Thursday, May 26, 2016

Racing and Hill Workouts

Last night was Sam's last midweek XC meet for this spring season. It was at Harpswell, where last year she got tripped at the start line. This year's race went much more smoothly and she ran really well. She is not the fastest kid but she is happy out there and definitely much stronger than last fall! I love her open stride and how focused she gets out on the course when she is working hard. And of course, she has fun out there, which really is the most important part!!

Irene and Dana were able to come up for the day, and Ryan snuck out of work early, so she had a good cheering squad :) It was great to have Irene and Dana at the meet, and it was fun to all hang out and watch the rest of the team run. It really is a good group of kids, which makes it even better.

Being goofy at the start line ;)

Working hard

Striding toward the finish line

Thursday XC practice for Sam's team usually means hill repeats, and so this season I have learned that the front and back side of Mt. A. have names - Suicide is the bigger front side hill; Chicken the back. Apt names, both of them. The team does only Chicken hill repeats; Suicide would be too much for the little ones. Anyway, as I am trying to work on getting back a bit of speed this year, hill repeats are back on the menu. I suppose I would benefit from traditional speed workouts but honestly, you would never find me at the track - yes, I ran track in HS and college, but running through the woods is my first love and the thought of running in circles these days makes me a bit nauseous :)

So, all that said, I decided this morning to test out Ryan's hill workout, which he used with much success going into Grayson. I was feeling a bit ambivalent about it this morning as I didn't sleep well last night and honestly, focused, structured workouts are not my favorite way to run. But I headed out to do it anyway, and huh, I'd say it's not a bad way to do hills repeats. The idea is to run down hard then turn around and run back up the same hill strong, then rinse and repeat. But by doing both sides of the hill, there is a nice flat recovery in the middle. And as I could really do with some downhill work, this is a good way to get that in too. Today's workout was: Up Suicide > across > down Chicken hard and then back up strong > across > D/U Suicide > across > D/U Chicken > across > D/U Suicide > across > D/U Chicken > across > D Suicide. This came to a total of 4.3 miles including the out and back to the house. I'm calling it a successful first hill workout of the spring season and am planning to keep this one in the rotation through the summer and fall.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Flowers!

I am pretty sure I say this every year, but although I really love fall and profess it to be my favorite, there is something particularly magical about this time of year as the woods turn green and the wildflowers bloom.

This morning I headed out for a nice 6.5 miles in the Cathance, finding many flowers along the way. Bunchberry, violets, bluets, blue bead lilies, painted trillium, the first ladyslippers in bloom I've seen this year, fringed polygala, starflowers, rhodora and wild cala lilies blooming in the Heath, and false lily of the valley awash on the forest floor. Makes me very happy indeed.

The Heath, tinged with magenta

Rhodora

Painted trillium

Ladyslipper

Fringed polygala

Fringed polygala

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Morning and More Cousin Pics ;)

Headed out this morning on the 5-mile Weldon Farm road loop in Georgetown. Even though the sun was shining, it sprinkled on me for the first mile or so, but the rain was so light it actually felt good. Once the rain stopped, it got warm and humid but luckily I was only running 5 miles. Still, I sure was sweaty by the time I finished! The air smelled of lilac and honeysuckle, but the edge of the roadside was covered with my all-time least favorite, poison ivy. Ugh. It is seemingly everywhere down in that area.

Got it in my head that I should try to push the pace a bit on this loop, and somehow even managed to keep the final two miles under 8:00 pace. Yup, that's pushing it these days ;) Still, the legs felt solid and it did feel good to open it up a bit.

We had a great time this weekend hanging out with Ryan's family and were so glad to get a chance to meet little Cameron! He is a cutie, all three cousins were just adorable together!

Reading time with Gavin

Cousins

More quiet time

Sammy girl

Goofy cousins

Helping Meg feed Cam

Me hanging out with Cam

Hungry baby!

Uncle Ryan and Cam

Playing with shells

Making Cam laugh :)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Catch Up

Thursday was Sam's XC meet. I picked her up at school and she told me her stomach wasn't feeling great. We agreed to go over to the meet site and see how she felt after a snack. If she still felt badly, we would go home and rest. Or she could try to race if she felt better. She decided she wanted to try. I am really proud of her for that. Some days aren't our best but it's always good to put in an effort. She seemed to have fun and we stayed to watch the rest of the races before having dinner out together in town. With Ryan away for work, it was a fun little date for just the two of us ;)

The 1/2 mile girls, ready to truck!

Movin'!

Sushi! 

Friday morning after dropping Sam off at school, I headed over to Pownal to meet up with Amy for the final 10 miles of her 20 mile run. It was bright and sunny and 
warming up. We headed out on a nice road loop with some big stretches of dirt. Always good to catch up with Amy!

Of course I brought twists ;)

Pretty back road vista

Lots of bobolink song from this field. And oh so yellow and green!

We had lunch at Edna & Lucy's after the run before heading our separate ways. A good way to spend the morning for sure!

After some errands, I picked up Sam at school and we headed south to get Ryan from work and down to MA for the weekend. Little Cam is oh so cute, and Sam and Gavin have been having fun together. 

Little Cam loves cousin Sam

Cousins! And a new haircut for Sam!

Cute cousins

Sam reading to Gavin and Grammie before bedtime

This morning, I got up early and snuck out of the quiet house to go over to Bradley Palmer for some trail miles. Really lovely out! Sunshine, blue skies, cool breeze, the scent of honeysuckle in the air, towhees, catbirds and tufted titmice calling, violets, starflowers, lily of the valley lining the forest floor. Got in a nice, happy 8 miles. Felt good.

Nice morning view

Lily of the valley-lined singletrack. I'll take it :) 

Now I'm back at the house amidst the kid chaos ;) 











Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tuesday/Wednesday

This week, Shannon came over here to run on Tuesday. It was a bright and beautiful morning if still a bit chilly. We ran through the Mt. A. woods, along hole #3 and out into the Cathance for a lovely tour of the trails. It is always fun to share these trails with friends! The river is much lower than it has been, but is still roaring over the rocks in the rapids section and the forest floor is definitely greening up. A good 6.4 miles to start off the day!

This morning, I was out the door at 5:30 am so I could get into work early. I wanted to make an attempt at a slightly quicker paced run so I hit the cart paths for the 6 mile loop. Took it slow in the first mile up and over Mt. A. with a faster 2nd downhill mile, then managed to keep the pace around 8:50 for the remaining 4 miles. Nothing too snappy, I realize, but felt decent, although really truly I do not have much turnover in these legs anymore. Gotta work on that this summer for sure.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Early Spring Blooms

With nothing on the calendar for the day with the exception of dinner tonight with friends Nate, Shannon and family, we decided to head up to Boothbay this morning to explore the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Last year we hit it just right, and managed to get there on a weekend when the rhododendron garden was in full bloom. This year, we were a little too early for that, but there was still some lovely color to the found and a lot of blooms in the gardens.

We toured the Children's Garden and then took off on a hike out to the Rhododendron Garden and back around on some lesser used trails. It was fairly overcast and a bit chilly/damp out, but the rain held off until we were back at the grassy area right by the Visitor's Center. Pretty good timing! And we got in a lovely 2.7 mile hike for the morning too!

Star Tulip

Sleeping whale rock

Cool pattern on this tulip

Exploring the children's garden

Fern design

My girl :)

Inside the sculpture

Helleborum

Fun in the children's garden

Hi there

Azalea

Little froggie

Crossing the brook

Colorful azalea and kiddo :)

Happy hikers

Rhododendron Garden waterfall

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Beautiful Cathance Wander

Sam's little friend Anne slept over last night and by some miracle they were both asleep by 8:45. Of course, Anne woke up in the night around 2:30 am, managed to slip off the aero bed and steal the pillow off Sam's bed, so there was that, but you know, not bad for two 6 1/2 year olds!

I snuck out around 6:45 am for a run. What a gorgeous morning! I didn't really need many miles as I'm still building up slowly after Grayson Highlands, but it was too nice to cut the run short. I ran up over Mt. A. and had just had the thought that I had yet to see one of my favorite trail sights, the eastern red-spotted newt (eft stage), when what do you know? I saw one - just a little guy, hanging out on the edge of the pavement atop Mt. A. where the road passes between two vernal pools/wet areas! With the rain last night, I guess it was moist/wet enough for them to be out and about. I do so love seeing these little creatures. They bring back fond memories of the AT, when on rainy days, I would count dozens and dozens of them. I believe my record on the AT was 51 on a rainy day in NJ :)

Then later, as I was pondering that I had yet to see any of the lovely magenta fringed polygala, I saw a patch of them along the Heath. Hurray! Down along the river, the mist was rising and the moss was a brilliant green.



It was lovely and quiet out in the woods, with just the sound of the water and the birds flitting about in the woods. I saw a cute little Ovenbird in the undergrowth, pecking at the leaf matter. I stopped long enough to notice the stripe atop its crown, which confirmed the identification. Wish I had been fast and/or close enough to get a photo! Up towards the Quarry, a spot of orange caught my eye and I backtracked a step to find another red eft, this one smaller than the first - smaller than my pinkie! 


Got in a great, refreshing, lovely morning 6.7 miles, rounding out the week at 31.1 miles. Tomorrow will be a rest day from running, but we'll be heading up to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens to explore and hike in the morning so I'll definitely get a bit of movement in - and hopefully a lot of photos of things blooming and Sam out on the trails :)