Still running, after all this time

Holy, holy, I haven’t posted here in forever. How did that happen? How did time get so far away from me?

The good news is that I’m still running. I never stopped running; I simply stopped writing about running and I’m not sure why. Maybe I didn’t have anything to say. Maybe I had too much to say. Maybe life happened and I got caught up choices and changes and had to step back and be with myself for a while.

So much has happened that I don’t know where to begin. Here are some of the highlights:

–I ran the Anchorage RunFest 49K race in August, in the rain, and it was so cold that I had to wear gloves for more than half of the course. I ran it as a long run, not a race, and in the middle I thought: Why in the hell am I paying to run on trails less than two miles from our house? Still, I’d recommend this race to anyone looking for something longer than a marathon and especially for people who live outside of Alaska and enjoy pavement running. But for me, I’d rather run an ultra on “real” trails with crappy footing and iffy elevation gains and aid stations stocked with yummy foods.

–I ran trails all summer. A lot of trails, a lot of mileage. I saw too many moose to mention (plus one really big bull moose that charged a biker–miraculously, the biker got out of the way in time), quite a few bears and was even chased by a mama black bear with three cubs while we ran in Bicentennial Park, which really kicked in our endorphins. We had bear spray, though, so we weren’t too worried. Still, there’s nothing like glancing behind and seeing a black bear loping towards you with that look on its face. Most of the runs, though, were quiet and reflective, just me out there with all of those trees, those mountains, and all of that sky.

A rare, sunny day in the mountains.

Seriously waiting for me to catch up on the Hillside Trials.

View coming down off the Middle Fork Trail.

Me and my favorite running buddy on Peak Two.

Seriously, looking for Marmots. I think this was on the way to Peak Three.

–It was a bad year for bears in Alaska. A young runner was killed by a male black bear during the Bird Ridge mountain trail race and the very next day, a woman was killed by a male black bear while working in a more remote area of Alaska. This freaked me out because I had been charged by a black bear the year before and I couldn’t stop thinking of all of the what-ifs. I’m sorry to say that it made me a bit more cautious and often I stuck to trails that felt safer (ironically, I ended up seeing nine bears on these so-called safer trails) and rarely ventured out to more remote trails unless I had someone with me. I don’t like feeling cautious, or afraid. Yet there’s such a fine line between being cautious and being smart: Where does one end and the other begin?

–My son visited and we hiked all the places we used to hike when he was growing up. My heart–oh, my heart!

My son, coming down from Wolverine Peak.

–We bought a condo in Tucson (!!). I went down in October to check it out and sign the papers. It was a short sale and took a few months, but we returned in January and got the keys. So we now own our own little fixer-upper, our own little slice of Tucson real estate, our own little place with a front and backyard where we can sit our asses in the sun after running and hiking and riding bikes.

One of my favorite cactus, along the Hugh Norris Trail.

Sunset in Sabino Canyon.

–Seriously, our dog, was injured in November in one of the freakiest accidents ever. We were running over the snow-covered trails when she veered off into the woods. A minute later I heard the most horrible crying. I was sure a moose was attacking her (we had passed two ornery ones a mile before) so I sprinted back and found her limping along the trail dragging a spruce branch and, get this, that branch had impaled her. Yes, it went in one side of her back and came out the other. I yanked it out, half dragged her to the road and hitched a ride home. We took her to the emergency pet center, where she had emergency surgery. It was stressful. We weren’t sure if she’d ever run again. But thousands of dollars later (gulp!), she’s back, a little out of shape and a few pounds heavier, but she’s running with us again. Dogs are so amazing. They have such big, big hearts. With all the bullshit happening in the world, we could learn a lot from them.

Seriously and the “stick.”

She’s back! Seriously, pausing during a six-mile run along the inlet.


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