She’s Back, and Just as Crazy as Before

Well, I cannot remember the last time I wrote on this blog. Okay, that is a lie, I know the last time I wrote was back in July after I finished Ironman Lake Placid. There have been numerous instances when I have thought about this blog, including really interesting topics to discuss. But alas, life got in the way, and grad school has become a priority over blogging. Only three more years of school to go!

Anyway, fall has come and almost left in the Hudson Valley. The leaves have fallen, or are almost gone. I have no idea where September or October went. Before we know it, it will be the Holidays! Between work and school, I was able to take full advantage of the gorgeous fall days that we had and take a plethora of foliage photos. The scenery never gets old for me here.

I have heard of people becoming a bit depressed after finishing up their first ironman triathlon. I would not say that I became depressed. In fact, it was nice not having 5-6 hr rides planned on my days off from work. I did find myself wondering what to do with all my free time (back before I started school haha). I actually found myself highly unmotivated to do anything related to triathlons, especially swimming. So, I took a three month triathlon hiatus and focused on things that I had neglected while training for IMLP, including spending time with my man, and doing activities such as mountain biking and trail running. I must admit, it was a nice change of pace.

But now with the days getting shorter, and the weather getting chillier, I decided I want to train for a couple other (short) races next year, and do another triathlon. In fact, all through Sept/October (especially since I started trail running again) I kept thinking about S.O.S: Survival of the Shawangunks. I remember mentioning the race back when I first started this blog five years ago and writing:

I’ve studied the map and website for the race, gawking over the different stages, and give any athlete who has completed the race my utmost respect. There is no way I could ever complete a race like that.

At that point in my life, I had not started swimming again and had just completed two sprint duathlons–I never imagined I would (1) ever do a triathlon let alone (2) completed a full iron distance race. I guess a lot can change in a couple years.

Anyway, I thought it would be really challenging, and super fun, if I was able to do S.O.S. After all, the race is local, which means it would be easy for family to get to, and I could do a large part of training on the race course itself.

The first challenge of this triathlon would be registering for it. Apparently, it sells out within minutes of when registration online opens. I am not one to wait for any registration to open. In fact, I am not one to wait in lines for anything to open (except for that one time in September when Kevin wanted to get a special release Beer up in VT). But, I guess I’ve changed. So the night of registration, I drank lots of caffeine and ate some candy* and waited for the registration to open.

Within eight minutes, the race sold out.

And I was lucky to snatch a spot for the race in 2016 😀

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If you are unfamiliar with what S.O.S. is, it is an eight-stage triathlon that takes racers through Minnewaska State Park and Mohonk. It starts with you riding for thirty miles (with the last 5 miles all uphill), then you run, then swim, then run, then swim, then run….then swim….then run up to the finish at Skytop tower. The thing that is unique to this multi stage event is you must carry everything you will be using from your first bike-to-run transition. I still don’t know how I am going to do that, but I have some time to figure it out.

This brings a whole new set of challenges for me, including swimming with shoes , and having multiple swims and runs during a race. But I embrace the challenge, and am giddy with excitement for this next event!**

I guess this means I should start swimming again, huh?

*I actually had pizza and a beer instead of coffee and candy, but neither choices are healthy, so why does it really matter? 😛

**I will be recruiting the best support team out there to help me with this next challenge if they are up for it (wink wink to my man and soul sister)

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A walk along Millbrook Ridge/S.O.S

Showing Danielle some views of New Paltz

“What? You are dragging a guest for a hike? What if she doesn’t want to?” A friend of mine asked. Unfortunetly, or fortunetly depending on your point of view, my thoughts of “fun” revolve around outdoor activities, and if you are someone visiting me, I do hope you like spending time outside, too. ‘Cause whether you like it or not, I’ll be showing you around nature.

Yesterday I brought a visiting friend over to Mohonk Preserve to go for a hike. And, thankfully, she was a guest who enjoys being outside. I think I have mentioned the preserve in the past– it is a fabulous place for hiking, rock climbing, rock scrambling, and mountain biking. I think I put a link on my front page for the Mohonk Preserve. You can get a yearly membership for $55 which gives you unlimited access to the preserve and all the paths and hiking you want. Otherwise, I think for a day there you need to pay $12 (which is expensive for someone who is on a “money diet” after spending too much on an amazing bike).

There are paths with different difficulties and of different lengths that can go into Lake Minnewaska State Park, or up to the Mohonk Mountain House, which has a great rock scramble to get to Sky Top Tower. If you are familiar with the New Paltz area, Sky Top Tower is the tower you see on the horizon, perched on the Gunks. It’s the “mascot” of New Paltz, if you will.

The hike went quickly, and only one encounter with a non-poisonous snake. A nice feature of the Millbrook path is it’s stunning views of New Paltz and the valley–perfect for showing off the natural beauty of upstate New York to a visiting Australian.

I could not help but notice bright pink signs with “S.O.S.” upon our return to the parking lot.No, they were not distress signs from Australians visiting the area, but signs for competitors in the well-known triathlon of the area– the Survival of the Shawangunks.

The race is similar to XTerra races, if you are familiar with those; they are off road triathlons. The S.O.S. entails different stages of running, biking,and swimming– all in the ‘Gunks. It’s not a triathlon for the faint of heart, nor for beginners like me, who is still on Duathlon stages of racing. Ohh no no.

The Survival of the Shawangunks course map

Looks intense, huh? That’s because it is. Not as simple as the swim-bike-run of normal triathlon (not that those different stages of a race are simple, either). In S.O.S., the athlete bikes, then runs, then swims, then runs, then swims, then runs again, ending up at Sky Top Tower. While living in New Paltz, I did have the opportunity to meet some crazies who have completed the race–more than once  –and they said it was amazing. I must admit I’ve studied the map and website for the race, gawking over the different stages, and give any athlete who has completed the race my utmost respect.

If you are an experienced triathlete, perhaps consider the S.O.S.? A test of off-road endurance and strength.

When was the last crazy post written?

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