Friday, November 11, 2011

A Day at the Zoo

I love the Zoo!
I'm sure that is politically incorrect, but I can't help it. I love seeing the animals. Where else will I ever get an opportunity to see elephants and orangutans and polar bears all in one day? Where else can I stand safely with my kids and hear the roar of a tiger, or the laughter of a hyena?
Kevin and I decided last weekend to take the kids to the Bronx Zoo for the day. We knew that it was the last day of the year that many of the special attractions would be running, and we wanted to take advantage of some all inclusive passes that we had.
I'm so glad we went! At the Bronx Zoo, there are a few animals that you can only see if you go on the monorail, which we missed when we went down earlier in the summer. Jack was so happy to see the elephants, and Mack was thrilled by the Rhinos. But, the big surprise was how enamored Shayna was by the Red Panda.

Here are a few pictures from the day.
Mack and Jack being measured near a Tiger.

Family shot in front of the Polar Bear.

Riding the Camel-Jack wouldn't go.

On the monorail.

Here's a picture of Jack and Bentley, who is now 5 months old. Although, it's not a shot from the zoo, some people (and by that, I mean Kevin), would say our house feels like a zoo with 2 kids and 2 large dogs.

I can never chose a favorite animal. I love the monkeys for their antics. The polar bear, because despite his size, he is so stinkin cute. The Giraffes are beautiful to watch. The Tiger manages to be regal, no matter what he's doing. And the seals, swim with such grace and ease, that I love to watch them.
What's your favorite animal at the Zoo?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

2011 Tour De Habitat

Just as I resigned myself to the idea that there would be no Tri for me this year, my husband came along with a crazy new idea. "Let's complete the Tour De Habitat ride on Sept 18th!" Sounds like a great idea. Right? All proceeds for the event were to go to the Albany chapter of Habitat for humanity, and the entry fee was $100, but we could fund raise to cover the entry fees, if we wished.
Did I mention that he came up with this brilliant idea around September 4th? And, did I mention that he wanted to complete the 50 mile ride? Oh, and, he asked his dad and Uncle to join us. AL and Marty have completed the MS 150 on more than one occasion, so 50 miles is a walk in the park for them.
Kevin's enthusiasm was contagious. How could I say no? I've never completed a 50 mile ride before, so it sounded like a great adventure. With only 2 weeks to go before the event, Kevin started fund raising with incredible focus. Just as I was beginning to contemplate backing out of the event, I learned that we had raised close to $1,000. Combined with the fact that his Dad was sneaking out of his house at 5:30AM for training rides (I know, because I was outside with the puppy on several of those mornings), I decided to follow through with my commitment.
And, time marched on. A week before the ride, Kevin bought himself a new bike! It's a beautiful and fast specialized road bike. Here is the only picture we have, because every time he gets on it, he's too impatient to let me take any others.

September 18th arrived; sunny and beautiful. Unfortunately, I woke up sick. Again, I considered canceling. But, I really don't like to give up before I even try. So, I threw my bike on the rack with Kevin's and we met up with Al and Marty at the Albany Pump Station, to register and hand in our donations. As a team, we raised over $1,000! Our team was the highest fund raising team this year.
My plan at the beginning of the ride, was to modify the event and only complete the 25 mile route. Unfortunately, the routes weren't the same for the first 13 miles, and I was so busy talking to Uncle Marty, that I missed my turn for the shorter route. Prepared or not, I was going to do a 50 mile ride!
The ride was beautiful. We took some back country roads through Albany county, that I have never been on before. At mile 13, we stopped for a snack and some water. At that point, I was feeling pretty good, and was glad that I decided to do the 50 miles. From mile 12 to mile 28, the ride was scenic....and hilly! I am not a great hill climber. To make matters worse, Kevin and his Dad are fantastic hill climbers. They were truly good sports about it, and never complained once that I was holding them back.
By mile 32, my butt was pretty sore, and I was starting to get blisters on my palms (now I know why gloves are a good investment). And yet, the conversation was great, and the scenery continued to be beautiful. Around mile 40, my toes went numb. Unfortunately, that's also about the time that we cruised onto some major roads, where the scenery was not as great, and traffic was fairly busy. It was a definite test of my commitment level, and determination, to finish those last 10 miles. We rolled back into the parking lot of the Pump Station, 4.5 hours after we started. Certainly not any speed record, but we were all fairly proud of our accomplishments! We climbed a total of 2,000 feet in elevation during the ride. And, I completed my first 1/2 century!
Sorry, no photos. We didn't think to bring our camera.
I believe we are shooting for the 100 mile ride next year!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Year Without a Tri.

So, it turns out that 2011 will be the year without a Tri, for me. I started out with the best intentions: Training hard, focusing on my running, eating healthy. You know, doing all the right things.
Then, in May, I received an email that my favorite Tri was cancelled, due to extensive road work scheduled to be done on the bike course. That sort of took the wind out of my sails, so to speak. But, I pulled myself together and started focusing on the DACC in August. At the same time, I increased my running volume with an eye on completed a half marathon in September.

In late June, I was up to 6.5 miles for my long run! That's a huge deal for me. I have never trained consistently above 4.5 without an injury. So, you guessed it! I got injured. Plantar Fascitis in my left foot. It sidelined me for quite a while, and made me miserable. I fell into old habits and didn't communicate that I was in pain, to my family, so they all just thought I was being a jerk....sorry family.

There we were, in June, training on the back burner due to injury, (and here the story takes a side trip) and I had a night of intense dreams. In at least 6 dreams, I saw the same puppy. I don't remember anything about the dreams, except that the same black puppy, with white on his chest, and wavy fur on his ears was there.I told Kevin that when I meet this puppy, he will be part of our family. He didn't really believe me, so he patronized me and said, ok. Whatever.

Well, in July I met that Puppy! His name is Bentley. and I knew immediately that he is the puppy who was in my dreams. Here he is, on the day we met:

And, here in one of my favorite pictures of him.

Relevance? Well having a puppy is sort of like having a baby. All my personal goals went out the window, to take care of him. He came to us in mid July, when he was 6 weeks old. From that day on, training became almost non-existant.
Between the PF and the new puppy, I ultimately had to decide that Tri training would have to take a back burner this year. But, things are settling down now, and I'm hoping to get back into a training groove. Winter training is a little more forgiving of missed days, and hopefully I'll be ready to go for 2012!
In the meantime, I'll enjoy Bentley and my kids, and focus on being healthy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Things That Have Kept Me Busy this Summer!

The top 8 reasons why I haven't blogged this summer:
8:Gardening. Although the next 9 things have also detracted from our time in the garden.

7: Running. I managed to get up to 6 mile runs before I got injured! That's a huge deal for me.

6: Cycling!

5: Reading great books. Like The Help.
4:Hanging with this Chica:

3: Chillin with these two dudes!

2: A week in Cape Cod with the family.

AND, The number one reason why I haven't blogged this sumer is.....
A new addition to our family. His name is Bentley, and hecame to us at 6 week sold, weighing 8 pounds!

Here he is today. He is now 11 weeks old, 18.9 pounds!

Be prepared for more Bentley photos, in the future!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our 10th Anniversary!

Kevin and I celebrated our 10th anniversary this past week. We are very fortunate to have Shayna and Andrew living with us right now. They agreed to take full responsibility for the care of Mack, Jack and all our animals, so that we were able to celebrate on Cape Cod.
When looking at the photos from our honeymoon, it looks like we were on separate vacations. We have many pictures that we took f each other 10 years ago, but almost none of the two of us together. So, we promised that this time we would make a concerted effort to ask people to take pictures of us together.
Here are a few of the shots we have from our three day trip!
Sunset from Rock Harbor Bay

We rented bikes, and spent the first half of our anniversary, on a 30 mile ride. We went past the end of the rail trail, and followed "Ocean View Road" It was beautiful. One of the hidden gems of Cape Cod.
Here we are at the beginning of the ride:

And here we are at about the half way point.

Finally, for our main celebration, we went on a sunset sail from Provincetown Harbor, on the Bay Lady II.

It was a beautiful 2 days, and we cn't wait to go back with the kids this summer!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Make it a Great Day" Half Marathon and One Mile Community Walk-Review

Let me start by saying that we have currently raised over $8,000 for the NY Oncology and Hematology Cancer Resource Foundation!

Our goal for this first annual event was to raise $5,000, and I'm so excited that we surpassed that! Donations are still rolling in, so we don't yet know what our final total will be.

As far as the events go, it was so much work, but so worth it!
I took Friday off from work, to run around and get everything ready for Saturday. I went to bed on Thursday night with a clear plan for Friday.
Unfortunately, I woke up on Friday morning to an email from the company I had rented the timing system from, stating there was a "mix-up" at UPS, and I would not be receiving the printout stopwatch system. This could definitely be classified as a "Big Deal". I had visions of me standing at the finish line of the half marathon, with my $10 target stop watch, shouting out to the finishers things like, "You were a little more than 2 hours" and "Okay-#4 was about 2:20, and #6 was about 2:30. So, we'll give #5 a 2:25."
Or, "Hey, you all finished! Isn't that what's really important here?"
After three hours of near panic, several emails and phone calls, I had a solution to the problem. Thanks to the Tamarac High School Cross Country coach, and Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club, I found 2 reliable stop watches to use!
(I'm now a member of HMRRC.)
Then the fun began! It was a day of running around to pick up safety cones, raffle tickets, T-shirts, which look awesome. We still have a few for sale, if any one's interested.

Friday evening, we were joined by Ed and Donna Peck to stuff goodie bags and organize T-shirts for all registered runners/walkers. By 1:20 AM, I was ready for bed!

Saturday morning, I hopped up at 5, loaded up the van, and woke Mack up. We swung over to get my friend Mindy, who had volunteered to spend the day helping out, and made our way to the school. We spent the next 2 hours ( joined by several other volunteers) getting set up, greeting people, registering same day runners, getting the water stations squared away, and before we knew it, it was time to speak to the runners! Ed Peck and I both said a few words.

The runners gathered at the starting line

Remember the time keeping fiasco I mentioned? Well, thanks to these two lovely ladies and Andrew, the timing of the race was smooth as silk!

Here are my two littlest volunteers. They hung in there all day long, and were incredibly helpful!

The first runner came in at 1hour and 25 minutes!
There are a few things I learned from this event, and a few things I'll do differently next year. The first is that I'll choose a weekend that doesn't coincide with a local 5k that draws over 5,000 runners from all around the world. Some of the other changes include, adding mile markers on the course, starting a little earlier, and getting a volunteer to take pictures of the event.
Some of you might be asking, "Where was Kevin during the event?" Well, my awesome husband was competing in the race. And let me brag a little, to say that he finished his first Half Mary in 2:07! That breaks down to 9:45 per mile!
For the most part, I think the day was an incredible success!
Hope to see you at the Second Annual "Make it a Great Day" Half Marathon!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The half marathon course!

The two side roads will be run on the first half of the race. For safety, and to prevent runners from having to cross the road. Once you reach Old Siek Road, it's a straight shot back to the school.

Tell me what you think!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Make it a Great Day" Half marathon and one mile community walk

I've been working to organize this half marathon and community walk since last October..or maybe September.
The event is in honor of my eighth grade english teacher, Ed Peck.
Here is the original post, where I talk about the beginning of the plan.

Well, things are moving along, and coming together nicely. The date of the event is Saturday June 4, 2011. The half marathon starts at 9 AM, from Tamarac school, where Ed taught. You can now register on-line at

"Make it a Great Day" Half Marathon

The one mile community walk starts at 10 AM and will take place on the school track. The purpose of the walk is to be sure that every one who wants to show their support for Ed, has a way to participate. There is no registration fee for the walk. Anyone who donates $50 or more will get a T-shirt. Donations can be made on the day of the race, or on-line through

I started this process on a whim. And, so far it's been an incredible journey. I've met many new people, who have been kind and supportive, and as excited as I am. Ed Peck was an inspiration to me for many reasons. This event is a fantastic way to honor him, while doing something good for many people in the community.

If at all possible, please consider joining us on June 4, 2011.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A few updates

First, there is a post coming soon in honor of my beautiful daughter's 21st birthday. Photos are being uploaded. Sorry for the delay, but this isn't something that can be rushed.
Next- an update on my new years resolution, which was to run 3 times a week.
I did not make it for the month of January, when I averaged 2 runs per week. But since the beginning of February, I have hit the target every week!
Which brings me to the final update:
Those Vibram 5 Fingers (VFF's) shoes that I got for running: They are awesome! I love them. My feet love them. My knees love them! I have had to slow my running pace down a little, while I adjust to running in them. But, I am building up a a solid base. My long run is now 4 miles every week.
Yes, they look funny. And, yes, at least one person comments on them, every time I wear them. But, I don't care. They're so awesome, that I'm thinking about buying a pair in black for work.

I signed up for my first 5k of 2011. It's in Troy on April 9th. I'm ready for it.

So there you have it. Nothing to exciting going on. I'm really trying to stay focused on my running goal, until tri season gets going in full force.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Confidence and Strength

Recently, I was participating in an online discussion about Tri training, and how it effects other aspects of one's life.

Here is the question that was posed:

"Which brings me to a idea and I'd love to hear what folks think. I've been reflecting on the importance in triathlons to have the confidence to believe you'll do well by whatever standards you set for yourself. Part of that confidence comes from proper training... that is, if you follow a training plan that has been put together by experts, you can be more confident that you'll "do well" in what you trained for. But there's another piece of that confidence, which has to do with how we face and embrace experiences that are new to us, especially ones that in the past where we might have mental roadblocks. Triathlons might be a physical manifestation of this situation (and a simpler one), but there are lots of others in life. Do any of you see taking on triathlons as "training" for breaking through these roadblocks in other parts of our lives?"

And my response:

I've been thinking about this question since you posted it, Stu. The answer is most definitely yes, for me. This past summer, I was in a terrible working environment. The regional managers of the company had made it very clear that their goal was to eliminate my job. I was faced with daily pressure to justify my position, while continuing to do my job.
Every day, before I walked into the office, I would stop at the door and say to myself, "You just completed a 25 mile bike ride last night, up Krumkill hill. You can handle anything they throw at you."
On a funnier note, whenever the regional manager would come into the office, and give me a hard time, I'd picture his pasty white, overweight, flabby body in a wet suit... It made me laugh every time

Today, I am in a much healthier work environment. But it is still extremely stressful, because I deal with life and death situations every day. Sometimes, when I'm in a stressful, new or difficult situation, I'll close my eyes for a second, picture the toughest hill I've ever rode up, and know I have the strength and patience to handle the issue.
So, yes, Tri training has helped me immensely in life.

And now, my question for each of you:

What do you participate in, that improves your confidence and self esteem? What is it that gives you the knowledge that you are strong and competent, and can push through tough times?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Some New Things

As usual, things have changed a little bit around here. Shayna has gone back to school for the last half of her Junior year. We miss her terribly, but she's happy at school, so we're happy for her. Plus, we have Skype now, so we can see her every day....if she doesn't ignore us :)
But, don't worry about us too much. We aren't suffering from a quiet house, or the absence of a young adult. My nephew moved in with us for a little while. He chose to move up to chilly NY, from Texas. We are so fortunate that he is staying here with us, while he gets on his feet. Mack and Jack love having him around. Kevin and I do, too. I think it's a bigger adjustment for him, than it is for us. I mean, he's never actually lived with little kids before.
He seems to be settling in fairly well. Cammie loves having him around. Mack has convinced him to play Scrabble and Legos with her. Jack has twisted his arm to play army guys ( a game that I dread having to play), and today they created an airplane together.

Everyone's having fun!

On a training note: I've been sidelined by illness.
I haven't had a single workout in over a week now, because of some respiratory thing that I managed to catch. But, in preparation for when I can return to the track, I picked up a pair of these:

Vibram Five Fingers! AKA, Barefoot running shoes. The theory is that with a minimalist shoe, we use our feet in a healthier way. There is a huge movement of runners using these shoes. My hope is that I will have a reduction in injuries, as I slowly transition to these shoes. I've been wearing them around the house every day, and I love them so far! I'll let you know how they feel for running, if I ever get out there again.
That's it for now. Stay healthy and have fun out there!

Monday, January 31, 2011

50th Anniversary Party

My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on January 14th, 2010. To celebrate, my siblings and I threw them a surprise party this past summer. My sister wrote a wonderful post about the party.
To give the story a different twist, I thought I'd share photos from the exclusive "after party" with all of you. Brace yourself for the glamour and thrill of this top secret event!
The happy couple in their element!

Various grandchildren relaxing and playing together

Performing surgery in the living room

There you have it. A glimpse into the glamor and glory of the private after party.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Washington DC

I got a new computer this week. The old one was terrible at posting pictures, so there are a few things I've avoided writing about, until now.
The first is my trip to Washington DC in October 2010. I love museums, but rarely get to go to any. Then, in October, I had an opportunity to fly down and spend the weekend in DC: The mecca of Museums...all of which are free!

The icing on the cake was that my cousin (and good friend) was also going to be in DC that same weekend! She's from Phoenix, and we don't see each other as much as we want. Okay, admittedly, I'd like to hang out with her every weekend, so once a year will never be enough for me!

Here are some photos from the first day in DC:

I met Kath for dinner that night, and we took a cab over to the Korean War monument. A friend had told me one of the "must see attractions" in DC is the Korean war Monument at night. The pictures don't do it justice. It was haunting, and eerie, and really captured how it might have felt out in those fields at night.

I'm just going to say that Kath is a pro at getting a cab! It was my first cab ride, and if hailing it had my responsibility...well, we'd still be standing on the corner.
By the time I got back to my hotel that night, I was exhausted from all the walking I had done.
On Saturday, I spent the morning going to a farmers market that was phenomenal. that I could just wander in and out at my Kath and I managed to meet for lunch, in China Town.

Then, I got so wrapped up in everything I was seeing, and just living in the moment, that I sort of forgot to take pictures. But, I did go to a bunch of museums, and just strolled around.
Sunday, I returned to Albany and my awesome family. It was great that Kevin and my Mom were so willing to take care of the kids so that I could have a fantastic weekend exploring a city by myself! DC is definitely on my list of places to return to. I'd like to go with my parents and Kevin, then take the kids in the future.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Political Comment

If you follow me, you know I rarely make political statements. But today, I'm going to make one:
Occasionally I hear some one say, "Guns don't kill people. People kill people."
Here is my response: Really? I've never known anyone who could shoot someone without a gun in their hand.

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Keeping it Simple

I've decided to make a New Years Resolution. I'm keeping it simple, and making only one. That is not to imply that it will be a simple one for me to keep.

Here it is:

I resolve to run three times a week.

That's it.