Saturday, December 24, 2005


Here I am in Palmer, Christmas Eve, 250 miles from my bike and 3,000 miles from home. I went for a 90-minute run along the Matanuska River this morning that felt amazing. The last time I was here - Thanksgiving - I was definitly not in the kind of shape to run for 90 minutes straight. And now I am. How quickly my body has responded to relatively casual conditioning really surprised me. I felt strong, in charge. I was tearing off layers like it wasen't 18 degrees out; feeling the crisp air on actual skin; sprinting, sweating, gliding across the windswept ice.

I eventually came home because it was 11 a.m. and the sun hadn't yet crawled above the mountains. It felt like a good idea at the time, but now it's high noon and the sun still hasn't made it up (my friend Craig informed me that this time of year, in never does); I've eaten a bowl of Special K and two salmon-shaped Christmas cookies; and all I want to do is head back out. All I can think about it taking off down the river, running harder, faster, colder, until I don't have to think anymore about how homesick I'm feeling today; about how much I miss wearing my Christmas jammies; about what I would give right now to eat an ice cream sundae while watching "Christmas Story" and playing Scrabble with my sisters. This year is my first year as an Orphan. I thought I was prepared for it, but it's hard. It's harder than I thought it would be. In comparison, running is effortless.


  1. I've never been a Christmas Orphan, but those Christmas nights I've had to work to get the paper out for the next morning always leave a bit of emptiness inside me. I much rather be with my family than sitting in front of a computer monitor designing a page or editing some story.

    Hopefully, you'll be able to create your own Christmas tradition. Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  2. I remember being in the middle of Seoul, Korea just kind of "being there" during the holidays in 1996. I can relate to your feelings of desiring to remain distracted.
    Keep writing - it helped me back then.

  3. Until just a couple of years ago, almost every Christmas has been at least 800 miles from family and as far as 8000 miles. For me, Christmas has always been a very personal thing. I never understood until fairly recently why my wife always had a hard time with Christmas far away from family, because for her Christmas was all about spending time with extended family.

    It's a tough time of year for a lot of people. Hang in there.

  4. With 200+ travel days a year, I can relate to your feelings...



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