Toughman Tupper Lake Race Recap


SO I know I stink at writing posts nowadays…But my life might seem boring to others as it is basically work/ school/ school work/ swimming/biking/ repeat.

Since I have a paper due, I figured now was the best time to write a race report ūüėõ

Sometime during this past winter,¬†¬†I decided to sign up for Toughman Tinman Aquabike, which¬†was a 1.2 mile swim followed by a 56 mile bike ride. Basically, a 70.3 distance, minus the run. Perfect for those who are unable to run. Since March, I’ve¬†put my share of swimming and cycling in– and have¬†focused more on my training than I ever have in the past (to include IMLP). This race was going to be a fun one: one where a bunch of other women from the Hudson Valley would be “tri-ing” out their first triathlon race!A fellow Hudson Valley-er (and terrific mother/athlete) helped organize some swim lessons with Jane¬†who helped me with my swim last year. They did Monday night swim workouts together, to prepare for this race!

(My apologies ahead of time for going on and on during this post!)

Race-Recap: They say sometimes you have good races, and sometimes you have bad ones. 

Friday I drove up to L.L’s¬†amazing camp in Long Lake, where she opened up her doors to us ladies doing the race Saturday morning. We went to packet pick-up and tried out the water where the race would be. (Oh, and side note: the race is not actually in Tupper Lake. It is in Raquette Pond!).¬†Dinner was low-key and relaxing– it reminded me of summers growing up on Lake George. I loved everything about it. When I grow up I want a lake house in the Adirondacks.


The 30 year olds are ready to race!


The first of many selfies!


Just a couple of nurses contemplating life and the race course…Photo courtesy of K. T.


Enter a caption



Pre-race healthy carb loading dinner! Yes, we wore PJ’s at 5:30 PM


Good night, Long Lake.

Saturday morning we woke up and had breakfast/ coffee, and headed to Tupper lake for the race. I had my english muffins with PB and a local honey blend (which is my new favorite breakfast, thanks to Devon!).

Driving up, I listened to music and thought about how fun the race would be. I was not prepared to go out super hard, because I had not been feeling well the week before. It was all about fun– riding and swimming in the Adironacks!

(Toughman Tupper Lake is a relatively small, local race, but really great value for the entry fee!)

I knew that the Aquabike (AB) field was fairly small, but as I racked my bike and prepared my transition area, I could not help but notice the other women who were doing the AB with me. They were fit, slim, toned, had (more) expensive bikes, aero helmets, and donned fancy team tri-kits.



I could feel my heart drop into my stomach.

Holy crap. Look at them. They are hardcore triathletes. I’ll never be able to keep up with them.¬†

I put on my wetsuit and took a dip in the water to get acclimated, trying to stay positive and not worry about doing well, but just having fun. I found the other Hudson Valley women and wished them luck on their first triathlon. Then I found my swim coach Jane and fellow RN/ Ironwoman-to-be, D.J.

“Did you see the women doing the aquabike? They are so fit!I have nothing against them.” I remember exclaiming.

“Nahh, don’t judge a book by its cover.” Jane said. “Man, Molly, you are really an anxious racer!”

Uhhh, duhh.

We waited for our waves to start.The swim start to the race is so low- key and relaxed– you can wait with family/friends right until you enter the water.


These triathlon newbies about to DOMINATE!

I was not sure how my swim would be, but I was hoping for under 39 minutes, which is what I was able to swim one lap of the IMLP course last year. Jane kept saying, “I think you can swim a 35– try for a 35.”


Staying calm before the start…

“Yeahhhh,” I remember responding,” Or maybe a 40 minute swim…” I¬†have a fear of pushing myself in the swim, and did not think it was possible to do¬†it in 35 minutes.

The aquabike wave started after the mens half swim wave. It is no surprise that I hate swim starts. They just freak me out. All the kicking, bubbles, shoving…Especially when you are starting with men! My goal was to start hard and then settle into a comfortable rhythm. Before I knew it, we were off.

Unfortunetly, I felt panicked quickly and tried to swim away from the buoys and the crazy people. After a couple hundred yards, I was able to weed myself out of the mass and tried to ease into my 1-2-3-breathe rhythm, but ended up breathing with every stroke. Oh well. I didn’t push myself, but went at a comfortable pace. Eventually,¬†I made it to the¬†turn buoys. When I was heading back to the beach, I found myself catching up to the men from the wave in front of us.Which meant, men swimming into me.

More than once I found myself choking on water and doing breast stroke to gather myself back together, and then sight. They had warned about the sun being right in your eyes on the way back, but other races I have done, like Quassy, have a similar return swim. Finally, I was back at shore. One unfortunate aspect of the swim was you had to run on rocks to get back to shore. Major ouch.

I thought there would be a clock showing your time, but there wasn’t. And my watch had no OWS tracking capabilities, so I had no idea how I did on the swim. I remember hearing Jane shouting ” Go molly!!!!!” and yelling back, “What is my time?????”

When I reached¬†transition I had to make a decision: do I worry about putting my socks and cycling gloves on? When I grabbed a glove and was about to spend time putting it on I though, “screw it,” and started on the bike course.

I felt good starting on the bike and since I had not ridden further than 30-32 miles this spring, I decided to race to the turn around in Cranberry Lake, and then at the turn around, have a race back to the finish. I was told the course was not too hard– just rolling hills. They fail to mention that the rolling hills begin two miles into the course. Thank goodness I’ve made it a point to do hill work once a week– I think it definitely helped.

Once out on the course, I realized i had made the mistake of spraying suntan lotion all over my watch, so it was nearly impossible to see the screen (and with that, see my distance, the time, etc). Not knowing the time was going to make nutrition a bit more complicated. But, I was fully prepared with bars, gels, and gummy chew things. (Yes, I was that oddball triathlete with a $3000 bike who wore a camelbak…Hey, ¬†I did not want to have to stop to get nutrition on the course.)

I rode hard, and had a couple gel chomp blocks in the 30 minutes on the bike. I have never had gel chomp blocks (NOTE: there IS a taste difference between types of gelled blocks) and thought they would be like the Gu chomps I used when training for IMLP. Wrong. I had three of them and they left me with a disgustingly sweet aftertaste in my mouth. Ewwwww gross. So I just sipped on my water and Biocharge along the rolling hills.

The first 28 miles out I felt fine. I was pushing harder than I would normally on a bike ride, but felt like I could maintain what I was doing. I ate a VO2 prime bar over the course of the last hour, and made sure to drink lots of water.

This isn’t so bad at all!

When I turned around in Cranberry Lake to head back to Tupper Lake, things drastically changed.

I felt myself incredibly nauseous and light headed, therefore I continued to drink more water thinking I might be dehydrated. I then noticed that I was not sweating at all (which was very abnormal for the girl who sweats walking up a flight of stairs).

Sh*t. Something is not right. 

I continued to push myself, despite the way I was feeling.

At¬†mile 30, I wanted to quit. I was mentally and physically done with the race.¬†I¬†tried to hum music to myself, which has helped me in the past. But after “singing” a verse in my head, my nausea would return with a vengence.

Why am I doing this? This is not fun. Why am I doing this? This is the last race I’m ever going to do…Why am I doing this? F-ck you, rolling hills!

I kept pedaling.

This is stupid. Just stop. You aren’t a good triathlete, so who cares if you finish or not? You aren’t like the other women. Just stop.

Then I would think, “No, get to the finish line. Just get to the finish line and you are done. Just finish and you can go home. Just finish….Just finish…”

The¬†5 mile distance¬†signs felt like for-e-ver. With each sign I tried to reason with¬†myself by comparing the distance to rides I would do at home, “this is the ____ loop you do at home all the time….No big deal….You got this”¬†

I felt like I was riding slower and slower. People started passing me.

The rolling hills that I hadn’t really noticed going to Cranberry Lake, were like mountains.

I thought about how my nutrition and hydration was so out of whack. The “200-300 calories/hour” on the bike did not happen. I calculated the amount of calories I had consumed total, and it was less than the amount I consumed on my olympic aquabike course at Quassy. I kept waiting for my body to bonk. I could feel the tears starting to well in my eyes.

I hate this. This is not the way the race is supposed to go. I’m not going to make it. I’m going to have another DNF.¬†

When I finally hit the 50 mile point I thought I could make it.

“C’mon Mol, this is just like riding to the Fork in the Road at home. You can do this”

Except, at home, we didn’t have two “hills” to climb in those five miles.

After what I felt like was an eternity,¬†I saw the “Welcome to Tupper Lake” sign. I was almost done.

I was going to finish.

Finally, I was able to dismount the bike.

I felt sick, yet relief that I had finished, and disbelief that I had completed the 56 mile bike ride in three hours.

I found my fellow Hudson-Valley-ers who had already finished their races (and PLACED!!! woo HOO, those women ROCK) and tried to force myself to feel better. It was a shame that I honestly felt like crap, because the post-race food was awesome, and there was even a post-race beer tent.

After about half an hour and  forcing myself to eat some orange slices, I started feeling better. I was still concerned with the fact I was not sweating at all, nor felt any urge to pee, and felt nauseous as heck.

Jane sat with me, and we chit-chatted for a bit. There was a live band (ah-mazing post race!) and despite not knowing how I did on the race, I felt a small chance that I might have placed in the race. I wanted to wait and see what occured with the awards before heading to my Adirondack home to shower (Yes, L.L.РI consider your amazing Adirondack camp MY camp HAHA). Jane ended up finding the results and came back to me:

“Well, good news: you won¬†your age group– because you were the only one in it….And, you also are first place overall in the womens AB division!”

Wait– I actually beat those hardcore women triathletes in their fancy kits and expensive bikes?

Wait– I placed in a long distance race?

Wait– I qualified for a “series championship race”?

I never in a thousand years believed I was capable of doing well in a longer-distance triathlon. Never before did I push myself. I’ve always finished long distance races (well, just the three long distances triathlons I’ve completed) with the mentality of “just¬†saying I¬†finished.” I never thought I was capable of swimming fast, or riding my bike faster than 15 mph.

Heck, halfway in, I never believed I was going to be able to finish that race to begin with.

But, I managed to perform better than I ever have, despite feeling physically the worst I have ever had.



Male and female aquabike winners

So, there you have it. I managed to have both my best race time wise, and my worst race physically.

I’m stoked I did’t let the voices in my head win and tell me to quit.

A HUGE thank you to L.L, D.J., and all the other ladies for a great women’s weekend away! It was super fun.

A HUGE thank you to my swim coach, Jane, for pushing me to go faster than I believed I could go.I don’t think I would have done as well as I did if you were not there.










It’s been for-e-ver since I have written a race report. Scratch that, it’s been forever since I have written an actual post. Perhaps because nothing new has really happened. You know, how you get into the work-train-sleep-and repeat cycle?

Yesterday I completed my first race of 2014. My man and I decided to partake in the Ocean’s Run in Rhode Island. Truth be told, he did not actually decide to run in it….I decided for him by signing him up for the 5k he could do while I did the half marathon distance race. Similar to when I did the Lake George Half almost a year ago.

We made an over-nighter out of it, and Rhode Island has the spring feeling that New York has yet to feel. I forgot what the ground looks like without snow, and what it feels like to be able to walk outside in the sun without gloves and still have feeling in my fingers. Seriously, Mother Nature and the weather have not been pleasant to the Northeast. At. All. (Have you upstater’s heard we are supposed to get yet another “snow event”? Grrrr).

Anyway, nothing beats walking outside in 50+ degree weather when you have been subjected to sub-freezing temperatures for the past three months.



Hellllloooo warmth!

Hellllloooo warmth!

After soaking up our fair share of Vitamin D, we hit up a local Diners, Drive-In’s and Dive’s hot spot to have the required pre-race carb loading meal. Food was up to Kevin, and, he decided that we had to try Crazy Burgers in Narragansett to have our fill of tasty burgers and fries. ¬†I must thank Guy Fieri for finding¬†Crazy Burgers¬†because it not only has great options for carnivores, it has many different options for vegans/vegetarians!


Thumbs up for pre-race-dinner-awkard-photos

Thumbs up for pre-race-dinner-awkard-photos

Race day was upon us sooner than we would have liked (due to the time change).¬†The Ocean’s Run Half Marathon ¬†and 5k took place at Matanuck Beach. There was plenty of parking at the elementary school, and instead of taking the shuttle to the start, we used the 0.6mile walk as warm up. The temperature dropped to the mid-30’s, but I cannot complain as I’ve been running in single digit weather for who knows how long.


I started off running at a reasonable pace, and the course held my attention for the most part as it winded its way through ocean-side neighborhoods. Similar to most of the races I do, I try to find a fellow racer who I feel I can keep up with. Although, that tactic was crushed once the person sped ahead of me. Miles went by, and for the first seven or so miles I felt pretty comfortable just running along. At around mile 8, I started to feel fatigue set in a bit. Thanfully, another female runner came up and I decided to try the tactic of running along with her for some of the race again (mostly though because she had a triathlon t-shirt on). At this point the course returned back to the start (it was an up-and-back course). I felt my pace slow down a bit and contemplated walking a bit.

Race day needs no filter

Race day needs no filter

Once I hit mile 9, Katy Perry’s “Roar” played on my Pandora station and I thought, “I got this.” (Note: I am not a huge fan of Katy Perry, but the lyrics to that song can really pump you up. Please, do not judge.)¬†

At mile 10, you know you only have a 5k left to run and you are done with the race. I know my legs were somewhat uncomfortable, but I think it was my breathing/ heartrate that caused more discomfort, atleast that of which I was aware. I looked down at my watch and noticed I was around the 1:20ish mark. My goal was to finish under 1:56. If I can run a 24 min 5k, I can finish in under 1:50, I thought.

The next mile, I felt like I was shot. I felt out of breath. One voice in my head told me I could stop to walk for a bit, and still make the 1:56 goal. Another voice said, “Screw that, you can make it in under 1:47 if you try.” (1:47 was my goal for my “A” race next month).

I tried. I ran. Once I saw the finish clock ticking 1:44:44 I sprinted. And I succeeded.

My quads and thighs burned, and my lungs felt like they were on fire. But I finished my first half marathon in under 1:45. Five minutes faster than my last half marathon in October. Seven minutes faster than the Lake George Half. And eighteen minutes faster than my first half marathon ever a couple years ago.

Five minutes may not seem like a lot of time for non-runners. But, that is a significant change. I must admit, however, the race was the most flat course I have ever run. I went into this race feeling doubtful about my abilities, as the last long training run I completed was horrible. However, I was elated after this run. It is amazing how race conditions shift your focus away from the negative feelings away from “I can’t” to “I can.”

I greeted Kevin, who, for not really ever running since he dominated his last 5k, finished in a great time.


I’m not a fan of pre-race photos, but am a fan of post-race photos (even if it’s impossible for me to ever look good for them). That way, you can show that you actually completed what you set out to do!

A big thank you to my man for being there with me (and, lets not forget driving), Trimom for an awesome race, and, Katy Perry, for giving me my second wind ūüėČ


She’s Baaaaack

Wow, has it been over a month since I have written a post? It is crazy how fast time goes. I feel the older I get, the faster months fly by!

November was composed of mostly working, trying to overcome colds, with some runs and rides thrown in with the mix. The bad thing about being a nurse (or, any other employee who must work on Thanksgiving for that matter) is that you miss out on family gatherings. But, let me say despite missing out on the big turkey dinner (actually I did not miss the turkey, since I don’t eat turkey), I am thankful for getting to see a sister for a couple hours, thankful for my wonderful family, Kevin, and great friends, my health, and for where I am today.

Homemade noodle soup delivered to me by a special colleague

Homemade noodle soup delivered to me by a special colleague

Cleaning your bike and derailleur every ten minutes because of mud accumulation isn't too fun...

Cleaning your bike and derailleur every ten minutes because of mud accumulation isn’t too fun…

What I'm thankful for: reminders on my way to work not to sweat the small stuff

What I’m thankful for: reminders on my way to work not to sweat the small stuff

So, what is with the title?

I was lucky enough to have two Saturdays in a row off and was able to participate in two races, and I feel I am back and better than ever.

Last weekend, I ran my first 5k in three years, the Run Santa Run:Return of the Claus 5k. Since I do not really ever run for speed, I used it as a test to see how I could do in a 5k that was not¬†at the end of a duathlon. To my surprise, I did not do too shabby. Thirteenth place out of 400+ runners, plus third female overall made for a happy end-of November. My personal photographer/ support team/ race day chauffeur, Kevin, tolerated my Christmas music in the car the hour + ride to the race to snatch a few pictures of the exciting day. Before the start of the race, there was a fitness instructor who led a “warm up.” As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that warming up before a race is actually beneficial (wait, did I just say that?!?). For running with a sinus infection,the race wasn’t that bad at all. I still enjoy longer distance races, however, as you do not have to run as fast (well, for your average runner you don’t…Just wait and I might change my mind when I decide I want to run a marathon in a certain time period).

Race day go boom

Race day go boom

Look Kevin! Aerobics at a race!!!

Kevin, do you see this?!? Aerobics at a race!!! (I’m the crazy one turning around)
Okay. Enough of organized pre-race aerobics

Okay. Enough of organized pre-race aerobics

Annnnd, we are off! If you can spot me, I'll pay you a million dollars.

Annnnd, we are off! If you can spot me, I’ll pay you a million dollars.

Today, I ran my first 5 mile race, and got to do it with friends of mine which was a true blessing. It was the MHRRC Knights of Columbus Holiday Run¬†. We did have a threat of snow last night, and I was extremely glad that it did not snow so I could partake in the race. However, even if it did snow, I would still run…I mean, if one of my patients exclaimed, ” you can still run if it snows!” then, I can technically run in the snow. It is just slushier, that’s all.

I had no idea what the course was going to be like, and it did have it’s rolling terrain that I was not expecting. I went hoping I would finish in under 40 minutes, and I managed 36:46–another PR for 5 miles. Not only that, the only female who beat me is a professional duathlete on team USA (my role model). I was pretty stoked. Lets see how my legs feel tomorrow. I was also able to witness friends run their fastest five milers, too, which was even more exciting. It is such a wonderful feeling to see others accomplish something–and to see them happy.

Jen (a mountain biker-turned fellow duathlete- turned runner) close to the finish

Jen (a mountain biker-turned duathlete- turned runner) close to the finish

My first running trophy ever

My first running trophy ever

Cycling chicks turned runners (but still spend plenty of time with their bikes!)

Cycling chicks turned runners (but still spend plenty of time with their bikes!)

In other (exciting) news, ¬†met with my coach last week and decided to face my fear of triathlons and fear of failure and sign up for another half IM distance race next spring! Is it weird that planning/ choosing races do to brings me joy and excitement? I picked a few other races to do before the Patriot Half–I plan on running the Shires of Vermont marathon again, as it was such a (shall I say fun?) lovely race….Well, it was fun when it was overwith ūüėČ My main concern regarding the Patriot Half is the swim; I went for a swim for the first time since I saw at Onteora Lake this past summer, and it was—ehh—embarrassing. (The last time I was in a pool was over a year ago!) I guess this past race season I spent more time on biking and running instead of swimming. Thankfully, I have a few months to gain back my courage with the swim portion of races.

In the non-athletic news, I’ve experimented with new cupcake recipes. Thank goodness other people like cupcakes, otherwise, I do not know what I would do with all the baked goods I bake. I was also blessed to help decorate more than one Christmas tree. (If you don’t know, I am a complete Christmas dork and love everything about the season!)


Gingerbread latte cupcakes with lemon cream cheese buttercream and little gingerbread boys


Mocha peppermint cupcakes with peppermint buttercream swirl

eggnog cupcakes with spiced rum buttercream...Good for warming your soul...I mean tummy

eggnog cupcakes with spiced rum buttercream…Good for warming your soul…I mean tummy

First attempt at homemade peppermint chocolate bark= a delicious success!

First attempt at homemade peppermint chocolate bark= a delicious success!

Kevin's tree--he chose for a snowflake to be the tree topper this year instead of a nutcracker.

Kevin’s tree–he chose for a snowflake to be the tree topper this year instead of a nutcracker.

My favorite snowman nurse

My favorite snowman nurse

The 2013 Geuss Christmas tree

The 2013 Geuss Christmas tree


My 2013 Christmas tree!

I wish everyone a wonderful Holiday season!

Fall Foliage Half RR and Other Fall Ramblings

I know I said the last race I would be doing was the Adirondack Half, but, did you really believe me when I said that?

I had been scheming ways to get last Sunday off, as there was a half marathon to happen in my hometown, and I figured, there is no better location for a race than the town in which you live…And, even though the Adirondack half was my last scheduled race, there was still a part of me that wanted to do another one this fall. Thankfully I managed to get the whole weekend off, giving me the opportunity to partake in yet another half marathon in which I was unprepared for (as well as to spend time doing fall activities I’ve been wanting to do, like pumpkin picking!)


Now that I think about it, I guess I was somewhat prepared for this one, as I ran a half marathon only a couple weeks before.

This is the second time I’ve run a race in my “hometown” (first being a 5k a couple years ago) and this half marathon had a great course, one which I’ve run a couple times before.

My only criticism of the race was packet pick-up. It was at Dutchess County Fairgrounds, and it took me walking up to four different fair entrances to get to. (There was another event happening that weekend, and no one at the entrances would let me get through to where I wanted to go…Even if packet pick up was less than 15 feet away!) Actually, my other criticism was that it was another late race start. What is wrong with having a race start early?The earlier you start, the earlier you are done. I guess others do not think the same way I do.¬†

Since I was not planning on doing the race until the day before, I did not really have a “time goal” in which to finish. Gauging from the Adirondack Half, and Lake George Half, and considering this course had some uphills, I decided to just go for anything under two hours.

Race day could not have been more perfect for a race. It was a clear, crisp, sunny, perfect autumn day. At the start of the run, I picked out another female runner who seemed to run at the same pace as I was, and decided to use her as my own (pretend) pacer. The first four miles of the race are pretty much down hill. Then the rolling hills start. It was nice knowing the course, and the “ups” and “downs” as I knew when to ease up and when to speed up.

Picture snapping mid race

Picture snapping mid race

At about mile seven, since I was still feeling okay, I decided, why not just push yourself? Other halves I’ve run to “finish” and, yes, I did push myself in those races. But, this race was in my territory. I couldn’t allow myself to run an easy race in my home town. So, I just went ahead and challenged myself. Maybe this is not a good race strategy, or maybe it is. I don’t know. I just wanted to see what I was capable of. ¬†This meant I had to find another pacer to run with.

Which I did, and I have no idea how some people, who may not look fast, end up being really fast. (In case you were wondering, I figured out the reason why they are fast: they actually train. Duhhh.) 

I will admit, I did walk up the small “hill” at the mile eleven mark (on Mill Road if you are familiar with the area). Walking up was not part of the “race strategy” I created at mile seven, but I had to.

After “mini mini¬†heart break hill on Mill” I started running again. When I looked down at my Garmin and realized I could finish in 1:50 (which would be my fastest half time yet), I decided to just go for it. Pain is only temporary, right?

Despite feeling like vomit was creeping its way up into my throat, and legs that felt like bricks, ¬†I finished with a sprint and managed 1:50 (even though Strava said I finished it in 1:49). I think when the MC said, ” Here’s a fast finisher”…and then pronounced my name correctly (which never happens!), a smile might have crept across my face.

If you look really hard, you can see me.

If you look really hard, you can see me.

Thirsty much?

Thirsty much?

However, no smiles were caught on camera. But, I was really happy inside…Trust me. 5th in my age group, in a race I wasn’t even planning to do. Goes to show if you push yourself, you can surprise yourself.

I was happy, I swear.

I was happy, I swear.

Best tasting iced coffee. Ever.

Best tasting iced coffee. Ever.

Onto Other Fall Ramblings

Later that day, Kevin (who was able to go to a Fall Foliage even of his own) was a super trooper and allowed for me to drag him pumpkin picking. Have I mentioned how amazing he is to put up with my requests to do corny things? We came home with mini pumpkins, and more apples than I knew what to do with.

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion."-Henry D. Thoreau

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”-Henry D. Thoreau

We found the really big pumpkins.

We found the really big pumpkins.

Just like last year's shot.

Annual picking shot


There always needs to be a blooper picture

There always needs to be a blooper picture

I let the tree do most of the work...

I let the tree do most of the work…

And Fall Shots

Below are some reasons why I am so grateful to live where I do. ¬†Photos taken on rides around the Hudson Valley. I’m most certainly thankful for the amazing fall weather we’ve had, and thankful to my legs for allowing me to put some major miles on my road bike these past couple months…

Somewhere in Columbia County

Somewhere in Columbia County



Shokan (I think)

The Ashokan resevoir

The Ashokan resevoir

The Catskills

The Catskills


Milan, NY

Milan, NY


Our second annual Geuss Fall Foliage tour

Our second annual Geuss Fall Foliage tour

Kevin preparing for Cross

Kevin preparing for Cross

The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled


New Paltz

New Paltz

Some climbing

Some climbing


Woodstock, NY

Woodstock, NY

Love is when one person falls into stride with another.

It’s All Mental

My last event/race of the 2013 season was last Sunday up in Schroon Lake at the Adirondack Distance Festival. I mentioned a couple posts ago that I was thinking about running it. I figured, the 9 miles I ran at the olympic duathlon, and a recent 10k were enough training for a half marathon, right? Plus, after my obsessive race-searching, I realized this would be one of my last opportunities to participate in a race on one of my weekends off.

Schroon Lake is a little less than three hours away from R’Beck, and it was a nice overnight trip in the Adirondacks. I had never been to Schroon Lake, and must admit I do prefer it over Lake George where I spent summers growing up. It just seems more “Adirondacky”–if you get what I mean. It felt more like fall up there, too, with more copper and amber leaves speckling the mountains.


The town itself is quite small, and seems to come alive during this Distance Festival every year. As Kevin was not going to join me, I coaxed my mother into a mother-daughter bonding race trip (in other words, she would be the official race photographer).I waited until the very last minute to find a place to stay for a night, and who would have thought that almost all accommodations in the small town were booked? Finally, I found a super B&B close to Paradox Lake (there are zillions of little lakes up in that area) whose keepers welcomed us as if we were long lost friends. I found out later she is a nurse, and we instantly found things to discuss before having to say goodnight.

There were a couple other runners staying at the B&B, and everyone gathered the next morning for breakfast. The non-runners devoured homemade pancakes, eggs, bacon…While the runners had their “pre-race” meals. Funny, how runners have their rituals when it comes to what they eat before races, huh?

My go-to pre-race breakfast. PB+ banana.

My go-to pre-race breakfast. PB+ banana, and coffee, ofcourse

Unsure of what traffic would be like, and road closures, we got into town around eight am. To keep warm, I sipped on some more coffee at a local coffee shop before taking the shuttle bus to the half marathon start in Adirondack Village. The ride definitely felt longer than 13.1 miles away.

Random runner, "Do you want your picture taken?"

Random runner, “Do you want your picture taken?”

My only gripe about this race was having to wait about an hour in Adirondack Village before the start of the race. I probably could have waiting longer in Schroon Lake Village to catch a shuttle, buuuuut I didn’t. It was chilly and windy, and there is so much standing around I could tolerate. I found solace in taking an excessive number of pictures. What would we do without iPhones?Plus, ¬†I’m used to early race starts from duathlons, and this was a late start(I consider 10am a late start), especially since my breakfast was eaten at 0700. By the time we were ready to start, I was already hungry.


I didn’t train, but I still passed you.

Waiting at the start

Waiting at the start

Whoa colors

Whoa colors

The course was pretty flat with some rolling hills. Scenery of the lake helped pass the time. The race course went through the Word of Life Institute (I’m not sure if it is a camp, or a college), and I must admit, having all the young folks along the route cheering you on helps lift your spirits, especially when it decides to downpour and become cold quite quickly. It reminded me of running past Wellesley during the Boston Marathon, except on a much, much smaller scale.

Thankfully, the downpour was short lived and I continued trudging along.

The volunteers along the way were wonderful. Very excited for you, and encouraging–the way race volunteers should be. As with other races I compete in, I make sure to acknowledge them as I pass, smile, and even joke around. At one point, the course entered an intersection, and a group of volunteers were pointing in the direction you had to go, as well as cheering. Being the somewhat goof I am (racing makes me silly), I pointed to the opposite direction and exclaimed, ” Wait, are you sure? We don’t run that way? I want to extend the race.” And started running the opposite direction before then heading the proper way. They all found it funny. I know little things like this that I do does not help me finish the race any faster, and may even prolong my race time. But, for the few seconds I can mentally ignore the physical discomfort I am in from running 13.1 (or any other distance) miles helps give me energy to continue.

My pace was fairly consistent at around 8:30, and for most of the run, I think I felt good. My legs were a little tired as the day before the race I decided to go on a 50+ tough bike ride (not smart!). Well, I told myself I felt good. It was not until mile ten when I thought it would be fun when this was over. Later on I realized that had I been two minutes faster, I would have placed in my age group. I guess that is some fairly good motivation to actually¬†train¬†for my next half, when and wherever that might be. My time ended up being 1:52, which was a teeny tiny bit faster than the Lake George Half. As always, the best part is when you pass the finish line and can say, “I’m done!”



Cutest trophies ever! Maybe next years goal?!?

Cutest trophies ever! Maybe next years goal?!?


The real reason to run races: post race food.

The real reason to run races: post race food.

So what did I learn from this race season?

I’ve learned from races, whether or not I was prepared for them or not: a large majority of racing is mental. Yes, you have to be physically prepared for what the race will demand of you. But if you are not in the right frame of mind, you have a disadvantage. Especially if it is an endurance event, when you have lots of time to think. Negative self-talk, or thinking that you cannot make it…It’s too hardI didn’t train enough…I’m not prepared…can, and will work against you. When I didn’t finish¬†the race¬†a couple years ago, I had so much self doubt and I don’t think I ever thought, “I can do this.” (There were other circumstances that lead to the DNF too, mind you). In recent races, I’ve found lifting yourself up, however that may be, whether it is kidding around with volunteers, or giving yourself mini pep-talks, gives you a renewed sense of energy to continue, and to be successful. And that success does not necessarily mean earning first place. It’s a more personal achievement.

I must admit, I am rather sad that my last semi-planned race of 2013 is over. Completing three races in the past month alone is the most races I’ve done in that time frame. A huge thank you to those who were there to keep me company, whether being official photographers, personal chauffeurs, cheerleaders, or a combination of all three (K-dawg). I know it wasn’t easy or fun all those weekends, but it was awesome having you there.

Now, what will I do from now on with my weekends off??

Thumbs up to a great season.

Thumbs up to a great season.

Let’s Du This…Olympic Style

The lack of creativity in the title for this post may be due to recent lack of sleep, or due to the fact that, after writing about six duathlon races since beginning this blog, there simply comes a time when it can be hard to think of a fun title.

Last Sunday I took part in New York Triathlon Club’s Wheel and Heel Olypmic (distance) Duathlon. I participated in the W &H sprint duathlons twice, and was supposed to do this particular race last year, but from what I remember, I could not get anyone at work to switch a weekend with me. Bring on 2013 with new distance duathlons. Whereas a sprint duathlon is usually a 1 mile¬†run, 14mile ride, 3.2mile run (some of the NYTRI sprints vary in their leg lengths), the olympic duathlon has a 5k run, a 40k bike , and a 10k mile run. (You math wizards out there will notice that is about 9.5miles of running total).

Just a tad bit longer.

I must admit, I had a lot of pre-race jitters before this race. I am not really sure why….I was not worried about the riding part. Dutchess County has given me a plethora of opportunities to work on riding up hills (and racing up them, too). ¬†I was worried about the running. The last time I ran over 6.1 miles in one day was back in May, and that was for a marathon–slow, steady run. The Mad Dash killed my legs, and for six days prior to this race, I did not run whatsoever. Minus all the running around at work.¬†I think another contributing factor to the pre-race jitters was the fact this would also be my first race being solo.*

Anyway, come race morning when the alarm went off, a part of me wanted to stay in bed and ignore the race. But, after some contemplating, I decided I would hate myself for not at least trying the race. I gulped some coffee and, I admit it, I did not give myself loads of la-de-daa time to get to the race.

My goal: to finish in under 3.5 hrs. No records needed to be broken, no muscles torn…Just attempt it. 30minutes for the 5k, 2 hrs for the bike, and one hour for the 10k.

My plan of race attack: Go out on the first 5k easy. Go out on the bike easy. Go out on the last 10k easy and walk if need be. 

What actually happened:

I got to the race with barely enough time to collect my bib, but did decide it might be smart, for this distance, to actually warm up and stretch.  (Yup, I just said I stretched. For reals.)

There was a fair number of racers, and the venue was quite serene: Lake Taghkanic is lovely. 

I set up my bike, and spoke with a few racers I’ve met at other races, or know from the non-racing world, and kept telling myself, “It’s just a long run and ride.” My main competition was an athlete (I can say that, because she truly is one) from up north who beat me in another race earlier this year. Mind you, she is almost twice my age,just competed in the International Duathlon Championships up in Ottawa, and has a tri-bike. Oh, she also was wearing a race kit from the championships. If you are thinking the same thing as I am, than yes, she is quite good at the sport. She also looks like a duathlete. Pshh, maybe next year I will just order a race kit to wear from the championships…It might help my race self-esteem ūüėČ

The field of athletes doing the duathlon was quite small, and the first 5k was an out-and-back run through the state park. Rolling hills. I actually wore my garmin watch for the first time in about a year so I could keep track of my pace. Did I remember how to use the watch? Kind of, at least basics. I did not want to sprint to fast and have no energy for the rest of the race. Nine minute or so miles is what I was aiming for. I kept up with Ms. Championships the whole 5k, and felt good after the first run was over.¬†The bike, ohh the bike portion. It was two loops around the park, and, I have come to the conclusion that in order for a race to be one of the New York Triathlon races, it must involve hills. Having not pre-ridden the course, I had no idea what the extent of the hills would be. Below is the image posted on the Facebook page of the race course….


The elevation guide does not do it justice, and is actually a bit confusing.

On the second loop, I managed to find a gel (they are growing on me) which I do not think necessarily gave me energy physically, but mentally. Going up the same set of hills twice is just wrong in my book.

For some odd reason, I thought the 10k would be in the Park around the lake. That is what it looks like according to their website photo, right? Or, was it just me and my innate inability to read maps correctly?


Well, the last three miles were in the park. The first four followed the bike course. Up the same hills. At this point, I was pretty fatigued, not going to lie. But, I kept thinking, “C’mon, you’ve ran marathons…you’ve climbed mountains…This, this is just another hilly run.”¬†When my legs wanted to walk, I walked. When they felt good to run again, I ran. Once the course veered back into the park, I remember continuing to wonder when the finish would come. ¬†Things people have said crossed my mind, “Go get em’ killer!” Finally, after what seems to be the longest 10k I have ever run/walked, I crossed the finish line. 3:02.

With tears in my eyes.

I do not know what brought the tears on. Maybe it was the fact I finished my first olympic distance race quicker than I thought I would. Maybe it was the fact that I finished, but had no one I knew there to give a sweaty, exhausted, thrilled-that-I-finished hug to.**¬†Maybe it was because I finished my last duathlon of the season, and managed to pull off second overall in the Women’s duathlon.¬†Who knows. I did have to pull some major self-control in order to keep the tears from continuing to stream down my face. You ever try to stop yourself from crying in public when your body is exhausted? It’s really hard to do, and I kept trying to cough in order to hide the fact I was crying, and then choked, which wasn’t helpful. Lake Taghkanic State Park¬†¬†has a paved sidewalk along the beach near the parking lot which was perfect for cooling down and gaining composure.

After packing up all my gear and brining my bike back to my car, I headed to the post race food to score some free water and mini- cliff bars. On my way, I bumped into a fellow Fats in the Cats member who is also a duathlete/triathlete/runner. In her first olympic triathlon, she placed first in her age group. See? Mountain bikers are hardcore. We not only ride bikes over logs and roots, but can kick ass in the water and in a pair of running shoes.

Fats in the Cats!

Bev and I…Way to go fats!

God bless the volunteers along this race course. They were amazing. So so encouraging, especially the volunteers along the hills. I even got a smile and nod from a State Police officer when I said, “Hills are my favorite!” on the bike.

A huge thanks to the New York Triathlon Club for an incredible event, and awesome race season!

* Except for races back in college, I’ve been blessed to have friends or family either participate in a race with me, or at least be present at some stage of the race, even if it was only the end of the race. ¬†I guess I got a little too used to this “luxury.”

**Don’t worry, I awkwardly gave that hug to a random other female duathlete who finished her first olympic duathlon that day.

***If you want to see the real elevation change, the link to my Strava activity is here. I am not tech savvy enough to get the “imbed link” to pop up on this blog.

My apologies for the lack of photos in this. Out of all the photos taken at the race, there failed to be just one caught of me. I think I searched through the events photos at least three times. Ohh well.  Win some, and lose some.


“I Guess That Means We Can Start Running”

…Were the words ¬†of another duathlete as a distant¬†shot-gun went off at last Sunday’s Wheel and Heel Sprint Tri/Duathlon. I was at the front of the small pack of athletes eyeing my competition, wondering how we would know when to start running. *By competition, I mean others in my age group; specifically, one young woman who really concerned me from the start. I knew she was good just by the stretches she was doing pre race. Hardcore running stretches. At one point, she even had a roller and was rolling out her legs. My warm up, on the other hand, was merely a couple skips and play “air punching” with Kevin. I think I need to seriously reconsider how I stretch before races. For one thing, I’ll be bringing my¬†own¬†roller to my next race.¬†Next minute, we were off.

I should get first place for most awkward photo...My concept of stretching before a race (sporting a new Mtn bike jersey)

First place for most awkward photo! This is my concept of stretching before a race

The 2013 Wheel and Heel Sprint Duathlon had a different course than last year’s event. Last year, the first mile sprint was up a nasty hill (almost like the Healthy Ulster duathlon in Ulster County). This year, organizers decided to be nice, and have runners go up a hill, only this time the hill was not as steep. Having hills at the start of a race is a theme for New York Triathlon events in the Hudson Valley.

My competition...She even looks fast.

My competition…She even looks fast.

Right away I knew the sprint would not be my best sprint as I felt that my legs were tight (probably because I didn’t roll them out first). But I did my best, and was able to complete it in under eight minutes. I continue to be awestruck by anyone who can run a sub seven minute mile.

The bike portion was not what I remembered it to be, in fact, I believe it is different than last years race.After about four miles, there were four miles of steady climbing. Throughout the climb, I was challenged by another duathlete who I’m guessing was double my age, in his orange jersey. He simply would not ease up and let me pass! ¬†At different points, both of us would sprint ahead of one other, only to slow down again after burning legs (atleast on my part). Finally, I was able to pass him, but he did not make it easy. Psh, you thought I was competitive against women my age? Puh-lease. I’m more competitive against older men who aren’t even in my age/gender race category! Back to the course….It is not an easy¬†sprint course.

Don't mind the triathlete running into transition...I know it is difficult to do

Don’t mind the triathlete running into transition…I know it is difficult to do

The problems of sunglasses: they can fall off your face easily

The problems of sunglasses: they can fall off your face easily

The last leg of the race was also shorter than last years by a mile. It started off similar to the sprint; you had to run up a hill right out of transition; and I will continue to blame my tired legs on the fact I did not roll them out pre-race. ¬†I guess I have a way of showing the exact opposite of the exhaustion l felt by cracking jokes with each volunteer I passed…Perhaps some people would consider my jokes more like the crazy exclamations of a dreary, exhausted, semi-prepared-for-an-event participant. Knowing I was far behind Miss Intense Racer, I did not push myself as hard as I could, and walked (gasp!) some parts. We all have times when we have walked portions of a race, right?

Despite painfully exhausted limbs, I was able to finish four minutes slower than Miss Racer, and place third overall in the Women’s Duathlon. As I’ve mentioned before, in my opinion, the best part of a race is when you cross the finish line ūüôā

I'd like to thank my mascot, a rubber chicken I found in my car, for my race success

I’d like to thank my mascot, a rubber chicken I found in my car, for my race success

A week after the race, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can still practice sprinting, and really should practice sprinting up hills if I wish to continue participating in New York Triathlon events. That would probably be to my benefit, don’t you think?

Other Thoughts

Last month, Fats in the Cats, a local mountain biking club, was looking for a new t-shirt design. As the weather was crappy for a couple days, I decided to dabble in t-shirt designing. I was under the impression I could draw something, scan it in, and submit it. But, they needed specific formats for the t-shirt submissions. Lo and behold, Adobe Illustrator has a trial free edition that I was able to download. Now, give me something medical, and I can probably do it. As for computers, I would consider my knowledge to be basic. I am no graphic artist by any means. I did fool around for a couple hours and figure out how to make lines and fonts, and submitted a design that ended up being chosen as one of the new t-shirts. A picture of my design is below. The other design is on the pint glass. Holy crap was his design freaking awesome. I may not be a computer graphics wizard, but I know super computer graphic skills when I see them. And that guy has some skill-z.


Innocent little mountain bike rider

Enjoying a post-race beverage in a new club pint glass

Boom! Power to the pedal…Freaking amazing design.

And Even More of Molly’s Nonsense

If you are familiar with this blog, you may have race about my addiction to registering for races. Well, as of late I have been debating on doing another half marathon in September on one of the weekends I have off from work. (My other weekend off I am registered for an olympic duathlon…Now that will be a story in itself). I took my charge card from my wallet to register, and decided to “sleep on it.” The next morning, specifically the morning of the Wheel and Heel race, I could not find the card anywhere. Family members know the desperation I had in finding my card. Who knows where it disappeared to during the twelve hours it was not in my grasp. I came to the conclusion that the race gods, or perhaps it is the anti-race gods,were against my compulsive race-registering, therefore are to blame for my lost card. Since the episode, however, I do have a new card, and have signed up for the half….Not even anti-race gods can stop me.



Is there a race that you have a love/hate relationship with?

I do. It’s the Ulster County Duathlon.

The Ulster County Triathlon/Duathlon was my first ever¬†multi-sport race in 2010. It was back when I did not even own my own bike, nonetheless actually ride a bike. But, I thought it would be fun. I remember showing up at the race having no clue what to do–how to set up my bike–nor what the course was like. My mother was visiting at the time, and knowing she would be up early,I ¬†gave her a call to see if she would come watch the race (in other words, I was scared out of my mind, and needed to borrow a watch to wear). The bike I borrowed was in okay condition, but I had numerous chain issues, and am pretty sure I had only ridden on it once before. ¬†I finished it in a reasonable time, and despite the not-so-friendly course, embarked on this “journey” of multisport training. I loved it when it was over.

Finish of my first duathlon ever...Before I even knew they actually had triathlon shorts you could wear and not bike shorts...

Finish of my first duathlon ever…Before I even knew they actually had triathlon shorts you could wear and not bike shorts…

In 2011, I did the race again. Emotionally, it was the worst race I have ever completed (except for Mooseman). Now, looking back, I know why it was so miserable: lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and sheer exhaustion before you start a race is pretty much a recipe for disaster. It took me 43 minutes to run 3.5miles. I walked most of it. After the race, I could only beat myself up for the poor performance. I hate the course. I swore I would never do it again.

This year, I wanted to redeem myself. Prove to  myself that I could actually complete this race in a decent time (in other words, finish it in the time it took me the first year I did it). And redeem myself I did.

The course for the duathlon is tough in terms of sprint courses go. You start at the bottom of a hill, and the first mile is a sprint up the hill. Some athletes ran the mile a little over six minutes. I have no idea how that is possible, considering the fact you are running up.¬†The bike is two 9-mile loops, with some rolling terrain. I think it might be the most difficult bike course out of the duathlons I have done in the area, plus the fact the transition area is at the bottom of the hill that you just ran down. (The bike course is also four miles longer than the other courses). The last run starts, again, at the bottom of the hill. Despite a decline, the majority of the first two miles of the 3.5mile out-and-back course is uphill. Sounds like fun, right? I’m pretty sure I complained about how much I hate this course half a dozen times with others.

I finished the race eight minutes faster than the first time I tried it. That may not seem very fast, but to me, that is an improvement…Where I found I improved most was on the runs, and for that I must admit it and thank Strava for keeping me running. ¬†I finished the first mile in 7:42. May not seem fast, but considering I was sprinting up a hill, for me, that was awesome. Especially since I had a wire metal thing that decided to stick to the bottom of my running shoe mid-sprint and annoy the crap out of me (thankfully it fell off the shoe on its own).

Running back down to transition

Running back down to transition…And checking my watch.

The bike portion went okay. I think recent runs-then-bike rides on my days off helped my body become accustomed to riding right after running. There was one section where I was trying to pass another racer, who just would not give in. Finally, we reached a climb and I had to pass him. Of course, while doing so, he stated, “Maybe you need to clean your gears, sounds like shifting is a problem.” I responded, “Yup, probably.” As I sped up, I heard the guy exclaim, “You are making me look bad now!”

To that, I could not help but smile to myself and shout, “Sorry!”



I finished less than two minutes after the duathlon women’s first place winner. I could beat myself up for walking up the hills during the last run leg, or ask myself why I did not push myself more on the bike, but for the first time I decided to give myself a break from self criticism and say, “Good show, Mol. Good show.”

….And that is the best feeling in the world.

Second place overall for the Women's Duathlon

Second place overall for the Women’s Duathlon

A huge thank you to all of the race volunteers, law enforcement directing traffic, medical staff, and New York Triathlon organizers for a challenging but rewarding race.

And a big thanks to Mr. K.J.Young for being the best supporter out there, race swag thief, and official team photographer. 

Below is a link from a local newspaper regarding the race:

Area Athletes Score Top Honors at Healthy Ulster Triathlon, Duathlon

Run On

This past weekend, Kevin and I headed north for a ‘weekend get-away.’ It was planned around the Lake George Half Marathon and 5k, in which we participated. As it was Kevin’s first time to the lake, and my first time back in over thirteen years, we decided to do some sight seeing the day before the race.


Even though our destination was Lake George village, I had to take a detour to Bolton Landing, to visit “The Camp,” a lakefront house where I spent summers, and some winters, growing up. It was all too familiar, and yet eerily unfamiliar, as we navigated to the house. Kevin was a little nervous and sat in the drivers seat as I enthusiastically trespassed on someone else’s property to get a glimpse of childhood summers of the past. Indeed, the property was just like I remembered… Memories of family, holidays, swimming, skiing, boating (I could go on) flooded back as I showed Kevin around…The room where I’d sleep, where we would fish off the dock, where my grandmother did her pottery…Such joyous, warm memories.


We ventured into Bolton Landing, which brought back it’s own share of memories: the Ben and Jerry’s we’d go to on occasion, and the “Indian Tepee Store” (not the most politically correct name of a store, I must say) which we’d visit whenever ¬†at the Camp. A store I remembered being full of amazing handcrafted arts, games, amazing jewelery…A store, when revisiting it thirteen years later, I realized was a slightly upscale tourist shop filled with “Made in China” gifts, cheap jewelry, and, basically, junk (why my parents allowed us to spend our savings on items from this shop I will never know). IMG_2462

After stopping at Bolton Bagels for a bite, we ventured down to Lake George, a village rarely visited when I was a child. And now I know why we never went there when we were young…What was once a town filled with history has become a tourist trap, with (more) junk filled, seasonal stores than are needed. Really, how many “purse” stores does a town need?¬†Not to mention, not ONE of the six ice cream shops within a mile radius were open.

We explored the village by foot after checking into our hotel, which, to our surprise, was actually very pleasant with amazing lake views.

We did some sunbathing,


And spied in windows of lakefront houses.


We ended the day by engaging in pre-race hydration of locally crafted brews (and water, of course).


Race Day

Sunday morning brought sunshine but weather slightly chiller than we had planned, however I cannot complain, as it was perfect weather for running. Here is a breakdown of what happened:

Lake George at dawn

Lake George at dawn

There was some last-minute weather checking,

Last minute check on the weather

And potassium filled breakfasts.

IMG_2472During the race, I rocked serious compression socks …

Compression: my best friend

…And stopped at mile 8 to take photos of the church my parents were married in…At least where I think¬†they were married.


Personal records were broken*…


…And mandatory post-race photos were taken.


…Including artsy shots…


…And dorky shots…

First place for awkward/frozen photo

First place for frozen dorkiness

Things the Lake George Half taught me:

1. Do not rely on special map-logging, high-tech gadgets or apps.They will let you down. Timex $30 watch, thanks for always being there for me.

2. Do not take off your iPod and fiddle with Pandora whilst running. It is dangerous, and the focus away from running will lead you straight into a yellow barrier cone. Literally. I’m glad I could bring laughter to runners behind me.

3. It is possible to run your fastest time without being a slave to speed-based training runs. Although, fartleks could have helped.

4. It’s also possible to do the above after waiting in line for a portajohn. Something I have never had to do mid-race…Germaphobe in me had a MAJOR meltdown.¬†

5. It’s always good to have an idea of the course elevation, i.e. if it is hilly or not. One would think the fact the race was in the Adirondack mountains would have given me a hint as to the extent of its elevation changes.

6. In the words of Moby, Run On

*This was Kevin’s second 5k race ever. He’s a natural, and I am so proud of him. Perhaps this has sparked the start of his running career??

When was the last crazy post written?

April 2023

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