Wednesday, September 7, 2016

NH 10-Miler - USATF-NE GP#4 2016

I'll just go ahead and say that the NH 10-Miler ended up being one of my worst races of the year. Haha. You'll see why when you read what I did for training during the week. I totally sabotaged my own race. It wasn't the weather, even though it was slightly warm. It wasn't me being tired, even though I had gotten up at 4am. It was just plain stupidity that left me with legs like lead right from the start. So let's recap how my week went. Haha.

Monday, August 22, 2016- I have motivational problems on Mondays, run. I had had a good run on Sunday, and like most weeks, I just cannot get myself out of bed at 4-4:30am. I never used to be night owl. I was a total morning person, always up early. And then I had John. Totally turned me into a night person who liked to sleep in in the morning. Anyway, I don't remember much of work that day other than that I actually got to sleep that night. That's rare at the Tamworth base. I also walked about a mile around the base during the day. Would have walked longer, but we got a 911 call.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016- Day 1 of stupid things I did... Actually Tuesday wasn't horrible, buuuut I still should have known that substituting a track workout for a 9-mile run at 6:48/mi pace really wasn't helping me at all with the second (and last) day of testing at UNH. But, once again, I chose a complete flat route which had me running a little too quickly. I definitely wanted to get in a quick-paced run, but not that quick. Oh well! I went home, had coffee and showered. John's dad dropped John off at the house, then we headed for UNH.

I couldn't really remember what today's testing involved, but it turned out to be four 10-minute intervals (well, the first interval was more like 15 minutes to get me warmed up). Each interval started with a 5-minute warm up. The pace was set between 7-8:00/mi, which is easy, obviously. The second 5-minutes, they turned on a loud beep that corresponded with my heart rate. I was supposed to match my cadence to my HR, so the right foot would hit the treadmill every time I heard a beep. I was hooked up to an ECG, donned the suffocating mask and began the test. The first two intervals were completely impossible for me to do. My heart rate was so low that I couldn't run slow enough at that treadmill speed to do it. The last two intervals I was able to get it, but I wasn't running really. I was leaping. Literally leaping into the air by pushing off of my left foot so that I could actually go slow enough to match my heart rate. The whole time, I was worried I was going to get injured doing this and couldn't wait for it to be over. I was kind of rushed out of there after since it looked like they some sort of group meeting, so I didn't get any information on my results. I'm still waiting for those over two weeks later, but I'm not going to bug them yet. :)

John and I drove over to Dover because I had booked another 90-minute massage therapy session with Tina at Body Mechanix. We stopped at the ice cream stand to get John a sherbert (yes, my kid likes sherbert and sorbet) and then over to my appointment. Like I said before, the woman is amazing. I forgot to mention in my last blog post that the neck pain that started the morning of Bobby Doyle was still present and EXCRUCIATING. I couldn't turn my head to the left really at all and barely to the right. It was radiating down my back and into my upper arm. I haven't had neck pain like that in a long time and there was absolutely no improvement in over a week. Well, when I walked out of that appointment, the pain was diminished by about 50%, and I could turn my head both directions with hardly any pain. The next day, it was a little sore. Two days later, the pain was pretty much gone. Unbelievable. Tina is amazing. I think I said that already. My whole right leg was starting to feel tight again, so she worked that out as well as my left side and my back. I walked out of there feeling so much better. Seriously, she's worth the drive. Go see her!!

Once again, I had eaten nothing all day, so we drove to the Revolution Taproom and Grill in Rochester...probably the only nice thing in Rochester. I was completely worn out and starving! I had been dying to try Throwback Brewery's Scapegoat Porter which they had on the menu, and, of course, for the second time I've tried to order Throwback, the keg kicked! It was enough to get about 10oz (even though they claimed it was 12oz; I'm sorry but 1.5 inches of foam doesn't count), and I figured that was good enough to try it. Definitely a disappointment. And maybe because it was the bottom of the keg. I'm not sure, but I didn't care for it. Opted for an Allagash James Bean for the second beer. John got a root beer and ordered the right thing. I ordered a flatbread that didn't cut it to satisfy my hunger. It was more like an appetizer, so when I finished it, I actually ordered an appetizer. Some pretty amazing brussel sprouts, one of which I made John choke down. Haha. We had a good time there. John told me all about Pokemon Go characters.
What a great "appetizer" I have there. This girl needed FOOD.

John being a goofball

Posing with flowers. I don't know why.
We went right home after that. Rochester is less than an hour from our house, so it wasn't bad. John didn't have ninja class that night, so we were in for the night.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016- Working my 2nd 24-hour shift is probably what kept me from not doing anything dumb running-wise. I was REALLY feeling the day before, though. Not only was I beat from the running, I was also sore from the massage. I was still able to do the regular 5-mile progression run on the treadmill before work, though. Just ran it slightly slower than usual at 7:09/mi, but probably not slow enough. So I kind of did a dumb thing, but I didn't think much of it. Another long shift, and I did not get much sleep; we had two back-to-back calls overnight.

Thursday, August 25, 2016- What I love about Saturday races, getting the race out of the way so you can enjoy the rest of the weekend. What I prefer about Sunday races, I can still get a long run in on Thursdays and feel recovered going into Sunday. The NH 10-Miler was a Saturday race, but I really wanted to get some miles in. I figured that if I ran a mostly flat run at a slow-pace, I would be fine for Saturday. Hahaha! Yeah, right! Says the person who has a hard time running slowly on flat. This was the run that put me over the edge of stupidity.

I got off of work right at 7am and chose a similar route from the base into North Conway via North-South Rd, but then I veered off of last week's route to make a loop down West Side Rd, through Conway and then back to our base in Redstone. 15 miles. Well, I did ok on the first mile. Haha. 7:25/mi pace. After that, I just couldn't run slower. The effort felt easy enough. I still kept it mostly in the low 7s, with two sub-7s in there. And I felt ok, like I wasn't pushing myself too much, even at the quick pace...until I hit mile 11. It was like BOOM. All of a sudden, I could feel fatigue in the legs. I was really feeling the effort. I only had 4 miles to go, but I knew right then and there that I had fucked up Saturday's race.

I knew better, too, but I tried to fool myself. Ugh.  I ended up with 15 miles at an average 7:08/mi pace. But only 319ft of elevation gain! Haha! By the time I finished, I was pouring in sweat and beat. The legs were so tired.

I changed clothes in the car at work because I didn't want to accidentally get caught at the base for a meeting. It was unpaid (and pointless), so I wasn't about to hang around for it and opted for Frontside Grind instead where I found John, his dad (Bryan) and Bryan's parents. I ended up joining them at an outside table. For the first time in over 2 years, John was with both of his parents together, and we were having normal conversation! I didn't really think of this until after, though. My relationship with Bryan's parents really hasn't changed at all. We get along great just like nothing ever changed. But for Bryan and me, we mostly communicate by text. We do get along ok now, which is good, but we don't ever "hang out" together with John.  It ended up being pretty nice to get along and have a conversation for once. I think it was an odd situation for John because he acted differently, but I think that was to be expected. I don't plan on making a habit of this, but it's nice to know that after 2 years, we can finally be civilized with each other. For John's sake, it had to come to this. The last 2 years of our marriage were miserable, so it seems like it took 2 years to recover from it. I'm just glad we did finally reach this point because it was something I never thought would happen. Not saying I want to be pals, but amicable is great. Haha.

Anyway...John bought me my latte and turnover, which was awesome. We parted ways, and I went home. The weather looked iffy, but that meant there wouldn't be any motor boats on Conway Lake, so I loaded up my kayak and drove to Potter Road where I put in the boat. I got in, paddled on the right side then paddled on the left when I noticed I had knocked a frog off of a lily pad. I immediately put my paddle under it, and it climbed on board. It was pretty cool and sat on the paddle for awhile, then I let off onto another lily pad.

I had all the time in the world, so I paddled until I felt like turning around. The lake was calm, and I only saw one other boat, so it was really nice to enjoy the peace and quiet of the lake. John had found a pair of sunglasses on the river the day before and gave them to me. I have a small face so those trendy giant sunglasses look silly on me, but I took a pic and sent it to John.

I just can't pull off this trend.
I paddled out about 3 miles before I turned around and paddled back over about 2 hours. Even though I would call this relaxing, I don't think it quite qualifies as resting. Haha. 2 days pre-race, and I just kept pushing myself. I already knew at this point that Saturday wasn't going to go well, so I think I kind of gave up worrying about it and just carried on doing what I wanted no matter the repercussions.
Scared a heron out of the grass as I paddled back in.
Thursday nights are my tv night. I really only watch tv on Thursdays, so I got home, showered, ate and put on the tv. I (sadly!) cracked open my last bottle of Fat Alberta from Throwback. They have one release a year in December, so I now have to wait 4 months for its release.

Phoenix hates it when I take her picture. Haha
Friday, August 26, 2016- Major sleeping in was needed and accomplished. I had coffee then took Spot and Phoenix for a run up Middle Mt. I ran super easy and slow, but I could feel it... heavy quads. The run was actually easy, but I just had a bad feeling that the fatigue in my quads would be way worse on Saturday for the race. Ugh. Oh well. 3.8 miles total for the mountain run.

John came home around 1pm. I let him do what he wanted for awhile until his haircut appointment at JC Penny. And, yes, JC Penny. Just saying that makes me feel like I'm back in my hometown in the 80s. Who shops at JC Penny?? I guess somebody does. I do actually like their salon because they've always given John a good haircut. John had told me the week before that he wanted a haircut. I thought that was a good idea since it was probably early winter for his last one. His hair becoming mop-like. Haha. The hairdresser was really nice, but like most people, she asked what I wanted for him. I think sometimes adults forget that kids are capable of answering these questions, too. I wasn't bothered by it, but it's something I notice a lot. John looks younger than 10, so I get it, but I would rather him decide what HE wants for HIS hair. So I asked John what he wanted for a haircut and he told her exactly what he wanted. I stayed over in the waiting area which happened to be behind his chair. When he was done, he was SO excited. He almost jumping up and down, and he said, "I love it!" It was so cute to see him so happy over his haircut. Just the biggest smile across his face. Made me happy, too.

He looked hilarious after his hair washing

He's a goofball. I have NO IDEA where he gets it from. Haha. ;)



We were wearing matching sandals.
We went straight home after this. I had to get up at 4am, so I had an early beer then went to bed.

"Dammit. I am soooooSICK of selfies."

"Throw the stick. Throw the stick. Throw the stick. Throw the stick. Throw the stick..."
Saturday, August 27, 2016- Dooms Day!! I mean... NH 10-Miler

4am came way too soon... so I hit snooze and got up at 4:10am instead. I had already loaded the car up the night before so getting ready was quicker. Yeah...I know...I only just now thought of that. Haha. John and I were on the road by 4:45am headed to Amy Bernard's house in Hampstead, NH. Rick was going to bring their two kids and John over to the race to watch later on, so I left John with him, and I drove Amy and me to the race. Amy showed me the second half of the course, and, oh man, there were two huge climbs. I knew this was going to be a tough race even on a good day. One great thing I noticed was that it was almost all shaded. The temperature wasn't bad at all in the shade. Once we got there and parked, the temperature did rise, but it only seemed noticeable in the sun. Humidity was there, but it wasn't too bad. I was pretty sure that weather wouldn't be a factor for me today.

I ended up hanging out with the Whirlaway group since I'm friends with them. I don't know many of the CMS women well except for a few, and 3 of them wouldn't be there. Plus, I run such a close pace to Amy, Christin Doneski and Lauren Tilton that they really are the perfect group for me to stick with at races. The three of us plus Charlie Bemis went out for an easy 2-mile warm. It was pancake flat, so I shouldn't have even felt it, but the legs were definitely heavy. It was what I expected. I knew I had fucked up. For me, I usually know on the warm up if things are going to go well or not. I was feeling a definite not. Once we finished the warm up, there really wasn't much time until the start. I hit the woods one more time and then Amy and I walked over to the start. We went ahead into the starting area and lined up in the back of the elite women's section. I always feel awkward starting ahead of a group of men who are faster than me, but it is a nice perk so that we don't get stuck behind slow people. Runners lined up pretty quickly, and all of the familiar faces were there. Amy and I had decided we were going to start off with Christin. She usually runs a smart 1st mile, and she's also faster, so if we went out ahead of her, then we would probably be going too fast.

We weren't in the start long before the race started. And wouldn't you know it, some dude clipped my foot in almost the exact same place as at Mt Washington. I stumbled forward and fortunately managed to catch myself, but I was immediately pissed off. I yelled out, "If someone trips me up again, I'm going to be really pissed off!!" There's just no reason for it, and the fact that it almost happened to me AGAIN when I didn't do anything wrong, like cut someone off, really made me mad. Luckily, by the time we turned out of the parking lot and onto the main road, I was over it. And that's when I noticed my legs. The heaviness. Nothing crazy yet, but I could feel it. I felt like we started off way too fast, but I was hanging next to Christin and Amy where I thought I should be. As soon as I hit mile 1 and saw a 6:20 for a mile that was mostly downhill, I knew this wasn't going to go well. If 6:24 felt fast to my legs, then I was going to be a hurting puppy by the second half of the race. A part of me still held out hope that it was just a kink that maybe would work itself out, like I needed to warm up again, so I just kept trying to hang in there. Christin pulled ahead in the 2nd mile, and I never got closer than 30 seconds to her for the rest of the race. Amy and I continued to stay together. Mile 2 was another ouch at 6:31. Granted there are 2 decent hills in the first 3 miles, and my legs would not move up them. I realized after the second hill that I wasn't going to be able to do the hills today. The only way I was getting through this race would be if I slowed way down on them and then busted out the flats and downs. The second half of mile 3 had a decent downhill so I came through that in 6:18. Still felt like it should have been faster, but I had no turnover. Mile 4 had a nice stretch of mostly flat by the lake that I picked up my pace on, and it's where I saw John with Rick and their kids. It was so exciting to see him there and wave. He waved and cheered for me. I love that since it's so rare for me to see him in the middle of a race. Those few moments of joy were dashed when we hit a huge ass hill in the last .25 of the 4th mile. I had no choice but to slow down and even cut the effort back. Mile 4- 6:40. From here, the course basically climbed for the next two miles. Some parts steeper than others and a few short breaks. Mile 5- 6:55. I couldn't believe I was barely breaking 7 minutes, but I just couldn't get the legs to go faster. I started getting passed just before the halfway point. I have to admit, that I wasn't too upset to see just over 32 minutes on the clock. That wasn't bad at all.

Just past the halfway, the course turns right for a short out-and-back section. Amy was still right with me, and there were a lot of women right on my heels who shouldn't have been. Once we turned off the the out-and-back, the course continued to climb, and I continued to slow. I also noticed that I could no longer hear Amy. I had a feeling she wasn't doing well. The course climbs for most of mile 6, and I hit that at 6:54. WTF. I took a gel right here and then planned to grab water at the upcoming water stop. Little did I know I would be handed gatorade! There was no water! I attempted to drink it but ended up dumping it all over my face and on my white sports bra. I knew right there I was going to be winning something today...the wet sports bra contest! Woohoo! Oh well. I was so happy to have the upcoming steep downhill section. This is the one thing my quads could handle today. The drop is about 3/4 of a mile, with the last quarter of a mile and past the 7 mile point (6:44) the second to last huge ass climb. Right at 7.75, I heard someone coming up on me fast and was surprised to see Caitlyn Germain had caught up to me. She has been working hard to make a comeback over the last year with injuries plaguing her, but I took one look at her and could tell she was feeling good and in the zone. She passed me like I was standing still and took off. She looked super strong and would go on to catch quite a few women ahead of me. I wasn't catching anybody. I just needed to get this thing over with and hope I didn't get passed in the meantime. This pretty much ended up being the case for the last two miles. I didn't lose or gain my position. There was another reprieve with a huge downhill for 3/4 of mile 8, so I flew down this thing and came through mile 8 in 6:16. Two miles to go!

I was in the pain cave, and I had one more big hill in the second half of mile 9 that was just mean. My legs were total junk at this point and struggled so bad up this last hill to come through mile 9 in 7:05! Wow! Terrible!! As we crested the top of the hill, I knew I just had to coast it in from here. The course goes down for the first half mile so I just fell into it until it flattened out at 9.5. However, it didn't really flatten out since it's one of those deceptive "flats" that's really a gradual uphill (i.e. the first mile of the Cigna/Elliot 5K)! Ugh. I knew I was almost done, though, so I pushed my legs as fast as they would allow and finally turned the corner and saw the finish line. I could see the clock running and realized I was going to run over a 1:06. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed to see that. I came through in 1:06:06 (gun time)/1:06:02(chip time). 21st female and 3rd female master.
For such a bad race, I have to say this is a pretty awesome race pic. I was dreading the photos, so this one surprised me. The other 3 were horrible, though. haha.

I was a hurting puppy by the time I came through. My legs were happy to stop running. Caitlyn was there waiting for me. I gave her a hug and congratulated her on a great race. She was super psyched, and I was happy for her. I also gave Christin hug, then found water and kept walking to catch my breath. I couldn't believe I ran a 1:06. I didn't even picture that...not even with my dead legs! I thought I would run close to 1:05 at my slowest. Haha. The only saving grace was the 3rd female master, which also meant prize money! Yay! Honestly, though, I really wasn't bummed out after. It definitely wasn't a good race for me, but I knew it going into it that I hadn't been smart during the week. My legs were just junk going into it. I really just had to chalk it up to, "It is what it is," and it wasn't like I didn't give 100%. I really did. I gave the best I had on that day. It sucked, but I still made out in the end.

Amy, on the other hand, really had a bad race. She ended up getting heat exhaustion. She almost didn't make it across the line, but she did almost a minute after me. She ended up in the med tent and then in the ambulance after she attempted to walk away from the med tent. Christin and Lauren were holding her up. I took one look at her and insisted she go back....which she did, via a stair chair. I so wish I had gotten a picture of that. haha. After we left her with the medical personnel, I went for a mile cool down. I almost skipped it completely but decided to get something in. I eventually found Amy who was feeling better. Sitting in the air conditioned ambulance and drinking fluids brought her back to normal. We walked back to my car where we changed clothes, then met up with Charlie to go have our free beer at the Chinese restaurant. I quickly picked up my age group award, then we walked over.

I had a bad feeling about the "free beer". This was a chinese restaurant. That doesn't exactly scream high quality. My feelings were correct when we walked in and saw the list of free beers. Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite and Rolling Rock. Oh my god. Are they fucking serious? I'm almost 100% sure that I said, "This is terrible," because I saw people looking at me. Oops. So I decided I'd order a Rolling Rock. Charlie got the same thing. Amy got a Miller Lite. Ew.

We sat down at a table. I took one sip of the Rolling Rock and knew I just couldn't do it. I couldn't drink it. There was no way. Yes, I have become that much of a snob that I refused a free beer. I just happened to spot a beer list at the other end of the table and realized they had more beer than that! So I walked up to the bar and asked the bartender if they had other beer for purchase (I knew they did, but I asked anyway), then proceeded to buy a Sam Summer. It was the best they had to offer. EJ Hrynowski came over to talk to us with a Rolling Rock in hand. He happily took my Rolling Rock, and Amy snapped a pic.

We only had our 1 beer and then left. I drove us back to Amy's house. John was having such a good time that he hardly said hello. haha. That was a good thing because it meant I could hang out for awhile. While we were gone, not only did Rick take care of 3 kids, he also made two different types of pancakes. The man is a great cook. He cooked us all dinner both of the nights we hung out with them on Ossipee Lake. It was pretty awesome. Amy and I grabbed some good beers then sat down with pancakes.

We hung out for awhile, but it was getting late, and we needed to get home to take care of the dogs, so John and I left. We only stopped at Starbucks on the way home, so we were there by 5. I took all three dogs up Heavenly Hill to get them some exercise and that was about it for the night.

Sunday, August 28, 2016- Slept late. I decided to take a zero day from running. I woke up with my feet and right achilles hurting. I had never had either of these issues before, and I didn't want to mess around with the achilles, so I thought not running would be the best idea. We still went hiking, but I figured that would be less stressful on my feet. Oh, and it looks like that's the last time I'll be wearing those Brooks Neuro shoes that I had worn in the race the day before.

We didn't get out of the house until noonish for our hike. I decided on the Boulder Loop Trail since it was short and easy but still had a great view. It's a 3-mile hike which is perfect for John. It actually starts in my town by the Albany Covered Bridge off the Kanc, so it's a short drive. There were a lot of people on the trail, but by the time we got to the top there was hardly a person up there. John complained when we started that this trail is really steep, but after we got going, I think he realized that it was easy and didn't complain again. He actually seemed to have fun, and we even had some serious conversations about evolution and religion as we hiked up. (I'm about as atheist as they come, by the way, just in case there was any question.)

Easy hike for a great view
The only pic I could get of the two of us. I was pretty much in a pine tree. haha

The hike down didn't take long and then it was right to the Swift River for John. Even though the water level was low, he was able to find some deeper spots to swim and float down the river. He had a blast. I just enjoyed putting my feet in. I'm not much of a river person since it's almost always too cold for me.

We drove back into town via Passaconaway Rd since I had to go to the grocery store for food for work the next day. As I was driving, I realized that I had never run on this road and that it would make a good part of a long loop. So I might do that in the next couple of weeks.

You would think that when we got home in the evening, it would be time to have dinner and relax, but, no, not this girl. I had some mowing to do! haha. The grass had finally won out and the yard was all of a sudden field-like again. So I cracked open a beer, took out the mower and spent the next 2 hours mowing my unnecessarily huge yard. The last 30 minutes were done by headlamp. It was right into the shower after that and food!

I went searching through boxes in my basement looking for something when I came across a box of photos that I don't think had been opened in maybe 18 years! So instead of finding what I was looking for, I looked through all of the photos. I found this great one of my dad running the 1986 Sock Trot 5K in Union Point, GA. Where I grew up (Athens, Ga) there was a huge road racing scene. Mostly just 5Ks, but my parents were really into it (they were the race directors for my very first race in 1984), and the Sock Trot was a yearly favorite. It was held at a sock factory and everybody got free socks. But anyway, I loved seeing this picture of my dad. He was a big runner for years. Not fast, but enjoyed running. You can see where I get my arm swing from. Haha.

My dad in the Delta singlet in 1986. 
My dad continued running up until May 1990, when at age 49 suffered a major stroke. He was fortunate to recover from it after years of physical and speech therapy, but he never ran again. His gait was never quite right after that so running just wasn't comfortable. So he started walking 6 miles almost every day, and now at age 76, he's healthy and still walking every day.

My dad now
I never did find what I was looking for in the basement.

I ran the 1986 Sock Trot, too.

Right after the finish. Gotta love the outfit. That was actually the race shirt. Haha. Tucked right into my faux Jams.

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