Saturday, August 30, 2014

Packraft 201: River Safety Skills - Yes Yes Yes!

Go. Go take a packrafting course. Right now.

I've been dabbling in packrafting since early summer this year. It's an awesome way to get around, whether on flat water or creeks and rivers.

While I consider myself one of the landlocked mermaids, in reality I am a weak swimmer and not comfortable on fast water. So, I took Packraft 201: River Safety (2 days) with Alaska Kayak Academy. If you're into packrafting and want to build your skills, or are a novice like me and need to get comfortable on water - this is it.

Firstly - it was an incredibly valuable course. We practiced strokes, capsizing, towing, throwing ropes, ferrying, making eddies (well, making it as in getting into one), identifying routes, pour overs, holes and swimming in rapids!! I walked away confident that I have a lot to work on and now I at least have the foundation of skills.

That leads me to the second part. It was fun. Rafting Willow Creek under beautiful blue skies, bouncing in water with salmon and bald eagles around... Badass. Our group shared a big dinner, beers and a fire until late that evening.

It was a full two days. We started around 9 AM Saturday with a safety video, eventually making our way to water and floating; I think I left the Valley around 8 PM Sunday evening. Phew!

So if you want to get into packrafting or you've dabbled and want to grow your skills - go through Alaska Kayak Academy. They offer 101 (intros), 201 and other assorted white water and sea paddling courses. Get yourself educated and prepared so that you can be safe and have fun.

Go! Go now! What are you waiting for?

Alaska Kayak Academy website
American Packrafting Association

Saturday, August 23, 2014

With friends in mind...

"What is one's personality, detached from that of the friends with whom fate happens to have linked one? I cannot think of myself apart from the influence of the two or three greatest friendships of my life, and any account of my own growth must be that of their stimulating and enlightening influence."
- Edith Wharton, A Backwards Glance

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer Runnin'

Remember back in April, when I put the word out that I had signed up for three races?

I'm happy to say that as of July 20th, three finish lines had been crossed... Three good times were had (not including training runs & adventures)... And one benchmark and one PR were set.

Firstly, my girlfriend Coral & I ran the Twilight 12k. No memories except yummy beer at the finish line!

Then, Mayors. I've deeply internalized the highs and lows of the experience and put them in the place inside where I store all my intrinsic motivators. The feel-goodness remains close to the surface. I'm so proud of myself - who knew the ability to run a marathon was in me??

Oh yea... I make this look good. Finish line shot is a combination of laughter, tears and general crampage. New benchmark: 04:59:48

Happy Marathon finishers: Stacia, Yan, me and Hannah

And finally... the Her Tern Half Marathon. Coral & I signed up in February, Yan and Stacia in July. The all-ladies/one lucky guy race is so much fun and very girly. I faltered a bit after Mayors and was a little worried going into the race - I know I can run 13.1 miles, I've done worse, but I haven't really been training.

I am SO happy to say I've set a new PR: 02:12:33 for a half marathon - 14 minutes faster than last year! Hell yea! And, on the subject of PRs - it was Coral's first half marathon and she killed in in 02:30 and some change! Badass. 

Crossing the finish line... Always giving face. Ha!

Some of my Alaskan running friends. 

I was inspired by the races to write a little ditty, so I'll share with you. 

Summer Runnin' (to the tune of the Grease classic "Summer Lovin'")

Summer running,
over at last
Summer running,
not very fast

Racing a lot
registered for three

What the hell
was I thinking?

Summer runs
training's begun
Whoa, back in February!

Tell me more, tell me more
Do you run very far?
Tell me more, tell me more
I set a brand new PR

Uh huh, doot doot, uh huh 
~Slow Interlude~

It grows colder
but it doesn't end
I told Mom
I'd do it again

Then I made
my way back hoooooome
Wonder what
race is open nowwww

Summer runs
over at last
But, there's the 
zoooommmmbiieeeee haaaaaaallllfffff
(runners high amnesiaaaa-aaa-aaaaaa)