Freezing my butt on the Iditarod Trail

The wind died down a bit so I decided to hit the Iditarod Trail for an 8-miler.

It was COLD. My head, torso, hands and feet were warm but my thighs and butt were freezing, even in my Brooks insulated running pants.

I planned on running to where the trail meets Bear Lake Road but I didn’t make it that far. My thighs were so tight that my stride was off, and instead of pushing it and risking an injury, I turned around after three miles, for a 6-mile run.

Even in my cold misery I couldn’t help but notice the beauty of the moon coming up over the mountains.

Well, you can’t see the moon in this picture, since I didn’t aim the camera that far, but trust me, it was there, a little fuller than half and already beginning to fatten.

It was getting dark and about two miles from the trailhead I heard howling in the distance, and for some reason I started spooking myself out about wolves.

Last winter, a 32-year-old woman was killed by wolves in Chignik Lake while she was, get this, running. She had just arrived in the village to teach school and was unaware of the existing wolf problems.

She was only about a mile from town when the attack happened.

The funny thing is that I always feel safer the closer I get to town or the trailhead, which is an illusion. But I suppose that feeling safe is always an illusion.

When I got back to the house, it took a long time to unthaw my thighs and butt (thank you, God, for inventing the heating pad!).

Last summer I did see a wolf when I was running Flattop Peak around midnight. It ran out and then away, and oh my god, it was so beautiful, loping away with a wild and fierce stride. It was one of those heart-in-my-throat moments, not from fear so much as the sheer beauty of the moment.

Anyway, after I finally warmed up my behind, I threw on a pair of jeans and headed to the high school to cover “The Worst High School Play in the World.” If you get the chance to see this, please go. It’s very silly and funny, and I was impressed with the students’ performances.

Here’s Baily Lespron and Kara Knotek as the narrators who eat throughout the show and get really fat at the end (kinda like what would happen to me during the long and dark winters if I didn’t run, hee, hee):

Earlier in the day I was at the elementary school (which is always a treat) covering the second-grade Hanukkah lesson:

Isn’t this a beautiful Menorah? It’s from South America.

Then I slipped over to the kindergarten classroom for rousing Christmas songs. These kids were adorable. I love the little girl with her arms crossed in the corner of the picture, as if to say: No way am I singing!

Here’s what always amazes me about covering stories at the school: The view. This is what it looks like from the elementary school parking lot. The moutains are immense and gorgeous, and to the kids it’s no big deal:

I finished out my very full day with a short run on the gym treadmill, to up my mileage.

Running: 6 miles trails, 4 miles treadmill tempo run

Reading: “Crush” by Richard Siken, a poetry collection that is SO good I can barely stand to read it.

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