Sunday, November 30, 2008

Muddy Bradbury Run

Snowman and I met up with Ian and Chuck this morning for a nice run at Bradbury. It was a bit chilly as we headed out to do one loop of the Breaker course. The trails, after all the rain we'd had, were a bit mushy and wet, not to mention icy and muddy. What's not to love?! As usual, I was slow on the way down the South Ridge Trail and Ian commented that we must value our bodies too much, instead of going all out on the downhills. Yup, no crazy all-out downhills for me... definitely something I should work on, I guess!

The rest of the run was spent on the east side. I always like winding through the trees over on these trails. Wheeee! The woods were quiet, as the trails were closed to bikers due to all the mud and muck. The ground was an interesting consistency, slightly frozen on the top and then wet, icy mud beneath. Needless to say, I finished the run with very wet feet!

It was a nice 11 miles, and fun to chat with Ian and Chuck. Even better, when we got home, we cooked up a huge breakfast. Yum!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Frosty Morning

Headed across the street this morning for a 5-mile run. With all the rain we had yesterday, there was a thin layer of ice on the pavement, making things a bit slick, and the grasses were all frosted over, shimmering in the early morning sun. The Highland Green loop was quiet. It seemed as if no one else had made their way out of the warm comforts of bed yet. I was feeling a little creaky, with my right leg pretty tight. But the run went by quickly and it was good to get out.

I really need to get ready to go to work, but I've been sucked in by Facebook. I'm new to this whole thing, and have to admit to thinking it was a bit bizarre before I joined, but it is pretty interesting and neat to see how many friends, new and old, you can connect with out there through their network. Anyway, as our friend Janet said recently, "Welcome to Procrastinationland!" and that is exactly what it is... but in a fun way :-)

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm So Full

I am still feeling full from our big Thanksgiving feast. Of course, that feeling might be because I had apple pie for breakfast! :-) But why not, it is Thanksgiving after all? Of course, on our way to Boston, Snowman and I heard on NPR that the first Thanksgiving dinners likely involved not only some sort of beer, but lobster and deer meat. So much for turkey being the traditional Thanksgiving meat! Bring on the lobster :-)

No run for me today, as it is pouring down rain and around 40 degrees. Oh yes, and not to mention I am working this afternoon. Ah well. Hopefully the rain will clear out tonight, so I can get a run in tomorrow morning before work without getting soaked!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Eat Pie Now!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone :-)

We started off this morning by getting up at 6am in preparation for the 8:30 start of the Feaster Five race. Wait, isn't this supposed to be a holiday?!

Chris, Meghan's husband, was the one who lost out on the deal, as he was our driver. Meghan, Ryan and I got our packets, hit the port-a-potties, went for a quick warm-up run, hit the port-a-potties again, and then wound our way into the mass of humanity that was joining us in the 21st run of the Feaster Five. There were 8000 runners (there was a 5k option too)! Wow. Never run with that many people before. It was a bit nuts! But it was a good day for it. Low 30s, sunny and only a slight breeze. I wussed out and wore tights, instead of my shorts, but was pretty comfortable throughout. I also proudly wore my Trail Monster Running singlet over my long sleeve shirt. Woohoo! :-)

With so many people racing, it took me a while to get over the starting line and then I did the wonderful bob and weave through the mass of runners. The first mile was uphill and seemed hard for the pace I was running. Yikes. But as the route mellowed out a bit, I settled into a good pace and just prayed I could keep it up! The race wound through the residential neighborhoods of Andover, Massachusetts, so there were lots of turns along the way. Other than the first hill, the course wasn't all that memorable, but was a fair one. The last 200 meters were also an uphill which was a little mean, but then I was done!

Official results put me at #271 of #2606; 10 of 366 in my age group; and with a finishing time of 36:18, which was 7:19 pace. I was pretty happy about that, especially considering I didn't do any speed work. Ryan smoked it and came in 104th at 32:52, while Meghan in her first running race ever, came in at 49:25. She's already talking about doing a half marathon in 2009. She's hooked! :-)

The cool thing about this race is that participants get a 10" Table Talk Apple Pie. What could be a better Thanksgiving Day prize? So along with the two homemade apple pies and the pumpkin pie we made last night, we have three, count 'em three, Table Talk Pies to eat too. Time to get to it! :-)

Monday, November 24, 2008


"Meh." Funny addition to the dictionary, I think, but I'd say it sums up how I was feeling about going running this afternoon. I had the day off, but Snowman was working. I knew I should get out for a run, for a myriad of reasons: 1) It was in the 30s and actually feeling sort of warm outside! Plus the wind seemed to have died down a bit. 2) I had already spent the morning and early afternoon cleaning the house, organizing some things, doing errands and a bit of Christmas shopping. In my mind, there is a limit on how much time should be spent on household chores, and I'd done my share for the day. 3) It is supposed to rain all day tomorrow. 4) I wanted to take tomorrow off to rest up a bit for the Feaster Five. But despite all these reasons, I wasn't feeling enthused. Oh well, time to go anyway.

I headed across the street to do the lollypop loop in Highland Green that Snowman had run last week. It was a nice mix of powerlines, pavement and packed dirt roads. I plodded along, lost in thought, and although I didn't feel great, I ended up with a decent time for the 5 mile loop, and as is always the case, was glad I got out.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Windy Morning at Bradbury

Although the thermometer was telling me it was warmer this morning than yesterday and the sun was shining, the wind made it feel oh, so cold! I finally dragged Snowman out of the house around 10:30 and we headed to Bradbury for an hour-long run. We headed onto the east side trails and turned left onto the Lanzo single-track. I probably set the pace at a bit faster than intended, but I was just trying to warm up as we zig zagged through the trees! Despite the fact that we were in the woods, the wind was whipping around, making my eyes tear up and my nose run. The ground was packed solid, without a lot of hoar frost, but with a healthy smattering of frozen mud puddles rutted out by mountain bikes. I felt good throughout the run, although my ankles were definitely feeling the affects of yesterday combined with the inconsistent frozen ground. Tomorrow I'll be doing a road run to give them a little rest!

The plan for this afternoon is to head to the theater to see the new James Bond movie. Sounds good to me.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cathance River Preserve Run

Snowman and I headed across the street to meet up with the group for a run in the Cathance River Preserve today. Along with Scott, our leader for the morning's run, Ian, Jamie, Chuck, Blaine, Jeff, Mindy and Kevin showed up. Snowman and I were interested to see where Scott would take us, as we've run through the preserve before, although I haven't been back there in a while. The wind was blowing and it was downright chilly, so we quickly took off into the woods in an effort to warm up. Scott is obviously a very talented runner as he set a pretty fast pace from the start. He took us on a wandering route through the Mt. Ararat trail system and into Highland Green subdivision down by the construction area.

Once we got onto the preserve trails, things got a bit technical, and I settled into the back of the pack with Mindy, Snowman and Kevin. Mindy and I chatted away as we wandered along the Cathance River. It was beautiful along this stretch. The river was flowing nicely and there were some roaring falls. The trails dipped and rose, punctuated by ice flows, lots of downed leaves, roots and hoar frost, which made the footing interesting. At 4 miles, Mindy and Kevin took a shortcut back, as both have been injured and are taking their return to running slowly and trying not to overdo it.

We ran along, enjoying the woods and the wandering trails. Jamie and I were the back of the train. I was glad to have the company, although it was not as nice for Jamie as he's coming back off a bad stomach virus and was running low on energy! Poor guy. As we wound our way back onto the Mt. Ararat trail system, Snowman, Jamie and I took the short way back to the parking lot. The out and back logged in at 9.2 miles on Jamie's GPS, and Snowman and I figured with our run to and from the parking lot, we got in a solid 10 miles. It was a fun run and nice to catch up with everyone. Definitely a great way to start the day!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shooting Star

Today was a long day at work, but I was rewarded on the way home by the view of a brilliant shooting star, arcing over the marshes outside of Bath. Beautiful.

In running news, I went for a short 3-mile run on the roads this morning. It was only 18 degrees out, and I felt a little breathless as my body adapted to taking in the cold air.

I'm looking forward to finishing off the week with a good TMR run at the Cathance River Preserve on Saturday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2 x 5

Snowman and I got out for a nice slow 5-miler in the Commons on Monday. It was just what we needed to loosen us up a bit from Sunday's race (or wander through the woods, in my case). We did see 5 Hooded Mergansers on the 1st pond, which was very exciting. I always love it when I spot these birds. The usual group of Mallards were on pond #2. Other than our run and a few errands, Monday was a quiet day.

This morning I got out for a 5+ miler on the powerlines. After all the balmy weather we've had, the temps this morning felt pretty darn cold. 23 degrees + gusting winds = one cold Sparkplug! As I was heading out the door, Snowman insisted that I put on a heavier shell, and I was glad I did. Brrr. Despite the cold, it was a nice run on a sunny and crisp November morning.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blackstrap Hell Trail Race

When we arrived at the little parking lot that led to the powerlines near the Falmouth Land Trust for the 1st Blackstrap Hell Trail Race, Floyd noted that our feet would get wet before we even got to the starting line. And he was right - there was an stream flowing across the access road. Wet feet and we hadn't even started racing! That pretty much sums up the conditions. Lots of stream crossings, some of them quite deep, lots of mud and slippery clay, one area of hoisting myself up big slabs of rock on the powerlines, wet leaves, obscured rocks and roots. Things were a bit treacherous out there, but it was really perfect crazy trail runner conditions :-)

Jeff had set up the race so that it was a staggered start with the slowest runner (based on previous Bradbury and Pineland Farm Trails race) starting first. The theory was that everyone would finish at approximately the same time, and really, it worked pretty well! Anyway, I wasn't the first to go off but I was near the front. And we were pretty spread out, so I was alone in the woods. Somewhere, I went off course. Jeff and Ian had marked the course quite well with arrows and orange flags, so I can only blame myself! I can only assume that in my attempt to not kill myself on one of the downhills, I missed a turn. Yup, I am silly. So, I did not finish the full course. However, that aside, Jeff (with Ian's help) put together a great trail race - thanks guys! - and I hope it continues in the future so that I can get back out on the course and actually complete the whole thing :-)

We all met up after at Jeff's house for a potluck lunch and post-race beers. Thanks to his wife Cacky for letting us invade their home. The whole Trail Monster crew is a fun bunch, and we had fun eating and chatting and laughing away. A good way to spend a Sunday!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Big City

OK, well Portland might not be "the" big city, but it's big to me. And we've made two trips down there in three days. It's the most social we've been in weeks!

Thursday night, we met in Portland, with Snowman driving from his cross country ski areas association meeting in Vermont and me from Wiscasset, to have dinner with our friends Hairball and Snowbunny. We hiked with them for over 500 miles on the trail in 2005, and haven't had the chance to see them in a while. It was Snowbunny's 30th birthday,and we celebrated with dinner at Tandoor. It was great to see our friends, and as an extra bonus, the food at Tandoor was yummy. Excellent Indian food. After a filling dinner, we headed to Old Port Tavern to play some pool for a bit before heading home.

Luckily Friday was a planned day off from running, as the combination of a very late night, beer and Indian food seemed to wreak a bit of havoc on my stomach, and I didn't feel good all day. However, this morning I did get up and out for a mellow 3-mile run in the mist and fog. Nothing exciting, but it did round out the week.

After work, we headed down to Portland again, this time to meet up with Snowman's parents for a meal at Walter's Cafe. Irene and Dana were kind enough to treat us to a great meal out in celebration of our completion of the AT. Thanks guys! The meal was wonderful. I even tried the calamari appetizer! It was actually quite tasty. I think it's all about the fried goodness on the outside... I had a nice plate of scallops with couscous and butternut squash as my entree. And as if all that wasn't enough, I finished off the meal with a truly rich pumpkin pie cheesecake. Yum.

Tomorrow is the 1st Blackstrap Hell Trail Challenge. Should be fun, although I'm not sure tonight's meal was the best choice. Not exactly light, but oh so tasty! :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Colors and Textures

I was up and out the door at 6:45 am this morning, and headed across the street for an out-and-back 5+ mile run. As I crested the first hill on the powerlines I had a view of the sunrise, the brilliant pinks and oranges low on the horizon beneath a thick bank of clouds. As I continued on, the pretty colors disappeared, and I was left with the flat light of an overcast November day for the rest of the run. The drab colors of late fall, with the leaves gone from the trees and bushes, were interrupted now and again however by shouts of flashy color from the bright red winterberry bushes. With the past few days of cold weather, the puddles and areas of water along the trail were glazed with ice.

The terrain beneath my feet ranged from pavement and gravel or rock to loose sand, churned soft by the ATVs. In spots I was tromping through sand with a hard surface, others on frozen mud and waterlogged ground marked by ATV and dirt bike treads. Hoar frost, 2" deep in places, crunched beneath my feet. Frosted grass made for a nice surface.

Despite the fact that I often feel out in the middle of nowhere as I run along the powerlines, they are in fact lined with houses, hidden behind trees. But this morning it was quiet, and I had all the colors and textures to myself.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


It looks like our nice reprieve from normal November temperatures is over. It was 30 degrees this morning, and the car windows were all frosted over. I headed to the Commons around 7am. The air was crisp and cold. My fingers were a bit cold at first, even with my gloves on, but as I settled into a nice pace I warmed up nicely. Saw my first Hooded Merganser of the season, along with a mess of mallards in the second pond.

To finish up my run, and make good on my promise about actually doing something for my speed (Ha! I lost it long ago. Or maybe I never even had it...), I did 5 sets of strides on the artificial turf field used by the rugby team. I had planned to run the strides on the grass, but it appears they just aerated all the playing fields so they were strewn with big round chunks of now frozen soil. That didn't seem like such a good idea, and actually, the turf was nice and springy. In between the stride lengths I did some of the bounding drills from my long-ago Bowdoin track days. I realize that doing strides isn't really as good as doing an honest to goodness speed workout, like Snowman did yesterday, but it's a start!

Monday, November 10, 2008


There is something about pancakes. My grandmother used to make us these cool Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes when I was a kid, and we loved it. Maybe that is where my love of pancakes comes from. Anyway, for the past few weekends I've been pining for pancakes. Our favorite breakfast spot in Brunswick, Broadway Deli, makes wonderful strawberry and blueberry pancakes. Yum. So, this morning we headed downtown so I could get my pancake fix! :-) It made me very happy to eat my pancakes and then sit for a while with Snowman, drinking numerous cups of coffee and talking.

After our big breakfast, it was hard to motivate for a run, but I finally dragged Snowman off the couch. What he really wanted was to take a nap instead - he had a long weekend of work and didn't get home until late last night. But I knew we'd feel better if we got in our run. The temperature was right around 50 degrees, but the wind was swirling around and kept us both feeling chilled for the first mile or so. We headed out through the Commons and then into Pennelville for a 9-mile loop. I love running out into Pennelville, through the fields on the quiet roads. But today the wind was in our faces, making this section of the route not all that much fun. The view from Simpson's Point made up for it a bit, with the sun shimmering nicely off the water. As we continued on, the wind seemed to follow us, only once giving us a nice tailwind and more often then not blowing right at us. Ah well. Despite the wind, it was a nice run and I felt pretty good, although my quads are a bit tight, making my legs feel a bit more leaden than I would like. I guess I need to do a bit more stretching!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

5 and Shopping

With Snowman up at work this weekend for a 2-day event, I was on my own today. After a leisurely wake-up and breakfast, I went over to the Commons for a 5 mile run. Although the sky was overcast, the rain had stopped and it was warm and muggy. The run went well, and the woods were busy, with people walking their dogs and biking along. The Bowdoin fields were busy too, with several soccer games going on. I guess everyone was out enjoying the unseasonable weather.

What's a girl to do when her workout is done and it's only 11:30 am? Go shopping, of course! No, seriously, that's what I did. No, no, not for me, as I really am not a big shopping fan and besides, we pour all our extra money into gear, not real clothes :-) But I figured with a free afternoon I would get a jump-start on my Christmas shopping. I knew Snowman would be happy to miss out on one shopping day, so I headed to Freeport. It seems like the rest of the world must have had the same idea. There were tons of people around, and LLBean was packed! Despite the crowds, I was successful in finishing off the shopping for my niece Morgan, so that is at least one person checked off the list. Mission accomplished.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Misty Morning

Another shorts and t-shirt run today. A misty and overcast 58 degrees at 7am when I stepped out the door to head across the street for my run. As I turned into the high school driveway, I noticed four guys headed up the powerline road. They were just cresting the hill. I wondered who they were and where they were headed. The other thought that crossed my mind was, could I catch them?

I powered on up and along the road, but they had dropped out of sight. I turned left onto Highland Green Road, and a little ways ahead, I could see the four of them. One of them was lagging behind, so I caught him first. I asked him how he was, and he said "tired." When I caught up with the other three, I asked if they were training for something, and they said work. It crossed my mind that they must work at the Naval Air Station, and be out for a run from the cluster of base housing behind the high school. As I was just about to pass out of talking range, one of them said, "What are you running? 7:30s? 7:00s?" I replied back that I thought I was running 8:00s, but wasn't quite sure (I am not good at knowing my pace, just ask Snowman!). His response: "Well, that makes me feel bad." It was a funny exchange.

As I had notched the pace up a bit early in the run in an attempt to catch these guys, I figured I might as well keep it up. I worked to maintain the pace for the rest of the run, feeling good about the effort. When I returned home, Ronnie the cat had a field day licking all the sweat and mist off my arms and legs. Crazy cat!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Is It November?

It didn't feel like it this morning. I went for a run in shorts, t-shirt and my fashionable pink sleeves, although I probably didn't even need the sleeves. It was 53 degrees and pretty humid out. Not quite a typical November morning, but a nice morning to be out for a run. I went to the Commons for the 5-mile out-and-back. The woods were quiet except for the scolding of the red squirrels and the loud calls of the blue greys. There were about 30 mallards gathered on the second pond, a place they often hang out in the late fall and winter months. I guess they think it's November :-) Not much to report on the run. I felt pretty good, although my groin is a bit tight? Who knows... I have a short run planned tomorrow to cap off the week. With this second recovery week almost done, I'm planning to ramp up the mileage a bit next week to 25 miles or so.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Late Night

I am typically loathe to talk too much about politics. However, I can't help but say "Woohoo!" I know there is a long road ahead of us and that Barack Obama is not going to be able to fix everything that has gone awry over these past years. But still, I felt a big smile come to my face last night as Snowman and I sat on the couch way past my bedtime watching him and his family come on stage in front of a huge cheering crowd, and as we listened to his speech. Hope is a wonderful thing.

So, politics is my excuse for not getting up this morning and running. I was tired! Ah well. Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

MDI Marathon Photos

I thought I'd post a few of the photos my parents took of us at the MDI Marathon. Don't we look happy?!

Also, click here for a cool slideshow done by Snowman's parents!

Thanks guys!

Monday, November 3, 2008


This morning started with us attempting to put Ronnie the cat into his carrier for his annual vet visit. He was not a happy kitty. We tried the side hatch. He refused. We tried putting him in through the top hatch. His legs were splayed out in a vain attempt to keep out of the carrier. Eventually Snowman was able to stuff him in. Poor guy. He meowed angrily and pitifully, no doubt cursing us out and screaming "Why am I in this bag?! What have I ever done to you?" The meowing continued all through the car ride. Luckily, we had the first appointment of the day, and were in and out within 10 minutes. Five minutes after we got him home, he had forgotten all about it and was stalking the birdies taunting him from outside the sliding door.

With that event over and done with, we set out for a nice run down at Reid State Park. The drive down to the park meanders through some pretty marshes and inlets and by the time you reach the park entrance, it sort of feels like you're at the end of the world. As it is off-season, the park was quiet. There were no other cars in the parking lot. The trail we were planning to run ran out from what I typically think of as the park, away from the beach and through the woods. Snowman had run this trail last summer at one point when I was injured and taking it easy for a few weeks, but it was new to me! It's always nice to go to a place you know and find something new. The trail took us by a pretty pond, the shore tinged with the deep reds of the blueberry bushes and tall cattails.

The trail then headed around the pond and along an old dirt road. As we neared the park entrance, I noticed a small path off to the right. Snowman hadn't taken this route before, but we figured it couldn't take us too far out of the way and so set off to explore it. The section of trail was more rugged singletrack and twisted and turned through the woods, eventually dropped us down at the far end of the park at Mile Beach. Cool. We headed down the rocks to the beach, running along the empty beach at the edge of the water. Luckily, we had the wind behind us, a nice tailwind.

A beautiful day at the beach.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pinelands Run

Another beautiful late fall day here in Maine. The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze and it was around 43 degrees when we finally headed over to Pinelands for an afternoon run. The small parking lot by the pond was full when we pulled in, so we drove over and parked at the YMCA instead. We could see Mt. Washington and the Presidentials in the distance, with what looked like a big swath of snow on Washington. We headed out onto the campus loop, and for the first 10 minutes or so I was cold, but eventually warmed up as we ran along. It was nice running on the trails again and kicking up the leaves as we went along. Snowman seemed to be struggling a bit, and admitted to feeling slightly off. But he wanted to keep going, so we continued on across the street to do the Oak Hill loop.

Yesterday the NESCAC cross country meet was held on the Oak Hill section, and so the route the runners took was raked and free of leaves, which was nice. We meandered along, up and down the hills, enjoying the quiet of the late afternoon woods. On a run like this a GPS would have been handy, but in the end, we figured we ran 7 miles (1:07:16). I felt good during the run, and it was great to get out.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Who Wants Some Candy?

When we were at Sam's Club last weekend, we purchased a huge bag of Halloween candy. Of course, we did this knowing full well that we had an invitation to go over to Nate and Shannon's for dinner on Halloween night. Still, we reasoned, with all the young kids in our neighborhood, surely some of them would be out trick-or-treating before 6pm.

Were there any? No.

We took a 1/3 of the bag to Nate and Shannon's and left it there for them to enjoy, but that still leaves us a lot of candy! I'm envisioning coming home this evening after work and finding Snowman all hyped up on mini Milky Ways, Twix and Snickers, the wrappers strewn on the floor and he and Ronnie chasing each other around the house. Good times. But at least it would mean some of the candy is gone and not sitting there just waiting for me to eat it :-)

I went out for a short run this morning across the street on the Mt. Ararat trails. Snowman's loop has a fair number of hills in it, so it was a good workout. The woods were quiet and the sun was tinged with pink as the sun rose amongst the clouds. Although I felt like I was working a bit hard on the hills, overall I felt pretty good and think I'm pretty well recovered from the marathon.