Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Run with the Beavers Trail Race

After Thursday crazy partying, I had to sleep in on Friday. I knew when I got up at 8am that we were going to be leaving for Rhode Island much later than planned, but the sleep was needed. I still woke up hungover. Ugh. I knew I shouldn't have had the tequila. Liquor does it to me every time. Got up, had coffee and then headed out for a short run from home through Cranmore Shores and back. The heat wave that blasted me when I walked out the door made me want to quit right there, but I didn't. I knew I needed to get something in and sweat out the alcohol. Planned to run easy and when I hit the first split at 7:58, I thought that was good, but somehow I managed to really pick up the pace for the last 4.5 miles. The course is up, down, up, down, up, down. Splits were 7:58, 6:41, 7:17, 6:34, 7:11 and 7:09. So I ended up with a pretty fast-paced run at 7:08/mi, a lot faster than I planned. I was worried I had already sabotaged Saturday's race after my Thursday of fun, so I didn't want to make it worse. But what was done was done. I just had to hope for the best.

As soon as I was done with my run, I got to preparing for our RI trip. It seemed to take forever. I don't know why. We were camping and didn't need much. Maybe it was the 7 different outfits and 4 pairs of shoes I had to pack. Maybe? Definitely. It was going to be SO hot, and I was really dreading camping. I tried to find a last minute hotel deal, but $90/night isn't a "deal" to me, so we stuck with the camping. In the end, I'm glad we did. I got all of the camping stuff loaded, took my last shower for 2 days and then we headed south. The whole reason I wanted to leave earlier was to beat traffic, and too bad we didn't leave earlier. Haha. Traffic was so bad on 495 and added about an hour onto our trip. My outside thermometer read anywhere from 99-102 degrees outside, so I guess it wasn't so bad to be stuck in the air conditioned car for an extra hour. I was happy that I stopped at Trader Joe's on the way down because by the time we got to George Washington Campground, it was kind of late, and I didn't want to go back out again. I was surprised at how nice the campground was; our site had plenty of space to pitch our tents in the woods. I just had to move the picnic table over and park my car so that it blocked the neighbors... so they couldn't witness my illegal alcohol consumption. There was a trail behind the campsite that led to the beach, so John and I walked over. He played Pokemon Go the whole time. Haha. Thunderstorms were moving in which made for a beautiful sky and brought in a cool(er) breeze. When we came back, John went right to his tent, and I sat at the picnic table. Poured myself that illegal beer on the sly to have with dinner and then called it a night. I wanted to get some more sleep to be ready to Run with the Beavers (Is there something else to this race name? People keep making beaver jokes. Hmmm. ;) )

Our campsite
Playing Pokemon Go

This is SO deep. Oh cut the shit.

Our tents. Both have snapped poles. Maybe it's time for a new one. It's not like the one on the right is 19 years old or anything. Oh wait.

Breaking the law. It was necessary to get in my pre-race day beer. I'm ducking down behind my car.
Race Day! I signed up for this race in January totally forgetting that it was probably going to be SO hot in late July. Even with the heat, though, I had so been looking forward to this race. It was new to me, and I've really enjoyed trail racing in Rhode Island this year, so it was a race I had to do. The only problem with running a race so far away is that I don't know a lot of the names on the pre-registration list. I combed through it daily over the last week just to get an idea on whether I had any competition or not. Not to be cocky, but it appeared that I did not. Haha. Someone could always show up, though. You just never know. So I wasn't that confident I would win. Ok. Maybe 90% sure. 95% maybe. Hahaha. Anyway... I planned to sleep in until 6:45am, but that was thwarted by an accidental phone call to me at 5:15ish. Haha. I was able to go back to sleep right away, though. I woke up feeling pretty good and gave myself enough time not to rush. Broke out my stove to make some coffee, got dressed, ate some Hobo bread (how fitting) from TJs, then woke up John. I made him some hot chocolate then made sure his backpack was packed for him to help out at the water stop on the course. I had asked Bob earlier in the week if it was ok for John to help out. At least I think I asked. Sometimes, I "ask" when it's more like "I told". Haha. I thought John would have way more fun actually doing something at the race rather than sitting at the start/finish area on his phone. And it's funny that I got him to help out at this race, but I have yet to get him to help out at my race. Surprisingly, he was game.

We drove over to the race which was only about 5 minutes away. Much better than leaving NH at 4:30am and driving 3.5 hours. Couldn't have worked out better. I was pretty early to the race but already saw some familiar faces. Scott Mason, Steve Brightman (we were wearing matching shorts! haha), Michael Crutchley, Michael Narcisi, Muddy and Seth Acton were the first few people I caught up with. Then Beth Lazor-Smith gave me another 6-pack of beer that she brought. So awesome. Thanks, Beth.
Beth is too kind!
I checked in to get my bib and shirt and then went back to the car to get John so that he was ready to go to the water stop. He had his backpack and was ready to go. I found Beth and Shawn Whalen over by the check-in area and left John with them to ride to the water stop. I gave John my own cup that he could fill for me then said goodbye. Once I had John squared away, I could finally get some sort of warm up in. I wanted to go alone, so I scampered off. I stopped my watch at one point and forgot to restart it, so I don't know how far I really ran, but I only got .57 on my watch. No big deal because it was so fucking hot already; not much of a need for a long warm up. I thought I was going to be rushing to get it together for the start, but due to the construction on 44, racers were delayed and the race start was pushed back a little. That was fine with me since it gave me a little more time to get mentally prepared and casually eye the potential competition. Most people were lined up at the line, but I stood off to the side so I could get a better look. Two women lined up right in front. One had a Wisconsin shirt on with cow print shorts, and she looked serious. Dammit. The other woman was part of the huge November Project there, so I wasn't really worried about her. Cow print shorts gave me pause, though. I would be lining up next to her. It was time to walk over looking confident, making no eye contact and standing maybe half a foot ahead. I had no idea if she was doing the 5-mile or the 10-mile, but just like Brrr-lingame, my goal was to come through the 5 mile point first woman, too. Haha. Bob gave his pre-race speech and then sent us on our way. I immediately got ahead of Cow Print Shorts and stepped in front of her. It was a FAST start and uphill, but I like to go out fast in trail races, especially if single track is early on. This was a very generous .3 miles to spread out before the single track, so if anyone complains, they should be slapped and told to line up better next time. Sorry, but that's the only complaint I ever get for my race no matter how many times I warn them and tell them to line up accordingly, so it bugs me to no end to hear people complain about it after.

Anyway, by the time we hit the single track, I felt like I was in the perfect position. We had a small line of people, but the ones in front of me pulled away pretty quickly. I had three people right behind me as we ran through the single track, but never saw another woman anywhere nearby the entire race. The trail was awesome. Fast, but technical. It was fun running except both of my ankles kept giving out on me constantly. I was yelling out f-bombs every time. It was really pissing me off since it wasn't like I was tripping over roots or rocks. My ankles were just giving out, and I finally had a good one on my left foot that hurt and left me limping a few steps. I was able to quickly get back in the game and move on. I was really impressed with these trails. So much of what I like to run. We did pop out on the road a few times, which I didn't love, but the first one had a nice, fast downhill. I had pulled away from the people behind me just a little bit, but they were still close. I realized when we got back on the single track that I was catching up to Michael Narcisi. I thought it was odd and wasn't sure if he was hurting or just taking it easy. Jeff Walker wasn't far behind me and would eventually pass me at some point on one of the road sections. About half way around the loop, we came to the water stop where I busted John sitting on the ground behind the table playing on his phone. I actually yelled at him jokingly that he was supposed to be helping. (I kind of forgot that I was at the front of the pack, so there really wasn't much for him to do yet.) Beth brought me my cup that was full. I took two sips then dumped the rest over my head. It felt so good, but I could feel the heat from my head run down my face and the back of my neck.

Just down the hill, I spotted a bridge I had seen in previous race photos. Scott Mason was there taking photos. I tried to smile, but I probably looked like a wet dog from the water I had just poured over my head.
I wrote this before the pictures were up. I don't look like a wet dog after all! And I guess Jeff was still behind me at this point.
After the bridge, Michael was only a few yards ahead. Since I can't remember, Jeff was either just behind me and about to pass me or had already passed me. I think the heat started getting to my brain at this point. The single track on the second half of the loop was pretty fun since it got into a more technical, boggy area with a huge hill after. I didn't kill myself on the hill since I knew I was about to do this whole loop all over again. Just ran it easy to the top where we ended up on some wide trail. I ended up right with Michael and Jeff as we came through the first loop. Both of them had taken diggers in that last mile. And that mile was evil since it was uphill to the field, only to continue uphill for .3 on the road again to start the second loop.

Just as I got on the road, I noticed that Jeff was gone. He was right with me when we grabbed water, and then he was just gone. I thought maybe he dropped at the 5 (turned out that he didn't; the fall plus other issues left him feeling awful, but he toughed it out to finish the race). So it was just me and Michael and some dude who was just barely visible up ahead. As soon as we hit the single track again, Michael slowed way down and let me go by. I asked if he was just taking it easy, and he said he was. It wasn't too much longer before I caught up to the next guy and passed him right around mile 6ish. I would run the next 4ish miles all alone except for a brief point when a guy quickly caught up to me and passed in the last mile. I never ran with anyone like I did the first loop. It was a solo run which usually causes me to slow, but I made an effort to keep it quick. The heat was really getting to me by this point, though, so it was a struggle and the second loop was definitely a good 3 minutes (if not more) slower. It was awesome seeing John at the water stop again. This time he was up and helping. He came over with my cup which I drank some of then dumped over my head again. Between the water and the sweat, I was soaked. I handed him back the cup and ran on.
Love this shot by Scott Mason. Fun section.
Other than the guy who passed me, I didn't have to worry about winning first female; I knew I had that in the bag within the first 2 miles. With just under a mile to go, I was right around 1:13, which I was thought was kind of bad, but Bob said he thought the times would be 3-4 minutes slower with this year's course addition. I'm sure the heat was a factor, as well. Although, I'm sure it's pretty hot most years. I was hurting big time by this point and wanted nothing more than to jump in cold water, but I knew I wasn't too far from the finish and would be done soon. By the time I dragged myself up to the field, I saw my time hit 1:17:50 and thought oh shit! So I picked it up as much as I could to keep the time under 1:18 and crossed in 1:17:58. Phew. That was close. Besides 1st woman, I was 8th overall, which I was super happy about. It's always nice to squeeze in in the top 10 overall. Even the heat definitely made me feel awful, in general, I felt really good. This is the first race since my "massage", and it was so nice to run without pain since last September. The pain usually goes away during most races, but I can still feel that it's there. The pain was gone, gone and hasn't come back. The road racing coming up could be a different story, but I already booked another massage appointment. :)
John working the water stop with Faith, Beth and Shawn

John actually helping out at a race!! :)
As soon as I was done, all I could think about was cold water, so I meandered over to the water table, grabbed a bottle and poured some of it over the back of my neck. It felt so good. I couldn't believe how soaked I was, and I continued to sweat for about 15 minutes. I ended catching up with Cow Print Shorts. She had just been doing the 5-miler and was first woman in that. She's a faster short distance road runner than me, but this was a whole new ball game for her being her first trail race ever. We talked for awhile then I went to my car to change shorts. I was going to wear them for my cool down, but they were dripping with sweat. I threw on my singlet which was immediately soaked in sweat. I grabbed my water, asked Bob for directions to the water stop (since I had no idea where I was when I got to the water stop on the course), then ran the mile to get John. I ended up hanging out there for about 15 minutes chatting before we started walking the mile back. I didn't plan to be gone so long and ended up missing the awards. That was ok, though. It was there waiting for me when I got back, along with some VERY strange pizza that was missing cheese. Haha.
Awesome award. I only put out the best awards where people can see them. This one made the cut. 

Pizza Strips, from Wikipedia. I had no idea. Add that to my list of RI things that I've learned about this year. First was the Wicked Awesome Stuffie!
What Pizza Strips look like. Haha.
John and I ate some of the weird pizza and cookies and then followed Michael Crutchley to his truck to grab some beer he brought. G-bot and Dogs and Boats. I had nothing for him or Beth, so I need to up my game and bring down something decent for them next time.

I really needed a shower, and John wanted to swim. We were in luck! Both could be accomplished in the pond right there at the park. So we went down briefly. I got in just to rinse off while John stayed in to swim. We were only there about 15 minutes when I got word that the group was heading to Crossings Brewery in Putnam, CT (only 15 minutes away). The place was pretty nice. It was in an old train station, and I thought the beer was pretty decent. It was a fun time, but I finally had to call it quits after 4 beers and take John back to the campground to swim before going to WaterFire in Providence. I think he got a solid 45 minutes in which he was content with. I did a quick change of clothes and washed my hair with water from a water jug, and then left for Providence.
campground beach

Watching John swim. It was HOT. 
I was warned it would be crowded, and it really was, but it was so worth it. The whole thing was really neat. The music and fire pits that they lit up all along the river. Vendors and a lot of happy people. I don't know how many people were excited about John's Pikachu hat, but he got a lot of comments now that Pokemon Go is a big thing. John even spent most of the walk playing Pokemon Go. I guess open container was ok because I got a beer (Revival Fanny IPA) and was able to walk around with it. It wasn't a super awesome beer and ended up just getting in the way of other things so I never finished it and dumped out the last bit. I needed my hands free of beer. I kind of lost track of time how long we were there, but it had to be at least two hours. It was well worth the trip there even with the crazy crowd. I'd definitely do it again. 

It took us awhile to get back to the car parked at the mall, and a long line to exit the garage took even longer. We made it back to the campground after midnight. John was exhausted and had fallen asleep before we ever drove out of Providence. He could barely even get himself out of the car and to the tent. I followed suit shortly thereafter. It had been a long but fun day and just as awesome night.

I didn't wake up until almost 8am the next morning. John wasn't up until after 9. I made coffee and hot chocolate again and then decided to run a short loop on the Walkabout Trail that started at the campground. It was listed as 4.6 miles, so I thought I'd have plenty of time. John was fine there at the campsite so I headed out. The trail ended up being pretty hilly and technical, but a really fun trail to run on. At one point it met up with part of the Beaver course. Bob hadn't picked up the flags yet, so I grabbed them all for the short time my trail coincided with that one then left them in a pile by the tree and carried on with the Walkabout Trail. I didn't realize the time, but checkout was 11. It was 10:39am, and I had 1.5 miles to go! This part was less hilly but still really technical. I hauled ass back to the campsite, getting back at 10:52am. Phew! Fortunately, I had packed everything up in the car except one bag. John hopped in, and we backed out of there with 2 minutes to spare. In my younger days, I would never cut anything that close, and I was always early for everything. Now, I'm almost always right on time...just barely...if I care enough. Haha.

I really wanted to take John to the ocean to swim in the waves. He wasn't super thrilled about it and said he just wanted to go home... to play video games. I don't think so!! It was kind of crazy to drive over and hour south in heavy traffic to go to Scarborough Beach in Narragansett, but it ended up being so worth it. I had my card out to pay the $16 non-resident fee when we pulled into the lot, but were told it was Free Beach Day! Man, we hit that right. The place was insanely crowded, but I could see why once I found a place up front to park my beach chair. The waves were absolutely perfect. John was smiling and laughing, giving me the thumbs up and waving the entire time. A wave stole his goggles forever, and he wasn't even phased. He was in those waves for the entire time we were there. It had to have been 2 hours. He literally never stopped. He told me after that those were the best waves he'd ever been in. Score! Sigh of relief for me since it was a gamble taking him half-heartedly down there (didn't I just make that mistake with Mt Eisenhower), but I just had a feeling he would have a great time. When he told me he was done, we walked down to the old stone structure at the end of the beach that I'd seen many pictures of from the Resolution 5K.

We left the beach to make the long drive home. I knew we'd hit traffic early on, but, still, sometimes it's worth it. Once we got on I-95, it was smooth sailing the entire ride home. John was out cold pretty quickly and slept the entire way. We were finally home a little before 8am to 3 excited dogs that we had to leave behind. John went right to his video games. I took the dogs out then (VERY SLOWLY) unloaded the car. I cracked open the G-bot Crutchley had given me.
You can't have too many pics of this award. Goes great with beer.
 What an awesome weekend we had. I think this is what it feels like to go on vacation, even if it was just a mini one. Not only that, it was also super inexpensive. John and I both had a great time.

Next on the agenda...the Six03 10k, which I'm dreading, but it will be good for building back up a little road speed. My mid-week stuff is still up in the air, but it will hopefully involve a mountain run. A lot of road races coming up in the next month, so things are going to be a little different, but I'm looking forward to it. It's almost time to start being consistent with marathon training again. Hartford will be here before I know it! I've decided to forego the "bring a companion" perk and just go it solo. There will be plenty of other people there I know with whom I can hang out. I'm nervous about that one, but still looking forward to it!

Gotta add a song to this blog post. Reminds of a good 80s tune. Red Flag by the Moth and the Flame


  1. Great recap of your weekend! Looks like you guys had a great time in Rhody, and congrats on the race on a tough day. Well done!

    1. Thanks! We had a fantastic weekend. Thank you for the beers, too! Dogs & Boats beats Heady Topper in my book.