Hello Basil!

Hey 16 year old self, how's it feel to get lapped by an old lady?
Hey 17 year old self, how’s it feel to get lapped by an old lady?

Hello Salty runners! Greetings from the last frontier, the land of the midnight sun and the eight-month long winter. That’s right–Alaska! Where it’s totally legit to reach for the running tights before Halloween and to use a get-out-of-a-tempo-run-free card because there’s a bear on your beloved running route. (Yup, for real, totally happened.)

I’m a recovering type-A workaholic (See: Catbert: Evil HR Director) turned hausfrau and running enthusiast (See: June Cleaver in tempo shorts). I left my HR consulting job when my youngest was 3 years old, and have been “staying home” ever since. This year, my two children are finally in school full-time (cue the angels!), so I’m footloose and stroller-free, training for my first marathon.

There's no calling out "on your left" and passing a bull moose. Time for a detour, my friends.
FYI–there’s no calling out “on your left” and passing a bull moose. Time for a detour, my friends.

My running life can be divided into two categories. Pre-Salty and Post-Salty. You see, I met Salty after she beat me in a small local 5k. No shame in that, you say. I mean, Salty is pretty darn fast, right? Well, did I mention she was pregnant at the time? And that she beat me by a solid two minutes? I was so impressed with her that I stalked, er, uh, tracked her down via this blog, leaving a comment of congratulations.

She emailed me a few days later to ask whether I might be up for a long run sometime. My first thought was to say no. My second thought was a more articulate hayells no. I was completely intimidated. I had always run alone up to that point, and she was much, much faster than I was. But she claimed she was about to slow down considerably given her pregnancy, and I couldn’t come up with any decent excuses that didn’t make me sound like a fraidy cat. So I took the leap.

One minute I’m shaking her hand to officially introduce myself. The next we’re off and running 10 miles. We were fast friends (ahem. bad pun alert). We ran almost weekly for the remainder of her pregnancy and then as much as we could squeeze in after her baby was born and before I moved to Alaska. During that span, she beat me in a 5-miler (again! by a lot! and still pregnant!) and then paced me to a new half marathon PR in the spring, smiling the whole dang time. For the record, it is possible to want to punch someone and hug them at the same time.

With Salty’s advice and encouragement, she helped me grow from the tired mom who signed up for a half marathon on a whim to stave off the Cleveland winter blues–the one whose first 5k goal was to finish without stopping to walk–into the old lady who ran 13.1 miles at a faster pace than her 17 year old self could run a single mile. (Is it weird to talk smack to your 17 year old self? Because I totally do sometimes.)

The big smile is because (a) I'm not racing this and (b) the 8 year old son I was "pacing" had just left me in the dust.
I’m only smiling because (a) I’m not racing this and (b) the 8 year old son I was “pacing” had just left me in the dust.

Speaking of my 17 year old self, she’d likely tell you I have no business writing for a running blog; and she might be right. I’ll be the first to admit I’m an amateur, just an average Jo. But like Mint so eloquently put it, I’m simply striving to be an “elite version of myself“, to find out what I’m capable of, one limit-testing race at a time. So, as I train for my first marathon and navigate my way through this first year of Alaskan running, I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with my fellow Salty Running readers!

Recovering corporate hamster-wheeler turned Alaskan hausfrau, mother of two and running enthusiast. Kind of a June Cleaver in tempo shorts...minus the makeup and vacuum. Will run to great lengths to get a moment of peace.

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    1. Thanks! The play-by-play might not be terribly interesting though: “So it was cold and hilly the first mile or so. Then it was cold and hilly for the next 10 miles. Then it was only sorta cold–but still hilly–for the last 5 miles.” ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. So happy to see Jo’s smiling face here — love her and her writing! (Hi, friend!)

    Looking forward to following your marathon training journey. It’s a life-changer. And I love seeing your Alaska photos!

    – Heather

  2. Looking forward to hearing about your first marathon training, especially in Alaska! Does running away from bears count as speedwork?

    1. Haha. Yeah, it definitely counts (if you live to talk about it). Gives a whole new meaning to the “I survived my speed workout today” post.

  3. I just caught you on “Follow this Mother” with AMRs. Your pictures were the smile I needed today. We lived in Anchorage and I miss it so! I had run off and on but it was in Anchorage that I fell in love with running. I miss the coastal trial, and my view as I came home on my neighborhood runs. I miss my friendly Mama Moose and I even miss my bear bells. Enjoy every moment! And if they do Running of the Reindeer at Fur Rondy this year, it’s short, but fun.