Whittier Tunnel Walk 2011

Entrance to the the tunnel

On Sunday, Fathers day, The March of Dimes hosted a walk through the Whittier tunnel. A fun fact about this tunnel, its the longest combined train/automotive tunnel in North America at 2.5 miles. Whittier started out as a Military outpost during World War II, but to get supplies there they had to drill through the tunnel. In an effort to save time, they started drilling at either side of the mountain, and met in the middle. Turns out they were off, but only by about an inch.

       
Me and my Friend Rachel

When we reached the visitor’s center, it looked as though they were wrapping up. I couldn’t quite figure out what was happening- where were all the people?! Suddenly a women hollered, “All walker’s on the bus! The bus is leaving now!”

Turns out the walk didn’t start at the visitor’s center, it started about two miles further down the road, at the actual tunnel. Who knew?

Me in my required hard hat.

It was so neat inside. The tunnel was lit at the top, and all sides were covered by netting, and it was kinda wet inside.  (Thats what she said.)

The light at the end of the tunnel

 The further we got in, the more stale the air became. At two points, volunteers were handing out water bottles. I grabbed one, even though I had brought my own. I always bring my own.

Upon exiting the tunnel, to the left.

 When we reached the end, we weren’t really sure what was going to happen next. Did we have to walk back to the otherside? Where were all the finishers ahead of us? Why did it have to be so dreary?

Turns out, they loaded us into the buses once more, and took us into town. Rachel and I grabbed some halibut and chips, and a beer. The thing is about this, the walk was technically free. There was no registration fee. If I had known all that went into organizing this event, I would have actually tried to donate. Next year, I definitely plan to.

beers

We sat at a table for 6 people, and so two others joined us. One was a retired designer, the other a school administrator. We had a fantastic conversation about life and where we came from, death, and of course, bear attacks. 

Me at Portage Lake.

God, I love Alaska.

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Saruman the Chatterbox (Rated R for Language)

After a long day of wandering around the mall, I met up with my friend Rachel and we went on a “run” not far from my place of residence. As I was getting ready to leave, Saruman walked in, and I causually invited her. She decided to join in, and after waiting for her to change, we left.

Rachel is a very fit person and went off running at a pace I can only dream about. Saruman and I stayed behind, I wanted to get a longer walk in before I started off running, and she decided to stay with me. At first she seemed surprised at how slow I was going, and kind of made comments about it. “Oh, I thought were were going to go at a full tilt pace” and “this is a lot easier than I thought” “this isn’t hard at all, some people just run really slow, I guess.”

Foul Language Ensues….

I wanted to punch her and say, “bitch, I weigh 300 pounds. The fact that I’m jogging at all is a fucking miracle, now shut your fat fucking mouth before I toss your fucking ass in the ocean!”

Instead I just tried to focus on my breathing and nodded along to her incessant chatter. Usually I’m a good and happy listener, but then she starts saying things like, “Oh yeah, my friend trained me to run 6 miles 12 years ago. I guess I still have my endurance,” and “not much of a runner, hm.” and I take a hit on my confidence because clearly she thought I was more capable than I am.

I’m trying to be understanding and listening and calm and all those things that good people do, and I especially don’t want to start a conflict with her, but dammit, I wish someone would rip out her vocal chords already.

/rant

I’m really excited about tomorrow. I have confirmed my plans with Rachel and the three of us will be going to Portage Glacier, the start of the Whittier Tunnel Walk. Its the longest tunnel in North America, and Whittier is one of the most magical places I’ve ever seen. I’m hoping having a familiar friend around will make it easier to be around Saruman. And hopefully I’ll actually be able to post pictures from my last three walks. I know I’m laggin’ on that front.

Until next time, friends.

June Goals and May Round Up

Mt. Susitna, 2011

So, to recap the spectacle that was the month of May:

I got a new roommate and almost immediately, drama ensued. I had all sorts of plans for Mother’s Day, which were intercepted by my friend, but made for a significantly more enjoyable weekend. After spending literally months convincing myself I didn’t want to attend one of my best friend’s wedding, I finally made the decision, and to be honest, it was such a beautiful event. I’m so glad I went. While I was in Ohio, the Blogger Apocalypse happened and my Anniversary post kind of got passed over. I lost 30 lbs in a year, eating whatever I wanted. Ideally, I would have lost more, but the important thing to remember is, after actively gaining weight for nearly 10 years, I have finally made a huge commitment with evidential proof that my health is precious and I’m finally putting it up as a priority. I wrapped the month up with a nice long walk; 9.5 miles to be exact.

AKRFW, 2010

This month, I’ve got two races lined up, the Skinny Raven Twilight 12k which is THIS friday, right after work. The Alaska Run for Women is the next Saturday. I might end up banditing that one… I keep trying to register, and they keep not registering me. Its very frustrating. On three seperate occasions, they have not charged me a single time, and well… fine, AKRFW. Don’t take my money. I will still go. I will always go as long as I’m in this state.

As for the rest of the month, my goals are centered around progressing with c25k. I think I kinda chickened out. It doesn’t seem right that I should be running at any pace at the weight I’m currently at. I lost my balls, and now I gotta get them back.  I also need to do a better job of tracking my food. I think for this week I’m going to take pictures of all my meals. Starting Wednesday, and going through til the 11th because the holiday has totally screwed me up. Oops.

Hope everyone’s June is as awesome as they hope it to be!

Current weight: 290.1

Point Worzonof Walk 2011

Friday after work, I got my butt in gear and started to pack for my outing. I wasn’t really sure how long it would take since I was going for distance, not speed and made sure to pack a clif bar and some granola. Before catching the bus home I bought a very large bottle of water. I meant to sneak some bottles from work but forgot until I was all the way down the street!

I tried finding a friend or two to go walking with me, but as soon as I said 10 miles they were all, “Um yeah… no.”

source

The walk from the starting point on the trail was actually only 3.75 miles each way, but I walk from my house which adds an additional mile, for the final total of about 9.5 miles.

While I was packing but before I left, I realized I had lost my keys somewhere. I remembered taking the off the hook so I could put them in my pocket, but then mysteriously could not find them ANYWHERE. Luckily my roommate was downstairs and I was able to ask her to leave the door unlocked. She didn’t really seem comfortable with the idea, her eyebrows rise up in a way that says, “I’ll go ahead and agree to this but whether or not it actually happens is a different story.” /foreshadowing

Just before 7pm I set off on my journey.

Westchester Lagoon is probably one of my favorite spots in Anchorage. They have a disc golf course, and plenty of room to picnic around in. Plus there is this gorgeous body of water that people boat on during the summer and ice skate on during the winter. Many of the races I go on will go by this at some point.

I was really excited to get my walk on, but there were so many photo ops, I had to stop and take a few.

This is where the trail begins at the Lagoon. In reality it starts about 2 miles earlier than this at the Ship Creek trail head.

The view half way around the Lagoon. I look at these mountains every day. I’m overwhelmed by the prettiness that is just in Anchorage, let alone outside of the city!

Not going to lie: I was kind of getting irritated with myself at this point. But… baby ducks. Gotta stop and look at the baby ducks. They’re just so cute!

Finally getting a move on, and just before the mile 1 marker, A view of where I would be walking to. Point Worzonof.

Got a little color in my cheeks, but happy and moving. There were a lot of people on the trail so I wasn’t too worried about Moose stepping out of the trees, and had my headphones in. I was rocking out to a playlist of my own design. A Genius playlist, based on Rolling in the Deep by Adele, cause I love her.

Just before reaching Mile 3, there is Earthquake Park. It was really shady and entrenched with mosquitoes, so I paused long enough to get a little stretch in, mow down on some trail mix and then started moving again.

I didn’t see a mile marker 4 point, but I figured it could have been too far off from my destination. Just towards the end, the hill going down got very steep and very curvy. I started cursing, knowing I would have to walk back up it, but when I did, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Or possibly I just couldn’t feel my legs. Time of arrival: 8:59pm.

I paused and had some more trail mix, drank some more water. I sat in the grass, and just enjoyed the view. The thing I love most about Point Worzonof is that the Airport is right next to it, and quite often the planes will take off and make their final descent right over head. It smells like jet fuel, but I don’t care because its awesome.

 Above: Mount Susitna, or as the locals call it, The Sleeping Lady.

Now, I started getting tired. My stamina was rapidly disappearing. I even had to turn on my Awesome Opossum play list to keep me going. I was not pleased.

Before I knew it, I had made it back to the Lagoon. My home was only a hop, skip, jump of a mile away!

Beautiful reflection. There are these broken down boxes that look like at one point they must have been part of a dock. I don’t really know what they are. On the other side of those tree’s is a hill from hell that I love to ascend. Last year I had to stop several times to get up it. Now I don’t at all. It was originally part of my route this walk, but I’m not sure I could have done it would injuring myself at that point. I had nothing left.

I finally reached my home, at 11:01pm. I walked up on the porch and turned my door knob… well, tried to turn my doorknob. It was locked. After discussing with Suraman that the door should be left unlocked, it was not. So I spent the next 20 minutes pounding on the door, yelling her name up at the window (her light was still on), and even enlisted my neighbors to help me get in my apartment. Finally she comes down, wrapped in a towel, hair all wet.

Of course she was in the shower. How can I possibly blame her for wanted the door locked when she’s in the shower?

I used the very last of my energy to make a protein smoothie, took it up stairs, cleared my room well enough that I could put my legs up against my wall, and left them there for 22 minutes, or approximately the length of one How I Met Your Mother episode. Specifically, the Lucky Penny Episode where Marshall trains to run the New York City Marathon, only to break his toe the day before the race. Barney runs in his place without having trained, and then later gets stuck on the subway because he can’t move his legs. Legendary.

I spent Saturday in a haze of useless brain, spent money on clothes I don’t actually need, and can’t really afford, missed my friend’s BBQ, and was angry the whole day.I ate a lot of carbs, but I didn’t eat a lot, so that was good.

Stamina. Its something I need.

Instead of THIS, Try THIS!

After conferring with my cousin, my mother and one of my friends, I’ve decided not to go on the Bird Ridge trip. Today, I am acutely aware of my IT band, and the bottom of my calves feel like they’ve been ripped and slathered in lactic acid… which is probably the case.

So instead of ascending 3500 feet in 2.5 miles, I’ll just walk 10 miles instead. I keep meaning to get in a long walk, and since the weather has been so beautiful these last couple of days, I just don’t think I can put it off any longer. Because 10 miles on a relatively flat course is going to be a lot easier than 2.5 with over a mile elevation gain… right? I’m crazy. Thats all there is to it.

Expect a full report on Saturday!

source

Over the weekend

My friend took this picture of me over the weekend. I don’t recognize myself in any of it, well, except for the purse and phone. I really want to ask her to take it off the internet, but if I don’t have these reminders, then it’ll be easier to pretend I don’t have a problem. This is what the rest of the world sees when they look at me.

In two fridays I have a 12k to walk, immediately after work. I’m excited, but I must admit, I totally forgot about it until just this morning, and, I really haven’t done any “long” walks. I cap out at about 3 miles. I am really planning on getting one in this weekend. I might make it my only plan this weekend, in fact. The week after the 12k, there’s the Alaska Run for Women, which is 5 miles, but as I’ll be walking to and from the starting line, it’ll end up being closer to 8. My body is still under prepared for this. I need to shift my focus and start doing more, challenging myself more.

Instead of going to the gym this morning, I went on a walk around the neighborhood. It was nice to get out and enjoy the sunny weather.

I kind of got derailed, going to Ohio last week. I’m slowly getting things back on track, but damn it’s hard. I bought a pack of cigarettes upon my arrival home, despite that I had quit nearly two years ago. I’m not happy to admit this. I bought a second pack, and gave 75% of it to my friend (the same one who took the picture). I’m done with that now. For now.

One day at a time.

Mother’s Day Weekend

Me, and my awesome cleavage

… aka: Where Nothing Goes as Planned. (I hear this is basically the heart of motherhood, so I’m glad we’re already on track!)

Friday after work,  I wandered around midtown Anchorage, running a few errands, but hoping to find a heart rate monitor. Its really been bothering me that I don’t always know how my heart is doing, and the more I work out, the longer I run, the more it stresses me out. I didn’t find what I was looking for at Walmart, Fred Meyer or Sears, but I didn’t really expect to. What I did find was long lines, former clients and a sore body from wearing shoes I should have thrown away two years ago.

Beaumarie

Its always weird when I run into former clients out side of work. I never know what to say… Yup, still doing the same thing, boring I know. Like my stability is an oddity or something. One of my kids is working at one of the aforementioned stores which is awesome. The other one is moving out of state in a few days, on a whim, with no real plan. I wanted to tell her she was being dumb, but the truth is, I think it’ll be a great experience for her, even if it blows up in her face. Maybe even especially if it blows up in her face.

Friday night I went to see Cedar Rapids, with Ed Helms. It was… raunchy. It was really difficult to care about the plot, even though I loved all the characters. I won’t say anything more than that, because, well, if I never saw it again, it’d be okay.

Megan and Beau

Saturday, I had every intention of going to the gym, or going on an 8 mile walk. I did neither. Instead i stayed in bed until 2:30pm, walked up to REI, bought myself a Polar ft4 because I simply couldn’t wait/resist/stop myself, and then stopped by titlewave which is this totally awesomely huge used bookstore, and picked up a vegetarian cookbook, Women Runners, and The Complete Book of Running for Women. Knowledge is power, and while reading blogs are nice, I wanted something that wasn’t backlit to gather information from. I’m hoping in the following weeks the cookbook will come in handy as I am running out of things to eat that aren’t… gross. I think in the following weeks I’m going to make a new recipe once or twice a week and share it here.

Megan and Nathaniel

Saturday evening I went to see Something Borrowed with my friends. It was cute, if a bit droll. And even though I am generally very open to how relationships come to pass, and the circumstances life brings, some aspects of it got really annoying really quickly. I won’t say which one(s), but if you’d like go guess, or you’ve read/seen it and know, then I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. I would love to read the books that it was based on as I think the character development as meant by the author would be a bit more intriguing. I do plan on purchasing it when it comes out; it’ll be a great movie to watch on rainy afternoons.

Sunday I was invited to brunch with my BFF and her husband and two adorable children. It was a chilly afternoon, but we ate at the park and the kids played for a bit on the slides and rocking horse. Beaumarie (aged 2) did not like the swing at all. She does however, love my tits. Can’t really blame her, they’re pretty awesome. My boobs are like a pillow. After the park, they invited me to have dinner with them as well. I really wanted to go on my walk, but the weather was getting ugly and as we were driving back to their place, it started to rain. We watched Dirty Dancing, then started to get dinner ready. Dinner for them was steak, potatoes and corn. There wasn’t enough corn for me, which was fine, so I had chicken and potatoes. Everything just seemed a little undercooked. Undercooked chicken is never something you want, and I didn’t eat most of my second piece.

Angel food cake with strawberries

Dessert was angel food cake with strawberries. I guess she bought the strawberries presugared, so they were pretty sweet. I 86’d the coolwhip because its gross. Then the babies were put to bed and I was taken home. It was really nice hanging out with them, but it reinforced the whole, “I never want babies” thing. They cry too much.

After I was dropped off, my roommate and I finally went on a walk. A short walk, two miles all together. It gave us time to chat a little more. She likes telling the same stories over and over. And not listening to me, or letting me speak. It’s very easy for my conversation to get lost because it takes me a while to formulate what I want to say, and then even longer sometimes to make sure I’m not tripping over my words. She’s not really one for idle silence, while I have no problem letting the conversation cease. I did let her know that I’m a fiercely independent person, so hopefully she won’t get too offended when I don’t invite her to be a part of my life.

Beaver

At some point, I called my mom several times to wish her a happy day, and to hear how it all went, but each time I called her I was interrupted by someone else. But just in case its not clear, I love who I am today, and I wouldn’t be me, if not for my mom. I hope every had a great weekend. I know I did. I’m really excited to use my heart rate monitor on Tuesday when I go to the gym. I’ll be starting week 4 of C25k!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Heart Run 2011

 What can I say about the Heart Run of 2011? It was a cold blustery day, that was only made colder by activity followed by inactivity. I had hoped my new roommate and one of my friends would join me, but they bailed at the last second, so I was on my own, yet again. Of course, that didn’t stop me from participating. I got there about an hour early, and while it was chilly out, I didn’t feel like it was too cold. The clouds were shrouding the sky everywhere except for over the mountains, which made the morning look pretty dramatic, indeed.

The Heart Run this year had a nice tribute going on for me. About three years ago, my father had a heart attack alone in his apartment, and died. It was not the first one he had, but it certainly was the last. While it took some time to motivate me into a healthier life style, I am finally starting to get there, so it was nice to be surrounded by those who had experienced heart disease and lived through it, or share in the memory of those who did not survive it, and still, fitness and running aficionados who just love to move and sweat for the sake of it.

I guess there were about 6000 registrants this year, making the Heart Run one of the biggest in the state. I started out with the timed running group, even though I planned walking most of it. I jogged for about the first 2 minutes, mostly because there were people lining the barriers cheering us on, and well, I wanted to feel special. However, as it has been for all of my other races, the shin splints got me pretty quick, and took the rest of the first mile to work out.

The Run started in the very back parking lot of the UAA campus, went down to the main road, took a detour, wrapped around APU’s campus and went back to the parking lot, making a very odd shaped T. Even though I was experiencing some shin splints during the first mile, there was this group of people walking ahead of me, and I decided I wanted to catch up to them. So I jogged. I picked light posts to start and stop at, and completed the first mile at 17:50.

I was really excited just after we passed the mile 2 marker at 33:22 because just beyond it were a group of native drummers. I love drums for the atmosphere they create, for some reason they just lift my heart. I wish I had actually stopped to get a better picture of them, but alas, I was in my zone, and pictures are a distraction.

As we wrapped behind the APU dorms, and started heading downhill again, I decided I was going to jog all the way down it. So I did. I stopped momentarily to take this picture:

Isn’t he totes cute? He was giving out high fives to all the passersby.

Now, I know I shouldn’t get all uppity about my time, and that finishing is the greatest part of participating because it means I’m capable, and while my friends and strangers were home nursing hangovers, I was being awesome and healthy. But. The first woman to finish the race did so in 16:58. That is less time than it took me to finish one mile, and she did just over 3. I’m so jealous. Anyway. I’m nearly over it.

Afterward, I stuck around to see who would win the drawing of Alaska Airline tickets, and got a slice of cinnamon chip bread from Great Harvest. It was so cold, I thought I would cry. I should have gone around the track again, so I could stay warm! I caught the bus in the nick of time, did some light grocery shopping, went home, talked with my roommate a little bit, and then slept for 16 hours. It was great, but I’m thinking I need to work on my stamina a little bit more. After all, it was only 3.1 miles.

Ready

This weekend through me through quite the loop. I think I’m about back to normal, but I’m still really struggling with the hiccups of life. When I get sick, the first thing I do is turn to food. It is such an automatic thing and even when I realize its happening, I make every excuse I can to ensure that it does happen.

Anyway. I’m ready to move on.

Speaking of ready…

I am ready to run. Every part of me wants it, craves it. I dream about running. Running marathons, running on the beach, running from crazy murderers… I’m completely obsessed. Currently however, I am still on w3d1, and haven’t actually attempted any real time since last Wednesday. Perhaps part of the problem is that I’ve derailed my training, and my body just literally misses the effort. 

I walked two miles this morning instead of going to the gym this morning, but I don’t feel like it counts. Is my body sore? Yup. Did I earn it? Nope. I want to earn the burn, and I know its only going to happen if I make it happen.

Only sometimes… I wish I was already there. I am so ready to be at the end of this c25k training. I just want to run forever. I sure wish my body would get with the program and catch up.

One day at a time.