Sunday, January 27, 2019

Week In Review: Cold, Rainy, Icy

Yet another crazy weather week. Anyone who believes that climate change is not real should do some comparisons of Maine winters from now vs. when we were back at Bowdoin. It's not that we're not getting snow, but we are getting many more wild swings in temperature that, for example, resulted in 6" of sugary snow followed by a few inches of rain and ice on Sunday, real feels of -12 and -9 on Monday and Tuesday to 40s and rain on Thursday and back to 17 degrees yesterday. The fluctuation is making it tough to actually be able to enjoy winter. I mean, we take what we get and we try not to get upset but some weeks it is a bit rougher than others...

Monday was a day off for Sam and I but a regular workday for Ryan. I wanted to get a run in but after Sunday's snowstorm, I didn't want to be breaking through an inch or more of ice atop a number of inches of sugary snow on the trails. Things were still messy enough out there, though, that I wore my Hillsounds and ran a few laps around the neighborhood roads and found the spikes most useful on the snow packed roads. Of course, it was a real feel of -12 and windy in the pre-dawn hours, so I was also decked out in a million and one layers, feeling like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man 😂 (5.0 miles)

Sam had a haircut and we got lunch at Ricetta's - her choice- before heading over to her friend Anne's house for a little tromping in the woods and then the necessary tea/hot chocolate warm up before some inside play time. A fun, if chilly, day off!

Tuesday morning was another freezing cold morning so I chose to stay in bed instead, but by Wednesday, pre-dawn temps had warmed up and 9 degrees felt downright balmy! 😆😏 I ran my typical Highland Green loop. Soft snow greeted me on the powerlines and sidewalks but the back dirt road was nice running. Overcast, dark morning. (5.1 miles)

Thursday it poured all day long. So depressing. There was no running.

I had planned to meet up with Val, Anne and Xar on Friday over at Brad but I was not feeling good at all, so I chose to stay at home and just run the trails around here, just in case I needed to turn around. 20 miles was not in the cards. Sigh. But I did get in some adventurous, slushy, icy, uneven miles out in the Cathance. Definitely not ideal conditions but I did have fun out there despite ending up with frozen laces and putting my feet through a whole bunch of semi-frozen ice. The river was roaring and there were lots of animal prints to be seen. (8.1 miles)

So much water!

Neat print patterns. (Mice, I think?)

Saturday dawned cold and beautiful. I ran another loop out in the Cathance and founds things much more solid, but still quite icy with a few slushy spots remaining. Glorious light. (6.1 miles) And then it was off to Sam's swim meet for the rest of the day!

Well, third times's a charm, as I finally got in my 20 miles this morning! 😂😁😀 Up early and out as the sky began to lighten. Cold but windless with yet again a beautiful sunrise. After two days on the uneven, messy trails, I decided to stick with the roads. My original plan was to head out through Brunswick but there was still so much ice on the sidewalks and edges of the roads, that I changed my plans and decided to run the Foreside loop which has a nice wide shoulder and which I knew would be fairly quiet early on a Sunday morning. From there, I added an out-and-back on Highland Green plus a loop around Canam to round things out. 3 hours, 3 podcasts and 20 miles done! A good way to wrap up the week!! (20.0 miles)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Change of Plans

We were all excited to spend the weekend with Jamie and Kate after Sam's swim meet in Bangor on Saturday, but with the snowstorm brought about a change of plans. Hopefully we can find a time later this winter to get up to see those guys and play with the kitties and puppies too 😀

So with that, yesterday morning, I put Sam on the team bus to head up to the meet and then headed over to Bradbury to meet up with Emma for a late morning run. What a fun treat! It was a bright, cold morning, and we were happy to find the snowmobile trail in pretty good condition from both snowmobile and fat tire bike traffic as we headed out through the east side of the park. We chatted away as we ran along, catching up on this and that and enjoying the quiet woods. Lots of tracks crisscrossing the trail too.

Conditions deteriorated slightly after the cornfield and then oddly, it appeared as if the snowmobilers had simply turned around once they reached the powerlines as there were not tracks in either direction. We ran out a few tenths but found the footing pretty bad. We did, however, come across a nice older gentleman out doing his daily 7 mile (!!) walk on the powerlines and chatted with him for a bit before turning around. You just never know who you're going to run into out on the trails!

We had the trails to ourselves on the way back too, until the final mile when we saw two fat tire bikers and then Peter, Nicole and Karen as they got in a few extra miles after the Saturday morning group run.

It was a great 10 miles with a good friend, and the perfect remedy for Friday's meh run! Thanks, Emma! 💗 (10.1 miles)

The snow started late last night and we woke up to quite a white blanket outside. There's been a bit of changeover to sleet but it's definitely looking like a winter wonderland out there! A perfect day to bake up some Superhero muffins from Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow and dream about upcoming adventures! 😋

Friday, January 18, 2019

Purposeful Running

Ryan and I have been talking about every run having a purpose. Of course, I know that speed and hill work is important, as are long runs, but for me, finding joy in my miles is the most important part and truly the overarching purpose of my running. So far this approach has served me pretty well. I have built up a good base through consistent miles, and in gearing up for specific races, have thrown in structured speed work, hill repeats as necessary. The long runs go without saying. But overall, I don't go crazy in my build-ups. Nothing like stressing about running to kill your joy.

Still, I realize as I look ahead to June 2019 that I have a race on the calendar like no other. And with that, I've been pondering the process a bit more. I'm working in some easy body-weight leg strength each week, I'll be hitting the hills, particularly the downhills, a bit harder than I really ever have in the upcoming months to prepare for the long downhills into the canyons, and I'm even thinking about some sauna sessions in May and early June, which would be fairly easy to do at the Y during Sam's swim team practices. Hopefully these small additions will allow me a little extra edge as I prepare for Western States. But no matter what, I most certainly want to keep with my main theme of let the training be the goal and the goal be to enjoy the journey. If I don't have that, then what's the point?

Tuesday morning I ran Highland Green out and back via the Connector. Ryan said, why so fast? And I said why not? Perhaps I am misunderstanding the purposeful running thing, or maybe I'll just call it a steady run day 😂😉 A cold but windless morning with Venus, Jupiter and what I found out what Antares shining brilliantly above. (5.0 miles)

I noticed on the return trip that there were snowmobile tracks along the powerlines, which got me all excited for a powerline run on Wednesday. Well, really, the machine had just churned up the snow making it really soft, so I nixed that idea and ran around the Highland Green loop instead, backwards. Kept my spikes on for the back road portion, which was super icy, and then added on a bit along Canam before heading home. (6.0 miles)

Yesterday, I did not get my butt out of bed to run in the morning, so instead I crammed in a few miles between work and picking up Sam for swim team practice. I felt good and smooth and fast. Was there a purpose to the progression pace? From a training plan stand-point, not so much, but in the mind of the slightly frazzled mom who felt like she was juggling a bit too much, the purpose, well, it was really just to get back in time to take a quick shower before picking up the kiddo. 😏 Nothing more nothing less. The end. Still, felt good to move it a bit. (5.0 miles)

And then in contrast to yesterday's smooth fast feeling run, today I felt sluggish and meh. I headed out into the Cathance under overcast skies and just was not feeling it. I kind of shrugged and decided not to push it and instead just enjoyed an icy shuffle on the trails through the woods and along the river. Not a day for a long run for me. That will just have to wait. When I look at my calendar, I realize I had originally planned for this to be a down week anyway, before I switched things around and decided to do 20 this weekend, so no big deal, I've just gone back to the original plan 😂 The mind can justify anything! Ha. But truly, going back to the purpose. Yes, sometimes you have to slug it out and get it done. But sometimes, it's OK to step back and do what feels good, even if that means less miles. Or, at least that's what I'm going with today 😀 Lots of ice out there today, both on the trails and along the river. (10.0 miles)

And then I came home and made bacon and Steadfast Eggs from Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow for lunch. Sweet potatoes for the win. Yum!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Sunday Funday

Spent the morning yesterday over at Bradbury volunteering at the first snowshoe race of the season. And thankfully, although it was cold, it wasn't windy and the sun was shining brightly and I was wearing enough layers to keep warm. Sam had fun playing in the snow with friends, and was happily occupied while I was ladling out soup to happy, tired snowshoers after the race 😀 Everyone seemed to have had a good time out there, and it's always fun to catch up with friends!

We headed home around 1:00, and once then Ryan got home after the course clean-up, I put back on a few layers and headed out the door for a run around 3:00 pm. Felt pretty sluggish from a late lunch and several hours standing around out in the cold in the morning, but on the plus side, it was sunny and 22 degrees, I had the trails to myself and the sky was aglow with soft late afternoon light. A good way to wrap up the week! (6.5 miles)

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Icy, Snowy Trail Fun

Headed over to Bradbury Friday morning and managed to time it so that as I was running up Northern Loop, the sun was rising, glowing pinky orange in the sky above the bare ice-encased tree branches. It was quite cold but the views made it more than worth it! I stopped to take in the view at the Northern Lookout and then continued on to the summit. Seriously glorious 😍

From there, I continued along the Boundary and headed out onto the Connector. The early morning light really was so pretty through the trees.

Farther out on the connector heading towards the Tryon junction, there hadn't been as much traffic and it was slow going, so I chose to turn around and head back. I ran up Tote and back to the summit, enjoying the way the sunlight hit the iced over trees an hour after I first took in the view. Different light, different sky, different colors. Still beautiful.

I stopped briefly at the lot and then continued on across the street. Knights Woods and the snowmobile trail were uneven and messy, so when I saw the nice fat bike tracks on Fox West, I gladly followed them. The singletrack all the way across onto Fox West, out on Ginn and back on Ragan and Lanzo was pretty sweet. Yes, it was certainly icy in spots but it had been packed down well and I was able to move a bit more easily. Lots of fun.

I was meeting up with the ladies at 10:00, so when I realized I had a bit more time, I did a little out and back on Link and then up Northern Loop a ways to get the watch to read 13.0 before I stopped at the car. I did a quick change of shirts, gloves and hat and then sat with Mindy in her warm car before Anne, Val and Keri arrived.

I was happy to simply go with the flow for the rest of the miles and happily let Val take the lead. We headed back out onto the Boundary and then took the new snowmobile trail that they've put in that leads down to the school. No traffic to speak of once we left the park so it was a slow and sloppy run but that's ok, it meant it was easier to chat in between the crunch.crunch.crunch of our shoes in the icy snow.

We went across Elmwood and down to the river before turning around.

Then on the way back, Val took us on an offshoot into the woods and along Chandler Brook which eventually met up with the first bridge on the Connector. It was really slow going and the 4 miles we had gone felt like double that at least! 😂 But there was a small batch of ice pancakes along the river, which was neat to see!

Then it was back up Tote to the summit to take in the view for time #3 before heading back to the lot. Bright blue skies and brilliant sunshine.  Just a beautiful day, and so much fun to finish up my miles with friends!

Mindy and Val joined me at lunch at Pineland and then it was off to get a few errands done before picking up Sam. I was glad to have gotten in a nice long run and to feel good! A good running day indeed 💕💕 (19.3 miles)

Yesterday morning, it was up and out early to get in some miles before Ryan headed to Bradbury to mark the snowshoe course. A cold morning once again and windy too. Brrrr! I started out with the headlamp, crunching away on the uneven snow as I made my way out to the Heath. The sun was rising through the trees along the way. Winter sunrises truly are beautiful.

Once I got out into the Cathance proper along the river, the trails were nicely packed and good running. The river was roaring and the sky was lightening as I returned back along the edge of the Heath.

Very cold final few miles into the wind, but I got it done. (7.0 miles) In an ideal world, today's run should have been a few miles longer but you get what you get and you don't get upset, especially when training through the winter in Maine! Truly, I am thankful for a solid two days out on the trails 💖

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Ice and Rain and Snow

After doing some snowshoe running on the golf course over at Highland Green, Ryan thought there was enough snow to get out on our XC skis Sunday afternoon. Emily was coming over for dinner to discuss her marathoning plans with Ryan, and had new skis she wanted to try out, so she came over early and joined us. We headed over to Merecreek Golf Course around 2:30 pm. By the time we arrived, the wind was whipping! On top of this, well, let's just say the skiing was less than ideal. 😁😂 Lots of ice and lots of thin spots. We stuck to the edge of the golf course on the way out and then looped back on the trail through the woods as the wind was too strong to return out in the open. Sam was a trooper and despite a few tears at the beginning, got back into the groove of things and really did a good job, especially given the conditions!

Later, Sam got bored with us while we were talking after dinner and ran off to do her own thing. When we went upstairs to get ready for bed later, I found this in the bathroom, nicely placed under my toothbrush so I would be sure to see it 😆😃 Am I a lucky Mommy or what?! 😍

Even after that lovely message, it was hard to get back in the swing of things on Monday morning and I did not manage to get out of bed for a run. Which meant I was up on Tuesday morning, watching the snow fall, doing my arm and core exercises and wondering if we would get a call that school was delayed, when I heard a "Mommy!" from upstairs at 5:00 am. Sigh. A sick kiddo. After getting her bed changed and her cleaned up, she got back into bed and I headed back downstairs. It turned out to indeed be a 2 hour delay, but it would be home for Sam today. With that, I decided to wait until it got a bit light out before heading out for a run. Ryan would take the morning shift with her so that I could head into work to do payroll, which meant that at least I didn't have to rush out the door!

Conditions were not ideal to say the least. With 2" of fresh snow atop ice, the trails were too sketchy for me to want to maneuver, even with my Hillsounds on, so I ran on Highland Green Road out and back on the pavement instead. The road was quiet and nicely snow covered, which made for fairly decent running. (5.0 miles)

Overnight, it rained and Tuesday morning, once again the phone rang, this time saying no school. Looking outside the window, it appeared to just be misting and not too bad, so I decided I'd get ready and go out. Well, it turns out it was pretty nasty out. A thick layer of ice on everything and raining on top of that. Ugh. I did find, however, that the powerlines were a bit less slick than on Monday and there was just enough traction in the ice to run the Highland Green loop in my screwshoes. The truck tracks in the back portion of the road was too icy to run on, so I crunched through the noisy layer of ice atop the untouched snow in the middle of the road instead. Thankfully, once again, the road was quiet. For the second day in a row, I arrived home soaked and took off to work in less than pristine driving conditions. I really hope we get some good winter weather here again shortly! This rain and ice is getting a bit old... (5.0 miles)