Friday, September 25, 2009

Shoelaces, a rock and the dogs

Carol and I took off for the White Mountains to recharge our personal batteries for 5 days. It was part recovering from a long, busy summer of no real time off, with me having some long stretches without any days off. Besides the fact that my work schedule changes every week from first to second and then back again, not having days off with Carol meant that we rarely saw each other for a long period of time. So we were also reconnecting to each other. We arrived up at a friend's house on Lake Conway in Conway Centre, NH on Saturday afternoon, taking our time getting there. Frank and Lori own this beautiful home with its own private beach. The house has 5 bedrooms, with the two bedrooms upstairs having two beds in each room. There are 3 full baths and one half bath. The basement is set up with a TV and DVD/VCR player in one part and a game area in another part. There is a gas stove in the basement, a gas stove on the front (facing the water) porch and a wood fireplace in the main room. The main room consists of a well equipped kitchen with an island, a formal dining area on the back side of the room, a informal eating area and a living room/den area by the fireplace. There is plenty of windows and a small deck area off from the main room. It is a well appointed house. Outside there is the beach with a fire pit, picnic table and chairs, and a cabin. The cabin is left over from when the property that they own was part of a summer camp. They keep up the cabin to use when there is an overflow of guests. Another six people can sleep in there. The place is phenomenal! Frank and Lori are very generous in letting us stay there. Frank was there when we arrived working on winterizing parts of the cabin and pulling out the swimming raft and the pier where they moor their small boat during the summer. When we told him that we would be going to the grocery store, he told us to see what was in the house first and use what ever we could so that he would not have to trash it. So when we went to the store, there was a few things that we did not have to get. It was nice to reacquaint ourselves with the Conway/North Conway area. We were going for a hike on Sunday, so after sitting out at the fire pit with Frank for a bit, we decided to retire for the night (besides it was starting to cool off quite a bit). Sunday morning dawned with the temp at about 38 degrees. Not freezing, but pretty cool. Sunny and clear. Carol is not as avid a hiker that I am, so we headed to Crawford Notch to take a hike up Mount Willard. It is a relatively easy hike up to the peak at 2804 feet. We took it easy going up, stopping twice just to rest a bit and arriving at the top after about 90 minutes. We sat on the rocks with the other hikers, fed a chipmunk some nuts (he actually stuffed the nuts into his mouth and waited for another nut until his mouth was full) and enjoyed the sunny day. Going down took us only an hour (who says downhill is hard?) and then it was back to North Conway so that Carol could enjoy something she likes-shopping. By the time we were leaving North Conway, my left groin muscle was starting to really bother me. I had not felt anything while hiking, so it was confusing as to why it was being bothersome. I was worried that I would not be able to bike on Monday or worse, not be able to do a long trail run on Tuesday. After a very late dinner Sunday night and a couple of ibuprofen, I went to bed hoping it would be better in the AM. Monday morning it felt better but not that much better. I changed the rear tire on the bike (I got a flat while it was on the car rack. Something must have been kick up and it went right into the tire). After changing the tire, I did a test ride. The groin was sore but not so bad that I couldn't ride. So I told myself. I went out and rode for approximately 60 minutes out into Maine. At that time I decided that I needed to turn around because the groin was getting tight. No pain, just uncomfortable. On the way back, I passed a gentleman who had come out of a side road. He decided to attach himself to me and enjoy an eight mile ride in my slipstream. I guess he had been out for a while and enjoyed his rest to finish his ride. He was going to the same area that we were at, I did not mind at all, so it worked out for him. The groin was okay after the ride, so maybe I had strained it while hiking and the ride helped work out the kink. So now I am getting to what I started to write this about: a run up Mount Kearsarge and down the other side. A little over 9 miles, which considering my endurance right now seemed to be long enough. But I have gone on for a bit, so I will save the good stuff for the next entry, hopefully tomorrow.

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