Monday, September 5, 2016

Saunders at Rye Harbor 10K 2016

I was coming off a good two weeks of racing and had planned a no race weekend to give John and me a break from the early mornings and traveling. The only problem is that the thought of no race made me twitch. Haha. So, since I didn't have anything planned I decided I would run the Saunders 10K in Rye,NH on Thursday night. Seemed like a win-win. John didn't have to get dragged to a race since he's with his dad Thursdays, and I got to race and still have the weekend break. I didn't sign up right away, though, just in case I changed my mind over the week. My only issue was that I would normally like to get a long run in on Thursdays, so I wasn't a definite on the race.

Monday, August 15- Zero day. Couldn't get up early without my dogs as motivation. 24 hour shift in Tamworth. Absolutely nothing else to write about. Haha.

Tuesday, August 16- Got off my 24 on time and drove right over to the track. I was really crunched on time so I had to skip the usual warm up and settle for a short warm up run on the track. I arrived just as the cross country team did, but they ended up doing exercises off to the side. It was nice since Tim Livingston (one of the coaches in addition to his parents, Bernie and Eileen) turned on some music over the stadium speakers; it was mostly cheesy, but sometimes cheesy is good when you're running fast. I was a little bummed (not really) to see the Livingston's there because I knew they would report back to Terry Ballou (Tim's sister) that I was out training on the track. Terry and I go head-to-head at the Millen Mile every year, and even though it's really all in fun, we are competitive when we're out there. So I was trying to keep my track workouts on the down-low, but obviously this town is too small for that. Tim asked what I was doing and my times as I went, and sure enough, I heard from Terry later in the week. Haha. :)

I actually a great workout! The weather was much cooler than it had been, and I was really starting to feel faster on the track. 6x800: 2:57, 2:56, 2:56, 2:56, 2:54, 2:50. Perfect. I really have the 800s down. I did a quick cool down then drove home.

As happy as I was with my workout, it wasn't a good idea. I had signed up to be part of a study at UNH, and I had to be ready to run again on a treadmill at 12:30. Christine Fuedo, a student at UNH, was doing the study for her own interests and was being helped by Dr. Quinn in the Exercise Physiology Dept. Christine wrote this about the study:

The purpose of my study is to analyze possible changes in running economy using a relatively unexplored technique called cardiolocomotor entrainment (synchronization of skeletal muscle and cardiac contraction).  You would be required to come in on two separate occasions, the first for a lactate threshold/VO2max test to asses your overall current fitness level, and the second day would be completing four, 5-10 minute protocols on the treadmill at 7 and 8 mph with rest in between each.

I had done testing for VO2max for a study at the University of Georgia when I was in high school, but about 3 minutes into the test, my mask fell apart and it had to be stopped. They fixed the mask then started me back over at the beginning, but since I was already worn out, I didn't last very long. They told me my results wouldn't be accurate. I don't remember what they were, but I do remember just tossing them in the trash when I got them. So, I had been wanting to do this again for years and jumped at the chance. They didn't tell me not to exercise beforehand, so I assumed it would be a short test. But oh no. The first part was the Lactate Threshold test. Including the warm up, the test lasted about 35 minutes. I ran for about 5 minutes at a time with them pricking my finger for a blood draw after each interval. The speed on the treadmill was increased each time as well. I was worried that the results wouldn't be accurate due to the track workout, and I don't know yet if they were. Time will tell. The most difficult part of the test was wearing the mask. It was warm in the room, and the mask made me feel like I was suffocating! I pushed through it, though.
John took a photo of me during the test.
I had a 5 minute break before the VO2 max test, and they assured me the lactate threshold test wouldn't affect my results. This VO2 max test was different than the one I did in high school. They started me off at 0% elevation at around a 7:30/mi pace and increased the elevation by 2% every minute. I think I made it to 5 minutes...just barely. The last mile was at 10% grade, and I struggled through it. That was the end of day 1. I would be coming back the following Tuesday for the second half of the test. (Still no test results as of this writing. Boo.)

By the time I walked out of there, I was a sweaty mess and felt beat to shit. Plus, I hadn't had time to eat anything that morning, so off we went to the BRGR Bar in Portsmouth. John and I sat outside and had a great time, even though it poured rain about half way through lunch. I had some beers and my first ever burger with blue cheese, since it was suggested to me the day before by a friend. I used to hate blue cheese, but now all of a sudden like it. I added sauteed onions to it and added some ricotta tots on the side. SoooooGOOD.
He's so cute!

We didn't have much time before needing to head home, so we stopped at the USS Albacore down the street to take a tour. Neither of us had been in a submarine before, so it was pretty cool. John enjoyed it so much that I ended up having to drag him out of there due to lack of time (he had to get to ninja class!).
John in front of the USS Albacore

John pretending like I had just walked in on him in the shower. Haha.

Radio room

We played chess for about 20 minutes before having to call it quits.
We got home in time to pick up the dogs and then head to John's ninja class. I normally run the dogs at this time, but I was way too beat for a 3rd run. I took them on a short walk instead, then watched the rest of John's class.

Wednesday, August 17- I dragged myself out of bed for the usual treadmill progression run before my 2nd 24 hour shift of the week. I was a little tight and sore from the previous day's workouts and had to run fairly slow for the first mile. After that I was able to increase the speed every mile to end at my usual pace. 5 miles. 7:05/mi pace.

Work was the usual. I made the decision that morning to pre-register for Saunders since day of was $10 more. Typical call volume day at the ambulance. Steady, including some overnight calls, which left me pretty tired the next morning. I was already regretting signing up for Saunders.

Thursday, August 18-

Saunders on Rye Harbor 10K- After the lack of sleep, I still decided I wanted to get some miles in for the day. I wasn't really taking Saunders seriously anyway. My main goal was to swoop in, win the 40-49 age group, then walk away with $100. I didn't care anything about overall place or time really. So why not get a decent run in in the morning?

I ran right from work at 7am for a short loop around North Conway. I wanted to run it slowly and keep the effort very low. I managed to do half of that. With it being so flat, I ran faster than planned, but I definitely ran with very little effort. It felt like nothing to me, so I was happy with the result. 8.4 miles at a 7:22/mi pace. Only 165ft of elevation gain, so it felt easy.

I went to Frontside Grind after for a latte and a bagel sandwich then it was home to quickly load up my kayak for a short paddle on Silver Lake. Even though I was starting to feel really tired at this point, I hate passing up opportunities to take my kayak out. I had an hour to paddle once I got out there, and, oops, what do I have with me in my boat?! A beer, of course! I don't paddle without a beer!

I at least chose a beer with a low alcohol content. I figured that made it better. After I took the above photo, I realized that today was turning into an experiment. How far could I destroy myself before Saunders and still have a good race? Hmmm. I definitely didn't plan this, but it unfolded this way. I paddled for 3 miles on Silver Lake, then went home to shower and get ready for the drive down to Rye. I had 15 minutes of spare time to lie on the couch and close my eyes. At this point, I was seriously regretting signing up for Saunders. If I hadn't I would not have gone down there. I was soooooTIRED! But nope, I shoved some food in my face, made iced coffee then hopped in the car and drove down there.

My eyes struggled to stay open for the drive, but I made it in one piece and was early enough to snag a good parking spot not far from the start. I wasn't parking in the lot with shuttle again after having to walk a mile back to my car in the pitch black darkness last year. I wanted to be able to leave not too long after the race. I wasn't feeling particularly social today and didn't plan on hanging out long in the beer tent like I did last year.

I got my bib then went out for a 2-mile warm up at a quick pace. 7:19/mi. I felt ok. The weather was much better than the previous year and than Bobby Doyle on Sunday, so I was psyched. It felt fairly cool. Still humid, but nothing like it had been. After the warm up, I got myself ready to race and then ran over to the start where we all waited until it was time to move into the road. I didn't recognize any of the women except Amanda DeBlauw. She's been running really well this year, so I wasn't expecting to beat her, but I thought she would be good to go out with on the first mile to help keep the right pace. I went out way too fast last year, and Amanda is really smart when it comes to starting off easier and then pushing the end.

The race started, and it wasn't too far along before Amanda and I were running together. She said something about it being hot. Hahaha. I don't think so! I was kind of rude, but I totally disagreed on that. Said, "This is nothing!" And I meant it. Not saying it wasn't warm and humid, but after Sunday, it felt like winter. We continued running together and talked a little bit. She said she didn't think she would have to worry about racing me today. I told her that she didn't! And I meant it. I wasn't expecting to beat her. I mentioned how I was just there for the masters win and cared about nothing else. I felt certain I wouldn't even run close to last year's time; I wasn't coming into this fresh by any means, obviously. 10.5 miles, kayaking and beer drinking don't exactly make a good race prep. Haha. But it was definitely going to be a good test on my stamina. Amanda and I stayed together through the first mile which was an ok pace. I felt it was still a little fast at 6:08, but I was ok with it. Stupidly, though, I continued a fast pace through mile 2, which was almost all uphill. I dropped Amanda at this point and realized quickly I was being a moron. 6:16 for the second mile, which was slower than the first, but with the hill, I should have been more conservative.

At this point, the race continues climbing through mile 3, and I realized that I needed to slow down about halfway through. This is when Amanda caught up with me and passed me by easily. My pace for the third mile was only slightly slower at 6:18. Just past mile 3, the course crests the top of the hill and has a decent drop. I should have run the first 3 a little slower and then opened it up at mile 4, but by the time we crested the hill, I had nothing much left for the downhill and ran mile 4 in 6:17. It should have been down way closer to 6:10 if I  had run this race smarter. The course is very deceptive and is not a fast course. This one requires a smarter strategy which I had failed to grasp the second year in a row. There is one short climb to mile 4, and then mile 5 is a LONG downhill back to the coast. THIS should have been my fastest mile of the race, but noooo, 6:22. OUCH. That hurt to see that. It should have been under 6:10, but I had been dumb as usual, and just like last year, the 6th mile was a torture fest. Flat as a pancake, but I had nothing left. Just had to maintain and hope no one passed me. I could still see Amanda but guessed she was a good 30 seconds ahead of me and continuing to widen the gap. I actually thought she might catch the first woman, but she also ran smart and smoked the last 3 miles. I hit mile 6 at 6:22 again. Awesome positive split race for me! Haha. When I turned the corner for the last .2, I was dying, but I couldn't believe it when I saw the clock. It looked like I was going to beat last year's time...just barely! And sure enough, I did!! 39:11. I beat last year by 7 seconds. Finished 3rd woman and 1st master! Wow. I'd take it!!

I had to keep walking for awhile after I came into the finish line to catch my breath. Damn that deceptively challenging race. Haha. But wow. How could I really be disappointed? I realized that I wasn't... at all! Experiment was complete. I pulled it off. Haha. Definitely could have run smarter, but whatever. I walked away with $100 and a book and nice tech tee and shorts. No complaints. I ran a mile cool down then hit the beer tent briefly. I talked to Lisa Plante  and two other Six03 people while I attempted to drink the Red Hood Pale Ale they offered. I got through a 1/4 of it before dumping it out and bolting out of there. I realized I had no desire to stay and be social. I drove to 7th Settlement Brewery for dinner and a beer, alone.
Picture that Lisa Plante took just before I dumped that beer. Haha. Only pic from the race. No actual race pics. Boo.

Alone at the bar where I belong, with a real beer from 7th Settlement
The food came out quickly so I was in and out of there in about 45 minutes. The drive home wasn't bad at all, surprisingly, but I was pretty much all done by the time I got there. Good thing I could sleep in the next morning.

Friday, August 19- I was kind of in an anti-social mood all week. I wanted to be out and about doing stuff, but I didn't really want to hang out with anyone or run into someone too chatty. So when I realized my plan to run Mt Chocorua Friday morning would have me smack dab in the middle of way too many people, I changed my plans and decided to do a loop run over just Middle Sister instead. I was able to sleep in until 8:30ish, but I was definitely feeling the repercussions of Thursday. I can go, go, go all day, but I always pay for it the next day. And that was today. Not only did I feel like crap, it was also back up into the mid-80s. I parked at the Piper Trailhead and found the lot not crazy crowded yet and only ran into one person before turning onto the Nickerson Ledge Trail. I would run this up to the Carter Ledge Trail. I love these trails since they are the lesser used ones on the mountain, and I rarely ever see anyone. I would run into one couple as I crested Carter Ledge, but from there, I saw no one all the way up to the summit of Middle Sister. I looked over and could see the many people figures on Mt Chocorua. I sat down on Middle Sister with the summit to myself. I took some photos, but for the most part, I just sat there listening to nothing but the wind and was so happy that I chose to skip Chocorua.. I needed this moment up there in the quiet and solitude. I'm always on the go, go, go and surrounded by noise, so it was good for me to sit there for a few minutes. Haha. Yep. I can only last a few minutes before I'm on the go again. Haha.

I would end up running into A LOT of people on my way down Piper, but I expected that. What I didn't expect was to be bonking hard on the way down. I was feeling completely drained and dizzy at one point. I'm really not surprised, though. I'm not 25. I can't just do what I did on Thursday and bounce back feeling like a million bucks anymore. So I just ran slowly and got myself back down the mountain and then home where John was already waiting for me. The run is just under 8 miles. I stopped my watch at some point and didn't restart it for almost a mile at one point so it came out to 6.8, but who cares anyway? It's a trail run.

Since I was pretty beat, we hung out at the house for the afternoon until I dragged John off to a new brewery in Fryeburg call Saco River Brewing. They were having a band and food truck, so I thought it would be the perfect time to check the place out. We ended up having a decent time. It only lasted two hours, which was more than enough time for us. The band was fun. I really enjoyed their beer, as well, especially the coffee porter. John and I both got poutine from the food truck. I managed to avoid any conversation with people, so that was good. Haha.
Bad picture of me, but John looks cute. :)

Opted for a 16oz coffee porter after tasting them all
Saturday, August 20- Since the weekend was race-free, I made absolutely no plans for it. I figured I'd just come up with things for us to do as the day went on. I slept past 8am both mornings. Lounged around drinking coffee. John slept in then played his video games while I got a run in. I ran the dogs up Heavenly Hill once for a total of 1.3 miles. Brought them back to the house, changed shoes then hit the neighborhood for 5 out-and-backs at a really easy pace. 5.1 miles. 7:31/mi pace.

When I was done, I took John to Conway Lake where he swam non-stop for almost 3 hours. The kid loves to swim. Before we left, I grabbed a dress out of my closet to use as a cover up over my swimsuit. It's a dress I never wear. I bought it back in 1996 when I was in college and then carried it with me on my first AT thru-hike in 1998. So this dress is 20 years old and definitely not very, um, hip, but I grabbed it anyway. Funny that it fits better now than it did then. Stupid to write about it in my blog, but I thought it was cool. Besides some t-shirts, I think it's one of the few things I've kept over the years.

1997- I think I was drinking. Haha.

1998 at the end of my thru-hike. I was freezing my ass off in this pic
Now. Haha. No idea what I'm looking at. John took this.
When we got home from the lake and after running a few errands, it had cooled off enough for me to do some more house work. My "flower beds" needed weeding BADLY. The grass had grown up all against the house and was as high as my hips. Like with lawn mowing, this can't be done without a beer. Haha. It actually ended up taking me only 45 minutes, and now my house no longer looks abandoned. :)

Amongst the weeds!
Quiet night at home after that, but got some bad news from Paul Kirsch that a local guy, Jim Soroka, had passed away earlier in the day in a bicycling accident. I didn't know Jim too well, but I talked to him many times and ran with him last November when I large group of us got together for a trail run. Definitely a big loss to our active local community.

Sunday, August 21- Same deal. No plans. Slept in until 8. Drank coffee. Let John do whatever he wanted while I got on the treadmill for a 10-mile progression run. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can see the looks of disgust, but I would rather run on my treadmill than two days in a row around my neighborhood. Plus, it was about 20 degrees cooler in my basement, and it's a much better workout. It's, in fact, an awesome workout. Treadmills are great training tools; I think if more people realized that, they would stop the naysaying. I had a really good run, too. 1-3% elevation changing at every half mile and increased speed every mile to finish the 10 miles in 1:10:42 at a 7:04/mi average pace. I was smoked and pouring in sweat when I finished. Definitely worth it.
Pouring in sweat post-treadmill run
I showered, then John and I went mountain biking in Echo Lake State Park. We only did 3.4 miles, but for John that is long and took us an hour and a half. My legs were junk anyway so I didn't care how slow we went. We did stop at the lake for awhile because John really likes this certain spot down there. I grabbed him for a selfie and was surprised to see he smiled and that I had a great picture of the two of us.

I hadn't eaten at all yet, so we stopped at Sea Dog for linner on the way home. I knew to ask for the upstairs since they don't seat people up there when they aren't busy, so we had the tv and couches to ourselves. The waiter remembered me from almost a year ago when I had applied for a job there and was super nice... for awhile. Then it seemed like he couldn't away from us fast enough. I asked John what I did. He said, "You laughed." Hahahaha! There it is again. Oh well. At least I know my secret repellent now. So funny!
John was actually having a great time. I had to make him leave the restaurant for once. 
Since the dogs had gotten the shaft earlier, it was their turn for exercise when we got home, so I just took them on a walk up Heavenly Hill, as usual. It's such an awesome thing to have right in my backyard basically. No driving. Dogs can run free. I don't have to worry about running into other people. And then there's an awesome view from the top. It's only 1.3 miles round trip, but the dogs come back exhausted every time. That was pretty much the end of the week. Back to work on Monday to start it all over again.

Lying down at the overlook. I was all done.

Chill head

Chill always looks out when we're up there

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