Lost Lake Training Recap!

Apparently this summer, I’ve only been concentrating on the running and outdoor family adventure part of my blog, and not the actual BLOGGING about running and outdoor family adventures! Whoops! Good thing I’m never going to quit my day job to be a blogger. ;)


Alaska has been having a gorgeous summer, and I’ve been outside every chance I get. I’m currently amping up my mileage in anticipation of the 16-mile Lost Lake Run, and in all honesty, it’s killing me. I’m a short-distance road runner at heart, and I decided to do this longer and more challenging trail race with a whole bunch of my buddies, figuring it would be fun to train together. Well, the training together part is NOT happening, and I’ve been plugging away doing my long runs by myself. Kind of hating every minute of it, to be honest.

But this past weekend I went up to run the first six miles of the trail with my aunt and uncle, who are running the race with me. The course is roughly six miles of uphill, a few miles “flat” (ish), and then another five miles or so downhill. So we decided to run the six miles of uphill, and then turn around and run back down.


The first three miles of the course were some rolling hills, and I felt pretty okay. The next few miles got a lot steeper, and were ROUGH on my tired legs. I was doing some pretty excellent self-talk, like, “I have just made the biggest mistake of my life. There is NO WAY I’m going to be able to tack on 10 more miles once I get to the top of this mountain. I can’t do this. I can’t even WALK this hill! I think I’m going to die.” And so on, and so forth.


But once we reached the summit, it was sort of like a triathlon. My body switched the muscles I was using, and after a few minutes of clunky legs, some different muscles took over, and it was like starting all over again. The next four miles back down the mountain were so much fun, just cruising and talking and laughing. The last two we kind of ran out of steam, but I’ve got another month to go until race day to get stronger.


I’m so glad we went out and got a look at the course, because not only do I know what to expect, but I know that I CAN in fact keep running even after doing six miles to the top, and I’m glad a little voice won’t be whispering otherwise in my head on race day.


It was not only good to see the actual trail, but also to try some things with hydration and nutrition. For some reason, even though I’ve run plenty of half-marathons and a full marathon, I have NEVER used any sort of refueling like Gu or Shotblocks or anything, nor have I ever run with a hydration pack. In this run, there is only one aid station (water only), which may or may not be there on race day. Seriously. So I’ve been experimenting with that, and really loving the burst of energy I feel like I get afterwards. It’s probably part psychological, but boy, do those things help. I only took one small water bottle, maybe 16 ounces, and that was NOT enough. I’ll need to buy some sort of other pack for water before race day. Any suggestions?

All in all, I’m pretty nervous. This will no doubt be one of the hardest races of my life, and I’m just hoping to make it through the training and the race healthy and happy. Send me your good thoughts! :)

Linking up with Running N Reading this week!

*Favorite refueling foods/gels? Flavors of Gu? Best advice for a novice?

*What do you think about trail races versus road races?

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Moose on a Trail Run, Mt. McKinley, AND a 5K PR!: Weekly Recap

This week was a great one for running. Since I’m a teacher, I feel so grateful to have all this unscheduled time in the summer to work out whenever I feel like it. This week I’m linking up with Running N Reading for a Weekly Recap.

The first exciting development is that I’ve started running with a weekly trail running group in preparation for a 15-mile trail run that I’m signed up for in August. We run on stunningly beautiful trails, and it’s nice to have the company, since the risk of getting injured by wildlife is very real here in Alaska. This past week we saw four different moose during our run, two of them being a mama and a brand new baby! Moose are kind of like bears, in that they can be very aggressive when protecting their young, so for me it was pretty scary to pass them, but we didn’t have much choice in the matter. This picture is hard to see – I wanted to snap one to show my kids, but obviously not when we were TOO close!

Also this week we traveled for a family vacation to Talkeetna, Alaska. Talkeetna is a teeny little town outside of Denali National Park. We enjoyed blissfully warm weather, delicious food, and some great family time.

     We were also lucky enough to get a gorgeous view of Mt. McKinley (known to most Alaskans as Denali). Many times it is obscured by clouds, but the day we were there, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. This first picture is my favorite, because if you enlarge it, you can see regular-size mountains all the way to the left (the tiny bluish ones), which helps to really understand the scale of Mt. McKinley. The regular mountains look like nothing compared to the Alaska Range (with Mt. McKinley all the way to the right).

   I finished off the week with an awesome race at the Skinny Mini 6K. Named after a running store in town, the Twilight 12K/Skinny Mini 6K is a hugely popular race held each summer in the evening hours, and then followed by beer and pizza from a local restaurant on downtown’s Park Strip. I’ve never done this one before, since we are usually in California in June, but since we’re staying home this summer, I couldn’t wait to try it!

My main goal for the race was to not puke, since I had fueled myself with pizza for lunch, two Dr Peppers, and numerous homemade donut holes consumed while celebrating National Donut Day with my kids. Not only did I not puke, I actually managed a 5K PR! Since the race was a little longer than 5K, I made sure to mark a lap on my Garmin at 3.1, which was at 27:10, beating my previous 5K PR by about 25 seconds. I was 27th out of 221 for my age group, I felt fantastic, and can’t wait to do the race again next year! I went all by myself, so my only pic is a grainy one from the race! :(


Finally, I’ve been enjoying some time with this kiddo. He’s been aching to be outside every day, so we did a walk today, and earlier in the week he rode his scooter while I ran. Like every kid, he does a lot of sprinting, followed by walking, so I called it an interval workout and enjoyed every minute!
    Have a great week!

*What was your best post-run afterparty?

*Ever run an evening race?

*Is Denali on your bucket list?

Posted in Alaska Life, Exploring, Family Fitness Fun, Race Report, Week in Review | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Spring and Moose Are in the Air: Weekly Recap

Started off the week with lots of family in town for some special occasions, and I was able to get in a run with some of my fave running buddies. This lake is a few miles from my house, and I love to use it as a halfway point – just stop and admire. Right now it all looks brown and ugly, but give us one more week….


On the way back we saw this little moosey eating some branches. Don’t worry – we stayed far away and watched for signs of moosey distress.

IMG_6253I suddenly realized that my triathlon is coming up FAST and I haven’t been out on my bike much at all. I’ve been biking at the gym, but my first long bike ride of the season was a painful reminder that that is NOT the same. I’ve been “cramming” for my bike training and it’s going okay. I know this tri isn’t going to be faster than my last, and that’s disappointing. But my main goal this year is to beat my bike time from last year. We’ll see.

I was able to stash my kids at my grandparents’ house yesterday and go out for a bike ride with my husband for the first time. It was so much fun to have the company, and he gave me some great tips!

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This is my turn-around point. Can’t wait to see this view in the summer once everything is green again.


My husband and I have been talking forever about going out together, but it’s hard to make the logistics happen. But I have been seeing multiple moose every time I’ve been out on this trail, and it makes me so nervous to be by myself. This is the one I saw last week on the same trail.


Just sitting there by the side of the road. She was there both on my way out and my way back – apparently not bothered by the huge amounts of walkers, runners, and bikers out that evening. She’ll lay where she wants to, thankyouverymuch.

The highlight of my week was an unplanned outdoor morning run on Thursday. I normally go to the gym when I do my morning workouts, but when I walked outside on Thursday, it was so sunny and gorgeous, and the air was fresh with the smell of overnight rain… I immediately scrapped my plans for a treadmill workout and did some nice easy miles outside. It was gorgeous.



I finished out the week with a few hours of classroom purging in anticipation of switching rooms this summer. The highlight was finding a Russian magazine with a picture of a boy snuggled up in a giant fossil (?). So random.

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Saturday brought a nice long bike/run workout almost the same distance as my race, followed my some basking on the back porch with my girls. My youngest brought out a tub of blueberries, and I swear they were the best post-workout snack I’ve ever had (I don’t even LIKE blueberries).


My feelings about my upcoming tri are conflicted, and more for another post on another day, but overall I had a great week of workouts. Looking forward to my race next weekend!

Linking up with Running N Reading and #MotivateMeMonday at Fitness Cheerleader and Running Rachel!

*Fave post-workout snack?

*Is it this brown and gross where you are, or is it green already?

*Does wildlife on the trail scare you, or am I the only baby?

Posted in Alaska Life, Week in Review | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Must-Do American Road Trip: Weekly Recap

Happy Easter! Well, okay, a week ago. But their outfits are so cute, right?


We have been having the most bizarro weather here in Alaska. Blazing sunlight, snowfall, wind, rain – on a daily basis. It’s strange. Normally we are still waist-deep in snow at this point of the year, so it’s really nice to have the clear roads and sunshine. But then every once in a while it’s like Alaska remembers it’s still supposed to be winter and it dumps some snow. So weird.


I’ve been having some foot pain lately, so I’m at the tail end of a two-week break from running to try to rest it. I think it worked – I did an easy 3.5 mile jog/walk on Saturday and things felt great. Fingers crossed. I’m getting sick of the bike. Not sure I’ll have my best ever triathlon time in a month, but my big focus is on staying injury-free for my trail run in August. Oh, I got in, by the way. Can’t wait! It’s supposed to be just stunningly beautiful.

I’ve been lap swimming every Saturday with my daughter. She has a kids’ triathlon coming up in a few weeks and really wants to do the swim portion without a life jacket. She’s a good swimmer, just lacks confidence. It’s so hard here in Alaska to get kids enough practice with their swimming, since it’s generally too cold to swim outside, which leaves paying for the city pool or hotel pool swimming as pretty much their only opportunities.


After I swam a few laps with her, I did my 10 practice laps, and shaved a full minute off last week’s time, which was also my swim leg time last year in the actual race. I was soooo happy and proud of myself, but when I got home… disaster! My Garmin was totally dead! I stupidly assumed that since “swimming” was a choice for workout type, that I could take it in the water. I’ve always had it on during my swims and never had a problem, but I think the added time in there swimming with my daughter just made it too long.

Garmin charges a flat $60 repair rate, so we figured we’d see what we could do at home first. We pretended it was a cell phone and stuck it in a bag of rice overnight, and voila! Worked perfectly the next day! Whew! Not sure what I’m going to do about timing my swim splits now, but at least I’ve got the Garmin working again.

So yesterday we took the kids on such a fun adventure. We drove out the Seward Highway and stopped at several lookout points.

At the first one we looked at the ocean, and saw some Dall sheep up in the mountains.

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At the next one we just ran all over the trails and played on the beluga whale statues.

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At our last stop, we hiked a little, had a picnic, played some tag, and spent some time on the universal kid pastime of throwing rocks in water. What is it that makes this so compelling?

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It was so funny – on my Yahoo news feed tonight, up pops this article about the 5 Must-Do American Road Trips, and the cover picture looked awfully familiar. Yep, sure enough. Our short little Sunday drive was on the list! We love living here – it is such an awesome adventure.

Linking up with Running N Reading!

Best road trip in your neck of the woods?

Is it winter, spring, or already summer where you live?

Why do kids throw rocks in water?

Posted in Alaska Life, Exploring, Family Fitness Fun, Family Hikes, Week in Review | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Will I or Won’t I?

Hmmmm…. There’s a race registration tomorrow at 6am that I’m going to try for. Side note: too early? Too early, I say. 6am?!?! Anyway, last year it sold out in about 40 minutes, but I’ve talked to tons more people who want to do it this year, so I bet it’ll be less than half of that. I’d love to get in, but it’s a new race for me, so I don’t have my heart set on it. BUT, it’s 16 miles, so if I DO get in, it’ll be the kingpin of my racing schedule this summer, and affect everything else I do or don’t do. So….

I JUST WANT TO KNOW! I’m so antsy to plan the rest of my race schedule.


On another note, April Fool’s Day is also tomorrow (hoping the race registration fellows don’t think of any hilarious pranks like moving the registration to 9am). My kids think they like pranks, but then they get oddly traumatized by them. I think they’ll like this one though…

IMG_5997-0Happy April Fools Day tomorrow!

What’s the fastest-selling-out race that you try for? How fast does it sell out?

Raise your hand if you think I’ll sleep well tonight. Nobody?

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Back in the Saddle: Weekly Recap

Why do people tell you that you look tired? After the fourth person this week told me that I looked tired/sick/ragged/etc., I knew I had to get my act together. I was staying up late, skipping workouts, and drinking soda instead of water to keep “energized and awake” (never works). WHY do I do this?! It seems like it’s going to be so satisfying… I can stay up late, I can turn off that 6am alarm. I can drink whatever I want for lunch, it doesn’t matter.

But my body hates it. A day or two before the “Are you okay? You look a little ragged” comment, I’d hit a scary point on the scale. Not an all-time high, but… numbers I haven’t seen in several years. Time to get back to business. And it all starts with water. At least 64 oz. of water a day, in bed at a reasonable time, up nice and early to work out, veggies with meals – the basics. Why are they so hard for me?

And of course, instantly my body responds. My weight comes back into an okay range. My skin looks better. I’m not getting asked daily if I’m tired (though, that may have been because of a Facebook rant). And my workouts were better. It’s like my poor body is desperate to be treated nicely. I saw this floating around Facebook and it was perfect timing for me.


Saturday I had an amazing workout. I woke up at 7:30, and was able to get to the gym for a nice hard bike/run workout and then get back home by 9:00, when I’m normally just waking up.


Then when my aunt called to see if I wanted to lap swim later that day, I jumped at the chance. I have a triathlon coming up in less than two months, and I haven’t been in the pool since my triathlon last May. :/ Whoops. The good news was that, if I counted my laps correctly, my time was 13:something for my swim, which is the same time I did in the race last year. I was worried that I’d have lost some serious time, and have to work really hard to make it up, but I think I’ll be able to do what I did last year, if not better.

The rest of my week was regular boring gym workouts. The highlight of the week was this boy’s birthday.


He spent it doing nothing but….


Call me a terrible mother, but I’m so glad hockey is finally over for the season. Three times  a week from September to March is too much for me.

Looking ahead to the coming week….

I’m feeling good and recommitted to my goals. Trying to think of my eating in terms of fueling my body for training for a May triathlon, and being in the best shape I can be. Having a bit of nagging foot pain, so I think I’ll focus on strength training and swimming for a week or two and try to give my feet some rest.

Hope it’s a good one for all of you out there! Let’s all drink our water!

Linking up with the Weekend Update at Running N Reading and #MotivateMeMonday at Fitness Cheerleader and Running Rachel!

Posted in Week in Review | Tagged | 20 Comments

Here Comes the Sun . . . . A Week in Review

So normally in Alaska, the snow and winter lasts until the end of April/beginning of May. But we’re having a freakishly warm winter, and I am loving it!

Last Tuesday it was so sunny and beautiful, I had to go on a run after work. I saw this other guy running, and it was so gorgeous out, I wanted to give him a huge geeky smile and big thumbs up. Just before I did, he gave me a huge geeky smile and big thumbs up! Made me laugh. Look at this! Running in short sleeves! In the middle of winter!

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I was also able to get out on my bike and start triathlon training!


We’ve also been able to get out and do some walks and bike rides with the kids. Loving this sunshine so much!

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Posted in Alaska Life, Week in Review, Winter | Leave a comment

So, lately….

I’m never going to be that blogger that updates regularly. I wish I was. But…. here’s what we’ve been up to lately.

Spring Break
Here in Alaska, we get out of school really early, so we also have an early Spring Break, usually around the first week of March. This year we spent some of it with my dad and stepmom at their cabin. The ice on the lake freezes so thick that there are roads across the lake, complete with intersections and even a mailbox! There is a restaurant on an island, and in the summer you can only take a boat there, but in the winter you can drive right across the lake!


We got out and looked at some of the cabins that were for sale. Again, this is us walking and driving on the frozen lake.

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My Birthday
For my birthday, I got this awesome running windbreaker complete with baby mittens for when I almost scratch myself with my flailing hands. OR, for when my hands are cold when I start but not cold enough to bring gloves. Either one.

I also got this picture from my Kindergartener. Try not to be jealous.

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So there’s some catchup. Now you know what you were missing the past few weeks!

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5 Races to Try in Anchorage in 2015

Today I’m linking up for the Friday Five with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney, and the topic is 5 Races to Run in 2015! Some of the races on my schedule this year are ones I’ve done before, but I’m planning to try a lot of new ones this year as well! Here are my favorites my city has to offer:

1) The Gold Nugget Triathlon


This was far and away my favorite race of last year. It’s one of those races where the spirit and the vibe of the racers and the volunteers is awe-inspiring. All-women and geared toward beginners, there is nothing but support and love! From 9-year-old girls to 85-year-old women, from beginning athletes to women more fit than I’ll ever dream of being, this was truly a race where you saw a little bit of everything, and it was beautiful. This was my first triathlon ever, and one I’ll definitely be returning to (especially since I won a guaranteed entry slot for this year – yay!). Now if only I could figure out how to solve the problem of it being double-booked with my youngest daughter’s first dance recital…

2) Lost Lake Run

I’m still hoping to do an ultra this year, and if it happens, I definitely want to do Lost Lake for the first time as a training run. It’s 17 miles of gorgeous Alaskan scenery, and proceeds benefit Cystic Fibrosis, a cause near to my heart. This is one that sells out in under an hour, so I’ve gotta be quick if I’m going to do it!

3) The Big Wild Life Run series


This is a run series that includes everything from a kids’ run to a 49K. Not sure what I’ll be running this year, but I’ll definitely be running something. This is another race series that just has a great vibe to it – the weekend starts with a showing of a running movie here at a local theater, with runners like Jeff Galloway and this year Bart Yasso on hand to answer questions and lead some group runs. The race series goes through the weekend, with lots to watch and run! My kids LOVE the kids’ race, and I have a soft spot for this series since last year I ran my 5K PR here! Thinking this year I might try the Anchorage Mile. I’ve never done a mile race, but it might be fun to see how fast I could push myself for such a short distance!

4) Alaska 10K Classic


The 10K is a great distance – long enough to make sure I train, short enough that the misery’s not too lengthy. This run has an awesome t-shirt design, root beer floats afterwards, and benefits Special Olympics. What more could I ask for?

5) The Resolution Run

This was a new run to Anchorage this year, held on New Year’s Eve. More of a fun run than a race, it had glow sticks and other glowing gear in the swag bags, and several light features along the course. I wanted to run it this year, but the weather was warm, the ice was slick, and I hadn’t yet studded my shoes. But everyone I knew that ran it had rave reviews, so 2015 for sure.

Am I the only one who takes t-shirt design and other swag into consideration when registering?

Even run a mile race before?

Any runs your town is famous for?

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Moose and Skiing: An Alaskan Weekly Recap

Argh, I missed a week. Oh well. Forgive me? Back to linking up with Fitness Cheerleader and Running Rachel for #MotivateMeMonday. On Tuesday (night). Sigh.

These past few weeks have been busy ones. Thank goodness my kids remind me to stop and enjoy life – to do things that I otherwise normally wouldn’t. To remind me that we should walk to my Grandma and Grandpa’s when it’s sunny and “warm” outside, and not always drive the few blocks.


We had a visitor in the neighborhood this week. We saw this guy a couple of times in the neighbors’ yards, eating leaves and branches. I thought for a minute he was going to follow us along to school! Moose in the residential neighborhoods are a fairly common sight here, but it still never gets old to me to see a rather huge wild animal just hanging out in my yard.


Some unexpected changes to plans caused me to try out a new running trail on Saturday. Well, not new new – I’ve run it many times in the summer. But this was my first time in the winter. It was gorgeous and my aunt and I chatted and enjoyed the view. It was one of those runs where we couldn’t believe we’d already gone 2 miles and figured we should turn back. Don’t you love those, instead of the ones where you feel like you should be done already and you’ve gone like .68 miles? Am I also the only one who looks like a man in caps like this?

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Monday, the kids and I had school off for President’s Day, and we wanted to take the kids out cross country skiing. I took advantage of the day off and slept in, then skied with the kids, and then spent some time with my dad and stepmom who are in town from California. It didn’t leave time for my normal cardio workout, and I spent too much of the morning mad at myself for skipping a workout. I tried to talk myself down from the guilty thoughts – I should’ve gotten up earlier and gone to the gym, I shouldn’t have run that errand – that would have left time for a quick run outside. And so on. I love being on track with my workouts, but I hate that then I get into this mindset that they have to happen. I’m striving for a place of balance. Not quite there yet.

But I had fun skiing with my kiddos. The snow was better than it has been in several months, and with warmer weather and rain in the forecast all week, this was probably our last day to get out and enjoy some decent skiing for a while.

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I’ve lost my morning workout buddies recently, which makes it even more challenging to get up early and work out. I made a new deal with myself that Friday is my sleep-in day, unless I miss a Monday-Thursday workout, and then I’ll make it up on Friday morning. Keeping my Fridays available to sleep an extra hour has been a pretty powerful motivator to wake up early the other 4 days in the work week! ***says the girl who didn’t work out yesterday. Or today…*** Oh well. Back on it tomorrow!

What tips and tricks do you use to keep the motivation going?

Ever seen a moose? :)

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