Just this past week I had the opportunity of a lifetime and spent a week in Alaska with three very good friends. We hiked, white water rafted, they fished, and just ventured around Alaska seeing all the natural beauty that this country contains. And that’s quite a lot. I had the best intentions of running every day but fell short due to some unforeseen circumstances that I derived from our swim test for the rafting. While the damage to my quad curtained the depth of my running I still got to get out and run, albeit maybe a little less than I would have liked but it’s tough to complain when your in Alaska.
The three runs I did get in, not only were fantastic, but as I look back on them I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to do so. The first run was a seven miler out on the Homer spit. The city of Homer, home of the Time Bandit from the TV show The Deadliest Catch, has a five mile spit that extends into Katchemak Bay. Loaded with boat slips, shops, and fishing charters, it also hosts a bike path that runs most of the length of the spit. While the road going down the spit was loaded with RVs, I didn’t pass more than one runner and half a dozen bicyclists. I passed pockets of lupine and fireweed in bloom, old wooden boats, new sailing vessels and fishermen coming with their catch. With the snow capped mountains of Katchemak Bay State Park as the backdrop, the surreal surroundings I was running in was absolutely jaw dropping.
My next run happened in the town of Soldotna, half way down the Kenai peninsula on the Tsalteshi Ski Trails behind Skyview Middle School. Soldotna is the hometown of Allie Ostrander, the baby assassin who runs for Boise State and is the current and two time champion for NCAA Division 1 championships. While she ran for Kenai HS, she developed a race series in Soldotna to help protect the Kenai river and more purposely, the salmon that live in it. I had hoped to be able to run in one of her summer series runs but the one day I was not in Alaska was the day of the series. The rolling hills and twisty-turny terrain would have made for an excellent run but my busted up quad had me simply running the “Wolf” loop, which was lit for the ability to ski during the very long winter nights.
The third run didn’t actually happen in Alaska, but during our 16 hour layover in Portland, OR. With time to kill I was able to get out and run a loop in Forest Park, a ridge line wooded city park with over 80 miles of trails and no automobile encounters. I had hoped to see a local elite out on the trails as many pros call Portland home and use the park for training runs, but we saw none. Still rough from the rafting accident, we kept the run to a hilly three mile run. With many switchbacks, cutbacks and steep ascents and descents, I felt the shorter the better on this one as we still had a five hour plane ride to take us back East.
So while I didn’t get out as much as I had planned or wanted to, the runs I had held some significance in my small little world. I make never get to run with Allie, or some pros in Portland, but I was able to see where they train, and get a sense of what makes them them. And that is worth something.
See you out there.