Conquering Cannon Mountain

Sunday was the first annual Littleton Bike and Fitness “Sufferfest” at Cannon Mountain. It was a cloudless day and hot. I arrived at the start at the Franconia Inn where around 100 mountain bikers and runners prepared to tackle the daunting trail and mountain course.

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Dave Harkless, owner of Littleton Bike and Fitness

Bridget and I met up with some of the other Pete and Gerry’s Organic Chicks before the start. Of course we had to show our chick power in our cute Skirt Sports skirts. What is more bada$$ than a strong woman racing to the top of a 3,150 ft mountain?

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Strong Chicks in Skirts (Skirt Sports)
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Ready to Conquer Cannon
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Best Training Partner and Friend

The race started with mountain bikers first followed by eager runners. Not sure how to pace this and still unsure of my post-marathon legs I decided to race and have a blast. The first part was on beautiful trails through the woods. The air was pretty motionless and hot. I was definitely glad I chose to bring my camelbak.

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Ready to Suffer
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On your marks, get set, bike! I mean hike!
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Runners Ready to climb
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Ham Branch Trail. Beautiful
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On the move

The trails wound around until we came out of the woods at the base of Mitersill adjacent to Cannon Mountain. At that point the climbing commenced and running turned into a steady power hike. I was definitely happy to be on foot and not on bike. The mountain bikers had to hike too either pushing bikes or carrying them. They definitely endured the true “sufferfest!”

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Are you ready? It’s time to start going up!
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I guess the chairlift is not an option
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Mittersill
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I think one of these trails is called “Gremlin.”
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Echo Lake . . .a swim would be nice right about now!
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Beautiful view of Franconia, NH
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Tough chick on the mountain

It was very hot on the way up so I was happy to be able to cool off along the way with fresh mountain water from the cold mountain streams. The volunteers handing out water were definitely busy and very appreciated!
I was thrilled to finish in a time of 1:33.28 and was psyched to find my friend Bridget the overall women’s winner in a blazing time of 1:13! The cheering at the top was extra awesome with super chick Tricia giving the racers energy into the finish line. Toni chick pushed hard to the top making a stellar comeback from a donkey related shoulder injury this winter (true story!).

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I made it! What an awesome adventure!
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Fastest chick in a blazing 1:13!
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Go Toni! Go! Pete and Gerry’s Organic Chicks were speedy up the mountain!
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Way to push it to the finish on your bike!!
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Love ya’ B!
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Pete and Gerry’s Organic Chicks! Challenge Accepted and Acoomplished!
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Ready for the ride back down on the tram!

Overall the race was a blast! The tram ride down was definitely welcome though (we rode in ketchup). I will definitely be back for more next year!

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Organic Runner Mom vs. Cannon Mountain

Run for yourself. Find peace before the start.

Tomorrow it is me against the mountain (for the first annual Sufferfest). I am looking forward to racing up Cannon Mountain tomorrow. This will be a race just for me. No expectations.  Get out there have some fun and run my own race. It is often easy to forget that part of running and racing . . . but that is my first and only goal tomorrow. Finishing the race at the summit will be an added bonus with the views as the reward at the end! (and I might even get to win some of our Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs at the race like I did during Winter Wild).

3,150 of climbing from the Franconia Inn to the top of Cannon
I will be needing my “extreme protein” to make it to the top of the mountain!

Happy National Running Day!

I run . . .

Why do you run? What races or runs do you have planned this weekend that fulfill your need to run?

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Sufferfest

This weekend (Sunday, June 10th at 9 a.m.) I am going to be running at the First Annual “Sufferfest.”  Sufferfest is a mountain adventure race put on by Littleton Bike and Fitness and sponsored by our family farm Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs.

Host of the first ever “Sufferfest”
Refuel with Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs

The race begins in Franconia, NH at the Franconia Inn and ends at the top of Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch.  You can pick your “poison” for the race, run it or ride it (mountain bike).  The race will be a grueling 6 mile climb with an elevation gain of 3,150 feet.  For trail enthusiasts and mountain runners this will be an exciting challenge and may even be referred to as “fun.”  I’ll let you know how much “fun” I had post-race if I am still able to stand on my own two legs which are still in recovery mode post Vermont City Marathon.  I am hoping some of the other Pete & Gerry’s Organic Chicks will join me on the mountain!

This race definitely has some cool features not to be missed:

  • It is primarily a trail race (albeit a trail race that only goes up!?!?)
  • If you are running perhaps one of the mountain bikers might let you hitch a ride?
  • When you EVENTUALLY arrive at the finish you will be rewarded with sweeping views of Franconia Notch and beyond.
  • It will NOT be snowing! (and if it is I think I may need to move somewhere tropical)
  • If you actually make it to the summit you can officially call yourself a bada$$ for rocking this awesome challenge.
  • You might win some egg-cellent raffle prizes that include some EXTREME PROTEIN to refuel your body post race!

    EXTREME Protein

You do not have to run or ride back down! The Trams often referred to by locals as “ketchup & mustard” will be there to bring you back to earth the base of the mountain.

Ketchup
Mustard

***DISCLAIMER: If you do not like condiments then you are all out of luck and will have to run or ride back down.

SO who’s in? Are you up for the challenge? If so please register here on active.com and I’ll see you at the top!

Are you ready to “suffer?”

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Winter Wild Championship at Bretton Woods

Over the weekend I completed the Team Amp Winter Wild race series. The championship event took place at Bretton Woods and was hosted by Acidotic Racing.
The weather at race time (6:30 a.m.) was an unseasonably warm 40 degrees so I decided it was time to break out my green Skirt Sport running skirt with nothing on my legs but some crazy purple patterned Smartwoolsocks. Very festive for St. Patrick’s Day.

20120319-104925.jpg I was super psyched too to try out my new Kahtoola Micro-spikesfor better traction on the way up the mountain (especially helpful in the mushy slush covering the mountain). I was psyched about my new “bling,” a raffle prize from the series given to me by Magrethe a fellow Kingdom Krazy since my luck in the raffle was no luck at all (more on that later).

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The race began and I felt energized and strong. My calves and quads have definitely gotten a lot stronger since the series began which will definitely be helpful for my marathon this spring. The mountain was draped in an eerie fog from the warming snow. The runners at the front of the pack disappeared into the fog as they reached the summit. The strong women racers on the mountain have been inspiring at each race, so strong and determined and so fast!
The descent was exhilarating. Today the footing was a little softer and slippery allowing you to slide and glide with each foot strike. Running down the mountain I always feel like a kid, arms flailing, running free and light.

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I finished the 4.25 mile course today in 38:57. A fifth place finish which put me in a 3rd place finish overall for the series! Sweet!
It was great to see all of these high energy racers every week which today included my friend Martha aka Outdoor Mom enjoying her first race on skis with skins and Kingdom Krazies too!
The only disappointment for me at these races was that I did not win any of the excellent prizes in the raffle. Wait . . . I actually did win one prize . . . my number was called so I excitedly went to the front to find that I had won some organic eggs. Not just any organic eggs, ironically they were our Pete an Gerry’s Organic Eggs the eggs that we had donated to the race as prizes. Too funny!

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All in all what a great experience! We were lucky this year to have mild winter weather to make each race extra enjoyable. This race series is definitely something you should add to your race calendar next year to add a little adventure into your winter. Plus these races are extremely well run by energetic race director Chad Denning.
I can’t wait for the Western NH Trail Series also put on by Team Amp starting this spring.

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Happy running and hope to see you on the trails!

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Up, up, and away!

Today I completed a base run in Bethlehem, NH. I ran with my BOB today and my littlest companion Brock as my passenger.
We ran into the town of Bethlehem from the dance studio where I left Piper happily twirling in a small sea of pink tutus.
Traveling at an easy pace today was welcome after pushing the pace ion a tough solo tempo run yesterday. When we reached the town center I was reminded of the challenging terrain for training in NH and Vermont. At the top of the hill leading into Bethlehem the banner gracing the light post read:

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Gaining elevation

Hopefully all of the hill work and mountain runs (Winter Wild-Championship at Bretton Woods this weekend) will prove to have built strength and stamina. I am feeling stronger from all of the climbing especially in my quads and calves.
Today during my run I was contemplating the marathon and ironically as we headed back to get Piper this is the mile marker that I noticed:

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Marathon here I come!

Almost halfway through the training I am looking forward to continuing the challenge towards 26.2!

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Not sure Brock will be along for all of the miles though . . .

Blast Off-Winter Wild Round #4

Winter Wild #4 at Mt. Sunapee, New Hampshire took place over the weekend. The morning started off very abruptly as my alarm failed to go off. So after some muddled 4 a.m. phone conversations about to do, I literally threw on my clothes (almost forgot my running shoes!) and headed out the door to find slick snow and ice-covered roadways. Why is it that it always snows and ices on the morning of the races?

I met Bridget for a treacherous drive to the mountain where we saw cars off the road along the way. So rather than being able to travel at mach speed (in our still somewhat incoherent sleepiness we had an in-depth conversation about mach speed on the way to the race) we had to travel at a snail’s pace. The arrival time on the GPS kept creeping up until it said 6:15 which was the time registration ended (note to self pre-register for the championship)! When we got to the mountain the adrenaline was pumping as we raced to throw on our spikes and head to the starting line. There was no time to think before the race which as it turns out is sometimes a good thing.

BLAST OFF!

Since this winter has been lacking in the snow department, the course had been changed yet again so that on the way up we would be racing up a trail aptly named “Blast Off.”  A warm-up would have been useful prior to the start of the race but, oh well!

The race began and I found the trail covered in a nice mix of corduroy and hard crunch from the earlier sleet and also some loose powder. I ran about half way up and then it was a POWER hike! The key was to get in a rhythm and also to work on following someone else’s tracks for a stronger foothold. The energy was awesome on the way up. Strong sounds of breathing and exertion and the scraping of skis on the snow. I am amazed by all of the powerful competitors and especially by the super strong women runners and awesome kids on the course! The kids are fast and determined! The race director Chad Denning of Team AMP has partnered with Let’s Move!  to provide free entries for all kids in the area. What an awesome, healthy adventure to introduce kids to so early on. Plus they all look psyched to be a part of it!

When we reached the summit and turned to head down you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief.  The descent was quick but the footing was great. The groomers had just hit the trail and the beautiful corduroy runway down to the finish beckoned, “RUN FASTER!”  Time to switch gears and stay loose and let your feet fly. The endorphins hit me full force on the way down and I felt like superwoman bounding over a cluster of trees (which by the way I used to pretend to do when I was a kid!) I think I was grinning from ear to ear at the finish . . .well ok maybe not . . .perhaps a small grin, sucking wind, and feeling slightly nauseous from the exertion.

Another great Winter Wild adventure under my belt! Post race we headed out for breakfast to refuel at my new favorite diner in West Lebanon, NH-Four Aces Diner. The food at this diner is amazing. This time I chose the Stuffed French Toast with Blackberries and sweet cream cheese, one egg over medium, and some bacon of course. And Captain D. ordered “The DONUT” for the table which is a donut that is about the size of your head.

Stuffed French Toast-Ooh! La! La!
THE Donut-need I say more?

Next weekend is the final race of the series at Bretton Woods. If you think you are up for the challenge here is a YOUTUBE video courtesy of “huckNr0ll” from this years race at Ragged Mountain. The video is shot from the perspective of a snowboarder which is super cool. You can even check me out at around 1:57 in to the video.

As an added bonus for participating in these races is raffle at the end which includes excellent prizes such as skis and snow shoes and Cannondale biking gear. Plus  our family farm will be providing our Pete &Gerry’s Organic Eggs again as well as some other sweet prizes!

Fueled by Organic Feed!

Happy running and see you at the race!

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