Wednesday, November 16, 2016

2016 Randolph Ramble Trail (and Snow!) 10K

I was 2 weeks out from Manchester and realized after the Mayor's Cup that I was definitely beat. I figured it was time to back off a little and actually taper. I can't say I followed through perfectly on that, but I did make an effort for the first part. I ran a few runs too quickly, but I kept the mileage really low this week at just over 37 miles. I was actually really happy with my ability to do that. But I knew I had to. My quads were sore and aching 100% of the time at this point. Like literally aching whether sitting, lying down, walking, running. You name it. I knew a visit to Tina was in order and booked an appointment for Friday. I tried to mentally prepare myself for the Manchester City Marathon, but I was having a really hard time accepting it as a reality. I kept focusing on everything AFTER it. That was not a good sign. I was obviously not into it at all. But I was doing it, so I just did what I could at this point to get my body ready for it. I did fail my body by doing the Randolph Ramble on Sunday, but I can't be expected to be good ALL 7 days of the week, can I?

Monday, October 25, 2016- We actually had a busy day at work but were fortunate for a quiet night. I didn't walk or run. I wanted a full rest day. Plus, I was getting really nervous about the court date the next morning for the permanent restraining order against Michael Weinberg. I honestly didn't know what to expect. I had prepared notes and even a poster board with highlights to use if I needed it, but I still didn't know how it all worked. I'm not a pro at being in a courtroom, since I'm smart enough to stay out of one as much as possible. So I was stressing out a little bit. I was thankful for the sleep, though, so I could present myself clearly to the judge.

Tuesday, October 26, 2016- I brought my clothes to work so that I could get in a quick, short run around Windsock Village. I had to be at the courthouse at 9:30, so I really didn't have much time. Being in a hurry, combined with my nervousness, caused me to run way faster than planned on the first mile. I was only planning a 7:00 pace, but ended up with 6:24 for mile 1. I slowed down for the second mile and ended up have a pretty awful positive split run, but what can I say, that's how I roll. 4.6 miles total with the rest of the splits as 6:44, 6:46, 6:52, 7:00. Haha. See what I mean?

I went right home, showered and then dressed in nicer clothes than I normally wear. I felt like I was dressed appropriately and made an attempt to make my hair look like it hadn't just been struck by lightning. I'll give myself an E for Effort. Haha. Only 3 people remembered that I was going to court that morning and sent me unexpected messages wishing me good luck. Thank you to those 3 people for remembering.

Anyway, I made my way to the courthouse...and Michael pulled in right in front of me. I was hoping he wouldn't show, but he did. I didn't know what to expect at this point. I went in and because my case was a stalking case, they immediately gave me a private room to wait in until it was time to go in the courtroom. I know I promised a blog post about all of this, but I learned first thing that no decision was going to be made that day. It was going to be mailed to us. And now, I'm writing this 3 weeks and a day later with nothing from the court. So I have been holding off on the blog post. Based on the events that happened in the courtroom, I'm almost 100% confident the restraining order will be granted. However, I still don't want to write any details until I have it in hand. I will say that I walked out of that court room relieved. The bailiffs were worried for my safety and had me stay back for awhile. One even said, in regards to Michael, "Just when you think you've seen it all."

My only regret is that I didn't have anybody come with me to the court so that they could witness Michael like I did. See him for real. I had a coworker offer to go with me, but he had to work, so I told him that I was fine alone. I regretted it after because it would have been nice to have some support. But, unfortunately, I don't have that here. I never even told my family about any of this. They live too far away and would get worried and then try to tell me what to do which in turn would just piss me off. So I chose not to tell any of them about this. I've put up my own walls; I know that, but this is when I regret doing so. Oh well.

I was ready to move on with rest of my day with John. I had a Groupon to Spare Time in Portland for bowling that was going to expire the next day, so off we went to use that. I hadn't bowled 10-pin since John was 4 years old (we had newly renovated bowling alleys on Fort Bragg when we lived there) so I figured it would be comical. We have a candlepin place here, but I don't enjoy it as much. Spare time was pretty cool, and it ended up being fun...for me. But poor John. Gutter ball after gutter ball after gutter ball. I kept trying to help him, but he didn't want to hear it. He said he didn't want to use bumpers, but after we left, he said he wanted to use them next time. Haha. It won't make him better, but at least he would have more fun instead of walking out frustrated. It didn't help that I bowled a strike on my first throw and then had a pretty good second game (for a crappy bowler).

This picture makes it look like he's good at it.

As you can see, he definitely struggled, the poor kid. We mixed up our pictures.

Good game for me, but I also suck at bowling. Super fun, though.
The Allagash Brewery is literally right next door to Spare Time so I made a quick stop in there before swinging by the Bier Cellar for my order pick up. The guy there now knows who I am as soon as I walk in; I don't even have to say my name. I have no idea how this happened. Haha. Is this a good thing? I took John by the mall per his request to get a new XBOX One game at Gamestop and dinner at Johnny Rockets. We always have to rush back for ninja class, but it's ok since he really likes it.

One of the beers I picked up at Allagash. 6.66% alcohol content. Haha.
Wednesday, October 27, 2016- Got up early as usual for my treadmill progression run. Planned to go easy, but it ended up being another fast one. First 2 miles, I felt pretty stiff and ran slow, but for the last 3, I really cranked it out. 5 miles at 7:12/mi pace.

Worked the usual 24 hour shift in North Conway. Walked 2.1 miles on the railroad tracks. Got sleep overnight. Nothing to write home about. haha

Thursday, October 28, 2016- I once again decided to run from work, so I brought all of my clothes. I had other things I wanted to do, so I wanted to get my run out of the way. This would be my longest run of the week at 8.3 miles. I ran the North Conway Loop from Redstone up North-South Rd to the village then back down the main drag to loop back to Redstone. I couldn't help but make it a quick run this time, too. It's just so flat. Stayed pretty consistent with my splits the whole way. 7:11/mi pace. I also saw my friend, Jen, my coworkers, Craig and Stephen, and Kevin Tilton. Haha. I can't run through North Conway without seeing at least one person I know. No hiding in this town. The run felt good, but I was a little unhappy that I couldn't get myself to run easy. I really needed to cut back the speed a little since I had yet to really recover from Hartford, but I'm just incapable of being smart sometimes. Ugh. It was only 8 miles, though, so I didn't feel like I did any damage.

I went to Frontside Grind after, where I ran into someone who told me they saw me running earlier. Lol! Then home to shower and run some errands before taking Spot and Phoenix on a walk. Since most of the tourists were gone, I felt Rocky Gorge was finally a safe place to start my walk around Lovequist Pond and on the Nanomocomuck Trail. I hardly ever go here because it's so crowded, and I still ran into a few people, but it was completely quiet on the Nanomocomuck. 2.8 miles total.

Lovequist Pond

Phoenix's tourist photo op with Rocky Gorge

Dogs on the way home. :)
I stopped by the Albany Town Hall on my way home to pick up my pistol permit. It's the permit that allows me to carry a concealed weapon. I am so not into guns, but I felt this was a necessary step.

I went home for the rest of the day and night. I'm not used to such short running days on Thursdays so I didn't know what else to do with myself. Haha. I did find my copy of New England Runner in my mailbox. Scott Mason had given me the heads up the day before that I was in it twice. I was shocked to learn it was a full shot on the back of the magazine for an ad for the Vermont City Marathon. I knew my photo was on the website, but I wasn't expecting this. Very cool!! I'm totally flattered, too. So many more photogenic people, but they chose me. I feel bad that I won't be running in the 2017 race, but I plan to be back for 2018. I really wanted to get back to Pineland for the 50 Miler, and it's on the same day. So many races, so little time! haha. I LOVE VCM, though, and highly recommend it. I'm actually going to miss being there next year.

The other picture inside the magazine made me bust out laughing when I saw it. I was expecting a running shot from Hartford. It was from Hartford, but it wasn't of me running. Hahaha.

My second best drinking! Awesome. 
Speaking of beer. My awesome choice for the night.
Friday, October 28, 2016- I had an early appointment with Tina at Body Mechanix and had planned to get up at 4:30am and get a run in beforehand, but I woke up to absolute pouring rain and decided to go back to sleep. I would just run after my appointment. I was so glad I went because Tina really worked out my quads. They were SO tight. Both of my legs are super tight all over. I knew it was a gamble getting a deep tissue 2 days out from a race, but it was really the only day I could fit it in, and Sunday's race really wasn't a serious race for me. Just something fun. It was Manchester I had to think about, and I needed this massage badly.

It was pouring rain when I left. And I mean a downpour. Not the most fun to run in, but I drove over to the Madbury Town Hall anyway for a run at Kingman Farm. I took it super slow, especially since I didn't want to mess up anything Tina had just fixed. Haha. I didn't know the trails at all there since I've only run there once in the dark at the snowshoe race, but I have a good sense of direction and figured I could come up with a loop around 4 miles. So off I went with Phoenix and Spot in the pouring rain running on flooded trails. Once I warmed up, it became fun, and I liked just running aimlessly on the trails. The rain eventually turned to a drizzle. I ran my made-up loop and ended up back at my car right at 4.1 miles. Couldn't have planned that better if I tried. And like I said, it was super slow. Just getting something in. 43:18.

Wet, muddy legs post-run

Giant wet rat

Spot sitting like a human. Haha.
I drove straight home from there. Normally, I would have stopped to eat something, but as I said in my previous blog post, I was doing a quick weight-cutting for Manchester. I had already lost a few pounds by Friday. It was definitely not enough, but 2 pounds in 4 days was promising since I had over another week to go. So if you're curious as to what I was eating, it was mostly salads with chicken, Shakeology once or twice a day, eggs, cheese sticks and beer. Haha. I know. I know. Way under my caloric need, but that was the point. I knew I'd gain it all back after Manchester, but I was only thinking about Manchester in the here and now. To put it in perspective, I was 123lbs when I started this. At VCM in 2015, I towed the line at 116. That 7 pounds can make a HUGE difference. My goal for Manchester was 118. And this is just going off my morning weight since everyone's weight fluctuates all day. I swear I normally don't even look at the scale or worry too much about my diet, but in the short term, it was important.

So anyway, after I'd been home for awhile, a package arrived!! What could it be? Haha!

Why.....IT WAS ME!! Hahaha!

That poster is HUGE. I only put it up to take some photos, then back in the box it went. Even if I were that full of myself and wanted to hang it up, there's actually no space in my house for it. It's blocking a closet door in these photos. Just to be funny, I did think of hanging it up in the mud room so it's the first thing you see as you walk in, but it would get ruined out there, so I didn't. It's still really cool, and thank you to the Hartford Marathon Foundation again for the honor!

It ended up being a lazy night at home with John. He came up behind me at one point, and I heard, "Cheers!" I turned around to find him with my Foolproof glass full of mango juice. He's so cute.

Saturday, October 29, 2016- Slept in. Then ran 3 miles on the treadmill. 7:23/mi pace. I called it a "jog" on Strava, so I guess it was almost effortless. Haha. Legs felt a little heavy, even at the slow pace, and I was having a bad feeling about the Randolph Ramble the next day.

I dragged John out on a walk up Heavenly Hill. He wanted to turn around half way. I said nope! :) At 4pm, we had to go to Flatbread since I was volunteering at bib pickup for the White Mountain Milers Half Marathon the next morning. I always like to help out Vince and Christie as much as I can, whether I'm racing it or not. I wasn't going to be at the race at all this year, so the night before was all I could do. John's best friend, Dylan, just happened to be there since his aunt was also volunteering. His mom came to pick him up and took John with them. That worked out great. I didn't want John to be bored for 3 hours there. Meanwhile, I grabbed a beer and worked the t-shirts. A beer in one hand, handed out shirts with the other. This was cool, right? Haha.

I will admit that it bugged me a little not running the Half Marathon for the second year in a row. I had really wanted to do the Randolph Ramble last year and was sad that I couldn't due to my injury. This year, it fell on the same day as the Half, so it was a good way to ensure I wouldn't be stupid and jump into the Half. There's no way I would have ever done that race easy, so the Ramble saved me from that. I would end up losing my course record the next day anyway, so I'm glad I didn't go out there and try to race Meagan Boucher! Haha. My old CR time was 1:22:36. Meagan ran a 1:20:45. And good for her. I knew she was coming after the record and expected her to beat it. She's really fast, and I see her making a real name for herself for sure.

I made sure I ate a normal amount of food today because I didn't want to have any issues with that the next day at the race. I had some flatbread pizza that we got for free as volunteers at the bib pick-up and then had a full dinner once I got home. I didn't want to take any chances on not having enough calories.

Sunday, October 30, 2016- Randolph Ramble 10K Trail Race

John and I headed up to Randolph for the Ramble, only making a quick stop at Bagels Plus for a cinnamon roll for John and one of their power bagel bars for me. It was sunny and not too cold in the Valley, but we had been warned; in Randolph, conditions were quite different. As we climbed over the notch and then headed up to Randolph, we were met with gray skies, frigid temps, cold wind....and SNOW. We had been told about the snow. The day before, a post on the Ramble Facebook page showed pictures of the course and said there were 6-8in of snow covering most of it! These are the pics:

This was no joke! When we arrived, I checked in and tried to get a feel on what everyone else was doing for footwear. I had brought microspikes, but thought they would be too much, so I decided against them. I had Ice Spikes I could have put on my shoes, but I thought, nah, I won't need them. It couldn't be that bad. Someone who had been on the course said he didn't think microspikes would be much help, so I just decided to go with bare shoes. Sam Wood was there and asked what I was doing for shoes, I told him what the other guy had said and that I was just doing bare shoes. Poor Sam. We both would end up making a huge mistake. But I still didn't know it since at the race start there was minimal snow left on the ground.

I caught up with a few people like Paul Bazanchuk, Paul Kirsch, Dave McDermott, Doug Mayer and some others!

With Paul and Dave pre-race. 
It was as cold as it looks. Just that raw cold. I went back to the car to get Chill and take him on a short warm up. John was going to stay in the car for this one since it was so cold outside. I took Chill on what was supposed to a mile run, but it came out to .9. Haha. Good enough. I got ready for the race. I was one of the few wearing shorts and short sleeves because I knew I would get really hot on the climb up to the ridge. I wore thin gloves still; that I would not regret. This race was unique in that it had a required gear list which included the course map, 1/2 liter of water, jacket, hat, gloves and food. So that meant wearing a pack, which I do a lot anyway, so no big deal.

Once set, I went to the start. A little over 80 people toed the line that morning. Most were wearing pants, long sleeves, and some sort of traction on their shoes. UGH. I still can't believe I ran that course without any traction, but I just didn't expect to hit the thicker snow until later on. We started off on a wide path which made it easy to get in a good position for the most part before it turned onto the single track and climbed steeply. As we got into the woods, I fell in line behind two guys I didn't know. Kristina Folcik was right behind me and Sam Wood behind her. It wasn't 1/2 mile in before we started hitting the snow, but I was still getting decent traction with just my shoes. As the trail got steeper, the two guys in front of me kept walking, and I finally had to pass them. Kristina followed right on my heels. I really can't stand it when people run right behind me, and I could tell by her talking that she was feeling pretty good, so I stepped aside to let her by. She needed to be going faster than me, and she did. She disappeared very quickly.

I don't know that guy, but this is a good photo of the snow we hit pretty early on.
I just continued the climb. My legs felt like absolute lead, and I was already feeling pretty beat. By a mile, we were in the snow (see above pic), and I was slipping with almost every step. For already beat up legs, each slip just zapped the energy right out of them. Every time I would try to run...slip! I was kicking myself for not wearing spikes. What was I thinking?! I should have just put them in my backpack. The time I would have wasted stopping to put them on would have been much less time I wasted by sliding all over the place.

We hit the highest point around 1.6 miles, a climb of almost 1300 feet from the race start. This began an up-and-down stretch along the ridge. Although I continued to slip on the snow onto my hands constantly, I still really enjoyed this part. The trail was absolutely beautiful and the half mile run downhill from the high point was really fun in the snow. I didn't have much trouble at all with running downhill, funny enough. From here, the trail continued a more gradual climb over about .8 miles. I continued to slip onto my hands constantly for this stretch. That part was frustrating, but I still was enjoying myself. I had come into this race with a goal to just have fun and not worry about the rest; I was keeping to that for the most part. Gabe Flanders caught me around mile 3 and passed by easily. We spoke briefly, but he was moving too fast to talk long. He was still in sight, when we came down a small hill. Just as I looked up at the climb ahead of me, I got extremely dizzy and just started spinning. Everything was spinning! I actually yelled out, "Whoa! Whoa!" I felt my body going down, and I thought I was about to go straight down on my face, but as quickly as it had come on, it was gone. It freaked me out big time for a minute since I didn't know what caused it. I almost wondered if it was some sort of vertigo from changing my intense focus on my feet to all of a sudden looking up. It didn't happen again, at least. But it did scare me so much for a few seconds that I was about to call out to Gabe for help. I realized I was just past mile 3, too, which was the farthest point away from help if I had gone down. I was SO happy it went away. The weird part is, I completely forgot about the incident until I was standing in line at the coffee shop on our way home from the race!

This last climb up from where I had gotten dizzy was about .4 miles, and then it was time for the long descent! The descent was fun, but it was also pretty technical underneath the thinning layer of snow. I was able to move fairly quickly down this section. As I've said before, I consider myself a really good technical trail runner, but I was put to shame on this descent by Odd Bersvendsen who came flying by me with utmost grace and speed. I have never seen anything like it! I was amazed. As for me, I just continued on, finally hitting a sharp left that would become a little bit of a flat section before one last nearly half mile climb before the finish. The climb wasn't too bad, but I was feeling drained and ended up just jogging it in to the finish as 2nd woman, 12th overall. 1:18:25. I got 6 miles even on my watch which meant it was probably a little longer than that. 2,058 for elevation gain. Over 6 miles, that's quite a bit! A challenging race for sure!

Just before the finish
I had been comfortable in what I wore for the race, but I knew I was going to get cold really fast so I immediately left the finish area and ran down to my car. It was funny because John and the dogs had completely steamed up the windows. I put on some layers and then took Phoenix and Spot out briefly to use the bathroom. When I got back to the car, I took off the wet layers in exchange for dry ones. John and I both bundled up then went back up to the finish area for the post-race food and to stand by the fire. As soon as I saw Sam, I knew he was bumming over not wearing traction, and sure enough, he said he shouldn't have listened to me. Haha. We both laughed about it because what could we do at this point. It would have been interesting to see how much differently our races would have played out time-wise with spikes or screws. I really felt like I put in double the effort I would have had I had some sort of grip, but whatever, it was all good.

John and me post-race
The food was great. Even John liked it! He played in the woods a little bit while I stayed by the fire catching up with more people. It wasn't long before they announced awards, and then we hit the road.

Neat award!
I wanted a coffee so I stopped at the White Mountain Cafe in Gorham. The place was packed, so I stood in line for awhile. I started not to feel so good, then noticed my pulse was racing. That's when I remembered my dizzy spell during the race. I never had another dizzy episode, so I still think it was vertigo. And the rapid pulse was probably due to dehydration. I ended up running into Paul Kirsch here, and we talked for awhile since it took forever to get our drinks. I made sure to drink a lot of water in addition to the coffee on the drive back over the notch to where it still felt like early Fall.

John and the dogs really needed some exercise, so we stopped for a walk near Cathedral Ledge/Echo Lake. This side of the notch was about 20 degrees warmer and sunny. It felt so nice! And I was feeling pretty good myself by this point. The legs were very tired, but I wasn't too worried yet. We had a great walk out to Echo Lake and back.

We were home for the remainder of the night. I needed to rest. I was seriously worn out and just had to get through the next week. Get through Manchester, then I could rest. I was so close to that tipping point; I could feel it. What I did the next 6 days could make or break me for Manchester, so I had to be smart FOR ONCE.

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