Camping at Watkins Glen State Park

Last week a few friends from school and I went camping at Watkins Glen State Park, out near the Finger Lakes! We had heard good things about it and decided stay a few nights.

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We arrived later in the day and set up our tent. There was rain the forecast, so we wanted to get it up while it was still dry! That night we made dinner at our site, veggie burgers, salad and of course, wine!

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The next day we decided to hike the Gorge Trail at the nearby State Park–we could walk there from our campsite.

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Watkins Glen State Park boasts gorgeous views of 19 different waterfalls, 832 steps and 500′ of elevation over bridges, tunnels and even behind some waterfalls. It was such a neat place!

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After our hike of about 7 miles total, we went back to camp and decided to upgrade our tent site to a cabin for $35 extra due to impending storms. It was worth it because our stuff stayed dry! That afternoon we drove into town for lunch at the Wildflower Cafe, part of Rooster Fish Brewing Company–This is the Cocoa Porter.

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Following lunch we walked around Watkins Glen and stopped by Seneca Lake.

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But a stop in the Finger Lakes is not complete with a trip to some wineries on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. We stopped at Castel Grisch and Lakewood Vineyards, two wineries that were close to the campground.

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That evening we had a glamping experience complete with wine and local cheese!

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I would highly recommend camping at Watkins Glen! It was a gorgeous area and the campground was enjoyable!

Food & Nutrition – Shelled Hemp Seeds

Today I’m starting a new feature on my blog, a food and nutrition series. Every week I will post about an interesting nutrition topic that hopefully some of you may find useful!

Today’s post is about a food that is fairly new to the market.  You may have seen them popping up in grocery stores recently-raw shelled hemp seeds (or hemp hearts)! I found them at Trader Joe’s a few months ago and keep a bag in my fridge to add to my salads. They add a unique nutty flavor and also pack a nutritional punch. They can also be added to smoothies, yogurt, cereal or added to recipes.

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Hemp hearts are taken from the hemp seed and look like this:

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Shelled hemp hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein per 30 gram, or 3 tbsp, serving. Hemp is a good protein alternative for vegetarians and vegans, and you can often find hemp protein powder in the grocery store.

It also contains 10 grams of Omegas per serving. One of the crucial Omega-3 fatty acids found in hemp hearts is alpha-linolenic acid (or ALA), which can be found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. ALA plays an important role in brain function and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Research shows that omega-3s may also reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis (source).

Hemp seeds (with the shell) are also a rich source of minerals such as magnesium, zinc and iron, and are a good source of fiber.

So if you are looking for something new to add flavor and boost nutrition to your salad, smoothie or yogurt, why not try adding a tablespoon of hemp seeds?

Pharaoh Mountain

Another weekend, over. They go by too fast. Anyway, Saturday Jordan had the day off so we decided to spend the day outdoors. I really wanted to go hiking but we didn’t want to go too far and I didn’t want to do too easy of a hike. I decided on Pharaoh Mountain near Schroon Lake. It was a 1.5 hour drive from Troy, not far from Exit 28 off the Northway. It was a longer hike, but the first two miles were on a dirt road so the beginning and end would be fairly easy. On our walk to the trail we found this little guy.

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He slithered right under my feet. Yikes. Despite the snake run-in, the road walk was quite enjoyable!

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Eventually we came to Crane Pond which signaled the end of the road. Following signs for Pharaoh Mountain, we signed in and started hiking.

The first few miles of the trail were very easy. This is a gorgeous area!

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Eventually we came to an intersection.

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The initial ascent up to Pharaoh Mountain was easy, but the last mile or so was rocky. Most of the rocks were covered in wet moss, which made it pretty slippery. Eventually we came to the summit, after about 2.5 hours of hiking, and enjoyed the expansive views.

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We brought Jordan’s parents’ dog Jack for the hike, and he seemed to enjoy it too.

 

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I never get tired of these views! Seriously, we are so lucky we have such awesome places to hike so close to home. The hike back down was a lot easier, but felt like it took longer. We took a short break at Crane Pond and let Jack play in the water.

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What a nice day in the Adirondacks!

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Pharaoh Mountain
9.6 mi RT from Crane Pond Road
Elevation:  2,472′
Ascent: 1,457′

Gear used: Under Armor tank top, EMS shorts, Osprey Sirrus day pack, Keen Durand hiking boots, Smartwool socks, Garmin Vivoactive GPS watch

Buffalo Marathon 

Back in January I signed up for the Buffalo Marathon. After running the Marine Corps Marathon in October and not hitting my goal, I was determined to run another marathon. Enter Buffalo! I wanted to train for a spring marathon and Buffalo seemed right–it was flat, decently-sized and not too far (4.5 hour drive from Albany).

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My friend Jenna also signed up, with Buffalo being her first marathon. We arrived in Buffalo Saturday afternoon with enough time to hit up the expo (decent expo!) and enjoy the pre-race party. I got a free beer at the party with a purchase of a Buffalo Marathon pint glass. Score!

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We grabbed dinner at a restaurant near our hotel. We stayed downtown so we could walk easily to and from the start and finish of the race. After doing this race thing a few times, I’ve learned what I like to do–and paying a little extra to stay right near the race is totally worth it.

The race started at 7:00am on Sunday. We got up around 5am so we could eat and get dressed, and get to the start at about 6:30. I wanted to exchange my race shirt for a smaller size and starting at 6am I could see if they had any left. Thankfully, they did!

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Buffalo kind of reminds me of a bigger version of Albany.

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And we were off! My main goal for this race was to enjoy it. After having such a miserable run back in October, I wanted to enjoy my next marathon. My training didn’t go as well as I had wanted, but I knew I got two decent 18  milers in and was hoping that was enough to prepare me for another 26.2.

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The course itself was great. It was flat and had some very pretty areas. We ran by Lake Erie and through some nice neighborhoods and parks. It was a good tour of Buffalo!

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The red bibs were half marathoners. They were everywhere! Marathoners were few and far between. Especially once we broke off at the 12.5 mile mark. It was a dead zone!

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I believe this was the 10K point, which is also downhill, and mile 25! The next time I’d be seeing this stretch I’d almost be done.

Starting from the beginning I felt really good. I kept telling myself “today is going to be the day” because I felt so strong and positive. I never hit the wall! Miles ticked by pretty quickly and soon I was at mile 20 with a 10K to go. I didn’t carry water, so I drank a mix of Gatorade and water at every stop. On the course I ate a Belvita bar, two Honey Stinger Waffles and a Gu + Caffeine. I’ve finally figured out that I need to eat real food during really long runs because Gus just don’t provide me with enough energy. Belvita bars and Stinger Waffles seem to work great.

At mile 25 we were running downhill and I actually had energy and picked up my pace. One volunteer told me how strong I looked and that “I had this!” –I felt amazing. We rounded a corner and there was the finish.

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The time on my Garmin said 4:44:22, a 10 minute PR! (My previous marathon PR is from Vermont City in 2012–exactly two years ago).

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SO HAPPY!

Jenna finished not too far behind me. She did AMAZING for her first marathon! So proud of her!

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It’s pretty crazy that my fastest pace was at the end of the marathon, but I’ll take it. Overall, I was extremely happy with this race and I really enjoyed it. Another one for the books. And another marathon pint glass for the collection!

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Steel Rail Half Marathon

Sunday morning Jordan and I drove over to Lanesborough, Massachusetts for the Steel Rail Half Marathon. I had wanted to run this race last year but didn’t get a chance to, so I signed up this year. It is advertised as being flat and fast since it’s on a paved rail trail that runs from Lanesborough to Adams, Massachusetts with views of the Berkshire Mountains. There is also a free beer from Berkshire Brewing Company waiting at the finish!

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The race started at 9:30 so we didn’t have to get up at an ungodly hour to drive the morning of. It was about an hour drive from Troy and despite getting lost once we still got there with a half hour to spare. I picked up my packet (no lines!) and chatted with Jona, who was also running the race, while we waited for the race to start.

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The race began and it was warm and getting warmer by the minute. The first two miles were laps around the Berkshire Mall’s parking lot. I could have done without those miles for sure. Finally, we got on the rail trail and were greeted with some stunning views.

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The first five or six miles were pretty brutal. My legs were feeling heavy and I just didn’t feel it. I honestly wanted to quit the race and actually thought this race might be my first ever DNF. However, spotting Jordan at one of the spectator spots around mile 9 I gave him my heart rate monitor (it was chaffing!) and continued on. I started to feel much better and ran the rest of the race feeling great.

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Before I knew it I was at the end. The medals are awesome. I enjoyed a Steel Rail Pale Ale along with some BBQ they were selling at the finish line. Delicious!

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Overall it was a nice race, despite the almost too-warm weather. I would run it again!

Steel Rail Half Marathon – #19
13.1 miles
2:20:11
10:41/mile average pace

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