Monday, March 13, 2017

2017 Granite State Snowshoe Championship Race

This week was very low key compared to the week before. I think it was needed after the craziness of the week before. We really didn't do much outside of the regular routine. I upped my mileage for the week back to 60 as planned, but Thursday's long run should have been thought through better. It ended up leaving me still a little sore in the glutes and hamstrings by Sunday's snowshoe race. Just poor planning on my part, but it all ended up fine. So the week was pretty relaxing. So relaxing that I ate too much crap and gained about 5 pounds. No lie! Haha.

Monday, February 27, 2017- Same ole Monday. 24 hour shift. I woke up surprisingly not sore from the double race weekend. I think the previous week had gotten that out of my system. Other people told me they had really sore quads from Amherst, but I had not an ounce of soreness from either race. That made it easier to jump right into the 60-mile week. Got in 5 miles on the work treadmill in 36:01. I ran it a little too fast, but I really just need to get it done and out of the way before a 911 call comes in. It was a bit awkward today because two of my coworkers were sitting right there. One right next to me and one a little behind. I had to constantly mind the sweat slinging so I didn't get on the guy next to me. It was odd he didn't get up and move. I almost wanted my sweat to hit him so that he WOULD move. Haha. He's not a regular on Mondays, so hopefully, he's not back any time soon.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017- I really wanted to get on a snowmobile trail for a run before it melted, so I rushed home to change and then drove to Silver Lake Hardware in Madison to pick up a trail there. The snow was solid, so I wore spikes instead of snowshoes. Ran 8 out and back in 1:10:32. Not fast. Really just enjoying a trail run. While the snow has melted everywhere else in New England, we still have plenty of it here.

Snowmobile trail in Madison
John and I went to King Pine to ski later, but the conditions were pretty bad. Nothing but slush. I wasn't enjoying it at all. He seemed to have fun still, though. That's all that matters. 17 minute upper body and abs workout, then ninja class that night followed by a good beer.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017- 5 miles easy on the treadmill to start off the day. 36:28. Slower than Monday, but I add elevation to my runs on Wednesdays. Very slow day at work. Only one call around 10pm.

Thursday, March 2, 2017- Kind of dumb idea, but I decided to do an extra long run today. I really needed to squeeze a long run in this week because I wasn't sure I'd have many more weeks that I can. Too many races on the weekends meaning a need to balance it out. Long road runs just kill me. I can't wait for this Spring marathon I'm doing to be over (keeping it on the DL). Most of my long runs after that until maybe September will be mostly in the mountains! Yay! I made my 2017 list out to send to our Hoka One One New England Team Manager, Jack Pilla, and found it pretty crazy that I only have 10 more road races planned for the whole year! That will probably change, but for the most part, the rest will be trail/mountain. So today's long road run will probably be one of my last until September.

I procrastinated like crazy in getting out the door, though. The wind was crazy, and I had no desire to run in it, but I forced myself out finally. Drove down to Tamworth and parked off of 113A to do a run I had done last year. For some reason I thought it was 20, but when I looked at last year's Strava, I saw it was just over 22! Ouch. I ran it fast, too; I knew I wasn't going to be running it that fast today. The run really isn't all that hard. It has a lot of downhill and flat. The weather made it challenging today, though.

It starts off with about a 3 mile climb into Wonalancet that also happened to be into a headwind. As I got into Ferncroft, I was met with a blinding snow squall and the wind whipping in all different directions. Once I was back in the cover of trees, the snow stopped and wind just remained a headwind. A lot of downhills in this section made it bearable with the wind. Finally around mile 10, I turned east-ish onto 113 in Sandwich. From here it was 4 blissful miles in the sun with a tailwind. A turn onto 25 for 3 miles had an even more amazing tailwind in blue skies. Around mile 17, the turn to follow 113 into Tamworth brought me back into the headwind that just got stronger and stronger until the last 3 miles were back in snow flurries and crazy wind. I was so happy when I crested the hill and saw my car. I was so DONE. 22.2 miles in 2:41:39. Average pace of 7:17/mi. And weird, my watch got 932ft of elevation gain. My old watch, which I'm still convinced is way more accurate, got 1,075ft of gain last year. I've noticed this Garmin Forerunner 220 has been badly off with elevation. Might need to reconsider the Suunto.

I was happy to be done with that run because the wind really picked up over the course of the day. Even on the drive home, seeing the wind whipping up the snow on Chocorua Lake was crazy. This pic doesn't even do it justice. I just barely missed a tree falling across some wires over Rt 16 that would have made my drive home longer.

Once home, I actually went right to the shower to warm my cold to the bone body and then rushed back out to get my nails done. Completely forgot to eat! I realized this as I was getting my nails done and started to feel nauseous. Grabbed a mint out of their candy jar and then drove over to the Marshall Conservation Area to walk Spot and Phoenix.

I was just getting out of my car when Kevin Tilton pulled in the lot. Yay! A Kevin's car sighting! My blog has been lacking of those!

I talked to him for a few minutes, then walked on. He was skiing and passed us a little bit later. I didn't walk far. Just enough to loosen up my tight muscles and make sure the dogs were taken care of.

Bare boot assholes take note! I love this sign!

Spot is seriously the queen of finding leftover deer legs. Haha.
Once back at the lot, I realized I had time to get in a selfie with Kevin's car. Hee hee. I was seriously rushing back down the hill in hopes of beating him back there for this.

Don't ask how I had the energy, but I managed to have 3 beers that I got from our drive through Vermont and THEN still get in 15 minutes of Zuzka's Upper Body and Abs Inferno #6. I may have gained 5lbs of fat that's now covering my abs, but my core, upper back and arms are still ripped, I swear! Haha.

So I wore my new Hoka Hupana shoes for the long run, and I noticed that they felt very similar to the Brooks Launch 4 that I also wear. The only issues I had were post-run, when I noticed the pinky toes had some rubbing. No blisters or anything, just felt it after. Like the Brooks Launch which I normally wouldn't wear for a long run, I probably wouldn't wear the Hupana on a long run again either. A half marathon definitely, but over that, probably not. I'm waiting for the Hoka Tracer to arrive in hopes that they will be better for the longer run. But we'll see. If they don't arrive by New Bedford, I'll wear the Hupana's. I did a little photo comparison of the my Launch 4s and the Hupana...

The Hupana's are almost an ounce lighter than the Launch, surprisingly. I really like them, but I would love to see a different upper in the next model. It's a bit stiff. Also, the sole could use something just slightly more rugged.

Friday, March 3, 2017- Woke up wicked sore on Friday morning. The glutes and hamstrings seem to really be giving me trouble lately. Probably from all of the snowshoe running. I almost feel like I need to take a week off or something just to let those recover. I did make an appointment with Tina to help work that out, but I'm actually looking forward to putting the snowshoes away after next week's last race for the season.

Today's plan was just an easy trail run over in the Green Hills with Spot and Phoenix. And good thing that's all I planned because the trail was a nightmare. So many boot prints frozen into the snow made it really difficult to run. I wore microspikes, but those only helped with traction. Nothing could help the frozen, lumpy boot prints. Ugh, people! I ran from behind Walmart up the Quarry trail and then planned to loop back via Pillar-to-Pond, but I had to veer off on the power lines and follow the snowmobile tracks. They were smooth! My pace dropped from 11 and 12 minute miles for the first 3 miles down to the 9s for the last 2.6. That's how bad the trail was. It was seriously risking breaking an ankle to run any faster. Ended up with 5.6 miles in just over an hour! Haha! Forced slow run, though. I needed that anyway.

Drove over to Frontside Grind after that and ran into John and his dad. We did the kid hand-off there, since it was only a few hours before John was coming home anyway. I got a latte and toast. Seriously amazing toast with butter. I'm drooling thinking of it now.

We ran some errands then were almost home when John said, "Do you know why I have my hood over my head?" I said no. He said, "Because of my hair. It's sticking out." I asked if he wanted to get a haircut, and he said, "Yes!" Of course, I wished he had told me while we were out, but we had to go back out to the dump anyway so I made him an appointment at JC Penny. I always stay in the waiting area while he gets his haircut. They always ask ME how I want his hair, and I turn and ask John how HE wants his hair. I find it odd how often this happens. Are most kids so controlled that they can't even choose how they want their own hair? I like to let him decide that for himself so I don't hover. I could still see him in the mirror, though, and watched a huge smile appear across his face. He LOVED his hair. He loved it so much that he wanted to dress fancy to meet Amy Bernard and her family at Flatbread later. He even insisted that I dress fancy. It was so cute. I wanted a picture of us together. We had Amy's daughter take one, but the lighting in the room messed it up. Oh well. It was fun getting dressed up with him. We had a good dinner with Amy and her family. John did accidentally knock his whole pizza on the floor when he knocked the table and the whole thing slid off the pizza holder. I was really mad at first, but then felt bad because I could tell he felt bad. It wasn't like he actually hit the pizza. So I let it go.



Us all fancy at Flatbread

Amy and I being funny.

We picked up Dylan on the way home for a sleepover. It was nice to have a more relaxed weekend for John.

Saturday, March 4, 2017- Really laid back day. I slept in, made french toast for the boys and then went out in the crazy wind and cold for 6.2 mile run through Cranmore Shores. Kept it slow and easy. 48:40. John and Dylan literally PLAYED all day long. And I don't mean video games. Legos!! I wanted to hit the Good Beer Store in Fryeburg, but I didn't want to pull them away from their fun, so I ended up just leaving them there and going on my own. So nice that they're old enough and responsible enough for me to do this now. They were still just playing Legos when I got back. That's seriously all we did. I cleaned the house a little bit. I had to throw out John's Yogibo in the process. DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT. Sometime last summer, I noticed this awful ammonia smell coming from the Yogibo. Almost that nasty cat pee smell. I realized it was in the beads (Yogibo will deny this!). I took all the beads out and washed all the fabric. The smell was all in the beads. Not only that, but the Yogibo cover was wet and rotting on the underside. So gross! Threw that out and got a new cover. Put it on a mat to keep it off the floor. Over the last few months, the smell got worse and worse. Once again, the new cover is rotten! I looked it up to see if others had similar complaints, and they did. So it isn't just us. I'm tempted to return this to Yogibo, but if they give me a new one, it will just have the same problem. So now John has commandeered the other chaise lounge. He actually likes it better and the room has more open space! So it all worked out.

Gross Yogibo

New to me brewery in Maine. Good beer.
Sunday, March 5, 2017- Granite State Snowshoe Series Championship Race-

Woke up to more frigid weather and insane wind. The final race in the Granite State Snowshoe Series was this morning in Waterville Valley. The thing I could not get over was that Waterville Valley is the next town over from mine to the west, BUT there are no roads to make a direct shot. I was curious so I looked up the distance from my house to Waterville Valley Resort "as the crow flies". 18 miles. (Still quite a haul. It's easy to forget just how large the town of Albany really is. 74-ish square miles!) The drive to the race? 62 miles in just under an hour and a half. So crazy!

As the crow flies

Driving time
Because of this distance, I've never really had a good reason to go to Waterville Valley until today! The final race of the GSSS! I was actually looking forward to it. Chris Dunn had come up with a pretty decent course on the nordic trails there that had a lot of climbing. As with most of the races this year due to lack of snow, this wasn't the original course design, but you have to work with what you have, and Chris did a great job with that.

John and I arrived about 1.5 hours before the start. We took all of our things into the comfortable banquet room there. The sun shining through the windows felt great after walking in the frigid wind from the car. Waterville Valley is very interesting. It's actually a little town square in what looks kind of a like a small outdoor mall/shopping center. Pretty neat. Restaurants, coffee shops, stores. Definitely not what I expected. Most of the familiar faces were there, even though the crowd was small. John and I got a table with (Maine) Jeff Walker, Tim Van Orden and Jamie Woolsey. All 3 of them had decided to venture over for the race.

I went out for a 2-mile warm up run on the road and noticed the wind and cold weren't really that bad. I had a feeling the woods would protect us from a lot of that. Once back in the room, I got ready to race. I decided to wear the Six03 nordic top with a thin Under Armour short sleeve shirt on underneath. I NEVER do this with the nordic top, but it was just cold enough and ended up being the right call. I never got too hot. I also wore sunglasses. Between the bright sun on the snow and cold air that makes my eyes water, I found this to be a really good choice for today.

It was cold when I stepped outside, but waiting until the last 5 minutes made it bearable. Put on my Dion 120s and lined up. Chris said the words and we were off.

Dave Dunham, in his Atlas suit, Jamie and me at the start
It was a fast start, but the course immediately started on a gentle incline, so it kept me from shooting off too fast. I knew almost the first 3 miles would be mostly uphill with only a short downhill break around 1.1-1.3 miles. The climb seemed unrelenting. I was immediately passed by Scott Mitchell, whom I was hoping to beat at this one (but I didn't haha). I ended up running with Jon Kovar for most of the race until he got the better of me, too. (I'm a little concerned that these guys are beating me since I normally beat them. I'll have to work on my speed once I can get back on the trails and in the mountains more consistently. And, yes, speed. I was my fastest when 90% of my runs were on trails and mountains. The reason I'm faster by mid-summer? More trail and mountain running.) The course was brutal. My hamstrings and glutes were still sore from Thursday, unfortunately, so I can't say I actually felt 100%, but I do feel like I was running well enough. While the conditions were solid and fast, it was not fast with all of the climbing. Just before mile 3, we topped out and started the fast downhill. There were still a few more killer climbs in there, but there was quick relief for a mostly downhill finish. Not really much exciting to write about this race. Haha. I finished 1st woman, thus also taking the women's Series title for the third year in a row. I had 5.2 miles on my watch. 15th overall in 42:52. Full Results

Photo by Gianina Lindsey
I hung out briefly with Sarah Canney (who took 2nd for the series!) and Jamie before needing to get some warm clothes on. I went back inside. John was doing his usual thing. I put on some clothes and then took Chill out for a short mile cool down. That was cold, so I was happy to cut it short and get back inside where it was warm and cozy. I grabbed a beer and 2 pieces of pizza only to find John already had a piece. Haha. Next were the awards and raffle. James Downey gave John a raffle ticket, so we both ended up winning a raffle prize. John won granola, and I won....Six03 beer! Haha. But this was great. Chris said out loud that he knew I wasn't a fan of Six03 beer and would I like coffee instead. Oh, yes, please! After he handed me the coffee, he turned to the crowd and said, "She's a beer snob." Hahaha!! It was so funny!! Fortunately, it was very fancy coffee because I'm also a coffee snob! :)

Race award winners. Everyone was taller than me so it made me look small. Yay!
My winnings!
We packed up and walked two doors down to La Tasse for coffee and hot chocolate. I also got a day old croissant and John got a cookie. I really like this "town" and need to come back again soon.

John and me at La Tasse. I just want to reach into this photo and fix my hat SOOOOBADLY. Haha
Dave Dunham snapped this funny picture of Chill in my car.
We drove right home, picked up the other two dogs then went for a short walk at the Albany Town Forest.

So it was a good week all-in-all. I was a little nervous about my hamstring/glute soreness so I made a decision to make the next week super easy before another double race weekend. I have a feeling I'm not going to get in anymore long road runs before my marathon, but that's fine. I really don't feel like I need them with all of the racing, but I'm sure it will affect my pace the last 4 or so miles. But that's ok. This isn't an important marathon to me anyway. Just something I felt like doing. And if I'm feeling bad going into it, I won't have any problem with a DNS. I don't want to mess up my 50 mile race Memorial Day weekend. So we'll see. I think with the all the racing up to that point, I'm really just going to be focusing on recovery runs during the week. And as soon as this marathon is over and the snow is gone, I'll hardly be on the roads at all. So looking forward to that.

How is it possible that one of my favorite albums as a teenager was released 25 years ago!! I think I wore out this cassette tape. Tori Amos Little Earthquakes. Title song was always my favorite of the whole album.

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