Monday, April 29, 2013

The Cost of Freedom

Last week was school vacation here in New Hampshire, so my wife decided to take the week (and the kids) and drive up to Canada to visit her family. She left me with a sizable “honey-do” list but also with the freedom to spend the rest of my non-working, awake time however I saw fit. Last time this happened I nearly hiked myself to death - which I documented here, here & here. So, what would I do for an encore? Plenty!

Let's Play Two!
I’ve been biking a lot lately. So, on the First Sunday of Freedom (after the First Saturday of Basement Cleaning, naturally), I decided that I wanted to do a long bike ride. How long? A hundred miles sounded about right. So, that’s just what I did! I laid out a route from Nashua to the Ocean and back, packed the necessary supplies (disregarded the fact that I’d only biked 30 miles in a row so far this season) and then headed off to see what happened.

What happened was that it actually went pretty well. It was colder and windier than I thought it would be. And, it took about 25 miles for me to get warmed up, but the whole experience really couldn’t have gone much better. I averaged just under 18 miles per hour (17.9 mph, to be precise) and that included slowing down, stopping and re-starting at all the traffic lights along the way!

I broke the "century ride" up into (4) 25 mile segments - stopping for 5 minutes (for a pee and a snack) at 25 & 75 miles and for 15 minutes (for lunch and entertainment) at halfway. Lunch was a bagel, egg and avocado sandwich at Jenness Beach in Rye, NH and the entertainment consisted of watching the surfers milk the 3 to 4 foot high waves on the beach that day. The last few miles were a bit trying, but I finished feeling pretty good, all things considered. Total riding time: 5 hours, 32 minutes.

Mmmmm Bacon!
After a long week of work (and a couple nights of room painting) I spent the Second Saturday of Freedom doing a nice & easy (albeit hilly) 10 mile run with my Gate City pals in Mason, NH. I followed that up with an enormous second breakfast at Parkers Maple Barn. Visited with an old friend who had recently moved out to the boonies. And, then capped the day with 3+ hours of yard work, a nap and a Sox game.

I got a “bonus” day of freedom when the wife decided to stay in Canada for one more day. So, I used my S
econd Sunday of Freedom to run up a mountain. Twice! Fortunately, I found someone foolish enough to come along for the ride. And he even offered to drive! So, Justin Soucy and I headed over to Dublin, NH for a few hours of fun in the sun on the trails of Mount Monadnock.

We parked at the Pumpelly trailhead and quickly got moving up the trail. Justin (bless his heart) thought he’d be able to run the whole 4 miles to the top. He’d never been hiking before, let alone run-hiking. So, he had no idea what to expect. That being said, it didn’t take long for him to find his mountain running legs and we made it to the top in no time. Well, in 64 minutes of time!

Justin Time!
We spent a couple minutes on the top for some photos then headed down the Dublin Trail. 2 1/2 miles and 36 minutes of quad-burning descent later (including a failed attempt at boulder hurdling - on my part) and we were “enjoying” a powerbar at the bottom of the Old Troy Road parking lot. Back up Dublin to the summit in 42 minutes (passing more than a few stunned hikers who had just seen us run down) and then to the car at the bottom of Pumpelly (with a brief stop at Turned Ankleville) in 58 minutes. Total Running Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes.

I jumped into icy-cold Dublin Lake to soak my sore pegs and then we piled back into the car for a sleepy (yet happy) ride home. I think that Justin did remarkably well for a first-timer and could easily have gone much faster without having to wait for me. Of course, he’d probably have bonked big time without me (and my, ahem, experience) there to convince him to carry water! We let the beautiful day, and the adventure we'd just enjoyed, soak in as we cruised (top down) back to Nashua.

I was happy to have had the chance to do some things I wouldn't normally have felt comfortable doing when the family's around. Most weekends I feel guilty even taking 2 hours for a long run - never mind half a day! So, this was a perfect opportunity for me to release a few demons and have some fun along the way.
Thankfully, Jo and the kids returned to Nashua a couple hours after I did. I missed them badly and I think I could probably use the rest!


  1. What a great run, and the pictures are amazing. And a hundred mile bike ride...well that sounds very time consuming. ;)

    1. Yeah. The bike ride was fun, but I'm sure glad I'm not a real cyclist. I'd hate to feel compelled to do it every weekend. It was definitely a great week and run. However, I think my quads are plotting to kill me in my sleep. Can't say it's undeserved. :)