I took yesterday off because I was tired, so today I got up and out the door at 7am for a short 3-mile run before work. I felt a bit creaky and am still a bit stuffed up (This whole cold thing has just got to go! Be gone, I say!), but it was good to get the blood flowing. In any event, I'm as ready as I can be for Sunday's race. Snowman and I plan to get in an easy 2 or 3 miles on Saturday to work the last of the kinks out and that's about it. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather and look for me in the middle of the pack :-)
Well, this is actually week #4 for Nordic Meisters, but as I was home sick last week, it's my week #3 :-) Snowman had a meeting in Lincoln this morning, so I made the drive over to Great Glen myself. Couldn't miss two weeks in a row! It was a beautiful morning, complete with a glimpse of the Pressies as I crested the hill in Hebron. And the views from Great Glen were even better! Blue skies and wonderful scenery, made even better by no wind and moderate temps. And the snow coverage was great. Pretty fast conditions. Can't beat it. I finished in 24:40, which I was pretty happy about considering I'm still recovering from this cold that just does not want to quite go away. Maybe it was the new poles! Nate gave me a great deal on a set of last year's poles that just happened to be my size. Nice and light. A good upgrade from the pair I've been using the past few years.
After my ski, I met up with Kim and little baby Nolan, and we all went out for a mellow spin around the fields, Nolan enjoying the ride in his pulk and Kim getting in an extra workout pulling him around! It was great to catch up with Kim, who I haven't seen for a while.
After a trip to Scarborough to pick up 3 5-gallon jugs of some sort of Auto Road machinery oil (who knows?!) for Snowman's work, we fought our way up the Turnpike against the wind to Pinelands to get in a bit of a ski today. Although extremely windy, it was a beautiful day. Not too cold and very clear. We could see the snow-covered Presidentials from the Pineland wax room as we suited up. Nice! We headed across the street to the Oak Hill trails, and although the fields were very wind-blown and it didn't seem that they had groomed the tracks, the skiing was pretty good. Only a patch or two of ice, and good coverage. I was of two minds during the ski today. Part of me was feeling pretty sluggish and a bit out of whack from not only being sick, but from not having skiied for two weeks, while part of me was happy to be out breathing the fresh air and enjoying the winding trails. We only skiied for about 45 minutes, but it felt like a good workout and I was glad to be out on my skis again. Hopefully I'll feel a bit more lively tomorrow for Nordic Meisters!
Although still a bit stuffed up, I am feeling markedly better than earlier this week, thank goodness. After a yummy breakfast of eggs and homefries made by Snowman, we went out for a 5-mile run on the bike path. We figured doing our run on the path would give us the option to bail out early if need be. Luckily, we didn't need to do so. I felt pretty good given last week's events and low mileage, and we kept up a good pace of 8:35, finishing in 41:45. There were a few red tailed hawks soaring above us throughout the run, and as we were stretching in the parking lot, an adult male bald eagle swooped down over the river, heading to the opposite bank to roost in one of the trees along the river. Very cool. Although the eagles are more common than they used to be, it is still a great treat to see them. We feel lucky to live in a place where they can be seen year-round. A good way to end a good run!
Well, I brought home more than just happy memories and pictures from Seattle. I came home with a cold too! Ugh... Luckily, I had yesterday off and spent most of it on the couch, reading and watching TV. Today I plan to do more of the same, although I might try to sneak a 3 or 4 mile slow run in, just to get my blood moving. They say you can exercise if the symptoms are above your neck, which mine are. Hopefully with some good rest this thing will be gone within a day or two! In the meantime, you might want to keep your distance :-)
I had a great, if quick, trip out to Seattle this past weekend, despite the hassles of flying. It was really nice to see Kristen, Morgan and Rob. I miss having them here on the east coast. We had a good weekend, spending time catching up and lots of time chasing Morgan around through the children's museum, the backyard, the house, the mall... For such a small little person, she is so full of energy and so loud! And boy does she love shoes! Hmmm... I wonder which side of the family she gets these traits from?! :-) Anyway, I couldn't resist posting a few silly photos of my most adorable niece!
I would like to publically thank Snowman for being the best husband ever...
The simple reason why is that Northwest Airlines should be called NorthWORST, and Snowman saved the day.
The longer version of the story is as follows:
The alarm went off on Friday at the ungodly hour of 3:30. It was snowing, but not hard. I went downstairs, checked both the Northwest website and the Jetport website. I also called Northwest and their phone system said my flight was to be on time. So, into the shower I went, and then dragged poor Snowman out of bed. We were out the door around 4:15. Road conditions were not the greatest, but Snowman was driving and we arrived at the airport at 5:05. I got into line and waited... and waited... we were not moving. Finally an offical looking person came out and said the flight had been cancelled and that they would be taking us one at a time to try to get us to Detroit. What? All the other airlines seemed to be leaving. Stupid NWA! UGH! So, I called Snowman. He said he would turn around and come back to get me. Best husband ever! In the meantime, I got on the phone with NWA. The woman I spoke with, after much brutal on-hold music, said, well, our system indicates your flight is only delayed. I said, well, an offical here is saying it's cancelled. I want to get another flight and get to Seattle. After another hold, I was told there was a flight out of Boston at 9:04. It was now 5:45. Snowman said, let's go! Best husband ever! So into the car and onto the road... Meanwhile, weather-wise, it's snowing, raining and is pitch black out. And we were headed toward Boston on a week-day during the morning commute. Brilliant! I spent most of the ride hiding behind my hands and feeling very stressed. However, to his credit, my most wonderful husband ever got me to the airport by 8:00, and I got checked in and through security with enough time to get in line to board. I was on my way to Seattle! Yeah! Then, after he dropped me off poor Snowman headed to NH to a meeting at work. Best husband ever, don't you think?
From the movie Airplane: "There's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you'll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?" - flight attendant Elaine Dickinson
I have always been a rather OCD flyer... I know that may surprise some of you :-)
I am headed to Seattle tomorrow morning on a 6am flight (when I originally purchased the ticket the flight was at a more normal 8:30 am, but they cancelled that flight and put me on this one. Ugh!) and have been obsessively checking weather.com, wunderground.com, nwa.com (Northwest Airlines) and the Portland Jetport website over the past few days trying to figure out if the storm headed our way tonight/tomorrow is going to affect my flight. I am really looking forward to my visit with Kristen, Rob and Morgan, but man, do I hate the fact that I have to fly to get there! Talk about going crazy over something I have no control over! Aie... Anyway, cross your fingers that I get out of Portland, manage to make my connection in Detroit and manage to make my shuttle bus in Seattle to take me north... oh yeah, and have fun while I'm there! Well at least that last part shouldn't be hard! :-)
What a change in the weather from last Tuesday! We got hit with another snowstorm yesterday, during which Snowman and I took a lazy snow day and stayed inside reading and watching episodes of "The Long Way Round," a "movie" about Ewan McGregor and his friend Charley's trip on motorcycles around the world. Pretty interesting and entertaining too. Anyway, this morning I was up bright and early in an effort to dig our cars out so we could get on the road up to Great Glen for week #2 of Nordic Meisters. I'd say we got about a foot of snow, all light and fluffy. Very nice! The ride up took a while, due to road conditions and the fact that many people just don't know how to drive in the snow. Arghhhh. However, my mood lightened as we headed toward the notch. How could I not smile? A blue sky day with a few wispy clouds, not much wind, and the Presidentials shimmering above the snow-covered evergreens. And I was headed to ski! The ski went well. Definitely faster than last week. I was able to double pole and double pole kick more often. My kick wax didn't grip up Grumpy, the big hill on the way out into the system, but on Dragon, things started to fall into place and I even managed to pass Rosemary during her skate ski (of course, she'd already done her classic race, so she was tired!). Unofficial time: 25:36, but you'll just have to check the results to see... I went out for a nice cool-down ski after the race, to enjoy the beautiful snow and the gorgeous views. Can't complain today!
Must be the weekend for 8 mile runs (See our friend Tank's blog about his 8 mile run yesterday)! The nice, sunny, relatively windless, 35 degree weather made for a pretty good running day, and as our longest training run before the Mid-Winter 10 Miler, our 8 mile run went pretty well, I thought. 68 minutes. I did feel a bit tight for the last few miles, but otherwise, felt good. The route we ran took us out into the Pennellville area, the roads wandering through quiet fields and through the woods before heading back into town. Very nice.
After a shower and quick lunch, we headed to Cape Elizabeth to drive the 10 miler course. A few good short hills in the first few miles to make life interesting and then although the rest seemed as a whole to be rather flat and rolling, somehow I think it's going to be a bit tougher than that! We'll just have to wait and see...
As many of you pet owners already know, often a cat's most favorite toy is the one that didn't cost you $8.99 at the pet store but instead was an accidental cast-away or some sort of typically useless item. In our case, Ronnie LOVES these long metallic twist ties that hold kid's toys in their boxes. We had taken two of these twist ties home last Christmas, and they have since either disappeared into the abysses behind couches, fridges, etc or finally been chewed into smaller pieces that aren't as good to play with. So, Dad just sent us a letter which included not only photos of my ridiculously cute niece Morgan, but also some twist ties that they had saved just for Ronnie from Christmas. Thanks Dad! Immediately upon noticing the pile of twist ties this morning, Ronnie went nuts! Snowman informs me that he's been chasing the twist tie around the house all morning, almost without pause. Crazy cat :-)
Poor snow... The combination of really warm weather for the past few days, the fog and yesterday's brief rainstorm is really doing a number on our snowpack here on the coast. It is so sad to see it disappearing so quickly. Keep your fingers crossed for a return to more normal winter temps and perhaps even another snowstorm for us crazy skiers soon!!
Today started the 8-week Nordic Meisters series up at Great Glen. For those of you who don't know what Nordic Meisters is all about, it's a fun citizen race series that Great Glen has been holding for over 10 years. Basically, anytime during 9am and 3:30pm, you put on your skis and your bib, and race the set 5km course. Your time is tabulated and there is an age adjustment, and then you see where you stack up! In the past, I've typically been about the middle of the pack, but it's a fun way to get in a good workout and have a chance to chat with all the other 'regulars' at Great Glen. Although it was the first ski week, it was also 55 degrees when I went out for my ski at 10am! It felt like summer. I skied in a light top, no hat, and was still boiling hot by the end of my ski. I had on univeral klister, which is a sticky goo for use with really wet transformed snow, and yellow glide wax, both of which are about as warm as you can get. I flailed a bit out there, as I haven't been out on klister yet this year, and it's always a different sensation from using regular hard wax, or from my waxless skis for that matter! My unofficial time was 29:19. Felt pretty slow and awkward, but we'll see...
Snowman and I have been talking for 11 years (yikes!) about going back to Acadia in the winter...
The reason is this: When we were seniors in collge, we took a trip up to Bar Harbor over spring break. How we decided upon Acadia we cannot remember. Why we decided it would be a good idea when neither of us really had any true winter hiking/snowshoeing/etc experience is beyond us too. But needless to say, we rented snowshoes from the outing club, brought our xc skis, drove up without making a reservation at one of the half dozen hotels open in Bar Harbor in the middle of winter, and proceeded to ski on the carriage roads and snowshoe up Cadillac. On said snowshoe, we were woefully underdressed and unprepared for the open expanse of the summit cone, where it is almost always windy, and where it was pretty darn cold! Silly novice hikers... Anyway, to make a long story short, we've been wanting to go back to experience the park in winter ever since.
And with all this glorious early season snowcover this year, how could we miss the chance to go on our days off?! So off we went! After a stop at Dunkin Donuts, we hit the highway to make the three hour drive up to Bar Harbor. We checked into the Aurora Inn, one of the few places open in winter, ate our PB&J sandwiches, changed, and headed to the visitor center to start our ski. Ours was one of the few cars there without some sort of snowmobile rig attached, as this was a weekend day and the park road is a virtual snowmobile highway in the winter (at least when there's snow). The connector trail from the visitor center to the carriage roads was untracked and marred by lots of footprints, but once we hit the carriage roads, the wide trails were double-tracked. Hurray! And it was great skiing. The snow was a bit soft and slow, but the trees were snowcovered and there was great afternoon light. Wonderful! And with the carriage roads, although there were climbs, they were fair and led us past wonderful ponds and up to some great vistas of Eagle Lake and the mountains. We had a great 2.5 hour ski, and were pleasantly surprised to see about 3 dozen people out touring along the trails on their skis. It's always great to see other people out enjoying time on their skis! By the end of the ski, I was pretty tired and we were both hungry, so we quickly showered and headed downtown. Walking the streets of Bar Harbor in winter was a bit otherwordly... in comparison to the streets in summer, filled with people, eating ice cream, buying kitsch and bad t-shirts, at this time of year most of the inns, restaurants and shops are boarded up and closed. We've never seen the streets so empty. But we had a great early dinner of nachos (in a hubcap no less!), pizza and beer at Geddy's, and then slowly walked back to the motel, our stomachs way too full of food to feel good!
Our nice server at Geddy's had suggested breakfast at Tapley's, an early morning eatery in the gas station at the edge of town, so despite feeling like we should not eat again after our huge dinner last night, we fueled up with eggs, homefries and toast before our skin up/ski down Cadillac Mountain on Monday morning. It was already 40 degrees at 9:30 am! It's the January thaw, I guess... The road, which is 3.5 miles, winds its way up along the flanks of Cadillac at a pretty mellow grade. So, for those of you who don't know what skinning is, basically we were suited up in our telemark gear, and the skins attach to the bottom of the skis, allowing you enough traction to slide up the mountain. Then when you reach the top, you take off the skins and ski down. Easy, right? Well, it's a slow mode of transportation, and the skis and tele boots are heavy, and as we made our way to the top, I got tired, my feet hurt, my ankles and heels were rubbing inside my boots, it had gotten really windy and I was fighting to move forward. UGH! But finally, we made our way to the summit and stopped for a lunch break at the summit gift building. After some food and a change of socks, I felt better. We stripped the skins off our skis and got ready for a ski down. Cool!
However, the warm temps and soupy skis, along with the mellow grade of the road, made for some really slow skiing. In fact, a lot of the way down involved much double-poling and griping on Snowman's part. Still we can't complain too much, as we did manage a few turns. We'll chalk it up as an adventure, and part of a great weekend!
So lest you think I am really tough, this morning when the alarm went off at 6:20 am, I put on my nice new flannel bathrobe and padded downstairs, looked at the thermometer, saw it read -4 degrees, and promptly went back to bed. Too cold!
So, since I'm on my winter schedule at the gallery now and have a few extra days off a week till March, I was downtown doing errands mid-morning. I stopped into Midcoast Multi Sport, a local triathlon store, to pick up some Hammer Gel. As I set the jug of Gel down on the counter, Doug, the friendly manager, asked "so, what are you training for?" You mean, people don't buy big jugs of Hammer Gel just to gulp down for fun?! Ummm.... rasperberry goo.... tasty! (By the way, the answer to what are you training for is the upcoming Feb. 3 Cape Elizabeth 10-miler.)
Happy New Year everyone! We had a nice New Year's Eve with Nate, Shannon, little Finn, Mike and Vicky. A meal around the table (with two of us using our camping chairs!), lots of laughter and fun, a few drinks, a brief time in front of the TV to watch the ball drop and realize that all these New Year's shows are soooo ridiculous, and then to bed by a reasonable hour. No one is stirring upstairs yet, so I'm enjoying a quiet start to 2008. Here's wishing you all a healthy, happy, fun, laughter-filled year! :-)