October 30, 2011

Snow, Skiing, Halloween, Sunday Mornings

A Glimpse at my Weekend:
(click on a picture to enlarge it!)

One of the last rollerskis of the season! Rollerskiing in 20F temps on frozen leaves is not very fun!
The Cook Inlet in the background

Going Swimming!
Us with knee injuries have done a little swimming. Sadie used to swim competitively so she relies on swimming to workout quite a bit so I decided to jump in and try it with her. Swimming is HARD! She lapped me many times until I finally swam a mile. 

Alaska has a couple skiing secrets, well not really secrets, but they are secret because only people brave enough to venture up to Alaska get to experience them. The Eagle Glacier is the first of such amazing places and Hatcher's Pass is the second. Hatcher's Pass is just outside of Palmer, AK, north of Anchorage and is high enough in the mountains to get snow when no where else does. While in town the ground is well frozen, it is bare so we have been spending some time driving up there. 

This is about 9:00AM, the sun is just starting come up.

Hatcher's Pass is a former gold mining village so the trails go right through the village and around all the buildings.

The main drag

The actual mine and associated structures
Making my way up the big hill. There is only about 3k, but a lot of vertical

Looking down on the village

After our interval workout, the sun came over the mountains! Getting on snow for the first time has never felt better for me. I think all the skiing on the glacier really did the trick. I am feeling much more fit this year!
Sadie and I got some new shades from Rudy Project, nice and bright!

 After a nice 3 hour skate ski up at Hatcher's, we scrambled to put together some Halloween costumes.
Sadie and her boyfriend, Waldo

Sadie and I were a "crime scene" complete with handcuffs, pistol, police badge, and magnifying glass
Sundays are our day off so we always have a big family breakfast. This morning, I woke up earlier than Sadie and commenced on a Halloween breakfast
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I made a pumpkin mold and used it to make some Pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes complete with an M&M stem and a tasty topping of yogurt, candy corn, and Sophie's VT maple syrup!
I looked out the window this morning to find this!! It snowed a couple inches of some really slick snow that compacted into a nice slippery sheet on the road. 
Alaska does not salt or plow roads, they just sprinkle some gravel and call it good. I have never experienced such a small amount of snow (about an inch) cause the roads to go from perfect to miserable and I did spend 4 years in New England. I think I will be investing in studded snow tires tomorrow. It is supposed to stay cold so I'm afraid the roads are going to look like this until April.......Hopefully it snows a little more so we can ski in town!

To top off the weekend, Sadie's boyfriend treated us to some grab for letting him crash at our house for a bit! YUM!

 Rollerskiing is most certainly done with here so I hope it continues to snow so we can ski in town this week. There are hundreds of kilometers of groomed trails in Anchorage and I have only skied the race courses so I am excited to check out some new trails!

Lastly, I have figured out my race season for the first part of the season and have updated it on the schedule tab above. I am excited to say the Brennan's will be having a full attendance at Thanksgiving for the first time in a while as my mom, dad, and brother will be joining me in West Yellowstone!!! Check it out and come see a race! 

October 27, 2011


I completed my first pilgrimage to Dartmouth as an Alumni. I jumped into a few workouts with the team and it sure felt like I never even left. I loved it! I never thought I would miss the east as much as I do so this trip was really wonderful. I got to see lots of friends, some family, and spend some time with my boyfriend. It was a whirlwind of a trip and not nearly long enough to go everywhere I wanted to, but here are some highlights!

My first day there, I went for a run and just took off running on the lush, soft, and leaf covered trails in Putney, VT. I felt amazing running with so little impact and not having to worry about bears, moose, or bums. It was incredible! At one point, a few white tailed deer came leaping through the woods and I thought they were dogs because they were so small compared the AK moose I am accustomed to worrying about. That afternoon I headed up to Dartmouth to do some intervals with the team and it was a classic rainy and humid New England day. It was the first time I have worked out in shorts in months. I was just relishing the sweat pouring off me and the splash from the giant puddles we had to ski through.

Next, I headed north to Craftsbury, VT where Patrick lives and trains most of the year. It is incredibly isolated there, not even a chance of cell service, but I was content to spend time with my friends and do some fun, new training. After Patrick got a trip full of rain when traveling to AK, he must have ordered up some equally wonderful weather for me to experience during my trip. It was dreary New England weather the whole time, so my hopes of grabbing some Vitamin D were quickly foiled. I got to see all the work Patrick has been doing on the trails there all summer. He has worked to widen them all to 9 meters, which is huge. They looked really nice and I hope they get some good snow so I can experience them this winter as well.
Class of 2011 XC Women

Catching up with former teammates

We moved on to my friend Hannah's farm house just north of Hanover for an alumni get together and got to catch up with all my former teammates!

Then it was HOMECOMING! Homecoming is my 2nd favorite event at Dartmouth after Winter Carnival, of course. We started they off having breakfast with our former coach which is always a treat. We then participated in the Time Trial with the team. It was great, we had about 30 of us out rollerskiing in florescent shirts. Homecoming is marked my a enormous bonfire on the Green in which the freshman are supposed to run the same number of laps as their class year. So this year's freshman had to run 115 laps as the class of 2015.
The top of the fire burning bright

The class of 2015 and their captains preparing for their laps!

I then spent one last night in Putney visiting Patrick's parents and then drove to Boston with a friend who is now living there. She graciously put me up for the night so I could catch an early and LONG flight back to AK. It is about 2 hours longer traveling west against the jet stream. I had my fair share of homework to keep me occupied after neglecting it for the duration of my journey. 

There is no snow in Anchorage, but quite a bit up in the mountains so there might be some skiing to be had......

October 10, 2011

No Bears Today

But we did see a Lynx!!!! Lynx are very shy and are difficult to spot so I was very excited to see one today. I thought it was just a stump but my teammate saw the pointed ears and informed me it was actually a Lynx. We gave it space and walked around, but it didn't budge, it was perfectly still waiting for some breakfast to come by. I once again did not have a camera with me so I found some pictures online to show those of you that don't know what a lynx looks like.
For those of you the knew Boulder, I think he was part lynx. Although he looks rather relaxed here, he could easily be found looking just like the lynx above. It is also rutting season for the moose as they are coming down from the mountains for the winter so they are EVERYWHERE in small groups and are a little on edge......makes for some exciting training.