Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tough Week

The week after 7 Sisters should probably have been more recovery. Instead, I chose to beat myself up, almost on purpose in a way to get myself stronger for the mountain/trail season, but it kind of backfired. I really wanted to push myself through the tired legs and see how my body reacted. By Friday afternoon, I was lying on the couch unable to get up for 3 hours. haha. If you look at my weekly mileage alone, it doesn't look like much, but I put a lot of hard effort into most of my runs over the week and then raced Sleepy Hollow. Not the same effort as a long marathon training run or speed work, but a lot of elevation gain and time on my feet which was on top of tired and sore legs from 7 Sisters. All that said, though, I don't regret it. It felt good to push my body a little bit. May not have been the brightest idea this close to the Vermont City Marathon, but I don't care because I DO know what I'm doing, and it's called whatever the fuck I want. And it feels great. If I want to destroy myself  2 weeks before VCM, then I will. I'm going to run whatever I want. No one to answer to but myself. I run because I love it. I may not make the smartest training decisions, but I don't care because I'm doing what I want to do. It works for me... until I'm injured again. Haha.

Monday, 5/9/16- Woke up tired as hell, but my body felt ok... until later in the day when all of a sudden, my legs felt really sore and tired. I wasn't surprised by this at all. In fact, I even expected it when I woke up. I'm on call every Monday until my schedule changes to the 24 in late June, so my runs after work can't be as creative as I'd like. I planned a nice, easy run from the base through the aviation community nearby with maybe 5ish miles, but once I started, I changed my plan. The route was the same, but the speed changed. I decided to push it as hard as I could through the tired and sore legs just to see what I had in me when I'm not 100%. This is a good route to do this on, too, since it's mostly flat. Strava shows 0ft of elevation gain, but there are actually two gradual hills along the way. I've run this route much faster than today, but with my legs as tired as they were, I was surprised to see I could hold a really decent pace over the 6 miles. Pretty consistent, too, with a 6:39/mi average pace. It took quite a bit of effort to maintain, and I was seriously done at 6 miles, but I still felt pretty good. I even did a strength training workout when I got home. Never got called in to work, so I got some sleep.

Tuesday, 5/10/16- Planned to do the whole Middle Sister Trail and loop back via the Carter Ledge Trail, but I could not get myself out of bed in time. This was probably a good thing because what I did run was plenty. I still jumped on the Middle Sister Trail and ran up to the first open viewpoint. 7.4 miles round trip with a lot of climbing. It was a beautiful morning, and I brought Spot along since I knew I would be running slowly. My legs were definitely very tired, but it felt good to be out there.

It was really windy, as you can tell by the loose strands of hair blowing all over the place.
 I realized when I started back down that I was going to be late getting home so I had to text John's dad. They were running late, too, which was a relief, so I didn't need to worry about it. That made the run down more enjoyable. I felt good after. Tired, but good.

When John came home, I gave him some time to do his own thing while I put the bike rack and bikes on the car. He wanted to go mountain biking at Echo Lake so we went over there and rode most of the mountain bike trails. We cut the backside short because he was worn out. I have to admit that I was, too. My legs were absolute junk, and I'm in no kind of biking shape. Haha. It was such a beautiful day, though, so it felt great to be out there and back on the bikes. We rode 3.8 miles total. I promised John ice cream after that, so I finally finshed off a 1.5 year old gift certificate to McKaella's Sweet Shop. I came home and had a good beer before the usual ninja class.

John at Echo Lake

Me taking a selfie while John is taking a selfie. Apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Haha

The lake is beautiful this time of year.

John schooling me on the bike

Bissell Brothers Baby Genius for an evening beer
Wednesday, 5/11/16- No idea how I was able to get myself out of bed for a run at 4:30am, but I did. I was TIRED, so I took it really easy. Usual 5 miles, but forced myself to run slower and kept the elevation at 1%. Not a bad run at a 7:28/mi pace. Good when that feels easy. I needed this recovery run.

Things went downhill from there. Right after I got to work I started feeling really bad, as in sick. Lightheaded and nauseous. Once we were done with our truck check, I had to lie down. I couldn't even drink my coffee and the thought of food made me want to throw up. Fortunately, I was able to lie down for about 2 hours before we got our first call. Whatever was wrong with me had dissipated. I was finally able to eat a little bit. I stayed tired the whole day, though. I don't know what was wrong with me, but I was happy to feel ok again. We ended up with 4 911s, but only one late night. I got an ok amount of sleep, probably 6 or so hours total.

Thursday, 5/12/16- I woke up Thursday morning feeling the opposite of Wednesday. I felt great and energized all day. It was so beautiful out. I walked 2 miles around the base early on, and then we had a 911 in the afternoon. It was almost time to leave by the time we got back. I bolted as soon as I could to make the drive up to Great Glen Trails.

I was super excited about that night's runs. After a missing 2015, I decided to do the Salomon Spring Trail Running Series at Great Glen Trails again. A guy named Eli makes up a new course every year that's usually between 3.2-3.5 miles. The first race is always a mystery; you can look at the course map, but you never really know the course until you run it the first time; it's always a mix of double and single track, too. It's also a time trial, so you don't actually physically race anyone. That makes it harder in a way since you don't know what anyone else is doing, so tonight I went all out. There will be some that I won't be able to give 100%, so I'm going to give that 100% when I can, and tonight was the night. I must say that this was one of Eli's toughest courses yet. A LOT of uphills. The first mile was fast in 6:35, and I probably went out too fast, because the 2nd mile killed me with the long climb, and I just squeezed in under 8:00 with a 7:59. The 3rd mile was faster at 7:06, but the last .4 was back to climbing, and my pace was 7:23. Finished the 3.4 miles in 25:10, a 7:15/mi avg pace. Elevation gain was only 266ft, but it feels like a lot more due to the speed. I ended up first woman for the first week. Margaret Graciano and I have battled here before with her usually winning in the end. We'll see how this year goes since I won't be able to put it all out there some weeks.
Week 1 results
It was about 20 minutes to 7pm, and I wasn't done for the night. My other reason for jumping back in the Trail Running Series was so that I could double my runs with a run up the Mt Washington Auto Rd after. My plan was only to 4000ft, and I wasn't sure I was going to make it before the sunset at 8pm, but I did. The sun had just gone behind the peaks when I got up there. The run felt ok. It was definitely on the slow side. The first mile was too fast, as always, in 10:50 (which would be slow on race day). During the first mile, Throat-Clearing Guy from the Road Race every year popped into my head. I thought about how I tend to go out fast on miles 1 and 2 JUST to get away from him. Funny that he came to mind. I'm calling it a flashback due to my PTSD. Haha. The run was beautiful. All of the streams and brooks were gushing due to the snow melt, so the sound of rushing water was constant. The temps had to be in the 50s as soon as I hit halfway, and I only saw 2 people who were walking down during mile 2. The rest of the run was all to myself. Perfect solitude. Mile 2 is definitely the hardest mile in the first half, but I still ran it a lot faster than mile 4. The splits for those 3 was 13:07, 13:00, 13:37. I wanted to take the run easy, but that was a little bit slower than I wanted. Hoping for a faster time on the next one, although, I may not go past 3000ft, just to save the quads the pounding on the way down. Made it up to 4000ft, then turned around and ran right back down. As expected, it was a quad buster that did me in for a few days. Finished the entire run of 8.1 miles in 1:26:38 with 2450ft of elevation gain.

By the time I got down the mountain it was around 8:20pm and almost dark. I was starving. Plans to order thai food changed to ordering a pizza from the Shannon Door that I picked up and ate in its entirety on the way home. I was home after 9pm. Such a late night! I was beat, too!
Opted for an Amherst Brewing Toasted Coconut Porter. It was really good. 
Friday, May 13, 2016- I slept in way late. I needed the rest, but it didn't change the fact that I was still beat. I've always considered the Sawyer Pond Trail to be an easy run and flatish, but when you're tired and sore, it is neither easy nor flatish. So I probably should have chosen something short and truly flat, but hindsight is 20/20, and my love for the Sawyer Pond Trail will never cease! Haha. The run always starts and ends with a ford of the Swift River. The way out, it's fucking cold, and it takes a good 10 minutes to warm my feet up. On the way back, it's a nice way to cool the feet off and wash off all of the mud. I'll take the ford over a pedestrian bridge any day because it keeps traffic on this trail to a minimum. In case you haven't noticed, I don't like being around other people when I'm out on trails and mountains. Haha. I want those moments all to myself. Ok, and maybe with a dog or two or three. Today Spot joined me for my slog out to Sawyer Pond. It was REALLY slow. The gradual climb felt like a steep one and the short 4.3 miles felt like double that. And to top it all off, when I got to the shelter on the pond, they were everywhere! People!!! Soylent Green everywhere!! First time I've ever seen another person there. It wasn't really a big deal, though. They were of the friendly kind, and I just ran on past the shelter to a more private place to stop by the pond. Spot took a swim and then a break while I attempted my usual selfies. I may be 40, but when it comes to selfies, I'm just like a 16 year old! I am SO young!

Sawyer Pond. I have never been here when it's sunny. 


Snake I saw on the way out and the way back AND almost stepped on both times.
Spot swimming across the Swift River
Although the way back is actually an easier run, I was so done that it took me longer. Total run was 8.7 miles 1177ft of elevation gain. This put me at over 5000ft for the week, with 2 of those days at 0 elevation, and I still had Sleepy Hollow to go. Definitely nowhere close to my usual summer elevation, but I am not in shape for this yet. Being so tired made it hard to enjoy this run, but it was still nice to get out there again this season. I love that spot.

I didn't have much time with my late start, but I changed into dry clothes and shoes and headed to Frontside Grind via Bear Notch Rd for my usual latte. I broke down and grabbed a Peace of Mind Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffin. I'm neither a vegan, nor gluten-free, but these muffins are to die for!! My friend, Nancy Plante, started up this bakery and has been making a killing at it. Look for her baked goods around town if you're ever up here in the Valley or even around NH and other places in New England. She also makes the gluten-free crust for all of the Flatbread locations.

I went home from there, and John was home shortly thereafter. I showered, made popcorn and then proceeded to lie on the couch for the next three hours. John had, fortunately, already taken a walk with his dad in the morning, so I didn't feel bad about vegging out. I could not get up. Dead to the world. It was raining out, so that made it easier to be lazy. Finally, a second wind! I got up and decided to do some strength training. I had to do something else. Nothing strenuous, just mostly upper body work. Gave me a little boost of energy to make dinner and get a few things done.

Saturday, 5/15/16- Planned rest day. I knew early in the week that I would not be running Saturday. In hindsight, I should have taken Friday off instead, but it's so hard to do that since Friday is the only day (right now!) that I have free during the week. I still could have just taken an easy hike instead of run, though, but whatever, I needed to rest my legs. It was nice not having to wake up Saturday morning and think about my run. I was able to focus more on what John and I were going to do for the day. It was absolutely gorgeous out so a walk was in the plan, but since I wanted to bring the dogs, it had to be somewhere off the beaten path without many people. Took me forever to come up with a place, but finally, I decided on the dirt road/x-c ski trail at King Pine/Purity Spring in Madison. It ended up being a perfect choice if you don't count the black fly hell we endured when we stopped at the beach on the lake. I am a huge bug wimp and was running all over the place, even hiding in the beach dressing room. Meanwhile, John was having a blast jumping off the dock and swimming in the lake. The kid LOVES to swim. I couldn't take the black flies anymore so we walked back to the car. Ran into one other person...whom I just happened to know, so that was good. I don't like to scare people with my dog gang. 2.1 miles total.

Pre-black fly swarm attack

I agree. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

John wasn't done swimming for the day. He wanted to go to his favorite place to swim. Conway Lake. We dropped the dogs off at home and then headed over to the beach at Conway Lake. Our usual summer hangout. I was surprised to see no one else there except a few boaters using the boat ramp, but after awhile, more and more people started to arrive. It felt like a hot summer day at the Conway Lake Beach...except the water was still freezing. Didn't stop my kid, though. He swam for over 2 hours!! He also marked his first 2016 illegal bridge jump! This makes the 6th year of illegal bridge jumping, and he managed to horrify a couple of people who were there with their kids. First off, it's not dangerous. It's not that high. And, second, he had already done a lake bottom check to make sure no new rocks or other debris had deposited itself in the jumping area since last summer. I've even jumped off that bridge. I did get a nasty gram 2 years ago from the Conway Rec director about it after he saw a picture I had taken of John, but I ignored it and carried on. The only time he can't get away with it is when the life guards are on duty on the weekdays in the summer. While he swam and jumped off the bridge and rocks, I was completely lazy and worked on my tan. I do not do cold water. Haha.

First jump of 2016

Playing in the water
Lazy at its finest
 A quick stop at the store on our way home and then it was time to prep my pre-race meal and get things done. I decided against having a beer...something I'm going to give up on. I seem to do better racing when I have had a beer the night before. Sign of alcohol dependence? Possibly, but I doubt it. Just haven't seen any benefit in NOT drinking the night before. My drink of choice this night was my usual green juice from my juicer.

After all of the cooking I did, I had a million dishes to do. Then I packed up my stuff for Sleepy Hollow the next day and went to bed.

Favorite song this week. Amerika by Young the Giant

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