Sunday, August 23, 2009

Trickling toward fall

All around me now are subtle first hints of fall. Deeper chills in the morning air. Red leaves on the mountain ash berries. Devil's club wilting. Fireweed blossoms closing. Alpine ground cover showing hints of yellow. Oh, and then there's the nonstop rain. That's a definite sign of fall in Juneau.

I think I have finally found a place to live in Juneau. It's not available for another few weeks, and it's quite small, but it's cheap, secluded, scenic, cat-friendly and serves all of my needs - mainly, a dry place to rest my head and my bikes, with a shower and a garden hose to keep them both clean. Everything else is just excess. It's out in Fritz Cove, which is about 10 miles north of town. It will be my first time living on the mainland - no more Douglas Island, which makes me sad. But this place also doesn't require me to make any longterm commitment, which makes me happy.

I am still moving slowly toward my resolve to start up a training routine. Doing whatever I want every morning has been fun, but as the weather deteriorates, it's been harder and harder to motivate. My recent solution for horrible weather has been running. It makes perfect sense. Running is already full of suffering, so it doesn't matter much what the weather is doing. I made an attempt to run/jog/speed-hike/trudge up to Gold Ridge today. I'm hoping to include some intensity work in my repertoire in the near future, so I have to test my mental resolve to keep pushing the throttle when every synapse in my body is firing pain and my thoughts dissolve into unintelligible screams and grunts. I pushed to this level twice, swallowing gasps of lung-piercing raindrops and cold wind, leg muscles throbbing and head pounding as I splashed through goopy mud up the steep slope. It's a good way to gain 2,700 feet in just over an hour. It's not a good way to leave yourself feeling like you are worth anything during your nine hours at work later that evening.

But, high-intensity workouts do have their immediate mental rewards. I can see why people like them. Endorphins are pretty cool (but wear off much too quickly.) I hear high-intensity workouts improve your performance as well, but I hear this only works if you keep yourself in a constant state of pain. If you are not limping into work every afternoon, head spinning and feeling like your quad muscles are going to melt right off your femur, then you are not working hard enough. So I hear.


  1. I think it's awesome that you're putting in this much effort... but my question is... what for? Are you a fitness nut, are you just into pain? Is it because you're single and need something to do? I'm just curious, I mean nothing negative by it... hell I'm inspired by you and have a terrible crush on you! But still... can't help thinking that you're desperately running from something. Just my 5c

  2. Silly Jill, running is FUN!!!

  3. All this talk about meat melting off the bone makes me crave BBQ.

  4. Your rationale for running is awesome! I totally think running is major suffering, prob why I ride everywhere instead! But I do jog in Winter cause I can only really bike commute and not do long rides in winter. Oy!

    Hope you are doing great! I am still thinking I need to visit Juneau sometime :) Keep on keeping on.

  5. Hmmm, high intensity workouts vs physical damage....I'm not sure where the line is. As an aging person I am now experiencing some of the effects of my youthful exuberance (knee problems). So I am wondering too about the motivation behind endurance activities and the long term price you might pay. On the other hand I'm kind of sorry I didn't try it when I could, but it didn't exist "back then."

    Anyway, you go girl!

  6. LOL! I feel the same way about running that you do - but I still love to do it. It just feels so darn good when I stop!

  7. A basic principle of training is that your body does not grow stronger when you are exercising, but when it is at rest. Chris Carmichael says this and what's good enough for Lance is good enough for me.
    But then again there is the live fast, die young, and have a good looking corpse approach.


  8. Kia ora,
    John Walker, the great New Zealand miler said the toughest part of going for a run is putting on your shoes and walking out the door.
    Here in New Zealand we are seeing the first signs of our spring.

  9. The blue hue of the glacial ice in the second photo is completely mesmerizing. Nice shot!
    Congrats on finding a new home.
    I think it's interesting that you are inserting some variety into your training/fitness regimen.

  10. I hear just the opposite - if you go hard too much, you eventually begin to break down and don't recover right. Timing of high intensity and rest is important, I hear.

  11. I just started reading your blog. Bookmarked it immediately ! You are an inspiration. The next time I feel like giving up on something I'll just think of one of your adventures. I'll imagine you sitting/walking/biking next to me saying.... Just go a little farther, see what's up the road over the hill.

    Thanks for being you and sharing your life with us.

  12. Running and riding on alternate days works for me. But intensity--only once or twice a week. Asa Silliman said it right.


Feedback is always appreciated!