Monday, May 30, 2011

Cathance Wander, Midday Waddle & A Weekend In Pictures

We took a walk with Sam this morning down to the Cathance River. We parked at the Ecology Center, and she walked all the way down to the water by herself. We took the shortest route, but it was at least a 1/2 mile or so. She had a blast, although honestly, she had more fun stopping and digging in the dirt and gravel :-) Oh, and flinging it everywhere, including all over her head! She got a ride back on Daddo's back in the Ergo, after which we came home and gave her a quick bath before naptime. After she was asleep, I headed out for a short and slow 3-miler. It was 12:30, and the thermometer was reading 81 degrees. In the shade. Aie. I figured it was going to be a relatively painful run, but thought I'd likely also feel a bit better after stretching out my legs for a few miles. I started hobbling down the street, with my quads sore, as I ran what Ryan has dubbed the "Suck Loop." I'd say it lived up to its name today, but only because I was sore, and tired, and I was dumb enough to be out running on a route without shade in the heat of day, on one of the hottest days so far this year. My legs did feel a bit better after I finished, but I think I'll take a rest day tomorrow :-)


My parents were in town this weekend to help us out, and it was great to see them. Thanks so much guys! We really appreciate it, and Sam had lots of fun with "Nini" and "Pipi":-) Here are a few shots from the weekend, most of them courtesy, as usual, of my parents!

Drawing with Nani at LLBean

Reading with Mama

Fun with a cardboard box

Walking with Pip

Relaxing with Nani


With Auntie Kristen, at Pineland

Race-side entertainment



Headed down to the river,  gravel and dirt in hand

Sam and Daddo along the Cathance

On the move!

Drawing with Morgan while we wait for lunch

Bounce bounce!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

2011 Pineland Farms Trail Challenge 25k Race Report (Or "Where Did I Lose Those Six Seconds?!")

I managed to miss beating Ryan's time from last year on the Pineland course by 6 seconds. Yup, six lousy seconds! Ah well, you win some, you lose some, and despite my best efforts, Ryan is still the reigning 25k record holder in our house. D*mn! :-) But really, it was all friendly banter, and although it would have been fun to beat his time, the reality is he can truly run much faster than that, and so it's sort of a moot point anyway. It did give me something to shoot for though, and I am thrilled to have finished in 2:14:05, which is a 12 minute PR, despite being 6 seconds off my mark.

The day dawned foggy and misty, and Ryan got up bright and early to head over to Pineland to cheer on all our friends starting the 50 miler at 6am. I got up and enjoyed a bit of quiet, before Sam woke up, and then the two of us headed over around 8:30. My parents, Kristen and Morgan met us there, and took over on Sam duty, so that I could get ready (which translates into: stand in line for an inane amount of time to use the port-a-potty) to race. I lined up at the start near Randy, Tom Whittaker and Jeremy. Jeremy is coming back from a stress fracture, so he decided to take it easy during the race, and we ended up running the first 5k together. It was fun to have someone to chat with, and the early miles went by quickly. I finally let him go, a bit reluctantly, near the yurt. We had gone through 5k in 24:00ish, which was just a touch too fast for me.

As we got into the fields beyond the yurt, the clouds finally burned off, and the sun came out. The fields were wet and sloppy, but after all the rain we'd had over the past few weeks, at least they were actually able to clear a decent path for us out there! Once the sun came out, the humidity became all the more noticeable. I stopped to tie my shoe at one point, and realized my face was hot, hot, hot. The silver lining was that there was indeed a breeze, which felt really nice when it kicked up! My goal was to run everything, so I slogged up the hills after the yurt, and did the same once I hit the Campus loop. I was happy to see Mindy and Valerie at the aid station at the bottom of the Campus loop. Val looked happy and relaxed! Hurray! The hills were definitely taking a bit out of me, but I tried to crank up the pace as I neared the top of the Campus loop and headed for the start/finish area.

Ryan yelled to me that I was 12th woman, and I think I made some sort of face in return to indicate that I was feeling the miles, the heat, the lack of sleep this past week. But, I did resolve to run as fast as my little legs could carry me over on Oak Hill. Once I crossed the street, I ended up with a guy who was walking all the hills I was running, and we were leap-frogging back and forth. Finally, as I passed him once again, I said, "we have to stop meeting like this." He replied, "yeah, otherwise we'll have to start talking to each other." We hopped back and forth a few times, and I finally lost him at the bottom of Gloucester Hill, when I ran about 1/2 way up. I heard him mutter, "No way," as I ran off. Of course, I did end up walking the second half of the hill. I just couldn't quite muster the run all the way up. But once I hit the top, I knew I only had a few miles to go, and I pushed as much as I could. I actually felt better in the final few miles than I did in the stretch up the Campus loop.

As I neared the finish line, after yelling "Go Danielle," Ryan yelled, in jest, "It's still mine!" :-) Just six seconds shy. Where did those six seconds go? Guess I shouldn't have stopped for those few sips of water, or walked those few extra steps up Gloucester Hill! Ha. Regardless, I felt like I gave it all I could give out there, and I'm happy with the result. Turns out, I ended up 10th woman too, which is cool. A solid day, overall, for sure!

Finish line push (Photo courtesy: Maine Running Photos)

Many, many thanks to Ian and Erik, and all the volunteers for putting on such a great race! It was fun (in that not-fun sort of way :-)) as always! Thanks too, to Ryan, for cheering his heart out (in fact, I think he lost his voice in the 12 hours he was out there helping and cheering!), and for providing me with a goal to for after. Also to Mom and Dad for watching Sam for us so we could play for the day! And last but not least, congrats to all the Trail Monsters for putting up some great results! Woohoo! Way to rock it everyone!!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Into the Mist

Turns out Sam has a double ear infection and croup (!). Ugh. Poor kid. The cough is pretty horrible, harsh and deep, and it makes her cry. This means that whenever she coughs in the night, she cries, and either wakes herself up or just goes on crying in her sleep. It is heart breaking. Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do except to ride it out, give her ibuprofin and tylenol for the pain and wait for the cough to get better. Oh, and hope that the antibiotics for the ear infection kick in soon too. Needless to say, it has been a rough week. And none of us have been getting much sleep. This does not an ideal taper week make.

I got out for a quick 3-miler this morning around 6:15am. Sam had just fallen back to sleep, and although crawling back into bed sounded nice, I thought a run might clear my head, get me ready for a long day at work, and help me relieve a little bit of the stress I've gathered up over the past few days. A light mist was falling, with low clouds hugging the treeline. The heavy air seemed to weigh me down, and made me think that the warmer temps and humidity are certainly going to be a factor tomorrow. I can't say the run did much to make me feel like I will be able to find another gear for the race tomorrow, but I will do my best!

All this being said, I am certainly looking forward to being out there tomorrow - Ian and Erik, and all the volunteers, do such a great job putting on these races, and it is such a fun atmosphere! So many of our friends will be out running, and I can't wait to see what the Trail Monsters will do on the trails tomorrow!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Taper Madness

This morning, I headed out onto the same loop I ran last night, but did the loop in the opposite direction. You know, just because :-) It was bright and sunny and warm! Yeehaw! Of course, next thing you know, I'll be complaining about the summer heat, but this morning I reveled in it and enjoyed sweating for a few miles :-)

I had intended to run a bit more this morning, but it is what it is, and I guess the taper is just going to be a bit more extreme than intended this week. I'd say that means I'll be going into the race well-rested, but that would be a dream! With Sam's cough, she has been up a lot the past few nights, so sleep has been a bit interrupted. Ah well, it is what it is. Overall, I'm still feeling pretty good about the race on Sunday, but we'll see how it goes!

My "A" goal for the race is still to beat Ryan's time from last year, which was 2:13:59 or 8:38 pace. I *feel* like I should be able to do this, but Pineland has a way of being sneaky on race day, so I've decided to set two secondary goals, with which I will also be happy. My "B" goal is 9:00 pace, or 2:19:30. And last but not least, beating my previous time on this course of 2:26 will feel good too. However, I am fully planning on stretching myself a bit out there on the course so that I can take the family Pineland Farms 25k record :-)

And with that, here's a photo from last year's Pineland weekend - wow, Sam has changed! Still cute, though :-)

Ryan and Sam watching the races. Jamie Gemmeti photo.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Evening Run

This is turning into a stressful week. Work is a bit crazy right now. My boss is back in town after being away for most of the year at grad school, but he's only around for three weeks, after which time he heads off to Venice to paint for the month of June. Rough life, huh?! :-) We're working on our first exhibition of the season, which opens this coming Saturday. But we're also trying to get organized for show #2, which opens two days after Keith gets back from Italy. Ryan is busy, and is still getting over being sick. Sam has a wicked cough and is having a rough time of it. My parents are arriving in Maine tomorrow, and are coming to stay with us on Thursday night so that they can watch Sam on Friday, since daycare is closed, Ryan will be away, and I have to be at work early to hang Saturday's show. It is awesome that they are coming to visit and to help us out, but I always feel compelled to have everything neat and clean before anyone comes to visit, and I also really do not want my mom to get sick while she is here because of us, as they are headed to Italy at the end of next week, for a trip they've been dreaming about for years! I also don't want to get sick. And I want to race well, and fast, on Sunday. AIE!

Needless to say, despite all of this, or actually, because of all this, I headed out for a quick 3 mile run after putting Sam down to bed early tonight. I'm typically not at my best on an evening run, but tonight, it felt good to get out and run, in an attempt to outrun the silly thoughts in my head and the stress that had built up in my shoulders. Not to mention, it was warm! And not raining! Hurray :-) Maybe it wasn't such a bad day after all?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Let's Face It... is just not nice out there today. There is no way around it. It is rainy. And 47 degrees. Lovely! But Sam is at daycare today, since they are closed on Friday, which means I have a free day to run and get as much as possible done around the house before my parents arrive later this week to help with Sam on Friday while I work, and then again on Sunday, while Ryan and I run. So, even though it is yuck, yuck, yucky out there, I suited up and headed over to the Commons, well, because I had the time, so why not? Even though I was in tights and long sleeves, I was cold for the first few miles. The wind whipped the rain in my face as I crossed the playing fields and headed into the woods. I wished I had thought to bring gloves!

I had hoped I would see lots of ladyslippers today. After all, it is that time of year, and typically the Commons yield lots of them. But today, although I counted a good number of them (80+, seriously!), only one or two actually had the pink slipper visible. The rest were still little whirls of green, bent over, waiting for some sun and warmth. And yes, while the woods were quite gorgeous with all the lush greenery, and the forest floor was covered with starflowers, wood anemone, bunchberries, lily of the valley, blue bead lilies and false lily of the valley, and the swamp azalea and bright fuscia trailing arbutus stood out in wonderful contrast against the green ferns and leaves, it was rainy and cold and well, just not nice out. I'm trying to have a good attitude about this weather, but seriously, I need some sun! So, who out there can order that up for me? Anyone?! :-)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

9 at Bradbury

Valerie posted on the TMR site last night that she was planning on 10 mile at Bradbury this morning. After a lot of hemming and hawing, and with Ryan's prodding finally overtaking my 'mommy guilt,' I posted that I was coming to play too :-) Yeah, a TMR Sunday morning Bradbury run! We met at 8:30. It was cool, damp and overcast, but I warmed up quickly once we started running.

Ian, Jim and Tom joined Valerie and I as we headed out onto the East side trails, while Linda and Bethany went off to run on the mountain side. Valerie took us on Mindy's 8-mile '40 for 40' loop, basically the Bruiser minus the twisty Lanzo and O Trails. It was a fun loop, with a fair amount of mud and a lot of puddles. We had fun chatting away as we ran about Pineland, ultras and the AT among other things, and the miles just clipped on by. The woods looked beautifully rich and lush, with the greens popping on the overcast day. Although I spent most of my time either watching my footing or chatting, I did note a number of ladyslippers, painted trillium, blue bead lilies and lily of the valleys along the way.

On the East side (all photos courtesy of Valerie)
Late into the loop, Jim took a nice digger, and although he popped right back up, he and Tom took the shortest way back, while Valerie, Ian and I continued on with "Mindy's route." When we got back to the parking lot, we stopped for a few minutes to check in on Jim, and then headed up the Terrace Trail to the summit.
Ian and I running up the Terrace Trail
Not much of a view today, but hey, at least it wasn't raining! We finished up the run by running down the South Ridge Trail. When we got back to the parking lot, my Garmin was reading 9.6 - perfect! Linda and Bethany had finished up their run, and although our car was in the lot, I couldn't find Sam and Ryan anywhere. Turns out they were out walking on the trail with Jim. I ran out to find them - Sam was having a blast walking "outside" :-)

High fives after a walk on the trails with Jim
Ian took back off for some more miles, while the rest of the crew headed to Edna & Lucy's for an after-run treat. Yum! What a fun way to start the morning. Many thanks to Ryan for watching Sam so I could run, and to Valerie, Ian, Jim and Tom for a great run!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rapture Smapture

If you were a part of this group which believed today was the end of the world...and you felt it so strongly that you advertised on billboards...and then, today came, and the end didn't come, and it was just another day... What would you think? What would you do? Would you think that maybe you were hooked up with a group of crazies and it was time to wake up and get away from them? Or would you come up with some excuse as to why the end didn't come? Somehow I think it would be the latter... The human mind has a large capacity for denial, does it not? In any event, I am glad today is not "the end." I mean, I know my time will end at some point, but I have a lot I'd like to do between now and then! And if today had been the day, I would certainly have liked to have spent my last day doing something other than working, that's for sure :-)

I did get out for a nice run this morning before work at least. It was 60 degrees and muggy. Still foggy at 7:45 am, but definitely a step in the right direction! I ran the powerlines out and back, for a little over 5.25 miles, just to round out the week for an even 32 miles. The purple swamp azaleas were highlighted against the greens of the brush. A patch of strawberry plants and the bunchberries were beginning to flower along the trail's edge. A hummingbird buzzed past, an Eastern Kingbird flitted about the top of one of the flowering trees, the Towhee and a Cardinal sang from the treetops, and a few yellow warblers crossed my path. I came home a bit muddy and sweaty, and happy to have been out enjoying the morning with a run.

Friday, May 20, 2011


A random smattering of thoughts from this morning ~

This morning, when Sam and I got in the car to go to daycare, I realized I hadn't turned off the radio last night. Typically when we are in the car, I don't have the radio on. We "talk" to each other - naming and pointing out body parts, going through our animal noises, singing "ABC", etc. But, today, the David Gray disc that has been in my CD player for forever was playing, and was at the end of one of the tracks. After a few seconds, the song stopped, and I heard the chirp of "more more" from the backseat, which continued until the next song came on. Turns out that Sam is just as happy to listen to me sing along, horribly off-key, to David Gray, as she is to listen to me recite "Row row row your boat" over and over and over. Thank goodness for small favors :-)


Sam's newest trick is backing up to, and sitting down on, her little yellow stool. It is too cute. And even better, as she backs up, she says "beep beep beep." Adorable :-)


I will be appealing over the next few days to the forces that be that I not get whatever it is that Ryan currently has. When I left for work this morning, he was still in bed, shivering and with a wicked sore throat. Ugh. Poor guy. I hope this passes soon, and I really hope that I don't get it! (Or Sam. She is fine. The source of this one must be from somewhere else). The next week at work is busy busy busy, my parents are coming to visit at the end of the week, and of course, Pineland is next Sunday! Must be healthy. Must be healthy.


I got out for a quick, mellow 3 mile run this morning. I ran the short Highland Green loop in the fog and mist. Despite that, spring goes on, and the colors are popping everywhere. The bleeding heart in my garden has gorgeous pink flowers; the blueberry bells are in full bloom along the powerlines; the purple and white violets are everywhere; the grass is lush and green. A little bit of sun and things will really be going crazy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Two Fives

I am trying hard to wrap my head around two facts that are having a serious effect on my being right now:

1) It appears my child is not a good sleeper; therefore, I am not a good sleeper :-)


2) This spring has been wet and cool, which means it is pretty dreary out there. I am also gearing up for a wet and cool summer. I tend to not do well with days on end of dreary weather, but I really need to get over this one and move on!

Yesterday morning, I snuck out for a run around 6:45am. Sam had been up early, so I went downstairs with her, and we had breakfast and played for a bit before I called up the stairs for Ryan to come down and take over. I didn't really want to run (see items #1 and #2 above). But I hadn't managed to get in my run on Monday, so I "needed" to get out if I wanted to get my miles in for the week. In the hopes that a bit of time running through the mud and stomping through a few puddles would help, I decided to run the 5 mile Homeplace loop. And despite the constant mist, my tiredness, and the fact that I was wearing tights because it was only 43 degrees, I did enjoy the run while I was out there. On these overcast days, the brilliant greens of the leaves of the false lily of the valley on the forest floor, the emerging purple of the lilacs and swamp azaelea, and the whites of the wood anemone and the flowering bushes just jump out at me as I run by. The yellow backs of the two male goldfinch that chased each other across my path seemed all the more brilliant. There is a certain beauty in these grey days. I just have to try to focus on that, and not the fact that I would like some sunshine, please :-)

I went to bed super early last night, and woke up feeling a bit more rested this morning. After I dropped Sam off at daycare, I came home, quickly got ready and headed out for another 5 mile run. The Highland Green loop this time, as my training plan for the day says "5 pace," and I figured this would be the best place to do a run of this sort. Now, what pace is another story :-) I looked at the MacMillan calculator, plugging in both 3:44 (MDI 2008) and 3:30 (the time that I would like to run at some point) for a marathon, and also 1:43:22 for a half marathon, which is what I ran long ago at the Maine Half Marathon, back in 1998 before Ryan and I were married. The paces for workouts varied, of course, depending on what numbers I plugged in, but using my old half marathon time, the calculator says my steady state runs should be run between 7:54 and 8:07. I feel I should be able to run faster than 1:43:22, but it seems best to base things off some sort of concrete number, so there you go :-) In any event, although I was not quite as tired this morning, it was still dreary out, and a light mist was falling as I ran, making me feel like I'd rather turn around and go curl up on the couch with my book than run. So I didn't really commit to the idea of a "pace" run until I saw the numbers on the Garmin at 2 miles, and realized I was running around 8:15 pace. I figured if I pushed things a bit, I might actually be able to hit between 7:54 and 8:07. Obviously, my splits weren't anything close to even, but when I hit the stop button at 5.0 miles, my average pace was 8:06. Cool. Now, what all this means, who the heck knows? :-)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Playdough & Ponytails

No running today, as it was a Sam day for me, and schedule-wise it just didn't work out. So instead of a post about running, you get a few new Sam photos from this past weekend! Much more exciting anyway, right?! :-)

Ponytail! (Better than the mullet, right?!)

Playdough time!

Roll it...

...and smash it! :-)

This is fun!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Topsham Trails Day Run

Today was the first annual Topsham Trails Day. Ryan and fellow Trail Monster Scott Ellis have been involved in the newly formed Topsham Trail Alliance, which is working to bring more trails to the area and more awareness to the public about existing trails. The idea was to get some publicity, and to get people out on the trails, on foot, doing clean-up, on ATVs, etc. today, in advance of this week's town meeting, where there is a bond article asking for funds for trail development. And so, being Trail Monsters, it seemed fitting that Ryan and Scott were asked to lead a run on some of our favorite Topsham trails today. Due in part to the weather, and to scheduling, the group that joined us was small, but all were happy to be out exploring. In fact, there was one woman who was on her first trail run ever, and her longest run ever! Cool :-)

We splurged, and asked one of Sam's daycare teachers to come babysit, so that I would have a chance to join in on the fun this morning too. So, Sam had a great time, and so did we! Mindy ran over to the Mt. Ararat parking lot with us, where we joined Scott, Erik and a few others for the run. The plan was for a 6 mile option and a 12 mile option. In the end, it was only me who was interested in the longer run, so we all started out together, and then around 5.5 miles, Scott and I kept going, while the rest of the group turned back. With a few trail newbies, the initial 5.5 miles were at a pretty slow pace, with lots of stopping to gather the group together, but we enjoyed a nice mellow jaunt over Mt. Ararat, along the quarry and the Heath, and down to the Cathance river. It was overcast, misting and a bit cool out, but the woods more than made up for it - the forest floor was covered with lots of greenery, and I saw a few Painted Trillium, lots of wood anemone, ferns, and some good patches of trailing arbutus and goldthread, plus one or two Ladyslippers. I had fun chatting with Scott, Erik and Mindy along the way. I think everyone had a great time, and it's always fun to introduce people to "new to them" trails!

I was a bit intimidated as the group split, and I took off with Scott. He's a super nice guy, but speedy, and I honestly wasn't sure I was going to be able to keep up. However, I just kicked it into gear, and held on :-) We chatted here and there as we ran, but also ran some long stretches in comfortable silence. This was fine with me, as I needed all the energy I could muster to hold his pace. We headed out on the powerlines toward the Homeplace and dump loops that I know well, but Scott took me on a few new trails which was fun - now I just have to be able to follow his route again on my own, so I can get out to enjoy those trails again! :-) The woods were green and quiet, and the trails were all in good shape with a nice, soft treadway. As we ran out along some of the dirt roads near the dump, I spotted four Bobolinks in a fruit tree by one of the ponds. Awesome!

Once we got back to the steep hill before crossing Rt. 24, I told Scott to go on ahead. I was feeling pretty tired, and figured I might do better if I could just mellow out a bit for the final 2 miles. He put some ground on me in a hurry, so although I think he enjoyed my company, I know I was slowing him down a bit. I ended up with 13.8 miles in 2:09:13, with the first 6 miles run at around 11:30 pace, and the next almost 6 miles with Scott at right around 8:15 pace. No wonder I was feeling like I was pushing things during that second stretch. But it did feel good, and I'm super happy to have had Scott to show me some new trails and pull me along. All in all a great, if soggy, trail run!

I came home to find Mindy hanging out with a super happy Sam, and Ryan making pancakes for us. Hurray! And as we sent Mindy on her way a while later, Sam waved at her through the window and said "Mindy!" So cute!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Morning Five

This morning, before I headed to work, Ryan and I traded off Sam duties with run time, so I was out the door at 7:30 to get in my 5 miler. I ran the powerlines for a rather uneventful, but decent, out-and-back. I finally saw "my" Towhee - I've been hearing him for a few weeks now, but haven't gotten a look at him until this morning - as well as the cardinal I saw the other day, plus a number of goldfinch flitting about. Also saw my first ladyslipper of the season! A lone plant, its flower was still firmly encased in its green shell, but regardless, it was unmistakably a ladyslipper. Several hobblebush were in bloom as well, the first I've noticed this year.

When I got home, I took a quick shower, and played with Sam while Ryan was out for his run. After I left for the day, the two of them headed outside for a while before lunchtime. Looks like Sam was having fun, doesn't it?! :-)


Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Bird!

Along with a bunch of new  words - bus, mess, snack (ack), bike, yuck, yummy! (ummy!), draw (daw) - Sam's most recent thing is to put "a" in front of everything. A bird. A bus. A baby. A snack. A mess. A mama. A daddo. A bike. Very cute and fun, and certainly better than putting "my" in front of everything :-)

I actually had penciled in some speed work for this morning, you know, something like a pace or "steady state" run, which is yes, actual speed work to me! Hard to believe I used to be a sprinter in college, isn't it? Guess all the repeats I ran back then didn't endear themselves to me :-) Ha. But anyway, Sam is in the midst of some sort of interrupted sleep pattern these days, and so I am not sleeping well at all. This morning I felt tired. Exhausted. Low energy. There was no zip in my legs. I wasn't dumb enough to think I should go ahead and try my planned workout, so I just decided getting out for a 5 mile run would be enough. To keep things interesting, I headed out on the Mt. Ararat trails to Highland Green, ran the Heath loop, down the back dirt road to the powerlines and back home. The Garmin beeped 5.0 miles just as I was turning into our walkway. Perfect.

And while the run wasn't exactly snappy, it did bring with it some neat bird sightings. A brilliant red Cardinal singing in the brush. Chickadees and phoebes calling. A pair of Canada Geese honking in the Heath. A pair of Mallard flying over. A good, long glimpse at what I am pretty sure was a male Common Yellowthroat. I can't think of any other birds with a distinctive black mask like that (and no, it wasn't just a male goldfinch). Neat! A bird, a bird, a new bird for my list :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cool and Misty

This seems to be a trend. The weather so far this spring has been cool and wet, with lots of misty and rainy mornings. Oh, we've had a few beautiful blue skies mixed in, but spring seems to be taking its sweet time truly settling in. The trees are budding, flowers are blooming and the grass is getting greener, but not with the intensity and speed I expect at this time of year. Well, this sort of weather is good for running anyway :-) There's no risk of overheating when you head out at 8:45am and it is 49 degrees, overcast and misting!

I headed out onto the powerlines to do the 5 mile Homeplace loop. I had actually hoped to get in a longer run this morning, but Sam woke up at 5am, screaming and crying, and then Ronnie woke up, yowling away, and I just couldn't go back to sleep, even once things quieted down with the little ones. I padded downstairs to sit at the computer, have a snack and some coffee, but it was so dreary out and there was not much of excitement to read, so after a while, I pulled a nice, warm blanket off the top of the couch and curled up there with the cats, eyes closed. I even managed to fall back to sleep for a bit, and when Sam finally did wake up it was 7:30! Needless to say, we didn't get to daycare early, so by the time I got out to run, I didn't have as much time as I had once envisioned. But it was a nice run, nonetheless. The Towhees called, goldfinch flitted about, and the ground was filled with spring flowers - the white bell flowers on the blueberry plants are emerging, bluets, and purple and white violets are coming up everywhere, there are big patches of wood anemone plus one small patch of what looked to be rue anemone, and a few trailing arbutus plants too, along the powerlines. Always fun to see what is coming up at this time of year! I tried to keep the pace mellow and even, and was happy to see that even thought things felt pretty easy, I finished up the run in 45:15. Not fast, but not slow, so I'll take it! :-)

Monday, May 9, 2011


Felt a bit off today. Nothing major, just blah. I'm sure it was some combination of yesterday's run, not sleeping well, being woken up by an ear-piercing shrieking toddler at 5:30am and then not being able to go back to sleep once she finally quieted down (Seriously, what is up with that?! I really hope she is getting some teeth out of this most recent spat of night wakings and shriekings!), and the roaring wind during my run today. I set off on the powerlines once Sam went down for her nap, but I wasn't feeling super enthused so I thought I'd just turn off onto Highland Green Road, turn my brain off and let my feet keep moving forward on an easy paved/packed dirt surface instead of negotiating the Homeplace loop. I really did try to turn my brain off, but all I kept thinking was "Bloody wind! Can you stop already? I am trying to move forward here!" Can you tell I wasn't in the best of moods during my run?! :-) Ah well, 5 miles done and I felt better for it after the fact. Isn't that always the way?


In Sam news, last night, after bathtime, Ryan said, "Sam, can you tell Mama 'Happy Mother's Day'?" to which Sam said, "Happy!" That was good enough for me, but Ryan then said, "Sam, can you tell Mama she is pretty," to which Sam said, "pretty, pretty." Awww, so cute :-)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Run at Pineland

I signed up earlier this week for the Pineland Farms 25k. As much as I'd like to run another longer race, I just don't feel like I've been doing enough training since Gator Trail to pull off a decent 50k at Pineland. I also think that mentally it would be tough to do the 50k, given that the last race I did was a 50k, and I'd constantly be comparing time, pace, etc. And there is no way I'm up for the 50 mile right now. So, the 25k it is, with the goal of running as fast as I can. I even threw out there that I'd like to beat Ryan's time from last year :-) Of course, in fairness to Ryan, he is in much, much better shape now and could likely blow away his own time if he wanted! I just figured it would give me something to go for during the race!

Speaking of the race, although we will line up on the starting line in only three weeks, I had yet to run at Pineland before this morning. Pineland is a great trail system, full of ups and downs and a relentless flow that doesn't offer much rest. The trails are wide and meander through the woods and fields, down by the river and next to the working farms. There are always pretty wildflowers to look at in the spring. However, despite all this, Pineland is not my favorite place to run. I guess I just like the single track of Bradbury and the Cathance trails better. But I wanted to at least get one run in under my belt before the race! So today was the day!

Ryan was nice enough to indulge my Mother's Day wish for a trail run this morning, so he and Sam hung out at home while I headed over to Pineland. Valerie had said she would join me, and told me Dora was going to come along too. Fun! Of course, when Valerie pulled up, she said she had revised her plan, and was just coming by to say hi before heading to Bradbury to run some gentler, slower miles. Bummer! I wish she had wanted to run with us, but I respected her choice, and so Dora and I headed off down onto the Campus loop without her. We had a great time catching up, chatting the whole way and keeping up a good solid pace too! Dora kept asking if she was slowing me down, but honestly, I felt like I was just trying to keep up with her :-) Anyway, we had a nice run along the lower race loop, minus the fields, enjoying the sunshine and the cool breeze. Once we crossed the road to the Oak Hill section of trail, Dora veered off to do the shorter inner loop and I set off alone down Gloucester Hill. I tried my hardest to keep up the ~9:00 pace we'd been running, and managed to run the whole way, not walking anything, and still feeling pretty good. As I got back to the start/finish area, I looked down at my watch and figured I would head back onto the Campus loop for a short ways to get the mileage to an even 13. Although I had originally had 15 miles in my head as my goal, I knew I was running strong and that these 13 fast miles would be just as good. Not to mention, as I popped back out of the woods by the YMCA, I spotted my two favorite people playing in the grass - hurray! After I changed, the three of us headed over to the Market for some lunch, and Valerie found us there. It was nice to catch up with her for a bit, even if we didn't get the chance to run together.  All in all, a great way to start Mother's Day! :-)

Flora and fauna notes: Lots of things blooming in the woods! Trout lily, starflowers, red trillium, a few bluebeads popping up, wild oats, rue anemone and more. Dora and I were so busy chatting, I didn't hear any birdsong, although I did note a few swallows dipping and diving above the fields.

Friday, May 6, 2011


This morning after Sam woke up at 5am, and then quickly went back to sleep, instead of getting back into bed myself, I got dressed in my running gear, ate a snack and headed out the door around 5:40am. It was a beautiful morning - bright and sunny, but cool! In fact, I admit, I wore tights, and gloves, on this run. My "line" for shorts is 45 degrees, and it was only 41. Brrr. Since I was up and out so early, I decided to hit the golf course cart path and get in 6 miles. The run was a good one, with lots of birds chirping and my first few patches of Trout Lilies seen, their yellow flowers furled tightly against the cold. I figured I would return home to a quiet house, with everyone still asleep, but no... as I pulled up to the door, I saw that Ryan and Sam were at the table, eating breakfast. Uh oh. It wasn't even 6:45. Apparently, Ronnie decided it would be a good idea of sit and yowl his head off in Sam's doorway after I left, and he woke her up. Let's just say Ryan was less than pleased with him as a result. Luckily, Sam woke up happy, although Ryan did say he had to tell her about 6 times that Mama was "run run running," to which she kept saying "Go go!" :-)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thoughts and Words

Ryan was poking fun at me last night, saying yesterday's post was awfully zen-like. Meaning, he doesn't see me that way at all :-) And while I was running this morning, I was thinking about what he said. And it's true, I am almost constantly on the go, and most mornings and evenings, I race around like a crazy woman trying to juggle playtime with Sam, errands, my running, keeping the house in order, getting dinner made, doing the laundry, getting to work on time, etc etc. Even while I run, it's not often that my brain shuts off. Usually, I'm thinking, pondering, worrying, planning something or other. But in between all that, I'm always looking around, taking in all the sights and sounds out in the woods and on the road. Which is why I love to run. And why I need to run. Because while I'm running, I have the opportunity to simply be out there in the moment, with nothing more to do than move forward, and take it all in along the way. Of course, the second I stop running, the rest of "life" floods back in, but I'll take all the "zen-like" time I can get!

Speaking of constantly moving, Sam is doing just that, and not only physically, but verbally too. Last night, she got on and off her "bike" all by herself, and she gets on and off her stool by the coffee table without our help too. Still no climbing up on things like a little monkey, but that's ok with me :-) As for her words, her vocabulary is expanding rapidly, as is her comprehension. I read somewhere that if your child is focused, she can learn a new word every 90 minutes. Wow!! New words in the last week or so include: eat, snack, meat, apple, hat, nose, eye, outside, bubble, blue (boo), book, draw, "me, my, mine," and more. She is also speaking a few simple two-word "sentences" such as "up Mama," "up down" and "my baby." It really is neat to see her learn something new every day!

*8pm update: Today's new word is "happy." I love it! :-)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mist and Rain

Lots to see and listen to on a cool, wet and gray morning run around the 5-mile Homeplace loop. Spider webs covered in mist and dew. Small green buds on the blackberry brambles, as well as small green leaves and the start of the bell-like flowers on the blueberry bushes. A few star flower plants beginning to push through the ground, although no white flowers yet. Patches of blooming trailing arbutus, plus delicate rue anemone and spring beauty, their pink and white flowers curled tightly, waiting for the sun to return. Fiddleheads pushing through the leaves.

A pair of cat birds, sitting atop greening branches in the swampy area near Topsham Crossing, mewing to each other, as the Towhees called in the distance. Bluejays squacking and sparrows chipping. Three deer bounding away through the brush, their white tails dancing. The rushing of the stream by the gully. The crackle of the powerlines above.

The purple flowers of the azalea bushes out front blossoming seemingly overnight, while the lilies and iris grow green and tall. The bright yellow forsythia in full bloom. The feeders out back frequented by chipping sparrows, white-throated sparrows, chickadees and a pair of goldfinch, the male sporting his brilliant summer plummage. On the ground, the grackle, mourning doves and a red-winged blackbird eat the fallen seed, while inside, Gigi sits, wide-eyed, tail twitching, watching.

Maybe not such a dreary morning, after all :-)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Few New Sam Photos

Now that Sam is a bit older, and always on the move, she can't be bothered to stop and look up at the camera, so it's hard to get a good photo of her. Not to mention, we're too busy playing, and I don't think to stop and pull the camera out! When my parents are up visiting, they are in grandparents mode and take photos practically non-stop :-) so I always have a bunch to choose from. But, during the past few trips down to Ryan's parents house, I've forgotten the camera so I didn't have any recent photos of Sam with Grammie and Grampie. Bad Mommy! However, I helped Irene with Flickr a bit during our visit this weekend, and we uploaded some recent photos of their time with Sam this month, so I finally have a few photos to add to my April album! Here are a few of my favorites:

Playing on the IPad with Auntie Meg and Uncle Chris
Fun with the Elmo game 
Taking an afternoon walk with Grammie and Grampie
Smile :-)
Hanging out with Grampie
Visiting Mama at work
Admiring the art with Grammie and Mama

Monday, May 2, 2011

Busy Busy

Normally today would be a "Sam day," but I had a bunch of things on my list that weren't quite kid friendly, so I decided to take her into daycare today. This is a bit guilt-inducing, yes, but she has finally settled into her new room and really is enjoying being there. With the nice weather, they spend a lot of time outside playing, and since "outside" is her new favorite thing, it seemed like a win-win for the day. And luckily, she did indeed have a good day with a long nap too, which is even better!

After I dropped her off, my day consisted of Target-groceries-laundry-bank-drycleaning-garden center to pick up mulch-more laundry-run/quick lunch break-rake the garden-mulch the garden-clean the windows inside and out-clean the shower-make dinner-race to the car and pick up Sam. I did at least manage to squeeze a run in between "more laundry" and "rake the garden," but then it was rush rush rush to get everything else done in time. Nothing says "day off," like racing around like a crazy woman to cross chores off the list! Phew. I'm tired!

For our run, Ryan and I took advantage of the nice day and the fact that we were both home to drive over to the Commons at lunchtime. I haven't run in the Commons for a while, as really, we have great trails only a 1/2 mile away, so it just isn't necessary to drive over to Bowdoin and back to get in a trail run these days. However, the Commons is still a favorite of mine, with nice, mellow terrain, and it was good to run there for a change. Not to mention, my legs were happy to run the flat trails after the weekend. We wandered off the main trail to hit some of the meandering single track, and took a "new to me" trail on the way back. Unfortunately, it dead-ended in a development, but we did get to splash through the mud for a bit, which was fun! We ended up with a solid 7 miles. I'll have to make a point to get back there in a few weeks, as nothing is blooming at all at this point, and historically, I've always really enjoyed the spring wildflowers in this stretch of forest, especially the ladyslippers. Don't want to miss my chance to count them again this year :-)

Sunday, May 1, 2011


We had originally planned to head west this weekend so that Ryan could run 7 Sisters and we could visit with friends who live in Pittsfield. Well, given the broken ribs and all, this didn't seem like a truly wise plan, but I had already taken Saturday off, so we didn't want to waste it. Instead, we decided to head down to see Ryan's parents, and get in a visit with friends in Boston, a visit with Ryan's grandparents, and some running at Bradley Palmer for Ryan and I. It was a gorgeous weekend, and we had lot of fun. Things were really popping down in Georgetown - the azaleas and magnolia trees were in full bloom, the grass was green, tulips were up in force, periwinkle was blooming along the roadside, poison ivy was making an appearance in the brush, and there was pollen on the streets. Ahhh, spring :-)

On Saturday, after a morning spent playing with Sam, we put her down for a nap and drove over to Bradley Palmer for our run. Thanks again to Grammie and Grampie for watching over the baby monitor while we were gone. They really lucked out this time - Sam slept for 3 hours! - so I think they might have had 15 minutes with her before we got home :-) Sam must have been pretty tired out from her week at daycare, and from playing around outside on the nice, wide grassy area behind Irene and Dana's house. Since her new favorite word is "outside," we did a lot of that this weekend!

Anyway, while Sam was sleeping, Ryan and I enjoyed a really nice run at Bradley Palmer. We ran two laps of the GAC Fat Ass course for 12 miles. Although there are certainly other trails to run in the park, the FA loop is a good one, and we already knew the course and distance, which made things a bit easier. The trails were in great shape, the weather was perfect, and it was a lot of fun to get in a trail run with Ryan again. I was really impressed with how well he ran today, given that it was his longest run since Gator Trail, and really only his first "full" week back running. He's on his way back, for sure!

Flora and fauna notes: Saw a male bluebird landing on a tree branch at the entrance to some of the trails near the parking lot. Beautiful! Also, a red-tailed hawk, phoebes, tufted titmice, chickadees, a brown creeper and a few unidentified warblers flitting about.  Lots of big, leafy skunk cabbage in the swamps, a few jack in the pulpits, some patches of rue anemone and a handful of purple violets but not much else blooming yet in the park. We did however, see a ton of trout lilies and periwinkle in full bloom along a few hillsides along the back roads on the way to the park.

Sunday's run was a quick 5-miler on the roads around Georgetown while Sam napped this afternoon. Ryan accused me of picking up the pace each mile, but I wasn't wearing my Garmin, so I can't confirm or deny that statement :-) I did feel good, though, despite a bit of stiffness in the first 1/2 mile. And despite the wind, it was a pretty afternoon to be out, and another nice run with Ryan.

So, all in all, a good running weekend, and fun to see family and friends too!