Sunday, February 26, 2017

Weekend Adventures

Well, the running this weekend wasn't too exciting. 5 miles on Highland Green Road yesterday morning when my legs felt like junk, the fog was eating the snow, the back road was muddy, slippy, sloppy, the powerlines were mushy soft snow, and things were seeming very dreary. Blah. Then 6 miles via yet another variation of Highland Green this morning. Thankfully, though, my legs felt much better and I used the new path to get there, which was a smarter call, and the back dirt road was much firmer, which all led to a bit more rhythm and ease of running.

Luckily, we got out for a few fun family adventures this weekend which more than made up for the lackluster running. Yesterday, we headed over to Skofield Shore Preserve for a short hike on a foggy, overcast afternoon.. We found soft snow in the woods, heard and saw a pair of redwinged blackbirds out on the bare apple trees at the field's edge and enjoyed tromping on the snow and ice blocks along the shoreline. A good little exploration for the day!

Today, we went out to brunch at the Kopper Kettle and then donned our xc skis for a ski out on the trail running through the woods next to the Brunswick Landing golf course. We were pleasantly surprised to find as much snow as we did in the woods, and to have the trail be in such good condition. Sam did a great job with a lot more balance and confidence this time around. A nice 1 mile ski for the afternoon!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Road Running

Well, after all the snow and three snow days in the span of 7 school days, now we are having a freakishly weird warm weather streak. The snow has been melting rapidly.  It can't be spring yet, but this is a very long thaw, that's for sure.

I took Tuesday off as a much needed zero and then failed to get out of bed early on Wednesday morning. Luckily, work was pretty quiet and I was able to sneak out early and get in a short late afternoon run on the roads around Pennelville. Warm and sunny, with wet roads and a beautiful view out at Simpson's Point. My legs were feeling a bit tight but I tried to keep the pace up regardless and ended up with a fairly quick 5 miles for the day.

I never tire of this view

This morning, I took to the roads again for my long run. I knew the trails would be questionable and with a (mostly dirt, thank goodness) road 50k on the horizon in April, I also need to get in some time on the roads for this to even pan out remotely well :) Although honestly, I just signed up because Ryan was planning on running it as VT 100 recon, and well, why not?! ;) I headed out on Pleasant Hill Road in Brunswick and did a big loop out into Freeport and back on Flying Point Road/Bunganuc/Woodside. My legs felt pretty good after a day off on Thursday, and I'd say I ran the first 5 miles a tad too quickly, as my the last 5 miles, I just didn't have the legs to turn things over at the same pace. A wee bit painful, I might say, and soggy too ;) Yup, got rained on. Twice.

I must say that I find pounding the pavement to just be plain old boring after a while. Flying Point Road seemed to go on and on forever... but if I have to take to the roads, this loop at least afforded me some good hills, decent shoulder, not a ton of traffic and good scenery. And as I was wearing my road shoes this time around, my feet weren't hurting by the final miles, which was a plus! :) 16 miles for the morning.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Vacation Day

Sam is at camp this week for February vacation, and today was a day off for me. I couldn't convince Ryan to run with me in the morning (I wonder why? 20 miles on snowshoes will do that, I guess! ;)) so I headed over to Bradbury after dropping Sam off at Riverview in the morning. I decided I'd run on the mountain side and see what I could find. Northern Loop up to the summit had been well tracked by snowmobiles. As the temps were already creeping into the mid-30s, the snow was fairly soft and right away, I could feel how tired my legs were, so I just tromped along, taking my time. The view up at the summit was quite nice, with sunlight streaming through the clouds. Very pretty.

From there, I ran down the Boundary Trail, much for more fun than running up it! It had been fairly well packed and tracked, but I'd say I was just on the edge of postholing in my Hillsounds and any time I stepped just off the edge of the packed ribbon, it was very soft. A lot of the inner trails hadn't seen much traffic, so instead of taking the long way up Tote, which wasn't well packed, I ran back to Northern Loop, and out along the Boundary in the other direction up to the summit. I finished up the run with another trip down Northern Loop then up Terrace and down Northern Loop again for 6 miles. It was a nice morning to be out in the woods and the trails were quiet in the morning, although the lot had gotten quite full by the time I returned to the car! 

After lunch and getting a few things done, Ryan and I decided to go take a snowshow walk out in the Cathance. Trails there had seen traffic but were still pretty soft. Snowshoes were definitely necessary. One of the things I love about the trails out there is that the river and the views are different every day, but always pretty! It is always good to spend some time out on the trails with Ryan and we did a nice 1.8 mile loop.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Weekend Fun

Got in a 13 mile road run yesterday morning while Sam was at her swim lessons. I've been languished in the 10-11 mile range the past few weeks, so it was good to add on a few miles! The roads were a mix of bare pavement and black ice/packed snow/hard ice, so it was a bit iffy at times but luckily it was early on a Saturday morning and there wasn't much traffic so it worked out OK. Ran out through town on River and down 201 to Meadow Cross and Meadow and then home. Did a short out-and-back on Meadow to add on a few miles. Decent loop and I felt good cardio-wise, although my the end my feet were hurting. All that pavement :) In any event, a good way to start the day.

After Ryan got in his run at lunchtime, we all headed over to Mt. A. to enjoy the snow and play on our xc skis. Sam really could probably use a lesson but she did a great job! It was nice and warm and sunny with soft snow and no people, so it was a great way to just get some time on the skis for her, and she definitely got more confident the longer we were out there. We got in a few laps and several attempts on the hill in the hour+ we were out, which was perfect!

Of course, when we got home, she wanted to take me over to the sledding hill and show me the jump run they had made. Let me tell you, that was one jump! I did it once but that was enough :) Luckily, there are other straighter, flatter runs on the hill and we had fun sledding for a while longer. She could have gone up and down all day long. Yah sledding!

This morning, Ryan headed over to Val's for his run and Sam and I followed up a bit later. We donned our snowshoes and headed out. Wow! It was like spring and we were way overdressed. Sam shed layer after layer as we hiked along, and I ended up taking off my jacket as well. The sun was bright and warm and it felt so nice! We got in a nice 2 mile hike down to the river and back, and then I was able to head out to run a "loop" with Emma, which was fun! Great to be out on the snow in the warm sunshine and get in some miles with friends. Ryan ran 20 miles on snowshoes (!!) while I stuck to a shorter 5.75 miles, but am happy to have finished up the week with 33 miles. Onward and upward!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Snow Fun

Sam and Ryan had a great day playing in the snow yesterday while I went in to work, making a big snowfort and sledding all afternoon. Should have stayed home with them ;) What fun!

This morning, after dropping Sam off at school, taking the recycling to the dump and picking up some books at the library, I did a little scouting on the snowmobile trails to see how conditions looked. The snowmobile trail club had been out grooming - hurray! - and I took a few steps on the trail in a few different spots and decided it seemed hard-packed enough that I was going to give it a go with my Hillsounds.

It was a glorious, sunny morning, if a bit breezy, especially on the return trip. Whew! But man, it was lovely out and I had a great time. The woods were insanely beautiful - the trees covered with snow, the sunshine glimmering on the ice. Even saw a Bald Eagle soaring overhead but was too slow with my camera to capture him floating on the breeze ;) I was content with my choice of spikes - the surface was soft but I think it would have been slow going with my snowshoes too, and with all the road crossings, I think the Hillsounds were a good decsion, even if the loop was a good leg workout! If things get packed down a little more, it will be perfect out there, but I'm not complaining! Got in a lovely 7 miles for the morning and am quite happy :)

"Go any direction; only go! You have only to go a few miles to be happy." - John Muir. (Taken from: A Guest Post by John Muir*) Oh so true!

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Well, let's see, shall we? Last Thursday was a snow day. Friday was a 2 hour delay. This Monday was a snow day. Tuesday was a 2 hour delay. Yesterday was a regular late start day for our district, which means a 1 hour delayed start. And today, guess what? Another snow day! Think Sam might get one regular length school day tomorrow before her vacation week begins?! What a crazy winter weather pattern we are in right now. More snow last night after some rain, heavier snow this time, but I'd say only a few inches.

In any event, as is typical of wintery weather, it has made running a challenge. I got out Tuesday morning for a slippery, sloppy 4 mile run on the neighborhood roads. Ryan went out later on the golf course with his snowshoes and it took him over an hour to run less than 3 miles. That is a whole lot of snow! Yesterday morning, I didn't get up early enough for anything big so I just did a 3 mile run through Patriot Commons. The roads were in better shape, so I was able to push the pace a little bit, although things are still slick out there.

Add on this current snow and there is a whole lot of snow to play in! Wowza! Winter sure isn't going anywhere soon!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Snow Day!

Pretty much all of Maine and New England got a fair amount of snow from the blizzard that arrived yesterday afternoon. I'd say we got about 16" here in Topsham, all light, fluffy snow. Now it is winter for sure! With school and work cancelled, we did indeed play a lot of games, work on some legos, and drink a lot of coffee, but we couldn't resist getting out earlier this afternoon to play in the snow. Such fun in all the deep snow!