Sorry for the dreary post yesterday! I woke up this morning feeling tired, but better. I hit the powerlines for the five-mile Homeplace loop. Things were amazingly dry out there, although some of the stretches which tend to be muddiest were pocked with ATV/dirt bike ruts and lots of slips and slides from other people's feet as they had tried to get around the mud before things dried out. I ran slowly but pretty happily, listening to the birds and enjoying the sun above as it tried to send down its warm rays through the clouds. Proud to have gotten in 50 miles this week, even if it wasn't all run "on plan" and it wasn't all pretty. I know a lot of people run 50 miles or more every week, or at least a lot of weeks in training, but for me, 50 is big. Hopefully I have enough left in my tired little legs to get in another big week next week!
I didn't sleep well last night. I tossed and turned. I was hot. I was cold. My mind wouldn't turn off. Sam woke me up. Ronnie woke me up. Gigi woke me up. Ryan came home late and then proceeded to snore once he got into bed. And then Sam was up early. Gah. And despite the fact that Sam was a good little girl all morning long, by the time I had gotten back from dropping her off at daycare, I was feeling a bit grumpy about feeling tired. With a sigh and a shake of my head, I headed out into the wind for a run. I didn't have much time, and at the pace I was going, knew I wasn't going to get in the six miles I had hoped for. Four rather lackluster miles would have to do.
Based on what I ran today, I have five miles on tap for tomorrow and am hoping to find some positive vibes with which to run them :-) Tomorrow's run will bring my weekly run total up to 50 miles, an unprecedented amount for me. I don't know how all my runner friends do this week in and week out! I suppose it just takes some getting used to, but I don't know that I could sustain this type of running for long - I have just never been a high mileage runner. In any event, I am planning on another 50 mile week next week before a bit of a taper for TARC, so let the "high mileage" experiment continue :-) And speaking of crazy running, read this story. Way to go Blaine! Amazing!
Hard to believe that at this time on this night 7 years ago, Ryan and I were snuggled in our sleeping bags at Springer Mountain Shelter, ready to head out on an amazing adventure as we headed north on the AT. Life sure is different now, but we will never forget our months out on the trail. Here's to you, all our AT '05 friends! :-)
At Amicalola State Park, ready to hike up to Springer Mountain
Getting settled in on a cold and rainy first night on the trail
We awoke to snow on the ground this morning!!! Crazy Maine spring! Sam was all excited to "walk on her own" out to the car so that she could walk through the snow. She kept saying "I not sinking" as she walked along :-) Yup, it was snow alright, but only a dusting.
I headed over to the Commons after dropping her off at daycare. I hadn't run there in a while, and figured a flat trail run would probably do my creaky legs some good. I crunched along through the snow, enjoying the quiet woods as flakes fell. The snow clung to the pine needles and the early red buds on the trees, and the green and red lichen along the trail's edge looked pretty peeking up through the white snow. I got in a nice, slow 8 miles before heading home.
This is my last week with extra freedom. The winter sure has flown by, and next week, as we head into April, I go back to reality and a 5 day work week. Boo hoo for me, I know :-) So, with that in mind, I took advantage of my free day today and headed over to the Brad for my long run after dropping Sam off at daycare. And although I always hem and haw about sending her off to daycare while I go run on days like this, last night Sam was talking about wanting to go to daycare to play with her friends "right now, Mama!," so I know she is having fun and that allows me to feel a little less guilty about things!
The wind was still whipping and the temps were in the high 20s, but the sun was shining brightly in the cloudless blue sky. I was dressed for winter running and was comfortable the whole run, although I did take my gloves off at some point early in the 2nd loop. The plan was to run two laps of the Bruiser, without the "O," of course, and get in 20 miles. Although I had just run the loop on Wednesday, I had Ryan print me out a map of the course, just in case :-) I admit, I did have to consult it a few times. Yes, yes, you would think I would know the course, but hey, what can I say? I have no sense of direction!
Trail conditions were interesting. There was a lot of nice runnable bare ground, but there was also a lot of semi-frozen mud and big sections of hoar frost, lots of it hidden by piles of leaves that had settled in the depressions in the trail. I had to tiptoe through a few big muddy patches just so I didn't turn an ankle! The snowmobile trail was a bit treacherous too, and I sank and twisted through the partway between thawed and frozen ground a few times. And just when I thought I was running "fast," I looked at my garmin and laughed. I'd hardly call 11 minute miles quick, but on this route, I guess it is quick enough! I came through loop #1 in 1:50 and exactly 10 miles. Loop #2 brought with it a few more stops to eat than the first, as well as a few small stretches of walking through some of the more sketchy sections along with a few more trips and ankle twists, but I still managed to keep the pace just about the same, finishing off the 20 in 3:42. A lot slower than last week's 20, and on a much colder (30 degrees colder!) day, but running the singletrack at Bradbury is definitely different than running on the nice smooth cart paths and roads of last week too, so who knows. Regardless, I'm happy to have gotten in another good solid run, and happy to have felt decent for most of it and to have had positive thoughts throughout. And now I am off to eat some of Irene's leftover birthday cake. That counts as recovery food, right? :-)
We headed back to Maine this morning, and wow! Feels like we are back in winter. I am sure it is normal March weather, but again, it just feels so cold compared to the warm summer weather we have been having! I hope the irises and lilies that have started to come up by our door, not to mention all the other trees and plants, manage to survive through this major temperature swing!
Sam was tired out from a busy weekend, and went down easily almost without a peep, saying "Sweet dreams, have a good nap, Mama!" as I went out of her room, so I headed right out for my run. I almost got blown away out there! There is some serious wind whipping around outside right now. I took to the woods and ran down to the river, but there was no hiding from the wind today. It was everywhere, swirling about. Gotta be good resistance training or something, though, right?! :-)
I was really looking forward to a nice run today at the "other" Brad, ie. Bradley Palmer State Park, and hoped to get in my long run for the week while I was there. Well, not so much. I just didn't have it today, and it wasn't worth it to me to force it. So, instead, I got in a cold and damp 8 miles and called it a day. Despite the dreary, cool weather (I realize it is probably seasonable but it felt particularly chilly after our recent summer-like weather last week!) and the fact that I just had no energy, it was nice as always to have a chance to run at Bradley Palmer. It was raining when I started, but stopped about halfway through, and while the skies didn't clear, at least I had a chance to warm up a bit! The trails were in good shape, and the woods were wonderfully green. The skunk cabbage was rising in the swamps, and the green shoots of the marsh grasses were about a foot high. I heard a number of robins, phoebes and chickadees, saw and heard a pair of cardinals calling, heard but could not find the two woodpeckers pecking away up in the trees, and scared up four mallards in one of the ponds near the parking lot. A red-winged blackbird also made an appearance, and I stopped to listen to and find a Hermit Thrush in the rhododendron near the start of GAC loop - what a pretty song!
Got out this morning for 5 miles on the Highland Green road. It was a nice morning to be out, but I felt clunky, despite the day off yesterday. Or maybe because of that? Anyway, I got it done, bringing this week's mileage up to 45, which is pretty good for me! I'm looking forward to getting in my long run on Sunday down at Bradley Palmer, as we'll be there visiting with Ryan's family. Bring on the GAC FA loop :-)
I met up with Mindy, Blaine and Nathan this morning for 10 miles at the Brad. We hit the east side to run the Bruiser course without the "O." It is truly amazing that last Wednesday Mindy and I were tiptoeing across vast stretches of snow and ice on these same trails. Today we ran on mostly bare, packed ground, with some good, squishy muddy areas and only a few small spots of ice here and there. What a difference a week makes, especially with the weather we've been having! It was fun to run the singletrack and enjoy the dirt!
We had a fun time meandering through the woods, chatting easily the whole way and keeping the pace mellow. I could feel the day warming up as we ran along, but luckily, we were in the shade enough that the heat wasn't oppressive. We could certainly feel it once we got back to the parking lot, though - felt like the middle of summer, not the middle of March! After a few minutes of chatting and stretching, Blaine headed back out for the rest of his miles, while Mindy, Nathan and I went our separate ways. It was great to have friends to run with on a random Wednesday morning - definitely made the miles much more fun - thanks guys :-)
I snuck in a slow four miles this morning before Ryan got to work and Sam and I went on our playdate with my friend Jess and her four kiddos. My legs were quite stiff the first mile, but loosened up as I went along, although the pace stayed pretty slow the whole time. I wish I felt more pep after yesterday's run, but what can you do? As Ryan said last night, well, I haven't really done enough training to make a 20 mile run feel like nothing, and I just don't get enough sleep to make recovering from a long run easy. Point taken. Darn. Guess I had better get in a few more 20 milers in the next few weeks so that the first 20 of the TARC run will feel like "nothing"! As for the sleep, well, I'm not holding my breath on that one!!
Despite my intentions, I hadn't managed to get in a 20 mile run this winter until this morning. I took Sam into daycare today, as we're going to visit with some friends tomorrow, and decided I would take advantage of the beautiful weather to get out for a long run. With trail conditions being what they are, I decided I would just wing it on the route, not knowing exactly what I would find out there. I got out the door a little after 9:00, running the powerlines for the extended Homeplace loop first. I actually got rained on in the first mile, as a big storm cloud moved through, but that quickly cleared, bringing with it blue skies.
Large stretches of the lines were in good shape, but there were a few seriously postholey, quicksandy spots where all I could do was tread very carefully and hope I didn't get sucked in! :) That loop done, I decided I would head to the cart paths, knowing they were in good shape. Once I had done that loop, I got onto the dirt road and ran back to Topsham Crossing to hop onto the powerlines again for a short ways before popping back out on Highland Green Road and running down to the river on the Barnes Leap Trail. The trail wasn't really good for running yet, but it was a nice change of pace, and I just couldn't help myself - the river is so pretty right now. I finished up the run with another loop on the cart paths and a bit of roads to even out the miles.
I felt good for the first 10 miles, coming through right at 10:00 pace, but by the time I hit Barnes Leap around 14.5 miles, I was starting to feel the heat, and beginning to wilt a bit - definitely not used to running in 60 degree weather yet, especially for a long run! I slowed a bit in the final miles, finishing up the 20 in 3:25:02, but am happy to have gotten the miles in! Trying to figure out a route along the way actually kept my mind occupied, and I had a few good flora/fauna sightings too to keep me amused. Saw a number of Mourning Cloak butterflies soaking up the sun, watched a Pileated Woodpecker fly over the trail early on in the run, was surprised to see a Wood Frog hop across the cart path near the Heath, scared up a deer near hole #2 on my first loop through, spotted a male cardinal calling up high in a tree, and even saw a few Coltsfoot blooming in the sun along the back dirt road. Spring indeed!
Wow. What a day! This warm weather is disconcerting and a bit odd, but that doesn't mean we didn't get out to enjoy it! This morning, we headed to Frosty's to get some delicious donuts. I swear I could have eaten a whole 1/2 dozen myself - yum! - and Sam thoroughly enjoyed her sprinkle-covered donut and milk. Perfect pre-hike food :-)
Then we headed over to the Cathance trails, walking down to the river, stopping to pick up stones and splash in the puddles and slide on the ice and snow. Sam had a great time, and ended up walking about a 1/2 mile on her own before she got into the backpack for the return trip. It was so much fun to see Sam loving being outside and enjoying the woods. She pointed out the bridges to us, noted the red blazes on the trees, even called out that she was hearing a chickadee when we were talking about hearing the birds - and honestly, I didn't even say anything about a chickadee, she just knew their call! I was very proud :-) She tromped around in her "blue boots like Sam the boy (there is a boy in her daycare class named Sam)," and cautioned us to not slip on the ice. We had to stomp in the "clean water" of the little streams along the way, and had to find a spot along the Cathance for her to put her feet in. She was enthralled by the water. I think I need to find her some swim lessons :-) Anyway, we had a great time out on the trail on a gorgeous March morning!
Enjoying the sunshine
Gotta walk on the snow...
Look! More rocks for my pockets!
In the snow
Checking out the river
After putting Sam down for her nap, and getting a little lunch, I headed out to run 6 miles on the Highland Green cart paths. The paths were about 98% clear and in pretty good shape. The loop on the cart paths is a good one, with lots of little hills and some nice scenery. I didn't feel exactly peppy, as donuts and leftover chinese food, not to mention not a lot of sleep the past few nights, do not a perfect run make, but it was too nice of a day to not enjoy the run!
While I was at work today, Sam and Ryan hit the indoor farmer's market in the morning and after a good, long nap for Sammy, headed out back to do a little exploring. It was a beautiful afternoon to be outside!
I got out for a rather randomly routed 5.6 mile run (you know, to make up for the 2.6 miles not run on Wednesday :-)) on Thursday, running the Highland Green Road with a loop down to the river thrown in and a return on the cart paths and up and over Mt. Ararat. There was a very light dusting of snow on the ground, making footing a bit tricky in spots, but I think the trails and cart paths will be pretty bare shortly with the warm weather in the forecast.
I didn't get out on Friday, because, well, Sam was up screeching a number of times in the night and the cats were scratching at the blinds in the windows at 0'dark thirty, and I just didn't get a lot of sleep. Not to mention, it was in the lower 30s and misty, rainy, yucky, and I felt no real urge to get out in such damp, cold weather.
So this morning, after playing with Sam for a few hours, I got out for a nice, quick 5 miler on the Highland Green loop. I felt good, and it was a nice spring-like morning. The birds were flitting about and the sun was warm. The stretches of ice/snow on the powerlines is shrinking rapidly, and the back road of Highland Green is back down to dirt/mud. Today's run brought the week up to 35 miles, and I'm looking forward to a good 20 miler next week in what sounds like really warm weather!
Mindy is on spring break this week, so we planned to meet up at the Brad this morning for a run. I had visions of nice warm sunny weather and dry trails to run on. Well, not so much! Instead, it was a bit bleak out - temps were in the mid-30s, it was drizzly and foggy - and the trails were wet wet wet. Ah well, it was great to have a chance to catch up and run with Mindy anyway! We didn't have a particular route in mind, so we just set off onto the Snowmobile Trail, which was part runnable ice, part bare ground and part post-holey hoar frost muddy squishiness. It was slow going, and around 2 miles in, we decided it wasn't going to get any better, and turned around to head back into the park. We took Ginn, and found the singletrack to be in a bit better shape for the most part, although there was still a lot of undermined snow, ice and some mud holes to maneuver around and over. We wandered along, chatting about this and that, catching up and discussing racing, injuries, work and such, and while the miles ticked by slowly, the time went by quickly. After running around in circles a few times :-), we finally took the Link back to the parking lot, getting in a little shy of 7.5 in the hour and half we were out there. Mindy took off for a meeting, and I stopped by Edna & Lucy's for a treat and some coffee to warm up before continuing on with my errands. Thanks for the company, Mindy! It was nice to share the cold, soggy and muddy run with a friend! :-)
Yesterday I didn't make it out for a run, and Sam and I didn't even get outside to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather, aside from a trip to the grocery store in the morning. I don't quite know how that happened... she took a nice long nap in the middle of the day and then we went over to Nate & Shannon's for some playtime and dinner, so somehow the day just disappeared! Sam must have been pretty tired out from playing with her friends last night, not to mention from the newest cold she's acquired, so she ended up sleeping until 8:00 this morning! No without waking up a few times, but still. Wow. That is something of a record, I think. With her cold, the time change at bedtime hasn't been an issue - she's been tired the past few nights - and the extra hour of darkness in the morning has meant she's slept in later too, which is oh so nice! In any event, we were a bit late getting to daycare today, but I wasn't about to wake her up this morning!
After a few errands, I got myself ready for my run. I decided to run Ryan's River/Meadow Cross loop. I feel like my pace got stuck around 10:00/mile last week, what with being sick and the variable trail conditions, and I thought getting in a solid road run at a decent pace might be a good thing. It was warm and sunny as I snaked my way through town to River Road. Once I got past the turn-off for the Topsham Mall, traffic quieted down and I enjoyed running a road I hadn't been on before. I came across a big gaggle of grackles, flying between two big trees, and noticed a red-winged blackbird in their midst! First sighting of the year! It must be spring :-)
River pops out on Rt. 196 for a bit in the middle of the run and while that short stretch wasn't all that much fun with big trucks kicking up dust, but it only lasted a mile. I turned off onto Meadow Cross and for once, actually enjoyed this stretch of road. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the wind wasn't all that bad and I felt good. There were still some hills to contend with, but I managed to keep the pace down and finish off the 11 miles in 1:28:49. All in all, a happy road run. I'll take it!
This morning, Sam, Ryan and I met up with my sister and Morgan for a hike at Bradbury. When we told Sam about our plans yesterday, she said to me "no running," so I took her to her word and we all went over together for some family time out on the trails. It was a beautiful morning, and we had a lot of fun! There was still a fair amount of snow and ice in places, but there were large swaths of bare ground too - spring is on its way! After the hike, we enjoyed a delicious lunch and some yummy donuts at Edna & Lucy's. The perfect Sunday morning in my book!
Hiking up the Ski Trail
Family portrait with Morgan!
Daddo and Sammy
Kristen and Morgan at the Bluff
Hiking to the summit
View from the top
Sam was pretty tired from all the fresh air, so she went right down for a nap when we got home, and I headed out for my run. I got in 6 miles on a mix of road, ice, snow, bare ground, mud, sand, you name it! I hit Highland Green Road and then ran the small river loop down to the Cathance - the river is running quite high right now, that's for sure - before returning via the cart paths and up and around Mt. Ararat in a random fashion. Looks like we're in for some even warmer weather this week - trail conditions are bound to get even more interesting, I think!
Amazing what a difference one warm spring day makes! So much snow melted yesterday, and what 24 hours ago was really nice snow running had turned into large patches of smooth, solid ice. So much for running the powerlines this morning. I ended up just running the short 3-mile Highland Green loop, and it was slow slow slow. I could not move quickly on any of the trail stretches. I had to walk around big ice patches, bushwack through the brush or slowly skate across the treacherous spots if there was no other way around. Add in the blustery wind, pushing at me in every direction, and the fact that I just felt low energy, and it meant that what would normally take me around 25 to 26 minutes on a normal day took 30 this morning. Ah well. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night - Sam was up at all hours and then up early this morning - and while I am feeling better, my stomach still feels a bit unsettled at times. Who knows? In any event, I am definitely looking forward to a better week next week!
I did a little looking at the calendar and my training plan this morning after my run, and decided that, given how this week has gone, I will plan for a relatively mellow week next week, with no big long runs, just a solid 35 miles total. This should allow me the chance to still get in what will hopefully be 3 big weeks, and then a few weeks of taper to the TARC 50k at the end of April. And after that, hopefully I can sneak in another big run or two and be ready for Pineland!
Well, by the time I got home from dropping Sam off at daycare, the temperature had climbed above the required 45 degrees, so I donned my shorts for this morning's run. I had told Ryan I was going to run the Highland Green loop, thinking the powerlines wouldn't be runnable. But as I ran out towards Highland Green, I changed my mind. The day was just too nice for road running! And actually, where the trail had been packed by the snowmobiles, there was actually some really fine running! I couldn't help myself. I decided to stick to the trails instead. Yes, bad Danielle, for telling Ryan one route and going on another. But I figured he knew me well enough by now to know where to find me, and in fact he probably could have predicted I would run the trails instead. And well, if need be, all he would need to do was look for the miniature Inov-8 footprints ;-)
In any event, I had a grand old time stomping through the cold puddles, slipping in the mud, sinking into the saturated sand, tiptoeing across the icy patches, and enjoying some great running in between with no screw shoes required. It took a while to get through the 5 miles, but who cares? The sun was shining, it felt like spring, the trails were runnable, and I came home with my legs and shoes covered in mud! :-) Perfect!
Well, after the stomach bug or whatever it was, I spent all day on Sunday and Monday pretty much out of it. Thankfully Ryan was working from home on Monday, and was able to take Sam to the doctor for her ear check (all clear! Hurray!) so that I could take a nap in the morning. Then, while Sam napped after lunch, I napped too. Can't remember the last time I was feeling this tired and weak. Even during my pregnancy, I had more energy! In any event, Tuesday morning was the first time I had been outside since Saturday evening. I felt much better, but still hadn't managed to eat much. Finally, this morning I woke up feeling pretty much like my normal self. I had to drop off the car for an oil change, so I decided I would wear my running clothes and run a test run home from there. I had high hopes and thought maybe I could get in 5 miles, but Ryan reminded me of the past two days so I relented and agreed to just go for three miles. This was probably the right call, as I definitely didn't feel super energetic; still I didn't feel terrible, and I certainly was glad to be out running again! It is going to be a pretty minimal week mileage-wise, but oh well. These things happen. I'm just happy to be feeling better!
Yesterday, I felt a bit off, but didn't think much of it. But after I ate a snack around 3pm, I knew something was up, I just wasn't sure what. Irene and Dana had come up for the weekend, so that they could help Ryan out on Saturday and watch Sam during the race today, so I left work a bit early so we could all go out to dinner. As we headed out, I told Ryan that my stomach wasn't feeling great. We headed to Freeport to go to Buck's. Soon after we ordered, it became apparent that I needed to get to the bathroom as soon as possible. I really hate getting sick like this. It is the worst. I haven't been so sick since the "horrible, terrible, no good, very bad evening" a few years ago, and I had really hoped not to repeat that one. To make things worse, it is never good to be throwing up anywhere other than your own home. Long ago, I threw up multiple times from food/water poisoning at the train station on the way to see the Tower of Pisa. I've thrown up in a bathroom at work from some sort of flu bug. And now, well, Buck's, you can join that list. Blech! I took Irene and Dana's keys and drove myself home, leaving them there to finish dinner. I sat on the couch and hoped that there was no more to come. But, alas, there was. It was not a happy night. Poor Ryan had to help me back to bed a few times after I'd gotten up for the bathroom or gone in to tend to Sam in the middle of the night - she is in a Mama phase right now and it was easier to get up and quickly get her back to sleep than let Ryan go in and have things escalate into a full-on scream fest at midnight.
Needless to say, when I woke up, I knew I was not going to be racing today. Which was really really sad. I was looking forward to duking it out with Emma on the course today! Sounds like she ran an awesomely fast race though, and she certainly deserves that Bad Ass prize, but I had been hoping to fight her for it, for sure! :-) Instead, I spent the 3 hours after Ryan took off for the race trying to put on a good face for Sam, eating a few saltines, hoping that the puking had passed, and most of all, waiting for Irene and Dana to get there so they could take over on Sam duties and I could go back to bed! Thank you thank you Grammie and Grampie! You saved me today! I really appreciate it. After they got there, I went up for a nap, came down for "lunch" and then went right back up for another nap. Wow, I haven't felt this weak or tired in a long time.
I am, thank goodness, feeling a bit more human now, and have managed to get some food and a few Nalgenes of Gatorade into myself. Even better, no puking since midnight last night, so I am hopeful I am on the mend. I think it is going to be a rest week though... Ah yes, well, it wouldn't be like me to actually be able to follow through on planned mileage for more than one week in a row, right?! Ha. And with that, I'm off to bed!
P.S. Nice work to all the Trail Monsters at the race today! Looked like some great times out there! And big props to Ryan and Ian for putting on what is a great snowshoe series. Despite the fact that I didn't turn out to be an official "BadAss," Ryan brought my shirt home to me anyways. Sam thought it was pretty cool :-)
I was really hoping to get out on my snowshoes for a run this morning, but as Ryan said after shoveling out the cars, there really wasn't that much snow out there. It sure looked pretty, but we probably got 6" at the most, and it was all of the light, fluffy variety which didn't pack down well, and there is little to no base for it to sit upon. So I sadly put my snowshoes back, and headed out on the roads for a messy, slushy, slippy 4 miles. As much as I was pining to be out on the trails, I could tell I'd made the right decision about the snowshoes though - where the snow had been plowed or shoveled, it was only a few inches of fluff before going right back to the bare ground, so the snowshoes would have hit a lot of rocks and such if I had taken them out. Oh well. Looks like the snow totals were a bit higher further south so the snowshoes will get a workout on Sunday at the last snowshoe race of the season at least!
Today's 4 miler brought my weekly total up to 40, a relatively solid and happy total in my book.
Sam and I did get out in the snow for a bit yesterday morning, although we didn't last long before the wind took her breath away and she wanted to go back inside. Ah well, at least we tried! I did bring a number of containers of snow into the house after naptime for her to play with in the sink. She had fun eating, spooning and melting the snow, so that was a hit at least :-)