Thursday, June 25, 2015

Oh, Alaska, I love you

We have been hit with incredible weather. I mean: Incredible. Warm days, sunshine, clear skies. What I love most are the nights and the long twilight that stretches out past midnight. I do the majority of my running in late afternoon/early evening and most of my hiking/climbing late at night. There's something about the twilight that fills me with energy. I feel wild, and free, and so damned alive that I can barely stand it.

I've been trail running like crazy. Not racing much. I did the Mayor's Half Marathon this past weekend and will post a recap soon. I unfortunately missed the Mr. Miles 24 Hour Race due to being sick and, mainly, an urgent novel deadline that will require my staying up half the night for the next three weeks, which is a bit of a bummer.

My current favorite run (I have so many favorites!) is Prospect Heights parking lot to Glen Alps trailhead, a long and slow 3.5 mile slog over continuous uphill, rocky footing in places but oh, the views. I love how the air feels the higher I run, the cooler currents against my shoulders, and the occasional and welcome breeze.

Last week we saw a lynx. It stood in the middle of the trail and then slid off into the bushes, where we watched it stalk a bird (it missed) and then head back down the trail. It turned once and looked at us and it was so magical. It had large paws, which made no sound as it walked, and wonderful ears. I loved it. It such an odd and wonderful feeling to know that while I'm running, the trails and mountains are filled with wild creatures going about their lives.

 Nothing much happening. Running, writing, writing, writing, working (some), reading (some), eating (a whole hell of a lot) and sleeping (as little as possible because hey, it's summer in Alaska and there are trails to run and mountains to climb).

Weekly mileage: Averaging about 55 miles a week, with a long run on Saturday (22-26 miles) followed by a shorter long run on Sunday (10-12 miles), both on hilly trails.

Reading: Just finished The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy and it is so, so good. I highly recommend.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A race, a small bonk and so much friggin' beauty

Where do I begin.

I haven't been posting much but I have been running. A lot. I've also been writing. A lot. And working, but not as much (priorities, people).

Here's the short rundown.

Last week on my birthday, I raced the Knoya Ridge with Sarana and MM. We had a blast. MM ran ahead and Sarana and I talked and laughed most of the way up the mountain (try laughing when climbing 2,900 feet in just over three miles and you'll see what I mean). Sarana is a super tough, though, and a bona fide rock climber, and she took off toward the end and left me in the dust.

It was a great time, a great day. It did make me realize that I'm more of a runner than a climber. I don't seem to have the thigh strength for climbing. I love being up in the mountains but I love running in the mountains more than climbing in the mountains. There's something about the act of running, the rhythm, the way my body moves and flows, that entices me. I can't seem to get enough of it. I hope I never quit. I hope I'm still running until the day I die.

After that, there were many trail runs with kick-ass elevation.

And a run to Rabbit Lake in the sunshine that was too incredible for words plus snow in the higher elevation. It was dirty snow but still, I burrowed down and found a clean handful and ate it. It tasted like heaven, so cold and clear in my mouth.

And then, yesterday, I got to visit my favorite port-o-potty at the Campbell Creek Trails during my 24-mile run.

You might think I'm a bit crazy but this port-o-potty rocks. It's always clean. It doesn't smell icky. It's large and feels open and airy. Whenever I pass it on a run, I have to stop to say hello. Okay, that's a lie: I usually stop because it's a good excuse to sit down for a moment, and sitting down is a most welcoming thing when running 24 miles. So I stopped. I sat. I visited. And then I got back up and I ran and ran and ran, until I bonked at mile 22 and wanted to stop and sit down but alas, there were no port-o-potties around. The odd thing, and why I like this port-o-potty so much, is that they aren't available on most Alaska trails and then there's this one, sitting out in the middle of the woods as if an afterthought.

I've upped my mileage to past 50 miles these past weeks and I am hungry All. The. Time. Like starving. I've been doing back-to-back long runs on weekends, which is where most of my mileage originates, and when I finish I want to cut open my veins and fill them with food. I'm that hungry. It's ridiculous. I can't imagine how much I'd eat if I ever ran 100 miles a week. It's scary to even contemplate.

Next weekend I'm running the Mr. Miles Alaska 24-Hour Race. I'm a bit bummed about the title: Shouldn't it be Mr. and Ms. Miles? Whatever the case, I'm hoping to test my gear and nutrition while mindlessly running 4.5 mile loops through the Alaska twilight. My goal is to reach 50+ miles. We're taking a tent, sleeping bag and MM will go off hiking and do normal stuff as I mindlessly run my loops. I'm hoping to sleep and relax with my Kindle during rest time. And eat, of course. It will be my first attempt at an ultra distance and I so hope that I don't end up collapsed on the ground, weeping uncontrollably. If I do weep, I hope I have the good sense to keep on running.

Have a great week, everyone.

This week's stats:
Monday: Rest and weights
Tuesday: 8
Wednesday: 4
Thursday: 9
Friday: Rest!
Saturday: 24
Sunday: 10
Total: 55