Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hill Work

Earlier this year when I put together my training plan, I actually penciled in some speed and hill work. Well, I've managed to get in three speed workouts so far, and today was my first attempt at hill work. Yes, that is not a lot but, hey, I'm trying :-) I took Ryan's advice, ran over to Mt. Ararat and did a few "laps" up and down the mountain, using different routes. I didn't get too many loops in with only three miles on tap, but it was a start anyway! And good practice with the Breaker coming up in a few weeks!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fueled By Pizza

When I got home tonight, I was starved, so dinner with Sam it was. Sam has turned into Little Miss Bossy (Ryan's analogy, but a good one!), and all through dinner, she was bossing us around. "Mama, eat this!", "No, Daddo!", "More, Daddo!", "My stool!" (as Gigi was squirreling her way under Sam's little step-stool chair.) It's quite funny actually :-) She certainly is a strong personality! Anyway, we ate up our pizza, and  then, after she went to bed, I headed out for my run. Fueled by pizza! Or perhaps weighed down by it?!

The plan was for 6 miles, and once again, I headed out onto the powerlines. My legs are still feeling a little bit stiff from Sunday's race, but it was a beautiful evening to be out, and overall I felt pretty good. I stopped to eat a few blackberries along the way, scared up two deer munching away in the blueberries bushes and enjoyed running along in the soft evening light.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tap Tap Tap

Sam had some sort of crazy nightmare last night, and she ended up being awake from 9:00 until 10:00. She was so tired, but she kept crying and crying, and practically hyperventilated any time we mentioned going back to bed. All she wanted was for me to hold her, and to not be in her room. So we read a few books, and relaxed in the semi-dark, and finally, she calmed down enough that we went through the final steps of her bedtime routine again and she went back to sleep. Poor little one. The only upside to this whole episode was that once she went back to sleep, she slept until almost 5am, and then went back to sleep until around 6:30. So that was nice! Not that I slept through or anythings. Darn pre-conditioned middle of the night wake-ups! Ah well. In any event, she woke up happy so the whole thing didn't seem to affect her at least.

After I dropped her off at daycare this morning, I figured I had time to squeeze in a 5 mile run. But although it was nice and sunny, and not too warm, I just wasn't feeling it. My legs felt heavy and I felt tired. But I headed out on the powerlines anyway, figuring I'd just see how things went. Soon after I got onto the gravel road heading up to the Mt. Ararat tower, I noticed a group of crows sitting on the high tension power lines, cawing away. I looked up and caught a glimpse of a big red head creeping around the back of the pole. A Pileated Woodpecker! I stopped to watch. The crows cawed, irritated by the intruder, but the woodpecker didn't care. He kept tap tap tapping away, and creeping his way around and up the pole. By the time he reached the top, the crows had flown away, and he sat up there, preening himself and spreading his wings. It was very cool. I've never had the chance to get such a long look at a pileated! I finally had to tear myself away, and keep running.

A few minutes later, I stopped to eat a few ripe blackberries - yum! - so as you can tell, I was really pushing the pace with this run :-) Ha! I ended up getting in 4.75 and just running out of time to do the final loop that would have rounded things out to an even 5.0. Ah well. There is always tomorrow! :-)

Monday, July 25, 2011


Ah, this weather is so much better! Unfortunately, I spent most of the day behind my desk at work, but we had the doors open and a sweet, cool breeze was blowing. I wish I hadn't had to work, but we'll make up for it next week with our four-day Baxter trip! We spent the early morning hours playing, and got in a nice visit with my friend Jess to meet the newest edition to her family - her sixth child! She is truly amazing! I can hardly keep up with one kiddo :-) Ryan and Sam stayed to play for a while after I left for work, and I know Sam had a blast with all the kids.

I couldn't let the day pass without taking advantage of the nice weather, so after Sam went to sleep, I put on my running clothes and went out for a nice easy shuffle on the short 3 mile Highland Green loop. And shuffle I did. Truly. I didn't do any sort of cool down after yesterday's race, and I could tell! Whoa boy! My legs were stiff. Not to mention, pavement is just not as forgiving a surface, and road running just plain hurts the body more! Hopefully after tonight's shake-out run, I'll feel better tomorrow!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

2011 Old Port Half Marathon Race Report

Well, today didn't quite go as planned. The race wasn't a total catastrophe by any means, but I had grand ideas of running 1:40, and at least hoped to beat my half marathon time from 1998. Neither of those happened. I ended up with 1:44:46, just barely squeaking by at under 8:00 pace. Ah well, it was a good experiment, and really, Erik put on a great event, which was very well organized, scenic, and with lots of fun goodies and treats after the race, and I was happy to be part of its inaugural run! Somehow I'm sure this race will only grow in the years to come!

It was in the 70s this morning, but still heavy. And sunny. Definitely better than earlier this week though! I headed down to Old Port by myself around 6:30am, leaving Ryan with a still sleeping Sam. I got myself all organized, and ran the final mile from the State Pier up to the start on the Eastern Prom. Surprisingly, I have never run on the Eastern Prom - there were some really nice views along the way, which I was glad I got to enjoy on my warm-up as I didn't even notice in the last mile of the race :-) I ran into Erin getting ready to run, as well as Blaine, Jeff and Jamie, all three of whom were acting the role of cheering crew today. I missed Mary, Christine and Sara, but I knew they were out there in the crowds somewhere! The first mile was downhill, and well, I went out too fast. 7:15. Oops. I toned it down a notch for mile 2, but I was still going too fast, although I felt pretty comfortable. The course went out toward Mackworth Island and around mile 4, went into Gildsland Farm, doing a 1/2 mile loop on their grounds before popping back out onto  the pavement. Ryan, Sam, Jim and Blaine were cheering along this stretch, which was a great boost! Sam gave me big smiles, but I think she was pretty overwhelmed by all the people! There certainly a lot of us out there.

While out in the fields, I took a gel, and my stomach was not happy with its sticky sweet taste. Things started to go downhill soon after, and my pace slowly but surely slowed as we crossed back over the bridge, and were routed onto the Back Cove loop. I am sure it was a combination of many things, including going out too fast, the heat, the gel and just not having done any long runs at race pace. I had a few pretty sucky miles in this stretch, although I tried to put on a good face when I saw Blaine along the trail's edge:

Running along Back Cove (thanks for the photo, Blaine!)

I managed to pick up the pace in the final two miles, but the damage was done. Lots of people passed me in the final three to four miles, although I did manage to get a few back during miles 12 and 13. Ah well. I can't be too disappointed, as honestly, I haven't really done any 1/2 marathon specific training nor have I ever really known how to pace myself very well for these sort of things :-) Ha. Anyway, I was very happy to see the finish line!! 

After I composed myself a bit, we sat on the edge of the pier, and Sam enjoyed my free ice cream, along with a few of her own snacks :-) 

Post race snacks :-)

After taking in the scene for a while, Jamie headed home, and Jeff joined Ryan, Sam and I, along with my sister Kristen, for a post-race breakfast at Stonyfield Cafe. Their egg and cheese sandwich on flatbread hit the spot! Sam didn't eat any of her pancakes (again!) but did enjoy the watermelon and cantelope on my plate. Sounds like we missed out on some fun in the beer garden at the Pier, but I was more than ready to come home and relax!! Oh wait, I have an almost-2 year old. Forget the relaxing part :-) 

Many thanks again to Erik for a great race, as well as to all the volunteers. And to Ryan for crewing, and Jeff, Jamie and Blaine for cheering!  RESULTS

After Sam's nap, we had a bit of pool time, visited with our neighbors, and had a yummy dinner of turkey burgers, potatoes, salad and corn. Delish! 

Yum! Corn!

And just in case you're wondering, Sam can now say "corn," "Mama, eat it!" and "Gary," our neighbor's cat's name (random, I know!).

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Much Better

Much better today! I awoke to overcast skies and cooler temps, and that made all the difference. Got in a quick three miles, just to loosen up the legs in preparation for tomorrow's Old Port Half. When I signed up for the race, I had envisioned that Ryan would be running the race too, and could never have guessed that we would be in the midst of a massive heat wave. I also had hoped to have gotten in a few more road and more speed work. But no matter.  Tomorrow at 8am, I'll be running my first half in a long, long time. The last time I ran a half marathon was in 1998, the year after I graduated from Bowdoin, when I was young and carefree, could sleep a lot, and was subsisting on a ridiculous and totally uninspired college-graduate diet of yogurt, carrots and rice cakes. Ah, how times have changed! What was I thinking not eating french fries and ice cream?! :-) In any event, I was running, although probably not all that much (and my running log is way too far away to dig up right now), but I did manage to pull off a 1:43:22 at the Maine Half Marathon that year. So, that's my carrot for tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hot Hot Hot

I went out for a run at 7pm tonight. It was 86 degrees. And humid. And hazy. Three miles was more than enough, and if the sweet and juicy raspberries that I stopped to pick and eat along the way hadn't been there, there would have been nothing redeeming about the run.

I realize that most of the rest of the country is in the midst of this heat wave too, and in fact, that there are many other places dealing with heat worse than we are, but when the temperature is still in the high 80s at 7pm, it means something is just not right. Yes, it is summer, but man, this is Maine! It is just not supposed to be that hot! The heat is really doing a number on me, my motivation and my running this week. I really really really hope that, as predicted, temperatures drop to a more reasonable level by Sunday morning!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The schedule called for 6 miles tonight. I just wasn't feeling it. I went out anyway, but after a 1/2 mile, decided I would just do away with the plan and run what felt good. And what felt and sounded good was the short 3 mile loop. After I decided to just go with the flow, I felt much better, and actually even sort of enjoyed my short jaunt. I stopped to eat a few blueberries, and a few raspberries too. I came home with a smile on my face, and hey, I even had a little time to relax tonight! There is value in that too, for sure! The other three miles should be easy to get in tomorrow morning, so I'm not sweating things too much.

Oh, and I realized I have developed a sweet sock line tan. All from running. How awesome is that?! :-)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Speedwork Take #3

Or maybe it is take #4, depending on whether or not you count last weekend's Scuffle race as last week's speed work :-) Otherwise, I missed a week, but hey, any speedwork I do this year is better than the speedwork I've done in the past (and by past speedwork, I mean, no speedwork)!

I didn't get out for today's run until 6:45pm, at which time it was certainly cooler than it was in the middle of the day, but still hot enough to feel and definitely still heavy. I wasn't really feeling like pounding out a workout, but if it was going to happen this week, it needed to happen today. I figured I would give it a go and see what happened. My thought process during the middle three miles vacillated between, "Go go go! Keep up the pace!" and "Oh, forget it. I'm tired. Let's just go for a jog." It definitely wasn't my best tempo run, but it was late, I was tired, it was hot, it was humid, I didn't sleep much last night, blah blah blah. In any event, I got in my "fast" three middle miles in my slowest time on the loop so far, running 7:36; 7:45 and 7:21. Not a super confidence boosting run going into this weekend's Old Port Half Marathon, but I got out and did it, so I'll take it! And now I'm going to bed :-)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Midday Nine

We had a full day yesterday, so full that I didn't even get a run in! Actually, it was just a matter of getting the timing right and beating the heat, and well, I guess I didn't try that hard :-) We met up with my parents, Kristen and Morgan for breakfast at the Stonyfield Cafe. Delicious! Sam and Morgan had fun playing in the little kids area, and the chocolate chip pancakes were yummy.

Train fun

Kisses from Morgan

Cousins :-)

Kristen and Morgan


Then we got a quick tour of Kristen's new condo - very nice! - before heading home to put Sam down for a nap. Typically I would have run during naptime, but it was 92 degrees, and just plain not pleasant out there! I chose to go to the Bowdoin Museum to see the Edward Hopper exhibit with Mom and Dad instead! The exhibit was pretty neat. Not the iconic stark and lonely scenes that I think of as Hopper, but neat plein air studies from his time out on Monhegan, as well as drawings and a few oils of Maine lighthouses. In some of the works, especially those of the lighthouses, you could see glimpses of the style to come.

After Sam's nap, we went out and had some pool time...

Fun in the pool

...followed by pizza at Ricetta's with everyone. By the time we got home, Sam was definitely ready for bed! In fact, she was so tired out she slept in until 8:15 this morning!! Wow. Of course, I could never have anticipated this, and when she woke up briefly at 5:30 and then again 6:00, but went back to sleep, I figured she would be up for good soon enough, so I just padded downstairs to drink a cup of coffee and sit in the quiet with my computer. I should have gone for my run instead!

Ah well, I got out while Sam was taking her nap, heading out around 12:30. It was warm, but not as warm as yesterday, and there was a nice breeze blowing. It didn't seem all that bad. I ran out on the powerlines and ran the route that Scott had showed me back in April. I stopped to pick some blueberries along the way, and had a few wildlife sightings too - lots of birds, a gopher and a big deer who scared me half to death while I was out in the middle of nowhere. He let out a big snort and leaped across the trail, crashing off through the bushes. I felt pretty good, although I was definitely hungry, and finished up with 9 miles in 1:20:31. It's pretty easy to run at a decent pace on these trails, as they are mostly flat and wide, with decent footing. I really thought the heat hadn't affected me too much; however, after Sam woke up, she and I went over to the playground, and there, baking in the sun on the swings, I started to feel a bit woozy. I hung on for a while longer, and then we came home and sat in the A/C, drinking water and eating chips. I felt much better after that :-)

"Heavy!" Sam with a big 'ol bag 'o chips!

All in all, a busy and fun weekend, with at least a little bit of running thrown in too!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Evening Five

I ran the Highland Green loop in reverse tonight, so as not to tempt myself with the possibility of turning off and running the short three mile loop instead of the full five miles. As I ran, I thought about balance and pressure. How do I strike the right balance between nourishing and connecting with a) Sam, b) Ryan, and c) myself, while also doing the other things that need to get done in daily life and which end up taking up too much of the time I'd rather spend on a, b or c, ie: d) work, e) all those pesky things like groceries, laundry, dishes, etc, and oh yes, f) get a little sleep too. This morning Ryan offered to watch Sam while I went out for a run before work, but I declined. He has all day Saturday, every Saturday, to spend with her. And I, I have to go to work. Which means I have a few hours in the morning with her, and I just didn't want to miss out on that. On weekday mornings, I could ask Ryan to drop her off at daycare so that I could get a run in, or run longer, but then I would miss out on my time with her. Tonight I got home at 6:00. She was asleep by 6:45 (it's been a long week and she needed it). That is hard on me. These questions, in different variations, come up over and over and over in my head, and in our conversations. I am trying my hardest to balance things, and to do my best to divy myself and my time between all the things/people that need me. But I am constantly feeling like I am not giving my all to any of them. And most of all, I don't want to shortchange Sam. She already knows Mama runs, and while I want her to know exercise and taking care of oneself is important, and feel proud that Mama is strong and fit and healthy, I don't want her thinking running is more important than she is. Could I just get a few more hours in the day? That would do wonders for my psyche and for all that needs to get done! And why, oh why, before I had Sam, did I always think I didn't have enough time?! I would kill for all that free time now :-)

Within this balancing act swirl the thoughts/pressures I have (totally self-inflicted, of course) about my running. I want to run well. I feel I should run another 50k. A 50 miler. I want to. We've fallen in with a great group of people, of runners, who do amazing things. Who run multiple 100s a year. Who run 50k as a training run. Who run for hours on end. I want to keep up. I want to do that too. But I feel tapped. Tapped energy-wise, time-wise, sleep-wise. And so I stop to think. This year already, I've run a 50k. A 25k. One 6 mile trail race. I'm running a half marathon next weekend! Then two more trail races. I had pondered trying to race a 50k and then doing the Stonecat 50 miler in November. And I could, I know it. But I would need to give up more of my time to running. And as the previous paragraph should attest, I can't quite do that right now. At least without feeling so guilty about it that it would take the fun out of it all. And so, I resolve to look at things a bit differently. Look at what I've done already. Some solid races. I feel good. I'll put my efforts into trying to run fast at the Stonecat Marathon. That will round out to a not-so-shabby racing year. There is always time for another 50k. A 50. I'm thinking 2012 will be good for that :-)

Friday, July 15, 2011

No Rest for the Weary...

"I know I can't slow down, I can't hold back, though you know I wish I could. Oh no, there ain't no rest for the wicked, until we close our eyes for good." -Cage the Elephant, "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked"

This is the song I was singing this morning while I was running. If you just replaced "wicked" with "weary" that would be me. Or as another one of our friend's recently blogged, I'll sleep when I'm dead :-)

Sam should have been sufficiently tired out last night to sleep and sleep and sleep. Or maybe it was that she was so overtired that she couldn't sleep. Or she was overstimulated by her visit with Neenie, Pipi and Morgan last night for a quick visit and dinner. Whatever. She was up every few hours, and then was up three times between 3am and 5am. At that point, I just decided I might as well get up and go run. I was awake. I was tired. What else is new?

It was a beautiful morning. 58 degrees (!!), crisp and cool, with bright blue skies and a nice breeze. Since I was out the door by 5:30, I figured I would run on the golf cart path. There was no way anyone was out playing golf at this hour! The course was covered with dew. A great blue heron flew overhead, silently flapping its large wings. A cute little brown bunny munched on some clover. Unfortunately much of the beauty and the peacefulness was lost on me during the run. I was dragging. I really wanted to be back in bed. I kept thinking "there ain't no rest for the wicked (weary)." But I got in 6 miles, at a decent pace even, and felt better for it (I think!). Now as long as I can manage not to fall asleep at my desk, I'll consider  the day a success!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sam at 21 Months

Sam is really starting to look like a true kid these days. She has little cuts on her knees,and dirt and playdough under her fingernails. Her hair is long enough for a true ponytail, even if it is wispy and thin. She is steady on her feet and runs around everywhere. Her vocabulary has grown immensely in the past month, and she is starting to truly voice her desires (errr...demands :-)). She can count to three, and do her ABCs up to D. She knows all her colors, but can't quite pronounce green and orange. She is getting very good with two and three word sentences. "I don't know" might be one of my favorites, just because she says it in such a cute way :-) I would list out all of her words but it would just go on and on, and I'm sure I would forget some. The newest ones are "tunnel,"  although it comes out "nnul," and "duck." She is pointing out things to us now, even when we don't ask her "what is xyz?", and making her own associations between situations without our help. When we are reading "Five Little Monkeys," and she sees one of the monkeys in a yellow dress, she points to it and says "yellow." When we are reading "Harold and the Purple Crayon," and she sees the moon he's drawn, she says "banana," which just cracks us up :-) Yesterday morning, we were walking out to the car for daycare, and she started pointing excitedly across the parking lot at a maroon car, saying "Pipi! Pipi!," associating the color with my dad's car, which she had been in the past two afternoons. That seems pretty smart to me! When she wants Ronnie to come to her, she will say "Ronnie!" and put out her hand, making a 'come to me' motion, and make the little "pppp" noise that I do when I'm calling him.

We spend a lot of time coloring and playing playdough these days. She is drawing with a bit more focus, making circles and drawing straight lines. She also still lover her books, and it is nice to have her sit in our laps and cuddle and read stories together. But it has to be the exact book she wants to read :-) She is very opinionated these days! Of course, she would spend every second outside, in the pool, in the sandbox, and running around, if we let her. But we won't complain about that one :-)

As always, it is fascinating to watch her change and learn and grow, and to see her personality bloom. She is a unique little being, that's for sure, but we wouldn't want it any other way. I can hardly believe she is nearing 2 years old! She is growing up so quickly. I am constantly aware that one day she may not run so unconditionally into my arms, and shower me with hugs and kisses like she does now. So for now, I will relish in it all, although I could perhaps due without the nighttime wake-ups and the lack of veggie eating :-), and continue to hug her and hold her tight as much as she will let me.

Holding tight to Mama's hand att the water's edge

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

7 At 7

I got out for 7 miles right around 7pm. The skies had lightened after the rain, but there was still a heavy cloud cover overhead. The temperature was cooler than it had been in days, and I didn't even feel the need to bring my handheld. Still, I left rather reluctantly. I was tired and feeling uninspired. But there were miles to be run, so out I went. I headed out on the powerlines to run the dump loop. There were big, unavoidable puddles, some of them over ankle deep, all along the trail. Birds were chirping. I listened to a pair of hawks call back and forth in the clearing off Lover's Lane. The woods got darker and darker as I ran along, and I was glad to pop back out onto the powerlines and into the open at 4.5 miles. I turned right, and headed back home, the sky ahead turning orange and gold as the sun began to set. Amongst the grasses and blueberry bushes, I noted over 20 wood lilies, their deep orange flowers set against the greenery. As I hit the pavement back at the high school, with less than a 1/2 mile to go, I looked up and realized the street lights were on. It doesn't seem right that the days are getting shorter already! Or perhaps, as Valerie suggested, it was just the overcast skies making it seem so dark. I think I like that idea a bit better :-)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Fun

Ryan's schedule is fairly flexible right now, so we decided to take advantage of that and head over to Wolfe's Neck State Park this morning. Wolfe's Neck is a great place, with some nice easy trails through the woods, and lots of spots to get down onto the rocks and to the water. When we told Sam we were getting her dressed in her swim clothes, she must have said "water!" about a gazillion times, over and over and over. {Note to self: Don't tell a toddler you are doing something that you aren't doing immediately! She wanted water, and she wanted it now! :-) Luckily she calmed down and happily read her books in the car, but the second we got to the park, she was back to "water, water water."} The park was nice and quiet at 9am on a Monday morning, and we walked together down to one of the rocky and sandy beaches with a great view out into the bay. There is also a little island right off shore with an osprey nest in the top of one of the tall pine trees. There were at least two babies on the nest, chirping and calling to their mom, who flew in a few times to check on them. High tide this morning was at 8am, but there were still some neat little pools to explore and a few spots between the rocks where Sam could sit in the water. We were surprised the tide went out so quickly, and as the morning progressed, we were able to explore the water a bit more. Sam had a blast! And it was just such a nice morning to be out. Warm and sunny, but cool in the shade of the trees, and nice in the water too. Lots of fun!

Sam at the water's edge

Looking at shells with Daddo

Into the water with Mama

Sam pondering the ocean :-)


Getting a ride with Mama

Sam was tuckered out after the morning, so she took a good nap, during which I got out for my run. It was 83 degrees, and after spending 2 hours in the sun at the beach, not to mention yesterday's race, I was more than willing to be talked out of the 7 miles I had on my schedule. I'll do those one night later this week, and settled for 5 on the powerlines instead. Although it was hot as blazes, I was sweating like crazy, and I raced yesterday, I really didn't feel all that bad. I did have to walk back up the steep hill right after mile 3, something I haven't done for a while, but all in the name of recovery, right?! I stopped for a few blueberries along the way, and enjoyed the sweet smell of the ferns and milkweed. The red berries of the bunchberry plant are now out on display, making a nice contrast to all the green, and I saw my first four wood lilies of the season! There is something about these single lilies that I just love, and seeing them today made me smile. In fact, when I got back inside, Ryan couldn't believe I was smiling! I said I was just happy I was done. Ha!

Once Sam woke up, we went out in the pool for a bit, and had just gotten inside when we got a call from my parents. They are in town helping my sister and brother-in-law out with their move into their new condo (congrats guys!), so they came up with Morgan for an early dinner and some playtime. Sam was soooo excited to see them. It was just adorable! It ended up being a really full day, but lots of fun!

So happy to see Neenie and Pipi!

Hugs from Morgan

Sunday, July 10, 2011

2011 Bradbury Scuffle Race Report

The morning dawned clear and bright, and Sam nicely slept in a bit, which was a welcome change! Ryan took off early to meet Ian and get things set up for the race, and Sam and I hung out until Jessi came over to babysit while we were gone. I managed to get to the park around 8:20 and even found a decent parking spot in the lower lot. For some reason I was feeling a bit discombobulated, and not really in a race mindset. I'm not quite sure why. Sometimes it is just hard to switch from my 'mama' role to race mode :-) I tried to shake that feeling off as I went out for an easy 1 mile warm up before heading across the street to the start. The Bradbury races are always so much fun, because just like at Pineland, so many of our friends are running! There were Trail Monsters everywhere, and it was fun catching up with everyone before and after the race :-)

I made a conscious effort to line up closer to the front, and ended up next to Jim and Julia. I figured I would be in good company, as Julia is one fast runner and Jim and I went back and forth during the Scuffle last year to finish pretty close together, with me eking out the "win" in the end. The race starts off downhill, and it is easy to go fast. But, I decided to just roll with it, and take what the trail was giving me. Just as we turned off the Snowmobile trail onto the single track, Jim put on a bit of a surge and snuck ahead. That was fine with me. He was going at a good pace and I followed along behind him for a while, finally deciding to pass a bit later as we headed down towards the Bat Cave. This put me right behind a young guy in orange, and I trailed him for quite some time before finally passing him too. Then, I was basically alone. How does that happen? It was only a six mile race, and there were 160 of us out there enjoying it! Despite not seeing or hearing anyone behind me for a while, I knew they all couldn't be that far back, so I was running ever so slightly scared. Not the best feeling, but good impetus to keep the pace up!! I passed two more guys, and got passed once along the way, and when we popped out of the woods onto the snowmobile trails, I decided to push as much as I could. I'm normally a bit timid on the downhills, but I didn't want Jim flying by me on them like he did last year! Near the end, just after the Link, I could hear the spectators at that corner cheering for those behind me. D@#*! I picked up the pace as much as I could as I hit the uphill on the Knight Woods trail. I couldn't quite catch the guy in front of me, but at least I didn't get passed right at the end!

I managed to finish in 49:49, a 15 second PR from last year, which I will happily take, and ended up coming in 3rd woman, which was pretty cool. I got to take home a Frontier gift certificate too - yum! Lots of fun, and as always, another awesome Trail Monster race! Thanks to Ian, Ryan and all the volunteers for putting on an excellent event! Also a big congrats to all the Trail Monsters who had great races out there today. It was a stacked field, with a lot of people putting up some great times.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Rise and Shine!

Sam was up early again this morning. I think we were up before 5:30, but maybe it's best not to know :-) While she was all smiles and full of energy, I felt a bit like a zombie, as I didn't get to bed until later than normal last night. She is also full of words these days, adding new ones daily - this week's additions include chair, puddle, top playdoh (pronounced "waydo") and splash - as well as stringing together two and three words to form "sentences." I feel like there is so much going on in her brain that she just can't help but wake up in the night and early morning. She just has so much to do and learn! However, I might add some curtains on top of our black-out shades and see if that allows her to sleep in just a little while longer in the mornings. I could really do with a bit more sleep!

We played and had breakfast, and once Ryan came downstairs around 7:15, I quickly changed and went out for a short run. I got in 3.5 miles. It was muggy and heavy out, but I did get to stop and eat a few more blueberries along the powerlines so that was a treat! This morning's run rounded out my week to a nice even 34 miles. I probably should have done a few more miles this morning to bump up the mileage, but I want to have some energy for the Scuffle tomorrow!! Last year, I ran the race in 50:04. I had a fire lit under me after my DNF at Pineland, I weighed less than I had in years due to breastfeeding, etc, and I was itching to come back strong after Sam's birth. This year, I think I'm in better shape, am likely still around the same weight, and hopefully I can get some sleep tonight so that I can feel fresh and peppy out there! I don't have a firm time goal in mind, but hopefully I can match last year's time at least! We shall see. Regardless, it is bound to be a fun time out on the trails with our Trail Monster friends! :-)

Friday, July 8, 2011


I went for an evening run the other night. The likelihood is that I will need to run a few evening run a week for the next two months. July and August are the busiest months at the gallery, so my schedule has shifted a bit and I'm either working 9:00 to 5:00 or 9:30 to 5:30. Add in the 30 minute commute, and it means I have to be on the road by 8:30 or 9:00. I usually drop Sam off at daycare around 8:00, and often try to cram errands in before work too, so as to free up the evenings and weekends. Not that I should complain! I know most people work a longer day than I do. I could get up and run before Sam wakes up, but lately she's been waking up super early, as in between 5:30 and 6:00. I typically take the morning shift, as I don't get to spend too much time with Sam in the evening once I get home from work, and besides I'm more of a morning person than Ryan. But, despite being a morning person, honestly, getting up at 4:00am to run is just not realistic for me right now! If she was sleeping until 7:00 or even 6:30, I might be able to get a run in, but oh well. I'm sure her schedule will shift again at some point but for now, running on my days off, maybe squeezing in one morning run, and running twice in the evenings is probably how it's going to be going for a while!

So, with that I headed out for my run after Sam went down to sleep, and headed out on the powerlines to get in 5 to 6 miles. I did the Homeplace loop with a bit of a variation, adding in one of the trails Scott Ellis had shown me, and ended up getting in 6 miles on the nose. Great! It was a nice night, and I felt pretty good. The air was filled with the sweet smells of the tall ferns, the budding milkweed and the swamp laurel. The towhees were singing along the way, and best of all, there were ripe blueberries out there too! Lots of them! Hurray! Nothing like going for a run, and being able to stop and eat some fresh, sweet blueberries along the way! Yum!!

And just because...
Snowman and Sparkplug, June 15, 2005 at the ATC headquarters in Harper's Ferry

One of our friends posted that the ATC had put up all the hiker polaroids taken over the years. I decided to check it out and found our photo from 2005. Funny, huh?! Think Ryan has enough hair?!! :-) Life has changed a lot since our hike on the trail in 2005, but I still think of those 4 months, and the subsequent years spent finishing up the trail, often. I hope Sam has the chance to do something similar (if she so desires) when she grows up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thank Goodness for the Breeze!

I managed to get out and run at the hottest time of the day. Again. Am I dumb, or what? I could have run in the morning. Ryan tried to push me out the door. But I was feeling incredibly tired (Sam did not sleep well. Again.) and hungry when I woke up. So instead, we suited up and headed downtown for a yummy extra-day off (daycare is closed today) breakfast. Sam ate an entire pancake - hurray! I didn't drink enough coffee - boo! Then we walked down to the green to see what we could find at the farmer's market. There is a lot to choose from these days! I only had a $20, but we came home with some delicious strawberries, fresh greens, crisp carrots and a bag of cilantro. Yum!

Once Sam went down for her nap, I headed out for my run. The thermometer was reading 83 degrees. I took my handheld, and drained it all, on my 5 mile out-and-back down to the river. The route isn't entirely in the shade, but there is a fair amount of respite from the sun in the woods, and there was a heavenly breeze that made the heat seem bearable. I stopped to throw some water on my arms and dip my hat in the river before turning around. I came home bathed in sweat yet again, but somehow it wasn't as bad as yesterday. Maybe it was that I was out there for 9.5 less miles :-) The post-run bowl of beautifully red, cold, fresh strawberries that tasted like heaven sure helped too!

We had a fun afternoon, setting up the little kiddie pool we bought for Sam last year but never used, and letting her splash in the water and have fun dumping water from one container to the next. She is very serious in these photos, but she did have a great time! She also spent over an hour in the water!

Kiddie pool fun!

Fun with containers 

Hmmm, what to use next?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Hot and Humid (plus some cute Sam photos!)

OK, summer, you've made your point! We know you're here. Simmer down now :-)

I went over to Bradley Palmer this morning to get in a long trail run. I started running at 8:15. My plan was to run 2 laps of the Fat Ass course and then another 2 to 3 miles to get in 14 or 15 for the day. I could tell about 2 minutes after the start that it was not going to be a nice morning for a run. It was sunny, hot and humid. The deer flies were buzzing. The mosquitos were out. The poison ivy was rampant. The grass was tall and itchy. On the plus side, I did have the trails to myself though. Guess everyone else was inside enjoying the A/C! Ryan was planning on bringing his parents and Sam over to walk around for a bit while I ran. I called him 3 miles into the run, and told him not to come. I think I probably screamed at him, saying " It's terrible out!" I was bathed in sweat. And I still had a lot of miles to go. I was not exactly in a happy place. Then I turned onto the single track. It was crawling with poison ivy. I went about 5 feet and turned around. So much for my plan. Ah well, I took a promising looking single track trail right across the way that headed down toward the river. The trail ran though a pine forest. There was no poison ivy. A breeze kicked up. The river was lovely looking, with some pretty water lilies. I spotted a huge Great Blue Heron grooming himself on a downed tree in the reeds.  OK, I had calmed down a bit and was feeling a bit better.The trail wandered along the river and popped me back out near the park entrance. I ran back to the car, with the Garmin showing 5 miles.

Hmmm. What to do? What to do? I decided to try following the FA course backwards, and see if I could bypass the singletrack to make a nice loop. Along the way, I continued on a portion of trail I had not taken before. It was nice. I saw a cardinal pair, and a few catbirds. A little garter snake slithered across the trail to hide in the underbrush. The trail was lined with jewelweed. I stopped in an open area where a little breeze was blowing and rubbed a few big stalks on my legs, just in case. The last thing I needed was a case of poison ivy! The trail ended at a road so I turned around, and continued along the FA course.

I ran by the single track exit, and popped right back out along the course only a 1/4 mile or so from the turn into the single track. Great, I knew where I was! Being a creature of habit, I decided to run the river trail again. This time when I got back to the car, the Garmin was reading 10.44 miles. OK, still a few more miles to go. I can do it. I headed back out onto the pavement and explored a few side trails. I think the heat finally caught up to me around mile 13 and I was ready to be done. I got back to the car at 14.5 miles, with the time reading 2:12:38, and called it good. The sweat was literally dripping down my legs. I was soaked. Gotta love these summertime runs!

And now for some cute Sam pictures from the weekend!

 Watching Elmo with Auntie Meg and Uncle Chris

 Playdough fun with Auntie Meg

 Having fun with a musical push toy!

Looking cute :-)

 Pink from head to toe! :-)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Georgetown Five

We're down visiting with Ryan's family today, so I hit the roads around their place for my run. I headed out around 11:15. It ended up being what was likely the worst time of the day to run. It was sunny, hot, heavy and humid out. I was sweating buckets after 2 minutes. And with that, I just decided I might as well kick up the pace in an effort to get the run over with faster. Why prolong the agony? I ran a nice 5 mile loop with a big hill right after the 2 mile mark. Phew, it was tiring. The sun was beating down on me. No one was out in their yards. The roadside was practically brimming over with poison ivy. Makes me itch just thinking about it! I did see a few guinea hens rooting through someone's yard. Boy, they are funny looking creatures :-) I finished up in 39:30. I may regret that tomorrow during my planned 15 at Bradley Palmer, but it was nice to get back into the A/C sooner rather than later!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Long Day

I didn't sleep well last night. Maybe it was last night's run. Who knows. In any event, I didn't feel rested when I woke up, and I knew it was going to be a long day. I did get out for a 5 mile run after dropping Sam off at daycare though. I felt a bit sluggish, like I had run just over 12 hours before. Oh wait, I had :-) Anyway, it was good to shake the legs out. I ran down to the river, scaring up a grouse along the Heath trail and enjoying the babbling of the water, running low now in the riverbed. I came home, took a quick shower and headed up to work, where we spent a crazy day hanging a new show. The place looks great, but I was super happy to get things wrapped up, and be able to head home with just enough time to give Sam her bath and put her to bed. Of course, the second I walked in the door, she started bawling. As if she had just realized, 'Oh yeah, Mama hasn't been here all of this time! She's here now. Hurray! But it means she was gone before. Boo!' Poor, silly, tired little girl :-)