Archive for the ‘The Lake’ Category

Family Tradition

This past weekend, my family, extended family, and friends celebrated the 45th Annual Higgins Bay Open–a golf tournament and huge party that brings together my dad’s family and his best friends from growing up, the people I consider my family.

While my immediate family is small–my parents and an aunt and uncle on my mom’s side, (whom I love!)–I feel like my family is huge when I am around my Higgins Bay people. I feel complete and whole and totally relaxed. Some people who come I see every weekend during the summer months and some I only see once a year. It is a reunion of family and friends that reminds me that there really is no place like home.


My best friend Elizabeth modeling her shirt


A portion of the “shirt wall” showing off all of the previous shirts over the years


Did I mention there is dancing?


Two blondies

Is your family big or small? Do you have family traditions? Do you love or hate them?


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I Did It!

I’m a triathlete!

I woke up Saturday morning and I really wasn’t sure if I could do it. I thought of every excuse in the book…complete exhaustion, sore knee from being on my feet all day long, total and utter fear…but I took a few deep breathes, said a quick prayer, and got out of bed.

After breakfast, packing and triple checking to make sure I had everything I needed for transitions, my mom and I headed to registration.

There were two major perks that helped drag me out of bed race morning—I was on my home turf and knew people would be cheering for me the whole time and my best friend Alaina was on her way to compete as well. I wasn’t about to let her down!
Registration was quick and painless (especially since I knew every volunteer and they were all offering me kind words because I was so visibly NERVOUS). I was lucky enough to have both my mom and dad as my personal race butlers–my mom helped me at T1 and was there at the finish, and my dad was responsible for my bike and water at T2, they made it so easy and it was nice knowing that they were there.

Alaina and I set up our first transition then made our way down the hill to the beach.
Even though the lake looks gorgeous, I was pretty much freaking out at this point. Alaina and I started much closer to the back than the front. We joked our way through the agonizing minutes until the start and it helped calm my out of control nerves. When the horn sounded, Alaina took off! I was so impressed with the way she fearlessly maneuvered her way through the crowd, but it wasn’t long until I was so focused on getting into a rhythm that I lost sight of her.

I am so proud of myself in retrospect with the way I handled the swim. I was definitely the most nervous about this portion of the race, as it is clearly the most immediately dangerous. I never panicked, I never lost focus…I just swam. I didn’t get kicked  or swam over (I was far enough to the back so we were all pretty spaced out), but a few times I was touch by a hand or foot. Oddly enough, it was comforting to know that there were people around me so the seamonsters did get me!

Before I knew it, I was coming out of the water and it was over. I finished the swim in 22 minutes–I consider this a huge accomplishment!

Next up was the bike. I knew the 12 mile course is very hilly and if you have been following, you know that the bike was the leg I trained for the least—in fact, I borrowed a bike RACE MORNING. I decided that borrowing a very nice, new mountain bike with a girl seat made me feel much safer than riding my Uncle’s road bike with the gears that changed by my knees. Safety and comfort were my main priorities.

T1 was quick and before I knew it, I was peddling away. Right away, cyclists with road bikes were passing me. I was a bit bummed, but about 4 miles into the race, my endurance kicked in. I was conquering hills with gusto. I was picking people in front of me and trying to catch up and pass them. And while I only passed two people, no one passed me after mile 4. Before I knew it, the bike was over, and I was so incredibly happy to get my feet back on the ground!

My dad was at T2 to cheer me on, and I was quickly on my way for the run. I was the most confident in the run, but it was definitely the hardest leg. My legs were like lead and the sun was beating down. The course was mostly down hill and I still managed the pass about 10 people. After 3 grueling miles, I crossed the finish line!

That’s me in the blue with about 20 meters until the finish line.

I was greeted by my mom and a few friends. I was feeling very accomplished, but I was feeling more like I was going to puke than anything. I gobbled up some orange slices, gatorade, and water and regained my footing a bit. My overall time was 1:40–much faster than I anticipated! I won’t know my split times until Thursday.

I found connected with this lady in the crowd–she finished in 1:23, she killed it!
I think that I am most proud of the fact that I never felt like I needed to give up. I never felt so physically taxed or exhausted that I had wanted to stop and quit. I thought I was unprepared, but I wasn’t. And it was such a relief.

The rest of Saturday was spent on my mom’s couch. After the race I was out of it…I wasn’t hungry, my stomach was upset, and I couldn’t even nap. I showered and just laid motionless for about 4 hours. I wasn’t even sore! I eventually made my way back to Johnstown and watched a movie with John. I say “watched”, but I really slept through most of it. I slept like a rock that night!

Yesterday was spent on the boat with my dad and visiting with family. It was my goal to take a walk to stretch my muscles, but I ended up just relaxing.

Today I cleaned, relaxed, and took care of some paperwork/errands. I took the day off from work, which was pretty awesome–I love three day weekends! I have another busy, busy week, but only 4 work days make it so much better.

When was the last time you surprised yourself? Completing my first 15k and triathlon in a 6 day span really has me on a high. I’ve never felt more confident and more like I can accomplish anything. I knew I was strong, but was completely surprised by my level of endurance and strength in my body.

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Hello There! I’m back. I’ve been missing because of my ridiculously busy life for the past week, but here I am with plenty to share.

Today I completed the Boilermaker 15K in Utica, NY–they biggest 15k in the country–and boy, it was BIG! This is the farthest distance I have run to date, and I am feeling pretty proud of myself, but more on that shortly.

Yesterday morning, my partner in racing Yvette and I drove to Utica (about an hour from my hometown) to pick up our packets for the race. We left at about 6:45 because we had to be back by 11 to attend a memorial service for a friend of both of our families. The packet pick up and expo had me VERY excited for the race, especially when I recognized Ashley, as we were browsing the same booth at the Expo! I am so excited to meet a blog celebrity, especially one that I read frequently. She was so sweet and took the time to chat with me for a few minutes and snap a picture with her camera (of course I left mine in my car!)
From there, Yvette and I rushed back home to attend the memorial and then I took a nice, wonderful, fabulous 3 hour nap on my mom’s couch. It was everything I hoped for and more.
At around 5:00 I got myself organized and got ready for an evening wedding of a close family friend. DeAnna and her daughter Cassandra have been friends of my family for years and I can remember Cassandra’s 1st Birthday party! Time flies, and now she is in high school, all grown up, and beautiful. DeAnna married Todd yesterday at a beautiful location right on the water. It was gorgeous and lots of fun. But before the wedding I scarfed some pasta with butter—my childhood favorite meal—to carb up for the race today. I knew that the wedding would be mostly appetizers and I wanted to guarantee I had a good meal

Cute, no?

Cassandra walking down the aisle before her mom.
DeAnna walking down the aisle with both of her parents.
My date, my mom and I at the reception.
Yvette and I enjoying our ONLY drink of the night because of the big race this morning.
We left the wedding around 9:00 and made our way to ANOTHER family party that we both had to attend. This was an extension of the memorial service earlier in the day in the form of a big bash on the beach with fireworks and music. I only stayed for about an hour because I knew that 5:30 am would come quickly and I needed to rest my body so I could be fully prepared for the race today.
There is nothing like fireworks on the beach on a hot summer night!
My good friends Luke and Mike play music together. They are incredibly talented and I love listening to them. This beach house is right on the lake and I think the acoustics of the water made them sound even better than usual.

So, the race. My morning started at 5:00 am. I quickly changed and gathered my gear that I had laid out the night before. I packed a pb sandwich for the ride and a few granola bars and I met Yvette at her house at 5:30. We arrived in Utica at around 6:45, and thank goodness we did because we waited in line for the portapotties for probably 45 minutes. My nerves were building, but my adrenaline was rushing and I was feeling very ready for the race ahead. Did I mention there were 13,000 runners today? Yes, Thirteen Thousand. Ridiculous. While we were waiting for the race to start we were feeling very claustrophobic, so when the alarm sounded and we started to move I was thankful. It took about 5 minutes to cross over the start line and for a while I felt like cattle being herded. When I finally had some space, I felt much more comfortable.
I was aware that this course was hilly, and I knew about the first two, grueling hills and was prepared. Mile 4 is pretty much all up hill through a golf course and I flew up it and even faster down it. That was the second hill, so when I was at the bottom and on flat ground again I thought the hills had past–boy was I wrong. Mile 6 was by far the most difficult part of the course with a gradual, long hill that is about a mile long. My legs felt heavy and I lost some steam, but the thought of stopping never crossed my mind. Yvette and I were separated, but at around mile 7 she found me and we were able to finish together! I absolutely loved that this race had bands or dj’s every half mile and that they crowds cheering you on were huge. Water station were very frequent, but I found my new favorite race treat–freeze pops! People in the crowds were giving freeze pops to the runners and I had three during the course of the race. The cold, icy pops are refreshing and the sugar gives you a burst of energy. I was in heaven! The only real complaint I have about the race today was that after we made it through the chute at the finish, we walked for about 4 tenths of a mile before any water was to be found. I asked a volunteer where water was and she snapped back at the to keep moving. Finally we found some Vitamin water because I was starting to feel a bit faint.
In case you didn’t know, the Boilermaker ends with a HUGE party at the Matt Brewery with free beer and live bands. It was pretty much heaven. I had a few cups of Saranac Pomegranate Wheat beer, enjoyed my free lunch, and listened to great music. The crowd was dancing and loving life! Yvette and I both said we will definitely do this race next year. I’m still unsure of my time since there was such a delay crossing the start line, but I am confident it was under 1:30, which is all I was shooting for. I’ll search the website tomorrow to see if the times are posted yet. I left my camera at the car, but here is one shot of us getting back in the car after taking the shuttle bus back to the start area after the party
The hour ride home was a bit torturous. My legs started to cramp up and my stomach started to feel a bit off, but it was nothing that a shower and quick nap couldn’t fix.

I left my moms and was happy to get back to John and the apartment. We went to a BBQ at his Aunt’s house and I spent some time after visiting with my friend Jess.

I’m about to watch an episode or two of Alias on my computer in bed and zonk out–I am so exhausted. I found the first two season’s of Alias on dvd at my mom’s and I’m loving watching them. It was my favorite show when it was on tv and I was pretty devastated when it got cancelled! Jennifer Garner is my girl crush…just sayin’!

Do you have any shows that you wish you could bring back to primetime that got axed?

I also feel that way about Veronica Mars!

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I know I mention often that I work two jobs—a pr/marketing/office day job and a two-three night a week waitressing job. Most days I can push through the long hours without any trouble at all. Last night was a different story. I worked from 9:00 am until midnight last and I was flat out running my butt off while waitressing last night. And it defeated me this morning.

I got up around 7:00 to get in my 8 mile run before John and I head to my Dad’s for a weekend of boating and fun. My plan was to do 4 miles around the bridle path  and then 4 miles on a greenway. I managed to do ONE LAP around the bridle path and my knee was SCREAMING at me to stop. Being on my feet and working my butt off all night last night and not getting enough rest in pretty much defeated my run this morning. I think it is important to listen to what my body is saying, and as much as I wanted to accomplish 8 miles, a distance I have yet to reach, I knew I needed to rest it.

So I walked home, hopped in the car and went to the gym. I did 45 minutes on the elliptical, which is much, much less stress on this knee of mine.

I don’t feel bad about this because I was in SO much pain just running a 1/2 mile. I just have to rearrange my schedule a bit when at home to get 8 miles in.

Sometimes I think about how much stronger a runner I would be if this knee didn’t cause me so much pain. But, thats life! And I have to work on healing this injury, while still staying as active as I like to be.

I am just about to get ready to head to the Lake for the weekend. It is my FAVORITE place to be, and the BEST time of the year to be there. I plan to enjoy two days of boating in beautiful weather, bbqing, and drinking adult beverages with friends and family! Enjoy the 4th and I will be back with some great pics tomorrow!

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