Tag Archives: adirondacks

My 2016 Year in Review – Topping My Charts

I have just returned from another fabulous Winter weekend in the Adirondacks to celebrate the New Year. While I was there I had gotten in some ample cross-training time skate-skiing, hiking and some photography. This outdoor time gave me a good amount of time to reflect upon the last year. I keep hearing others saying over-and-over how 2016 was such a horrible year, but for me, not so much.

Cascade Moutain – Lake Placid, Adirondacks, New York

You would think that as one gets closer to the big 5-0 that PR’s and things would become less frequent. But my 48th year was full of them. What is up with that? Perhaps the fact that I had well preserved myself well during my 20’s and 30’s may have something to do with that.

December(2015) was full of Winter cross-training in Banff National Park in Western Canada. They had gotten a good amount of early season snow there and Lake Placid had none. We hit the downhill slopes at Lake Louise and Sunshine Village, got some snowshoeing in on the Bow River and a ton of photographing the beautiful Winter scenery on the Icefields Parkway leading to Jasper.

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First Light on the Icefields Parkway

In January, we had plans to spend a week in the warmth of Sedona, AZ but that was cut short due to a blizzard that delayed flights for several days. We still ended up with an amazing, activity packed long weekend there. We got out for some amazing hikes and photography some beautiful scenery. I replenished my vitamin D store with the clear skies and bright sunshine. It was a great reset before turning my attention back to the long Ironman training season that lies ahead.

Chillin’ on the Bell Rock Vortex

In February I started up my official Ironman training season with Todd Wiley. I had gotten to know Todd over the last year or so through some of his workshops and Lake Placid training camp and really like his personality. He was a prior pro triathlete and has had a lot of success with some pretty high-level athletes over the years, so I thought I would see what he could do with this old, average dude. My goals for the season was to increase my IM run performance while maintaining my bike and swim and finalizing that with a sub-12 hour Ironman.

In March, I had my first official race of the season, The St. Pat’s Allentown 5k. While it is only a 5k, this would be the first test of my fitness to see what I had accomplished during the last two months. I would also use this as my Lactate Threshold(LT) test for my training. It did not disappoint. I finished with a 1 sec PR of 22:45(chip time) over my prior PR from 2013. 3 years older and getting faster.

St. Pat's West End 5k 2016
St. Pat’s West End 5k 2016

In April, I took things up a notch and competed in the local St. Luke’s Half Marathon which I hadn’t run in since 2013 when I ran with my wife. I was planning to run it in 2015, but got a stomach bug the morning of and had to bail. My current PR for this race, and half marathons in general, was from back in 2010 when I finished with a 1:46:41(chip time). I also had challenged my co-worker Steve, who is what I would consider more of a “runner”, to a duel for this race. It was a bit of a stretch, but I thought the extra competition would bring out a little extra in motivation for me. Although I didn’t come close to beating him, I did manage to eke out another PR for myself finishing in 1:45:10 after 6 years. 2 races and two PRs…not too shabby a start to 2016.

Next up was my first triathlon of the season, the French Creek Olympic Triathlon. I had never done this race before, so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. I knew it was a pretty brutal race with a very hilly bike and run, so you could not even compare it to any other Olympic Distance race. I obviously did not PR this race, but I did end up on the podium by taking 3rd in my age group. This was the first podium since my very first multisport race, the Belleplain Duathlon, back in 2008 where I finished 1st in my age group. So now 3 races and 3 top outcomes.

French Creek Tri Podium
French Creek Tri Podium

In June I traveled up to Syracuse, NY for the Ironman 70.3 Syracuse triathlon. Another race I had never done before, but was hoping for a good finish here given the prior results so far this season. The race started off well with one of my best half-iron swims and a decent bike leg where I felt I hadn’t “burned too many matches.” The run leg was a different story. The sun came out and the heat turned up towards the end of the bike and my body turned to mush. Reminiscent of the Ironman Couer d’Alene run I fell into a walk-run for the very hilly run course. Ok, you can’t have them all! So with no PR to be had this time, I took my setbacks here and turned it into motivation for the true goal “A” race of the season at Ironman Mont-Tremblant.

Finish Run Ironman 70.3 Syracuse 2016
Hurtin’ for Certain – Ironman 70.3 Syracuse 2016 – High Temps on the run left a little to be desired for this race.

July turned out to be a pretty hot month, so I gained some pretty good acclimatization to the heat while training. If Ironman Mont-Tremblant (IMMT) was going to cook me like Syracuse, I was now prepared. Well, as much as someone who does not like the heat can be.

August came around quickly and tapering was in full swing as we made our way up to Mont-Tremblant for the peak race of my year. When race day came I could not have asked for better weather conditions. It was very cloudy in the morning as I prepared to hit the water. A fighter jet buzzed us so close it brought tears to my eyes. Then the cannon blasted and we were off. The rain started during the swim and poured down all day! For me, that was perfect conditions. I was like a pig in the slop.

Ironman Mont-Tremblant 2016 Bike Rain
Terrential Downpours on the bike leg of Ironman Mont-Tremblant 2016

Due to some choppy lake conditions, my swim was not as fast as I thought it would be, but still one of my faster IM swims. My bike was one of my fastest so far but yet I still held back as I planned to save something for the run. The run was my best ever Ironman run. The rain came down and kept me cool while cranking out some 8:30-9:00 pace miles. I felt amazing the whole time. I blew away my sub-12 hour goal by about 14 minutes and coming away with an Ironman PR of around 50 minutes! I chopped off almost 30 minutes on my IM run time alone. Mission accomplished!

Ironman Mont-Tremblant 2016 – Finish

So now 5 races completed for this year and 3 of them were PR’s and 1 podium. What more could I ask for? A fabulous end to an epic season for sure. Proof that aging does not mean you get slower. At least not yet. Maybe by the time I am 50 I can qualify for Kona? 🙂

Usually with the last race of the season comes a little depression that it is all over for another year. I like to schedule something big for after my last race that keeps me on the up-and-up. Just when you think things can’t get any better we headed to Iceland for a two-week journey around the island in a camper.

Kirkjufellfoss – Iceland 2016

I let my body recuperate a bit and broke out my camera for an incredible trip. It was the perfect diversion for someone who has only thought about training for the last year. The scenery was out-of-this-world and it was a great end to all the hard work that was put in over the last 8 months. I have been working on a full report blog post on this trip which I hope to be published very soon. Stay tuned for that.

While you would think that was all for this year, I had to do one more race. I signed up for the local South Mountain 10-miler run which was kind of a birthday run for me. I had never done this race before, but it looked to be quite challenging. It starts not too far from the Lehigh Univesity’s Goodwin Campus fields and a makes it was up to the very top of South Mountain, turns around and heads back down again. It is very steep and a big slog. I ended up 40th overall and 6th in my age group. Not a great result really, but I maintained a 8:12 pace which is just a bit off my half marathon pace. It was more for fun so I am not too worried about that.

I concentrated on my photography a bit for the remainder of the year, which tends to play 2nd fiddle to my training. I made a couple trips to Lake Placid and a short trip to Salt Springs State Park(PA) for some photography sessions. I came away with some keepers and also started getting more active with my Instagram feed. I dug back into my photo archives and found some great pictures I had taken in the past that never made it off my laptop.

So now as we head off into 2017 and I set my sights on Ironman Boulder and the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid this year, I have great memories looking back on the amazing year that was 2016. Despite what many others have felt. I have so much to be thankful for. I can only hope that 2017 is even half as good as last year.

I can only hope that 2017 is even half as good as last year. Although, it is already shaping up to be a pretty full one. I have several races on the docket and plans are already being hashed out for an amazing trip to Croatia and Slovenia during post-race season. As for goals, Ironman Boulder should be a challenge in itself given the altitude so I am not putting any time goals on myself for that. Perhaps working on pacing myself would be enough. I think Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid may be my A race for the year and I would like to shoot for a half-iron distance PR there.

My other goal for 2017 is to get back to regular blogging here. I have fell off the wagon a bit over the past year so I hope to pick that up again. I have just “cut the cord” and cancelled my cable TV subscription, so besides saving money I plan on spending a little less time in front of the tube.

If you are reading this, I hope you had a great 2016 and a even better 2017 as well. Thanks for reading!

Ironman Mont-Tremblant 2016 – Feeling pretty relaxed after finishing and just coming back from my post-race massage.

IMCDA 2015-Week#21(May 18-24)-Todd Wiley Lake Placid Camp

Less than 5 weeks to go until Ironman Coeur d’Alene! Actually, if you are reading this post it is probably less than 3 weeks to go. With all the heavy training volume lately, I cannot find the time to get this post out and I didn’t want to just throw it out there. Anyway…I digress.

This was a bit of an odd week. I was ready for some recovery time after finishing up two solid build weeks, but with Todd Wiley’s Lake Placid Training Camp this weekend I could not afford an entire week of recovery. I did a light swim on Monday, took a total rest day on Tuesday, and then a easy run on Wednesday. It was a good amount of time to recover and be ready for a solid training block over the Memorial day weekend. My HRV Timeline chart below shows my recovery as well with a solid upswing into the mid-80’s by the middle of the week.

<a href=
iThlete HRV Timeline Annotated-IMCdA 2015 Week 21″ width=”625″ height=”293″ /> iThlete HRV Timeline Annotated-IMCdA 2015 Week 21

Camp Time!

On Thursday morning I made the 6 hour drive up to Lake Placid for the start of Todd Wileys‘ Lake Placid Training Camp. Last year I had my own little solo camp, but riding alone up there leaves me a little uneasy. Especially when you get a couple flats and mechanical issues. When you are with a camp you have some extra support plus it is always fun meeting new people with similar interests. We were staying at the Olympic Training Center for the Todd Wiley camp which was really cool. This would be much more fun than staying in some hotel downtown by myself. I had driven past the OTC facility many times but never saw the facility from the inside, so now I could really check it out.

I arrived at the facility, checked in and unloaded my gear into the room. Eventually, my roomate Max came in and introduced himself. He was a really nice, mellow guy which I was very relieved about. It was kind of like the first day of college and meeting your dorm roomate. Everyone eventually met outside in the parking lot around 4PM for a group run after getting settled into their rooms. We then headed out for a nice 5-6 mile run into town, around Mirror Lake and then back again. I ended up running with Dr. named Howie most of the run. He was a super nice guy and quite a character too. The run went really fast since we were chatting the whole time.

The original shedule had a short 15 mile bike ride listed on the first day, but that got nixed since we got out later than planned. We then headed to the cafeteria at the Olympic Training Center(OTC)  for some dinner. I was a bit apprehensive about eating in a cafeteria all weekend and whether they would have much for me to eat. I was pleasantly surprised. The OTC cafeteria food was awesome! They usually had several different options for each meal with at least a couple of them being veg-friendly. Another nice benefit of the cafeteria was that we didn’t have to deal with eating in town on a holiday weekend. This can be a bit of a challenge especially with a large group.

On Thursday night the group got together for some discussion with Todd about the plan for the weekend and some general training information. We also got a a bunch of swag including a t-shirt, a towel, and some sun/cooling sleeves. I was pretty psyched about the sun sleeves since I had wanted to try them but didn’t want to fork out the money for a pair. I also just happened to check the weather on my phone during our session and it was apparently snowing outside. That should make for an interesting ride tomorrow!

On Friday, we were up for breakfast by 7AM after a good nights sleep and out for group ride by 8:30am. It was a bit cool and very overcast as we waited to depart. It started raining as soon as we left the OTC making for a cold, damp start. We headed down Route 73 to River Rd and then down 86 to Wilimington and back again. The ride down to Wilmington is mostly downhill so I took it easy crusing the whole way. The skies eventually opened up and the sun came out. My plan was to give a hard push back up the notch to Lake Placid. It was a good hard ride,  I turned around at Cobble Mountain right after the three bears climbs and then swung back down to River Rd. and then back to the OTC.

We then headed out for a half hour brick run immediately after we returned from our ride. I joined up briefly with Derek Fitzgerald, the only heart transplant and cancer survivor to complete an Ironman, and we ran across the street up Bear Cub Rd. past the entrance to Henry’s Woods. I went a little further up the road since I had never been up the before and was curious where it ended up. It was a gradual climb most of the way out.

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Fernando demonstrating his core strength techniques

We had a afternoon session with Fernando Paredes from Fusion Fitness & Performance on his strength training principles after lunch. I had attended Fernando’s workshop back in January so this was more of a refresher for me. The session was mostly just a overview of his methods and we didn’t get into any actual strength training. Fernando did a couple demonstrations with some of the campers which were pretty amazing. The one guy had really tight hamstrings and Fernando was able to have him touch his toes after just rubbing his jaw on both sides. That was pretty wild.

On Friday night we had a classroom discussion on triathlon rules and safety with Ken Modica. Ken is a USAT official who officiates many of the races in my area. It was a good review of the rules and some of the changes that have been made. I kind of lost attention though after everyone started their “airing of grievances” and bringing up their individual occurences of being unjustly penalized for things. I would have liked to have seen a little more discussion on overall race strategy and nutrition in the camp, especially for the folks who are doing Ironman for the first time. Troy Jacobson did this in his camp, which I attended in 2012, and I found it really helpful. The coaches here were very accessible though and I know my roomate had sat down with Todd individually to discuss some of these topics.

Bike ready for long ride with Amrita Bars
Bike ready for long ride with Amrita Bars

Saturday was our long bike ride for the weekend, so I was off early for a good nights sleep Friday night. We topped off our tanks with a good breakfast and then we headed out for our long ride. Some of the campers were only doing one loop of the IMLP Course, and then the rest were doing two loops. Both groups were skipping out on the out-and-backs to Ausable Forks and Haselton Road. I was considering doing one or two of them just to tack on a few miles.


I started out with a group led by Nancy Smith, an elite age grouper and multiple Kona qualifier. Nancy has an unbelieveably smooth cadence which never seems to change despite the terrain. She also had a very similar pace to me so I always seemed to be following her. She did tend to drop me a little on climbs, but then I would catch up on the downhills. My extra weight comes in handy sometimes! Thanks gravity! Also in our pack was my roomate Max and Jeff. We would stop every once in a while and catch up a bit.

Max cruising through Jay on IMLP Bike Course
Max cruising through Jay on IMLP Bike Course

It was a pretty brisk morning on Saturday, but I dressed appropriately  with jacket, leg warmers and full finger gloves and it wasn’t too bad. It had gotten a little warmer towards the end of the first loop, so I swung back to the OTC for quick wardrobe change. The first loop went well and I was still feeling pretty fresh. The wind had picked up a bit on the second loop but it was mostly a tailwind from Lake Placid all the way to Upper Jay. There never seems to be a tailwind from Upper Jay back to Lake Placid which is basically all uphill.

Old Barn between Upper Jay and Wilmington with Whiteface in the background
Old Barn between Upper Jay and Wilmington with Whiteface in the background

I started to feel it a little in my quads as I made my way up to Wilmingtion. I had heard someone yelling my name as I rolled into Wilmington and eventually saw Todd parked across the street and my roomate Max taking on some hydration. I swung across an refilled my bottles and food. It was good timing because I was out of hydration and starting to feel it. After sucking down a bottle of Skratch Labs and eating an Amrita Bar I was ready to tackle the climb back to Lake Placid. I even hit the little out-and-back on Haselton Road just to get a couple more miles in. I like this little stretch too since it is pretty mellow with minimal traffic. It is kind of a break in itself.

I made the push back up 86 to Lake Placid, this time being a little more challenging than the first loop. The stronger headwind made things just a little tougher too. There is a short but steep stretch around the gorge area where the road gets very narrow with no shoulder and a stone wall guarding you from a rocky cliff into the Ausable River. I got behind another cyclist who was going relatively slow, but I was not able to pass him do to the car traffic and lack of a shoulder. As we reached the top of the climb, but not quite passed the stone wall he decided to stop! WTF!! I yelled “NO! Keep going!” He obviously didn’t even realize I was behind him. He managed to gather some more strength and pedal up to the turnout a few feet away. I patted him on the back and laughed as I went by. He smiled but was too exhausted to say any words.

I finished up the ride back into town after completing the Three Bears climbs for the second time that day. My legs were pretty tired by the time I got back and I only had food on my mind at this point. Fortunately the OTC cafeteria is open all day long for snacks and things and I headed right there.

Fernando had a strength training session in the afternoon, but I could muster up the motivation to attend. I was ready to just chill a bit. The plan for the afternoon was to go into town for a short swim in Mirror Lake. I ended bagging the swim since it was still pretty cool air temperature and very windy. I knew the water was cool which I can deal with, but the thought of getting out of the water not being able to get warm changed my mind. I knew Sunday was supposed to be a warmer day, so I will save my swim for then.

I ended up going to Lake Placid Pub & Brewery to get some dinner and have a couple beers. I ended up meeting up with some tri-friends from home, John, Ashley and Johns’ daughter Laura at the Pub. They were staying with some other friends, Brian and Mandy, from back home who have a house in LP and invited me to come over for dinner. I felt a little funny going over to have dinner at someones house that I never met, but they said it was cool. Brian and Mandy were really nice people and so accomodating. They are both REALLY GOOD athletes and Brian was into photography too so there was no shortage of conversation. I had such a great time with all of them and we had a ton of laughs too. It was like I had known them forever. Oh also they had rice and beans with side of kale for dinner so it was the perfect meal for me. I did cheat a little and had a organic chicken sausage too. 🙂

Todd debriefing campers before our long run
Todd debriefing campers before our long run

Sunday all the LP campers met up after breakfast at the front gate to the OTC. Todd debriefed us on the plan for the run since some folks were running different distances than others. I was planning to get at least 18 miles in but was hoping for 20. I would assess it as I went depending on how I felt. We then got together for group photo before set off on our run.

2015 Todd Wilery LP Camp athlete photo OTC
2015 Todd Wilery LP Camp athlete photo OTC

I realized that I forgot to put sunscreen on as we started down the road, so I headed back to the dorms to put some on. The zipper in my running shorts got jammed and I could not get my ID card out. I could not get the zipper unjammed for the life of me and I didn’t want to break the it on my favorite running shorts. So I had to go without. Fortunately it was fairly cloudy as the day went on so not really an issue.

I fell pretty far behind everyone with the zipper drama, so I was basically on my own for most of the day. I did catch up to a few people in the camp and saw the rest coming back on River Road. Todd was waiting at the turnaround on River Rd. with water and gatorade for us. He also said he would wait for me at the Ski Jumps, on the other end of River Rd. to restock me with water before I head into town. On the way back I stopped at the house we typically stay at on River Road to say Hi to our friends Dan & Wendy for a few minutes. I chatted with Dan for a bit and then continued on. I stepped up the pace a bit since I knew Todd was waiting for me.

LSD Run Comparisons by Temperature
LSD Run Comparisons by Temperature

The cooler air temps this day really made a huge difference in my run. I felt so good the whole time as opposed to the prior weeks run back home in hot & humid temps(see image above). My previous long runs were much slower and the courses were also much less difficult in terms of terrain. I can only hope for temps in the 60’s in Coeur d’Alene!

I made my way up into town, headed around the back of Mirror Lake and turned around at the Lake Placid Marina right before coming back into town near Saranac Ave. I was at around 16 miles when I got back to the OTC, so I decided to head up Bear Cub Rd, where I had done the brick run on Friday to get 20 in. I ended up finishing with only 19.3 but I didn’t feel like to doing filler runs just to get 20 in. Close enough! I was quite happy with the run at that point, so no point in continuing.

After some lunch, we headed into town to get a swim in at Mirror Lake. My friend John had told me to let him know when we would be swimming and he was going to meet me with his kayak. It was pretty nice having my own support crew. I stashed a water bottle on Johns’ boat and he took some pictures and video of me while I swam too.

Me getting ready for swim in a chilly Mirror Lake
Me getting ready for swim in a chilly Mirror Lake

The water was really cold! I was a little fearful of cramping up after just running 20 miles a couple hours before. My hands, feet and face were numb. I started out with a pretty good pace just to get some heat pumping. My plan was to swim 20 minutes out and then back again. By around 15 minutes I was starting to have enough. My toes were involuntarily curling up from the cold. I stopped at around 17 minutes, took a drink of water and chatted with John a bit and then headed back. Unfortunately, I forgot to stop my watch to get an accurate pace.

Cold swim in Mirror Lake
Cold swim in Mirror Lake
Thumbs up...open water swim in Mirror Lake
Thumbs up…open water swim in Mirror Lake

The wind really started to kick up on the way back and the waves were smashing into my right side. I took a mouthful of water and started choking a bit just like I did at Devilman a few weeks before. I eventually calmed down and restored my breathing again. I then started breathing only to the left for the rest of the swim back. I finished up with a mile swim, which was plenty considering how cold it was. It had to be at or below 50 degrees. When I reached the beach the rest of the people in the camp were already done swimming and they had started after me. Todd even said it was crazy cold and he bailed early too.

A video posted by Bri Tri (@bri_tri) on

Sunday night I was pretty tired and just settled in early. I had a good dinner and then got a good nights sleep. We had planned to do a short bike ride early in the morning and then checkout by 9:30am. The forecast was for rain and I planned on skipping that if that was the case and get on the road early to avoid all the Memorial Day traffic.

I was the first one from our camp in the cafeteria in the morning, but Derek Fitzgerald had come in later and joined me. It worked out nice to get to chat with him one-on-one for a bit. He was telling me about his upcoming Tour de Cure ride across America which is starting on June 9th. He has a pretty amazing story which I would highly recommend you check out.

I then packed up after breakfast, said goodbye to my roomate Max and everyone I saw from the camp. I got to meet a lot of new triathletes from the are area while getting in some solid training. It was a really great experience and I would highly recommend it. Staying at the Olympic Training Center was very cool.

The ride home started out ok, but traffic got very heavy as I got past Lake George. Fortunately no major delays though. I stopped in New Paltz at the Taco Shack for a quick bean burrito along the way. It was crazy busy everywhere else.

Ok, back home with only two more build weeks to go! Thanks for reading!


Lake Placid Needs Your Vote Now! Best Outside Towns 2015!

Hey Folks…If you are a follower of this blog you know how much I love Lake Placid, NY. I know some of you do too. So we need your vote to make Lake Placid one of Outside magazine’s Best Outside Town 2015.

Go to the following page and scroll to the bottom to vote… http://www.outsideonline.com/1972941/best-towns-2015/

Winter Night on Mirror Lake, Lake Placid, NY
Winter Night on Mirror Lake, Lake Placid, NY

IMCDA 2015 Training Update Week #4(of 26)-Lake Placid Cross-Training

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Adirondack Sunset

I mixed things up a bit for week #4 by heading up to Lake Placid for a bit cross-training in the snow. I try to get up there for a week in the Winter every year for some skate-skiing at Mt. Van Hoevenburg. We have a week planned in Sedona, Arizona next month so it wasn’t looking good for skate-skiing this year. We decided that we needed our Lake Placid Winter fix, so we arranged a long weekend up there which was perfect.

I tried to get in as much biking and swimming in the early part of the week as I could. Thursday ended up being a rest/travel day. I got a small case of swimmers’ ear too, so it worked out that I would not be swimming for a few days.  The rest day would also help since skate-skiing can be pretty exhausting .

2015 Training Week #4
2015 Training Week #4(1/19-1/22/2015)

We made up to Lake Placid in time to have dinner at the ADK Cafe in Keene, NY which is one of our favorites. On Friday, I was able to get our ski’s waxed in the morning so we were able to get in a good hour and a half in the afternoon. Conditions were great at Van Hoevenburg too. There was a really solid base and everything was open too. Temperatures were perfect as well running in the high 20’s to low 30’s on Saturday. On Saturday, we did our town shopping spree and lunch and then headed to ski later. Denise ended up pulling her back out though while putting her boot on. 🙁 She was in some severe pain too. I had to run her home, but then was able to go back again and get a good hour in anyway.

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One of my least favorite little hilly sections on the Perimeter Trail at Mt. Van Hoevenburg

On Friday night we had a nice dinner at Milano North in town and Saturday Cafe Rustica. Both of them are two of our favorites. The ladies at Cafe Rustica were also very accomodating of Denise’s back issues. I was a little disappointed to find out that my all time favorite, The Cowboy had closed up. Also Pan Dolce seems to be closed as well.

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Nice view of Cascade Mountain from the Biathlon area at Mt. Van Hoevenburg

Sunday was a different story though. We got about an inch or two of new snow and it got cold! Like 7 degrees in the mid afternoon. Brrr! This also changed the snow conditions too and the purple wax that I had on my skiis was no longer gliding like it was the past two days. Now I was getting a major workout whether I like it or not. To add to this I also headed out on one of the harder trails, Porter Mountain Loop. I was sucking some major wind on this one. It was brutal, but I got in another 1:30 of skiing. So all-in-all it was some workouts on the ski trails. It is nice to break up the running, biking and swimming during the Winter.

Sunday night we had a real nice dinner at the Interlaken Inn Pub with the couple we stay with in Lake Placid. Food was amazing, but we had to rush through it since we were going to the Banff Mountain Film Festival immediately afterwards. There were some really good films this year and it is always a packed house in Lake Placid. I threw together this playlist of some of the ones they showed there…

One thing to note this week was my Heart Rate Variability(HRV). I hadn’t had any alcohol since New Years and over the weekend I had a few glasses of wine on two of the four nights in Lake Placid. It is pretty interesting how my HRV dropped severly on both mornings after that. They were also not consecutive days, so my HRV went up on the night between and down again the following. My training was about the same on all the days too, so I don’t think that had anything to do with it. I slept good all the nights as well.

HRV timeline as of 1/27/2015- Wine playing a part here.
HRV timeline as of 1/27/2015- Wine playing a part here.
ithlete-pro-TrainingGuide- What a few glasses of wine can do...
ithlete-pro-TrainingGuide- What a few glasses of wine can do…

We headed home early on Monday due to the impending winter storm, Juno which was headed our way. It turned out to be a non-event, so all that rushing home was for nothing. Oh well. It was a great weekend in the Adirondacks and it was nice to change things up a bit too. Well next week it is back to some usual training again.

Thanks for reading!


I Found My Thrill On…Blueberry Mountain

I was ready to get out into the mountains after a full day of recuperation from my Ironman Lake Placid 2013 race. I had spent most of post-Ironman Monday just hanging out around the house after returning back from the the Ironman Store. I had stood in line from 7AM until around 8:30AM to get the much anticipated finishers apparel. Later I found out I could have just ordered it online and slept in. Ugh. Anyway, Tuesday morning I awoke feeling fresh again and ready to hit the trail. My prior days’ cowboy-style walking posture was now back to normal.

After doing some online research, I came up with Blueberry Mountain outside of Keene, NY just south of Lake Placid. It is a hub for many hikes and this one started out of Marcy Field Trailhead.

We had some lunch at the nearby ADK Café, which we also had dinner the night before, but today the service was a little less than desirable. We had asked to sit outside, but there was only one large table open, and our waitress said that they needed to save that for larger parties. That was fine, but when a two-top opened up she then made a big deal about us moving as said it would confuse the kitchen. Really? How would the kitchen even know where we were sitting? More like it would confuse her…and it did later when she gave us the check. We also had a regular burger and a veggie burger which took an hour. They were not all that busy either. We really love this place and they are usually very accommodating, but we have had a couple bad times there during lunch. Guess we should stick with dinner.

We eventually got to the trailhead around 2pm or so to start our hike. It started off pretty mellow and gradually started to climb. The climb got steeper and steeper as we went. Denise kept turning around to check on me to make sure I could handle it. Once I got going it was fine. I also was the one wearing the backpack, so I had some extra weight to deal with. I was also testing out my new Salomon Quest 4D GTX hiking boots  for the first time and they worked very well.

We came upon several bald, rock-faced openings as we got closer to the top of the mountain. Each one provided magnificent views of the surrounding Adirondack Mountains and valleys. We had practically a 270 degree view from the top. In addition to the views the top was covered in the best tasting wild blueberries I have ever tasted. Denise could not get enough of them and I think she almost cleaned them out.

Once we got to the top, which was a large rock bald area with a very large boulder sitting on it, we continued on through some very thick trail. It wound around a bit and eventually came to another balk face with more impressive views. At this point we had gone about 2.5 miles and roughly 2300′ of climbing elevation. A pretty good hike, especially 2 days after doing Ironman.

The hike back was actually the tougher part. The constant pounding on the quads and knees was tough. We were psyched to get back to the trailhead and head back to Lake Placid for some dinner.

We had dinner at Freestyle Cuisine for the first time. They have only been open since June and they are located behind Saranac Sourdough on Saranac Ave. Turns out this was the chef we had liked so much at the Alegria Garden Cafe back in the Winter trip. There was also the bartender and waitress from there too, so they all must have moved down the street together. The food was incredible and we were bummed we hadn’t gone there before. Definitely a stop for next time.

Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 8-Haystack Mountain Snowshoe

We were originally supposed to be leaving this Saturday morning, but we decided to stay an extra day until Sunday. Fortunately our gracious hosts said this was no problem. Besides what the heck am I going to do at home on Sunday?

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We decided to forgo the skate-skiing today and instead get out in the woods for a snowshoe. While we prepared another breakfast at home, we decided to head over to the Haystack Mountain trail. The Haystack Mountain trailhead lies between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake in the large turnout parking lot on RT NY86. The trail is a fairly easy trail except for the last climb up to Haystack Mountain which is somewhat steep. You are rewarded with some decent views of the surrounding mountains upon the summit.

On our way to our snowshoeing destination, we stopped over to the Green Goddess Natural Market for some lunch. The Green Goddess is now in their new location at the Placid Pond Complex over on Saranac Ave. right in front of the Hannaford grocery store. The location is great and the store is much larger and they even have a small café too. It kind of reminds me of Healthy Alternatives in Trexlertown, PA. We had a nice, healthy lunch and were on our way to put some miles in.

We had attempted the Haystack Mountain trail several years ago, immediately after receiving a fresh 3 feet of snow. We were the first ones to venture on the path and we had to break trail with some fresh tracks which was quite exhausting. I don’t think I was in as decent of shape back then as I was now, so it was a bit of an effort. We only made it in about a mile or mile and a half that time, so we had hoped to surpass that effort this time since there was much less snow.

While the snow was not nearly as deep, the temperature was a different story. The highs for the day were still in the single digits. When you did get in the direct sunlight, it seemed more tolerable, but the shady parts were a bit chilly. I had been stopping here and there to take some photos and every time I did that, Denise seemed to get farther and farther ahead of me.

The first couple miles in are pretty mellow as they circumnavigate the base of McKenzie Mountain. When we reached around the back of McKenzie things got a bit colder. The sun was blocked and there was a small frozen stream that ran between the mountains that seemed to lower the temperature even further. I think it may have been some dampness. Denise had started complaining about some numbness in her one arm along the way. She was holding it in a funny position the whole time, so I know it must have really been bothering her.

We reached a slight grade that paralleled the frozen stream and eventually rose above it. Every once in a while a small black hole in the ice would be visible where you could see water still flowing. It is so amazing that water could still flow after all those days of sub-zero temperatures.

We eventually reached a stream crossing which looked like a larger pool with a waterfall. Obviously it was frozen, it appeared that all other tracks had stopped here. We questioned why no one had crossed the body of frozen water and were not sure about attempting it. I searched further up the stream for an easier crossing, but none emerged. As luck would have it, two younger guys came hiking up and one of them took the first steps across the frozen sheet. No problem and we all followed suit.

We started to head uphill in a pretty steep manner. The two young guys were a bit ahead of us now and we could see the last half mile was pretty far up. Denises’ other arm was now going numb so we decided to call it here and head back. We had just under 3 miles in, so it was a good 6 mile hike anyway.

Denise had put her neck gaitor on for the way back and her arms began to regain consciousness. I was getting a little concerned about that, so I was relieved to hear that news. Apparently the cold air on her neck was causing the numbness in her arms. We eventually made our way to the trailhead and it was nice to get back to the warmth. It was not the greatest of hikes, but always nice to get out in the woods.

We headed back to the house, showered up and then back to town for our final dinner. We hit Alegria Garden Café again for Brussel Sprouts appe’s and cocktails, then over to The Cowboy for some more of that killer Green Curry. I had it as it usually comes with Udon noodles, and Denise had it with Polenta.

The end of a nice day and a great week in the Adirondacks. This place never gets old. Tomorrow we will pack up and head back home. Time to start my official Ironman Lake Placid Training on Monday. 26 weeks until Ironman!

Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 7-Thawin’ Out!

After two days of inactivity, I was ready to explode. The high temperature for the day was expected to be up to 9F(Heat Wave!), so I already had it in my mind to do a morning and afternoon skate-ski. I had a good healthy breakfast upon waking and was off to Mt. Van Hoevenberg around 10am. I have to admit it was still pretty cold out, but there was no wind and the sun was beaming. It was a total “Bluebird” day.

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I quickly forgot about the cold after hitting a few hills. I decided to try to hit some different configurations of trails on the Biathlon side of Van Ho. After about an hour, I headed back to the house for lunch. With a bunch of leftovers accumulating in the fridge, I made a good effort on cleaning them up.

After refueling, I was ready to go again for an afternoon skate. Denise decided to hang back and do a local snowshoe off River Rd. I dropped her off at the trailhead and made my way to Van Ho. I decided to do the Porter Mtn. Loops in the afternoon. They were extremely challenging! THere isn’t much flat on this trail and it is long. I basically just did that and the East Mt. loop on each end. A total of around 9 miles for the PM ski and 15 miles(25k) for the day. Not a bad outing.

For dinner we headed over to The Cowboy over on Saranac Ave. This is the former Carribean Cowboy, which was located behind Saranac Sourdough. We had attempted to go here on Thursday night, but they were closed(WTH??) on Thursday. Anyway, we had a killer dinner. I had the black bean mushroom burger with sweet potato fries again and Denise had the Green Curry dish on Polenta instead of the Udon noodles. She was raving about it. Awesome!

Busy day, but not a ton to really report. Managed to get a few pictures driving to and from the trails. I actually took a series of images over by the Adirondack Loj Road of the mountains to to create a big panorama, but the file size was immense when I merged the images in Ps. Work on that later!

Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 5-6-The Big Chill

Wednesday and Thursday of the week brought about temperatures in the -20 to -30 F range. I had planned on taking a rest day on Wednesday anyway, but with 10-20MPH winds on Thursday, it wound up being back-to-back rest days. We attempted to do a snowshoe at the Flume Trails, but it was so brutally cold and windy we only lasted about 10 minutes. In addition, the snow was frozen so solid that our snowshoe crampons did not even penetrate the snow surface making for extremely awkward walking. Like walking on concrete! It was just not fun. So, what else to do but eat and shop…

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On Wednesday, we stopped over to the new Good Bite Kitchen, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant on Main St. This is a breath of fresh air in Lake Placid. When we first starting coming up here everything was either steak or pasta, but the last couple years have brought about some more healthy and flavorful options. The Good Bite Kitchen is both of those. The place is quite small and superbly nestled into a little side entranceway to a larger building. Kayte has very creatively made the most of a space that most would deem as not useable. The food here is really great and I highly recommend the Hand Pies. Yum! She is only open for lunch and brunch on Sunday unfortunately, but worth a stop in town. She posts her menu daily(prior to the 11AM opening time) on her Facebook page, and it does change everyday so check it first.
We ended up putzing around town the rest of the afternoon. Stopped in Starbucks for a bit and then Denise did some shopping. Fun 🙁 I was really wishing that the old Aroma Round was still in operation. If you don’t know what that is it is the round UFO-looking building at the end of town on Saranac Ave. It was originally built for one of the Olympic teams during the last Winter Olympics in 1980 and eventually became the original building for High Peaks Cyclery. When we first came up here it was a cool coffee shop called Aroma Round. It was a great place to hang out on a freezing cold day. It has been shut down for the last several years though.

For dinner, we tried another new place called Alegria Garden Cafe. Alegria is also located on Saranac Ave(just down the hill from the Aroma Round bldg) at the front and lower level of the Lake Placid Summit Hotel. They had several vegetarian options on the menu and they also do their best to use local, organic meat and vegetables. We had the Brussel Sprout & Walnut appetizer which was excellent. I cannot believe I am saying that anything with brussel sprouts is amazing, but this surely was. Denise had a Lamb Burger for entree and I had the Beet Risotto. That was the first time had plain lamb and the typical “gamey” taste that I had warned her about was ever present. Not at all a knock on Alegria, that is just how lamb is. The Beet Risotto was awesome. It was quite cheesy and I have not had cheese in awhile, so I was loving life with this dish. We will definitely be coming back here again on our next trip up.

After dinner we headed to the movie theater in town to catch a flick. This is really the only place I ever go to see movies. It is one of those real old type theaters too which is pretty cool in a nostalgic kind of way. Denise wanted to see Les Miserables and I cannot stand musicals, so I ended up seeing Django in the other theater. They have 4. Although Denise showed me the one she was in and I think it was more of a closet than a theater. Django was a Quentin Tarantino film, so it was lots of blood and guts with a little humor thrown in. Every time someone was shot a large, splash of blood would go flying. It was so ridiculous that I could not help but chuckle every time someone was shot.

On Thursday, after our failed attempt at a snowshoe we headed into town for lunch at The Good Bite Kitchen again. Another fabulous lunch! Afterwards I hung out at Starbucks for awhile while Denise did some more shopping. We also stopped at the Fallen Arch Running Store on Main St. which had 40% off Newton running shoes. We talked to the salesman, Bob Tysen, who we later found out was a RAAM competitor. It was a bit ironic since we had just watched the movie “Bicycle Dreams” about a week before, which was about that race. I would highly recommend checking this movie out. I can lend it to you if you live close by. Anyway, Bob had made it all the way to Louisiana in his attempt and was pulled out by his team due to a miscommunication issue and they ran out of gas. Pretty interesting guy with a very decorated past in endurance sports such as long-distance speed skating, mountain-biking, ultra-running, and cycling.

We eventually made our way down to High Peaks Cyclery to peruse their goodies. I usually try to stay away from here after the horrible runaround service they gave me a few year back trying to get my skis waxed. I lost two days of skiing because of their incompetence and they did not do anything to make up for it. They do have some good markdown deals on the upper floor, which are hard to pass up. Denise ended up getting a $200 Patagonia down jacket for $100. So I guess it was worth it. Don’t want to make a habit of it.

Thursday night we headed down to Keene and had dinner at the ADK Café again. Denise got the Earth Plate this time, but was a little disappointed since it did not have all the goodies(i.e. a pile of Kale) like mine did. I ordered the vegetarian Lasagna, which was crazy good! Of course with all the cheese in it, how could it not. No shortage of Vitamin B12 here! I really need to chill on the cheese after this vacation.

Well, that was our two days of inactivity on our vacation, not including travel days. Who says we never relax on vacation? Of course –28 deg F will do that. It is not going to last 3 days, cause I am busting at the seems to get out skiing again. Friday looks to be a little warmer. Well up to 9 deg F anyway…Never thought I would call that warm!


Thanks for reading!

Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 4-This Ain’t Disneyworld!

The day started off at -12 F. Cold, but only just the beginning. We enjoyed a healthy breakfast in and relaxed a bit. We took a walk down the road to the nearest trailhead, popped on the snowshoes and headed into the woods for a quick jaunt. Nothing too crazy, but just enough to get our fix in the woods. I brought my DSLR and tripod along with hopes of getting a couple images. There was a mostly-frozen stream that paralleled the trail and I managed to get some images of that. Nothing amazing, but something to wet the whistle a bit.

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We had lunch at the apartment and I headed down to Mt. Van Hoevenberg for my afternoon skate-ski. Denise decided to hang in and catch up on some reading in lieu of skiing. When got to the ski lodge the wind was whipping and the snow was falling. The snow was very tiny dense flakes that almost resembled a mist. By the time I got out to ski it had calmed a bit. I made my way across the large stadium field towards the East Mt. Trail. The large puffs of my breath that eminated from my mouth resembled that of a large locomotive rolling across the plains.

The stiffness from the previous days exertion was very present and I pushed on with the hope that eventually it would go away. The cold disappeared on the uphills, but made its reappearance on the downhills. It was like I had just ingested a large bowl of ice cream very quickly and my sinus passages in my screamed for mercy. I retraced the previous days course with the exception of the Ladies 5k trail which I added this day. Most of it was closed, but it added an additional 1.5 miles. I stayed out the entire time, fearing that going in would cause much of my clothing to get wet with sweat and returning out would freeze up. I ended up doing about 9 miles in an hour and a half, which was plenty.

We headed over to Cafe Rustica for dinner. I ordered the Bruschetta appetizer which was a meal in itself. It also had a Red Pepper Hummus which was a nice addition. For dinner, I broke the rules a bit and had a pizza. I got a Magherita pie, light on the cheese, and added some Arugula to help oxygenate the blood a bit. All-in-all a good day out despite the cold. Supposed to be colder tomorrow, so I may need to make it a rest day.


Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 3-Just Chillin’

We decided to eat in for breakfast this morning. I fueled up with a large bowl of Flax Plus Oatmeal and some blended berries from the Magic Bullet. I was not able to make my usual breakfast smoothie since I forgot to get some bananas the day before. Regardless it was a good replacement. I caught up on the previous days blog post and enjoyed a few cups of fresh ground coffee.

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As the caffeine began coursing through my veins, I was getting primed to get outside and get movin’. Denise was deeply involved in reading so I decided to try out my YakTrax with my minimalist New Balance running shoes. I feared that the YakTrax would dig into the bottom of my foot with the thin sole on my running shoes.

I donned my running garb and headed out the door and up River Road. I could instantly feel the 9 degree(F) air instantly constrict the blood vessels in my lungs as I struggled to extract the oxygen from the freezing cold air. I come from a long line of asthmatics, so any activity in cooler temperatures on my bronchial tubes. Usually resulting in a wheezy couch post-activity that my wife refers to as “The Hockey Cough” from the result of me coming into bed after a late night hockey game.

The YakTrax worked pretty well and I could not feel them through my shoes. I think the coating of snow and ice on the road helped absorb some of the thickness. I noticed if I hit a patch of macadam I could feel them a bit more. I think I actually prefer running on this type of surface. It has some give to it.

After a mile or so, my lungs eventually adjusted to the cold air and I settled into a steady zone 2 pace. I hadn’t really considered how far I was going to run, but since we were planning on skate-skiing later should probably keep it short. When I reached the large meadow by the red barn I realized my toes were really cold. Minimal shoes are basically mesh and don’t provide much protection from the elements. I thought this was a good sign I should probably turn around.

I turned around and headed back towards home. My lungs began a nice steady wheezing sound with each exhale. The cars that passed me gazed at me like I was some kind of freak. What…you never saw someone running on a snowy road in single-digit temperatures before? I ended up going past the house and finished up with a 4 mile run. It felt good to get the blood pumping again after 2 days of eating and doing nothing.

We stopped at the Cascade Cross-Country Ski Centers’ lodge for lunch since my Father-in-law had mentioned they had some vegan options on their menu. It was on the way to Mt. Van Hoevenberg so it made a convenient stop. I had a bowl of their Vegan Chili and the “Keene” wrap, which was a hummus & veg wrap. It was a decent lunch although I didn’t realize how much food it was until I was later browsing their ski shop and my stomach like it was going to burst. Ugghhh! Hope that doesn’t dislodge on the trails!

We finally got to Mt. Van Hoevenberg and were out on the trails by around 2PM. We did the East Mt. Loop first, then headed over towards the Perimeter Loop afterwards. I was surprised how great I felt on the long, steep hills of the East Mt. Loop. I remember not long ago stopping every 50 yards or so just trying to catch my breath. Now I just went up them like they were no big deal. I think all the walking lunges I had been doing at the gym were paying off finally. The uphills were also very welcome as they were a great source of warmth. The downhills, not so welcome…brrrr!

We finished the Perimeter loop and found our way back to the lodge which ended up being around 6 miles. I did a face plant on the East Mt. Loop when a misplant of my new pole sent me flying face first into the snow. Denise seemed to take a large amount of enjoyment in this as she yelled out to the skiier that passed us about a “man down.” I must have hit the stop button on my Garmin when I hit the ground cause I noticed nothing had changed when we went pass the lodge to the Perimeter trail. I don’t think it is was too much I missed though.

I headed out for another 2.5 miles after regaining consciousness to my frozen piggies. Now my sweat-soaked gloves caused my finger tips to freeze ever so quickly. I could not wait to get back to the lodge and thaw them out. The quick 25 minute excursion was a good blast of fast skiing. I had some tunes in and my lungs were screaming at this point. I ended up doing 8.5 miles which is plenty for my first day out this season. Don’t want to be hurting tomorrow. Time to head home, shower and off to dinner.

We decided to go to Milano North for dinner since my wife wanted some meat and they also had a Fusilli-Veggie entrée for me. My meal was pretty good, but it needed a little more flavor so I poured some of the olive oil dip from the bread over it. It did the trick. Made me wonder if they forgot the olive oil sauce it mentioned on the menu. Why is it so hard to add some herbs and garlic to the sauce for some flavor?? My wife had the veal picatta which she was ooohing and aaaahhing over. I have to admit it looked really good. That was one of my favorite dishes back in my carnivore days.

Despite the cold temperatures, it was a great active day outside. Fortunately there was not much wind, so that helps a bit. It snowed very lightly all afternoon and gave it a nice little dusting of snow. It continued through the night too and will hopefully add a new covering on the trails for tomorrow. Until tomorrow.