Category Archives: upstate New York

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

Let’s make every day Cider Sunday!

DSC_0004Wouldn’t it be cool if you could close your eyes and read at the same time? Since that isn’t possible, read the next few sentences and then close your eyes for a moment and imagine the picture I’m trying to paint for you…

A gorgeously sunny afternoon in early autumn. Blue skies with the occasional fluffy white cloud. Leaves colored in vivid shades of orange and red and yellow. The fragrance of ripe apples permeating the air along with the buzzing of yellow jackets seeking their own share of the harvest. Cold, delicious cider and smoky pork. The warmth of the sun on that spot on your lower back where your shirt and shorts don’t meet.


That was how I spent a glorious couple of hours yesterday down in Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook. The crowd, impressive in both size and mellowness, was friendly and fun, happy to sip Nine-Pin and toss beanbags as they played cornhole. It was truly the epitome of an upstate October Sunday.DSC_0002

I saw some familiar faces and made some new acquaintances who I’ll be working with to get Nine-Pin on draft for Lark + Lily.

I can’t make the perfection of an autumn day last forever, but I can arrange for the taste of the day to be made available all year long. We’ll have Cider Tuesday through Saturday instead.

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Filed under beauty, drinking, Local, Recommendations, road trips, upstate New York

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

(Sometimes) I want to be alone

(Said in a Greta Garbo voice, pronouncing want vant.)

As I sat on the train heading south to Hudson on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I considered my decision to take the trip solo. I had made two attempts to find a companion for the day, but didn’t find a taker. No worries whatsoever.  I’d been thinking about this little adventure for some time and today was the ideal day to enjoy a little time out of town.

I’m so glad I’m not reluctant to explore the world on my own. I have no problem grabbing my wallet, a bottle of water and a camera and taking to the road.  Doing things by myself isn’t an inferior experience, it’s just a different one. I like being with me.

I know I’m perceived as an extremely social person, working jobs that require lots of personality and interaction, but that doesn’t mean that I am incapable of going it alone. Spending time with other people is enjoyable because people are interesting and fun.  But, so am I!

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I’m interested in living a full life, fashioning an existence where beauty is embraced and experiences are curated. Waiting around for someone to accompany me on my explorations isn’t even a consideration. There’s just too damn much to see, to taste and to experience.  Alone is not a bad thing – especially when there are two oysters and you get to eat them both.

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Filed under beauty, musings, Restaurants, road trips, Summer, travel, Uncategorized, upstate New York