Friday, March 30, 2018


A down week this week, so things have been kind of mellow this week in terms of running, but otherwise we've been pretty busy! Monday night was Sam's end of season swim banquet. I feel I have earned my bonus points for sitting in the gym for an hour listening to awards being handed out ;) Ha. But in all seriousness, it was a great experience for Sam to be on the team this year and she really loved it and made some good friends. She is already looking forward to next season 😍

Tuesday morning, I got out early and it was cold enough that I decided to hit the trails out in the Cathance in the hopes of firm conditions. Snowpack was surprisingly solid if uneven. Beautiful pastel sky and four deer seen, gracefully loping across the fairway on hole #3 as I headed home. (6.0 miles)

That night we met up with my aunt Susie, cousin Sarah and her boyfriend Tom for a delicious indian food dinner. Such fun to catch up and we always are up for an excuse to go to Shere Punjab! Yum!

I was lazy on Wednesday morning and didn't get out, and then didn't sleep well that night, but dragged myself out of bed anyway on Thursday morning. It's a down week, yes, but that's no excuse. These miles aren't going to run themselves 😉 Wasn't feeling energetic enough to tackle the hills I had on my schedule so I swapped out my days and ran a nice mellow loop around Highland Green instead. Beautiful glowing sunrise on the horizon along the back side of the loop. (6.0 miles)

Friday morning dawned drizzly and 40 degrees. But hills it was nonetheless! However, I did sleep in and head out around 8:15 instead of going out in the dark and fog and rain at 5:15 😁 Even at 8:15, it was just plain old bleh out, and there was more traffic too. Bah. Oh well. I didn't quite have the umph I would have liked, but the hills were run and I got it done. (6.6 miles)

Off to MA for the weekend to celebrate Easter with Ryan's family. Hoping for at least a few patches of bare ground to run on tomorrow!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Fun Weekend Up North

Friday afternoon after picking Sam up at school, we headed north to visit Jamie and Kate for the weekend. After two failed attempts to get up there to stay with them, we finally had a weekend where no one got sick :) and it worked out. Guess third time's a charm!

They live in a lovely farmhouse in Amherst, right on the main road, but frankly, it's really in the middle of nowhere ;) just how they wanted it!

We had dinner and then headed over to Airline Brewery for a few drinks and a few games of darts. Lots of fun, but none of us except Jamie is very good at darts! ;)


Kate had very nicely offered to hang with Sam for the morning while Ryan, Jamie and I got in a long run on Saturday, so after a breakfast of banana bread and the requisite coffee, we drove even farther north to run on the ITS snowmobile trails nearby. It worked out really well, as we had an awesome run on this amazing veritable highway of a snowmobile trail that meandered through beautiful forests, over flowing rivers, traversed across wide open blueberry fields and ran up and on out into the landscape for miles and miles, while Sam and Kate kept busy at the house, playing games, planting pepper plants, boiling sap for maple syrup, collecting chicken eggs and visiting Zippy over at John's house.

Seriously, a highway!

Crossing the Narraguagus River

Blueberry fields forever...

Fun on the trails in the middle of nowhere with these two ;)

Beautiful sundog as we crossed the blueberry fields

It went on for miles and miles like this

Beautiful day to be out

Tributary flowing into the Narraguagus

It was a great run and a real treat to run with Jamie and Ryan and to explore a new trail. The trail was  well packed and nice and solid for the most part. We did run into a fair number of snowmobilers who churned up the trail a bit, but still it was the best winter trail running conditions of the season for me for sure! I will admit that I was feeling it as we neared the halfway point, but rebounded after we stopped for a quick snack until the final few miles, which felt like a definite slog as the temps warmed up and the sun beat down and the snow became very soft and mashed potato-esque. But nothing to do but chug along and get it done :) I had hoped to get in a slightly longer long run this weekend but in the end, we were keeping up a good running pace, even if we were making a lot of stops to ooohhh and ahhh along the way, and after 10 miles on Friday, the miles we did get in were more than enough. So, truly, all in all, it was an awesome morning of running with good company, fun trails and great exploration! Can't ask for anything more! (17.0 miles)

We met up with Kate and Sam at a local diner for lunch and big slices of pie (yum!) and then headed back home to relax for the afternoon.

Relaxing in front of the fire

Feeding the chickens

Collected a few more eggs

This morning, we were trying to juggle everyone getting in their runs, especially Kate, so I headed out on first shift around 7:30 am to run on the local roads near their house. After a mile of pavement down to the river, I took River Road, which (duhhh!!) followed the river and then headed up into the woods. The road was a mix of frozen mud, ice, ice chunks and snow, but despite the variable conditions, with colder temps, it was good running. I actually felt pretty good and went a bit farther than originally planned before turning around. (8.0 miles)

River Road out to the middle of nowhere

Happy to finish up the week with 47.5 miles and almost 8 hours of training, which caps off a solid three week block for me, and more than happy to have had it work out for us to spend the weekend with friends!! 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Friday Morning Wander

The car was going in for service this morning so I dropped Sam off and then headed there all dressed in my running gear, so that I could take off from there for my run this morning. I am sure they think I am a bit odd 😂😂 I had originally thought I'd do a road run but it was such a nice morning, I'd be running the daylight and temps were still below freezing that I just couldn't help myself, and decided I would hit the trails instead. I ran up and over Mt. A. and out along the golf course, which had been groomed at some point, to the Heath. Variable but nothing I wasn't expecting. Around the Heath was probably the worst, just not a lot of traffic and very uneven. Once across the street in the Cathance proper, the trails were in pretty good shape, fairly well packed and definitely runnable, although care had to be taken for sure! It was nice to be out there in the daylight, enjoying the river and the woods. And of course, it is always beautiful out there!

Up from the river in the field where you can head further out into the system to the Ravine Loop and Head of Tides, they are clearing land and felling trees for more Highland Green houses. I think the guys were just as surprised to see me come out of the woods as I was to see them! This is sort of sad, but the developers have always been good about making sure there is trail access and continuing to support land conservation out there, so I hope there will soon be a new way to head further out into the system once they start construction out there. I suspect this is similar to what happened with the Brunswick Commons, in that the land we always thought was part of the Commons was really more like abutting property and so eventually they built houses on it and made new connecting trail for access to the Commons proper.

In any event, I took a few steps out beyond the clearing area to check out the trail to the Ravine Loop but there hadn't been enough traffic and I was sinking in all over the place, so I turned around and did another loop along the river and then took the back road back up to the powerlines for a short out and back to get in the miles I wanted. It was a bit of a slow go out there this morning but it was good to get out, and I was able to pick up the car when I was done too! (10.0 miles)

Looking forward to visiting Kate and Jamie this weekend and seeing what sort of adventure Jamie takes us on for our run tomorrow! Kate very nicely offered to hang out with Sam, and I am sure they will keep themselves more than occupied with the four cats, chickens and other projects while we are off for a few hours in the morning! :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Or Not...

It might have been only 40 degrees today and yes, indeed, there is another snowstorm headed our way tonight/tomorrow, but Sam and I celebrated the first full day of spring with a requisite cone at DQ anyway! Take that, winter ;)

Then I went home and cooked up a delicious sweet potato/bean/quinoa/kale bowl topped with feta cheese, pepitas and a yummy cilantro vinagrette, all based on this recipe:

Not sure it balanced out that cone but it sure was delish! Yum! 

In running news, got out for a dark early morning run this morning in the Cathance. Right now, honestly, conditions aren't great on the trails, but I had run hard on the roads yesterday so I wanted to stay off the pavement. The section along the river was pretty nicely packed but the rest of it, meh, not enough traffic and snow still so deep there was lots of sinking and slipping and sliding. Certainly not ideal and doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon. I'm soooo craving dry trails right now but I'm guessing I'm going to have to wait for our visit to NC at the rate we're going here... (6.0 miles)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Happy Spring! 🌷

Even though it's officially the first day of spring, there is a still a lot of snow on the ground around here and this morning's temperature was in the teens. Spring must still be on vacation ;)

Needless to say, it was a beautiful day and since I managed to shut off my alarm and go back to sleep for another 1 1/2 hours (oops!) and therefore didn't get in my morning run, I opted to leave work a little early and run down to the ocean this afternoon.

There was a bit of a breeze off the ocean but the sun was shining brightly and the birds were calling despite all the snow still covering the fields. I tried to push the pace a bit, given that this was essentially a flat as a pancake run, but my legs weren't quite in sync with my attempt at tempo ;) Still, I tried, and at least managed to keep things relatively brisk. A good way to welcome spring! Warm weather and dry trails, you can come anytime now :) (6.2 miles)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Chasing A Number

Thankfully after looking rather green on Friday morning, Sam perked up enough for us to get out and run a few errands in the afternoon. I couldn't resist this big beautiful bouquet of pussy willows at the farmer's market. Bringing a bit of spring into the house since it most assuredly is still looking and feeling like winter outside!

Knowing Sam was feeling better made the weekend running easier but I will admit to being a bit tired and thrown off with the change in plans. Such is life, I know, and in the scheme of things most assuredly not a big deal, so I just knew I'd have to really work for it on Saturday and Sunday if I wanted to hit 50 miles this week, as the mid-week snowstorm and the decidedly meh run on Friday morning didn't do much to move me towards that goal. 

Saturday morning I got up and out around 6:15 am to get in my miles before Ryan headed over to Brad for his long run. It was chilly, and with a bit of wind, I was wishing I had worn a second pair of tights! Brrr. Headed out on the powerlines following the snowmobile tracks. Conditions were kind of messy with frozen crunchy uneven footing and lots of large frozen chunks churned up by the snowmobiles. Certainly not ideal. I ran this way and that looking for decent conditions and eventually just ended up turning around and heading back so I could finish out my miles with a loop around Highland Green. I did get to catch the sun rising through the trees though, which is always a treat. (10.0 miles)

Ryan had a really solid good run over at Bradbury later in the morning and told me conditions were pretty decent, although he did have to do a bit of wandering around to get in his 22+ miles. I was feeling a bit low on motivation despite my desire to get in my miles and decided that having to meander around in search of a way to get in my miles this morning, on variable conditions, was probably not the best for me on this day. So, in keeping with this cycle's 'all long runs are road runs' theme, I chose to run from home out to the ocean and through the back roads of Brunswick. I always enjoy my runs out through these quiet sections of town and thought it would be a nice change of pace from the roads around Brad and the hills of Topsham.

I set out around 7:15 and ran down Main Street, threw in one hill repeat up Oak Street just for the heck of it ;) and then ran over the swinging bridge across the Androscoggin and into Brunswick. It was cold - about 10 degrees - but bright and sunny. I zigzagged through town out the Pleasant Hill Road, where I saw Kevin and Nate running in the opposite direction about 5 miles in. Nate was like, what are you doing running roads? HA! ;)

Up and over the Pleasant Hill hills to Highland Road, where there were wide snow covered fields with a flock of turkeys grazing and bluebirds flitting on the wires above. Always so nice out there.

From there, I ran along the coastline, down to Maquoit Bay, past the marshes along Bunganuc, out to the Middle Bay, no longer ice covered, at Simpson's Point, and then back into town via Pennelville. Pussywillow was blooming on the road side and as always the vistas of the bays, especially on a bright, shimmery, sunny day, make me smile. 

The final few miles running through Brunswick and back home to Topsham were a bit of a slog, with the winds picking up and me feeling a bit tired, but overall, happy with how the run went and how I felt. And best of all, got that 50 miles for the week ;) (23.0 miles)

Now it is off to eat all the things!!  

Friday, March 16, 2018


Wednesday was yet another snow day as we got about 12" out of the storm and snow was still falling through the morning hours. Sigh... Work opened late, so I got out for a short run in the daylight before getting Sam over to Amber's for the day and heading into the office to catch up on things. It was still snowing lightly, the roads were still being plowed, and the powerlines, although traveled by one snowmobile, were essentially just deep powder. It was a messy, snowy run. (5.0 miles)

Back to winter

I took Thursday off as I was planning to head over to Brad on Friday morning to meet Anne and Val for part of their run and to get in my long run. Unfortunately, those plans changed early in the morning when Sam called out to me that her stomach was hurting and then about 10 minutes later threw up all over her bed and the floor. Double sigh... We got her cleaned up and back to bed, only to have her up throwing up again a little while later. Gah. Finally about 6:00, she fell back to sleep and since I was up anyway, and knew I'd be staying home with her for the day while Ryan headed to work, I quickly changed into my running clothes and headed out for a few miles. The powerlines had seen a little bit more snowmobile traffic and were in OK shape, but up and over Mt. A. and then around the Heath simply had not seen enough people to pack things well. Conditions were meh at best. But on the plus side, I did get to see a gorgeous sunrise over the Heath and through the trees. (5.0 miles)

Pastel sunrise

Glow through the trees

Morning light

Thankfully Sam seems to have perked up a bit and is holding some food down, albeit only Cheerios, applesauce and Gatorade, so I'm hopeful this will pass quickly and not along to the rest of us! I've spent the morning doing laundry, opening the back door to let fresh air in, cleaning the house and sanitizing all surfaces in the hopes to fending whether it was off!! Ah, parenthood 😁

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Calm Before the Storm

Another storm. Another snow day. Today's storm appears to be a very large, slow moving storm which is predicted to drop 12"-18" of snow today and into tomorrow. Ahhh, nothing like March in New England...

Waited until it was light this morning and then headed out at 7:00 am for a run before the snow started. The powerlines had had a lot of snowmobile traffic but the snow wasn't quite packed, it almost felt styrofoam-like. Very weird. No one had been up over Mt. A. so I took the road up to the Heath. There had been a fair amount of traffic, and things were fairly compacted, if uneven and a bit variable. The river was open, all the ice melted except along the banks, and overhead, the sky was overcast and rather ominous looking. My legs felt kinda creaky and cranky so instead of making the loop back on the trails, I took the new route out to the back dirt road from the field and ran the roads back to the powerlines before heading in. Finished up just as the flakes started to fall. (7.0 miles)

We are all home today with Ryan and I working and Sam amusing herself and hoping we can get out and play in the snow later today :)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Good Weekend Fun

Started off Saturday by cooking up some banana bread and cupcakes. I was feeling a bit lazy in terms of running but there was still things to be done, so couldn't just sit around and relax ;) So Danielle! Later in the morning after things were all out of the oven, I headed out for a run. I couldn't quite decide what shoes to wear or where to go or what I'd find, so I finally settled on the screwshoes in the hopes that I might get in some miles off-pavement. I was excited to find that the snowmobile roller had been out overnight on the trails, as had a few fat tire bikers, so the snow was just enough compacted to run on. Still soft in spots but doable! Hurray. I wouldn't have to run pavement after all! I headed out onto the powerlines to run the Lover's Lane loop. The backside of the loop is no longer accessible to snowmobilers due to a rotted out bridge, but there had snowshoe and ski traffic at least. It was nice to be out in the woods amongst the snow-covered trees for the morning. Always so pretty! (6.7 miles)

Later in the afternoon, we headed up to Keri and Tyler's for the night. Sam had fun playing with the girls and we always have a good time hanging out with them. Such fun. Pizza and laughter and a few drinks and then it was off to bed so we could get up early for the traditional Bad Idea Fat Ass over at Hidden Valley. I woke to a beautiful sunrise rising through the trees, and we all quickly ate and gathered gear and grumbled over the fact that it was daylight savings and was there more coffee? ;)

Then it was off to see what we were in for with the course ;) Keri and her two friends had skiied the course on Saturday and the trails had been groomed, with only a few spots of untracked singletrack. This meant things were pretty soft and not well packed, so the group of us donned our snowshoes and took off into the woods a little after 9:00 am. I laughed to myself when I realized that this was the first time I had worn snowshoes all season ;) Ha! It was slow going and in the soft snow, hard work. I ended up alone, a little behind the lead pack, on the first lap and same on the second. By the time I came in at the end of the second lap, Ryan was headed out, but with microspikes on. Emily was doing the same and asked if I wanted company. I happily took off my snowshoes and exchanged them for spikes, and we set off together. The sun was coming out and the day was warming up, and it was so much nicer without the snowshoes on my feet! Things were still a bit soft in spots but really, the spikes were a good choice and made the running easier and smoother. We had a fun few miles chatting and running together, and then I let Emily head off on loop #4 while I did a few short little loops closer to the barn to get my mileage to a nice round number :) Happy to finish up the week with a good run and get in 48+ miles. Definitely tired out there on the snowshoes but felt solid, so really pleased with that. (9.0 miles)

The rest of the afternoon was spent talking with friends, eating, watching the girls sled and snowshoe and color together, and just in general having a good time. Ryan ended up being the last one out on the course and getting 20+ miles. Woohoo! A very successful, fun, good tired kind of weekend!!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Snow Day Fun and A Random Run

After lunch yesterday, Sam and I got outside for some snow day fun with her friend Emma, who lives right in the neighborhood - climbing up the snow piles, sledding and sliding, and making colored snow. It was such a nice afternoon, the snow was perfect for sledding, and the girls had a blast!

After a while spent playing outside, the girls spent a little extra time at Emma's house while I did some shoveling, house cleaning and a little bit of relaxing on the couch too :) All in all, a solid snow day!

The plan called me to get in my long run today, but I wasn't sure what I was going to find. I dropped Sam off in the morning, did the grocery shopping and did a little driving around to check out road conditions. The back roads around us were all very slushy and messy, the back portion of Highland Green Road had yet to be plowed and the sidewalks through town were just starting to get cleared, so I decided I should stick with what Ryan and I had discussed the night before, which was laps on the bike path. It wasn't a fun sounding option but it would be a safe one.

I downloaded a few podcasts, packed up my vest, wore my trail shoes in case of slushy, slippery conditions and headed out into the sunshine from the bike path lot around 9:30 am. Right off the bat I didn't feel that peppy, it was windy, the traffic noise along Rt. 1 was loud even with my headphones in, and I knew by the time I got to the Old Brunswick/Bath Road end on that very first "out," that there was no way I was going to get through 8 x 2.5 mile laps on the path. Blerg. But I had the time and I needed to get in the miles due to the rest of the weekend's plans, so I decided I would venture out onto the road and see how things were, knowing if I could extend the out and backs a bit, it would make them more palatable and I'd have to do less repeats.

I was grateful to find that the shoulders on the road were pretty well cleared of snow and slush, so I continued on figuring I'd turn around at 3.5 miles. But when I got a little further out, the traffic thinned, the shoulders were still clear and on a whim, I just decided to keep going. I had never run far out on this road but knew Ryan had done so on some of his runs up to the Y from home, so I figured I would at least get to the spot where the road crossed the New Meadows River and take in the view before turning around.

It's rather unlike me to just enjoy a run where I don't have a fairly set plan of where I'm going. Usually my mind appreciates the heads-up on a route but today, with the Sally McRae Ginger Runner Live podcast playing in my ears, the sun shining, the traffic lessened as I got further out of town, I was just enjoying the journey. I took a photo at the river and sent it to Ryan to let him know I had altered my plans. Pretty spot.

New Meadows River view

Then I just kept running. After the river, the route got a bit more rolling and I was enjoying myself. I turned onto Ridge Road then onto Whiskeag Road, following the Bath golf course and crossing the Whiskeag River. It was a different view than can be seen along the Whiskeag Trail, and so lovely with all the ice chunks and the billowing clouds.

The Whiskeag

I got to a crossroads that I recognized from the 4 mile loop I've done a few times from the Y during swim practice and decided I'd continue on up to High Street. At this point I was getting close to 9 miles and also had to pee. I figured I'd run up to the Thorne Head parking lot and be able to sneak off into the woods there. So hard to pee on a road run especially one with lots of houses and traffic!

Of course, when I got to the lot, there was someone sitting in their truck, and another car pulled in right behind me. Hmmm. I noticed it looked like there had been a fair amount of traffic up the main trail to the overlook so decided I would meander up and just jump off into the woods to pee before turning around. But the trail was packed enough that I decided I would take it to the top and take in the view too! The trees were snow-covered and the snow beneath my feet was nice and tacky, and the view was gorgeous. Such a nice little out-and-back 1mile trail venture! And I got to pee too 😂😂

Thorne Head vista

Beautiful snow-covered woods

Tacky snow and footprints

Turns out, the vista was exactly 10 miles into my run, so all I had to do was retrace my steps, and voila! 20 miles! Totally unplanned route and not what I was intending for the day but it worked out well and was a fairly fun run. I listened to 3 podcasts to keep my mind occupied, and even though my stomach was feeling a bit wonky on the return trip and the legs didn't have a ton of pep, it was a solid run and I'm so glad to have gotten the miles in! (20.0 miles)

So far this training cycle, all of my long runs have been on the roads, which is rather unusual. It just hasn't been a great winter for long trail runs, or at least not on the days I've been trying to accomplish my miles. I don't quite know what this will mean overall for my Laurel training but I know the faster paced mileage probably isn't a bad thing, even though it leaves me with a little less time on my feet. I guess we'll just have to see how it goes, and I know I'll have a few months on trails once all this snow has melted to get in some long trail runs at least!

Looking forward to finishing off the week with a few mellow miles tomorrow and then some fun snowy miles up at Hidden Valley on Sunday! 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Back to Winter

Well, we are back to winter this morning...

Honestly, once the snowshoe series was done on Sunday, I just wanted all the snow to melt. I am ready for spring and running on dirt and flowers blooming! But let's face it, the reality is that March is still a winter month, and apparently spring weather is not quite yet in the plans! So, we will enjoy today's snow day and hope for some warm weather to melt it all away soon 😉

Tuesday morning I got out for a run down in the Cathance. I managed to run the first and last 1.5 miles without traction, as there was a bit of tackiness atop the ice/snow that remained and lots of bare ground running out towards the Heath, and then put on my Hillsounds for the middle portion of the run. As is typical right now, it was variable conditions out there but the majority of the trail sections still covered with snow are still packed enough to run comfortably on. Overcast morning. (6.2 miles)

Yesterday morning, it was back to the hills that I had put on my schedule. Mt. A. is still partially ice-covered and therefore not yet a good choice, so I decided to take Ryan's suggestion and go check out the water tower hill loop that he used last year in his VT 100 training. He tends to drive down to the mill and park there for his workouts, but adding on driving to my morning is just not a good use of my time, so I chose to run the 1.5 miles down to the start of Summer Street instead. The sidewalks were clear and there was little traffic so it wasn't a bad start to the run. The run up into Topsham Heights really is a good climb and the final stretch up to the water tower is most definitely a steep one! I did two loops with four climbs up to the tower and then headed back up the road toward home. I was happy with the run overall, as I was definitely working despite this mostly being a recon run to see how the hills and route were. I will definitely be back, as I think Ryan is right that it's as good a spot as any around here to get in hill work, and on a clear day, the sunrise would be beautiful along Summer Street looking out over the river and the mill! (6.6 miles)