boats + boldt castle

Summer is in full swing here in the North Country! The weather has been so hot and humid lately, but you won't find me complaining because it's been so perfect getting outside and in the warm summer sun. We're doing our best to keep busy and keep moving because yesterday we hit deployment hump day! That means we're halfway through, and we're just going to keep trucking right along.

This past weekend, the boys and I decided to take a spontaneous trip up to Boldt Castle in Alexandria Bay, and it was such a good time. Spencer's had such a thing for boats and water lately (shocker), and I figured it was high time we got to see some of the local sights up close and personal. We took one of the Uncle Sam Boat Tours to the castle, and we did our own, unguided walking tour of the castle and grounds. 

Spencer just loved running around with his little friend, Marie, and I wore Porter in the Tula because it's not the most conducive environment for strollers. One day this child will walk, my friends, but this weekend was not the time.

The castle grounds are so gorgeous, and Spencer had a blast seeing all the flowers, the rising water - a lot of the bottom floors were still under water - and really just running around sharing all his excitement. Seeing the castle, itself, was stunning, but seeing the excitement on my kids' faces was a thousand times better.

Notes for visitors:
  • Boldt Castle entry is $9.50 for adults. Kids under 5 are free.
  • Uncle Sam Boldt Castle Shuttle is $9 for adults. Kids under 4 are free.
  • No food or drinks are allowed in the castle. You can eat on the grounds. Porter took a bottle, and the kids ate some snacks on the grass.
  • I recommend eating off the island. If you're looking for a sit-down affair, we recommend choosing one of the places in town. Usually we eat at Riley's by the River, but this time we sat for over an hour without being served because a bus tour came and they failed to factor that in, and it was quite a disappointment. We ended up eating at Coffee Pot Cathy's, and it was really good.
All in all, it's totally worth the trip if you're ever up this way! It's one of those historic sites you just don't want to miss.

lake placid half marathon 2017

This past weekend, the boys and I traveled the 2.5 hours to Lake Placid, NY for the half marathon. This is the second time I've done the race, and the last time I did it, it was actually my first half marathon. Spencer was 6 months old at the time, and if I remember correctly, I had to nurse him right after I finished because he refused the bottle my parents tried to give him. Honestly, last time we didn't do it right. We stayed too far away, we weren't relaxed, and we had a very attached baby, all of which made it hard to enjoy.

This time, we went up on Saturday morning and booked a stay in town at the Lake Placid Summit Hotel & Suites, which is about a half mile from the start at the Olympic Oval, and along the actual course. My parents came up on Saturday afternoon, and the boys were thrilled to see them. We did our packet pickup on Saturday afternoon - also much better than trying to pick it up the morning of the race, which we did last time. 

Our neighbor, Emily, decided to do the race with me, and this was actually her first half marathon! It's been fun having a training buddy, and I've enjoyed being able to experience this with her. We spent the evening before the race enjoying main street and downtown, and we had a great dinner at the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery. As an aside, they have a kids' playroom on the top floor right where we dined, and it was so nice. Spencer, Lindsey and Porter had a blast playing until we ate dinner, which was delicious. They're also the brewery that made the official race beer - the LP26.2 :)

We got a fairly early night back at the hotel, and once the boys were settled, Emily and I went over our gear, planned for the morning and packed it in pretty early. The boys slept much better than I did. I find I can never really sleep that well the night before a race. We were up at 6, and we left the hotel at 7 to get to the race start, where we stretched and got ready. And then we were off!

This race, despite being obnoxiously hilly and hard, is so well-run. There are aid stations almost every mile, and they're well-stocked with water, gatorade, gu, bananas and more. Honestly, it's one of the best-planned races I've done thus far, and I really enjoyed running a familiar course. The first 9 miles felt really strong. I was going a steady pace - not fast, not super slow - and I had a great rhythm. Right after the turnaround though, you begin to hit the uphills, and when I got to the ski jump at mile 10, I hit a wall. I clearly need to up my mileage and drop a few more lbs to really get in gear. I walked the last hill since that last mile is almost completely uphill, and I finished in 2:22.17. It was 8 minutes faster than my last race in NJ, and it was 16 minutes faster than the last time I did Lake Placid. It was definitely not a PR, but it felt like a good jumping off point.

All in all, this is one of my favorite races to do, and I'm really glad we bit the bullet and did it. It was also my first race in my new shoes from Fleet Feet in Syracuse, and they worked great, which bodes well for training! We're going to really kick things into high gear starting this week, and I'm excited to see how things progress. Our next race is just a 5K here in town on the 25th, then we have a break in races until August 27th, when we do the 18.12 challenge

Until next time, Lake Placid, you've been great!

one year of porter dean

Dear Porter Dean,

Today you are ONE year old! You have no idea how much you've transformed our little family in just one year of your life. You are funny, silly, quirky, and you are possibly the most adorable little towhead around. 

You think your brother is the funniest, and he just loves to make you giggle, in turn. Baby boy, thank you for teaching so much in this first year of your life. Thank you for teaching me to advocate for you when my mama heart tells me something is wrong but the doctors just can't find it. Thank you for teaching me to be flexible and patient whilst balancing two little personalities. Thank you for teaching me that I can love another little boy just as much as his brother.

And, above all else, thank you for showing your daddy so much love - even while he's deployed and thousands of miles away from you.

Little man, we love you so, so much (especially that one tooth of yours), and it's okay if you want to wait a while to walk. We love it when you cruise around and crawl like a little spider-monkey. We love that, while you're in the 0 percentile for weight, you eat anything and everything you can get your hands on. We love your snuggles and your silly little kisses, and we can't imagine a life withouy you.

Today is all for you, sweet boy.



running wrap-up: may

After my great running month in April, I was really excited for a repeat in May, but I found myself struggling, yet again, to find the amount of time to train that I needed. Porter's hospitalization and subsequent sicknesses have kept me down a little bit, but I persisted, and I actually did better than I thought I was going to halfway through the month.

We tackled our first long training run last weekend - 2 hours - and I was pretty impressed with how well I did, overall. Emily and I got up at 4:30 to knock it out before the kids woke up (which didn't work because Lindsey and Porter were both up at 5 am), but we did well, and it was great to finish the run early and be done for the day. 

Here are some of my May stats for my records:

Longest run: 11.11 miles
Shortest run: 2 miles
Fastest pace: 9:00
Slowest pace: 11:04
Miles this month: 38.03
Miles this year: 214.55

While it wasn't my best month, it was definitely better than the first few months of the year. Plus side? I also feel like I'm able to actually hold a pace for much longer now - regardless of how slow that pace may be. My next race is next weekend in Lake Placid on the 11th, and I'm interested to see how my time compares to the last time I did that race back in 2015. I did get fitted for new running shoes last weekend in Syracuse at Fleet Feet, and I was excited to test them out, and love them, this past week. I was a loyal Mizuno runner until they discontinued my Sayonara 2s. I'm now in an Adidas Supernova, and I love it.

June should be a huge month for me in terms of mileage and training, as my focus turns to 18.12 and Chicago in October. Both races are going to be a huge challenge and test of my mental strength, stamina and endurance, so here's to continuing great training! Fellow runners - how did you do?