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Reasons I love hills, and reasons I will hate Alaska.


No, I won’t actually bore you with a list of reasons that I love hills (even if I do). Before moving on to what I perceive to be the more interesting part of this post, I just wanted to report that as a part of my workout this morning, I momentarily left my speedwork haterade in the fridge and did some fast hills. 20 seconds each. True sprints. I don’t remember the last time I sprinted, but these legs were crying for it. (The term “fast” is, obviously, relative. No objective swiftness was achieved.)

Good gracious, after all my plodding trotting in the past couple of weeks, a small injection of speed was exactly what I needed. (The term “a small injection of speed” is, obviously, figurative. No actual amphetamines were involved.)

Anyway, no one cares about the mundane details of a run;  let us proceed to the second part of this post.

Right now, I’m very excited about Alaska. I have cheerful visions of myself floating through the mountains on snowshoes, pausing from my rows on the bay to pet wild killer whales, whiling away my Friday evenings in rustic pubs with tons of friends, running in the Juneau Marathon for $40…

YES. This is my kind of marathon price. In the lower 48, this is what we pay to race in two 5Ks. Amiright?

But I’ve done this before. The whole, moving-to-a-new-far-away-city-where-you-don’t-know-a-single-soul thing:

Anybody recognize this? (Now, don't be led astray by the presence of water. There isn't actually any water in the city I called home last year.)

While it’s a blast to navigate the ins and outs of a new place and put down some roots there, the experience is not without challenges. What are your thoughts on living in a new city (alone!) for an extended period of time?

Reality check. Last year, I was homesick a lot. I missed my friends. I missed being near the ocean. I missed being able to drive a few hours and see the people I care about instead of having to take a plane.

Being in Alaska will likely involve a reapparance of this occasional homesickness and missing friends, and I’m betting there will be a few unforeseen monkey wrenches unique to living in the area.

Maybe moves like this are easier when you’ve mentally prepared yourself for something that will not be easy at all. It’s not being negative, it’s being realistic. I’m writing this entry specifically to give myself a preemptive “I told me so,” for when I come crawling back here in a few months going crazy from the relentless rain, the expenses, a potentially crummy housing situation, the transportation woes, the fact that it’s only accessible by sea or air, seeing bears on runs all the time and getting freaked out, the distance from home… the relentless rain… the fact that a fresh piece of fruit will cost about $67…

On the other hand.

Eating delicious wild salmon caught less than a mile away? Salmon’s kind of like a vegetable, right? Migrate, spawn, die. I guess they’re just like the rest of us.

Trails into the mountains from downtown? I’m just going to have to suck it up and invest in some kind of bear protection. Hm. What are our thoughts on running with firearms? Good idea? Stupid?

Wearing snowpants into bars… and fitting right in? Now this, I can get on board with.

Mountains by the sea? It’s the perpetual debate. Would you rather live right next to the mountains, or right next to the ocean? I think that on the east coast, it’s a “one or the other” deal because of that whole coastal plain thing we have going on. This year, though, I won’t need to compromise.

The Northern Lights? Glaciers? YES. WANT. Only goons would pass up the chance to see Aurora Borealis f’real and not just from a Google image.

The opportunity to see killer whales? This is slightly embarrassing to admit, but Free Willy had an enormous impact on me as a child. On the other hand, so did Jaws. Thanks a lot, Peter Benchley.

Contrary to what you see here, the sunny days may be few and far between. I'm going to need one of those happy light machine things.

It will be tough at times. It will also be awesome.

And if it doesn’t work out all happy and jubilant snowshoeing and eating fresh salmon with my pet grizzly bear while watching the northern lights… heck…  I’m only gonna be there for a year. That is, unless I neglect to invest in a Smith & Wesson, and consequently get whacked by a griz before said year is over. Survival of the armed?

That is one dirty hairy bear. Do .44 magnums even work on bears? Do I feel lucky?


Even in the event that it throws the occasional happiness obstacle my way, I will learn to love Alaska. And even in the event that I throw the occasional poorly-doctored bootleg MSpaint image your way, you will learn to love the scrollover text. Maybe?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. jbf permalink
    07/17/2010 16:08

    Loving heat and hills: Atlanta must have been your running paradise. You know, if it had any semblance of a trail system.

    I’m super-jealous that you’re moving to Atlanta… but I thought you hated Americorps and swore it off? And now you’re going back? I assume you’re doing something different up there (since, as far as I know, there aren’t lots of inner-city kids in that area)…

    • jbf permalink
      07/17/2010 16:09

      Err… moving to Alaska, rather. I can’t edit comments so I’ll just add this here. Boosting the comment count. You’re welcome.

      • 07/17/2010 21:54

        Foo imma be doin dat environmental education.

        Boosting the comment count? What, jibfa, you think I’m some kind of comment hooker? How insulting.

        Whoa whoa whoa.
        NOTED: POST-DYESTAT CHANGE IN YOUR FACEBOOK RELATIONSHIP STATUS. So jel. But, no wonder you’re not on your wit game. It’s messing with your head.

  2. jbf permalink
    07/17/2010 22:33

    Not on top of my game? What is this blasphemy? I’m so good it ain’t even fun for me to be cocky anymore.

    No but seriously. I know you’re all about views and comments. That’s what I’m here for. Cracka.

    • 07/20/2010 10:40

      No, I’m here for views and comments. And am currently incredibly bored.

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