Thursday, December 3, 2015

Number 59 - WOTT

WOTT - Walk Off The Turkey

12 mile walk on the west side of Manhattan from Battery Park to the George Washington Bridge the Saturday after Thanksgiving






It all started months ago with the idea of a huge family get together in northern New Jersey for Thanksgiving.  With the standard overload of holiday indulging calories, the WOTT seemed like a great way burn some of them off.  So on Saturday after Thanksgiving, Ted, Jen, Raney, and I headed into New York City.  We decided to drive into the city, park at Port Authority, and take the #1 train down to South Ferry.




A few minutes later we were at the Staten Island Ferry station ready to begin the WOTT.  We were a bit early, there were a few other WOTT-ers wondering were all of this started (exact location wise).  We really did not know and just decided to start our journey up the West Side at that point.


If you've ever been to New York City and walked around Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Greenwich Village, Soho, or any area towards the center of the city you might be thinking that we had a lot of waiting time to cross busy city streets.  That was not the case at all.  There were only a few times where we had to stop for cars in the 12 miles.  They really did a great job designing and connecting walkways.  Navigating up the West Side of Manhattan was easy.  There are many parks, areas with artwork on display, benches, walkers, dog walkers, joggers, cyclists,...  And since the Hudson River is on your left, you just basically follow the river north.



The first six miles or so were similar to the picture above - city buildings and traffic fairly close by.  But as we approached the Upper Westside, the views started to change.

The one illusion that we could not avoid was the George Washington Bridge, at least the illusion of it appearing closer than it actually was.  In the picture below, it is about six miles away.  So if you ever do this walk, do not be fooled think that you are almost there :)



GW Bridge still miles away!

As we got closer to the bridge, we were farther from traffic and saw things that would make you think you were not in a city at all.

Hawk on the Hudson

So about four hours after we started we finally made it to the little red lighthouse under the great gray bridge.




Thanks Jen, Raney, & Ted!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Number 58 - Ashenfelter 8K

Great day for an 8K!

While in northern New Jersey for the Thanksgiving holiday, my brother-in-law treated my daughter-in-law and me to the Ashenfelter 8K Classic in Glen Ridge.


The weather could not have been any better than it was for the 3000+ people who were there for the 8K.



And what a great way to get ahead of the Thanksgiving day calories!



This was a fun race.  The 8K (4.97 miles) is a unique distance, not sure if I've ever come across an 8K race before but glad Ted signed us up for this one!


Ted Wins!!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Number 57 - 2015 Purplestride 5K




Pancreatic Cancer: Know It. Fight It. End It.

It is estimated that more than 48,900 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and more than 40,000 will die from the disease. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer death, with a five-year relative survival rate of just 7%. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest five-year relative survival rate of any major cancer.

Historically, pancreatic cancer research has been underfunded. Only approximately 2 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) budget is allocated to this leading killer. We know from the relatively high survival rates associated with breast cancer and HIV/AIDS that federal research funding levels matter in the fight to find new cures and directly relate to improved survival rates.

Your donations will help to change these dismal statistics by funding research grants, advocacy efforts, patient support, and awareness activities coordinated by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Click here (PDF) to download a pancreatic cancer fact sheet with more information.

Source: http://www.kintera.org/


My son, once again in remembrance and honor of his grandfather, my father, put together a team to help raise awareness and support for pancreatic cancer.  So last Saturday morning Mary, Raney, Daniel, Doug, and I met down at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta for the annual PurpleStride 5K.





It was a great day, a bit cool early but a bright sun on a cloudless sky made for a great outing.  There were options on the 5K - you could run it, you could walk it, you could do it timed, or you could do it untimed.  It really was not about the 5K race, it was about coming together with people who have all been impacted in one way or another, by pancreatic cancer.










Saturday, September 19, 2015

Number 56 - Jarrard Gap AT Loop


For number 56 I hiked the Jarrard Gap AT (Appalachian Trail) Loop in the north Georgia mountains with the meetup.com group 'Suwanee Take-a-Hikers'. I really like one of the mantras I came across regarding meetup.com - using the internet to get people off the internet! Well, this meetup group accomplished that.

We met up at the Lowe's parking lot in Suwanee and car pooled the hour and a half drive up to the mountains.

It was a cool September morning at about 50 degrees which felt fantastic after what seemed like months of 90+ weather!

The hike was a loop that took us on the Appalachian Trail, Jarrard Trail, and the Slaughter Creek Trail all in the Blood Mountain Wilderness area. Although 19 people signed up for the hike only nine showed up for it.

One of the interesting side notes on two members of the group, they were on their first date! That took some chutzpah. They chose not to carpool with the rest of us as they wanted to get to know each other on the drive up. Interesting first date!


We parked next to Lake Winfield Scott, geared up, and hit the trail head.

We were pretty much under a constant canopy of green the entire hike. Thoughts of what this might look like in about six weeks when the leaves would be all sorts of colors went through our minds as we trekked along.

The reason why this hike was categorized as moderate to difficult was the elevation gain. We started at just over 2800 feet and would make a steady climb to just over 3800 feet in the first three miles. So the first part was part were we burned the most calories but it was worth it. There were no points on this hike that had great vista of the surrounding mountains, again, mostly covered in a green canopy of leaves.









I enjoyed this hike and it was a pretty good workout, especially the elevation gain. One of the things my fitbit does is count stairs. It considers a 10 foot elevation gain as a set of stairs. The final count of stairs registered at 125! I thought that might be off as it was roughly a 1000 foot elevation gain. But a closer look at elevation profile made me realize that there were plenty of up and downs along the way.

It was a good hike.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Number 54 & 55 Suwanee Fest 5K/10K


It's not often when the chance comes along to do two races in one day but the opportunity did present itself on Saturday. I really did like the cause of the Suwanee Fest Superhero 5K & 10K Classic, it was a benefit for Cure Childhood Cancer. The 5K started at 7:30 and the 10K at 8:30 and since I've really slacked off doing races this year, it just made sense to do both.


As usual I arrived early to the race only this race was different. When I picked my race bib & packet, they also gave me a cape. So I donned my cape, walked around a bit only to find Batman & Robin and the Batmobile!


Very fitting with the Superhero theme of the event. Back in the day that was one of my favorite TV shows.


For both races the Batmobile lead the way.


About 350 people did the 5K and close to 150 people did the 10K. The way I found out about the race was through the meetup (meetup.com) walking group I typically walk with on Saturday mornings. Michelle, our meetup group organizer posted about this race instead of meeting up at our usual location. I'm glad she made us aware of this great cause. Although I think other meetup-ers did the 5K, with 350 racers and hundreds of more spectator/supporters I just did not see them.


The 5K started at exactly 7:30 and we were lead through the timing chute by the Batmobile. I walked the 5K in 41 minutes and 19 seconds, a pace of 13:20 minutes/mile.


After grabbing a water after the 5K I did run into Maria and Rick, from the meetup group. The three of us lined up near the back of the 10K-ers. And just a few minutes later, we were off.


Once again the Batmobile started us on our way.  As we progressed through the race I discovered that this was Rick and Maria's first 10K and not only that, it was Maria's first race ever!


It was a great workout for all!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Number 53 - 2015 Georgia Half Marathon


This past Sunday for race number 53 I did the Georgia Half Marathon.  For me, except for getting soaking wet from the rain during the race, it was pretty much uneventful.  This was the fourth or fifth time doing this race, so there was really nothing new about the course.  I'm glad I did the race, glad I took advantage of the discount price of ~$47 (paid a very long time ago) compared to what they were charging during normal signup for the half $85/$105/$120.  But to me, there is just really nothing significant about completing number 53.


However, I do know of two people out of the 7000+ people who did either the full or half marathon on this rainy, soggy Sunday morning, whose race was very significant - Antonio and Marsha.  You see for Antonio, this was his first marathon and for Marsha, it was her 200th marathon.  For them, this race was very significant.

Antonio's First

It's a small world.  In my previous post I wrote about getting a special pizza in celebration of our 39th wedding anniversary from Gordo's Pizza.  Well it was Antonio who made it!  When I was there getting the pizza I found out Antonio was doing the Georgia Marathon for his first full marathon.   Marathons are hard and when I hear of someone doing one for the first time, it gets my attention.




So in between Antonio making pizzas, we talked about the race and his prep for it.  I could tell he was ready and he was psyched for it!




Although it was still dark and raining our paths crossed in Centennial Olympic Park before the race started and I wished him good luck.



Congratulation Marathon Man Antonio!

Marsha's 200th


I first met Marsha when I did my first marathon - 2011 Soldier Marathon.  She is also a walker and as it typically goes with walkers, we're back of the pack type folks.   That was her 99th marathon.  Well get ready to do the math, this race, the 2015 Georgia Marathon, was her 200th marathon!   Incredible!


I had no idea that Marsha was doing the Georgia Marathon for her 200th.  But having a similar pace, I thought I saw her just ahead of me around mile 7 where the half marathon splits off from the full.  I actually had to speed up to see if it was her - it was.  I shouted out her name and wished her luck.




The picture above is actually from a different race where we crossed paths.  Marsha blogs about her races on bookladywalker.  I also saw a comment she made on FB regarding this mile marker "At least number 200 is in the record book - now on to that 300 mark"!

One other thing, yes she does have much more time to do these races now that she is retired, but did I tell you - she didn't start doing marathon walking until the age of 59!

Congratulations Marsha and good luck with the next 100!!!