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

snowshoe

snowshoe

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Checking In!

Well, I've been busy as usual. In fact, I've been too busy between  moving, traveling, racing, and taking a graduate course to renew my teacher certification to post in here! Due to cutbacks where I was teaching in Homer, I had to make the decision to transfer to the Bush for the upcoming school year in order to stay on full time. I hated to leave Homer and I actually really liked it there, but there was no way on Earth I could survive on a part time contract there given the high cost of living.

 I will be starting in August as a 6th grade teacher in Tuluksak. This is one of those remote places you can only get to by plane, boat, or snowmachine. It's 30 miles upriver from Bethel. I have no desire to ever live in the Lower 48 again nor do I care to start over at 42 and work 30 years somewhere I just do not want to be. The other alternative is to return to Moscow and work as a full time governess (possibly live in which I cannot do as I need MY LIVING QUARTERS). I'll take the Bush any day over being forced to live with some strange family. Sure, there are live out jobs, but still, I feel like I'd be more useful working with kids in the village than with the privileged ones who have probably been sheltered their whole lives. I have always had a deep respect for Native culture and would like to learn more about Yupik culture from my new students. Yeh, I'm dreading one thing- the treadmill I'll have to ship out so I can still keep in hill shape. I've never set foot on one o those damn things and would rather run outside (and have)in the -50s, but I need to keep those mountain legs and my strength. I will snowshoe, but Tuluksak is flat save for some hills I've been told of upriver.....However, the one thing I will not miss is my HEATING bill. The school district includes that with housing so I can once again heat my home above 60 degrees in the winter and not pay 500$ to do so! I spent most of this past winter in the upper 50s to 60F (15C) and that, yes, will run close to 500$ in Homer in the winter- it sucks. I only heat the room I was in too when I was in it. Nothing like coming from a 60 degree bedroom to a 47 degree toilet and living room when you have to go in the wee hours........I learned to sleep in layers and a hat under a down comforter to avoid freezing my ass off! I don't care how cold it is OUT, I can deal with it, but I hate being cold IN! I will have a flush toilet and running water, but I've been told water can be a "sometimes" thing like in Russia I guess....sooooo I'll have the ol' metal pail and immersion heater setup like I do in Moscow for those fun days. Only the school and teacher housing have running water. Yup, that means honey buckets elsewhere and having to haul water.

So April and May had me driving up to Anchorage almost every weekend to haul shit into a heated garage ...well the shit I'm not shipping to the village right away at least.....So I conveniently planned these trips to coincide with races to try and get my out of shape from not racing since October ass ready for the summer. I started out in Homer last Saturday in April with a half that Grace Ridge Brewery put on (awesome BEER). This was no results published, so I did it as a tempo run-out to the end of the Spit and back slow as molasses......but was first woman.

The following weekend on May 6, I drove the 100 miles to Sterling for the Moose River 10k- I won this one...time a bit better but still had much work to do...........I enjoyed the hills and on/off road on this course.


14 May was the Migration Run in Homer 5K. This is the point to point one on the Spit and the only somewhat flat race I'd be doing for weeks. I won this one too -thanks again Grace Ridge Brewery for the BEER! This was probably my last race in Homer :-(



20 May- Anchorage O Malley hilly XC 5k. I won this one too. The elementary school puts this on every year and did a great job.

 







27 May- After a 12 yr hiatus from the Glacier Half- I came back. I drove up late Friday after the last day of school to race early Saturday- ouch. Also, they take your last performance and age grade it and give you a goal time. Crap, 2017 still slow me has to beat 2005 fast me. I looked at that time and had my doubts. well 2017 me 3 age groups later beat 2005 me, but couldn't hold on for the win after pulling away midrace. I could still feel the heaviness in my legs from the slow drive up(it's now tourist season and construction season making that drive painfully slow). Next weekend I had more control of my schedule and would drive up TWO days before the race to prevent this from happening again. Also, between lifting 60some lb totes to ship to the village and hauling other shit to the garage, I managed to piss off my back twice -once in April and once 2 days before the Glacier Half so I had the joy of running through nice back pain for this one.


3 June- Arctic Valley 12.6 miler- Anchorage. I couldn't decide until race day to run the 12 or 5 miler. I hadn't run this road since winter 04-05 on SNOWSHOES! It's over 700m of vertical and then what goes up the hill, must come back down! The day before, I drove the course to the top and I was leaning toward the 12 miler because it was just so pretty. I'd still have 2 weeks to fully recover before the Tushino Half in Moscow. On my way back down, I had just gotten back into the car when Blackie came ambling across the road! Yeh BLACKIE....a black bear. Bear spray lives in my car , so it goes wherever I do especially this time of year! We just looked at each other a bit and he ambled further up the ditch. bears happen and I guess he wanted to remind me this was definitely bear country.
Race morning, I went for the 12 miler. It was overcast and cool. The sun would only come out in the 2nd half of the race, so it wasn't boiling hot. I had only found out about this race a week before when I stopped into Skinny Raven after the Glacier Half. I was going to do their 6 or 12 k , but as soon as I saw the Arctic Valley run , it was for me! I'm not into the road scene much anymore and will opt for a hardass mountain /trail course over a flat boring road race. ZZZZZZ

This race was really well organized. It's on JBER- the army/AF base just out of town. So, just before the start, we were given the Blackie warning. Yup seems, he was out ambling about around mile 4 on the way up......GREAT! I was considering running with the bear bell after yesterday's meeting with Blackie, but figured a bunch of runners would make enough noise to deter a bear......note 2 weeks after this race , a 16 yr old boy was mauled to death by a black bear during the Bird Ridge race.This is unusual for a bear to attack during a race, but unfortunately, it did. I feel for his family.
BLACKIE!

I had fun with this one. The course is beautiful and I just started out nice and easy for the first 10km UP. Bullwinkle ran out for us at the start too! As I continued to climb, I gradually caught most of the men save for 4.I passed the lead woman about 3km up but was concerned she'd get me on the down being a 2:55 marathoner. When I got to the tippee top, I felt good. Climbing was the easy part....now what goes up the hill, must come down! I don't care for songle track slick/technical downhills, but this was a nice wide dirt/gravel mountain road , so I let it go....averaging the 3:40 ish km s all the way home. My 5k PR is a cheater so I don't count it-17:25 at the Murphy dome roam (17:25-37 on that final descent over the yrs) on a similar kind of steep downhill. i could cut down Chena Ridge in Fairbanks too under 18 ...but yeh cheater downhill. The Hokas saved the day so I could just barrel down with reckless abandon and not worry about knees and quads taking a beating. The 2nd lady was just over 5 min back at the turn around so I ran that 10k down the hill eyeballs out hoping she'd not catch me. She didn't. I finished 12 minutes ahead. At the awards, a lady came up to me who had won the 18-29 age gp. She looked at me a while and asked if I used to live in Wasilla and teach at WHS. OMG- yes, I was the Russian bilingual teacher until 2005 before I had a midlife crisis and made the biggest career mistake of my life at took 2 yr leave of absence that turned TEN YR HIATUS! Of all the jobs I've had, that was the one that was  BY FAR the best match for me. Leaving was probably one of the biggest single mistakes I could have made. In short, I f#cked up! She remembered seeing me out there running every day and lived the next street over from me. She said I actually inspired her to get serious about running. She's serving in the army now and has been to Afghanistan and all over the Gulf. She's stationed at home now. I was shocked. What a cool young lady!


















Next up- summer racing in Moscow

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snowshoe

snowshoe