Monday, January 19, 2009

Pineapple Express

Every year in mid January after a beautiful blanket of snow falls on the city of Anchorage, the temperatures have been cold enough for two months now to create some big fat frozen waterfalls, and it seems as if the snow will never stop falling, a nasty Pineapple Express comes rushing through Alaska. Dumping rain, crushing the snow, and melting all the icy goodness, it never seems to fail.

It's been in the mid 40s and raining. If you live in Alaska and like to play outside in winter, you never want to hear the words "mid 40s" uttered across the radio waves. After this summer I have been trying to alter my attitude about weather. As much of a control freak that I am, I have surrendered to the fact that no matter how hard I try, I cannot control the weather. And so, I have to roll with it.

If it snows, I ski. If the ice in in, I climb. If it's warm and sunny, I head out into the mountains for a hike. If it's freezing rain and the streets and trails are slick sheets of ice covered in inches of water, well, I go to the Beer and Barleywine Festival and drink beer.

The bike race on Saturday was postponed until next week, so maybe I can get my ass on a bike again before that. Today I have off and it is a good thing because I spent yesterday on the couch with a nasty bug that tore out the inside of my stomach and made me feel as if my brain was selling two times the size of my skull. At first I thought it was a hangover, but I really didn't drink THAT much at the festival. No hangover could ever be that bad. Now I'm recovering at home and have had some time to think about some goals that I have for this year.

From now until the end of the winter I'm going to ice climb as much as possible. That is for sure. I have stopped trying to set grade goals for ice climbing because I need to just move forward at a pace that I am comfortable with. I'd like to lead Grade 4 ice sometime in the next few years, but I'm not going to put pressure on myself to get there in a certain time frame.

As far as running goes I want to run a marathon this year. I have mulled over this decision for awhile, going back and forth between doing a super easy race as my first marathon and doing a trail marathon. When I really think about what makes me happy it is trail running. I do not want to run 26 miles on pavement. It may be more flat and easier to complete, but it would be torture. Soooo, I have decided to do the Equinox Marathon in Fairbanks in September.

There are tons of mountain runs throughout the summer that I will use as training runs, including Mount Marathon, which I just signed up for last week. I also got Brian to enter the lottery for this race. Hopefully, if he can get in, we can train together.

Since the Equinox is not until September, I needed a mid summer goal to look forward to. A few weeks ago I found out that the Soggy Bottom will be held on August 1st this year. This is good for two reasons. One, it will fit into my schedule perfectly. I won't be doing my really long runs of 18-20 miles until August, so I'll have time to do long bike rides in June and July. Also, on August 1st we would have a few more hours of daylight to work with that day, thus avoiding the terrifying ride in the dark down to Hope that I experienced last year. (Although some of it will probably still be in the dark.)

So that's it. I picked two main races for this year so that I can focus. For now I am just going to be climbing on the weekends and building up base miles in running and biking during the week. Let's hope this crappy weather eases up soon.

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