Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Skis Went for a Beautiful Walk

I got to spend my birthday in such a beautiful place this year. Ryan and I decided to do our annual pilgrimage back the South fork of Eagle River valley to try and climb Eagle Peak (we always get shut down). We had moderate success only a few days before with skiing, so we figured that ski's would be a great idea for this trip too...after all it sits up higher and farther back in the mountains....

Cantada in the Clouds


Hiking In


Eagle Lake and Peak


Home Sweet Home


Cool Misty Mountains

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Amazing Bug Swarm


Eagle Lake and the Hiland Valley


Ry Behind the Lake in the Bushes


Walking Around the Many River Braids

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Heading Up


Ryan Skinning


Me at the Top of the Run
Picture by Ryan Campbell


Me Making Some Good Corn Turns
Picture by Ryan Campbell

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Ryan Getting Ready to Ski

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Sunset Picture

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But as the title implies, my skis were doing more walking than skiing, and we didn't make the summit, again. It takes a lot of effort to get back in that valley, but it truly is a magical place filled with beautiful steep mountains.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A June Ski Adventure

As someone who has lived in and out of Anchorage for years, I still have a lot of things I want to go do in our very own "front range". The 'S' Couloir on Ptarmigan has been one of those things for years that despite different attempts has never happened for me. So when thinking about what I wanted to do with my day off on a dreary summer day, this seemed like a good option....

Ry, Sonja and I parked down Canyon Creek road and then hiked and skinned down the rabbit lakes trail.

The Joys of Skinning in June


So the trail alternated from dry summerish, to wet spring mud, to deep spring snow pretty much all the way back.

The Approach


Looking up the 'S' Couloir


Unfortunately after going almost a thousand feet up the 'S' couloir, avalanches started coming down uncomfortably close to where we were. After the second one rumbled down, all wet and sloppy we decided to turn around. As we were putting our skis on another avalanche came down just to the left of where we would be bootpacking if we went further up...bummer. It was a fun corn run down from where we were.

I'm not sure why Ry was wearing my coat, but it looked outdoor/clubber/sassy on him.

Ry Modeling my Coat

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Sonja with the Arm in the Background


So even though we didn't get to ski what we wanted we still got 3 bonus runs for taking the awkward approach.

Looking Down a Run of Corn

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Exceding all Expectations

Running is something that I have to mentally prepare for. That may sound weird, but its true. I have to think about what I am about to do, and then make peace with the fact that my body is going to rebel, feel pain, and want to stop moving and my mind will have to take up the slack.

I started preparing mentally for the Arctic Valley race days before it happened, and had to continually remind myself that this is what I do for fun, I actually like running uphill and that "feeling the burn" actually feels good. Running is strangely meditative.

Lynn and I have been running up Arctic in stages for over a couple months, adding an extra 10 minutes or top of another hill every week or two, until we made it to the top. It took us an hour and 8 minutes of serious huffing and puffing to go up 2,500 ft over 6.3 miles to the top and then only 51 minutes to get down.

Race Day
photo by Lynn Peterson

Before I ever do a race I always ask myself what my goal time is. I try to use races as motivation for me to reach my own goals, perhaps a self defense mechanism for my ego so that way if I do poorly overall, I can still be satisfied by how I do against my own expectations. I run for fun and fitness and being competitive and serious isn't fun for makes me not want to enter and just sit of the couch and eat more ice cream....I want to get better and faster because its gratifying to myself to work hard and see improvement.

So my goal for this race was to maintain 10 minute mile average for the uphill portion and then just try and go as fast as I could down, and do it overall in 1:50, which would be 7 minutes slower than I did it when I was younger and lighter, but still nine minutes faster than we did it last week. I thought that seemed fair to expect of myself, not too unrealistic, and something that I would have to work hard to achieve...have I mentioned how beat and sore and exhausted I get EVERY time I do that run with Lynn....and then I wanted to do it faster....this is when I start questioning my definition of fun.

Lynn with Her Trophy!!

Lynn and I both pretty much kicked butt on this run.

I think we both pushed the limits of what we could do...I ran as fast and hard as I could up and down that heart, lungs, and muscles were maxed out the whole time. I met my goal and got to the top in 1:01, running just seconds under a 10 minute mile average, and then down in 42 minutes, averaging just over 6 and a half minute miles....So I ended up cutting 16 minutes off my time from the week before, and did it 7 minutes faster than my goal.

Me and My Trophy!

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There was probably only 10 women who entered the race, and I think everyone got a trophy, which is awesome because I think its an accomplishment just to undertake and complete this run...I'm not hard core, this kicked my butt, and I freely admit it.

Actually this run kicked my butt clear into the following week as I could barely walk. The day after the race my muscles felt like they had been through a cheese grater and I had these dead feeling spots in my legs where the muscle tissue refused to engage and my whole leg would spasm and collapse when I tried to engage my was races for me for a while, I need to get way tougher!