Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Is It Spring?

53 degrees this morning when I headed out for my run at 5:55 am. After the spate of cold weather we've had the past few weeks, it felt like spring! Very odd. And we're supposed to get snow tomorrow. Guess the weather is a bit confused these days :)

Used my headlamp for the first two miles, and then turned it off in favor of running along the cart paths in the murky, misty pre-dawn light. With the warm weather, the cart paths were a bit squishy, but still fairly firm. Glad I wasn't running in the woods, as I am sure the melted hoar frost pockets out there would have made for some serious ankle turning! The sky lightened gradually until finally around mile 5, I noticed a bit of color above the treeline. Soft purples and golds lit up the sky. Nice 6-mile morning.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ocean Morning and Some Afternoon Fun

I was up and out of the house this morning around 7:00 am while everyone else was still sleeping. For the sake of diversity, I drove over to Bowdoin and headed out through the Commons to the ocean via Coleman Farm. At 30+ degrees, it felt downright balmy after the past few days! With the mild air, no wind, and the sun breaking through the clouds, it was a lovely morning to be out in the woods. The juncoes flitted in and out of the brush at the edge of the pastures and a thin veil of ice sat atop the ponds along the trail. The sun glistened off the thin ribbon of water snaking through the salt marshes, and the leaves crunched beneath my feet. Finished up with 8 mellow miles, and returned home early enough to enjoy the pancakes and bacon Ryan was cooking up. Yum!

I never tire of this view

Reflections

After a leisurely rest of the morning reading and playing, and doing a bit of cleaning and end of the fall organizing, we set off for Augusta to the Children's Discovery Museum. It's really more of a playplace, with different experiential/discovery rooms, but Sam had a blast. We were there for 2 1/2 hours! Of course, much of the time was spent playing grocery store because, well, that is the most fun ever :) On the way home, we stopped into Slates for a cookie and found Xar doing a bit of studying there. What a happy coincidence! It was fun to catch up while we enjoyed a bit too much sugar :) All in all, a great Sunday!

Big chair!

Grocery store fun

Construction site!

Construction workers ready to go!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Looking Forward to the End of Hunting Season

Very much looking forward to the end of regular rifle/deer hunting season next weekend. All my runs have felt constrained by the thought of hunters out in the woods, and I am looking forward to a bit more freedom to head further out on the trails. Today, since I didn't get out until around 11:00 am, I stuck to the cart paths to play it safe, but still wore my orange. I felt surprisingly spry after yesterday's run, so much so that when I realized mile #2 had clicked by in under 9:00, I figured I'd try to keep it up for the rest of the run. I wasn't exactly running fast, but I was pushing a bit. Felt good. Got in a nice 6 miles on a breezy, cold and overcast day.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cold and Windy Cathance

Brrr! Oh, baby, it's cold outside! Yup, and windy too ;)

After I dropped Sam off at school, I scurried back home, got myself organized and was out the door a little after 9:00 am. I was surprised by how raw it felt out, and I was pretty much freezing for the first mile. My initial plan was to run 3 Snowplug Loops along with a bit of extra to get to 20 miles. I decided to add on the extra in the first loop, so once I had turned up from the river, instead of taking the back right straight home, I looped back along the trails through the woods, back down along the river in the opposite direction, returning to the quarry along the Heath, before finishing up the final two miles of the Snowplug Loop on the back dirt road and powerlines. The wind was whipping along this stretch, and man, was it cold!

I got back to the house around 7.8 miles. I ran into the house to use the bathroom, throw away my trash and grab some more gels. I realized as I was running the second time up Snowplug hill that I had run last week's long run on Sunday and with today being Friday, no wonder my legs were feeling a wee bit tired. Only 5 days in between 20s. Still, I'm going to be running 40 all in one day on two weeks, so I guess I had better not complain too much right now!! I decided to change plans a bit and do a second loop like the first, then do another small loop down to the river, which would keep me off the roads and out of the winds at least a little bit more.

The river was running high, and a bit of ice was already building up along the rocky gorge on the rapids loop. Three inch deep hoar frost was everywhere, rising up like little frosted buildings through the dirt along the trail. A few cotton sedge waved in the breeze along the ice-covered Heath. It was beautiful out there but damn, it was cold and windy, and once my Garmin hit 20.0, I sure was happy to be done. Then it was off to Woodside for some volunteering!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cart Path Morning

The cart paths are a lovely choice for this time of year. They are good running and easy to run in the early murky hours of dawn. Got out yesterday morning a bit before 6:00 am for 6 miles on the gravel paths. The horizon was a deep shade of orange, lightening to a pastel pink, all highlighted against periwinkle clouds. Saw a hawk fly out from the trees on hole #8, a juvenile I'd guess due to its dark molt all over, but couldn't quite make out what type. A nice, quiet, cool morning run.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Afternoon Wander

Last weekend's 20 felt so effortless. It just flowed. Today's 20, well, let's just say there was a lot less flow. Ryan headed to Portland this morning for Dave and Jes's Back Cove 6 Hour Run and Food Drive, and since Sam nicely decided to sleep in after waking up flailing about in her bed at 12:45 am, 3:00 am, 3:30 am and 4:00 am, I was happy for a few extra quiet moments with a big cup of coffee! No, I cannot sleep in these days, even on mornings that I've essentially only slept from 9:30 pm to 12:45 am and 4:00 am until 6:30 am. Sigh. So sad.

We had a lovely morning hanging out, doing some painting and crafting and a few chores done around the house, and when Ryan got home a little after 11:00, I was suited up and ready to head out for my run. It was a bit warmer than yesterday but the sky was grey and it was just cold and windy enough to feel like a classic November day. There is a certain subtlety to this time of year that I really do try to appreciate, but some days it is harder than others. I set out to run a Snowplug Loop. There are still vestiges of snow left in the woods, and the ground is beginning to show hoar frost. The river was flowing nicely and there were a few others out enjoying the trails. Once back at the school, I did have the thought that it would be so nice to head home, but instead headed up the Snowplug hill then did a loop on the cart paths.

Then it was back up the hill, where once again I suppressed the desire to call it a day, past the quarry, onto the Heath Trail and into the Cathance proper. The top of the Snowplug hill was 11 miles, so I figured heading out to Head of Tides would get me the miles I needed without too much wandering or thinking. As I turned up from the river, I came across a nice gentleman doing some trail sign placement and I stopped to thank him for his work and to chat with him for a few minutes. He probably would have talked all day, but as I still had some miles to get in, I took off soon after, having enjoyed the short break. My legs were beginning to feel the miles and little sleep, and although I honestly do enjoy my solo runs, sometimes I just get sick of it just being me and my head ;)

Out on the Ravine Trail, I heard a number of shots off in the direction I was planning to run, and even though it was Sunday, I was wearing orange and I should have been safe in the woods, I decided not to chance it. So, I looped around and headed back to wander. They are rerouting several of the Cathance trails, so I took one of the new routes, enjoying the change of scenery but wishing the trails were a bit more 'solid.' With all the leaves down, there was a lot of ankle twisting and slow running occurring. Back down along the river, along the Heath, and then the final two miles on the back dirt roads and power lines. I was happy to get in the miles but I definitely had to work at it today!

After a quick shower, I hung out with Sam, Ryan and John watching the football game, until Sam got a bit too rambuncious, having been inside all day, and I suggested she go out and run some sprints up and down the sidewalk. Of course, she didn't want to run them herself so I headed out with her. After all, nothing says recovery like sprints and drills up and down the sidewalk with an overly energetic 5-year old! ;)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saturday Fun

Up early this morning and out into the cold. Brrr! Got in 6 miles on the Snowplug Loop but that was about all I had in me. The long run will have to wait until tomorrow. But that's OK, this way I got to spend the whole day with the family, and sometimes that is just what is needed.

Sam had swim lessons this morning - she and one of the other kids did a few laps in the big pool without their bubbles as part of their lesson, which is exciting! They used noodles and had some help, but she did great. She really is getting much stronger. They even had them jumping off the diving platforms they use for the swim meets! Impressive. After swimming, we dropped Ryan off at home for his run and Sam and I headed to the Brunswick Winter Market for a few goodies and some music. Always a good place to spend part of the morning.

After lunch, we drove over to Wolfe's Neck to take a hike. It was a gorgeous afternoon - crisp and clear - and we had a great time on the trails and beaches together. Sam was in an excellent mood, and her stamina, strength and coordination seems to have really improved even in just the past few months. She only lagged once in the hour and a half we were out there, and that was easily solved by a few gummy worms :) We hiked a big 1.5 mile loop in the park, stopping at all the beaches for exploring, shell collecting, rock climbing and enjoying the warm sun. It was the perfect place to spend a late fall afternoon outside!

November light

We found a number of horseshoe crab shells, almost all intact!

Navigating the rocks

Cool rock pattern

Great Blue Heron in the tidal river

November at Wolfe's Neck

Horseshoe crab

Tiny forest

Hiking

Happy girl!




Thursday, November 13, 2014

Midweek Running

Have been feeling a bit dreary the past few days. Got out yesterday for a simple 3 miles around the block, and again this morning for a run on the trails down to the river and back. There is something calming about running out in the woods on a cold and quiet morning as the sun rises and streaks of pink fill the sky. Hoping I can hold onto the peaceful, happy feeling I felt as I ran along the bog bridges at the end of the Heath, looking out over the frosted grasses in the early morning light.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday Fun

Sam and I were off from work and school today, but Ryan had to work so I was up at my regular early hour and out the door a few minutes past 6:00 am. Although the sky was lightening, there was really no sunrise to see, as there was a thick fog hugging the treeline. I ran the cart paths in reverse and tried to keep the pace easy. Saw one deer gracefully jumping through the brush at the edge of the green on hole #8 and then a hawk - probably a red tail - set up on a tree between holes #1 and #2, but that was about it. Got home to find out that Sam was already awake. And on a day when she could have slept! What do you bet I have to wake her up tomorrow though?!

We hung out for the morning and then headed to Falmouth to meet Ryan for lunch at Ricetta's. Sam got her money's worth (or ours :) ) at the buffet, eating a fair amount of pizza and cannolis before Ryan headed back to work and she and I headed to Mackworth Island. Although temps were fairly warm, the wind was still chilly and the sun was mostly hidden behind a thick band of clouds. Always lovely there though, and fun to be able to play on the beach in November!





We didn't end up walking around the island as I had hoped as Sam spotted a few kids playing on the playground behind the school and wanted to join in on the fun :) But it was a fun afternoon, nonetheless!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mass Weekend

Lots of running going on this weekend. We headed down to Ryan's parents late on Friday afternoon. After dinner, we put Sam to bed early in the hopes that she'd get another good night's sleep and continue to improve. Sadly, she was up and out of bed around 6:30 am on Saturday but at least she didn't get up when we did! 4:00 am alarms are a bit brutal, but it was for a good cause, so we quickly ate and got ourselves ready and were out the door a little before 5:00 am, headed to Willowdale State Park for Stonecat.

Ryan was feeling hopeful but also realistic. Training has not bee ideal for him in the past months and an ankle-turn last weekend left 50 miles seriously up in the air. Still, I, and all the Trail Monsters, were pulling for him, as he really does have the ability to suffer. Several other Trail Monsters were running too - Colin, Ian, Bob and Brenda in the marathon, with Kate, Linda and Ryan going for the 50 - and we had a big group coming out to cheer, crew and hang out for the day. It's the first ultra I've actually really crewed for Ryan, so this was new. Crewing has typically been Ryan's arena the past few years, so it was a bit funny for us to be on the opposite sides of the coin :)

The sky was just lightening as the 50 milers went off at 6:15; the marathoners started 15 minutes later. After getting our area set up, Amy and I retreated to the gym to hang out with Emma and Iona. It was warm in there, and not so much outside :) Crewing means a whole lot of hanging around with bursts of high-energy activity interspersed, but with a big group of friends, there was lots of laughing, talking and cooking in between cheering and helping.

At the end of lap one, Ryan was in great spirits, smiling and running steadily and smoothly.


In between Ryan's second appearance, Colin, Ian and Bob all finished the marathon. When Ryan came through at mile 25, he still seemed pretty good but was complaining a bit of a tight right side, even stopping to stretch a bit. Still, as he headed out after a relatively quick crew stop, I was hopeful that he'd be able to keep up the pace and hold things together for the remaining miles. This thought was soon shattered by a text, "I'm done. Walking back." I took off running up the trail to see if I could find him and figure out what was up. I must have looked pretty funny running along in my purple Bogs :) I found Ryan a fair ways up the trail, walking back with John, who had been out to run a loop as his training run for the day. Ryan seemed to be having a real bit of trouble walking; his hip had simply seized up and was not letting go. It was a real bummer, but perhaps indicative of the training he's put in and the issues he's been having. He was not upset and in fact, said he had really enjoyed the miles he had put in. He simply was not willing to do potentially more damage and continue for 25 more miles. So, it was back to the finish area for some food and brew, and to hang out with the rest of us for the afternoon.

Brenda came in all smiles for her marathon finish, and Linda and Kate both looked good as they headed out for lap #3. Unfortunately, Kate ended up not finishing the loop in time, so timed out at 37.5 miles. Despite being disappointed, she still had had a great run, and I know she'll get 50 next time!

This left Linda as the last Trail Monster standing in the 50, and it certainly was fitting. She had been training hard and putting a lot of heart into this race. She came back through to pick up Emma for her final lap looking good, still smiling, and with plenty of time to spare before the cutoff.

Although the crowd at the school had dwindled, the Trail Monsters stayed as the sky got dark, the air turned colder and the headlamps came out. We waited, watching, as headlamps appeared at the end of the field as runners hit the final stretch before the finish. And then, we saw them. Linda was going to be a 50-miler! There were tears from many of us at the end. We were all so proud; her run really represented that awesome ultra spirit. Way to go Linda!!! And congrats to all the Trail Monsters. There were some great races, and attempts, out there today. It was fun to be a part of the team from the sidelines and get to watch it all unfold!

After Linda's finish, we quickly sped off to pick up some dinner and get home to put Sam to bed. Sam had had a great day with Grammie and Grampie while we ran and hung out in a field all day long. We are incredibly thankful to Irene and Dana for watching Sam, and putting up with our crazy ultra days and ways :)

Crewing is hard work and I was exhausted! But I wanted to get in my own long run this weekend, so I set the alarm for 5:00 am this morning and was headed to Bradley Palmer by 6:00 am as the sky lightened. Mine was the first car in the lot as I set off to run the GAC Fat Ass loop. I saw 11 deer in the first loop, and enjoyed the quiet of the woods. I was feeling good and probably going a bit faster than might have been wise for a long run, but a few miles in I figured I'd just stay the course and try to stick with the pace as long as I could. I know there are many more trails at Bradley Palmer than the ones used on the FA course, but I do really enjoy the loop they've put together. There's a nice mix of wide open carriage roads and single track to keep things interesting and it's all runnable. I only saw one deer after loop #1, but the birds came out - a Downy Woodpecker, many noisy bluejays, juncoes, chickadees, a white-breasted nuthatch and a few mallards in the swampy area near the parking lot. There had also recently been beaver activity in the same area. Two trees were newly sawn down by the beavers and had been dragged across the pavement to their lodge area. I could see the drag marks through the reeds and across the road. Pretty neat.

Loop #2 felt good, with similar pace. By loop #3, I had to focus to keep up the pace but things still felt good. I added a few random out-and-backs on the last lap to get in 20 miles by the time I got back to the parking lot, finishing up in 3:13. A lovely morning out in the woods, and even better, I got home in time for brunch! :)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sick Day

Wednesday night, Sam coughed through the night and neither of us slept much. I knew she was exhausted when she woke up, but we gave her her inhaler in the hopes of opening up her airways and after some food, she seemed much better, so I send her into school with my fingers crossed, hoping for the best. Well, that lasted until 2:00 pm when I got a call from the nurse that Sam seemed to be having trouble breathing and I should come get her. She was quite peaked when I got there, and apparently had had a big coughing attack in class and even with the inhaler was still breathing shallowly and seemed a bit distressed. I called the doctor, and we were able to go right in. Of course, by the time we finally saw the doctor, Sam seemed to have finally responded to the inhaler and was a bit more herself. Her lungs were clear and her oxygen saturation levels were high, so that was good. The doctor gave us a prescription of prednisilone to reduce the inflammation in her lungs and sent us on our way with a follow-up appointment in a few weeks to check on things. Luckily, the prednisilone really seemed to work, and there was much less coughing during the evening. Add in a dose of cold medicine and she actually got a really good sleep last night. Hurray. Still, we wanted to give her more of a chance to rest, so I stayed home with her today. And with that, well, there went the chance for a long run.

OK, I'll be honest. Initially I had thought I might be able to get up and out at 5:00 am and get in 3 1/2 hours or so (Ryan has jury duty today (hurray) so didn't have to leave the house until 8:45), but that didn't happen, surprisingly ;) So instead I was up and out at the more leisurely hour of 6:30 for a nice 10 miles along the cart paths and on a big loop in the Cathance. The singletrack was a bit slick from all the rain, but the upshot was that the river was flowing well, which is always a lovely sight. It was a quiet morning out in the woods - no spectacular sunrise, no animal sightings - just me and the trails. Felt good and was happy to get in 10 miles to start the day.

As for Sam, well, she slept until I got out of the shower right around 8:45 am, and then after a bit of coloring and TV watching, she decided it was high time she did some organizing. She organized her paper drawer, her art center, her marker bin, her stickers, her headbands, the piles on the coffee table. She got rid of a bunch of stuff and organized the rest. As she said, "sometimes all this stuff just drives me batty." Really, sometimes she is so much my child, it is downright scary. But I gotta admit, I do love that she likes to keep things neat and tidy :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Aie

While this really is a running and Sammy blog, I can't help but express how disappointed I am in Maine voters for reelecting LePage for governor. Four more years of this crap!? How depressing. And across the country, Republicans winning left and right. What are people thinking? On days like this, I seriously wonder about the intelligence of my fellow Americans. OK, political rant done...

Up and out this morning for some hill repeats. I was feeling low on energy, and ready to throw in the towel after 2 repeats when a drizzly rain began to fall. Blah. But that just seemed a little bit too wimpy, even for me, so I convinced myself that 3 more sets really couldn't be that bad. Somehow saying 3 sets instead of 6 more loops seemed a bit more manageable. I mean, hey, whatever works. It's all about tricking myself into keeping going out there, apparently :)

And for a bit of levity... Last night's conversation with Sam...

Sam, as she is getting her clothes out for school: Mom, do you know where my camouflage undies are?

Me: You mean the leopard print ones? (Yes, she does have pink and black leopard print undies. They are from a set she got from Carter's. Don't even get me started.)

Sam, pointing at the pile of turquoise clothes on the floor: No, you know, the ones that match this outfit exactly. The camouflage ones.

So, yup, this morning she is headed off to school dressed in solid turquoise, right down to her socks and undies. Gotta love this girl :)



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Time Change

The transition is always rough. Having it be dark when I leave work and go pick Sam up at the end of the day, well, I could do without that, but I do love the extra light in the morning. This morning I headed out at 5:50 am, and was surprised to realize I didn't need to be wearing the headlamp I had put atop my head! Hurray. The rocks on the downhill along the powerlines were slick with a thin sheen of ice, and the shadowed portion of the trail was an interesting texture - 2" of snow atop hoar-frosted sand, so the first mile was a bit slow despite not needing my light. The rest of the run went a bit more smoothly, although I was surprised by the many patches of ice I found along the cart paths. Still, always easy to maneuver around. A few people had been out around the first few holes with their skis, leaving behind green patterns amongst the now thinning layer of white. All through the run, the sky was gorgeous. I loved watching it change and shift, from a solid golden hue right along the horizon to the a pinkish haze lighting up the clouds to the soft glow that hit the tops of the oak trees at the end of the run. Got in a lovely hour-long run before heading home.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

You Could Just Stay Here, You Know

We are sitting on the couch, she and I, after spending the early morning hours reading books together and making cards for family members (check your mailboxes, grandparents :) ). We are watching the big fat snowflakes fall outside and the wind whip up the leaves left on the trees. Ryan is getting ready to make pancakes and bacon. She asks if the wind will knock me over out there, and I laugh and say, oh no, Mommy is stronger than the wind :)

And she looks back out the window and says, you could just stay here, you know.

And of course, she is right. Staying inside would be easiest, warmest, coziest. But the easiest course isn't always the one that should be taken, and I want her to know that. And so, of course, I do my exercises and stretches and get myself suited up to run and I head out the door. The wind whips at me and the snow stings my eyes, but once I get in the woods it is peaceful, just me and the sound of the wind and the snow falling. I take my time, happy to be out there, enjoying the subdued colors and the contrast of the snow on the rhododendron leaves. I run the single track out to Head of Tides as the snow starts to stick to the green moss, to the red maple leaves coating the trail, marking the ribbon of trail before me. I'm fairly bundled up but it begins to snow harder and gets a bit colder on the return trip, and as I run a stretch of the cart paths before the final mile, the greens are all white. I come home, my orange hat dressed in a layer of snow, my feet wet, a bit chilled yes, but with a smile on my face.

Head of Tides selfie

Snow and leaves

Snowy greens

After enjoying my bacon and pancakes (yum), we play for a while before Sam notices the snow is piling up outside and wants to go play. We all suit up, dragging our snow pants and boots out of the closets, and head out into the wind and snow. No one else is out. We make a snowman and walk along the fence, slipping and sliding in the wet snow. We spot the chickadees in the pines, and a Hairy Woodpecker calling as he flits from tree to tree. 

Snow lady and kitty cat

Snowy walk

We come inside and kick off our wet clothes and they cuddle up on the couch to watch football. And as I start to write up this post, she comes over and sits on my lap, wondering about all my typing and what I'm saying and how it works. She wants to make her own words. So, we sit together, she and I, as she types out some of the words she knows and we sound out others she wants to write.

samantha raymond triffitt

  i love you

the

and
mama
daddy

pippi

neenie
morgan
anne
sam
crayon

And after dinner and playtime with friends, she is exhausted and falls right to sleep, without a peep, without a movement. And I think, this was a pretty good first snow day.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pineland Morning

Rather dreary and raw morning. Started out at 7:00 am with a cold drizzle hitting my face. Brrr. Ran the Oak Hill loop, and saw Ian and Joe doing their own early start miles headed in the opposite direction. We all met up back at the Y at 8:00. Not much hanging around this time - too chilly. Ran with Sean, Jes, Ben and John, with Ian and Joe ahead. Fun catching up with everyone, but I was really not into it. Got in a little over 12 miles in right around 2 hours and called it a day. Then it was off to the market for some coffee, food and chit chat.

While I was running, Ryan took Sam to her swim lessons and she spent some time in the big pool! Awesome!