Saturday, September 22, 2012

Like, ten minutes of sunshine

Today an amazing thing happened: The sun actually peaked through the clouds.

Yeah, we had about 10 minutes of sporadic sunshine. The first in over a week.

It's been raining so much, and so hard, that they've declared an emergency out in Mat-Su, where David and Jonnie, my doggie sitters live (hope their house didn't get swept away because then, who would watch The Beebs?).

Here in Anchorage it's been rain, and high winds, followed by more rain, and more high winds.

Today it finally stopped raining and I hit the trails for 11 glorious miles. Oh-oh-oh! There were some puddles, and some puddles-so-large-they-were-almost-lakes, but I didn't care. Because I was running! And it wasn't raining! And the trails were wet but not soggy!

I've been in a slump. I have all this book publicity stuff I'm supposed to be doing and instead I'm sitting around my apartment obsessing over stupid things: If I should move in with MM when I come back from my residency. If that groaning noise in my car I've been trying to muffle with the radio is serious. If the burning on my ankle is caused by my new running shoes rubbing (most likely) or something worse, like cancer of the ankle bone.

Anyway, here is a pic of my apartment. Isn't it cozy? It's kind of a writer's dream. Small, with a deck and fireplace: Ahhhhh! (MM has neither a deck nor a fireplace, sigh, sigh, but I suppose sooner or later it comes to this, eh?)

Anyway, if anyone has any advice/tips on how to give up one's independence and move in with a man, I'd love to hear it. It's a terrifying prospect. While I've had some pretty serious relationships, I haven't actually lived with a man since my son's father. And that was a huge mess I'd rather repeat. Thanks!

Monday: Elliptical and weights
Tuesday: 6.5 miles speedwork, treadmill
Wednesday: 8.5 miles, treadmill (while watching "House Hunters")
Thursday: 5.20 miles, mountain trails (like running through a shallow creek)
Friday: Elliptical, bike and weights
Saturday: 11 miles, trails
Sunday: Well, it's not Sunday yet but I have 12-15 miles planned

I stayed up all night earlier this week finishing "The Help." What a great book. The ending was a bit unrealistic but still, it was a good read.
Presently reading: "Parched" by Heather King

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My book!

I haven't run yet today. I may still head to the gym and attack the treadmill (we're having 100 mph winds here). And then again, maybe I'll blow it off (no pun intended).

Because ....

My novel galley proofs arrived today.

Yep, a good a looking UPS man delivered them safely to my door, all the way from New York City.

I have been giddy, and on the phone, all day.

Now I am exhausted and slumped in a chair listening to the wind and feeling fat and lazy (but a fat and lazy lady novelist, hee, hee).

Hope everyone has had an equally exciting day.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

M-M-Moose charge

The other night MM and I took the Beebs out to Propect Heights trailhead. It was an awesome evening, cloudy and still, the air smelling of fallen leaves and that distinct, sharp, clear smell of autumn. We ran up Southfork Trail, around a few others and then up Powerline Pass to the Flattop trailhead. It was up, and up. And up some more.

It was a darkish, moody evening, and the air was filled with a calm energy that made me feel happy to be alive, happy to be running through trails inhabitated by no one but us.

Well, there was someone else around. Namely, this moose.

Now tell me: Doesn't she look kinda friendly?

We passed this cow on the way up Powerline Pass. We slowed down, she paused and glanced at us, we paused and glanced at her. Then she went back to eating and we went back to running.

Later, running back down, we came across her again. This time she was with her calf and they were in the middle of the trail, so we had to stop and wait.

We waited. And waited. We stood in the cooling air, as night began to settle around us, and still the moose refused move off the trail.

Finally, they both inched a wee bit off the trail. They were eating. They looked preoccupied. I said to MM, "They look preoccupied."

"I don't think they are," he said.

I ignored him. I foolishly decided to go for it.

I would have made it, too. Except the calf perked up its ears and trotted over at me, all excited. It ran up to me like a kid running up to other kids at a playground. I think it wanted to play.

We didn't get a chance, though, because Mama Moose looked up, noticed I was close to her calf (But the calf came to me!) and charged.

You cannot believe how fast a moose can move.

I eyed an alder tree and thought, 'Oh please, don't let her chase me up that alder tree.'

She chased me up the alder tree.

Then she went after Beebs, who managed to veer away.

MM smartly stayed his distance. He wasn't charged. He didn't have to climb a tree.

The morale of this story is: Think like a man even when you run like a woman.

After all the excitement, we headed back down the trail, and it was all downhill from there, and I mean this literally: The trail went down and down and down, as the sky dimmed and darkened and suddenly became dark.

We're down to about 12 hours of daylight. It's actually dark by 8:30 p.m., and we're losing four-five minutes of light each day. So, so sad.

This is the song I sang in my head post moose charge, which I think is the perfect running song, no? (And Nancy is pretty sexy, even if she does have big hair.)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Run, rabbit, run

I had two awesome runs in a row this weekend. They were both perfect. Because really, can anything beat autumn trail runs in the sunshine, when the sky is clear, the air crisp?

Saturday I hit the Campbell Creek and Hilltop trails for 12.5 miles of trails and some killer hills. It was one of those runs where my legs felt strong, my mind focused, my body in cadence so that every step was a dream. Even the hills were a dream and believe me, that doesn't happen often.

This is posted in front of my favorite trails, which are called (natch), Black Bear and Brown Bear. And guess what? I saw a bear. I saw a black bear on the Brown Bear trail.

I was so happy I couldn't stop smiling. It was just one of those days. Even the snow on the mountains didn't bum my spirits.

See the snow up on the high peaks? We call that termination dust, since it signals that the end is near, sigh, sigh.

Sunday, MM and I headed up to Rabbit Lake trail for a 9-miler to the lake and back.

The first 4.5 miles is ALL uphill.  My legs were tight from my 12-miler the previous day and okay, I admit it, I whined a bit (a bit?) the first mile. I couldn't stop myself. The complaints just squeezed out of my mouth.

Then the views overtook us and I shut up. Because, really there was nothing to say but "Oh, wow" and "Oh my god" and "This is too cool."

Rabbit Lake--isn't it beautiful? It was also cold. And windy. I had goosebumps all over my legs, but it was worth it.

Even though I don't particularly like the long and dark winters, even though I'm cold almost every time I run, bike or hike, I still can't believe I'm lucky enough to have ended up in such a place, in this place.

Weekly stats:
Monday: 19 miles, bike
Tuesday: Hour on elliptical plus weights
Wednesday: 30 miles, bike
Thursday: 13.25 miles, trail run
Friday: Hour on elliptical plus weights
Saturday: 12.5 miles, trail run
Sunday: 9 miles, trail run

Reading: The best book ever! "Gathering of Waters," by Bernice L. McFadden. This is so good, the writing so pure and lyrical, that I can only read it in pieces.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Foolish runners, foolish choices

I was all geared up for a killer running week.

Instead, I caught a nasty cold. I coughed so hard and for so long that the only thing that consoled me was that maybe, just maybe, I was getting a good ab work out in the process.

When Sunday arrived and my head cleared and I was coughing only slightly hard instead of really, really hard, I hit the trails for a slow four and a half miler with MM and The Beebs.

Turnagain Arm Trail during the summer. Aren't the birch trees lovely? Like slender women dancing.

It was a glorious run through wet leaves and mud, and the cool and rainy air must have gone to my head because suddenly it occured to me: If I ran five more miles later that evening, I'd hit 20 miles for the week.

Twenty miles is my absolute-unless-I'm-injured-or-on-my-deathbed minimum limit.

So even though I was still feeling sick, even though I knew better, I still snuck off to the gym Sunday evening for what I told myself would be five slow treadmill miles.

Planet Fitness, I love tee. Okay, I love thy cheapo rates.

I ran those miles at my 10K pace. I don't know why. I just did.

That night my fever returned and I sweated and shivered through two tee-shirts.

(Anyone else out there find it difficult to not run, even when sick??)

Today, MM wanted to ride bikes and of course I said yes, even though I was feeling icky again.

We hit the Coastal Trail, and it rained lightly and the air smelled fresh and I was so happy (!), even though my stomach complained and my nose ran so hard I finally stopped wiping it and let it do its thing.

We stopped at the beach for a romantic walk, Alaska style.

Everything was blue and grey, with hints of silver, and anyone who reads this blog knows that those are my favorite Alaska color combinations. I've learned that there's a beauty in the subdued, a brilliance inside muted shadows.

An eagle soared above us. I tried to capture it in a picture but it was too high, and too far away. (Oh, oh, oh--to fly!)

Now it's late and my chest is congested, again, and my nose is running, but so what, eh? I got in my miles (foolishly) and flew down the big hill after Kincaid Park on my bike, and the wind blew and rain fell upon my face and I was gloriously happy. I suppose in the end, that's all that really matters (she says with a loud and violent cough).

Running: 20.05 miles for the week
Reading: "The Wife's Tale" by Lori Lansens
Writing: Yes, yes and oh yes