Friday, June 30, 2017

2017 Exeter Trail Race- USATF-NE Trail Championship

Sunset on the Summer Solstice from Memorial Hospital in North Conway
This week all seems a blur, and I was having trouble even remembering most of the week. Thinking I'm losing mind until I remembered that we were out all Monday night on calls but about 2 hours. Duh. Total sleep deprivation to start off the week. I never even really caught up. Still well over a week later, and I'm still feeling it. I went on vacation, but even then got little sleep. I've had to go back and look at photos to really jar my memory. Even though being out all night doesn't happen most shifts, when it does, I cannot recover quickly anymore. I honestly believe age is a huge factor in this. Even just 3 years ago, I could function and recover quickly, but the last 2 years, I just can't. Another reason I won't make this job my career for life. I see the people who have been in this for a long time, and a lot of them are unhealthy and constantly sleep deprived. It's not a healthy field. People like me who make sure to take care of themselves get through ok, but long term, I don't see it being possible. Although I hated working at the chiropractor's office, I LOVED being home every night. It was the one thing I liked about it. I'll stick with this for now, but it's about time to get a second job. A new restaurant is opening in the Fall here billing itself as a taproom with 30 beers on tap. The fall would be good timing to start a second job since John will be in school and that would free up Tuesday day. I would have to give up my free Thursday and Friday nights, as well, and maybe some Saturdays nights, too, but I think I have to give in to life in the Valley, where your worth is how many hours a week you worked. Everyone is constantly one-upping each other on who worked the most hours. To me, there's something really wrong with that, but that's the only way to make ends meet here unless you're one of the lucky few to get a good job here. It will put me at 70ish hours a week, but it's necessary at this point. I can't get by much longer with this job. Plus, I like the idea of a new restaurant that I think will do really well here. I don't always follow through on these ideas, though, so we'll see when fall rolls around.

So on with the week. Between Strava and the photos, it looks like I had a decent week. Only 47 miles, but most of my runs were on the long side. 8 hours and 48 minutes of run time and 8,596ft of elevation gain. I do recall being in quite a bit of pain through Thursday with the high hamstring tendinopathy (which like I said I'm just guessing it is based on all symptoms and the self-test I was able to do). I'm assuming the road pounding from the weekend really exacerbated it. It didn't help that I did a road run on Tuesday. Haha. It was probably more the speed of RibFest that really was the culprit for the pain, but it definitely hurt for a number of days. Not sure how I'm ever going to train for the Fall road races with this, and I might not...on the road. Overall, though, pretty pleased with the week. I'm not going to include anything after Exeter in this post, since I left from there to start a mini vacation to the Adirondacks. That will be its own post. I wasn't too happy with my finish at Exeter, even though I hit my time goal and finished 3rd woman. I guess I was disappointed in the course and my lack of planning in the water department, so I walked away not feeling good about this one. But more about that later.

Monday, June 19, 2017- Zero day. Once again, I didn't even walk. It was way too hot in the bay. Rob and I knew we would get burned overnight after only doing 2 fire alarms all day, and we did. Like I said, out almost all night. When I did finally get to sleep, I never even heard the next tone drop and other crew go out. Yikes.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017- The tiredness doesn't usually affect me in the morning, so I went right from work to run a 10.1 mile loop around Tamworth. I started at the Remick Farm lot like I usually do and ran a loop starting on Cleveland Hill Road. Ran up Brown Hill Rd to Pease Hill Rd to Great Hill Rd to complete the loop. Not an easy run really with a lot of climbing. The last two miles are all down hill, but the first 8 are challenging. I kept the run easy, though. Didn't really push myself. Ran it the fastest I've ever run it. Go figure. 7:50/mi avg pace isn't really that fast, but knowing I ran it 1.5 minutes faster than I did in September or 2015 makes me feel better about my fitness level. 10.1 miles in 1:19:21 with 823ft of elevation gain.

Great Hill Rd
I went home and once again thanks to my Thermacell, I was able to sit outside and have coffee mosquito-free.

I got my upper body and abs workout in early today to get it out of the way. After I showered, John and I drove down to the Sandwich Spring to fill up our jugs and then over to the Sandwich Creamery for ice cream. I love that place. It was on to the lake for 2 hours for John to swim. This is when the fatigue really hit me. I just wanted to fall asleep right there on the beach, but I like to keep my eyes on John in the water. He's an excellent swimmer, but you never know when something could happen, so I just barely stayed awake to watch him.

There was no Whitaker Woods race for me today because, for once, John's running would take precedence over mine. He had a track meet at Fryeburg Academy. As soon as we got there, it started raining and then I dropped a $10 bill that I'm pretty sure this douchebag kid I saw picked up and put in his pocket. It was only a matter of 2 minutes from dropping it to realizing it, and I saw him put his hand in his pocket and walk off. Hopefully karma gets him. To some of us, the loss of $10 is a big deal.

John started off in the long jump and then on to the ball throw (shot put for the younger kids). He then lined up for the 100. The sun was out again and the temperature warm, but he ran really hard. Came in last, but who cares as long as he's trying. He wanted to skip the 400, but I told him he had to finish off the meet. I knew he was tired, and I felt bad about pushing him into it, but he really needed to follow through with it. He chose to do track, and that involved meets. The 400 was really hard for him, but he did it. He finished. That's all I cared about.



400m. Pretty sure he was hating me right there.

I do not fit in with the other moms around here.
Both John and I were really tired after this. I had to go to the store on he way home. We skipped ninja class again because of the track meet. I made us dinner then struggled to stay awake. I planned on a zero the next day since I needed that extra hour of sleep in the morning. I was kind of sad because this was the last day I would spend with John for the next week and a half. :( His grandparents were taking John and his dad and his dad's sister's family to Costa Rica for a week to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary! At an all inclusive resort!! I'll admit I was pretty jealous because it's something I'd like to do just once in my lifetime. I don't know about a full week, but 3-4 days would be so cool. Sometimes someone like me who likes to camp does want to live the fancy life with swim-up bars for a few days in her life. Haha. I doubt it will ever happen, but maybe...just once. :)

Snuggling with Phoenix
Wednesday, June 21, 2017- I barely woke up. Glad I took the extra hour, but that second zero two weeks in a row didn't sit well with me. I decided to throw running stuff into my car and attempt a run on the trail behind work. It would be risky, but possible.

I was so tired that I napped for about two hours at one point. If I'm napping, then I'm really tired. I couldn't even think straight so I needed it. When I woke up, I decided to give the run a go. I lucked out with no calls. I ran .2 miles back and forth on the trail carrying my pager until I ran 3.1 miles. Good enough for the day and not a bad pace for the trail. 25:38. I felt very refreshed after just an easy three miles that I think this might be a new thing for me on the Wednesdays I can't get myself up early for. It really helped so that I was ready to sit down with my blog...and then we started getting 911s. I barely made a dent in the post and fell asleep early that night.

Running with my pager
Thursday, June 22, 2017- My only plans today were to run and kayak so I was in no hurry except to see John before he left, and of course, we had a late call that got us out at 8am. Haha. Fortunately John was there when I got home. I also realized that Bryan hadn't given him much guidance in packing. He had a reusable grocery bag for his checked bag. Ugh. So I started helping him repack with a suitcase and his rollerboard carry-on. He had some stuff in his backpack, too, but he really needed his mom for this one. Haha. Bryan made him leave in the middle of it, so I finished up what we'd started and left it organized for him to finish it. Then I all of a sudden realized that I didn't get a chance to say goodbye! Oh no! I was so sad! I went about getting ready for my run and then heard John come back. He had forgotten something, so I was able to say goodbye after all! Yay! He would be gone by the time I got home from my run.

Couldn't decided between the Hancocks and the East Pond Trail for today's run, but thought better of the steep climbing and chose the East Pond Trail. Phoenix had gone with Bryan and John for the morning, so I brought Chill and Spot along. Little did I know this would be my last long run with Spot. It wasn't very hot out, and she did ok for the first half, but after that, she was struggling. I had to wait for her for almost 5 minutes by the last brook and I could tell she was really worn out. This makes me pretty sad because she used to be my endurance dog. But finally at 13.5, I'm seeing her old age. She can still run short stuff and also do her normal short bursts of sprinting, but there will be no more long runs. It's just at that point. I was happy I had her with me, though, because she loved swimming in the pond.

When I pulled into the lot for the run, there was one other car there. That morning I had started to put on a Six03 singlet, then changed my mind to wear the White Mountain Milers singlet since it had a little more back coverage from bugs. Kind of crazy that I made this change, since a mile up, I found the car belonged to Ron Newbury who was out on a short hike with his brother. Ron was standing far upstream, but he could see my White Mountain Milers singlet and knew it was me. He was also wearing a White Mountain Milers shirt, so I knew it was him. Haha. I talked for a bit to him when he came down stream to chat, then the dogs and I continued on. This was definitely a good choice for the day. Just as I remembered, the climb wasn't strenuous, and since I had the dogs with me, I stopped a lot to make sure they were there and for them to get water. I wouldn't run into anybody else the whole run...just like I like it. Stopped at East Pond first, then ran the Little East Pond Loop. It felt a lot easier than the last time I ran it with Mikey in 2015. I do remember being pretty beat that day, so I looked back to see what crazy stuff I was running that week. 13.5 miles on the road on Monday, 13.1 trail miles on Tuesday, 2.9 miles at Whitaker Woods on Tuesday night, a surprising zero on Wednesday and then 11.8 miles on trails and mountain Thursday. Not super crazy, but still a lot by the time Friday rolled around. I feel like I was so much faster then, but I ran today's East Pond run 10 minutes faster than that day in 2015. Hmmm. Interesting to go back and analyze my running then.

East Pond dog swim

Chill didn't love this.

Throwing the stick

Funny Spot photobomb
The run was 11 miles in 2:12:56. 2,821ft of elevation gain. Still a decent amount of gain, but it's not that much stretched out over 11 miles. I wasn't too beat when I finished, even though my plantar fasciitis was starting to hurt towards the end. The leftover pain in my injury had subsided somewhat by today, so that was good.

When I got home, John's stuff was gone and Phoenix was there. I ate something, showered and then loaded up my kayak for a paddle on Conway Lake.

Dog sleep circle. Worn out dogs.
I needed to clean my house for my dog sitter the next day, but my house really wasn't too bad so I decided to put it off until Friday. This gave me as much time as I wanted to I brought TWO kayak beers. Haha. I've never had the time to paddle from Potter Rd straight out to the other side, but that was my goal today. It was the longest paddle I've done, but it was super nice out. Not too hot. I drank one beer on the way out and one on the way back. 6.9 miles total. I ended up being worn out and still sleep deprived that skipped my upper body and abs workout. As of this writing, I haven't done an upper body workout other than kayaking in over a week! Eek! (But it's mostly due to my vacation). I really need to get the kayaking in because my first kayak race is in 4 weeks and the second one in 6 weeks. So excited about them. One in southern NH and the other in RI. Should be fun.

Green Hills, Kearsarge and Mt Washington in the distance

Long Live Beerworks Cereal Milk courtesy of Tony Wild
I pounded a whole frozen flatbread when I got home and vegged on the couch. I couldn't really stay awake. I was in crazy sleep deprivation mode still. Although I would get a solid 8 hours of sleep that night, it wouldn't be enough to catch up.

Friday, June 23, 2017- Slept in as long as possible. First time since the previous Friday. Felt great. It was pouring rain out so I decided to wait it out since I had plenty of time. I was going to do a short run, do a few errands and then clean the house. I attempted to finish my blog post, but I still wouldn't until that night. This was the day that I got into that song from the Mt Washington post. Listened to it over and over and over. Realized I didn't want to talk to anybody today. It worked out better that way since I was so busy.

I took Chill and Phoenix for a run on the mountain bike trails in the Green Hills. One of my old regular loops. 5.7 miles. And once again ran it faster than I've ever run it. I felt so fluid running along the trail and that song was playing in my head the whole time. I felt so light on my feet. It was weird, but in a good way. Made my run even better. 55:03 for the run. 715ft of elevation gain, which wasn't anything crazy. Race the next day meant I needed to take it easy.

My errands were kind of a wash. The North Conway Eastern Mountain Sports is one of the most useless stores. Every time I go in there looking for something, like let's say, a fuel cannister, I find everything has been moved and the shelf was almost completely empty. Yet, the place is filled with overpriced clothes to cater to the rich tourists. I ran into a friend who was looking for something simple and practical, too, but it was not to be found either. I was met with empty shelves for dehydrated food, too. I don't normally use those, but I wanted to pick up a few for breakfasts during my trip. I could only find oatmeal. If this had been a Sunday, I would have gotten it, but this is Friday morning. My friend and I both walked out empty-handed. Useless store. Seriously. I don't know if they're all like that now, but the one I used to go to in Hingham, MA was always properly stocked with practical camping/backpack gear. Oh well. I decided I probably had enough stove fuel for the trip since I wouldn't be heating up water for those breakfasts. Haha.

I got to cleaning and packing as soon as I got home. I really didn't think it would take as long as it did, but 4 hours later, I was beat. But I needed to kayak!! NEED! Brian Vitiello, my dogsitter, was going to be there in about 2 hours; I had time if I hurried. Fortunately, my kayak was still on my car so I just had to change clothes, throw a beer in there and head down to Chocorua Lake. This was such a fun paddle, even if short. I got to watch a beaver swim around and slap its tail, then I passed close enough to see a Loon family. I've seen a mother and baby before, but never two adults and a baby. So neat. Thunder started to rumble over the mountains so I hurried out of the lake.

I got home, showered, made dinner, juiced and was all set for Brian's arrival. He came by to meet the dogs and get the run down. They loved him immediately. I knew this would be perfect. He made plans to stay somewhere else in Conway for the night since I was still here so he left. I finished packing for my trip. So much stuff! I didn't know what to bring with the potential weather. I would end up packing mostly what I didn't need and not enough of what I did need. Haha. Oh well.

June 24, 2017- Exeter Trail Race-

I got up at 5:45am so that I could take the dogs out and leave myself enough time to get everything in the car. Brian showed up just before 7am and was nice enough to bring me a bagel sandwich from Big Dave's. That was perfect. I was really sad to leave my dogs, but I knew they were in good hands, so off I went.

The drive down to Exeter isn't too long which is always a plus. Once I parked, I saw all sorts of the usual familiar faces plus a lot of new ones. Since this was the USATF-NE Trail Championship race it brought out a new crowd of people. A lot like the Merrimack River Trail Race did when it was the Championship race. It was billed as being extremely technical. Knowing where this was, I was highly skeptical, but I hoped it was true. It turned out not to be true. I went for my warm up for about 3/4 of a mile out. Where the fuck was the technical course?! I knew it would be hilly since I've run the snowshoe race, but now I was pretty bummed to see this wasn't going to be technical enough to beat any fast roadie who showed up. Grr. I hoped I was wrong. It was also so hot and humid out that I knew this would be a sufferfest with all of the hills.

I lined up at the start next to Ginger Reiner, who I knew would be difficult to beat if this course didn't get technical. She's much faster than me on the road, and that speed alone could easily beat me on smooth trail. There were a few other woman there who looked fast. Kasie Enman, of course, but I knew she was going to win and by A LOT. Haha. A younger girl was there who looked pretty fast and Ildiko Gaal who is super fast. She beat me by quite a bit at Greylock two years ago, and I know she's also really good on trails. I was nervous and put myself finishing probably no better than 5th woman. Jamie Woolsey was there, but she's a bit burned out by racing, so she wasn't planning to go very hard. Overall, though, it really wasn't a large field of runners. I thought there would be more, but less was better for the start.

We were finally sent on our way, and it started off FAST. The first .2 miles were pavement before it went right into single track. I didn't want to be stuck behind too many people at the woods so I went out fast like I always do in trail races. I still ended up behind Michael Narcisi and the really young girl I had seen early. The first .1 miles was actually soft footing since it was new temporary trail, and Mikey and that young girl were going to slow so I passed them. I tried to hang with Jeff Walker (Maine Jeff Walker; RI Jeff Walker was there, too!).  It was probably only about 1/10 of a mile before we hit the regular trail which was hilly but not technical. Mikey passed me back and the young girl was on my heels. We passed the point I ran to in my warm up. Still not technical. Someone snapped a couple of photos (the only photos of the race). Does that look technical to you?! I didn't think so.

I kept my pace fast for the first two miles still trying to keep up with Jeff. I started to get nervous and even yelled out to Jeff, "I'm still waiting for this to get technical!" A few roots or rocks here and there are not "technical". I had a feeling that this fast "roadie" course meant Ginger was going to catch up to me any minute, and sure enough, she did. Passed me by easily. I was able to hang on to her for about the first 3 miles, but the course just wasn't rough enough for me to use those skills against her. By 3.5 miles, she would be completely out of sight the rest of the race. In fact, at mile 3.5, I caught one last glimpse of Jeff Walker and wouldn't see another single person on the course for the next 4 miles.

The heat really started to get to me, and I was desperate for a water stop. I was kicking myself for not bringing a handheld bottle today. My face felt really hot and my mouth bone dry. This was really a race when it would have been beneficial. I did bring Salt Stick chews and had two of those just before the water stop finally appeared. I guzzled a cup of gatorade and dumped a cup of water over my head. My watch had this close to 4 miles, but I knew by feel this was closer to 5 miles. This course was so winding that the GPS was way off. At this point, I knew I had to count on the finish to be close to 9 on my watch, so I needed to run like that. This next section of trail was a lot of up and down and it started to get more technical in mile 7. Finally! But a little too late for me to play catch up. I wouldn't call it extremely technical, but it was technical enough that it would slow down anybody without technical running skills. I had to hope this section would at least close the gap between Ginger and me. I have no idea if it did or not, though, since she we would end up beating me by just under 2 minutes. Miles 7 and 8 were very hilly as I made my way back to the tunnel under the highway. This is where I caught up to a guy who was struggling big time and where I caught a glimpse of Jeff Walker just ahead of me. I was surprised to see him there and figured he must be having a bad day (it turned out he was). The first other runner contact in about 4 miles!

Once through the tunnel, I grabbed some water at the stop and a woman behind dumped water down the back of my neck. Omg. It was wonderful! I knew I had right around a mile to go and continued to race hard. I recognized this section from the snowshoe race so I knew what was coming. It wasn't technical at all, but still very hilly. I had a time goal of under 1:18 that I made since that was the winning time from last year. I was cutting it really close, but I started to hear the sounds of the finish. I came out of woods and onto the pavement with maybe 30 seconds to spare. The road felt so easy that I felt like I was sprinting. Came in in 1:17:52! 3rd female. Full Results

Dying! That's what I felt like as soon as I stopped. I was so hot and parched. Mikey tried to walk over to talk to me, but I had to say that I couldn't talk. I needed water fast. I was happy to find the water ice cold. Omg. It was heaven. I took it over to the shade for a minute to cool off then reentered the land of the living. I didn't run a bad race, but I was pretty disappointed still. I felt like it was too easy footing-wise. The hills and the heat were very challenging, but to be promoted as highly technical and then to find that it wasn't at all left me a little unhappy. Kind of like Merrimack. Not technical really. I feel like a trail championship should really be challenging to the actual trail runner, and I was kind of tired of these courses that anybody with just speed alone could do well on. My course was far more technical than Exeter. I will say I was happy to see miles 7 and 8 live up a little bit to the technical definition, but overall it was nearly smooth trail. I actually ended up getting a message from one of my racers later that day saying my race was much harder than Exeter. Haha. That made me swoon. Heehee. I was shocked however to start hearing people talking about how technical the race was?! Are you kidding me?! It dawned on me that most of the people there really don't run on technical stuff so to them this was technical. No, no, no. I'll show you technical...


Not technical
Got it? 7 Sisters- technical. Exeter- not technical. I could go on. I'd actually like to see Run with the Beavers as next year's championship race. The single track section of this race is very technical. It has some dirt roads in there for a few breaks, but it would be a much better race to test out ones trail running skills. It is much more technical than Exeter.

So anyway, after cooling off, Jim Pawlicki asked me to take a look at Ed Sheldon's wounds...again! This was deja vu from Wachusett. Poor Ed had fallen again. This time was much worse! He had a really bad gash on his arm that needs to be flushed out at the hospital and most likely stitches. It wasn't what he wanted to hear, but the dirt was so deep, it was a major infection risk. He also had a really bad contusion on is side and pain in his ribs. Ugh. I felt so bad that he was going through this again, but he's such a positive guy overall that he doesn't let this stuff stop him.

The awards were quick. And I won...603 Beer! Hahaha! I handed that six-pack right off to Brandon Newbould (who had won the race in a lightning fast time). I hung out for awhile after talking to Tim and Jamie and then hanging out under the Six03 tent with a few beers. Mikey hung out as well, and while Maureen was there, we convinced her to join our Grog & Dog Jog team. Yay!

Tom and me
I was itching to get on the road to Burlington even though Tom Hooper was trying to get me to hang out with the group at the Holy Grail in Exeter. I messaged back, "Burlington or Bust!" Haha. And off I went to start my mini vacation!

So a few more reflections on the race, I drove away still very disappointed in my race. It wasn't like I ran a bad race, though. I guess I was disappointed to be beaten by a lot of people who don't run trails at all, and I came into it expecting to really use my skills, but that was useless. I don't know why this irked me so much, but it did for days. Still is irking me now, actually, or I wouldn't have written all of that. Haha. And it's kind of making me really apathetic about Loon coming up. What used to be a low key race in non-championship years is now way too large for my liking. One of the reasons I love the Mountain races was because of the tight-knit group of people involved. It was like a family. Now, it's so big that I don't even see everyone. They added in prize money this year, too, which also brings out a bigger crowd, so that's a bit of a bummer, too. So all-in-all, I'm not really looking forward to Loon anymore. Too much hype for my taste now. Of course, I'll keep doing it, but it's lost its luster.

So I'll end the post here. The next one will be about my Adirondack trip. It was super laid back and quiet, so it won't be a long, crazy post like this one...I think. Haha.

Song for the post. Totally random.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

2017 RibFest 5-Mile Race USATF-NE Grand Prix #3

Photo by Krissy Kozlosky
I'm so thankful I went into this one with the right mindset. I didn't have a care in the world how I finished. I just assumed I would be around 32 minutes and was fine with that. I have done zero road training. I've been injured, and I just ran Mt Washington the day before. My excuse bag was spilling over! Haha. But in all seriousness, my goal was simply to show up, race hard and be satisfied with whatever result I ended up with. I have to say that I walked away completely happy.

It was tough getting up so early for another race, especially after a draining 17 miles total the day before. The only thing that saves me is the early morning light...that will now be fading. Ugh. The drive wasn't horrible, and I arrived pretty early. I warmed up the .6 Miles from the lot to the race site. Picked up my bib and talked to Nick and Nacho over at the Millennium tent. I ran into Hank from Six03 who wanted to snag a picture together. When I looked at the pic later, I noticed I looked pretty tired.

I was kind of sad that most of my team wouldn't be there, and even my surrogate teammates from Whirlaway wouldn't be either. Post-race was going to be lonely. There were others I used to hang out with, but not anymore, so the whole day just felt weird from the get-go. I decided to just focus on race prep instead of other people so I ran back to the car and then another mile warm up around there. I was thankful for the clouds because it was really hot and humid for the start.

I lined up at the back of the elite women, which was perfect. I was right next to Lauren Tilton and Tammie Robie, both of whom I tend to race near. I was pouring in sweat. Like dripping. But no one else around me was. Wtf. I didn't want to start any farther ahead since I had no idea how this was going to go. Lack of road training plus Mt Washington PLUS being really sore (which never usually happens after Mt Washington) could spell disaster. I honestly didn't expect to break 32 minutes today, and I honestly didn't care. I think that apathetic attitude was actually the thing that pulled me through this race. I just kind of went with the flow of those around me.

The start was a bit tight through the shoot, but then opened up perfectly for space as we climbed the hill out of the lot. Just as we rounded the corner, we saw some poor girl on the ground in tears. I felt so bad for her after having been in that same situation myself. Just to get back in the race is difficult after that adrenaline rush. I don't think she continued on, but I don't even know who it was.

I found myself side-by-side with Tammie which was perfect. I felt her pace was right where I wanted to be so I used her to keep myself on track. Miles 1 and 2 were quick at 6:10 and 6:20, but nothing crazy fast. Slow for "me", actually, but the humidity was definitely noticeable and I wanted to attempt to run a 5-mile race instead of a 5K for the first 3 miles. Haha.

I was surprised to find Tammie and me passing a lot of people just before mile 3. I'm not sure what happened to them all, but everybody was falling back. And then just all of a sudden before the 5K, Tammie fell back. I passed the 5k in 19:26...which was actually faster than my last 5K. That worried me knowing that I was in shitty road shape, so I figured I would die after this point, and I did, but it turned out most of the people around me were dying more. Mile 4 hurt like a motherfucker, and I wanted nothing more than to quit. My legs hurt SO badly!! But I kept Mimi Fallon, who was just ahead me, in my sight and reigned her in. I could see that I was also catching up to Diana Bowser. And strangely, I never got passed by a woman from basically mile 2 to the finish. A laughable 6:48 for mile 4, but it was a sneaky uphill the whole way. All I had to do was get through mile 4 because mile 5 would be downhill to the finish.

I just stared at Mimi's back through this and then just before the left turn, I was right on her heels. I passed her easily on the downhill, but the flat to the finish was no match for her awesome kick. She beat me through the finish. I came through in 31:58! Exactly what I expected and a 6:14 for mile 5. I was more than happy with that.

I would end up finishing 4th master and 25th woman. I really believe my lack of road training was more of a factor in the slower time than Mt Washington the day before. I just haven't been able to really do speed work. As soon as I do the injury hurts. I'd rather be running slower on the road right now, though, than not be running at all, so it's just where I am. I had zero disappointment in my race today, and that's really the best outcome.

My only beef from the day was the stupid chip time as official time for 40+. Because of this I finished ahead of Mimi. She beat me fair and square across the line and should be ahead of me in the results. I think this new rule is SO wrong. Good thing we weren't in the same age group because that would have been really shitty.

I chatted a bit post race before running back to the car to change. I can finally wear dresses again since winter just ended haha. So I take every opportunity I can. Today was perfect since the sun came out and it got really hot.

On the way back to RibFest to have my post-race beers, I ran into Tammie, Lauren and Christin Doneski. We all talked for awhile, then they left. Boo. No friends left. :(

I ended up just sitting alone at a table next to some family for my first beer. The beer was all Anheuser-Busch owned, but some of the breweries they've acquired are still pretty decent so the Goose IPA was my choice for the day.

After I got my second beer, I was so happy to spot Paul Hammond and friends. Finally! People to hang out with, and they we're fun. We were also joined by Nadine Palmer and her teammate. Once again, my surrogate team, Whirlaway, came to my rescue. I was having so much fun, in fact, that I didn't want to leave. But, I had told Apryl Sabadosa I would give her a ride back to Conway, and she really needed to get going, so I decided to go. It was tough being on someone else's time when I was kid-free for the day.

We stopped at Millennium Running on the way back to use up some gift certificates, then roasted to death in my a/c-less car the whole ride back. I stopped at Silver Lake to pick up John, but his friend's mom said they had only just gotten there and that it was fine for him to stay.

I dropped Apryl off then took the dogs on a walk and got my upper body and Abs workout in. I was so happy to see John when he came home since I'd hardly seen him all weekend, and he was about to leave for Costa Rica for a whole week. I was going to miss him. And as I'm writing this, I'm missing him :(

Since RibFest felt like running through a jungle, here's the song Jungle.

Friday, June 23, 2017

2017 Mount Washington Road Race

View from the run back down the Mt Washington Auto Road
I'll be honest that I'm so not motivated to write this post. Not only did my race suck, but I'm going on day 5 of so little sleep right now that I can barely think. But I'll give it a go. This might be a 2-3 day work in progress, though. Haha.

My race goal for the week was Mount Washington Road Race which always leads to disappointment and leaves me mentally defeated for a few weeks. This year is no exception, but I'm actually ok with it now and doing pretty well at letting it go. For days, I thought I had run my second worst time at the race, but after looking at my results, I realized I was totally wrong. I've run Mt Washington six times now. This race ended up being my third fastest! So right in the middle. Still a terrible time, and the most difficult finish for me of all six! My worst time up the wall even! But the weather was tricky, and even my conservative, well-run first half did not make up for my disastrous last 2.4 miles. I've never felt that awful at the end than I did this year. But, anyway, more of a detailed report will be further on in this post. I feel scatterbrained so this could be kind of all over the place.

My training goal for the week was to keep elevation gain fairly low and the miles somewhat low since I had a mountain to run up AND a 5-mile race the day after that. Total mileage overall was still right where I like it to be with 54.3 miles. 8h 16m of run time and 8,025ft of elevation gain. I even took TWO zero days!! So that's pretty good on only 5 days of running.

Monday, June 12, 2017- Usual zero day from running. I've actually been enjoying these rest days. I feel like I need them. I guess if I didn't have to work a 24 hour shift like I used to, I would still run on Mondays, but the early morning just isn't happening for me. Call me lazy or whatever, but I just mentally can't do it. Plus, I was still pretty sore from Ascutney. Work was busy-ish since we had to take extra calls as the paramedic truck, but we still lucked out and slept all night. With it being so hot out and in the garage, I didn't walk at all. I would have been soaked in sweat and didn't want to be that gross.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017- Once again opted out of a track workout since I was doing Whitaker Woods Summer Series in the evening. Instead, I drove from work down to the Freedom Town Forest with a plan to run on to Lead Mine Rd in Madison and on some of the trails off of that, run back to Freedom and do a loop over Mary's Mountain. I thought it would be about 10 miles total, which was all I wanted to do today. I ended up skipping the Mary's Mountain loop when I realized that just an out-and-back was going to be just over 10.

I parked at the Trout Pond gate by Danforth Bay and ran up the road which is some decent climbing. The temperature was already starting to climb, and I felt pretty stiff and sore in my injury area and lower hamstrings. Hmmm. I followed the connector trail over to Lead Mine having completely forgotten how long and downhill it was...meaning I had to run back up it. On Lead Mine, I took two horseshoe type trails in the Goodwin Town Forest. One around a pond and the next one up a decent climb before coming back down to Lead Mine on which I stayed for the run back the way I came. Back up that connector trail to the turnoff for the Mary's Mt loop, but realized 8 miles on my watch here would mean just over 10 miles total if I skipped the loop and just ran straight back to my car. I was so hot and dehydrated by this point, that I'm not even sure I would have done Mary's Mt anyway. The run back is mostly downhill, but it was a struggle in the increasing heat. 10.8 miles total in 1:38:03. 1,339ft of elevation gain. This is my idea of less elevation gain. Haha.

Map of my run, in case my description was confusing. Haha.
It was hot out quickly, so John and I headed to Conway Lake midday. The water had warmed up significantly in just two days, so I was able to get in and cool off a couple of times. I brought another stealth beer along. You need a cold beer on a hot day at the lake. You just do. John once again swam for HOURS. He loves it so much, and I love watching him in the water.

John in the background
 I was kind of a dummy. I had put on sunscreen, but waited way too long to reapply and got completely charred. Notice my stomach fold in the picture below...

This is what happens when you get burned and have a stomach fold haha....

Yeah, major ouch. I was burned all over! This would turn out to be a good thing by the end of the week, though, since I only tan after one burn, and didn't get burned at Mt Washington like everyone else except slightly on my face.

John was exhausted and starving when we left the lake, and we had time to stop at Jalisco before Whitaker Woods for Taco Tuesday. I got us 5 tacos and chips and salsa. I was starving, too, and stuffed my face with chips and salsa. I knew this wasn't the best idea 45 minutes before Whitaker, but at least I had enough will power not to eat a taco or two or three. Haha.

Once we got to Whitaker Woods, I did the usual socializing then went out for a short warm up. Ow. I could barely run. SO STIFF. I ran just enough to get to the starting line with some ability to run a quick pace. It was really hot and humid out, so I planned to run about a minute less than the week before. Last week was too fast. This week, I really wanted it to be quick but not pushing too hard. Some woman I'd never seen before lined up next to me at the start. Hmm. She either didn't know who I was or she was fast. She looked fast! Sure enough, she shot out with the lead guys and was far in front of me quickly. Dammit. Just when I don't want to race someone has to shoot out ahead of me at the start. Ugh. So I ran fast all the way around the ball field before I finally passed her just as we entered the woods. Fortunately, she fell WAY off immediately. Phew! I was able to slow down into the pace I wanted for the rest of the run and held it there the whole way. I was running just behind a guy who had never run the course before. I knew this because he started to go the wrong way at one point,so I called him back and then told him about the course markers which are these wooden white arrows placed on trees. Since I know the course by heart, I haven't paid much attention to the arrows in years, and after telling him about them, I decided to pay attention to them all. Funny! Barely any of them are visible now! Haha. Some have moved so high up on growing trees that they're easy to miss, and others were completely blocked by branches and leaves. I felt pretty stupid for telling him about the markers since he couldn't even see them now. Haha. Fortunately,  I ran right behind him for the rest of the race so I was able to guide him in a few tricky spots. I ended up finishing first woman again in 21:44, about 50 seconds slower than the week before. Pretty much right at my goal. A lot of people were complaining about the heat after, but I actually thought it was pleasant. A strong breeze after mile 2 felt great. After talking to Paul Bazanchuk awhile, I went back to the car to find John sound asleep. He was too beat to do ninja class so we skipped it. Went by the store then home.

I got in my upper body and abs workout, showered, then snuggled with Phoenix on the couch for awhile before going to bed. I was exhausted. 14.4 miles for the day.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017- Woke up to my 4:15am alarm. The first movement of my legs was met with extreme soreness so I reset the alarm for 5:30am. There would be no run today. Work was super slow. I got a 2.1 mile walk in early since I didn't run. Didn't get our first and only 911 until after 9pm. Seems like Conway Ambulance was getting all of the crazy shit today. Nothing else to write about for Wednesday.

Thursday, June 15, 2017- I love Thursdays! My day was pretty full so I was kind of in a hurry to get my run in, but I stopped at home first to unload a kayak a friend is letting John borrow and see if my new Hoka One One Speedgoat 2s had arrived. I got word that the Team was getting them and that some people had gotten them on Wednesday. Sure enough, they were there! So I quickly unloaded the boat, threw the shoes in the car and then headed down the Kanc to run the Sawyer Pond Trail to the pond and back. I figured that would be a good trail to test the shoes out on since it's not highly technical. The shoes' thick sole had me skeptical right off the bat, so I didn't want to test them out on rough terrain. The tread looked pretty tight and the little bit I was able to test that out confirmed it was solid.

I changed clothes then set out on the run. Not even .1 miles in, you are met with a ford of the Swift River. These shoes were getting broken in immediately. Haha.

Fording the Swift River
This trail isn't flat, but it's more of a long gradual climb up and then down to the pond. Nothing crazy. A good trail run for a day you want to take it somewhat easy. This end of the trail is very poorly maintained, however, so there were a lot of new blow downs and a large section of trail is basically all mud. By the time I got to the pond around mile 4.4, the shoes were soaked and muddy. I can't say I was in love with them. I didn't like not being able to feel the ground very well, but they were alright on the way out. Felt bulky.

At the pond. 

Tread is good

Me at the pond

The filthy shelter
Unfortunately, it was mosquito hell by the pond, so I only took a few pictures then ran back. After running through the first section of mud, I started to feel like the shoes were very unstable. My feet were wobbling all over the place, and the soles felt squishy like foam. I was worried I was going to sprain an ankle in these things. I wasn't impressed at all. They're super comfortable, but for me, I'm unsure of their stability. However, Jack Pilla swears by them, and, well, Karl Meltzer wore them for his Appalachian Trail speed record, and the AT is no joke when it comes to technical terrain. So I've decided to keep trying them out. I gave up on the first Hoka trail shoes I bought in 2012 after one trail run, and I probably should have given them more of a chance, so I will this time. Still a good run as always. Slow, but good. 8.8 miles in 1:29:47. 1200ft of gain. I'm not into the speed running on trails right now since I'm killing myself enough with the racing, but I really need to do something to increase my uphill power. I had it in the Fall of 2014, but I was pushing every single mountain and trail run. I was also in zero pain and weighed nearly 10 pounds less than I do now. I think I'm going to get enough training through the summer, then after the Fall road stuff, I'm going to cut back on running and maybe add in 2-3 days a week of some sort of leg training for power. But we'll see.

I rushed home so that I could get in some kayaking on Silver Lake before I had to head down to Dover for my free massage. The weather was unbelievable. Perfect! It felt great to get an actual paddle in, unlike the week before. I still had time for a kayak beer and made it 2 miles out before I had to turn around.

Water was FILLED with pollen.
I came home, showered, then drove to Dover for my massage at Integrated Massage with Meagan. I was pretty excited to have a more therapeutic massage and had her focus mainly on my neck and back since I didn't want to mess up my legs for the double race weekend. It was fantastic, and while I'm planning to stick with Tina Carr for my regular massage, I can still recommend Integrated Massage, as well, for regular massage. I'd go back if I could afford both!

After my massage, I decided to check some places in Portsmouh that have been on my list for awhile. First stop was Liars Bench Brewery. The atmosphere was cool, and I liked the open set up of the place. Too bad the beer was AWFUL. I don't know how the place was packed because the beer seriously sucked. I had planned to eat there, as well, but the food menu did not look appealing at all, and it was highly overpriced. Looking at the beer list, there were only 3 I had any interest in trying. A grisette, a German ale and an IPA. Blech. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

So it was off to WHYM Beer Cafe which was decent enough. The draft list was ok, and I decided to try the 14th Star Maple Stout on draft. I'd had it from a can before and wasn't impressed, but I have to admit it was much better on tap. The atmosphere here was ok. They had a record player playing Bruce Springsteen, and the food was good. I probably won't come back, but that's only because I'm not down there that often, and there are better places to go.

I went home from there for my usual Thursday night on the couch. Pretty good day, but it was almost too much. I'm always going and going. Sometimes I just need to slow down.

Friday, June 16, 2017- Woke up to rain, so I knew kayaking was out. Boo. I decided to do a run on the Mountain Division Trail since it's nearly flat and Mt Washington was the next day. I only planned 6 miles, and I'm glad I stuck to that because I ran this way too fast. It was so dumb, and other than the two 5Ks and Doyle's, it's been 3 months since I've run hard on the road. So when I say I haven't done any road training, I'm serious. I've had to get on the road once or twice a week, but I've kept it super slow on purpose. But here I am on the MDT busting it out. And it actually felt easy. Close to negative splits for the 6 miles. The last mile has the most uphill, so I was just a tad slower than the 5th mile.

I really hoped this idiotic run didn't mess up my races, but at the same time, I was glad I did it because it gave me some hope that RibFest wouldn't be a total disaster on Sunday. I had to hope this didn't mess me up for Mt Washington, but I didn't think it would.

I ran a bunch errands before heading home, I ended up running into Simon Gutierrez and Brandy Erholz at the grocery store and chatted with them briefly. As soon as I got home, I showered, then John, the dogs and I drove up to Mt Washington to pick up my race bib. I needed to meet up with Scott Mason to give him my runner tag and bag of clothes. I was expecting it to be cool and cloudy at the top so I packed extra warm gear. Hahaha. Little did I know. I talked to a few people I knew and took the dogs out while I waited for Scott. I ended up busting in the wet grass when I saw Spot about to take a poo in the field. I sprinted over to her to stop her and slid right on my ass. Hahaha. It was funny, and I was soaked.

The race tent. I was psyched about the cloudy forecast!

Walking the dogs
Tom Hooper showed up and followed us back into town and over to Fryeburg with the Six03 crowd for dinner and beer at the 302 Smokehouse. This was my suggestion since it was so close to where the were staying in Center Conway, and it's not a boring tourist trap like every place in the North Conway. Plus, they have a better beer selection than anywhere else besides the Moat. I spent most of the time talking to Sarah Canney and Roxanne Serrecchia, had two beers and ate way too much food. John nearly his entire meal which he never does. That's a sign that the food is good here. I always recommend it to people if you don't want the generic North Conway restaurants.

John hates selfies so he made a bored face.

I was pretty tired by the time we got home so I took the dogs out, packed up my bag for the race (including jeans and a sweater. Oh the laughter!) then went to bed.

Saturday, June 17, 2017- Mount Washington Road Race-

Well, you already know how this is going to go since I already said it was a bad race. Haha. But I'll start at the beginning anyway. As with the last 2 years, I dropped John off with his grandparents for the day around 6am. I thought I'd hit traffic on the way into the parking area like last year, but there was none! That meant I had 2 hours until race time. I grabbed a bag of Six03 gear that Tom Hooper had brought me, including a white Six03 singlet I was planning to wear for the race, then went back to the car to lie down. Michael Narcisi would end up joining me for the next hour. I rested my eyes as we talked about stuff, then next thing I knew it was 8am. Time to get moving. As usual, I ran a 2 mile warm up on the Great Glen trails. As I was heading back, I ran into Brandy again and we talked for awhile. She's been working hard to get back after having her last child, and I'd say she did pretty well since she would come in 2nd woman! I ran back to my car and changed into my much thinner and cooler CMS singlet. I was surprised at how hot I was in the Six03 singlet. The clouds were gone, and it felt hot and muggy! Oh no!! Just what I dreaded! Ugh. So goal #1, don't go out too fast. I had 2015 splits on my arm which I knew was a long shot, but I had hope. Those hopes diminished when I got into the start and lined up next Tina Marie Poulin. It was so warm! I felt like I lined up well based on who I was around, and I was happy with that. I have to admit I was having a bit of anxiety about the start after last year's mishap when I was tripped and knocked down. I was so worried it would happen again. I just wanted to get this started and over with. I really do hate this race. Haha.

Finally, we were off, and I made it in the clear without falling. Phew. Down the hill we went and then the grueling climb began. I went off at a comfortable pace trying not follow anyone. I felt good and hit the first mile in 9:48. I was really happy with this. Far slower than 2015, but it was what I was shooting for. I actually felt great for the next two miles. The temperature wasn't too warm, but the humidity below treeline was very noticeable. I hit the next two splits in 11:29 and 12:39, which were also much slower than 2015, so I knew at this point a sub-1:30 wasn't happening. Just before the halfway point, Mary Baldwin passed me. I had been with her the first 1.5 miles, so I decided to try to hang on to her for as long as possible. I hit halfway in 43:31 and was happy with that. I was hoping I could run something close to last year (1;31) since we were getting close to treeline and the cool breeze would be a nice boost. I noticed just before the half that I was bone dry. Hmm. This wasn't good. I needed cool air like now!

I don't know which year it was, but just like that year, we hit treeline, and there was NOTHING. No breeze, only fucking hot air. Oh boy. This was going downhill (I wished!) fast! I still felt pretty good, though as we approached the dirt section. Normally, I start power hiking here, but I was still feeling good and kept running right behind Mary. As usual, though, Dawn Roberts passed me here. She is so strong on these uphill climbs! I had a feeling a whole group of women was behind me getting ready to pass, but none were. This was weird. Just after mile 5, we hit a steep section, and I was all of a sudden completely drained. It just hit me like a ton of bricks. I went from feeling good to completely depleted...and still 2.5 miles to go!! My biggest mistake was right at this moment. The gel in my pocket would have probably given me the boost I needed. I take one at this point every year, but my energy level was so low and my mouth so dry that I couldn't do it. I'm kicking myself now. Had I known these were the weather conditions we were going to have, I would have brought Salt Stick Chews instead! I was expecting clouds and cool temps. It wasn't supposed to be like this!! I was so hot! Crazy that I could have helped my race by doing this one thing, but my fried brain and parched mouth stopped me. I was still able to hang on to Mary, and we passed a woman who was walking. I ended up right behind Ernie Brake and Bruce Christiansen for the rest of the way. Just like them, I was walking A LOT the last two miles. I had never felt so drained here!!! At the mile 6 water stop, I grabbed two cups of water. One for my head and the other I stopped to chug. This is where I lost Mary. But why wasn't I getting passed?! Well, it turned out that everyone in close proximity was feeling just as shitty as I was. Around 6.5 I caught back up with Ernie. He tried to talk to me, but I could hardly answer back. My legs were in such pain. Tina Marie Poulin finally passed me here. I had expected her a lot sooner.

By the last half mile, I had nothing left. I've always had extra to give here and smiled the whole way. This would not be like that. I ran my slowest finish ever. I couldn't even smile for Scott Mason's camera. My legs could barely lift off the ground. All of the photos capture my pain. This wasn't like me. Something wasn't right. I just didn't know what.

No smile for Scott!

No smile for Gianina Lindsey
I ran my slowest time up the wall ever. My legs just wouldn't move. I hurt so much! I didn't even want to see the clock, but there it was. I said out loud something like, "Oh that sucks." I couldn't believe I had run it that slowly. Came through in 1:33:33 (even though the pics show it was clearly 1:33:31). For some reason, I was one of the few people who got a white blanket which I was psyched about LATER. In the moment I was so hot, and the guy tried to put it around me as I was saying, "No, no, no, no, no...." I pushed it off me, and then he put it around me again! Oh my god. I was about to die. I was SO HOT. So I ripped it off and just carried it. I could barely walk. I could barely lift my arm to grab my metal. I hurt every year at the finish, but never like this. I almost started hyperventilating, so I stopped to lean over and got my breath under control. People I know started coming at me to talk. I just needed water and to catch my breath! I felt like shit and was SO disappointed in my time AGAIN! That whole day, I thought this was my 2nd worst finish time. I talked with a lot of people and started to learn I wasn't alone. Nearly everyone I talked to had had a bad day or at least one of their worst times, so I started to feel better that I wasn't alone. I also noticed this was the first time ever that I was really warm at the top. I didn't need the blanket. My singlet was soaked in sweat, but I still felt warm. There was no wind whatsoever. It was fucking hot. Full Results

Wall of pain. Photo by Joe Viger
Michael Narcisi and I went in search of our separate cars for our bag of clothes. I needed dry clothes since mine were soaked so I found Scott Mason's car and just changed into shorts and a short sleeve shirt. I didn't a jacket for the first time. Mikey and I me back up and then found Apryl Sabadosa who wanted to run down with us. This felt like the longest run down ever. We were visibly sweating the whole and totally drained by the time we got to the bottom. That's when I knew that the weather had been a huge factor in my race.

Me, Apryl and Mkey

Funny pic Mikey took

Apryl and Mikey

Mikey and Apryl

Of course the Valley stayed cloudy

I went to my car, changed clothes and then hit the Six03 tent. Grabbed my turkey dinner and Foolproof  Grotto then sat my ass in my chair for awhile. Over 17 miles for the day, and I was beat. I talked to Hilary McCloy and Andy Drummond for awhile then Tina joined us. She's super nice, and it was cool to hang out with her for awhile. I was shocked to learned I was 3rd in my age group and squeezed in a top 20 finish, just barely, since I was 19th. As disappointed as I was in my race, this boosted my mood a little bit. By the end of the day, I was feeling ok about it all. Mt Washington won again, but there's always next year! It hurts just thinking about it.

I hadn't even gotten through a second beer when everyone started to leave and the Six03 tent was taken down. WTF. I was kind of bummed that everyone was leaving so early, but it was probably better since I had to give Tina a ride to Jackson and then pick up John and take him to a sleepover.

I felt like I hardly saw John all weekend, and he was about to leave for Costa Rica for a week, so it made me sad to see him leave for the night, but I knew he was going to have so much fun with his friend. We had time to swing by the house and then I drove him to his friend's.

Since they were close to Eaton Center, I decided to walk the dogs on the Rock Edge Trail. I've driven by it so many times, but never stopped, so it was finally time. It ended up being a pretty nice hike up to a view of the mountains and Crystal Lake. If it hadn't been bug hell, I would have stayed up there longer.

I went home, ate a whole pizza and drank more beer. Nevermind, the Grand Prix 5-mile race was in the morning. Ugh. I had no idea how I was going to pull this one off, but I really didn't care. I had no goal whatsoever. I said I was just showing up for my "participation medal". Haha. So Shit Show Weekend would continue.....

New song to me since yesterday, but I've listened to it at least 50 times since then. No lie! Something about this song is striking a chord. I sang it during my entire run. It's made rethink things today, and I gave less of my attention to other people. I don't really know what it was, but I'm questioning some of the things in my life and wondering if I'm falling into the trap of habit and making myself feel stuck. Why don't I seek out new people who actually might appreciate me? Why am I not making more of an effort to change my financial situation? Why do I feel so stuck in so many ways?! Ugh. I don't know. But, well, here's the song that I know none of you will listen to, but whatever. It sounds like it's going to be cheesy at first, but then it just captures your attention.