Monday, December 4, 2017

Early winter recap

It was a Fall of highs and lows. 
Per the norm, I have had a lengthy blog absence but I hope to be able to regain some level of consistency from here on out. 

Quick recap, mostly in pictures. 

In early October my cousin Evan came back for a weekend of constant athletics.
We biked in the rain, climbed mountains, ran the Bethel trail race and spent an afternoon trail running at Bradbury. It was certainly one of the most fantastic weekends of the fall and one that ended too soon!!

Sunset on Hawk Mountain, early October

New babayyyy!
The same weekend that Evan visited, my new pony arrived! I bought him in July and he finally arrived (from Germany!) in October. He is better than anything I ever could have hoped for, and I am so incredibly excited to see what we can do together.
(and no, this is not a horse blog. but believe it or not, a horse blog is coming soon. Details TBA)

Last Bradbury outing 

Amazing weather
Eric and I enjoyed one final Bradbury day late in the season. Both of us enjoyed our dirtbag status so much this year, and I haven't enjoyed running so much in a while! Apparently, the fear of tripping and falling down a mountain is fun to me....??

In early November, our youngest dog became severely and suddenly ill (complete renal failure). We chose to hospitalize him for the best treatment, but it quickly became apparent that he could not be saved. Heartbroken, we brought him home for hospice care.
We had him with us for several days before we knew it was his time.
This was a really hard time for us. I have struggled to find peace with his sudden passing and have only recently been able to become more at ease with what happened.

Running away from the feelings....
Eric and I both needed time to clear our heads after his passing, and found that hitting the road for some quiet runs helped. It was tough.

Birthday hike!
A couple weeks later my birthday weekend arrived, as it seems to every year. It's nice that despite this, I never ever age.

Eric, Kate and I went off of a wintery hike, fueled by peppermint mochas and coconut lattes.  (#fueledbynomad) (and beer by Norway Brewing!)

It was a chilly day, but we went 6 miles waterfall hunting, (gnome hunting too, but you had to be there!)

Birthday beer!!

 And then winter came, or at least the daylight hours became much fewer.

After our trail running days came to a close, we weren't really sure what we would do for fun.
It's hard to beat running up and down mountains and drinking beers in the back of the truck afterwards....

Being the geniuses that we are in the Bradlowski household, we decided that all Saturday runs would end at the pub.

YOU GUYS. What a stroke of pure brilliance! Nothing makes a double digit run more fun than knowing that beer is waiting at the end! (and so is Lee, to pick us up!)

So that's pretty much it, in the fewest words possible.

Bear Bones Brewing, our current favorite.

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.

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.
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.

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

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.)

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!