Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Creaky

You would think that two days off in a row would be better than one if you were trying for a mellow week, right? But honestly, taking two days off after having the biggest weekend of back-to-backs (12.25 and 10.75) in a while turns out to not such a hot idea (not that the runs are a lot compared to some, but that is a lot over a weekend for me at this point!). Although the skies had cleared by the time I headed out for my run around 8:15 this morning, and the temperature was hovering around 60 degrees (Come on! It's November 30th! This is just weird!!), I could not get in a rhythm. My legs felt heavy. I was creaky. I felt low on energy. Blah. I changed my mind on the route about a mile in, and went for 4 miles instead of longer. Hopefully I'll have a bit more pep in my steps tomorrow!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Photos

No running today, so here are a few more photos from our trip to Grammie & Grampie's for Thanksgiving! We had a lot of fun :-)

Enjoying the warm weather out back

Breakfast with Grampie

Riding her trike!

Such fun!

Foam rolling :-)

Watching "The Elephant Song" on the IPad

All dressed up for Thanksgiving dinner

More bike!

Wheeeeeeee!!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stonecat Wanderings

I knew Ryan was likely hoping to get a medium-length run in today to complete a good back-to-back for the weekend, so I suggested going over to Willowdale to run. As we had left Sam with Irene and Dana all morning yesterday, we chose to go later in the day today, leaving once Sam had gone down for her nap. This would enable us to get in at least some of our running when she wouldn't miss us, and would give the grandparents a bit of a break too :-) I know they love her, but Sam is a bit high-energy and that is tiring at times! Anyway, we didn't get onto the trails until a little after 1:00 pm. The sun had finally come out and temps were in 50s, but I was still chilled when we started. The gloves stayed on for a few miles at least, and I never really felt like I sweated much.

As we were running the start of the Stonecat course, I asked Ryan, so, do you know where we're going? To which he replied, you are the one who has run the race here! True. But seriously. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit directionally challenged. Once I've run somewhere a number of times, I can remember a route, same as with driving. But, despite having run the race last year, I would not say I knew the course. Oh well. I would give it my best try. Luckily we found that the race crew had put up pieces of reflective tape at intersections and key points along the trails, and we were able to pretty easily follow the course for the first few miles without having an issue. The crossing between the two beaver ponds/bogs was deep and really really cold! We had no choice but to splash right through it, and in a few of the deeper spots, the water actually splashed up to my knees. Brrr! It took a while for my feet to warm up after that.

Somewhere around mile 5, we noticed we weren't seeing as much reflective tape. But I remembered bits here and there, and thought we were on course. What I didn't know was whether I had us exactly on track, or not. We just sort of winged it, and it was going fine, except that around 7 miles in, I was starting to feel that my stomach was not very happy. And I was getting hungry, but the GU I had in my pocket would have been a bad idea at this point. And we didn't know where we were. I got a bit grumpy. I was upset that I felt like I was supposed to be leading us on a route I didn't know well. Of course, Ryan said he was expecting me to get lost, but I wasn't sure that really helped :-) Anyway, we snapped back and forth a few times, and after I took a bio-break, Ryan took over for a few minutes, we made our peace, and ended up back on track.

From there, I remembered the way, and although we skipped a few of the late in the loop single-track additions by design, we kept on course. We ended up back at the school with 10.75 miles, and since I was hoping for between 8 and 10, that was more than enough! Despite the "bad patch" around mile 7, it's always good to be out in the woods! I felt strong running, and was happy to have the chance to get in another nice trail run with Ryan. Grandparents are awesome :-) Thanks Irene and Dana! We really appreciate it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Twelve at The "Other" Brad

Thanks to Mindy for the title of this post :-) Ha! This morning, Ryan and I left Sam with Grammie, Grampie, Auntie Meg and Uncle Chris, and headed to Bradley Palmer for a run. Ryan was planning on a trail marathon, his final long run before Lookout, and I figured I would tag along for 2 loops on the Fat Ass course to get in 12. Actually, I needed to make it 12.25 so I could round out the week at an even 35 ;-) Nothing like being flexible!

Anyway, it was bright and sunny, and although it was supposed to get warm, it was still a bit chilly at 8:45, especially in the shade. But of course, we warmed up quickly. In fact, a little after a mile into the loop, we took a short detour back to the car so Ryan could drop his shell. Since we were running the FA course, it meant we could just "go" and not think about a route or worry about mileage, and really, it's a nice loop through the park. Things were a bit mushy in spots from the recent rain, and there had obviously been a lot of horses out enjoying the good weather, as they had left A LOT of dropping and churned things up, but otherwise, the trails were in good shape, and I enjoyed the fun mix of twisty singletrack and wide old roads.

I could tell Ryan wasn't really feeling it right from the start, so we just chugged along, silently ticking off the miles side by side. I was feeling pretty good, and felt badly that I couldn't do anything much to help Ryan out, except just keep on going. We ticked off the first loop (6.28 miles) in 59:xx, and after a quick bathroom break for me, headed right back out. Ryan was struggling a fair bit with tight groin/psoas muscle, and I was a little concerned, but when we got back to the cars at the end of loop number 2, he was ready to head right back out. I stopped once the Garmin hit 12.25 and called it a day, having gotten in a good almost-two hours on the trails. I came home to find Sam playing happily with the crew, and they really tired her out, as she went down easily for her nap, which is always a bonus :-) In the end, Ryan pushed on through, and finished his trail marathon in 4:04. Nice! All in all, a good day at The "Other" Brad :-)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Post-Thanksgiving Fun

We're still hanging out at Ryan's parent's place, so we took advantage of the "in house" babysitters this morning and went out for another run together. We hit the same loop as yesterday. It was about 15 degrees warmer out, and we were 2 minutes slower. My legs were feeling a bit heavy. Maybe from yesterday's run, yesterday's dinner, or all that pie, who knows!? But it was still a nice morning to get out.

Sam was in a bit of a "funk" this morning, so after we got showered up, she, Ryan, Meghan and I hopped in the car and went to a nearby playground attached to an elementary school. They had a little house with one of those play kitchens inside, and she spend most of the time there, making "tea for Bampie," coffee and cookies for the rest of us, and gathering up wood chips and putting them in and taking them out of the sink, etc. We couldn't convince her to go down the slide this time, but she did have fun walking up the steps and jumping into our arms from the top platform. And as she was walking up, she was counting for us. Very cute :-) She's also really gotten one through ten down!

video


The change of scenery had the desired effect, and by the time we were ready to go back home she was in a much better mood!

Irene and Dana nicely offered to watch Sam later so that Ryan, Meghan, Chris and I could go out to dinner tonight. We're looking forward to a yummy Mexican dinner  that doesn't involve the inevitable yells of "Doooowwwwn!" before the meal is done :-) Thanks Grammie and Grampie!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone had a wonderful turkey day, full of friends and family, and lots of yummy food and drink! Ryan and I started off the day by going out around 8:30 for a nice, quick 5 miler on the roads around his parents house in Georgetown. It was cold, but there is no snow down here. None at all! In fact, Irene couldn't believe that we actually had 6" on the ground at home!! During the run, I was feeling good. Ryan wasn't. He said I was pushing the pace. I said I was just trying to take advantage of one day when I'm feeling faster than he is :-) We finished off the loop in 39:03, and hoped it was enough to earn us each a few pieces of pie (or some extra turkey and stuffing in Ryan's case)!!

We had a fun day with everyone, and Sam tired everyone out :-)

Building "a big house" with Great Grammie

Getting the animals together for the zoo with Bampie

Stickers with Auntie Meg!

Matching hats!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Busy Monday

Since it is a short week this week, I took Sam into daycare today. Yes, I could have spent the day with her, and maybe that is what a "good" mother would do, but honestly, my list of things-to-do is long, things are constantly being added to it, and having an extra day to cross things off the list sounded like a good idea. Plus, Sam is going to get more than enough family time over Thanksgiving, so I figured she would be happy to spend the day with her friends at daycare, leaving me 8 1/2 hours "free."

Of course, I couldn't resist spending part of that time running, so after dropping Sam off, I headed to the Commons to get in a nice run on the trails. I haven't had the chance to get over there in a while, and it was a good change of pace. It was crisp and cool out, the trails were leaf-covered, and the woods were quiet. I managed to get in 7.25 miles in a little over an hour before heading home to do some laundry, grab some lunch and head downtown to do a little Christmas shopping. It is highly unlike me to be Christmas shopping so early, but none of the shops open until 10am, so there is no way to get down there except on a day like today. I came away with a few bags full of goodies and then sped south on 295 to do some errands around Portland. By the time I was back in the driveway this afternoon, it was 4pm. Where did the day go?! I had hoped to get a lot more done, but alas, time flies! Off for one more errand, and to pick up the kiddo! So much for all that "free" time :-)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Warm November Sunday

I had originally hoped that I might be able to meet up with the girls for a run today but, you know, Ryan has that 50 mile thing coming up :-), so he claimed Sunday as his long run day, meaning it was just Sam and I hanging out this morning. We hung out for a bit at home and then headed over to Bradbury for a hike and to find Daddo out in the woods.  It was sprinkling lightly when we left, but by the time we arrived at the park, the sky was a beautiful blue. And although the breeze was cool, it was warm and sunny, the perfect day to be out walking on the trails. Sam didn't want to walk on her own, so I put her in the Ergo, and we headed out to the Terrace Trail. Ryan was planning to run the Snowshoe Bad**s first, and then do the Breaker to get his run over 20 miles. I took a guess, based on time and what I thought might be the ending of one of the snowshoe races, and in the end, it worked out! As we were walking up, we saw Ryan, Jeff and NJ Dave heading down, all looking good.

Sam and I continued on up, taking in the view from the summit before heading down to the playground. Sam did a lot of swinging, and a little playing, and we managed to see Ryan one more time. He yelled that he thought he was going to be out there for a while, so I figured Sam and I might as well go get lunch. And who should we see as we walked into the parking lot, but Val? Yeah! She was up for lunch at Edna & Lucy's, and it was fun to have a chance to catch up a bit! Sam missed out on a delicious grilled cheese, which ended up going wonderfully with my soup, and chose to dine on a homemade donut instead. Can't blame her too much, I guess! Val and I chatted while Sam ran back and forth between us and the rocking chair, which she pondered for a while before figuring out how to climb into/off it. She had such a great smile on her face when she looked over at us the first time she sat herself down in the chair! So cute :-)

Turns out Ryan was more in the mood for a Philly Cheesesteak than Edna & Lucy's, so it all worked out fine! And once Sam was down for her nap, I headed out for my own run. I ran down to the river, enjoying the warm afternoon. The golf course parking lot was full - why not on a 60 degree day?! - and there were a number of people out enjoying the trails.

Sam requested we go to "her" playground late in the afternoon, and it seemed too nice of an afternoon to not take advantage of, so we jumped in the car for a quick 1/2 hour of swinging and sliding, watching the sun set above the trees. A fun day enjoying this ridiculously unseasonably warm weather! And I topped it all off with a big bowl of pumpkin ice cream, so I am more than happy :-) Hurray!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heavy Clouds, No Rain

Apologies to Sting, as I was no doubt singing "Heavy Clouds, No Rain" totally off-key this morning as I ran :-) OK, so I wasn't really singing out loud, but you get the idea. Amazingly, despite my total lack of rhythm and inability to carry a tune, Sam still requests that I sing her songs. "Baby Bumblebee," "Wheels on the Bus," "Twinkle Twinkle," and the newest, courtesy of Kate, "Goin' on a Bear Hunt." These songs get stuck in my head a lot, so it was nice when "Heavy Clouds, No Rain" popped up this morning - a welcome change!

Anywho, I head out under heavy cloud cover this morning to run the cart paths. I was surprised to find a maintenance man out on the course, cleaning up the first green. Wow, this is seriously late in the year to be playing golf in Maine, isn't it?! But then again, I guess we have been having some seriously unseasonable weather of late, so why not? I was also surprised to run past a medium-sized yellow and brown striped snake as I was nearing hole #6. I guess he was out looking for some sun on a November morning! I stopped to watch him for a bit as he wandered slowly off the path back into the brush before continuing on my way.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rice!

The past two mornings, Sam has asked for rice "with cheeeeezzzz!" for breakfast. Yesterday, when that is what she wanted, I had to smile, as I couldn't help remembering my sister Kristen, who was never one to like traditional breakfast foods, eating rice for breakfast many mornings when we were growing up. I emailed my mom and sister to share with them that Sam was continuing the Raymond tradition of non-traditional breakfast foods. My mom wrote back to say that she had had 1/2 a chicken salad sandwich for breakfast, and Kristen replied that Morgan had eaten dumplings for breakfast. Well, OK then :-)

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What a beautiful sunny, bright morning! I got in a nice six miles on the trails, although I was way over dressed! Lots of bird sightings today, which was fun. About a mile into the run, a Hairy Woodpecker flew overhead. I stopped to watch it, as it flitted from one tree to the next until it finally settled on the ground, hopping around and pecking at this and that. As I was returning on the powerlines, I watched a big hawk fly silently over the brush. It was a bit too far away for a concrete identification but I am thinking it was likely a red-shouldered hawk based on its rusty-orange breast. Then, as I was coming up the powerline hill onto the Mt. Ararat tower road, there was a huge uproar in the top of the pine trees. A small murder of crows was making quite a racket! Lots of juncos, goldfinch, sparrows and robins out and about too.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cathance 10

I got in my own jaunt around the Cathance this morning. Donning my bright-orange reflective vest, I hit the trails at 7:15 this morning for a nice 10 miler. It was weirdly warm out. And it's November 14. I hardly believed the thermometer, which was reading just over 50 degrees, so I put on shorts, a long sleeve shirt and wore gloves. The gloves were off before mile 3, and the sleeves got rolled up soon after. I scared up a big doe along the Ravine Loop, but otherwise the woods were quiet, void of animals and people. I ran the "regular" 9ish mile loop and tacked on a bit at the end, coming down the back road to Tedford and then up the powerlines from Topsham Crossing. I felt a bit weighed down by the leftover pancakes I had eaten just before leaving, and didn't eat anything in the 1:35 I was out there, which is highly unusual for me. Other than that, I felt pretty good, and was happy to get in a bit of a longer run.

I got home with just enough time to hop in the shower before Sam and I headed to Pineland for the Monday morning story time. The stories this week were cute, but a bit too advanced for Sam. She did, however, enjoy the snack - delicious apples and cheese from the farm :-) - and it was a good activity for the morning. It was so warm out that after we picked up our requisite purchase from the Market (cheese this time around), we went out walking in the fields for a bit, with Sam running ahead and stopping to pick dandelions along the way. There were still bees and a few butterflies out feeding on the flowers too, so I guess we were all taking advantage of what Mother Nature was giving us today!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cathance & Pancakes, November Edition

In the early summer, when we hosted our last Cathance & Pancakes run, Ryan was injured. So I led the group out on the trails. This time around, it was my turn to stay at home, hang with Sam and get the food cooked up while Ryan showed the group some of the new trails he's been exploring beyond the Cathance. Sounds like he came up with a great route!

Kate, who is recovering from a great run at Stonecat last weekend, stayed behind with Sam and I. Kate is just the kind the teacher I hope Sam has when she gets to school age - I was impressed that she was updating a blog of her classroom's activities for the week so that the parents could keep up-to-date with things, and she brought over 2 of the IPads that her classroom had been issued, just so that Sam could play on them for a while. Most of the apps were a bit too advanced for Sam, but she did get a kick out of an app that let her finger be the "crayon" on the pad. We also sang a few songs. Thanks for keeping us company, Kate, and for being so good with Sam!

Kate also helped me with the cooking, and it's a good thing! There is no way I could have gotten everything cooked up without help. We looked at the pile of food we made - 2 plates piled high with pancakes, 2 lbs. of bacon, sausages, plus what others had brought, and figured it would be more than enough. Well, I have obviously forgotten what a crowd of runners can eat :-) We were back to the stove for a few more rounds of pancakes, bacon and sausage within minutes of everyone walking in the door! But it was great fun, and always nice to have a chance to catch up with everyone!

While I didn't get to join in on the running part of "Cathance & Pancakes" this time around, I did get out for a run before everyone came over. I donned my Inov-8 road shoes once again, and headed out on the Highland Green loop. I had no real plans for what sort of run this was going to be, but I felt good, and somehow it turned into a fast one. I didn't quite manage to negative-split all five miles, as the last mile is back uphill on the powerlines, but it was close. 8:22; 7:53; 7:44; 7:26 and 7:45. Felt nice to push the pace a bit. And what better thing to do after a nice morning run than make pancakes and hang with friends? :-)

Now it's onto an afternoon playdate and dinner with Morgan and Kristen! Might as well cram the day full of fun, right?!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Shoes

Ryan has been hounding me to actually get out and wear the new Inov-8 road shoes that I got from Ian last month. They have been sitting by the door, all pretty and white, for a few weeks and I have yet to don them. Until this morning. I don't know why. I think because I was slightly taken aback at the sole of the shoe, and unsure how they would actually be to run in, even though they were certainly comfortable wearing around. In any event, today was their maiden voyage :-) Finally!

Shiny and new! And so girly with all the purple too :-)

I did a quick spin around the short Highland Green loop, adding on a loop around the middle school to get to 3.5 miles, you know, just so this week would be an even 30. Ha. Anyway, the shoes held up great. Very cushy. And although I was nervous about how they would do on anything other than road, they were fine on the rocks and sand and gravel. I don't think I'd want to wear them if it was slick out, or slushy, but the traction from the strange soles is actually quite good. So it looks like they'll be in the rotation now, which is just what we need... another pair of shoes by the door :-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Seven

Got in a lovely 7 miles on the trails yesterday. It was in the 50s (!!) so I went out wearing shorts and short-sleeves. The short-sleeve shirt was my 2008 MDI Marathon shirt, which is HUGE, but is a bright orange-yellow, and practically meant I was glowing out there in the woods. Luckily, I heard no shots this time, and saw no hunters. I ran a modified version of the dump loop, which means that for 90% of the time, I was running trails bordering people's yards, making it pretty safe, even on a day where I might find hunters in the woods. Spent a lot of time pondering the whole Penn State mess (so sad), as well as thinking about 2012 races. The run went by in a flash, and I managed to squeak the 7 miles in in just under an hour. Just a short run on tap for tomorrow, which will bring my mileage for the week up to a reasonably respectable 30 :-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

To the River and Back

I came home from dropping off Sam at daycare, and was getting myself ready to head out for a run. Ryan was in the middle of his breakfast, and abruptly looked up and said "Whatcha runnin'?" I told him I was planning to run to the river and back for 5.5 miles, and asked if he wanted to join me. He looked up and said, sure. So there you go, instant running partner. Yeah! It was cool out, but there was a thick low-lying fog and the air was somehow heavy and sticky. Weird. We had a nice run through the woods and down to the river. We chatted the whole way, mostly about racing, as we discussed the pros and cons to this race and that race. I was so into the conversation that my legs went on auto-pilot not once, but twice, wanting to lead me on the 7 mile Cathance loop instead of shorter river loop. Ryan could only shake his head at me. I guess that's what I get for mostly running alone. When I am with someone and talking away, I get so caught up in the conversation that I don't pay attention to the route. Oops :-) Anyway, we ran a nice, snappy 47:26 for the 5.5 miles - or nice and snappy for me anyway! - and it was lots of fun to have some company, and to have someone to bounce race ideas off. Thanks Ryan!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Monday Monday

I got in a nice 6 miles on the cart path this morning. It was chilly when we woke up, so I was back in tights, gloves and hat. I kept the pace easy, and just let my mind wander as I ran along. With all the talk of people signing up for spring ultras, I was rolling things over in my head, pondering what I want to do with next year's race calendar. I have the 10 miler and the Bradbury snowshoe series on tap for the winter (although I really really need to get some snowshoes!), but I definitely want to have a few longer things to run next year. The question is what, and when. I haven't found what seems like just the "perfect" race yet, so I guess I have to keep looking :-) Somehow, I am sure I will come up with something(s) good!

Ryan vacated the premises soon after I got back from my run, and my friend Jess and three of her kids came over to play with Sam. It was a bit of a whirlwind with everyone running around, but we managed to catch up a bit at least :-) It had turned into a really nice, warm morning, so after they left, Sam and I took a walk out back, and swept some leaves off the patio before lunch/naptime. We kept busy in the afternoon with a grocery shopping trip, silly "night night" games and singing songs, and Sam "helped" me make pizza for dinner. A pretty typical Monday around here :-)

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One of my cousins posted this photo of the family from our weekend in Williamstown last month. I love the expressions on Sean and Ryan's faces :-) And it is such fun to see a photo of all of us together!

The Raymond clan

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Back to Shorts

It is hunting season here in Maine. This means lots of orange gear when out running. But Sundays are a day of no hunting. Which means, take a deep breath, still wear your orange, and head out into the woods to enjoy the peace and quiet. All of which I intended to do today. So, after a really really really early wake-up (darn you, daylight savings!!), a yummy breakfast and fun on the indoor playground at The Fresh Batch, and some time in LLBean, I headed out for my run right at noon, shortly after Sam went down for her nap. It was a beautiful blue sky day, and it had warmed up nicely to right around 50 degrees. Back to shorts weather! Wearing a long sleeve top with my bright yellow-orange MDI Marathon t-shirt from 2008 over it (see hunting note above), I was perfectly comfortable.

I ran through the woods to the quarry, and then down along the river. The bright sunlight filtered down through the remaining leaves on the trees and pockets of cold air greeted me in the hollows. The water rushed over the rapids along the river, and the leaves crunched underfoot. I had the trails to myself. It was lovely. After meandering the twisty trail along the Ravine loop, I headed out on the back Highland Green roads to Tospham Crossing. I was feeling good, and was pondering the rest of my route as I neared the powerlines. And then, BAM! A shot. Loud. Very nearby. Followed by a second shot! I stopped, my heart pounding. It was Sunday! There should be no hunting! What the hell?! Another shot sounded. And that was that. That was all I needed. I turned right, instead of left, and hightailed it back home. I was really looking forward to getting in more miles, but I had no desire to be shot at, and honestly, after hearing the shots, I just sort of lost my desire to be out running in the woods alone. I am sure someone was just doing target practice, but sheesh! It was pretty creepy. I ended up with 8 miles on the nose in 1:15.

We rounded out the afternoon playing outside in the leaves and the sandbox, and then having Nate, Shannon and Charlotte over to dinner (Finley was spending a few days with his grandparents). The two girls had lots of fun! There was lots of giggling going on :-) It was a great time!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Our Little Character

Sam is talking up a storm these days. She is quite the chatterbox, and some of the things she says/does these days are just a riot. She certainly is a little character! In an effort to document some of these things for posterity's sake (or future embarrassment down the road), here is a random recent list of "Samisms":

We will listen to her on the monitor at night after I've put her down to sleep, and she'll be singing "Baby Bumblebee," "Happy Birthday," "Baa Baa Black Sheet" and/or the ABC song to herself, over and over. She tattles on herself, telling me the other day when I picked her up from daycare, "Sammy time out. Pull Annie hair." (Gotta love two year olds!) She loves to narrate everything we do, everything she sees in front of her, and give us precise directions on what she would like us to do next.

 "Mama sit box too!"

She loves to help around the house. She will grab her broom, dustpan and little brush, and say "Help mama clean. Sweep bathroom." She just learned how to put her hands in her sweatshirt pockets yesterday morning, and was running around the house with the sweatshirt zipped all the way up, hood up and hands in her pockets, giggling like mad. She loves to have us run with her around the house, back and forth, back and forth, from the stair landing to the dishwasher. "Run Mama run!" The other night, after Ryan got home from being away for two days/nights, she ran up to give him a hug and said "Missing you Daddo." Wrong tense, but oh so adorable.

This morning, while I was out running, Ryan managed to catch her singing Happy Birthday to Pippi on his IPhone. We've been practicing, so that she would be prepared to tell Dad "Happy Birthday" this morning, and after a few tries she actually did say it to him over the phone, but I'm glad we have this video too. So cute :-)

video
Happy Birthday Pippi!

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In running news, I went out for a nice 6 miles on the cart path yesterday, and got in 4 this morning, to round out the week at 25 miles. The mornings have been nice and sunny and crisp. Great for running!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Variable

If you're a skier, you know that the snow report has its own language. You realize that when "variable" is used to describe the conditions, it means all bets are off. It could be awesome out there. It could be wicked sketchy. Heck, it could be great for one turn and horrible for the next three. And if it's early or late season skiing you're doing, variable is probably what you're going to get. A rock here. Ice there. Some great fast stuff in the middle. Who knows? But if you're a true skier, you're out there anyway. Because, well, why not?! I think the same use of variable applies to trail running, especially in the shoulder seasons of late fall and early spring. You never know what you're going to get out on the trails when you head out for a run on a cold, early November morning, a few days after a freak October snowstorm. And even though Ryan warned me it was going to be slick out there, I said, "I can't just run the road loop for the next two months!" So, I put on my screw shoes for the first time this year. Yes, it was overkill for a lot of the route, and the screws click-clack-clicked along the road and the rocks. But it gave me the freedom to not pussy-foot around on the icy stretches, to dig right into the crunchy snow and just keep on going without a thought. I sunk into hoar frost 3" deep, and through the thin and crisp transformed layer of snow into the soft sand below. I splashed through some cold mud, and skirted around frozen puddles. It was messy, late fall conditions at their "best," and variable to say the least. But you know what? It was fun. Which, after all, isn't that why we're out there?!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Fun

Well, we didn't do a traditional Halloween like most folks, because honestly, it is not my favorite holiday, and the thought of traipsing around in the dark with a 2 year old all in the name of candy is just not my cup of tea! I figure I'll hold off on this one until I possibly can! But we did have a fun day anyway!

After running laps around the house for a while, Sam and I headed over to Pineland Farms for their Monday Story Hour. Although Sam loves her books, going to a story hour was a bit different and may have been too much for her, but we still had fun, even if we didn't always pay attention to the story at hand :-) I do think this will be a good activity to keep in mind for the future for sure! The leader read 3 stories, then took a break to give the kids a snack (Sam loved the yummy Pineland Farms cheese!) and let them color a picture. Then it was back for two more books, and a few songs. As it was Halloween, everything was holiday related, and a lot of the kids had on costumes. We came home with Sam asking me to sing her "hokey" (ie. the Hokey Pokey). Gotta love all these wacky kid songs! *sigh*

Then after naptime, we headed over to Nate and Shannon's for our annual "avoid Halloween" dinner. I did at least put Sam in her tutu, so that we were in the spirit of things a bit :-) Don't the winter hat and the green elf-like slippers just complete the ensemble?!


Actually, while she was excited to wear her tutu, she was even happier for the chance to race around the house with Finley, ride one of his toy bikes, and make a bit of a racket! :-) We enjoyed a delicious dinner of root vegetable chili, salad and bread, and I brought a pumpkin pie for dessert. Yum. We offered Sam a the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup at one point, but it was of no interest to her whatsoever! Ha. I'm thinking she didn't realize she was missing anything at all by not trick or treating, which is just what we intended :-)