Thursday, December 5, 2019

Turkey Trot Recap

On Thanksgiving morning, my husband and I ran in the Cohoes Turkey Trot.  There was easily a turkey trot to choose from within 20 miles in any given direction.  We chose Cohoes because it was free with a canned good donation. It is nice when you can get the occasional free race, and it helps stock their food pantry.

The Turkey trot in my own town cost $30 per person plus a processing fee and is not even chip timed.  Seriously, why pay that much and not even get a time?

It was ironic that there were only two port-a-potties for about 500 runners! Fortunately, I got in line with time to spare. There was a lady in the back telling people to hurry up. I think everyone got to “go” by start time.

They had water bottles instead of cups at the water station.  More poor planning because who wants to run a race holding a water bottle? And then no water bottles at the finish. They did have coffee, which worked for me, however most runners want water.

They say you get what you pay for.  Or should I say you don't get port-a-potties and water bottles at the finish when you don't pay!

This was a 3.5 mile race and I finished in 43:59 (12:34 pace).  I was number 353 out of 489 runners. The day was blustery but fortunately the air temperature was warm, so you were good with a warm hat. I had new earbuds so I had my music as well.

This was my 12th race of the year.  I met my 2019 race goal of running in 12 races, and I still have one more race coming up.

Since I don't have any amazing race pictures, here is a picture of the salad I made on Thanksgiving.  It is a blue cheese and pear salad; the recipe came from Food My only tweak was adding the craisins. Yummy.
Dressing was added later
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

I Get The News I Need On The Weather Report

That song came on my iPod when I was running one day last week. That song is in one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies.  If you don't get the reference, google “Garden State” - Infinite Abyss. And yes, right then, I did feel like the only living girl in New York.

In addition to my family and friends, the main thing I am thankful for on this day before Thanksgiving is the feeling of being able to run outside in the sunshine.  That sums it all up for me - good health, the outdoors, the glorious sun on your face.  As Dr. Cohen says in another scene from Garden State: "Yeah, you're alright. You're alive!"

This time of year, I really do get the news I need on the weather report. If it is sunny you will find me running outdoors, walking the dog, and occasionally helping my husband with the endless leaf blowing and raking.
My husband, daughter and Summer on the rail trail on a perfect November afternoon
My older son got me a groupon for a dip in a sensory deprivation tank as a birthday present last month. I scheduled it for the day after Stockade-athon to rejuvenate any sore muscles.

That was a new experience for me. You get naked, shower, put in earplugs, and climb into 11 inches of salt and hydrogen peroxide-infused water. The salt concentration keeps you afloat, just like in the Dead Sea. You switch off the light and just float for one hour. It was relaxing and maybe I would do it again. I definitely wondered about the cleanliness of soaking in water that others soaked in. As it turns out, nothing (bacteria!) can survive in that mixture. Plus, it’s been well over two weeks and I didn’t catch anything.
Yes, I went into that abyss 
Speaking of Stockade-athon I was in the newspaper. Yes, that's me in the pink.  Bethany from my running club is to my left in purple.
Photo courtesy of Schenectady Gazette
Thanks for reading! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Stockade-athon 2019

On Sunday I ran the Stockade-athon which is a 15K run. Yes, that is 9.3 miles. Or three consecutive 5K's is another way of looking at it. It is my longest run of the year and this was my second year running it. 

The day was overcast, but definitely felt warmer than last year, probably due to it not being windy. Plus, you can stay indoors at Proctors Theater or the YMCA until the race starts which is very nice.
Despite the sign behind us, we were not actually frozen
Running 9.3 miles does push me to my limits, but in a good way. I was totally prepared for this race, having followed Hal Higdon's 15K training plan for a solid three months.

The first two miles went by quickly as I was trying to finagle with my iPod.  It turns out the wire to the earbuds had broken so the one negative was that I had no music for this run.

At the start - colorful runners on a gray day
The middle miles are just a matter of one step in front of the other. My legs were just on autopilot and I felt happy to see each mile marker. The last third goes through beautiful Central Park which is very pretty and scenic. It was an overall good run.

Here is a screenshot of my time.  I came in 1347 out of 1409 runners. Hey, I am only in competition with myself. And guess what? I beat last year's time by over 1 minute so I have a new PR in the 15K.  

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Clocks Back

I have been neglectful of ye olde blog here. I am also in a reading slump.  The last book I started was the weekend of October 19th.  We went to Massachusetts to watch my niece cheer at her college football game (Endicott College) and thence to Newburyport. On October 20th, my husband ran the Newburyport Half Marathon with an old friend who lives there. 
Sunset in Newburyport Massachusetts
I passed on that run and started reading Stay Hungry by comedian Sebastian Maniscalco while sitting in the car waiting for it to warm up a bit.  Not a book that I would have ordinarily chosen, but my coworker lent it to me after she heard that I have tickets to see him next April.

I made it through Chapter 3 and have not read anything since. That happens sometimes. If it can happen with reading, it can happen with writing. Instead I have been crazy into doing crossword puzzles.

Besides running and volunteering at Squirrely Six last weekend, I participated in a Crossword Puzzle Tournament on October 26th. I may need to devote a post to that.  In case I don't, I finished 16th place out of about 70 participants. It was a blast! Oh, and it was also my birthday. 🙂

Every day after work last week there was something to do: Monday - got my nails done, Tuesday - ran treadmill at the gym, Wednesday - saw Zombieland: Double Tap.  I loved it.  Gosh, that needs a blog post of its own as well.  Thursday - Halloween! We always get a lot of trick or treaters; the rainy weather did not keep them away. Friday - met a group of my husband's old high school friends for dinner. 

By the time the next weekend rolled around, I really needed that extra hour we gained from turning the clocks back!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Trail Run Recap and Grand Prix

When it comes to running for me, sometimes it's just about finishing. But in the case of my trail runs, even just finishing has put me in third place for the Grand Prix. Let me start with a recap of the two October trail runs that I talked about in my running update post.

Way back on Columbus Day I ran the Fall Festival 5K Trail Run at Lawson Lake. It was a beautiful and warm sunny day, easily in the 70's by race time. My time was an incredibly slow 43:47 (14:06 pace). There are some parts that are very steep and required walking, or should I say climbing. I also was overdressed for the weather. I came in 37 out of 47 runners. That was Ok because 1) I finished and 2) I was not even close to last place. So I was satisfied.
Completely unrelated picture of mums near my office. 
Last Sunday I ran the 15th Annual Squirrely Six (miles) at Thacher Park. That is held in conjunction with the Hairy Gorilla Half (marathon) and is a fun Halloween-themed trail run. On Sunday, as forecast, it was pouring rain. My time was 1:26:57 (14:30 pace).  I came in 147 out of 165 runners.
It was not cold once we started moving; in fact it felt really good. Just like Lawson Lake, there were some steep uphills and downhills that I walked. That, and being super careful running in wet leaves and mud is what led to another slow paced run. Again, I was happy with my finish.

These two trail runs were my ninth and tenth races of 2019.

On Saturday afternoon I volunteered to set up and help decorate. Saturday was just gorgeous and the park was jam packed with people enjoying a great fall day.

Now about that Grand Prix....

My running club has something called the Grand Prix Trail Series. The Grand Prix encourages trail running and trail volunteerism.  You are in competition with others of your gender / age group.  That slow time at Lawson Lake still earned me 5 points in the Grand Prix Trail Series. Helping set up Saturday earned me a volunteer point and running on Sunday earned me 6 Grand Prix points as well.
I am solidly in third place in my gender / age and in the running to win something wonderful and exciting like a cap or a water bottle. Ha! 

So it's funny how I can finish near the back of the pack and still be in third place in Grand Prix.  And that matters to me!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Reading Lately

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
If you read the book The Red Tent that was all the rage a couple of decades ago, then you know what an amazing writer Anita Diamant is.  This book starts out in 1985 with Addie Baum telling her life story to her granddaughter.  It is a well written historical fiction novel.  If you can relate at all to Boston in the mid-1900's, Jewish immigrants, or young girls finding their voice, you will love this book. The girls would go to Rockport Lodge every summer and I was wondering if that was a real place.  It turns out that Rockport Lodge is totally real, and was the inspiration for the author to write this book. Anyway, Addie's parents were not the most nurturing people, but I found reading about their dysfunctional home life to be quite entertaining.  Eventually Addie finds mentors outside the home - and true love of course! The book was not as emotionally gripping as The Red Tent but I still recommend.
Well-worn library copy
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
My husband made me read - I mean strongly suggested I read - this book, which I did while we were in Clearwater last month.  At first I was cringing at this boring awful 69 year old widower who never left the house.  He wore the same old man sweater vest every day and didn't do anything. While finally cleaning out his late wife's closet, he finds a charm bracelet tucked away in the toe of her rain boot. Each charm has a clue about an aspect of his wife's life before they married. Mr. Pepper goes on both emotional trips and real life adventure trips to discover the story behind each charm. The book grew on me as Arthur Pepper blossomed.  He questioned his life with his wife, but the quest helps to bring out his good qualities and improves his relationships with his children and neighbors. I never quite understood why he loved those crazy clown pants though! All in all, it was a good read.

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
I picked this book up because it is the fantasy type book I enjoy reading.  David is a 12 year old boy whose mother passed away.  His father remarries Rose who gives birth to his half brother Georgie.  Rose and his dad are wonderful, but David has a chip on his shoulder. The story takes place just outside of London during WW2. To escape the bombing, they move to Rose's family's estate where it turns out a great uncle and his adopted little sister disappeared as children 60 years ago. The books in David's room murmur and talk to him. They lead him to a passage in the garden where David is transported to another world.  But this is not a good world; there are the half man / half wolf Loups, for example. There are several charismatic good guys - all men. I disliked the intimation that Roland - one of these good guys - was homosexual.  It was completely unnecessary to the storyline.  I kept waiting for this so-called "book of lost things" to turn up, and some resolution to the mystery of the missing children.  It was a loooong wait, but my questions were answered.  The middle 100 pages of this book could have been omitted. Skip it.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 18, 2019


Last Saturday night I went to my 40th high school reunion. This was a big deal for me because I have never been to any previous reunions. My memories of high school are okay but not great. My high school was very cliquey and I never felt popular.

Some background - I live a few hours away from my hometown and I don’t have a Facebook page.

First the good part. I reached out to two former best friends ahead of time. Both of these ladies were so warm and welcoming to me. They came to my mom’s house Saturday afternoon before the reunion. One of the girls was a grade ahead of me so she didn’t attend the reunion. She could have because it was open to other classes but she is the caregiver for her elderly mother. The other girl has been attending all the reunions.

As far as the reunion itself, all I can say is meh. I saw several people I hadn’t seen in 40 years and it convinced me that people don’t change.

There was one bad part about the reunion and I am baring my soul to you readers by writing about it. A woman came up to me and the first thing she said was “I have a memory of you and it’s bad / you’re not going to like it”. I’m not kidding - that is how she greeted me after 40 years.

She said that in 10th grade I had written something about her that wasn’t nice. I have no memory of this whatsoever but it certainly made me feel bad. I told her I didn’t remember writing anything like this but if I did I was sorry. The rest of our brief conversation reinforced that she is not a nice person. Which makes me wonder if I did write this because I disliked her 40 years ago. How would she have seen it or known about it anyway?

My mom said the whole thing is silly because even if I wrote anything, I was a 15 year old kid.

My husband thinks it is hilarious that this woman has been coming to reunions for 40 years just waiting to confront me. I have been wracking my brain trying to recall this and nothing rings a bell. Oh well.

Did I get to say hello to a few people from the past? Sure, but who cares. They have their lives and I have mine.