Up early thanks to summer solstice & Alaska’s midnight sun.  Packed bags, checked out of hotel & drove to the designated marathon bus pickup on 10th street by 6:30am.

Lot going on in my head listening to other runners on the bus.  No Alaskans – most everyone flew in for today’s race.  All states were represented except Mississippi & Rhode Island.  (This stat was announced over and over and over – HA!)

Bused to Bartlett High near the mountains.  Today’s run on both road & trail would be void of peeps until approx 4 miles from downtown Anchorage.  From mountains to ocean (Anchorage is actually on the water – who knew? :))

Felt a bit tight from my previous day’s ice climb but mentally was ready to run!  Star Spangled Banner preceded by Alaska’s state song, then bang we’re off!  The course initially followed road.  I quickly tagged a runner running my pace & stayed close for more than 8 miles.  Race route diverged to trail.  Picked up my pace initially then dropped off.

Felt good for 12 miles – averaged 8:08 minutes/mile, then started tightening up.

And of course gotta mention the mosquitoes – Alaska’s unofficial state bird 🙁

Not just a mosquito – SWARMS of mosquitoes.  Water station volunteers sprayed down runners with repellent.  Started dreading all off-road running.  Mosquitoes in my mouth, under my goggles, in my ears – smaller than those in the lower 48 but so so many.  Have been spoiled living in Colorado where the Front Range is virtually mosquito-free because of our elevation & arid climate (standing water is a luxury & uncommon after May/June snow melt).

Hit the wall near mile 20.  All of the ‘I told you so’ folks can now say ‘I told you so’.  No I didn’t taper.  No I didn’t relax days before my race.  Yes I went ice climbing.  And yes, I paid for it.

Would I do things differently?  Maybe.  But boy did I enjoy ice climbing!  Super fun!

My worse race time of the year but I DID finish & complete my marathon goal.  Hobbled over the finish line & was directed to the medic tent. Downed 3 oranges while my right knee was wrapped for a possible ligament tear (similar injury that sidelined me in April).  UPDATE: Only a ligament strain, no tear.  No running for 6-8 weeks.

Walked around a little, decided I wasn’t gonna die so located my rental & drove downtown for lunch.  A deep tissue massage at Sheraton’s Ice Spa an hour later helped make everything better. (Thanks Volker!)

 

On January 12th I started this journey at the Quicker Quaker 5K in Lafayette, Colorado — running in 8 degree temps & snow flurries.  Fast forward 6 months.  Finished 9 races including 4 half marathons, a 10K with 54,000 participants — and a full 26.2 mile marathon in Anchorage, Alaska.  Super empowering!

Thanks to many friends & family who encouraged me during my training.  Very appreciative of everyone’s support.

Congrats on completing your Alaskan marathon!!!  You inspire me everyday with your awesomely amazing goals, even more so with your actual completion of said goals!  Most people have all these great ideas and wishes and dreams of what they want to do, but such a small percentage actually complete them, so go you!

What’s next?  It’s summer & the mountains are calling.  Expect to see a flood of hike pics thru October.

 

6/22/13            HAGA, K R              4:55:28            477           Louisville, CO, USA

 

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