Monday, January 16, 2017

Resolution 5K Beach & Trail Race

So another week of keeping the miles up in the 60 range where I like them. 60.2 to be exact. Haha. This was a fun week. I ran a little of everything from road, treadmill, mountain, trail and BEACH! My first race of 2017 took us back to Rhode Island for the Resolution Beach 5K, the first of the 4th Season Races and my first time doing it. The entire week ended up pretty adventurous with my running. Black ice, freezing rain, post-holing through frozen snow and then a snowstorm on the beach. I honestly don't know if I could have done more diverse running conditions if I tried. So all-in-all, a good week. I took home the women's win at Resolution and then landed on the cover of the Level Renner Jan/Feb 2017 edition thanks to Scott Mason, the LVL crew and the weather! So now, I'll be annoying people with my face for the next two months. Yay!

About 30 minutes into the start of Winter Storm Helena
Monday, January 2, 2017- Couldn't get up early to run on the treadmill before work. Yeah, another week of no observed holidays. People shouldn't be allowed to call 911 on an observed holiday so that I can take the day off. Haha. But, noooooooo, we were SO BUSY. And it was the week of repeat patients both shifts. And I mean, the same patients twice in one shift AND other patients I have taken multiple times. The frequent fliers. I brought running clothes and was able to squeeze in a 5 mile run on the work treadmill, once again turning it up to its max speed for an easy paced run. Haha. 36:37 for the 5. Still a decent pace, but I can't change the elevation on it like I do at home, so that makes it easier. I'm not complaining. At least I have the option there to run at the Tamworth base. The shit pretty much hit the fan right after I finished my run. Two 911s overnight left me without about 3.5 hour of sleep total (it was broken up).

Treadmill literally at its max
Tuesday, January 3, 2017- With weather predicted to turn to frozen rain early, I planned ahead and brought all of my running stuff so that I could run right from work. I had a long run planned so I needed an "easier" route in order to get it done faster and opted for an out-and-back on Ossipee Lake Rd from the ambulance base. It's almost exactly 7.5 miles one way. I got out just before 7:30am. I felt good from the get-go hovering close to a 7-min pace for the first 10 miles. Unfortunately for me, I didn't beat the weather. The sleet/frozen rain started during mile 10, and by mile 11, I was running on black ice. A plow truck came by and dumped sand down the center line which wasn't much help to me except when the road was void of cars and I could run down the middle, but I spent a lot of the last 5 miles on the black ice and on the shoulder which was a little better with the snow covered in some sand. I was surprised I was able to maintain the pace I did. I ran really consistent right around 7:15/mi pace for the last 5. The running wasn't fun, though. I was soaked immediately and then all of my clothes froze into ice. Literally. My jacket was frozen solid on the front when I finished. It was pretty funny. I was glad I chose this route, though. I didn't want to be out in that weather any longer than I was. 15.1 miles in 1:48:05. 7:08/mi avg pace. So a really good run even with the weather.

I changed into dry clothes when I got back to the base and drove over to the Tamworth Lyceum for a latte and whatever that delicious sweet thing was that I got. It tasted like a pumpkin cake covered in a sweet cream frosting. I don't know if that's what it was, but it was so good. I did NOT need that, though. I may have run 15 miles, but the sugar consumption over the last month really didn't need to continue. Haha.

Latte at the Lyceum
When John came home later, we ended up going to King Pine to do some downhill skiing. It had been snowing, and the roads were terrible, but it's really the only day we can ski since I only got mid-week passes, so we were going dammit. The snow turned into freezing rain again, and we were drenched the whole time. The skiing conditions were great, and John didn't have a care in the world. I only lasted about an hour before I was freezing and called it quits. I felt bad, but the cold, frozen rain just chilled me to my core while riding on the lift.

King Pine skiing in the frozen rain
The freezing rain eventually turned into snow just in time to go to ninja class. The roads were horrible, but I took John to class anyway. John wanted Taco Tuesday from Jalisco again, so we did that after ninja. He would end up eating two bites of one taco and never finished the rest or the other tacos. Soooo, Taco Tuesday ended after only 2 weeks. Haha. Another thing this body didn't need anyway was Taco Tuesday, so it was for the best that we don't continue that. Got in 20 minutes of strength training pretty late. I was SO tired from the lack of sleep but still got to bed late.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017- No idea how I got up at 4:30am for my treadmill run. I had had only about 8 hours of sleep in two days. I was definitely tired and ran it on the slow side for me. 5 miles in 36:47. We ended up being SO busy at work starting before 8am. We were either on a call or I was writing a report until the evening. How we managed to not get called out overnight is beyond me, but we did get an early wake-up call at 6am that put us about 30 minutes past the end of our shift. The sad part about that is that our company won't pay us for the full 24 hours unless we go out at night between 10p-4a, which we didn't. Busy as hell but giving the company 4 hours for free. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Worst company I've ever worked for in my life. But I choose to stay, so it's my own fault.

Thursday, January 5, 2017- A beautiful sunny day, so I had to get up in the mountains. The temperature had dropped close to zero overnight so I expected the trails to be pretty solid. My original plan was Chocorua, but after seeing another friend's post earlier in the week at Castle in the Clouds, I knew I had to go over there. I spent about 30 minutes that morning plotting out 5 different routes. I didn't want to do a long run since I had an appointment with Tina at 3pm in Dover. I ended up not running any of them. With Spot and Phoenix in tow, I started at the lower trailhead on 171 and ran up the Shannon Pond Trail which is also a snowmobile trail in the winter. Footing was solid, especially with microspikes. I had finally decided on a Bald Knob loop, but I only made it about 10 yards before I started postholing and turned around and continued on the snowmobile trail. At this point I really had no idea what the rest of the trail would be like, but I knew I could always just stick to the snowmobile trails if need be.

At the fork where the snowmobile trail and the Shannon Brook Trail split. Two trails diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one up Mt Roberts, and that has made all the difference in having bruised shins or not! Ha.

The trail had been packed down at some point. The rain from the day before melted it, and then it froze solid making it the perfect running surface with spikes, so I decided to continue with it up Mt Roberts. As long as I stayed in the narrow, packed portion of the trail, it was solid and made for awesome running. It was beautiful, and I was really enjoying myself. Then all of a sudden conditions changed as soon as I hit the ledges about 1.3 miles from the summit. The solid footing began to feel less solid. The previous day's warm sun must have melted the snow and only a very thin layer had frozen over top. I learned quickly that one misstep off the packed trail (which was soft itself) meant postholing through the ice into the soft snow below. And that meant my shins jamming right into the ice. There was a lot of cursing going on when that happened. I had to slow it down at that point to carefully follow the trail. It was SO beautiful up there. So worth it. The freezing rain had covered all of the trees in thick ice, and then about .3 from the summit, there was a fresh layer of snow that must have fallen overnight. The mountain tops were all white from that and the ice. Even though it was chilly from the cold temp and wind, the sun was warm, so I was able to stop at the summit for longer than usual.


Spot and all white

The trees were covered in ice.

Phoenix on a fresh layer of snow just below the summit

Ice covered

The sun went behind the clouds and made this a great shot of Phoenix and Lake Winnipesaukee. 

My little dog is tough.
I took a lot of photos on the way back down since it was slow-going for the first mile anyway. As much as I tried to follow my footprints to stay on the trail, I still managed to post-hole even more than on the way up which resulted in more expletives yelled at the top of my lungs. That shit hurt! I was thankful when we finally reached the solid trail again, and I was able to fly down the mountain. I did have to stop to wait on Spot since her downhill running has greatly slowed in her old age, but when I was running, I was moving quickly. Finished up with 8.2 miles.

I changed into dry clothes that made me look like a local. I'm assuming this because I stopped at Cup & Crumb on the way home for a latte and pastry (and I wonder why I'm gaining weight!). When it came time to pay, the barista didn't even ask if I was a member; she just turned the computer to me to input my member number. Never asked if I was a member like they usually do. So I had to assume I looked like a true local who had just stepped away from my farm work to grab a snack. Haha. I definitely looked it.
I could not get a good picture of the bruises, but you can kind of make out that half of my shin is swollen and bruised.
By the time I got home, I only had about 45 minutes before I had to leave for Dover. Spot wanted back out, so I let her out. I showered, then was ready to go, Spot. This was going to be my third try in a month to get to an appointment with Tina. The first time was thwarted by Spot's paw in the trap, the second by Fortis (the snowstorm the week before) and now, it looked like it could be Spot again. Ugh!! I called and called, but no Spot. I really needed to leave to get there on time. I have no idea how this popped in my head, but I immediately thought of the one thing that always has Spot right at the door in an instant... gunshots. Well, I looked like a local, so I guess it was time to act like one, too. I took the gun outside, stood on my porch and shot it in the air. I contributed to my early hearing loss, but within 2 minutes, Spot was at the door ready to come in. SOOOOONEWHAMPSHIRE. Well, it worked, didn't it? Hahahaha.

After driving in two circles around downtown Dover listening to Google tell me, "You have arrived. Your destination is on your left," over and over and over, I finally had to park and call Tina to get directions to her new space in the Bending Bodhi Yoga Studio. Turned out, Google was right. I had arrived at my destination, and it was on my left. There was just no sign. I love her new space at the Yoga studio! My massage was wonderful as always. It was LONG overdue. I was a mess! But Tina worked her magic. I still can't recommend her enough! Tina Carr, Licensed Massage Therapist.

My next destination was just down the stairs on the other side of the building. Garrison City Beerworks, where I was meeting Tom Hooper briefly. Maureen Gillespie just happened to be walking her dogs and saw Tom, so she was there, too. Although I was there for the beer, it was also somewhat of a business meeting with the owner to talk about sponsoring my race and another trail race Six03 is putting on in April. I'm excited that we'll have Garrison City beer as one of our awards at the Dirty Girl.

Maureen, Tom and my flight at Garrison City
Tom had to bail shortly thereafter for another meeting, but I hung out with Maureen for awhile longer. When I finished my beer, I realized I was starving and decided to walk over the Brickhouse. The bar was full, so I had to sit at a table for 2. After posting a picture of my imaginary date in the empty seat across from on the FB beer page, it was only about 15 minutes before my seat was filled. Mark Arsenault saw my post and then joined me for the rest of the evening. I hadn't talked to Mark in over a year, so we caught up over beers and dinner then I drove home. Ran into Korrie Von Wedel there, too, when she came in with friends. I just have to say that this would never have happened in North Conway. How is it I go to Dover and randomly meet up with people I know, but here in the Valley, nada? Just shows you that I'm living in the wrong place.

Mark at the Brickhouse
Friday, January 6, 2017-

Woke up extremely bloated. Major water retention. Not TMI this time since it always happens after the massage. This was why I had originally booked the appointment for the week before. This made me nervous for Saturday's race, but there was nothing I could do at this point.

After little sleep all week, I slept in then drove up the icy Kanc to Bear Notch Rd. I had planned to run a quick 6ish miles in microspikes. The road had been packed down by snowmobiles, but the warm temps had really softened it up. Snowshoes would have been a much better option, but I didn't have them. Since I knew this wouldn't be the quick run I had planned, I decided to just add on miles and ended up doing 10. It was slow, but still a good workout, nonetheless. 1:27:59. 8:41/mi avg pace. It was probably a good thing I was forced to keep it slow since I had a race the next morning anyway.

View from the run

Bear Notch Rd
As soon as John came home, we packed up the car and drove to Rhode Island. I don't know how it happened, but we drove I-95 right at Friday night rush-hour and didn't hit a single bit of traffic!! I doubt that will ever happen again! We made great time. Checked into the La Quinta then met Rachel Flaksman at Doherty's for drinks and dinner. We had a good time, and it was nice to have the company.

Photo Rachel took of us

Me with Spot and Phoenix in the hotel room

Selfie I took of us at Doherty's

Saturday, January 7, 2017- Resolution 5k Beach & Trail Race

Woke up to dark skies. The inevitable snowstorm loomed off to the south. The snow was set to fly right around the race start time. I was happy for the easy drive down to Narragansett, but I had a strong feeling we wouldn't be going home that day. Knowing this, I should have gone ahead and extended our stay another night at the hotel. Not sure if our second night would have been the same rate, but it would have been worth a shot to save $30! I had booked way in advance with a cyber Monday deal. But I still wasn't ready to make the call, so we checked out.

Once at Scarborough, it was cold and the wind was picking up. I was psyched that Mike Galoob hadn't postponed the race because what lay ahead was a pretty cool race experience. I checked in, then took Chill on a 2-mile warm up backwards on the ocean side of course. I warmed up quickly once I got moving. Although the trail along the water was snow-covered, it wasn't too slippery since it had been packed down. I had been dying to do this race, and as I ran the course, I was so happy to be there. So beautiful! On the way back, I ended up getting taken out by dog and fell into the seaweed. It was actually pretty funny. The dog was trying to play with Chill and ran over, cutting me off. I actually had Chill on leash at that point, believe it or not...although I let him off-leash for most of the run when there were no other people around. The puffiness/water retention was still there, unfortunately. It definitely affects my running, but I hoped I could get through it today. I'll have to plan my next massage much better because it ended up taking 5 days for my body to return to normal.

I beat Michael Crutchley in the registration competition and ended up with bib #1. Haha.
I decided to take Spot and Phoenix out post-race since I was running out of time. As I made my way out to the beach with 10 minutes to the start, conditions had changed. The snow had started and a strong wind along with it. I was told this was the opposite wind direction than usual for this race which meant a tailwind for the last mile of the race. I was happy about that, especially after running in the headwind as I tried to stay warm at the start.

By the time we lined up at the start 10 minutes later, the snow was really coming down. It was COLD. Huge difference from an hour earlier. As I stood on the start line, a guy walked up and introduced himself saying he was on the FB beer page and had brought me some local beer in case I didn't get a chance to have any due to the storm. I was like, "Wow!" This person didn't even know me and brought me beer. I was floored. Pete Rumsey left me four Proclamation beers, one of which I enjoyed that night. I don't deserve such kindness, but I certainly appreciated it.

Mike Galoob got the race going shortly thereafter. I was ready to get going and warm back up. The race started heading south down the beach which meant the tailwind. It was a quick pace, and this young girl shot out way ahead of me. I had no idea who she was, and I couldn't catch her the entire stretch down the beach. I was trying, too. I was just hoping she had started out too fast and would slow, but I wasn't sure at this point since she was hauling ass. I felt really heavy, as I worried I might, but I still ran as fast as I could. As we approached the turnaround about .4 miles into the race, I was in a group with Seth Acton, Andy Neil and a guy in FiveFingers (Hell, no. My feet would have been frozen! I was a part of that FiveFinger craze back in 2009 and gave it up when winter hit and my feet froze! Never tried it again. Haha.) As we turned back the other direction, the wind and snow blasted into our faces. The snow was stinging my eyes, so I had to hunch over and keep my head down. I could barely see. The wind was fierce. Such a difference from one direction to the other. I immediately got passed by Andy and Fivefingers, but instead of dropping back, I followed. I had a chick to run down. And as I hoped, she slowed way down, and I quickly passed her. I had no idea if she would still chase me down, so I basically ran scared the entire rest of the race. As we got near the other end of the beach, I peeked up to see Scott Mason there with the camera, so I opened my eyes and looked up just long enough for the photo op. Hahaha.

My face was so frozen it felt like it was going to fall off, so I was happy when the course veered off the beach. We were still in a headwind and now soft sand mixed with slippery snow, but the trees were just enough to make it more bearable. I hung on just behind Andy and Fivefingers through this stretch. It was slow-going for sure with the footing, so I was thankful for the brief stretch on the pavement where I could speed up. It was back in the trees and then the turn back to the South which was such a relief. A tailwind! Since I ran this section on my warm up, I knew where I was and picked up the pace. The snow wasn't too slippery, just as on the warm up. I passed Andy and Fivefingers at this point and felt completely alone for the rest of the trail and into the house (whatever it is). There was a photographer in there who surprised me. He ended up being from the local newspaper, and I made the front page. Haha. Two covers in one week! Could I be more annoying?! :)

Move over Conway Daily Sun. I'm now invading Rhode Island newspapers! 
As I came out of the house, I saw Scott, and then I got confused as to which side of Scott the trail was on. I started to go right, then realized that was wrong and I was going to run over him, so I made a quick move to the left. Scott got the LVL cover photo as I was still going right. He got this one of me laughing at myself when I correctly went left.

I'm a goofball.
The finish line seemed close to here...but it wasn't. Not at all. Haha. The beach seemed to go on forever. Fivefingers passed me back. Grr. Then just before the finish line Andy passed me; I didn't mind him passing me since he wasn't wearing FiveFingers. Haha. I finished in 20:55 and 1st woman. When I crossed the finish, I was told my face was covered in ice. It was so numb, I couldn't even feel it. My time was obviously slow as hell. I'm not sure I can actually blame the conditions for all of that. I felt slow in general, like a fat bouncy ball rolling down the beach. My lack of speedwork was apparent, but I also felt like the water retention played a role as well. I felt 10 pounds lighter 3 days later, so I think it could have been a factor. It really didn't matter, though. I got the win and the cover(s). Haha. As for my competition, the girl from the start ended up finishing way back, but another woman finished only a minute back. So I have a little more competition this year. Not a bad thing. It will make me work harder for sure.

I only stayed warm for a few minutes, then had to get to my car for more clothes. I originally wanted John to get out and take a walk down the beach, but the weather was brutal by this point. The change in just 1.5 hours was crazy. I didn't even encourage John to get out. Most people were finishing and bailing. I tried to take Spot out for a cool down, but she was so slow and literally turned around to go back to the car. I switched her out for Phoenix, who was a little better, but it was still slow enough that by the time I got her back, I was just too cold. I had planned to get in 4 miles for a cool down, but I couldn't warm up and decided to bag it. I did a quick beer exchange with Steve Brightman, Rachel Flaksman and Scott. I had beer for a few other people, but one had already left and the other didn't race. By the time I drove out of there, my cooler was spilling over with beer. Full Results

This is what I brought home minus 2 beers that I drank that night!
By the time the awards started, there were only a few of us left. The building blocked a lot of the wind, but it was still blowing snow sideways and COLD. The awards were quick. I HAD to pick this one....

I took a few pics of those of us left. I even got to take another beer home since there were more raffle prizes than people left.

Jonny, Muddy, Steve, Seth and Mikey

Seth and Steve

I couldn't wait to get in the car and change out of my wet shoes. By the time we left, the roads were already horrible, but it's not like it was anything new to me. John and I met Scott Mason and Mike Daniels at Mews Tavern for lunch. I really like that place. Good beer and good food.

John at Mews
I knew we weren't leaving Rhode Island at this point. When we left Mews, the roads were unbelievably awful. I didn't have any trouble, and I probably could have driven home, but it would have taken 6+ hours, and the other drivers worried me! I really needed to do something for John, though, so I made the drive to West Warwick where the Launch Trampoline Park was. It wasn't crazy crowded, but there were a decent amount of people there. I took the dogs out at one point while he jumped, but Phoenix refused to get out of the car. The snow and wind were crazy.

Unfortunately, I stupidly only packed for one night, so I had to make another stop at Target to get some things, including more dog food! At this point, the roads were so bad that I was starting to get on edge and couldn't wait to get back to the La Quinta for the night.

Actually worse than it looks
It was a huge sigh of relief when we pulled into the hotel. I wasn't happy to be spending the extra money, but it was really our safest option. It was kind of a bummer, though. I'm in RI for another night, but we couldn't really enjoy it. Definitely a boring night. Even John got antsy and didn't sit still for hours. At one point, he was throwing a pillow in the air and punching it. Lunch filled us up so we didn't need dinner, just a snack, and I had two of the beers I had been given at the race. I ventured out reluctantly at one point with dogs to about a foot of fluffy, perfect snow. The dogs were loving it.

Phoenix buried in the snow. Haha

One of his few calm moments

Pillow punching

Beer from Scott. And Spot trying to tell me she wanted up on the bed.
Sunday, January 8, 2017-

The next morning was beautiful, and I was even more bummed that we couldn't stay and enjoy it. It was chilly, but the sun was warming things up quickly. The snow was so pretty when I took out the dogs. I had planned to jump on the hotel treadmill for 5 miles before we left, but in my search for the fitness center, I discovered there wasn't one. A sign on the bottom floor actually said "fitness center" with an arrow pointing into the wall. Haha. No fitness center existed. So much for the treadmill run. I packed us up, dug out the car and we hit the road. I realized that we were passing Providence when PVD Donuts would be open. Sweet!! Until I drove over there to see it closed. BOOO. Of course, they were closed for the week. I really do have a lot of shit luck occasionally sprinkled with teasing glimpses of good luck. I swear. Haha.

The drive wasn't bad at all. Moved right along making good time. John and I snowshoed up Heavenly Hill with dogs. He slid almost all the way back down having a blast.

John on Heavenly Hill
It was still so slow that I ended up getting cold and could not get warm again; just chilled to the bone. My plans to head back out for a run after the walk were nixed. I got on the treadmill instead. It even took me a mile to warm up on that! I actually ran a really good 10 mile progression run. So good that it was probably one of the best treadmill runs I've ever had. I felt great. I jumped up the speed by a lot early on and then bumped it up slowly every mile after that. 1-3% elevation, alternating every half mile. 1:09:51, just under a 7 min pace. I followed the run with 20 minutes of upper body and abs. I missed a few days of it this week, so it felt good to be back at it. I'm already noticing a big difference, especially from the pull-ups.

I had a good week mileage-wise. 60.2 miles. So I'm hitting my goal of 60 miles a week more consistently. I'm finding it to be a bit of a struggle to make 60 miles with my schedule. I have to make an effort to hit that, especially with two 24 hour shifts a week, but I've been successful so far. I won't be upset if I don't hit 60 every week, but I'm keeping it as a goal anyway. Up next...the first snowshoe race of the season at Whitaker Woods!

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