Sunday, September 30, 2012

reflections of running buddies

Warning:  THIS POST IS CUT AND PASTED FROM MY ACTUAL JOURNAL,  if you choose to read this blog you will be in the head of a REFLECTIVE runner,  read at your own risk.

Sept. 29th, 2012.

"I've had lots of running buddies over the years:  in elementary school it was my dad.  He pushed me to run my first 5k (36mins), after college it was Stephanie and Leigh training for triathlons together.  Then there was my summer while in grad school in Juneau, there was 71 year old self proclaimed "old geezer" Glenn who used to run in the 60s in jeans and flannel shirts.  Glenn calls me Emalie and has always reminded my a lot of my own Grandfather.  One day, as he was jumping of the summit of a mnt. to slide down the snow on his rear, he told me if I wanted to run with the geezers I had to be half mountain goat (and I guess I am cuz I kept on running with those old geezers for 6 beautiful weeks).  Also in Juneau I ran with my first celebratity runner, Geoff Roes record holder of the biggest 100 mile mnt. race in the world and acknowledged as the ultramarathoner of the year, this guy was all over the running magazines.

However over time 3 specific people, due to the shear miles we've run together stand out.  The 1st was in college, Jennings Berry.  Jennings was wild and fun and had a similar running style to my own, we didn't run to win, we ran because we loved it.  He and I trained for our first marathons together.  The first one because it had been a dream of my to complete one, the second because he didn't like that I had taken him down!  Jennings and I didn't really know what we were doing, or how to train so I printed off an intermediate runner training schedule from runner's world on-line.  I followed it by the books, terrified of the marathon, Jennings frolicked, running in and out my training regimes. 

Then there was Emily.  Our friendship, like Jennings, was founded on running.  In fact my first words to her were "are you a runner?" And runner she was, she had run for Gonzaga 4 years in college, and on our first run together we ran a 2500 ft. in elevation mnt.  I always felt strong running the trails with  Emily, the rhythm of our running always seemed in sink as we laughed about whatever strange occurance had happened that day.  People knew us around town as the Emilys and always asked us who was faster.  Honestly neither of us I think really knew, oldly as much as we ran, we only ever raced together twice, each of us taking 1 victory.  Emily and I lived and ran together 3 years and when we weren't running we talking about it and planning our next trail combination.  We wore the same shoes in the same size and had the same running heart. 

Lately my running buddy has been Aaron.  I don't know if he really ran before me, but I am so thankful he runs now.  He runs and trains very different than both Jennings and Em, he loves speed work and mnt sprinting.  He likes to run fast and far.  He loves to talk and he chats and tells stories throughout each run as I try to keep up beside him.  I always feel like I am slowing him down when we run, but he never seems to get frustrated.  He just says "I'm going to sprint ahead for awhile"  and proceeds to run circles around me.  The competitive spirit in me used to HATE this behavior, thankful I've since gotten over it.  This summer we had the opportunity to run across the country together.  We ran in: Oregon, Michigan, Wisconson, Indiana, Virgina, NC, and SC and Aaron always used the runs as an opportunity to explore."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

the end of the earth

I'll NEVER forget my memories of flying into Alaska for the first time.  It started pre-dawn in Charlotte, NC and ended in a sea-of-trees.  The flight from Seattle into Ketchican was where the magic started.  My eyes were glued to the window the entire 1 1/2 hours: trees, trees, more trees, ocean, ocean, more ocean.  Where was I going?  And wherever it was it couldn't be where any other life forms existed!  Then was my 4th and final flight from Ketchican to Sitka, and however unbelievably, it felt even more remote.  I was sitting by an Alaska Native and asking him my questions, endless questions still glued to the window, and on this flight I was actually starting to get a little scared.  What if I had a medical emergency and needed to go to the hospital? Would I get to one in time?  Was I going to die this summer living on the edge of the earth?  Yes, these were true thoughts that entered my head as I continued to stare at the trees, mnts., and ocean.  I couldn't believe it!  Then landing I noticed mesmerizing Mnt. Edgecumbe, still fresh with snow, despite it begin June 11th.  My fear then turned to desire and a need to be outside... I was fantasizing about snowboarding down the volcano? (was it really a volcano?) into the ocean.  And then, 17 hours later, I landed, unknowing that I would over the coarse of the summer fall head of heels in "life" with Sitka.

However, this past weekend I've realized that Sitka is closer to civilization than I had formally believed.  This past May our friend Ben took a teaching job in Delta Junx., to where he and his wife Emily would move even further off the grid.  Also in May Aaron, Sam, and I put the Fairbanks Marathon, on our calendar, as an excuse to travel up to Delta Junction (90 miles south of Fairbanks) for a visit with our former dearest Sitka friends.

Delta Junx, even though on the road system has weather, people and wind that seemed much more extreme than Sitka.  The stores are fewer, smaller, as were the berries, trees, and hills.  Emily and Ben are now tundra dwellers.  We were glad we were able to make the trip to the real end of the earth to see them and their new interesting adventure.  And if you are interested in learning more about tundra life Emily is currently a blogger and true pioneer woman! 
Emily, Ben, Sam, Aaron, and I with our Fairbanks friends, Nelly and Pete in front of their cute cabin. 

This photo was taken after the marathon... it is another dear friend Glenn, from Juneau, at the awards ceremony.  He broke the 70-80 age record by 9 minutes!  Way to go Glenn.

Aaron with his second place in his age division medal!  Look how excited he is!

Em and I in front of their cabin in Delta Junction, you can also see their new car, Birch in the photo!

A rainbow in Delta Junx.
Ben, Em, me and old grampa Sam with his post race walking cane. 
On the trails of Delta Junx., fall is in full color!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

hanging on to summer...

Spending 6 1/2 weeks down south, meant we had a lot of Sitka summer to catch up on when we got back!  Here are some photos of our adventures in the sunshine...  and many good wishes that you may also find some of your own!
Aaron and I out on Edgecumbe... I am look at town.
Here we are on top of the crater!
Us running around the bowl of the crater... something neither of us had ever done before but we can't wait to do it again.

Overnighting on our favorite spot, 3 enterance bay, notice the boat in the background (beached :))... needless to say we ended up having a longer than excepted morning on the beach!  

I could have sat here all day!

A newly discovered creek

... ahhhhh there is nothing like a beautiful summer day and a wonderful person to spend it with! 

Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strenght or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boat about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.