April 29, 2015

Spring Epic

Towards the end of the race season all I can think about it sitting around in the sunshine without obligations. However, in all reality, it seems that spring is often more busy than the rest of the year. I still have not been in one place for more than a week. While the mental break of not thinking about training and racing has been good, I am feeling the fatigue from bouncing around all month. Despite fatigue, I had a really great month that was highlighted by time with some of the best friends a girl could ask for.

Stop 1: After Sun Valley, I went off the grid. Leaving the phone and computer behind and heading to the desert is truly the best thing in the world. I went with some of my closest friends to Moab and then further south to raft the San Juan river. It was a great time all around.

We stumbled upon a great camping spot in a busy Moab

Nothing beats desert views

One of the coolest desert features I have seen, the Tunnel, a 5 ft wide 60ft long tunnel through rock

Another fabulous camping spot near Canyonlands

Canyonlands hiking

Nils and I enjoying Jeep Arch

Camping on the river

Nils and I exploring

Checking out Anasazi ruins

Beautiful evening on the San Juan

Mexican Hat just poking out over the canyon wall

John soaking in the last rays on sun for the day

Paddle boarding down the river

John getting powered up

John showing off his paddling skills

Giving my shot at rowing

Taking the red rocket on a little jeeping excursion

Hannah and Nils emerging from the Tunnel

Lounging in the Tunnel

Stop 2: I then reorganized all my stuff and headed back to Alaska. My friend John came to visit so we quickly got up to some day adventures, enjoying what snow was left and some decent weather.
Skiing Adventures with Rosie squared

Hiking adventures on the arm

more skiing!

Stop 3: We then headed to the far north, actually the furthest north point in the U.S., to the town of Barrow to volunteer with Skiku, the nonprofit I worked with last year to teach skiing in rural Alaskan communities. Once again, the experience was fabulous. It was cold, but the sun came out everyday and the kids were very enthusiastic about skiing. John and I ran the middle school all week. Starting at 7:40AM we taught skiing in all the P.E. classes for the day before leading after school skiing until we were too cold or tired to be out any longer. It was really neat to be at the same school all week as we could watch the rapid progression of many of the young skiers. The end of April marks the beginning of whaling season for Barrow. One night, we offered our muscles and a whaling crew took us 10 or miles out on the sea ice to help "break trail." The whaling boats need to be taken out to the edge of the sea ice, but sea ice is very rough and jagged so chopping ice to fill in holes, widen paths, and take down hills is needed in order to get all the equipment in the ocean. We spent some hours chopping up ice. As mundane as it sounds, being out on the sea ice is almost surreal and quite beautiful. Afterwards, the captain took us to his home to show us exactly the equipment they use and how they go about getting a whale. It is quite a remarkable process!
Breaking trail adventure

These kids learned to jump quite well on skinny skis

Practicing downhills

Sea ice
Chopping sea ice to make a better path

The chopping crew

Our group with the captain 

John looking like an arctic explorer

Afternoon ski on the ice

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Snowmaching selfie

Playing games with the kiddies


We even had a little race!

The Barrow Beach
Muktuk or whale blubber that we tried along with seal jerky
Stop 4: Finally back to Anchorage for 4 whole weeks! Anchorage time has been busy, filled up by fundraiser planning, meetings, planning for the training year, and school work. I made my final presentation for my Masters of Arts degree yesterday and have now completed all the school work for the degree. All that's left is my internship!
Beach running

Some more hiking adventures

Enjoying fresh snow on the mountains
And with that, spring is over and we are back training. We started with a bang, treadmill testing on the first day.
Getting my blood lactate tested in between stages of the test.