Category Archives: Exercise

The leaves fell, I didn’t

imageMany months ago, I stated my intentions to run After the Leaves Have Fallen, my first half marathon. Now I know there are some people who don’t follow through on intentions, but, that’s not my way. I said it, I meant it and I was committed to doing it, despite the fact that I recently bought a wine bar and was now working 60+ hours week, a situation which really impeded my ability to run (or sleep) with any frequency.

Last Sunday, at the reasonable hour of 11:00 a.m., I found myself at the starting line in Minnewaska State Park, along with presumably 349 other runners. Yes, it’s a small race with only 350 entrants accepted. My personal preference is for small races and this one certainly met that criteria. I also don’t like spending a lot on entry fees, and, again this race was on point with a more than reasonable $15 price, which included a really cool pint glass.

While I’ve never officially run this race before, I have spent a little time on the trails and I kind of knew it was going to be a challenging run. There are some intense hills with significant elevation, and I was feeling undernourished and fatigued, even though I did remember to bring my handheld water bottle and a stash of jelly beans. Ultimately, though, I’m kind of stubborn, so I muscled through knowing the pain, which primarily radiated from the ball of my left foot, would definitely be offset by the incredible beauty of the course – which it absolutely was. If you’ve never been down that way, be it to walk, ride, run or ski, you really need to make it a goal destination. It’s spectacular.

So, I ended up walking a little along the way, but eventually finished in about 2:25, a decent enough time. The afternoon was enhanced by the presence of my friend, James, who always seems to bolster me through arduous events with his assertion that “this isn’t an easy race.” Next year we’re doing it together.

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Filed under beauty, Exercise, road trips, running, sunday, Uncategorized, upstate New York

I didn’t know

IMG_4854 The first time I remember wanting to be a runner I was about 12 or 13. It seemed like such a cool thing to do – put your sneakers on and a pair of nylon, fluorescent colored shorts (it was the 80s) and just GO. I was infatuated with the idea, but, as I’ve come to learn about romantic infatuations, the reality didn’t measure up to the fantasy.

It was early fall and dark in the morning when I left my house to run down the dirt road we lived on. The air was fresh, but my gasping made my lungs feel tight not wonderfully expanded as I had imagined. The distance I attempted, perhaps a third of a mile, felt endless and I found myself walking, not running. I gave up. Obviously, running was not going to be my sport.

35 years later, I’m registered to run a trail half marathon this weekend. How did that happen?

  • I learned that sometimes small steps, be it at a walking stride or a running pace, are the way to make progress.
  • I realized that running is a challenge that I find satisfying. It feels good to push myself.
  • I’ve accepted that there are some runs that turn into walks and that that’s ok. Life isn’t a race and I am committed to enjoying the journey.
  • I have a posse of running friends who inspire and encourage me.
  • I now know that for every step which feels difficult, there are 10 steps that feel amazing. I’m no mathematical genius, but that adds up for me in a positive way.
  • Most importantly, while I didn’t initially know how hard running was going to be, I also had no idea how incredibly happy a good run would make me feel.
  • I know now. I’m a runner.

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Filed under aging, beauty, Exercise, friends, girlhood, musings, Observations, road trips, running, Uncategorized, upstate New York

Running with Alabama Shakes, Bradley Cooper and a bag of poop

I tried a new Pandora station for yesterday’s afternoon run – Alabama Shakes radio.  It opened with an Amy Winehouse song and never looked back.  Good stuff.  When the first Alabama Shakes’ song, Always Alright,   came on, it took me immediately back to Silver Linings Playbook, a movie (and book) I absolutely loved.

DSC_0408I started thinking about when I saw the Shakes back in June at Mountain Jam and how, as I was photographing the band for the Times Union, I was approached by a woman who requested that I share some of my photos with her.  It turns out this woman, a hair stylist, had done the lead singer Brittany Howard’s hair that morning and was hoping to get some good images to help promote her business.  Of course, I complied and emailed her a number of jpegs a few days later.

DSC_0393I wondered how I had ever created a life in which I occasionally get to take pictures of famous people.  I mean, really? How friggin lucky am I?  I thought about The Shakes, and the presence of their music in a Bradley Cooper/Jennifer Lawrence film, and considered how much I enjoy the talents of each of them.  I shook my head in amazement that I could probably play Six Degrees of Separation and get to Bradley Cooper.  It made me smile – despite the bag of dog poop I was toting.

Speaking of which, sometimes it feels like I’m closer to Bradley Cooper than I am to a trash receptacle when it comes to running my regular 5-mile loop.  While I thoroughly enjoy the thought of having a connection to the very handsome Mr. Cooper, I think I’d be even happier if there were more trash cans available along Whitehall Road and New Scotland Avenue.

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Filed under Albany, concerts, Exercise, Local, Movies, Music, Observations, running, upstate New York

Squirrelly Six – 2015

The last time I ran up, and I do mean up, at Thacher Park was over the summer during ARE’s trail series. The weather was fine and the people were nice, but the course began with a murderous hill which made me a bit cranky. I don’t mind hills*, but, please let me work up to them!

IMG_7415Last Sunday’s Squirrelly Six caught me a little unprepared. You know, the week you open a restaurant and work 6 consecutive days/nights may not be the right time to register to run six miles through the woods, but there I was, nonetheless, at 9:30 in the morning at the starting line. The weather had been a concern since rain was in the forecast and I was worried it might be kind of cold. We (my Lunar Girls were there, too!) totally lucked out with a mostly dry run through some fresh mud from the previous night’s showers in an almost balmy 50’ish . Mud is fun, though and I nailed it when it came to running attire, luckily selecting layers which kept me comfortable for the duration.

IMG_7409I’ve done this race, I think, 3 consecutive years and the course which debuted this year was my absolute favorite. The trails were mostly fairly wide with limited hills and the vista was spectacular. No, really – it was a stunning morning with peak foliage and a mood enhancing layer of fog in the valley. I was unable to resist stopping twice to snap a couple of pictures because it was that scenic. It was an absolutely beautiful run and the perfect personal reward at the end of a long week.

IMG_7403Next up – After the Leaves Have Fallen in early November. It’s a bit more than twice the distance which means it should be at least twice as fun, right?

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Filed under beauty, Exercise, friends, Local, Recommendations, running, sunday, upstate New York

In for the long run

imageSeeing that this is probably my last free weekend for the foreseeable future, I decided to indulge myself. While there are times when that could mean shopping or a pedicure, Saturday it meant taking a run, and on such a beautiful day, with a trail half marathon coming in up in less than a month, a long one at that.

My original intention was to do a loop that I’ve done in the past. At about 8 miles, the route goes out Delaware to Whitehall to New Scotland into Slingerlands before getting back on Delaware and back to the DelSo. I really don’t care for the piece which goes along the by-pass between the traffic circle and Kenwood so I decided to run past the circle and jump onto the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail for a bit to avoid it. But, once I got on the trail, and it was so nice out and the trail was so sweet, I just couldn’t stop myself – I took it to the very end (as in South End) and eventually back up McCarty for a total of just under 13 miles aka almost a half marathon!

The trail was pretty spectacular, especially on a fall day. The surface changes from dirt and grass to stone to blacktop over the distance and there were so many gorgeous views that I’ve never seen from that particular perspective, like the Normanskill with some real activity and the underside of both the 9W and NYS Thruway bridges. I can’t wait to get back on it with the Lunar Girlz, in part because there were a couple of parts which felt pretty remote, but mostly because it was so damn pretty. I think I’d only enjoy it more with some company.

The same day I’ll be running the After the Leaves Have Fallen, they’re taking on the Stockadathon.  Here’s hoping for good, fun races to all.  Any chance of seeing you at a starting line soon?

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Filed under beauty, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Exercise, Local, Normanskill, Observations, running, Uncategorized

SUP yoga – Take 2

imageDespite not having been impressed with the class I took last month in P’town, I decided to give stand up paddle boarding yoga a second try recently. Although I’m still not completely hooked on the concept, I had a much more positive experience this time around and that’s saying a lot considering I was the only person to fall in the lake and there was a giggly Girl Scout troop attending the class.

Taught by Rhiana out of the Kayak Shack, with numerous classes at various times available, the class is approximately 90 minutes long and costs a reasonable $35. Chrissy and I headed up early and were able to get on our boards for a bonus bit of a paddle around prior to class, eventually meeting up with the group and paddling into an area thick with lily pads in an attempt to keep our boards stationary. It seemed to work for everyone but me, but, it wasn’t a real problem to paddle back into place periodically.

No, the real problem was the strap on my bathing suit which nearly turned SUP yoga into topless SUP yoga. Repeatedly fixing that was far more distracting than a gaggle of girls. The other distraction was the sky – it was just beautiful, streaked with pink and yellow as the sun slowly returned to the horizon. This was what I had always hoped for when doing yoga outdoors, yet consistently found elusive.

The scenery alone made the experience gratifying, but the workout was also satisfying. Rhiana took into account the different levels of experience and athleticism and led our group through a class which was differentiated and challenging. I’d definitely take this class again – Scout’s honor.

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Filed under beauty, Exercise, friends, ideas, Local, Recommendations, Saratoga, Summer, upstate New York, yoga

Running into Grace

Swag that glows in the dark? Yes, please!

Swag that glows in the dark? Yes, please!

Driving through 3 states to bring one’s child to school would probably constitute as a full enough day for most, but, you know me, always looking to kick it up a notch. The four-mile Moonlight in Vermont race provided the perfect opportunity to extend Saturday right into Sunday, and got me into my 4th state in 24 hours. That sounds like a win, right?

I rendezvoused with the other two lunar b*tches in a random Troy parking lot (naturally) at 10:30 pm, which gave us plenty of time to get to the starting line by midnight. Yes, I said midnight. Doesn’t running 4 miles in the dark in the middle of nowhere in Vermont sound like fun?

The drive actually took less time than we had expected which left plenty of time for us to pick up our swag, wonder if we were dressed warmly enough (we were) and run into the aforementioned Grace, a woman I had worked with many years ago at Yono’s. If you had told me 20 years ago that Grace and I would both be running a race at midnight in Vermont, I would have called you crazy. Who’s crazy now?

The run was fabulous! The first two miles seemed to be entirely downhill on a combination of paved and dirt roads. There were luminaria lining our path, along with runners in tricked out bling, to add to the light of the gorgeous moon. The scenery, even in the dark, was beautiful like a black and white photograph with random colorization. The hills up were brutal, and the limited light demanded a cautious pace, but the air was fresh and there wasn’t any other place that I wanted to be.

It was the perfect way to both end and begin a day. Check this one out for next year!

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Filed under beauty, Exercise, friends, road trips, running, Summer