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Let’s get summer started

1 Jul


It’s been a while, I know. Rather than rehash my entire winter and why I didn’t blog from March until now, I’ll get to the point about what’s been up.

I had an amazing winter in my first year with FasterSkier. I went to an incredibly diverse set of places, including British Columbia, Quebec, Wisconsin and Park City. I caught some fresh tracks and sunburns, met nice people, made new friends and interviewed some of the world’s best athletes. I need to write about some of my experiences later in the season (including a week in Craftsbury, Vt), so stay turned to my FasterSkier blog for that.

On the home front, I got engaged nearly the second I came home — Brian surprised me in early April while we were on vacation in Florida. The wedding’s planned for next September so that gives a stress-case like me some time to relax.


And that’s the life I’m leading now. Lady of Leisure II (following my cousin Lindsey, who called herself that when she was pregnant with her first child and not working. Two years later, she’s got a beautiful little girl and another baby on the way … I think my life is way more laid-back than hers!)

I’m still full time with FasterSkier in the summer, but this job rocks — to give it that ’80s enthusiasm. I work from home and generally on a self-driven schedule. If I get the work done, I can go out and play. I’ve been trying to improve my time management and productiveness, and the summer’s already shaping up to be a fun one.

Yesterday, I participated, err, competed in my first triathlon of the season. I’m hesitant to say which I did at the North Country Triathlon in Hague, N.Y., whether I took part or really raced, because it was a mix of both. For starters, my mom and I teamed up in the Olympic-distance race: she did the 1-mile swim, and I did the 25-mile bike and 6-mile run.

Charlie’s Angels

That was our team name and we came in 11th of about 20 teams. Not bad considering we were nearly dead last of the relays last year. My biking improved — I would say I raced that part. It’s a challenging course with about a three-mile climb that’s the toughest I’ve ever done. But it went better this year. I ended up averaging nearly 16 mph over the entire course, up from around 13 last year.


My mom, Wendy, did outstanding. Pretty sure she was the sixth woman out of the water and fourth of all the relays — which are coed. I was in decent position for a top-10 finish after the bike, but things fell apart in the run. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ever experienced, but around the turnaround point at 3.1 miles, I was toast. My body started to shiver in the 85-degree heat, my fingers swelled so much they hurt and my stomach turned upside down with each step. I had to walk several times on the way back because I was struggling to keep it together. About a quarter mile from the finish, I saw my mom, dad, cousin and parent’s dog, Archie, smiling and cheering. That got me to the finish.

And that was the day. I went for it in the bike and suffered in the run. I need to learn how to hurt more, how to keep my head straight and body moving when I feel that bad, but I have no regrets. It was a great experience with family, a beautiful day on Lake George and a good way to start summer.

I’m not sure how many triathlons I’ll do this year, but my mom and I already decided to each do the entire race — all three legs — next year. Something to look forward to, for sure.


This summer, I’m excited for a few events. After surviving the Spartan Beast race last year, my brother and I signed up for another obstacle-course trail run — this time a 10- to 12-mile Tough Mudder at Mount Snow, Vt. The race is July 15, so the countdown begins now! We’re raising money for The Wounded Warrior Project in the process, so please consider donating to this important cause.

Two days after that, my father and I are doing our somewhat annual hike-to-the-huts trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We try to go somewhere different in the AMC’s trail system every year.

After that, I’ll keep trail running in preparation for the Jay Peak 50 k in September. (I did my first trail half marathon in Paul Smiths last month, which went well, otherwise I wouldn’t have signed up for anything longer!) I’ve written before about the importance of goals, especially in training. I don’t always follow my own preachings, but this summer, I’m making a point to.

I’d like to get back on the running wagon after having too much fun (and workouts spent) on the bike. Trails are a great place to lose your mind and get in some jog time. Sometimes, I just feel happier in the woods. You forget you’re running, you forget your to-do list (or figure out how to tackle it later), and occasionally you get lost. Or at least I do.

That’s why I’m going to leave you with an important message from experience: if you’re going to go to an unfamiliar trail system, or one you’re not 100-percent comfortable with, bring a trail map. Many are online so just print it out, fold it up and stick it in your shorts. Especially in places like Moreau State Park with intersections marked by a letter (usually S) and a number (1-17), it’s good to know where you are and how to get out. Oh, and bring water. My dog peed in a brook today; I’d hate for you to be downstream of that.


Thinking about Vermont

5 Sep

A week after Irene swept the eastern coast, communities throughout the country are picking up the pieces.

While many of us remember holding our breaths as the storm touched our hometowns, it’s easy to forget about the effects once it’s long gone. Unless you’re living in Vermont.

Hurricane and Tropical Storm Irene devastated states, destroyed towns and left many without power for days. In central Vermont, and in other severely affected communities, some people are still without a way out. Roads remain closed indefinitely and the looming threat of flash floods with more rain makes it hard to be hopeful they’ll be open soon.

I read an article in yesterday’s Rutland Herald, “Life in isolated towns settling into new (ab) normal,” about the Pittsfield and Stockbridge, Vt. Pittsfield’s emergency management coordinator,Peter Borden, has three cell phones to field calls. The town clerk greeted a caller with the typical: “Hello, Town of Pittsfield,” followed by, “I’m sorry, the town is in a state of emergency. Can you call back in two weeks?”

I tried to get in touch with Spartan Race founder and Pittsfield resident Joe Desena, who runs a bed & breakfast at Riverside Farm. He was quick to get back with me with photos, but we weren’t able to catch each other by phone. On his end, it’s understandable why.

Courtesy Joe Desena -- Three children in Pittsfield, Vt., sit on road washed out by Tropical Storm Irene.

When Irene hit, Desena and his wife, Courtney, made their hilltop B&B into a rescue and relief center. One man was there with a wedding party from New Jersey and recalled the town’s collective efforts in a story on

On the first night after the storm, the US marshals came into our bed & breakfast and rounded up any males from the wedding party who felt able to assist in the rescue and recovery efforts. Town members from all walks—lawyers, doctors, the butcher the and even the shepherd quickly put everything aside to ensure the safety of those most affected.

On Thursday, Desena was assisting with cleanup, driving a backhoe with ruined carpet to an oversize trash container in town, the Rutland Herald reported.

For people in areas like this, it’s a long haul ahead. We should keep these people in our thoughts and lend a hand in any way possible.


The Red Cross needs monetary donations.

Vermont has a hotline: 1-800-Vermont.

Killington is another area, just a few miles south of Pittsfield, that’s also in distress. (For a comprehensive map on Vermont flooding, closures and emergency info, click here.)


I spoke to chat several residents for a recent FasterSkier story on the state of cross-country ski areas in the east following Irene. Most said they’ll be fine by the time winter rolls around, but more rain won’t help. We can’t control the weather, but let’s help our neighbors out.

Run for a cause

25 Jul

I’m all about running for the heck of it. And racing, yeah, you’ll do that too just because. But when you can do both for a purpose, for a really good cause, it should be an extra incentive.

Last year, I attended the Miles With A Message 5K run/walk behind Queensbury Elementary School. It was organized by Katie Mannix and a group of classmates in memory of Mannix’s departed cousin. The idea was to get the word out about teen suicide and proceeds went to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

This year, the second annual event is scheduled for Saturday at the Queensbury school trails.

Here are the details:

And the basics: 9 a.m. start on Saturday, July 30. Pre-registration $15 (click the link above) until July 26, then $20.

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