Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pennelville Run

Despite a late night out at Novare Res with the Trail Monster gang last night, with Snowman drinking for two :-), I managed to drag him out of bed this morning for a run. For a change of pace, I decided a road run over in the Pennelville area would be nice. We parked at the edge of the fields and headed out around 7:30am. The early morning fog was beginning to lift, and it was shaping up to be a beautiful morning. We ran along at a leisurely pace, partly for me and partly for Snowman, as his legs still are recovering from the 50k.

The run took us out through the fields and the quiet neighborhoods down to Simpson's Point. It was high tide and the waters were calm. The last of the fog was rising out by the outlying islands of the bay. Beautiful. We had originally planned to loop around and get in 5 miles, but Snowman was ready to call it a day, and so we simply backtracked to the car. I was more than happy to run back through the fields and enjoy the birds, and we ended up with 4 miles, which was more than fine with me, as I was just happy to be out and running on such a gorgeous morning.

The run was followed up with brunch at the Seadog Brewery. We met up with my aunt, grandmother, cousin Lillie, and cousin Sean, his wife Marisa and their little boy Owen. The brunch was yummy, and it was great fun catching up with everyone!

Flora and fauna notes: During the morning's run, the fields were alive with Bobolinks. They were everywhere, flying above the grasses, chattering away. We also saw a fair number of red winged Blackbirds, goldfinch, sparrows and swallows. There were a fair number of swamp Iris in one of the swampier sections of the field, the purples contrasting nicely with the greens and yellows of the grasses. After brunch, we were looking out over the Androscoggin, and enjoyed watching a group of Cormorants, seagulls and one Great Blue Heron fishing in the river. We were also treated to a flyover by a Bald Eagle, who was chasing an Osprey. They swooped down quite low, bobbing and weaving as one attempted to outwit the other. The chase was made more interesting when a group of crows joined the action, swarming the Eagle. In the end, the osprey escaped, as the whole group circled higher and higher. It was quite a show!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rainy Day Running

I haven't been quite as inactive as the lack of posting on the blog from this week suggests. Even though I didn't run the Pineland Farms Trail Challenge, on Monday I was exhausted from being out and about outside for 11 hours, standing, cheering, socializing, being in the sun, and worrying about Snowman, especially as I waited for him to come through the Grove at 25.5 miles. It is tiring being one of the support crew! So, no running Monday, just working up at the gallery. Tuesday, I did drag myself out of bed and go over to the Commons for a nice, uneventful 5 mile run. Wednesday, I had intended to run but didn't get out the door. So, that meant I really wanted to run both yesterday and today. I am pretty happy I was able to motivate both mornings, as frankly the weather has been pretty nasty. The combination of the rain and the low temperature made it feel more like mid-April than late May and made for some wet and raw running.

Yesterday, I went across the street hoping to get int 5 miles, but ended up with only 3. I was just feeling a bit off, so turned off to do the short loop instead. Today, I returned to the Commons for another jaunt on the 5 mile out-and-back. I felt good, but the pace was a bit slow. Oh well. The woods were quiet, and with the overcast skies, the greens seemed particularly brilliant, and the pink tones from the rhodora, ladyslippers and pink fringed polygala were even more noticeable than usual. As it wasn't pouring like crazy, once I got going and warmed up a bit, it was actually relatively pleasant running. I'm hoping to get in another run tomorrow morning to round out the week. Perhaps this run will be under blue skies?!

Flora and fauna highlights: Got two looks (one on the way out, and one on the way back) of a Green-back Heron at the first pond. Bright orange legs and interesting coloration. Cool! I have never seen one of these herons before, and it's always nice to see something new and add to the list!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pineland Farms Trail Challenge: Spectator Report

Today was the Pineland Farms Trail Challenge. Ian, Erik and all the volunteers, did an awesome job - it was a great race, with a fun time had by all. Although I was a bit sad to not be participating as a racer, it was actually a lot of fun to spectate and cheer all of our friends on. I spent the day cheering, chatting with friends, eating and hanging out, enjoying the great atmosphere.

There were some really awesome races to be had by all the Trail Monsters today. Nice work everyone!! I am also super proud of Snowman for pushing through some major calf and shoulder cramping to finish strong in his debut as an ultra runner! Woohoo :-)

Since pictures are worth a 1000 words, here are my photos from the day. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get shots of all the Trail Monsters, but I think these shots cover the range of emotions from the day - from lots of smiles to the requisite pain and suffering of ultrarunning thrown in too!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Feeling Good

I was determined to get in 20 miles this week, just so I could say that at 19 weeks I was still running more miles than weeks I was pregnant :-) (I am not sure this will last for many more weeks, but I'll take it for now.) This meant I needed to get out for a 6 mile run this morning. I knew it all depended on how I felt, but as luck would have it, I had a great run and was feeling good the whole time.

It was a bit overcast as I pulled into the field house parking lot. Despite Bowdoin graduation later today, all was quiet this morning as I ran across the field. Not even any dog walkers out there... A few miles into the run, Nate and Kevin came running in the other direction, but other than that, I didn't see anyone else out there. At the end of the Commons, I headed out onto the road to add on another mile. I figured I was more likely to do the extra mile if I put it in the middle of the run than at the end. Going out toward Pennelville also afforded me two other pluses. The first was the use of the port-a-potty and the other was that I would hopefully be able to see some good birds in the fields. This turned out to be a good decision all around. Although I really enjoy running through the Commons, I miss the other routes I would normally run in the summer, and always find the Pennelville area so peaceful to run through. It was nice to be out there, even if just for a 1/2 mile or so.

Ladyslipper count: 144! The ladyslippers are now in full bloom, and they are everywhere. Beautiful.

Flora and fauna notes: The highlight of the run was the three Bobolinks I saw in the Pennelville fields. I know there were more out hidden in the high grasses, as I could hear them chattering up a storm as I ran by. Also saw several red winged Blackbirds and Goldfinch. Other than that, I was mostly focused on finding the ladyslippers along the trail, so I wasn't paying too much attention to birdsong. Aside from the abundance of ladyslippers, the forest floor was alive with starflowers, false lily of the valley, blooming rhodora, strawberry plants and blueberry bushes, bunchberry, several nice patches of pink fringed polygala (thanks to Jeff for helping me figure out what this plant was!) and a few painted Trillium.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day and Night

I didn't get up in time to get in both a run and do all the errands before work yesterday, so the errands it was. As I was driving up to work, I called Snowman and left him a message, asking if he'd like to put off his 3 mile run until after I got home from work. That would ensure that I actually got out there! He agreed, so on the way home from work I ate a powerbar, and we were out the door after a quick change into running clothes. (Speaking of running clothes, it seems I am going to have to give up on my XS and S tech shirts soon. The belly is beginning to be noticeable in those, so I think I'll be resorting to the larger running shirts very shortly. I guess the race shirts I've never worn because they've been so big will come in handy after all!)

We headed across the street for a 3 mile loop through Highland Green. I felt terrible. My legs were heavy. I couldn't find a rhythm. Ugh. That's about all I have to say about that.

Luckily, this morning's run felt much better. I even managed to crank out a sub 30 minute 3 mile loop! Yes, it is relatively pathetic that 9:50 pace is enough to make me happy with a run. But at this point, it is true. It was a beautiful morning to be out, despite my stuffy nose and itchy eyes. Gotta love allergies! But the run felt good, the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing and summer is on its way. What's not to love?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pretty In Pink

Yes, she looks a bit like a little alien, but she's our alien :-)

Her heartbeat was 144, and she is currently weighing in at 8 oz. Amazing!

It was pretty cool to watch the technician find everything she needed to find while we were there for the ultrasound. The little one was sucking her thumb and putting her hands in front of her face when we were trying to get good photos of her. Very funny!

In other news, in an effort to get out all my nerves before going to the appointment, I got in a nice, cool 3 mile run at 6:45 am. The birds were singing and it was bright and sunny. A good morning for a run.

Monday, May 18, 2009

More Eating Than Running

My parents were up visiting this weekend. It was great to see them. They even made the first purchase of baby clothes for 'the turnip' (as Snowman calls the little one) and bought a few *gulp* real maternity clothes for me. Thanks guys! But what we did most of was eat. This is typical of my family. We get together and eat. Now I am a fan of eating, and eating well. But I felt like all we did this weekend was eat! Sunday was a case in point... we met up with my aunt, cousin and grandmother for a yummy lunch at the Royal River Grillhouse in Yarmouth, and then headed south to meet Snowman's parents at the Portsmouth Brewery for an early dinner. Both meals involved french fries for me. I do not think this is exactly what the baby book had in mind when it said to eat a lot of vegetables :-)

Still, at least we got out for a run before heading to lunch! It was raining when we woke up, but we had already planned to meet up with Nate at 9am for a run in the Commons, so there was no way I was going to back out. Snowman wasn't so sure, but Nate's phone call to let us off the hook shamed him into getting dressed and going with me! The rain petered out to a fine mist as we ran, so although it was a wet run, we didn't get soaked, which was nice. The woods were quiet and very green. We had a good, mellow run, chatting as we ran along. I only counted around 20 ladyslippers as I was too busy talking away, but that's ok, they will be there next week!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ladyslipper Run

I headed over to the Commons this morning for a run. I ended up only running 5 miles, as opposed to the 6 I had hoped, but stopped only because I was starting to get pretty warm (it felt very muggy out) and had run out of Gatorade, and didn't want to push it. It was nice to end the run feeling good, and I'm happy to still be able to be out running an easy 5 miles. I am also happy because today I saw my first ladyslippers of the season! I look forward to this time of year, as the ladyslippers seem to love the composition of the soil in the Commons and are always abundant. I then can spend my runs counting the ladyslippers. Yes, I am dorky, but it keeps me amused :-)

Ladyslipper count: 32. There are definitely more beginning to emerge from their leaves which I didn't count. I'm sure I'll get those next time!

Other flora and fauna seen: The rhodora is also starting to bloom in the wetter spots. The pinky-purple flowers set against the green is always so pretty. The blueberry bushes, low strawberry plants, white and purple violets, wild oats, starflowers, blue bead lilies and goldthread were amongst the other plants blooming in the woods.

Birds seen include a great blue heron, kingfisher and mallard on the first pond, as well as a wood thrush, goldfinch, two swallows, phoebes, chickadees and sparrows. I was too absorbed with the ladyslippers to really listen carefully to all the bird song, so I know there were others out there, I just could not focus on the song enough to distinguish the individual birds.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Feel Like I'm Wearing A Moo Moo

"I don't want to look like a freak... I'll take the moo moo." - Homer Simpson.

I have officially outgrown most of my regular clothes. And all I could think about this morning as I was getting dressed for work in some of the new clothes I had purchased from Old Navy was the Simpsons episode illustrated above.

I'm sure it is not that bad. In fact, Snowman pointed out that something like 80% the American population would think that me at 18 weeks pregnant is still skinny. Point taken. But I just feel big! This whole pregnancy thing takes some getting used to. Ah well.

I didn't get up in time to get out for a run this morning, which may have contributed to said feelings, but at least I did get in a mellow 3 miler yesterday. I had hoped to go 5 miles, but I was feeling a bit tight so decided to take the short way home. My plan for tomorrow is 6 in the Commons. Nice and flat and easy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Acadia Running and Hiking Weekend

We just got back from a great weekend up in Acadia. It is one of my favorite places and as usual, it didn't disappoint, even if the weather wasn't perfect. But when you combine great scenery, good hiking and running, lots of yummy food and good company, how can you go wrong?!

Saturday: The weekend stated off with a drive fueled by Tim Horton's and Metallica. We met up with Jamie, Mindy and Pete at the Jordan Pond House around 11:00. Snowman, Jamie and Mindy took off for the a 12 mile run "Around the Mountain," which Snowman and I had done on our trip last September. It's a great running loop, although this time around, it appears they were treated to an extra special wildlife encounter! Pete, recovering from shoulder surgery, and I, on the other hand, decided to hike, and Pete was good enough to let me be tour guide. We trucked up Penobscot Mountain, enjoying the quiet trail and nice views.

We headed down the Deer Brook Trail, and finished up the loop along the shores of Jordan Pond. A fun hike! Thanks Pete :-)

Mindy and Pete took a room in town, but Jamie, Snowman and I set up camp at Blackwoods Campground before we headed to Geddy's for dinner. The plan was for a roaring campfire in the evening, but Mother Nature had other plans. As Snowman attempted to get things started, the rain began. Soon it was a full on deluge, and we all decided a fire was not in the cards. Instead, we quickly climbed into our tents to get a good long sleep!

Sunday: The rain fell for most of the night, but we awoke to clear skies. We headed down to the ocean's edge to take in the views before driving to Eagle Lake to meet up with Mindy and Pete for this morning's adventure. At Jamie's request, we decided on the 6 mile run around the lake (Pete took a walk instead), and it did not disappoint. Gorgeous! The carriage roads are really just perfect for running. Wide, well graded and always something to look at. A few miles into the run, we got passed by three guys running at a much quicker pace. As they ran out of sight, I raised my hand and said "I'm almost 18 weeks pregnant. I'm not usually this slow!" I wish I had some sort of neon sign on my back with this sort of vital information :-)

We were looking forward to the yummy biscuits at Two Cats Cafe, but there was a 2 hour wait! Yikes. So, we walked down the street to Jordan's instead, and enjoyed their blueberry pancakes. After eating, Jamie, Mindy and Pete took off, leaving Snowman and I to our own devices. We decided to get a room at the Aurora Inn in town, so we could shower and stay dry for our second night. A bit wimpy, yes, but worth it! After showering, we went downtown and walked the Shore Path, something we have not yet done. It's just a mellow mile or so walk along the ocean but a good one.

We finished up the evening with some Mexican food and a bit of TV, before falling asleep to more rain falling.

Monday: The day dawned cool and overcast. We bundled up and headed to Two Cats to finally get those biscuits we were denied yesterday! YUM :-) Sufficiently carbo-loaded, we drove to the Jesup trailhead. Although we've visited Acadia more times than I can count, the Jesup Trail is one trail we've never done. It is a flat trail through a swampy area near the Tarn and the foot of Dorr Mountain. Snowman wanted to take it easy today, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to check this trail out. The trail wound through the open woods, a swampy area and the edge of a meadow before dropping us at the Sieur du Mont Spring. From there, we continued on to the Tarn and took the lakeside trail at the foot of the Dorr slide. We looped back around the lake on the road, and ducked back into the woods. For the return, we headed up and over Kebo Mountain, a short but sweet climb with some nice views, pretty pitch pine forest and what looked like what would be prime blueberry picking later this summer!

Yes, this the first official "I'm pregnant" photo for the "What's Next?" blog (with me at 17 weeks 5 days).

After the hike, we, yup, you guessed it, headed into town to eat yet again. Snowman went for the Steak & Gravy sub, while I tried to be good and got a salad. Of course, we also got a big order of hand cut fries, and I had to finish off the visit with a final ice cream cone at Ben & Bill's! I think the salad was sufficiently canceled out :-)

Again, a great weekend and lots of fun!

For full photo set, click here.

Flora and fauna wrap-up: One turkey vulture riding the thermals, several juncoes, a garter snake and one loon on Jordan Pond seen during Saturday's hike. Not a lot of wildflowers blooming yet, but there was an overabundance of shadbush. I've never noticed so many of these bushes before, and had to use my handy-dandy Aububon field guide to figure out what I was looking at. These bushes/small trees were everywhere! Sunday's run featured starflowers, wild oats, pearly everlasting, hobblebush and lots of false lily of the valley. As we walked along the Shore Path, Snowman and I saw a lone loon, riding the waves, as well as several cormorants flying low along the water. Monday's hike was definitely the star of the weekend flora and fauna-wise. The Tarn yielded a painted turtle and one huge snapping turtle, as well as a pair of Black & White Warblers, one Gray Catbird, a bunch of juncos and sparrows, and one Common Yellowthroat. The woods and pondside were coming to life, with lots of ferns, iris, starflowers, hobblebush, false lily of the valley, lowbush blueberry bushes and rhodora.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Nothing like waking up to the sun to start off the day right! And after the past few dreary days, it is extra nice. I headed over to the Commons for a 5 mile run. I was overdressed, as I hadn't expected it to be so warm out, but other than that, I felt good and it was a nice run. I ran into Nate and Kevin coming back from their morning run, as well as a few dog walkers. I guess everyone was out enjoying the nice morning!

We're headed up to Acadia tomorrow morning for a long weekend and I'm really looking forward to it! Acadia is one of my favorite places, and it's always great to get up there. Should be fun!

Flora and fauna notes: Noticed some good patches of goldthread blooming, and caught a good look at a small turtle sunning itself on a log in the first pond.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Late Run

Snowman called me around 4pm to say "I don't want to (run)." I said, "Fine, then don't." But I also mentioned that perhaps we could run when I got home, because I knew that probably he really did want to get out to run even if he was saying he didn't. I rarely run in the evening, but since I didn't run this morning as planned due to the cold rain, I figured that between the two of us, we might be able to drag each other out the door after I got home from work. And you guessed it, we did! Just for 3 miles, but it was good to get out.

Monday, May 4, 2009

3 Miles and 16 Weeks

Although feeling a bit tired out from yesterday's first hike of the season, I nonetheless got up and out for a 3 mile run this morning. Of course, part of that was due to the fact that Ronnie the cat decided that at 6:25, I just had to get up and feed him, and was sitting up near my head, purring like crazy, and pawing at my face. Gotta love it! The second part of the reasoning for getting out for a run this morning was that I had a doctor's appointment at 9:30 am, and as I am always nervous going to the doctor's, I figured it would be a good way to get out my morning nerves!

According to the doctor's office, I am 16 weeks 5 days along. We heard the little one's heart beat again, although s/he kept moving around, and the nurse practitioner had to chase it across my stomach with the dopplar device to get a good reading of the heart beat, which was 140. I also was happy to learn that I've only gained 5 pounds so far. I know I am going to be gaining weight no matter what, but it is still a strange thing to no longer be in control in this regard. Whatever ends up happening will of course be fine, but I'd love to keep my weight gain towards the lower end of the recommended range! Of course with all the food I've been eating, we'll see how that goes :-) The next visit will be for an ultrasound. I hope the little one is cooperative and is willing to let us learn the sex! What are the bets? Boy or girl?

Flora and fauna highlight from this morning's run: One Eastern Towhee, singing from the bushes at the edge of the Highland Green Road.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Camden Hills Hike

We met up with the Trail Monster crew this morning for a run (or hike in my case) up at Camden Hills State Park. Jim and Shauna picked us up, and we had a fun and entertaining drive up to Camden, arriving on time at the Mt. Battie trailhead. Snowman, Jamie, Ian, Stephen, Floyd, Jim and Shauna planned to run 20 miles, while Kelly and Cacky joined me for a nice hike. The guys took off like rockets up the steep incline, while the girls took it a little easier on the climb. Although it was a bit overcast, the ceiling was high and there were nice views of the town and harbor from the Mt. Battie summit. From there, we headed out to Ocean Outlook.

We saw Shauna along the way, as she was taking it a bit easier than the rest of the group, and heard Jim yell from Ocean Outlook at one point, but otherwise we were on our own. Cacky took her time getting up to the viewpoint, so Kelly and I continued on to Mt. Megunticook, a rather anticlimactic summit with no views. From there, we took the Ridge Trail down to the Jack Williams Trail, which took us back along the bottom of the rocky ridge to the Tableland Trail. When we got back up to the Mt. Battie summit, we were surprised to see Randy, his wife and daughter having a nice picnic! Trail Monsters everywhere :-) We made the final descent, finishing up with 6.8 miles in 3:10. Kelly and I had a nice time hiking together, keeping a good pace up while chatting away. She imparted some nice tips regarding slings and baby strollers along the way too. Thanks Kelly!

After a quick change of clothes, Snowman called, indicating that he and Jim were at the other end of the park and were looking for a ride. He had hit the wall and didn't think he could make it all the way back (at least not without taking hours!). Luckily, Cacky was willing to make the drive, as I certainly couldn't drive Jim's stick shift car! Thanks Cacky! I was a bit concerned with how Snowman would be, so much so that I forgot to bring Jim his requested beer (!), but when we arrived, Snowman looked tired, but seemed OK. He just ran out of steam. We met back up with the crew, and headed into town for a much needed lunch and beer (no, no, not for me!). It was a great day and fun to be out with friends! As always, it was a good group :-)

Flora and fauna notes: It was great to see the spring flowers blooming! Lots and lots of wild oats, a number of maroon trillium, white, yellow and purple violets, a few rose twisted stalk, several patches of trailing arbutus, a few Spring Beauties, blooming hobblebush, and some Blue Bead Lilies beginning to emerge from their leaves. I did not have much success with my flower shots, but did manage one of this Spring Beauty:

Saw one Turkey vulture soaring overhead, as well as many juncos and chickadees. I was hoping for some other birds, but either they weren't around or I missed them as I was too busy talking!

And finally, who wouldn't want to see a photo of Snowman with a sushi bandaid! And who would have known they even made sushi bandaids?!

Friday, May 1, 2009

1, 2, 3 Commons

All my mid-week runs this week have been in the Commons. This is not a bad thing. The Commons is familiar, allows me to keep off the roads, is quiet, and is a pretty mellow way to get in 5 trail miles, which is what I'm looking for at this point. I've come to the slightly painful but probably reasonable conclusion that running 25k at Pinelands is not in the cards for me this year. I was really thinking I could do it, but I am just not sure it's a good idea. I did feel good when I ran my 10 mile run there a few weeks back, but the fact that that 10 miles took me almost two hours, and during the race I would have another 5.5 to go, makes me realize that running for 3 hours at 20 weeks pregnant, starting at 10am on what is typically a warm weekend, just isn't the way to go for me. I'm a bit saddened by this realization, but I accept it. Pinelands will be there next year. So this year, I will be a happy spectator and "crew" for Snowman as much as he needs it. I'll likely be taking care of little Finley too, while Shannon and Nate are running their own races. It will be a different experience, but fun nonetheless. Hence, the reason that I am not worrying about getting in long runs at this point.

But back to the Commons... I went out Wednesday morning for a run before work, which was eventful except an unanticipated but very necessary pit stop halfway through (sorry if this is TMI), and headed out this morning too. This morning was misty and foggy. The woods were quiet, and the greyness of the morning seemed only to enhance the carpet of green that is now emerging on the forest floor. Amidst the greenery, the fern fronds are beginning the unfurl, the starflower stalks are making an appearance, and the Common Wood Sorrel and False Rue Anemone have started to bud, although their delicate blooms were curled up tight against the cold today.

In the first pond, I noted a Great Blue Heron as well as what I think was a mink, gliding through the still waters. There were also a number of Phoebes flitting about, as well as one Goldfinch singing away at the top of a slender tree. I heard a Woodpecker picking away up high as well as a Red-eyed Vireo, but could not see either. A good morning for casual on-the-run birding :-)