Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Top 5 Holiday Runs & Other Highlights from the Season

Wow!  It's hard to believe another Christmas season is in the books.  Sitting on the coach after our last holiday gathering on New Years Day I am ready to get back into my routine.  Tomorrow starts a 12 week winter bike intensive training plan but before that starts here are my top 5 running events this holiday season along with some other highlights.

Number 5: Reindeer Ramble

Photo Credit - Ruth Adams
 Number 4: The Gobbler Half Marathon - My first in 5+ years

Number 3: Saturday Morning Coffee Run Club Holiday Pot Luck

Number 2: Frankfort Frosty 5K

Number 1: Birthday Run in Chicago

Other Holiday Memorables:

#rwrunstreak2016 - November 24th started our 4th annual Runner's World holiday run streak. I ran 104 miles & Steve ran 137 miles in 39 days.

Day 1

Serving Dinner at the Chrysalis House Holiday Party:  

Mural Run with the Saturday Morning Coffee Run Club:

Photo Credit: Breyne Middleton
Photo Credit: Breyne Middleton

Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks
A funny take on a classic Dickens story

Old friends

Maggie Daley Park
Fly the W

Moving on to 2017.

First up is a 12 week cycling intensive training plan.  I am not training for any specific triathlon but wanted to build an early cycling base for summer bike trips.  The only race I have signed up for is the Perfect 10 Miler in March.

Cheers to peace, joy and much love in 2017.

Santa Sammie

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving WNC Style

This year we spent Thanksgiving week in a cabin in the woods near Brevard, NC.  The goals for the week were to explore the area, hike, drink beer & eat good food. There were wild fires in the area so we were concerned about smoke in the area.  For most of the week the air was good but there were a couple of days that were pretty smokey.

Saturday Morning 
Tuesday afternoon after the smoke rolled in

We arrived on Friday just before sunset.  Good thing too since this cabin was a bit off the beaten track.  We booked Serenade Cove via VBRO.  Overall, the cabin was great.  It was about 15 minutes to Brevard or Hendersonville and 40 minutes to Asheville. Transylvania county is known for the waterfalls. We wanted to explore Pisgah National Forest & Dupont State Forest and we did.

Saturday was Steve's run day & was supposed to be my last long run before the Gobbler half. I was still recovering from a cold so I decided to walk with Sammie while Steve got his run in.  We started on the Brevard Greenway & ran/walked into Pisgah.  Oh, how I wish we lived in a town where trails were virtually at your door step.

After our run we headed to Dixie Diner in Hendersonville for a late breakfast.  They had a breakfast buffet but you could also order off the menu.  Steve did the buffet & I had the pumpkin pancakes special. Good place for breakfast.  After brekkie we headed back to the cabin to wait for Mom to show up.  After she arrived we headed to downtown Brevard to check out Brevard Brewing & have some dinner.  Steve had the American Red Ale & Mom & I tried the Munich Dunkel.  Both were good beers.  Nice location right on Main Street too.

After beers we headed to The Square Root for dinner. We got there around 6PM & was seated without a reservation.  If we showed up later we would have been turned away. That is one thing I am not used to anymore, making reservations.  The food was fantastic. Glad we were able to get a table.

Sunday Steve & I headed to Dupont State Forest to check out some waterfalls.  The county is known for their waterfalls but considering the drought we weren't sure how many would be flowing.  Turns out they all were.  I can only imagine how beautiful they would look after a good rain.  We hiked about 7 miles of the roughly 90 miles of trails. The trails were easy & mostly well marked.

Hooker Falls
Lake Dense

Sunday night we headed to Marco Trattoria in Brevard for dinner.  I can't remember what we ordered but I do remember it was a cool place and another fantastic meal.  Gobble.Gobble.'till.You.Waddle.

Monday I did my last longish run.  I was supposed to do 8 miles for my last long run but decided to only do 5 since we did such a long hike the day before.  We went back to Brevard Greenway.  I ran the Greenway & Steve walked Sammie into Pisgah.

After our run & showers we headed to Asheville.  On our way we stopped for lunch and a flight at Sierra Nevada.  If you want to do a tour make sure to book in advance.  This place is amazing!

Sierra Nevada Flight
After lunch we stopped in at REI and then went to check out New Belgium Brewery.  Their flights are twice the amount as Sierra Nevada.  So we had a lot of beer to drink.  In the past, I have loved New Belgium beer but compared to the other breweries in town this was my least favorite.  Kind of a let down actually.

New Belgium Brewing

New Belgium Brewing

New Belgium Brewing
Tuesday was another hike in Pisgah.  This time we did a 4 mile loop that included part of Black Mountain trail which is very popular with the MTB folks.  Steve was all about getting a mountain bike to check out the trails but I was Debbie Downer.  I wasn't interested in mountain biking this trip at all.

After getting cleaned up we went back into Brevard while it was still daylight to see if we could locate any white squirrels.  No such luck.  We also wanted to walk through Main Street in the daylight to check out what it had to offer.  Really cute strip with some nice stores, a couple of breweries & some nice dining options.  We stopped into Eucusta Brewing to check out their beers.  Steve got the IPA, I got the porter & Mom had the coffee brown ale.  All were really tasty.

Eucusta Brewing Downtown
On the bartender's suggestion we had dinner at Magpie Meat & Three.  It did not disappoint. We ate really well this trip.  I am going to be waddling through this half marathon.

Wednesday we hiked another trail in Pisgah.  This time the Cat Gap trail loop.  About 4.5 miles & some decent climbing.  Our legs were pretty tired by this point.

Cat Gap Trail - Pisgah
Wednesday night we went back into Asheville to see the Winter Lights display at the North Carolina Arboretum.  It was a perfect temperature to walk through the gardens to see the display.  Very tastefully done.
Winter Lights
Winter Lights
Winter Lights - The only way to get a picture with Mom.
Thursday after watching some of the Macy's parade we drove to Hendersonville to check out the Oklawaha Greenway and to kick off the 2016 Runner's World holiday run streak.  It is a decent trail that connects several parks in town.

Day 1 of the 2016 #RWRunStreak
After our run we drove through downtown Hendersonville.  Nice main street with lots of shops & restaurants.  Since it was Thanksgiving everything was closed.  We spent the rest of the day at the cabin & eventually made our very non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner of ravioli, salad & garlic bread along with a bottle of red wine.

As always, it is sad when vacation comes to an end.  We head home Friday in time for my first half marathon in 5+ years.

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tri for Sight - 6th Edition

Tri for Sight is where it all started.  In 2009, I joined Team in Training to raise money & awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma society in memory of my Dad who lost his battle with Multiple Myeloma in 2006.  This year was my 6th Tri for Sight.  

This year T4S was the Sunday after we got back from our C&O bike trip.  I had no expectations on the swim or run.  I only swam once since the LaPorte Triathlon in August.  I did finally get that cortisone shot in my shoulder & it has seemed to help the pain.  I have had 2 pain free swims since the shot.  I still am not in the pool regularly but I am hoping that soon I can start swimming on a more regular basis.

A short lived cool front came in the day before the race so the weather was perfect.  Even had to put on a long sleeved shirt & vest to stay warm.

Transition Ready
Most of Team Steve - Becky, Steve, Me & Audrey
As usual, I had about an hour wait after the first swimmer before I started my swim.  My swim was still slow but I could at least pull with my right arm without pain. Overall the swim was fine, had some of the usual traffic but for the most part it was a clear swim.
Yay - finally lining up on the pool deck!
400m Swim time: 11m05s, 11/13 AG

T1 time: 2m01s, 3/13 AG

I was curious how the bike was going to feel.  On one hand I should be fast since that is all I did in August but on the other hand I knew I wasn't fully recovered from our trip.  Once on the road I could feel my legs were still fatigued.

There was a bike wreck on one of the curves which slowed most everyone down.  Thankfully the guy wasn't seriously hurt but they did have to call an ambulance & fire engine.  On my way back I chose to stop & let them go by.  The road was narrow & with bikes on both sides it was difficult for them to get through.  I probably lost about a minute doing this but if it was me I would hope folks would put their race aside let the emergency vehicles through.

12.6 mile Bike time: 45m31s, 6/13 AG

T2 time: 1m00s, 7/13

The run was an out & back. Doing a 5 minute run & 1 minute walk has been working out pretty well for me.  I was surprised the run felt really good.  I had done a brick a few nights before & it felt awful but it was still hot.  I think the cooler temperatures made a huge difference in comfort level.

5K Run time: 31m49s, 9/13 AG

Overall time: 1h31m28s, 9/13 AG


The oldest female finisher was 84 years old.  One of the TNT folks told me she has done hundreds of triathlons over the years.  I find this so amazing.  I really respect the men & women who are still competing well into their golden years. It did get me thinking of how many triathlons I have completed since I started this journey.  Not counting the year I did T4S as a relay, I have completed 26 triathlons since 2009. At this rate I will have completed 170+ triathlons when I am 84.  Sweet!

Next up: Gobble 1/2 Marathon in November


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