Of mud and grace (And more moose)

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I love running in mud. I love splashing in mud. I love when my shoe gets stuck in mud and makes a delicious thuck sound as I pull it free.

So when we headed out to the Turnagain Arm Trail on Sunday and MM mentioned the that trail would be wet, I knew the conditions would slow us down and that the mud would cheer me up.

And it did. Except when it didn’t.

We started at the Potter Trailhead and ran all the way to Rainbow and back, about 16 miles and over 3,000 feet elevation gain and loss.

It was a hazy, overcast day, no rain but the air felt damp.

Looks kind of eerie, eh? Welcome to spring in Alaska.

I felt great the first few miles and then had a breakdown around the four mile mark and sat on a rock and cried and cried. I’m not sure why I cried, though I think it was old stuff surfacing, that the solace of the trees and mountains supplied me with enough grace to let down my guard, and when I did, I realized I had been carrying around sadness. Funny how that happens.

After that, I felt better and we kept running. The trail slants gradually uphill for two miles and then dips into the valley and an almost mile and half of steep downhill, which is great. Except that we had to turn around and run back up that almost mile and half of uphill.

On the way back we ran into this critter.

Monday night we rode our bikes to Kincaid Park and back on the Coastal Trail (about 20 miles from our house) and saw more moose. It must be that time of year.

Bare trail–can there be a more beautiful sight?
Downtown Anchorage from across the inlet.

Tonight we ran 13.5 miles on the Coastal Trail to Kincaid Park. It was windy, and cold. It’s supposed to snow tonight (yes, snow in the middle of May). The wind was so strong in places that it blew my earphones out of my ears. It also pulled the elastic band off my ponytail.

It was a great run, though. I kept a pace just past comfort, so that I was pushing the whole time. (MM didn’t have to push, since he’s naturally faster than I am, sigh, sigh.)

The last two miles were wicked. The wind was so cold that at one point I looked down and was surprised to see that I was wearing capris. In my mind, I truly believed I was running in my underwear, that’s how sharp and fierce the wind blew.

I couldn’t untie the car key from my sneaker or unlock the door; MM had to do it. I blasted the heater all the way home and then immediately took a hot bath. Crazy weather!

Tomorrow morning I leave for Portland to visit with my son and watch him graduate, with honors, from Lewis & Clark College (you go, Chris!).

Happy running, everyone. Hope it’s warmer wherever you are.

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