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.


100m

100m

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

400m
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 kayak...so 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...

Technical

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.


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