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Friday, July 24, 2009


Maybe you could tell, because I was counting down the days until we had a rest week and I don't usually do that, but I came down with a mild cold. I woke up this morning, went training, came home had a snack, took a shower, and went back to bed for another two hours. It is rather pathetic but also feels so indulgent to be able to sleep when I need to sleep.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Arctic Valley Trail Run

If you're in the Anchorage area and interested in a running race:

Arctic Valley Trail Run
10:00 am Sunday July 26 2009

A 6 km loop climbing and descending
approximately 1500', over the ridges
and trails of Arctic Valley. Juniors may
run a 3k loop with approximately
800' of vertical Short timed munchkin run.
9km Elite race begins at 11:00 am
Elite Race $35
Adults $35
Juniors*, 16 and under $15
Munchkins*, 11 and under $5
For more information:
Karl Volz volz@aeff.uaa.alaska.edu

Sign up online !

Entry fee include a
race t shirt to first 50 registrants . Register online or day of race.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I saw 9 moose during my running & rollerskiing on Tuesday, they've moved back into Kincaid park. I made the mistake of not paying attention to my watch and since I didn't have loops like on the glacier where I don't need to check my watch I skied way too long because I forgot that I had to ski back just as far as I had skied out.

In addition, I am ready to have a rest week... thurs, fri, sat, & sun and then I get to take a week of no ski-specific training. Four more days. Push hard nowso I can enjoy the rest week!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Eagle Glacier Photos July 2009

The ash made for some eerie snow-scapes last week.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dear Mom

y'all should thank my wonderful mother for posting my blogs while I was up on the glacier this last week, I'm back home now and have full access to computers and internet (and iphoto) but all last week my mother was publishing my posts for me. Although I think she was kind of pleased to have the opportunity to fix my grammatical errors before posts were published instead of having to email me.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Glacier Saturday

I have officially hit the point of the glacier camp where I would like to go home. I am a little jealous of three of my comrades who flew the coop on Friday to attend a couple of weddings this weekend. The fact that we're completely socked in and I know I couldn't leave if I wanted to leave makes it even harder to be up here.

My body is getting tired of all of the skiing. Before this morning's threshold workout I almost told Erik it was too much. I didn't, I did the prescribed workout, and we laughed about it at the end but I am pushing up against the line of training too hard and too much this week. There is a risk of overstepping the line but if I succeed I get to move the line.

As of now there's a ski & strength workout this afternoon and a ski on sunday morning and a downhill hike in the afternoon to get back to Girdwood. Monday I do not have to do any training. I am looking forward to Monday. It's all the training though that makes the days off so enjoyable.

I also am not as content on the glacier today because my family is having a big party celebrating my granny's 90th birthday and I would rather be there today.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Glacier Wednesday

I am so pleased with my teammates. After almost a week living with 20 people in close quarters on the small place between glacier and cliff I really have no complaints.

It must be rare for a group of people to function so smoothly together so I am really grateful to my teammates. For example, the girls always bring over another roll of tp before we get to the end of a roll. That seems insignificant but it's indicative of the attitude we have-- the I want this place to stay nice and people to stay happy attitude. For another example, my chore group was on dinner clean-up and my group members worked so industriously that I almost felt guilty that clean-up was so painless for me. This I like.

We did strength Wednesday afternoon & as you can imagine getting all of us through a strength workout with one barbell and a set of plates takes some scheduling and cooperation. But we do it and people are pleasant and supportive.

All the same, I am looking forward to getting back to Jodhpur St and away from communal living. As much as I like bunk beds.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Glacier Tuesday

The glacier is alive and moving this week. The layer of ash that it received from Mt. Redoubt this spring has changed the way it melts. The ash coats the glacier and I am thankful for the new engine in the pisten bully which allows us to ski on a trail of white. The few ash spots we do have are enough to threaten to put you on your face.

Because of the rapid melting we already have crevases opening across the face of the glacier. Our trail avoids the aggressive ones . There's a pattern to how the glacier breaks apart and the trails are designed to skirt the largest. Still, we're skiing across fractures, the pisten bully plows a snow bridge over them in the morning but by afternoon they melt out and we can imagine the depth open below us.

The glacier is so huge it makes me feel so insignificant up here, skiing around on a narrow ribbon of its surface.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Glacier Monday

It was the perfect glacier day. Sometime in the night Erik got the pisten bully running and groomed the course for us and the generator was also humming when I woke up this morning. Because we had the pisten bully going, Erik was able to skim the ash off the course so we had absolutely fantastic slush skiing all day.

The sun even stayed out all day with not a trace of clouds or smoke in the sky. After dinner I took my book ( Ahab's Wife by Naslund) and went out onto the ridge to read. I had to come back in after awhile because the breeze was cool , but that has to be one of my favorite ways to spend an evening on the glacier.

Now I can hear the drone of an engine as Erik grooms us some skating trails for us to enjoy tomorrow morning.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Glacier Sunday

We made it into the glacier in the most timely fashion yet today. Meeting in Girdwood at 5:30, I was moved back into my room before 6. None of the smoke that has been pestering Anchorage is up here so we merely had to wait for Keith to fire up the R44.

Once on the glacier things were back to normal. The Pisten Bully still hadn't run yet and the generator was broken so we don't have electricity. Which is fine because we have windows and sunshine. All is as it should be and another week of chasing the dream begins.


Friday, July 10, 2009


Alaska's being hit with grandiose forest fires this summer. Except up here they might be more accurately called tundra fires. I'll have to check that. Most of Alaska is vacant and no one really cares if it burns, I suspect that periodic burning is healthy for the ecosystem. (I also suspect that most of these fires were started by careless humans.) I don't mind burning but it's making the air quality here in Anchorage go downhill. I cannot see across town. Since my area is one of the only sections of clear air I haven't really left my neighborhood in a couple of days. I guess there's always things to deal with when you're trying to train-- dust storms, heatwaves, cold snaps, smokey air. Luckily, like I said, my little edge of Anchorage is still fairly nice, but I have serious doubts that I'll want to be up on Eagle Glacier next week unless we get some strong winds and fresh air up there. It's important to be smart and not tough and avoid training when it does more damage than good.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I have become a true believer in the importance of adequate sleep. I've never been a frequent napper-- there's always been other important things that needed to be accomplished but this summer I'm changing my ways and working on taking naps. I can tell a huge difference in my afternoon workout quality when I get a good nap mid-day. I am volunteering this week with the Kincaid Adventure Camp so noon to 3 I get to hang out with a group of short but energetic youth. It's draining! It reminded me of what a luxury napping is. On Sunday we go back up to the glacier and the thing I'm looking forward to the most after skiing is the long, uninterupted nap time every day! We're always looking for that extra help that will make the difference between being fast and being super fast and right now I'm thinking napping is one of those crucial and overlooked aspects of training.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Like any school, in the school of skiing we undergo periodic testing to gauge the effectiveness of our training. There are as many different protocols for testing fitness as there are ski teams and training groups. Everything from the most basic time trial to the the most sophisticated physiological testing is used. With my APU training group we opt for simpler testing. Over two days and three workouts we run through a series of time trials and intervals over set courses. We'll look at our times, heart rates, and blood lactate levels at the end of each effort.

This morning we did two max efforts, both about 90 seconds, one an uphill skate and the other a flat double pole on rollerskis. This gives us a chance to see how our high end speed and fitness is developing. This afternoon we'll do a 30min threshold workout skate rollerskiing to measure our aerobic fitness. Finally, tomorrow we'll do a L4, or 5k race pace, interval set of uphill bounding with poles. Using a combination of skate rollerskiing, classic rollerskiing, and bounding gives us a good overview of how our ski-specific fitness is developing. Although many of us do some running and other races over the summer, we don't use those as an official gauge of how our ski preparation is going since the ski and run systems are different.

So far I'm about par for the summer in our tests, but I feel good about my training and my fitness and sometimes when all the official testing is done that's the best indication of how your preparation for the season is going.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Valdez, AK

Valdez is the end of the Alaskan pipeline that starts way up north in Prudhoe Bay. I took one of my days off to check it out...

This statue is made by an artist who has made statues commemorating native americans in all 50 states. Alaska's statues happens to be tucked away in Valdez, AK.


Friday, July 03, 2009


As I said I've taken a couple of days off rollerskiing. Most every one of my APU teammates have scattered to various parts of AK so there's not much incentive for me to stick around this weekend.

Someone told me, "Don't ever say 'let's go to Nome' because we will end up in Nome." I of course said 'let's go to nome.' Just to test this claim. And now I'm in Nome.

Nome was a big gold mining rush 1898-1920 and has a lot of really sweet history and artifacts. I may try to pan for gold tomorrow.

Aside from gold & history, the big discovery of the trip has been POP ROCKS in the local sketchy convenience store. I didn't think they made those any more. If anyone wants to put in a pop rock order while I'm up here let me know. They have red, green, & blue.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Off Week

So the weather in AK has been phenomenal. I finally am realizing why people rave about summers in Alaska. This also means that my computer has become my least favorite toy because there is NO WAY I want to be sitting inside when life is this beautiful. Since it's a medium-off week I'm going to go explore the Alaskan countryside until Sunday. When it starts raining again I'll get more serious about my blogging again. deal.

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