Waterville Valley 2019

Waterville Valley 2019

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

2019 Cape Cod Marathon- USATF-NE GP#7

Head of the Meadow Beach-Truro, MA
Well, I finally finished a marathon this year! Yay! Haha. I made the choice mid-September to register for the Cape Cod Marathon, the 7th, and final, race in the 2019 USATF-NE Grand Prix Road Race Series for 2019. I had voted for Cape Cod and planned to do it, up until my DNF at Boston. I had plans to use my 2018 Hartford Marathon time to register for 2020 Boston, but when it came time to register, I just couldn't pull it off financially. This meant I would be pushing Boston to maybe 2021, and I would need a qualifier. Considering I was healthy-ish, in somewhat decent shape and the entry fee would be covered by the Central Mass Striders Women's Racing Team, I made the decision to do Cape Cod after all. I wasn't excited about a mostly flat course or the fact that it went right along the water for so much of it (wind potential) since both of those are not ideal for running a fast pace with Proximal Hamstring Tendionpathy. But, it was still my best choice, and all I wanted was a qualifier. I knew going into it that I was super fit, but also knew that with my issues and lack of marathon-specific training, I was very likely only to break 3:10. So that's where I set my goal.

I ended up driving down to the Cape on Friday. It was a LOOONG drive on a Friday afternoon going through Boston. We had to go down Friday so that I could drop John off with Bryan's family in Truro for Bryan's Uncle Paul's funeral service. I loved Paul. Such a bright light gone too soon, but he lived quite a long healthy life for someone with Type 1 Diabetes. He lived in San Francisco, but he grew up in Marshfield, MA and spent 2 weeks every summer for his entire life vacationing in Truro. It was a special place. I was lucky enough to vacation there on Corn Hill for 14 years. All of the California family was coming East for the service. Paul's grown kids, his sister Marianne and her son, Oliver. I had only seen Marianne since we moved away from California. When we arrived, the whole California clan showed up at the cottage and Marianne offered me a glass of wine so I stayed awhile to chat. John didn't remember anyone but Marianne so he had to be reintroduced. Haha. Unfortunately, there was a lot of tension in the air. Bryan's dad was friendly, as always, but his mom refused to be in the cottage while I was there and chose to stand out in the cold the whole time. Yep, I'm to blame for it all, as always. *eyeroll* It was so great to catch up with everyone else, but you could definitely feel Paul's absence. It was weird. I finally had to leave because I didn't want to continue to have the tension in the air so I said goodbye to them and John and left with Phoenix. John would end up having a good time and said his dad was ok so that was good to hear. Beckwith family friend, Fred Flanagan, took  this neat shot of the service. They spread his ashes out by the rock called Anne's Head.

My plan had been to walk on the beach there, but Bryan was out there so I drove to Head of the Meadow and walked 2 miles on the deserted beach with Phoenix. It was wonderful. I LOVE the ocean, and I hadn't been here in 5 years. It was great to be back.

From the beach, I drove into Provincetown. I love it on the tip of the Cape this time of year. Quiet, deserted. So peaceful. I was able to park for free right in town and walked to the Provincetown Brewery. I really liked this place. It had a cool atmosphere. I was one of the 3 people in there so I talked to the bartender for awhile. He was super nice. There beer selection was small, but both beers I had were good. I decided to get my fried fix out of the way tonight and fried pickles and fried artichoke cakes. So good.

I still didn't really know where I was going to sleep for the night, but I decided to give the airport parking lot a shot. It was less than a mile away, and I knew it was free. It turned out to be perfect. Not a soul around. The lights ended up being a little too bright, even with my eye cover, but I couldn't complain. I really didn't sleep well, though. Just kind of uncomfortable for some reason.

Phoenix in the car bed
I woke up around 7am and drove the half mile over to Race Point to take Phoenix out.We lucked out with a beautiful sunrise. It was a gorgeous morning that continue to be a gorgeous day.

I wanted a little more privacy to change for my run so I drove to the Province Lands Visitor Center. I had originally planned to run the Great Island Trail again, but it's tide dependent, and the tide was the opposite of what I wanted so I opted for the Province Lands Bike Path instead. The last time I ran here, I was suddenly getting so fast and remember feeling great. Today was not like that. I hurt a lot when I started running. My hamstring tendons had been super achy since Waterville Valley and had had me worried now for the last week. Sure enough, they were super sore so I was kind of worried about the next day. They hurt as badly as they did when I dropped out of VCM in 2018. I was questioning being able to finish the next day. I did NOT want another DNF, though, so I figured I would just push through it. I only need a 3:40 to qualify for Boston, and that I could do easily. (Of course, I would have cried if I had run that. Haha.)

I ran the bike path loop and skipped the three spur paths this time since I didn't want to run over 8 miles today. 5.7 miles felt like more than enough. I honestly struggled through it. 44:35. 7:49 avg pace. Decent elevation gain around 300ft since it was constant rolling hills.

I had the entire end of the parking lot to myself so I spread out my mat and rolled out my hips and the tops of my glutes. I think this actually really helped. It seems, too, even if it doesn't last long. I took a thorough baby wipe bath since this was the only "shower" option for me. I was going to be SO gross by the time I got home Sunday night. Two runs and no shower. SEXY!

I didn't want to spend too much money on breakfast so I drove to Cumberland Farms for coffee and a breakfast sandwich. Place was hopping! Phoenix got out of her bed to beg for my food.

We went back to Head of the Meadow for another 2-mile walk on the beach. I couldn't get enough of the beach. Oh how I missed this place. It makes me want to "vacation" here at the end of October next year, too. We only came across two people the whole walk. It was awesome. Two seals followed along the shoreline as we walked. Must have been a lot of fish there since the birds were lined up as well.

I hated leaving this part of the Cape since I knew Falmouth would be crazy crowded, but I was here to run a marathon, right? Hard to believe that it's 1.5 hours from Truro to Falmouth Center! The Cape is so long. Easy drive until I hit traffic going into Falmoulth. I was in and out of the Expo in probably 10 minutes. Although I scanned the vendors briefly, there was nothing I needed so I left. I drove around to find all the key places, especially the parking area. I didn't want to be figuring things out in the morning. In the process, I nearly got t-boned by a car that was about to run a stop sign at a 4-way stop. Fortunately, I saw him coming way too fast and stopped and then he suddenly realized the mistake he was about to make and slammed on the brakes. Could have been bad since he would have hit me right at my door.

I was ready for another walk after the drive. My tendons were hurting more now. I looked online for trails in Falmouth and found Beebe Woods. Looked perfect, and it was. They had some cool natural art near the parking area that I checked out then Phoenix and I followed the trail out to loop around a pond and then back for 2.3 miles. I'll admit I was pretty beat by the time I was done. I'd run 5.7 and walked nearly another 4.5 more.

It was beer time! I planned to hit Naukabout Brewery in Mashpee for some beers and food. I messaged Sybil Shapiro to see if she and Will Sanders wanted to join me. They were just finishing up lunch but planned to hit Liam MaGuire's for dinner and invited me along. That was a definite yes! I needed to hang out with people instead of by myself all weekend.

Naukabout had great beer and an awesome brewery. I wish I had more money and didn't have to drive because I would have tried more. It turned out they only had a guy making expensive wood fired pizzas so I just ate a sandwich I had brought from home instead and had two great beers. The second one was called Dunes of the Cape made with pineapple and coconut. Get it??? It was SO good.

I headed back to Falmouth and parked at Walmart where I'd be camping that night. I went inside to buy a couple of things. Walked to the self checkout. No one was in line ahead of me and a register opened up so I walked to it. All of a sudden this strung out looking guy walks up from the opposite direction of the line and tells me I cut in front of him. Yeah. Ok. That's nice. I think he expected me to be nice. Well, he reminds of some of the douchebags we pick up in the ambulance. So I just said in a very monotone voice, "Didn't even see ya," and kept checking out. He stood there the whole time. When I was done, he said, "Thank you," sarcastically, so I ignored him and left. I hung out in the car for awhile just relaxing with Phoenix until it was time to go to Liam Maguire's.

Dinner was really fun, and, of course, Fitz and Michelle showed up to make it more of a party. Fitz bought me good beer and then we got our table. I had a lot of fun hanging out with Sybil and Will. They're awesome. After a burger and another beer, I was stuffed. Yep, really did well with my pre-race fueling. Haha. Well, it turned out I actually did. I had no issues with that part at all the next day, thankfully. Four beers is not usually in my day-before-marathon plan, but it never seems to affect me...yet.

Will, Michelle and Sybil

Fitz and Sybil

I love this one!
I was ready to call it a night so I drove back to Walmart. I took Phoenix out then got into my pajamas. I had no trouble sleeping tonight since the lot was so dark, and I was way more comfortable for some reason. I think I woke up twice to check the time, and I dreamed I ran a 3:25. Haha.

I woke up around 6am feeling really well rested. Unfortunately, the gorgeous weather was gone and within minutes, the rain started. The weather forecast had been changing all week. It looked bad the night before, but I was surprised to find it now even worse!! Omg. It looked like the rain would stop and hold off until 10ish, but the wind! It was going to be stronger much sooner. This was not good. It was already howling and hadn't even gotten started yet. UGH. I was so worried now with my tendons. Strong wind is something I cannot run against with this issue. I have absolutely zero power. I learned this at the 2017 New Bedford Half when we ended up in what was the worst wind I'd ever experienced in a road race (until today!). I remember thinking I was just sore, but when I couldn't run against the wind at all, I knew something was wrong. It turned out to be the Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy. In the last 2.5 years that I've had it, I've had to wave the white flag during any race that had strong wind. I am literally physically unable to push myself against it. And when I try, I have extreme pain and they fatigue quickly. I was now doubting my ability to run a sub-3:10! That 3:25 was looking more like a premonition instead of a dream.

I drove over to Starbucks to get coffee and those egg bites they have. So good. Yeah, I've never had them pre-race, but I like trying new things on marathon race day. Hahaha. I got to the parking lot early and got a great spot on the end right next to some porta potties. I took Phoenix out. It was cold, windy and drizzly so we ran around the field a bit then she wanted nothing more to do with it. The rain stopped by this point so I ran a very slow, painful mile. I even named it, Everything Hurts, on Strava. I ran a 9:29 mile and it was a struggle. How the hell was going to pull this off? At this point, I honestly didn't know if I would.

Crazy, but some bits of blue sky started to appear. It was windy and cold, but now I had to decided whether to wear sunglasses or not. I didn't want to have to carry my nice glasses for miles if I didn't need them. Just as I was contemplating this, Arthur Besse appeared in the porta potty line behind my car. We chatted and I mentioned trying to decide on glasses. He said he always keeps extra $1 sunglasses in his car for this type of day and offered me a pair. I accepted and a few minutes later I had a brand new pair of glasses to wear. They were actually really nice for $1. And although I ended up not needing them for even a second of the entire race for it being too bright, I am so glad I had them for the wind and rain and sea water that was blasting us on the course. I could barely see out of them being covered in water, but I was so thankful for the eye protection. I probably would have ended up with another "blind" eye like I did at 2016 Manchester City and 2017 Baystate from the cold wind. Thank you, Arthur!

I hit the woods a few times then said goodbye to Phoenix who was cozy and warm in the sleeping bag. I couldn't wait to see her again. It was a short walk across the field to the start. I was only wearing my singlet, shorts and gloves so I was cold. I chatted with some of the CMS men and few others before I found Sybil and Will with less than 10 minutes to the start. I said goodbye and made my way to the front until I found Christin Doneski. I wanted to try and keep up with Christin for as long as possible. I thought we might be on the same pace for the start. It was great having her there. Kassandra Marin was just in front of us. Not much of a field here today so I was hoping to finish 2nd master to Christin for the $300 in prize money. I'll be honest that that prize money was one of my biggest motivators during the race. It was all I could think about when the weather got tough. I just needed to finish in the money. I NEED it. It's a fact. I desperately needed that money. And on the start line, it looked good. Mary Lynn Currier was there, but she'd fall into the Senior prize money category. It was really only Christin and me in contention for top masters as far as I could tell just by looking around.

8:30am rolled around and so did the starting gun. I actually loved the feel of this start since it was like the start of your small town race. Christin and I went off the line together and all around us were people we knew. Although the USATF-NE Grand Prix series encompasses 4 NE States, it still feels like a close family every time we line up to start. I love this. Christin and I chatted for awhile. The running for the first 1+ miles was easy and gently downhill (this would be our gentle uphill for the finish, as well). The downhill ended at the ocean where we took a left and hit our first heavy headwind. I had to drop back from Christin here, but only briefly since it turned out of the headwind quickly. I caught back up to up to her and we continued running together until mile 3 when I realized talking was starting to feel difficult and the pace just slightly too quick. Also my tendons were pretty achy already. I stayed a good 10-20 yards back from Christin and these 4 other guys and a Greater Boston woman who had formed a pack. My goal was to try and stay as close to Christin as I could through the non-windy sections and this nice out-and-back lollipop part that started in mile 4 and ended at mile 5 was pretty easy to run through since it was protected from the wind. These are my first 5 miles splits which are not entirely accurate since this is from Strava. I still have my lap time shut off on my watch (and, speaking of, I forgot to mention that I did most of this race by feel. I only saw the splits where the few clocks were, and I did pay attention to my watch the last 3 miles because I was scared I wouldn't break 3:10).

Around Mile 4. Photo by Leslie Poitras
I didn't look at my watch at all through here, so this was all done by feel. Even with the aching tendons, it felt pretty easy. And then we hit mile 6. Miles 6 thru 7.5 would be our first extended period of time in the headwind from hell. And this is where I made a huge mistake. I caught right back up with the group Christin was leading here so that I could hang in the back and draft off the group. My mistake was that I had to push really hard to get my tendons to power me against the wind so I ran way too fast in 6:49 for mile 6. This would have been consistent with my first 5 miles, but I should not have pushed that hard against the wind so early on in the race. Fortunately, the group I was drafting off of slowed down after we hit mile 6. This felt much better at what felt like more of a 7:05 pace. But then Christin suddenly bolted for the next pack of runners ahead of her, and I watched as they were slowly pulling away from us. I don't know what I was thinking, but around mile 7.5 I made the decision and break from the wind shield of my group and bust out into the open with no protection from the mad headwind to try and catch up to Christin's group. This was SO dumb. First off, it was completely unnecessary since by the time I was about to catch them, the course turned west and out of the wind. Second, I had just destroyed my tendons which forced me to have to back off here at mile 8 and watch as Christin and group continually pulled away from me. I was kicking myself, but there was nothing I could do about it.

This out and back from mile 8-ish to about mile 11.5 was awesome. It was easy running both directions. It reminded me of the Belt Line out and back at the Vermont City Marathon. It such a boost when you're running out cheering on everyone you know ahead of you and then cheering for everyone you know behind you on the way back out. I love seeing everybody, and it really keeps my mind off the running pain for a bit. This was a very strange section, though, since it's where everyone really started to spread out. By the time we turned right to head back with our backs to the wind, I was only around 2 guys. They had both just passed me. One I ran right behind for the next mile and a half. The other was a tad bit ahead until I passed him in mile 14, I think.

Splits for miles 6 thru 13...

As you can see my pace quickened back up for the slight downhill after the turn around mile 9. Then we had the tailwind that dropped my pace as well. If my memory serves me correctly, mile 12 was where we lost some of the tailwind due to being the trees. Mile 13 was out in the open again which meant back to the tailwind. I can't remember my exact split for the half, but it was around 1:30:52. I did hit a lap split here on my watch just to have the data later for each half. Can we say positive split city?! Haha.

After I passed that one guy, I was basically alone for a long time. I could see the Greater Boston woman I had been with in the early miles up ahead, but that was it. The course brought us back by the water near Falmouth center, and seemed to wind all over the place. The running was most easy through here, and I felt good. I slowly continued to gain on the Greater Boston woman and finally passed her in mile 18, which was my first very slow mile. I honestly don't remember why this was so slow, but I ran a 7:21. I do know we were out of the tailwind by this point, so I might have just slowed too much without realizing it.

We took a sharp turn onto the bike path which was completely out of the wind and pretty nice running. A guy who had been ahead of me in Christin's pack all of a sudden passed me just before entering the bike path. I don't know if he got lost or had a pit stop, but I at least now had someone in front of me to pull me along. This section on the bike path ended at mile 19, and sadly, this was my last mile under 7-min pace.

For the next 3 miles, we ran all around Woods Hole, and the course was actually very hilly. Although I wasn't feeling bad at any point during the race, this is where I started to slow. After all of the flat running, my tendons were on fire as soon as we hit the first of the many rollers. I struggled so badly up the hills. It felt like my tendons were just so fatigued that I had no power. But like I said, I didn't feel bad at all. I never hit "The Wall". I had the typical muscle fatigue you'd get at the end of a marathon, but I actually felt great otherwise. I didn't feel like I was dying. The distance was still coming easily to me. But this injury just couldn't handle it. I started to get passed by a few guys, but at the same time, I started catching people who were actually hitting the wall.

Mile 21 had more rollers but also included our first taste of the headwind and seawater spray that we'd endure the last 6 miles. It was short but brutal stretch of misery. And it was starting to rain now. Mile 22 had quite the climbing up to where we would finally make the turn to head back to the finish via the bike path. As we made the turn, I saw this girl in blue and pink right behind me. She hadn't been anywhere in sight a mile ago, so I knew I was going to get passed, and sure enough, she was past me within a quarter mile. The rain was getting harder at this point, and the path entered the open. And holy shit, that wind! I thought this was bad, but I didn't realize what was still to come. The only thing that made this section slightly faster than the rest was that it was slight downhill. But the wind was insane and the rain was starting to get worse. But crazy enough, I started passing people who had been in our original group through mile 6. And I was also starting to get passed by a few people, as well.

We exited the bike path onto Surf
Drive just past mile 24. Mile 25 would be the worst of them all. This where I got totally destroyed. I have never run a road race in that kind of wind ever. Not to mention the rain and seawater coming over the sea wall onto us. Not a great photo, but Leslie got a shot from far away of the waves crashing over a seawall. Gives you an idea of what we were enduring. It was so awful.

My tendons had nothing on this. Although this was worse, it was similar to the slowing I had at the 2017 New Bedford Half Marathon, which prior to today was the worst wind I had ever road raced in (and I emphasize "road" because the worst wind and all around bad weather I've ever raced in was the Whiteface Skymarathon in 2015, back when the course was over 18 miles). The same issue I had at 2017 NB with running against the wind happened to me today. I just couldn't run against it. I had nothing. It destroyed me. E-J Hrynowski caught up to me just before we hit mile 25 (8:19 mile split!!!). As much as I hated people catching up, I definitely didn't mind having E-J to run with most of the last mile. I told him we were definitely going to break 3:10...then we turned left to head to the finish. It was uphill and still a headwind!! How was this possible?! I heard someone come up from behind. It was the Greater Boston woman. I was impressed. Looking at Strava FlyBy, I had been about 2 minutes ahead of her at mile 22. She had a very nice kick in that wind! She encouraged us to stay with her, but I had nothing. I actually said, "That just destroyed me! Fortunately the headwind got less and less as we got to mile 26. E-J pulled ahead of me for the last .2 miles. We turned left and headed down Main St to the finish. Just as I was about to cross, I got heckled by the "announcer" (Fitz) for letting E-J beat me. Haha. It's why I'm laughing in my finish photo. But it's what I love about the New England running scene. I traveled over 4 hours from to be surrounded by people who can make me laugh and smile at the end of a marathon.

I crossed the line 9th female (although the results showed a 3rd overall female and 1st master who didn't exist) and 2nd master female. I was in the money!! 3:08:27.  Full Results. I had hit my goal. I finished smiling. I wasn't overly exhausted. I felt tired, but I definitely didn't feel like I was able to give every last thing that I had out there on the course. Like I said, I was way more fit than a 3:08. I honestly think that without the wind I would have run closer to a 3:05. The achy tendons from the start would have still kept me well about 3 hours. But I was super happy with a 3:08. How can I not be? I showed up fit but without marathon-specific training, I had tendon pain right from the start. It's just where I am. I was happy not to DNF! And now I have a decent Boston Qualifier for 2021 if I choose to register. Will I do a marathon in 2020? Well, I don't know. I don't want to, but I have a feeling I'll do one, just because I can't stay away. Haha.

One thing I left out of the race report was my fueling. I actually carried my waist belt under my singlet, something I would never have done 2 years ago. I had decided to go with the HUMA Gels, 3 of them. I had absolutely no stomach or intestinal issues whatsoever during the race. And I actually felt more energized after eating them. They didn't make me gag and were so easy to eat. So I think I found my magic potion! Yay! The only thing I'd probably do differently would be to bring 4 of them...and ONLY the lemon flavor.

I had to leave the race as quickly as possible, but I had time to talk to Sybil, Will, Fitz and Michelle and this guy, John, who reads my blog. Hi! I grabbed a cider donut which Phoenix almost had her mouth around back in the car before I stopped her. Haha. I hobbled to the car. I was soaked. It was raining and windy and cold. Just miserable. I was so happy to climb into the warm, dry car...although it literally took 3 tries to hoist myself up into the back of it. I was supposed to meet John and his grandparents up by the Bourne Bridge to get John, but they messaged me that they were already there. I still had to change and make the 25 minute drive there so I told them to just go ahead back to Marshfield and that I would meet them there. I took a full baby wipe bath and changed into my comfy sweats. It felt so good! I went by Starbucks for a coffee where I saw Lauren Tilton as she was headed out of town. She ran a Half PR the day before and is just on fire right now. I guarantee she'll get her sub-3 at CIM.

The ride home would be the most excruciating, painful drive ever. Over 5 hours in the POURING rain with literally bald front tires made it slow going. And traffic on Rt 3 was as bad as always. I could barely stand up when we finally got home. Once I was moving around again I felt much better, but wow, that was not a fun drive. I can't wait until John has his learner's permit. Haha. It was still all worth it. I'm so glad I made the decision to jump in the marathon after all.

Pretty sure this weighed 4lbs
Short Recap of the Week Pre-Marathon Weekend

Total Mileage: 45.9 miles. Elevation Gain: 1,440ft (probably my lowest all year maybe?)

Monday, 10/21- Zero miles. Walked 2 miles at work to recover from Paddy's Road Race

Tuesday, 10/22- 4.7 miles. Trail run with Phoenix... and my last for awhile. The chipmunk chasing was killing me.

I got a text from my manager in the afternoon...

No sooner had I read it, than this was posted on one of the Savage Paramedics page...

Made me laugh. I might be the only one.

Wednesday, 10/23- 4 miles. This ended up being two 2-mile runs since the first one was interrupted by a 911 call. I had my clothes over my running stuff, running shoes and a Buff on. I was so thankful to see the patient was a running acquaintance. Haha. And she was fine.

Both runs were on the trail behind work.
First run: 1.9 miles in 15:35.
Second run: 2.1 miles in 17:38.

Oh and... Happy Divorcery to me!! 5 years! Hard to believe it's been 5 years already. We were married 11.5 years and together 16 so I still have a long way to go to surpass that.

Thursday, 10/24- 4 miles. I've been picking up a lot of overtime lately. Needed to pay my oil bill from an unexpected surprise fill-up. Grr. I was so not prepared for that, but I got it paid. I worked 67 hours this week (Fri-Thurs). This meant another 4 mile run on the trail behind work. 32:09. Just getting something in. I walked another 2 miles on the trail in the afternoon.

That night. John made another Phoenix wrap.

Friday, 10/25- Zero miles. Tendons were really achy so I got on the spin bike for a high intensity workout. 34 minutes. Hoped it would loosen up the hips some. Seemed to work but only briefly. The drive to the Cape ruined that.

And that leaves off with where I started.

Up Next

USATF-NE XC Championship at Franklin Park. I was originally going to skip this, but I have to pick John up at Logan that evening so might as well go down for the XC race. Plus I love it. I suck at it, but I love it. I'm just hoping for a much better time than last year. Yikes. I ran it in 24:09 in 2017 and 25:22 in 2018. My goal is around a 24:45. (Distance is 6K, in case you were wondering). I had just run 2 marathons in a week in both 2017 and 2018 only two weeks before the XC Champs. Hopefully, I can do ok with only one marathon under my belt 2 weeks prior. Hahaha.

Lil' Rhody Runaround will follow that. This will be my 4th year doing this race. It's now 10 miles instead of 8 miles. Looking forward to what Jeff Walker has added on.

I'll throw in a few more races before the end of the year, but I'm undecided. Probably just a BU Mini Meet or something else short.

Loving this song and really digging Phantogram all of a sudden...

1 comment:

  1. Way To Prevail, Persevere, & Stay Present - Every Moment In Time During This Journey Could Have Gone So Sideways - Be Proud - When An Upcoming Low Point Enters Your Model Of The World, Think About The Ocean With Phoenix

    Big Hugs