Friday, April 24, 2015

Better Late Than Never

In January 2003 I married my amazing husband Joe. We were both 19 years old and money was not exactly abundant. We were married at the court house and spent the weekend in downtown Kansas City (our hometown area). We told each other that we'd go on a honeymoon when we had the money.

Life happened.
School happened.
The Coast Guard happened.

We celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary this January and a few shorts weeks ago we were walking, running, biking, hiking, swimming, and stand-up paddle boarding all over Oahu, Hawaii. Better late than never, aye?

I never thought it would take 12+ years to have a real honeymoon. It was worth the wait though. It came at a time that we would absolutely appreciate the sunshine, warmth, and relaxation. Our first Alaskan winter was a bit rough on us. Having this trip to look forward to greatly helped our moral.

Everyone we spoke with was friendly. The weather was spectacular. After living in a rain forest for 10+ months it was awesome to be in dry, warm, and sunny weather. We didn't want to be inside at all. One of our favorite parts was a bike tour we did with our guide Kelly. We had such a blast. Kelly knew more about the area than anything I could have researched online. If we return than we will definitely go on one of the other Pedal Bike Tours.

I am lucky to have been able to take this trip. I am thankful and overjoyed that it was with my ol' man. It's never too late to enjoy a honeymoon. Hawaii is gorgeous and rich in culture. I would love to live there someday. Until that day arrives (ha!) I will treasure the memories we made and the time we spent together.

Although 2015 has definitely had stressors, it's already showing promise of being one of my best years yet. 

p.s. scratch Hawaii off the "states I've ran in" list.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

It's Not You, It's Me

First let me start by saying I LOVE RUNNING! Running gave me back control of my body and my life. Running has given me countless unforgettable experiences. Running has allowed me to discover and experience so much earthly beauty. 

Lately though, we've been having some squabbles. It's one of those times where "it's not you, it's me". Some days I find myself amped to lace up and race out the door. Some days I find myself having to talk myself into it for awhile. On those days, I'm often lucky and find the joy in running within a few miles. Today though, I found myself standing under a shelter, as the buckets of rain fell from the sky, and questioning why I even began the run in the first place. I finally willed myself home.

I've decided that I'm most happy running when accompanied by a friend or group. It becomes a social event. I get time to catch up with friends and/or meet new people. I don't have to talk myself into it. It's fun. Even as the miles tick by and our conversational pace slows down I feel blissful. 

Recently I haven't been able to run with many other people. It's just been me and the almost endless rain that Sitka has to offer. There have been reports of bears wondering the trails again. Although I'm brave enough in a group, I often am too fearful to run solo into their home. This leaves me with the option of running roads alone. The same 14ish miles of road I've already ran hundreds of miles on. This island is closing in on me. 
It's amazingly beautiful and I love it here.
It's just mentally tough to run the same exact routes again and again.
I know that in training one often mentally (and physically) ebbs and flows. I have been finding myself loving my morning workouts, biking, and swimming, then often dreading a run. This is unusual for me. It's got me contemplating my goals and wondering which ones I'm really passionate about. I find it difficult to imagine even being slightly prepared for a mountainous, trail 50k if I can't even get on the trails much. 

For now, I vent to you. I ask you if you've ever found yourself feeling a little lost. 

This past year has been full of major life changes for me. Perhaps I need to stop pressuring myself to run when I hate it. There's been times that right when I feel like I've lost my love for running forever, it returns with fervor. I hope that's the case. It may just be that I need to escape this little Alaskan island for a few days and be reminded of the rest of the world. 

I plan on biking and swimming later today. I also have plans for a group trail run tomorrow and some more biking. 

What do you do when your mental and physical training don't line up? 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Hello Again!

I thought that I would catch you up real quick.
 I have been enjoying time with my husband as much possible. We've even been lucky enough to hike all though the winter. I cannot believe the lack of snow around here!
     I am thankful that I packed my Yaktrax in my hiking bag that day. They really helped me towards the top of Mt. Verstovia. Yaktrax sent me a free pair to try out and review. This winter has been so mild that this was the only opportunity I had to use them. This is
the "RUN" version and they were great for trekking through some snow and ice.
I think if conditions had been any worse
that I may have needed something with larger spikes.
They worked good for snow with a thin layer of ice though.
 You really can't beat the views around here.

 Or the seafood.....
 I've been running....and running....

     I've been trying to get out and enjoy life as much as possible. I've also been putting a lot of my energy into work and therefore I haven't had as much time and energy to devote to this wonderful blog. I was amped to be recognized as Employee of the Month for January though.

I am excited for our upcoming vacation. I haven't been off this small island since we moved here in the summer. I'm definitely ready to get off "The Rock" for a few days. I'm thankful to have awesome friends here to look after things for me.
Our pup has been doing surprisingly well. When she was diagnosed with cancer in December they said she wouldn't make it past January. She has continued to act like her usual self and definitely still enjoys her walks and hikes. We are thankful for every day that her good health
continues to amaze us.

Last week I took the entire week off of working out. In the past when I've been forced to take some time off it has been awful for me. I obviously really needed this break because it flew by and I didn't get that stir crazy feeling. Now I am feeling so refreshed, mentally and physically.

Today I laced up and ran out into the rain and fog. The goal was to have fun and remind my body how to run. It went great. I'm amped to jump into a legit 50k training plan soon.

Now that you're caught up on me....
How are you?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thrilling Run

The weather here has been dark, windy, and very rainy. YES I live in a rainforest. This recent (and never ending) weather trend has been trying. You either have to hit the treadmill, cross train inside, give in to the comfy couch, or just say f--- it and run off into the doom.

This is my first winter in Alaska. This has been the first year that I've worked a consistent 40 hour work week since around 2008. I love working with young people but it can be exhausting. Ya know, because I am SO OLD!!! That's what they think. ha! This is the first time I've done consistent strength training and ran most of my miles on trails. I'm sure all these factors have slowly been wearing down my body and/or mind.

Don't fret I have a sunny vacation planned in a few months. Woot! Plus I (along with a couple of my siblings) surprised my parents with plane tickets to visit me in June. Woot Woot! Between these two trips and all my friends that will be visiting this summer I have so much to look forward to. I just need to get through the next couple of months.

I'm pretty much over this weather but it has seasoned me. When I lived on Cape Cod I was constantly checking the weather and trying to figure out when to run. Now I have no choice. It's either run at _____ or don't run at all. And really, I just assume it will be dark, cold, rainy, and windy.

The other night a few #runsitka folks decided we'd run on some trails after work. Why I thought this was a good idea.....I do not know. It was right after we'd received over 4.5 inches of rain in 24 hours and it was still raining hard.

By the time we were ready to run it was down to just Geof and me. I was not going to wimp out. So off we went into the woods. (Into the woods to fetch the Cooooooow....sorry I'm a musical geek. I digress.) 

The Run:

Geez, this is scary. I'm sure I will adjust soon and this will be fun.
There is a moving light up ahead. Wonder if it is someone that wants to hurt us?! Oh my gosh, a second light just appeared. They are trying to be tricksy. Get ready to fight.
      "Good evening"
Okay, it's just two nice hunters packing out. Whew.
I can't see. I can't see. This headlamp is useless. Really it's just reflecting off the raindrops and not helping me at all.
       "Geof tell me a story....a happy story. It doesn't matter what it's about."
Focus on his words. This is not that bad.
AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! A bear is in hot pursuit of us. I know they should be hibernating but maybe all the rain has them on the move and our bright colors and lights are enticing them to chase us. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
This was not a good idea.
I will not let the woods win. I am brave.
I am fairly certain I am running 6 minute miles. (I wasn't)
         "Is this our out?"
Freedom!!!!!! I am so happy.
 The point of this post? Sometimes life is crazy but freedom and happiness await.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

CJ's Resolution Challenge

 A short video I made of my virtual race

Thank you Janell for creating this awesome race and allowing me to run it from afar. 
I am always excited to run for CJ and to help fight autism. 

To find out more about the on-site race that is held in Pennsylvania in January 
or the virtual option go to:

We would love to have you join in the fun next year.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

CJ's Resolution Challenge

 You have until 11:59 p.m. EST tonight (DEC 31) to register in the virtual division of CJ's Resolution Challenge. The cost is $25 & includes a long sleeve tech tee and a beautiful handcrafted wooden medal.

Sometime between January 1-15 you run *walk or crawl* as many (or as few) miles as you can within 3 hours. This does NOT mean you are obligated to run the entire 3 hours. It just means that it is your max allotted time. Roads, trails, treadmill, whatever you want. All proceeds are donated to various organizations related to autism awareness, autism research, and families affected by autism. 

My best friend Janell is the amazing founder and race director.
Start the New Year off right and help some people along the way. Tell her "carpediemcrystal" sent you. Those that are sign up and mention my name are entered into a drawing for a surprise gift.

"These medals were made at Elkwood Arts, a licensed vocational facility that provides sheltered employment and training to disabled adults. They produce quality handcrafted products, such as these medals, almost entirely from certified PA hardwoods. We are so proud that in our efforts to support those affected by the challenges of autism that we can support them too!"

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Glimpse at My 2014

    I had a few goals/resolutions for 2014. I punched some in the face, some punched me in the face....some just downright didn't happen. I am happy they motivated me though.
  • Run a sub-4 hour marathon. DONE! In May I ran the River Towns Marathon in 3:55:28. 
  • Run a sub 1:45 half marathon. I didn't have that many opportunities to race this distance. I don't believe I would have done it though. I may have gotten close. In February I ran a half in 1:47:07. Maybe someday I'll get there.
  • Log more trail running miles. DONE! Moving to Alaska has it's perks. Lately I've been logging a lot of miles on the trails.
  • Bike 750 miles DONE! I am at 754 cycling miles for the year. Woot!
  • Weight train at least 52 times this year. DONE! I have more than accomplished this, especially since I've been training with a group here. I am SO much stronger now than I was in January. 
  • Run 1,200 miles DONE!  I'm at 1568 as of today. 
  • Run a marathon with my best friend Janell.  DONE! We ran River Towns Marathon. You can click on the link above to find out how that went.... I want a do-over!
  • Race in a new state. DONE! I raced in New Hampshire and Alaska.
  • Run with my sister Alisha. Did this happen when I was in town?!?! I can't remember. I did get to run with my mom for the first time though.
  • Swim. Nope. Besides swimming around a hot tub. HA! 
My best friend Janell held her Inaugural running of CJ's Resolution Challenge. It was cold. SO COLD!!! It was a HUGE, RAGING success though. I can't wait to run it virtually this weekend. 
*You can still register for the virtual race until 11:59 EST on December 31st*

    I ran a race in New Hampshire with all these awesome people!! I miss New England for many reasons and these faces are definitely each a reason. The day before the race we were worried about a ginormous puddle (errr, pond) on the course. Thankfully it wasn't there on race day. There was a lot of snow and ice though and PR's for a few of us too.

I was deep into marathon training and I remember this 11 miler being absolutely awesome,
 and beautiful too. I miss that scenery so much. 

Joe and I volunteered at the Boston Marathon for the 3rd year in a row. It was good closure for both of us to experience this before moving west. 

I ran a marathon and afterwards I cried for many reasons. 
Mostly though I cried because it was a "See ya later" to Jamie and Mike. 
 Photo by Cape Cod Runner
I said SYL to my Cape Cod Run Club.
Later that month I traveled back through Pennsylvania and said "See Ya Later" to Janell (and Aaron).
My life is better because of them. I am better because of them. 
I cannot wait until some of them visit this summer (at different times)!!

 We visited our family and friends in Kansas City. It was such a wonderful time and it went by way too quickly. I'm really hoping some of them will come visit us so we can spend more time together. 
We arrived in Alaska....very tired.
Photo by Don Kluting
 I ran in my 1st ever mountain trail race- The Alpine Adventure Run
7 miles of tough terrain with intense fog. I had lost some fitness during the move but I was super proud of my performance.  THE RACE WAS INCREDIBLE!! 
Photo by Harriet McClain
  I ran the Sitka Cross Trail Half Marathon. Fantastic course. Perfect weather. I was a bit under-trained but it was a top notch race and I can't wait to run it again in 2015 (with Jamie and Mike)! 
 I got a job. I started strength and endurance classes. I stopped seeing much daylight. 
My friend Lauren and I were lucky enough to catch this view one evening. 

 I hiked to the top of Mt. Verstovia for the first time with Joe and some friends. 
It was such a fun day and we were rewarded with breathtaking views. 
 I PR'd at the Whalefest 10k with a time of 48:22. I also decided to start a running group called #runsitka Here's a photo from a trail run of ours. 


We hiked up Gavan Hill a couple of days after Christmas.
Just livin' the Alaskan dream. 

I hope you enjoyed an extremely brief recap of my year. 
Here's another favorite photo of us from 2014
 Photo by Lauren Allen of Gypsy Mountain Photography