Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Didn't get up this morning to run, but then was kicking myself for it ;) So, decided to get in a short run before I picked Sam up at school; it was too nice out to think about running on the treadmill during her swim lesson, plus today was the last Wednesday lesson so I wanted to be able to see how her swimming was coming along. Headed over to the Crystal Spring Farm trails to run the 5 mile loop I've run midweek a few times. This time around, the trails were completely free of ice (Yah!) and dry. It made for much easier running, that's for sure!

Figured I would make the run a bit of a "push" run. I don't know what the correct term is, but I feel some of what I've been missing the past few years as I've trained for the longer ultras and forgone racing shorter events is the sense of pushing myself. I mean, yes, I pushed myself in training a lot last year as well as in the 100, but it was an endurance/strength/durability test with higher mileage, sustained motivation and long hours of being on my feet. Very different than fast running on trails. So, while I can't say I'm going to commit to a true peed program here, I do plan on incorporating some runs into my schedule during which I keep focused and push throughout, versus just lollygagging along as I am wont to do ;)

Managed to keep the overall average pace just below 9:00/mile, with my fastest time on the East Loop. I don't care too much about Strava segments, but they are an interesting gauge.

Anyway, a lovely, if windy, afternoon to be out and very happy to have gotten in a few miles for the day! Also, the spring peepers were going crazy up in the pool at the edge of the farm fields! Love it!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Almost back to not needing a headlamp for my 6:00 am runs! Wore mine this morning for the 0.4 miles it took to reach the gravel road up to Mt. A., but that was more for safety than because I really needed it. Then I was able to turn the headlamp off, and watch as the sky lightened throughout my run. No glorious, bright sunrise this morning, but a lovely pastel sky above the trees. Got in a soggy, windy 6 miles on the cart paths.


Someone was out taking photos along the course as they cheered for their runner. He got some great shots, and I love this one of Amy and I as I dragged her out for "just one more loop" ;)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Easter

Had a lovely Easter yesterday complete with a fun Easter egg hunt for Sam, two baskets of goodies (it pays to spend the holiday at the grandparents's! Ha!!), a yummy brunch of pancakes, bacon and omelettes and some fun games played.

I snuck out mid morning for a 5 mile run around the block. Legs felt creaky in the first mile but loosened up. Pace was in no way fast but not terrible for a road run the day after 21 miles, and happy to have the legs cooperate!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

To Hale and Back

Earlier this winter, Amy urged me to sign up for the TARC 6 Hour To Hale and Back race. I've done their early spring 6 hour race several times in the past, although never as a true race and never running the full 6 hours. However, it's always a good excuse for a long run and given that it's near Ryan's parents, it's a good excuse to hang out with them as well. This year, the race fell on Irene's birthday and Easter weekend, so even better. Also, with a new venue this year and dry conditions due to lack of snow, things were looking better and better.

Amy joined us at Irene and Dana's house on Friday night, and the three of us made our way down to Hale to arrive at 8:00 am on Saturday morning. The start was in a different location than the 100; in fact, I recognized it as the lodge I ran past just as darkness was falling with wedding music blaring and a full-on party going on. Great spot with a warm fire going and indoor bathrooms. The course was a 3.5 mile loop.

We ended up with a good group of Trail Monsters for the run, which is always fun!

The loop was a good mix of a bit of pavement, some wider double-track and powerlines, plus some thin ribbons of singletrack. I recognized a lot of the terrain from the 100, although all were done in the opposite direction. Hale is a fun place to run but it isn't easy. The loop didn't have a lot of elevation but did have a number of short steep hills, some sandy beach crossings, and such to keep things interesting. I kept the pace pretty easy and fell in with a long train over the first few loops. We finally got lapped by the leaders on loop #3 ;) I took a break between loop 3 and 4 to fill my water, go to the bathroom and eat some oreos so by the time I headed back out, I was alone. Actually, it was a nice break and I kept myself amused listening to the birds and looking at the woods around me. Not much in terms of flora yet; it is still early spring, but there were some pussywillow blooming, one patch of daffodils coming up and some skunk cabbage visible in the swampy areas.

When I came through loop #4, Amy was sitting in the chair by our stuff. I asked her what was wrong, knowing this was not the sort of terrain she likes the best, and hoping she wasn't injured. When she said she was fine, just done, I asked her if she wanted to go back out for another loop. It didn't take her long to say yes and get organized ;) Not sure if I am a good or bad friend for dragging her back out. HA! We took it easy, chatting along the way and keeping the pace comfortable for her. Always fun to get in some miles with her, and hopefully she appreciated getting dragged along for more ;)

Come on now, you can do one more lap!

Once back at the start/finish, we took another short break to refill water, use the bathroom and convince Amy that another lap was a fine and dandy idea. What a good enabler I am ;) I ended up with 6 laps for 21 miles and Amy got in 17.5 for the day. Ryan cruised by us during lap #5 and finished up strong with 7 laps for 24 miles; Tami did awesome with 24 laps herself and John kept moving most of the 6 hours to get in 28 miles. Ally did 3 laps before her knee was hurting, but finished in good spirits. All in all, a whole lot of TMR miles!!

Happy Monsters :)

As always, TARC puts on a great race with a lot of fun people, good food and good spirits. A fun way to get in a long run on a March day!

Meanwhile, Sam was having a great day with Grammie and Grampie, so it worked out perfectly!

SIX bowls of Cheerios downed!

Lunch out

Pink sprinkles!!

We finished up the day with big burritos and a few games of cribbage and Sorry. And yes, she is still wearing the ears... ;)

Who do you think is winning here? :)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Midweek Running

Almost didn't get out the door on Tuesday morning, but decided I was being ridiculous ;) Finally made it out at 6:30 am for a snowy run around the Heath. Beautiful sunrise seen through the trees. With less time available, mileage was shorter, but hey, 4.3 is better than none :)

Top of Mt. A.

Through the woods

Wednesday saw me up and out at 5:00 am. Let me tell you, 5:00 am + overcast skies + no moon = serious darkness ;) I felt fairly smooth and kept the pace mellow along the cart paths, getting in a good pre-dawn 6 miles. Then it was off to work early to make up for some missed snow day hours. Which meant, more coffee please!!! ;)

Thursday, I evened out my Wednesday morning overachievement by not getting out of bed for a run. Ha. Gotta keep it real here, people! ;)

Then this morning, I woke up to a message from the school district that there was a 2 hour delay due to icy road conditions. Looking out my window, I thought, it doesn't look that bad, but since I had the option, I waited until it was light out to start the sun. Headed out under dreary skies at 6:30, and let me tell you, they weren't kidding! It was da*n slippery out there! A fine, thick layer of ice covered all surfaces. It was slow, and dicey, going.

Due to conditions, I thought running down to the river on the trails would be wisest, as the cart paths were almost as slick as the roads. Bog bridges, moss and rocks were slippery but the sections of trail under tree cover were OK. Ended up with a slow 5.1 miles for the morning and was happy I to not have fallen down out there! A fine mist was falling throughout the run, and with temps hovering around 26 degrees, I came home to find my shoelaces had iced over!!

Then, just after Ryan left for work, we got another call - school had been cancelled for the day. Two snow days in one week - crazy weather!

Monday, March 21, 2016


Apparently spring didn't really get the memo that it was supposed to arrive, because today we got about 5" of new snow and had a snow day! I am done with snow and winter, to be honest, but there was someone in our house who was excited about the snow :)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

First Day of Spring

Happy Spring! A bit of a chilly start to the new season today, with snow in the forecast for tonight, but that's no excuse to not get out and enjoy the trails!

I'll be honest and admit I was really feeling yesterday's run this morning. I took my time getting out the door and managed to get out the door around 8:30 for a creaky meander on the cart paths and down to the river and back for 7.6 miles. That was all I needed to get the weekly mileage just up over 40, and while I realize it's an arbitrary number, I definitely wanted to hit it this week, even if I didn't feel the urge to run too much more ;)

After a mellow rest of the morning, we finally motivated to get out and enjoy the first day of spring together as family. We headed out onto the Cathance trails for a hike along the river. It was chilly but bright. I was cold in the shadows, but the sun was warm. There was mud but also a whole lot of hoar frost to crunch over, some frozen foam along the banks of the river to inspect, and an iced over quarry pond to throw rocks onto. There was some trail running and laughing, and sunlight sparkling on the river. There was also a trip and fall, some tears and banged up knees and a mid-hike hug before Sam dried her eyes and we continued on. A lovely hour+ out in the woods for 1.6 miles.

Trail running

Cool hoar frost

Barnes Leap

Happy hikers

Late afternoon sunlight on the river

Frozen foam

Frozen foam along the river's edge

Happy monkey ;)

Sam and Daddy

Roaring water

Neat iced over stream

Rushing Cathance

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Running with the Boys

I haven't been to a "normal" Saturday Bradbury run in a while. Not that I don't run with people, or that I don't run at Brad, but I tend to just do my own thing at my own time and Saturdays at 8:00 isn't always the most convenient. But this morning, I knew I was headed to Brad for my long run. The plan was to meet up with John at 7:00, figuring we'd circle back to the lot at 8:00 to see who showed up. I had told Ryan I wasn't going to stick with the boys if it ended up being a group, as I knew it would mean running too fast for my 20. But of course, what do I do...

Chad and Mike had met John at 6:00 so they were already an hour in when I met up with them at 7:00. We headed out onto the East side to run the Scuffle-ish, managing to run the Bat Cave loop backwards and cutting off at the Link to get Mike back in time to head back home. We were moving at a quick clip with John in the lead, but it was fun to banter with everyone and I was feeling good. Back at the lot, Alan and dog, Micah and Clark joined us and all six of us headed out onto the BBU west loop. I wasn't leading, although I did have to keep giving directions ;) I didn't quite get them out early enough for us to turn up onto Krista's so we just kept on heading down the Tote and skipped that portion. I was hanging near the back of the group with Chad but we were still part of the train, moving well along the trail.

Trail conditions throughout the day were an interesting mix of firm trail, mud, water, springy semi-frozen trail, big patches of hoar frost and even some ice. It was chilly out but we were luckily protected from the wind in the woods.

Shortly after we crossed the final bridge and were headed back to the field along Lawrence, Bill came running down toward us, having arrived late and taken a guess as to which way we might have headed. Good scouting, for sure!

Back at the park, we turned right up the Boundary Trail which was icy and which is definitely not my favorite trail in the park. I was losing a bit of steam and was just taking my time, so when the group continued on past the bench that marks the Reverse Mindy, I called up to John to tell him I was turning here and was just going to do my own thing for that stretch back to the parking lot. He said he'd join me, but I told him to just keep going with the guys, knowing he could keep up ;) Of course, perhaps I should have insisted he come with me, as apparently soon after we parted, he went down hard on an icy ledge and smashed up his right side. Ouch! I enjoyed the Reverse Mindy and Tote trails and then turned up Northern Loop to head to the summit.

Just off the summit ledges, I saw the boys, heading back toward me, so I turned around and ran with them down the Ski Trail and back to the lot. Although I was feeling the miles, the time and the slightly too fast start, I was determined to get in my final 6 miles, so I said I was going to head back out to do the Scuffle. Bill and John, gluttons for punishment that they are, joined me. I said I was going to be slow... and I was ;) But John was hurting from his fall and Bill was thankfully content to just cruise along with us. Unfortunately John took yet another fall along the snowmobile trail in the last two miles, so it was a bit of a rough end to the run, but we got it done.

My watch beeped 20 just as we were crossing the road - hurray! It was a fun, if tiring, run and I am very happy to have gotten in the miles. And now I am headed back to sit on the couch and relax :)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Pair of Sixes

I apparently have become a running procrastinator. You know, just cram all the miles into the last four days of the week, none of this nicely spreading it out stuff ;) Damn time change and dreary weather and coughing child who is interrupting my sleep! Sigh. Anyway, no running early this week but did lecture myself sternly enough Wednesday night to actually get up and out of bed when the alarm went off at 5:00 am Thursday. It always takes me a while to get myself together, have something small to eat, do my exercises and stretches and get out the door, but was out a few minutes before 6:00 am.

It was dark and misty and foggy. I had very limited visibility for the first few miles in the dark, although I did notice a big blob off to my left on the green on hole #1. I stopped to shine my light on it and yup, a porcupine, rooting around in the grasses. Not bothered by my presence at all, he went on rooting, so I just said hello and continued on my merry, dark, misty way ;) Got in 6 on the cart paths for the morning.

Today, I decided to skip getting up in the dark and headed out around 10:00 am after I got Sam dropped off at school, the car vacuumed out and washed and the weekly trip to Target completed. It was bright and sunny, if a bit breezy, as I headed up Mt. A. The trails out in the Cathance were a bit squishy from yesterday's rain and the bog bridges were saturated enough to be extremely sketchy, but things have firmed up quite nicely out there and the running was decent. Lots of robins out along the golf course, and lots of water flowing down the river. Felt good and was happy to get in a nice 6.6 mile loop for the day.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The No-Snow Version of the "It's A Bad Idea" Fat Ass

Keri originally dreamed up a snowshoe fat ass run up at Hidden Valley Nature Center, with the idea that some people might want to run a marathon on snowshoes, and that the rest of us would be more than happy to run a few miles and then sit around and chat and eat and drink for the rest of the day ;) Of course, then we had *this* winter, and when this morning rolled around, there was no more chance of snow on the ground than of me having a good night's sleep ;) So, it was a trail fat ass instead!

There was a great turn-out today and the weather graced us with cool temps to start but abundant sunshine. As the day went on, the temps warmed up into the 50s but the cold wind remained. Still, it was a great day to spend out outside!

Tyler was nice enough to take Sam with him and his girls on a short hike around the pond at the start of the run so that I could run a lap. Things were wet, muddy and messy, but the area really is beautiful and, boy, are there some nice trails, especially the singletrack winding through the blueberry bushes. The group started out all bunched together, but I got in a few miles with Ryan and then with Jim, as he and his dogs caught up to us for the final few miles. A lovely 4.5 miles for the morning before spending the rest of the day eating and socializing and generally having a fun time with great friends. We are so lucky in so many ways!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Head of Tides

Headed out this morning for another "from the door" trail run, this time with a run out to Head of Tides. I really am lucky to have such great options for running right across the street!

It was a lovely sunny morning if a bit windy and cool. Most of the ice has disappeared with only a few small patches remaining - hurray! - but there was also a whole lot of hoar frost to trip and twist ankles in to make up for it ;) Also, with overnight temps below freezing, there was some very interestingly textured semi-frozen ground, almost springy in spots. Still, found some fine high dry trail to run along too. And of course, the river was roaring and beautiful as always. Got in a nice mellow 10 miles for the morning.

Roaring river, no ice today

Rushing water

Lovely high, dry trail headed out to Head of Tides

Falls, Head of Tides

No ice today

After I got home, Sam and I did some reading together while Ryan got in his run, and then the two of them went off for a lunch date! They were unable to attend the Valentine's Day Father/Daughter dance due to the snowshoe race, so this was their date instead :) And I had the house to myself for a bit, so it was a win/win!

Sushi with Daddy

Friday, March 11, 2016


Ran the cart paths Thursday morning for a mellow six, and this morning got out and ran a small new-to-me trail system as part of my longer run. What fun! Driving along the Connector recently I've kept noticing two white blazes on trees heading into the woods bordering the Highlands. Today, I figured it was time to check them out. I ran the cart paths and several loops up and over Mt. A. then headed across the street and ducked into the woods. The trail headed down into a ravine with several short out-and-backs and loops along the stream. Some steep, short climbs and some nice wide meandering trail along the stream's edge plus a few genuine patches of dry, bare ground to be had up amongst the birch trees. Lovely!

It really did lead to a Gazebo...

Colorful lichen

Birch grove 

Dry ground!

Brook Trail

Flowing stream

Skunk cabbage!

I did another few laps around Mt. A. and then headed out to the ecology center before heading back home for a nice 14 miles on a Friday morning. 

Later, after picking Sam up, we headed to Dairy Queen for our first soft serve of the season ;) A good Friday!

Happy girls!