Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My 15 seconds of fame

Living in a red state is definitely a new challenge for me. So it's nice to get out every once in awhile and spend some time with like minded people. Just to remind me that they are around. Last Saturday, we met for an Alaska Women for Obama rally on the park strip. And guess what?

I was on the news. You would never know it was me because it was about 10 degrees and I had a ski jacket on with my hood up. But at the very end of this video you will see two women spinning and dancing off the screen. That's me and Laura.

Alaska Woman for Obama Rally

So I've pretty much taken the entire month of October off. I got burnt out on running and biking, so I haven't been doing either of those.

I have managed to start to get strong for climbing though. Monday nights are the infamous Core climbing classes that pretty much cripple anyone attending for the rest of the week. Thursday's I've been getting into the rock gym with a bunch of coworkers for a long lunch climb.

It's really amazing how fast I am getting my strength back. I pretty much picked up where I left off as far as what grade I can climb, but I am working on getting my endurance back. After 2 hours of climbing I'm pretty much sufficiently pumped and even have trouble typing on my keyboard when back at work in the afternoon.

Looks like I'll be back to blogging to. I took a little break from blogging as well because I figured you probably didn't want to hear about the way I organized my bathroom closet or the book on Agile Programming that I read or about how I cleaned up all the dog poop in my back yard or about the fabulous Beef Stew that I made. I'm getting a little too comfortable around the house and am figuring it is time to get back out into the mountains. Soon.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I know I'm not getting out enough when...

... my house is clean. Cleaning is generally my lowest priority. If I have the opportunity for some outdoor adventure you can be sure that I will be there. If I'm not outside I'm usually in the kitchen cooking or baking something. If I'm not doing that I'm reading or relaxing on the couch. Then, if I have any free time left after all of this, I clean.

Lately the house has been pretty clean. We had Laura living with us for a few weeks, so that motivated me to get it together. Also, every quarter I try to go through all my stuff and give away or sell what I don't use in order to keep the clutter down. I don't like owning a ton of stuff. So I have been working on that.

I started noticing last night how organized the house was. I also noticed how soft I am getting around the middle. It's amazing how fast this can happen. Since last November I have been training continuously for different races and had been working out up to 6 days a week. Sometimes twice a day. So I have been in pretty good shape. I told myself I would take it easy in September, but now it's October and my motivation to get back into a regular workout routine has not arrived yet.

This week I'm forcing myself back into it. After not being able to climb an overhang at the Ice Festival last weekend that my students were getting up and then huffing and puffing on my bike ride last Wednesday, I've decided it's time to get my strength back. And although this is probably boring for all of you to read, I'm writing it down in here to keep myself accountable.

Here is my early winter plan (up until Christmas time when I invariably take another break). I actually have a gym membership that I haven't used in a month, so let's start with that. Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 5:45am there is a spinning class that I want to go to. Yikes that is early, but I would like to try it. Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings I will jog and/or hike with Niko and as soon as the snow flies (we actually had some last night but it didn't stick) that will turn into cross country skiing with Niko.

Add to that Yoga and the Rock Gym for strength during lunch breaks and I have a well rounded routine. This will leave most of my evenings free to do whatever I feel like. If I feel like skiing or going for a bike ride I will, or if I just feeling like watching a movie and cooking a hot meal, I won't have to feel guilty.

As soon as possible I will be doing a lot of ice climbing on the weekends. I'm hoping to get out of the Anchorage area this year and doing some exploring. I have every other Friday off which I plan on using for some sort of adventure. This Friday I'm heading back out to the Matanuska Glacier in search of a bottomless moulin that people have lowering into and climbing out of.

Friday, October 3, 2008

We are smarter than this

Were these people watching the same debate that I was last night? This just proves that most people don't really listen. They are just waiting for their turn to talk. This is a nightmare. Once again the American Presidential Election has become a circus. We are smarter than this people, or are we?

I never win anything

This weekend I planned on getting out my winter clothes and swapping them out with my summer clothes. I usually do this twice a year, while going through and selling or giving away what I don't wear, and figuring out if I'm missing any key pieces for the season.

I also planned on figuring out my winter bike commuting outfit since most mornings this week started out below freezing and I was not prepared. I realized that I don't really have any good winter bike clothes. Last year I always ended up wearing my ice climbing clothes but biking really wears away at them.

Sooo, last night my friend who just moved here, Laura, convinced me to go to an REI Women's Clinic, "Dressing for the outdoors". I figured I could always learn a little bit more about this AND she said you get a free goody bag so I decided to go.

And guess what? It was really lame. It was basically a two hour long Gore-Tex plug. I learned nothing about layering in the winter. I love Gore-Tex and I think Arc-Teryx makes great products but I will never pay $475 for a jacket. I leaned over to Laura and said, "Does she realize the only way we will end up with one of those jackets is if she gives us one tonight?"

And then she started to give stuff away. So we stuck around. Two women won 500 dollar jackets. "They just handed that women $500 and she said, 'Oh, thanks'." The prizes got smaller and smaller, but then she called my name. I won something. It was one of their new winter bike jackets. Perfect! So here is my plug because this jacket is awesome.

Gor-Tex has a new line of products out specifically designed for cold weather biking called Gore Wear. They all have either Windstopper fabric or Gore-Tex in them. Mine is a windproof jacket/jersey and the sleeves zip off (don't think I'll be using this feature until next summer). Pretty sweet!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

New Singletrack

Okay so I have to admit, at the time the Singletrack Advocates and the rest of the mountain biking community in Anchorage were raising money for a new system of trails in Far North Bicentennial Park I was a little bitter. You see, it's not that I oppose building new trails, quite the contrary. But I heard that they had raised $64,000 and was appalled that so much money was going to be spent on them.

At about the same time I was trying to raise money for Team In Training. I guess it was just shocking to know that people were more willing to put their money towards building trails than to cancer research. Maybe it's the whole tangibility issue. You never know exactly where your money is going when you give to charity.

Don't get me wrong, I think building new trails systems in Anchorage and beyond is a great idea. And it turns out the new singletrack is really nice. Brian and I rode out there today. Although only one trail is open, there is a whole network of trails that make a sort of playground for mountain bikers. It would be nice if there was a cheaper way to accomplish it though.

Here's Brian taking his bike off of a sweet jump.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Three days of September Sun

In my last post I think I forgot to mention that the three days I spent out on the Matanuska Glacier this past weekend were the most beautiful and sunny days of the summer. I actually had to search for my sunglasses on Friday when finishing up packing because I really hadn't put them on ALL summer. I eventually found them in my ice climbing bag. Seriously, the last time I had a need for sunglasses was in April.

So I thought I'd share a few more pictures from the weekend.

Happy sun burned face.