Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Vacation Day

Sam is at camp this week for February vacation, and today was a day off for me. I couldn't convince Ryan to run with me in the morning (I wonder why? 20 miles on snowshoes will do that, I guess! ;)) so I headed over to Bradbury after dropping Sam off at Riverview in the morning. I decided I'd run on the mountain side and see what I could find. Northern Loop up to the summit had been well tracked by snowmobiles. As the temps were already creeping into the mid-30s, the snow was fairly soft and right away, I could feel how tired my legs were, so I just tromped along, taking my time. The view up at the summit was quite nice, with sunlight streaming through the clouds. Very pretty.

From there, I ran down the Boundary Trail, much for more fun than running up it! It had been fairly well packed and tracked, but I'd say I was just on the edge of postholing in my Hillsounds and any time I stepped just off the edge of the packed ribbon, it was very soft. A lot of the inner trails hadn't seen much traffic, so instead of taking the long way up Tote, which wasn't well packed, I ran back to Northern Loop, and out along the Boundary in the other direction up to the summit. I finished up the run with another trip down Northern Loop then up Terrace and down Northern Loop again for 6 miles. It was a nice morning to be out in the woods and the trails were quiet in the morning, although the lot had gotten quite full by the time I returned to the car! 

After lunch and getting a few things done, Ryan and I decided to go take a snowshow walk out in the Cathance. Trails there had seen traffic but were still pretty soft. Snowshoes were definitely necessary. One of the things I love about the trails out there is that the river and the views are different every day, but always pretty! It is always good to spend some time out on the trails with Ryan and we did a nice 1.8 mile loop.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Weekend Fun

Got in a 13 mile road run yesterday morning while Sam was at her swim lessons. I've been languished in the 10-11 mile range the past few weeks, so it was good to add on a few miles! The roads were a mix of bare pavement and black ice/packed snow/hard ice, so it was a bit iffy at times but luckily it was early on a Saturday morning and there wasn't much traffic so it worked out OK. Ran out through town on River and down 201 to Meadow Cross and Meadow and then home. Did a short out-and-back on Meadow to add on a few miles. Decent loop and I felt good cardio-wise, although my the end my feet were hurting. All that pavement :) In any event, a good way to start the day.

After Ryan got in his run at lunchtime, we all headed over to Mt. A. to enjoy the snow and play on our xc skis. Sam really could probably use a lesson but she did a great job! It was nice and warm and sunny with soft snow and no people, so it was a great way to just get some time on the skis for her, and she definitely got more confident the longer we were out there. We got in a few laps and several attempts on the hill in the hour+ we were out, which was perfect!

Of course, when we got home, she wanted to take me over to the sledding hill and show me the jump run they had made. Let me tell you, that was one jump! I did it once but that was enough :) Luckily, there are other straighter, flatter runs on the hill and we had fun sledding for a while longer. She could have gone up and down all day long. Yah sledding!

This morning, Ryan headed over to Val's for his run and Sam and I followed up a bit later. We donned our snowshoes and headed out. Wow! It was like spring and we were way overdressed. Sam shed layer after layer as we hiked along, and I ended up taking off my jacket as well. The sun was bright and warm and it felt so nice! We got in a nice 2 mile hike down to the river and back, and then I was able to head out to run a "loop" with Emma, which was fun! Great to be out on the snow in the warm sunshine and get in some miles with friends. Ryan ran 20 miles on snowshoes (!!) while I stuck to a shorter 5.75 miles, but am happy to have finished up the week with 33 miles. Onward and upward!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Snow Fun

Sam and Ryan had a great day playing in the snow yesterday while I went in to work, making a big snowfort and sledding all afternoon. Should have stayed home with them ;) What fun!

This morning, after dropping Sam off at school, taking the recycling to the dump and picking up some books at the library, I did a little scouting on the snowmobile trails to see how conditions looked. The snowmobile trail club had been out grooming - hurray! - and I took a few steps on the trail in a few different spots and decided it seemed hard-packed enough that I was going to give it a go with my Hillsounds.

It was a glorious, sunny morning, if a bit breezy, especially on the return trip. Whew! But man, it was lovely out and I had a great time. The woods were insanely beautiful - the trees covered with snow, the sunshine glimmering on the ice. Even saw a Bald Eagle soaring overhead but was too slow with my camera to capture him floating on the breeze ;) I was content with my choice of spikes - the surface was soft but I think it would have been slow going with my snowshoes too, and with all the road crossings, I think the Hillsounds were a good decsion, even if the loop was a good leg workout! If things get packed down a little more, it will be perfect out there, but I'm not complaining! Got in a lovely 7 miles for the morning and am quite happy :)

"Go any direction; only go! You have only to go a few miles to be happy." - John Muir. (Taken from: A Guest Post by John Muir*) Oh so true!

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Well, let's see, shall we? Last Thursday was a snow day. Friday was a 2 hour delay. This Monday was a snow day. Tuesday was a 2 hour delay. Yesterday was a regular late start day for our district, which means a 1 hour delayed start. And today, guess what? Another snow day! Think Sam might get one regular length school day tomorrow before her vacation week begins?! What a crazy winter weather pattern we are in right now. More snow last night after some rain, heavier snow this time, but I'd say only a few inches.

In any event, as is typical of wintery weather, it has made running a challenge. I got out Tuesday morning for a slippery, sloppy 4 mile run on the neighborhood roads. Ryan went out later on the golf course with his snowshoes and it took him over an hour to run less than 3 miles. That is a whole lot of snow! Yesterday morning, I didn't get up early enough for anything big so I just did a 3 mile run through Patriot Commons. The roads were in better shape, so I was able to push the pace a little bit, although things are still slick out there.

Add on this current snow and there is a whole lot of snow to play in! Wowza! Winter sure isn't going anywhere soon!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Snow Day!

Pretty much all of Maine and New England got a fair amount of snow from the blizzard that arrived yesterday afternoon. I'd say we got about 16" here in Topsham, all light, fluffy snow. Now it is winter for sure! With school and work cancelled, we did indeed play a lot of games, work on some legos, and drink a lot of coffee, but we couldn't resist getting out earlier this afternoon to play in the snow. Such fun in all the deep snow!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Two on the Road, One on the Trail

I kind of fell off the training wagon this week. The weather was not my friend in terms of getting in the mileage I had hoped or my long run. A bit disappointed with that, but I had planned on it being a down week, maybe just not quite as much of a down week as it turned out to be! Ah well, such is life. There is always next week ;)

Friday I had planned to join Ryan at Bradbury to do some loops around the snowshoe course, but due to Thursday's snowstorm there was a 2 hour delay for Sam in the morning. So, after dropping her off, I headed around town to get my errands done and then came home to eat lunch and clean the house. It was in the teens with a 'feels like' temp of -3 and despite the sunshine, it was wicked windy and well, darn cold! I was not feeling highly motivated, but I donned all the layers and headed out around 1:30 anyway. As the roads weren't looking too bad, I just wore my Ultras and took the new 'bike path' along the Connector to connect across to Highland Green Road. The path was so-so in terms of being cleared but HG road and the back dirt road were in great shape and I was able to push the pace at least a little bit in the middle miles, with the caveat of all the layers, the wind and the cold ;) Returned via the path again to get in 6 miles and was more than happy to be done and get warm!

Sam had movie night at school and then went to a sleep-over at Anne's, so Ryan and I went out to dinner at El Camino - yum! - and I had grand plans of awaking early on Saturday morning to get in a good run before meeting up with Sam and the clan up at the Y for swim lessons. Well, I awoke to snow falling and made the silly decision to head out without my screwshoes, and found myself feeling less than safe on the roads with icing-over eyelashes and snow falling and so I cut things short to finish up with a rather mediocre 4 mile loop. Ack, blah, meh.

My one final chance for a long run was scrapped in the pre-dawn hours this morning and I settled on a bit more sleep instead. Sam and I headed over to Bradbury to volunteer at the snowshoe race. This time around, there was more than enough snow for everyone to play in, a good change from January's race!

Ryan had a great race, coming in 3rd overall, timing and finish line duties went smoothly, Sam had fun playing in the snow with Emma and helped with awards, and everyone seemed to have a great time. We finished up the morning with a yummy lunch at Edna & Lucy's and then headed home.

After getting things put away, I quickly headed out to sneak in my own run, hoping I could beat the start of the blizzard. My own snowshoe race for the day ;) In the end, the blizzard won, with snow beginning to fall with two miles to go, but it was great to get out, despite being a bit tired from standing around in the cold all morning and with a full belly from lunch. Ryan nicely put the deep cleats in my snowshoes, and boy, was it nice to have good traction and grip ;) Ha ha ha. When he told Bob Dion about my cleats breaking, Bob said, 'wow, that's hard to do.' Yup, leave it to me ;) In any event, 5 miles on snowshoes to end the day and finish up the week.

School and work are already cancelled tomorrow in light of the blizzard, so we're planning on lots of games, legos, relaxing and many cups of coffee while we watch the snow fall!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Pre-Storm Snowshoeing

This has been an interesting weather week, that's for sure!

Monday was a much needed zero, but then I also ended up not running Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday it was snowing in the early morning and I didn't want to run on the trails as I was unsure about a thin layer of snow atop ice and I dislike running the roads in bad weather as it seems unsafe, and Wednesday morning the ice was pinging off the skylights at 5:00 am. Of course, as the day went on, it turned into a lovely day but of course I had to work so I missed out.

Yesterday turned into a snow day, despite the day arriving with no snow falling. I decided I had better take advantage of the break in the weather and get out while I could so I headed out around 6:40 am, just as the sky was getting light with my snowshoes in hand. Unfortunately, no one had been out fat biking or snowmobiling on the powerlines, so I broke trail up to the bottom of the Mt. A. road, stopping a few times to take in the sunrise view. Thin bands of deep yellow and orange alternated with deep purple and pink right along the horizon, the sky glowed pink, and a sliver of the bright yellow orb of the sun made a brief appearance before disappearing behind the deep bank of gray clouds. The pictures don't really do it justice. Beautiful.

Sunrise sunrise

Glowing horizon

Ryan had been out snowshoeing on Wednesday so I followed his tracks up Mt. A. and found the backside groomed. I took the trail down through the woods back to the edge of the powerlines and ran out onto the end of hole #1, up along hole #2 and across to hole #3. Although the reality is that the snow shouldn't have been groomed on Wednesday, as it would have been better to let it set up before grooming, I was happy to have a fairly solid packed surface to run on, even if in many spots, people had walked on the snow and slipped to reveal the ice beneath.

Sunrise glowing through the trees

Groomed trail in the woods

I crossed the street to run around the Heath and found that several people had been out previously, partially packing the trail, which was nice. Definitely made the going easier. Then it was back across the street, up Mt. A. and back down (just because) and out along the groomed trail through the woods to the Mt. A. fields to finish up the snowshoe portion of the program. Probably got in about 4.2 miles on my snowshoes plus 1 mile running in the streets holding them ;) It was a slow run today but I was glad to get out and get in some miles!

Of course, it turns out that I somehow, somewhere, managed to lose both, yes both, the front clamp pieces of my snowshoes. There had been cracks in the metal which Ryan had been duct taped previously, but at some point, I lost them both. I have no idea how or where. I haven't used my snowshoes for running since the one snowshoe run I did back in December after the Fells, although we did snowshoe once later that month with my mom and dad out in the Cathance, and then again with Sam right after New Year's. In any event, if it felt like I was going slowly and that I was slipping around a bit on the trails yesterday morning, well I guess that's why ;) What can I say? Not sure how the pieces could have fallen off without me noticing, but apparently they did. HA! Ryan just shakes his head, but I can only shrug... I just like to go out and run! Details like front clamps, well, I just do not pay attention to.... :)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Runaround Pond Running

This morning, Amy and I met up for a run starting at Runaround Pond. Conditions, similar to Friday, were as solid as they come - great running. It was a bright and beautiful morning, good for exploring! We ran out 5 miles on the snowmobile trails, meandering through fields, across ponds and marshy areas, and out through quiet woods. At least one or two snowmobiles had been out since the last 1+" of snow, along with some fat tire bikers, but we saw no one except one friendly guy walking his neighbor's dogs.

With the thin layer of snow atop the packed surface, we saw a lot of tracks along the way, including one of an owl swooping down for a snack, the feathers of its wings captured perfectly in the snow. Very cool.

I was extra happy to have my right leg feeling good without much tightness at all, and of course, it was great to catch up with Amy! A good 10 miles for the day, followed up by yummy lunch at Edna & Lucy's and the sweet surprise of a birthday gift, which included these awesome socks ;) Thanks, Amy! A good morning indeed :)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

River and Ocean

This morning, I headed out into the Cathance for a microspike run along the river. It was cold, windy and bright. Although I suppose screwshoes would do, the microspikes really make for a much more pleasant experience on the snow-covered ice ;) Got in a lovely 5.5 miles.

More ice pancakes! Fewer this time, and in a different spot, but still :)

Sunshine and river

Cool ice formations

I got back in time for Ryan to get in his own run and then after lunch, all three of us headed out for a hike at Wolfe's Neck. We haven't been there in a while, and I always love exploring the trails there. We were surprised to find more snow than expected and less wind. Win win! We did a nice loop along the exterior trails, stopping to check out the beach and climb on the rocks for a bit on the way back in. A nice 1.7 mile hike on a cold and bright afternoon!

Icy bridge

Our leader ;)

Blue skies and beach

Island view

The sun is bright!

Osprey island

Happy hikers (Yes, I'm freezing, but it was still fun ;))

At the beach

Wolfes Neck panorama

Happy kid!

A fun day out on the trails all around!