1230 to go to John's friend's birthday party. By the time we got back, it was almost dark, so I don't know when I'll get to it again.
John came out and snapped a photo of me up on the roof
I ended up jumping on the treadmill tonight and got in 8 miles at a 7:14/mi pace to make 60 miles for the week again. Watched the latest Walking Dead episode to pass the time. Nothing like watching people stab zombies in the head to really pump you up. :) Basement treadmill running is really starting to get old. I am SO ready to run 10 loops around my neighborhood again instead... Oh wait. That's almost just as bad.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Exeter Snowshoe Hullabaloo Race

Friday, I ended up taking a rest day, as planned. I was still pretty beat from lack of sleep coupled with the 20-mile run, so I figured I needed a break. John and I went cross-country skiing on some trails near the State line, but that was about it. I knew I had the Exeter Snowshoe Race the next morning, so I really wanted to catch up on sleep and be ready for it.
Unfortunately, I woke up this morning not feeling that great. Very shaky and weak, and I wasn't up for being social at all, so I started to get a little worried. John was actually able to stay behind with his dad, so that helped not having to worry about him for a change. As I was on my way down, I realized that I really needed food and not the peanut butter sandwich I had made, so I did something I never do. I stopped at Dunkin' Donuts and got an egg and cheese bagel. As I was eating it, all I could think of is how this could be a really bad idea. It was really gross, but I ate the whole thing, and it did actually help. I felt less shaky and by the time I arrived at the race, I was feeling better, only slightly tired. I was there pretty early since I knew I wanted to get a good warm-up in. I got my bib, mustered up a smile for the few people I made eye contact with and then headed off down the road for a solo run. My plan was to do 4 miles, so I just ran down the road and ended up in the center of Exeter. Yesterday, I had Googled coffee shops there and found one I was thinking of hitting after the race (I didn't since it was the opposite direction from the way home). My 2-mile turnaround point happened to be right at this coffee shop. I found it! Ha ha. On my way back to the race, I saw Sam and Abbey Wood warming up and got nervous knowing I'd have some competition today and would have to just push through whatever physical and mental shit I had going on.
Once back at the car, I had 20 minutes before the start, so I hung out there as long as I could to avoid everyone. At the start, I hung out with a few of my acidotic teammates for a little bit before walking to the start. As we lined up, I found Abbey behind me, so we chatted a bit about her awesome race at the World Snowshoe Championship in Quebec a few weeks ago. I also lined up with Chuck Hazzard and Phil Erwin. This race started off fairly tight, so you had to line up right where you thought you should be in order to not get stuck. Turns out I lined up perfectly. I never passed anyone, and no one passed me.
The race started, and I went out fast. I fell in line right behind Jonathan Miller and Chuck, with Phil right behind me. The course was actually really well packed and not too narrow, so I was able to just move along at a good clip. I had heard it was a lot of up and down, which I guess it was, but the hills were super short, so I didn't find it very difficult. I guess I would call it a somewhat hilly course. Phil was right on my heels for the start, but then took a fall and was never able to catch back up after that. I could see Jonathan just ahead of me so I tried to catch up with him. By the last mile, I was pretty close, and then I realized that Sam Wood was right in front of him. I was surprised to be catching up to Sam since he's normally much faster than me, but I know he hasn't been doing a lot of snowshoe racing this year. I thought the race was supposed to be over 4 miles, so I was caught off guard to find us passing the start line when we did since I knew the finish was maybe 100 yards (if even) away. I came through 1st woman, 9th overall in 35:38, with 3.78 for mileage. I was happy with my finish. I ran hard the whole way and really enjoyed the course. My plan was to finish, head right to my car and bolt, but I ended up talking to Sam and Abbey for a little bit. They are both so nice. After that, I headed to my car, changed clothes and then got out of there. I had to be back home for when John was getting dropped off, so I was thankful for an excuse to be antisocial. It was one of those days where I didn't feel like talking to people. I normally enjoy hanging out with everyone and laughing, but my laughter just wasn't there today. Hopefully, I'll feel better at Ski and Shoe to the Clouds next Sunday, which is my next race. This will be my third year doing that one. I really love it. It's such a different experience than the Road Race. It's quiet, peaceful and not hot. I always want to keel over and die from the heat below treeline during the Road Race. I've come in second woman the last two years behind Bridget Ferrin-Smith, who is an awesome runner but doesn't race that often. I don't know if she's racing this year or not. If she is, I will have my work cut out for me.
I was hoping for a few more pictures to go along with this post, but this is all I've got.
aR teammates pre-race. Sinthy Kounlasa, me, Keri Bassingthwaite, Sarah Schlaack and Jennifer Johnson

Finish line. My face is so chapped. Photo by Chris Dunn

Thursday, February 19, 2015

State of Delirium

I am so delirious writing this right now that I'm not even sure this is going to even come out right. We were super busy at the ambulance yesterday for my 24, so I ended up only getting about 45 minutes of sleep. I started out the day with a 4am wake-up and got a 5-mile run in on the treadmill. That's about all I have to time to fit in because it takes me almost 20 minutes to get myself up and dressed and to find the nerve to go down into the freezing basement where the treadmill is. Got it done, though. My ambulance shift started out slow 7am. One 911 call in the morning, but by afternoon, we were headed to Portland, Maine with a patient when I got the call we were transporting to another patient to Boston as soon as we got back to North Conway. I don't complain. I love the job, and transfers are part of it, but this transfer went out just as the snowstorm hit us. It was a tense ride all the way down to Boston. I was white-knuckling it the whole way. The roads were just white and the snow started coming down pretty hard. I got us all there in one piece, dropped the patient and then started the LONG drive home. The snow was heavy and I-95 and Rt 16 were completely unplowed the entire drive home. By 2am, I had to stop in Rochester to have my partner drive the rest of the way. I had been staring at nothing but a white road and white stuff falling for 5 hours, and my eyes had had enough. It was 35-40 mph the whole way back on Rt 16. We were literally driving through thick piles of snow. I've driven in conditions like that before, but never for so long. It was pretty tiring. We finally made it back to the ambulance base by 3:30am. I went right in the house and into my sleeping bag; I was out in about 15 minutes once the other crew left and the house got quiet. It was short-lived, though, as 45 minutes later a 911 call came in. It was a pretty ridiculous call, but we got it done quickly and got back to the base by 5:30am. At this point, I knew sleep wasn't happening, so I wrote my report and washed our truck for the replacement crew. It was SO dirty from the two transfers. Then I walked over to the crew quarters to shovel our walkway, porch and steps. Sat down with a cup of coffee and waited for the next crew to come in.
I was wide awake at this point on some weird, lack of sleep energy, so I knew I had to get my run in asap before I crashed. Today just happened to the ONE and ONLY day I could get a long run in. I had planned to hit some regular roads I had never run before, but with the snow storm, I knew I would need to stay off of those roads. The shoulders weren't clear, and huge DOT plows were out and about. So, as usual, I headed down to Chocorua Lake to run the roads there again. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and the roads had already been perfectly plowed. I was feeling the fatigue, but I was not about to give up my chance at a long run, so I just went with it. A pretty boring run as I went out-and-back twice, but I got in 20.5 miles just slogging away. I know my time suffered from the fatigue, but it really wasn't that bad at a 7:50/mi pace and over 1600 ft of elevation gain, so I'll take it.
I was dead to the world after this, but I managed to come home, shower and then snowblow the driveway. John came home, and we hung out for a bit (well, me lying on the couch) until it was time to head up to Tin Mountain Conservation Center for Family Fun Night. Well, it wasn't super fun. The wind had started blowing pretty hard, so we only snowshoed a bit, did a project on the pond and then headed back to the building. At that point, we just waited for the pizza to arrive and then blew that joint so that John could go to his aerial class at the gymnastics center. By the end of his class, I was leaning on the half wall with my head on my arms and my eyes closed.
Tomorrow is going to be a rest day. Not just to rest my legs, but to rest my body and catch up on sleep. If I do any running, it will just be up Heavenly Hill once to exercise the dogs, but I'm not even sure I'll make it that far.
2am. Stopped in Rochester, NH after hour 5 of driving in a snowstorm. I wasn't a happy camper.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Albany/Conway/Madison Roads

I decided to hit the road and run from home again this morning. I brought along my microspikes, but after only about .2 up Cranmore Shores, I realized that I wasn't going to need them. Dry roads!! Since I didn't feel like carrying the spikes the whole way, I hid them behind a fire hydrant, covered them with snow and then just grabbed them on my way back. It was a pretty decent run up Tasker Hill and Allard Hill, although I felt like I should have gone a little faster. 10 miles at a 7:26 pace wasn't bad, though. The last mile was slow since it was the only place I needed microspikes, but I just didn't feel like putting them back on.
John was dropped off shortly thereafter. I let him play some video games before making him break trail on snowshoes with me up Heavenly Hill. I feel like I'm constantly breaking the trail up there. It was definitely a grind, but John really enjoyed himself just playing in the snow and then running the whole way back down. I was surprised that he didn't complain once. The weather was actually beautiful and it felt good to be up there in one of my favorite places. I seem to be the only one who ever goes up there anymore.
View of Madison behind me

View of Mt Chocorua and my dog, Phoenix
Tomorrow is a 24-hour shift at North Conway Ambulance. I'm really looking forward to it. I miss my old Wednesday 24. I'm not sure if I'll get a run in or not, but if I do, it will just be something super short on the treadmill in the morning.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Windy Monday

It was nice getting back on the ambulance today, even if it was a little slow. We still managed to have one call to Attitash, which I was really surprised about since only the lower lifts were open. But someone was unlucky today. I had a little trouble being on a different truck than I'm used to with different equipment (I'm new to Bartlett-Jackson Ambulance), but it wasn't too bad. I gave good care and a good hospital report over the radio, so it all worked out.
After my shift was over, I decided to just head back up to Bear Notch Rd, except from the Bartlett side this time. I knew as soon as I started that I should have brought my snowshoes. It was super soft footing the whole way. I decided to venture off onto the Albany Brook and Stanley Brook Snowmobile Trails before hooking back in to Bear Notch Rd. It was such slow going that I turned around short of the top. The sun was just setting, and the wind started to pick up. As soon as I headed back down, it was blowing up the road and gusting into my face. All I could hear was the sound of snapping branches in the woods. I was happy I turned back when I did. I was originally going to do 10, but ended up with 8.7 and was perfectly happy to be back in my car. I was so chilled to the bone that I never actually warmed up until I was home and in the shower.
I snapped a couple of pictures during my run just as the sun was setting. Very beautiful, but SO cold.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Busy Sunday

I had a treadmill run planned for today and usually like to get it done in the morning if I can. But today, I decided to take care of everything and everyone else before myself. I got out of bed and headed outside to snowblow the driveway. As soon as I was done, I took all three dogs out on a short loop walk through the woods, made John breakfast and then we, along with the dogs, headed out to the Albany Town Forest for a xc ski. No one else had been through yet, so we got to break a little trail that was covered in the fresh snow. It was actually really beautiful, even though the wind had picked up. We did a short 2.4 mile loop; it was super slow since John likes to stop and play.
John taking a (LONG) break to bury himself in snow by the Swift River
We went back to the house to drop the dogs and the xc skis in exchange for our downhill skis and headed up to Black Mt. It wasn't super crowded there, and after about 45 minutes, I could see why. The wind had gotten stronger, and after about 3 rides on the slow lift, we were getting pretty cold. Took a short break in the lodge to warm up then headed back out for another couple of runs. The skiing was great, but sitting on the lift was making us colder. We opted to go on the Platter Pull because it was a shorter ride, but as soon as we got in line, the lift broke and had to be shut down. We were really cold at this point and decided to just head home. It was a decent hour and a half of skiing, though, and the beauty of the season pass is that you don't have to stay all day to feel like you're getting your money's worth.
Once home, I procrastinated for awhile then headed down to the basement for a treadmill run. I wanted to hit 60 miles for the week, so that meant 11.5 on the treadmill. I just plugged in the tunes and got it done. As I always do, I start at 1% grade for a half mile, then up it to 3% for the second half mile and continue this pattern for the whole run, all while increasing the speed every mile or two. Finished the 11.5 with a 7:12 pace, so I was pretty happy with it. Felt great to run faster since I don't think I've run very fast this week except for my short Monday treadmill run.
I'm excited to be only doing EMT work this week since the Chiropractic Clinic is closed. I'm working tomorrow on the Bartlett-Jackson Ambulance and expect to be running the vacation week "shuttle bus" from Attitash to Memorial Hospital at least a few times. Looking forward to it.

Bradbury White Out Snowshoe Race

Yesterday, the Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe Race was postponed due to potential weather, and I was bumming. I've never run that one and was really looking forward to it. My son's 9th birthday party is the afternoon of the new race date, so I'm obviously not going to change that for a snowshoe race. Things got better, though, when scrolling through Facebook (while bored at work),  I found a post from the Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe Series in Pownal, Maine announcing that the Bradbury White Out Snowshoe Race was being moved to today (Feb 14) at 3pm. I was psyched. I love the Trail Monsters and the Bradbury races (summer and winter) and usually get over there for at least one race of each series. I didn't think I was going to make any of the snowshoe races this year, but as soon as Kingman Farm postponed, I signed right up for the White Out (for only a $15 entry fee, $10 less than most of the GSSS).
It was nice getting to sleep in a bit, take John and the dogs out for a walk and then get ready. The snow started falling  as soon as I woke up  and continued all day, but I'm so used to driving in this stuff that it doesn't even phase me. Just another day. Last year, I spent all winter driving with bald tires, so having tread makes it easy. :)
We got to the race pretty early. It was good to see the familiar faces of Ryan Triffitt and Ian Parlin. I talked to them a bit before going back to the car. As usual, John would stay in the car with the three dogs for this one. He's content with it, so it works for me. I grabbed Chill, my border collie, and took him on a 2-mile warm up on snowshoes via the snowmobile trail to the top of Bradbury Mt and back. Then is was time to line up for the race. I decided to line up next to Jeff Walker and Chuck Hazzard. After his RD speech, Ryan lined up next to us and Ian in front of him. The race started and sent us for a brief run down the snowmobile trail. It was enough to spread out except I got caught behind one guy just as we turned onto the single track. And, wow, the powder. I would say these conditions were very comparable, if not harder, to last weekend's races. My lungs were burning from the get-go. I stayed behind that one guy for awhile but couldn't take it anymore and told him I needed to go around. He obliged and stepped to the side. Ian followed me as we went by and the chase on Chuck and Jeff began. Chuck was able to push on ahead, but Ian and I caught up with Jeff. At the next passing point (which was just a few snowshoe prints next to the trough), Ian blew past Jeff and me. Jeff was still running a good pace, so I decided to hang behind him. Jeff only nordic skis over the winter and was starting to lose some steam, but I decided to wait until we hit the next snowmobile trail to pass him. Once past Jeff, I set my sights on Ian, who wasn't far ahead. Other than Jeff, there had been no one behind me for awhile, but then all of a sudden, Damon Gannon was catching up fast and passing Jeff. Ian and I briefly caught up with a runner ahead who had slowed down significantly, but within about 100 yards, we came out onto a wide ski trail. We passed the runner and then I passed Ian. I could hear what I think was Gannon on my heels, but I decided to just start busting out at this point to try to catch the next guy in front of me and Chuck. The race pretty much ended with long incline, and I easily caught the guy in front of me and passed him. I could see Chuck, but I knew the finish was close and that I wouldn't catch him in time. I still finished first female (by about 12 minutes) in 46:41, 5th overall. (Bradbury Results) I finished completely out of breath and stumbling, so I knew I had run hard. I felt like I had really given my all for the first time in a snowshoe race this season. Best race I've had yet. The conditions were tough, with most of the race being in the single track, powder trough. Elevation isn't huge over there, but just the snow conditions alone made it challenging. I'm so glad I made the trek over. Always great races put on by Ryan or Ian and all of the other Trail Monster volunteers. They are such nice people.
Post-race, I took a quick 1-mile cooldown with my other two dogs, Spot and Phoenix. It was supposed to be longer, but 1/4 of the way in, I realized I had forgotten to put my second pair of gloves back on and my fingers were FROZEN. It was a struggle to just to continue to the half-mile point to turn around. Once back at the car, I warmed my hands then changed into dry clothes, and John and I walked over to the pavilion for food and awards. The carrot ginger soup from Frontier was SO good. I even had seconds. Awards started pretty quickly. They always have a nice spread of awards to choose from so I decided on a pair of Darn Tough socks (since that's the one thing I hadn't chosen before ha ha) and got a container of Valentine cookies made by Sam, Ryan and Danielle's daughter. I've already eaten almost all of them. :)
Finish line
John and I hit the road to get back to NH immediately after. It was snowing much harder and was blowing all over the roads, but the road conditions were actually fine. I was able to drive my normal speed the whole way home without a problem. Whatever, Neptune. Nice try. You weren't stopping me from snowshoe racing today.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Madison Snowmobile Trail

After work, I headed home to grab two of my dogs to run with me. I used to take them on almost every run I did, but since my divorce, it has become a rare thing. They travel back and forth between houses with my son, so they aren't usually here when I run now. I have to admit that it's been kind of nice since I've really been able to expand to more road running, and I no longer have to worry about them instead of focusing on my running. It had started to become frustrating, but I felt guilty if I didn't take them, and they needed the exercise, of course. Since I've been running more on my own now, though, it has been so much better. But today, I really wanted to take them with me. I only had two of the three, but I wasn't complaining.
I had to stay close to home due to time constraints, so I drove into Madison to hit the snowmobile trail. It's a bit risky with the dogs, but since it was still early afternoon I knew the trail wouldn't be too busy. I ran this trail a lot last year, but this is only the second time I've hit it this year. Nothing crazy elevation-wise, but nice rolling hills. It was packed down well (better than yesterday), but still just slightly soft. I just did an out-and-back to make 7.2. No snowmobiles on the way out, but on the way back they were starting to pick up in numbers, and I ran into one huge group just before I was done. It was such a beautiful day to be out and not a bit of wind, even though it had been gusting at my house.
Speaking of, that wind knocked down a tree that is now suspended over my driveway waiting to fall any second. I have a small handsaw but decided to hit Lowe's to get something more heavy duty. And guess what? They don't sell them. Only carpenter saws and chainsaws. I even had someone help me to be sure I wasn't missing it, but, no, they don't sell saws to cut trees there. I was floored. My small handsaw will just have to do when this puppy decides to hit the ground.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bear Notch Rd

I got a little of a late start this morning, but I headed back down the Kanc to Bear Notch Rd, which is closed in the winter. I had planned a gate-to-gate run (14.5 miles). I only wore spikes, but it could have definitely been a snowshoe run. The snowmobiles had packed it down enough, but the soft footing just made it really slow going. It was snowing pretty hard for the first half of the run; big, fluffy snowflakes. Very pretty. I turned around at 5.5 miles when I realized I was short on time to make it an 11 mile run for the day.
Eric Narcisi of Level Renner posted the two interviews from last weekend's snowshoe races, so here they are. I should not be allowed in front of a camera.

Horse Hill Snowshoe Race 2015


Moose Mountain RunAround 2015


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

UNH Trail

I got in another 2 mile ski at lunch on the Mountain Division Trail and then headed down the Kanc after work to hit the UNH Trail (loop over Mt Hedgehog) for a snowshoe run. I've been wanting to do this one for weeks, but I didn't want to be the one breaking trail and with all of the snow we've gotten, it never seemed like enough time for it to get packed down. Then Kevin Tilton ran it yesterday. So I decided that was where I was running tonight. Then Kevin ran it AGAIN today. I was psyched to have the trail packed down even more. Well, part of it ended up being packed down and the other part looked like it had just been Kevin who had gone through there. The snow was still soft and pretty deep. I would have turned around if I had had to break that. Plus it was pitch black dark, and I just had a headlamp. I would have had a hard time finding the trail, so I was happy just to follow Kevin's path. It was definitely slow-going, but it was the perfect night to go up there. Absolutely zero wind. It was completely quiet. Stars were out. Very peaceful. The run down the other side was quick and fun. I fell a couple of times, but it was right into the soft snow. I got 4.8 miles in 1:12:57. Slow as hell, but effort-wise, it was a killer.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Snowy Road Run

I still had no idea what I was running this morning after I woke up, so I had some coffee while I procrastinated on a decision. I finally decided to just run from home on the road through Cranmore Shores, up Tasker/Allard Hill Roads to Modock Hill Rd and turn around. I decided to bring microspikes along just in case, and that ended up being a smart move. I stopped to take them on and off twice before trying to get up a hill on Cranmore Shores that had zero traction without them. At that point I just left them on for the duration and absolutely needed them. The roads were still covered in a layer of snow, but for the most part they were well-plowed, and the microspikes were perfect. There were a few places, like Modock Hill that was still slick with thick snow, but I was only on that road for a short climb before turning around. It ended up being a decent out-and-back for 12 miles with a better pace than I thought I would run with conditions as they were. Felt great.
John was dropped off shortly thereafter, so we headed to Black Mt for some phenomenal skiing in beautiful weather. Sun, warm temps and perfect skiing conditions. It was so nice to be out in the sun again.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Skiing and Treadmill

Pretty slow day at work due to the snowstorm, so I was happy to get in a 2 mile ski on the Mountain Division Trail during my lunch break. I lost track of time on my way out and barely made it back to work in time. After work, I just came home and jumped on my treadmill for 6 miles (the time it took for an episode of Walking Dead). I ran at a pretty decent pace tonight and felt good. As soon as I was done, I had to snowblow the driveway... again. I swear I've snowblowed more this year already than last year total. My driveway is huge, too, but I don't really mind it once I get going. I used up the last bit of gas in my container, so I was hoping it would be enough to get it done, and it just barely made it through. Only a few hours before I wake up and figure out what the morning's run will be. I still have no idea.

Moose Mountain RunAround Snowshoe Race

I headed down to a more "local" race in Brookfield, NH on Sunday, with John in tow. I planned a little better this time and had a much happier kid. Having a nice indoor facility for him to hang out in definitely helped, too! I was a little nervous about the course after talking to Dan Coons, the race director. He had packed down the trail the day before and said some of the single track was thigh-deep. So I was prepared for a tough run through thick snow.
John and I got there in plenty of time and found hardly anyone had arrived for the race. I was told that the race start was pushed back 30 minutes to allow more time for people to arrive who might be traveling in snowy conditions. At that point, I just took my time getting ready, and then Jim Johnson and I headed out for a warm-up on the course in snowshoes for most of the last 2.2 miles of the course. The snowmobile trail had already been packed down by snowmobiles, but not groomed, so it was soft, but still had pretty decent footing. The single track was surprisingly not that bad. Dan had done a great job in making a WIDE path, so it was way better than Horse Hill the day before where I kept stumbling into the snow on either side of the trail. And most of the single track was downhill at the end.
When we got back, a few more racers had arrived but not really the numbers I was expecting. I think we only ended up with 33 racers total. We had just enough time to get all set before the start. I said bye to John, who was content with my phone inside the warm building. I was sweating buckets after our warm-up, but when I walked outside again for the start, I was freezing. A few instructions from Dan then the race was off. After a short run through the parking lot, we hit the powder. And by that, I mean powder flying up everywhere from the other racers. I could barely see, and I was covered. I was only wearing liner gloves, so my fingers started to freeze immediately. After about 2-3 minutes, I had to tuck my fingers inside my hands just to get the feeling back. And my face was numb. The fingers eventually warmed up after the first mile, but the face stayed frozen the whole way. This first portion of the course was almost all single track for about .8 miles or so. Tough, but really fun to run in once everyone started to spread out a bit.. I was really happy that I was able to stay focused and run well this time. And, thank you to Eric Narcisi for the song he had posted on my FB post the day before because that was the one that came right into my head immediately. "Song 2" by Blur. Perfect. I stayed tuned in to Jeff Litchfield and Jonathan Miller just ahead of me to try to stay with them, and also to the guy right on my heels that I didn't want passing me. I would eventually pull far enough ahead of him and closer to Jeff and Jonathan. As soon as we hit the single track again, Jeff slowed WAY down, so it was a bit of bottleneck for Jonathan and me. I wanted to pass SO BADLY, but for Jeff to step off the trail would have had him in really deep snow. This is where I tend to open it up, so it was excruciating slowing down so much, but I just decided to stick it out. I knew Jeff would be faster than me on the snowmobile trail and into the finish anyway, but I hated not being able to run faster on this stretch. Once we hit the snowmobile trail, the finish wasn't far away. Jonathan and Jeff went on ahead, but I kept running hard into the finish to finish in 32:34, 1st woman, 7th overall. I wasn't going to finish in the lame ass way I finished the day before at Horse Hill. I was happy with my race. I ran it much faster in 29:51 last year, but the conditions really weren't comparable, and I lost a decent chunk of time in that single track bottleneck.
Moose Mountain. Photo by Chris Dunn.

After the race, I found John and was sure to touch his warm cheeks with my freezing hands. Ha ha. He was still content, so I got ready to cooldown. I changed gloves and threw on a pullover and neck gaiter which took me all of maybe 30 seconds, then waited about 10 minutes for Eric and Jim to put on about 5 layers of clothing and change shoes. I think they were cold. Ha ha. The three of us headed out on the road for 2 miles out and back. The road was pretty slippery so it was just a slow jog. The conversation started with dog kicking and eventually turned to men's communal showers. Never a dull moment. Ha ha.
Not long after we got back, awards were announced. We got jelly jars filled with trail mix. John immediately picked out almost all of the M&Ms. Coffee, chili and bagels really hit the spot. Jim and I were caught by Eric for an interview, which I'm sure he'll put up in the next day or two. I was a bit camera shy after acting like a goofball on camera the day before, so I'm sure I'll cringe when I see both of them.
Race winners
We made it home after about 6 attempts at getting up our unplowed hill. I had to resort to my tire cables for that one which took me forever to put on. I was the lucky one of the four cars stranded at the bottom and decided not to drive anywhere else. John and I finished the day off with some sledding with our dogs at the Waldorf School, which is a walk through the woods behind our house. So much fun.
As far as the week goes, I ended up with mileage back up into the 50s , PLUS some elevation (over 5000 ft), so things are starting to look up again. Not sure of my training plans this week since it has been snowing non-stop for like a week, it seems. Putting a bit of a damper on some of my plans, but I don't really make set plans until day of anyway.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Horse Hill Snowshoe Race

Today was a bit of a drive to the Horse Hill Snowshoe Race, but I didn't mind, since I really want to do most of the series this year. The last 3 years just never worked out for me due to either lack of snow, being deathly ill and then just not being in a good place in life. Since I'm finally making it happen this year, you'd think I would have run better than I did today. I left a little late, but it would have left me plenty of time had I been by myself. I keep forgetting to allow extra time when John was with me so I don't rush him around. As soon as we got there, things didn't go right. He slept the whole way down and then woke up to me telling him to put on all of his winter gear since he couldn't stay in the car. The lot at the start/finish was full, so we had to park up the street on another road. Upon hearing this, he immediately burst into tears and refused to put on his clothes. He was really upset that he would have to stand out in the cold the whole time. I felt bad, so I tried to ease his mind by telling him that there would probably be someone's car at the start that he could sit in. It was still a bit of a fight and took forever to get out of the car and over to the start, but as soon as I saw Robin Allen-Burke, I asked her if John could sit in her car. She, of course, said yes, since she's so nice. That was a big relief, and John was finally happy. He refused to actually get out of the car until the race was long over, but that's what he wanted, so it was ok. Ha ha.
By the time I got my warm-up in, it was rushed. I only ran .8. I could tell this race was going to be slow-going, and I wasn't feeling it. Since it was ALL single track, I lined up where I thought I would be, and it was pretty right on. I only had to pass three people, and one person passed me. That was a relief. The race ended up on some really soft snow after the first mile and stayed that way on this crazy zig-zag of a course. At one point, I came up a hill and Eric Narcisi was right in front of me on another trail going the opposite direction. I yelled out, "I'm so confused!" Then to my right, I saw the two guys who were actually in front of me and realized this was going to be one of those courses like the Bradbury Bruiser where you're constantly seeing everyone in front of you and behind you. It felt like we were on it forever, and I became completely unfocused. A couple of times, I caught myself daydreaming and realized that I had slowed down a lot, as if I forgot I was racing. I even told myself at one point to stay focused, but I just couldn't. I didn't really have anyone to race, and this extremely slow song kept going through my head. I knew I was going to be first woman without making much effort, so I guess I gave up. On the last stretch before the finish, I just jogged in and finished not even out of breath. Pretty weak. 41:16 for 3.5 miles. I know I could have run that faster, but I was not in it mentally. After the race, I did a short cool down on the road. It felt really good to be on pavement, and I wanted to go longer, but I didn't want to leave John for very long, so I headed back.
Shortly before the finish. Photo by Chris Dunn

On the way home, we stopped at Cowabunga's in South Hooksett so John could have some fun, too. He loved it, and we spent over 2 hours there. He really needed something fun after the way our morning went, and it was a good choice.
As soon as we got home I took the dogs on a snowshoe run up Heavenly Hill (1.3 miles). I hadn't packed down the trail since two storms ago, so it was thick. It was pretty much a walk/jog the whole way up. Running down was fast and fun. I love that part. I ended up with 7.2 miles for the day, so not too bad.
I'm hoping today was just a fluke and that Moose Mountain will be better tomorrow. Conditions will be  same, if not tougher. The race director told me some of the single track was thigh-deep this morning when they were packing it down. Yikes. I expect to go slow, but I also expect to actually try harder tomorrow.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Elevation Finally

I've been feeling deprived of my mountain runs the last week, so I decided to get some elevation in today. Fridays are always rushed since I get out of work at noon and then have to be home at 2:30pm when John's dad drops him off. Knowing trail conditions would be pretty snow-covered, I decided to do Hurricane Mt Rd and the Black Cap Trail up to the top of Black Cap again. The conditions were pretty good. Just a tad soft, but not soft enough that I needed snowshoes. I was trying to avoid those today since 4 out of 7 days this week will be snowshoe runs. So I just wore microspikes. Beautiful day, the sun came out, and I enjoyed breathing in the mountain air. I need my mountains. They're peaceful and help clear my head. The run down was super fun and fast on the soft snow. Nothing too exciting, as most of my winter runs are less creative, but it was what I needed today. Horse Hill Snowshoe Race in the morning. This will be my first time doing this one, so I'm looking forward to something "new".

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Back to Chocorua

I really wanted to get some miles in today, but it was still snowing when I got home from the ambulance (I ended up getting called in about 10 minutes after finishing yesterday's post. ha ha). I decided my safest bet would be just to head back down to Lake Chocorua for what is becoming a regular road run for me. I knew it would be plowed and traffic-free and that my chances of getting taken out by a plow were greatly diminished. The road was in decent condition, but it had just enough of a snow layer to make it slightly slippery (even with microspikes), slowing me down for the whole run. Most of it was in the wind and snow, which made it feel cold even though the temps were in the mid-20s. My effort was the same, though, so it ended up being a good run. As predicted, traffic was light. I only saw 2 cars and 2 trucks with plows and, of course, knew one of the four drivers. One of guys plowing is also a coworker at the ambulance. I can't go anywhere up here without running into someone I know. Small town=no anonymity. Haha. I ended up with 12.2 miles for the day. I'm happy with it. Tomorrow's run will be a little shorter, mainly due to time constraints, and I'm hoping to get in a little elevation gain. Then the weekend will be busy with snowshoe races.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Doubles

Actually pulled myself out of bed at 4am to hit the treadmill for 5 miles. Felt pretty good, way better than yesterday. Worked from 6:45am-6pm, then jumped on the Mountain Division Trail in Fryeburg, ME for a headlamp snowshoe run. I ventured off a bit on one of the snowmobile trails before turning around. I was on call at the ambulance starting at 7pm, so I was risking it going out that far, but I had to do more than 3 miles, so I just went for it. The snow was just little soft, but packed down enough from snowmobiles. That was another 5 miles to make 10 miles total for the day. I don't do doubles often, but I really wanted to get more miles in. I'm on call all night until 7am, but I'm still planning to get in a decent run in in the morning whether I get sleep or not.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

More Treadmill

Struggled on the treadmill this morning for some reason, and I only did 6 miles. I could barely even get myself out of bed, and I got to "sleep in" until 6:15am. Maybe it was just having to get on the treadmill again that discouraged me. I feel like I've been on it way more than I want to be, but it's been my only option so many days in the last week. And I feel like I'm not getting any good runs in lately, either, but I'm doing what I can. Hopefully, I can get some decent miles in on Thursday morning, but I guess that depends on the snow storm that's expected. This coming weekend will be two short snowshoe races, so the miles will be low again, but I am looking forward to racing. I preregistered for both of them tonight and found myself a bit miffed at the cost. How is it that I can put on a trail race with tech shirts, sweet awards and decent food, only charge $15 for prereg and still end up way in the green?  I guess they can charge that because people like me are willing to pay for it. ;)
I finished up my final day at SOLO for my Wilderness EMT recert. Fun day practicing skills and building a quinzee shelter. Back to the office tomorrow day, then on-call at the ambulance tomorrow night. I will hopefully fit a couple of runs in there somewhere.
Me in the doorway of the quinzee shelter 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday

Finished up the final day of my EMT refresher. Huge relief since it brings me 24 hours closer to completing my 72 hour requirement to get recertified and then relicensed in the State of New Hampshire. Tomorrow is Wild Day, my Wilderness EMT recert. It should be fun since we'll be outside all day practicing wilderness emergencies.
I got out of the refresher early enough to actually get a run in during daylight hours, so I headed over behind Walmart to run Corridor 19. The snow was falling pretty heavily at this point, so the snowshoe run was almost all fresh powder. I didn't get the run in I had intended since I was running out of light and wanted to avoid running in the dark for a change. About half a mile up the Mason Brook Trail, I turned around and just headed back the way I came on Corridor 19. Ended up with 7 miles. Good enough. The running in fresh snow is always a good workout.
I'm up early in the morning to get in another run before Wild Day. I'm still not sure what I'm doing, but I'll just decide in the morning.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Running Instead of the Super Bowl

I'm assuming that I ran on the treadmill during the first half of the Super Bowl, since the half time commentary on FB came after I was finished. It's not that I don't care about the Super Bowl... Well, actually I don't, so I'll move on.
EMT refresher day 2. Still pretty fun. Did two really fun activities today, including a practice MCI (Mass Casualty Incident). I was involved in triage; 56 patients, and I had to sort through about 33 of them to figure out their critical status. Made a few mistakes and learned how I could organize it better, but it was actually really fun. Later in the day we broke down into groups of 4-5 people and went through 18 different medical scenarios which we had a set time (way too short!) to finish. Surprised myself on how much I do actually know. My group (which was made up of people on different services with different backgrounds) pretty much got every patient figured out correctly, so that helps boost my confidence that I do know more than I think I do.
After class, I picked up John from my friend who had been watching him all day for me. He had had a really good time there, so that was good to hear. Came home and snowshoe ran the dogs up Heavenly Hill in the dark with a headlamp. I hadn't broken the trail up since the last snow storm so it was thick, soft snow the whole way. Brutal, but short, run to the top where I stopped and enjoyed standing in the moonlight for a few minutes. The run down on all of that fresh snow was awesome. I just flew. So much fun. Once back at the house, I jumped on the treadmill for 6 miles at a decent pace. Listened to my "Pump" playlist. ha ha. Two of my dogs came down to the basement to stare at me for the last two miles because they were hungry. Pretty annoying and I almost kicked them out, but I didn't feel like stopping. And that pretty much wraps up my day. Back at the refresher in the morning.