Mt. Washington Road Race Recap

Mt. Washington Road Race Recap. | happyfitmama.com

Kick back and grab some coffee and snacks. This is a LONG one!

I’m usually pretty quick to write a race recap. But this one, I had a hard time sitting down to write it. Maybe because it’s been 14 months since I ran a race. Maybe because I had such a great weekend and was wicked tired from it Sunday night. Maybe because I had caught Ron’s cold and was feeling like do-do.

Maybe because I can’t find the words to describe how much this race meant to me.

When I entered the Mt. Washington Road Race lottery back in late February, it was on a whim. We were headed up to ski/snowboard at Sunday River and Mt. Washington was staring right at me through the windshield in all it’s snowy glory when I got a text from a friend asking me if I wanted to enter the lottery with her “team”. It seemed like fate. Why not? The odds of me getting in were slim to none. Or at least in my head it seemed like they were.

And then I found out I got in. Holy. Sh!t.

My training was marred with muscle niggles in my quad, back and an angry piriformis.  I took a week off from running to figure out what was going on with my quad. And then another week because of my back and piriformis. After that, it was smooth running. I was feeling really, really good. I had let my mind start to think about paces and races that I wouldn’t allow myself to go to in the past 14 months. That is until the week before the race when I rolled my ankle on a training run. I took another 6 days off from running to let it rest in hopes I’d be ready for race day.

Friday arrived and it was time to go. It took me forever to pack. Not only did I need to pick out a race day outfit, I also needed to pack up a bag for the summit. Thankfully, the forecast was looking absolutely amazing (although a little too warm!) – 50s-60s and sunny in the valley for the start and 60, no wind and sunny at the summit. It’s hard to believe that it was snowing and hurricane force winds just one week ago. I still brought my Ugg boots, fleece and winter hat just in case the weather changed it’s mind. It can do that on Mt. Washington!

Mt. Washington at sunset. | happyfitmama.com

The family and I arrived at our friend’s condo in Glen, NH late in the evening. The view from the deck did not disappoint. It was hard to believe that I’d be running up that rock pile in the morning.

Saturday morning came and it was an absolutely stunning. Blue skies for days. We left the condo at 6:30 to drive the 30 minutes to the base/starting line. Things got a little hairy after that. Karin and I needed to pick up our bibs. Our bibs had the tickets that Robin’s husband, John, needed to be able to be our driver down from the summit. He couldn’t go up unless he had those. We arrived at the base and of course there we got stuck in line waiting to park. Long story short, Karin and I jumped out of the car while Robin parked it, ran across the field to registration, picked up our bibs, ran back to find John’s car in line for the summit, gave him our tickets and then he took off into the line of cars. It was then we realized that our summit bags were still in Karin’s car. Karin and I then raced back across the field, grabbed our stuff and ran a back towards the road hoping to catch John as he started up the auto road. Thankfully, we made it just in time. Woohoo! Crisis averted.

Side note – I was reassured that my ankle/tendon was good to go for the race because all of this running was done in flip flops with no problem!

Mt. Washingto Auto Road. | happyfitmama.com

We then had an hour to kill before the cannon went off. I tried my best to sip water and relax. It was quickly getting warmer. The sun felt great but I could feel myself sweating already. When I did my easy 10 minute warm up, I knew it was going to be a hot one.

It came time to line up and I immediately got nervous. Where do I line up? Previously, I would line up sort of close to the front. But I didn’t think I belonged there on Saturday. I was doubting my abilities even though I was feeling pretty good. I lined up somewhere in the middle. Immediately I regretted my decision. There was some really stinky people all around me! I moved forward a little bit in hopes of being up wind at least.

Mt. Washington Road Race. It's only one hill

The cannon went off and it was go time. Although not really. It took 42 seconds before I crossed the starting line and then it was a slow trot across the first 250 meters that are downhill and then across the flat section until the hill started. I spent way too much time stuck behind people who were walking from the beginning for the first mile. That was the second time I regretted where I lined up at the start.

I was actually shocked at how many people were walking. It was steep but not that steep. After mile 1, things cleared out a bit. I was able to find a little bit of a consistent pace which I trudged along at till the first water stop around mile 2.5 where I walked through to drink a cup of water and dump one on my head. Despite being shaded by trees for the most part, it was hot. I knew we were going to be above the tree line soon where there would be no shade at all.

I started back up again and was able to run until mile 3 where the incline got me. I started my first of many, many, many run/walk intervals. I had read about someone doing a 200:100 run/walk ratio so I followed that as much as I could. It kept my mind busy even though I was skipping numbers here and there. 125, 126, 200  – YAY! Time to walk!

That worked well for me and seemed to be what a lot of the runners around me were doing. There were three runners who I consistently played leap frog with from mile 3 to the finish. It was kind of nice motivation to keep up the ratio as much as possible.

Mt. Washington Road Racejpg

At points, the hill would appear to crest – but it never did. There seemed to be “flatter” sections and I remarked to one of my leap frog buddies that it felt like we were almost going downhill during one such crest. He laughed at me and said I must have altitude sickness because that for sure was not a downhill!

One thing that I noticed for the majority of the race was the scent of pine trees. It was so strong and smelled so wonderful!

Mile 5 was when I started to fade quite a bit. Part of this section is graveled and called the “5 Mile grade” or “Death March”. Looking ahead, for as far as I could see, was a long line of weary runners. No one around me was running. My 200:100 ratio dropped to 100:100 and then 50:50. Although truthfully, I’m not even sure I ran that much from mile 5-6. In fact, I don’t remember much of that other than the views were amazing, my legs were quite content to power hike and I was thirsty. Oh so thirsty. Where was the next water stop? Was there another water stop? It was my slowest mile at 17:06.

Thankfully I snapped out of my haze and realized I was in fact, in a race, and needed to run some more. I resumed my 50:50 run walk ratio. The summit was getting closer. Spectators were along side the road. I also had extra motivation to keep up the pace as I knew Ron and the kids would be at the summit waiting for me but only for a short time. They took the 9:30 a.m. Cog Railway up to the summit and would have to depart by 11:30 to go back down the mountain. I had to be at the summit by 11 a.m. I HAD TO!

The last bit of the race seemed relatively flat compared to what I had just run up. That is until I made a right hand turn and stared at the 22% incline that I knew was coming. My thoughts? “You gotta be f-ing kidding me?!?!” With spectators all around cheering you on to the finish, I attempted to keep running up it. But going up on my toes was not happening as my calves cramped up. I gave up that notion right away and power hiked it – hunched over, hands on knees. If you are wondering what 22% feels like? I compared it to climbing a ladder. It felt like I was climbing straight up.

Once up and over that “hill” it was a small incline (ha ha ha) to the finish line. I started to run again (Or at least I think I was running? I couldn’t feel my legs at that point.) and soon spotted Ron and the kids. There’s nothing better to see my family at the finish line. It always makes me smile.

Finish line Mt. Washington Road Race. | happyfitmama.com

Finish Time: 1:55:24

Some people say you can expect to finish around your half marathon time. I was quite a bit slower but I’m more than happy with my time. I knew it was going to be hard, but I had no idea what to expect.

So many people have asked me how hard was the race. I wish I could find a better way to describe it other than it was the hardest race I’ve ever done. You can’t even begin to fathom what it will be like until you actually do it. And now that I have, I want to do it again.

It was 14 months since I ran my last race. It was 14 months ago that I got injured in that race. I’ve had to deal with months of rehab, no running, and not to mention the emotional roller coaster that goes along with that. I’ve been so afraid to run a race again for fear of getting injured and not being able to run my pre-injury paces. This race meant a lot to me. It made me remember I’m not fragile and easily broken. I can do hard things.

Mt. Washington Auto Road Medal | happyfitmama.com

Now how can I make sure I make it in the lottery for next year? Anyone want to form a team with me to better our odds?

What’s the steepest incline you’ve ever run up?

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High Five Friday

High Five Friday June 17 2016  happyfitmama.com

High Five Friday is here! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Find all the details HERE.  Link up and help spread good news. Because we can all use more good news especially after this week. Have fun with it and do your own thing!

5 from Instagram – I share more pics on Instagram. Are you following me? Please do!

Warrior on my friends. Warrior on. FYI – You can still get 15% off your order from prAna.com until 7/7/16. Use SCS16ANBE at checkout.

“Life is like the ocean. It can be calm and still or rough and rigid. But in the end, it’s always beautiful.”

If I can’t get a #RunRise, at least I can get a backyard bootcamp workout in.

Standing on luck.

I ran yesterday! I can’t say it was 100% but my ankle felt better the longer I went. 30 minutes to shake out the cobwebs. And then I had a chiropractor appointment and he yanked my ankle back into place. Wish I would have had the appointment sooner!

Tomorrow is Mt. Washington! I can’t believe the day is here. I’m packing every single piece of running clothes that I have because I’m not sure of what the weather will be like yet. And then I’m packing my down jacket and maybe even snowpants for the summit. Fingers crossed for a light wind and clear skies for a spectacular view. Follow along on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat for what should be a fun time! BTW – I’m on Snapchat now and have no idea what I’m doing. Lol.

High Five Friday Banner  happyfitmama.com

5 Things

An Open Letter to the Fitness Community – This post from Erin deserves a slow clap. It’s spot on. Fitness and shame shouldn’t be used in the same sentence.

It’s a Girl! – I’m super excited for the female runner emoji on Facebook! I’ll be even more excited when it’s available for texting.

On Suffering – Kristin does it again. We can’t avoid suffering in life and in running. But how you deal with it is in your control.

Red Hot Chili Peppers Carpool Karaoke – This is one of the best carpool karaoke clips yet. Front yard wrestling, shirtless singing – watch and laugh.

Let’s All Improve the Silence – I’m kind of at a loss for words after this past week. Senseless acts and tragedies. None of it is good news at all. But the quote Katie shares says it so well and what needs to be said (or not said) during times like this.

Lately

What's been going on Lately. | happyfitmama.com

It’s time for another edition of Lately.

Lately…I’ve been riding the roller coaster of running emotions. Last week at this time I would have said I felt good about Mt. Washington. It was going to kick my ass but I was going to give it my all. And then the ankle roll/sprain thing happened. The good news is that I’m quite confident that I will have no problem with it on Saturday. The bad news is that my confidence has been shaken and stirred. Maybe because I haven’t run in 6 days. I know my body knows what to do. It’s my mind that I need to get back in the game!

Lately…I’ve been hesitant to commit to a marathon for the fall. I was all ready to go for a late October race until last week. Like I said, confidence shaken and stirred. And not in a good way like a martini. Will I be jinxing myself for another long term injury if I jump into marathon training? Gah. Why do injuries mess with my mind so much?!

Lately…I do have a half marathon to look forward to in the fall. I’m attending Rise.Run.Retreat again this year. How could I not after such an amazing time last year? This year we are headed to Vermont. Applications are being accepted until 6/20 – did you apply?

Momentum Jewelery | hapypfitmama.com

Lately…I have not been loving the wind. Why oh why is it so windy for the past week? And did you know there was snow and hurricane force winds at the summit of Mt. Washington over the weekend? Let’s just hope things die down asap.

Lately…I’m itching to run.

Lately…I’ve been bored with yoga. That is unless it’s at sunrise on the top of a mountain. Lol. I said the same thing last month. I had hoped for a teacher change with the new schedule that came out this month but no such luck. I went to class yesterday and was just going through the motions. Blah. Blah. Blah. I’m trying a new to me yoga studio on Thursday. I need to change it up!

Sunrise yoga Lately. | happyfitmama.com

Lately…I can’t believe my kids will be 6 years old next week. They were just born yesterday!

Lately…I’m excited for our upcoming camping trip on the Cape! Please pray that it does NOT rain when we are there.

Lately…I’m kind of excited yet sad about this summer. Initially when we were looking for a day camp for my kid’s to attend, it was only for Monday, Wednesday and Friday since those are the days I work at the hospital. However, the camp we ended up going with is Monday through Friday. You know what that means? My Tuesday/Thursday schedule stays the same. Woohoo! I’m bummed that we won’t be hanging out twice a week like the old days but I think they would drive me nuts after two weeks. Of course, I can always keep them home every now and then so we can have a fun date day together.

Lately…I can’t believe that I graduated from high school 20 years ago. Damn. I remember when my parents had their 20 year high school reunion and I thought they were older than dirt. It’s funny how the perspective of “old” changes as you age. Now I don’t think “old” is until you hit 70.

Lately…I’m afraid even more of what’s happening to the world. Why is there so much hatred? Why is there so much violence? Why does disagreeing with someone mean that you need to attack? There are good people in the world. Why do the bad get all the attention?

Thanks for letting me do some Thinking Out Loud today.

What’s been going on with you lately?

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