Saturday, October 3, 2015


Cold weather has moved in and the past two mornings have been blustery and chilly indeed. I headed out on Friday morning at 5:15 am for 8 miles. Due to the early start and the overcast skies,  almost the entire run was done in the dark. Ran the cart paths and added on the river and back loop in the middle. I could hear the river roaring from way up at the ecology center but it was so dark I couldn't see much except the swirl of the water right at the edge. I really wanted to get a better look at the river, so this morning I headed out at 6:00 and ran the 6 mile loop out in the Cathance. The river was still flooded in a few spots, with the rapids roaring mightily over the rocks. Always a cool sight. As the sky got lighter, I was able to enjoy the turning leaves along the river's edge and out in the field. This is such a pretty time of year!

The rest of the day was taken up with swim lessons and then Sam's birthday pool party. The kids had a great time swimming and overall the whole party went just about as well as it could with everyone having a lot of fun. No pictures as I was having a good time talking with the parents and watching the kids splash and play in the water. A good way to celebrate turning 6! :)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

10 Days...

October 10th is now in the 10 day forecast... I am not sure if I am more exited or more nervous that that means that I will be running 100 miles in 10 days! Taper madness is in full effect. I have a crazy mix of thoughts and emotions going on right now, but hopefully that is normal, or perhaps it is just my normal! My house has little piles of gear with sticky notes mixed with birthday party piles, and my to do list is still as long as ever. I didn't run yesterday due to the crazy rain, and might be taking tapering a bit too seriously as I failed to get out of bed to run this morning :)

Many of the thoughts focus on what's ahead but I'm also looking back. Wondering, pondering, analyzing...

Have I done "enough"? I have no idea. The truth is that "enough" is different for everyone, and what might be enough for me might not be enough for you. Did I follow my training plan (even the one I revised for myself) to a T? Ha ha! That is funny :) Not even close! But that seems to be my MO and I am cool with it. Training is just a part of my life, and even though TARC has been taking up a lot of head and heart space, not to mention time, it isn't my whole life. So, sometimes/often/always, modifications have been necessary and that isn't always a bad thing.

The reality is that I have never been a huge mileage junkie and this training cycle wasn't any different. I didn't have any weeks higher than low 60s. While a lot for me, that doesn't seem like a lot compared to many training for a 100, so that makes me a little nervous for sure, but I also seem to have come through it all uninjured and feeling strong, so perhaps the "lower" mileage plan I ended up on isn't such a bad thing.

When I look back, I can see many things. I see a few "bigger" runs missed. But I also see consistency and many solid runs. I see that I've needed more rest than your typical training plan calls for. Instead of your typical three big volume weeks followed by a down week, I did a lot of two week blocks before needing some downtime, both mentally and physically. I suppose I could analyze it all to death, but the reality is that it is what it is, and I guess we'll know whether it was "enough" when October 11th at 1:00 pm (ie. the 32 hour cut off time) rolls around!

But in the meantime, for the sake of data (and who doesn't love data?!) and so that I have something to reference in the future, here are the cool training calendar overviews from Strava from the past 5 months. I'm putting it all up here because I want to look and show myself that I ran enough, that I am strong enough, that I can do it on what I have :) 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pair of Sixes

Up early in Monday morning for 6 miles on the cart paths. Very pretty sky with pastel clouds. Legs felt good. Can't believe I am in taper mode. Crazy!!

This morning, I met up with Shannon for a nice 6.5 miles through the Commons. Very dark, overcast and oddly humid at 6:00am. Definitely headlamp season! Of course, I didn't fall in the darkness but did in full light, with a lovely dive and roll. Spent the last mile and a half trying to wipe the dirt from my hands :) Ha. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Classic September

For the sake of the running log, Thursday's run was 6 on the cart paths, yesterday was 16 and this morning's run, in tights, long sleeves and gloves (!), at 6:00 am was a 5 mile run down to the river and back. Ended up with 43 for the week and now the true taper begins!

This afternoon, we headed out to Rocky Ridge Orchard with the rest of the world to pick apples :) Such a beautiful fall day, warm in the sun, cool in the shade, with brilliant blue skies. Lots of fun!

Friday, September 25, 2015


Feeling scattered, frantic and tired all at once. My mind whirs with a million thoughts. The house is a mess. No bananas for Ryan's smoothie this morning, not that he complained, must get to the grocery store. XC is great, Sam is loving it and it is good for her but it means three times a week we are getting home after 6:00 pm and still need to eat dinner, do her reading and homework and try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. Sam's birthday party is next weekend. Family is coming into town. TARC is only TWO weekends away!

My to-do list is a million miles long. Need to order a cake for Sam's birthday party next weekend. Wonder if all the kids will come? Why do people not RSVP?!!? Mustn't forget to get a set of sheets for the loft bed, the old ones got ripped in the washing machine. Should I get small or big bottles of coke for TARC? Do I have enough gels? When am I going to get things all packed up? I really need to clean the shower. And on and on and on...

These thoughts swirl around in my head as I run. Finally I settle into a rhythm and the worries slow to a trickle. I focus on the trail and the woods and run steadily along. The cotton sedge in the Heath is like a white blanket beneath the blue sky. Purple aster and yellow goldenrod stand out among the browning grasses at the edge of the field. White and yellow mushrooms pop up from the debris on the forest floor. The run doesn't make all it all go away but at least it gives me a few hours of peace ;) And now, I better get moving on that to-do list! It's certainly not getting any shorter while I sit here...

Autumnal Heath

Aster and goldenrod

Practically glowing

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Running Sam!

Tonight was Sam's first XC meet. I have never been to Twin Brook before (no, really, I haven't) and was honestly a bit surprised to see so many kids milling around when we arrived. The Cumberland the Freeport/Durham teams were HUGE! In amongst the sea of maroon and red, we found our small clan of "Totally Topsham" turquoise shirts.

Totally Topsham! Go Sam go!

We arrived in time to do the walk through of the course, a 1/2 mile winding through the fields. Then there was much milling around and the girls doing cartwheels and jumps along the start line while they waited for their race to start. 

Start line

Look at how many girls there are!

The 6 & 7 year old girls were first, so Sam and the two other Topsham girls set off with the much larger mass of girls from Cumberland, Freeport/Durham and Pownal. There must have been 50 to 60 girls in Sam's race. Amazing!

I felt a bit like I was in some sort of alternate universe, one of those parents standing on the side line of a race course cheering on my kid as she ran by. I don't know, it made me feel a bit old! And it was just a bit surreal to see Sam out there running a cross country race. But she had a big smile on her face and did really well! She said her popsicle stick said she was 36th overall. I think they post results so when they do, I'll check it out, but whatever place she finished, we were really proud of her! She did an awesome job!

Happy runner

Sprinting to the finish line

Done and happy!

Our friends Mike and Marina came to cheer Sam on, so the girls played for a while as the sun sank lower on the horizon and the rest of the races continued. As the ages increased, the amount of participants in the race decreased, likely with kids defecting to football and soccer at the older ages, but it was still impressive how many kids were there for a rec league meet!

We came home and I found Sam had chosen this book for her reading tonight. How appropriate :)

Post-meet reading

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Sunday's rain ushered in some nice cool crisp weather, making it finally feel like fall after some really warm September days. Monday morning I got up and ran 8 miles out in the Cathance. The thermometer was reading 46 degrees and it sure felt chilly out there! Today's temps hovered right below 50 so a bit warmer but still definitely fall-like! Met up with Shannon to run on the BTLT trails. Both runs featured long sleeves and headlamps for the first few miles. Fall is my favorite time of year to run, but it is always bittersweet with the loss of light.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Hidden Valley Nature Center Run in the Woods

Really fun day today up at the Hidden Valley Nature Center! Ryan ran the half marathon and Sam did the kids obstacle course run. Sam had a great time on the course, and Ryan came in third and first in his age group, winning a yummy pie for his efforts. Yah! After some early morning showers, it turned into a beautiful fall day and we had fun hanging out with friends in a cool setting!

TMR kids

Too cute

Kids race start

Running up the road

Happy runner

Up the hill

Obstacle course

Final obstacle

Happy finisher

High fives to Daddy

Ryan coming into the finish

My happy runners :)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Weekend Miles

The last "big" weekend... well, it didn't quite go as planned but I still got in some decent miles.

The plan was for 24 at Bradbury. Started at 6:30 am, my car the only one in the lot. A reminder from Ryan about the 12 hours of Bradbury starting on Saturday helped me decide to do my lap on the east side first. I ran the Scuffle, and only ran into one biker. Perfect. Of course, I came around the bend to hear him let out a huge belch. Ha :) My legs, on the other hand, were not feeling so perfect. They felt much like concrete in fact. Pace wasn't terrible, but the legs, they had no life.

I stopped back at the lot, hit the bathroom, and then texted Ryan to let him know that "long" might be relative today. I was going to continue on but wasn't sure how long I would last. I was just feeling out of sorts, with my stomach joining in on the rebellion. Oh yah. I ran the west side of the BBU loop but when I got back to the summit after the Tote, I turned to run down the Terrace instead of heading out to run Lunchbreak. This brought me to a nice even 15 soggy, sloggy miles. My legs never gained any umph and I just didn't have it in me to keep pushing. I suppose I could have/should have, but eh, I was OK with stopping. I went home, showered and slathered Biofreeze on my sore, tired legs before heading down to Portland to the Mall to take in our sick computer. Thoughts of the Mall and sick computer both make my head hurt but luckily the kind Genius at the Genius Bar thought it was just some sort of corruption and not an issue with the hard drive, etc. He was able to wipe the computer clean and not have to replace any hardware. This was all done at no charge and I was out of there in around an hour. Phew! Not as terrible as anticipated. Plus, I did stop at ColdStone to get a Mud Pie Mojo to ease my pain so that helped ;)

I actually slept well last night, perhaps a sign that things were in fact a bit more off yesterday than just a bit of unhappy legs. Oh, and Ryan says his co-worker told him that Mercury was in retrograde so that was why everyone was feeling out of sync this week. Sure, any excuse will do ;)

Up early again this morning, this time so I could get donuts at Frosty's before meeting Amy at 6:30 am for a morning run at Pineland. Yum, pumpkin donuts. Yah fall! We headed down toward the yurt, the sky still filled with the pastel colors of dawn, a low fog settled above the wet fields. So pretty.

We meandered around the lower trails before heading back up towards Oak Hill. We didn't get far before I asked Amy if we could do the inner loop so we could head over to the market so I could use the bathroom. Things were starting to heat up a bit and so we made our way back over to Oak Hill to enjoy the shaded trails. The trails had been marked with a lot of flagging and as we wound around toward the top of the field, we noticed a lot of buses unloading long legged runners. Ah, a cross country meet. Time to get out of there!

Amy decided to finish up once we got to the cars, leaving me with 4 miles to round things out to 20. I ran the campus loop, which only got me about 2.5 miles - darn - meaning the final 1.5 miles were a rather random wander around the campus without going too far down the hill - that uphill stretch is definitely not my favorite! My legs felt tired but oh so much better than yesterday! Having company definitely helped - it's always nice to talk away the miles, but I didn't feel the urge to stop at 16; I really wanted to get in those miles, if for nothing else other than the mental aspect.

We were meeting up with Ryan and Mindy for a short TARC meeting, so while we waited we walked over and sat for a while in the shade in the Pineland Gardens. It was really beautiful over there! A nice place to while away a half hour.

All in all, a decent 2 days of running, even if it all didn't quite go as planned. But then again, does it ever?!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Great Grammie's Button Box

Sam has a wonderful keepsake from Phyllis, her button box. This mahogany box came home with Ryan this summer when he spent a day helping his parents clean out his grandparents house. It was full of buttons, just the sort of thing Sam would love.

She opens it from time to time to continue sorting the buttons. She has them sorted into very Samantha categories, like pretty and really pretty, wood, plastic, soft, and of course, those that are soft and hard. 

Earlier this week, she picked up the box, brought it to the couch and opened it up, saying, "this smells just like Great Grammie and Bampie's house." Then, After a bit of quiet sorting,  "I forget them sometimes, but then, when I open this box, I think of them and I remember."

Such a wise old soul. I hope the button box always brings back the smell and memory of Phyllis and Ted for her. So special. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Morning Sixes

Met up with Shannon on Tuesday  morning for a run through the Commons. It was just beginning to get light when we left her house at 6:00am and the first bit in the woods was run in the murky morning dimness. We haven't run together in a few weeks so it was fun to catch up! A good 6.4 miles for the day.

Yesterday morning, I had intended to run longer but didn't quite get up in time, so I headed out at 5:50am to run 6 miles on the cart paths. Definitely dark at the start but the perk was seeing the sunrise as I dropped down to Highland Green after taking the road up over Mt A. Always nice.

Also saw one red eft and moved him off the path in the direction of the pond nearby. Such interesting creatures. I do love seeing them:)  

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Tomorrow is the last day of the summer series at Bradbury so Sam and I spent a big chunk of the morning and afternoon after swim lessons (and donuts, of course :) ) baking. She loves to help and even though it takes about twice as long, I'm happy to have her share in on the fun. Maybe someday soon she can do it all herself and I can just sit around eating bonbons ;) HA!

Once we were done, Ryan needed to head out to the store to get some supplies for post-race so he took Sam with him and I was able to head out for my run. It was probably 2:30ish by the time I hit the trails. The day had warmed up and my legs felt a bit heavy, unused to the afternoon start, but it was beautiful out with a nice breeze and very comfortable temps once I reached the shaded woods. I ran down along the Cathance - boy, the river is low! - and out toward Head of Tides. I ran into a father and daughter hiking in the Cathance proper, as well as an older couple out hiking on the newer trails, but otherwise had the trails to myself.

Turned around just shy of Head of Tides itself at Cathance Road and made my way back. Once again, many pretty mushrooms in the woods, and saw another red eft. Out along the powerlines the berries on the bushes (viburnum?) have began to morph from white into blush pink and deep purple.  So pretty against the blue sky. Got in a nice 10 for the day.