Saturday, September 5, 2015

Easy Week 8/30/15- 9/4/15

I didn't really plan on an easy week, but it just kind of worked out that way. No long runs and two zeros. Since I've been racing so much still, I am just  going off how I feel when it comes to the miles. And I seem to have a pattern of other every other week, one higher mileage and the other lower. It's just the flow I'm in really since I don't plan much more than day-to-day, other than races.

Sunday- I was feeling pretty beat after the SELT Trailfest that I decided to take a nearo (almost a zero; old thru-hiker terminology). I ran the dogs up and down Heavenly Hill. Then John and I went up to Pinkham Notch. He was super grumpy when it was time to leave, but, fortunately, a nap on the drive up did the trick, and he woke up super happy and ready to hike up to Tuckerman Ravine. The day was beautiful, and we really enjoyed ourselves. We went into the bowl which made it a 6-mile round trip hike for us.

I'm still doing the weight training as planned. It's working out to 2x per week, and that's fine with me. So that evening I got in 30 minutes of shoulders and legs.

Monday- Worked my usual 10 hour shift at work. My partner and I had the misfortune of being sucked down to Southern NH to do 3 Careplus transfers. Careplus owns North Conway Ambulance, but they have their own transfer business down there. Employees down there wear different uniforms and only do transfers, no 911s. They were short-handed, and we were the unlucky ones. So we drove to Derry to pick up a patient that we took to Londonderry, not even 4 miles. Dropped him off. Headed towards NH Hospital, only to be turned around and told to go to the Manchester VA to pick up a patient and take him to Concord Hospital (ran into my former North Conway coworker who works down there now. He was not happy to see me. Still thinks it's my fault he lost the North Conway job. See my post "Work Drama".) Dropped the patient at Concord Hospital then drove the mile to New Hampshire Hospital to pick up the third patient and took him to Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro. Only a small portion of what a typical Careplus employee does every shift down there. No thanks. I like to mix it up with 911s. We ended up getting back over an hour after our shift was up. I was working the stipend shift until 7am anyway, so it didn't matter much to me.

Since I was on call, I decided to run two short loops near the base. There are two neighborhoods right near there that I never even knew existed until Monday night. They are aviation communities, so most of the houses have airplanes, and there's a grass runway in the middle. It was pretty cool to run through there. It was also very FLAT. Zero elevation gain for this run. The only other place I get that for a run up here is the Albany Town Forest. 9.1 miles 6:57/mi pace.

Tuesday- As per the usual, I have to get my run in first thing before John comes home. I finally decided to go back to the Marshall Conservation Area off West Side Rd to run the trails there after seeing Kevin and Jim were out there running it. I kept forgetting about it. The trails are new and not marked, but I knew that they met up with the Mineral Site trails, so I ran out until I came to familiar territory and did a long loop through the Mineral Site, hitting the FS road, then up past Thompson Falls, up the Mineral Site Trail and then the High School Loop, which brought me back to the Marshall Trail. Somehow, on my way back, I took a wrong turn. I didn't notice it until I was going in the direction that I thought was bringing me back to High St, the opposite of where I wanted to go. I was running out of time at this point, too, so I found this trail that appeared to go back in the direction of where I wanted to go. It was a bit overgrown, but clear. I had hopes that it would come out to where I planned. No luck. This clear trail just abruptly ended. Looking at the map later, I could see that it was pretty close to meeting up with where I thought it would, but at the moment the woods looked too thick, so I turned around and went back the way I came. Finally made it to the car about the same time I was supposed to be home for John's dropoff. Fortunately, they always come a little later, and I made it back before them. Run total: 12.4 trail miles. 1220 ft of elevation gain.

The rest of the day was spent at Conway Lake. I decided to break the rules, since that's what I do anyway, and brought along a Narragansett Summer Shandy in a coffee mug. Nothing like sipping a cold drink on the beach on a hot day.
Incognito. :) That's John in the background
Later on, I took John to his ninja class and then did some weight lifting again. 35 minutes of upper back and chest.

Wednesday- Up early for 5 miles on the treadmill. My goal was to do the exact same run as the week before, but faster. I did it 13 seconds faster in 35:59.

This 24 hour shift at the ambulance was pretty dull. Only one decent 911 call midday and not a single other call or transfer for the rest of the 24 hours. It was really nice getting the sleep, I have to admit.

Thursday- I didn't work my usual 10-hour shift, so I decided to go up to Jackson for a run from Carter Ledge Rd. I made a loop starting off on the Bog Brook Trail to the Wild River Trail to the Rainbow Trail. It was really warm and way more humid in the woods than I thought it would be, so I struggled a bit on the climb up to Carter Dome. It didn't help that the Rainbow Trail is barely used and was almost completely overgrown in parts during the first mile of it.
Rainbow Trail. Some parts were more overgrown than this.
By the time I made it to the top of Carter Dome, it was covered in a cloud, but there isn't that great of a view up there anyway. I had some great views on the way down to Carter Notch Hut.
New Old Man??

Looking down at Carter Notch

Pond in Carter Notch
This was the first time I had been back to Carter Notch in 12 years. My last time there, I was passing through on my second AT thru-hike on my honeymoon, with my husband and dog, Coy. Crazy how much life has happened since then. I checked out the 1998 and 2003 registers to see what I wrote during my two thru-hikes.
9/10/1998. 22 years old. Less than a month from finishing my fist thru-hike. "Doc" would end up being my husband 5 years later.

9/13/2003. 27 years old. "Doc, LLAMA & Coy".
I talked to a few thru-hikers while I was at the hut. One guy was also from Georgia so we talked Georgia trails and races a little bit and the Pacific Crest Trail. It was nice talking to them, but I had to move on, so I left and made my way down the Wildcat River Trail, a LONG downhill run until it met up with the Bog Brook Trail and took me back to the car.
10.8 miles. Super slow. 3,267 ft of elevation gain.

What was supposed to be a relaxing day for me ended up not quite as planned. I had 2 gift certificates for a massage that I've held onto for 2 years. I won them at the Bradbury races in 2013, so the massage is at Core3 Massage in Portland. I finally was able to make an appointment and had been looking forward to this day for over a month. I was supposed to go alone, and then I was going to use two more gift certificates from the Bradbury races to take myself out to dinner at Frontier. It didn't go quite as planned. John's dad asked if I could take John so that he could work an extra shift. For some reason, he seems to think my free time is always his for the taking, and he rarely fails to ask for a favor, even though I get no financial benefit from it. I should have said no, but I felt guilty saying no to being with John, so I gave in. We ended up leaving only 10 minutes early instead of the 25 minutes early I had planned, and wouldn't you know it? There was a really, really bad accident on I-295 that backed up traffic all over Portland. We got so stuck, and I was so stressed out. I felt horrible because I was 15 minutes late for my massage,and I'm never late. I needed that massage more than ever by the time we got there. Ha ha. Finally, my first massage in 3.5 years! Julia Kirtland owns Core3 and gave me a fantastic massage. Julia is a runner and was no joke in her younger days. From her website: "I have more than 30 years experience as a runner. I competed in cross country and track in high school as well as in college, where I won 9 National Div III titles. My post-collegiate running career culminated with winning the 1997 National Marathon Championships, and qualifying for the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Marathon Trials." So yeah, she's the real deal. I highly recommend her. 

After the massage, it was time to eat. I decided to bag Frontier since I had John with me, so we wandered down to Gritty McDuff's in Old Port. I tried their Halloween Ale and Blueberry Ale. The Halloween Ale was good. We sat right in front of the window which made for great people watching. I think the slogan "Keep Portland Weird" can apply to Portland, Maine, as well as Portland, Oregon. Ha ha. One person stopped and leaned against the window right in front of the people next to us. He started at them, banged on the window and then gave them the finger multiple times. Pretty funny.

Halloween Ale and people watching

John with his root beer

Friday- Bryan came early to pick up John. In fact, he was so early that I found him already parked in the driveway when I woke up. He was going to spend his usual half of Friday with John. Knowing I had the Millen Mile that night, I decided to do a short, easy trail run with all three dogs OFF-LEASH. :) I always run with them off-leash, so I'm careful about where I take them. I have never had an issue with them off-leash on a run, believe it or not. We parked on Hemlock Lane and ran the mountain bike trails near Pudding Pond. Up Quarry Trail and back via Pillar-to-Pond. 5.5 miles, keeping it low on the elevation gain to 484 ft. I didn't want to kill my legs.

I got a lot done midday. Dump run. Oil change. Got two new tires. Car inspection is up this month, and the two completely bald rear tires would not have passed. Plus I was tired of fish tailing on the dirt roads. Ha ha. It is so nice to see those new tires on the front. I needed them a year ago.

John had time to play with his friend when we got home, and I spent most of the afternoon trash talking my Millen Mile competitors on Facebook. ha ha. All in good fun. There were only 4 women doing it this year, and only one of us is a true track runner. Terry Ballou. Terry has a few national titles under her belt, and at age 48, she still totally smokes us "youngsters". She won it last year, with me a distant 5 seconds back. I expected much of the same tonight. The Millen Mile started in 2011, and I've run all of them. It's during half time of the first home high school football game, so it's in front of 100s of people. No pressure or anything. Ha ha. I was first woman in 2011 and 2012. Meg Skidmore beat me in 2013, and then Terry beat me in 2014. I was able to edge out Meg last year to still take second. I was hoping for something similar this year.

John and I got there pretty early, so that I could take my time warming up. For the second year in a row, I was finally not nervous for this race. I still get a little antsy just before the start, but I've done it enough now that I'm used to the race and the crowd. I know I'm no track runner, but I always go my hardest. I got in a 1.5 mile warm up on the trails behind the school then met up with all of the men and women racing in our usual spot at the end of the track. There were a lot of laughs this time around. Hilary McCloy joined us this year for the race to round out the 4 women. The men's field was small this year with only 5 runners.

Half time finally arrived and we were introduced and lined up. Bernie Livingston quickly gave the starting commands, and we were off. Immediately, the men moved ahead, and Terry, Meg and me fell into the same positions as last year with Hilary right on our heels. Meg learned from last year by not getting caught in the outside lane, so she got right on the inside lane behind Terry. The problem was that I wanted to be right behind Terry, too, so I refused to move to the outside lane and just shared the inside lane with Meg. I started to get nervous about this, though. I did not want to get pushed out, so I decided to make a move past Terry to get my place right on the inside lane and, hopefully, drop Meg and Hilary in the process. This actually worked.
Cool pic of the 4 of us coming through Lap 1. Me, Terry, Meg and Hilary
I only stayed ahead of Terry for about 20 seconds before she passed me back, but it was fine. I knew right off the bat that I wasn't beating her tonight, but I got my spot back right on the inside and on Terry's heels. By lap 2, we had dropped Meg and Hilary by a few paces. For the next lap, I stayed right on Terry. The cool thing about running under the lights is that you can see each other's shadows behind you. I couldn't see Meg's shadow behind me, but I swore I heard her footsteps and started to get nervous until I realized that I was hearing the sound of Terry's spikes hitting the track in front of me. I did a very quick peek back to confirm this. We finally came around for lap 4. And it was 2014 all over again. I hugged Terry's heels until about a quarter lap to go. In the exact same place as last year, Terry started to pull away. I knew we were coming down to the final sprint and that I couldn't beat her, but I gave everything I had this time not to let her get too far head of me through the finish. Terry actually came in about 3 seconds off her 2014 time in 5:30:??, passing the 5th man just before crossing the finish line. I hung on and barely eeked out another PR (I've PRed every year) in 5:31:55 for second woman. I was laughing as soon as I crossed the finish line since it was like an identical race to last year. And as much as it hurt, I have to say I really enjoyed it. And, as I have said every year since 2011, next year, I think I'll actually train for this race. Ha ha. I never have; I always say I will, but will 2016 actually be the year I follow through?! Probably not. But for now I'll just say I will.:)
The four female competitors. Meg Skidmore, me, Hilary McCloy and Terry Ballou. All 3 of these women next to me have the word "National" in their resum├ęs, either National team member or National champion. I'm the low-life in this pic. Haha.

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