Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Weather Gods and Lady Luck...

I was really looking forward to racing in this morning's Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe Series Blizzard race. Ryan's parents had nicely agreed to drive up for the day and hang out with Samantha so that I could go to the race and run. It seemed like the perfect plan - I would have a chance to race and hang out with our Trail Monster friends, and Sam would get to spend the day with her grandparents. What could be better?! Unfortunately, the weather gods and Lady Luck just weren't on my side today. I started to get a sinking feeling yesterday afternoon when the weather forecast was calling for snow early this morning. We certainly couldn't ask Irene and Dana to drive up in bad weather just so I could race, and if they couldn't make it, then my race was over before it even started.

When I woke up around 6:15, it has just started to snow. The snow was very light, and hardly accumulating, but it appears the storm was a bit more intense further south. Irene and Dana were great sports and got on the road despite the snow, but ended up getting off the highway one exit later, after witnessing a few fishtailing cars, and experiencing their own white-knuckle driving due to the bad road conditions. I really really appreciate that they even got in the car and attempted to get up here - thanks guys!! I think we were all bummed - no race for me, no day spent with Sam. Silly weather!

So, Sam and I spent the day hanging out together. And that isn't a bad thing. I made us pancakes and we played and read and Sam took two good naps, which was nice. But I really was hoping to have the chance to try my hand at snowshoe racing and run in one of Ryan's races. He's worked really hard putting together this series, and I had hoped to be there to support him in person at at least one of the races. Ah well. Sounds like I missed one heck of a tough course, so maybe it isn't such a bad thing ;-)

I might have missed the race, but I figured I could at least get a run in today. So, when Ryan got home, I put on my shoes and headed out. It was a pretty afternoon - it was snowing very lightly and the sun was shimmering through the cloud cover. But my heart wasn't really in the run. I hit the snowmobile trails across the street, but they were horrible! (Valerie, if you ran through similar conditions for 10 miles yesterday, you are seriously amazing (or is it crazy?!)!) Wow. One or two sleds had gone through, and it seemed like the trail should be packed. In reality, the snow was sugary and loose. I don't think I took one truly forward footstep during the small 1/2 mile stretch of snowmobile trail I traversed. I twisted this way and that, sliding around in the snow. It was slow going, for sure, so when I got to Highland Green Road, I turned off the trails. However, I was in my screw shoes, and screw shoes on bare pavement isn't very nice either. Sigh. This wasn't exactly shaping up to be the best run. But, it redeemed itself slightly when I took the first turn I could, off onto the construction road which led to the dirt road at the back of the development. Here was a good surface to run on, finally! I ran out to the end of the dirt road, and then turned around and retraced my steps. However, for the final stretch, I took the Connector instead of the powerlines. I got in a good 5 miles, but I do wish it had been the 5 mile Blizzard course instead... Next year!!

Speaking of the Blizzard, congrats to all the Trail Monsters who had great races today, including Ryan, who finished third against some strong competition! Way to go, Snowman :-)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snowy Seven

Hurray! Sam was finally feeling good enough to go to daycare today. No fever, and a good night of sleeping. The antibiotics must finally have kicked in. Phew! Just as I was dropping her off, I got a call from Cordelia saying that with the forecasted storm rolling in, she didn't think it was worth it to go up and open the gallery today. Fine by me! I can check email and phone messages from home, and let's face it - who would be out in today's weather looking to buy a painting? I mean, I guess you never know, but it's unlikely.

Since we were already at daycare, I decided to let Sam stay and hang with her friends for a few hours while I went home and ran and did a few work things and got some stuff done. Then I would pick her up around lunchtime and we would be home before the storm got too bad. The snow had already started to fall   by the time I got home, so I did a few things around the house and was getting ready to head out for my run when Ryan piped up that he was hoping to get out there too, before things got too bad. His plan was for a longer run that mine, but we could at least keep each other company for a few miles. Cool!

We headed out across the street to the snowmobile trail. The wind was whipping the snow right into our faces, which wasn't entirely pleasant, but otherwise, it was nice to be out. Temps were hovering right around freezing and the snow that had fallen was nice and tacky, making for a good running surface. We ran the "new" loop out to the dump together, and when we got back to the powerlines hill near Rt. 24 at 5 miles, I headed back home while Ryan went out again on the snowmobile trails to get in some more miles. It was nice to have some company for a few miles! I felt great the whole way, and the 7 miles was a good, strong way to end the week.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Poor Sam was still not feeling well this morning - coughing with a low-grade fever - so we decided to keep her home. Since I had already been hanging out with her for the past three days, with the exception of a few hours in daycare yesterday morning, Ryan nicely agreed to take the day off and watch her so that I could go in to work for at least a few hours. He also was good enough to let me get my run in too! Thanks Ryan! It was cold and bright, and the trails were wonderfully packed. I did the 5 mile out-and-back to Lover's Lane, and it was a nice, fast run.

Luckily, by the time I got home from work mid-afternoon, Sam seemed to have taken a turn for the better, without a fever and in good spirits. We did have a little spit-up episode this evening after bath and before bedtime, during which she spit up on me three times. Poor thing just can't seem to get rid of the congestion/mucus that has settled in her chest form her bronchial infection. Still, hopefully that was short-lived and she is on the mend and feeling even more herself tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


It's been an eventful past few days.

Sparkly Clean ~
Ronnie got his teeth cleaned on Monday. Yes, cats need teeth cleanings too, apparently. Who knew? I didn't know until Katy told us a few years back that Ronnie's teeth were looking a little yucky. It took us a while to get around to sending him down to her for the cleaning - especially since the cats have to be put under anesthesia and spend the whole day there for the procedure - but now he has sparkly shiny happy teeth!

Sick Again ~
Poor Sam is sick again. On Sunday night, she had a bit of a cough. She seemed fine on Monday during the day - we had a good day together, playing and reading, and visiting with Shannon, Finley and Charlotte during the afternoon. But during the night, her cough just got worse and worse, and it just sounded like it hurt. Because of how quickly the cough came on, and how harsh it sounded, I decided to keep her home yesterday, and made a doctor's appointment. And it turns out that she has an ear infection and another bronchial infection (again!). So we're back on antibiotics and using the inhaler. Yuck!

Although she seemed OK yesterday morning, by the time we got home from the doctor's office/pharmacy around 4pm, she was clearing not feeling well and seemed really wiped out. She was in the bath by 5:30 and asleep, despite the coughing, soon after. However, this morning she seemed her cheery self, she ate breakfast and I figured with a few doses of the antibiotics now in her system she would be OK at daycare today. Well, they called me at 2:00 saying that she was running a fever and was coughing and upset. I felt like such a bad mommy for sending her in! But really, even they said she was good up until her nap. She just melted down after that. Once I got her home and finally got some food and drink (and most importantly Motrin!) into her, she was fine for the rest of the evening, playing and coloring and happy. But she was still in bed early, and hopefully will be feeling better tomorrow!

Snowmobile Trail Exploration ~
After I dropped Sam off at daycare this morning, I came home, did a few things around the house and headed out for my run. This week was supposed to be a bit of a step-back week, but not as much of a step-back as it has become. I had intended to take Monday as a rest day, but yesterday was not in the plan as a day off. Oh well. Not much I could do about it, as Ryan was away and I was home all day/night alone with a sick little girl. These things happen. So, that meant today was the day for a long run.

I headed out on the snowmobile trails towards Lover's Lane, but took Ryan's advice and followed a new stretch of trail to make a nice loop which headed out to the dump, wound through the woods, and dropped me back at the powerlines via Homeplace. It was a nice morning to be out in the woods, and the trails were in good shape. I really enjoyed the "new to me" portion of this run. In fact, when I got back to the powerlines, I did a variation on the "new" loop again before heading back towards home.

Unfortunately, I was pretty worn out from being up with Sam the past two nights, and although it was a gorgeous day, I just felt a bit off from the get-go. I had hoped to get in some more miles today, but once I realized early on that that wasn't going to happen, I just tried to push the pace for the 10 miles I did get in, and managed to eke out 9:21 pace for the run. It wasn't quite the long run I had envisioned but any run on a bluebird day on nicely packed snowmobile trails is a good one!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Coloring Fun

Sam is obsessed with her crayons these days. She will walk over to the desk where I keep them, and point at it, pleading for us to get her her crayons. Or she will be in her highchair, and will point intently at the desk, saying 'mi mi mi mi' and signing 'please,' as in 'Get me those crayons now! I want them! I am saying please!!' It is cute, although perhaps a bit much when she wants to color six times a day and/or just wants to eat the crayons and/or tear the paper after I've gotten things all set up... :-) She also loves putting all the crayons back in the box. And then shaking them out. And putting them away. I am not sure where she got this slightly OCD trait, but again, it is cute :-) We also tried finger painting the other night after dinner! Now that was funny, if a bit messy. Although honestly, the paint cleaned up really easily, which was pretty amazing!

Gotta get these back in the box...

Fingerpainting begins

Hmmm, what does this stuff taste like?

Abstract by Sam

More paint! More paint!

I think I'll add a bit of orange here...

Look at all these crayons!!


And please note the dominant use of the left hand. I think we have a lefty for sure...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Run, Run, Run

Sam and I were up this morning at 6:15, and after playing for a bit and feeding her breakfast, we climbed up the stairs, with Sam saying, "Daddo, Daddo, Daddo," around 7:15. She got up onto the bed with Ryan and they played "nite nite" (meaning Ryan attempts to wake up a bit more before getting out of bed :-) ) while I got myself organized. When I came back into the room, I told Sam I was going for a run, and she said "run, run, run." I kid you not. OK, so the pronunciation of the word wasn't quite as crisp as ours might be, but that is absolutely what she was saying. How cool is that?! My kid wants me to run! So off I went :-)

I've been running a lot on the powerlines/snowmobile trail across the street this winter. The same 5-mile out-and-back. But somehow it isn't boring. The trail is different depending on the time of day, the temperature, the snowmobile traffic, etc. And today, the conditions were very different than on Saturday's run with Ryan. The thermometer was reading 16 degrees when I left, and the wind was whipping through the trees out back. I was pleasantly surprised to find it didn't feel too bad out as I ran down towards Highland Green, but that of course meant that the return trip was bound to be straight into the wind. The trail was packed solid after a few warm days and a cold night. As I ran through the woods near Lover's Lane, I noticed a ton of deer tracks etched deeply into the snowpack. The snow crunched underfoot, and I was keeping up a pretty good pace until I popped back out of the woods for the final 2 miles home. It was then that the headwind hit me full force, mocking me as I tried to run into its gusts. I was definitely feeling tired by the end, no doubt a combination of the wind and the mileage run in the past five days. I'm glad to have gotten out this morning, but I am also really happy that tomorrow is a rest day!

The morning was capped off with breakfast out at Broadway Deli. A run and a big breakfast - the perfect way to start a Sunday!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February Fat Ass Run

This morning was Val and Linda's February Fat Ass run. And hurray! I was able to take the day off so that we could all go over and hang out, and Ryan could get in his long run. On my end, I was simply planning to play it by ear. If someone was up for hanging with Sam so I could run, great. If not, that was OK too. But almost as soon as we got out of the car, Kate told me that she was more than happy to hang with Sam, so I was psyched to take her up on her offer! Thanks Kate! You are the best!! We got situated in the house, and I left Kate and Sam cuddled on the couch reading. I knew Sam would have a blast with Kate, so I wasn't worried at all.

Val, Linda and Bethany had created, marked and packed a course that wandered through the fields around their house. We headed off single file onto the first stretch through the woods, and it was all I could do to just keep my feet under me! Things were pretty uneven, and a few people fell through the edge of the packed track within the first 100 yards. I was concentrating so hard on my footing I didn't even chat with Mindy, who was right behind me, until we turned onto the wider, groomed snowmobile track at the field!

It was pretty windy, but warm, and out of the wind, I was working up a sweat. Of course, the second we turned into the wind, back on went my gloves and I was pushing to stay upright :-) But hey, it is a February Fat Ass. Can't be too easy :-) No seriously, the course was great, and I had a blast chatting first with Mindy, Emma and Dora, then with Ian, and finally with Jeremy and Jim, as we ran along. I actually felt pretty good, and probably could have kept going for another lap easily. But, I wanted to make sure Kate had a chance to run, and honestly, this 5.25 miles put my mileage for the week just over 40 miles, which is a lot for me! I think it is good for me, especially at this point in my 50k training, but I didn't want to push it too much. In fact, I looked back over the training logs I have downstairs (2006 through 2010) while I was eating lunch a few minutes ago, and since January of 2006, there has been only one other week - a week in August of 2008 when we were training for MDI - that I have run over 40 miles. There have been a lot of weeks in the 30s of course, but still. I don't know what this says about me as a runner though, but oh well. I'm happy to see a 40 mile week in the books again!

After I finished my lap, we sent Kate on her way, and Sam and I hung out inside for a bit, patting Val's dog, Spot, eating grapes, saying hi to everyone who came inside for a bathroom break or a snack, and walking around the house. I wish we could have hung out longer, but it was time to get Sam home for lunch and a snack. We headed on home just after Ryan and a group of the other fast guys came through for the finish of their 2nd lap. Thanks so much to Val and Linda for a fun event, and thanks again to Kate for hanging with Sam so I could get out there! Today's run was a great way to cap off a solid week of training, and it was lots of fun to see everyone!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Schedule Synch

These days, Ryan and I don't get the chance to run together all that often. I think we've gone on maybe 3 runs together since the New Year. Between scheduling and our differing training plans, it just hasn't been in the cards. However, today, we both had an easy 5-miler on our schedules. And we were both home. So, after I dropped Sam off at daycare this morning, we snuck out on the trails together for a run down the snowmobile trail to the turn-around at Lover's Lane. How nice! The trail conditions were quite different than they were yesterday morning - with a sunny and warm day yesterday and nighttime temps that might not even have reached freezing, the trail was still firm, but with an inch or two of soft stuff on top, making things a bit tougher and slower for sure. I was definitely working a bit harder than I would have liked on a few of the uphills, but my legs had a bit more zip today, thank goodness! Definitely a good way to start out the day, and fun to have the chance to run and chat together :-)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back To The Trails

I was definitely feeling the effects of yesterday's 20 miler this morning. The legs were creaky and it wasn't until about 3 miles into this morning's run that I actually felt like I was running with my normal gait. Aie! I headed out for a 4-mile run along the powerlines after dropping Sam off at daycare. It was a beautiful morning, cold and bright. The trail conditions were perfect for some fast running - packed solid and smooth - but unfortunately, my legs only had a slow run in mind :-) Oh well, it was nice to get out and get the blood flowing, and I certainly feel better for it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

20 Miles and Some Library Fun

I finally managed to get in the 20 miler that I've been threatening to do for a few weeks now. I had originally planned to run it yesterday but the wind advisory and the cold temps changed my plans. Luckily, daycare was fine with switching around the days I was planning to keep Sam home this week, so we hung out yesterday and I took her in today instead. It was a bit cooler and windier than I had been hoping for given the forecast, but much better than yesterday for sure!

I used to map out a route from home. The route took me along a lot of the same route as the 14-miler I ran a few weeks ago, but I added on some additional miles in the middle. Once I hit Pleasant Hill Road, I turned right, and ran up past Crystal Spring Farm to Casco Road. I've run Casco a number of times, but always in the other direction. I didn't remember it being so uphill from Pleasant, not to mention it seemed extra long as I was running straight into the wind. From there I wandered along Bunganuc and down to Maquoit Bay. The snow-covered bay shimmered in the sunlight. Once I climbed up from the ocean's edge, I turned onto Rossmore, getting a few more views of the water and the islands before turning back towards Brunswick.

The last stretch of the run wasn't all that pleasant. I ran through the Bowdoin campus, down Federal and then Water Street to the bike path, where I took the path that connects the bike path with Route 24, taking you up onto the Connector and over the river. This stretch is not well-maintained at all, and I wasn't prepared for having to essentially walk some big stretches which were treacherous ice. By this point, my legs and feet were begging for mercy from 17+ miles of pounding the pavement, and all I wanted was to get home! I took the road through the fairgrounds, ran up the Connector and took the long way into our complex. I was very happy to stop when the Garmin beeped 20.00 miles! But despite the pounding, it was a good run. I felt strong for most of the way - I was admittedly tired in the last few miles - and I am glad to finally have gotten in this 20 miler and have had the chance to get out and be on my feet for almost 3 hours (final time: 2:57:02). I know it will serve me well come Gator Trail.

Library Fun

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I took Sam to the library after nap/snacktime yesterday afternoon. We got there a little after 2:30pm, and I was assuming that since school lets out around that time, that there would be other kids/parents playing in the children's section. Well, we had the whole place to ourselves the whole time we were there - and we stayed for almost an hour and a 1/2! But it didn't matter. Sam was in seventh heaven. She had a big, new playroom all to herself. There was a train set, a kid-size table and chairs with some puzzles, a couch, bins full of board books along with your typical shelves of books, plus a cool room where they must do storytime. It had some big stuffed animals, including a huge Gorilla. She loved the "monkey" and really wanted to take him home with us! We ran around and played and read a few books here and there, and she had a grand old time! Why didn't I think of this earlier?! It was the perfect thing to do on a cold afternoon, and I am sure we will be back. Maybe we'll even check a few kids books out next time (I did pick up Once a Runner and Medium Raw for my reading pile so I am happy!) :-)

This chair is the perfect size to push around the room!


They taste good too! (Ewwww!!!!)

On the move

Playing with the train set

Wow, this place is cool!


Lounging :-)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sam at 16 months (and a little bit)

This morning there was a wind advisory for the area. Brrrr. And with Ryan over in New Hampshire, our friends busy, it being too cold/windy to play outside, it's just Mama and Sam spending time inside today. Sam is sleeping at the moment, and after she wakes up and we have snacktime, I thought I'd take her over to the library for a change of scenery. This could be the most brilliant idea ever, or it could end badly. But I think she will love it. There is a bit of a play area in the children's section, and of course, lots of books to page through!

As she gets older, she vascillates between being able to entertain herself for longer stretches of time, and needing our immediate attention and interaction to keep her occupied and happy. It is a constant balancing act, and can be challenging at times. But, truly, she is a happy, even-keeled child and it is a lot of fun to watch her as she grows.

She's now over 16 months old! Amazing. And with that, here are a few new "Sam-isms":

Today while playing with one of my big metal mixing bowls, Sam discovered she could see her reflection in the side and bottom of the bowl. She was so excited. She was smiling at herself, and giving herself kisses. It was just adorable.

She makes this funny "oooohhhh" expression with her mouth and flaps her hands when we go outside and she feels the cold wind on her face, or when she steps in front of the monitor heater and feels the heat radiating out. She also does this when she is about to bite into something she knows will be hot (like today's grilled cheese sandwich). I don't know where she picked up this "it's hold/cold" expression, but it makes me smile every time.

She is adding to her words daily. New words getting a lot of use these days include: box, nose, bowl, "bell-do" (or something similar) for bellybutton, bag, up, down read and book. I guess we're in a "b" phase right now :-) although she can now make the "sssss" sound for snake! Cool.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Run

I met up with Valerie and Mindy for a run at Bradbury today. We were lucky to all have Monday free to play in the woods, and we had the whole park to ourselves - not another car in the lot enjoying the balmy mid-February weather. We headed out on the Snowmobile Trail, the miles ticking by as we chatted away. The snow surface was a bit mushy with the warm weather, but really, the trail in fine shape with a good solid, packed base. We turned around at 3 miles, and as we were turning, caught the sound of a woodpecker pecking away at a tree trunk. I also saw a few turkey prints meandering down the middle of the trail as we got closer to the park boundary. We finished up with 6 miles in 1:01:53. It was the sort of effortless, fun run that comes from not only having a great trail to run on but from having good company to run with  :-) Thanks guys!

The plan was to enjoy some deliciousness at Edna & Lucy's after the run, but I guess that will have to wait for another day - they were closed. Boo... So, we headed to Gritty's instead, which was good, of course, but just not quite the funky, gourmet sandwiches and treats that we had all been thinking about while running :-) Ah well, just another excuse to meet up and run at Bradbury together another day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Morgan's 5th Birthday Party

While Ryan and the rest of the Trail Monster crew were having fun at the Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe series "White Out" race today, Sam and I headed to Gorham for Morgan's 5th birthday party. I mean, if you're not going to snowshoe race, might as well go hang out with a bunch of 5 year olds, right?! :-) But seriously, it was a fun afternoon and Sam had a blast chasing after the girls, dancing, playing with the balloons and enjoying the general mayhem that was the birthday party. Thanks for inviting us, Morgan!

The birthday girl

Making puppets

The hostess with the mostest :-)

All smiles

Hiding behind her cupcakes :-)

Dance party! (Do you see Sam in the lower right corner? She is dancing too!)

I love balloons!

Not so sure about those puppets though...

This is so much fun!

I love this place! There are kids and cake and markers and balloons, oh my!

I didn't get a run in today or yesterday, so I am very much looking forward to a fun run with the girls at Bradbury tomorrow!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Snowmobile Trail Run

Another crisp, bright and beautiful morning. I decided to take advantage of the cold temps to head out on the snowmobile trail to Lover's Lane, thinking it would be nice and firm given that I had woken up to see the thermometer reading -0.5 degrees. And it was firm, although a sled or two must have gone out in the late afternoon yesterday, churning up the softened snow, because the first mile or so I felt like I was stepping on oversized, frozen Rice Crispies. Snap, crackle, pop indeed. A bit of a strange texture underfoot. However, it was still a great surface to run on, and pretty fast too, as I was able to churn out 8:40 pace for the run, meaning I ran the 5.1 miles almost 5 minutes faster than I ran the same route on Monday! Wow. A good end of the week run for me, and I am luckily feeling much better sinus-wise too!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rest Day Musings

No running today, so there isn't much coherence to this post. Just a bunch of things on my mind...

~Today was a much needed rest day. After 5 days of running, my legs were tired. And I am still trying to shake the congestion from earlier this week, which seems to have settled in my right sinus. The left side of my face is totally fine, but the right side feels clogged. Go away sinus pressure! I don't need you. Gotta love living with a little germ factory!

~Speaking of the little germ factory, Sam has finally sprouted a third tooth! The very tip of a top tooth, which from its placement seems to perhaps be one of the lateral incisors, is now poking through her gums. I guess the interrupted sleep over this past weekend really was from teething. It is going to take a while before anyone can actually tell there is a tooth up there, but it is there for sure!

~Sam's hair is getting longer. I want to trim the back, but Ryan says no way. The daycare ladies put it up in pigtails today, which was so cute, although as one of them said, the pigtails definitely diminish the mullet effect :-)

~We just removed the tray off Sam's highchair seat last week, and she is now sitting in the seat facing the table, eating off the table instead of off her tray. She looks so grown up, sitting like that! This makes for a much easier clean-up too, although the sippy cups make a much louder noise when she bangs them down on the table :-)

~ I can hardly believe it's mid-February. I have been working at crossing things off my home to-do list, but I have stalled a bit. Where has my extra time gone? Oh, I have been cleaning and cooking, and running, and hanging with Sam, and racing here, there, and everywhere to get errands done, but somehow I haven't managed to get as much done as I had hoped. I am really going to have to crank on this list over the next six weeks if I want to get everything done.

~ The fact that it is mid-February also means that in six weeks we will be running the Gator Trail 50k! Wow and aie all at once! When I compare my training to oh, say, Ryan's training, it looks pretty meager. But I've done a lot more running in preparation for this race (and there is still more to come!) than I managed to get in for Stonecat, so I feel like I'm on the right track. I also have less lofty goals for this race than Ryan, although I am definitely hoping for a strong race for sure! Now if I can just stop scheduling my long runs for snow days, that would be a good thing. I have a 20-miler on tap for next week, and hopefully the weather will cooperate!

~ I used to read a ton over these winter months. With more free time and no little kiddo to chase around, I spent a lot more time sitting quietly on the couch reading. Wow, that sounds nice! While I definitely have less time to spend with a book these days, I think it is also that I spend more of my free down time on the computer. I certainly won't be giving up my computer, but picking up a book is something I'm hoping to do more of over the next few months. I'm currently halfway through a book called Brimfield Rush, which is fun for me as I've been to Brimfield (a huge week-long antique fair/flea market down in Massachusetts) with my boss a few times. I've also put in inter-library loan requests for Unbroken, Once a Runner and Medium Raw, so I'm excited for some good reading ahead!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thorncrag Run

It's always fun to find a new place to explore and run, especially with a guide to lead you on all the best trails. This morning, I met up with Valerie at Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary, just outside Lewiston, for a run. I have been reading reports about the tough running at Thorncrag, and how much Val loves it there, and I was so excited to finally have the chance to go and run there! It was a chilly start, but the sky was bluebird blue with no clouds in sight and the sun was warm. The trails had been nicely packed by snowshoers and skiers, and the woods were gorgeous. There was even a vista atop the hill with a view of Mt. Washington, enshrouded with clouds, so we just had to imagine the snow-covered summit. It was a great run with a good friend, and lots of fun to chat as we ran along, our words mingling with the crunch-crunch of the snow beneath our feet.

We started out with a stout hill, winding our way up through the forest, and then down a big drop. We ran through an open field with a few apple trees, the sun warm on our faces. We ran up to the vista and then meandered around, coming and going and winding and turning, returning multiple times to a big fireplace on the hill. I had to laugh when we finished the run and Val showed me on the map what we had done. Whoever laid out the trail system had done a good job of cramming a lot of trail into a small space, and we had covered all but the tiniest bit. We got in 5.86 miles in 1:07:18 for an average pace of 11:29. I was definitely feeling a bit tired going into this run, due to lingering congestion and the fact that today was day #5 of running in a row, so although the pace was slow, it really was perfect. Perfect for the terrain, for how I was feeling and for chatting as we wandered through the woods. A great morning run! Thanks Val!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


First chatter for the day - Happy Birthday Ryan! Sam and I love you lots :-)

And here is a bit of "Sam" chatter for the day - two videos Ryan took of Sam the other night right before bedtime. I may be biased, but I think she is just so stinkin' cute!!

Reading "Peek A Who?"

It sounds like a lot of babble, and certainly, it is, but in Sam language, between the two videos, you might be able to hear her saying "waddle" for penguin, "moo" for cow, "woo woo" for the owl, along with "bye bye" and "book" and "Mantha" which is her word for herself! (Edit: OK, so I just listened to the first video again, and I think she was actually saying "wata (what's that?)" instead of "mantha" but she really does say "Mantha" in relation to herself. So cute!)

In running-related chatter, I got in 10 miles on the bike path this morning. It wasn't exciting, and really, truly, two times up and back on the bike path is more than enough, but it seemed like the best option given the once-again messy roads and the fact that I am fighting off a bit of congestion, and wasn't looking for a hard trail run. I'm saving up for that tomorrow, as I'm meeting Val for a run at Thorncrag in the morning! Definitely looking forward to it, but I'm imagining it's going to be a tough, albeit, fun one :-)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bright and Sunny

As planned, yesterday afternoon we headed out for a snowshoe with Sam once she woke up from her nap. It was warm and sunny, and a beautiful afternoon. Conditions on the trails were actually pretty decent, and we had fun tromping through the woods for an hour. Sam was having a blast. On the final hill, she was babbling away and saying 'up up up' to Ryan. Very cute :-)

I love it out here!

Along the river

Through the birches
She spent the evening in a pair of new PJs. They are so cute!

Aren't these PJs awesome?!

She also decided she should rearrange the kitchen chairs before Mindy and Pete came over to watch the SuperBowl with us. Apparently, having the chairs all around the table just wasn't quite right :-)

Hmmm, this isn't quite the right configuration...

Maybe more over here...

And Gigi wanted to be sure we thought she was still cute too :-)

Hi Gigi!
Today was another bright and beautiful day. It would have been the perfect day for a long run, except that it was my "Sam" day so I only had naptime to run. Not to mention that I went to bed way way way too late, was up early, and appear to have caught a slight cold from the munchkin, meaning I was feeling very tired all day long. Needless to say, the run that I did get in was great. It was 40 degrees by the time I headed out at noon, and I didn't even need a hat. Awesome! Since I wasn't feeling super energetic, I had planned to just run the 5 mile Highland Green loop, but once I got on the powerlines, I realized I shouldn't waste such a nice day on such a boring road loop. There had been some snowmobile traffic on the trails and in the shade, things were pretty nicely packed. Of course, the sections getting hit by the sun were like mashed potatoes, but hey, can't be perfect, right?! Although I didn't have on my screwshoes, my 282s were holding up fine in the conditions, and I enjoyed a nice out-and-back on the trails. Much nicer than a road run!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Messy Messy

These days, "messy messy" could apply to many things. Sam eating yogurt and pears last night with a spoon all by herself last night. The house when I come downstairs after putting her to bed at night - toys strewn everywhere, dish towels everywhere, goldfish sprinkled on the floor. Sam's hair, spiked with some lovely combination of hair gel from the faux-hawk they gave her at daycare as well as what is likely some snot, pasta sauce and oh, maybe a little yogurt thrown in. Or maybe it's the endless cat hair floating in the air, despite daily vacuuming. Oh well. We have a 16 month old and 2 cats. Life is messy :-) And today, the roads were messy too.

Yesterday, around 4pm, I talked to Ryan while I was at work and he told me it was snowing hard at home. So, we decided to pack things up and close up early. And sure enough, just as I was leaving, it started to snow. And snow hard. The roads were a mess, and it was a slow drive. Then later in the evening, as we were sitting quietly on the couch relaxing after Sam had gone to bed, we heard what sounded like sleet or rain outside. Yup, it was 34 degrees out. So by this morning, the new snow had been saturated with rain. I headed out for my run around 9:00. The roads were a mix of just plain wet pavement, slush, packed snow and ice and the oh-so-wonderful deep brown puddles that appear when it warms up after a lot of snow and the runoff has nowhere to go. On the backside of Highland Green road and in our complex, things hadn't been well-cleared, so there was a bit of running through 2" of crispy wet snow too. Oh, and I came back on the powerlines since I didn't want to run up the Connector, so I got a bit of snowmobile trail running in too. A bit of everything! Although it wasn't the most pleasant run due to conditions, I didn't get slowed down too much, and it was warm and bright and sunny out, so that was a plus! And since it is such a nice day, I think we'll hit the Cathance trails for a short snowshoe once Sam wakes up from her nap and before the Superbowl. Sounds good to me!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

3 in 3

Sam did not sleep well last night, and therefore neither did I. She was up at 5:30 to eat, but luckily went back to bed. I did not. I was tired, sure, but we were doing our morning juggle of Danielle run, Ryan run, Danielle go to work, so I figured I might as well just stay up and get a jump start on the morning. I actually intended to head out for a short run in the dark before Sam woke back up, but temps weren't exactly enticing, so I changed my mind and sat on the couch for a while with a cup of coffee instead :-) I hoped that things might warm up a bit if I waited, but while the sun came out, temps didn't exactly soar - the thermometer was reading 3 degrees when I headed out at 7:30. For simplicity's sake, I ran my three miles around the high school loop. It was uneventful.

Today's run was supposed to be an easy 'shake the legs out' run before tomorrow's Mid Winter Classic race, but they ended up postponing the race due to the potential storm coming through tonight, and the fact that the police department wasn't comfortable with the town's ability to get the roads clear enough for 800 runners to be racing Sunday morning, especially with how narrow the roads are already. Bummer. Although I wasn't anticipating that the race was going to be fun, I was looking forward to it anyway, if that makes any sense :-) They did reschedule the race - but the new date is Sunday, February 27th, the same date as the last of Ryan's snowshoe races. I had already decided to run that race, and as the wife of the race director, I can't exactly give up my one chance for a snowshoe race this season to go run a road race :-), so I guess I won't be finding out this year if I can beat my 2009 time in the 10 Miler. Ah well. Next year...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mellow Four

I headed over to the bike path this morning for a mellow four mile run. After the 12+" of snow we got over the past few days, the roads are still a bit of a mess, and more importantly the shoulders have sort of disappeared, at least for the moment. And while going out for a snowshoe run in all this deep powder might have been fun, I'm trying to at least give myself the benefit of mostly fresh legs for Sunday's Mid-Winter Classic, so I'm keeping the next few days pretty mellow.

I had the bike path all to myself, well, except for the friendly Brunswick Parks & Rec guy who was driving up and down the path, plowing and clearing things out. In fact, I think I saw him about 6 times over the 4 mile out-and-back, since he was working hard to clear out the stretches of the path that back almost right up to Rt. 1. He had done a great job already though! The path was down to a nice even, packed layer of snow that crunched beneath my feet. I didn't even need screw shoes. The new pair of 282s I was wearing worked perfectly! I've been wearing the 282s for both my road and trail runs these days, which means the pair I wore for Stonecat has been racking up some decent mileage. Last night, I asked Ryan to make that pair into screw shoes, since my beloved 315s, which I had been using as screw shoes, really needed to be retired - they were over 500 miles and the heel fabric on both shoes had some serious holes in it. I realized the potential folly of this decision this morning, when it occurred to me that turning my broken-in 282s into screw shoes meant I was likely going to be wearing new shoes for the 10 miler, but luckily, there isn't too much break in time for the Inov-8s!

It was a beautiful morning, bright and sunny, and without any wind, and a nice way to start off my birthday. Although, I have to say, I am not quite sure how I feel about now officially being closer to 40 than 30. How did I get to be so old?! I don't *feel* old... :-)

Flora and fauna notes: I saw a huge flock (40 to 50 birds) of Waxwings as I was nearing the end of the run. They were calling and flittering around the tops of a few trees close to the river's edge. Although I was only 1/4 mile from the end of the run, I stopped to watch them for a while. They are just such cool birds! I assume that they were all Cedar Waxwings, but who knows. Maybe a few Bohemian Waxwings were in the group too? I wish I had had my binoculars and the chance to watch them a bit longer. I also saw a Bald Eagle flying over Pleasant Bay on my way to work. Cool.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Real Live Person

As we look at Sam, playing or talking in our midst, Ryan has started shaking his head and saying, "it's like she's a real live person now." Indeed, it is no longer the two of us, two crazy cats and a little baby blob. We now have a burgeoning, wanting-to-be-independent, willful, adorable, real life toddler in our midst.

She is changing so much it is hard to keep up, but since this blog is also her baby book, I wanted to document a few of new things she is doing these days:

New words/sounds: milk, up, my daddo, "baa" for sheep, "wa wa" for water, "no no" when she doesn't want something or you are trying to give her something that isn't quite right, shaking her head "yes" and "no" correctly. She also has her own little language, with "mana" and "owata" being mainstays :-)

She will pretend to tickle herself when she wants me to read her the "Are You Ticklish?" book. She pretends to comb her hair when she wants her comb/brush. She will lie down on the floor with a blanket, a dish towel, a wash cloth, anything that resembles her blankie/lovey to pretend she is sleeping. She walks around carrying the afore mentioned items, holding them tucked beneath her chin like a bib, or trying to cover up Gigi for "nite nite" time.

She puts her hands up in the air as if to say "Where it is?" or "I don't know?" when you ask her to find something that she doesn't immediately see. It is just adorable.

She will walk over to the dishwasher, and point at the food cabinet above, telling us she is hungry and wants something to eat.

In the evening (when it is obvious that she is tired), if I ask her if she is tired and wants to go up for bathtime/bedtime, she will say "bye bye" and start walking to the stairs.

There are several cabinets that she knows she is not allowed into in the kitchen. Two of them have child safety locks on them, but you still have to open them slightly to push down on the lever to open the lock. Sam will start to run across the room, stop and look back at us with a little smirk on her face and glimmer in her eyes, as if to say "I know, I'm not supposed to do this, but I'm going to do it anyway," and turn around and go right over to them, attempting to open them. She full of mischief, this one is :-)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What? I Thought The Snow Was Supposed To Arrive In The Afternoon?!

I guess Mother Nature has decided that Wednesday is storm day this year. The first wave of this week's storm was supposed to arrive later this afternoon. So, I figured I would be able to get in my long run on some relatively "dry" roads this morning. Hmmm. Not so much. I headed out at 9:45, and by oh, say, 9:50, the snow had started. Oh, it started out slowly and finely enough, but after two miles, it was already coming down pretty good, and I knew I was in for a cold and snowy run. I had intended to run out to Simpson's Point from home. The full route I had mapped out was 18 miles, but gave me the option to bail out early if necessary. I wasn't feeling super enthused when I woke up this morning - tired, with slightly sore shins from yesterday's snowshoe run. Plus it was cold and grey - so having an early exit option seemed like a good idea, just in case. In the end, I did cut the run short, but it wasn't because I was feeling bad, it was simply because it was starting to feel unsafe to be running on the roads as the snow continued to fall.

The start of the run took me through some Topsham neighborhoods down to the swinging bridge, where I crossed the Androscoggin into Brunswick and wound my way through the side streets out to Pleasant Hill Road. From there, I ran out on Maquoit to Rossmore. The 1 1/2 miles on Rossmore (5.5 to 7.0) were the best part of the run. Rossmore is a winding, residential road, with views out across fields and mudflats to the ocean. It was quiet out there, the snow muffling the sound of my footfalls, and no cars either. As I crossed a small tidal river before the small rise up to Mere Point Road, a pair of Hooded Mergansers popped up to the surface and swam out toward the grasses, their bodies making a small channel in the slushy coating of snow on the top of the salty waters. Very cool.

Once I reached the end of Rossmore, I decided I wouldn't tack on the miles out to Simpson's Point. It was simply starting to snow a bit too hard for me to feel comfortable out on the roads. I didn't want to be a danger to the cars trying to avoid me, and I didn't want to get run over either! Unfortunately, I had to make my way back home, and it was likely 5 miles by the shortest route. Oh well. I was as careful as I could be, and luckily, the shoulders along Mere Point and outer Maine Street are large, so I was able to keep way out of the way of the cars going by. I decided to run right through town so that I could take advantage of the safety of the sidewalks. Of course, that meant dodging cars turning into and off of the main thoroughfare. Once I had crossed the Brunswick/Topsham Bridge, I realized I had no desire to continue on up Main Street, so I veered off onto a side street to Rt. 24, and then went through the Fairgrounds - ah, quiet! - and across to Highland Green Road, taking in the powerlines for the final stretch, so as to avoid the Connector.

I ended up adding on about a 1/2 mile in our neighborhood to get to a nice round 14 miles, and although it wasn't the 18 miles I had originally wanted, I think it was a good, honest effort on a day like today. My face was pretty frozen and totally crusted over with snow/ice by the time I walked in the door, and I was more than happy to be off the roads, take a warm shower and have a good lunch! Final stats for the run were 14.0 miles in 2:03:26.