Happy New Year 2016!

Yep!  Once again, I tend to think of February as the 'fresh start' to the new year.  Work is just too busy in January and if anything that trend is getting worse.   I mentioned it here in 2015 and here in 2012.  So, now it's February and life is returning to normal.

In 2014, I used some pretty specific goals or resolutions and met or made good progress on most of them. I was less specific in 2015 and unsurprisingly ended the year feeling like I didn't accomplish as much.  I definitely think writing down goals is important.  January was so busy that I just haven't even had the time or focus to really reflect, but for sure these goals are on the list.

  • Finally compete in the Ramblin Rose Raleigh triathlon, have already registered and have purchased a used bike (since I was without one after the hybrid was stolen at ECU)
  • Possibly run another sprint triathlon in the summer
  • Run another 5k (although I did run one on Thanksgiving) and finally run a 10k.
  • Backpack with G (and hopefully both kids)
  • Return to Bear Island in the Fall, for 2 nights this time

Here's to more adventures in 2016 that make me smile!




(Less Than) 24 Hours at Bear Island, October 2015

After finally camping at Bear Island last October, I promised myself I'd go every October for as long as I can.  So a few months ago, I grabbed one of the few available sites left on an October weekend and crossed my fingers that the weather would cooperate.  Thankfully it did.  I had Friday, 10/23 off, but ran into an unexpected conflict.  So instead of arriving in early afternoon, I made the final passenger ferry with 15 minutes to spare.   I think next year I will plan to spend two nights.

Dock on Bear Island after a quick 15 minute boat ride

A nice shell washes up as the tide goes out just before sunset


plenty of light from the almost full moon, notice the shadows

illuminated tent with the marsh and glow of Swansboro in the background

the glowing horizon about 20 minutes before sunrise


messing around with the remote trigger and self timer

campsite #8 (not my favorite) just before tear down and packing up

the walk back along the beach before heading inland toward the boat dock...so few people even at noon

and the passenger ferry arrives with visitors and will return with me to the mainland

Happy New Year!

Yup, it's February and like every year, it finally feels like a time to embrace the new year as opposed to just keeping my head above water with work projects and long hours in December and January.  I mentioned this before here;  it's an annual event.  I do know that I kind of attacked Jan 2014 with a little more organization and as a result more progress, but I'm not sure I would have been able to pull that off this January.  I guess sometimes the on-call gods don't smile down at you.

I'm not sure what kind of #2015Goals I'll attempt this year, but I'll probably chop up the goals into shorter time frames.  Starting off for now, will be to clean up my diet (and get those last pounds off, finally) and schedule my exercise again with goals and plans.

Since no post is any good without a photo, here's one from Sept 2013 when G was doing a little fishing along the Merced River in Yosemite Valley.

#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. 

Philadelphia by iPhone

We headed to Pennsylvania last weekend to attend a wedding and decided to spend 24 hours in Philly before heading to the wedding site.   I debated taking my DSLR but decided to leave it behind.  Then I thought about bringing my G12 P&S but after being less than impressed with my photos from the last time I used it, I decided to leave that behind too.  So these photos are from my iPhone 5s.  

We had a blast in Philly playing tourist, walking (and segway-ing) around Old City, eating in different places, standing on the steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum and walking along Boathouse Row.  

These photos weren't edited at all EXCEPT some resizing and a smidge of sharpening.

Ben Franklin Bridge from the Hyatt at Penn's Landing

Ben Franklin Bridge from the Hyatt at Penn's Landing

I didn't take these photos...they were taken by our Segway guide (they don't let you take your own photos for safety reasons).  

One of the many large murals in Old City

One of the many large murals in Old City

Perhaps my favorite photo -- showing that G lagged behind just a bit!

Perhaps my favorite photo -- showing that G lagged behind just a bit!

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.



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

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.