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.


  1. Everyone has a stomach fold when they bend, jeasus woman.... I should have asked you to look for my sunglasses at the point where the dirt turned to asphalt again.... You are amazing, I get that you don't believe it and will continue to push till YOU think you are amazing. Keep on keeping on! The song was interesting. It made me cry, I'm hormonal on top of it...

  2. I think I've made you cry twice in the last week! Haha. But, seriously, didn't that song get to you?! And that kid was part of the uber cheesy boy band One Direction. The stomach fold cracked me up. That mark is always there unless I'm lying completely flat. Haha. Just funny how prominent it was with the sunburn.