Category Archives: Running

The 30-Day Summer Adventure Challenge!


We started this adventure to get out, come rain or shine, and see Central New York. The weather can be brutal here; there are entire weeks of rain and continuous cloud cover. Living to the fullest when the weather is exceptional is more important than I ever fathomed.

Our little family spent 30 days exploring our community. We targeted fun, inexpensive family friendly places. We mapped the days and stayed within budget (under $40 a day). Team Turtle often took hours just to get out the door. I am certain many people thought I had lost my mind. Maybe I did; it was a lofty goal with two little guys under 5-years old—all their stuff, all my photography stuff, and just getting us all dressed was sometimes monumental, so I skipped a few showers. I edited the photos (developed in film terms) at night and wrote about the day. I took it all on with a new blog and without any knowledge of Word Press. I’m tired now, and I want to enjoy my kids and hubs for the rest of our summer without these crazy, self-imposed deadlines.

And so, after all the fun, all the bribery with popsicles, snow cones, and candy, all the meltdowns, the belly laughs, the hugs, and more love than I can ever express, the 30-Day Summer Adventure Challenge is a wrap!

Watch the video: It’s a Wrap!

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Day 18: 30-Day Summer Adventure Challenge!

It’s really about Team Utica…

Utica’s 15K Boilermaker takes place in my backyard—not literally, but close. Yet, this was the first year I dragged myself out to watch it. The stories, the characters, the international pack that led the race to the winner’s tape, the slow pokes, the wheelchairs, the young, the old, the serious, the fun crowd, the rock-hard abs, the softies pushing themselves to finish…. It was all there. But there was one story that struck my heart more than any other today: Utica’s community spirit is gripping and has its own heartbeat.

Uticans faithfully show up on a Sunday morning in July every year. The race starts at 7:30, and being in place earlier is sound advice; there are police roadblocks, and the logistics of walking to an optimal spectator spot takes planning and time. I watched this morning’s race from Valley View Golf Course, at about the 3.5-mile mark. Within minutes, the first wheelchairs whizzed past. Then the pack-leading international runners arrived and they didn’t quit until they crossed the finish line. You might think it’s a sacrifice to get up that early and watch a race, but the Boilermaker is an event. It’s a weeklong celebration that binds this community: Locals fly Boilermaker flags; there are pre-Boilermaker breakfasts and parties; there’s a run for kids and a walk for adults; and there’s one big party after the race.

If you live here, you either run the race, you know several people who do, or you show up to support runners that you’ll likely never meet. The cheering, hootin’ and ringing of cowbells didn’t stop today until the last runner brought up the rear. It gave me goose bumps to think of the loyalty in that. It also made me vow to never again miss it as long as Central New York is my home. Watching the race made me want to be part of it. It’s a big deal and it’s full of community spirit.

About 17,000 runners ran this year. Registration opens yearly in spring for just one week. I’ve heard rumors that it usually fills up in 15 minutes. I wonder…could I possibly have it in me? I have some time to think it over. It did look a bit painful for some. Either way, I’ll be there next year as a spectator, and if I get real gutsy, maybe I’ll try to run it. It I do, I know I’ll have quite a few Uticans along the route to cheer me on and keep me going.

To my friend who kept after me to experience it, thanks for pushing me Margaret! I have a much better understanding and appreciation of why this race is such a big deal, and of the spirit that drives this community.

For more local and family photography, check out, and “like” Lightning Bugs Photography on Facebook for photography tips, tricks, and updates!