Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Treadmill-Road-Treadmill

So far this week, I've had to hit the treadmill twice to get runs in. I picked up a 14 hour on-call shift Monday that started as soon as my regular shift ended, so a post-work run was out of the question. Got up early and hit 6 miles on my treadmill. Same as usual 1-3% elevation. 7:07/mi pace. We weren't busy at work, but the one 911 call we did killed half the day so 5pm rolled around quickly. I decided to take a walk at White Lake State Park on my way home. I couldn't walk out more than 10 minutes, so I did a lot of out and backs. It was really nice, though, since the park is closed, and I was the only one there. Went home and never got called in, so I got a full-night's sleep and made an easy $50.
Selfie by the lake
Since I got so much sleep Monday night, I was ready for Tuesday's run. I was hoping to go under 7min for my average pace since I haven't really done any run like that (other than the 5ks) in a few weeks. Rather than driving and screwing up AGAIN on my timing with John's drop-off, I decided to run a route from home. Normally, I do an out-and-back through Cranmore Shores and up Tasker Hill and Allard Hill, but since the ice/and snow are gone from the side of 113, I decided to do a loop that comes out to almost exactly 11 miles. The first part of the run has the most climbing, which makes the second half a breeze of a downhill. I went by feel, snagged a couple of CRs (from myself) on Strava and felt great. 11.1 miles, 6:54/mi pace. Decent elevation gain (760ft), but nothing special. It becomes special once it's over a 1000 ft. Anything under that is weak. :) 
I spent the rest of the day with John and ventured to Fryeburg to ride bikes on the Mountain Division Trail. My friend, Kyla, gave John a real big kid bike last summer, so he can actually do some real bike riding now. We did the whole trail out-and-back, about 8 miles. Easy kid pace. John ended up with a stomach ache half way through, and was having a hard time riding back, so we stopped for about 10 minutes for him to sit down. This helped, and he made it back fine. 
John on his real bike

Yes, I wear a helmet. I make my kid wear one. I'm no hypocrite.

Kennett High School was having a track meet, so I swung by there after to drop off checks (I'm treasurer of the White Mountain Milers) to people for upcoming events. It was a huge reunion of Milers I haven't seen pretty much all winter, so it was nice to chat until the track meet started. They wanted me to help out, but I had to bail. Plus, I had no idea what they were doing since I have zero knowledge of track. I watched the girls race the hurdles and then left. 
Wednesday is my usual 24 hour shift, and I actually managed to get myself out of bed for a 5 mile run on the treadmill. Way too much treadmill for me this week, but if it's my only option, well, I'll take it. 7:12/mi pace. Nothing special. Same incline. Blah, blah, blah. 
So now, I'm sitting in the crew office typing this up just waiting for a 911 or transfer to come in. I'm hoping we get something or else this will be a LONG 24 hours. I don't mind it if we have nothing, though. It's still better than working at the chiropractor.
Tomorrow's run will be a little shorter than the last two weeks, but I should still end up with 18-20 for the day since I'm hitting up the SIX03 Rochester Pub Run tomorrow night. Really looking forward to that since I've been spending every Thursday night up at Bartlett-Jackson Ambulance on-call, and I'm ready to hang out with some new people. Should be fun.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Week 4/19-4/26

I decided to take a week's break from my blog. I felt like it was getting pretty boring and just wanted to leave it alone. I'll probably be back to it daily this week, though.
Sunday 4/19- No racing, so it was the usual either neighborhood or Heavenly Hill, so I opted for Heavenly Hill repeats. I did 5 of them, one with the dogs. It's tough seeing I'm about a minute slower on them since November, but I have to remind myself that I was in awesome mountain running shape then. I hardly touched a mountain this winter, so the slower pace is expected. I just hate hitting the Mountain Series every May in just so-so shape. It is what it is, though, and I'm already working on it.
Heavenly Hillx5, 6 miles, 13:52/mi pace, 2,422 ft of gain. Right in my backyard, so I can't complain.
That afternoon, John and I ventured to Lovell, Maine for an easy hike up Sabattus Mountain.
Looking out towards Pleasant Mt

Duck face selfie by John

Monday 4/20- No time for a run today after work since I was going right from one ambulance to another, so I got up at 4am for an 8 mile run on the treadmill. It's been awhile, so I actually enjoyed it. 8 miles in 58:22 7:18/mi pace, always at incline of some kind. And I guess I've learned that what I do on the treadmill is called a progression run. Ha ha. Terminology. But, yeah, I guess every treadmill run I've ever done is a progression run.
We had no 911s at work, so I got to watch the Boston Marathon... on my phone. Not the greatest, but it worked, and it passed the time on a dull day. Finished up there at 5pm, then drove up to Bartlett to crash on the station couch for my 6p-6a on-call shift. No calls that night either.

Tuesday 4/21- Total shit show of a run this morning. I had this bright idea to run over the top of Black Cap Mt with plans to run down Kettle Ridge to the trail to Cranmore, down the service road and back to the Green Hills. I parked on Hemlock Lane by Walmart and headed out on Corridor 19 to the dry trails in the Outer Limits, then back to Corridor 19. All dry. Hit the Mason Brook Trail for the climb towards Black Cap. Good condition, dry. Then I got on the Black Cap Connector Trail. When I hit the first huge patch of snow and WATER (and did I mention this was all in the pouring rain?), I should have turned around, but I kept going. More and more snow, more and more water. I was soaked and postholing and walking! But I kept going!! Stupid. Made it to the top of Black Cap after trudging through snow and water. Soaked. Decided to push on. Fell 3 three times on both knees every time after punching through the snow. I was hating life at this point. Yelling out loud, "This was so stupid!! What was I thinking?" And of course, Red Tail/Kettle Ridge were completely untouched. Thick snow. I would have been postholing. So I bagged that idea and KEPT GOING. Down the Black Cap Trail just hoping to find Hurricane Mt Rd dry. The relief when I saw pavement. Just to get out of the snow and water. BUT, it was 9:45am at this point. I was supposed to be home by 10am for the dropoff with John. OOPS. I was about 6 miles away from my car. So I had to tuck my tail between my legs and text John's dad to tell him I had fucked up.... for the second week in a row (I did this the prior Tuesday, too). Fortunately, he was cool with it. No problem. Phew, but I still needed to get back, so I hauled ass down Hurricane Mt Rd to Kearsarge and made my way back towards Walmart. I had only planned 10 and hadn't eaten anything yet. My feet were soaked; I was soaked, and I was bonking hard by the time I hit North-South Rd. I hadn't planned to even touch the road today, so it just hurt. I tried to run on the railroad tracks for a stretch, but they were just too difficult at one point, so I jumped back on North-South. I was so relieved to make it back to my car. I was so done. 14.7 miles, in 2:27, 2,339 ft of gain, trail, mountain and road. Brutal. Knocked me on my ass for hours after that.
I ended up taking John to Portland to go to Get Air, the trampoline place. I was down for the count, so any hikes were not happening. He loves Get Air, so it was worth the trip over.

Wednesday 4/22- Zero day. Once again, I decided that the extra hour of sleep would be better than the 5 miles on the treadmill I had planned. A middle of the night 911 made me appreciate that extra hour of sleep.
Me, Jen, Michelle on 60A3. Truck check/girl talk.


Thursday 4/23- Long run day. I headed back over to the Tamworth area starting by Chocorua Lake. Started out with a cold wind and drizzle.Ran my usual route there and then onto 113A through Wonalancet. A lot of climbing in the first 10 miles. Around mile 10, I hit the section of road that I had run the week before. I also hit a light snow. Within a mile, I was running in HEAVY falling snow. It was nuts. Blowing sideways. And I was definitely not dressed for it, but there was nothing I could do about it at that point.
Tried to capture a picture of the snow, but you can barely see it!

I ran down Pease Hill to Great Hill Rd and into Tamworth Village. Followed 113 to Philbrick Neighborhood, then completed the loop back to Loring Rd and back to my car by the lake. Happy with the solid effort. 19.5 miles (was supposed to be 18, but ended up longer. I'm sensing a pattern.). 7:25/mi pace 1,479 ft of gain. Mix of dirt and pavement, as are most of my runs. Very happy with this one.
Drove to Sandwich after to fill up my jugs with water from the Sandwich Spring. Good water. Came home for a few hours, then headed up to Bartlett for another on-call overnight shift. I grabbed a radio from the station when I got up there and took a short walk around Thorne Pond. I needed a leg shakeout.
Thorne Pond

Friday 4/24- Slept in at the station until 7am then headed home. I decided to have coffee before heading out for my run. I was really excited about today's run since it was back on some of my favorite trails at the Mineral Site. I decided to bring all 3 dogs with me since I knew this would just be slow and easy, no stress. It felt SO GOOD to be back out there. The trails were in decent condition. I have missed them so much. We ended up doing an easy 10.7 miles, 1.480 ft of gain on the High School Loop, Mineral Site, Tent Boulder and Lower Stony Ridge Trails. The dogs were mostly good, except Chill who rolled in a dead animal. Gross. (And he paid for it, too. High powered hose to his neck is not his favorite past time.) Perfect run for today. I'm really excited to be adding trail back in my weekly runs.
Thompson Falls was really flowing.

High School Loop Trail with South Moat Mountain in the background.

Saturday 4/25- So early in the week, my childcare option for the Muddy Moose Trail Race fell through. John could come with me, but when I thought about having him sitting there waiting for me for two hours, I decided to skip it. But... that meant I had to find another race somewhere. I decided I would do the Chief Maloney 10K, until I realized it was point-to-point. I can't bring John to point-to-point races, so that was out. I thought about the Ipswich 10-miler, but the cost of that one had me opting out of that one. So I decided to search for races on Saturday instead of Sunday. The one that caught my eye was the Kennebunk Savings Rescue Run for Marine Mammals Trail 5k Race at Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, NH. It was at the Seacoast Science Center, so I figured it would be a win-win for John and me. It ended up being a good choice. Not only was the course beautiful, John ended up loving the Science Center and the walk along the ocean after. Turned into a perfect day.
We had to leave early for this one, and it was still pretty cold when we got there. I warmed up right away for 2 miles and realized that I was going to be hot if I tried to wear anything long-sleeved, so I put on the singlet and froze at the start line for 10 minutes. I started in the first wave, since it was an 8min pace or less. There were a few fast, serious-looking women there, doing the typical "I'm fast" stretching and jumping around. I just stood there in my skirt freezing to death. ha ha. As soon as the race started, I went out fast and ended up in 4th right away. The guy in front of me kept cutting me off which really started to piss me off, so when I finally passed him, I made sure to have him running in the grass for a few seconds as I went by on the trail. The course was on a pretty smooth, hard-packed trail for the most part, so the pace was fast. I felt like I was moving faster than my watch was showing, and it was hitting the miles way after the posted mile markers. I don't know if my watch was off or not, but I felt like both miles 1 and 2 were too long on my watch. And the pace per mile just didn't match up with my effort. 
By mile 1, I was in 3rd place, but quickly made a move on the second guy. He hung on my heels for awhile, but as soon as we hit the two short (but STEEP) hills, I lost him. At mile 3, I just hammered it home and knew I had 2nd overall in the bag. The first guy was long gone, but I knew that 3rd wasn't catching me. I finished in 2nd (1st woman) in 18:27, but my watch had 2.94 miles. I honestly don't know if the course was short or if the GPS was off. I really felt like my effort was in the 18:27 range, but I just don't know. There were a lot of tight turns and two runs under bunkers, so it could very well be off, but I don't know if it would be by that much. I wish I knew whether the course was wheel-measured at 3.1 or not, but I guess I'll never know. So 18:27 for maybe a 5k is what it is. And I was happy with it.
Coming in for the finish. Yes, I run for Six03 now.

I cannot stop doubling over in laughter at this picture. Kenny is all over me. Forget about that Eric Couture guy. Ha ha ha.
I did a nice and easy cool down, running with some back of the packers which was kind a neat experience. After that, I brought John into the Science Center, which he loved. I won a family membership, so I'm sure we'll go back. Once the awards were over, we took a walk along the ocean and out to the end of the jetty. The sun had come out and warmed things up nicely. It was beautiful. John had a great time out there; we don't make it to the ocean often, so it was great for both of us. I love this coastline that I'm just now discovering. Perfect race choice for the day.




Sunday 4/26- As much as it killed me all day not to be racing (can we say racing addict?), it felt really good to sleep in until 8am. I needed it. Took a lazy morning. Sat on the deck with coffee. I was already at 59 miles for the week, so I decided to just do 4 Heavenly Hill repeats. I attempted to do 2 of them with the dogs, but two of the dogs bailed on me on the second one and just sat on the trail until I came back down. Chill joined me for both, but I took all of them back to the house then ran the last two solo. 4.8miles 14:47 average pace (gotta work on this one) 1,942 ft of gain. Brought me to 64.4 miles for the week. 7,283 ft of gain. Trying to get back into mountain running shape while also training for Vermont City Marathon. Ha ha. Good week. Mix of pretty much everything which is how I train, so it feels good. Next week will be much of the same with another 5K next Saturday (and maybe Sunday, too).
Once I was done with my run, John and I headed down to Effingham to check out a trail I had been planning to do since 2012. It just seemed like the perfect hike for today, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. It was only 1.4 miles up Green Mt, but it was a pretty steep climb. Very beautiful. At the top is a fire tower that is just way beyond my heights comfort level. I was woozy the entire time I was up there. I snapped some photos, attempting not to look scared, even though I was. John went up and then down fast. He didn't like it either. The view was fantastic. We didn't stay long at the top before heading down.
Yeah, um, this is so cool. Get me the hell off of this thing.

Fire Tower on Green Mt

View to the northeast
We went home so I could shower before going out to the Sea Dog Brewing Co for my birthday dinner. I tried to keep my birthday on the down low. I took it off of Facebook for the day. I just didn't want a 100 "Happy Birthday's" and anyone making a big deal of it. The birthday got leaked by the afternoon, but at least, only the people who actually care wished me a happy birthday. That's all I wanted anyway. I hadn't been to Sea Dog yet, so it was nice to check it out. John loved it there and says it's his new favorite restaurant. Ha ha. I was starving by the time we got there and ate every single thing I ordered plus a 4-beer sampler and a 12oz beer. It was a nice time. The last 2 birthdays were very stressful and not fun, so it was nice to be relaxed and enjoy myself. I've hit 39. It's hard to believe, but it is what it is. The only way to stop time is to die, and I don't plan on doing that anytime soon.
Dressed up for no reason other than it was my birthday and I wanted to

Told him he had to take a picture because it was my birthday.

I bought myself a cake at Trader Joe's, and John lit a candle for me. 
Back to the same ole stuff tomorrow. 10 hour shift in Tamworth, followed by a 14 hour on call shift down there, too. I'll just stay in Tamworth for the overnight.



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Paul School 5K

I got up early to head down to Wakefield, NH for the Paul School 5K. Very low-key, small town 5k, the kind I don't do enough of. The people are always nice and the vibe, laid back. As soon as I arrived I spotted my snowshoe racing buddy, Jonathan Miller, and his wife, Deb. They live right down the street, so I figured they would be there. I also spotted Mark Arsenault with his wife, Tammy, and their daughter. Mark is running Boston on Monday, so he came out just to run with his daughter and to let Tammy race, since she's been on the DL since December.
I did an easy 2-mile warmup, then got ready for the start. Looking around, I had a feeling I would do well place-wise, but I wasn't sure about the time. I don't run many 5ks, and I definitely don't train for them. Short distance speed is not my thing. But I do still like to run them since I can use them for speed work. I don't do speed work, so this is my solution. Running has to be fun for me. The thought of running around a track, just doesn't appeal to me much. I still might hit it a little bit this year, but it definitely doesn't fall under my category of fun. I didn't run track, so I don't even "get" it.
Anyway. The race started abruptly with someone yelling "go" kind of out of the blue. Jonathan shot out ahead along with about 4 other guys. I immediately passed about 3 of them. By the first .2, it was just Jonathan and me in the front headed up the first climb. We quickly lost the others and proceeded up the hill. Jonathan and I ran a lot of snowshoe races closely this past season, so I know that he is good on hills. I passed him just before the first mile mark while it was still flat, but just as we passed the Poor People's Pub for the long climb of the day, he pushed on ahead. He got a good lead on me on the climb. It's not a difficult hill, really, but it's a little long and definitely slowed the pace for the second mile. Even the downhill right after it didn't really make up for it. Jonathan and I stayed close for the rest of the race. When I took a peek back, I could see the third runner pretty far back, so I knew we were going to be 1 and 2 at the finish. The course flattens out a bit before hitting another smaller hill, and then it flattens out again before the finish. Jonathan finished first in 18:54. I came in in 19:00. The race had been advertised as 3.21, but my watch had 3.07 miles at the finish. Jonathan had 3.06. So it ended up being a tad short.... which made me disappointed in my time even more. 2 more seconds, and I could at least have gotten an 18 in there, but oh well. It really didn't matter much. It was just good training in the end. After they had finished, Mark, Jonathan, Deb and I ran a 2-mile cool down on the course, easy. I don't know if there will be pictures from this race or not. John wasn't taking any, and, well, that's it for my photographer. Ha ha.
race Results
John and I headed home after that for a few hours before driving up the Kanc with the plan to hike to Champney Falls. I brought the three dogs with us this time since they needed the exercise. The hike started out sunny, but slowly got darker and darker. I heard thunder off in the distance, but I figured it was far enough away for us to continue to the Falls since we were really close. Just after we turned off onto the side trail, the rain started coming down hard, and about a tenth of mile before the Falls, the first close lightning strike came ripping through. I aborted the hike immediately, so John and I turned around and started running back down the trail. I unleashed the dogs since I thought the chance of us running into anyone coming up the trail would be nil (which it was). It was just easier for us to move without me dealing with leashes. And the dogs stayed right with us anyway. We hauled ass, and lightning just kept striking close by, one was right above us on the hill. John and I weren't scared, though. I've had my share of thunderstorm experiences out on the trail and in the ocean (that's another story), so this was just another nice adrenaline rush. And since John is my kid, well, he thought it was pretty awesome, too, in a crazy way. We got drenched with heavy rain, but as quickly as it came in, it was gone. By the time we approached the trailhead, there were blue skies and sun again. We'll have to hit the Falls again in a few weeks when the trail is a little more clear, since it was still covered in snow and ice.
John with 2 of the dogs running down the trail. You can't tell that it's pouring rain in this photo, but it was.

Life wouldn't be complete without an "I'm smiling in the rain in the middle of a thunderstorm" selfie.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Trails!

Today, I hit the trails finally! And they were 99% clear. It felt so good to be back out there. I hit some of my favorite trails in the Green Hills in North Conway to make a 7-mile loop around and over Rattlesnake Mt. My legs were a little sore after yesterday's run, but it didn't matter since I was psyched to finally be back in the woods on dirt. Now, I'm looking forward to exploring more trails next week to see what else is clear. I need more trails and mountains in my life asap.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tamworth/Sandwich Roads

Yesterday, I woke up 2 minutes before my 4:40am alarm that I had set to get up for a run on the treadmill before work, but I decided to bag it. I thought about how much more useful an extra hour of sleep would be if I was up all night during my 24 at the ambulance. I had a long run planned for Thursday, so I decided on a zero and went back to sleep. It was a good bet, since we ended up getting called out 3 times overnight for the SAME PATIENT, about every 2-3 hours. The first call, she was fine; the second, she agreed to go to the hospital then changed her mind. Finally, on the third call, we pulled the stretcher right up to the door; when she opened the door, I said, "Are you ready to go?" and patted my hand right on the stretcher. She complied this time, thank goodness. We were not leaving without a patient this time. Ha ha. So, I got about maybe 4 hours of sleep total, all broken up between the 3 calls.
"Everything is Awesome!" as I take in some sun during the slow morning.

WTF look, after two transfers and the 3 overnight calls. LOL.
Fortunately I wasn't extremely tired for my long run. After driving down some of the roads in Tamworth on Monday after a fire call, I decided I had to venture over this way for a run. So after getting home from work, I sat down and made out a plan for a loop starting at Remick Farm. I wanted to run 18, so I made up a route that would probably come out to that. I wasn't exactly sure, since the Strava route creator made one of the roads "impassable", even though I had just driven the whole thing on Monday. Plus, I had a feeling at least one of the roads would turn out to be nonexistent.
I waited until it warmed up some around 10am and headed out running at a decent pace on the route I had planned out. As I figured, "River Rd" didn't exist. Well, I can't say it didn't exist, but it wasn't a road. I passed by it thinking it was an overgrown snowmobile trail. When I got to where I was supposed to be coming back from the left, I knew I had lost almost 2 miles of my "plan", but I wasn't bothered by it. I just knew I would have to add on at the end to make it 18. My loop continued on some dirt/paved mix back roads with fantastic views of the Ossipee's. I couldn't believe I had never explored over here, even by car. Very quiet and peaceful with decent hills. I even ran through a covered bridge. 
Durgin Covered Bridge
 And the weather was perfect. I felt great and just kept plugging away. When I got to the turn off for the Great Hill Fire Tower, I decided to take a quick detour up. It's only about .4 miles, so I ran on up. Most of the trail was snow-free, but it was really soft and squishy. I got up to the tower quickly, took in the quick view, snapped some photos and ran back down to the road. 
Great Hill Fire Tower
Great Hill Rd climbed a bit and then hit a huge downhill that took me back into Tamworth Village. As I guessed, I was about 1.5 miles short, so I turned left with a plan just to go out enough to come back for 18, but as I started up Page Hill Rd, I changed my mind and decided to run all the way to the top. The climb wasn't as steep as it seems in the car, but my legs were starting to the feel the miles. I took it easy on the run back down because I was done with the pavement pounding. Just as I got back into Tamworth Village, I hit 20.2 miles and was done. 7:30/mi pace which surprised me with the 1749 ft of elevation gain, so I was really happy with the run.
From there, I made a stop in Ossipee to do some White Mountain Milers business and then grabbed a huge post-run cupcake. I couldn't eat anything else for 6 hours after eating this thing.
Chocolate ganache cupcake

I spent the next 3 hours laying in the sun working on my tan. Yes, seriously. It felt so good to lay there in the warmth of the sun relaxing until I had to head to the other ambulance job in Bartlett.
Tomorrow's run plan: TRAILS! Finally!



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

South Conway

I got out for a run this morning in South Conway on some of the hilly dirt roads near Conway Lake. Most of it was solid with only a few places on Greeley Rd that were super muddy. The weather was perfect, too. I parked on Potter and ran up to Brownfield Rd and over to Gulf Rd which is a decent climb. From the top of Gulf, I started my loop back on Leavitt, passing the house with the absolute BEST view in the entire Valley. Not bad for a summer home. Ha ha. This picture doesn't even do it justice.
Best view in the Valley
Right at this point I got a text from work and had to stop for 5 minutes or so dealing with a ridiculous situation. I never stopped my GPS, and I walked a bit of this while I was on the phone, so my pace was thrown off for the whole run. It was kind of funny to see a 17 min mile in my splits on a huge downhill portion of the run. I finally continued on back to Potter Rd, completing the loop. About half a mile from my car, I ran into Paul Bazanchuk, whom I hadn't seen since the Fall. That was a nice surprise since I always enjoy running with Paul. He turned around to run with me back to my car so we could catch up. He had been injured all winter and had taken up RandonĂ©e Racing while he healed up. It sounded like he really enjoyed it, and it helped him stay fit while healing up. We got back to my car, and I bid farewell to Paul as he turned back around to finish his run. My run came out to 11.1 miles which was about a mile longer than I thought it would be, but that was fine with me. 
From there, I finally dropped my car off at the body shop to get fixed from the accident on the way home from the New Bedford Half Marathon. I ended up getting a rental that is almost identical to my car, which made me laugh. 

The rest of the day was spent with John. We went for free cone day at Ben&Jerry's and then to the playground. It was so nice to be out in the sun. Spring is really here...I think.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Chocorua Lake Roads

Today ended up being a fairly busy day at the ambulance. The morning was quiet so I soaked up some sun with my book, but as the day progressed, we ended up getting back-to-back calls that killed the rest of our day. I was able to finally get lunch in at 4pm, which kind of worried me since I was meeting Jim Johnson for a run at Chocorua Lake Rd at 5:15. But I was starving, so I had to eat, and fortunately, that steak and cheese burrito didn't affect me at all on the run.
I met up with Jim, and we started the run off at a really quick pace. We haven't run together in awhile, and he's gotten much faster. I was struggling to keep up the whole time. We ran an out and back on the dirt roads, that had been my go-to this winter, to make 10 miles. My Strava app said it was 10.2 miles at a 6:59/mi pace, and Jim's watch had 10 miles even at a 7:06/mi pace. Not sure what's accurate, but either pace is decent on those roads with over 700ft of climbing. It was nice to run on snow-free roads for a change, and the weather was beautiful. Looking forward to more days like this.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tuckerman Inferno 2015

The day started way too early since my run leg of the Tuckerman Inferno started at 7am. I got up there before 6am and waited for John's "babysitter" to arrive so I could head out on my warm up. Right after I pulled in, another car parked right in front of me and out came two Greater Boston Track Club runners, a man and a woman. I recognized her as the woman who finished a place behind me at Eastern States, and the guy was familiar, but I didn't know his name. He looked legit, though, so I started to get nervous. I figured out he was running the race, and she was just warming up with him, so I knew this was going to give his team a huge lead. I couldn't compete with that. I guess I would have to rely on my teammates to catch back up.
The girl hanging with John showed up, so I went out solo for a 2-mile warm up. I felt good except for really sore calves. I couldn't figure out why they were so sore since I hadn't run anything out of the ordinary, but then it dawned on me. I had gotten really antsy Friday afternoon and decided to speed walk 2 miles at an incline on the treadmill. I never do that, but I didn't think it would make me sore. I wasn't too worried about, though. I've been sore during races and just pushed through it.
I got back with ten minutes to spare, saw my teammates who were cheering me on, said goodbye to John and then lined up next to Kelsey Allen at the start. Kelsey had beaten me here before in 2012, and she always tends to beat me in races that involve huge uphills, so I wasn't really expecting to beat her here. I wanted to stay as close to her as possible and finish 2nd woman, but I also had to remember that gender didn't matter here. It was team vs team. And there were a lot of serious looking runners lined up there.
The race started, and as I figured, the Greater Boston guy (who turned out to be Ryan Place) shot out ahead and had a HUGE lead by mile one. Kelsey ended up flying up way ahead of me along with about 12 other guys. I didn't know who the solo racers were from behind so I just had to do my best to gain on as many of them as I could. As we started the steep climb up Glen Ledge, Kelsey just got farther and farther away, and I could hear breathing right behind me that belonged to the shadow with the ponytail I could see on the ground in front of me. I held her off for awhile, but she caught and passed me close to the top. I was also passed by a guy and then passed a guy. After we reached the top of Glen Ledge (8:54/mi pace. Ouch!), it was a huge downhill for almost 2 miles. I thought I would catch people, but I only caught one guy. Kelsey seemed to be getting farther away, as well as the woman who had passed me. I hauled ass hitting those two miles in 5:40 and 5:45. It finally leveled off, and everyone slowed. This is where I started passing people two years ago, and sure enough, I picked off 4 people, including the woman who had passed me on Glen Ledge. We turned right onto 302, and from this point on, it was pretty much all uphill. A gentle grade, but still all uphill. I had remembered this being tough, but I had forgotten why since it seems flat when you drive it. Ha ha. I still ran hard at a decent clip, but I could tell by my splits that it wasn't easy running. I caught up to a guy and ran with him for the last 3 miles, and I kept reeling in Kelsey. I never would catch her, but we ended up only 28 seconds apart at the finish, so my effort was a good one. With two miles to go a headwind all of a sudden hit us. It ended up not being too bad, but it would get a lot worse later in Pinkham Notch for the bikers. At 8.1 miles, the course cuts into Thorn Pond and right onto wet, slushy snow for the last .2. The guy I had been running with looked like he had never run on snow before, and got excruciatingly slow, so I had to pass him. I came through the transition and tagged off my teammate Mike Malkin who would kayak the Saco. I finished the 8.3 mile run in 55:37 and 9th overall. I immediately learned that Ryan Place had come in at 43:something. That was a HUGE lead for his team. I felt bad that now my teammates had to play catch up if we were going to win. I just had to cross my fingers.
Mike would do the kayak and pass 2 people. He tagged off to Erik Nelson for the road bike from Glen Ellis Campground to Pinkham Notch. Erik passed 5 people (and ended up finishing first overall for the bike leg). He tagged off to Tristan Williams who would run up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to HoJo's in 28 minutes, passing the last guy who had been in the lead (and finishing first overall for the hike), which meant we were first team when he tagged off Matty Burkett for the ski down the Sherbie. Matty snowboarded down, giving us the team win by about 1.5 minutes!!! I was so excited when I got the news. All Stoved Up had won! A bunch of crazy locals won it again. I was so stoked.
Erik, me, Mike and Matty (Tristan couldn't make the awards) at the awards party.
John and I took a walk with the dogs at the Albany Town Forest later on and then headed up to Wildcat Ski Area for the Inferno awards party. It was a good time. My old team, Wildthings, won top female team again, so I was psyched about that. I was really happy to hear that Andrew Drummond, another local, won the solo competition. That's all five legs by yourself. Super impressive. And he only finished 20 minutes behind my TEAM. Wow. Very cool. He also took home $1000 and new skis. It was a fun time. Dinner, drinks and catching up with people. I was beat by the time we got home.
I opted out of my original plan to do Red's Race on Sunday in Dover because I didn't want to drag John along to another race. I've been racing almost every weekend since January, and I just couldn't do it this time. It was a day to not be selfish, and I was happy for it when I woke up at 8am. I needed the rest, so it was good I didn't drag us out early again. He got to sleep in, and I enjoyed sitting on the deck in the sun with my coffee. I still got some easy running in. One run up Heavenly Hill with the dogs that turned out to still be covered in too much soft snow. I had planned just to do Heavenly Hill repeats, but bagged that and hit my neighborhood for 5 easy loops to make 5.8 miles for the day. That worked for me. I needed an easy day.
Later in the afternoon, John and I took a hike up White Ledge right down the road from our house. The trail was mostly snow covered still, but easily hikeable. It was so beautiful out. It was an easy hike with some great views, and John really enjoyed himself. We laughed A LOT today. I'm so glad I chose it to be a day about us and not about me and my racing. It was worth it. 





Friday, April 10, 2015

Green Hills

I was fortunate to sleep through the night without a tone drop for a 911. I was not so fortunate to wake up to a rain/ice mixture coming down hard in Glen. Plans to run in Crawford Notch were aborted since I didn't want to run in that icy mixture. So I decided to try out a Middle Mt/Peaked Mt loop. The weather was still crappy, but it was just misty in North Conway. The trail looked bad at first, but it was surprisingly runnable. I had to break through about 2-3 inches of wet snow, but underneath that it was pretty solid.
My lone footprints on Middle Mountain
Based on the lack of any footprints, I assumed I was the first one up both mountains since Wednesday night's snowfall. The run was slower than normal, but I was happy to be able to run the whole way. Close to the top, the top layer of snow did turn to ice, but it still wasn't that bad. The only things I had to watch were the hidden postholes under the fresh layer of snow; that was a bit challenging coming down Peaked.
View of the Valley from Peaked Mountain
Although it wasn't ideal, I was still happy to get off the road and into the mountains today. Slow and easy 5 mile run with over 1600 ft of gain.
Tuckerman Inferno is bright and early with a 7am start at Storyland. 8.3 miles to the kayak transition. I have a good team so I'm hoping we kick ass.

Eaton/Freedom Roads

Yesterday, I dragged myself out of bed for the second day in a row before 5am. Hopped on the treadmill for an easy 5 miles, 7:11/mile pace. Nothing fancy.
Then it was off to my 24 hour shift in North Conway. Calls were steady with 3 911s and a transfer to Maine Med. It was great to be back in North Conway working my old shift with my old partner. As planned, I ended the 7 month long prank on another crew. Unfortunately, I won't be there tomorrow to see the reaction. This prank then reminded me of the candy heist prank I pulled over a year ago. Checked to see if it was still hidden, and it was. Haha. Time to come up with some new ideas.
I woke up to about 4 inches of snow outside and decided to wait until midday to do my run in hopes of drier roads. I drove over to King Pine and ran a 16.1 mile loop through Eaton and Freedom. About 6 miles in, a familiar face joined me. "Jake" the dog! "Jake" (who is actually Louey) joined Jim Johnson and me for 6 miles when we ran this route in December. Today, Louey would join me for 10 miles. Louey looks a little mangy, but he's a pretty cool dog. I actually enjoyed his company.
Here's "Jake" Louey mid-shake
This morning around 6:15am, a tone went out for a small structure fire in Freedom. I had forgotten that this run was on that same road, so it was kind of cool to see what had burned.
Shed/garage that had burned 5 hours earlier
The run went ok today. I wasn't feeling that great or fast, but the road conditions ended up being pretty nice. The paved roads were completely clear, and I only needed my microspikes for a few short stretches on the two dirt roads. I think I hit it just right. This route has a decent amount of climbing at over 2100 ft of gain. I ended up running it at a decent average pace of 7:51/mi, about 6 seconds slower per mile on average than last time. It actually felt like it was going to be worse, so I was happy with it.
Tonight, I'm on-call at Bartlett-Jackson Ambulance, but since I don't live in the coverage area, I'm sleeping on the couch at the station. I did 4 hours of patient billing and a 911. I'm good if the rest of the night is quiet.
Shorter run tomorrow since I am doing the Tuckerman Inferno on Saturday. Team All Stoved Up, which was #1 team last year. My old team was second, so this will be good competition. Definitely looking forward to it.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Snow Run

I was actually able to get myself up before 4:30am this morning for a run. Had I known that when I opened the door to go outside, I was going to find it snowing and everything covered in a snow/ice mixture, I probably would have hit the snooze button at least 6 times. But I got myself up and dressed, put on the headlamp and walked out the door to the above conditions. WTF. I turned right back around and walked in the house to get on the treadmill until I remembered that tomorrow's run will be on the treadmill; the thought of that made me cringe. So I turned right back around and went outside again. Off I went. The roads were mostly covered in this snow/ice mixture, but I was fortunate to find clear pavement off and on. I did one of my usual runs through Cranmore Shores up Tasker/Allard Hills and back for 8.4 miles. A little slow, but the conditions called for it. 7:41/mi pace. This is what I was staring at for almost the entire run. Oh so interesting.
Pequawket
Work was a simple local transfer, but it was one of those runs that tugs on your heart strings and when you become therapist for family members. I find talking with people candidly about their family member's condition helps them open up and talk about the hard stuff. I saw a lot of beauty and sadness today, and it will probably be one of those runs that really sticks with me for a long time.
I was done a little after noon and headed home to start the rest of my day with John. It was still gray and cold, and I was beat. John didn't really want to do anything, so I curled up on the couch with a blanket for over an hour. And then the sun came out. That meant go time. So John and I took the dogs out for a walk on the Conway Rec Path, and what a beautiful afternoon it turned out to be. Just what I needed to wake me up... until the dogs came across dead deer parts. That was fun.
John's ninja class followed, and I did a bit of catching up with some people I hadn't seen in awhile. I also got my 4th offer to run the Tuckerman Inferno this weekend. Ha ha. I normally team up with Wild Things, but I backed out due the Merrimack River Trail Race. That is postponed, but I did have some other races in the works. Working out childcare for John just didn't appeal to me, but the offer tonight was on a really good team, so I gave a maybe if someone on the team can hang with John while I run the 8-mile leg. I haven't heard back yet, so we'll see. Teams are getting desperate, though, and it might work out in my favor.
Treadmill in the morning if I can get myself up; then it's off to a 24-hour shift in North Conway.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Back Where I Belong

Yesterday, I took a zero day as planned. It was actually tough to do, knowing it was a nice day out, and it seemed like EVERYONE else was out there running. I needed the break, though. John and I met my friend, Jen, for breakfast instead. Mimosas were in order. It was nice to relax for a change and have a little fun. Afterwards, John and I took a walk around Cathedral Ledge and Echo Lake with the 3 dogs.
Echo Lake

Today was my first official shift back at the ambulance. It felt so nice driving into work without that feeling of dread I had crossing the State line into Fryeburg.  Things are different since I'm now at our Tamworth base on Mondays with a new partner I've never worked with before. I'm also not as familiar with the roads down there as I am with North Conway, but it's all good. My partner and the other crew that's there are all cool, so that is a plus. 7 months ago, I put a bookmark in the book (Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand) I was reading during my last full-time shift at the ambulance. I hadn't opened it since; just no desire to read anything for all of those months; I think my brain was at its max, honestly. It was nice to pull it back out today and start right where I left off.  We actually didn't have any calls which is always good and bad. The days go by faster when we're busy, but sometimes it's nice to have a down day. I have to say I enjoyed the down day. I even turned on the Red Sox game, and I don't follow baseball anymore. Turning a leaf. Ha ha.
Work ended at 5p, and I was really antsy to get my run in. I work right on Rt 41 in Tamworth, so I just ran down that into Madison and then up some roads with really decent climbs that made a loop back to 41. I felt really good the whole way. The first and last 4 are fairly flat, so it's easy to just fly on that part. I ended up with 13.1 miles (a half marathon by accident!) in 1:32:53 (7:04/mi) which I was happy with. I needed the miles. I picked up a short 5 hour shift at the ambulance in the morning which cuts into running time, but the plan is to get up and attempt to get in 8 before my shift. We'll see if that happens. It often does not. :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ammonoosuc Amble 5 Mile Race

For the third year in a row, I headed north to Bethelehem, NH for the Ammonoosuc Amble 5 mile race. It has become a tradition for me the first weekend of April. I had never even heard of it 2 years ago but happened upon a link to it somewhere and decided to give it a try. This was the 22nd annual running, so it has definitely been a staple on the NH running calendar for quite some time. The course isn't an easy one either. The first two miles are almost all uphill, with a half mile of it on a dirt road, followed by a decent downhill portion to the 4-mile mark, then all uphill again to the finish. Definitely not a PR course, but I love the challenge of it.
John and all 3 dogs came along to the race, and as we approached Crawford Notch, we hit snow. This snow continued to get heavier and heavier and didn't really let up until just before the start. My 2-mile warmup was like running blind due to the snow in my eyes. The great thing about this race is that they don't cancel it ever. It has snowed many times before, but they always put it on. I could tell the numbers were down, but it was still a decent showing of people. Just before the start, the snow did become pretty light, but it never actually let up the entire time we were up there, and the temp stayed right around 30 degrees. As obscure as this race is, there is always competition there for me, and it's ALWAYS only one other person, so I've never had an easy go here. I was 2nd woman in 2013 and barely won it in 2014. I saw my competition yesterday just as we lined up for the start and recognized her as the woman who finished second behind me at the White Mountain Milers Half Marathon last year. I beat her by almost 2 minutes there, but this was a 5-mile race, not my strength, and I had no idea what her training had been like. I decided to line up right on the line and go out fast. My strength IS hills, so I figured I would just crank it out up the first 2 miles and hope to have enough of a lead to bust it out on the downhill.
So as planned, I went out fast at the horn and ran with the first guy for the first mile, which I came through in 6:28, which is kind of discouraging since it felt faster. At the turn, I looked back and saw second woman maybe 15 seconds back, which was way too close, so I just continued to bust it out until we hit the dirt road. It wasn't just muddy with potholes this year; it was also soft, so my pace slowed a bit to 6:52 for the second mile. OUCH. I was happy to see pavement again a half mile later. At the turn just before the top of the climb, I looked back and could see second woman maybe only 20 seconds back. Damn. Time to pick up the pace on the downhill. So for the next 2 miles I ran a 5:57 and a 5:45 which was enough to put me far enough ahead that I couldn't even see her until I took a look back on mile 5 where I had a far view back. She was in view, but I had a pretty good lead and knew I was going to take the win. I came through in 31:33, 4th overall. The time always seems slow, but for that course, it isn't bad; plus, it was almost a 2-minute PR on the course over last year.  So having that to compare with, I know that I am still running better than I was a year ago. I was a little bummed to see I missed the course record by only 11 seconds, so maybe next year?

Photo courtesy of Racewire

Post-race is a decent lunch in the gym there at the school, followed by the awards and raffle. The top overall winners always get flowers, which I love. I gave John my trophy since it would just end up in a box otherwise; this year's trophy had flames on it, so that was right up his alley. Ha ha.
Photo by John
I had planned to take a walk with John and the dogs while we were up there, but the temperature dropped into the 20s, and it was still snowing, so I decided to head back below the notch for our walk where it was much warmer in Bartlett near Thorn Pond. The rest of the day was uneventful; I lounged in the sun a bit, but that was it since I was feeling beat. Zero day for Sunday. My legs are telling me to take a break, so I'm listening.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Center and South Conway Roads

My last day at Fryeburg Chiropractic finally arrived today! I've been waiting almost 7 months for this, and it finally happened. I felt so stuck there, but now, I'm free. Today was pretty uneventful. I went through everything one more time with the new person. Noon rolled around. My boss said, "Thanks!" And that was it. I walked out into the most gorgeous day, got in my car and never looked back.
I decided to run the roads near Conway Lake again, so I ran up Brownfield Rd to Gulf Rd. This time, I decided to keep going on Gulf Rd instead of turning around. I wanted to know the condition of Greeley Rd. Right off the bat, I was on snow and ice and had to walk in it. Seemed like forever, but it finally opened up to be runnable again, even though it was super muddy. I turned on to Potter Rd which wasn't too bad with only a very small icy part. I ran back to Brownfield Rd and then back to my car. 10.6 miles at a 7:44/mi pace which isn't bad considering I had to walk a good portion of Leavitt and Greeley Roads. Decent gain at 945 ft. I hadn't planned to run that distance since I have a race tomorrow, but once I headed on that loop, I was committed so I just went with it. I kind of picked a bad day to try out new shoes, too. I got a pair of On Cloud Cloudrunners for $36. Couldn't pass that up. Well, my brand new road shoes are now covered in mud. Ha ha.
On Cloud Cloudrunners

I liked them ok. They were heavier than my other road shoes, so I will skip racing in them and just use them for training.
The weather was absolutely perfect today, but I know it was short-lived. Tomorrow's race weather looks dreary with rain and temps in the 40s. Hello, early Spring.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bald Hill Rd

I got out early for an easy run from my house, up Bald Hill Rd and back before my ambulance shift in Tamworth. 7.5 miles, 7:46/mi pace with some decent climbing. Still not the climbing I'm craving, i.e. mountains, but it will have to do for a few more weeks.
Went into work for a 10-hour shift that turned into a 12, since we were sent on a transfer to White River Junction, VT. It was fine with me. More hours=more $. Plus, it's a nice drive, and I had a great partner.
My LAST day at the chiropractor is tomorrow. I can't believe it's finally real. I've been wanting out for almost 7 months, and tomorrow is the day. I wish I had a great idea for my departure, but I can't come up with one. Oh well. Just driving away and knowing I'll never miss it will be enough.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Haley Town Finale

Today was probably the longest, most boring day I've had at the chiropractor's office. The new person commandeered my desk, and with her overpowering perfume/cigarette smell that had saturated the room, I could hardly breathe. Just kept telling myself that I am almost done!! One more half day Friday, and the fat lady will sing. CAN.NOT.WAIT.
I hit up Haley Town Rd right after work for one last 8-mile jaunt before I'm no longer employed in Maine. After two days of forced recovery on the slow stuff, I decided to pick up the pace finishing the 8 miles in 53:52, 6:41/mi. I felt good.
I received the news today that the Merrimack River Trail Race is postponed to May 9th. Although I was really looking forward to it next weekend, I think this will actually work out better since it gives me some time to get on snow-free trails to train. Plus, May 9th was free anyway, so it all works out, and now I have a few other back up races I can do next weekend instead.
Tomorrow will be a short run (maybe 6ish?) early before I head to our Tamworth ambulance base for a 10-hour shift from 9a-7p. I'm really looking forward to it since I am so ready to be back at a job I love.