I would say Friday dawned bright and early, but it didn’t, because there is no dawn in Alaska in the summer. Nonetheless, Amanda and I had a 3 mile shakeout run to get in before we headed back to Anchorage. It’s not very often I’m super excited to wake up unnecessarily early and go running (perhaps that is surprising, but it shouldn’t be), but that’s not the case in Alaska. In Alaska I want to be awake ALL THE TIME and do ALL THE THINGS because it is so freaking amazing. I couldn’t wait to go running because I had no idea what we might see!
Even though it was just a short run, we were so happy to be outside enjoying the cool air and the beautiful scenery. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt while running in June, people! JUNE! We ran past Deep Creek, which was one of those picturesque brooks that people take lots of pictures of and people paint pictures of. We risked life and limb to run across the road in front of a bunch of trucks hauling boats out to the docks for the day, but it was totally worth it.
We also got some great ocean views and some views of the volcano. Unfortunately, volcanoes that are 52 miles away do not photograph all that well, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
When we got back to the bed and breakfast, we were treated to a fantastic breakfast. The only problem with bed and breakfasts is that you have to eat food with people that you don’t know. I realize that this is kind of the point and it’s supposed to be fun, and it kind of is, but I’m not generally at my best at 8 am. Keep this in mind if you ever have to eat breakfast with me.
The only thing we had to do before leaving Ninilchik was stop by the fish processor and pay exorbitant fees to ship our fish back to South Carolina from Alaska. This is exactly as expensive as it sounds. As in, Mom, please don’t ask me how much it cost. That being said, it’s not every day that you go to Alaska and catch a bazillion pounds of halibut, so this was obviously necessary. AJ can look forward to receiving a very large box of fish on Tuesday. Anyway, this was literally the only thing we had to do, and I would have completely forgot were it not for Amanda yelling “FISH! FISH! FISH!” as we drove past the place. Oops!
On the way back to Anchorage, Amanda and I decided to stop by the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center to get an up close look at some of the native animals. At the risk of sounding like a brat, I’ve seen all of these animals in the wild before (my family traveled by RV in the summers when I was a kid) so seeing them behind a fence is not terribly exciting to me. That being said, it is pretty cool to see them up close since if you try and get close to them in the wild, they mostly charge/maul you and whatnot.
Oh, and did I mention we got to enjoy even more amazing scenery on the way back? I think it was actually prettier driving back than driving down. This whole state is ridiculous.
Amanda and I then headed to the Moose’s Tooth for lunch and some local beers. Moose’s tooth is one of the places that everyone who has been to Anchorage has told me we absolutely had to go while we’re here, and God knows I never turn down pizza and local beer. It was exactly as excellent as we had anticipated. The pizza was fantastic, there are a ton of varieties, and there are many beers on tap brewed by the Broken Tooth Brewing Company, which owns the restaurant. Sure, it was very crowded, but we sat at the bar and had an excellent time.
Ok, so then I had something actually important to do. And therefore, maybe I shouldn’t have consumed multiple beers, but whatever. On Thursday night, I was contacted by a local news reporter who had read my blog and wanted to interview me! One of my readers (thank you, Jenny!) knew him from home and contacted him to tell him about my blog, and I guess he ended up reading it and thought it was interesting. I personally think that he saw my video blog and thought he would strike autotune gold if he interviewed me, but I have no way of knowing that. Anyway, I may have been just slightly tipsy by the time I got there, but I’m pretty sure I played it totally cool. I asked Amanda like 8 times for verification.
Jake, the reporter, is totally adorable and asked some great questions. I was really impressed by how much of my blog he had read and how much he knew about me. It would be easy to just get hung up on the 50 states thing, but he took the time to ask me questions about my Eating Disorder Series, how and why I started running, and a whole bunch of other topics as well. He was running the marathon as well, and it would be his first! I thought it was amazing that he was so focused on interviewing me when he had something way more important to do, like crush his first marathon!
It was surprisingly not too awkward at all, and as much as I’m sure I made a fool of myself, it was still fun and a cool opportunity. The interview will air on Sunday night here in Alaska on not one but two channels (apparently this is common in small markets), and Jake said he would send me a link, so I’ll obviously post it here for your amusement. I made him promise not to make me sound stupid, but there’s really only so much he can do in that department.
Afterwards, Amanda and I headed to our new AirBnb house to set down our stuff before heading to dinner. We were still so stuffed from lunch 3 hours earlier that the idea of eating dinner was almost horrifying. Please note that this is basically the only time in my life that I would ever say such a thing. Nonetheless, we were joining JC and some other Maniac friends for dinner in honor of JC’s 50 states completion, which would take place at the race the next day. I even got to meet JC’s wife, who I had no idea even existed until a few months ago (JC says I talk too much and therefore he never had time to tell me – valid) and I also got to meet my friend Peter’s wife, who I also did not believe existed. It turns out that they not only exist, they are also both extremely nice and supportive and adorable.
We couldn’t remember the waiter’s name, and while everyone guessed normal things like Mike and Steve, I guessed Sven. You’d think the southern accent would lead me away from such a guess, but no. Anyway, his name wasn’t Sven. It was Chris. I know you didn’t need to know that, but I’m still really disappointed about it.
Everyone had such a great time at dinner, and as we were leaving, I reflected on how crazy it is that I was in Alaska and had just met people I would consider good friends for dinner. It’s truly a gift that I can go to pretty much any race and be able to hang out with people that I consider my running family. That’s really what this whole experience is about, at the end of the day. I’m on the trip of a lifetime with great friends, breathtaking views, and plenty of beer. What more can you really ask for?