#2014Goals End of Year Update

So, I find myself 11+ months into 2014 and overdue for an update on what I put together for goals.

  • Run another 5k:  incomplete.  Did not make it to the 5k on 2/22 (on-call work), nor the Canes 5K in Sept (SHS HOF luncheon)
  • Complete the Bridge to 10K Program: incomplete
  • Complete the Ramblin' Rose Super Sprint Triathlon: incompleteregistered for not 1, but 2 Ramblin' Rose events (and they aren't cheap).  Was unable to attend the May date due to work, and opted out of the October date because of the opportunity to go on my first backpacking trip.  I hate that I missed this goal, but I did train properly in both cases, so that's a plus.   I'll again target the May event for a 2015 goal. 
  • Stop saying a particular expletive! partially complete. Have not stopped using the word, but way more conscious of it and use way down
  • Give up caffeine: Complete!
  • Get down to goal weight: incomplete this one is probably the most disappointing, having bounced around a little more and basically back where I started, it stays on the list for 2015.
  • Camp four places: Fort Pickens, Ocracoke, Lake James, Bear Island:  Complete!  Camped in FP in April, Lake James in September, Ocracoke & Bear Island in October.  I also camped two nights in South Mountains State Park while backpacking and a night in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (in Frisco). I guess I spent 10 nights in a tent in 2014, which must be a record in the last 10-20 years? 
  • Day Hikes in New Places: Complete! I didn't hit 12, but hiked in several new places, the Alum Cave Bluffs trail, several trails over three days in South Mountains State Park,  two new (to me) sections of the Mountains to Sea Trail, plus we rode on a brand new (to us) section of the Neuse River Trail.
  • Goal Achieved Not On Original List:  Backpacking Trip:  Complete! This was something that I guess was on a life list, but unsure of how or when I was going to accomplish it.  Being able to gain confidence to do it with a group of people and a 'leader' with experience was a perfect opportunity and the reason I skipped the 2nd Rambln Rose.

Photo of my backpacking supplies with notation:

(Edited to add:  what a terrible typo in labeling my Hydration bladder.  Too lazy to open it back up in PSE, so it stays!)


Campsite at Murray's Branch in South Mountains State Park on Saturday, October 3, 2014

So, in wrapping up, I hit all my "outdoor experiences" goals including one that I didn't even list!  I fell way short on the fitness events and my weight management.   I'll give some thought as to how I want to structure #2015goals. 

October Mini Road Trip: OBX and Bear Island Camping

September and October turned out to be really busy, but in a good way.  I was able to go on my first ever backpacking trip to South Mountains State Park and also head out to the Outer Banks a few days later for a 3 night camping trip.   I'm not sure there's a single photo from the backpacking trip that's worth sharing (I only took my P&S), but I did take a few photos on my car camping trip that I'll post.

My trip was a big loop starting/ending in Raleigh (naturally).  I drove from Raleigh to the National Park Campground in Frisco, NC ($20). The following day I took the ferry (free) from Hatteras Village to Ocracoke Island.  I spent the next night at the NPS Ocracoke Campground ($23).  The next morning I took the Ocracoke->Cedar Island Ferry ($15) and then met G at the Hammocks Beach State Park visitor center.  We took the 3:30pm passenger ferry ($5/person) to Bear Island for an overnight ($10).  I was lucky to have perfect weather and finally knocked a few items off my camping wishlist.

I took lots of photos, but realized that I'm pretty rusty and making silly mistakes or oversights (like bringing my polarizing filter but forgetting to put it on for half the trip).  The much talked about OBX bugs (huge mosquitoes) were still active in October (can't imagine the summer months) and drove me into my tent pretty quickly so I only snapped a few night photos, which I regret now.

Frisco

Ocracoke

Ocracoke Sunrise

Ferry From Ocracoke to Cedar Island -- somewhere in the Pamlico Sound

Looking Toward Emerald Isle from Bear Island

Bear Island Campsite Behind the Dunes

Sunrise on Bear Island

I definitely want to go back to Ocracoke and I hope to make an annual overnight on Bear Island.  There is something very cool about sharing a 3.5 mile long island with only 20 or so people, getting to watch the sunset, the stars come out, a huge moon rise, and then the sun rise the next morning....all just steps from your tent. 

 

 

#2014Goals: August Update

I made some really good progress on the fitness front last month.! Three solid weeks of triathlon training using this plan (picking up at Week 4 since that matched the time frame left for my event) and not missing a workout. I also modified "up" in most cases, but I think it's a great plan for people who are starting from scratch.  

HOWEVER...a wrinkle has been introduced that competes and conflicts with another goal.  I have the chance to be part of a "Backpacking 101" group that does weekly hikes and info sessions and culminates with a 2 night backpack trip for Week 5.  It directly conflicts with the Chapel Hill triathlon.  Of COURSE, I just sent in my registration (and $80) before the Backpacking program was announced.  So I can eat another $80/skip the triathlon and do the backpacking....or the opposite.

I hate to put the triathlon on the back-burner again, but I know there will be plenty of other chances to do one next year.  I also know how to prepare for one.  I'm not as certain about the backpacking opportunities.  The fact that this one doesn't conflict with my on-call schedule is a minor miracle in itself!

I have all the necessary gear for backpacking at this point, so there are no obstacles (or expenses) there.  This Osprey Pack (Sirrus 36) is really on the small side for backpacking, but it was originally purchased to be flexible enough for long day hikes and the overnight we have planned for Bear Island. So we'll see how well it holds up for a 2 night hike next month.

At the info session last night, there was far more interest in the program than they were offering slots, so I  decided if I got picked thru the lottery drawing, then I'd take that as a sign.  I was picked.

So, revision to the triathlon plans it seems!  I think I'll drop that goal for this year, and then focus more on finishing the 10k training plan instead of fitting 2 sessions each of biking and swimming each week in addition to running.

UPDATE:  Before I even posted this, I ended up attending the first hiking/prep session and have decided I will for sure forgo the triathlon and opt for the backpacking opportunity.    Just couldn't pass it up.

#2014Goals Update: June/July

I think I skipped posting after June, so here's another combined update.   

It's not surprising that if I didn't post, I probably don't have anything fantastic to report!  But it's not all bad either.  I haven't really increased my working out, but I'm still running each week at least once and getting on the bike here and there.  I've dropped off on my swimming a bit.

The good news is that I had a nice run this week and used a different neighborhood loop that I liked.  I want to try walking over to Lake Lynn, running the loop and walking back...a nice 5 mile loop that I can adapt to add more running miles as I try to increase distances.  I need to take advantage of the long daylight hours while I can.

So here goes:

  • Run another 5k:  Did not make it to the 5k on 2/22 (on-call work), looking at the Canes 5K in Sept.
  • Complete the Bridge to 10K Program: ongoing
  • Complete the Ramblin' Rose Super Sprint Triathlon: registered for the 5/18 event, but was unable to compete due to a direct work conflict which was really frustrating (given I wasn't on-call), I am planning to register for the October event in Chapel Hill.  I have not registered yet, but should do so soon.
  • Stop saying a particular expletive! still off that wagon
  • Give up caffeine: in progress
  • Get down to goal weight: well, this one is probably the most disappointing, having bounced around a little more and basically back where I started.  Nothing that can't be accomplished with the remainder of the year though.
  • Camp four places: Fort Pickens, Ocracoke, Lake James, Bear Island:  camped in Fort Pickens in April.  In June, I had ideas of camping in the Asheville area while combining a trip to visit my Mom, but instead we got super lucky to get the chance to stay at LeConte Lodge for an overnight in June.  As it stands now, I'm planning a "loop" in October that will include stays at Frisco, Ocracoke, and Bear Island -- and I really can't wait.
  • Day Hikes in New Places: The Alum Cave Bluffs trail would have to count for this, plus we rode on a brand new (to us) section of the Neuse River Trail.

And since no post is any good without a photo, here is a hummingbird from our feeder.   I'll have to try to get one when the light is hitting its back, this will do for now.

I had taken some yesterday with a really high ISO that was super grainy (plus it was thru a filthy window).  Since I was using ISO 2500 here, the shutter speed was only 1/800, so the wings were still blurred.  Today I just sat still on my deck in a chair and he returned within a few minutes.  

Canon 7D / 70-200mm F4 lens / ISO 2500 / f4 @ 1/800


Last Minute 48 Hour "Vacation", Mt. LeConte

I have probably been thinking about making a hike to LeConte Lodge for 2+ years.  Actually, I'd probably been thinking about it longer than that, but thinking it was doable for the last few.  I actually made reservations for June 2013 back in October of 2012, but I realized how far out it was and that the odds of me picking a proper and doable weekend that far in advance (including the kids) was basically 0, so I let the reservations lapse.

Sometime this spring I realized that the Lodge announces last minute cancellations via Twitter and I thought that maybe this would work if we could be really flexible.  I decided if we could snag a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night, we'd somehow make it work.  Meanwhile, we had targeted the end of June for a few days off (with no particular plans since we'd postponed our Yellowstone/Grand Teton trip until next summer). 

I called LeConte Lodge reservations to figure out the best way to snag a cancellation that overlapped with our planned days off.  They indicated that 10-15 days in advance is a good time to start calling...that's when people need to get their cancellation in before they are charged no matter what.  They said the twitter cancellations are usually REALLY last minute.  I called every morning...to no avail. 

Around 1pm on June 25th, I learned that there had been a cancellation for the very next night (I had set the LeConte twitter account to text me so I'd know instantly).   After a quick call to G, I called them to say we'd take it.  Decision made in about 10 minutes and now we'd have to head out a few hours later to get closer to the trailhead for our hike up the next morning.

After quickly packing...we headed out.  We stopped at a motel in Maggie Valley, leaving an hour or so to get to the trailhead the next morning.   We hit the Alum Cave Bluffs trailhead at 9:50am and made it up to LeConte Lodge Cabins around 1:30pm. 

It's a great hike...from the shady wooded hike along the Balsam Creek to the rocky narrow path that peeks out from the canopy...just a beautiful, uphill hike. 

I really wanted to bring my DSLR on this hike, but realized I didn't have a pack that would accommodate my clothing needs (rain jacket, change of clothes, extra layer), my water, and the other small items we were bringing.  I could definitely have lashed it to my pack, but the fear of rain and no where to stow it made me decide to just leave it at home.  I grabbed my Canon G12 instead.  Except I didn't charge the battery.   So...the photos are somewhat lacking from the upper portion and top.

Balsam Creek at Alum Cave Trailhead

Balsam Creek at Alum Cave Trailhead

Balsam Creek along Alum Cave Trail (lower portion)

Balsam Creek along Alum Cave Trail (lower portion)

Alum Cave Trail with Cables

Alum Cave Trail with Cables

LeConte Lodge is really a series of buildings and cabins that accommodate approximately 60 guests each night.  They provide dinner, breakfast, and clean bedding in your cabin.  There is no electricity in the cabin or main dining hall or office (which is supplied with tables/chairs/books/puzzle/games) so once the sun goes down, you are using oil lamps for light.  The fact that it didn't get dark until 9pm, coupled with a long day of hiking (we made 2 smaller hikes once we go to the top), left us going to bed pretty early.  We even forgot to go out and look at the night sky!

Our Cabin, 2 queen bunk beds inside

Our Cabin, 2 queen bunk beds inside

Highly recommended hike and experience.   Again we found ourselves hiking in a hurry (maybe that's natural) both on the way up and the way down.   We definitely stopped many times on the way up to catch our breath, but we didn't linger anywhere very long.  Maybe one day we'll change that.

View on hike to Myrtle Point, about 1 mile beyond the Lodge

View on hike to Myrtle Point, about 1 mile beyond the Lodge


#2014 Goals Update (April, May)

So, I'm a few months behind in getting an update posted.  It's been interesting (and maybe predictable) to see how my best month of working on these goals was January.  I guess that's typical, but for me, January is usually so busy, with so many working hours and deadlines that's it's really hard to commit to doing something at a certain time for a length of time.   I suppose the "New Year Resolution" countered that pretty well.

So not surprisingly the update isn't so great, haha.

  • Run another 5k:  Did not make it to the 5k on 2/22 (on-call work).
  • Complete the Bridge to 10K Program: paused to focus on Triathlon, however:
  • Complete the Ramblin' Rose Super Sprint Triathlon: registered for the 5/18 event, but was unable to compete due to a direct work conflict which was really frustrating (given I wasn't on-call), I am planning to register for the October event in Chapel Hill
  • Stop saying a particular expletive! Fell way off that wagon
  • Give up caffeine: in progress
  • Get down to goal weight: bounced around in April/May and am sitting around ~4 down since Jan 1
  • Camp four places: Fort Pickens, Ocracoke, Lake James, Bear Island:  camped in Fort Pickens in April and eye-ing an overnight in Western NC sometime this month
  • Day Hikes in New Places: I feel like we did this, but I can't recall where.  We also went on a few Greenway Bike Rides that were new to us.

So, on the workout/exercise front, not being able to do the Ramblin Rose in May was a huge bummer and in a small way impacts what I was going to focus on after it.  I've decided to do the October event in Chapel Hill, so I'll need to continue to bike and swim along with running.  I thought maybe I'd try to increase my running mileage along the way as well and shoot for a Turkey Trot in November which should be longer than a 5k (8k or 10k).  I should be able to pick up the Bridge to 10K at some point as I get back into a better running groove.

 

 

I did try biking to the Y and then doing laps in the outdoor pool one evening this week and that worked great.  The Y's indoor lap lanes are pretty busy in the evenings which left early mornings and weekends for swimming.  Being able to use the outdoor pool in the evenings (which isn't that busy) is a nice option.  The ride over is really short (~3 miles), but it's pretty hilly and I can always add some extra to that.

The Triathlon That Wasn't

This is where I was going to recap my first ever Triathlon.  Unfortunately, just 6 days before the event, I found out that I was going to be asked to work on the weekend in support of a big project.  On Wednesday I found out that I would have to work in direct conflict with the event.  Needless to say I was really disappointed.   I'm trying to apply a "in the grand scheme of things" mentality, but to miss the event that's just 2 miles away and one I'd been preparing for was a bummer.

I'll likely sign up for the Ramblin Rose event in Chapel Hill.  It's not until October, so I'll have to adapt my plan a little as I'd been planning to just focus on adding running distances in the hopes of running a fall 10k.  To be fair, there's no reason I can't prepare for both.

So I take this unexpected bump in the road as a chance to be better prepared.

ramblinrose.JPG



2014 Q1 "Project50" update

This is a little late, but "Project50" was intended to be a fun experiment to "celebrate" a milestone birthday year (which was actually late 2013). So...... When I wrote my original post on #2014Goals, I included a section at the bottom of kind of random things I called "Project50". These are less important and really just things to do for fun. Here's the update:

PROJECT50
  • Take 50 Crossfit Classes
  • UPDATE: February and March were really bad months for Crossfit, only 2 classes, so that's only 7 on the year. We'll see if I can still hit this one with a big focus in the 2nd half of the year (or not).
  • Get rid of 50 things a month
  • UPDATE: Tossed or Donated 50 items in January. I'm way behind on this one, with only an additional 38 things since Feb 1. I intend to catch up on this one.
  • Read 50 books
  • UPDATE: Read 4 books in January:
    Fire in the Hole, Elmore Leonard: as a fan of Justified, seemed like I needed to read this
    Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, Sophie Kinsella: as fluff as it sounds, first (only) Shopaholic book I'll read
    The Supreme Macaroni Company, Adriana Trigiani: final book in a trilogy, didn't like it as much as others by a long shot
    The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion: great easy read, told in such a unique voice
    Feb/Mar books:
    Following Atticus, Tom Ryan: Interesting read, got a bit repetitive/tedious, but easy read
    Outliers, Malcom Gladwell: Have been wanting to read this for a long time, short and interesting as expected
    The Midwife of Venice, Roberta Rich: enjoyed this period piece, there's a sequel, so I'll put that on my list at some point
    Three Wishes, Liane Moriarty: same author as What Alice Forgot, easy fun read
    Random side note: I started the year with a goal of not buying "new" books and attempting to use Goodwill, garage sales (not that I ever go to them it seems) and the library for my books. I adapted that to include kindle books under $5. In Q1, the only book I purchased at "full price" (I think it was $8.99) was the Trigiani book that was the 3rd in the trilogy and newly released. Other than that, all the books have been $1.99 or $2.99 discounted kindle books, $1 books from Goodwill, or borrowed from the library. I ended up at a Barnes & Noble this weekend and picked up Thinking, Fast and Slow because I was looking for a non-fiction book that might be a little challenging. It was $16. I just noticed it on Amazon for $2.99 kindle version. Lesson learned!
  • 50 Blog Entries
  • UPDATE: So far so good
  • Complete another Photo Project, part 1: 50 days of iPhone photos
  • UPDATE: none
  • Complete another Photo Project, part 2: 50 days of DSLR photos
  • UPDATE: none

#2014Goals : March Recap

I've decided to post monthly updates for my #2014Goals. If posting my goals for 2013 helped, monthly updates should help with accountablity, right?

So here was my list as it stood on January 1:
  • Run another 5k
  • UPDATE: Did not make it to the 5k on 2/22 (on-call work).
  • Complete the Bridge to 10K Program
  • UPDATE: still in progress
  • Complete the Ramblin' Rose Super Sprint Triathlon
  • UPDATE: registered for the Ramblin' Rose on 5/18; so far so good with running, (stationary) biking, and swimming, but I STILL need a bike!
  • Stop saying a particular expletive!
  • UPDATE: Mixed results, but usage is way down!
  • Give up caffeine
  • UPDATE: in progress
  • Get down to goal weight
  • UPDATE: maintained this month (~5 so far)
  • Camp four places: Fort Pickens, Ocracoke, Lake James, Bear Island
  • UPDATE: Travel to Fort Pickens is booked for April
  • Day Hikes in New Places
  • UPDATE: no new hike route this month

March didn't bounce back exercise-wise as much as I'd like, but I'm not going to be too hard on myself. Later in the month I got back in a better groove only to get sicker than I have been in about 20 years. It blew away the last four days of the month (and some of the beginning of April!) for anything other than laying in bed praying my fever would go away. I'm almost 2 weeks since it began and still trying to get rid of the leftover head and chest congestion. I finally got back on a stationary bike and treadmill just last night!

My workouts were:
Runs: 5
Crossfit: 2
Hikes/Long Walks: 6
Swims: 0
Rides (Spin Classes or Stationary Bike): 3
Other: 1 (30 minutes on elliptical)




#2014 Goals: February Recap

I've decided to post monthly updates for my #2014Goals. If posting my goals for 2013 helped, monthly updates should help with accountablity, right?

So here was my list as it stood on January 1:
  • Run another 5k
  • UPDATE: Did not make it to the 5k on 2/22 (on-call work).
  • Complete the Bridge to 10K Program
  • UPDATE: still in progress, running ~40 minutes now
  • Complete the Ramblin' Rose Super Sprint Triathlon
  • UPDATE: registered for the Ramblin' Rose on 5/18; so far so good with running, (stationary) biking, and swimming, but I need a bike!
  • Stop saying a particular expletive!
  • UPDATE: Mixed results, but usage is way down!
  • Give up caffeine
  • UPDATE: in progress
  • Get down to goal weight
  • UPDATE: Lost ~1 pounds (~5 so far)
  • Camp four places: Fort Pickens, Ocracoke, Lake James, Bear Island
  • UPDATE: Travel to Fort Pickens is booked for April
  • Day Hikes in New Places
  • UPDATE: New Hike #2: this hike was actually on March 2, and really just a modification of one we'd hiked at least 5 years ago, one of the Eno River trails. This time I added the Cox Mountain loop to the Fanny's Ford and Campground sections.

So, while I knew January could be a struggle (but ultimately wasn't that bad), February kind of fell apart about halfway through. I was sick twice and on-call twice in a short month. I kind of ran out of steam. I'm wrapping up yet another on-call week this weekend and look forward to 3 weeks of 'freedom'.

As a final tally, my workouts were:
Runs: 5
Crossfit Classes: 0 (which makes me sad!)
Hikes: 1
Swims: 1
Rides (Spin Classes or Stationary Bike): 3
Long Walks: 2


For March, I'm hoping for good health and good weather and no on-call until 3/31. I haven't mapped out my plans yet, but I think I might just shoot for 2 of each (Bike, Run, Swim) each week. I'm having trouble fitting in Crossfit (the "box" I'm going to is a bit of a drive), so we'll see if I just try to squeeze in the Saturday morning classes or just drop it for now.

Eno River from a (March) hike, taken with my Canon G12

eno