New Gear For The New Year

After-Christmas sales and gift cards provide the perfect opportunity to gear up for adventure in the new year ahead. I took advantage of some great sales and generous gifts in order to get some things to facilitate my 2016 exploits. I can’t wait to see what new adventures await with my bargain finds!

Snowboarding

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I visited the Waterloo Premium Outlets and scored a great deal on a Columbia jacket, perfect for snowboarding and other outdoor winter activities. I also snagged a pair of Under Armour snowboarding socks from DICK’S that were discounted more than 50% off the original price. Since I wore an old pair of my partner’s snowboarding goggles last year, I was thrilled to find a nice, inexpensive pair at my local Marshalls.

Running

Fleet Feet Sports Rochester had an “end of year blowout sale” that I just had to check out. I ended up getting a nice pair of Saucony Peregrine 5 trail running sneakers. My previous pair of trail running shoes are my three-year-old Adidas Kanadia that have almost no tread left whatsoever. Needless to say, it was time for a new pair of trail runners. Since I’ve run in the Saucony Kinvara 4 and Saucony Virrata before, I knew these would be a good fit. They were on sale for $70 at Fleet Feet, and a $50 VISA gift card from my office brought my out-of-pocket total to only $20. What a steal!

Hiking

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I used a mall gift card to purchase a pair of Yaktrax Walk traction devices from DICK’S Sporting Goods. These will help me when hiking or walking in icy and snowy conditions. I checked a couple of stores to see if these were on sale anywhere, and they weren’t. I didn’t feel bad paying full price since they were only $20 and I had a gift card to use at the mall anyway.

Yoga/Gym

I picked up a few sports bras that were inexpensive at Marshalls and on clearance at DICK’S, because there’s no such thing as too many sports bras when you’re an active woman! I also found this Rochester Marathon tank top for 75% off at the Fleet Feet Sports sale. Since I ran this half marathon back in 2014 I decided it was okay to buy the cute “Run Roc Run!” tank top! I also picked up a new pair of running shoes from the Nike outlet store to help keep me motivated during treadmill season.

Did you get any new gear this holiday season? What are you most looking forward to adding to your adventures and fitness routines in 2016? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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So This Is Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve and here in Rochester, NY we broke the record high temperature with a beautiful day above 60 degrees. I’ve been complaining quite a bit lately about the lack of snow in our area (I’m aching to get back on my snowboard!) but today’s warm temperatures and sunny skies were really quite pleasant.


I decided to take advantage of this rare December weather by going for a short run – which was all I really had time for with final Christmas preparations today. I ran about a mile and a half through Turning Point Park, which was full of people and families out walking and enjoying the nice day. It was quite nice running in a short sleeve shirt and capri running pants! I even ran into my partner who was out for a bike ride in the park as well.


Yesterday I got a lovely Christmas delivery in the mail – a beautiful compass ornament from the Etsy shop She Likes Letters. The ornament was a giveaway from Dana, the blogger at Blisters and Bug Bites. Check out her blog and subscribe to follow her adventures!


How was the weather on your Christmas Eve – did you get to do anything outside? Any fun holiday plans this year? Please share in the comments below!

Warmest wishes and happy holidays,Alli Signature

10 Adventurous Gift Ideas (That Aren’t “Things”)

It’s crunch time now, so if you’re in need of last-minute gift ideas for the hard to please adventurer in your life you’ve come to the right place! The older I get, the less interested I am in “things” and the more I seek out experiences. That said, here is a list of wonderful gift ideas for those who want or need a little more adventure in their life:

1. The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass

National Park Service Arlington House

An $80 annual pass offers access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites and covers entrance and standard amenity fees. 2016 marks the National Park Service centennial celebration – so what better time to find, share and support your parks at findyourpark.com. Passes can be purchased in person at a federal recreation site, or by calling 1-888-ASK USGS (1-888-275-8747), Ext. 3 (Hours of operation are: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Mountain time), or online here.

2. Indoor rock climbing gift certificate

Alli at RockVentures

Since we can’t always get away foroutdoor adventures, indoor climbing gyms provide an excellent way to stay in shape and work on valuable climbing skills you can take outside. Here in Rochester we are lucky to have North America’s largest indoor climbing and high ropes course facility at RockVentures. RockVentures gift certificates are available online here – but be sure to check deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for discounted vouchers as well.

3. Kayaking or Stand-Up Paddleboarding Classes

Kayaking Mirror Lake

Paddling centers offer kayaking classes, nature tours and stand-up paddleboarding lessons. Depending on how adventurous your loved one is, they might even consider a SUP Yoga class – yoga practiced while on a stand-up paddleboard! Groupon and LivingSocial are great places to check for giftable vouchers with an affordable price tag.

4. Lift Tickets or Ski/Snowboarding Passes

Sunset Trail Bristol Mountain

My favorite Christmas gift last year was the Twilight Pass my partner got me for Bristol Mountain ski resort. This was a great beginner option, since the pass was offered through a group ski club program and included lessons. Some ski resorts offer package deals with rentals, lift tickets and lessons included. Check your local ski resort for options, and consider Bristol Mountain’s lift tickets and season passes if you’re in Rochester or the Finger Lakes area.

5. Weekend Getaway

Lake Placid Getaway

Know anyone that needs a vacation? Don’t we all! A nice holiday gift, particularly for your spouse or partner who loves adventure, would be a weekend getaway in the mountains or woods. Rent a cabin and go get snowed in somewhere! Groupon Getaways and LivingSocial Escapes frequently offer affordable packages that are a short day-trip away. In Western New York you can often find deals at a Finger Lakes bed and breakfast, with tons to explore nearby, or cabins and hotels in the Adirondacks with endless opportunity for adventure any time of year.

6. Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater Rafting Watertown NY

A friend of ours purchased a whitewater rafting deal on Groupon for her boyfriend’s birthday last year and we made it a group trip. It was an absolute blast! Some of the best whitewater rafting in Upstate New York is on the Black River in Watertown. We had a great experience with Black River Outfitters and highly recommend them!

7. Tandem Skydiving

Skydiving

I was lucky enough to receive a skydiving gift certificate for my 25th birthday and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. If you know someone who has this on their bucket list, go ahead and give them a gift they’ll never forget. The professionals at WNYSkydiving made me feel very comfortable doing an incredibly risky activity!

8. Race Registration

Flower City Half Marathon

All runners know that race registrations can get expensive. It’s not uncommon for popular marathons and half marathons to cost more than $100. If you know your loved one has a goal race in the coming year (and always registers at the last minute, like me) why not offer to cover their registration cost? This could even give them more motivation during training. If someone is running a charity race this spring, consider making a donation to the organization in their honor.

9. Themed Fun Run

Color Run 2013

Maybe instead of paying for someone else’s race registration, offer to do a themed fun run with them! There are a ton of low key running events all over, and the best gift of all is spending time together, right? The Color Run is a great time, check for an event in your area!

10. Yoga Package

Yoga Class

There are so many options to chose from! Groupon and LivingSocial are full of low cost packages that allow your recipient to try a new studio or a new style. Here in Rochester you can get a Hikyoga package buy one get one free for a limited time – the perfect gift for you and the outdoor adventurer in your life.

What about you – are there any gifts you’re looking forward to giving or hoping to receive this year? Do you prefer experiences or things? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Throwback Thursday: Snowboarding at Northampton Park

I previously posted some reflections from my first snowboarding season, however there was one time before the 2014-2015 winter season that I had attempted to figure out this thing called snowboarding, and that was a seldom-mentioned night in March 2013. Since my partner and a couple of his friends were still very new to snowboarding, and therefore not quite ready to make the trek out to Bristol Mountain, a bunch of us had the idea to purchase an inexpensive “lift ticket” at Northampton Park in Brockport, NY. The ski hill at Northampton Park is pretty rudimentary – featuring only one gradual ski slope and a single rope tow lift. Despite the lack of exciting features, the low price tag of $12 for open ski and $15 rentals makes it a nice place for those who just want to give downhill snow sports a whirl – like us!

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Since most of us had never even attempted snowboarding before, and my partner – the lifelong skier – had only tried it once or twice, it was pretty much the blind leading the blind. I couldn’t figure out how to even maneuver on a snowboard, let alone make my way down the short, easy slope without falling. The most challenging part for me, however, was learning how to successfully ascend the hill using the rope tow. It wasn’t as easy as the little kids made it look! Once I was able to finally get myself back up to the top of the hill, I managed to get in a handful of runs – and one time I made it almost all the way down without falling. To me, that was a success!

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Inexpensive rental equipment with step-in bindings.

Even though I was atrociously clueless and clumsy on a snowboard that night, it made me want to learn how to do it right. I quickly realized that a lesson from a professional instructor was probably going to be the best way for me to get started in snowboarding – and I’m glad that’s something I eventually pursued. So far in Western New York this December has been incredibly mild and unseasonably warm, with absolutely no snow in sight. I’m aching for the chance to get on my board again and continue to work on my skills – whether it’s somewhere low-cost and nearby like Northampton Park or a more expensive, faraway ski resort.

Have you ever been embarrassingly bad at something new? Don’t worry, I have too! Tell me about it in the comments below!

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Snow Cheap Winter Trail Series – Race 1

This year I decided to go ahead and register for the entire Snow Cheap Winter Trail Race Series, and the first race took place tonight at Cobbs Hill Park in Rochester, NY. It was a very comfortable 46 degrees fahrenheit, and although there was no snow – despite the name of the race series – it was a beautiful night to run some trails.

Tonight’s course was a single lap through the park, first making our way around the big hill before ascending into the single-track trails. There were some easy, grassy flat sections and some technical trail sections with rocks, roots and logs. Running these types of trails at night, with only the light of your headlamp, definitely makes it a bit more challenging. However that’s part of the fun of this race series.

What also makes this trail race series so fun is the unpredictability of each course. Sometimes the folks at Fleet Feet Sports Rochester like to keep things interesting, as tonight’s race took runners up and down a giant (and I mean huge) leaf pile in the parking lot of the park just before the finish line. You can’t help but laugh when you’re climbing up a massive pile of rotting leaves (oh, the smell!) on your way to the finish.

 The post-race party was casual and fun, with raffles for exciting prizes like baby carrots and marshmallows! This event does not take itself seriously, so runners should be prepared with headlamps and a sense of humor. I’m looking forward to the five remaining races this winter – keep your fingers crossed for some snow soon!

Have you ever tried a low-key trail race like this before? Would you? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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