Friday, September 30, 2011

Quick

Snuck in a quick 3 miles this morning before we took off for Mim's memorial service. I was tired. I didn't feel peppy. But I did it. I probably would have been happier had I joined Ryan on his afternoon run in Williamstown, up and around a hilly route I have run before from Mim's house. But oh well. After a number of hours in the car, and a detour through the countryside to bypass the section of Rt. 2/Mohawk Trail that was literally washed away by Hurricane Irene, we arrived. It has been fun catching up with all the family, and I am looking forward to spending time with everyone this weekend. I know Mim would be very happy we are all here, remembering her, and making new memories together. All five kids. All of us grandchildren. And all the great-grandkids. Very special indeed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

No Big Deal!

video
No Big Deal!

Most of you have probably seen this video on Facebook, but just in case, here is a cute little video from last night of Sam saying her latest phrase - "no big deal." I love it :-)

As for me, today's miles finally felt like no big deal again, which was nice. Sam has been feeling a bit off with the first cold of the season, so while she was up a few times in the night, she did sleep in until 7am. With that, we were a bit rushed this morning, but I did manage to sneak in a quick 5 miles on the Highland Green loop before heading up to work. It's easy to push the pace on this loop once you hit the roads through the Highland Green community, but since the legs felt good, I did so without intending to. Hopefully this means that the rest I took last week did its job!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Runnin' The Commons

I haven't been out to the Commons in a while. In fact, I haven't been out there since June. So it was a nice change of pace to get out there for a run this morning with Ryan. I dropped Sam off at daycare today, as she won't be in on Friday, did a bunch of errands around town and at home, and we headed over to Bowdoin around 10:15. By then, the temperature had already risen into the low 70s, but it was much nicer than yesterday; not as humid with a nice breeze blowing. The woods were quiet, and the brush and grasses had been nicely brushed back along the trails. We scared up a Hairy Woodpecker in the pine barrens, but other than that, things were quiet. We got in 6.25 miles by winding on some of the single track on the way out to Merepoint Road. I appear to still be recovering from Pisgah, as although I felt like we were running fast, we were in fact running 9:10 pace on some very flat trails :-) Ah well. It was a beautiful day for a run in the woods, and fun to be able to get out and run with Ryan too!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Run and Fun

Some awesome racing by the Trail Monsters today! HUGE congrats to Ian, Emma and George for their finishes in the Virgil Crest 100! 100 miles. Amazing!!!!! And big congrats to Ryan for his 3rd place finish today in the 65 Roses 5k this morning down in Portland. Who said you can't run ultras and have some speed too? :-) Stephen also had a great race there, coming in 5th.

The morning dawned foggy, muggy and warm. Isn't it September 25th? Shouldn't it be cool and crisp? Guess not! Sam was up early enough that with a bit of hustling, we were able to accompany Ryan down to Portland for the race. We parked the car right near the playground along the Eastern Prom, and while Ryan registered and warmed up, Sam and I had a great time taking a short walk and then playing on the playground.

View down onto the bay. Can you see the low fog? Very pretty!

Sunflowers 

Along the Eastern Prom

In fact, Sam had so much fun she didn't want to leave to go down to the start :-) Sorry Ryan!

Yellow swing! (I kept asking her if she wanted to get out and do something else, and she'd say, "No Mama. Happy swing." :-)

Happy in the stroller

Climbing the steps all by herself

We ran into Kelly and the kids, playing while Stephen raced, and enjoyed the nice morning. The fog burned off pretty quickly, leaving blue skies and sunshine. And it got hot too! The first place finisher came by running at a pretty quick clip. I wasn't quite sure what Ryan was hoping to run, but figured he would be coming by sometime soon. And sure enough, there he was! In 3rd place. I grabbed Sam and we ran up to the sidewalk, to cheer him on as he ran by. Then quickly into the stroller and down to the finish we went, getting there just in time to see his finish. It all happened so fast, I didn't get any photos, but luckily Jeff did :-)

Half mile to the finish. Looking strong!

Sam and I hung out on the grass, watching the crowds, while Ryan and Jeff did a short run together, and then after Ryan collected a nice bag of prizes, we took off for a yummy brunch at Stonyfield Cafe before heading home.

After putting Sam down for a nap and doing a few things around the kitchen, I took off for my own run. It was 12:30, 80 degrees and humid. And I hadn't run in 5 days. I can't say I felt all that great, but it was nice to be out running again! I ran through the Mt. Ararat trails, along the Heath and down to the Cathance River, enjoying the shade of the woods and the sound of the rushing water. As I ran back along the Heath, I looked out over the bog, filled with cotton sedge. Very pretty. The leaves are slowly beginning to turn in the marshy areas, but it sure felt like summer! Got in a good 5.25 miles, and came home to find that Sam didn't want to nap, so we hung out for the afternoon before Nate, Shannon and the kiddos came over for a bit of play, catch-up and dinner. A fun Sunday for sure!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sam's Weekend

Since I have no running news to share, and the laundry list of things I'm trying to get done this week isn't very exciting, I thought I'd share a few photos from Sam's weekend with Grammie and Grampie:

 Hydrating before an afternoon walk :-)

 Books!

 Playing with Daddo's old train set

 Reading "The Wide Mouthed Frog"

 Happy girlie!

 Choo choo!

 Dressing the babies

Wearing her "B" hat with Grampie

Really looks like she missed us while we were gone for the day, huh? :-)

Monday, September 19, 2011

2011 Pisgah 50k Race Report

Wow. Pisgah is one tough race. I didn't go in with any delusions that it wouldn't be, but man, was it hard. I gave so much out on the course that I spent the next two hours feeling nauseous and looking three shades of green. I couldn't even stomach any ice cream! That's when you know it's really bad! All that being said, it was a really great race. Low key, but with some fast competition. Friendly volunteers manning simple but well-placed and well-stocked aid stations along the way. A well-marked but not over-marked course. Loaves of bread to each competitor, and a cookout at the finish line. A course any Trail Monster would love, with a mix of wide old roads, technical single-track, lots of hills that make you work for it, an equal amount of downhills to trash your quads, and enough rooty sections to keep you hopping. All set in a little-used corner of Chesterfield, NH in Pisgah State Forest. The woods were beautiful - wide open pine forests, lots of little ponds and swampy areas, edged by turning swamp maples and filled with lily pads and cat tails - and yet, it seemed the trails were not well traveled. There were vistas atop Pisgah Mountain and along a few of the old wood roads out into Monadnock Valley, with Mt. Monadnock towering above. It certainly helped that race day was a picture-perfect New England fall day. It was cool at the start, enough so that I was wearing gloves, and the sky was blue. The dappled sunlight filtered through the trees down onto the forest floor, highlighting the colorful mushrooms and hobblebush berries. Yes, seriously, I was thinking about how beautiful the woods were while I was out there! Well, in between thinking how hard the course was anyway :-)

We had made our way down to Ryan's parents on Saturday afternoon, as they would be watching Sam for us while we raced. We left their house at 5:30am Sunday morning, making our way in the dark across Massachusetts and into New Hampshire. Luckily it was a pretty quick trip, and we made it there around 7:45 after one pit stop along the way. The parking lot was already pretty full, and it was evident that the race was growing in popularity and attracting a good crowd this year. We got ourselves organized, mingled a bit, did the regular race morning preparations and made our way over to the start a few minutes before 8:45. We found Joe in the crowd, and said our hellos to a few others. After a few words from the race director, we were off.

The course started out down a dirt road towards the park entrance. I was determined to start off at a reasonable pace, and people flew by me left and right. Of course, a little after a mile into the race, we hit the first hill, and there I was, not even 10 minutes into things, walking! Ah well, I figured I was going to be doing my fair share of walking today, why not start early? :-) Once in the park, we got onto a nice wide old woods road, and at that point, Joe snuck by me. We commented to each other how nice the trail was so far, and he pulled slightly ahead. I rolled through mile 6 at exactly 1:00:00, and felt good. I managed to keep Joe in my sights until around mile 7, at which point there was a steep downhill, and being the cautious type, I slowed down and off he went. At the bottom of the hill was the first aid station, 8.1 miles in. Although I was carrying my Nathan pack filled to the gils with fuel and Nuun, my plan was to stop at all the aid stations, take a swig of water and maybe grab a handful of "real" food if anything looked good. I was hoping this would help my stomach behave. So, according to plan, I stopped, swigged a glass of water, took a few chips and took back off.

Right after the aid station, the course went up. Seriously up. About a 1/2 mile or so up a paved, switchbacked road. At the top, as we turned back to dirt, I caught up with a guy who I ended up running with until the next aid station. We chatted intermittently as we left the road for a bit of singletrack, which rolled and wandered through the woods, finally spitting us back out at yet another woods road and another aid station right around mile 12. My pace had slowed a bit, due to some walking in the last stretch, but things were still going well. And in fact, I think the stretch between mile 12 and mile 17 was some of my favorite. I was in a good groove, on trail that suited my abilities, and I began picking people off, one at a time. The trail gradually went up on, yup, you guessed it, another old wood road, and right around mile 13, I passed two older men, stopped, having a snack on the side of the trail. I said hello, and one of them said, "no hill for a climber." That made me smile, and I realized, yup, this is perfect. It was all very runnable and I cruised on. I hit halfway somewhere around the 2:50 mark, which gave me hope that I might actually be able to finish around 5:30, or at least 5:45.

The mile 17 aid station was set up right at the edge of a beautiful pond, and marked the beginning of the stretch that Ryan had told me was going to be very hard. Between mile 17 and 20, the trail went up and over Pisgah Mountain, and Ryan had said it was PUD-tastic. Honestly, I thought the trail was pretty nice but it was tough. It was technical single-track, intended for hiking, not running. I passed a number of people along this stretch, one of them a woman, the first I'd seen all morning. I did my share of walking as we wound up and up, and I was very happy to hit the top. I didn't stop, but I did slow down a bit so that I could enjoy the vista from the rocky summit, with views across the valley and over to Mt. Monadnock. From the summit, the trail dropped and dropped, twisting and turning, down to another woods road and the edge of the reservoir. Here I hit the 20 mile aid station, which was also the mile 25.5 aid station, as the course took us on a 5.5 mile loop at this point.

I was thrilled to be feeling pretty good as I ran into the aid station the first time. I stopped, got a drink and a few chips, checked my pack, realizing I hadn't been drinking much, and took off on the Kilburn Loop, which wound through the woods around the reservoir. My Garmin beeped 20 miles somewhere a little into the loop, and my watch read 3:50 or so. The longest I'd been out distance and timewise since March, but I felt good. I passed a couple right near the entrance, and was in a very happy place, feeling strong. The first half of the loop was nice, as it was mostly downhill, but once I hit the back of the loop and took the sharp left to head back towards the aid station, I was definitely feeling the effort and time I had put in. The second half of the loop seemed to go on and on and on. The footing was bad. It was mostly uphill. I was tired. It felt endless. Finally, finally, finally, I was back off the loop and knew I only had a short ways to the aid station. Hurray! I was tired all right, but knew I would finish. It was only a matter of how long it would take me :-)

From the aid station, with less than 5 miles to go to the end, the trail went up, yet again, to a parking lot, and then a quick right onto a trail that climbed and wandered and dropped and repeated itself all over again. I passed a number of people along this stretch, and I kept getting glimpses of a woman ahead. I wasn't sure I had the speed to catch up, but on a long downhill, I passed her, sitting by the edge of the trail with cramps. Not the way anyone wants to be passed for sure! I kept looking for the unmanned water stop that was supposedly at 28.5 miles. I was really wishing for the finish now. Finally, a gate and a pile of water jugs came into sight. Almost there! And then, whoosh! A woman flew by me, as if I was standing still. We were on a road now, and while I managed to pick up the pace, I didn't have enough in the tank to catch her. My quads were cramping as I pounded downhill on the pavement. I knew I didn't have a lot of course left so I pushed as much as I could, and was surprised to find out after the fact that I managed to run 8:30s along this stretch. Still, I couldn't catch her. As the road turned up, I saw a stop sign ahead. I knew from reading other's reports that this signified that the finish was very close. And indeed, I turned the corner, ran the next short stretch of road as hard as I could, crossing the finish line in 5:34:28, good enough for 5th woman and something like 33rd overall (no official results yet). I practically collapsed to the ground, feeling ill, my legs cramping, exhausted. I had nothing left to give. 

But I suppose, in the end, isn't that what I wanted? To leave it all out there? I was really nervous last week before the race. I knew it was going to be a really hard course and honestly, I wasn't sure how I was going to do. Yes, I had run the 50k in March, but that course was as flat as a pancake. I had been on track for an early November marathon, not a mid-September 50k. 40 miles on the nose was the highest mileage I had run leading up to the race, with most weeks falling in the low to mid 30s. I had only done a 16, 16.5 and a 20 mile run as my long runs. I tried to steel myself for what was to come. I knew it was going to be hard. I knew it was going to be hilly. I knew I was going to be out there for a long time, the longest I had ever been running. But, I figured if I ran within myself, I might be able to run around 5:30. I decided that the way to run well was to just embrace it all. To revel in what the course was giving. And every time I hit a hill, I tried to remember what one of our AT friends had said long, long ago when he gave me my trailname - "You just power up those hills! You're like a little sparkplug!" :-) Gotta work those strengths! Yes, I struggled along the way, but all told, I am really happy with how I ran the race and with my finishing time. Now if I had just managed to hold off that 4th place woman... Next time.

It is worth noting that in looking at the Garmin data for the race, the course had 4026 feet of elevation gain and 4024 feet of elevation loss. And my mile splits ranged from 8:31 (last mile) to 14:53 (going over Pisgah Mountain). Talk about a big spread! The Garmin read the course as 29.6 mile, but who knows. They're calling it a 50k, I'm saying it's a 50k :-)

Many thanks to the race director and all the volunteers for putting on a great event! And congrats to Kevin for an excellent run, to Ryan for taking 35 minutes off his time at Pisgah last year (wow!) and for finishing in a mighty quick 4:50:19 after coming off a lot of injuries this season, and to Joe too. Always fun to run a race with friends!

I'm happy to report that now that the nausea is behind me, my celebratory ice cream has been eaten, and I even managed to get in a 3 mile run this afternoon. My legs didn't feel quite as badly as I had feared they would, but I am sticking with my plan to take the rest of the week off. I don't want the hiatus to go on for too long though - this is the best time of the year for running after all! :-)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pigtails!

Since this morning's run wasn't very exciting (3 miles, 25 minutes, in tights, in 43 degree weather), I thought I'd share something a bit more entertaining, like this:

Pigtails!!

Sam came home last night from daycare with a new hairdo! Isn't she just so cute? :-) Yes, I am biased, but come on! As for what she is carrying, it is a whole pile of "books," or folded construction paper. I picked up a new package of construction paper at Target the other day and she just loves to have "books" made. A new obsession! Doesn't she just look so grown up?



Friday, September 16, 2011

Running at Dawn

I was up and out the door by 6:00am this morning, the sky slowly taking on a soft pink hue as the sun rose. It was only 46 degrees and a bit breezy, so I dare say I was even a bit cold as I ran along, but I won't complain about that after all the hot and humid weather we had this summer. In fact, I rather enjoyed the fact that I was wearing gloves and a long sleeve shirt :-) Gotta love the crisp fall air!

I ran the short Highland Green loop, and just have one more 3-miler on tap for tomorrow morning before it's all systems go at Pisgah on Sunday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sam at 23 Months+: A Few Quick Updates

We've given up counting Sam's words these days, as new things are coming out of her mouth all the time. Tonight, when she was babbling away after I put her in her crib, we heard her say "ba ba black sheep" over the monitor. They must be singing that at daycare, as we haven't taught her that one! She knows that her heart is in her body. She knows when something is the "last one" and can say it too. This morning, when we were playing with her stickers, she asked for the "dark blue happy face" (not said entirely clearly but clear enough!). We have the books "Goodnight Maine" and "Goodnight Cape Cod" and she can say "Maine" and "Cape Cod"! She knows that Mama, Sammy, Neenie, Grammie and Gigi are girls, and Daddo, Pip Pop, Grampie and Ronnie are boys. And yes, she calls herself Sammy! :-)

Of course, just as she is easily picking up sounds and words from our mouths, she has become very aware of noises, and will stop and put her finger to her ear when she hears a noise. Some of these noises, like trucks beeping or airplane noises, are starting to scare her, and she wants to sit on my lap to be "protected" from them. She is also learning to count, which is just incredibly adorable! She's still working on it though :-) Unless counting from one to ten goes: "One, Two, Three, Five, Seven, Nine!" Ha! :-)

video


video

She is growing up fast, and it is hard to believe that in less than a month, we will have a two year old on our hands! Amazing how time flies.

Muggy

Dropped off the car for an oil change, and ran home from there, hitting the powerlines for three miles. My legs felt a bit heavy, and the air was a bit muggy, but I was only out there for 25 minutes and change, so how bad could it be? :-) Once I got home, I went out back to fill the birdfeeder and empty the compost bins, and was happy to see that some of "my" birdies are back! Must be fall! Chickadees flitted about, and two nuthatches were making their way up the tree outside the kitchen window, while a small Downy Woodpecker pecked away along a branch. Ryan said it looked like I was talking to myself out there, but really, I was just welcoming some of my friends back to the backyard. Totally normal, right?! :-)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Three

A three mile run. And a three hour nap!

Sam and I went to visit with friends this morning, and after lunch at home, she went down easily for her nap at noon. She was just plain tired out! Ryan was out running, so I sat at the computer, eating my lunch and getting caught up on everyone's race reports :-) That took about a 1/2 hour, after which, I started working on the minestrone soup/stew I was planning for dinner. I got everything to a point where all Ryan needed to do was stir a few times and I went out for my run, right around 1:00. It was hot out! Well, compared to the crisp, clear air of yesterday anyway. Whew! I did the short Highland Green loop, just an easy three to loosen up the legs after yesterday's race. I felt a little creaky, but really, the run was uneventful. When I got home, Sam was still sleeping, so after I stopped sweating, I headed up for a quick shower and came downstairs to do a few things in the kitchen.

Ryan headed out around 2:00, and Sam was still sleeping. I sat and read my book for a bit (still working on Unbroken!) and it was still quiet. I figured I'd chance it, and decided to make some pumpkin cornbread to go with the soup. I've made this recipe a lot, so I knew it wouldn't take long. Got the bread in the oven, the kitchen cleaned up, dishes washed, and still, silence! With about 7 minutes to go on the cornbread, almost three hours after falling asleep, Sam woke up, giggling as she threw her stuffed animals out of the crib. Silly girl! :-)

Amazing what I can cram into three hours these days!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2011 Bradbury Bruiser Race Report

Friday night, Ryan asked me what my race strategy was. I was sitting in 1st place in the women's standings for the series, with Julia only about 1 1/2 minutes behind me. He wondered if I was planning to just run my own race and see what happened, or stick with Julia and just make sure I beat her to keep the series win. The second idea didn't sound like a very sporting race tactic to me, and besides, even if I did that, who was to say that it wouldn't backfire? Nope. I was planning to run my own race. And run hard. Yes, Pisgah is next Sunday, but what the heck? I mean, what could go wrong?! (In all seriousness though, this year the course was muddy and slick and with all the twists and turns, and rocks and roots, there were a lot of people with seriously bloodied leg, arms and torsos and one guy who likely broke his wrist. Ouch. It's not called the Bruiser for nothing! I feel lucky to have escaped unscathed!) Of course, I was feeling a bit of pressure with 1st place in my grasp. I am not used to this sort of pressure! I mean, I put pressure on myself, but I wasn't used to all my friends knowing where I stood, and being in contention for 1st in anything running related. This was a new feeling. I wanted to do the TMRs proud, and not screw up :-)

With this in mind, I was a bit frazzled this morning. Jessi came by to watch Sam for the morning, and although I knew she was in good hands and was going to have fun while I was gone, I was once again finding it hard to switch from "Mom" mode to race mode. I did a 1 mile warm-up, said a few brief hellos, stood in line way too long for the bathroom way to close to start time, and then made my way across the street, where I lined myself up, once again, with Jim and Julia. I noted Natasha was there, and figured, well, there is at least one woman who will beat me (cue, foreshadowing).

The key to the Bruiser is to get in a decent starting position off the snowmobile trail and headed into the Island, the first intestine-like stretch of trail that starts less than a mile into the race. I got into the singletrack off the snowmobile trail ahead of Jim, and with Natasha right on my tail. We lost Jim pretty early on in the Island and lost track of Julia too, but Natasha stuck to me like glue and became my partner, me ahead, her just behind, pushing me, prodding me to run faster. As we were running on the small uphill after mile 3, I saw Blaine just ahead - poor guy, he had twisted his ankle early in the race, although he rallied nicely to finish strong. I think it was around this point that Natasha and I got into this little void, just her and I running along. No one clearly ahead or behind. Odd. I didn't want to let up at all with her right on my tail. I knew if I did, that she would blow by me and that would likely be it. So I chugged along. We ran mostly in silence, but when we popped out onto the snowmobile trail a bit before mile 7, she pulled up next to me and we chatted the whole way to the top. Gotta love trail racing :-) I headed back into the singletrack first and we ran along, together still.

Finally, somewhere around mile 8.5 or so, in the final singletrack stretch before the last aid station, she passed me. I knew it was coming. But once she sprinted past, I faltered a bit. I figured I would take a gel at this point, in the hopes of getting a final boost before the O Trail, but honestly, the stretch of Knights Woods trail up to the O was just plain painful. And then, the last, endless stretch of the race that is the O was all that remained. I tried to keep the pace up. But the quick twists and turns, and little ups and downs slowed me down. I couldn't get into a rhythm. I could see people weaving through the trees all around me. Were they ahead? Or behind? And how far? Who knew? I was alone for a while, but finally, a chase group of 5 caught up to me. Three passed me, including Nate Pike. The other two stayed behind. I tried to stay with Nate, but failed. I just kept focusing on keeping moving, forward, toward the end, toward the light at the end of the tunnel. And finally, finally, finally, there it was! The stone wall! Just one last corner and I was at the end. Woohoo! I came in at 1:50:11, slower than last year by about 2 1/2 minutes, but somehow 2nd woman?! Where was Natasha? Turns out she got totally lost in the O Trail, and wandered around in there for a full 1+ hours before finally popping out and finishing the race. Poor girl! Talk about a bad dream!

Although slightly disappointed to not beat last year's time, I was still happy with how I raced. I'm thrilled to have come in 2nd today, and to have managed to keep my spot in the series. I never would have thought I would ever win the series. I feel a bit silly about it in a way, but I guess that's what happens when some of the fasties don't do all the races and/or don't show up :-) Many, many thanks to Jim, Julia and Natasha for pushing me in the races, and to Ian and Ryan and all the volunteers for making the races possible. Definitely an incredible series! And with lots of friends to boot. Can't beat it!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Crazy Morning

We were up a little before 6am, Sam yelling "Down, down, down" and "No nite nite!" to me as I implored her to go back to sleep. Fine. Downstairs we went, to color and eat toast. And then a quick change and out the door I went a little before 7am to get in a short 3-mile run. It was a glorious morning, sunny and crisp, with the thermometer reading on 58 degrees! Hurray for fall! I got back in time to take a brief shower and then have Sam passed off to me so that Ryan could get to the Brad for course markings. A bit of banana bread (gotta make sure the prizes taste good :-) ), and then Sam and I loaded ourselves and all the necessary books ( :-) ) into the car so that we could go to Kristen's. Kristen nicely agreed to watch Sam for a few hours so I could get to work and Ryan could do what was needed for the Bruiser. Thanks Kristen! I left Sam happily playing with Morgan, and somehow I'm sure she is having lots of fun! I think I might have gotten to work with about 10 seconds to spare, but I made it :-)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Early Morning Run

I was feeling pretty good about the fact that I had actually gotten up and out the door before sunrise this morning... until I read Jamie's post that he was out the door at 4:35am :-) Ha! Anyway, Sam woke me up at 4:30, and after I got her back to sleep, I set my watch for 5:15 and dozed off in bed for a while until the alarm went off. I knew I had to get up and out before Sam woke up, as I had things to do after I dropped her at daycare, and Ryan had to leave at 7:30 to meet up with Ian for some Bruiser course marking. I headed out the door at 5:40, and there was just barely enough light in the sky for me to leave my headlamp at home. It was very quiet. There was a low fog sitting on the powerlines, and not a bird was chirping. I decided to run the 5-mile Highland Green road loop, just so that I didn't trip on anything along the trails in the semi-darkness. A few miles into the run, I saw a faint hue of pink in the sky through the fog, but never got a good view of sunrise. In fact, the sky didn't even really get light. Too many clouds. Which was OK with me, as it meant the house was still nice and dark when I got home! Nothing like an overcast morning to induce a bit of sleeping in :-) I hopped in the shower, and just as I was getting out, I heard Sam's sweet little voice saying "Mama, Mama." Perfect timing! And a nice way to start the day!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rainy

I know a lot of people aren't fans of the taper, but honestly, I think there is something nice about having a week or two of running where there isn't much pressure to go long or do too much. I often feel like I am trying to cram more, more, more into my weeks (and at this, I often fail anyway), so it is a good change of pace to have a few days before a race where a short run is all that is needed. And it's even nicer when, on a cool and rainy morning, the only thing on tap is a short 3 miler. Sure, I got wet, but when you're only out for 25 minutes, what's a bit of rain? :-)

The rest of the week calls for 2 more short runs before Sunday's Bruiser. Nothing like a race in the middle of a taper :-) And then, it's only another week of a few easy runs before Pisgah!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Short and Sweet

Got in an easy, and slightly creaky, 3 miler this morning. It was 7:30 am, it was Labor Day (ie. September, people!) and it was still muggy and humid. What is up with that?! Please, please, please, please, please, weather gods, let it be crisp and cool on the 18th!

After my run, Sam and I went outside to stomp in the puddles for a bit and play in the sandbox before my sister and Morgan arrived. We hung out at home for a bit, with lots of this:

 Kisses!

and this...
Cousin love :-) (or is it a headlock?!)

Ryan joined us for lunch at Broadway Deli, and then he headed off to get some work done, and Kristen and Morgan headed home. Thanks for coming to visit guys, it was fun! Sam and I went home in the hopes that she would take a nap. Well, not so much... so instead, we went grocery shopping, did some coloring and played around the house for a while before going over to Nate and Shannon's for a playdate and dinner. Sam had lots of fun playing with Finley and Charlotte, and Nate and Shannon cooked us up a delicious veggie pot pie casserole. Yum! (As an aside, Sam can now say both Finley and Charlotte's names! Impressive, eh?!) 

A full day, and fun to be able to share a Monday off with everyone!! :-)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Is It Summer Again?

I had my last long run on tap for today. Last night, I told Ryan I wanted to spend the morning with Sam, and go out around 10:30ish in the hopes that Sam would be asleep for 1/2 my run. In the end, Ryan didn't get out for his run until a little later than planned, and then Sam kept wanting me to read her one more book :-), so, I didn't get out the door until 11:00. We had been outside taking a walk and playing in the sandbox while Ryan was running, and although the temperature didn't seem bad, it sure did seem heavy out. And then Ryan came back from his run bathed in sweat. Hmmm. I was already feeling a bit undermotivated and hadn't eaten much all morning. Throw in the humidity, and I knew it was likely to be a bit rough. But no matter. I had to go. I had 16 to 18 in mind. Ryan said, run for 3 hours.

I headed out on the powerlines to do the extended dump loop first, hoping to get the sunniest section out of the way before it got too hot. Luckily, there was a good breeze blowing, and in the shade, things didn't seem all that bad. I cruised along pretty easily, but I was definitely feeling tired. When I got back to the Mt. Ararat road, I figured I might as well throw in a few hills, so I went up and over the paved hill, and then back around and up the steep trail Scott has shown us during the Topsham Trail Days run before continuing out into Highland Green and onto the Cathance trails. I was tempted numerous times to cut things short, but I managed to override the temptations and just keep on running. Luckily, the trails along the river are pretty nice and it isn't really a chore to run down there. I was surprised to find that things had totally dried out, and the river was running very low again. Such a change from Monday's run!

I decided somewhere along the way to just run the 7 mile Cathance loop, but ended with a shortened variation on that due to a few trails being too overgrown for me to even want to try running on them. Not to mention, I ended up running out of water around mile 13! This is definitely one downside of the Nathan pack - I can't tell how much I've already had to drink and how much I have left. During the last few miles, soaked in sweat and without water, all I could think about was the crunchy, cold red grapes waiting for me in the fridge! Boy, did they hit the spot once I finally got in the door! I ended up hitting the low side of my goal for today, and didn't quite get to 3 hours, but the 16 miles on the nose / 2:39:12 out on the trails I did get in felt like more than enough for a day like today. Hopefully it's enough for Pisgah too :-)

Sam was still asleep when I got home, but woke up pretty much the second I got out of the shower. Not much time for recovery, but we had a fun afternoon together, and the yummy Coldstone ice cream I just ate more than made up for the lost recovery time :-)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

40

Days like this are the ones I really wish I didn't have to work Saturdays. Today is Mindy's 40 for 40 run at Bradbury. Ryan and Sam went over for a bit this morning, and took a hike out onto the trails to cheer everyone on. Sam had lots of fun seeing all our friends, spending time with Pete ("More Pete!") back at the "aid station" and running around getting muddy :-) I'm glad they had the chance to get out and enjoy some of the fun, but what I really wish is that I had been able to be there too! Oh well. Such is life. In any event, I've been virtually cheering Mindy on all morning, and can't wait to hear how it all turned out!!

I got in my own 40 this morning, although it was a 6 miler to cap off a 40 mile week :-) Ha. Not quite as impressive as Mindy's 40 for 40, but pretty good for me. Right after Ryan and Sam left for Bradbury, I headed out onto the powerlines to run the extended Homeplace loop. Looks like I might not be able to cut through from the powerlines to the snowmobile trail extension off Homeplace for too much longer. The property owner has tilled the field you can cut through and is working on putting up a fence. Oh well. It made for a nice little lollypop option, but I'm sure another route will come to light if that one is blocked.

As I headed back through the trail running through the woods along Homeplace, I came across a few kids with a huge bassett hound. They wondered if I knew who his owner was. Unfortunately, I did not. Also unfortunately, the hound decided it was far more fun to run with me than to continue on with the kids. He must have run with me for over a 1/2 mile before I got to the bottom of the hill leading up to Rt. 24. I really didn't want to be responsible for him, especially near a major road, so I got down on his level and firmly told him to go home. It took a few tries, but eventually he wandered off, back toward the powerlines. I felt a little badly leaving him out there, but he's a hound - he found his way home, right?! I hope so, anyway! That was pretty much the excitement from the run. That, and the fact that I managed to get home, get showered and dressed and back out the door to work in 11 minutes so as to get there on time. Good thing I am a keep it simple kind of girl!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Socked In And "I Love It!"

Sam woke up around 5:30 this morning, but I managed to get her back to sleep. I quickly got myself dressed and whispered to Ryan that I was heading out to run. I knew there was a chance Sam would wake up while I was gone, but I figured she would sleep for a little while longer. The clock was reading 5:50 am as I headed out into the thick fog and mist. No wonder it seemed nice and dark inside still! I was planning on 6 miles and decided to run the cart paths. I chose to go up and over Mt. Ararat instead of through the woods, and hit the cart paths at 1.5 miles into the run. The air was thick and quiet as I ran along, and a heavy dew clung to the grass along the course. No birds chirped, and not much seemed to be moving on such a dreary morning. I cranked along, keeping up a decent pace, and despite feeling a bit tired, the run was a good one and I was glad to have gotten out early. Unfortunately, not early enough! Turns out Ryan only got about 5 more minutes of sleep after I left! Poor guy. He doesn't do well in the morning, and Sam is an early bird for sure! Once I got home, he even snuck upstairs and back to bed for a few minutes before getting himself ready for his own morning run :-)

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Sam is becoming a little parrot. OK, so she doesn't get the exact wording right all the time, but it's still cute. Case in point: "How Do I Love You?" is today's "in" book; she just calls it "I Love It!" instead :-)


video

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Today's Speedwork Brought To You By Guilt

I've always considered myself a morning runner, but I have not been very successful recently at getting up before Sam wakes to get my running in this summer. And now that the days are noticeably shorter, I don't have the daylight on the other end to run after Sam is asleep. So, this morning, I did what I strive not to do. I ran after Sam woke up and before I dropped her off at daycare. She was not happy to have me leave. She was crying and reaching out to me as I walked out the door. Not ideal. I felt pretty guilty to be putting my running above my time with her. I know she was fine after I left, but I still felt badly about it. So, since all I could think about was getting my run done so I could get back and at least play with her for 10 minutes before we headed to daycare, I figured, what the heck? I was planning to do the Highland Green loop anyway, let's do speedwork! Given that I didn't go into this run thinking about speed at all, and only decided once I was out there, I'm pretty pleased with how it went. The middle three miles ended up being 7:37, 7:19 and 7:14, and while I was definitely working, I was surprised at how decent I felt out there. At least I managed to get something good out of the guilt I was feeling this morning!