Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Recovery...Kind of!

I was already toeing the line, but I basically screwed myself by racing Pack Monadnock, followed by a stupid week of running and then Ascutney. The last two times I ran Ascutney, I was fine and needed little recovery, but since I was still recovering from Boston, the Ammonoosuc Amble, Big River Trail Half, Seven Sisters, Sleepy Hollow, the Twilight 10,000m, VCM, Pack Monadnock AND the Great Glen Trails weekly race, I think it's safe to say that the recovery from Ascutney wasn't going to be so quick. Hahaha!! (I swear I have like 5 or 6 weekends off from racing on the tentative schedule for 2016! I'm not even the worst offender... Ellen Tidd, Diane Levesque, Gary Reuter and Erica Khan, you know who you are!! Haha. :) ). I think I did better with easier runs this time around because, even though I wasn't feeling 100% at Mt Washington, I also wasn't feeling tired, worn out or sore. Just still on the slow side.

Monday, June 13, 2016- I started Monday off with a zero day. We were fairly busy at work, so I was still moving around more than usual. I was on call again so I just stayed in my uniform after work and took a walk on the trails I had yet to explore by White Lake. I think I freaked some people out when I walked up toward the lake; the uniform kind of looks like a cop's from a distance. They got quiet and stared suspiciously until I got closer realized that I wasn't. It was kind of funny. The new-to-me trail was short and just went out to another pond before ending at the snowmobile trail, which I followed for a bit before turning around. I was getting too close to the 20 minute mark for when I had to be into work after getting called in. Fortunately, I ended up not getting called in until later but still got a full night's sleep.
White Lake walk. Mt Chocorua peaking out.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016- I got up earlier than usual, so 7:30, it was. Haha. I wanted to get a decent trail run in over at the Mineral Site before John came home. Instead of the normal 12 miles, I decided to cut it short and drive all the way in to the main trailhead, thus skipping the High School Loop which is 2 miles extra each way. 8 miles seemed like a wiser idea. I brought Spot along since I knew it would be a slow pace and we made our way over to Whitehorse Ledge via the Stony Brook Trails and then looped back via the Tent Boulder Trail. My legs felt pretty heavy, but I somehow managed to break one of my own course records on Strava on the full climb on Stony Brook. And it wasn't by mere seconds. It was by exactly a minute. Crazy. I had some other segments in there that I didn't touch, but to hit that one and by so much was pretty surprising. The 8 mile run was 1,342 ft of elevation gain and took just over an hour and a half. This would be my longest run this week before Mt Washington. Not bad. Not bad.

I had some errands to run in Portland, so as soon as John got home, we left. I brought along the bikes so that we could bike on the Back Cove Trail. It's a mostly flat 3.7 mile ride, and even though the wind was whipping like crazy, it didn't seem to be blowing much on the bike path. John actually enjoyed the bike ride which I wasn't sure was going to happen.

We didn't have too much time there. I hit the Bier Cellar to pick my orders, Trader Joe's and then back to North Conway for John's ninja class. Typical Tuesday night. Picked up Allagash's latest release of Nancy. Pretty good. Very tart. Cool tree on the label. I should make that a tattoo. Oh wait...

 Wednesday, June 15, 2016- You know when your truck ends up like this:
 And is followed by this all before 8am...'re in for a busy day. I had actually gotten myself out of bed at 4:30am to run 5 miles on the treadmill, keeping it at 1% to save the legs. 7:15/mi pace. I didn't have my first bite of food until 6 hours later. As soon as I got the truck cleaned from the bad call, it was right into another 911. I literally almost passed out twice while restocking the truck after that second call. I needed food that badly. That's kind of how the whole day went. Busy as hell, then a little down time, then busy as hell. That was the busiest day I've ever worked here, and I was SO tired by the time we had our last call that night.

I wasn't able to make it to John's track meet at Fryeburg, but Donna Cormier snapped this shot of John in the long jump. I wouldn't find out until the next week when John brought home the ribbons, but he won his heat in the 50m! That was cool to hear. He also ran the 100m and got a "participation" ribbon. Haha. Still cool. He ended up enjoying the track program... but still hates running. :)

Thursday, June 16, 2016- Third to last 34 hour shift. I have been counting down the weeks and cannot wait to have Thursdays free. Another pretty busy day. I was happy to be skipping the Great Glen Trails race this week. I didn't want to drive up there just to run it for fun, so I ran an easy run in the Bolles Preserve in Chocurua. It was literally on my way home from work and not too strenuous with climbing. 5.5 miles. 10:19/mi pace with 921ft of elevation gain. But once again, I think I'm taking it easy, and I break another one of my own course records on TWO minutes. No idea how that happened. I'm thinking this one could be a watch error, but maybe not. The last time I ran this segment back in April, I ran it even easier than today, and then before that was 2014 when I was much slower than I am now. So maybe it is real.

When I got home, I was psyched to find a package in the mail from RunVermont with my age group award. It's similar to last year's except last year was a maple leaf key chain... and I wasn't so old. Haha.

After that 34 hours, I needed a BIG beer, and this was a good choice.

Friday, June 17, 2016- Slept in as late as I could, then was super lazy. Finally got out for one of the easiest runs I do. The Albany Town Forest. I brought Phoenix and Spot along. I had planned no more than 5 miles, but it ended up being 6.1 with the addition of some Strava art I made for somebody. Crazy to think that it added in a mile. It was a good run and perfect for the day before Mt Washington.

I was feeling less tired by today, but I did start to question whether I should have followed my original plan to take 3 full days off in a row this week like I did last year. It did wonders for me last year. I was so recovered, ran a decent time and then jumped right into Whiteface Skymarathon the following weekend feeling great. But hindsight is 20/20, and I felt pretty good to go for Saturday. Like I said, not 100%, but not too bad.

When John came home, I took him to the lake. It started raining pretty much as soon as we got there, though, so we didn't stay long. We were meeting the Six03 group at McGrath's for dinner anyway, so leaving the beach made it less rushed. There wasn't a huge crowd at McGrath's, and dinner was quick. No one wanted to be out too late the night before. I know I didn't. I did have a beer and a burger, then juiced some vegetables in my juicer when I got home. Something didn't sit right, though, and I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I was going to puke. I ran to the bathroom, but nothing. Not good. I couldn't go back to sleep until it subsided, and by then I was awake worrying I was going to be sick for Mt Washington. Fortunately, I never puked and finally went back to sleep.
Blurry, but I liked how he had his headphones on. He chose the Six03 shirt himself.
Swimming in the rain

Paul Kirsch dropped off my bib that afternoon. 40 for my age. I love it!
Here's a fun song:

Ascutney Mountain Race

I've been falling behind on my blog a little, so here I am 3 races and 2 full mid-weeks behind! Eek!! Hopefully, my memory won't fail me, although I do tend to black out races like Ascutney and Mt Washington as a coping mechanism. If I didn't, I would never keep running these two races. Haha. I skipped Ascutney last year because it would have been the 4th race in 7 days, AND I had no help with John. Although I really needed to run it for the Mountain Series this year, I secretly hoped finding help with John wouldn't work out again so I could put that in my ever-expanding excuse bag. But, nope. Not this year. Way too many awesome people coming through for me because that's what this running community is. Awesome. I mentioned my issue to Todd Brown at Pack that I had no way to get John to the top of the mountain and that I had purchased a summit pass to drive him up and then run back down. But after I did this, I realized that my car can't make it to the top of Ascutney. Oops. So Todd took this information in and came out with all sorts of ideas. By Friday, John was all set with a ride to the summit with Sau-Mei Leung's husband, John. I was so relieved, yet not. I had no excuse not to race it now! It's funny how Todd has helped me out over the years with little things. Charger for my watch, stopping me from going the wrong way at Bretton Woods, and now he's already set me up with their cabin and help with a ride up to the top for John for the Mt Greylock Race. So all of my logistics issues for the rest of the Mountain Series are solved. Phew. So anyway, now that John was all set, I had to get myself all set mentally for this weakness of mine, uphill-only racing on pavement. Ugh. And since I faked a recovery week prior to this, I knew I was going to race like shit. But at least I went into it with the right expectation! :) I figured I could run it in 40-something minutes since my fastest was a 42:29 or something. Don't ask me my seconds for my race times. I rarely ever remember them. And definitely don't ask me how many marathons I've run because I have no idea. I just know it's not that many. Now, ask me how many of each mountain race I've done, and I can tell you that without hesitation. This would be my 3rd Ascutney.

Ascutney is quite the haul from my house, so I had to get up at 4am to leave by 5am. I also had to wake up TWO 10 year olds instead of one, so I had to add on 5 extra minutes. They both actually got up easily for me, and we were out of the door earlier than expected. I dropped John's friend at his house, and then we made the long drive through middle of nowhere NH to Windsor, VT. Just past Meredith, I saw this sign. It made me laugh so hard that I made a u-turn at the next opportunity and went back to snap a photo. I know it's childish, but, come on, it's funny!

The drive took me through thick fog, bright sunshine and then rain as I approached Ascutney. I got all excited thinking it wouldn't be hot for once, but, no. As soon as I parked in the field, out popped the sun. I will say it wasn't as hot as the last two times I've run it, though. Got my bib number, then came back to the car to take John over to the auto road to meet Mei and John. We waited awhile, but then the car pulled up. John climbed in and off they went. Relief knowing John was all set and in good hands, so I was able to turn my focus on myself to prepare for the beat down. I had decided to wear my Nike Free shoes that I hadn't worn in 6 years. Most of my shoes have a low heel, so after finding the Nike Frees in the bottom of my shoe bin the night before, I decided to test them out. They have a decent heel on them which is nice in a steep mountain race. They would end up working out well, and I wore them for Mt Washington the following weekend, too. I didn't have a lot of time left for a warm up, but I got in a mile down the main road. Warming up really doesn't do me much good in a race like this anyway. I'm warmed up by 20 yards past the start line. I headed back to the start and talked with a lot people that I knew. I realized then that people have way too high of expectations for me sometimes. Haha. No, I will not win Ascutney. No, I will not do well. No, I am not ready. Haha.

The start came quickly, and off I went... slowly. Even though it had been 2 years since I last ran this race, I still remembered the course well. I have a really good memory when it comes to that sort of thing, so obviously, I didn't black out Ascutney well enough. I started out pretty conservatively and was probably 4th or 5th woman for at least the first half mile. Suzy West usually smokes me at this race and passed me quickly. Jamie Woolsey always starts right on the line and was out in front right off the bat, never to be caught. A few younger girls were pretty gung-ho and passed me, as well. I tried to keep a steady pace and not fall off and surprised myself when I passed Suzy and two of the other young girls. One girl hung on, though, and we would end up running side-by-side for about 2.5 miles. She was strong, and I had a tough time hanging with her. I thought for sure she was just holding back for the big push in the last mile. That's how strong she looked, and I was struggling to keep up with her, but then all of a sudden, she just fell back somewhere around mile 2.5. I was surprised. She had been running so well. I would find out after the race that she was just trying to hang on to me. That's a first in an uphill mountain race! Haha. This girl was strong and young, so if she keeps at it, she'll be blowing me away in no time. So even though, she fell back, she was still keeping me going those first few miles. I pulled away into second place for the women and stayed there through the finish. I thought for sure I looked like death, but Dave Dunham took a couple of shots, and I don't look too awful. I felt it, though. My legs were trash by the time I crossed the finish line. That fucking hurt. And my time prediction was pretty spot on, but only by a second! 40:59. A definite improvement over my last 2 Ascutney's, but still kind of weak. I am MUCH faster than I was then, but just not in this type of race. See everyone, I suck at some things!
Full Results
Almost finished. Felt like death but masked it well.

The summit in the background that I still have yet to go up.
I could see Jamie Woolsey the entire race, and up until the last .3 or .4, she stayed the exact same distance in front of me. I could not gain on her, and her final push was enough to give her the win by over a minute. I have to say watching her run that uphill was a combination of frustration and awe. She walked/hiked probably 80% of it! But it was so damn impressive how effortless she made it look. Just so smooth and quick. But super frustrating since I ran the entire thing. haha. But that's how it goes. Some people are really, really good at the power hike and are able to move faster than running and with less energy expenditure. She definitely has that strength and will be very hard to beat at Loon and Greylock. And even though Cranmore and Bretton Woods have a significant amount of downhill, if she gets a huge lead on me with the climbs, I may not be able to catch up on them. So our races will be close. I really don't expect to beat her at Loon. There just isn't enough downhill to make up for my uphill weakness, but I will hopefully be dropping Loon for the final score of the Series so that it won't matter.

The summit parking lot of Ascutney was really windy, and I got cold fast. I found John still hiding in Mei's car and made him come outside. I broke the news to him that he didn't have a ride down the mountain and that we would have to walk down. Haha. I put on some warm clothes and waited for the awards. And, of course, syrup! And not just any syrup, but a half gallon glass bottle of it that I was going to have to carry down from the summit. Now, I felt like John. I wanted a ride down, too! Haha. But no such luck. I put the syrup in my backpack, and we started walking the 3.7 miles down. It ended up not being that bad until the last 1.5 miles. We were both SO done. My neck and shoulders were in agony from carrying the syrup. I already have neck and shoulder issues from all of my long distance backpacking. Over 7500 miles of it! And this backpack was not designed to carry weight. I was hurting. John lied down in the road and started rolling down it. Like, literally. And he would have kept going if I hadn't stopped him. It was pretty funny. I knew we had really lost our shit when we both started belting out Hello by Adele. I tried to get it on video, but John wouldn't sing for the video. It's only me singing, so I'll spare everyone the shrieking. Haha. We finally made it to the bottom, and back to the car. I couldn't get that backpack off fast enough. My neck hurt so badly, even to the slightest touch. I pulled out the syrup, set it on the roof of the car and snapped a photo. And with that statement, you can probably guess what happened next. Yes, I forgot the syrup on was on the roof. I started driving out of the field and made it almost to the end when I heard a THUD. I knew immediately what it was. The syrup!!! I tried to stop slowly, but it was to no avail. The next thing I saw was the half gallon glass bottle flying in the air over my hood and landing just out of view in front of my car. OMG!!! I thought for sure I was going to walk up onto shattered glass and syrup everywhere, so I couldn't believe it when I saw the bottle completely intact lying on the ground. I busted out laughing! I couldn't believe it didn't break. Wow. And if I had broken that after carrying it down the mountain, I would have been pissed. All of that pain that lasted for 3 days would have been for nothing. But, nope, the syrup is sitting on the shelf in the kitchen with all of the rest of them. Haha.

He ran the first 1/4 mile and then wised up. Haha

I took this mid-roll.

Shortly before attempting to meet its demise
If you thought we went right home after the race, then you don't read my blog enough because it was straight to the Harpoon Brewery from there! I love their Vermont brewery. It was the same place I went to night before my ill-fated Vermont 50 attempt last year. (You can read that here.) That was the best part of the whole weekend. So I definitely wanted to go back, and I was starving. I couldn't really eat right after the race, and the walk down took over an hour and a half. I was ready to order before we even sat down. They had two really good pilot beers I had to try. Smokey Chipotle Amber Ale and the Vanilla Coffee UFO. I don't typically like amber ales, but it was really good. I wasn't surprised to see Jeff Walker there with Ricardo Chalmers for some post-race brews. I talked to them for awhile then waited FOREVER to order our drinks and food. This ended up being the worst service I've ever had which is funny because the last time I was here, I had some of the best service I've ever had. It was just this one girl, and I'm hoping she was just new. I still left her an ok tip that she didn't deserve, but I'm a softie when it comes to waiting tables. I know it's hard at times. But it's so weird that this is the second time I've had really horrible service in two months when I'm such an easy patron. Ugh. Oh well. I still love this place and will definitely be back any time I'm in the area.

Smokey Chipotle Amber Ale

Vanilla Coffee UFO
I thought I drove through the middle of nowhere on the way there, but I really drove through the middle of nowhere on the way home. I wanted to avoid Bike Week traffic in the Meredith area, so we went way north. I hardly had a cell signal the whole way home. Haha. John slept almost the entire drive since that walk wore him out. When we got home, I took the dogs on a walk up Heavenly Hill. I needed to move around after sitting in the car for so long. And that was pretty much it for the night.

Heavenly Hill view

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Downward Spiral to Ascutney

I'll never learn, so don't even bother trying to give me advice. I'll just continue to run myself into the ground, thanks. A downward spiral. And that's pretty much what I started by racing Pack. Do I regret it? Of course not, silly. Did I learn from it? Of course not, silly. Haha. I just set myself up for some really tired legs and 2 mediocre races, which I expected. Ascutney and Mt Washington are NOT my strength. Uphill-only? Nope. I suck. And I doubley suck on tired legs. But I expected it, and I wasn't disappointed. I knew what I was getting myself into, so I just had to do what I could do in the moment and move on. I did make an effort to recover between Pack and the Ascutney Mountain Race. I really did. But it just wasn't enough. I just feel like these are races I HAVE to do, so I'm going for it. I was in a similar position last year, but recovering from just one marathon was easier. Racing Boston and Vermont so close with all of the races in between them. And I mean, every weekend, didn't really let me recover completely from one going into the other. I felt great going into VCM, but I can definitely feel a difference over last year. By this coming weekend a year ago, I was ready to race the Whiteface Skymarathon and actually felt great there. This year, my legs are screaming for a break. Last year, I did myself in with Pack, Hollis and Market Square all within 7 days of each other and destroyed myself, but I was smarter and took some major days off to recoup before Washington. That was my plan again this year, but I didn't follow through. Running obsessed much? Yeah. I think so.

Post Pack Monadnock Week Recap

Monday, June 6, 2016- Nothing too exciting at work. We did two calls back to back in the middle of the day. Dropped one patient quickly at Huggins then bolted back out on another call and brought them to Huggins. It's definitely getting busier with the 911s. Ran into my former coworker, Peter, who now works for Napa, at the Irving gas pump during the day. I've been dying to get a selfie with the Napa hat, so I climbed onto Peter's truck to take one. Haha.

After work, I decided to go to White Lake again and run on the Around the Lake Trail 3 times. I added on the Pitch Pine Trail this time just to see where it went and found it was just about a 1/2 loop to a pond and then back to the main trail. 6.1 trail miles. 8:32/mi pace. Absolutely zero elevation gain. My legs were thanking me. It was just an enjoyable run. I love these. The slow run with no goal. Just running to run. It takes the pressure off of myself, and I really need that the day after a race. I have to keep it fun or else I'll burn out, and I love running too much to let that happen. 

I was on call that night, but I did end up doing a strength workout at home. A little too much leg work, but I cut out some of it and just focused on the upper body stuff. Hopped in the shower, soaped up... then the phone rang. Dispatch calling me. Figures! Rinsed off, quickly washed my hair, got out, combed my hair, put on my uniform, grabbed dinner out of the fridge to bring along then hopped in the car. All of that took 4 minutes. I was impressed with myself. Haha. I was there for 2 hours then came home. Slept the rest of the night. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016- This was the run for the week that I probably shouldn't have done, but I didn't run it super fast, and since it was Tuesday, I don't think it did too much damage, but did I really need to run 10 hilly miles two days after racing 10 hilly miles? Probably not. But for some reason, I just really wanted to get some miles in on the road. Like I said before, I do what I want, so I did. haha. Parked at Chocorua Lake and ran an out and back 10 miles that I've done many times on the dirt roads in Chocorua. 7:40/mi pace, but that's only because I was able to pretty much fall down on the downhills. The ups were super slow. 742ft of elevation gain. I went back to my run on Strava to read my run description. Pretty much summed it up in very few words.

I was beat. That night was the first race in the weekly Summer Series at Whitaker Woods, but I just couldn't do it. No way. Even running it for fun was out of the question. Instead, I took John to Conway Lake while I lied on the beach being extremely lazy. I was so lazy that I couldn't even bring myself to change into a full bathing suit. Half would do. Haha. 

I honestly don't even remember the rest of the day other than taking John to his ninja class. We might have gone to the store, but I have no idea. I would definitely remember better if I didn't procrastinate on writing my blog posts. I know I had some good beers. At least I have that memory! Ok, so I had to look that up, too, since I always have good beers.
One I got while we were in Vermont. This is the brewery I ran by during the marathon that tempted me to DNF and go in for a beer.

Really good IPA that Beth Lazor-Smith gave me in a beer trade
Wednesday, June 8, 2016- Skipped the am treadmill run. My entire body was beat and said, "No running!" Somewhat busy day at the ambulance in the afternoon and evening. Like I said, call volume is increasing as it always does in the summer. We're only the one truck in town, so we end up doing all of the calls. Mid-summer will get interesting. We did make it back in time from a call to hit Starbucks and then John's track practice at Kennett. He didn't know I was there for awhile, so I watched him and his friends acting like goofballs building human pyramids and dancing. Haha. He finally spotted me before he started the 50m. He came in last in that and the 100m, but he was trying SO hard. For a kid who hates running, I was impressed he still gave it 100% effort. He's surprisingly enjoyed the track program, but I think if it lasted more than a month, he would start to get tired of it. This has been a perfect chance for him to try it. He definitely doesn't love it, but I think he's still having fun.
50m. In the back.


Goofing around. haha

Bunch of goofballs building a pyramid
We had one more call that evening and then enjoyed a quiet night with sound sleep! 

Thursday, June 9, 2016- It was right into my next shift in Tamworth for the 10. My 3rd to last 34 hour shift! I've been counting down the weeks. I am so, so done with the 34. Another day that was slow in the morning, so I walked two miles on the treadmill. But then we ended up with a working code in an extremely inconvenient location out in the woods, down and then back up a steep embankment. I ended up carrying a lot of equipment out of the woods, going up and down the hill multiple times, so that I was pretty beat by the time I got out of there. Between that and tired legs, I had a feeling the Great Glen Trails race wouldn't go so well, but I drove up there anyway. 

It's about an hour drive from the Tamworth base, so I was in the car for awhile. When I stepped out of the car, I was SO stiff. That was the first time this had happened here. I get there so late that I don't usually have to time to warm up, so I just jump right into racing. This time, I had no choice but to warm up. I could barely walk. A super short .4 mile warm up on the trails behind the building. The wind up around Mt Washington was absolutely insane, but it made for some beautiful cloud formations. It did not make for a beautiful headwind whenever we were out in the open. Fortunately, most of the course was protected, so I can't really pull "Headwind from Hell" out of my Excuse Bag for this one. I think the Excuse Bag only held one legitimate excuse, and that was "Tired".  As soon as I started, the legs felt heavy. I gave everything I had, but it was a struggle. When I saw the first mile was over 10 seconds slower, I knew this wasn't going to be a good race. I was actually surprised to even pull off a 24:07. 18 seconds slower than the week before, but still not bad for heavy legs. Margaret obliterated me this week. Her improvement over each week has been impressive for sure, and I think I'll have to concede the win to her at this point. haha. I really don't think I can race the rest of these hard. It's just become too much at this point. I may give one more of them an all out effort, but I don't know yet. I honestly no longer care enough about winning to kill myself out there anymore. I'm already doing enough, and it's probably doing more harm than good at this point anyway. We'll see, though. If I'm feeling good the week after Mt Washington, then I might make the effort.
GGT Week 5 results
So the wind is absolutely insane. My legs are dead. And what do I decide to do? Run up the Auto Rd to Mile 2. I just wanted to go up there. Not far to where I would die, but I just felt like I needed to get on the Auto Rd one more time. My intended Mt Washington training did not go as planned, and next year, I'll probably skip the Series, but today, I just needed to do something on it one last time before the race. So off I went. I felt surprisingly good, and the first 1.5 miles were mostly protected from the wind, but as soon as I hit that 1.5 mile mark, I ran into HUGE wind gusts. As if running up that thing wasn't hard enough. Running against a headwind made it even harder. I pushed on to mile 2 and found it once again protected from the wind, so I stopped for some sign selfies. :)
Deer in headlights
I ran back down from there and got out of the wind as quickly as possible. I had to bag getting water from the Pinkham Notch Spring on the way back. My bottles would have blown away...maybe me, too! Here are a few pics I took of the amazing clouds.

 I was SO hungry by the time I got back into North Conway that I stopped for yellow curry chicken at the thai place then had a much needed beer to go along with it.

Friday, June 10, 2016- I slept in a little on Friday like I usually do. It was a pretty warm day out, so I decided not to bring Spot and Phoenix along on my run up Black Cap. It's one of my favorite 10 mile trail loops in town. Starts at Thompson Rd, follows the Black Cap Connector Trail up to the top of Black Cap then loops down the ridge to Cranmore. I follow the service road down and then go back up the unnamed trail to the Connector Trail and back to the car. 10.1 miles and 2,362ft of elevation gain in under 2 hours. I kept the pace really slow, so as not to kill myself. Ok, hold on. Wait, wait, wait. I'm such a liar! Did I write at the beginning of this blog that I really tried to recover for Ascutney?! After writing all of this out, I'm calling bullshit on myself! Haha. I totally did NOT try to recover from Ascutney! Who am I kidding besides myself! Hahaha! I think I was delusional in thinking that I did, but there is nothing written that indicates any recovery effort besides maybe Wednesday's zero. And that zero is really just due to pure laziness and not wanting to get out of bed. I guess in my mind at the time, I thought I was taking it easy. Sure, low miles for the week, but with the way I felt and with all of the racing, I could have left out the 100% effort at Great Glen, the 10-mile road run (trails instead!) and the freakin' 10-mile mountain run two days out from Ascutney. I'm seriously laughing at myself right now because it really is funny. Maybe one day I'll smarten up, but I doubt it. Life is way more fun when you break your own rules.
Black Cap. 

View towards Kearsarge and Evans Notch

So glam in my skirt
 I hit Frontside Grind after for my usual latte, then went home. I decided to take John up to Storyland to get our season passes. We were coming back the next day with his friend, but I didn't want to stand in a long Saturday line to get the passes. When we got there, I realized they were open until 5pm, so we spent about 2 hours in the park. The place was dead, so we rode the Roar-O-Saurus 4 times in a row. John did a lot of the other rides and finally wants to ride by himself. I don't mind it all on those spinning rides.
OMG. How did this get on my camera?

Nope. Not doing this ride ANYMORE.

2016 Creepy Clown Photo
 After Storyland, we went to the 99 for dinner. It's definitely not a place I would normally ever go, but I won a $25 gift card through my company during EMS week, so we decided to use it. John was funny and said my beer was way too big. Bigger than my head! So I had him take a photo to compare. Haha. Pretty close!

Saturday, June 11, 2016- I think this is the only day that I actually ran smart. I stuck to 3.1 miles in the neighborhood. The first two miles with Chill and the last one with Phoenix. Spot runs/walks herself around the house. She would look down her snout at me if I ever tried to put a leash on her and run her on the pavement. I've never once run with Spot on a leash (walked, yes), Easy pace (for real this time!) 8:14/mi. See!

I took John and his friend to Storyland for about 4 hours. The place was dead again, there were no lines. Rode the Roar-O-Saurus 3 times in a row. I let them do the other stuff together while I watched. So weird to be one of those parents now who just watches. It's good thing. He's growing up. And I reminded him that in 4 years, he can get a job at Storyland!! Haha! John's friend decided to stay over so that they could have a sleep over.

When we pulled into the driveway, I stopped at the mailbox to get the mail and inside was a surprising piece of mail. I got an invite to be part of "New England's Finest" at the Hartford Marathon! I was invited last year and turned it down, and I really didn't expect to be invited again this year, but there it was. I didn't have to think about it too long. How could I pass up this opportunity a second time? Hartford was definitely not in my plan at all, but the dates actually worked out with it being the weekend of October 8th. I was considering Bay State anyway, so a second Fall marathon (besides Manchester) wasn't a stretch. It just seemed to fall into place perfectly. I'll just spectate at Bay State again like I did last year. That race is really fun to watch anyway. Now, I'm really excited about Hartford, and they do so much the invited runners, too. We even get to bring along a companion who gets entry into the race and can join us for all of the special stuff. Now the question is, who will I bring?? I can't think of a single person who would want to do it with me. I'm sure a lot of people would want to run it, but spend a whole weekend with me?! EEK! Haha. Anyway, I'll be accepting applications to be my companion. A full resume, followed by a background check is expected. Must be a beer snob and like to party. Creepy people need not apply. You know who you are; if you just questioned whether you're creepy or not, then you're creepy. Haha. Ok. I'm totally kidding...except the creepy part.
My pre-Ascutney beer with my invitation letter. Very cool! 
As messed up as I seem running-wise right now, I do actually have a plan. Training is changing the week after Mt Washington. Only 2 more mountain races until September. In between that time, I'm racing one trail race and then ALL roads. So that means, it's time to get serious again and work on getting back the speed. I have a month before the first race, a 10K. Then I get to be part of the elite field at Run 4 Kerri, so that's cool. Both of those races I consider warm ups to the Bobby Doyle, the NH 10-Miler and Seasons 20K, the next 3 NE Grand Prix Races. I really need to pick it up if I want to run decent times at those. This slow stuff isn't helping. I'll still be hitting the mountains on Thursdays, but most of the rest of the week will be road and a day on the track. I've finally decided to try this track training thing. I feel like just racing on the indoor track over the winter really helped, so it's time to train for real. Not like everyone else trains for real, but like a Leslie type of for real. So not actually for real, but close enough. Haha. I'll throw in some longish runs in there, too, just to keep the distance up. We'll see. Hoping to stay injury free and see some improvements back to my former self from long ago!