Winter Running in Maine

Mike and I have signed up for the Houston Rhythm and Blues Half Marathon in February.  Texas will be the 19th state in our quest and we are thrilled that Amelia will be joining us.  Running in Houston will also give us an opportunity to visit with family and friends.  We can’t wait!

For the past three winters we have chosen races in warmer climates so that we have a chance to escape the cold and snow in Maine.  However, that means that we are training in the snow and cold. But it makes us feel tough and that we have earned our trip.

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Not all of our runs have been on snowy roads.  And so far it hasn’t been unbearably cold…on too many runs.

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It has actually often been quite stunning.

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Since we live in a hilly area, when our long run mileage increases we sometimes head to the coast to run on a flatter course.

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We love the change of scenery.

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One week when it was bitterly cold we saw only four other runners on a course where there is typically a virtual parade of runners and cyclists in the warmer weather.  But the next week it was about 20 degrees warmer and we encountered tons of runners and cyclists. We even came across these hearty souls who were out in their tiny wooden boats.  Mike called to a man who was just launching his boat to ask what they were called and he replied, “Frosties”…of course!

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This weekend we were due to run 11 miles. After calculating the best time and route to run in order to encounter the least impact from an imminent snow storm we opted to run locally. As we left the house there were only a few flurries in the air and the roads were completely dry.  Within two miles the snow was heavy and the roads were covered. And so were we.  Mike was sporting some impressive frosty eyebrows which I thought captured the essence of our experience.  He told me I was, too.

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Undaunted, we continued.

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The roads got more slick.  But we traveled on what we felt were the least treacherous paths.  By the last two miles of the run the snow was coming down in big, fluffy flakes and everything was silent except for the squeak of our shoes on the snow. It was truly gorgeous.  We congratulated ourselves on persevering and thought about our upcoming reward of running in flat, warmer Houston.  We think we will have earned it.

How is your winter going?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Snippets from the Week

Our annual village tree lighting was this past week.

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Singing carols around the tree and visiting with neighbors as we enjoy hot chocolate and cookies is a quintessential start to the Christmas season.

We line the path to the cookies and hot chocolate with luminaries.

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This week there were more mesmerizing skies.

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Mike continues to tolerate my obsession with stopping to snap a shot on our long runs.  But we are so lucky to run in an area that offers images so wonderful that I can’t resist them.

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One morning we awoke to the most gorgeous snowy scenes.  The roads were clear so my run was spectacular.  It was definitely a photo op day.

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I adore cutting and decorating with greens for Christmas.

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The turkeys’ presence was evident in the fields when I headed into the woods for more pine.

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I bought four new pairs of socks for winter running with a gift card Mike had given me.  They are labeled as ski socks but they are absolutely the best thing for running and for wearing with boots.  I am in heaven! (FYI-although they are adorable, I don’t run with my leggings hiked up above my knees!  This was just so I could show them off in the photo.)

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I have decided that beyond the obvious need for family and friends, the three essential creature comforts that will keep me happy during the cold, dark winter are cozy socks, tiny white lights virtually everywhere,

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and a constant supply of hot tea.

Hannah and I are loving Trader Joe's Candy Cane Green Tea.

Hannah and I are loving Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Green Tea.

What are the three things you need to be content this winter? I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below!

 

It Was a Week to Remember

Last week was full of surprises. It started off calmly with warm weather that allowed me to finish fall chores like raking leaves and planting bulbs.  I savored the gift of a few more warm(ish) mornings runs.

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The early morning light continued to be spell-binding.

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The evening skies were dramatic.

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And then on the day before Thanksgiving, the snow began.

001It continued until it had dropped a foot of really heavy snow- heavy enough to bend tree branches…and snap power lines.

As we did pre-Thanksgiving cooking on Wednesday evening, the lights flickered several times.  We momentarily froze and then relaxed when they stayed on.  But then the inevitable happened and they were out for good.  We had made a good dent in our cooking for the Thanksgiving menu so we happily whipped up a dinner of tacos and settled in for a game of “Cards Against Humanity”. Thinking of playing it instantly makes my cheeks hurt as I immediately associate the game with hilarity and laughing until I can’t breathe.

The first few hours after the power went out we contentedly ate dinner by candlelight and warmed up next to the fire.

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We went to bed cautiously optimistic that the power would be back by morning.  But, sadly, we woke up in a chilly house with no power.

I had signed Mike and I up for our first virtual run which was to take place Thanksgiving morning.  I had read about it at Run Salt Run on Wednesday and it sounded like a terrific idea. We had planned to do our own Thanksgiving morning run anyway so the idea of a virtual run was perfect. And…Mike LOVES pie!

This is the adorable bib number that Run Salt Run sent.

This is the adorable bib number that Run Salt Run sent.

But alas, when we woke up Thanksgiving morning and the power was still out and our long driveway was a foot deep in snow, we regretfully opted out of our pie run.

With my phone/life-line to civilization dead, I headed to our car to charge it and check-in with the world while I enjoyed a cup of tea.

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The news was not encouraging.  Power was out for more than 100,000 Maine electric customers.  My brother texted that his brother-in-law, who is an electrical company lineman, reported that it was one of the worst storms for outages.  This did not bode well for cooking the 21 pound turkey that was waiting to be popped into the oven.  We were expecting 10 of us for dinner so it was time to get creative.

The idea of not having a full Thanksgiving dinner was never an option.  My sister, Kate, who was with us for Thanksgiving, is a fabulous cook.  She had been the driving force behind our self-catering of Amelia’s wedding in June.  So we accepted the challenge and switched gears so we could continue our dinner preparations.

Thanks to our trusty camp stove we were able to keep cooking. After a lot of discussion, we decided our turkey was just too big to safely cook on the grill.  Katie went out for a few items and came back with turkey tenderloins to swap for the traditional turkey. She concocted a fabulous marinade and Annie turned canned turkey gravy into a gourmet delight.

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Annie and Leah weren’t thwarted by the challenge of cooking without power. (Note the hanging flashlight “spotlight”.)  Katie “baked” her  yeast rolls on the grill with spectacular results!

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When it came time to heat up everything that we had already prepared we were delighted to see how much the grill could hold and how wonderfully it worked as a mini oven. Mike manned the grill and masterfully grilled the turkey tenderloins to perfection.

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We weren't going to be intimidated by no running water for doing dishes, so we set our traditional Thanksgiving table.

We refused to budge from our long-standing tradition of a formal Thanksgiving table.  Beautiful job, Leah!

The dinner was great and we were proud we had risen to the challenges that the day presented but in the end the time together was the best part.

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An unexpected bonus to not having running water was that there was no question of anyone doing the dishes after dinner.  They were tucked away until the next day when the power returned.  I can say from personal experience that it is an actual pleasure to do dishes with the “luxury” of hot running water after two days of melting snow and heating water over the fire or on the camp stove.

Saturday morning things were back to normal so I enjoyed a run along our traditional loop route.  The snow made for some stunning scenes.

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Tuckaway Tree Farm

Tuckaway Tree Farm

On Sunday it was time to choose and cut our Christmas tree at Tuckaway Tree Farm after having run past them on our weekly runs all year.

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Hannah and Todd humored me and posed beside our tree before Todd gallantly crawled under the branches to saw it down.

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A Week in Pictures

Even though I’ve run past this spot probably a hundred times, I was suddenly stopped in my tracks  by the combination of trees and lighting.

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On Tuesday, Hannah and I went to Boston and happened to arrive just when the Veteran’s Day parade was taking place.  These photos don’t convey the pride and enthusiasm that was present.

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The two small boys holding flags eagerly called out, “Thank you!!” to every passing marcher.  It was priceless.

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My lovely warm(ish) runs came to an end this week when the weather became frosty.

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Although I loved the stunning foliage this fall, I am enthralled (my family may say, “obsessed”) with silhouettes of trees.

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One morning this week I woke up to snow.  The roads were only wet but the landscape had been transformed.

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This is the same location as the first photo in this post.

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The ice was really emerging in the marsh when Mike and I did our really early Saturday morning run.

 

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I scheduled myblood donation after our weekly long run.

I scheduled my blood donation appointment for after our weekly long run.

Hannah was a natural at driving the tractor we rented to move our compost (AKA manure) pile.

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I put in my time on the tractor as well.  I think I want one for Christmas!

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Bentley adores this frosty weather.

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But he was happy to snuggle up later that evening.

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Nature truly provides the most spectacular visions.

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