Hey hey — it’s my first weekly diary of Season 2. It’s been about 8 weeks since I checked in on this little weekly log of what I’ve been spending my time doing outside, and what an 8 weeks it’s been. I had to go back through my photos from those 8 weeks to remember what I’ve been doing – that’s how many amazing adventures I’ve had.
When I think back on them right now, the theme I see is a pair: crushing and being crushed. And isn’t that just how life goes?
Here’s just a flavor of what I’ve been up to.
The kids went to a small summer camp, and Luke and I packed up and chased some sun down to the Hope area of Alaska, a small town on the other side of the Cook Inlet from where we normally go. We hiked and then ran 30 miles – 15 out and back – on the Resurrection Pass trail, a goal run of mine. It was a great day, and big kudos to Luke who hadn’t done a thing to get ready for that, but just went out and crushed it.
Thanks to the MatSu Convention and Visitors Bureau I spent two days on an adventure next to the Matanuska Glacier, doing an adventure on a long day tour with MICA guides, staying in the coolest glamping tent ever at Alpenglow Glamping and then taking a flight seeing helicopter tour out of Sheep Mountain Lodge. Ever spent a day hiking and then flying around a glacier? You should.
The whole family took a vacation adventure up the Dalton Highway, a 1,200 mile adventure above the Arctic Circle towards the Arctic Ocean and back down through Fairbanks. It was gorgeous, stunning, and long — a once in a lifetime experience for many and really just within reach for us any time.
Over the 8 weeks we camped 10 nights, spent 4 nights in cabins, and had a really incredible set of adventures outdoors.
But it wasn’t the crushing of outdoor goals that I had envisioned. I had big plans for that period — including a 100 mile run week — that I’ve worked SO hard for but were derailed when right at the beginning of our season break when I really hurt my hip. I still don’t know what’s wrong, I’m waiting for the MRI result. But I know that so far it isn’t better. And I’ve watched the things I”ve worked for slip away. Staying optimistic has been really hard. My outdoor friends, like my running wives you heard about on the Season 2 premier, have been really great being there for me.
But it’s so hard. Instead of crushing, I feel crushed.
It’s given me a lot of time to think about how we handle disappointment both in and outdoors, and how spending time outside helps set goals, meet goals, and pivot from goals. I don’t have any answers to this yet, but it’s been on my heart and mind as I sit on my rear-end not doing the one thing you all know I love above all else: running.
I have shifted my goals a little. I’ve been focusing again on how I fuel, with help from Nicole Spitzak who you heard from in Season 1. I’m daydreaming about races to crush and runs to do next year when all is back to normal. I’m hitting the pool and the gym more than I was before, truly anything except running, jumping, squatting and lunging. I’m reading all the books, writing all the words, and working on graduate school. I’ve done a lot of sitting in the sun. I’ve done a lot of sitting in my hot tub.
But I won’t lie: I really really miss running.
One of the top ways we’ve spent the last 8 weeks is camping. Over that time we spent 10 nights in tents and four nights in cabins, including a grown-up getaway staycation this past weekend for Luke and I at nearby Meier Lake resort.
While we camp, one of my favorite things has been my new-this-summer camping blanket. And I’m naming it my Outdoor Hero for this week. You know those times you’ve been scrolling Facebook and there’s an ad that’s something like “You might like …” and then shows you a photo? This particular ad was from REI and showed me a photo of this orange camping poncho blanket. “You might like this,” it said, and I responded “Yes, I might!” And I really, really do. In fact, it’s so great that my family keeps stealing it from me and I have exactly zero photos of me using it, but plenty of photos of other people using it.
The summer is winding down here in Alaska, but it isn’t over yet. I’m focusing on optimism and using the glorious sun while it’s still around, even if I can’t use it running. I hope you’re doing the same wherever you are. And until next time, we’ll see you out there.