Sunday, April 5, 2020

Week #3 of Life in the Midst of Social Distancing

Things are progressing rapidly on the coronavirus front. Positive cases across the country have jumped astronomically, and sadly there have been more deaths as well. Here in Maine, Governor Mills issued a Stay Healthy at Home order on Wednesday, which will be in effect through the end of April. As far as I can tell, the order essentially means there is even more of an emphasis on not traveling and being out and about, along with restrictions in place for the amount of people in stores, etc. Hotels, etc have been shut down for the most part in an attempt to stave off people coming to Maine to "escape the virus," and guests can only be essential workers, or those from vulnerable groups. A number of coastal beaches and state parks have closed as well, although getting outside for exercise is still being encouraged as long as social distancing is in effect. It appears the list of essential businesses remains the same as in her first order, and you can still order food for pick-up from the restaurants that are open, but on the other hand, I also received a letter from my boss listing me as essential personnel, which I've been told to carry while I'm traveling to and from work just in case there is a question of why I'm out. 😳 It is going to be an interesting month...

Monday: Quiet but productive day with school and work completed successfully, but not much else. It was damp, cold and either raining, misting or drizzling all day on top of the hail we received Sunday night and the bit of snow that followed into the night on Monday. Ah, gotta love early spring weather!

One of my co-workers sleeping on the job 😹

Monday afternoon when we cranked the heat back up, it was flashing error messages at us. Despite trying all the tricks we knew of, it would not start up... Sigh. We piled on our layers and anticipated a cold night. Brrr! Not quite spring enough to be without heat. 

Tuesday: Woke up to a really cold house. Tried to restart the heater again to no avail, so gave up and headed out for a run on the cart paths. At least that warmed me up! 😉😆 Muted morning with a thin layer of snow on the ground and the sky awash in a thick layer of periwinkle clouds. Cool and a bit windy. Lots of tracks in the snow and on the bridges - deer, raccoon, fox. Cart paths themselves were essentially clear. (6.1 miles)

Went into work for the day - very quiet with only two of us in the office but warm! - while Sam and Ryan worked at home. No luck with the heater even when Ryan called and our service person walked him through a few tests. They stayed up in the loft all day with his little space heater cranked. None of us were in the mood to get out in the cold wind and come back to a cold house so we skipped the afternoon walk.

Wednesday: Enjoyed reading this GQ article about Eliud Kipchoge. Totally ridiculous juxtaposition between his upbringing and the lavishly expensive clothes he was modeling in the article, but I liked the message, and feel strongly that consistency is an important facet of training. And hey, let's face it, right now none of us have any races on the immediate horizon but we can all work on consistency and it will certainly benefit us later!

Up and out right around sunrise, although it was overcast so there were no glorious colors this morning, just the muted sky over the Androscoggin on my road run around town. (7.3 miles)

Our awesome monitor service person came to fix the heater midmorning. Hurray! So grateful she was willing to come out and so glad to have it be warm in the house again! The rest of the day was spent working and doing schoolwork (can you sense a pattern here?) although Sam and I did get out for an afternoon walk across the street on the powerlines. Incredibly happy to find a small patch of trailing arbutus blooming in a sunny, sheltered spot 💗🌸 Hurray for the simple pleasures and the joy of spring blooms! Nice to walk and talk with the kiddo. (1.7 miles walked)

Thursday: No running this morning but I did eat two pumpkin chocolate chip cookies before 9:00 am, and not for breakfast either, so perhaps that tells you how the day went! 😜 Work is a bit crazy right now and trying to juggle everything in this chaotic world is taking a bit of a toll, gotta be honest here... but we are doing our best... Started the day working at home, with my trusty assistant at my side and some nice wildlife viewing out the office window 😉 You never know what is going to show up in our backyard!

Not the first time a turkey has visited the yard, but it is unusual...

Left at 9:00 and headed up the road to Fairwinds Farm to the farm stand to pick up some veggies and bread and then headed into work. Then back home after lunch for several conference calls and more work... it was rainy and yucky all day so we chose to not head out for an afternoon walk. We'll just call it a down week for Sam! 😆

Friday: Rain, rain and more rain. Oh and wind too! Hurray! But I knew I'd feel better if I got in a few miles, so I headed out anyway. Very soggy and blustery, with so many worms! They were everywhere! Plus five mallards and some more trailing arbutus blooming trailside to make me smile. 

Val is setting up some fun TMR challenges since we can't get together for group runs these days. I did not participate in last week's Terrace challenge (# of repeats/fastest repeats/etc) but this week's challenge is TMR Bingo! I love it. Thanks for the fun idea, Val! Found two of the items on the card, B1 and B2. (6.0 miles)

Then it was off to Target and Hannaford for the weekly shopping. A lot has changed in a week. There are now strict customer limits in both stores - 100 for Target and 50 for Hannaford. There were many, many more people with masks on. You can no longer bring in or use reusable bags 😓 There are still a lot of empty shelves, but I found everything I wanted this week except ground turkey. How random is that? I even found two small bottles of sanitizer and a bag of flour. So exciting!!!

I had no trouble at Target, but I had to wait out in the rain in line at Hannaford for about 10 minutes before being able to enter the store. Not a big deal, but man... it certainly adds a bit to the level of anxiety. I bought a lot of food, but then I always do. Still, hoping I can avoid having to go to Target for a few weeks and just make one trip to Hannaford for fresh fruit, veggies, dairy and meat at the end of next week.

Line to get into the store...

...and the line to check out.

Once again, it still wet and gross all day, so we did not get out and walk with Sam. Ah well.

Saturday: Ryan had plans for a long run Saturday in place of Umstead 100, which he would have been running had this Covid-19 pandemic come about, so I knew if I wanted to get in some miles, I would have to go early. However, frankly, I was not enthused about donning my safety vest and headlamp and going out in the darkness, so I lollygagged around until the sky got a bit lighter and finally headed out at 5:55 am. Ran the powerlines and up Highland Green Road, where I could see the sky lighting up with gorgeous colors through the trees. Knew there would likely be a great view across the Heath, so took a quick detour out to the edge of the bog, where I was treated to a truly glorious sunrise. Amidst all this crazy chaos, uncertainty and anxiety, nature has a way of lifting my spirits, bringing a smile to my face and giving me joy. Truly grateful for the chance to get out and enjoy all the beauty, especially in a time like this.


Took another short detour and did a mini loop down to the river and back, just to check it out and to see if I could find anything else for the TMR Bingo board. The river was really roaring and running very high. There is a lot of water rushing through right now, that's for sure! Looped back up to the road and along the powerlines to finish up the run. Along the way, found a downed tree across the trail (yes, it's a really thin tree but it is a tree! 😉), a face, ice and a discarded glove. Couldn't believe I didn't see any deer or deer tracks. Will just have to try for those tomorrow along with a few others! (6.2 miles)

The river was really roaring and running very high. There is a lot of water rushing through right now, that's for sure! Looped back up to the road and along the powerlines to finish up the run. (6.2 miles)

After I got back, Ryan headed out and in the five hours he was out running (Hurray for the Instead 50k! Good job, Snowman!), I did a few house chores and then started up with the day's stay-at-home baking! Because, you guessed it, all the muffins and cookies I made on Sunday were gone, with the last muffins consumed on Friday. 😂😉😋

Homemade pizza dough for dinner, Pumpkin Superhero muffins with various add-ins, and chocolate chip cookie bars. YUM!

Enjoyed listening to the raucous chorus of birds out back, and looked out at one point to see our resident groundhog sharing space withe the noisy grackles who come down in droves with the red-winged blackbirds to feed amongst the seed out back.

And yes, there is a smiley face made from dirt caught in the bird strike stick-ons on the door 😂 but at least it's on the outside of the door! 

After lunch, Sam and I headed over to the Cathance for a walk. It was sunny and 50 degrees, but still breezy. Luckily, once we got down in the woods, we could barely feel the wind and we were plenty warm. We could hear the wood frogs in the vernal pool, so we headed over for a closer look. Saw three frogs pretty close to the dock, and could see the vibrations of the water as they "quacked." (I originally thought they were peepers, but after listening to their songs online after, I realize, we were seeing wood frogs not peepers as I first thought!) Pretty cool! From there, we headed further out into the woods, stopping a few times to attempt to estimate height of some of the bigger trees we saw for Sam's science project this week. Unfortunately, it was just too hard to be able to get far back enough to estimate the height correctly, so we decided to just enjoy the walk and tackle the trees tomorrow, maybe from the cart paths where we could back up across the grass for better height estimation. The river was roaring, and had definitely flooded. Nice, as always, to walk and talk with the kiddo, and good to get out in the woods and sunshine after a very rainy week! (1.8 miles walked)

Still life with frog and clouds reflected

Looking for big trees...

River is roaring! And she held the measuring tape through the whole hike 😆

Navigating a stretch of flooded trail


Looked like someone should be living in there, it was such a nice looking round hole...

Vernal pool


Quack quack quack!

Sunday: A lot of outside time today! Got out at 7:00 am for a trail wander on our neighborhood trails. Headed out on the powerlines to run the Gone Fishing mountain bike trail system out by the dump and then headed out into the Cathance for some additional miles. Had my earbuds in listening to podcasts, and was also searching for TMR bingo squares, which kept things interesting. So lots of random photo stops today, including deer prints, turkey prints, muddy trail shoes, dog that is not your own, trail bridge, downed tree with blaze, woodpecker hole and discarded bag of dog poop. I looked really hard for a Bud Light can but it seemed I found every kind of can other than that! Apparently there aren't a whole lot of Bud Light drinkers around here! 😂

The bike trails were in good shape, very dry and nicely raked or leaf blown, while the powerlines are still fairly mushy but semi-frozen and the Cathance trails are pretty soggy. River is still really high and I had to go on a bit of a bushwack to get around a flooded stream outlet along the river bank in one spot. It was rather overcast out and I went early enough that the trails were very quiet. Felt decent if not super great, but glad to get in the miles. (20.0 miles)

Not a bingo square submission but one of my favorite spots and I can hardly ever resist stopping for a photo! 💗 River was roaring!

Again, not a bingo square, just a lovely view of the Heath 💕

After lunch, the three of us headed out in search of a big tree for Sam's science project. We started on the golf course on hole #8 and found one! Not the widest but definitely tall. We estimated 85'! Saw a number of people walking on the cart paths before we turned into the woods to take the newly reopened and reworked side trail down to the Ravine Trail off of hole #7. We went partway around the Ravine Trail loop but ventured off the beaten track down the steep incline to the river's edge to take the unofficial trail back to the edge of the trail system down by the falls. I had done this little section in reverse in the morning, so I knew the makeshift bridge had been washed away where the stream outlet and the river converged, so we carefully picked our way across a bit further in the gully. Stopped to enjoy the water rushing over the falls before climbing back up to Highland Green Road and finishing out our loop on the back road. Nice sunny afternoon for a family meander! (2.9 miles walked)

Big tree!

Colts foot

Down in the gully

Rushing water

Lots of foam to play with!

And who doesn't want to run down a big pile of gravel?! 😀

Then we headed over to Fielder's Choice for ice cream - our take-out for the weekend and a good way to wrap up the day! YUM! 😋🍦