Happy Independence Day Ya’ll

Happy Independence weekend everyone.  Not just a long weekend, in which for me is a 4 day weekend, but a time to reflect as well as enjoy.

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This weekend I am taking to to reflect on myself and my own personal independence while also doing my part to give back to the community.

Today I participated in the nationwide event the RWB Eagle Charge.  Hosted by RWB which is an amazing veterans outreach group, read more here at TeamRWB.  And one can sign up for the eagle charge here, EagleCharge!. Today we celebrated not only Independence Day, but veteran enrichment and personal achievements.

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TeamRWB – Fairbanks

I am lucky to be involved with this amazing group. We run, triathlon, read books, help the veteran community, and provide outreach to the greater community.  It truly is a life changing group.  We are a glorious mix of active servicemen, veterans, spouse, and civilians.  We are open to all. My dad proudly served in the United States Army and retired with honours after a long career. Now it is my turn to give back in a capacity that fits who I am.

The weather held for the duration of the event. And well as usual me and my buddy Cassie made sure we got our pre-race selfie in.

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Then off we go most of us choosing the 4 miler, with one lone 7 miler.  Of course we chose a hilly course, because a challenge can only make us stronger right? Scott, one of our Marines, was the lucky flag bearer for the start.

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The route was pretty simple and I think we all had a great time.  I was the red lantern in the 4 miler finishing in 42 minutes.  Overall, not my best but far from my worst 🙂

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Thats a hill!

All in all it was a pretty darn good day and a good turnout at GoldStream Sports on a rainy, grey day.

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Cassie and I post race w/Old Glory

Cassie and I posed for one final photo, we do love a camera, with Old Glory.

Have a great holiday weekend, get outside, do some personal reflection, and give thanks for the great country we live in which affords us with so many choices and freedoms. Focus on the good things and find positive way to affect change and to support all of the things that are close to our heart.  This weekend I celebrate personal freedoms and having the ability to be and live our lives in way that is meaningful to our selves.

 

 

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Post Holiday Let Down

I am suffering from the dreaded post holiday let down.  How can you go from tropical beautiful Hawaii back to a still transitioning from winter Alaska with out going through withdrawl?

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Mountain to Ocean view…

I left that, to come home to this…..A grey wasteland

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Time to get to get back to real life.  The semester for me is all done, just a few grades left then the freedom of summer at least for 3 weeks until summer session starts. I am taking this time to focus on my running.

I had a great run last night, it was short, 4 miles, but I was really able to work on my pace.  Prior to my injury I was running sub 10 and in January of this year I was running about 12:35.  Well I have been working hard on my stand alone runs and have been able to consistently run right at 10:45. So I have made progress.  By the end of the season I hope to be able to get back to at least a round 10:00 per mile.  Its going to take a lot of hard work. And the 10 pounds lost so far have been a big help I am sure.

I have one big goal race in October, Beach to Battleship Ironman and one additional goal of getting in an ultra somewhere.  A suggestion from friend, Tasha, has me looking at the Tunnel Hill 100 in October, but dang why does it have to be the weekend after Ironman?  I guess the search goes on to find a good friendly 50, 100 or even another 24 hour race to fill out my schedule.  Do to conflict I will not be able to attend the North Coast 24 hour endurance run again this year.

I am inspired to run. My Girls on the Run ladies are awesome and inspire me every day to keep going.  These young ladies give it their all each practice and that makes my heart happy. I wish so much that I had a program like that when I was that age.  We had a fund raiser for GOTR in conjunction with our 5K Run for Respect and I was amazed at how many came to run our race.  The community here is strong and giving.

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This amazing young volunteer gave high 5’s to everyone!

I have my first Alaska Triathlon this weekend.  I am hoping all my hard work has paid off and I can better my time from last year by 5 minutes. That is my goal. Five minutes, I think thats doable.  I guess we will find out and I will report back 🙂

 

Like a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes…

LavaMan Triathlon. Redemption in the form of an Olympic Distance Triathlon. As the title says, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, I triumphantly busted out an almost 50 minute Personal Record 🙂  My last Olympic distance was December 2014 with the less than stellar HITS Palm Springs Championships.

Lavaman has been on my list for a long time.  I was registered last year but had to pull  out after contracting that water borne illness at that fateful Palm Springs race. This was my year for redemption.

Honestly, who doesn’t secretly want to race on parts of the Ironman World Championship course?  I know I will never qualify for Kona, so this is the next best thing. Me racing down the famous Queen K Highway, just like Chrissie Wellington.

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Morning run to A-bay

I found myself in Waikoloa Village 4 days pre race. Found an amazing condo close to the start in Anaeho’omalu Bay (A-bay) I figured this would give me a few days to acclimate.  Every morning I went for my 6am run before the sun came up. What a feeling! I did not swim much in the Bay before the race.  Swimming is the best  part for me. So I concentrated on getting my running feet underneath me in the heat.

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Thought my Phoenix  INKnBURN was appropriate

Saturday before the race, I picked up my packet and attended the pre-race briefing.  The briefing was a joke, but mandatory, so I went.  Relaxed the rest of the day and prepared my race kit and bag. And turned in early.

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Check the list to make sure I have it all

Race morning, up at 5am.  Transition opens at 5:30. Ride the half a mile over to A-Bay to rack my bike, set up shop, get numbered, and grab my timing chip. OK, so I went over super early and then had a lot of time to kill 🙂

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My spot is all tidy.

Saw both Kinsey and Marcus, from home. These two are amazing athletes and incredibly nice people to boot. Got my pep talk from Kinsey and wished her well, as she was starting with the elites. Turns out Kinsey won the overall women’s title, with Marcus coming in 5th male.  Amazing I tell you 🙂

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Pre-race selfie

I made it to my swim corral and waited as we swam out waist deep for our start wave. Boom, time to swim.  So much congestion.  I started out mid pack and quickly found myself in the “washing machine”  I clawed my way out a bit past the worst of the congestion. I then after that first 500 yards, had the best swim I have had in months.  Swim, slice, pull through the water with ease. I did not even have issues like I normally do with sighting my position.

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Out of the water, whoops I feel waterlogged!  Trudge up the sand and across the pavement to Transition #1. Get my feet clean and geared up for the ride.  Considering the distance to T-1 I feel like I had a pretty good transition.

Whoomp, Whoomp, Whoomp go the wheels of my Cervelo P2 as I head South on the Queen K.  Now here is where things get fun.  Wind….check.  Sun….check….Traffic….check.  Ok girl, you got this.  I get down in Aero and push through the wind.  And then it happens, I, yes I, start passing people left and right. What a feeling.  All these hours this winter spent on my trainer are paying off.  I was able to hammer in a way I know I couldn’t have done this time last year.  The turn around was sketchy.  It was a no pass zone, but this one lady just had to cut me off and pass.  She almost took out my front wheel doing it.  But once we got back on the main highway, I quickly overtook her and in the distance she fell behind.

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Transition 2 was quick. Just pull on the socks and a hat and off.  Now the pavement is scorching hot.  I can feel the heat from below and above.  The course has limited shade the whole way, so I made sure to stop at each mile marker aide station for a quick drink and ice.

Here is where I struggled.  My runs are always decent, but today that heat was just to much.  I could feel myself struggling right out of the gate.  So for the first 3 miles I did a run walk, until I felt better.  At the mid-course turnaround a light breeze came and I was able to run until I hit the lava/coral/beach section.  This was mostly single track at this point.  It was narrow and hard to run on. This section was about 3/4 of a mile. I went with the flow of the group around me. So much of this was walked during the narrow sections.

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This point we are all running adjacent to the beach. It was so hot all I could think of was jumping into the water, but not yet.  I could see the finish line ahead.  Okay Susie, you can do this.  You can run through all this loose sand and finish strong.  I dug down deep….to keep running even when I could barely keep my footing straight. Finish Line!

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Woot, look at me I am done ☺

Celebrate……I crossed it 3:38.  I beat my goal of coming in less than 3:45.  The Phoenix has done it.  Lavaman 2016 finisher. I couldn’t be happier.

 

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Sonot Kkaazoot !

Sonot Kkaazoot, which is Athabascan for “springtime” and “to slide your feet across the snow” was today, WOOT!

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This is our annual ski marathon.  With multiple distances from 20-50 kilometers it really brings a large gathering from the community. From junior nordics to 80 years old  Its an amazing time.  As part of the race committee I was there all day, from start to finish.

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I decided to dress warm for all the standing around, even though the temps were around 40.  I went with the traditional Sonot Official Orange and my INKnBURN Ryu pullover to complete the orange power look.  It was a perfect combo and I was warm all day long.

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The skiers were off on a very soft course.  And as the signs say, the ice was thin.  I saw two people punch through the thin ice on the Chena River.  Maybe next year we need bigger signs.

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It’s not hard, just read the sign

The 20K skiers are fast and furious on the return!  Then trickle in the 40K and 50K skiers.  In some spots there were at least 6 inches of overflow water on parts of the course.  We had to re-route around those areas as best we could.  All skiers finished and were accounted for.  My sister Susan was the sweeper this year. She has skied each and every Sonot 50K, she is an animal!  Even our 80 year old participant int he 50k finished strong and with a smile.

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I have some amazing photos of finishers, but in order to preserve privacy of our younger participants I will not post them. Look for updates on the Sonot webpage or the Fairbanks Daily News Miner!

It was an amazing day. I got to see lots of friends and lots of people I only see once or twice a year during ski season.

Until next year!  Now its time for winter break up and spring!

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Spring Break!!!!

As my friend T. would say, Sweet Baby Cthulhu, its Spring Break Week. Heading into the tail end of the week we got a day off, WOOT.  So not only as a student did I get a break from class but as a Uni employee I got Friday off!  So instead of sleeping in and drinking my weight in coffee, I hauled my tail to my office anyway. Time to catch up on all of the homework that I have been avoiding for weeks.  Deadlines ticking in the background, I had to put my nose down and actually do the work.

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relax….it will be okay

Whew, this class is harder than I thought it would be.  Advanced International Macro Economics.  I have a great professor thankfully who is super organized and expectations and due dates are clearly outlined.  If not for this and the fact she is in tune with the progress of the class I am not sure I would be able to make it through. I spent all day reviewing the lectures, which I took weeks ago, and finished my questions.  Whew. I do think that I understand it better now.

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WOOT, I am done baby!

To celebrate my completion of the long over due homework I took a stroll around campus.  It warmed up nicely from the -17 in the am to a brisk 24 (above) by 3 pm.  I so love the view from the West Ridge of Campus.  I totally love our campus. Its small but amazing in a lot of ways. When the sky is clear you can see the Alaska Range behind me and there are amazing ski trails right behind my office. What more could you want. As I walk around our campus I can only think about our future.

As a student and employee of the University of Alaska I feel very protective of our institution, from Juneau-Anchorage-Fairbanks-Rural sites.  Right now we are at a crucial time.  The State of Alaska is cutting our funding putting world class education at jeopardy. World class instruction and training are more important than ever in our geographically isolated state.  Not to mention the impact it has on jobs, the community, and beyond.  It is time to speak up to our representative and let them know how important our University system is to the state, not just in our 3 main locations but all of the rural sites that we serve!  We all want to do our part to balance to State budget, but we can’t destroy the systems that we have.  Alaska is isolated enough as it is, cutting off our main avenue of Higher Education and Occupational training is crazy. As the oil field go idle with this low oil prices, occupational re-training is going to be essential to the continued economic growth of our beautiful state. (These are my opinions, not the University of Alaska)

I urge you to visit The Alaska State Legislature to find your local representative or make a general testimony and voice your opinion on the value of the University of Alaska and higher education and training.