Sunday, March 31, 2019

Weekend Fun

Yesterday morning I got up and out on the roads around town. A bit tired and creaky but not bad overall. Meandered here and there and everywhere. (10.0 miles)

Sam had a sleepover with one of her friends so Ryan and I dropped her off and went straight to Frontier, where we proceeded to sit at the bar for about 3 hours, eating and drinking and talking. A fun date night!πŸ˜€πŸΉ

I was flat out exhausted though, so I was in bed before 9:00 pm. I know, wild and crazy, right?! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I had been thinking about heading over to Bradbury for the Sunday group run, but the lure of a relaxing morning on the couch with the cats, drinking coffee, in the quiet house, was too much and I didn't make it anywhere. Ha! Finally got up and out around 10:00 am for a warm and windy run around Highland Green and Canam to cap off the week. (6.0 miles) Happy to feel decent at the end of a 55 mile week!

Looking back at last year, I ran 530.6 miles in the first 3 months of the year; this year I've run 560.6. Well, if nothing else, at least I'm consistent! πŸ˜†πŸ˜‰

Friday, March 29, 2019

Hills, Friends and Dirt

Kicked the week off with another round of Topsham Height hills on Tuesday morning. Nothing like hills for (or really before) breakfast! Cold again but windless and a nice sunrise view from atop the water tower hill. (7.0 miles)

Wednesday morning, I met up with Amy G. again at her place. We ran out through the Oak Ridge development into Topsham Heights and saw Bill in the semi-darkness heading out of his place. He seemed surprised by the cheery hellos, so I called out that it was us, just in case he thought there would be two other ladies out running in the darkness through the neighborhood. πŸ˜‰ We looped up through the Highlands and back on the connector path - nice to have it ice-free! - so that I could show her a few different places to run around town. Seemed like we were able to turn off our headlamps a lot earlier this week! Hurray for early morning light! Fun to catch up with Amy again! (8.0 miles)

When Sam and I got home after school/work, we went out for a short loop around the neighborhood. (0.6 miles walked)

No running yesterday but we did have our first DQ cones of the season! We've been patiently waiting for them to open and when I went to pick her up at daycare, I noticed a line out front. Now it's really spring!

I had 24 miles on tap for Friday. I was hoping not to have to run roads but knew trails around here wouldn't be in good enough condition yet. Sigh. I had seen a few posts from down south that had me wondering if I'd be able to find some dirt at Bradley Palmer. I put out a query on Facebook to the TARC page and one of the ladies was kind enough to do a bit of recon on Wednesday, giving me enough hope for decent conditions that I decided it would be worth the drive on Friday morning. I got up and out early, hitting the road around 5:40 am in the overcast darkness. I just hoped the forecasted showers wouldn't appear! Yes, I know it can rain on race day, but I do my fair share of running in adverse conditions and therefore feel no need to suffer needlessly through my long runs. I prefer to enjoy my long runs if at all possible, which for me in part means decent weather!

I headed out around 7:40 am under moody skies with temps in the low 40s. My plan was to run a few GAC loops combined with some loops up and over Blueberry and Moon hills. This would break up the run nicely and give me some hillwork too. I headed out on the GAC loop, finding a big blowdown and a few large slicks of ice in the first 1.5 miles. I also realized I was overdressed, so before I headed up the hill out onto the rest of the loop, I stopped briefly back at the car, took off my long sleeve shirt and put my sleeves on instead. Ah, that was better! The rest of the loop was clear of ice except down in the hollow near the start of the uphill singletrack, with a bit of ice going uphill there too, but not too bad. The ground was a mix of firm dirt, mud, a few puddles and some good stretches of that early season uneven, hoar-frosty, squishy ground that keep you on your toes wondering if you're going to sink in or not. It wasn't really looking spring-like yet, still brown and greys dominating the landscape but there were some skunk cabbage shooting up along the boggy, swampy edges!!

Back at the car at 6 miles, I headed up into the interior of the park, winding up the edge of Blueberry Hill, shooting back down to the road along the field and then back up again to Moon Hill. I love it up there. A big wide open field surrounded by trees, and this morning with a gorgeous light.

Moon Hill

I ran down the steep hill on the other side, which would have been great for some fast downhill work, except for the large and slick ice patches and the big blowdown ;) Ah well. At the bottom, I turned around and retraced my steps up over Moon Hill, down and then up Blueberry and back to the parking lot. My watch read 11.2 miles so I stopped at the car to refill my pack with water and gels, take off my gloves, pick up my earbuds to listen to a few podcasts for the second half of the run and let Ryan know how I was faring. Then it was off again for another GAC loop. The ice patches were a bit slicker this time around as temps warmed up, but otherwise all was good. I added on a short out and back at the back of the loop just to check out the bog/swamp areas a bit further and see if there was anything greening out that way, but to no avail. Lots of birds flitting about though, including a nice Hairy Woodpecker! And more skunk cabbage!

Back to the car and then back up and over Blueberry and Moon and back down again. My watch read 19.5 once I hit the path heading out onto the main portion of the GAC loop, so I knew doing that part of the loop would make it a perfect 24, and it did! Boom. Done. Felt pretty solid throughout and it was so lovely to run on dirt! I was one happy runner! (24.0 miles)

Ate my sandwich and chips and fruit in the car and was still hungry, so stopped in Portsmouth at the Cold Stone there, as I had a gift card with a few bucks on it. Of course, their machine was down so I couldn't use it, but oh well :) I got a big ice cream anyway!

Got home a little before 3:00 pm, vacuumed the house, did a few loads of laundry, emptied the dishwasher and cleaned up the kitchen and then sped off to pick Sam up at daycare. She had been on a nature walk during the day at school and been outside for recess, but it was too nice to go straight inside so we did a short walk around the block. Good to loosen up the legs after the run and all the drive time too. And of course, always good to walk and talk with Sam. (0.4 miles walked)

I'm tired now ;)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

50 + 500

By the time I was planning to head out for my run around 8:00 am on Friday, a steady snow was falling with more than a solid dusting on the ground already. Darn, should have gotten up and out in the darkness! I wouldn't have avoided the wind, but I would have been able to run under clear skies. Sigh. Oh well. So it was out into the elements instead! I decided running on the roads would probably be unwise given the conditions, so I put my spikes in my pocket and decided to head out to the Cathance in the hopes of at least avoiding the wind down in the woods! Snow quickly changed to hail as I ran along the golf course and then a little bit later to rain. Combined with the wind and temps just above freezing, and you pretty much have what I consider my least favorite conditions, but such as it is. Honestly, out on the trails, things were fairly decent. Trails were a bit softer due to warmer temps but nice and tacky with the layer of wet snow/hail/rain, and I was sheltered from the wind.

The last few miles on the roads and sidewalks were slushy, cold, wet and windy, but a bit of suffering is good training, right?! πŸ˜πŸ˜‚ Thankful that I at least was able to switch around my schedule and didn't have to run long on such a nasty day! (8.0 miles)

It was insanely windy Saturday morning and I was feeling less than enthused, so I lollygagged around in the morning and then finally headed out around 9:00 am. Headed on the roads to Topsham Heights and did a few loops through the neighborhood, checking out the hill at the back of Oak Ridge as an additional hill option. A good way to get in some hills! (7.0 miles)

The rest of the day was spent working on a few things around the house and then this morning was long run time! Headed out on the roads to run down to the ocean, out via Pleasant Hill and Highland, along Bunganuc and Rossmore, down to Simpson's Point, through Pennellville and home again. Nice and sunny, with a bit of wind but nowhere near yesterday's fierceness and temps warming steadily throughout the run. Not feeling super spry but still a solid run and a nice way to round out a week where I finally got above 50 miles for a total of 51.8! Also hit 500 miles during the run, so super happy with that given that March isn't over quite yet. (22.0 miles)

After lunch, Sam and I went out for ice cream while Ryan got in his run. Yes, we asked him if he wanted to join us but he's still battling some sinus pressure so a big cone of dairy is not appealing yet. However, I was quite happy to enjoy my first sundae at Fielder's Choice this season πŸ˜‹πŸ¦

Then after Ryan had his lunch, we headed over to the Cathance for a short afternoon hike. So lovely out! Trails were variable with some slippery ice, lots of snow coney snow and even a bit of much. The river was roaring, and as always, I'm always grateful for time out on the trails with my two loves πŸ’— (1.25 miles walked)

This pretty much sums it up πŸ˜‚ Really, Daddy?!?!

Still a lot of snow out there...

Pileated activity

All in all, a very good weekend! 

Thursday, March 21, 2019


The redwinged blackbirds and grackles arrived out back over the weekend. Days are getting longer. There's still snow on the ground for sure, but there are a lot more bare spots too. The daffodils have risen about an 1" about the ground outside of the door at work in a nice sunny protected spot. Those truly glorious spring days aren't quite here yet, but oh they are coming!

Tuesday morning, I met up with Amy G for a run, redemption from last week. It still felt like winter - 19 degrees. Brrr! - but there was no wind and the moon was big and yellow and shining brightly in the sky. I ran over to their place - about 1.6 miles - and then we ran a 5+ mile loop down through Topsham Heights, across the bridge into Brunswick, up Water Street to the bike path, looping back across the Connector to Elm Street and through the neighborhoods back to their house. It was such a nice morning, and we caught the sun rising over the Androscoggin along the Connector bridge. Of course, I had to stop for a photo because that it just what I do! πŸ˜€ I enjoyed chatting with Amy while we ran along and it was a treat to have a friend to run with in the early morning darkness! (8.4 miles)

Sunrise over the Androscoggin

After I picked Sam up in the afternoon, we went out for a short walk around the neighborhood. Walking and talking 😍 (0.8 miles walked)

I turned off my alarm and just plain went back to sleep yesterday morning, so no running πŸ˜‚, but Ryan texted later in the day to ask if we were walking and would we wait for him. Of course then there was traffic and he suggested we head over to the Heath, so it wasn't until after 5:30 before we started. Sam was like, hey, it's dinner time! πŸ˜†πŸ˜† Ha! But it was truly a lovely evening and we had a great family walk in the woods. The trail was surprisingly solid, with a fair amount of ice but a good bit of packed snow. Lots of deer and turkey tracks, and we did a bit of off-trail exploration out onto the edges of the Heath, the kind that is only possible in winter when the bog is frozen over. A great way to finish up the day with my two favorite peopleπŸ’— (1.2 miles walked)

Sunlight through the trees

Busy beaver!

Turkey tracks 

Early evening light


This morning, inspired by the conditions last night on our walk, I decided I'd run out into the Cathance. I was really surprised by how decent it was last night and thought I'd get in one more run out there before tomorrow's rain and the warm temps that are forecast for over the weekend. Who knows how the trails will be after all that? I was able to run up to the top of Mt. A. without putting on my spikes, which was nice, and then found the snow nice and firm the rest of the way, with a lot of icy spots out along the singletrack. As I headed back around the Heath, I caught the sun rising in a few different spots. I was a bit too early for the truly spectacular pinks and purples over the bog but could see the sky lighting up as I ran back along the golf course and once I hit the clearing before heading back up Mt. A. Truly glorious. Definitely worth getting up and out for! (6.1 miles)

Sky aglow through the trees

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Weekend Running

Not quite what I had intended for the weekend but that's OK. Sometimes it all comes together and flows nicely, and sometimes, well, it just plain doesn't. Yesterday instead of heading out for my planned long run, overcome by feeling of anxiousness, I got back into bed to cuddle with Sam, Ryan and Ronnie, who seemed to feel my unease and was doing his best to make me feel better by licking my face ;) I couldn't even get it together in time to go join the TMR group run over in Brunswick, so instead, a bit later in the morning, I put my spikes in my pocket and headed across the street. Listening to the bird call, a woodpecker tap, the river roar, enjoying the sun shining, the quiet woods, the one deer sighted, I smiled and relaxed, and realized this was just the run I needed. Was it the one on the plan? No, but it made me happy. (8.1 miles)

Ryan is still feeling under the weather, but it was too nice of a day to not get outside with Sam so late in the afternoon we ventured across the street for a walk on the powerlines. Lots of puddle stomping, mud squishing, slipping and sliding on the snow, postholing into icy cold water and laughing all the way. So grateful to get to enjoy walks and laughter and mud and wet feet with my girl πŸ’– (1.7 miles walked)

This morning, the long run was just not happening either. I'm calling it a temporary lull in motivation. I'll dust myself off and get back to the long run next weekend, but this morning, nope. Just didn't have it. Cold and windy out on the roads. Started out onto River Road but I was just not having it, so I turned around and meandered out through Topsham Heights instead before returning home. (9.0 miles)