Sunday, January 15, 2017

Weekend Running

I never made it out before Ryan headed over to Brad on Saturday morning, so I was relegated to an afternoon run. I really do prefer to run in the morning, but sometimes it is nice not to have to get up before the crack of dawn :) Headed out around 1:30 across the street. I wore my screwshoes and decided I'd try to make it down to the river. Success but it was a bit of an icy, slippery, uneven run. There were some stretches clear of any snow and ice at all, others with some nice hardpacked but slick snow and otherwise just a lot of hard ice. I would have had better traction with my Hillsounds but they would have been overkill on parts. Despite the sketchiness, it was still nice to be out and the river was roaring. Got in 5.2 for the afternoon.



Sunday morning, I met up with Amy over at Runaround Pond for a run on the snowmobile trails out that way. It was fun to explore a new area, and great to catch up with her. It was chilly - 9 degrees to start - so the trees along the open streams and swampy areas were all frosted and iced over, but the sun was bright and there was no wind as we wound our way through fields and forests. Really pretty, and quiet, out there, and pretty decent conditions, considering. Nice solid snowmobile trails with a few dicey icy spots. A good 7 miles for the morning, followed up by coffee and a cookie :)






At this point, I am feeling much more like myself, although my legs are not quite back to 100%, but it is nice to feel happy while out running and not have it be a painful endeavor. Got in 28 miles for the week - not a whole lot of miles, but it's a start ;) Onward by all means!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday at Brad - Laugh or You'll Cry

The weather this week has been a bit demoralizing for those of us who like snow with our winter! Between the warm weather and the rain, most of the snow has disappeared from our backyard. We knew there was more snow over at Brad but weren't sure how conditions would be. Ryan decided to join me for a run to check things out for next weekend's snowshoe race and I just wanted to get in 6ish trail miles. We parked at John's and stopped in to say hello to Zippy before hitting the Link. Wow, let me tell you, things were pretty grim. The snow and ice storm a few weeks back did a number on the park and although the big blowdowns had been removed, in their wake were lots of branches and debris, and the park tractor had, frankly, left the trails a bit mess. It was distressing to see. The snow was only kind of packed, so it was slow going out to the Snowmobile Trail. We almost turned around but decided to go up and see how it was further along the trail. Well, turns out it was pretty bad and we turned around soon after Fox East.

I suggested trying the mountain side, well, you know, since we were there and had only run one mile ;) And actually, the trail up to the summit was well packed, and although there was a lot of open water along the edges, we were able to stay atop the snow/ice pack and move along without fear that we'd be falling through. I'd say that was the best mile of trail throughout the park. At the top, we stopped to take in the view and then continued on the Boundary Trail. Much less traffic, more branches and debris, more open water and bare spots, more undermined snow, ice and a lot of walking. Let's call it a run/hike for most of that stretch ;) We ventured out a few yards onto the Connector, but it was too soft and undermined to continue on so we returned to Boundary.

Despite the time we'd been out there, it had only been about 3.8 miles when we got back to the end of the Boundary Trail, so we ran back up to the summit and down again to finish off the run with 5.6 miles and much more effort and time than we'd intended or hoped for. I was extremely thankful for the traction given by my Hillsounds but I'm still a wimp on the downhills, especially when conditions are iffy and icy. It was definitely not good conditions today but hey, sometimes you just have to laugh or you'll cry ;) A "fun" adventure nonetheless and always good to spend time on the trails with Ryan!

Another plus for the day was that my right leg didn't give me any issues, and we followed up our run with a yummy lunch at Edna & Lucy's! Hurray :)


Icy, sunny summit view

Smile :)

Can you see Ryan's flourescent tights off there in the distance? ;)

yes, that is the trail... undermined snow and waterlogged bare ground...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Early Morning, Late Afternoon

From 3 degrees yesterday morning at 6:20 am to 45 degrees this afternoon at 3:45 pm, Maine never ceases to amaze.

Bundled up and out into the darkness yesterday. Donned my Hillsounds at the start of the powerlines across the street and went up and over Mt. A., along the groomed backside and hole #3, across the street to the Heath and then down to the river and back. While along the Heath, the sun was rising through the pine trees. Glorious. Down at the river, I stopped to take a photo of the mist rising over the slushy roaring river, but alas, my phone had frozen! Guess it was cold out! ;0 Regardless, a lovely, cold, calm, quiet morning for 5.3 miles out in the woods.


And while this wild fluctuation in temperature is cause for consternation for sure, I will also readily admit that I enjoyed a warm spring-like road run this afternoon! I simply couldn't resist skipping out of work a little early to enjoy the sun and warmth, especially after skipping this morning's run due to the heavy rain and wind that we had overnight. So much better this afternoon! I parked out along Pennelville Road and enjoyed the quiet roads through the fields down to the river. I was surprised to hear and see three bluebirds twitting about on the telephone lines along the main field! Crazy bluebirds - what are you doing still in Maine?! But a treat to see for sure!

The late afternoon light was lovely down at Simpson's Point, with small ice flows out in the bay, stranded at low tide. and the setting sun shimmering along the horizon. I felt so lucky to be out there enjoying it, and even better to feel good while running! My right leg tightness seems to have subsided (and will hopefully stay that way!) and the left piriformis is still tight but doesn't seem to be inhibiting my running after a short bit of warm up. Hopefully I can get back to 100% normalcy shortly but at least I feel like I am on my way at this point! A really nice late afternoon 5 miles.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sunday Cold Sunday

An inch+ of snow fell last night, ushering in a cold front that left it 7 degrees at 9:00 am with a feels like temp of -3! It's been an odd winter so far with these cycles of snow then ice cold followed by rain and temps in the 40s. Apparently we are in the arctic cold period at the moment...

So I bundled up to the hilt and headed out into the sunlight. Bright and warm, it shone on the snow so that it sparkled like little sequins. I decided the trails would be too iffy with an inch of fresh snow atop all the ice out there, so I ran Highland Green Road instead via the Connector and back on the new bike path. It was all metzah-metzah. The shoulders of the Connector and Rt 201 were slushy, HG Road was slicked down snow, and the back road and bike path had a layer of snow atop ice. Ah, winter running. Still, I stayed toasty warm all bundled up and despite not being a great run, it was good to get out. Legs feeling better but tightness remains. Got in six miles for the morning.

Later in the afternoon, we took Sam to see Sing (which she has already seen with mom and dad over Xmas vacation but really wanted to see again with us) and it was incredibly adorable! I really enjoyed it. They did a great job with the storyline and the songs. A good way to finish up the weekend!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Snow and Ice

I ended up taking Tuesday and Wednesday off, mostly to rest my legs but also because, well, I was feeling kind of tired and lazy, and getting back into the groove of things after vacation meant it was easier to stay in bed than get up and out in the darkness. Let's face it, sometimes it's just like that.

Finally, Thursday morning I managed to get up, do my exercises and strength work and get out before dawn for a run. I wasn't sure what I'd find for conditions after Wednesday's rain and warm temps followed up by more seasonable temps over night, so I was happy to find that the snowmobile trail was solid, even if uneven in many spots. There was certainly some ice out there, but all in all it was decent. Got in a nice 5.2 miles, and the legs felt ok, with some tightness but not terrible. Cold and windy but a glorious sunrise to be seen. I never tire of these quiet early morning sunrises on my runs. One of the major motivators and reasons to get up and run for sure!




Friday morning, I headed over to the Cathance after dropping Sam off at school. I donned my Hillsounds and headed out from the ecology center parking lot, running the loop around the Heath first and then heading out along outer perimeter down to the river. The trails themselves were a mixed bag of conditions - definitely some good packed runnable stretches but also some good long ribbons of singletrack covered with ice, some bare sections plus some lovely undermined icy spots. It was not a fast run but I had a great time, and just really enjoyed being out there. It was cold and calm and quiet. 

And after several years of hearing and reading about them, I was finally able to see the ice pancakes along the Cathance myself! I was so excited! It is a very cool phenomenon for sure. 



The river was flowing quite high and out on the Rapids Loop, I stopped for a bit to listen to the roaring river, creating interesting ice sculptures on the rocks and trees along the edge of the river. It truly was a sight!




I tacked on a short lollypop out on the newer trails leading out to Head of Tides, and then ran back for a nice six miles for the morning. A good morning!


Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year Fun

Couldn't start the new year off with a zero in the planner, so yesterday at lunchtime, Ryan and I headed over to Bradley Palmer (or the other Brad as I like to call it) for a run on the GAC Fat Ass loop. We were surprised to find even less snow at the park than at his parent's house, but this did not mean smooth sailing. In fact, the loop was a mixed bag on conditions ranging from bare and dry to slushy to muddy to hard packed solid thick ice to ice covered with water. Oh yah! ;) Nothing like early winter trail conditions to keep things interesting! This led to a rather slow go around the 6 mile loop but it was warm and sunny and nice to get out for a run with Ryan! Unfortunately though, I slipped on the ice at one point and my left piriformis is now seeming out of whack. WTF? I am a mess ;) Really looking forward to a Dr. Jamie visit this Friday. Wish I could have gone in sooner. I definitely need it, and I hope he can sort me out!!

Despite my legs feeling a bit wonky, this morning I got up and did my leg and arm strength routine and then headed out onto the powerlines with my screwshoes. The snowmobile club had been out with their roller on the trail, but there hadn't been any machines on it until Tedford Road, so there was a bit of icy loose snow to crunch through. Turned around at Rt. 24 and got in a rather meh 4 miles.

But we made up for the so-so run later this afternoon with a great snowshoe out in the Cathance to wrap up our vacation. It was gorgeous out and Sam led us off trail following some deer tracks to make a nice wander through the woods! :) Lots of fun!











Saturday, December 31, 2016

Second Christmas

Celebrating the end of 2016 with a second Christmas!

Fun with family, many laughs, definitely some cute kids, a lot of food and drink and a whole lot of chaos!












A fine way to finish up the year!












Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Wrap-Up

Another year gone by. It is truly amazing sometimes how time just really does seem to fly!

2016, like any other year, had a lot of highlights and some low points too. Life may never ever be perfect, and we've had our fair share of bumps this year, but we are pretty darn lucky overall. Happy to have had a year filled with watching Sam grow and seeing her smile, much running, time with friends and family, so much of nature's beauty and wonder, much happiness, a few tears, a whole lot of growing and learning, laughter and love, and more than a little bit of craziness ;)





Wishing everyone health, happiness, joy and a whole lot of running (or whatever it is that makes you happiest) in 2017!

--

On the running front, 2016 ended up being a solid one with decent volume, some fun races, a bit of suffering, and overall, one happy runner. I never had the focus this year that I did in 2015 when I was training for TARC 100, but I did have a lot of beautiful early morning runs, some fun training runs with friends and even a few good runs with Ryan scattered throughout the year. And even though I really didn't have any racing goals for the year, I did manage a few fun and different races throughout the year, including a run through Grayson Highlands, a 6-hour relay race with Ryan up in Presque Isle, a solid, happy racing experience at BBU, and an almost DFL finish to avenge my 2014 DNF at the Fells 40 earlier this month. There was a DNF at the TARC Fall Classic in early September, but I'm not too shaken up about that one as it was only supposed to be a training race anyway and let's face, it running while sick is never fun. Plus, by now, I know that DNFs, while never ideal, are part of the game and there is something to be learned and gained for every experience no matter the ending.

In my mind, the best race of the year was the BBU 50k, a race that hadn't even originally had on my radar. Things came together that day and I hope I can find that place again. That was a fun one! I am proud of my Fells 40 finish too, but for a totally different reason - that is one rugged race, I felt terrible all day from being sick and wanted to give up many times, but I toughed it out and got it done, even if just barely under the cut-off. It certainly was not pretty and the race beat up my legs and body, for sure. After a week off to rest up, these last few weeks of the year have been a bit rough around the edges in terms of running, but things are slowly coming back around.

And with this morning's 4.5 miles around the neighborhood on the slushy, icy roads after yesterday's snow and rain storm, I managed to eek out the remaining miles I needed to hit a nice round 1,900 miles for 2016.

While this is down slightly from 2015 and not quite the 2,000 miles I was shooting for, it came without a 100 miler to train for, so I am pretty happy with the total. I have enjoyed being durable enough (for the most part) for another higher mileage year and even managed to keep up with my arm exercises and push-ups 2x a week every week as well as do some simple body-weight leg strength exercises 1-2x a week for a good chunk of the year too.

With all of this in mind, I'm making running 2,000 miles one of my goals for 2017 and plan to continue with the arm and leg strength. As for racing, some of my intended racing goals for next year had to be passed on for various reasons, so I'm still trying to sort out what's next, but don't you worry, I'm sure to come up with something(s) good ;) And in the meantime, I'm looking forward to having some beautiful, fun and adventurous runs out on the trails!

Happy New Year, everyone!

--

Running Log Files:

2016 - 1,900.00
2015 - 1,963.60
2014 - 1,702.00
2013 - 1,557.75
2012 - 1,400.00
2011 - 1,375.00
2010 - 1,100.00
2009 - 675.50 *pregnant/Sam born
2008 - 1,112.00

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Midweek Miles

After working on Tuesday, I'm off for the rest of the week. Got up early yesterday and out of the house around 7:20 for a road run. With the warm temps on Tuesday and temps hovering right above freezing, I figured the snow would be too soft for anything good. We don't yet have a solid enough base. So instead, I ran along the Connector and up Highland Green Road. There was no need for traction; the pavement was bare, with only a few icy spots that I could easily skirt around out in the neighborhood. On the way back, I tacked on an extra mile around the high school, where the roads were a bit icier, but not terrible. Got in a nice 6 miles for the morning. Even better, despite still feeling a bit tight and having a few twinges while running, my right leg felt pretty good, good enough to keep an average pace of 8:38 for the run, so I'll certainly take it!

Well, if yesterday felt great, today did not. Decided to see how the Cathance trails were, which really wasn't the best of ideas. It was icy, bony, uneven, postholed and slow going. Ah well. At least the river was pretty ;) Got in 6.3 rather slog-feeling miles. Only 4.5 miles to run tomorrow to finish up the year on a nice even note!



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Morning After

After a busy Christmas day, we all slept in a bit yesterday morning. I headed out for a run around 8:30 into the calm, cold morning. I ran with my Hillsounds in hand, donning them once I had hit the powerlines. With the cold temps overnight, things were pretty firm out there and I decided I would try running up over Mt. A., out along the golf course and down to the river. The groomed portions of Mt. A. and the golf course were solid and I hardly made a mark. The majority of the Cathance trails along the Heath and down to the river had been packed well, if still a bit uneven. I took it easy, stopping to take a few photos along the way, and just enjoying the trails. Got in a nice 5.6 miles for the day, and then came home to eat a piece of gingerbread cake ;)



Later in the day, we headed down to Portland for a yummy lunch with my parents and then dropped them off at the train station so they could head to Boston before heading out to Seattle to visit with Kristen, Rob and Morgan for the rest of the week. We had such a wonderful time with them this holiday! It is so special to have Sam spend time with her grandparents - we are incredibly lucky :) Thank you, Neenie and Pip, for visiting with us! We love you!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

A day filled with a lot of cheer, love, laugher, family and friends! Merry Christmas, everyone!

A bit of quiet before the chaos of the morning begins...

Merry & Bright

From a Believe Training Journal to Bite Me socks, stocking stuffers are the best!

Wha? What??

Presents for Neenie

Gigi chillin'

New slippers, new track suit and a grow your own crystal kit. What more could a girl want?

What? This box is the perfect size...

2017 calendar from Sam

Sam and her calendar

Happy family

Earrings for Neenie

There may have been a bit of this...

...and a bit of this...

Crafting paper stars with John

Sam, Neenie and Pip

Sam, Grammie and Grampie

Cheers!

Sam and Lillie, and her other awesome new pair of slippers!

A wonderful Christmas dinner with a great crew!

And with that, to all a good night!