With team training not scheduled to really ramp up until mid-June I took advantage and went home to Gilford, NH for two weeks. It was a packed 14 days but I enjoyed most of it....maybe not the part where I got sick or the part where I crawled through water while getting zapped by electric fencing, but more on that later.
The first weekend I was home I put on a fairy house event at Beans & Greens. My mom and I had been collecting "stuff" (anything and everything a fairy might use to build a house....sticks, rocks, feathers, reeds, pinecones, shells, etc) for close to a month and thought we had a good-sized heap together. We were soooo wrong. Without much feedback online or from pre-registrants through the store, it didn't seem like there would be much interest. After several days of rain, the day of the event came and brought sunny, clear weather and a herd of families to the stand. I had a shipping crate-sized bin full of dried gourds for the kids to use as houses to decorate. We flew through them and most of the exciting "stuff" (feathers, shells, marbles, etc) we had found and were forced to really get creative with those who came later in the day. I'm guessing I had over 100 kids come through to build a fairy house. It was great fun and now that we know how much interest is out there we're hoping to have another fairy house day in August and we're planning on collecting a lot more "stuff"! As I'm sure you can guess, I was right in my element: arts and crafts all day long with a captive audience. What could be better?
Just a few of the amazing fairy houses that were created...
The pavilion where we made the fairy houses sits right next to the animal pen at Beans & Greens so we got to watch these cute spring babies all day. The pig likes having his belly rubbed and will roll over and stretch out to make it easier for you. Too cute.
This pig pile (there are actually four piggies somewhere in there) lives on the farm that I grew up at (Beans & Greens is down the road from the farm where my parents live) as well as the chickens that laid all these eggs. One of these eggs doesn't belong...can you tell which one?
We had some intense rain/thunderstorms while I was home. When the storms left, Mother Nature showed us some amazing double rainbows and beautiful sunsets.
I got to enjoy some pretty flowers at Beans & Greens...I think I came home with a full memory stick of just flower pictures. I can't help it.
While I was "south"(when you live in The County, "south" can pretty much mean anything south of Bangor) Seth and I went to Cape Cod to help out at a USBA fundraiser. This huge barge was coming out of the canal that separates the Cape from mainland Massachusetts when we went to explore a bit before heading back to Gilford.
May brings the return of "real" training so I brought all my gear home with me (rifle, rollerskis, bikes, poles, etc) and took on the hilly terrain that is Gilford. The picture on the left (might be better viewed if you click on it) is the view from the top of the hill that I grew up on looking north. On a clear day, especially in winter, you can see all the way to Mt. Washington. The photo on the right is from the Tough Mudder event that was just held at Gunstock, the ski area in Gilford. Seth and I volunteered along with my brother, Alex and his girlfriend, Emily on Saturday, and friend Nick, and his girlfriend. On Sunday we (Nick, Alex, Seth and I) ran the event: 11 miles of running plus 20 obstacles. I didn't think it would be that hard, given the broad demographic of people I watched start it on Saturday. Turns out that it can be quite hard if you run instead of walk and try to keep up with three guys who are all in decent shape. The obstacles vary in difficulty. Some, like the hay bale climb, were too easy, and others, such as the electric eel, brought me quickly to the verge of tears. I will just say that there is nothing fun about crawling through water while dodging lines of electric cattle fencing that are hanging all around you. 10,000 volts hurts a lot when you're in six inches of water, tired and soaking wet. It took us just under three hours to finish but it sounds like 4.5 hours + was about average for the weekend.
I'm back in The County now, fending off the last of a head cold and trying to get back into a regular rhythm with training. I'm really excited to have lots of new and old teammates joining me....between different age groups and teams we might have up to 14 people at practices on any given day this summer!