Oh, Alaska, how I missed you. I missed your winter blues and your short and stubborn days and the thin coating of ice lingering in hidden pockets of the trail so that whenever I stretch out the pace, my foot slips and I have to rein it back in again and slow the heck down.
I missed how the darkness presses down and the cold wraps around the house and I stay up most of the night writing and then sleep ridiculously late and run during the afternoons. I finish up right at that moment when the sun sets and everything fades to a hazy blue, and if I’m running the Coastal Trail, I get to watch the water turn the most magnificent shade of blue-silver-purple I’ve ever seen. I’ve tried to capture if with my big-assed journalist camera (which one of my co-workers used to call the get-the-fuck-out-of-my-way-I’m-a-reporter camera), but it’s impossible to fully record the exact shadow and hues. Some things, it seems, at best left to one’s eyes and memory.
I’m slowly gearing up my mileage for the Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile race in Texas in February. I haven’t registered yet because I’m still torn between that and the Moab Red Hot 55K. They’re both on the same weekend, too. The Rocky Raccoon is longer and I really, really want to tackle a 50-miler, but the Moab is so much more beautiful and it’s been on my bucket list for years and, oh, oh, oh, imagine running into views like this.
Since we’re in the dark season up here in Alaska, I’ve been eating like a pig. I’m hungry all. the. time. I’m not even craving junk food. I want soup and veggie burgers and stir-fry and oatmeal and thick slabs of bread slathered with peanut butter and chia seeds (does anyone else adore chia seeds as much as I do?). It’s ridiculous. Sometimes I want to open the refrigerator and tear at things with my teeth. (Right now I’m craving blackberry whole wheat muffins smeared with about an inch of margarine. And a big glass of almond milk. And, oh heck yes, I think I’ll have two.)
I’m off to tear through whatever I can find in the fridge. Have a great week, everyone. Don’t let the post-election vibe get you down. Things are becoming very surreal, and whenever it starts to get me riled up, I tie on my Hokas, scoot my ass out the door and take myself on a nice long run. It’s the perfect prescription for combating the jowled-white-leaders-who-look-like-they’ve-never-climbed-a-mountain-or-enjoyed-wild-places-in-their-lives-but-will-soon-have-the-power-to-decide-the-fate-of-some-of-those-wild-places syndrome. I’m hoping that good will win. I’m hoping that mountains and lakes and rivers and bears and moose and deer and trees will win out over profits and money. I’m hoping that beauty trumps everything, and simplicity, and the quietness of sitting by a tree in the middle of nowhere and hearing nothing but the breeze against the branches. I’m hoping, I suppose, for a miracle. But I’m still hoping.
Last week’s stats:
Monday: 3.2 miles (goodbye, Philly)
Tuesday: 6 miles (hello, Alaska); weights; 40 minutes uphill treadmill
Wednesday: 7 miles; 24 laps swim
Thursday: 6 miles; weights; 30 minutes bike
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: 16.25 miles
Sunday: 10 miles; 20 laps swim