Wednesday, April 12, 2017

2017 Doyle's Emerald Necklace 5-Mile Race

Doyle's Emerald Necklace 5-Mile Race through Franklin Park

This week was pretty unremarkable. I was reluctantly back to the roads later in the week with the trails a mess. My hamstrings were not happy about it. As excited as I was to finally race Doyle's (two years in the making), I had my reservations about doing it. Would it make my hamstring issue worse? Would I be sadly disappointed in what I knew would be a shitty time? Those were the things running through my head all week. I was looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. So I just kept reminding myself that it didn't matter. This wasn't an important race. I was doing it for fun. But you know that competitive voice in your head doesn't always believe that crap. Haha.

I took TWO zeros and ran a total of 36.4 miles which kills me, but it's what I need to be doing to nip this hamstring in the bud. Well, actually what I NEED to be doing is not running, but I can't do it...yet. I need that one horrible run that will make me stop running. Instead, I've just cut back the miles and the speed significantly. I did do one speedy run this week that left me really hurting the next day, so that was dumb. I'll be honest that every run (except Tuesday's treadmill run) was a struggle. A month ago, I was ready to run a marathon. Now, I can barely run 5 miles. Sad, but it is what it is. I'll admit that I'm still not regretting my decision to back out of this weekend's marathon in Newport one bit. I'm continuing to feel such relief. Now, if you ask me how I feel about not running Boston...well, that's a different story. Haha. I only do it every other year, and on my off years, I'll admit that Marathon Monday pains me a bit. There's always a twinge of desire to be out there, but I'm really glad that I'm NOT doing it this year because I probably would have gone out there and either DNF'd or injured myself for the next 2 months. Mixed feelings, but the right decisions.

I have SO many other plans for this year that I want to be strong and healthy for, so I need to let this road marathon bullshit go. Baystate will be there in the Fall. In the meantime, it's time to hit the mountains and trails hard...well, as hard as I can right now. The way things are going, I'm probably not going to be 100% for Sleepy Hollow, but that's ok. This isn't going to be my year for winning the Mountain Series. I'll do 5 out of 7, but I honestly don't care much about winning it. Other plans! I want to be in good shape for the 50 and Cranmore. And then really hammer it out in the mountains through August. I have a 3-day mountain running vacation planned in June that I'm really excited about! Not only will it just be awesome, it will also be good training for the stage race in August. July will be some good racing with 3 mountain races and Run with the Beavers AND a weekend off! I decided to do the Whiteface Skymarathon again and the Mansfield Double Up. If I'm 100%, I'm going to come into the stage race pretty fit. I'll take two weeks to recoup, then get back on the road a little more for most of September for races and marathon training. So I have a set plan...unless this hamstring thing does me in, which it could. Right now, I'm not even sure how the 50 is going to go. My original plan was to try to win it, but now, I'll be lucky if I make it to the starting line healthy and actually finish it. I can't do any high mileage runs right now, so all of that marathon training I did through mid-March won't help me much. If I have to, I'll drop down to the 50K or 25K. Playing it by ear for now. I know where I want to be. I have a plan. Let's just see how it all pans out. Now, on to one of my most boring weeks ever. Seriously. Haha.

Monday, April 3, 2017- Woke up for work and heard the news that Jeremiah Fitzgibbon had been killed the day before while riding his bike. I spent my morning getting ready for work in full-on tears. Composed myself enough on the drive to work, then put on my eye make-up when I got there.

Slow season, so we didn't have much for calls. The day was finally sunny and warm so after a 2.2 mile walk on the work treadmill, I laid out in the sun for hours at my car. Give me some Vitamin D!

One of the perks of my job is that I can get away with this.

It really made my day when I was feeling somber about Jeremiah. We had a late night call and that was it.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017- Woke up to heavy falling snow! UGH!! Stop already!! And it was the wettest, heaviest snow. Just gross, like Saturday's snow. I refused to snowblow. Not doing it. Parked at the end of the driveway. I'm done. It wasn't even possible with the muddy/flooded driveway anyway. I give up. White flag!

My drive home from work.
I actually wasn't upset to be on the treadmill this morning. I'm psyched about my mountain running training and decided to up it to 7 miles this morning. Same workout as the week before. Intervals: half mile at 8.5mph at 1%, followed by 6.5mph at 10% (as high as my treadmill goes). This workout doesn't bother my hamstrings/glutes either, so I was looking forward to it. I'll admit the last two miles were challenging, but it felt good to really push myself. 7 miles in 59:18. Approximately 2,040ft of elevation gain. Solid workout. And I felt ok after. Went right into a 17 minute upper body and abs workout after the run. Still following Zuzka Light's stuff and seeing great results.

I was surprised to find the mailman show up at my door AFTER driving down my snow-covered driveway to hand me my mail personally. A HUGE rubber-banded stack of it. Like I said in my previous post, I finally had to complain that I wasn't getting my mail. I hated doing that because I just don't like being one of those people, but he literally wasn't doing his job. And he got called out on it. He's been good since. It just really irked me, knowing how cush of a job he has. A Federal job that pays a really good wage with full benefits; no delivery on holidays or work on Sundays! Not your typical job around here at all, and an EASY job at that. To know I'm getting to work on-time every shift, never calling out, doing my job and getting paid a barely livable wage, while he's getting paid double or more what I make to NOT do his job just didn't sit right with me. I couldn't let that go. And I turned out to be right! Just do your fucking job, people.

The snow changed over to a mix of rain and snow. That didn't stop us from Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's. We haven't missed a Free Cone Day since 2010. Haha. After ice cream, we walked Spot and Phoenix in the drizzling rain at Whitaker Woods.

Free Cone Day
 We didn't do much else except ninja class that night. Kind of a blah Tuesday, but the weather was crummy. Can't wait to be able to do a second evening run on Tuesdays like I always do through the summer.

Drink in honor of Jeremiah. This was the beer he was drinking when I last saw him. And it was out of a glass just like this one.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017- Decided it best to zero today, too. If any days are going to be zeros, it will be Mondays and//or Wednesdays since those are my 24 hour work days. Always a gamble on whether that extra hour of sleep will come in handy or not. It often does.

I worked half the shift with my regular partner until my boss sent him down to the Tamworth base so that my boss could work up here with me. He fills in for empty shifts but wanted to work up here where there's less drama and people. We had one call the entire 24 hours. A carbon monoxide alarm. We never even made it on scene before the fire department cancelled us. It was a LONG day. 

Since I didn't run, I still wanted to work out, so I actually brought clothes to work out in. At this base, we actually have an extra room with carpet that makes it nice to work out in. I wanted to do something more in the line of strength training so I picked two of Zuzka Light's workouts that I'd never done before. The first was called the 550 Killer Rep Workout. She remade it from a previous video she made years ago. You can preview her original video on YouTube (see below). It's the same workout. It's easy (for the women) to get turned off by the skimpy outfits and boobs (she admits they are implants, but who cares?), but she's totally legit in her fitness. This workout was hard! Plus, her current videos are her own style and not like what they were on when this was originally filmed.

I followed the 550 reps with another of her old videos. Tabata. It was only 12 minutes, but it was cardio based strength training stuff. I liked it, too. I was trying to do short workouts just in case we got a 911 in the middle of one. Easier to come back to and start over. No calls, though. About 33 minutes for the total workout. My Wednesday morning treadmill runs are usually around 36 minutes, so it wasn't much different time-wise. Just totally different workouts, though. I went back to working on my blog right after I finished. I actually had trouble typing due to the fatigue in my arms and hands, so it was a good workout. Targeted legs, butt, abs and upper body. I think I'll add this one into the regular mix.

Thursday, April 6, 2017- Woke up at 6am to my boss's phone ringing from the other room. Still half alseep, my brain processed that as the 911 line ringing so I immediately put my shoes on and stood up ready to go to Mineral Springs (the nursing home; they love to call us for 911s at 6am). Then I realized it was just his phone and it sounded like someone was calling out hour before shift change. Went back to bed for 25 minutes then got up, made coffee and sat on the couch. My boss was on his phone scrambling to fill the 24 hour shift. I despise working 34 hours straight like I did for over a year until last summer, but as I sat there, I thought about how I could use the overtime, that it was going to be raining all day long and that I was in no shape to get a long run in. So I looked at him and said, "I'll do the shift, but only until 5pm. That will leave me plenty of light to get my run in." Haha. I also said I needed to run home to get a clean uniform on my way down. Oh, and I was also going to stop by Big Dave's to get a bagel sandwich. It's nice when you can make demands. Hahaha. He was very cool with that since it meant he didn't have to go down and cover the shift himself. 

As soon as the next shift crew arrived, I left. Got my breakfast, swung by my house to change and grab food then made my way to Tamworth. And guess what? Not a single call all day...until 5:01pm when I was done. Haha. That was a looooong 34 hours. I did walk on the treadmill midday for 2.5 miles.

Wrote "HELP" in the dust. haha
5pm couldn't get there fast enough. It meant a run in the pouring rain, but at least it wasn't a torrential downpour like earlier in the day. I did one of my old favorites through Windsock Village in West Ossipee. Two loops that came out to 9 miles in 1:04:06. It's almost totally flat. Just ever so slight a hill in the neighborhood and another hill on Rt 41 (that the GPS doesn't pick up). But generally, a really fast run. I used to do it easily in a sub-7 pace. Today, my 100% effort yielded an average pace of 7:05/mi. Looks fast on paper, yet... in comparison, it's obvious I have lost major speed with this hamstring thing. I shouldn't have done this run this fast. It hurt the entire time. And it just sucked running in the cold rain. But I was still happy to have gotten it in after the 34 hours.

I got back to the base and changed into dry clothes. Once again forgot a jacket so I had to wear the Stay Puft Marshmallow work jacket. I was STARVING, too. I don't eat much at work due to the lack of activity. I think the breakfast bagel was the most sustenance I had in the 34 hours. So I broke down and ordered a calzone from a place in Ossipee. Picked it up and finally got home around 7:30pm.

I broke open a beer I had won at Brrr-lingame. Interesting. It was 15.85% alcohol and appeared flat when I opened it. The first sip would tell me why. It was like straight-up bourbon! Yikes. I wanted to like it. I really did. I tried. I drank about a snifters worth before I had to call it quits. I don't like liquor, especially bourbon straight-up. Sooo....down the drain it went.
"Still Beer" That's your opinon! Haha.
I replaced it with a much better Foley Brothers Imperial IPA.

Spring wishful-thinking
Friday, April 7, 2017- I specifically planned this morning's run around beer, a release of the Raspberry Gose at Hobb's. I also needed spring water from the Sandwich Spring again, so this meant a run in Tamworth. I parked at Remick Farm and did a figure 8 around town, my first post-Boston run last year, but backwards on one loop. My first few steps on the pavement were admittedly painful, but it was more than just the hamstrings, so I assumed I was sore from the 550 rep workout. That would make sense considering I don't do much leg work. But the hamstrings were on fire. I assumed that was from the night before. I had no choice but to run this slowly. It wasn't fun at all, and I almost skipped the second part of the figure 8 to run back to the car. But that would have been only 3-ish miles, so I decided to continue on one more mile where I would turn around and just make it 5 total. Did I do that? No. I just kept running through the pain and completed my original plan. 8 miles in 1:02:33. 7:47/mi pace. 526ft of elevation gain. For me, that's slow. I was really starting to dread Doyle's even more now.

It had drizzled throughout my entire run so I changed into dry clothes then drove to the Spring. And then timing it perfectly, I pulled into Hobb's ready to try their new beer. It was called Salinity NOW! I'm not a huge Gose fan, but I have to say this one was REALLY good. And I got the first check-in on Untappd! Woohoo! (It's the little things.) Some beer aficionado guy showed up at the bar and chatted me up. We talked beer. I told him the few other places to go in the area. Thought we were done until he did the introduction thing. Oh no; that first move. Ugh. He had a pack of cigarettes with him. Nice guy, but smokers are an absolute no-go with me. I made sure it didn't get past the introduction phase before I left. Haha.

Salinity NOW!
Of course, I was starving so I ordered an "appetizer". Pork Belly Poutine. I couldn't help it; it sounded so good! Until it came out with pork rinds on top of it. Ummmm. Noooo. I had to pick all of those off before I could eat it. Poutine is only an appetizer if you're sharing it. If not, it's definitely two entire meals. So that ended up being almost all I ate all day. Haha. And I wonder why I'm heavy. Calzone, poutine, beer, etc. Good thing I won't be craving those heavy foods in a few weeks as it warms up. I actually forget to eat a lot of the time through the summer. Plus, I'm way more active outside of running.

John was home for the weekend when I got back. I headed out to the driveway to rake some of the mud into the tire tracks. Some of it was still frozen, but I did what I could to attempt making the ground even. Mud season is no joke.

John's friend came over for a sleepover that night so they kept each other occupied. I got my upper body and abs workout in and then got insanely antsy in the evening and had to walk on my treadmill for 2 miles. I could finally sleep after that.

Saturday, April 8, 2017- This day was going to be a John day. We were finally going to have his birthday "party" which just meant taking a friend to Kahuna Laguna indoor water park at the Red Jacket. It's not open to the public until after noon, so I got in a super easy run beforehand. Almost didn't do one at all, but I felt a little better today than on Friday. I ran up Bald Hill and then looped back via Cranmore Shores. 5.2 miles in 40:59. Barely under an 8 minute pace. Only 5 miles and I struggled to finish it. Felt like I had just run 15 miles instead of 5. And I was supposed to race the next day, how?

My greeting after she realized I was awake.
Showered quickly, then we left. Stopped briefly at a Rabies vaccination clinic to get Phoenix up-to-date. It's the only vaccination I give my dogs because it's required by law. Otherwise I wouldn't do any. I was happy they just did it quickly and didn't try to sell me a million other vaccines. $10. Boom. In-and-out. My dogs just don't need all of that other stuff, even the Lyme vaccine. I don't even do Heartworm medication. I did when we lived in North Carolina because it was a highly endemic area for Heartworm, but not here. Yes, it exists, but is it common? No. Before you call me anti-vax, I actually gave my dogs most of the recommended vaccinations when we lived down there. The diseases are way more prevalent in that area. It's called using your brain and not blindly listening to some doctor. Making your own decisions based on your own risk-benefit analysis. Not too hard.

We got to the water park around 1:15pm...and didn't leave until 5:30pm. The place was actually packed with military families, so the Red Jacket must have had one of their military discount weekends. That was cool. I still miss being a military family sometimes. Re-entering the civilian life wasn't easy.

John and his friend were non-stop for the entire 4 hours we were there! John loves swimming SO much! I really wish Kahuna Laguna would offer season passes. He would love to go there more often, but at $40/swimmer plus $10/spectator, we just can't go but maybe once or twice a year. For me, it was pretty boring so I just played on my phone and people-watched. Now, I know what it's like for John at my races. Haha. I owed him this day, since he was going to be sitting for hours at Doyle's the next day. John had SO much fun. I can't wait for him to swim at the lake again soon!

On hour 3 at the water park. Where's my "HELP" in the dust when I need it!
Stopped at the grocery store to pick up stuff to make my next recipe from Thug Kitchen that I wouldn't actually get to until Tuesday, then we dropped Dylan off. I was starving once we got home and made some sort of weird red lentil pasta and then broke out my juicer. I realized that my pre-race juicing had fallen aside. I'm not sure why I stopped really. I guess I just forgot about it. Got in my upper body/abs workout, packed up my stuff for Doyle's, then tried to go to bed. A stomach ache suddenly appeared and I ended up using that expired antacid again. Haha!! I don't know if it was the pasta or the juicing or both together, but it did not sit well.

Sunday, April 9, 2017- Doyle's Emerald Necklace 5-Mile Race

I was not feeling good when I woke up. I felt slightly sick to my stomach. I had one cup of coffee as I got ready to go, but that made it worse. I barely made it to Tamworth without throwing up. I considered turning around since I felt so sick. I had to stop for gas anyway, so I went inside and bought some Rolaids...WD40 and a cinnamon roll for John. Random purchases at 6:45am. Rolaids every hour did the trick, and I felt fine by the time we got down there.

I didn't meant to get to Doyle's as early as we did. I had looked at Google Maps the evening before to see how long it would take to get there. I forgot I was looking during Friday night rush hour traffic. Haha. So we were there 2 hours before the race. Good enough, though, since we got street parking right in front of Doyle's. I picked up my bib from inside then went back to the car. It was SO NICE OUT. I didn't want to warm up so soon so I hung out in the car with John, encouraging him to start getting his stuff together to bring to the Doyle's lot. I didn't want him sitting in the car for this. It was way too nice out back in the sun for that. Once he had his stuff together, I grabbed the chair I brought for him and we made our way back behind Doyle's where the after party would be. I found him a great spot in the sun by the DJ table then left for my warm up.

I didn't really know where the course went, but I ran into Stephen Peckiconis right at the end of the road where it crosses into Franklin Park. He told me that we were on the last mile of the course in reverse. Perfect. I was curious to know how this last mile was so I continued on. It was easy to follow and so pretty through the park. When I got to a mile, I decided to turn around and take a different way back so I was running on an old paved path. I spotted a better paved path on the golf course so I cut across the grass to get to it when all of a sudden I was lying on my back in a mud puddle! I had stepped on what looked like grass, but was more like a slip'n'slide. I was lying in the puddle before I even knew what happened. I lied there for a second looking up and just started laughing. When I got up my entire backside was covered in mud, even my hair. My head hurt a little bit, but not anything to worry about. My next step: look around to see if anybody saw that. And then I heard the laughter and an, "Are you ok?" Three golfers walking down the path I was aiming for saw me go down. They couldn't stop laughing. I couldn't either. One gave me a towel to wipe some of the mud off my arms and face, but my entire backside was covered in soaking wet mud. Omg. It was SO funny. I talked to them for a minute then made my way back. I was laughing the whole time. It really made my day. I'm sure people passing by me were wondering why I was laughing as I was running. I was thinking, "This could be the best thing that happens to me all day!"

When I got back to John, he said my hair on one side was caked with mud. There was nothing I could do. Haha. My Level Renner singlet was also wet and covered in mud. Oh well. And the backside of my skirt, too. Fortunately, those would both dry before the start of the race, but I could smell the scent of muddy, wet grass all over me. If I could smell it, other people could, too. And not to mention the obvious mud on my white visor and hair. Haha.

I left John in his chair and made my way back to the park where the start was. I stopped in the woods for a bathroom break. I wasn't waiting in any porta potty line when there were woods nearby! I was a little nervous at the start. Not my normal nervous about how I would perform, but about my hamstring thing. I could feel them, just kind of aching. I stretched a little then did one stride to see how it felt. Not bad, but definitely there. I lined up way back at the start. I didn't expect to be able to run fast, so I didn't want to start so far up. I looked around and realized I hardly knew anybody there. I knew all of the Tuesday Night Turtles, Jim Pawlicki and Paul Hammond. Jan Holmquist, as well, but I didn't recognize a single other person. Totally different crowd here than I'm used to. I had no idea if any of these women were fast or not.  There were two in BAA uniforms who looked fast, so I assumed they were. I reminded myself that it didn't matter, but that never works at the start of a race no matter how injured I am. See my Great Bay 5K blog post for reference of this.

The start ended up being really delayed. I realized that I need to pee one more time so I jumped out of the starting area and ran just to the edge of the woods...mostly out of view. (I don't care if people see me.) It was a good call because it was probably another 10 minutes before the race started after I lined back up. Finally, after a pretty awesome National Anthem, we were on our way.

I immediately realized that I had started way too far back. But, wait a second, it was more like these people started way too far up! I immediately started passing people, probably 25+ people in the first 1/4 of a mile. No joke! Fortunately, I had space quickly, and I actually felt really good. My hamstrings weren't bothering me so I decided to continue on as fast as I could.

Saw Scott Mason and waved
Just past the quarter mile point, I passed one of the BAA women and realized there was only one other woman ahead of me. I was actually surprised to see myself as second woman already. Hmmm. Maybe this would go better than I thought. I hit the first mile in 5:56. Perfect! Well, a tad fast, but I had a feeling I would need that for the end when my hamstrings would probably be dying. The second mile had the most climbing and a headwind, so it was the slowest mile of the run in 6:33. I got passed by Paul Hammond and one other guy in this mile, but hung close to both of them until the last half mile of the race. I started feeling the hamstrings in mile 2. Nothing crazy, but I knew it was just going to get worse.

Turning into the ball field/cross-country course area during mile 2. Photo by Ted Tyler

Facebook asked if I wanted to tag Eric Narcisi in this photo. Kind of creepy that it recognized the Level Renner singlet connection with Eric.
Just past mile 2, the course does a sharp turnaround. I expected to see some woman right on my heels, but much to my surprise, I had a good lead on the next one back, Amanda Watters, one of the BAA women (I would realize later that she is Mike McGrane's wife when he introduced us at the after party). I realized I had a good chance to keep second woman. This surprised me because on an easy course like this, I should have been running a sub-30 min pace if I were healthy. How my weak pace was in second was beyond me. I guess no one showed up. Two more guys caught up with me. One I would leap frog with through the 4th mile. But that was it. My hamstrings got progressively worse, but I kept pushing as hard as I could. Nothing but 100% effort. Mile 3 was 6:11.

Miles 4 and 5 should have been my fastest, but my hamstrings, coupled with no speed work or fast runs the last 3 weeks, held me back. I was glad I could still see Paul and focus on him to pull me along up until mile 4 which was 6:29. It had a climb, but was still mostly downhill. Mile 5 only has a slight climb the first quarter of a mile, then the last 3/4 of a mile are either downhill or flat. This should have been way faster than it was, but I couldn't push it on the downhills at this point. My hamstrings were bothering me, but I didn't care. I had taken a peek back to see no other woman in site. I knew I had 2nd in the bag. I came to the tunnel ready for Scott Mason's camera.

I love this shot by Scott Mason!

I honestly don't remember being capable of smiling and waving at this point, but apparently I was.
Once down the hill, we exited Franklin Park and back onto the city street to the finish...but it looked SO far away. I didn't remember this last stretch being so long! Damn! I could see the clock come into view and saw it just pass 31:00. I had come into this race not expecting to break 32, but I knew I was going to when I saw the clock. Yay! I would have normally been disappointed in the time I finished with 31:39, but with the shape I'm in and the (probable) injury, I was more than happy!! Plus, I finished 2nd woman!! I'll take it! I ran as hard as I could, and if that's all I had, that's all I had. I'm happy with the result. I was 44th overall.

Took me a second to catch my breath, but I walked right over to John to tell him I was done and then right over to the beer truck. No cool down. I just wanted a beer right then and there.

I hadn't even caught my breath fully. John took this for me.
The party had started! I got food for for John, finished my first Sam Summer, then went to the car to change clothes. Once I got back to the lot, the place was packed. John and I moved over to the New England Runner tent which also happened to be next to the TNT tent, so there were people there I knew and LOTS of beer (no surprise there!). I talked to Mike and Amanda for awhile about the Mountain Series and Mt Washington. Since I didn't eat anything, the beer went right to my head. I remember talking to and meeting so many people, which I liked since I had felt a little out of place at first in this different crowd. At some point I got us cake. Then people started handing me different beers, so I ended up carrying around this stupid plate with multiple beers stacked on it. People were weirded out, I think. Hahaha. What can I say? It was the perfect tray! When I was finally down to three cups, I got rid of the plate. The after party was really fun, and I was so glad I finally got to experience it. I needed the social overload after so many weeks of isolation. It felt good. And the day was perfect for it.

Wow. I look kind of rough. Haha.
I had only planned to stay until 2:30 or so and then take John over to the zoo, but by the time that rolled around, John said he just wanted to go home. I told him if we left then, we were going to the zoo. If he wanted to go straight home, then we would stay at Doyle's until 4pm. He said he didn't want to go to the zoo, so we ended up staying until the party basically closed down around 4.

Scott Mason took this photo of John at Doyle's
The drive home wasn't bad at all. I stopped to get John some food and just a coffee and bag of popcorn for myself. I wasn't hungry. Even after we got home, I didn't eat a lot but felt stuffed. Whatever had bothered my stomach that morning must have still been lingering.

The dogs were happy to see us when we got home, and John was really happy just to be home. It wasn't late, but I had a lot of chores to do before I zonked out. I was super tired. What a fun day! I finally got to experience Doyle's, and it did not disappoint!

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