Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fun Runs

We had another fun run today.  This one was over by Peak Light Duty Shop.  I ran the morning one twice right after work.  Then went back to my room and slept for the day.  I ran the evening one twice also. So my total mileage for today was 12.25 miles. Plus another 4 T-shirts!  It was very chilly this morning because it was very windy.  I wore a long sleeve shirt and a light jacket under my windbreaker.  I was pretty glad that I did that even though by the end of the second trip I was starting to get a little warm.  It was warmer in the afternoon so I left out the little jacket, and never did get too warm because the wind was much stronger.  But once again the plus side was NO MOSQUITOES!  Normally I'm not crazy about wind, but up here in the Arctic in summer, wind is my best friend.

This run had a couple of really cute mascots.  Big fuzzy bumblebees.

That's because Peak's logo is the bumblebee and the motto "WORK ALERT, SAFETY PAYS"


Friday, June 26, 2015

Pump Station 1 Fun Run

The second Prudhoe Bay Fun Run this season.  I ran it twice since it is only a 5k and I wanted to get in at least 5 miles today. It was perfect conditions too, nice temperature in the high 50's with a nice wind of about 15 knots that did a great job of blowing all mosquitoes well out of everyone's way.

We started right at mile zero of the pipeline.

Mile 0 Alyeska Pipeline
We ran along the pipeline access road and back.  What a nice place to run!  It's too bad I don't have a badge to get onto the oil fields so I can run up and down there everyday.  Of course, even if I had a badge, I'm sure I would get arrested for making that my daily practice.  But it would sure beat running out on the roads dodging the trucks.  I had to catch a ride with a friend who works inside the gate so I could at least get a chance to participate in the fun run. They gave out really nice T-shirts and I picked up two since I ran the course twice.

I look like I'm really flying in this picture below, but most of the other people who were actually running rather than just walking along, were flying by me like I was standing still. I never seem to be breaking any speed records, but I do notice that I run considerably faster on these fun runs than I do on my own when I am just running around the lake. 
Me, moving along!
We have another run on Sunday and I'll try to run in both the morning and evening runs since it is on the non-secured side of the gate.  I can actually drive there myself. These runs are great training for the 17 marathons I am planning for the rest of the year. 

But most important - Marine Corps Marathon.  My current Team In Training event.
I need help with my fundraising.  Any donations will be greatly appreciated.  The most important finish line is the one the marks the end of cancer!

Click below to donate

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Beautiful Run Around Colleen Lake

I took a couple of days off because my calves were hurting more than I thought they should. But today was perfect, about 55 degrees with a good strong mosquito removing cooling wind. I really enjoyed my 5 mile run around Colleen Lake.  I love that run because I can keep looking slightly to my left and only see the lake and not the big trucks and industrial buildings on the other side of the road.  Just the geese and blue water.  It looks like almost all of the ice is finally gone.  A few 70 - 80 degree days took care of that pretty quickly. I even saw a few little flowers.  Finally some color other than brown around here.

Dwarf Fireweed

Colleen Lake
I've been reading Eat & Run by Scott Jurek. What an amazing book and amazing runner.  I can only dream of running a 100 mile race, yet he wins them over and over.  He does it on a vegan diet too.  I'm working towards that.  Not quite there yet, and may never be there completely.  But as he found, I have also found that I feel better when eating only a plant based diet.  There is something so heavy about eating meet and dairy products.  I discovered that my cereal tastes just as good with soy milk as with cow's milk.  Imagine that! I kind of hate to cook so my big worry is that I won't be conscientious enough to make sure I get enough nutrition if I go 100% vegan.  But when I stop and ponder what humans do to animals in order to feed themselves, I feel guilt every time I bite into something that was once part of a living breathing or even swimming being.  The worst part is when I think about how cruelly most of our farm animals are treated.  Maybe on some tiny farm in the Midwest, the animals raised by one family do have fairly happy lives.  But I have seen the huge feed lots while driving through California.  There is no way the poor animals are anything but miserable and suffering while huddled together in outrageously crowded and filthy conditions.  If we an get our nutrition from plant life that doesn't have an sophisticated nervous system able to suffer and feel pain, it just seems like a much better way to live and eat.  I know it has been proven to be healthier too. I'm going to keep striving to improve my diet.  I know it will help my running too.  I'm often a lazy runner and almost always a lazy eater!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Very Short Run!

Wow it was just too hot today.  It's 75, which itself isn't really that hot plus there was a bit of a breeze, but I think it is really humid today.  I felt like I was stumbling more than I was running so after 1 mile I decided to turn back.  My calves were really hurting too.  Maybe I just need another rest day.  Usually the heat doesn't bother me that much, so I may have just been tired. 

It's really nice out there today though. I really enjoy the warm weather and seeing the sun.  I see lots of cumulous clouds out there so maybe tonight we will have some thunderstorms.

One more week up here in Deadhorse then I get to go back to the real world.  I'm looking forward to biking the Denali Highway and running the 4 marathons I have planned for July.  Then on to Africa to complete my goal of running marathons on all 7 continents. 

I'm having no luck at fundraising.  But I donated $1000 of my own money last night. I know I will end up donating my entire minimum myself, so maybe I will go ahead and donate the rest tonight.

Any donations are appreciated though.  I don't care how much I have to donate to reach my Team In Training minimum.  I just want to see the end of cancer. 

Click the picture below to donate.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

North Slope Borough Fun Run

We had our first North Slope Fun run today.  They always have it twice, at 6 am and 6 pm. It was such a beautiful morning that I decided to do the morning one as well as the afternoon one. This morning it was 54 degrees with just the right amount of breeze. I enjoyed it so much that I ran the race twice, and got 2 T-shirts.  The total distance was about 5 1/2 miles. 

After the run, I went back to my room to sleep.  It was so warm that I needed the window open to keep the room cool.  But with the window open I had to listen to a combination of helicopters, graders, and some annoying workers using power tools right beneath my window.  So it was a pretty restless sleep, jumping up and down opening and closing the window.

But I still had enough energy to do the evening run, which was also really nice.  By then it had warmed up to 81 degrees but fortunately the wind was a little stronger.  It seemed to keep the mosquitoes away, except for one that I swallowed when it flew into my mouth.  I ran that race twice also. So I ended up with 4 T-shirts, one in each of the 4 sizes.  It's a very colorful bright red shirt with this wild logo on the back!
And here I am looking ridiculous as one of my friends stopped me mid-stride for a quick photo.

Me on the run!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

5 Miles at 75 Degrees!

Beautiful day here in Deadhorse. 75 degrees with just enough wind to keep me cool and chase the majority of the mosquitoes away. I ran around Colleen Lake.  In just a couple of days it has changed a lot.  The grasses along the edge are no longer brown but have finally turned green.  There is still a substantial amount of ice on parts of the lake and I even found where a few big chunks had washed up on shore.  But there is a lot more blue open water now than just a few days ago.  I saw lots of geese and ducks, but no caribou and happily, no bears. The truckers were not quite as polite today though.  They all seemed to want to see how much dust and dirt they could kick up on me as they sped by.  I had to stop and cover my face many times along my way.  Usually they slow down but not today.  It could be that because it was too warm for my bright neon yellow jacket, it wasn't as easy to see me in my purple T-shirt.  But I really doubt that.  Just in case I am going to see if I can buy a bright orange safety vest to wear on those days when it's too hot for my jacket.

I had a really nice run though.  I was very late starting but still ended up with enough time to run, toss my clothes in the laundry, eat dinner, and take a shower before heading over to work.  Even though I woke up rather late, I just couldn't bring myself to pass up a beautiful day like today.

Colleen Lake

Thursday, June 18, 2015

To the VOR and Back

I was sort of dragging today. It was strange conditions out there too.  The grader had been by recently and the road edge was really broken up.  I kept twisting my ankles trying to run there.  So instead of along the lake I ran down the Dalton Highway to the VOR and back. The mosquitoes were really bad too.  They were swarming around me, but at least they were kind enough not to bite me.  A few followed me right back to my room, probably making a home in my hair!

Deadhorse VOR
I signed up to run the Mainly Marathons Appalachian Series in October. I'll be running the Jersey Marathon October 4th, then spending most of the rest of that week in that area, probably exploring in the UK, then fly back to the US to start the series on October 11th.  7 marathons, 7 states, 7 days.  How could I resist?  Especially knowing with Mainly Marathons there are no time limits, so I think of it as just 7 days of a good workout with fun people. Then I have another free week to visit the cousins back east before the Marine Corps Marathon with Team In Training.

Now to concentrate on fundraising.  As usual, I will most likely donate my Team In Training minimum myself in the next few days.  But I really would like to raise more than the minimum.  So anyone reading this blog, please consider helping me in the fight to rid the world of cancer.  Research will find the answer and research takes money.  Any donation small or large just adds to the battle.

Click HERE to donate!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Around The Lake Today

It was a nice warm day, although a bit windy at first.  I felt a little sluggish but had a good run around Colleen Lake.  On the far side I was stopped by the North Slope Borough Security car with red lights flashing. They felt that it was too dangerous for me to be running there because there was heavy equipment on the road!  How ridiculous!  I run on the leftmost side of the road about 6 inches from the road edge, wearing a bright neon yellow jacket, facing traffic.  And although there are trucks along the road, there is never anything close to what could be defined as heavy traffic.  It's a gravel road with a very slow speed limit.  It is also a public road.  There are no rules anywhere that I am aware of in the state of Alaska that prohibit pedestrians from walking or running along the side of a public road, unless it is expressly prohibited and signed appropriately.  There are a few freeways that have such signs, prohibiting bicyclists and pedestrians, but there is always an alternate route available.  Here in Deadhorse there are no such restrictions and certainly no alternate paths.  On the oil field side of the security gates, there are rules because that is private company property.  But the roads here in Deadhorse are public with no such restrictions.  They didn't tell me that I was forbidden to run there so I just continued on my way as usual.  I really didn't appreciate being hassled by them though. I have every right to run or walk along that road.  At least they didn't try to give me a speeding ticket!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Beautiful Day

Today was a perfect day for a 5 mile run around the lake.  I even got out of bed when my alarm went off instead of rolling over and forgetting it ever happened.  Even though I took yesterday off, I was pretty slow today.  Not really sluggish, just seemed like my calf muscles were kind of achy and I didn't have much incentive to push hard.  But that is probably what I was meant to do today.  I guess I didn't have much choice because that's all I seemed to be able to do.  But it was a really enjoyable run.  I was surprised at how heavy the traffic was since I had left early hoping to avoid the 5 pm dinner rush. Apparently the rush must go on all day. 

The advantage of running early was that it allowed me to shower, eat dinner, and still have time for a drive down the road to look for wildlife.  I had heard that the damage to the road from last month's floods was quite interesting to see.  So I got the chance to see it first hand.  It really was amazing to see as the detour road circumvented the major damage. It looked as if the earth had just opened up and swallowed up the Dalton Highway.  I could see where they had added many new culverts in hopes of avoiding a similar disaster in future years.  Once past the construction area I could drive freely and look for wildlife. I didn't have any luck finding anything but was able to make it all the way down to Franklin Bluffs to have a look at Caren Pond to see if my sign had survived the winter.  It was still there but is in dire need of some blue touch up paint.

Caren Pond
I will need to bring up some paint and a brush when I come back in September.  I noticed that now the pond joins the one next to it with a narrow channel.  The channel looks like it may be manmade. It seems to have lowered the level of Caren Pond somewhat.  I wonder if it was made to help keep water off the road during the worst flooding.  The river was quite close to the road most of the 20 miles I drove.  I was also surprised to see huge amounts of ice all along the east side of the road.  At times I heard loud crashes as ice floes would suddenly break up.  It looks like winter will linger in that area for a while longer.

Sagavanirktok River Ice
On my way back to Deadhorse I finally saw some caribou.  They were not really close to the road but I was at least able to get some pictures with my 600mm zoom lens.  I heard later from a friend that there had been a large herd of musk ox along the road but it seems that occurred a couple of hours after I passed by.  I was delighted to see the caribou though.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Saw a Bear!

It got really cold running around the lake today but I ran a lot faster than usual.  Once I got to the north side of the lake, I think I ran even faster because a trucker pointed out a couple of grizzly bears about 1/2 mile away. Fortunately they stayed where they were. I just ran 5 miles today.

I've been seeing a pair of Arctic Loons on the west side of the lake every day.  I drove back later and got a picture of them.  They were pretty far away so it's not a great shot.  But they are my favorite birds up here.

Arctic Loons

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Perfect Day!

What a gorgeous day to run!  I ran the 5 miles around Colleen Lake again.  Got about 7 drops of ran, but 65 degrees and just the right amount of breeze to make it perfectly comfortable.  I was still slow but felt a lot better than yesterday.  The forecast for tomorrow is snow so I thought I should grab this opportunity to get out and enjoy an almost summer day!

I have quite a list of upcoming marathons so I feel quite motivated to keep the feet moving.

List from Race Addict iPhone App 

Nice shot from the run today using my phone and the Nike+ app

Colleen Lake

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

6 Miles Around The Lake

Once again there was good weather so I got to run outdoors.  According to the training plan I have been using, I needed to run 6 miles today.  It is only 5 miles around the lake and I knew that if I ran the 5 miles I probably wouldn't have the ambition to go back half a mile, when the end was in sight.  Lazy - yes I am.  So when I got to the 2 mile point, I backtracked half a mile which gave me no choice but to continue the full 6 miles.  I was slower than usual partly because the changing temperature caused me to fiddle around with my jacket combination.  I like to keep the bright yellow windbreaker on for visibility, but the light jacket beneath it had to come off.  Then on the other side of the lake the wind came up and it had to go back on.  I also managed to get fairly large rocks in my shoes.  So all in all it was a bit of a stumbling run.  But I made it all 6 miles.

Still a lot of ice on the lake yet.
Colleen Lake
But lots of open water as well.

Colleen Lake

Monday, June 8, 2015

Around The Lake

Finally a day good enough to run all 5 miles around Colleen Lake.  It was beautiful when I left the hotel.  But about halfway around the lake a gigantic rain-filled black cloud started working its way towards Deadhorse.  I wondered if there was any way I could outrun it.  But I got to the door of the hotel just as the first raindrops fell. It poured rain for a while after that.  I think it inspired me to run a little faster though.

I was still slower than I want to be.  That route is good because it is really a trail rather than a road.  It is gravel and in places it is more like a pile of small rocks. The surface really does slow me down.  The 25 mph wind in my face for the first half didn't do much for my speed either. But it was the best workout I've had since I got up here a week ago.

Looks like rain!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Along Colleen Lake

Finally, a nice enough day to actually run outdoors.  It is still almost a muddy lake by the hotel so I just drove to the lake and parked at the turnout about halfway around.  I was a little short on time so just planned a 3 mile run.  It was really nice, just a 1.5 mile out and back along the lake.  5 pm is not a very good time to be running along the lake because there is a huge amount of traffic at that time. I got up a little late and by the time I ate breakfast, and fiddled with my new iWatch, it was past 5 pm.

But wow, a sunny day in the 40's with very little wind!  It was so beautiful out there. It may still be a while before I can actually realistically start my run from the hotel, but I could easily run all the way around the lake just by parking where I did today. 

I enjoyed using my new iWatch. I was able to start my run on my phone just by tapping the watch.  I could also check my progress without digging my phone out of a pocket somewhere.  That's pretty convenient.  At least it's kind of a fun toy to play with, plus very cute!

My iWatch
I was so excited to see the sun today.  I had almost forgotten that it even exists, yet ironically, it is up 24 hours a day all month.

Colleen Lake
There is still a lot of ice on the lake but in the open water I did see a couple of Arctic Loons.  There were lots of geese flying by as I ran too. I tried at first to drive down the Dalton Highway just to see how far I could get.  It has been closed for about a month due to flooding.  Sadly, I only got about a mile before I encountered a flagger.  I hardly feel like dealing with road construction just to go for a run.  I probably won't get down the road at all this month.  But at least I have the lake.  It's a lot prettier anyway.  Though the road closure means I probably won't see much in the way of wildlife.  Now I wonder why I bothered to bring my big wildlife lens up with me.  I hope I get to use it while I'm here.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

5 Miles on the Treadmill

It's still too muddy outside to run outdoors.  The parking lot is almost completely flooded at this point.  Maybe tomorrow I will try driving over to the lake and looking to see if the road around the lake is dry enough to run. But right now, getting to the lake on foot would be very messy, and maybe sort of impossible.

I ran 5 miles on the treadmill instead. It's way too hot in the exercise room and that makes it very difficult for me to get a good workout in there.  I suppose it helps me train for marathons in hot places, but I have trouble getting in a very long run under those conditions.  Today I felt really exhausted too.  I've been cutting down on the calories so that was probably part of why I didn't seem to have much energy.  It's a fine line trying to eat enough to have running energy, yet not so much that I can't lose weight.  I wonder if I will ever figure out the right formula.

So today wasn't a good workout.  But even a bad workout is better than no workout at all.  I had hoped to get in 10 miles but was forced to quit after 5 because I was feeling pretty bad.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.  Especially if I find a way to run outdoors where it isn't so hot. It's still in the low 30's these days though, so hot will be the least of my problems out there!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

5 Miles

It's still so muddy around the hotel that my feet and shoes will be soaked if I try to find my way to the main road. So I ran on the treadmill again.  It's a good workout, but really hot in that room.  The thermostat seems to be broken so it's kind of like running in a sauna.  I guess that is good practice for marathons in hot places, but I prefer it a bit cooler.  Outside it's very cool with temperatures below freezing and an accompanying 20 mile per hour wind.  But I think tomorrow I'm going to try for an outdoor run.  I drove around the lake the other day and the road there is quite dry.  So instead of sloshing through the mess here at my hotel, I may try to drive to the other hotel that is on the lake and park there.  That wind can be pretty uncomfortable though.  Either way, I have to continue to train.  I have too many marathons in my near future and I noticed that the Marine Corps Marathon has a 6 hour limit.  I hope by late October, 4 months  and 7 marathons later, I can beat 6 hours. I'm also hoping to kick off about 7 pounds this month.  So far I have already lost 2 just by keeping my hands out of the sweet stuff.  If I get bored or depressed, cookies and brownies just can't be the solution.

But today I ran 5 miles on the treadmill.  I kept the pace good for the first 4 miles but was dragging on the last mile.  I drank a lot of water because I was dripping with sweat.  I have lots of challenges here. 

Monday, June 1, 2015


Back at work in Deadhorse and greeted by snow falling.  Snow, wind, cold, nasty, and lots of standing water and mud. I thought about trying to run outside but then took the lazy person route and ran 3 miles on the treadmill instead.  It wasn't my best run because I am still tired from the transition to night shift.  But I didn't want to just roll over and go back to sleep, although it sure seemed like a good idea at the time.

I'm finally caught up for the moment on all my flights, hotels, and travel plans for the next few marathon trips on my agenda.  Booked my flight to Missoula, Montana, along with my nights at the host hotel there.  Then bought my ferry ticket to Cordova for the Cordova Marathon, and reserved my hotel room at the Prince William Hotel.  My biggest challenge has been trying to figure out how in the world to get to the island country of Jersey for the Jersey Marathon October 4th.  I still can't decide how long I want to stay there or whether I want to visit some other places while over in Europe.  Travel there is complex because there are no flights from London Heathrow to Jersey, and taking the ferry would take too long.  I get off work September 30 and don't get to the Anchorage Airport until about 8:30 pm.  To get to Jersey by October 2nd, when I booked my hotel, and really need to be there, is a 2 day trip.  So I used Alaska Airline miles and booked one way to Jersey.  I leave at 2:45 am October 1st from Anchorage, which means I won't even go home after my month in Deadhorse.  I'll hang out at the airport for 4 hours then off to Jersey.  I don't get there until 4:30 pm on the 2nd, but at least I will be there to pick up my race packet and meet with the Marathon Globetrotters on the 3rd.  Now I just have to hope no flights get canceled or delayed between Deadhorse and Jersey. If I am delayed, I could probably still get in on the 3rd and have the club pick up my race packet.

Sometimes the travel logistics are more difficult than the marathons themselves!