Saturday, February 27, 2010

352 Gets Frostbite

Today marked the one year anniversary of my first ever race. Last year I entered the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Frostbite Footrace with a friend of mine in our attempt at starting down the path to run a marathon in June, which we both did successfully. Today was the Frostbite Footrace 2010 as it was the kick-off of Fur Rendezvous 2010 and the 75th Anniversary of Fur Rondy (as it is known to the locals, or just Rondy).

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

A Step Forward

I finally managed to get a run in today. Work has had me pretty busy of late and I finally took a break and grabbed a lunch hour and headed to the treadmill. I clocked a fair spread and managed to get an interval workout in with a total distance 3.54 miles. This brings my total thus far to 77.45, with a distance to Davie of 4887.55 miles.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Heavy Lifting

I was walking out the door to go to the gym for lunch today when I got a call that a shipment of 2 tons of batteries had arrived a week early. So I dropped my gym bag and coat and dove back into the heavy lifting for the rest of the day. I got home and cleared all the icicles from my roof as I have a great Southern exposure side that with the freeze and thaw this winter has built up a wall of ice. I wish I had taken pictures before I smashed it all down as it was very cool with the sun setting through the ice and fracturing into golden sun-rays through the melting ice.

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

In the Court of The King

Today I almost didn't get a run in. I had got wrapped up at work and was going bag my run and grab a quick outdoor run after work, but the fellow I was working with disappeared on me so I seized the opportunity and headed to lunch. At the gym I did some hurried abdominal work and then hit the treadmill, knowing I only had 30 minutes to run. I got in three runs. The first to warm up at a decent pace, between 6.3 and 7.4 mph. The second run was a combination race walk and run, 5.5 mph to 6.7 mph. The third run was the culmination, a bit of race walk and a steady run with a strong finish. Today it the first time I attempted to see if I could kick on a treadmill. It is not at all the same as on the street, but the last .21 miles of my final run were at a pace of 11 mph. This is the fastest I have attempted to run on a treadmill.

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

Breaking the Cold

We had a little blizzard this past weekend, over 11" of snow fell in town and more in surrounding areas. The snow removal was actually done in a timely manner this time and the streets and the bike trails have been plowed. This made the call to take a run outside even harder to resist, so why not give in to it. I have been down with a head cold for the past eight days and running was not in the cards until today. I got out and had a good run, Lance Armstrong even congratulated me for setting my personal best mile, a feature of the Nike+.

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

Lunchtime Stroll

Stepping out at lunch for a quick trip to the gym for a short run on the treadmill. I changed work schedules today as the new month rolled around and wanted to stay on my gym schedule. So at lunch I headed to the gym for a bit of exercise. I got in a 2.05 mile run, then it was shower and back to work. I will have to start taking my lunch at the gym as this was a great way to put a boost into the day.

This puts me at 67.57 miles with 4897.43 miles to go. Kings Mountain is just starting to come into view.