Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Alaska -- Challenges

The challenges I am referring to are pretty simple.  At some point I decided to try some new things I might be a little hesitant to do while I was on the cruise ship.

First I tried line dancing. I have always been intrigued by line dancing but have never given it a try. When I saw in the ship's newsletter that there would be line dancing that evening I decided to give it a try. I got one other person to go with me. I found it harder than I thought it might be. It was crowded and hard to see the leader and I needed to be following closely.  I never really got it but it was fun and do think I could do it in a less crowded, more organized setting.  But, I gave it a whirl.

Second, I tried karaoke.  The first thing you need to know is I am a terrible singer. Really terrible. But isn't that what karaoke is?  Well, not always. The first two people who got up were trying out for one of those reality shows I think: America's Top Singers.  Well, not me and I almost lost my nerve but the young lady running it got me up there. I also didn't choose a boring song like the better singers. What did I choose?  Leader of the Pack!  My new friend who tried line dancing with me also went up with me to sing karaoke.  I don't know if we were so bad (well, I do)  that another new friend, Joe, joined us part way through.  It is hard to follow those quickly scrolling words even when you kind of know them!  But we did it. Most singers went up several times but I decided to take mercy on the audience and only went the once.  I stayed and watched it all.  My favorites were the ones who didn't sing well, including this sweet man who sang to his wife with his daughters crying in the audience.

Third, I tried rock climbing on the rock climbing wall. When we got a tour of the ship the first day I said I wanted to do this. A young woman who was on the tour told me she would do it with me.  I didn't go up there again until the last day which was a gorgeous day when we were only sailing so everyone was up there. I didn't mind a long line though although it gave me more time to get nervous and nervous I got!  I really wanted to reach the bell although I knew just trying was awesome!  It was both harder and easier than I thought.  I took what I thought was the easier side and I did make it!  Woot!  Woot!

This one is my friend who did it with me just to show you perspective. Remember it was on the
12th floor of a moving ship!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

First Tri of the Year

You think pretty, I wonder what is in there?

Nervous time before the start.

On my first weekend back from Alaska I did a triathlon after only practicing once!  I drove to NH to do it because I had a conflict with the one here on Sunday.  The bike was short but so was the swim so I guess it was okay.  It was a little more pond than lake but I have gotten better about that. I was in the last wave of 4 so I figure things will be "gone" by the time I go and if you know otherwise don't tell me.  The swim seemed longer than 400 yards to me but I finally got it done.  I was nervous before the whole thing started and it was about half way through the bike before  I got over it.  The bike went well and I ended up doing best during the bike leg. I passed a lot of people which rocks in my world. My pace was good (for me) in spite of not doing any serious biking except the one practice this week.  I think there were a lot of new people so I wasn’t the only person not thrilled with swimming at all!  I did better on the run than I have in awhile, getting my best 5K time of the year in spite of it being at the end of a triathlon.  I was second in my age group and they only gave a prize to the first person which was too bad because it was pretty sweet.  I was glad I went to get a tri under my belt where I had nothing to compare it to.  

Today we did a memorial bike ride for my friend who died this year.  It was a very nice and apt way to remember her. I think it is going to be an annual event.  It was good to see people but sad to not have Sharon there.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Alaska - Biking

I got to bike twice in Alaska despite my whining before I left that I wouldn't be biking for 16 days.  It was Biking Lite but completely awesome.

The first time was along the Coastal Trail in Anchorage.  We got there a day early so were not on tour yet. We had an outstanding breakfast and then rented bikes. We went along part of the Coastal Trail.  It followed the water with gorgeous views in the distance.  You could see tall snow covered mountains in the distance and had it been clear I guess you could see Denali.  It was a beautiful day and this was a beautiful path.  It wasn't my wonderful road bike but it worked!  I was at the start of my Alaskan adventure biking in Alaska!  Wow!
Looking into the distance at these gorgeous mountains.

The sand/mud was supposed to be like quick sand and
there were lots of warning signs not to go on it.

There were some beautiful lakes.

Of course I had to do some bike propped pictures.

I even had a kickstand for pics!

Loved biking toward this view.

Then when you turned around you had Anchorage to look at.

That is a dog on the paddle board with the guy.

The next time I got to bike was several days later. It was on one of the excursions off the cruise ship in Skagway.  It was a colder day with some rain but it was completely awesome. We took a small shuttle bus 15 miles up a mountain and rode down. They only let us stop 3 times so I didn't get the pictures I would have liked. We had to go through customs but we never left the US.  The people who took the jeep excursion went into the Yukon. Had I known this I might have forgone biking just to go there.  But the biking was also awesome so it was a win win.

It was an overcast cold day but that was just fine.

Animals we might have seen but didn't.

One of our three stops.

It was a pretty steep cliff on the other side.

Going through customs.

We saw trains several times.  

The river at the bottom had class 5 rapids.  

A pretty awesome sign I saw in town.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Alaska - Wow!

I have not blogged in forever!  First I was getting ready to go to Alaska, then I went to Alaska and now I'm home and trying to catch up around here.  I won't subject you to my whole vacation but I'll probably do a few posts about the highlights.  I will also begin reading blogs again but if I missed anything important please let me know. I am not going to be going back to read the ones I have missed.  The thought is too overwhelming.

Since this is supposed to be a fitness blog I'll do some of the fitness aspects to my vacation.  I did the best job keeping up with running.  While on land I ran everyplace but in Denali. It was too cold and wet while there and I was too nervous about the wildlife. Everywhere we went bears and moose were seen and I believed the warnings.

First, I ran in Anchorage which was great.  The front desk at the hotel assured me it would be safe.  So off I went and found myself mostly running and looking at mountains which was easy to do as they were everywhere.  I did not know where the water was and only discovered that later while on a bike.  Very few people were out as it was quite early in the morning but running in a new place is just what I like to really discover it.

The next running spot was Talkeetna which was incredible. I started off on the trails in the woods but I was just too nervous so out I came and headed to town.  There was a bike path (there are bike paths EVERYWHERE in Alaska) so it was easy. Views were great and I had a great time. It is such a de stressor on a busy vacation to run.  The next day I got up early and ran again. This was a run with the best reward ever. We had been trying to see Denali which was right outside our window but it just wouldn't clear up.  I didn't think it was going to happen.  But on the way back from going to the river I turned around and there it was!  The best sight of my vacation.
The trail I only went about 3/4 of a mile on.

I'm at the river and it's pretty but it's not Denali.

And it's out even the top!  The mountain range you can see below is
what we could see the night before and earlier that morning.

Then I was in Alyeska for running.  A moose was seen swimming in the pond next to our hotel. (People called it a lake, it was NOT a lake.)  A bear was seen right outside and bears were seen on the ski slopes very close by.  So I ran on the bike path again but even that was a bit closed in and not near people.  That turned out to be a good thing as I saw a mother moose and her calf, far enough away to feel safe but close enough to see and get a picture.

The next time I ran it was on the cruise ship where I ran every day.  It said there was a 20 minute limit but I never had a problem running as long as I wanted.  I ran almost exclusively on the treadmill but it was pretty sweet. Sometimes I was running while the ship was moving and other times it was in port. It was always gorgeous and very easy to do!  I ran on the track for just a bit. Usually I was early and it was wet out there and looked slippery.  I found the fitness center on the 12th floor the place for me.

Another thing I did for fitness was take the stairs almost all the time. The elevators were crowded and took forever to come.  I decided early on I needed to be using the stairs.  I traveled from the second floor to the 12th and back many times every day.  

The last thing for today is that the second time we went to Anchorage I got to meet Cinthia!  This was prearranged and I was so glad she found the time to meet me. We went out to lunch and she helped me find a bike shop so I could get an awesome Alaskan bike shirt.  I started reading her blog because of the beautiful pictures never knowing I would be both seeing the scenery myself and eventually meeting her!  It was like getting together with an old friend.

Sweet, right?

Monday, June 23, 2014


My second century is in the books. 

Once again I pulled it off with just 60ish miles for the long ride beforehand.  This year seemed easier but it could have been the perfect weather and the lack of monsoons at the end.
Ready to start. I say it was perfect but it was actually quite chilly at the start.

The weather was coolish but not cold for most of the day.  The sun was generally out and the surroundings were stunningly gorgeous.  They had twice as many riders as last year!
One of the first overlooks.  Stunning.

There were options of 25, 50, 70 and 100.  I think 50 may be the most popular.  I am a bit amazed I rode 100 again.  I was telling my husband I saw lots of parties ........graduation, wedding etc.  Then I thought of course I saw lots of parties. I rode by 100 miles worth of yards.

I rode this alone as I did last year.  Last year I had some friends doing it but this year they were all busy.
When I got to the first aid station it was packed as I think all riders go to that one.  Everyone is cheery and full of energy.  It's at about 23 miles. The next one on the 100 mile route was at around 61 so I was glad I had tons and tons plenty of food with me.
A pleasant place to stop and regroup.

There were lots of sailboats out but the wind wasn't bad on the ride.

  I stopped at a bench after I rode around Isle La Motte and ate a snack, reapplied sun screen and checked my phone.

I had another long section along the lake before veering off to the north to a part of the state I am not familiar with. This was pretty enough but no water.  Eventually you come to a huge bridge and you are going down along the lake again.  I got a message that informed me I was now abroad.  Nope.  No passport required to cross the bridge.

At some point in this section a truck came along and asked me if I was doing the 100. Then they said they would wait for me at the rest stop. Why?  I must be last.  I know I'm slow and I don't think many are doing the 100.  When I get there they are picking up the rest stop, all the food is gone although they scrounged some up for me.  The discarded banana peels were such a tease. So I ate more peanut butter and jelly, used the very clean new bathrooms here and continued on my way.  Now the guy from the truck and one other guy were riding.  I went ahead, again much of it along the lake and found the rest stop I missed last  year.  IT.HAD.WATERMELON!  The two guys and I were there. One man appeared to be the sweeper!  

Sometime after this it got hilly.  Last year this section killed me.  I didn't find it that bad this year. Again - the weather really helped!

I was thinking about the burger and beer at the end for about the last 20 miles.  I wasn't dead but man did they sound good.  Trouble was when I got there IT.WAS.ALL.GONE.  I thought it was because I was slow but apparently they ran our for a lot of people. Very disappointing.
This is the beginning of the hilly section.

  • Yellow arrows told you the way. I loved seeing these when I wasn't sure I was on the right route.
  • No deer jumped in front of me.
  • The painted signs in the road were even better.  You knew exactly which way to ride. Different colors were for different length routes.
  • I saw this horse and buggy sign 3 times. I saw no horses and buggies. I was not in Amish country. I was not lost.  I don't have any idea why these signs were here.