Monday, April 30, 2012

Creaky Three

I got out for a short run this morning down in Georgetown. I wasn't sure how the afternoon would go with Sam once we got home (although, knock on wood, she's been asleep for an hour, so I'm not complaining!), and wanted to get my legs moving a bit today, so I figured this morning might be the best time. While Sam and Ryan were eating breakfast with Grampie, I headed out to run the 3 mile loop around their neighborhood. The sun was shining and the air was crisp. The lilacs, both purple and white, were in full bloom, as were the dogwoods and the fruit trees (crab apples?). There was even some honeysuckle blooming by the edge of the road! And of course, the poison ivy was going gangbusters. There was so much of it that it made me want to get home and hop in a bath of Tecnu, even though I know I didn't touch any of it. Ewwww! Makes me itch just thinking of all that nastiness growing away unchecked. In any event, the legs felt C-R-E-A-K-Y, but nothing hurt. I was just stiff, as is to be expected. I think it was good to get some blood flowing, but will definitely be taking it easy for the rest of the week.




Sunday, April 29, 2012

Family Fun

No running for me today, although I have to say, I feel surprisingly much less sore than I would have thought. I am a bit stiff, yes, but nothing major, and as Ryan said, "Wow, you haven't been limping around at all." Ummm, thanks, honey :-)

With no running on tap for today, we spent the day hanging out with the family. It is Ryan's Uncle Charlie's 90th birthday tomorrow, so he, and Ryan's grandparents, came over for the day. We ate, and talked, and ate and talked, and ate some more :-) Perfect recovery day! As always, it was great to see everyone! After naptime, Ryan, Sam and I also got in a visit to the farm, and Sam, Dana and I got out for a little walk to enjoy the sunshine too.

Gotta love her sense of style :-)

"B" (and P) hats!

We love hats!

Enjoying a walk through the neighborhood

At the farm

Watching the 3 week old duckies

Hanging out with Great Uncle Charlie

Pistachios with Great Grammie




Saturday, April 28, 2012

TARC Spring Classic 50k - Race Report

Ryan asked me last evening if I had gotten the email about the change in course for the TARC 50k. Hmmm. Nope, hadn't realized that. Turns out they had decided to change the course to make the loop a "certified" 10k, meaning the 50k would be in fact a true 50k and not the 32.7ish miles I had been anticipating based on research from last year's results. OK, a slight change in plans, but hey, I'll take 31 versus 32.7 any day!

After getting up at 5:30 with Sam this morning, we headed over to Weston from his parent's house, leaving them gulping cups of coffee in anticipation of a long day with an energetic 2 1/2 year old :-) Thank you Grammie and Grampie! Sam had a great day and we really appreciate you watching her so we could go run and have fun!!

It took us no time at all to motor down the quiet highway and get off in ritzy Weston, winding our way through some serious houses on our way to the start of the race, in a field/horse riding ring at the edge of Jericho Woods. The Trail Animals put on a really nice race, well-organized, with lots of nice volunteers, a huge aid station piled with food, and a well-marked course that wound through some lovely woods. It was cool and windy, and I stayed in my long pants and jacket as long as I could. Brrrr. Still, the sky was bright and blue, and the sun was warm. I shivered a bit as we waited for the start, but warmed up and got comfortable once the race got underway.

My goal was to run the loops comfortably, shooting for 10 minute miles for at least the first few laps. Of course, being me, I started out too quickly, spending the first few miles chatting with a fellow thru-hiker named Fedex, who hiked the trail in 2007. We had fun talking trail for a while and it made the time fly by. Around mile 3, Nathan sidled up next to me and said, "Hey, when do you think we'll catch up to Blaine?" Ha. Funny man! We stayed together until around mile 4, at which point, I realized he was going slightly faster than was "comfortable" for me at this point, so I let him go. It would have been nice to stay with him, but it was early yet and I had to run my own race. Even with my attempt to slow things down, I came through lap #1 with the clock reading 55:xx. Ryan, who ran the 10k, had quickly organized my things and ever-so-nicely set up all my stuff right at the edge of the field near the aid station, all ready for me to easily pick up what I wanted for the next lap. What a good hubby! :-)

As I set off for loop #2, Ryan called after me, "Take it easy!" Point noted. I made an effort to slow down, although I was a bit loathe to do so, especially on the wide and even carriage roads which simply begged for quick running. I ran mostly alone, passing a few people here and there, getting passed, etc. I saw Nathan up ahead at a few points, but he slowly disappeared. I ran along enjoying the scenery and glad to be out on such a nice day. The woods down here are much greener than up our way, and the forest floor was filled with greenery and wood flowers - we ran through a big section of blooming lily of the valley, there were lots of purple violets blooming, as well as some wood anemone and a few flowering trees. Of course, there was also a lot of poison ivy, and I was very conscious to stay in the middle of the single track. I definitely didn't want to bring home that sort of souvenir! The loop was a nice mix of wide carriage roads, some twisty but friendly single track, and just a few small stretches of rhythm-stopping mud and rock, all rolling up and over small hills, along the edge of fields and through this wonderful tract of conservation land. I came through loop #2 somewhere around 1:54.

Loop #3 passed in a similar fashion, and for the last few miles, I was slowly but surely catching up with who other than Nathan! We came into the aid station with me right on his tail, but somehow I got back out faster than he did. I am fuzzy on the numbers on the clock at this point, but I know I was doing the loops in under an hour, even if just. I passed Christine near the beginning of lap #4, asking her to tell Nathan to come find me. I figured he would catch up to me soon enough.

Although the loop was a good one, at some point in loop #4, my legs were starting to let me know that they were a bit upset with my pace, and my stomach was starting to make itself known as well. I had been doing really well up until mile 18 with my fueling, eating every three miles and feeling pretty good energy-wise. During lap #4, I took a Gu at mile 22, but it was a struggle. Ah well, I wasn't going to give up at that point. I was just going to keep on pushing, or at least try to not slow down too much :)

I was aware as I was coming to the end of loop #4 that I was on pace for under 5 hours, but when I did the numbers in my head, I knew, unless there was some sort of miracle, I wasn't going to get a 50k PR. Still, I thought I could do pretty well if I was able to keep going at a decent pace. I didn't really want to eat anything, so I grabbed 3 chips from my aid station and headed back out quickly for the final time. One more lap to go! The day had warmed up and I could tell I hadn't been drinking enough, as with each bite of chip, my mouth felt really dry. I think those three chips lasted about 2 miles and it was all I could do to get them down. But no matter. Onward! Last time through! The benefit of the loop course was that I knew where I was, and had noted when I had around a mile to go. I picked up the pace as much as I could, but had to slow dramatically to get through the final crossing of the muddy rocky stretch before attempting to get my legs moving again for the last 1/2 mile push. Ryan had been telling me all along that the girl is 3rd place was a few minutes ahead, and although I was steadily passing people in the last lap, I couldn't quite tell if I was lapping them or if they were people I was catching up to. I passed a number of women, but in the end, the woman in 3rd beat me by about 1:30. Shucks! Still, I can't be too upset - I finished in 4:52:12, as 4th woman, and feeling strong most of the way. I'm happy with how the race went, how I felt, how my body held up and how I was able to keep steady and keep pushing even at the end. Definitely a good race, and a happy surprise to come in under 5 hours! I'll take it!

Happy runner

The Trail Monsters were out in full force today, with Ryan and Erik running the 10k, Blaine rocking the 50k, Nathan finishing about 9 minutes behind me and George, using the race as his final long run before Massanutten, finishing strong around 5:30. Brenda, Christine, Ann and Kate all had great marathons - with Kate putting in an impressive finishing kick at the end! We were set up in the field in style - Ryan grilling sausages and burgers, with lots of beer flowing, and as always, the wonderful camaraderie and support that comes with a great group of friends. After the race, I kicked back in a chair, eating, chatting and resting, and just soaking up the energy of the day while I enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my back. It was a fun day, for sure!

The Trail Monster crew post-race


RESULTS
50k (Garmin read 30.78 miles) - 4:52:12
23/93 finishers; 4th of 23 women

Friday, April 27, 2012

Spring Blooms

Got out on this rainy, dreary morning for a short 3 miler around Highland Green. It wasn't the nicest of mornings, but the upside of a rainy day is that everything else seems so bright and rich - the grasses, the flowers, the mosses. Enjoyed seeing a few patches of wood anemone along the trail's edge, their pinkish white blooms curled and bent against the cool weather. The trailing arbutus was out, its white flowers contrasting with its dark glossy leaves. Dark purple violets are appearing everywhere, as are larger number of bluets. Along the powerlines, the blueberry plants are producing flowers already - wow!

Looking forward to TARC tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Peace, and a few miles

I've come to peace with the fact that I won't be running 50 miles at Pineland next month. I've been thinking about it for a while now, and just decided I should get on with it and say it and be done with it. I don't think my heart was ever really into running 3 laps around the Pineland course in the first place, even though it seemed the logical thing to do, what with my extra time to train over the winter and the fact that the race takes place only a 1/2 hour from our house. And without the deep-rooted desire regarding Pineland, I just never willed myself into the necessary training this winter. I had the "free" time, I just didn't take it. And so, I am just not ready to tackle 50 miles. Oh, I do want to run a 50, but I think I may have to wait a few years. Either that, or find a 50 that truly compels me to put in the training time.

The reason I feel it will have to wait is simply this: at this point, with my work schedule and with Sam, I am not willing to give up 5 to 7, or maybe more, hours a weekend to run. Saturdays are out - I'm working. Sundays are our only day all together, and while Ryan, as a running spouse, is super understanding of my need to get in my long runs, I don't want to miss all my time with the two of them on Sunday. It simply does not seem fair. To any of us. A few Sundays here and there, fine, but not all. Plus Ryan needs the chance to run too! And then Monday, my second "weekend" day, is spent with Sam, and I don't have the time to get in a really long run, especially now that her napping is so spotty. I could get up at 0'dark thirty and run, I suppose, but Sam doesn't sleep well most nights, so neither do I. Which means I need to sleep when I can :-) I know there are parents who manage to train for long ultras despite all the obstacles listed above (and many more), and yes, these things may all be construed as excuses by some, but they are mine, and they are real to me.

I sometimes wish I had taken up ultra-running way back when, when I didn't have a child, had no weekend commitments, and therefore had so much less guilt. I could have run to my heart's content! But then again, Ryan and I got in a lot of great hiking and peakbagging and backpacking in our early years together, all of which led to our AT adventure, and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Even if I'm not doing 50 next month, I'm sure I'll end up running at Pineland but whether 25k or 50k is yet to be decided. That will just have to wait until after TARC.

So, with that, I'm gathering all my energy to run well on Saturday. I feel relatively well prepared, having put in some pretty good mileage compared to training for other marathons/50ks I've run, and I'm looking forward to racing and seeing a lot of Trail Monsters out there this weekend! Here's hoping for fast trail conditions and happy, snappy legs for us all :-)

~

Snuck in a few more miles this morning, running a quick 3 miles around the Highland Green loop. Still feeling a bit tired though, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a good night's sleep tonight. Maybe I should do some sort of sleep dance to get the stars in alignment... or if anyone knows how to reason with a 2 1/2 year old regarding sleep, let me know! :-)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Easy Miles

I didn't run yesterday. Since I'm not trying to cram in the miles this week, I had the chance to skip running through the deluge and I took it. I think I actually needed the rest. I was tired. And creaky. And slightly cranky. A good night's sleep would likely resolve all this quite easily, but Sam is apparently not into that at the moment, and has been waking up every few hours the past few nights because, and I quote, "I need to see my mama." Very sweet but not at 9:30, 11:30, 12:30, 2:20 and 5:00am. Sigh.

I got in a mellow 4 miles this morning, and felt a little better. I'm still tired (see above) but the legs are a bit less creaky, and I didn't feel quite as on edge. I'm hoping I get at least one good night's sleep this week and that the rest of it is just taperitis, and I'll feel snappy and happy on Saturday! Well, if not, I guess I'll just have to fake it :-)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Rainy Sunday

We woke to overcast skies, puddles on the front walk and 45 degree temps. We need the rain, so we can't complain. This is what it should be like for part of April! I had decided to forgo running at the Brad and stick closer to home so that we could do something this morning together. Given the forecast, I proposed heading to Freeport, figuring we could enjoy a good breakfast at Fresh Batch and Sam could play in the play area there, and then we could head to LLBean to see "the fishies" and pick up a shirt for Ryan to wear at Jamie and Kate's wedding. Sam was excited for LLBean, and her face lit up when we got inside Fresh Batch and she remembered the slide. The place was filled with families with young kids - it's a great place to go, given the play area and the yummy food! We ended up hitting one more store before heading home - the Nike store - where we found Sam some sweet kid size Nike Frees. Adorable :-)

Rockin' the backpack and new shoes

You can't quite see the shoes in the photo, but she loves them. They are black, grey and red, and she looks so grown up in them! In the photo, she is posing with baby and some snacks in "her" backpack (ie. one of Ryan's hydration packs :-)). She wore baby around the house for a good 1/2 hour or so! Ha!

Ryan nicely tried to put Sam down for a nap so I could head out for my run after lunch (emphasis on "tried"). I haven't run on the Cathance trails much this spring, so thought I'd take a jaunt along the river and do the 7-mile loop over there. With a slight mist in the air and grey skies above, I hit the trails. Felt a little tired during the run, probably some combination of not sleeping well last night, the weather and a good breakfast but no lunch before the run, but the run itself was nice. The river was gurgling. The greens were really popping, and the whole forest looked lush. Saw more trailing arbutus, blooming violets and bluets, starflowers and lots of false lily of the valley coming up. I also saw a hawk along the Heath. Caught a definite view of the dark brown and white striped tail, so although I didn't hear it call, I'm assuming it was another (or the same?) Broad-winged Hawk. 

A few more runs this week, and it is time for TARC! From reports I've read online, it sounds like the loops are more like 6.55 than 6.2, so it will be a long 50k. Hopefully trail conditions will be good, and it will be a relatively fast course despite the extra length, but it seems likely that I'll be out there for around 5 1/2 hours. I'm hoping for less though :-) 


Friday, April 20, 2012

Cheers!

Cheers!

Neenie and Pippi were nice enough to come up and watch Sam last night after work so that Ryan and I could go out to dinner. Sam was over-the-moon excited that they were coming up to hang out with her, and my mom said she was really good all evening. It helped that she was so tired from all her play and outside time at daycare that she fell asleep without a peep! Always a good thing :-)

Ryan and I decided to go to El Camino, a funky Mexican place in Brunswick. We haven't been there in a number of years, and although I'd say it was a bit pricey, the food was delicious. I probably could have just enjoyed my margharita and the guac and basket of salty, crispy, addictive homemade chips and called it good, but the tacos I had were tasty too. After dinner, we wandered over to Frontier, where Ryan had a few more beers and I had their delicious blueberry crisp and vanilla gelato. I am not sure I've been running enough this week (TAPER!) to warrant all the calories consumed last night, but it was fun! Thanks Neenie and Pippi! It is always nice to get out on our own for a few hours!

This morning, I headed over to the Cathance trails to run an easy 5ish miles to round out the week at 30. The forest floor is becoming filled with greenery pushing up through the leaf litter, and I saw some more blooming trailing arbutus and a number of star flower stalks with their leaves open, but no flowers on those yet. As I was running around the Heath, I heard a call I didn't quite recognize. Was it a blue jay? Nope. A crow? Nah. Hmmm, what was it? I stopped to look around, and saw two birds, a few trees apart, both about crow-size, calling to each other. The birds were backlit, so I couldn't quite tell what color they were. I backtracked a bit hoping to catch a glimpse of something I could identify. From the shape of its head, I figured it was a raptor of some sort. The bird closest to me startled and flew to another nearby branch, affording me a glimpse of the bands on its tail. OK, enough to let me do some research. I looked in my bird book when I got home, narrowing down the options, and then went online to listen to some calls. Turns out they were Broad-winged Hawks, calling to each other. Neat! A good sighting for the morning, and a nice way to end the running week.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quick Tour

Took a quick 5 mile tour of Highland Green this morning. The sun was shining and the forsythea was in full bloom along the road. A nice morning to be sure.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Seven and One More Rhyme

This morning, we were all up early. Ryan only because Sam decided it was imperative that I leave the container of pumpkin muffins I had made for her last night open on the coffee table. I tried to reason with her that I was closing said container to keep the muffins fresh, and to prevent the cats from licking them, but she is 2 1/2. There is no reasoning with 2 1/2. To her, it had to be open. I did not want it open. And so, there was a meltdown. Now, I could have easily opened it back up after telling her why it should stay closed, but I really didn't want to give in. I mean, this was a ridiculous discussion. There was no need for the container to stay open. She had her muffin and I had told her she could have another after she had finished the first. I wasn't taking the muffins away. I was simply trying to keep them fresh. Ryan eventually could take no more of it, and came down to intervene. Sigh. Sam cheered up and moved onto another distraction soon enough, but I think the whole incident might have set Ryan off on the wrong foot for the day.

I dropped Sam off at daycare early enough to have time to run 7 miles, and Ryan decided to join me, which was a pleasant surprise. We decided to head out onto the powerlines for the dump loop, which would give Ryan a few outs should he not feel up to the full route. While I was glad to have him along, I could tell he wasn't super happy with how the run was going from the start. I think it was too early in the day for him, along with the terrain being more uneven than he would have wanted. So he was grouchy and I was anxious about his grouchiness. My, we were a cheery pair :-) We modified our route to skip the little loop around the pond where there is a lot of soft sand, but Ryan ended up peeling off around 4 miles to head back alone anyway. I figured if I picked it up, I might be able to catch him somewhere on the return, depending on how long his chosen route back came to be, and how fast he was going. I caught a glimpse of him crossing Tedford, just as I was cresting the hill before Rt. 24 and knew I would likely not catch him, as he was probably 1/3 of a mile ahead of me. But I gave chase anyway. In the end, he saw me coming along the powerlines and stopped at the top of the hill by Highland Green road for me to catch up so that we could run the remaining mile or so in together. I hope once he is feeling better that we can have some happier runs together. It is nice to have his company out there, at least when he isn't being a grouch :-)

And to end the post on a lighter note, here is one more nursery rhyme interpretation by Sam, this time of the end of "Old McDonald Had a Farm," plus a bit of "The Bear Went Over the Mountain," in which Sam is trying to sing "to see what he could see" but it comes out as "to seeka seeka see." Too funny!


video

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nursery Rhymes

Here are a few cute videos from this weekend of Sam singing me some of her favorite nursery rhymes. She took out the books, and was holding them towards me so I could see the pictures, singing renditions of both "Itsby Bitsy Spider" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in a very Sam way :-)

video
Twinkle Twinkle


video
 Itsy Bitsy Spider

On a running note, I snuck in an unexciting 3 miles this morning before dropping Sam off at daycare and getting some of the errands I didn't do this weekend done before heading up to work. Sam was a bit hesitant to hang out with Ryan, after not seeing him for a few days, but he told me she turned to him after the door closed and said "My Daddo. You've gotten so big, Daddo. So big." Adorable!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Patriot's Day Activities

While Ryan spent the day in Boston cheering on all the runners braving the heat for the Boston Marathon (Nice job Jamie, Joe, Katy, Chuck and Natasha!), Sam and I spent the day with Morgan, Neenie and Pippi. We started off the morning right, smelling the flowers and eating donuts :-)

Spring!

Sugar high :-)

We then proceeded over to the Cathance trails, where Sam showed us her favorite loop down along the river. Morgan was being a good little junior naturalist along the way, and was documenting our finds as we hiked along. Actually our nature finds started before we even began hiking, when Pippi schreeched to a stop on Highland Green Road, and we looked back to see something large like a snake, but definitely moving like a lizard, crossing the road. We backed up and all got out to take a look. It was pretty cool! I have seen a lot of salamanders and newts, but I honestly never knew there was a salamander that was this big. This thing must have been around 8". Amazing! I took a photo and posted it on Facebook, tagging Jeff, and of course, he knew right what it was. Thanks Jeff!

Spotted Salamander (You can't quite get a sense of the scale here, but he was bigger than my hand)

Although the day was warm and the sun was hot, we had a great time walking down to and along the river. It was cool in the shade and there was a nice breeze. Sam walked almost the entire 1/2 mile+ loop by herself and had a great time showing us around! :-) 

Headed down to the river

Neenie, Pippi and the kiddos along the Cathance

Cousins

On the bog bridges

We had all sorts of great sightings along the trail today! Two wood frogs, one Kingfisher flying right through Barnes Leap, robins, phoebes, a Mallard, 5 turtles sunning themselves on fallen logs in the vernal pool, a newt in its aquatic stage swimming in the water right near the dock, some fiddleheads coming up near the river, a small patch of blooming Trailing Arbutus, and - almost as neat as the Spotted Salamander - eight Brook Trout (or so we assume from our research), thrashing around in the shallow waters, swimming upstream, and finally coming to rest in groups of 4 or 5 near a rock and a fallen branch. We stood and watched them for a while before heading home for lunch. It was very cool!

Do you see the fish?

Making a splash!





Sunday, April 15, 2012

Russian Easter Run

Mindy and Pete hosted a fun Russian Easter run today, followed by some delicious (and slightly funny looking - teehee!) foods. It was a great way to spend a bright, sunny and warm Sunday morning - running and catching up with friends! Thanks guys :-)

We met in the parking lot of a Methodist church, setting out to enjoy our own sort of Sunday morning mass. Pete took the lead on his bike and was our fearless leader for the whole way. It's a good thing too, as we wound in and out of a few different trail systems such as Robinson Woods and the Greenbelt, which was fun but potentially confusing if you didn't know where you were going/headed. We had a good group - Valerie, Rick, Randy, Nathan, Dora, NJ Dave, Linda, Mary, Mindy and Pete - and it was fun to spend stretches of trail catching up with everyone. The trails were lovely - a mix of gentle terrain and some rootier/rockier single track. Pete even took Randy, Nathan and I on a little out-and-back to the edge of the ocean on our return trip. Pretty! We weren't in a rush out there, just enjoying the trails and the company, although I was accused of picking up the pace when I was in the front of the line behind Pete. Oops! Sorry guys. Just ask Ryan - I can't help it! I have no sense of pace :-)

Pretty woods (photo courtesy of Valerie)

Happy runners

After a fun 9.6 mile run, we sojourned to Mindy and Pete's to meet the chickens (very cool!) and enjoy some fun food. It was great to sit out in the sun  and catch up and enjoy the morning. I left around 1:00 to join up with Sam, Kristen, Morgan, and my mom and dad (thanks for watching Sam, guys!) for some playtime at Deering Oaks Park. What a great day to be outside!

Happy girlie in the swing

Blue tongue!



Saturday, April 14, 2012

More

I ran down to the river this morning, enjoying the warm temps and the bright, shining sun. I found some more trailing arbutus blooming at the edge of the woods near the Heath. Pretty. The river was running fairly low - no surprise, given the lack of rain of late - but gurgled cheerfully as I ran past. I got in a nice 5 miles to round out the week at 38 miles. The legs still felt a bit flat, which I find slightly puzzling given the fact that this past week I ran 12 less miles and 1 less day than the past two weeks, but hey. Who knows. I'm thinking a run with my Trail Monster friends tomorrow will put some pep back in my step though - nothing like a good run with friends :-)

Sam and Ryan made plans to head out for a hike down to the river after I left from work ("We go down to the river too, Mama! Like you!"), and I got these photos on my phone a little while ago. Looks like they are having fun! :-)

Happy hiker!
By the river

Friday, April 13, 2012

Flat

I headed out on the powerlines to run the extended 6-mile Homeplace loop after dropping Sam off at daycare. It was a nice morning to be out, the bird were singing, it was warm and sunny, and when I stopped in the woods about a mile into the run to pee, I noticed a small patch of trailing arbutus blooming! Already?! Wow. I love this dainty little plant, trailing along the ground, its green leaves staying green although the winter, the little pink and white flowers that are some of the first of the wildflowers to bloom in the woods. So pretty.

The two slight downsides of today's run were that 1) the legs felt a bit flat and just seemed a bit heavy; and 2) The connector trail from the powerlines to the fun little stretch of singletrack in the woods along Homeplace was blocked off. The trail goes right along the edge of someone's property, and I guess he had decided enough was enough. Boo. I could probably have snuck through, being as I was on foot and not on a machine, but I didn't want to be a total jerk about it, so I ran the stretch of road instead. Definitely not as nice. Oh well. If I end up running out around the dump, I can still access this trail from the other side, at least, but it's still too bad.

Planning to get in a short run tomorrow, and then looking forward to running with all our Trail Monster friends at Mindy's Russian Easter run on Sunday!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Morning 15

We managed to convince Sam that she should sleep on her pillow last night, which was a godsend. (She's still in her crib and typically doesn't use a pillow. She just lays flat in the crib with her "baby," covered up with her two "pretties" (or blankets to the rest of us).) She fell asleep without much coughing and managed to sleep straight through from a little before 7:00 pm until 4:00am. She then went back to sleep until around 5:30 am, at which point she started coughing, which upset her, which made her cough more, and round and round, and so by 5:40, the two of us were downstairs on the couch, reading books and eating pistachios. Yes, she is so weird! Pistachios before 6:00 am - ugh! ;-) In any event, it was nice to get a decent chunk of sleep last night, and I wasn't too concerned with being up so early as I was planning on heading out early to run anyway.

I headed out a little after 7:00 am. It was cool and bright. I knew the golf course wouldn't be open yet, so I planned on hitting the cart paths first. The greens were covered with a light frost, and the half moon hung low and visible in the sky above. Things were very quiet and peaceful. I ran one loop of the course, and when I got back to the clubhouse, there were no cars in the parking lot so I headed out for another loop on the cart paths. I veered off at hole #5 to run the Heath Trail loop and then continued on to finish up the cart paths. By the time I got back to the clubhouse this time, the Garmin was reading close to 9 miles and there were a few cars in the lot, so I decided I would just run the Highland Green road next and figure it out from there. I veered off the road to run the short lollypop down to the river and back, stopping to stretch a bit and open my Gu at the vernal pool on the way back through. When I got to the quarry, I realized that if I cut through the cart path and ran hole #9 that I would get back to the road right around 11.5 miles, which would mean I could then just run the remainder of the Highland Green loop again back home and it should be pretty much exactly 15 miles. Perfect. I did just that, and finished up in 2:19. The course ended up being roughly 9 miles of dirt roads/gravel cart paths, 3 miles of pavement and 3 miles of trails, so it made for a pretty quick 15 miles, which was what I was looking for on a weekday morning. Glad to have finally gotten the miles in. You know, Sunday, Wednesday, it's all the same, right?! ;-)

As for the bird report from the run, it was a fine morning for bird watching. Saw and heard lots of phoebes, chickadees, robins and blue jays, saw one cardinal, heard two woodpeckers and scared up a pair of Northern Flickers from the edge of a swampy area near the beaver dam before hole #8. I saw the flash of yellow on the wings as they took off - neat! Also saw a turkey vulture floating up high, and what I am pretty sure was an American Kestral. I saw it up on the top of a tree, a crow making noise nearby in alarm, and it flew across the golf course to land on another tree. As I ran past, it flew back across the course, and landed on the top of the first tree, its tail flicking as it balanced itself. Cool little falcon.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Well...

...about that plan for 15 miles today... not so much... I woke up this morning with a splitting headache and a child who had been up every few hours during the night coughing. Poor little thing (and me too!). I wish Sam was old enough for cough syrup, but I think we have another few years to go until we can use it. Ah well. She still has antibiotics in her system from operation attempt-to-get-rid-of-the-fluid-in-her ears, but I doubt this is anything but a cold/cough that just needs to work its way through her system. It seems to be going around her room at daycare. She perked up once we got moving this morning, so I'm sure she will be fine. A cough is always rough at night when you are lying down.

In any event, while I realize that not every run can be ideal, I hate to set myself up for a bad long run, so I decided once again to mess with the plan, and ended up just getting in a slow 5 miles down to the river and back today. The 15 will have to be tomorrow. Third try's a charm, right? Well, it has to get done, so tomorrow it will, no matter how the night goes. I'll just keep my fingers crossed that tonight we can all get a more restful night's sleep! :-)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Turkey and Beaver

I knew I wouldn't get a run in yesterday morning due to the planned Easter festivities, but in the end, I didn't get in a run at all, as we ended going back to have lunch at Kristen's and then hanging out for the afternoon. The girls did very well playing together, Ryan got to watch some of the Masters on the big screen, and Kristen and I had some time to chat, although it was interrupted by frequent trips upstairs to check on the kids when things got just a little too quiet :-) By the time we got home, it was 4pm, Sam was exhausted (no nap), I was starved and Ryan wanted to get his run in. No big deal. I had already thrown in the towel on my 15 mile run, and was mentally rearranging the week to fit it in on a later date.

But today was not that day. I did, however, get out for a nice 7 miler during naptime. The wind was whipping around, making it feel cooler than it really was, and the sky was gray. I wasn't feeling the peppiest or the most enthusiastic, but in the end, the run went well and I felt pretty good. I decided to run the dump loop, which I haven't run for quite some time. I headed out on the powerlines with the wind at my back and turned towards Bay Park. Along the wide stretch of ATV/snowmobile trail near the road, I passed a dead beaver. A big one. I am not sure it he was shot or if it was an animal that killed him; there was blood at his neck but otherwise he was intact. I felt badly passing him by and wondered what had happened and how he had ended up there. There is a swampy area and a pond across the street, but I'm not sure why he would have been on this stretch of trail in the woods between houses. Very odd.

I wound my way out towards the dump and along the edge of the ponds back into the woods. I was keeping up a decent pace until I hit the hill right before Rt. 24 on the way back home. Then the wind hit me full-on, and things slowed down a bit as I pushed against it. It sure has been a windy month so far. I managed to sneak in under 9 minute pace in the end, though, so it all worked out. Saw lots of deer prints, along with one set of turkey prints, in the sand, as well as a lone turkey crossing the trail near Topsham Crossing. Sam wanted to know if he went squack squack squack gobble gobble when I told her what I had seen, but honestly, all I could hear was the wind in my ears! :-)

Planning to get in that 15-miler tomorrow morning, bright and early before work. I'm thinking the cart paths might be fair game at that time of day, which would be nice, but otherwise it will just be a random wander on the trails and roads around home.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Egg Hunt

We're not really big into holidays around our house. It isn't that I don't want to honor traditions, expose Sam to various pagan and christian ideas, or create our own holiday fun for Sam to remember, it is that I just find it hard to get into some of the more commercialized aspects of the holidays. But, alas, we have a 2 1/2 year old and I want her to be able to join in on the holiday fun at least a little bit, so last night, at 8pm, there I was, at Target, attempting to get an Easter basket and a few Easter trinkets for Sam. Well, evidently, everyone else under the sun had gotten there before me. The shelves were ransacked! I chose one of the (literally) six remaining easter baskets, and decided it was a good thing Sam didn't really like candy, as there wasn't any available :-) Ha! I picked up a few odds and ends to put into some eggs and finished off the basket with a few books and stickers. Nothing fancy, but it did the trick!

This morning, we went down to Kristen's house, let Sam and Morgan play for a little bit, went out for a non-traditional Easter donut :-) and then headed over to the Coast Guard base where Rob was working. We did our easter hunt in the offices, as it was too blustery and cold to hide the eggs outside. Nothing says Easter like an easter hunt on a military base, right?! But the girls had fun, and that is all that matters! We'll work on telling Sam about the resurrection of Jesus, and the reason why bunnies came to be a symbol of the Easter holiday some other year :-)

Sprinkles!

On the move

Searching for eggs

The girls with their full baskets

Saturday, April 7, 2012

4 for 50

Got in a surprisingly creak-free run this morning. I was thinking I might be sore from the faster road run yesterday, but nope. I was just slow :-) Windy out again but decent temps for running. Ran the powerlines and a bit of the dirt Highland Green Road for 4 miles. Today's run brought the weekly tally up to 50. Yay! Happy to have done it, but can't say I also won't be glad to "only" go for 40 miles next week.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Windy 11

Sam was nice to her mama and slept well last night, which is always a good thing, especially when it comes to putting in a good running effort the next morning. She woke up once, around 4:45, before going back to bed until a little after 6:00, which means I at least got a solid 6 1/2 hours of sleep, followed by a bit of tossing and turning :-) I was out the door around 7:45, leaving Ryan to drop Sam off at daycare, something I rarely do, but which was necessary to get today's run in. I decided I would run Ryan's 11-mile River/Meadow loop, which I have run once before, and which I liked enough for a road run :-)

While I didn't notice it at home, once I got out into the open, I realized it was pretty windy out. Oh well. Can't do anything about that. I haven't looked at my Garmin splits yet, but I'm pretty sure the first mile was the slowest mile, right around 8:30, followed up by a nice 7:30 or so split, which put me right around 8:00 pace when I looked at my watch. I was feeling good, despite running into the wind, and thought I'd try to keep up the 8:00ish pace the rest of the way, you know, just to keep things interesting! I actually think I might have run pretty even splits for most of the run, with the miles ticking away right around 8:00s each and every time. Somewhere in the second half of the run, the pace dropped a bit below 8:00/per mile and that gave me the umph I needed in the final few miles to keep on cranking! Of course, miles 8 to 9 brought me up the last big hill, leaving me gasping a bit for oxygen at the top near Bisson's, where I was treated with the lovely manure smell by the cow pasture. Awesome :-) One final downhill and the last flat stretch along 201 to go, and I ended up with 11 miles in 1:26:46. I am glad I listened to myself yesterday when my body/head were telling me to take a bit of break. I think it paid off in today's run, and am extra happy to have been able to get in a good fast-for-me mid-distance run near the end of a big week of running.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Push or Wuss?

Since I don't follow a training plan, and tend to just go with what feels right, I sometimes wonder if I am pushing enough. Or if I let myself wuss out too much. With no one to tell me what to do, or simply if life gets in the way, I can modify my running plan for the week, or even the day, on the fly. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Perhaps it simply just is. Sometimes, I think I give myself an "out" too easily, but today, as I was rush rush rush rush rushing out the door to get in my miles, amidst the thoughts of "Must go faster! Must get in these 7 miles. OK, you have 1:10 to run, shower and get in the car, go go go!" part of my brain was like, "Whoa, lady. Just slow down. Take a deep breath. Maybe we should rethink things and just mellow out today. If we change things around a bit, you can still get in the miles, just in a different way." Just the thought of not stressing over the miles this morning gave me a sense of peace. And so, I listened. I slowed down and decided to simply run 3 miles at a leisurely pace instead of trying to cram 7 miles into a time frame that clearly wasn't very workable.

I came home feeling much less stressed out, with time to not only take a shower, but clean the shower and the bathroom, which desperately needed it, and still get to work on time. Even Ryan, who came rushing down the stairs thinking something was wrong when I walked in 27 minutes later, instead of 1:10 later, told me he thought I had actually made the right decision, and if anyone is one to push, it is him. Of course, he's had to live with me and my slightly stressed-out high-mileage (amongst other things) self for the past week and a half :-) In any event, I said I would get in 50 miles this week, and oh, I will, but sometimes something has to give. And today, well, 4 miles had to give :-) Hopefully, though, my mellow run today will mean that I have a solid up-tempo 11 mile road run tomorrow, and then I can run the remaining 4 miles as a recovery run on Saturday, and it will all be good. I mean, I don't run to be stressed about running. I run to feel good, and to feel good about my running. Yes, I realize that sometimes you have to push and do what might not be easiest, but in the end, isn't this all supposed to be for fun?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Silly Golfers!

I set out this morning hoping to run the Highland Green cart paths, plus whatever else I could get in in the time alloted. After all, it wasn't yet 9am, and it wasn't even 45 degrees out. Surely the golfers wouldn't be out yet, right? Ah, nope. I turned onto the path towards hole #1 and sure enough, there was someone in a cart near the 1st tee. Darn! Silly golfers! So much for enjoying the cart paths this month like I usually can in April! I guess I'll just have to wait until fall to run them again... Too bad, as the cart paths really are nice running, and since they are a nice gravel surface, they are good for faster running without the pounding you get running on pavement. 

OK, onto plan B. I headed over to the quarry and onto the Heath Trail to run down to the river and back. The river gurgled and flowed over the rocks - very pretty. In the marshy area along the Vernal Pond, a number of red-winged blackbirds chided me as I ran past, interrupting their peaceful search for food amongst the brush. I wanted to get in a solid hour of running, so instead of heading right back home, I headed down the dirt road to Tedford and then up the powerlines. Hmmm, still time... A quick turn off onto the short snowshoe loop through the Mt. Ararat woods, where a phoebe was loudly proclaiming its name from a tree and some sort of a yellowish/greenish unidentifiable (to me, at the time, anyway!) warbler flitted in and out of the still bare brush, and then the long way in on Forest got me right to 7 miles in 1:04:02. And with just enough time to hop in the shower before heading up to work. Perfect!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Five and 2 1/2!

I got in a nice 5 mile run on the Highland Green loop this morning. I headed out around 6:45 am - earlier than I've run in a while, but it was the only time that worked with our schedule today. The sun was low in the sky and bright in my eyes. There was a bit of a breeze and it was cool out, but I warmed up quickly. I made an attempt at turning my legs over a bit more quickly than they have been recently, finishing up the 5 miles in 43:04. Not exactly a record, but it will do. I'll be working on cramming a lot of miles into the next few days. Wish me luck :-)

---

OK, so Sam won't really be 2 1/2 for another week, but it is close enough! I can hardly believe how grown up she is getting. She looks more and more like a little kid every day. That is not to say she is big; in fact, she is still pretty small - weighing in at only 23 lbs 8 oz this morning at the doctor's office for her ear check :-) (For the record, there is still fluid in her ears, so one more round of a different antibiotic before we get a referral to an Ear, Nose, Throat doctor for a consultation.)

Out hiking (and looking like such a big girl!)

She cracks us up daily with the things she says. I got her a doctor's kit the other week and she loves to check everyone's ears. Yesterday, she turned very seriously to me and said, "Mama, I am so upset. This baby is sick." She checks her baby's ears too, and thinks that everyone she checks is sick :-) So cute. But not as cute as the way she said "I am so upset" with just the right sort of note in her voice!

She knows a lot of songs, and has memorized a few of her favorite books. I tried to catch her on video reading "Brown Bear Brown Bear" as she really gets into that one, but it didn't work. If she knows the gist of a story, she will "read" it to us or her babies, saying the title of the book over and over to us as she turns the page. If she doesn't remember what book it is that we are reading she will say, "I don't know that one."

video
Sammy singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." 
(Yes, she is on the potty, but you can't see anything. 
And, yes, one day, she may hate me for taking this video, but oh well :-) )

We are trying (sort of) to potty train her. She loves to sit on her little potty and wear her big kid pants, but has yet to actually produce anything while sitting on the potty. Sort of defeats the purpose, eh? :-) Ah well, we'll get there!

She loves to be outside, and will point out chickadees and blue jays to me by name as they flit around out back, eating the bird seed I put out. We've taken her on a few walks along the easier Cathance trails and she can easily walk a 1/2 mile or so, very interested in the color of the blazes, the leaves, the river, etc.

She has started a music class at daycare, and a few weeks ago told me she needed "her mallet" for drumming. Then she picked up the two cans of almonds she had been eating from, and decided we needed to do some drumming on them. Adorable, if noisy :-)

video
Drumming

She loves to play hide and seek, although her version includes things such as "Mama, you hide right here. I go count and come find you." Or, "I hide here. Go count, Mama." So much for the "hide" part :-)

She recognizes and can find the letters "S" (for Sammy), "M" (for "Mama and Auntie Meg), "D" for "Daddo and my Mama Danielle"), "G" for Grammie and Grampie, and "P" for Pippi. She sometimes can find "N" for Neenie and "B" for Bampie. She knows her name, and the town we live in, and knows where Grammie and Grampie, and Neenie and Pippi live. She has started to call Morgan "Morgan" instead of "Morgum," which is sweet, but sort of sad. I did love how she said that one! She can now count to 13 (thank you, daycare!) although after that it sort of ends up something like, "13, eleventeen, seven!" :-) Ha!

I could go on and on, but those are some of the Sammy highlights from the past month. She is a character, that's for sure!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday Morning Twenty

I wasn't quite sure how to fit today's 20 miler into the day, but in the end, despite feeling a bit sad to miss out on a morning with Ryan and Sam, I decided that it would probably be best to go in the morning. That way, I could run with friends for part of the run, which always makes the miles more fun! I hit the Bradbury trails at 7:40 (a bit later than I had hoped, but Sam slept in today, and I wanted to at least be there when she woke up and have a chance to spend a few minutes with her before I took off), and decided I would try to get in as many miles as I could in the alloted time using the east side trails. I started out doing the Bruiser course, minus the Island trail, but when I got back to the snowmobile trail, I turned left and wound my way around a bit randomly until I figured I had better get back to the parking lot. I pulled in a minute or two before 9:00, with the Garmin reading 7.5 miles. I quickly went to the bathroom, dropped by gloves and hat, and joined the group.

I was surprised how many people were there! I had thought it might just be Mindy, Val, Rick and I, but Ian, Zak, Randy and Mark, a newcomer, were all there too. Fun! The plan was to run a portion of the Big Brad Ultra course, getting in 10 to 12 miles. We headed out through the park onto the Connector, took a new-to-me trail up around Tyron  and then headed down to Lawrence Road. Somehow I was up front running with Ian and Zak, and as I cautiously made my way down the hill, I watched Zak in front of me, bounding gracefully, almost prettily in fact, down the trail. Gotta learn to do that!

The course took us on a very pretty, rolling dirt road for a bit, before joining up with the powerline trail, and I ran for a while with Randy, chatting about his kids and fitting in running around work, etc. It was fun to catch up with him! Then it was just Ian, Zak, Randy and I as we hopped back on the Connector. I started to slow a bit as we recrossed Lawrence Road and headed back up towards Tyron. I was tempted to let them go, but wasn't sure about trying to follow the twisty turny singletrack that wound its way through the woods up there on my own, so I just kept on following and hoped I wasn't holding them up too much! Thank goodness Ian and Zak had run 50k yesterday or there is likely no way I would have been able to run with them :-) I felt badly that I had lost Mindy and Val though, as I had originally been intending to run with them this morning! Somehow it just sort of happened. It was nice to have a chance to run with Ian and Zak though, as it is something I don't usually do!

We got back into the park and took the Boundary to the summit, before going down Lunchbreak Hill to the elementary school. From there, it was "just" back up Lunchbreak Hill, and around for a few more miles and my 20 would be done! I bid the boys goodbye at the bottom of the hill, knowing I very likely wouldn't have the energy to keep up with them on the long, sustained uphill. And indeed, they pulled away quickly, as I slowly chugged my way back up to the Boundary trail. I headed back up to the summit and then turned down the Tote Road. I hadn't gone very far when I saw Mindy, Val and Mark running up. Hurray! I turned around and joined them for their final mile, called Ryan from the parking lot to find out where they were, and then did a short out-and-back on the Northern Loop Trail before heading for the Summit Trail to meet up with Ryan, Sam, Kristen and Morgan, who had been out hiking. They were nearing the bottom and my Garmin was reading 12.5 for portion #2 of today's run, so I ran up to them and finished my run right there, with Sam happily yelling "Yay Mama!" :-) A very nice way to end a long run! I was very happy to feel good pretty much the whole way today, and it was a lot of fun to have company for most of the last 12.5 miles. Definitely made the miles go by much more quickly! Thanks everyone!!

Of course, the morning wouldn't be complete without a stop at Edna & Lucy's for a delicious lunch. Perfect post-run food! :-) Now, how about a nap....