Wednesday, November 9, 2016

2016 Boston Mayor's Cup X-C...Double

Monday, October 17, 2016- This would be another week of non-recovery, but I still started it off with a zero day on Monday. I felt like I needed it. A pretty slow day at work, as it usually is this time of year. I did get in a 2.3 mile walk around the base which was nice.
Pretty sunrise behind the base in Tamworth on Monday
Tuesday, October 18, 2016- I got another full night's sleep the night before then went home. I had decided to do an old favorite run from home, so I was able to take my time. I was greeted by a happy border collie when I got home then took the dogs on their short morning walk.


The clothes that I spend 24 hours in every Monday and Wednesday. haha.
I changed clothes and then headed out for an out-and-back through Cranmore Shores and up Tasker and Allard Hill and back. I was surprised my legs felt somewhat decent, so I had an ok run. It wasn't anything special, but it was my second fastest time on this route. For tired legs, I was happy with it. 12.3 miles at 7:33/mi pace and just over 1000ft of elevation gain. The climbing was the toughest part since my quads still felt really fatigued and sore on the hills.

Took John and the dogs on a short walk on the Conway Rec Path. Ran errands. The usual evening at John's ninja class, which I so wish I could join in on. It looks like such a great workout, and I know I need to do something with this upper body. Haha. I fired up the pellet stove for the first time this season and had a pretty awesome beer. Very laid back day.

The LOW Saco River

Another heart in my latte...but this was purely accidental, dammit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016- Got up before work for my usual treadmill progression. Legs were still sore, but I ran a decent 5 miles with the 1-3% grade every half mile in 35:58. 7:12/mi pace. As much as I despise getting up at 4:30am, I do love these runs. They really do make going into my 2nd 24 for the week so much better.

Another not so busy 24 hour shift and a full night's sleep. Can't beat it. I did get out on the railroad tracks for a 2-mile walk in the middle of the day.

Thursday, October 20, 2016- I still couldn't resist getting in another mountain run this week even though my legs were sore and tired. I promised myself no more long mountain runs after this for the two weeks before Manchester City Marathon. I had trouble deciding on a route, but finally picked one I had been wanting to do for a long time. Sandwich Dome. I looked on my map and picked out a loop from Bennett St. I purposely chose the counter-clockwise easier loop to make it a little easier on my legs since the climb up Sandwich Dome was a little more gradual that direction.

It was somewhat of a dreary day to start, so I figured the trailhead would be empty. Not only was it empty, it looked like barely anyone had driven down to it since the leaves started falling.

Drive down Bennett in North Sandwich
I decided to stick to the Flat Mountain Pond Trail for a gradual climb up to where it intersected with the Bennett Street Trail a second time. This part was an enjoyable easy graded climb for about 2.6 miles before I turned onto the Bennett Street Trail for the 2.4 miles to the top of Sandwich. The first part of this climb was pretty steep and slow-going. Once it intersected with the upper part of the Gleason Trail, which is no longer in existance, the grade eased significantly and entered into the evergreen and moss forest. So beautiful.

After 5 miles of climbing, I finally reached the summit of Sandwich Dome. It's not a spectacular summit, but it was cool to look out over the Waterville Valley on the other side.

I started to get cold in the wind on the summit so I had to put on a jacket and gloves and continue on. Little did I know the best was yet to come on the Algonquin Trail, the best kept secret in the Sandwich Range. The trail followed the ridge line on beautiful trails lined with moss, and then all of a sudden opened up to amazing views of the smaller peaks and Lake Winnipesaukee. It was so amazing. My pictures don't do it justice.

The lake off in the distance

All of my selfies were terrible. This was the only one I felt I could share with only a slight cringe.
The Algonquin Trail would continue along the ridge like this for awhile. I couldn't believe I had missed out on this trail for so long, but, apparently, so have a lot of people since it was very overgrown in places and difficult to follow. I was sad when it veered off to the right to head towards Sandwich Notch, while I followed the Black Mountain Pond Trail. This trail was the opposite of the Algonquin with no views and its very steep descent. There were many stretches where I was climbing down using my hands and not running. As it got lower, the trail continued to be rough and was covered in leaves. The trail was nearly invisible at times. Once it finally reached Black Mountain Pond, the trail eased to a nearly flat grade.

Black Mountain Pond
It wasn't much easier to follow, and I ended up losing the trail as it left the pond. It has seen so much camping use that there were many different trails all leading to nowhere. I followed quite a few of them until I found the right one. Haha.

Losing the trail
The trail continued on through the woods with only occasional blazes showing me the trail in some places. The footing was really tough from here all the way to the Guinea Pond Trail. This trail was an old railroad bed that was very pleasant to run on for the most part. It did veer off of it onto a trail above a pond. This was also difficult to follow, and I ended up taking a hard digger. Not wanting to hurt my legs, I used my arms to catch the fall and hurt my neck a bit. I still ended up scraping up my leg a bit and had to take a quick breather. I was starting to feel really tired by this point. I was over 3 hours into the run at this point, and my energy level was majorly dropping. My legs were also beat. I knew I only had about 2.5 miles to go, so I just kept on finally meeting back up with the Flat Mountain Pond Trail for the run back to my car. 13.3 miles. 3,178ft of elevation gain, nothing crazy. I was super tired by the time I was done. What I had expected to take me about 2.5 hours took me over 3.5. I hadn't anticipated the slow, difficult descent on the Black Mountain Pond Trail, followed by miles of leaf-covered rough trail. I was beat to shit. Which only meant one thing...Beer o'clock! And food...since I hadn't eaten anything all day (bad habit).

I just wanted to make a quick stop at the Sheriff's Dept on the way to pick up a copy of the most recent police report from my incident with Michael. I should never have walked in there after running for 3.5 hours and not eating because the woman who came to the window was SO rude to me. I felt so brain dead that I couldn't really understand what was going on or why she was being so rude to me. I had just come in in uniform a month earlier to pick up the report from the February incident. The other woman there asked me my name, brought me the copy and then had me sign on a blank piece of paper. I guess this wasn't the official procedure, so when this current woman realized I didn't know the proper procedure for requesting a police report, she got angry with me. I can't even describe how awful she was. She then gave me a piece of paper to write something on, but I really didn't understand what she wanted me to write. And when I finally did, my handwriting was terrible from being so tired that she yelled at me again. WTF. When I apparently wrote down all she needed (I hoped), she shut the window before I could even hand her the pen. I stood there for about 5 minutes and just assumed she wasn't coming back, then left pretty upset. I called dispatch right after that and fortunately got my friend, Mike (the same one who helped me that day when Michael showed up in North Conway), who was going to make sure the Corporal would get back to me about the report the next day when he was on shift again. (He did get back to me. Glad I ended up not needing that police report for the court date the following Tuesday because it hadn't been written yet.)

I wasn't too far from Wolfeboro, so I hit Wolfe's Tavern finally. They had a decent beer selection, and the food was good, but the atmosphere was odd. It was part of an inn, but it was almost too "neat" and upscale for a "tavern". Plus, they were playing elevator music and had soccer going on two huge tvs at the bar. Don't get me wrong. I love soccer. That was my sport growing up, but it wasn't really exciting, and I don't care much to have two huge tvs in front of me at a bar. The staff was really great, though. And like I said, the food was great. But I probably wouldn't make it a priority.

Left Hand Milk Stout. Followed that with a Couch Surfer.

Just looking at this picture makes me hungry.
I drove home from there, showered and then went out shopping for something to wear to the court date. I wanted to look professional, but most of my "professional" clothes were outdated. As I was perusing the rack at TJ Maxx, I was coming through black pants, and as soon as I saw the tag on these, I moved on quickly to something else. Not supporting the Trump family. They were overpriced anyway.

The rest of the night was spent at home because you could definitely stick a fork in me by that point.

Friday, October 21, 2016- Definitely had to go easy on my morning run. I was sore and tired. Plus, I was doing the Mayor's Cup on Sunday, so Friday had to be an easy day anyway. I love easy trail run days because I bring Spot and Phoenix along. Spot is 13 now, but she can still run miles, and Phoenix is 13lbs on 4 springs flying down the trail. I took them to the Albany Town Forest for an easy 5 miles on the trails in 44:08. Even as slow as I was going, I still managed to beat one of my own Strava CRs. Haha. Must have REALLY been slacking on the ones before this. Haha.

John had his friend over for a sleepover that night, so we didn't do anything else. We were getting up early anyway.

Saturday, October 22, 2016- I woke up super early to the POURING rain and got right on the treadmill instead of running in the neighborhood as I had planned. I felt so good that I ran it way faster than expected. 3 miles at 6:53/mi pace. Not that that's exactly "fast", but with a race...or two...the next day, I didn't need to be pushing my legs. I was happy to be feeling great, though. Maybe the next at the Mayor's Cup wouldn't suck as bad as I was predicting.

The real reason I was up so early is that I wanted to get to Tributary Brewing in Kittery, Maine for their release of Mott the Lesser. It was a downpour outside, so there wasn't really much else for us to do anyway, so I dragged John and Dylan with me. They didn't care at all and actually ended up having fun even though they didn't even come in the brewery. I wanted to be part of the first group let in so we wouldn't be there so long, and sure enough, I lucked out. I was #150, the very last person let in for the first round of people. Phew. I was given two circled stars on my hands so that I was visible to the doorman. Haha.

Not as bad as it looks. They hadn't opened yet. Only took me about 15 minutes to get in the door.

Lucky # 150
Once inside, I got my two bottles and then my one pour. The place is tiny, so I decided to go on the deck. There was a break in the rain the entire time I was there. Just as I finished my awesome beer, the rain started and turned into another downpour that wouldn't stop until almost 5pm.

John and Dylan were hungry, so we drove down the street to When Pigs Fly for pizza. This was our first time here, and I really liked it. My autumn pizza was probably one of the best pizzas I've ever had, and Banded Horn's The Mountain Stout was the perfect beer to go with it. John and Dylan didn't really like their pizza because it didn't taste like DiGiorno. I have gone wrong somewhere. Very wrong. Haha. That kid sees more culture, but his food tastes could improve. Hahaha.

Playing Tic Tac Toe

Autumn pizza. 

The Mountain. Perfect name.

We were in a hurry to get back because I wanted to take them to Halloween Town in Madison. I was definitely wearing the wrong shoes and pants, but I didn't care. I sucked up for them to have a good time. John had his rain gear, and Dylan used the umbrella, so it was ok for about an hour, but we still got soaked and muddy. The rain actually meant not many lines, so they made it through all of the haunted cabins in an hour and came out with huge bags of candy. We were wet and cold by then and decided to leave. The car was up the hill on East Madison Rd. John and Dylan were in front of me and started running. I was psyched they wanted to race so I beat them. I was singing the Chariots of Fire theme song as I passed. Oh. Wait. So it turned out they weren't racing. Just running...for fun. Hmm. Well, I still won. Hahaha.

Halloween Town in the rain
We drove Dylan home and then went home. We had another early morning to drive to Boston for the Mayor's Cup Cross Country Championship at Franklin which we BOTH were running.

Sunday, October 23, 2016- Just have to start this day off by saying Happy 2nd Divorcerversary to me! Hard to believe it's been two years already! I look back now at how scary and stressful it all was then and come back to the present realizing how much better I've made my life and how much happier I am now. That's what's to celebrate.

Speaking of how much better my life is, I was about to experience Franklin Park x-c for the first, and, um, second, time...and so was John! Wait! Whaaaa?! That's right. I signed him up, and he was excited about it...until I woke him up when we got there. He was adamant that he wasn't doing it, but when he saw all of the kids there, he was all of a sudden into it. I'm glad he didn't care about being competitive, though, because damn, some of those 6 year olds would give ME a run for my money. Most of the kids there were on teams so to make John feel like he was on a team, too, I had packed his Six03 shirt. We put our stuff over by a tree near some of the other teams. And went over to the start line. We just happened to line up next to Jenn Brooks's team. She was only one of 3 of us on the women's Central Mass Striders team who showed up. John got on the line and was all of a sudden serious. Jumping around to warm up. He didn't look nervous at all. I was, though. He doesn't all, so 1.1 miles on that course was going to be hard. I told him just before the start to go off slow and pace himself. He said he would....but he didn't. Out at a full sprint! Apple doesn't fall far from the tree, since I did the same thing an hour later. Haha.

Hey look! That's my bib! When did I realize this? When the whole meet was over.

Warming up. His idea.

Getting ready

And they're off!

He was sprinting. Oh no!
 By the time he came around the next viewing area, he wasn't sprinting anymore. He was still running, though. I could tell it was hard, but I was so happy to see him still going.

Heading into the last stretch. Photo by Scott Mason

That girl caught up to him, but he didn't let her pass him.

He finished!
He was hurting so bad when he finished, but in a good way. I could tell he was super proud of himself for doing that.  He finished in 11:46 for the 1.1 miles. It's not that he's out of shape, but his ninja and aerial classes don't quite cut it for running cross-country. I didn't care where he finished. I just didn't want him to quit, and he didn't. He ended up wearing that medal for 3 days straight. I know people love to complain about "every kid gets a medal blah blah blah", but I think they're missing the real picture. John didn't go out there to win the thing. It was hard for him to finish. That medal was something he got for completing his goal, and he was proud of himself for that. I don't see anything wrong with that. It helped keep his mind on the positive side about the race and not remember the pain of it. I think there's a point as adults where we really need to forego the expectance of a medal because we should be more mature than that, but for a kid who accomplished a big goal, I only see it as a positive. He didn't do it for the medal; he did it for himself and then was surprised to receive a medal at the end.

As soon as we finished, we walked back over his chair where he put on some warm clothes and climbed into his sleeping bag. He was so worn out that he quickly fell asleep and didn't wake up for another 2 hours. I didn't have much time to warm up for my first race by this point. And, yes, I said FIRST race. So I'll back up to explain. The Mayor's Cup had a women's championship 5k, a men's championship 8k and then the Franklin Park 5k. When I decided to do this event, I planned to do the championship race for my team. (We thought we had a full team going at that time). As I read through the description of the Franklin Park 5k, I realized it was the Master's championship race, so being me, I thought, "It's only two 5Ks. How easy is that? I'll just sign up for both." Which I did. I honestly thought there would be a lot of people doing that, but it turned out to shock people. Hahaha! Come on people. How could anything I do shock anyone by now? Haha. It's not like I haven't done both distances at a race before. See here! (Just read that for the first time since I ran it; I need to go back to writing like that.)

So anyway, back to the race. I only had time for a quick half mile warm up, then it was onto the line next to Jenn. We were laughing at ourselves as we looked around at our "competitors". We so didn't feel like we belonged in this crowd. Jenn would end up holding her own, but I certainly didn't belong here. It was bun hugger city and a track meet on dirt. Yikes. I felt morbidly obese standing next to these girls. Ginger Reiner appeared behind us, and we told her to join us since she was the only one from Craft there. I was bummed to see just Jenn and me there for CMS that day. Not that we would have placed high, but it's still fun to have a full team.

It was finally go time and the horn sounded. They went off FAST. By the time we reached the top of the hill on the other side of the field, my quads were on fire. That's when it dawned on me that I hadn't done any kind of speed since Lone Gull, a month ago! It was a huge shock to my legs and my lungs, and I was immediately dying. I just wanted to go sub-20 for the first race, so I just ran as fast as I could. The course was really fun, although way harder than I expected. I loved the diversity of the course with the first loop being short and quick, followed by a decent climb in the second loop, and then my favorite part, the third loop that was more gradual climbing and trail-like. During the first loop, I found myself surrounded by green. Early on, I saw Nate Jenkins cheering and he yelled out, "Go Leslie! Go Melissa!" Melissa Donais was here! Yay. I was happy to know I had another teammate there.

Yeah, definitely not smiling. Oh and look! I'm wearing John's bib!
By the time we started the second loop, I was in the pain cave. We climbed a decent hill that I could barely run up. That's a sad statement for me. haha. I found myself already in a pack of women/girls I would end up staying close to the whole race. They definitely pushed me. We looped back around the field and started the third loop. I was not expecting this. It was mostly on a wide dirt path with some gradual climbing, followed by a good downhill. I loved this section... until we came back out at the top of the field and I realized that I had to run ALL the way around it to the finish. Ouch. I was dying. My legs hurt so bad. I got passed going through the finish, but I didn't care. I just wanted that sub-20 and made it just under in 19:56. 41st. Hahaha! BUT, 1st master. HA! Take that, children! Just as I came through, I found Caitlyn Germain there. She had had an awesome race. I waited for Melissa to finish and talked to her for a bit. It's great to see her back out racing after all of her injuries the last 1.5 years.

I didn't have too much time between races so I ran right over to find John still sound asleep inside his sleeping bag. I would also find my surrogate team for the day all set up next to us. Greater Lowell! I was excited to have them there because Kara Haas was there, so we talked for awhile. She was my "competition" for the next race. <---That's in quotes because I'm no competition for Kara. haha. She is so fast and not to mention one of the nicest people ever. I needed to keep my legs moving so I ran to the car to check on the dogs and change outfits. As I was getting out, Jamie Woolsey and Tim Van Orden came over to talk briefly. They thought I was about to leave, and when I told them I wasn't, that I was doing the second race, as well, Jamie was intrigued. She would end up jumping in the second race, as well. See! I wasn't the only one! Haha.

I ran back to the park, then lined up for the race with Greater Lowell. I couldn't believe I was about to do this race AGAIN and thought I must be really stupid. The wind had started gusting by this point, too. UGH. I wasn't turning back now, though.

Kara and I look way too happy and bouncy.
Once again, the horn sounded and we were off. This start was SO much better than the first one. Everyone was more conservative so I didn't feel like I was dying by the top of the hill. In fact, instead of feeling like I was dying, I would end up feeling better in this race than the first one! I ended up with a couple of girls that I would be with for most of the race. One really young girl and I would leap frog the whole way until she got me at the finish. I guess knowing the course this time around helped because I actually ran the big hill faster than the first race. I was definitely slower, but I was still giving 100%.

A surprised Mike Giberti snapped this when he realized I was doing the double.
I felt like I ran a much smarter race this second time around and actually enjoyed it way more than the first. It still hurt, but it was just a different vibe. I came through in 20:09, 7th woman, 2nd master. Only 13 seconds slower than the first race. Not bad! I was perfectly happy with that and glad I was finished!

I was done with running for the day and decided to skip the cool down. I woke up John and packed up our things. As we were walking to the car, I saw the results posted and decided to take a look. Thank goodness I did because I had run an 11:46 in the kids race. My results for the championship race weren't even on there, and John had run a 20:09 in the Franklin Park 5k. And that's when I realized I had switched our bibs. What a moron! Ugh. There was a lady there who brought me over to the timing guy to get it all fixed. Fortunately "John's" result for the championship race was still in there, so I got put back in. The only problem... they gave my top master award to someone else. So after all three results were fixed, I had to go over to Steve Vaitones with my tail tucked between my legs to let him know what I had done. I actually felt really bad because he said he was going to have to ask the other woman for the bowl back. Eek. I had already caused him a problem by paying twice to run both races... because I assumed I had to. haha. He refunded me $20 I ovepaid. I thanked him and then apologized; I had been a real pain at this race. He responded, "Yes, you have." Hahaha. I definitely was. Oopsy.

It was finally off to Doyle's where we met Scott Mason. Scott was nice and bought us our first round of drinks, then we got a table for lunch. I was starving. John would end up having 4 hot chocolates. Haha. We had more drinks then left. Said goodbye to Scott and then drove home.

Sam Adams Nitro Stout
I realized that night that I needed to cut back on the crap food I was eating. I had felt so heavy out there in that race. I knew I had gained the usual post-marathon 3-4 lbs, but it was apparent to me that it was affecting my racing. If I wanted to have a good marathon at Manchester, I needed to cut my weight by at least 5lbs. I only had 2 weeks to do it, too, so starting the next morning, I was going on a racing diet. In the long run, this wouldn't be healthy for losing weight, but when you want to cut weight fast for a race, it's what needs to be done, and it wasn't something I planned to continue after Manchester. But I was holding myself to two weeks of it starting Monday.

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