Exercise, Hiking

Hiking at Great Falls

After a few days spent with adorable Pre-K kids I had a day off on Wednesday to go hiking with my hubby! He’s been getting paperwork done so he can start his job as soon as his license comes in. So exciting! We went down to Great Falls to go hiking because apparently there are miles and miles of really cool trails that I’ve only just found out about recently.

It cost $10 to get into the park which was pretty depressing because it was the very next day that the Centennial celebration for the park began and entry would have been free. If only we had known…

We picked up a pretty and descriptive trail map from the museum/tavern house and headed towards the Billy Goat A trail. It is described as a 1.75 mi hike with lots of rock scrambling and that good balance is necessary. You have to be in good health to do this trail and it apparently takes 2-3 hours to complete.

My phone died for no reason and wouldn’t turn back on so I had to use Brady’s phone to take photos which was depressing since his camera isn’t very good.

It was a beautiful hike though and better photos wouldn’t have done the area justice anyways. I was surprised at how many people were there in the middle of the day mid-week but the parking lot was mostly full and there was a good lot of people out on the trails.

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They call this the “50′ traverse” and I think it looks harder than it is. It was a lot of fun and kind of gives you a baby version of the rock climbing experience 🙂

Great Falls 50' Traverse, Bear Island, Maryland

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It took me a while realize why they’ve called it the Billy goat trail but it makes sense because of all the rock scrambling you’re doing. The entire hike takes place on Bear Island and you get treated to nice views of the Potomac River on the entire hike.

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I had really high expectations for this new Clif bar but I didn’t like it at all! I would have preferred to have a regular bar (and they’re cheaper too). At the end of the hike I tried the coconut almond butter filled one and I did like that one so I guess I’m in the middle when it comes to these new Clif bars.

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Just before we got to this point, I had a little fall. Not sure what happened, I think my ankle decided to take a break… lol.

Instead of continuing down to the other Billy goat trails (B+C), we decided to head back on the Berma road which was on the other side of the canal from the C & O Towpath. This trail is going to look beautiful in the fall.

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We had to take the Overlook trail to get back and at one point it wasn’t marked very clearly and it looked the the trail split. We chose the split that wasn’t actually the trail and Brady would turn around to get back to the right spot. So we ended up wandering up a steep hill, not following any trail before we eventually got back to the actual trail. Such a man thing to do. Round trip hike was a bit over 5.6 miles.

I’d definitely like to come again because there’s the other two Billy goat trails as well as a couple of mine trails but it would be nice try to find a way around the 10 dollar entry fee.

Exercise, Food, Hiking, Life, Week in Pictures

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain

The Olympics have ended, school has started, and people are already acting like it’s fall now! Stop it! I’m loving summer and though the temps are still steamy, I’m not wishing away the warm weather anytime soon. Saturday was a hot day but was a day that was begging to be enjoyed so Brady headed out towards Frederick to hike on Sugarloaf Mountain. I’m pretty sure I’ve only been here once and I was probably 9-10 years old when we did it so it was about time for a re-visit!

There are multiple trails you can do ranging from short ones to the summit (the parking lot is higher up on the mountain, i.e. hill) and longer ones out on the ridge and base of the mountain. We chose to hike on the blue trail which was supposed to be a 5 mile hike but I’m pretty sure was a bit longer than that. We went in a clockwise direction though it seems most people are go around the other way starting by the summit. There are some really pretty views out over the Maryland farms at a few different points along the trail.

Brady was the water carrier for the hike and though we had just finished a water bottle before the hike and had a liter for each of us, we probably should have been carrying more because the humidity was high and I don’t know about Braden, but I was dripping in sweat. We used a couple Nuun tabs to flavor up the water and pretend like it was giving us a boost.

The last 3/4 of a mile or so was kind of hard because I was definitely tired (and hungry) and I was feeling some pain in my back and was just ready to sit down. The trail was very steep and rocky in places, but there were also plenty of even-ish terrain strips that were good for catching a breath. It was a really great hike and a place we will probably be visiting again before the cold weather comes.

View from Sugarloaf Mountain

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Exercise, Holidays, Life, Vacation

A stinkin’ hot (but fun) day at King’s Dominion

On Friday, Brady, my sister Hanna and her friend Chris, and I drove a couple hours down to Kings Dominion in Virginia for a fun day of roller coasters and water slides! We left in hopes that we’d get there before park opening and be in the front of the line for the “Volcano” which is probably the best roller coaster in the park. Of course we headed straight there only to find it was closed. It was already insanely humid at hot. Just walking through the front park of the park already had me sweating all over. Brady and I bought a souvenir cup for $13 that would give us free refills for the entire day. It was a no-brainer because I think water bottles cost $4 a piece. I feel like we always drank through it within a minute or two of refilling because we were so hot.

I sat out while Hanna and Chris rode Intimidator 305 which is an insane high speed (and jerky) roller coaster themed after the late Dale Earnhardt. It’s a great ride that I rode right after it opened in 2010 but I knew there was no way I’d be able to handle it with my back because it jerks from side to side really hard.

Our second goal was to make it into the water park as soon as it opened at noon because we knew it would probably be packed by mid afternoon. We walked straight onto ever single slide. Huge difference from last year when we waited over a half hour just for this one slide that Hanna rode this year 3 times in a row in less than 10 minutes! It’s a crazy slide where you step into a tube with a see through floor beneath you. It counts down from three and then the floor drops and you fall down into the slide. I think it freaked me out more last year because I had waited so long and had listened to scream after scream. Since I got straight on it this time, I didn’t have as much of a chance to freak out but I was still shaking for a few minutes after.

Hanna convinced me that I needed to leave my flip flops in the locker so after 2 hours of walking around barefoot, I was starting to get legitimate burns on the bottom of my feet because the pavement was so hot. Also, I kept my glasses and sunglasses with me the whole time and ended up losing each pair once in the end pool… Sorry to anyone who’s ever been a lifeguard and had to fish for sunglasses! By the time we left the water park, decently long lines had formed for most of the slides so good call to get there early!

Drop towers have always been my favorite rides because I love that falling sensation (I love the Tower of Terror at WDW!). Hanna and I rode it twice and probably would have kept going if the guys weren’t being boring. The new ride at King’s Dominion this year is called Delirium and is basically a giant swing with a circular base that you sit around while it spins and swings back and forth. Maybe it sounds boring or doesn’t make sense, but it was easily my favorite ride of the day. I love the falling feeling and I love the swinging feeling so this ride was relaxing, thrilling, and so much fun at the same time.

We came back through the front of the park for lunch and then we jumped on the log flume ride so Brady could get soaked.

King's Dominion Log Flume ride

King's Dominion Log Flume ride

Squid Hat

Then we saw a show that’s a less impressive version of what Cirque du Soleil does but it was entertaining enough and a good break from the heat and being on our feet.

If you’ve ever been to the Magic Kingdom, then you’ve probably tried a Dole Whip. These treat are pineapple soft-serve heaven. Last year I discovered that they had a cart selling them in the park just not actually called “Dole Whips” because I think that’s a Disney thing. This year I think I saw at least 4 spots that were selling them as “Island Twists”. So so so so good.

Dole Whip, Island Twist at King's Dominion

Dole Whip, Island Twist at King's Dominion

Charlie Brown at Planet Snoopy, King's Dominion
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While Hanna and Chris went back to ride the Intimidator, Brady and I wandered through Planet Snoopy and rode “Boo Blasters” which used to be a Scooby Doo theme but they’ve unthemed it for some reason. When we all met up again, we rode the Boo Blasters together and I ran away with the top score even though I was sitting in the back! Yayyy.

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The Dominator roller coaster at the front of the park was our last ride of the day which usually gets ridden 2 or 3 times but we were all tired so it was a one time thing for this trip.

I had to do the Eiffel Tower first before we left so Hanna and Chris stayed behind and Brady and I enjoyed a nice smooch at the top 😉 The tower is a 1/3 scale replica of the one in Paris.

View from the Eiffel Tower at King's Dominion

View from the Eiffel Tower at King's Dominion

The Eiffel Tower at King's Dominion

The Eiffel Tower at King's Dominion

All the stairs in the waterpark and the insane heat/humidity combo was energy draining but it was still a really fun day. It’s probably the most rides I’ve ridden in one day at that park since the first time going when I was 13. We did not wait in a single line. Maybe once for about 5 minutes, but timing wise everything worked out great. I guess the heat kept everyone away. At one point I did see that it was 95* but felt like 109* so I’m not surprised it wasn’t super crowded. My favorite rides of the day were the swings, the drop tower, the tube water slides, and Delirium.

We left the park around 6:30 and we stopped at Quickway on the way back home for dinner which was my first time trying it. It’s a Japanese Hibachi restaurant but in a fast food kind of style. Their tofu wasn’t my absolute favorite but it was pretty good considering they’re probably more used to meat.

My back actually held up surprisingly well and maybe even felt a little better than normal by the end of the day? I’m glad it cooperated with me for once. I didn’t carry my phone at all for the 2 hours that we were consistently walking through the water park, but my phone still says I took over 15,000 steps!

Have you ever been to King’s Dominion? Fave ride?

What’s your favorite type of ride at any amusement park?

Any good runs lately?

I’ve been planning to go for a run but the last week has been so sweltering I don’t think I could go out and come back alive!

Holidays, Life

All about me and getting to know YOU!

I’ve been thinking that I need a good way to introduce myself to all of you new readers so I’ve made a little quiz-like thing to share some of the interesting stuff that makes me, me! Please stay til the end and comment as well to share some things about yourself with me 🙂

Favorites:

Food: Basically anything either of my grandmothers makes is the best food ever. I really love Italian foods, Asian foods, and fruity sorbets and desserts.

Colors: Blues, pinks, and purples.

TV Shows: Friends is my all time favorite TV show and I have made quite a few converts out of friends and family to my way of thinking 🙂 I got hooked on Grey’s Anatomy at Christmastime last year and I’m eagerly anticipating the new season of Sherlock! I love some classics like Little House on the Prairie, MASH, and I Love Lucy.

Theme Park: I had to add this in here because I LOVE Disney World! I love it so much that we went there for our honeymoon which has made me love it all the more.

Hollywood Studios Mickey hat at Walt Disney World

Buzz Lightyear ride at Disney World

Movies: I’m actually not a huge movie person but I tend to like comedies, chick flicks, historical based, and occasionally an action flick. My favorite movie (that I can think of…) is the Proposal. I love that movie, it was so perfectly hilarious.

Books/Genres: My favorite series ever is the Anne of Green Gables books. I love the writing, I love the characters, and I love the stories. Otherwise I really enjoy reading historical fiction based books.

Board Games: I am a game collector! Not in the spend lots of money on fancy sets kind of way but just that I love playing games with family and friends. Some of my favorites include…

PC games: Surprise, I really love games! My favorites tend to be the ones I played as a kid and they’re the ones I keep going back to when I’m in the mood for a game, the exception is Age of Empires 2+3 that my hubby introduced to me while we were in college. My classic faves are: Theme Hospital, Caesar 3, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and NFS Most Wanted (2005).

Shopping: Target is my favorite love. I’ve spent so many hours and probably way too much money at Target over the last few years, haha Continue Reading

Back Pain, Biking, Goals, Iron Girl, Race, Recap, Review, Running, Triathlon

Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon 2016 Recap

Thank you Olympics for being so distracting while I tried to write this post. It’s hard to tear your eyes off of Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and the #FinalFive when they’re just being so awesome!

How is it that a year has flown by and a second Iron Girl completed? Sunday’s race was a very different race for me than my race from 2015. More often than not, things aren’t quite as exciting the second time around but this is something I was anticipating. I went into the race weekend disappointed that the swim was cancelled and I talked about my feelings in Monday’s post, but even more disappointed as my body spent the weekend rebelling against me.

The thing that pushed me through the race and kept me going, was finishing my first race that I got to do with my sister! Things aligned perfectly because it was actually National Sisters Day on Sunday! I think she’s happy I pushed her to do it with me especially since she said she’d probably do it again next year! (WINNING!)

My back was really struggling after coming back from Michigan the weekend before. It was a struggle to get comfortable on Saturday night as I was lying in bed, unable to sleep from the pain. I was struggling mentally knowing that I had the endurance for the race but feeling unsure whether or not to do it because I was afraid of seriously hurting myself. I barely slept that night and I woke up feeling nauseated from the pain and struggled to eat any food. What I was able to get down was basically force fed because I knew I couldn’t race on an empty stomach.

We arrived at the park about 5:50 am on Sunday morning feeling excited, nauseous and a bit anxious. I got to my bike and  immediately noticed there was an extra bike on the already overcrowded rack. I was supposed to be the last bike but I guess someone else had come along and racked in the wrong place. I talked to a ref and after an announcement was made, someone eventually came and moved to where it was supposed to be all along. Without a swim, I only had my helmet and sunglasses for the bike and my bib and visor for the run so transition was a quick set up. I did have a mini panic attack when I saw Hanna putting her chip on and I hadn’t seen mine yet. I ran back my stuff and quickly found it to put it on. Crisis averted.

We went to the start line for the beginning of the race and the waiting began. To replace the missing swim, they added a quarter mile run up the hill towards transition. We were supposed to go by 7:49 but didn’t go out until 8:01 and I think the first finisher crossed the line less than 15 minutes after we took off. I was still feeling really nauseous before starting but I forced down some electrolytes about 30 minutes before and a few gels 15 minute before going out so I didn’t crash too soon. We passed the time by being cute and taking photos.

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Back Pain, Exercise, Injury, Iron Girl, Race, Running, Swimming, Training, Triathlon, Women

Thing’s don’t always go the way you planned them

Triathlon #2 is in the books!

Well… sort of.

You know, I’ve been talking about my swimming training a lot lately. Swimming is the discipline I’ve put the most work into over the last year since I last did the triathlon. I enjoy swimming the most because I’ve always been a fish and loved being in the water. I struggled some on the swim last year but I was ready to smash my swim time this year!

Well, Friday morning I was checking Facebook and I saw this:

Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon Swim Cancelled

No longer a triathlon, now a duathlon. Just like that. I suppose the water quality was too poor to be swam in safely as well as there being an issue with releasing water from the dam following the freak flash flood that occured in Ellicott City last weekend. Since the swim was cancelled, there a quick (uphill) quarter mile run added in place.

My initial reaction was a sinking feeling and utter disbelief. I’ve been struggling with so much pain, especially over the last week and so the swim was my only real chance to make a great improvement on my time from last year. Continue Reading