Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday at the Brad

Yesterday, Ryan and Zak got up to Camden for a solid 20 mile/5 hour mountain run, so I took the day off, which worked out perfectly fine given that I'd run the past 4 days. Then this morning, after a bit of middle of the night chaos that involved the monitor heater beeping with some sort of error and me stepping on cat puke in the dark (um, gross!) as I tried to sort it out, I got up early and headed over to the Brad for today's run.

Word on the street was that conditions on the mountain side were pretty decent (at least the prior morning), so I figured I'd hit that side of the park given that I had just been out on the powerlines with the ladies on Friday. It was a beautiful crisp, clear morning with blue skies and little wind. The trail underfoot was crunchy, crispy and uneven but packed nonetheless. I ended up with 7 summits in my 12 miles, doing a lot of up, down and around in various loops. I tried the Connector but found it too soft and little traveled after the first bridge so turned around and stuck to the main park trails for the rest of the run. While this wasn't the quickest run, I felt solid and it was good to get in some hills! Had the trails almost entirely to myself. Lovely.




Of course, I came home to find Ryan feeling awful and he spent the rest of the day on the couch dozing on and off in a feverish state, so it's not all rainbows and candy here, but hey, what can you do? Such is life ;)

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Tuesday morning, I got up early to do my strength/stretching routine and then drove over to the Cathance for a snowshoe run. I had seen on Strava that Bill had been out snowshoeing on Sunday afternoon and he said it was worth it! I didn't want to run roads again, so I figured, what the heck :) I hadn't been out on the trails since last week's snow and I've hardly used my snowshoes this season, so it seemed fitting that on the second day of spring, I was snowshoeing out on the trails! Things were pretty well packed, although with the requisite postholes and unevenness that comes from warm weather and people barebooting out on the trails, and the snow was a bit of an odd texture - crunchy yet styrofoamy underfoot. - due to the variable temps the past few days. Weird. Still, it was a beautiful morning and it was fun to run out along the river as always! Got in 4 miles for a good early Tuesday morning trail adventure.






Wednesday morning, I slept in a bit later than I should have given that I was trying to get into work early but I decided to still run what I had planned. Put on my road shoes and headed out around 6:15 am. Wore my headlamp for the first 5 minutes until I'd turned off the main road and onto the pedestrian/bike path along the Connector and the enjoyed the fact that the days are getting longer and longer! Ran the 6 mile Highland Green loop, complete with a pretty pastel sunrise seen along the backside of the loop. A bit of ice along the way and a bit of a frozen mud mess on the back dirt road, but I was happy to keep the pace "snappy" (or as snappy as I get these days ;0).

After I got into work on Wednesday a crazy little snowquall moved through and brought in some cold air and wind. Which meant that Thursday morning, instead of being greeted with 25 degrees like the morning prior, it was only 12 degrees with a feel like temp of 1. Oh March, you fickle month, you. Brrr. Bundled up and headed across the street to run along the snowmobile trails with my Hillsounds. Unfortunately, there had been too much bareboot traffic in warm weather and hadn't been quite enough snowmobile traffic to make the surface a good one for running. It was a bit too uneven in most spots, not quite packed enough in some spots, but then icy or bare in others. Ah well, I was planning on keeping the pace very mellow today anyway but I felt like conditions made the effort a bit too much work footing-wise. Still, a decent 6 miles out and back, with thankfully only the final two miles into the wind.

This morning, I met up with Mindy and Val at the Brad for a run on the Snowmobile Trail there. Much nicer than yesterday's snowmobile trail run around home! Very well packed with good solid conditions. Of course in keeping with March's temperature and weather swings, we were met with a snowquall out in the corn fields. What the heck? We had a nice mellow run chatting away and enjoying the good conditions. And we saw an ermine too! Defnitely an ermine as the end of the tail was a solid black, while the rest of the body was white with some darker color mixing in - I assume because of the time of year. Very neat! A lovely 8 miles followed with Edna & Lucy's for lunch. Yum!

And so it goes, a little bit of this, a little bit of that ;)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Road Running and Snow Fun

This week has been a bit of a rough one for me. I've been feeling dreary and combine that with the 15" of snow fell on Tuesday, and my motivation simply just disappeared for a few days, leaving me with no running Monday through Thursday. I contemplated just bagging the whole week, I was feeling so down, but in truth that's not really my style, so I decided I had better turn it around for the last three days of the week and get out and move those legs!

Friday was a day off from school for Sam, and with Ryan around, I had a bit of leeway in the morning, which meant I could get up, eat breakfast, do my strength work/stretches and still get out for a run before having to head to Sam's haircut. As there's been no snowmobile traffic near us, I stuck to the roads and got in 6 miles on the Highland Green loop via the new path. It was cold but windless and sunny, and although my legs felt pretty darn creaky from 4 days off, it was good to get out. Happy to have broken the dreariness trap. Sam and I had a good morning, getting her hair cut and picking up some new sneakers for her, enjoying lunch out, and of course, making a stop at Staples so she could pick up some organizational items to get all her play school papers organized. Yes, seriously, it was her idea :) And then when we got home, we got out for some sledding fun! Can't let all this snow go to waste without enjoying it at least a little bit!







Saturday morning, I got out for another run around Highland Green, 2nd verse, same as the first, except in reverse. Another cold, crisp, sunny morning although interestingly a bit icier this morning. Perhaps due to melting yesterday? Once I got home, Ryan took off to run to Bath and Sam and I got ready for her swim lesson. We met up for a delicious brunch at Starlight Cafe and then journeyed over to Thorne Head for a snowshoe hike. Such an incredibly gorgeous afternoon for a hike! Temps had climbed into the mid-30s, there was no  wind, the sun was shining, and we made a lovely loop through the woods and along the Whiskeag River. The main trail was packed but the remainder of the way had only been traveled by skiers. A bit of work but worth it! There may have been a few snowballs thrown and a bit of whining throw in too, but overall, a good 1.4 mile/1 hour out in the woods with my loves.











This morning, it was roads once again. Not convinced there has been enough traffic out in the Cathance or on the snowmobile trails for even partially decent running, so in order to get in the miles I was hoping for without too much postholing and frustration, I headed out to run the River/Meadow Cross/Meadow loop. It's a decent loop and early on a Sunday morning, there wasn't a ton of traffic which always makes road running better! The roads were clear of ice and snow, it was warmer than the past few mornings and although it was a bit breezy on the cross roads, I felt decent and was able to just sort of turn off my brain and go. A solid 11 miles for the morning.

After lunch, we met up with Nate, Shannon and their girls for a xc ski out along the Mere Creek golf course. It was bright and sunny, and the snow was in good shape for our waxless skis. Sam did a great job and skiied right along. We even managed to make it to the end of the trail, which dead-ended at a viewpoint of Harpswell Cove. Very nice. A great 1 hour/2 mile ski, and a good way to finish up a fun long weekend!


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cold and Chilly Weekend Fun

Low temps and howling wind all weekend long made for some cold running, that's for sure! Yesterday morning it was 3 degrees when I went out a little after 9:00 am with a feels like minus 16 temp. Brrr! I decided to run down to the river and back in the hopes of avoiding the wind at least partially. It worked, except for the areas that were windy ;) Ha. A cold, blustery, uneven, icy 5 miles for the morning.

Later in the day we headed up to Keri and Tyler's to spend the evening. The girls had a great time playing together, Keri and Tyler cooked up some delicious pizza, we had cake and cupcakes in celebration of Tyler's birthday, and a good time was had by all. We all went to bed later than we should have, and with daylight savings, and the fact that the monitor heater started beeping at 5:30 am thinking it needed service, we probably didn't get quite as much sleep as would have been ideal. But no matter, this morning we were off to Hidden Valley for the 2nd annual Bad Idea Fat Ass bright and early anyway :) Once again, it was in the single digits with feel like temps reading much colder than that due to the wind, but the sun was shining brightly and about 20 hardy souls joined in on the fun and got in some miles on the uneven, hoar-frosty, icy trails. The loop was about 3.7 miles and I was happy to get in 10.2 miles for the day, enjoying some time out on the trails with Val, Tyler, Keri, John and Emily all at different times as I ran along. Thankfully, the fire was roaring inside the barn and there was warm soup and lots of snacks for after the run. Beer too, of course, but I was too cold for that! The girls kept themselves entertained all morning with coloring, snacking and some ice running and sliding, which only resulted in a few bonked heads and knees ;0 so we'll call it good! It was a great way to spend a cold Sunday!


Friday, March 10, 2017

Not Quite Spring

March is a fickle month. You never know what you are going to get!

Monday was a planned day off. Tuesday, I just never got up and out the door. Wednesday, I got out in the rain and mist and ran the 5 mile Highland Green loop. The powerlines were icy and the back dirt road was like a wet ice flow. Made things a bit tricky!

Thursday I decided I wanted to get out on the trails so I carried my microspikes across the road and hit the Cathance trails. After the rain on Wednesday and cooler temps overnight, things were a bit sketchy out there - it's that time of year when the trails are an icy, hoar-frosty, messy mess with stretches of bare ground thrown in too, just to tempt you ;) But the sun was shining and the river was roaring, so I'll take it :) 6.5 miles for the morning.




This morning I got out for another run along the Cathance. A bit of a raw, overcast morning with trails still incredibly icy, hoar-frosty and uneven, but, I saw ice pancakes! :) Also took a lovely fall when I took one step on ice without my spikes. Ouch! Still, a good 8 miles for the morning.


In other news, I've decided not to run Runamuck next month. Really, I had only signed up because Ryan was going to be going and I thought it would be a fun course and a good motivator to have a race on the schedule. But the reality is that I came off of the Fells with a leg that needed a fair amount of work - several Dr. Jamie visits and two massages with Julia so far - to loosen up, which means I haven't been able to put in a lot of miles the past few months and only now am I starting to feel decent. What I really want is to be healthy and happy going into the summer and fall, and doing a 50k on legs that are just coming around is not the way to have that happen and probably just means re-injurying myself. I was trying to force it, and that just wasn't a good/smart idea. I'm not saying there wasn't some teeth gnashing and a few tears in discussion about it with Ryan this morning, but I must admit I also felt a huge release of tension and a big sigh of relief when I finally said out loud that Runamuck was getting crossed off the schedule. So, since this is really Ryan's show, he can go run with the guys and I'll keep building up the miles and gaining strength and getting ready to have a great summer and fall of running :)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Brrrrrr

Well now, this is getting a bit silly! ;) More weather antics and this time of the cold and windy variety!

7 degrees with feel like -7 degree temps Saturday morning at 6:00 am. Thankfully the wind had not yet picked up or it would have been a whole lot chillier. Four layers up top and two on the bottom and I stayed warm enough. Wore my Hillsounds and ran the Lovers Lane snowmobile trail loop. Mostly ice with much cracking and popping beneath my feet. Otherwise, solid snow and/or bare ground. Had a Barred Owl fly over me on the back of the loop. He stopped and roosted on a branch overlooking the trail and looked at me for a bit before flying on. My phone was all bundled up so I didn't get a photo but it was a great sighting!! 7 miles for the morning and done a bit after 7:00.

Even colder and windier this morning so I chose to sleep instead, although our crazy felines didn't really let me sleep much after I turned my alarm off. Oh well... but at least I had the chance to relax and get in an extra cup of coffee before Sam came downstairs ;) Today was the last snowshoe race of the series, so Ryan headed out early, as usual, and Sam headed to a friend's house for a playdate a bit later while I headed over to park feeling like the stay-puff marshmallow man with all my layers on to stay warm ;) Luckily, the sun was warm and we were relatively shielded in the woods, but I was thankful for all my layers and the 3 toe warmers I had in each boot! Conditions were solid, to say the least, so it was a fast race and a good one to wrap up the season with. I headed out quickly after the awards to pick up Sam and then a bit later once Ryan got home I went out for my own run.

I was a bit tired from standing outside in the cold for 4 hours and full from lunch, and wanted to stay out of the wind as much as I could, so I decided I'd head out into the Cathance for a mellow 6 miles. I managed to run the first (and last) 1 3/4 miles without donning my Hillsounds; it was either bare ground, I could skirt the edges of the ice or I could run atop the bulletproof and surprisingly tacky snow. Once I hit the edge of the Heath Trail, I put on the spikes and was glad I had brought them with me, for sure, as the vast majority of the Cathance trails proper ended up being mostly solid ice. Still, the river was roaring and I was treated to a small but nice display of ice pancakes too! :) Glad I got myself (with Ryan's extra push) out the door!




Friday, March 3, 2017

Weekday Wanderings

Tuesday morning, it was cold enough to don my microspikes and hit the snowmobile trails out to Lover's Lane. After all the warm weather, the conditions were variable, from bare ground to ice to packed snow to a bit of soft stuff here and there, but overall, quite solid considering the wacky weather we've had recently. It was a nice, calm morning to be out and I was treated to a lovely sunrise. A good 5 miles for the morning, for sure!

Sunrise along the powerlines

Morning light

Thursday morning dawned mild and overcast, and I ran Highland Green via the new bike path for a rather blustery 6 miles. No stunning sunrise but the light on the clouds was pretty as I ran along. I ran the loop backwards for a change of pace and the back dirt road was quite sloppy, but overall a good run to start the day.

Today, I met up with Val and Keri at the Brad for an attempt at the Beautiful Loop. I was a bit skeptical that we'd be able to do the full loop when Val suggested it, but I was more than willing to give it a go, as a good long trail run with friends is way better than a solo road loop, which is what I had been thinking I'd end up doing! Turns out, with overnight temps in the 20s, things had hardened up just enough that it was totally doable. There was a fair amount of open water, undermined sections and a bit of tiptoeing to be sure, and we did do some bushwacking around the river and a small stream/swampy area near the power plant, but really, it was better than I though it would be. Some bare patches and lots of ice but plenty of hard-pack runnable snowmobile trail. It was a great run with friends, and good to get out on the BL this year. Ryan ran out the opposite way to finish up his long run and join us for the final few miles, so that was fun too.

Of course, to keep things interesting we had wind and sunshine and when we were bushwacking through the juniper bushes near the river, we found an unidentified pterydactyl type object (!), there were beautiful big red cranberries spotted encased in the ice along the powerlines and we were treated to a sighting of six bluebirds in the fields out near Lawrence Road, so all in all, a pretty good Beautiful Loop! 15.3 miles for the day :)

Powerlines

Cranberries encased in ice

Along the trail

No way were we crossing that...

So we bushwacked through the junipers and found this...

Some sort of huge fish?! Or ptredactyl? Very odd looking creature, for sure!

You know, just some recliners out on the powerlines...

Sunny Beautiful Loop selfie

Requisite thermometer shot 

Blue sky, bare ground and tall trees

Icicles