Waterville Valley 2019

Waterville Valley 2019

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

2019 Lone Gull 10K- USATF-NE GP #6

Walk down the tracks to Pudding Pond
Well, my downward spiral at the Lone Gull 10K has finally reversed! In 2015, I ran my 10K PR at my first Lone Gull in 38:27. Every year has just been slower and slower. Fast-forward to 2019, my 5th Lone Gull 10K, where I was coming off of the Pisgah 50K. My hamstrings were so tight and sore even though I made an effort to really recover so I went into this race honestly expecting it to be my slowest one yet. I truly thought I would run 41+ minutes. While I was correct in that my hamstrings would hold me back, it turns out that I'm pretty damn fit. I would end up running my fastest 10K in 3 years. My first time going under 40 minutes again to run a 39:29! I was psyched.

It was an early morning drive for us, but John slept, of course. I was feeling a little rough after going out to the Moat the night before. I woke up slightly hungover and was pretty sure I was definitely going to have a bad race. Haha. I arrived at the race and was randomly parked next to the Whirlaway post-race party tent...exactly where I wanted to end up anyway. Haha. I was early so I took my time getting ready for a warm up. As always, Grand Prix races are a big reunion so it was the typical pre-race social hour. I ran into Kasie Enman right away and told her I was mad at her for turning 40. Christin and I had been wondering since it would affect our masters places at the Waterville Valley Mountain Race the following weekend so I looked it up, and yep, she had just turned 40. I just keep moving farther down on the masters ladder every day. Haha.

Back at my car, Brandon Newbould came over to chat. He told me he had forgotten his Whirlaway singlet so I offered up my Sharpie skills. Haha. He's lucky I like him and didn't add in some sort of "phallic symbol" on there. Haha.


Normally, I warm up 2-3 miles before this one, but I only did a mile and went back to my car to change shoes and get ready. I still had time to jog around up near the start. I ran into Nick Aguila and Sybil Shapiro and Will Sanders so we talked for awhile. Nick was biking today since he had the Berlin Marathon the following weekend. I was happy to Holly Madden Merrill there in her new singlet, HFC Striders, the team I would join if they were closer.

Holly's husband took this of us.
As you can see in the photo, I'm not wearing anything Central Mass Striders. I said I was never wearing that white CMS sports bra again, and it was too hot for the singlet. So today was just the black sports bra. I've asked for a sports bra from CMS for years now. I'm done asking, and I'm not wearing the team logo if it's hot. No sports bra, no logo. I'm putting my foot down. And wtf. It's not like it hasn't been discussed, and we were told the team had the money to spend on it. Add that to the fact that I've been the first CMS woman to score for the open and masters teams at the Grand Prix races I've done this year, and let's not forget the last 4 years of scoring for the team. I just want a damn sports bra. Haha.

We finally lined up at the start in the elite women's start. I joined my Whirlaway friends and Kaela O'Neil. Christin has had a bad knee for awhile, but I knew she'd still kill it today, and she did. Off we went. I've gone out way too fast here most years, so I tried to hold back, but after cresting the initial hill and hitting the downhill, it still felt too fast. I found myself next to Lauren Tilton during the first mile before she would take off and have a really awesome race. We had a conversation at this point and a series of photos captures us laughing and looking like we're enjoying the view while everyone else is already hurting. So funny.






The truth is that neither of us was hurting at this point at all. Lauren was playing it smart and not going out too fast which would pay off for her. As for me, well, I immediately realized my hamstrings had a very low threshold, and I was already at it. I was going as fast as I could, but it would turn out to be a talking, comfortable pace for the entire race. My legs just literally couldn't go past that point. And I was fine with it. I knew this was going to happen. What made happy, though, was realizing that my fitness level is in a great spot right now. I purposely never looked at my watch the entire race, though. I figured that if I was conversing easily, then I was probably going to run the expected 41+ minutes. It was fun, though, in a way. I still like this new course better than the old one. I was passing and getting passed by people I knew so it was nice to have the breath to talk to them for a second. I just felt really good. The prediction for hot weather really wasn't that bad. I never felt too hot except for one very short 1/4 mile section. Other than that, we had a nice ocean breeze, probably the best weather we've had there in the 5 years I've done it.

Just before mile 4, I had just passed Amy Bernard, who was once again dealing with hamstring issues herself. Then I passed back Ginger Reiner. I started to think maybe I'm running better than I thought. We crossed mile 4 and my split was only about 12 seconds slower than my Run 4 Kerri finish time. Hmmmm. We still had a long way to go, though. Came through mile 5 in the high 31s. Okay. So now, I'm thinking, "How the hell am I moving this fast with these shot hamstrings?!" 1.2 to go, and I figured I would slow enough and surprise myself by going under 41. Kewl.

Ginger creeping back up on me.
 I made the mistake of kicking too early last year here with 1.2 to go. The last stretch is very mentally defeating since you pass by the old finish and run a long stretch while seeing the finish line get closer then far away again. This year, I had no option of kicking too soon so I just held on to the steady pace that my hamstrings determined for me. Ginger passed me back with about 3/4 mile to go. I expected a stream of people to pass me, especially a younger girl I had just passed, but as we turned into the lot for the final .2 miles to the finish only Ravenna Navelle (next to me in the last photo) passed me back. (This is the second time I've finished right behind her. This happened at Run 4 Kerri one year, as well). As I said, I never once looked at my watch so I was shocked when I could finally see the clock. It had just turned to 39 minutes!! What?! How the hell was this tired and sore body going to finish this race under 40?! I honestly couldn't believe it. I felt like I had put in a moderate effort almost the whole race. Crazy. I crossed the line in 39:29. 6th master female. Full Results.

Christin was still by the finish as soon as I stopped. She had run under 38:50. Amazing at age 48 and with her lack of training due to the knee. We both grabbed waters and talked about the race as we made our way back to the lot. I was still so shocked to run the time I did. I haven't been able to break 40 minutes since I developed High Hamstring Tendionpathy 2.5 years ago. I honestly thought my body would never do it again and not just due to that, but also with my now 5+lbs that I carry on me now. I was so happy. But of course it now left me wondering what I would have run had I actually been able to go all out.

I got back to my car where I found John still asleep. I took off my shoes, grabbed my towel and joined Chris and Heather Spinney for the walk down to the beach. I had cooled off completely at this point, but I was still going for swim in the ocean as planned. The beach was gorgeous and the water frigid. Not water I'd normally get into, but it felt so good once I got in. I dived into a few waves before getting out. I knew that would be my last swim in the ocean until next year so I had to do it.



I changed clothes, grabbed some snacks then finally got John out for a walk on the beach. I love the beach and the ocean so much. And Good Harbor Beach still holds some fond memories of our short time in Gloucester in 2007.



As I said before, I was parked right next to the post-race party tent. This was actually kind of bad since I didn't want to drink today, but of course, Fitz talked me into 3/4 of a beer. Ok, well, he didn't talk me into it. All he had to do was ask if I wanted a Bamboozled by Hops, and I caved. I was good, though. Literally stuck to the 3/4 can limit. Of course social hour+ lasted longer than planned, too, but it was fun.




I was getting my camera ready to take the photo of Brandon's back that I posted above. Haha.

Died laughing when I saw this. We had no idea John Gorman was there. Haha.
We left at a reasonable time and sticking to my plan to stop in Portsmouth at Runner's Alley to get a new pair of running shoes I hoped to wear at Waterville Valley. Portsmouth is always a nightmare, but I've learned where the parking spaces exist and quickly found a spot only a block from Runner's Alley. Tom Hooper had given me a leftover gift certificate for a pair of shoes so I was excited. I hate going into running stores, though. The sales people always assume they know more than you. This girl was nice, but immediately started to talking to me like I was some newb. It's one of those moments when I wish I could say, "Don't you know who I am?" But...that wouldn't work because I'm nobody. Haha. Their shoe selection was very weak and since I had demoed the Salomon Speedcross 5s already, I went with those. And just so I don't leave you hanging and you rush out to get a pair. They suck. Salomon finally got the grip right. I'll give them that. The grip is awesome. But they're still narrow-soled ankle breakers. My plan to wear them for Waterville was nixed after one test run. I'm still running in them since I don't have much of a choice right now, but I will never race in them again. And I will never give Salomon shoes another chance. 3 failed shoes is enough for me to give them a thumbs down. I still love their packs and clothes, though, so I can't say the entire product line is crap.

Thumbs Down
We didn't hang around town. I wanted to get home early so John could do his thing and I could take Phoenix on a walk up Heavenly Hill. I was hurting a bit, but this walk always loosens up the car legs and makes me feel better.


Thought I'd start with the race recap and then move on to the rest of the week. Like I said, I tried to recover at much as I could from the 50K to be ready for Lone Gull. It definitely wasn't enough, but I took the first 3 days off running. Ended up with 29.9 miles for the week which wasn't too bad with 3 days off and attempting to recover. The following week would be similar, as well.

Monday, 9/16- Zero miles. I was hurting from the 50K so I only walked 2.3 miles on the trail out back at work. Work was quiet with it being the lull before the foliage tourists. This unopened bottle of Advil has been sitting in the crew office for 3 months. I decided to consider it abandoned and took it.


Tom Hooper was up today checking out part of the Kismet Cliff Run course. He said he'd stop by my work to say and asked if I wanted anything. I told him sweet snacks. He only stayed about 10 minutes while we talked about the course and the snafu he had to fix due to a trail closure. 

This is what Tom brought me.
Tuesday, 9/17- Zero miles. Another zero day, but I did a zone 2 recovery ride on the spin bike for 30 minutes. Even that felt hard. Haha.


Later, I took Phoenix on a hike up Middle Mt. My legs felt that, and I was pretty exhausted so I lied down on the rock at the summit for awhile. 4 miles total for that hike.



I purposely skipped upper body and abs this week. My neck and shoulders were really sore for half the week so I chose to take a break from it.

Wednesday, 9/18- Zero miles. Last zero day for the week. I walked 2 miles on the trail and did my glute workout, which was totally unnecessary. Haha. I had a different partner at work while Jeff was on vacation. She's brand new which made me a little nervous, but I thought she did fine. I teched all the calls we had, but she was right in there trying to help as best she could. And it really helped that she's a very nice person. We worked the following Monday 24 together, too. I liked working with her a lot.

Thursday, 9/19- 7.8 miles. I decided to do a run I hadn't done since 2014. Ferncroft to South Paugus Knob. I needed to get up in the mountains, and my memory had this as being fairly easy. Well, it wasn't exactly easy. My hamstrings (muscles, not the tendons) were SO sore the last two miles that I knew I overdid it. Oh well. It was still a gorgeous day to be up there. Phoenix joined me and needed the exercise, too. 2,569ft of elevation gain. 1:50:57 moving time.




Found an amazing spring

Tree eating a sign
John went to a friend's house after school so I had the rest of the day to myself until I had to pick him up in later that night in West Ossipee. As soon as he got in the car, I started gagging. He had put on his friend's Axe body spray when his deodorant failed him. Haha. 

Friday, 9/20- 6.2 miles. Friday was the start of a very busy weekend for me. John was out of school for a teacher workshop day so he slept in. I needed to see how my legs would feel on the pavement so I drove to the Mountain Division Trail in Fryeburg for a 6.2 mile run. I was definitely feeling the hamstrings, so I was very surprised to have run as fast as I did. 45:38. 7:15 avg pace.

I had a phone interview that I had to stop for on the way home. I could tell I "failed" it before we hung back and the promise to get back to me to let me know either way never happened. I expected this. What's up with these stupid phone interviews anyway? Ridiculous. Honestly, I didn't really want that job anyway, but I applied anyway just to have a possible option. But I don't think I have what it takes to sell myself since I don't feel like I have anything to sell in the first place. Gotta get my head past that type of thinking or I'll never get a better job.

John and I rode mountain bikes in the Albany Town Forest that afternoon. I was volunteering for registration that evening for the White Mountain Milers Half Marathon so I dropped John at home. Expecting the usual registration/bib pick-up disaster as usual, I had a beer at Saco River Brewing first, bought some cans and then headed to the tent at Schouler Park. I have to admit that this was probably the smoothest bib pick-up has ever gone. Granted, we didn't get many people since the registrants number was low and the race was on Saturday instead of Sunday. Not many people could up there in time after work. I chose to do the day-of part which is a little more challenging, but I got a system set up and everything went well.


I'll be honest that I think the date change for the half from late October to mid September was a mistake. First off, it's the beginning of fall foliage. There is ZERO affordable lodging if any existed at all. Plus, the weekend had way too many conflicts with other races. The last weekend of October tended to bring out a lot more people. As a whole, the race was a success, just not when it comes to the number of registrants. There was no competition at all. I could have done it as a tempo run and still won. But anyway, I still had fun volunteering both days.

Saturday, 9/21- 8 miles. I got up really early so that I could park at the relay exchange/Half of the Half start/water stop where I volunteer most years and go for a run beforehand. This was actually a new spot since we couldn't use Weston's Farm Stand while it was still open for the season. I actually liked this spot a little better since we had a lot of shade and the day ended up getting really hot.



I ran from there over to Passaconaway Rd until I hit 2.5 miles and turned around to come back. I felt like I was running fairly easy. 5.1 miles. 37:54. 7:26/mi avg pace.

I had time to change clothes and drink some coffee before the Key Club leader showed up for the water stop. I've seen him there every year, but this was the first time we've ever interacted. Probably because it wasn't pouring rain. I'll be honest, though, I'd rather run in the cold rain than the heat they ran in today. It felt twice as hot since we had just had 3 weeks of cool weather.

We didn't have many runners for the Half of the Half and only 4 relay teams so I didn't do much really. Dave McDermott joined me as the other volunteer, but I think all we did was socialize most of the time. The only thing I had to do was stop traffic for the Half of the Half start. This year it was placed just slightly south from where we were on West Side Rd. Whomever chose this as the start line was not paying attention and put it right on the dangerous, sharp blind curve in the road. Cars were flying around it. I was actually scared to attempt to stop traffic so I waited until some really slow moving cars came up. Such a horrible idea. I voiced this in my feedback. 

It was actually fun time. I saw and talked to a lot of people I knew and helped out a bit by picking up the dirty cups. I think I was out of there around 11am and then it was on to my second race volunteer job for the day. Tom Hooper asked me to mark the first part of the Kismet Cliff Run again since I'm still one of the few people who knows where it goes. Haha. I packed a shit-ton of flags which was great so I could overmark it. 

Once the last runner came through for the half, we packed it up and drove just up the street to Echo Lake. I thought this would be quick, but I was in for more than I bargained for. Haha. Plus it was so hot, humid and buggy that I was exhausted and dehydrated by the time I was done. I hadn't even gone .1 when I had to make the, "Hooper, we have a problem," phone call. For some reason, there was a group campsite set up right in the middle of the start of the course. I attempt to reroute around it, but the only way was to go through the parking lot. That would be an issue once all of the cars were parked so Tom just told me to change the start to go backwards where the finish was. Glad it was a simple fix and really no different mileage-wise at all.

Group campsite right on the trail. They even put up orange tape to stop people from going through it.
After marking the course around the lake, everything else went where it was supposed to. I just ended up running into a huge mess of a blowdown that I couldn't get around without moving it. I was glad it wasn't a fresh blowdown so the branches were easier to snap apart. It still wasn't easy and took me about 15 minutes and a lot of f-bombs, but I got it down and moved. I turned around at Cathedral Ledge Rd and since I had so many flags leftover, I put down a lot more on the way back. It was great to hear no one got lost on the course at all this year. Definitely a first. It was a walk/jog for me. 2.9 miles over an hour. 


Well, if that wasn't enough, after I showered, I still had to get John and Phoenix out for a walk so we drove to Hemlock Lane and did our usual 2 mile walk down the RR tracks to Pudding Pond and back. 

I get so many compliments on these sunglasses. I think people are just happy not having to look at my wrinkles. haha.
I was toast after this, but I couldn't turn down going out for dinner with the Six03 group when Tom messaged me. I was thinking it was so late by the time he picked a place, but it wasn't even 6pm. I'm  getting old...until I get there and have too much beer and all of a sudden 3 hours have passed. It was fun, though. And so worth it. Especially worth it since I got LEGIT CARDED. No one else did. She looked at my license. Her eyes big and her mouth opened. Then she looked at me and said. "You...look...GOOD!" Haha. Wow. Thank you. I'd like to also thank the shadow of my hat and the dark lighting. But I'll take it. Tom bought us beers and pizza and Roxanne made me die laughing. Fun night. No idea why a napkin is shoved in my top...

Brian, me, Tom
Sunday, 9/22- 7.8 miles. And we're back where we started with the beginning of this post at Lone Gull.

So jump to the present and some shit is really going down with Bryan. After dealing with him today, I might have to get some sort of emergency order for temporary full custody with no visitation rights. He's off the deep end. John has had no contact with him for a month now, but apparently that's my fault. Actually ALL of this is my fault according to his ranting and raving. Fortunately, my work partner was able to witness this over the phone and was pretty flabbergasted even already knowing the whole saga since the beginning. I'm dealing with a mentally ill person. He can't be reasoned with. So after the quiet month, we're back to this. He had his court date yesterday and has to go back in December. It's what sparked today's outburst of craziness. Hopefully I will have more to report in the next post.

I've been back on a Lana Del Rey kick again since her new album came out. This one is actually from an older album, though. 











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