Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Raspberries, Blueberries and Cheerios

I snuck in a three mile run this evening after putting Sam to bed. There was a gentle breeze blowing, the air felt crisp and dry after all the humidity of last week, and the sun was still warm on my face, even though it was 7pm. I stopped twice along the route because I just couldn't resist - there were beautiful ripe red raspberries to pick along the Highland Green Road, and the blueberries along the powerlines were wonderfully sweet. Yum! It seems mighty early for both of these fruits to be ready for picking, but hey, I won't complain. When I returned home, I felt refreshed - nothing like a good run, even if it is short and sweet, after work to make the day feel complete!

And if you're wondering about the Cheerios part of this blog post, here it is. Ryan shot this cute little movie this evening of Sam eating Cheerios after her dinner tonight. She is really getting the hang of feeding herself, and just can't get enough of them! Ronnie and Gigi have decided they like the Cheerios too, and have taken to sitting nearby like little furry vultures when Sam is eating them, as almost as many make their way onto the floor as into her mouth :-)

video

Monday, June 28, 2010

Running the Scuffle Course

It was pouring so hard this morning that Ryan asked if I was planning to bring my snorkel gear to Bradbury for my run, but luckily, by the time Sam went down for her nap at 9:45, the skies has closed back up and I was able to head out with just my regular running gear :-)

I realized a few weeks ago that I had not run at Bradbury in a very long time (and looking back at my blog, it appears the last time I ran there was in fact March 23, 2009) and as I did not get the chance to run the Scuffle last year, I really wanted to get in at least one scouting run of the course before the 11th. In fact, when Ryan asked me if I knew the course last night, I realized I had been thinking of the Bruiser route, so I'm glad I got a refresher! Otherwise, I would have been out wandering around in the woods on the wrong course :-) Ha!

Of course despite my desire to get over to Bradbury, with our crazy schedule and with Sam in the mix, it has been hard to figure out exactly when I would have the time to get over to the park to run the route before race day. Lucky for me I have a great hubby who nicely agreed to watch Sam this morning assuming I could get her to go down for her nap. These days she's been taking a pretty decent morning nap, so we gambled that he wouldn't have to do much except keep the monitor on for most of the time I was gone. And thank goodness, she slept for 1:45, so Ryan was able to work for all but 20 minutes of the time I was gone, which worked well for all of us!

I pulled into the lonely parking lot around 10:15, quickly hit the bathrooms and headed across the street. My plan was to try and run pretty hard on the course, in an effort to figure out how fast I might actually be able to run this thing on race day. With all the rain, things were pretty slippery, and there certainly was no shortage of puddles and mud! I'd forgotten how nice the woods were on this side of the park, and also how twisty and turny the single track was. With all the twists and turns, it was hard for me to keep up a good rhythm, but I just tried to run quickly whenever the course allowed, and to pick things up on the wider snowmobile trail sections. I did have to stop at a few intersections, just to confirm that I was keeping on course, but otherwise, I just enjoyed wandering through the woods, splashing through the puddles, running the bridges, maneuvering the corners, and trying to power up and down the hills. I was soaked by the time I finished - it must have been 99.9% humidity out there! - and muddy too. I rinsed off at one of the spiggots, did a few quick stretches and hopped in the car to head home and take back over on Sam duties. I had a great run, and really enjoyed being back on the Bradbury trails! And I'm definitely looking forward to the Scuffle. Should be fun!

I wore the Garmin to see what mileage it would come up with, but at some point, I stopped the timer and thought I had started it back up, only to discover a while later that the time/distance were reading the same. Crap! So, no mileage data or true time data. I was, however, able to download things and at least get my elapsed time (which includes a few stops here and there to make sure I'm on the right route). I was out there today for 1:00:39, which I'm pretty happy with! Hopefully this means I can pick up the pace and run somewhere around 55:00 or so on race day...


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Happy Sunday

What a nice day today! We started off the morning meeting up with Nate, Shannon, Finley and little Charlotte at our favorite breakfast spot, the Broadway Deli, for a yummy meal. We hadn't had a chance to catch up in a while, so it was fun to see them! Charlotte was awake and smiling, and is getting to be a big girl - in fact, she is the same length as Sam, and about 6 months younger - ha :-) I guess Sam really is a tiny one! Sam was such a good little girl while we were in the restaurant. She sat in her highchair, grabbed at Charlotte's hand while I was holding her on my lap next to Sam, smiled at Finley, made friends with the waitresses, and had a grand old time.

When we got home Sam took a 2 1/2 hour nap, during which time both Ryan and I managed to get our runs in. I love this long nap thing! I hope she keeps it up!! I went out first, feeling ever so slightly weighed down by my pancakes, and ran Ryan's 5-mile Homeplace loop. The air was a bit heavy, but it was overcast, so it didn't feel unbearably hot, which was nice. The scent of the pink beach roses and milkweed filled the air as I ran along. I saw my friends the towhees, as well as a number of goldfinch, and I scared up a pretty big doe who was munching on the foliage along the lines after Topsham Crossing. I felt pretty good, and while I'll admit that the tightness in my hip isn't completely gone, it is feeling so much better with the stretching I've been doing of my back and side muscles.

Later in the afternoon, after we all got cleaned up and ate our lunches, we headed over to Cox Pinnacle for a short hike. At 354 feet, this is the highest point in Brunswick, so it was very exciting :-) Actually, it was quite a nice, if short, loop over the summit on the wide, old logging roads. No views from the top, but it was good to be out walking in the woods on a summer afternoon. Of course, I wasn't carrying the child in a backpack, so while I thought it was pleasant, Ryan worked up a sweat :-) And Sam, as always, smiled and laughed and had a jolly good time!

Let's go!

Along the trail

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday with Sam

No running today, but I'm OK with it. My hip felt good enough to have run (hurray for lots of site specific stretching!), but I was on Sam duty today, and we were so busy we didn't even have time to get in a B.O.B. run! Ryan was up and out of the house at the crack of dawn to meet up with Blaine and Erin and get over to work for the 'There's A Black Fly In My Eye' 10 miler. I wish I could either have joined them - it's a fun race - or have had the day off on a Saturday that Ryan was home so we all could have hung out together, but hey, what can you do. Instead, I had a Sam day, which isn't so bad :-)

We had lots of fun morning playtime...

Oh hi Mom!

Playing the piano

and breakfast...


I love my Cheerios! (And yes, there is one on my chin...)

Then a 2 1/2 hour nap (!!!), after which we drove over to visit with Mim, Larry, Nancy and Kristen at Susie's house. It was wonderful to sit outside in the shade of the trees, and enjoy the afternoon together. I brought a strawberry/blueberry/raspberry crisp (yum!) purchased at the farmer's market yesterday for us to enjoy, and we had a great time chatting and watching Sam play and laugh and smile for a few hours!


Happy sitting in Mim's lap

Sam was a good girl and took a nap on the way home, which meant she was nice and cheery when Daddy got home at 5:15pm! After her dinner and more playtime, it was time for bath and bed, and for Ryan and I to sit and eat dinner. I know I could have gone running after Sam went to bed, but it was just as nice to simply sit down with Ryan and catch up and relax. Despite not running, I'd say it was a pretty good day :-)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Blueberries

Sam was up at 5am this morning, but luckily went right back to sleep after I fed her. I took that as a sign that I should indeed go out for a short run! I snuck out onto the powerlines to do the 3 mile out-and-back down to Topsham Crossing. The hip felt a bit stiff in the first few steps but loosened up as I ran along, and boy did it feel good to be moving!

It was a gorgeous morning. A light fog lay over the ferns and low shrubs along the powerlines, and although it certainly was light out, the sun itself was just peeking above the trees as I ran through the shadows down by Topsham Crossing. A bullfrog croaked in the small marshy pond. A cardinal sat on the lines calling. A catbird hopped into the path, and the towhees, goldfinch and phoebes were all singing in the background. I stopped to eat a few of the ripe blueberries whose bushes sit in the bright sun all day long, the sweet taste of summer on my tongue as I continued running.

I smiled.

Now this, this is why I run :-)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why?

I was talking to one of my oldest and bestest friends on the phone last night, and she asked me why in the world I had wanted to run a 50k 7 months after Sam was born. Part of the reason is "why not?" Part of the reason is that I wanted to prove I could (although of course, I didn't, but hey, I tried). But on a deeper level, this is a hard question to answer. Why I run just isn't nicely and neatly summed up in words. And why I want to run long is even more complicated. But, I'd say that the feeling I get when watching this video (Thanks Snowman for bringing it to the surface again!) pretty much sums up the "why?" up for me. Who doesn't want to run after watching this?!



That being said, I am feeling pretty down about my running right now. June has been a bit of a bust, partially because I was recovering from Pineland the first week and then all of us got sick. At the beginning of this week, even though Sam was sick again, I thought I could turn things around and I was all excited to get out and actually run again. Instead, I am taking a few days off because of my hip. Actually, I don't really think it's my hip per say. I think it's a combination of really tight back muscles and a likely pull in one of the outside ab muscles on my left side. But whatever it is, I'm not happy with it. I know I haven't been good about stretching these days, and I also know that I spend a lot of time in odd positions, holding Sam on my hip, and rocking her and hunching over when I'm nursing her. I've spent some time on the foam roller the past few days and that has helped, thank goodness! I don't think I can stand many more days of not running! For my sanity, I plan to get out and run tomorrow morning before work. Hopefully all will feel good, and I'll be able to actually start doing the runs I have outlined in my training log!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"You're Not Going to Have a Good Run, You Know..."

...were Ryan's words as I stepped out the door. Optimistic, huh? But he was right. It was not a good run. It was 12:30. I was hungry. We had just gotten back from the doctor's (yes, on a Sunday, and Father's Day at that!) for Sam. She had had a fever since yesterday and was just not herself this morning. Although we had a follow-up appointment scheduled for tomorrow, we put a call into the doctor just in case, and he told us to come in. He took a look at her ears, and told her she (or rather her ears) had failed. Another double ear infection (or a continuation of the first). Either way, not good, and we came away with a second, stronger round of antibiotics. Hopefully these do the job.

With Sam fighting the fever last night, things did not go well, so I ended up sleeping with her awkwardly cuddled in my left arm in the guest bed, and as a result, didn't really sleep and my hip felt all out of whack from my strange position I maintained to keep her comfy. I also didn't sleep much Friday night, due to what, in retrospect, was likely the start of her ear infection. Add to this the fact that despite the wind, it was hot, sunny and muggy, and that the temps went up something ridiculous like 8 degrees while I was out, and you see that all of this was not exactly a recipe for a good run. So, when I reached the quarry, I bagged the idea of running a nice 7 miles along the river and through the Cathance trails as I had hoped and instead ran the dirt road down to Topsham Crossing and came back on the powerlines, getting in 3.5 miles at 9:50 pace. I came in the door, feeling a bit defeated, and very sweaty.

But while I was gone, Sam slept and woke up seeming more like her cheery self. We put her in the bouncer and she happily chatted and bounced and all seemed good. I had just started to eat my lunch when Ryan noted that she had pooped (she has a certain 'poop' face). A few minutes later, we noticed that in fact, not only had she pooped but it was leaking out of the bouncer onto the mat below. Ewwwww! And through it all, Sam was smiling and bouncing and happy, not caring that poop was now being bounced everywhere. It was gross, yes, but pretty hysterical. At least until I had to clean it all up :-) So, lesson learned - putting a child, who has taken the first round of an antibiotic that the pharmacist said was guaranteed to give her diarrhea, into the bouncy seat is not a good idea!

And with Ryan still feeling a bit knocked out by his sinus infection, this all added up to not exactly the Father's Day we had planned - I had had thoughts of breakfast out and a nice hike - but regardless, Happy first Father's Day to Ryan! Hopefully next year's will be a better, healthier one, or at least a cleaner one :-)



Friday, June 18, 2010

After the Rain

I must say, my not getting up at the crack of dawn yesterday worked in my favor. After a day of rain, the skies cleared in the late afternoon and by the time I went for my run at 7pm, it was gorgeous out! The sun was shining, the temps were the highest they got all day, the air had the wonderful after-the-rain lush, rich, fragrant smell, and there were a few puddles to stomp through on the powerlines. What's not to love? I did Ryan's 5-mile Homeplace loop and felt great. I arrived back home starved but happy, and thoroughly enjoyed my yummy sweet potato/black bean burritos for dinner :-) Hopefully I'll be able to sneak another 5 mile run in Saturday night after work as well to round out the week. Gotta get the mileage back up there!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Evening

I am failing miserably at getting up at 5am to run. Sam seems to be feeling better, but Ryan has a sinus infection and I still have a bit of a scratchy throat and some congestion. It could be a cold, it could be allergies, but whatever it is, in combination with Sam still getting up a few times at night and Ryan coughing, and whatever else, it means that whatever extra sleep I can get in the mornings has been winning out in the ongoing battle between sleep and running.

But all is not totally lost. I did however, sneak out last night after Sam went to bed and before dinner, to run 3 miles on the powerlines. It was a beautiful evening, warm on the sand in the sun and starting to feel just a bit cool in the shade of the trees. The sheep laurel is in full bloom, the pink flowers making a nice contrast to the greenery, and the bluejays and chickadees chattered as I ran along. I got home in time to take a quick shower before Ryan finished up the chicken/apple sausages on the grill. Yum!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cupcakes, Pancakes and a Cathance Run

This morning we hosted a small group of our Trail Monster friends for a run on the Cathance trails followed by breakfast. Jamie, Mindy, Valerie and Rick, Linda and Jerry, Katy and Chuck joined us, and it was great fun! Ryan led the group out onto the trails, and I hung out with Jerry while Sam napped. Jerry and I drank coffee, chatted and were thoroughly entertained by the cats, who were putting on quite a show while everyone was gone! Everyone returned looking pretty sweaty, but happy, and we sat around after the run, talking, watching soccer and enjoying pancakes, fruit, banana bread, bacon, parmesan bread courtesy of Jamie, and chocolate cupcakes courtesy of Mindy, plus lots and lots of coffee! Yum! What better way to start a Sunday than with friends, running, coffee and chocolate? :-) Sam was in 7th heaven with all our friends around, and had a blast. She sure is a social girl!

Later that afternoon, I headed out for my own run on the Cathance trails. Not quite the same as running with the gang, but nice nonetheless. I did the 7-mile loop, breathing in the smell of all the ferns along the trail and listening to the sound of the river. The woods were lush and green. I was happy to feel back to my normal self, and finished off the loop in 1:06:30. Even better, I had one more cupcake waiting for me at home after the run. A two cupcake day - now that makes for a good day :-)


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday Morning Run

Sam woke up at 5:30am to eat, and after laying her back down in her crib, I quickly got dressed and had a snack so I could head out for my run while the house was quiet. But, alas, just as I was about to sneak out the door at 6am, she started to chatter and move around. So much for her going back to sleep! I knew Ryan was going to be watching her all day while I was at work, and would probably appreciate another hour or so in bed, so I took her downstairs to play for a while. She has a few "new" toys, courtesy of Morgan, and loves the piano!

Little piano player

We are also working on tummy time again, so that she can eventually get to crawling. If she's feeling like it, she will get up on all fours and rock back and forth, and look at me and smile, all proud of herself. It's very cute! She is also doing great holding her own bottle and the sippy cup.

Big girl with her sippy cup!

Amazing how much she changes almost every day now!

Around 7am, I took her back upstairs to hang out with Ryan while I went out for my run. The air was heavy, and as I ran through the low area past Highland Green Road on the powerlines, I breathed in that wonderfully fragrant aroma that a nice patch of ferns gives off. Reminded me of hiking through many a forest floor covered with them while on the AT.

Walking through the ferns along the AT near Bennington, Vermont

I listened to a pair of goldfinch singing, and noticed that the blueberry bushes and blackberry brambles are starting to bear their fruits. Yum! I did Ryan's 5-mile Homeplace loop, and felt pretty good. I'm a bit bummed that my mileage this week was so low, but such is life with a little one, especially one with a double ear infection!!, and am looking forward to ramping things up a bit this coming week! Also looking forward to seeing some of our Trail Monster friends for a run and pancakes tomorrow morning :-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Three

I had every intention of getting up at 5am today and heading out for a run before Sam woke up for the day. Instead, she woke up at 4am to eat, and when I got back into bed, I realized my throat was still killing me and there was no way I was getting up in under an hour to run. So, instead we all slept until 7am, and I felt a bit better and wondered why I hadn't just gotten up and gone for my run. Oh well. But, the thing is, I still had a chance. We've started dropping Sam off at daycare around 8am, not because I have to be at work that early, but because it seems to help to get her there and settled for a bit before her morning nap. It makes me a bit sad to drop her off so early, but we also want her to nap and have a routine, and this is what seems to be working. So, after dropping her off, I drove back home and went for a quick run. I ran the 3 mile Highland Green loop, in the rain, feeling a bit clunky from taking the past three days off due to my sore throat, but it did feel nice to be out running!

The flora and fauna highlight of the run was spotting an osprey sitting atop one of the powerline poles near the high school. I had to look twice to make sure I was really seeing an osprey, as they aren't your typical powerline dweller, but indeed, it was one. They have a pretty distinct look about them. And the reality is that the Cathance River and the Androscoggin aren't that far away, so he was probably just taking advantage of what is no doubt a good rodent population along the trail and in the low vegetation. Hopefully he was successful and found something good to bring home to his brood!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sam at 8 Months

Sam is going to be 8 months old tomorrow! Wow! Almost as much time spent out here in the real world as not :-) Crazy!

Typically there isn't an 8 month check-up but the combination of a rough Sunday night and yesterday's incredible screaming when we tried to put her for a nap, and violent coughing all the way through the nap that she finally did take in the car, made me decide to put a call in to the doctor just in case. In the end, the nurse suggested we come in, and I'm glad we did! Sam has ear infections in both ears. Poor little munchkin! But the good news is that I trusted my mommy instincts and made an appointment, and hopefully the antibiotics that she is on will clear things up and she'll be good to go!

Since they always do a weigh-in at each appointment, we ended up finding out that Sam is up to 15 lbs 7 oz. Gotta love those chubby little baby thighs :-) The funny thing is that while we think she is so big, our doctor was laughing to see her sitting up so well on the table, saying she normally doesn't see such a tiny baby sitting like Sam does. Guess she's still a little one after all!

Due to yesterday's events, I did not get a run in. And last night, I woke up with a sore throat, so I skipped running today too. Ugh. Oh well. I suppose another down week won't hurt, but I was really looking forward to getting in some longer runs this week! Maybe tomorrow...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Soggy

Sam slept until 7:30 this morning, which felt luxuriously late compared to 5:00 yesterday! We hung out, enjoying a lazy morning, and I made chocolate chip pancakes for us while Sam ate her breakfast. The new food we're trying this weekend is Cheerios! She can pick them up perfectly off her tray, but for some reason doesn't think to put them in her mouth. Which is odd, because she loves to put all her toys, her fingers, the cat's tails if she can brag them, and anything else that comes her way in her mouth. But actual food, like the Cheerios or pieces of banana, nope! What an odd child :-) But she would open her mouth for them, so we were able to get her to chomp on a few. Of course, some of them ended up doing this instead... :-)


Fun with Cheerios!

When she finally went down for a nap at 10:30, I got dressed and headed quickly out the door for a run in the rain. I decided to just run an easy 3 miles on the powerlines. Boy was it soggy out there! The puddles had yellow outlines from the pollen, but hopefully all this rain means the pollen will be pretty well knocked out of the air and trees and we'll all get a little relief. Despite the rain, the birds were chirping, and the pink sheep laurel looked pretty against the greenery. I was happy to feel pretty good, so I'll hope to do a longer run on the Cathance trails tomorrow.

And although they are almost a week old at this point, I can't help posting the following two images. Our friend Jamie, who is a great photographer, sent me these two adorable photos he took of Sam at the Saturday Pineland Farms Trail Festival races. So cute! Thanks Jamie!!

Having fun watching the races with Daddy

Yeah, I'm cute :-)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Another Evening Run

I really like to run in the morning. But this week, for some reason both of the runs I've managed to fit in (aside from Pineland) have been in the evening. Sam was up yesterday at 5:00 am. I knew she was still tired but she did not want to go back down in her crib. So, I laid down in the bed in her room with her in the crook of my arm, hoping she would sleep for just a little bit longer, and she fell asleep for another 2 1/2 hours! It was great, except that I had been planning to get up and run, and get things done, and instead I was her pillow, and therefore could do nothing more than cuddle her, and kiss her head, and feel her breath on my arm, and fall back asleep while she slept next to me. OK, maybe it wasn't that bad after all! :-)

Therefore, I was once again running last night at 7pm. It was a beautiful evening. The swamp irises were blooming in the gully near the start of the powerlines, and the scent of the laurel and the flowering shrubs along the way filled the air. The towhees and phoebes were singing. I felt pretty good, still a bit creaky but more like myself.

As I ran along, I kept thinking about Sunday. Ryan proposed the idea on Monday that we run next year's 50k at Pineland together. Both of us have things to prove in this race, our time goals would be similar, and we would have each other to lean on during the race. I like the idea, and am already looking forward to my revenge on the Pineland course, but part of me also wants to run a 50k before then. A year is a long time to have this unfinished business with the distance hanging over my head! However, there aren't many 50ks out there until September rolls around. I could stick with my original thought for the year and run either the Maine Marathon or the Stone Cat trail marathon in the fall - I would probably lean toward Stone Cat since lots of our Trail Monster friends run it and it sounds like such a cool race atmosphere, and besides, it's on trails. The other option that keeps popping up is The Pisgah Mountain 50k in mid-September over in New Hampshire. It's on a Sunday and it is relatively nearby. Plus George said he's planning to run it! Hmmm... What do you think?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Foggy

After taking yesterday off, I decided I should get back out running today. It didn't happen this morning, so I headed out tonight at 7pm after I put Sam to bed. It was eerily quiet out, perhaps due to the low fog and light mist. As I ran along the powerlines, the pink sheep laurel and white blossoms on the blackberry brambles shone against the greenery. I felt a bit creaky, and had a few twinges in my left ankle plus a bit of tightness in my quads, but all things considered I'd say I felt pretty good given Sunday's effort.

My plan is to take it relatively easy through next week, and then start to ramp things up again. I don't want to lose out on the nice base I've created, and since I didn't totally wreak myself with a 50k run on Sunday, I don't see any reason to totally back off on the mileage. Part of me wants to find some long race in the next month so I can go out and use the training I've logged these past months for their intended purpose, but part of me thinks I should just wait and get ready to put in a really solid effort in a fall marathon (either Maine or Stone Cat), and then get my revenge in the 50k distance at Pineland next year. We shall see.