The Old Pine Tree
So, you say it’s Spring?

Spring is due to arrive this afternoon, March 20, at 12:57 p.m., though it is barely evident this year, save for the yellow crocus that came up last week beside the Camden Public Library, and the little snowdrops near a Rockport Village home. But, spring it will be, and astronomers are reassuring us that the vernal equinox is under way. 

I, for one, haven’t seen any crocuses yet, but the thought that there is one out there somewhere is reassuring nonetheless. This is a nice article about spring and the coming* warmer months.

*supposedly. 

Asian slaw
Told you I’ve been drawn to cabbage slaws/salads lately.

Asian slaw

Told you I’ve been drawn to cabbage slaws/salads lately.

Cocoa powder 
I like to put cocoa powder in my post-run recovery smoothies. This stuff is great for your health, and makes everything taste chocolaty. It supplies you with healthy minerals like iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. Flavonoids reduce inflammation (which is great when you’re hard on your muscles). Additionally, it has been found to possibly be an antidepressant and help regulate mood. It may also boost endorphins and serotonin (which is great for you ladies, when you’re PMSing and feeling blue).
This stuff is not sweet, despite how it looks and smells, so I always add bananas (among other things) to help sweeten it up. They of course have their own health benefits, and they eliminate the need to add sweeteners. 

Cocoa powder 

I like to put cocoa powder in my post-run recovery smoothies. This stuff is great for your health, and makes everything taste chocolaty. It supplies you with healthy minerals like iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. Flavonoids reduce inflammation (which is great when you’re hard on your muscles). Additionally, it has been found to possibly be an antidepressant and help regulate mood. It may also boost endorphins and serotonin (which is great for you ladies, when you’re PMSing and feeling blue).

This stuff is not sweet, despite how it looks and smells, so I always add bananas (among other things) to help sweeten it up. They of course have their own health benefits, and they eliminate the need to add sweeteners. 

neurotic-rob said: You wrote the other day about being close to 30. When you think about the future what thoughts cross your mind when planning financially?

I’ve always been pretty good with money and I think it is because my parents were really good role models. They also made me put part of my paycheck in the bank when I started working part time in high school which was super annoying but practical. I try to set reasonable goals and always live within my means. I budget and save for any trips or fun stuff I want to buy, and I don’t take on too much at once. Looking into the future I’d like to continue to budget well and work towards financial goals in a reasonable way.

neurotic-rob said: When you feel restless or anxious about something what do you do to find peace and calm?

Oh man this is a hard one. I’m not always good about this. I think really just having some time to myself, going for a walk, or taking some calming breaths away from anything that is stressful. And sometimes it just takes a few rounds of Candy Crush :) Mostly I find that if I give myself some mental space from whatever makes me anxious I’m able to think more clearly later.

cupofchi said: What are some of your favorite spring meals/ingredients? I love transitioning my staple recipes with the seasons, but I always find it tricky on the produce front right about now...

This time of year I’m torn between wanting winter foods (like pizza every day) and lighter, springtime foods. I’ve been making more smoothies (my current fave is spinach, banana, frozen strawberries, peaches, and apple cider). I also like pea shoots. Asparagus is a good spring vegetable and are pretty versatile, and on your side of the Country it’s almost artichoke season! I think spring is a great time to start grilling and making meals with fewer ingredients. I’m drawn to cabbage salads/slaws right now. I think because it is still so very much winter here in Maine, I need another month to answer this question more meaningfully :) Anyone else have any great springtime meals?

3rdcoastfieldnotes said: Tell me about your favorite runs in Maine. Favorite adventures that don't involve running sneaks?

One of my favorite adventures is a secret swimming hole my high school friends and I always hit up. It’s a beautiful spot with waterfalls and warm rocks to hang out on, off a dirt road in the woods. 

When I lived in Portland I used to love running to the Fore River Sanctuary on early mornings on hot days, before it got too hot. It was always so quiet and I had the place to myself. Mackworth Island has always been a favorite too. The best trails though are behind my parents’ house - it doesn’t get more private, and I can go for miles.

My family has a camp in the Adirondacks and my parents have a camp in logging country in Eastern Maine. Lots of great adventures to have there. The deeper in the woods the better. 

Remembering warmer weather gets me excited to run/adventure, but I’ve always had trouble wanting to run in cold weather. 

Thanks for asking :)

blanketcoveredlover said: Hi - I just followed you. May I ask what you need inspiration for?

Everything. Winter has just sucked the inspiration from me. Inspiration for interesting blog posts, writing, music, just anything to get my creative juices flowing! I feel creatively stale lately.

I need some inspiration.

So go ahead and ask. Or tell me something good.

Afternoon tea

Some simple advice, courtesy of my cup of tea.

Afternoon tea

Some simple advice, courtesy of my cup of tea.

Today, by the sea

Daylight savings

Warm, late-out-of-bed mornings. Espresso on the stove and frothy warm milk. Taking stock of seeds and ordering seeds and wiggling my toes at the thought of seedlings and warm, syrupy smelling soil. Building up my courage to get out in the cold again to log some miles. Signed up for my first 5k since 2006 cross-country in college. Dreading it already. 6 miles in the fierce ocean wind balanced out with calm, warm, spring-like sun to ease my fears. Hello sunlight, welcome back.

Love that dirty water

A day trip south to take a break from the cold north. 54 degrees felt like all I’ve ever needed.

Won a contest at work for dressing the most tropical. #bigmoney #scratchers4life

Won a contest at work for dressing the most tropical. #bigmoney #scratchers4life

Grateful Friday

Today I’m grateful for:

  • JIF peanut butter. Normally it’s all natural all the time in my household*. Desperate times call for desperate measures though, so when I’d been without peanut butter for most of the week and I was pumping gas at the gas station** it only made sense to run in and grab some. They, of course, didn’t carry Teddy. They did, however, carry JIF. Oh man. crack.
  • A deep stretch. Because I work a lot of night meetings I have extra hours most weeks. Yesterday I took off early to go to yoga. While I couldn’t call that particular class a workout, it was great to get a deep stretch in my legs (as a runner they are always tight), and a full hour of relaxation. 
  • Whole boiling onions in rich soups.
  • Dreaming of summer dresses, tanned skin, fresh pina coladas, and the ease of a warmer season
  • Calm mornings. I’m looking forward to the time change this Sunday and warmer, brighter evenings, but for a few weeks I will miss the angle and amount of sun that makes it’s way into the living room each morning, making it a little bit easier to get out of the coziest, warmest bed, and equally as comforting sleep.
  • A healthier back. One of the most noticeable changes about having a standing desk, and just being on my feet more in general (or in a chair less, which is the important point), is that my back has started to feel much different. Over the past few weeks I find I need to twist and turn to get it to crack and adjust into place. At first it was happening all the time and was rather uncomfortable, but now that my body has adjusted it happens infrequently. I take this as a sign that sitting for 11 hours a day was so bad for my body that it was changing my body. Glad to be back to normal.
  • Being inspired by people around me. I rarely need inspiration to run, but when people start talking about picking races and looking at training charts I get a little fluttery in the chest. I’ve been doing speed workouts and I’m excited to see what kind of times I can post this summer in shorter races. Yeeha!

In case you haven’t believed me, Google says that Maine is cold (also that it is the best State!).

After posting that article about Isle Au Haut, my mother informed me that my great-grand parents honeymooned there. 

Happy Friday folks! I’m looking forward to getting out of town for a day, some yummy food I can’t get around here, 40 degree temps, a long-ish run, and being a few days closer to spring.

*An exception was recently made for tater tots
**Which I haven’t done for three weeks. Love this life.

What are you grateful for today?