How to get an Alaskan tan

I realise it’s been far too long since my last post, I have been caught up in the enthusiasm and infectious nature that 24 hours of near constant sunlight brings and all the activities and possibilities that come along with it! Suddenly there are very few limits on what you can achieve in a day because a day lasts almost as long as you’d like it to. After dinner if you want to go for a 3-hour hike, you can! There is no darkness to contend with. Since my last blog so much has happened and it might take a bit to recap it all! So keep that in mind because this is a rather picture filled blog!

Driving home around 12:30am one morning.
Driving home around 12:30am one morning. This is as dark as it gets.

Spring started really well and the training was really successful, I got in a lot of good quality sessions and was really feeling strong. I rejoined training with APU and fell in step with their training regime. Early on the bulk of the training is distance work and more specifically, running in the mountains.

Rolling out with the gang.
Rolling out with the gang.

In June my family came over to visit for a few weeks which was awesome but a little bit of a juggling act. Trying to do all these awesome trips with them and train was a little challenging at times but worth it. They really got to see a lot of Alaska. We did a 4-day kayak trip on Prince William Sound, one of the most pristine wilderness areas on the Alaskan coast. Kayaking past glaciers and seeing bears, otters, seals and whales made for a picturesque trip. We also went on multiple camping trips, a few fishing trips, plus a whole lot of hiking.

One of the first days, going for a Family stroll along the coast!
One of the first days, going for a family stroll along the coast of Anchorage!
Andrew and I enjoying a "classic American lunch." Burgers and chocolate milkshakes.
Andrew and I enjoying a “classic American lunch.” Burgers and chocolate milkshakes. (These kind of lunches could also be a reason why running up hills hurts so much!)
Great to show my dad around to some of my favourite hikes
Great to show my dad around to some of my favourite hikes.
After hiking up we finally were rewarded with some amazing views of the Icefield.
After hiking up alongside Exit Glacier near Seward we finally were rewarded with some amazing views of the Harding Icefield.
My parents enjoying Dinner.
My parents enjoying an Alaskan seafood dinner.
Paddling.
Paddling break. And new fashion.
Paddling on the Sound. Dad coming back early morning from collecting some water.
Paddling on the Sound. Dad coming back early morning from collecting some water.
Lauren exploring our campsite on the Prince William Sound.
Lauren exploring our campsite on the Prince William Sound.
IMG_0007
Not a bad spot for a camp…
Glaciers
Glacier views.
Otters, just chillin'.
Otters, just chillin’.
Our campsite for one of the trips
Our campsite for one of the trips.
The family crammed into the Subi.
The family crammed into the Subi.
Dad fly fishing
Dad fly fishing for salmon.
Not a bad afternoons fish. Dad, David Norris one of the APU boys and myself went fishing for a few hours.
Not a bad afternoon fish. Dad, David Norris (one of the APU boys) and myself went fishing for a few hours.
During the Family holiday both my brother and Mum had Birthdays!
During the family holiday both my brother and Mum had Birthdays!
Ok a bit of a cheese shot but after climbing one of the smaller closer mountains near Anchorage we had to get the classic Alaskan shot!
Ok a bit of a cheese shot but after climbing one of the smaller, closer mountains near Anchorage we had to get the classic Alaskan shot!

I think they had a pretty great time and hopefully they’ll be back soon!

After they left it did take me a little while to find the training groove again. I just wasn’t quite used to the routine again and I was definitely a little tired.

Alaska however really turned it on this summer. It was so hot and sunny, it’s one of Alaska hottest summers ever recorded and there have been some bad fires close to town. Realistically, it’s not great for the climate, but on the plus side it has made training very easy and enjoyable to get out into the beautiful weather, and I got my best tan in quite a few years. #bronzed. Sadly, further north there is so little sea ice that there are some really sad reports of polar bears starving to death because they have lost all their hunting grounds. 

24# a day sunshine and a bit of rain makes everything GREEN!
24 hours a day sunshine and a bit of rain makes everything GREEN!
Swimming mid distance run in and alpine lake with Lauren
Swimming mid-run in an alpine lake with Lauren when things just got a bit too hot!
Stopping for a quick snack. there are blueberries everywhere! We have definitely stopped a few times to enjoy them!
Stopping for a quick snack. There are blueberries everywhere! We have definitely stopped a few times to enjoy them!

I have jumped in a few mountain races this summer and suffered hugely in both. I guess I’m not quite made out for the continual uphill grind for an hour just yet. The rolling trail races seem to be much more my style. Still it’s been a lot of fun and a great workout each time.

A rather windy photo of Lauren and I before a Mountain running race.
A rather windy photo of Lauren and I before a mountain running race.
During Bird Ridge Mountain Race.
During Bird Ridge Mountain Race.

This year I’ll admit running in the mountains has been a little tougher on me than usual. I have had a bruised foot on and off for months and I perhaps am not quite as light as I have been in the past. This year I have put a lot of focus on improving my double polling and I think I have put on a little weight, which just doesn’t help when you are trying to chase mountain goats up a peak and you feel like a hippo. It’s not something I’m too worried about though. I think as winter approaches I will be really able to sharpen up a lot more and get leaner.

One of the best parts about the Alaskan summer is the endless sunshine but the danger is in doing too much. I have definitely over done it a few times and gone out fishing thinking I wouldn’t be out for too long and then end up walking back to my tent or getting home at 1:00am or even later. Still, the late nights have been worth it and I have a lot of fun fishing and having adventures in the Alaskan wilderness. I really have enjoyed being able to mentally unwind and forget everything apart from how I’m going to catch a fish. There is something extremely peaceful about just standing in a river fishing.

Lauren catching Fish
Lauren catching halibut
Catching Hallibut off a boat.
Catching Halibut off a boat. This one came in at 60 pounds (27kg)
Catching salmon at 11:00pm
Catching salmon at 11:00pm
Jerry nets a salmon we caught at roughly mid night during a camping trip.
Jerry (legendary local runner and fishing extraordinaire) nets a salmon we caught at roughly midnight during a camping trip.

A number of people have asked if I will return to Australia for any of this winter or at all this year. At this stage I hope not to. I plan on being in the US for most of the year until heading to Europe to compete this season.

I am approaching the end of a very long training block and this next week will be my first recovery week in a quite some time. Everyone is pretty tired and blown out from some big training workloads. I think I will take the first few days really easy in the week and then you might find me with my fly rod searching for the elusive Alaskan Salmon out on the river somewhere.

Train hard, rest easy, live for the moment.

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