So there was this long running race I did the other weekend, so I don't do long running races ever, so the back of my shoe (despite appropriate socks) chafed against the back of my heel. I never really got a blister, there's just a patch back there with no skin. So every morning for the past week I wake up and take my first few steps in pain as I crack open the scab that formed overnight and stretch it out so I can flex my foot again. Apparently I sleep with my feet pointed. This has been rather irksome and I've had a glowing feeling today that tomorrow morning it's not going to do that and I'll be able to go rollerskiing without getting my sock stuck to my heel. (I DID use a nice band-aid but it always crept off, so I stopped.) Here's hoping.
We did some skate speeds down by the Kincaid Chalet on Friday. After I had finished my speeds I was skiing back down the road. Bart Dengel still had a couple speeds to go and as I was starting my cool-down he took off V2-ing in front of me. Now Bart was really hammering these 30sec speeds and as I watched him an entire scene recreated itself around him-- snow, pin-flags outlining finishing lanes, phantom competitors (two on his left, one on his right), a finish line just over the crest of the hill.
It was only the access road to Kincaid, but he was skiing with such a purpose it was no stretch of the imagination for me to put him into a race. Now THAT is cool, that is how you should train. To really train for ski racing is to be able to hear the cheering of spectators during your intervals, it's being able to feel the elastic of your bib across your ribcage. To really be able to train is to feel like everyone is watching your splits on the big screen even is you're the only one who will look down at the time on your wrist watch at the end.
There should be such a purpose that your teammates can recreate a race around you as you train.
I have been catching and filleting and cleaning and packaging and freezing fish like it's my job. I know eventually I'll want to eat a salmon again but not this week. It's hard not to go fishing when the streams are teeming with fish for the catching and you'd have to pay for them if you picked out the same fish at a grocery store. Plus, it really is fun to wear waders and be waterproof.
The Silver Salmon are running near Anchorage. Which means that we hit up the "secret" fishing hole to snag some salmon. This was my first experience catching big, feisty salmon on a line. It was an amazing experience... especially because I had a support crew! From here on out I get to do all the jobs, but on this trip I just caught. In the first ten casts I think we caught eight salmon. And it went fast because I had Jay & Austin to take the fish from my line, retie lures, switch out my rod when I lost a lure. I felt like I was on a premier guided fishing trip.
I am working up to my share of the work though, the kitchen has looked like a fish processing plant the last couple of days. We fillet them in the stream and just bring back the salmon fillets, at home we rinse them, de-bone them, and then vacuum pack them before freezing. The vacuum packer is a very cool machine. In your own home you can watch water boil at room temperature. I don't think I'd actually seen that in person before. I'm trying think up other physics experiments I can do with the zero-pressure space that the vacuum packer creates.
I'm not sure what we're going to do with all this fish. I left a message for my parents to clean a space out of their freezer. I'm on the road all winter so it doesn't really make sense for me to be stockpiling food.
Saturday was the Lost Lake Run in Seward, AK. It felt so good to race again. Everything went perfectly smoothly, which is how you want races to go. The trail was in great shape, the weather was perfect. Afterward I waded into the ocean up to my hips and let my legs ice. There were even eagles soaring above me and a sea otter bopping around 5m away from me. I'm not even that sore-- just missing some skin off my feet.
Full Results can be found HERE. A summary of my times are below. Now I have to race at least once more because I really, really want to break the 2 hour mark.
2007- 2:10:17 2008- 2:04:35 2009- 2:00:23
The other result that jumped out at me as being fantastic was Mark Brady in 4th place overall with a time of 1:48:12. (Mark is Paige's brother and Paige used to kick my butt ski racing.) Paige ran too but had a little rock in her shoe at the start of the race and by the end that little rock had turned into a really big blister. ugh, there's so many things that can go wrong in these races.
The photographer had this to say about the photo: "you guys look cute, but you're a little ape-like, a little too engrossed in the blueberries."
I had one of my favorite friends up here this week... Miss Cameron, my faithful traveling companion. Cammie's written about some of our adventures on her blog, although I don't think her visit to Alaska ranked on the epic list enough to make it onto her travel blog. Still, neither of us had managed to get in an epic trip yet this summer so a short week of hanging out in Alaska had to suffice. As always there was talk of future travel plans... Laos, anyone?
It was my first time getting to show off my favorite Alaskan places to one of my friends which was especially fun because Cammie's mom lived up here for a long time and has lots of stories from being an Alaskan bush pilot.
Other news: I'm racing the lost lake run down in Seward on saturday, the one day of the year I get to be a runner anymore. Also I did a really bad cartwheel, tore a chunk of skin out of my hand from a rock and decided to do no more gloveless, mountaintop cartwheels.
Above is a painting by Doug Miller, one of the local Leavenworth artists, of the Ice Lakes area near Wenatchee. Northern Fruit out of Wenatchee has taken over operating the Ice Lakes facility and is excited to kick off their use of the plant with the 2009 crop of gala apples. Just thinking about those crisp Wenatchee Gala apples is making my mouth water. Actually, I did have a nice tart pink lady apple after our bounding intervals this morning. Apples have become my favorite post-workout snack because they're tasty, they travel in my bag without getting mushed, and I'm in a I-don't-eat-packaged-food trend.
After seeing first-hand how Northern runs their Nordic Apples facility in East Wenatchee I'm sure the Ice Lakes facility will be an impressively smooth operation too. Hopefully I'll get to go visit and do some mountain running/hiking next time I'm down in Washington!
We had our first rollerski race on Saturday. Even though it was super low key I realized that it had been forever since I'd put on a race bib. All this training sometimes gets in the way of racing! I set a PR by three seconds. Which is a very small PR, but still my fastest time over this course so far! I would also like to point out that there were more girls racing than boys. I'm liking the gender equality that I'm seeing these days in skiing.
Sunday we head into the glacier for another week. Hopefully we have some snow.
This photo is shot from down glacier. The facility sits on the ridge in the middle-left of the photo and the ski trails we use go from there off to the right. We stay high up on the glacier because once you get closer to the foreground the slope gets much steeper and the cravasses get much more intense. The ash has made for some unique melting this summer and you can very clearly see how variable the weather is up there. The patches of white snow are where there's been snowfall recently. When we're out skiing we can go from sunshine to snowstorm or white-out as we move around the course.
The Potter Hill Climb rollerski race is on Saturday. Something exciting. I may even take a picture of the results list afterward for those interested in how the alaskan skiers are progressing this summer. Day of race registration, entry fee $10.
I have been on break. At one point in my life my laptop was my link to the world. I couldn't imagine a day without computers and internet. Right now, I'm kind of over computers. Now the luxury is to be without a computer and not have it be a big deal. So, as my life is changing and evolving, I am considering moving away from the blogging world. What do you think?
Note that this does not correspond to moving away from skiing and I am more "into" skiing than I have ever been.