Monday, October 8, 2012


So, the last three days have been eerily similar. And by eerily I mean "I planned them that way." They played out like this: walk Bailey (dog!!); rake lawn for an hour or two (I swear, raking the lawn is harder than running, and you can quote me on that. I'm pretty sure that were there enough leaves to continuously rake year-round, I'd have a six pack); eat everything in sight, head to Flattop (or, "Mount Flattop," as fat people/tourists call it); cavort the shit out of Mount Flattop with Bailey; other stuff.

You probably think that sounds boring, and you're probably right. You're probably also thinking I sound like a loser. I'd say you're right about that too! But hey, I haven't been back in Alaska that long and I'm desperate to be in the mountains, alone or otherwise. No biggie. And the raking's more a favor to my parents for, you know, housing me and and providing for me while I'm dirt poor.

Anyway, Flattop's pretty nice. Let me demonstrate:

This was yesterday. Hey dad! Yes, that's Flattop-don't make me point out which one.

It looked exactly like this all weekend: perfectly misty, cool, and with a threat of rain (but no actual drops!). Oh yeah, the snow's gone. Bummer.

I go here all the time despite being surrounded by many other mountains because it's almost entirely above tree line and I don't have to be on constant lookout for moose/bears/tourists (wait, that last one's a LIE-this place is crawling with them).

Today's trip was actually a run and not a hike. See, running! What did I say? I still do some of that. Getting a stress fracture was tough and completely derailed my running, but odds are you've had one too and don't want to hear the totally-interesting story about how I wore a boot and swam for six weeks and have spent the past few months getting back into it.

I'm on my way up but have stalled at a pitiful weekly mileage of around 12 miles. Maybe less. I got a little too big for my britches a few weeks ago and decided I should be running 25 miles/week, so that's what I did. Great job, Jean, great job. Double your mileage and add speed/hill work in there all at once, and start running 5 days a week instead of 3. At this rate, you'll be up to marathon distance in like three weeks!

Well, all that did was give me shin splints, which I hadn't experienced since I halfheartedly tried to run track for a week in high school. Shit. I did the smart thing, though, and immediately decreased my mileage. Now I'm running around 3 miles 3-4 times a week and hiking (and raking!) on the other days. It seems to be working out well. The worst part of all this is that my muscles are actually quite strong, and I think I could bust out 10 miles pretty easily (to be clear, 10 Jean miles, so slower than hell), but my skeleton or whatever just isn't feeling it yet. Whatever. Having to limit my mileage in Anchorage is much easier than in New York, since I can just go for a hike somewhere that isn't gross, smelly, and hotter than hell.

So my run. It was really steep. Did you get a good look at that first picture? No? Here's another one:


Steep. I decided I was going to run up it, and actually, I did! Mostly. There were a couple of times where I thought my heart was going to explode so I pretended Bailey needed to stop and sniff something so I could get my breath somewhat under control. According to Garmin, I gained 475 feet in like .6 miles. I'm not great with elevation gain, but I assume that's a lot. It sure as hell felt like it!

I looped around after heading up about a third of the way and on the way down, I got a slight pain in the arch of the foot I injured in May so I stopped, stretched, and walked the rest of the way down. I have a huge issue with downhills, mainly my inability to run them.

Once I hit reasonably flat ground, I started running again. The stats for the run?

Not awful. Don't worry about my totally irrational lap distances. I'm not dumb.

My average moving pace was fine. Once I hit reasonably-flat-but-still-not-really-flat-at-all ground my pace was actually kind of okay, especially given that I wasn't trying that hard.

My aim is to get in 3-4 miles on the treadmill at school tomorrow, but who knows... my hamstrings are pretty beat from three days of Flattop, so mights be they need a break.


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