Thursday, September 5, 2013

HeR - August Happenings part 1....(9.5.2013)

Hello All - August was a busy month of driving, camping, family, seeing friends, and understanding life. This post is going to be a pretty basic version of the month's events and in part 2 (hoping to write on the airplane later this week), I plan on going into more detail on the experiences, things I learned, things I didn't, etc.

The first part of our trip was from Eagle River, AK to Whitehorse, YT.  We camped only one night along the way outside Tok, AK.  We had a big mammal outside our tent the first night of camping - probably a moose based on the "hooved" sound on the ground, but my overactive imagination was convinced it was a bear that was going to eat me.  Ridiculous....yes....but I am still adjusting to life in Alaska and a wild place - the Midwest (and even Denver, CO) didn't have the guarantee of being surrounded by big predators (whether you see them or not).  It can be a mind-tease until you become accustomed and eventually, immune to it.  We woke up that morning to rain - our first of a few wet mornings.  Guess we were getting "broken in" fairly quick in our trip.

Whitehorse is a beautiful city, sitting down in a valley, and surrounded by over 1200km (approximately) of marked un-paved trails.  We made good use of the trails, biking 5 out of the 6 days we stayed, and on the 6th day - running a trail marathon (in my case) and a half-marathon (in Barry's case).  The marathon was no easy task - it was full of long steep climbs and technical terrain.   Note: after completing the 50 miler, the climbs at the marathon were not long, but my perception at the time was that they were.  Interesting how perception changes based on experience (more on that in part 2).  I did what I typically do in a running event - went out way too fast for the distance.  Paid for it at mile 15ish - wasn't feeling so awesome.  But found a few ladies in the race and we formed a pack and ran/hiked together.  After about 5 miles, two of the girls took off - I was still battling nutrition and the fast start so I held back, thinking I just wanted to finish the damn race.  So it was me and one other lady for another 3-4 miles before I decided I was close enough to the end I could endure - so I took off.    With a little less than a mile left in the race I saw one of the girls about 400 meters ahead of me.  In my mind, I knew that I could catch up, but for once in my life, I didn't give a shit if I did or not.  I sped up and could have sped up even more, but didn't.  I finished about 2 seconds after the girl and was left trying to understand why I didn't go for it like I always have - I haven't figured it out yet, but I don't necessarily think its a bad thing (introspection will be covered in part 2;o).  The rest of our trip was spent reading at camp, biking around the beautiful trails, making tasty camp food, and chatting with our interesting camp neighbors (one a Brit that has been traveling for 18 months on motorcycle - started in South America and was nearing completion of his trip to Deadhorse, AK and then heading to New York to fly back home).  If you love biking and love nature - go to Whitehorse!

After 6 days, we packed up and started heading towards Birchwood, WI, where my family reunion is held every other year.  It was a lot of driving, on crappy roads, in crappy weather, and it was the first time Barry and I had a bit of a disagreement.  It was raining one night and we were looking for a place to pull off and sleep around 10pm after a full day of driving.  I wanted to use the back of the pickup to sleep - Barry wanted to set up a tent.  We ended up sleeping in the tent, but not without a healthy dose of me bitching about being cold and wet while trying to fall asleep in the tent.  Had a couple nights of rain on this trip and honestly, this was the least fun part of the trip.  We also found ourself in a gas situation - we had used our "extra" gas in Destruction Bay, thinking that was the most remote area and there was no need to be carrying the extra weight anymore.  Unfortunately, we had a situation arise when a gas station was out of gas and the only options were driving 100 miles further (we would definitely run out of gas) or backtrack 30 miles (and 2 hours due to construction and shitty roads) and get gas at the place we passed because it was $8/gallon versus the $6.50 we were paying up until that time.  Luckily, a nice military couple on their way up to Alaska sold us 10 gallons of gas (they had about 20 gallons extra) when they overheard us talking about our options.  A reminder that, despite what the news proclaims, there is kindness and good in people.

We finally arrived in Wisconsin, stiff and desiring a hot shower.  It was a fun week of fishing, food, campfires, boating, and catching up on all the family news.  We went out every day on the fishing boat with my family and caught several panfish for the end of week fish fry.  Had a blast with my nephew, Evan, whom I think is one of the coolest dudes out there.  Celebrated my 30th birthday as it fell during the week - my sister-in-law and brother put together this awesome scavenger hunt based on significant events or times in my life - very creative and fun.  We also had the usual golf tournament in which we are split into 3-4 person teams and the captain (who is notified prior to vacation of their important role) is responsible for providing team names and hats.  It was tame the first year or so, but the past couple years the team names and hats have become more creative and funny.  All in all, it was wonderful.  Lots of quality family time - which I cherish so much.  With all my traveling and living in Alaska (or other random places), access to family isn't a couple hours drive.  But to me, the past couple years have been full of quality time and cherished memories.  When I do go home - I understand the preciousness and appreciate the time all the more focusing solely on the time spent with them.  To hell with Facebook, internet, phones, and other petty distractions.  As a side note, we found out we will have another addition to the family for the next reunion - very excited for Kim and James as they are expecting a new little one to join their family in Feb'14! 

After a week with the family, it was time to say goodbye and head west.  Bozeman, MT was our destination and we decided to do a side trip to the Badlands.  Barry has a goal of visiting every National Park and we knocked off both Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks in South Dakota.  Camped out in the Badlands and did a cave-tour at Wind Cave.  Once again, I am stunned by the variety of terrain in the U.S. - and quite frankly - how quickly it can change.  After a couple days exploring SD, we continued to Bozeman.  In Bozeman, we stayed with Barry's cousin (2nd I think), Alexa, and her two boys, Parker and Justin.  The plan was to do some hiking around Bozeman, visit Mystery Ranch store, and acclimate to elevation (it's around 4,500 ft) before the 50 miler.  Alexa is one of the most gracious hosts I have ever met - not to mention one of the most positive in spirit.  She is always smiling and has such an uplifting aura - I love being around her.  She even came to support me in the 50-miler - hugging me at the finish line and had signs all made up.  So - about the 50-miler - I will go into much more detail later as I have thought a lot about the experiences and thoughts I had during it.  But it was a difficult course (many of the runners at the event said it was the toughest they had done), made tougher by the fact that my body wanted nothing to do with the nutrition that I had trained for months on.  It further cemented my belief that willpower, determination, and controlling your mentality will drive your successes more than sheer ability and experience.  It was a small crop of starters since it was a first year race (Mystery Ranch didn't advertise it much to keep it small - very smart on their part - to work out the inevitable kinks that happen in a first year event).   I think there were 33 signed up, 27 started, and 16 finished (time limit was 14 hours and those are approximates).  Most of the race was remote - hence the long stretches between aid stations.  And with so few people in the race, I was alone for 80% of it - lots of time to think about life and dreams and present and future.  I remember two times having to turn around and run back to a key intersection (no more than 1/2 mile each time) to make sure I had followed the ribbons correctly because I was in my own little world.  A few times I was unsure I was on the right path, but trusted in my decision and a half miel up would see the ribbon that confirmed I was.  Like I mentioned before, my perception of long steep climbs changed after having to climb four significant times (6 miles, 8 miles, 3 miles, 6 miles) - and those were only the significant climbs that lasted for more than 3 miles.  There were other climbs of a mile or so, which I now consider "short".  Most were steep enough it did no good to run - I was expending more energy and not moving any faster than if I power-hiked.  The downhills were relentless - rocky, technical, and steep - no rest for the racer as you always had to be looking and thinking about where to put your feet.  In the last 6 miles I was racing a storm - lightning in the distance and the claps of thunder - along with seeing bear scat along the trail on a very regular basis.  I was doing the ol' count the seconds between sight and sound to estimate how far the storm was and how fast I had to run to beat it.  I was singing loudly, blowing my whistle, and shouting a few choice words when I could come down on a loose rock wrong or slip off a slippery rut.  This was after 43 miles of running/hiking and this is where I learned what I was made of.  I can't tell you enough how much garbage goes through your head, willing you to stop and just quit, but that's when its most important for you to call your mind on it's BS and pull out the positives and use those to push you along.  Needless to say - it was tough as hell - there were times I wanted to quit, thought I would have to quit, but kept going.  I raced a smart race, given the difficulties I was having, and am proud of finishing in 13 hours.  Did I want to go faster - yes.  Do I think I can go faster - absolutely.  Do I think I could have went faster that day  - not by much, if any.  On a side note - I read about the Leadville 100 race and it's 1,200 entrants and was so thankful to have such an intimate race experience.  I left triathlon in part due to the commercialization of the sport and I hope that trail running avoids that demise.  It seems when money (entrance fees and awards) becomes central to a race, everything goes to shit.  Don't get me wrong - I still have a special place in my heart for triathlon, I just think it's changed.  That's what Leadville sounded like this year - but obviously I am making that assumption based on other people's observation, so I could be completely wrong.

That's about it for now...we just returned from a week of backpacking in Glacier National Park and visiting a friend of Barry's family.  I will write more on that in the next post as this one has gotten quite long.

To end, I feel the obligation to make fun of Barry a bit.  He had a rough go in Whitehorse as he almost knocked himself out the night we got to the campground.  He was washing his hands in the river, it was raining, and he was in a hurry to get back to the cover of our campground.  All I can say is the big pole that he rammed into with his head as he was super-manning away from the river left a large bump.  He was and is okay - but he wore around a big bandage on his forehead for a couple days and  it made me giggle (after the fact).  I still am trying to understand how he didn't see it (as he claims)....

Adios for now my friends.....

Sunday, August 11, 2013

him - 3aug13 - stuff and casey is clumsy

Disclaimer: i wrote this thing about 10 days ago. sadly, i've been unable to upload the pictures that i took, so i simply didn't post it. so, while reading, pretend that it's actually about a week ago.

Making fun of Casey
packing was rough on casey. she had to sleep on the floor for several days. we only had a couple dishes we could use and the plate selection was rather limited. in fact, i took away the kitchen table and chairs. and the rolly desk chairs. such as it was, she was forced to sit in the camp chairs that we purchased from REI. all in all, they are great chairs...i like them lots (not least of all b/c when they break, we can return or replace them at our leisure). sadly for her, they don't have much in the way of 'grip' or 'anti-slip' or 'anti-don't-fall-on-your-ass' bits on the feet. as it turns out, all of that lack of stuff combined with my slick wooden floors and casey don't make for a good combination. 

so, we were sitting around my fancy new card table in our fancy returnable REI chairs a few nights back. probably on saturday night. maybe friday night. the night had been a little stressful (not terribly uncommon as we both uprooted ourselves from our known lives and friends and security in search of new knowing and more friends and whatnot). i think i was checking my email and facebook (dreadfully important, i know (i've spent some time with a londoner over the last few days and it influences my speech patterns)) for the first time that day (not counting several hundred glances at my phone). i'd been pretty damn busy with packing and cleaning and building and all that. i'm fairly certain she was setting up her new ipad.

so, as she was setting up the ipad, i was helping her figure out how to transfer some word and excel documents from an external hard drive to the ipad; this required two new apps: "pages" and "numbers" (i really like the names of those...quite clever). i had brought up a page or video on my computer and had turned it just so she could see the screen. apparently, i didn't turn the computer quite far enough, forcing her to lean forward and turn it a bit farther. as she did this, she fell right on her ass.

it happened rather quickly and she didn't fall that far. at first, she didn't react at all and i worried that the days' stress combined with a little fall would morph into some tears and unexplainable girly emotions. fortunately, i was way off base and she burst into laughter! first thing she said was "you're gonna blog about this, aren't you?!?". i was thinking "most likely", but i said "are you alright?". after a few seconds, the laughter tapered off and she righted the harm to her poor derrière. 

luckily for us, this little incident helped us boil off the stress of the evening and end on a pretty positive note. so, the moral appears to be as follows: if you're having a bad night, find a way to knock your girlfriend in such a way that she laughs it off and then you'll feel better. 

also, she farted several times in the car on the way through canada. got me the first time…thought it was me. again. last time that’ll happen. now, it’s deeply embedded in my psyche that she farts and it stinks bad. i’ll not blame myself again.

Different Perspectives (as of a week ago)
 so far, we really haven’t done much that’s resulted in significantly different perspectives. we’re still working through our different styles of planning and packing and living…it’s going pretty damn well considering how ‘out there’ our lives have become.
sometimes, she thinks i’m not nearly detailed enough in the answers i give to her questions. sometimes, she refers to ‘it’ or ‘that’ without naming the object because we have spoken about it in the past. it’s just little things like that. nothing major.

the only thing that sorta fits the bill is us finishing the Yukon Trail Marathon a few days back. my second race and casey’s first standalone marathon (she did complete that Ironman back in the day). i completed the half in 2:13, coming in 35th out of 102. casey completed the marathon in 4:17, placing 17th out of about 60 (i forget the exact number and i don’t want to steal any of her thunder). it was a tough course (i actually got off course and cost myself about 3/10 of a mile…several minutes). i’m pleased though…it went SIGNIFICANTLY better than my race in Michigan (amazing what a proper diet and a little training can do for you)…35th percentile vs 48th percentile. really pleased. casey was thrilled with hers, even if it was only a training run for her long run ;). we both figured out some things we need to do to improve, which is really the most important thing about stuff like this. and we had fun.

Building the Truck
so, as most everyone knows, i own a 2007 toyota tacoma. currently, it has 114,000 miles, give or take a few hundred. back when i lived in colorado i purchased a hitch-mounted bicycle rack that holds up to four bikes. shortly after moving to alaska, i bought a 'camper shell' (not really sure what the proper name is) that covers the bed of the's the standard model with a couple of windows on the side and it's the same height as the cab of the truck (in retrospect, i would most definitely have purchased a shell with a much higher roof…one that was higher than the cab, allowing for more headroom when trying to sit up in the back as the platform takes up a good 10 inches or so).

bikes on back and fuel/water cans in the wooden box on top. yakima box is just visible behind the wood. obviously, they're both sitting on the shell.
anyhow, a few months back, i got the thule bars installed on top (they are what the cargo boxes or ski racks or whatever else you want to put up there sit on). the bars have a dealer recommended ‘300lb weight limit’ which we’re trying to abide by…don’t really want to damage the bars or the shell, so it’s a bit of a balancing act…what goes in the bed and what goes on top??. shortly after i purchased those, casey bought the 18-square-foot yakima cargo box (the big plastic thing with a top). currently, its full of climbing gear and paper towels and sleeping bags and sleeping pads and whatnot. 
open yakima box. visible are a bunch of backpacks, some trekking poles, a bike pump, and some other crap.

a few weeks ago, i built the platform in the back. not to toot my own horn, but it's literally the first thing i've built other than a bird house and some pinewood derby cars when i was a kid. that took several days longer than it probably needed to, but it's working out great so far. we have a couple of plastic bins each that we use to store our clothing and toiletries and a few other bits – bought the specific size of bins to match what the platform would accommodate and they fit underneath just about perfectly. also, have a couple of little cubby holes with lift off covers towards the cab (in front of the wheel wells); mine is filled with random crap while casey’s is filled with some dust and air.
a little cleaner than normal, but this is generally what the backend looks like. the two black boxes contain our food and kitchen/cooking stuff. the blue on the right is the tarp we covered our bikes with.underneath is where we put our clothing bins (the center two spots...casey has the one on the right).

the cubby holes in front of the wheel wells. not huge, but an extra space to store things. also, this nicely shows off the astroturf i used to cover the whole thing. it's real nice.

about a week after that (and just a day before we left), i finished the other cargo box that's sitting on top (it's the second thing i built). this one had to be waterproofed, which took a little thought and still needs a bit of work…the paint has been rubbed off in spots after only a couple of days of travel! maybe a clear coat of some kind? mostly, just using it to transport the fuel and water cans as it isn’t protected from the elements. maybe we’ll end up getting a couple of large dry-bags.

fuel cans in the wooden box. the holes are both for drainage and to reduce the weight a tad bit. i'm sure i could've put many more holes in it.

we’re using several plastic boxes in the bed and the cab (two of them contain our food and our cooking stuff) as well as a cooler to organize most of our things. seems to be working out pretty well so far. we’ve been making several trips a day, ferrying things between our campsite and the truck; partly, because we don’t want our valuables sitting in our tent and partly because it helps us stay organized. we’re continuing to refine our systems and I suppose we’ll continue to do so as we continue. all in all, everything is going great so far.

The Future

we'll be in birchwood, wi for the next week...leaving on saturday for montana. i think we're going to make a stop in south dakota and climb for a day, but i'm not totally certain. while in WI, we'll fish quite a bit and drink some beers and have some bonfires with casey and her family. pretty great so far! 

more to come.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

HeR - Hello August, where did July go?

We made it out of Eagle River and onto the first destination!  I didn't think the day would come - although in reality we were only about 11 days past when I originally thought we would leave.  But had we left any earlier - we would not have had the opportunity to see my first up close bear, nor had a moose trample through a campsite in the middle of the night (i am telling myself it was a moose), drove through a rain & hail storm, met a Londoner on his 20th month of travel, a trip that started in South America, or tested each other's patience and resolve with all the "little shit" that happened up until our departure.  At any rate, I'll use the cliche phrase that I believe wholeheartedly in, "it all happens for a reason" and we were late departing for those reasons.

July was a flurry of activity - hence, another month goes by until I post.

Rolled off project July 6 so work was officially done at that point; however, has unofficially continued to take up my time as "minor details are sorted" with the contracting company.  A project end always seems to come with unexpected hiccups and now that I expect these instances, I pretty much take them in stride. Case in point, having to move from the apartment to a hotel for the last week of the project.  What a waste of time, but in hindsight it prevented me from procrastinating on sorting and packing clothing and possessions for Michigan, road trip, or storage unit.  I was pretty much ready to head out whenever I got the word.  

Michigan trip was fun - spent an entire week at a beautiful place with good company.  Can't ask for much better than that.  Indulged in delicious Michigan cherries and home-made raspberry jam along with gluten free goods from Unrefined Bakery - Barry's mom and sister (Anne and Taylor) own the business and make some really tasty non-allergen baked goods.  They have hooked us up with their snack bars and pancake mix for this trip - and I must say, not being a huge pancake fan, I love that stuff - it's pretty much been our staple breakfast along with eggs most mornings.

Upon returning from Michigan, Barry focused on getting his house ready to rent out, packing up everything for storage and the trip, building the platform for the back of the truck, organizing the heaps of gear in the garage, and building an additional wood topper to carry fuel, water, cooler.  He underestimated (by 11 days) the amount of time it would take to complete all this, which made for some terse moments as I don't do well sitting patiently and waiting.  If I have learned anything about Barry the past few weeks, its that he is a tinkerer, he measures everything to precise detail and then measures again, he is more of a gear head than I originally thought, and he is not a budgeter (which is the opposite of me).  Very interesting to watch him work - sometimes I wanted to yawn and knew that if I would take a 30 minute nap and woke up, he would probably still be measuring the same piece of wood to triple check that his fifth measurement of his seventh plan was in line with his tenth idea - oh and he might have to make his 15th trip to Lowe's to get the piece he forgot five trips ago.  But he completed it - and did a great job - so whatever gets the job done...

Two big highlights from last few weeks in Alaska were spent with some great friends - went to the Matanuska Glacier with a few girlfriends to learn and practice crevasse rescue.  It rained on us for a bit, but weather isn't much of a deterrent for me.  Rain, snow, ice, wind - certainly less than ideal, but with the right attitude and company it's no big deal (and can be quite fun!).  The whole walking on ice thing is still new to me.  Counter-intuitive.  Oh - here, take these spikes and put them on your shoes, carry these sharp picks around and just walk normal.  Same mental block I had with I had with ice climbing.  Ice is slippery - how the hell are the tips of few small sharp things going to help me climb ice and then you want me to hold this sharp thing that I will probably stab into my leg when I fall!  But it works, and it's fun, and I've learned to push the bush, and not swing like a girl, so I think I have found another hobby.

Second highlight was running Crow Pass. The race had been held the day before and the winner did it in 3 hours and some seconds.  The distance is 24 miles and after seeing the trail conditions, river crossing, and losing trail a few times -  I am convinced that Alaska is full of bad-ass runners (which I already kind of knew from Mount Marathon, Bird Ridge, Hatchers Pass, etc).  Definitely a novice - I am learning the ins and outs of descending quickly and ascending efficiently on uneven terrain.  Of course, I was the first in our group to take a spill, and of course it was in a little creek.  So much for keeping the shoes and socks dry - we were only 2 miles into the run.  My knee was bleeding, my elbow ached a bit, I was soaking wet, and I was deliriously happy. Not less than a mile or so later, another girl took a spill from stepping off the side of the trail - we both laughed and carried on.  Obviously, I desire nobody to get hurt, but part of trail running is knowing you are probably going to catch a rut or roll on a rock and take a spill.  And it's almost like a high-five moment when you do it, and realize that other than scrapes, bruises and a bit of pain, you are still able to get up and finish your run.  I also learned about "now you see him, now you don't" moments - one minute you are following the lead guy with the whistle and bear bell, the next moment all is silent and you can't see his head bouncing ahead of you.  You hear some rustling in the weeds, a few groans, and the dude pulls himself back on his feet again - that happened about 8 miles into the run to the lucky guy that was accompanying us ladies on the run.  The river was pretty swift and broad, more than usual, so we all met up at the crossing and crossed together - talk about a free f'in ice bath, glacier water is cold - and I am not talking just plain oh "shriek, that's cold", it's more like "piss your pants cold", which is what I would have done but everything was numb and frozen down there so it may or may not have happened - I have no clue.  After that (~mile 11ish), Neil and I took off for the last 13 at a reasonable pace.  At about mile 18, that reasonable pace became a face plant into the dirt for me.  I was going to play it off like it never happened (Neil hadn't turned around yet to witness me sprawled out on the ground), but then I looked down and there was no other explanation for the solid dirt from my chin to my ankles - so I 'fessed up on my second spill of the day.  Yay for me.

The following photo is from Hatchers Pass Relay - which was another super fun activity I did with a couple friends - so beautiful and an event that I want to go back and do again!

Ended that day with a BBQ with great friends - couldn't have asked for a better way to leave Alaska.  I certainly feel that I am surrounded by some truly special people and all will be missed while on our trip.  Not only that, we continue to meet wonderful people as happened with Ivan and Pattie - friends' of friends that joined at the BBQ.

Anyways - I will speak more to our first few days of the trip next post  Have the big marathon tomorrow so going to head out and make myself a burger.  Still downing the meat and iron pills to get my iron back up to a normal level - running with oxygen in your blood is much easier as I have learned the past few weeks of concerted effort to increase my iron (hemoglobin carries little oxygen molecules around to muscles - if that is suck at everything).  

Next post - coming soon!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

him - 20jul13 - girl farts and rotting shoes

Story making fun of casey
so. it's true. before, i wasn't certain. now, i am. the earth has shifted. atlas has shrugged. the heavens have realigned.
a few weeks back, case and i were headed out to do something sweaty (i no longer remember exactly what it was). to that end, we were wearing our workout clothes and workout shoes and workout faces. now, i don't know if any of you have ever smelled a pair shoes that have ‘gone bad’, but it is a unique and unpleasant odor. i currently own a pair of gore-tex tennies that fit this bill...the gore-tex doesn't let them breathe as well as mesh shoes, causing the trapped water/sweat to sour and mildew over time...they're gross.
anyhow, we'd just gotten in the car and i had backed out of the apartment and started towards our destination (whatever it was). after hitting the road, i caught a whif of something awful. i couldn’t quite place it at first. thought it might be my shoes or maybe something had died in the car. a few more seconds passed…i smelled my pits, tried to smell my shoes (had trouble with that one since i was driving) and just couldn’t figure it out. still, i didn’t put it past me…sometimes, guys stink for unknown, at this point, i was confused. I didn’t know what the hell was going on.

then, casey giggled. 

then, i knew. girls do fart. and it stinks (like rotting shoes??)! damn.

we both laughed for several minutes…mostly at my reaction to her deception, though some of it was me laughing at her embarrassment. honestly, it was pretty damn funny. hilarious, even. whatevs. we kept on towards wherever it was we were going and casey thought the whole ordeal was over.

several weeks later (about the time i got the idea to write this little gem), casey learned that it wasn’t over. i told her i planned to write about this little event. at first, she was both upset and embarrassed…i’m sure she was thinking things like: ’how dare i tell the world that sweet little casey farts and it doesn't smell like roses!!!’ or ‘that’s private and you can’t put it in the blog!!’ or something like that. this was in the afternoon. a few hours later, as we were going to sleep, i brought it up again. we talked about it for maybe a minute before she started to giggle. then laugh. then belly laugh. then cry. for maybe six or seven minutes. it was hilarious. nothing much funnier than a person laughing so hard they cry. 

anyhow, she said she was laughing so hard because of my initial reaction to the smell…sniffing around trying to figure out what it was and not being able to do so. i like to think that she was laughing at herself for letting the world’s oldest secret out of the bag. whichever, I took that as implied consent (i mean, seriously, i'm not gonna post something that lands me on the couch for a week) and here we are.

Different perspectives
casey and i ran the Waugoshonce Trail Half-Marathon in Mackinaw City, MI on 13JUL13. casey has comp(l)eted in numerous races, from a 5K run up to a full Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run). this was my first race. ever. well, other than ‘The Color Run’ a few weeks back (the ‘5K’ was actually 2.5 miles). so, this was the first real race.
she beat the hell out of me...almost 20 minutes. she placed 3rd out of about 100 in the women’s

division (2:01) and i placed 39th out of 78 in the men’s (2:20). she considered this a ‘short, training run’ and a good ‘measure of where she stands’. not knowing the terrain or what to expect, i just wanted to finish in less than three hours and get my t-shirt and not crap my pants (it was harder than i thought).

i actually did a lot better than i anticipated, but it was still awful. i made it about 8 miles before things went to shit. didn’t eat or drink enough (chalk that one up to dumbness and lack of experience). didn’t train enough (or at all, really; spent the 4 out of 5 nights prior to the race drunk off my ass with my bro-in-law, ryan). after mile 8 (the point where i bonked, the trail became hilly and generally uphill, and it got hotter), i walked quite a bit and generally felt pretty sorry for myself. my feet stopped working correctly and i couldn’t run through the damn forest without tripping over the roots and ferns and small leaves. so, i walked some more. eventually, i got my shit together and finished the race…actually managed to pass a few people on the way in (the last 1.5 miles or so was on a level, paved trail). made me feel a little better.

casey was waiting for me about ½ a mile from the finish…pretty sure she’d just finished repainting  her toenails…must've scuffed them a bit on the run. she paced me and this guy dave (we’d run the last 1.5 miles together) to the finish and then helped catch me as i fell across the line…it was pretty damn hot. at least i was done.

long, rambling story short, this was tough for me and it was a training run for casey. kinda depressing, but at least the only way i can move is up :)

Update on life and stuff
returned from 8 days or so in northern michigan a few days back; needed a little vacation from my vacation. my family has been going to the same spot for about a long damn time…my great-grandfather and his family was from that area (East Jordan, MI). it was gorgeous and the weather was nice, but much hotter than we were used to. relaxed the whole time: several boat rides, went sailing, water skied, ate some super tasty food (i brought fresh salmon from home)!

finished painting the inside of my house last night. finally! hopefully finish up most of the packing today and build out the back of the truck tomorrow. take everything to storage on thursday or friday and then leave on saturday! canadia, here we come!

we’ll be in Whitehorse, YT for a week or so. mt biking, hiking, trail running, and exploring the town. there’s a trail marathon on 4aug; i’m running the half and casey is running the full…hopefully i do better than the last one. after that, we’ll be in WI for about 10 days for her family reunion…should be a blast as we’ll be staying in cabins on a lake in northern WI…fishing and swimming and biking and stuff.

from there, we’re over to Bozeman for a  little acclimatization and prep before casey’s big 50mile race on 24AUG. crazynuts!!! prolly stick around there until the 26th or so and then head to Sun Valley, ID for some world-class mt biking and trail running and hiking and camping…stay there for a couple of weeks before heading down to Colorado to meet up with old friends (both of us have lived in CO before) for a week or so. i haven’t been back there in several years, so i’m really looking forward to it. after that, we’ll spend a few days in Dallas with my family before heading out to Costa Rica on 1OCT!!!!!!!!!!!

i’m so excited to be moving to costa rica! It’s gonna be awesome! as an added bonus, the job casey procured will have her working for a whitewater rafting/kayaking/adventure company! talk about awesome contacts for the future!

anyhow, that’s really all i’ve got for the moment. time to get packing!

adios, suckas.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

him - 9jul13 - casey breaks stuff (i actually wrote this yesterday)

blarg. stuck in the damn airport…ohare strikes again! perfect time to catch up and write my much overdue post! on to a funny story about casey. oh, and a random airport video.

story making fun of casey:
so, i’m bringing some of the yummy salmon that i caught with us to michigan. while we were waiting on the plane in anchorage, i plopped my happy ass down on the floor next to a couple of power outlets so that I could charge my phone whilst playing an engrossing, $.99 game. casey, being the friendly chica that she is, joined me after about 15 minutes, bringing with her the fish cooler and various other things (her backpack). after she had everything arranged, she decided, for some reason known only to puppies and small babies, to sit on the cooler. mid-sit, i said “No!” i knew that the cooler wouldn’t support more than a few pounds and i didn’t want her to squish it flat.
 i have to assume she heard me, but the odd thing was that she just hovered over the cooler (kinda in the standard, 'i'm not crappin in a toilet' defecation position) and stared at me. then, there was a quite audible ‘CRACK’ as she broke the cooler just a bit…only a tiny crevasse (stupid, cheap styrofoam!) (or maybe it was just an powerful SBDF that cracked it??). at this point, two separate chains of events and thoughts occurred:

me: what i thought was: “damn, she heard me and either didn’t care or didn’t believe me. then, because she didn’t believe me or care, she broke the cooler!” what i said was: “why didn’t you listen to me (apparently, i said it in a way not unlike a parent speaks to a wayward child while giving her the same kind of ‘look’)? needless to say (though i’ll say it anyhow), this didn’t go over well.

she (i got all this secondhand, from her…duh; it's not like i actually know what she is thinking): what I saw was actually a misinterpretation of the actual events. She actually did hear me and actually did try not squish cooler. what i took to be her air-pooping position was actually her trying to maintain and then regain her balance. when she cracked the cooler, she had just (only for a moment and only a little bit), lost her balance and put a tiny bit of pressure on the cooler…seriously, only a little. then, before she had time to explain, i went ahead and spoke to her like a little tyke. oops. not good on my part.

so, this funny little anecdote actually coincides quite nicely with the blog theme: two very different and not all that funny perspectives on one event. fortunately, it ended well. we went ahead and had makeup ‘relations’ right there on the airport floor…j/k, j/k!!!

update on life and stuff

the last few weeks have been pretty damn busy for me. spent the majority of my time painting the inside of my house and starting the packing/moving process. my mom was here for about a week and did me a huge solid in helping to paint the house - she spent about half of her vacation doing it! i’m not finished yet, but it’s looking quite nice!

casey participated in a relay marathon a few days ago with a couple of her friends, meghan and cammie…they each ran 8 miles of the Hatcher Pass road. casey, the psycho that she is, chose to run the hardest, steepest, hilliest portion of the route. i was going to pace on her my bicycle, but realized that the road was steep enough that i wouldn’t be able to keep up with her…i drove instead. super hard work for me...driving and all.

so, we’re on the way (actually here already) to northern michigan to spend a week at my grandparents cabin. it should be a pretty relaxing time…some time on the beach and on the water. time with the fam and some tasty vittles.  also, we’re running in a half-marathon up in mackinaw city on the 13th. it’ll be a short training run for casey, but it’ll be about the longest i’ve ever run in one go. i just hope i don’t crap my pants.

a view of lake charlevoix and our sweet boat, the Jayhawk
we’ll be in michigan for about 8 days and then back to AK. we’ll spend the first few days back working on packing my house and finishing the painting. casey might go backpacking with some friends. we hope to catch several dozen pounds of salmon with which to stock my freezer! also, we’ll attempt to plan our roadtrip out a bit further than WI…the details, anyhow.

 rock on!