Where do I begin?

It’s been several days since I returned from Alaska, but I still don’t know how to blog about it. Everything about this running/cruising vacation exceeded my expectations — the people I ran with, the places we ran, the local runners who assisted at our events, our gracious hosts John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield, the food onboard the cruise ship, my cabin, the cruise line employees, the scenery, and the wildlife. It all was, in a word, AMAZING.

I have more than 500 photos and I can’t imagine how I’ll ever choose just a few that capture how wonderful it all was. It may be that I’ll never successfully blog about this. I may have to just count it as a lifetime highlight experience and move on.

But I can’t let it pass without sharing just a few tastes.

I saw wolves running on the beach in Glacier Bay National Park.

We idled near a glacier in a sea of newborn icebergs for nearly two hours and watched/heard the glacier calve… and calve… and calve yet again.

I ran 10 miles on a steep trail in Juneau in a downpour.

I watched a thousand or so salmon packed tightly together in suspended animation just up from the mouth of a stream in Sitka, their bodies adjusting to the change from salt water to fresh water before they could resume their final journey upstream to spawn.

I ran 7 miles through a rain forest (that looked remarkably like home) near Ketchikan, and somewhere on that last run of the week I found a groove. I knew that I could have kept running like that all day. I fell in love with trail running.

Our official mileage for the week was a bit short of the promised 26.2 (perhaps I found a short cut on the find-your-own-course sightseeing rally through Sitka?). I recorded something like 24.9 miles, but I’m not complaining about that. It was all wonderful. It was also quite non-competitive, in that “winning” involved guessing your predicted total time. I finished about 30 minutes faster than the time I’d predicted, mostly because I never saw a bear so I never had to stop, wait, detour, or backtrack.

If you are a runner with a taste for adventure and a yen to travel, or if you are looking for a running-themed vacation with appealing alternatives for non-running family members, I can confidently recommend any of the Marathon Expeditions events. John and Jenny know how to do it right.

I could go on and on like this, but — I’ve got some trails to run…


Posted on August 8, 2012, in Nature, Place, Running, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. I can’t even imagine all the wonders that you experienced. Are you going to have different posts about some the specific for us armchair travelers?

    • Yvonne,
      I’ll try to put up some photos and a bit more detail about things I saw and did… but my garden needs attention and I have a short trip planned over the next few days. I really, truly don’t know how I EVER found time to work. How is retirement treating you, by the way?

  2. So glad it exceeded your expectations in so many ways. So what are you doing next? 🙂

  3. Carlene and Bob

    I think I told you that we have been to Alaska and also fell in love with it. It’s beautiful and wonderful!!! Denali is great!!

  4. Carlene and Bob,
    When I go back to Alaska (possibly as soon as next summer, certainly within the next couple of years) it will be by ferry and car, and Denali will definitely be a destination. What a grand, sublime part of the world it is.

  5. It sounds like an incredible trip, and your running seems to be going from strength to strength Lori. What is your next challenge?

  6. What a wonderful experience. Running with wolves! Wow! I’m sure the photos are stories in themselves! How about just a few slideshows with captions for a while. I can imagine you might feel a bit speechless for some time since this is really a once in a lifetime kind of experience. So glad you had an amazing adventure, Lori. You had obviously really been looking forward to it and prepared yourself well! 🙂

  7. Wow! That is very cool! Thanks for sharing little bits from your experience. That’s something I’d love to do when I’m more confident (and consistent) in my running. It has been MONTHS (for many reasons). I’m feeling rather ill right now which annoys me since I’d planned to start again Monday past. Will have to wait until I’m eating properly again (since my stomach tells my brain that food is a no-no right now).
    I’m going to save that link you provided. Thanks again!

    • Alicia,
      An event like this would be a great long term running goal, for sure! The best thing is, it was not all that competitive and was extremely walker friendly, so it’s not like you’d have to train for months or years — just be in reasonably good shape.

      • I checked out the link and also sent it to GF. We both think the cruise itself is a bit expensive. That’s something we’d reeeally have to save for. We usually see cruises for much less per person. We also have to consider that we have to fly to whatever port the cruise is leaving from. Probably won’t work out for 2013, but it’s on the radar for 2014. I’m only considering the Caribbean cruise because that’d be the departure port closest to us at the moment. If we’re in Canada by 2014, Alaska would be awesome! Looking forward to seeing your pictures whenever you choose some to share.

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