Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Taper Time from....

...limbo land. I suppose I should be doing the Leslie-type tapering thing, but I really don't know what I'm doing right now. Haha. It may appear that all that BS about getting serious has been thrown out the window, but it actually hasn't. I really am taking shit seriously. It's just been a weird 5 weeks since Boston knowing that I'm running another marathon on the 29th. I had to recover from Boston...but I didn't really ever recover from it. I had so many important-to-me races in between. So now, I don't know how it's going to go at VCM, especially if the weather is warm. I've hardly been on the roads at all because I found my body felt a lot better if I stayed off of them. Will this hurt my race performance? I don't know. What I do know is that I did way too much last week and really made an effort to turn that around this past week. I did three hard runs and kept the rest pretty mellow. I felt like I was recovering and tapering at the same time, and maybe I was! I have no idea. But I AM taking VCM seriously. That doesn't mean I expect to run as well as I did last year, but I do plan on going out there and giving 100% of everything I have that day.

Monday, May 16, 2016- Usual 10-hour shift at work. It was a fairly cold and windy day. The higher summits were covered in snow. I had to snap a picture of Chocorua as we drove by in the ambulance. Green at the bottom and snow on the top. The lighting wasn't great, but you can still kind of make it out.

I was on-call for the following 14 hours after that, so I ran close to the base. Decided to go check out the trail around White Lake. I can't believe I had never done it. I didn't even know it existed! I asked Kevin Tilton earlier in the day if a trail around the lake existed, and even though he said yes, I still wasn't expecting a REAL trail. As in signed. And named!! Around the Lake Trail. I can't believe I didn't know about this. I'm supposed to know most of the trails around by now, so I'm hanging my head in shame over this one. Haha. The park is still closed, so I only saw 3 people the entire time I was in there. It's so quiet and peaceful when it's closed, and White Lake is beautiful.
White Lake in Tamworth

You knew this was coming. Yes, I still wear my aR Buff. It's one of my favorite ones.
Saw two loons as I was running the trail.
Each loop around the lake was right around 1.9 miles, so I did two loops plus the run to and from the car. 4.5 miles, 8:21/mi pace. Totally flat. Super easy, but beautiful, run. Definitely what I needed after the previous week and Sleepy Hollow the previous day. I'll probably be running here more often now that I know about it.

Once home, I did an easy strength training workout. Not really looking to get buff, just trying to tone up the upper body a bit after its running-only stint for the last year and a half. Showered. Ate dinner. Watched some tv. Just about to climb into bed..., and then I got called into work. haha. I wasn't there long, fortunately, so I was back home and in my bed where I stayed the rest of the night.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016- For some reason, I woke up needing to run on pavement, but I didn't want to run any huge hills and opted for the Mountain Division Trail in Fryeburg. It had been awhile since I last ran it (funny enough; it was almost a year to the day), so I thought it would be nice to get back out there. Pavement without cars is always a huge plus in my book. I planned to make it a quick run since it's fairly flat (except the 1st and last miles), and I was surprised to find my pace so quick for the 4 miles out. 6:41, 6:40, 6:31, 6:32. I knew my legs weren't recovered from Sleepy Hollow enough to be running that speed with such ease. Must be a tailwind...and a good one. Haha. That meant I was going to hit a pretty hefty headwind on the way back, and sure enough, it was strong! I felt like I was giving double the effort, and I still slowed significantly on the way back with the last 4 miles at 6:56, 6:55, 6:58, 7:02. At least it was consistent! 8 miles total. Average pace of 6:47/mi, so not horrible! Definitely felt good to go that hard, for sure, and I was pleased with my effort against that wind.

After John came home, I had an appointment to follow through on my midlife crisis present to myself. Chuckle. I briefly mentioned it here months ago, and finally, decided to get it done...

Tree tattoo by Albie Rock at White Mountain Tattoo in Conway
It was only last Fall that I swore I never wanted another tattoo again, and then the next week, I wanted one. That's how I roll, though. I'm not afraid to change my mind. I figured why the hell not. It's not like my skin is getting more youthful with age. Haha. And it kind of goes along with my I-don't-give-a-fuck-what-people-think attitude. Although I wasn't stupid and purposely had it placed where it can be covered up, even with short sleeves, to prevent any future job issues. I'll admit I was pretty nervous about it that morning, but I was excited about it, too. Albie, the tattoo artist really impressed me; he took one 10 second look of my idea on my phone, then proceeded to recreate it perfectly. It hurt, but not really, and I think that if you can't handle this, then you're a wimp. Haha. I love it. I really do. I have plans for the other arm, too, but tattoos are expensive, so it's going to be awhile for that one.

It was so odd for a Tuesday, but it was actually gorgeous outside, so right after I got the tattoo, John and I went for a walk around Pudding Pond with Spot and Phoenix. Spring was just all of a sudden here, and the bugs weren't bad at all yet, so we both really enjoyed the walk.

Bugs weren't bad, but John still wanted to wear his head net. haha.

Pudding Pond
The rest of the day was a typical Tuesday. Home for a few hours, ninja class and then back home. Nothing too exciting.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016- Yep, the usual. 5 mile run on the treadmill to start off my day before the 34 hour shift. Kept the pace slower than normal, but still made it a progression run with an average 7:20/mi. Added the elevation back in that I had cut out the week before. Felt good. These runs are really just to get something in. I don't focus too much on how good or bad it is. Just getting myself out of bed at 4:30am to do it is what takes the most effort.

Work wasn't crazy busy, but we had a decent number of calls. Made the day go by faster anyway. But just like Monday, the second I sat on the bed ready to go to sleep, we got the tone drop that will make you scurry to the ambulance in a matter of seconds. "Not conscious, not breathing, CPR in progress." I had the ambulance at 60 mph going down the strip in North Conway. North Conway Fire was already on scene, and we all figured out our jobs that needed to be done. And, though it rarely happens, the patient was brought back. Not conscious, not breathing to talking to us in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. It was pretty awesome. Most people don't make it, but this person just happened to go down among friends who started CPR immediately. It can make a difference, and it did for this guy. He now has another chance at life.

Thursday, May 19, 2016- North Conway Base->Starbucks->Tamworth Base. My typical Thursday morning which will be changing  in a month to North Conway Base->Starbucks->Home->Epic Long Run. Yay!!! Two 24 hour shifts, Monday and Wednesday, giving me Thursdays completely free. I'm not excited about it. Nooooo. Not at all.

Okay, okay. That's a lie. It's more like this...

Cannot freakin' wait, but, anyway, back to the Thursday where I was still on a 34 hour shift....

There were a few calls. We took the first one, but because of the CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) system and the location of the call, Conway Ambulance also got toned for the call. Even though it's in our coverage area, they happen to be much closer and got to the scene before us. We were cancelled just prior to our arrival and waved to the other crews as we drove by the scene on our way to loop back to the base. And that was the extent of our calls that day. I did get on the base treadmill for a 1.6 mile walk early afternoon, and then at 5pm, I changed clothes and bolted out the door for the drive up to Week #2 of the Trail Running Series at Great Glen Trails. It was pouring rain for the drive up, but as soon as I got there, the rain ended, and we were left with perfect, cool weather. I was feeling a bit off (sounds familiar) when I got out of the car, and as soon as I started running, I could feel soreness and fatigue in the legs. I still decided to go all out to try and hold my #1 spot for the women. The course ended up being about .2 shorter, taking out 2 short climbs, so you think I would have run it faster on average, but my legs weren't having it. 3.2 miles at a 7:18/mi pace. 3 seconds slower on average than the previous week. Still managed to pull off 1st woman again, even though Margaret definitely closed the gap a bit. Still undecided on whether to go all out or just make it a fun run during Week#3 since it's only 3 days before VCM. 
GGT Week#2 results
The legs felt really tired after I finished, so I had a feeling I wouldn't make it to 4000ft on the Mt Washington Auto Rd this time. That assumption was correct. It wasn't so much the climbing I was worried about, but the 4-mile run down. I had a Saturday night race coming up and thought that long downhill run might do me in, so I decided to just run up to Mile 2. It was definitely the right choice. My legs were even tired on the way up. I did manage to slow down mile 1 and speed up mile 2 in comparison to the previous week which I think was good. The road was completely quiet, as usual. No other people around. It started to drizzle a little bit just as I got to the Mile 2 sign, but then quickly went away as I started back down. 4 miles total. 11:16, 12:42, 8:37, 8:15 for the four splits. Not bad. 

Thursday night's beer choice
Friday, May 20, 2016- Woke up around 7am. Had a quick cup of coffee, then headed out from home on an easy run up Heavenly Hill and over to the Tin Mountain trails. John's dad had training at work and was dropping John off early with me, so I had to get back home. Worked out perfectly, though, since I only wanted to run something short and easy. Brought Spot along. 4.8 miles on the windy, technical trails. Hard to believe my race there is coming up so quickly! In fact, that's what we did part of the afternoon. Ordered bagels and bought awards. Once we were done with that, I signed John up for the Conway Rec's Track and Field program. He's only doing it because his best friend is, but I won't lie that I'm crossing my fingers in hopes of him liking it. :) I had to buy him running shoes for that and then we were off on a short mountain bike ride in the Green Hills. A short 1.7 mile loop on Pillar-to-Pond and Muffler Trails.

We cut the bike ride short because John got an invite from his best friend for a sleepover that night, and we needed to get home. John was really excited. Even though, he's spent the night with other family and his cousins, this would actually be his first real sleepover with a friend. It was going to be weird not having him there on a Friday night, but knowing that he was excited to go and would have a good time made me really excited to have a Friday night to myself!! What's a girl to do?! Well, for this girl, it was an obvious choice. Find good beer. haha. For years, I've been wanting to check out Ebenezer's Pub in Lovell, Maine, but for some reason, I've just never gone there, so I decided tonight was a good night for it. I got really dressed up... for backwoods Maine, which meant a skirt instead of pants or shorts, and drove out there.  Ebenezer's Pub sits on a golf course right off  Rt 5. It's pretty and quiet, and just so happens to be on Travel+Leisure's list of America's Best Beer Bars. I chose to sit outside because the night was beautiful. The temperature was starting to drop, and by the end of my time there, I would be the only one out on the porch, but that was fine with me. I'd rather have it all to myself anyway. Haha. The beer list did not disappoint...except they were out of the first beer I ordered! Haha. No big deal. The bartender suggested something similar, so I decided to try it. Brasserie Vapeur's Saison de Pipaix, a tasty Belgian saison. It was very good and the right choice to start off with prior to eating dinner. After scarfing down a burger and my glass sitting empty for 10 minutes, the server came over to ask if I was all set and wanted anything else. Of course, I did! Another beer! I got Ebenezer's own brew (named the Lively Brewing Co) Biere de Needham, a tasty stout. I took my time enjoying this one and just being out there on the porch. My server was actually very sweet, and I talked to her a little bit since she wasn't busy. Someone from the kitchen came out to get some fresh air, looked at me and said, "Please tell me you aren't here alone!" Yes, I am. And I am enjoying it. Haha. 

Stealth selfie. Didn't want to people to see me taking it so I made sure no one was looking when I did. Haha.
Knowing I had a race the next day, I couldn't really go out and do much more. And I wasn't really up for it anyway, so I just went home and watched a movie. Pretty dull night for having it to myself for once, but I didn't mind. Dinner was nice and enough.

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