Monday, May 31, 2010

Pineland Farms Trail Challenge (Not So) 50k Race Report: The Race That Was Not Meant To Be

DNF. I do not like these three letters. And I really do not like that they are now next to my name when it comes to this year's Pineland Farms Trail Challenge 50k. I was intending to cross the finish line in triumph, not come riding up to it on one of those golf carts that zoom around the course that pick up injured runners, and I especially did not intend to finish feeling depleted, sad and upset and only having run 22 of the 31 miles. But such things happen in life, and Sunday just wasn't my day.

But before I say anymore, I have to say a HUGE thank you to my parents, who not only came over to our place at 6:30am to watch Sam so we could go to Pineland together, but who also came with her to the race, hugged me when I came walking in from the sideline and told me they were proud of me not matter what, and who helped immensely by keeping Sam entertained and fed while Ryan and I both sat in our tent, trying to feel human again. We could not have done it without them! Also, a big thank you to Erik and Ian, and all the volunteers, for putting on such a great race! As always, things were well-run, fun and we all enjoyed the festive race atmosphere.

The morning started out with me wondering where in the world I was going to pump before the race. The YMCA was closed, which I hadn't anticipated and I needed an electrical outlet for the pump. I was getting a bit frantic, as I already knew I'd be going a long time without nursing/pumping and had expected to be able to pump right before the race. Jim realized I was getting upset, and told me he'd get me what I needed. What a great guy, and a nice friend! He walked over to Erik and told him I needed a private place with an outlet. Erik looked at us like we were crazy (private? you mean now? and here?), but told us I could use the outlet over by the refrigerator. There were people everywhere, but Jim set up the chair for me, and Ryan took over, covering me with a towel while I pumped. I'm sure we got some funny looks, but it worked, so whatever!

After that and a quick run to the port-a-potties, it was race time!


Me, cheery at the start, before it all went bad

I lined up near Four and George, with Ann a little further back in the queue. A few quick words from Ian and Erik, and we were off! I knew I was likely to go out a bit too fast, so I tried to reign it in and just be comfortable. I was feeling good, and settled in next to a nice guy, Brian, from the Boston area. Soon after, Nate joined us and the three of us ran together, walking the hills and making our way along the course. The day had started out nice and overcast, but after an hour of running, the clouds burned off and the sun came out. It started to get warm, especially in the fields.

I stuck to my fueling plan pretty well for the first miles, but as I hit the aid station before the return up the Campus loop, when I tried to eat the PB&J sandwich I had in my fuel belt, it just wouldn't go down. Still, I felt good as I worked my way up to the Grove. It was nice to come through and see all our Trail Monster friends who were there cheering, and waiting to run the 25k. I crossed the road to Oak Hill, and stopped at the port-a-potty in the hopes that that would relieve the bit of unease I was beginning to feel in my stomach. I drank a cup of Gatorade while I waited. As I headed back out, Nate caught up with me. The trails along Oak Hill was quiet, and Nate and I ran along together, alternatively talking and just quietly running next to each other. I definitely walked a bit more on this stretch, and couldn't stomach the fig newtons I was carrying. I also didn't drink much.

I came back to the Grove and stopped at our tent to pick up new bottles and some more food. I knew I didn't want to take the figs or PB&J, as neither of those had sat well on the first loop, so I threw a few GUs in my belt along with two new bottles. I noticed the clock reading 2:34 as I headed out, and I knew I had been slowly but surely slowing from the start. But still, I hoped I could pull off a decent time if the second loop went OK. Well, that obviously didn't happen. I started to feel even more unease in my stomach, and I just didn't feel like eating or drinking anything. I plodded along, alone, through the fields and into the woods. I noticed I wasn't really sweating. Then around 18 miles, my quads seized up. I've never had this happen before. It was upsetting, to say the least. I stopped to shake them out, and then was able to keep moving. But the cramps kept returning. Ugh!

I mostly walked the fields after the aid station, but everyone around me was doing the same. I walked more going up the hills in the Hemlock section. I was feeling a bit faint. But I kept going. Finally, after walking through the fields off Hemlock and seeing a bit of shade ahead under the threes along the dirt road, I just decided I really needed to sit down. I put my head down on the ground. Two runners behind me stopped to make sure I was OK, and one guy poured some of his water on my back. The woman said she would send someone back to check on me. I sent them off on their way with thanks, wanting them to continue on with their own race. After a few minutes of laying there, I decided I could get up and try to walk. I walked through the woods and along the road until I reached the point where the race course went left through more fields. I stopped. I looked left at the course. And right, at the Yurt aid station, just 100 feet away. I hated to do it more than I can even say, but I knew the thing to do was to turn right and go to the aid station. Sometimes doing the smart thing just sucks.

When I pulled up to the aid station, I told them that someone had probably checked in to tell them about me, sitting back there along the side of the trail. They had already sent someone out there to look for me, but said it wasn't a problem as they were patrolling the course regardless. They sat me down in the shade, and I was able to drink some water and eat a few orange slices. Then I had to decide whether I wanted a ride back to the Grove. I had to say I was done. D*&#. I really didn't want to do that. But I did.

I was feeling pretty low as the cart pulled into the Grove. I couldn't believe that I had dropped out. I really thought I could do it. I saw Ryan, hunched over after his 25k finish, surrounded by my parents pushing Sam, and Kristen and Morgan. I had to walk up to them and tell them I was done, that I hadn't made it. And I had to keep telling all our friends throughout the afternoon. It sucked. Everyone was supportive and really nice about it. Still, I couldn't help wondering if I had made the right decision. Sure, when I got back to the tent, I sat down and was shivering and could still barely eat and drink. My quads kept cramping. But who cares, I should be good at suffering! Should I have kept going? I'm 99% sure I did the right thing. But that 1% has been nagging at me. I hate to quit! Yes, I realize I have a 7.5 month old baby who does not sleep through the night. Yes, I am still breastfeeding. Yes, I haven't had all the time in the world to devote to training. Yes, it was hot out there. Yes, the Pineland course is tough, and it's the first time I was trying to run a 50k. Yes, in the end I still ran 22 miles in 4 hours and that is nothing to scoff at. Yes, I will definitely chalk this race up to experience and learn from it. But, that still doesn't mean that I'm not disappointed in myself.

However, in the end, I gave it my best shot. I got out there and ran. It just wasn't my day. There will be other races. And I'll finish a 50k. You can bet on that.

And on a happier note, congrats to all my Trail Monster friends who had great races out there this weekend! Woohoo! :-) And to Ryan, who is a bit disappointed in his race, I'm still proud of you!

As recovery, today we met up with Mom, Dad and Morgan at Wolfe's Neck State Park for a walk. It was gorgeous down at the coast, and nice to move my legs and get the blood flowing. And as Ryan said to me on the ride home, Sam loves me no matter what, if I finished, if I didn't. Yes, it would have been more impressive if I had finished. But it doesn't really matter. And what is better than that? :-)

Ryan and Sam down by the water (notice Ryan's lovely facial hair!)


Cousins

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tomorrow

Well, tomorrow's the day of the big race! I am nervous, but not as much as I was earlier this week. Of course, all that could change later today :-) Plus, the weather forecast is looking a little more promising for us runners, so that makes me feel a bit better too! I got out this morning at 7am for an easy 3 mile run. The sheep laurel are now blooming along the powerlines - very pretty! As Jamie suggested, while I was running along, I worked on visualizing a strong and steady race, and how happy I would be to cross the finish line feeling good. It was good to think about running through the Grove with everyone around, running through the fields and out on Oak Hill. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing and cheering on all our friends out there on the trails tomorrow, and am really thankful that my parents are such good sports and are willing to get to our house at 6:30am tomorrow morning so that we can pull this whole race thing off. We are indeed lucky not only to be able to do this crazy running stuff, but to have friends and family to support us in it too!

The rest of the day today is going to be a bit busy, as we have a new show opening at the gallery and a reception late this afternoon. But I'm hoping that once I get home, I can relax and get to bed early. Hopefully Sam will grace us with a good night too :-)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nerves

I had intended to get out for a run yesterday, but the hot weather sapped my energy, and by the time it cooled down, dinner was already done and I was practically ready for bed :-) Thank goodness it's taper week! One more day off likely won't help or hurt me at this point, so I was OK with not running yesterday. I did however really want to be sure to get out today, so I was out the door at 5:55 for a quick 3-mile run of the Highland Green loop before the rest of the house was awake. I was feeling a bit off. My stomach was doing flip-flops and I was feeling nauseous. Ryan said it was all in my head, and that there was nothing wrong with me, that I was letting my nerves get to me. I wasn't convinced, but I must say, after I put it out there to the world (ie. Facebook) that I was getting pretty nervous about the race and got back a few calming responses, I really did start to feel better. Now I just have to keep in the right frame of mind for the next few days and get myself ready to run and have fun out there on Sunday!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mid-Morning Six

For some reason, I was feeling a bit unmotivated this morning. But regardless, I knew I would feel even worse if I didn't run today, so I snuck out during Sam's morning nap, and did the six-mile Hillside loop that heads out on the powerlines, down Foreside to some park trails and through a little neighborhood before popping back out on the lines. Man, was it hot out! 77 degrees. Wow! I felt a bit like I was melting. I hope things cool down a bit before Sunday. Yikes!! I'm getting pretty nervous about the 50k as it is, without the thought of running it in heat like today's. Aie. What have I gotten myself into?!

After my run and Sam woke up for her nice 1 1/2 hour nap, we hung out together for the day while Ryan worked. I took her out for a short stroll around the neighborhood in the B.O.B. with her out of the car seat, and facing forward in the stroller like a big girl. She looked so cute! The harness was set on the smallest setting :-) In the end, it was just too hot to stay out for too long, but she seemed fine with the change, which was good. I'm not sure she'll nap as easily in this position, since she'll be looking out on the world, but she can't stay in the car seat forever! Plus, without the seat, the stroller should be a little easier to push for a bit, at least until she starts to get bigger herself!

After a bit more playtime, I tried to get her down in her crib for an afternoon nap, but she wasn't having it, so we went out for a nice air-conditioned car ride instead. There really are some beautiful spots on the outskirts of Topsham and Brunswick, and out in the countryside of Pownal, Durham and Lisbon. All of the unmowed fields I passed were glimmering with buttercups and dandelion, and I even spotted a few Bobolink along the way too, which made me smile! After a bit of cooing and playing, Sam fell asleep as we drove along, which meant she was a happy girl for the early evening as we all sat and rolled around on her playmat before bedtime. We're trying to encourage her to crawl, but so far she just isn't having it! :-) I know she'll get there, and for now, we'll enjoy the fact that she isn't yet mobile, which certainly makes things easier!

Here she is, dressed for the day (well, at least until an afternoon spit-up) in a custom onesie courtesy of Tank and Willow. Thanks guys!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Busy Sunday

Today was a busy day, but it was lots of fun! We started off the day by meeting up with Nate, Shannon, Finley and little Charlotte for breakfast at the Broadway Deli. Yum - fruit pancakes! And lots of coffee. What more could I ask for?! Sam was really good through the whole meal, sitting by herself in the regular high chair and enjoying the whole scene. She also polished off all of her own breakfast, and why not? I mean, who doesn't like green beans for breakfast?!

Sam took a nap when we got home, and when she woke up we headed to the bike path for a short run. My original plan had been to run 7 to 8 miles before breakfast, but that just didn't happen, so I decided to run with Ryan today, and just do the longer run tomorrow. We had a nice easy 3 mile run, and then came home and after a quick snack, suited up for outing #3 of the day. The plan was to head over to Wolfe's Neck State Park in Freeport for a short hike, but Sam fell asleep on the ride over, so we drove around for a while first. By the time we got to the park, the day, which had been so bright and beautiful, was looking awfully foggy. The whole coast was socked in with a nice, thick and cool fog. Luckily, we had brought a jacket for Sam, but I was cold the whole time we were out walking. There must have been a 15 degree difference between Brunswick and in the park out near the water - crazy!

Anyway, we really enjoyed our walk. The woods were beautiful - lots of ladyslippers (I was too busy entertaining Sam and enjoying the views to count!), a number of jack-in-the-pulpits, bunchberries, starflowers, trailing arbutus and false lily of the valley - and the trails were really nice. There were numerous chances to head down to the rocky ledges and small beaches, as well as lots of picnic tables and a nice, grassy area where we stopped to let Sam stretch out on the blanket before we got back in the car. We couldn't believe we hadn't been out to explore the park and its trails before! We'll certainly be back!

Here are just a few shots from our excursion:

Misty ledges

You're funny!

Family portrait on the beach

On the ledges

Happy girlie!

Jack-in-the-pulpit

Talking with Mommy

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Catching Some Rays

Ryan and Sam are hanging out today while I'm at work, and I just got a text on my phone with the following photo. Isn't she cute?! I wish I was home catching some rays with them!!

End of the Week

Yesterday, I snuck in a 3-mile run before work. It was gorgeous out, and it is more of the same today. Sam was a good sleeper last night - out by 6:50pm, up at 11:30 to eat and then right out again until 5:00am. Of course, at 5:00 she decided she was up for the day, but oh well! I did put her back in her crib in the hopes that she would go back to sleep but we could hear her cooing and playing over the monitor, so finally at 5:45, I went in and got her up and we went downstairs to play. Having been up so early, she was beginning to get tired out around 7:30, so I fed her and she fell right asleep in my arms. Precious! Luckily, she stayed asleep during the transition into the crib, and I was able to get out for a run.

I hit the powerlines for Ryan's Homeplace run. It's a nice out-and-back with a few lollypops added on to make things interesting. The sun was shining, there was a light breeze and it was warm but not too warm. Perfect running weather! I saw four Towhees as I ran along, which confirms my suspicion that there are two pairs living/nesting along the powerlines, as well as a number of goldfinch and sparrows. Also saw a few ladyslippers in the wooded lollypops along the way. I was feeling good, and was happy to be out enjoying the nice day for a bit before heading off to work!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chilly Early Morning Run

Sam was my alarm clock again this morning, and I was out running by 5:50am. It was chilly - only 43 degrees! Brrr! - but I warmed up fast. I did the longer Highland Green route, and ended up running it pretty quickly (at least for me) - 40:45 for the 5 miles. It's nice to feel good so early in the morning :-) I saw two Towhees while running, with my "regular" guy hanging out on a branch by the end of the powerlines at the junction of Highland Green Road. And an even better sighting for the morning came as I was crossing Rt. 201 for the final 1/4 mile of the run. Who should I see biking down the road but Jim! I couldn't believe it. What are the chances that the one cyclist I saw was Jim, who was biking to work from Portland, and who just happened to be biking by at the exact same time I was crossing the road! You'd think it would be a pretty slim chance, but I guess not :-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gorgeous Day

I started off this beautiful day with a 10 mile run on the Cathance trails. Ryan had devised a 9 mile loop there, and despite the fact that he thought I wasn't listening to his directions as I was headed out the door, I managed to follow his route without much problem. It was the same for the first 6 miles to my 'typical' route through the trails, but added on some nice additions in the last few miles. I popped back out onto the Highland Green road after 8 miles, so to get up to 10 miles, I took one of the dirt roads we've noted on Google Maps but which I hadn't been on before - as promised, it dropped me out down by Topsham Crossing, and I took the powerlines back home. I hit the mailboxes and the Garmin was reading 10.1 miles. Perfect. It was a great run, and I felt strong.

While I was running, along with noticing all the wildflowers, I was thinking a lot about the 50k. I am a bit nervous. I hope I am ready, and have gotten in enough training. I certainly didn't get in any truly high-mileage weeks, but the reality is that I've done OK without hitting really high miles in the past. Of course, trail running is a bit different, as I'm bound to be out there for a much longer time. I do wish one of my longest runs had been over 20 miles, and I wish I had gotten out to run on the Pineland trails more than once too. Ah well. Would a few more miles every week make much of a difference? Perhaps. But it was just not to be this time around, so I'll have to go with what I've got. I know I can get through the 31 miles. I might be small (and even smaller than I've been in a long time at this point, although certainly not intentionally! I'm blaming what I've coined the "sleep deprived, nursing, working, running mama" diet :-) ) but I know my body can go, go, go. I'll just have to keep going, and hope that things don't get too painful! I'd like to be able to run 10-minute miles throughout the race, and gain the 50k PR in this household :-) but that's my high-reach goal, and I also know I'll be happy to just finish strong. Regardless, it will be an experience, that's for sure :-)

Anyway, I came home happy with my run, and after Ryan got in his run, we headed out with Sam for a little more outdoor fun for the day. We wanted to give the baby backpack another try, so we thought we'd go to Bradbury for a walk. It was a crowded place today! Everyone was out enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. We must have seen at least 10 other babies in baby carriers, along with lots of kids on the playground and hiking on the trails too. We meandered up the Tote Road to the summit, where we stopped and took in the view. It was crystal clear, and we could see out to the ocean. Very nice. We were out for over an hour, and Sam did really well, chatting away and playing with her rings (oh, and her hat!) It was fun to be out on the trails with her, and a great way to spend the afternoon!

On the summit

Rockin' the big-brimmed hat

Taking in the sights at the summit

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Nice Saturday

The morning started off right, with chocolate chip pancakes :-) Yum! Later, Ryan headed off to meet up with Jeremy for the first Maine Trash Run. The plan was to pick up trash along the roadside at the edge of the Commons in Brunswick. Ian, Kelly, Erik, Blaine and Erin also joined in on the fun. While he was gone, Sam and I played and she took a nice nap, which left me with enough time to get some laundry done, make the filling for our chicken enchilada dinner, have lunch, and even relax a bit :-) When she woke up, we joined up with the trash pickers at Frontier afterward. Turns out they filled 18 bags of trash in a 1-mile stretch. That's a lot of trash! Sam was fascinated by the fiddlers that were playing during the lunch hour. The music was lots of fun!

When we got home from Frontier, I headed out for my run. For something different, I drove over to Bowdoin and hit the trails in the Commons. It was sprinkling just slightly when I headed out, but regardless it was a nice afternoon to be out. I was curious to see how many ladyslippers I could find, as they were just starting to show up when I ran there 2 weeks ago. The forest floor had greened up, filled with false lily of the valley, starflowers, bluets, several nice patches of pink trailing arbutus and ladyslippers. I counted 102! I know Ryan does not believe that I could actually have seen 100+ ladyslippers along the trails, but I did. Conditions in the woods there must just be perfect for the ladyslippers. It's wonderful to see so many! The rhodora and blueberry bushes were also blooming among the pitch pine. I added a bit on at the end, along the Bowdoin fields, to get in 6 miles. Perfect!

And now, after a yummy enchilada and gaucamole dinner, Sam is asleep and we are relaxing on the couch. Ahhh :-)


Friday, May 14, 2010

Foggy

I feel a bit like I'm in a fog today. Must be my allergies. I didn't manage to get out of bed for a run this morning, which disappoints me a little, but I'm looking forward to a nice, leisurely 6 mile run in the Commons tomorrow. I'm actually going to have a "real" weekend off, although it comes at a bit of a price, as I'll be working Monday through Saturday next week. Ugh. Can't someone pay me to just hang out with Sam and go trail running?! :-) Ha! Wouldn't that be nice!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sam Videos!

Ryan took these cute videos this past Saturday when he was watching Sam during the day while I was at work. He posted them on Facebook, but since this blog is Sam's virtual baby book, I thought I'd post them here as well. Then everyone who reads this blog can enjoy them too! (OK, so maybe just the grandparents and great-grandparents will enjoy them, but hey :-) )

Bounce, Bounce, Bounce!
video


Are You Listening? I'm Talking Here!
video

Easy Three

I had my running clothes out and ready to go last night before I went to bed assuming that Sam would be waking up around 5am, and I would get to go for a run after I put her back to bed. Instead, she was on the 10:00, 2:00, 6:30 plan today, so I got to sleep a little bit longer! I might have been able to sleep even longer if I had let Ryan go into her room at 2:00 as planned. We are trying to wean her off at least one of her nighttime feedings. The plan was to have Ryan go in first during the second waking and see if he could soothe her back to sleep without me feeding her. But, I have a hard time listening to her cry, and I also wake up more easily than Ryan. So, at 2:00, I went in to her. What can I say? I'm a sucker. While I would like her to sleep longer, I'll be the first to admit that I am not ready to wean her off the nighttime feedings completely, because, she's only 7 months old and is pretty tiny; she's also breastfed, meaning she's more likely to digest her food faster and need more of it during the night. Also, the more I nurse her, the more my supply keeps up, and hopefully the longer I can supply her during the day with breastmilk. (Sorry if that was too much information.)

Anyway, since she woke up at 6:30, we went downstairs and she played for a while, had some banana and avacado, squealed at the cats and grabbed Gigi's tail (Gigi did not like that, but luckily I was in between the two of them, so Gigi thought it was me doing the grabbing and batted at my hand instead!), and played some more. Then she went down for her early morning nap at 8:00 and I was able to sneak out and get in a quick run. In fact, Ryan practically commanded me to get out the door, knowing I would be upset if I missed the run today. I really was in fact planning to run, but the extra kick certainly got me into gear a little faster!! :-)

I ran the short Highland Green loop and felt good and strong, which I took as a positive sign after my Monday 20 miler and a day off yesterday. The only thing that bugged me during the run was my allergies. I have had allergies forever, although they have gotten progressively better the older I get. But, the seasonal allergies, especially in the spring, are still bad. Normally I would be taking some allergy medication, but this year, because I'm nursing Sam and can't find any definitive research on whether or not Singulair gets passed into breastmilk and/or if it's safe to take, I'm not. And I can't take any over the counter stuff either, because the point of those drugs is to dry you up, meaning not only your sinuses but everywhere, and well, I don't need that right now either. So, I'm suffering through this allergy season unaided by any medications. And let me tell you, I am not someone who advocates over-medicating, but man, Singulair really works for me! I can definitely tell I'm not taking it, and I hope I can get through the next few months without being in a constant pollen-induced haze!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Not Quite 22

Poor Sam was up a fair amount last night with a cough. If it is more of the same tonight, I'll put a call into the doctor tomorrow morning, just to be safe. She was fine during the day today and yesterday, but the cough seems to crop back up at night. Perhaps it is lying down that does it? Regardless, she was up at 6am ready to go for the day this morning :-) We played for a while, and then after I fed her at 7:30, she went down for a nap. It seems so funny to put her down for such an early nap, but she was clearly tired. With her fast asleep, and Ryan just waking up, I tiptoed out of the house for my scheduled 22-mile run.

It would have been great to run at Pineland, but since Ryan was working today and had nicely agreed to watch Sam while I was gone for a few hours, it was only fair to run from home so that I would be home sooner than later. The sky was overcast, and it was cold and windy - only 41 degrees, and definitely not feeling any more than that! I headed out on the powerlines, then on Foreside Road to the Hillside trails. I then looped back out to the end of the powerlines before heading back toward Mt. Ararat. I was really hoping not to have to come back out on the lines later in the run, as the wind was whipping along them pretty strongly, so I figured I'd get an extra mile or so in along them early on.

I wound my way through the Mt. Ararat trails and looped around Highland Green Road before ducking into the woods onto the Cathance trails. The Cathance trails are great, but they are twisty and turny, and it can be tough to keep a rhythm going while running on them. Luckily, the woods are beautiful, and the wildflowers kept my interest as I ran along. However, as I wandered through the woods, and got to the 2:15 mark, I was definitely starting to flag. I tried to keep up the eating and drinking to combat the energy lag, but I wasn't feeling all that chipper. I think it was a combination of not a lot of sleep, the wind and cold, and just being out there by myself for such a long time. I ended up only running 20 of my planned 22 miles, which was sort of disappointing, but in the end, I did run 20 miles, which I hope will serve me well later this month at Pineland! I was out there for 3:13:54, which was probably a bit too fast, but I was running along pretty comfortably for most of the run. I doubt I'll be able to keep up a 9:30ish pace at Pineland, but it's good to know I can clip along at a good pace even on a 20 miler! Of course, probably 4 of those miles were either paved or packed gravel/dirt roads, which certainly made for faster running, but I think the Cathance trails cancel that out :-)

Anyway, I'm pretty tired right now!

Flora and fauna notes: Scared up 2 deer and several ducks along the Cathance. Saw a handful of ladyslippers, and enjoyed running past the patches of vibrant pink trailing arbutus, bluets, starflowers, goldthread and rue anemone in the woods. The hobblebush was blooming along the river, and the bunchberries were everywhere!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fun-Filled Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there! I'm not a real holiday person, and there certainly weren't any Mother's Day gifts exchanged in this house, but it is nice to know there is a day set aside to celebrate being a mom. And I fully enjoyed my first Mother's Day!

The day started with the Portland Sea Dogs Mother's Day 5k. Kristen had told me earlier this year that one of her goals this year was to run a race. So, I searched around and in amongst the millions of 5ks held every weekend, I found this one. It sounded perfect so I signed us up!

All suited up and ready to go!

It was a great race! I had so much fun running with Kristen, and she did awesome. It was her first race ever and I am so proud of her! We ended up running 29:49 for 9:36 pace (results). Way to go Kristen! Maybe she'll even get hooked, and we'll be back next year :-)

Kristen, with ponytail flapping, finishing strong in Sea Dog stadium

The race was huge - 3000 people turned out to run - so it was a bit overwhelming and crazy - but it was cool to watch the sea of humanity running around us, and to finish at home plate in the stadium. Ryan and Sam, and Rob, Morgan and Caitlin, came out to support us, and we ran into Jamie, Stephen and Kelly, and Lily too. Jeff also ran a great race, although I missed him.

After the race Kristen, Rob, Morgan, Caitlin, Ryan, Sam and I went to Tim Horton's for coffee and an after-race treat, which was nice. Sam held up really well all morning long, and then took a well-deserved nap in the car on the way home.

Later in the afternoon, we decided to try out the Kelty backpack that Meghan and Chris had gotten us for Christmas, and head over to the Cathance trails for a short jaunt in the woods. Sam definitely has to get used to hanging out in the backpack :-) And she loved it! She was laughing and talking and bouncing the whole time we were out. It was so cute! The perfect end to a nice day with the family :-)

I love the backpack!

Family portrait by the vernal pool

Happy baby, happy daddy

Friday, May 7, 2010

5:15 Wake-up Call

Sam has decided that sometime between 5:00 and 5:30 is a good time to wake up for an early morning breakfast. This morning it was 5:15. Now, as I have said before, I'm an early riser, and also like to eat breakfast early, but not that early! However, on occasion, these early morning feedings turn out to be a good motivator to get out for a run! I'm up anyway, so why not?

So this morning, after I fed Sam and put her back to bed, I suited up, stretched, had a snack and headed out the door. My plan was to run 6 miles on a "new" loop that includes going out on the powerlines to Foreside Road and doing a short road section before turning off into a little park that has a good sledding hill and a few nice woodland trails. I hit those trails until they dead-ended into a neighborhood, took a few turns on the roads and ended back up on the powerlines at the bottom of the big hill. This lollypop turns out to be exactly 6 miles. Nice.

It was a good morning to be out, with the sun shining, the birds chirping and even more wildflowers coming up in the woods. Lots of false lily of the valley, starflowers, rue anemone and violets in the woods and lots of rhodora and blueberry bushes in bloom along the powerlines. Very pretty. The only downside of the run was that the wind was whipping around, and there was a strong headwind the whole way back. But I felt good, and finished the six miles in good time, so I was happy. Even better was that when I got back, Sam was still asleep! She ended up sleeping until 7:30, which was a nice bonus :-)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Four on the Powerlines

I was pretty sad last night. Sam only slept for a 1/2 hour at daycare yesterday. Yes, only 30 minutes all day long! They tried everything. I know it is frustrating for the caregivers, and it is frustrating for us. Sam, on the other hand, might be tired but she is still a pretty happy little baby. How she does it, I just don't know, although I am glad she does, as it would be way worse if she didn't sleep much and was a crankypants. Anyway, since she had last woken up at 12:30, she had already been awake for 5 hour by the time I walked in the door at 5:30 after work. So, I fed her, put her in the bath, where she contentedly played with her bath toys and babbled, fed her some more and put her right to bed. She was asleep by 6:00 on the dot. I know she needed to go down early, but it was sad to get home and have to put her right to sleep. It is hard enough knowing that on a typical night I will only get an hour or so to be with her before bedtime. Poor little one. Doesn't she realize that sleep is good?!

This morning when she woke up, we played on the bed and on the mat, had a few bites of carrots, which she did not like, and she was yawning away. So, up to her room to eat and go back to sleep. When she first went down to sleep, I came downstairs, drank my coffee and finished my breakfast, and basked in the quiet. But then I realized I still had time to run! It was only 8:00! And Ryan was home to get Sam if she woke up. Gotta take advantage of these mornings!

I headed across the street and did a nice 4 mile run on the powerlines. A gentle breeze was blowing, it was in the high 50s, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and the rhodora was blooming amongst the greenery. Beautiful. I felt good, and the run made me realize once again how lucky I am to be healthy and to be a runner, especially a trail runner. Running is my personal form of therapy and meditation and stress relief all rolled into one. And on a gorgeous morning like this one, it is hard to stay sad while out running :-) Especially when I got home and realized Sam was still asleep - she must have been making up for yesterday, because she ended up taking a 2 hour nap! Hurray!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's Hot Out Here!

At 8:30 am this morning, the thermometer was reading 69 degrees. And it was humid. I ran the three-mile Highland Green loop while Sam was napping, and I was hot! I guess summer is on its way. I felt pretty snappy, which was nice, considering I didn't get in a recovery run yesterday despite good intentions.

Yesterday, Sam and I had a great day while Ryan was over in New Hampshire for work. Sam was a champion napper, and took a 1:20 morning nap plus a 2 hour nap at 11:30. Wow! I hardly knew what to do with myself :-) In fact, I frittered way a lot of that time, as I just kept expecting her to wake up any minute! Oh well, it was nice to just sit on the couch for a bit and relax. I planned to go out for a short run in the afternoon so that she could nap in the B.O.B. but as I was driving over to the bikepath, it started to sprinkle, and the winds were crazy! I didn't have the energy to pilot the B.O.B. along the river in high winds, and we don't have a weather shield for the stroller yet, so we settled for a short car ride through Bowdoinham, which produced yet another nap. I am hoping she is sleeping well at daycare today, so that we might have another night like last night. She was up at 10:30 right as I was getting ready for bed (What was I doing up so late?! I have no idea. Actually I do know... I was getting sucked in by bad (but oh so funny) reality TV on VH1...) and then at 2:30, waking up at 6:30 for the day. Not bad in my book! Maybe she's learning to sleep after all?!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Morning 12

When I headed out the door this morning at 6:50, the skies were overcast but there were some beautiful low clouds with a hint of light coming through. The birds were chirping, and I finally saw the Towhee that I've been hearing on the past few powerline runs. At the end of the powerlines, I took a right on the road and headed up into the park that I explored a bit on a previous run. There aren't many trails in the park, but it was a nice way to make a good loop with the powerlines. The trails dumped me out in a neighborhood and then back onto the powerlines near Rt. 24. Around this time, it started to rain. Luckily, it didn't last long, and didn't rain hard.

When I got back to the Highland Green Road, I took a right into the development, and hit the Cathance trails at the quarry. The woods were gorgeous this morning, full of lush greenery and lots of blooming spring wildflowers. Bluets, rue anemone, goldthread, hobblebush, wild oats, starflowers, a few ladyslippers, indian pipe, and several beautiful patches of vibrant pink trailing arbutus. As always, it was wonderful wandering along the river and through the woods on the twisty turny trails, but I admit to feeling pretty tired today. Although Sam had a better night's sleep last night, I was still up a number of times and I think the sleep deprivation is catching up with me! I was happy to take Ryan's advice and just run 12 miles instead of 15. I finished the run in 1:52:54, and was extra happy to be know we were meeting Irene and Dana for breakfast at Broadway Deli! The fruit pancakes really hit the spot :-)

And just for fun, here are a few photos from today:
Kitty in a bowl :-)

Sam taking a break during our walk on the bike path.

I can grab Daddy's hair!

Yum! Baby Mum-Mums! (our first attempt at finger foods)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

5 Does Not Equal 22

So, I did not get up and out for 22 miles this morning. Sam decided it would be fun to have another night of waking up every two hours. While Ryan was great, and did help out multiple times, I was still up and feeding her several times, which meant I did not get a lot of sleep, and when the alarm went off at 4:45, I was feeling pretty terrible. Even my eyelids hurt. So, despite Ryan's attempts to get me up and to be sure that going back to sleep was really what I wanted, I told him to shut off the alarm and went back to sleep. Briefly. Then Sam was up, wide-eyed and chatting away before 6:00. Where does her energy come from? And can I take some it so that I'm more energetic and she in turn sleeps a bit more?! Ryan tried to get her to go back to sleep by putting her in bed next to him, but it wasn't working, so I got up with her and sent him back to sleep. We had a fun time rolling around on the mat, and then by 7:00 she was tired out again, so I laid her down for a nap.

Since the house was quiet, and Ryan hadn't been planning on me being home anyway this morning, I took the opportunity to get in the car and go for a run in the Commons. The Commons has always been a favorite of mine, and I have missed going there to run this spring. With Sam, it is just so much easier to run from home, but this was a great chance of pace! The last time I ran through the Commons, there was still snow on the ground. This morning was gorgeous, and the forest floor was covered with lush greenery. Patches of rue anemones, violets, bluets, starflower and wild oats, as well as the purpley hints of the rhodora amongst the pitch pine and blueberry bushes, were abundant. I had hoped to see more ladyslippers, but most of the ones I saw were just beginning to unfurl their leaves, and none were sporting their white or pink slippers quite yet. I'll have to make sure to get back over the next few weeks so that I can keep a watch on them all!

I had a nice, happy 5 mile run, and have to say, I wasn't feeling too bad about not running the 22 miles. Although I said yesterday that it was doable, it was also a stretch. There is just only so much I can take with not sleeping, and 22 miles was just feeling too overwhelming this morning. So, while I was running along through the woods, I formulated Plan B, which I think is more reasonable in the end. I plan to get up tomorrow morning and run 12 to 15 miles (Ryan says 12, I say 15) in the morning before we meet up with Irene and Dana for a yummy brunch. I won't have to head out as early and I won't have to feel as pressed for time knowing I have to get to work. Then I will plan to run my 22 miles next Monday after running the Sea Dogs Mother's Day 5k with Kristen on Sunday! Should work out fine, and I think having three weeks between the 22-miler and Pinelands will be enough time too for a bit of a taper and some rest.