100k WC 2011

100k WC 2011

Gagarin Half Finish

Gagarin Half Finish
Gagarin Half Finish

Awards Gagarin Half

Awards Gagarin Half
Awards Gagarin Half

Cosmonauts give out the awards:)

Cosmonauts give out the awards:)
Cosmonauts give out the awards



Sunday, March 17, 2019

Winter Racing....and Being Busy!

Good Gods- I never have time to post in here anymore. As soon as I got back after winter break, it was back to school and busy as a bee. I will not have a life until after I take and hopefully pass the science praxis in June. My principal asked me last month how I feel about taking over 7-12 science next yr and I was like ...I LOVE SCIENCE!!!! One of my biggest life regrets was not being able to finish up a biochem major years ago because I could not afford a 5th yr of University. 2 majors and 2 minors was all I could do. It was my 3rd year of course I totally got disinterested in Spanish and fell in love with ELL and science while continuing my Russian and Ed majors. If I hadn't chewed the early years on that Spanish minor and took more science instead....yeh I'd have had plenty and more for a major. Years later in Moscow I did quite a few scientific translations much on stem cell research. Hell, I even took marine bio because I wanted to. I've always been really interested in biochem (the ol' how stuff works) and environmental science. Yes, with a science credential and my Russian, I could have written my own ticket and gone on to be a lab nerd, and those nerds make damn good coin. So, I'm going to add a science endorsement....hopefully won't have to take the damn praxis a zillion times before passing.....and have fun playing with the kids in the lab. It will also make me more marketable since Russian in academia is dying on the vine and it seems the only thing one can use Russian for outside academia this side of the pond is to allow one's brain and skills to be weaponized to do harm. Anyone who knows me, knows I would NEVER ever sell my skills and soul to such horrid organizations....the kind that usually require a security clearance if you get my drift. So between training , studying, and teaching, I'm busy as a bee. I don't have time to be bored.

So, back to winter racing- I was in Moscowlast 2 weeks of December and over the January holidays. I ran the indoor mile and a half on Jan 1. I took the down time in between because I had implant surgery on 24 Dec. Now , I just wait 6 months for the implant to fuse to the bone and hopefully get the crown in June.

I ended up 4th in the indoor mile- my first race of any kind since the win in Kalskag at the mountiain 10k in September. I really miss this series and it's good to get back when I can. I can't believe I ended up is the fastest of the 4 heats even as an old geezer LOL.

I skipped the hour run on the 25th as it was the day after my surgery, but did do the half Jan 1 in Tushino. This is the same organization that puts on the summer half and they did a great job at this one too. I ended up 4th overall at this one. I am working out my summer schedule now and will be making some decisions soo. I am not happy that the Tushino Half is the same day as Arkhangelsk and Riga- Valmiera. 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Tushino Half 1 July

I didn't get this post done before I hit the road to Kirovsk. This year I just ran this as a whatever race. There was no way I was going to miracle recover from Arkhangelsk in a week. I used it as a tempo run and then did no racing until the double at Sunny Nights. There was a 5k Parkrun in between but I tasked myself with not going all out. I ended up 7th overall in the half first geezer again. I was just stuck in a slow underrecoverred rut so trying to bust my ass was useless. This race was moved from early June to July because of the World Cup. It wasn't hot but it was muggy and WET. The race organizers again did a great job.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Sunny Nights Apatity and Kirovsk - The ASSKICKER Double

See a movie filmed in a cool looking place and go! That's kind of how this started out. My Bush survival kit is pretty simple -computer to download movies and TV and a nice big screen TV to hook that all up to and watch to keep myself entertained especially during the dark season. Well, last winter whilst looking for interesting Russian movies to watch I came across a good one about an Olympic caliber skier who was seriously injured and went on to kick ass on the Paralympic side. Со дна вершины or From the Bottom of the Top roughly translates. Not sure if there are  options with subtitles if you don't speak Russian or not, but it's a good movie so I won't give away any spoilers. It was filmed in Kirovsk- where there is a beautiful Ski Resort- Big Wood. So, I googled the place and yup, it looked a ways off the beaten path from Murmansk. Actually, it's a 200km drive. Кукушка or Cuckoo, another of my favorite films was filmed up in the Murmansk region as well and I remember watching and thinking how much it looked like Fairbanks with the rolling domes in the area. Kirovsk is actually in the Khibiny Mountains, the domes I saw were in the surrounding area and on the road from Murmansk. Anyhow, it's a beautiful area and definitely non-boring.

So, while I was in Arkhangelsk, one of the guys I ran with was from Murmansk and he told me about this race. I did see it on the calendar and thought hmmmmm. It's a double. Day one is in nearby Apatity where there is a road half marathon on a sort of rolling course. Day two is the 10.4k mountain race UP over 800m -think same as Arctic Valley Climb. That's an asskicker on fresh legs let alone tired ones. So I contacted the race director and local organizers to find out the details and got good responses and they were quite helpful. They kept posting these really pretty pictures on the site too which just made this too tempting so I caved and went for it.  Also, I have been deliberately heading north to avoid my nemesis- the heat. Kirovsk is above the Arctic Circle and typically not hot this time of year and the sun is not setting at this time. Both races were night races the half at 9pm and the mountain run at 10:30. I have always been an owl , so that would be just perfect.

I decided to go up 2 days before the first race which was the half on Friday evening. Again, I scored a nice flat off Airbnb with a kickass mountain and lake view. I flew in through Murmansk then rode down which was about 3 hours. it was hot as holy hell 26C in Murmansk! If anyone wants to debate global and Arctic warming with me, you will lose! Murmansk is nearly as far north as Barrow , Alaska! Thursday was a rest and explore around town day. it's hilly- like Homer, Alaska hilly with similar grades and inclines. I tried to stick to the shade as much as possible-that sun was baking hot! Temps were low mid 20s C daytime with nice cooling off in the twilight hours when the sun was lower on the horizon. Friday, I slept nice and late since the Half was not until 9pm. I did go check out the museum in the afternoon as it was literally 100m from the house. Kirovsk is a mining town. There are many mineral deposits in the area and apatite is used to produce fertilizer. There is both open pit and underground mining. Actually, the road we run for the mountain run is closed access past about halfway up. You have to get on the list and get clearance to be up there. The race organizers were really good about making sure before I got there that having a US passport would not be an issue in getting access. Spectators aren't even allowed all the way up the road. There are still closed cities up in the Murmansk area, so , yeah, I made sure beforehand I wasn't going anywhere I could get into trouble because that's a mistake one does NOT want to make!

At 6:30 PM, there was a bus ready to take runners from Kirovsk to Apatity for the half. We got there in plenty of time to get our numbers for both races and soon we were bused to the start. At 9 we were off. It was a rolling course along the road to the airport out and back. My legs were good, but something went wrong about 7k in- my stomach acted up. I don't know what the culprit was as this hasn't been an issue for a long time.  I actually drank only bottled water because I had read the water in Kirovsk has a smell to it and it does because of the mineral content. it even messes with silver jewelry which I used toothpaste to keep clean. This reminded me of years ago at Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks- can't wear silver because of the mineral and sulfide content. I just dug in and got through the half. We all pushed it hard on day one. I ended up second overall first in the masters but number three was only about three minutes back and number four only five so, anything could happen on day two.  There were three aid stations along the course and water and tea and mors at the finish. The course was measured accurately to a T as well. They did the awards for the half shortly afterthe final finisher came in who was 78 years old! This is embarrassing, but I was the oldest geezer in the half for the ladies :(

Again, they bused us back to town and from there the bus to Kirovsk was already waiting for those of us headed back. The organizers did a super job with transport throughout the two days. I got back and ate and ice bathed for over 20 min to speed recovery. I went to bed sometime close to 4am and slept til lunch the next day.

Saturday, I woke up with my stomach still a bit off. Crap, this is NOT what I need. Luckily, it cleared by early afternoon and I was fine but not before I went to the store for black tea and drank lots. The organizers invited us to the ski/snowboard slope to go up and check out the view. OMG, this was so tempting, but it was baking in the sun and I decided not to risk it or I'd be dead for the mountain run. I didn't skip this opportunity I just postponed it:)

After having a lazy rest and recovery day, it was time to mosey over to the sport center where the bus would take us to the start at 9:30. Again, the organizers did a great job getting us there. They had trucks to take our gear to the top so we could have it at the finish right away. At 10:30, we were off.

Again the weather cooperated and it was a beautiful and clear sunny night.The views on the way up were incredible! My legs responded well despite this being a day two race. I finished second overall in the mountain race first masters again. The overall standings were interesting for the day 1 and 2 totals. I kept my place ,but the third and fourth place ladies switched and it was quite a close race for third in the overall rankings for both days. I posted a decent time and was glad to have a buddy to run with and we pushed each other both days. It was beautiful on top. I ran to the truck to get my drys on and cover up because the MOZZIES were once again out in full force and hungry! While waiting for the rest of the finishers, I walked around to enjoy the awesome views. it was spectacular!!! They then bused us down halfway to where the awards would be. When we arrived, it was time to dance and munch, drink coffee and tea and have a it of fun. The awards were sometime after 1AM ish. They did awards for both the mountain run and overall totals for the double. On both days they offered shorter distances as well-day 1 had a 3,5, and 10k and there was a 4k lite version to the mountain run. However, the half and the 10.4k were the races one had to run to be included in the awards for the double. I am glad I did this one. This area is absolutely gorgeous. It's also an affordable snowboard heaven in the winter! This is something I'd definitely like to do again.
Pix from after the finish and up on top:

               snow :) This race was moved to August last year due to snow!

   the mine is behind me

                 It was a concrete road to the top, so actually, on fresh legs, I could do the climb faster than I did at Arctic Valley

Awards and after party-

Overall for 2 days +for the half  and mountain run separately. The medals are for age GP the cool wooden one(big) is for the 2 days top 3 and the smaller wooden one is for the mountain run. 

                                                                finisher's medals

Now, it would be an absolute sin not to go play on the mountains, which is exactly what I and several other runners did on Sunday. We slept in til rather late. I didn't go to bed til going on 5AM after getting home from the mountain run. Mid afternoon we took that ride on the ski lift up to the top and climbed further to the tippee top of the mountain at Big Wood on the north slope. We could see the south slope and road we ran the night before from several points. The weather cooperated and again it provided for breathtaking views. We missed the opportunity to head to the sanatorium nearby as they left at 1. I knew that was not happening. If I go to bed late, I sleep nice and late and after 2 races I needed to let my body sleep as much as needed then get up an go outside to play. I would definitely recommend these races and Kirovsk as a place to go if you like the outdoors and like to play outside :)

Go climb a rock!-

here is the link to the event and press releases as well as photos.  This is a well organized event and people are friendly and helpful. You will not be bored as there is much to do even in summer.