Friday, August 31, 2012

Morning Light

Well, I never quite got around to that 11 mile run. Hmph. I really hate it when that happens. I suppose I could have gone yesterday morning, but by the time 5:00 am rolled around, which is when I was supposed to get up and get ready to run, I had been up pretty much every hour from 9:00 pm on. Sam had a very rough night, despite or perhaps because she was so exhausted. This is her first week in the "big kid" room at daycare - she and all her little buddies have now been split up between three rooms, and are mixed in with the 4 year olds. She is very excited about her new room, but I think she has just gotten a bit too overstimulated and exhausted this week because of it. On Wednesday night before bed, she said to me, "Mama, I am so tired because of all my running around in my big kid room at daycare." You'd think this would mean she would sleep well, but apparently not. In any event, none of us slept well on Wednesday night.

Well, at least she comes by it honestly - last night I was exhausted myself (see prior paragraph) and went up to bed at 9:00. Did I sleep? Nope. I twisted and turned, and woke up and was uncomfortable all night long. I had already decided to skip the 11 miles - what I really need is a good 16 miler this weekend, and doing 11 miles so close to that is in all reality just too much for me at this point. But I knew I needed to at least get some sort of run in this morning! I chose to get up early in the hopes of getting my run in before Sam woke up, although of course, that didn't work out and she and Ryan were up around 6:00 :-) I suppose that was just inevitable but oh well!

I waited until I could see a bit of light in the sky, and headed out right around 5:30am. There was plenty of light out in the open, but it certainly was still dark in the woods as I made my way over to Highland Green Road on the Mt. Ararat trails! I knew no one would be out on the golf course, so the plan was to get in 6 miles on the cart paths. I was feeling pretty exhausted from two nights of little sleep, but it was a gorgeous morning to be out. As I ran along, the sky got brighter, the rising sun casting a beautiful golden light on the white fluffy clouds up above. The paths were lined with goldenrod and late summer asters. It was quite except for a few crickets chirping. Mist rose from the little ponds, and as I ran along the marshy area between holes 8 and 9, the water was so flat I could see a perfect reflection of the blue sky and clouds in the surface. I was definitely dragging a bit in the final mile, but overall, felt pretty strong. I think I might finally be seeing some progress in my running - or perhaps it is just the cooler and crisper air - but regardless, it is nice to be feeling good while running again. The only downer is that I just have not quite managed to get in the miles I would like this week. Oh well. I still have September and October, right?! :-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Second Verse, Same as the First

Ah! Fall! I can feel it coming. Last night, we had the windows open and there was a cold breeze floating through the house. Lovely. We all slept well, and Sam slept in again too, which was an added bonus. Both Ryan and I were up before her, which never happens! I had actually intended to run 11 miles this morning, with a plan of leaving at 7:00 am and having Ryan take Sam to daycare, but since Sam didn't wake up at her typical early morning hour, we ended up shuting off the alarm and enjoying a bit of extra sleep instead. Oh well. I have just come to accept that I have to juggle my runs with my desire to spend time with Sam. Since she was still asleep at 7:00, I didn't want to go out for my run and not see her until after work tonight. That was my choice. One that might conflict a bit with my running goals, but I think in the end I have my priorities straight, and I'll get in the miles another way.

So, after dropping Sam off at daycare, I scooted home and chose another scheduled run from my planner for the week. Another mini marathon pace run. Same route as last time. I was a bit more consistent this time around in the middle MP miles, hitting those in 7:48, 7:43 and 7:48. I felt pretty decent the whole time, and just focused on trying to maintain a solid effort.The cool, dry air definitely helped! When I have this workout on my schedule next, I know I'll have to run a route where I can run more than just 3 MP miles, but for now, I'm happy with how the morning's run went. And hopefully I'll get in those 11 miles tomorrow :-)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


We got off to a bit of a late start this morning, with all of us sleeping in until almost 7am. Then I realized, once we had already gotten to daycare of course!, that I had forgotten Sam's bag with her lovey and blanket for daycare, and so we had to turn around and go back for that. Sigh. Oh well. It all worked out, but so much for a 5 or 6 mile run this morning! :-) Instead, I settled for a quick 3 around the Highland Green loop. Whew - even though the rain had stopped, the humidity had not left the air and boy, was it heavy out there! Finished up with just enough time for a very quick shower and to hop in the car to get to work!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Family Fun

Sunday morning, we headed to the bike path to all run together. Ryan was the designated pusher :-) so I had it easy, and just had to run along side he and Sam, providing entertainment to Sam and trying to keep up a good pace :-) She did well though for the full 5 miles, and then was more than happy to get out and go play at the river's edge at the end of the run. It was a beautiful blue sky morning, windy and not all that humid - nice. After a quick stop at home and lunch in Freeport, we headed down to Wolfe's Neck to check into our campsite for the night.

We picked a different spot this time - one with an ocean view - and settled in.

Ocean view through the trees


Ryan did the brunt of the work setting up, while I kept Sam amused, and later in the afternoon, we headed down to the beach to enjoy the mud and sun and water.

Edge of the mudflats

Enjoying the waves


Snacktime portrait

After a beautiful late summer day, we enjoyed a cool night in the tent, and woke up once again to blue skies. We had pancakes for breakfast, and took another trip to the beach before hitting the farm on the way home. Once again, it was a fair amount of work, but we were a bit more organized this time around, which made it easier, and despite having her moments, Sam definitely had fun overall!

Breakfast in the sun!

Yum! Pancakes and sausages!


Whee! Taking the farm tractor for a spin

Petting the friendly goat

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Sam has never been a good sleeper. We had hoped that when we changed her from her crib to her bed she'd sleep better, but let's be honest here, she really hasn't. Oh, there have been a few "sleep through" nights, but most nights I'm up once or twice, going in to settle her down or move her back to the head of the bed. She is an active sleeper to say the least. Last night, we set up a blanket bed on the floor her, thinking that perhaps she just might sleep better if she had a bit more room to move and shift around while sleeping. She was exhausted, so went down early, and was asleep by 7:15. I went in once, around 9:30 or so, when she was crying out. She was caught up in her blanket and hot, so I took that off and settled her again on her pillow. Maybe a half hour later, I heard a thunk and went in to find that she'd shifted off the "edge" of the blanket bed into the edge of her real bed. I shifted her back over, rubbed her tummy and that was the last I heard of her until 5:15 this morning. For her, and for me, that is pretty good! I woke up briefly once, but rolled right over, so I'm going to say I got 7 hours of sleep. Hurray! The first thing she said when she woke up was, "I took a good nap for you, Mama." I find it interesting that she instinctively knows when she's had a good night's sleep.

Since we were up so early, we had a few quality hours of Mama and Sammy time this morning before I headed out for my run. I wanted to "make up" the 4 miles I had missed yesterday, so I ran the short Highland Green loop with an additional loop on the road/cart path/Heath/Quarry to get in the extra mile. It was foggy and heavy out, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually felt pretty good after yesterday's run. Even with the mix of pavement and trail, I managed to run around 8:30 pace, so I'll take it. Today's 4 brings this weeks' mileage up to 40, a pretty good number for me, and 6 days of running. I'll likely drop back into the 30s again next week, as we're going back to Wolfe's Neck tomorrow to camp overnight and I won't have a chance to get in a long run during the week, but at least this week's miles feel like a step in the right direction.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Date Run!

Since I was taking today off to go to Sam's daycare's end-of-the-summer party, but the party didn't start until 12:00, I did what any sane person would do: drop the child off at daycare for the morning and go for a run with my husband! Forget about errands or cleaning the house. Or even hanging out with the child :-) Our chances to run together these days are slim, so we decided we'd take today's offering.

After a bit of pre-run stretching and rolling...

...we dropped Sam off at daycare and headed to Bradbury. The plan was to run the mountain side of the BBU course, as Ryan has never been on either the Connector or the course. I was hoping to get in a few extra miles after that, but was going to just play it by ear and see how the 10 miles went. After a bit of a rocky start, due to me being silly about feeling slow and feeling stressed about the miles, we fell into enjoying the Connector and chatting as we ran along. We were both excited to see fallen leaves on the trail - signs of fall! Hurray! It was fun to be taking Ryan on a route I had been on and he hadn't - it's usually the reverse. The woods were nice and quiet, and we steadily made our way up through the Tryon area and out to the road.

We headed up the dirt road to the powerlines, thinking we would just see what happened. It was not signed at the end of the powerlines by the road that the route was closed, so we took that as a good omen and headed out. We ran into a few work trucks just a few yards out, but they let us pass with no issue. When we were nearing the final curve before jumping back on the Connector, we realized they were literally tearing up the road ahead, but were able to jump up into the brush and get up to the trail without much issue. It really looks like they'll be done with the work on that stretch soon - hope so anyway! 

I like the stretch of trail between the powerlines and the field - it's some nice running - and we both enjoyed it. As we headed back up Tryon, we ran into Yana headed down. We stopped to chat for a bit, and realized how sweaty we were! It wasn't all that hot, but it sure was humid! After a few minutes, we each headed our own ways. Through this stretch, we were still moving pretty well, but it was interesting to hear Ryan comment on what a tough route this was. It really does have quite a bit of elevation gain and loss, and certainly isn't going to be a cakewalk for those doing the BBU 50k or 50! I think I felt better overall on all the uphills than Ryan did, with the exception of Lunchbreak at the end. He ran the whole thing, and I stopped for a few walking breaks along the way. He did comment as we were chugging up the Tote Road to the summit that I should stop thinking I'm slow - I was still running fairly strongly most of the way, and I know he was struggling at times to keep up. That being said, I'm in training and he isn't! 

In any event, I was feeling decent, but a b it tired, by the time we got back to the parking lot. In the name of time and energy conservation so I could keep up with Sam all afternoon, I decided to stop at 10 miles with Ryan and call it a day. I'm beating myself up about that a bit now, but I think it was probably a wise decision. After a quick shower, change and a bite to eat, I headed to daycare to spend two hours out in the sun with Sam and all the other crazy kids at her daycare. The staff did a pretty nice job with the party, feeding us all pizza, getting a bounce house, having some little games for the kids to play, etc. Sadly, although Sam was very excited about the bounce house, once she crawled up inside, she could not get up with all the kids bouncing around her, and her eyes widened in terror before she broke out in hysterical crying. Yup, I've got that kid :-) All night, she was saying, "I got in the bounce house and I didn't get up. Then I started to cry. I did not like it." Poor kiddo. But honestly, other than that, she had a great time!

We followed up the party with a stop at the gelato place (yum!) and a visit to the natural food store, where Sam careened through the aisles pushing the miniature shopping cart. After some playtime at home and dinner, she was more than ready for an early bedtime and was asleep by 7:15! I think I'll be heading up soon too :-)

It was a busy, active day, and lots of fun to have the chance to share the trails at the Brad with Ryan this morning and hang out with SamSam this afternoon! Too bad I have to go back to work tomorrow! I think I'll be out tomorrow morning making up those miles that I missed today before I do, though.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Down to the River

Kevin made a comment on my last post that got me thinking. I really have no issue running whatever pace my body wants to run. Some days I just feel good, and I can run "fast." Other days, not so much. I know that my idea of "slow" is someone else's "fast," and my "fast" is someone else's "slow." And that is cool. We just take what our bodies give us, and try our best. I think it is simply that recently I just haven't felt great running, and it is getting me down. I feel a bit frustrated. Many of my runs have felt like slogs, or I've had heavy legs, etc. I have felt stuck at a pace and don't feel like I am progressing. Perhaps it is just my expectations. I had hoped to return quickly to form after taking the month of May off with that whole silly little foot injury, and the return has been a bit tougher than I would have imagined. Rationally, I know I shouldn't complain that I'm running 9:45s while doing repeats up and over Mt. Ararat, but I had hoped to do better, or at least, to feel better while doing it. That's the rub. I want to feel good running, and recently no matter what the pace that has tended to be a struggle. In any event, Kevin's comment was a reminder that I should appreciate what I have and what my body can do, and honestly despite my silly complaints, I am grateful that I can run, that I can get out in the woods with friends and alone, grateful to have the chance to stretch my legs and soothe my mind, and wander along the river and listen to the birds and scare up deer and turkeys along the way.

Got out around 7:00 this morning for a random 6 mile wander along the golf course for a few holes and then down to the river and back. Tomorrow Ryan and I are heading to Bradbury to run the mountain side of the BBU course. He'll probably stop at 10 miles, but I'm planning to tack on a few more miles once we get back to the parking lot assuming all goes well. Above all, I'm hoping that I can forget about pace and just enjoy a morning run in the woods with Ryan :-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Beautiful Day... For Hill Repeats??

I was not feeling it this morning. Sam hadn't slept well, I hadn't slept well, my stomach wasn't feel great... blah blah blah. Ryan asked me where I was headed before I went out the door, knowing full well that I had hill repeats on the schedule for this morning. I wasn't happy about it, but I knew I should do them anyway, so I grudgingly said "Mt. A." I debated with myself as I ran over. I decided to do 6 repeats, thinking each loop would be around a 1/2 mile, meaning that with the run over and the run back, it would work out to around 5 miles, which is what I wanted for the day. In the end, the loop, or at least the back loop (I went up the paved hill each time, but alternated coming down the sand hill in the front and going down through the woods in the back), was only around a 1/3 a mile, so the math didn't quite match up. At one point, I had talked myself into only doing 5 loops, but in the end, I managed to do 7. I took the long way back home to get in the rest of the mileage, and even saw a deer in the woods back behind the high school!

While I'm calling this a workout, I didn't "race" the hills, I just tried to move up them steadily. Sadly, even "steadily" was just plain S-L-O-W. Damn. I hate feeling slow. When I got back, Ryan took one look at me and said, "So, not adding that to your regular running repertoire, huh?" To which I said, "Well, I didn't say that, but that doesn't mean I'm going to be happy about running it again." The reality is, I know this should help my running and will make my legs a bit stronger, so I am going to go out and do it again. Hopefully it will be easier next time. And maybe I'll even shoot for more repeats next time :-)

Monday, August 20, 2012


Shuffled through a short 3-miler this morning before heading to work. Normally I wouldn't be working on a Monday, but I switched things around so that I could take Friday off and go into daycare for their end of the summer party at noon and then hang out with Sam for the rest of the day after the party. Sam and I were up bright and early, so I got to spend a few hours with her before heading out for my run and then into work. I always feel a bit heartsick when I leave her at home with Ryan on days I have to work - not because I think she won't have a great time with Ryan, but because I am sad to miss out on the fun. I have to work, and we couldn't give her what we do without me doing so, but that doesn't make up for the time I miss with her. I wish there was a way around it, but oh well. Just gotta do what you have to do, and make the most of the time that is available. In any event, I had a great send-off this morning, with rounds of "love you" and kisses blown out the window at me as I walked out to the car. I love that she is old enough to do these sort of things now. So cute!

Speaking of cute, last night, we went down to South Freeport to have dinner at Harraseeket Lunch, a take-out seafood place right at the Freeport dock. Ryan was craving seafood, and it was such a gorgeous evening, we figured it would be fun to enjoy dinner outside. Sam wasn't as much interested in dinner as she was walking down to the dock to look at the boats. This girl loves water! And wants to go out in a boat. Uh oh. Neither Ryan or I are real water people. Where does she get this from? :-)

Taking in the view of the harbor from the deck at Harraseeket Lunch

On the way home, she was being silly and saying she didn't have fun at dinner. I love that she is trying to find her own sense of humor and tell "jokes." Ha. So, we were trying to get her to do thumbs up to say she had really had fun, which she has always done by putting up her two index fingers instead of her thumbs. Ryan was showing her how to put up her thumbs, and she said, "No, those aren't my thumbs!" For some reason, it just struck us both as funny. But in the end, she was able to actually do a real thumbs up. Feels like the end of an era! I have always loved her version of thumbs up. She is getting to be a big girl for sure!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Running Happy

It's been a long time since I've had a happy long run. Combine coming back from an injury with the nasty humidity we've been having this summer, and you get one unhappy Sparkplug. But today, I finally felt like I was running happy. The sun was warm, but the air was dry and there was a lovely breeze. I ran the Cathance trails, enjoying the sound of the water tumbling over the rocks in the river and the birds flitting about in the woods. The red bunchberry berries are out, and I saw quite a bit of Indian Pipe too. Halfway through the Ravine Loop, I crossed the stream and ventured onto some new-to-me singletrack that wound through a pretty birch glade and some stretches of low-bush blueberry bushes down to Head of Tide, a neat waterfall along the Cathance River. I came back along the Heath, and stopped to enjoy the view:

Pretty nice, huh? With all the twists and turns on the singletrack, especially the miles outside the Cathance proper, not to mention a few stops to take in the scenery, I wasn't exactly running quickly, but I felt good.

I didn't see a soul while I was out there during the 12 miles/2:06 I was out wandering along the trails. And it was such a beautiful day! Weird. However, I didn't mind having the trails to myself. I saw 5 turkeys, 3 deer, 1 sunning painted turtle, plus lots of grasshoppers and birds, and had 0 deer flies swarming around my head. Now that is what I call one happy run!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Rainy 5

Well, after a good start to the week mileage-wise, and a decent marathon pace run on Wednesday, things sort of ground to a halt in the latter part of the week. Oh well. I guess I'll just take this week as a bit of a step-back week :-) Ha. I did get out this morning for 5 miles just as the rain started. It was a nice change from running in the heat! I ran along the powerlines and did the Homeplace loop. There were tons of bird flitting about - chickadees, sparrows, goldfinch, house finch and what I think was a yellow warbler, although I only got a quick glance. The blackberries along the trail were still abundant and sweet, so I stopped to pick a few along the way. Mellow pace, but a nice way to start off the day before heading into work.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mini MP Run

My body seems to be stuck in slo-mo, so the plan this morning was to do a short marathon-pace run in an attempt to inject some speed into these little old legs! Speed being relative, of course :-) I was a bit skeptical that I was going to be able to pull off 3 miles at 8:00 pace, given how I have been feeling during my runs recently, but I figured there was no way to know until I gave it a try! I got Sam to daycare a little early and headed out a little after 8:00. It was overcast and not quite as warm as it has been recently, but still plenty muggy.

I ran a warm-up mile on the powerlines over to Highland Green Road, and then used the middle three miles of the 5-mile loop as my MP miles. The first mile is all pavement; mile 2 is about 1/3 pavement and 2/3 packed dirt and mile 3 is almost entirely dirt, with maybe the final 1/4 mile back on the pavement. I wasn't quite sure what 8:00 pace was going to feel like effort-wise, since I've never been very good at pacing, so I just decided to go with a slightly uncomfortable effort and hope for the best :-) I did a little math along the way and knew I was headed in the right direction, at least. The MP miles ended up being 7:57; 7:51 and 7:49, and while I was definitely working for it, I felt better than I expected. Even better, the ankle loosened up as I went along, so that was good too. Nice to know the legs can still put out a few ever-so-slightly sub-8:00 miles, even if just for a few miles :-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Another warm morning, although perhaps slightly less muggy, which was nice. There was also a decent breeze blowing, which made the miles out in the sun along the powerlines much more pleasant. I got out for a run on the 5-mile Homeplace loop after dropping Sam off at daycare, enjoying the call of the birds - cardinals, cat birds, sparrows, etc. Ran past a group of boys from the Mt. Ararat cross country team on the way back. Must be mid-August - practices are starting up!

The legs felt a little heavy today, but I'm hoping that they'll feel better and I can manage to pull off a short marathon-pace run tomorrow!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Despite the fact that it was rainy and foggy for most of the day yesterday, I was tired, Sammy had to go to the potty seventy million times and didn't want to walk the 1/10 of a mile to the bath house, meaning I carried her about seventy million times, we didn't have the right pump for the aerobed and so slept on a partially inflated mattress, the tent was HUGE and a puzzle to set up, we had a grand old time camping! Ryan and I used to camp all the time. We've spent numerous nights out on the trail, tenting out. But car camping is something we're still mastering. Not to mention camping with a child :-) And having a big 6-person tent is way different than setting up a little, light 2-person trail tent. It was like a palace! Crazy.

Still, don't let my list of misadventures fool you. It was a lot of fun! It was also a fair amount of work, no doubt about it, but it was great to get Sam out camping for the first time. And Recompense Campground in Wolfe's Neck was the perfect spot! There was a playground. A nice beach. A gorgeous view. Lots of families and a laid back atmosphere. Nice, clean bathhouses. Animals to see in the fields and on the farm. It was 20 minutes from our house, and is a place that Ryan and I have fond memories of. We used to run flow miles through the campground in college with the cross country team. Who would have thought we'd one day be bringing our child to camp there?! :-)

And since pictures tell a much better story, here it is, our first weekend camping as a family in pictures :-)

Home for the night, Recompence Campground, Wolfe's Neck, Freeport, Maine

Foggy shoreline

Evening reading

Being silly at bedtime

Contemplating the ocean

Playing in the sand

Searching for treasures

Quiet waters

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cathance 10

I'm writing this from the tent at Recompence campground in Freeport, with Sam sleeping beside me and Ryan out for a night run. I got in my run this morning before we headed over here. I left around 7:30, as Ryan and Sam watched the men's Olympic marathon. It was foggy and misty, and what's new? Humid. I ran the regular 9 mile loop but added a fun little mile lollipop off the Ravine loop on the new trails across the stream. Deer flies were bad. The roots and bog bridges were slick from the rain and humidity. My hat had a constant drip from the saturated air. I was tired from four wake ups last night followed by a 5:45 start to the day, all courtesy of Sammy. Not ideal. But the loop was nice. I just wasn't moving quickly due to all of the reasons above. :) I did see a Scarlet Tananger in the Mt. A. Woods which was very cool, and a big group of about 30 swallows along Canam in the last mile. Also a tiny little red eft on the sidewalk. Don't know where he was going but I stopped and moved him off the walkway, making sure to put him down in the direction he had been going originally. I pulled up to the door 10.00 miles and 1:50 later, looking like I'd taken a bath somewhere - I was soaked!

I missed the big downpours at least although rain or sweat , it wouldn't have made a difference in how soaked I was today!!

We went to Freeport for lunch and a trip into LLBean before coming over to set up camp  luckily the rain stopped and it has only been a bit foggy and overcast.camping with a three year old is a lot of work but I think Sam has been having fun! More on the camping adventures tomorrow when I can get some photos up!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

7 at Dawn

Sam very nicely slept through the night last night, so although I woke up once very briefly, I managed to get about 7 hours of sleep. Hurray. Amazing how your perception changes. Prior to becoming a mom, I would never have considered 7 hours a good night's sleep. Now, it is wonderous :-) The alarm went off at 5am, and I lay there briefly before getting out of bed. It was very dark out. Sam cried out around 5:15, and I went up and settled her back down, covering her back up with her blanket and rubbing her back until she went back to sleep. Then, shortly after 5:30, just as a bit of light was creeping into the sky, I headed off on my run.

I ran the 7-mile dump loop, down the powerlines and out through the woods to the dump, along the ponds at the edgeof the property, and back into the woods before returning to the powerlines to make a big wacky looking lollypop. I had been hoping I would get to see a nice sunrise as a reward while I ran along, but with a light mist falling and the low clouds and fog, it simply stayed dark and dreary. Oh, it got lighter, especially out in the open, but in the woods, it was still pretty dark even at the end. Just a few miles in, with the combination of the mist and the humidity, I was soaked. I was also followed by a lot of deer flies, which surprised me. It was so early! But there was no breeze, and it certainly felt warm out. They were a bit lethargic, and I was able to kill a number of the ones which landed on my shoulders, but they were still annoying. I did see four deer along the way, which was neat. There were a few birds twittering off in the woods, and a few sparrows flitting about here and there, but otherwise, all was quiet.

I felt pretty good running, not fast, but steady. My right ankle/outer calf is still very tight. I wish I could work it out completely. Ah well. Other than that, it was a nice early morning run, and I am so glad to have gotten out, and to have managed to pull off my 30 mile week despite leaving the final miles to the last minute :-)

Amazingly, when I got home, Sam had just woken up. Lucky Daddo! :-) I took a quick shower, and Ryan took off to run over to the Topsham Sunrise Stampede 5k just down the street at the Topsham Fairground. Sam and I had a bite to eat, got dressed and headed over ourselves, arriving in time to see the start. We hung out in the bandstands while the runners were off on the course, and were excited to cheer Ryan in to a 2nd place finish. Nice! Unfortunately, I had to leave soon after to head to work, but Ryan and Sam were planning to hang out for a bit and wander around the fair, looking at the animals, etc. I left them with the B.O.B., so Sam will get a fun ride home too!

A very active morning indeed :-)

Friday, August 10, 2012


There was a thunderstorm and rain last night, but it only seems to have made things worse in terms of the humidity. I felt like I was swimming through the low fog during my run this morning. The air felt heavy and soupy. All this humidity just puts a damper, literally and figuratively, on running for me - I am really really really looking forward to some nice crisp fall air - it makes such a difference!

I was running short on time (as always) so got in a shorter run than I had hoped, but better some than none. Managed 4 miles, running the short Highland Green loop with an extra loop up the road, onto the cart paths and along the edge of the heath to add in the additional mileage. As I ran up to the bog bridge along the heath by the beaver lodge, I scared up a fawn and her mama, and watched as they bounded off into the woods. Made me smile to see them. So at least the run had one bright spot :-)

I "need" another 7 miles to get to 30 this week. Not sure I'm going to manage to squeeze it in tomorrow, but I'll try!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nighttime 5

Between a lot of late night wake-ups last night, sleeping in due to said wake-ups, a 2 1/2 year old who can not be rushed out the door, and oh yes, that thing called work that takes up most of the day, running tonight was the only way to get in today's miles. I headed out after getting Sam down to sleep. My mood was not great - I was feeling frustrated with myself for being frustrated with Sam because she would not settle down to sleep, even though she clearly was exhausted. I was tired. I'd already eaten dinner and would have much rather sat down on the couch than head out the door. But, I didn't want to let the excuses get to me, so out I went before I could change my mind.

It was 7:45 pm, and I knew I would be pushing it at the end of the run, so I brought my headlamp just in case. I ran the 5 mile Highland Green loop, taking the back dirt roads first so as to take advantage of the fading light. I stopped to pick a few blackberries along the roadside - I wanted to finish my run in the light, yes, but who can resist free, delicious, fresh berries? :-) The cicadas and other bugs hummed and whirred in the trees, and a few birds chirped, but otherwise all was quiet. As I hit the pavement at the back of the loop, the sky was alight momentarily with the pinks and purples before beginning its quick turn to darkness. The sidewalks were lit with street lights, so the darkness wasn't an issue until I got back to the powerlines, and although I could have turned my headlamp on, I figured I knew that stretch of trail well enough to be able to run it in the inky darkness. I finished up the run with no issues and was happy to have gotten out and gotten in the miles. And while I definitely still prefer to run in the morning, there was a certain quiet beauty on the roads and trails tonight as the light faded around me.

Monday, August 6, 2012


A bit creaky today but I got out for a run anyway. Sam and I visited with my friend Jess and her kids this morning, so I didn't get out to run until Sam's naptime. It was hot hot hot, but there was a glorious breeze and the humidity was WAY down compared to yesterday. I ran down to the river and back for 5.25 slow recovery miles. Felt good to shake things out.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

2012 Bradbury Mountain Breaker Race Report

Right before Sam and I headed out the door to Bradbury this morning, I posted on Facebook: "Getting ready for a Bruiser." Ha! I guess my mind was trying to just skip out on the Breaker :-) And then, while I was doing my very short warm-up, I tripped while I was trying to adjust my handheld and scraped up my hand in the gravel. Oh man. So, as you can tell I just wasn't quite with it this morning!

In any event, it was, as always, a great event, put on by a great group of Trail Monsters, and it is always fun to have a chance to catch up with people at these races. Since I had Sam with me before and after the race, I didn't get to do too much socializing but I was at least able to exchange a few hellos with friends :-)

I had decided to keep things pretty mellow for the first lap, and just see how it went. I started off with Ryan and David at my side. David soon took off, but Ryan stayed with me for the first loop. It was fun to have a chance to run together, even if Ryan picked up speed on the downhills. Gotta work on that! We chatted with people here and there as we ran along. The day was overcast, but as has been the case most of the summer, it was humid. I am still not yet snot-free, and that combined with the heavy air, meant I was having a bit of trouble breathing in a few spots, especially the uphills. I haven't been running that much, but I was definitely breathing much worse than I should have been. I really hope it clears up soon - both the cold and the humidity! What a pain!

Sam, Irene and Dana were at the playground cheering as we headed up the Summit Trail for the first time, which was a nice boost. We, and everyone else around us, walked up to the top where a nice breeze was blowing. Somewhere along the Tote Road, Nate Pike passed us, but we mostly kept him in our sights.

Running back up to the Summit before heading down the Switchback Trail (Photo: Jeff)

Ryan and I ran together into the start/finish area before heading off onto the second lap; he stopped to take a drink and I kept going. A few yards later, he went right on past and was gone. So much for running together :-) Ha! At this point, I was right around Nate Pike, Nathan and Susan, in some sort of order. Nate was ahead and Nathan and Susan soon got behind. I did more walking than I would have liked on the Boundary trail this time around, and the second time up the Summit was painful, although once again we had a good cheering squad at the playground with Morgan and Kristen joining in too.

Somewhere on the second loop :-) (Photo: Kevin Freeman © 2012)

I made a conscious effort once I hit the Tote road this time to pick it up and run the last 1 1/2 miles at a good clip. I passed Nate along the way, and didn't want to be passed back, so I tried to move! :-) I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me down the Terrace, and into the finish. I did end up slowing down on the second lap, but only finished 2 1/2 minutes behind Ryan so it wasn't too bad. Overall, my slowest Breaker yet (1:34:13), but it was an honest effort for not really trying to truly race. I was glad I was able to give it a little extra at the end of the second loop, so all is not lost.

Once I was done, I just kept sweating! Sam and Morgan were dancing to the music coming out of the DemerBox, and having a grand old time. I chatted with a few people, but missed out on most of my socializing time as Irene and Dana were ready to go by that point. Not to mention, it was getting time for lunch and to head home for naptime, so we didn't hang around for the final finishers or the awards.

Kristen, Morgan, Sam and I hit Edna & Lucy's for lunch - yum! - and I brought home a chocolate cupcake for a treat while Sam napped. Perfect.

Snacking before lunch arrives!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Summer Pondering

I know it's only early August, but for some reason it felt like late summer out there to me this morning. It was still pretty hot and muggy out, but the days are getting shorter, the blackberries along the powerlines were sweet and delicious, a few leaves on the blueberries bushes were beginning to turn red, and the berries on the bushes that I have yet to identify are slowly morphing from white to the blush pink that seems to signal the turn of the seasons. The catbirds were mewing and the towhees were calling. I ran the 5 mile Homeplace loop, stopping multiple times to pick the abundant blackberries that practically fell off the brambles right into my hand they were so ripe. Yum.

As I ran, I pondered. Today's run finally got me to a 30-mile week. I know 30 isn't a lot, but it's taken quite a while for me to get to a place where I felt like I could run 30 miles in a week. Hopefully in a month or so, if I run a 30-mile week I'll preface it with "only" but for now, I'll take it. I hope this means I'm beginning to claw my way back, and not feel so timid about things, fearful of hurting my foot again. I'm not sure what it is, but although I'm glad to be running, I currently feel like I don't have that fire that is needed to run fast and well. Last year was such a good year, and I felt like I was going into 2012 strong. Perhaps it is simply that after a solid 50k at TARC and the high hopes I had for the summer, the wind just got taken out of my sails with the injury, its resulting time off and slow comeback. Perhaps it is this muggy, humid weather. Perhaps it just is what it is, a bit of a slump, a normal ebb and flow in training. Regardless, I feel a bit unsettled by the feeling, and want to get that fire back. However, it seems to be misplaced at the moment :-) .

Sunday is the Breaker. I knew after my time off that the summer series was going to be a bit of a struggle. Perhaps I should have just deferred my entries until next year so as not to feel pressured during the races, but I just couldn't resist a BadAss hoodie :-) The Scuffle was more disappointing that I would have liked. And so, I've decided to simply run the Breaker, and not try to race it. Bob had posted an article on Facebook a few weeks back, and the last line in the article kept popping into my head as I was thinking about the Breaker this morning: ." can still be a badass and not take yourself so seriously." Yup. So there it is. Maybe it's a cop out, but it feels right, at least this time around. If I feel I can, I'll push the pace, but I'm going to try to have fun during the Breaker, or as much fun as you can have torturing yourself on the mountain side, anyway! :-)

My plan for the next few months is to get in my miles, get in a long run each week, and even *gasp* do one workout a week - alternating a hill workout and a MP road run each week. It was Ryan's suggestion to alternate the hills and a MP run. He knows me well; it is obvious from past attempts at following a training plan that I am basically incapable of doing so. To have too many workouts in my planner would simply be a waste of time. So, the Breaker will be my hill workout for next week, and it will no doubt prove to be a harder and faster hill workout than I would chose to do on my own. I definitely plan to race the Bruiser, and am hopeful that a month of solid miles, long runs and a workout or two :-) will put me in decent shape to do just that. And come hell or high water, I'll have gotten that fire back for Stonecat at the very least. I've got plans for that one, for sure.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Still ~ as in:
1. There was no movement in the air whatsoever, no rustling, no noise, no breeze, all was still and quiet.
2. I still have this darn cold!

Sam was in stage 3 clinger mode this morning when I headed out for my run. Always a lovely, feel-good way to start a run! Not to mention, I wasn't going to see her again until after work, as in order for me to get my run in and get to work by 9:00, Ryan was going to take her into daycare today. *Sigh* Ryan said she was fine soon after I left, but it always makes me feel pretty terrible when I leave her and she is like that.

I headed across the street with a plan to run 7 miles. As I was running on the Mt. Ararat trails I realized I could run 6.75 instead, since Monday's run had been 5.25 :-) I decided I would try the cart paths if there were no cars in the lot. Luckily, there weren't, so that is where I headed. With the overcast above and no birds chirping, it felt unearthly quiet out. It must have been 99.9% humidity, and the air felt so heavy, it seemed to be weighing me down. In fact, I felt like I'd taken a swim instead of a run by the time I was done, I was so sweaty! Crazy. That, and the fact that I still am feeling the lingering effects of last week's cold, meant that I was breathing heavily despite the relaxed pace I was running. Still, it was nice to be on the cart paths. I could just put myself on auto-pilot and go; no real need to watch my footing, etc.

I did veer off the paths to run the Heath Loop for a little additional mileage partway through the run. As I took my first step on the boardwalk at the end of the Heath, right where the outlet stream feeds into the little pond where there is a beaver lodge, I noticed a body print on the boards. A beaver print! Tail print and everything! He must have just plopped up onto and across the boards on his way back home. Funny. Also saw a mama turkey and her two little chicks crossing the cart path along hole #8. Did hear a towhee singing, and a woodpecker pecking towards the end of the run, but otherwise, all was quiet.