Monday, July 18, 2011

5K Age Group Wins in Alaska

Before I post about our 5K race, I want to tell you that the fish finally arrived at the mouth of the Kenai river and the whole town, along with the town of Soldotna and much of this part of Alaska was out there netting the salmon. It was constant action and many people had elaborate systems worked out where some people would be in the water netting, some others would meet them on the beach and bop the fish and then take it to someone else who would fillet. I'm sure that everyone go their limit. By the way, this netting is only open to residents of Alaska and must be within the first 3 miles of the mouth of the river.

On Friday Hollie and I went to the HS to enter Saturday's 5K race. I had previously called the race director to make sure we would get the pre-register fee rather than the late fee. Not only did we get the reduced rate, but we also got the family rate and were able to enter our grandchildren (even though they were not with us). For the $50, we got 5 long-sleeved shirts and 5 pair of running socks. Since these were the brand socks that I like, I traded for my size so now I have 5 new pair of running socks.

The race was a point to point and was nearly entirely downhill. Since I like to do a 30-45 minute warmup, I had Hollie take me out to the start. He went back and parked at the finish and took the shuttle bus to the start. I have not been doing much training. I have been running; just not training so I really thought I'd run about 28 minutes. In hindsight, I should have just blown it out and gone for a sub 26. My time was 27:29 and with it being so much downhill, I really should have run faster. I did win my AG, but instead of the usual trophy/plaque awards that we are used to, they gave out ribbons. I'm not complaining since in addition to all the above mentioned race goodies, they also had post-race hotdogs, hamburgers chips, bananas, soft drinks and coffee. They also had doorprize drawing for round trip air from Soldotna to Anchorage.

The real race highlight for us was that Hollie ran the first mile continuously, in a time of about 9 minutes. As many of you know, three years ago he had a severe ankle injury where he had to have surgery and now has 10 screws and several metal plates in his ankle. He has not been running until a couple of months ago, although he alternates a 4-5 mile racewalks and 15-25 mile bike rides every other day.

After he ran that first mile, he alternated running and walking and was able to win his AG. He says the ankle feels fine and he thinks he will be able to start training. He'll probably just slowly increase his running and do less walking and continue to bike on alternate days. I think he can do quite well in his AG. I do know he had really missed running and he is really hoping this will work.

After the race we drove to Whittier, AK which is famous for having a 2.5 mile tunnel that until a couple of years ago was only used by trains. It is now used for auto traffic. Traffic is one way so they have an elaborate schedule for timing which direction will be using the tunnel. Train traffic has priority. The weather was cold and rainly, but that did not stop us from walking aroung the "town" which has about 300 year round residents, but several thousand during the Summer. We parked at a campground that was more like a rock field with three porta potties. Needless to say, we only stayed one night. The interesting thing was that when we left yesterday morning, it was rain and cold in Whittier. When we drove the 2.5 miles through the tunnel and exited, it was sunny and warm. We then stopped several places along the way to Anchorage so that we could see wildlife and glaciers and we took a couple of short hikes.

We are now in Anchorage and will probably stay another night or two. This is a beautiful city with flowers everywhere. The hanging baskets are the size of a washtub. I guess this is due to all the sun (18-22 hours a day) and all the rain. Today we toured the ULU knife factory where they were serving free reindeer hot dogs. I better not tell the grandkids.

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