Saturday, January 31, 2009

Morning Run

I headed over to the bike path this morning to get in a short 3-mile run before tomorrow's race. The sky was a pale pink, and the sun was rising over the frozen river. All of the trees along the edge of the river were frosted over, and it was just so peaceful looking, with everything rendered in delicate shades of pink, blue and white. A beautiful morning to be out.

Other than that, not much to report from the run, although I felt much better than during my run on Thursday. The footing was better, my back didn't hurt... All good things. Now hopefully I'm ready to run fast tomorrow!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Boy, these storms are just piling on the snow! It's a winter wonderland outside. I'd say we got around 8" of fluffy stuff with an inch of hard ice on top. Looking out the window this morning, I was tempted to get out on my skis in the Commons to enjoy the new snow. However, after cleaning off the car and realizing how thick the top layer was, I decided to just stick with my plan of heading to the bike path for a run, as I wasn't really looking forward to breaking trail through the top layer. It should groom out great at the ski areas, though!

The original plan for today was to do 5 miles, but I ended up with just 3 for two reasons: 1) The path was plowed, but it seemed they had perhaps plowed last night before the change-over and thus the path was a sheet of ice. I just couldn't get a really good grip in many spots, even with my Inov-8 screw shoes. And 2) My back was feeling a bit tweaked yesterday and this morning. I didn't really stretch after skiing on Tuesday, and it appears the muscles are a bit unhappy. Nothing that some good old Vitamin I and stretching won't cure, I'm sure, but I figured I would just take it easy today and not push it...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fun Afternoon on the Trails with Shannon and Finley

Bright blue skies, lots of sunshine, no wind and beautiful snow made for a great afternoon at Pinelands with Shannon and little Finley. This time Shannon carried Finley in a backpack on her classic skis, and we went down along the river to the yurt. It was a great day to get out!

Here are a few photos of Shannon and Finley enjoying the day:

Headed out to the river

Late afternoon light

And Finley in his cape!

Monday, January 26, 2009

3 in the Woods, 9 on the Roads

The plan had been for one day of skiing and one run of 12 miles this weekend. Ah, the best laid plans... Oh well. Snowman is feeling a bit off, not quite sick but not quite right. With that in mind, it didn't seem like the best idea to go out and ski and wear him out. So, we had a lazy Sunday morning and then finally motivated for a 3 mile run in the afternoon. We headed to the Commons, thinking the trails would be packed down by walkers and skiers. And the major trails were, but amazingly, one of the side trails a bit off the beaten track (ha!) had not been touched at all since the last snowstorm. The snow was still light and fine, with no transformation, and we spent a happy few minutes tromping through the woods, feeling tough. All told, the loop was a bit harder than expected, as we sank into the snow even on the more packed trails and the footing was not exactly even. Still, it was nice to be out in the woods instead of on the roads for a change!

Today, after a yummy breakfast of strawberry and blueberry pancakes at Broadway Deli and a few household chores and errands, I set off around 3pm for a 9 mile run. Snowman chose to stay home, so I was on my own. I headed down Rt. 123 to Pennelville and out to Simpson's Point. The Pennelville fields were wind-blown, tufts of golden grasses rising from the snow. The inlet at Simpson's Point was quiet, the water frozen and covered with snow and jagged ice sections. I felt good on the run, and finished up in 1:13:45. Upon my return, Snowman said I would be in serious trouble if my time for Sunday's Mid Winter 10 Mile Classic isn't faster than 1:20 (8:04 pace and last year's time), considering my past two training runs have unintentionally been run at ~8:10 pace. No pressure, though!?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mellow 3 Miles

Hit the bike path for a 3 mile run to round out the week. The path was coated with a heavy dusting of snow, so the pace was pretty mellow as I was not in my screw shoes. Despite the weather channel's warning of high winds, I lucked out and got in the run before the wind picked up and while it was still pretty warm. Amazing how 28 degrees can feel like a heat wave!

Flora and fauna notes: There was a flock of 40 to 50 robins, accompanied by a number of chickadees, foraging in and around the sumac along the river banks near the start of the bike path. I was hoping to see some ducks floating at the river bend where there is flowing water, but no such luck this morning.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Raymond Road Run

I've been having a bit of trouble getting out of the warmth of the bed lately. So, needless to say, yesterday I did not get up as planned and get in a run before work. I really wanted to get in a longer run this week, so this morning there were no excuses. I was up and out of bed at 6:25. As I pulled out of the driveway a few minutes before 7am, the sky was alight with color. Very nice. I headed out from the field house to do the good old stand-by, the 8-mile loop on Raymond Road.

It's a good run, but not as much so in the winter. The roads were pretty messy, and even though both Maine Street and McKeen Street have sidewalks, they were unusable, meaning I was dodging traffic for the first 1 1/2 miles and the last two miles. Ugh. I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me in that final stretch down McKeen Street, desperate to be done with the run and out of the way of all the cars, finishing the run in 1:06:28.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gallery Hopping and Deep Snow

Today's 'work' day was a fun one. We headed into Portland to tour the galleries in town, mostly to take a good look at what was out there art-wise, but also to simply keep up with what everyone else was doing in their galleries. In the summer, there simply isn't time for us to go around to the other midcoast galleries and see the shows, so although things are a bit slower in the winter and some galleries are closed, we're taking a few trips up and down the coast to do some gallery hopping. The hope is that somewhere along the way, we might see an artist whom we would like to represent. But if nothing else, it gives us a chance to see how others are doing it and how we stack up against the competition (which is pretty well, I think!). After several hours walking around town, stopping in galleries along the way, we had a late lunch at Pom's Thai Taste (yum, pad thai!) before heading back to Brunswick/Topsham.

I hadn't expected to get a run in today, as I overslept this morning and didn't get out before we headed off to Portland. But in the end, I got back home early enough to head out across the street for a 5 mile run before the sun set. Although there had been some snowmobile traffic on the powerlines, things were still pretty soft and one section hadn't been traveled at all. I postholed and slipped up and down the powerlines, looking very graceful, I'm sure, and was happy to pop out onto the Highland Green Road. On the way back, I was tempted to take the road around, but decided not to wuss out and headed back on the powerlines. I'm not sure what the drivers on the high school road must have thought as they drove by and saw me doing knee-high bounding in the deep snow on that last section! :-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Beautiful Afternoon

This afternoon, I headed to Pinelands to join Shannon and little Finley for a ski. It was a beautiful afternoon - bright and sunny with clear blue skies and no wind. The snow was still sticking to the trees, making it look like a winter wonderland. What a day to be out!

We made our way out to Oak Hill and had the trails all to ourselves. Shannon was skating and pulling Finley in the Nordic Cab, while I was classic skiing. I know I had an easier time of it than she did, but I think she might have gotten a better workout :-)

Great to get out on the skis and enjoy the beautiful snow with friends!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bike Path Run

After spending yesterday inside all day and watching the snow fall, Snowman and I got out this afternoon for a quick run on the bike path after time spent shoveling out the cars and doing some errands. The original plan for the day was to run 10 miles, but the roads were a mess from the storm, so we settled for on out-and-back on the bike path for 5.4 miles instead. We thought about doing another lap, but Snowman just wasn't feeling it. And it was fine with me. I should be able to get in a longer run later this week, so there was no reason to push today when Snowman obviously didn't have the umph. Then it was home for a lasagna dinner with Nate and Shannon. Yum :-)

Shannon and I are meeting up at Pinelands tomorrow afternoon for a ski to enjoy this nice fluffy snow! Should be fun :-)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Frozen Eyelashes

7:00 am.
5 miles.
41 minutes.
-11.4 degrees.
Damn cold.

But at least I wasn't out running when Jamie was making this video!

Friday, January 16, 2009

No Running Today

-15 degrees and frozen pipes = no running today.

This has been a rather down week running-wise, but oh well. I plan to get out tomorrow morning for a run no matter what the weather in an attempt to get the week's mileage to 15, and then will move on to next week which will hopefully yield more mileage!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Didn't Want to but I Did

The phone rang at 7:15am. It was Snowman. He had decided he wasn't going to run after all. Too cold and windy up in the Notch. I don't blame him. After all, I was still in bed. All I really wanted was to snuggle back up under the covers and forget about running. But when I had gotten up at 4am to feed Ronnie the cat so as to stop his relentless licking of my face and pulling of my hair, the thermometer read 24 degrees. So really, what excuse did I have? Yes, I was tired, and it was cold and windy. But, it's winter. And I didn't have to leave for work until 10:00 today. I had plenty of time. I could be lazy or I could get up and go!

So, you guessed it... I bundled up and went out. It was pretty windy, and the temps had dropped to 18 degrees so I headed to the Commons, figuring the trees would block the wind a bit and make things more pleasant than out on the open roads. The trails were pretty well packed by xc skiers and walkers, and although things were still a bit uneven, it wasn't bad running with my Inov-8 screw shoes. And as usual, once I had warmed up a bit and gotten into a rhythm, I was happy I was out.

But tomorrow, I might just have to give in to that little voice in my head that was telling me how happy I would be if I had just stayed in bed... :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Five by the River

OK, it was 5.4 on the bike path, so while the run was indeed along the river, it was also along the highway, which just does not sound as exciting... ah well. I headed out around 9:15 and although the car thermometer was only reading 10 degrees, it was quite pleasant out. The sun was shining and there was no wind. The path was quiet and I ran along, enjoying the view of the river. I felt good, which was a pleasant surprise, and put in a fast (for me) effort.

The weather is supposed to turn pretty arctic starting tonight. I'm still hoping to get in 3 more runs this week, but I think I'm going to have to seriously bundle up to get out the door over the next few days! Brrr...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Late Afternoon Ski

With the snow and an afternoon spent hanging out with our friends down in South Boston, yesterday didn't consist of anything more taxing than eating, chatting and watching football. Today threatened to be more of the same, but we finally got out late this afternoon for a ski at Pineland Farms (Jeff, sorry we didn't make our decision earlier and let you know. We'll have to get together to ski at some point soon though!). Yesterday's snow was good and fluffy, and it had groomed out nicely.

As we typically gravitate towards the Oak Hill trails, today we consciously set out across the fields to ski down along the river and out by the yurt. The sun was shining, and it was relatively warm, although a bit windy in the fields. It was a beautiful afternoon to be out, and we really enjoyed our mellow hour-long classic ski together.

Here are a few photo highlights:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

GAC Fat Ass 30k at Bradley Palmer

(The TMR crew. Photo courtesy of Stephen)

It was early. It was dark. It was cold. It was 6:15am and we were headed south, to Bradley Palmer State Park for the GAC Fat Ass. We were, however, treated to a beautiful view of the full moon, low in the sky, above the traffic lights as we headed down Rt. 196 to get on the highway, which was a nice treat. We arrived at Bradley Palmer to find the parking lot filling up fast, and stopped by Jamie's car to say hello to him, Stephen and Mindy, before heading down to the food table to drop off the goodies we had brought. Ian, Emma, Jim and Shauna showed up soon after. This was our first Fat Ass experience, and the GAC did a great job! They had several very friendly volunteers manning the food table, and all participants are encouraged to bring goodies to share. There is no registration fee.

The start was a 9am. A few minutes before 9, I headed up to the bathroom. People were still milling around, and streaming in from the parking lot, so while I knew I was cutting it close, I thought I was OK. I guess not! By the time I got back to the parking lot, it was just Snowman, Ian and Emma. Oops! Everyone else had taken off. Ah well. It wasn't really a race, and I wasn't planning on running the whole 50k, but I did feel badly that I had held everyone up. After 1/2 a mile or so, we saw a string of runners in the field, Mindy included, and picked up the pace to catch up to the group.

The course was a 10k loop, with the option to run anywhere from 1 to 5 loops. I had planned to run 2 or 3. I was wearing my Inov-8 screw shoes and was glad for all the extra traction. It seemed most people were either wearing screw shoes or Yak Trax, although there were a few hardy souls out there braving the icy and snowy conditions with just regular running shoes. The course was a mixture of soft, fine snow, crusted over snow, hard ice, packed snow, and a bit of pavement. I would have rather run on the hard ice the whole way, as the soft snow definitely took a lot of energy to get through, not to mention a fair amount of ankle turning, but this is January after all and if we're silly enough to go running in the woods, it's no one's fault by our own :-) The loop took us through several fields, on some wide woods roads and on one great up hill single track section. A good mix.

The pace was slow enough that we could talk as we ran, and it was fun to chat and catch up with the various Trail Monsters are we cruised along. Each lap took right around an hour, and we all stopped at the food station to grab gatorade and a bit to eat. I had a few Munchkins, chips, a Nutter Butter along the way. I was feeling a bit tired by the end of lap #2, mostly from the continual uneven footing in the snow, but knew I was going to do a third lap, even if it was a bit slower. I lost the group I was running with on the single track section, but ended the loop running with Jim and Snowman, which was nice. My 30k took me 3:02 and I was happy to stop, change into warm, dry clothes, and hang out by the portable heaters, eating and drinking and chatting with Shauna and Jim, who also stopped after lap #3, and Jamie, Emma and Mindy, all recovering from injures, who had done 2 laps each. Ian and Stephen were joined by Snowman for lap #4. He was feeling strong, so more power too him, but so much for only doing 2 or 3 laps! :-)

All in all, a great morning and fun running and hanging out with the Trail Monster crew! Thanks guys :-) Thanks also the the GAC for putting on such a fun race!

Flora and fauna notes: The park had a suet feeder, which was attracted all sorts of chickadees, cardinals, nut hatches, tufted titmouses and juncoes, along with the sparrows. We also had some great views of a beautiful red-tailed hawk, who passed through the area by the food tables, and landed in the pine tree right above us. As Jamie said, he's so close he could poop on us :-) Very cool (well, not the pooping but the range in which we got to view him!)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mellow 3

I headed to the bike path to do a quick 3-mile run this morning. I didn't even need the screw shoes that I was wearing. Brunswick Park & Rec does a great job of keeping the bike path clean, and I'm sure yesterday's warm temps helped melt whatever snow was left over. The run passed without much excitement. It was cold, a bit windy, and I went a bit farther than planned as the 1.5 mile turn-around marker had faded and was hidden under a bit of snow drift. Ah well. I'll call it 5k for the day.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's GAC Fat Ass 50k, although I'm only planning on 2 to 3 loops. Sounds like there is a good group of Trail Monsters going so should be fun!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sunrise Run

Although the snow day was nice yesterday, I must admit I spent all of it indoors. So, I was extra motivated to get up and out for a run this morning. As I had to be to work early, I was out the door by 6:45 am. I had on my screw shoe Inov-8s, as I was planning to head across the street and wanted all the traction I could get for the snow on the powerlines. Actually I was glad to have them just to get out of our condo complex!

As I crested the hill on the powerlines, the sky was beginning to lighten. I had to work a bit in the loose and fine snow, but once I hit the Highland Green Road things got easier. If I ever move to Highland Green (several years off, as its a 55+ community), I'd like to live in the back of the development. These houses are tucked away and have a great view east, to the rising sun. And rising, it was! Have you ever looked at a painting or a photograph and thought, 'there is no way the sunrise ever looks like that'? Well, this morning was one of those mornings. The colors fanned out across the sky, deep pinks, oranges and purples, above the snow covered trees. Beautiful.

The 5-mile loop took me 4 minutes longer than it did earlier this week, but despite the rougher conditions, I felt good and as always, it was great to get out.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Extra Time

Now that the holidays are over, the gallery is on a reduced schedule through March, and is only open Thursday through Saturday. I will probably be working a fair number of Wednesdays at the gallery for various reasons too, but regardless it means I have an extra day or two off each week for the next few months. This is certainly a perk of the job, and I can't really complain. Except that the rest of the world keeps working, so it's not like I have extra time with Snowman for winter adventures. Ah well. Such a tough life, I know :-)

What I am really hoping to do with my extra time this winter is get in some good skiing. I even bought a pass to Pineland Farms and everything. Now we just need some snow! I also have a few small house projects planned. But sometimes, like today, it seems like the extra time just gets frittered away. Where did it go? I went and did the recycling, ran a few errands, cleaned the house, did laundry, played with the cat, spent some time at the computer and by then it was 2:00. So I put on my running gear, and headed across the street.

The sun was shining, the thermometer read 32 degrees and there was a light breeze. But I felt a bit off. I don't know what it was. I just didn't feel in the groove of the run. I was sloppy on the powerlines. I felt sluggish on the sidewalk. Ugh. But by the time I got to the back of the Highland Green development and hit the unpaved section, which was basically a light layer of snow on ice with a bit of dirt and gravel mixed in, I was feeling a bit better. Perhaps I was just a bit out of sorts from taking yesterday off? Who knows. Anyway, I ended up running the loop in the same time as I have done it without any snow or ice, so I felt good about that.

My right leg, although feeling much, much better than it has in the past few weeks, is still tight. I've been trying to be good about stretching and foam rolling, which I think has helped. But to give things an extra boost in the right direction, our wonderful friend and excellent massage therapist, Shannon, has agreed to give me a massage tonight before I join them for what sounds like a yummy dinner of stuffed squash with couscous. Sounds like a good night to me!

Monday, January 5, 2009

3 and 0

Snowman and I finally got in a 3-mile run yesterday afternoon right as the sun was setting. We headed across the street to do a short loop in Highland Green. Snowman was struggling a bit and his right leg was troubling him, but we were only out there for 27 minutes, so the suffering was short-lived, at least!

Today was a day off, so no running. The day was filled with house-related chores. I finally put together our AT photo collages, and we hung up the beautifully quilted AT map that Snowman's grandmother lovingly made us for Christmas. What a nice gift!

And yes, it's probably dorky to post these photos, but it's my blog, so here they are :-)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Early 10

I really wanted to get in a long run this week, and as today was my last shot, I was up and out of bed at 6:15. I would have much rather joined Snowman and the rest of the Trail Monster runners at Bradbury, but that was not meant to be, as today is a work day for me. So, 10 on the roads would have to do.

As I ran out of the parking lot, the sky was still dark. The roads were quiet. Once I got a bit out of town, headed toward Maquoit Bay, the silence was palpable. It was punctuated only by the loud calling of the bluebirds and crows, and the twittering of the juncos and sparrows. I saw several large groups of robins flying overhead, and caught a glimpse of a bright and cheery cardinal in the bushes at the edge of someone's lawn. Light bands of pink highlighted the clouds and the soft early morning light down at the bay was beautiful.

I was a bit overdressed, as I had expected it to be pretty windy out. But it was quite a pleasant morning, 20 degrees and no wind until the last 1.5 miles. I think I really lucked out, as the wind had certainly picked up when I headed into work a bit later and sand was swirling around like mad on the roadways! The drive to work did, however, give me a view of my first Bald Eagle of 2009 soaring overhead, circling on the air currents by the end of the bike path.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Team Snowplug Appalachian Trail Video

Snowman, being the wonderfully creative and tech-savvy guy that he is, took it upon himself to create an awesome video of our AT adventure. He just put the finishing touches on it this weekend, and it is now available for your viewing pleasure. Hurray!

So if you're inclined, pick up a cup of coffee, settle into your seat and enjoy. (FYI: It is around 25 minutes long. Too many photos to choose from to make it shorter than that!)

Team Snowplug Hikes the Appalachian Trail from sn0m8n on Vimeo.

Icy, Cold and Windy

I kept putting off my run yesterday, hoping the winds would die down and the temps might climb. No such luck. But since I didn't get out bright and early, I did manage to obtain a partner for my run, so that was a plus. Snowman came home early from work, as there was no internet access in the notch, due to wind and weather, and although I could tell all he wanted to do was take a nap, I convinced him a brisk run would be better!

We decided to head to the Commons, thinking the woods would shelter us a bit from the wind. We were both suited up for an arctic expedition, and in the end decided perhaps we were a bit overdressed as both of us finished the run sweating. Amazing what body heat will do! We also both donned our trail screw shoes for as much traction as possible, and it's a good thing. It was basically like running on an ice rink, except that instead of a nice smooth surface, the ice was pockmarked with divets and paw and shoe prints. Made things a bit interesting! Still, it was good to get out and start off the New Year running.

Now if I only could have gotten out of bed this morning to continue that trend... Ah well, tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Out with the Old, In with the New

Happy New Year everyone!

I must admit I went to bed way before the ball dropped, but it's always nice to wake up to a new year, looking toward the future with hope and with a blank training log on the table, just waiting to be filled with the year's adventures.

Looking back on 2008, it was a great year. I feel lucky to have the best husband in the world (at least for me!), to be surrounded by good friends and family, to have been healthy and happy. I feel lucky to have been so active, to have gotten in lots of great runs, skis and hikes, to have experienced the joy, laughter, tears, sweat and occasional falls that come with all this activity. And I hope that 2009 brings me, and everyone else, more of all of the above.

And so with that, I'll stop being mushy, and get to what we've all been waiting for...
the 2008 Wrap-Up.

Total Miles Run: 1,112.0
Total Hiking Days: 24
Total Miles Hiked: 311.0 (including 278.7 AT miles hiked)
Total Ski Days: 16

I feel like I should have stopped Tuesday's run 1 mile short, so I would have run 1,111 miles in 2008 :-) But I'll take the 1,112. I am sure it's the most miles I've run in one year since I started running. So I'm pretty happy about that, and hope to build on all those miles in the bank for 2009.

I wish I had skiied more. I'll have to work on that this year. I did buy a pass for Pineland Farm when I was there before Christmas with Nate and Shannon, so now I have no excuse! I can go for an hour ski and be content.

And as for the hiking, our last day of hiking this year, September 21, 2008, brought us to the summit of Katahdin. That day brought joy and laughter and tears, and a wonderful completion of our four-year quest to hike the whole AT together. How could I not be happy with what we accomplished this year hiking-wise?

And now, I think it's time to go bundle up and go out on this cold and windy day for a run. Can't have the 2009 training log start off with a zero day!