Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sometimes I Wonder, What The Hell Am I Doing Out Here?

I really did not want to get out of bed this morning. But the alarm, and the subsequent snooze alarm, had gone off, and I was awake, and just lying there, trying to will myself back to sleep, and all the while I was thinking, just get up and run and get it over with, the hills are good for you, if you don't do it today, you won't do it... blah blah blah blah blah. Sometimes I really wish I could just shut myself up already!

So, you guessed it, I got up, had a snack, did my exercises and stretches, got myself organized and headed out. Once I got out onto the Mt. A. hill, outside the range of the street lights, it was just me, my headlamp and the thick fog and mist. Visibility was limited, and in the woods, the leaves and the rock slabs were slick and wet. Sigh. Stellar conditions for hill repeats, right?! Well, needless to say the loops were slow both on the ups and downs. I was able to finally run the road without my headlamp on the last two loops, but the light was still needed in the woods.

I willed myself up and around 7x, which isn't much, but it's better than nothing. Gotta be good mental training at least, right?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why? Because the Sky is Beautiful.

This morning after my run I posted "Beautiful sky on view during this morning's run," to which Xar responded, "My answer to "Why do you run?" is always "because the sky is beautiful.""

Why do I run? It tests me, it calms me, it empowers me, it keeps me humble, it keeps me sane. And more than anything, it allows me to spend hours upon hours out in nature, taking in the beauty and the subtlety that is around us. Searching out the red newts on the ground, listening to the woodpeckers pecking in the trees, watching the owl fly silently through the trees, seeing the twisted track of the deer in the dewy grass, and more than anything on my morning runs, enjoying the colorful beauty of the shifting and changing sky as the sun rises. Because the sky is beautiful couldn't be more true of an answer. Thank you, Xar.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sam's Race! (And A Run)

Ever since her last race, Sam has been talking about doing another one. I finally found one that fit into the schedule, so this morning we were up early (it's race day!) and over to the Bath Y by 7:45 for the 1-Mile Pumpkin Kid's Fun Run. Of course, Sam has probably never run a mile before, but hey, you gotta start somewhere :) Sam was very excited.

The race was pretty small, maybe 18 kids?, with a few fast older kids taking off at the start and a bunch of the younger kids with parents in the middle. As kids (and many of us) are wont to do, Sam took off at a pretty fast clip and probably made it about a 1/2 mile before we had our first walking break. We repeated the sequence a few times over, but as she was very focused on trying to catch the girl in the princess costume in front of us and not let the older boy behind us catch her, the walking never lasted too long.

In the end, my Garmin measured 0.94 miles and her time was 13:26. This works out to a little over 14:00 minutes a mile. Yes, I wore my Garmin, what can I say? I was curious. I think both Ryan and I fully expected it to take her much closer to 20 minutes for the race, so we were both very impressed. She really did a great job, and it was a lot of fun to run along side her during the race!

Even better, she finished with a big smile on her face, and told us she wanted to do the race again :)

All set and ready to rock the fun run ;)

The start

Nice striding!

The home stretch

All smiles at the finish line!

She was pretty pooped after the run but revived a bit with a yummy breakfast at Mae's. Then it was home to rest up for Finley's birthday party in the afternoon, but not before I got out for run #2 of the day :) I headed over to the Commons as the sun was beginning to shine, and ran out to the ocean along the Coleman Farm trails. The woods and fields were full of the subtle colors of fall, and the 2 ponds in the Commons were busy with many Mallards. The run was fairly uneventful except that I was overdressed, having kept on my running clothes from Sam's race when it was cold out, and thirsty. Otherwise, felt good and was happy to finish up a good three-day stretch of running.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pineland

Out again early today, but this time driving to Pineland, as today is Youth Hunting Day, and there is no way in hell I am going to be running anywhere where there is even the slightest chance I might get shot. I started running at 7:00 am, just as the rising sun was hitting the clouds, turning them lovely shades of pink, orange and gold. Gorgeous.


I ran the Oak Hill loop, enjoying what I have always felt is the best side of Pineland as the glowing orb of the sun began to shine through the trees, highlighting the leaves and setting the woods aglow. As I ran back out to the field, I saw a small flock of turkeys in the field in the low, early morning light, unperturbed by my presence. 


I did a small portion of the campus loop and popped back out at the Y to see a small group of Trail Monsters gathered. After a few minutes of chatter, we took off, with Ian and Andy in the lead. Never a good thing :) John trailed behind the group with myself and Jess, the only other woman runner for the morning. It was soon clear that the men were just going too fast to keep up, and John drifted off in their direction, leaving Jess and I chatting away as we ran along. Ian was leading us on the course in reverse, and along the way, there was a long stretch of trail lined with 100s of jack-o-lanterns for some sort of haunted hayride. 

When we crossed the street, we continued along the course in the correct direction, meaning we ran into the guys as they were coming down the hill by the yurt as we were walking up. Jess had just run the BBU 50k, so we did a fair bit of hill walking as we headed back to the Y, but that was fine with me. 

Back at the Y, I had another 45 minutes left to run before Ryan and Sam met me at the Market, so Jess and I crossed back over to the Oak Hill side. There, Ian caught up with us, and he and I chatted away as we ran along. I was happy to be able to run up Gloucester Hill this second time, as well as the first, and felt pretty good as I finished up the run with exactly 16 miles in 2:44. 

After a quick change, Sam and I had a snack with some of the group, while Ryan headed out for his run. Then Sam and I went back to the Y and we walked out onto the pumpkin-lined trails for a short walk. She thought the jack-o-lanterns were hysterical, so that was a fun end to a Pineland morning. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Squish, Slip, Squish

I was up and out again early this morning. I really was intending to get in my long run, but it just didn't happen. My mind just wasn't in the game. During weeks like this, when it is dark and rainy and dreary for days on end, I really feel like I have some sort of seasonal affective disorder. I really am so much happier when it is sunny out. Oh yes, overcast days have their own subtle beauty, and sometimes a run in the rain is just plain lovely, but that simply was not the case today. Luckily, I have an awesome husband who understands the way my head works and who was unphased when I came in the door after 7.5 miles and sighed. He knew I was stopping and was willing to go along with a bit of flexible reworking of tomorrow's schedule so that both of us can get in our long runs without too much issue.

So, back to the run. I headed out at 6:20 am. It was dark and windy and just plain damp out. Luckily, there was a break in the rain so I had that going for me. I ran up the Snowplug Loop hill, slipping and sliding in the dark on the wet leaves. I sloshed through the puddles and carefully walked on the bog bridges around the Heath. The sky was finally getting a bit light by the time I headed down the old dirt road to the river, but it was still dark enough in the woods that I turned my headlamp back on every so often to navigate. The river was roaring and was flowing right up to the edge of its banks. All the incoming streams were high, and the singletrack in most places was more puddle than trail.

Once out on the Ravine Loop, I finally felt like I got into a bit of a rhythm, as the trail was dry and not quite as leaf covered. I scared up a deer, its white tail raised as it leapt across the trail, and a raptor, perhaps an owl?, flew out form the trees, gliding for a few strokes above the trail in front of me. Otherwise, all was quiet. Well, except for my head, which was simply just not happy with the thought of more miles in this weather and on these trails. I wish I could say I worked through it, but not today. Instead, I came in, took a quick shower, got to hug my husband before he headed out the door to work and was able to get a big hug from Sam before taking her to school. I think it was a fair trade. And tomorrow, my mind will be in a better place.

Speaking of the mind, read this. I will definitely be working on repeating/applying/remembering many of these things while running and racing in the future.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dark and Dreary

A wet, dark and windy spin around the neighborhood at 6:00 am this morning. Got in 3 soggy miles and that was more than enough on this dreary day. I hope the sun comes back soon. Something about all this gray weather drags me down. Looks like I'll be soggy tomorrow morning on my long run but hopefully it won't be a downpour the whole time.

On a cheery note, my Ultra 290s felt pretty good and man, they are as bright as ever! Gotta get out in some mud to tone those suckers down a bit ;) Also, saw a Bald Eagle soaring above the currents along the Androscoggin on the way into work. Always a majestic sight.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Glowing

Sam and I spent a good chunk of the day on Sunday over at Ryan's aid station on Lawrence Road during the Big Brad Ultra races. Luckily, the weather was pretty nice, so although it was chilly at times, it was totally doable to be standing around for 5 hours, cheering, catching up with friends, helping make roll-ups, filling up runner's bottles and doing some running and walking up the trail with Sam. We had a great time, and it was really fun to see so many of our friends running strong on the course. Great to see Amy out there volunteering too! Hurray :)

Yesterday, I simply just did not manage to get out of bed so there was no running. 

This morning, I figured I had better get up and out early in the hopes of beating the rain that is supposed to be hanging around for the rest of the week. I headed out at 5:50 am, suited up in my new Inov-8 Ultra 290s. 

They are seriously bright. In fact, the white part of the shoe practically glows in the dark. 

I ran the powerlines to Highland Green Road then turned onto the cart paths. I needed my headlamp until around mile 3 1/2, at which point the sky was just lightening enough to allow me to run without a light, but really only because I was out in the open and the paths were smooth enough that I didn't need to watch my step. The Ultras felt pretty good on my feet although definitely a bit stiffer than my other Inov-8s due to a more cushioned ride. 

I chugged along as the sky grew lighter, and enjoyed the first bit of sunrise from the Mt. A. hill, as streaks of hot pink, similar to the color of my shoes, appeared low along the horizon. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Early Morning 20

Up and out early this morning for today's long run. Started with the headlamp but only needed it a few miles, especially since I ran the cart paths first and even with the overcast sky, it's always much lighter out in the open. Saw a number of twisty turn deer tracks cutting across the dew-covered greens but not much else. After section #1 of the run was done, I headed out along the Heath onto the Cathance trails, wandering along the river, which was roaring nicely after this week's rains. It's pretty slow going in there right now, as the leaves are hiding all the roots and the bog bridges were incredibly slick too. Still, it's always lovely to be out in the woods out there. I ran out the long way to Head of Tides, and realized around mile 12 that my legs, particularly my quads, were feeling quite tired and heavy. I contemplating taking the right-hand turn back home when I hit the powerlines at mile 14 but eventually convinced myself that 6 more miles was no big deal (sometimes it takes some serious talking to myself to get these things done) and turned left for the final miles. This also coincided with my discovery of this little guy on the sidewalk, so I stopped to rescue him and move him to the edge of the woods. These little red efts always make me smile, so it was easier to keep going after that.


Luckily, the snowmobile/powerline trail is very mellow and essentially flat so the last miles were much easier on my legs. I ran the Lovers Lane snowmobile loop, scaring up four turkeys and two deer along the way. Finished up with 20 miles on the dot :)

We headed to Broadway Deli afterwards where I refueled with pumpkin pancakes and bacon. Yum.

Friday, October 17, 2014

This and That

Yesterday, got out in the mist and rain for a short 3 miles around the block. It was just getting light at 6:30 but the woods were still dark. 

This morning it was raining a bit too hard to really want to get up and go out at 6:00 am in the rain and darkness for 7 miles. Might just have to call those miles a lost cause, unless I can rally on Sunday night after Sam's bedtime, which is the only time it might even possibly happen that day due to BBU. [Yup, see, lost cause.] Then it was off to Dr. Jamie for a bit of tune-up. Darn the psoas and tight hip flexors. By the time I left, the sun was coming out and it was warming up. Kind of odd to have high 60s in mid-October, but it was lovely out. I met up with Val at Edna & Lucy's to pick up a map, some flags and arrows, then headed out to Lawrence Road and off onto the powerlines and into the woods for two hours marking a portion of the Big Brad course. There was still a lot of color out there, with a lot of lovely red maple and yellow birch and beech leaves down on the trail. 


The arrows stand out, but the orange flags sort of just blend in with the leaves. Hopefully they will be obvious to the runners as they come by and I put out enough confidence markings along the way! :-)

I had about an hour when I got home so after a quick shower and lunch, I quickly did a little vacuuming, cleaning and laundry (amazing what I can do in a short timeframe now that I have a kid!) then hopped in the car and headed to Woodside to do some volunteering. I had hoped to be able to help in Sam's classroom, but unfortunately, the schedule changed and they have Book Buddies with the third grade students on Friday afternoons, so today I was up in the copy room making copies. Not super exciting, but I am happy to help! Plus, I got a chance to look in on the class for a few minutes, and to see Sam's sunflower up in the hallway :)


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Back At It

And by "it," I mean hills. I also did push-ups. Well, you know, we'll see how long both last but for today, both were successful :)

So, here's the thing, running hill repeats in the dark at 6:10 am on a misty, overcast morning with the trails covered with leaves and the rocks slick with condensation means there was nothing fast going on out there. On the pavement, it wasn't bad, but on the trail going down and/or coming up the Snowplug Loop trail to the top, it was damn hard to see. It didn't get light until I was finishing up loop number 7 on my final trip down the hill. But I was out there doing it, so that has to count for something, right?!

Monday, October 13, 2014

An Outdoor Day

Out this morning for a 6-mile run on the Snowplug Loop. Beautiful morning on some beautiful trails. The colors are fading slightly but it is still gorgeous out in the woods. Then off to the bike path for a short ride and walk. When Sam is moving on her bike, she is fast! Of course, she had to stop a 1/4 mile in to have a snack though, so it's all relative :)

Cute little biker

Trying to speed away from us

On the bike path with Neenie

The girls

Along the Androscoggin with Neenie and Pip

After a Big Top lunch and gelato stop, we headed over to the Cathance for an afternoon hike. Sam was our fearless leader for the day and we had a lot of fun wandering the trails together.

Leading the way

Shimmering light

Flowing waters

Sam with Neenie and Pip

The hike was interspersed with some interpretive dance as well as jumping, running and otherwise following our orders :)


video

Instructions for our walk by Ms. T. :)

video
You know, just a bit of twirling along the trail :)

All in all, an excellent extra stay at home day and a fun day with Neenie and Pip.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Evening Three

Today was not a good eating day. Pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Fish and chips at Gritty's for a late lunch. A big piece of chocolate birthday cake and coffee ice cream for "dinner." Oh, and two apples, for something at least slightly healthy :) Aie. I'm not sure the three mile run Ryan and I took at 6:00 pm did anything to combat any of the above. Ha! But it was a pretty evening to be out running around the block as the sun went down.

Earlier in the day, we headed to Wolfe's Neck with the grandparents. Sam was in a bit of a mood, but I'll give her a bit of a pass as we all have those days. Not to mention it's been a fairly eventful weekend and I know she was exhausted. Still, I do stand by my earlier post of calling her a "poop" :) In between tantrums, she did at least a bit of have fun jumping from the hay bales and a fun ride out to the pumpkin patch with Neenie and Grammie.






These Are The Days

I'll be the first to admit that this whole joint birthday party thing is a blessing and a curse, and not knowing if half of the invited 41 kids were going to show up was driving me a bit nuts. Add in grandparents arriving and staying and me wanting things to be in shipshape (or at least clean :)), and I've been a bit of a crazy woman this past week :) (Sorry Ryan!) Luckily, the party was at Anne's house, where they have a big yard, and the grandparents don't care much how clean the house is, as long as they have Sam around. In the end, it was a great day yesterday, but I am glad it is over! I am exhausted. Didn't help that Sam was up late last night and then we stayed up even later to watch 100:Head/Heart/Feet with the parents, but it was fun to share the film with them.

I started out the day with a run at 6:00 am, out in the cold, quiet air, headlamp on as I traversed the powerlines to Highland Green. I ran the cart paths and added the Heath loop in to make it 7 miles. It was an uneventful and calm run, just me and the overcast sky and the crunch of the gravel and leaves beneath my feet. Then it was off to swimming with Sam, Neenie and Pip, while Ryan got in his run and headed over to Anne's to help with set-up. After a yummy Big Top lunch, we all headed over around 1:00. It was cold and raw out. I had on about 5 layers and was still freezing :) Ha!

Luckily, soon after the first kids started arriving, the skies began to clear and the sun came out. It got much warmer and made things much more comfortable for all the adults. I don't think the kids cared at all, they were having too much fun! We had hula hoop decorating (Phil's idea: irrigation tubing), pumpking painting (yes, 30 pumpkins, but only 20 used), apple scavenger hunting around the yard with prizes for smallest, biggest and ugliest (these old orchard apples were pretty ugly!) apples, cake, free play and then finally, mummy making. The party was a big success with little crying, no breakdowns and a lot of happy, laughing kids and parents. It was fun to have a chance to meet some of Sam and Anne's friends, and to have so many adults around to help things go smoothly. Happy birthday, girls! We are so glad you have each other, and so glad that Phil and Kristen are cool parents! Makes life much easier and more fun! :)

Cutie pies

Little angels :) 

Best buds

Wagon ride

I love these two girls. So cute.

Pumpkin painting

Pumpkins!

Mummy wrap!

Wrapping up Anne

Sam the mummy

Sam and Daddy

Mummy fun

Double trouble!

Happy Birthday, Sam and Anne! We love you!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bradbury Run and Hike

I was the first one in the parking lot this morning at the Brad at 6:50am. The air was crisp and the woods were quiet. I ran the mountain side of the BBU course first, hitting the leave-strewn singletrack of Krista's and the wide expanse of the Connector. Mist rose from the stream, and as I hit Lawrence Road, the almost-full moon hung low in the light blue sky above the frost-covered fields lined with autumnal toned trees. Very pretty.

By the time I got back to the Summit on my way to go up and down Lunchbreak, there were a few people taking in the vista, but I saw no one on the trails until I headed across the street and down Knight's Woods, where a runner was stopped by the edge of the trail on her cell phone. I actually managed to run the whole course correctly despite the very leaf-covered singletrack and my penchant for getting confused out there :) By the time I hit the meadow, my legs were feeling a bit tired, but overall my energy was good and I managed to run the 15.3 in 2:54 including several potty stops, a stop to tie my shoe and a stop to pick up a dropped Gu (gotta figure out opening the gels with gloves on), so I'm pretty happy with that.

Tried a mango Huma gel. Not too sticky sweet and not a bad taste, but slightly odd texture. I wouldn't rule it out entirely but don't think I could stomach them every 1/2 hour.

Met up with Amy for a coffee and treat at Edna & Lucy's after the run - it was good to catch up with her for a bit - and then Mom, Dad and Sam arrived in time for lunch. Yum.

After lunch, we headed back to Bradbury and went for a short hike. We hiked up the Terrace Trail, enjoying the sun dappled woods and the leaves crunching underfoot, and down the Switchback. Sam took a nice digger on the way down the Switchback but managed to avoid an egg on the head this time ;)








All in all, a lot of fun time spent at Bradbury today!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

By The Light of the Moon

Got out on Tuesday morning for a short 3 miles, and then again this morning for 4 miles. Needed a headlamp on both runs for a portion of the run. Days are getting shorter and shorter. This morning as I ran up the cart path on hole #3, the full moon shone brightly up in the dark sky to my left. I turned off my headlamp and ran along the gravel path by light of the moon. Glorious. I was a bit too early to see the sunrise above the Heath, although the sky was a rather lovely shade of deep blue. As I turned up toward the quarry, I heard rustling in the woods. Shining my light onto the deep round shape off the edge of the trail, was a big 'ol porcupine lumbering off. A bit further, along the edge of the quarry, streaks of pink and gold and orange lit up the skyline. A beautiful way to start the day.

(Did 10 push-ups this morning too. Trying again... :) )