Up and Down, Up and Down… Pack Monadnock x4 on 6/26/22

Being afraid is a great motivator. Three weeks until I fly off to Europe to do the TMB! I have three huge training weekends left.

10.5 miles, 3208′ elevation and 4:27 hours.

Good things:

  • Pack Monadnock is only 30 min from home…. I got to go to a plant store on the way home!
  • Great practice running downhill on a flat surface, which is faster but harder on the legs than walking down a technical trail. I had calf cramps after one loop I think because of that….
  • Love the Wapack Trail!!!
  • Beautiful day
  • Felt super strong going up the first time, calf cramping on the 2nd, ran up hill on the 3rd for fun and had a good final hike up trail final loop

Lessons Learned:

  • Miller state park is not busy in the summer – I thought it would be full and there was plenty of parking all day
  • Road is mostly shaded and quick to run down. Could do the loop up Wapack and down the road to the pedestrian crosswalk in 1 hr.
  • This hike has great views!!

And when I got home, my sweet husband made me a chicken, asparagus and frozen daiquiri dinner! Just in time to go to bed and get up at 5am to do the Kinsmans the next morning…..

Played Hookie and Crushed Franconia Ridge 6/21/22!

Madeleine Ryan and I run ridges. We traversed Kilkenney last year for 22 miles, 8k elevation and now set out to cover 5 mountains across Franconia Ridge. We weren’t even tired when we were done! We dropped my car at the Lafayette Campground Mon night and Tues morning drove to Lincoln Woods Trailhead off of Kancamangus Highway. A mere 9:35 hours, 14.3 miles and 5489′ of elevation later, we popped out by my car!

We passed up and over Mt Flume, Mt Liberty, Little Haystack, Mt Lincoln and Mt Lafayette! Four of those add to my NH48 passport book – big day.

Loved the trails up (Lincoln woods and Osseo) and disliked the Bridle Path trail down post Greenleaf Hut. Really washed out and technical – it was slow going. Loved the part along the ridge and the best views so far in the Whites were those of the Pemigewasset region. On the other side of RT93 below, Cannon actually looked small!

A look in the rear view mirror where we had come from – the 4 mountains behind us.

Nothing scary the entire route with amazing views.

On the ridge, we learned about the chocolate chip cookies they made at Greenleaf Hut….the thought of THE COOKIES sustained us down Lafayette to the hut. We were not fans of the Bridle Path (very long) trail but were very happy with our day!

Laura 1, Rocks 1 Mt Madison 6/11/22

10.4 miles, 7:24 hrs, 4541′ elevation, Pace 42:43/mi, Moving pace 26:53/mi

I was supposed to go halfway with a group doing the Presidential Traverse and get picked up on Mt Washington by my coaches wife, Leslie; however, plans went awry when the clouds/wind rolled in while we were on Mt Madison.

As usual, I was the slowest one and the main group went ahead to Mt Madison hut. I would have been alone on the ridge in the fog, cold, wind and decided to try Mt. Adams and then head back to car. It was crazy how fast the clouds came in.

You can see the Mt. Madison hut and then moments later the cloud cover. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to navigate back and see the cairns. What a pile of rocks – slow going and you can see how clear it got by the time I turned around and came down!

LL: Bring compass and note direction on top of these mountains. Also had this fear on Mt Washington as clouds can be thick.

Mt Adams is just next door and after some attempt, the rock pile won (See Mt Adams below)…. This was a good day for me with a pretty good distance and some major elevation I hadn’t done yet. Longest flat run was 13 miles former week where I had to walk the last hour and only other real mountain ascent had been 5/29 Cannon at 4.3 miles, 2283′. Happy with a good step up in training!

On the way down, I was passed 3 times by folks from the Hut with heavy loads on their back. I don’t know how they go so fast! Was a little depressing. Started on trail at 4am and ended up around 11am so headed over to Littleton to Schillings for the best pizza in the world!

Other lessons learned:

  • Bring more substantial food if hike is >5 hours
  • Bring compass
  • Always have wind jacket, rain jacket, extra clothes in NH. I was OK with a light smartwool and wind jacket , temps ground level around 70F and had expected to possibly get to high 40s at top so had extra midweight smartwool if needed. BRING EXTRA PACK

The Epic Ragnar Zion 5/13-14 2022 After Two Years!

Two teams traveled to Vegas, then drove a few hours out to Zion Park for Ragnar. Over 3000 runners over 2 days at 6400′ elevation and temperatures fluctuating from 32F to over 85F.

New: GoPro – making movie for the team, first use of gators, first runs done at such high elevation with really no issues

I was runner #8 so although our team started ~9am, I didn’t run until 4pm, then 3:30am and then finished the race around 2pm!

Elevation gain <500′ for green, yellow trail and 1000′ for red (it seemed worse because it was very steep). Beautiful views, some sandy tough trails but a really great experience.

Had another very fun (albeit cold waiting ) run in the dark with the best smores I’ve ever had afterwards! First night everyone froze when it got down to 32F….I was toasty in my new Zenbivy sleep system!

Some really beautiful views starting from Vegas out to the event:

Ryan and I were the best cheerers and I brought my largest cowbell!

Feeling Tired – Subscribed to Inside Tracker for Bloodwork and Recommendations 5/31/22

I listen to Trail Runner National Podcast every Sunday and kept hearing advertising and speakers about this “Inside Tracker” service. I’ve been very tired/heavily breathing during running and had high resting heart rate (mid 70s) for a few months this year. It just last week went back down to mid 60s. It is hard to untangle work stress, a few more pounds, age or something else with what I feel like is poor training performance. I’ve had to cut out some of the strength workouts so I could make it through the week.

Got my blood taken last week (they send you with instructions to a Quest Lab) and got some results. I signed for a pretty comprehensive screen.

Reading up on the recommendations and developing a plan now to address a few issues….

Cannon – First Big One This Year 5/29/22

I was scared (as usual) bug did Cannon last weekend – first big mountain and another of the NH48 this year! Steepest hike (elevation/distance) I’ve ever done. I actually passed people!! This hike has the best viewed I’ve seen so far with a wonderful (not scary) flat trail around the top that is just great.

Started around 9am and finished at noon (45″ ahead of the alltrails estimated time). This trail had 4 unique sections:

  1. gravelly to start
  2. Rocky – very wet trail. I would NOT do this hike if there was any freezing possibility with the wet/steep rocks. Not really an issue with Long Peak treads. No exposure.
  3. More Pine soft paths
  4. A short rocky part to get to tower and another flat trail at top

Took 1.5 hrs to get to overlook, became flatter around 1818′. Then a short scramble (not scary) to peak.

Beautiful day from the 70s to 80s. Ate 2 cliff bars and side water bottles. Poles useful but not for entire path (a little tricky in parts and needed hands). Note there was no parking fee for the lot by the tram unless you took the tram. Hiking entrance is the far left of the parking lot thru the dirt lot.

Definitely recommend this hike but it is runnable only for short distances at top and near bottom. Fantastic views! Was out of breath going up but not tired at all when done – encouraging.

Kicking into High Gear! 5/4/22

1 week until Ragnar (3,4,7 mi run 500-1000′ elevation/leg)

1 month until mid June Presidential Traverse (20mi, 8k elevation)

2 months to TMB! (15-20 miles/day, 3-5k/day)

Toe is heeled!

Starting mountain training, Tuesday hill runs and longer weekend bike rides! It’s a big ramp up to the Presidential Traverse. A few new pieces of cool new gear:

  • Zenbivy sleep system for Ragnar – this uses my own air mattress I had gotten last year
  • GOPRO10 for Ragnar and TMB + accessories

Did my first mountain run this year 5/1/22 up little pack Monadnock. Same time to get to top as in 2019 (45 min)! Only 919′ elevation and a total of ~1:15 up and down but what a nice trail -love Wapack way better than the loop down on Marion David. Will have to consider this loop for longer training days!

Have been doing some traveling and doing workouts on the road/trail in DC (Fluence HQ) and in CA all last week! Found a trail in DC adjacent to my hotel – beautiful springtime weather a few weeks ahead of us up here in NH. It has been tiring! But am not at all tired as I was same time last year when I couldn’t even move after work.

Still need to drop 20. Training hard!!

My sweet mom & overcoming transition

Busy and emotional two months with work and family drama, root canals and fractured pinky toes….

  • Jan 3 Quit NEC
  • Jan 9 Benchmarked basic lifting
  • Jan 10-14 Hungout in TN while working last week at NEC
  • Jan 17 First day at Fluence
  • Next week – worsening mouth pain!
  • Jan 27 Mom goes into hospital
  • Jan 29 Root Canal Part 1
  • Jan 31 Mon Laura flies to Nashville to help sis with Mom and mom gets out Wed 2/2 (working new job remotely)
  • Mon 2/8 -2/13 Laura flies to TX, AZ for first work trip to see sites and team……. end of month 1 at new job!
  • 2/20 Laura fractures left pinky toe stumbling down living room step
  • 2/26 Root canal Part 2

I am on the hunt for fun and joy and to break from the tiring rut of having it be hard to get out of bed and being so tired at the end of the day. How do you transition from being tired/exhausted from your work directly into a new job and deal with stressful family issues at the same time? My approach has been to do the following these last two months:

  • Workout when I can. I have some dumbbells, KBs now permanently in TN. The parks have beautiful trails and when I ran around my sister’s neighborhood, I got chased by all the dogs but had very fun stops visiting her and her ducks during interval training. I also did fun tabatas at rest areas driving back from TN during the first trip. This fractured toe has slowed me down some…..
  • Drink a little too much (diet not going well at all YET), those wine slushies in TN are great and the long term vision is overcome by short term need right now.
  • Have fun and love my mom and sister
  • Meditate …I have slowed down thankfully because of this
  • Bring my cats downstairs with me – I do love hanging out in my basement gym. Love them all the time those sweet little things!
  • Don’t work too much accepting what I can do. Have fun on the trip enjoying travel, BADASS coffee and my new team
  • Sleep
  • Hunt and reengage in some things I love to do. ie. got tickets for the Zion ragnar race, went skate skiing with Kenny, signed up for a concert, practiced piano a little, found the energy to actually clean the house!

Last Friday I saw a glimmer of the old self after a good day at work with the team and customers. Saturday after my root canal I went for a fun drive to Salem and Marblehead and to see my friend Robbie…

In the meantime, last year the mountain half marathon really kicked my butt into training gear. Similarly to that, I signed up for a long race at the end of March. I may not be able to do it with my new toe issue but I can act like I will and hopefully kick the food/diet into gear….

I’ll be back!

From Survival to Thriving 1/23/2022

Survival is the title of our family album from last year. I am now part of the Great Resignation and gave notice Jan 3. Started new job Jan 18 at Fluence. Second week of January I drove down to spend time with my mom – thoroughly enjoyed the road time. Very stressful month!

We did have a pretty good December with few weeks at Cocoview in Roatan scuba diving – got “stuck” there an extra two days with all the covid/flight cancellations that started around Christmas.

Goals in 2022:

  • Finish 100 mile race (targeting either Nobiz 100 if I can make timecutoffs with elevation/tough race, or Hamsterwheel)
  • Not be the slowest at the Tour du Mont Blanc in July
  • Have fun in 2 Ragnar races, one being an Ultra in VT
  • It may also be a year to see how my body holds up doing several ultras a few weeks apart. Tour du Mont Blanc is a week of 15-20 miles/5000′ elevation per day, then 3 weeks after is a 3 day race I’d like to do with Madeleine (from Kilkenny race last year)

I need to lose at least 10, preferably 20 lbs. This is going to be tough! Then we’ll see if The Great Slowdown in 2021 was primarily mental stress (my bet) or also attributable to being heavier. I’m already feeling stronger during hour runs since I quit my job.

It is harder to have a routing when you work at home/everything is at home still. COVID still rampaging although we all have boosters.

I am focused on strength training and maintaining aerobic fitness! This is the first year I have no shoulder issues to deal with and no hip or back pain – exciting!

Crew Lesson Learned “Not to be here for the next race” Hamsterwheel 11/6/21

I didn’t know I had it in me. I’m a quarter mile into the last 4 mile loop (mile 48) and my headlamp starts blinking. I stop dead in my tracks as the path ahead is pitch black – it’s about 11pm with 4 dark miles ahead. Will it last? How long will my flashlight work in 30F cold….back at the aid station I had mistakenly thought it is a great backup because I was too lazy to carry the backup headlamp I KNEW I should take because I didn’t have my pack….then I remembered in my notes that historically it lasted less than 30 min on a cold day. Should I call Kenny and have him walk over and give me the backup headlamp? That would delay me and I just want to be done! I’m so stupid!!! I’m so stupid – I know better! I can’t believe I am going to be stuck in the dark AGAIN… I just start running fast hoping it would last.

I had no idea I had it in me. My Garmin died mile 48 so I have no record of this amazing pace I know I did. It didn’t hurt or anything but I was fast! This proves being tired is mental because I sure found it in me to haul some ass. I caught up with two women and asked if I could hang out with them and their light. They had an extra hand torch and loaned it to me so I was off for the rest of the loop.

52 miles, 15:03 hours done! Felt great first 30 miles and slowed a little last 20 but no hip pain, just sore feet. A HUGE SUCCESS!!

PLANNING DOC

CLOTHING/GEAR/TEMPS

  • Temps 28F at starting warming 5F per hour to 50F then back down at night. Wore short sleeved shirt with ultra lightweight smartwool shirt, gloves, hat and pack for first 2 laps then just shortsleeve xoskin with basic tights (not thermal). Later, I put on Arcteryz overpant (which wasn’t good as I had a hard time accessing pockets), and a basic fleece over my xoskin short sleeve and over the lightweight smartwool long sleeve. It was perfect temp control. I think although the temps were the same at night as when the race started, I needed the extra fleece layer because I was more tired.
  • Used Altra Lonepeak 5.0 size 10 with lacing to give bunion extra room and Darn Tough socks.
  • We brought one director chair and one high table as our aid station

Stat Summary and Comparison to Stonecat 50k I did in Nov of 2019:

WELLNESS/PAIN POINTS:

  • I was sick during Stonecat and had a ton of hip pain – last 15 miles were a true sufferfest.  Hip pain was #1 major performance issue I worked on solving since that race and I am still managing it but have made clear progress.  Also had a little cramping issues in every race in 2019 which I didn’t have this year.  I also had dizziness issues after about 5 hrs I didn’t have this year.
  • In Hamsterwheel, I felt hip a little but basically no hip pain at all even with 20 more miles.  Main issue at Hamsterwheel was bottom foot pain.  I also had general poorer performance (speed) in 2021 in general due to a long year of work stress but faster at this distance.  Zero cramping issues in 2021 (due to being stronger/more rugged in general?).

STRATEGY:

  • I tried to run straight in Stonecat.  Walked a good bit of last 5 miles in Stonecat
  • Used run/walk intervals (30s run/30s walk) in Hamsterwheel and ran all the way through 50 miles at Hamsterwheel (I think this is a big accomplishment).  This is why I thought my overall first 30 miles would be a ton better at Hamsterwheel….
  • Same basic food and hydration strategy, I just ate more after 5 hours and after 12 hrs this year (chicken noodle soup, apples/mini cliff bar, PB&J).  Worked great at Hamsterwheel, only one 4 mile lap with minor stomach issue.
Around mile 24 starting to layer up for the dark! Felt great!

OVERALL TIME and feeling at end of race: Hamsterwheel was 18 min faster in first 30 miles – this is less improvement than I thought it would be (a little disappointed here).  I wonder what it could be if my overall stress levels were normal!! Opportunity!

  • Biggest difference is I felt pretty good at mile 30 vs. being destroyed at Stonecat with hip pain.  I wouldn’t call any miles at Hamsterwheel suffering.  Feeling basically good at the end of a 50k race was a goal. 
  • I did not have a ton in me to really push at the end of Hamsterwheel like I did at Kilkenney where I felt I could have gone a lot faster the whole race but was being careful to avoid hip issues and to just feel OK whole rade.  Based on my faster speed unrecorded due to dead Garmin when I thought my headlamp was dying at Hamsterwheel, maybe there is some mental toughness to help me speed up at later stages of a race because I could and did go a lot faster for a mile.

PACE:

  • Way more consistent in Hamsterwheel slowing only about a minute a mile each 10 mile set (see sheet) up until 30 miles.  Stonecat slowed  2 min/mile then 4 mi/mile each 10 miles.  This is a big improvement as I want to be consistent. What is a “normal slowdown?”
  • Hamsterwheel only: Big slowdown in 30-40 miles with almost 4min/mile avg delta – some of that was prolonged aid station eating and clothing changes.  Delta from 40-50 was only about a minute slower.

ISSUES

  •  Need help with how to manage feet.  Had I gone on, I definitely would have had issues with blisters as I had several hot spots at mile 48 so need to learn what I should have done around mile 45 to stop them (ie. apply tape?  apply the blister padded bandaids?).  Wore Altra Lone Peak 5.0s. Should I have changed into shoes with more padding – I just got the Altra Olympus which are much more cushioned?  Note I continue to keep sizing up in shoe size wearing a 10 this year vs. a 9.5 last year as my toes have been taking a pounding on mountain runs.  I also changed how I tie shoelaces to give more room for my right foot bunion, which still hurt in this race….bunion ideas?
  • For some reason at Hamsterwheel, I had to go to the bathroom every 4 miles and once on trail which is way more frequent then normal.... maybe because the porta potties were there?  I did hydrate exactly per plan per hour in this race – maybe drank too much in colder weather?
  • Garmin crapped out after 14 hrs. I should have turned off HR tracking – see separate blog on this. I kept alerts. Phone though lasted the whole thing which shocked me – I didn’t use it and kept next to my body in tight pocket.
  • Used new “Gymboss Charge” interval timer which I had tried out two days before to make sure I could feel it if in my pocket. It was so cold during race though that I couldn’t feel it so ended up holding it the whole race.
  • Headlamp battery lasted about 5-6 hrs. I should have carried several spares.
  • 2/3 of my crew quit – make sure you get dependable crew!
  • Replacement water was too cold – froze my hands. Kenny ended up holding the water bottles up to heat lamps to help warm them up – need a heat source.
  • Food was great: Ate cliff bloks and cliff bar minis whole race with added chicken soup and noodles after mile 30 along with apple pieces and PB&J. Managed to get rid of big hunger I normally get.
  • Nighttime running is lonely – can’t see who the other people are. Need a pacer at night!

THE CREW

I had recruited 3 but only Kenny remained on race day and had flown in the night before with a huge headache. I woke him up at 6am to get going! His main takeaway the next day was “To be gone the next race” – ha! He was awesome although we did have some early communication issues, he spent 15 hours on his feet and dealt with a LITTLE grumpiness when I came in to the find my chair covered in stuff or extra things on the food table. I had to explain that I was like a formula 1 car coming into a pit stop and his job was to be Johnny on the Spot and get me back out there!

Some super awesome things he did for me and the race director:

  • Left just after the start to get his Quadcopter to take overall pics of the race (although this made him miss me coming in after 8, 12 miles…our first communication discussion as I was looking forward to seeing his handsome face!)
  • Left around 2pm to go get me a pair of Aftershokz bluetooth headsets so I could listen to music later – with all the people on the course, it was rude to play it out loud as I usually do. I benchmarked several folks and this was their recommendation. So happy to have them later when it was dark and I couldn’t see anyone and miles 32-36 were the longest in history….he drove to Manchester and charged them up for me!
  • He ran 2nd to last lap with me to give me something to look forward to and to keep me company in the home stretch! His fast walking was faster than my running at that point. He dealt with me telling him to quit walking so fast that he was putting pressure on me, etc 🙂 He was told to just talk about anything like our trip to Italy but somehow, this Irishman who takes hours to leave a party, couldn’t think of much to talk about with me (haha!). He brought up training for some reason and I gave it to him saying I was focused on finishing, not talking about training and more work! Poor, sweet husband that I love so much!
  • During my last lap when I had all the headlamp drama, he packed up all our gear and warmed up the car so I could just walk in and go home. When I finished, I was standing there saying “I can’t stand up any longer – have to sit down!!!!”
  • I owe him big and I do appreciate this man of mine who put up with all my grumpiness and took such good care of me

How to Save Garmin Battery Life

Hamsterwheel race Garmin lasted 14 hours in temps ranging from 28F to 50F throughout the day/night – crapped out on last lap of 4 miles! I should have turned off HR monitor. Garmin is 2 yrs old.

How to save battery life:

  1. Lower backlight timer: sett/sys/backlight/during activity/8 sec
  2. turnoff bluetooth/notifications: sett/phone/status=OFF **this is the one you put on/off before and after race
  3. Turnoff HR monitor: sett/sens + acc/wrist HR=OFF
  4. Turnoff activity tracking: sett/activity track=OFF

Note: How to set alerts: sett/act+apps/run/run settings/alerts

I always have time = 15 min, distance =1 mile for RUN

bike = 15 min, 5 miles

My training is what it is! Day before Hamsterwheel 11/5/21

I trained my ass off all summer for Kilkenny in Sept and then a week after the race my wheels fell off with my work stress and trip to NH to help out mom.

This is an experiment: Does 2 weeks of not so great training (good bikes on weekend, aborted long runs and one good last long run with my trail marathon last weekend) result in a good race or does the 2 lost weeks negate all the months before??

I am remembering all the training and miles I have done.

I have a new interval timer and am going to try out the minute running, 30 s power walking strategy (tested last night). I got the book by Jeff Galloway and had been doing 1 mile, 1 minute or 2 miles, 2 minutes and found out this isn’t right. Apparently any walk over 30 second doesn’t really help much. It was stressful watching my watch so this auto vibrator should be awesome. Maybe it will make these 50 miles EASY!

2/3 of my crew bailed. I am left with my man, Kenny! Easiest crewing ever with this loop. I just want my own food and water/tailwind. I practiced writing up crew instructions:

Above is a tracking sheet so they can watch my speed, etc. I plan to come in about once per hour so it’s pretty easy on this course!

Last month hasn’t been pretty. Drinking wine, eating Halloween candy, super stressed from work and little sleep. But I’ve tried to recover this last week and feel good I’ll make it, just not sure how much of a sufferfest it will be!

Out of Gas 10/17 and 10/24/21

Two darn weekends in a row I have run out of gas during my Sunday long run. Yesterday I made it 2.5 hrs out of 7. Every step was a struggle. I had done 5 hrs biking day before and felt fine.

This stinking job is crushing me. We had a fire discharge at our largest site a week and a half ago. Another full time job I am covering. Didn’t do any workouts T-F last week while working 12 hour days.

I feel like a failure because I am failing at getting this situation under control. I am so tired, I don’t think I am a good manager for those working for me.

I am doing my best until the 50 miler 11/6 and we’ll see if a little rest does me good!

Despite being tired, it was a beautiful two weeks of fall.

63 Mile Bike Record! 10/16/21

Five hour cycle in a roundabout way to Groton MA and back, 2575′ elevation. Forgot to turn on my garmin after a stop or two so mileage is not exactly right.

Except for a sore bottom and the beginnings of a blister burn on my hands, this felt great! Not easy either with the rolling hills….Did the almost identical route 10/23/21 and Garmin said 2900′ elevation.

This was truly almost like one of the first real fall days with pine leaves and leaves falling – being whipped into my face while riding and covering the ground. I did a small portion of the rail trail which has now become perilous with all the leaves.

Came home to cheers from Kennys family who was visiting for Erin’s wedding! Felt great!

Trail Thoughts

Someone asked me last week what I think about when you’re out on a long run. It actually stumped me.

Well some pretty deep thinking occurred on my 25 mile race I just finished (Kilkenney Ridge 25M) – the following is a compilation of some thinking done during this race and during training for it:

A few hours talking about what we want to do when we finish….warm/soft slippers…

Or how we’ll feel when we finish….awesome!

I had made a huge new music playlist I did not use at all

Sometimes I listen to ultrarunner podcasts or audiobooks (if not on a road)

What we want at the next aid station (potato chips, quesadillas…)

Other races run or future races

Personal history of husbands

These mosquitoes/flies are killing me! Did I just eat one?

OMG! Those are spider eyes reflecting off my headlamp – they are everywhere

Vacations

Chafing issues

Let me help this frog get out of the road

Beautiful or horrible landscaping or scenery

Where to pee

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 switch to left, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 counting uphills right to left feet (never look up ahead, just one foot in front of the other)

Mad at someone at work….then remembering to love everyone and feeling better

If I’m this tired now, how am I going to feel in another 15 miles (quickly squashed that train of thinking!)

I’m hungry….did I eat the last hour? Once you get past hour 3, they fly by

Need to take electrolytes

Need to drink more

Turn off that Garmin 180 metronome/no way we’re hiking that fast on this race!

Photo op! Don’t drop my phone in the lake….

Who cares about the spur trail to a view, carry on! We want to finish

How close am I to last place?

Pets

Once a run, call Kenny out of breath, sometimes crying, sometimes exuberant, sometimes saying I gotta go because it’s too tiring to hold the phone up…

Beautiful weather

Are there bears out here? Moose? What am I going to do if I run into one?

Is there a murderer in the woods (this is by my house in the dark)

Scared due to weather…am I going to get lost up here? If it rains, I’m never going to get down these rocks…

Am I on or off the course?

How the &%$& am I going to get up that rock? Please don’t have any scary ledges on this trail….

Just one more “Nashoba” to go (1000-2000′)….watching elevation gains as you go up

We’re almost half done (at about a third of the way)…

I am a badass motherfucker…

I am the trained!

I am lucky to be out here

I’m going to kill myself running downhill with abandon….hope I don’t fall

I know I should run this section but hard to get started…

I get mile alerts….that was slow! that was fast! Speed up…Need to stay consistent the entire time

I love my husband…

Kilkenney 25 Miler: Once You Go In, The Only Way Out is to Finish 9/18/21

I raced the dark popping out of the woods just before the last light faded away to a few souls cheering me as I ran by the tiki torches to the finish flags! I felt elated and like crying at the same time.

I never really had tired legs like at Killington or Stonecat and ran in strong! I’ll take that although my overall pace was slower than anticipated. My hips held out great, I felt very strong at the end, although tired the first 2-3 miles, felt better and better as race went along. Very technical terrain – knowing how strong I was at the end, I wished I pushed running more throughout the race. Great weather except for a downpour around mile 17.

Planning Document/List of Stuff to bring:

Lessons Learned:

  • Ensure shoelaces are tied tight! My left one was undone and started a blister on my big toe…. I had just opened laces on right foot to help with the bunion and double knotted it so bottom could stay loose.
  • Get 2 stickers….am starting race collection on car and on bin
  • Have food available for overnight hunger. I woke up famished and thank goodness I had a banana and some white rolls!
  • Worked out well having a bag of associated running stuff (ie trail toes, washrag, etc) and a separate bag of camp stuff.
  • Bring water with you. Was stressed at night trying to fill up jugs at the campsite using the showerhead which got me all wet!

This was a very wild single track with a lot of trees down over it or shrubs/trees in the way (literally had 6′ trees smacking us in the face as we ran THROUGH them) but beautiful….

Near top of Mt Waumbek

I met two new friends who ran most of the course with me, Madeline and Vincent!

A few pics from the course:

In truth, I was more afraid of camping by myself than of the race. We had to practice setting up the tent in our house the week before and I was terrified. Thank goodness the gentleman in the campsite next to me popped by and helped me out – it was super humid with a million bugs and I spent 30 min racing the dark trying to patch up the tarp that went under! I struggled with lanterns because I didn’t remember I had a great headlamp…. I struggled getting water and will bring more with me vs. trying to find it in the dark…. Food planned for dinner and race was perfect! Proud of myself in the end for the successful camp and the FANTASTIC OUTDOOR SHOWER! I was all worried that it was cold water only and it was perfect…. I went to bed tired but clean and happy!

Kilkenney 25 Prep – About as Many Ups/downs as the Course! 9/13/21

Last minute jitters two weeks before the race…..

Am I ready? Why do I feel so slow still?

Two weeks before I almost cried to my coach asking for a pep talk while we were doing Nashoba hill day. He told me that if he didn’t think I was ready we’d be having a serious talk right now…..

I hadn’t done much strength training since my body broke down in May.

I was a few pounds heavy.

Last two months I did the best at the training sessions I have probably ever done 🙂

I was still having trouble just running distance without being tired.

Old speck inflamed my hip….was it going to crush me again like it did in my last 50k race?

I was afraid of setting up a tent.

Where was I going to eat after the race?

Did I have a useable mattress pad?

I didn’t have a good rainjacket.

where exactly was the race?

Mt. Moosilaukee and a COLD SOAK! 9/12/21

7.9 miles, 2730′ elevation, 3:48:37 Mount Moosilaukee and the South Peak Loop

Parked on side of road (no fees). Runnable on the way down. Top of Moosilaukee is an alpine meadow, no technical rock climbs.

Goal was 5.5 hrs and finished Moose early so drove a few minutes over to Franconia Falls and did a cold soak from waist down halfway through – AWESOME!!!! 6.71 miles, 1:38:33, 387′ elevation

Conquered “The Double Speck!” 8/27/21

It is historic. It is tradition. A critical tough training session, during the family vacation at Papoose Pond, before a big race in Sept. , race – THE DOUBLE SPECK!

2021:

2019

OK OK OK I was a little slower in 2021. I’m blaming the extra 10-15 lbs and work stress!

This is a TOUGH MOUNTAIN! The trail is ROCK, which HURT and I lost a toenail after with all the slamming against the front of my shoe. I finally looked up the tricks to tying shoelaces to minimize foot sliding (ie. tie a note in the laces after a few traverses) and am buying shoes size 10 now, another 1/2 size up. I felt Ok from an effort standpoint after the first ascent/descent but my feet hurt so that slowed me down the second time around…

Disappointing for sure I was slower than in 2019 but I’ll take it based on how horrible 2021 has been with work and the toll that situation has taken on me.

This year I had some better gear with extra water flasks so could easily pack for the second ascent and I had new nutrition with the chocolate/cashew/date balls. Also way better weather!

Every double Speck deserves a BIG BREAKFAST the next day! Blueberry pancakes the size of my head….

This year, we moved to a campsite across the road from Ruth and still suffered from the deflating queen size blowup mattress 🙂

Until next year. And we reserved a full week for 2022!!

Mt Monadnock 2.75, Laura 1.25, Two attempts 8/31/21 and 9/5/21

The goal was simple 4 hrs 15min with 3-4k in elevation.

FACT: 1 x Monadnock = 2:06 hrs (from 2019) and 1795′ elevation.

Twice I went there trying to do 2 loops (like the infamous DOUBLE SPECK) and battled the rain.

First attempt 8/31/21 I knew it was going to pour that morning (some hurricane remnant moving its way up the coast) but got there early to have a go at it. I couldn’t remember the course and how slick/slabby it was to know if you could do it wet or not.

You could not. Below is what turned me around the first time and I had not remember the huge slabs at the top I found my second time…

I was afraid. I admit it. Got to this part and called it quits with the slippery slabs. Did not want to get stuck up there- it was about halfway up. I ran down and back to this point and back down just to get some elevation (44:49 and 692′ in total) and it started to rain…

It was a sad slog in absolutely torrential downpours as I hit the good ole’ Buttonwood hill in my neighborhood, where I got another 1:15 and 659′ before accepting the ride from my husband. He was worried because of how heavy it was raining. I had been gathering trash while running to keep my mind off these miserable conditions! (Damn the plastic and fast food companies for creating this garbage and the lazy assholes that discard it wherever they choose…)

Laura .25 , Monadnock 1.75 (as I only made it halfway up of a target 2 full ups/down).

Second attempt 9/15, also on day rain was expected. I thought I could beat it but did one ascent/descent and it started. Now I saw the huge, slippery slabs and felt the rain and decided to do my final 2.25 hrs on a trail in Hollis. While I was near the top, you could the fog/rain rolling in and I raced down the mountain!!

At least I made one loop!!! Note that I DID NOT LIKE the White Cross trail coming down and would recommend going up and down the White Dot next time (other runners had already learned this and passed me coming down several times).

Laura 1, Monadnock 1 (as I only completed 1 of 2 loops)

Until next time, when I crush this mountain in a knock out!!

A Journey in Professional and Personal Continuous Improvement

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