Sunday, March 31, 2013

22 at the Other Brad

Since we celebrated Easter yesterday, I felt much less guilt at taking off this morning for my long run at the Other Brad, ie. Bradley Palmer. There was frost on the grass, frost on my windshield and the thermometer was reading only 31 degrees when I left the house around 8:00 am, a bit later than anticipated but it was due to Sam sleeping in, so I won't complain! The park was pretty quiet, probably because most people were home with family for the morning.

I set out on the GAC January Fat Ass course, and was happy to find that there were only a few short stretches of snow and ice in the shadows, and that I would be able to run mostly on bare ground! Hurray! On the first lap, the mud was frozen too, so things were very dry and firm. The loop was in good shape, with only a few blowdowns, and I zoomed along, enjoying the quiet, sunny and cool morning. My plan was to keep the pace steady and at least a little bit quick. Of course, by quick, I was thinking 9:15 to 9:30 pace :-) The first loop went by quickly and easily. I stopped back at the car to shed my gloves and hat. The day was warming up. I didn't linger though, and set out for lap #2. Had to stop for a bathroom break right around mile 9, but otherwise, my stomach held up fine and I took in fuel every 4 miles or so.

I came through mile 12 in 1:54 or so, and knew that by the end of lap #3, Ryan would be meeting me for the final miles. I kept on chugging, and although my legs began to feel a bit heavy around mile 14, I was still feeling positive and pretty darn good. The uphill singletrack is always fun for me, so I ran up that as powerfully as I could and knew that in just a few miles, I would have company. Turns out, Ryan had gotten off to a late start (darn those kids :-) ) so he had just shed his sweatshirt when I pulled into the parking lot at mile 18. I think he was surprised to see me so soon too, and since I didn't want to stop at this point, we had a brief discussion about how to get in 4 more miles, and I took off with him catching up shortly thereafter.

We decided to skip the first part of the loop and hop on right near the parking lot. I didn't have too much energy for conversation, but it was nice to have company. I was determined to not let my pace drop too much while he was with me - I knew he wanted to get in a decent run too - so I just focused on keeping moving steadily along. Ryan stopped to pee and stretch shortly into the singletrack, telling me to go on ahead and he'd catch up. I didn't want to stop and walk, so I just kept running, figuring I couldn't be moving so fast that he couldn't catch me, but it did take a while :-) It felt good to be running well uphill at mile 20. We cut off the trail portion at the end and came in on the road. With pavement beneath my feet, the pace quickened slightly but it was a stretch on my end, anyway. Still, felt very happy to finish up a solid 22 in 3:31, and to feel good both mentally and physically. Of course, that's not to say I'm not hobbling around a little bit right now, though :-)

The thing I like about running this loop is that for a 6-mile course, it has a lot of variety. Stretches of carriage road and gravel path, dirt roads through the field, a fun stretch of hilly singletrack, and a bit of pavement. It is challenging enough to keep it interesting, but not so tough that it can't be run and run many times over. In the swampy areas, I saw new shoots of grass pushing their way up through the water and skunk cabbage poking out of the ground. I heard a red-winged blackbird (first of the season for me), and saw a Pileated Woodpecker fly overhead. On loop #2, once things had warmed up a bit, I heard spring peepers (!) and saw a few turtles in the ponds near the parking lot.

In any event, a good Sunday morning run, and a really nice weekend overall!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Massachusetts Fun

Down visiting Ryan's family for the weekend and having lots of Easter fun! Even better, Ryan and I got a chance to get out this afternoon for a 5-mile run around the block together. Hurray.

Don't you love the tiara? :-)

Making music :-)

Easter egg hunt

Crafty fun

Look! An egg!

Art time with Auntie Meg

Checking out all the treasures in her eggs

Craft time

Sam with her "chef" hat on (ie. my stinky running hat), making us tea :-)

Cleaning the car with Uncle Chris

Sam "winning" the race up and down the sidewalk together after Ryan and I got back from our run :-)

Thursday, March 28, 2013


8 years ago today, Ryan and I set off on our AT journey. I wouldn't trade those 4 months, and the subsequent years of finishing off the rest of our trail miles, for anything. What better to be out tromping through the woods with your best friend, surrounded by other awesome hiking crazies?! This time of year always conjures up memories of hiking through the woods, in rain, in snow, as flowers bloom, across mountain peaks and up and down the southern valleys, racing spring as it headed north, greening everything in its path. I can't believe it's been 8 years - it seems like forever ago, and yesterday, all at the same time. Funny how time will do that.

Today's short 3-mile jaunt around the block actually made me feel like spring might be on its way. Temps were mild, the snow is clearly and quickly melting, and the air had that damp, earthy smell which I always associate with this time of year. Running isn't quite the same as hiking, but there is a comforting similarity between hiking and ultrarunning. Spending hours out in the woods, with like-minded friends, enjoying the smells, sounds and sights around us. There's something special about that, and something that I never grow tired of. While our hiker friends are far-flung, somehow, though, I think we've found another like-minded group of people here in Maine - the Trail Monsters certainly are awesome running crazies, whom we are lucky to count as friends. We all may be crazy (or perhaps I should just speak for myself), but I think I'm cool with that :-)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday Wander

Off the roads and hit the trails.
Meander, wander, tiptoe, ponder.
Mud and muck and snow and ice.
Slip, slide, sink, crunch.
Squish, squash, fun!
10 miles done.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blustery 7

Had to do some errands and was meeting my aunt in Portland for lunch, so I planned to meet up with Amy to run a few laps around Back Cove this morning. It was the definition of blustery down there. Whew! We had fun chattering away on the 1st lap, but due to various crazy leaking pipes and a child who randomly decided it would be fun to stay up until 11:00 pm, Amy decided to call it quits when we got back to the parking lot. I couldn't blame her - sometimes a big coffee and some downtime is just the best course of action! I headed out alone for a second loop, and was pretty happy with how I felt given the long and sloppy run on Sunday followed by a day off yesterday. Finished up in 1:00:59, and then got on with the day.

Tomorrow is the last day of my winter downtime - it's back to a 5-day-a-week reality next week. Ah well, such is life. Planning to celebrate the last day of freedom with a sloppy run on the trails around home followed up by cleaning the windows and cleaning out the car! How's that for excitement?! :-)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Running the Trails in Falmouth at Ian & Emma's IBMFFYAMWSDHAFA

In case you're reading this and you aren't a Trail Monster, all that gibberish in the title means "I've Been Married For Fourteen Years and My Wife Still Doesn't Have A Fat Ass" :-) Ha. Just another excuse for a trail run with friends! Ian laid out a great course on some of the trails out of the Falmouth Community Park, and spent most nights during the week snowshoeing the course to pack it down after Tuesday's snowstorm. Thanks, Ian, for coming up with a fun event! And happy happy anniversary you two!

The morning didn't get off to a very auspicious start, as I left the house with Ryan holding back a screaming Samantha, who was crying for me not to go. Talk about mommy guilt! AIE! I zoomed into the parking lot with just a few minutes to spare, but still had to get on my shoes, get my pack organized, etc. I was a bit frazzled when the call was made to "go," and just ended up at the back of the line. I settled in eventually with Val and Mindy, with Amy behind us, and we wound our way along the 5-mile loop. The trail meandered on the edge of fields, into the woods, along a few streams, up and down a number of little bumps along the way, looping back on itself a few times. It took a fair amount of concentration to stay upright and on track on the singletrack, as the snow was packed, but not completely flat and the conditions varied from hard-pack to ice to sugary snow to bare ground. As the day went on, slush and mud were added to the mix.

It was fun to catch up with Val and Mindy as we ran along, but when we got back to the gazebo at the end of the first loop with 5+ miles done, I realized that I needed to pick up the pace if I was going to even get in 15 miles in the timeframe I had laid out with Ryan. I sent him a text asking him to push off his arrival by 30 minutes, but still had to get moving. I headed out ahead of the rest of the crew, but it didn't matter much. We were far enough behind most of the group that I couldn't catch anyone, and  ran lap #2 by myself. Still, I enjoyed the scenery and pushing the pace a bit, although I wasn't by any means moving really quickly. Back at the gazebo at 10.18 miles, I headed out on lap #3 with Sean, and we spent the first mile or so chatting as we ran along. But he waved me ahead soon thereafter, saying he was just taking the pace down a bit. I understood and once again, I was on my own. I was still enjoying myself, but the variable conditions and the slipping and sliding were making my hip flexors a bit grouchy, and I knew I'd probably end up cutting the planned for 20 miles a bit short. I ran into Shauna and Jim walking Schafer back near the start and stopped to chat with them for a while - haven't seen them in a while, so it was fun to catch up a bit! - and got back to the start/finish in a little over 3 hours. Not exactly blazing fast! I called Ryan to find out his status. I still had 20 minutes, so I headed back out and just ran the beginning and ending field loop to round out my mileage to an even 17. I had been out there for a fair amount of time by the time I got back - 3:24 with all stops included - so the time on the feet was good, and honestly, I wasn't all that enthused to go out for the final 3 miles, so I just decided to call it good there. Maybe I should have pushed, but oh well . Sam and I didn't hang around long - it was windy and I was chilled - so we let Ryan take off for his run and the two of us headed off to find some lunch!

It was fun to run someplace new, and while I didn't get the chance to run with too many people, it was nice to catch up here and there with everyone, even if it was just in passing! :-) Thanks Ian and Emma!

Friday, March 22, 2013


Woke up this morning to dreary and overcast skies, snow still on the trails and a sorely lacking motivation to get out and run. I think I was just optimistic that spring was on its way the other week, when it was warm(ish) and sunny and the trails were beginning to return to dirt and mud, and when it snowed Tuesday and got cold again, well, it's just put a bit of a damper on things for me. I'm not opposed to running on the snow but I'd like some dirt running at this point :-) I know March can be a fickle month, and well, this year, it certainly seems to be living up to that moniker!

In any event, got myself out the door for a 3 mile run on the Patriots Commons loop. Wore my Inov-8 road shoes for the first time all winter, and remembered once I was out there that the uppers are very light and breathable, which translated into very cold toes for the first 1/2 of the run. Brr. Today's run got the weekly mileage up to a meager 28.5 miles. Taking tomorrow off and looking forward to a long run with the TMR crew on Sunday for Ian & Emma's Fat Ass run down in Falmouth. Hoping a long trail run with friends, whether on snow or slush or whatever, will get me back into gear again!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Road Run

Very sad that the trails around us are closed off to snowmobilers at this time of year, as it means no good snowmobile trail running from home! I think the snow would have packed down pretty nicely if anyone had ridden on it, but oh well. So, I hit the roads this morning instead. Ran 5 miles out and back on Highland Green Road via the Connector. Not an exciting run, but it works. Tried to keep a decent pace; think I ended up with 8:20s. This is going to end up being a bit more of a cutback week than I had anticipated, considering I only got in 4+ miles yesterday instead of 10, but oh well. Rest is good, right?!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Day of Spring

It's the first day of spring, and what was I out doing this morning? Snowshoeing through 6" of untracked snow! Wacky weather! I had rather happily stored away my snowshoes in the loft after the last snowshoe race, and honestly, I thought about bailing on the snowshoe and just heading over to the bike path for my planned 10 miler, but that seemed sort of lame, so with a bit of a sigh, I got my snowshoes and headed across the street instead. Not a soul had been out - the trails are closed to snowmobilers and ATVs at this time of year, and no one had even been out walking, so the pristine white snow was all mine. I would have been happy to have followed in someone's tracks, but guess not!

I ran through the woods and onto the golf course, slowly, slowly kicking my way through the snow. Across the street and onto the trail around the Heath, where the woods were stunningly beautiful. The snow sparkled in the sunlight and the trees were laden with a few inches of white frosting. I crossed a lot of snowshoe hare tracks, and followed the tracks of something that was walking like a feline, in a straight line with the hind paw landing in the front paw's print. The snow was heavier than I would have suspected and the snow was seriously clumping on my cleats and piling up on the back of my snowshoes, making running even more burdensome and causing me to make a good many stops to kick it off so that I could run in a normal manner. I got in 4.35 miles in 1:04 and called it a day. It was a tough workout for sure, and hopefully good strength training for TARC! I'll be happy when the snow melts, but really, it was gorgeous out there this morning.

Happy Spring, everyone :-)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Snow Day Fun

The artist at work - crazy hair, tongue out and all :-)


At the bottom of the sledding hill

Happy snowy kiddo :-)

Sam and her "helper" put the final piece together in the Dora puzzle

Monday, March 18, 2013


I've never been so happy to "only" see two 10 mile runs penciled into my planner for the week. I am just plain tired. And honestly, my body is a bit cranky with me. This week's cutback week is welcome. I think the past number of weeks have been the first time I've actually (mostly) followed through with a training plan, with the long runs actually increasing as they should, and with a few back-to-backs thrown in too. I have been feeling (mostly) good, but by the end of last week, I could tell I was ready. A bit of rest is definitely what I need. I also needed the massage I got on Friday, and the visit with Dr. Jamie that I had this afternoon.

In any event, hopefully all of the above will mean I feel good for next week and beyond, and just because I was tired didn't mean I took the day off :-) I brought Sam into daycare this morning, as they were doing St. Patrick's Day festivities and she didn't want to miss out. Also, with the impending snowstorm tomorrow, I knew we'd likely be home anyway, and I did have a bit of work to get done, so the swap of daycare days seemed like the logical thing to do. Which meant 10 miles was on tap today.

I wasn't feeling super enthused as I headed out - it was cold and windy, but at least the sun was bright. My plan was to stick to the trails/dirt roads as best I could, so I ran out on the powerlines first. It wasn't pretty, and it wasn't fast, but it was good mix of mud and packed snow and ice. I did a slight variation on the Homeplace loop, and then once I got back to Topsham Crossing, I headed up Tedford and hooked up with the back Highland Green Road. From there, I ran the cart paths for the rest of the run. The math worked out perfectly, as I hit the start of the cart paths at 5.4 miles, meaning I needed only 4.6 to get to 10. From the start of the cart paths, it is 4.7 miles back to our front door. Pretty good, huh?! :-) The cart paths were a mix of packed gravel, mud, and patchy snow and ice. The typical rhythm and speed you can get while running the paths wasn't quite there today, but it was still a nice change of pace. And amazing how much snow has melted recently - it was good to see a fair amount of bare ground out there. Guess that's about to change, as we're forecast to receive 10" to 15" of snow tomorrow. I have to say, I'm pretty much done with winter, and really really really hope this new snow melts quickly after tomorrow's snowstorm!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

In the Woods and On the Farm

Got out this morning for a nice 6 miler in the neighborhood. Ran down the snowmobile trails for a ways, but they were rather sketchy, so I popped back onto the road at Tedford and ran up to the back Highland Green Road. As I was nearing where the cart path crossed the road at hole #7, I saw a Pileated Woodpecker fly out from the woods and land in a tree right at the edge of the road. I stopped to watch him for a few seconds - his bright red head so comical and majestic at the same time - before he took off in flight again. I took a detour off the pavement and ran the small lollypop down to the river. The footing in the woods was better as it was still mostly packed snow, and running along the roaring river was pretty neat, even it was only for a short ways. Heard cardinals and chickadees calling. Spring is in the air, but it was still chilly out and we're supposed to get 8" to 12" of snow on Tuesday?! What's up with that! Sigh... March, you fickle month, you...

After Ryan got in his run, we headed to Broadway Deli for brunch and then out to Wolfes Neck to check out the new goat kids. Two of them were only three days old. Adorable! Sam had just as much fun riding around on the little toy tractor as she did looking at the animals, but it's always a fun place to visit.

Three-day old goat kids - oh my goodness! Adorable!

Riding the toy tractor

From there we headed back into Brunswick to stop at Crystal Spring Farm. It was new lamb day, and boy do they have a lot of little lambs! There were a lot of people there - we ran into Annie and Phil, Finley, Charlotte, Nate and Shannon, and Kevin, Geita, Sam and Jack. We ended up staying there for a while - Sam had the chance to pet a number of the little lambs and the kids had fun playing around in the hay.
New lambs

Sweet little lambs

Sam had the chance to pet a few of the lambs - so cute!

Sam and Annie checking out the flock

We finished off the day with dinner and playtime at Nate and Shannon's. Sam konked out the minute her head hit the pillow - it was a busy, but very fun-filled friend and animal day :-)

Friday, March 15, 2013


18 degrees this morning plus a little wind, and it felt cold out there! I guess that's what I get for wishing/hoping/thinking it should be spring already :-) Just got out for a quick 3 miles on the Highland Green loop this morning. We all slept in so I didn't have time for anything more. Things were a little dicey on the trails - thin layer of new snow covered up the ice, and I wasn't getting much traction on the slick snow/ice. I think it's going to be an interesting few weeks of trail running until the majority of the snow/ice melts...but, hopefully we'll be running on muddy trails soon enough!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

20 Around Back Cove

Luckily the rain stopped overnight, and Ryan was nice enough to drop Sam off at daycare so that I could get an early start down to Portland. I ran 4 miles before stopping back at the Back Cove parking lot to pick up Amy. I gave her my TMR shirt to use if she ended up getting a spot at the 6-hour run down in Massachusetts later this month, and she gave me a tupperware full of cupcakes. I think I got the better deal on this one :-)

I was surprised to find the gravel trails around the Cove fairly dry. Only a few puddles to run around or jump over. In fact, after 3 hours of running, my shoes came home drier and cleaner than they were at the beginning! Skies were overcast and temps were in the low 40s. There was no breeze and it was quite pleasant out. We had fun running along, catching up and of course, telling silly kid and cat stories :-) I had suspected Amy would be up for 3 laps, but in the end, she ran with me for 4 laps, which was great! That left me with only 1.5 miles on my own, and then, ta da! 20 was done, in 2:59:44. Amazingly, the run went fairly smoothly and my legs held up. Definitely a bit stiff once I stopped running, but I'm pretty happy with how it went! Always helps to run with a friend - thanks, Amy! And man, those cupcakes were delicious! They hit the spot. YUM! :-)

Flora and fauna notes: It was fun to run around the Cove and watch the ducks as the tide came in. Along with the Mallards, there were a number of Red-Breasted Mergansers (love the wacky black tuft of "hair" atop the males' heads), Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, and others that I couldn't quite make out. Saw and heard a Cardinal amongst the bushes as we ran along too.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Just What I Needed

After Friday's run, things started to feel a bit creaky and stiff. Probably a combination of the weekly miles and all the snow running I did last week, slipping and sliding around, but whatever the cause, my hips were feeling tight and my left leg was acting up a bit. I felt fine on Sunday's run, probably because I was distracting chatting away with Mindy, but by yesterday my back was hurting, my leg was tight, and things were just plain old cranky. Which left me, well, feeling cranky!

I did get in a run yesterday, but it was short and nothing much to talk about. Ryan had taken the day off, so we had a lazy morning and I got out for a quick 3 miles before we headed out for a walk on the Cathance trails. We didn't get very far, but Sam had fun picking up sticks and rocks and leading the way. We even saw a snowshoe hare hop out of the woods and across the trail, which was pretty neat, as its coat was a mottled mix of brown and white as it was losing its winter coat.

Walking with her sticks

Once we got home, Ryan headed out for a snowshoe run down along the river, and later in the afternoon we headed to Freeport where we spent a long time in LL Bean and then went out to an early dinner at Gritty's. It was a fun, and mellow, day. Except for the whole cranky, old body!

I didn't have high hopes for getting in a long run today, given how I was feeling yesterday, but I did get a good night's sleep and woke up feeling better. Still, it was grey and overcast, and calling for rain, and honestly, I just wasn't in the right mental state for a long run. So, you know what? I just didn't go. I know, I know. The miles are necessary, but I was in no mood for slogging through 20 road miles. So, I decided to put it off until tomorrow, and just go out for a short run instead. Perhaps this is not the way to actually train for something, but it seemed the best thing to do. So, I headed out onto the roads around the high school and then hit the powerlines over to Highland Green. Wow. There had been a lot of snow melt even since yesterday morning's run! I ran the road, and was happy to see that the back dirt road, which last week had been a slushy, snowy mess, seemed to have been driven on. I decided I'd do the loop instead of doing an out-and-back on the roads. Oh, it was slushy and muddy and wet, but I had a big smile on my face the whole time. It was great to tromp through the mud and run on the soft dirt, and just be off the snow and the pavement. Just what I needed! I got in a nice 6 miles in 52:25, and hopefully I'll be in a better mood tomorrow to actually pull off that 20 :-)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Feels like Spring!

What a great weekend here in Maine! I had to work yesterday, but Sam and Ryan spent the afternoon over at Annie's, playing outside, walking through the woods down to the stream, riding bikes and apparently even a skateboard. It was warm and sunny, and just felt like spring. Today dawned bright and sunny, but a bit cooler, which was actually a good thing, as I was on tap to head to Bradbury for the Sunday morning Trail Monster group run. The group was small, just Mindy, myself, Nathan and John, with Jerry planning to head out on snowshoes for a few miles. We set off down the snowmobile trails toward the powerlines, and were happy to find that the trail has firmed up nicely overnight. There is still a lot of snow out there, but it has thinned in spots especially where the snowmobiles run. Overall, the running was pretty decent, and we spent the first few miles all chatting away, before Nathan and John took off ahead. It was fun to catch up with Mindy as we ran along (have to hear more about that Haliburton movie, Mindy! :-) ), and it was a fine morning to be running through the woods with a friend. Got in a solid 10 miles before meeting up with Ryan and Sam back at the park. Ryan and Nathan took off for a run around the Blizzard course while Sam and I headed to the playground. We spent about an hour playing before heading over to Edna & Lucy's for lunch. The perfect Sunday morning! :-)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Not Fun But Done

You know how I said I was feeling pretty good yesterday? Well, that came back to bite me this morning :-) Out into the wind, my legs feeling heavy, I didn't quite have the snap, or the energy, I've had during the past few runs. The five miles felt like a much longer slog than that. I couldn't face running on the roads in the roaring wind, so I headed down to the river and back, treading carefully on the mostly solid snow, my Inov-8 295s gripping nicely as I made footprints in the dusting of new snow. Hopefully a day of rest tomorrow will perk up my legs, as another 40ish mile week is on tap for next week!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Got out on this blustery, cold and overcast morning for 3 1/2 miles. I couldn't quite face doing the Patriot Commons road loop, so I opted to do the short Highland Green loop instead. I wasn't sure what sort of conditions I'd find on the trails given my experience yesterday, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the snow and ice fairly solid, lending itself to pretty decent running. Added in the small woods loop near Mt. Ararat to get in an additional bit of mileage.

Speaking of fairly solid and pretty decent, I'd say that's how I'm feeling too :-) Long run mileage has been slowly ticking upwards the past few weeks, and I was happy to get in a solid back-to-back effort this week without too much mental anguish :-) I'm not running the most, or the fastest, but I'm steadily plugging away and am happy to be feeling pretty good doing it. Planning to get in 5 miles tomorrow to get the weekly mileage up to 40. And with the snowshoe race and the 18-miler, I'll happily call that fairly solid (for me) indeed.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Today's trail run certainly met the definition of 'variable conditions'! I decided to stick close to home and check out the trails around us. My run took me on packed snow, mushy snow, ice, undermined snow, puddles, mud, dry sand, wet sand and everything in between. I ran up and over Mt. A. and out to the Heath. There had been enough traffic out there that the singletrack wasn't too bad, although I had to pay careful attention lest I step slightly off the thin ribbon of trail, in which case I postholed. Across the street, it was more of the same, although the conditions just got more variable. I stuck with it only because it was just so beautiful down along the river and because the trail would tease me with a few short stretches of packed snow here and there, good enough to convince me I should keep going :-) I had a few really good postholes amidst the slipping and sliding, and two incidences of really wet feet! Thank goodness it was warm enough out that it wan't an issue!

The river was roaring
I finally got back up to Highland Green Road, only to find they hadn't plowed the dirt stretch! Oh man. Once more, I slipped and slid and got muddy and wet. Down to Tedford and then onto the powerlines for a short out-and-back before the final 2 miles home. Today's 8 miles took a really long time since I averaged 12-minute pace but I just put my head down and got it done. Despite the conditions, it was nice to be out in the woods, and I had to focus enough on each step that my mind just sort of went blank and there was no internal jibber jabber about anything much at all. Sometimes that can be a good thing :-)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Shades of Gray

I was feeling uninspired to run this morning. It was gray and overcast. It was windy. My stomach was unhappy. My calves were feeling the effects of a hilly snowshoe race. Sam had woken up on the wrong side of the bed at 5:30 am and I felt like all my energy had been sapped by the time I dropped her off at daycare at 8:15. I wondered if I could somehow rearrange my schedule to just take a rest week this week :-) OK. Can't do that. Just go! I hoped I could keep it together for 18 miles.

I had planned an approximate route that took me through the little neighborhoods of Topsham, over the swinging bridge, through the outskirts of downtown Brunswick and finally out to Pleasant Hill. I like running out in that area, but man, it takes 6 miles to crest the hill at Crystal Spring Farm if I run from home! I didn't feel much wind until I hit Pleasant Hill Road, at which point I knew I was in trouble on the return trip, but oh well. Too late at that point! I took Woodside and dropped down to Maquoit Bay, marveling at the big expanse of mud flats and the serene vista out to the little islands. One of the things that I always find interesting out there is that in most ocean-view spots these days, you see big, fancy houses. Out along Woodside at the edge of the bay, it's all little working-class ranches. Nothing special, just small houses with big views. The climb up from the ocean towards Rossmore was wind-in-the-face. Meandered along Rossmore, noting a few mallards in the tidal river, and a mockingbird flying overhead, then a little jog left then right again and out towards Simpsons Point. I skipped the point, just taking the road that winds through the Pennelville fields instead. There is a stark beauty to these fields on a gray winter day like today, the glowering clouds overhead, the snow-covered fields with little corn stalks and grasses sticking through, the barns set against the sky. Today, there was a lot of wind too :-)

Back on Middle Bay, I decided to jump off the roads and onto the trail that leads into the Commons. I was feeling good but not looking forward to the long slog back in the wind. I would take the trail through the Commons and give my feet and mind a break from the pavement. I slipped and slid around on the thin ribbon of icy packed snow. My pace slowed dramatically but it was the right thing to do - I came out on the other side happy to have had the 2 1/2 miles in the woods. I ran through campus and through downtown. I was still feeling pretty good, until I hit Fort Andross and the wind and mile 16 and the long uphill up to the intersection with Rt. 196. Ah well. At least it took until mile 16 for me to hit the slow-down wall :-) The run wasn't about pace anyway. Got in all 18 of the miles I was hoping for and not a 100th more! Then it was inside and into the fridge to eat lunch and enjoy the two leftover cupcakes I'd been saving :-)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

2013 Bradbury Blizzard Race Report

A fun and fitting end to another season of snowshoe racing. It was a beautiful spring-like day, conditions were the best they've been all season, and the course was tough but fair. That's not to say a lot of us weren't cursing Ryan out while racing and after, but you know, snowshoe racing is just darn hard, so no matter what course you're racing on it's going to be tough! As I said to Doug prior to the race (his first time snowshoe racing, not to mention snowshoe racing), this is not the sort of thing you want to wear a heart-rate monitor while doing! You just don't want to know :-)

Sadly, Irene was sick, so Sam didn't get time with her grandparents today, but my sister very nicely agreed to watch Sam for the morning, so Sam did get some cousin time with Morgan and had a lot of fun! It certainly was a nice enough day for Sam to be at the race, but with both of us racing, and Ryan directing, it would have been a bit difficult logistically. Much less stress for all of us if she was off having fun playing with Morgan!

After dropping Sam off down in Portland, I drove back to the Brad, and had enough time to chat a bit and get in a mile warm-up before heading over the start line. Ran into Zak, Lenka, little baby Emma and the whole crew too. Emma looked adorable and half asleep, which is just how you want it :-)

Ryan had come up with a good course on the mountain side for this final race of the series, and we took off up the Northern Loop and out to the Boundary, all the way around to the South Ridge Trail. I was breathing heavily from the get-go, but felt much better than during the last race! Jennifer was off like a shot, so there was no use in trying to keep up, and without Leslie there, I was in a bit of no-man's land. I huffed and puffed and ran along. Conditions were good - soft snow, but mostly packed. I walked most of the steeps along the Boundary, and got passed by Nathan early on. I was walking, and he just ran on by as if I was standing still... well, I almost was, but you know :-) He ended up having a great race! Should have tried to keep up with him, I guess!

The descent down South Ridge was fun in an out-of-control sort of way, and slightly nerve-wracking with people breathing down your neck. I lost the guys behind me as we climbed back up to the playground and then made our way over to the Switchback, the devilish route back up to the summit.  I admit to walking some of the steeper stretches between the Switchback. Aie. What can I say? By the time I got to the top, I was tired, and I let the two guys behind me by - turned out to be Sean and someone else, both of whom sped out of sight. I was a bit down at that point, wishing I could turn on my drive a bit, but I have still to work on that part of racing. I'm competitive but not quite enough :-) In any event, once they were past me, I actually really enjoyed the rest of the course - the little stretch on the Boundary before cutting over to the Tote road was nice, and the Tote was great running! I was having fun! Wait, did that mean I wasn't working hard enough? OK, turn it up a bit then, Danielle! Worked my way back up towards the summit, and then flew as fast as I could down the Terrace and in. I felt like I had a strong final few miles, and am overall pretty happy with how the race turned out, just wish I didn't quite "give up" as easily when passed by Nathan and Sean :-) Ah well. With Leslie not there, and me not feeling under the weather, I ended up in 2nd place for both the race, and the series, which was cool, although I think Jennifer beat me by about 5 minutes today, and 15 minutes in the overall standings. Ouch!!

I hung around after the race, chatting with friends and enjoying some yummy soup and goodies, and even had time to stick around for the awards. I chose a Frontier giftcard for my prize, which we put to very good use tonight for dinner - YUM! It was a great (if that is the word for a fun, if slightly torturous and hard) series, and many many thanks go out to Ryan, Ian, Valerie and Mindy, all of whom put in some serious time to make things happen, as well as the rest of the volunteers! Thank you! Thank you!

Now that the race is over, I'm ready for the snow to melt and the mud and dirt to appear :-)


Friday, March 1, 2013

Sammy Reads Mama A Story

Here's a short video I took the other morning of Sam "reading" me a book. I love the little tales she comes up with. Adorable!

A few funny things of note:
- Sam had just pulled all of my books from the bookshelf prior to me taking this video, most of which are hiking guides and a few of which are plant/flower/animal field guides. She told me she wanted to read my books, and then actually did proceed to flip through most of them. Oh, and she also cleaned the dust off of them as she took them off the shelf. Ha!
- In the video, she is "reading" to me from the book "Wildflowers of the White Mountains."
- You will note the baby doll on the left side of the video. Sam has given this baby doll the name, "Baby Thistle," after Anne's little sister, Thistle, of course :-)
- You will also note that Baby Thistle has a bandaid on her head. Sam has told us that she has a boo-boo from a bee sting. In winter! Wow. That is quite unusual... ;-) (Mom, I think she must have gotten that idea from your story of stepping on the bee stuck in your croc the other month.)
- Towards the end of the video, Sam develops hiccups, which is why the audio breaks up a bit.
- Also at the end of the video, Sam tells me she wants me to be the "teacher" and she'll be the "kid." This is a game she loves to play, and let me tell you, it is oh so exciting! It essentially means that for the duration of the "playtime," I cannot call her Sam or sweet pea, or anything else - she's the teacher! And the teacher must call the kid, "kid." :-)

Sammy Reads Mama A Story from sn0m8n on Vimeo.

Get It Together

Headed out for a 5 mile road run this morning. It was damp and overcast and sort of windy. I ran down the Connector to Highland Green Road, surprised to find they hadn't yet cleared the sidewalks. Ran the edge of the road instead, hoping I wouldn't slip on the slightly slick icy slush (thank goodness for the good Inov-8 treads!), and ended up doing an out-and-back on the road instead of the typical loop, as they hadn't cleared the back dirt road either. There was no going back on the powerlines either - no snowmobiles had been out since the last snowfall and I wasn't up for tromping through the heavy, crusted over snow. Finished up in 41:30, which seemed pretty good to me given the conditions.

After that I got myself ready for work, took the recycling to the transfer station, went into town and to the bank and the natural food store to get eggs so I could get working on treats for Sunday's snowshoe race. Was feeling pretty proud of myself for getting all of that done while still managing to get to work a bit early! Got to work and realized I had forgotten my lunch... Well, so much for having it all together :-)