A Northeastern Fall Foliage Tour

B and I recently were able to take some time off – a week! – and decided to go on a roadtrip to some eastern states in what we were dubbing our “fall foliage tour.” Yes, that’s how I know I’m getting older – we are planning fall foliage tours. What am I, almost 30? (rhetorical question – don’t answer that)

It was a great way to spend a week off- it was relaxing (even though we were active), we got a chance to do some of my favorite fall activities (hiking and apple picking) and even got to spend a day seeing my parents and a day seeing a friend from college. Just what I needed in some time off! Some highlights from the trip:

We started with a quick stop to see my parents and go apple picking (full blog post here).

apple picking at indian ladder

Then headed to the town of Schroon, New York to see our friend Mitch and run the beautiful, hilly Adirondack Half Marathon along Schroon Lake (full blog post here).

adirondack half marathon

After the race

On our way to our next stop, we hit up Ticonderoga, New York. We visited the small downtown area and then visited Fort Ticonderoga.

walking around Ticonderoga

B and some old cannons

B and some old cannons

Great views from Fort Ticonderoga!

Great views from Fort Ticonderoga!

Then we headed to the beautiful state of Vermont! It was B’s first time there and we spent a few days in Northern Vermont, staying in Burlington, checking out their pretty waterfront, trying the local food, walking around their fun downtown area, taking quick trips to neighboring small towns and touring Ben & Jerry’s!

Hello from the town of Stowe, Ohio!

Hello from the town of Stowe, Vermont!

Being goofy at Ben & Jerry's

Being goofy at Ben & Jerry’s

The flavor graveyard. RIP cookie dough frozen yogurt :(

The flavor graveyard. RIP cookie dough frozen yogurt 😦

sunset along the waterfront in Burlington

sunset along the waterfront in Burlington

On our way to our next state, we made a pit stop in New Hampshire for a hike through the White Mountains. We spent a few hours hiking around Mt. Eisenhower. Unfortunately the weather was drizzly and foggy that day so we didn’t get in any amazing views that we’d heard about. But we did get in some activity – something I’d been craving, since it had been a few days since our half marathon.

pre-hike

pre-hike

Then we headed to Portland, Maine. Full blog post coming about this trip, but we had a great time walking everywhere, trying the local food and craft beer (Shipyard Pumpkin FTW!) and I even got in a few runs while I was there.

maine craft distilling

Our last quick stop was Boston. We walked around our alma mater, Boston College, stopped by the place we got engaged, and hit up the North End for dinner. A perfect end to a great vacation!

Back at BC!

Back at BC!

Some questions for you:

  1. Are the fall colors changing where you are? What’s your favorite way to see fall foliage? On a run? A hike through the mountains? A Sunday drive? Apple picking? Other?
  2. Do you like pumpkin beer? What’s your favorite? I’ve heard of some beer snobs who can’t stand it! I liked trying the Shipyard, but Pumking may still be my favorite.
  3. What’s your favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor? I loved Vanilla Heath Bar fudge (they don’t make it anymore now that they’re GMO free … RIP Heath bars!) but also love their new core flavors (any with vanilla as a base) and love anything with Caramel. Oh, and Cherry Garcia. Do I have to choose just one?

Race Recap: 2014 Adirondack Half Marathon

About two weeks ago, B signed us up for my third half marathon this year (if you may remember, it was my goal to do three this year). The race was the Adirondack Half Marathon –  a race known for being beautiful, around Schroon Lake in Upstate NY in the fall during the beginning of the peak foliage season – but also known for being somewhat challenging as it goes through the rolling hills of the Adirondacks. In other words – it would be a perfect excuse to travel for a mini runcation! Anyway, our friend from college Mitch was also doing the race- and he had signed up for the full marathon. So – we couldn’t really complain, could we? Nothing a few weeks of hill training and some long runs couldn’t prepare us for right?

adirondack half marathon course elevation

course elevation

Well … not exactly. B signed us up for the race about 10 days before the event. Whoops! Luckily, I’d been doing some somewhat long runs throughout the summer/early fall with Nicole (one of my morning running buddies), but nothing too long (no more than 10) and definitely nothing hilly. So needless to say, this was definitely the least prepared I’d ever been for a half marathon in my life. And when I saw the race day forecast – sunny and 80+ degrees (the race even started at 10 a.m. – so late!), I knew my goal would be just to survive the race and not walk any of it (not counting the water stops).

Sunday race day forecast - Sunny and 80s

Sunday race day forecast – Sunny and 80s

So, how did the race go?

adirondack half marathon c

Before the race – Mitch, B and I – of course the sun came out and the course heated up about 5 min before 10 a.m. when we started

The good:

  • The cheering – despite being sparsely populated, some areas of the course had some great cheering sections. We ran through the Word of Life camp at around 5 or 6 of the half marathon and their campers were amazing. The rumors were true – we could hear them cheering well before we got there. It was great!
  • The race was super organized. There was no confusion as to where to pick up our race packet, and they even let Mitch get our packets for us as we weren’t arriving until late Sat. night. The morning of the race there was clear signage as where we could park (and people to direct us as well), where to get on the bus (they bussed the half marathoners to the 13 mile marker so we all finished at the same point) and everything else was very smooth.
  • The race water stops were great – they were every other mile until mile 20 and then every mile. And being 85 degrees around noon, I definitely took advantage or nearly every stop. And there were some interesting snacks at some of the stops –  fig cookie bars and M&Ms!
  • The course was beautiful. I was a little worried that I’d get bored running through the same scenery the whole time (I’m generally not a fan of running through nature-ish courses…I know – I’m weird), but the foliage and lakes and houses were gorgeous. Plus, I was mentally challenged with all the hills so I made an effort to just enjoy the fall colors.
  • The post-race refreshments were out of this world – typically at the end of a race there’s some water, maybe beer, bananas, bagels, milk and some other goodies (I’ve seen races with ice cream or yogurt or popsicles or even something like a breakfast casserole or sandwiches). But this race had all of the above – soda, water, ice cream, bagels with different types of cream cheese, yogurt, tons of different types of fruit (bananas, melons, watermelon, grapes, etc.), and desserts like brownies, cookies and even gluten free options. It was amazing  – I wish I was hungrier after a race!
  • There was a post-race party for all participants – runners and volunteers – at a local restaurant. We stopped by and there was a free huge buffet – chicken, fish, beef, salad, corn, pasta, potato salad, dessert, fruit and more. I’ve never seen that during a race before!
adirondack half marathon c

Thanks to Mitch’s wife Becca for taking the photo!

The not-so-good:

  • The good people of Schroon had kindly paved the road probably the week before the race. So while this meant no pot holes to run around, this also meant the blacktop was scorching hot to run over and in the sunny 80 degree heat, it was reflecting back onto us. Which meant an even hotter run.
  • The snacks during the race- yes, they’re also under “the good” but at the same time, I really would’ve appreciated some standard race goodies like Gu or Hammer Gel. Especially when I felt my energy levels were low around miles 8 on.
  • The crowds – some areas of the run were pretty sparse. The places where people were cheering were great, but there were many spots along the course that had no one.
  • The hills! Luckily for us, the first few miles of the half marathon were flat and the second half of the course is flatter than the first half, but still  – those hills were rough for me. We hadn’t trained with hills as I mentioned so I was definitely struggling.

adirondack half marathon

So how did we do? B and I finished in just under 2:10 which was better than I imagined. Yes, it was more than 10 minutes slower than my other races this year (both under 2 hours), but considering the heat, hills and lack of true training and preparation, I’m pretty proud of it. Mitch’s family was there to cheer us on at the end, and his mom and wife had even made signs for us – my first race sign!

 

adirondack half marathon

Our AMAZING sign – Thanks so much to Mitch’s mom and wife!!!

adirondack half marathon

After the race

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your ideal race temperature? What’s the hottest weather you’ve ever had a race in? This was definitely the hottest half marathon I’ve run. 83 degrees is not my ideal running temp at all!
  • What type of scenery do you like for long runs – natural, trails, urban, suburban, beach, etc.? I like a good mixture – but typically prefer urban and water scenes to run by.
  • It’s fall race season! What was the last race you ran /  next one you have coming up?
  • What’s the latest you’ve ever signed up for a race? B and I once signed up for a 5k the day of – but 10 days before a half marathon is another record for me.