2018 Gear Wishlist

What better way to cope with a money-stress-meltdown than by compiling a list of all the things you want to spend money on?

Actually, I’m not coveting much at all this year. After a decade of stockpiling tools and toys, our household is pretty saturated with gear and have entered the ‘maintenance’ phase of ownership. We have it all, just need to keep it functional.

So as I reflect on my wishlist, it’s actually just two (2) pieces I need to add/update my closet with.

  1. Patagonia Nine Trails Backpack, 26L. I gave up a shoddy daypack a few years ago and haven’t replaced it yet. It’s been on my radar, but I’ve made due with too-small or too-big packs. Well, Outside Online reviewed Patagonia‘s new Nine Trails pack and raved about them. That’s good enough for me! Not actually – I’m going to try them on, and make sure it’s a good fit. But I love Patagonia and that turquoise pack is sharp! First order of business with my new pack: hammock backpack.
  2. New Running Shoes, brand TBD. New Year, new races, new shoes. If you run at all – you know the routine. And since Mayor’s Marathon is on the docket again for 2018… Homegirl needs new kicks. My first choice is to replace my shoes with the 2018 model, which would be these sweet Asics Gel Nimbus 20s. That yellow – meow!

Things I don’t need: socks, leggings, sports bras, t-shirts, pullovers, skirts, sandals, water bottles, buffs, hats, gloves, mittens, and more…

2017 Her Tern 1/2 & 1/4, and a little humility

The Her Tern Half is my favorite Anchorage 1/2 marathon. The course is straight forward, enjoyable and I know it like the back of my hand. The swag is ridiculous and not junk. And, the energy of running with hundreds of other women is unbeatable (I think of that song by Aretha and Annie Lenox, Sisters are doing it for themselves).

I’ve been running the half since its inception in 2013, only missing the summer we were in France. This year was no different, except about two weeks before the race it started to feel a little…. stupid… to run a half marathon that I hadn’t been training for. At all. Like, it’d been about a month since I’d last run (4 miles).

A year or two ago, HT introduced the quarter marathon – same route, same swag, same energy – different mileage. 6 miles felt way more doable than 13, so I switched my registration and went for it. My logic became: pushing myself to run 6 miles well, versus killing myself to run 13 miles poorly, will make me feel like a champion at the end, not a waste case. The logic worked. I pulled out 6 miles in an hour, 13 minutes and finished on the hill with a smile.

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.