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!

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Skiing the Botheration Pond Loop
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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!

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Skiing with the nephews and brother-in-law at Gore Mountain
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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.

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A return to hours spent on the playground!
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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!

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All the bling!

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Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park
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On top of Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park
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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.

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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!

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Finishing up the Mini Mussel Sprint Tri with Harrison

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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!

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On top of Mount Jo
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Lake time with friends!
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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Wait, we can’t forget Halloween!

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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.

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Veteran’s Day Dash
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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!

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Making a gingerbread train with Nana
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Merry Christmas!
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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!

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Thanksgiving Weekend 2015 (in pictures)

Happy December 1st!

Can you believe it is already December, I mean seriously, where did the rest of the year go? Oh right, it went to Ironman Training, high peak climbing and raising a 2 year old…

Anyway, I hope everyone had a great Turkey Day and enjoyed some time with family and friends. Mine was good, but busy. There was a lot of chaos, quality time with family, GOOD FOOD and even a hockey game thrown in for good measure. Here’s a look at what my 4 day weekend looked like through iPhone photos.

Turkey heads!
Turkey heads!
Family turkey day 5k!
Family turkey day 5k!
Cousins squished in the chair on turkey day
Cousins squished in the chair on turkey day
Boys having fun at the park and out of my hair while I cooked turkey day dinner
Boys having fun at the park and out of my hair while I cooked turkey day dinner
Goofy Ethan
Goofy Ethan
Take a hike and #optoutside on Black Friday
Take a hike and #optoutside on Black Friday
More Moreau Lake
More Moreau Lake

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Hours spent outside at Moreau Lake State Park on Friday
Hours spent outside at Moreau Lake State Park on Friday
Finally napping!
Finally napping!
Decorating my mom's Christmas tree
Decorating my mom’s Christmas tree
Blowing out mom's birthday candle
Blowing out my birthday candle
Cousins! Ages 2.5 - 7
Cousins! Ages 2.5 – 7
Eating a pretzel bigger than his head at the hockey game
Eating a pretzel bigger than his head at the hockey game

It was a very enjoyable weekend and I got a start on holiday decorating as well. I hope to get our tree this weekend and finish up the inside decorations. I am also about 75% done with Christmas shopping which makes me happy! The majority has been done online this year, but I have a few stores to hit before the big day.

I’ll be back, eventually, to wrap up a few posts I have in draft form which includes my very late recap of the Lake George Triathlon weekend back on Labor Day and my fun overnight hike in October finishing up my high peaks. Until then, have fun and enjoy your holidays!

Ready, Set, Race!

“Ready, Set, Race!”

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Those were the words my 2.5 year old was saying as he raced back and forth across the kitchen a few weeks ago as I was making dinner.

Sometimes you wonder where kids come up with some of the things they say but in this case I had a pretty good idea. Owen sees my husband and me participating in races constantly and he has picked up on what racing is and of course that you get a medal at the end. It’s all about the bling, right??

I want Owen to understand that we race for fun and we race to stay healthy so I was really eager to get him involved in running as early as he wanted to. Since he was showing signs of it I searched for a kids run that I could sign him up for.

My search brought me to the Veteran’s Day Dash 5k held at the Shenendehowa school campus in Clifton Park, my Alma mater! The 5k race started on the track and then proceeded out onto the roads through the campus before looping back and ending with a lap on the track. The kids run was held before the 5k and consisted of either a ½ mile or 1 mile option. I was a little concerned that the ½ mile was even too far for his little legs so I spoke with one of the organizers of the event who informed me that he didn’t have to do 2 laps, he could just do 1 and that would be fine, it was all for fun.

So we planned a day out for racing and since we were in the hometown we also planned a trip to my mom’s house for a visit once the race festivities were over.

Wednesday morning dawned cold and dreary. It wasn’t a hard rain, but it continually misted the entire time we were outside for the race. We got down to the school early so we killed some time in the car playing games on my iPhone before venturing outside to sign up Owen for the kids race and pick up my number and swag. Once that was taken care of we headed out to the track so Owen could stretch his legs and we could move around and get warm.

IMG_6089The kid’s races were held in 2 waves, one for the ½ mile and one for the mile. Promptly at 9AM the little kids were off! Owen was probably the youngest, or close to it. There was one guy pulling his son in a wagon and there was one other little girl who was close in age but the other kids were all much faster. Owen was a champion and only got a little distracted. He ran once around the track, ¼ mile, and earned his medal. Although he might not understand it completely, I was so excited for him to be involved. I hope that he continues to want to be active and involved in the racing community.

IMG_6096 Once done there we hunkered down near the bathrooms under shelter from the rain before the 5k start time of 10AM. As it neared 10 we made our way back to the track so Owen could run around before having to get in the stroller for the 5k. There were a bunch of high school students involved in the race who were all warming up on the field so Owen was right there with them running around. As they started the commentary before the race began I packed Owen back up in the stroller and got ready for my race.

I wasn’t really expecting much from this 5k for myself. I really was doing it only because of the kid’s race held before and because it forced me to run fast. My goal was just to finish feeling strong and have a good time.

The start of the race was a little congested with the jogging stroller. As much as I love to see all the students involved in the race some of them don’t quite understand that they need to watch behind them for other runners, especially those with jogging strollers. I nearly took out a few young guys who cut me off. So my first mile was spent dodging other people and trying not to run anyone over. I tried to dodge some of the puddles but I knew I was going to end up with wet feet so I didn’t try too hard. Mile 2 I settled into a good groove and I picked it up in mile 3 to finish strong. Was it my best race, nope, but it was good and I was happy with my outcome since I was pushing 33+lbs of toddler in the jogging stroller and I managed negative splits, go me! It may actually be the first time I had really consistent negative splits, which was pretty cool.

IMG_6102I thought there was a chance that I could have placed in my age group although I realized after the fact that the age groups were 10 years not 5 so there was no way. But I stayed around to find out and then we took off. We didn’t stay for the raffle because of the weather, oh well. We were cold and wet and ready to go see Grammie! We spent a few hours at my mom’s house visiting before heading back north. It was a fun day spent with my favorite boy doing something I love. I hope I pass the passion on to him some day.

Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Although I am really behind on writing race recaps, I’m going to skip past the 2 that I still need to write (the Lake George Triathlon Festival Weekend & Ragnar ADK) and get back to them later. Instead I want to talk about this past weekend and the Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon (MHHM).

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I’m going to preface this post by apologizing for the lack of photos. I waited for the professional photos to be available before publishing this post in hopes to have a few good ones, but honestly, they are awful. I look fat, and slow, and I can’t bear to put those photos here, nor am I going to spend any money for them! Oh, and this post is kind of wordy, so if you don’t care about my race, you might want to stop reading now…

So anyway, this was my second time running this race, the first time was back in 2010 and it was my first half marathon. I trained my little heart out back then and was super happy with my sub 2 hour finish. I signed up to race it again in 2013 as a goal race to get back in shape after having Owen but that was a pipe dream and I didn’t end up running. Harrison had also planned on running it in 2013 with me but neither of us were prepared to do it so we picked up our race garb and called it a day.

This time around we both signed up in the hopes of being able to run it together. The race is always on Columbus Day Weekend which is close to our wedding anniversary so we thought it would be a fun anniversary race. After Ironman was over I started to have my doubts about being able to set a personal record (PR) during this race, which was my goal. When I ran it in 2010 my time was 1:55:56 which works out to just below an average 9 minute mile. While I have run those speeds in shorter distances this year I wasn’t really thinking I’d be able to do it for a half marathon.

Two weeks before the race Harrison hurt his back and wasn’t sure he was going to be able to run it at all. A few trips to the chiropractor and he was ready to race but wasn’t sure what kind of speeds he’d be able to pull off without hurting himself further. This meant I was going to run it alone if I wanted to try and PR.

Huddled together at the start.
Huddled together at the start.

Race morning was cold, very much like the weather in 2010, but while cold the weather report called for it to be a beautiful sunny day. I went back and forth on what I wanted to wear but finally decided on my favorite long roga shorts from Oiselle, calf sleeves, my new tanktop from Oiselle and long sleeved Oiselle shirt (can you tell who I go to for running clothes these days??) I contemplated wearing a beanie to begin but knew I’d regret it really soon so I opted for my Prince George ballcap which was perfect to keep the sun out of my eyes but provide a little extra warmth in the beginning. I also wore a sweatshirt for the first mile that I tossed just past the first water stop. The zipper was broken so I figured it was no real loss to me!

My strategy at the start was to take it easy. I was feeling a little sore and I wanted to use the first mile to warm up. It’s also the only part of the race that has any real uphill to it so I wanted to make sure not to push it and to just relax and let the legs work themselves into a good groove. So my first mile was a 9:18 which I was super happy with. Once out of the park and onto the bike trail I just tried to focus on staying at a comfortably fast pace but not push it too much. Whenever there was a downhill I let gravity take me and tried to use it to my advantage as much as possible. I didn’t stop at the first water stop but by the second I was getting thirsty so I grabbed some Gatorade and kept running. After that water stop I actually took my time and walked through them taking Gatorade and sometimes water. I didn’t carry any fuel with me as I knew I could get by with just Gatorade.
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Other than the miles through Cohoes and Watervliet the course is gorgeous. The first 4.5 miles are on bike trail followed by 4 miles on the road (which are a little unpleasant, it’s pretty narrow with cars) and the last 4.5 miles are on the bike trail along the Hudson River heading into Albany. It’s quiet on the bike trail with minimal crowd support but I honestly don’t mind that. And once I got about 3 miles from the finish I knew the terrain as I often run along the river when I head out for lunchtime runs from work. So I was familiar with landmarks and knew what was around the next corner. I loved it! It was along this last section that I started to slow down and really doubt my ability to PR. As my splits above show, other than the first mile, miles 11 & 12 were my slowest. It’s flat and I was tired. Everything was tight and I was so ready to be done.

Zooming through the second water stop.
Zooming through the second water stop.

About a mile from the finish the crowd support picked up and I gained a little momentum back. I was determined to finish strong, and I did, earning myself a PR by 1.5 minutes! Although 1.5 minutes isn’t much, it was still a PR and while I was a little disappointed, I was hoping for better, I had a great race and really dug deep for it. I haven’t done nearly enough speed training going into it so my ability to squeak out what I did made me a happy girl.

Once I crossed the finish line I made a beeline to the food tent. My body was seriously craving salt! I grabbed a bag of fritos, wolfed those down and headed back to the finish to try and capture Harrison finishing. I had seen a friend about a mile from the finish so I texted her and asked her to give me a heads up when H was on his way. Not long after I found a spot to spectate he was coming in.

Almost done!
Almost done!

He had a great race, despite his bad back, I was so proud of him! That was the farthest he has ever run and it didn’t kill him, so I might be able to talk him into doing it again… maybe.

Happy to be done!
Happy to be done!

We snacked, a lot, stretch, a little (not enough) and cheered on a few friends at the finish before heading up to one of the water stops along Broadway in Watervliet to help out for the last marathon runners coming through. Our triathlon club was manning the water stop and we thought it would be fun to give back to those who were awesome enough to be running the full marathon on Sunday.

Once we were done there we headed back to my mom’s to collect Owen who had spent the day with Grammie and then had a cookout with friends from the tri-club to wrap up the day up at their house in Wilton. Fun times were had by all and I am really happy with my race. I’m not sure if I will run the half again next year but I do hope to do some more speed training and perhaps a PR will be in my future next year.

Until the next adventure, happy running! (or hiking, which is what is in store for this weekend!)

What’s New @ Betty Designs!

There are so many new and exciting things being released at Betty Designs that I decided a blog post was necessary.

But first and foremost, there is still time to apply to be part of Team Betty for 2016. Applications can be submitted from now until October 18th. I have loved being part of this awesome team of ladies in 2015, everyone is such an inspiration and a source of motivation for me to get my butt in gear. I probably wouldn’t have even considered racing Ironman Lake Placid if it wasn’t for them. All you need to do to apply is answer a few questions, so have at it!

Now let’s talk about some of the awesome new gear that has been released in the past few weeks starting with these socks. Seriously, I cannot tell you how much I love the socks from Betty Designs. I had the original black ones and have been dying to get them in other colors. They are super comfortable and my go-to sock for cycling and running. I’m stoked to have them in other colors!

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For us girls in the cooler climates, check out the new winter gear. This cycling jersey is the Best. Thing. Ever. I have it in the team pattern and can’t wait to purchase another. Sadly, I ripped mine when I crashed my bike back in June and have been longing for one. And to go along with it, how about the insulated knickers??

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Lastly, this bag. Must. Have. I’m a sucker for a cute bag. And one that is hot pink and multifunctional? Yes please!

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So there you have it. There are a few other new styles being released soon, so keep checking back. Girls, Christmas is just around the corner. Show your guys what you want this year so you aren’t disappointed on Christmas morning!

Happy Shopping!

Throw Back Thursday – Cascade Mountain

As I look back through photos of all the mountains I have hiked I realized I never shared one of my favorite hiking moments, watching the sunrise on Cascade Mountain (I wasn’t blogging at the time and believe it or not I didn’t even share about the experience on Facebook!)

Cascade Mountain was the first high peak I ever hiked. I took part in an orientation program with SUNY Plattsburgh in which a group of us incoming freshmen stayed at a camp owned by the college in the Lewis, NY area a few days prior to the fall semester starting. It was during those few days that we took a hike up Cascade Mountain. The program helped us as newbies to meet a few people before heading into freshmen year and as it turns out it started something much bigger than that for me, it started my quest to become an Adirondack Forty-Sixer. I don’t know the exact date of that hike, other than that it was in August of 2000, but I have hiked Cascade 3 more times since then.

Although that first time hiking it will always be a memory I cherish, the most memorable hike of Cascade was on November 5, 2011 when I hiked it with Harrison to watch the sunrise. We had only been dating for a short time, in fact I think the hike was maybe only our second date, but I convinced him that it would be “fun”. The fact that he agreed to do it with me made it apparent that he was a keeper.

We left the house in the middle of the night to hit the trailhead. It was cold, below freezing, as you’ll see from the photos below there was a light dusting of snow on the trail. The stars were out in force and the air was crisp and calm. We had thermoses of hot liquids for the top and were armed with sleeping bags to ward off the cold as we watched the sun light up the horizon.

Here are some of my favorite moments from the hike.

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To be on the top of the world, so to speak, and watch the sunrise was pretty amazing. Which is one of the reasons I hope to end my quest to become and Adirondack Forty-Sixer by watching the sunrise from the top of Haystack Mountain. I’m hoping Mother Nature will cooperate with me on that!