The Making of a Triathlete

I’ve done it. I’m slowly turning Harrison into a triathlete. Shhhh, don’t tell him. While he has done 2 triathlons, he said earlier this year that he didnt want to do another one, until he did.

It happened last week. We were talking about the races I’m doing and what else I had on my radar and I brought up the Fronhofer Tool Triathlon, an Olympic distance race held the first weekend in August. This is the 10th year for the race and also the final year. I’ve never raced the Olympic, I competed in the sprint distance in 2013, the last year they offered the short distance. I’ve had my eye on the Olympic this year because it is the last year for it and it’s a very well organized local event.

For one reason or another, Harrison chimed in and challenged me to a competition. He has decided to race it and wants to see who can beat the other. I’m always up for a friendly competition so of course I said OK. I let him ponder it for a few days before biting the bullet and signing us up. I wanted to make sure he was truly committed to it before spending the money. The Fronhofer triathlon has a partner category where the combined times of 2 people are used for ranking. Although we are competing against each other we signed up as a team and chose the name, The Tortoise and the Mama Bear, a spinoff of the ever so popular fable, the Tortoise and the Hare. Thinking about it now I realized I drew the short straw in that name as the Hare always loses. Oh well, we’ll see how the tale ends come August 6th. 

Using the book, The 12 Week Triathlete, by Tom Holland I created a training plan for both Harrison and I. Tom was the coach of the charity team I was on for Ironman last year and I already owned his book prior to training with him. I like the simplicity of the 12 weeks plans and the ease to manipulate them to fit our needs. Scheduling is interesting and the beginning of the week always starts out with, “so, what day do I get to (insert swim, bike or run here)”. Life is crazy, but so far so good. 

How many water bottles can we fit on the drying rack??

We are just about 10 weeks out from race day. The water bottles are already piling up in the sink as well as the laundry. It’s going to be a fun & busy summer but I’m looking forward to racing with my love.

Happy training & happy Memorial Day weekend! Train safe and if you are out riding or running this weekend watch out for the holiday drivers. 

CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge (a race recap)

Last Thursday was the annual CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge, a 3.5 mile run in downtown Albany with 10,000 of your closest friends. Yes, really, 10,000 people. They actually capped the race this year at 10,000 and it sold out. My first time running this race was in 2009, about a year after I started running. It was only my 3rd race, ever. It was slow, but I had a good time and was encouraged by everyone to keep running, and I did just that.

Fast forward to 2016, my 6th time running this race, and what I was sure was going to be my slowest time yet. This year has been rough for me with running and I haven’t reallt felt like being out there. Fortunately for me, I had my trusty sidekick with me this time for good luck, Hatrison. He was also running it on the team from his work. It was a lot of fun to get to run a race with him because often times one of us is pushing the jogging stroller or sitting out with Owen so we don’t get to race together.

Normally I walk up to the race directly from the office because it is at the Empire State Plaza but this particular day I had to be in Clifton Park for the afternoon so I met up with Harrison there and we rode down together. I changed at the YMCA in Clifton Park and had a minor panic attack when I realized that I didn’t pack my sneakers that morning. Luckily for me I keep a pair of running shoes at work so we made a quick detour on our way to the race to swing by my office for shoes. 

Just about the time we were getting to the Plaza where the teams were all congregating the skies opened up and a quick downpour passed through. But Mother Nature was on our side and it only lasted a short while before it cleared up again. The temperature was perfect and it was mostly overcast which was great for running. 

Team photos were taken before the race and then we all made our way down to Madison Ave to get lined up for the start. As always we were packed in like sardines. In hindsight we probably should have started a little farther up because we were passing A LOT of people to begin with, but I think that’s always the case unless you are right at the start line planning to run really fast. 

Once the race began Harrison and I settled in to a pretty steady pace. We weren’t always side by side because we were constantly dodging people but we always found ourselves back together eventually. I was feeling pretty slow so I told H to go ahead if he wanted but he stuck by my side. I walked through both water stops, I was thirsty and I don’t find it beneficial to try and run through them while trying to juggle a cup in hand. 

Finally we were at the last half mile which is a long downhill on Madison Ave finishing at the State Museum. At this point I was tired but I like to take advantage of the downhill and let gravity propel me ahead. H was fading so he told me to forge ahead, so I did. I managed to hold a good pace and crossed the finish line in 31 minutes 21 seconds. Harrison was just 20 seconds behind me. 

I didn’t realize it at the time, in fact it took me 5 days to notice that my time was in fact a personal record (PR)! I never expected that to happen but apparently some of my Ironman training from last year carries through the winter. I’m hoping it’s a sign for good things to come this race season.

Once we stretched and gathered our things we said our goodbyes and headed towards the car whilst brainstorming where to get some dinner, we were starving. My team had reserved a space at the Albany Pump Station but we wandered past the Merry Monk and saw empty tables and don’t make it any further. I had a delicious drink and mussels that totally hit the spot. It was kind of like an impromptu date night!

After a long drive home we crashed in bed, exhausted from the day. As always, a good time was had by all. 

Mother’s Day Weekend 2016

Our weekend started Friday evening with a little trip to Hobby Lobby to pick up some supplies for Owen’s birthday party this week. We didn’t actually find what we were looking for but Owen did love the aisle of mirrors.

After our Hobby Lobby trip I dropped Owen off at the YMCA for their Kids Night Out program and then rushed home to finish up some painting. I’m trying to get the house put back together so needed to finish up some edging. I’m happy to report I got it all done!

Saturday morning I was up early to gather my things for biking. I had plans to attend the first ride of the Women’s Cycling Series being put on by the Adirondack Triathlon Club with support from Grey Ghost Bicycles in Glens Falls. I haven’t done a lot of group riding, and never in a group as large as we had on Saturday. It turned out to be a beautiful day and a very fun time with lots of wonderful women cyclists. 

Group shot before the geoup ride. Photo courtesy of one of the group leaders.

After the 18.6 mile group ride I went out for another ride with a friend up to Lake George and back via the bike trail. It was a gorgeous day to be out and I felt good out there. I ended up with a total of 38 miles for the day, not too shabby!

Helmet head!

After the ride Harrison and I ran some errands and got cleaned up for a fun party down in Saratoga celebrating a friend’s 50th birthday. It was a nice night with good friends. 

Sunday morning was quiet. I had the opportunity to sleep in but could I? Nope. Don’t you hate that. I was out of bed before 6AM and out of the house around 6:45 for a quick grocery store stop and a very important and necessary Starbucks run as well. 

What was so important at the grocery store that I had to go so early? Well, cake, that’s what. Owen turns 3 on Wednesday and I’m creating a masterpiece, I mean, cake, that required me to buy 9 boxes of cake mix (the 10th box is Funfetti for cupcakes, of course). I won’t reveal the cake creation today, because honestly it’s not done yet, but hopefully it comes out great and I’ll share some pictures later this week. I’m still baking, I have a third cake to make tonight and then tomorrow I start building… Stay tuned.

The rest of Sunday was pretty low key. Laundry, cleaning, etc. We ran some errands before heading north to pick up Owen from his grandparents house. He had spent the night Saturday so we could go to the party and have some adult time. We grabbed a steak at Oscar’s Smokehouse in Warrensburg on our way home for an easy dinner on the grill. 

Me and my goofball on Mother’s Day

I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day and got to spend it with the people they love. I was so happy to get this beautiful homemade card from Owen, these gifts are the ones I’ll always remember.

Anyone Can Tri (A Race Recap)

This past weekend I opted to start my triathlon season with a little sprint race held at the Capital District YMCA (CDYMCA) in Clifton Park, NY. The race was called the Anyone Can Tri and it consisted of a 350yd snake swim through the pool, a 10 mile bike and a 5k run.

I guess its worth mentioning that I haven’t swam since Labor Day, last year, like 8 months ago. I know, swimming is like riding your bike, you don’t really forget how to do it, but it doesn’t make it any easier, either!

When signing up you had to guesstimate what your swim time was going to be. I used 2 minutes per 100yds as an estimate and said 7 minutes would be my time. Apparently that was a pretty accurate guess as my swim ended up being 7 minutes 6 seconds. It was not a pretty swim, I’m sure I looked like a fish out of water flopping around in the pool but it was only 7 minutes of my day and so I moved on from that. I had one person pass me in the second to last lane and I passed one at the same spot. I hadn’t practiced a snake swim so crossing under lane lines was a bit awkward, but I made it through and now I can say I did it.

The bike was pretty nice. Having grown up in Clifton Park I knew the roads that we were going to be riding and was pretty comfortable with the route. There were a few hills that had to be tackled but nothing too steep, really, so I hoped for a pretty good bike time. Unfortunately Mother Nature was not liking us on Sunday and opted to throw us a cold, rainy day for the race. This made for a slower bike as I was cautious on turns and intersections. But overall the bike went well. I wore calf sleeves and my Pearl Izumi tri top and shorts in the pool and then added on an extra layer on top heading out on the bike. If I had been dry I would have thrown tights on but I didn’t think that was going to be an easy task coming out of the pool so I hoped for the best. My legs did end up cold where they were exposed to the air and my feet were frozen but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been and at least it was only 10 miles!

Once back to transition I stripped off my bike shoes, donned my Pearl Izumi EMotion Road N2 tri sneakers and was off. The first thing I noticed on the run was just how frozen my feet were. It took at least a half mile for them to warm up to the point of being comfortable. Eventually I did warm up on the run and probably could have ditched the long sleeved top I still had on but I was happy to have it for the beginning. The run course was pretty nice. It went through a bunch of neighborhood streets that didn’t have any traffic and were quiet. Eventually it came back out onto the busier Moe Road, but there is a bike trail along the road so we weren’t having to deal with traffic. The course was almost dead flat so if you don’t like running hills this would definitely be for you!

I crossed the finish line so happy to be done. The run was definitely my worst part of the day and I’m sure that’s due to my minimal training runs this year. But I know what I need to work on and it was fun to have a race done for the year and a better idea of what I need to focus on.

I did manage to eek out 2nd place in my age group, go me! It was a small race and not very competitive, but a win is a win and it felt good. 

My next race is the Hudson Crossing Sprint Triathlon on June 12. I have just over 4 weeks to get myself in the pool and work on my run. I know it won’t be my best showing at this race but my goal is to have fun, otherwise, why would I do it??

Happy training and happy Cinco de Mayo!

Weekend (in photos) 

The weekend started Friday night with some much needed quiet time on the porch which included a glass of wine and a good book while the boys played a few houses down. I love my boys, but Harrison was away 4 out of the 5 days last week and so by Friday I was done being a single mom and needed just a few “me” minutes to recharge.

We still have (really had, took them in on Sunday) Christmas trees on the front porch so when it got too dark to read I turned those on for some additional lighting. 

Cold and gray skies couldn’t keep us inside on Saturday. We managed to get in a 35 mile bike ride together while Owen celebrated Earth Day with Nana & Grandpa in North Creek. Luckily, the sun did make an appearance about half way through the ride.

Make sure to check out those fancy shoe covers Harrison is sporting in the picture above. While the sun may be shining in these pictures, when we started out it was windy, overcast and downright cold! So he opted to test out a new trick he learned by cutting holes in an old pair of wool socks to fit his bike show cleats and then slipped them over his shoes to keep his feet warm. Worked like a charm!

Sunday included house work, grocery shopping, a playground stop and yard work. It also includes this very delicious brew from Harpoon Brewery. 

The Camp Wannamango from Harpoon was the perfect balance of fruity and light to compliment the warm sunshiny day. A go-to brew for the spring/summer for sure. 

The night wrapped up with some laundry folding and House of Cards. That’s what I call exciting! 

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Here’s to more sunshiny days and a return to outdoor activities! 

2015: A Year End Review

As I sit here on New Year’s Eve I thought I’d look back at 2015 and the adventures that it brought.

Let’s take a peek back by the month, shall we?

In January I took a super fun whirlwind of a trip to Orlando, FL with my sister to run the Walt Disney World Marathon. While it wasn’t my fastest marathon, it was my best when it came to how I felt, how I fueled during the race, and how quickly I recovered from it.

Marathon Castle with Frame

February was a quiet month in our house with very little going on. We had a good year for skiing so we did some adventuring into the woods and even threw in a hike in the High Peaks for good measure. We trudged up Giant Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge and had a blast butt sliding back down!

Skiing the Botheration Pond Loop
Harrison on top of Rocky Peak Ridge. Did I mention it was cold?!?!

March was a busy month with a visit from my sister-in-law and her family from Nebraska for a fun week of skiing and snow sports. It was also the month I lost my mind and signed up to race Ironman Lake Placid raising funds for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. It was the start to a crazy journey that lasted the next 20 weeks!

Skiing with the nephews and brother-in-law at Gore Mountain
Skiing with my love
I signed up to race Ironman Lake Placid, say what?!
I signed up to race Ironman Lake Placid, say what?!

April was relatively calm ushering in the nice springtime weather and the return to outside activities. There were Easter egg hunts, days spent at the playground and a return to outdoors on the road bike.

A return to hours spent on the playground!
Back to riding outdoors, yay!

May was the highlight of the year with our epic 16 day trip out West. We started in Los Angeles with the Pixie Challenge at  Disney Land in Anaheim which included me running a 10k and half marathon on consecutive days.  We then moved on to Yosemite National Park which was absolutely amazing, I didn’t want to leave. The next stop was Roseburg, OR where we took side trips to Crater Lake National Park and the Oregon Coast before ending our trip in Seattle, WA. Owen celebrated his 2nd birthday while in California so for 2016 we’ll have to find some way to top it!

All the bling!


Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park
On top of Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park
Seattle skyline seen from the harbor

As the summer months picked up so did my racing and training for Ironman Lake Placid. My first triathlon of the season was in June, the Hudson Crossing Sprint Triathlon. It was my best race yet, finishing in 1st place in my age group and 5th female overall! Training was also at an all time high and ended with an unfortunate bike crash causing a little bruising but no broken bones, luckily.


The bruise 3 days after crashing my bike


July was a crazy month. Not only did it end with Ironman Lake Placid but it also included some fun in the sun and a race weekend away in Geneva, NY where Harrison and I both participated in the Musselman Sprint Triathlon and spent some time wine tasting!

Finishing up the Mini Mussel Sprint Tri with Harrison



August was a month of fun in the sun. Ironman training was over and I was ready for some family time! We hiked, we swam and we played in the sand. We tackled some more High Peaks in August finally conquering Allen Mountain. It was an 18+ mile day hike that left me totally beat!

On top of Mount Jo
Lake time with friends!
On top of Allen Mountain

With September came the end of summer and also the end of triathlon season. While I was sad for it to be over it ended on a high note with the Lake George Triathlon Festival. I raced the Olympic Distance Race on Saturday and the Half Ironman Aquabike Division on Sunday (the swim and bike portion of the Half Ironman). While I have yet to recap the weekend I will briefly say I had an amazing race on Saturday setting a PR by 25 minutes!


September also included the Ragnar Adirondack relay race with the Bob Ross All Star’s (Season 3). It was a fun 2 days of running, eating, sleeping (a little) and having a grand old time.


Bob Ross All Stars Season 3
Bob Ross All Stars Season 3

And I almost forgot, we hiked another 3 High Peaks in September, Panther, Santanoni and Couchsachraga!


October was another big month for us. Owen was baptized in North Creek on October 4th, his Nana’s 70th birthday! The whole family was there including my dad, Grandpa Jerry, who flew up from TX for the special occasion.

Columbus Day weekend was another exciting one for us with Harrison and I running the Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon. It was Harrison’s first half marathon, he did fantastic! And I managed to finally squeeze out a half marathon PR by 2 minutes.

Happy Finishers at the Mohawk Hudson Half marathon

And to wrap up an already crazy month we spent a freezing cold night in the middle of the High Peaks for me to finish climbing the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks. On October 18th on top of Haystack Mountain in the middle of a blustery, snowy day, I became an ADK 46er!


Wait, we can’t forget Halloween!


Overall November was a quiet month. Veteran’s Day was rainy but Owen and I braved the weather to run a 5k and Owen ran his first kids race! He was a trooper and did a full once around on the track. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house, it was a small crowd, and the rest of the weekend was spent enjoying family time with my sisters and their boys.

Veteran’s Day Dash
Turkey heads!

And here we are, December. We’ve been busy, constantly on the go, but it has been joyous and memorable. I cherish each year as I watch Owen grow, discover and learn more about what the holidays are about. He has finally learned who Santa is and that he brings gifts on Christmas day. He loves Christmas lights and so we are constantly looking and searching for the best displays. The neighbors may have outdone us this year, but they better watch out next year, we’ll be stepping up our game!

Making a gingerbread train with Nana
Merry Christmas!
Chatting with the Big Guy!

Year in numbers:
High Peaks Hiked: 7 which included the last 3 I needed to finish my 46!
Miles Biked: 1967.7 (indoor + outdoor road + outdoor mountain)
Miles Ran: 652 (treadmill + road)
Races Completed: 12
$’s spent on Race Registrations: TOO MUCH!
Hours spent on the playground: Too Many to Count!

I don’t know what 2016 is going to bring, but I’m looking forward to the adventures that await.

What are your plans for next year? Any epic trips or races planned?

Wishing everyone a safe and very Happy New Year!