Thursday, November 5, 2015

Volunteering, Hiking, "Racing", Etc.

The day after the Great Bay 5K, I woke up early to head over to the White Mountain Milers Half Marathon, the race in which I was supposed to be running and breaking my own course record. But, that wasn't to be, so I had to settle as a volunteer. I guess that's one of the nice things about being injured. If you're one of those people who can stomach being around running when you can't run, then it's a good chance to finally give back a little, to still be involved. I wasn't as bummed out as I thought I would be because of this. I was still apart of the race in some aspect, so I was happy to be there. I started off by working the 5K race and missed the start of the Half, but it also meant I would be back up to Schouler Park in plenty of time to watch the finish. I'm glad I did. There were some good finishes of people I knew, so it was fun to watch. The one little thing that I really cared about was maintaining my course record, which I did, by almost 4 minutes. A friend of mine won for the women, so it was actually exciting for her to get the win after coming in second behind me last year. So it was all good. Plus, I ended up helping out with the kids' dash, and then Paul Kirsch and I did the awards ceremony. So I ended up being way more involved than I thought I would be, which made it that much more fun. Giving hugs out to friends who won awards as I handed them to them made it pretty special. John even ended up having a great morning since his best friend was there. He was preoccupied for hours, so it really worked out well.
Paul and I doing the awards. We look like a couple of bums.

It's a kind of a joke among local friends on how often I get in the newspaper here. So I died laughing when I saw that I STILL made it in the paper (me in the background with mouth agape) for the Half Marathon without even running it. Haha. 

At my corner for the 5K. Pointing at my Cranmore Hill Climb mug as I'm standing in front of Cranmore. 

John being a goofball. 
After the race, we went over to Sea Dog for the free beer, and I think we ended up being there for over 2 hours chatting with people I knew. I was going to attempt to hit the gym for aqua jogging, but John went to his friend's house as soon as we got home, and I was just in too much pain from the Great Bay 5K the day before. Sunday was definitely a rough day for me pain-wise, but I expected it at least. I was on my feet for the half the day and managed to take the dogs up Heavenly Hill, so I called it at that.

Monday was my usual 10 hour shift at work. I got an email from Kevin Tilton during the day with a link to the Ultra Runner Podcast's website. I somehow got a mention for the elliptical with a link to my blog! Haha! Ultra Runner Podcast 10/26/15. I have no idea how they found me, but that one mention more than tripled my blog hits for that post. I'm sure most people read the first sentence and then gave up, but whatever, it was still kind of cool, but also a bit disconcerting since you never know who out there is reading your blog. So I've learned that I have to do things NON-running related in order to boost my blog hits, i.e. skinny dipping and elliptical workouts. I wonder what I can come up with next! Yes, I am thinking exactly the same thing you are! :)

After work I only had time to get in 30 minutes of aqua jogging before meeting up with Kevin Tilton, Paul Kirsch, Ryan Welts and Kristina Folcik at McGrath's Pub in North Conway to discuss trail running in our area with Doug Mayer. Doug wanted our insight, but I found I didn't have much to contribute. I learned of most of the trails from Kevin and Paul, and I found Doug to be way more informative to me than I was to him. He knows so much about running these trails and mountains than I ever will, so I was glad I got to participate. He even has me eyeing Skimo (Great description here).I don't think I could ever afford any of the equipment right now, but maybe some day!

The next morning was another workout at the gym. 30 min elliptical, 30 min aqua jogging. It turned out to be a beautiful day so John and I got out for a short walk around Jackman Pond in Tamworth.
Pikachu at Jackman Pond

John with wintergreen leaves on his nose. 

Wednesday and Thursday was the usual 24 hour shift in North Conway, followed by the 10 hour shift in Tamworth. We were busy on Wednesday, but it stayed quiet all day Thursday. I got a little stir crazy at this point and decided to start walking in circles around the base in as wide of a circle as I could. I didn't stop until I hit 5 miles in exactly 2 hours. Each loop ended up being .1 miles, so I walked about 50 circles around the base. Sounds crazy, but when you're running on little sleep and a lack of exercise, you do crazy things. I love the Strava map view of it.
5 miles around the ambulance base. Coo-coo.
I felt SO relaxed after that, so I obviously needed something. That didn't stop me from an hour on the elliptical at the gym after work, though.

Friday is my FAVORITE day of the week, as I've mentioned before, because it's my hike/"run" day. I decided on Mt Kearsarge North and brought Spot along. Kearsarge is almost all uphill for just under 3 miles, but with this injury, I have come to realize that most of it isn't that steep, and there is way more flat than I thought. I still ran a good portion of it but walked way more than I thought I would. I still made it up in 1:01 which is only about 12 minutes slower than my fastest time up, so that wasn't bad. It had turned into an absolutely beautiful day, so the view at the top was fantastic. I stayed up there for about 15 minutes talking to some hikers from Montana and then walked back down the mountain.
Spot and me in the fire tower

Fire tower

I decided to go out for a lunch with an awesome date (myself!) after the hike to Sunrise Shack. I ended up having a beer and breakfast at the bar. Perfect combo. :) It's not my fault they advertise "Breakfast Beers" and I fell for their marketing tactics. I went right from there to pick up John from his homeschool group, and we had a couple of hours to kill before going back to Tin Mountain for their annual Halloween walk. We carved a pumpkin that was taken out to the trails in the woods, then took a walk in the dark through all of the lit up pumpkins. It's always pretty cool, and John loves doing this every year. The sad part was that John's pumpkin from his homeschool group was the only one whose candle had blown out, and then they accidentally left his other pumpkin behind and never put it out. I found it still in the back of the trailer after we did the walk twice trying to find it, so that was a bit of a bummer for John. He still had fun anyway, though.
John carving his pumpkin
Pizza is always good.

John being goofy just before we walked through the woods.

One of many cool carved pumpkins along the walk
The next morning, I had to hit the gym, so I dragged John with me to The Mill so I could aqua jog for an hour. John stayed upstairs in the lounging area with his computer, so he was content. I snapped what was supposed to be a funny picture of me with the Aqua Jogger because I'm looking seriously in love with it. Although, I DO really love it. :)

That afternoon John, the dogs and I took a walk in the Bolles Preserve. We were only going to walk a short loop, but I decided to venture off onto the Skull Cairn Trail (a now defunct trail leading up Mt Chocorua). I was hoping we could get to the point where it meets the Hammond Trail and loop back down to the trailhead, but we ran out of time and ended up turning around. John really liked the skull cairn.

Dog torture. :)
When we got home, it was time to trick-or-treat so we went out for a walk around our neighborhood with plans to hit Conway Village after, but John had so much candy just from our street that he told me he didn't need anymore and was done trick-or-treating for the night. Haha. If I had known this, I would have made him hike the whole loop with the Hammond Trail earlier! :) So it ended up being an early night, which was good since the next morning we had to go to Castle in the Clouds for the Castle in the Clouds Half Marathon and Trail Race.

I had registered for the half marathon in April in hopes of breaking my course record there, as well, but just like the week prior, that wasn't happening. I still wanted to come and help Robin Allen-Burke out with registration and then run/walk the trail race. Everything went pretty smoothly for the registration/bib pickup, and then it was time to "race". I lined up in the way back at the start since it started at the Castle. There was no way I could do anything but walk down that hill and ended up in last place right away. As we rounded the first sharp curve, I caught sight of a 2 year old boy running down the road with most-likely his grandmother in hot pursuit. He was catching right up to me. It was pretty amazing. Joe Viger caught a shot of me with the kid coming in fast.
Castle in the Clouds Trail Race- last place and about to be passed by a 2 year old. Photo by Joe Viger.
I decided to have a little fun with the kid and started trash talking him in jest, but he took me seriously and kept running as fast as he could to beat me. It was so funny. His little legs were going so fast that I thought he was going to trip and fall on his face. Jen Johnson decided to jump in the race and caught up with me, so we both started racing this kid. His grandmother finally caught up to him, but he had one last surge when I taunted him one more time. It was the best thing to happen all day. :) I finally got a lead on the kid and never saw him again. Take that, kid!

Jen is injured, too, so we stuck together for the race. I would run the ups, while she ran the downs, so we were able to stay together most of the way. We did pass a few people, but they kept passing us back. With about a mile to go, we passed a volunteer who asked if we were the course sweepers. Haha. It was a fun time, since we just chatted along the way and enjoyed the course which was really nice. Just before the finish, a 78 year old man went flying by me. It was awesome. I definitely got what I was out there for: exercise and great experiences. Post race was not complete without a couple of beers, cider donuts and whoopie pies for John and me. I ended up winning a mug for finishing 3rd in my age group. Too funny.
Not really sure why I was the only one who thought to use the awards mug for the beer.

John having a cider donut

Picture John took of me with the mug
Once again, my course record held, so I had some gratification in that. And it will probably stand forever since this was most likely the last Castle in the Clouds Half Marathon event. So sad to see these events leave this beautiful place, but I'll still be out there using the trails anyway since I don't live too far from there. I was so happy to have gone out there, but later that afternoon, I finally had my sad moment of feeling sorry for myself for not being able to run. It didn't last long because I do NOT like to feel that way. I'll find some way to turn that around quickly. I knew it was bound to happen, though. I was surprised that it hadn't happened sooner. Took me six weeks to the day to finally have my (mini) breakdown. Not bad! Haha. As long as I can laugh at myself for it now, I know that I'm good and that it's "ok" for me to have a weak moment.

So back to the six weeks thing. I can't believe it's been six weeks since the injury reared its ugly head at me. (I actually thought it had only been 5 weeks until I counted on the calendar for the above ^^ paragraph. Haha.) I keep reading 6-8 weeks off, but then it could be 12 weeks, and then I read somewhere else 4 months, followed by 6 months all the way up to a YEAR!! Egads! Yeah, WTF. I guess it all depends on where the stress fracture is, how big, how fast you heal, whatever your doctors says is gold, blah, blah, blah. I guess the BEST thing I've found while perusing the internet is a blog post by Camille Herron. How to Overcome Stress Fractures. It's not all peaches and cream; a lot of doom and gloom in there, since I learned my type of stress fracture is high risk and takes longer to heal. Ugh. I already knew this, but I refused to admit it to myself.  She just says it like it is. And once I saw she recommended beer in the diet, I was sold! :) Comedy aside, I'm really thankful to have come across this post and did actually find hope through the negative. The woman just won the 2015 IAU 100K World Championships, so she obviously made a comeback from injury just fine. :)

So I had a mixed emotions end to my week, but I'd say it was all more good than anything. The weather has been wonderful for the most part and has kept my spirits up. Work has been SUPER quiet. I have yet to go on a single call all week, and I'm currently on hour 42 of a 58 hour work week. I've seen slow, but I think this is a first. (And I probably just jinxed myself for the next 16 hours of this shift. Haha.)

On Tuesday, John and I got out for a hike up Rattlesnake Mt in Holderness. It was warm and sunny, but really windy at the top. We stayed up there for awhile, though. John didn't want to leave. He was entertaining himself on the rocks and trees. It was nice to have me want to go back down before him for once. We made a stop at the Sandwich Creamery to get him ice cream on our way home. That place is the best!
John on Rattlesnake Mt

Photo by John

John playing on the rocks

Dog torture

Just in case you haven't seen enough selfies of me in this blog post, here's one more.


John swinging on a pine tree

Such a beautiful spot

3rd visit to the Sandwich Creamery in the 3 weeks. Where else can you get ice cream where you pay on your honor?
Upcoming: 16 more hours at work. Haha. A mountain hike tomorrow and hopefully time to hit Mountain Girl Bakery in Ossipee afterwards. 20% off for first responders. Saturday is the last (sniff, sniff) Roaring Falls Trail Race. I couldn't miss out, so I'm run/walking the short course. It's almost the exact same course as last weekend, but in the opposite direction and a different start/finish. It's killing me not to be able to do the 14-miler, but I'm just going to have to get over it. Sunday will probably be another hike with John. Next week is another 58 hour work week. I'm signed up for the L'il Rhody Runaround Trail Race that weekend, but I'm still undecided on whether to make the trek all the way down there just to walk/jog the race. The Magic 8 Ball gave me conflicting advice.

WTF, Magic 8 ball. Now, I'm totally confused. At least I have a week and a half left to decide.

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