Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I'm saving it for the climax I suppose. I don't want to just jump into Davie now, what would the draw be to continue the trek? So I visited some friends, had a grand time, went to the beach in Fort Lauderdale and then headed for the Gulf Coast and beautiful Naples. I had my feet in the ocean on both coasts of Florida in a 24 hour period.
I pulled my mountain bike out of the shed and got some good miles on it as well as I had a couple evening meetings in midtown and didn't have time for a run those days, but could grab the bike and spend the time traveling to and from the meetings to get some miles on my feet. That combined with my runs a few hikes here in Alaska and Florida have brought me farther down the road.
The racing season has began and I have been able to run in several races that I have not run before including the Do Run Run 10K and the Exit Glacier 10K in Seward. I got in 37.73 miles to wrap up April and 59.16 miles so far in May for a total number of catch up miles: 96.89. Add this to my current total 123.02 and it brings me to 219.91 miles so far traveled and 4745.09 miles to go to be once more on the old time western streets of Davie Florida.
This brings me flying through the towns and road houses of Mendeltna, Tolsona, and Glennallen, turning North off of the Glenn Highway onto the Tok Highway heading past Gulkana and Gakona. Gakona is the location of the HAARP array in Alaska. This is a joint communications project between the Air Force and the Navy to communicate around the globe with submarines using the ionosphere to skip trace communications signals. Currently I way on a long stretch of lonely road between Gakona and Christonchina, AK. The road will widen out soon and then it will be a long wide road until we reach Tok.
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Sunday, April 11, 2010
This puts me just past the road/ATV trails that goes up into Belanger Pass in the Eureka area. This was the primary racing area for the Alaska Adventure Racing Club's 2009 24 hour adventure race, Bushwhack This!. This is an incredible area filled with thousands of miles of ATV trails. You can see it all on foot or with a mountain bike, but the ATV will get you back into the area much farther and quicker. This area is also home to more parka squirrels than I have ever seen in one place. I believe this must be what prairie dogs were like for the early settlers of the West. This area is worth visiting and exploring. A person could spend many entire summers in the area wandering around and still not scratch the surface of the glory in the area.
I have just passed the Eureka Lodge,a major roadhouse providing gas, food, and lodging year round for ATV enthusiasts, hunters and snow machiners. This is a great place to stop, stretch the legs, get some pie or a burger and take in the wonder that is Alaska.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
I made a pact with Mr. Furious but mostly with myself that we would not drink any alcohol until after the marathon on June 19. I plan on sticking to this so that I can get my body in shape and who know perhaps I will just keep on going.
This brings my total distance for the year to 117.01 miles and 4847.99 miles to go to reach Davie, Florida. This puts me on a lonely stretch of highway with a spectacular view where I will remain for several more runs.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Now that I have a new device that can monitor my distance I put it to the test with our inguaral run as we officially started our marathon training. The Nike+ recorded our journey as a trek of 2.17 miles when the Garmin registered the actual distance of 5.28 miles. This was a great run on the trails of East Anchorage through the University district. I hadn't been on some of these trails since the marathon last year. It was great to get out and run with Mr. Furious again. Our distance seemed so easy and comfortable. It is always better to run with someone, the conversation makes the miles go by rather quickly and the scenery is always a great bonus. We will be on te trails more soon enough. The snow was just starting to get soft and if the warming trend keeps up theer will be muddy spring-like conditions soon.
With 5.28 miles added to the tally that brings the total for the year to 110.07 and 4895.93 miles to Davie. The maiden voyage of the Garmin was a smashing success. I need to get out get familiar with this unit but so far it is a great device.
This puts me just past Sheep Mountain Lodge and Alascom Knob. The Knob is a radio relay tower and provides a bounce for cellular communications in the area among other things and is an access point for one of the largest collection of ATV trails in Alaska. This area was the site for The Alaska Adventure Racing Club's 24 hour race (Bushwhack This!) last fall. The race had teams from Texas, California and Alaska who competed in a multi-sport race involving canoeing, mountain biking and trekking along with orienteering and some bonus events thrown in for fun. The area is breathtaking and the adventure race was a great experience for all.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
After my morning of buttering up my walls I decided to get out of the house. I have been contemplating a new device for monitoring my running and hiking. I am planning several multi-day hikes this summer and the iPhone is not up to that challenge as Apple neglected to give the phone any sort of battery life and after six hours it will be dead. I have been looking at the Garmin Forerunner 450CX and think it is a fabulous device, but in looking at it closely this week I discovered that it will not meet my needs at it only has eight hours of battery life. I did discover that the Garmin Oregon 550t can work with the Garmin heart monitor and can track running, while not as running specific as the Forerunner series should do a better job of tracking speed and distance that the Nike+. I will have to look into it farther.
I got in 3.23 miles today on a fast walk to the grocery store giving me a total of 104.79 miles. 4860.21 miles to reach Davie. Turn around and look behind me, that is the cinder cone from the Lion's Head. The Lion's Head is the plug from a long extinct volcano. This is one of those rare geologic spots where a volcano and a glacier collide. An actual merging of fire and ice as this volcano became plugged prior to the Ice Age and the glacial snows packed on top of the volcano and the river has carried the sediment from the volcano out towards Cook Inlet and into the Pacific Ocean as the glacier has melted and receded. The Lion's Head gets it's name from the resemblance of the volcanic cone when viewed from the river. Ir really does look like a lion's head. From the top side view it really more resembles a sphinx.
This is a marvelous place to hike, raft, and explore the vastness that is Alaska. The colors in the hills here come from the sudden supercooling of the volcano as it went extinct.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010
This was a good run although I am sure I will pay for it tomorrow as I know I pulled something in my right hip while avoiding getting wet from melt-off puddles and the drivers not watching the road and narrowly managing to not get hit twice. It was great to run outside today and while the weather was great, it is not really Spring just yet. We still have a few snow-falls to get in before Old Man Winter finally lays down his head for a short summer hibernation.
This 6 miles brings me to 101.56 miles for the year. This breaks the 100 mile mark. I am a little ways behind where I would like to be right now. I am going to hit it hard after the middle of next month as all my personal projects should be completed and I will have time to go out and play. It is time to get dedicated to my marathon training. There are 94 days until the marathon. I would like to take off a considerable amount of time this year over the first one I ran last year. I have some projects I need to finish before the first summer guests arrive at home and after that it will be hardcore training for me.
This brings me to 4863.44 miles left to go to reach Davie. Every step brings me closer to the goal. This puts me almost to the water at Caribou Creek (the one by Matanuska glacier, odd how this State has at least a half dozen Caribou Creeks). This is a great place to put in if you are interested in doing some white water rafting and getting to see the Matanuska glacier up close and personal. If you put in on Caribou Creek and float down the 1.2 miles until it reaches the Matanuska River you will be in for a great ride. NOVA Rafting took a group of us rafting through The Lion's Head area last summer. It was a blast. Everyone liked it so much they signed up to go raft Six Mile Creek, the largest guided white water in Alaska. Both trips were truly memorable and well worth doing. I would recommend them and would do them again. In fact in the spring when the water is at its highest there are several of us who are going to take on Six Mile Creek again.
This also puts me just past the Matanuska glacier, the headwaters for the Matanuska River and also the source of the cold silty wind that blows through Palmer insistently. This is a very spectacular place as the road follows the ridge-line above and away from the glacier. This provides a stellar view of the vastness of the glacier.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I headed out to the bluff overlooking the tidal flats as it is only 1.7 miles from the house. It was a good run out and back after a pause to admire the tidal flats and the skiers and hikers taking advantage of the frozen mud flats. My Nike+ chip got the distance down to the bluff park spot on for accuracy, but on the return trip it only registered .93 miles. I think this a bit odd as it is almost all downhill to get to the bluff park and uphill for the return, but the device didn't register the increased foot falls as the same distance, but much less instead. I can honestly say that the Nike+ device is a sub-par piece of equipment and I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a way to monitor their running.
While I was running and avoiding the puddles and the cars splashing mucky water and debris I was hit by a tidal wave from one Animosity Research Special Expert (ARSE) as he motored his jitney intentionally into the puddle to drench me as he was the only vehicle on an otherwise empty street. This was the only downside to my run today. On the run I was considering that once men ran great distances in the nude. Running "commando" isn't the greatest form of entertainment and I could not imagine running au natural, and never in Alaska. I know there are different cultures in the world and the Greeks brought us many of the grand sporting spectacles and many of them where originally done in the nude. If this were the case today it would definitely separate the athlete from the average citizen, as most folks do not want to exercise in their birthday suit.
I saw that this year marks the 2500th anniversary of the Athens Marathon. That is pretty impressive as not too many things can claim that kind of history. I would like to run this one. What a thrill and an honor to run the historic course that gave birth to the running craze. I can't do t this year, but perhaps in the near future I can make my way to Greece to be a part of some of the history. If you want to be part of a historical milestone make your way to Greece on Halloween this year and take part in the race. You don't have to be naked to run this one. Aren't you glad that times change?
With my 3.4 mile run today my total comes to 95.56 miles with 4869.44 in front of me on my journey to Davie. This puts me just short of the entrance to the Matanuska Glacier Park and Rest Area. The glacier is just about in view.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
It is time I climbed back up onto this tall stallion known as Running and see if I can break it in. This distance puts me at 92.16 miles in and 4872.84 miles ahead of me.
Friday, March 12, 2010
If you have never seen roller derby and are in Anchorage or Fairbanks April 3 (Fairbanks Carlson Center) or April 17 (Anchorage AT&T Sports Pavilion) drop on by and check out the bout. I recommend buying tickets early as they will sell out.Today I was able to grab quick lunch run of 1.56 miles. I only had a short lunch break and dashed out of work and hit the gym for a fast run (I hit 12 mph for the first time, although, as always with a new speed I only held it for 50 paces, but it felt awesome to hit that speed). After a quick run and a shower it was back to work. This now puts me at 90.47 miles in and 4874.53 from my goal. I am just coming up on Tim's place, look close and you can see my waving as I stroll on by. Too bad Tim isn't in right now or I stop in for coffee and a palaver. Tim is a lucky guy, he quite a view. This is just past Victory as well. I have friends who help build it years ago. I have never been there, but the area is magnificent.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I am now out of view of the majestic Kings Mountain.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I pushed into the downhill being careful of my footing, wanting to at least break into a pace of some kind, but the melting snow kept me from any break-away. I know all runs can't be good ones and some days the wall just beats you in the face and this sadly was one of those days. I made my way to my uber-short course and as I finished the long straight away and was rounding the curve I was KO'd by raw gasoline. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from as no cars where running and no one was outdoors at any of the houses in the neighborhood. It was fresh and there was a lot of it.
I continued through the trip, mentally willing myself to find inspiration and salvage this run. Turning up the hill I passed a neighbor out running the opposite direction, waved and turned down a road that resembled a luge track. It was all wet, crowned ice. I traversed the road and made it to the intersection and contemplated turning up the hill again to take the long way around when a blunt toking smiling hippie in a plow truck just about made this my end run.
I decided to pack it in and head for home. On the last street before my turn there was a horrid odor of charred chicken in the air. I tried to push up my pace, but felt like I was running with cement buckets on my feet. Eventually I made it to the landing and hit finish on my Nike+ and walked inside, done with my short, slow run. When I plugged in the phone to sync I saw the run wasn't as slow as I thought, with a 9'15"/mile pace. I guess that is not bad, it sure slower than that. Tomorrow will be another day and since this was one of those rare bad runs I will look forward with great anticipation to tomorrow. The good thing about this run is that it put me 1.28 miles closer to Davie.
That makes 83.07 miles so far, which places me at Wiener Lake, another destination fishing hole both summer and winter and a nice view. That is 4881.93 miles from sunny Davie, Florida.
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Saturday, February 27, 2010
I was entered to run the race, but my friend had to pass on this one. I was a bit apprehensive to run this race as I haven't run any races since the Kenai River Run 1/2 marathon last Fall and have gotten a bit soft (polite way to say fat and lazy). I have been running, but cannot get on the horse like I should and the thought of racing actually put butterflies in my stomach as I drove to the race today. Once I got there and knew not a soul in the early crowd, I thought what am I doing here? But, I have run several races on my own and although I wanted my pal to run this one with me as it was sort of a milestone for me, I decided it didn't matter and I was going to run for me and me alone.
I had picked up my bib and shirt on Thursday, my bib number is 352. Today I checked in and stretched out, after I had stretched out at home for a while, trying to psych myself out I think and came up with the name Jimmy Jak, he is the ultimate loser, the fat kid no one picks on their team for sports, the also-ran, the never-made-it, the underdog, my daily affirmation. Jimmy Jak and I are going to take on the world and see what we can find out there. One day Jimmy Jak may just disappear, and if he does I will know it is because he found something or someone greater out there to inspire and push forward. But until he goes away he will be running with me, my muse, my shadow, myself.
The race went well and despite a frosty start temperature of 15 degrees the race was good, although I think it got colder as the morning progressed. I ended the race a bit slower than previous 5k races with an unofficial 29.56 time. My official time hasn't been released as there was a small technical glitch with the timing system, but it doesn't really matter as it was not a true technical race. It was a lot of fun and after it was over I ran eight blocks over and waited to do the loop again in the Grand Parade, then headed to work. All in all it was a great day.
With the race and a few warm-up I added 4.34 miles to my tally today. I tried to add the distance of the parade as well and found out the Nike+ does not like walking at all, as it registered a 1.6 mile trip as .08 miles. I deleted the parade route from my runs and will have to look into the Garmin watch I think for tracking walks and runs as well as remote treks.
Although it is still winter this should be the starting or turning point for the next 113 days (Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon is coming up and is sooner than it seems). I am going to work on getting on top of that running mustang and see if I can get it tamed a bit and get me running in the right direction.
My total distance this year is 81.79 miles with a distance of 4883.21 yet to come in the quest for Davie. This puts me at Long Lake, a popular fishing lake along the Highway, both in summer and ice fishing in the winter.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010
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Thursday, February 11, 2010
I had to get in a quick run as I wasn't getting anything I started done. So I grabbed my gear and headed down the street to some friends to drop off some stuff to them. It gave me an excuse to get out and grab a quick run. They live a bit over 1/2 mile away and so it was a very fast run both ways in the dark with my blinking headlamp on. It was cold tonight and dark. A blinking headlamp does not produce much light to navigate by and I stepped on some bare ice a few times. All in all it was a good run. A total distance of 1.13 miles, adding the total this year to 73.91 miles. I am still in sight of Kings Mountain. In fact I am right at one of the best pull-outs on the road for an easy spectacular scenic shot.
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I am 4891.09 miles from Davie, FL and making my way through the King's court.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I was satisfied with my workout and showered and headed back to work. The outside temperature had risen and it was a balmy 34 outside, which felt almost tropical after the run I had just had. I got a total distance of 3.29 miles in today, bringing my yearly travel to 72.78 miles, 4892.22 miles from the beaches of Florida.
This brings me just past the headquarters for NOVA Raft Adventures in Chickaloon, AK as well as the Chickaloon Cultural Center and Mercantile (the bar and petrol station) and approaching the Chickaloon River bridge. The Kings Mountain Campground is a few hundred yards from the gas station and is one of the nicest State owned campgrounds, at least it once was. It was closed for several years and sort of let go to seed, but it has been taken over in the past two years and the new caretakers are attempting to bring it back to it's glory years. It is situated along the banks of the Matanuska river in the shadow of the regal and impressive Kings Mountain. The Kings River Campground often gets overlooked as a destination location, but this area is one of the most magnificent areas in all of Alaska and is well worth the stop. You may never want to leave.
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I have never climbed Kings Mountain, but it is on my bucket list and as most things on my bucket list tend to only stay on that list for a short time it may be checked off before I know it. I have hike a few of the trails in the area including the Castle Mountain Trail twice. Castle Mountain is an incredible hiking journey and I will do it again. Near the top of the mountain above the 4000' mark is a picnic table. It is the strangest thing, but twice I have gone with friends up to have lunch at the Castle Table. Both trips where fresh and breath taking. It is a trail that is quite difficult to find and the first portion of it definitely feels like trespassing on the lands of "Deliverance". If I can find the hiking notes I will include the trail in these pages as it is a journey well worth the effort.
NOVA Raft Adventures took several of us on two white water raft adventures last summer and will be taking us on at least one this coming summer. A group of about 20 went for a trip Into The Lion's Head on an adventure around the Lion's Head and down the mighty Matanuska River as well as a smaller group of about 10 took a trip down Six Mile Creek in Hope, AK. Six Mile Creek is the only guided Class V white water in Alaska. Next summer we are going to do it again, this time when the water level is higher in the early spring so we can get the true intensity of the big class water. Both trips are tons of fun and the guide service is top notch.
The Chickaloon Cultural Center is under new management and recently reopened on Halloween 2009 after the old owners retired and closed for the summer. They boast one of the most unique one room motels I have ever seen. The motel is no longer open, but it still sports the sign and got a fresh coat of a paint a few years back. The food in the roadhouse used to be one of the finest on all of the Alcan and was even drive out dinner destination for my wife and I from Anchorage. Under new ownership I hope they can bring back all the greatness that was once the staging area for one of the long gone endurance snow machine races of the Great White North.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I only went 1.92 miles but my lungs were not back to 100% and it felt good enough for today. It was great to be running outdoors again, the treadmill just doesn't cut it for me. The fresh snow covered a lot of hidden ice, but the beauty of the new fallen arctic blanket made up for any of the soft sand-like trudge through some of the driveway drifts as I ran 1/2 of my standard route. I plan on hitting the gym again this week, but will try to get back outside and get in a few runs as I can.
I am now sitting at 69.49 miles for the year and 4895.51 miles to go to reach Davie. Kings Mountain is raising it's majestic head to the South of the highway, surveying the landscape and the river around it.
Monday, February 1, 2010
This puts me at 67.57 miles with 4897.43 miles to go. Kings Mountain is just starting to come into view.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Sadly, we would still have to do those things we don't really want to do or enjoy, but we would have a greater appreciation for the little things in life. Those moments of just hanging out with those we love, sitting and watching a bird flutter above a tree in a waning sunset, or driving a car down the road, even in rush hour traffic. It is all a perspective thing and if we live life to the fullest, we should be able to take those things that cause frustration and turn them inside out and create something new out of them. Life is too short to be spent frustrated on trivial matters. And if we can master turning the mundane into uplifting meditative moments, then we have time and potentially renewed energy for using our spare time to explore the wonders of the world around us. For this is a great place and no amount of lifetimes would allow you to see and do everything there is to do and see, but if we don't give it a try we miss out on so much.
With that I will stop rambling. The month has closed and I was able to reach several of my personal running goals this month. I have found a renewed energy through the sport of running and even if you cannot run per say, getting out and getting the blood flowing through your body will do the same thing for you. Just moving about on the planet should bring a better sense of health and vitality. Eventually you will come to need the time of running/walking/strolling about the green marble that is the earth. I do it for the exercise and the peace of mind that it brings. I have to say thank you to my friend and coach Ole as he is the evil man who planted this whole running seed in my head. When I met him I laughed at running as a "pleasurable" activity. To run for fun was akin to smashing your hand with a hammer just to experience the pain of it, twisted and sick.
Step forward almost a year (as I have only been running for a bit less than a year now) and I find myself completely hooked on this crazy running thing and even stranger, the distances are the most intriguing part of it. A long run just has something about it that can't be explained and the results can't be attained any other way. So I call myself crazy and keep on keeping on. I don't think I will ever attempt an ultra marathon, but I do think I will keep at the 26.2 run for a while. A half marathon is actually a really good distance, it is not too difficult and doesn't cause the mental and physical pain of the full 26.2 mile run. I am working up to this summer's Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon, which I ran for the first time last year and had thought prior to it that 26.2 miles is a completely unreachable distance. My goal is a cut an hour from the time I had last year. Seeing as I have only run that distance once in my life there is a good chance I could beat the time, but an hour shorter is a lofty goal. So here's to training and what the future has in store.
I played an hour of racquetball today and then went to run as I needed to get one more fast run in before the close of January. With the Nike+ you can set online goals and challenges with your friends and others in the world who have the Nike+ through the Nike+ web site. I had goals of burning 4000 calories last month (easily attained early in the month), running 50 miles, and having 5 runs with an average pace of less than 10 minutes per mile. I got my fast run in and then went on to do a cool down run and Nike+ widget decided to turn itself off in the middle of my run. I ran a total of 4.02 miles today but my tracking counter only gave me credit for 2.14 miles. For some reason it turned off almost 30 minutes before I was finished.
My 4.02 miles brings me to a total 65.52 miles for the month of January. This puts me just past the offices of Matanuska Madwater, a white water rafting adventure guide service out of Chickaloon, AK. They run three rafting trips daily down the Chickaloon and Matanuska rivers. The raft trip in front of the Lion's Head on the Matanuska river is a great trip with lots of fun Class III/IV water features to make your way through. The Matanuska river has it's headwaters at the Matanuska glacier, which is located in roughly the same place as the Lion's Head. The convergence of the rivers with the glacier and the Lion's Head is a unique geological phenomenon as the Lion's Head is actually a plug in an extinct volcano. This area is really the meeting of fire and ice. I will be running by this incredible natural occurrence sometime soon and will go into further detail then.
I am currently 4899.48 miles from Davie, FL. I broke 4900 mile mark and am on my way, one step closer all the time.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Well, I hit the 6.78 mark and still felt quite good. I had found my stride for the first time in quite a while. It always amazes me that I don't "get on step" with a run until almost the third mile. I have never found "the runner's high" when running, but I have found an enjoyment from running that I never thought possible.
I was on the tread mill today and trying to find the drive to put in the distance that I told myself I would do. I had two miles under me and kept pushing myself as I didn't feel up to even completely three miles, let alone going for almost seven. I pushed the power button on the little soundless television anchored to the bicycle and it flickered to life with The History Channel's big yellow H. Then who should appear on the screen but R. Lee Ermey. He apparently has a show on television now, Lock N' Load. Well it caught my interest and before I knew it I was well into a second episode and even without sound the show lends itself to explaining the history of weaponry and allows a viewer to follow along. The episode was about the history of rifles and started with muskets and came up through modern machine guns. It was fascinating and highly entertaining. Before I new it I had passed the 6.78 mark and well on my way to eight miles.
By then I was engrossed in the show and wanted to see the finally where they were going to obliterate a 15' cinder block wall with a vehicle mounted machine gun. I have to say I couldn't watch this show all the time, but the history lesson was nice and it never hurts to watch things blow up. I have never figured out the human fascination with destruction, but there is a certain intrigue in watching something metamorphosize in a fraction of a second.
I finished my run with a total distance of 10.28 miles. I felt great. This was my first real distance of the year and surprisingly I wasn't hurting. I did start to feel it in my calves around the 9.1 mile mark, but wanted to finish a ten mile trip. I may be sore tomorrow, but for today, it was a good day.
This brings me to 61.5 miles. This takes me to the big bend in the road just before the Chickaloon/Kings River Trail. This is a very popular ATV/snowmachine recreation destination. The trails run into the wilderness for several miles and will eventually connect back up to the road system at the junction with the Chickaloon River. I have never been on the trails with an ATV or snowmachine, but have been on the Northern parts on foot. The Kings Mountain area is one of the most majestic parts of Alaska and is often overlooked as a destination place as people are in a hurry to go farther down the road for hunting or fishing. Where I to buy land and build a cabin, this would be the area of my choosing. The ruggedness of the mountain terrain and the river rushing past has all the elements of heaven on earth.
I stepped on the scale today and was surprised by the needle stopping on 279. I guess I will need to make more time for more distance runs as they seem to do the trick. My distance to go thus far is 4903.5. Davie is getting closer.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I was able to get in one run so far of 2.25 miles. This brings my total distance to 51.22. I have hit the 50 mile mark! This rounds my total to 4913.78 miles. This puts me across the Matanuska River from Wolverine Lake. I once went sheep hunting in that area. We didn't get any sheep, but we had our truck stolen while we were gone. The thieves were kind enough to leave us our ATV trailer, but they took my friends truck. Let me tell you, when you come out of the hills after five days and your truck is gone and you are still relatively in the middle of nowhere, it doesn't make for much happiness.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
The crackle of energetic anticipation filled the air of the AT&T Sports Pavilion on Saturday night as The Don Ho's and The Hula Girls took to the flat track for fast paced battle of strength, wits, and skill as they embraced in battle over who would emerge victorious from the bout. There would be pushing, shoving, tripping, elbows thrown, full body checks, and cartwheels by the end of the night. Some would spend time in the penalty box and others would rocket their way onto the scoreboard. It was a match-up of two teams of tough ladies coming together to skate circles around each other in hopes of coming away the victor. This is Woman's Flat Track Roller Derby, this is Anchorage, AK, this is Rage City!
The two teams put on a great show as they drove each other around and outside of the oval track. For two hours they relentlessly drove harder and faster around the oval, wearing each other down physically and mentally. Always on the hunt for the opening where their jammer could break through the pack and get out and score.
Both these teams are made up of members of other teams in the Rage City Roller Girls league and they put on a Hawaiian themed bout on Saturday as a way to bring some warmth in the frozen month of January. While the girls hit hard and push each other to the edge of the track, they are friends and colleagues on the track. With many rookie girls on the league this year this bout was a great way to get some of the Fresh Meat teams sort playing time. With a sold out house they did that and more.
I wanted to try an experiment while I was working the derby bout and see if my Nike+ would track my distance as I cruised the arena shooting photos. So I turned it on at the start of the night and ultimately it failed. Ikept turning off due to inactivity or interruptions from phone calls. In the end it tracked me for .14 miles, but only covered a small portion of the bout. I learned that it isn't a good way to track stop and start movement.
With this very short distance increase I move my overall distance for the year to 48.97 miles, a few hundred feet farther down the road than I was before
Friday, January 22, 2010
I know that when I run outdoors I like to focus on what is far away and later in a run when I start to fatigue I use far away marks as goals to get to and then once attained I find other places to set my sights on and push through. On the treadmill everything is made so that you will focus your attention directly in front of you and that causes mental fatigue if you ask me. I spend all day staring at a computer screen for work and the last thing I want to do in my off hours is stare into a 8" x 8" flashing box blasting doom and despair or some super market dirt rag gossip about people who have no significance or meaning to mine or really the lives of anyone else other than what the Hollywood media has marketed to the masses that they should care about glitz and glamour and what someone they saw in a moving picture wore once or whomever they might or might not be bedding with.
In this way I have discovered a far off distant horizon inside the confines of the small equipment filled chamber of the gym. This in itself gives me more motivation to run indoors, but I am pining for the days when the weather is not so chilled outside and once more I will be free to roam about the country.
I found a way to make far away come indoors and along with the new-found realization that 500 steps is a mile meant today was a great day to run. I even hit 10 mph as a pace for a bit under .25 miles. This is the first time I have pushed up the pace and it was not as bad as I had expected it to be. I could not currently hold that pace for very long and surely not in a long distance run. It was stimulating and refreshing to put in that pace though. I worked quite a bit on intervals with taking may pace up and down and I think it will do wonders for helping develop my lungs and my endurance. We shall see what comes with time. I did hit a pound lost on the scale as I weighed in at 287 today. I started this journey at 294 pounds, not the smallest guy in the gym by any means. Soon though that guy will be a part of history as the lighter I get the faster I can move and the farther I can go.
My total distance for today was 5.01 miles. This brings my total distance to 48.83 miles (4916.17 still in front of me). This puts me about a quarter mile past the Buffalo Mine Road a popular location for ATV recreation and hunting.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I went to the first transition area after the racers had been gone for almost 2 hours. While I was waiting I got in a run, almost a mile of basically short distant sprints as I didn't want to leave sight of the TA so I could watch the racers come in.
After the racers made the transition to sleds I hit the trail and spent the next few hours running and slogging through the snow. I discovered that the Nike+ doesn't play well with snow and ice as it eventually just stopped working. Based on my GPS I was able to track my distance as the Nike+ had given in to the elements for the day and I removed the chip from my boots and put it in my coat to warm up. The Nike+ registered 1.94 miles, add that to the 4.73 miles measured from the GPS and I got in 6.67 miles for the day.
That brings me to 37.78 miles for the year (4927.22 to Davie) which puts me just short of Kepler Bradley State Park on the Glenn Highway.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness.
Safe return doubtful.
Honor and recognition in event of success.
This was Ernest Shackleton's solicitation to travelers for a South Pole expedition in 1912. It generated over 5000 responses from people willing to embark on an Antarctic exploration. It was also the solicitation for Alaska Adventure Racing Club's inaugural winter adventure race on Saturday. At 9:30am four teams converged on the Prospect Heights parking area in Anchorage and were given 30 minutes to look at maps of the route and plot their course before a 10:00am start of the race. The course was set up like an orienteering "score-O" where there are multiple checkpoints on a given course and each checkpoint has a point value. There were some mandatory checkpoints and several optional checkpoints as well as some optional "bonus" events thrown in throughout the course. The checkpoints were all themed after part of Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated South Pole expedition where he and his crew spent 497 days stranded on the ice.
The basic course began with a ski leg from Prospect Heights up the Middlefork Trail and then an optional checkpoint located on the bridge at the fork in the Powerline and Hidden Lake trails. From there the racers would converge on the first Transition Area (TA) in the race at the Upper O'Malley parking area where they would drop their skis in favor of sleds and helmets and make the return trip to Prospect Heights on sleds. Before they left on their sleds there was an optional "bonus" event where they were able to take an avalanche beacon and perform a search and rescue mission by locating one of two hidden beacons in the snow. One beacon was actually hidden in view in a tree and all but one team located this one after a few minutes searching the ground for the other beacon.
At the Prospect Heights TA they would switch from the sleds to mountain bikes for a trek across the hillside to the North Bivouac trail where a five checkpoint 2.5 mile optional orienteering course was set up. After that the race took them to Campbell Creek park off Lake Otis and Tudor for a brief assessment of their first aid skills and a check of their mandatory equipment. Then on to The Peanut Farm for the finish of the race. The race had a hard finish time of 5:00pm with a time penalty of 10 points per minute that a team was late. With a total possible 500 points that could quickly erase a teams chance of a good finish.
Four teams made the journey and it was the first winter adventure race for all of them although some had adventure racing experience it was an even playing field. There were two teams of 2 and two teams of 3, one being an all female team, the "Trail Tramps" as they dubbed themselves. "The Trail Tramps" took the victory on the day by over 40 minutes over the second place team. They are a force to be reckoned with and have a great future in adventure racing. Perhaps we will see them again in this Spring's Women Rock! Adventure Challenge on April 24, or the Adventure Friday races every other Friday this summer in Anchorage beginning May 21.
Congratulations to everyone who came out. This was a perfect day for racing and a great group of contestants.
Friday, January 15, 2010
We are going to celebrate with her tonight and I can't think of a better reason to celebrate than the victory over such a horrific disease. I have had a few people close to me suffer with various cancers. Some having heroic victories and some losing the fight, but losing it after they were able to pour out the best of them into their friends and family. My sister-in-law is another survivor and she was diagnosed and treated while she was in medical school. Now she has lived through one of the hardest things imaginable and has gained incredible insight into her chosen profession. What an amazing journey to be able truly understand things from a patients perspective and interact with such compassion and understanding with those she is treating.
I will be running several races thins summer and hadn't planned on rasing money for the charities hosting the races, but I think I will. The closer to a cure we come the more incredible life stories will come from the miracles of modern medicine. If you are interested in supporting a worthy cause let me know and I will let you know how you can sponsor me on any or all of the races I run this summer.
Runs I will be doing for certain this year:
Frostbite Footrace, Fur Rondy 2010
The Heart Run
The MS Walk
Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon
Eklutna Lake Challenge
There are several other runs I plan on doing, The Kenai River Run is a great way to end the season and as I did it last year is a great fast run.
Today's run was a short one as I had not intended to run, but after shoveling snow in the driveway I was inspired and decided to go for a run in the sunny afternoon. We had almost 7" of snow come down yesterday and the streets have been cleared but the paths and sidewalks have not. So I opted to run in the neighborhood on the streets and I set a personal best for my fastest mile thing year. I ran 1.34 miles today, with a time of 8'30" for the first mile. I am now 31.11 miles into my journey (4933.89 to go). This puts me in the middle of the Knik River Bridge on AK-1.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
While I was on the treadmill I turned on the little television mounted on the top and surfed through channels while running. This I thought was totally absurd. Here I am running, running on a revolving rubber wheel with a little box with flashing pictures on it and no sound and this is supposed to do what? Entertain me? How bizarre to be running and watching mind numbing drivel. The commercials were the worse part. If I actually was to focus on the show in front of me and lose myself in a pace to the show, then when the commercials came on I would be so disinterested that I would lose my pace and end up starring at the wall or another picture box mounted to another wall.
In the end I found a movie that was playing on one television almost not visible from where I was and found I could tune into it and follow the story and carry on with my run. Running outdoors has so many advantages over treadmill running. Almost everything, other than the fact that it is just downright cold outside right now is better outdoors. It has been between 2 and 20 degrees, but it feels much colder and the wind has seen to it that the outdoors is only for short runs at the moment.
A big plus for the day was that I think I have got my Nike+ working properly now. It was spot on with the treadmill. This run brings me to 27.47 miles for the year and 4937.53 miles from the end of the line, where it is currently 52.9 degrees.
I am currently just approaching the historical Eklutna Roadhouse along the picturesque Glenn Highway. Unfortunately is has been closed and left to rot over the years as the owners could not find a buyer for it. Once when I was quite young I spent many hours there with my family while we waited for darkness to fall so our portaging permit would become effective. We were towing a wingless airplane behind our truck which my father had purchased, from Glennallen to Soldotna. We had a permit to tow it through Anchorage, but it was only good after night fall. Today mostly an old skeletal building remains.
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Eklutna once was a thriving small community but today is home to around fifty and Eklutna Lake is the primary source of drinking water for Anchorage.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Only today it seemed to be an eternity from home, I made it to the pole after an brief encounter with a moose and ran the bell and started the return trip only to find the road stretching farther and farther out in front of me and the desire to stop or walk rearing its ugly head vehemently.
I refused to give in to the urge to quit, but it took all I had and the temperature just seemed to falling farther and farther. I got home and the thermometer read eight degrees, so I am not sure why it seemed so cold.
I have decided to just except the distance the Nike+ gives me as it will take too much work to keep verifying the actual distance I run. Today I ran 2.10 miles, of sheer torture. Tomorrow will be better I am sure, it will be in the gym, I need to bring my running shoes though as my court shoes tear up my feet after two miles.
My total so far is 23.28 miles for the year, which puts me 4941.72 miles from Davie, FL. and just short of the North Peters Creek exit on AK-1 North.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
So I got up and had a cup of coffee and then headed out the door with my only goal to stop at the Post Office on my return from wherever I went. I set out into a sun-filled sky and headed directly into the sun. It was nice to need sunglasses as it has been a while since I have been outside when the sun was up. I ran down to where the highway leaves town and stopped to take some pictures and turned around. There was a magnificent sun-dog in the sky, but it was too large to fit into the cameras frame. I settled for some sun-blinded shots of the Inlet and Potter's Marsh and The Chapel By The Sea.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
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