Greetings, all! It has been some time since my last post. I’ve been laying off social media more than usual. Although I am finding the perks to not being constantly glued to my computer or phone, it mostly comes back to being busy with work, more run training (woo!), still moving into the apartment, art jobs on the side, and going on adventures…. which I will write about here, in nifty little recaps! Because not all run adventures need a grand moral to the tale… or do they?
Mt. Washington Auto Road Race – June 20th
Due to Mountain Goating last year, I got a lottery bypass into the Auto Road Race. What’s great is a sure-fire spot in the race. The downside is you pay so far in advance, that you haven’t a clue how your body will be on race day. I’m getting more in the habit of waiting until day of the race to register, or for the very last minute before the price goes up online. This is due to recurring injuries, which I only started to tackle when the Road Race came by. Good news is my IT band didn’t want to jump out of my body until mile 6 of 7.6, and my ankle only got swollen well after the race ended. I call that a victory.
The downside of the race was the unexpected. I forgot my socks. Of all things to forget, it was the damn socks. I remembered my snazzy compression sleeves, so all was mostly well. I always use Injinjis, and I convinced my husband to fork over his extra pair. Come to find these little suckers were worn out and rough. I developed raging blisters on the back of my heels a mile into the race. I was even feeling really good with my pace, up until I had to take off my shoes due to it being unbearable at mile 2.5. Shoes went off, bandaid went on, shoes went on, then off, then new bandaid… lather, rinse, repeat.
The mantra of the day was “calm within the storm.” It wasn’t so much of a storm in my muscles (although that was still very apparent) it was the storm on these penny-sized blobs of fire and brimstone on my heels. Yes, I finished the race 15 minutes slower than last year. However, it was one of those rare, gloriously warm and sunny days on Mt. Washington. Despite the anguish in my shoes, my heart sang with the wondrous day, the friends who were glad to see me, and a delicious turkey dinner. Oh, also the cheering of teammates! Wait, where’s Captain Chris? Why isn’t he yelling (cheering) at me?
Moral of the story: Make sure you race past your biggest cheerleader when he’s not on bathroom break. Bring walkie-talkies if need be, because this is unacceptable!
Exeter Trail Race – June 27th
I wasn’t racing this day, nor was Dan. However, we still wanted to be involved in the racing community this weekend, since it was pretty lackluster otherwise, so we both decided to volunteer. Dan swept the course, I helped with registration. After starting my immune system booster natural supplements (I have a compromised immune system) I started my kill phase supplements a few days prior. Kill phase sounds awful, and it is! For the fungus in my gut and sinuses. Screw you, fungus. Although, on this day it was fairly awful for me as well. I expected it to happen, this thing called “brain fog.” Basically, a bunch of fungal and bacterial toxins are floating about in my system, causing me to get drowsy, lightheaded, confused, and perhaps a bit tipsy. Basically I feel like I’m buzzed on whiskey. There are some similarities and some differences between the buzzes. Both damage your liver, but one is more fun to taste, and the other is allowed in public because the container doesn’t need to be covered in brown paper. I’d rather have whiskey.
The height of this happened while I was attempting to multitask during bib pick up. It’s a miracle everyone got their correct bibs. Perhaps I was moving in super slow motion and I wasn’t aware of it whatsoever. Like a good buzz, in hindsight, I was both hilarious AND perfectly functioning. On the super positive side, it was a lovely day, I saw many friendly faces, and even saw Jamie Staton from WMUR News 9 finish the long course. All of us at the timing tent were all “Is that… Jamie Staton?”
Moral of the story: Jamie Staton is not a mythical creature who only lives in Narnia.
Meeting Scott Jurek – July 3rd
I have mentioned the book “Eat and Run” on my blog before, by ultrarunner Scott Jurek. He is currently attempting to break the speed record on the Appalachian Trail. He’s going south to north, while most who go for speed go north to south to get the hardest of the peaks done early on. On July 3rd, my day off from work, Scott was on day 39. The day and night prior I was strategizing the best way to cross paths with my running hero. His last stint was for 48 miles and 22 hours, all the way from before Mt. Moosilauke to Galehead Hut, a seriously impressive bout. However, this was the beginning of the worst parts of the trip for him.
Kim and Jonathan as we trail Scott and crew
Our plan was to go to the Ethan Pond Trail trailhead in Crawford Notch. Lo and behold, Paul Kirsch was there, and I wasn’t surprised. Dan and I met up with our friends Kim, who drove all the way up from North Carolina the night before, and Jonathan, who drove up with her from Massachusetts. Kim and I went out leisurely, while Dan and Jonathan ran out to meet Scott and crew earlier on. 5 miles in Kim and I found Dan and Jonathan in a group, and wondered what was going on. We actually just passed Scott, and didn’t even know it! He needed a buffer zone, since he was feeling quite unwell. We stayed back in a group led by climbing legend Tim O’Neill, who was funny and delightfully chatty. He was asking people on the trail for jokes. Thank goodness he didn’t ask me, because I didn’t think of one worthy of sharing until a few days later. Tim quoted Scott as saying at Galehead Hut “I have done 1,800 miles, and nothing compares to what I just did.” Yeah, the White Mountains are tough, hence why most who go for speed start in the north.
We eventually met up with Scott, quickly introduced ourselves all at once, and ran the last 2 miles to his support van with him and his crew. It was such a beautiful day, and it was a once in a lifetime type of experience. Scott was very kind. He was told to sleep, but he said “These people have been waiting for me all day, I’ll do photos first.” He even apologized for making us wait, and not being very sociable! The running / ultrarunning / trail / hiking / mountain community is just so kind and open hearted that it makes me very happy to be part of it all. I was very shy and didn’t say much to him, except that I said what he was doing is amazing. I feel very honored to have been part of his epic journey, even in a small way.
Moral of the story: Scott Jurek is frickin’ awesome.
Loon Mountain Race – July 5th
Photo by Gianina Lindsey SNAPacidotic
I recently completed the Loon Mountain Race, the second time I have done this one. It is part of the mountain circuit in order to “Goat.” Despite being forced to do it for Goat status, I still wouldn’t miss this even if it was optional. The views are spectacular, the terrain is varied and fun, and of course it’s all about seeing all my aR friends again! They added on the nordic track for the women this year, so there isn’t a time for me to compare. I did do Upper Walking Boss a couple of minutes slower than last year, but this time there were no switchbacks, so it was shorter but steeper, and I had to cover 2 more miles by this point than last year. I was basically crawling up that kilometer of anguish and despair. I’ll do it again of course.
Things seemed to go just right. Sugary foods to fuel my body before and during the race are being handled by my gut much better than they used to (kill phase is working!), my IT band and ankle gave little grief even on the steep downhills, and with strength through physical therapy it seems like my body is starting to work the way it’s supposed to. What a wonderful feeling to have my body not betray me! I loved how so many people said they were glad to see me in the mountains again. I feel so appreciated, that my presence has been missed. I love to be friendly and chat away with friends old and new. I even hung out down in the river and met some interesting new characters.
Progress is being made for my digestive and injury health. I know it will take time, and I am very happy with any progress that has been made. I have no set place to be in regards to speed or training. I simply want to be on the mountains and trails enjoying myself amongst good company.
Moral of the story: It’s not all about being the fastest, having only perfect days, or meeting high expectations. It’s about being active, experiencing fun things, and being happy for where you are.