Running errands with the Amish

My Friend Kristin is the type of person who will make friends with anyone. If you ever attend a party at her home, this fact will be evident. You’ll meet people from every background ranging from a Jewish attorney who is married to a protestant lawyer, to a stay-at-home mom from down the street. So it was no surprise when, soon after she and her family bought a farm in rural Wisconsin, she befriended an Amish farm girl. She met — let’s call her Ruth — at a local farmer’s market and the two became fast friends.

Brian and I spent the Labor Day weekend at the farm. On Saturday morning, Kristin and I were going to run to the store to get food for the weekend and she asked me if I wanted to stop by and visit with Ruth on the way in to town. Um …. yeah! I have long been fascinated with the Amish which started with several visits to Nappanee, Ind., when I was growing up. Nappanee is a small Amish community in Northern Indiana where visitors can tour Amish farms, eat an Amish meal and buy everything from Amish baked goods to hand-made furniture.

On the way to Ruth’s farm, Kristin told me that when they first met, Ruth was in her early 30’s and not married, which is very rare in the Amish community as they tend to marry very young. A year or so ago, Ruth met a young man on a bus ride across country and they married this past Spring. Kristin learned of the marriage when Ruth called her one day (she uses a community pay phone) and invited her to the wedding which was taking place at her parents’ farm the next day. Not knowing what to wear to an Amish wedding, Kristin politely declined the invitation. (What does a non-Amish woman where to an Amish wedding, anyway?)

Kristin said she saw Ruth a couple of months ago and Ruth told her she was expecting. Kristin asked when she due and Ruth told her sometime in October. Kristin’s husband, Steve, raised his eyebrows a bit. It hadn’t hit Kristin at the time, but Steve later told her to do the math and, “WHOA!! AN AMISH SHOTGUN WEDDING!” Oh the scandal.

We arrived at the farm and Ruth came out to meet us. She was hugely pregnant and her ankles were swollen like water balloons. Kristin commented that she looked like she had lost weight in her face and neck. Apparently Ruth has had a pretty difficult pregnancy. She had both kidney and gallbladder problems. She’s had to modify her diet and take vitamin supplements which she said are helping. She was very sweet. Spoke with a heavy accent. Kristin said Ruth’s first language was Pennsylvania Dutch.

Her husband, William, also came out to greet us and I immediately wondered if there was an Amish phrase equivalent to “cougar.” Her husband looked to be about 20-years-old … maybe. But he was very polite and talkative. We visited for a while out near the barn. When we said we would have to get going soon, Ruth said her husband was leaving soon, as well. He started walking toward the horse and buggy to unhitch it and she rattled off a long list of tasks he was to complete. We laughed and said she has got the nagging wife thing down.

William said they had purchased a new buggy that he was picking up later in the afternoon and we could could see it if we were still there later. It sounded like he had enough on his honey-do list to keep him occupied the entire day so we told him we would see the new buggy next time. Then Ruth asked if it was too much trouble for us to give them a ride instead of William taking the horse and buggy. It wasn’t clear where, exactly, they needed to go but we told her we would give them a ride if they needed one. She said it would save them a lot of time, so they both piled in Kristin’s car, a convertible Mustang.

I volunteered to sit in the back with William, afraid if Ruth crammed her way in to the back seat, as pregnant as she was, she would be unable to get herself out. The four of us got buckled in and we headed down the driveway toward the road.

“I never rode in a convertible before,” William said to me. “It’s kind of like air conditioning, huh?” he asked.

“Yes. Yes, it is. By the way, you’re gonna want to hold on to that straw hat there, Buddy.”

We took off down the road and William throws his hands in the air, Thelma and Louise style. I wanted to take a picture but knew it was a no-no for the Amish to be photographed. We passed the neighboring farms where other Amish were out in their yards and fields. They looked, then did a double take with jaws dropped open and a look I couldn’t interpret. It was either one of disbelief, envy, or one of: “We’re going to pray for you. And, by the way, the pastor will be at your house before sundown.” But William and Ruth just smiled and waved as if they were sitting on top of a float in a Fourth of July parade.

We traveled down a long country road, enjoying the natural air conditioning, beautiful weather and our Amish car mates. After about 20 minutes, all I could think of was how long the trip would have taken in a horse and buggy. No wonder they would risk damnation for a ride in a gas-fueled vehicle. We finally arrived at a gravel road that William instructed Kristin to turn down. It went down this small hill and continued on. I couldn’t help but hear the dueling banjos of Deliverance fame playing in my head. It was a little nerve-wracking, I’ll be honest.

We arrived at a large log cabin which I assumed was not an Amish homestead since their houses tend to be white. We pulled behind the house, dogs were barking and no one was in sight. William went to the door and started knocking. And knocking. And knocking some more. After about five to eight minutes, a woman come to the door with two toddlers at her heels. She was wearing what looked like traditional Amish wear, so they were either rebel Amish or the white house thing isn’t a rule. She and William had some kind of exchange that we couldn’t really hear, nor could we understand as it was not conducted in English. Then he says something in Pennsylvania Dutch to Ruth, who was still in the Mustang. There was a lot of back and forth and the conversation seemed to get a little tense. The woman kept going inside the house, coming back outside the house and going back in. She finally came back out with a checkbook in her hand, wrote out a check and handed it to William.

Check in hand, William got back in the car and we headed back down the gravel road again. Once we made it to the main road, Ruth asked Kristin if we could make another stop. It was on the way, she said. We arrived at a traditional-looking Amish farm and two men were standing outside the farm house. Again, William got out of the car and Ruth stayed behind. One of the men took off in his buggy at speeds I would consider unsafe for an automobile made of wood and pulled by a horse. William then approached the other man, took the check he received at the last house out of his pocket and handed it to the guy. There was some sort of exchange that was, again, conducted in Pennsylvania Dutch. William spent about 10 minutes talking to the other guy before he finally came back to the car and said we could go.

When we got back to farm, we made it clear we really had to go. We had been gone for more than two hours and still had shopping to do. Our worried husbands would never believe we spent the afternoon playing taxi to the Amish running errands. They thanked us for the ride, told Kristin they would keep her posted on the impending birth. Ruth offered us potatoes and we were on our way.

As we pulled out of the driveway, Kristin looked at me and said she was so sorry that ended up taking so much time. Are you kidding me? I just spent the afternoon riding around in a convertible with an Amish couple. You can’t make this kind of material up. But, I told Kristin, I was confused as to what, exactly, the errand was that they were running. “Do you have any idea what that was all about,” I asked.

Kristin stopped the car and turned to me with a serious look of concern on her face.

“I think we just participated in an Amish drug deal,” she said.

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Posted in Stuff that would only happen to me, traveling, Uncategorized, weekend getaway | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The tasty side of Juneau

I tasted my first Alaskan brewed beer when we were in Denali. They had the White Ale from the Alaskan Brewing Company on tap so I decided to give it a try. I’m more of wine drinker than beer drinker, but I do appreciate a good microbrew. This was among the best I have tasted.

On our way back from the dog sledding/helicopter trip in Juneau, our driver offered to drop us off anywhere we wanted to go in the downtown area instead of back at the cruise ship docks. He told us about the highlights of downtown and mentioned the Alaskan Brewing Company. I guess I didn’t realize it was brewed in Juneau. He said the brewery was just outside town. The tour, he said, was a little untraditional as it doesn’t really go through the brewery but rather to a tasting room where you hear about the brewery’s history, which was a neat story, he said, then you get to sample as many beers as you could stomach. We hadn’t made any plans for Juneau other than the dog sledding excursion so we were open to suggestions. We also have an unintentional habit of visiting breweries while traveling (Guinness in Dublin, Budweiser in St. Louis, New Glarus in New Glarus, Wisc., etc). The deal was further sweetened when he said the brewery had a merchandise store downtown and they operate a shuttle service to and from the brewery from that shop.

Sounded good. But we wanted to grab some lunch, we told our driver.

Do you like crab? he asked

Um. No. We LOVE crab.

You have to have a king crab leg and chowder from Tracy’s Crab Shack, he told us.

I had actually heard about Tracy’s from the Cruise Critic boards where it was described as THE place for Bering Sea crab legs in all of Alaska. If it’s THE place, how could we say no?

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Tracy’s is just two trailers side-by-side. You order your food and get drinks at the first one and they cook it in the second one. We ordered one crab leg a piece and a crab bisque to share. When the legs came out, we just stared at them in disbelief. I’m convinced the Bering Sea is steroid water.
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They were as tasty as they were big. And the bisque was among the best I’ve ever had. With bellies full of crab, we made our way to Franklin Street and immediately saw the Alaskan Brewing Company store. In front of the store was a guy yelling that the next tour was leaving in 10 minutes. Perfect timing!

We took a shuttle van to the outskirts of town to the brewery. In the tasting room, the on-duty brewmaster gave us an overview of the company and a little bit about its history which, as our earlier driver told us, is quite interesting.

The walls were lined with microbrews from every state. We had no idea there were microbreweries in the Florida Keys!

The walls were lined with microbrews from every state. We had no idea there were microbreweries in the Florida Keys!


First, a little bit about Juneau. If you are ever on Jeopardy! and the answer is “the only U.S. Capitol accessible only by boat or airplane” the correct response would be Juneau. If you’re thinking, wait a minute, that can’t be correct. What about Honolulu — which is what we thought when we first heard this — Honolulu is on an island, yes. But it’s the island that’s accessible only by boat or plane, not the city. There are roads on the island that go into and out of the city of Honolulu. Juneau is not an island, but there are no roads going into or out because it’s surrounded by water on one side and mountain and glaciers on the other side.

So, in the 1980s the founders of the Alaskan Brewing Company, a couple named Marcy and Geoff Larson, wanted to open a brewery. Considering the whole boat or water thing, the idea seemed a little crazy since the cost of importing supplies and exporting the product would mean beer that would have to sell for champagne prices. The Larson’s explored ways to keep the costs down, then went to some fellow residents of Juneau with the idea. They ultimately decided “why not?”and they got several local investors on board. Some of the same investors volunteered their time to get the brewery up and running. Well, technically, they were being paid. In beer. Whatever beer bottles came off the lines with crooked labels or other cosmetic defects, the volunteers would keep. Word spread and they soon had so many volunteers they had to split them in to three shifts. The brewery operated this way – solely with volunteers — for the first six years of its existence.

The Larsons continue to find ways they can save money and reduce their carbon footprint through green technology and innovations. They have more about that on their website.

Their beers have won numerous awards. And I can say, they serve up a tasty pint. They now distribute the beer to 18 of the lower 48 states, which does not include Illinois. But, we are very close to Wisconsin which is one if the 18. Brian was up there for business a couple of weeks ago, found the beer in a store and brought some home. We can now enjoy a pint and think of our time in Alaska. And, more specifically, Juneau. Now. If only we could find some of those King crab legs!

Posted in Alaska, Alaska, bucket list, bucket list, Juneau, traveling | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The most amazing endurance athletes I’ve ever met

The day that I was most anticipating since we started planning our trip to Alaska was the day we would spend in Juneau because of the awesome excursion I found. I had an Alaska bucket list in my head and when I saw this excursion, I realized I could knock three things off the list in one fell swoop.

The excursion was a helicopter ride to a glacier, landing on a glacier and dog sledding. There were several dog sledding excursions at other ports along the way but because it was summertime, most of them didn’t have dogs pulling actual sleds on snow, but wheeled carts on pavement or gravel paths. This is how they train the dogs during the summer months. The carts would have been an OK experience, I suppose, but when I saw the excursion with actual sledding — on a glacier (!!) — the alternative didn’t seem nearly as exciting anymore.

The price tag for the excursion was pretty steep but I did not find one negative review of the tour company. In fact, almost every one I read said it was the highlight of their entire trip. The whole experience sounded simply amazing.

We shared the helicopter with a lady and her teenaged niece which left one open seat so we had a little breathing room. Brian lucked out and got to sit in the co-pilot seat on the way to the glacier.
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The views were spectacular. We crossed over a snow-capped mountain range to get to the Juneau Ice Field. Along the way we flew over a few massive glaciers, including the tail end of the Norris Glacier, the glacier on which the dog mushers camp was located and where we would be landing.

Juneau is on the right, Douglas, AK is on the left.

Juneau is on the right, Douglas, Alaska is on the left.


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Tail end of the Norris Glacier.

Tail end of the Norris Glacier.


Taku Glacier.

Taku Glacier.


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There were five helicopters in the fleet that took off at the same time and all flew in formation, landing one at a time on the glacier. It was pretty neat to see.
Arriving at the musher's camp on Norris Glacier.

Arriving at the musher’s camp on Norris Glacier.


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We stepped off the helicopter and were standing on hundreds of feet of ice dating back centuries. Pretty amazing when you think about it.
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Once there, each helicopter group paired off with a dog musher. Ours was Dave Dalton who, in February, came in 12th place at the Yukon Quest race. The Yukon Quest is a 1,000-mile race from Whitehorse, Yukon, to Fairbanks. The course is considered to be among the most rugged of all North American dog sledding events. The other thing the race is known for is the amazing athleticism of the dogs who run it and the great care the mushers take of those athletes.

Us with Dave Dalton, our expert musher.

Us with Dave Dalton, our expert musher.


Dave told us a bit about the training while we were out with him and I was so fascinated, I did a bit more research on my own. Just like humans, the dogs train by building up their mileage, cross-training and eating right. But I don’t know of any humans who have the same level of endurance that these dogs do. Not even ultra-marathon man Dean Karnazes.

The Yukon Quest goes anywhere from 10 to 16 days which means the dogs run anywhere from 80 to 100 miles a day, every day for about two weeks. The even more amazing thing is that dogs generally race for 10 years, some up to 12 years. I was also surprised at how little the dogs were. I expected large huskies weighing in at about 75 to 80 pounds but they average only about 40 pounds.
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Until I saw the dogs in person I was a little skeptical of the claim I have often heard that the dogs absolutely love to run. Once I saw them in action, I realized it’s true. Forget the Tarahumara Indians Christopher McDougall wrote about in his book “Born to Run.” These dogs were truly born to run. When we would stop to let them rest, they would lay flat on their bellies to cool down for a few short minutes then they would be up, pulling and howling because they were ready to go. The one thing we were told right away is to never step off the brake. If you do, the dogs will take off without you. Even on the brake, it was difficult at times to keep them from pulling the sled out from under your feet. This video kind of shows it.

We each got to take a turn in the “driver’s seat.” The whole experience was so memorable and I was left in complete aw of these amazing athletes who also happened to be pretty darn cute.
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Posted in Alaska, Alaska, bucket list, bucket list, Fitness, health, Running, traveling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Insanely sore

I spent the last week in Arkansas. I didn’t run as much as I would have liked, or should have, but I did get out to my rural track that I wrote about last Saturday a couple of times throughout the week.

It was a challenging workout, for sure, with all of the hills. Add to that the humidity and, well, finishing each and every run was quite the accomplishment.

Brian came down to join me last Wednesday. He has slowed down his own running to focus on the Shawn T Insanity Workout series. If you’re not familiar, Insanity is this workout program intended to kill you. But if somehow you are alive at the end of the 60 days, you should have a pretty toned-up, shaped-up body. I know a couple of people who have done the program and all have seen great results.

Saturday morning I got up planning to do a few rounds on my running track. I told Brian I was having a hard time getting motivated to repeat the same .90-mile loop. It was getting a little monotonous but I was still unwilling to leave my loop to take a run farther away from the house in bear country. He suggested I skip the run and do the Insanity workout with him. That day’s workout was named “Extreme Cardio” or some such craziness.

I have been curious as to whether I could survive the Insanity so I agreed to give it a shot. Within the first ten minutes I was already huffing and puffing but I was proud of myself for keeping up and not stopping. I was even thinking that all of these people who claim it is sooo hard are wimps. It wasn’t that bad. Then I realized that was the just the warm up. Ugghh. The “real” workout began in short order, about the time I ate a big piece of humble pie. I thought the Jillian Michaels workouts were tough. Oh my. When the people in the video are stopping to catch their breath, well … you know there’s nothing easy or even sane about doing this workout.

I kept up pretty well until the end when it went into a never-ending series of burpees (Shawn T calls them suicide jumps, which I think is a way more appropriate name) combined with push-ups. At this point, my legs were like jello. I’ve never liked burpees, or been good at regular push-ups, even though I can rock girlie ones, but the point is, I couldn’t keep up. Because the people in the video were stopping, and I had made it that far without stopping, I didn’t feel too bad about missing a few jumps. I just pushed as hard as I was able to push.

I’m happy to say I survived the workout. Although the workout was Saturday, it is now Wednesday and my calves are STILL sore! Had I done extra stretching after the workout I would probably be OK but I was so ready to be done, I didn’t give it a thought.

I can see why people get results from Insanity. I’d be willing to give it a shot but not until after the half marathon training is over. Doing both would not only be double insanity, but also near impossible. In other words, I haven’t been running since Saturday’s Insanity workout.

Posted in exercise, Fitness, Half marathon training, health, Insanity workout, Running | Leave a comment

When the accomplishment is simply to finish

Today’s long run was one of those runs in which about 10 minutes in, I decide the accomplishment will be to just finish, not achieve a particular pace.

I am down at my family’s place in the Arakansas Ozarks. After the last time I went running here last summer, when days later my aunt spotted a bear on the same road I was running on, I decided to stick close to the house. I just got back from Alaska and all, but I’m still not ready to share a path with a bear. So I decided to do my seven-mile run by repeating the same loop that is just shy of a mile.
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On the back end of this loop is a steep hill. It was a fun challenge the first few times around but by about the fifth time, I had to walk at least part of the incline.

Adding to the fun of the hill were two dogs who are not used to people running past their house, so I was considered a threat. Not just the first time around, but every single time I rounded the corner and started up the hill, they stood at the top letting me know they were not happy with my presence. The closer I got they would bark, growl, show their teeth, bark some more, then chase me a little ways. I knew the dogs names so I called them by name in hopes that would put them at ease somewhat. Not sure how at ease they were but they didn’t bite me so I’d call that a successful technique.

My little friends.

My little friends.


There was a nice low-hanging fog that kept things cool when I first started but the sun quickly burned the fog away and the humidity set in. I decided to quit at least four times during the run but ultimately convinced myself to keep going each time. But as soon as I hit my target of seven miles, I rejoiced, then stopped running. I didn’t even have enough in me to make it back to the house running. I walked the remaining distance.

I’m not sure how many times I took walk breaks but I stopped beating myself up over them after about the third one. I’m not sure I would be a distance runner if all of my runs looked like this.
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But, my usual runs don’t have views like this:

Fog hanging over the White River.

Fog hanging over the White River.


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And, yes. I totally used picture-taking as an excuse to walk a few times 🙂

Posted in Arkansas Ozarks, exercise, Fitness, Half marathon training, health, motivation, mountain view arkansas, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Sightseeing train and run in Skagway

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While planning our trip to Alaska I heard many time that Skagway is the place “catch the gold rush excitement.”

I didn’t know much about the Yukon Gold Rush, or Skagway for that matter, but we were set to learn all about it on the excursion we had planned to the Yukon Territory in Canada.

We took a bus the 25 or so miles into Canada where we would catch a train to come back down to Skagway. The driver/tour guide (Chilkoot tours) who drove us up to the Canadian border did an excellent job of giving us a Yukon Gold Rush history lesson which — as he put it — was 99% true and 1% his own personal opinions.

The more we learned about the gold rush, the less “gold rush excitement” I was feeling. As our driver told us, the gold rush was basically created by a series of lies told to each man who landed in the streets of Skagway looking to strike it rich. Many did not survive, but for those who did, it was likely the most physically challenging thing they ever endured and in most cases, for nothing.

The first lie told to the men was that there were fields of gold in Skagway. After months of struggling to feed their families during the 1890’s depression that paralyzed the lower 48 states, men showed up by the thousands to Skagway, eager to pull themselves and their families out of severe poverty. They begged, borrowed and did what they had to do to make it to Skagway only to be told the gold wasn’t actually in Skagway, but across the border in the Yukon Territory of Canada. And to get to Canada from Skagway, they had to travel more than 30 miles on one of two trails — The White Pass or the Chilkoot trail — in some of the most rugged terrain in North America.

Once there, the Canadian Mounties told them they could cross but only if they had a years worth of provisions, per man, as well as winter gear to keep them warm. This meant each man had to return to Skagway, purchase the needed provisions and then make the same demanding trip but with supplies that weighed more than one ton. If that weren’t enough of a burden, the men had spent all they had just to get to Alaska. They had to earn more money to buy the needed supplies. Conveniently, an opportunistic British investment company was putting in a railway from Skagway to the Yukon. They were in need of cheap laborers and they had an endless supply of willing men.

The railroad was finally built, but about two years too late. The gold-bearing land had all been claimed by the time the railroad opened. Today, the railroad carries tourists like us back and forth between Skagway and the Yukon.

The ride was definitely very scenic as we were very high up in the mountains. But looking at the surrounding area, it was hard to imagine anyone traversing the area on foot, let alone carrying a ton of provisions.
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In the Gold Rush Museum in Skagway, there was a display that showed what the typical supply load looked like. The accompanying sign said the men had to make a choice of carrying a heavier load to reduce the number of back and forth trips or carry a lighter load and take more trips. It said some men traveled nearly 1,000 miles to get their supplies the 33 miles to Lake Bennett, their destination in the Yukon.
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As I mentioned earlier, it took two years for the railroad to be built and just as long for many men to make it through the mountains with their required supplies. The land had already been claimed before many arrived. As a result, many of the men committed suicide to avoid the shame of going home empty-handed.

Today, hikers can travel through the same mountain pass that the stampeders traveled so long ago. The Chilkoot Trail is still largely in tact but most of the White Pass trail, near where the railroad was built, is mostly gone and park rangers discourage hikers from attempting it.

We had already made plans to do the train excursion so we didn’t look in to any hikes. I’m not sure I would want to hike that area anyway. The whole thing was very sad to me. Yes, there were people who died as a result of their greed, but many saw it as a last hope to escape from the extreme poverty caused by the depression. Those beautiful mountains saw so much tragedy it almost seems like sacred ground.

I did, however, get in a good — and educational — run through Skagway. The downtown area is only about eight blocks longs and three blocks wide. After looping around a couple of times, I went up and down the inside streets and found a few little hidden gems. There were little areas of historical significance where signs were erected telling the story of that particular sight and the people involved.
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One such sight was where the home of Harriet Pullen once stood. The sign there said she was an important character of the gold rush days because she ran a guest house and also became the resident historian of Skagway. She had an extensive collection of old relics and even more tails that would entertain the tourists that came to Skagway after the gold rush came to an end. The house was demolished in 1991 but the fireplace and chimney still stand.
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I ran a few blocks, then stopped to check something out. Then ran some more. This went on for about an hour and a half.
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Railroad snow plow (!!) Yeah, they get some serious snow in those parts!

Railroad snow plow (!!) Yeah, they get some serious snow in those parts!


I also came across the entrance to another trail system that is pretty popular in this area. I would love to have checked it out but I promised Brian, who was not with me on the run, that I would stay on main streets (he’s no fun). But I also spotted a group of three people and a dog entering the trail and they looked like they were setting off on more than a day hike.
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Upon further investigation later on, I found there is a short trail we could have done in the amount of time we had. I guess I’ll add that to my list of things to do next time 🙂

Posted in Alaska, Alaska, bucket list, exercise, Fitness, health, pictures, traveling, Uncategorized, White Pass railroad | Leave a comment

Gravity likes me. It really likes me.

At least once every training season I have an epic fall. A situation where I am happily running along and the next second I am face-planting in to the asphalt. Saturday was epic fall day.

I started my run a little later than I should have. I was talking myself in to waiting until Sunday to get my run in because my hips were feeling pretty stiff when I got out of bed. But once I moved around a bit, the stiffness dissipated and I felt like running. I headed out at about 9 a.m.

The sun was starting to really beat down at that point and the humidity level was on the rise. The first couple of miles were ok since I was mostly in the shade. Then I made it to the wildlife refuge where I planned to get in at least three miles, which would mean running around the whole are twice since the paths there only total about a mile and a half. Instead, I decided to do a loop around a residential area near the wildlife refuge so I could have a change of scenery and not have to run in circles.

The area is relatively new so there aren’t a lot of shade trees covering the sidewalks and streets. Soon after I entered the neighborhood, the heat and humidity really started getting to me. I drank extra water, but that can only do so much.

The heat is just really debilitating to me. It makes me feel lethargic and wiped out. I guess what happens is, I get tired, my feet get sloppy and I don’t pick them up as much as I should, then my toe gets caught on the tiniest of cracks in the sidewalk, and down I go.

Compared to other falls I’ve taken, this one wasn’t as epic. (Not that it wouldn’t have been absolutely hysterical to anyone who may have been watching) One time a few years ago, I was running on a beautiful morning with my dog Macy. I was in such a happy mood, running along at a good pace. I passed two women and gave then a cheery “good morning!” and a wave with my hand except I barely got the word “morning” off my lips and I was suddenly air born. Somehow I managed to turn my whole body while air born and landed flat on my back. I dropped Macy’s leash in the meantime and once I hit the ground Macy came up and started licking my face. The women just stood there, horrified. How they kept it together is beyond me. I totally would have laughed at me until my belly hurt. I’m sure those two women still talk about it to this day.

This time, it was a simple trip and lunge forward. My knees and palms hit the ground at the same time so the impact was minimal. I recovered quickly, jumped back up and was back running like nothing happened all within about three seconds. I didn’t hear any roars of laughter so I don’t think anyone saw me.

The heat was killing me so I picked up my pace to make it back the wildlife refuge so I could find some shade. I started lamenting the fact that my pace would likely be a lot slower than my last few runs. I thought about how I would love to just stay in the shade the whole time. While that was not possible, I figured out how I could maximize my time in the shade while reducing time in non-shaded areas.

That was how I came up with my new “beat the heat speed training.”

I would use sunny areas for fartleks so I could get through them as fast as possible, and use the shaded areas for recovery. Not sure how effective this training is since the fartleks were sometime only about 15 seconds, but it sure made the run more enjoyable. Anyone watching was probably confused at my sporadic pace that would go from balls to the wall sprinting to a casual jog in a matter of seconds.

SUN .... FARTLEK!!!

SUN …. FARTLEK!!!


Ahhh...recovery.

Ahhh…recovery.

My overall pace, while a little bit slower than what I have been doing for my short runs, was pretty darn good for a long run. And I did all of this with a bloody knee that I didn’t know I had until I came up the driveway and Brian said, “Did you fall again?” It happens so frequently, instead of asking if I’m ok (I always am), he’ll usually ask if it was “a good one.” When he asked if I fell, I got ready to ask how he knew, but looked down and saw the scrapes. He then gave me a knowing nod.

I think my “beat the heat speed training” might be successful. Now, if only I could come up with an anti-gravity speed training routine. Or maybe I’ll just start running in this.

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