Thursday, June 30, 2011

Unexpected

I can hardly believe I am writing that I went for yet another evening run this week, but that is just what I did tonight. Now that we are in the height of the season at the gallery, my "lazy" mornings are mostly gone. A few days a week I should be able to sneak in a 5 miler after dropping Sam off at daycare and heading up to work, but on a day like today, when I have to be there at 9:00, I just don't have the time. And since I don't want to miss out on my time with Sam in the mornings, it means I have two choices. Get up and run before she wakes up, which I clearly didn't do today, or take advantage of the long summer days and run after she goes to bed, which may be the one plus to her going to bed so early at night.

I headed out onto the powerlines at 7:00 pm, hoping to get in my planned 7 miles on the "dump loop." I felt surprisingly good, although a bit hungry, at the start, keeping up a good pace and enjoying the nice summer evening air. As I turned off the lines into the woods once I crossed Rt. 24, I had thoughts of the few days on the AT that we hiked late into the evening. As dusk falls, the light gets flat, and the bumps and rolls of the trail seem to almost disappear. I have always been a morning exerciser, and find hiking/running in the failing light to be a bit disconcerting, although there is also something calming about the quiet of the woods in the evening. Around 5 miles into the run, the trail dumps back out on the powerline. I ran up the final rise on the trail into the light, surprised to feel a light rain falling on my face. I glanced back towards the woods, and saw a full rainbow! As I ran into the sun, I took a few extra looks back to enjoy the sight. I may not be religious per say, but when I see something like a rainbow on a summer night, I can't help but feel there is magic out there. There is something magical and spiritual to what I find and feel out on the trails, in the woods, up on the mountain tops, running through a field of ferns, listening to the birds chip, smelling the sweet smell of laurel in the air. Although I may moan and groan about "having" to do my runs in the evening or complain about not having the perfect schedule (what would that be anyway?), seeing the rainbow tonight reminded me that I am actually blessed to have the chance to take an hour-long trail run on a summer evening, to have an awesome husband willing to cook dinner and watch over the baby monitor so that I could go out and get in my miles for the day. And when I saw yet another rainbow as I ran down the final 1/2 mile road stretch, I had to admit that I am one lucky girl!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Evening Fun

Another week, another evening run.

Sam slept terribly last night, which means none of us slept well. After a number of wake-ups, she ended up sleeping until 7:45, and we did too, which totally threw off our morning routine. I didn't drop her off at daycare until close to 9:00, so there was no time to run. I headed straight to the farmer's market (Priorities, people! Fresh strawberries and veggies are totally necessary :-) ) and then up to work. While I was sitting at my desk, I decided I might as well run tonight. It's going to be a crazy end of the week for me with work stuff, so getting a run in today would make things a bit less stressful (I hope) later on.

Sam was in bed early, and I headed out the door at 6:45. There was a nice breeze blowing, and while the temp was reading 70 degrees, it seemed much cooler. Maybe it was just in comparison to the past few days, but regardless, it made me happy! Things were pretty quiet along the way, with only the birds and crickets keeping me company, and a few pesky deer flies buzzing around my head, spurring me to run faster in a futile attempt to escape them. A hare hopped across my path around halfway, its brown form loping across the road. I felt a bit stiff in the first mile, but warmed up as I ran along. The past two runs I've felt a bit like I was running through concrete, so I made the conscious decision to push the pace a bit, just to see if I still could. Besides it would get me home to dinner sooner :-) I managed to run the last three miles at 8:00 pace, so the legs can still turn over, which is nice to know!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Busy Day

Today was my day with Sam and we managed to pack a lot in! We were up and at 'em by 6:30, and we ate breakfast, read books, colored and played with play doh until around 8:30 when all she kept saying was "outside," "outside," outside." It was a beautiful morning, and hot already! I guess summer really is here. We colored with our sidewalk chalk, and played bubbles with our neighbor's girl, who is really sweet, and loves to play with Sam even though Sam isn't even 2, and she is going into the 3rd grade. We came in a while later, when Sam had dumped out pretty much all the bubbles and gotten soaked in the process :-) After a quick change, I loaded her up in the B.O.B. and we headed off. There is a playground over near the middle school that is only 1 mile away, so it seemed like the perfect idea. Of course, I had to pick the hottest Monday of the year so far to decide today was the day to walk over there and play! There were tons of moms and kids there though, which was fun. We even ran into one of the little girls Sam knows from daycare. Sam had fun swinging, and sliding, and just plain racing around. I tried to keep us hydrated, but I started to wilt after only a little while. We hung on until right around 11am, and at that point, I needed to get out of the sun. Too bad, I had the mile walk home. I sure was toasty by the time we got back!

After lunch and putting Sam down for a nap, I got ready for my run. I had planned on 11 road miles today, but I just wasn't feeling it, and didn't want to be suffering out on the roads in the sun for 1 1/2 hours after being outside all morning with Sam. I decided to just run 5 miles in the woods instead, and I am glad I did! I downed my whole 10 oz. handheld while I was out there, and still felt thirsty! It was 79 degrees when I left. I ran the Mt. Ararat trails over to the Heath, and then down to the river. The water looked inviting, but I kept on running. I finished up with 5.25 miles and a face that felt like it was a bit on fire :-) Guess I need to get used to the heat!!

Unfortunately, Sam did not grace me with a long nap, and pretty much as soon as I sat down to relax for a bit after I stopped sweating, she woke up. Darn. Oh well. We went back outside to play in the sandbox and with the bubbles some more, took a quick trip to Target, and ate dinner together while Ryan was out for his run. He came home to Sam "making art" (or flinging fingerpaint all over the kitchen from her highchair, painting herself and smearing paint all over the paper in great big swirls). She was having a grand old time but boy, did she make a mess! Ryan took the best shot of all of this with his IPhone, much better than my regular camera shots. So here Sam is in all her fingerpaint glory :-)

Fun with fingerpaints. Don't you love the paint all around her eye?!!


And now, well... I'm tired! But it was a fun day with the munchkin, for sure!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Full Sunday

We met up with our friends Doug, Lucy and their little boy Adam, plus Nate, Shannon, Finley and Charlotte, for a yummy breakfast at Broadway Deli this morning. It was great to see Doug and Lucy, whom we haven't seen in a year+, and meet Adam, and fun that between all of us we have three kids within 8 months of each other. As they get older, there should be some fun playtime between them all! We headed up to the Bowdoin quad after breakfast so the kids could run around and we could sit and chat in the sun. A nice morning!

After Sam went down for her nap, I headed out for my run. By this time, things were warming up and it was feeling a bit heavy out there. Not to mention I was running with a stomach full of pancakes and coffee. Hmmm. I hoped for 12, but figured I'd be happy with 9. I really love the Cathance trails, but today I just wasn't feeling all that happy out there. The deer flies were buzzing, the grasses seemed to have grown taller and more itchy even since last week's run, and I felt like I just wanted to run out of my skin to escape the itch! AIE! Then to make things worse, once I was back on the Mt. Ararat trails, I realized I really had to go to the bathroom, immediately! I ran right in the door to the bathroom, and then as soon as I came out, I ran right up to the shower to wash the itch off my legs. I did manage to get in 9 miles, but it wasn't the prettiest run. Ah well. Better luck tomorrow, I hope!

I did have a few good flora and fauna sightings today. When I got down to the river, I scared up a cormorant. His wings flapped the water a number of times beyond he lifted up just enough to fly along silently in the distance. Along the Ravine Loop, my favorite stretch of trail out there, I heard a woodpecker calling. I looked up, and noticed a female Hairy Woodpecker moving around on a low branch of a nearby tree. I stopped for a bit, enjoying the close-up view. I also spotted a few little turtles sunning themselves on a log in the water. Also noticed a few wild calla lilies along the bog bridge near the Heath. Cool!

After Sam woke up, she and I ran around outside, stomping in the puddles, and then we all played in the sandbox.

I want to go back in the sandbox, Mom!
When we came inside, she was covered in sand, so we changed her into this adorable, but huge, handmade dress that Cordelia had bought for her down in New York this spring. It looks a bit like a mumu, but very cute :-) Here are a few shots of her in the dress, coloring. She is very into her crayons these days!
Coloring

Lying down on the job :-)

Sam in her mumu :-)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cool and Misty

I only got in 3 miles this morning. I was tired. It was cold. And wet. And windy. And I just plain ran out of time. Blah. Oh well, finished up the week with 33 miles, which is pretty good for me. I did manage to sneak to the farmer's market for about 2 minutes before heading up to work, and picked up some more yummy strawberries, zucchini, cucumber and greens. Delish! :-)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Evening Run

I am not an evening runner. But I neglected to get up this morning before Sam awoke and run, and since I had to get up to work by 9am, I didn't have time after I dropped her off at daycare. So, the choices were, run tomorrow and Saturday, or run when I got home from work tonight, run tomorrow and then take Saturday off. There is certainly time for me to run on Saturday, but we're into our longer summer hours at work and while my 9:00 or 9:30 to 5:30 workday certainly isn't a long day compared to some, when you factor in travel time, and the fact that I drop Sam off at daycare around 8:00 during the week, it means I have 1 to 1 1/2 hours with her in the morning, and then 45 minutes in the evening if I'm lucky. Yes, she goes to bed early, but it is her choice, and I am not going to keep her up late just so I can spend more time with her. So, on Saturday, if I don't have to run and I don't have to drop her at daycare, I can spend an extra hour or so with her. And that, really, is time better spent than me taking that time for a run. And so, all of this means, that tonight, a little after 7pm, right after I put Sam to bed, I laced up my shoes and headed out the door.

I ran yesterday's loop through Highland Green, but in reverse. The sky was overcast, and the woods and roads were quiet. My mind wandered. Where was that singletrack that Ryan had found today? I didn't see the entrance. Hmmm, this stretch of dirt road is awfully downhill in this direction. Wow, there are a lot of slugs on the ground. Neat - what a pretty patch of black-eyed susans on the sidehill. Hadn't noticed those iris before. Hi phoebe bird. Let's pick up the pace now, getting hungry. It's awfully quiet out here. I wish I had the money to buy that nice Zorach "Wood Lily" watercolor. I wonder when the wood lily along the powerlines will be out? The air smells nice. No wonder Sam hasn't been sleeping well. Wow, that was a lot of teeth coming in! Almost done. Whew. Finished. Time for dinner! :-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Speedwork, Take #2

Second verse, same as the first.

Except with Ryan this time. And slightly faster mile times. But the same loop and same idea. 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at ~7:30, and 1 mile cool down.

Ryan is finally back to running this week, and so last night I asked him if he wanted to keep me company on my tempo run this morning. He agreed, so after I dropped Sam off at daycare this morning, we headed out together for the run. Although it didn't feel super warm out, the humidity was certainly higher today than it has been the past few days, and I felt tired from the start. Sam's bottom molars are breaking through, and last night, she was up at 2am, having a full-on conversation with me as if it was morning. "Hi! Ronnie? Ronnie! Gigi? Daddo? Addie! Sammie! Annie!" "Sam, it's sleepy time." "Mama? Ronnie?" This kid has too much energy, I tell you! Luckily, she did go back to sleep though.

So anyway... the run... The overall time was a bit slower than last week's (39:48), but the middle three miles were faster. Ryan's Garmin ended up reading: 8:57; 7:23; 7:26; 7:22; 8:38. I felt like I was working really hard in that final "fast" mile, while next to me, Ryan was running along all tra-la-la, happy, happy, "Relax! Only one hill left," as I labored away. I don't know whether to love him or hate him for helping me push a bit more out there, but really, he could have at least made it look like it was hard for him too! :-)

~
And speaking of the kiddo, here are a few recent photos of her loving her new toys - a sandbox out back, and a little table inside just for her! She even knows how to sit herself in the chair, although she's too small to just back up to it, so she has to kneel on it and then finagle her way to sitting. It is just adorable! She is getting so grown up :-)
Coloring at her new table

Happy kiddo!

Sandbox fun

Sand, sand, everywhere!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Simpson's Point on a Beautiful Day

I have a few things that need to get done/places I need to be this afternoon, so I took Sam into daycare this morning for an extra day. She was talking about her friends all weekend long, so I figured she would be happy to see everyone this morning. Well, apparently not. Maybe it was her restless night's sleep, her teething or this new shy/slightly clingy/attached to mommy phase when strangers are around phase that she's in right now, but she practically went into hysterics when one of her teachers tried to pick her up and take her over to the table to read a book. I took her back in my arms and cuddled her for a bit, and after a minute, her other teacher took her and they waved at me out the window as I left. Talk about tugging at my heart strings and making my "guilty mommy" meter go crazy! I know, I know, she was probably fine as soon as I got out of sight, and she needs the social interaction, but I still feel badly. Ah, the joys of parenting :-)

Anyway, since I had a bit of time this morning, it is a gorgeous day, and I needed a bit of running therapy (see above :-) ), I decided to run out to Simpson's Point. I parked at Bowdoin, and ran through the Commons, enjoying the pink laurel blooming in the pine barrens, and the cool of the woods on a perfect summer day. Once I left the woods, I hit the roads that lead through the Pennelville fields. I always love running out in this area, and today I really wished I had brought my camera. It was such a gorgeous day, and everything just looked so beautiful. A sea of white daisies, pink clover, and buttercups were blooming amongst the long grasses. Bobolinks, red-winged blackbirds, catbirds, goldfinch, sparrows and a few swallows flitted about, calling to each other. The grasses swayed in the breeze, and the blue sky above was filled with fluffy white clouds. It was low tide down at Simpson's Point, and the sunlight glimmered off the water. I stopped for a quick look, and then headed back. The return trip was into the wind, and about an hour into the run, it hit me that I was feeling pretty tired. But I managed to keep up a decent pace, and finish up with 11.2 miles. Perfect. Originally my "plan" for the weekend was 15 and 5, but 8.8 and 11.2 will do!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Cathance & Pancakes

This morning, we hosted a Trail Monster Cathance & Pancake run. The plan was for Ryan to celebrate Father's Day with a nice run on the trails with our friends. Unfortunately, he strained his calf the other week, so he's on the DL (still!). So, no running for him. He agreed to stay home with Sam, and man the pancake station while I was charged with leading the group run. Don't think I can ever say I've actually led a run before, but I did my best :-)

It certainly was a great day to be outside enjoying a trail run! There was not a cloud in the picture perfect blue sky, a cool breeze was blowing and there was no humidity after the thunderstorm and rain that rolled through last evening. It was a fun group for the run - Jamie, Valerie, Rick, Mindy, Mary and Christine - and we had a good time chatting away as we enjoyed the nice trails in the Cathance preserve. We really are lucky to have these great trails basically right out our door, and it is always fun to share our trails with friends!
Running along the river (Thanks for the photo, Val!)
Kate stayed behind to hang with Sam and Ryan, while Pete took out his mountain bike on the powerline trails across the street, and when we got back from our run, we all sat outside, chatting, enjoying the beautiful weather, eating pancakes and drinking coffee and beer, and of course, being entertained by Sam and her antics :-)
Sam enjoying the nice day, and drawing on the sidewalk with Kate
A fun morning on and off the trails with friends, for sure!

Happy Father's Day everyone!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hot, Tired and Thirsty

Last night, just as I was going to bed around 9:30, Sam woke up with night terrors (or maybe just a nightmare, but whatever it was was certainly upsetting her!). Poor little thing. She was screaming like crazy, and practically was hyperventilating once we got her out of the crib. Ryan and I sat with her in our room for a while while she calmed down. Even Ronnie was concerned. He jumped up on the bed with us and kept licking her arm. It took a while, but I was finally able to get her back so sleep. I had a restless night of sleep once I finally got myself to bed, and then I woke up to Sam chatting away in her crib at 5:30. By 5:45, she was tired of talking to herself, so I got up with her. She seemed to be feeling no after-effects of last night's troubled sleep, and was her happy, cheery self. In fact, she was super excited to be going to school for the day - she kept saying her friend's names - "Addie! Annie! Sammie!" - over and over. I am not sure if Sammie was in reference to herself, or to the little boy in her class whose name is Sam, but regardless, it was super cute :-)

After I dropped her off at daycare, I shot back home and headed right out the door for my run. I headed out to run the Homeplace loop, and immediately realized it was going to be a bit of a draggy run. I felt tired, hot and thirsty almost immediately. Oh well. I just kept on chugging. Despite not feeling the best, it was a pretty morning to be out. I scared up a turkey along the side of the trail, and saw the resident towhees and catbirds along the way. The indian paintbrush and other more summery flowers are starting to come up in the grasses, and I saw a few pretty Monarch butterflies floating around too. Glad to have gotten the run in and to finish out the week with 30 miles. I'll be happy to take a rest day tomorrow though!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bright and Early

I needed to be up at work early today so when Sam woke up at 4:45 and then Ronnie started yowling away in the hallway, I took it as a sign that I should just get up and go out and run instead of taking the day off or scrambling tonight to get a run in. I finally headed out around 5:45 after the house had quieted down again, and ran the short 3 mile Highland Green loop. The run was pretty uneventful. The legs felt good, and it was a nice morning to be out. Lots of birds up early too! Saw a pair of osprey calling to each other overhead, saw "my" towhee pair along the powerlines, and caught a nice look at a wood thrush along the edge of the woods too.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Speedwork, Take 1

OK, so those of you who know me realize that I tend to do all of my runs at basically the same pace. I do not run slow but I don't run super fast. I like to just get out and GO. But I must admit that part of me has been wondering recently if I should actually include some speedwork into my training plan for the summer. I can't seem to make up my mind about my late fall racing plans, but in the meantime, I'll be running the Bradbury races and also planning to run Erik's Old Port Half Marathon. I'd really like to have a solid summer of racing, and would like to end up with a good half marathon time, which means I need to remember how to run a bit faster on the roads if that is going to take place! So, with that in mind, I looked over a few different marathon and half marathon plans, and *gasp* actually penciled some speedwork into my calendar. Starting with today's run.

Of course, I can't not tinker with a plan, so although my notes said to do 3 x 1 mile at 5k to 10k pace, I actually ended up doing a tempo run with three miles in the middle. I didn't want to go to the track and run round and round the oval, and I really didn't have time for that this morning anyway. A tempo run where I could run right from home seemed much more manageable. So, I looked at the McMillan Running Calculator to see what a reasonable tempo pace might be. 7:30s seemed about right, so that is what I decided to shoot for.

I headed out over the powerlines to Highland Green Road. When the Garmin beeped at the mile marker, soon after I hit the pavement, I picked up the pace. The problem was that I was on a rolling road, heading into the wind, and I am no good at pacing. Ah well, I just ran at a slightly uncomfortably hard pace, peeking at the lap pace now and again to make sure it was reading something reasonable. By the end of the third tempo mile, I was feeling the effort, and I was more than happy to hear the Garmin beep, meaning I could slow down a bit and catch my breath during the final mile home! Anyway, I am pretty happy with how today's effort turned out, especially given that I was winging it to a certain extent. My splits for the 5 mile loop ended up being: 8:40; 7:35; 7:26; 7:23; 8:13.

Whew, speedwork is hard! :-)

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Run, Some Sand and Friends

Because Ryan worked on Saturday, he took today off, which meant today was day #2 off together. Hurray! We managed to pack a whole lot into the day today too. I went out for a run around 7:30, and ran the Homeplace loop. The humid air smelled sweet, the powerlines lined with honeysuckle and other flowering shrubs. The pink swamp laurel has begun to bloom, and there are berries on the blueberry plants (still pretty green, though!). I was happy to see numerous elegant, purple iris in the swampy areas. My friends the towhees were out singing, as were the goldfinch and a few catbirds.

After I got home and took a quick shower, Ryan went over to meet Cordelia and pick up a new-to-us turtle sandbox for Sam, which has been sitting, unused, at Keith's parent's house. With the grandkids grown, no one has been using it, and we were more than happy to take it off their hands. The second we placed it in the backyard, Sam jumped right in, immediately getting sand everywhere :-) She was in seventh heaven!

We had to practically drag her away so that we could go meet up with two of my good college friends, Jess and Andy, and the kids, for an early lunch and playtime. With five kids running around Jess's house, it was a bit chaotic, but it was fun to catch up, and Sam had fun wandering around the yard, and playing with the other kids. Always good to see old friends, and see the kids get along and having fun :-)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bradbury in the Mist

I met up with Valerie and Ian this morning for a fun, if cool and misty, run at Bradbury. Jim joined us for the first few miles too, but turned back early, since he had already been running up and down the summit for a while before we got started. I have yet to run on the new Bradbury-Pineland Connector, so we decided to head out on that first, turning around at the powerlines. The trail crews have done a great job with the new trail - it is soft and spongy underfoot, and wanders through the woods, up and over some decent hills, through a field or two, and across a few rivers too, before popping out at the powerlines along the Beautiful Loop. I was surprised to find the trail to be such a good mix of new single track combined with some long stretches on old woods roads. Very nice.

On a misty, grey morning such as today, the greens in the woods and along the streams seemed even more brilliant. We spotted a few patches of pink ladyslippers, and there was a fair amount of bunchberry too. Near the Tyron Hill turn-off, Valerie spied a neat bright orange fungus on a downed log. Too bad none of us had a camera! We had fun chatting and running along, and on our return, Ian took us on a few "new" trails, and we even discovered a bridge crossing the first stream! Cool. Once we got back in the park, we turned and ran up the Boundary trail to the summit, coming in on the Terrace Trail.

By the time we got back to the parking lot, the Garmin was reading 7.5 miles, so while we all headed out on the Scuffle course, I knew I'd end up cutting things a bit short. Ryan and Sam were planning on coming over to meet me, and to get in a bit of time playing outside in the meantime! I had figured two hours would probably do it, but we were moving a bit slower than that, which wasn't a problem at all, but I didn't want them out in the mist for too long, wondering where I was! So, somewhere off Ginn, Valerie and I peeled off and headed back in. Ian kept going, wanting to get in multiple hours on his feet. The Garmin beeped 12.0 just as we stopped by the cars, so it turned out to be perfect! Despite the cool start, it really was great running weather, and the cool temps and the rain/mist kept the bugs down, and provided us with some good sole-sucking mud on the Scuffle course, which is always a good thing! Definitely a great run :-) Always fun to have company - thanks guys!


Valerie had to get home, and Ian was still out in the woods, so it was just Ryan, Sam and I who headed to Edna & Lucy's for an after-run treat. We had the place to ourselves, and while thoroughly enjoying her carrot cake muffin, Sam danced to the tunes, and ran around, making friends with the owners :-)

Dancin' :-)
video

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy

Fun at the playground this morning

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sam at 20 Months

Daycare is closed today, so Sam and I are having a mother/daughter day, as Ryan is over at Great Glen for work. We had a good morning, walking around outside and drawing with our chalk on the sidewalk, getting an ear check (all clear! Yeah!), and stopping off at the Brunswick Farmer's Market before coming home. Sam got a kick out of the market. It's another beautiful day, and we walked around and got a treat, and some salad greens, and played with the three adorable 9 week old kittens that the Humane Society had there with one of their volunteers. There were tons of kids crowded around the big three-story cage, and Sam had a chance to take one of the feather-topped wands and play with the little black kitten who was being the most playful at the time. And now, well, she's sleeping and the house is blissfully quiet, the bills are paid, the house is clean(ish), and I even got out to weed the garden a bit! Wow :-)

Amazingly, Sam is 20 months old today! At this point, I suppose I should stop counting her age in months, but I can't resist using the passing of another month as an excuse to give an update on how she's growing and progressing. We most certainly have a self-centered, testing toddler on our hands right now. There is a lot of "my my my", a lot of doing exactly what we asked her not to do with a little sly grin on her face, and a lot of "no no no" to herself and to us as she starts to do what she knows she shouldn't. But we also have a truly loving, friendly, helpful and social toddler on our hands. One who loves to go to school and play with her friends. Who is learning to share her toys. And pick up the blocks when she is done with them. And even, sometimes, put her toys away after she's done using them! One who loves to give kisses, and pat my back when I pick her up. Who lays her head on our shoulders to give us hugs, and who will blow kisses when we leave the room. She's a bit more shy of strangers these days, even those people she knows but doesn't see regularly, but she's curious and still pretty social, so after a bit of head turning, eyes down and clutching at our legs, she'll turn her head and shyly smile. Oh so coyly. As if to say, I'm cute, don't you know :-)

We are spending a lot of time coloring these days (or "yaya!" as Sam calls it). She would color all over everything in the house if we let her, but she's pretty good at (mostly) only drawing on her pads of paper or her box of crayons. And now that the weather is nice, we've also been spending lots of time playing outside. Lots and lots of outside! Sam loves to walk around, picking up leaves or dirt or sticks or stones, and stomping in puddles. And shyly "playing" with some of the neighborhood kids, who think she is just the cutest little baby ever :-) (Honest, they said so!) We've also discovered sidewalk chalk, which is a lot of fun and a good source of entertainment. Sam has been getting pretty steady on her feet, and is walking around really well, even on uneven ground. She's also getting to be a bit more of a daredevil, standing up on her "bike" or the stool inside, and trying to climb up onto the chairs. She also likes to try to slither off the bed in the morning after we've gotten dressed for the day, which is super cute, given that her feet are still like a foot off the ground even when she's halfway off the side of the bed!

She continues to amaze us every day with her vocabulary. Earlier this week, she picked up a container of leftovers from the bottom shelf in the fridge, and said, clear as day, "heavy!" She tries to fit things into different containers, saying "it fits" or "it's stuck." She can now say many of her body parts, including neck, feet, eye, nose, elbow, and knee. She knows how to say the colors blue, red, black, white, pink and brown. She picks up her toy phone, and says "hello" in just the intonation I'm sure I say it when I answer the phone :-) She constantly asks "What is?" about everything around her, wanting to know exactly what all manner of things are. If we finish our breakfast/lunch/dinner before she does, and our plates are empty, she will point to them and say "more," as in, come on, you need more! Fill your plate up again! The other morning, as I was putting on her socks, I said, "one sock," to which she replied "two," in her cute little voice, while reaching for her other foot. And later, when playing with her wooden blocks, she picked up two with one hand, held them out to me and proudly said "two!" She will also stretch her hands up over her head while laying on the bed waiting to get dressed, and say "stretch"! And perhaps cutest of all, whenever we go out, and she says "Mama, Daddo" to make sure we are there with her, she then says "Gigi, Ronnie" because, well, she knows they are part of her family too :-) She's a character all right!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Minimum

I really wanted to squeeze in a run today, because I'm not sure I'll get out there tomorrow or Saturday. But I needed to be to work by 9:00, and needed to run a few errands after I dropped Sam off at daycare, so the only way I was going to get my run in was to do it before we left the house. I didn't manage to get out before Sam woke up, so I ended up calling Ryan downstairs at 7:00am, at which point I quickly changed into my running clothes and was out the door by 7:12. I didn't have much time, so I did the bare minimum. Well, actually, the minimum plus an extra 0.35 miles to get to the week's mileage to an even 25 :-) Pretty low mileage for the week, but it will do.

Despite the fact that it was only a little after 7am, and the skies were overcast, the air was heavy. I know they're calling for bad air quality today, so I'm glad I was able to get my run in when I did! Also glad I'll be in the gallery with the A/C running today. Looks like it's going to be a hot one!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Webbed

I've always considered myself a hiker, runner and skier, but let's face it, these days I'm really truly just a runner. I mean, I only skiied once this past season, and our hiking lately has consisted of little jaunts near home with Sam either in the backpack, or on foot, meaning our pace isn't exactly quick, and our mileage is next to none. I wouldn't trade our recent excursions for anything, of course! I love that Sam loves to be outside, and I feel honored and excited to be able to introduce her to the natural world, and to the joys of hiking and wandering in the woods. And I know that someday we'll get back to doing more true hiking, and backpacking, both with and without her. We're just not in that phase right now.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I experienced a sensation today while running that I hadn't felt in a while. When we were hiking the AT, if we happened to camp away from the shelter and so were the first ones on the stretch of trail beyond our campsite the next morning, or if by some chance, we were the first ones out of the shelter area, we would often run into some serious spider webs across the trail. Some mornings, the webs were so thick (amazing what those industrious little spiders can do in a few hours!) that I would flick my poles out in front of me as I walked, in the hopes that the webs would be broken by the poles, and not my face, head, arms, etc! Even so, poor Ryan would still get the higher webs in his face, the ones that I had glanced under. Ah, being webbed! Such was life along the trail :-)

This morning, I woke up not feeling great. I hadn't slept well and my stomach felt off (this is probably TMI, but one of the only things I truly miss about being pregnant and the early nursing days, is not having my period! Of course, it's been back to reality for a while now, and well, today was just one of those days). I had hoped to get in 7 miles on the Cathance trails this morning, as due to scheduling for the rest of the week, I wasn't sure how much running I'd be able to do over the course of the next few days. And then I woke up feeling blah. I moaned and groaned, and hemmed and hawed, and Ryan finally pushed me out the door. Well, once I got out there, I just put myself on autopilot and went. I didn't give myself the chance to not do the intended loop. I just ran. And amazingly, after the first mile up and over Mt. Ararat, I felt good. Once I got onto the Cathance trails, I realized I must be the first one out using them this morning. I was getting webbed left and right. But I just smiled. Brought back memories. And meant I had the trails to myself. I won't complain about that.

The woods were lush and green. Most of the early season wildflowers are gone. A few pink ladyslippers still grace the edge of the trails, and the bunchberries are abundant, but otherwise, it is green green green everywhere you look. I was also surprised to find that the water level of the river was down significantly from our outing down to Barnes Leap with Sam on Memorial Day. And with all the spring rain and this recent spate of warm weather, the grassy sections of trail are getting a bit unruly. I love these trails for their natural feel, but the stretches that run through the long field grass and the blackberry brambles make my legs itch. I guess summer is on its way!

So in the end, I got in 7.15 miles in 1:09:10 and I was happy. I felt better, and I was glad I went for it. Thanks to Ryan for the extra push! I headed in for a quick snack and a shower, and I even managed to get to work on time :-)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More, More, More!

When Sam sees one of our plates empty at the table, she points to it and says "more." As if to say, come on Mama, your plate is empty. Get on it! You must need more, right? When I ask her where her elbow is, she will point to one side and say "elbow." If I ask her where her other elbow is, she will point to the other side and say "more." When she wants more of something, anything, she says "more," in her cute, adorably drawn-out way. When we blow raspberries on her tummy, she laughs hysterically and says, insistently, "more, more!" We are all about more these days :-) There is no restraint here!

~

After I dropped Sam off at daycare this morning, I came home and headed out the door for a 5 mile run on the Homeplace loop. It was sunny and a bit warm already in the open, but in the shade, it was perfect. My plan was for a pretty easy run, but I was also hoping to run the miles evenly. I think I pretty much succeeded, give or take a few seconds on either side of 9:00 pace, but I'll have to consult the Garmin tonight to be sure. My splits from Pineland ranged from 7:54 in the second mile (oops!) to an almost 10:00 mile (oops again!) in the last mile of the Campus loop, so I'd really like to get a bit more consistent in my pacing while running and racing. I realize the terrain in the two miles I mentioned are quite different, but still. That is a pretty big gap. Anyway, it was another beautiful morning for a run. I scared up a deer in the brush by Highland Green Road, heard the bullfrogs in the marshy spot at the bottom of the hill, and spotted a few house finch singing atop the bushes, plus a few catbirds flitting about. The ferns were letting off that wonderful smell I so love, and I noted two delicate and deep purple swamp iris amongst the reeds. In the sun along the powerlines, the blueberry bush flowers have given way to the start of fruit - hurray! - and patches of daisies and indian paint brush are blooming. It's as if Mother Nature is saying "more more more" in her own way, with everything blooming and growing at this time of year, and it's always fun to see what I can see out there!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Full Day

Today was packed with lots of activity, and we had a grand old time. It was supposed to be a nice day, and we decided to make sure we took advantage of both the weather, and the fact that we had a day to spend together. We were out of the house at 8:30am, headed to Bradbury. Originally, the thought was to head to Wolfe's Neck, but it was cool and windy this morning, and seemed likely to be pretty chilly down by the water, so we decided to head inland instead. Sam wouldn't care. She was just happy to be "outside"! :-)

We headed out onto the Northern Loop trail, with Sam walking between us. She lasted until the end of the field, and decided it was time for "up." So into the Ergo, and onto Daddo's back she went. We took the very well-groomed and raked Terrace Trail up to the summit (thanks Val and Mindy!). At the top, we were treated to a beautiful, blue sky day with a great view out to the ocean. Sam loved walking around up there, and did not want to get back in the Ergo for the quick 1/4 mile trip back to the parking lot. I'm sure the family we saw up top could hear her all the way until we hit the bottom! She was mollified a bit by the sight of the playground, where we played for a while before seeing Rick and Valerie finishing up their run. We walked over to say hello, although Sam was feeling a bit shy and wasn't all that talkative. Still, it was fun to see them, and it sounded like Valerie was recovering well from last weekend's 50. Yeah!

By this point, it was around time to head home, have lunch and put Sam to bed. So off we went, with the hopes that I would be able to meet up with them next Sunday for a run on the new Pineland/Bradbury Connector. Haven't checked it out yet, and am definitely looking forward to it! After a quick lunch, Sam went up to bed, and I headed out the door for my run. Another high noon run, but today, despite the clear skies, there was little humidity and a good breeze, making things quite comfortable out on the trails. My plan was for 9 to 10 miles, and I thought I'd head out on the powerlines in an attempt to do the route that Scott Ellis had shown me a few weeks ago during our Topsham Trails Day run. I certainly didn't run the same pace we were running that day, but I did successfully manage to run the same loop. Maybe my sense of direction isn't so bad after all :-) Ha! Anyway, it was a nice tromp through the woods. Everything is so green out there now, and I enjoyed the ladyslippers, bunchberry, star flowers, trout lilies, bluets and trailing arbutus carpeting the forest floor.

As I headed back toward home, I realized I would have to add on a bit to get the mileage closer to what I was hoping for, so I turned right on Tedford and ran up the dirt road into Highland Green. Soon after I hit 8 miles, my legs decided they had had enough, and I realized I was feeling pretty darn tired. I finished up the run with 9.5 on the Garmin, and that was more than enough. I was happy to come in, down some Gatorade and yummy coffee milk, and grab a bite to eat. Not much time to relax though - Sam was now up and ready to play again! Back outside to walk around, play with some of the neighborhood kids, and then come in so that we could get ready for Nate, Shannon, Finley and Charlotte to come over for dinner! It was nice to catch up with them, and the kids had fun playing together. Phew! I'd call that a full day, for sure, but definitely a fun one! I think I'm ready for bed now :-)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Beautiful!

What a perfect morning! Only 49 degrees when I headed out the door at 7:30 for a short run through Highland Green. The sky was blue as blue can be, with no clouds in sight. There was a slight breeze, and the air felt cool and dry. I wanted to feel perfectly wonderful to go along with the great running weather, but I could still feel a bit of general fatigue as I ran along. I'm planning to keep the mileage for next week pretty low too, but hope I can bounce back into some solid training after that, and feel good!

When I got home, just a half hour later, the iris outside the door had started to open, their deep purple flowers unfurling before my eyes. I took a quick shower, and at Sam's request, we went outside while Ryan went for his run. We drew on the sidewalk with some chalk, picked up leaves, ran up and down the sidewalk, stomped in some muddy puddles, and met one of the neighbor's dog. At that point, Sam decided she had had enough of walking around on her own, and so I walked around with her in my arms until Ryan came running up to us at the end of his run. Then it was time for me to head off to work. Sigh. Oh well, at least it was a fun outside morning! :-)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Powerline Run

Another short run this morning, but this time on the powerlines. After all the rain we have had, and this spate of warm weather, things are green, green, green out there! In the heavy air, the perfume from the honeysuckle and the flowering shrubs smells extra sweet. Along the edge of the trail, the subtle wood anemone has been replaced by groups of pink ladyslippers, large patches of bright white bunchberry, strawberry plants and star flowers, the yellows of the blue bead lily. A few big bull frogs croak in the swampy areas, and the crows caw overhead. Amidst the trees, goldfinch and chickadees chirp, their little forms hidden from sight by the expanding leaves. The wind whips up the pollen. A summer day, indeed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Easy Three

My plan for this week is simple. A few short and sweet runs to recover from both Sunday's 25k and what was a pretty tiring week last week. With that in mind, I planned to head out for a 3 miler this morning after dropping Sam off at daycare. I came home to find Ryan all suited up in his running clothes - guess I was going to have a partner for this morning's run! Cool. I know Ryan has been frustrated by this sinus infection, and I was glad he was starting to feel good enough to want to get out for a run! He told me I needed to go easy on him, but honestly, in the first mile at least, I was doing all I could to just keep up with him :-) My legs were still feeling pretty stiff and tired, but as we ran along, I was feeling better and better.

Right before we headed out, I helped Ryan set his Garmin to automatically record the mile splits. I had finally did a google search to see if I could figure out how to do that last week, and was happy to have it work like a charm during the 25k! I had always figured there must be a way to automatically have the splits recorded but just hadn't sat down to look at the instructions. Thank goodness for google! It worked on Ryan's Garmin too, and today's splits read like a nice negative split: 9:10, 8:36, 8:23.