Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Year in Review

Looking at my activity log for the year 2012, I'm a little embarrassed.  The movement numbers are a little low post-April.  I'm glad I didn't log beer consumption, too, because that would probably beat running, biking, and walking put together!  LOL

Nonetheless, I had some fun this year.  In April, I ran a fantastic trail half marathon.  The hubby and I did a little mountain biking, and I was a top contender in our office walking challenge this summer.  We ran a naked 5k, the Color Run, the Grand Rapids Mud Run, and the Warrior Dash.

With the Grand Rapids Sport and Social Club, I played dodge ball, kick ball, broom ball, flag football, and volleyball.  I also made some great new friends.

For the number lovers out there, 2012 saw:
  • 102 miles of biking
  • 352 miles of running
  • 214 push ups
  • 172 miles of walking/hiking
  • 64 miles (or the equivalent) of other sports
The hubby is pretty much recovered from his back injuries earlier this year and is committed to getting into better shape in 2013.  To that end, we are planning to sign up for the Tough Mudder in Detroit at the end of June.  I'm very excited about this.  I've been wanting to do this for a couple years now.  I'm nervous about some of the crazy obstacles.  The hubby is nervous about the 12-mile distance.

In 2013, we also plan to keep the traditions of the GR Mud Run and the Warrior Dash alive.  We may throw in a Zombie Dash somewhere and maybe an adventure race.  In any case, we should have some fun events to look forward to and some solid goals to keep us on the fitness track.

My vacation time over the last few weeks as been so renewing.  Not necessarily restful, but I've embrased the free time to get out for some hikes, some weight lifting, some skiing, some snow runs.  Work in 2013 is going to be crazy, but I am itching to maintain a good workout routine despite the fatigue of stressful office hours.

On the Paul B Henry Thornapple Trail today

Thanks for a great year, and welcome the new one!  Happy New Year 2013!

Friday, December 21, 2012


The hubby and I just wrapped up a season of indoor volleyball with the Grand Rapids Sport and Social Club.  I haven't played volleyball since high school, so I am not highly skilled, but I play well enough.  It was a blast!

For our last game, many of our teammates were out of town for vacations and business trips leaving just 5 of us to play.  We lost, but we had a competitive game.  Our opponents were good sports and engaged in some back and forth joking that left us all bent over laughing more than once.

Some of our volleyball teammates
Photo by Grand Rapids Sport and Social Club
At the bar after the game

Next up starting in January - more dodge ball!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


It's my birthday!

I know I'm getting older, and some days I feel it.  But mostly I love my life, I love being active, and I plan to keep it up for as many more years as possible.

Anything could happen on any day, so I'm thankful for what I have as I celebrate the 33rd anniversary of my birth.

Happy birthday to me!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hiking with the Hubby

Saturday was our last day of vacation in California, and the hubby agreed to go on one last hike with me at the Folsom SRA.  I elected to take him up to the west side of the lake, where I hiked on Monday.

Lake Folsom past my previous turnaround point

The hubby was a beast on the trail, and we ended up covering way more ground than I expected.  We explored some side trails that I skipped last time and progressed on the main trail about 2 miles further than I did earlier in the week.  We made it all the way to the next park entrance for a total hike of about 16.2 miles.

GPS route until our turnaround point

The hubby loves nature and had a blast climbing rocks, spotting animals, and following anything that made a noise nearby.

The hubby climbing rocks

The hubby hiking (with pig)

Lots of wild turkeys!

When we finally decided to turn around in order to get back to our car before dark, it started to rain.  We really gave it some gas and kicked the last 7 miles in high gear.  It was a blast.  I actually feel sated on hiking for a little while, but I know it won't be long before the trails call again!

Queen of the Mountain

Friday, December 14, 2012

More Hiking at Folsom SRA

On Wednesday, I had another free day with the hubby at work, so I checked out some hiking trail on the east side of Lake Folsom starting at the Brown's Ravine trail head.

Trail Map of the southeast side of Lake Folsom
Brown's Ravine Trail Head
The park is generally pretty narrow in this area, squeezed between the shore and the expensive homes with a lake view.  The trail heading north from Brown's Ravine first passes by a marina - mostly storage this time of year - and then follows the shoreline as it weaves back and forth around inlet streams that feed the lake.

A stream running to the lake

A stream widens as it feeds into Lake Folsom
I followed the trail for several miles trying to ignore the private property fences encroaching on my illusion of wilderness, focusing instead on berries, squirrels, mushrooms, and the lake.

After about 4 miles, the trail opened up into a meadow overseen by quaint homes set on the surrounding hills.

Planks over a stream where the trail leads to a rolling meadow

Just before turning around, I passed behind a home with at least 5 dogs in the yard of all types large and small and with barks both bass and shrill.  What a cacophony my presence induced!

On the return hike to my car, the sun back lit the clouds creating a beautiful halo affect. I did not like this trail as much as that on the west side of the lake, but how can you not love sites like this?!  It was another great hike of about 10 miles.  I will miss this when I go home to snowy Michigan, but I know that more adventures await in the future!

GPS of one way of my hiking route

The happy hiker

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hiking the Western States Trail

Yesterday, I began my attempt to glut myself on amazing hiking during this trip to California.  Unfortunately, the closest national park trail system is inaccessible due to snow-induced road closures.  So sad.  But I found the Folsom State Recreation Area less than a half hour from our hotel.  This is very exciting because a portion of the Western States trail (the Pioneer Express trail) runs through here!  I don't know if the Western States 100 route includes this portion, but I love the idea that I might have walked some of the same steps as the ultra-runners who have competed in the race.

Pioneer Express Trail / Western States Trail Marker

I called the park service before heading out to find out which trail accesses were open, and found that Granite Bay on the west side of Lake Folsom was a good place to start.  I parked my car and found access to the trail near the rangers' horse stables.

Portion of the trail map through the Folsom SRA

The first mile or so that I hiked followed the edge of the park bordering private property, but soon after that the trail lost itself in much more wild territory.

On the first park of my hike

Pig and Cow consult the trail map at a juncture

I could hardly absorb enough of the trees, rocks, and hills that make up this northern California trail.

It was a lovely, solitary time.  I only encountered a trio of mountain bikers who whizzed by on a parallel trail, a runner with his dog, and a few park rangers on their horses - all female rangers, which I thought was neat.

Then suddenly, the trail came out of the woods and provided a view of Lake Folsom.  I hiked up and down the side of the mountain here curving around a portion of the lake for about a mile.

At about 5 miles out, I had to turn around in order to get back to my car in time to pick up the hubby at work.  I loved every moment of this hike and only wish that I could take in more than the tiny fraction of this trail that I was able to experience in a three-hour chunk.  Some day, I've got to plan a multi-day hiking excursion.

GPS track of my route

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Skiing and Hiking in California

The hubby and I are in the Sacramento, CA area this week for work/vacation.  Today, we drove over to Lake Tahoe to go skiing.  We got an amazing deal on lessons, skiing, and equipment rental that we couldn't resist.  It was a great time.

On the drive to Lake Tahoe
Our two adventurers after a day on the slopes
Tomorrow, while the hubby works, I plan to do some hiking - either at the El Dorado National Forest (if the roads are open) or the Folsom State Recreation Area which contains a portion of the Western States trail.  So excited!