Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Midweek Miles

I'm taking this week as a down week, even though part of me wants to get in a long run on Friday due to conditions being so nice and hard-packed right now. But, the reality is that while I started back up and felt pretty decent running through late November and December, I wasn't running a ton of miles, so the past three weeks have been my biggest block since before Pinhoti. While Laurel Highland training is in full swing, it's still early in the training cycle and with that, I need to be smart about it all and take a down week this week.

With that said, I took off Monday as is typical after a weekend of running but yesterday, I just did not get up and out the door in the morning. I did at least manage to get up with enough time to get in some quick arm and leg work, including 30 push-ups, which is big for me! :) Then, to get in the miles, I decided I would run on the indoor track during Sam's swim practice. It is not my ideal choice, but it is better than a treadmill and it is a good option on these winter days when it is just frankly harder to get out the door some mornings. I downloaded the new Amelia Boone podcast from the Morning Shakeout to listen to during my laps, and really enjoyed it. The track was relatively quiet, or at least the people walking and running were fairly well behaved ;), and with the podcast going, the 65 laps went by pretty quickly. (5.0 miles)

#swimpracticerunning #13lapstothemile

This morning, I did manage to get up and out of bed ;) so I enjoyed a nice crispy crunchy run on the trails with the brilliant bright moon shining down onto the icy snow. I ran out into the Cathance, enjoying the roaring of the river, a few ice pancakes and some solidly packed icy trails. On the way back, I took the powerlines and had the chance to watch the glow on the horizon on one side and the moon still shining brightly on the other. #earlymorningrun #crunchcrunch (6.3 miles)

Brilliant moonlight

Glow on the horizon

Icy moonlit trails

Glowing ice ;) 

Looking forward to three good days of running over my "weekend," as a down week means there's no pressure and I can just have fun with the miles I do get in :)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Cathance Recovery

With no plans for today, I slept in a bit and had a leisurely morning instead of heading right out to run. After the rest of the house had woken up, I headed out a little before 8:30 for my run. Skies were overcast, temps were hovering right around 40 degrees and my legs were tired ;) I found a lot of wet ice but also some fairly decent trails, with the snow softening up a bit but still solid underneath in most spots. Out in the Cathance, the river was roaring, there were some lovely ice formations along the banks and I had the trails to myself. A very lovely mellow recovery run. (7.1 mile)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Catch Up and Building Up

The rest of last weekend was spent spectating at sporting events. The first was Sam's swim meet on Saturday afternoon, during which she had a 3 second PR in the 25 free, which was pretty fun to see! Of course, she also didn't eat lunch and spent way too much energy having fun with her friends on the pool deck so by her last event of the day, the 25 back, she was so tired, she petered out halfway through the length of the pool and missed her best time by 5 seconds. 😂  Guess that is pretty much life in a nutshell 😉  But hey, she is having fun, so honestly that is all I care about.

1st time doing the fly! 

Sunday, we headed over to Bradbury for the first snowshoe race of the season. Conditions were good, there were almost a 100 racers, it was warm, and as always it was fun to see everyone and help out! Sam had fun roaming around and playing with Anna and Elise while I volunteered, and she and Elise built a really good snowman too!

Perfect snowman-making snow!

This week, the running goal is to hit 40+ miles. With Laurel Highlands in early June, training has begun and while I'm pretty happy with where I'm at at the moment, there is a lot of work to be done in the coming months. The past two weeks have seen me at 38+ and 39 miles, so fairly decent, but I really need to work my long run up from 12 and 14 miles 😂 😁  

I headed out Monday morning for a run in the Cathance. I knew from seeing conditions at Brad on Sunday that things should be fairly packed down as long as the trails had had some traffic, which I figured they would have gotten due to the nice weekend weather. Things were a bit soft over Mt. A. and along the golf course but once I got out into the Cathance proper, I was rewarded with pretty solid conditions, a bit glazed over due to just above freezing temps, but not bad. I could hear the river roaring, and came across lots of animal tracks in the snow, but other than that, it was just a dark run on the trails. I guess that's what I get for heading out at 5:30 am! Still, a good way to start the day and kick off the week! (7.0 miles)

Of course, then I turned around and didn't do anything on Tuesday due to crappy weather 😉 but hey, I reserve two days a week as rest days so Tuesday was just as good as any to take off!! 😃 I wasn't quite sure what I was going to find on Wednesday morning though, so when 5:30 am rolled around I set off in my screwshoes with no real plan and just meandered trying to find the best conditions. I ran up and over Mt. A., out on the road for a bit, turned around when I realized that the back road portion was literally an ice rink, and then headed back around the Heath. There was just the slightest hint of pre-dawn light as I ran past the Heath and by the time I had gotten back up and over Mt. A., I could see the sky lightening so I ran up the powerlines for a short ways to take in the view of the glow along the horizon. Conditions were icy and variable and uneven but it was a gorgeous morning and the ice and snow shimmered in my headlamp with some beautiful light at the end of the run. (5.3 miles)

Pre-dawn light along the Heath

Iced over branches

Glowing horizon

Thursday, I got a much needed massage from Lauren - all the uneven terrain and slipping and sliding have made my legs pretty tight! - and then on Friday morning I headed over to Bradbury for a run. It was chilly - 8 degrees when I started a little before 8:00 am - brrr! - but bright and sunny. The iced over trees were shimmering in the sunlight and the trails beneath my feet cracked and crinkled and it was quite noisy from all the fallen ice from the trees and the icy conditions. I ran up to the summit and then out along the Boundary. NEMBA had obviously been out "grooming" the trails with their strange ride-on bike grooming machine but although it created a nice even surface, it didn't really pack the trails, so there was still some undermined sketchy spots and some plain old glare ice in spots too. I felt kind of clunky out there this morning, and it wasn't fast going, but it sure was beautiful. I ran out on the Connector and across Lawrence up into the field, but found conditions not as good so I turned around, went up and wandered around the Tryon Quarry and then headed back into the park and back up to the summit again before returning to my car. It was nice morning meander. (7.2 miles)

Summit view

Blue skies

Sunlight out in the field

Iced over trees shimmering in the sunlight

Icy, noisy trail conditions but oh so beautiful!

This morning, I made up for not getting in my long run on Friday (which seems to be a theme the past few weeks!) and met up with Emma at 6:30 am over at Brad for 16 road miles. Ian had put together a nice loop for us starting at the park and since a portion of it was on dirt roads, we wore our screwshoes as a precaution for those sections. However, I would never have imagined those 6-7 miles literally being an ice rink! I didn't seem to matter which dirt road we were on, they were all the same. It was crazy. Packed smooth, rock hard, thick ice, with a bit of sand but not enough to really help us as runners. We put a lot of work into moving along on those roads. Wowsa! 

In between we had some nice running on the pavement and it was a beautiful, if chilly, morning with a wonderful sunrise seen through the trees and along the fields as we ran the quiet roads. We finished up with a mile out and back on the snowmobile trail to round things out to 16 ;) I definitely worked for those miles and my feet were feeling the pavement by the end, but it was great fun to chat away and spend a few hours with Emma as we cruised along. We finished up just as Xar and Val were about to head out for their run so we chatted for a bit before we all went our separate ways, and I managed to get home in time to shower and get something to eat before we headed up to the Y for Sam's swim meet. (16.1 miles)

Early morning sunrise

After the swim meet, we stopped for gelato, because everyone knows a swim meet and a long run deserve a treat ;)


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! 💗