Yelp’s Midsummer Odyssey

I lead a very lucky life! Besides amazing friends, I often get to go with said amazing friends to very fun events. Add in a free sunset booze cruise with dinner and beverages included and life doesn’t really get better than that. I mean, maybe if a marathon was included in my day,  but that’s okay, I can separate running from partying when things like the ocean blue call for it.

I’ve been enjoying the perks of being a Yelp Elite for 5 years now. The events that I get a chance to attend are always amazing. Once a year or so, yelp will throw a giant event where the elites and non elites can frolic, partake in libations, and  mingle their hearts out at a museum, or an art center, or in this case, a giant 4 floored boat! Therefore, I don’t have to pick only a single plus 1 spot, but instead can have all my favorites with me (if they choose to RSVP).

Even though the event was open to everyone, the elites did get some perks. We got to eat up, booze up, and dance up for a full extra hour. Tony and I were hungry so we went straight for the food!

There was a garden salad on top, which I think had watermelon in it and caesar on the other levels! I loved the three-tier that this gets its own photo.

One of the floors had karaoke, if you’re wondering what they’re singing, it’s lobster rock.

This was my view while eating dinner. The overcast sunset created the most dramatic effects!

Now you’re probably wondering if there was anything else to eat besides lettuce? Of course!

Buffet Options

There was also grilled chicken, a meat craving station, and a whole ton of Hors d’oeuvre ranging from ahi tuna to spring rolls, crab rangoon, fish cakes and random other things. Needed to say no one went hungry.

The only thing grander than the entree options was

Dessert! And I apologize. I know this is the worst dessert photo in the history of all food blogging.

One day, I’ll get tired of taking food photos, however, yesterday was not that day

The boat had 4 layers, with the top being a complete outside patio. The views were amazing!

The airport was only a short hop away from the boat, so airplanes were almost directly above us for a little while!

We passed by some of the Boston harbor islands

Fort Warren in all it’s glory from Georges Island

I took more photos than one person should with a flimsy Iphone but it was just hard not to want to capture the moments.

And before we knew it, we were heading back to main land… And just as we got off the boat, the sky opened up into a flooding rain!

 

Have you ever been on a boat?

NYC Marathon Training Week 1 – Worst and best training runs I’ve ever had

Okay, I decided my goal of training to get me through my work busy schedule and the Fall will be NYC marathon! I’ll go more into this on a different post but for now here’s a recap of my week.

Monday
Rest day

Tuesday
10 Miles of running and Jillian Michael’s 6 week 6 pack.

It’s weird, I consider myself in great shape, however, I don’t do core, or strength, and I was suffering through the whole video while doing the modified easy poses! Afterwards, I kinda laid on the floor and wondered what I did with my life or more just my strength. Back in 2008, I used to able to go through 3 of these videos back to back. But I also couldn’t run a mile back then either.

8 Mile run where I tried really hard to get my pace to a tempo pace, but failed. I ran at incline 2, and really tried to focus without losing form. Switched between 7.5MPH & 7.8MPH every 60-90 seconds depending on mood. This got me to 7 miles in 55 minutes or 7:51 average pace. 9 minute cool down mile. I know that between now and NY, I really should get this tempo run going if I hope to get faster. They’re painful and a lot less fun than cruising.

2 Mile run in the evening to warm up for my Jillian Michael video. I started at 9 minute pace and sped up until 7 or so for an average 8 minute miles.

Wednesday
1,000 yds swimming in the morning. I’m playing around with AM swims to try to get there before those who are swimming in night gowns and floaties come to the Y. Sadly, pool was only a little less packed in the morning. Anyways, I did my first swim “workout.” 300 yds warm up, 5 x 100 yds sprints, 200 yds cool down. During my warm up and cool down, I went super slow and tried to focus on form and turning my hips, while the sprints I just swam as fast as possible, keeping my heart rate up.

In the evening, I went out for what was going to be a 5 mile run, but it turned into 10 miles! It was a beautiful, crisp evening, where everything felt great. I wasn’t feeling fast, but since the weather went down a bit, I felt like I could breath again. Before I knew it, I was wrapping up 10 miles, around 8:28 pace.

Thursday
6.5 Mile run

45 Minute Spin

The weather in Boston continued to stay cool, so of course, I just couldn’t resist! I was going to be taking my first spin class in the evening and should have saved my legs but the weather was too tempting.

So during lunch, I took my extra gym clothes, and went for a short run on the Charles. I’m about half a mile run from the path, so even with the slow mile of running between tourists and stop lights, my average came to 7:30. For me, on a training run, that’s fast. I don’t have the mental strength to push myself unless I’m racing and that’s something I’m working on. Technically, I should be doing 7 minute miles for tempo, but I’ll take the 7:15 minute miles I held for about 5 miles. I’m hoping to get some more miles on the Charles for tempo lunch time runs. Hopefully, it’ll stay cool!

This was probably my strongest or best training run I ever had!

And in the evening, I got to attend a Yelp Elite event at Equinox where I previewed a spin class. I’m not sure I can get into Spin, the concept of fake hills seems a little weird, when I wish I could be biking up real hills, but I guess when you can’t do that, Spin is the next best thing.

Also, I don’t know what 80% or 50% effort is. I do distance and endurance, this whole sprinting concept, I don’t know what that means. I wish I had targets to hit vs. trying to decide what my perceived effort is. That drove me nuts. I don’t know if I should push myself with resistance or speed!

Friday
I expected to be sore, but I actually felt great. I wanted to run more miles, but I know going from 30 miles a week to 80, would be stupid even for me. I kept it short with 4 quick inline 2 miles at 7:55 pace. I wanted to run further and faster after having a great Wednesday and Thursday run, I told myself to calm down and save it for the weekend.

Saturday
Unplanned rest day because I woke up too late. Eating and seeing family like a boss… because dealing with family is a work out of its own.

Sunday
I’m sad to say I ended the week with what thus far is the worst training run to date. I did a few stupid things. I didn’t eat dinner because I had a late giant family gathering that was a late lunch/early dinner. I didn’t hydrate well, woke up thirsty, didn’t drink much water and didn’t take a water bottle with me. I did eat breakfast, some toast, but the lack of water before my run, no water on my run and 85% humidity made me almost have a heart attack.

Started the run with 5, 8 minute miles on a flat running path. My pace quickly dwindled down to 8:30 minute miles for the next 5 to the point where I thought if I kept running, I would die. I would have called for a ride home but my phone was dead and I ended up walking/jogging all the way back home for 3 more miles. It was pretty pathetic, where I was telling myself okay jog 1 minute, walk 3, jog 1 and you can sit down on the next bench.

Yea kids, don’t mess around with hydration, even if its a cool 70 degrees outside. Actually just don’t mess around with humidity.

Bad runs happen, as awful as I felt physically, I was okay with it mentally. I’ve had bad runs, maybe not as bad as this one, but I always come back with a stronger run the next day. As awful as I felt, I just kept looking forward to Monday, when I knew I would be coming back with a vengeance.

Total Miles – 43.5

Total Feelings – Determination... summer is long from being over, but I am determined to kick start my marathon training for the fall.

 

 

How did your weekend go?

2013 Narragansett Running Festival Half Marathon Race Recap – Running for beer!

The Narragansett Running Festival was an inaugural event featuring a 5K, 10K, and half marathon that took place on July 21st, 2013.

Registration was actually very minimal (relatively), about $50 for the half, and $24/30 for the 5/10K. Needless to say, the race completely sold out.

Tony was anxious to sign up for another half, after his killer race at Run To Remember in May.  So as much as I detest summer running, summer racing, summer anything, I signed up with him.

Before race day, the race director sent out a few emails reminding everyone to get there an hour early to guarantee start time since the race was held through Stonehill College and roads will get closed. I was a little disgruntled with the warning, but I guess it was a fair enough warning since we needed to pick up our race numbers anyways.

An extra hour was good.

Portapotty line was 15 minutes to spare

Tony’s nephew was running his first half marathon and he made sure we got there an hour early so he wouldn’t miss his first 13.1 race.

My iPhone keeps taking blurry photos, I am not impressed!

We couldn’t tell where the race was to start so instead I took multiple walks to the car and back, stretched, and sweated my tail off as it was already 77 and humid.  I scoped out the crowd.  The half marathon field was relatively small with only 350 runners.  I was a little surprised and impressed that the event wasn’t oversold and overstuffed, like many road running events tend to be.  It was a great small race, and had a trail run feel to it vs. the general road race type.  If you’ve been to both, you know what I’m talking about. If not, go run a trail race! They’re amazing! All you feel is LOVE!

I don’t know who the guy in the marathon maniac shirt is, but I hope he has sunblock on. Speaking from experience, fish net tights make horrible tan lines!

Race Start
Photo by Bud Morton

The half marathon started exactly on time at 8:30. I believe the start went something like that “O it’s 8:30, 3,2,1 go!” I was fiddling with my phone trying to get runkeeper to start. It was a rough morning for me, when I got to the race and realized my beloved Garmin was sitting by my bed plugged into the outlet. I panicked, felt naked and decided to run this race retro!

Before the race started, the director told us it rained before and that we should expect puddles. So of course, I started to have TARC 50/100 flashbacks.

The course wasn’t the best, nor the worse. On the site it said about 95% trail, which I guess is true if you count the gravel, pebbles as road.  Otherwise I would say its more 85-90% road.  A good handful of miles, about 3 or so is scattered through Stonehill College in loops. Another part is on a horse trails and the gist of it, is on a road that goes around the pond. You run through a residential pond area for most of the course. While the road is not closed to traffic, it was in fact light traffic and there was police to help at each intersection. It was a far better experience than at many other races where I ran on an uneven shoulder of a major route with a UHAUL next to me in the pouring rain. (coughHYANNIScough). Also, since the race only had 350 runners for the half, I never had to struggle to weave in and out of other runners. I only really saw a few runners ahead of me, and while I didn’t look, I’m sure there were only a few directly behind me.

Splits1

 I had runkeeper on, but I actually ran without my headphones for about 10 miles of the race. I wanted to save the  music for when I really started to suffer, but I think it didn’t help me save myself from the crash I got after mile 9.

Mile 1-6 I thought I started myself conservative and at a comfortable pace. The course was a rolling course, so the pace variation is more a result of the elevation change rather than effort.

Mile 7-9 These were my struggle miles. The heat was getting to me and maybe I needed electrolytes or something. I was starting to feel dizzy. Luckily, I decided from the beginning that I wasn’t going to race, I was just going to run by comfort.

Mile 10-13 Sometime after mile 9, Tony passed me and that’s when I realized, a month of little running has left me weak. I thought about gathering my remaining energy to race him and then decided I rather save it for another race. Tony, you can have your victory for this one.

Splits2

The last 5K was ugly. Almost as ugly as my 5K at Appleman. I guess running in air-conditioned treadmills instead of outside has made me a complete failure at running in hot weather.

At the end of the day, it’s all about the bling
Yasso Froyo, another great reason for racing!

I’m really glad I ran without my Garmin

Looking at my splits after the fact, had I had my Garmin on, I know I would have freaked out, pushed myself harder and probably overheated and completely crashed like I did in the 2012 Boston Marathon. I’m glad, that without my Garmin, I was able to run by feel and not by pace. And with the exception of the last few miles where I kept getting pebbles in my shoes, I had a great race. I was slow, but so was everyone else. I got passed by a few runners, but not by a swarm. I finished the race and at the end of the day, instead of almost passing out on the grass, I was able to enjoy a full day of ice cream and mini golf.

The boys enjoying their froyo! Tony finished around 1:43 beating me by over 3 minutes and Matt in 2:13:03 and he just started running like 2 months ago!

My brother ran his second 10K!
Tony, looking pretty content with himself

There was a mild issue with them running out of bottle water at the finish line. Luckily, I was able to get a bottle for myself, my brother and Matt before that happened.

The other issue I heard, was that a few 5Kers were pointed in the wrong direction by a volunteer that took their run from 3.1 miles to like 3.8 miles. I would say, that’s a pretty major issue. At one point when I was running and the half marathon converged with the 5/10K race, I asked a volunteer if I was still on the half marathon course since I only saw a sign for 5/10K. Her response was I don’t know. I freaked out a little at first but then decided the 5/10K must end at the same place so regardless it would lead me to a finish line.

Other than that? The race was well-organized, especially for a first year event. There was water every 2 miles. The mile markers were great! There was no congestion at all! There was plenty of bagels, bananas, granola bars, Kind bars, coffee cakes and probably many more post fuel options that I didn’t note.

And my refuel? Yea! Hey, it was a hot day. Yup the beer garden had plenty of beer for everyone that was included in all over 21 race entrants!

The Results
Total Time 1:46:05
Total Pace 8:06
Division 7/63
Total Place  58/334

Conclusion: I think there should be weather PRs!

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday & National Sand Sculpting Festival Revere Beach

Let make this a weekly gathering of photos from last week! I hope it’s as fun for you as it is for me 😉  Or you can follow me on Instagram Unvalidated for even more treasures!

Why I love Boston, 10 minute walk from my office is the Charles

Back to the Weekend –

National Sand Sculpting Festival Revere Beach – Some of my favorites!

The real reason I came to Revere beach was because I really wanted to finally try Kelly’s Roast Beef (the original).  I heard the Lobster rolls are good too.

The festival also brought in ton of Food Trucks, so food had too many delicious options and samples!

After my half marathon, the brother and I took a trip to Kimball Farms

They had an all you can eat ice cream bar, where I tried my best to really eat all I can.

Some photos deserve close-ups
I tried my hand at a driving ranch
But later decided that mini golf is more my style!

On Friday night, I went to check out a movie at the Hatchshell on the Charles.  It was in the 90s even at night, which made it for a very chillin’ picnic while “Wreck it Ralph” played.

Our picnic had everything, pasta salad to real salad, to cookies, to humus, to chips and movie candy
Our two cats started to bound
But first Jack had to lay a smackdown
Giant coffee mugs, not just for Coffee anymore
You know those moments you’re so hungry, you can’t hold your hands still to take a photo? Yea, Turkey tips from Papa’s Bar and Grill – Malden’s finest!

And best for last!

Yup dancing my legs sore on Saturday night just before my race to the Mighty, Mighty Bosstones.  One of the final acts in Boston’s Outside the Box Festival.

 

Your turn! Share a fun moment from your past week!

 

 

Training towards… (nothing) Week Recap

Don’t worry this training week recap will be short and not too sweet. After waking up Monday and barely being able to walk from the pain in my left adductor, I decieded it was finally time for a rest day or two. Instead of taking my runch at noon I decided it was wiser to proceed n earning my degree in WebMD from Dr. Google and diagnosed myself with death and being unable to walk or run because I like to assume the worse.

Monday – Nothing

Tuesday – Nothing

Wednesday – 10 Miles

I started feeling better on Tuesday.  It hurt but I could walk again! Wednesday, I barely felt any pain so I decided it was time for a run.  It came with great success.  8 miles at lunch at sub 8 minutes on incline 2. I did 2 more after work but it was something like 9700 degrees outside, so I thought my basement would be refuge. Instead it was only 8700 degrees there with no AC so 2 miles was good enough for me.

Thursday – 10 miles

7 miles on incline 3 at 8:25 pace and about 3 miles after work at incline 2

Friday – 1,000 yds swim

I had motivation to try to swim a new distance PR but the pool got crowded and my shoulder hurt so I stopped after half an hour.

Saturday – Nothing

Sunday – Narragansett Half Marathon! 13.1 Mile Run

It was hot, I didn’t run my fastest or slowest but full recap to come!

 

 

I need motivation! Tell me how your training week went!

Hesitations about tri(ng) – Three things that hold me back from triathlons

As the memories and soreness of my first triathlon begins to fade, I am back to the struggle of what do I want to do?

Do tri or not to tri

That is the question.  It’s a battle of being fascinated and at the same time intimidated with the endurance aspect of triathlons, particularly the half and full Ironman distance.

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past month while training.  Some things are good, some are bad but for the most part I surprise myself often and in a positive way.

Things that scare me from dwelling further (distance) into triathlons.

THE GEAR

When it comes to gear, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m not very techy.  Zero drop? Minimalist? Pronation? I don’t know.  When it comes to running, I’ve been lucky that I just buy a shoe (okay usually a pair of shoes), run and for the most part it works.  I have my favorites that I stock up on but I don’t really know if there’s better things out there.  Sure I love my running skirts and compression socks, but mostly because I can get them in pink and they look cute.  Maybe they have benefits, maybe they don’t.  I am not an expert, but I’m pretty sure I’d run just as fast or slow wearing anything else.

Triathlons are different.  First there’s the bike.  So many questions, that I don’t know where to start.  Also, can someone tell me what those black wheels I saw on some people’s bikes last week?  It looked badass, kinda like a biking ninja.  Besides just picking out a bike based on cost and the millions of brands out there, you can’t just buy a bike and be ready. Nope, you need to learn about wheels, breaks, gear changing device (no I don’t know what it’s called), seats, and who knows what else.  If you’re biking 90 miles and you breakdown at mile 40, you need to figure out how to fix your bike so you can at least eventually get home.  If I pull a muscle on mile 10, I can cab home.  If I break my bike at mile 40, well I’m sxit out of luck and better fend for myself.

Then there’s everything else.  You can’t just wear a t-shirt and shorts and be done. No, there’s a trisuit, sometimes its a single item, sometimes there’s separate top and bottom? What works best for me? I don’t know. I’ve come to the conclusion that most brands for running clothes are equal (as long as they are your respectable brands).  I don’t know what brands to trust with triathlons. Then the wetsuit. Sleeves or no sleeves? What brand do I get?

And for more swimming fun? I don’t even know where to start.  I just learned they have earplugs for swimming.  Things I wish I knew before.  Now which do I get?

THE COST

When it comes to running, there’s very few things you need. A good sports bra (a must!) and a pair of running shoes that work for you.  While running shoes aren’t always cheap. The latest pair can cost you around $115, you can get last year’s model for half the cost and most likely the only difference will be a minimal weight reduction and colors.  And let’s face it, unless you’re Shalane, a 1/2 oz difference will not get me to first place in a marathon.  Got shoes? Got shirt? Got pants? Now you’re good for 3-6 months depending on how many miles you run. Sure you can buy things like pretty skirts, and cute bic bands, and other stuff, but those are nice to have.  You don’t really need it.  Just look at the high school cross country dudes.  The don’t even need a shirt!

Bikes are not cheap.  Once I invest into a road bike, I better be damn sure I like that said bike.  I better be damn sure it fits me and I better be damn sure if it breaks down I can fix it. You can buy a moped for the price a nice racing road bike will cost you. You can go on a really nice 2 week vacation for the cost of a road bike.

I could buy a used bike, but sadly, there are little to none bikes that would fit my 5ft frame on craigslist in Boston.  If you see one, let me know!

Wetsuits.  Also not cheap! I don’t know where to start, but what I gather they will cost you 200-400 bucks and so if you buy one, you better make sure it fits.

Even things like tri tops and tri shorts.  I don’t really know what makes a tri shirt and what makes a running shirt, but I know the price difference its 2 to 3 times more.

I’ve acquired a lot of running clothes, I don’t think I’m into acquiring as much triathlon clothes.  Unless Marshalls add them to their workout clothes section.

So yea, the cost of triathlon gear is high, not just for money but for time.  As cost goes up, the time you spend researching your purchases goes up.  At least mine does.

TARGET WORKOUTS

If you haven’t noticed, my running workouts consist of one target, run for as long as I have time for and be happy. I do a few speed workouts like progressive runs because I enjoy them, however, I don’t have target days for different workouts.  I don’t have speed days, I don’t have track days, I don’t have preset easy days. I don’t have a long run day, other than I try to get one at some point in the week.  Maybe it’s that mentality that keeps me from my coveted sub 3:20 but it works well enough for me.

Training for a triathlon will require a schedule.  I will need a swim day, a bike day, a run day, and many days that will combine both for a brick run or bike or who knows what other wacky names you triathlon people have for workouts.  That scares me.  It scares me to know that I can’t just wake up and run as my heart feels like.  I have to mentally work myself up and mostly stick to a schedule.  Of course I can still be flexible day-to-day, but I will have more goals and targets to get through in a week than run X amount of miles.

Week 4 Triathlon Training Recap

I don’t know if people taper for sprint triathlons, but when you give yourself 4 weeks before your big day to train, the luxury to taper isn’t really there.  It’s a precious week of working on my base.

I did decrease my swimming to workouts to 2 vs my usual 3 I’ve been making myself do.  I also knew, that I needed to get in at least 1 ten mile bike ride before Wednesday.  As for running?  Running is always a big part of my life.  I’ve been wanting to sustain 50 miles a week but I had to give that up.  I did come pretty close!  Why 50? I don’t know, seems like a nice number.  Last year I was content with 35 a week.  My, my how ultra training will change your perception.

Once thing I also didn’t do was take a rest day this week.  It was probably a little dumb, but I told myself I didn’t earn it, after taking 4 days off last week.

Monday 8 Mile Run 1,000 yds swim
I had a pretty good run.  About 8 minute miles before I knocked the treadmill key out. Nothing like ruining my groove with a sudden stop. For swimming, I wanted to see if I could actually swim half a mile without a break.  So slowly but surely, and many awkward turn around moves, I swam 900 yds while trying to avoid putting my feet down in the shallow.  I got tired, But it’s good to know it was possible.

My eyes always get goggle eyes

Tuesday – 6.5 mile run, 12.34 mile bike
Not a pleasant run.  I overheated myself by starting too fast and had a miserable last few miles. The evening bike ride went much better.  I wanted to go a little faster than usual to test out my legs, unfortunately, there’s nowhere I can bike nearby without cars.  I hit a few stop lights and almost skid in a parked car but got up to a 13.8 MPH pace.  It sounds way too slow for a bike, but I have traffic, stop lights and MBTA buses to work with.  I like to avoid getting hit by a bus!

Wednesday 8 mile run
Still couldn’t focus.  Couldn’t mojo myself into a higher incline.  Stuck around 2 at 8:22 pace.

Thursday 1,000 yds swim, 6.4 mile run
I learned a new thing.  Kicking.  Yea, when people swim, they should kick. It helps you move forward. Unfortunately, I got tired of kicking very quickly. After swimming, I waited for Tony to get home and we ran a little bit on the Malden bike path.

Friday 8.3 mile run
While I can’t say I completely got my groove back, it was a nice start.  Maybe the nice 70s weather helped. I decided I couldn’t miss out on running outside, so I went on the Charles. There was some construction that derailed me and frazzled me, but I eventually got back in my groove.  Ended up being around 8:26 pace.  Not my best for the Charles, but a happy run.

Best view of Boston from the Charles

Saturday 4.2 mile run
Shaking out the legs. Went for a short brisk run around a hilly pond.  Was doing 7:45 minute miles.  I think it was here where I tweaked my adductor, because I felt the pain Saturday night but chose to ignore it since I had a race.

Sunday – 900 yd swim, 10 mile bike, 3 mile run
The big day.  So big it deserves its own recap.  Check out my Appleman Sprint Triathlon race recap.

Total Miles – 44.4

Total Feelings – Proud but injured 

I gave up doing 6 more miles Sunday night to reach 50.  I had the energy; however, my adductor on my left leg felt very sore.  On Monday when I woke up, it hurt to walk.  Luckily, with rest for 2 days, where I barely moved myself off my work chair or couch, I am back to being my wonderful running self!

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

I love seeing deer less than 10 miles away from Boston
Why am I posting a salad? Because I grew this in my cinderblock garden!
My new favorite ice cream, caramel pretzel! And yes, a pint is a single serving!
Bacon donuts. Why? Why not?
Wounded donut soldiers. What was left in the kitchen after the rapture.
Pool party eats
Malden Farmer Market Finds!
Have you met our other cat Brody? He’s a little more shy but I think he looks like Simba.
Spanish Omelette from Vic’s waffle house I went to after my Triathlon
Don’t worry I got a waffle too. Whole grain with vanilla yogurt, granola and banana. So good, I hate half before I could take a non-blurry photo
Jack and I played a game. Every time he would try to scratch the yoga mat, I would spray him. The bottle was half empty before he lost interest.
My current addiction while I am not exercising this week and try to heal my stupid leg.

 

 

2013 Appleman Triathlon Race Recap

The 2013 Appleman Sprint Triathlon took place on Sunday July 14th at 8AM in Littleton, MA.  Registration was $70 plus $12 USAT fee that every triathlon does. I haven’t done any triathlons but I think that’s relatively inexpensive for sign-up a month before.

The race was sold out to 600 people according to race directors.  However, race results show only 470 individuals which includes the disqualified individuals.  I think maybe the others were in team relay.

I set the alarms the night before always in constant fear of oversleeping.

I woke up well before 5:40 since it was hot, I was excited and nervous and my choice of food and beverages from Saturday’s pool party were probably not the best (but still totally worth it).

Luckily, I packed all my gear (besides my clothes) and bike into the car the night before.

The “gear”

Swim – Speedo goggles, pink swim cap the race gave, sports bra and shorts,

Bike – Jamis Coda Femme Hybrid Bike, Old most likely expired helmet (I ordered a new one after I noticed the foam was separating from the plastic.), Wave Sayonaras, my favorite old navy running tank, camelpak filled with water a nuun tab.

Run – Same mizunos I biked in.

Misc. Two towels, One to lay out my transition items, one to wipe my feet, extra pair of socks in case I spilled water or something, Gu, a cap (in case it rained?), a bottle of water to wash my feet. Babywipes, to freshen myself up before getting brunch.

Since I spent all of Friday night prepping my list and setting up a tri-pile in our living room, I was able to get dressed and make a peanut butter sandwich and shuffle myself and my favorite partner out of the house in 20 minutes!  We got rewarded with a fairly easy drive to Littleton in about 36 minutes.  I guess not too many folks are out on the roads at 6AM on a Sunday.  I wonder what they could be doing ;).

At 7AM, an hour before gun shot, about half of the athletes already showed up.  I got my number, my time tag, and began setting up my transition area.  Failure #1: I set up my transition towel on the wrong side of the bike before a volunteer tells me I did all wrong (in a nice way).  Good thing I got started with everything any hour early.

Failure #2 – Everyone with road bikes used their drop bars to attach their bike.  Mine didn’t have any and it took me a while to figure out how I too can secure my bike to the mount.  Luckily Tony was there before I started crying.

The slogan for this photo is “triathlons, best cure for hangovers”

I was set up and ready to go with 40 minutes to start time.  I know T would have liked more sleep but I didn’t mind being early too much.  It was nice to relax and watch all the triathletes set up.  Plus I got to do another race with my friend Anna.

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The swim was a half mile in Long Pond (doesn’t it seem like every pond is “long pond”).  You see that orange buoy to the left, we swam there, then across of an orange buoy so far to the right it didn’t make it to my photo.

The swimming was in waves broken up by age and gender.  Male/Female, Under 40/Over 40 and I’m not sure what the 5th wave was.  What the race also offered was a swim angel if you wanted one.  This amazing individual will swim with you and a noodle the whole race. You can rest on the noodle when you need to and as long as you don’t swim with it, you are not disqualified!

The offered it to the first wave, the men under 40 and no one took one.  As soon as they offered it to my wave, my hand went straight up!

Somewhere all the way to the left and the back is me in that pink hat wave!  I might have gotten a little too much to the left and paid the price in slowly having to swim back around across.

Visibility was nonexistent in the pond.  I’m not sure if water in a lake is any clearer.  I did hit someone by accident while I was underwater and felt awful.  Although I did get hit a few times myself.  My swim angel warned me whenever the other waves were catching up but luckily I was able to avoid most crowds until the end.

I ended up not using the noodle once, but it was nice to know that if I got kicked in the head, someone would notice if I couldn’t resurface!

And yes, towards the end I was checking every second if my feet could touch land and as soon as they did I gave up swimming in the mass of bodies and ran!

T1 was interesting.  I don’t know why a lot of people were walking over to their bikes so slowly.  I don’t know if I was being rude, but I ran past the people that would stop dead short and walk in the narrow transition walk out of the area. I think I did a great job of running while removing my goggles and cap.  Face of pure determination right there.

Total Time 25:59
Division 15/19
Overall 431/470

Total DFL was all I could think.

Pulled my shirt on, snapped on my camelpak, shoved my feet into my socks and shoes, helmet secured and walked my biked, well ran my bike over to where we could start the bike part at the bottom of a small hill.

The bike

While I did 2 or 3 bike rides while training for this race, one thing I never biked on was hills. For some reason I imagined the course to be fairly flat.  Well, the hills forced me to learn my gears quickly.  Big gear, little gear, I was switching back and forth.  I got passed by a lot of road bikes, and I passed a few of them back on the uphill.  My legs definitely didn’t expect biking to be as challenging as it was.  The downhill part was fun and while I was always terrified of a sharp turn at each bottom and a helmet that would probably shatter before it would protect my brains, for the most part I blazed as fast as my little bike could carry me.

Overall, had I done a few hill bike rides and learned how to use my gears faster, I think the course would have been a blast! And a road bike would have helped.  Dear summer Santa, bring me a road bike.

Total Time 40:31
Division 10/19
Overall 294/470

The Run

By the time I was getting to the run, I was in the back of the pack and I was ready to get down to business.  The run! I mean it’s only 3 miles.  My 10K PR is 6:45 pace so a 3 mile should be a breeze.  Well as soon as I got off my bike, the definition of brick set in.  I didn’t realize the hills is what makes the brick run, not a relaxing bike ride through a flat road I practiced on.

This is not exact distance but this is how the run appeared to me.  I didn’t see any mile markets so who knows.

Run a mile uphill.  Run half a mile across a flat field trail.  Run half a mile up a muddy trail with boulders (because clearly I didn’t get enough mud in June), run a half mile downhill on a trail with no boulders, .75 miles downhill on roads and .25 miles to the finish line!

It was hot.  I’m not certain but I think by the time I was running weather was around 85 and I ran under every kind resident who offered their hose water.  I took cups of water and poured over my head so I could continue passing people.

The run was a challenge, but I think the variety made it fun, or maybe I was feeling a little better because all those people who passed me on a road bike, well their clip in pedals can’t help them then!

I was determined to not let anyone pass me.  I mean I was in the back of the pack to begin with but I wasn’t going to throw in the towel just because I was losing.

Total Time 26
Division 2/19
Overall 93/470

Overall, I think this triathlon was a great experience.  If anything, my short comings are motivating me to train longer and better for my next one.  I don’t know when or where, but I want to do an Olympic sprint distance next.  Maybe with a few more months of swimming. But first, I need to get a road bike!

Overall Results

Total Time 1:32:31
Division 9/19
Overall 277/470

I’m pretty happy with how I worked myself back up.  Can I call this a negative split race?

Mount Washington Hike – White Mountains Adventures

I once read a list of top 10 deadliest hikes in America and of course immediately knew I wanted to do ALL of them.  I have problems I know.  As I scanned the list and frowning that so far I have only accomplished one.  The mist trail to the Half Dome in Yosemite (P.S. totally worth it.  Probably the most amazing hike I have done to date) was that one.

As my eyes continued to scan the list, I noticed that Mountain Washington, a hike a mere 3 hour drive (thought from someone who can’t drive) from Boston was also on the list.  Ever since then, I’ve been inching to go.  Tony has done the hike in the winter and we slowly collected some gear but it never worked out.  Finally July 4th weekend was perfect timing.

I mean it’s hot, so it should be tolerable at the summit right?

A few facts!

At 6,288 feet, it is the highest point in the northeast USA.

In April 1934, the observatory recorded a 231-mile-per-hour (372 kmh) wind that remains a world record for a land-based weather station.

Some of the observatory buildings are secured to the summit with chains to keep them from blowing away.

Temperatures atop the mountain can drop as low as -47 degrees Fahrenheit (-44 C)

But once again, it’s summer and 90 degrees at the base so how bad could it really be on top.

As we parted the car, we noticed other hikers coming out of their cars with large backpacks filled with something or other and I suddenly got very subconscious of my lack of gear.

Everyone needs a selfie at the base. I look more ready to go to the beach than I am to hike one the top 10 most dangerous hikes!

The ‘gear” we had

1. One camelpak I use for running that holds 2 liters of water
2. 2 smaller bottles of water in Tony’s backpack
3. 3 Peanut butter sandwiches & a few lara bars
4. headlamps – Because after almost being stuck on a trail in pitch darkness in Yosemite, we never leave without it
5. T shirt and shorts for Tony, Tank, hoodie and shorts for Liana
6. Innov-8 running shoes for Liana and saucony virrata for Tony

The fact that all the other hikers had rain gear and pants should have been a smarter sign for us but again its 90 at the base, just the thought of more layers made me sweat.

A photo looking down about .2 mile into the hike

From the beginning, there is no slow easy walk in the woods.  The boulders start from the beginning.  Although at a gradual incline level, you will be hiking rocks the whole trail.

And while the trail itself is unpleasant brutal horrible  challenging, you are constantly rewarded with beautiful cascades around you.

After 2.4 miles of boulder hoping you get to Tuckerman Ravine’s Shelters.

Very under-dressed for what’s to come

Can you see the storm that’s brewing above?

Now many hikers end their journey here.  Because after the tree line things get a little bit more gnarly.

Its like walking into the abyss

I’m still sweating and sweating from the heat, meanwhile my shoes are still soaking wet from a waterfall hike we did yesterday.

Visibility is getting worse but we’re still smiling

We are walking and taking pictures when suddenly it starts pouring rain and I start to understand why everyone was carrying rain gear.  Of course with lack of rain cover or even a plastic bag, I try to protect my camera and phone as best I can.  I cover it all up under my hoodie and hope for the best.

It starts getting darker and darker.  The rangers at the base said that there’s chances of thunder storms and if you see one coming, you should probably get below tree line.

We start noticing a few hikers turning around.  We’re probably half a mile from the summit.  Why would you hike 3.5 miles uphill just to turn around before you hit the summit.  I pouted and pouted as grew darker and rainier and I questioned how will I ever hike down these rocks once they’re wet.  We talked to one group of fit looking hikers who were turning around at the point we were at.  One of them summitted Mount Washington 7 times and said it’s probably best to not risk it with how bad the weather is.

I guess if the fit people with rain jackets are turning around, maybe its time for me to get my unprepared bum back down as well.  So sadly we turned and made the hike back down.  Had we went through the trouble of getting to the top, there would have been no visibility whatsoever, so there was very little to gain from going hire besides a high potential for injury, being stuck or getting struck by lightening.

On the clearest days, observers can see as far as Mount Marcy in New York State, 134 miles to the west.

So worry not Mount Washington, while I have yet to summit you, I’ll return and await a clear day when I can see as far as my almost blind eyes will allow me too.

The hike back down was a little scary on the ravine side.  The rocks got wet and suddenly were a lot more of a challenge going down than up.  It took me a while to get more comfortable.  Once we got into the tree line, it was back to be 90 and sunny.

Yes Mount Washington summit has a climate of it’s own.

While, I felt a little depressed about my weather luck lately, I did get to end the hike on a happy note.

I mean how could you not be happy after seeing that? Crystal cascades, about a 5 minute hike from the base?