Tuesday, March 31, 2009


First run of the season in shorts! Perhaps spring is really here. It was a beautiful afternoon - 50 degrees and sunny. A bit windy, but the wind was warm. Hurray! I headed out across the street and enjoyed running with no hat or gloves. I even rolled up my long-sleeve shirt. Felt wonderful.

The snow is mostly gone on the snowmobile trails, with the last remaining patches in the shade of the trees. I did hit a nice sinkhole on the way back, where the snow had just melted and the ground was still mush - this resulted in mud up to above my ankle :-)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

No TMRFA for Me

I couldn't manage to swing taking two Saturdays off in a row from work, so yesterday morning I sent Snowman off alone to join up with the Trail Monster crew for Ian and Emma's "I've Been Married for 10 Years and My Wife Still Doesn't Have A" Fat Ass 50k. It was a dreary morning, damp and raw feeling with low fog and a misty drizzle falling. Once Snowman was out the door, I headed out across the street to get in a run before work.

I felt a bit off in the first few miles but finished off the loop feeling good. Despite the fog and mist, the birds were out in force - the juncoes, sparrows and chickadees flitting about at the edge of the woods, and the grackles, blue jays and crows calling loudly as I ran along. The powerlines are a mix of sand, bare rock, ice, slushy snow and one stretch that was a wonderful concoction of ankle-deep muck. Still, I can't complain, as it sounds like the conditions on the FA course at Bradbury were really tough and very messy! Snowman did awesome, getting in 27 miles, his longest run ever! Having gone beyond the marathon distance, he's now officially an ultra runner :-) Woohoo!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Quickie run, that is :-) I didn't quite manage to get out of bed in time to run this morning before work, and it's supposed to rain tomorrow morning. So, if I wanted to get two more runs in this week, it would have to be tonight. I hurried home, had a quick snack, changed and headed out the door before I could change my mind and settle in to sit on the couch instead. The run was short and sweet, but at least I got out!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Although temps this afternoon were more seasonable, the wind was brutal. It felt more like mid-winter than spring out there. In an attempt to hide from said wind, I decided to head to the Commons for this afternoon's run. I parked at the field house and headed out. Some of the early single track, especially a stretch along a steep side hill, was glare ice - treacherous even in screw shoes. The rest of the run was a mix of packed snow in the shade, ice, mush, slush, mashed potatoes, ice with water on top and a bit of bare ground. The legs didn't have much turnover, but it was good to get out, even if it was at a slow pace.

In other news, we headed to Peak Performance in Portland this evening before dinner to replenish our stock of Hammer products. Gel, HEED and a new one to add to the rotation - Sustained Energy. Who was it that said running was an inexpensive sport?!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cold and Windy 12

Lack of motivation, and perhaps a bit too much fun on Saturday night :-), meant we didn't get out to run as planned yesterday. So, this morning we headed to Bradbury to get in the scheduled 12 mile run. It was cold and windy, but as we headed up the Snowmobile Trail, I warmed right up. With the cold temps, the snow was pretty well packed in most spots, with a fair amount of ice, a few bare spots and some soft snow in the sun. Once we crossed the first road, the wind really picked up, making the last mile out less than pleasant. We turned around at the top of the field at exactly 4 miles and headed back in.

I was still feeling pretty good when we hit the parking lot, as we had kept the pace pretty mellow, so we continued on to do one lap of the Fat Ass course. I am bummed that I am going to be missing out on the FA excitement next week, but I must admit that I am not all that bummed to be missing this course :-) It is going to be a tough one! As we reached the summit, we took a quick break, and said hello to today's Hawk Watcher. With a strong wind blowing, it didn't sound like too many raptors had been spotted today, unfortunately. Then it was down the Tote Road, where I started to realize I was really getting hungry! This made for a bit of a slow slog up to the turn off for the Terrace Trail and the final descent. All in all, a good, if tiring, day out on the trails, and a good excuse to stop and get a big sandwich at Big Top on the way home :-)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Morse Mountain

After a yummy breakfast at Broadway Deli, we headed to Morse Mountain yesterday with Neal, Kendra, Doug, Lucy, Nate, Shannon and little Finley. Snowman wanted to get in a few more miles for the week, so he ran in, while the rest of us walked. Although it was a bright, sunny day, it was still a bit chilly, especially out on the beach! However, we weren't the only ones with the idea and the lot was pretty full. We saw lots of others out walking to and from the beach, with everyone trying to keep from slipping on the ice. I should have worn my screw shoes! Instead, I slid around with the rest of them :-) It was a great day to be out and fun to hang out with friends.

Friday, March 20, 2009

First Day of Spring

It's the first day of spring. I expected to wake up to birds singing, green grass and crocuses blooming! Instead, I awoke to 25 degrees and windy. All the puddles were frozen over, as was the snow on the powerlines and oddly enough, the sand. Definitely an interesting texture. Ah well. It was a nice run anyway, although fairly uneventful. As I wound my way back home, I did hear one woodpecker pecking away at a branch above, as well as the noisy gaggle of grackles that seems to have taken up residence in the neighborhood and what I think was either a House or Purple Finch (I'm not quite bird savvy enough to be able to easily tell the difference from a quick look and brief hearing of the song). It was singing away in the trees up near the visitor parking area. Cool.

Neal, Kendra, Doug and Lucy are coming into town tonight, so it should be a fun weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bare Ground! But Barely...

I went to the Commons for this morning's run. This was partly to mix things up and partly because I was hoping against hope that there would be some bare ground out there. Certain sections of the trail system get a fair amount of sun, so I figured if there was any chance of running on dirt/mud, it would be in the Commons. I was sad, although not totally unsurprised, to find that there was still a fair amount of snow out there. The main trails are pretty well packed, although there was an inch or two of loose granular on top to slosh around in. There is also a fair amount of ice. I did manage to find two short - very short, as in a few strides each - stretches of bare ground. It felt great to have my shoes land softly on the ground, instead of slip slide away in the snow, even if only for a few steps! As you can tell, spring is on my mind... I'd like to get a few runs in on the dirt before the Merrimack River 10 Miler, at least. Luckily, there are still a few weeks left between now and then, so I'll keep hoping :-)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fries and Milkshakes

We had to go down to Portland today to do some errands, and decided to treat ourselves to lunch at Duckfat. This is not someplace we go very often for various reasons, but for some reason, while I was running on Sunday I found myself thinking about their fries. They are fried in duck fat, hence the restaurant name, and they are the best fries I've had anywhere. Not to mention, they make a killer milkshake. So, we splurged and got our week's worth of fat in one meal, and boy was it good! Honestly, I probably could have done without the panini and just eaten the fries (with a side of truffle ketchup for me and chili mayo for Snowman) and mocha milkshake. Yum! If you are ever in Portland and are craving some really good fries, check Duckfat out.

In an effort to combat this indulgent meal, Snowman and I headed out around 4:30 for a mellow run on the Highland Green route. It took me until then to finally not feel incredibly full :-) The snowmobile trails are definitely starting to lose their snow - it's incredible how much things have melted since I was out there Saturday, although there is still a ways to go. It was a nice late afternoon run, despite the headwind on the way back, and nice to have a running partner too!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Simpon's Point and Exercises

Back in 2005, after we got off the trail, I started running again right away, and developed some back and piriformis muscle pain. This was nothing that a little bit of PT and some good core exercises didn't cure. Unfortunately, I have been slacking off in doing those core exercises and it has come back to haunt me. My back has been sore again the past few days. Definitely feeling better today, after lots of stretching and some exercises, but I decided I didn't want to push it this morning with my run. That being said, I sent Snowman off to join up with the TMR gang for a long trail run at Bradbury, and I hit the roads. I figured a more even surface versus the undoubtedly uneven and softening snow on the snowmobile trails was probably the best option.

While I was sad to miss out on the chance to hang out and run with friends, I had a great run this morning. I felt good. It was gorgeous out. The roads were quiet. The sun was warm and there was no wind. Down at Simpson's Point the bay was opening up, with a few small ice floes floating on the shimmering waters. Ahhhh.... can't beat it.

Flora and fauna notes: The Pennelville fields are beginning to lose their snow as are patches near the pine trees along the roadsides. While nothing is budding yet, it feels like spring is really coming our way on a day like today! The birds apparently think so too. I saw four cardinals, as well as several chickadees, blue jays and my first red winged blackbird of the season. Funnily enough, he was perched up high on a pine tree next to a marshy spot, singing his heart out (perhaps trying to attract a mate?). Back at home, Ronnie was the first to spot a tiny little red breasted nuthatch that was creeping along our back fence.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Another Five

Got out this morning for another 5-miler. It was bright and sunny. I headed back into Highland Green, and couldn't help looking longingly at the Cathance River trails that intersected the road. They appear to not be very well used in the winter and aren't packed down at all - so it was with regret that I simply continued on the loop instead of heading out into the woods. Soon enough, though! The birds were making a racket - a number of juncos and my first spotting of a goldfinch in a while, along with the requisite blue jays, mourning doves and crows. Nice morning to be out.

We're missing a TMR jaunt down to the Inov-8 warehouse in MA today. Bummer! Sounds like a good deal on shoes and the chance to try on all sorts of styles. Ah well, maybe next time. Of course, I did just buy a new pair of Inov-8s in preparation for the spring so I don't really need more... Ah, who am I kidding? I can always use new gear! :-)

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Am So Over You, Winter!

I know it is bad form for a skier, and the wife of someone who works in the ski industry, to say she is over winter. I do love winter. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else but New England, where we have four seasons (or maybe five, if you count "Mud") and where I can get out on my xc skis and glide through the woods, enjoying the crisp air and bountiful snow. But, winter in Maine is long. By mid-March, I am ready. I am ready to run through the mud and on the dirt in the woods. I am ready to head out the door in the morning without being bundled up. I am ready for short sleeve running! Yes, it is early still. There is likely another month until we have consistently warm weather and the snow has melted. But I can dream, can't I? Spring, do you hear me? I am ready! Come on up!

I got out for a run across the street this morning. It was chilly. Luckily, this meant the snowmobile trails were frozen and I did not sink in. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. I heard a Downy Woodpecker calling and pecking away on a birch tree. Pretty uneventful, but nice to get out.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Snowy Bradbury

We stopped for sushi last night on the way home from Ski to the Clouds up at Great Glen (no, I did not race, but had fun helping out and cheering for everyone. BTW, our friend Nate did awesome and finished 9th. Woohoo!). Yes, sushi in Bethel, ME. Despite Snowman being skeptical of Amy's recommendation, it really was quite tasty and we had a fun dinner with Amy and Brian. As I am not a true sushi fan, I stuck with the veggie options, and got a veggie roll and a tempura (read fried) tofu roll. The tofu roll was so good going down, but this morning I was not too happy. Ugh.

Nonetheless, between the two of us we had enough motivation to get out for our planned 12 mile run. We headed over to Bradbury, hoping that the lower temps overnight had hardened up the snowmobile trails. As we pulled into the empty lot, it started to snow. Guess we should have motivated a bit earlier! Also, it seemed quite cold, or at least a lot colder than at our house. We quickly added layers and headed out. We were pleased to find the snowmobile trails in good shape and pretty solid considering the warm weekend temps. We ran along, taking it easy, until the end of the field at four miles, where we turned around. Let me tell you, the smell of the manure in that field was overwhelming. Wow! And not in a good way...

The plan was to run 8 on the snowmobile trails and then do one loop of the upcoming Fat Ass course. However, my stomach was starting to seriously rebel and I ended up only making it 0.5 miles up the Northern Loop trail before I turned around and let Snowman finish out the rest of the loop himself. My "long" runs seem to be stuck at 9 or 10 miles recently, so I'm a bit bummed to not have gotten in the full 12 miles, but oh well. There will be other days to run long.

By the time I got back to the parking lot, the snow was coming down pretty hard, so I quickly changed and got in the car to wait for his return. He came back with some great iced over eyebrows and eyelashes. Wish I had gotten a photo! The funny thing was that here in Topsham no snow had fallen at all. Weird...

Friday, March 6, 2009


Despite a beautiful day yesterday, I did not get out for a run. OK, really I did not get up for a run. So, today, I was going no matter what the weather. Luckily, although the skies were overcast when I awoke, it was not precipitating and was "warm" at 35 degrees. I headed across the street to run the 5 mile Highland Green loop. The snowmobile trails on the powerlines were pretty soft. I was not getting a lot of traction, even with my Inov-8s, so it was slow going. As I ran along, the wind picked up and a light rain started to fall, turning a bit later to snow, then back to rain again. But it felt like spring and I even had to take my jacket off! I was able to pick up the pace a bit once I hit the road, but of course, on the way back, things slowed down again on the snow.

According to the Garmin, the loop is not quite as long as we thought it was, measuring 4.75m, so I took a quick tour through the neighborhood next to our condo complex to get the mileage up to 5.12m. I mean, 5 miles should be 5 miles :-)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Have we suddenly been transported back to January? Lots of snow on the ground, and the thermometer was reading 0 degrees this morning! Brrrr. Luckily, it warmed up some by the time I got out for my run, although it was quite windy. I headed out to do the Middle Bay loop. I seemed to be running into the wind the whole way around....I am convinced there is some sort of weird wind pattern around Brunswick that requires the wind to always be in a runner's face. I mean, shouldn't I get a tail wind at some point?

Despite the wind, it was a nice morning to be out, and the shoulders on the roads were much clearer than anticipated meaning I didn't have to do too much car dodging, which is always nice! A good 6 miler for the day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Beautiful Day for a Ski!

After yesterday's 9" of fluffy powder, what could be better than a nice ski at Pinelands? Although we awoke to cloudy skies, as the day went on, things cleared and we were treated to beautiful blue skies and bright sunshine. Shannon, little Finley and I headed over after lunch for a nice tour around Oak Hill. The contrast of the fresh white snow against the blue sky was just gorgeous. We could see Mt. Washington, the mountain's white flanks shimmering in the distance. Wish I hadn't forgotten the camera! Although the snow was soft, it was perfect for classic skiing. Very forgiving. A bit slow perhaps, but how can I complain when I had a chance to get out and enjoy the woods on an afternoon like today?!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Snowy Run

Although glued to the couch all morning, being lazy and watching the flakes fall from the sky, we finally motivated for a run around 3:30 pm. We headed to the Commons. Snowman announced that he wanted to do 5, while I was content with 3, so we looped around in the Commons together and then he ran an additional 2 miles toward home before I picked him up. It actually was quite nice out, with snow falling in the quiet woods. We did come across two overly ambitious xc skiers, enjoying the inch of freshies atop the packed ice, and Snowman asked them, "now, who's crazier? us or you?" Good question!

My ankles were feeling a bit tired, but despite that it was good to get out for a short run and happily, my back felt great!