Wednesday, May 27, 2009

O'Malley Peak

yesterday i ran one of my favorite peaks in the front range of the Chugach, O'Malley. having hiked this peak several times i was quite familiar with the trail, but only having run small portions of it i was unsure how it would be as a full trail run. about an 8 mile round trip with 4,000 ft. of climbing it typically takes a day hiker 6-8 hours to complete. my goal was 4 hours. my constant trail companion, Jackson, was along for the run.we started off down the trail a little before noon. it was another gorgeous day in which temperatures would reach near 70˚. i had worn long sleeves thinking that it would offer sun protection as well as warmth if it were windy up high. the shirt was quickly shed on the first climb as the day heated up. legs burning i reached the saddle between Little and False O'Malley and began to run up the ballpark (the large bowl below the main peak).there was a bit of snow to negotiate at the saddle, and again on the lower reaches of the ballpark, but it was to be expected. from this vantage point i thought that leaving the ice ax at home was a mistake as it appeared that the up gully contained a lot of snow. (this wouldn't be the case though as the snow ribbons were easy to negotiate around.) the trail becomes more of a route after turning off at the top of the ballpark and heading up the gully. i pushed hard and reached the top of the gully in under 20 minutes, and 20 minutes after that was standing on the top of O'Malley.the view from the top is amazing as in one direction one sees Anchorage and beyond, and in the other the Chugach range stretches as far as the eye can see. looking down on the east side of the peak one sees sheer cliffs falling away for thousands of feet. Black Lake lies in the shadow of the peak and at this time of year is still mostly frozen and drifted over. it's mind blowing to think that in a couple of weeks the lake will be completely thawed and ready for a chilly mountain swim.
all in all it was an amazing day out. my watch died shortly after reaching the peak so on the way out i had no idea if i was on track for my 4 hour time or not. i pushed hard though, or at least as hard as my legs would let me. coming down the scree and the snow is always fun and easy on the 'ol knees. when i reached the car the clock showed my total time had been 3:04. that was total time so subtracting the 5 or so minutes I spent on top and refilling water bottles at the Campbell creek crossing (i ran out of water on the way back), i figure it was under a 3 hour run. i've got a little sunburn and a few scratches to show for was a blast.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

1st time clamming

today we went clamming, well actually we joined some friends who went clamming and came in on the tail end of the low tide, but we got a few. our friends Brad and Tobi who own the lodge had gone to Ninilchik with a couple more of the crew staying at the lodge, so Tiff, the little guy, Jackson and I piled in the car and met them down there.

they were making their way in but we got on the beach in enough time to dig out 4 clams. I had never clammed before so Tobi instructed me in how it's done. I had two misses but dug out the third one.

it was pretty fun. now having done it we'll probably do it more as the whole family can do it. the little guy even got into it, probing the sand with his dowel, teaching mommy how it's done.

I love AK!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

down on the Kenai...

Soldotna precisely. A bunch of us are out at my buddy's lodge on the Kenai river. it's the opening weekend for King Salmon in Nikiski, an hour down the road. a bunch of the guys got up in the morning (3am ish) to go. they came back after about 30 min. of fishing without any fish. not me...I was snuggled in my bed with Tiff. I definitely made the right choice.

last night the sunset over the Kenai was pretty nice.
ah, Memorial Day Weekend. school's out and summer is getting off to a great start.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

peak 1 and 2

my buddy Jared and I ran peak 1 & 2 last night. our time was right around an hour. it was an awesome night to be out, as has been almost every night for the past 3 weeks. it was Jared's first time on that particular route and he, Jackson (my pound puppy) and I had a great run. I'm feeling strong and good about the upcoming summer. running hurts much less than it ever has for me. I attribute it to the core strengthening I learned in my last round of PT. Thanks Lisa at Healthwise in Eagle River!can you spot Jackson? he kind of blends in. this is Jared heading up peak 1.
on my way up peak 2, peak 1 (Flat Top) in the background.Jackson on top of peak 2 with Powerline Pass valley behind him.

Jared applauds himself at the top of 2.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

peak 1

I've been doing a bit of training and mucking about recently but haven't been posting. springtime is always so busy with school winding down and soccer season in full effect. yes, for some odd reason the high school soccer season in Alaska is in the spring. tell me how that makes sense...

the weather has been amazing so far this spring, meaning April; upper 60's, sunny, even a few days nearing 70. I'm hoping that it continues and this is an awesome summer, making up for last year's non-summer (rainy and cold). even if the summer isn't good I've almost spent more time outside this year than last year collectively.

as summer is right around the corner (school gets out next Thursday) I hope to be posting more frequently. my 'training' is going well, not consistent yet but well. core workouts happen about every other day, with a run, bike, or hike on the alternating days. my longest run so far has only been 1.5 hours so I need to start building that up if I hope to achieve my racing goals this summer. my first race, Turnagain Arm Trail, is in 2 weeks. it's about 8 mi. so it'll let me know where I stand fitness wise.

there is a huge difference between my running now and before my last knee surgery. the PT was just what I needed. it actually taught me how to run. last night I went up the back of peak 1 (Flat Top) then crossed over to peak 2 to run down. it's a pretty common training route for mountain runner folks. I was allowing myself 45 min. up and about 30 down. I had taken the little guy in the backpack the weekend before and had only made it to the cliff band in 30 min. (about 2/3 of the way up). to my surprise I was to the top in 31:30 and back to the car in 46:40.

wow. fastest I've ever run that. I thank God for blessing me with the ability to even still run, let alone be faster than I ever remember being. if one has read past posts one knows the challenges I've faced with this. I am so grateful that I'm able to run after 4 knee surgeries.

yee haw! bring on summer.