Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Goal Recap and 2017 Goals

Even though I barely blog anymore, I still feel this obligation to review my goals for the year and set new ones for the next year.

Started 2016 off with a trip to Arizona with amazing friends!

2016 was a valley. It was an off year for us, and even though we did accomplish quite a bit, I felt lazy, slackerish, and hated running and triathlon for awhile. I was stressed because of other life events going on, and our triathlon life took a hit as a result. I don't even feel like I "raced" Ironman Mont Tremblant, I think I was just there as a participant and gave it a shot. Our training was lackluster and until recently I have felt sluggish, slow (I'm still slow, I don't think I have a 3:58 marathon in me ever again) and "blah".

 Finishing up Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3

Regardless, I did set goals and as usual I didn't accomplish them all. I didn't even really check in with my goals this year and just did my thing. Which, admittedly, my thing wasn't a whole lot. I have 747 (rounded up) running miles, the lowest I have ever logged since we started running in April 2011 (I started logging miles in 2012) and the first time I have had less than 1,000 miles since 2012. I swam 46 miles and biked 1,857 miles. Pretty low considering we did an Ironman and a 70.3. Thankfully, I didn't have any mileage goals this year (maybe I knew that 2016 was going to be a down year).

 Racing with Crystal in California

So what were the goals I set last December? And how did they go?

  • Finish Ironman #2 with a smile on my face. Check, it was tough but we finished Ironman Mont Tremblant in August.
  • PR the Half Ironman and Ironman distance. Big no. I almost PR'd the 70.3 distance at Rev3 Cedar Point, I was off by about 7 minutes, which is good considering it was a few weeks after IMMT. The Ironman distance PR was not happening and even with spectacular training it may not have happened due to a harder course and the pouring rain on the bike. Next time (2018).

During our Great Range Traverse
  • Complete the Great Range Traverse in the Adirondacks (approximately 25 miles, depending on the route). Check, mostly. Mike and I completed the Great Range Traverse in June. We ended up skipping the final two non-high peaks, but we did still hike about 25 miles that day in 19.5 hours.
  • Section hike more of the Appalachian Trail. Check! We hiked the AT in Maryland and Pennsylvania in November (I still have to blog about this trip). We got a 20 mile section and a shorter 2.5-3 mile section over the weekend.
  • Ride around two more of the Finger Lakes. Half completed, we rode around Cayuga Lake with two of our friends. 

With my family while in Savannah, Georgia

Racing Mini Mussel with Janell

Seneca7 fun
  • Race, train and go on adventures with family and friends as much as possible. Check! Lots of racing, training and adventures were had and we have had twice a week 5am run dates with our friends since the middle of October.
  • Be in the moment while with family and friends. Check!
  • Volunteer at a race at least twice. Half accomplished. We volunteered at the Rochester Triathlon in August.
  • Unplug more often (I am contemplating going cell phone and laptop free one night a week). I think we did alright with this, I would like to unplug even more.
  • Continue to declutter, organize and donate/get rid of items in our house (hopefully start the sell our house/buy a new house process as well). Check! We did move, so we had a lot of items to go through and a lot of things were donated, sold and thrown away that we no longer needed/used. We are still unpacking at the new house, but it is a process.
  • Plan something epic for 2017. We're going to Hawaii, most likely running a 30 miler with friends (currently on the waitlist) and I'm sure something else will come up!
Overall, not bad. I didn't set many goals for this past year and I accomplished most of the ones that I did set.

While on the AT in Maryland

For 2017, these are the goals that I have:

  • Course PR at Mini Mussel (current course PR is 1:33:22)
  • Finish a 100K with a smile on my face.
  • Ride around at least two more of the Finger Lakes.
  • See new lighthouses in Michigan. 
  • Reach the halfway point toward becoming an Adirondack 46er (we are currently at 17). 
  • Race, train, hike and adventure with friends and family as much as possible. 
  • Swim 50 miles, bike 2,000 miles and run 1,000 miles.
  • Volunteer at a race at least twice.
  • Go to FIT1 consistently. 
  • Decide on and register for Ironman #3 (for 2018). 
  • Section hike more of the Appalachian Trail. 
  • Hike in the Catskills.
  • Unpack, organize and set up the new house. 

That's it. Some speed goals, distance goals and adventure goals! I'm looking forward to all that 2017 has in store for us!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

5am Runs

I thought I would break up our hiking recap posts (I still have a few more from last month) with a post about running at 5am.

I never thought I would become an early morning runner. Sure, Mike and I used to run in the morning before work on occasion and run in the mornings on the weekend, but rarely would we wake up in the 4 o'clock hour unless it was for a race.

The past year has been a struggle to get in our workouts. Even during Ironman Mont Tremblant training we would cancel or shorten our workouts due to time constraints, stress and just plain feeling "blah" about triathlon. In the fall, I had enough.

We like to take photos

I knew we had to change something, so I asked our friends Jenn and Gustavo if they wanted to run with us sometime. Jenn mentioned that running at 5am worked for her and so we said we would be willing to try going once that week.

As soon as we finished the run that morning, we made plans for a second run that week! (Even though during the run we had said that we could plan on one or two times a week depending on how we felt).

Run toward the lights!

Since that day back in October we have consistently met at 5am twice a week (with the exception of Thanksgiving week when we only ran once in the morning due to traveling) and we have even run on the weekend and at night a few times together.

More friends at 5am!

Our runs started out as "5 miles at 5am", but even on the first day we didn't follow that - we ended up running over 6 miles. So the name has changed to "5ish miles at 5am". Other friends have joined in on some of the runs, which makes it even more fun!

Our coldest run so far

So really, the point of this post is to thank Jenn and Gustavo for being willing to run with us so often and turning us into early morning runners!

From our "running into winter" run this morning

Here's to more "5ish miles at 5am" runs in the future!

All photos in this post are courtesy of Gustavo, except one that Mike took. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Esther Mountain and Mt. Baker

Back in October, Mike and I were supposed to go back to the Adirondacks two weeks after we hiked Colden and Wright. We decided to postpone our trip to the first weekend in November because of weather and we boarded Bernie. I didn't know what the weather would hold for us, and this way it gave us more options without him.

We decided to go for Esther Mountain since it is a short hike and not very intense, compared to some of the other mountains we have left. After seeing the weather, I had ruled out doing Whiteface as well, even though most people do that since they are so close. We'll hike Whiteface at another time and take a different, less traveled, trail to do so.

We woke up relatively early on November 5th and made the drive to the Atmospheric Science Research Center. We parked on the side of the road where hiker parking is located, and got ready to hike. Mike got out of the car and asked some other hikers where the trail was, and they pointed him in the right direction.

The trail in the beginning

We set off for our hike and made our way down the trail. We had about a .3 mile warmup before we started to ascend, rather steeply. This was probably the hardest part of the hike, especially since I got warm almost immediately. We pulled over to the side so I could take off a layer and the other hikers Mike had chatted with passed us.

Mike making his way up

The top of Marble Mountain, no views!

We continued the steep climb for awhile, and then right around 1 mile into our hike we made it to Marble Mountain. We couldn't see anything at all, so we just kept going. We made it to a junction, to the left we could go toward Reservoir Road (another way to hike Esther and Whiteface) and to the right was the trail we wanted.

After this the hike wasn't that bad at all, except the temperature in the higher elevations. We did ascend a little bit after Marble Mountain (well quite a bit, but it really wasn't noticeable at all). Mike and I did have a moment of, "did we pass the herd path", since our watches were over the distance we thought we should be at for the path.

To the right!

Walking the herd path


Mike's "Usain Pole" pose

Right after that, though, we reached the junction for the herd path to Esther and the trail to continue on to Whiteface. We went up the herd path and this is when it started to get really cold and icy/snowy. I put on my winter gloves and my down jacket, and finally warmed up. The only major issue with the herd path was one section where there were some down trees and we had to navigate over them.

 The summit plaque

I kept wondering when we would hit the summit of Esther, thinking we had a bit further to go, and then I saw the other hikers from the beginning of our hike. At first I thought they were just taking a break, and then I saw the plaque that marks the summit.

I said, "oh!" not realizing that we had already reached the summit. The four of us chatted for a bit, about how the summit was kind of anticlimactic and some of our other hikes, and then they continued on to Whiteface.

Obligatory shoe photo 

Us on our 17th high peak!

Mike and I took some pictures at the summit, had a snack and then we went back down the way we came. My feet were really cold and I worried for a little while about them warming up. Since the trail was wet, my feet were wet. I did have another pair of socks, but thankfully after a little while my feet did warm up and I didn't need them.

I thought it was interesting that these were here for an unmaintained trail 

Mike navigating the downed trees

We went through the sketchy downed tree part again, and after awhile (before I thought we would) we were back at the junction for Whiteface and Esther. We kept going back toward the Atmospheric Science Research Center since I worried about the temperatures on Whiteface, and I had already decided we weren't doing it that day.

Happy trails!

The hike down was enjoyable. A lot of the ice on the way up had started to melt and we ran into a few other hikers going up.

Mike pondering life 

Loving the ADK

When we approached Marble Mountain, there was actually a view! We stopped at Marble Mountain and took some photos.

After that it was just one mile back to the car. This hike was really enjoyable, and our shortest hike in the high peaks so far! We finished up back at the car after 5 hours and 24 minutes for a 7.15 mile hike. At the car, some hunters were finishing up their morning and they asked how it was up on Whiteface. We told them we didn't go up that far, but we assumed it definitely had snow up there! (Also, one of them asked who the ultra runner was since I have my 50K and 50 mile stickers on my car).

We spent the rest of the day getting some brunch, going into Lake Placid to get burritos and seeing Dr. Strange. It was a nice relaxing day in the Adirondacks!

The trail sign

On Sunday before heading home, we decided to hike Mt. Baker, one of the Saranac 6ers. It is the shortest of those 6 mountains (and we had planned to hike a second, but we decided to just get some breakfast and go home after the first hike).

Mike making his way up the trail

We didn't see anyone else during this hike until the very end. There were some flurries toward the top, but since we were in lower elevation compared to the day before it wasn't that bad. I was wearing my winter hiking boots and some of the ascent was difficult. I didn't trust myself as much in them and went slower than I probably would have in other hiking shoes/boots.

A marker at the summit 

Sadly, no views 

Pretending there are views

At the top we took some photos, ate some snacks and then went back down.

Somewhat of a view on the way back down

After 1.9 miles in an hour and 23 minutes we were back at the car.

While this weekend was a bit more relaxed for us than normal when we go to the Adirondacks, it was still enjoyable. And one more high peak checked off for 17/46 done!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Wright Peak

Continuing on with our hiking adventures from back in October (and now I have some to blog about from a few weeks ago, so behind), we decided to see how Bernie felt the morning after our hike up Colden to decide if we would attempt another peak.

Hiking? Again?

When we woke up, we were happy to find that Bernie was moving around easily and seemed ready for another hike (we were all feeling the previous day's hike, but wanted to get another high peak before leaving to go home).

The night before we decided that we would go for Wright Peak, but instead of starting at the Loj we would park at South Meadow and take a ski trail over to the trail from the Loj. We got to South Meadow pretty early and got ready to go. It was warmer than the day before, but cloudier. We weren't expecting many views at the top!

Gorgeous light at the trail register

After gathering our things, and helping another hiker figure out where she might be meeting her friends for their hike, we got going. The walk on the South Meadow truck road is nice and flat in the beginning. We checked in at the register and then kept going. We weren't going to be on the trail for long and we were looking for our turn off for the Mr. Van Ski Trail.

One nice thing about this trail is that we got a different perspective of the ADK

Our owl friend!

Walking single file

We saw it about a mile or so into our hike, and went for it. The Mr. Van Ski Trail connects with the trail from the Loj that we needed to take to get to Wright. The ski trail was a little over a mile and the trail was really overgrown. I worried about ticks and Bernie, so we were walking single file the entire way.  The trail wasn't too bad until we came to a stream crossing. The water we walked into was calf deep, but luckily it was passable. It was at this moment that I knew that I didn't want to take this trail back to the car.

I was happy to get out of this section, it was a bit creepy!

The ski trail widened at the end and then we were back on the trail from the Loj that we had used the day before. We didn't have very long to go and then we were at the junction for Marcy Dam and Iroquois, Algonquin and Wright.

Different direction than the day before

Cute family photo

Still some fall foliage

The trail became rocky right away, and it started to rain. We were still making really good progress and thankfully it wasn't icy.  Along the way we didn't see many people, but two hikers did take our photo together and one hiker from a couple that we stopped to talk to at a waterfall gave Bernie a couple of dog treats (he really liked her!)

Another pretty good family photo 

The waterfall 

Mike playing on the rocks

After the waterfall, we didn't have too much further to go to a junction for Wright, Iroquois and Algonquin. Mike and I stopped to have a snack and to put our down jackets on since it was getting colder.

So dapper 

The weather was definitely going to change!

As we started our way up the final .4 miles toward Wright, we came across two hikers who were coming back down. They told us that it was very windy, socked in and slippery at the top. As we got closer, we could tell that it was definitely windy up there. We took a short break before navigating one of the last difficult sections before getting to the exposed terrain. We saw these two hikers coming down as we started to make our way up, they commented on how much warmer it was there than at the summit!

Up we go! 

Taking a break before going the final distance to the summit

Once we got up there, it was windy. It was difficult to navigate because of how windy it was (it had to be at least 50-60mph winds), but Mike, Bernie and I continued on. We could see the large cairns marking the way (and that we thought were the summit). It was so cloudy that we could barely see in front of us.

Bernie's pack was vertical!

At one of the cairns

After determining that a bump a little ways away was the summit, we trudged along. Finally, we made it to the summit of our 16th high peak! Mike took a short video to document how windy it was (you couldn't even really hear him yelling into the phone) and I immediately sat down on the rock with Bernie. After a few minutes up there, I said that it was time to go back down.

Me and Bernie, my 16th high peak and his 7th!

Mike on his 16th high peak! 

Heading back down

We quickly made our way back to the safety of the trees and then continued our descent. We stopped at the junction again to take off our down jackets and then we kept going.

Back to the trees!

Earlier on in the day, I had suggested that we try to go to the Loj instead of taking the ski trail back to South Meadow. As we kept going down the trail, I asked Mike if he wanted to try to do that. The worst case would be that he wouldn't be able to get a ride and that we would all have to walk back on the road to the car (which we hoped wasn't going to happen).

A family photo at the waterfall 

I love hiking with this boy! 

A beautiful end to a hike

We made it to the final junction (another option that we could have used to take the South Meadow trail back to the car), and we decided to go for it. The hike back to the Loj was easy, just as it was the day before, and just as we were approaching the parking lot we saw a guy and a girl in front of us.

I told Mike to go ask them for a ride (just for him) and when he asked them they said that they would take him to our car. Bernie and I hung out waiting for him, I was thankful that our plan had worked out!

Bernie waiting for Mike

In the end we hiked 9.5 miles in a little over 6 hours, not bad for our second hike of the weekend!