Friday, November 30, 2012

Think Like an Alaskan. // Jen J.

It is not easy to try something new.

Especially when that something new involves the cold and dark.  And exercise. 

For the longest time I’ve wanted to meet up with this running group that gathers at a local specialty running shop. Finally a few weeks ago, thanks to Fit Camp, I stopped pussyfooting (shout out to Kate M. that spitball of an Aussie) around and got off my vajazz and went for the first time. Why I waited until winter to pursue this, I have no idea.

The first night I went all by myself, which I will add, is also not easy. I wore all black. Everyone else was all decked out in neon and reflective gear. Immediately, the organizer comes up to me and hands me a flashlight and tells me I need something to light my way. That was nice. There was another girl, Julie, also dressed in all black. I approached her and said, “you must also be new”.  She said yes, and we had a chuckle at our rookie mistakes. Julie also got issued a flashlight.  Safety first, gals! 

The leader informed us that we’d be running a four mile hilly course. Oh joy, I think to myself. Mind you, it was 30 something degrees and typically I call it a day at three miles. Julie and I started out together but the hills got to me. And soon I was on my own, absolutely the last person in the pack. I was probably a good quarter of a mile behind everyone else. I had to strain to see their lights so I that I could stay on course. It was not easy, I don’t know that it was fun either. But I did not stop.  Did I mention it was cold?  Again, I did not stop.   I was the last one to get back to the shop. But I did it! And you know what, Julie was there waiting outside for me, making sure I made it.

I’ve now ran with the group four weeks in a row. Three Wednesday night runs and a turkey trot. It is still freezing, dark, and hard. But I kind of like it.  It makes me feel macho and tough.

Here is a picture of this Wednesday’s run dubbed the Stash Dash. As you can see I still haven’t invested in any cold weather neon, but it’s going on the Christmas list.

That's me on the far right. 
I want to stick with this. Julie has shown up every week too. And we agreed that we’d both be back next week. Yay! Could it be a budding friendship?!

Cold weather blows. Literally. I’ve seen a lot of posts in the group regarding cold weather running. Girls, you just layer up and go.

You know what I say to myself, when I am dreading the cold? I say, "self, what would an Alaskan do?” I swear, I really do. Those Alaskans are bad ass people! All tough and stuff.

In July 2011, I had the fortunate experience to travel to Alaska for a family vacay. We saw some of the land and also did a cruise. I shared a ship cabin with my BF and sister. We slept on bunk beds.  My parents were in the next cabin over.  How fun does that sound?? I digress.

As you all know, Alaska can be freezing and wet (insert your own dirty thought here). Even in the summer. Unfortunately, it was cold and rainy for a good portion of our trip. But what could we do. We spent all that money, came all that way, and it was a once in a life time opportunity.

 I’ll tell you what we did. We made the most of it.

Pausing on a rainy hike to photo bomb this moose.
 We got in our rain gear and hiked five miles in the pouring down rain looking for moose.

BF & I at Mendhall Glacier. 

We put on hats and gloves and got out there and saw what there was to be seen.

My sister and I, freezing our tits off at Hubbard Glacier.
What was the alternative, sit in our room and miss out on this majestic place? I think not.  Seriously, this trip changed my perspective.

I challenge you all to adopt this philosophy.

We are not bears. We cannot hibernate.

Get out there, get some fresh air. Bundle up and run or walk, that's cool too.  Just move. Admire the Christmas lights or the freshly fallen snow. Every season has something to offer, you just got to toughen up and give it a chance.


  1. Awesome job girl. I am a fellow cold weather runner. I live in WI and it's cold 12 degrees on Monday and will be a balmy 48 on Saturday. Weather changes so much but we get cold and I run in that cold, although I cross the line at single digits because with windchill that's below zero no way Jose! Anyways keep up the great work!

  2. "We are not bears. We cannot hibernate." LOVE it!

  3. I love that you joined that running group Jen and I literally teared up when you said that Julie was there waiting for you when you got done. So sweet!

    My new favorite motto? We are not bears. We cannot hibernate. That rocks!

  4. I live in MN so running in the cold happens quite often. I am getting used to it and figuring out what gear works best. I'm not sure what I will do when it gets icy though. That scares me!

  5. What a great motivation! I definitely dread running in the cold but have yet to quit and actually surprise myself after running for a mile or so you really warm up. Thanks for the great idea to think like an Alaskan :)

  6. Inspiring, as always. Keep going. Maybe Julie is your new BFF.;)

  7. Would love to experience a cold wintery christmas!! instead I am sweating bucketloads on my runs and dying to get inside to the airconditioning at 6am!!!
    thanks for the shout out ;) you are one 'cool' bitch ;) keep up with the running :) x

  8. Great job on the running group, girly!!!

  9. Today it was raining and storming and I REALLY wanted to go for a run. When I got home there was a "break" from the storm so I went out. I was around the block and getting all wet from the rain sprinkling on me and I thought "I should just cut through here and go home" and then I thought about how I ran a 5k in the rain. I didn't die. I didn't melt. So I stuck my ear buds in and went on my way. And it actually STOPPED it's sprinkling and let me have a nice run.


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