Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat 2013

I'm really not a Halloween fan, but when you have a school-aged kiddo in the house, it's kind of hard to ignore these sorts of holidays! Luckily, Sam is a pretty easy girl when it comes to costumes - last year she was a cow (easy peasy lemon squeezy, especially with our Pineland Farm bell collection :-) ) and this year she wanted to be Hello Kitty and wear the cute Hello Kitty Halloween shirt given to her by Susie and Lillie last year for her birthday. Add a tutu, some Hello Kitty socks and crocs, white mittens, and a fairly easy homemade Hello Kitty ear headband, and viola, we were done. I even added a little bedazzling to Hello Kitty's bow, as suggested by our friend James :-)

Sam was very excited for today. There was the costume! The Halloween parade at daycare! The treats for her friends! Trick or treating with Annie! And Sea Dog for dinner after! The thought of it all, along with the taper madness, left me feeling a little crazy this morning, but it really did turn out to be a fun day. Best of all, Sam doesn't like chocolate so I got to eat a few Reese's Peanut Butter cups tonight - yum ;)

Hello Kitty, ready to start the day!

Daycare friends

The Halloween parade

Look at all these crazy kiddos!

Trick-or-treat buddies, enjoying the treats given out at the Topsham Fair Mall stores. 
It was raining so we were very happy to be walking along the covered sidewalk!

Happy Halloween everyone!



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Crescent Moon

29 degrees at 6:00 am. Brrr. 2nd-to-last run before Stonecat! Out I went, into the dark morning, the space before me lit with the glow of my headlamp. Up above, the sky was dark except for the glow of the moon, crescent-shaped and golden.

Had an appointment with Dr. Jamie on Monday just to make sure all was well going into the weekend, and have been slowly adding to my list of things to bring for the race and packing up my plastic bin with items I want to have at the start/finish area. I'm very excited that both Mindy and Amy will be joining me for a lap each during the race. Thank you, guys! The original plan had called for Ryan to pace me for the final 2 laps, but with his achilles acting up over the past month, that unfortunately wasn't going to happen. He's bummed and I'm bummed, but I know I'll be in good hands with Amy and Mindy, and of course, Ryan will be at the start/finish area manning the TMR aid station, so I won't be lacking in support! Can hardly believe the race is in a few days.

In other news, Sam has taken to dreaming at night. The other night, I woke with a start to hear her yelling out, quite loudly, "Hey!" When I asked her about it in the morning, she said she had had a dream about Ronnie and Gigi. They are always getting into her stuff, with Gigi sitting on her pictures and Ronnie eating her Cheerios, so I guess I'm not surprised she was yelling at them in her dream :-) Too funny.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Around the Block

We had a full and fun day yesterday. Morgan and Kristen came over in the morning and met Sam and I for donuts - pumpkin with vanilla glaze - yum! - and then the girls played together until lunchtime. And then Anne, Thistle, Phil and Kristen came over in the afternoon for some Halloween/fall-themed arts and crafts and some playtime too. We didn't get around to painting or craving pumpkins while they were over, so that was the evening's task. Sam drew the design on the pumpkin, Ryan was the carver and I roasted the pumpkin seeds :-)

Happy pumpkin!

This morning I was up and out for an easy 3-miler around the block. I didn't head out until 6:00 am so by the time I reached the powerlines, I had a pretty nice view of the early sunrise along the horizon - a band of hot pink below fiery orange with midnight blue above. Legs feel good. Starting to make lists in my head of what I need to bring with us this weekend, and am just hoping that the wunderground.com forecast and not the weather.com forecast is the correct one for Saturday. I like 0% chance of rain much better than 40%!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cathance Run and Friends

Hit the trails in the Cathance this morning for a nice 7 miles. It was cold and crisp, with some frost still on the ground in the shadows at 8:00 am. I ran along the river, enjoying the quiet on a late fall morning. 

After my run, we headed north to Mae's in Bath for a yummy breakfast and then up to Zak's parents house for the afternoon. Sam had fun playing with Emma, using Zak and Sarah's old marble run and walking down through the path in the fields to the lake to watch the dogs play fetch in the water on a cold afternoon. It was fun to have the chance to catch up with friends for a bit and just enjoy a Saturday afternoon together hanging out and eating and playing. Thanks Zak and family! As a bonus, the afternoon did a good job of tiring Sam out and she's already asleep :-) 

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Good Run

The past two runs this week have been fairly mediocre. But I've had two nights of decent sleep, as in 6-7 hours in one stretch (gasp!), so maybe that is why I felt good on this afternoon's run? Or maybe because I'm tapering and am a bit more rested than I have been in the past few weeks running-wise? Who knows? Either way, it was nice to have a good run. I headed out around 3:00 pm and ran down to the river. Under the overcast sky, the woods were muted today, filled with the earthen tones of late fall. Still lovely, though.

Can hardly believe that all I have left to do before Stonecat is four runs. Last "long" run tomorrow, somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 or 7 miles in the Cathance, where there is no hunting allowed, which will especially be a relief as it is Youth Hunting Day, and then just three measly 3-mile runs next week. Holy crap! It is almost here! My emotions about the race have been running the gamut between excited, terrified, nervous, confident, uncertain and hopeful. But regardless, I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Are You Documenting This Stuff?

I talked with my friend Andy tonight. We hadn't talked in a while, and haven't seen each other in way too long. He asked me to tell him a story that captures Sam and the funny things she does. I only had to think for a second until I remembered that last night, on the third time I had gone into her room to tell her it was time to sleep (Good heavens, I really dislike the days she naps at daycare!) in a not-so-friendly voice, she sighed and said, "I love you, Mommy. And tonight, I'm going to dream about you and me running together."

To which Andy replied, "Are you documenting this stuff? I think she's got a playbook somewhere about just how butter you up." Yup, I'd say that about sums it up. She's a mischievous little thing, she is. But I have to hand it to her. She's pretty smart too. What running mom wouldn't like to be able to run with their kids? She knew right how to tug at my heart strings :-) And thankfully, she finally did go to sleep so that worked in her favor too!

Taper Running

Got out for a 5 miles jaunt on the cart paths yesterday morning. It was cold - 37! - and misty. My headlamp kept picking up the mist, I felt like I was in a fog. I also felt wheezy, sometimes it seems the shock of that first run in the cold does that. Ended up running basically the whole time in the darkness. Towards the end of the run, I could see hints of the sunrise though the trees, but that was it. Definitely late October.

Speaking of late October, I finally turned the heat on yesterday morning. Ryan was not pleased, but Sam, the cats and I are. I love sitting on the blanket in front of the monitor and feeling the warmth. Ahhh.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween From a 4-Year Old's Perspective

Decided to sleep in this morning and run tomorrow. Isn't that what tapering is all about? :-)

But for your amusement, here is the drawing that Sam did tonight for Halloween. What can I say? It just makes me smile :-)


To translate:

It says "Happy Halloween" with some of the letters in "Halloween" written in pencil or marker that did not show up on the paper.

Top left circle: A moon
Next to moon: A ghost
Below moon: A cat
Next to ghost: An orange pumpkin
Below "Halloween": Random coloring :-)
Next to pumpkin: Sam, Mommy and Daddy. Look Mommy and Daddy have hair! And our feet look like "E"s, per Sam :-)

That is all. Good night!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Heath Loop

Ryan was gone all day yesterday, manning the aid station out on Lawrence Road on the BBU course, so there was no running for me. But it was just as much fun (or maybe more) to hang out at said aid station yesterday for a few hours. It was the perfect day for a run. Crisp and nice with a bit of a breeze. Everyone looked like they were having fun out there, despite the evidence of many trips and falls, and the fact that a lot of people kept asking for new legs when Ryan asked them what they needed. Ha. It was fun to cheer on the Trail Monster team while we were out there, and have a chance to catch up with people too. I was thrilled that Sam was so enthused and wanted to stay and hang out. In fact, when we left on a mission to get more propane for the stove and I asked her if she wanted to stop for lunch at Edna & Lucy's on the way back, she said, no, she wanted to get right back to the aid station ;) A little trail runner and volunteer in the making! Mindy, Val, Ian and all the volunteers put on a great race and it really showed! Nice job guys!

I did get out this afternoon for a run around the Heath in between regular work and working on newsletter stuff. It was a nice break on yet another beautiful fall day. On the return trip, I received a stern reprimand from an older woman driving along the 5th hole in her golf cart as I was making my way back from the Heath path to the Quarry turn-off. I tried to explain that I was being careful and was just using the cart path for this one short stretch between trails but she wasn't having it. I finally just thanked her and we parted ways. I'm planning on running the cart paths tomorrow, but since it won't even be light out when I'm out there in the pre-dawn hours, hopefully she won't be able to find fault with that if I should meet her out there! ;)


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Beautiful Fall Day

Last double digit trail run before Stonecat this morning. Yikes - that means the race is only 2 weeks away!!! Got out on this gorgeous October day for another run down to Head of Tides. I know I won't be able to run out there after Stonecat, as hunting season will be starting up and the trails outside the Cathance are still new enough that it seems like it wouldn't be safe, so I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity today. My legs felt tired but it was a good run. It's just so beautiful out there, running along narrow singletrack through the birch groves and along the calm river. Saw a deer bounding across the trail, but other than that, the woods were quiet. 

When I got home, we headed to Broadway Deli for brunch and then over to Maine Running Company to pick up a few gels before driving out to Wolfe's Neck for their October hayrides. We visited the farm and saw all the animals, including the new guinea pigs in the barn - they are so cute, tiny and friendly, with lots of funny little noises and grunts. I wonder what the cats would think if we brought one home? We asked Sam and she said, no, we shouldn't do that, they'd probably poop in the house. Ha. Then we took the wagon ride out to the pumpkin patch and picked pumpkins under the blue sky. 

Wagon ride

In the pumpkin patch

Beautiful pumpkin blossom

Family portrait with pumpkins :-)

Then it was time for "nature tracking"! (Sam has been watching "Dinosaur Train" and the dinosaur kids do a lot of nature tracking) We took a long walk out on the trails behind the farm, stopping every few feet on the way out to pick up twigs, lichen, acorns and leaves. The trail dead-ended at the edge of a field and headed down into a gorge. We wandered that way and found bones! Lots of them, in fact. We theorized that a little calf might have wandered down there and not been able to get out. It was pretty interesting, actually, as the bones were clean so it wasn't gross. Sam said it "was a very cool discovery!" 

Bones! (Yes, we let our child pick up the bones...and used a lot of hand sanitizer afterwards)

Sam was asking for "uppy" on the way back, code for "I'm tired and bored and really don't want to walk anymore." The answer to this is always, "Let's run." In this case, I think Ryan said, let's see if you can run on the trails as fast as Mama does. Ha. But it worked! Sam took off running, and ran the whole mile back, with a few aid station stops for water :-) She was pretty fast too!

Trail running


video
Sam toward the end of her run, with a bit of hiking on the "obstacles"

It was the perfect way to spend a beautiful fall day - running, nature tracking, picking pumpkins and visiting with the animals!





Friday, October 18, 2013

Coleman Farm

I packed all my stuff up last night to take with me so that I could head out to Coleman Farm after work today. Then, mid-morning I started feeling guilty - I knew I had to work on the extra project I'll be working on all winter, a weekly newsletter, before I could pick Sam up at daycare - and wondered if I should change my plans to give myself more work time. Ryan told me to go anyway, saying, isn't that why you have this flexible schedule in the first place? Well, I guess when you put it that way.... So, a little after noon, I hit the trails at Bowdoin, out through the Commons, and headed toward Coleman Farm. The sky was clearing and the woods had that wonderful fall smell about them - sort of like you just jumped in a pile of freshly fallen leaves - ahhh... Love that. The blueberry bush leaves had turned a rich red in the pitch pine forest, and the trail was covered with a thin layer of golden pine needles and oak leaves.

Out in Pennelville, the sky was blue and the clouds were fluffy and white over the green fields. Although the most colorful maples had already lost their leaves, it was still lovely out there, looking across the swaying grasses to the treeline beyond. As I ran down the road, I did a double-take and went back to what I was sure wasn't just a regular leaf on the pavement. Sure enough, it was a Praying Mantis, in its "prayer" pose, in the middle of the left side of the road. It's country out there, but not that country and I was sure she'd get squished if I left her as is. I picked her up on a leaf, but she was soon crawling over and around my hand and arm. I put her down on the grass at the edge of the field. Don't know if that's where she was headed, but it had to be better than under a car tire, right? With the Praying Mantis rescue complete, I continued on and turned onto the wide old road that heads out through the Coleman Farm fields to the ocean. What a wonderful place to be on a warm fall day!

I got back to the car happy with my 7.25 miles, and ready to once again sit down at the computer. Nothing like a nice run in the middle of the day to make me smile!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Overcast

Got out this morning for a mellow 4 miles around the neighborhood. Purposefully chose to run along the Heath 2 miles into the run thinking I would be able to see the sun rising above the edge of the marsh. Sadly, it was so overcast, it still seemed pitch black out! But all was not lost. As I was running along the cart path and about to turn on the trail up to the Quarry, I heard a sound to my right that definitely sounded like more than just a squirrel. I turned and caught a pair of big golden eyes in my headlamp. It was a plump porcupine, climbing up the tree at the edge of the path. Neat! That's not a fauna I get to see every day!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Morning Run at Pineland

I snuck out of the house a little before 7am - all was quiet. As I headed down the highway toward Freeport, the sun was rising above the trees, the soft morning light hitting the brilliant fall foliage. Beautiful. I laughed when I turned into the parking lot by the pond and saw Amy's car already there. We weren't slated to meet until 7:45, but there we were, both early :-)

We headed out onto the campus loop and down into the fields. I don't think I've run in that direction at Pineland in forever, and honestly, on a fall morning, with a friend by my side, dew on the grass, the trees lining the fields full of yellow, orange and red leaves, I wondered why. It really is lovely out there, well, at least when you're not trying to race through the fields under the heat of the sun on Memorial Day weekend :-) Ha. We chatted away as we ran along, catching up on a month worth of stories and chit chat. I spotted two deer bounding across the trail as we crested the hill near the yurt but otherwise the trails were quiet.

We got in a nice, mellow 6 miles before heading home to hang out with our respective families on an extra stay at home day, as Sam likes to call our days at home. I arrived home to find pancakes ready to eat - yum! It was a great way to start the day, and always fun to catch up with a friend. Thanks, Amy!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Head of Tides

The plan evolved from the thought in my head to do 20, to maybe 18, to 3 hours per Ryan's suggestion. Well, I ended up shy of that too. But I'm cool with it. For me, it's been a big past few weeks, with the weekends being 22, 26 and 31. My legs are tired, I'm still recovering from the cold I caught a few days before the Snowplug 50k and we had an all-day birthday extravaganza yesterday. Phew.

I headed out under overcast skies around 8am. I decided I would run out to Head of Tides, as I haven't been there out that way since June before the middle stretch of the Cathance trail system gets so overgrown that I just can't venture out that way without my legs getting covered in itchy hives. I took the trail along the edge of the Heath, the cotton sedge set against golden grasses, and wandered all along the river, the water dark, the shallows filled with a film of fallen leaves. It really is beautiful out there. Even more so at this time of year. I took my time, enjoying the scenery, and was happy to get out on the Ravine Loop, one of my favorite parts of the Cathance trail system. As I came down the hill to the stream crossing, I could hardly believe my eyes. A bridge! A bridge! Wow. They had really done it. And done it right, it appeared. Serious.

The new bridge.

They'd been out painting fresh blazes on the extended trail system too, but the trails themselves were untouched, still rugged and only lightly traveled. There are some great stretches of trail out to Head of Tides, and I really enjoyed being out there. I wasn't running fast, but even at that, the trails were making me work for my 11's :-) Was also very happy to find that the trail has been extended (or perhaps I've always missed it?) all way down to a new parking lot right at the falls, with a put-in area for boats and best of all, nice bathrooms. Yeah! 

After a quick stop, I turned around and headed back the way I had come, wandering back along the river and then up to the Ecology Center. I took the trails back to the hiker parking lot along the back dirt road and then took that in the rest of the way. Those final two dirt road miles were definitely the fastest, even if my legs were making it clear they were done for the day. Got in 12 miles in 2:13, and felt no regrets not pushing on further. It was a nice few hours in the woods on a fall morning.

Flora and fauna report: Lots of sparrows and juncos flitting about. Also heard a Pieated woodpecker calling, and saw two deer. One of them completely still, almost blending in with the woods, just watching me pass. Followed a hawk along the back road for a good stretch. All I could see was its profile as it flew along, low to the ground. Was hoping for a glimpse of it up in the trees when it finally veered off the road but no luck. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Birthday Party Chaos

I started out today with a run down along the river on a lovely, if oddly humid, morning. The woods were calm and quiet, the downed maples leaves a brilliant red at my feet, the leaves in the shallows of the river a rich gold, the sky a deep gray above. I ran the Snowplug 50k loop, so as to pick up the remaining flags in place along the river. I was happy to see they had already replaced the rotting bridge after the field - very nice not to be fearful of falling through a rotting log as I ran across :-)

Then it was onto the chaos of the day - it was birthday party time! Sam was practically bouncing off the walls waiting for her party at the Rumpus Room this afternoon. Since Sam and her best friend Anne are only 4 days apart in age, and Anne very luckily has cool parents we like to hang out with, we chose to do a joint birthday party. Both girls were very excited! As parents, we were fearful :-) But amazingly, the kids were all great. There were no tantrums, no crying, no cracked heads, no major slips or falls. Just kids running around the indoor playroom like crazy banchees! Ha. Honestly, it went much more smoothly than I anticipated, and I know everyone had a lot of fun.

After the party, the family assembled at our house, for birthday party #629 :-) Just kidding, it was probably only #6 :-) Talk about a weeklong affair! We all chatted while Sam and Morgan played, enjoyed delicious pizza from Flipside and feted with yet more cake. Why not?

All in all, a successful day! And now, it is time for bed so I can get up and run 18 miles tomorrow morning...

Ball pit fun!

The birthday girls :-)

So excited

Sam and Morgan

Pinata!!

Fun with Lillie back at home

Thursday, October 10, 2013

14 Years

14 years ago today, Ryan and I were married right here in Brunswick, at the Bowdoin chapel. When I look at our wedding photos from that day, we look so young! And I guess we were ;) Now that we have Sam, our anniversary is a bit overshadowed by Sam's birthday, as she arrived to join our family one day before our 10th anniversary back in 2009. But that doesn't mean, I've forgotten the day I married my best friend, running and hiking cohort and the guy who can always make me laugh. Happy Anniversary, Ryan! May we have many more years of fun, running, hiking and laughter together!

I started out the day with a run down to the river. Man, it is hard to see on the trails in the dark, even with a headlamp :-) The sky was still deep black when I headed out before 6:00 am, but as I came out onto Mountain Road, I could see the sky beginning to turn a deep orange along the treeline. Making my way along the Heath was tricky, but I made it down to the river without tripping or falling or running into anything out in the woods :-) The plan was to get to the river, and then run the first few miles of the Snowplug 50k course in reverse so as to pick up the flags. They weren't easy to see in the semi-darkness though! By the time I ran along the Quarry on the return trip, the sky was filled with orange and pinks - a beautiful sunrise. Got in a nice 5.4 miles.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Flying! And 4 Years!

Took Monday off as planned. After a slight bit of hobbling very early in the morning, I spent the day surprised I didn't feel all that badly, considering what I'd done the day before. So, Tuesday morning I was up and out for a run around 6:00 am. Still dark and overcast enough that I needed my headlamp for the powerline portion. I felt like I was flying! Honest, my legs felt good. Of course, then I turned onto Highland Green Road, turned off my headlamp, looked down at the beep of my Garmin and saw that the first mile was 10:xx. So much for flying :-) Ha! Ran the 5-mile loop, which allowed me to stop and pick up all the flags in the final 2.5 miles of the course. Finished up in just under 50:00, which I suppose really isn't all that bad. Although my legs felt good, I also just plain felt tired. So today is another day off. I'll get back at it tomorrow, and am hoping for a solid long-but-not-too-long run on Sunday. Of course, that assumes that I am not completely wiped out by Saturday's events, which includes a joint 4-year old birthday party at the Rumpus Room for Sam and Anne, best little buddies whose birthdays are only 4 days apart. There will likely be 25 kids there, racing around, playing and being generally crazy. Then, we're having the family back to our house for a family party. Whew. I get tired just reading that :-)

And on that note, a very happy 4th birthday to my baby girl, Samantha! It seems truly amazing to me that you are now 4 years old. That the little 6 pound bundle who came into the world on October 9th 4 years ago is now our strong-willed, bubbly, loving, smiling, sassy, smart, inquisitive, sensitive little girl who loves to collect rocks, colors in rainbow patterns, writes her own name, and routinely beats us soundly in any matching game :-) Sam, may you always be as silly, loving and full of wonder as you are now. We love you to the moon and back, little one. Happy Birthday!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Snowplug 50k

Since I was supposed to run a 50k as the mileage culmination of my training plan, we decided to host a Fast Ass race in conjunction with the run, you know, to make things more fun! It's always better to run with friends :-) And because we were down in NC during the time when the training plan said I was actually supposed to run 50k, we decided on this weekend instead. And so the Snowplug 50k plan was hatched. 

I planned a route to mimic, as closely as is possible, the Stonecat loop. Which starts with an uphill less than a mile in :-) So, we routed it up the trail that climbs up Mt. A., then out to Mountain Road, across to the quarry, along the Quarry, and down by the ecology center to the river. From there, the route followed the river for a ways before climbing up to the back Highland Green Road, where we took the long route back to Highland Green road and then back home along the powerlines. It isn't an easy loop, with a fair bit of short ups and downs and some technical singletrack, but with the dirt road, there's some relief, although it's definitely easy to run too quickly along that stretch. 

I lead the first loop, attempting to go out at a fairly easy pace while keeping the boys (and Sara :-)) happy with the pace. It was fun catching up with Ian, Nathan, Jim, Blaine, Mary Beth and Sara as we ran along. Mindy, Val and Rick were a bit behind us. I must admit that right off the bat, I didn't feel great. My legs felt a bit heavy and I've got a bit of a cold that wasn't helping. Thank goodness for the arm sleeves - they're very good nose wipes :-) 

Ian had set up one of his tables in the backyard, which became the aid station, stocked with all sorts of deliciousness. Yum! I had a cookie at our first stop, and then we quickly headed back out. I think I ran a bit too fast on this loop, trying to keep up with the boys but still felt decent as we rolled back into the yard around 12.5 miles. Jim stopped after the first two loops, and Ian had pulled ahead, so it was down to three - Blaine, Nathan and I together - for the 3rd loop. I was still feeling OK, fueling decently and trying to drink more water, on Ryan's insistence. It was cool so I wasn't all that thirsty, but I certainly was still sweating. Nathan pulled ahead around the dirt road on this loop, but Blaine and I had a good run back into the yard. Blaine was happy with 19 miles, so now it was down to only 2. 

Nathan nicely waited for me for this 4th loop - I took a bit of time to go into the house and pee and talk with Sam - and then we were off. I let Nathan pull me along, realizing that I was tiring a bit, but with just enough energy to follow along closely. I really appreciated his company and help out there - thanks Nathan! But again, he pulled ahead on the dirt road and was gone in a flash. And then things went bad - right around 23 miles my hips decided it was time to seize up. Ouch! It was a slow shuffle for those last few miles. I was in a bad place. I was ready to be done. I was feeling down. Why was I doing this? In fact, I walked into the yard, stopped my watch, sat down and told Ryan I was done. He didn't fight me, just asked what I needed. At that point, Mary Beth poked her head out - everyone was smart and was inside in the warm kitchen after finishing up their run :-) - and asked what was up. I told her my hips were killing me, and soon after, Mindy came out and told me that when she'd had trouble with her hips on their last few training runs before Haliburton, that Advil had really helped. We talked it through a bit and I agreed to give it a try. Then, despite a very long aid station stop, I did get up and head out. I just held the thought in my head that I could always take one of many cut-offs and get back home if necessary. 

I was alone out there, and a bit cold, and I admittedly walked pretty much all the uphills, but I managed to keep going, along the course, just putting one foot in front of another. And amazingly, I actually started to feel better! Thanks Mindy! What a good suggestion! The Ibuprofin really did help. I wasn't setting any speed records, but I was moving forward. I did stop to stretch at the Quarry, and actually contemplated taking the shortest route back from there, but realized that was just plain dumb. So, I picked up the pace instead :-) Yes, to 10:30 pace but still. I actually felt fairly strong those last few miles, but damn, if I wasn't glad to turn down Munroe and then stop the second I hit the fence at the edge of the backyard! But there, I had done it. 31.2 miles. 5:49 with all the stops. Done. 

Many thanks to Ryan and John for holding down the fort while we were out running. Sam had a great time coloring and playing Candyland with John, and Ryan cooked up pancakes and all sorts of goodies. And thanks to everyone for coming to join in on the fun! I use the term loosely to describe the running but it was great to catch up with everyone ;)

Lessons learned: Don't try to keep up with the big boys early on in a long run, and add Ibuprofin to the bag for Stonecat, just in case :-) Oh yeah, and I can run a 50k as a training run. Who would have thought it? But now, I think it's time to taper!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fall

We have had a string of gorgeous October days this week, and today was no exception. It was a bit overcast, yes, but the trees are striking with their coats of red, orange and yellow, and sometimes the clouds on an overcast day are even more interesting than just seeing blue sky above. I headed out around 8:00 for a run on the Snowplug 50k loop. Beautiful along the river with a coating of leaves floating out in the shallows and pooling along the rocks in the quiet stretches of water. My Garmin read 6.17 but Ryan's read something like 6.4 this afternoon. So, who knows? Probably somewhere in the middle, which should be just about perfect :-) Ran at a decent clip for the loop - hard to run an even pace between the first big hill, the singletrack and the dirt roads but easy to run slow in the woods and quickly on the dirt :-) - and added on a bit to get in an even 6.5 miles for the morning. By the time we were clean and ready to go, the sun was shining intermittently through the clouds, and we headed out up Rt. 201 to Rocky Ridge Orchard.

It's a great place to go to apple pick! I stopped first at the bakery to pick up some delicious pumpkin molasses donuts - yum! - and then we headed out to pick apples. We went out to the far edges of the orchard where the trees were laden with fruit. It was lovely out there, looking through the apple trees into the far pastures and the turning trees beyond. On our return to the store, we picked pumpkins and then took a horse-drawn wagon ride through the fields. It was a nice, quintessential fall morning and a lot of fun :-)

Apple picking

Out in the orchard

Gorgeous apples

Happy girlie, climbing for apples

Me and my sweet little girl :-)

How do you like them apples? :-)

Happy on the wagon ride

Hi horsie!

Looking forward to the Snowplug 50k tomorrow! 


Friday, October 4, 2013

Faltering...

Never quite got into the swing of things this week. Tuesday we were all exhausted and out of sorts. Wednesday, I was sure I was going to get up early and run, but that didn't happen. And then Wednesday night, Sam was for some unknown reason up from like 3:30 until 5:00 am, which means I was up too... Needless to say, I didn't get out the door yesterday morning either. *sigh* Running definitely took a hit this week!

But I did get out this morning. With my headlamp shining, I headed across the street and onto the powerlines. At the top of the rise, I could see the light on the horizon - it looked almost red. I ran the Highland Green loop, just to give my legs a chance to get back into the swing of things after not running for 3 days and to give me the chance to not trip and fall in the semi-darkness :-) Didn't need my headlamp after a mile or so, and on the back road, the rose-colored light was hitting the tips of the trees, lighting up the fall foliage on the maples - red, gold and orange. Lovely. Nice to be out in the cool morning air, and be back running!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fuzzy

Yesterday afternoon, we headed home from NC. We had a fairly leisurely morning, getting organized, spending some time in the garden, going on a final golf cart ride, etc. I got out for a 5.5 mile run on the cart paths and roads - I was planning to run the whole 6.25 route along the paths, but it turns out they were playing some sort of scramble tournament out on the course, so while I thought it'd be closed, it wasn't! Oops. At least I know my way around and was able to hop off the course and take the roads back :-) I was surprised to find that my legs felt pretty good - after 6/26.2/8 over the past days, I wasn't too sure. But my mind, well, it felt kind of tired.

And after traveling yesterday afternoon and getting home late, I felt even more tired. In fact, I believe I said I felt like a frazzled, fuzzy headed, sleepy chicken with my head cut off this morning :-) Always a bit of a jolt to come back to reality, especially when you get home at 10pm, don't get unpacked, don't have any food in the house and have to get the child to daycare and get yourself to work on time the next morning. Aie! In fact, I really should head to bed so I can spend tomorrow feeling a bit more alive!

But first, the final few vacation photos :-)

Happy girlie

Last ride on the golf cart for this vacation :-)