Gone Camping!!

Summer has officially arrived & being the nature lovers that we are; there is nothing that we enjoy more than a some extra quality time with nature! 😊 Last Tuesday, I got up bright & early to sneak in a quick run. This was a HOT one!!

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I got cleaned up; quickly packed up some clothes & Hubby and I packed up the car with all of our camping necessities & headed north! Our destination; The Catskills Mountains! We reserved a spot there last year, but a nasty rain storm kept up from going. This year was a bit different. We did not have a campsite reserved but after making some calls & doing a bit of research Hubby found many places with available campsites for “walk-ins”. We knew that we wanted to stay on the water because water activities such as kayaking is one of our favorite things to do together. The drive up was beautiful; the scenery became more & more picturesque the further north we went! We pondered stopping to camp somewhere closer but decided to keep going to the Catskill Mountains to a place that we had in mind called Mongaup Lake. It took us about 2 1/2 hours to reach the exit for Mongaup Lake. The road that we took to get to the campground was a winding long road with miles of beautiful trees that lined the streets! We saw beautiful white horses & several beautifulΒ  log cabin homes; which I absolutely love! After miles & miles we reached our campsite. One thing we realized right away – no cell phone service! We notified our families immediately so nobody would worry!! Upon arrival the kind staff gave us the locations of the campsites available & allowed us to drive around & choose our campsite! After driving around for just a couple minutes; we found this perfect campsite right on the lake!! Upon arrival to our campsite ; we were greeted by a family of beautiful ducks that hopped right our of the water & walked up to us as we pitched our tent. We just arrived & already we made some new friends!

 

After pitching our tent; we headed out to the nearest food store to pick up some food (chicken etc.) to cook at our campsite as well as some snacks & lots of water to stay hydrated.

I was very surprised at the difference in temperature; about 15 degrees cooler than it was at home & that was perfectly fine with me!Β  The night was much cooler (in the low 60’s); I was thankful I decided to throw that sweatshirt & long pants in my bag at the last minute.

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Hubby cooked us up a fantastic dinner.

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We watched the beautiful sunset while staying warm by the campfire.

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The next day; we woke up bright & early to a breathtaking sunrise.Hubby made us some coffee, we grabbed some water & snacks and rented Kayaks for the day! The scenery out on the water was truly amazing!

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It was unlike anything I’ve seen before!

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While we were kayaking; our friends the ducks came swam over to see us!We were the only ones out in the water & it was relaxing and peaceful at the same time! Exactly what I needed.

We stayed out on the water for a few hours; until we felt like we couldn’t paddle any longer!

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We headed back to our campsite and decided to take a walk & do some sightseeing around the campgrounds!

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The views were just breathtaking!

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We headed back to cook dinner; which was absolutely delicious! I never knew camping food could taste so good, but my hubby is a fantastic cook. We sat around talking about how much we didn’t want to go home, but planned to definitely come to this spot again. It was so relaxing & peaceful & although at 1st I thought having no cell phone to use would bother me; I didn’t mind it one bit!! I enjoyed every moment of the quality time I got to spend with my hubby. It was like the ‘old days’ before cell phones & social media. Thursday arrived; we packed up our things; took down our tent loaded up the car & we were on our way!! We decided if we saw anything interesting on the way back; we’d stop off!! We saw signs for lots of lakes before coming to a sign for Bear Mountain State Park. I had been there with my family when I was little but hadn’t been there in years. I said to hubby “let’s go there.” His reply, “sure!” He is always game for hitting the trails & exploring a new park!! We took a long winding road that took us up and around to the top of the mountain & if I didn’t think the views were amazing before – wow, this was just unbelievable!!

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I do have a fear of heights so I made sure to keep my distance from the edge of the rocks!

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The view truly looked like a postcard!! Hubby checked out the trail map & found us a trail to hike!! The views from this trail were incredible! Of course we took many pics!! We stayed for a bit before getting back in the car to continue our ride home! Overall this trip was relaxing, peaceful ; included all of my favorite things & it was just perfect! We are already planning our next camping trip; that will be number 4!Β  Can’t wait to tell you all about our next adventure!!

Do you enjoy camping? What are some of your favorite spots to go camping? Please Share.Β 

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Thank you as always for following my journey!!

Mere @meretherunner14

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NYRR MINI 10K – RACE RECAP

On Saturday I headed to NYC bright & early to run the NYRR Mini 10K; one of my favorite races! This would be my 5th year running this race & although I had no time goals going into this race I was excited to once again join thousands of strong , inspiring women on a journey through central park.

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My 1st Mini 10k – 2011′

This race brings empowering women of all ages from all over the country together & it is truly an amazing race!! Below with “fit chicks”Β  Haley & Sashea last year!

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Last year’s Mini 10k 2015′

On Saturday; I arrived to the city around 6:45am. It was a beautiful morning!

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Upon arriving to the park; I immediately picked up my race bib & made one last bathroom run! I chatted with some friends before taking my spot in corral D! I was so excited to hear that Desiree Lindon would be out there running; she is one of my ‘runspirations!’ Prior to the race; she was handed the microphone & wished everyone good luck before taking her spot at the start!! It was another hot day and although it wasn’t as humid as the Spring Lake Five 2 weeks ago; I decided to go into this race smart. I had no time goals; my only goals were to finish & stay safe in the heat (especially after my experience 2 weeks ago). I was even wearing my new New Balance shoes; straight out of the box – something I never do! I knew I wouldn’t be racing so I figured why not break them in a bit!!

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I started the race slow; resisting the urge to fly into ‘beast mode’. My ear buds refused to cooperate & stay in my ears so I quickly decided “a music free run it will be!” At mile 1 my pace was 8:03/mile; quick but not all out racing pace. I felt good; although it was warm I felt comfortable! I took advantage of the water stops – sipping & dumping water over my head. 😊 At mile 2 I was pacing myself comfortably at 8:03/mile. Along with mile 3 came lots down hill! πŸ‘ I used it to my advantage holding a 7:42/mile but at the same time remembered that going downhill only meant one thing – the dreaded uphill climb was quickly approaching! I grabbed some Gatorade at and kept moving!! I paced myself on the uphill at a pace of 8:24/mile; feeling good when I reached the top!! At that point I took my 2nd Honey Stinger gel. With just over 2 miles left; I was feeling strong, properly hydrated & determined. I continued running; barely looking at my Garmin – just as I’d done the whole race. I had no idea where I was set to finish time wise & I didn’t care. I was feeling good & finding joy in the run! At mile 5 my pace was a bit quicker at 7:49/mile but I was feeling strong! I thought; just one mile left, “you’ve got this”; just as my Momentum Jewelry motivation wrap reads. I ran that last mile with pure determination; hearing friends yelling my name as I approached the final 800 meters!!! At mile 6 my pace was 7:46/mile. I saw the finish line; heard the crowd cheering & decided to at that point kick it into ‘beast mode’ as I like to call it 😊. That final sprint at 7:19/mile!

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I crossed the finish line; hands in the air feeling strong with an overall pace of 7:56/mile. Finishing 129th place out of 1,528 runners in my age group (35 – 39yrs) & 763rd out of 8,833 runners overall!! πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘

 

Although I did not race; this was one of my faster Mini 10k’s & I was pretty happy with that. It felt great to run with no music, no pressure on myself to race at a certain pace & my new sneakers felt AMAZING! These are keepers!! Thankfully; not a repeat of my race 2 weeks ago; no dizzy or dehydrated feeling at the finish line at all. I was handed my medal & flower; some snacks including a pink bagel (which I was very excited about)!

I immediately met up with my biggest supporter; my hubby!!

I made my way through the crowd and picked up my race tee & met up with some friends that I haven’t seen in a while! 1st I found Joan !

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Then I met up with Sashea; who I met through Instagram a few years back! Our journey’s are very similar; starting with the fact that we both ran our 1st ever race at the More-fitness Half Marathon in April 2009′! Today; we were even “shoe twinning!

 

I was so excited to see Sashea & I can’t wait to meet her beautiful little girl come September! While chatting with Sashea we saw Joan! We chatted some more & took lots of pics of course!

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It was so great to see these amazing ladies & catch up!! I am so thankful to be surrounded by so many amazing, inspiring, supportive fellow runners & friends! It great race & I will definitely be back next year for my 6th Mini!

I even earned this beautiful medal making it my 51st!

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After leaving the park; Hubby &Β  I enjoyed a delicious breakfast & walked around the city for a bit before heading to a BBQ at a friends house.

I woke up the next morning feeling full of energy with absolutely no soreness (the benefit of not racing, lol)! πŸ‘ I felt so great Hubby & I spent the whole day outdoors doing a few things we love; kayaking & hiking the beautiful trails!! πŸ’š

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Β  It was a great; relaxing weekend!

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Next up NYRR Achilles Hope & Possibility on 6/26.

Do you “race” every race that you register for? What types of cross training do you enjoy while you are not marathon training? Please share. πŸ™‚

As always, THANK YOU for following my journey!!

Mere @meretherunner14

Spring Lake 5 – Race Recap

Hello Summer! Every year for the last 40 years the Spring Lake 5 has been the official kick off race of summer along the Jersey Shore! 😎

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This race consists of a beautiful 5 mile run throughout the beautiful Jersey Shore town of Spring Lake, NJ. Every year, thousands & thousands of runners come out to take part in this race; which sells out within hours every year. This year; I had the honor of running this race for the 2nd time! With nearly 12,000 runners this year; this years race was a little different! This race is known for being extremely crowded; although this year there were pace times set up at the starting line so runners could start the race based on predicted finish time. Last year;Β  I finished in 38:37 (7:44/mile); so I stood between the 8:00/mile & 7:00/mile pace sign – secretly hoping to beat last years time! There was no question that this year was significantly warmer, sunnier and most humid! I knew it was going to be a challenge in the heat, but I was determined!! Before the race; I ran into a few friends – we wished one another good luck, the Star Spangled Banner was sung, the traditional Spring Lake 5 photo was taken of the sea of 12,000 runners & we were off! This year; like last year was very crowded at the start. It was a struggle trying to find a comfortable pace from the get go! By .5 miles I still hadn’t found my pace; I was in a large crowd running a 9:18/mile pace. Once the roads finally opened up; I found myself trying to make up time getting to a pace that felt comfortable. I managed to move quick enough after the half mile mark to run the first mile in 7:47! I felt good, but I worried that pushing so hard like that for the second portion of mile 1 may hurt me later in this race! I kept moving; with pure determination! It was extremely hot & humid so I made sure to grab some water at every water stop – sip & pour water over my head! I ran through every sprinkler I saw as well! The crowds were amazing; even in the heat they were out there cheering & encouraging us with big smiles on their faces!! I held strong through miles 2, 3 and 4 hitting in the low 7:30’s & mid 7:40’s knowing that if I could finish this race strong – this girl would have herself a shiny new PR!!! 😊 I stayed confident; contained grabbing water at each water stop to stay hydrated & as cool as I could in these warm conditions!

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Around mile 4.5; I saw the finish line! I was determined – I thought “a fast finish & I’ve got this!” I kicked it into high gear only about .2 miles into that sprint my body said ‘no’! I was sweating, my legs felt heavy (as if I was running through quick sand), my head was hurting and at that moment my only thought was just get to the finish line! I focused on that finish line & just ran! That last. 3 miles were the slow/scaryΒ miles – I didn’t know what was happening but I knew the heat had gotten to me. After crossing the finish line; I was immediately asked if I was ok, handed a bottle of water to drink & tended to by the very kind volunteers! Despite what happened; I ran pretty well.

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After the race I grabbed some of the many refreshments that this race provided including; Gatorade, chocolate milk, fruit snacks, granola bars, bananas, bagels and the best part Jersey Mikes sub’s for all runners!!! I met up with my hubby (so thankful for his constant love and support) before meeting up with some friends that also ran!

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Many runners chatted about how hot/humid the race was; I overhead one guy next to me say ‘now I know why I gave up running for golf!’ Β I met up with friends & fellow runners; Michelle, Jen and Eileen! We chatted for a bit & took some pics before we heading home to continue our day with family; for me it was heading off to Memorial Day weekend BBQ’s.

After the race; my head was still pounding so I continued drinking water & Gatorade throughout the day!! I ended up finishing in 39:18 (7:51/mile) just 41 seconds off from a PR! Overall missing my PR did not matter to me; I was so thankful that everything was alright & I was able to cross the finish Β line safely despite how I was feeling! Running – racing in the heat/humidity is a challenge in itself! It is so important to stay hydrated & to listen to any signals your body is giving you! Spring Lake 5; I will be back again next year!

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Praying for some clouds, cooler temperatures & lower humidity!! I have never been a warm weather runner; I’ll take cold weather running any day! 10 degrees? Yes, please! 😁 Anyone else with me? Despite what happened; this race did not disappoint; I earned my 50th medal!

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Overall it was a fantastic day! Although I am hoping for some Gatorade at the water stops next year! 😊

Next up NYRR Women’s Mini 10K Central Park!! Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β Β 

Do you enjoy summer racing? How do you stay cool during summer races? Has anything similar ever happened to you? Do you all out race during summer events or take a step back? Please share!

Thank you as always for following my journey! Mere @meretherunner14