Waterville Valley 2019

Waterville Valley 2019

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rhode Island 6 Hour Relay

This week was all about recovery for the first 5 days after the Manchester City Marathon. I usually can't stand to take more than a day off, but I knew that I really needed the time off when I didn't feel like running at all for those 5 days straight. My mind and body were finally in agreement on this for the first time ever! Haha. It had been so long since I've been sore after a marathon UNTIL this one. I was sore! And on Monday at work, I started to notice a slight pain in my knee (the aforementioned knee injury in my last post). The pain ONLY hurt to the touch, and it was localized to a fingertip-sized spot on the very outer edge of my right kneecap. Even though, it was small, I was immediately concerned, but not overly. I'd never had a knee injury before or anything like this, so it definitely was something new to me. I thought maybe it was just a slight strain that the 5 days rest would help. I was just happy to be over the Manchester hump... or wall! I was so ready to have some fun racing!

Monday, November 7, 2016- Monday was really about relaxing as much as possible. I could feel I really needed a down day and didn't even walk on the treadmill or around the base while I was at work. Had I not been on a 24 hour shift, I probably would have walked somewhere, but it was a good thing to rest completely...for a day. Haha.
Finders, keepers. Found this was left in the ambulance by the previous crew. I enjoyed every bite. :)

My work socks were compression socks today. Haha.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016- I had thought to order an Aquajogger on Saturday and had it shipped by 1-day shipping so that it came on Monday. I really don't like swimming laps. I'm good at it, but it just isn't fun to me. Like I said probably multiple times last year when I was injured, aqua jogging feels like actual running to me. Plus, I can cycle through my thoughts like I do when I'm running. I can't do that swimming laps. So, Tuesday, I went to The Mill and aqua jogged for 45 minutes. The knee was actually bothering me when I started, but within 10 minutes, it was completely gone, and I didn't notice it again until Saturday. It felt good to be in the pool for recovery instead for an injury, and I say this because I really didn't think the knee would end up being an issue. I thought I was just recovering.

It was Election Day, so I drove from The Mill to the Albany Town Hall to vote. As I took a left off of 113 onto 16 at Coleman's, I reminded myself to stop on the way back to take a picture of this Trump sign. It was just too comical not to get a photo.

I walked out of there thinking it was a done deal. No way could a disgusting human being like Donald Trump win this election. I ended up being dead wrong. I'm still baffled! After voting for Al Gore in 2000 only because I didn't want George Bush to win, I swore I would never again vote for someone I wasn't fully supportive of. For the following 3 Presidential elections, I voted 3rd party. Well, I guess I lied to myself. I didn't really like Hillary either; I actually voted against her in the Primary, but I couldn't throw my vote away to Trump by voting for a 3rd party this time. Hillary got my vote. I did NOT want that complete scumbag Trump to win the election. I don't know how ANYONE with any sense could vote for him. I just don't. The "working class" in all of their support for a rich pig who could NEVER relate to them, who would probably treat them like pieces of shit if they were employed under him, just got duped. Trump in his Tower with his gold chairs and his plastic-looking family could never relate to any of us. I understand people wanting a change-up in the government, but Trump is not it! But it's similar to the people who bought into the whole "Hope" and "Change" campaign when Obama was running. It's too optimistic! Trump's ridiculous, empty words are also too optimistic! Where are people's sense of reality?! I don't want to go on about this because it's all been said for weeks now, but I hope he fails and fails big time. He needs to be brought down to the level of the rest of the people so that they will actually see him for filth he is and vote him out in 4 years...if we make it that far. I was at least happy to see that Hillary won my town of Albany and the town of Conway and would end up winning New Hampshire's electoral votes! Rant over. Haha.

Besides following the election results ALL day, John and I also took a walk at Pudding Pond. It was such a beautiful day. The soreness in my legs was almost gone already, just from the aqua jogging that morning, so I felt good on the 2-mile walk. 

Pudding Pond in North Conway

John and Phoenix

Cool dragonfly that John spotted
Before we left for ninja class, I got on a shoe binge since I had shoes spilling out of my closet. I'm a shoe fiend, but I finally had to let them go! So hard, though! Half of those shoes I won. The two pairs of Sketchers from the 2012 and 2014 White Mountain Milers Half Marathon. The La Sportiva shoes on the bottom right that I won at the Kismet Cliff Run in 2010; they don't even make that one anymore. The La Sportiva Helios on the top right that I won at the Kismet Cliff Run in 2013. I got the Montrails in the top center for free from The Clymb back when I had about $2000+ in store credit. The only shoes I paid for were the three Brooks ones. It was hard to get rid of the blue pair of Pureflows since I wore those at VCM when I got my marathon PR. I didn't care for the other two models of Pureflows so good riddance to them! I hate getting rid of shoes! Cry! Haha. But once they are literally spilling out of the closet, I have to bite the bullet.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016- I'll admit that I was pretty upset about the election results. Not because Hillary lost, but because Trump won. But after my initial rant upon walking in the door at work, I was done. Still left me a bit somber for the rest of the day. Just had me shaking my head at how ignorant most Americans are. But oh well. I got on with the day. Usual call volume day. I took a 2-mile walk on the railroad tracks for some exercise. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016- I went by the house quickly after I got off work to pick up Spot and Phoenix then drove straight to The Mill to aqua jog again for 45 minutes. I had an appointment in Portland at 11am so I showered at the gym then drove to Portland from there. The appointment was quick. I stopped to at the Craft Beer Cellar to buy some of the Moat Call it a Day IPA to bring to Scott Mason this coming weekend. (I couldn't find any locally!)  And since I was so close, I just HAD to walk to the Holy Donut where I got two donuts that would be my breakfast AND lunch. Haha. 

I had searched out beaches in the area where dogs were allowed off-leash and came across Willard Beach in South Portland. It took me forever to find the damn parking lot! I drove back and forth and in circles until I finally realized where it was. What a beautiful area right there! It's not a long beach, but it was still a decent walk down and back. 

Barking at crows that totally ignored them. Haha.
I had also promised Scott Mason some Bissell Brothers beer, so that was my next stop. I also ended up going the wrong way and drove an extra 10 minutes out of my way before I got back on track. Haha. I stayed for one drink at Bissell Brothers after I got a 4-pack of Reciprocal. The place smelled SO GOOD in there. Sweet citrus. Wish I could have bottled it up!

Umbra for me. Reciprocal to bring to Scott.
Next stop was the Bier Cellar to pick up my very small (for once!) order. And once again, as soon as I walked in the guy said hi and just walked to the back. Still remembered me! Haha. I don't know how I'm that memorable at a beer store in a big city. Maybe he just has a photographic memory. That would explain it for sure, though. I continued on from there to Spare Time where I bowled two really shitty games. The fake nails were definitely a factor this time since my thumb nail kept catching with every throw, but oh well. I was just looking for something else fun to do. 

I came so close to hitting Austin Street Brewery which was right next door, but I decided I'd skip it and took the dogs on ANOTHER walk at the Riverton Trolley Park across the street. It's just a woodsy trail along the Presumpscot River and another off-leash dog area. We just walked out and back on the single-track trail for 2 miles. 

This was much more vibrant in person. The green was very green and the yellow really stood out.
A quick stop at Starbucks after that and then I headed home. I couldn't believe I was opting out of eating somewhere, but the two donuts and the Umbra were enough to leave me full by the time we left. I took 302 home, which is always a huge mistake. Maine drivers are notorious for being slow drivers in general, but I swear they all congregate on US302 between Portland and Fryeburg. Construction area? Forget it. You'll be going 20 under the speed limit instead of the usual 10 under. And it.is.WITHOUT.FAIL. Hahaha. I was at least treated to an AMAZING sunset for a good 30 minutes of the drive home.

Sebago Lake sunset
Once we got home, I opened up the bluetooth speaker that John had requested to play music in the shower. I made a goofy video and sent it to him. I made myself laugh when I watched it, so I thought I'd share it here. Haha.

Friday, November 11, 2016- The 5th day of no running, but I wasn't freaking out about it at all. I knew the next day I'd be back into it. It was off to The Mill for another 45 minutes of aqua jogging. I got there just as the water aerobics class ended and lucked out to get a space in the pool.

I had to swing over to Sandwich Spring to fill up the water jugs and nearly froze my hands in the process. The wind was whipping. I stopped at the trailhead on 113A for a short hike with Spot and Phoenix up to the Great Hill Fire Tower. I was thankful I had my work coat in my car because it was really cold. I looked like a complete goofball, but I sure as hell wasn't getting shot by a deer hunter. Haha. Only Spot came to the top of the tower with me, and we stayed for a minute, if that, because of the crazy wind.

Spot in the Great Hill Fire Tower

Phoenix was excited for us to come back down.
I made a cozy fire in the woodstove that night and drank one of the best beers EVER. Prairie Birthday BOMB! Phoenix hung out with me while John stayed in the other room doing his own thing. It's kind of weird not being needed as much anymore, but it's nice to see John growing up and maturing (when he's not acting like a 4 year old haha) and being capable of entertaining himself. It's hard to even remember when it was the opposite and my life was 100% just being a mom. I remember the feeling of having just an hour of quiet to myself if he fell asleep. Or 30-45 minutes to go for a run alone or an hour at the gym while he was in the gym daycare. I'm glad I was able to find my own interests as he grew into his; I wouldn't want to be one of those moms whose only life is her kids. Once they're grown and gone, they must be left lost.

The BOMB! is the bomb!

Don't judge the cement floor covered in rugs. That was not what I wanted. Haha.
Saturday, November 12, 2016- I was able to sleep in a little since we weren't leaving for Mass/RI until 1-ish. After coffee, it was finally time to do my first run back since Manchester! Woohoo!! NOT! It was the typical boring neighborhood run, and as soon as I started to run, I felt the most insane soreness in both hamstrings. WTF?! I've had sore hamstrings before, but nothing like this. I could barely run the first mile and was happy I had Chill with me to keep it super slow. I had no idea why I would have such soreness after 5 days off....except maybe I'm not meant to take 5 days off!! Haha. Ok, doubtful, but nothing explained it. I'd felt nothing all week, then bam. I had to run the entire 5 miles very slowly. The hammies were so stiff and tight. I was glad I did this run the day before the next day's relay so I wouldn't have been caught off guard then. 5.1 miles. 8:09/mi pace. SO slow. I didn't know what was going on and it made me a little nervous about the relay.

We left for Marshfield, Ma where I would be dropping John off with his grandparents until Monday. I drag John to nearly every race, but a 6 hour race would have been asking way too much of him. Plus to drag him to the bar after the 6 hours would have been like torture, so it was off to the grandparents' where he ended up having a great time. He and his 3 cousins went to Plimoth Plantation on Sunday, and he said he loved it. Phew. I love it when things work out.

I stopped at Trader Joe's on the way there to buy snacks for the team during the relay and then dropped John in Marshfield. I didn't stay long because I was starving by this point and wanted to get to Providence for dinner. It was a tough choice since there are so many good places to go, but since I had never been to Federal Hill, I decided on that. Knowing where to find the free parking was key. It took me only about 2 minutes to find a spot after getting off the highway. Of course, it had me in a slightly sketchy area on quiet streets, but it was literally like one street off of Atwells Ave and a 5 minute walk to the Federal Taphouse and Kitchen. And OMG! How cute is Federal Hill?! Wow. Reminded me of downtown Athens, GA where I grew up. I was in heaven. Haha.

The place to park in Federal Hill. I don't need no stinkin' valet parking. Haha.
I had considered making a reservation since I knew it would be packed, but since I didn't know what time I would get there, I decided to wing it. Sure enough, the place was pretty much "booked" for the entire evening. My only hope was a seat at the bar. I got there just as Appy Hour was ending so I was hoping some of those people would be heading out soon. I waited maybe 10 minutes when two seats opened up at the bar! Unfortunately, two seats meant another single person would be sitting next to me. Sure enough... I was joined by an older guy who had come down from Vermont to watch his son run in the New England Interscholastic XC Championships at Ponaganset earlier that day. I really, really, really didn't want company, but what was I to do? He was a super nice guy, but he literally talked my ear off the ENTIRE time. I couldn't even eat my dinner in peace, but he had an interesting life back there in Vermont so his story kept my attention at least. I SO wanted to enjoy those Saigon Pork Tacos because they were SO damn good and served with tots, too, but it was difficult with someone talking in your ear the whole time. I just didn't have the heart to demand quiet. I'm only that mean during a marathon. Haha.

The only picture I took at the Taphouse because I never got a second of quiet.
I was finally able to leave there to follow through on my plan to hit Long Live Beerworks not too far away. It was a bit of a walk down there, but I was good. Long Live was a tiny place and still had a decent crowd for the last hour. It was a good vibe. I had their Course Grind Stout that was so good that I wanted to take a crowler with me, but the cost of the crowler itself deterred me. I also had a tasting of their Wesside IPA which was also excellent. Top quality brewery there, for sure.

Long Live Beerworks
I walked back to my car and drove to Scott Mason's where I would be crashing again for two nights. The empty studio apartment makes a great crash pad, and I paid my fee in beer! Haha. I didn't tell Scott I was able to get the Call it a Day IPA, so that was a good surprise for him. I had a few other beers in the cooler for him, too, including the Reciprocal and some other Maine beers.

It was off to bed after that since I had to get up early the next morning for the Rhode Island 6 Hour Relay (combined with the Ultra). I had had way more to drink than I normally would the day before a race, but I was looking at Sunday as just a fun, non-competitive event with my Six03 teammates.

Sunday, November 13, 2016 - Rhode Island 6 Hour Relay

I never intended to do this one this year, but when I found out it was going to be the last one, I had to find a way to do it. When I first moved back to New Hampshire in 2011, I had just run my first ultra a few months before and really loved it. So I started perusing the Ultrasignup website for ultras in New England. I found the Tarc Spring Classic 50K that I registered for and DNFed after only two loops. That still didn't keep me from looking for more. I registered for the Nipmuck Trail Marathon (not an ultra, but looked just as challenging), then got really sick late summer, knocking me out of my training, so I never made it to the starting line of that one. I still wanted to do a long race before 2011 was over and remembered reading about the Rhode Island 6 Hour Ultra in Ultrarunning (way back when I subscribed) earlier in the year, so I looked it up. I'd never thought about doing a timed race before, so this went on my some day list. I wanted to do it every year since then, but it just never seemed possible with my life as it was. This time, I had to make it happen, so I posted on the Six03 FB page in hopes of filling a team for the relay. As much as I would have liked to do the Ultra, I didn't think it would have been a good idea a week after Manchester. Plus, I thought the Relay would be way more fun. I had very little interest at first, but then tried again about a month out. And just like that, I had a team!! I would have one person drop out, but another joined right up. I was super excited about it. I couldn't wait to run, then sit around in my sweatpants while I watched everyone else. 2.7 miles 3 or 4 times. Easy! So I thought. Haha.

I stopped at Starbucks on my way down to Warwick City Park since I was feeling the night before. Oops. I needed coffee! Since I was doing the Relay, I parked over by the baseball field as planned. I knew I had a bit of a walk so I brought along my hiking backpack to put everything in. I still had my arms full with the food bag, gallon of water and my chair, so it wasn't the most comfortable walk, but it wasn't far. haha. When I got down there, I found my teammates, Chris Straub, Joel Turcotte and Frank Nordaby. Alex Shaffer was running late but on his way. We checked in and got our bibs, shirts and relay bracelet. I was pretty excited about the day and so were my teammates. We weren't expecting to be competitive at all and just planned to have fun. We found a place to set up. I passed out the bibs...which were hilarious.

We didn't really have a plan in place, but it was almost unanimous that we wanted to do one lap each instead of running all of our laps at once. I thought that would be more fun so none of us was sitting around for hours doing nothing. I never realized how hard this would end up being for me. Haha. We took a quick group shot and then realized we only had about 20 minutes to the start. It was decided that I was going to go first since I was the only one dressed and ready, i.e. not in jeans, slippers, etc. Haha. I actually wanted to go first, so I was happy with that.

Team Six03 Endurance. Me, Frank, Chris, Alex and Joel
We had about 15 minutes to the start, so I really needed to warm up. And, whoa, wow, I was hurting! The hamstrings were worse than the day before!! I was planning to run all of my legs as fast as I could, but this was looking iffy. Hmm. I ran just over half a mile. I only just finished my grande coffee, so I could feel that in my stomach. I was kind of a mess, but I was still excited to get started. Fortunately, I felt pretty good when we lined up. Andy Neil was lined up there next to me so I talked to him for a bit. I saw Eric Lonergan and knew who would be finished the first lap first. Haha. I already knew his team would win with him starting and Steve Brightman anchoring. And then seeing Andy's team, I didn't think we stood a chance.

The race started and I went out hard, as planned. The hamstrings were really noticeable, but they didn't seem to be an issue in this first loop. Eric was out of sight by the first mile, but I was still hanging just behind Andy and this other guy. The other guy was doing multiple loops, so I would end up passing him just after the second mile. My splits on the first loops were ridiculous since I went out way too fast. 6:13, 6:37, 6:24 coming through in an even 17:00 and in 3rd place so far, tagging off with Chris. The loop was much more difficult than I thought it would be with its hills in the second half and a few sections with slippery leaves. I knew I wouldn't be running that fast again. Haha.

It was time to relax for the next 1.5 hours while my teammates ran. I decided to change outfits for each leg just for fun so I changed and then got in my comfy Six03 sweatpants and parked it on my camping mat. I broke out the snacks. Cheese, crackers and salami, cookies, chocolate covered almonds and corn chips. Too bad none of us would be really hungry the whole time. Haha. They posted the first results so far at some point, so I decided to take a look. I was shocked to find we were in 2nd place!! That was totally unexpected! The downside was that this now changed from a fun race to a serious one!! It took a few laps to convince Chris that he had to stop running for fun and take it seriously, but he did. The rest of us continued to bang out decent loops.

Stupidly, I didn't warm up for my second loop, and my hamstrings were killing me as I ran over to the transition area to wait for Joel to come through. He passed on the bracelet and off I went feeling majorly tight. I felt I ran a smarter loop this time with my splits at 6:25, 6:40, 6:38 and only came through 12 seconds slower than the first loop in 17:12. My hamstrings were a mess, though, and I was feeling pain in the right knee! Ugh. Oh well.

Second loop. I actually look pretty rough in all of the photos. I can see just by looking at them that I was hurting. Photo by Scott Mason
It was such a beautiful day, so I went right from the finish of my second lap out to the beach for awhile. The sun was SO warm, and it was really pretty. I didn't have my sunglasses, though, so the glare off the water got to be too much, so it was back to the sweats and my mat. I was loving the lazy part. I brought along that speaker I got for John and got some tunes going for a little bit, but I felt bad about bothering the other teams so I didn't leave it on.

Halfway through the 6 hours, and we were still in a pretty strong second place! The other teams would catch up to us in laps, but our time ahead of them was pretty strong. I was worried I was going to screw it up since my hamstrings were just getting worse. Fortunately, Frank would end up running faster each loop, as I slowed, so that helped even it out with me. Alex ran pretty much even the entire time. Chris got much faster once we got him to, and then Joel who was the fastest slowed like I did, but still ran good times. I had a feeling we were going to pull off second. This was getting exciting. I was pulling the live results up on my phone every 15 minutes (when I wasn't running) to see where we were.

At 3 hours, it was my turn again, and this time, I could barely run! My hamstrings nearly seized up on me in the first mile. It was SO bad. I've never experienced anything like that EVER. The right more so than the left, but it was still both! And then the knee pain! Wtf! I couldn't run this lap fast at all! My hamstrings literally wouldn't let me. My first mile was actually my slowest! They warmed up a bit so that I could pick up the pace a little for the next 1.7, but it wasn't much. 6:43, 6:42, 6:35. 17:31 for the 3rd lap. Ouch.

Photos that Chris took from the hand off to start my 3rd lap.

By the time the whole team finished 3 laps each, we were way ahead in second place, and we started to figure out that we were staying really consistent with all 5 of us getting in a lap every 1.5 hours. It was just a few minutes under 4.5 hours when I started my 4th lap. My 4th lap sucked bad, too, but it was nearly even with my 3rd lap at 17:35. Splits: 6:45, 6:44, 6:39. I had been smart enough to warm up before the 4th one, but I didn't even know if I could run the last lap. That's how bad it hurt. OMG. By the time I finished, I was SO done. If I had been up for another lap, I wouldn't have been able to do it. No way. No how. I was hurt. After my lap, we figured out that we had plenty of time for us each to get in that full lap with Joel finishing up our 20th lap just a few minutes before the clock struck 6 hours! The next two teams down wouldn't have enough time for their last runner to complete a 20th loop, so we knew we were going to come in 2nd!! I was so excited!! With the clock passing 5:56, Joel came running through to finish our 20th lap and seal 2nd place team in the relay! A total of 54.02 miles in 5:56:29, an average pace of 6:36. We did really well!! I was so psyched for all of us. Six03 invaded the Four01 and stopped the Rhode Runner sweep. Buwahaha!!

Frank handing off to Alex

Alex handing off to Joel


Chris handing off to Frank

Joel finishing off our 20th lap

Joel's monster costume
Six03 with our 2nd place beer winnings!
We packed up our things, then Frank and I walked back to our cars at the baseball field. I got completely changed. I wanted to look halfway decent for the post race party at Jacky Boy Pub. There was a guy in a car parked right in front of me who was probably wondering what the hell I was doing, but I didn't care. I got dressed then drove over there, getting behind the slowest people from Mass (turned out they were from the race, too). Steve Brightman was behind me until I saw him go a different way. At the time, I thought I should have followed him to get around this Masshole, but he ended up getting stuck in traffic lights the way he went, and I beat him to the pub. Haha.

As soon as I stepped out of the car, I could barely walk. My hamstrings hurt, but so did the right knee! And badly! Oh no! This was a knee injury!! Fuck!! Oh well. I wasn't going to worry about it tonight. It was time for beer! My teammates were there already so we had sat together and had some beers. They all had to leave shortly thereafter to get back to New Hampshire. I had taken half of my Monday shift off so that I didn't have to drive back. I knew I'd be drinking, and it would be late. Not a good idea to be driving back to pick up John.

Six03 at Jacky Boy Pub
The rest of the night ended up slipping into a blur after the 3 Floyds Brewing Dark Lord was brought out. We each had very small glasses which was more than enough with this beer being at 15%. I had already had a couple of beers! But then Rachel Flaksman poured the rest of the bottle into my glass, and that's when the night turned into a blur of memories. That beer sent me over the edge. Yikes. I haven't felt like that since Vancouver in 2002. Seriously. Wow. Rachel, Scott Mason, Tony Wild, Jason Ashley and I left the bar to go upstairs to Fellini's for pizza. I pretty much forgot how to eat, and I guess they were laughing at me as it took me about 20 minutes to eat one piece of pizza. And then Jason and I had decided that we were going out!! Haha. We were going to hit the bars/clubs/I have no idea in Providence. We were doing this! So funny since we had absolutely no way of getting to Providence and back without paying a small fortune to Uber. All I knew is we were going out. Thank goodness for Tony who thwarted my 21 year old self from doing something really stupid by saying we all needed to go for coffee. We all hopped in Tony's car and went to a Dunkin' Donuts where we sat until we got kicked out. They turned the lights out on us. Hahaha. By the time we got back to Tony's car, we had sobered up enough to realize we were tired and just wanted to go to bed. Phew! Back to age 40.

When I got back to Scott's, Rachel messaged me saying that she had my beer. Hmmm. Beer. What beer? Oh yeah, the beer she and Michael Crutchley had given me at Jacky Boy. Apparently I left it on the bar or something. Well, let's just say I only made it inside with 3 out of the 4 beers. I smashed both of Rachel's beers in Scott's driveway. The G-Bot fell victim, as well. Sorry Crutchley!! The only one to make it out alive was the Sip O' Sunshine. I cannot be trusted to carry beer in that state. I went upstairs, brushed and flossed, sent messages I shouldn't have to someone, then fell asleep. :)

The evidence. I picked them up and put them in the trash.

Monday, November 14, 2016- Woke right up at 4:15am and couldn't go back to sleep, but I stayed in bed until 7am. I'm up at 5:30am every Monday for work, and the time had just changed the week before, so my body was waking up on Monday like it always does. This happens every time I take a Monday off. I was definitely feeling the night before, but a venti coffee at Starbucks on the way out of town did the trick, and I actually felt fine by the time I got to Cambridge to meet John and his grandparents. The drive home wasn't bad at all, and we were back by 1pm. That left us plenty of time to take a walk up Heavenly Hill with the dogs before I had to go to work. John didn't complain once about the walk! I couldn't believe it. My knee hardly bothered me on this, so I felt optimistic about running the next day.

I ate an early dinner before leaving at 4:30pm to go into work for a 14 hour shift which would start off busy since I was working with the black cloud, Cody! Haha. 2 nearly back-to-back calls, but then it was quiet for the night. I needed the sleep after Sunday night's lack of.

Looking back on the weekend, I realized that I probably would have been better off just running the ultra after all. It would have been slow and constant. Running hard, then resting repeated 4 times over the day ended up doing me in. I thought it would be an easy, fun day, but the competitive nature crept in, as well. Probably not the smartest move, but I had so much fun. I really don't regret it. I loved having my teammates there with me. It was great getting to know Alex and Chris a little better and actually getting to know Joel and Frank. I wish I had gotten myself to the 6 Hour years before this! I guess Six03 will just have to settle with invading the Grog & Dog Jog in 2017! Haha!

Sunday night made me realize that I either need to get out more with other people or just stick to flying solo. I get to go out with other people so rarely that I end up overdoing it every time. It's like I'm trying to fit in months all in one night each time. Get it all in while I have the chance! But it just isn't healthy or safe. When I'm alone, I'm much smarter. There has to be a balance in there somewhere, but I'm not finding it...yet. Haha.

I had to edit my post to add this video since it's great:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

2016 Manchester City Marathon- USATF-NE GP #7

Less than a week to go before the final USATF-NE Grand Prix Road Race, and I was dreading it. All I could think of was just getting the Manchester City Marathon over with. I was SO done (a month ago!), and I was kind of worried that this one stupid race could be my downfall and push me over the edge to injury. Just with some of the odd stuff that was happening, I felt like my body was done, and I had a bad feeling in my gut. I didn't even know how I was going to get through it and really tried not to think about it too much. I still read Dave Dunham's course description a few times (only to learn the day before that there had been a major course change; a change that probably ended up screwing me over for a better time), but I didn't know the roads of Manchester at all, except Elm St and the road around Derryfield Park, so I gave up on that. I just couldn't focus on it, and I wasn't feeling 100% at all. I made an attempt all week to take it easy except my traditional fast run on the rail trail, and I got A LOT of sleep. The slow season has meant less calls overnight at both bases, so that was at least a positive. I did actually feel ok by the time race day rolled around. No leg pain. No soreness. But I was still feeling the fatigue in the legs. I decided that maybe I could actually pull off a sub-3, but I wasn't holding myself to it at all. I wasn't going to be upset if I didn't get it. On a course like that, dealing with fatigue AND just not mentally into it, I knew it would be much slower than Hartford. I planned to run between 6:50-7:00 min pace for the first half. I expected the splits to be all over the place with the hills, but I was still shooting for that. And then based on what I had heard for the second half, I planned to bring it down to around 6:40-6:45 pace. "The best-laid plans of mice and men/Go oft awry." Nothing would shape out how I expected it to.

Monday, October 31, 2016- Halloween was surprisingly slow. I got a 2-mile walk in around the ambulance base. I did have to go with my ambulance partner to a fire station in Freedom to hand out candy, and that was torture. Still trying to cut weight, and I was surrounded by candy and cookies. Bad timing. I ate a few pieces of candy and one cookie, but was mostly good about minimizing it. I was happy we had a 911 in the middle of it, but it turned out to be a patient refusal, so we went back to the fire station. I stared at the bowl for another hour.

During the day, I made an appointment for Friday for a routine eye exam. After the dizzy spell the day before at the Ramble race, I thought maybe it could have something to do with my eyes. Plus, over the previous two years, during any long run, my left eye has been getting blurry. It happened at Hartford; not really bad, but enough to be noticeable. I wanted to rule out eyesight as a potential issue. I've always had good eyesight, but I'm starting to notice changes as I've aged. Normal I suppose.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016- From my Strava for today in regards to my 30 minutes of lap swimming at The Mill after I got off of work: "Last ditch effort at some sort of recovery/taper before Sunday's shit show." Haha. That actually makes me laugh now. The swim felt good, and it was nice to be in there just for tapering and not for an injury like last year.

When I got home, I found the Salomon shoes I had won from the Granite State Mountain Cup had arrived. I wasn't sure about them in my hands. Very stiff. But other than that, they seemed totally different than the Speedcross 3 shoes I won last year, which I refuse to run in.
Salomon Sense Pro 2 
Once I put them on, though, I really liked the feel and couldn't wait to get them out for a test run on Friday. The only problem I noticed was that the pocket in the tongue where you tuck the laces was actually covered up by the laces (you can see this in the pic above), which made it impossible to use the pocket. I'm thinking these were probably factory 2nds, but it didn't bother me. I just thought it pretty funny and then found another way to secure the elastic laces.

I went right to work on my trails to clear the leaves. For such a short distance, it still took me 3 hours to clear them. I never even got to the trail up Heavenly Hill, and I don't know if I will. Spot and Phoenix followed me along as I raked, and then John was dropped off when I was about 2/3 of the way through. I can't remember what we did the rest of the day except ninja class that night, but we must have done something because I don't let him sit around the house all day. Must have been errands of some kind. Haha.

Phoenix disappeared. I found her sitting in the sun. 
Since I don't normally taper, I've never had that antsy need-to-run NOW feeling until tonight when I had my first taper tantrum. It didn't help that I ate 4 of John's mini Snickers from his Halloween candy bag, especially after not really eating all day. I was sitting on the couch completely antsy. I couldn't really sit still and just wanted to go for a run. So at 11:09pm, I put on my running shoes, didn't even bother changing clothes and ran out the door. I only ran 1.1 miles. That was it. Nothing crazy. 7:17 pace. I just needed to run something or there was no way I was going to sleep. I even almost broke my own Strava title rule with something other than the course description. I called it: "I have problems". Haha. I may have problems, but I sure as hell fell asleep fine after that.
I couldn't help it! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
- Just like I couldn't help eating 4 Snickers bars, I couldn't help banging out a fast 5 miles on the treadmill before work. Running fast all the time, sugar and beer are my weaknesses!! Ok, and coffee and pizza and hamburgers and racing and travelling and tall, younger men and.... are, too, but back to the running. Hahaha. It had literally only been 5.5 hours since my mile run, but I still felt like I hadn't run for days, which I really hadn't. It felt great. 5 mile progression run with the usual elevation changes. 7:11/mi pace. Although it felt great at the time, after I was done, I did feel the same remorse I would feel after eating an entire pizza.

I still even got antsy at work by the afternoon and fit in a 1 mile walk on the railroad tracks before dark. I had to laugh when I looked up and saw all 5 of the mechanics from the auto repair shop next door outside together looking at me. I had a feeling I was being talked about and I actually started laughing. I'm sure I look like a weirdo walking back and forth on the tracks.

Kevin Tilton stopped by work in the morning to drop off two growlers from the Moat that he was trying to unload from his condo, but he brought more than the empty growlers! One was filled with Square Tail Stout and some other stuff was thrown in there! Thanks, Kevin!

My horoscope for the day in the Conway Daily Sun was interesting. Were they talking about Manchester?!! I doubted it, since they used the word "fun", so I just blew this one off. LIES!

Thursday, November 3, 2016- Not having a long run to do on Thursdays is tough since I have to figure out what to do with myself all day. I had at least planned my marathon week traditional run for this morning and drove over to Fryeburg as soon as I got out of work. The rain had started, but would only be a drizzle for the run. I was super nervous about this one because it would tell me whether not I was going to do ok on Sunday or not. That nervousness made me go off way too fast. I usually run the first mile around 7min pace to warm up, but not this time. 6:32 for the first mile. I was surprised because I didn't feel that fast, but I decided to see if I could keep this thing going. I actually stayed really consistent through to the other end. Mile 5 is always a bit slower than the rest since I have to run back up 302 for 0.1 miles after turning around, and then it's a gradual climb anyway. Then I bring it back down in pace from there. I couldn't believe the pace I was holding and realized that I was being kind of stupid when I hit mile 6. For the next mile, I decided to talk myself down. Rather than kill myself through 8 miles, I needed to stop at 7 and then use the last mile as an easy cool down. Three days pre-marathon, and I did not need to be running that fast. So right at mile 7, I actually stopped. Maybe I did still have a brain cell or two under that blonde hair. Haha. 7 miles. 6:35 for an average pace.

Mile 8 actually felt great, so I think it was the right thing to do. The legs needed a cool down from that and before I got in the car to drive. Exactly a mile in 8:21. Perfect. So even though I thought I was dumb for running that fast, it actually gave me hope that I might do ok on Sunday.

As soon as I got in my car, the pouring rain started and pretty much never stopped all day. It wasn't the kind of rain I really enjoy being out in, so I followed through on my plan to drive to Bedford/Manchester to pick up my (and Amy Bernard's) bib number and shirt at Millennium Running. It would save the hassle of getting it Sunday morning, and it gave me something to do on my free Thursday. And I won't lie. It was also an excuse to hit Milly's for lunch in Manchester after.

I was in and out of Millennium quickly. I brought along the $10 gift certificate I won at the NH 10-Miler and got a pair of Balega socks (my favorite) and a GU Waffle. I didn't eat after my run, so I was starving and needed something to hold me over until I got to Milly's. I stopped at park up the street to walk the dogs, but I kept it short since it was pouring rain and cold. In the meantime, Facebook had to remind me AGAIN of the sufferfest coming up. Haha.

This is what happens when you live in Albany, NEW HAMPSHIRE. 

Phoenix at the park 
Despite eating those few candy bars Monday and Tuesday, I pretty much ate next to nothing for those 3 days. Only enough to not pass out. I know, I know. So bad, but I had 3 more pounds to lose before Sunday. But I couldn't do it anymore by midday Thursday and had to get something REAL for lunch at Milly's. Milly's has actually changed its name to Stark Brewing Company, but they still use Milly's on the beer can labels. I immediately ordered a John Stark Porter and followed that up with the best sandwich I've ever had. Pulled pork, bacon and coleslaw. ERMAHGERD! I ate every bite, had 1.5 more beers (half because the keg kicked on the Blueberry Pumpkin Ale, and thank goodness it did because it was disgusting haha) and then made my way back home. I wanted to stop to see a movie, but the times didn't work out. Yeah, kind of a long drive just for that, but between the pouring rain and no long run, I really had nothing else to do.

I spent the rest of the night at home watching the season finale of my favorite show, snuggling with my dog and made sure to have a stout since it was National Stout Day!!

Friday, November 4, 2016- My final weigh-in to see if I had hit my goal. And boom. 118. I never looked at it again. I felt lighter and knew I was good to go. It had worked. 5lbs in 11 days. I had to eat like a normal person on Saturday, but I wasn't worried about it at all.

I took Spot and Phoenix on a really easy, slow run on the mountain bike trails in the Green Hills. I parked on the south end and made a loop from the quarry over to the Middle Mt Trail and then back via Pillar-to-Pond. I was excited to test drive the new trail shoes finally, and I have to say that I really liked them. Once I had a mile or so in them, they didn't feel so stiff. The grip was pretty good for what appeared to be minimal tread, and they were wider than the Speedcross which meant I didn't feel like I was going to break an ankle the whole time. So definitely impressed. I most likely wouldn't race in them ever, but regular trail running, definitely. I'm pretty attached to my La Sportiva Mutants for racing. Got in 5.7 miles in 53:21, so nothing crazy. Only 500ft of elevation gain. I didn't want to mess up my legs for Sunday and felt I did this one right.
My eye appointment was right next door at Walmart so I did some quick shopping for wood pellets then showed up 15 minutes early for the appointment like they asked me to. I guess that meant nothing because I literally waited almost 15 minutes before I was even acknowledged. I was kind of annoyed, but they were super nice and professional, so I got over that fast. I was happy to hear after the exam that, although I was far-sighted, it was only just enough to need basic reading glasses. Phew. The only thing it didn't explain was the left blurry eye during long runs. Hmm. I bought a pair of reading glasses there, and it is pretty amazing how much better I can see to read! Who knew?! Haha.
I tried to get all of my little errands run after that before John came home. I needed some stuff for the race Sunday. I was staying with Amy and Rick Bernard in Hampstead the night before, so I had to come prepared with everything I needed which included race morning food.
These are the BEST. Power bagel bars from Bagels Plus in North Conway 
John came home, and we stayed in for the rest of the day. His friend, Dylan, came over again for a sleepover so they kept each other occupied.

Saturday, November 5, 2016- I slept in a little because we had all day before we would drive down to Hampstead. I got in an easy 3.1 miles on the treadmill in 7:32. Only 1% elevation. Felt super easy, and my legs felt alright. I couldn't believe Manchester was only a day away. I didn't want to believe it because I really didn't want to run another marathon this soon! The 5 weeks between Boston and VCM seemed like the perfect amount of time to recover, but 4 weeks between Hartford and Manchester was a whole other story. This was the end of the competitive season, and I had really beaten myself up. Not only that, I didn't allow myself to recover at all the first two weeks after Hartford. And now, I was walking that fine line. I could feel it. Manchester could be the straw that breaks the camel's back, but I had to do it to complete the Grand Prix. I set out to be an Iron Runner from An Ras Mor on, and I wanted to complete that goal. And could I have completed that goal without killing myself? Yes, but HA! No way was I not going all out. I wanted to be 1st female master. I also hoped to be in the top 10 women. When you're so damn competitive, it's dangerous. "Just this last one, then I'll take a break." Sounds like an addict who fails to stay clean because that's pretty much the same thing. You know what's right in your head, but you tell yourself that it's ok to just push it a little more. And that's what I was doing. I knew it. I was taking a risk, but 2016 HAD become my year. 4 months prior, I wrote that 2016 would be a wash, but I managed to pick myself up my bootstraps and made it a really good year. I had to finish it off on a high note whether it took me down or not.
The first step on Saturday morning to get my head in the game for Manchester was a nail polish change. I know that sounds ridiculous, but the dull purple I had going on was boring. I needed something glittery and fun for Manchester, even if they were under gloves the whole time. It's just a weird mental prep thing I have. So I dragged John to the nail salon to change my polish to sparkly gold. I felt SO much better. Haha.

From there, John, the dogs and I took a walk down to the Saco on the Audubon Society trails.

He made it.
It was home from there to pack up the car and off we went towards Amy's. I even brought all 3 dogs. We stopped in Barrington at this great Italian place called Dante's for dinner. I had to go basic with the food since I didn't want to eat anything I wasn't used to, and I even ordered only water instead of a beer! That's right! Stop the press! Haha. Now, before you think I've wised up, don't be silly. I had my specific pre-race beer in the car that I would break out at Amy's. Their beer menu wasn't good enough for me for a pre-marathon beer. Haha. The food was good, though. I couldn't eat it all either so John ate about 1/3 of my spaghetti and meatballs. I ate a few pieces of his chicken fingers then watched him eat the ice cream that came with his kids meal. Why the hell don't adults get ice cream with their meal?! Haha.

When we got to Amy's, I took the dogs out in the woods and then left them in the car for the night. Amy's family has major dog allergies, so I kept the dogs away. Amy and I hung out on the couch talking for awhile. She had had a stressful week and looked really tired. She wasn't expecting much out of her race the next day (but she would end up doing way better than expected!). I broke out my pre-marathon beer while we talked. Neither of us was feeling the next day's race.

We stayed in Amy's daughter's room for the night, and I actually got a good night's sleep.

Sunday, November 6, 2016- Manchester City Marathon

I got up pretty early since I needed time to take all three dogs out, make room for Amy in the car and then have coffee. I wasn't sure if they did coffee in the morning so I brought along my cone filter and my own coffee. I heated up water on their stove and then had time to sit and enjoy it before we left. Rick and Amy's daughter came down early, too. I left John asleep since he was going to stay behind with Rick. I was trying not let the nerves get to me, but I was really nervous. I still didn't even know what to wear for the race. It was pretty cold, but the forecast only called for a light wind and partly cloudy. I decided to just put on my CMS sports bra and short sleeve and have my singlet ready. I actually decided to wear shorts for this one which is unusual for me. The funny thing is that they are supposed to be small, tight-fitting shorts. I own the same pair in mediums, and they fit that description, but over the summer, while at the Adidas outlet, I found the exact same pair in extra large. With the waistband folded over, they would be my ideal race shorts!! Comfortable, short, and loose in the butt and thighs. They were so comfortable the entire race. Never moved an inch or caused any chaffing. I can officially say I wear Extra Large. :)

Amy rode with me and the dogs, much to her chagrin since she doesn't like dogs. Phoenix didn't help by barking at her when she got in the car. Poor Amy. Haha. We got about a mile down the road when Amy realized she forgot her watch; there was no way we weren't going back for it, so we did that then made a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for Amy to get coffee then drove into Manchester. First thing we both noticed as we were driving was that the wind seemed a bit stronger than had been predicted. The sun was out at least which was the reason I chose to park in the parking deck in the shade. I had to leave the dogs in the car, and Chill would have been too hot had it not been in the shade. This ended up being perfect, though since we were going to hang out in the hotel upstairs anyway. Amy knew about the secret bathrooms in there, so we were all set with that. Most of the teams were hanging out in the hotel, so I knew pretty much everyone in there. Haha. We actually didn't have a ton of time before the race, so I went out for a mile warm up. I literally wanted to get warm so that I could decide on what to wear. Plus, I also wanted to know what hurt. Haha. So I ran down some streets and back to make a mile and realized it was actually super warm out. I was going with just a sports bra for sure. I decided to keep the gloves on since I needed a place to put my gels. So talk about being super spoiled. How was I supposed to have my gels without the elite tables along the course?! Haha. This was seriously something I didn't even think about until a month earlier when Christin Doneski brought it up at Ellen and Tom's wedding. I knew I wouldn't be wearing anything with pockets, so I opted to put a gel in the middle of my sports bra, creating a third boob, and one in each glove. It wasn't ideal, but I had no pockets. I want my elite table, dammit. POUT. Haha.

I quickly ran my drop bag over to the drop bag area because I knew I would be freezing as soon as I finished and would need clothes. Then I ran to towards the start. I made more quick pee break in a Manchester alley because I'm classy like that, then walked to the start line. Manchester isn't a huge numbers marathon, so I knew most of the people lined up at the start. I was lined up next to Amy on my left and Dave Dunham on my right. I was ready to get this shit over with. I needed this race to be done. And, finally, we all stepped across the starting line.

The race started out fast with it being downhill. I ended up running most of the first mile with Kevin Tilton. We chatted which is usually a good thing the first couple of miles because it typically keeps me from going too fast, but it didn't help this time. 6:29 first mile. GULP. Fortunately, mile 2, even with its steep downhill, made up for that with some decent short uphills to slow me down. Kevin had moved on ahead, and I let him go. Meanwhile, I caught up with Mary Klene. As far as I could tell, the only other women ahead of us were Megan Nedlo and Kelsey Allen, so I felt a little nervous. Mary and I talked about what we were shooting for which was the same, right around 3:00. That was actually my realistic goal. I wanted to go sub-3, but I was thinking nothing less than 2:59. I was thinking this would be great to have someone to pace off of. I was happy to have Mary there, and we hit miles 2 and 3 in 6:58 and 6:59, respectively. Amy caught up to us around this time and told us we were going too slow. Haha. I felt she was probably right so I decided to pick the pace up, which, unfortunately, meant I would lose both Amy and Mary by mile 3.5. I would end up running 3rd woman from this point all the way until just past mile 24, when Julia Huffman would pass me, so it was a little bit like no man's land for the whole race. I did end up running with a guy named, Carlos, the entire first half, which helped somewhat, but after he fell back, I was really all alone the rest of the race.

I had dreaded the first half of this race because of how hilly it was supposed to be, but I found myself in a really good groove for most of it. The short dirt path around mile 8 threw me off a bit, but I was able to regain well after that. I realized that this first half was like Seasons; it was my kind of race. Hilly, but no crazy long climbs other than the climb up through Derryfield Park. Mostly rollers. The only thing that caught me off guard was when we returned onto Elm St at mile 4.5, the insane blast of a headwind. What?! That was not supposed to be there, but it was. Strong as hell every time we ran north. But there were enough turns and direction changes that it didn't really affect me in the first half. I was loving this part of the course and felt great. I was actually really happy with my splits, too. I hit the half quicker than I had originally intended, but I felt like I ran the first half really smart. I STILL think I did. I came through 13.1 in 1:28:05.

Photo by Lisa Plante 

The next 2 miles would end up killing my momentum. Not only was it a decent climb for miles 14-16, almost ALL of it was into an extremely strong headwind. I lost it right there. Between the wind and the climb, I slowed way down. I didn't feel bad, but the conditions hurt and I could never regain. I only ran 3 miles of the last half under 7:00min. I wasn't worried at first, though. I still felt good, but knew the bike path was coming up and expected to dip down back under 6:50. Little did I know that this bike path would be more like running on a trail. It was NOT what I expected. The footing was rough and the headwind was brutal. So, needless to say, I never regained my momentum here either. The worst part about it, though, was that damn blurry left eye returned just after I got in the bike path, and I couldn't see. It was SO bad. I had taken my sunglasses off because of it. I couldn't focus on the ground at all. I don't know if it had anything to do with losing my pace here, but I honestly was nearly blind in one eye. No exaggeration. I would stay nearly blinded in that eye the rest of the race. The only way I can describe it is that it was like running with a white plastic grocery bag over one eye. No lie. It actually took over 3 hours post-race to go back to normal. I still don't know the cause, but I've read that low blood pressure and/or low blood sugar could be a cause. Not worrying about it right now.

Photo by Mike Giberti 
Anyway, I was so happy to see John at mile 18ish. I gave him my glasses. I pushed along until we finally hit the end of the trail, did this odd loop around a building, then returned to the bike path for the run back. I had been catching up with Kevin Tilton this whole time and caught him around mile 20ish. I uttered something probably indecipherable. I didn't want to be passing Kevin. I knew that if I was, he was having a bad race. He would drop out shortly thereafter. Such a tough race that day. I was bummed to be back running on that bike path. Even though, we were now going away from the wind and with a slight downhill, the footing just sucked enough for me to still not be able to regain. Dave Dunham passed me by around mile 21 looking completely fresh. He gave some words of encouragement which was nice and sped off ahead. I was SO happy when we hit the pavement again. I was able to finally bring my pace back down for mile 22 to a 6:40. Unfortunately, I couldn't maintain it and the pace creeped back up over 7s over the next 2 miles. I still never felt bad per se. I just couldn't regain.

The struggle is real. Photo by Lisa Plante 
As I came down off the footbridge just before mile 24, I took a look back to see Julia Huffman closing in. I knew she was about to pass me. As I hit mile 24, it was great to see Tammie Robie and Jen Mortimer there cheering me on. I told them I was so done. Haha. We turned to climb the hill back to Elm St, and Julia passed me with ease. Dammit. It sucked to lose my 3rd place spot after 24 miles, but I just had nothing left. The turn onto Elm St was brutal. The headwind was absolutely insane. I was psyched to see John there just as we passed by the finish line, so I slapped his hand. The course was odd here, since it ran up Elm, then took a left to do an odd out-and-back on West Bridge St. We went across the bridge on one side then back up to Elm St on the other side. The one good thing about this was that I could see who else was behind me, and, fuck, if Melanie Schorr wasn't closing in fast. I really didn't think I would be able to hold her off, but the tailwind and slight downhill to the finish probably gave me that edge when I turned onto Elm. The wind was so strong that it blew me sideways at one point. John Mortimer rode by on a moped just as I neared the finish and told me I had it, that I was way ahead of her. I hoped he was right. I heard Andy Schachat announce my name so I knew I was done. 3:02:17 (clock), 3:02:13 (chip time). 4th woman. 1st master. The relief. There was no smile. Just a closing of the eyes in relief to be done. Mike Giberti captured this beautifully. He really did. It's my new favorite race photo.

The last part was 6:42/mi. 
As soon as I finished, I was really out of it. I actually started hyperventilating and had to stop and bend over to catch my breath. Kelsey Allen came over to talk for a minute. She ended up holding her 2nd place spot. Amy came through right after me surprising herself with a really good race. I really happy for her in how well she did. That was a tough race. I don't know if many of us finished in times we originally hoped for. Elevation gain was tough enough at 1,268ft, but adding in the wind and that damn rough footing on bike path made it even harder. I am not disappointed in my time at all, though. I am perfectly happy with it. On that course and on that day, it is a good time. I hit my goal as 1st master. And 4th woman for the second year in a row at the GP marathon is pretty damn awesome. I'll take it.
Full Results

Rick brought John to the finish, so Amy and I found a place on a wall to regroup. I couldn't see shit, but I was slowly starting to get my mental capacities back. Haha. John was happy as he climbed on one of the statues. I pulled my phone out to take a picture of him multiple times, but for some reason, I never got a photo. Post-marathon brain. Rick helped me get my drop bag, so I changed clothes right there using my special "dressing room" skirt method. Haha. Once I had warm clothes on, I walked over to the awards to see if I got one. I got a coaster and $20 gift certificate to the running store. I'll end up with $300 in prize money that they'll mail later.

I met back up with Amy and Rick and the kids, then we all walked back to my car to get Amy's stuff. Amy was super lame and bailed on me for post-race beer. Haha. Kevin did, too. I still didn't realize he had DNFed. So it was just John and me. I took all 3 dogs out first, then we walked to Strange Brew. John actually really liked it here, so that was a relief. Who doesn't like free popcorn? If you don't like free popcorn, then there's something wrong with you. ;) Haha. First thing was first. I needed a good dark beer. What was more perfect than a Wake Up Dead Nitro Stout by Left Hand Brewing. I also ordered some sweet potato fries that I had to force feed myself. Like I said before, I hate food after a marathon. Beer is the only thing I can stomach. But this time I had to actually drive home after so I had to have food with the beer. John got nachos and a rootbeer. I finished off lunch with one of my favorites, Foolproof's Peanut Butter Raincloud Porter.

Wake up Dead Nitro Stout 
John watching Monsters, Inc 2 behind me. Haha. 
The worst part of the day came after this... the 2 hour drive home. Driving a long distance after a marathon has to be the absolute worst, and I think it's why I ended up so sore after this one. I stopped at the market in Center Harbor to get food for work the next day and pizza for dinner. I was so stiff from driving that I was limping around the store; people were literally staring at me. Haha. Once we got home, I was starving and scarfed down the entire pizza and then broke into the Square Tail Stout growler that Kevin had given me. It was time for it! I didn't drink the whole thing, though! Haha.
Mike Giberti took some video of Manchester. I'm at 4 places in it. Roughly 6:03, 13:18, 22:07 and 36:08

I was so relieved to be done with Manchester. I could finally think about the upcoming fun races on my calendar and the much needed days off and recovery period. I was happy to see the real competitive racing come to a close, even though I really enjoyed doing the GP this year, especially with Amy Bernard and Christin Doneski. The 3 of us ended up finishing a very close 1, 2, 3 for the Iron Runners. The crazy thing is that Amy and I were only 1 second off each other's pace. We run SO close, even though we tended to have opposite races this year. If I ran well, Amy didn't. If Amy ran well, I didn't. So it's really interesting just how close we were by the end of all 7 races. My total time for all 7 races was 8:24:26, and Amy's was 8:25:18. Less than a minute off!!! Here's a link to Dave Dunham's spreadsheet with the Iron Runner stats: Iron Runners. As far as the GP standings go as a whole, I ended up 2nd for the 40-44 age group. Only 3 points behind Diana Bowser. I didn't count for the first 2 races since I was still 39 or else I would have won the 40-44 age group. But that's ok. We each actually counted for 5 races, so it ends up pretty even overall. I'm happy I was able to come in and take 2nd. 2016 Full Grand Prix Individual Results. As far as my women's team, the Central Mass Striders, we tied the BAA (Boston Athletic Association) for 5th in the Open and finished 2nd in the 40+. Not bad considering our pretty inconsistent showing as a team.

So, was Manchester the straw that broke the camel's back? Well, yes, probably. My gut feeling was right. Pretty sure I've injured my knee, but I'm working on getting a referral to orthopedics to find out for sure. If it's what I think it is, then it might not have even been caused from running but from falling down my porch steps the Monday before Manchester. Manchester probably just sealed the deal, even though I didn't even know it was an issue until after. But we'll see. It is what it is. This is the best time of year to have an injury if you're going to have one. I've still been able to run/race because it doesn't seem to be getting worse, and it actually feels better once I start moving it. I am running very minimally, though. I'm getting in the pool to aqua jog. I'm walking and hiking. I had started strength training the upper body again 3 weeks before Manchester, and now, I'm adding in the lower body. I had planned to take time to recover and cross train anyway since my body needs it. I just didn't realize I would need this much. My hamstrings have been a bit strained since Manchester, too, but I don't feel like that's serious at all. After Thanksgiving Day, I don't have anymore races until Dec 17th, so I'll take that time to heal and hopefully find out the damage done to the knee. I've never had knee problems in my life other than soreness at the end of winter from running on so much ice, but never an injury. All I know is that I'm going to find out what it is this time around. Just hoping I can get an MRI in before my insurance changes on Jan 1st. But anyway, right now, I'm doing ok with it. It's always the coming back part that's hard. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it...if I have to get to it. I'm not stressing yet. Haha.