Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Six03 Summerfest 10K 2016

Ah! My return to road racing!! The Six03 Summerfest 10K (or as I prefer, Sufferfest 10K). My first "short" road race since I can't even remember (unless you count that 10,000m on the track in May) came up fast after months of slow races up mountains and on trails. I was smart enough to think about this in advance and started the track workouts and kept up the road runs starting mid-June. It was tough to do that since I was recovering still, but I kept at it. I recovered 100% finally and felt pretty ready. I knew with the Six03 10K, I wouldn't PR. The course through Dover, NH is NOT an easy course by any means. And since it would be my first fast road race in months, I wasn't expecting much. So yeah, it went off with a bang. This kind of a bang...
Ok, so it wasn't that bad, since it was what I expected and kind of the point of doing this race anyway. I needed a rude awakening well before the NE Grand Prix started back up with Bobby Doyle. I had this race and Run4Kerri on the agenda to give my body a quick reminder of what road racing felt like, and this race certainly did that. It was a rude awakening for sure.

The week wasn't super exciting.

Monday, July 25, 2016- Usual 24. Took a zero day because I'm lazy. Haha. Which is funny because I'm probably one of the least laziest people, but when it comes to getting up before 5am, I suck. And after the weekend, I'm just beat. I'm the opposite of lazy all weekend, which then leads to the lazy monster on Monday. I did walk on the treadmill for 2 miles at work, and we had a few calls, so it wasn't a totally blah day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016- Track Tuesday! Didn't know what to do, so I came up with something random that I ran by my much-smarter-at-track-things friend to see if it sounded good. I don't even remember what it was I came up with, but it got tweaked a little, as it does most weeks, and I ended up with 4x400 and 4x800. I ran the usual 2-mile trail run warm up, again faster like the week before. Then I got to the black top that is the Kennett High School Track. It was already crazy hot and humid, so that black top just roasted me to death and I struggled through the workout. Splits were a mess. 400s- 84, 86, 86, 87. Yeah, wroooong way. Haha. 800s- 2:57, 3:00, 2:59, 2:58. A little more in the right direction, but... still a mess. Haha. Glad I don't run track...oh wait. I guess I do now. Fuck. Anyway, it was another fairly quick trail run back to the car and then back home to be domestic for a day.

Oh! Oh! So I am lazy in another way! Yard work! House work! I hate it all! I'll never understand why anybody would want to spend all of their free time working on their yard and house. It's the reason I never wanted to own a house and why I wasn't super excited to end up with the house in the divorce. I'd rather pick up the phone and call...ok, I'd rather pick up the phone and text my landlord and let him know what broke and get on with my day. I don't want to be one of those people who spends her life working on a house because you will literally spend your whole life working on that house and then you'll die! Not my idea of living, BUT I had to do it today. My yard had become a field. And I mean a field. That 2 acres I thought was soooooAWESOME to buy was a huge pain in the ass when I had to mow it. John had actually mowed it for me twice, but it was SO hot and humid out that I really didn't want him out there doing it, so I had to woman up (is that even a thing?) and mow the field myself. I had never even used this mower. It was dropped off (anonymously) at my front door last year while I was at a race, and it was so late in the summer that I never had to mow my yard again after that. John had used it twice, so I knew it worked, so off I went. The mower worked great, but some of the stuff was so thick that I had to make two passes over it. I was pouring in sweat and covered in dirt and bugs. I interrupted that program and had John retrieve me a beer. Most people hydrate with water. Well, when I'm mowing, I hydrate with beer. It took me about 2.5 hours to mow that freaking thing, but I got it done. I was SO dirty and gross by the time I finished. Ugh. And I think the yard grew back 2-3 inches before night time.

Firestone Walker attempted to hit the spot.

Sexy dirt lines and toenails (3 of which fell off that week). I repainted the toenails after I saw this picture.
John and I hit the lake for a little bit and then his ninja class. I opted out of the evening run. I was too beat after the track workout and the mowing to do anything else.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016-  For some reason, I'm less lazy on a Wednesday morning, so I was up at 0430 to do the usual 5 miles on the treadmill. I had a good progression run at 7:04/mi pace. Always glad to get this run in before work even if I struggle at getting up to do it.

24 hour shift in North Conway that was actually pretty busy. I spent the rest of my down time working on the billing stuff. I don't even know what it is I do. No title for it. I'm sure some of the people who get the most emails from me have a title for me. ;) Haha. Two back-to-back calls in the middle of the night were a bit brutal, so I only ended up with about 4.5 hours of sleep total. I'm used to it, though.

Thursday, July 28, 2016- So many places and mountains I have yet to run, but with my left ankle still a bit on the uneasy side from Run with the Beavers, I didn't want to do anything super technical, so I went back to one of my favorite runs at Castle in the Clouds where the trails are generally smooth. The weather was quite warm and humid, but I was surprised to find it not as hot as I expected for the first half of the run. The second half would be a different story. I started down at the trailhead off the main road like I always do and pretty much ran all uphill for 4 miles to the top of Mt Roberts. From Mt Roberts the trail basically follows the ridgeline all the way to Mt Shaw for about 5.5 miles. I normally love running these trails, but as I left the summit of Roberts, I found the trail to be extremely my yard. Haha. They do mow, but I must have hit it just prior to its next mowing cyle because it was so thick, I couldn't see where my feet were landing. Fortunately, I know the trails well enough that I could run them ok without being able to see my feet. I felt pretty good by the time I reached Mt Shaw. I had two Clif Shot Blocks and finished up a bottle of water. I was absolutely drenched in sweat. The skies were hazy with the humidity, but the views were still there. I took a picture of me waving down to Ossipee Lake at Amy Bernard and the Mahoney's and sent it to Amy. Haha.
Hi from Mt Shaw!
I continued on what is mostly a REALLY long downhill except for the Black Snout and Turtleback summits. I had a cool experience shortly after Black Snout, when I came around an corner and surprised a HUGE bull moose standing right next to the trail. He was SO beautiful. Huge rack! I was glad I scared him because he ran into the woods a little bit. He stopped not too far away so we watched each other as I moved past. I did what every moron tourist does and pulled out my phone for a photo. The brush was too thick for a good one, but you can kind of make him out looking at me.

You'd think this run downhill would be the easy part, and normally it is, but I started having the same bonking issues I've been having on long mountain runs lately. And it hit me hard. Just before the spur up Turtleback I had to stop and pound the rest of my water and last of my Clif Shot Blocks. I had sweat out so much water that I was starting to feel lightheaded and dizzy. I would normally wait until the summit, but I couldn't. I had to stop right then and there.

Fortunately, this was just enough water and fuel to give me a pick-me-up to finish off the loop going out to Bald Knob and then back down to my car. 17.6 miles (used to be 18 even on my old watch, but I seriously don't care. It's trail running. I just find the discrepancy between all of the different GPS devices interesting). This ended up being my third fastest time. My total running time was 3:10:35, but I stopped quite a bit along the way so total time was 3:33:24. As with most of my mountain runs this summer, I'm not out there hammering it out like I was the last two summers. I'm more into enjoying the mountain runs than trying to beat all of my own Strava course records. Total elevation gain for that many miles isn't extraordinary. 3,227ft.

Back at my car, I ran into a Stewarts Ambulance crew that was broken their brand new Ford Transit...exactly like our brand new Ford Transit where I work. I wonder if this is what we have to look forward to. Haha. I changed clothes, talked to those guys for a bit then drove up the mountain to have lunch. Last summer I didn't want to wait to sit outside, but this time, I did the 15 minute wait. Had a drink at the bar first and then got my own table on the veranda. The beer selection sucks, and the food is ok, but the view is totally worth it.
View of Lake Winnipesaukee from the Carriage House Restaurant

My other view! I needed it.
I guess it's obvious that I eat out a lot now. I hardly ever used to eat out. 16 years of being with someone who hated eating out deprived me, and now, I making up for it because....I do what I want!! Haha. I love that line! This single thing definitely has its perks.

I stopped by the Sandwich Spring on the way home to fill up my water jugs. By the time I was home, I was all done for the day. It had gotten crazy hot out so I was lazy the rest of the day. Look there it is! I'm lazy again! I think I need to scratch what I said about NOT being a lazy person.
Look at the lawn taunting me. It grew at least 4 inches since I cut it on Tuesday.
Friday, July 29, 2016- With the Sufferfest, I mean Summerfest 10k getting closer, I didn't want to run too hard on Friday. I wanted mostly flat, so I decided on the Mountain Division Trail again. The skies were cloudy and temps cooler, so I was looking forward to a flat, easy 8 mile run. The best laid plans.... No such thing as a flat, easy run for me. I can't help but run fast. The first and last miles have a decent hill, but other than that, it's either flat or slightly up and down. The weather was perfectly cool, too, so I went out and ran all but the 1st and 5th miles under 7 min pace. The 5th mile was right at 7:00 and would have been under 7 had I not stopped for about 5 seconds to adjust my arm band once the rain started. So it was a quick run, and the last 3.5 were all in the POURING rain. It felt SO good not to be running in the heat. Total time was 55:11. 6:52/mi average pace for the 8. Splits: 7:07, 6:50, 6:47, 6:45, 7:00, 6:42, 6:46, 6:57. 154ft of elevation gain, which I consider to be really flat.

I thought the pace was a little stupid since it could mean tired and sore legs on Sunday, but I have no self control sometimes. Just had to say, "Oh well," and move on. The moving on was supposed to be kayaking on Lovewell Pond there in Fryeburg, but while still in the parking lot, my phone decided to suddenly stop reading the sim card. All I had to open it with was a safety pin, which didn't work, so off I went to the Verizon Store. Turning it off and on didn't work for me, nor them, but a good cleaning did, and I was back in my car with about an hour and a half to spare before I needed to be home. The kayak was calling my name, so I drove over to Conway Lake for a short 50-minute paddle. The rain had just quit, so the lake was super quiet. I just kayaked out about 1.5 miles and then turned back. I love, love, love getting out on the water. It's my LAZY exercise. (Haha. Yes, I'm purposely finding ways to put the word "lazy" into this post.)
The calm after the storm. Like glass.

Yeah, yeah. I know. ANOTHER kayaking selfie. And those are skin folds, not fat folds. :)

Dragonfly on my boat
I got home at 2pm right on the dot which was John's drop off time. I quickly showered, then John and I went back over to what was once called the Party House on Ossipee Lake. This was Amy, Rick, Heather, Chris and Charlie's last night, so it had become the Vacationed-Out House. Haha. It was fine. I wasn't into much partying myself after the last time. We all sat around and chatted, drank beers. John swam with the other kids for awhile. It was nice and relaxing. I brought a ton of beer from my share drawer that I talked them into keeping. My (TWO) refrigerators were full, so I needed to send off some of the beer with them since they have people to actually share it with. Haha.

Great sunset. That's Heather Mahoney out on the dock.
We stayed for dinner then left shortly thereafter. I was glad not to wake up hungover the next morning like I did the last time. :)

Saturday, July 30, 2016- Easy 3-mile progression run through the neighborhood. 7:54, 7:20, 7:08. Generally an easy pace. But even just 3-miles in my neighborhood still meant 245ft of elevation gain, so it's not too easy.

We picked up Dylan, John's friend, to take a hike up Peary Mt in Brownfield, Maine with the dogs to pick blueberries. I probably picked the only mountain around that didn't have blueberries. Haha. It's an easy 1 mile hike up to the top of Peary Mt where you will find one of the most amazing views of the White Mountains, from the southwest to northeast. Stunning really. We actually spent quite awhile up there. John and Dylan didn't care that there were no blueberries. I just walked around the summit enjoying the view and cool breeze.

Dylan ran almost the entire mile back down the mountain and waited for us. John ran about 1/3 before he stopped to wait. Haha. So we were back to the car quickly. The sun was really out by now, so I took them over to the lake beach on Conway Lake to swim and do some illegal bridge jumping. They had so much fun. I had to stay off the beach side since I had the dogs with me and couldn't leave them in the hot car.
Bridge jumping progression

They built that pile of rocks and called it Trump's wall. Funny kids.

Me with Phoenix
We went by the store, dropped Dylan off and then went home for the night. The race was in the morning, and I wanted to feel rested. Had a good dinner and a beer... then did the opposite of rest and purged my closet and drawers of clothes I no longer wanted. I do this twice a year and still manage to fill an entire trash bag. I played dress-up while doing this if I had clothes I was on the fence about. Most of it ended up in the bag. So much for restful evening. I started the purge in the middle of putting laundry away, so I still had to finish that, do the dishes, take the dogs out and shower. This is when being single does not have its perks; when you have to do it all yourself. Haha. So needless to say, I went to bed ALWAYS.

Good riddance 
RACE DAY, Sunday, July 31, 2016

Wasn't this the whole purpose of this post...after 3 hours of writing this blog post. My "nothing exciting" week. Haha. I'm long-winded here, but I can be. It's my blog post. No one has to scroll past my bullshit. You all choose to be here. ;) I'm not on Facebook writing paragraphs of a vague nature as status messages like a crazy drama queen. Anywho...

Woke up to the sound of rain outside my window and nearly jumped for joy. Ok. That's a lie. I never jump for joy when I get up in the morning. I can barely get myself out of bed. But I was actually pretty psyched to see the rain and hoped it would continue right through the race as predicted.

John and I were on the road by 6am, getting us to Dover a little before 7:30am. I was surprised to find myself nervous for this one. I really wasn't expecting a win or much out of myself time-wise. It was just supposed to be a race to kick-start me back to road racing, so I wasn't really worried about winning, and I was expecting to run just over 40 minutes. That's a slow 10K for me, but based on my fitness level, I figured I was around 39 minutes on a less difficult course. (My PR is 38:27.) I felt like I had an idea of where I was and how I was planning to use the race, so I don't know why I started to get nervous. I guess it's typical for me before a road race now. Even if I warm up with people, I still take some time to myself before the start to mentally prepare. I guess I've just gotten too competitive when it comes to road racing, so I'm a bundle of nerves, even though it may not be noticeable. I went into major anti-social mode here. Part of it might just have been because I knew SO many people there. I don't know. I just talked briefly with Maureen Gillespie as we walked to bib pick-up, grabbed my bib then went back to hide in my car. John stayed sound asleep the whole time. Since it was raining, I didn't really mind him just hanging in the car for this one and getting rest.

Around 8, I went out for a warm up run on the first 2-miles of the course. Almost the entire 1st mile is downhill which can be disastrous for me, so I wanted to get a feel for it beforehand. I got back to the car where I pretty much hid until race time. It was pouring rain by the time we all made our way to the start. I saw Sarah Canney and talked to her for a bit before we lined up. I lined up next to her, Taryn Litterbrandt and Maureen. Eric Narcisi was lined up in front of me amongst a pretty decent group of competitors. A quick fist-pump good luck with him, the National Anthem and it was go time. I had eyed the women nearby and realized I probably had this win in the bag, which surprisingly made me more nervous. Off the starting line we went. I immediately put myself in front of all the other women which is often a disadvantage. They can all see where I am, but I can't see where they are. For one of the few times in my life, I actually kept myself at a conservative pace for the first mile. It was naturally going to be a fast mile just due to the downhill, but I still managed to keep it reigned in to where I actually felt like I was running slowly. 6:08 for the first mile. Pretty quick, but not too quick. I've started off New Bedford TWICE at a sub 5:50 for the first mile, so I consider a 6:08 pretty conservative for the 1st mile.

I was told that even splits were pretty much a no-go on this course since it rollllllls and most of the 2nd mile is uphill. They weren't kidding. It was a major gear change from mile 1 to 2.
The elevation profile
I felt like I was giving it a lot of effort, but the climb was difficult, and I came through mile 2 at 6:43. Ouch!! But at the same time, I wasn't holding back at all anymore, so it was just what I had in me. I was so thankful for the pouring rain at this point. I was already in a world of hurt and full-on pain face. Fortunately, there was a reprieve on a pretty nice downhill with some rollers for the next mile and half. So I hit mile 3 in 6:13. It was ok. I was actually happy with that since I knew that was under the pace I had expected for this race. The problem with this nice downhill-ish section is that this is an out-and-back portion of the course, so we all knew we had to turn around and run all the way back up it. Around mile 3.5, the leaders passed us by after the turn around. Andrew Huebner was in the lead, but I was psyched to see Eric Narcisi pretty hot on his heels. As I got closer to Eric, he made a very daring move... the mid-race hand slap! I'm known for completely missing people's hands. It was like slow motion. Arms out-stretched. And BOOM, right on target! Haha. A hand slap so right on the money that we should have gotten an award just for that. The only problem was that Eric slapped my hand so hard that I think it knocked 14 seconds onto my finishing time, thus costing me the course record. :)

I still had about a quarter mile to the turnaround which was a pretty easy incline. As I started to pass by the others, I realized that I wasn't that far back overall. The short downhill after the turnaround was nice to catch my breath before the long climb back up. Plus, I was able to see everyone behind me. Sarah Canney was the next woman behind me, maybe only a minute back. The other women were much farther back. So I knew I was going to win this by mile 4, but that didn't mean I was going to slow down at all. I came through 4 in 6:15, and that would be the last of the decent splits. From here on out, I had nothing but pain face on. The course would climb most of the next 2 miles except for a decent downhill in the last mile on Cocheco St. I would hit mile 5 in 6:45. The course then hits Rogers St. It's just over a 10th of a mile, but it is a steep ass hill, and it nearly took everything out of me. So much so that I had brief doubts of finishing the race. My legs felt like junk, but a very short downhill after this climb gave me back my umph.

Although I knew I had the race in the bag, I had one more challenge ahead, and it wasn't just the all uphill finish up Portland Ave for .4 miles. It was the King/Queen of the Hill! Anybody could win it. How was I to know someone in the back wasn't taking it easy only to blast up the hill? I didn't, but I sure as hell wanted to win it. So with .4 to go, we crossed a timing mat and climbed the hill. I'll admit. It's a good climb. Even harder when you're at the end of a 10K. About halfway up, I hit 6 miles in 6:50. Only .2 to go. I could see the clock so close, but too far away. I watched it hit the 40 minute mark and crossed the finish in 40:08. 1st woman. And I would take Queen of the Hill by only 3 seconds (the second person on the list was actually a man wearing a woman's bib. Grrrrr).
Nearing the finish. Got that awesome skin thing going on. Haha

2nd was a man, so Sarah was second when it was fixed.
I have to say I was pretty happy with my time since it was exactly what I expected to run. In general, it's a shitty time, but it didn't surprise me. The course and the speed kicked my ass, which was what I was looking for out of this race. I realized that I am nowhere near 10K shape, but it was ok. All was good. Eric was there at the finish. He never could catch 1st. but he was close, only 12 seconds back. The biggest disappointment for Eric was losing King of the Hill. He beat the top guys, but little did he know some other guy in the back planned out the win by running the race slowly and then giving everything he had on the uphill. He ended up taking King of the Hill by 21 seconds over Eric. Such a blow. Completely fair and part of the game, but so evil. Hahaha. I caught my breath and did a quick interview with Nancy Eckerson for Fosters Daily Democrat. Eric and I snapped a photo, then I went to the car to check on John.
Eric and me. Double-teammates. Six03 today. CMS 2 weeks later.
John was very content in the car using his phone. I brought him breakfast so he was having that. It was still raining, so it was all good for him to just hang out. We'd take a walk later. I changed shirts then cooled down backwards on the first two miles of the course, getting in a little over 10 miles for the day. As soon as I got back, I changed into dry clothes and headed up to the beer tent. John didn't want to come up unless there was good food, so I was going to call him to let him know. Turned out to be terrible food (the only thing I would suggest improvement on, especially with everyone drinking beer). I immediately grabbed a beer (Smuttynose Hayseed; not a fan, but it was free post-race beer. I couldn't complain). I made my way through the crowd where I found Eric and Sarah Canney. Maureen ended up joining us eventually. I called John to let him know the food was a no-go, but that we would get food on the way home.
Eric in a very bright Puma shirt with BEER.
It didn't take long for the awards to start. When I was called up for my overall award, I started looking all around behind Tom as he handed me my bag. Where the hell was it? Like I said in this blog post, "Never to be forgotten nor forgiven." Where the hell was my damn shovel?! I immediately asked for it and was denied once again. This is an atrocity! Hahaha. I'm such a jerk, but it made everyone laugh which was my goal. My award was actually pretty sweet. $100, a 22oz Smuttynose, a 100 Head/Heart/Feet dvd and some other small items. My Queen of the Hill award would be the exact same thing, minus the $100, so I had my hands full when I walked out of there.

We finished up our second beers then headed out. I actually thought I was in a bit of a hurry to get back to North Conway for John's friend's birthday party. We needed to swing by Target first to get John a new bathing suit and a present for his friend. I texted John's friend's mom that we were on our way but might be late (I had already told her we would be late if we were able to come). I got a text back that the party was yesterday. Say what?! I knew I hadn't gotten that wrong so I scrolled through the texts until I found the invite for the party on 7/31. So I wasn't wrong, but John missed the party. He and Dylan could have gone; we were around. Ugh. Oh well. It did help keep things not rushed. We browsed Target and walked out with a bunch of Pokemon clothes in addition to the new bathing suit. Haha.

Not having eaten for about 5 hours, we stopped at Five Guys to grab food for the ride home. I stuffed my face. Every year, right around the beginning of August, I start losing weight and am starving all time. I actually didn't expect it this year since I've been struggling getting down to that good race weight, but all of a sudden, my body just changed, and I'm feeling fit again. I just have to be careful not to stuff my face too much like I did last year. By mid-September, I started putting weight back on. Gotta keep that fine line, especially with Hartford not too far off.

We made the drive home, went by the house to pick up the dogs then took them for a walk in the Albany Town Forest. All of the blueberries we missed out on on Peary Mt were made up for on this walk. There were blackberries galore and then a really odd patch of awesome blueberry bushes you wouldn't expect to see here, but they were. Even all three dogs love berries and were picking them, too. It ended up being a fun walk for John which is always the main goal, and he needed the exercise.

Sunday night meant my 4-day weekend was coming to a close. I had one of my award beers which I really liked.

I never ate anything else since that Five Guys at lunch filled me up for the rest of the day. Another good weekend was in the books. Another race done. Time to focus on the next one. Run4Kerri 4-miler was the following weekend in Rhode Island. It would be competitive and only my second 4-mile race ever. My return to road racing got off to a decent start with the Six03 race. I just hoped I could move on the up-and-up after that. My calendar is full of nothing but road racing for awhile.

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