Thursday, September 29, 2016


No morning run on Monday. After 4 days in a row that totaled up to 46 miles, a rest day was much needed. Although I did run with Sam's XC team, and I should have worn my watch. I'd guess we ran 1 1/2 miles but it was in a few chunks at a slow pace with some walking breaks, so not super taxing :)

Tuesday I got up and out into the dark and stormy morning and ran the cart paths. It was a rainy, windy, dark 6 miles.

Wednesday's running consisted of short sprints around the fields of Falmouth Community Park as I tried to keep the chaos under control at Sam's XC meet as the coach in charge. Thankfully there were only about 10 kids running, so that helped ;) It was a beautiful afternoon and Sam had fun, despite the fact that she got caught up in the back of the pack and doesn't yet have the elbowing skills to move through the crowd ;)

Smiley 1/2 milers

Focused on the start line

Headed out

This morning, I was up and out around 5:55 am in the darkness. Headlamp definitely needed. Ran down the powerlines and enjoyed the glow rising on the horizon as the sun started to come up. As the sky got light, the birds started chirping and flitting about. Of course, in typical Danielle fashion, I fell on this run, not in the dark on any of the short rocky stretches, but once it was light on the flattest stretch possible ;) Ha ha ha. Oh so graceful! Nice 8 miles for the morning, even if I did finish with my knee a bit bloody ;)

Sunrise along the powerlines

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Wrapping Up the Week

Went to bed feeling rather tired and a bit stiff, and honestly didn't sleep well - never do after a long run - but wanted to get up and out for a short run this morning. I finally got myself out the door around 7:30am for a run down to the river and back, adding on the back dirt road to make it 6 miles for the day. My legs were admittedly a bit lethargic to start, but they warmed up nicely as I ran along. It was a cool, crisp, bright and sunny morning - ah, fall! Today's run put me a little over 53 miles for the week, and 40 for the weekend, so I am pretty content with that. One more big week then a bit of taper before BBU 50k, and then onto the next round of 'up' weeks in early November in prep for the Fells.

Later in the morning, Sam and I got out for a nice walk around the Heath while Ryan was out running. While Sam wasn't super enthused initially about the prospect, she did tell me several times while we were out there that she was glad we were out for a hike, just the two of us, and that she was having fun. A leisurely 1.1 miles, looking for frogs and mushrooms and picking up fallen autumnal leaves. Always good to get out in the woods with my girl :)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Double Shot of Brad

Friday morning, I met up with Val, Mindy and Keri for a run over at Bradbury. We got started a bit later than intended due to morning chaos reigning supreme in Keri's house and the fact that Val and Mindy parked at the school and Keri and I parked at the park. Ha. Well, we all met up eventually ;) It was a rainy, overcast, damp, clammy, saturated kind of morning. Val, Mindy and I ran a short 1 mile loop that included the new start of the BBU on Rosemary's trails and then Mindy and I went back to the school to meet up with Keri, while Val went on as she had time constraints. With Keri in tow, we repeated the new BBU start and then headed up Lunch Break to the summit, continuing on the course across the street. It was great to catch up with both Mindy and Keri. Good conversation was had as we kept the pace pretty mellow, which was fine with me, as it was slick and wet and humid and not the kind of weather that makes you feel like flying around on the trails :)

When we got back across the street, we ran most of the mountain proper portion of the course, not going out on the Connector and skipping Krista's and got back to the school with a little more than 11 miles on my watch. On dreary days like these, I really appreciate having friends to run with! It makes the miles much more enjoyable for sure!

Bird's nest on the rock ledge. There is an egg in there... sadly no viable at this point but pretty looking, nonetheless

Running the singletrack portion of Rosemary's trails

This morning, I headed out early for my long run. Cool air had arrived overnight making for a lovely crisp morning. I even wore long sleeves! Headed out around 6:45 am, up along the BBU course from the school. I was too late for sunrise at the summit but there was still some pretty early morning light to be had.

Despite no company today, the running felt easier with the cooler, drier weather. The trails were quiet too, with only a few cars in the lot when I passed through both times and only one biker seen on the whole full loop. Ran the East side 5 miles and then continued along the course. Out on the Connector, a big bird swooped down from the trees and up the trail, settling in on a tree branch high above. A quick look confirmed an owl with the wide face and big eyes. Neat!

The grass out on the powerlines and in the field were wet with dew, the sunlight shimmering on the late summer asters and goldenrod. Back in the park in the final few miles, I caught the new segment of trail off Boundary that connects with Lunchbreak that we missed yesterday and got back to the car with 15.3 on my watch. A quick change into short sleeves, a water refill and a few more gels and I headed back up into the woods. Of course, I stopped a minute in to eat a Snickers. Ha :) 

Then back up Rosemary's trail and Lunchbreak. A bit slower the second time around though... ;) Decided I'd run the course backwards out onto the Connector and run the Wiggles in my quest for more miles. Fun. On the way back to the park, I ran into Xar and Mindy. I had seen their cars in the lot and wondered if I'd see them out there. Mindy decided to head back with me while Xar continued on. Shortly after we ran into John B. Guess everyone just got a later start ;) 

We ran back up Boundary and along the course. It's fairly short back to the school, so I needed a bit more mileage, which meant done random wandering son the trails near the school before I finally finished up with 23 miles. I felt happy with how the run went but man, I was tired ;) BBU is not going to be easy for sure, but it'll be a good challenge.

All in all, a good 34 mile block at the Brad! 

Early morning light, Bradbury summit

Garter snake along the trail

These mushrooms looked like flowers

Midweek Running

Tuesday I got out for a nice 7 miles along the cart paths with a loop of the Heath thrown in. The humidity that arrived with Sunday's rainstorm had stuck around, making the air heavy and muggy. A low fog hung in the air. Saturated would be a good word to describe it ;)

Wednesday, Sam got out for her own bit of running, her first XC meet of the fall season! The Topsham Trailblazers ran at Twin Brook. I had a meeting so Ryan had the chance to take her to the meet and watch her run. He said she had her best meet yet! She is definitely stronger this year, and it shows. She finished 17th out of 46 for the girl's 1/2 mile race. Way to go, Sam! So proud of you for your hard work and great run!

Ready to rock the trails!

Start of the race

Team selfie :)

Thursday dawned a bit crisper and cooler and I headed out for a run around 6:10. The clouds were lit up with a wonderful blush pink underglow. Oh so lovely. I ran the lollypop around the Heath and down to the river and took the long way back home on the back dirt road for a nice 6 miles for the morning. Then I spent the evening chasing Sam's XC team around on their hill repeats and taking them on a short trail run through the Mt. A. trails to further tire them out :) Should have logged those miles ;) HA!

Beautiful glow

Sunrise over the Heath

White cotton sedge amidst the fall tinged foliage of the Heath beneath a gold and sky sky

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Cathance Bookends

With Ryan away crewing John in the 100 Mile Wilderness, it was just Sam and I for the weekend. After I dropped her off at school on Friday, I headed out for a run in the Cathance. It was bright, sunny and beautiful, with no humidity and cool temps. Ah, fall. So lovely!

I had thoughts of perhaps making today's run a long run versus the shorter run my "plan" called for, especially since last weekend's mileage didn't exactly pan out as expected. But I still felt tired from being sick last week, so it seemed better to stick to the plan in the end, and I got in a lovely 12 miles out to Head of Tides and back.

Saturday, Sam and I were out of the house from 9:00 am until 6:30 pm. A day of play with my best girl :) The morning was filled with the first day of swim class for the fall followed up with a trip to the farmer's market with Anne and family, listening to the music, poking in the vendor's stalls and picking up a bag of snacking peppers, which Sam proceeded to eat half of on the spot ;) We headed into town for a sushi lunch and a stop at Gelato Fiasco for pumpkin pie gelato. Yum! I love fall! 

Then it was off to Reid State Park for a few hours enjoying the sun, waves and wind at the beach. I was freezing but Sam had a blast playing in the sand and water. Such a Mainer! ;)

We made a few stops to pick up birthday party supplies (7th birthday coming right up. Wow!!) and then finished up the evening with a meal at Shere Punjab. Yum! 

The day was only accompanied by a few eye rolls so I'm calling it a very good day indeed! ;)

Sunday dawned rainy and overcast, so we had a mellow early morning, but then rallied to meet up with Anne and family for a late morning apple picking as the weather began to clear. It was nice and quiet when we arrived, and actually quite warm out, the humidity high after the rainstorm. The girls had fun wandering through the fields, picking apples and pumpkins. We also had the requisite cider donut - yum! - and a bit of playtime on the swing and little tractors before heading home. An unexpected, fun fall activity for the morning!

Ryan, Tyler and John arrived around lunchtime, all looking tired but with many adventures to share. I managed to wait about 1 1/2 hours after they got back before bolting out the door for my run, so you have to give me credit for that ;) Ha. Actually, Sam really was good this weekend and we had a great time. Still, it was lovely to have some quiet time out on the trails! I really do need it to keep centered!! A sticky, soggy, muggy, warm 7 miles out in the Cathance. Saw three turkeys, and despite the fact that mid-afternoon is not my typical run time, felt good. 

All in all, a great weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2016


In my opinion we are at the beginning of the best 6 weeks of running all year right now. Humidity tends to be low, the air is crisp and cool, and while it is getting light later in the mornings, there is still enough light to get out at 6:00 am without a headlamp. The air is sweet with the smell of ferns, and the woods and fields are a mix of the wonderful late summer blooms of the white and purple asters and yellow goldenrod and the early fall colors from the turning red leaves on the blackberry brambles, blueberry leaves and the first of the maples shifting to fall foliage.

Running has been light this week, but I've gotten in two lovely early morning runs. Got out on Tuesday morning for 6 miles on the cart paths, with temps hovering right around 50 degrees. Almost felt cold - wonderful! Scared up a Great Blue Heron in the pond along the back dirt road, almost perfectly hidden in among the wooden jumbles of old trees and stumps consumed by the waters, only the S curve of his neck giving him away.

This morning I got out for 7 miles on the powerlines/snowmobile trail out along Lover's Lane and towards the dump. A nice, mellow, flat run on a beautifully crisp morning. Saw another Heron in the Pelletier's pond and scored a handful of late season ripe blackberries. Beautiful pastel light in the sky and nice cool temps.

 Ahhh, fall. I do love you so.

Mist and fall colors rising over the dump pond

Late season goodness

Love these berries that turn from white to blush pink to purple. Some type of Vibernum, I believe.

Fall colors

Sunday, September 11, 2016

TARC Fall Classic Not-So-50k

It seemed like such a good idea at the time, but as we all know, sometimes things just do not work out as you envision they would. Between vacation, starting school, getting back to work and picking up germs from our lovely germ factory that is Samantha, both Ryan and I went into Saturday's TARC Fall Classic feeling a bit less than 100%. Of course, Ryan had also just completed the UXBBA 7 days before, so he had that added fatigue going in. Anyway, long story short is that three 10-mile laps turned into 2 for both of us, with the resulting DNF, but still 20 miles run.

We headed down to MA on Friday night after work, had our typical Friday evening pizza dinner and all headed to bed early. With a 6:00 am start, Ryan and I were out the door around 4:40, heading south to Carlisle.

We looked at each other on the way, and laughed, as neither of us had brought a headlamp and it was still darn dark out. Thankfully by the time the start rolled around, the sunrise was glowing along the horizon and there was enough light to see.

Glowing sunrise above the corn fields

Ready to rock?

We ran an initial short loop around the corn fields and then headed into the woods to run the full 10 mile loop. The course wound in and around the Great Brook Farm, with a mix of field running, wider carriage roads and rocky/rooty singletrack. The terrain was mostly runnable, with only a few short, steep pitches, and was nice and rolling. Sadly, there was also a lot of poison ivy, which I never enjoy. Ugh!

It was right around 70 degrees and 91% humidity, making it less than ideal conditions, but thankfully there was a thick cloudcover, so despite being soaked from the get-go from the humidity, at least we weren't sweltering.

I started off well enough but was definitely feeling like I was working harder than I should have been for the effort, and was having a bit of trouble breathing/was feeling congested down in my lower throat. I stopped at the first aid station to use the very well-placed portapotty and just as I was getting back on trail, I was surprised to see Ryan coming in. Huh? He and another runner had gotten off course and run an extra bit before realizing they were not in the right place. We ran together down the wide carriage road and parted ways as we got back onto the singletrack. He might not have been feeling great, but he's still faster than I am ;)

There was nothing stellar about the first loop but I was moving along well enough, it seemed. I stopped briefly back at the start to refill my pack, drop some trash and pick up some new gels, and continued on. I just wasn't really feeling it, though, you know? I started to have frequent thoughts of stopping. I was simply dragging; I didn't have any energy, and began to walk more and more. I was more than happy to stop at the end of lap #2, and honestly, I didn't feel all that torn up about it. Now, I know, if I had put my head down, I could surely have run another 10 miles, but it would also certainly have been a case of diminishing returns and I doubt I would have been anywhere near happy with the results. Sometimes, it is just best to know when to say when, and I had no desire to put myself into so deep of a hole with being still sick that I couldn't get out. Ryan had been feeling serious pain in his sinus and had stopped at the end of lap #2 as well, so certainly not the best day for Team Snowplug ;) Oh well, sometimes things just don't work out as planned and that is OK. We learn from it all, and there are always other races. 

Despite the fact that we didn't finish the full race as intended, as always, TARC puts on a fine show and it was a nice course, with happy volunteers and lots of yummy food at the tables. 

In the meantime, Sam had a great time mini-golfing with Irene and Dana. Thanks, Grammie and Grampie!!

Queen of the hill

Sam and Grammie

And with that, it's back to the trenches ;) Onward and upwards, as always.