Mayor’s Marathon 2017

I’ll tell you what: Marathon Relays are the way to go. They’re even better if you run the finish line leg, and it happens to be the shortest leg, and even happens to be roughly a half-mile off the anticipated mileage.

Team Salmon Run went through a couple iterations from when Emily and I first started it. First, our mother/daughter duo had some physical setbacks and had to bail. Then we filled it with a fun couple from Soldotna. Then one of them blew a shoulder and couldn’t run. Then, I found a guy and as quick as he committed he had to bail. So finally, we ended up with me, Emily, Megan and Cody – Team Salmon Run/Take No Prisoners.

We met Megan at the start line at 7 AM to hand off bibs, relay chip (no more batons, it’s a funky wristband that looks like an Apple Watch) and cheer her on at the start. Anticipating ~7 miles, she came to Cody at Leg 2 closer to 6 (this is a theme with Mayor’s Marathon), in less than an hour. Cody was off and running by 8:35 AM and finished his leg (~7.9 miles) in an hour. He handed the chip bracelet to Emily, hopped in her car and made his way to meet me at the final relay exchange. Emily got pranked with the longer leg (anticipating 6.3, and finding it to be ~7) and rolled in to our exchange zone with a big smile on her face and a loud “take it and go!”. Off I went, noting the time to be around 11:11 AM (make a wish).

A week earlier, my stepmom helped me break my ego and change to a running style that was reflective and appropriate for my training (or lack of) to date. She and I ran intervals, timing ourselves for 12 minutes of a comfortable pace and 3 minutes of walking. At Mayor’s, I logged 13 minutes of running at an increased pace (~ 1.49 miles in 13 minutes) and three minute brisk walk before starting the timer again (~ 3 x 13 min, 2 x 3 min).

And while it doesn’t feel quite the same, just different, it was an amazing feeling to run up the final hills with the other marathoners and relayers and charge across the finish line to a timestamp of 4:25 and some change. Our net time was 4:24:37. I dreamed of a time like that last year, on my own merit/two feet. And to be honest, I’m still a little hungry for it… But, in the wise words of my friend Stacia: I’m a different runner (a different person even) this year, than I was last year. And there’s opportunity to try for that 4:30 marathon again. But for now, I’m relishing in a race well run.

New York, New Perspective

Every year, I mutter something about traveling to the east coast and something like ‘no New York’. Not because I’m anti-NY, but because I want to cast a wider net, travel further, etc.

And then, there’s always something that pulls me home. Last year it was the first trip to NY in ~2 years, and a surprise engagement party. This year, it was an opportunity to see my little brother, Alex, before he deploys to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army and address some compartmentalized grief from my Pop Pop’s passing at the end of 2016.

I’d been looking forward to the trip to NY for a couple months, and also feeling aprehensive about it. I was having a hard time thinking about seeing my brother, and saying goodbye to him – it’s hard for me to see his deployment through any lens except one of fear, for his safety and well-being, while he’s deployed and when he returns. And despite the fear and the tension of seeing him off, it was so fantastic to spend some time with my littlest brother and counsin Jonsey, hiking around the Heldebergs, sharing our first beer since he turned 21 years old (Bud Light for him, Heldeberg Brew Co IPA for me) and staying up late around the fire.

And the next morning, before he left… Just like decades ago, when we used to roll out of bed, just to sleep again while we waited for the bus.

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I spent the rest of the trip as my parents’ shadow: yardwork, community events, homecooked dinner and more. It was peaceful, it was quiet, and it was rejuvenating. Spending the better part of a week in the hilltowns, with no places to go/people to see, was the best trip to NY I could have had. To those I didn’t see this trip – there will be more  (no matter how much I tell myself otherwise..) and I look forward to our next visits.

In the meantime, I have a fresh perspective on my hometown and the comfort it provides me, particularly in challenging emotional times. This trip reset my perspective on my priorities, it reset my running (thanks, Liz!), and filled my heart and belly with that warm feeling of family love.

Best Bach Bash – Byers Lake, AK

As the kids say… #blessed.

Back in April, my girlfriends confirmed I was having a bachelorette party and gave me a general pack list. Thanks to them, I ended up having the best bachelorette party ever.

The Place: Byers Lake, Denali State Park, cabin #2. My favorite northern cabin, #2 sleeps close to a dozen girls and three dogs. It also has epic views of Denali on clear days, and lucky us – it was clear Friday and Saturday!

The Activities: In no particular order…. we: built campfires, ate and drank, built a hammock city, had a scavenger hunt based on stories from my parents, played a very hard underwear guessing game, made multiple music videos, played bocci ball, and got the blood pumping with a pleasant hike around Byers Lake (~5 miles). I was exhausted by Sunday evening.

And… The Theme: Absolutely fabulous. Not in the spirit of the show, but of me! There were masquerade masks, party dresses, furs, champagne flutes and fun pieces of decor strung about. It was just fabulous – that’s all I can say.

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I’m fortunate and grateful for a group of women that love me, support me and spoil me rotten. It was a really, really epic way to ‘say goodbye’ to my bachelorette lifestyle (lolz). Thanks, ladies!