Monday, June 1, 2015

NBB Twilight Meet

This past weekend was SO busy, and I'm still suffering the repercussions. Major lack of sleep that is really catching up with me. Saturday was an early start to meet Paul Kirsch at Tin Mountain to flag the Dirty Girl Trail Race course at 7am. Paul had gotten there early and already marked half the course. John got right up and out and walked the last two miles with us, counting 79 Lady Slippers along the way. He goes to a homeschool group at Tin Mountain every week, so it's a place he knows really well and loves. We actually got the course done way more quickly than last year, when we spent 3 hours on only 1/3 of it. Then I had to go to work (my short-lived Starbucks job) and leave Paul to the rest of it. We were done before 9am this time, which gave me a lot more time than I thought to get everything together before that night's track meet in Waltham.

I originally planned to do the All-Terrain Series. Then I changed my mind. There was NO WAY I was racing on a track. Then I changed my mind again. I had to do an outdoor track 5000 as one of my races if I wanted to count (The Season 20K is still up in the air for me). The idea of racing on a track is not my idea of fun, but I decided to look at the track schedule and see what I could fit in before June 30. The 2nd meet of the NBB Twilight Series was the ONLY one I could make. It was it or none at all, but it was such horrible timing! 6 days post-marathon, AND I had a race to direct the next morning. Not to mention, Waltham, MA is 2.5 hours away!! But I sucked it up and drove down there, watching the temperature gauge in my car show 91 degrees as we got into Massachusetts.

Once we arrived, John and I walked over to the track. I was thinking the only person who would know me there was Jenn Brooks, my CMS teammate, but, no, I starting seeing familiar faces right off the bat. Ugh. And then there were people who knew who I was that I was meeting. Double ugh. No going incognito as planned. My track embarrassment would be for many to see. Ha ha. I had no idea how track worked so I had to ask someone where to pick up the bibs after walking around looking like an idiot. Once I got my bib, I took John down in front of the bleachers where he could sit in the shade to watch.
John sitting track-side at the Bentley University Track

Meghan Boucher came over to hang out with us while she waited for the Steeplechase (I will admit it; I had no idea what a Steeplechase was until I asked someone a few days before the meet). Meghan and I have raced each other twice in the last year with really close times, so I expect her to continue to give me a run for my money in the years to come.

I saw Jenn and Freddi Pare who were headed off on a warmup. I still had to pick up my shoulder and hip numbers (whatever those are; I had no idea), so I grabbed those, then did a short mile warmup. It was hot, and I felt a side stitch come on. A side stitch?! I literally haven't had one of those since I was a teenager!! No joke! I started to get really nervous about this race. Once I was back, I found Jenn and Freddi, and then Emma Kosciak (whom I raced at Merrimack) and her teammate came over. We were all there for the All-Terrain Series, and I wasn't alone; we all felt out of place there. It was nice to have company. The 5000 was being done in 3 heats, and we were in the last heat, so the start was later than I thought. I got more nervous after watching the first two heats. They looked like they were suffering. We were lucky as the third heat that the shade had reached the bleacher side of the track. It made little difference after a few laps, but it was still better than full-on sun. We all gathered at the starting area. Amanda Wright recognized our out-of-place group and came over to ask if we were All-Terrain Series people. She was there for the same reason, so our group kept growing in numbers.

Finally, it was time to line up. I realized at this point that my 22 number meant I was seeded LAST. I left the seeding question blank on my registration since I had no idea what it meant. Ha ha. But 19-22 lucked out. We got to line up on the inside of the track behind the first row, so it ended up being better. Finally, the starter gave us some short rules, then attempted to fire the starting gun. It misfired. So we were stopped immediately to line back up. The second time it went smoothly, and we were off. I decided to just go off conservatively. I had never run 12.5 laps around a track before, so I had no idea what I was doing. The fast girls shot off way ahead. Emma and Jenn fell right behind them. I noticed Amanda dropped back behind me; she runs track, so I decided to follow her lead and hang back.
Photo John took of me early on. 

The fast girls were out of my sight quickly, and Emma and Jenn had a really good lead on me. I felt like they had gone out too fast, and that was confirmed as I hit lap 3. I had really reeled them in without picking up my pace. By lap 4, I started to pass them. Jenn first and then Emma on the 5th lap. Amanda wasn't far behind me the whole race and passed them, as well.
I was hurting. I don't even look like I belong on a track. Photo by Scott Mason.
At this point I wasn't even halfway, so the sufferfest just continued. The laps counted down. My mouth was so dry from sucking wind. I was hurting bad! I got lapped by the top 3 men, and I noticed the first woman was over an entire half lap ahead. ha ha. I just needed to finish this crap. 5 laps left. 4 laps left, etc. WTF. When would it end already?!!! By the last lap, I was SO done. I had nothing left. Amanda passed me with ease in the last half lap. I had nothing left to even attempt to stay with her, and all I could think of was that I was about to finish this awful thing called a 5000m on a track. I finally came through the finish gasping for air. 18:52. Huh? Wow. Not even a PR. Ha ha. I ended up 7th for the women. I watched Jenn and Emma with their close finish then walked right over to John. That just sucked. Way too flat. Around and around. Why would anybody do such a thing? There was a reason I played soccer instead of doing track in high school (in the south, high school soccer is in the Spring, same time as track).

We hung out for a bit. Talked to Scott Mason while watching Meghan in the Steeplechase. I was jealous they got to jump into cool water. Ha ha. Then the ATR people got together for a picture.
All-Terrain Series racers. Freddi and I are obvious stand-outs as non-track runners. LOL.
We had to leave after that. It was going to be a long drive, and then an early rise for the Dirty Girl Trail Race. We were home close to 11pm, and I didn't get to bed until well after midnight. 5am came way too soon.

I got up early and loaded the car. I had to pick up the bagels at Bagels Plus at 6:30am and the coffee from Starbucks at 6:45am. Bagels Plus is awesome. This is the second time I've used them over Big Dave's for my race. Love this place. (Try the Boissant if you're up here on a weekend. OMG. So good.) Got the bagels, then headed to Starbucks. Kerri (former coworker) didn't quite have it ready since it takes awhile to brew, so I waited about 15 minutes. As I was waiting, I realized that I had left all of the oranges in my fridge. Dammit!!! Luckily, I live right near Tin Mountain, so I was able to speed over there and only arrive 10 minutes later than planned.

Some of my volunteers had already arrived. Paul was out doing the last minute trail markings, and my registration people were all set. Roger Marcoux arrived and helped me get the water down to the water stop. Ok, so I just carried a table while Roger wheeled the water and cups the whole way down. ha ha. I like to pull the woman card when it comes to lifting and moving heavy things. ;) When we got back, racers had started to fill the parking lot and more volunteers arrived. It was so nice. I had so many people to help out that I didn't even have to worry about that. I just wandered around making sure everything was going smoothly. Gave course volunteers their assignments, checked in on registration to make sure it was ok. I felt like I was wandering around like a chicken with my head cut off. SO many women were there. It was awesome. Finally at 8:45am, I ended registration and gave the word for everyone to head to the start down Bald Hill Rd.
Walking to the start with Bernie and Eileen Livingston,
who have been part of the MWV running scene for many years.
Photo by Roger Marcoux

5 minutes to start. Waiting for last minute people before
 I could wave to my traffic volunteer to stop traffic. Photo by David Swift.
Everyone lined up. I had 126 women out there to race!! Unbelievable. I had over 160 sign up!! I was a little nervous about the high number being too much for the trails, but it all worked out fine. It was go time. I gave my instructional speech, which was my nightmare last year. Talking in front of group. Yikes. A lot has changed in a year. I had no problem doing it this year. My confidence level has definitely improved.... along with other things. :) And, finally, they were off!
Hilary McCloy, the eventual winner (as I predicted), leads right off the bat.
Look at all of those women!
Photo by Roger Marcoux
For once, it felt great to just watch the race from the sidelines. I was so content not to be out there racing. I had created this race and course, so it was better to see other people experiencing it. I made this course as difficult as possible given the short distance, so I couldn't wait to see this year's reaction. As soon as the runners entered the woods, Richie Girouard and I got the post-race food set up then headed back to watch the finish. It was cut short, as our first (and only!) DNFs caught up to me. It was a mom and her young daughter, who had slipped on a rock and cut her foot. I was bummed to see that my only real injury was such a young girl, but she was such a trooper as we tried to irrigate her laceration. It was a pretty decent one that had dirt and rock bits stuck in it, so it required scrubbing. Poor thing. I felt so bad, but she ended up being ok.

Before I knew it, everyone started to finish. And all I could hear was how much everyone loved it. Not a single complaint (unless you count Christie Girouard's request to change the name to Dirty Bitch Trail Race. ha ha). It was so cool to see them all coming through the finish hurting, but then smiling after. I knew then and there this race was a success. I stayed busy fielding questions and handing out leftover t-shirts (no-shows lost their shirts unless they let me know ahead of time that they still wanted them). Crazy enough, the last person to ask me for a shirt got the very last shirt. Not one other person asked after I ran out. Love it when it works out like that.

As soon as I had the award winners set, I started the awards. A Salomon rep was there at the race offering demo shoes to racers. He had a lot of takers. It was such a score to get him there for that. He also gave me 3 shoe vouchers to give out. I gave them to top 3 overall. Most races with free shoes give them to just the 1st overall, but after being the 2nd or 3rd overall so many times and getting pretty much nothing while the other free shoes were raffled off, I decided that all 3 top winners were getting the shoes. I also gave out wine, wine glasses, local soap, Dirty Girl Gaiters (to 1st overall) and local maple syrup (to second overall). Age group winners got wine glasses and local soap, except 19&under who got a "water goblet" instead of the wine glass. Ok, so it was the same glass, but it was advertised as a wine glass/water goblet. ;) Salomon gave us some great swag for the raffle, as well as Road ID for 6 gift certificates.

By 11:15am, it was all said and done! I picked up and then headed out. Paul and another volunteer swept the course just as the pouring rain set in. John and I left for home. Once home, I drained the rest of the Starbucks coffee into gallon jugs while standing in the pouring rain to save the coffee for iced coffee.
I got that cup for free when I worked there. :) I set this shot up to post on the Facebook event page.
The rain came down the rest of the day. I loaded the results manually to a spreadsheet, then struggled with for over an hour trying to get them posted. For some reason, it wouldn't recognize my .csv files, so I was finally able to make this horribly formatted .txt file. It worked well enough, although it looks awful. But results were posted by 3pm!

John and I took the dogs for a walk on the Conway Rec Path after that. We all needed some exercise. The rain let up slightly, which was nice.

John and two of the dogs playing on the Saco
John playing in a fern forest
By the time we got home, my planned zero day turned into a nearo day. I was way too antsy, so I hit the neighborhood for 5 loops, 4.4 miles 7:52/mi pace. My legs were heavy and sore, so I just took it easy. I kept passing my neighbors, and on the 3rd loop got bitten by one of their dogs. Honestly, it wasn't a big deal. I kind of scared it as I came up from behind, so I definitely could have prevented it. It was just a nick, so I just kept running. Consider yourself lucky if I'm the one your dog jumps on or bites. I used to be a dog walker when I lived in Hingham, MA, so nothing really phases me when it comes to dogs. John and I ate dinner when I finished my run and then I tied up loose ends, showered and hit the sack way too late, further increasing my sleep deficit. I'm not sure how I will catch up at this point, and Pack Monadnock Race (which I dislike anyway) is up in the air.

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