Thursday, May 28, 2015

Green

Shannon's littlest was still not feeling well on Tuesday, so I was solo again. I decided to run the cart paths. It was a bit misty and drizzly, and I saw my first red-spotted newt of the season out on the cart path at the beginning of hole #8! The wood floor is carpeted with false lily of the valley, bunchberry, blue bead lily, starflowers and more. Everything is looking very green!

This morning, I headed out into the Cathance. It was warm and humid, even at 5:45 am! Got in a nice, sweaty 7 miles. The river is running very low right now - we really need some rain, but the woods look lush and lovely. The bull frogs were making noise at the vernal pool, so I stopped to take a look. Saw three of them in the dark water. We're headed there later this morning for a field trip with Sam's class, which should be fun! Hope 18+ little kids don't scare off all the frogs though! ;) Also saw a really tiny newt on the cart path. Moved him off to the side so he wouldn't get smooshed... smallest I've seen in a while!

Sun rising, the Heath

Ladyslippers

Ribbit!

Bunchberry and fringed polygala - what a pretty combination!

Tiny red-spotted newt


Monday, May 25, 2015

Weekend Fun

Yesterday was the "long" day at Pineland with the 25k, 50k and 50 miler. Ryan was up and out early to help with registration while Sam and I slept in. We managed to get over there around 9:30 in time to chat with Amy a bit before she left and to watch the 25k runners take off for their race. Then we visited the bouncy house for a bit before returning to the TMR tent to relax and have a bit of lunch. Soon after, Mike showed up with Marina and Nell as they waited for Mary to arrive back at the grove. Marina and Sam had a great time playing all day long - I couldn't drag her away! We ended up staying until around 4:30!

It was fun to catch up with everyone and have a chance to cheer all the runners on as they went into and out of the grove. Always a great atmosphere, and so much fun that it almost made me feel like I should think about running next year... almost ;)

The kids hanging out, thinking it's completely normal to spend all day in a field, 
cheering on sweaty, salty runners :)

The next generation

We were all good and exhausted by dinnertime, but it was yet another great day at Pineland!

Since I didn't get a chance to run yesterday, this morning Amy and I made up for it with a nice, mellow 10 mile meander through the BTLT trails at Crystal Spring farm with an additional out-and-back in the extended Commons. The ladyslippers were blooming (I didn't count today, too busy chatting ;) ), and we saw a few Bobolinks out in the farm fields. A nice, if warm, morning and a good way to start an extra day off. And, of course, it is always nice to catch up with Amy! Despite the parade going on in town, we managed to sneak in the back way and get donuts. Ha! Can't have a run with Amy without donuts (or bagels)! :)

Out in the blueberry fields

This is the trail. The trail is flat. 

Yet Amy managed to fall and scrape herself up :) She's back!

Sweaty runners :)

Pretty good end to a run! Yum!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Happy Heart

I'm not saying yesterday's run was a bust, but to me it left something to be desired. I just didn't feel enthused, so today I really wanted to do a run that made me happy. So I headed over to Bowdoin to run the Commons and Coleman Farm. As I was pulling in, I saw a number of seniors walking across the lot with their gowns on - graduation day! Amazing that it was 18 years ago for us. Damn. That makes me feel old. It also means I've been running through the Commons for 22 years. Wow.

The sun shone brightly and the sky was blue. The wind whipped through the trees, and out in Pennelville, the bobolinks twittered down in the green field grass. Cows grazed in the pasture and the air smelled sweet. Saw a lot of wildflowers and throughly enjoyed my run. A lovely 9 miles to finish up the running week and start the day. Just what I needed to make my heart happy.

Rhodora and Pitch Pine, The Commons.

Painted Trillium.

Apple Tree blooming out at Coleman Farm.

Ladyslipper in the sunlight. I saw 55 on today's run!

Ocean view.

Friday, May 22, 2015

East/West at the Brad

The post's title was supposed to be "10 West/10 East" but I only managed to get 9.1 on the east side. HA! :)

I woke up with very heavy, tired legs. Not quite sure why, perhaps just lack of sleep this week? But regardless I was out the door early and hit the trails at the Brad at 6:30 am under overcast skies. I ran the west side portion of the BBU course first. I must say, I really enjoyed it. Yes, my legs were tired, and yes, I stopped to take some flower photos along the way and walked a few hills here and there, but really, it's a good "loop." I got back to the parking lot a little before 2 hours and stopped to pee, change into a short sleeve shirt, drop off some trash and pick up a bit more food. I've been trying out different bars in an attempt to figure out some "real food" options for TARC. The bars have been a bust, so today I went with a Snickers :) They are great hiking food and we ate a lot of them back in the day, so I thought they might translate well for long slow distance. They are tasty! A bit much to chew perhaps but I think they will be a doable option. And who doesn't like Snickers?!

Despite the sugar high, I didn't feel quite so cheery on the east side trails. I ran the Bruiser sans the "O" trail, and twisting and turning around the Island made me feel like I was running in quicksand and not getting anywhere. I definitely struggled mentally, as it seemed like the miles were ticking by very slowly. I took a few quick breaks here and there and otherwise just kept chugging. Ran into one woman I didn't recognize out running and two bikers, but otherwise had the trails to myself. I fully expected to be able to get in 10 on the Bruiser course, but came up a little short and got back to the lot with 19.1 miles showing on the Garmin. Gotta admit I just said to heck with it and decided to call it good :) Ended up with a moving time of 3:37 plus 10 minutes of stopped time. Not the best run in terms of feeling super strong either physically or mentally, but I got it done. Now it's off to volunteer in Sam's classroom for the afternoon!

Flora and fauna notes: Saw a number of phoebes, one wood thrush and heard several woodpeckers pecking, but not much else out there. Did see a lot of wildflowers, mostly on the west side. False lily of the valley, lily of the valley, bunchberry, starflowers, blue bead lily, a few trillium, several ladyslippers, fringed polygala, wild oat, wild indian cucumber, plus a number of jack in the pulpits on the east side.

Ladyslipper

Fringed polygala. So bright and cheery!

Bunchberry! And a few blueberry blossoms too.

Starflower and false lily of the valley

Jack in the pulpit!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spring

Didn't have the chance to run with Shannon yesterday as her two littlest were sick, so instead I headed out under overcast skies a little after 6:00 am to run the cart paths. As I was running the first mile through the woods to access the paths, I decided I'd try to run "fast" this morning. Ha. Apparently all the prepping I've done the past few years for 50s, and the running I've done this year, have made me pretty durable, but it has not helped my speed. I am anything but fast! But it felt good to work a bit, and at least I managed to get in miles 2-6 at 8:15 to 8:30 pace ;)

Last night, there wasn't much sleep in the house. I am notorious for my interrupted sleep, but Ryan usually sleeps like a rock. But last night, every time I woke up, he was awake too, and Sam kept screaming out in the night. Not sure what she was dreaming about but it certainly didn't seem like it was peaceful!

Needless to say I didn't rise quickly when the alarm went off at 4:30, finally rolling out of bed a little before 5:00 am. But despite feeling tired, I am glad I did get up and out. It was a beautiful morning. As I ran along, breathing in the sweet-smelling spring air, watching the mist rise from the river, listening to the birds chirp, and enjoying the wildflowers blooming on the forest floor, I felt incredibly lucky. Lucky to have the ability, the drive, the support, the time and the desire to be able to get up and get in 8 early morning miles on this trail system right across the street. Life may not be perfect, and sure, we all filter what we choose to portray, but there is an incredible beauty to be seen on a morning like this and there is much to be thankful for. Now if I can just hold onto that feeling for the rest of the day ;)

The Heath, 5:55 am

Mist rising. The Cathance.

Neon green moss along the river's edge.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Busy

It's been a busy weekend so far. Friday afternoon, Sam and I did a little gardening and then met up with Ryan for dinner out.

My gardening helper

Family date night! Cheers :)

Saturday started with an early morning run for me. Got in a lovely 8 miles out on the Cathance trails. Under the overcast sky, the moss along the riverbanks looked neon green, and the wood floor is littered with the leaves of the false lily of the valley, wild oat and goldthread. Saw one trillium and one ladyslipper, its flower just beginning to emerge but not yet unfurled. After my run, Sam and I went to swimming and to get donuts, then home for a quick change and lunch before heading to one of her friend's birthday parties.

Birthday dance party!

This morning I was up early again, doing a quick 6 miles on the cart paths on a damp, cool morning. Was happy to see the trailing arbutus still flowering and saw the first rhodora of the season. The starflower are beginning to flower and I saw another small patch of ladyslippers coming up. Also saw two deer crossing the first green, and another, standing still at the edge of the woods as I ran down the hill on hole #6. Later in the run, an osprey flew over, a fish in its talons.

A bit later, we headed over so Sam could run in the Kids Fun Run at the Run for Independence. They had a bouncy house and music playing, so Sam got in a bouncy house warm-up for a half hour before the quick kids sprint around the block. If we'd known the fun run was going to be so short, we would have signed her up for the 1 mile race, but she had fun, and then it was straight back into the bouncy house :) We had a good time chatting with Blaine and Erin, Jeremy of Atayne fame, and Nate, and it was definitely a good turn-out for a good cause, and right in town too!

You can do anything in snowman socks :)

Racin'

Bounce house fun!

The plan for the afternoon includes a bike ride over on the Bike Path, so hopefully Sam will be good and tired out tonight at bedtime :)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Brunswick Trail Wander

I wanted to get in my miles today without doing anything too taxing, ie. no hills and nothing technical. I've been thinking about trying to get out to connect the "in-town" Brunswick trails for a while. I know Nate and Shannon have done it, but I have never run the middle section of trail, so it would be a bit of an adventure. Seemed like the perfect day for it. I started from Bowdoin and ran to the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust trails around Crystal Spring Farm that I've been running with Shannon. I added on an extra lollypop loop along the edge of the pasture to the edge of the farm, and am so happy I did. I wouldn't want to run this section in the height of summer - the grass would be too long - but it was perfect today, and I was able to hear and see my favorite field birds, the bobolinks. It made me very happy. From there, I crossed the blueberry fields to the high school and then ducked into the woods across the street. I have never run these trails - the "extended Commons" - before, although I know the boys used to when we were in school. It was quiet and peaceful out there, and I explored the different offshoots of trail, enjoying the woods. From there, it was a bit of road up to the Coleman Farm trails. By now, I was pretty tired, so I stopped in the shade by the pond and had a snack, enjoying the daffodils and the view. Then it was down to the ocean and back up through the woods, the forest floor awash with trout lilies. The final few miles were through the Commons. I hit the pavement at the field house with my Garmin reading 16 miles and change, so perfect! A beautiful morning for a fun run!

Flora and fauna report: Wood anemone and goldthread abound. False lily of the valley, starflower and indian cucumber are out but not yet flowering. Saw some wild oat, many violets, a lot of beautiful blueberry bush blooms, and many trout lilies out in the woods at Coleman Farm. The Crystal Spring Farm pasture trail yielded some good birding - bobolinks, catbird, cardinal, a pair of brown trashers, swallows, chickadees, goldfinch and a beautiful Hooded Warbler. Also saw a Black and White Warbler in the trees out along the Coleman Farm trails.

Crystal Spring Farm trails

Goldthread

Bobolink flying above the pasture

Wood anemone

Trail along the edge of the pasture

Sheep resting in the shade at the farm

Piggies!

Blueberry fields

Extended Commons trail

Horses Welcome

Coleman Farm property

Daffodils

Trout lily

Ocean view

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Midweek Running

Met up with Shannon yesterday morning for a nice, mellow wander on the trails around Crystal Spring Farm. A bit overcast, but the greens were popping in the woods. We spent the whole 5.8 miles chatting away. Always fun to catch up and a good start to the running week. My quads felt a bit stiff still but I was less creaky than I would have expected. Also still very congested.

This morning I was up and out early again for a 7 mile run on the cart paths and around the Heath. Took my phone in the FlipBelt and probably stopped a few too many times to take photos, although I could have stopped many more! :) Hard not to do on a spring morning with the sky full of interesting clouds and the woods filled with spring wildflowers. Saw trailing arbutus, bluets, wood anemone, goldthread, white and purple violets, some lovely patches of trout lily, one lone painted trillium, wild oat and starflower not quite budding, one patch of bunchberry just starting to show buds, budding blueberry bushes, and one brilliant bunch of magenta fringed polygala. All in all, a lovely spring wildflower tour! Legs felt decent, but still very congested.

Early morning light

Goldthread

Sky reflected, the Heath

Fringed Polygala

Fringed Polygala and bluets