Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2017 Massasoit 10K Trail Race

First kayak of 2017. FINALLY!
This was a weird week. After the crazy busy weeks prior to this, it was almost a downer. I hardly talked to anyone other than John all week. Hung out with friends on Saturday at the Massasoit Trail Race, but other that and some coworker talk, it was a quiet week for me. From crazy busy to not left me a little blah. There were times I was at home and realized there was nothing I had to do. I still had a good week, though. Even though we had some TOO HOT weather, it allowed me to get out on my kayak for the first time this year. I was so excited about that!

Once again I ended up just shy of 50 miles for the week. All I had to do was a measly 1.3 mile cool down after Saturday's race, but I didn't feel like it. Haha. Oh well. 48.7 miles for the week, but a decent amount of elevation gain at 6,949ft. I only needed 50ft to make that 7000, but I didn't bother. Haha. That probably makes you OCDers cringe, doesn't it? ;) Run time was a crazy 8 hours 18 minutes, but that's mainly due to Thursday's extra long bonk fest mountain run. In general, though, I was happy with the week. The hamstrings seem to be getting better and better...only to have plantar fasciitis rearing its ugly head. I mentioned in a previous post that I was having some minor issues with it. Well, it seems that every time I take a walk or stand on my feet for awhile, it has gotten worse. It wasn't bothering me much running until after all of that raking I did at Tin Mountain. Now, it's pretty bad at times. It comes and it goes. The Strassburg Sock I got to wear overnight actually does seem to help some, but not as much as I had hoped. I've never had this before, but now I understand why it's so debilitating for runners. But like I said, it comes and it goes, and of course, one injury is finally on its way out and another one moves in. I can't win...except an occasional race. Haha. This one I'll just have to play by ear. Seems I'm always injured the years I don't have insurance (or only have useless insurance), too, so I can't get diagnosed or treatment. I just self medicate with more running! Hahaha! Seems logical. ;)

Monday, May 15, 2017- Showed up at work to no partner then spent 1.5 hours on the truck check. One of the worst I've walked into. Truck was a disaster! I finally got a partner around 9am and then the rest of the day was busy as hell. Only got in a 1.1 mile walk in the afternoon. Funny. I took a few random pictures today at work.

Cookies I brought in leftover from my race so that other people would eat them. I ate half the box. Haha!

Only two of these were for me. The rest is money I spent out of my own pocket for work. Aspirin for our jump kit since ours was long expired and we had none to replace it with, dish soap and a new sponge for the kitchen. 

View from my bed at work. Yes, I sleep in the kitchen.

Me on my bed. Wearing reading glasses I should be wearing more often to read.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017- We actually slept all night and didn't get a 5-6am call! Wow. This was an off-week for the track, so I decided just to run and out-and-back from work. Once I stopped doing the two 10-hour shifts in Tamworth, I've stopped doing most of my old runs that I'd do after work. I'm starting to miss some of them, including this run to the other end of Lead Mine Road and back. The whole run is 11 miles. 4 paved and 7 dirt road. Mostly flat on the pavement and a lot of hills on the dirt road. It wasn't super fast, but I felt ok. 11 miles in 1:24:49 with 739ft of elevation gain. It was really beautiful morning to be out for a run.

Stopped briefly to snap a photo of  Lead Mine Rd. Quiet and peaceful. Saw 4 cars. Two of those cars were people I knew. Haha.
John had a dentist appointment in Gilford, but I still had time to lounge in the sun with coffee when I got home. It was so nice!

What's under that "denim" running skirt I wear. Haha. Who knew?!
John's dentist appointment was quick and uneventful for once!! Finally! I used to be one of those people against fluoride toothpaste (haven't used it myself for almost 20 years!), but I finally had to break down at John's last visit and buy him the prescription fluoride toothpaste. He had been using the regular fluoride toothpaste to no avail, but this stronger stuff I think did the trick! It's about time. Even formerly earthy, crunchy people like me will change our minds at times.

As usual, we hit Waukewan Highlands Park in Meredith for a short walk on the way home. Not a single complaint from John. He's been enjoying everything we're doing once he's doing it. Kid just needs that push!

I joked around earlier with John that I wanted a Mother's Day present so he walked up to me during our walk and handed me some flowers. That was sweet.

When it's nice out after the dentist, we stop at Flurries in Meredith on the way home. It's right by Lake Winnipesaukee and has good beer. Ice cream for John. Six Point Puff for me!

Once we got home, I realized I had nothing that I HAD to do. No errands to run. No trails to clear. No race prep. I decided to break out the tent I bought on clearance at the end of last summer and set it up. It's SO nice. Both of my old tents have busted poles. Still usable, but not for long. One is 20 years old and the other 13 years old, so I decided it was time to finally get a new tent. It's like a fancy version of my 20 year old tent! I love it. So much mesh for when it's hot. Two doors, two vestibules and freestanding!! Egads!! I felt like a hiker gear junkie again for a few minutes!

Since it was so nice out, I decided to do my upper body and abs workout on the deck. This particular one was body weight only, so I didn't need my equipment. Perfect for a workout on the party deck! Only 15 minutes, but no equipment did not mean easier! This was actually one of the hardest upper body and abs workouts by Zuzka Light that I had done. I was dying. And ok. I took some photos. I never, ever, ever take photos of me working out...but I did this time. The funny thing is that I'm supposed to be touching my toes in this shot...but I couldn't. So inflexible!

That was harder than I expected!
I was beat by the time John's ninja class rolled around so I opted out of a second run once again. Walked all three dogs instead then caught the last half of John's class.

Wednesday, May 18, 2017- Up at 4:30am as usual to run. Same treadmill climbing interval workout that I've been doing. It's exactly the same every time because it's hard enough. It hasn't really gotten easier except that one morning when I was on that detox diet. Interesting. Hmmm. 5.3 miles in 43:38. Half mile intervals 1% grade at 8.5mph and 10% grade at 6.5mph. 1,452ft of gain. I feel like it's helping to do these, but I could be dead wrong. Maybe I should hire a coach to guide me! Haha. I'd just ignore him/her and do what I want.

Today ended up being wicked hot out and that would mean one thing. Crazy busy 911 call day!! We were so busy consistently through the day, but fortunately our last call only took us just past midnight and we got to sleep the rest of the night. That last call was one of the more entertaining calls I've been on in awhile. Tip: Don't combine a broken heart with tequila and then call 911. Haha!

Skipped walking today so that I didn't end up a sweaty mess in the oppressive heat.

Thursday, May 19, 2017- Woke up to it already 70 degrees and humid out. Knowing that the high for the day would be 95 degrees, I'm not sure why I continued with my original plan to run the Kismet Cliff Run course. Not only did I know it would kill me in the heat, carrying two liters of water from the start wasn't going to do me any favors either. This would be my first run in heat like this since last August! My body was not going to be ready for it. Oh I was right, too. One of those times you wish you were wrong. 79 degrees by the time I got started, and I was bonking already on my way up Cathedral and Whitehorse Ledges. I was pretty much done before I ever turned right to start the Kismet long course (Beast of the East). I should have put up the white flag then and turned left instead of right. I was too determined to do the whole course. I'd planned this for a week and stubbornness would win, dammit! All I can say is that had I not brought along water (with electrolytes) and a pack of Salt Stick Chews, I'm not sure I would have made it through without suffering badly...if I made it out at all. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it isn't. It was over 90 by the time I finished. That would have been a dangerous situation to be in without any fluids or electrolytes when you aren't acclimated to warm temps. I bonked basically the whole "run" even with drinking all 2L and eating six salt sticks. By the end I was even walking some downhills and flats. I was destroyed. Completely. I've bonked hard before, but this one takes the cake. At one point on the way up North Moat, I found a teeny tiny snow patch. I shoved a handful of it down my sports bra. I took 5 minutes in the cool wind on the top of North Moat just to cool off before the descent. By the time I got down North Moat, it was a suffer fest back to Echo Lake. 13 miles, 4,321ft of elevation gain (which isn't accurate; it's closer to 4,800) and 3 hours and 38 minutes later, I was done. Immediately stopped and walked over to the edge of Echo Lake. Failed at an attempt to dunk myself, but just feeling the water on my legs was good enough. Just to get an idea of how bad that is, my last two finish times at Kismet were 2:50 and 2:42. Almost an hour longer today. A lot of stopping and walking and suffering. Hahaha. Did I regret it, though? No. Because I HAD stayed hydrated and kept up the electrolytes, I didn't feel like shit when I finished. I was really tired, but I felt good otherwise. Just needed a shower and a recovery beer!

On the way up Red Ridge

Only cool moment on North Moat

Hazy view of the Presi's from North Moat
Cool pic I took when I was done
Showered and ready for my recovery beer. 
I rested on the couch to recoup with my beer. I wasn't really hungry at all, as is usually the case when it's really hot out, but I forced myself to eat a little food before it was finally time to go KAYAKING!! I was giddy with anticipation. It's one of my favorite things to do!! By this time it was nearly 95 degrees. The only place to be was on the water! I loaded up my boat and drove to Silver Lake to paddle from the foot of the lake to the head of the lake and back for a total of about 5 miles. The wind on the water was amazing. It was like the perfect temp! And I was surprised to find all of that upper body work has paid off. I felt like I'd been paddling straight through the winter. No muscle fatigue at all. I felt so strong that started thinking about signing up for some kayak races over the summer (I would end up searching that night and found two that I can definitely do. Yay!). I was so, so happy to be out there on the lake. I saw a few loons and heard one calling; that just doesn't get old. And, yes, of course I had a kayak beer, silly. Who doesn't have kayak beers? Geez.

After a full day, I was pretty beat when I got home, but I still managed to bust out a 15 minute upper body workout. Probably not necessary, but I wanted to hit my goal of 4 days a week. TV the rest of the night until I fell asleep on the couch.

Friday, May 19, 2017- Slept in pretty late. I was in NO hurry this morning. With a race on Saturday, today's run was going to be short and easy. The day was much cooler than the two previous days, never getting out of the 70s. Perfect. I opted for a trail run in the Bolles Preserve doing the same route I always to there. My quads were feeling the North Moat descent a tad, so I ran very slowly. 5.8 miles total in 59:46. Over 900ft of elevation gain, so it's not really a walk in the park, but compared to the Kismet course, it was.

I stopped by the house after the run just to pick up the dogs to take them on a walk while I ran some errands, but found John and his dad already at the house. I was a little annoyed because this keeps happening earlier and earlier every Friday, and I usually don't know John is being left there. It wasn't a big deal, but I had to ask Bryan to let me know next time he's dropping John off early, just so I know he's there. The timing was good, in a way, though, since I had planned to do some errands with John later anyway. So we walked the dogs for about an hour at East Bear Paw. I signed John up for the track program at the Conway Rec and then headed to Nike for some new running shoes. He actually needed two new pairs and tried on a lot until he found two pairs he really liked. He was so cute at how excited he was over his new shoes. We also got his friend a birthday present while we were there. John was actually going to this friend's house later to spend the night and all the next day with him and go to his birthday party. I had already signed up for this race when he got invited, so I asked if he could stay with them for the day so that he didn't miss the party. Had that not been possible, I still wouldn't have let him miss the party. I would have bagged the race in a heartbeat. Seriously. But it all worked out for him to stay over. It's the same friend who usually comes over to our house and goes places with us, so I didn't feel bad asking.

Once back home, I had a beer in the perfect weather on the deck, sauteed some fiddleheads I got at Sherman Farm in garlic and butter and made tacos for John and me.

He never DOESN'T want to play stick.

Fiddleheads were so good!
After dinner, it was time to take John to his friend's house. I was actually kind of sad to see him go; I hadn't seen much since Tuesday. But I knew he would have a much better time with his friend rather than driving 3 hours to a race in Taunton. He would end up having an awesome time.

Saturday, May 20, 2017- Massasoit 10K Trail Race-

I found this race on Running in the USA back in March and put it on my calendar. I had nothing planned for this weekend, so it seemed like something cool to do since it would be new to me. They had a 30K/50K on Sunday, too, but since I originally thought I was still doing the 50 miler the following weekend, I was set on the 10K. Tony Wild, Rachel Flaksman and I talked about this race at some point in March and made it a set plan to do it. I was pretty excited about it.

The 4am alarm was difficult, but I got right up, took the dogs out and then made it out of the door by 4:45am. The sun is already rising by this time, so that made the drive much easier right from the start. Plus, I got to watch an amazing sunrise as I passed through Ossipee. Although it was 3 hours, it really wasn't bad. No traffic at all made it seem fast, and I ended up getting there a little after 7:30am as planned. I wanted to arrive early so that I could run a full loop of the course, but after spending 10 minutes walking around in a group of people trying to find the registration area, I wasn't sure I'd have time for the full 3 miles. I was nervous about the course being marked well, if we couldn't even find the registration! It turned out to be extremely well-marked, thankfully. Haha. I picked up my bib and shirt then ran into Tony on his way down. I got ready for my warm up then talked to Tony when he got back to the parking area. He is SO cool! He brought me half a dozen donuts from PVDonuts! I've been wanting to get there, but it hadn't worked out. So they came to me!! He also brought me 5 beers!! He's way too kind!! Thank you, Tony!

I decided to eat a quarter of donut since I couldn't control myself, then headed out on my warm up. I started the course right near the start. This is a beautiful park, and the trails were FAST. It was a mix of double and single track. Mostly double, though, with either gravel, smooth hard-packed dirt or soft sand. No real climbs for the first half which is where I decided to turn around. I knew I had to go out extra fast from the start to get a good lead. Even though I didn't see them, I knew the second half was a tad bit hilly. As with most trail races, I like to go out too fast from the beginning to get out of view if I can, then slow it down a bit later. It's how I've always run trail races for the most part. How I managed to hold back at Sleepy Hollow, I don't know, but I guess I'd run it enough to learn the hard way that that race isn't for starting off too fast. Haha. I turned around to head back to my car, but I forgot that going backwards on the course wouldn't be as easy to follow, and I was right. I all of a sudden found myself running the course in the direction of the race meaning I had missed a turn somewhere. Eek. I turned around and was a little nervous until I spotted what looked like a sign deep in the woods and sure enough, it was the way back, but I had some how cut off close to a half mile due to the wrong turn on the way back and ended up with 2.6 miles instead of 3. Good enough. I needed to get back to the car and get ready to race.

The air was chilly and cloudy prior to my warm up, but close to race time, the sun came out and the temperature rose a little. It was definitely perfect singlet weather. It was, in fact, just plain old perfect racing weather!! So glad the race was today and not on Thursday! I found Tony, Rachel, Michael Crutchley and Pat Quinn down at the start where we chatted a little before it was time to line up. The 10K and 5K started together, and I was kind of nervous not knowing who was in what distance. During the pre-race briefing, it was asked of all 5Kers to raise their hands. Phew! I didn't get a good look at everyone since I was focused on the two women lined up next to me. One was the 5k. The other was not. Unfortunately, the other 10K woman was wearing a singlet and looked fast. Plus, she was doing the serious race warm up stuff there on the line. Dammit. I might actually have to race today. Go with Plan A. Start out too fast. Haha. She definitely made me nervous, though.

Finally it was go time, and I shot out quickly ahead before we reached the first very short section of single track. I was going all out. This course was way too easy for me, but I wondered if it also might be too easy for her. Well, at the first sharp turn, I did the look back and saw she was pretty close. Fuck! I picked up the pace even more to catch up to the guy in front of me whom I passed just past the first mile. At the next chance to look back, the second woman was nowhere in sight. I decided to keep pushing through this first easy section. Hit mile 1 in 6:57 and mile 2 in 6:58. By mile 3, I knew I could slow down. Over half of mile 3 would be climbing so I decided to cut it back a bit. The guy I had passed stayed right with me until passing me back around 2.5. I would get passed by Michael Norton at this point. He apparently knew who I was from the Mountain Series in 2015; he definitely looked familiar, but I don't think I'd ever met him. He moved out of sight fast! Another guy in front of me looked like he had bonked hard all of sudden before mile 3, so I passed him quickly. I could see no one in front of me at this point, so when I came through the start/finish to start the second loop, I had no idea who was still in front of me. I was pretty sure the guy I had battled with the first 2.5 miles had stopped at the 5K, but other than that, I had no idea who was now in front. All I knew was that I was in the lead for the women and planned to keep it that way. First loop measured 3.2 miles on my watch, and my split was 23:12.

I'd had plenty of chances before the start of the second loop to take some look backs. There was NO one in sight. Not even a guy. So I had a feeling I had this in the bag. Only question would be my overall place. I definitely slowed down by this point. I didn't need to push so hard anymore. I still kept the pace quick in the 7s for the remainder of the race, but I would end up running the second loop 2 minutes 12 seconds slower than the first loop. This second loop would be completely alone the entire way. This, in and of itself, made it hard to really push myself anyway. By mile 5, I started to feel some soreness in the hamstrings. Prior to that, I hadn't felt them at all. This was definitely progress! I came down the final run around the pond to finish the race in 47:37 and learned I was 2nd overall!! Sweet!! Total distance on my watch was 6.36. Crutchley got over 6.5. So the course was well over a 10K. Pretty much just like my race. Full Results

Only pic so far by Rachel Flaksman, as I finished the race
Pat Quinn would end up finishing in 3rd behind me, and the second woman, 4th, and over 3 minutes back. Since it was such a small race, they started the awards pretty quickly. It was funny since they made up these wooden medals with the places written on them. I got the first overall female one. Later on, Pat would tell me that he got my medal since it said 2nd overall finisher. Haha. He was actually right, but I didn't care at all. Just found it funny that some races still don't expect a woman to finish in the top 3. I don't often, but this also happened at the Battle for Black Rock Ultra in 2014 when I finished first overall and all they had was the first female one to give me. Good thing I don't have to worry about that at my race since it's all women! Haha! The cool part was that all 5 of us would win an award between age groups and top overall, so we all walked away with something.

I snapped this photo of  Pat, Rachel and Tony after the awards. Look at that row of awesome calves!
I was happy the awards weren't long and drawn out. Short and sweet. I walked back to my car and took Phoenix out in the woods before we all did a quick beer exchange (imagine that!). I changed clothes then drove to New Bedford to meet everyone at Pour Farm Tavern for lunch. Tony, Pat and I got there before Rachel and Crutchley and made the decision to sit outside in the sun. We had half of our beers down before the other two arrived. Haha. The day would be end up being better weather than expected so sitting outside was the right choice. We all had great beer and everyone except Tony ordered the Cubano sandwich. Omg. It was so good! A fat city squirrel would join us for lunch, as well.

Pat and Crutchley had to head off to other plans while Rachel, Tony and I decided to hit Long Live Beerworks in Providence. I could only stay for one drink since I really needed to get on the road to get back. It was still nice. Scott Mason joined us, and we hung out on the deck where Phoenix put herself as Head Dog of the deck. I had a Nitro Cart Stout that was awesome. I was sad to take the last sip and bid adieu, but I had to get back to my kid.

Scott Mason took this. Unfortunately, the fold over top of my skirt makes it look like I have a huge gut. Haha.

My Long Live mates!
(I just realized after looking at these two pics that I was the only one standing in the sun. Haha.)

The drive home wasn't too bad, but I did hit traffic off and on making the drive nearly 4 hours. I was back in town by 7pm and drove right to John's friend's house to pick him. I guess he was having a great time because he didn't exactly jump up to leave. 20 minutes later, I finally got him out the door. He had had so much fun. The party was at an indoor sports place with baseball, kickball and I'm not sure what else. He hated it the last time he was there, but said he had really enjoyed playing there this time. He said he loved kickball now that he learned how to play it. I was so happy to hear he had fun without me. I knew I made the right choice in leaving him there. Once we got home, I took out all three dogs, and John would end up staying outside running around the yard for like 45 minutes before ever coming inside. He still didn't sit down. Instead, he told me he was going to show me a magic trick. After a few tries, he was finally able to put 19 pencils through a ziplock bag filled with water without it leaking.

Sunday, May 21, 2017- Woke up late. I needed to sleep in after the day before. I decided to sit down and finish my last blog post with coffee, then I woke John up before heading out for my run.

I decided on hill repeats in the neighborhood for today and felt surprisingly fresh. One mile warm up through the neighborhood followed by 10 hill repeats on Tabor hill. I'm pretty sure my neighbors who were having a yard sale loved having me run by literally 20 times. Gave me a chance to peruse the yard sale on my way back down the hill without actually going over there. Haha.

I ran these repeats significantly faster than the last time so that was a big plus. The hill is about .13 miles, 55ft of gain and an average 8.6% grade. My splits in seconds: 57, 56, 56, 58, 58, 58, 57, 57, 57, 56. Started a little too fast then got them where I needed them to be and finished strong. I feel like my uphill is definitely getting faster, even through this now 2.5 month long ordeal with the high hamstring whatever-it-is. I know I'm not as fast as a year ago, but right now, major improvement from the end of March is all I'm looking for. Ran a mile cool down to make it 5 miles for the day.

Showered then decided we needed to get the bikes out for the first time this year. Another perfect day had to be spent outside! I had to hook the bike rack back up and pump up the flat tires before we were good to go to the Mountain Division Trail. I was laughing when I saw John pedaling his bike up the path because he has grown SO much since last Fall! His seat was at the lowest setting and his knees were coming nearly up to his chest. Haha. We stopped and I adjusted his seat a good 4 inches! Craziness. It was also the first time I've ridden with him when it was super easy for him. The 8 miles went by quickly!

Before I adjusted his seat. You can kind of see his right knee is up really high

When we were done, I realized I only had a few errands and it felt great. Dog food and a stop at the store. I got John a burger at Wicked Fresh, but opted out for myself to save the money. That place is good but pricey.

Once home, I decided to take the dogs on a walk up Heavenly Hill and brought the rake along to clear the trail. It didn't need to be as thorough as the Dirty Girl course, but it needed something. It wasn't even runnable downhill with all of the leaves. Spot changed her mind after hearing gun shots at the firing range, but Chill and Phoenix joined me. Omg. Did I walk into a bug hell nightmare! I don't know how I managed to rake that trail. I was swarmed all over by black flies AND mosquitos. That's like my nightmare. I just moved very quickly. Immediately turned around at the top and went back down. Raking a few more spots I had missed. It definitely could have been better, but not in that bug hell. Why do I live in a bug infestation again? I couldn't wait to get inside away from them. It was such a relief.

Got my upper body and abs workout in then made us dinner. Just sat down with a beer and took some pics of my beer with the blanket monster when my pager went off for a second call at the ambulance. Thank goodness I'd opened a stout so that I could just leave it sitting there. I asked John if he was good while I took the call. He told me to go. I signed onto the call and drove to the base. Another crew member met me at the base where we picked up the ambulance. We both came from Albany, and from time of tone to the getting on scene with the ambulance, was only 16 minutes. Not too shabby! I ended up teching the call in, and we had a quick turnaround. It was nice to be wearing my own clothes for a change. So much more comfortable. I got back home about 1.5 hours after I left but get paid a minimum of 2 hours, and this was overtime. Worked out great. I'm hoping to respond to more of these if I can.
Blanket monster and beer that I finally got to drink
So a lot of good things did happen this week even though a lot of it was a little lonely and just blah. I tried to write only positive stuff this week, though, since I'm really feeling a little more optimistic about my running, even with the plantar fasciitis. I think getting some real Vitamin D and sunshine are making me feel better in general. Even though I'm not at an ideal weight, I still feel so much fitter in a way. Having your whole body feel strong and not just the legs from running really does feel great.

Double race weekend coming up. Not sure how I'm going to do at them since Wachusett is an uphill mountain race. Not my strength, but I'm still looking forward to it for Mt Washington training and just seeing how the hamstrings hold up for such a long road climb at a quick pace. I just have to go with the flow at this point because everything is what it is and there isn't much changing the fitness, or lack there of, situation other than time. But we'll see! Maybe I'll surprise myself.

This song totally doesn't even go with the tone of this blog post, but I really like it!

Thought I'd end the post with some pics that were found from Sleep Hollow by Penny Lang. I like them.


  1. Awesome week!! The Strassburg Sock really is awesome, I battled PT for a year a few years ago and haven't (knock on wood) had a flare up in a long long time. I went from sleeping in the boot to sleeping in the sock and I think the sock made the difference to getting it under control.

    1. It does actually feel better when I wake up. I just don't wear it at work to save time for overnight calls. But I do always wake up to it feeling better at home. It hurts less after running. Hurts the most after walking. Any good recommendations for an insole for walking?