I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, it was reliably cold at Halloween. I have distinct memories of the puddles being frozen and heated arguments with my mother about ruining my costume by being forced to wear a coat. Times are different in many ways and it seems to me that many of our recent trick or treating adventures have been enjoyed with much more moderate temperatures. Yet another reason kids today are so soft!
Weather-wise, we got lucky this year. The rain was fairly light and didn’t impede our trick or treating. Quinn had arranged to travel the neighborhood with his buddy and they were absolutely adorable. The most priceless moment had to be their impromptu Thriller dance when we encountered a musical pumpkin – precious! Our neighborhood was awesome with festively decorated homes, friendly people and an overall spirit which made me proud to live where I do.
Speaking of pride, although I couldn’t make the game due to my plans with Quinn, I was thrilled to learn that the Albany Falcons had defeated Shen in their sectional soccer game. What a great thing for our urban district to experience! The Falcons play Guilderland Monday night in Colonie and I am wishing them the best of luck.
I wrapped up the weekend by attending a fantastic party down in Old Chatham at the home of a couple of my oldest friends in Albany. You know, the longer I live in Albany, the lower the degree of separation there is between me and the rest of the population. This is NOT a complaint. I actually kind of love it. It was sometimes challenging to discern who was who at this particular party because the costumes were off the chart fantastic, but there were familiar faces all around me as multiple worlds of mine gently collided. Fun! I regretted forgetting my Nikon, and I wish I could have indulged in the bourbon which smelled ever so delicious, but I did appreciate my sobriety when I encountered those pesky deer in the middle of the road. Thanks to the wonderful hosts for another terrific party.
How was your Halloween? I hope you had more treats than tricks!
After my previous post, in which I confessed to holding a grudge against some squirrels, you might be surprised to learn that I spent some time last weekend running a trail race called the Squirrelly Six. All I can say is this: I mentally made it a grey squirrel rather than the despised red squirrel which caused poor Miss Suzy so much anguish. Enough about my childhood issues – let me tell you about a great race!
The Squirrelly Six is one of two races run concurrently each fall up at Thacher Park. The race I ran, as you might guess, is 6 miles of beautiful, challenging trail running. The other race, perhaps one day in my future, is a ½ marathon known as the Hairy Gorilla. The races begin together and then split near the finish for the S6 and I hear that the hardest part of the race comes in the first half. Since I didn’t run the entire course I can’t confirm that, but I can say that there were a couple of intense hills that were kind of ass-kicking. Or, on a more positive note, ass-firming.
Before and after the race, I shot photos for the TU and it was one of the easiest gigs ever. The morning began sunny and the crowd was spirited and fun. The race is extremely well organized and there was a pervasive mood of fun and humor. It seemed to me that this particular group of runners truly knows how to have a good time and I didn’t feel the intense competition that I sometimes find intimidating.
Since my very first time running trails, I have been smitten with the experience. The soft earth underfoot, the smells of leaves and dirt, the lighting…it is very much an activity which captures almost all the senses. Speaking of senses, the aromas from the spread of food in the nearby pavilion were tantalizing! Next year, I think I’ll attempt the Gorilla and reward my efforts with something from the plentiful buffet.
See you again in 2014, S6/HG!
Full Hunter’s Moon by Raven Wu
October’s Hunter’s Full Moon run with the Lunar Bitches had a lot going on. It had been an entire month since we had all been together and life moves fast. We all have children and full time jobs (+) and relationships to maintain and we are definitely busy.
Our runs are generally an easy combination of conversation and silence, along with a few “watch outs” thrown in as we tread through less than clear paths. Kind of like life, it seems.
I realized on Sunday night that we have some strong common threads, in addition to the running, which serve to connect us. We each have children who have challenges with which they struggle. Our struggle as moms often is to find the “right” balance between helping our kids by helping them and helping them by not helping them. There isn’t a cool app we can use to measure our success as we do our runs. It isn’t easy, but we’re trying to teach our children independence and personal responsibility.
All three of have in the last year or so have had a change in our careers, be it be in our hours, employers or the populations with which we work. There was a limited amount of complaining by each of us when the new positions were initially meted out by the universe, but it seems now that we have unanimously been able to transition to a positive place professionally. We’ve landed on our feet.
During our runs, through fields and on rock strewn dirt roads, there’s always some stumbling. We’ve come to learn and, more importantly, appreciate the obstacles which threaten to trip us up occasionally. How we recover from that which threatens our balance has become an opportunity to exercise our strength.
I’m already looking forward to November’s Frost Moon and run.
When was the last time you leaped hurdles? Climbed a knotted rope? Swung on monkey bars? If you’re anything like me and your response is “middle school,” last Saturday’s Urban Raid in downtown Albany would have given you an opportunity to revisit those glory days. Minus the one-piece polyester P.E. uniform, of course.
This event was brought to my attention by one of the Lunar Bitches, Karen. Thanks to a decent Groupon offer, the entry fee was brought down to an acceptable $45, which included 2 post-race beers at City Beer Hall and a decent shirt complete with Albany skyline. The race began on State Street between the Capitol and ESP and participants were started in waves according to age and gender, with teams running last. Judging from the starting line, there are some folks confused about gender but I suspect that there were some families and couples who simply wanted to face the obstacles together.
And the obstacles? There were a couple which gave me a pause as I approached and tried to decide what tactic to take – climb the knotted rope or the rope ladder? Flip the really big tire or the smaller one? 20lbs of sand or 40? I am proud to say that the only “wimpy” option I exercised was when it came to the sand bag. Forty pounds seemed a bit much when I still had the majority of obstacles still to face. It was a good choice because I needed my strength for those monkey bars, which I surprised myself by dominating. Yeah for body sculpting classes and weights!
The race was fairly small with only 760 finishers. As for me, I finished the 5k in just under 36 minutes, placing 8th in my age group and 198th overall. I hope they repeat this event next year because I don’t think it was promoted very well and the course could stand more racers. And I want another shot at that cargo net wall.
In what feels like a previous lifetime, my girlfriends and I would meet in the mountains outside of New Paltz for our annual hike. There were years before the babies came, and even a couple of years after the oldest of the babies were born, when we would simply amble along a path by the climbers and real hikers. We just wanted to be outside together and the trails of Minnewaska State Park were perfect for us.
Other than a cross-country ski adventure a winter or two ago, it’s been a while since I’ve been there. The holiday weekend, however, threw the perfect opportunity my way – a 20k trail run with one of my childhood friends. Yes, 20k, I said. Which makes it about 3 or 4 miles longer than I’ve ever run. And I mentioned it was a trail run, right? Exactly – awesome!
If you were lucky Columbus Day weekend, you got to spend some time outdoors. If you were incredibly lucky, you were running through the woods of Minnewaska State Park. It was spectacular! The leaves were not quite peak yet, but the colors were still pretty gorgeous. The sky was blue and the air was slightly more damp than crisp. It was absolutely ideal weather to run.
The path we took was an official 20k route and the terrain was very hilly, with mostly soft ground cover. We paused a number of times to take in a view or sip some water as we circled both Minnewaska and Awosting Lakes. It was all about the journey. As we ran, the sky turned to dusk. We were careful as we finished with the last couple of miles of trail all downhill and leaf-covered.
this pretty much sums up how i felt 11 miles in – great!
And I want to do it again.
…not the gifts. Although, they’re lovely and thoughtful and it can be so fun to unwrap surprise packages. Most of the time, that is. But, when all is said and done, it is truly all about the people with whom we are lucky enough to spend time.
For countless years, I feel as if I have had the best birthday ever, each year. How incredible is that? I’ve said it before, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it remains true – I am a simple person. I do appreciate daily luxuries like great soap and delicious coffee or a pair of Frye boots that I can wear for 20 years. But, truly, stuff isn’t all that important to me however, people…well, now you’re talking.
Friday night my favorite running friends spent the evening easing me into my birthday weekend. We laughed and ran under a big moon, and talked. Then we cleaned up, went out and toasted our strength, our good health, our years of life.
We were joined by one of my oldest friends, a woman who I have been fortunate enough to grow up with for the last 30+ years. She had driven nearly two hours to be with me as I made the joyful leap into a new year. We shared memories and hugs and laughter.
Our designated driver took us to Wolff’s Biergarten and even indulged my whim to go to a second spot, not because I needed another drink, but because I just didn’t want the night to end. The contribution he made to my perfect night should not be minimized. There was thoughtfulness, care and love, none of which can be presented in a package, no matter the size. Me, the reputed “difficult to take care of,” had been thoroughly taken care of.
The merging of three different areas of my life, the active, the established and the emotional was the perfect way to close out my 46th year and herald a new year of living. No bow or wrapping required.
a bonfire with friends
soccer season opener
an event – September Splendor
image: Joe Putrock
there were flowers
and a trip to the Hyde Collection
to see this…
I think I finally caught my breath…