here’s to good friends 2014

I was going to start this post by commenting about the long weekend I just had, but I realized this post will be seen by post of you on Thursday…so for some reason that seemed a bit irrelevant.  But since that’s what I was going to talk about…last weekend I had a fun long weekend!  Last year, I headed up to Maine for the first time (minus one day at the beach when I turned 26…) for Sara’s husband’s annual Here’s to Good Friends weekend.  I believe Scott said that this was the 15th year that he’s hosted it (his parents had their own version in years past), which is pretty amazing.  The idea is basically that anyone and everyone can head up to their “camp” in Maine for a weekend of reuniting and just having fun together.  It’s called camp because when his family bought the land, it was literally just that…so people came up in tents and peed in the woods.  A house has slowly been built throughout the years, and the biggest addition this time around was wood floors and doors on the rooms.  I missed the years without running water, so I’ve never really had to rough it…and I’m sure it would have been cool to see the transformation over time!  The house is really beautiful with an amazing view of the lake.  Life is pretty good up there.

Of course, camp isn’t exactly accessible by public transportation, so Eric (he flew up the night before…when I was working…night shift fail) and I took a train up to Boston where we met other people who needed to fly in.  The plan wasn’t to hit the road with a rental car until after midnight, so I figured this would be a wonderful opportunity to hang out with Amy for the afternoon/evening!  After a nice nap on the train, we met up with Amy, ate some food, and then headed to Harpoon, one of my favorite breweries!  I’ve been on the tour before (and Amy’s been on it so many times that she could probably give the tour…), but recently Harpoon has opened a beer hall so you can hang out and drink their beers.  LIFE IS GOOD.

Photo: Why hello there! #harpoon #beerIt’s so delicious.

IMG_5652 Favorite people!

We sampled many beers from the many taps that they had – Amy and I both got a flight which allowed for maximum tasting potential.  Our waitress was also really knowledgeable about the beers on tap and made suggestions based on what we were interested in.  She also gave me a tasted of the “Fruit Salad” when I asked for the UFO White (one of my favorite beers!).  The Fruit Salad included the UFO White, UFO Raspberry, and Harpoon cider, and it really did taste like a fruit salad!  I enjoyed the sample, but it was a bit too sweet to drink an entire beer of it, so I went back to my original choice.  The beer hall also added pretzels, which looked delicious, but somehow we ended up not ordering them.  I guess we’ll have to go back…

After another stop for food, we parted ways (bye Amy!), and Eric and I headed to the airport to meet up with some of the group to drive up to Maine.  Luckily, someone else was driving because I was running on about three hours of sleep…and we got to Maine at 4am.  Yikes!  Let’s get some sleep and let the fun begin!

I could give you a play by play of the time at camp, but this is about how it goes:

  • Wake up and drink coffee/eat breakfast by the lake.
  • Some people swim, some people fish, some people run (or…people think I’m crazy for running), sometimes the dogs chase balls thrown into the water, some people play board games/cards, some people read, people talk to each other.
  • This goes on most of the day, including lunch in there somewhere.  “Showering” takes place in the lake.
  • Dinner occurs.  We had taco night, lobster night, and grill night.
  • Hang out by the fire and make smores.  The key to a good smore is letting your chocolate melt by the fire a little bit to make it even more gooey.  We also tried peanut butter cup smores, which were tasty but the PB was a little overwhelming.  Worth a try, though!
  • Ask Sara a million questions about Mississippi/internship/fellowship.  (Okay, only I did that.)
  • A game of Nerts.  I don’t even know if I spelled that right, but it’s like solitaire with however many people you have.  It’s vicious but fun.
  • The annual walk to ice cream…there’s a delicious ice cream place maybe ten minutes away, and I’m certainly not going to miss that!

 

image Campfire goodness.

My athletic pursuits were a bit different than last year when I was marathon training and ran around the lake.  My main goal this year was to try and get in some swimming since I haven’t really been in open water lately, so that will be good for the triathlon.  Luckily, a few people thought it would be fun to swim across the lake, so we did just that!  I’ve been testing out the new Bia GPS watch, which was triathlon features in it, including open water swimming!  I was interested to see how the watch would work in open water, so I wore it while we were swimming.  (I’ll review the Bia later!)  We certainly took our time and did plenty of doggy paddling.  Although we had a canoe with the group (just in time!), I was terrified that motor boats would run us over.  I did do some real swimming, which reminded me how different open water swimming is than swimming in a pool.  You can’t really see anything, and whenever you look up, it feels like you haven’t moved!  The water was also kind of choppy, so that made it a little more difficult.  Overall, a good experience.

image Not bad for an easy easy swim?

image GPS was pretty good.

image Minus that little bit…oops.

Overall, swimming was good, and I realize I need to get in the pool more.  (At least more than once per week…yikes.)  Other than swimming, I headed out for a few runs and was met with the hills of Maine.  OH THE HILLS.  They really ate my soul.  About half a mile away from the house, there’s a half mile long hill.  It has a little over 200 feet of elevation in that half a mile…which to me sounds like a lot.  And feels like even more.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take a break halfway up because…oof.

image

It was one of those hills were I couldn’t even fly back down the other side because it was a little too steep for my quads.  Yikes!  Also, I don’t know if I was residually tired (pretty sure that’s not the right way to use the word “residual,” but I like it) or if Maine made me feel weird or what, but I was really tired and dragging on these runs.  Maybe that first hill just got to me.  I certainly didn’t feel awesome on these runs, but I always think it’s fun to be alone on the run.  I didn’t pass a single person (except for a few cars) when running, which is much different than NYC running.  My introverted running self is happy.  Plus, so many trees and lots of green and the ability to jump in a lake when done is definitely a plus.

Otherwise, the weather was pretty perfect for most of the weekend, except for some rain that kicked in on Sunday afternoon.  This led to me reading The Fault in Our Stars in just about one sitting…and I didn’t cry although it pulled at my heart strings.  (Like the chordae tendinae! – Anyone?  Anatomy humor?  No?  Okay, moving on…)  Although the storyline is meant to be sad, parts of it were actually rather humorous…and I will admit that I even laughed out loud.  Impressive combination.  Read it if you haven’t…and let me know if you want to go see the movie!

The rain continued through the night, cleared up a little bit in the morning, but kicked in full gear for parts of the drive back to Boston.  (Again, glad I wasn’t driving!)  We stopped in Kennebunk to get sandwiches at Bennett’s…so much giant deliciousness if you’re ever anywhere in the vicinity.  And it will keep you full for hours…which I know mainly because it worked for me!  The rest of the trip was uneventful, ending with our cab driver telling us he was from the South Sudan and he came to the US to run cross country…and of course I was convinced he was some sort of all star, but that was never confirmed or denied.  So it goes.

So overall, another fun Here’s to Good Friends up in Maine where I got to see some of my favorite people and hang out with people I don’t really know all that well but we’re all just enjoying life.  Until next year, Maine…

a little more boston chatter

Thank you to everyone for their comments on my last post about the the Boston Marathon!  It was interesting to hear a few different opinions, as well as get some new blog readers who will hopefully stick around. :)   It seems that people had the same general consensus about why Boston filled so quickly, with the top reasons being:

  • More runners.  With more people running in general, of course more people are going to qualify.  More qualifiers for the same number of spaces means less qualified people get in.  Simple math here.
  • Faster runners.  More people running means more faster people will be running.  Same issue as above.
  • A couple snafus from last year, including Boston closing earlier than usual (people who got blocked out probably were quick to sign up this year!) and, as Tracy mentioned, the volcano eruption that caused some people to be stuck in other ends of the Earth, missing the marathon.
  • Elyssa mentioned the hype.  People talked about how quickly it was going to fill up.  People talked about quickly it was filling up on Monday.  People feed into the hype…not that Boston needs hype to fill…let’s be serious.

    And ideas as what to do about it?  There were a few:

  • Use a lottery of qualified people.  I think this would be a miserable idea….people spend years trying to get into Boston!
  • Tracy suggested only letting your qualifying time stand for one year.  That would make sense…but it is nice to defer for a year if you have injuries or other plans that prevent you from attending Boston in “your year.”
  • Tighten up the qualifying times, if only by a little.  If people want to run Boston, they’ll run faster.
  • Have graded registration times…the faster you run, the sooner you get to register.  Talk about competition!

 

Let’s just say I’m glad I’m not in charge of figuring all this stuff out.  :)   Maybe they’ll make changes…maybe they’ll leave it all the same.  I guess we’ll see!  That’s enough Boston talk for now, I’m sure people are a little tired of it.

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Today was a beautiful day in NYC!  The air is cool and crisp, and my legs are feeling pretty good after last week’s marathon and mileage.  While I do miss shorts and flip flops (well, to be honest, the flip flops are still around), I am enjoying the fall running.  I did a little five mile loop over to Central Park and around the reservoir, which gives beautiful views of the city.  Camera, Susan, bring your camera!  It felt great and although I thought my legs were a bit tired, they carried me well.  Woo woo.

Tuesday, October 19
5.08 miles in 39:05, avg pace of 7:42

I’ll take it!

I actually did some ab work when I got back…crazy, right?  I usually just stick to running.  I lifted yesterday (who am I??), and I hope to continue to do that at least a little bit.  My normal routine is to lift for a week and then stop for a few months, but who knows, maybe it’ll stick this time.  Check back in a few months…maybe I’ll have nicely toned arms and abs…clearly the goal here.

Wait, I’m probably not supposed to say that, even if it’s true.  :)

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