Category Archives: Exercise

Running out of my comfort zone – and county

imageI’ve been a member of ARE for maybe a year or so and, other than my recent forays into their (our?) Thursday Night Summer Trail Series, I haven’t really participated in much. Last week was a crazy, busy week for me with an activity or event every single night other than Monday, which ended up working out (pun intended!) perfectly. You see, Monday nights, according to the ARE members’ calendar, there is a group run of approximately 5.5 miles at a 10:00 mile per hour pace. Can you say right in my wheelhouse?

You should know by now that I’m not really a joiner and I don’t typically run with anyone beyond my Lunar B*tches and my friend, James. This means that getting in my car and driving down to Kinderhook to meet and run with people I had never met was a bit of a leap for me. But, the sun was shining and I wanted to start my week on a strong and positive foot, so off I went.

Pulling into a stranger’s driveway is kind of an odd experience, but the host of the event was friendly and chill. Guess what? Turns out she is also a librarian! Pretty cool, right? She actually didn’t make the run due to her participation the previous day in a trail half, but there were 6 or 7 other folks who laced up and took a counterclockwise lap around Kinderhook Lake. I originally set off on my own, but somewhere around my third mile I hooked up with three other runners and we finished up together.

Everyone was really nice, funny and low key about pace. I had dinner plans and needed to get back to Albs, but the rest of the group had brought food to share post-run. Who knows? Maybe I’ll cook a little something next time and make it an evening.

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Filed under Exercise, ideas, road trips, running, Summer, upstate New York

Screen play

I’ve been slightly obsessed with the windows in my second story home. Many of the windows are on the larger size and Jeter likes to situate himself so his paws are propping him up on the window sill. My big fear is that he will attempt to chase something he sees outside of the window and the screen will get pushed out with Jeter to follow. Ugh. 11234002_10153291393997889_3796212111829749983_n

To lessen the chance of this frequently imagined tragedy from ever occurring, I generally only crack the lower window, opting instead to get my fresh air by pulling down the top window which is beyond Jeter’s reach. Now that I’ve resolved my own personal window anxiety inducer, I’ve cast my attention in other directions, at other screens that have caught my eye. Like the two I noticed last weekend during a walk.

The first were more an issue about a lack of screens, to be specific. As I was looking up at building near Lark Street, I noticed a 4 story building with open windows but no screens. I felt a little uncomfortable about the lack of screens, as my imagination kicked in and I started to picture small children and animals tumbling out of that gaping hole some forty or fifty feet up. Then I wondered shouldn’t there be some kind of window guards or something? You know those things that prevent a lower window from being raised beyond a certain point? I did a little research and it seems like there is an ordinance (Ordinance Number 62.81.06 ) but maybe code enforcement needs to direct some attention that way?

Jeter and I next made our way through the park and up New Scotland and over to Academy. I couldn’t help but notice a first floor window screen leaning against the front of a brick building. Naturally, my first thought was that the screen had been removed by someone either exiting or entering through the window. Is that a weird conclusion to make?

Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but open windows and screens cause fear in my heart.

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Filed under Albany, Delaware Avenue, Exercise, Local, musings, Random

ARE Summer Trail Series – Week 4

2 out of 3 (again) on the Lunar B*tches

2 out of 3 (again) on the Lunar B*tches

After missing last week’s run at Five Rivers, I was excited to get back on the trail with Thursday night’s 3 miler up at Thacher Park. And I do mean up. The first approximate mile was pretty much an uphill climb. The saving grace was the fact that the trail wound about a bit, in a similar fashion to the lines for the amusement rides at Disney World, so you never really saw how far there remained before things might level off.

Thacher Park is known for the phenomenal views from the escarpment, but the trails we were on were set in the thick of the woods with lush, green views and gurgling water from active streams. I’ve only run up here in the fall when most of the foliage was already making a bed on the forest floor, so this was a new perspective for me. The trails were a bit rutted and rocky, with some potentially slippery moss, but more than wide enough in most places for three runners to run shoulder to shoulder. The surface was intermittently marked by mud after the rainy week we’ve had, but there was room to avoid it.

After the intense opening climb, the path leveled off for probably* a mile plus before the descent and loop back to our starting point. Those parts were pretty damn idyllic and nearly inspired us to take a second loop, before we decided to cross the road and run along the escarpment trail a bit until we felt finished. Of the three runs in the series which I’ve been able to make, this was the most challenging and I’d like to get back up there to explore more of the trails. Maybe I can find one (or you might know one to share?) that doesn’t start quite so aggressively.

Check here for next week’s run, but I think I heard it might be back at Thacher – with a bar-b-q! I’ve got the Albany House and Garden tour that night, but I’m confident I’ll meet my goal of hitting at least 50% of the runs in this series.

*continuing to hold true to my vow of not taking any electronic gadgets into the woods.

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Filed under Exercise, friends, Local, running, Summer, Uncategorized

ARE Summer Trail Series – Week 2

image from Trip Advisor

This week’s run was remarkably different from last week’s Schodack Island romp. To begin, there was the weather. While last week was hot and humid, yesterday was overcast most of the day before a late afternoon clearing with an ideal temperature in the low 70s. The course was also quite different from the wide and flat trails we experienced Week 1 with much more narrow paths, lots of meandering tree roots and some noticeable, albeit short, hills. And, while both of the runs were riverside, the view from Peebles Island is dominated by beautiful water views (including kind of scary drop offs), a great deal of the time while SI was much more densely wooded and lush.

Jeter and I had company this week when we were joined by one of the lunar b*tches, as we made this our (belated) Strawberry Moon run. Another difference was that I was running with a bit of an injury. Earlier in the week, I noticed my right quad muscle was feeling a little tender, nothing too extreme, just a bit sore. Thursday morning when Jeter and went out for his morning constitutional, he excitedly and unexpectedly yanked the leash – hard, and I felt a pop of sorts in that same thigh. Yikes. I swallowed a couple of Alleve and gave my quad as much gentle attention during the day as possible.

I can’t say the run was my most comfortable endeavor, but as long as the terrain was fairly flat, I did fine. The hills were a bit more challenging and painful, but I’m happy to report today that I’m none the worse for the wear. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss Peebles Island – it’s kind of special. Next week’s run will be at 5 Rivers and unfortunately, Jeter and I have other plans. Keep your eyes here for the full schedule!

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Filed under Exercise, friends, Local, running

Yoga on the deck

Photo by Quinn Lilly

Photo by Quinn Lilly

After some improvements, including a general shoring up, new railings, pressure washing and a coat of stain, I’m smitten with my deck. On a recent evening, in an effort to combine my desire for stretching with my need to be home, I attempted some vinyasas al fresco with mixed results.

I found a yoga station on Pandora and set up my mat, giving myself adequate room to downward and upward dog to my heart’s content. What I failed to factor in, however, was the real dog, namely, Jeter. You’ve seen the videos of humans doing yoga with their pets? Well, the struggle is real and Jeter needs to work a bit on his flow. As for me, holding a pose takes on a whole other level of challenge when there’s an 85 lb. lab jumping on you.

There were three other impediments to my practice, namely Liam, Griffin & Quinn aka my sons. The amount of attention and refereeing they demanded was an irritating distraction to my home yoga attempt. I think in the future, I’ll limit my attempts to times when the guys are occupied with maiming video game characters instead of each other. They really didn’t respect my need for zen!

A half-assed home yoga practice will probably never replace a sweaty 90 minutes of Bikram, but I did do a fair amount of stretching in anticipation of spending 8+ hours on a bus the following day.  Despite the challenges, I’ll definitely attempt this again.

How about you?  Do you work out at home and, if so, any tips to share to avoid distraction?

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Filed under Boys, DelSo, Exercise, family, yoga

ARE – Summer Trail Series, Week 1

On a night that felt borderline oppressive in the city, I loaded up my wagon with lots of water, towels and Jeter and headed south to Schodack Island State Park for the first trail run of the summer season. One of my summer goals is to make at least half of these runs and, so far, I’m batting a thousand.

I’ve never visited this park before but I know I’ll be back. The drive took about 20 minutes from the DelSo, yet ultimately felt much further away. The trails were amazing – wide, soft and flat. The breeze coming in off of the river was lovely and the temperature was absolutely perfect.

phlox

Lush!

I’m really working on simply enjoying these runs and to foster that mindset, I left my phone in the car. That means no Runmeter recording my miles and no motivating playlist. You know what? Other than my unfamiliarity with the course and where I was in terms of miles, I didn’t miss either. The magnificent green ferns and plentiful pink, white and purple phlox along the trail were stimulation enough.

This particular run was followed by a potluck bar-b-q, which I didn’t participate in due to a need to get back home. Jeter, however, was rewarded for his efforts when he scored a charred burger that he found on the ground. I believe we both left the park happy.

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Filed under Exercise, Flowers, Local, Recommendations, running, Summer, upstate New York

Sometimes Mother’s Day stinks

image…and I’m not talking about like a bouquet of flowers, either.  No, I’m talking about good old-fashioned perspiration.  You see, I began my Mother’s Day by participating in Fleet Feet’s 10K Classic.  The race began (and ended) at Bethlehem Central HS* and the route was fairly rural and mostly flat.  It was a small field of runners, but, as my friend Karen astutely noted, a small group didn’t mean that either of us had a prayer of finishing with any sort of distinction.  The difference between a 5K and a 10K is way more than just 5K, believe me. The runners we were up against were pretty intense athletes, from my perspective. But, we weren’t there for medals or prizes.  It was the promise of post-race mimosas that motivated us.

I really liked this race – we got lucky with the weather with a warm morning with limited sunshine and humidity.  There was only one real hill, which we hit it in both directions, but it was well placed at about mile 1.5 and 5.  The  size of the race was really appealing, too.  You’ll never see me at Freihofer’s or Corporate Challenge – they’re just too big for me. I’ll definitely run this again!

As for the rest of my Mother’s Day, let’s just say that teen-aged boys do not excel when it comes to showing appreciation and leave it at that.  Next year, I just might follow my run with a ride instead of heading home to cook for the boys.  It would probably be more satisfying.

 *and, yes, it was weird driving to school on Sunday.

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Filed under Boys, Exercise, friends, holidays, Local, running, sunday