If the rest stop views are this nice…

By , June 27, 2016 7:17 am

… what are they like at the National/State Parks?!

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I don’t think the time we’re here will allow me to find out, so I grateful to see what I can!

Yesterday we left Sterling and went to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward. It was interesting, but I was really disappointed they didn’t have a dedicated otter exhibit/tank. Sadness.

Seward sits on Resurrection Bay, and the area around the center was really neat!

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Click to see larger

One of the funny things to me about this trip is that I’m here with someone I went to high school with – someone who graduated in my class! He and my older brother became very close after graduation and he was one of the groomsmen in the wedding! Too funny. He’s someone I really like and enjoy being around, so, yay!

Now we’re at the rental house outside of Anchorage for a few days. The view is just as gorgeous as the vrbo showed, and the house is great!


Not so great? My sleep. We’re staying up so late because we’re doing so much, and because it’s so confusing about what time it is with the sun out all the time. I am going to be exhausted when I get home!

Training Week 349

By , June 26, 2016 11:29 pm

Highlight of the Week: Running in Alaska!


Monday | June 20, 2016: 5 m run (incl. 12×1:00) + 12 m ride + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 84°, Time: 47:03, Pace: 9:25 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: like I was melting
Indoor Ride Time: 45:54, Pace: 15.7 mph avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: so hot
Strength: body bars, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good

Tuesday | June 21, 2016: 3 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 82°/80°, Time: 28:08, Pace: 9:22 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: alarmingly thirsty
Wednesday | June 22, 2016: 16 m run
Loc: DPRT, Temp: 66°/72°, Time: 2:47:20, Pace: 10:27 avg, Difficulty: x, Felt: tiiiired – legs feeling it!
Thursday | June 23, 2016: 15 mins strength + 20 min ride
Indoor Ride Time: 19:23, Pace: 15.5 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Friday | June 24, 2016: 6 m run
Loc: Sterling, AK, Temp: 54°/56°, Time: 57:28, Pace: 9:34, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great

Saturday | June 25, 2016: 6 m run
Loc: Sterling, Temp: 55°/58°, Time: 58:23, Pace: 9:44 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Sunday | June 26, 2016: 3 m run + 10 mins core (both w/Anna)
Loc: Sterling, Temp: 55°/55°, Time: 34:42, Pace: 11:33 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, warmer than last two runs!


  • I spent an hour doing yard work before my Tuesday afternoon run. Note to self – not such a good idea – I was too worn out on my run and had to call it quits earlier than planned.
  • I wanted to get a long run in before I went to Alaska so I took Wednesday off to get it in (and prepare for out trip, etc.). I was happy to get it in, but it was the last run of a seven day run cycle and I was TIRED! Which is to be expected.
  • Running in Alaska has been great. I am LOVING the cooler weather! And I loved that one of my cousins ran with me on Sunday! Now I’m in a different part of Alaska and have two more opportunities to run. And lucky me – the house we’re staying at is 400 feet above the main road in town!

Link to Training Week 348


By , June 25, 2016 1:51 pm

I was really excited to see another runner during my run this am! And even more excited when he stopped after we greeted each other to chat with me!

“There’s been a brown bear spotted down this road three days ago, so I haven’t been running on it. I’m running on the ATV trail, and have bear spray with me.” Then he showed me the bear spray tucked in his shorts.

Okay, then. Time to reroute! If a local is running the opposite direction down the road I was going to take, I will follow him! Especially since he has bear spray!

I wasn’t sure how the running would be in Sterling since a four lane highway separates the few roads in town. But luckily, the ATV trail runs next to the highway and that’s safe to use! Safe from cars, AND bears, that is!

Another state added!

By , June 24, 2016 2:32 pm

I’m happy I brought my trail shoes and gaiters to Alaska – I had a wonderfully rainy, muddy, cool run this morning.

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I could’ve run much longer! It was such a treat to run in comfortable weather, and in beautiful scenery.


And now I can add another state “run in” to my map!

We flew in to Anchorage yesterday. And by “we,” I mean myself and a ton of family/friends – twenty-one of us! We came in to the airport in waves and hung out with Alyssa’s family until everyone was in. Then we all caravanned to Sterling, where the wedding will be.

Oh my gosh. The drive around the Turnagain Arm from Anchorage was stunningly beautiful.

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And I’ll note – I took these photos around 10:00 pm! Nuts! It never really got dark!


I really hope we have a chance to stop and take more photos with Steven’s DSLR on the way back later this week! I can’t get over how beautiful it is here.

We’re all staying in cabins on the wedding site in Sterling. After being up for twenty-four hours it felt SO amazing to get in bed!

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The wedding site is right by a river (the “Funny River,” ha) and of course… it is beautiful! Ha ha. You’ll be seeing me use that word a lot to describe Alaska!

Click to see larger 

How to make friends at the airport

By , June 23, 2016 7:44 am

Have a dog with you!

In this case, my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s dog! I was only watching her (Chevy) for a short bit  while her mom was getting food, but several people asked me about her! Awww.

She’s actually on a different flight than me. Next time we see my brother and his family, we’ll be in Alaska!!! Yay!

When you’re out of bird seed…

By , June 22, 2016 10:43 am

… and you have to do yard work, and know the ducks will expect you to feed them because they hear the dump cart, so you prep some of your grapes for them to eat.


Yep, as Steven says, the ducks have ME trained.

They’re out of luck when we’re gone though – Bobbi said she is only feeding Data, not the neighbor’s ducks, ha ha!

I hope the ducks are still interested* in hanging out in the fall when Luca visits – I think he’ll get a kick out of them!

*I am sure they will be if I keep feeding them like kings.

Alaska packing strategy

By , June 21, 2016 6:22 am

Most of my flights lately have been on Spirit Airlines, where you pay for baggage a la carte and they have lower weight limits. So I try to pack as efficiently and lightly as possible.

But we’re flying Alaska Airlines to Alaska and we get a carry-on and a personal item, and it’s only $25 for a checked bag and it can weight 50 pounds. PACK ALL THE THINGS!!!

I seriously think my carry-on might just be full of junk food. You know, in case they don’t have it there? Ha!


Yeah, I went a bit overboard. But that’s all to share with several people, I swear!

And I am leaving whatever is leftover at the end of the trip behind, and filling that carry-on up with Starbucks You Are Here mugs.

Hopefully Steven has room in his carry-on for my outfit for the wedding!!!

Hee hee, I am just joking around (well, I am packing a lot of that food, but really, it is to share). It’s just nice to not have to worry as much about baggage as normal, because we have a lot to bring – clothes for the wedding, hiking, gold panning, chilling, exercising; Steven’s camera and other electronics; entertainment stuff for the flight; all the associated running gear; and so on. I wonder what I’ll forget?!

No shades

By , June 20, 2016 6:25 am

We bought sleep masks for our Alaska trip since the sun will be up for so long and we don’t know if the places we’re staying will have (blackout) shades.


Ha, the company name makes me laugh.


What kind of place doesn’t have shades?! Ha, secluded places in the wilderness. Places like our house…

We don’t plan on getting shades/window treatments for our home since there is no one around to “see in” and since the views are so nice. There are only two reasons* I can think of for shades – to block the western sun from hitting the television in our living space, and to keep the early rising sun from disrupting our sleep too much in the bedroom.

But I can just wear the sleep mask to help with the second issue!


Ugh, but that doesn’t stop Data from bugging me as soon as the sun’s up. He needs a little cat sized sleep mask!


*Unless our stuff starts to get hella faded… then we may have to get some! And we have temporary shades we can put up in the guest bedroom for guests who prefer shades. 

Training Week 348

By , June 19, 2016 4:51 pm

Highlight of the Week: Feeling good running in the sun and heat.


Monday | June 13, 2016: 5 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 69°/66°, Time: 47:27, Pace: 9:29 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: heavy
Strength: medicine balls and airex pads, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Tuesday | June 14, 2016: 8 m run + 10 m ride + 10 mins strength
Loc: DPRT, Temp: 65°/70°, Time: 9:53, Pace: 1:19:07 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, legs still heavy for first 5
Indoor Ride Time: 36:15, Pace: 16.6 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good for the legs!

Wednesday | June 15, 2016: rest
Thursday | June 16, 2016: 5 m run (incl. 1/2/3/4/5 ladder)
Loc: hood, Temp: 68°/66°, Time: 44:44, Pace: 8:57 avg, Difficulty: medium/hard, Felt: great to start, tired at the end
Friday | June 17, 2016: teaching strength class + 7 m run
Strength: single dumbbell and boxing, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Chicago Lakefront Trail, Temp: 74°/73°, Time: 1:05:09, Pace: 9:18, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Saturday | June 18, 2016: 12 m run
Loc: DPRT, Temp: 56°/71°, Time: 1:58:27, Pace: 9:52 avg, Difficulty: hard then easy, Felt: so tired (sleepy) then better!
Sunday | June 19, 2016: teaching fitness boxing + 3 m run
Strength: Boxing pads and gloves, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good – already sore at the end of class!
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 83°/83°, Time: 28:28, Pace: 9:28 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good


  • I’ve been taking my old running shoes to the Nike outlet – they have a program where they tun old shoes in to running track. Well, used to have a program that did that – I took my shoes there Tuesday night and they informed me they no longer do that! Bummer! I hate to just throw the shoes out (and not recycle them) but they don’t qualify for a reuse program – they’re too far gone. Maybe I’ll find something else.
  • The seed corn on my foot started hurting again this week. Ugh. I’ve used the pumice stone a few times since I first blogged about it, but I think I need to make sure I do it a few days a week! It helped when I used it after my Saturday long run. I also got some corn healer/remover bandages to try!
  • I’ve been stupid tired this week. I felt so sleepy and slow when I started my long run on Saturday I told myself I’d turn around at 3 miles if it didn’t get better. Luckily, I started to feel better and kept going, but decided to cut back my total weekly mileage and go home early and take a short nap. Ha. Sooooooo sleeeeeeeeeeepy.

Link to Training Week 347

There’s three of him!

By , June 18, 2016 2:27 pm

Aww, I wish there really WAS three Datas.


Yep, Data is still staring out the bedroom windows at night. The bugs are attracted to the light in our bedroom and spend all of the time the bedroom lights are on banging against the window. Some of them are big and loud, so it’s very entertaining for Data!

Seeing all these bugs reminds me of being at my Grandma’s place on the Mississippi River in Guttenberg, IA. She also has a lot of glass in her house and the bugs swarm the windows at night when it gets dark and the lights are on.

When the bugs are really bad – like during mayfly time –  her community will turn off the (very few) street lights on her street, as to not attract them.

Do you guys know about mayflies? Their eggs are laid in water, then they sink to the bottom and stick to plants and stones. They take a few days to a couple of weeks to hatch and will spend up to two years in the water before emerging as an adult fly.


Christina showing off her mayfly friend

And that is when shiz gets cray. They all seem to emerge at once, resulting in swarms of mayfly blackouts. One time, Steven and I were driving to Guttenberg and we thought the lights were out on a bridge – nope, they were just completely covered in mayflies.

Luckily, the mayflies only come out in this big batch once a year, and they only live a few days! And apparently, 18 trillion (?!?!!?) of them hatch along the Mississippi River each year. They’re actually good for the ecosystem, but ew, ha ha. They don’t creep me out too much, but one time, my dad and I were going along the river (me running, him biking) and we came across a swarm of them and they were all over us! That definitely inspired us to get moving faster!

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