Saturday, July 31, 2010

July in Review... plus tons of pictures!

One of my juniors girls made a valid point yesterday. She said, "people that read your blog don't even know if you crossed the finish line of Mt. Marathon successfully."  She is right, I haven't had a post since BEFORE the race. So, here's what I've been up to:

1) A successful Mt. Marathon race where I came up short by 10 seconds (meaning I was leading the race until the last block when my legs absolutely died - I got second place.)

Going up: Cedar, me & Kikkan - exactly the order we finished in

Coming down... unfortunately my big uphill lead wasn't enough to sustain me on the downhill. Cedar had a top ten downhill time for the men's field!

Here's where she passed me with one block to go in front of thousands of people! 

2) Extreme post-race soreness (since I had not been able to train the downhill due to an ankle injury)

3) A mid-summer sickness (flu/bronchitis/extreme fatigue)

4) The celebration of my one year wedding anniversary!

5) A trip to Denali with the intention of climbing Mt. Brooks with Rob and my dad - at least until we were turned around due to bad weather. (This was planned as my only "vacation" for the summer - from both work and organized ski training.)

Pointing to Mt. Brooks with my dad, Don Brooks!

We had a gorgeous approach day with a full view of Denali and the Alaska Range

Lots of stream crossings and wet feet! I was happy to get in a great day of "non-specific" training! (Fifteen hours on our feet)

In fact it was such a long day that we stopped for a "dinner break."  Here Rob took full advantage!

After the first day our weather turned. We spent two days in our tents listening to the rain and wind waiting for it to clear. When it didn't, we had to retreat. I suppose that's mountaineering for you. I'm definitely going back to climb this beautiful mountain!  

Lucky for us, my dad had the foresight to insist that we bring along a boat. Due to all the rain we had to use it to ford multiple braids of McKinley Bar due to all the recent rain.  Take a close look at the picture - both my dad and Rob are in the boat!

The consolation prize for retreating from Denali early was a gorgeous run on Crow Pass with my dad. Here he is in front of Raven glacier. 

The wild flowers were alright too.

After Crow Pass we went dip netting on the Kenai with thousands of other Alaskans.  Here is an action shot of Rob and a fish that appears to still be alive in his hands!

Our coolers full of "bounty" for the day.  This year Rob built a smoker and we experimented with smoking fish for the first time. The outcome was great! 

Getting this much fish is definitely one of those "OIA" (Only in Alaska) experiences. The cost of living here might be high but at least we get to take home and store LOTS of wild, organic fish for the winter! 

Moving on.......

6) I recently had the biggest week of training I've had in my recorded, training-log life.  It still amazes me how often I have to feel bad to feel good - meaning that to be in top form for skiing at a certain time, I have to spend a lot of time really, really tired. It's always a balance. How much is too much and how much is not enough? (That IS the question!)

7) My big training week was followed by leading a junior dryland training camp in Talkeetna:

Junior skiers skiing up Hatcher's Pass! Here is Thomas receiving some technique advice from Katie Ronsse

Our group at the end of the ski

Thomas and Doug tearing it up in an intense bounding workout

Forest getting after it!

Those that have injuries opted to bike instead.

A sweet core routine on the dock - not bad!

At junior camp we train a lot (three times per day!) but we also emphasize fun.  The Mannix family was kind enough to have us over for a bonfire. Karen challenged all the boys to hula hoop.  If they were successful, they "won" a snickers for the OD (over distance workout) the next day. Every single boy in our group did it the first time they tried!  I have to admit - I think they were better than the girls!  

Troy loving the snickers 4 hours into the run

The next day we did a 5.5 hour ridge run/hike on Kesugi Ridge. We had mediocre weather and it was still beautiful. I can only imagine what it must be like in clear, sunny weather!

Every year we end the Talkeetna Camp (compliments of the Knapp family - thank you Alice!) with a multi-sport relay. Here is Eric Strabel giving directions. 

The teams are lined up at the start.  Luckily these kids are skiers and not rowers because admittedly, they aren't very good! (Sorry guys!)

A team shot

Another team shot

Tomorrow I (potentially) head to Eagle Glacier for a week-long on snow camp - weather depending.  I'm hoping for a bit of sunshine, some good skiing, and some sleep!  My next post will be a glacier report. Thanks for reading!

Holly :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Goal - cross the line in one (working) piece

The countdown is almost over - I'm headed down to Seward within the hour.  July 4th is always an exciting time of year.... luckily it isn't quite as hectic as last year. (I'm not getting married next week, rather celebrating my one-year anniversary!)

Me and Cedar on the way up... 

There is always a lot of hype around this race - more so than any other race in Alaska.  Maybe it's because a ton of 3,000 swells to over 30,000 for the weekend or maybe it's because the race truly epitomizes Alaska. Racers, myself included climb 3022 (to be exact!) above sea level in less than an hour and descend down a series of steep pitches, cliffs, and waterfalls in less than 15 minutes. I'll admit - I'm excited, and a bit nervous too. After last year, my goals include #1 to get down the mtn safely. I can stand pain - I don't mind blood, bruises or falls. I just don't want to withstand an injury that will keep me from training in the days, weeks and months after the race. My second goal (which is always very important to me) is to have FUN. Racing is fun.  If I can accomplish these first two goals, I believe that a good result will follow!

Here are a couple of pictures from last year:

A view of (part of) the downhill

To show the steepness of terrain

An ambulance waiting at the bottom

Looking pretty happy in the ER?

I checked myself out to cross the finish line before going back for more IV fluid and the Drs clearance

Final ER discharge - 7pm

There was an article in the ADN this morning..... check it out here if you're interested. 

Good luck to all the racers! 
Holly :)