Thursday, October 27, 2011

Four more miles

I'm presently four miles away from logging 1,000 miles, thanks to Tall Mom's 1,000 Mile Club, which has been a HUGE inspiration. Knowing that I'll later record my mileage has gotten my butt out the door on more than one rainy day.

Thanks, Tall Mom! Someday when I'm in Seattle I'll drive down and try to keep up with you on a run.

Other good news: An electric blanket.

For those of you who don't live in a northern climate in a house lined with huge windows offering both awesome views and a lot of wind seepage, you probably can't appreciate the thrill of finally lounging on the sofa in toasty glory: Ahhhh!

I've been reluctant to carry my camera on runs. After working 13 years as a journalist and having to think visually about each story plus often shoot my own photos, I'm rebelling by not taking photos, which makes for a very boring blog. So here are some of Mount Marathon Bowl Trail before it snowed. See all the rocks over the trail? This is why I'm always falling. This is why my knees are forever scraped.

I met up with these three crazy Coast Guard dudes on the way down. They were running and singing Coastie songs. It was a riot. Nice kids--did I ever have that much energy? Anyway, they were in on the Healy Cutter. Hope they're having fun zooming around the Arctic seas.

I was up in Anchorage last week interviewing for a criminal justice technician position. It paid well, sounded interesting and I liked the people I met.

Then I learned that one of the job duties was monitoring offenders' urine tests. I thought: Yeah, I can do that. I can stand outside the bathroom door and make sure no one goes in.

Then I learned that I'd have to actually be in the bathroom while the offenders peed and I thought, well, that might be a tad uncomfortable but I can do it.

Then I found out that I would actually have to witness the urine releasing from the offender's body and spraying into the sample cup and I thought: Is this really why I went to graduate school?

Oh well ....

But I did have some awesome runs while I was in the Big City. It was SO nice running on my favorite trails and seeing my old friends. Hopefully I'll be back living there soon.

Also went down to Homer with MM for the weekend. MM took the pics (sorry to steal them sweetie, hee, hee).

The cabin is out of town and very cozy. We had an awesome time.

Except (there's always an except, isn't there?) there's no running water. That's no big deal in the summer. But when it's below freezing and the middle of the night, it's not fun stumbling out to the outhouse and situating one's butt on a cold (COLD!) wooden outhouse toilet hole.

I suggested to MM that a cushioned toilet seat would be great to carry back and forth from the cabin to the outhouse. I suggested that perhaps he buy me one.

I don't think this is going to happen.

We also took a long walk on the beach with the Beebs. Here's a pic at sunset, taken during a trip earlier this summer.

We ate at Two Sisters Bakery, which has awesome food and even more awesome vegan muffins. I would run all the way to Homer (167 miles) for another one of those muffins.

Monday: 11 miles
Wednesday: 9.1 miles
Thursday: 4 miles

Reading: "The Age of Grief" by Jane Smiley. I recently finished "The Mystery of Breathing" by Parri Klass. Read it if you have a chance--the writing is beautiful and slyly funny in places.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lost my lunch on Lost Lake Trail

Here's a tip: Don't run up mountains when you're sick with a fever.

Not that I would ever heed such advice.

Yesterday was slated as the last possible sunny day before snow and even though I was sick, I couldn't stand the idea of not being out on the trails.

 I tied on my muddy shoes, called for the dog and headed for Lost Lake.

Of course I didn't run up the more gently-sloped summer trail. No, I struggled up the winter trail, which is half the distance but twice the steepness.

In my feverish mind, this made perfect sense. Why wouldn't someone who was sick and had no business being on the trails in the first place choose the most difficult route?

My chest ached. My head swirled in the most delicious of ways.

At about the half mile mark, I met Cedar coming down.

Cedar at the start of the 2010 Mt. Marathon Race. She's on the far right with the print tank. Photo credit: Roy Corral.

Cedar Bourgeois is kind of a mountain running legend down here in Seward. She's won the Mt. Marathon Race seven times. 

She breezed down in a pair of shorts and longsleeve tech top and I struggled up in a pair of capris and a windbreaker tied around my waist and I kind of felt like the girl in elementary school that never gets picked for dodgeball.
We stopped and chatted for a minute. I stupidly suggested that we run together sometime. Imagine me trying to keep up, eh?

Like I said, I was feverish.

A few minutes later I felt it in my throat. The Progresso no MSG, low salt veggie soup I had eaten for lunch was determined to come back up, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

I lost my lunch on the Lost Lake Trail. In my dazed state, seemed right and true, almost poetic.

The moral of this story is that when I reached the cabin, where the relentless uphill finally tapers off, I glanced at my watch and discovered that I had shaved five minutes off last week's time.


It seems the secret of a faster time isn't rest or carbs, it's being struck silly by fever.

By the time I drove home I could barely make it up the steps.

I settled on the couch with "The Good Wive" TV series DVD. The show is fairly good (love Chris Noth) but the women wear way too much makeup and their hair is way too styled. I wanna see them messed and frazzled. I want them to kick off their ridiculous shoes and sweat through a trail race.

Running: 7.1 miles
Reading: "The Mystery of Breathing" by Perri Klass

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I can't believe that summer is over--where did it go?

But it is over, and I know this because today I ran through snow up in the higher elevations, after struggling up massive and muddy hills and almost colliding with an angry moose.

And suddenly there it was:

The dog was excited. She's a cold-weather type (granddaughter of an Iditarod racer) and took off. She came back with a piece of a dead and bloody animal, and I thought: "Oh shit, bears."

But nothing growled and charged so we continued running.

I passed three hikers sitting down on the trail. They were dressed in full winter gear, including mittens, and gaped at me as if I were naked as I ran by in my capris and tech shirt.

I love being up in the mountains, love the silence and the wind in my face and the smells and the freedom. Often I pass no one the whole 7-10 miles and it's as if I am alone in the world. Running in the mountains helps me shrug off my ego and dive down closer to the spirit.

What a luxury. What a gift.

Unfortunately, the run had to end and I drove home, ate dinner and started obsessing: Do I stay here in Seward, even though there are no jobs for someone with a master's in writing? Do I move back to Anchorage, where there are jobs and opportunities and creative energies and hundreds of miles of trails right outside the city but also, alas, noise and traffice and crime?

Who knows?

I ate a Larabar instead. Then I ate another.

Thank god for high-calorie sweet foods that are supposedly healthy so that you can eat a lot without feeling guilty.

P.S. I can't post on anyone's blog, think it's my shoddy Internet connection or maybe my settings are messed up. My apologies.

Runs: Monday: 9.4 miles, race pace
Tuesday: 7.1 miles, rough and glorious mountain trail

Reading: "The Pianist" by Wladyslaw Szpilman. So, so good but a tough and heart-wrenching read.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I'm back, and with more runs

I guess I took a little vacation from blogging, eh?

Much has happened in the past month. I've become a marathoner (hooray for me!), which is the good news.

And the company that ran the newspaper that I wrote/edited for the past four years suddenly folded (with, like, no warning) and I lost my job, which is the bad news.

I've presently joined the ranks of the unemployed and, in the meantime, am pushing to finish my second novel before someone actually hires my poor sorry ass and I have to go back to work.

In the meantime, pics of some of this summer and fall runs.

Mountain in Kenai, can't remember the name. Up so high we could hear the swish of birds' wings as they flew overhead.

The Beebs on top of said can't-remember-name-of-mountain. Not bad for a 77 year old.

Mount Marathon Bowl. It was snowing at the top of Mt. Marathon that day. Right now, the top is ridged in snow. Here in Alaska we call it the first snow "termination dust."

Muddy trail on Lost Lake winter loop to the cabin. I LOVE running in mud.
Autumn colors on Lost Lake, winter to summer loop.

More autumn colors, Lost Lake Trail.

View from about halfway up Mt. Marathon Bowl trail.

Lost Lake earlier this summer.

Me running Lost Lake Trail with MM (you can't see him because he's always ahead of me, hee, hee).

Lost Lake Trail again. That's me running my heart out in the mountains, my favorite thing to do.

My oh-so-usual position when running trails with MM, who is faster than me. I refuse to admit this so I end up gasping for breath a lot.