Monday, October 2, 2017

Late Summer Recap

It has been a while, quite a while since my last post .

(we all know that blogging really isn't a "thing" anymore, but I get a kick out of looking at my "three years ago" posts, and imagine I may feel the same way in three years from now...)

So anyway. 
When I last wrote, I had ridden my bike successfully, without dying, a handful of times. 
I still had not decided on the when/if of a fall marathon. 
I was dabbling in trail running. 

Since then, I have, for the first time since 2012 decided that a Fall marathon is not in the cards. I decided that I would begin to train when I got excited to hit some high mileage again. 
*needless to say, that did not happen*

There really was no agony, or soul searching involved. I simply decided that I LITERALLY could give ZERO fucks about running a Fall marathon, and so I didn't! 

Instead, I have been having a glorious time doing some different things. 

I am no longer afraid to ride my bike. This is a stunning accomplishment, and something I am really proud of. I love to ride the damn thing. 
Once a week. 
For no more that 25 miles at one time! (or 30... same thing)

I don't really have my own gear, so I wear Eric's

Believe it or not, I have participated in every Green Machine Wednesday Night ride (except one) since the last time I wrote. 
I moved up from the 12 MPH group to the 15 MPH group, and for the most part I feel that I can hold my own. (the confidence completely went out the window a couple weeks back, when the entirety of the 15 mph group dropped me like a bad habit with 3 miles to go. Apparently, they are fast, and I still have a long way to go before I can make an 18mph sprint to the end!) It's good to step far, far out of my comfort zone, have to work really hard to keep up, and to learn something new. 

I have been trail running SO much and (despite a couple of painful falls, that resulted in bloody body parts) I have been enjoying it tremendously.


Smiling on the summit
We can take a moment to talk about my coordination, or lack of. I have taken a couple wicked hahd diggahs, as we say in these parts. I have managed to get up, use my excellent equestrian first aid skills (pour some water on it, you're FINE!!) and move on. Also, Eric says that dirtbag runners always pack a cooler of beer (and ice) when adventure running, and those items have aided in my swift recovery.

Good LORD
I have no (current) plans to become the ultimate ultra trail runner. Really, who knows why I had a sudden need for dirt, mountains and trees. Regardless of the reason, I have been having some of the most fun running hours of my life this summer.

A Bradbury trail. NOT the O-trail...
Eric and I (and Danielle!!) ran the Bradbury Mountain Breaker (bruiser? broken legger?) in August and it was such a fine time. I took a wicked tumble, but finished very happy despite the final stretch of the course being near on to impossible to run. (word from the wise: the O Trail is not for the faint of heart!)

Crow athletics #teampink 
Typically, I would give you some stats about race pace, age group placement, etc.
I think I fell down so hard during this race that I can't remember any of it!!
Bad coordination strikes again. (and who falls down and cuts and bruises their CHEST??)

I do
Eric and I have been spending almost every Saturday afternoon running and mountain biking at Bradbury. We are fairly certain that it is the most fun you can have for $4 per person! 
We run and bike, light a fire and grill some food, enjoy nature and each others company. 
I have logged some serious trail running mileage. Similar to biking, it is something I really am a novice at, and I have a long way to go before I reach *expert* level.

Bradbury bridges
Eric and I, along with my sister on occasion, have also been enjoying the Friday evening "races" in Bethel at the Mahoosuc Pathways trail runs.
It is completely laid back. You toss $5 in a jar, line up (casually) and the woman who times the race suggests (at some point at.around 5:30) that "if you're ready, you can go!"
You then run about 3 or 6 miles on some really fun, not too hard trails. You come in to a blazing finish, and get discount beer! SO much winning.

Post trail race, the only night it wasn't HOT!
A couple years ago, I would have laughed SO hard if anyone told me I would spend a summer cycling and trail running. But there ya go. never say never. 

I think my running has always evolved into what I have needed it to be at the time. 
I have always said that if marathoning felt more like a chore than like fun, I would not do it. While that is how I felt this summer, I don't except that feeling to last. (and if it does, it does.) 
I plan to train for Boston 2018 to the best of my ability, and to run a strong race. 

Who knows what the future holds, right? I am lucky to be able to indulge in a hobby that is truly a luxury, and I appreciate every moment I spend in the outdoors running, hiking and biking. If marathoning forever is in the cards for me, I'll make it happen. If I need, or enjoy a change of pace, I'll go with the flow and enjoy those moments too. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Summer recap

It is hard to believe that it is already August 11th. As usual, the summer flew by!

I still am completely undecided on Fall marathon plans. There are many factors playing into this, but eventually I'll need to get it together and decide what the hell I am going to do. 

It was been an interesting summer of activity. After the pre-Hartford summer training schedule of 2016 (in the wretched heat) I was interested in a less structured summer. 

It has been fun.

Here is a photo montage of how it has gone down. 


Family Party Run the mountain (peak one)
My cousin Evan and I ran from home, to Hawk Mt, to Mt Ti'rem prior to our annual family party to make sure it could be done. 
It could, so when the day came all the crazy kids joined in. 
And it was awesome.

On the way down, meeting the family hiking up!

At the base of Mt Ti'rem, peak 2. Sweaty. 

Runners and hikers at the top of Ti'rem

We made it to the top, and the kids did pushups... Obviously! 

Cousin party at the Bradlowski's!
We saw a double rainbow. 

We had a blind taste test beer geek competition

The following weekend, I went to a horse show and qualified for Regionals

Annnnd then, we went to Beach To Beacon! (with 8,000 others)

That's my sister on the right. Photo cred: Eric

Whoot! Done! 54:06

Attempted murder

Our only official race pic


And then the next day. Who knows what the fuck this is. 

Oh! A duathlon. Because that makes sense. First bike ride in 2.5 years.
(aka: good thing I am a halfway decent runner)

We won! We won! Who needs training?!? 

Before the bike goes back into the basement, I went  on a Green Machine group ride.
I. Was. TERRIFIED.
This merits an extra paragraph.
I am NOT a strong cyclist by any means. I had a fun time doing the duathlon, whilst and at the same time watching the WHOLE race cycle on by me.
Oh well.

So, before I retired the bike for another 2.5 years, I decided that I'd take one last ride.
Eric goes to Norway, almost weekly for the Green Machine Bike shop group ride.
I have always assumed that these rides were for experts only.

WRONG!
They have different groups for all levels, even for noobs like me.

I went, (after deciding NOT to go, no fewer than 357 times) and I had a blast.
It was very enjoyable riding with people my own speed, and it felt much safer riding in a group.
While I don't foresee much biking in my future, if I take the old beast out again it will be for another group ride!

Celebrating not dying on the bike, with beer. 
That's about it from here.
It has been a wonderful summer, but a really busy one.
While my training regimen has been wildly unstructured, I have been enjoying the activities that I have been doing.
We'll see what happens now that the fall race season is just on the horizon....

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.