Rest Days, Feller Bunchers, and Battlefields – Oh my!

Based off that title… I’m sure you’re wondering what I am talking about. I had an interesting and busy (no surprise there) week! I have a lot to talk about but once again, you’re getting the abbreviated version…

No denying it, my life feels like a bit of a whirlwind lately. Between work travel, wrapping up a couple of classes, making trips home to see my family & grandmothers, and scheduling in my workouts – I don’t have much free time. That’s why when I finally had a rest day scheduled last Monday, I took full advantage. I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to a rest day so much. I left work a little late, but once I left I ran home, threw on PJ’s and fully embraced the rainy evening to chill on my couch, read, and hang with the dogs. Pure bliss. I do enjoy staying active and busy but I must admit I really enjoy a down day when I have one. And it turned out that it was a good thing that I enjoyed my Monday because Tuesday morning my day started early with a swim and the rest of the week brought on all the chaos of this life I have chosen!

Last week brought the wrap up of both the class that I have been taking through EdX – Food for Thought – which was taught by McGill University. Last week also marked the end of year 1 for LEAD NY.

First, Food for Thought was an interesting course – it gave a high level overview of a number of food topics and dug into the science behind various issues. Basically it worked to try and debunk many of the popular “health” myths and to help explain some of the reasons why various diet choices are better or worse for individuals to consume (Hint: the proper diet varies by each individual). In addition to the overall diet they looked at various marketing claims made by different food companies and groups – for instance, what you are really purchasing when you purchase organic. They explained how organics still use pesticides – just not synthetic ones, and the fact that there is no nutritional difference when grown under similar conditions (soil type, water, sunlight) as conventionally produced foods. Another item that the class analyzed was the various controversial topics in food (hormones, antibiotics, GMOs) and the science behind them. Again, what is heard and reported on in popular media and promoted by food marketers is not necessarily the truth when you really look at the facts.

From my perspective, it is very sad how food is marketed and sold. Food is something that is emotional, it effects everyone, and it is a tool to nourish the body. However, it is also a business and provides many livelihoods. As someone that works in food and agriculture, it supports my own life and career. It has supported my upbringing on my family farm, and agriculture and food is made up of many good people. My biggest take away from the class is that you should try to maintain a healthy diet, avoid processed foods, but also try to be realistic and enjoy some of the fun things about food too. (Maybe its more of an ‘everything in moderation’ type of take-away).

For LEAD NY last week, we were in Cortland, NY and learned about forestry. It was a very interesting class. To start, we took a tour around a sawmill and boy was it loud!! I can’t imagine working there everyday – even with earplugs it was more than I could handle for an extended time. Despite the noise, it was really interesting to see the entire process of the logs coming in, being sorted, debarked, then cut into various sized planks and graded before heading to the kilns to dry. Next, we headed out to the forest and learned about how they walk various wood plots, select which trees to cut down, and how they work to promote regrowth of trees for 30 to 50 years in the future.

As part of our woods walk, we learned about canopy cover, and some of the other considerations for tree harvest. We also learned that deer are one of the largest difficulties in working to get a tree lot to regrow. The deer like to eat young trees and will often eat away at the seedlings before they have a chance to really establish themselves and grow for the future. Finally, we discussed some of the equipment that can be used in tree harvest, and I have to admit, due to my three year old cousin, I felt really smart due to his obsession with his toy feller buncher – I actually knew what the lumber guys were talking about when they were discussing feller bunchers (Thanks G-man!)! If you don’t know what a feller buncher is, it’s a giant tractor that grabs a hold of the tree and cuts it down to minimize risk from just cutting down a tree with a saw. Pretty cool. (You can check one out here: Feller Buncher).

After LEAD NY and our Year 1 graduation ceremony on Saturday, I headed back to ‘cuse to do laundry, go for a run, and pack up for another week on the road. Sunday I was able to get home and spend some time with my family. This involved going to church, visiting both of my grandmothers (who seem to both be doing better!) and then spending a few hours on my bike. It was so great to spend time with the family and also to get a ride in outside…. even if I did get a little disoriented at one point, it just meant that I had the opportunity to better understand some of the roads around Saratoga County and see some additional beautiful countryside!

I think the bike story is best told through pictures, but let’s just say I was looking for a battlefield and took a detour to the lake instead. I eventually did find the battlefield and the detour to the lake actually helped to fill my time and mileage so all in all it was not a bad thing. Except for having a bee fly into my helmet at the battlefield and sting me… but I digress. All in all, it was a great day – mid 70’s and sunny, even if it was a bit windy! (I swear I can’t get through a weekly update without talking about the weather, I’m just happy ecstatic it was a good weather update this week!)

Weekly Workouts (Recovery Week)//

  • Monday – REST DAY! (Yay!)
  • Tuesday – 1800 yd Swim
  • Wednesday – 2500 yd Swim
  • Thursday – 50 Minute Z2 Base Run
  • Friday – Rest Day (Two in one week! Although… with LEAD NY, it didn’t feel like much of a rest day…)
  • Saturday – 50 Minute Z2 Base Run
  • Sunday – 3 Hour Endurance Bike Ride on a Hilly Course

Weekly Totals//

  • Swim – 4300 Yards (2.44 Miles)
  • Bike – 3 Hours, 47 Miles <– First long ride outside, I have some work to do as far as my speed goes….
  • Run – 1 hour 40 minutes, 11.5 Miles
  • Total Time – 6 Hours, 6 Minutes (much different than the 10 hours, 30 minutes last week!)

Weekly Photo Recap//

¬†Chillin’ with the pups on Monday night – turned into a competition for who can get the most attention from me…

20140413-205359.jpgIf you ever spent anytime during your college career at Dunbars in Ithaca, NY… there is no explanation needed. The fact that this was on the radio made me really happy.

20140413-205421.jpgProbably ranks up there as one of the best emails I’ve received. You know you’re going to have a fun day when…


At the sawmill. Sorting out logs in the yard.

20140413-205442.jpgThe de-barker at the sawmill.

20140413-205501.jpgOne of the saws cutting a log. I know it’s hard to see what’s going on here, but I swear that’s what’s happening…

20140413-205546.jpgBoards getting ready to be graded, sorted and then sent to the kiln.

20140413-205600.jpgOur group out in the wood lot.

20140413-205610.jpgWhile a bit chilly, a gorgeous afternoon!

20140413-205622.jpgSo one of my classmates owns his own winery. Finally got to take advantage of that – purchased some wine to sample and give as gifts!

20140413-205632.jpgOur Year 1 graduation picture for LEAD NY.

20140413-205656.jpgRagnar Shirts & Swag. Gearing up for some Ragnar fun at Seneca 7 in a couple weeks!

20140413-205705.jpgMy grandmother’s cat, hiding in her new apartment. (I was tasked with trying to get a good picture. Easier said than done, especially due to the fact I only had my cell phone with me…)

20140413-205716.jpgMy detour to Saratoga Lake

20140413-205725.jpgAnd just when I thought I was really lost, this little guy saved me! (Got to love stone markers! – Yay History!)

20140413-205731.jpgAnd my official bike path for the day. Love when things work out perfectly. Especially when not 100% planned…

Bike Map 4.13And that’s all for this week! I have a few articles and things to share with you, but I think I’ll save them for a shorter post. However, I can’t resist throwing in this crazy collection of dog pictures. For a random distraction, feel free to check out the 26 Dogs Who Totally Redefine Perfection. You’re welcome.

Cheers & Have a Great Week!


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