Thursday, July 30, 2015

Weekly Recap: 7/27 - 8/2 Final

Pan Mass Challenge this weekend.  164 miles from Wellesley MA to Provincetown MA.  I doubt I'll ever spell Wellesley right the first time...  I am hopeful it won't rain all day on Saturday, as it did last year.

Looking forward to meeting up with a big portion of the LUNGstrong team on Friday.  Some start from Sturbridge, MA, the traditional start, some start from the NY/MA border to do a true Pan Mass ride.  I may do this next year.  Sunday night when Dave and I were out to dinner, he caught me talking about the bike first and running second.  His big dream is for me to get back into mountain biking so we can do that together.  He really isn't a roadie, which is really what I prefer.  All that packing up to go ride in the woods seems annoying.   We shall see. Running is so much easier to do, the essentials are shoes and a sports bra.  Biking, bike, helmet, shoes, chamois, and a sports bra.  So yeah...  I think he shall continue to dream this dream.  Me?  I'll do what pleases me and doesn't annoy him to the point of him being annoyed annoys me.

Marriage explained.


Getting G moving a bit!


Getting G moving a bit!


Getting G moving a bit!


PMC Day 1

PMC Day 2


Monday - Rainy run.  One of the guys I see in the fitness center we exchange polite waves, never spoken. I'm really not that scary, honest...  He looked like he was hemming and hawing about going out.  I said "You going out?  You never seem to like the inclement weather."  He grumbled something about rain and it was going to be hot or something.  I said "Well, I'd prefer if it were snowing."  The rain was nice and warm and from the first steps I could tell this was going to be an enjoyable run.

I got 3.6 miles and was happy with that.  This is supposed to be an easy week so I don't implode on the PMC.

Took Gizzy out with the back leg leash and we walked the whole block up and down.  He was cruising!  This a.m. I noticed a weird niggle in my neck, and once I started walking with him I felt the niggle, ah, ok.  So now I know what's causing it.  When he wants to take a break I don't hold him up, I let him sit and the niggle seems to be calming down.  I don't need neck pain while riding this weekend.

Tuesday - "Speedwork / Dog Watch"

What happened:

It was HHH for speedwork, there was a breeze on the front half of the loop, made it a bit more bearable.  I was focused and it paid off! The first three laps were great, the last two decent.   The lap is 1/3 of a mile so a bit over 500 yards, my math is correct?  so this is a little more than two laps at the track?  Bottom line it felt good and sustainable.

Ran/Walked with Pam and Ro.  Pam is giong to be ready for her 5K, for sure!  Nice to jibber jabber with gals.  Dave chastized me as this is supposed to be an easy week.  Blah blah blah...

Wednesday - "3 is on the schedule, however I'll miss my 5 miles on Friday so I may swap these."

Decided not to swap the 3 for 5 and managed a progression run, versus my usual regression run.  I'm kinda bummed I won't be able to get out on the bike tonight, Tuesday was the last day I could ride before the PMC.

Tinkered around with the Jack Daniels Calculator for a bit.  Next weeks starts training for the Gansett 1/2, and me getting serious about this speed thing and not giving up a few miles into a run and getting into that comfortable sloggy tourist pace.

Gizmo is really taking to the back leg leash!  He trotted down the block and back with ease. He really wanted to cross the road and go on his usual route.  When it gets a bit cooler.  He was wiped out by the time we finished our whole 1/4 mile walk.  Silly dog.

Dave and I went out for dinner for his birthday.  A tradition from my family he was happy to adopt.  Birthdays are always a big deal.  I think having one parent with a birthday on the 25th of December and the other the 3rd of January, they kinda got passed over as kids.  Not really sure, I bet I knew at one time.  The aging mind forgets things and remembers others things intermittently. 

Thursday - "Rest, unless Rory bails on me for knitting.  I actually want to start sewing up that damn sweater."

What happened:  Rory didn't bail for knitting, I got the shoulders sewn up on the sweater and draped it over my shoulders to see how it was looking.  Rory asked about the missing button hole.  I ran my fingers up and down the left side where the button holes should be.  They were not there!  Huh...   I noticed something was funny when I was trying to set the sleeve in.  Then it all came together I put the right front on the left side and the left front on the right side and the button holes were under my arm.  Um, no.  Ripped that out and got it sewn up correctly and this time the sleeves fit in nicely and it looked right draped over my shoulders.   Still not sure about the button hole.

The evening was the annual pool party at Joy's the more adventurous of us swam in the rain, she kept watch on the lightening and called us nuts and to stop running on the pool deck and doing cannon balls there was more water out of the pool than in it.  It was fun!!

Friday - "I should run the 3 from Wed I intended on swapping, before I head up to Wellesley, MA."

What happened:  I had to go to work for a meeting that was scheduled for an hour at noon and took 10 minutes.  Instead of a vacation day I worked and got a little perturbed about the meeting.  Since I had assumed this was going to be  the full hour and slightly contentious I ate lunch because I'm grumpy when I'm hungry and didn't need to add that to the mix.  I am happy it wasn't a brawl, bummed that I couldn't see it play out the way it did, and went home to take a nap and pack.  I couldn't get enough sleep this week...

Saturday - PMC 83 miles

What happened:  84 miles, nice ride, recap to follow

Sunday - PMC 81 miles

What happened: 77 miles, why do they say 81, argh...  still 161 total, nothing to sneeze at, recap to follow

Beth, looking forward to the Pan-Mass Challenge and maybe some cooler weather?  Please!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - not wordless, perhaps Wiseass Wednesday is better?

So my husband's birthday is today, he is finally older than me.  Those 81 days we are the same age are painful...

My parents, oh I do love them, sent this card.

The front

Oh wait for it

In case you can't read my mother's handwriting  "you are one brave man"


Guess we know where I get it from?

Beth, the tough to get along with, apparently.

PS  Dave got a HUGE chuckle out of this and my reaction.  

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Blessing of the Fleet - Recap

This is the 4th year I've done this race

2012 1:45:51
2013 1:43:04
2014 1:53:40

And wait for it
2015:  1:50:40

My Goals:  A: 1:40 /  B: 1:45 / C: Don't die

The highlight of the race was knowing through other friends running the race (as they passed me) that Nicole, who over came a rough start, was gaining on me!  I knew she was behind me.  I was wondering when she would catch me.  On Avice St. (a mile left to go in the race) I heard someone shout 'Go Nicole'.  I saw what I thought was her yellow truck (1/2 mile left to go in the race), and again heard, this time closer "Go Nicole".  With 1/4 of a mile to go there she was beside me, and there she went, hitting her goal of 1:50, well actually surpassing it 1:49:59.  GO NICOLE!!!

My race:

I didn't die, my hopefully always easily met goal!

What happened?  A little bit of, what I said to Jonny before the race, I kinda give up at some point.  I think it's also a little bit of what Jennifer and I talked about Sunday when we volunteered for a water station at the Fat Clam Sprint Tri, running is great, running races is not.  I don't like pain, I don't embrace it, it starts I go slower, probably prolonging the pain?

Jennifer also suggested that the Century ride the weekend before could have played a part.  The weather certainly didn't, even with the rain, probably miles 3 - 7, it was a great cool temperature for the usually miserable Hot Humid Hazy (HHH) month of July.  

So the race:

The Curmudgeon's been threatening to run long with me for a while, he signed up for the race committing to run with me and had all these grand plans of keeping my pace under 10.  Yeah, no.  I'll have to wait till he uploads his Garmin before I see any splits.  The first 4 miles were on target, the next 6, not so much.  My Garmin?  Well my Garmin decided to update and I decided to say, sure update, and it never did and well I had no watch.  Which is probably not a bad thing.   

At the end he decided this wasn't a great idea, going that slow was hard on him.  I told ya, it would suck.  I'm sure me barking out "Stop looking at your fucking watch, I know I'm going slow." didn't help.  I can't say I was surprised when he called me annoying because at the end I finally picked up my pace and my feet, why wouldn't I, this torture was almost over.  He says I do the same thing in speedwork, the last stretch I fly, and why the hell can't I do that on the back half of the loop?  I dunno...  Because I still have to finish?    

He committed to running with me and he stuck by that.  For that I give him a lot of credit, it sucks to get ditched in a race when someone says "Let's run together" and they don't.

Beth, the annoying runner (ha)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Weekly Recap: 7/20 - 7/26 (final)

I'm still on a high from the Mt. Washington Century.  It truly was fun and I'll be remembering that ride for a long long time the pure thrill of the long grinds and the long coasts downhill.  What an amazing place to cycle and I'll be doing it again next year.  Which probably means missing Running with the Beavers.  Dunno.

So on to the week....

It was tough getting back to running, my pace and breathing are a bit labored from recovery as well as the humid hot and hazy weather we have been having, either all three or two, make it miserable for me.  Perhaps digging out the inhaler may be a good idea?

Decided to rotate in a new pair of shoes for something to look forward to.  I get about 300 miles out of my shoes, before my knees give me grief.  I think that is awfully low and will try and push a bit more out of them.  Or maybe not.












Monday - 3 was on the schedule and that is what I did.  It was a HHH slog, it was done and I was glad for it to be done.  Gus really wanted a walk and we went for a walk.  He is picking up where Gizmo left off.  Gizmo is done walking any distance.  His legs are giving out.  He is determined to be mobile and is happy, his love of life is what is important.  A 14.5 year old boxer boy is old, very old.  I was talking to the neighbor about Gizmo's apparent determination to outlive everyone.  He may, who knows.  We enjoy our time in the front yard where he hobbles about and visits with the neighbors and watches the cars drive by and the occasional biker and runner.  Everyday is a gift.

Tuesday - lunch run and then a run walk at the Dog Watch fun run with Ro and Pam.  Pam is getting back to running and these are great training for her and it was a perfect way to get some more miles for lazy me!  The run was nicer, still sweltering.  Always good to see Mikey B out there.  I was hiding from speedwork, I missed last week and knew Steve wan't back from where ever he was so it would be me and Dave.  Dave recruited Josh who then had a grand time giving me hell for ditching them.  Thanks pal...  Next week I'll get back to running around the parking lot.  Gak.

Wednesday - 4 mile run, 3 on the schedule, I hemmed and hawed about going around the UCONN Avery Point campus, to make it 5,  I bagged it, and ran into Dave, Josh, and Steve!  High 5s all around and that perked me up for a few seconds. I was ready to be done running when I got to the point of 1 mile left.   Speed was a bit better than Tuesday, still felt sloggy.

Went for a bike ride when I got home.  Nice and flat along the coast.  All seemed fine, pshew.

Thursday - Rest day walk Gus in the evening.

Friday - Blessing of the Fleet Sufferfest which may turn into a torturefest... recap here

Saturday - Volunteer Fat Clam / Bachelorette Party

What happened:  Volunteered at the first water stop for the Fat Clam Sprint Tri.  The family manning the second water stop (across the road) assured me this was the easiest job.  Usually I flag.  The mom (sorry I forgot your name) said that was too stressful.  I'll go back to flagging.  Passing water out was not easy.  A lot ended up on me and the runners and I think some actually made it into the runners.

Passed on all three party invitations for the day, opted to nap and meet up with Dave when he took the  young pups to run. Giz and I met them with a pizza and some french fries.  Gizzy is getting used to the back leg leash and was trotting around pretty well, I had to run a couple times to keep up with him!  Good to see him up and about and adjusting to his new normal.  I was so sad driving out there, remembering how he used to run with such ease last year.  Getting old sucks.

Sunday - Lil' Rhody Round Up as a possible bike ride, or just bike solo

What happened:  Biked the Coventry / Washington County / what ever other name it has bike path with Jennifer.  Therapy, totally therapy.  It's been weeks since we talked.  Guess the guys talk about bromances this is a sismanace?  Who knows.  She's the sister I never had and didn't know I wanted.  We biked and talked and stopped for iced coffee because the bike path ended sooner than we thought, doesn't it go all the way to Providence or Lincoln?  and then biked back and took her son (embarrassed him unmercifully, what a good sport) to lunch.    

Beth, doing her best to enjoy this weather...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mt. Washington Century "The Toughest Century in New England"

Somethings start out as a good idea and end up as an awesome time. Somethings start out as a good idea and end up with you blowing off your head with a mortar shell.  This was one of those former those times (I won't make you wade through all the consonants, vowels, blather smattered with random punctuation to get to the punch line)!

The stats!

First - this is put on by the Tin Mountain Conservation Center

The Mission of the Tin Mountain Conservation Center is to promote an appreciation of the natural environment among children, adults, and families, through hands-ob programs in the schools, at camp, and in the community and to demonstrate responsible stewardship of natural resources through land protection, research, sustainable forestry, agriculture, and energy.

It was amazingly supported, the volunteers were fabulous!  The aid stations were perfectly timed.  The bike mechanic was top notch!  This was an amazingly well put on event!!!  I highly recommend it!

Back to the recap - 

The weather prediction for Saturday was rather gloomy, scattered thunderstorms/scattered rain storms it switched up day by day.  The day of, I woke up at 5 a.m. to rain.  Crap.  That sucks.  The weather looked like it would stay rainy all day.  Crap.  I'm still doing this.  Confirmed the Marine was still in and we met up at the start.

Well that looks depressing
After the gloomy start to the day I realized it was time for new contacts!  Yippiee.  I promptly put the right in the left eye and the left in the right eye and couldn't figure out why I could not focus.  Hoping this was not a harbinger of the events of the rest of the day I got my eyes all sussed out and all came in to focus!

When I picked up my package on Friday night I had to drive a mile up to the start/finish.  Oh hell no I told the Marine, I was going to end at my hotel, he said, well how do you plan to get to the start you are going up that hill one way or another, besides I will NEVER let you live it down you didn't do the whole course.  OK fine....  I can always walk my bike up the mile hill at the end of 108 miles, right?

The course is as such (red is the century ride):

With an elevation profile as such:

That middle spike wasn't all that bad...

It is hard to know how best to describe this ride.  It was a difficult ride, however it wasn't the hardest thing I've ever done.  Perhaps the 87 miles the weekend before is topping that list.  I actually don't know what is the hardest thing I've ever done. Wait I do.  Dropping out of Seven Sisters, that was hard and haunts me.  I've been processing that over the last few months and it haunts me, how it haunts me.  Mostly how easy it was to drop, and how difficult it is to come to terms with it and the whys.  And all the memes about  how quitters don't win have really gotten under my skin.  Apparently I need therapy or to not have regrets.  Of the two this regrets I do have, Seven Sisters is fixable.  Not climbing that part of the Great Wall is (probably) never fixable.

Editors note:  I think racing 5K's are actually the hardest things I ever done...  what a tough question I've asked myself.  How about you, whats the toughest thing you've ever done?  (Athletically, lets narrow it down to athletically)

So the ride.  Let's break it down by the Notches, I was told "notch" is New Hampshireese for mountain pass.  There are 3, I'm also adding in the big climbs.

The start is a mile down hill!  That is lovely! Even in the rain.  That pesky rain slowed down the first 1/2 of the ride.

The climb starts pretty quickly, up the Kancamagus Highway along the Swift River.  You enter the White Mountains not to many miles into the ride.  

Well that's a little ominous, very concerned about the environment and 3rd party emissions?

Then it levels out for a bit, and Bear Notch assent starts, you peak about mile 18 and make a thrilling 4 mile decent.  Well it would have been more fun 1) had it not been raining and I was on my breaks the whole way 2) some car passing on a curve didn't scare the crap out of me. (um yes, I do believe they had Massachusetts plates)

The first aid station was in Bartlett, and very welcome.  It seemed like it was going to stop raining, but it was still chilly.  I left my rain jacket on.  

Next Notch was Crawford Notch, starts about mile 35 and is a mere 2 miles, and quite the climb!  It doesn't look like much on the elevation chart, it was killer steep and sharp and I was rewarded with the most spectacular view at the top.  Well worth the pain.  

Crawford Notch in the background!
Mile 41 was aid station 2 and a welcome site.  The weather kept threatening to get sunny!

Through Jefferson Highlands we were treated to gorgeous mountain views and the spectacular Mt. Washington Resort, holy guacamole, gorgeous!

Not my picture, from the Omni hotel site... but wow...

Not a Notch, however a good climb was Randolph Hill, mile 65,  we came around a bend expecting more delicious downhills and view and BOOM  1/2 mile 500 foot climb.  Maybe, it was a quick hard climb but not like Crawford, or maybe I was getting used to this climbing?  I'll never earn a polka dot jersey (a true Queen of the Mountain), however I was beginning to feel a lot less like a hill climbing newbie.

Aid station at the top of this hill (hill, ha) I took off my rain jacket and stuffed it away.  Forgot my sunscreen and I have a few pink areas as a result.  Crap.

At this aid station the Marine requested I slow down my pace a bit, he was burning energy and we were going above my predicted 12 mph.  Well 12 is the average, not the only speed.  I was considerate, because I know how much I hate it when Dave takes off on me. Off we went, donning sunglasses and happy for completely dry pavement.  

Lemme stop here and tell you about the Marine. I've only met him a few times, here and there at different running events.  Super friendly guy, enjoys life.  All that said, he is a Marine, and hoo boy things have to be planned and precise, he backs into parking spots and had both a sports watch and a Garmin 1100 to keep track of miles.  His elevation was about 1,000 feet or more than mine.  Feh, all depends on how these things get calculated.  Garmin and Strava gave me 4,600 of elevation gain and I'm fine with that.  I think 4,875 was what was advertised,  I know Gazelle has explained this elevation difference to me, I've read about it.  Nothing sticks, so it really isn't important to me.  

I did figure out why he double, triple, quadruple checked with me on if I was going or not.  He makes plans to do races with people and they bail.  The nerve!!!  I mean I know I bailed on Nicole when I slept through my alarm, but all in all.  If I say I am going to be there you can trust I will be there, or I have a damn good reason not to be.  He is doing Timberman as his first 1/2 Ironman, the swimmer in the Rhode Warrior tri is also doing this as her second, maybe third 1/2 Ironman.  I'm worried the friend who signed up will bail on him and I'll introduce them virtually so at least he has someone?  I think those who have followed me for a while know I do a lot of my runs / rides / races alone.  I'm totally ok with that and am enjoying company on a limited basis. It was fun to chat through each of our personal quirks when it comes to managing our lives.  

Back to the story, we took a good break at this point and the Marine checked out what we could expect before the next aid station.  Centuries are a lot like ultras, you break it down from aid station to aid station.

It was at this point we both broke 40 MPH on the down hill!  me 42, the Marine 43.  SO cool!!!

Mile 71 was going to start a torturous 8 mile grind and we would be rewarded with views of Mt. Washington at the end.  The aid station would be at the Auto Road.  How cool!  I was just there last month!!

I think we were both apprehensive about this 8 mile grind between the Crescent Range and Mt. Washington (this one didn't have a name that I could find).  Thinking about it we had already had quite a few grinds, they were of less elevation gain, however longer miles.  

The grind started after Gorham, even with it being a grind it was so freaking gorgeous.  I have been trying to talk Dave into a vacation house.  Wouldn't the Whites be a great place for one?  We could bring the dogs and maybe actually vacation together? 

So cool to get to the Auto Road, Mt. Washington was clouded in, which was a bummer, the Marine had never seen it.  We did get our chains cleaned and greased which made dealing with Pinkham Notch, much better!  Chris Krug, Eastside Bike Guides, was the mechanic on duty.  Pretty cool gig he has, a mobile bike shop, catering to all sorts of cyclists.  If you are biking in the Whites, look him up!

The next was Pinkham Notch, and the last notch, we were assured it was about a mile and a half grind, nothing worse than Randolph Hill.  It was as advertised.  Remember we are 80 miles into this 109 mile venture and 6 hours on the bike.   After the last grind it was nearly 15 miles of all down hill, sweet reward, it was in to the wind so there wouldn't be any 40 +, bummer.  At this time even little rises were cause for groans!!  How silly after what we had just accomplished.  But then at the 97 rest area, the Marine reminded me of the last mile, one full mile of a climb, a mere 330 feet. He was baiting me, torturing me.  He'd become a good friend, this is what friends do, right?

We eased along in the last 13 miles, I kept the speed low and enjoyed the views.  We saw a couple covered bridges through Intervale/North Conway these were fairly busy areas, however we were rewarded with the lovely West Side Road, before the final grind.

The last mile, hoo boy...

I looked at that hill and said, (JFDI) just fucking do it.  We did a little back and forth across the road and I really needed to hammer up it and I did that for most of those 330 feet.  Passing the Marine.  I wanted to be done and off the bike.  I love my bike and I love riding, I was done.  My whole me was just done and wanted as shower and a bed, nope, not even a shower beer, I wanted the dirt, grime, grease, and sweat off of me and to wash my hair and collapse.  Once in a while I can be such a girl!!

We ate the fantastic Bar-B-Q and socialized a bit  I was done, cooked, I needed to go.  I made the Marine promise to text me when he got home.  He was throwing a house warming party for his new place the next day. And people think I'm cray cray.   Oh  yeah, to add the cherry to the top of crazy, this was his FIRST century ride, and he's been biking barely a year.  Next year I predict he will be leaving me in his dust if he does this with me again!!

On my way home, after a fitful nights sleep, I never sleep well the night of a big exertion, it takes a while for my body temperature to drop to normal, this is the biggest thing I notice, sometimes a racing heart, but really I feel super warm for the next 12 - 24 hours after finishing.

The next morning, after an actual breakfast,  I did some sedate hikes around many covered bridges.  So peaceful. 

Beth, apparently in 'beast mode' and very happy to be home and in her own bed for the second time in 7 nights.

Weekly Recap - 7/13 - 7/19 (final)
















Century Ride 






This is my big week of chaos, NYC for 4 days and then off to NH for a Century ride around Mt. Washington.  Nothing ever goes the easy way for me and I am totally ok with that.  If it did it would take all the fun out of life!  I knew it wasn't going to be easy to get many miles in and I figured resting up for whatever this Century ride especially with being away from home 3 nights and 4 days always puts me on my backfoot, add in Gizmo's declining mobility and Gus seems to be feeling left out so he's developed some sort of ailment we can't quite pinpoint.

Monday - ZERO - Travel to NYC, I didn't sleep well on Sunday night and worked on the train so there wasn't any dozing off there...  the day was chaotic and I did my best to get out with enough time to maybe run.  Once I got all my stuff into the hotel room and made the mistake of sitting on the bed, I was done for. 

Tuesday - Run - I got a break for 90 minutes and scurried to the gym, got a quick tour to get my bearings, I hate going into new places completely unaware.  I did know they supply work out clothes, sports bra, socks, shorts, t-shirt.  I opted for my own bra and socks.  That was a little too weird for me, plus I like my sports bras and can't figure out how to get into and out of those pull over the head kind with out throwing out my back or twisting my arm.

Running on the treadmill sucks, doing it in cotton doesn't help, not having to haul around sweaty workout clothes for the rest of the day, I'll deal with the cotton, not a problem.

This fitness center is like The St. Regis compared to the one in Groton.  Personal TVs for all the equipment, towels big enough to fit around you when they are dry (the ones in Groton are big enough to comfortably fit around a person after they are damp) and actually kinda fluffy, not super fluffy, definitely NOT the 200 grit sand paper of the Groton towels.  All the amenities, even disposable razors!!

Walking consisted of commuting and those miles only count when I'm commuting on the bike to work!

Wednesday - Run and a Walk - Snuck down to the fitness center for lunch, why do I feel so guilty about this?  Didn't start the space watch till I had 0.2 on the treadmill (watched CSI with subtitles, much more interesting).  I do love this Garmin Forerunner 220, the Bluetooth and auto cadence sensor.  I really am not interested in the heart rate, that still freaks me out seeing my heart rate so I'll continue to pass on monitoring that with any real frequency.

Opted out of a team dinner and decided to take myself for a walk.  My mother has been to NYC with me once.  She wanted to walk around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis reservoir, we never quite made it, this was a few years before her cancer diagnosis, not too many one or two, she had stopped running and was walking daily,  The whole day was long and she was getting tired.  I looked it up on the map 20 blocks to the reservoir and 1.5 miles around the reservoir, about a 10K.  I can walk that.  Well that turned into 10 miles because nothing is straight in Central Park and I enjoyed all the meandering trails and paths!

Thursday - Zero - I was supposed to be doing a presentation, planning was not done well, I'll get a chance to fret over it and do it another time.  Caught up on some other work after the team meeting and before my train home.  I missed out on the team building, but really I had enough of people at this point.

Friday - Zero - make sure the dogs and the husband remember who I am as I pack and get ready to be gone for another two days.

Saturday - Mt. Washington Century recap here

Sunday - Hike bridges and travel home, the dogs were happy to see me, the husband, well he'll get over it, either me being home or me having been gone for a week.  Jury's still out on the issue.

Beth, feeling accomplished.