Sunday, August 29, 2010

We Would Have Used Duct Tape But It Isn't See-Through

Friday night we wanted to go see the Celtic group at the Folk Festival (saw them today--they were awesome), but Alan started the car and pushed the button to put the window down.  This was followed by a series of disturbing noises, some from inside the door (clunks and whirrs), some from the window itself (a sort of banging and grinding) and some from Alan and then me ("What the...?!?!).  The power window has always sounded a little odd, but now it is completely off its track--it will neither open all the way, nor close all the way--and we think that part of the mechanism is seriously bent. 

How do we know it's bent?  Because we disected the entire door, of course.  Well, Alan did.  While I pranced around wincing and saying helpful things like "Don't break that thing!" and "Are you sure that's supposed to come off?".  We then peered at the window guts with a flashlight and came to the dramatic conclusion that It doesn't work.  And we can't make it work.  And we're going to have to pay someone else to make it work.  At our financially worst time of the year (Alan didn't teach in August so the paycheck nazi will be shouting "No check for you!" on Tuesday). 

But we HAD to leave the driveway 'cause we had a sitter, dang it!

Plus, we had a date with a road race the next morning, so we had to button things up somehow.

After some contemplation I went into the house and procured a roll of clear packing tape and some saran wrap.  And doggone it, we did pretty well.  You can hear the wind rushing by the door and Alan elected to put tape over the window controls so he wouldn't forget and try to close it by mistake, but otherwise it has held extremely well all weekend.

Drive-throughs, ATMs, giving directions, and paying for parking at the Folk Festival are all a little tricky though.

And where did we go when we were done?  Denny's and then WalMart.  About as anti-Folk Festival as you can get.  I know, we're pathetic!

On Alan's to-do list tomorrow:  check on our warranty, hope it doesn't rain soon, and maybe pick up an extra roll of packing tape, 'cause for some reason we're almost out....

Bloggy Backlog!

Sorry folks, I've gotten a little behind!
I hope you enjoy catching up on our recent exploits.

Now, we're off to the Folk Festival, so they'll certainly be more to come...

August 28: Northeast Harbor 5-miler

A very pretty course and a well-run race with gobs of raffle prizes.  You could tell there was a lot of local pride involved in this 33-year-old event.

Alan:      109th place (out of 146), 52:23, 10:29 pace
Nancy:   115th place, 56:54, 11:23 pace

For comparison, Alan's pace for the 10k we did back in June was 11:16, and mine was 12:47.  And, unlike the Flamingo 4-miler, I wasn't vying for last place.  A pretty nice improvement.

Once again we neglected to take pre- or post-race pix of each other (really, you should thank us), so here's the finish line right before they dismantled it.  The guy in the red shirt is a high school classmate of mine, Ryan, who we keep bumping into at these events.  He seems to be the race timing guy extraordinaire. 

After this, we drove into Bar Harbor to run some more!  We attempted to run the first big hill of the Half (West St, from Rte 3 up to Duck Brook Bridge), but Alan took a turn he thought was right, but I knew immediately was wrong, but he was too far ahead to hear me so I flailed after him for a while.  He eventually figured out he wasn't in the right place and just elected to keep going anyway.  We ended up back on Rte 3 and ran to the hotel we're staying at in September and then back to our car.  It was hot and we were tired so it was not a fun time, but it gave us an extra 2.47 miles on top of the 5 mile race. 

We had lunch at Little Notch in SW Harbor and then relaxed at Echo Lake before coming home to have a nice family dinner with the kids and Nana Mary.

I mean, SAINT Mary.  I call her that anyway, but she really proved it once again yesterday.  Not only did she arrive Friday night so we could go unencumbered to the Folk Festival (didn't happen: that's another post) and then do our running thing all day Saturday, but she even picked up our friend Stacy from the hospital AND took her to Target AND took her to Wendy's AND delivered her home safe and sound.  She's just that kind of lady, my mom-in-law.

August 21st Long training Run

Announcing yet another new personal distance record:

9.6 miles!

Last Saturday, Alan and I did a sort of dress rehearsal for the Half Marathon.  Nana Mary came to babysit and we drove down to MDI and ran the carriage road portion of the course (8 miles, from Duck Brook Bridge to Eagle Lake, and then all the way around the lake).  But then we had to get back to our car on Dubk Brook Rd, and Alan mapped out a little extra bit to bring it up to a full 10 miles.  My plan was to get around Eagle Lake and decide if I wanted to keep going or call him to pick me up.  As it turned out, we both made some unplanned modifications to our routes:  I took a pit-stop in the woods, and then stayed on the carriage road a little too long before getting on the main road; meanwhile, Alan turned off the carriage road a little too soon, so we both ended up with 9.6 on a day when we had planned 8 and 10 respectively.  I can handle that. 

It seemed to take forever.  It kind of did take forever: my time was 2:12:31 which comes out to a whopping 13:48 pace. Bleck. I walked a lot on the first (uphill) side of the lake.  But then there was a nice downhill, and then my mp3 froze up so I ditched it and ended up chatting with a guy named Jeff wearing an Eden Athletics shirt.  I asked if he was doing the Half (he is) and managed to keep pace with him from about mile 6.5 to mile 8 where we parted ways.  He was very pleasant and really helped to pass the time and keep me going.  I tried to call Alan just to tell him my status but had no service so I just plodded on and eventually made it all the way back to the car in tact.  I had a bloody spot on one toe and the start of a blister and we could both barely walk for a while afterward.  Our grand plan was to get lunch (we found a yummy deli in Bar Harbor) drive the Northeast Harbor 5-miler course (very pretty and unthreatening) and then go for a swim in Little Long Pond.  This last item didn't work out the way we thought it would, but we did end up in a lovely grassy field where we relaxed in the sun.


Everything was blue and green and summery except for one little spot of red in a nearby tree reminding us just how close we are to fall and school and apples and pumpkins.

On the way home, we stopped at Cadillac Mountain Sports to top off our running-themed day.

On a sad note, while we were doing all that, my friend, Jenn, and my god-son, Ethan, were making the 14-hour trek to Pennsylvania where they now live in a pretty little house near her family.  It's absolutely the right move for them and I'm so glad they've got the support they need, but I can't help missing her all the same.

Way Better Than Mini Golf

A couple of weekends ago we finally got together with my friend, Amy, and her family for a really fun day.

Amy and I sang in choir together years ago under Fred Jones; in fact, with her sister, Heather, we were 3 of the 5 founding members of the Girls Choir.

Amy went to Wellesley College, while I went to Mt. Holyoke.  So we have the women's college thing in common, too.

We've managed to keep in touch sporadically, but only recently truly reconnected.  When Fred died, Amy--who lives near Portland now--answered the call and came and sang for his memorial service.  It was bittersweet to share that with her.  She came to the house after we rehearsed to hang out with the family and spent the night at Mum and Dad's.  Madeline had the same instant fondness for Amy that I had so many years ago and has wondered ever since, when will we see Amy again?  

We've been promising to get our families together (Amy and her husband have two boys and a dog).  We've also been promising to take the kids to Pirate's Cove to use the mini-golf tokens they got at the fun run in June.  So all summer we've been toying with the idea of combining the two.  Amy fortunately realized that Pirate's Cove has a group limit of five, so that wasn't going to work, and she and Dan invited us to Dan's mother's house in Belgrade Lakes instead. 

It was a bit of a drive, but well worth it!  Alan and I had run 13.1 and 6 miles respectively the day before, so we didn't really mind being seated for long periods.  We packed our swim suits and a picnic lunch and hit the road.  We'd never been to that area before and it was a beautiful location and a gorgeous house and the weather matched. 

We had lunch and visited and then braved the lake for various degrees of wading/swimming, although it was a bit windy. 

Later, we walked into town for Gifford's ice cream.  When we returned, Dan took the kids and me out in their motor boat.  He gave us a wonderful quick tour of the vicinity, took us into the next lake over briefly, let Jeremy steer for a minute, and even let Jamie actually drive a bit.  He was a good teacher, shared lots of interesting tidbits, and managed to catch Jamie's hat, snagging it right out of thin air when it flew off his head!

The kids--ages 5 to 12--all got along really well with a combined Silliness Quotient of 42.6 gazillion megaparts per child.

After that we left in a rush.  Hopefully Amy wasn't late for her telecommute....  We had a great time and went home tired and windblown and happy.
A very Maine outing.  And way better than mini-golf.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Training Update

Announcing Nancy's latest personal distance record:
7 miles
I did 3.5 on the field house track (that's just a little under 26 laps because 7 1/3 laps = 1 mile [whose brilliant design idea was that?!?]) and then ducked out the back door, between the athletic fields, across the bike path and onto university forest trails which took me behind the rec center, around the corn field, onto Park St and then home.

The whole thing took me 1:34:21 which included a 6:20 trip across the field house and usage of the ladies room after mile 3.  If you take out the pee break, then my pace was 12:34 which means I didn't take very many walking breaks and makes me perfectly happy.

I saw three deer along the way, which seems to be the standard number for my evening trail runs.

At the beginning of my run, the kids ran too (some more than others) and, as I type (trying to cool off enough to go take a shower), my own personal Mr. Incredible is working on another 10 mile feat. Yay Marks family!

Oh yes, and another newbie accomplishment:
I placed an order on
I am so a real runner, now!

Sugoi 3/4 sleeve top


Alan, having left me a note that read "Planning 10 miles, but we'll see." just arrived home sweaty and sore (and a half hour late--good thing I was too busy blogging to worry) and annouced that
he just ran a Half Marathon! 
My initial reaction was one of jealousy (for which I apologize), but I'm really, really proud of him.  The kids all said "Yay Daddy!" and gave him fist bumps and said "ew...even your knuckles are sweaty" and were sent to bed. 

Tomorrow:  Belgrade Lakes to visit a friend from choir 30 years ago.

Acadia, August 7, 2010

To continue our camping story...

We awoke Saturday morning to a brand new day.  Temps in the 70s and this was the sky:

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before suddenly realizing that we were expected to check out in 45 minutes, so we scurried to break camp and pack everything back into the van with much griping and disorganization, about an hour behind schedule and not really sure what we were doing next.  The kids celebrate our empty campsite:

The Donaheys had taken their leave the night before to spend their last night at Hancock and head back to Vermont so we were on our own.  We ended up shopping the annual library book sale in Southwest Harbor and getting a little advice from the nice lady at the local information center.  After fueling up with sandwiches in the tiny parking lot, we climbed Flying Mountain (aka Fernald Hill), elevation a whopping 274 feet.  We met a nice couple at the top from Florida who took our picture for us.  She turned out to be from Switzerland and was outright laughing at the 87 meters, but she did confess to never actually having climbed the Matterhorn even though she grew up looking at it.  The trail was only .3 miles up, but it was UP and it was a bit of work for Jeremy, with Alan's assistance. We all made it, though, and the views were astounding. 

It didn't register at the time, but we were looking right across to the Northeast Harbor 5-miler route that we're running on the 28th (it passes just behind all those reeeeeeaaally nice houses).  

New family portraits:

After that, it was time to make our way home.  We stopped at Thompson Island to use the restrooms and get the wiggles out, and made one last stop at the Ice Cream Outlet for Gifford's and then finally drove home. 

Acadia, August 5 & 6, 2010

Here a few photos of the two days we spent at Seawall.  We filled our site with our massive red tent (containing 1 king size air mattress and 3 twin air mattresses and floor space to spare), and hosted meals over our fire, while Helen, Rich and Sam set up one wee little tent and only actually spent one night in it.  Kind of a study in contrasts:

We took a walk/ride on Hio Road, a carriage road adjacent to the campground.

Dinners and breakfasts ALL included our traditional purple potatoes!  They really were this brightly colored (here they are ready to be fried up, having been pre-baked at home):

On Friday, we had many adventures NOT captured digitally (at least, not by us). 

Alan and I ran/walked 6.2 miles from Seawall to Echo Lake.  This was our long training run for the week, well planned out in advance.  As we were driving in on Thursday we found ourselves coasting down an alarmingly long hill near the end of our route.  Alarming because we were driving the route in reverse.  The more we went down, the more Alan and I said, Noooooooooo!  And then when Friday arrived it was slightly overcast (good) and 90-something degrees (not good).  But we'd convinced our relatives to take on the kids and meet us at the lake so we had to brave the hill and the heat.

Alan gave me a 6 minute head start and caught up to me in downtown Southwest Harbor.  He had run the entire 40+ minutes that it took him to catch me and declared that he was done.  He made a few attempts to run some more, but mostly walked the rest of the route.  I had been taking frequent walking breaks and couldn't face the idea of making the hill last any longer than I absolutely had to, so I continued to alternate as needed.  Once I finally made it to the Top of the Hill Restaurant I knew I was in the home stretch.  There was a little bit of a downhill and then I was rewarded with the turn for Echo Lake.  Suddenly, I was on a park road, which in itself made me feel much happier than being in regular traffic, but it was also in good repair, completely covered with shade trees, winding downhill ever closer to the lake.  Aaaaaaahhh....I actually got a little nervous because I had to put on the brakes so my body wouldn't get there before my feet.  I feared that my knees would buckle and my face would hit the pavement.  I navigated my way through the packed parking lot, the path to the beach, the crowded boardwalk and came to halt right at the edge of the water.  I checked my watch (1:23:something, I can live with that) and looked around for the aforementioned family contingent.  There were at least 200 people at the beach, but not a one was related to me.  Alan, still walking had not caught me again and the rest of the fam, it turned out, had decided to fly kites on the Seawall so they were a little behind schedule and I managed to beat them all! By the time I changed into my bathing suit they had arrived, and we all enjoyed a lovely time splashing, swimming, baking in the sun (a little too much, on my part. I never manage to do a good job with the sunscreen), eating and amusing the ducks at the beautiful sandy beach.

Later, somehow most of us still had enough energy to do Wonderland.  Here are some shots from the beach at the outermost point:

We were all very tired that night and went to bed early snug in our tent with the wind whipping outside.

Little Tunk Pond, August 4, 2010

Last week was vacation week for the Soule sisters and Aunt Helen, Uncle Rich, and cousin Samantha came up from Vermont to spend the week at Hancock, so a family camping trip was planned for two nights at Seawall.  We kicked it off with an afternoon and overnight at the cottage on Wednesday so we could (theoretically) get an early start in the park on Thursday. 

The Marks family loaded up (and I mean LOADED) up the family truckster...

and trekked to Jordan's Snack Bar just outside Ellsworth for onion rings and milk shakes (oh yeah, and burgers, too).  We arrived at the cottage to find no one there and no house key in my pocket.  Mum arrived, but she, too, had no keys (having given them to Helen), so we stuffed Jeremy in through the bathroom window and he dutifully let us in to use the facilities, lock the place back up and meet the rest of the family at a nearby lake.

Little Tunk Pond was not someplace we went as kids.  We simply didn't know it was there!  It is a lovely gem of a place, with a tiny parking area a short walk away.  A hidden treasure:

After a relaxing swim and some sand city engineering (which involved creating dams, building sand huts, and then diabolically flooding the village), we headed back to the cottage.  From there, I went for a 4-mile run, with Helen escorting me on her bike, towing Sam in the bike trailer.  It was fun to explore the nearby neighborhood where we used to walk as kids and beyond via my new hobby.  There were lots of well-maintained seaside cottages with lovely gardens and I was rewarded with a gorgeous view at my turnaround point.  We even passed a series of signs that went like this:

Go Slow

Enjoy the View

So, Bikers, Kids,

And Joggers

Can Too!  Thanks!

How nice of the locals to include all three of us in their request!

After that, it was a nice big family dinner and bed time for everyone.  All the regular beds were occupied, plus Jeremy slept in an ancient overstuffed armchair with an ottoman, and Samantha slept on the floor (following a briefly traumatic falling-off-the-bottom-bunk mishap).  The cottage felt just right, three generations full: two parents/grandparents, two daughters/moms, two sons-in-law/dads, 4 kids/grandkids, and even a grandkitty.