Monday, January 9, 2017

NYE'16 BU Mini Meet #2

VCM changed up the FB promotion, and this came up in my feed. I love it. I feel like total jerk now since I'm not doing VCM in 2017. But if I can get just one person to sign up for it with this picture, then all would be right in the world. So register for VCM, dammit!
What a difference a week makes. Just getting the holiday out of the way lifted my mood tremendously. After my trip to Georgia, I felt like a sloth, but this week I finally felt healthier and more like myself. I had some really good runs and hit just over 55 miles for the week, which is where I'm happy. I was also crazy excited for the race season to start up with the BU Mini Meet #2 on Saturday. I was almost giddy about getting up early to drive to Boston. Weird, I know. Haha. This was also the 3rd week that I have had ZERO knee pain, as in completely gone. I actually keep forgetting that it even happened until I remind myself of how lucky I am that it just disappeared... while not resting... and still running. Another great thing to happen this week, the latest issue of New England Runner was published and featured the Runners of the Year. Yours truly made the cut! New Hampshire's Female Master of the Year! How cool is that?! Two years ago, I NEVER would have considered this a possibility, so I am truly honored to now be selected as a NH runner of the year for two different publications. I was only a master for 8 months of 2016, and for half of the year, I SUCKED. This news, some solid runs and my first race of the new season made for a good last week of 2016.

Monday, December 26, 2016- No such thing as an observed holiday in EMS, so it was my regular 24 hour shift at work. I'd just had 4 days off, though, so I didn't need another day anyway. I've decided to make more of an effort to get some sort of run in on Mondays now, if I don't race on Sunday, so I got up early like I do on Wednesdays and did the typical 5 mile treadmill progression run. Very slow for me, but Mondays are really going to be about getting something in, even if it's just a "jog". I ran at 2% elevation most of the run. 5 miles in 37:08. 7:26/mi pace. Work wasn't crazy busy, but it is definitely picking up.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016- Felt like getting in some road miles, but the roads were shit from the previous night's light snow, so I had to fall back on my usual go-to, the roads near Chocorua Lake. The dirt roads were a complete sheet of ice covered with a good amount of sand. That with microspikes made for a decent surface. I don't care for road running in microspikes, but if I want to get a road run in, sometimes it's my only option. My pace is typically slower, but my effort is still high. I just chalk it up to a good workout. 10 miles in 1:17:05. 7:40/mi pace.

Later in the afternoon, John and I took a walk on the Around the Lake Trail around White Lake in Tamworth. I had kind of forgotten about this trail and was about to pass it by before making a quick right turn onto the dirt road down to the lake from Depot Rd. John seemed to have fun on this walk, probably since it was flat. 2 miles total. With Spot and Phoenix.

John is behind the tree. See him?

From there, it was on to Sandwich to fill up my water jugs at the spring. Two cars of people had parked in the pull off right in front of the spring to chat but weren't using the spring. It was kind of annoying since I had to carry my jugs. They seemed to realize they were blocking the spring, though, and left. As two of the people were getting in their truck, the guy said, "The water is just as grungy as always so be careful." He obviously doesn't know anything about it. There is a slimy, gross cement trough that the water flows into, but you don't get your water from that. He must have thought I was nuts. Haha. There's a pipe coming right up from the ground where you fill up.

We had to drive all the way back up to North Conway to go to the grocery store and then decided to hit Taco Tuesday at Fiesta Jalisco for takeout. John loved it so much that he asked to make it a Tuesday regular thing. No ninja class that night which was really nice so we were home early. I did a 15 minute Upper Body and Abs workout before beer time!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016- Up at 4:30am again for the same old progression run on my treadmill. I keep thinking I should change this run up, but it's just so early that I can't really think too hard. Haha. It's the perfect run for my limited amount of time before my 24-hour shift. I don't see anything wrong with it, but I do wonder if I would benefit from tweaking it a bit. 5 miles in 35:48. 7:10/mi pace.

We were definitely on the busy side today with 911 calls but got to sleep overnight. The busy season has arrived. No more sitting around all day. Haha.

Thursday, December 29, 2016- My original plan for today was a deep tissue massage with Tina, but with the impending Nor'easter, I had to postpone it. Ugh! That made twice now my appointment has been thwarted. It also left me with little time to get in a solid long run. I had to get out as soon as my shift was over to beat the slippery roads so I planned to just run from work and do the North Conway/Conway loop that basically hits North-South Rd over to West Side Rd then back to work in Redstone via 113. It's a quick run due to its flatness so I figured it would be a good choice. Right at 6:56am, a 911 tone dropped! NOOOOO!! Our replacement crew is ALWAYS late, too, but luck was on my side, as they both pulled into the lot just then. Phew. They hopped in the truck and took the call. Yay! I got dressed and hurried out for my run.

I felt pretty good from the get-go and ran fairly consistently the whole way with a few miles slightly slower, but the 15.1 miles averaged out to 7:09/mi pace in 1:47:52. I was super pleased with this run. And I almost beat the storm, but the snow started in my last 4 miles. Fortunately, it wasn't slippery at all yet, so it didn't affect my run. I was so happy I got this in early so that it gave me time to get a few more things done before getting off of the road the rest of the day.

As soon as I changed clothes, I went to Starbucks for a coffee. The place was so packed with the drive-thru literally spilling out of the lot. As soon as I parked, I got on my app, ordered my coffee then walked inside. The line to order was back to the door, but I walked right up to the counter just as one of my former co-workers handed me my coffee. Haha. The drive-thru had literally not even moved as I walked past it to my car. Hahaha. Suckers!

I had to go out to King Pine to pick up our downhill skis that John and I had dropped off the week before for a tune-up. John called me the night before saying he was skiing with his cousins on Thursday and needed his skis. Ugh. I didn't think I'd be able to get out there, but I did. Dropped the skis off then went right back out to get my nails done. The snow had really started at this point, but I wanted to stay out for as long as I could since I knew I would be stuck at home all by myself the entire rest of the day and night. So I drove to the Moat. The roads were snow-covered by this point, but it was still the sticky snow. Annoying tourists were driving way too slow despite that so it seemed to take forever to get over there. I knew I would hit it just right when the place was empty; my prediction was accurate so I got a seat at the bar. Beer never tasted so good. Call it a Day IPA is a really good beer. Long Horn Nachos were my lunch (and dinner). I thought about joining their mug club so I asked the bartender about it. Turns out it's by referral and invite-only due to lack of mug space; they want to make sure the people in the club will actually be drinking there often. Considering I know no one in the mug club, I'll probably never get to join. Haha. Oh well. I had my growler filled with the Imperial Stout and then went home to wait out the storm.

Call it a Day IPA
When I got home, I took Spot and Phoenix out and brought in a bunch of wood from the wood pile for the woodstove just in case we lost power. As the snow began to fall heavier and heavier, I spent hours like this...

I was pretty beat and didn't think anything could peel me off the couch, but... a contest to win a Foolproof Brewing t-shirt actually got me up and outside. I really like their shirts! Haha. The contest is to show how you keep warm with Foolproof. I had this elaborate photo idea in my head. It didn't come out quite as planned since it was snowing so hard that the photos were slightly blurry. Also, holding a cold beer in my hand while it was snowing literally caused frost nip in a few fingers by the time I was done. I had to set up my phone with self timer, but the only thing I could find that worked as a stand was a giant plastic Minecraft Creeper of John's. Hahaha. So anyway, it was still a fun and whacky thing to do in the middle of a snowstorm. I wouldn't call my photos a total fail, but where's Scott Mason when you need him?! Haha. None of these are the photo I eventually sent, but I like them anyway. In one, you can see I was really close to getting singed unbeknownst to me. I highly doubt these are win worthy, but it was still fun.

Smoke in my eyes just as it took

Lies! My fingers were about to freeze to death

My last smile before I nearly burned to death.

The snow made this one too blurry. The camera doesn't really pick up the falling snow.

My fire was pretty cool at least.
I eventually ended up getting in my upper body and abs workout that night. I tried Zuzka Light's other upper body and abs workout the Inferno #1. It was an ok workout, but I'm not sure it's what I'm looking for since it focuses on exercises to improve handstands. I honestly have no desire to do handstands so I may just go back to the Black Diamond upper body and abs workouts.

By the time I went to bed, we had about 10 inches of fresh snow. Sounds so wonderful. And it is...unless you're me and you have to snowblow that shit in the morning. Haha.

Friday, December 30, 2016- The snow really was very beautiful the next morning. The perfect fresh powder. I took Spot and Phoenix out; they loved it. I packed down the trail with my giant snowshoes which I have to wear every time I take the dogs out in the winter. Kind of a pain, but it's the only way to walk back in the woods without sinking in the snow. I don't really mind it since it's fun.

Snow pack from the whole season so far.

I can touch my roof from my deck snow pile already. This didn't happen until February in 2014. EEK!
I'll admit it. I procrastinated. Drank my coffee s-l-o-w-l-y and then meandered out to the garage where the snowblower awaited. I had to shovel a path from the garage to where the extension cord from the house would reach. Why the extension cord, you ask? Well, way back a long, long time ago in February, I used my snowblower for the last time. I reached down to pull-start it. Next thing I knew, I was holding the handle with about 3 inches of pull-cord on the end of longer attached to the rest of the pull-cord that had receded back into the depths of the snowblower. I hung the handle on the snowblower and just figured I'd use the electric start option if needed and fix the handle in the Spring. Fast-forward to November 2016. As I was prepping my garage for winter, I noticed the handle was still hanging where I had left it. I TOTALLY forgot it was broken. Ugh. I know how to repair it, but I can't mess with metal in the cold; my fingers are just way too sensitive now and get cold really easily. So long story short, I'm going to be using the electric start (which is awesome, btw) this winter. But I keep forgetting to buy a second extension cord; hence, why I had to shovel a path from the garage to the middle of my driveway where the end of the extension cord was. I couldn't drag my snowblower through the snow; that snow was SO dense! For fun, I decided to record it on Strava. I won't say that was fun at all since the snow was so thick and heavy that I had to move very slowly on the first pass over the driveway. I then had to go over it again for a second pass. 1 hour 55 minutes later, I was done. Strava picked up 1.3 miles. I had predicted 2 hours and was almost right on the money. That was a bitch for sure. The end result...

Looking out towards the neighborhood road

Looking the other direction toward my garage

The end of the driveway which is the hardest to clear. That's Heavenly Hill in the background.
You can bet I was ripshit when it started snowing again 4 hours later! Haha.

I still had just enough time to get in a snowshoe run as planned so I drove to Silver Lake Hardware in Madison and jumped on the snowmobile trails for an out-and-back run for 8 miles total. To say the conditions were good would be an understatement. They were so close to perfect for snowshoe running that I don't know if I've ever run on anything better. Such a fun run even though it was still hard, and my legs were trashed when I was done. 1:16:06 for the 8 miles. 9:29/mi average. Not bad at all! Snowmobile traffic was steady, but it didn't bother me. I may not like their noise or stink, but I absolutely appreciate their trails and will gladly step aside when they come by.

Later in the day, John and I ventured into town to run some quick errands. I steered clear of tourists as best I could. I went to Paris Farmer's Union to get some more wood pellets instead of the big box stores where I usually go. John wanted a Pupu platter from Peking which I think is ridiculously expensive so I made him pay for it. Haha. A trip through the car wash and then home to my cave away from the obnoxious crowds. This is why I like to leave town on the weekends. Haha.

I did another Upper Body and Abs Inferno workout. This one was pretty challenging. 15 minutes, and I could barely complete it. Still on the fence about the Inferno workouts, though. The rest of the night meant good beer and packing for the BU Mini Meet the next morning. I couldn't believe I was so excited to wake up at 5am to drive to Boston, but this race junkie was getting her fix!

Baltic Porter
Saturday, December 31, 2016- BU Mini Meet #2-

Ok I'll admit that I was no longer giddy about getting up early when my alarm went off at 5am. Haha. Snooze it was until 5:15am. Woke up no problem. Weird how only 5-15 minutes more of sleep makes a huge difference in how I wake up.

Driving to Boston
The drive down was quick with no traffic at all. Parked in the garage at the BU track. Hard to believe it had been a year already since I was last here. Last year, I was running my first indoor track race in my life. I was SO nervous. I had no idea how the whole thing worked. I felt silly and out of place. I had also only been back running for a month after my injury, so I was in horrible shape. I had no idea how to run a 3000m. Fast forward a year, I knew the deal. I wasn't nervous at all. A dad who had brought his daughter to run the 200 was in the bleachers next to us and asked how it all worked. I was able to give him the run-down. I felt comfortable in my skin here. I may SUCK at indoor track, but I wasn't there to "win". I just enjoy the experience now and needed the speed work...badly! This would also give me an idea on where I was with my fitness since I really had no idea. My long runs are spot on, but my shorter stuff has been slow. No racing or speed work will do that to me. Just not my strength.

I got John all set in the bleachers in the same place we sat last year. I tried to talk him into the 200 or 400 all day, but he wouldn't do it. Realized later I should have bribed him with money. Hahaha. I'm not a parent who ever did the bribe thing, but when it comes to getting him to exercise, I think I'm going to work the bribes. Haha. But I didn't think to do that until it was too late, but he never complained and was content up there all day.

I took Chill for a mile warm up then came back in to get ready for the 3000. I went down to the track and found a lot of people I knew waiting for our heat assignments. I had seeded myself in the middle of my best and worst 3000 times at 10:50. I ended up in a pretty fast heat still! Ah! That was good, though, since it meant they would pull me along. The 3000 heats were really packed so it didn't take long to get to mine. I lucked out and got to line up in a second row right on the inside. I was only a little nervous at this point because I started to remember the pain of the 3000. Haha.

Off we went! I immediately fell in line behind Tammie Robie which was perfect. She hadn't run track in a long time, but I felt she would still be good to use for pacing. I really wish I had recorded my splits because I feel like I ran this really smart. I stayed comfortable for the first half and just kept the people in front of me in sight. I eventually passed Tammie, but only because the girl behind her that she had just passed blocked me out from falling in behind Tammie. I was in the second lane and we were just about to hit the turn. So I just went around Tammie, too. I felt like I started to push a little harder for the second half and by the last three, I put out all I had to finish in 10:43:05, less than a second slower than my fastest last year at New England's. I was super happy with this!! I actually felt good out there, and now I want to do another 3000, but the next meet, I'm doing the 5000, so there's no way I'm doing the 3000, too.

3000m. Photo by Scott Mason
It was a LONG wait until the mile, but I hung around and talked to people, Ran a lot of loops to keep warm since I could start to feel my legs stiffening up. I made sure I was down on the floor to watch the fastest mile heats which were fun to watch. I was in heat 14, so it took awhile. I ran more loops around on the outer track. I didn't want my legs to be junk for the mile.

Finally, it was our heat. And it was basically Amanda Wright, an older guy, me and a bunch of little kids. It was pretty funny. I had seeded myself with a 5:40 since I ran a 5:44 on the indoor track last year and a 5:26 at the Millen Mile. I wanted to be conservative. It ended up being good in the long run since I had Amanda to pull me the whole way. I was lined up next to a kid half my size, and I didn't even pass her/him (not sure which) until the 5th lap! Haha. The race went by quickly. Amanda went out pretty hard, and I just tried to hang on to her the entire race. She got some good distance on me for most of the race, but I hung on. In the last lap, I guess I had some kick in me and went from a good distance back from Amanda to almost catching her. I finished in 5:33:88 just on Amanda's heels who finished in 5:33:61. I was also really happy with this race. To run that time after already doing the 3000 was a good sign that my speed is in a decent place. I still wish I could get more speed work in on a track. I could do it on the road, but I like the specific track workouts. Oh well. All-in-all, though, I was extremely happy with my races today.

Paul Hammond got a video of the last few laps of the mile. If you have Facebook, you can watch it since it's a public post. BU Mini Meet Mile Video

In the zone during the mile. Photo by Scott Mason
After the mile, I took Phoenix and Spot out for a half mile run each, changed clothes and then Scott Mason, John and I walked to the Sunset Grill for beer and food, just like last year.

John ordered steak tips. He only ate about a 3rd of that. I ate his cornbread. :)

Photo Scott took of me

I had planned for us to stay in Boston for some of the kids' New Year's Eve stuff, but we were done so early that it meant waiting around for hours. John wasn't interested anyway, so we just went home and watched the NYE stuff on TV. I was in bed before midnight. Haha.

Pic John took of me

The BU track

Got a good shot of the bridge on the way home
Sunday, January 1, 2017-

Hard to believe it's 2017 already! Didn't Y2K just happen?! Our 1st day of the year was pretty laid back. I played with the dogs in the snow in the yard first thing. They were loving the fresh powder.

Chill just chillin' in the snow in our yard

Sunrise behind my garage
I got in my usual weekend run from home. Super icy during the first and last miles, but I managed some speedy miles in the middle. I ended up breaking one of my own Strava CRs from 2 years ago through Cranmore Shores. As I was running up the hill, I was thinking that this has to be the fastest I've ever run up it. I could feel it. And sure enough, it was, by 9 seconds. 5.2 miles in 38:48. 7:24/mi avg pace. Not speedy overall, but where I could run fast, I did.

John, the dogs and I drove over to Bald Pate Mt in Bridgton, Maine later to snowshoe. I can't believe I'd never been there, but I was glad we ventured over. John wasn't too thrilled at first, but when we got onto some soft fun snow, he had a blast. I gave him a pair of my Dion Snowshoes to use which were perfect. I wore them, too. I was so excited to see John enjoying being out there. We walked out to Foster Pond Lookout. Only 1.3 miles round trip, but we were out there for awhile. I definitely plan to come back here. Beautiful spot.

Snowshoe running!

After our walk, we drove over to a cool restaurant in a gas station called the Standard Gastropub for their New Year's brunch. The place was great. The coolers in the back are all filled with beer!

Gas station is still open for gas.

Hash, eggs and brisket
I got in my upper body and abs workout when we got home. Good start to 2017 so far!

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