Monday, October 3, 2016

Unplanned No-Race Week

After racing hard at Seasons 20K, I wanted to go back and hit the trails for a fun race and found the Mt A Trailfest 9-mile trail race on Mt Agamenticus in Kittery, ME. Looked perfect and would give me an opportunity to finally check that mountain out. I was really looking forward to it, until Wednesday....

Oh WTF. I was so disappointed since I had been looking forward to it, but no problem, it was a weekend filled with many race options. Should I go with my original plan of the Pisgah Mt 23K? Or stay local and do the Great Glen Trails 7K? The Funky Bow Trail Race? Etc. So many options...but I wound up doing none of them. So it became another weekend off of racing, which left me twitchy going into it, but by the time Sunday rolled around, I couldn't even run, so it ended up being the right choice...I think. Haha.

Monday, September 12- Work as usual. I was pretty beat from Seasons and not being able to eat much due to the upset stomach all day and night after the race, so the zero day was a good choice. It was nice having my friend, Jen, working with us today, so we got a lot of girl chat in, even though we were decently busy with calls all day. I also found a bag of candy corn and ate a few...handfuls. :) Not much sleep overnight with a late overdose call that didn't have us back until after 2am. Still amazed at Narcan and how it brings someone not breathing upright and talking within 30 seconds.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016- Track Tuesday. Probably a mistake. I was obviously not recovered enough from Seasons since I was actually feeling the fatigue and soreness when I woke up, but I went ahead with it anyway. It was pretty awful. Usual 2 mile trail warm up which felt fine. I was out of track ideas, so I went with 6x800. No rhyme or reason to my training really, so why should the track workouts be any different? Haha. Well, the first one was brutal. It was more like a warmup. In fact, the first 3 were like a warm up. My legs were sore and stiff. The last 3 were better. Not my usual fast, but what I expected. 3:06, 2:58, 3:01, 2:59, 2:59, 2:57. So not as consistent as usual, but I was fine with it. 2 mile trail run for a cool down. I would end up regretting this workout by the afternoon and couldn't even muster up the energy to do my usual 2nd run with the dogs during John's ninja class.

Yep, back again, this time in daylight
It was such a beautiful day, so I wanted to go hiking with John. I had some ideas, but as is often the case, I changed my mind en route and just went for a super short hike up Jockey Cap in Fryeburg. It had actually been a few years since John and I ventured up there, so it was nice. Such a nice view for a short hike.

John and I went to Ben & Jerry's after that, but it was closed as it always seems to be when we attempt to go there, so we went to PieWholeStuffer instead and sat in the sun on the sidewalk. Town was pretty quiet which made it enjoyable.

Typical Tuesday night taking John to ninja class, except I went to the grocery store instead of running. Someone stuck a fork in me; I was all done.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016- I was obviously in need of sleep because I never heard my alarm go off at 4:30 so that I could run on the treadmill. I was super bummed when I woke up at 5:15 and realized this. Ugh! That would make another zero day! I couldn't do it. I had to do SOMETHING. So I changed quickly and got on the treadmill for a mile. Put it at 3% elevation for the whole mile and increased speed every .2 miles. Nothing special at 7:19 for the mile, but I was happy I didn't bag the run completely. It did mean that I had to rush, and I made it to work just barely on time. 7am on the dot. Oops.

I made a HUGE mistake while at work in the morning. Kevin Tilton came by to exchange beers, and I forgot to take a picture of his car!!!!! I'm so slacking! :) I gave Kevin a Nightshift Awake, and he gave me a Breckenridge Brewery Nitro Vanilla Porter in exchange. Do you know how hard that was to stare at that beer in the work fridge all day and night?!

We actually had a really slow day with only two calls that were literally back-to-back with each other and next door neighbors, so I had time to write a blog post and check out the Hartford Marathon course for the first time. I didn't study it or anything, but I really don't like the last part to the finish. What kind of evil came up with that?! Oh yeah, someone like me who also has a long uphill finish at her own race. Muwhahahaha! I guess they call this karma or something.

Last mile at Hartford. I predict a 7+ minute on that one for me. I'll be in "I don't care" mode anyway. Haha.
Thursday, September 15, 2016- I also spent a lot of Wednesday's down time trying to come up with a long run idea.I wanted somewhere I had never run before, and I wanted 20 miles. After spending so much time in Effingham with work, I realized that it would be a great place to run (low traffic, nice dirt roads, hills, etc) so I came up with a route on Strava and made it my plan. I realized that with 4 weeks to go until Hartford that I really needed to start marathon training. Haha. Ok. Not really. I already wrote about that. I feel like I have the distance down and that it was the speed I needed back. I felt like I finally had THAT down, so it was time for a couple more long runs before the "taper". It's in quotes because I don't taper traditionally, but I will actually be pretty close to it this time around. Just like everyone else racing the NE GP, the races being so close together has been tough. Add the two mountain races in the middle, and I'm definitely going to need to do a real-ish taper (granted, I'm writing this post 5 days out from Hartford and my quads are sore as fuck Haha). But anyway...

Went home from work, changed clothes, and then drove down to the Elm St bridge in Effingham where I parked. My run was a loop run that would actually take me into Maine and Wakefield, NH briefly before looping back into Effingham. 16 miles of it would be paved road and 4.6 miles of dirt roads with over 1100ft of elevation gain. A challenging run, for sure. I started off a little too quick for the first 5 miles. The first mile was 8:10 which was perfect for uphill and warming up, but 3 out of the next 4 were well under 7 minutes. I wasn't looking to do this run under 7 minute pace, so I backed off. I had a goal of around 7:20 pace and with over 15 miles to go with all of the big climbs ahead of me, I knew I needed to back off on the pace. Miles 6-9 were at an easy grade, and I kept all but mile 9 in a good range above 7min. Mile 9 was a 6:49, but it was a good downhill, so it was fine.

Mile 10 would be start the long, hard climbs, and I ran it at an 8:12 pace. That was perfectly fine with me since it climbed over 200ft for about 6/10 of it. I stopped briefly at the top of the hill to have a gel then kept going. The course would become very rolly at this point with 2 more steep climbs until it topped out at mile 13. Although there were still plenty of short hills to climb the rest of the way, I did enjoy a break from the climbing with a long downhill section for mile 14, dropping my pace under 7 again. Just past mile 14, the road turns to dirt and stays dirt until mile 18ish. It didn't slow me down, even though some of it was rough gravel. I still felt pretty good, and it was nice running back on these roads with no houses and no traffic. Just woods. I started to really need some water by the time I got back on the pavement and struggled a bit for the last two miles back to my car.

It actually ended up being a better run than I thought. 20.6 miles in 2:29:25, a 7:15/mi avg pace. With the amount of elevation gain and the dirt roads, I was super pleased. Definitely a good sign going into Hartford.

Elevation Profile of  the run

I went right home from here instead of hitting up Wolfe's Tavern as planned. I just wanted a cold beer, so I went right home and popped open the Nitro Vanilla Porter that Kevin gave me. It was alright, but their regular Vanilla Porter is way better. Sadly, the Breckenridge Brewery sold out to a large beer company, so I'm not sure how much more of their beer I will buy, but I have a soft spot for the Vanilla Porter that might just make me keep buying it.

Red dragonfly landed on my foot while I was having my beer.
I showered after then met Bryan and John at the post office to get a passport for John. The lucky kid gets to go to Costa Rica next year with his dad and his dad's family. That took a lot longer than expected, and we almost didn't make it in time before the truck left, but we got it done. From there, I went to the nail place to get my nails done since I had broken a nail earlier. Haha. I sound like such a girl, but it's one of the few girly things I do. Plus, I have to do something to make up for my awful hair (see ice cream pic above).

I rushed home from the nail place to change clothes and meet my friend, Jen, up at the Shannon Door in Jackson. I was STARVING by this point since I hadn't eaten anything (just had the beer) since my long run. I ended up ordering a basket of fries and a pizza, and ate every bite. Yikes. But that's how hungry I was. It was fun hanging out with a friend, especially a local friend, since I don't do it that often. Ok. So I had dessert, too. :) I was stuffed, which should be no surprise.

Shed Mountain Ale

Spinach and feta pizza with a Tuckerman Rockpile IPA
Friday, September 16, 2016- I slept in like I do most Fridays then took Spot and Phoenix on an easy run up Black Cap via the Red Tail Trail and back down Kettle Ridge. I ran it super slow and only stopped on the summit briefly. There were too many people, so I only stayed up there maybe 2 minutes before running down. It's such a great run. Usually very quiet trails and a great view at the top. 6.7 miles in just under and hour and a half.

Selfie with my girls on Black Cap
I went to Frontside Grind after that for a quick latte and muffin (Peace of Mind Baking Co!), then headed home. John had already taken a walk with his dad, so we didn't do anything else that night.

Finally cracked open the Dark Brown Ale. Man, was it good.
Saturday, September 16, 2016- Today was the annual Jen's Friends Hill Climb for Cancer at Cranmore that John and I typically do. I wanted to get there before 9am so I put off my run until later in the afternoon. Just as I hoped, John found some of his friends from ninja class and was pretty much inseparable from them for the next 4 hours. It was great to watch him take off up the mountain with them, and I was amazed to see them run up nearly the whole thing! 1.6 miles and over 1000ft of elevation gain. I knew John was capable of this, but he just has to have the right motivation. Friends were it! I hiked up with one of the other moms just chatting the whole way. It felt good just to walk for a change.

John with his friends at the top of Cranmore
I ran into quite a few people I knew at the top, including Jen (friend at the Shannon Door) and some others. John and his friends played tag almost the whole time while we watched the usual dance performance. About mid-way through, John took the lift down with his friends. I took the lift down with Jen when it was over. I hadn't eaten (as usual) and was ready for the HUGE spread of food they always have after the climb. As we came down the lift, we spotted John and his friends rolling down the ski slope. Non-stop energy. It was great to see them having so much fun.

Jen and me

I love riding the lift down. The view is amazing.

John was running down while his friends rolled.
I made a big mistake not eating something earlier because I, once again, proceeded to stuff my face. This wouldn't have been SO horrible had I not been planning to run after this. John and I ran some errands prior to going home so that I could let my stomach settle a little bit, but it was to no avail. So not only was my stomach full, I also planned to do 10-mile run in my neighborhood. I honestly should have just stopped halfway because it ended up being a pretty terrible run. I didn't even want to do it in the first place. Couple that with extremely painful stomach cramps for the first 4 miles, and I was a hurting puppy. My stomach hurt so bad that I couldn't even get the first 3 miles under 8:00min pace. I seriously almost quit after 4, but the cramps started to subside and I was able to pick up the pace. I was able to stay under 7:30 pace for the last 4 and eeked out a somewhat respectable 10-mile run. Headphones with music were the only thing that got me through that...ok, that, and complete stubbornness. 10.1 miles in a sad 1:17:29. 7:40 pace (ouch). 782ft of elevation gain.

So not horrible by the end. Haha.
This run would end up being a total mistake. As soon as I was done, I had pain all down the back of my left leg (glute, hamstring, calf) and in my groin. It was this run that tipped me over the edge. It was like my mind was trying to warn me and telling me to stop, but I didn't listen. It started me off on a week of horrible, slow running (some of it awesome, but with me feeling terrible). I thought I was injured again, and started to panic a little bit. It was just so sudden. I don't really think it was this run per se, but more like not letting myself recover properly from Thursday's long run. It definitely started a downward spiral that I would be in denial of until after Lone Gull.

By Saturday night, I was really happy I had chosen to skip Pisgah (even though a huge part of me really wanted to still do it). I was also happy I had decided to volunteer at the Great Glen Trails 7k for Paul Kirsch instead of racing it. I just couldn't do it. I was beat to shit by Saturday night. John was, too, since he fell asleep early. He never does this! It ended up not being a great night at all. I was tired and in pain and then I pretty much told off a friend. I finally just had to go to bed and put it all to rest.

Phoenix stole my beer

So sweet. Played so hard today. I love him.

Sunday, September 17, 2016- As much as I was glad I wasn't racing, it definitely would have helped me mentally, but I stuck with my plan to volunteer at Great Glen. Paul had me do the timing which was kind of fun. It wasn't a big crowd, but it was all to support to Olympic Biathlete Sean Doherty, and this little race made over $1000 for him. While everyone was racing, I had John come down from the lodge to practice shooting a rifle. Wayne Peterson of Jackson Biathlon brought a setup for people to practice on. I thought John would really be into it, and he definitely was. Now, if I could only get him into the skiing aspect of it. Haha. I had never heard of this biathlon thing until a few years ago, and I remember being shocked that it was skiing and shooting. Say what?! haha. It actually seems pretty cool now and takes a lot of skill to have good shooting skills while your heart rate is through the roof. I took Wayne's card just in case I could get John to try it out over the winter, but I'm not holding my breath. Haha.

After the racers were done, Sean raffled off a whole bunch of his gear that he gets through his Adidas sponsorship. He had more than he could use, so he decided to give it away. I was given a raffle ticket and was lucky enough to get the one thing in the raffle that I actually needed.

I needed a new roller bag for when John and I travel to visit my family and planned to buy something before our next trip. Not anymore! Thanks, Sean!

I had planned to run the race course after the race was over, but John was getting bored, and my leg was hurting anyway. We took a short walk with all 3 dogs on one of the trails then went home. I attempted Heavenly Hill repeats with the dogs when we got home, but I quit after 1 repeat. I just couldn't do it. I was mentally tapped out and just not feeling it at all. 1.4 miles for the day.

In an attempt to salvage the weekend, John and I met up with Donna Cormier, Laura Holtby and Sara Holtby at Tuckerman Brewing for their Sunday concert series. Reklis was playing, and I always enjoy their music. John was excited to go because his ninja coach is in the band, and his best friend, Dylan, was going to be there (his mom is Laura). It actually ended up being a really good time for both of us. When we arrived, I immediately inquired about the stout since I didn't see it outside. They said it was almost out (they were brewing more!) so it was only being offered inside. I guess you had to ask for it, too, since I was the only one there who managed to snag a stout. haha. John and I had fun play fighting... which I won every time, and then I forced him to dance with me. He actually was enjoying it. He found an apple tree and kept picking apples, then he and Dylan went on a Pokemon Go hunt into Conway Village.. It was definitely what I needed after the up and down weekend.

I only just noticed this. The dude in the black shirt and jeans in the background in the middle of the photo wouldn't stop staring at me all night. It looks like he was staring at me as I took this photo. Eek! Go away, creepers! Not interested!
What ended up being a mostly shitty weekend for me ended up being a pretty good weekend for John, so I was happy about that. He needed a break from the long drive to far away races, and that gave him a lot of time to play with his friends. I'm working on the balance, but it's tough to get right all of the time.

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