Monday, December 31, 2012

Year's End

Well, I, for one, am going to be asleep long before the ball drops at midnight. Not that I've ever taken to staying up late, but this silly little cold/cough is making me tired and I am really hoping to get some sleep tonight! I've also made the sad decision to not go to the Brad tomorrow morning for the New Year's Day run with the TMR crew. I was really looking forward to it, but I think skipping it is the wisest decision. I want to be able to get rid of this cough, and feel like a long, hard run in the snow at the Brad just isn't the best thing. I'll plan to still get a run in - can't kick off the new planner with a zero day! - but I think that keeping it mellow is the plan.

We were all up from 2:00 to 3:00 am this morning, with Sam coughing and having a rough time getting back to sleep, so I didn't get up and out early for my run as I had planned. Ryan was meeting up with Jamie for a morning of skate skiing, so Sam and I hung out around the house, made pumpkin muffins, and finally, made our way over to LLBean, as Sam was in desperate need of new snowpants. The ones we had kept from last year were about 6" too short in the legs :-) By the time we all got home, it was around 2:00 pm. Sam and I had had a good morning, but I was feeling a bit mopey. It was a beautiful blue sky winter day, with snow on the ground and warm temps, and I wasn't feeling great. I hadn't gotten in my run and was feeling a bit down about it. The plan called for 6.5 miles, you know, to get to an even 1400.0 for the year :-) I wasn't sure I was up for that, but decided I had better get out anyway. I knew I would feel better if I at least attempted to get in a decent run!

I went out without a true route in mind, telling Ryan I would be gone for an indeterminate amount of time, somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour, probably running around Highland Green, but maybe on the powerlines if the footing was good. How's that for precise?! :-) I went out on the powerline trail, which had been traveled by the snowmobilers but which was still pretty soft, and turned onto Highland Green Road. The back road entrance looked partially cleared so I decided to do that stretch first. The weird thing is that the plowing didn't continue around the loop; it veered off down to Tedford Road. I had no route in mind, so stuck with the cleared path and ran down Tedford to hook up with the powerlines again. The going out towards Rt. 24 was even softer, so I turned around fairly quickly and headed back up Tedford to Highland Green Road, where I ran the paved section to the end and then turned around. In the end, my odd little route put me back at the house exactly as the Garmin hit 6.5 miles, so it all worked out! I kept the pace mellow, and just tried to enjoy being out, and felt pretty good. Whether or not it was a wise decision with the cough remains to be seen, but it sure helped me feel better mentally!! :-)

So, I finish out 2012 with 1400.0 miles. I had been hoping for more, but with the stress fracture and a rough few months in the early summer, things didn't quite go as planned. In the end, though, I'm happy to just barely eke out more miles than last year, and to finish off the year healthy (running-wise at least :-) ). Plus, it's hard to complain about running "only" 1400 miles, especially when juggling family and work. I'm lucky to have a husband who knows how much running means to me, and to have a child who thinks that Mama going out for a run is just a normal part of the day. Definitely makes things easier! And when I think about things objectively, I realize that all this running is truly a gift, and I hope I never take it for granted.

Here's hoping for a healthy and happy 2013 filled with laughter, lots of good running and time spent with family and friends! Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snowshoeing and Sledding

Another 6" or so of snow overnight. I think there might be more snow on the ground right now than there was at any point last winter! Definitely winter wonderland out there. I got out around 9:00 am for a snowshoe run. We changed out the straps on my snowshoes to a larger size so that there would be more room for the velcro to attach, and worked well. Despite breaking trail for probably about 1 mile while I was out there, things stayed nice and snug. Hurray. Despite a rather brisk wind, it was gorgeous out there this morning, but I just wasn't feeling it. Part of it stems from the fact that sometime in the past 3 days I've picked up the cough that Sam has had the past few weeks, and it's making me feel a bit worn down. Part of it was definitely lack of sleep - Sam seems to be on again off again with good nights and bad nights, and last night, there was a lot of screeching in the middle of the night. On the plus side, she did sleep in until 8:15 at least! The last part is that, well, snowshoeing is just plain hard! It's tough for me breaking trail out there in the deep powder - a good workout, yes, - but energy sapping. I was trying to think of it as strength and endurance work as I slowly slowly trudged through the snow, but when I ended up walking the majority of the uphills and only managed to be out there for 3 miles, well, it's not so much fun as work ;-) Ah well, it's great to have all this snow and I am sure the snowmobilers will be out there packing down the trails soon enough!

After Ryan got back from his own snowshoe run, we headed to Broadway Deli for lunch and then hit the small hill out back for some sledding! We had been hoping to get Sam out on her xc skis this afternoon, but with the wind, we knew it wouldn't be fun for anyone, so we will shelve that for another day. Sam and Ryan got out sledding yesterday while I was at work, and Sam loved it, so she was very excited to head out again today. So cute :-) She took a few runs with Ryan and I, but otherwise, she wanted to go down herself. Such a little daredevil! The hill was perfect - not too big and long, but just enough to pick up some speed and let her fly a bit. It was too cold to have my hands out of my gloves for long, so I didn't get too many photos, but if you zoom in on the shot of her sledding alone, you can see her big grin behind her jacket :-)

Sledding is fun!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Nice 5

After yesterday's excitement, Sam was still sleeping when I headed out for my run this morning around 7:20 am. The thermometer was only reading 12 degrees - brrr! - but with no real wind it didn't feel too bad out. I was dressed warmly so that wasn't an issue although the cold , dry air definitely made my throat sting a bit! I ran down the Connector and jumped onto Highland Green Road. The sidewalk was basically down to bare pavement which was nice, and the back dirt road was plowed and a nicely packed crunchy mostly snow surface, which made for some good running. For the return portion, I chanced the power lines and was happy to find that at least one sled had been out and had packed down a path just enough to (mostly) hold my weight. My Garmin crapped out somewhere along the route - needed charging plus the cold? - so not quite sure of time or distance but probably 5 plus a smudge in 45 or so. And not a total road run after all :) Even better, Sam was still asleep when I got back! At least for a few minutes :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Winter Wonderland, Snowshoe Snafu, Homer and a Birthday!

We managed to pack a lot in today! We woke to a beautifully winter wonderland, with more snow atop what we received yesterday. The snow was sparkling beneath the bright blue sky and sticking to the trees, looking lovely indeed. We didn't quite start off our morning as quickly as I would have liked given what we were trying to pack in today, but both Ryan and I did get out for a snowshoe run. I headed out around 9:00 am, hoping that some snowmobilers had come through and packed down the trails, but alas, not yet. So, through the snow I tromped, slowly slowly breaking trail along the powerlines. I turned off onto Ryan's "snowshoe loop", got in one loop, walking the big uphill and having fun on the downhill, but noticed near the end that the straps on one shoe were coming loose. Shoot! I had on pretty short straps and apparently with all the trail breaking, and probably me not tightening them quite enough, they were coming loose. I made it up and over the hill before my shoe was totally flapping around. I couldn't get the straps to re-velcro, so I just took the darn things off and ran back with them in my hands for the final 0.2 back to the road. Sadly, at that point, my Garmin was only reading 1.6 miles so I ran the rest of the high school road loop with the snowshoes tucked under my arm to get in 3 miles. Sigh. Not quite as successful or fun as I would have liked, but oh well. I think this snow is here to stay, so I am sure I'll be out for another snowshoe run soon enough! Might stick to the roads tomorrow though :-)

We headed down to Portland around lunchtime, dropping Sam off with Mom and Dad at Kristen's and heading into town to the Portland Museum of Art to see the Winslow Homer exhibition. But first, lunch! We walked the slushy streets up to Hot Suppah! and enjoyed a yummy breakfast for lunch before heading back to the museum. It was very crowded, but the exhibition was a good one. There were definitely some powerful paintings on display, and I was glad to be able to get in to see the show before it was taken down.

Then back to Kristen's for some playtime and a birthday dinner for Morgan. Happy 7th birthday Morgan!

All in all, a busy and fun day!

Silly girls :-)

The happy birthday girl

Smiles in the snow

Playing Candy Land before dinner

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

More Christmas Fun

Got out for a slightly-snowy 6 miles on the cart paths this morning. Brrr! It was chilly, but luckily not very windy. The 295s (Yes, I found a pair in my size earlier this month and ordered them in a hurry. Hurray! Merry Christmas to me!) had pretty good grip, but screwshoes would have been useful in spots - there was definitely some ice underneath the fluffy snow. Still, a nice run, followed up by pancakes for lunch and making gingerbread to enjoy this afternoon. 

Sam was very excited for the afternoon to get here. Neenie and Pippi were coming! And we were doing a second Christmas! Who doesn't like second Christmas? :-) 

Ohhh! What is it?

Sam and her faces... :-)


How exciting!

Sam, Neenie and Pippi by the tree. A very merry 2nd Christmas!

After present opening, gingerbread eating, book reading, and a fun afternoon, Sam, Neenie and Pippi went out on a "date" and Ryan and I had the chance to go out for dinner and drinks. Thanks Mom and Dad! Sushi, plus a drink and dessert at Frontier made for the perfect ending to the day. What fun!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day Run and Fun

Because we celebrated Christmas yesterday, it was sort of funny to wake up today and not have the traditional Christmas with presents and stockings. Still, we did have a bit of fun this morning, with Sam leading us in a morning coloring class! And the hysterical thing is that everyone just went along with it, without so much as a second thought. Ha. Love it :-)

Christmas morning coloring
After Ryan's grandparents got on the road back to their house, and we got Sam settled in with Grammie and Grampie, Ryan and I took off to Bradley Palmer for a late Christmas morning run. It was snowing lightly, and there was a dusting covering the ground. There were actually a number of other people out enjoying the woods, which always is a good thing! We ran the GAC Fat Ass loop, starting out relatively quickly (9:00 pace) and just picking it up even more as we ran along. It may have been my fault, at least partially, as I couldn't help but just kick it into gear as we wound up the singletrack hill, but I sure wasn't the one pushing the pace in the final road mile :-) A fun 6 miles in the woods,  for sure!

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you got out to play on the trails or in the snow, and had some fun family time too!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Celebrations

On Friday, Sam brought home a bag of reindeer food, a pretty cool project she did at daycare. It was a baggie of dried oats and a few handful of sprinkles, with a little note that explained she was supposed to put it out front so the reindeer would know where to guide Santa's sleigh to leave her presents for Christmas. We decided to bring it down to Ryan's parent's house, and so, last night, before it got dark, we set the reindeer food out on the back porch in a little bowl. I think she was more excited about the reindeer than Santa, and so this morning, it was very cool for her to find that Rudolph (and his friends) had eaten up the reindeer food! Santa also left a big pile of presents, although only one unwrapped in true Santa style. We had a great day spending time with Ryan's family, opening gifts, talking and exclaiming over the pure joy that Sam found in helping to pass out presents, open presents, and of course, in true Sam style, arrange and re-arrange said presents in bags so as to keep them organized :-) It was a great Christmas!

The tree
Merry Christmas!
Taking Santa Bear for a ride
Morning coloring session
Stocking stuffers, including a crazy light-up pink ball! 
Hanging with Great Grammie 
The band :-) (Or just the family being crazy as usual!)
Four generations.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Right to the Cookies

We headed down to Ryan's parents house this morning. Between that, general hanging out and getting ready for tomorrow, when we're celebrating Christmas, we didn't get out to run until almost 3:00 pm. It was wicked windy! We ran the 5 mile Weldon Farm loop, surprised the wind followed us on every turn. The final mile was the worst. I think we picked up the pace with every mile, because even though it was cold, windy and the late afternoon, I think we both sort of wanted the run to be done. Ryan was dreaming of the chocolate stout they had gotten at the store and I was just plain tired :) The second we got home, I went straight for the cookies and Ryan went for the beer. Happy Holidays!! :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

End of the Week

The dreary, wet weather and the better-but-still-sick child who is not sleeping well and whose cough is waking her up in the early morning hours have conspired against my running this week. Thursday, I meant to run, I really did, but Sam was up every hour in the night, and then woke up early coughing. I managed to get her to lay down with me in our bed, and poof, before I knew it, it was almost 7:00 am and I had just re-awoken. She was still asleep, peacefully, finally, so I snuck downstairs for a cup of coffee. Alas, she woke up 5 minutes late, wondering where I was :-) I knew there was no way we were going to be able to get her out the door with Ryan at 7:30, and I didn't have time to run after dropping her off, as I needed to finish up a project that I'm helping Ryan with by 9:00 and then leave the house by 9:30 to get up to the gallery. So scratch the running that day.

And yesterday, we were up numerous times in the night too, and then at 5:00 am, Sam was coughing so much she had not one, but two, spit-ups of phlegm. YUCK! Poor kiddo. The funny and amazing thing is that after all that distress, she was in a wonderful mood for the rest of the morning. Gotta love a kid's ability to bounce back! Ryan and I, not so much. Neither of us were in the mood to get out and run in the rain in the dark on the first official day of winter after a tiring night. So instead, I took advantage of the fact that Sam wanted Ryan to take her to daycare and the fact that I wasn't running, and got some things crossed off my to-do list instead. I got the sheets all laundered and back on the beds, folded a load of laundry, cleaned both bathrooms, cleaned the upstairs floor, took the recycling to the transfer station, took the returnables to Shaws, stopped at the hardware store for more screws for screw shoes (should we ever need them...), bird seed and cat food, and still got to work a few minutes early. Amazing how productive I can be in 2 hours if I'm not trying to cram in a run and shower!:-)

Which brings us to this morning...when I finally got out for a run. After two days off and not a whole lot of sleep, I didn't feel great, but hey, what can you do. I ran down to the river and back, splashing through puddles and tiptoeing over slick bog bridges. I was surprised to find that although the thermometer was reading 36 degrees when I headed out, it didn't seem all that cold out. It felt sort of damp, and almost spring-ish? Weird. I could hear the river long before I reached it, the roar of the water reaching my ears as I ran along the wide gravel path past the ecology center. The churning water looked like hot chocolate, overflowing its banks and rushing down the riverbed. Between the river and the saturated ground in the woods, it was clear that we had indeed received a whole lot of precipitation this week.Just wish it had been snow! Oh well, hopefully it will snow again soon enough!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Still Not Nice

Well, yesterday's rain pretty much melted all the snow away, leaving some slush and some icy patches. Boo. It's just depressing to have weather like this. And honestly, it isn't all that nice to run in either. Blech! I suppose I could have skipped running; I have no races planned. But somehow, I feel the need to work up my mileage, you know, just in case I can get around to figuring out a springtime race :-) So, out I went. Ryan took Sam into daycare this morning, but it took me a while to get going anyway, and I didn't get out until around 8:00 am. It was rainy and 41 degrees. Another cold, wet and dreary day. This time around, my feet didn't get as wet, but there was a lot of wind pushing the icy rain against my face to make things feel rather unpleasant. The wind and the mushy ground made for a slow-going 6 miles on the cart path, but I got it done. The one upside to the layer of snow/slush/icy slush on the ground is that I had a chance to see all the animal tracks crossing the path - deer, rabbit, squirrel, tiny little mice tracks, one long tunnel under the snow - maybe a little mole or vole? Neat. Hoping, hoping, hoping for this weather to clear and for more snow to arrive. Come on winter!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Wow. It is truly nasty out there today. The snow from yesterday looked so pretty and so perfect for the holidays coming up. But all this rain atop the snow? UGH! I should have pushed harder to get out yesterday morning, but with Ryan working and Sam home with me, and still not feeling great to boot, it just wasn't to be. So this morning, after dropping Sam off at daycare, I headed out into the cold rain. I decided not to wear my screw shoes, thinking that they would be wasted on the pavement that I knew lined at least 1/2 of my route. I opted to go with the ever-so-fashionable choice of winter beanie topped with my regular rimmed running hat :-) But it worked and kept the rain out of my face, so who cares! I squished and splashed through the puddles and slush, my feet soaked and frozen by the time I got home. I got in 4 wet, sloppy and cold miles and that was more than enough for today! I'm hoping the rain has stopped by tomorrow, but I'm thinking the trails are going to be pretty messy for a while after this.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Running and Christmas Festivities

I'm not quite sure where Sam's fever came from on Thursday night - it disappeared quickly - but left behind a cold with a nasty sounding cough, one that has kept us up the past few nights. Sam ended up in our bed last night, as that is just easier than getting up every few minutes for a whole hour in an attempt to calm her down and get her back to sleep after long bouts of coughing. I don't think the cough is anything worse than bad post-nasal drip, but it's still no fun. Of course, Sam is a totally restless sleeper, so her kicking finally kicked Ryan out of bed, and left me with only the very edge of the pillow/bed. Still, she managed to sleep until almost 7am this morning, which was much appreciated and much needed by all of us. 

With the late start, I didn't get out the door until around 8am for my run, and I wasn't feeling super peppy at that. It was a raw and windy morning, the sky overcast and the temperatures under 20 degrees. I am not sure I ever truly warmed up during the almost 1:20 I was out there - brrr! I headed out into the Cathance to get in between 7 and 9 miles. I ended up settling for 8, which I deemed perfectly acceptable given lack of sleep and the fact that there were other things on the agenda for the day that needed to be tended to. 

Aside from the crunch of the deep hoar frost beneath my feet and the rush of the water in the river, the woods were silent. So silent, it was as if the forest, and all its inhabitants, was holding its breath. Pace varied greatly as I ran along, as the hoar frost was so bad in spots that walking was necessary if I didn't want to greatly turn an ankle!

After Ryan got in his run, we headed out for brunch and then picked up a Christmas tree on our way home. In all the 13 years that I've been married to Ryan, not once have we had a real Christmas tree. But this year, I finally convinced him we should get one, so that Sam could experience a "true" Christmas :-) After a bit of swearing and huffing and puffing, the tree was erected (relatively straight) in the corner of the kitchen. Sam was dancing all around, so excited for the tree and to decorate it. She opened up all the boxes of ornaments, and diligently hung many of them on the lower tier of the tree. Of course, half of those ended up on the floor at least once during the ornament hanging, as she simply placed things right on the tip of the branches :-) Ha. But she had fun, and in the end, the tree looks pretty good and is the perfect size for our little house. I love it! Of course, chances are good it will get taken out by the cats and that many of the ornaments will fall to the floor, or that Ryan will sneeze for two weeks straight, but hey, I have a real Christmas tree, isn't that what counts?! :-)

Saturday, December 15, 2012


The other week, as I saw sitting in her room next to her bed in the dark at bedtime, amidst talking about her day, giving hugs and rubbing her back in an attempt to lull her to sleep, she said to me, in that cute little voice of hers, "Oh Mama, I KNOW you love me. You don't have to say it again." I gave her a hug and told her that I would always say it, and that it was important for me to say it as much as possible so that she would feel it and know it always.

This morning, as I ran along the frozen cart paths, the wind in my face, the sun shining above, the frost on the grasses, I was thinking about the families that lost their children in yesterday's horrible and senseless tragedy in CT. I hope that they had the chance to tell their children that they loved them yesterday morning before school. I hope that they kissed and hugged them. I cannot even begin to imagine the horror, the sorrow, the anger, the sadness, the pain, the utter disbelief that these families must be feeling. Is it even possible to process this tragedy, to try to make sense of it? I feel for everyone involved. From all those families who lost family members yesterday, to everyone who had children in that school, even to the young man who was so sick and mentally ill that he felt he must do something that was so horrific and reprehensible that there are no words to explain it, and to all of us. We wish to keep those we love safe, to protect them. But how do we do that when we face so many unknowns? How do we move forward from here? I certainly don't know the answers, although I wish I did.

These thoughts swirled around in my brain as I ran along, but I only know that for myself, it means that I will hug those I love even more often, and tell them and show them I love them whenever possible. In the end, that is the best I have to offer.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sick Day Fun

Last night, when I picked Sam up from daycare, she was lethargic and had a 101.6 degree fever. They hadn't called me because it hadn't happened until around 4:30 and they knew I was on my way anyway at that point. Apparently, while the rest of the class was having a dance party, Sam went and lay down on the carpet near the books. When her teacher asked her what was wrong, she burst into tears and said she didn't feel well. Poor little kiddo!

We came home, and all she wanted to do was go to bed. I gave her some ibuprofin and a quick bath, and put her to bed before 6:00 pm. I thought she was out for the night, but around 7:00 pm, right after Ryan had gotten home from a meeting, I turned around and there she was, all smiles, at the edge of the kitchen, having woken up and decided she was hungry. She ate dinner, and we hung out for a while before she finally got back into bed around 8:30 pm. She was up at 5:00 am sharp (so early!), and aside from a few minor morning meltdowns before she agreed to eat her breakfast, she has been happy happy happy all day long. Honestly, she has not seemed like a sick child! But because she had a fever, we couldn't take her into daycare, so I took the morning shift and was home with her until 1:00 pm. Then Ryan took over, and I headed up to work for the afternoon. In any event, I'll take a sick child like this over a truly sick child any day, so I won't complain!

Look how sick she seems :-)

She was asking for cupcakes the other day, so when we went grocery shopping this morning, we picked up the fixings :-)
(She helped me mix the batter, and then poured it into the cupcake tins all by herself, with very little mess. Then later this afternoon, she frosted them and put on the sprinkles. She is getting so big!)
Cupcake bliss!
Sick day art project! I love it!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Should Have Worn the Warmer Gloves...

Brrrr.... Cold out there this morning. Just had time for a short little spin around Highland Green, and the three miles was barely enough time for me to actually warm up before I was back home. Felt like I could have used a few more layers, or at least some thicker ones! Winter is here, and hopefully to stay for a little while. Now if we could just get some snow...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ribbon Candy

Bright sunlight. Blue sky. Frosted bog bridges along the Heath, sparkling in the sun. Frozen crunching leaves. Deep frost on the grass, creating little miniature white forests at my feet. Hoar frost like twisted and curled ribbon candy, pushing up through the earth. A shadow from above. The neat and fast flapping of the Pileated Woodpecker's wings, a flash of red on its head. Loud cackles and calling out over the marsh. A second viewing high against the blue sky as I cut across the street to the cart path. Turkey prints in the now frozen sand. Deep breaths. Crisp air. Perfect early winter run.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cold and Wet

34 and rainy. Cold and dreary. A light layer of slush on the ground with puddles in between. Not the nicest weather, but since I only had a short 3 miler on tap, I got dressed and out anyway, returning in time to get in a quick shower before Ryan headed off to work. The legs felt pretty good after yesterday's run. Now it's off to Story Time at Pineland and to meet Ryan down in Portland for lunch! Hoping the weather shifts soon, so that we'll get some snow to play in!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

3rd Annual 'Til We Meet In Hell Run

Val once again organized a tough and fun run at Thorncrag this year for the 3rd Annual 'Til We Meet in Hell Run. Thanks Val! It was a great time, and always fun to run somewhere different! Ryan and I decided that since we don't go out on typical date nights, we might as well get a babysitter for the Hell Run, and both get to go run and hang out with everyone afterwards at the lunch/awards party. I know, we are one crazy couple, eh? :-)

We got to Thorncrag just in time to tag along on the last train up to the top of the hill. We caught up a little with Rick, Mindy and Xar on the walk up to the start, missed all the instructions and soon enough, we were off! Val wasn't kidding about her 9:00 am start :-) It was a different loop this year than last, and shorter too, I think? Someone who had been there for the instructions said Val described the loop as 0.4 down and 0.8 up. I'm not sure it was quite that bad, but the uphill certainly was steep! The loop took us down through the woods, out into the field with a few old apple trees and distant views, and then down along the back border of the park before taking us up, up, up. The first few times the climb wasn't bad, but I definitely walked a bit more each lap :-) Despite being a short loop, we got spread out fairly quickly, and I ended up running with Julia, somehow with no one else really around us. Odd.

I wasn't planning on racing, so just took it easy and enjoyed chatting with Julia for the first few miles. We were passed by Andy in our second loop - ouch! - and slowly as the laps went along, we passed people and were passed by others.

Fun in the woods!

But it gave us a chance to catch up with people a bit anyway! Julia and I hung together for the first 3 1/2 loops, and then somehow on the climb on the back of the 4th loop, I pulled away and was suddenly solo. I figured since I was running alone, I might as well pick it up a bit, so I attempted that, but did take the time on the next loop to walk up the hill with Val, Mindy and Xar and catch up with them for a few minutes before declaring that since I hadn't run 18 miles the day before, I had better get running! I got in 8.16 miles, just shy of 7 laps before the 1:30 time limit was up. Definitely a good workout, and a lot of fun!

After the run, we all headed over to Gritty's for an end-of-the-season of sorts luncheon and awards party. With such a big group, there was no way to talk with everyone, but our table of Ryan, Scott, Chandra, Randy, Lenka, Zak and I had fun chatting away as the beers and food came and went. The awards were, as always, a mixture of fun, poke fun, and serious, just as is our group :-) A great way to spend a Sunday morning!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cart Path 6

Despite the fact that yesterday morning Sam could not have wanted anything less than for Ryan to take her to daycare, this morning she awoke cheery and refreshed and overjoyed that Ryan was home and up and taking her to daycare. 3-year olds are just plain weird! So, as they headed out to daycare, I headed out on my run, hitting the cart paths for 6 miles. The first mile through the woods was slow and the second mile was way too fast, but I think I managed to get onto an even keel after that, finishing up in just shy of 53:00. The cart paths are hard packed, frozen gravel at this time of year, so it's a pretty quick run. Spent the rest of the morning before work cleaning the bathroom and the shower - I knew it was time because last night Sam was telling me, "but my duckie (the cover for the water spout) is very dirty..." :-) Is it just me, or is cleaning the shower one of the worst chores ever?! And I can't for the life of me keep a shower curtain liner clean. Oh well, at least they're inexpensive so that once I've given up on my ability to get rid of all the grime, I can just buy a new one and replace it!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


After 13 years, we finally broke down and got a new mattress. I've been telling Ryan for a while that I thought the mattress was sagging, and that it was contributing to me not sleeping well. But after hurting my back before Stonecat, I decided it really was time, as a sagging, unsupportive mattress certainly wasn't helping matters! So yesterday, a new mattress was delivered, and ahhh, how nice! I slept well last night and didn't wake up on and off with my hips and back bothering me. Hurray! My back has been feeling better due to a combination of stretching, exercises and just plain being more careful about how and what I pick up, but hopefully sleeping well will help even more and be a good thing in the long run.

I got out this morning around 7:00 for a quick 4 miles before getting Sam to daycare and myself to work. Since time was tight, I ran the short Highland Green loop with the additional cart path/Heath/Quarry loop added for the remaining mileage. I ran in my road shoes with no trouble despite parts of the route being on trail. The trails are dry and free of ice right now, with only some crunchy hoar frost to deal with in spots. The air was dry and the wind made the morning feel extra cold. I guess winter has returned after that little visit from springtime yesterday :-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I finally gave in and got rid of my trusty Inov-8 295s. I really loved those shoes. Light, flexible and with a wide toe box. Sadly, Inov-8 is no longer making the shoe in small enough sizes for me to find a pair that fits my small feet. Boo! I looked and looked, and even thought I might have found them on a UK running/biking website, but alas, they didn't have them either. So, I went ahead and ordered a pair of their 268s, a woman specific shoe. I was a little hesitant, as I also recently ordered the pair of discounted (and I think maybe discontinued?) 282s, which I believe is the women's version of the 315. The 282 is a bit clunky and narrow, so my toes don't like it as much. But happily, given their test run today, the 268s seem to be very similar to the 295s. Plus they have a bright blue sole, and flowers on the insoles! And the blue color matches my hat! I mean, isn't that what we all want out of our running shoes? For there to be flowers on the insole and for the color to match our other running accessories? :-) Oh yes, that is me all the way. Ha. I actually laughed when I saw the flowers. Give me a few weeks, and those flowers won't be looking or smelling so pretty anymore :-)

In any event, I got out around 8:30 for a quick run around the Heath. It was in the low 50s and after yesterday's rain and this morning's short downpour, the clouds were clearing and the sky was blue. It was a lovely spring morning to be out :-) With all the rain and the temperature shift, the trails were wet and squishy, just what a new pair of trail shoes needs! Perfect!

Monday, December 3, 2012


Wow, what a difference a day makes. No snow and ice left on the ground, and temps felt balmy. Only the low fog remained, floating along the ground, as the sky lightened above and the clouds were lit up with sun. Legs felt a big stiff and I was a bit tired, but it was nice to start off the day with a run. Got in a quick 3 miles before Ryan headed off to work and my day with Sammy commenced. Now to off an adventure :-) Gotta keep her occupied!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Snow, Ice and Friends at the Brad

I emailed Mindy and Valerie to see if they were planning to run at the Brad this morning. I figured they were - I mean, Mindy and Val without the Brad? Sacrilege! :-) - but wanted to doublecheck. Turns out they were planning to meet at 8:00 instead of 9:00, which was fine with me. Sam is up at the crack of dawn, so getting out the door early isn't an issue here. The only issue this morning was the light layer of ice atop the thin layer of snow that had fallen yesterday. The roads were a bit slick and it was slow going. I still arrived in plenty of time, and Mindy, Val and Rick arrived in short order. As we were donning our Garmins and packs, the clouds and fog hung low above our heads and a cold rain started to fall. Snow and ice is fine, but rain on top of it was a bit much! Brrr. 

We quickly headed across the street to the east side, hoping to warm up quickly! Val led the way, and we all gingerly stepped and jumped along the trail, the snow and ice crunching underfoot. It was a bit slick in spots but there was luckily fairly decent traction in most areas. None of us had on screwshoes, so we took it easy pacewise - no one wanted to have their first winter spill! We got in almost 5 miles before heading back to the parking lot in the hopes of meeting up with Xar. But alas, she was running late due to the nasty road conditions, so we took back off for the east side for another loop. This time, Val led us out onto the BBU course loop, which took us on a few trails I honestly don't think I've ever been on before! We weaved our way through the woods, chatting away and marveling at all the animal tracks - tiny, tiny deer prints, mouse prints, lots of rabbit prints, dog and human prints, cat prints (?!) and some normal size deer prints too. I do love this time of year for the tracking opportunities! So fun to be able to actually tell what animals have been wandering through the woods and along the same trails we are traveling!

I headed back a little earlier than the rest, knowing I had Ryan at home with Sam all morning, and him not feeling great (winter cold) at that. I veered off when our path crossed the snowmobile trail at the junction of Fox East, and headed in on the Snowmobile Trail, with my Garmin beeped 8 miles just before I crossed the road. It was great to catch up with Val, Rick and Mindy! It has been way too long since I've been able to get in a Sunday morning TMR run, and it was a lot of fun! Thanks guys :-) The perfect way to spend a dreary, cold early December Sunday morning! :-) 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ice Cream and Donuts

The other week, I made Sam a sensory tub, filling it with dried beans, sparkly pom-poms and colored beads, plus some "surprises" for her to find, like Christmas-themed erasers and a few little stamp rings from the Dollar Store. She's used it for a number of things - sorting, scooping, and most recently, for "cooking," ie. scooping bits and pieces out into some of her kitchenware and giving it to us as soup or ice cream or cake, etc. This morning, she was making ice cream soup for us, and decided she needed to make a bowl for Ronnie the cat. Ronnie was hanging around nearby, so she asked him "What flavor?" He, of course, did not answer, but darn it, she wanted his flavor, so she resorted to chasing him around the house screaming, "What flavor? What flavor?" He fled upstairs and she followed. We could hear her asking him over and over, "What flavor?", and finally heard her little footsteps as she padded back downstairs. She got back up at the table, looked at me and said, "I told him 'what flavor' and he didn't even meow at me. So I just came back downstairs." Ha. Hysterical! 
There was no running this morning by either Ryan or I, but we continued our typical 'before Mama goes to work' Saturday morning tradition nonetheless. Oh yes, we are regulars at Frosty's these days. They know Sam by name :-) But hey, don't judge. These are darn good donuts :-) 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Oh Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Brrrr! Felt like winter for sure this morning! The car thermometer was reading only 19 degrees when I dropped Sam off at daycare at 8:00 am. I got home, pulled out some warmer running gloves and headed out. I had already made my mind up to run the cart paths for 6 miles, but man, out in the open with the wind, it sure was cold! In an attempt to warm up, I picked up the pace but I don't think my legs actually warmed up until around mile 4.5 :-) Ran home on the powerlines, hoar frost crunching underfoot and the wind whipping in my face, and pulled off the 6 miles in 51:00. Was glad to get home and warm up by the heater, alongside the cats :-) Smart animals, they are!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Frosty Heath

Had a last-minute change in the schedule this morning when Ryan didn't get up for his run and Sam woke up in a bit of a mood. We finally settled her down in front of an episode of "Dora" (I know, I know, but sometimes, TV is a useful device.), Ryan took a quick shower and I headed out to get my run in before he left for work. I hadn't anticipated just getting up and going, so downed a quick handful of raisins, chugged some water and was off. Since I had to get back before Ryan left, I didn't have much time, so I settled on the Heath loop for 4 miles. I'll get out on the cart paths tomorrow and get in 6 to round out the 10 for these two days.

The air was cold, and my legs didn't seem warmed up, making the 9:00 pace feel like a bit more effort than it should have, but it was still a beautiful morning to be out. The sun was just sneaking above the treeline and the horizon glowed orange as the orb rose. There was a very slight trace of snow on the green moss along the Heath loop and atop the iced over puddles. The leaf matter was thick beneath my feet, and the hoar frost crunched as I ran along. I caught movement to my left up in the trees, and paused in time to see a Pileated Woodpecker fly past, stopping for a moment to circle around a tree trunk just off the trail before moving on. Always a neat sight!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Out at 6:30 this morning. Although the sky was already brightening, I still caught most of the morning's spectacular sunrise. Bands of pink and purple lit up the low clouds and a golden orangey glow rose along the horizon. There was even a neat tower/spotlight of pink rising up vertically through the clouds. Very cool. I didn't want to turn away from the show so ran my three miles out and back on the power lines for maximum viewage :) Definitely worth getting up and out the door for on a cold November morning!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Too Much Pie

The past two days have been spent doing way too much sitting - in the car, on the couch, at the table, and yesterday at the desk at work. There's also been a bit too much pie eating - although I suppose that is part of what Thankagiving is all about :-) In any event, I was more than happy to get out for a run this morning!!

I headed out into the cart paths, adding in the Heath loop to get the route to 7 miles. It was crisp and bright out. No frost on the greens this morning but no golfers at 8:00 am either - too cold!! My legs felt a big heavy but since the run is in essence a road run - packed gravel paths make for good running! - it was a relatively snappy one. Felt good to move a bit, for sure.

It was great to see everyone the past few days! In case you think Sam and Morgan just don't get along :), here are a few cute photos from Thanksgiving day!

Silly cousins :-)


Goofing around during dessert :-)

Thursday, November 22, 2012


A thick low mist down to the ground, the sun up high trying valiantly to break through. A thin sheen of ice on the Heath and the Vernal Pool. The soft babbling of the Cathance. A flash of red as a Cardinal flew past. 5 quiet early morning miles in the woods. With the rest of the day to be spent with  family, eating turkey and pie and watching the cousins play. Thankful indeed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Sam had a rough night of sleeping last night after being very good for a long stretch. I wish I knew what it was that set off a bad night's sleep. She can't quite verbalize yet what it is that makes her so uncomfortable, etc in the night, so it's just a guessing game. Is she overtired? Having nightmares? Who knows? In any event, I woke up feeling a bit less than rested. Luckily, daycare drop-off went smoothly, I got home to get the sweet potato and apple casserole in the oven and then still had time to get out the door for a short 3 miler around the block. I managed to click off 8:30s, which is my typical "I'm in good shape, this is no trouble" kind of time for the loop. I'm taking it as a good sign, but I'm still feeling tired.

Looking forward to a few extra days off this week, some good family time and lots of yummy food, plus at least a little running :-) Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Down by the River

Sam went into daycare today because it's a shortened week due to Thanksgiving. She'll have enough "home days" later this week, so off she went this morning to play with her friends while I ran around like a maniac trying to cross off a million and one things on my "to do list" on this "free" day :-) I did, however, have my priorities straight, and got in a run down along the Cathance before I did anything else! I ran the 7 mile "loop," enjoying the rushing waters and the quiet woods. The singletrack is covered with leaves and there was a lot of hoar frost, so the going wasn't quick, but that wasn't the intent today anyway. It was a gorgeous crisp morning to be out, the sun shining down through the bare branches of the trees above  - right into my eyes! Should have worn the shades! First hour+ run since Stonecat. Although the run was nice and things felt pretty good, I did feel like my legs were still a wee bit tired, so I think I'll keep on the slow track for the next few weeks and just get in 4 days/20 miles both this week and next. No need to rush into anything right now. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Start of the Season

Last night, we went to a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at the house of Ryan's new boss. All his new co-workers seem very cool, and one of them has a daughter a little older than Sam, so the two girls had fun running around together. This morning, we went to Frosty's for donuts and then tonight had pizza at our house with Nate, Shannon, Lenka and Zak, followed up by a delicious chocolate Guiness cake that Zak made. I made a salad but really, who were we kidding! Next week, we'll be having two full Thanksgiving dinners. Oh boy, better start upping the miles!! :)

Got out this afternoon for a nice, slippy slidey, muddy run in the power lines. The five miles felt good and the legs and back felt solid. I'll take it. I also ran through a group of Junior ROTC ambushing rack other along a stretch of power lines. There was silly string everywhere :) Pretty funny and certainly kept the run from being boring!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I got out into the sunshine this morning for a run around the Heath. The back is feeling pretty good and I was happy to be out. It was cold, bright and beautiful. I ran by an oak leaf on the ground, its edges completely frosted - delicate shimmering white atop autumnal golden brown. I took the short turn-off to the Heath overlook, taking a moment to take in the view of the frosted reeds and grasses and the iced over water, set against the blue sky above and the deep greens of the pine forest.

I came home to a big breakfast feast - pancakes, eggs and sausages - yum! Thanks Ry! - and a wacky little girl who was running around the kitchen, stopping every once in a while to shake her bum and wave her arms to the music - yup, she's got my coordination and rhythm, the poor thing, but it's still quite cute :-) A pretty good start to the day, I must say :-)

Thursday, November 15, 2012


At Sam's daycare, they make a big deal out of all the holidays. Can't say I blame them, it give their lessons and crafts a focus, but on the other hand, I was really wishing I could go without Sam knowing about Santa watching over her for another year or so :-) In any event, in preparation for Thanksgiving, they made a big paper turkey on the wall, and had all the kids tell the teachers what they were thankful for. Those items were then written on a big feather and each child's feather was put up to make a "thankful turkey." Cool idea, but I'm not quite sure Sam (or her little friends) truly grasp what thankful means... So, what does Sam's thankful feather say? "I'm thankful for Mama, Daddo and roosters." Roosters? What the heck is up with that?! 3 year olds are so weird :-)


As for me, well, I'm thankful that despite a wonky back, I can still get out on a beautifully crisp November morning and go for a short tromp along the powerlines. Got in a nice 3 miles this morning before heading up to work. Hoar frost and ice everywhere, and bright bright sunshine. Can't beat it. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crunch Crunch

My back had been feeling pretty good after a lot of stretching and heating and rolling. Then yesterday I picked up Sam just the wrong way, and d*!m it, it hurt again! Yow. I was not, and am not, happy about it. I guess I really need to strengthen my back up, but at the moment, it is just so tight that I need to get it loosened up first.

I've found it actually feels better with some motion and blood flow, so I decided to go out for a short run this morning. Things were a bit cranky when I woke up, but after some stretching and moving around, I didn't feel any worse for wear while running. I ran the short 3mile Highland Green loop. It was a beautiful crisp morning. There was a layer of ice on the puddles, and on the powerlines the hoar frost crunch crunched underfoot. My legs felt good and I easily ran at 9:00 pace without trying, not that that is fast, but it's not slow. After the run, I headed off for a massage. She's mostly been working on my legs, but I asked her to do a bit of back work too. As she was working on things, I could feel just how tight things were. Sigh. Oh well. It will get better, I know it will, just a matter of how long it takes.

I have another appointment with Dr. Jamie next week. I'm hoping he can do a bit of crunching and releasing and loosen things up, and then I'll get another massage the week after Thanksgiving. Hopefully with those things, plus lots of stretching, and strengthening if I feel OK, plus some light running, and being very very careful how I lift Sam, things will return to "normal." Hope so, anyway! Having a sore back really sucks!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cathance Wander

We got out yesterday afternoon for a walk in the woods down to the Cathance River. The route was only a 1/2 mile or so, but we took our time, looking into the Vernal Pool for fish, stopping to pick up pebbles, having leaf races on the river, throwing sticks in and watching them brave the rapids, picking up acorns, and running from this tree to that rock. Sam made it most of the way before demanding "uppy", and even had her first pee in the woods :-) Hey, gotta be proud of that! It was a gorgeous late fall day to be out exploring!

Vernal Pool boardwalk

Boardwalk navigation :-)

Flowing waters

Our trail guide for the afternoon

Pondering the river

"I can get to that tree first!"

Sammy in motion

"Are there any fishies in there?"

I didn't get out to run today, which was pretty silly given that it was 60 degrees out. But I wrenched my back putting Sam in the car so all I wanted to do before work was stretch and heat it. Feels much better this evening, but I think I need to put some definite work into building a strong core and back!! Can't be doing this every few weeks!

Monday, November 12, 2012


I didn't get a chance to run either Saturday (early bird sale at work) or yesterday (Ryan was gone from 6:30 am to 8:30 pm, having a great time tailgating and watching the Pats game down in Boston with Zak). But Sam and I did have a fun morning yesterday with Morgan and Kristen. We met up at LLBean to pick up a few things, and the kids had fun running around the children's area and up and down the rock staircase in the shoe area. Then we hit Fresh Batch for lunch. It was great to catch up with Kristen, and Sam of course had a grand old time with her cousin :-)

LLBean fun

Cousins :-)

This morning I snuck out to run down to the river and back, and enjoy the beautiful morning. It almost felt spring-like! The air was damp and warm, the river was rushing, and I was more than comfortable in light tights and a long sleeve shirt. No gloves or hat needed! I felt pretty good, and the legs had a little more spring to them too, so that was more than welcome!

Hopefully we're off for an outside adventure shortly to take advantage of what is likely the last mid-50 degree day for a while!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Nice and Easy

Since I'm in recovery mode, I felt no qualms about skipping a run yesterday, on a day when the temps are in the low 30s, it was raining, and there was snow on the ground. Ryan went out just as the skies were lightening before he headed to work, though, and said it was pretty terrible out. But today, after rain all day yesterday, we awoke to blue skies and warmer temps. I had done a lot of back stretching yesterday and even got a full night's sleep (!) - Sam was nice enough to sleep through the night, or at least until 5:15 am :-), which meant I probably got 8+ hours of sleep. Haven't had that in a while! - so I woke up feeling good. Ryan dropped Sam off at daycare, and I headed out around 7:30am. I ran nice and easy around the Heath loop, shoes crunching on the bits of snow left atop the fallen leaves, enjoying the sunshine and the quiet woods. My legs still were feeling the effort of Stone Cat, but overall, I felt pretty good, and was happy to get in a nice 4 miles on the trails.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Despite the blog silence the past few days, things have been moving along here in Team Snowplug land. Sam had a great time with Irene and Dana while Ryan and I were running and crewing and cheering at Stone Cat. Thank you so much, Grammie and Grampie! We really appreciate it!

She doesn't look like she was having fun, does she? :-)
I felt pretty good after the marathon, although slowly but surely my back started tightening up again later on Saturday afternoon, and I definitely felt stiff and tired all over. Still, I wasn't hobbling too much, and could make it up and down the stairs with no issue, so I'm calling that a definite success :-) We hung out at Irene and Dana's on Sunday, and then headed home in the late afternoon. Ryan headed to work on Monday, and his office is right across the street from Dr. Jamie's, so I dropped Sam off there with him and walked across the street for my appointment in the morning. Jamie commented that my back was very tight, and did some serious crunching and cracking. Youch!

I actually think I felt worse yesterday, tight back and just stiff all over, but didn't want to push it and try to run. Instead, I got a bunch of things done around the house, and most importantly, voted, before heading up to work for the day.

I went to bed before all the election results were in, but things were certainly trending in the right direction. I woke up to the news, and definitely felt proud to be living in Maine this morning. Just awesome all around.

After dropping Sam off at daycare, I went out for a short run. Man, it sure felt like winter out there! Brrr. With the wind in my face for the first mile, I felt like I could have been wearing a lot more layers! I ran the 3-mile Highland Green loop, which is mostly roads with a bit of trail and a bit of powerline mixed in. I kept the pace easy, and was happy to not have my back or legs complain too much. My legs did feel a bit heavy though but I think that's to be expected. Overall, a good shake-out run, even if a few days late :-)

The Stone Cat site hasn't listed full, official results yet, but they do have preliminary results up, which list my finishing time as 4:00:58. Well, at least I got in still in the 4:00s :-) Also appears I came in 4th woman, and 30th overall, out of 210 finishers. Given that the top three women all broke the course record, and finished way, way ahead of me, I'm pretty happy! Also looks like I had three women right on my heels, but thankfully I held them off! Or at least they couldn't quite catch up :-) Ha!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

2012 Stone Cat Marathon Race Report

So, what should you do when you have a sore back for most of the week? Well, go run a trail marathon! Hey, it worked for me! After icing, heating, stretching, rolling and stressing about racing with a sore back, in the end, the back was not an issue at all. And in fact, after the race was over, my back felt completely normal. I guess I just ran the kinks out :-) Very weird. But I will take it, and be very happy about it!

We drove down to Ryan's parents last night, which is very nicely only about 15 minutes away from the race start. Sam was horrible all night - fighting with me at bedtime, taking forever to fall asleep and then waking up often all night long. So, none of us got much sleep, and the alarm still went off at 4:15 am. Sigh. So much for feeling well rested! In any event, we headed out the door at 5:00 into the darkness. It was cool, but would be good running temps. We got there with more than enough time to register, stretch, go to the bathroom multiple times and have a chance to catch up with our fellow Trail Monsters. Julia, Ian, Nathan, Rick, George, Ann and I were running the marathon. Kevin, Jeremy and Joe were taking on the 50.

There was a bit of confusion at the start. Things got started late. And then there was a last minute announcement that they would be starting the marathoners 15 minutes after the 50 milers. Now, the reality of this was actually good news for us. But a number of us were already outside in the cold, dark morning, waiting for the start. Then we waited. And then we found out we had to wait some more. Not exactly ideal. I think the GAC puts on a really good race, and overall, think Stone Cat is an awesome event, but I was honestly a bit annoyed before the start about the delay. Still, like I said, in the end, it really worked out for the best, and I hope they do the same in the future, just with a bit more warning to the runners :-)

So, as the sky was getting light, the marathoners took off. Julia and Ian shot off like a rocket, with Nathan not far behind. I didn't want to get pulled into starting off too-too quick, so I settled into my own pace. The first mile was still too fast, but not that bad :-) Without the 50 milers in front of us, the sailing was much more smooth for the first miles, and with the later start, there was less time with the headlamp on. I think I started to catch up with the 50 milers after the first aid station, maybe 5 or so miles in, and as always, most were very gracious in moving aside as I ran on by. I also passed by David, who was out running along the course around the aid station too, and he nicely took my sleeves and headlamp, which was great!

The course was in good shape. The stretch through the swamp, which was a big cold puddle in 2010, was mostly dry, with just a few puddles to jump. There were a lot of wet leaves, but the GAC had done a great job of leaf-blowing/raking a lot of the singletrack, which was really nice! There were some good, thick muddy stretches too, but overall, I think it was probably fairly fast out there today. There were a few course changes, but Ian felt nothing that would add/subtract much, if any, mileage. Since I've gotten lost every time I've been out in the area since the race in 2010, I know that some of what felt like new to me, was totally unchanged, I'm sure!

I felt good overall. I knew I was probably running a bit aggressively, but it felt smooth. The only glitch in the whole thing was that from the second I went to start fueling at mile 3, my typical every ~30 minute/3 mile plan, I was in trouble. I couldn't finish my bar. I was eating food I normally eat while training, in the same order I have practiced on all my long runs. But it wouldn't go down. I think I got about 1/3 of the bar in before giving up and just stowing it away. I would try again later. But at mile 6, I wasn't feeling it. I finally forced myself to open a pack of Honey Stinger Chews at mile 7, and got 1/2 a packet down. Slowly. Hmmm. This was not ideal. Ah well, nothing to do but just keep on going, so I just kept on chugging. Got in a bit more fuel at mile 9 and right before returning to the start/finish area, but not much, just a few chews each time.

I went through in 1:57, which is a significant improvement over my 2010 first lap time of 2:10. Again, perhaps a bit too quick, but hey. Why not? I said I was going for it, and I was going for it. The Trail Monsters cheered me on, and Ryan took a break from his duties as grill master to run along beside me and ask what I needed. I told him I was on the edge, that my stomach wasn't feel good. He urged me to take the chips, but I just didn't want them. I picked up one more Honey Stinger Chew packet, and kept on going. I had seen Julia, Ian and Nathan headed out as I was headed in, and saw Rick as I was headed out. Everyone seemed to be running well.

The second lap hurt a bit more, and I definitely had a few slower miles, but I sort of expected that! I also had to stop for a desperately needed pit stop a few miles in, just as I was headed into the stretch of single track that I remembered mostly as the mess of 50 milers I was trying to pass in the dark in 2010. I lost about 4 minutes here, which, well, was rather unfortunate, but there was no way around it. I had no choice. Luckily, I didn't have to stop again because I used all my toilet paper up :-)

The miles kept ticking by. I couldn't eat or drink much, but I just kept going. I knew I was going slower, but I was still passing people, it just happened to be mostly 50 milers. Ha. Somewhere around mile 19 or 20, in the midst of the singletrack that crisscrosses the main trail, I finally caught up to Nathan. As I neared, I only had the energy to say "Nathan!" I think he may have grunted in response :-) I hoped he would come along with me, but sadly, he didn't put in a surge, so I just kept moving forward. I was counting down the miles now, hoping that my legs would hold up. I had looked at my watch on the way into the cornfield during the first lap, and knew I had about 2 miles to go from there. I was hurting, and my legs were cramping up. I was determined to run the last stretch on the carriage roads as fast as I could but sadly, at that point, fast wasn't all that fast :-) I also realized in those last few miles that it would be a miracle if I could pull off under 4:00. I felt it would be close but I didn't think I would quite have it. And in the end, I didn't. I pulled through the line at 4:00:44. However, I can't say that I am too disappointed, as it was a 13 minute PR for the course, and 4:00 was my A goal, something I really didn't know if I could reach, even if I hoped I could :-)

The Trail Monsters had an amazing day out on the Stone Cat course, with Julia finishing in 3:39, a course record, although there were surprisingly 2 other women out there running even faster! Ian had a great run, and Nathan finished about 6 minutes behind me, beating his goal by a large margin. George looked strong, and Rick, despite leg issues, finished his first marathon in a long time and it only took about 30 minutes for him to start talking about next time :-) Ann finished with her big signature smile on her face, and Kevin ran a PR for the marathon despite knee issues. I hung out for a long time after my finish, eating, chatting and cheering with my friends. It was chilly but fun to be with the crew! I finally ended up leaving around 1:30 after we got word that it was a nap-fail day, so sadly I missed what sounded like awesome finishes from both Jeremy and Joe in the 50 miler. Way to go, Trail Monsters!

Official results aren't up yet, so I have no idea of placing, etc, but I think it was a pretty talented field out there this year! I'm psyched to have finished up my 2012 racing season on a high note, and am looking forward to a few days of rest and a few months of just running what makes me happy, without a training plan written in my planner.

Thanks for a great race, GAC! As always, it's a fun atmosphere with good aid stations, food and music, on a good course. Somehow, I think I'll be back :-)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ready As I'll Ever Be...

...or maybe it's as ready as I'm gonna be :-) In any event, Stonecat is tomorrow! I got out this morning for a short 3 miler to loosen up the legs and assess how things are feeling. The foot is fine. The back, well, it is still not 100%. Luckily, it hasn't hurt all week while I've been running, but despite a massage, heating, icing, lots of stretching, etc, I am still feeling it while sitting, bending, etc. The massage therapist who I've been going to in Brunswick felt that my right aquadratus lumborum muscle, which connects from the hip up to the bottom rib, appears to be the culprit. Whatever it is, boo on it! Unfortunately, I just didn't have the time to get down to see Dr. Jamie this week, so, oh well, what can you do? I did call to set up an appointment with him for Monday though, as I assume I'm going to need a bit of adjusting after the marathon :-) Ha.

So, the gist of all this is that I'm not going into tomorrow feeling 100%. I wish I was. But perhaps in distance running there will always be something niggling or tight or sore. I don't know. I feel like I put in some decent training this fall, and up until this week, I'd been feeling good. So, I'm still planning to go for it tomorrow. I might crash and burn, but then again, I might hold it together. My basic goal is to beat my 2010 time on the course, which was 4:13:37, and I'd love to shave a number of minutes off that time. I'm confident I have the ability, but hope that my body will allow me to do so. Only time will tell, I guess.

Regardless, I'm looking forward to running and hanging out with a good Trail Monster crowd out on the trails tomorrow! Here's hoping we all crush the course :-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat

Isn't it almost November? Shouldn't it be cool out? Instead this morning the air felt balmy and warm, almost as if it were spring instead of late fall. I was dressed in shorts and a short sleeve shirt this morning for my run, and got out for a mellow 4 miles around the Heath. The foot appears to be a non-issue (knock on wood) but my back is still tight. Luckily, after a little massage from Ryan, plus some rolling on a tennis ball and on the foam roller, it felt OK during the run. I would really like it if my body wouldn't play these tricks on me so close to a race! Just makes the taper even more painful! Ugh!

And speaking of tricks and treats, it's Halloween which means it was the daycare Halloween parade and party this morning. Despite the fact that Sam had been telling us for days that she wanted to be a cow, suddenly last night, she didn't want to be one after all. We finally cajoled her into her costume this morning, and it actually worked out pretty well, I think! I watched the parade before scooting up to work, and it was just adorable. They paraded all the kids around the pick-up/drop-off oval a number of times, and there were parents lined up the whole way, watching and taking photos and cheering on the little kids. So cute!

Moo! (Note the Pineland Farms 25k bell :) )

All smiles at the Halloween Parade