Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall Colors

One of my most appreciated gifts since my move here to Sitka was a big bundle of leaves that had fallen from a wide variety of different types of trees in the NC mountains. Thank you Laura Martin. After 7 falls in the NC mountains, I thought fall colors here in Sitka were a joke. These aren't fall colors they are just some phony rendition.

In Sitka our primary trees are conifers: Sitka Spruce
, Western Hemlock, and the Cedar. And they are majestic in their own way. My personal favorite is the Sitka Spruce. I think the Sitka Spruce deserves its own featured blog soon, and its beauty sings to me each time I lay eyes on them. I think it is the rich deep color of the wood and and incredible girth that allures me to this particular tree.

One of the trails here, Beaver Lake, meanders along a sub-alpine lake and takes you deep into an old growth forest. The old growth forest is covered in Spruce. The quantity and stature of this tree creates a feeling that I can't imagine being duplicated anywhere on earth. I think, if I were able to pick a favorite tree, it stands tall on the Beaver Lake trail. I call the tree the candy cane tree, and it really sings to me each time I pass it on the trail.

With that said I still miss the reds, oranges, pinks, yellows and all the colors in between that are created from the magical forest of the blue ridge mountains in the fall. I find myself missing those mountains so much this time of year, the brisk wind on my back, and the leaves that land on my head as I biked along the Parkway or throw the apple orchards.
Fall here is nice, but it isn't like back home.

Welcome fall at all that comes with it. October is no longer my favorite month here, instead I love the white of winter and the bright spring days but I am glad it has finally come. What is your favorite season?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Back on my Feet

Today Paul and I went for a run in Totem Park. He is still nursing his sprained ankle from our Chilkoot endeavors, and I am definitely still not 100%, however we couldn't wait any longer to see what would happen. It wasn't especially long (a 5K) or strenuous (about 75%), but it felt great to be back on our feet FINALLY, 3 weeks and 6 days later. Through this experience I know we both have grown a much stronger appreciation of the physical health of our bodies and the enjoyment that comes from maintaining that health. My grandpa suggests yoga....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why did I run the Chilkoot Trail?

No questions asked running is my favorite thing to do. I have been doing it FOREVER, well since 2nd grade to be exact. If I am getting the story correct I think my track career began after a bad day at gymnastics practice. The instructors had tried to forced me to do a SPLIT! I said enough was enough and made it clear to my mom that gymnastics was NOT the place for me and informed her I would instead prefer to run track. I don't know where I got the idea, but I know soon after that conversation I found myself in an OTIS tracker uniform, and my life from that day forward would never be the same.

Although I never made it to the Olympics, I did have some glory days...

One of those moments was in 6th grade. I walked home with the South Carolina 11-12 year old division 1600m race walking state title! Yep, shear talent. I think I walked a sub 9-minute mile. Pretty impressive. Then, In Junior High, back in the day when they had Junior High, I said goodbye my Rock Hill YMCA track teammates and joined the High School CC team. No state titles here, but my love of running continued. In college I got into marathons, then triathlons. While in Asheville, due to the lack of trials I ran less and biked more, however I kept running.

Here in Sitka I have been on the trials since day one. They are AMAZING, beautiful and right out my back door. I think Sitka's trial system is the BEST in the world. I run nearly everyday, that is until the Chilkoot trial.

I have been injured since the 33 mile trial run 2 1/2 weeks ago. To quote my mother "running the 33 mile trial was dumb," and I don't believe it was necessarily the smartest idea, but it was definitely not dumb. However, I should have been a little more physically ready for sure and because the trial, for me, ended in a stress fracture.

But this 2 1/2 week break has confirmed my love of running. Everyday I stare and mountains and yearn to hit the trials climbing them. It is painful to hear of my friends running adventures. This is the time of year that the trials are free of snow and the sun is still high in the sky until late in the night. It is one of the best times to be on the trials, however I sit, nursing a stress fracture. My doctor says give it 4 weeks, which means I have 1 1/2 to go, and that is the most optimistic time table. So until then I wait. I cancel my spot in the Klondike 110 mile road relay I participated in last year. I play my banjo, dream about future adventures and think about why I run.

I run because it feels good. I run because it gets me outside in the fresh air. I run because that is where I process my day. I run because it is a release and stress reliever. I run because there are awesome trials beside my house and because it keeps me in shape. It keeps me mentally and physically acute. I run because I love it. I hope to be doing it forever.