Monday, June 8, 2015

11 Marathons is enough for me...

Eleven Marathons is enough for me…. 

As some of you know this past winter I traveled the world competing in ski marathons. Over the course of 5 months I competed in 11 ski marathons sprinkled throughout 10 countries. My final race took me all the way to Siberia and the season went three weeks longer than usual. Needless to say, I was tired - I am tired and consequently there will be no Mount Marathon 2015 in my future. 

Here I am post finish line last year.... not my best look... 

Believe me, I am disappointed. It's bound to be a flag-ship, exciting year with Internationally ranked "celebrity" competition (Emelie Forsberg & Killian Jornet) plus the move of Allie Ostrander to the senior race. Course records seem to be falling right and left this year and I wouldn't be surprised to see some blazing times in Seward with the depth of competition in both the men's and women's races. 

Over the years I've harnessed a very personal, palpable relationship with Mount Marathon. I credit the race and my 2009 trip to the ER with my move towards becoming a professional athlete.  For the past seven summers it's been the poignant date in the summer months.  Somehow there is "pre-Mount Marathon" and "post-Mount Marathon" each year.  In the past few years the race has resulted in the disappearance of Michael LeMaitre, traumatic brain injuries, cuts, scraps and bruises.  And - for some reason, people still fight for the opportunity to hurl themselves 3022 feet up & down the mountain. For these reasons, I suppose it makes sense Mount Marathon holds the nick-name, "the Olympics of Alaska."  

2009 where it took nearly an hour to start in IV... 
I don't feel like I need to make excuses for my absence but I realize that it's easier to offer a full explanation behind my decision. I know the effort that is required for me to be safe and competitive in this race..... One needs to be seething with motivation, and your/my killer instinct needs to be sharp and ready to go. I've been in that zone in the past and I just don't have the energy (physical, emotional, mental) for it this year.

Post race ice cream bars, 2011

So, good luck to everyone that plans and hopes to race this year!!! I'll miss it dearly but I know it's the right call for me. In the meantime, if you have the Mount Marathon fever or are alternatively curious to learn more about the race and/or get an inside peak into the minds of race competitors don't miss the premiere of 3022ft Everyone's got mountains to climb - a full length documentary made about last year's race at the Beartooth!  There will be two showings June 24th complete with schwag and an athlete panel. 


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Spring powder, peaks, family & friends....

Well, the hiatus, procrastination and silence is over!  Perhaps you've noticed a trend in my blog...... when things go well, I generally post more often. When things don't go well there is often a period of silence. I've tried to break this habit as there is always something to say, even if it's a simple lesson learned but easier said that done. 

My last FIS Marathon Cup race in Russia was over a month and a half ago and needless to say, it did not go well. In fact, I don't think I've ever been that tired in a race and/or skied so poorly.  The two weeks leading up to the race I wasn't physically sick but could barely get out of bed. Maybe it was a low-level virus that took its toll or maybe it was just the 5-month accumulation of international travel, living out of a duffel bag, and racing too many 50ks! All said and done I raced 18 races, 11 of which were marathons in 10 different countries. In hindsight the racing, combined with the travel was too much but live and learn, right? 

 3rd place in the FIS Marathon Cup 

So far my spring (and early summer now) have been dedicated to recovery and spending some time doing things that I've put on the back burner for a while now. The past five years have been a big push towards my competition goals and they have required a lot of dedication, commitment and sacrifice. Don't worry - they haven't been without fun too! But, I've done some fun trips this spring, just returned from an extended trip down to Washington to see my family, and am now enjoying setting up my routine here at home. 

Here are a few pictures for a quick update: 

Birthday presents: roses and personalized license plate decals 

In lieu of Hawaii or a tropical beach I opted to stay in Alaska for my spring vacation. 

Luckily the weather was on our side and so where the conditions 

 We had an awesome group which included Katie & Justin Libby & Zoe Roy

The accoms weren't too shabby either! 

My Salomon Q115 where the perfect ski for the killer conditions! 

Rob soaking up the last rays of sunshine and powder before being picked up by Talkeetna Air Taxi! 

School visits - this time Teeland Middle School in Wasilla 

 Perfect Spring Alaskan Days 

 Preschool graduation? Caps and gowns? What is the world coming too? 

 Talking about my marathon season on KTVA's Daybreak 

The boys! 

 Beach bike ride on Fat Tires - why not? 

Keynote at the Girl Scouts Young Women of Distinction Luncheon

A successful climb up Tikishla

High school graduation parties! 

 Alaska with friends

 More of Alaska with friends 

 Floral explosion in Seattle 

 A dedication of a new stone wall and structure at my Dad's garden in Seattle, Kubota Gardens 

 Family hiking trip in the North Cascades. Four days of rain but it was gorgeous and we made it to the top of Castle Peak which is my dad's 99th peak in his quest to climb the top 100 peak in Washington! (w/400 feet of prominence. He's already completed the top 100 "Bulgar List.")
Rob & his sister, Heather. Their first outdoor trip together in 13 years!?

Dad pointing at the top of Castle.... this is the only good look we had the whole time. Otherwise it was foggy with nearly zero viz... 

Then we went to Shaw Island to help my brother on his next "tiny house."  He's helped us in Hope and it was our turn to return the favor in the form of roofing, wiring, and insulating. 

Two fire fighters on Shaw Island: Scott shows Rob some of the Shaw Island volunteer fire fighter regalia. Scott keeps a pretty fun blog which you can check out HERE if at all interested. 

And more recently a new set of wheels compliments of Kendall Toyota of Anchorage. I upgraded to heated seats which I used today - June 2nd! :( 

That's it for now. Hopefully I'll get back to writing about something with substance rather than just posting pictures.... but no one ever complains about pictures. 

What's on tap for the summer you might ask? School!  I'm taking 2.5 graduate classes towards my Masters in Counseling Psychology. I have one course remaining this fall + internship (which is a substantial 600 hours!) then graduation. More on this later. 

 This past winter was a true test of endurance in many ways: physically, emotionally, mentally & logistically. I know I'm brushing over the synopsis here but perhaps I'll feel more inclined to write about it in detail later. Thanks so much for the cheers, support, and words of encouragement.

Until then, enjoy your June, wherever you may be. 

Holly :)