Doyle's Emerald Necklace

Doyle's Emerald Necklace

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

2016 Vulcan's Fury Trail Race

Sunday, October 9, 2016- Proof that I was tired after the big marathon day, I woke up at 9am. It was pouring rain and dark outside, so that might have had something to do with it. I was thankful for the beautiful, perfect weather we had had the day before for Hartford. Sunday was the opposite. A complete downpour. The legs were stiff upon first getting up, but they weren't sore, which is becoming a normal thing for me post-marathon.

Due to getting up late and procrastinating, I never made it on the hotel treadmill as planned. That was ok, though. This obsessed freak didn't need to get on the treadmill. Resting was good. Plus, I needed to shower and load up the car for our drive to Pat's Peak for Ellen and Tom's wedding. Since it was pouring rain and we were stopping for breakfast somewhere, I decided to hold off on getting dressed up. I didn't want to be soaked and smell like a restaurant.

We attempted to stop at the Cracker Barrel for breakfast, but it was way too packed. We didn't have time to wait 30 minutes, so I drove across the street to a coffee shop I had spotted off the exit. Probably one of the worst coffee shops I'd ever been in, but wouldn't you know it? There just happened to be a brewery in the same shopping center that opened at noon. It was 11:55. Perfect. Broad Brook Brewing. Never heard of it, and I didn't even know where we were except that we were in Connecticut. I was hoping they would have cans, but I was at least able to get a 32oz crowler of their Season of the Witch Brown Ale (I'm sensing a pattern here. Witch, 666. Haha).

Season of the Witch. Just randomly stumbled upon this brewery.
Back on the road until we crossed over the Vermont line, I stopped at the welcome center so that I could get changed in their bathroom for the wedding. Oh yeah, totally ghetto style; I brought everything in. Dress, boots, makeup, flatiron. Sorry, ladies, I will be occupying this sink for the next 20 minutes. Haha. Yeah, it ended up taking me way too long, and by the time I got back to the car, I realized we were only going to make it on time to the wedding with 4 minutes to spare...as long as everything went right...and I was almost on an empty tank. Haha. I think my hot mess was justified after losing so many brain cells during the marathon the day before, though. John had changed in the car, so we were good to go as soon as we pulled in.

We pulled in at 2:58, and I made John practically run. That ended up being pointless, since we ended up having plenty of time to spare. We found our table with Sarah Schlaack, John and Jennifer Mortimer and Ed Ithier. Christin Doneski was sitting at the table next to us. This ended up being a really fun group, and I think I hardly ventured outside of it to mingle.

John was attending his first real wedding, and he really seemed to enjoy it. It was formal, yet laid back. Just done right. The lodge at Pat's Peak was perfect, even though it wasn't the original plan, The rain moved it all inside. I hadn't been to a real wedding in almost 11 years, when I was 4 months pregnant with John and felt so sick that I was hardly able to enjoy it. This wedding turned out to be so nice. Ellen and Tom Raffio really went all out with the dinner and open bar. The vows were so beautiful that I actually got choked up listening to them. They seem so happy together, and I wish them the best.

John looked so spiffy and grown up at his first real wedding!

He started to get antsy, so I paid him $5 to run half way up Pat's Peak and back. Sarah Schlaack joined me for the show. He was dying when he finished, but he did it and got himself  $5. (I offered $10 if he ran to the summit and back.) Money talks. He needed exercise. Win-win. Haha.

I actually didn't get any good photos, so this is me in my dress. haha.
We didn't stay late since we had a 2 hour drive home, and I was ready to get home after the long weekend away. John was, too. Almost 3 days away from his XBOX!! Egads!

Monday, October 10, 2016- One of the best decisions I had made in a long time was to take a "half " day off from work. It wasn't really a half since it was basically a normal person's full work day. I went in at 5pm and did a 14 hour shift until 7am. I know I only work 2 days a week, but the 24 hour shifts do wear you down after awhile, so it was really nice to sleep in again and then just recoup from the weekend. And, well, my idea of a recoup is usually a mountain run, so that's what I did as soon as John left with his dad. It was the most gorgeous day, so I decided to run up Mt Kearsarge North. My legs still weren't sore, but they were definitely fatigued which meant it was a slow run. Fine with me, though. I was just happy to not be sitting on my ass at the Tamworth base at that moment. My legs needed to move, and I needed to be on a mountain.

I surprised myself by being able to run the entire way up. I figured my legs would need a walk break here and there, but they were fine with the slow and steady pace. I passed most of the people on their way up ahead of me, but still ended up sharing the fire tower with a family, so I didn't stay up there long. But, man, was it beautiful! I took some pictures which came out ok, but I was having to use my old phone temporarily since my current one was dead, and the camera is lacking in quality.





It was a little chilly, so I didn't stay long at the summit and made my way down. It was strange to run down Kearsarge with the granite slabs so dry from the lack of rain, but it was really nice not having to worry about slipping. Just took it slow and easy on the down since my legs were feeling tired. 5.8 miles total.

Made a stop at Frontside Grind after, then went home, showered and took the dogs on a walk at the East Bear Paw Trails for a few miles. Then it was off to work. The down day felt great, so I'm glad I did it. I think I would have been miserable sitting at work all day as my legs stiffened up.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016- I really can't wrap my head around the run I chose for this morning. I planned it out on Monday and brought my clothes to work so that I could go straight there. So it wasn't like a last minute dumb decision. I wouldn't actually say it was dumb, even, but it was unnecessary. Not sure why I felt compelled to run 10 miles, but I did. I parked by the bridge at Chocorua Lake and ran an out-and-back that I've done many times on the dirt roads to 113A and back. It's not really an easy run. A lot of hills, and dirt roads aren't as easy as pavement, but I know I wanted to stay off the pavement all week. It wasn't a bad run at all, and I was able to run mindlessly and slowly. 10.2 miles at a 7:59/mi pace. 780ft of elevation gain. I felt it was slow because I typically run that A LOT faster. I'll admit that I felt pretty worn out after it, though. I think that's why it wasn't a good decision. Something shorter would have been a better choice.

When I finished my run, I had to take a photo. Too beautiful not to. 
I went home and relaxed a little until John came home. I had some errands to run, and then John and I went for a short hike up the climber's trail on Cathedral Ledge. We brought Phoenix along. It's only .4 from the start to the top, but it's almost 550ft of gain, so it's quite steep. It's the first climb of the Kismet Cliff Run, which if you've never done before, will unexpectedly kick your ass. Haha. It was a slow walk. We stopped for over 20 minutes at one point, so John could destroy part of a dead tree lying on the ground.



At the top, we stayed away from the tourists in their cage and hung out on a boulder off to the side.



John on Cathedral Ledge
Typical Tuesday after that with John's ninja class and trying to get Phoenix to pose with my beer.



Wednesday, October 12, 2016- My non-recovery finally caught up with me, and I couldn't get myself out of bed at 4:30am for a treadmill run. That was ok, though! I needed the rest.

Walked into work to find a "new" ambulance there. It's not new, but compared to what we have, it felt like a brand new truck. Not psyched on the layout, but I like it. Taking some getting used to, for sure, but it's nice to have a truck is reliable for once. It sure would have been nice for Careplus to put "North Conway Ambulance" on there somewhere, since that's our division, but I wasn't complaining... But wait! Or was I? I actually did! Haha. By midday, I had already sent an email down to fleet maintenance that the truck was severely out of alignment and that the a/c was broken. Haha. I still really like the truck, though.

Meet the new 60A2.
Thursday, October 13, 2016- My play day! On Wednesday, I'm a lazy blob, so Thursdays are my usual, "I'm going to overdue it" Day! Yay! With not much time left to enjoy the mountains sans snow, I really couldn't pass up any chances to get out there. I knew it wasn't the smartest thing as far as recovering from Hartford, but I wanted to do one full Moat traverse this year before the trail got icy. So, as you can guess, I headed out for a full Moat Traverse Loop. My version of a Moat Traverse doesn't end on the other side. It loops back to my car via the Mineral Site. Sure, it would be nice to just do the traverse sometimes and then run to the car, but since I'm always solo, I don't have that option. I have to do it myself. The run back isn't as long or difficult, but today, the last 3-4 miles was a struggle and almost did me in, especially the last mile, which is a long uphill. That's something evil I would put in my race, but I'm not sure why I do it do myself. Haha.

Once again, no plan to kill myself on speed. Just wanting a run in the mountains and nothing more. The day was gray with rain expected, but I managed to stay completely dry. The cool temps felt great considering my last run up South Moat, when it was so hot I thought I was going to die. It was actually a pleasant run up South Moat where I stopped for some pics before moving on across the ledge before dropping down into the trees for the run over to Middle Moat. The foliage was ABSOLUTELY amazing, but my old phone did me no favors today. I made some attempts but they just didn't come out right.

Ridge on South Moat. Stunning in real life.

Looking out towards the Kanc from the South Moat ridge
Me on South Moat
The climb up North Moat from Middle used to seem so long and difficult, but I've done it so many times now, that I actually find it pretty easy. There are some hand-over-foot climbs, but it's not super steep, and you'll find yourself on the summit of North Moat before you expect it.

Looking back along the ridge at Middle and South Moat from North Moat

This photo is almost embarrassing because it gives the amazing foliage no credit!
It was windy and cold on North Moat, so I stayed on the summit for maybe a minute. Then I realized where all of rain went that we didn't get this summer. It all ended up in Hell and caused it to freeze over because for the first time EVER, the trail down North Moat was BONE DRY. And I'm not talking 98% dry. I'm talking 100% dry!! I've run down it after periods of no rain, and the thing is still soaking wet and slippery as hell. But no. No exaggeration. 100% dry. I actually ran my fastest time down North Moat ever, and I wasn't even trying. I wasn't in a race, where my previous fastest time was, AND I stopped twice to message someone. 25:30, and that includes the two messaging stops. I can only imagine how fast I could have raced down that thing at Kismet. Damn!! And it will probably never happen again. Haha.

Once I was at the bottom after the 2000ft drop, I started to feel drained, but I had a long, very gradual downhill before I had to make the climb back up to Whitehorse Ledge (just below the summit),  then cut across the lower side of the Mineral Site, crossing the brook, and finally making my way back up FR 379 to my car. I was almost delirious through this stretch, so I don't have any memory of when or where I was, but John messaged me at some point, and all I sent him back was this.



I was so happy to see my car. I was all done. 14.1 miles in just over 3 hours and just shy of 4000ft of elevation gain. What the hell was I doing to myself? I knew the answer to that. I'm not dumb. I know I appear like a moron on Strava, but I'm not. I know. I'm just one of those people who doesn't care and still does it anyway. Haha.

I may have been beat to shit, but why not throw in a trip to Portland right after that! Yay! I had been wanting to hit Bissell Brothers new brewery for months, so I figured why the hell not? I brought Phoenix along, too, because she doesn't like to be left alone. I hit the place at the right time when it wasn't crowded. No lines. I tried two of their beers I'd never had before. Umbra, an oatmeal stout, and I-Lucky, a ginger IPA. Oh man, both were awesome. So bummed I keep missing the Umbra can release, since I would love to have left with some. The brewery was huge and pretty hip. I was there maybe an hour or so. Grabbed a 4-pack of Substance on my way out. I walked Phoenix in the vacant lot ;) next door before we left. It was on to the Bier Cellar from there to pick up my three orders I had on hold and do the Victory beer tasting. Oh yes, this was definitely all planned out.

Bissell Brothers Brewery at Thompson Point

Umbra

I-Lucky. Well, I disagree. 
My haul from the Bier Cellar
I drove to Foreside Tavern in Falmouth to use up my gift certificate from the Falmouth Five & Dime Trail Race. I squeezed into the only empty seat at the bar and offended the guy next to my right off the bat when I shamed him for drinking Bud Light. Oops. Yeah, he didn't talk to me again. Not that I cared. At this point I was STARVING. I hadn't eaten all day. Yes, I never ate after the Moat Traverse run. Food was imperative. So I ordered an appetizer that would have fed two people and ate the whole thing. In the meantime, a guy showed up on my left and we ended up carrying on a conversation that I really can't recall most of except that I remember thinking  he had to be bullshitting me with his outlandish story. That part I remember. He said he was poisoned in a terrorist "attack" at JFK. Haha. But, it's actually not that far-fetched because it's definitely possible, but....I'll call it a fun story. I inhaled a lobster roll and sweet potato fries. So good. It was home after that. Thursday night! I had to watch my shows. Haha. Never thought I would be into TV again.

Friday, October 14, 2016- So Thursday's fun day led to Friday Fail Day. I was all done before I even woke up...at 9am. Haha. I had a race the next day, so I decided to skip running and swim in the pool at The Mill. The usual 30 minutes of laps. As boring as it is, it actually feels good to get in some completely non-impact exercise. I always feel refreshed when I'm done. For once, no jerk was using the hot tub (for like an hour), so I was able to get in it for about 5 minutes before I got too hot.

I brought Phoenix and Spot along so we could take a walk after on the xc ski trails. It's about a 2-mile walk round trip. Beautiful day and amazing foliage.



I had gotten such a late start on the day that I didn't have time to run any errands before John came home, so I had to drag him around for that later. That night I made my first fire of the season in the wood stove, and John bounced around in his sleeping bag. haha.



Phoenix is screaming, "Help!"
Vulcan's Fury Trail Race, October 15, 2016- Hey, look! I'm finally getting to the title of this blog post. If I ever catch up on my blog (I won't), then maybe I would actually separate these into two different posts, but with it being so long ago now, it's easier for me to just put it into one.

I love Vulcan's Fury and so wanted to race it. I knew I wouldn't be breaking my course record or even come close, but I still wanted to run it. I finally decided to register on Thursday morning. Maybe I should have waited until after the 14 mile run. Haha. (Later that day, Chris Dunn refunded my registration fee for being the female course record holder; that was super cool of him and totally unexpected). But no, it ended up being worth it. My legs were absolute junk, but I really enjoyed it anyway. My race report isn't really long or exciting. There's only so much I could write about this one... for once. Haha.

John and I got down there not as early as we should have. The park forced them to move the registration start/finish to a different pavilion that was a good walk from the car, so just that actually cut my warm up to a very short run with Chill on a trail by the lot. I had to quickly get ready for the race, make sure John was all set, then make my way to the start. Brandon Newbould was there hoping to beat his CR (which he did, earning him $250). He said he couldn't believe I was out there after racing Hartford a week earlier. I couldn't really believe it myself, but it's so me that it was predictable. Pre-race instructions by Chris were quickly followed by the start of the race. I know this course really well now and knew to get right in the front quickly. The first year I did it, I got stuck in the worst line forever. Lesson learned. I ended up with some pretty decent paced people... at first, but after the first mile, I had to pass two of them. And then I realized that I was going all out and needed to slow it down. My legs were on fire. So dumb to go out so fast, but I ended up pretty even with a few guys who also slowed it down and they kept me in check until later in the race when they were long gone ahead of me.

I felt pretty good at this slower pace and stayed pretty consistent on the rolling hills knowing that the long gradual dirt road climb was coming up. This was actually going to be my strong suit. With it on the road and lack of steepness, I knew I could pick up the pace a bit. Miles 5 and 6 were mostly on this road and climbed a total of 351 ft. I was able to maintain the same pace I had been on the trails for the most part and got ahead of a few people here. One extremely tall guy caught me, though, and quickly moved on. As we turned off onto the steep trail to the top of North Mountain, most of the guys I'd gotten ahead of passed me. My quads were just too cooked to give me any speed up this part, and I wouldn't be able to catch any of them on the way down since they got a good lead from the top.

It's crazy to think that two years ago, I did this section way faster than all of them. Haha. That wasn't happening today. The technical down that came after this would normally also be my strong suit, but I found it more difficult than usual. The fatigue in my legs left me feeling a little uneasy on the technical stuff; that fatigue could cause a bad fall if I went all out, so I actually cut it back for once. I passed one guy early on and then never saw another person for the last 2.7 miles to the finish. This has actually happened all 3 times I've run this race (other than the 2 people I ran into in 2013 who had gotten lost and were walking out of the woods). I have actually run this fun, windy section all alone every time and enjoy it because it's only very short ups and downs and takes you on windy route. When I'm alone, I can just ease back a little and forget I'm racing for the final stretch. The nature of this trail almost forces you to slow it down. There was, however, a downside to my last two miles this year. A piece of a stick had found its way under my arch. I stopped once to attempt to fish it out, but it wasn't happening without me taking off my shoe. I was going to have to suck it up and run with it. But I'll be honest, that it hurt pretty bad. I made every attempt not to land hard on that spot, but it was difficult not to. I ended up with a bruise on my foot from it.

When I finally exited the woods, I knew I was on the home stretch. I also knew I wasn't coming anywhere close to my 2014 time of 1:35:47. Running that would have placed me 5th this year. Instead, I finished 15th in a time of 1:42:41 and 1st woman. I was more than happy with that. Time was really irrelevant to me today. But I guess I could brag a little in that this was the second fastest time on the course by a woman. So I now have the fastest and 2nd fastest records.

As soon as I finished, I sat down and took that damn stick out of my shoe! Ow! Chris Dunn gave me my awards, then I hurried back to the car to check on John. I walked with Brandon Baker most of the way. I'd never talked to him before. Nice guy. I gave him a beer from my winnings. Haha. Full Results

Photo by Gianina Lindsay

Photo by Gianina Lindsay
John was so ready to get out of the car so he went over to the swings while I put on some warm clothes and put the dogs on the those things that people hook to their necks. Then we all took a short walk.

What awful contraptions. :)

John in Pawtuckaway State Park


Stick, stick, stick, stick, stick....

John went back over to the swings and the huge boulder in the woods to play while I changed clothes completely. As soon as we were back at the car, I all of sudden hit that bonk point. I felt hot, lightheaded and nauseous. I needed food now. Foolproof's Peanut Butter Raincloud to the rescue! Dark beers usually do the trick for me after a race. This was no exception. I still needed food badly, but the porter at least perked me up.

My winnings along with my beer and cup. I left out the 6-pack of 603 beer. 
It took me awhile to change, but after I did, John and I walked back up to the pavilion for hamburgers, cookies and cider. I wasn't super social up there, even though I talked to a few people. John and I sat off by ourselves, and I enjoyed listening to him talk my ear off. I didn't care to be with anybody else at this moment.

Once we had had our fill of food, we left and drove to Portsmouth. We had waited to go over there due to Trump flying in that morning. I did not want to get stuck in that. As drove into town, though, we hit the very road it had been on and passed people walking and carrying Trump signs. Ugh. Morons. Our stopping place was Blitz Air Park for John to have some fun. He jumped on the trampolines for an hour; really wore himself out.

A quick stop on the way home at Bad Lab Beer Co, a new brewery in Somersworth, to pick up a 4-pack of their double IPA to try, then it was home for the night. John and I, both, were exhausted by the time we got home.



Donna Cormier had messaged me earlier in the week about Hartford, and Saturday's paper had the write-up. Maybe one day I won't sound like a snobby moron. "Everyone knows I love beer." I might as well have said, "Everyone thinks I'm an alcoholic!" Haha.

And, no, I won't be running Boston in 2017. Every other year for me.
Sunday, October 16, 2016- This was going to be John's day, so it was off to the Sherman Farm Corn Maize. I got a short 3 mile run in on the treadmill first. 22:46. 1% elevation. Super easy. Probably no benefit other than a mental one. Have I mentioned recently that I love my treadmill? No? Well, I do. That is all.

Sherman Farm was fun for John. I stood around for most of it while he played on the Jumping Pillow for hours. It's a super fun thing, but the Jumping Pillow police there need to calm the fuck down. Every year, these women yell at the kids the entire time, "Don't do this. Don't do that." The kids finally just start tuning them out, so it's completely ineffective. If they followed their rules, they wouldn't even be allowed to jump on the damn thing. It really is irritating to stand there listening to it. But John had fun anyway...since he tuned them out. Haha. I spent most of my time there eating an entire large bag of kettle corn. It's tradition, so that makes it ok.

We did the pumpkin patch and then phase 2 of the corn maze which only took us 35 minutes to figure out. We walked just under a mile. I always record it on Strava because I like to look at after we're done. It's funny looking at the satellite view because that's the maze from 2012 in the photo with our 2016 walk over it. It was back to the Jumping Pillow after that, then we called it a day.





Haha

Sun came out briefly. I probably did smell of goat.

I had eaten all of the kettle corn up to that point.


No jumping allowed!
I ended the week with very low miles at 46.5, but at just over 9,000 feet of elevation gain and 9.5 hours of running time. Low miles can be deceptive sometimes. I definitely felt like I had overdone it a bit the first week after Hartford, though. With Manchester 3 weeks away, I wasn't sure I was going to be ready, but time will tell.










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