Monday, July 22, 2013

USA Mountain Running Championship at Mt. Cranmore (part one)

Friday and Saturday I more or less stuck to my plan of continuing to run twice a day, while keeping the mileage low.

Friday morning I got out early for four miles out and back on the roads, before it got hot. After it hit 90 degrees again, I did four miles in the woods at Gordon College, over hilly terrain, sweating profusely, but very under control.

Saturday morning at 7:45 I did 3 miles on the road after Heather got back from her early morning run/workout/ocean swim with the Team Gloucester ladies. Then she and our three kids headed down to visit her family in northern New Jersey. I packed a few things up and headed up to NH with my dad around 2:00 pm.

We had booked a room in Campton, not realizing how far it was from North Conway. We drove to the mountain first and each ran a loop of the course in light rain. I was about 14 minutes up and about ten minutes down, trying to take it very easy. The uphills felt manageable with two steep sections, the longer of which was on the Kandahar Trail just before the end of each loop. My dad was beginning to question if he was up for the whole effort, or if he would rather spectate and cheer.

We cleaned off a little and hopped in the Volvo for the hour and a half jaunt back to the Days Inn in Campton. Along the Kanc we stopped off for dinner at the Darby Field Inn. I got creole onion soup (very good and spicy hot), a Mt. Washington burger (bacon, cheese, veggies) and a salad plus a couple of Tuckerman IPA's. Afterwards, we enjoyed the beautiful ride along the Kancamagus and arrived at our lodging just as it was getting dark. After a quick shower, I was ready to turn in, but the rest of the world had other ideas...

First off, my dad and I disagree slightly on the issue of Air Conditioning. I would rather have the AC on, no matter the volume of it, because at least the noise is consistent and the room stays cool. My dad, on the other hand, cannot stand loud air conditioning (and the one in our room was pretty ancient and had two volumes - "fairly loud" and "locomotive"). Since he had paid for the room, I decided to defer to his preference, so we left the window of our second floor room open.

At around 10:30, before I had dozed off, I heard a banging in the hallway. It sounded pretty distant, but after about five minutes, it was getting louder, so I decided to investigate. Turns out our room was right next to the washer and dryer and something was in the dryer making a racket. It sounded like someone had thrown their rock collection in there. I went down to the front desk and talked to a Days Inn employee who said he would put a sign up asking people not to do laundry after 10 pm. Ok.

On my way back to the room, I decided I would turn the machine off on my own. As I walked into the laundry room, I saw two other men, neither of whom was the owner of the laundry, with the machine open, pulling out multiple belts with buckles that were going around inside the dryer. I trusted that the issue was resolved and quietly crept back to bed. I lay down and tossed a bit, uncomfortable in our warm room. Convinced my dad was asleep, I closed the window to our room and cranked the AC. For about five minutes, it ran fairly quietly, and then it hit high volume and I heard my dad start to grumble. Somewhere around this point in the night, he made his decision not to run the race the next day. Eventually, as the temperature in the room dropped into the low 70's, I nodded off.

Around 12:30, my dad got up, unable to take the noise of the air conditioner, shut it off and opened the window back up. By this point, the room had cooled sufficiently, so I figured I was ok. About an hour later a few people returning to the hotel decided to hang out underneath our window and talk and smoke a few butts before calling it a night. Of course, our room (which was probably the only one there with the window open), sucked the smoke and the noise right in. My dad was up again to shut the window and we were pretty good until 5:22, when my alarm went off and it was race day morning.

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