Monday, August 19, 2013

14 days of FUN!!

View of the Ammonoosuc Ravine, which we climbed up to get to Mt. Monroe

After taking the month of July to just do whatever I wanted, no big training, no long runs; just getting out for short runs and burpees and letting my brain regenerate (literally! My brain was fried for about 2-3 weeks after the long Death Race I participated in in June), I got back in the saddle again and blasted out some fun stuff during the first two weeks of August.

1. August 1-11: Run for A Million Virtual Race-
Mark Webb invited me to join in on a virtual race, Run for A Million, with the proceeds supporting the Green Beret Foundation. There were 6 race distances; 1.5 miles, 5K, 10K, 13.1 miles, 26.2 miles and 50 miles or do them all! I chose to do the 26 miler. I completed this by doing the following races during that time period, as well as a regular run mid week:

2. August 3- Moosalamoo Ultra!
I opted for the 14+ miler since my mileage was low for the month of July and because I wanted it to be the "dessert" after the Death Race insanity. I signed up for it as soon as registration was open this winter and promised myself this would be my reward for doing the Death pressure to do the 36 miler option they offered, just go out and enjoy the 14 miles of beautiful US Forest Service land and trails. I saw Jordan, Dana, Michelle, Bob, Tara, Jared, Jason, April, Mazie and met Danny that morning before the race and gave John Izzo, the race director, a big hug! I loved seeing all these amazing people ready to hit the trails or volunteer for the race. It turned out to be a wonderful day, perfect 60 degree weather, and I got to know my new friend, Tara. We ran the race together and had a great time!! I love new friendships! Oh, I got 3rd in my age group.  I have never placed in a race before. Fun!

My favorite people who just happened to be at the Moosalamoo Ultra: Michelle, Bob, Tara and Jordan

3. August 10- Amesbury, MA Reebok Spartan Hurricane Heat-
This was my second hurricane heat (I participated in one in Miami this past February). I woke up at 4:15am and arrived at the designated parking lot a mile from the Amesbury Reebok Spartan Sprint venue by 5:30am. There were 120ish of us there, doing burpees and getting warmed up for the next three hours of fun! We ran the mile to the race venue and were put to work doing buddy carries (thank you, Patrick), double sandbag carries, rope climbs, traverse walls, two Spartan Coach workouts by Coach Dwayne "D Pain", barbed wire crawl, etc. We did this for about 3 hours! I was tired after the last workout by Dwayne. We did these insane pushups for a arms were smoked! But, it was awesome and the silver lining was that I found out what I needed to work on and add to my workouts. I reached out to a Spartan Coach and now I have an intense 4 week program to help me get ready for the Team Death Race in September.  (These Hurricane Heat photos are courtesy of Vince Rhee and New England Spahtens).

Patrick Verrico carrying me at the Hurricane Heat! He is 6'4"...I was way up there!!

Barbed wire crawl done...had to fully immerse (head/face under, people) in a pit of muddy water. Gross!

My buddy, Patrick. He was also a crew guy for me at the Death Race.

4. August 10- Amesbury, MA Reebok Spartan Sprint-
All I can say here is NEW ENGLAND SPAHTENS!!! This group of awesome racers and people are just the best! Over 245 from this group showed up for this Sprint. Everyone helped each other throughout the race. I loved the course that meandered through the woods...just being out there and enjoying the trail running. I ended up finishing 25th in my age group and this was the second race towards earning my Spartan Trifecta. Heading to Sacramento for the Beast in October to complete it.

5. August 14- Mt. Carrigain, 4,000 footer hike, 4,700'-
Seth and I FINALLY had a couple days to ourselves to get over to the White Mountains to climb some peaks and whittle down my list of completing the 4,000 footers. We had perfect, dry, 60 degree weather (rare in August!) to get this mountain. Amazing new trail work at the beginning and a wonderful, steady uphill climb to this 4,700' peak. This was my 40th peak out of the 48!! I was so excited!! The views from that mountain are amazing. We just stood there, without a map, and pointed out all of the peaks we had already climbed over the years. You know how amazing that is, to be able to stand that high up and look around and know exactly what you are looking at? That you intimately know the mountains around you for miles and miles and miles?! I truly feel at home when in the mountains. I was in heaven up there and did not want to leave. Along the short ridge, we stopped to eat alpine blueberries and cranberries.

Mt. Carrigain!! 40 peaks done!!! Eight to go!

6. August 15- Mt. Monroe, 4,000 footer hike, 5372'-
Up and at 'em early and so excited to be at this high elevation again! It had been a while since I had been that high above treeline. AMAZING experience! It was 15-20 degrees with windchill up there and we needed to put all the clothing we had on to stay warm. We had come prepared, knowing it was windy and about 35 degrees up there. Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail is the route we used to get up to the ridge. STRAIGHT UP for 3.1 miles. Amazing rock work, waterfalls, emerald pools and of course the alpine vegetation was in full bloom up there. I love Lake of the Clouds Hut up on the ridge and all of the cool trail intersections and the huge ravines on each side of the ridge. I wanted to stay up there all day!!! It was hard to leave that peak as well.

Falls along Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail

Mt. Monroe Summit! Cold!
Lake of the Clouds Hut. We are looking down on it from Mt. Monroe

What's next? Four weeks of solid training for the Team Death Race, which is the weekend of September 21. I will also be hiking Mt. Adams with my friend, Tara (getting peak number 42!!). Camping with family Labor Day weekend. Then, heading to Sacramento in October for the Spartan Beast to complete my Spartan Trifecta for 2013 and to visit with my amazing friends, Craig and Sharon.

Life is pretty darn good.