Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Running Again

So my last post pretty much left off with me depressed as hell. Maybe it wasn't that obvious, but I was. I'd finally hit that point. I didn't plan on running at all this past week, but for whatever reason, I had a sudden turnaround. I wasn't feeling any pain in the injury (whatever it is!). I have no idea why. I don't know. But I decided that just *maybe* I could start running again. I thought it might just be mental, "Hey, look! 8 weeks post-injury. Should be healed. Time to run now!" I wasn't sure if I was fooling myself or not, so I made the move to try out a road run on Monday night after work.

11/23/15 Monday- It was cold, but the moon was bright and beautiful. I still wore my headlamp to see my footing through the dark neighborhood near the Tamworth Base. I started out very slowly but started to feel so good that I picked up the speed with every mile. I felt okay! I thought maybe I was lying to myself, but it felt so fucking good to really run for the first time in a month (the last time being the Great Bay 5K). That feeling is just indescribable, but it was like waking up for the first time since I don't remember. The clarity in my head, one of the reasons I run. That runner's high. Man, did I miss it all. And it just kept me going faster and faster, until some sort of sense came to me to slow the hell down. Right around 4.5 miles, I started to feel the injury. I knew I had gone too fast and a mile too far since it was almost another mile back to the base. 5.6 miles at 7:39/mi pace. I definitely felt out of shape. I was hurting a little bit by the time I got to my car, but I still felt so good that I didn't regret it. I felt like I had made a mistake, though, by going too far, too fast, too soon. I noticed shortly after getting home that I had no pain, however. It was gone. I felt stiff like I hadn't run in 2 months, though... oh wait. Running makes me motivated to do other things, so I spent most of the night trying to figure out my cable box hook-up. I haven't had tv cable in 15 years but decided to break down and get it. I ended up having to move cables around, cut my floor, deal with basement spiders and all to no avail. It's still sitting here 6 days later not working. Haha.

11/24/15 Tuesday- I woke up SO SORE. How sad is that? I was a little nervous I had overdone it, so I decided to go back to the gym for my usual elliptical 30/aqua jogging 30 workout. I couldn't believe how sore I was when I started trying to jog in the pool. It was mainly my right leg, so that worried me a bit. I knew then that I was going to have to wait a few days to run again. But, strangely enough, not a bit of pain in my injury. I had felt it the night before during and after the run, but it went away. Poof! Gone. I was starting to feel optimistic. I planned to be "good" and take Wednesday completely off and then run again Thursday night after work.

John came home around 10:30am, and since he didn't have ninja class, I decided we'd go to Portland to Get Air instead. This was going to be my last day with him for a WHOLE week, so I wanted us to have fun. When we got to Get Air, I walked up to pay for the usual 1 hour of jump time, but then the guy working the register told me it was 2 for Tuesday, as in TWO HOURS for the price of one. How could I not, except for the fact I had to sit in there for 2 hours when I only planned one! Ah!!! But John was excited about it, so I just went with it. And, sure enough, he played in there for 2 hours. When 4pm rolled around, I thought he was going to be called to leave, but I guess since we paid just after 2pm, he had another 15 minutes! I finally had to draw the line there. He didn't mind at all, which I was relieved about. From there, we hit up Trader Joe's, which was an absolute madhouse. I had forgotten about Thanksgiving and showed up there right at 5pm. REALLY bad timing, but it ended up being quick enough. From there, it was a stop at the Bier Cellar and then a drive up to Brunswick to Frontier so I could use my $50 in gift cards that I had won at the Bradbury races over the last two years. This place was nice, and John and I had a really fun time together. A huge difference from Sunday's awful experience at Tuckerman Brewing. That was a huge relief. We had a 2 hour drive home from at got back at 10pm. When it was time for bed, I had to tell John goodbye for a whole week. It felt weird, but at the same time, I really needed the break, and he was excited to be spending the weekend with his cousins in Massachusetts. It was a win-win for both of us. Plus, we're about to fly down to see my family for a week, so we'll be together that whole time.

Get Air Portland

Me at Frontier in Brunswick, ME
John's pick, the brownie sundae

Very cool restaurant
11/25/15 Wednesday- Very quiet day at work. Only one 911 during the day and a take home around 10:30pm. I ended up getting about 5 hours of sleep. I did take a walk in the morning up and down Valley View Rd three times to make 2.6 miles. The rest of the day and night I was a lazy blob, but I purposely wanted to rest my body as much as possible in hopes of being ready to run Thursday.

11/26/15 Thursday- Thanksgiving Day for everyone else, just another work day for my coworkers and me. We ended up having not a single call! I was feeling extremely antsy and took a 2 mile walk around the base, but it didn't help at all this time. I needed to run, and I couldn't wait for 5pm. The middle of the day was nice since we had a great Thanksgiving dinner that was given to us by Windy Fields Farm in Ossipee. That was a complete surprise to us since we had gone in there the week before and were told it would be $16/person. When my partner went to pick it up, they just gave it to him as a gift to us. Very nice. We had to use our ghetto "kitchen" to heat it all up, but it worked well enough. 
The ghetto kitchen. haha.

Me, Jeff, Mel and Joey
The last two hours DRAGGED by, but it was finally over. I got changed then drove over to Potter Road to run on the dirt road in the dark and quiet. I had no idea how far I would be able to go, but I knew I needed to go a little slower than Monday. It was another beautiful night. The moon was just rising and super beautiful. I felt great. The injury didn't bother me at all. It was my being out of shape that bothered me! Wow. I suck. Haha. But whatever, I was running. I just ran an out and back for 6.1 miles total. I saw one car and only one house where people were home, so it was a very quiet, peaceful run. Just what I love. My pace averaged around 7:55/mi which was perfect. Not too fast, nor too slow. When I was done, I could really feel the soreness and tightness in both hamstrings so I did some stretching. I guess I haven't used those muscles much in the last two months. Other than that, I was having zero pain at the injury. I couldn't believe it. Like, seriously, all of a sudden. I could feel it while I was running, but it wasn't pain. I don't even know how to describe it, but it didn't hurt. I know for sure it's not 100%, but I also know I'm definitely ready to start running again... as long as I'm smart about it, which I'm not so sure about. :)

11/27/15 Friday- The start of my first child-free weekend since August 2014!! Yeah, that's right. Over a year. I needed it. I needed to go a little crazy and have some me time other than a few hours here and there. I've been living in such a bubble all by myself outside of work or races. Having an opportunity to have a weekend to myself was like being a teenager with my parents going away for the weekend. Haha. It actually made me nervous since I had to make sure not a minute was wasted. No regrets by Sunday night. I still ended up spending most of it by myself, but I didn't care; I'm used to that.The fact that I was able to get out THERE and do some things that I wanted to do without having to worry about John having a good time and meeting his needs was a good break for a few days. I could just go and think only about myself. But funny enough, it was HIS idea to stay with his cousins for the weekend. I'm sure he'd had enough of Injured Mama. I think the family suffers more from the injury than the injured runner. Haha.

Because I had no reason to hurry, I slept in and took my time getting ready for my "run". My run choice was a bit risky, and I woke up REALLY sore. My hamstrings were not happy, but it was a good hurt, not an injury hurt, so I decided to move forward with my plan of doing a Moat Mt Loop. This is the abbreviated version of my entire Moat Traverse Loop. I knew I would be moving slowly so the short version was good enough. I started on High St and the High School Loop Trail until it beared right. I continued on to the former Moat Mt Trail until it met the current one and continued up to the top of South Moat. It was such a warm, beautiful day for the end of November. I was so lucky to be out there and able to do more than the last 2 months. I ran the whole way up, even though it was so slow. I'm trying to get over this being slow thing because I know it will come back.

I didn't stay on the summit long. I talked to two hikers, then moved on to the edge of the open ridge to stop and take some pics.

From this point on, the trail was very slippery. There were quite a few ice patches that didn't pose a problem, but their melting left all of the rocks very wet, so I had to move slowly and carefully from this point up to Middle Moat and all the way down the Red Ridge Trail.

Red Ridge Trail
Once back on the FS Rd, I was able to run comfortably again. It wasa surprise that I was still able to run by this point. I just kept it slow and easy. I took the Tent Boulder Trail to the Mineral Site Trail to the High school Loop and back to my car. Towards the end, I started to hear gunshots right near the trail but didn't see anyone. I decided to stretch again since the hamstrings, and now my hip flexors, were sore and tight. Just as I started, this young woman all dressed up in a fancy pea coat an with perfect hair and makeup walked out of the woods and to car next to mine carrying a high-powered rifle. Too funny.

This "run" took me about 3.5 hours to go 11.5 miles, over 3000ft of elevation gain. This was about an hour longer than my previous normal. Ouch. But I ran the whole way unless I was moving cautiously on slippery rocks. That part was huge.

From there, I hit up Frontside Grind in North Conway for a latte. When I got out of my car, I was so sore and stiff that i could barely walk down the sidewalk. By the time I left the coffee shop, though, I felt fine. Very little soreness and no pain in the injury. I have, therefore, come to the conclusion that a latte cures all ailments. I am living proof. That's going up on the Latte Wikipedia page later today.

From here, I would normally pick John up at his homeschool group, but not today! I had originally wanted to see live music somewhere, but I didn't see anything that looked enticing and decided to go to the movies to see The Night Before. It was pretty funny for the most part. Good choice for the night since I knew the next day would be a long one with plenty of drinking.

11/28/15 Saturday- Woke up, drank some coffee then went right out for a run from home through Cranmore Shores, looping around Jack Frost Ln and then running back. Kept the pace really slow. 5.2 miles at 8:14/mi pace. I didn't want to push it after Friday's long run. Felt ok; just happy to be out there. As soon as I got home, I took the dogs on a short walk up Heavenly Hill. Then it was time to head down to the Seacoast for my planned brewery tour. I attempted to find some partners in crime to join me, but that was a failure so I went solo. I had 5 places on my list, but my first stop at Garrison City Beerworks started me off on the wrong foot when I naively said yes to full flight. Haha.
The list that immediately got shortened to 3 after Garrison City. haha

Of the 3 places, this beer was my favorite, especially the Handlebar Porter


Almost gone! All of the beers were good. 
Garrison City had a decent crowd there, and I liked how their digital board showed up our Untappd check-ins. Kind a dorky thing to like, but I did. :) Out of the 6 beers I tried, I really enjoyed all of them and took a Handlebar Porter Crowler with me to-go. I screwed up by drinking this full flight right off the bat, and my brewery tour was almost over before it barely started. When I left, I had to take a walk around the streets of Dover and eat some food I had brought along before I could make my way down to Throwback Brewery in Hampton.

Throwback definitely had the coolest brewery of the 3. It's at a place called Hobb's Farm. Great ambience and food. I was sure to grab an appetizer if I wanted to drive out of there later. I kind of learned my lesson from the Garrison flight and opted for a much smaller one.
Throwback Brewery

Smaller samples this time.

What I'm drinking above^^

The fennel stout kicked during my pour, so I got to try the Beet Wit, too.
Throwback was definitely a cool place with a lot of darker beers, which I prefer. The Dippity Do was probably my favorite of the 5 that I tried. I'll be back down to this brewery on December 13th, so I decided not to bring any home with me. I'll be getting plenty on the 13th.

I had a really hard time deciding on the 3rd brewery but finally settled on Tributary in Kittery, Maine. It was only a 20 minute drive from Hampton. I planned to make this a quick stop, but when I saw live music playing, I stayed a little longer. Tributary is a small place, and their beer selection was kind of weak. There was nothing that really even appealed to me, but I decided to try their Dunkelweisen and the Pumpkin. I definitely wasn't impressed.

The live music made it worth it, and I decided to give them one last chance by bringing home a growler of their Baltic Porter to try. Unfortunately, it rolled all over the back of my car on the drive back to Dover, so I have no idea if it's still any good. I can't open it until I have other people to share it with. I'm good, but not THAT good. :) If it is still good, and I like it, I may give Tributary a second chance, but for now, I don't plan on going back there any time soon. I have way too many other breweries to hit anyway.

I left there to go back to Dover to have dinner at the Orchard Street Chop Shop where my running friend, Tom Hooper, bartends. Scott Mitchell, another running friend, joined me at the bar. The food was awesome, and I opted for two more drinks, a Stoneface Moz and a Smuttynose Baltic Porter. We bothered Tom for awhile until he started to get busy, then moved to the other room to play darts and pool. Fortunately, Scott and I sucked at both games. Haha. I haven't played much pool since college, and I'm terrible. This older guy I called "The Professor" came in to watch and offer tips. I think we horrified him; he gave up and left. Haha. I think Scott beat me in every game. I scratched on the break and the 8 ball a few times. So bad. haha.

Sobering up

Scott schooling me at pool

My umpteenth drink of the day. I told Tom I wanted to steal this glass.

Scott, me and a filet mignon cheeseburger. Note the strategically placed Six03 glasses.

Tom didn't want his picture taken, so I had to sneak this one in.
It was around 11pm by the time I left. I'm sure Tom was ready to get rid of us riff-raff. Haha. I couldn't believe were there for so long. Totally lost track of time, but I was ready to finally drive home. It wasn't too bad of a drive, but I was pretty tired when I got home. Totally worth it, though. I needed a totally irresponsible day like that for a change.

11/29/15 Sunday- My "totally worth it" comment is in question when I woke up a teensy-weensy bit hungover and had to meet a group for a run at 8am. I had some water and coffee and felt pretty decent when I got to Hemlock Ln. I realized on Thursday that I had been missing out on group runs with my tied-up weekends. The last group run I did was only 3 of us back in May. I hadn't done a large group run since sometime way back in 2014. So I sent out an email to the White Mountain Milers list to see if there was any interest. I heard back from 4 people. 9 showed up!!! It was awesome! I was so happy to enjoy a nice trail run on the mountain bike trails in the Green Hills with this group of guys, some I've never run with before and others I hadn't seen in awhile. The temps were very chilly at the start but turned out to be perfect for the run. A very beautiful day. The pace was slow, but it was what I needed to keep from overdoing it. We enjoyed good conversation, and a few of them wiped out on the trail multiple times to keep us all entertained. 5.4 miles total. Good time. So glad I put this together.
WMMs group run. Paul Bazanchuk, Roger Marcoux, Don Fredrikson, Frank Holmes, Jim Soroka, Ron Newbury, Kevin Callahan, me and Jacques Couture (not pictured; the photographer).
I hurried home since I was supposed to be going on a hike with my friend, Kyla, but she texted me to let me know that she had hurt her back and couldn't make the hike. I was a little bummed since we've been trying to get together for a hike for weeks, but I understood and decided to just carry on and go for a hike solo (seems to be my theme. Hmm).

It was still a chilly day, but it was way too beautiful of a day not to be out in the mountains. I decided to choose one of my old favorites from when John was really little. Mt Potash.
Mt Potash with John in June 2007. I guess I hadn't learned to cover that hair up with a hat yet. 

Since the brook crossing is really high this time of year, I opted to park at the FS Rd just west of the trailhead and go up it to where it intersected with the trail. I felt good enough to run up since it was only 2 miles. I only ran into two people on the way up and stopped to talk with them for a few minutes. They asked me how I stayed dry crossing the brook. I told them I didn't cross the brook and shared my tip on the FS Rd. They were pretty excited to hear about it as a better option than going back across the brook. Other than them, that was it for people until I was on my way back down, so Spot, Chill and I had the summit to ourselves. The run up was slow taking about 35 minutes. We stayed on the summit for about 20 minutes. The sun made it really warm so it felt great.

Chill and me. Photo snapped while I was trying to get Chill to turn around. I ended up liking this picture the best.

Sunday was also Spot's 12th Birthday. Time flies!
Once I got home, I got really motivated to clean since I've been putting it off for so long. I have way better things to be doing than cleaning my house. :) I listened to the new Lana Del Rey album Honeymoon all the way through at least 4 times while I was cleaning. Love it. Very mellow, but I've always been a fan of her stuff.

That was it for my free weekend. I'd say I lived it to its fullest for the most part. No regrets. And it was my first decent week of running since the last week of September. About 36 miles. Most of it super slow, but it was good enough to call it "running". Now, it's on to a short-ish work week before I take a week's vacation to head South to visit my parents and brothers. My brothers and I have a plan for next Saturday night out on the town in Athens, Georgia (our hometown). Things could get rowdy. :)

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