Sunday, August 30, 2015

Race Double- SELT Trailfest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John with the other kids

Top 3 overall in the 4-mile

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

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

Friday, August 28, 2015

Mt Chocorua

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Madison/Tamworth Roads

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 8/26/15

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

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Carter Ledge

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

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

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

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

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

Conway/Eaton/Madison Loop

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

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

Sunday 8/23/15

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 24, 2015

NH XC Festival

The NH XC Festival was, thankfully, an afternoon race, so I was able to sleep in until 9am. I normally hate sleeping that late, but I really needed to catch up on sleep. John and I hung around the house all morning. I took the dogs on a walk up Heavenly Hill, and then we made our way to Manchester around 12:30pm, since I wanted to get there early. We got to Derryfield Park right around 2:30pm. I was surprised to see such a nice looking place in Manchester, but Manchester has been surprising me lately with its good sides. I found a place in the park lot and went over to get my bib#. When I got back to my car, I started to see people showing up that I knew, including a decent group from the CMS men's team. I also noticed Whirlaway, Sisu and Millenium people that I recognized. It was kind of nice, since it made me feel more at ease. I was definitely out of my comfort zone here at a real XC race, so I was happy to see so many of the people I've gotten to know in the last year. It was like a mini Grand Prix race (it actually is a XC Grand Prix race, but I'm talking the big GP). Unfortunately, a few of my women teammates couldn't make it last minute, so I was the only CMS woman to show up for the open (an older CMS woman was there for the 60+ category). Since I knew I didn't have a team, I decided to wear my Level Renner singlet. I seriously almost wore the race shirt, though. I never do that, but I did consider it.

I got John's backpack together, and the two of us walked over to the finish line area near the gazebo. I saw the CMS men's team setting up their stuff right where I was planning to go. It was a nice, shady tree where John could hang out for the race. I talked to Todd Callahan, Matt Viega, Jim Pawlicki and Sam Wood a little bit before heading out on my warm up. I was going to do the whole course, but I decided not to do two loops around the park and just headed up where it looked like the race went. My first few steps were agony; my legs were REALLY heavy and tired. Oops. I hoped the warmup would help a little, though. I was trying to stay out of the way of the community race that was currently going on by taking a road and some other trails, but, somehow, I ended up back on the course backwards, going against the racers. I had to stop and step aside to let them pass a few times, since I didn't want to hinder their race. Then I started passing all of the teams warming up together on the course. I almost turned around to join the CMS guys, but they were going uphill, and I was done with that for the warmup. Ha ha. I made my way back to the finish area where John was. 2.1 miles was good enough for a warmup. I was starting to get a little nervous, since this was my first real XC meet since 1993. I didn't even know adults ran cross country until a few years ago, so this was all new to me. I didn't even know until yesterday that this was part of a whole Grand Prix XC Series. Totally out of the loop, but I have learned A LOT in the last year about all of this stuff. I still don't have a clue who many of the people are when names are dropped, but I'm learning. I was here for my 5th, and final, All-Terrain Series Race. I've been holding a strong second behind Kasie Enman, with third a good ways back (and still up in the air on who will get it). I didn't have to worry much about my performance, which was good, since I had no idea how I would do in 3-mile XC race. I don't typically run short, fast distance on trails, and I've been sucking lately at the short, fast distance on the roads, so I was in for a different experience. Plus, it was really hot out.

It was almost time for the start, so I made sure John was set and then ran down the hill to the starting line. I saw Abbey Wood and talked to her for a little bit. I also saw Amy Benard with her Whirlaway teammates and decided to line up behind them. Amy and I run pretty head-to-head at most distances, but I told her the day before after I did that long run, that I wouldn't be any competition at this XC race. The race started, and I moved quickly to get in front of anyone I thought might be slower than me. I caught Abbey Wood and stayed with her for almost the first mile. Amy, another Whirlaway teammate and a Six03 woman shot off way ahead, as did 4 of the other women. I didn't know this Six03 person, but she went out fast. I caught up to her after the initial hill, but as soon as she saw me, she sprinted ahead. We did this cat and mouse thing until about 3/4 mile. I could tell by her breathing that she was going way too fast for what she could maintain and passed her finally on the climb during the second loop around the park. Abbey and I stayed together until almost to the top of the first big climb, when I was able to pull away and focus on Amy and the other Whirlaway woman. They were both running really strong and had a good lead. When we got to the top of the final big hill, I put it in gear to try to catch them on the descent. Amy's teammate passed her and moved way out of my reach. Stupid me thought that the race came back into the park and went left right to the finish. I had no idea we did this zig-zag thing beforehand. I had gone all out on that downhill, which was not a good idea. I had caught up to Amy to where I could almost reach out and touch her, but my tank was on empty. I stayed as close to her as possible, but I just had nothing left to make a move before the finish and finished 2.2 seconds back from her to finish in 19:39 and 7th woman. It was a good race, though, and I was glad I had Amy there to try to catch, but she beat me in that one right from the start. I was actually really happy with my race. I might have done better had I not put myself through the ringer this week, but it doesn't matter. That was the race I ran. I gave it the full 100% effort I had available for the day, so who can ask for more than that.

I went to right to John who was still content by the tree. I grabbed him some pizza and then joined the CMS guys for a cool down on the whole course. It was nice to run it again at a much slower, talkable pace. Ha ha. It was nice to catch up with these guys since I hadn't seen some of them in over a month or so. 3 Greater Lowell guys ended up running behind us for a little while, as well. When we finished, I ended up with 9 miles on the day. I was happy with that. Almost everyone was gone at this point, so I grabbed my award, and then John and I drove over to Shaskeen Pub where the post-race free beer was.
My 3rd in age group award

John at Shaskeen and my free beer
I'm really starting to like Manchester. This was a cute little pub, and we were happy to grab an outside table. It was the perfect night for it. John wasn't hungry, but I had to eat something before driving home and got a sandwich. John ate most of the fries. We saw people we knew go into the pub, but no one joined us, which was ok, since I wanted to spend time alone with John. We had a good time, too.

The drive home wasn't bad at all; it seemed much shorter than last Thursday, even though it wasn't. When I pulled into the driveway, I was shocked to find a lawnmower sitting by my porch. There was a note on it that said, "Should work great!" And that's it.
Anonymous left me this mower and the zucchini 

Whoever brought it also left two homegrown zucchinis on my porch. I was in such shock. I couldn't believe someone did that for me... and anonymously! I have no idea who did it either. The note was written on a piece of generic mail addressed to "North Conway Resident", but I can't think of anyone who lives in North Conway who knows about my lawn mower story from Tuesday night. So I'm baffled. But whoever it was is very nice. People can be so kind sometimes, and I'm not sure I even deserve a nice gesture like this, but I really do appreciate it.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Green Hills Loop

The one day I had available to do a long mountain run just happened to be Friday, the morning after Saunders and the day before the NH XC Festival. So I made the dumb decision just to do it. I wasn't too concerned about it affecting my performance at the XC meet, since my main reason for being there was just to count for my last All-Terrain Series Race. I'm pretty sure I had 2nd place wrapped up, so it was more of just going out and doing the race, rather than worrying about how I placed.

I had originally planned a different long run up in the Carter Range, but since the mountains were cloud-covered, I decided to do a Green Hills Loop. I've been running these small mountains, that are pretty much right in North Conway, for years, but I had never put them all together into one run. Local runner, John Lamneck, ran a 17-mile loop there a few weeks ago, so I decided that I would do something similar with modifications. He started at Cranmore and ran the loop clockwise. I started at Thompson Rd and ran the loop counter-clockwise. I took out one small section that he did and added in my own small addition. It came out to the exact same distance and elevation gain. I thought that was interesting. I think the direction I went in was probably a little more difficult, but I wouldn't know for sure without testing out the other direction. That's just going off what I know about the climbs from previous runs.

So I headed out from Thompson Rd in the absolute worst conditions. 100% humidity. 80 degrees. And my legs felt like lead after having finished Saunders only16 hours earlier. I thought it was supposed to pour rain all morning and kept waiting for it to hit me. No such luck on the entire run except for a light mist on the top of Black Cap. I started the run with the Pillar-to-Pond Trail, which is relatively flat. It made for a great warmup for the legs. And I sure did need it. I ran on Corridor 19 for a short section until turning onto the mountain bike trail that heads up into the Outer Limits which I ran all the way up to the col in between Rattlesnake and Middle Mountains, then made my way over to Middle Mountain. This was definitely the hardest part of the run since it has the steepest climbs with little respite for about 4 miles. I was sweating like crazy and found myself needing water more than I think I've ever needed it on a training run. Fortunately, my tired brain anticipated this, and I brought along water.

Once I got to the top of Middle Mountain, I had a nice descent to give the legs a break from all of the climbing before going back up to the top of Peaked Mountain, where I drank some water and ate this chia-kale thing I found at TJ Maxx. Ha ha. At this point, I was really beat, and I considered just heading back to the trailhead from here to make it a 10-mile run. But something told me to just push myself and keep going. The descent from Peaked was probably about 3/4 of mile, which was enough to rest the legs for the 3-mile climb (mostly) up to the top of Black Cap. I joined up the with Black Cap Connector Trail from the Peaked Mt Trail (via a very short connector trail) and started climbing. It's a more gradual climb, with a few descents every now and then, so my legs felt pretty good on this.

I made it up to the top of Black Cap that had nothing but a cloud for a view and finished off all of my water. I took a quick photo then kept going. I knew I had done most of the climbing for the run, so that was a relief.
Top of Black Cap. I look as tired as I felt.
From Black Cap, I ran a short distance down the Black Cap Trail to the trail over to Cranmore, bypassing Red Tail and Kettle Ridge Trails along the way. It was about 1.2 miles from the summit to the service road along the ridge. Nice, easy running. At the service road, I ran up to the summit of Cranmore and over to the Meister Hut. I was dying of thirst and hit up their water faucet. I chugged a ton before filling one bottle and moving on down the service road. This is a long 2 mile-ish run down the service road, but it's not super steep and makes for easy running. Just before the road ends, I took a left to hit my last climb of the day. And it is probably the worst climb. It's only about half a mile, but on tired legs, it really hurts. This isn't a marked trail, but it's been around for a long time and connects Cranmore to the Black Cap Connector Trail. The trail back to the trailhead gently descends with some small ups and downs first before it turns all downhill back to Thompson Rd. 17.2 miles total with 3,848ft of elevation gain in a moving time of 3:20:50. Tough run on really tired legs, but I was glad I did it. I needed that after all of the short mileage I had done during the week. It was my only hope to even get my mileage up to 50 total for the week, so I knew it had to be done. Of course, I could have just done that on the road, but I really wanted to run in the mountains. I knew I had doomed Saturday's race, as soon as I was done. I was beat to shit and could barely do anything else the rest of the day. I got done what needed to be done, but, man was I tired. It shouldn't have been any surprise, though, since I really didn't treat my body well in the last week. Saturday's bingefest, followed by no sleep, plus a race. I was doomed from the get-go. But whatever, I'll pull myself back together next week.

Saunders at Rye Harbor 10K

Wednesday was the usual 24 hour shift. It started off busy, but then got quiet. The other crew was pretty busy with basic transfers and just happened to be in Center Conway at the exact same time as Chill was found. My coworker, Eric, called me saying he thought he saw Chill on a bank by the Saco River, and just as he was telling me this, he saw Bryan and John pulling over at the same place. A guy on the river had found him and called Bryan. I thought it was kind of weird that our other crew just happened to be there at the same time, so I got to find out about it right away. I guess Chill had just been wandering around for almost 48 hours, but he was good. I called John, who was so excited.
Big relief there.

The rest of the shift had us going out on two transfers from around 8pm until 7am, but I did manage 3 hours of sleep in between. So by the time Thursday morning rolled around, I had gotten a total of 7 hours of sleep over the last 60 hours. I was feeling it and not so sure how the Saunders at Rye Harbor 10K was going to go. The smart thing to do would have been to get some sleep, but I can rarely sleep during the day, so I just carried on with my day. I went over to the chiropractor for a much-needed adjustment, then took Spot on a short walk on the East Bear Paw trails in Center Conway.

It was a beautiful day, so I also wanted to get some kayaking in. I took a little paddle trip on Silver Lake. It was actually a little rough out there with the wind making some decent (for a lake) waves. I loved that since most of my kayaking experience is on the ocean. I miss those waves (except the one time I went through The Gut at the tip of Hull, MA. That was one of the scariest experiences, as I was hoping not to get killed by boaters while riding HUGE waves across). It was quite a tough paddle out against the wind, but it made the way back pretty quick. I didn't have time to paddle all the way across, but I did paddle near the end of East Shore Drive.
Silver Lake kayak

View of Chocorua on the way back

As soon as I got back, I jumped in the shower to wash the sunscreen off, and then hopped in the car to head down to Rye, NH for the Saunders at Rye Harbor 10K. This would be my 4th race (5th in the Series) in the Seacoast Series, which I'm leading for the women. At this point, I was really feeling the lack of sleep. The drive was a struggle. I was so beat and had no idea how this might affect me in the race. Plus, it was hot and humid.

As I neared the coastline, the sun disappeared into a really thick fog blanketing the coast. The temperature dropped into the 70s. This felt great when I stepped out of the car, but I would soon learn this was very deceptive, as that fog blanket would create air so thick, you felt like you were breathing in water. I would rather have had hotter temps and drier air, but it's August, so it's expected. The combination of the lack of sleep, humidity from hell and it being a night race, I wasn't feeling too optimistic about the race. I really wanted to break 39 minutes or at least beat my Market Square 10K time, but I didn't know if I would do either.

I did a really short 3/4 mile run from my car to pick up my bib# since the long drive had my legs feeling stiff. I didn't spend too much time down there and then took the trolley ride back to my car. From the car, I did a 2.7 mile solo warm up loop backwards on the course for what would be mile 2, then veered off onto Locke Rd and back to the parking lot. I got all set for the race then took the trolley back to the start. I was about 20 minutes early and spotted this trail right next to the start line. I figured there would a lot of people back there, but there was no one. I followed it out to the end where there was a deck overlooking the marsh. I was all alone. I couldn't believe no one else was enjoying this quiet place away from the huge crowd just 200 yards away. A couple did finally show up but then left quickly. I must have thwarted their plans for some alone time. Ha ha. So once again, I had this beautiful spot all to myself. It was perfect. I stayed there for about 15 minutes then moved to the start. I saw some Six03 people and talked to them for a bit before Heather Mahoney joined me. She was wanting to break 38 minutes tonight, so I thought that I would line up with her and try to keep her in my sights for the race, so I thought I could go sub-39. We spotted Katie Misuraca at the start so I talked to her for a bit. She was worried about Laura Paulsen, who had also shown up. Katie has been running so well this year that I had a feeling she would pull off the win, which she did. Besides the few Six03 guys I talked to, Heather and Katie, I didn't see anyone else that I knew in the crowd. I've only just started racing down here on the coast this year, so it's a whole new scene for me. I did recognize a couple of women from the Seacoast Series, so I knew I needed to beat them to keep my lead in the Series.

I lined up with Heather and behind Katie. Then it was only a short minute before we were off and racing. I tried to stay next to Heather as long as possible, but she pulled about away by the 1/2 mile. The air was so thick that I could feel it right away, so I had a feeling I was going to struggle the entire race. I hit the first mile right around 6:00 which is what I was shooting for. That would be the only mile I'd hit at what I was looking for. Even though this is a coastal race, it was actually pretty hilly, with a decent climb on the 2nd mile. It was still an ok split at 6:17. I had thought it would be my slowest, but the rest of the miles would all end up being slower, even the one with the long downhill. I was able to stay the same distance back from Heather all the way through mile 4, but she lost me on the last two. My splits were 6:24, 6:22 and 6:18 for miles 3, 4 and 5. Awful. I felt like I was giving everything I had, but I was just struggling. The humidity had to be at 100%, and I was enduring the sufferfest. My worst mile was the 6th one. So flat, and I felt like I was trapped in between 2 walls with the thickest air. I ran this segment SLOWER than I ran it at Eastern States back in March, and Eastern States was 20 miles! I lost sight of Heather completely in the fog on this last mile. I felt horrible. I took a quick peek back to see if there were any women close by; I didn't see any, but the fog was so thick that someone could have been close without me knowing it. We finally turned the corner for the finish line. I looked at my watch and realized I would be nowhere near my goal of a sub-39 and crossed the line in 39:17. 4th woman, 27th overall. Full Results. Not a bad finish, but I definitely wasn't pleased with my time. It was barely better than Market Square and another race slower than my fastest half marathon!! I don't like to make excuses, but I really do believe the weather is a huge factor. I just don't do well in the heat and humidity. I'm hoping I can prove this point by running a sub-39 at the Lone Gull 10K, if the weather is cooler and drier.
On my way into the finish. Photo by Lisa Rohr.
Post-race, I only did a mile cool down and ended up with just over 10 miles for the day. I changed clothes then walked back to the finish line for the free beer. At first I only saw the Mich Ultra they were serving, but breathed a sigh of relief when I saw they were also serving Red Hook Ale.
Best part of the race
They were giving out as many beers as you wanted, but I only had one since there was pretty much no food other than peanut butter crackers at the finish. I ended up talking to a few of the Six03 guys for awhile after our group photo.

Six03 Team. I'm on the end in my goofy hat.
It was getting late, and I needed food badly at this point, so I walked the 3/4 mile back to my car in the pitch black darkness. It was weird how dark it was on that road, and I only saw maybe 3 cars. It was a nice walk, though, and I got back to my car, one of 3 left in the lot. I stopped in Portsmouth for some food and then drove home. It was one of the toughest drives I've ever done. I could barely stay awake. A huge struggle; I don't even know how I made it, but I did.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Outer Limits/Corridor 19 and a Rant

Tuesday ended up being a really busy day. I had John in the morning since his dad was still on his camping trip, so I couldn't do my usual run. My options were, once again, the neighborhood (shoot me in the head), Heavenly Hill (I've run this 76 times, and probably walked it more), the treadmill (tempting since it's in the cool basement) or wait until John's ninja class in the evening. I opted for the last option, even though it would only give me an hour to run. I'll choose a shorter trail run any day over the first three options.

Since the morning was now open, I decided to bite the bullet and rent a lawnmower from Coleman's again. The lawn mower a friend gave me won't start, so I let the yard get way out of control. It turned into a field with grass up to my chest. It HAD to get taken care of. I picked up the mower and got in about 30 minutes when the thing cut off and wouldn't start back up. I waited another 30 minutes to see if it just needed to cool down or if maybe I flooded it trying to start it so many times (and yes, it had gas!!). No luck after waiting. I called the guy for tips on how to fix it, but since they are literally at the bottom of my neighborhood, the guy said he would just drive up and take a look at it. As is my luck, he didn't do anything to it, and the thing started right up. WTF. So I start mowing again for maybe 2 minutes, until I noticed my little dog ran out, so I had to stop mowing to put her back in. Sure enough. I couldn't get it started. And then as I moved it, the blade fell off. I put it back on. Still wouldn't start. Moved the mower. Blade fell off again. That's when I realized that half of the piece holding it on was missing. It must have broken and fallen off somewhere in my yard. I had wasted way too much time at this point, so I put it back in my car and drove it back to Coleman's. The guy said he would fix it and bring it back up to my house. The only problem was that I was about to leave and not be back until 8pm or so, but I agreed.

John and I went to the Sandwich Spring to fill up our water jugs. We brought the two girl dogs along and took them on a short walk after on the Brook Path in Wonalancet. We last did this walk at the end of winter when the trail was still icy, so it was nice to walk on dirt path. It's very pretty, and there were surprisingly no bugs.
Brook that the Brook Path goes along. Creative name.
We did swing by the house to drop off the dogs and then headed to Conway Lake to swim since it was SO hot. Right around 4pm, I get a text from John's dad asking if anyone had called about finding our 3rd dog, Chill. He said Chill ran off the night before while he was camped on the river, and he thought he was really gone, maybe killed by coyotes. Are you f*****g serious? So here it is, about 16 hours after Chill went missing, and this is first I'm hearing about it. Apparently, he gave up on Chill the next morning and just continued on down the river to finish up the trip. Wow. Okay. That's nice. So then I had to tell John that Chill was missing, and he got so upset. He loves Chill. I felt so bad.
John with Chill when he was 4, and Chill was 5 weeks old in North Carolina
There wasn't anything I could do at this point. I had a feeling Chill was just wandering around. He tends to take off if he's left out untied, and he's been gone for hours before, but this was longer than he'd ever been gone. I just hoped he would show up.

After the lake, we had to go to Whitaker Woods for the Summer Series awards night. I had to hand out the gifts for the Livingston's who put it on every summer, and I had won the 30-39 age group for women. We finally got started, and I was supposed to go first to thank the Livingston's and hand out the gifts, but I got interrupted 3 times so other people could talk first. I didn't mind the first 2, but the 3rd time was completely uncalled for. I was mid-sentence when this other guy just interrupted me and started talking over me. I had literally started talking; it was SO rude. So I stood there looking like an idiot waiting for him to finish what he had to say about something completely non-running related. Anyway, I finally got to thank the Livingston's and give them some gift certificates, and then the awards were under way. Julbo is the sponsor for the awards, and I was crossing my fingers for some decent sunglasses this time. And then I saw the boxes. Omg. The same freakin' sunglasses they gave for Cranmore awards!! The worst sunglasses ever!! Ugh. They aren't even sports glasses; I'm not even sure what they are supposed to be. In case you missed my Cranmore write-up, here is the pic I shared again. They are so big they wouldn't even stay on when I moved my head!
Glasses from Cranmore. I look like a bug.
Ugly, right? So here they are again as the award at a running event. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We're supposed be grateful for having them supply the awards or else we would have no awards at all. Blah, blah, blah. Well, no. I call bullshit. My guess is that these are the glasses they can't sell (geez. I wonder why), so now they are just getting rid of the overstock. "Give them the shitty ones." Either sponsor the awards all-out or not at all. They want to be promoted at our event with their banner and flags; I think it's more important to promote your product by not giving away the overstock of your worst-selling sunglasses. Do you think anyone will buy your product now after seeing these bug-eyed monsters? Sorry to shit on Julbo, but I am not impressed. I didn't see a woman there who could wear those hideous things. So, needless to say, when I walked up to get my award, I refused them and asked for the lone Julbo visor on the table instead. Total asshole move, I know, but what was I going to do with another pair of those ridiculous glasses? I know this sounds silly for me to be complaining about it, but I have literally waited YEARS to finally win a pair, and now, two times in a row, this is what they give us, as if we won't mind. We're cool with it. Yeah, well, I'm not. We aren't a bunch of desperate rednecks who have to be thankful just to be getting something. And now I regret ever giving them a dime of my money for a pair of their ski goggles that I wear (which I actually like a lot!). Those will now have the logo Sharpied out when ski season rolls around. And I won't be wearing that visor either (even though, I did wear it, reluctantly, for the group photo). I'm sure this will get back to the people at Julbo at some point, and maybe it should. Maybe they actually have some valid excuse for these sunglasses. If so, I'd love to hear it. I won't apologize for this post, since this is a true, honest impression of them as of today, but I would definitely share anything pertinent in a future post. I sound like a complainer now, but sometimes you have to be. I wasn't going to post this photo, since it actually promotes Julbo, but here it is anyway.
Whitaker Woods Summer Series Winners. Notice how bad these glasses look on the women. 
Rant over. After the awards, John and I had to head to his ninja class, but since we were going to be really early, I decided to take a drive up East Conway Rd to see if we could spot Chill running around. No luck, and John was in tears. Fortunately, the tears were short-lived since he perked right up when we got to ninja class; it's his favorite thing. He ran into the gym, and I headed out on my run. Right across from the gym is a trail that meets up with the trails through Redstone that hook up with Corridor 19 and the mountain bike trails in the Green Hills, so I ran that way hitting the Outer Limits trail until I had run about 30 minutes out. I hit a connector trail to Corridor 19 to run back to the gym. I was pretty tired, and it was hot, so I ran an easy 6.1 miles with a little over 500ft of elevation gain. I got back with a just a few minutes left of John's class.

We went right home from there, and when I pulled in, the lawn mower was there waiting for me. I had kind of hoped they would forget so I wouldn't have to mow, but no such luck. I had to get it done. I made us dinner first, then donned a headlamp and got the mower started. And it took FOREVER. I was pouring in sweat, too. Like literally dripping sweat the entire time. I had to grab a cold beer in the middle to cool off. :)
Baxter Brew and the Coleman's mower in the headlamp light
I knew it would take me a long time since my yard was huge and the tall grass thick, but I guess I didn't realize how long. 3.5 hours. I finished at 12:30am. Ha ha. I decided to load the mower back into my car while I was still gross. This isn't an easy feat. I have to use a wood board to roll it up into my car since I can't lift the mower by myself. The problem is that the board is only wide enough for one set of wheels, so it takes some balancing. Well, this time, it didn't go so well. I lost the balance of the mower on the board, then lost my balance in the sand and mower rolled down slamming right into my shoulder. It freakin' hurt, and all of the sand stuck to my sweat. Ha ha. I was covered in sand, grass and sweat, so I had to shower. I wasn't in bed until 1:30am. 4 hours later, I was up to get ready for my 24 hour shift. After mowing for 3.5 hours the night before, there was no way I was getting up at 4:30am for a run, so Wednesday ended up being a zero day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

1 Year Anniversary

Monday- This week marks an "anniversary" of sorts for me. 1 year ago this week, I finished up my Monday 24 hour shift at the ambulance, drove home with the usual feeling of dread and before 8am and still in my uniform, I looked at my husband and told him our marriage was over. This wasn't out of the blue. This was a culmination of two years of pure marriage misery for both of us that led him to cross a line. That crossing of the line didn't anger me; it gave me the balls to finally end it. What proceeded during the following two months did leave me angry, stressed, scared to death, but finally FREE. The freedom, the lifting of the weight off of my shoulders, is what kick-started my running to where it should have been and to where I am a year later. It was like losing 50 pounds, and I was able to find the speed I never knew I had. My life was changed for the better, even though it was one of the toughest and scariest things I've ever done. I don't regret it one bit; I actually regret not doing it sooner. Hanging on for John's sake was the wrong decision because even he is happier with the way life is now.

But with all that said, the last few weeks have been tough. Anger and stress have been finding their way back in. I think a lot of it is just remembering and feeling the turmoil that occurred during the divorce all over again. It's only been a year. A year that flew by. It's been a GREAT year and will continue to be a great year. I know this. However, it was only fitting that I would feel like I was being punched in the gut all over again with a certain request made by John's dad. He asked me to take John for the overnight and Tuesday morning, when he normally has him, so that he could go celebrate his 1 year anniversary with his girlfriend on a camping trip. I agreed to this over a month ago, but only found out the reason I was taking John on Monday afternoon. I love my son; I want to spend time with him, but I thought the reason was kind of unthoughtful, and I felt a little taken advantage of.

This is way TOO MUCH INFORMATION, but it does actually lead up to my Monday run (which I only had one hour for due to the time constraint). It brought me back to a year ago when I was running angry. It was like a celebration of my own 1 year anniversary. Running angry again! Ha ha! It was SO hot and SO humid, but I busted out 8 tortuous miles in 54:18, a 6:47/mi pace. A huge feat for me in that type of weather. I guess I just needed to get back into running angry mode to get ready for Fall racing! :)

Weekend 8/15-8/16/15

As far as running goes, this weekend was very BLAH. No races, so that meant I was stuck with three choices: treadmill, neighborhood loops or Heavenly Hill. Those getting-old-fast runs, coupled with the heat and humidity left me very unmotivated on Saturday. I normally get my weekend runs done in the mornings, but I just couldn't get myself to do it on Saturday morning, so John and I had a somewhat lazy morning before driving over to Foss Mt. I was finally getting John up there for the first time and hoped there would be blueberries left.

It had only been a few weeks since I last drove up there, but after all of the rain we had, my car barely made it up this time. I was in 1st gear as I neared the top of the steep hill that had huge mounds in it that it didn't have before. I just kept rolling at a much faster speed than I should have over those bumps in order to make it over. The "Four Wheeled Drive Only" sign actually meant it this time. I made it up with a huge sigh of relief. We walked the short .3 up to the top. John was pretty pleased with the view but more excited about finding blueberries. It wasn't looking so promising at first, but we just kept walking way past the summit before we finally found a ton of blueberries. It was really hot and humid at this point, but we didn't care and spent about 45 minutes picking berries. We walked back up to the summit where we could see North Conway getting hammered by rain. It was pretty cool. We then made our way back down to the car and started the drive down. Just below that insane part of the road, we passed two women walking, one carrying a baby. As soon as they saw me, they started laughing and then waved and laughed as I passed them by. At the bottom of the hill, I saw why. Their Kia Soul hadn't made it up the road. Ha ha ha. Now the laughter made sense. I laughed as I passed it and continued on.

John walking up Foss Mt

Phoenix lying in a puddle to cool off

Picking blueberries

Selfie- of course

The pouring rain in North Conway

Phoenix eating blueberries

We were pretty hot and decided to drive over to Madison to take a swim. Since we were right in Eaton, I decided to drive Glines Hill Rd over to 113. Ha ha ha. Another 4x4 only road. I totally took my Kia Soul through the ringer on Saturday. Glines Hill wasn't as bad, but I really had to gun it for momentum to get over the top of the road. I was laughing the whole time. We drove to Silver Lake Railroad to park for the Head of the Lake Beach. No one else was there, as the skies were starting to turn dark, but we had a little time to take a swim before a thunderstorm rolled in. I realized 5 minutes after we got there while looking at the rules sign that I had broken two already. What's new, though. Ha ha. I brought the dog and dived off of the dock. Rebel. :)

Head of the Lake- Silver Lake

He didn't break the rules. Only I did. 
Once home, I waited out the thunderstorm then FINALLY went for a run with all 3 dogs up Heavenly Hill once and then ran around the neighborhood. It was probably the absolute worst run I've had in a long time. The humidity was killing me. I struggled through the entire 5.7 miles and couldn't even average under 8:01/mi. Terrible. I was happy to still get 7 miles in for the day, but it almost wasn't worth the effort. I felt so drained after that.
Post-run. Feeling awful. Had to take one last selfie before I went into cardiac arrest. 
 Saturday night, John and I went to my friend, Jen's, house for a party. I hadn't been to a party in so long; I don't even remember the last time. Since she loves up in Bartlett there was no way I was driving us home, so I packed up our tent and sleeping bags for the night. John hung out inside most of the evening with the other kids, while I stayed out by the fire pit with the adults. The night started like this:
Jen and me, only half a beer in
Then this:
Beer and half a bottle of wine in
To this:
I think I was making some attempt at dancing.
And this:
Finished off the bottle of wine. Working on a vodka drink.
So, yeah, I thought I was 20 and in college again. I don't know what I was thinking, but obviously, I wasn't. The sad part is that I was fully functioning and remember almost everything. I even set up the tent in this state and carried John from the house, down the stairs, across the yard and placed him right in the tent, all while he stayed sound asleep. I remember having a really good time. Dancing. Laughing, Talking really LOUDLY and NONSTOP. And I made it into my sleeping bag by 1:30am. Not too bad. ha ha. Wide awake the next morning at 6:33am. I guess the light woke me up. I was SO thirsty. No idea why. ;) No headache, per se, but I felt a little dizzy when I first got up. We had to head home right away since the dogs needed to be taken out, so I woke up John, packed up the tent and then went home.

The weather was supposed to be just as bad as Saturday with the heat and humidity so I decided that after I took the dogs out, I needed to get my run in. The thought of doing another neighborhood run made me want to vomit... or was that the night before? I had to do it, though. So out I went, but I changed it up this time to 10 out-and-backs instead of loops. I had hydrated well on the way home for Bartlett, but I was still surprised by how good I felt. The temperature was already warm, but the humidity wasn't too bad yet. It was definitely there, but nothing like the night before. So 10x got me 10.4 miles at 7:52/mi pace with 796ft of elevation gain. I felt so much better than the day before. How this is possible, I don't know, but it might just mean I'm a functioning alcoholic. ;) I think the first step to recovery is that I admitted on my blog post exactly how much I drank. Or else it means that I just don't care. Not sure which.

"Everything is Awesome!"- Leslie, post-binge drinking the night before and post-10.4 mile run. Scary.
Functioning Alcoholic Runners ON THE LEVEL. I think I'm going to make a new team to join for others like me TEAM FAR. Is there a maximum for the number of running teams I can join?
John and I took all 3 dogs to the Albany Town Forest for a short walk and to cool off in the Swift River before John and I went to Conway Lake for 4 hours. I couldn't even pull him out of the water when it was time to go. Perfect way to spend our day.
Conway Lake Beach

Wonder if I'll get another nasty gram from the head of Conway Rec for this one like I did last year. His chiding for illegally bridge jumping obviously didn't work. This is literally one of the safest places to bridge jump. And everyone else is doing it. ;)

John loves Conway Lake. It almost looks like I photoshopped him in. I didn't since I don't know how to photoshop.
Capped off the week with a less than stellar running report. Only 53.9 miles, which was mainly due to the zero I had to take on Monday due to the swollen ankle. I think I would have been in the mid-60s otherwise. Still got in over 7000ft of elevation gain, too. So not really bad considering I thought I would be running ZERO miles all week. I was lucky to have no pain in the ankle while running except on Tuesday's run. I also tried something new to treat it that I studied up on back in the winter. RICE is going out the window with more of a focus on minimal use of ice and less rest. Sounds crazy, but it makes sense. I only iced immediately after the injury and twice the following day. I took Ibuprofen only twice, once the day of the injury and again after Tuesday's run. I rested it and elevated it on Monday, but there is more of a focus on "optimal loading" as opposed to complete rest. Using the injured area as much as possible without reinjuring yourself. Ice duration is still up in the air, but I chose to experiment with it. My ankle has healed much more quickly than the last time. Here's an editorial about it in BMJ if anyone is interested: PRICE.