Living in Alaska · Running · Running in Anchorage · Weekend · Winter

Making It Through January In One Piece

Hi everyone!  Happy first day of February!  I’m honestly really excited that January is over.  I think it’s one of the hardest months to deal with, mostly because of the complete lack of sunlight, fun holidays, and warmth.  It’s a month that starts out with lots of excitement and promises, but it always ends with people dealing with SAD and lots of broken resolutions.  Last year I can’t even recall a single thing about January which is kind of depressing.  This year, however, I’ve been trying to keep as busy as possible to take my mind off the darkness and the blah weather!  You can find my recap of last weekend here, and if you take out the scary earthquake you’ll see that I’m committed to trying new things and spending as much time outdoors as possible.  And since I had so much fun last weekend, I decided to do the same things this weekend too!

Saturday:  I started the day off with a fun run for one of my favorite companies, Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop!  They have a location downtown that I’ve been going to for over a year now, and they make the best baked goods – both savory and sweet!  They just opened up a new location in Airport Heights on Wednesday, and they decided to celebrate by hosting a “fun run” – not a race – between the two locations.  My friend and I signed up for the free event, but we opted to donate to their charity and buy their event shirt as well.  It’s a map of the “course” AKA my favorite running trail, so I had to get it!

img_0188I live in the general area of the “120” in the lower left corner  🙂

We showed up at 10:00 am and I was very happy to see that the sun was rising and actually staying out!  It’s been so cloudy all month, which cuts down on our tiny amount of sunlight that we get in the winter.  I also really enjoyed the free coffee and warm chocolate chip cookies at the Downtown location.  I know you shouldn’t eat chocolate chip cookies before running 4 miles, but YOLO.  And you don’t turn down Fire Island cookies, ever!  As I was eating my cookies, I spoke to a representative from Icebug who let me try out a pair of their studded winter running shoes on the run.  We’ve had some warm weather this week which turned our inch of snow into an inch of solid ice, so even though my shoes are studded I knew I needed all the help I could get with running safely!  Once we were done snacking, we headed off with the large group of fun runners to our second cookie feast over at their Airport Heights location.

img_0179

The Icebug shoes ended up being AWESOME and I now want a pair!  I didn’t slip at all which is definitely a miracle given the intense ice conditions.  It was lots of fun running outside in the sunshine, and I’m so glad I had a reason to get out the door and spend time on the trail with my friend.  The miles flew by, and before we knew it we were exiting the trail and heading through the neighborhood streets towards Fire Island #2.  We started chanting, “It’s almost coffee time!” until we ran into the parking lot!

My husband was there waiting for me with a large coffee, and there were more warm chocolate cookies for us to eat as well.  I had a blast at this event and really hope they do it again next year!  I then spent the rest of my day attending a Harry Potter movies 1-4 marathon at my friend’s house.  It took over 10 hours and was seriously the best way to spend a winter day!

img_0200The Harry costume might have been an excuse to wear my glasses out in public  🙂

Sunday:  I spent the afternoon cross country skiing again!  Anchorage and The Valley are pretty much snow-free after our warm temps this week, so we drove up into Hatcher Pass to find the only remaining snow in the area.  It was worth the hour long drive from Anchorage because the snow was groomed on Archangel Road, and it was absolutely gorgeous!

The sun was out in full force, and it was so warm that I only needed to wear a thin fleece-lined running top and my windbreaker.  We did the full length of the groomed road, which was about 6 miles round trip.  My friend had told me that it was flat, but it actually was a gradual uphill out and a gradual downhill back so I had to learn how to make it both up and downhill without falling off the mountain.  I only fell once during a steeper downhill section where the tracks were messed up, so I was pretty proud!

img_0225Seriously, how is this real life?  I LIVE HERE!

I had so much fun skiing and I’m hoping that we can get some snow in Anchorage so that I can go again soon!  It would be awesome to have a local groomed trail to practice on before I try to take on any more mountain passes.  And it was a pretty serious workout too, so I’d love to make it a regular part of my cross training!

Stay tuned this week for a full recap of January goals as well as some new goals for February!

What were you up to this weekend?  Do you have snowy/icy trails and roads where you live?  What do you run in to prevent falling?

37 thoughts on “Making It Through January In One Piece

  1. We have no snow. Seriously, none. A few icy/snowy patches where the sun don’t shine, and I’d love to keep it that way!

    Hey, cc cookies are carbs, right? Sounds like good fuel to me! I made a healthy cc oatmeal “cookie” for breakfast sunday before my run. 🙂

    1. Haha okay well if you say so 🙂 I do have to admit I did not feel super great towards the end, but that’s nothing that even more cookies can’t fix! It was just a lot of sugar too early in the morning!

  2. Snow doesn’t last in New York City and the city is also pretty good about keeping the streets and pathways in the park cleared of snow. If there is ice, then it’s a small patch that you can easily step/jump over and at most it lasts a day.

    Love the photo of you X-country skiing. Have fun!

    1. Thanks! Yeah that’s the unfortunate part of living in Alaska – once it snows, it takes forever to melt because the ground is frozen and the sun can’t reach it. It was in the 40s and raining this week, but the stupid frozen ground just turns it into ice! 😦 I’m just happy we were able to drive up into the mountains for some non-icy snow!

  3. love that shirt! and i’m jealous of your snow. i don’t know what’s going on with chicago’s winter, but the snow is completely gone and our weekend was about 50 degrees and rainy. what!?

    1. Unfortunately all the snow you see in those pictures is at high elevation! You would be shocked to see how snow-free it is down at sea level. I’m hoping we’ll get some snow soon, otherwise it looks like my days of skiing are numbered! I am jealous of your 50 degrees though! It has been in the 40s all week and I loved getting a taste of spring so early in the year!

  4. Your skiing adventure looks like so much fun! My husband is actually coaching his high school’s Nordic ski team right now, and he keeps trying to get me out there with him. I just need to suck it up and buy some equipment.

  5. Oh man, that cookie fun run sounds AMAZING! I want to do something like that!! I’ve only run when it’s snowy/icy once (I either opt for the treadmill or have been injured in the winter) and I wore trail running shoes. They weren’t great, and it was a terrible run. I’ve heard good things about Icebugs, and was glad to read more good things in your post! 🙂 If I ever have an uninjured winter season I may have to look into something like that…

    1. It was so nice to have confidence while running on ice! I’m honestly mad I tried them out because now I think I have to buy some! And I feel like every city needs a bakery-to-bakery run 🙂

  6. I love cross country skiing! It always helps me get over my winter blues. I don’t know how you deal with the lack of sunlight out there. It gets dark around 5:30 here (I’m in Kansas), and that nearly kills me. It sounds like you are making the best of it though, and the scenery is just fantastic!

    1. It definitely helped me do that! It has been pretty dark this winter without any snow, so it’s nice that the sun now rises a little before 10 and sets a little after 5. Once we get to March we’ll be getting “normal” sun amounts, and then we’ll start getting that midnight sun back! 🙂 I can’t wait!

  7. Nice photos! We don’t have any snow or ice in Boston these days which is a shocker!! Especially given last winter!! So I haven’t had to deal with many issues this winter in terms of snow and ice. Worst case, I’ll take my run inside if it’s too icy. Have fun!!

    1. Oh wow that’s good! You guys had so much last year! I’ve luckily been okay running outside so far this winter, but now that there is ice everywhere I may have to change that…or buy those awesome shoes!

  8. Gorgeous photos! I’m so jealous of your weekend. I had a lazy weekend just bumming around my house. On the plus side the weather was warm enough to wear shorts on both of my runs!

    I love the idea of a harry potter marathon with friends. What a great way to spend the day!

  9. I’ve been traveling 1h over to the east coast of England to meet some runners. They did a half marathon (which turned out even longer) recce run, I did it for fun.
    I didn’t expect to run up all the cliffs and after 2h my knee started to hurt, but I made it.
    Today:
    I want to die! My whole body is aching, headache and cold shivers, but it was worth it.
    Now I will crawl back on the sofa…

  10. Alaska is certainly gorgeous, I will give you that! My mom used to cross country ski while we we would downhill skill. I feel like I would be terribly uncoordinated at it. Running (generally) is a better choice for me. Especially as I can’t do it in order to get injured, lol.

    1. I really liked how similar cross country skiing was to walking – I felt like I was just out for a stroll that used a lot of ab and arm strength! I’ve never been on skis before so I really liked it. I was terrified going downhill fast, but I might need to try that sometime!

  11. That run sounds like so much fun! Cookies and coffee make runs so much better 🙂
    On Friday it was 60 degrees and the trails were all clear. Now it’s been snowing all day and isn’t supposed to stop until tomorrow. Typical Colorado weather.

    1. Yes! Honestly coffee makes everything better 🙂 So jealous of your snow! We would do anything for a good snowstorm at this point. I can’t keep driving an hour into the mountains for snow!

  12. Love your cross-country skiing pics! Alaska looks absolutely gorgeous and I’d love to go there someday.

    I feel the same way about January and for the reasons you’ve mentioned; I suffer from SAD and dread the short, cold days of winter. That run looks like fun! I’ll run for cookies and coffee any day 🙂

  13. Your cross-country skiing pics look so great! I tried it once but I think I prefer the downhill variety. We have snow on the ground in Salt Lake and even more up in the mountains. This year I’ve done a couple of runs on packed down snow wearing Yak-Trax and they’ve worked really well for me.

    1. I really want to try downhill now! I was so scared going downhill, but it was also pretty fun too. I love YakTrax! I currently have studded shoes and they work well most of the time, but I really liked that the Icebugs made me feel way more comfortable on the ice. Anything that can help me run throughout the winter is a win in my book!

  14. I always love seeing your amazing pictures. So cool! Good for you for making the most out of the tough days, I have had a few of those lately with all our snow but I know it’s nothing compared to yours! I agree the February is so exciting to see after the long haul of January. Way to go lady!

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