Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bridgton 4 on the 4th, and other summer adventures

I have been a little quiet here lately!
As usual, the summer season is very busy for me. Not to mention, I would prefer to be outdoors enjoying the weather than at my computer.

My cousin Evan came up for a week around the 4th. He visited frequently when he was little, and in High School, but college, jobs and life have prevented frequent visits for the last few years.
We were so happy to have him visit, and know that now that "adult" life is here (boooo) this may have been a last hurrah (booooo!)

Anyway, while he was visiting we did some of my favorite local hilly runs (plus a few more!)

A glorious day on Hawk mountain

A less lovely day on Mt Tir'em
After a couple days of bombing up and down the small local mountains, we took our tired legs to Fryeburg to walk up Jockey Cap.
Believe it or not, I have never been up there before!
It is a super small walk (maybe .75 round trip) and exceedingly easy, except for the final climb up a rocky slope.

Such a cool mountain map!
We enjoyed seeing Fryeburg from above, and the mountain range in the distance was impressive!
It was a perfect rest day walk, and would be a fun side trip for someone driving thru Western Maine or a small day hike for little ones.

Hiking friends!

Evan always climbing things....
Friday was a better day for some beer drinking adventures than for athletic ones....

Foundation, basically a weekly stop for us
On Saturday we had a doozy of a storm. Almost 4 inches of rain fell in 2 hours. Several tornadoes touched down in the general area. Basically, all plans cancelled and we battened down the hatches and ate tacos.

Weird storm sky

And the calm, the day after the storm
Tuesday was July 4th, and Eric, Evan, My sister and I made our way to Bridgton for our annual cage match with the campers.
Or 4 mile run. Same thing.

Last year was an all around shit show, and I decided that this would be a year where I would go in with zero expectations (other than the expectation of 6 year old kids lining up in the 5:00 pace area.)

Pre race, looking shiny and clean

Weirdos
Considering that I have not done any speedwork in 10-12 weeks I was pleased with my results. I had an all around good run (because all of us lined up, totally incorrectly in the 6:00 pace area. That did help the congestion. Still, about 400 meters in there were some 8year old girls, walking hand and hand in the middle of the road. *sigh*)
Evan and I ran most of the race more or less together, Eric dropped all of us like a bad habit, and Kate ran a super solid PR coming in right behind us.
I ran a 29:41 which won me a sweet AG 1st. I'll take it.
I will admit to being sore the next day. I can't remember the last time I ran more that one foot at a 7:25 pace, so I deserved it!

We spent the rest of the Holiday celebrating.

First, beers at Ebenezer's

And then corn hole

So yes. The summer is rolling along and since I am not marathon training this July, running is more an option that a requirement.

As far as marathon training goes, I have CIM on the horizon in December and I have yet to decide if a Fall marathon is in the cards. I would like to get my 2019 BQ this fall, and am not sure if I feel that a destination race is the place to do that.  I'm considering the options and will make a decision soon (perhaps.)

Recap:
Number of tornadoes that touched down far too close to us: 4
Fastest pace that I have run since 1987: 7:25
Best day of barhopping: First Austin St/Foundation, then onto Novare Res, then pasta and a cocktail at the Corner Room. A quality time!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Many Waterford Hills, Part Three

Last week, I returned to my quest of running all of the hills in my town.

The previous week had been something of a bust. I was extraordinarily busy at work, and except for one small run, I did not have time to hit the roads. Such is life.

Last Monday it was 53 degrees an raining. Typical Monday. 
Perfect for running two of the tough hills in town. I tackled Valley Rd Hill first (which my biking husband says is a "category three climb" whatever that means...) And my second hill was Plummer Hill which was steep. Like stairs. 

Valley Hill and Plummer Hill

It was not good photo weather and all of my photography skills went to waste. *sarcasm* It really was pouring down rain!! And I know everyone reads this blog for the AMAZING photos so I really dropped the ball... 

I did manage to take a pic of a pretty stream, so there's that. 

Such *skill* with an iPhone camera
I returned to my car sopping dripping drenched. 
Better cold and damp than boiling hot and sweaty though!!

Drenched
On Wednesday I tackled Rice Rd/Hill with the intention of hitting the summit and then running back the same way, giving me time to hit another hill. 

That plan went to shit when I saw a BEAR. While he scampered quickly away, banging and crashing through the underbrush, there was NO way that I was running back towards him. 
So on I went. Mildly terrified. 

Even though I felt alarmed by my bear sighting, I still managed to have a pleasant excursion. 
It was very pretty, in that Maine Landscape kind of way that I seem to like so much!

Yes, this is lovely
I saw some cows too, who were super nice, but very very buggy. 

Happy cows
Also, more streams. The wet spring has made for some gloriously babbling brooks. 

Mini waterfall
The whole run ended up being Rice Hill via Brown Hill down Valley Hill and concluding with a trip back up lower Rice Rd.

Yikes

Eric joined me on Friday for the trek up (what we refer to as) Pietree Hill. While this is part of Sweden Road, Pietree Orchard is at the summit, and referencing a map has done nothing to help me to determine the name of said hill. So Pietree Hill it is. 

While relatively short, this was (at this point) the trickiest run of the week. It is a long hill, and has some extremely steep portions.

Good gravy... The whole thing is a "steep portion."
So yes. Steep shit. 
It was also rather humid, and despite the air temp only being 63 we both felt warm. 

Hot and sweaty Bradlowski's
We took a couple quick pics to prove that we were there, and then we sprinted back down. Sprinting back down such a steep hill results in some terror, so we do not advise this method. 

The view from Pietree Orchard. It's easier get there via car. 
Saturday took me up and over Blackguard road, over what has been determined to be "The back of Beech Hill". 
I felt some confusion about what hill I actually ran. This was due to an randomly named farm (when you live on Beech Hill, and name your farm "Thunder Hill", it is quite charming but mostly confusing.) 
The there was a teensy sign that said "Strawberry Hill" which I believe I passed over a potion of.
However, I sought expert advice on the matter and thus, Beech Hill it is. 

This run was a BEAST. JESUS H WARD.

I'm still crying
It went up for 3 plus miles and was really quite difficult. Big Big long hill. FML.
Paved road gave way to dirt road, which eventually changed to an ATV trail that meandered through the middle of nowhere. NOWHERE. 

Zero cell service. I recommend bringing a friend for this run. 
(as a general rule I do feel safe in my town. I carry mace, a (useless) phone and I ALWAYS tell people where I am going and when I will be back.) That being said, I am a woman of the 2017's and feel much safer when I have access to my phone. If for no other reason than being able to call for a ride if I get sick of running!

The good news is that my camera still worked so there will be no shortage of "field and hill in the summer" photos ;-)
You will be able to see the weather change over the course of this run though. Very sunny to start, as seen below. 

I believe we are looking up Beech Hill
The trails were in good shape considering the wet spring, and made for some enjoyable "trail" running. This is about as "trail" as I like my runs to get! (especially when my phone isn't working and I can not call 911 if I trip on a rock, and break my face open.)

An extra well maintained stretch of trail
The downhill portion of the adventure was quite pleasant, although warm. It was the first day of "hot" weather, and was humid and about 75. 

While I never felt like I was at the very peak of a hill, I still saw some nice views.
And increasing clouds, as I got closer to the finish.

I'll never get sick of field/mountain. You guys probably are though.
This run logged the most impressive amount of elevation for the week. While 1200' isn't a lot to a seasoned mountain runner, it is for me (as I am a little pavement princess!!)

I was not planning to run at all on Sunday. It was forecasted to be 90 (and it was) and I have no need to run loads of miles right now. Especially not in the disgusting heat. 

However, I felt like having a little hike and I chose to make it a hobby jog.

Moving away from "field/hill" into "woods/lake"
Just a little jaunt up Hawk Mt again, it was beautiful and breezy at the summit!

Basically a recovery run!

A good week of running, with a lot of fun adventures and a few more hills now checked off the list.
The next week will be a big challenge with temps soaring into the 90's, and a multi day horse show. We shall see how it goes.

Weekly Stats:
Mileage: 28.5
Feet of climbing: 3,855 ft
Most feet of climbing in one run: 1,239 ft, Blackguard rd "Beech Hill"
Hilliest MILE!!: 305, same run. Lots in the mid 200's though. 


Monday, May 29, 2017

ALL the Waterford Hills, Part Two

I had an amazing week of adventuring!!

As much as I love marathon training, this is probably my favorite kind of running. 
I LOVE to see my town (and surrounding areas) without the confines of mile repeats. I love to see new places and to see the TOP of places that I already know. I like the challenge of running straight up. (go figure. it is inexplicable.) (and, as it turns out, I prefer my hills to be paved!)

Anyways, on to the gritty details of the week of climbing. 

Hill #1
Monday was a cold and rainy day. 
I concluded that a run over Mill Hill, with a side trip to the Hawk Mt trailhead (to scope it out) was in order. 

Mill Hill, in and of itself it a bit of a brute. (and, is another hill that the crazy Mt Washington racers seek out. And no, I am not running Mt Washington. I have always thought it would be a poor choice but maybe next year I will reconsider....)

Due to the weather the view, although still nice, was limited. 
Typical apple trees, fog, Mt Tir'em in the distance and Keoka lake (the lake is there... you just can not see it!!)



This run was a pretty solid workout. Wow! Especially with the side trip up Hawk Mt access road.

And yes, my GPS went insane. 

I was very happy with this run, and quite soaked upon my arrival home. 

Dripping
Hill (mountain) #2
HAWK MOUNTAIN!!!!

I bit the bullet, knowing the trail itself was only .75 mile, and made the climb. 

Maybe a bad idea...? 
The trail, while slightly more treacherous than a paved road, was absolutely manageable. It was a wide, and very passable road with some loose rocks that might merit attention. Other than that, it was a doable trail run for a road running princess such as myself. 

Also, not so steep as to cause immediate death. 
PLUS, a pokestop at the top!!

The infamous Strava screenshot. #proof

But honestly, the trail was pleasant and would have been even nicer, had I been walking with a basket of snacks and beers to enjoy at the top. But, if you decide to run up a small mountain, this is the one to do. Short, sweet and great views. 

I paused for a few photos at the top, since it is not every day that I run up a mountain. 

Basically a cliff. And I am scared of cliffs. 
The views were just amazing. And the bugs were terrible. 

PERFECT
This was a very enjoyable experience, and a route that I plan to do again. 

Hill #3
Deer Hill 

As promised on Temple Hill day last week, Deer Hill was in order for this weeks excursions.

Deer Hill goes over a pretty substantial bump, which takes a person all the way to Harrison. The steep portion on the hill measures just over 1.5 miles long, which is no joke. 
To this point (insert ominous music here) this was my most challenging run of the week. 

WOOF

The weather was yucky, another 52 degree rainy day. Not really too bad for running but quite bad for my top of the hill photo op.... 
Believe it or not, this photo is looking at exactly the point I was on, on Temple Hill the previous week. You can't really tell but trust me.... Stupid clouds. 

On Deer Hill, looking at Temple Hill
And as I said, this hill will fuck you up.
(and cyclists take note, the road is about to undergo resurfacing and is in horrible condition!!)
This was my first time making the Harrison to Waterford climb on this hill and it was fine, and I made it, and it wasn't horrible. BUT IT WAS HARD. 
Luckily, I was in a good mood, and was in no hurry, so I looked at all the blast zones for the upcoming roadwork, and enjoyed my time. 

Hill #4:
Mt Tir'em

I was not planning to do both of Waterford's "mountains"in one week, but as luck would have it, that is how it worked out.

I ran to the "trail head" of Mt Tir'em, which must be almost impossible to find if you do not know the area.
On my way there, I took a quick pic of Keoka lake will Mill Hill looming in the distance. Gahd, so pretty. I will say it again, I am a sucker for a perfect view.

My town is perfect this time of year. NOT so much in January. 
Since I know exactly where the trail begins, I got off to a good start. (which did not last for more that .10 mile!)

Compared to Hawk Mountain, Tir'em was difficult to run. While Hawk was essentially a rocky road to the summit, Tir'em was a windy, rooty, very steep, rocky, mostly single track path.

I have walked this trail several times with no difficulty, but running (with the mass quantity of very slick leaves) was a whole different kettle of fish. I will admit, there were some moments that I chose to walk, as falling down was not in my plans.
It was also effing steep and, no lie, running up some of that crap was just not gonna happen.

Another day, another mountain
I did make it though! .75 miles after heading straight uphill, I came to the top (as one does) and I took a few minutes to appreciate the view.

I have to wonder if that is the same lake from my Hawk Mt climb- I think it is!!
I have been on top of Tir'em several times, but I took a few moments to walk around and check things out. I always like the large cave like stones, which I remember climbing on when I was quite a bit younger!

Pretty cool, huge rocks. 
I noticed a trail leading down the "back side" of the mountain, I have never gone down that way but would be curious about its destination. (but not curious enough to check it out on that day!)

Running down was scary for me. I am certainly not a serious trail runner! I shuffled down tentatively, and I think my decent took longer than my climb. Yikes!!


Yeah good lord, NOT FLAT.
So yeah! That was my week. Lots of fun stuff.
I actually have to do some investigation of which Waterford Hills I am going to miss if I don't pay attention. I have a few lined up for the coming week, and hopefully we get some nice days for me to tackle them on...!

Weekly Stats:
Mileage: 26.6
Feet of climbing: 3,034 ft
Most feet of climbing in one run: 884 ft, Mt Tir'em
Hilliest MILE!!: 379 ft, Mt Ti'rem (but Deer Hill was CLOSE, at 316 ft!) 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Every Hill in Waterford: Part One

I am a strange woman.

Once my marathon season is done, I like nothing more than to spend my running time having adventures and climbing (small) mountains. 

If I was a good blogger I would try to dish out wise advice about how to run hills well. My honest, and *educated* words on the topic are probably not helpful! 
In order to run hills "well" you need to get the hell out and do it, know that you will not be running your 5k pace, you need to enjoy the view, look at the birds, and just enjoy yourself. I know that I do. 

I'm trying to run up every hill in my town during the next month or so. At the rate I am going, I will finish well before then! 

Here is my progress thus far, complete with poor photos and Strava screen shots. 
(such a poor quality blog. but at least I don't try to sell you inside tracker or isagenix...)

Hill Climb number one!!
As it turned out, this run also marked my triumphant return to running after Providence. 
Baker hill requires a decent effort, but a smaller hill leading to it gives you a reasonable warm up.
(or preps you for the cardiac arrest that you are about to have.)

Well.... There's always the downhill!!

Once to the top, you are greeted by a very typical Waterford scene. Apple trees, pastoral fields, and rolling hills. (It never gets old, I am such a sucker for a good view!!) 

Really pretty. 
Hill Climb number TWO!!
Bitch Hill (which all of you are sick and tired of) but BACKWARDS!

As you can see, hitting this up from the backside ups the intensity level by about 100%.
Fun fact: this is a hill that people seek out when training for the Mt Washington road race, as the incline is (at times) equally taxing. It's like a stair climber. 
(another fun fact: few people actually choose to run this hill.)

That hill IS as bad as it looks
Anyway, Eric and I both ran up it because we are crazy. 
And there is NO better view. Hello. I live in a gorgeous fucking place. 

OMG. Bitch hill is a gorgeous lady. 

Hill Climb THREE!!
I had a nice time running up and back over Temple Hill. (my idea of having a good time is questionable, but whatever. I honestly find this fun!)

Right. So this was my biggest climb all week and certainly took a good effort.

Good lord, that is a huge hill. 

I was rewarded with views of Deer Hill, which is on the list of hills to climb (by the time I publish this, I expect that run will have been completed.

Standing on top of Temple Hill, looking over to Deer Hill.
Being a smart person, I congratulated myself for all this climbing with a delicious beer. 
(Bissell's Angels with filthy souls, at Novare.)

Not a beer for hot weather. And, the weather was not hot!
And I made some fabulous kale and basil pesto to toss directly in my mouth. (well... on some pasta....) MMM.

So green and fantastic!
Weekly stats:
Mileage: 17.1
Feet of climbing: 1,721
Most feet of climbing in one run: Temple Hill, 624 ft
Best beer??? Yep, that Bissell wins!!
Best occurrence while running: When a kid in a yard said "WHY ARE YOU RUNNING?" and I said, Zombies. Because, duh.