Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bike Path x 2

Yesterday afternoon after a lot of running around doing errands, getting groceries, doing laundry and in general getting things back into order after being away, Snowman and I headed over to the bike path for a mellow 3 mile run. It was sunny and pretty warm, and we moseyed along, chatting away. The path was filled with people running, walking and roller blading on a nice afternoon.

What a difference 16 hours makes! I woke up to a dusting of snow on the ground, and as I was heading out to run, the snow started up again. I had intended to run Raymond Road, but with the snow coming down and the roads looking a little iffy, I decided to play it safe and headed to the bike path instead. I ran along, snowflakes hitting my eyelashes and snow crunching under my feet, the only one out on the path. There were several sections of black ice hidden under the snow, but the screw shoes did their job and I stayed upright.

With three runs on the path within 8 days, it's official, winter - and bike path season - is here.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Home Sweet Home

It was a fun Christmas week of visiting with family - and nice to be able to celebrate both with Snowman's family in MA and mine in NC, but it is always good to be home...

Here are a few highlights from our travels.

Snowman's special Javatinis:

Too many Javatinis may lead to this... :-)

Down south:

On the golf course:

My mom, the flag girl for the day

Dad on the 18th green

Snowman taking his first shot of the day

Pondering the next shot

And me, sporting my snazzy Bradbury Breaker t-shirt.

And a small token shot from the great birding I did while out running and walking, a Great Blue Heron on the lawn:

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Foggy Run

Another good night's sleep. Slept in until after 8am. I'm either tired or just taking advantage of the fact that I do not have a crazy purring cat licking my face bright and early in the morning!

As this week's running log has been looking pretty slim, I wanted to at least get in an hour-long run today. Last night, we looked at the map of my parent's development and picked out a route. The streets have a way of looking very similar, and as I do not have a great sense of direction, I'm convinced both Snowman and my dad figured I'd be calling them on the cellphone partway through the run asking them if they could help me figure out where I was and how the hell I could get back to their house! However, I am happy to report that I got through the proposed route with only one mis-turn toward the end, which dropped me out on a road I recognized. I was then able to simply re-route my final mile and get home fine.

The morning was a foggy one, and heavy too. I took off in short and t-shirt, with my fashionable pink sleeves on my arms. I was wearing Snowman's fuel belt (we had only brought one, assuming we'd be running one longer run together), and it was way too big. It was bouncing up and down on my waist and hips for the first 30 minutes, until I was warm enough to take off my sleeves and wrap them around the belt, adding just the right additional padding to keep the darn thing from moving around so much.

The run went well. I felt much more "myself" today - didn't feel quite as sluggish and tight as I did during yesterday's run. The streets were quiet, and the route took me on a 1-mile wooded path mid-way through the run, which was nice. Saw several robins, mockingbirds, a cardinal, four bluebirds and a few juncos along the way. Also caught sight of the Shrike and the Meadowlarks in the field next to my parent's house.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Running, Walking and Birding

This morning, after a good night's sleep, Snowman and I headed out for a quick run before their tee-time. Unfortunately, Snowman made it about two steps before he turned around. His calf wasn't feeling any better, so he wished me a good run and headed back inside. It was around 48 degrees, overcast and a bit windy. All in all, pretty nice weather considering the last time I ran it was 5 degrees out!

I headed down the quiet streets, and took a path my parents had shown us yesterday afternoon during a short walk. The path ran along the edge of the development's property, through the woods and along several of the many ponds. It was nice to be out running, but I felt a bit sluggish and tight. Too much sitting and eating and not moving! During the run, I flushed up six bluebirds, along with sighting two great blue heron and many canadian geese. When I got back to my parent's house, I flushed up four meadowlarks as I slowly walked to the back to take in a better view of the Loggerhead Shrike that was sitting on one of the small trees at the edge of their yard. Pretty good birding for 35 minutes out and about!

My mom and I then joined Snowman and my dad for their first 9 holes of golf. I was much happier walking along, enjoying the scenery and the birds, than attempting to play what has to be the most frustrating game on earth! Noted a dozen cormorants roosting in a dead tree by one of the ponds, as well as several other bluebirds, many mockingbirds and a few blue jays. A red-shouldered hawk was a good spot by my dad, and the highlight for me was seeing a pair of ruby-crowned kinglets. Beautiful little birds! Also saw several Fox Squirrels along the course. What funny looking creatures :-)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
-Dr. Seuss

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

After celebrating Christmas a day early with Snowman's family yesterday, this morning we're off to North Carolina. Assuming we get through the traveling bit OK (as you might remember, I am not all that fond of flying), we plan to enjoy a few quiet and warm days down south with my parents. Should be fun!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's Cold Out There!

After yesterday's "lazy day" of shoveling, house cleaning, organizing, getting ready for our travels over Christmas and no running or skiing, I really wanted to get out there this morning. But man, it was cold out! 5 degrees when I headed out the door a little after 7am. I headed for the bike path, figuring with all the snow, that it would be a bit safer to be on the bike path instead of dodging snow piles and cars. There were no other cars in the parking lot when I arrived. What? You mean, this isn't a good morning for running?!

I ran along, the cold and dry snow crunching beneath my feet. The sun was slowly poking its head up over the trees on the horizon, and the river was jammed with ice. It took me until around 1.5 miles to finally warm up and feel my hands. Brrr... But it felt good to get out and run!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Winter has truly arrived. We are in the midst of yet another snowstorm, and I got in my first ski of the season this morning!

I joined Nate, Shannon and little Finley for a trip to Pinelands. As we drove the backroads to New Gloucester, the trees were covered with snow and it looked very pretty. However, as soon as we were all geared up and Finley had on a million and one layers, the wind picked up, snow was falling and boy, was it chilly! It was the inaugural test of the Nordic Chariot, and well, let's just say it didn't go so well. Finley wouldn't wear his mittens, he was unhappy to be out in the cold and he sure didn't want to be strapped into this contraption! Poor kiddo. Hopefully next time will go a bit more smoothly!

Shannon took Finley inside, and Nate decided to go for a short spin down towards the river before going inside to look in on them. I was freezing and wanted to be out of the wind, and so I headed out across the street to Oak Hill, into the woods. Once I hit the shelter of the trees, I finally warmed up. The trails were in good shape, although with no tracks. I only passed two other people while I was out there, and enjoyed gliding along on the quiet trails now covered in a dusting of snow. As I skied along, I realized the snow was falling pretty hard, and when I headed back to the outdoor center I could hardly tell where the trail was. I kept going off course, sinking into the soft snow in the fields. When I looked in the bathroom mirror after I got in the building, I realized I was encrusted in snow and ice. What a morning!

Friday, December 19, 2008

End of the Week

Another cold morning. 15 degrees. Brrr! I headed out to do the Raymond Road loop around 7:00am. A soft, early morning light was hitting the trees along the Pleasant Hill Road, and the grasses were covered in frost. Very pretty. The run itself was uneventful, and was a nice way to round out the week.

In other news, on the way home from my run, I was listening to NPR and they mentioned a new fragrance had come on the market. It is called "Flame" and if you just can't resist the smell of flame-broiled meat, this is the fragrance for you! Don't know that it would do it for me, but it appears there are enough people out there who just can't get enough of the fast-food burger smell... If you know anyone who fits this description, now you know what you can get them for their stocking stuffer present this year! Yummmm, meat...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sunrise Run

What a difference a few days make! We are now squarely back into winter. Yesterday brought a few inches of snow, which is now covering the ground, making things look nice and festive. The storm also heralded in some colder temps.

I got up a bit early to do my core exercises (note to self: must do these more often!), and once the exercises were done, I decided to head on out. I ran across the street, and headed up the powerlines. As I crested the first hill, the sky was still dark, but hints of pink and orange were showing low along the horizon. It was 6:45 am and 12 degrees.

The 2" of snow on the powerlines was just enough to make things interesting. It was strange to sink through the snow into soft sand, and in the next step onto ice. But the Inov-8 screw shoes gripped well and I had no troubles. Once I turned off onto Highland Green Road, I was on pavement. The sidewalks had been plowed but there was still a coating of snow on them. I ran along, surprised to encounter a pair of runners out with their dog. I had expected to be the only crazy one out! :-) The snow made for some fun viewing of animal tracks - a big swath of turkey tracks, as well as deer and what was perhaps a fox? or raccoon?

At the back of the development, I was treated to a view of the sunrise. The sky had lightened and the colors were fiery. Here, the road turns to dirt, and as I headed up the hill, into the woods, the brilliant colors showing through the leaf-less trees, breathing in the cold and crisp air, I had to smile. What a way to start off the morning!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Record High Temps

We're sitting on the couch, watching the Weather Channel, which indicated that today's high temps of 52 degrees set a record high for Brunswick, breaking the previous record set back in 1975. Crazy.

We finally got in a 3-mile run in the Commons at 4pm, after a day of Christmas shopping and errands, and the sun was already setting. The woods were dark, and the trails were squishy. The inches of frozen slush on the ground had melted into lots of very cold puddles and had created a nice slippery layer on top of the leaves. But I was pleased to find my legs felt good as we ran along. I am also happy to say that we are now officially finished with the holiday shopping and I am also done writing Christmas cards. Hurray! Now I just have to do the wrapping...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why Do We Do This?

That was the question we asked ourselves upon finishing our 15-mile run this afternoon. I mean, we are no longer training for a marathon. The Pineland Trail Challenge 50k is far away. Our next upcoming race is the Classic 10-Miler. So, why were we running 15? Well, why not? I mean, it's better than sitting on the couch, isn't it? If you remove the fact that my right leg was begging for mercy about halfway through (silly ITB! Hopefully Shannon will be able to do some more massage magic on the leg tomorrow!), and Snowman was commenting throughout the run that he might throw up the oatmeal he ate for breakfast (I don't know that a huge bowl of oatmeal was the wisest pre-run choice!), then 15 miles/2:16 of exercise is good for you! Oh yes, and we're planning on running 3 laps (18.6 miles) of the GAC Fat Ass race on January 10. So, there we are.

We didn't quite get the early start I was hoping for, and finally headed out from the field house around 12:30. Snowman was nice enough to join me on a road run this time, as I was feeling a bit wussy and didn't want to run 15 miles on the trails today. We headed out down Rt. 123 toward Pennelville. The Pennelville fields were covered with a frosty layer of snow and ice, and the trees were still encrusted in ice. Their branches shimmered in the sun, and every once in a while let loose a smattering of ice pellets down onto the ground below. We heard a number of generators humming out on the quiet roads, a sure sign that all power has not yet been restored to some of these outlying roads. We took the road down to Simpson's Point, and took a moment to enjoy the view of the water.

The route wound us out and around, down to Maquoit Bay. The wind was whipping off the ocean and it was quite cold, especially because by that point we were about 8 miles into the run and had worked up a sweat. We had the option to cut off a few miles soon after, and as neither of us were feeling perfectly perky, perhaps it would have been the best option. But, as neither of us wanted to be the one to give in, we kept on going :-) The final miles were a bit of a grind, but all told, despite our complaining, it was a good run and I was glad we got out. It also certainly meant that I deserved the yummy oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies that I just ate!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


The storm cleared out around 3pm yesterday, bringing with it a cold front. For those without power, I hope you've found a place to stay warm! I know our place wouldn't hold up to 19 degree weather for long without heat.

I awoke this morning and headed out to the Commons for a 5-mile run before work. I put on my Inov-8 screw shoes, and figured they would really get a good test today as there was an inch or two of crispy, frozen, granular packed ice and junk on the ground. As I headed out from the field house, the full moon was still shining brightly in the sky, while to the east the sun was rising above the treetops. The trees shimmered, their ice-covered limbs reflecting the light. Beautiful.

However, seeing all these trees covered in ice also meant there were a lot of downed limbs and bent trees in the woods. The pine boughs snap and break; the poor whispy and delicate birches get bent to the ground. So sad. It also made the route through the Commons a bit of an obstacle course! I was very happy to have the screw shoes, as I felt secure chugging along, my feet digging into the granular and gripping on the icy crust. Despite that, as with any running done in the snow (or on the sand), the going was a bit tough and I had to put in a bit more effort than I would have liked. This was reflected in the extra time it took me to run the out-and-back route today.

That being said, it was nice to be out in the cold, crisp air, enjoying the quiet of the morning woods, which was broken only by the falling of icicles from the trees above, and the crunch of the snow and ice beneath my feet.

Friday, December 12, 2008

New England Weather

I am currently sitting on the couch, writing holiday cards. Yo, ho, sending Christmas cards! :-) And outside, we are in the midst of a nasty storm. Everything from lots of ice to rain to slop and maybe a bit of snow. Ugh. Definitely a day to stay inside. No running today, that's for sure.

I did get out for a run in the Commons yesterday morning. As it had gotten cold after all the rain we received on Wednesday, I chose to wear my Inov-8 screw shoes. Things were a little crispy out in the woods, but nothing bad, so I didn't really need the screw shoes. Oh well. However, I am 100% positive that they will be of use on tomorrow morning's run, as the few inches of muck currently on the ground is bound to freeze up solid and make things interesting as the temps fall into the teens tonight!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Drowned Rat

...that is how I felt today during my run. And it is all my fault. Last night I made screw shoes out of both my road and trail shoes, and was looking forward to trying them out on this morning's run. And what did the weather gods throw at us today? 50 degree temps, rain and wind. Enough to melt all the snow and render the screw shoes a useless item. So, I had to dig out an old pair of road shoes to wear. Ah well...

I headed across the street to do the 5-mile Highland Green road loop under a dark and stormy sky at 7am. The wind was howling. When it was gusting at my back, pushing me along, it was great. I was flying! But then, on the return, I could barely move forward. The rain was pelting me in the face. I was soaked. Despite all that, I did feel pretty good. Shannon worked on my right leg on Sunday night, and although she was shocked at how tight my IT band was, the work did seem to loosen things up. Definitely felt better. Thanks Shannon!

Despite the warm temps, it is December, and with that, what do we have in store for tomorrow? wunderground.com is calling for ice pellets and snow. As they say here in Maine, if you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes. It will change. Gotta love it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I am so not handy!

The website said anyone could make screw shoes. And well, technically, I suppose that's true. I did make 2 pairs of screw shoes. However, the site did not tell you that things would be much more complicated if the batteries in your drill were not fully charged, and if you are just not good with tools. The past hour and a half involved a fair amount of swearing, but thank goodness, in the end, did yield me some screw shoes! Meanwhile, Ronnie the cat looked on lazily, wondering what the hell the humans were up to...

Here is the evidence:

In other news, Snowman and I got in a nice mellow 3-mile run yesterday afternoon in the Commons, and this morning I slept in. A test run for the road pair of screw shoes is on tap for tomorrow morning. Stay tuned for the review.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Snowy 12

Snowman and I met up with Mindy and Tim at Pinelands for a nice run this morning. The ground was blanketed with a dusting of snow and flakes were falling throughout our tour of the Pineland Farms Trail Challenge course (minus the fields). As is to be expected this time of year, the ground was a mix of slippery grass, frozen mud, crusty sand, ice, and all of the above covered with snow. Amazingly none of us took a spill, but it did remind me that it really is time to make my Inov-8s into screw shoes! Perhaps that will be my project for tomorrow...

Mindy and Tim joined us for 8 miles, and then Snowman and I headed across the street to do an additional 4.5 or so to get in our planned 12 miles for the day. I was feeling pretty tired during those last miles, but overall it was a good run, with great company and some fun conversations. We then consumed at least as many calories as we expended during our run at Stone's Cafe. Yummmm... chocolate chip pancakes :-)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Raymond Road Run

I was lazy yesterday and didn't get out of bed in time to get in a run before I had to be at work for an early meeting. I suppose these are the times when a treadmill would be useful, as I couldn't quite convince myself to get out for an after-work, in the dark, evening run either. Oh well.

To make up for yesterday's missed run, I decided to get in a longer run this morning. I headed out a little after 7am from the field house to do the Raymond Road loop. The sun was still low on the horizon and most of my run was spent down in the shadows. I was reminded, however, of how much I like the stretch in this run along Pleasant Hill Road, as when I crested the hill by Crystal Spring Farms, the early morning sun was bathing the fields in soft light. A flock of starlings flew up from the fields in a big cloud, cascading back down on the bare branches of one of the oak trees at the edge of the pasture. A small bush of red winterberries shone in the sunlight. A beautiful morning.

Temps were in the low 30s, so it was quite pleasant out, and it wasn't terribly windy. The only bad part of the run was that on several occasions I was passed by short convoys of dump-type trucks, which kicked up sand and dust and grit into my face. ugh. Ah, road running :-)

I felt like I was working throughout the run, but finished off the 8-mile loop in the pretty quick (for me!) time of 1:05. That may have been why it felt like work! My right calf/IT band is very tight, however. I think it might be time to see if our friend Shannon can do a bit of massaging magic on that leg!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I've been reading "Yes Man," lent to me by my boss. It's a pretty funny story actually, full of ridiculous adventures as the main character takes on the challenge to say "yes" to any and all direct questions posed to him. Saying "yes" to everything is of course taking things a bit too far, but the idea is a solid one. Always a good idea to be reminded that one should think positively about life and its possibilities.

On a running note, I got up early and went to the Commons for a nice 5-mile run. The woods were quiet and the sun was shining. The ice on the ponds is beginning to look a bit more permanent, and the mallards in the second pond were all flocked together in one of the inlets. My legs felt a bit stiff, but they loosened up after a mile or so and the run finished well.

Monday, December 1, 2008

1000 Miles

Forgot to mention that about 2 miles into our Bradbury run yesterday, I hit 1000 miles for 2008. Now, I know that for some of our ultrarunning friends, 1000 miles probably isn't much, but it's pretty exciting for me. I know I haven't hit 1000 miles in the past 10 years. Maybe even more than that. I'd have to dig out the old training logs, which are currently buried in the attic, to find out for sure. But regardless, the fact remains that this has been one of my most solid running years in a long time. Woohoo! And still a month to go :-)

Today was a quiet day. We awoke rather late to a dusting of snow on the ground, with a light mist falling. I was feeling a bit sore from yesterday's run, especially in the ankles. I'm sure that doesn't surprise Chuck, who ran behind me for several miles and saw how many times I put my feet down with a twist to the ankles! After a morning spent sitting around, doing a few chores and watching Snowman swear at the TV as he tried to install and get the new HD cable box working, we finally got out for a short run around 3pm. We headed to the Commons for a mellow 3 mile run. Rather uneventful, except for the snow and slush covered ground. Time for screw shoes!