Unexpectedly Sunny Saturday

Oh, I was dragging my feet this morning. Usually I can get up and just get my workout done, but it just looked so COLD outside, and I dreaded the thought of going to the gym. On Saturdays I really like to get in an hour workout, since that’s challenging to fit in during the week between my schedule and the kids’, but today the prospect of an hour in the gym was just depressing to me. The clouds were supposed to clear, so I waited and waited, but no dice.

Finally, a mere FOUR short hours after I put on my workout clothes, I headed to the gym, finally resigned to the fact that the dark gray clouds were not going to go away. I decided to do what I call Cardio Sampler, which is 15 minutes on 4 different cardio machines. I started with a bike and an issue of People magazine, and ended up just spending 30 minutes on the bike. I was feeling really good, and enjoying my magazine, so I just stayed put. Then I switched to the treadmill, and did another 30 minutes there. 

I felt amazing. And I don’t understand it. Earlier this week I was struggling to even run at a 6.3 on the treadmill (9:30/mile), and today I did all my miles at a 6.5 (9:13/mile), and felt great, AFTER 8 miles on the bike! I wish I knew where the great runs came from, and how to channel that energy all the time.

And of course when I came out of the gym it was sunny and beautiful. Of course.

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Playground Challenge!

One of my favorite things about Alaska is the focus on play and recreation. We have so many amazing parks here, and every year the city renovates old parks and gives them a little facelift!

Tonight we had an unexpected bit of extra time, so we decided to go check out a few of them. One of them was kind of small, with a treehouse theme. It was fun, but not super amazing.

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The other park, on the other hand, has two zip lines and an amazing rock wall structure. Coupled with bike trails, plenty of grass to run on, and a view of the ocean, it was the unanimous family favorite!

That’s a little view of the water you can see there through the trees….

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Here’s a view of the whole playground – the green tracks on the far edge are the zip lines.

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So proud of this little guy for conquering his fears. He broke his arm last summer on a rock wall, and he’s been a little nervous about them ever since. But tonight he was all over this one!

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Here they go!

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So beautiful! I was kind of having a homesick day today, so this day was just what I needed to put myself back into the Alaska mindset.

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Don’t Let Pride Lead to Puke

That’s my lesson for the day. School starts again this week, and I’m back to my early morning workouts (more on that later). Today my best workout buddy (my aunt) and I started with our first morning run of the school year. I was worried about being cold, but by the end of the run I was in my short-sleeved shirt – at 7am in Alaska! That’s pretty amazing.

The weather was gorgeous, but my perky aunt was setting a brisk pace. We usually run at about a 9:30 mile, and I don’t know if she was going faster, or if I was just dragging, but it was a rough one for me this morning. She asked if the pace was okay, and what did I say? “Yeah, it’s fine!” And then I almost threw up after our run. Awesome. Why did I say the pace was fine when it wasn’t? Just pride, I guess. I run a lot more frequently than she does, so in my head, if she was fine running a 9:15 pace, then I should have been too. Ridiculous, I know. And I didn’t feel that great all morning because of it.

This is me, happy about the weather but annoyed with my run and my attitude.

IMG_3767Ahhhh, a happier picture. Doesn’t this shot of colorful new running shoes on the sunny grass just make you run all day long? Maybe I should print it out for motivation.

IMG_3768And now imagine a cute picture I took relaxing on our front porch by a patch of wildflowers before it was time to get ready for work. I took it for the blog just this morning, and one of my children somehow deleted it. But just use your imagination…. :)

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WeeRide Co-Pilot Bike Trailer Review! And a family bike ride…

Note: This review is merely information I want to share with my readers about a family fitness product we purchased. No compensation or affiliate links involved!

IMG_3692Now that my kids are older, it’s so fun to go out together as a family on a walk or a bike ride. However, my youngest is several years younger than my two older kids, so she really has a hard time keeping up. I saw several people here in Anchorage using this WeeRide Co-Pilot Bike Trailer, and after some Google investigation to figure out what it was, thought it might be exactly what we needed!

So what is it all about? It’s a bike trailer that attaches to an adult bike. Kids can either pedal or not pedal – I can definitely feel it when my kids are pedaling, but it doesn’t really make it more difficult if they don’t. The kids have their own set of handlebars, but it doesn’t steer anything, it’s just for them to hold onto.

Right after it came in the mail, I tried it out on our street with my three kids and three cousins, ranging from a very small 5-year-old to a very small 11-year-old, who are all between 35-60 pounds. They were all able to ride with me, though my youngest daughter is too little to pedal. We were thinking of purchasing pedal extenders for her, but she can just hold her feet on the pedals instead of pedaling and that works fine. Although I always felt a little wobbly right when I started out, I quickly balanced and felt very steady the whole time I had the kids on the trailer. It’s a nice, quiet way to have some one-on-one conversation time while still getting some exercise time in. Even our little practice rides down the street were so much fun! The kids were all a little nervous about falling over at first, but after they got used to it, they were begging for more turns!

Finally after a few weeks of rain, we were able to take it out tonight for our first real family ride, down to our local ice cream shop.

Getting ready to head out… Don’t worry, my son did not immediately ride his bike down our very steep driveway like it looks like he is about to. We walked the bikes.

IMG_3696On our way. Look at that beautiful sky. Oh, Alaska. Please make every summer night like this.

IMG_3698After all of my kids ditched their ice cream cones to steal bites of my milkshake, we were headed back home!   IMG_3700All in all, it was a great night. Even though the ice cream shop is only a little over a mile away, we had never attempted it with bikes before. It went great, and Claire loved her new wheels!

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Running in the Rain!

Okay, so I am actually like the BIGGEST wimp when it comes to exercising outside. When I lived in California, everyone made fun of me because unless it was between like 75-85 degrees outside, I refused to run because it was either too hot or too cold.

So I’ve come a long way since moving to Alaska! I’ve run in all sorts of weather that I never would’ve expected, but I still don’t run in the rain. But this morning I was itching to get a run in, and it was drizzling outside, but I figured… why not? If it was the morning of a race, I would still go, so why not a regular run?

And it was actually really nice and pleasant. Not all that cold, and not all that rainy! The fresh air smelled great, and I was nice and cool the whole time. Ran about 3.25 at my trusty 9:30 pace. Looking forward to more runs in the rain, and I can’t believe I’ve been so wimpy about it up until now!

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Race Report – Alaska 10K Classic

In the interest of full disclosure, I began to consider this race because I love their logo and I wanted a shirt. Priorities, right? Then, as summer moved along and I gained some summer vacation weight, I knew it would be the perfect thing to get me out and moving. With a 5K, I could skip lots of runs and still have a decent experience, but a 10K takes some actual dedication. I was at our cabin for two weeks prior to the run, and needed something to keep me exercising while I was there, instead of just eating! Plus, this race has root beer floats afterwards, and proceeds go to Special Olympics. A trifecta!

I had gone on an overnight Girl Scout trip with my daughter on Thursday and Friday, so I wasn’t sure how my body was going to be feeling after two days of my sleeping and eating being on someone else’s agenda, but I felt okay. 

After much ridiculous agonizing over whether or not to carry my iPhone, and whether or not to wear sunglasses, (yes to both), the race began! I decided to just ignore my Garmin and do whatever felt good. I had done 5 miles a few times in training, but realized later that I hadn’t done more than that since my last half-marathon, which was in 2011! So I wanted to just sort of go easy and do my thing, and not worry about whether my pace was “too fast” or “too slow.” I just ran what felt good to me, which is (sadly) hard for me to do.

I ended with about an overall 9:30 pace, and came in under my goal of an hour, with a chip time of 59:45. Woo hoo! This is definitely a race I’ll do again next year, and I think my time can improve for sure. It was Alaska’s version of HOT at this race (probably 70 degrees?) and I could feel it impacting me. But it was a great distance (not sure if I’ve ever done a 10K), and I’m looking forward to trying to beat my time next year!

IMG_3543And then we spent the rest of the day outside, doing things like this… (yes that’s my daughter wearing a skirt at the beach. I don’t know.)

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Alaskan Adventures – Independence Mine

We are doing horribly at our weekly hikes. But on a recent rainy day, I insisted we check out a new area in hopes that maybe someday in the future we could hike there. And it was amazing. So I’m going to count it as a Family Hike, even though we didn’t do any hiking. Don’t tell.

One of my favorite opportunities that comes with this blog is that I can share with you our many Alaskan Adventures, and show off this beautiful state we live in. We get LOTS of questions about how we can live up here (especially from people who know that I am completely averse to the cold), but hopefully when I share our adventures, you can see why we make it work – and even love it!

Friday it was supposed to rain all day, and when I woke up, the day was already keeping its promise. By 10am my kids were bouncing off the walls, and James and I agreed it would be the perfect day to get out and do some exploring around the cabin. So I dragged my kids out of the nice cozy loft, slapped some rain gear on them, and off we went to check out a new place. We drove through Hatcher Pass (AMAZING!) and stopped at Independence Mine, an old mining camp way up in the mountain.

Here they are getting started… ready to explore! Ready for a fun fact about Alaskans? They don’t use umbrellas. We are nearly always the only ones with umbrellas when we bust them out. In fact, even though it was raining steadily on this day, we were the only ones there with umbrellas. One lady looked at us and said out loud, “Umbrellas! What a good idea! I didn’t even think of that!” This is at the front of the mine, and you can see the various buildings around the camp.

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These old mining ruins struck me as so hauntingly beautiful, with the fog and the rain and the contrast with the green hills. Everyone else was walking around learning about the mine, and I was taking five thousand pictures of the broken-down part, like a crazy person. But I mean seriously….

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These guys had so much fun just wandering, exploring, and throwing rocks in the the stream. Why do I make their lives any more complicated than that?

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Perfect day for a new adventure.

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