Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A July 4th tradition

I ran my 16th Peachtree Road Race this morning.
It was hot. It was humid. I walked quite a bit. I finished!
The race, for me, actually began Sunday at the expo. I always look forward to the expo, visiting the vendors and seeing friends. I met my friend Angela there and ran into running buddy Carolyn as well.
Yes it does! Entering the expo

Hey, that's me!

Me, Carolyn and Angela

Ready to race!
The weather forecasts were for very hot and humid, so the Atlanta Track Club put up a code red for the event. It meant lots of water and electrolytes for the two days leading up to race morning.
Angela was in charge of our costume. We wore flag tutus and patriotic headbands. While I was riding in on  MARTA I started talking with other women in tutus and they gave me their left over face stickers, so we had those, too!
All smiles

We're twins!

Wave L ready to start

And we're off!
Angela and I started out OK, but my IT band was really tight and her foot began bothering her, so we ended up walking quite a bit of the race. So, if it's hot and you find random strangers handing out Bloody Marys, you have one!
Cheers!
After we finished we visited with friends Ellie and Dave, having mimosas before we headed off to lunch. All in all, a top notch July 4th! Friends, running, food and fun is certainly my July 4th tradition.

Monday, July 3, 2017

More Than Pink

With Interstate 85 under repairs back in May, the Komen Race for the Cure in Atlanta, which is always held over Mother's Day weekend, got postponed this year until June 24.
It was with slightly weary legs that I ran the 5K this year.
I worried that with the postponement, it would be much hotter than usual for the race, but we got a little drizzle that morning. Kept temperatures down, even if it was a bit more humid.
Nevertheless it was a great event.

At the start
It's been 11 years now since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The start of the race always tears me up, though, thinking of my friends who were not so lucky to survive so long. The need to find a cure or better treatments is still very critical.
Survivor's medal
The Komen race also always makes me reflect on where I am today. It makes me realize I'm so much more than my cancer diagnosis. In fact, I am much more than pink.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

North to Alaska

I've completed a race in The Last Frontier: Alaska!
It represented state No. 26 and I can completely see why people love Alaska. I love Alaska too, now. As long as its June and daylight more than night time. :D
I flew into Anchorage on June 15 with a very quick connection in Seattle. Very quick. We were delayed on the ground in Atlanta for an hour, so it ate into all of my connection time, but I made it onto my next plane, thank goodness!
Got some nice shots from the plane. I'm not sure what range this is, but it was near Prince William Sound.
View from the plane
With the time change from Eastern Daylight Saving Time, I landed in Anchorage at what felt like 2 a.m. to me, but it was 10 p.m. Alaska time.
My friend Peggy and her family picked me up and got me to our B&B, the Arctic Fox Inn. It was a nice little B&B. My room didn't have many bells and whistles, but that's not what I needed this trip. Just a place to lay my head at night.
Making a new friend in Alaska
Our first full day in Alaska we drove down to Girdwood for lunch. We made a stop along the way at Beluga Point, but we didn't see any whales that day.
Beluga Point
After lunch in Girdwood, we continued on for a quick drive to Whittier, through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, the world's longest highway tunnel cut through a mountain. It's about 2.5 miles and kind of creepy, since you can see water dripping down the sides of the tunnel inside. There are also signs everywhere on what to do if there is a car fire in the tunnel. Yikes!
We didn't really do anything in Whittier. We thought it would be a quaint little town, but it was really industrial, so we headed back toward Portage to see the glaciers. We almost took a boat ride, but decided to do a hike to Byron Glacier along a trail. It took us about a half hour to hike in and we were not disappointed.
Hiking in

Byron Glacier

See the blue? That's the glacier

A little more detail on the glacier
It was a fairly easy trail, so if you decide to go, it is kid- and beginner-friendly.
We returned to Anchorage and stopped by the Lake Hood Seaplane Base, the busiest seaplane airport. It was really cool watching planes land and take off and they did so quite frequently.
Landing

Landing on Lake Hood
The Anchorage Mayor's Half Marathon was June 17. Peggy and I were up and ready in plenty of time.
Me and Peggy

At the start
The course was mostly along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, so there were pros and cons. Pros: beautiful views along a fairly well maintained asphalt trail. Cons: Lots of folks were on the trail as well on bikes and jogging, especially at the back end of our course, and runners were attacked by swarms of mosquitoes! I was afraid I was eating a lot of them as I ran through an area that was pretty bad.
Westchester Lagoon


Along the course
We passed near Westchester Lagoon and then out to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. We ran along a back access road, and I should have gotten a photo of the sign, but we were suddenly warned "Caution: Jet Blast Area." I did not want to get blasted!
The course took a dogleg into some woods, where it then became a crazy cross country course until we met up again with the coastal trail to head back to the finish. There was a woman just before we headed into the woods who shouted "Bug spray! Who wants bug spray?" Me. I got sprayed down, but I really didn't meet up with the swarm on the way back.
I finished not in record time, and I was tired and sore, since I did not train properly.
Finished!
Still I was happy state No. 26 was complete! Had lunch at F Street Station afterward and rewarded myself.
How every half marathon should end
Finisher's medal
After lunch, where I ate a really good grilled halibut sandwich, we headed up to Denali National Park and Preserve and our cabin at McKinley Creekside Cabins. I will say the view from the cabins was stunning.
Carlos Creek at our cabin site
Our big day in Denali was June 18, when we did a flightseeing tour with Kantishna Air Taxi. We got really lucky, as Denali was out that day.
Peggy and me in the tiny plane!

Polychrome district

View from the plane

Mount Mather

Denali (Harper Glacier is in the notch between the two peaks)

Tiny little Cessna and pilot Jim
We landed at Skyline Lodge, had lunch there, then took the park bus back to the park entrance, where our car was parked. This link shows our bus ride (in reverse), but it also explains a bit about the polychrome mountains and the areas we saw and visited. We did see Wonder Lake and Reflection Lake (although no reflection). Along the way we saw moose, a mother bear and her two cubs, caribou (females with their young up on a glacier for protection), male caribou close to the road, Dall sheep way up on a cliff, snowshoe hare and possibly a lynx that was quick to run into the bushes. Our guide/driver didn't see the lynx, so he could only guess at what we saw based on our descriptions of it.
The locked antlers at Eielson Visitor Center

A ground squirrel at Eielson
 We made a couple of stops along the park road, including at Eielson Visitor Center, where we could pick up moose antlers to see how heavy they are. Moose shed their antlers annually and they really are heavy! We couldn't pick  up the locked antlers. Those were found among the remains of two moose that got into a fight, got locked, and apparently starved to death when they could not free themselves.

Caribou near the road

More of the polychrome mountains
 We had dinner that evening at 49th State Brewing Company, which has locations in Anchorage and Healy, near the park. We ate at the Anchorage location June 16, but I think the Healy location was better. I had the yak burger that night. It was good!
Sign posts at 49th State Brewing Company in Healy
The morning of June 19 we were up early to tour Husky Homestead and learn about sled dogs and their training.
I have a new friend!

Puppies!

Sled dogs in training
An Iditarod sled used by Jeff King, owner of Husky Homestead
 Husky Homestead is owned by Iditarod champion Jeff King, so it was his staff that gave the tour. It was well done. I learned a lot about Alaskan huskies and the race and training. King wasn't there this time, unfortunately. He was on vacation. But I still got to play with puppies!
We drove back to Anchorage later that day with a stop for lunch in Talkeetna.
Talkeetna mountains

Talkeetna mountains
 My last full day in Alaska I was back  in Anchorage and on my own. My friends departed the night before to head home, so I toured more of downtown Anchorage and happened upon the Alaska Public Lands Information Center. It offered free interactive displays, some documentaries, and a walking tour of downtown public art.
As close as I want to get (and he's stuffed)
Another bear, but a safe one
Alaska was such an incredible trip. I could not have asked for a better adventure in The Last Frontier.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Fun time in the summertime

One of my favorite community races is the Virginia-Highland Summerfest 5K.
Today's race was no exception.
This morning's race was cooler than several I've run at this time of year. Early June in Atlanta can just be brutal.
My friend Michelle said she would not run this one with me because she remembers too well having sweat and sunscreen leave her practically blind after the race.
Well, I finished today and had stinging eyes from sweat. I learned my lesson not to wear sunscreen!
I didn't do too  badly today. I think it was one of my better 5K times this year. The temps were fairly good for this time of year, too.
I didn't get a photo, and I should have, but one of the reasons I love this race is the Kyle Pease Foundation always showed up for this race.
Kyle Pease was born with CP, but his brother Brent has found a way to run with him on major races, including triathalons! It is so inspiring to see disabled runners participating with their able-bodied partners. I found out about this organization through my work, because I know and have worked with their dad, Richard.
Next year I will be sure to get a photo, because the organization is growing. What started with just a few Kyle Pease Foundation runners must have had a dozen this year, or more!
And I always love seeing the artists setting up at Summerfest as I head back to my car after the a race. So wonderful and I get to see it all without the crowds that will arrive later in the day.
I certainly had my fun at Summerfest today!

When the bridge is out, find another race!

So, in Atlanta, traffic can  be a bear.
It can especially be traumatic when a fire under an overpass along Interstate 85 causes a bridge to collapse.
That happened on March 30. The unintended consequences of that traffic nightmare was the Komen Race for the Cure in Atlanta, scheduled for May 13, was postponed until June.
So I quickly signed up for the Tucker Road Race on May 13. I never get to run this race, because the Komen race is always the same weekend. This year, I'll get to do both!
But I have to laugh. The road to the Tucker Road Race was not a pleasant one.
I tripped on rough sidewalk on my way to the start and landed on my car keys. I was bruised!
Despite that, I ran the race.
Running along the Tucker Road Race
Again, not my best time. I feel like I'm more and more injured. But it was nice to run a race that was so close to the house that I haven't been able to run in a while.
The race benefits Tucker High School's orchestra and band. What's not to love? The band even played us out to the start!
I might have been "Tuckered" out after the race, but it was worth it.

Around the Rock

I found a 5-mile race running around a familiar rock: Stone Mountain.
I ran the FODAC 5 Miler at Stone Mountain Park with my running buddy Carolyn in late May.
To be fair, this race was so disorganized. If I had known how disorganized it was, I probably would not have signed up. For example, they forgot to bring the race numbers. Oops!
But it benefits Friends of Disabled Adults and Children. There were A LOT of inspiring people out on that course, so my initial feelings that this was wholly disorganized was checked fairly quickly.
I am blessed to be able to run those hilly 5 miles at Stone Mountain and I helped those who struggle with mobility. Always good to have a reality check in life!
Runner support!

Carolyn and me
And for May, this race was down right cold. who would have thought I would be digging out gloves and a beanie hat for a race in Atlanta in May???
So, not my best time. I know this is a challenging course. I run it every Sunday as a train for my next half marathon. But it was a great morning and I'm glad to have challenged myself around the rock.