Friday, May 26, 2017

Pink, Fuschia and White

Things are really popping in the woods right now. I do so love this time of year! And at no other time are there more pink and fuschia wildflowers out on the forest floor. Showy colors for springtime :)

Ran down to the river and back on Tuesday morning. It was a misty morning and I was excited to see that the rhodora and wild cala lilies were blooming in the Heath! Lots of fringed polygala adding color too. Saw one deer. A tired 5+ miles.

Misty morning Heath

Rhodora and cala lilies blooming

Fringed polygala

Later that morning, I joined Sam's class for their field trip to Hannaford as part of their nutrition unit. We walked there and back; it was a bit chaotic but the kids had fun and overall we walked 3+ miles! (Yes, I wore my watch because I'm a dork like that ;0)

Paper hats are cool!

Thursday morning I was out at 5:30 am into yet another nice cool morning. Ran the 7 mile loop out in the Cathance and enjoyed all the wildflowers. The air smelled sweet, like honeysuckle and flowering trees, and although the river has receded a bit it is still flowing nicely and looks lovely set against its green banks. Saw one deer and one of the resident snowshoe hares by the vernal pool.

15 ladyslippers this morning

Misty, roaring river

Painted trillium


We received news last week that one of Sam's art pieces from school was being included in a special Art is Elementary exhibit at the Topsham Library. Last night was the reception, and it was so fun to see her artwork up on the wall! We are so proud of our little artist :) A great exhibit with works from both Topsham elementary schools!


The proud artist and her work :)

It poured rain overnight and when my alarm went off, I could hear the rain pounding against the skylights above; there was also thunder and lightening, and so with that, I went back to sleep :) After a morning of errands and some house cleaning, the skies lightened slightly in the early afternoon so I headed out a bit before 2:00 pm to run the 5 mile Highland Green road loop. Windy, misty and a bit muddy on the back dirt road. Definitely not the best, but not the worst!

And now it's onto the weekend!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

MA Weekend Fun

We headed down to MA after picking Sam up from school on Friday to spend the weekend with Ryan's sister and parents. The cousins had a fun time chasing around after each other, creating chaos and making all the adults exhausted in between bouts of being adorable - so all in all a great family weekend :)

Ryan and I snuck out on Saturday morning and headed over to Willowdale for a run. It was a gorgeous morning - crisp, cool and sunny - and although allergies were certainly still a factor, I was happy to feel SO much better than Friday during my run! We had fun running the Stonecat course and ran into a whole slew of kid mountain bikers out on the middle section of trails. Unbeknownst to us, Willowdale was the site of a biking festival over the weekend with apparently 200 kids riding on Saturday! Wow. Luckily our run only intersected and followed their course in certain spots so the rest of the run outside of that area was spent in the quiet of the woods. 

With Ryan still recovering from his 50 miler, I was able to keep up and not feel like I was slowing him down and it was nice to be out in the woods enjoying the trails together! As we got back near the start of the course, although my legs were feeling a bit fatigued, I was mostly feeling guilty for being out for 2+ hours, but Ryan convinced me to keep going and we did another small loop before coming back to the car at 16.4 miles, just what I was hoping for! Lots of starflowers lining the forest floor, plus seven garter snakes and two toads seen. A lovely morning run!

This morning, we all slept in, which was much needed and then I headed out for a short road run on the Weldon Farm loop. Yet another beautifully crisp, sunny morning. I was happy to find my legs feeling good and pushed the pace a bit in the final few miles. The air was filled with the sweet smell of honeysuckle, which was a nice diversion from the ever-present poison ivy that is apparently trying to take over the entire world down there. Ewww! A good 5 miles to finish up a solid week.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Brad

Well, that escalated quickly! 90+ degrees yesterday and up into the 80s today. Whew! Spring is officially here, with what feels like summer weather. And things are certainly popping too, with many shades of green emerging along with that oh so lovely pollen that makes my eyes itch and my nose water ;) When he came downstairs this morning, Ryan said he could see a haze of it outside, floating on the breeze.

I headed over to the Brad around 8:00 am this morning for a run. I'll be honest here and say I was hoping for a long run but it just didn't happen. The woods were beautiful, it was warm and sunny, there was a lovely breeze and flowers were coming up on the forest floor. But I had just gotten my period, my allergies were killing me and I'm sure the heat played a role too, and so frankly I just felt kind of awful. I slowly made my way through 9 lovely Bradbury miles and called it good. Thankfully there is still Saturday and Sunday to get in my 16 :)

Flora and fauna notes: Starflowers, buncherries emerging, blueberry bells out on the powerlines, wild strawberry flowers, bluets, violets, wild oats, false lily of the valley, solomon's seal, one lone painted trillium, and the first sightings of fringed polygala and ladyslippers out along the Connector! I love this time of year when there is so much to see on the forest floor! Also seen, one dog tick crawling along my sock line after the powerlines stretch of the BBU course (boo!) and a little garter snake.

Fringed polygala


Painted trillium

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sunshine and Warm Weather!

After what has seemed like a very cold, wet and dreary start to spring, it seems that perhaps warmer weather has finally arrived for good. Or at least sunshine for a while :) Yahoo!

It was still a bit chilly when I headed out on Tuesday morning for my run, but it was bright and sunny so I can't complain much. 42 degrees means tights in my book, but hopefully that was the last day of that until the fall! I ran a nice 7 mile loop out in the Cathance. Mist was rising above the roaring river, the goldthread are coming up, a deer bounded across the trail and I even saw a lone turkey rambling along out there. A good start to the day!

Wednesday, while I did not get in any running, Sam did, at her 3rd xc meet of the season. I had to be at a meeting so didn't get there to cheer her on myself but Ryan sent me these two awesome photos of her race. I love her determined look :) And she is getting so strong! I am a proud mama :) And it was yet another nice, warm, sunny day - hurray!

This morning, there was no doubt that it was going to be summerlike - high 50s at 5:50 am when I headed out! I ran the cart paths, enjoying the sweet smells of the flowering trees and honeysuckle, a great blue heron fly over and all the flowers and blooms out and about - bluets, violets, wild strawberries, wood anemone, hobblebush. Got in a good 6 miles and tried to push the pace a bit. Felt good.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!

Had a lovely mellow day here on my end, starting with a short 5 mile road run around Georgetown in the cold wind and rain. Huh, didn't see anyone else out there running... I wonder why?! ;) Then a yummy brunch plus some relaxation and games before driving home. Ryan and I were exhausted so dinner out seemed like a fine idea before all of us heading to bed early after a long weekend.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Crewing Ryan at Wapack & Back

Friday afternoon we headed south to Ryan's parent's house for the night. Saturday dawned really early and really dark, with the alarm going off at 2:15 am. Even for an early bird like me, that is early ;) The trip over to Ashburnham to the start of the Wapack & Back race was uneventful and after a quick check-in, Ryan took off with the rest of the 43 and 50 milers into the woods as the sky lightened, just after 5:00 am, with little fanfare and a Yeti howl.


Ryan was doing the bulk of the work for the day, for sure, as I knew from running the one-way version back in 2015, that this range, while beautiful, is no joke, but I knew I was in for a long day too. Crewing is tough work ;) Thankfully, Ryan put together a great direction and crew stop sheet for me, which made it much easier!

I had a bit of time to kill before meeting up with Ryan at the mile 9 aid station, so I went into Petersborough and got gas for the car and coffee and a donut for myself. Then it was off to classic crew routine of hurry up and wait ;) I got out and chatted with the aid station team, cheered on runners as they went through and right on time, at a few minutes before 7:00 am, Ryan came through, looking nice and relaxed. After a quick swap of trash for new gels and a few words about the course, he was off.

With that I made my way to the turn-around point at mile 21.5, which is the starting point for the one-way race. As it was around 7:30 am, the lot was empty and I quickly changed into my running gear and took off up the trail. I had done a bit of online searching and it looked like I could get in a nice loop up over North Pack and down with a short return via the road. I was a bit nervous that I wouldn't get back in time to meet Ryan - he had predicted a 10:00 am check-in at this spot but he was moving so well at mile 9 and I wanted to get back in plenty of time in case he arrived early. In any event, it was a 1.5 mile stiff climb up to the top of North Pack via the Wapack Trail, portions of which I remembered from 2015, through the woods and up steep rocky ledges to the large cairn at the summit, of which I have no recollection at all!


Follow the yellow triangles

View climbing up 

North Pack summit

Summit view, a bit clouded over

From there I headed out on the Cliff Trail for a short ways before taking the turn onto Carolyn's Trail. From what I found online, Carolyn's trail was a good one to descend back to the road and after the initial section of steep ledges, the rest of the trail wound through the woods very nicely, the trail pine needle covered, cushiony goodness. The woods were quiet and it was quite lovely. I really enjoyed it!

Cliff Trail

View from the higher ledges along Carolyn's Trail

Red eft spotted down in a marshy section of trail


Painted Trillium

The final 1.5 mile leg of the loop was back up Mountain Road, which was really darn steep! Ended up with a nice 5.3 mile loop, and enjoyed getting out into the hills! Lots of fun and glad to get a short run in between crewing duties! Aside from the red eft, no wildlife was seen, but the forest floor was awash with false lily of the valley, goldthread, wild oats, indian cucumber, hobblebush, some blue bead lilies emerging and a few trillium down below.

The run

I ended up getting back in time to chat for a few minutes with Brian and Adam before the 21 miler started, and then was able to change and chat with the aid station volunteers while standing around in the cold, damp morning before Ryan came in, right as predicted at 10:00 am :) He was looking strong and was all smiles.

Coming into mile 21

All smiles

From there, I headed over to Miller State Park and took a short walk on the trail while I waited. It was cold just hanging around, so a bit of movement was nice. Lots of blooming hobblebush and wild oats here!


Indian wild cucumber

Ryan came through mile 27 at 11:35 after a hard stretch of trail up and over North Pack and Pack. Feeling a bit rougher but still moving well.

I decided this was the time to head back into Petersborough and get some lunch, so I retraced my steps and stopped and had a Subway sandwich, Facetimed with Sam for a bit and then headed back to Windblown for the mile 34 stop.

Ryan came in at 1:09, having made up some time in the last 7 miles and moved ahead of his fastest predicted arrival for this spot. Although he said he wasn't feel great, he was still moving well.

My Facebook status from this check-in went like this:

34 miles in and feeling it a bit.
I say, hey, you're doing great, still ahead of your fastest projected time to here.
He says, so there's still time for the shit to hit the fan.
See what I have to deal with here?!? 😂😂

Mile 34

From there, it was back to the finish. Crewing is a whole lot of waiting around and I was getting a little antsy ;) I paced back and forth on the trail quite a few times, looking at the wildflowers and chatting with other runners and the volunteers. Ryan came through for mile 43 at 3:40 and although he said he was trashed, he went right over to Jesse and asked if he could head back out for the final 7 mile out and back stretch to get the full 50. Crazy ultrarunner for sure! ;)

Coming in to mile 43

As Ryan took off for his final miles, more walking and chatting ensued for me, along with yet another snack :)

Wild oat

And then, 12 hours and 21 minutes later, he finished :) With enough energy for a jump at the finishing gate! :)

Finish line jump

Yah running!

50 mile finisher

After the inevitable clothes changing struggle after a long race, we headed out, stopped for some pizza and arrived back at Irene and Dana's at 8:00 pm. It had been a long day. 

Many thanks to Irene and Dana for hanging out with Sam for the day, especially since she was up at 6:30 am! We are lucky to have such good parents/grandparents to help us out as we go off and do these crazy things!

Very proud of Ryan for running a strong 50 on a really tough, technical course. The Wapack range is no joke, although it is certainly a beautiful area. Cheers to an excellent effort and a good stepping stone in the VT 100 journey!