Looking ahead to the Syracuse Half Marathon

Whew! Happy Friday! Between a hectic schedule and trying to prep for another race weekend away, this week has gone by quick. Travis has been doing local travel for work nearly every day this week and we’ve also had two registration nights for baseball. We’re coaching mini tee ball again this year and Travis was also asked to be the commissioner for the league. He’s going to be traveling for a month at the end of April so I’ll be taking half of the season as coach and he’ll take the other half.

 

We’ve also kicked into high gear in terms of preparation for our annual Piece By Piece 5K. We finalized the medal design early this week and couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. We’ve also secured some great sponsors confirmed. It’s shaping up to be another great race! If you’re not local to us and would like to participate, there’s a virtual option available. As always, all proceeds from the race will be donated to Team Up! with Autism Speaks. You can click HERE for our race website!

We’re headed out first thing tomorrow morning for Syracuse. First stop will be at Fleet Feet Sports for bib pick up and their #bantheblizzard party. We’ll grab an early dinner and then we’ve got evening tickets for the traveling production of Wicked. I”m beyond excited about this! I’ve been dying to see it on Broadway, but every time we’re in the city we’ve typically got the kids with us so it hasn’t been a possibility. They’re doing a 10 day run in Syracuse that matched up perfectly with the race weekend so we jumped at the chance to see the show.

In terms of the race, in true North Country fashion the weather is looking pretty miserable. Thankfully, unlike last year we’re not looking at blizzard conditions…but temps in the 40’s and a 70 percent chance of rain. I’ve never run more than a few miles in the rain, so I’ll take any tips you have! I’m planning on bringing several options just in case the weather decides to change

On Wednesday evening, the Syracuse Half announced that starting this year they would now be a fall race. This means that there will be two 2017 races. The one this weekend, and one in November. We’re considering signing up for the fall race as well! Bad weather seems to be a given with this race, so we’ll see what the date change will bring!

We’ll be posting on Instagram/Twitter all weekend, so you can follow along if you’d like! Have a great weekend!

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Weekly Wrap 1/23-1/29: Vacation Edition

We were going to start the post by saying “Happy Monday” but let’s be honest, Mondays following vacation are probably the worst. Today we snapped back to reality after having a week sans kids in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

We left for Punta Cana on Saturday the 21st and arrived after one scary “blind” landing and a three hour delay while our second plane was fixed before traveling across the ocean. When we arrived, we were greeted by our friends, quickly got into our villa and began enjoying the vacation. Our wrap is going to be a little different this week, featuring mostly photo galleries and maybe a few short words. Hope you enjoy, because I know we did!

Sunday: We spent Sunday getting a lay of the resort and enjoying the beautiful weather on the beach.

Monday: We enjoyed our morning at the resort before taking our first excursion Zip-Lining above the forests.

Tuesday: More relaxing! Our friends had booked an extra excursion so we enjoyed our day at the swim up bar!

Wednesday: Guess what? We did more relaxing.  We also enjoyed our first formal dinner.

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Thursday: We spent our entire day traveling to/from and visiting Catalina Island where we got to snorkel, enjoy a massage on the beach as well as an awesome BBQ right on the sand!

Friday: Our last full day was spent doing nothing. We arrived at the beach in the morning and stayed till 5 p.m. Each one of us enjoyed naps and getting some serious pages read in our books of choice.

Saturday: We were leaving at noon, but it gave us plenty of time to enjoy the ocean, pool, and alcoholic beverages one last time.

This vacation was just what we needed to recharge. We loved not having a schedule to follow for the week and being able to do whatever we wanted. We definitely missed the kiddos though, and were happy to see them when we got home very early Sunday morning. Now, back to reality!

We’re linking up with HoHo Runs and Misssippipiddlin for the Weekly Wrap

WeeklyWrap

Weekend in the City

In the blink of an eye, the TCS NYC Marathon weekend is over and with it, our entire 2016 season. It was a fun filled weekend so let’s begin our recap. 

We left home Thursday night after dinner to begin our drive down to New Jersey. All was going well until a bad accident in the mountains caused us to get rerouted a hour out of the way, creating a long night. 

On Friday we woke up and hopped the train into the city. We started by seeing the finish line in Central Park and checking out the marathon pavilion. After some photo opportunities and exploring the pavilion for a while, we decided to start making our way across town to the marathon expo.

 As we were leaving Central Park, Jen became excited and starting tugging on my shirt saying, “Travis, look!” To our surprise, there was Meb Keflezighi standing on the sidewalk. We approached, giddy, and asked for a photo.

While we only took two or three minutes of his time, Meb seemed genuinely nice and gracious. He didn’t have to grant the photo opportunity, but we were sure glad he did because it made our weekend, and possibly our year. Watching him win the 2014 Boston Marathon the year following the horrific bombings inspired both of us to begin running. Many people may not know who he is, but in our house, he has motivated us. We have enjoyed watching him race the last few years and are excited for him to retire on his terms where it all began for him, in New York City in 2017.

When we arrived at the marathon expo, we both needed to collect our bibs – Jens for the Dash to the Finish Line 5k and mine for the marathon. Then it was time to enjoy the expo. With hundreds of businesses, merchants and races represented there was plenty to see and buy. A highlight for Jen was getting the opportunity to meet and talk to Kara Goucher at the Sketchers booth. 


We also had the opportunity to meet up with someone special we met last year in Chicago, Chis Beck. Chris (@irunforowen), an Abbott Six Star finisher, ran as part of Team Up with Autism Speaks for all six races last year and ran again this year with them for the NYC Marathon. We joined up for the afternoon finishing up the expo and had an excellent dinner together along with our close friend Brandon (@BLTCUBS).

The next morning came early as we had to travel back into the city for the  Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5k. After a one hour bus ride, twenty minutes on the subway, and a short walk we arrived at the start for Jen. I quickly gathered her belongings and made my way to 42nd street near Grand Central to watch the race. Chis joined me again as the race began and shortly thereafter Jen was running by.

Chris and I then took a subway to Columbus Circle and walked a short distance to the finish line area. We were able to catch Jen as she passed by shouting about a new PR. She finished her race pain free and with a new PR, so she was very excited.

Following the race, we found a spot on the upper west side to have breakfast and then walked around Times Square till around one. We decided it would be best to get back early to relax and we left the city for our train ride back to New Jersey. I won’t get into the logistical nightmare of he NJ Transit Authority doing track maintenance during marathon weekend, but suffice it to say we ended up on a city bus to get home.

It was a good two days and all that was left was the running of the five burroughs. Stay tuned to see how it went!

Chicago Marathon Weekend — Before the Race

Preparations for our Chicago trip were in full swing for most of last week. One of the most important things that had to be done before we left was a haircut. During the course of fundraising for Team Up! a friend had told me he was willing to make a sizeable donation this year, but I was going to have to earn it. An idea was thrown out and when another friend caught wind of it he agreed to match the donation. For a $400 donation, I had agreed to shave something into the back of my hair and it had to remain for the entirety of our trip.  This is the result:

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It’s a 13 hour drive from Upstate New York to Chicago, so to make it easier on the kids we left at bedtime on Thursday night. Within the span of a few minutes both kids were snoring in the back seat leaving us able to drive a solid chunk of the trip without having to stop. Traveling this way has it’s pros and cons – the kids sleep but that leaves us staying up the entire night driving – it’s exhausting!

Our first stop was at O’Hare International Airport to pick up our back up for the weekend – Grandma! She flew in from Michigan for the weekend to help us out with the kids while we attended the various activities that we had planned. Poor timing on our part left us stuck in early morning Chicago traffic. Once we left the airport it took us nearly an hour to get over to the expo.

Once we arrived at McCormick Place and walked what seemed like a mile to get to the actual expo it was time to pick up bibs! The kids were a little overwhelmed with the amount of people so they hung out with Grandma outside while we visited some of the vendors and did a little shopping. We also stopped at the Nike pace booth to sign up for a pace group for Sunday.

After the expo we were all pretty hungry so we checked into our hotel and set out for food. After dinner we were all pretty exhausted from traveling all night so it was an early bedtime.

On Saturday morning we were up bright and early as I had registered to run the Chicago International 5K.

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 The first International Chicago 5k began at Daley Plaza, where the Chicago Marathon starting line was many years ago. It was a great event and great start to the weekend. The course ran along Lake Michigan and finished a short distance from the marathon finish line. It was a timed event but I was using it as a shakeout run, so I just enjoyed the views and went for a three mile jog. 

We had plans to take the kids to the Shedd Aquarium so once the 5K was complete we picked up the kids and Grandma and made our way back across town.  We also had something extra special planned for the Aquarium. Parker was going to get a chance to meet his IRun4 buddy who flew in from New Orleans to run the marathon with Team Up! We were all very excited to get the chance to meet Rachel and her boyfriend. They spent the morning with us while we checked out all of the exhibits. Both kids had a blast – they especially loved the penguins!

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After several hours at Shedd it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for the Team Up! Chicago team dinner. Just like last year it was held at Maggiano’s Little Italy. We got a chance to meet some other team members who would be running the next day. I also had the opportunity to speak and share a little bit about our family and our reasons for choosing to run with Team Up!

 

After spending a couple of hours at the dinner it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready to tackle 26.2 the next morning!

 

Welcome to 2016!

We would like to take a moment and say thank you to our readers for their support in 2015. We started Tale of 2 Halfs as a fun outlet – a place for us to ramble, vent, debate and enlighten. We are grateful for our engaging readers and glad you come back week after week.

Our family ended the year with a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The drive home never gets shorter and often gets tougher on us as the parents. We’re not able to stay awake as long as we used to! Both children did very well traveling given the circumstances with only the youngest giving us any grieve when she was hungry.

We made it home a little after 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve and got very little sleep as the kids were up early. Over the next few days we split our time between families to ensure everyone got to see us over the holidays. The kids loved getting to open presents all day long on Christmas and had to have each item removed from the packaging as soon as possible.

While we were home we celebrated each child’s birthday with family, friends, presents and of course cake.
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We didn’t get any workouts in until after Christmas, nor did we workout as much as we would have liked given the holiday and birthday goodies. We used many excuses, some actually valid, to justify missing our workouts. Here is what we managed to do:

Travis

12/26 – 3.90 miles @ 7:42 pace

12/28 – 5.00 miles @ 7:16 pace

12/30 – 3.60 miles @ 8:16 pace

Yearly Mileage Total: 1,303.35

01/02 – 6.20 miles @ 8:00 pace

Jen

12/26 – 2 miles & 21-Day Fix Dirty Thirty

12/28 – 3 miles

12/29 – 3.50 miles

12/30 – 3 miles with 21-Day Fix Plyo & Abs

Yearly Mileage Total: 324.95

01/03 – 2 miles

As you can see, not much in terms of hard or difficult workouts. It was a shocker to both Jen and I when we totaled our yearly mileage the vast difference between us. It definitely shows just how much she compromised last year and why she’s going for a big goal this year.

We have begun our #RuntheYear challenge and although we are off to a slow start, we will be back on pace soon. To make things easier on us both this year, we are anxiously awaiting our new Proform Premier 900 treadmill. This should alleviate issues with the winter weather and shorter days and allow us to both get our runs in, if only on the hamster wheel!
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What is a specific fitness challenge you have for 2016?

Girls weekend in South Carolina – Day 1

Last weekend I spent a few days in South Carolina with a good friend of mine. This trip was my first vacation without kids (or a husband for that matter) and while I love my kids to death, this was a much needed and appreciated little break! This was also my first (and definitely not last visit to South Carolina.

My trip started at 2:00am Friday morning. We live a few hours away from the airport and I had a 6:00am flight to catch so I was up and on the road well before dawn.

I had a short layover in D.C. and actually ended up on the same plane with the same crew on my flight to Charleston. I’ve never flown through Reagan before and loved the view of the Washington Monument from my gate. We definitely need to get back there sooner rather than later. I was on the ground in Charleston around11:00am and met up with my friend Sara at the gate. She had landed about and hour and a half before me. We picked up our rental car from an extremely friendly man at Enterprise who recommended that we head down towards the Battery in Charleston. We couldn’t check into our resort until later in the afternoon so we figured that we’d explore Charleston a bit before driving over to Hilton Head.

It was about a 20 minute drive from the airport to the Battery. We drove along the water admiring all of the gorgeous homes with their Antebellum (pre Civil War) architecture. We decided that we would find a spot somewhere downtown to park and then we’d walk wherever we’d like to see. It took us about a half an hour to find a parking spot and by then we were ready for some lunch. We walked around for a little while looking for a place that looked good. We settled on a restaurant called Carmella’s Café and Dessert Bar. We had sandwiches and got a piece of turtle cheesecake to go for later.

 


After lunch we continued to walk around, heading towards the water.

After walking around for about an hour more we headed back in the direction of our car. We still had a two hour drive to Hilton Head Island and we needed to stop at Target for a few things before getting on the road. Our timing was good as it was starting to get dark anyways.

Once we got onto Hilton Head we made our way to our resort. We were staying at the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort for the weekend. The door attendants that greeted us upon arrival were highly amused that we had driven in the wrong direction through the one way entrance. Oops!

I don’t think we could have picked a better resort to stay at. The room was gorgeous and had everything we could have possibly needed for our stay-sink, microwave and refrigerator. The room was incredibly spacious and the beds were wonderful. There was a bottle of wine waiting on the counter along with a nice note from the hotel.


After settling in a little we decided that rather than going out for dinner we would just eat at the resort. There are three restaurants on the property to choose from: a steakhouse, a sports bar, and a market where you can get sandwiches and salads to go. There is also a poolside bar but unfortunately the last day it was open for the season was the day we arrived and we had just missed closing. We opted to eat at XO Sports bar. We could choose from appetizers, flatbreads, salads and burgers. We decided to share an appetizer of pimento beer cheese dip that came with warm pita chips and I had a classic cheeseburger for dinner while my friend had their veggie flatbread.

By the time we were finished eating we were both pretty exhausted from a long day of travel and exploring Charleston, so we decided to relax in the room for the rest of the evening. We enjoyed the view from our balcony and discussed what we wanted to do the next day before heading to bed for the night.

 

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