Sunday, August 4, 2013

Running, Swimming, and Biking, Just Like a Triathlete (sort of)

Yipee, I'm finally back in good enough shape for running to be enjoyable again! Scout and I did back to back Saturday and Sunday hill workouts from our cabin in Vermont. The route consists of an out and back on remote dirt roads starting with a steep down hill mile followed by a flattish half mile then a steady uphill mile to the turn around, then back home. I have never been able to run the entire thing without walking some of the steeper sections, but this weekend I was able to run it all both days! My favorite thing about this route is that the steady uphill mile is on a rough double track with grass growing in the middle with no houses or vehicle traffic on it and its called Town Highway 23. Who knew running on a highway could be so enjoyable?

On Saturday's run, Scout and I had a little mishap. Northeast Vermont has had a lot of severe summer storms and the rivers are high and the roads are washed out in places. The route Scout and I run takes us across the (usually) peaceful and calm Flower Brook twice. On our second crossing Saturday, Scout stepped onto what he believed was solid ground but was actually washed out road with a thin covering of Juniper branches. He fell headfirst about 4 feet down into the brook, which was about 5 or 6 feet deep in that spot with a strong current. Scout didn't come up into view for a few moments, so I jumped in after him. He came bobbing up beside me and tried to crawl back up where he had fallen in, which was impossible because the banking was very steep there. I shoved him downstream toward shallow water and he found his way out and back up to the road. I fumbled around a bit and dragged myself out. Somehow, he blamed me for the entire ordeal and refused to go near me for the rest of the day. By Sunday he had forgotten all about it...except for when we approached the washout on our Sunday run. He made a very wide birth around the spot and sprinted a bit to get away from it.

Friday, Kevin and I had an epic Kingdom Trails ride. We covered 25 hilly miles of single track. We started on the trails that are a little technically and physically challenging for me (Pound Cake, Fenceline, Pasture Point, and Coronary). They get easier and easier each time as my skills and stamina get better, but those trails still keep me on my toes. Coronary isn't technically difficult, but it's a killer climb. Once those were over with, I just relaxed and enjoyed myself for the rest of the ride. A few places were a little slick, but all in all the trails were in great condition. It felt good finishing on exhausted legs. We really earned that evening's steak and beer!

Next week I will run my 7th MMD, looking for my 6th finish. I'm not really physically prepared for a run of that distance over that amount of elevation gain, but I can do it if I put my mind to it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mini Vacation

Today is the last day of my mini-vacation from work. The weather was hot and humid or threatening rain for the first several days, but we enjoyed ourselves.

Friday evening, after a wonderful mountain bike ride on the Kingdom Trails, we had dinner at our favorite Pub... or almost did. We had just finished our salads and were eagerly awaiting our locally raised hanger steaks, when an incredibly violent thunderstorm rolled in and took out the power. At least Rodger was willing to serve us one more beer before they closed down. We drove under, over, and around at least a dozen trees lying across power lines on the way back to the cabin. Once back safely, Kevin and I had to make do with hot dogs eaten in the dim light of propane.

We kayaked Willoughby Lake on Saturday. After we had paddled away from our vehicle for about an hour and a half, I noticed dark clouds creeping over the mountains to the west of us. We turned back, and got within a hundred yards of shore before the storm hit. The rain came down in sheets. All the beach-goers and other boaters ran for their cars, while we calmly pulled the kayaks up onto the sand. I mean, you can only get so wet, right? I jumped in the lake since I was wet already. It felt wonderful!

We rode bikes at the Kingdom Trails again on Sunday and stopped to ride from Pudding Pond in North Conway on the way home on Monday. Pudding Pond was fun because Scout could run with us since there aren't many bikers and hikers out there. I love the fact that this area is slightly more technical and challenging than what we ride in Vermont. It was a blast. Scout completely wore himself out and refused to play on any of the stunts on Sticks and Stones on the way out.

Tuesday dawned with steady rain. What's a mini-vacationer to do on a rainy Maine day? "Let's go to the beach!" was Kevin's suggestion. We get to the touristy Maine  coast about once a summer. Both Kevin and I tend to avoid going anywhere that everyone else wants to be. With the cool temoperature and the steady rain, it was an absolutely perfect day to spend in Ogunquit. We walked for miles, had lobster rolls and chowder for lunch, waded in the ocean, walked the sidewalks looking at shop windows and people, had a few beers overlooking the ocean, and had a fantastic dinner at The Front Porch, not to be missed if you want to experience fine Ogunquit dining a stone's throw from the beach!

Today we plan to hit the local trails at the Leavitt Plantation. Tomorrow its back to work...for two days before we head north to Kevin's XXth class reunion (I won't give your age away, Kevin). Summers are busy, but we'll have all winter to rest up and recover...between skiing and snow shoeing. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Getting There!

Saturday, kevin and I mountain biked at Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, NH. Trail conditions were great. We rode steady for three and a half hours and felt good doing it. That made me feel more confident about our up-coming Fruita mt bike trip. We have some high mileage days planned for that trip.

I've been out early every morning for a run. I'm only doing 4 miles each morning, but I feel great! I leave my house at 5AM and run the same loop on auto pilot each day. By the time I get to the trail head about 1 1/2 miles into the run, I am awake and enjoying it. The only time I feel the month I took off from running, is on the hills. I just don't have mye strength back yet. But it's coming.

I will try to do a 10 miler this coming weekend and see how that goes. Also, I need to work on hill clmibing if I plan to run MMD in a few weeks.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Back at it!

Hooray, Scout and I ran 4 fun and energetic miles this evening! Scout was very happy to finally see me moving along the trail at a pace that was more than a walk for him. I have withdrawn from Vermont as there is no way in hell that I am going to be able to run that far that soon, but MMD, my favorite event of the year, is timed just right and I will no doubt see my 6th finish out of 7 attempts in 2013.

I am definitely feeling at 100% normal right now. Of course, I will finish the full 30 days worth of antibiotics no matter how good I feel, but I am so happy to be normal again.

Tomorrow... 5 faster miles with Scout. He'll be thrilled.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ticked Off!

Well, I've been missing from Blogland for a while. My new job has me writing reports every day. I love it, but it doesn't leave me with a lot of desire to do more writing when I'm off work. In fact, I hardly ever even use the computer outside of work these days. But here I am, so let's catch up!

Training for Vermont was going great. My long runs had increased nicely to 35 painless and relaxed miles and I was feeling strong... and then I got very sick starting on June 11th. Right away I sensed it was from ticks or mosquitoes, since it hit me so hard and fast and I hadn't been around anyone with similar symptoms. Plus I had been spending a lot of time running on old overgrown logging roads and had seen a ton of ticks on me. After a full week of feeling absolutely terrible with a relentless cough, body aches, fever, chills, sweats, headache, sleepiness, and no appetite I developed severe pain and swelling in both lower legs. 

Labs and symptoms point to Anaplasmosis, a tick borne bacterial infection. I was started on specific antibiotics and within a week I started feeling more like myself. So of course, I tried to run!  I tried to run twice last week, but made it less than a half mile each time due to lower leg pain and weakness. Riding the bike didn't hurt, but I was pathetically slow and weak and had to walk a lot of the hills. But, this past weekend I rode the mountain bike like my old self for the first time in a month and tonight I ran three miles. I'm back!

Most tick borne infections will not result in lasting effects if treated correctly, but the key is they have to be treated. Below is a link to tick borne diseases seen in Maine. Don't let it turn you into a hypochondriac, but read it so you'll know what to look for.
Tick Diseases in Maine

I will do my best to keep up with this blog from now on. Heck, I will probably be able to build up to an awe-inspiring 5 mile run by next week, which should make for some fascinating reading.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Becoming a Morning Person

My peak time of day for physical activity is between 10AM and 6PM. This is when I have the most energy. But, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided to start a new running routine with the start of my new job. I decided to become one of those dedicated early morning runners.

 I haven't owned an alarm clock in a very long time and it was a big deal for me to purchase one. I felt like it was a sign that I was giving up my happy-go-lucky lifestyle. But the alternative was to use my loud, annoying and obnoxious cell phone alarm, which launches me into a cardiac arrhythmia when it goes off. So I bought an alarm clock.

I get out of bed at 5 and dress in my running clothes as quietly as possible so as not to set the cats and dog into making premature morning demands. Coffee goes into a travel mug, I grab my gym bag full of work clothes, lap top, lunch bag and cheap imitation over sized hand bag. (I already conformed with the alarm clock thing, I'm not about to give in to hand bag pressure!) In that hand bag is everything I might need for my day in the office... coffee creamers, mints, glasses, used tissues, chewing gum, lip stick, crossword puzzles, dental floss and  a spoon. Like a good Boy Scout, I am prepared.

I'm out of the driveway by 5:15. I am the picture of efficiency! I drink coffe and sing at the top of my lungs all the way to Portland.

I pull into the parking lot at the Planet Filth-ness and take off for my run. I run between 4 and 7 miles depending on how much wine I had with dinner the night before. I vary my route from day to day to prove that I am still a free spirit at heart. I usually meet up with the two homeless men and their homeless dog at some point and often the double amputee in his wheelchair who likes to play chicken with me on the exercise path.

Back at the gym I check my watch to determine how much attention I can put into shower, hair, and makeup that morning. I refuse to touch anything in the locker room except for the shower control and I refuse to talk to anyone because the last thing I need is a gym buddy.

Between 10 and 20 minutes later I am pulling into the parking garage at work with dirty wet running clothes draped to dry all around the interior of the car. I sprint down the street with my giant hand bag, laptop, and lunch bag and always make it to my desk before 8:00.

This routine requires preparation. I spend about a half hour after work each day getting things set up for the next morning.  In return for this small sacrifice I have lost about 5 pounds, I feel energetic all day, I sleep great, and I have time and energy to take a brisk evening walk with kevin and Scout most nights. Also I am getting good mileage in and regaining my fitness.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Loving Pre-Dawn Urban Running

Starting my fantastic new job two weeks ago has inspired me to get back into a routine with my day to day life, something that just hasn't been possible in recent years due to relentless and unpredictable work days. The last time I was able to have any sort of routine with running, fitness, diet, household responsibilities,  and maintaining my personal relationships with family and Friends was about 7 years ago when I stopped working regular hours in a hospital setting. I am very happy to be working a regular schedule again with a real start and finish to each day's work!

I thought it might be difficult adjusting to early morning runs through the streets of Portland. I imagined I would have to gradually ease into the routine, getting used to earlier awakenings, adjusting my meal times accordingly, adjusting to the bitter early morning cold and darkness, re-learning to navigate the streets of Portland, and slowly building my mileage back up from the pathetic level it had slipped to. But instead it has been incredible easy. I haven't missed a single morning yet! The only glitch was that my workplace has no shower facilities. I must have asked the building administrator six times, "are you sure there isn't a shower somewhere in this building?"  I ended up joining the closest cheapest dirtiest smelliest gym around and can now shower before work for only ten bucks a month. I guess I can live with that.

I don't run the same route each morning because I like variety. I've been parking in the gym's lot and running 40-50 minutes each morning on roads, sidewalks, and paved and dirt exercise paths. I often run right through what are normally the busiest streets of the Old Port, but I am early enough that I see very little traffic. I often run the paved path from the ferry terminal, timing it so I can watch the sunrise over Portland Harbor. I've also hit the Deering neighborhoods, Back Bay, Stroudwater, Eastern and Western Proms ...there is so much to see. Once the ice melts I will get out onto  dirt single track trails. There isn't much of that in Portland, but enough to get me off the streets a little.

There will come a point in the future when I will be able to work from home (but its going to take a while before I'm confident enough in my new role to fly solo) and when that time comes I will be very happy to get back to my country roads and trails. For now, urban road running is fine. I still get my woods runs in on the weekends, often in Vermont. I feel very fortunate to have so much control over my day to day life. I can plan ahead and commit. Holy Hell, I even have a few dates set to meet friends for runs before and after work next week! Life is good.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

East Haven Mountain

From our East Burke camp on any cold morning, a large frost covered mountain occupies the landscape off to the northeast. Before finding its official name on the topo map, Kevin and I referred to it as Frost Mountain. It is actually 3031 foot East Haven Mountain. It lies in the middle of heavily wooded hilly  terrain and there are no maintained trails to its summit.

Kevin and I have been exploring the woods between our camp and this mountain for some time now. Last Sunday, Scout and I left camp early to get some running miles in on the hard packed snow. We ran old logging roads, a short bushwhack, and snowmobile trails. It was hillier than I remembered so I was worried we wouldn't make it back to our rendezvous point in time to meet Kevin, who was doing a more direct bushwhack hike in. So I pushed the pace and enjoyed hearing my heart thumping in my chest for a change (I don't usually push very hard out on the trails). Scout and I made it to the meet up spot but saw no sign of Kevin so we started slowly back along the tote road, listening for tell-tale crunching off in the woods. And there it was, almost immediately, crunching of snow and snapping of twigs. These woods are so still and quiet we could hear him from a long way off. We kept moving slowly along the road in hopes of intercepting him as he stepped out onto the road. We only missed him by about 15 feet!

From there we set off for East Haven Mountain. The temperature was a mild 20 degrees, the sky was clear and blue, and the woods were beautiful. Scout scampered about with energy to spare. There had been a dusting of snow the night before so we saw a million snowshoe hare tracks, fox tracks, deer and moose tracks, and ground bird tracks. We followed the snowmobile trail in a direction we hadn't been before and then branched off onto an old tote road which seemed to head in the right direction. We were gaining altitude steadily and definitely moving closer and closer to the mountain!

Then we started noticing a few drops of blood in Scout's paw prints. We are having trouble finding booties that will stay on his feet. His feet are too big for the extra large size! So this day he was out without booties. He would have been fine if he stayed on the hard packed snow, but he likes to go crashing around on the brambles and brush where the crusty snow beaks away under his feet. Soon we noticed BIG drops of blood and called him back to us. He was happy as ever and not limping at all, but he had torn a nail off one of his paws and it was oozing blood pretty badly. I took off my hat and used it to hold pressure until the bleeding slowed down. Kevin checked our altitude and saw it was 2200 feet. We took one last look up at the summit, sighed, and  started back.

And that's the way it is with these hikes off the beaten trail. But at least we know how to get there now. The topo map shows the tote road not going all the way to the summit, but it will get us pretty darned close. Next time Scout will have something on his feet, even if its only duct tape!

Thursday, January 31, 2013


I have avoided taking Scout running on the roads with me. While I love running the trails with him, I didn't want to run with him on a leash.  Scout tends to think of leash walking as an opporunity to sniff around and see what all the other neighborhood dogs and cats have been up to, causing multiple unplanned and sudden stops. Unpleasant while walking, but dangerous on the run. I am not a particularly graceful runner so it doesn't take much to trip me up.  Another concern I had was that Scout is an overly-enthusiastic runner. For him, running involves sprints, jumping jacks, tail chasing, and hurdling over large obstacles. Since he and I weigh roughly the same, I pictured myself being dragged along through those various antics.

Tonight I decided to bite the bullet and try a road run with him. As soon as he saw that I had changed into running clothes, the above mentioned antics began. He jumped over Kitty twice and chased his tail for three full rotations before we even left the house. I snapped the leash onto his collar and hung on.

We headed down the sidewalk at about 5 minute mile pace. He was pulling for all he was worth and I was just along for the ride. I wasn't even breathing hard, he was doing all the work. I felt like Sandy Pittman being short-roped up Everest by Lopsang. There was a lot of flooding along the sides of the roads but Scout didn't care. He dragged me right through the deepest parts. Just as I decided we needed to stop and re-group he came upon a pile of horse crap and stopped dead in his tracks and dropped to the ground to roll in it. I jumped over him and came to an abrupt stop when the leash ran out of slack.

Once I got him away from the horse crap we had a heart to heart talk. "Go ahead and pull," I told him, "but not hard enough to injure me, please." He seemed to understand because he calmed down. We started up again and he was still pulling but not as hard as before. Now, it was fun because I could move faster than usual while putting in the same effort as I usually do. Now instead of feeling like Sandy Pittman, I felt like a skijorer. While being short-roped up Everest may not be good sportsmanship, Skijoring is perfectly legitimate. We did four very fast miles. Boy, did we fly around the neighborhoods!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Brownfield Bog

I was ready for some different scenary on Friday, so I decided to drive over to Bridgton and run the snowmobile trails. I showed Kevin where I was going on the map, because he likes to know where to look for me if I don't come back when I'm supposed to. I loaded Scout into the car and drove off toward Bridgton. But as we were passing through Brownfield I veered off onto Bog Road and drove to Brownfield Bog instead.

The gate was closed for the winter, but a nice little parking area had been plowed out by the gate. The dirt road from there was packed hard snow. It looks like a snowmobiler went through at some point, and then lots of skiers and snow shoers had been over that. The resulting surface was perefect for screw shoes.

It's only about 2 miles from the gate until you hit water (or ice this time of year), but with a side trip here and there we were able to get about 5 or 6 miles in on our out and back run. The scenary there is very different than the rest of the region. It is flat and open with nice views of the surrounding hills. Pleasant Mountain could be seen very clearly from several points. I really enjoyed myself!

When I got home and told Kevin I hadn't gone to Bridgton after all, he said he knew I wouldn't make it that far without seeing somewhere else where I just had to stop and run. So true.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Little Mac Attack...and Retreat

With another disappointing snow year here in Maine, I feel lucky to have our little camp up in Vermont. There isn't a huge amount of snow up there, but definitely enough to get out on the snowshoes without feeling like its a fake. I really have an issue about using snowshoes on a surface that could be run or walked on without even sinking in a centimeter!

Sunday, Kevin, Scout, and I set out into the woods at the Victory/Burke town line. We were heading for a little mountain our map called "Little Mac." Temperatures were comfortable in the low twenties, but intermittent gusty winds and frequent snow squalls made things interesting. About an hour and a half into our hike, Kevin and I both stopped and looked at each other. It had been getting darker and darker, and now we could hear what sounded like a freight train coming over the ridge line. We were suddenly hit with blinding snow and winds that were strong enough to whip the big trees around above us. Scout, only a short distance ahead, disappeared from view as a gray curtain of snow dropped between us. When we called him he came bounding into view looking thrilled about the exciting weather.

We went on until the next intersection where we decided to turn back due to the unpredictable weather. I wanted to go on, but agreed to turn back after realizing that the area we were in wasn't like the well traveled and packed trails in the Whites. If we got off trail or stranded out in these woods, it would be a while before anyone found us, like maybe next hunting season. Instead of going back the same way we had gone in, we took a little cut off trail that was a screeching steep fast and fun downhill that took us to the North Pasture Ski Trail. The ski trail was packed well enough for me to do some running. I tried to run all the ups, which was exhausting because there were a lot of them and because I haven't been running much lately! As we headed back, the sun came out brightly and the winds died down...until about the last 100 yards which felt like we were in a wind tunnel. When we got close to the truck we saw where a big moose had been walking around just a short time earlier. We were sorry to have missed seeing him.

We sure enjoyed the crazy weather we experienced even if we didn't get to the top of Little Mac. We'll get it next time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


The trails have become mush due to the warm temperatures over the past week. I ran on the wet slush on Saturday until my legs ached, but I've stuck mostly to the roads since then. I don't take Scout on my road runs and this disappoints him when he sees me head out the door in running clothes. So yesterday, I parked the car before I got home and ran from the rescue complex. I dressed in whatever stray items of clothing I could find in my car and a pair of running shoes that Scout had chewed up when he was a puppy. During the run I took a brief side trip onto the snowmobile trail, but it was wet, slippery, and not much fun so I returned to the pavement.

I stepped out of the woods just in time to see a local runner who passes my house quite frequently. The notable thing about her is how composed she always looks while running. Her outfit is always stylish and well matched, every hair on her head is in place, her running shoes are always spotless and bright and in a complimentary color to the rest of her outfit, and her running form is perfect.  She should do television commercials for running products.

Without her noticing, I fell in behind her and tried to keep up. I made up some distance when she stopped to take a brief walk break (Galloway method?) but the rest of the time I could only hold the same gap between us. Not only does she look good running, she moves pretty fast, too. I could imagine the drivers coming at us from ahead  saying, "look, there's the flawless runner... and today she has a poor tag-along homeless woman chasing her."  They didn't need to worry, I never caught her.

After the run it was time for my Insanity workout. This week Insanity moved up to the next level. So not only was I demoralized on my run, I was also humiliated by Insanity. The workout actually brought me to my hands and knees a few times. My fitness is improving, but I still have a way to go!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Back on Course

I have never been one to shy away from change. I believe, in life and trail running, we must keep moving forward and choosing  the paths that intrigue and call to us. A person can chose to live their life in a rut, which is kind of like running on a treadmill at a comfortable speed and a comfortable incline. You're not really going anywhere, but it's comfortable. Getting off that treadmill, layering up for the cold, and hitting the icy trails takes a bit of effort but it feels good once you are out there. I've found myself on that rutted trail at a few points in my life, and have always been able to muster the strength to climb out and bushwhack through to the right trail.

As I have (more than) hinted at, my current job has been dragging me down the wrong trail. So after over 25 years of providing patient care in one form or another, I am taking my skills and talents elsewhere. Next month I will start work as a consultant for long term disability claims. I am extremely happy and excited about this move. Regular work days that have a beginning and an end are what I crave. Being productive, focusing my energies, and seeing a project through to the end will be a welcome change. Re-claiming my non-working hours so I can regularly get out for a late day run, bike ride, or walk with Kevin and Scout will be a joy!  Not looking at work e-mails or taking work phone calls on my days off will be wonderful. Not working weekends, evenings, holidays, and on-call is going to feel like cheating after all these years.  I have been doing the happy dance non-stop for the past 5 days!

It's amazing what a good change can do for one's mental outlook and physical health. Think about going off course in a race. As soon as we realize we have gone the wrong way our pace slows, our steps become hesitant, we start tripping over things, and our thoughts become negative. This isn't conducive for getting back on track, its just the way we react.  Then after some wasted time and miles, we find the trail again and everything changes. Moments earlier we had been considering dropping out of the race, we were tired and disappointed, we just wanted to go home. Now, back on course, we suddenly feel energetic, positive, and ready to take on the world.

Today, for the first time in months, I have packed up my running gear to take on the road with me. Chances are, it won't happen. The work day promises to be as busy and time consuming as ever. But the fact that I have the incentive to give it a try shows what a boost this upcoming career change has given me. Who knows, I just might be able to sneak off into the woods at some point today.

Monday, January 7, 2013

More Fun in the Snow

I unexpectedly had a three day weekend off from work this past weekend and I made the most of it!  Friday morning, Scout and I ran the local trails while Kevin put in a half day of work at home. I wore my snowshoes and covered all the trails at least once. We were supposed to be back home to leave for camp by noon, but I hardly ever wear a watch and the time got away from me. We were having fun! I'd guess we did about 6 or 7 miles.

Kevin and I were happy to find good snow on the ground at camp, and more falling! It was just beautiful up in East Burke, Vermont. We skied at Burke Mountain on Saturday. This was my first experience skiing on fresh snow and I loved it. Kevin went up to the top of the mountain while I stayed on the easier trails on the lower mountain. I'm getting more comfortable on downhill skis, so its getting more and more fun. We wore ourselves out. We had trouble staying awake for dinner out and called it an early night.

More snow fell over night and was still falling gently through the day Sunday. I almost backed out of my plan to cross country ski solo while Kevin and Scout snowshoed because I wanted to go with them, but I stuck to my plan and I'm glad I did. Conditions were phenomenal! Kevin dropped me off at Kingdom Trails Nordic Center and I started out on the groomed trails. Only one or two skiers had been through before me. It was awesome! I was pleased that I felt strong and fast on the skis. I hardly got out at all last year and this was my first time out this year so I didn't know what to expect. After about 12 kilometers of fast groomed trails, I turned off onto North Pasture to make my way over about 5 kilometers of ungroomed trail back toward camp. I could see that one skier had been through before the last few snowfalls, but that was it.

Breaking trail was slower and more difficult than skiing groomed trails, but well worth the effort. It was so peaceful and still and beautiful. I just skied along by myself, smiling and happy. I have mountain biked and run this stretch of trail many times and I was comfortable about where I was and where I was going. When I came to the point where I had to turn off the trail and ski steeply down hill to Victory Road, I found a set of tracks from someone who had skinned up the hill on his skis, then headed off in a different direction from which I had come. His tracks were beautifully straight and parallel and I hated to do it, but I had to snow plow down the hill at an incredible speed, throwing snow everywhere and wiping out his trail completely.  I looked back up from the bottom and it looked like a tornado had been through. Oh well, I made it down without falling. As luck would have it, Victory Road had gotten enough fresh snow to cover the sand that had been spread on it. I was able to ski all the way back to Camp Road and only had to carry the skis for about a half mile.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter Fun and Fitness

Winter is upon us, complete with short days, slippery trails, and cold temperatures.  I love it! I have a feeling that it is going to be a good snow year here in the Northeast. We got jipped last year, so we are owed one.

Kevin, Scout, and I snowshoed the Ossipee River Trails yesterday to celebrate the new year. It is surprising and pleasing to see how much traffic has been out on the trails since the last snow storm.  The most popular trail, River Run, had a rock hard snowshoe packed tread. The more oscure trails had only seen a few tracks. Equestrian Sue and her trusty steed had been through the hard packed trail and fortunately, didn't post hole through in very many spots. The deer have been traveling up and down all of the trails in great numbers. The beaver have been busy gnawing down small trees and dragging them off to their dam. There was evidence that a lone hiker bravely crossed the cold water and found the Boot Legger Trail, no doubt following the snowshoe tracks Kevin and I left behind from previous trips.  I had to wonder out loud what he thought about those rollers Kevin incorporated into the trail for mountain biking fun. We didn't see any signs of fresh activity from the goat herder who has been known to frequent the area with his little herd of friends, but I'm sure he'll be out soon. I've been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook from snowshoe runners about the evil work of post holers. I'm not a snowshoe snob, let the goats and deer and hikers and trail runners and even equestrian Sue enjoy! If the land is open for public use, it's there for all of us.

Kevin and I hiked fast, taking turns leading. Scout ran ahead and circled around over and over again, covering three or four times the distance we did. My original plan was to do a loop with Kevin and Scout, then change into my Dions and run 3 or 4 miles. But our loop was a long one and I'd had enough by the time we were done so I called it a day. I did my Insanity workout when we got back and was surpised I still had enough energy to do those squats, jumps, lunges, and drills. I am on week four of Insanity and feeling fitter, more flexible, and lighter on my feet than when I started. And it's still fun!