Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I got out for a short and creaky 3 miles this morning before I headed to work. Ideally, I would have done another 2 miles, but I just plain ran out of time. The air was crisp and the sky was blue, and it sure was feeling like fall out there! Gotta love it!


Favorite quote from the weekend with Sam:

Sam (after tripping on the edge of the alphabet mat in the living room): I tumble

Me (noting that there was no crying, and all was OK): Did you take a tumble? But you're OK, right? You're tough!

Sam (getting right back up): I tuff! :-)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Twenty in the Wake of Irene

We are feeling very lucky here this morning. While we did have a fair amount of wind, and some rain yesterday, we never lost power and definitely escaped Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene unscathed, especially compared to people in central ME, NH and VT, who are currently experiencing some major flooding. We spent yesterday inside, enjoying a big breakfast and keeping Sam entertained. She decided that it would be a good day to not nap, so there wasn't much downtime, and neither of us went out for a run, but we all survived :-)

As there was no running yesterday, it meant that I needed to get in my long run today. Ryan graciously agreed to watch Sam while I went out. I had plans for 20 miles. I wasn't sure what would greet me on the trails, so although I had a general route in mind, I knew I would have to be flexible. I headed out a little before 8am, with a heavy heart, as Sam didn't want me to go. She kept saying "No, Mama, no." :-( It is hard to have to schedule my long runs during the times when I am home with her, but as I don't have a flexible schedule like Ryan and so can't do long runs during the work week, there is no way around it. I know she was totally fine once I left, but it made it a bit hard to leave. However, once I was out the door, I was happy to be out. It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, there wasn't any humidity in the air, and there was a gentle breeze blowing. Made it hard to believe that a tropical storm had passed through yesterday!

I ran the Mt. Ararat trails over to Highland Green, noted that there were no cars in the golf course parking lot, and so headed out onto the cart paths to run the course. I veered off at Hole #5 to run the Heath loop before continuing on the cart path, just to add in a bit more mileage. I skipped the last hole, and instead, headed up to the Quarry and out onto the trails. The Garmin was reading 5 miles at this point. To my surprise, the trails weren't really wet at all, aside from the few typically swampy spots. However, they were definitely damp and slippery, or greasy as Ryan would say,  and the many bog bridges ranged from simply slippery to downright treacherous. The river flowed along peacefully, and although slightly high along the banks, hadn't overflowed at all. I had the woods to myself, and enjoyed the fact that someone had been out trimming back the overgrowth along a lot of the trails, making most of the trails easily passable and much less itchy! Although my pace certainly slowed as I wandered along the twisty, turny Cathance trails, I was feeling good as I ran over Mt. Ararat and back to the powerlines. The Garmin was reading 12 miles, and before I crossed the Highland Green Road, I stopped in the shade to have a snack and call Ryan and see how things were going. Things were going well, so I told him my plans and headed on, happy to know Sam was enjoying her morning with Daddo :-)

I ran the extended dump loop to get in the additional 8 miles. The powerline trails were in good shape, although there were a lot of deep puddles to run through or sneak around, and although I was beginning to tire, I still was feeling pretty happy mentally. I started to lag a bit in the last few miles, and noticed right near the end that my fingers were feeling a little tingly, but not swollen?! Don't know if I needed more water or less water, or if I was just holding my hands a weird angle? Anyway, once I got home, had some water, some Gatorade, some grapes and a few chips, and relaxed for a few minutes, they were fine. I guess this whole long run thing is a constant experiment, and I'm still trying to figure out what works for me. I ended up downing about 40 oz of Nuun during the 3:20 that I was out there, along with taking in one gel, 1/2 an Odwalla bar, 1/2 a Honey Stinger, and 1 1/2 packs of Shot Blocks. My stomach seemed to handle it all pretty well, which is always a good thing, but maybe the balance of water/salt/etc was off a bit and that contributed to the tingling? If anyone has any ideas, I'd be happy to hear them. And if not, who knows. Anyway, I was very happy to be done, and to have gotten in the 20 miles without too much trouble. 3:20 is, however, a long time to be out running by yourself, I will say that!

I still haven't signed up for the Pisgah 50k, and although I'm feeling a bit trepidatious about the race, I feel a bit better about it after today's run. Yes, it would probably be better to be going into the race with a bit more mileage under my belt, but hey, such is life. It will be hilly. And it will be painful. I will likely be out there for a while. But I can't let the fall pass without getting in a long race! So, Pisgah it is :-) Off to fill out that registration form! How's that for a turn-around in three sentences :-)

Saturday, August 27, 2011


If yesterday was foggy, today was soupy. I headed out around 7:30 for a run, straight out into heavy, oppressive low-lying pea soup conditions. Blech. Combine the conditions with my lingering stuffiness, and I found it hard to breathe. I ended up running a version of our regular Highland Green loop, with a little lollypop on the Cathance trails down to the river and around the vernal pool thrown in the middle. The trails were a nice change of pace, and it appears they've been out brushing back the overgrowth, so once the hurricane has passed, I'm definitely going to plan to hit those trails again! They really are fun to run on, as long as they aren't totally overgrown. Got in 5.5, bringing the weekly total to 35 even. Not the 40 I was hoping for, but not all that bad, considering.

I had planned on 20 for tomorrow, but hmmm... there's this hurricane thing headed our way... so I don't know that any running is going to happen tomorrow. Hopefully the storm will pass through quickly, and I'll be able to get out on Monday instead.

Hoping everyone in Irene's path stays safe this weekend!

Friday, August 26, 2011


I've been in a fog the past few days. A fog induced by a silly summer cold. Which led to me not running Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Well, honestly, I probably would have only been able to run one of those days anyway, even if I hadn't had a runny nose and stuffed up ears, as Ryan went down to NJ Monday to help his sister, Meghan, out after her hip surgery, and didn't get back until last night. Is he a good brother, or what?! :-) This meant that I was on single-parenting duty for a few days, and while Sam was really good while Ryan was gone, I just didn't have much, if any, time to run, as I had to get her to daycare on time in the morning so I could get to work early so I could leave early to pick her up. Oh, and squeeze a few necessary household chores in there too. And get to bed early so I could try to get over this cold. Phew. It was a bit of a whirlwind there.

Anyway, Ryan made it back safe and sound last night, and all of us, cats included, were happy to see him. I was determined to get a run in this morning, as the plan had been for this to be a "high mileage" week for me. And by high mileage, I mean 40 miles. Due to missing that one mid-week run, there is no way 40 is going to happen, but I figured if I got in 6 today and 6 tomorrow, I'd bump my mileage up over 35, and I would be satisfied. So, I dragged Ryan out of bed early at 6:15 this morning, so that he could take over at the breakfast table, where Sam and I had been eating toast and reading her (current) favorite book, "The Art Lesson." She is obsessed with this book, and has very particular ideas about finding certain images in the book and reading certain pages. Poor Ryan did not appear to be up to the challenge of such an energetic toddler at such an early hour of the morning, but I headed out anyway :-)

I headed toward the powerlines, surprised to find that I was running into a thick and low fog, cutting visibility down to almost nothing. The grasses and brush were shroaded in dew, and the spider webs looked like delicate works of art, strung out between the strands of grass and admist the bushes. I actually felt pretty good running, which was a nice surprise, and I got in the 6 miles in just under 54 minutes.I came home to find Ryan and Sam sitting on the couch, reading "Good Night Moon."

Ryan said Sam seems older, even after just being away for three days, and it is amazing how she is slowly but surely becoming more of a kid and not a baby. Her phrases are expanding and lengthening, and just the other day, she said "Mama, 'mere please now" - her first four word sentence - and "I like it!" She is also beginning to really remember certain images in books, or the gestures I make to go along with particular lines, like the gestures/sounds we've been making for the swirling wind in "The Foolish Tortoise," and has fun finding things as we read along, like the mittens in "Good Night Moon" or the turtles (she can say, turtle! Who knew?!) in "The Art Lesson." Anyway, as always, it is fun to watch her learn and grow, and I love to see that she is finding such joy in books :-) Gotta keep the dorky Raymond genes going!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Morning Seven

As I sit here relaxing in a quiet house, with Sam sleeping and Ryan out running, having gotten dinner ready for tonight and a few chores done too, I realize I should have waited until now to run! It is perfect out there. Cooler with a wonderful breeze. And it just seems less humid. I must have gotten the last of the humidity this morning during my run, but oh well! I won't complain as long as it feels better out there now! The humidity this summer has been brutal, and I am pining for the crisp, cool fall days I know are on their way.

I hit the powerlines around 7:30 this morning to run the 7 mile "dump loop." I had entertained thoughts of running on the Cathance trails, but honestly, I was feeling a bit low on energy this morning, and wasn't sure I was up for negotiating all the twists and turns, and the wet and slippery rocks and roots after last night's rain. The powerlines are sandy and slow going in spots, but they don't take as much mental energy. I kept the pace pretty mellow (or perhaps the pace found me!), and just enjoyed the morning. It was humid and warm in the sun, but there were plenty of puddles to stomp through to cool me down :-) Some of them must be there pretty much all season long, as I saw more than a few little frogs hiding in the muddy waters along the way. With the rain we've had recently, there are also a lot of mushrooms out there - white, brown, yellow, red and even a few purple - along with some Indian Pipe sprouting up through the leaves. The bunchberries are a brilliant red, and the asters are growing like weeds (well, perhaps they are!). I was surprised to see that some of the white asters were literally my size! Wow. Mix in some goldenrod, Queen Anne's lace, purple asters, and the blushing pink of the berries on the bushes, and things are looking pretty nice out there!

Sam and Ryan were reading books on the couch when I got home, and Sam took one look at my mud-covered legs, and said "Mama tumble." Ha! I didn't, but I guess with all the mud from my puddle jumping it must have looked that way :-)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bradbury Wander

I met up with Dora, Blaine, Erin and another guy who I didn't know this morning at Bradbury for a long run. We all headed out onto the Bruiser, but Blaine and other fast guy quickly got ahead, and Erin was doing her own modified version of the course, leaving Dora and I on our own. The miles flew by as we wandered through the woods, chatting about this, that and everything in between. I was really glad to have her keep me company on the east side trails. She was the perfect running partner, easy to talk with, fun, laidback, and willing to let me take the lead on the pace. We ended up running the Bruiser course up until we hit the Link Trail, where we banged a right and headed back to the parking lot. The Garmin was reading 9.0 just before we crossed the street, where Dora stopped for the day and I took a few gulps of Gatorade at the car before heading on. By then, the fog that I had driven through getting to the park had long since burned off, leaving bright skies and warmer temps. It was also incredibly humid, and I was soaked. I hadn't thought to bring another shirt, so I just prayed I wouldn't chafe too much in the next miles!

I was wearing my Nathan vest, filled with Nuun, a new twist in the ongoing experiment that is hydration on the trail. I haven't been using HEED at all this summer, having found that I quickly sour on the sticky sweet taste. And Gatorade, although a perennial favorite, seems to just have too much sugar for me once I'm out there for longer than an hour or so. I was unsure whether I would like the Nuun, as it has a bit of a fizz to it, but surprisingly I found I liked it. It wasn't too sweet. It wasn't sticky. It had some flavor but not a lot. It went down easily. I'll try it again next weekend, but I think I may have found a new option for the long run! Cool.

The plan for the second half of my run was to do one lap of the Breaker and then another partial loop, with the route depending on how I was feeling and how the mileage was adding up. I was sad to part with Dora, but was feeling good as I headed out the Boundary trail. I was definitely going slower than during last weekend's race, but I don't think I walked any more than I did while racing. By the time I was heading up the Summit Trail, there were a fair number of people out on the trails, and even though I walked up the steep trail, I passed a few families along the way. At the summit, there was a blessed breeze, but I only stopped for a few seconds to catch my breath before continuing down the Tote Road. The new bridge the Boy Scouts were working on last weekend was complete and looked good. I opted to take the Terrace Trail down, as I'm not a huge fan of the Switchback trail. When I got to the parking lot and saw the yellow car, I knew Sam and Ryan had arrived. I stopped quickly at the bathroom, and (TMI alert!) realized I had gotten my period, for which I was totally unprepared. Oh well, not much to do but continue on and hope for the best. I figured Ryan and Sam must be down at the playground, so I headed that way. Hmmm. Not there. Back to the car for a swig of Gatorade and a call to Ryan on the cellphone. They were out on the Boundary trail looking for me. The Garmin was reading 13.65 as I headed back out to find them. I was definitely feeling a bit wilted :-), and well, my stomach wasn't feeling super great, but all in all, I thought I was doing pretty well.

Sam was cheering for me as I got close, and seemed to be having a blast in the baby backpack. It was a nice boost to see them out on the trail, but after a few minutes, it was time to start running again. The plan was to continue on the Boundary Trail but instead of turning to go down the South Ridge trail, take a left and go up to the summit instead. Ryan and Sam were there to meet me, and we stopped to chat for a few minutes more. They opted to take the quick route down, while I took the Terrace Trail down once again. I ended up with 16.5 miles in just under 3 hours. Not the quickest 16 miles I've ever run, but I felt like it was a solid effort. I also finished literally soaked, and Sam did not want any kisses until I had stopped sweating and changed my clothes :-) We sat at one of the picnic tables in the shade, enjoying the breeze and a snack before heading home.

Unfortunately Sam fell asleep about 5 minutes from home, and refused to continue her nap once we got her in the door, meaning all hope for a quiet afternoon respite was lost. What a little stinker! :-) Ah well. Instead, we headed to the mall so Ryan could pick up some software for his computer. You know, the all-American past time of shopping? Aie. Scary! But Sam had a blast walking around, getting out some energy as we window shopped. As long as she doesn't get used to it!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Morning Run

Although I had the best intentions of running bright and early before Sam woke up, it didn't happen. Surprise surprise :-) But honestly, Ryan should thank me. Otherwise he would have been up before 5:30am with Sam while I was out running! Instead, he slept while Sam and I got up for the day, and I ended up heading out for my run around 7:15. I decided to just run Highland Green, with a little added on to get my mileage to an even number for the week. The run was uneventful, but I did have a few good animal sightings - a brown hare hopped (bunny 'op 'op 'op!!) across my path near the ecology center, and I saw a Hairy Woodpecker pecking away at a dead tree in a marshy area plus a few Cedar Waxwings flitting over the powerlines. I felt pretty good, and although I was only out for 5.25 miles, I ended the run bathed in sweat - yet another humid August day. I am definitely looking forward to the crisp autumn days ahead!

Sam and Ryan surprised me up at work late in the afternoon, and Sam had fun entertaining the customers and racing around up and down the driveway out back before we headed across the street to Sarah's for pizza. It was a nice treat to be able to spend a little extra time with both of them on a Saturday!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cart Path Run

Decided I'd chance it tonight and run the cart paths at Highland Green, figuring odds were good that I wouldn't see anyone out so close to sunset on the course. I headed out at 7:00pm on the nose, noting that although there was a good breeze, the air was feeling much warmer and heavier than last night. For quite a while it was just me out there. Oh, well, me and the little porcupine I scared along hole #4. I saw him digging away in the grasses, and said, "Hi porcupine."Why? Well, because I'm dorky like that :-) Anyway, I didn't expect any sort of response, and was more than surprised when he jumped. Literally. Luckily, he settled right back down to his snack in the grass. I later found out that I'd have needed to touch him to have him release any of his quills (thanks Val!), but at the time, I was more than happy to be a few feet away from him!

I did end up coming upon two twosomes playing on holes #8 and #9, out enjoying the beautiful summer evening just like I was, I guess! Ooops. They didn't seem to mind though, and I sped past as quickly as I could. Although I had started the run feeling less than spry, I finished things off at a good clip and was happy to get in another 6 evening miles.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Racing the Sun

Tonight I raced the sun to see who would get home first. I both won and lost. If we're talking about true sunset, which was at 7:41 today (according to wunderground.com), I lost. I didn't walk in the door until right at 8:00. But if we're talking civil twilight, which was at 8:12, I won, if only by a smidge and a bit of dim light still visible in the sky. Regardless, we are losing daylight fast here these days, and there aren't going to be too many more chance for an evening run done without a headlamp!

I headed out shortly after 7pm, my shadow long and straight in front of me as I ran down the powerlines away from the setting sun. There was a slight breeze, and while the air wasn't quite crisp, but it did hold hints of autumn. There were pockets in the dips along the trail that felt refreshingly cool. The brush along the trail hummed and buzzed with insects, and sparrows fluttered in and out. I noted the slim profile of a hawk, sitting on the powerlines, looking down intently into the grasses, hoping for a meal. The blackberries and blueberries, still abundant, were at peak sweetness, and despite the race against the sun, I couldn't help but stop for a few handfuls along the way. Out in the open, the evening light put forth a soft, golden glow, but the woods were darkening, the light flattening out the terrain ahead. On the return trip, with two miles to go, it was already night as I ran up the switchback through the woods to Rt. 24, but when I popped out atop the hill, I got a glimpse of the sunset ahead, ribbons of clouds backlit along the horizon, the sky shifting from blue to purple to pink and gold.

I finished up with 6 miles and a smile on my face. What a nice night to be out running!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Run with Friends

I tend to do most of my running alone, simply due to time and schedule constraints. And I'm OK with that. I like to run alone, listening to the birds and enjoying the woods along the way. It gives me time to think things through, process ideas, and de-stress. However, it is always fun to run with friends! So, today, I met up with Valerie, Mindy and Dora for a run on the Fore River Sanctuary trails. I had never run there before; in fact, I don't think I've really run on any of the Portland trails except Eastern Prom and Bay Back, again due to time and scheduling. Which made this run even more of a treat. New trails! Time with friends! Hurray :-) We met at 11:30 at the entrance on Frost Street, and Valerie led us out onto the trails, which meandered around and through some pretty tidal marshes, up into the woods and by a great waterfall. It was a surprise to me to realize that amidst all the residential and commercial spaces right in Portland, there are some great trails. Yes, we didn't run long - getting in exactly 4.0 miles with a bit of meandering here and there - but still, it's always great to see trails tucked away amidst civilization. We kept the pace easy, making it the perfect recovery run after the Breaker. And it was fun to catch up as we ran along. The conversation continued after the run at Saigon, a funky little Vietnamese restaurant that Mindy recommended. It was just a tiny place, where the hostess was dressed to the nines, tacky art was on the walls and Christmas carols (Silent Night to be exact) played in the background, but the food was crisp and fresh and delicious. Oh, and spicy too!

I wish that these mid-week, mid-day runs could be the norm, instead of the exception, but I'm so glad it worked out today! Thanks ladies :-) And thanks again to my parents for watching Sam so I could go have a bit of fun.

An August Weekend

My parents have been in town this weekend, and you know what that means? Photos! :-)

Oh hi there!

Fun at the park

Morgan splashes in the wading pool at Deering Oaks

Fun with Bubbles after the Breaker

Sam tries out the shallow end of the wading pool

Tummy :-)

Farmer's Market blueberries

I think I'll have a few more...

Hmmm.... are there more blueberries in here?

Hi Neenie!

Shucking corn with Pip

I love corn!

Double fisting!

Playground fun

In the tunnel

On the slide


With Neenie at Bradbury

On the slide at Bradbury

Following in cousin Morgan's footsteps


Sunday, August 14, 2011

2011 Bradbury Mountain Breaker Race Report

I honestly wasn't sure what today's race held for me, given that I've been feeling pretty exhausted and in some sort of a little slump the past few weeks. But I spent a little time last night and this morning thinking over and over that I was going to run strong and have a good race, and what do you know? I did!

Sam and I met my parents, Kristen and Morgan at Bradbury around 8:30, and they took over Sam duties so that I could get in a trip to the bathroom and a quick mile warm-up. Then before I knew it, it was time to head to the start. As I neared the start, I noticed that Ryan was dressed to run and had a number on his singlet. That sneaky guy! Of course, after three months off and little training, he went out and had a great race. I guess he's well on his way back :-)

Anyway, once again, I lined up right near Julia and Jim, as I knew the three of us would be duking it out along the way. Once Ian gave the command, the group took off at a good clip. Jim snuck ahead, and Julia settled in somewhere behind me. I ran the first mile a bit fast, but knew I didn't want to get stuck behind too many people once we got out onto the Boundary trail. I settled into a good pace and felt good. Going down the South Ridge trail, Nate Pike passed me, but it's no secret that I'm not that great on technical downhills so I certainly lost ground to a fair number of people on the descent. As we ran up to the playground, I could hear Morgan and Kristen cheering, and got a nice boost seeing Sam in my mom's arms smiling at me.

Up up up!

As I passed the aid station, someone called out "second female!" Really?! Me?! Wow. Uh oh, now I felt a bit of pressure! I walked about 9/10ths of the Summit trail, but really, that was the plan. It's just too steep for me to run. Towards the top, my short little strides actually allowed me to overtake Nate Pike again, but he blew by me a little ways down the Tote Road. Oh well. I kept up a good pace, wanting to take advantage of this stretch of trail, but I didn't want to push it so much I didn't have anything left for lap #2! Somewhere along the Northern Loop, headed back up to the summit, I passed Jim, but he stuck with me, and, of course, passed me back about 1/2 way down the Switchback trail. Again, no surprise there!

I was carrying my handheld, meaning I didn't need to stop at the aid station in the start/finish area, and so I passed Jim once again. We stuck together for a bit, and he was keeping tabs of Julia, not far behind us, until he faded back just a bit, and I was alone. I feared they would both catch me as I ran down South Ridge for the second time around, but somehow I stayed just far enough ahead. Another round of cheering at the playground followed by the slow grind to the Summit. I didn't quite rebound into running as quickly once I hit the top this time around, but I knew second place was mine to lose now, so I told myself it was only two miles, and I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me down and around the Tote Road. I passed a few guys along the way, and just kept the momentum going back up to the Terrace Trail. I told Ryan he wouldn't have recognized me the way I flew (in my mind anyway!) down the Terrace Trail, running scared, not wanting to be passed in the last stretch. I ran for all I was worth back to the finish area, and managed to eke out a 13 second PR, finishing in 1:23:51, and good enough for second female. Cool! Who would have thought it?! Thanks to Jim and Julia for keeping me running scared, and giving me the push I needed to keep the pace up!!

Many thanks, as usual, to Ian, Ryan and all the volunteers for once again putting on an awesome race!  That is one tough course, but it always great to race with friends! And of course, we couldn't have done it without my parents for watching Sam. Thank you! Sam, needless to say, had a great time playing while we were racing!


Sam and Neenie


Following cousin Morgan down the slide


Saturday, August 13, 2011


Things were a bit chaotic this morning from 6:30 am when Sam woke up until 7:30 am when Ryan scooted out the door to meet up with Ian to mark the Breaker course. In between, I got out for a quick 3 mile run, got showered, Ryan got breakfast made for himself and Sam, clothes were changed, hats put on, and all sorts of other stuff. A while later, Sam and I drove south to meet up with my mom and dad, who were kind enough to agree to hang out with Sam for the morning while I worked and Ryan ran/course marked. Sam was so excited to see them, and was perhaps equally excited to know that she was going to be able to see Bobby, my sister's cat :-)

Speaking of cats, Gigi got lots of hugs this morning from Sam. Sam lays her head on Gigi's body, listening to her purr, over and over, until Gigi can't take it any more and either moves away or gives Sam a little swat or light nip. This morning's episode ended with a small nip to the arm, after Sam moved from hugging to tugging. Oh well. The hugs were good at least!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Tumble

It felt a bit like a Saturday this morning, as we didn't have to rush off to daycare, and I was able to get in a bit of a longer run this morning than I normally could otherwise. I headed out around 7:20 down the powerlines. The sky was blue, the thermometer was only reading 59 degrees (!!) when I left the house and the air had that ever-so-slight edge of crispness to it that makes me happy. I ran along enjoying all the colors along the trail, from the blue of the remaining blueberries to the deep dark purples of the blackberries, the yellow of the goldenrod and the light purple of the asters to the airy Queen Anne's lace, the deep pink thistle to the white berries on the large bushes that will gradually turn a rosy pink and then a deep blacky purple in late fall. I followed a doe and a fawn for a while along the trail, the two of them bounding along gracefully away from me, until they finally veered off into the deep foliage. I also saw an Indigo Bunting, singing atop a bush in a clearing just past Rt. 24. Cool!

I definitely felt better than I did earlier this week, but still feel I am battling a sort of deep-seated exhaustion. I don't think I'm running too much - I'll likely only hit 32 miles this week - but I am sure that life's stresses and a bit of sleep deprivation are taking a toll. Ah well, running is a good answer to stress, and who needs sleep, anyway?! :-)

Right around mile 5, as I was pondering the world around me on a flat stretch of sandy trail, my foot caught the edge of a root and I went down. Hard. I left two huge divots from my knees in the sand, and rolled onto my back. I lay there stunned for a minute, and stood up, covered in sand, to brush off my hands and continue on the final mile to home. When I came in the door, Sam said "Oh man! Mama tumu (tumble)!" :-)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hat and Mat

I snuck in a quick 3 mile run this morning after dropping Sam off at daycare and getting up to work on time. I was in such a rush to get out the door that I didn't even run back upstairs to get my hat. I used to always run without a hat, but now I can't imagine why! The sweat was dripping right down into my eyes this morning, and the deerflies were buzzing right at my scalp. And while Ryan may laugh at how my blue hat coordinates with my blue shirts and blue Inov-8s, I much prefer to look the coordinated dorky runner than be blinded by my own sweat or bit in the head by deerflies. Back to the hat tomorrow!

Yesterday, Sam slept for the first time on a mat on the floor at daycare instead of in the pack n' play, and took a decent nap too. Hurray! Of course, when Ryan commented on this, Miss Sherry said, with a smile on her face, "I think it's just a fluke!" Gotta love that they know our child as well as we do :-) I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but Ryan is convinced there won't be a nap at all today. We shall see.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sam at 22 Months: Fun with Words

Last night, in preparation for my parent's visit this weekend, during which they are going to be watching Sam for us on Friday because daycare is closed, I wrote them an email, trying to explain to them all the funny little things Sam is saying these days. Her vocabulary has expanded immensely in the past month, and it is so much fun to listen to her talk.Of course, she has her own little language to a certain extent, so a "Sam dictionary" is necessary for some things!

Here are a few of the cute phrases she is saying these days:

a-whaattee?! = what is it? (Said over and over and over to everything in sight :-))

it tol = it's cold! (Said while clenching her little fists up and scrunching up her face. Adorable!)

it bit = it fits

tuk voom = truck vroom!

eepy = sleepy (ie. "mama sleepy" when seeing me yawn)

rayrees (or something of that ilk) = raisins

baby atch = baby watch (ie. when we are eating, baby (her lovey) will "sit" on the table and watch us eat, so as not to get dirty/wet)

mama eat ee! = mama eat it!

mere = come here (ie. mama mere!)

miny or mindy = windy

after a sneeze, she will say "bess you"

tovuh = yogurt (ie. if you ask her if she wants yogurt to eat, she will probably say "two tovuh" meaning she would like two yogurts. We try to discourage this if we can, and just give her one yogurt! Of course, denied two yogurts, she usually will ask for two spoons instead)

pretty = either hairties or blankets (ie. "mama blue pretty" means mama's blue hairtie, but "two pretties" means she wants two blankies for nap time.)

ronnie bear =  This is as it sounds, and means she sees the teddy bear from her crib that Ronnie likes to steal! :-)

mama unin! yeah mama! = "Mama is going running! Yeah mama!" This is just incredibly adorable to hear when I am headed out the door for a run. Makes me smile every time :-)

She is like a little sponge, and often surprises us by parroting back something we just said. This will certainly come back to haunt us soon, I am sure, but in the meantime, she continues to astound us with her language.

I got in a quick 3 miler this morning. I was tired. The run was uneventful. But I got out there, and am hoping to feel better after a rest day tomorrow. Oh yeah, and maybe little miss vocabulary will let me sleep tonight too! That would help :-)

Monday, August 8, 2011

12 Miles at Bradbury

Ryan and I decided to take advantage of the fact that Sam was going into daycare today (because the center is closed on Friday, we switched her day off this week), and go for a run at Bradbury together! Hurray! This hasn't happened in ages. I had planned to get in a longish run of around 16 miles, so Ryan was going to tag along for 8 to 10 miles and get in a long run himself. Although I was looking forward to running with Ryan, I was feeling exhausted before we even started. I didn't have any energy going in, and I never found my mojo along the way. I had really been hoping for a solid run that would help me feel like signing up for Pisgah was a good idea. Instead, I suffered through 12 soggy, humid, heavy miles, at a pace that got slower and slower, and more painful and more painful, as the miles went on. Ryan, ever the good hubby and running partner, stuck with me, and helped keep me going, but by the final few miles he took off on his own, and I just slogged on through the remaining steps, waiting for the run to be over. On top of feeling sleep deprived right from the get-go, the humidity just seemed to suck the life out of me today. It certainly wasn't one of my best days out on the trail, and definitely wasn't the run I was hoping for, to say the least.

We started off by running the Bruiser, minus the Island and O trails. My Garmin was reading around 8.25 miles when we got back to the parking lot, and while part of me wanted to stop right there, I also wanted to at least get in a double digit run. Ryan suggested running the Squall course, which goes on some fun singletrack we don't run very often before looping around on the Boundary trail. I added on a quarter mile to round the mileage at the end, unwilling to admit defeat before I saw 12.0 on the Garmin. It wasn't pretty, but I was out on my feet for 2:16:00, and I suppose that counts for something. Hoping for a bit more umph tomorrow!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rainy Sunday

We started the day off with breakfast at our favorite breakfast spot, Broadway Deli. It seemed a good thing to do on a rainy Sunday, and who doesn't like pancakes?! (Or in Ryan's case, eggs.) Our next stop was Petco, during which Sam was a pro at driving the small shopping cart around, and had a blast loading her cart up full of all sorts of cat food for Ronnie and Gigi. I am not sure how much food she thought they needed! :-) Needless to say, I put a lot of those cans back!

Fun shopping

During Sam's nap, I headed out for my run in what was a light mist. Pretty much as soon as I left the complex, the light mist turned to a downpour. Well, that slightly damp shirt I started out in didn't matter much after a few minutes, at least :-) I ran the Highland Green loop, and was happy to have the middle three miles (the ones all on the roads) came in under 8:00/mile. I'll take it!

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening hanging out with Nate, Shannon, Finley and Charlotte. The kids had a blast playing together, and it was nice for us adults to catch up. It seems like it's been ages! Shannon made a delicious sweet potato/lentil stew, and we finished off the meal with brownies and ice cream. Sam fully approved of the new Ben & Jerry's flavor I picked up - Boston Cream Pie. Yum :-) 

All in all, a pretty good way to spend a rainy Sunday, for sure!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Morning Five

I was in bed and asleep by 9pm last night. After a night of little sleep on Thursday night, thanks to a skunk spraying right outside our house, which literally stunk up our house and woke me out of a dead sleep, and a long day at work hanging a new show yesterday, I was beat. I was literally aching all over from tiredness. I had planned to run last night, but it just wasn't in the cards. A bit of relaxation and an early bedtime were probably the best thing I could do for myself, and after a decent night's sleep, I woke up this morning feeling much better. Sam and I hung out for a while and then around 7:30, I headed out for a 5 mile run on the Homeplace loop before work. It wasn't all that warm out, but man, was it humid! I was soaked by the end. In fact when I came in the door, Sam said, "Mama hot! Mama [s]sweaty!" Very true, honey, very true :-)

Friday, August 5, 2011

No Stonecat for me

We had a great time in Baxter but I am totally bummed that I came home to find out that Stonecat was already full! Race registration opened on the 1st, and while I thought the races would fill fast, I had no idea that by Wednesday afternoon, both the marathon and 50 miler would be full! Whoa. It figures that registration would open during the only four days of the year that we were totally cut off from internet access or phone service. Stinky... A lot of our friends got into Stonecat, and I am totally psyched for them! I just wish I could join them :-)

This puts a serious kink in my fall racing plans, and well, it looks like I can erase the training plan which led up to November 6th! :-) Needless to say, I spent a lot of yesterday, in between working, pondering what to do next. MDI is full too, so that is out, and unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, I am not available the weekend of October 1/2 or October 15/16, so no Maine Marathon (or any of the other road marathons happening that weekend), Pennelville 50k or Bimblers Bluff 50k. There is one option out there that looks like it would work - Pisgah 50k - but it is on September 18th, which is only 6 weeks away! The more I think about it, the more I think I'll be signing myself up for it anyway, but it will certainly mean that I really have to ramp up the training during the next four weeks, which would leave me with a two week taper. A 12 mile race thrown into that taper period is OK, right?! :-)

I got in a nice 5.25 miler on the powerlines last night after Sam went to bed. I felt tired, and my legs felt a bit tight, but it was nice to get out. It was humid, but there were some delicious blackberries to be eaten along the trail, and I scared up a few deer in the brush. A family was out picking blueberries near the end of the powerlines, enjoying their own evening, and I wished I had had time to stop and pick a big bucket full myself! Instead, I headed home to eat dinner with Ryan - turkey burgers, potatoes and corn, all expertly cooked by the best hubby in the world :-) Perfect.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Baxter State Park 2011

We just got back from a great four-day trip to Baxter. Vacation with a toddler is tough, there is no way around it, and we are tired, but we had lots of fun, and Sam had a blast. We arrived around 3pm on Sunday, and spent the afternoon settling into Spruce Haven, our little cabin on Kidney Pond.

Spruce Haven

Sunset view from the cabin

We stayed in the cabin next door last year, and liked it so much we decided to come back this year :-) Kidney Pond was the perfect place for Sam. A big open field to run around in, a few bat/ball toys, a big library, a small beach with canoes. What made it even better for Sam was that a small family of Canada geese had made the field their home the day before we arrived. She could not get enough of them! "More duck!" "Duck[s] [are in the] water!" "Duck HONK!" We spent a lot of time watching those geese :-)

Hugs for Mama while geese watching

Monday morning came early, after a bit of a restless night of sleeping for all of us, but it turned out to be a great day. I had wanted to get in one long run while we were in the park, and when I looked at the map, one stretch jumped out at me: the AT from Daicey Pond down to Abol Bridge. So we hatched a plan. I would leave in the morning from Kidney Pond, run on the road to Daicey Pond, head out south on the AT. At the kiosk near Abol Bridge, I would take what looked like a short trail that would connect me to Abol Beach, a small little beach that we had visited while I was pregnant, and which seemed like it would be perfect for Sam. Ryan and Sam would meet me there. I had a few misgivings about heading off into the woods on my own. I remembered the stretch of trail as being very mellow and I knew it would be runnable, but I also knew there were a few stream crossings, and well, I would be on my own. The first 2.75 miles on the road, I was feeling a bit jittery and jumpy, unsure if this was a good idea, but after I got on the trail, I settled in and enjoyed myself. The trail was as I had remembered - idyllic.

Perfect for trail running!

Along the trail

River view

There were some great runnable stretches, a few technical stretches of rocks and roots, three stream crossings, all of which I took with care and which weren't a problem at all, and long stretches along the river's edge, run in the dappled sunlight. I didn't see anyone on the trail until I got close to Abol Bridge, and I reveled in the quiet. It was the perfect trail run. At the kiosk, I took the Abol Pond Trail, which ran along an old road bed for the first 3/4 of a mile, and then on some windy, little used singletrack for the rest of the way, the trail lined with waist-high ferns.

I popped out right where I thought and hoped I would, down near the beach. My Garmin read 11.06 and 2:07:42. Faster than I had expected, and a bit shorter than I had hoped, but, all in all, perfect! I even beat Ryan and Sam there! They arrived a few minutes later, and we had a grand old time. We had the beach to ourselves, and played in the water until naptime.

Sam walking along the beach

"Whati?!" (Who knows what she was pointing at :-))

Fun in the water

Tuesday was a bit overcast, and threatening rain, but we decided to chance it and headed out for a short hike from the cabin to Rocky and Little Rocky Ponds. Aside from the bugs, it was perfect! Probably 2 1/2 miles through some beautiful woods, the ground literally carpeted in thick green moss.

Headed out to the ponds

Sam and Daddo stop for a blueberry break

The views of Doubletop were spectacular. 

There were tons of blueberries, and we must have spent 15 minutes or more stopped, picking and eating them. Sam kept demanding, "More, Mama! More blue!" She loved them.


Sam even picked a few herself :-)

We made it back just in time to watch the heavens open up during our lunch of mac n' cheese. There was nothing to do but relax while Sam slept and the rain fell. Oh well, except suit up and go for a run :-) Which I did once the rain had abated a bit. A nice 5.75 miles along the roads up to the dock at Daicey Pond. With the mountains clouded over, I noticed the flowers along the roadside. Lots of Joe Pye weed, daisies, goldenrod and fireweed. Beautiful. We spent the rest of the afternoon in and around the cabin, dodging rain showers between trips to watch the ducks and visits to the library.

This morning we were once again up early, and once we got the car packed up, we headed out with the plan to drive to Katahdin Stream campground, and take a short hike out to Grassy Pond.

At Grassy Pond

Through the woods

We were probably only out for a mile or so, but it was nice to get in one last walk in the woods before heading south. We finished off our trip with an obligatory, and tasty, stop at the AT Cafe. Yum!

Here are our PHOTOS from the trip.