Monday, July 30, 2012

Everything Has Its Price

Sometimes life forces each of us to face uncomfortable questions, but I never expected such a moment to occur at the grocery store.  It happened last weekend, walking out of Fred Meyer’s, looking at the receipt and unable to duck the obvious: “How did we spend $17 on grapes?!?”  Really, is that even possible?  Or have we entered an alternate universe where different laws of economics apply?  It wasn’t like we rolled out of the store with a wooden vat filled to the brim, ready to be stomped into wine in celebration of our small-village Italian heritage.  We bought two bunches, one red, one green.  And it cost $17.  There is a lesson to be gleaned there about household budgeting.

But rather than focus on important monetary lessons, I’ll focus instead on turning this blog into an insufferable online training log.  I noted in my last post that I’ve decided to do the Equinox again, a race with 3,000+ feet of climbing and descending, and that as a result, C and I travelled to Reno to do a training run.  Well, a week ago we realized that Anchorage is actually closer to the race course itself than to Nevada, so C and I took a weekend trip to Fairbanks and did a 15.5 mile run up and down Ester Dome.  The profile of that run looked something like this:

The run felt good, but came at a price.  To break up the drive north, we decided to camp in Cantwell.  In a sad comment on the frequency of our camping trips these days, we had not used our tent since our trip last year to McCarthy.  Following that trip, it became clear that the tent poles needed restringing, so we restrung them.  But we didn’t put them back into the tent stuff sack, a fact we discovered when it came time to set up the tent on our way to Fairbanks.  So we felled a dozen or more trees and bucked the timber into manageable logs, which we quickly stacked into a formidable wall.  We strung the fly into place minutes (really) before it started to rain.  It alternated between a drizzle and a hard rain for the course of the night, but we stayed dry.  No complaints with respect to the rain.  Lots of complaints with respect to the mosquitoes.
(C, looking out from our improvised tent)

I think I act like a non-lethal bug zapper, attracting bugs but unable to ring the death knell.  I slept with a head net, which was useless since the net rested snuggly against my skin.  The bites could not be counted.  I hardly slept at all, being driven slowly to madness by the incessant whine of swarming bugs.  Did you know that individual mosquitoes buzz at unique pitches?  I got to know several of them by sound.  C didn’t get a single bite, safe sleeping next to her mosquito magnet.

I certainly did not want to risk another night of bug bites, so we couldn’t go and run the Equinox course again.  But trips to Nevada are expensive.  So what is the alternative?  Well, it turns out that Anchorage has mountains.  So we found a run at home that looked like this:

And now my legs are tired.  I think I’ll rest them by counting grapes before we move them into a safe-deposit box.  If they keep, I may have just found a new source of retirement income.  

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