Monday, April 27, 2009

Late 5 Miler

Today was filled with errands and window cleaning. I asked Snowman to help me take off the screens so that I could clean the windows. I also asked for help with the upstairs windows, as I really didn't want to be hanging out from the 2nd story windows trying to clean things up. In short, this meant that he did most of the window cleaning, replete with all its awkward positioning and contorting. What a good guy! Then before we knew it, it was already past 5pm and we hadn't yet gotten in our run. I typically don't like to run late in the evening, but we'd had a late lunch and so, after a quick snack, we headed off to the Commons.

It was really nice to feel a bit cold while running! Quite a change from yesterday, and a good one :-) We started out slowly, as we both creaked along loosening up from yesterday's mud bath and ankle twisting. As we ran along, I was feeling good; we picked up the pace a bit on the way back in, but overall it was a nice, mellow run.

I was also trying out new hand-held fuel bottle holder. Normally I wouldn't take a water bottle on a 5 or 6 mile run, but these days since it's not just me out there, I'm trying to pay extra attention to staying hydrated and cool. As we head into summer, I figured one of these neat little holders would be a good idea. I was pleasantly surprised to find that carrying the holder with its 10 oz. bottle was quite comfortable and easy to use. So, yet another addition to our "gear" collection :-)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hot and Muddy

Showing off their muddy legs

This morning we headed over to Wolfeboro for the Muddy Moose races. We picked up Ian in Portland, and Carter in Biddeford, making good time over to the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. It was already hot and humid when we arrived at 8:30 am, with the sun beating down. Considering this would be the first "hot" run for all of us, it was bound to be interesting... Jim, Shauna, Jeff and Erik met up with us, so we had a good showing of Trail Monsters!

Shauna, Erik and I opted for the 4 miler, while the rest of the boys were going to tough it out on the 14 mile course. As we stood at the start, the race director said the course was drier than in years past. Hmmm... with all the mud I came away with caked to my legs, saturating my socks and sticking to my shoelaces, I am not sure I would want to see a wet year out on the course! The race started down a dirt road and onto a relatively wide snowmobile trail. This is where the fun began, with mud puddles galore. There was much slipping and sliding, sloshing and splashing, as we all jockeyed not only for place, but to get through the mud without faceplanting! The mud was definitely trying to come away with my shoes in several spots :-)

My plan for the race was to take it easy. I knew I would not be truly racing. But it was hard to go super slowly, especially at the very beginning. Still, I inevitably slowed up with all the mud. Not to mention it was pretty darn hot out, and I knew that because of that I needed to be careful. At 2 miles, the 14-milers went left, and the 4-milers went right. From this point on, things were less frantic, as the crowds thinned out and we made our way on a stretch of road back to the muddy snowmobile trail. I spent most of the muddy stretch talking and running with a woman for whom this was her first trail race! She was in good spirits though, and I did assure her that not all trail races were this ridiculously muddy!!

When I hit the dirt road again, Shauna was there to run in the last 1/2 mile with me, which was nice! A final uphill and then, it was done. I was hot and covered with mud, but felt good. I didn't feel like I had overdone it, and certainly, that showed in my time :-) Ah well. I was glad I had gotten out and "raced," and thought that despite the heat and mud, it was a fun time.

Shauna and Jeff were the stars of the day with Shauna finishing 2nd, and Jeff winning his age group. Woohoo! Jim had a good race too, despite getting mud under his contact - ow! - as did Erik, coming back from an injury. I am not sure Ian, Carter or Snowman would say they had great races, but considering the heat, mud and tough terrain, they all did well toughing it out :-)

Shauna and I had already cleaned up by the time the guys crossed the line, but I did manage to get some good muddy shots of the guys here.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sunny Morning

I got up and out for a run in the Commons this morning. It was bright and sunny, and in the low 40s when I started, but had already risen to over 50 degrees by the time I got home. Looks like it's going to be a warm one today! The run was good. Relatively uneventful, although I was surprised to see so many people out and about on the trails so early on a Saturday morning. I have been feeling good running, for which I am thankful, and am still trucking slowly along at 10:00 to 10:30 pace, depending on what route I'm on. With today's run, my week ended with 23 miles. Yes, Ryan ran almost that much in last Sunday's run, but I am OK with it. I have been running 20 to 25 miles a week, which seems pretty good for a 15 week pregnant lady!

I am looking forward to tomorrow's Muddy Moose race. There is a good group of Trail Monsters joining us, so it should be a lot of fun! Plus, I'll only be out for 4 miles, while everyone else slogs through the mud and water for 14. This means that I'll be finished first and will get to cheer everyone on as they cross the finish line. My plan is to take it pretty easy during the race, and just enjoy the day and the atmosphere. This might be tough, but I'll do my best!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cloudy Bright

I headed out at 6:50am for a run on the 5-mile Highland Green loop. I had intended to run yesterday, but just couldn't quite get myself out of bed. After two days in a row of not running, I felt a bit creaky on the first part of the loop this morning, but loosened up as the run went along. It was nice to see the daffodils blooming, and the forsythia beginning to blossom. The phoebes were calling like crazy, and a large number of worms and little slugs were out on the sidewalk. Must be spring! It was nice to get out, and also nice that the forecast was wrong. I thought I was going to be running in the rain this morning, so it came as a good surprise to have the day start out "cloudy bright."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Short Commons Run

I headed out alone this afternoon for a short run in the Commons. Snowman, having run many miles in the past few days, decided to take a well-deserved day off. It was a nice afternoon - sunny and a bit breezy. The woods were quiet, and I did our "normal" 3 mile loop starting at the Rt. 123 entrance. The loop ended up being only 2.75 miles (this seems to be a theme with our routes!), so I added on a few short loops and out-and-backs to get the Garmin to read 3.0 miles. 3 miles seems short enough, so I felt the need to get in those additional 0.25 miles :-)

Flora and fauna notes: The excitement of the afternoon occurred not on the run, but on the way home. As I was passing over the Brunswick/Topsham bridge at Fort Andross, I noted not only 6 cormorants sunning themselves on the rocks on the river, but a big Bald Eagle, flying low, being chased quite closely by one angry crow. Poor guy! But neat to see nonetheless.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

10 at Pineland

This morning Snowman and I headed to Pineland Farms for a run. Mindy and Jeff were planning to meet us there, so although Snowman had come down with a "pork hangover" fueled by yesterday's Blackstrap Heaven bacon fest and last night's huge plate of pork at Buck's Naked BBQ with Mindy and Pete, we had to be there at 8am as planned. As we got off the highway, we were shocked to see that Nate and Shannon had just driven by. We had told them about the run, but honestly didn't think they'd make it out of the house on time! They surprised us by beating us there by about 30 seconds :-)

It was a beautiful morning, although a bit cool and windy, and I had goosebumps as we stood around getting organized and ready to go. Snowman, Jeff, Mindy, Nate and I took off on the Pineland Farms Challenge course, while Shannon and little Finley got set for a walk and a stop at the Market. The trails on the river side are drying out fast, but there were a number of mushy, muddy sinkholes to keep things interesting. While a few green shoots are coming up in the woods and red buds are emerging on the treetops, I didn't see any trilliums or trout lilies out quite yet! We chatted as we ran along, and everyone was nice enough to keep the pace mellow enough that I could keep up without going nuts. Nate, Ryan and I walked the big hills, while Jeff and Mindy ran. I had to stop a few times along the way for pee breaks (this is definitely one of the disadvantages I have as a pregnant runner lady!), and did so in spots where I was able to simply cut off a small loop and catch back up with the group, which worked out well!

We got back to the car with my watch reading a little less than 8 miles, and since I was feeling good, I decided to stick with my plan for 10 miles. I filled up one of my bottles with Gatorade and we were off again. I split off from the group at the first cut-off on the Oak Hill loop and slowly made my way back. 10 miles on the dot. A good run with great company! Thanks guys.

Since Ryan was going for 20 miles, I had a bit to wait, but the time went by quickly, split between hanging out with Nate, Shannon and Finley, and then joining Jeff for coffee and a muffin on the couch in the Market, complete with a great view of Mt. Washington! The last hour I spent happily in the same spot on the couch with my book. Snowman came in salt-covered and tired, but having completed his miles. Way to go Snowman! We sat and ate sandwiches before finally heading home. I think the remainder of the day will be spent on the couch :-)

Friday, April 17, 2009

So Full

I am so full. We met Nate and Shannon for dinner at Pedro O'Hara's, the local "semi authentic American, Irish and Mexican cuisine" joint. It was quite tasty, but I really didn't need all the food I ate. Luckily, I at least got in a run today, which may have helped me burn a few of the 1000s of calories I just consumed. I headed to the Commons this morning and did the out-and-back for 4.5 miles. I was hoping to do 6, but just wasn't feeling it. Nothing major, just a bit off. I'm planning to take tomorrow as a rest day, and am looking forward to a long (for me, for now) run at Pineland on Sunday morning! Unfortunately, tomorrow I am missing what sounds like a great fun run, put together by Jeff - Blackstrap Heaven. If only my boss and wife weren't headed to Florida tomorrow, and leaving me in charge for the week at the gallery! And if only I was really in charge and could shut down on a Saturday.... Ah well.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Powerline Run

I haven't been out to do the "powerline run" since last fall at some point, so it was fun to do for a change of pace this morning. Neither of us woke up to the alarm, so Snowman got a bit of a late start for his drive over to NH for the day, and I didn't get out running until 7:30am. I was glad to still be able to get out and was once again reminded of how lucky I am that I don't have to be up to work until 10am. Thank goodness my boss is not a morning person and set the gallery hours accordingly!

It was yet another beautiful morning, which is so nice after the dreary weather we had earlier in the month! All the snow is gone from the trails, although there is still a fair amount of hoar frost in the shadows, and with the freezing temps we've had overnight, the mud and sand had taken on some pretty funky textures - half frozen/half mushy and everthing in between. The last mile of the out and back is flat as a pancake, and it is super quiet as the trail winds along a wide expanse of field below the lines. All I could hear was a few sparrows chirping from their perches in the bushes. Very nice.

I was able to keep up a decent pace along the flats, but had to walk a few of the big hills on the way back. This was not because I was tired or needed to walk, but in order to keep my heart rate at a reasonable level and not get too out of breath, running up steep, sandy hills just wasn't in the cards. I find this a bit frustrating, but know that it is necessary to keep the little one safe and healthy. Regardless, it was good run, and I felt good running, so I can't complain too much :-)

Flora and fauna notes: The trails were quieter than I would have expected this morning, but as I said, there were a fair number of sparrows out singing. I could pick out the Song Sparrow and House Sparrow by their songs, at least. Most exciting is that on my way up to work, all four osprey nests that I pass were occupied! Nests #1 and #2 had pairs of birds, while the third and fourth had one bird. Hopefully all, or most, of them will nest this year!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another Highland Green Loop

I was up and out at 7am this morning for a 4.75 mile run in Highland Green. It is wonderful to have it be light when I get up and light for a while after I get home from work! I always say that fall is my favorite season, but I do love spring, as things begin the bloom, the birds migrate back into their territory and the days get longer. There is something wonderful about the renewal.

Not much to report regarding the run. It was a bit chilly, but bright and sunny. The birds were out in force, with big flocks of robins hopping around, many bluejays calling and a few chickadees and juncos too. The highlights of the run were two Phoebes seen fluttering around the eves of two homes, as well as two Northern Flickers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another Windy Day

This weekend was a ridiculous food extravaganza, starting Friday night and ending Sunday night, interrupted only by an 8 mile run on Saturday morning. So today, the plan was for a bit of "detox" with a lot of fruits and veggies on the menu and definitely a run. After a morning of errands and a bit of work, Snowman and I headed out this afternoon to the Commons for a run. Although it was 52 degrees, it was incredibly windy, with some serious gusts kicking up all day long. We first looped around the field before heading onto the Commons trails, and were pleasantly surprised to find the trails almost totally devoid of snow/ice and pretty dry. Once we got into the woods, we were protected from the wind and it was quite nice. We got in 6 miles in exactly an hour, and once again, it was good to run with Snowman and chat as we ran along.

In keeping with the plan, tonight was a healthy dinner of salad and Moroccan Roasted Veggies over brown rice, but it was followed up with huge bowls of delicious ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery so we may have canceled all the "detox" out! Ah well... Pregnancy might as well have a few benefits :-)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Muddy Bradley Palmer Run

We headed down to Snowman's parents place last night for the weekend, with the idea of getting over to Bradley Palmer State Park this morning for a run. The second part of the plan was to get Snowman's sister, Meghan, out on the trails for us. The only problem was that this morning dawned not clear, sunny and warm, but dreary, raw and 40 degrees. Meghan was not excited. We tried to persuade her that it would be a good for her, and would be a fun adventure. She was convinced we were trying to kill her :-) Still, we managed to get her in the car with us, and we were off.

It was cool and windy at the start as we headed down the "accessible trail" along the river. It was interesting to run this section, as the last time we were here, it was snow and ice covered! We kept the pace nice and mellow, and chatted as we ran along. We hit some of the nice single track along the river, went through the fields, and continued on around the park, stomping through some good mud puddles along the way.

Before we knew it, we had run more than 3 miles, and with Meghan feeling good, we headed back out into the park on the paved road to do one more loop.

We got back to the car the second time around with the Garmin reading 5 miles and around 57 minutes. Meghan decided to call it day, and I headed back out with Snowman on the Fat Ass course to get in a few more miles.

At 7 miles, I took a cut off back to the road and headed back to the car. I had really wanted to get in 10 miles, but 8 miles in 1:29:10 was OK too. I felt good the whole way, and it was lots of fun to be out in the woods with Snowman and Meghan!

Flora and fauna notes: Saw two Downy Woodpeckers, lots of chickadees, and a few tufted titmice and red breasted nuthatches at the feeders by the outhouse. In the swampy areas, the skunk cabbage was showing its head, and there were some cheery daffodils blooming in the grassy areas.

Friday, April 10, 2009


I headed out at 6:45 am and the sun was just poking its head up above the treeline. It was 31 degrees and things were a little frosty. Frosty car windshields. Frosty grass. Frosty and frozen sand on the powerlines. I keep thinking every cool morning is going to be the last one until fall, but not quite yet, I guess. Still it was a nice morning to be out. Crisp and clear. I only did 3 miles, but they felt good.

We're headed to MA tonight for a weekend with Snowman's family. Part of the plan is to get his sister Meghan out on the trails with us for a few miles at Bradley Palmer. Should be fun!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Commons Run

I was surprised to see the thermometer reading 34 degrees this morning. Once again, it was back to tights for this morning's run. I went over to the Commons and headed out. As Snowman said yesterday, Monday's rain definitely washed away more of the snow. It also saturated the ground and the snow/ice that is left, which combined with the cooler temps made for some frozen mud and really slick ice! I wasn't feeling quite as peppy as I was on Monday's road run, but as always, it was nice to be out in the sun, running in the woods.

Flora and fauna notes: Three pairs of mallards between the two ponds, as well as a flyover Cormorant. Scared up a few turkeys out at the end of the Commons. Man, are they big birds!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Feeling Better

I hope I am not jinxing myself in saying this, but I have been feeling better the past few days. Not as tired. Not as queasy. More energetic. "They" say that a lot of what I've been feeling in this first trimester should now be passing, and that I'm moving into the best part of the pregnancy. I'm not sure what to make of the fact that I should feel good for only three of the nine months, but I am glad to have had a few days of feeling back to more of my normal self and hope that it will continue!

Snowman had to head up to work this morning, and with the day to myself, I decided to take advantage of the sunny morning to get in a run. The weather forecast for the rest of the week does not look all that promising, so I wanted to get out and enjoy the sun while I had the chance! I decided to do something slightly different, so I drove to the Pennelville fields, parked the car and started my run from there. This way, I would get in a nice 5 mile loop that included heading down to Simpson's Point. Back in the "normal" days, I wouldn't have thought twice about doing the 9 mile loop out to the point from Bowdoin, and then running 10 miles as I am planning to do on Saturday while we're down in Massachusetts, but as I am trying to focus on getting in some good exercise without going crazy, I thought 5 was a better option.

So, I headed out and enjoyed the run and the sun. It was a bit windier and cooler than I thought, but I was still plenty comfortable in my shorts and long sleeve shirt. The sun on the water down at Simpson's Point was beautiful and I was feeling good. I finished off the 5 miles in 46:00, or 9:15 pace, which again, back in the day wouldn't have been anything much to talk about, but I was really happy to see that I could keep up a slightly quicker pace without having my heart rate go wild. Yes, it was on the roads. And yes, the loop was pretty much completely flat. But whatever, I'll take it! It was great to be out and have a good run in the sunshine.

Flora and fauna notes: There was plenty of birds out flitting around and singing away, but the highlight was an American Kestral seen along the Pennelville fields. First of the season for me! The bird was up on the telephone wires, and as I got closer, he flew a ways down the wire away from me, only to settle in and then do the same thing as I came closer again. I always wonder why birds do this. But regardless, it afforded me a few extra minutes of observation. What a beautiful bird!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunny Afternoon

Snowman joined me this afternoon for a run in the Commons. It was nice to have some company, and he was content to run along at my pace (read: slowly). I started off in shorts, short-sleeve shirt and my pink sleeves, but after a mile, I tucked the sleeves into the side of my shorts. Temps were in the 50s and it was great to be out! A bit of wind, but the sun was nice and warm. We were happy to find that much of the Commons is now snow and ice free (80% or so), although as expected there are still some good stretches remaining in the shade. It felt good to run on the bare ground!

We had a nice time running along and chatting away, finishing up with 5.25 miles at 10:28 pace. (I did say slowly, didn't I?!) And now we are relaxing on the couch after a yummy meal of homemade black bean burgers and both sweet potato and regular fries. Yum!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Time To Fess Up!

You may, or may not, have been wondering about my recent postings. I've missed out on a bunch of fun long runs with the Trail Monsters. Many of my runs have been short, and slow. I haven't been talking about upcoming races. What gives? Well, I think I have a pretty good excuse but I wasn't quite ready to reveal it until now. So here it is... I'm pregnant!

Yup, me, pregnant. Holy crap! Crazy, isn't it?

It is a bit odd to put that phrase out into cyberspace for all the world (or all of my few loyal readers) to see. And truly, it is a funny thing, this "being pregnant". I don't think you'd notice by looking at me (yet!). But I feel it. I've been really tired. I've been a bit nauseous. I've had indigestion. I've been seriously hungry. My runs have slowed considerably, although part of that is by design, as I'm trying to keep the little one healthy and that means I can't be exerting myself too much. Although, even that, I realize, is subjective. There is much information/advice (often conflicting) available on the subject of exercising while pregnant, but it appears that doctors have, for the most part, embraced the fact that an active, healthy mother-to-be means a healthy baby, and most recommend keeping up your activity level during pregnancy, barring complications.

So, as I've always been a runner, I can continue to run, but should take it easy, listen to my body, drink lots of fluids, not overheat, etc. All of this means go slow. Not that I'm a speed demon by any stretch :-) Still, running 10-minute miles on the road is a bit depressing... Yes, I know, I should think how lucky I am to be running at all. And I am! I do feel lucky. I feel happy to be healthy and active. But part of me still thinks it is sad to be running at such a plodding pace. And I will only get slower, I'm sure. Ah well. Hopefully I will come back with serious speed once the little one has arrived! Hey, a girl can dream anyway, right?! :-)

And, of course, this latest development puts a crimp in my plans to do some ultrarunning this year! :-) If I'm trying to take it easy out there, I can't be pushing myself in a race, and while I'm hoping to keep up with my 9 to 10 mile "long" runs, being out for hours and hours just doesn't seem to be in the cards. But, I am still planning to run a few races. I will just be at the back of the pack, and certainly won't be counting on any PR times :-) Although we've decided to skip the Merrimack River Trail Run for various reasons, I'm planning to join Snowman at the Muddy Moose Race later in April. However I'll be running the 4 mile course whereas Snowman will run the 14 miler. And while it's a "no" to running the 50k at Pinelands on Memorial Day weekend, I'm still planning to run the 25k. It will simply involve a fair amount of walking up the hills and stopping to eat and drink at all the aid stations. But that will likely be it.

Toning back my running and my goals has been (and is) a bit rough. I am not patient. I want to be tough. I want to keep up with Snowman. I have always been able to run, for myself. And now, it is not just about me. But I am trying to accept this, and to realize that being pregnant is not a permanent situation. Yes, 9 months seems like a long time. But in the scheme of things, it isn't. So, I am attempting to take a deep breath, enjoy running while I can, and be accepting of the fact that 2009 is not going to be a banner running year. And that, really, is OK. So, after Pinelands, I will be supporting Snowman in his quest to run a 50 miler before the little one arrives, and don't plan on any more races. (Ian, this means you have at least one volunteer at all the Bradbury races! :-) )

Well, there you go... that is the news. Part of me is scared out of my wits, but the rest of me is smiling and excited about the upcoming adventure. Things are changing, that's for sure!

We heard the little one's heart beat earlier this week at the doctor's, which I must admit almost made me cry. It was beating like a crazy maniac, which I guess is normal at this stage, since it's so tiny (...the size of a prune, according to the book. A prune?! I mean, come on, couldn't they have chosen a better fruit!) As for the details, I'm currently 12 weeks along, with an estimated due date of October 14th. This means, if all goes according to plan, the little one will be our 10 year anniversary baby :-)


Foggy and Soggy

Yesterday actually turned into a beautiful day, but alas, I did not get out to enjoy it. So, I was up and out the door this morning for a run in the fog instead. I headed across the street (again! I seem to be stuck on this loop...) for a 5 mile run. Once I got across Rt. 201 and onto the powerlines, the fog and light mist enveloped me and it was quiet. I felt good trucking along, and to mix things up just a bit, instead of adding the extra to make it a true 5 miler on at the end, I took the path out to the Cathance River Ecology Center in the middle of the run. I wanted to check out how the single track trails around the Center looked. And they looked pretty good - still some snow, definitely, but things are clearing out. There will be bare ground and a whole lot of mud to stomp through soon!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Short Run

Well, running in shorts didn't last long! Yesterday morning was cold (again), so I was back to my tights, at least for the time being :-) Got in a quick run before work. Didn't quite do so well this morning... all this dreary weather makes it hard for me to get out the door! Ah well. It looks like there is only a slight chance of light rain tomorrow morning so I'll plan to get out then.

In good spring-time news, the daffodils out front are starting to poke their heads out of the soil, and several of the plants out back are beginning to show their faces as well. Now we just need some sun and warm weather and things will begin to sprout!