Saturday, January 20, 2018

Early Morning Miles

Well, apparently I just had the wrong equipment yesterday. Ryan said the snowshoeing was pretty sweet. Ah well, such is life... in any event, got up way too early and set out at 5:15 am for my long run this morning. The first mile features icy sidewalks and snowy side streets but once I hit Foreside, things were pretty clear and it was decent running. Not a lot of cars out at 5:30 on a Saturday morning and my oh my, it is pretty damn dark out in the middle of nowhere ;) Gets rural and dark really quickly once you get a few miles out of town around here!

I was hoping to see the start of sunrise as I crossed the outlet into the Androscoggin River at mile 7 but alas, it was too overcast and early for that. I did get to see a bit of pinkish glow above the treetops across one of the field's along Rt. 24 on the return trip but it was brief. Very windy on the backside of the loop but thankfully still light on traffic until the final few miles as I got back to the edge of town.

More icy sidewalks and snowy side streets for the final two miles with a stiff headwind, and the pace slowed a bit, but happy to have gotten in the miles! Got back just in time for Ryan to head over to the Brad to mark the course and now I won't feel badly about sitting around all afternoon at the Y during Sam's swim meet :) (14.0)

Friday, January 19, 2018


Lots of variable weather and conditions going on here...

Tuesday morning I headed out to see how things were on the trails. It was a practical lesson in variable conditions, with very uneven footing, lots of ice, stretches of bare ground, undermined ice, packed snow, soft snow, undermined snow... you get the idea ;) I had planned to run further out into the system along the river but turned around due to the fact that the river had overflowed its banks and ice was covered a large swath of trail with one of the feeding streams all iced up/flooded over too. In the dark, it was tough to tell if it was safe or not, so I decided not to risk it. Still, I did get to see some lovely pancake ice floating along in the currents though, so all was not lost :) (6.5 miles)

Snow started to fall overnight on Tuesday and I woke up at 5:30 on Wednesday to a call saying that school was cancelled. Given the forecast, the cancellation was not a surprise, and I had brought work home with me as had Ryan. I decided to go downstairs early as I normally would and get a few hours of work in before the rest of the house woke up so that I could get out in the daylight for a run. I headed out at 9:00; there were a few inches of snow on the ground and snow was still falling. With the new snow, I knew anything I ran would be slow so I figured I'd head back out into the Cathance and run along the river. Sure, most of the dangers would be covered in a layer of snow, but with the daylight, I figured I still had an advantage! The river was roaring and the trees were covered in a lovely layer of snow looking like frosting. No pancake ice today, but some beautiful ice droplets along the river bank edges and lots of animal tracks. A fun, if slow, snowy wander! (7.1 miles)

Yesterday morning, I didn't get out to run before work so I relegated myself to the indoor track during Sam's swim practice. Man, that place is busy! Listened to a Michelle Yates podcast, tried not to get run over, run anyone over and got those 65 laps done :0 (5.0 miles)

Today I headed over to Bradbury. I was hoping for a long run, but much like last Friday, conditions were simply not enough to tempt me to slog it out. With the new sugary snow atop the icy, uneven, unstable ground beneath, it was a lot of slipping and sliding and it was pretty slow going. Maybe I'm becoming less tolerant of marginal conditions as I get older or I just let my head get in the way of it all, but whatever the reason, I simply was not having fun out there. It was quite pretty in the woods with the new snow and there was a lovely light from Northern Bluff and the summit, but I just didn't want to continue for another 8-10 miles. So, I stopped ;) I sometimes can't decide whether it is better to simply gut it out or accept that it is just not what was in the plans for the day. Not sure what I feel at the moment, but I do know that I will now be doing my long run on the roads at o'dark thirty tomorrow morning in exchange for stopping my run today. But such is life. Now it is on to cross things off the to-do list! (6.5 miles)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Thaw and Refreeze

Lots of rain overnight on Friday and into the morning on Saturday. Amazing how much snow melted away with the warm temps and the rain. Crazy weather!

I was watching the radar closely all morning on Saturday, hoping I could get out after the rain ended but before temperatures plummeted, as they were supposed to do. In the end, I headed out around 10:00 am. It was in the high 30s, foggy and windy, and the roads and sidewalks had been essentially all but cleared of snow and ice. I did a loop around the high school and middle school neighborhood and then headed down the newer paved path along the Connector and over into Highland Green. I took the back dirt road, which was a mix of gravel/dirt and ice, down to Tedford and then around Topsham Crossing. I stopped at mile 6 to have a gel just at the edge of the back road and it started to rain. Up around Highland Green in the cold wind and rain then across through the Highlands and up Pleasant, with a little extra around the high school for 12 miles on the nose. Totally unexciting and uninspiring route, but it got it done. By the last few miles, I was pretty soaked and starting to feel chilled, so I was thankful to finish it up! (12.0 miles)

The rest of the day was spent making cookies, playing games and hanging out on the couch.

Overnight, as forecast, it got down into the single digits and everything that had melted was now frozen. Emma and I met up over at Bradbury for some miles and headed out onto the powerlines. With temps hovering in the single digits at daybreak and the sun shining brightly, we were pleasantly surprised to find the trails in good shape and quite solid. We ran out and back to the edge of the corn field, enjoying the conditions and chatting along. There were the few typical spots that were undermined with water and that we had to tiptoe around but otherwise, we were able to move right along. As an added bonus, we saw a golden crowned kinglet on the return trip! So cool! Yes, I am such a dork but it was a great sighting!! (7.2 miles)

Happy to finish up the week feeling good! Came home to find everyone on the couch, and I'm thinking it's going to be another mellow afternoon ;)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Out of the Deep Freeze!

Truly amazing how 20 degrees on a windless, sunny day can feel so warm after a two week stretch of frigid, windy weather! This week, temps have recovered a bit and we have been back in a more normal weather pattern, even reaching above freezing on Wednesday and Thursday. So happy to be out of the deep freeze!

Tuesday morning I headed out and ran Highland Green via the connector, as although one or two snowmobiles had made a pass over the powerlines, the snow is so deep and so dry that it simply has not compacted enough to make it runnable. A rather meh run all around due to conditions and having to run a stretch of busy road to and from the loop, but at least I only had to wear one pair of tights and could get by with a thin pair of gloves instead of having to be bundled up in a gazillion layers! (6.3 miles)

Wednesday dawned a bit cooler and I decided to chance it and see if the powerlines were runnable. They had firmed up ever so slightly, but not enough that I wanted to continue on past Highland Green. Instead, I ran the loop backwards, taking a few short detours off onto the trails to the Heath and down past the ecology center. Neither direction had been packed enough for running. As I turned back onto the powerlines for the final mile of the run, the horizon glowed a fiery orange. And with a clear sky, the crescent moon, Jupiter and Mars were visible above. Gorgeous morning. (5.4 miles)

Thusday, I had the day off, in exchange for having to attend an all-day training in Augusta on Friday. No one was available to join for a run, but I decided to head over to Bradbury after dropping Sam off for a run anyway in the hopes that there had been enough snowmobile and fat tire bike traffic that I would find conditions decent. I found quiet trails (no one there!), warm temps and beautiful light, but the reality is that my mind was no match for the soft conditions and the long run I was hoping for just didn't materialize. All my energy was just going right back into the soft, churned up snow on the snowmobile trails and on the east side the singletrack just hadn't been broken out enough for me to want to run it. Conditions up to the summit were a bit firmer and the Boundary Trail had had enough traffic that even though uneven and pockmarked with bootprints, it was fairly decent running at least. I contented myself with 8 slow if beautiful miles and then headed to Pineland Market to get a big a** cookie to fortify me for the afternoon chores ;) (8.0 miles). The long run is just going to have to get done this weekend!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Cold Again

After the snowstorm, temps fell again. It's crazy the length of time it has been so cold. I can't even remember when it was last above freezing! 😁

Friday was a rest day so I did my errands and household chores and in between got a lovely and much needed massage from Lauren and did a little crafting for the Christmas tree out back.

I am a total dork, but it was a lot of fun! Of course, within a 1/2 hour the squirrels had taken off with 4 of the 6 birdseed ornaments 😆 but I did see some juncoes enjoying the seed on the remaining two until those were absconded with as well 😂

Yesterday morning we were supposed to head up to Bar Harbor for a swim meet. We figured it would be a great excuse to go visit and spend the night with Kate and Jamie so we had plans to head to their house after the meet and enjoy some yummy wood fired pizza, spend the night, and then get in a fun run with Jamie and John on Sunday before heading home. Unfortunately, Sam ended up feeling yucky with a wonky stomach, plus Ryan has a cold and is feeling pretty lousy, so we had a change of plans and stayed home instead 😢 We were really sorry to have to miss out on a fun weekend away but I know it was the right thing to do, especially as Sam didn't even put up a fight at all when I told her I didn't think it would be a good idea to go!

Cold temps and high winds were making it fairly inhospitable outside so I decided to stick with my plan for no running for the day. Instead, I made banana bread and enjoyed it with coffee while relaxing on the couch, we hung out and played games, and by the evening, we decided to get out and go get some soup as Sam was feeling better and Ryan was hoping the pho would kill off his cold germs. Not what we had planned for the day but a good quiet day, which was just what they needed!

It was still -6 this morning when I woke up this morning, so I was in no rush to get out and run, and with no plans for the day there was no need! Instead, I had an early lunch and waited until the temps rose into the single digits before finally donning my shoes and heading out the door around 12:30. It was bright and sunny but frankly, the run wasn't all that awesome, as the powerlines were way too soft to run on and the sidewalks throughout were just not cleared well at all. The one good stretch of running was on the back dirt road which had been plowed down to nicely packed solid snow. Ah well. Hopefully things will get packed and cleaned up a bit more this week for some better running! (7.0 miles).

After I got back and had a quick snack, I put on a new set of outdoor clothes and the three of us headed over to Mere Creek Golf Course to get in a little late afternoon xc ski. With Sam feeling better, we figured a bit of activity would be a good thing, and hopefully the fresh air would help Ryan too! There had been a lot of traffic out on the trail, and I was super impressed with how much Sam had improved since last season. So much stronger and faster! We had a great ski out to the end and then tromped back along the edge of the golf course as the light faded. 

A really nice way to finish up a weekend that wasn't quite what we planned! 💗

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Snow Day

Crazy winter storm going right now, all up and down the east coast. School was cancelled and both Ryan and I worked from home for part of the day. I knew that a long run tomorrow would be unlikely as roads and trails would no doubt be a mess, and as there is a swim meet on Saturday and temps are supposed to plummet back into the negatives again over the weekend, I figured this morning pre-storm would be my best chance for a long(ish) run. I slept in a bit since none of us had to go anywhere, and waited for the sky to lighten a bit before heading out at 7:00 am. Got in a lovely run out in the Cathance and enjoyed the quiet trails, finishing up just as the first flakes began to fall. (10 miles)

Monochrome sky.

Frozen river.

Packed trails and lots of animal tracks.

Red berries. 

Spent a few hours working, with this one as my assistant 😂


Also got a yummy snow day delivery. I think we'll be set for a while!

The rest of the day was spent playing games, feeding the birds out back and watching the snow fall. A good snowy day!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Seriously Now...

So this weather is a wee bit nuts... and there is no end in sight. Tomorrow a snowstorm and then back to two days of serious deep freeze. Please, Mother Nature, get back to a happy medium! Today, walking around town it was 21 degrees out and felt like a heatwave! I could handle those kind of temps all winter long!! But first, to muddle through this craziness...

Yesterday, I woke up to a feels like temp of -20. Uh uh, no way. That is just too much. I did my strength work and then packed up my running clothes so that I could run on the indoor track during Sam's swim practice... again... for the third time in three weeks. Gah. Wicked busy too. An old Corey Reese podcast interview kept me entertained as I wiled away the laps and miles. 65 laps. (5.0 miles)

I didn't sleep well last night but knowing that the snowstorm is coming and unclear about the weather and plans for the weekend (swim meet in Bar Harbor on Saturday and a visit with Kate and Jamie on tap, which should mean a fun run on Sunday though!) meant I decided to get out anyway. I didn't feel great, but the snowmobile trail on the powerlines was pretty sweet, and I got in a nice headlamp run under a brilliant moon, finishing up just in time to see the beginning of sunrise glowing on the horizon. (5.1 miles)

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

We kicked off 2018 by taking down the Christmas tree, doing a bit of culling from Sam's craft bins and shelves and getting all the fun new stuff we received at Christmas put away. It was nice to have today to get things all settled and back in order before we head back to reality tomorrow.

I had Ryan prop up the Christmas tree next to one of the oaks out back. The juncoes started hopping around in it right away. I might try to make some garland and some peanut butter/bird seed pine cones to hang in it later this week. Might as well make good use of it now that it's no longer gracing our house full of ornaments!

After that was done, I headed out for a run around 11:15. Can't start off the new year with a zero! Plus have to take advantage of daylight running when I can!! It had warmed up to the low single digits although with the wind, the weather app still said it was a feels like temp of -9. Brrr. This cold snap is serious business... and it is looking like it is going to stay pretty cold through the week too. Crazy.

I donned my Hillsounds and hit the snowmobile trails across the street, taking Mt. A. and hole #3, which had been groomed, over to the Cathance. The trails have seen a lot of traffic and they were pretty nicely packed. Out in the woods, I was fairly toasty, even though the shining sun wasn't giving off much heat! Enjoyed a lovely hour out in the woods. Always good to get out on our home trails :) (6.0 miles)